Wednesday, September 27, 2006

My Friend Bauer

A few weeks ago my older brother and his wife suddenly lost their greyhound Bauer. I have been wanting to write some stuff here on the blog but figured I would give them time to post something on their blog before I posted here. Since they now have posted something there I would like to take an opportunity to post some of my memories of Bauer.

I first met Bauer in the summer of 2004 when I traveled out to San Francisco to attend my brother's wedding. The first day we were there Shawn and Emma had a get together for the two families at their place and this was the first time I got to meet Bauer. For some odd reason dogs and cats (especially) are automatically drawn towards me when we are in the same room. Before I met Bauer, when someone said "greyhound" words such as hyper, racing, and endless energy were the first things that came to my mind. As soon as I met Bauer it was obvious that these were misconceptions. When we arrived I think Bauer was laying on the floor and looked at us as we walked through the door then went back to his relaxing on the floor. As the evening went along I was able to get him to go out to the backyard. My plan was to get him to play "fetch the stuffed animal" which didn't work out very well. I would throw the stuffed animal across the yard and tell him to go get it and bring it back. Instead he just looked at me with his big eyes and I bet if I could read his mind he was probably thinking 'yeah sure whatever I go get it, NOT'. So I would start running toward the toy hoping he would follow and find the toy...but he just stood there looking at me like I belonged in a mental institution. After tossing the toy a few more times I finally gave up but I have a sneaking suspision he was mildly entertained seeing me running back and forth.

The second time I really got to hang around Bauer was when we visited Conn. last December after Christmas. While we were opening gifts Bauer kept licking a spot or something on his rump which Shawn or Emma would tell him to stop. Whe he continued to do it Shawn got out a pair of red boxers that had smiley faces on them and put them on was a humorous site to see him wearing the boxers.

This summer after I spent the week here in Albany searching for an apartment I went over and visited and stayed over at my brothers before heading home. When I arrived at the house both Shawn and Emma were still at work so after getting in the house I went upstairs and hung out with Bauer and Berkeley until my brother got there. When he got home Shawn and I took the guys for their evening walk. I started out with Berkeley but he was being somewhat stubborn so I traded and was walked by Bauer. That evening when it was time to go to bed Bauer decided that he wanted to sleep downstairs in the room where I was staying which was really cool.

I will really miss not seeing Bauer when I go to visit my brother.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Team of Rivals

8 months , 750 some odd pages, and learning to read I finally have finished TEAM OF RIVALS by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Even though it took me a long time to get through it I really enjoyed reading the book and have developed a greater appreciation for Abraham Lincoln as a man, political tactician, and President. The main focus of the book is on Lincoln and his life from a young age through his early political career to his time as President during the Civil War. When I started reading the book I felt as though I had a good idea of his life and career from my studies in History and Political Science, but the knowledge I went into the book with was only the tip of the iceberg of who Lincoln truely was. Along with Lincoln, Goodwin also follows the lives and career of William Seward, Salmon Chase, and Edward Bates who were in competition with Lincoln for the 1860 Republican Presidential nomination and would eventually become the key members of his cabinet.

One of the things I found most interesting was how Lincoln was able to manuever the turbulant political landscape of the civil war while dealing with Chase, who while serving as Secretary of the Tresury, was constantly scheming to make Lincoln look bad so he could have another chance to run for President. The hardest part of the book to get through was the beginning when Goodwin traced the childhoods of each of these great men. Once the Civil War started then I really got interested and could hardly stand to put the book down. The only thing that I would have liked to read more about was the process and discussions that went on when Lincoln gave the order to allow West Virginia statehood, but that could be the country boy in me speaking.

One kinda funny thing that happened when I was about a third into the book was the day I substituted for a 5th grade class. In the class they were studying the Civil War and I was able to use some of the information that I had read from the book in my lecture to them. I am glad my brother got me this book for Christmas becasue I probably would not have picked it up on my own accord.

I think the next book I read will be the next Harry Potter book (number 5) becasue the old brain needs a rest.

Monday, September 25, 2006

New Posts

I should hav some new posts up toomorrow after I finish typing them @ work....

I love working for the government.

Monday, September 18, 2006


I could write a whole blog post about how stressed I was last week, but I won't.

I am overweight. I feel it in my cloths, in my energy levels, and especially when I look in a mirror. I have never in my life been "skinny" or even underweight. All my life I have had to deal with my weight and I think that since I have had to deal with it so long it has negatively affected my self image and confidence level which has directly influenced other areas of my life. There have been times when I have had some success losing weight but once I do it seems I always get side tracked and put it back on. After much reflection I have found that there is a pattern to my losing weight and putting back on again.

When I started my senior year of college I weighed close to 300 lbs and I kind not. About a month and a half in the school year my roommate and friend at the time began blaming me for problems he was experiencing in his life. What started out as walking around campus in the evening to clear my thoughts and get out of the apartment so that I did not have to be around him and his moping, turned into a fulfledged daily workout. If I was not in class or studying I was either in the rec center working out on the nautilus equipment or outside if it was nice walking or jogging. There was also another reason that I was exercising, I wanted to be able to sleep at night. When I get even the slightest bit stressed out, I don't sleep very well and had bouts of insomnia that have lasted over months at a time. So by the time I graduated in May, I weighed about 220 and I felt and looked alright but was determined to continue to lose and maintain the progress I had made. Well after graduate school did not pan out I was working 2 part time jobs and going to the YMCA when I could but I gradually began to put the weight back on. This trend continued until the end of my second year of graduate school two years later.

So flash forward to the end of my second year of grad school, I was coming off of having my back surgury and it was obvious I was not going to be able to finish my Poli Sci MA in the 2 years because I had a whole sememter of work from when I was out having and recovering from the operation. On that heap of stress I began pursuing a relationship with a girl from my church Home Group which kicked me back into the same pattern of rollerblading everyday for 3 hours after work and a long visit from my friend INSOMNIA. I probably started the summer around 220 and was down to a nice 190lbs by the beginning of the semester. At this point I was in the gym working out with my friend who was an amauter boxer. I was feeling great about how I was looking. Well at the end of the year I thought I would be finishing my second masters and moving on to bigger and better things...which did not happen. I ended up back home working a crappy job and I was going to the YMCA again but I did not have that motivation that I had before. When I returned to WVU to finish my last semester I tried to go to the gym on a regular basis but was more focused on finishing my schooling. By Christmas I was getting back out of shape and not having access to the WVU rec center did not help even though. I tried walking or jogging but I hurt my knee again so I had to put the stop to that. when it got to be warm enough I started trying to get back into rollerblading but I was just so worn out by the end of the day since I was substitute teaching.

Since moving to NY I have tried walking during my lunch period and in the evening but again I am just worn out when I get home and just can't find the motivation to get up and do it. I have been toying with the idea of joining the local YMCA (short detour on the way home from work) but right now I am trying to watch expenses. I could justify it as I am taking preventative health steps ...especially with my back. I am working on finding a doctor so I can get a much needed physical and see where I am and need to be. I could also say I will save money in the long run because if I walk around the area where I live then I have to take a shower and my hot water is heated by gas and gas ain't cheap. By joining the YMCA I could shower there and not have to worry. My only worry is that I will not be motivated to go on a regular basis. I already watch my diet since I take my lunch to work and hate fast food.

I really need to do something.


Monday, September 11, 2006

9-11-01: In Rememberance

It's hard to believe it has been five years since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

I remember that morning very well. I got up as usual and got ready and left for my Intro to Research class on the downtown campus. When I got to class I had just sat down and all of a sudden one of my classmates came in screaming "The world is going to Hell!" Now my initial thought was that this person was angry at a professor or somehow life was treating her unfairly(such is the life of a grad student). She then preceded to say that planes had hit the WTC and the Pentagon, which I thought that some radio station was pulling a prank or something stupid like that. The professor came in and said that we were going to continue with class in light of the events...the room was completely silent as the professor began the discussion when all of a sudden a fire truck drove by which jarred us out of the trance we all seemed to be in at that time. We finished with class and I was headed to work but first I had to run some copies of a paper I had to read and write a paper on for the next day. As I entered the Mountain Lair I was able to catch a quick look at the television and the mass of students huddled around watching. It was not till I got to work that I realized the severity of the situation. Not having a tv in the office we had it tuned to the local radio station which kept breaking into the national news reporting a "mysterious white plane" which was circling about 30 miles away. The work day went slow and I did not get any work done which was mostly me typing my paper which was due the next day. As soon as I got home I turned on the TV and running back and forth from the other room where I was typing my paper. I finally got to bed about 3 am or so with my paper finished and being both physically and emotionally drained. The next day I went to work and then to class. The first thing the professor said was "Due to the current situation I have decided to extend the paper due date by a few days". The following day I had my Research class again. The professor apologized for keeping us in class and said that if he had known the severity of the event he would have canceled class.

This spring I went to NYC and went to Ground Zero. It was a very humbling experience and it was like the time I went to the Holocaust meusem in Washington D.C., I just felt numb. We also went to the church right across from the street which was not damaged in the collapse and has been turned into a memorial.
All in all it was a very powerful experience and hope everyone has a chance at sometime to visit. I hope that we never forget what happend that day or the people who gave thier lives for their fellow man. I don't think that we will ever completely heal from the tradgedy of that day and that it should remind all of us of the many sacrifices that have been made.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Random Mish Mash

Just a bunch of quick hits

As you probably know by now the pictures of all my stuff when I moved in last week. Got a good portion of it taken care of today but still have some boxes that need to be taken care of but its basically books which I don't want to get out until I have bookcases. I have this theory that plastic hangers left to their own devices over 2 years will multiple like rabbits.

Church Search
I have narrowed the choice down between two churches. Tomorrow I am going back to the second church then I should be able to make my decision. Found this clip from King of the Hill which I found humorous and something I could relate to.

I joined Blockbuster Online and decided to give the show LOST a chance. When it originally started I couldn't watch it on a regular basis and then didn't have tv so I just didn't get into the show at all. So as I said I decided to give it a chance and now I am hooked and Blockbuster can't send the dvd's quick enough.

Every now and then I enjoy an adult beverage at the end of the day. I prefer bottles over can beer and with the bottle comes the bottle cap. So I am saving the bottle caps and placing them in the half gallon growler I got from the WV Brew Pub. The goal is to fill the jar.

I know...boring post...maybe something will exciting this week but I doubt it. I am only going to be in the office 2 days. Monday I have a computer class, Tuesday and 1/2 day Wednesday I have PMI Orientation then in the office Thursday and Friday is half a day due to FallFest.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Labor Day Weekend Adventure

I am totally exhausted...

This weekend has been a very busy one indeed and I am glad it is over.

Thursday after work I drove over to my brother's in Conn. and spent the night before we headed to WV. I originally thought we were going to be leaving to coming back early Sunday and unloading stuff Sunday evening so before leaving the house I deflated my airbed. While I was eating dinner I found out that the plan was to come back Saturday. Since we were leaving early in the morning I went to bed early but had trouble getting to sleep. I had my alarm set to go off at 5:45am but ended waking up around 5 and finally got up at 5:30am. We got on the road on time and made really good time on the road, except in PA which just seemed to go on forever. After stopping for lunch and to pick up pepperoni rolls in Fairmont, WV we stopped in and visited for about 15 minutes with my grandparents before heading down the road to have dinner at our other grandfathers and see our aunt Ellen in from Cleveland for the weekend. After dinner I took my brother back down to the house so he could pack the toys (GI Joe, Star Wars, Transformers, and He-Man) and his stuff he was bringing back to his house. While at the house I rounded up my stuff from the house then headed back down to my granddad's to get the rest of my stuff which had been stored down there for 2+ years. I figured I would be up all night getting stuff together but my aunt Kirtha and her family helped me get everything into the staging area in the garage. I finally went to bed about 1 am dead tried from driving ~11 hours straight.
At 8am my aunt Ellen woke me saying that my brother called, I tried to get up but my legs would not respond and I had my alarm set for 8:30 am anyway. Finally I got up and drove to the house and picked up my brother while my aunt Kirtha went to the DMV and took care of renewing my car which the sticker on the car ran out at the beginning of August. Once we got back the packing started in earnest. One of the ladies at my church gave me a queen-sized bed but she must have been out of town because I tried calling her to tell her I needed to get out of her storage building. Since we were not able to get a hold of her it was a good thing that my mother is good friend of the lady who owns the storage buildings so we were able to get the bed out of the storage locker and get it packed in the truck. Then we loaded up the stuff at the house then had lunch before leaving at 1pm on our way back to Albany. On the way back, my brother drove the truck while I followed behind in my car. This worked fine form the first part of the trip because I would follow behind and could let him get ahead and easily catch up to him. However, half way through PA it start to rain and get windy and I, in my light Focus, was getting blown all over the place and had to concentrate on not hydroplaning and keeping the car on the road. It was so bad in some places I was only going 50 mph max. Once we got on the NYS Thruway the road got better and it stopped raining. We got to my place about midnight and we were both dead tried. Now if you remember I deflated my air mattress before leaving on Thursday and I did not have the pump charged. I inflated my full sized mattress for my brother to sleep on then as I made a poor attempt to fill the queen-sized mattress the pump ran out of juice. I was so tired I took my body pillow, two regular pillows, and a sheet downstairs and slept on the floor, I was that tired.
Sunday we were up at 7 am and unloaded all my crap into the house(I took pictures but my piece of $Y^@ desktop is not working right) and finished around 9am. After my brother left and headed to his place I figured that I was up and sweaty and I really didn't want to start unpacking so I showered and went to church. Sunday afternoon I put together my computer desk and set up my tv and dvd player and then tried to will the rest of the stuff to put itself away while I watched LOST. Finally went to bed around 11 and slept till about 10 this morning.
This afternoon I went to a Church picnic, played football and softball, all the time hoping that when I got home a modern miracle would happen and everything would be put away when I got home. So over the next few days I have to move the comics and the toys upstairs, unack my kitchen items, and go through 3 bags of misc. crap and figure out what I need to keep and what can be tossed.

When I first moved up here I never felt homesick, after this weekend I am feeling a little homesick.