Friday, October 26, 2007

What's New

I notice it's been a while since I've posted anything. Things are good but I have felt a bit quiet. So without any specific topic, I guess I'll just mention what's been happening and what's coming up. And of course, my accompanying thoughts.

Probably the biggest news thus far, Lily is walking unassisted! This is so exciting. And yet its kind of sad. We've had her home three and a half months and this little one is growing up SO FAST. If you have not seen Julianne's post on this, go check it out. Lily also has five new teeth coming in at once. Do I need to tell you what this is like? Overall, she's doing well. This is week is definitely better than last.

At work this week during our monthly coach meeting, we had a small memorial for a coworker we lost a few weeks ago to his battle with cancer. Several people got up and had pleasant memories to share and someone even sang a song in his honor. It was very touching. As a Christian, I found it sad though, listening to what people expressed. Everyone had high hopes and wishes that he was in a better place. Yet no one seemed to have any assurance that this was the case. I could only assume that many of them had no security of this for themselves as well. The whole reason for Jesus' life on this earth was to take our place; to restore our relationship with God through His own sacrifice. The whole message of the bible is that of our need for redemption, and Christ's fulfillment of that need on our behalf; that upon our acceptance of His finished work on the cross, we could KNOW where we will be upon our own inevitable time of passing. If the message is true and if we place our faith in Him, we have no need to hope or wish.

On a much lighter note, I've been able to get out on about two bike rides per week. In all, since I've been back into bicycling, I've been on half a dozen rides or so. In my most recent rides, I've been adding hills, which I had been dreading. I found myself attacking the hills with an newly found fervor crawling up the hills at a slow and steady pace. Yet with each hill I conquered, I felt good. My breathing was heavy, yet steady. And the joy of a five-and-a-half mph climb is the 35 mph decent! My rides have ranged from an hour to an hour twenty minutes and I could easily have gone longer. The bicycling, the weekday morning workouts on the treadmill, and my disciplined eating habits have brought me over the 100 pound mark for my weight loss. I've got anywhere from 30 to 50 pounds more to go, depending on how realistic the doctor's office charts are.

As I continue to build a base for my century ride next year, I'm progressing in my search for a new road bike. Having not been on a road bike in about 18 years, I'm having lots of fun doing research, and going on test rides. Cannondale hosted a demo event locally last weekend. I asked the guy helping me prepare for my test ride, "Before I get too attached to this bike, can you tell me what this one runs?" Casually, as if this is normal, he replied, "This one runs about five thousand dollars." I can't believe I test rode a $5,000 bicycle. Not a car, a bicycle! Sure it was nice, but my goodness. I shouldn't have complained...another bike I saw in a bike shop yesterday was on sale for $8,000. The bikes I'm actually considering are far less.

Finally, the time of year is coming again that we make our annual trek down to Palm Springs for the CMC Math Conference. I won't bore you with math details, so you can keep reading. Palm Springs is absolutely gorgeous in November. It's always a nice getaway. Traditionally, on our first night in town, we enjoy a dinner at Ruby's Diner and then head a few doors down to Cold Stone for ice cream. Having deprived myself of any edible pleasures remained self controlled and determined for the past six months, I have decided to reward myself for my progress and accomplishment. Not wanting to knock tradition, we won't deviate from our plan. Like a kid on Christmas Eve, I'm so excited about going to Cold Stone. Now I have to decide what I'll get. I'm leaning towards cheesecake ice cream with coconut, white chocolate chips, and fudge mixed in (the child's size of course). MMMMM. I'm bringing my bike to work it off so I'm not worried about a little pleasant indulgence. :)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

More Lily

Tomorrow Lily will be 14 months old. Five days ago marked three months since the day we got her. What would mark these occasions better than some pictures? Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

"Hey Dad, you wanna have a catch?"

It gets me every time I hear it. The second to last line in Field of Dreams. The last five minutes make it my favorite movie. For those of you who have not seen it, you must. If you've seen it and have lost your father as I have, you know what I mean already.

If you are not familiar, I'll give a synopsis. Based on the book, Shoeless Joe, by W. P. Kinsella, (a case in which the movie is far superior to the book) it's the story of an Iowa farmer, played by Kevin Costner. It opens in a narrative in which Costner's character, Ray Kinsella, gives brief details of his life leading up to the events of the movie which include the severed relationship between he and his father prior to his death. Living a most ordinary life, Ray hears a voice; the first of a series of three messages-"If you build it, he will come." He concludes that if he plows under a major portion of his corn crop and builds a baseball field in its place, former and deceased baseball player, Shoeless Joe Jackson, will come back to play ball. Throughout the film, the story of his falling out with his father gets further explained and supported with details. Eventually, Shoeless Joe, and other ballplayers from the past return to play on the field Ray builds.

The final five minutes of the film is where I always lose it. It was on TV last night. I usually never watch movies on television because I hate the commercial breaks, but I watched last night on AMC because at the base of the screen was displayed background information regarding the film. At the opening of the film, the notes stated that it's the only film guaranteed to make a grown man cry. I'm no exception. The film concludes with the revelation that the "he" in "If you build it, he will come" was not Shoeless Joe. As the ballplayers clear the field for the day, one player remains. Seen in the distance is the catcher removing and storing his gear. As he removes his mask, Ray gasps at what he sees: the catcher is his father, much younger than he had ever known him. The catcher, Jon Kinsella, approaches his son. With so much that could have been said, very little is spoken. Small talk and a brief introduction to his wife and daughter are given. The viewer is left wondering if his father even knows he is speaking to his son. As his father turns to leave, son calls out to father such a simple line that speaks volumes, "Hey Dad, you wanna have a catch?"

Updated 4/23/08
I just found this video and had to come back and add it in

The ultimate second chance. A chance to mend. A chance to say all the things he wished he said before his father died. A chance to heal all the things that had tormented him all these years since. Another of the voices Ray heard in the story stated, "Ease his pain." We don't find out until the end that it was his own pain that was to be eased.

Not a day goes by that I don't think about my father. I'm fortunate to have had a very close relationship to him unlike the characters in the film. But it is not without regret. Although we spoke on the telephone quite often, I had avoided seeing my father for the last two months of his life. Intentionally. His mental state as a result of his failing health made it so difficult for me to be around him. Granted I was an immature 22 year old, but I wish I had been able to better serve him in his time of need. How wonderful a field of dreams in real life would be. Oh to see him again. To tell him how I've missed him. To introduce him to Julianne, and place his beautiful granddaughter, Lily, in his arms. To have a catch of our own.

Just a fantasy, right? That's where the good news begins. According to scripture, we have the promise of seeing each other again some day. Knowing my father died a believer in Christ settles my spirit greatly.

Pictures from the actual Field of Dreams
While visiting Julianne's aunt and uncle in Iowa in 2003, we drove to Dyersville to see the actual Field of Dreams movie site. Although we found out when we arrived that they were closed, we got some pictures of the field and the house.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

I'm Coming Baby Girl

At 1:44 yesterday morning I was suddenly awakened. Nothing alarming. No intruders. Just nature. Unfortunately this is usually nothing out of the ordinary. Until this morning. Typically each night when this occurs (and sometimes twice), I prefer to use the bathroom down the hall instead of the one in our bedroom so I don't wake my wife. But this time I felt tired so I was going to use the closer of the two facilities. On my way around the bed I noticed Lily sitting up against her sleeping mommy, reaching out for me to pick her up. I really needed to get in the bathroom, but how could I resist those arms reaching out to me in the dark? And the fact that this didn't strike me as odd should have triggered something in me. This just isn't right. What is she doing up? Why is she sitting in our bed in the middle of the night? She's right at the edge. Why wasn't I scared she'd fall from atop of our highly elevated bed? Ignorant to any rhyme or reason, I continued around to Julianne's side of the bed and proceeded to attempt to put my hands under Lily's arms and lift her up. For some reason I couldn't get my hands in position and I kept getting tangled in the duvet cover. I continued struggling until I heard,


I'm trying to pick up Lily.


Then it was like a veil was removed. With Lily nowhere to be found and my hands engulfed in comforter, I replied, "I thought I was trying to pick up Lily."

"OK, you're kinda freakin me out here."

Dazed and trying to make sense of what had just happened, I stood there for a moment. Is this what sleepwalking is? Reality mixed with fiction? Very Twilight Zonish if you ask me. But I don't think this is worthy of them to produce a new episode to broadcast. But it makes for a good blog post!