We followed you
When we were young,
We would follow you around the house
We would go from room to room,
Crawling or toddling, as children do
We didn’t know where you were going,
Or where the journey would end
We simply knew,
We wanted to follow you
We were scattered severally
Across a ten year span
So, while some crawled, some walked
But each of us, in our own way
You never really acknowledged
That you knew how closely we watched
Or how hard we tried to follow
But I am sure you knew
And you led, and we followed
Some of us, or just one of us
So bold in our teenage rebellion
Promised we would never walk your paths
We would blaze our own trails
In opposite or perhaps obstinate directions
Not realizing that in doing so
We were following you
You taught us to travel
And follow our own courses
You gave us more than you ever had
You didn’t change our diapers
Or feed us our meals
While some doctor of figuring out reasons
Would have a field day with those
Still we never doubted your love
And still, we followed you
A while back
You stepped through a door
And we could follow you no more
At least not for a long while
But, you left a trail
A pattern if you will
A shining example
While we cannot follow you as closely
As when we crawled behind your heels
We can still follow you
We can follow your example
We can follow your life
Which you lived fully and openly
We can follow your words
Which you shared without hesitation
We can follow your heart
Which you gave without reservation
We can follow your faith
Which was manifest in everything you did
You lived right
You left too soon
When my day comes
I have the same faith
I have the same course
I have followed as you followed
We have followed you
December 22, 2007
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
We followed you
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Christmas is about stress. Boy, do we need stress.
There is stress about what present to get for this one and that one. Tammy will tell you that I increase that stress because I never want anything. If someone asks what I want, I will tell him or her just that, nothing. I really do not mean to be frustrating in that. Dad was the same way. If he needed something, he bought it. Therefore, he needed nothing, basically. He was hard to buy for. I am a lot like him in that, I suppose.
Then, there are the money issues. It is an American tradition to spend more than you can afford at Christmas time. In that, we are just like most. We will spend more than we should. The spirit of Christmas giving captures us and we always want to give more. We want the kids to have a good Christmas.
In spite of all that has happened this year, we are still happy. We want to share that happiness to those we love and those that surround us. Our lives are still touched by all that has came to pass. My oldest said something about Christmas being different this year because of dad’s passing. I thought about it and decided that every Christmas is different each year. Each year, we would gather at dad and mom’s house on Christmas Eve. Every year, there would be someone or so new in the crowd. There would be a new boyfriend or girlfriend. There would be a new husband or new wife. There would be new babies.
This year will be different again. There will be new boyfriends, girlfriends, hubbies, wives, and babies. However, this year, there will be minuses as well, especially for Tammy and I. Chella stated that everyone in our house lost a father this year. It was a stunning statement. So, Christmas will be very different this year.
There will be presents. There will be joy. There will be singing. There will be family. There will be happiness. There will be celebration. There will be giving. There will be receiving. There will be eating. There will be gathering. And, there will be sadness for the missing ones.
This Christmas, like all the other Christmases in my life will come and go. It will provide some joy and some sorrow. It will bring some smiles and some tears. It will be one more good reason to gather with family.
Merry Christmas to you … and to yours …
And a Happy New Year !
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Thank you for kind words.
It has been a dickens of a year. As it slowly grinds to a close, we can only hope for a better next year. It has been bleak, but there have been bright spots. There have been new births and new adventures. There have been losses, but we are still here, and we are still standing. We may wobble or limp on occasion, but, we are still walking.
There is still a sun shining in our lives. It shines brightly.
We will come through this. We may be scathed. We may be knocked around. However, we will still emerge victorious.
Christmas is coming soon. It won't be the same, but, then again, it never is.
I will post soon with much more to say. For now, I will say that I am alive and kicking.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
My book is now available thru the publishers website. I got an email from the publisher telling me it was now available for purchase.
The url for ordering is:
I got the email as we were driving to Florida for the funeral of the kids dad.
The family is telling us that Tammy is not allowed to attend. The family says there is a list of people allowed to attend. The kids boyfriends are not allowed (according to the contact.) S's daughter, his granddaughter, is supposedly not on the list. It is such a travesty. They have completely ignored what R would have wanted. They are using his funeral to hurt the family members they don't like.
What a bunch.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
This afternoon, we were in the sitting room. I was working on some grading for my classes at school, and was about to show Nick some pictures Sierra wanted him to see, that were on my computer. The phone rings, and it is the kids grandfather's number. He is calling to tell us that the kids Dad, Tammy's ex, has committed suicide.
These kids have been through so much. They got very close to my parents. Dad's death was a monumental loss to them .. Then Tammy's dad dies .. Then my grandmother .. Then my great aunt .. Then our next door neighbor .. Then Tammy's grandmother .. Then another of my great aunts .. and now this ....
In light of it all
No one would be shocked
Some would even nod
And say it was expected
It isn’t as if life
Gave me a break
At all this year
It would almost be easy
But it wouldn’t be me
Surrounded by the dark
Though the light fights
It seems the darkness
Will not be denied
It will have its day
Have been colossal
Depending on the person
There have been dads
And great grandmothers,
And great aunts,
And even a neighbor
That have walked
Into that great unknown
And each journey
Has taken our hearts
And our spirits
And lain open our souls
And robbed us of strength
In light of it all
No one would be shocked
Some would even nod
And say it was expected
It would almost be easy
To give up
But it wouldn’t be me
It amazes me
How much we lean
On these pillars
In our lives
As I look around me
There are plenty of new gaps
But still, there are pillars
And I can still lean
And then I see
There are those
Leaning on me
It would almost be easy
But, it wouldn’t be me
That just ain’t me
For the kids ...
November 25, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
However, in that same year long time frame, there have been shining moments as well.
In December, we welcomed Abigail Kennedy to our small but growing list of grandchildren.
In June, we welcomed the six week early arrival of Cloe Danielle.
In August, we began the publishing process to have my own baby, "Journey Into Darkness." It is scheduled to arrive by the end of November or the first of December.
Add to that, that on any given day, I can call or find any of my seven children (yes, I do claim them all.) Every day I am surrounded by the love of those around me. Everyday, the tall redhead finds ways to show me how much she loves me and gives me room to fall more deeply in love with her.
You can keep that day eraser away from my year. I'll take the hard with the pleasant. I'll keep the sorrow stored neatly beside the joy. I will be thankful, for while I did lose a few this year, I had the joy of knowing them for many years.
I am thankful today, as I try to be every day. I am thankful for the things left to me. I am thankful that I can feel the loss and can tell the difference. I am thankful that we are adding to family and making new friends, even in the midst of our losses. I am thankful for so many positive changes in my life. I am thankful to God for His Love, His Grace, and His Mercy.
I am thankful for you.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Then there was a brief respite.
Fast forward to October. Tammy's grandmother dies. Two weeks later (Sunday) my Mom calls me to tell me that the last remaining (I think) of my great aunts has died. So, you can see that it has been a very tough year, by any standards.
One of the things that changed when Dad died was one of my favorite holiday traditions. Every year on Christmas Eve, we would all gather at Mom and Dad's to celebrate, eat a holiday meal, and exchange gifts. The usual crowd would range between 45 and 55 participants. We would be together for about six hours. There would be no fighting, arguing, exchanging harsh words, or anything like that. It was six hours of peace and happiness with 50 or so of your closest relatives.
Mom decided that she didn't want to have the family gathering at the house this year, because it would be very hard for her, since Dad was gone. They had been together for 56 years. We all respected her wishes.
Then, last week, Mom informs me that she is going to have a Christmas dinner at her house for the family, but no gift exchange. Too which I responded, "Cool."
Yesterday, as I was driving home from church, I started thinking about Christmases of the past and thought about how this Christmas Dinner would be without Dad. I was in bed last night, when I had to get up and spit out my heart. Here is what came out:
He is here
I look in his chair and he isn’t there
But he’s here
I look at the counter where he would often sit
and he isn’t there
But he is here
I glance to the head of the table where he often ate
and he isn’t there
But he is here
He isn’t in the chair by the computer
But he is here
He isn’t on the phone talking to Germany
But he is here
All of the places I used to see him, he is not there
But he is here
He is here in this ones eye
He is here in that ones story
He is there in that laugh
He is over there in that tear
Everywhere I look are fleeting glimpses of him
He is there
And even over there
Someone told me that Dad would never be gone
as long as I was alive
And I agree
But more than me
There are five more, daughters and a son
That he lives within
There are sons in laws and daughters in laws
that keep him here
There are grandchildren that carry him as well
There is Mom
Doing what Mom does
And holding him close
Because he is here
He is here in every memory
That brings a smile or a tear
And sometimes both
He is not here (arms out)
But he is here (arms in)
Saturday, November 10, 2007
We drove to Louisville and picked up Dusty. He loves the kids and the other dogs. It seems like a good fit.
Friday, November 02, 2007
How do you let go
Of someone you love so much
How do you let someone else
Make the life shaping decisions
You know are right
While you watch from the side
Ah, now you know
The curse of the grandparent
All of your parenthood
You have readily accepted
The importance of your role
In raising a proper child
All of your parenthood
You tried to instill the right life value
You tried to tell them enough
You tried to make them independent
Suddenly, all the lessons come home
Did I tell them this
Did I tell them that
Did I give them enough
This oh so precious life
Held in your arms
Forever held in your heart
So reluctantly placed in the arms
Of two inexperienced children
In every moment shared
To give just a little more
To share one more parent tip
To extend the protection
To augment the care
Here it is
Small and fragile
Precious and loved
Being strapped into a car seat
In the back seat of a car
That is going to drive away
Did I do enough
Do they know enough
(As if any of us knew enough)
Do they have enough
You watched them break their toys
You saw their irresponsibility
You silently pray
Those days are far behind
Babies will grow you
You simply must
Welcome to the Grand time
Welcome to Grand Parenthood
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
They have moved Halloween. Kyle was aghast that they would move such a favored holiday. I told him they would have a hard time moving my favorite holiday (July 4th.)
They threw together some impromptu costumes (as if they wouldn't have done the exact same thing tomorrow night.)
The kids are going trick-or-treating. Tammy (who found out today that she has a torn muscle and a pulled hamstring) is going to pick up the brake pads for her Caddy. She is twitterpated because she got the Camaro started yesterday and it reminded her how much fun it was to drive. She is now back to vacillating between selling it or keeping it.
I am taking a blog break after finishing my college class and in the middle of doing a KTIP lesson plan for my Principal's observation tomorrow morning.
I was looking around and checked Tammy's blog. Two months ago she blogged about how it had been two months since she blogged and promised not to make y'all wait that long again. Ooops.
Anyway ... the book progresses on toward it publication date. Some of the teachers at the High School want copies. One of the counsellors said he wanted a 'signed' copy. It still freaks me out about signing a book. I don't know why.
Time to get back to work ... y'all have a good evening (or morning .. or whenever you read this .. have something good afterwards.)
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
It gets more real as it gets closer. All along, this has been kind of surreal. It is like it is happening, except to someone else.
Here is the link to the bookstore version of my book.
Journey Into Darkness
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Wow, four years with a beautiful sexy loving caring woman. I am totally spoiled. It has been five and a half years counting the delightful dating and engaging period. Tammy has had such a positive influence in my life. She sometimes disagrees with that, citing all the drama that came with her, but overall, she had been wonderful for me. Dontcha think so, Red ?
There has been a lot going on at work.The first nine week grading period is ending this week. There was potential fireworks about Wednesday, the 17th. Allow me to explain:
I have been in the process of getting a book published. I told my principal that I would be taking off a day in October to meet with the design team to go over cover design, back cover design, layout of the book, size, font to be used, and numerous other details before a first printing could take place. She was aware of this for a month or better.
October 1-5 was fall break. We had no students. I took off part of the week as did all of the other teachers. During the week off, the publisher called and scheduled the team meeting for the 17th. When I returned to school and told my principal that I needed to be off on the 17th, she balked. She told me she could not approve leave on that day, as we have students that day. No leave would be allowed except for sick leave. I was not going to lie to get the day off.
I told her I would take the day off without pay. There would be no need to pay me out of any of my three avenues to take time off (Annual leave, Sick leave, and Comp time) and therefore no problem. She informed me that I could not take leave without pay if I had any available leave time. She could only approve sick time.
As much as I hated doing it, I called my doctor's office and moved my November 23rd appointment to Oct 17 early in the morning. I filled out my leave slip as sick leave for a DR appointment.
I went to the DR at 8:45 AM and had my routine blood work done and picked up a DR excuse for work. From there, we went to Mom's house to visit, then to fill up with gas at $2.55 per gallon, then off to get my oil changed. Finally it was time to go to Bloomington, IN. It was a 198 mile drive. The first 115 miles were interstate. The last 83 miles were two laned country roads. Still it was a good drive and we got to the publishers early.
The meeting was fabulous. The team, consisting of Matt and Ryan, was great. We talked about sports teams and family for about 20 minutes before we ever got around to talking about the book. They didn't rush the process at all. There was a free sharing of ideas, and humorous stories about loved one and family. It was obvious that both had read at least part of the book and had a good feel for what we were trying to accomplish. JR, my author rep sat in on part of the meeting, which was not required at all. We chatted about UK sports and the mania in KY about it. Then it was back to book discussion. More often than not, it was me steering the conversation back to the book. It was just a good feel.
Up until now, the published thing was still an off there in the distant, can't really see it thing. Suddenly, we are talking a month.
The drive home was slow and easy. We got home about 8ish.
Back to work today. As always, after missing a day, there were numerous tales of mischief and revelry. All in all, the substitute said they were good kids and would be glad to sub for me anytime.
There ya go, all caught up.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
On Oct 4, I turned the corner on my half century. the first thing i did afdter fielding call while still in bed, was sign on, and join AARP.
The weekend had two parties. My children couldnt come to the party on Saturday, so they all came down on Sunday and we had a second party. Yep, a birthday so big, it took two parties to cover it.
It was a good time. You have already seen my birthday present from my honey. The rest were assorted shirts and games. It was great.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
However, as we got moving about, we noticed a smell of smoke in the air. The fire was close. the smoke was hovering close to the ground because of the cool morning temps. We knew it was not far away. As I left for work, I went out the back and down to main street. Looking right, I could see about two blocks down a mass of flashing lights. The Police had the street blocked. Ambulances were scattered about. There are apartments in that area. I figured one had turned on some heat because of the low temps (50's) and started a fire. I hoped everyone was OK.
My day progressed. As I usually do as I drive home, I called Tammy. I asked her if she had heard of any news on the morning fire. Well, she had. That was when the humor of the situation started.
What was on fire, down the street, early in the morning, was the FIRE STATION. Yes, the only fire station located within the city limits was burning. There are 6 fire stations located in Montgomery County, but to my knowledge this is the only one within the city limits. No one was hurt in the blaze.
Yes, it is a small town.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Remain a victim
Or become a victor
Victims live in fear
Victors live in victory
Victims cower in silence
Victors speak out in empowerment
Victims draw away from others
Victors draw others with their strength
In the victim, the act becomes a whirlpool,
pulling everything down with it,
even the good that was before and comes after
In the victor, the act becomes a stepping-stone,
leading to the next pinnacle in their lives.
Victims are powerless to rise
Victors refuse to stay down
Victim’s lives are reduced to the level of the least act
Victors make the act, the least thing in their lives
Victims believe in the strength of others
Victors find that strength within themselves
Victims will find a way to turn every victory into a defeat
Victors will turn defeats into steps toward victory
Victim can never separate failing in this one act, from being a failure
Victors fully understand that failure is a momentary event and not a character trait
We become the things we do continually
The victim will always find a way to remain a victim
The victor will always seek a way to become a victor
Which will you do, remain a victim, or become a victor?
The choice is yours.
Saturday, September 01, 2007
I am lost
I cannot recall the moment it slipped from my fingers
Even then, it was still in sight, like a well-known book of the shelf
I could draw strength just from the knowledge
It was still here
It wasn’t strength I would need every day
So the day it disappeared from its familiar place
Went unnoticed as well.
It might have been only hours, It might have been the day
It might have been a week, or a month, or a year
But the day did come and I went to that place
That well-known trusted place and there I found the empty
The place where it should have been
The place where it was before
The place, where, without being seen
It was taken away
There were always winds, and rains, and storms,
And thunder, and darkness, and clouds
But, there always was, in it’s own familiar spot
Shining through the shadows, a single piercing beam
Of life sustaining, of comfort providing
Of solace carrying, a ray of untainted hope
No matter how far I sank, I could find it in that known place
No matter the cares of life that assailed my mind
I could still find my way to that fullness
My soul would find a comfort
My mind would find a respite
My weariness would abate
Today, there is no rest
There is no breathing room
There is no alcove in which to draw myself
My mind is bombarded; my soul is compassed
Today, there is no hope
There is no anchor for my soul
Today, I am lost
Ron Simpson Jr.
September 1, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Karen (my Boss) closed the auto program for the time being and gave all the students the opportunity to transfer into other programs in our school. Many opted to leave and return to the High School for classes. Quite a few, however, chose to join the electricity program. Karen brought about 10 students into my 6th period class to give them an opportunity to check out the class and me. We were going over the driest part of our year (the handbook and paper work.)
Tammy is off work. She has pinched a nerve in her neck (or so we are led to believe) and her hands are numb and in pain. She has another appt in the morning. The same DR that told her there was nothing wrong three yrs ago when it was a workers comp case, now believes there are bone spurs in one of her wrists from a break about 3 yrs ago. Imagine that. Private insurance is footing the bill now. So, there is now something that needs to be fixed.
Cloe is doing great. She is growing (Tammy thinks it is by the minute.)
Days are too long. Nights are too short.
I start teaching night classes in October. My college class starts on Monday.
Did I mention "BUSY" ?
Thursday, August 02, 2007
The first and second are based on classes I attended in New Orleans. The latter is a request by my principal. It seems I am the only teacher creating his own PowerPoint presentations. She wants me to teach the other teachers how to do it.
We are back full time in the school. Students will be back August 13. We have a new schedule, a new way of working, two new teachers, and a whole new batch of rules (some good, some not so good.)
Today, I was invited to join the Electrical Curriculum Committee for the state. We worked today on revamping the way the state looks at class groupings for certificates. It was a good meeting.
Oh yeah, I finished my summer semester with an "A" and a "B" in the two classes I took. The fall semester starts August 20. I am taking one class this fall. Looks like more fun.
And I will be teaching the adult class for 4 weeks in September or October for the Community Education bunch.
As I said, Busy busy busy.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Our flight out of Nawlin's was delayed for about 40 minutes because the flight coming in was delayed. It had to divert about 100 miles out of the way to miss a storm. We got boarded and away we went. We arrived in Atlanta with just enough time to rush to catch the second leg of our flight home. We arrived in Lexington early. We must have caught a good tailwind. That part of the flight was just over an hour going down and under 45 minutes coming back. It was wonderful to be back in KY. Our luggage was not so happy. It was not back in Lexington yet. The 'luggage guy' (for lack of an official name for him) told Tammy and I that he had a note that our luggage was on a flight arriving at 11:30 PM if we wanted to hang around for an hour. Let's think about this ... in one hour we could be getting our luggage or be getting into our water bed. Hmmmmmm. Bed won. They delivered the luggage the following morning.
Sunday was a sleep day, for the most part. We were tired.
Monday was back to work for both Tammy and myself. I was doing staff exchange with Thoroughbred Electric all week. It was a blast to be back in the field. There was a slight catch. I had to keep a daily log, write a 3-page minimum report, and compose 2 lesson plans based on something worked on during that week and a week worked in June. So, it was busy. The work, reports, log, and lesson plans constitute 3 college credits.
This will give me 9 credits for the year. I am required to get 6 per year. This will give me 3 to carry over to next year if I decide to only take a fall class. I am sure i will take a fall and spring class, but it is good to have an option.
This week, so far, I have been in a suite at the Galt House in Louisville. It was the OCTE summer conference (attendance mandatory.) Tammy was not able to go with me, which sucked right out loud. The room was great. The bed was great. The conference was great. However, sitting here at my desk, looking into the bedroom and seeing our bed, knowing we will be in it together tonight, tops all of that. I was way bored without Tammy.
I work the rest of the week, then am off until Wednesday. Then it is back to the grindstone. Next day off ... Labor day!
here are some pics of the suite at the Galt. It was 3 rooms and a hallway. Wowser!
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Sunday, July 01, 2007
I see the delicate fragility of your life.
Standing by your bed in the night
Your hands clenched as you struggle,
What is hidden from my sight
Every breath weak but deliberate,
More life in every gasp of air
Each one a bit stronger than the last,
Each carrying hope against despair
Scarcely one obstacle is passed,
And the next barrier appears
An issue of the blood,
Yells its thunderous fears
While worry rises,
In helplessness not concealing
Beneath it all,
Courage never stops healing
With only one gift,
Into this world you came
That one gift,
A bright and shining flame
The flame carries you,
It becomes just enough
It doesn't flicker or falter,
It never yields to life's bluff
No wealth to claim
Just life, a family's love,
And a family's name
Every day, you climb,
Every day, you rise
Every day you amaze,
With your sweet fragile strength
Welcome to the world, Cloe Danielle
Meet the hearts, That love you
July 1, 2007
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Move over, Nelson Mandela. After 2 excruciating days of holding all the horrors of her lengthy incarceration inside, Paris Hilton has decided to "break her silence" about her experience.
Yes, Nelson, I know you were imprisoned for 27 years, in which time you saw you wife only three times. I know you were on the run for 17 months in hiding. I know you were captured because the CIA reportedly tipped off ruling government to your whereabouts and disguise. Yes, you were imprisoned on an island prison for eighteen years at hard labor where black prisoners received less rations. Yes, you had a hard time of it, but now PARIS is here.
When will we, as a society, stop empowering these spoiled brats by splashing their every exploit across national TV. I could care less if Paris or Brittney go to a club and show their panties. How many times do we need to see them accidentally showing more than they should before we tire of it? How many new and exciting ways will they find to make sure their pictures are splashed across the tabloids and entertainment magazines?
Color me: Sick of Paris and her ilk.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
It felt so good to be back home in my bed.
Now, catch up time.
Chas and Chris came by on Sunday to visit for a bit. Ian and Abigail were in great form. Ian was delighted to show us all his new tricks and I was delighted to spray his hair a lovely shade of green (with parents permission, of course.) Here is Ian showing off his muscles:Abigal is getting so big. she is growing muchly. Here she is trying to drink Tammy's Diet Dew:
She is just a darling. she has Tammy wrapped around her fingers already. she is 6 months old.What a doll !!
Saturday, June 16, 2007
What more could a man leave his children?
What riches could a father leave that would mean more than giving his children the basis of faith?
Long before I was aware of concepts of life and death, Dad was preparing for them. He ordered his life so that his life, or his death, would have far reaching effects.
I was completely unprepared for his passing. In my hearts imaginings, I had accepted that there would be a time in my life when I could not pick up the phone and call him for advice, or that I could not drive across town to sit down with him and tell him about my problems. That time was off somewhere in the far reaching future.
Dad used to joke with me, both of us being electricians, he had taught me everything I knew. I used to come back with, “No Dad, you taught me all that you know. The rest of this I learned on my own.” Neither of those was completely accurate. He hadn’t taught me all that I knew, nor had he taught me everything that he knew. What he had taught me was “enough.” The wonder of it all is that even now, he still teaches me more and more every day. His life teaches me as I listen to the stories told by those that knew him. His life continues to teach me as I recall conversations we had, sometimes in complete disagreement.
His death teaches me as well. It speaks more poignantly about the finiteness of life than any of his masterful lessons. Let me assure you fathers out there that no matter what you say to your children, you still hold the place of immortal in their lives. You must consider the words and actions you present to them. Dad did not leave me a vast estate with bulging bank accounts. What he did leave me, were his words and his actions. They were the sometimes-stumbling thoughts of a man keenly aware of his mortality to his son, stricken by the invincibility of his father. He knew what I could not know, and knew he had to prepare me for the time that I did know.
He left me a brilliant legacy. He gave me a radiant testament to faith in God. There is not enough time for me to tell you all the ways he helped shape and mold me. Time will not allow me to extol all his good and generous characteristics. More than a few have told me since his death that they see a lot of him in me. While I am not called to be, nor could I ever be, him, it is an honor to be compared to this tower of love and compassion.
This man you were fortunate enough to call friend or pastor, I was blessed to call Dad. I have never missed him more than I do today and that missing, is an integral part of my blessing. His profound influence on my life will ever be part of my banner, like the mantle of Elijah.
For more reasons than I can count, thank you, Dad.
Happy Fathers Day.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
It has been a busy couple weeks. We are trying to close out the school year. I am working for a contractor this week. It is more observation than work, but it is designed to keep me in touch with the craft that I teach. It has been fun so far. I try to go to different type jobs to glean the best information possible. Mike at Thoroughbred Electric is a great guy.
The kids left today for Florida for a month. It is going to be quiet around here. It is ironic. we are looking forward to the quiet, the peace, the lack of messes, etc.. but we miss them already. Reminds me of a little saying I heard years ago.
As a rule, man is a fool.
When it is hot, he wants it cool.
When it is cool, he wants it hot.
Man, generally wants, whatever it is not !
Ah, to be so predictable.
Next week I will be in Louisville. Tammy will be here by herself (well, maybe Sierra will be here, maybe a baby will be here.. who knows ?)
Other than that it has been peaceful. No drama is a good thing.
I'll catch ya up more as it goes.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
I do have 10 days extended employment for which I will be paid. Then, there is the staff exchange, for which I will be paid. Then, there is the trip to New Orleans, for which the state is paying, and I will be paid. as of right now, it looks like I will be off for two weeks during the entire summer. I planned as best I could and got them to fall at the end of one week pay period and at the start of the next week pay period and still be two consecutive weeks. Looks like I will be off the last week of June and the first week of July. the kids will be in Florida (after June 12 until July 17, I think.) Tammy will be working, but we will still have free nights and weekends (Sounds like a calling plan rather than a 2 week vacation.) Of course, Tammy is going with me on the week trip to N.O. That will be cool. I have a conference with classes and such during the day, but nights will be ours in the Big Easy.
Other than that, things around here are comparatively quiet. There isn't much going on in the way of drama. Sierra is in labor. She is 32 weeks. The DR wants to hold her off as long as he can. He is striving for at least two more weeks. By then, Alivia will be developed enough to have the best chance to not be in an incubator. She is just over 3 pounds now, and her lungs have not fully developed.
Other than that, it is quiet. The kids school ends this week. Chella assures us her grades are now up to par. She is jazzed about getting off punishment, or "lockdown" as she calls it. There has been a restriction in her freedoms, but she is nowhere close to locked down. Maybe I can arrange a visit to a real 'lockdown' to show her the difference. I have a friend/fellow teacher that teaches at a womans facility. I am sure we can work something out sometime.
Kyle is Kyle. he is being all of eleven that he can be. I was talking on the phone to a good friend (Hi, Russ) Tuesday night and told him that during the upcoming baby shower, Kyle and I would be out and about looking to pick up some chicks. Kyle, from the back seat, with all the manliness an eleven year can muster, said, "Hey, I'm committed now." (Yes, Kyle has a girlfriend.) Tammy and I both said, "You need to be committed." It was funny to hear him say that. Like he has any idea what a relationship is. Too funny.
Ah, the summer looms before us.
Monday, May 28, 2007
It highlighted one of the drawbacks to living in a small town. There are only two gynecologists in town. Your choices are fairly slim. As disappointed as we are, there isn't really anywhere else to go for treatment. Rest assured, when she goes back for her check-up, there will be some stern words.
Saturday, she was stubborn and feeling slightly better. I emphasis slightly. She rode with me to Winchester to go to my school and pick up a cover I had altered on Friday. We went to the park then, and put the cover on the new junction box/former panel that we used to change out the service there. When we got back, she conceded that it might not have been the best idea she ever had. Needless to say, when it came time to go out that evening to see some friends, she was still adamant about going. I would have rather stayed home, but she insisted. It was great seeing our friends that we hadn't seen since March. However, it was too much for Tammy. We ate and left after very little socializing. She was exhausted and pale as a sheet at the JC Penney White Sale.
Sunday comes, and I have a singing engagement. It was the day I was to sing the National Anthem at the Lexington Legends baseball game. She was going if it killed her. I offered to stop at the school and get her a wheelchair. She said she was fine. Of course, once we got there, she conceded that the wheelchair might have been a good idea. It was too late to go get it. I had a sound check and then was to sing about an hour later. The singing went well. I couldn't find the exact note I wanted but I found one I could do it in. I found the note in the car, but lost it later. The range on that song is vast. Start too high, and you will croak by the end. Start too low, and you will bottom out in the beginning. I was still a bit throaty from the cold and congestion. Still, Tammy promises me that I did great. I believe her.
We made it home and both stayed in or near the bed for the rest of the day.
Monday, Tammy did something very un-tammy-like. She actually stayed in the bed till around eleven AM. She did get up and change out of her sleeping clothes. She can't stand to stay in them all day. I like it, since most of the time she sleeps (cover your eyes) naked.
She took a bath and washed her hair. We forced the kids to do some cleaning. She folded laundry and wore herself out again. I went on the rampage. I turned off the TV and took away books. I told the kids there would be nothing else done until the house was cleaned. Tammy asked them to do certain things and they took it that those were to be done at their leisure (translated never.) I showed them the error of their ways. The house looks much better now.
My daughter called me this afternoon. She was all apologetic. She was supposed to pass along an invitation to a family cookout today in Lexington. I assured her it was ok, since we wouldn't have been there anyway. Tammy was still in too much pain and discomfort to be traipsing all over town and beyond.
She is sitting on the couch now, because she doesn't have the energy to do the stairs just yet.
That is my weekend. How was yours ?
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Yesterday, Tuesday was primary election day in KY, so I got half a day off with pay to go vote. I actually voted before going to work, so my afternoon was clear. The night before, being aware of this, Tammy suggested that I could come to her work, pick her up, and take her to lunch. That seemed like a great idea.
I left my job at 11am. She got lunch around 1pm. Before I met her, I made a few stops. I stopped at K-Mart to get a cheap toss-able tablecloth (I had a plan.) I looked all over and was about to give it up, when I got to the front and saw the clearance shelves. There they were, Table clothes for $2. I grabbed one and noticed there was some perfume there as well. One of them was Raspberry Ice. (Tammy loves raspberry.) I got the cloth and the perfume and was on my way to my next stop. $9.44
DollarTree. Everything for a dollar or less. There, I got a small bud vase, a crystal candle holder, a pale lavender/pink taper candle, and a pack of lighters. $3.71
China Wall. There I got two combinations of sesame chicken, one extra hot for me. I picked up plastic-ware, duck sauce, soy sauce, and was on my way to Lexington. $14.95
In Lexington, I went to Ashland Florist. I wanted pink daisies. They are Tammy's favorite flowers. They didn't have any pink, but did have a very pale lavender. That would work just fine, considering the candle was a pink/lavender. $1.59
Next stop: Thornton's. I got two cold Diet Dew's. $2.95
$32.66 since I left work, and I was finally on my way to see my hunny.
I called her as I turned on the street where she works and told her I was on my way. She asked where we were going. I told her I would keep that one a secret for now. I pulled up behind the building as she was coming down the stairs. She greeted me at the truck and asked where we were going (persistent, ain't she?) I told her what I had. She loved it. We set up the table and sat down to eat, much to the delight of her co-workers. Several asked what the occasion was. I told them it was Tuesday, and that only happens once this week. It was a great lunch. Priceless.
Her boss (Frank) told her later that I was setting the bar too high for other men. Aaron, a gay guy that Tammy works with said he was developing a crush on me. He wondered if that would bother Tammy or I. she assured him that it wasn't going to bother either of us. We are both very secure in our relationship and realize that other people can like us, have crushes on us, or even lust after us, without affecting how we feel about each other. It only becomes an issue if that person acts on those feelings. Then, it isn't a jealousy issue as much as it is a respect issue. Respect us, respect our relationship, and don't try to interfere with it.
We went to the local hospital and went to the ER. The nurse was great. We chatted about politics (it was election day) while she got my vitals. Then back to the admitting clerk. She was nice. Then back to a room to wait. The DR was cool, checked me over, and concurred with my DR. Another nurse came in with a hypodermic and the meds. I pulled up my sleeve. She smiled and shook her head, no. She then pointed to her bottom. OH ! One of those shots. I exposed my cheek and she plunged it right in. It eventually got a little sore, but that passed. They gave me a prescription and we were on our way.
This morning it was swollen a little more than last night, but went down during the day. Tammy tried her best to get me to stay home, but today and tomorrow are our last days with students. I have finals to give (school rules) and the park job to finish. Someone asked what happened to my face. I told them that Tammy said, 'shut up' and I thought she said 'get up' and the rest was history. It was still a fun day. We will finish up finals and the park tomorrow and then I will have no students until August.
I was slightly worried that I wouldn't be able to sing on Sunday. I was talking with a little lisp. I can hear it now, O thay can you thee, .... However, I sang it this morning in the truck on the way to work and it sounded fine, no lithp.
And there ya have it.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
There has been a cold, an allergic reaction, a day of sleep, a cancelled cookout, and a Bible Study.
I got up on Monday with a cold (sniffle sniffle), but just a slight one. I still went to work. On Monday night, as the cold threatened to get worse, I decided to take a cold remedy. The cough was trying to keep me up all night, and that wasn't a good thing. So, I took some pills my wife gave me for cough and congestion. In the night, I was not coughing but not sleeping right either. Tuesday, I get up and leave for work after taking one more pill. My hands are itching. My palms are itching. My lips are tingly.
I stop for gas a couple miles from work and see in the mirror that my lips are swollen slightly. I call work, get gas, and head home. On the way, Tammy calls. I tell her what is going on (sorta.) She tells me that she has benadryl in her purse. We meet in the middle and she gives them to me. By this time, my arms have started to splotch. I am breaking out in hives.
I get home, take the benadryl and sleep away the most of the day. By Wednesday I am good to go. I am still slightly itchy, but manageable.
Thursday, I go to a State Committee meeting. We are developing a Career Pathways document for HS Counselors.
Tuesday night, I did the Bible Study thing. It was OK. I was still nervous, but I think I handled it well.
We were to have a cookout on Friday for the Students. One of the other employees picked up the meat for which my club paid. He was supposed to bring it on Friday. I get there and he isn't there yet. He is supposed to be at work an hour before me. I call his house (40 miles away) and he is still in bed. He is sick. His wife will bring the meat, but cant leave home until she takes daughter to school. The meat will not get to our school until second period. So, I postponed the cookout till Monday.
That was the short version of my week. How was yours ?
Saturday, May 12, 2007
When I consider all you have done
Throughout all of my life
And continue to do as each day comes
The idea of a special day for you
Make perfect sense
It is impossible to keep count
Of the knowing and reassuring smiles
No way to measure the courage
That existed because I knew
You were behind me, somewhere
You have done infinitely more
Than wiped my nose or bandaged my knees
Your support has made the difficult easier
And the impossible manageable
You smiled, reassured, and held my hand
Through my pains and heartaches
You hid the tears that you refused to cry
At least, in front of me
You didn’t hide your disappointment
When I was wrong
And believe me, I was wrong many times
You still held to the belief
That I would learn and you would wait
You never made it right
When it was wrong
But when it was right
You were my strongest ally
You made all my successes a mountaintop
You made my failures stepping-stones
For these, and a million other reasons
You have a special day to say
How much I appreciate and love you
That special day
Happy Mothers Day, Mom
Ron Simpson Jr.
May 12, 2007
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
I am amazed at how quickly we fall into the new routine of living without him. For me, it is because I am aware every day that he is gone. I don't find myself seeing something funny and thinking how much I want to share that with him. I know that I can't do that. Perhaps some day, I will forget that he is gone and think, "I can't wait to tell him." It wont happen this week.
Now, teaching is what I do every day. I teach electricity to my students day in and day out. A friend of 30 years, now the assistant Business Manager of the Union to which I belong, stopped by yesterday while I was talking to a small class of 5th graders. He brought me an absentee ballot for our union elections. He watch me interact with the kids and explain our program to them. He commented that I had found my calling. Teaching is one of my passions.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
What has happened in that week that robbed me of my time for blogging ?
This week has been CATS testing week window number two. It is the make-up week for those that missed a day the previous week. The students are all still out of whack. Whenever you do something to mess up their routine, it throws them all off. Weekends seem to do that too. One of my students told me once, on a Monday, that they shouldn't have to work because it is Monday. My response? In the real world, work happens on Monday. It happens on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays too. Some folks even work on Saturdays and Sundays. Let's start learning that here.
We are finally released to go to the park to finish our project.
One of my students came to me to ask what he needed to do to pass my class, with 13 days of school left. He has a 34 in my class because he skips and doesn't work. I don't understand those that do that. I understand the goofing off part. I did that, but I did it after I had the first half in with an A and could afford to get lax. I actually graduated 3 months early because I was counting my credits to see what I could flunk and still graduate. To my surprise, I had enough credits to graduate already. Bye-bye High School.
At 17, while most of my same aged friends were juniors in HS, I was a freshman at UK. Here it is 32 years later, I am nearing 50, and I am back in college at Eastern Kentucky University. I am 31 hours toward my Associates degree (64 hours) in Technical Education. I am taking 6 hours over the summer. Oh yeah, that is also what I have been working on this week. I had a 5 page term paper due, a portfolio due, and a final test to take. I don't know about my scores on the term paper or portfolio, but I do know I made an 88 on the final (took it online today.) That is a B and I had a B on the midterm, so I think I am ok.
Tuesday evening was the final night of the night class I was teaching to adults. Wednesday evening was a ribbon cutting ceremony at Bluegrass Community Technical College (Leestown Campus.) Thursday was the final meeting of my CTE261 Foundations of Technical Education class. Yes, it was a busy week.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
School is, or was, in CATS testing this past week. I had students only in the afternoons. These students were wired after sitting and taking a 3.5 hour test. By the time they got to me, they were useless as education goes. Add to that, that two of our teachers were out at the New Teachers Institute Follow up and you have students that are not in the class they are registered for either. I had automotive and welding students mixed in with mine.
Then there is "THE BOX" ... The box is our program assessment box. It is the way the state proves we are doing our jobs. It has 21 files with 3 to 7 folders in each one. Every folder must contain some specific documentation to show a committee that we are actually teaching the kids, communicating with parents, utilizing community resources, working with an advisory committee, adhering to their recommendations, working with student organizations, using guest speakers, integrating with the academic teachers, writing lesson plans, both daily, weekly, and monthly, designing syllabi's, using technology in teaching, holding open houses, working with the community, teaching safety, technology, employability skills, and problem solving skills, along with dozens of other things that we, as instructors, are required to do.
We have spent this week working on getting those boxes in shape for our 'self assessment' that has to be completed by May 1. The committee doesn't visit us until the start of next school year. The kicker: only documentation less that a year old is usable. So, half of the stuff we are doing now, will not be allowed to count by then.
The good news: We only had one funeral this week. Our next door neighbor that died on Thursday was buried on Tuesday.
Looks like my summer vacation (June 15 to August 1) is filling up with work. That work includes one week with a contractor (that the state pays me for,) one week in New Orleans (High Schools That Work Conference .. also state pays for,) almost a week in Louisville (State Education Conference .. mandatory attendance .. so they have to pay me,) and a few other small things that will whittle my 6 weeks off down to 2 weeks off. That will be nice.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
As They Might
Through my life I have walked into and out of darknesses
It is as natural as breathing the breaths I borrow
Part of the normal ebb and flow of life
Fully knowing, the same life that exudes joy, reeks of sorrow
Loving someone is like plowing a furrow
Turning the fallow earth, exposing the hidden tender soil
Opening up for the magnificence of love and all it brings
However, one of the tagalongs carries the weeping of deaths toil
How true those words of loving and losing
Being the more desirable than of not loving at all
But sometimes the losing is without malice or intent
Sometimes it is merely the end of the breaths that fall
Your time has come and passed
That I may know and hold you real
Now I hold the precious memories
And laugh and cry with you as ever still
Longer times, I can now pretend
In your absence that life goes on unabated
This heart will not be fooled with memories,
Precious as they are, they will not keep me sated
This pain has confirmed once again
Just how prized is this life gained
I will open these furrows for the seedlings
And welcome the joys and sorrows rained
Sharpen that blade, sower of seeds
Shove the plow into my heart
Plant the seeds of joy and woe
Give to them each, their sacred part
In the darkness, and in the light
And let them grow, as they might.
April 20, 2007
Thursday, April 19, 2007
I left school early to go to the funeral, but had to be back for a staff meeting and open house. While I was in the staff meeting, Tammy called with the news that our next door neighbor, Mrs Vivian, had passed away this morning. She was 56 years old.
I don't know if I have any more tears left in me.
I do know this, if I have to listen to "go rest high on that mountain" one more time while looking at a dead relative, I will go strangle Vince Gill myself. I love the song, but I am so tired of funerals.
It is most fortunate that this numbness still hangs on. The overwhelming sadness and darkness threatens to overtake us all. Only the tender strength of God sustains me.
My friends and co-workers are becoming afraid to be around me though. I think they are afraid something will jump on them.
I will persevere.
Nothing is going to hold me back.
There may be a catch in my throat sometimes, there may be a falter in my step, but I will still go on.
Monday, April 16, 2007
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Anyway, this week I have been messing with his mind. He hates to think that something might be going on that he doesn't know about. Monday, I came to work in a pair of olive khaki's instead of my usual jeans. I also had on a nice collared button up pullover shirt. He went crazy. He wanted to know why I was so 'dressed up'. I didn't give him any reason. That was just fuel for the fire.
Tuesday comes and I show up for work, again in dress khaki's and a real nice dress shirt. He is all over himself trying to figure out what is happening. Again, I am a clam about the reasons behind my new style of dress. One of the other teachers tells him it is most likely because I am teaching an adult class that evening. The suffices him a bit. He has already mentioned it to several of the staffers in his fishing expedition. The others that he has queried have come to me as well to tell me about it.
Wednesday (today) and I show up for work in black dress slacks, a burgundy dress shirt, a fancy necktie, and dress shoes. He is amazed. He takes my picture. He is beside himself trying to figure it out. It was hilarious to watch him work his mind trying to figure it out. Finally, this afternoon late it becomes too much for him. He has quizzed everyone he can think of asking. He even asked my students while I was out of the school having an electrical project the students have been working on inspected. My students were tight lipped, even though they knew what was going on. So, in desperation, he finally has to ask me.
I tell him it is just because I felt like dressing nice. that is actually the true reason. the whole 'messing with his head' was just a nice bonus. I told him tomorrow I would probably be in jeans, t-shirt, and a skull and crossbones dew-rag. Who knows, I might be.
How has your week gone ?
Sunday, April 08, 2007
There is a mountain in my life
Comprised of memories of you,
Today, sadness shrouds that mountain like a fog
As it no longer continues its familiar growth;
I know that most of the sadness will pass
And the fog will become a cloud
Wisping by from time to time
Driven by intimate winds;
I know that memories will be added still
In conversations with friends and family
About the ways you touched their lives
As we marvel about your journey;
But today, I am lost in this fog
I cannot see that happy tomorrow
Without you in the middle of it
Part of my tether is gone;
Nothing is the same as it was yesterday
This fog obscures the once brilliant hues
It seeks to hide the happiness we shared
But that happiness will not be denied;
Even now, it valiantly struggles to be heard
It refuses to give its place to the fog
In places here, and places there
It chases away the encroaching murkiness;
Like shining pin pricks
In the blanket of gloom
Growing and adding the more
Your love, your happiness, your joys
Scattering the darkness of dusk;
To those that never met you
You are a name in a well told story
You exist in the fleeting of the tale
But to those of us living with the mountain
You are still here as our continual partner
Where we once walked hand in hand
We will now stroll, heart in heart
April 8, 2007
Friday, April 06, 2007
Living is a powerful force that does not go quietly
Such is our affinity that it must be torn from us
It holds a value beyond measure or counting
White knuckled, we dearly grasp it in our failing fingers
Because living, however difficult, is the reality we know,
We struggle to hold on to its final vestiges;
We will exhaust all our reserves of energy.
We will spend the final moments of our life
In our fruitless efforts to remain on this side;
When we release that last thread and fall
We find that His warm hands have been there
Waiting to catch us all along;
"And it came to pass that the beggar died
and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom."
Some places, our heart knows and some other places, it doesn't
Some places, our mind knows and some other places, it doesn't
"Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief"
Before me, the door to the next life looms largely
The key will be the last thing to leave my body
Beyond the door, the reward I have chosen
For all my struggling and efforts,
I will still pass through this life to the next
I will meet that reward or recompense that I have lain away
Still, I will not hasten the day of it's arrival
Still, I will fight the fight of all flesh
Still, I will spend my last breath trying to find the next one
For living and breathing is all I have known in this life
Today, I am torn between the world I know
and the world for which I have yearned
Tomorrow may find me there.
April 6, 2007
Thursday, April 05, 2007
The Tuesday competitions were split into morning and afternoon events. I had one in the morning (Job Interview) and the remaining two in the afternoon. The young lady competing in the writing event was out and about with her family in Louisville. the start time was getting close. I called her at noon (her orientation was at 12:30) and she told me they were on their way back to the hotel. By 12:20, they were still not at the hotel. I called and she told me they were lost. Oh No ! I scrambled to open a map on the computer and find out where they were and how to get to the hotel. They finally found us and rushed in at the last second for her to change into her "Official Dress" and get to the contest site. On Thursday, we found out she placed SECOND in the state in that event.
On Tuesday evening, we received word that Tammy's father had passed away. He had a stroke while Dad was in the hospital. He eventually was released and was staying at a nursing home. On Sunday, his brother took him to the hospital and he was treated and released. On Tuesday, he was taken back to the hospital where he passed away. TJ's uncle called us around 6 that evening. I made some calls and had his body picked up by Kerr Brothers in Lexington.
We left for Lexington on Thursday to make the arrangements. The Funeral Home was extremely nice to us. They helped us out all they could. Because of Jim's recent move back to KY, he didn't have many friends here. There will be a short visitation on Friday, followed by a grave side service. Our Pastor will handle the service.
In spite of the tumultuous relationship TJ had with her father, his passing has been very hard on her. I am sure it is coupled and intermingled with the grief she is still adjusting to concerning my fathers passing just four weeks ago.
We returned to Louisville that afternoon for the rest of the contest and ceremonies. As I stated previously, one of the three students finished in the top three of the state. They are all winners for even getting this far.
The final ceremonies were this morning with the awards presentations. After that, we decided to go to Hard Rock Cafe for lunch. We finally made it after going into the wrong place. The door directly under the Hard Rock Cafe sign is not the Hard Rock Cafe. It is The Pub, a British styled bar/restaurant. The HRC was very nice (with prices to match.)
After we left the HRC, we headed toward Lexington. I had missed a call on my phone, so I checked my messages. My Grandmother had finally given up her long battle and passed away this morning at 11:30. I have no idea of the arrangements as of yet. I do know that I am to be a pallbearer at the funeral. I called my children to tell them the news. My son-in-law, Chris made the statement, "When is this going to end?" I responded that NOW would be a good time.
This is all catching up to me, the stress at work over these competitions and projects we are trying to finish, the passing of my father, the passing of Tammy's father, and the struggle and passing of my Granny. I don't think I am handling it very well. I have become snappy lately. I am a lot less tolerant of things that used to not bother me. I am trying to fix that,but am not sure how to do that. I know I need to talk about it, but the words are bottled up inside me. This has not been hard because it is the reporting of facts. That is easy.
One thing I wrote yesterday was: The hardest thing for a poet is the understand that sometimes there are no words to be said.
The anger inside me is building. I don't even know who I am angry with. Unfortunately, those around me are feeling the warmth. I need to find a way to let go of some of this. Scratch that. I need to find a way to let go of all of this. Snappy is not me. Hateful is not me.
I am fortunate to have Tammy, who is worried sick about me. I am fortunate that she will stand beside me. She will tell me to straighten up too. She told me to pick a person to be, Be sweet or be hateful, but pick one. I do love and adore her so. She has been my rock through this. She thinks she is leaning on me during this ordeal with her dad, but we are co-leaning. I would be completely lost without her. We will make it through this the way we make it through everything, Together.