Friday, December 5, 2008

Tammy's Birthday, Re-Speaking Out, Stuck Indoors and Harry Chapin

Tammy turns 51 today. I thought I knew what 51 was supposed to look like but now I'm not so sure. I don't see either of us as being what I used to see 51 being when I was much younger. It's funny how perspective changes as we get older. 50 is the new 40 or something like that.

When my dad was the age I am the year was 1976. He had just moved what remained of our family out east to Pottstown, PA. I remained behind to finish high school. My image of him back then was that he was a pretty serious guy, focused on his work and always busy with projects around the house. We didn't talk much. He seemed much older to me than he was, at least from my current perspective. I have to wonder if Rachel sees me the same way I saw my dad at this same age in her young eyes? I suppose it's okay if she does; at least we talk. A photo of my brother and father from back in the day, circa 1976.

We had a bit of a surprise birthday party for Tammy last night. We had friends from our small group at church over to our home for a Christmas get-together. Tammy's sister Theresa called me a few mornings ago to suggest that I use the opportunity to have a cake for Tammy's birthday. It was a great idea and I felt somewhat dumb for not thinking of it myself.

Thank you again, Theresa.

It was nice to get most of our small group together again as it had been a few months since we last met. Jim is in his 70's and very active even with a couple bad knees. He loves to golf and used to bowl quite a bit. He told me how he was once on four separate bowling leagues all at the same time. I suggested that he should check out our Wii. I wasn't sure if he was the video game type but he evidently is because he had a blast. We only had time for bowling, golf, tennis and baseball. Boxing will have to wait until next time. His wife Marilyn was curious how much the unit cost. I think she'd like to get him one for Christmas.

Speaking of Wii. The game is turning out to be even more fun than I imagined it would be. Tammy and I have been retreating to our basement at night to spend time racing each other and others around the world with Mario Kart. The Wii is set up to be interactive with our internet connection so rather than race against computer generated cars we race other people who are also online playing the game. Neither of us are very good and we typically finish toward the back of the pack but it's still fun. We can only get better.

We made it out to Outback Steakhouse tonight to celebrate Tammy's birthday. It was snowing so hard and cars were spinning out that we nearly turned around to stay home and order pizza but we pressed on. We've yet to have a lousy dinner or service there and so we keep going back.

Rachel ran into one of her friends from Prince of Peace youth group while we were having dinner. Frank works there. They had a blast with their group last year on their trip to Hollywood and they're hoping to be in the same group for this year's mission trip in April. They still don't know where the trip will take them. It's a secret but they do know it's going to be some place warm.

This past spring I pulled down several posts I'd made last fall and winter concerning my employer, the FAA. I had a 'this is bullshit' moment this week and republished them. It troubles me that speaking the truth can get a person in trouble or worse, fired. There are still several I will hold off on publishing until after I've retired as well as a few which are in the works. I think I'd look back on my actions years from now and be disappointed that I didn't speak up when it was time to and now is the time. Typing 'faa' in the search box for my blog will most likely reveal them all.

We've been getting regular doses of snow this week making it too difficult/dangerous to get outside and ride so I've had to resort to using my rollers. I prefer to ride outdoors even down to zero degrees but the rollers can be a lot of fun as well. Truth be told, I actually get a better work out on them as I'm more inclined to focus on my heart rate, cadence and speed as there's not much else to do.

I brought my Sony Handicam on board today and took some video from my perspective while riding. Yeah, I'm a geek.

I mentioned here a few posts ago of my admiration for Harry Chapin's music. After blogging about that I looked online to see what was out there in the way of a DVD of him in concert. I found a DVD of his final performance with his band before his death in July, 1981. It's a copy of an out of print VHS tape. There's nothing on the packaging or the video footage of anything pertaining to copyright laws and seeing that there's very little in the way of good quality stuff on YouTube from Harry Chapin I decided to upload several of the songs to my Vimeo account. They view nicely in the compressed default mode of YouTube but the raw files give an even better view as they're all quite large. Click on 'watch in high quality' to access the larger file.

Most everyone remembers his songs, Taxi or Cat's in the Cradle but not so much some of his lesser known tunes such as Mr Tanner which is every bit as good. One of my favorite from the DVD I bought is a song called Mail Order Annie. Give it a listen. It's classic Harry Chapin.


Vannevar said...

Excellent blog, glad to see the Harry Chapin comments. What I most liked about his music was his story-telling. (especially the Taxi sequel). I learned that his grandfather was Kenneth Burke, a master rhetorician and story teller. No surprise that HC was a great story-teller.

Merry Christmas,

Kevin said...

Thank you. I too loved his music and although I may not have lived the experiences he sang about I could still relate to them in my own way.

I had a chance to spend a bit of time at your blog. Very nice. I'll be back.