Awaiting some news

I’m waiting on getting some news all figured out. Posting will resume once everything is settled. Until then, I’m too out of sorts to concentrate enough.

But don’t worry, it is a good thing that I’m waiting on.

Plan for Blog

Since it was asked, I feel like I should address what my plans are for here, since they have been really hit or miss for several years now.

Basically I realized that I miss blogging, and I enjoy reading other people’s blogs, but I don’t like the pressure of having to blog every day, or multiple times a day like I used to.

So the plan is that Monday – Thursday I will write some sort of blog post. Friday – Sunday, I will not. And I may not always be perfect about this. There is a lot going on in my life right now. But I will try.

Reindeer Games

Today is my least favorite day of the year at work. The day of the holiday party. Because I am a huge killjoy, I guess. But the thing is, I really hate forced frivolity. And we really do it up here.

I think that most people will have a lunch, or maybe an afternoon where you sit around and have awkward social interactions. Or it is after hours and you can come up with a good excuse not to go. But here we have an all day festival of celebrations. We start at 8 in the morning with breakfast, and then we have morning games, lunch, and then afternoon games.

I should add that in the five years that I have worked here, I have never even so much as had lunch with anyone. I’m not a terribly social work person. So the thought of having to play “Reindeer Games” with them makes me so uncomfortable inside.

And then there is also the potluck lunch. I’m just going to come out and say it. Most people make gross food. It looks gross, tastes gross, and worst of all, smells gross. No thank you.

So today is the day of the year where I hide in my office and pray that no one will knock on my door asking where I am.

Thoughts About Martin Luther King

Let me start off by saying that this is not meant to offend.

The quasi-fake/quasi-real MLK quote that was going around the other day really got me thinking. And it got me looking into a lot of other quotes that MLK wrote. And then it presented me with a real problem.

Here was a guy who had a lot of beautiful ideas. Progressive ideas. Ideas that I strongly believe in. But his means for coming to those ideas was through the lens of Christianity, which is something that I don’t believe in.

So how do I deal with the fact that the seeming basis for things that I think are deeply important to humanity come from a belief system that I do not abide by?

I did a lot of thinking about it. And I came to this. Almost all philosophies have things in them that are good, and things that are bad. Divinely inspired ones, non divinely inspired ones. But they were all developed by humans, sometimes showing the deepest goodness of our humanity, and sometimes showing the deepest callousness of our humanity. And just because some people claim that these ideas were given to us on high, I believe that they came from man. Nothing more than people sitting around writing their thoughts, and nothing less.

So the basis for MLK’s speeches isn’t in the Almighty. It is from the best parts that make us human, and have made us human. When he says to forgive and love because that is what God requires, what I read is that forgive and love because that is what our humanness requires.

And so I can read and agree and believe in what he wrote without feeling tied to the doctrine of the religion behind it.

Happy End Of Year

As promised, a year end letter. But as I have mentioned in the past, it is getting harder and harder to write these things. I did the “completely absurd” a couple of times, but you can really only go so far with those. And then I tried sort of a mix, and that kind of worked out well. But I really don’t like doing the same thing over and over each year, just for the sake of having an end of the year letter. So I don’t know what this will be. Probably crap.

So like I said earlier, this was actually a really good year. This is a year where I saw Paris. PARIS! I went to Bruges, which is the single most amazing place I’ve ever been. With the possible exception of Paris. What is there to complain about in a year when things like that happen? I should reiterate how good my trip to Europe was. Despite the fact that I missed out on Amsterdam, I saw a lot, and had a really good time. I was thinking about the soccer game that I went to the other day. That was a trip that I will probably think about for the rest of my life.

And right after I got back from Europe, I got engaged. How can I complain about a year where I got engaged? And then just a few months later, I got married. MARRIED! I still can’t believe that I got married. And got married to someone who is really damn awesome. Someone so awesome that it almost makes me feel bad when I read or hear about stereotypical bad marriages and bad wives. Because I don’t have that at all. I’ve got it really, really good. And I’m pretty sure that we had the best wedding in the history of weddings. Rollerskating, cake, and deer. I don’t know what else you need.

Speaking of roller skating, I got first place in my event at Regionals. Again, it would feel wrong to write a bitchy letter when I had a year where something like that happened. And even though I totally tanked and sucked at Nationals, I still went and competed, and made a comeback at my next event by taking two second places.

Oh, and somewhere in all of that, we remodeled our bathroom and have the most kickass bathroom in the world. If you had ever been to my house and seen the old bathroom, you knew how bad it was. Well the new one is probably a million times better than that one.

But since people like the bad stuff, I guess I can throw some of that in as well. Mom and Dad still haven’t sold their house. So that means we won’t be going to Disney World anytime soon, which is a pretty selfish way of looking at it, but I know that I’m not the only one with that view of the situation. And Kelly and I found out that her house is worth significantly less than she owes on it. So we’ve had to rent it out, which has been good for money reasons, but not so good for stress reasons.

And I guess in the process of ripping out the bathroom, we destroyed the kitchen, so we’ve basically been living without a functioning kitchen for close to a year now. But you know what? That is about to get remodeled too, so it is hard to complain too long for that.

So yeah. This has been a really damn good year. I know that things are hard out there for a lot of people. I know that the world isn’t a terribly happy place. And if you follow the links I post on Facebook, you’ll see that I’m getting more and more frustrated with our government, and even our system of governing. But still, I think all of that is pretty inconsequential in light of all of the good things that I’ve had happen to me this year, and so at least for the last little bit of 2010 I’m going to choose to focus on those things, and not so much on the bad things.

Don’t Worry

I am not gone. I am in the process of preparing the Christmas letter. The problem is that this has actually been a really good year. I went to Europe, Kelly moved in, we got married, I had my first roller skating competitions. So it is hard to think of bad things to write about. But since that is the point, I will do my best. Expect something soon.

Remember Me

The other day I was thinking about back when I started this blog. Some of you might remember the days when I wrote up to 7 or 8 posts in a day. And I never missed a day. In fact, I still remember very clearly the day I decided to take a break. And it was so shocking at the time that Phil logged in and posted as me for a few days, just to keep the streak alive.

But things have to change, and it just didn’t feel right to me to keep on writing and writing. And honestly, a lot of those posts were pretty bad, and were written just for the purpose of writing, or getting comments, or putting up amazing post quantity numbers. Which was great at the time, and I think a few people enjoyed it, even if a few people really hated it, and made it quite clear, sometimes obnoxiously rudely.

And then time went on and the posting slowed to a few times a week, and now has settled on a few times a month, which is below what I’d like, honestly. But it is hard. For one thing, my life is much different now than it was then. When you are in college, things are constantly changing. You go to different classes every day and see 100s of different people. That opens up a lot of things to talk about. Or at least, a lot of different things to say.

Now my life is very similar every day. I go to work, and then I go home. And it is better. I prefer it. I have a really awesome wife, and a house that I mostly enjoy, and animals that are good fun. But I don’t think that anyone particularly wants to read about any of that. I know that I don’t want to read about that coming from anyone else.

So sometimes it is hard to think of things to write about. There is always roller skating. But that is about the weirdest thing that I do right now. I should probably do a better job of writing about when I travel, because I do that so often, and at least it is a theme.

Anyway, I feel like I say this a lot, but I’m not going to let this blog die. There may be someday, at some point in the future, when it comes time to end this little game that I’ve been playing. But I don’t think that it is anytime soon. Right now it sorta feels like that as long as there is the Internet in a similar form to what is there now, there will be Smackie.

Meetings

In the last 36 hours I have been to 5 hours worth of meetings. That is a much higher than average amount of meetings for me. And you want to know the thing that I have learned from all of these meetings?

Nothing.

That’s right. None of the issues that I went into the meetings hoping to get solved, did get solved. The first meeting was about this woman at work who completely lied about me. So the meeting was about how to make her happy with the software that I’m writing for her. We brought in some experts to look at what I had done. And you know what? They said that my software looked amazing. Just like the liar-woman had said herself a few months ago. But then, right after the meeting, we tried to get a hold of her. No luck. Not responding. What a shock. At least I think my boss now understands that I have been telling the truth about her and the situation.

Meeting the 2nd was at Dad’s work, to figure out an issue for how they do inspections and how we are tracking them in a piece of software I am writing for them. And you know what? After three hours, nothing was solved. If anything, we were further away from the solution than we were when we went in.

The third meeting was today. A planned follow up meeting about the liar woman. But she still hasn’t responded, so the meeting was basically pointless, and just ended up being over an hour of my boss talking about other things. It wasn’t bad, because I like my boss, but it didn’t solve the issue at hand. We actually even discussed stuff from the meeting I had at Dad’s, but we weren’t able to come up with any other solutions.

So I guess I’m just wondering, what is the point of having meetings? Do they accomplish anything? I’m not sure that I’ve ever really been in a meeting that has accomplished anything. In fact it seems like most things get accomplished when someone just goes and does something, and then faces the consequences later.

Which brings me to the point that I’m trying to make. I think that China has a very good possibility of bypassing the US in a lot of ways, such as technology, because at the end of the day the government can just say “Go do this. Build elevated trains in that city.” Here we have meetings and decide that we’ll put off things until the next meeting. Democracy.

Democracy has failed.

Several Facts About Now

I haven’t done this in a while, but I’m going to give you a list of things that are going on right now. I don’t feel like going in depth about any one particular thing, but instead I’d like to touch the surface of a few things.

– I go to California tomorrow. I’m visiting Phil and Helen for a long weekend. Then I come home for a week, and then I go to California again, this time to Lake Tahoe, for a family vacation. Then I come home for a week, and then I go to Minneapolis for Regionals. I have a very busy month of travel. And not a very busy month of working.

– Speaking of Regionals, I am completely unprepared. To the point where I am starting to get very nervous, and am very worried that I’m going to make a fool out of myself. And so of course thinking those things has a way of freaking me out. So we’ll see. I desperately want to do well, but I don’t know if it will happen.

– Kelly and I have gone on a planting spree. We have two new bushes planted in the front of the house, and still have a blackberry plant, 2 lilacs, and 2 other undefined plants to go. I really don’t like the process of planting things, but I definitely like the way the yard looks when plants are added to it.

– “Community” is my favorite show on TV right now. In the last month and a half they have had an episode that was a shout-out to Goodfellas that was incredible, and an episode that was a send up to action movies, that is possibly the best episode of television that I have ever seen. And I am not exaggerating. It was that good.

– I had my birthday last weekend, and it was a lot of fun. I had French food, and then pizza, and got lots of good presents, and even got to go skating on my birthday! Does it get any better than that?! I don’t think so.

Well that’s about it for now. I have to finish packing and get to sleep. I have a long day tomorrow.

Tests Completed

So for everyone who was wondering, I passed all of my roller skating tests, which means that I am able to compete at Regionals, so that is exciting news. The tests went well, and it was fun to be judged and have a sense of validation of all of the work that I have been doing.

Now I just have to get ready for Regionals, which is going to be a huge task. I am nowhere close to being able to compete at a high level, and I really only have a few weeks left, and I’m going out of town twice before the competition. But after a lot of thinking and worrying, I’ve decided to go ahead with it. What is the worst that can happen, right?

In other news, life is extremely busy right now. House, wedding, skating, life. So it has been hard to find the time to write things on here. But I haven’t forgotten about this. No worries.

Happy New Year

Greetings all, and Happy New Year, almost. What is there to say about a year like 2009? If you’ve been following my letters, you know that for the first few years I tried to be as ridiculous as possible, mocking what seems to be the traditional end of year letter where people whine and moan about the crappy things going on in their lives, as if they are the only ones who have it bad. (Do you wear a machine plugged into you? Does sugar have the potential to kill you? Yeah, I thought not. Shut it.) But you can only do that so much. And so last year I tried to be genuine, and that actually turned out pretty well. Now this year I don’t really feel like being genuine, or being ridiculous. So we’ll see.

I guess the best place to start would be the start of the year. History! Barack Obama elected President. Yay! My guy had one for the first time since I could vote. And not only was it my guy, but it was the guy that I had supported from the very start. So yay! We won!

Wait. What? You mean in a lot of ways he has turned out to not be what you wanted at all? Well that’s probably my own fault for placing so much hope in him, but he did tell us to do that. Oh well. At least my guy still “won”.

But politics are boring. So lets talk about all of the other glorious things that 2009 had for us. In April, Kelly’s horrible foster dog Jesse, who humped everything he could find, and ate through every piece of clothing he could get his hands on, finally left. But only after he ate a bunch of raisins, which could have killed him, so Kelly and I had to force him to drink some hydrogen peroxide in order to get him to throw up. Fun!

In one of the more surprising parts of the year, Abby managed to get a boyfriend. A real one. And one that is actually a good guy. And can put up with her. His came is Neo, and as far as I can tell, he has the patience that can only be imparted directly from God.

But that actually isn’t the most surprising relationship part of the year. No, that would have to be Phil and Helen getting married. That in itself is not surprising. We knew that they were going to get married since last year. No, the surprising thing is that I, Nathan, doofus of the family, performed the ceremony. And you know what? I did an awesome job. A much better job than you could have done, dear reader, for two reasons. One, I know Phil and Helen better than you, and two, I am better than you at being funny and witty and yet heartfelt. Their wedding was actually a very good day, and I think my blood sugar is still way too high from all of the amaretto cake that I ate.

Mom and Dad still have their new house that they got at the end of last year, although it is vastly improved. The entire improvement to the house, though, comes in the shape of a new room for Abby. The rest of the house is pretty much exactly the same, but now Abby has a brand new basement room that is the size of Phil and Helen’s apartment, basically. Dad built it with his friend, and now new family relative, John. They literally worked on this room for months, and spent untold fortunes on making it. It is beautiful, but there is an argument to be made that Abby didn’t deserve it.

But the biggest news has to be the reopening of Highway 40. I’ve recently gone into how great it is to have it open, so I won’t rehash, but I will say that now that it has been open for a few weeks, things have definitely smoothed out, and it makes my commute much easier. It also makes it much, much easier to get to Mom and Dad’s, except when I forget that it is open and still go the long way out of habit. But it is open, and there is something to be said for small good things in the face of immeasurable suckage.

Speaking of immeasurable suckage, I was talking to Kelly this year about how terrible this year was. Mostly because of some complete brain issues on my part. But they were pretty unhappy making, and kind of cast a bad light over the whole year. (Now we are into the realm of the traditional end of year letter.) But she made an important point. She asked if everything was okay right now, and yes, right now, at this instant, things are okay. I just ate a pastry, and I’m not unhappy, and I have a 3 day weekend coming up. So yeah, I am happy right now, even after this crappy year. And maybe that is all that you can really expect.

In conclusion, today is an arbitrary delimiter of time, so let’s not get too excited everyone. Drive safe. Don’t shoot guns in the air. Don’t make a big deal out of this. It is just Thursday.

Merry Boxing Day

I hope that everyone out there had a lovely Christmas. I certainly did. I got lots of lovely presents, and spent the whole day hanging out with my family and eating way too much food. So that seems like a pretty good day.

This year, as opposed to previous years, I am writing a New Years letter, as opposed to a Christmas letter. Mostly this is because I was lazy and didn’t get around to writing it yet. But also, everyone writes Christmas letters. I’m going to be a little different. It should be up in the next few days. I will do my very best to have it up before the new year.

I’m also getting very excited about my trip to Europe. I leave in less than two months, and it is going to be quite an adventure. Actually, when I say excited, what I really mean is scared out of my mind. And excited. But SCARED. I have never been someplace where they didn’t speak English (unless you count Puerto Rico, which I guess I should, but don’t) and it is going to be quite the experience. But I should come back with at least a few stories.

So I hope everyone has a festive week, and keep checking for that New Years Letter.

Movies Make Me Nervous

I might be the only person in the world who suffers from this affliction, but movies make me horribly, horribly nervous and uneasy. It is so bad that I rarely watch movies because I know that most likely, it is going to be an unpleasant experience. And now, if you didn’t already, you probably think that I am certifiably insane. But let me explain.

It seems that the whole purpose of a movie is that you don’t know how it ends. In fact, most times, you don’t really know the middle bit or the start either. Because if you did, then why would you waste your time and money seeing the movie. But what if you are the kind of person who gets horribly, horribly anxious about the unknown, even the fictional unknown? Well then not knowing how something is going to end is a terrible thing.

So what does a person who suffers from that do? Well, if they are like me, they look up the plot of the movie before they see it. But here is the thing about that. It sort of ruins the whole movie experience. Because a big part of seeing a movie is seeing how the plot unfolds. If you already know how it unfolds, then it is just kind of a big waste of time.

This leaves me in quite the predicament. If I don’t look up the plot, then I’m going to be nervous and freaking out the whole movie. If I do look up the plot, I’m going to be bored and not care. So what do I do? Well, in most cases, I just avoid movies all together. But that is kind of boring, really.

And just for the record, I feel the same way about TV shows. But since they are shorter than movies, I can usually tough it out. But I still end up looking up the plots to the show that I’m about to watch a fair amount of the time.

Randomness

– I’m going to South Carolina this weekend with Kelly for Matt’s wedding. We are both really looking forward to it. We are going to Louisville, Charleston, and Atlanta on an extended weekend road trip. And going to the South Carolina state fair.

– Two weeks after I get back from that I’m going to California again. I don’t really know what I’m going to do when I’m out there. But I do get to ride on a turboprop airliner, so that’ll be fun.

– In February I’m going to Belgium. That will get a whole post at some point. But…

– I fell TWICE at skating this weekend, and I hurt my hand pretty bad. It feels much better, but my left hand still hurts pretty bad, and it is kinda hard to type.

– I had to buy new tires today. Buy new tires is not a fun thing. It isn’t like buying $350 worth of chocolate.

Roller Skating Update

So I’ve kind of become a little obsessed with this whole roller skating thing. Kelly and I are taking two classes a week, and I’m thinking about going even more. Most importantly, it is actually good exercise, and I hadn’t really been getting any of that. With my condition, exercise is definitely something that I could use more of. So that’s good.

But I’ve also found out that I’m pretty good at this, for some reason. I think that in part it is because I spent many, many hours playing hockey on skates when I was younger. So I’m pretty comfortable being on skates, and skating around. But I don’t think that is all of it. I think, as scary as this is to admit, that I might have a little bit of natural talent at this. *shudder*

So yeah, I can already sort of do some spins, and I can do some jumps, including a toe loop, which anyone who has watched the Winter Olympics knows about. I also suddenly care about posture, and knee strength, and bone density. These are things that I’ve never cared about before.

And then I think about all of it, and I write a post like this, I get this kind of queasy feeling inside myself and wonder what the hell has become of me.

I’m Twisted

Now let me preface this by saying that I wouldn’t ever actually do this. Now, that having been said, I was at Schnucks today getting some food for lunch, and there was a sign up that said there was a mobile diabetes testing van coming by tomorrow to check blood sugar to determine if you have the symptoms. And that gave me the following great idea.

Step 1: Put insulin pump on suspend. (Causes it to temporarily stop giving insulin.)
Step 2: Drink a couple of cans of regular soda.
Step 3: Go to blood sugar testing van.
Step 4: Watch in shock as nurses see my ridiculously high blood sugar.

Now like I said, I wouldn’t do that. It could theoretically be dangerous, although one time most likely wouldn’t do any damage. But it would also make me feel like crap. And it just isn’t a terribly bright thing to do.

Still, it would be kinda funny to see the looks on their faces, eh? Eh?

Life

I know that I haven’t been posting on here. And I know I’ve made posts saying that. But honestly, lately, this hasn’t been the thing that is foremost on my mind lately.

Now, I will say, I am doing much, much better than I was a month ago. I have to give a lot of that credit to the medicine that I’m on. And time. But also the awesome support system that I have around me, so thank you if you’ve been a part of me making it through this rough patch.

In other news, something I haven’t talked about in a long time – my house. A couple of weeks ago Mom came over and we installed ceramic tile in my entry hall. It looks so good, and I can’t even explain how much of a huge difference it has made to the feel of my house. I used to walk in and there was this nasty old wood floor with a big stain and a hole in it. Now I come home and there is beautiful ceramic tile. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but it makes it so much nicer to be home.

And finally, roller skating is still going great. Kelly was super nice and bought me my own pair of skates. So not only do I no longer have to borrow the nasty Rollercade rental skates, but I have some badass looking skates. They are so awesome.

Well now that I’ve gotten this post out of the way, I’m going to try to be better about updating regularly. I can’t make any promises right now, but I will try.

Sorry

I haven’t been posting much lately. I know. I’ve been having some really pretty serious issues, and am doing my damnedest to hold it together. I’m just barely managing, so I haven’t thought to write on here.

Once I get better, we’ll be back to regularly scheduled programming.

Dixie Celebration

As many of you know, this weekend was July 4th weekend. And what is the most American thing to do to celebrate our independence? Why shooting off fireworks, of course. Drunkenness can be included, if you so wish, but that greatly increases the chances of getting blown up by said fireworks.

So being good American’s, after a morning of riding horses (ow), and an afternoon of Thai food and naps, Kelly and I headed out to Dad’s work to shoot off fireworks. His work is in the middle of nowhere, so it is actually legal to shoot them there. And to top this off, I had the best idea. Why not bring the dogs? So we did.

Anyway, we got out there and surveyed what had been purchased, and I quickly became disheartened. What was up with all of this piddly shit? Mom and Dad and Abby had purchased sensible, small fireworks. Some roman candles, some fountains, and a few bottle rocket type things. This isn’t what I wanted. I wanted something big. One of those crazy fireworks that looks like it could put a small satellite into orbit. So Kelly and I headed back to the firework stand, and made the best purchase of my life.

It was sitting there, on the top shelf, and I knew from the moment that I saw it that it would be ours. It was called the “Dixie Celebration”, and had a big Confederate Flag on it, and was so ridiculous that it was perfect. Sure, there were bigger ones. Hell, you can get ridiculous ones for hundreds of dollars. But this one was $25, which was just about what I wanted to spend. Plus, with the purchase of the Dixie Celebration, you get a bunch of other stuff free.

So skip to the end of the night, and it was time to fire off the ol’ Dixie. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint. It was like a scaled down version of the fireworks that you see if you go downtown. Except since it is right over your head, it is way more impressive. I’m already looking forward to next year, and the next ridiculous thing I can buy.

Anyway, I can totally recommend spending a little extra and getting the crazy looking fireworks. Everyone will be impressed. Unless you live in the middle of the city and it is 1:00 in the morning and I’m trying to sleep.

Oh, and the dogs were terrified and hated the whole experience.

Roller Skating Lessons

Kelly gets these ideas in her head. I’m not sure how it happens. Sometimes it involves horses. Sometimes dogs. And sometimes it involves taking roller skating lessons. Earlier this week she IMed me and asked me if I wanted to take roller skating lessons out at Rollercade in South County. And since I’m a sucker, I agreed to go along. How bad could it be?

Well it turned out to not be “bad”. But it definitely turned out to be really weird. First off, apparently the name of this group of wannabe skaters is the “Rollercadettes”. I guess that means I’m a Rollercadette now. It makes sense though, because the group is made up of me and Kelly, a 65 year old man, and then about 10 girls aged 8-13. That didn’t make it awkward at all.

Then there is the teacher. He is a really fancy guy. I think he is trying to relive his days of of roller skating excellence through us. Which brings up another point. He’s trying to teach us how to be really fancy. Like, proper leg technique and transferring our weight all dancily. And I really just want to skate around in a circle. But that’s okay. I don’t mind learning how to be all pretty.

So overall, I had a pretty good time. It was quite different to skate on roller skates as opposed to inline skates. The skates feel much more “stable” in a way that was unexpected. It really felt like they wanted to just keep going straight, making turning a lot more difficult. But a large portion of my skills transferred, and I was at least able to go pretty fast.

But then, after skating, the weirdest thing happened. There is free skate after the lesson, and the crowd that showed up was… let’s say “interesting”. It was mostly these strange middle aged guys who showed up to join the rollercadettes. I’m talking super creepy. And yet very very good at skating. Scarily good at skating.

And as we were leaving I sat down to take my skates off, and one of them sat down next to me, randomly and out of nowhere, showed me a rubix cube, and said “Do you remember these?” Then he spent the next 5 minutes telling me all about solving a rubix cube. It was so weird, and so awkward. I still don’t really understand what happened, but I’m scared to go back because I’m pretty sure he’s going to be there, and I don’t ever want to go through something like that again.

Oh Kelly… The things you sucker me into…