Tuesday, December 28, 2004

..... And Breath!

Christmas is done. Yeah! The holidays went quite well. Dinner at the parents house was not as big a zoo as usual. We all had a nice time. Had the brother in law and family over of Christmas. We had a pleasant dinner and wonderful time. Got hooked on Wasail. I highly recommend it. It's made up of wine, pinapple and orange juice, cinnimon, and some other stuff served warm. Very tasty and quite addictive. The boys loved thier presents. They're still playing with them and getting into things they haven't really played with yet.

I have the week off with the boys. So far it's gone well. Not too much yelling and they're both still alive. Today was doctor day, with appointments for each of the boys and myself. It turns out the younger boy is a little nearsighted and will need glasses. He's actually excited about it as he thinks glasses are cool since one of his friends wears them. He'll need them only for seeing far away, not close up work.

I'm taking the week to regroup of sorts. Next year there's a lot going on with me, mostly on the musical front. I'm going to get the new priase group rolling in about 2 weeks. And I've got to finish the CD project. Beyond that there's taking care of the wife and kids. I'll have my hands full.

Speaking of the wife, I must print a public retraction of sorts. She does paruse my page from time to time and I have misrepresented her on occasion. One specific instance is the whole leather couch issue. I must correct the fact that she didn't insist on the leather couch and would have preferred not to have one. However, with two young boys leather is easier to care for thatn cloth. A very sensible position (she is a sensible lady after all). She doesn't spend money willy nilly. She's quite frugal and if she spends $50 on clothing it means she got $150 worth for $50. However, we have been having some minor tussles over spending, specifically on her desire for snow tires for the sport utitlity vehicle. More on that later but suffice it to say that she has valid and compelling reasons to purchase them and I'm choking on the roughly $1000 price tag that this will require. So far we're at draw, with her periodically reminding me that she hasn't dropped it and me pretending not to hear her.

Anyway, I will try to keep things up to date, though I don't expect to blog much this week as I'm home and don't spend too much time at the computer. The only reason I'm taking the time now is that with my appointment shortly, I really can't get anything started.

I will say that 2004 has been an amazing year that that God has blessed our family with more than we could have imagined. Hopefully he will continue to bless us in 2005. Happy New Year to all out there.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Holiday Festivities

All right, being that it's near the end of the day prior to the Christmas holiday and that I'm going to have the next week and a half off, and that there is absolutely nothing going on at work right now, seems like a good time to talk about Christmas.

Not sure how other people spend their holidays, but being Italian, tomorrow is the big Christmas tradition. My entire side of the family (myself/little lady/kids, bro, sis, aunt, uncle, nephews, cousins) will gather at my mom's house for dinner. It's a Good Friday kind of deal, all fish. We start with the shrimp cocktail, then linguine with red clam sauce, followed by about another dozen or so varieties of fried and cooked fish. This of course is followed by dessert (about 10 of those including 2 kinds of pie and cheesecake), then coffee and fruit. Truly a gut busting kind of meal. Also, if you've never been in an Italian house during any sort of gathering, imagine you're at a football game, your team is on defense, and it's 3rd and long with your team down. It's louder than that.

Now, myself, I have no problem with this being as I grew up in this environment (wife says I was raised in a barn. She was acutally raised in one of those white castles where everything is quiet and just so). As a matter of fact, I look forward to it. After dinner we open presents and there is total chaos. Kids hyped up and wrapping paper flying in every direction. I try to frown on it sometimes to let the wife think we agree. She's not particularly fond of these events and lately has been more vocal about it. While I respect her position, you'd think after 20 years of being around my family, she would be used to it or at least recognize that this is the way it is and simply accept it and move on. However, she's a woman and can't let anything go. She still doesn't want to dance at weddings based on a comment I made about 12 years ago. Imagine that.

Anyway, she gets the quiet day on Christmas. We get up late, open presents, go to Church, and get together with her brother and his family. This year we're at our house, which I much prefer as I do enjoy not going anywhere on Christmas day. Of couse, since we're making dinner, this means my wife will be going insane on Christmas day making sure the house is cleaned the right way and that everything is perfect. Of course, all I care about is that the place is neat and that the food is good. But of course, I was raised in a barn and my priorities are skewed. Silly me for thinking that it's more important to be together than how the place looks. Or that as long as the food tastes good, it doesn't matter if it doesn't look like it came out of a cookbook photo. Quick aside, my wife won't make pie crusts because they don't come out "perfect", meaning if the crust is cracked or isn't the right consistancy, it's no good. Last pie she made tasted great to me. But again, raised in a barn, don't know anything. Blame it on her mother for making her a perfectionist. However, I've been working on her and there's hope.

To all reading, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I know you don't hear that much any more but hey, I'm a rebel. And if you're offended, then don't read.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Haven't written anything in a while partly since I haven't felt the need to say anything and partly been too busy at work to write. Oh well, no big thing.

The little lady and I had a stupid fight last night. We took some digital pictures to include in our Christmas cards and I picked up the copies last night. She looks at them and her first response was "I liked the other picture better". I asked her to reveiw the pictures before we selected the final one. I picked what I thought were the best two and asked her opinion, stating I preferred the one we used. Instead of voicing an opinion, she simply said it was fine. I mentioned that she had the option to say she liked the other one better, as I was not committed to one or the other. Of course, then she says that I didn't give her a lot of time to look and that our monitor isn't as nice as the LCD she has at work so it was hard to tell, blah blah blah. She looked at the pictures on the screen for less than one minute. Maybe if she actually bothered to take some time to make a decision, then I might have reacted better. Basically it was my fault for picking the wrong one. Just like stuff's always my fault. I swear there's days where I want to just do nothing since she seems to do everything better than me. Or more correctly, my way isn't as good as her way therefore she should do it because I couldn't possible get it right. The dishes are cleaner when she does them, the laundry comes out better, whatever. Of course, it takes her forever to get her stuff done and she's always stressing and yelling about stuff. If she's gone for the weekend, it's amazing that everything gets done and I'm not all crazy by the end of the weekend.

Being cubmaster for my cub scout pack is starting to wear on me as well. Truthfully, I hate the job and don't want the responsibility. I took the job to prevent the pack from folding without a cubmaster. No one was stepping up. Worst decision I ever made. I just don't care enough to do the job. I have enough other responsibilities without keeping this pack running. I'm tired of the emails, the planning, running the pack meetings, and the personalities involved. I may have to give this up sooner than planned. I'm very tempted to do so. If I can convince one of the assistants to take over, I'll probably drop it. If they can't find a new leader, tough. I hate to leave them in the lurch but I don't want to deal with it anymore. I don't have the time or energy to get invovled in something I don't enjoy. And I defiantely do not enjoy Cub Scouts right now.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Thoughts on Christmas

I've been looking at some sites and am seeing the usual ant-Christmas news bits. Stuff about parades that can have native american or chinese floats but not a christian group singing christmas carols. A principal that had to apologize for calling thier "holiday" part a christmas party. We're always taking the Christ out of Christmas. Mind you, I believe in the separation of church and state, but I think it's going too far. Someone once said the founding fathers wanted freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion. I'm all about equal opportunity. As long as we're not being exclusive in the celebration of the holidays, then fine. Use this time of year to teach children about Judaism and Hannakah, Islam and Kwanza (is that a Muslim thing or just something made up so they wouldn't feel left out?) Anyway, you can celebrate Christmas in a secular way (it's not like we don't already). Our country is just so out of control with trying not to offend anyone. The problem is, there's no way not to offend SOMEONE. There's a difference between intentionally trying to exclude/persecute a person or group, another when the majority has one set of values and a few have another. As long as we respect those values that differ from ours, we're fine. But heaven forbit you say the word God in a public place or taxpayer sponsored event and suddenly you're promoting Christianity. People need to relax a little. Your kids will take on the values you give them. I went to Catholic school for 4 years in high school and none of it made me turn to my faith. It was personal retreats and other things I discovered on my own that brought me to my faith. It's like saying reciting the pledge of allegiance every day in school will make you a patriot. I did it as a kid and I hate the thing.

On to another issue, I'm still trying to put together a group of musicians for the project at church. I've got a lot of interest, but not much commitment yet. An old bandmate of mine needs to pray on it a bit and see where the Spirit is leading him. I can respect that. Of course, I'll still try to twist his arm if he'll let me. I'm not overly worried. All the scripture I've been reading lately tells me the same thing. Trust in God's plan and it will work itself out. I firmly believe that He has a plan for my music and it will unfold in it's own time. I'll just keep plugging away. More updates to follow.

Rock and Roll Baby!

Wednesday, December 01, 2004



I haven't written anything in a while so I thought I'd post an update. The CD project is coming along nicely. Last weekend I went into the studio and recorded all the bass tracks. One neat thing to come of it, on Power of Darkness, I recorded one bass track with a lot of fills but wasn't really happy with. I recorded a second track with a straight bass line (didn't delete the first track) and wasn't happy either. Then it hit me, try both together - Perfect! It never occurred to me before to try double tracking a bass. Anyway, more evidence that the Spirit is behind this project (tenatively titled Voice of the Spirit, BTW). I tackle drums next.

I met with some muscians to start up the new group at church. I was disappointed in the turnout. We put an item in the bulliten but no one brought attention to it during announcements at Mass, which is why few people showed up. I was dissapointed a little in the drummer that showed up. He seemed a little to old for the style of music and said he doesn't listen to rock. Not sure I got a good vibe off of him. I set up auditions for Sunday evening as I want to jam with anyone interested to see if it will work out. I can usually tell very quickly if it's happening or not. I'm also trying to conact my old bandmate from Al's Neighbors. We discussed putting together a Christian group just before the band folded.

We did a bunch of Christmas shopping this weekend. Somehow we spent quite a bit of money but my wife seems to think we didn't get anything for anyone. Makes me wonder just what we bought. We also looked for a new sofa. We're redecorating the family room and the upolstry on the sofa is dead. It would cost over $1000 to reupolster it so we're getting a new one instead. Of course, the little lady would like leather and the only one we could find that we like is $2000. Figures. Anyway, I have to look at our decorating budget and see how much it will hurt.

Pretty much everything's in a normal mode right now. Not too much stress, no major things going on. The schedule this week is even light. I'll enjoy it now since I'm sure it won't last.