Saturday, August 27, 2011


Sitting here on Saturday night watching coverage of Hurricane Irene.  Really amazing what a punch something like this can pack. 

Wife is a weather junkie. She probabaly would have been a splendid meteorologist.  She understands jet streams, dew points and high and low pressure systems. Me?  I just try to catch the forecast when I can so I'll know whether or not to carry an umbrella. Most of that other stuff goes over my head.

As I write this, Irene is on her way north from North Carolina.  Although North Carolinians took a pretty good hit, early indications are that the damage is not as bad as they thought it might have been. You never know.  We'll see what happens as this massive storm heads up the East Coast.  I believe I just heard the Weather Channel guy say that the last time a hurricane hit land in New York City was 1821.  Wow.

Wouldn't it have been a bummer to be visitng the Big Apple this weekend?  You might have had theater tickets, planned to ferry out to Ellis Island or planned to take in a Mets or Yankees game. Not this time, friends. And you might even be stuck there to boot as most flights in and out of the airports are grounded.

In trying to find humor in this situation, I keep track of the buzz words the reporters use.  I swear, I don't know what these people would do if they couldn't use the folliwng words and phrases:

1.  Impact as a verb.  "Virginia Beach has really been impacted by this storm."  "It is almost certain that Irene will impact Marlyland."  "Tell me Jim, how have the beaches been impacted?"

2.  Issues.  "This storm will cause big issues for travelers."  "Hurricane Irene is causing issues up and down the East Coast."  "The water will likely cause flooding issues."

3.  On the ground.  "We'll go right to __________ who is on the ground in Battery Park in New York City."  "There are volunteers on the ground to aid storm victims." 

My only commentary is with regard to number three. On the ground?  And where else might they be???

Friday, August 19, 2011

A word from my better half

Frequent visitors here know how much I love to read.  I list all the books I read on my Shelfari bookshelf to the right on my blog home page, and also have my all time top five list on my blog profile.  It's just one of the joys of my life.

I share this passion with Wife.  She is in two book clubs and earlier this year, both clubs read Laura Hillenbrand's book, Unbroken.  Ms. Hillenbrand also authored the book Seabiscuit.

Wife told me I really, really needed to read Unbroken. I had greatly enjoyed Seabiscuit years ago and Wife assured me  this one was every bit as good. 

Wow, I was not disappointed.  The story is one of courage, redemption and faith and I was awe struck from start to finish.

This week Wife had the privilege of meeting the subject of the book, Louis Zamperini. She sent an e-mail to her book club members describing her visit and was kind enough to share it with me. I told her I thought my blog friends would enjoy it and she said she was glad to share. Unfortunately, I was not able to join her.

I know some of you have read this book and I hope you enjoy Susan's personal account here.  If you have not read it, you should defnitely put it on your "to read" list. 

So here's a word from the boss:

Dear Friends,

I wanted to e-mail you all to tell you about a wonderful experience that I had today. I know we were all so moved by the story of Louis Zamperini in Unbroken. Louis is 94 now. He is traveling, doing a lot of speaking now. Unbroken was the summer reading book for MBA this summer and Louis came here and spoke this morning to their students.

The guy who travels with him around the country is a USC grad who was an Olympic swimmer, John Nabor. John is a college friend of our friend Marc Albright. John contacted Marc and said he was going to be in town and wanted to know if they could meet this afternoon and visit and meet Louis. Marc had just read the book based on Bob’s recommendation. Long story (sorry), Marc invited us to join him and Judy to meet Louis. So all that to say, I just returned from sitting at the airport for an hour visiting with this amazing man!

What a treat and an honor it was to meet him. There were four of us and we literally huddled around him to hear his stories. He was so gracious and answered questions in a strong voice and did not seem to tire of talking at 94! What a memory he has for details! He says he memorizes a lot, especially scripture. He gave us a lot more details of his conversion and walk with Christ that were not in the book. It just gave me chills.

Marc asked him about when he met Hitler – Wow! How many people are still alive that have met Hitler! I could go on and on about what we talked about but maybe I can tell you more when we meet again. The most important thing was how he spoke about his faith. He said that every time he escaped death he knew there was something bigger than him protecting him, but he didn’t understand it until he was converted and realized how God has used the story of his life to reach others. It was just amazing.

The whole experience just WOWs me! I met a man today who is an Olympic athlete, almost was the man to run the first 4-minute mile, met Hitler, survived bullets by inches in a plane in WWII, survived 45 days floating in a raft 1000 miles in the Pacific Ocean, was a prisoner of war, and on and on, but a man who was so humble and talked mostly about his walk with Christ! It was just a tremendous honor.

He talked a lot about Laura Hillenbrand and the seven years it took to write the book. He also said when they started she interviewed many, many people, including 17with whom he had served in the war and in the camps. The last one of those 17 died last month! Time is precious!

He is writing a book based on Romans 8:28 and how his life has been spared many, many times starting with a house fire when he was 18 months old from which his father rescued him. He told us that he lives by that scripture and told us stories of breaking his hip recently and how God used him in the hospital to witness to the doctors and nurses. I wish each of you could have been with me! Sorry for such a long, long e-mail but I just had to share this experience. I feel very blessed this afternoon.

Love, Susan

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The one constant

We take Younger Son to start his first year in college next weekend. I have been firmly entrenched in a state of denial the entire summer and now the time is almost here.

He has indulged Wife and me this weekend as we have hovered over him. Wife has taken him shopping and we have stacked up his stuff in the living room before we start packing it up.

Wife told me this yesterday she's afraid she hasn't been as "engaged" in this process as maybe she should have been and I quickly told her not to worry because (a) this is the third time we have done this and we know the routine and (b) he's a boy and the last person she took to college was a girl. Younger Son is not interested in how his bedspread goes with his roommate's, color schemes, etc. In fact, I have strongly suggested that Younger Son go to college as a minimalist, taking as few possible items for which he has to be responsible.

The good thing about taking the last one is we can poke around the basement and find a lot of the stuff he needs.  And, as I said, we've done this a couple of times already and we pretty much know the routine.

The bad thing about taking the last one to college is just that -- he's the last one.

Today is Wife's birthday.  Older Son and DIL are out of town at a wedding this weekend, as is Daughter, but all will return later today and we will celebrate Wife's birthday tonight.  I am to prepare the meal. That will be interesting.

This Thursday is our 27th wedding anniversary.  This will come in the midst of getting ready to leave with Younger Son, who is planning a little send-off for himself this Thursday night at our house, with a command performance by Wife, i.e. she will be preparing food.  She is only too happy to do this, of course, and we will be happy to spend our anniversary with Younger Son and his friends. 

Wife and I went out for a quick dinner last night and called it our anniversary celebration. Somehow we got to talking about life events and how they change us.  We got married.  Wife thought it would be hard for us to conceive a child.  She was pregnant with Older Son by our first anniversary and eight years into it, we had three. 

My mother died. We moved to Tennessee.  The job I moved here for was a bust.  We couldn't sell our house in Little Rock and we lived in two different rent houses here.  There were some dark days.

We blinked and we were sending one to college. I decided to take a severance package when my second employer here wanted me to move.  Another job came along. 

My dad died.  Another one graduated and went to college. She's done and is back home now.  The "baby" is about to fly out of the nest.

Older Son and DIL have announced to us that they will be moving to Dallas, Texas around the first of October.  A wonderful job opportunity has come along for DIL. They are debt free, pet free and child free so the risk is minimal. It will be an adventure.  Older Son is confident he can find a job when they get there. 

To say we are sad to see them go is an understatement.  But we are happy for them and 100 percent supportive.  We will adjust.

Change. Transition. Passages.  Do we see a theme here?  Have I seen this theme for three years writing this blog?

Do life events change us?  Do I even need to ask that?