Monthly Archives: May 2009

To the Class of 2009-Go Antlers!

As promised, here are my thoughts for Sarah and all the high school graduates of 2009. (OMG…class of 2009…that’s just gross.)

You’re going to hear it a million times…college is the best time of your life. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that, but it is a damn fine time. You are going to learn a lot; some in the classroom, some in the dorm room, some in the backroom of the local bar. You may even “find yourself” in one of those rooms. (Barf.)

Within the first couple of weeks (or minutes, as was my case), you’re going to make friends with some awesome folks. They’ll help you fit in and keep you busy when you’re feeling homesick. About two months in, they’ll be all you talk about when you call home and you’ll think “wow, these are the college friends I’m going to be friends with the rest of my life.” WRONG. These ladies and gents may be great. They will probably hold a special place in your heart forever, but their main purpose is to help transition you from high school kid to college coed. The Big Time Friends will come into play at least a semester into it. By then you’ll be comfortable in your surroundings and looking for friends just as friends, not as babysitters or schedule fillers. These will be the people you’ll stay up all night with-sometimes to figure out the meaning of life, other times to contemplate which is better-Lucky Charms or “Chocolate Fruity Peebles.” (And don’t get me started on the pizza vs. chicken finger debate. Just flip/flop between the two….Otherwise, y’all may not be friends when you wake up in the morning.)

Even if it feels totally against your normal ways, try out some of the local activities. I’m thinking you’ll have an easier time with this than I did, but who knows. 250 miles is still a decent drive, so local San Angelo kids may really be into Japanese anime or follow the basketball team like its religion. And do it right-if people get dressed up in costume for the anime movies, heck, try it out. Everyone is doing it. Check out the sorority scene or other college clubs. Whatever peeps are fanatical about, try it out. No one wants to graduate from college and realize they never truly experienced campus or the college life. Hell, if you were going to do that, you should just commute from home.

Every college has at least one ‘scene’ that you’ll question when sober. A cabin out in the woods by the zoo? A semi-abandoned liquor store/gas station? The Chinese restaurant’s parking lot? All locations of some great party spots during my time at Carolina. Oh…and always travel with at least two friends. It’s harder to lose someone this way. And in case of twisted ankle or other debilitating injury-easier to carry.

The first time your car dies, or you get sick, or someone takes your wet laundry out of the communal washer and throws it on the floor, you’re going to want to call home and get help from mom. Don’t do it. At least not at first. Ask yourself if you know how to solve the problem yourself. No? How about your friends? Or (gasp!) your professors or other university staff? John, The Sandwich Guy From the Patio, turned into my Dad Away From Home and hooked me up with tea, honey, and lemon every time I came in sick AND he let me eat from the football player line (better food AND better line companions…thanks, John!) Granted, I still got help from mom and dad a lot, but part of this going away bit is learning how to do it on your own. (And you know what…”calling mom and dad” is sometimes step 1 of doing it on your own. Don’t worry, I’ll never tell.)

You’ve been pretty set with what you want to be when you grow up. That’s awesome. But don’t feel bad if that changes after you’ve had a bad class or internship. (Oh, another thought…any job you have in college (and have a job in college…its embarrassing to call home AGAIN to ask for more money…) should be related to your major. It may be grunt work, but find some place that pays you, but will still look good on a resume. Never too early to start padding that puppy.) Be smart about your changes. If you’ve made it past the refund deadline, stick with a class, no matter how hateful, for the whole semester. Same with a job-give it at least two months before you quit. Trust me. Every minute will seem like agony, but you are learning how you will act once you are in your boss’ shoes. And you’ll be able to look back and laugh, I promise. (I’ve got some great pictures of a pro-Confederate flag rally to prove it.)

I’ve got a million more things, but you’ve got four years ahead of you to listen to my rambling. (Oops, there’s another…don’t do like I did and graduate early. Real Life comes soon enough, don’t force it upon yourself too early.) Enjoy this summer and get ready for a whole new chapter. You’re gonna love it, girlfriend!

Attaperson, Sarah!!

I’ve got a great post a’brewing in honor of my cousin Sarah who is graduating from high school tomorrow. It’s not going to make its way to the keyboard tonight though, so let me just say…

CONGRATULATIONS, SARAH!!!

I am so proud of you, girl! I can’t wait hear all that college has in-store for you. Have fun tomorrow night and enjoy your summer!!!

Shout Out: Valvoline Instant Oil Change on Hwy. 100 and North Ave.

I’ve had a perfectly craptastic day which included an economics final and funeral planning, so I don’t have it in me to write something witty and insightful.

Let me just tell y’all in the Milwaukee area (or those traveling here soon…this is right by your hotels) that the Valvoline Instant Oil Change on Hwy. 100, just south of North Avenue gets two thumbs up from me. The first time I went there, I laid down the law that I will not buy an air filter when my current one is whiter than my teeth, and 5 years later, they haven’t tried to oversell me on anything since.

This weekend I got a fuel filter change (and a bunch of other stuff) and now my car is purring. Add in an oil change and it is still cheaper than what the ‘real’ mechanic said it would be. David is the manager. Tell him I sent you…

Tomorrow starts a full weekend of food-related fun. Stay tuned!

The Boots Should Have Tipped Me Off

You know how I said dad made the point to wait to leave until mom had her aunt Judy by her side? Well, I think he made sure Magical James (MJ from here on out) was there for me. He knew having my friends with me would be all well and good, but nothing would be as comforting as a hug from a 5’10” guy with medium stature, complete with scratchy facial hair, yet smooth cheeks. Dad picked the guy who looked like Chris Cagle with big brother Gavin tendencies so he knew I’d be both attracted to and comforted by him. To make sure I recognized his presence, dad put MJ in busted-up cowboy boots, while the rest of the staff had crocs with paper booties. He also made sure he worked the days we needed him most and I would be at my least embarrassing. (Nurse Eva, my apologies for falling on the floor and swearing at you, but seriously, you didn’t think we’d need some Kleenex after Dr. Death told us “well, I could pull the plug right now…”??) MJ even was with me, hugging and crying, while I spent my last 2 minutes alone with dad.

Dad knew I needed the distraction that MJ provided, both in the room talking crawfish boil (the one semi-gourmet, semi-southern tradition dad actually liked) and at home while Google stalking. (Hey, mom was the one who told me his last name…) With mom’s support, I even used MJ as part of my standard anxiety attack reliever medicine-having something to look forward to. I asked him to give me a call the next week to see how I was doing. He said he would. I hung on to that promise and in moments of wallowing thought, well, I at least have this that will make me smile.

Well, dad, what sort of life lesson am I supposed to take from the fact he didn’t call??? Boys are still boys (and therefore stupid) even if they are superheroes? Life goes on? No one will ever be as good as my daddy? Patience, young grasshopper? I don’t get it.

For a half a second yesterday, I thought maybe it was because dad was gone and could no longer make these things happen. But he is making things happen! We have the nicest weather we’ve had for any Memorial Day weekend I can remember. My first best friend (that I’ve been looking for FOR TEN YEARS) appeared on my Facebook doorstep this morning. I’ve got the best guardian angel on my side, so why, why, why am I still waiting for boys to call, dad???
Sigh.

Excuse Me While I Tattoo "Batting Averages" On My Arm

Going through emails and found another timely one from dad. This was originally written February 28, 2008.
_______________________________

The lunch spot I went to was about 2 miles south of Rockport. You’re right, neat town. Mag, how much was the triatholon fees? I’ll pay them.

Maggie I think I understand what you meant about having the joy transition from a smile to a laugh to tears. I have done that many many times. It’s taken me a while to accept a few truths. Life is peculiar. It is what it is. The sunset doesn’t change if you’re 25 and in love, or if you’re 80 and dying of cancer. The sunset remains the same. It’s only the brain that resides inside the head of the human that either chooses to look at the sunset or keeps the windows covered. The trick is to accept the part of our life that is perhaps not what we would sign up for, but not that bad that it’s worth radical change to fix. ie, quitting jobs, divorcing, moving to someplace else, just for the sake of change. Here’s also something I’ve learned. BATTING AVERAGES. The whole concept of batting averages is that no one gets a hit every time they are confronted with the challenge. So somedays, I don’t choose to see the sunset, I’ll pull the shades down and choose to mope. That’s ok, to feel kinds slunky and sorry for your self, EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE. the challenge like a good hitter is to constantly improve the times you indeed choose to see the sunsets. Here’s a real world example. I’m sure you can remember a life’s event where you were really really mad. my best example is my spilling beer on our brand spanking new carpet in our old house on 89th st. Dang mag, the carpet wasn’t even 10 hours old, AND I had run out of real beer and theonly beer I had to toast the carpet was an old Guinness Stout that was like syrup down in the old refrigerator in the basement. When I spilled the beer, it left a huge orange permanent spot on the carpet. Boy was i pissed. OK, life’s lesson. Now I laugh wheh I tell the story, I find the humor in it. the trick is to realize you’re going to eventually come to your senses and see the stupid unimportance I had afixed to the event, to a point wher ei now even laugh at it, Well, why waste all that joy by feeling bad, when it happens. This is not to say you laugh at car wrecks or somebodies health problems, but trying to put importance on things that are indeed really important. I went to a touchie feelie two whole week conference when I was in Quality of Worklife stuff at AC. AThe entire point of the two weeks was accepting the fact, most of the stuff in life, we choose to feel adn believe. It’s not foisted on us. That’s pretty hard to accept. money problems, I didn’t make smart financial decisions, relationship problems, I didn’t pick the righ tperson to be friends with or I didnt’ choose to try and understnad them. Health is a great one, Oh, I’m big boned! yeah right, well put down the 4th cheeseburger and see how the big bones dry up. Choosing joy is the number one virtue a person can have, while living the world as it is. It takes work, but when I ‘m successful, (my batting average is currently 348) it feels great.

gotta run, I’m supposed to help hal with loading hay in 10 minutes and i”m typing to my beautiful daughter. Good choice, see how it works! dad

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