Friday, February 25, 2005

Truly Amazing

I read this story and thought, would I spend the last seconds of my life snapping pictures? I've never seen a tsunami, but I think if I were on the beach and saw a huge wall of water closing in, I'd be headed for high ground in a hurry. So sad, so many people were just oblivious.

Photographs from the camera of a Canadian couple killed in Asia's tsunami include their final shots of a huge wave as it rushed toward them at their beach resort in Thailand.
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Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Next Level

It was already September of last year, Christmas was approaching, and the year had been full of setbacks and losses. I had been passed up twice for promotion, and it was apparent to me that my life was at a standstill. I felt like I was losing ground staying where I was, and was extremely restless and discontented. . I needed some time to reflect on where I was, where I had been and where I wanted to go. I remembered one of my favorite authors, John C. Maxwell, made the statement, "The road to the next level is always uphill." I finally decided I was tired of coasting and needed to make some changes.

The first thing I had to do was determine what it was I really wanted to do. I knew that more than anything else, I wanted to finish college and get a degree. I didn’t have the money, knew nothing about getting into college, or even exactly what type of degree I wanted to pursue. I only knew if I wanted to move forward, I was going to have to get out of my comfort zone and get a degree.

Linda and I had discussed my restlessness many times, and she was well aware of my state of mind. We talked about some of the things I had dreamed of, one of which was flying professionally. "You’re too old and don’t have enough life insurance," she told me. She has a way of saying just the right thing, even when I don't want to hear it. Having 28 years of work experience has its advantages, and we decided that staying in the field of investments would probably give me the best opportunities when I finally graduated. After all, I'll be 50 if everything goes according to plan. We talked about some of the things I would need to do in order to afford college, if I was not going to work while being a student. It was evident we needed to have a long-range plan.

My first major action was leaving my job of four years. I decided that even being unemployed would be better than staying in a job that was going nowhere. Since I was now unemployed, I thought I might qualify for a Pell grant. I visited the college financial aid office and found out where I needed to apply online. I then sat with a counselor who helped me formulate a degree plan. I collected a large amount of information and knowledge that I needed to sort out and pull together into a workable solution.

I had to make several more visits to the college for counseling, testing and registration. This was definitely getting to be an uphill journey! Since I had not been in school for the last 30 years, I had to take college entrance exams, which I took reluctantly, having been miffed and intimidated at first. Actually I was pissed I would have to prove my worthiness for college. But after receiving my scores, I was glad had taken the test because my scores were high enough to keep me from having to take remedial courses. In fact, I think they over-qualified me for my college Algebra class, which I struggle daily with.

After several weeks, all the requirements and preparation were complete. I had qualified for and received a Pell grant, and I went to register. I felt pretty damned proud of myself, knowing I had just overcome the first major hurdle in getting an education. I remember having a big grin on as I left the counselor’s office. I had just registered and knew that everything would be paid for. I thought of the promise I made to my father before he died, that I would go back to school, and how proud he would be. For the first time in years, I was excited I had a plan, and knew it would be worth the investment. I was ready for the challenge and focused on a new goal.

The last several weeks have been full of challenges, because I am taking a full schedule of college courses, and also working full time. I have been challenged in balancing my school and work time with family and personal time. It has been hard to complete all the assignments for school and learn all the new things I have to learn. I keep focused on the fact that I am going to the next level, and I have to take one step at a time.

The most influencial man in my life was my father. All of my life he told me over and over, "This is America, and you can do whatever you want to do, you can be whatever you set your mind to be. If you're going to dream, you might as well make it a big dream." Well, Dad, I'm doing it. I've decided to pursue something I've always wanted to do...I just never had the balls to do it before. I believe he would say, "It's about damn time, son...I'm proud of you."

Saturday, February 19, 2005

San Diego

I've been in San Diego for the last 3 days. It gave me time to think some more. Typically, whenever I go out of town, I wind up keeping mostly to myself. There's some comfort in the little "Wall" that protects me.....but sometimes it get pretty lonely. I was nice, however, to have a few people to talk to during the day....even if it was business. And we had a nice social dinner with about 8 of the office staff and one of the wholesalers on Thursday night. At least I had some company, and the conversation was lively.
Rarely do I ever connect with anyone else, but last night's flight was different. I dropped my "wall" and had a nice conversation with my "aisle-mate". It's interesting how it's easy to drop my guard sometimes with a complete stranger. For some reason I felt perfectly comfortable doing that. So out of character for me.
I grew up totally different. Because we moved almost every year, my relationships were always surface. Each time we moved I would have to make new friends, but I knew they would not be around after a year or so. It was that way until I was in the fifth grade, but still, my ability to be on any intimate level with someone was stifled by the fear of losing them someday. So, I disconnected for the most part. I was one way at school, and another way at home. I never exposed my sensitive side for fear of being thought of as weak. Breaking away from high school was a relief.
It was in my first year of college I discovered I could paint. I became quite productive back then. I don't quite know how many paintings I completed, but Dad and Mom framed quite a few of them and Dad saved all the others. For some reason, maybe I got too busy with life, I quit painting around 1979. He gave me his stack of paintings, most of which were elementary and incomplete, a few months before he died. I promised him I would start painting again, because he always encouraged me to do so and he loved my artwork. Since May of last year, I have completed 9 works, 2 of which were in that stack Dad gave me. It has been healing and therapeutic to do so and has kept me from looking for other things, like pot and alcohol, to deal with my grief and depression.
Anyway, I talked to this complete stranger, Minda, all the way to Austin. I intended to do the crossword puzzle in the America West magazine, but never even touched it. It was nice... no pressure, no expectations... and she wasn't shy to ask some pretty personal questions, which was OK because I knew she was asking not to be nosy, but for something that she had been asking herself. I love to have conversation like that...personal, open, honest. Small talk does nothing for me. It was nice to drop my wall and just have a nice conversation last night.
I'm glad to be home. We're going down to SA to see Mom when the girls get back from the gym. I'll write something a little deeper later. I've been reflecting on some things that I need to get written down.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Valentine's Day after 22 years

Lots has been said by people about why they're glad to be single today, but I'd like to throw in some reasons I am glad for today: After 22 years of marriage, Valentine's Day has some different meaning.

There is anticipation, but not expectation of something romantic.

It doesn't have to be expensive, but it's nice if it is.

We don't (and won't) wait in line for an hour and a half, with reservations, to eat dinner. A simple dinner at home is sufficient. We can go out to eat any other night and make it just as romantic.

She's not my only's ok if I get Valentine's cards for my daughter, granddaughter and Mom. But she's my favorite and best Valentine and she knows it.

Knowing she still likes kissing me is enough.

We give each other cards because we want to, not because we want to.

When we sleep with each other we really sleep.

We say "I love you" because that's what we do every day anyway.

Before I sound like "the Last of the Great Romantics," let me just say that Linda and I are deeper in love than when we were when we first got married. Hell, we hardly knew each other when we first got married. It's taken a lot of years to grow in love and I can truthfully say I love her more today. We were talking about my trip to San Diego the other day.... she said she was going to miss me.
I asked her, "Why are you gonna miss this fat old cranky Meskin guy, anyway?"
"Because you're MINE," she replied.
Makes sense to me. That's what makes me want to come home.
I love you, Linda....Happy Valentine's Day.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Happy Birthday, Grammo Pita

Today is my grandmother's, "Grammo Pita", as I called her, birthday. I can't remember how old she would be. I only know doesn't matter to her any more because she is in eternity, and this year she has her son, my dad, to be there with her.
Weekends are especially sentimental to me. I used to talk to Dad just about every weekend, no matter what. We'd talk about the weather, my job, the family....nothing deep, just catching up... when I was down in SA, we'd go visiting. When Grammo Pita was alive, we'd go over there and have some coffee with her, and sometimes she'd have some fresh taquitos and beans. I always remember her smile and her laugh. It was always a warm welcome when we went over there. And the coffee was always the best. She perked it in a little pot on a gas stove...the same gas stove she taught me how to make a quality tortilla on.
She had a living room that was reserved only for special occassions. It was always dark and the door was always closed. It had her best furniture in there, and had a mysterious air to it. There was a painting of Jesus Christ and a photo of John F. Kennedy on the same wall. And a painting of the Last Supper hung there as well. I remember a coffee table with a glass top that had a painting my father did under the glass. (I wonder what happened to that painting) It was a special room, opened only for the bigger gatherings, Christmastime when her tree was up, and when we could sneak in there. I never played in there when I snuck in. There was such an awe to the room, kindof sacred, almost like a sanctuary, that even as a child, I was reverent when entering that room alone.
She was all of 4' 8" x 4' 8". I could barely get my arms around her when I hugged her, but she was one I always wanted to hug. Her little hands would work so fast creating the best meals you could ever want. She cooked beans in a clay pot. There was always a comal on the stove, ready to make tortillas, and there was always a little jug of cold water in the refrigerator. I don't know why exactly I remember that, but it was always the BEST tasting water... Her kitchen was tiny, not much room for more than just 3 or 4 people, but so cozy, and never seemed crowded.
I miss her. I miss my dad.... Happy birthday, Grammo Pita.

Thursday, February 10, 2005


I thought I was something when I taught my dog to sit.... sheesh. Check this out for an incredible bird act!

Dear President Bush

I ran across this blog today. I thought I'd throw in my letter to the stack. One thing gets to me though: am I the only one in America who remembers we don't call the President of the US by his FIRST name? (or "W", or "Bush") What happened to "President Bush"? As much as I disliked the character deficiencies of the former president, I never lost respect for the Office of President, and respectfully referred to him as "President Clinton". Not "Bill", or "Clinton", or "Mr. Clinton", or any other reference other than "President Clinton". And he is still "President Clinton", and if I recall correctly, he keeps that title even after he is no longer in office.

I encourage you to make your voice heard too. Thank God we still have the freedom in this great country to express our views, even if they are dissenting ones. I am amazed, though, at the sheer HATE that comes from the "tolerant and liberal" left.

Even though I hated the things I heard President Clinton did, and disagreed with his policies, I never HATED him, and prayed for him and the Office on a regular basis. I wonder how many liberals can say that? Oh....they wouldn't mix religion with politics....or pray publicly.... or try to force their religion down your throat... (they do though) ... nevermind.... silly idea.

Enough of that. Here's a copy of the letter.

Dear President Bush:
This is a time for our country that we desperately need firm, unwavering leadership and people who are not afraid to do whatever is necessary to maintain our cherished freedom. It is also a time for Americans to support our leadership. With great respect for the office of President of the United States, I give you my support. Thank you for bringing leadership and dignity back to the office. I am a fifth-generation American Veteran who proudly served our country in the Armed Services. My father and his grandfather are both buried at national cemeteries. My grandfather served in the US Navy during WWII. We are of Mexican descent, but we always knew we were Americans first. When I pledged allegiance to our flag, I really meant it. I am proud, as were my ancestors, to be an American. I salute you. You are a great American and it is an honor to call you "Mr. President".
Paul Tamez
A proud American

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

My sister sent me this...The pictures say it all

I'm told that there is a huge rock near a gravel pit on Hwy.25 in rural Iowa. For generations, kids have painted slogans, names, and obscenities on this rock, changing it's character many times. A few months back, the rock received it's latest paint job, and since then it has been left completely undisturbed. It's quite an impressive sight. Be sure to scroll down and check out the multiple photos (all angles) of the rock. I thought the flag was draped over the rock, but it's not. It's actually painted on the rock too.

Here's another link to his artwork
(Thanks, Trisha)

Pictures Follow - Thanks to this Artist, Ray "Bubba" Sorenson

The Artist

This guy deserves a medal
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 Posted by Hello

 Posted by Hello

Tuesday, February 08, 2005


In Sunday's service, I brought up the subject of "Peace". Strong's defines it as, "eirene, A state of rest, quietness and calmness; an absence of strife; tranquility. It generally denotes a perfect well-being. Eirene includes harmonious relationships between God and men, men and men, nations, and families. Jesus as Prince of Peace gives peace to those who call upon him for personal salvation."
The scripture was Galatians 5:22, 25 and Luke 1:79. Galatians defines the character of a person who lives and walks in line with God's perfect plan. God's intention is for us to have peace in our lives. His Spirit produces a harmonious balance of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. It's one big package.
We are 3 parts: mind, body and spirit. It's easy to get out of balance if we emphasize too much on any one area. I tend to be very logical and analytical, trying to rationalize too much. I tend to disconnect myself physically and spiritually. Not good. That's what gets me feeling like I did the other day: overloaded and spent, judgmental and irritable, and generally, difficult to be around. Everything bothered me. I realized that Saturday morning and rationally, I decided I needed to remove myself physically from the situation and spend some time spiritually (praying). Well, I took care of the spiritual part, exercising my prayer....connecting to God... But I did nothing for my body and I disconnected my thoughts from it all too. Sheesh....I go from one extreme to the other.
Back to the lesson. We connect ourselves spiritually through our relationship with God: through prayer, meditation and reading His Word. Gal. 5:25 tells us "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." Literally, it is following the path that God lays down for us. That path of obedience is what brings us into a perfect well-being. I believe God's intention is for us to enjoy our lives, take care of our bodies, our minds and have good relationships. Again: to much emphasis on one area is dangerous.
I have heard it said that one can be too spiritually minded to be any earthly good. I have very little patience for Christian denial of reality. I'm speaking of those who pretend their problems don't exist, who never seem to outgrow their circumstances, they stay in poverty (financial, physical and mental), and still walk around with a stupid grin saying they're "blessed."
I have to be careful here. I tend to get judgmental and don't want to go there. But I see a real contrast between contentment and denial.
I know a family with 8 kids. The father is an educator, mom stays at home and home schools the kids. Now, I first met this family about 15 or so years ago when they were living in a little (1100-1200 sq. ft) house with 3 bedrooms and a one car garage. (They had only 2 or 3 kids then.) This is one of the NICEST families I know. They are pleasant to be around, they're talented musicians, they smile a lot.... but they also acknowledge their struggles and I've seen them grow, spiritually, emotionally and physically. They are now living in a huge house on a large piece of land in the country. I know they still have challenges; they don't deny them. They've learned to be content and their lives reflect it. They don't need to SAY they're blessed, the fruit is evident.
Contrast that with some other families I met around the same time. As long as I have known them, when you ask how they're doing, you get the same answer: "I'm blessed..." Now, I don't doubt that God can bless them. I don't doubt He does. But I look at their "fruit" and see something else. They are always behind financially, they drive cars that are falling apart, they have no career plan or they try to make ends meet with multi-level marketing schemes (in which they wind up losing money, time and confidence). Their houses are dirty, there's junk outside, they are fighting physical sickness because they don't take care of themselves...They've never moved beyond their circumstances.
I ran into a group of them over Christmas. They were all together. One of the men, who called me "Brother", told me how "blessed" he was that he was now on 100% disability and he didn't have to work. Damn...the guy is close to 300 lbs!!! If he got off his ass and got healthy, he could probably work and he could contribute something and really be blessed. Sheesh.. They're all a clan: they go to the same church and they're still holding on to some perverted idea that godliness is about being poor, going to church 3 or 4 times a week and confessing their healing while eating whatever they want and not taking care of themselves.
Ok...I have to be careful. I don't want to be judgmental. BUT OMG! I wanted to take my "brother" and beat his head against a wall! I pray for compassion and understanding. Lord, let me love these people and have gentleness, kindness and self-control. Sorry, I got away from the lesson...bunny trail....
Well here's the other part of the equation: Luke 1:79, Zacharias' prophecy of the birth of Jesus. He came "to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace." The only way to connect ourselves to God is spiritually, and He then guides us physically and mentally. The bible is full of instruction for perfect well-being.
We can't neglect any of our 3 parts. But we need the Spirit of God to direct us or we will get out of balance. God, give me light when I'm in darkness, guide my feet into the way of peace. Help me to maintain a healthy lifestyle by staying mentally and physically fit. And help me most of all, to be fruitful in love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Amen.

Monday, February 07, 2005

4 year old car thief (click here)

This story was too funny to pass up. I could imagine Izzy trying this, although the Benz would be hard for her to engage the transmission. And I don't think she could get the standard shifts to engage either...Nevertheless, if she could, she probably would.

Saturday, February 05, 2005


Another week has come and gone and I "feel" like nothing has happened. Damn feelings... while they are real, they mean nothing, except they are feelings. In reality, I can look back and see some of the steps I took to make something out of my life this past week. I finally started to catch on to some of the missing pieces in my Algebra assignments, and I learned how to (basically) use my new graphing calculator.

I am still so frustrated and I don't exactly know why. Seems like everything is bugging me. Everything. I got to thinking today. Maybe I'm just missing Dad. He was always around to talk to. And now he's not. So I find myself a bit directionless, somewhat out there on my own, and missing him very much. I guess it's part of the greiving process. It's been a while since I had a really bad day. Today's been that day.

I don't normally like travelling alone. Last trip I took to DC, I was there for 2 days before I talked to a soul. I had no conversation with anyone until Monday when I met with someone other than the one I flew up there to meet with. Seemed like somewhat of a wasted trip. It's incredible how in a city with millions of people, I didn't engage a single one of them in any meaningful conversation.
Just stuck to myself.

So I am going to San Diego in a couple of weeks and I am looking forward to it. Maybe I need some peace and quiet again. No one to interrupt my dinner to sit on my lap, no one to interrupt the show I'm watching, I don't have to block out conversation to listen to TV, and I can eat what I want, stay up as late as I want, and get ready in the morning on my own time. Sheesh... I sound like a grouch. Lately everything's been getting on my nerves.....I really think I'm just missing my dad.

I am even letting poor Izzy get on my nerves. She doesn't know any better, and she just wants to be near me. I usually love her all over me, but today, she's on my nerves. I remember the breif few months Linda and I had by ourselves. Audrey had left the house, the boys were doing their thing, and it was just her and I . Empty nesters... it didn't last long. But I long for those days again. I know it will be hard on both Izzy and me when Audrea decides to get a place of her own, but eventually it will happen. I am not looking forward to the separation, but I know it will be ok when it happens. And it will be just me and Linda again....that will be nice.

I miss having an office space I could get away to on my own. All the bedrooms here are ...well.. bedrooms. I need to fix the little room in the garage with an A/C vent for the summer and convert it to an office. Then I'll have a little domain of my own again. I hope.

I need a place to be creative, a place to be alone, a place I can think without interruption. My room is not sacred anymore. I can't even lock the door because people will open it anyway. Damn.

This is not a good mood.

Later..... I thought I lost this post. I was thinking maybe I wasn't supposed to post it. was a good rant. Feeling better though. Watched a stupid movie with the girls (Cellular) wouldn't recommend it. It might make a good movie for Mystery Science Theater though.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

You know you live in 2005

1. You accidentally enter your password on the microwave.
2. You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years.
3. You have a list of 16 phone numbers to reach your family of four.
4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.
5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don't have e-mail addresses.
6. You go home after a long day at work you still answer the phone in a business manner.
7. You make phone calls from home, you accidentally dial "9" to get an outside line.
8. You've sat at the same desk for four years and worked for three different companies.
10. You learn about your redundancy on the 11 o'clock news.
11. Your boss doesn't have the ability to do your job.
12. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home.
13. Every commercial on television has a website at the bottom of the screen.
14. Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn't have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.
15. You get up in the morning and go online before getting your coffee.
16. You start tilting your head sideways to smile. :)
17. You're reading this and nodding and laughing.
18. Even worse, you know exactly to whom you are going to forward this message.
19. You are too busy to notice there was no #9 on this list.
20. You actually scrolled back up to check that there wasn't a #9 on this list.

Many thanks to:

I might add a few:
You're conversing with more people online than you do in real life.
You're in love with at least 3 people you've never met.
When you are talking face to face with someone you think of saying LOL or BRB.
You have 23 passwords, all memorized
You really, really know #11, and the last 4 bosses have all been 10 years younger than you.
You have job interview over the phone.
You get hired over the phone.
You have been on the job for 3 months and still haven't met your boss.
You hate your boss but you tolerate him because you know in 6 months he won't be there any more.
You hate a company change but you tolerate it because you know in 6 months it's going to change anyway. And the new person's "Bright idea" for change will be to go back to what was working before they changed it.
That person with the "bright idea" gets a promotion.
There's more job security in NOT being promoted.
You hear a toilet flushing in the background on conference calls.
Once it was your toilet flush.
If it wasn't for Outlook and your PDA, you'd forget your wife's birthday...
and your anniversary...
and your kids' birthdays...
All your family's phone numbers are speed dial locations and you don't remember their real numbers.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Lemme axe you sump'm'

Elisabeth had a rant the other day about "another reason to love the south...."
Got me thinking...

I was on the phone with a lady once....I forgot her name, but it began with "R". I asked (axed?) her to spell it and sounded like this:
Lady: "AUR-a... "
Me: Aura?
Lady: Yes, AUR-a...
Me: Wait, how do you spell that?
Lady: AUR-a....
Me: Aura?, like A-U-R-A?
Lady: NO.....AUR-a...
Me: (frustrated) Aura? I am not getting it...
Lady: AUR-a, it comes after Q...
Me: (silence) mean "R"?
Lady: that's what I SAID....AUR-a
Me: (click)

Please don't axe me to understand you if'n ya ain't gonna speak english... my head's fixin' to blow up.