Rick and Monique

Monday, March 30, 2009

How things change...

Monique again...
Thought I'd might like to write again.  If you've been following our blog (okay, Rick's blog) - you have noticed a theme...  We have a busy, crazy, active life.  And we wouldn't want to get bored or have too much free time on our hands!  So, what now?  How about a 1-year-old boy to shake things up a bit?!?

Yes, we are taking care of a little boy full of energy and quite active. Nothing like that to change how you view the world, how you see your house, how long it takes to get ready for church!  We've really no idea how long we have him, but we are enjoying this (most likely short) parenting journey, and we learn a lot every day.  We learn about kids, about sleep schedules, about very full diapers, about each other & how we parent.  Rick and I have different parenting strengths and weaknesses and it amazes me how they work together.  It shouldn't amaze me -- because that is how God works, but it still does.  

This little guy is smart!  He can find the button on just about every device (and likes to push the SAME button repeatedly).  He looks and looks to try to figure out how something works.  He is a determined little boy and I am amazed at how strong his arms are (especially when he doesn't want something near his face -- like a tissue!).  The weight of a 22 pound boy triples when he throws a tantrum in my arms.  We learned that.  He has learned how to play by himself and explore the house and he is really fast on his hands and knees!  He is quickly learning how to drink from a cup and wants to feed himself, but he loves to throw things on the floor to get some gullible adult to pick it up for him.  

And he has a delightful laugh and a beautiful smile...  
So that helps in the moments when he cries or tantrums or keeps trying to take over the computer! :o).

I don't know how long this piece of life will go on, but I will enjoy it as long as I'm allowed, love the joy of a moment, and the movement of time...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Real Dreams and Whispers

Reality's great.  You wake up every morning and it's either snowing, raining, windy, sunny, cool, warm or hot.  We've all got things to do, great works to perform, games to play, little things to surprise people with, endure b.s., enjoy life.  I woke up this morning the same way I usually do, with a smattering of cynicism, half-opened eyes and a penchant for coffee. Monique wakes up with Benadryl-head nearly every day, whether we're working out at 5 a.m. or sleeping in till 7:30.  I've got leaves to rake and an apartment to fill.

We're held stable by our reality and propelled by our dreams--like the day tiny warrior Sienna beat the Giant Ohio State during March Madness College Basketball.  Dreams give way to reality.  Dreams lived wisely give birth to reality.  

Practice makes perfect, don't put all your fruit in one basket, you can't make money until you spend money--  I learned those things at college--high school even.  They're not crap lessons, but how to correctly do all those things takes time.  I'm putting my ducks in a row.  I want them all to quack to their hearts content. I'm learning wisdom.  Sometimes we want to give reality a break. Sometimes reality is too stressful, too heavy, too worrisome. Sometimes reality is too complicated and too big.  On those days, remember the dreams.

We woke up one morning and my bride readied herself for work.  She showered and she dressed and she turned to me and asked me how she looked.  She looked great as usual.  She turned and I wrapped my arms around her waist and began to whisper into her ear:

You're beautiful. You look great. You're great. You'll do great today. No one can say you're not beautiful. Your skin is softer than anyone and your hair is silky smooth. You're talented, organized and amazing. You're a great thinker and you make lemonade from lemons. I need you because you're my better half. You stand up straight because you're a leader. You're voice gives angels pause and your heart was molded after God's. You're precious, generous and thoughtful. Sometimes you might not say the right thing, but you always mean the right thing. People will stand up and take notice. You're detail oriented and you see the big picture. You create order from chaos and you're excellent at what you do. You're good to your friends, you're helpful, a good advisor and you love this life. Your husband adores and loves you and believes in you. Joan of Arc, Elizabeth the II, Rosa Parks, Margaret Thatcher, Corrie Ten Boom and Chanel and many great women--you are molded like them. You are David and your Goliath is no match for you. I read Proverbs 31 and I found my wife there.
I held her for minutes and I whispered.  She bowed gracefully, softened and listened, almost as if I wasn't there.  At the right moment she awoke and asked me, "I feel your words, but why do you whisper them?"  I replied, "Because some days we understand the dreams better than the reality.  Sometimes we remember the dreams better than we remember yesterday."

Monday, March 16, 2009


Alright--the update--it's totaled.  "People call it an accident because it's an accident," "It's only a car," "It's only money," "at least you're not badly hurt," "It's only time," "Everyone gets in a wreck at one time or another,"--everyone thanks for the good words, it's helpful--mostly.  I don't have a choice but to go through it, and some hours I'm harder on myself than others.  But all ya'll are right, it'll work itself out and I'm good with that.

A testament to Gap insurance.  If you have a new or newer car and you have a chance to accept Gap but you're resisting--go knock your head against the wall, have a V-8 and say "SURE I'll take the insurance!"  That'd be my little morsel of wisdom.

Everyone's alright, the sun is shining, God is, and I own a motorcycle free-n-clear.

See you somewhere in the wind.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Our Own Destinies

I should've been riding my bike or motorcycle yesterday.  I was recovering instead.  For those of us who believe we control our own destinies, this story might not help.  

I ran a red light Thursday morning and slammed into another car. I don't have any excuse but that I had a moment where I wasn't paying attention before I noticed I was up against a red light going 35 mph. I had only a second to hit the brake and my foot went underneath it instead of on top of it. I couldn't get my foot out on time. It might've been too late anyway and I hit another car at speed limit.  I feel like I was drop-kicked by an air-bag.  My body hurts.  A bit of inertia ripples through one's body when they run 35 to 0 in 1/2 second.  

I'm alright and the other driver is alright. I had just dropped Monique off at work downtown and had begun the journey home (Journey meaning 7 miles). But what if I had stayed at the curb thirty seconds longer? What if we had left from home earlier than we had? I had to meet two of my friends at a local coffee shop and was hoping I could get there on time. What if the previous light had been red? I would've arrived at the next intersection forty-five seconds later. I was pretty tired and I was thinking about an apartment situation that's really out of my control...to a point. What if I wasn't thinking about the apartment?

The whole scene seems choreographed. I had to learn a lesson maybe?

Everything is a condition of something else. Nothing is free of itself nor the rest of what it can't help. I had this conversation with someone last week. A murder, for instance, is often predicated by a cheating spouse, a terrible childhood, an abusive father, an alcoholic parent, the loss of a job by an awful boss, a mental illness. Divorce can be predicated on similar things such as a terrible childhood, a cheating spouse, an abusive spouse, an alcoholic spouse, the fact that divorce is rampant in the immediate family. Do things I write affect your perspective about your world--ever?  Or, are you able to act fully and freely outside the influence of someone else?  

I'm alright. My spirit is a little down, but man am I thankful all of us are alright. I was in an accident five years ago.  I was hit from behind on the interstate by a construction truck and by this time then I knew I had sustained quite a serious injury. Today, I'm confident that I haven't, praise God for that. Yet there's a lot to deal with yet and I'm not sure about what this will look like financially. We make choices--we should prepare for emergencies. Bottom line: I did it. I ran the damned red light. I take full responsibility for that.

And yet the accident still all seems choreographed, an inevitable dance. Maybe I'm thankful for that too. Lessons learned, lives lived, God is.

What's your opinion?  

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Airport and Baseball

The Arizona sky--rippled clouds and warm, dry air.  I tasted the smell of leather, hot dogs, beer and Old Spice.

The eclectic airport culture confounds me.  My brother loves watching airport patrons because their walk, attitude, attire, hairdo, size, weight, and pace define every angle of their character, nature and personality. Imagine how differently you and I handle stress?  How might four or five of us deal with layovers or hunger? Some of us need to wear suits on the plane and some of us don't need to wear tight, butt-hugging pants to the airport.

I and my brother flew to Phoenix for a couple days of sun and baseball.  

One often wonders about strangers that sit next to you on any trip-leg.  Some say "hello," and some are volcanoes, and some--church mice.  They're students and adults and professional hackers.  Some are bums and athletes. Some are tattooed wizards.  

They all disappear.  The earth eventually spins them right out of my sight-line.  They've all got places to go without me.  I wonder--airports must be black holes.  I've never received a number or an address for any new friend beside me in a row that's inevitably and relatively close to the wing. No airline company can seem to sit me anywhere but on the bloody wing.  I know my row-mates by first name some of the time; And, in every case, they eventually become not much more than like an semi-entertaining film we saw one day back when--remember faces, a funny quip, a few lines, a bit of the plot, that's it.

My row eleven seat-mate inside the Airbus 320 farted in my general direction. The two-pack-a-day woman filled the middle seat, her husband took the window seat--I would be closest to the beverage cart which meant I got my tomato juice last.  With no smog-filter in her throat, time and million cigarettes changed her voice to one that sounded quite a lot like her husband's.  She laughed and if my eyes were closed I'd wonder if she were grating radishes. The late-forty-something year-old woman entered the aircraft phone-texting and she continued texting until about five minutes after captain Levitz told us to turn our electronic devices off.  She then shifted her butt outward, leaned toward her husband, wrapped her arms around his arm, layed her head on his shoulder, and farted.

The layover at Denver airport offered a chance meeting with one family from Le Mars, IA, a mere hop and a jump from my town, Des Moines, IA.  More importantly, I went to school not thirty minutes from Le Mars, grew up in close-by Sioux Falls, SD, and most importantly enjoyed Wells Blue Bunny Ice Cream in Le Mars Iowa.  The Mom of the family grew up in Southern California near where I was born, the son loved baseball and wrestling, the girl loved Brittany Spears and the youngest son loved fishing.  The older son, a high-school wrestler had recently returned home from wrestling in Des Moines' Wells Fargo Arena, the largest venue he'd ever wrestled in. 

Phoenix to Denver--my favorite row-mate was a young lady who, during the worst air-turbulence I've ever experienced (besides the afore mentioned fart), compulsively and repeatedly uttered, "This is not my favorite, this is so not my favorite."  My brother didn't help her much when he mentioned that if we crash it'd be over very quickly.  Me, my mouth shuts down, but my the voices in my head grow exponentially louder.  My brother talks more and faster than the airplane could fly, but I think the voices in his head interrupt the "make sense" portion of his brain. So between what was "not her favorite", my quiet head-noise, and Rob's noisy blather, the flight kept us entertained in a demented sort of way. 

The flight to Phoenix proved uneventful.  My brother and I had a row all to ourselves and thus my inflight entertainment became my brother's stories and the pilot-tower chatter on channel 9.

Our adventure began Sunday morning when my wife and I left Des Moines early so we'd make church services at my sisters' and their family's church. We had a good afternoon and decided between all of us that we'd eat at this diner near Eppley Airfield where I'd fly from that evening.  The older sister has two foster children.  The law doesn't allow them to leave the state with the children.  The Iowa border is only a few minutes away from Omaha.  One might even cross the border a couple times on the way to Eppley.  We fore-went one restaurant because it was in Iowa.  Everyone believed that the diner we chose was well within Nebraska limits.  Turned out, after a series of border crossings along the way, that the diner sat neatly about 50 feet into Iowa.  Whoops.  So, an hour before I would pass airport security, I helped my family break the law.   

All that was icing on the cake and the cherry on top.  The cake--I and my brother enjoyed unbelievably beautiful Phoenix weather at stadiums filled by baseball fans from all over the world.  We and they watched my favorite baseball team play my favorite sport.  I love the smell of fresh grass, beer, Dodger Dogs, brand-new baseball caps, and sun-block lotion.  If I were a persistent smeller, I might even catch a whiff of chaw leaving the lips of my favorite players.  MMM-MMM.  Wait a sec...never mind, that's pretty gross.

Oh, I have a question, why does one wear high-heels to a Phoenix area Spring Training baseball game?  Why wear high heels to any baseball game?  The stripper convention is in Vegas and the Hoity Toity convention is in...well I don't know, but it's not at the BASEBALL STADIUM!  Tenny's, shorts and T-Shirts please.  I might just step on your toes diving after an errant foul ball. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my nephew and nieces, the airport culture, and I had some of my best days with my brother.  So, besides a three-hundred dollar meteor sized rock slamming into our windshield like a hostile rock-alien, the trip rocked (no pun intended).  

Two of my favorite places--the airport and the baseball stadium converged into one sincerely personalized experience.  The world is my oyster; and a healthy, meaty part of the oyster exists at the airport and the field. 

The eclectic airport culture, and high-heels at baseball games confounds me.

But somewhere deep in my eyes, I never lost sight of her.  I'm glad to be home.