Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Reflections

It isn't the tree, or the presents.

It isn't the food (even though I love ham gravy).

It isn't the music or the parties or the snow on the ground.

It's the Savior.  And even though December 25th is most likely not His birthday, it is a day set aside to commemorate His birth. 

It's no secret to those who know me that I don't do well with the stress of the holiday season.  The rushing and buying and wrapping and baking and worrying about how many gifts we bought for each person and trying to make sure everything is "even and fair" gives me a hole in the pit of my stomach.

That's why I'm so very glad to have this week off, to relax with my family away from home, away from the tree, the gifts, the bills, the stress. 

We were able to truly focus, if only for a moment, on Jesus and His birthday.  Not the other garbage that normally surrounds Christmas.

And it has been very good.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

New York Pizzeria and Restaurant

On our way home from a concert in Edmeston today we stopped at a little Italian place in New Berlin, New York. 

From the moment our family walked in the door, we felt welcome to such a degree as I have not felt in a long, long time.  A table was prepared for us and we were seated without delay.  The staff was friendly, the atmosphere was warm, and the food was superb.

About the food:

As we are on a limited budget (my wife and I have 5 children), we generally order simple food without many frills.  Today was no exception.  Our family enjoyed 2 large cheese pizzas and a round of root beers.  Also, my wife and I split an order of bruschetta.

The bruschetta was prepared on a split loaf of small Italian bread.  The bread was toasted and seasoned.  Sweet cherry tomatoes, garlic and onion with fresh basil topped the bread.  It was delightful and fresh - very different from other recipes I've tried.

The pizza - the crust was hand-tossed.  Not even all the way around, but rustic and light nonetheless.  The sauce was extraordinary - fresh and chunky with just the right amount of oregano to make it pop.  The cheese (I don't remember what kind of cheese it was - I did ask) was creamy and soft without being overly greasy or gooey. 

All this at a price that makes me want to take my family back again and again. 

Thank you, New York Pizzeria and Restaurant!  You get two thumbs up!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful ....

Being thankful is a personal thing for many.  For some (myself included), thankfulness takes on a deeply personal meaning few others will ever understand. 

I'm thankful for a warm house and a comfortable bed.

For the elegant city lights as we approach the city.

For children and their cousins who stay up all night talking like old friends.

And a little girl who like to play with my flashlight.

For my dog, stupid as the day is long.

For a loud houseful of people.

For my father-in-law's coffee, even though it's been known to melt a spoon.

For plenty of food to eat.

For a beautiful, loving wife who does so much more than she realizes.

For my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Thank you, God, for all of these things.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Checkout to Remember

A few days ago I was at the grocery store.  There really isn't anything unusual about that, as I generally stop for groceries most days.  Sometimes I just have to pick up something small (a gallon of milk, a loaf of bread) and sometimes a larger order is required. 

This trip to the store differed from the norm, however, not in the items in my basket, but in the events that unfolded at register 1. 

You see, I try to make it a point to get to know the people who work in the stores in which I shop.  I know their names, where they go (or went) to school, the music they like, their political views, etc.  It's like being with friends every time I walk through the doors.

Anyway, As I was standing in the checkout line, one store employee came over to me and said, "I wanted to let you know that it has been a great privilege to serve you over the last few years.  This will be my last night of work here, and I didn't want you to leave without saying goodbye to you."

I asked the usual series of questions.  Where are you going?  What will you be doing?  Will you be moving there? 

I teared up at his words, partly because of his outstanding character, but mostly because it's unlikely that our paths will cross any time soon, and I'm gonna miss him.   

I wished him well, and we shared a handshake and a friendly (manly?) hug. He thanked me. 

"No," I said.  "It is I who should thank you."

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sandwiches are King!!

I know I haven't posted in a while.  It's a long story and I won't bore you with all the details.  Suffice it to say that I got a little busy with some "stuff," and couldn't devote much time to blogging.  But I'm back now (at least for the time being)!

So to kick things off, I would like to talk about sandwiches.  Sandwiches are truly one of my favorite foods, and it really doesn't matter what time of day it is.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, midnight snack,  it's all good.

Here are my top ten favorite sandwiches of all time (subject to change when I find a new favorite):

10. Lebanon Bologna and American Cheese

Pictured above on whole wheat bread, I prefer mine on white sandwich bread. Mayonnaise and sometimes a crisp leaf of iceberg lettuce.


9. Tuna Club Sandwich 

Of course, Byorek's Knotty Pine Restaurant prepared this sandwich perfectly ... a double layer of tuna salad, lettuce, tomato, and bacon.  The sandwich was so thick you couldn't fit it in your mouth.  Sadly, "The Pines" is now a parking lot, and my attempts to recreate this sandwich have never come to full fruition.  *sigh*


8. Turkey and Coleslaw on a Kaiser

AKA "Ruffed Grouse" sandwich.  I first had this beauty at Isaac's sandwich shop in Lancaster, PA.  We have since recreated it many times at home.  It's a great sandwich.


7. Chili Dog

Specifically, from Jimmy's Quick Lunch in Hazleton, PA.  Whenever we go the Hazleton to visit family, a trip to Jimmy's is a MUST.  Their dogs, rolls, and chili are specially made just for them - nop one else has the same chili dogs.


6. Barbecue

Some people call it a sloppy joe.  We always called it barbecue.  Sweet, tangy ground beef goodness on a hamburger bun. Mmmmmmm!!!


5. Egg Salad on Rye

Rye bread is a limited item in our house because I'm the only one who likes it.  However, my devious plans include teaching my children to love rye bread as much as I do.  This wonderful, eggy sandwich filler might be served on something other than whole wheat in the not too distant future.


4. Grilled Ham and Cheese 

Thinly shaved slices of deli ham and three different cheeses piled on Texas toast, grilled to perfection.  The Broad Street Deli used to do it the best, but I haven't been there in so long, I don't even know if it's still on the menu.


3. Cheeseburger

If this was the only food left on Earth, I'd probably be okay with that.  I love cheeseburgers, especially homemade from fresh ground beef.  Sometimes I top them with the traditional mustard, ketchup, pickles.  Sometimes it's A-1 steak sauce and mayo with a crisp leaf of lettuce and a thick slice of tomato.  ALWAYS grilled slightly under medium.  Yummy!!


2. BLT

What can I say that hasn't already been said about bacon?  Oh, by the way - Mayonnaise only.  NO mustard on my BLT.


And without further ado,

My Number 1 Sandwich is ...

Fluffer Nutter!!

On toast, of course.  The peanut butter and marshmallow fluff melt and ooze out from between the slices of toast.  Oh, yeah, Baby!  This is undoubtedly the undisputed king of sandwiches.  Two decadent ingredients melted together in an ooey gooey taste explosion!


Of course there are other sandwiches that almost made the list.  Things like, the Philly cheese steak, stromboli (technically a sandwich), peanut butter and jelly, chicken fajitas, tomato sandwich, baked bean sandwich, Thanksgiving sandwich, etc...

And let's not forget that the famous Boston creme donut is technically a sandwich, as is the jelly-filled donut and the eclair.  Think about it - flour based dough (fried instead of baked) with a filling (savory or sweet is of no consequence).  Voila! A sandwich.

What are some of your favorite sandwiches?

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Reality of Vertigo

You can read a book for a little while, but your eyes will get so heavy that you have to sleep.  And you will sleep; it isn't as though you have a choice. 

You can try to get out of your chair, but you will sit back down; it isn't as though you have a choice.

You can make dinner, but by the time it's ready, your appetite is gone, completely.

You can be famished, and sit down to eat a delicious meal, but half-way through the meal you feel nauseous.

You take a walk to the store (because driving is out of the question), but you have to stop several times to recoup your balance. 

You can read a few emails, but you must divert your eyes constantly to avoid your head crashing into the computer screen.

You are exhausted and off-balance all the time.  You feel stoned and useless because that's what vertigo does to your body.

You can't do simple things like mowing the lawn, walking your dog, riding your bicycle, or checking your email, at least not for longer than a minute or two.

This is my reality ... at least for now.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Quiet Cup

I love my morning coffee.  A nice, hot cup of java, slowly sipped from my Boston mug on the porch early in the morning as I read my daily Bible passage ... serene ... quiet ... bliss.

Enter the youngest daughter (5) and her book of stickers.

A whole new kind of bliss.


This coffee sure is good.  I can read later.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Dreaded Drawer Fronts

When natural disasters strike, things have to get done. One of those things is a complete kitchen remodel.  We've remodeled the kitchen twice in the last five years, neither time by choice. 

With the last remodel, the cabinets were delivered with the wrong drawer fronts.  They weren't horrible or anything, just wrong. 

With a few calls to the cabinet company and a few more visits to the vendor, the problem was solved and the correct drawer fronts were delivered.  On to the next issue:  Installation.

I am not - repeat NOT - a precision cabinet maker by any stretch of the imagination.  Whenever I can put off a finish carpentry job, I will. For a long, long time.  This job was no exception.  Weeks, perhaps a month (maybe even 2 months?) the drawer fronts sat there, staring at me, mocking me. 

Finally, last night, I installed them.  It took about an hour.  Not too bad for someone who is a clueless cabinet builder.  So what if they're crooked and have to be adjusted.  At least they're attached. 

The straightening is a job for another day.  (*sigh*)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Butt YOU Called ME ...

So, I got this call yesterday that went something like this:

Me:      Hello?
Sister:  Hello.
Me:      Oh, hi!  What's up?
Sister:   I don't know, you called me.
Me:      I did???  Ohh!!! I probably butt dialed you.  Sorry about that.

From that point we had a delightful conversation about some things that we really should have kept up with every few days.

I should tell you that I also butt dialed my wife a few days ago and inadvertently left her a rather unusual text message. Hmmmm .... This seems to be a pattern.

 The first time I ever butt dialed someone was from an amusement park ride. My poor friend could only hear a "swooshing" sound and the panicked screams of children.  That took a little 'splainin'.

Anyway, I don't know why it took my butt to get me off my butt and call my sister.  I should be calling them all at least every couple days.  I have to do better from now on and actually dial my siblings the old fashioned way - with my fingers.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

My Summer Top Ten List

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A lot of bloggers are posting lists these days.  "To do" lists, recipe lists, book lists, Christmas wish lists, "Top 10" this and that, etc.

Here is my contribution.  These are the top 10 summer time things that make me happy (in no particular order).

 1. Outdoor Christmas  Lights

2. A Hammock In The Shade

3. Morning Coffee On The Front Porch 
(cream and 2 sugars, please)

4. Autoharp Music (also on the front porch)

5. Campfires

6. Mojitos

7. Burgers On the Grill

8. Picnics

9. Walking in the Park

10. The Pool

So, there it is.  A bonafide top ten list from moi, Tenorboy.

... Later!

Read my other posts at Genuine Husband!  

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Poof Went The Dad And Out Went The Light

A sizzling noise.
A puff of smoke.
A large spark.
A small flame.
Then ... darkness.

*Cough, cough*  I emit yet another puff of smoke as I cough.

"That ....
was ....

So said my oldest boy as he watched me fry myself while attempting to change a GFCI outlet in our basement.

The outlet in question is the only thing that stands between the breaker and a fully lit kitchen, and I was determined to change the little bugger today.  The only problem is ..... well, there are several problems, actually.

First, I'm not sure that I own the correct tools for the job.  I used to have the right stuff, but that was in the pre-flood garage inventory.  I have absolutely no idea whether I own lineman's pliers anymore.

Secondly, the outlet is tucked away inside the basement ceiling, in a place that would take a professional contortionist to reach.

Thirdly, there isn't a light in that part of the basement because, well, my guess is that the light is somehow powered by a line coming from the blown outlet.

Finally, It's come to the point in my pathetic middle aged-ness that my eyes simply aren't strong enough to read the chart and shut off the correct breaker, nor to see where the wires are supposed to be place and secured.

Let's face it, even though my son rather enjoyed watching my hair stand on end and seeing me blow smoke from my mouth (he really does need to get out more), electrical work, especially the hard-to-reach variety, is best left to someone else.

I used to subscribe to the idea that I shouldn't do anything that is beyond my capabilities.  "There are people for that," I used to say.

Perhaps I should start saying it again.  Before something bad happens.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Lardy, Lardy!! Is That A Chip???

Everywhere I go there are a gazillion varieties of baked potato chips.  I've tried them.  Not all of them, but enough that I can render the following informed opinion:


No matter how you slice it, a potato chip must be fried to be enjoyed, at least by me.  It isn't that I;m a potato chip snob or anything.  Quite the opposite, actually.  I enjoy all kinds of chips in many different flavors. 

The problem as I see it (more like taste it) is more a matter of flavor.  Specifically, the full mouth feel you get from a fried chip.  I suppose it depends on the fat that is used to fry the spuds.  The best ones are fried in lard (Grandma Utz in the brown bag ...... Oh. My. Goodness).  The worst ones are, of course, baked. 

I know, I know.  The baked ones are healthier.

Oh, yeah?  I don't really care.  All the baked chips I have ever tried were void of any semblance of flavor, with the exception of a slight hint of salt (and I mean slight).  Most of them aren't even made from an actual potato slice; rather, they are formed out of pulverized potatoes.  It's like the potato industry's answer to "pink slime." 

Anyway, my vote is in, and I vote for fried (in lard, thank you)!  Oh, yeah, and what I said about not being a potato snob is true.  I'm not a potato chip snob, but I am a purist, so when you pass the chips, please be sure they are the traditional, salted variety, sans vinegar, sugar, bbq, sour cream, or any of the other gobbledy goop they spray on 'em these days. 

BTW - Ridges are okay.

... Later!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Best Answer ... Really???

Once in a while I hang out over at Yahoo Answers to see if I can impart some of my fascinating knowledge on the rest of the world.  Really, I just like to see if there are a few questions I can answer, to help someone out.

I've done this a couple times a week for about a year now.

I usually read a bunch of stupid questions from people who are just there to get a rise out of the crowd, or are seeking some kind of weird attention.  Sometimes I find a question about which I actually have some expertise and can offer constructive tips and useful information.  Other times I utter an opinion.

In any case, people (I do not know these people) vote on the answers to some questions.

Well, today one of my answers was chosen as the "best" answer to a question.

I really wish I could be proud.  I would be proud if I had answered a question that had significance in the world, or even in the neighborhood.

What was the question?

Which is better - a pop tart or a toaster strudel?
 My answer?

It depends. If you need portability, like if you have to take it with you and eat it on the go, then pop tarts are definitely the right choice. If you want better flavor, texture, overall quality, then toaster strudels are the pastry of choice.
 Can't you just feel the intellect oozing from these sentences?

Of all the questions I've read and all the answers I've written, THIS is my best work.  Blimey!!  I'm going to bed.

... Later!

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Just Let Me Get Up In The early Morn' ...

There's an old song that goes

Just let me get up in the early morn,
Just let me get up in the early morn,
Just let me get up in the early morn,
And I'll never sleep late anymore.
That's what has been happening to me.  Here I am at 5:45 on a Saturday morning, reading my Bible and going through my blog list and my prayer list.  I don't have to go to work, nor do I really have to be up this early. 

However, I am really beginning to love this time in the morning, when family is still asleep, to shower and dress, and start my day in quiet reflection, calling upon the Lord to help me focus.  I like to pray and read, and sit quietly and think. 

The day somehow becomes a whole lot easier.  It's becoming a habit.  A good habit.

... Later!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Breakfast Anyone?

This morning I was treated to a delicious breakfast.  It wasn't a breakfast I would have made for myself, nor was it a fancy, gourmet treat from some exclusive bake shoppe.

Rather, it was a piece of toast, broken in half and smeared with peanut butter.  Not exactly elegant, but made with love.

My 7 year old son decided to make breakfast for everyone, and doing the best he knew how, made what he knew how to make.

As he proudly presented his masterpiece to me, I raved about what a big boy he is becoming, and what a big responsibility it is to make breakfast for his family.   He radiated with pride and accomplishment.

Was it a breakfast I would have made for the family?  No, but it was the best breakfast I've had in a long, long time.

... Later!

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Friday, April 6, 2012

My Little Brother

I try to keep work related topics out of my blog, but today I'm going to make an exception. 

I have a student who has consistently gone the extra mile for me.   I won't mention his name, but many of you know who he is.  He is now a senior, and he is an inspiration to his friends and classmates.  The younger students look up to him as an example.  He is strong in the Lord and he isn't afraid to say so. 

He doesn't hesitate to help whenever I need him.  He never asks what or why, he simply says, "yes, I'll be there." Also, he isn't afraid to call me up short when I deserve a kick in the rear end.  An exceptional kid.

Yesterday, knowing I was not at the top of my game, he just stepped in and began running the auditorium sound board, doing mic checks, making sure the talent show participants had everything they needed.  He just knew that I was stressed out, and he cancelled his day (with the permission of his teachers, of course) and stayed in the auditorium all day. 

He's sort of like the little brother I never had.  He's going to graduate in June, and I'm going to miss him something awful. 

I didn't want too much time to go by without mentioning this kid and what an inspiration he is to me. 

That's all I wanted to say.

... Later.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pink Slime

"It ain't right, I tell ya.  They're putting that crap in our food and it just ain't right."

"Pink slime," as it has come to be known, is used to "stretch" ground beef to seemingly create more product, thereby making it more economical for consumers.  

Translation:  Its a filler that makes hamburger cheaper by the pound.

But, should we really be afraid of this stuff?  Let's examine the facts.

"Pink slime," also known as lean finely textured beef (LFTB) or boneless lean beef trimmings (BLBT),  is comprised of  finely ground beef scraps and connective tissue which are mechanically removed from the fat, processed (ground), heated, and treated with ammonia gas or citric acid to kill E. coli, salmonella, and other bacteria. 

In other words, it's beef. B-E-E-F, Beef.  Yes, it's treated with ammonia gas or citric acid (last I knew citric acid was a GOOD thing) to kill bacteria.  Bacteria that kill people.

Oh, and by the way, the "other" beef ... you know, the good stuff?  The beef that isn't made from scraps?  it also is treated to kill bacteria.  The industry prefers to use the term "intervention processes" when referring to the treatments used to kill bacteria on the non-scrap beef. 

Some interventions include nothing more than a hot water wash, while others are more thorough, such as acid washes (usually organically derived acids) and anti-microbial sprays.  Click here to read the entire report.  

I don't know about you, but I'm awfully glad the beef industry takes measures to kill E.coli before it reaches my dinner table.

As for the so-called "pink slime" ...
  1. It is, and always has been BEEF.
  2. It's treated to kill bacteria, just like all the other meat we consume.  Last I heard, that was a GOOD THING.
  3. It is poor stewardship of our resources to discard perfectly salvageable scraps that we can otherwise use for the greater good. 
God gave us dominion over the animals so we would have food to eat.

Now ........ How would you like your hamburger cooked?

P.S.  Here's a little secret about the pink slime they use to make chicken nuggets.  It's really ....... CHICKEN!!!!!


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Baptism: Believe, Complete This Form, and We'll Get Back To You

A couple nights ago I attended a baptism service at a local church.  One of my students was being baptized that evening, as well as my “adopted” cousin, Gary.  I love baptisms – I love the joy on the faces when they come up out of the water, I love to hear their testimonies, I love knowing that the Holy Spirit is present in the room when we are gathered to witness proclaiming publicly their decisions to follow Christ.  It is truly a good thing, a holy thing.  It is the right thing to do.

However (c’mon - you knew there’d be a “however”) …

*FYI - The following rant will most likely offend some of my very good friends.  I apologize if you are offended, but if you really know me, you realize by now that I am utterly incapable of keeping my big mouth shut.  Sooo ... I'm gonna say what I'm gonna say and let the chips fall (and they will fall).  Deal with it.

(begin rant ….)

I just don’t get all the hoops people are forced to jump through on the way to the baptism bathtub?  Many churches (including my own) have a way of making it a major pain in the royal rumpus to get dunked. 

I sort of get that people are afraid of accepting non-believers into membership.  Yeah, OK.  I get that.  I really do.  But we’re talking about baptism, not membership.  It should be simple and immediate. 

In Acts 2:38, Peter says, … “Repent, ye, and be baptized.”

I couldn’t agree more.  Short, simple.  No forms to fill out.  One person, one God, one decision. 

Acts 2:38 DOESN’T say this:

  1. Repent.
  2. Prove your repentance to everyone.
  3. Go to an approved church for several months so they can see that you have repented.
  4. Sign up for the “baptism class.”
  5. Attend said “baptism class” (usually 2 Saturdays)
  6. Upon completion of “baptism class,” complete an “interest card.”
    1. “Interest card” states that you are “interested” in becoming baptized.
  7. When the deacons and elders schedule the next baptism, complete the “baptism application.”
  8. Schedule an interview with the elder/deacon board.
  9. If you are approved, then be baptized at a scheduled time.

I happened to be a member of our elder/deacon board when “Thing 1” and “Thing 2” (my two oldest children) were baptized.  They went through the whole “baptism class” thing, etc…. and I kept my big mouth shut … until it came to the “interview.”

I’ll admit that my being on the board afforded me an advantage that others wouldn’t necessarily enjoy.  I allowed the board to fire two (and ONLY two) questions at my kids:

  1. Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? And
  2. Can you hold your breath under water?

I wasn’t really even keen about asking them question #1, because after all, aside from oneself and God, whose business is it anyway?   
Did Philip insist that the Eunich be interviewed and schooled before he was baptized?  On the contrary, he saw some water and asked to be baptized, and Philip stopped the chariot and baptized him right then and there.

(*GASP!!)  You mean he wasn’t approved by the board first?!!??  Did he at least take the class?  Does he have his baptism certificate on file with a a proper church (you know, the “right kind” of church – not one of those other churches)?!  

You know what?  When the time comes I’m gonna baptize my own kids and I'm not gonna make them fill out any paperwork.  Maybe it'll in the ocean, maybe in the lake, maybe in the bathtub.  Whenever they decide they’re ready, we’ll find some water and just do it.

(…end rant)

… Later.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Just Give Me A Commode and a Laptop

Some people were talking at work today about a most disgusting and unusual subject (figures I would be involved in this discussion).  It was quite a conversation starter that lasted the better part of the morning and took place in several locations throughout the campus.  It all centered on this question:
If you knew without a shadow of doubt that you were going to be stricken with a stomach bug within the next 24 hours, and you were given a choice, would you choose (a) the pukes or (b) the squirts (diarrhea).  You must defend your choice.
While this may seem a no-brainer to most people, I was shocked at the number of people who prefer puke over diarrhea.  I happen to be on the squirt side myself, for several reasons.
  1. I don't like the "try to talk yourself out of it" routine that invariably happens several minutes prior to the big hurl.
  2. When I have the squirts, I can still eat whatever I want, and it will not come back up.
  3. I can take my laptop into the bathroom and sit on the throne for five and a half hours before the battery dies (longer if I remember to bring the charger).
  4. I can definitely live without the chunks that stick around between my throat and sinuses after a good heave-ho. 
There are many other reasons, I'm sure, but these are sufficient for me to make my choice.  What about you?

... Later!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Long Walk

I was angry.  More angry than I've been in a long, long time.

Last night two of my children, while playing, poked a series of small holes in the wall of their bedroom.  A bedroom in a historic, 150 year-old home that we don't own.

No, it wasn't a wall that had original 1864 this or that.
Yes, I can repair the damage.

But it was the straw that broke this camel's back. I was pissed off.


First, let me frame this incident by saying that, since we moved in here six months ago I have laid down a set of rules in this house that have, to date, gone by the wayside.  So much so, that I gave up trying to enforce my silly little rules some time ago.


Fast-forward to last night.  When the children poked holes in a wall, thinking nothing of it, I lost my temper, and lost it good.  I behaved like a lunatic until I decided it was time to remove myself from the situation.

I put on a jacket and walked out the door.  I turned left and walked through the park and kept walking and walking and walking.  I walked for almost a full hour, until I thought about my wife, and how she was back at the house, dealing with the uncontrollable little monsters we call kids.

Then I started to feel a little guilty.  I didn't tell anyone where I was going - I just left.  "My wife must be wondering where I am!  She must be very worried."

I decided it was time to go home.  I made my way through the streets, feeling somewhat uncomfortable and ashamed.  I arrived at the door and opened it.  The house was quiet.  I removed my coat and hung it in the usual place (over my chair).  I walked into the next room where my wife was busy typing on her laptop.

"I'm sorry," I said.

"Are you OK?" she asked.

"Yeah.  I guess I just needed to go for a long walk to cool off."

"You went for a walk???  We thought you were in the bathroom!"

... Yeah. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Announcing A New Blog!!

When I began Tenorboy Journal I had in mind ... well ... nothing in particular, really.  I didn't have a focus, didn't have a direction.  Now I find myself gravitating toward an interest in blogging about marriage topics.  To do this properly, however, I strongly feel the need to develop a new blog earmarked specifically for that purpose.

Therefore I am proud to announce Genuine Husband, a brand new blog for and about husbands and wives. 

Tenorboy Journal will remain online as an outlet for my personal blathering and spewing and other non-essential, non-education, non-sense that decides to excrete from my twisted, disgusting mind.  But for the marriage / husband / wife stuff, check the new blog, and check it often!

... Later! 


Monday, March 5, 2012

Do I Look Stoopit?

A while ago there was a rather heated discussion on a men's forum about Bible translations, and the virtues of one translation over another, etc. 

I have to admit to lurking for quite some time before I became properly annoyed and had to add my two cents to the discussion (argument?).  I posed this question:

"Does anyone know if someone is currently working on a word-for-word translation that is not KJV, but one that is written in language that the average Joe (a.k.a. "me") will understand without the need for an easier-to-read companion translation to help with comprehension?"
Wow, what a hurricane of high falutin garbage came back to me in the form of so-called answers to a yes or no question.  Stuff like this:
"The KJV is the only text that supports Strong's Exhaustive Concordance."
(Thank you, yes.  I know.)

"Ultimately, there is no better source than the original text, and also no replacement for the Holy Spirit."
(Soooo ... does that mean I have to learn Greek and Hebrew before I can really read the Bible? Shyeah, right.) BTW - I agree, there is NO replacement for the Holy Spirit.

"The KJV is written at about the 12th grade reading level. the NIV is written at about the 7th grade level. Other translations vary. This may make a difference in the one you choose as a family translation."
(Duh - I gess I is was am stoopit with my 7th grade reading level.  Thanks for that.) :-p~~~

"Obviously, we value education and scholarly study of the scriptures. But not all believers are as well equipped to read and COMPREHEND the Word of God in it's more challenging translations. There is a reason Paul writes about the difference between milk and solid food." 
(Uh  .... Did you just insult me?)

"If it will help you, pick up a few commentaries. I like Matthew Henry - he uses KJV and explains it well. I also have Young's, Barnes' notes and several others on CD. If you can afford it, get a copy of PC Study Bible, it is great. I've got that and Bibleworks, but use Bibleworks more for Greek/Hebrew studies and my version only has one commentary. PC Study Bible has 5 or 6. I also have several versions of the Bible so I can cross check translations/interpretations. My advice is to use several, but have the KJV as your baseline for comparison. Understand though, that the KJV is not perfect and searching through Greek/Hebrew actually gives you a more full understanding. I also have a Hendricks Parallel Bible which has KVJ, NKJV, NIV and NLT. This allows me to see all of these in a verse by verse comparison side by side. However, it doesn't have notes like a Life Application or Scofield KJV does."
(Thanks.  I have commentaries.  And concordances.  And a LOT of translations and paraphrases.  And e-Sword on my laptop, so I can read 4 different translation side-by-side with original Greek and Hebrew translation for each and every single word and comma.)

Thanks for all your help, guys.  I'll just let you all talk amongst yourselves.  Maybe I'll check back in a couple months to see if anyone read my question. 

In any case, for many years my go-to translation has been the NIV (New International Version).  I like it for it's straightforward language and simple paragraph form.  I realize that it is a "thought-for-thought" translation and not a "word-for-word" translation like KJV (King James Version), but I also believe that God is more concerned with whether I follow the principles He has laid out for me and less concerned with which translation I read.  I don't plan on being a scholar, just a follower who leads my wife and family in the best way I can (*side note - my family reads KJV).  It would just be nice to have a simpler word-for-word translation, if one exists, that's all.

Anyway, if in my lifetime someone completes a word-for-word translation of the Bible from the original text, in plain English that the average Joe can understand, I will be one of the first people in line to buy it.   

... Later!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What I Did On My First Snow Day

It's 7:51 PM and I'm in my jammies.  I should clarify by saying that I'm still in my jammies.

You see, today was a snow day.  That means that the some of the world's finest educators (like me) did not have to go into work.  Hence the jammies.

It's not that I was completely lazy today.  I did manage to accomplish about half of the things my wife asked me to do.
  • sliced sausage and added it to the crock pot for dinner
  • made lunch 
  • put the youngsters in for a nap
  • ordered new glasses for the oldest boy 
  • read with 7 year old son (after I forgot about it all day only to be reminded of it before dinner)
What else did I do today?  I drank coffee and read. A lot.  I watched two movies with the kids.  I took the dog out (in my bathrobe and snow boots, at 6AM).  I played and sang, youtubed and facebooked.

But I did not get dressed.

Ahhh ... snow days.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Awesome Blog Contest Award


I am excited and humbled to accept an award for my work on Tenorboy Journal. In the spirit of the Awesome Blog Contest Award, here are the ABCs of a man called Tenorboy ...

A = Autoharp
B = Barbecue 
C =  Christian
D = Dad
E = Example
F = Frustrated
G = God
H = Home
I = Intimacy
J = Jesus
K = Known
L = Lazy
M = Musician
N = Noisy
O = Obstinate
P = Piano
Q = Quirk
R = Relax
S = Shy
T = Teacher
U = Unworthy
V = Vacation
W = Wanderer
X = Xylophone
Y = Yearning
Z = Zig-zag

I plan to nominate some of my fellow bloggers for this award, after I've had some time to contemplate.

... Later!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Doctors ... What do They Know? (Part 2)

4 weeks.  That's how long I've had bronchitis.  4 weeks.  I went to the clinic, had the chest x-ray, blood work. I went to the pharmacy for the z-packs, the inhalers, the cough syrup. 

All in all this bronchitis cost me about $150.  I'm not sure how much it cost the health insurance company (don't care, really). 

Still, I felt like crap (with a capital f). 

It all began to change this weekend. 

You see, for a few years my wife (she's into herbs, ya know) has been telling me about the benefits of natural medicine.  Well, since I was going to have a few days off and I wouldn't have to be around people very much, I decided to try the garlic cure.

1 clove of garlic every four hours for three days.

(*SIDE NOTE:  My wife said it was a bit difficult to sleep next to me, as I was emitting a "certain aroma." - hehe)

The first day everything seemed the same, but I remained faithful to the regimen. 

Yesterday morning everything felt different - looser and more productive.  The congestion moved from the back of my throat to my nose, where I was able to blow it out all day long.

This morning, my chest was slightly tight, but not anywhere near the sensation of the past four weeks.  The cough was very productive, and the sinuses, though full, were quite manageable and breathable.  I kept up the regimen.

This evening I am very comfortable, breathing normally, with a slight cough, as though I am in the final stages of the common cold.  I will take one more dose of garlic before bedtime, and see what happens in the morning. 

A four week case of acute bronchitis / borderline pneumonia. 

Cured with a dollar's worth of garlic. Thanks, Honey!

Doctors ... What do they know??

... Later!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Google Anyone?

Google Analytics.  The indispensable tool that helps bloggers like myself understand their readership.  With Google Analytics, I have access to statistics about my page that I can use to fine tune things like content and writing skills. 

Google analytics provides equal amounts of useful and useless information (who cares how many visitors use Firefox as their browser?).  The weekly report tells me which towns are reading which posts, how long they remain on the page and on the site, which other posts they read, if any, as well as whether they came to the blog directly or used a search engine. 

At the very least, it is fun to know which topics are popular and unpopular, and which ones will draw the most ire from folks.  And, although it isn’t very useful, it’s interesting to know who reads and who just clicks around.

I’ve been using Google analytics for about 6 months and I’ve discovered some astonishing (and not so) information about Tenorboy Journal.

  • My most popular posts are about pain and suffering.  Are my readers really into watching me suffer?  Apparently so.  Rock on, my friends.
  • Second most popular posts are holiday-related stuff, you know the “what-we-did-on-Christmas” posts.
  • The least popular posts are the informational articles.  When I demonstrate my expertise on any given subject on any given day, y’all don’t like it.  Too bad for you, no? 
  • Monday is a bad day to post.  Items that are posted on Mondays get little to no attention.  But, I didn’t start blogging to get attention. (I didn’t??) No, I didn’t.  Regardless, the lack of interest in  Monday is in itself … interesting.
  • People from my hometown are regular readers.  People from my current town don’t read it at all.  Oh, sure they click on it and click off, just to be polite, but how much can you actually read when you spend an average of 5 seconds on a page?  Oh, well.   
  • I have a large readership overseas.  Maybe I should apply for a job in Japan.  Are they hiring bloggers???
  • No one reads the posts in which I keep a close guard on my attitude and vocabulary.  The more “me” I am, the more popular the post (more readers), and the longer people stay on the blog before they exit.  Unfortunately, I am not always able to unleash the full “me.”   Some people would be offended (*GASP!*).  Perhaps I could be me in Japan??

What, then, should I do with this information?

Darned if I know

… Later.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Doctors ... What Do They Know?

The common cold.  For many people it comes a few times a year.  The sniffling, sneezing, watery eyes, post-nasal drip, and of course, the cough, cough, cough. 

My latest cold had all the earmarks of the normal affair, to a point.  The difference was in the cough.  It wouldn't quit - it just kept going and going and going ... for two weeks.

I must digress for a moment and tell you when I caught colds in the past, the doctor would invariably tell me that my ailment was viral in nature, and therefore no prescription was available to help me get better.  I always had to "wait it out" and make the best of it. 

So, you can understand my reluctance to see the doctor about my two-week old cough. 

Finally, I could take it no longer, and I went to the doctor.

Well, after a swab and a chest x-ray it was determined that I was well on my way to pneumonia.  Thankfully the infection didn't get that far.  It confined itself to the bronchial region. 

Acute bronchitis.

What does it mean?

At least 10 days of antibiotics, disgusting cough syrup (with codeine), and an inhaler.  Plus lots of rest and fluids (OK, so I got the fluid thing figured out, but I'm not so sure about the rest).

Anyway, I'm somewhat out of commission for now, but I'll spring back.  I always do.

... Later.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Random Saturday Morning Thoughts

It's Saturday morning, and as I sit in my recliner with a cup of coffee and the laptop, I find myself strangely calm in light of several tempests that are stirring in and around my life.  It's funny how the anxiety caused by trials and the helplessness caused by the "There's-absolutely-nothing-you-can-do-about-it" factor seemingly balance out one another, creating an over all "ahhhhh."

Or it could be that I've finally gotten to the point where I just don't give a rat's ass.

Some thoughts on this week

* * *
SLO (Student Learning Objectives) - NYS has adopted this idea hook, line, and sinker.  It stinks.  It comes with more paperwork than a ten-year IRS audit, and I predict that it will implode under it's own weight before it gets off the ground.  That said, we STILL have to go through it and produce an SLO (part of our annual performance review) before September.

"No, we're not making you teach to a test."  Yeah.  What ever.

* * *
Insurance companies cooperate ONLY after they are threatened with viable legal action.  Unfortunately that is what it took for ours to come through with a check - a check that was written to us AND our mortgage company.  Nice - just keep jumping through those hoops.

* * *
When grown-up siblings fight with each other, it is U-G-L-Y.  That is all.

* * *
When I grow up I want to be a beach bum.  But without the beach (I hate the beach.  LOVE the water, hate the beach).  I'd like to just hang out and have fun for the rest of my life.  I've tried it and found that I'm quite good at it.  I think, nay, I am sure that I would be stunning in that career.

* * *
The longer I live in this big, beautiful, drafty, old historic house,  the more I appreciate the beauty of our little house with its postage stamp garden and quaint picket fence.  It isn't that I don't appreciate the beauty of this place, or the convenience of living downtown, or the fact that our family is together.  It's just that enough is enough already.  I want to go home.

That's all for now.  You may return to your regularly scheduled lives.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Of Checks and Dignity ...

OK, so it has now been 4 months since the flood adjuster came to evaluate the damage to our house from Tropical Storms Irene and Lee, and so far ... no check.

Wait, that isn't entirely true.  We did get an advance and a loan from the credit union, with which we were able to purchase a furnace.  Now we have an installation bill hanging over us (underlined and highlighted in blue this month, to serve as a delightful reminder that my credit score is plummeting with each overdue bill). 

I call the insurance agency a couple times a week, and I stop by whenever I go to Sidney for the mail.  They can only tell me that there has been some movement, and that checks are beginning to be issued (I hate the grammar of that sentence, but I tried it a couple other ways, and they turned out equally yucky if not worse) Sorry for the digression ...

This evening I emailed my assemblyman to complain about the insurance company and the unfairness of the whole situation.  I figure I've kicked this donkey everywhere else, now I'm going to kick it in the ass (no offense intended to Assemblyman Lopez) to see if it moves.


The part that bothers me the most about this situation is not the fact that we aren't back in our home.  It isn't that I'm afraid the house won't be repaired, or even the amount of time it is taking.  

What bothers me is that, every time someone makes a point of telling me what I should be doing, or that I'm not doing enough, or that So-And-So got HIS check 2 months ago ... I feel a little "less." Less of a husband and father, less competent, less courageous, less ... just "less." 

I probably shouldn't feel that way, because I know what I have been doing to remedy the situation.  I'm trying REAL hard to be brave and to not bother others with my misfortune,  you know, go about my business and leave the rest to God. 

... Later!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Nana's Noodles

I decided to write down some memories from my childhood before I forget them.  I want a record of the events that happened during my life, so that my children will be able to piece together a history of their old man and his somewhat eclectic past.

This story is about my grandmother on my father's side.

Nana made noodles.  Egg noodles, to be precise.  She would announce, seemingly to the entire world, that she would be making noodles this week.  Then she would be incommunicado until the project was completed.

I remember walking into her house one time in the midst of "noodle week."  Her dining room table, kitchen table, coffee table, kitchen counters, and several folding game tables were covered with linen towels, top with noodles that were dusted with flour, in various stages of the drying process.  Nana was busy in the kitchen, placing noodles in paper lunch bags, then folding the top of the bags and stapling them closed.  On each bag she used a black crayon to write the person's name and the number of bags that person was to receive.

She sold each bag of noodles for half a dollar.  Of course, our noodles were free, as were those for her close friends.  She made a fabulous egg noodle - not too thick, not too thin - and we knew, without a doubt, that Mom would be making her signature beef noodle soup with Nana's homemade noodles.

I never really thought about the fact that Nana would sell her noodles by the bagful.  As a kid, I figured that she just loved to make noodles.  It wasn't until later that I realized that she was selling them to earn extra cash for things like, oh, Christmas presents, birthday presents, a new stove? 

You see, the endowment my grandfather left her was enough to keep her well into her retirement years.  But Nana lived far longer than that, longer than the money in her annuities.  She was resourceful and strong, and knew how to make ends meet, even into her 80's.  She never wanted to depend on anyone for her financial upkeep, and never wanted to be indebted to anyone.  She was a cool old lady.

They were great noodles.


Friday, January 6, 2012

My Hero: April 28, 1930 - January 6, 2011

My hero went to Heaven one year ago today.  It seems like it was just yesterday in some ways, and like a distant memory in others.  For those of you who knew my father, you know what an honest, kind, gentle man he was.  You also know his highly evolved, warped sense of humor. He was the best Dad ever. 

For those of you who didn’t know him very well or not at all, here is a small glimpse of the man ….

  • He knew which restaurants had broccoli soup on any given day, and he knew how much it cost.
  • Dunkin donuts - A glazed donut and a cup of coffee.  Every morning.  And a dozen assorted for the family on Sunday morning.
  • “Horse Shit.”  It was his favorite thing to say when he disagreed with someone.
  • He loved Victoria’s butter creams (milk chocolate, not dark), and those little bags of cheese waffles.  He kept a secret stash of them in his desk drawer at the office. 
  • When in doubt, “throw a tarp over it.”
  • He cleaned the kitchen whenever he was upset.
  • He shopped for groceries every day.  Alone.  He once told me it helped him clear his head.
  • He took Taffy (our Collie-Irish Setter mix) for a walk every night.  After Taffy died, he still went for the same walk, almost every night.
  • He loved canned peaches and spaghettios.
  • Wednesday was auction day, come hell or high water.
  • He didn’t have it easy in the business world.  Because of some decisions that were made before he inherited the business, Dad spent a lot of energy and cash making good on those decisions while other insurance agents were raking in wads of money.  In the 12 years that I worked for him, I saw first-hand the way a misguided decision could affect future generations.  Enough said.
  • Many days he was so busy with his paperwork that he would forget to inhale his cigarette. There it was (Camel- no filter), hanging from his lip with at least two inches of ash on the end of it.
  • He made sure the family vehicles were full of gas, and that they were parked in the most convenient spot, according to the times everyone had to leave the house in the morning.
  • He could take a sheet of plywood and a can of pink paint, and turn it into the cutest play oven you’ve ever seen.
  • He had a highly evolved (and somewhat twisted) sense of humor, and could make anyone feel good, just by being near him.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.  He was the most generous, kind, gentle man I ever knew.  It is my deep desire to live up to his example, and to impart his legacy of kindness and generosity to my children. 

I miss you, Dad.  Save a place for me.  See you later!!