Monday, January 31, 2011

Happy Birthday Jackie Robinson!!

     Born, Jack Roosevelt Robinson, in Georgia on January 31st, 1919,  Jackie Robinson was the first African-American to play in the Major Leagues. That's what he's probably most know for, but he was a lot more than that.
     He played soccer in the 4th grade!! I find this interesting, because i can't imagine that anyone played soccer in 1929....
     In high school he lettered in football, baseball, basketball and track. He went to UCLA in 1939 where he led the basketball team in scoring, won a national championship in the long jump, was an all-american at half-back, and played shortstop.
     He played semi-pro football in Hawaii in 1941, but came home after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was drafted into the army and made lieutenant in 1943, receiving an honorable discharge in 1944.
    In 1945 he sign a contract to play in the American Negro League for 400 dollars a month, where he dominated with a .400 batting average. In October he signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers, making history, and played on their minor league team for a season.
    In 1947, Robinson was moved up to the Majors. That year, Brooklyn won the league title behinds Robinson's .297 batting average and 29 stolen bases. Jackie was names Rookie of the Year. He went on to collect 6 national league pennants and a world series in 1955. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1962.
    The thing to keep in mind is that not many people were rooting for him to succeed. In fact, a lot of people tried to make him fail. He was probably discriminated against and threatened every day. It's hard to imagine standing up against that kind of pressure but he did it in a time when not many would, or even could.
    Jackie Robinson died from a heart attack in 1972, at the age of 53.
    I'd like to also mention that Jackie Robinson was a good son, the youngest of 5 children.  Also he was a loving husband and father of 3.
    If you ever think you have a hard road ahead of you and wonder if things will ever get better, read about Jackie Robinson. You will see that any adversity can be overcome with determination.
     So, happy birthday to you Jack. And thank you for leading by example.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sports and winning.

     Well, I just signed my three boys up for baseball. All three are excellent baseball players for their ages. Eric pitches and can play anywhere on the field when he's not pitching. Brody, since he started playing at the age of 3, has almost always been the best overall player on his team. William also started at three. I coached his team last year and we went undefeated, winning the tournament and a huge trophy. The trophy is in Wills room and he will tell you that it's his. Not that he cares much about winning right now, but he hasn't yet experienced losing so we'll see.
     I've always said that, mainly, I want my kids to have fun playing. Ella doesn't like playing baseball or softball so she just watches. So far, William and Eric love baseball. Brody likes to play, but if he didn't play he'd be OK with that too. Brody just lives in the moment, he doesn't really think about the past or worry about the future. Probably normal for a seven year old.
     Win or lose, they love baseball. We play at a park where winning comes second to teaching baseball, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Parents screaming and cussing at kids bothers me and that's what you see at a lot of parks. I would take my kid off of a team that put winning ahead of teaching. Later on, of course, winning becomes more important. Eric is 14 now and although he still has more to learn about finer details of baseball, winning has become important to him.
     Now, I've taken my share of cussings from coaches, don't get me wrong. I believe that has a place in sports. A good coach does what it takes to get his point into the athletes head and sometimes that's what it takes. Kids today are both more defiant and lazier that kids were when I was young. Things have definitely changed.
     Competition is an every day part of life. We compete at more than just sports as we grow older. Sports are the best way to teach our children about competition. I personally want my kids to learn how to handle both winning and losing. I want them to learn that when they win, that usually means someone else had to lose. They must learn to respect their opponent and hopefully understand that you can't always be the winner. I hope they learn that sometimes you DO lose and that makes you stronger too. Hopefully, my children will always be humble when they win and able to learn from losing.
     I personally HATE losing. When Eric and I play basketball outside, I never let him win. So far Eric has never beaten me at basketball. Someday he will, if he practices enough and get's good enough. And when he finally does he will hopefully learn the payoff of hard work and dedication. The lessons we learn from sports, we apply to life. In life, not everyone wins all the time, and the losses can be overcome.  That's what I hope my kids learn from sports. Of course a big MLB contract wouldn't hurt my feelings either. I get the signing bonus!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A country boy can survive....

     Recently I've heard a few different people on the radio talking about the collapse of the dollar followed by the collapse of the country. If I had to choose between being conservative or being progressive, I'd say I lean more towards the conservative side. I do listen to Beck and Limbaugh every day, but I try to keep in mind that these guys are selling a product. They make a lot of sense though, and I think if anyone listens to them with an open  mind, you will see that.
     If the government prints money, the value of your money decreases. That's just common sense. Like comic books, the fewer of them there are the more their worth. Logically, the government COULD print so much money that money itself becomes worthless. Logically, if money has no value, people will find other ways to get what they need. A loaf of bread might cost 100 dollars, but we still have to eat right?
     Right now, you can sell copper scrap for over 3 dollars a pound, and people are stealing copper from houses at an alarming rate. The higher the price, the more people stealing it and selling it. If our currency becomes valueless, naturally you'd see more crime. As I said, we still have to eat.
     Now, some of the things that Beck and Limbaugh are trying to sell us don't seem that necessary to me. I'm not going to be buying gold anytime soon. At 1500 dollars an ounce, I couldn't buy any of it anyway. Also, I don't feel the need to stockpile rations. I do, however, possess several guns and quite a bit of ammo. These serve two purposes. First, if necessary I can provide food for my family at any time. Second, if rioting and crime increase here, like it has in Europe, I can protect my family. I know some people are against guns, but I say if you don't have one, a guy with a big stick could take everything you own.
    Of course you have to have bullets too. A gun without bullets is just a large rock, or maybe a decent club.
     I'm not trying to buy into the gloom and doom attitude. Like the boy scouts always say though, "be prepared". Nothing wrong with being prepared. We live in an amazing country where people can do what they want, when they want, and where they want. Those freedoms are extremely rare in this world, and we should not only appreciate them, but always be prepared to defend them.
     As our government continues to pass laws that trade our freedoms for our protection, we should ask ourselves all the "what if" questions. My favorite "what if?" is "what if the economy collapses and i lose my job and the world goes crazy with rioting and looting and wars between criminals and police?" Sounds a little crazy I know, and I think that's a worst case scenario, but I'm relatively ready for that. I can hunt and fish and garden to provide food for my family. I have the necessary weapons to provide for their safety.

     I guess my point is, you just never know. I'm living a pretty good life right now, I have a beautiful happy wife, four wonderful children and a decent job that provides most of the things I want my family to have. I'm content with my life and happier than most, I think. But, in the back of my mind these two phrases are always present......"what if" and "be prepared". My advice? Live life to the fullest, be happy and have as much fun as possible!! Just, every once in a while ask yourself "what if?". and ready yourself in case "what if" becomes "now".

Monday, January 24, 2011


     My lovely wife.
     At the ripe age of 31, I was a certified bachelor. I had exactly zero plans that involved a wife or kids. Winter was already in my life but only as a friend of my brothers and the girlfriend of my very good friend. I won't go into the details but i will say that at 32 she made me a husband and father and the happiest man alive.
     I've never been accused of being overly romantic but she is the one person that occasionally brings that out of me.  I don't think very many people actually have what we have, and that is 'true love'. I can't even imagine life without my girly girl. I doubt that she even knows this, but just by saying yes, she saved my life.
     Besides being a beautiful woman, Winter is the most caring and compassionate woman i know. She is not only a wonderful wife and mother, but she is also a wonderful sister and daughter. She is always thinking of others and ways to help others, even when no one knows it. If you've ever thought that my wife was intentionally inconsiderate of your feelings, well, you are wrong. She always considers everyones feelings, sometimes, I think, to a fault. Of course, I'm not very good at all at considering someone else's feelings as I blunder through my life so she has to keep me from making an ass of myself too.
     She brings order to my chaos and maturity to my childishness. What a wonderful woman i have found. Of course, like any marriage, it's not all roses and candy. We do have disagreements occasionally, but never fights. We're both above that, i think and neither enjoys fighting. So in that area we are a perfect match.
     Four of the things I love most about my wife are Eric, Brody, William and Ella. Winter is the best mom. She has taught all of our children compassion and kindness. She has given me four of the best children I've ever met. I love to just watch her play with them. I also pay close attention when she gets on to one or more of them. She can discipline with only words and that amazes me. My kids do what I tell them because as i say "they fear the foot". They work with her because they love her. They are kids though, and sometimes they don't work with her or fear me. She's always in control, though, of them and usually one or two more besides our own. This honestly amazes me.
     Winter was born to be a mommy, but that's not all that I love about her. Although I would prefer that she just be a mommy, because I know that's what makes her happy, there have been times in our marriage that she has to combine mommyhood with working and helping with the bills. She is an excellent book keeper also. Again, I am the opposite. If not for Winter, I would be constantly broke. I don't know how she does it but she can keep us in the black no matter how hard i try to spend us into the red. She WILL chew my butt about financial responsibility, believe me. I need that though and appreciate her efforts at making me more responsible with money.
     It's easy for any man to say "I love my wife". I say it all the time and I mean it. But there's so much more to it than that. I exist for my wife and kids. I live for them and love them all more than I can possibly describe in writing. Since I know you're reading this, thank you, Winter, for making me a better man. I love you.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


     Last but by no means least, my little willie may. William Mason is our youngest boy. He's the baby. Although he was our only 'surprise', I think he's turned out to be the crown jewel. He completes us. Easy going, fun loving, almost never serious like his older siblings, William is by far the sweetest boy I know.
     Since the day he was born, I've felt that he's going to be a big kid. Linebacker size if you know what I mean. Hes a little over a year younger than his sister and almost 3 years younger than his brother Brody. He probably is weighs more than Ella already and will soon catch Bro. William is of course the youngest and he suffers through all the drama that comes with that. When they play, it's always a bigger kid calling the shots and William just playing along. When they're outside running around, William is just trying to keep up. He's a follower for sure when he's home, but I think he will grow to become an excellent leader in life. He has three excellent examples to study and follow as he grows up.
     I think what amazes me the most about William is his patience. When he was tiny and barely talking, he would sit on my lap and if we had to wait for the computer to catch up (which happens frequently with the computers we've had), I would talk to him about patience. We would just tap our fingers on the desk and wait. He is by far the most patient person in this house. If he hides somewhere, you have to find him. He will not give himself away. I've personally been on the verge of panic several times, looking for him inside and outside. Checking with the neighbors and everything before finding him under the bathroom sink or in his closet, grinning with pride that he hid so well....
     My favorite story to tell about William happened when he was 3. I was in the kitchen and Brody came in to tell me something that William had done. I never found out what it was, because as Bro started talking, William came from behind him and punched him in the stomach. I believe to this day that William knew he was going to get in trouble if Brody told on him so he did the only thing he could to keep that from happening. Of course he got in trouble for hitting Brody, but he knocked the wind out of Brody and whatever Bro was going to say was never told.
     William, like most youngest siblings, watches and learns. He sees his brothers and sisters make mistakes and he is able to learn from that. He's also pretty good about not letting them talk him into doing things that will get him in trouble. I think he will do good in school and I think everyone will love him just like we do at home. He would never be a bully, but I suspect the bullies better watch out for him. He's definitely not afraid to throw a punch. He takes a lot of crap from Brody and Ella, but I've seen him stand up to both of them and the only thing that scares him is the stories they tell him about what's in his closet etc.... The only person he's even a little afraid of is me and I don't think I scare any of my kids much.
     Of course, he will always be our baby. Even when he's bigger that both of us.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


     She's my pretty princess. Ten years ago I fell in love with a beautiful woman and married her. Four years later I fell in love again. I joke that Winter has my heart and Ella has my soul. Ella just turned six this month. Winter thinks that Ella has me wrapped around her little finger. Our relationship is much more than that though. Ella Marie is probably the most important person in this house.....
     I tell her all the time that if I see her talking to a boy I will spank that boy. She just laughs at me, talks to boys, then looks to make sure I'm watching. Once at a school function of some sort, she called my name from down the table and kissed a little boy on the cheek. What she doesn't realize is that I actually considered spanking that boy right there just to teach them both a lesson. Lesson for her: Don't be kissing boys. Lesson for that poor unsuspecting boy: Stay away from my girl!! ha.
     Fortunately for me and unfortunately for Ella, I have Brody who is 2 grades ahead of her and William who is 1 grade behind her. Between the three of us, Ella should be safe. She may not appreciate our efforts, but she's probably going to receive them anyway.
     She is the sweetest, most loving girl in the world. She is also the meanest, most deceptive girl in the world. She is not a brat even though she has more stuff in her room than all 3 boys combined. She almost always is willing to share her toys and she loves her brothers. She has amazing mothering instincts already. I'm sure she would be a good mother, if she can somehow get out of the house and get married someday. She's the only child that I think I will have trouble letting go. I am almost overwhelmed by the need to protect her and shield her from the bad parts of life.
     My younger sister will testify that I take my job as protector very seriously. More than once I've pulled some boy or other aside to discuss his immediate future after I've seen him talking to her. She will tell you about certain boys she liked who suddenly quit calling her and talking to her at school for no apparent reason....Ella will understand that soon enough.
     For now though, she's my pretty princess and she knows it. According to her, I'm her servant. Somehow I always seem to be doing whatever she asks. Her mom taught her to smile and blink her eyes a lot, and that always works on me. She doesn't hesitate to "charm" me if i tell her no, making the "no" into a "well ok".I would do anything to make any of my kids happy. Ella is the only one who knows that for a fact though. The boys have that little bit of fear that keeps them from pushing me. If I tell one of my boys to do something, they usually do it. If I tell Ella to do something, she usually asks why. The only thing that keeps her from being a total brat is her wonderful mother, who will get her behind if she needs it.
    I think every parent should have a little girl. I also feel sorry for any parent who has more than one. One girl is plenty. I do love mine though, with all my heart.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


     It's not that I love Brody more than my other kids. I love them all. I do feel more connected to Brody though for several reasons. Even though Eric is my oldest, Brody is my first born. Probably an odd way to see things, but Eric was 3 when I became his dad and I cut Brody's cord. When we got married we decided right away to start increasing our family. Well it wasn't easy. My wife got pregnant on our honeymoon but miscarried a few weeks later. Then nothing for 3 years. Finally with the help of a fine doctor and a minor surgery on me, we got Brody. I don't think I'd ever been happier to meet someone as I was when I met Bro.
     Also, I understand Brody better than any other person on this planet. See, Brody isn't just "like" me, he doesn't just look like me......he IS me. We see the world the same way. I can easily know what he's thinking because I know what I would have been thinking. I know that he thinks he's just a little smarter and a little better at everything than everyone else, because that's what I thought. I recognize the way he tries to be funny when he's nervous. I also am very familiar with his "big picture" attitude and not really paying attention to the details. I see how all the kids at school like Brody but very few are really close to him and I know that that's Brody's choice.
     He can be a mean sometimes. But even that, I know, is a defensive tactic and not out of aggression. He has a good heart and a wonderful sense of humor. He can also be the sweetest boy you've ever met. He always helps both kids and adults when he decides they need him. Also, like his dad, he stubbornly does what he thinks he SHOULD do, whether it turns out to be the right thing or not.
     I'm not sure that I really want Brody to be like me, I just see that he is. Fortunately he has us to help him through the hard parts. His mom is the best mom ever and she is fully aware that Brody has a lot of the same internal issues as his dad.
     Not everyone get's the opportunity to see themselves grow up and fewer still get to help guide that process. I am fortunate to get this "second chance" and absolutely enjoying it.
     I love my Brody. Not more than my other kids, but differently for sure.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


     That boy worries me!! Eric is my oldest child. He is 13 years old and has probably been through more drama  in his 13 years that i have in all my life....
     Eric is a good boy, really smart and hard working (if properly motivated). He is actually my step-son but he's been mine since he was 3 and I don't see him any differently than my other 3 children. I've been his dad all along and sometimes, not always but sometimes, he calls me dad and that warms my heart. I just accept the term "dad" from the other 3 but I always notice when Eric says it. We never told him to call me anything, so calling me dad comes straight from him to me and i appreciate it more than he will ever know. Eric lost his real dad a while back in a car accident and I can only imagine the pain. My dad is still alive and hopefully he will live a good long time more before i have to suffer through that. I like to think that Eric is fortunate to have me and i hope that just my presence as a father figure helps ease his pain a little.
     Eric does pretty good in school and really well in sports. He is an outstanding baseball player. He pitches and can play any other position if needed. I played basketball and he's on the team this year which makes me especially proud. This summer I fully intend to play more ball with him to help him make the high school team next year. He'll go to college either way (sports or academic) and make us proud.
     Eric has it made in a lot of ways. He's never wanted anything he didn't get. If his mother and I don't get him something he wants, his grandparents (on his dad's side) will get it for him. They spoil him rotten. When he's with them he calls the shots, that's for sure. I don't mind though, they help us a lot by occasionally getting him things he actually needs like clothes. We always find a way to provide for our children, but any help at all is always appreciated.
     I always say that we're learning how to raise kids from Eric. Being our oldest, he is always providing new experience and testing our parenting. I am the oldest child of 3 myself and I always thought my younger sister and brother had things easier than me. Now i know they did and I understand why. Hopefully someday Eric will look back and understand why he got in trouble for things the other kids didn't get in trouble for. All 4 kids have it pretty good, but right now Eric might tell you that he has it the worst. He has a few chores and we stay on him about grades pretty hard, but overall, he has it pretty good.
    My hope for my oldest is that he will grow to be a good man. I think he's well on his way....

Friday, January 14, 2011


     I dont think I'm addicted to Facebook, but I am close. I check it everyday and play games almost every night. I am without a doubt addicted to playing games on my computer. It's been a long developing addiction, dating back to 1986 when i bought my first pc. An apple IIGS that cost 3500 dollars. I financed it and paid it off. Probably paid 5k for it after interest.
     Facebook has become a regular part of life at my house. My wife has FB with her coffee in the mornings and posts various things throughout the day. She keeps up with factory recalls, lost pets and other important things. I have my little laptop (netbook) and I check facebook between jobs here at the shop. If i get caught up on work, I go right to FB and check out the world.
     Some people may think this is crazy, but I have 3,155 friends on facebook. Of course, most of these people are not really my friends. I dont even really know the vast majority of them. I dont even speak the same language as a bunch of them. I have all these friends for 2 main reasons. First, the games. It really helps to have a ton of friends who are playing the same games as me. I advance faster and anytime i need something i just have to ask and someone out there will send it to me. The second reason is fast becoming more important than the first....
     Second, Facebook has become my window to the world. It seems like I have at least one friend from every country in the world!! I have friends in Holland who are actually coming to the US to stay with us next month. My friend Arcy in the Phillipines posts the best food pictures. I imagine she is a wonderful cook and the food looks so delicious. When the college students in England were rioting, I messaged my friend Rebecca Jane. She IS a college student in England and gave me a few updates about what was going on over there....
     I also have a few hundred friends right here where i live that i haven't actually met. Several times now though I've had someone stop me somewhere and tell me they're my friend on facebook. A total stranger, back in November wished me a happy birthday. I asked their name and how they knew it was my birthday. FB of course!
     Generally, I just randomly select people from the suggested friends list. A couple of clicks and then it's up to them. I dont even know it if someone chooses not to be friends with me so my feelings are intact.
     FB is my best option to keep up with family too. In the real world I dont get out much. In FB i can check on the people i care about and sort of know how they're doing on a day to day basis instead of just asking on holidays or other rare occasions when the family all gets together.
     I have to admit that i love facebook. I've been working hard (in my own head) to come up with the next facebook. I know its in there somewhere. Someone will come up with the next new thing. I'd love for it to be me, because I can tell you that the dude who thought up FB doesnt have to wait until payday to pay his bills.
Ha! He probably just pays someone else to pay his bills!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!!

     Well, I made a few new years resolutions. Normally i don't, but this year i felt that i was due. Here they are...

     1. Lose some weight. I know that's probably the most common resolution ever. I'm going to do it though. I think the easiest thing for me is to just stop drinking cokes. Some days i might drink 5 or 6 of them. Cokes are the worst thing for you, they are just liquid sugar. Your body doesn't even have to burn calories digesting a coke. They just go from the can to wherever your body stores fat. (in my case the gut :P)

    2. Grow 3 or 4 more inches. Not as easy as #1, i know. I'd really like to be 6 feet tall though, so i'm going to give it my best shot. I'll be scouring the internet soon, looking for ways a 43 year old man might grow taller. Surely there's a way.

    3. Hug all my children and my wife at least once every day. OK that's an easy one, I already do that!!

    4. Take better care of my heart. You cant tell by looking at me, but i have a serious blood pressure problem. It's way too high and i dont take good enough care of it. Mainly because doctors are so expensive and i dont have any insurance. I can barely stand the fact that i have to work for 2 or 3 days just to pay a doctor for a few minutes of his or her time. My heart, however, is a pretty important part of life. I need it to last at least long enough to see my babies grow up....

    5. Revamp my faith. I'm not an openly religious person, but i am a very religious person. My relationship with God is a good one. I talk, he listens. God doesnt talk directly to me, but he has ways of letting me know what he wants and usually i pick up on them. Lately though, I've been slacking. I used to always do what i thought was the right thing, whether others thought it was right or not. My main goal in life is to someday face the Lord and have him say " you did good son".  What everyone else on the planet thinks about me is trivial next to what God thinks about me. My advice is to always question how life's events impact your soul. Take care of your soul, because that's all that really matters. Everything else is just a dream, you may or may not remember it all, but after you wake up, it doesnt really matter anyway.....

    Happy New year, enjoy it and take care of yourself.