Palliative Polemic

Posts filed under Palliative Polemic

Pigeonhole, Work In Progress

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

The only thing in common
is that we're not the same.
Yet the only difference is
that I like it that way

You may say I'm patient,
but all I'm waiting for is you
to realize that the sum
is greater than the whole.

Maybe I should have held back
and not opened up quite so soon.
But please don't judge me on
just what you read that afternoon.

Please don't put me in a pigeonhole;
different doesn't mean incompatible.

I Kissed Dating Goodbye

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

When I was in college, someone loaned me a book to help me with my struggles concerning dating relationships - and, in particular, my lack thereof. That book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye (IKDG), was written by then-twenty-one-year-old Joshua Harris, who implored young people to pursue God-centered relationships, and to "redeem the time" while they are single (thanking God for the gift of singleness that He gives us).

Well, when I read it back then, I thought, "This book makes some sense. But, since I've never really been one to play the dating 'game', he's not really speaking to me. When I say I want a relationship, I want to pursue the possibility of marriage."

What I completely missed, though, were two very important concepts - waiting on the right timing, and making the most of my time as a single man. As I reflected on my relationship with Erica, I remembered reading that book, and knew that I needed to give it another read - this time, with a completely changed point-of-view. I can look back now and realize that I spent most of my high school and college years unappreciateve of - and often, despising - my singleness, rather than seeing it for the gift that singleness is. Now, I made quite a bit out of my time, and managed to keep following God's plan for my life, even despite of myself; however, I threw away many opportunities I had during that time - opportunities to grow closer in my walk with Christ, and to serve my sisters in Christ in love (too often, I served them with ulterior motives - in trying to subtly "woo", I gave up much of the joy and learning I could have experienced).

In part, I was patient; "I'm still in college;" I would say, "if I'm not dating now, I guess that's okay, because, really, school is my first priority." At the same time, had the chance presented itself, I know I would have dated, even while in college.

But that mindset turned on me when I got out of college. Barely five months after graduating, Erica and I started dating. What I came to realize though, upon reflection, is that I did not take nearly enough time getting to know her, as her friend, before building mental and emotional intimacy - which certainly led us the wrong way in terms of the direction of physical intimacy. Had I taken the time to get to know her, I probably would never have pursued her as a girlfriend - see, Erica is a great, wonderful girl, and friend, but since she is not a Christian, I know I could never marry her. Before we started dating, I knew that she went to a Lutheran university, and that she regularly attended church there and at home, and I made a big mistake - I assumed. Five or six months into the relationship - long after I had already grown mentally and emotionally attached to her - Erica revealed to me that she was not a Christian - that she had many unanswered questions about life, and religion, and that she went to church, in part, to try to help answer those questions.

It took God months to work in my heart enough for me to do the right thing - in some cases, using tearful realizations of who I had become in the past few years, and especially in the past few months.

So, where does that leave me now?

For the first time in my life, I can honestly say that I am content being single - I know that I may struggle with patience, waiting on the right timing - God's timing. I know that I may struggle at times, keeping my motives pure when I act in service and love toward my sisters in Christ. But I also know that I have the support of the Holy Spirit, my guide and teacher. I also know that I have the support, encouragement, and love of a very close group of friends - who will hold me accountable, and who will be there for me, even if I can't be there for myself sometimes.

I re-read IKDG, and Josh Harris' words literally spoke to my heart from every page I read. Finally, I had the necessary perspective - no longer could I say naively, "That's not me; that will never happen." It had happened. Even worse, it almost happened again, less than a month after becoming single again. I likely will recount the details of that yet-developing story, but not now. Suffice it to say that, through the grace of God, and through the counsel of my friends - one in particular - I am learning how to handle things in a God-like, God-centered manner.

While I will not be afraid of one-on-one situations with other women, I will not seek them out - especially if doing so has any motive other than absolutely pure, Christ-like love. I will seek first to develop friendships with my sisters - serving them, loving them, helping them to grow, and will expect nothing out of the relationship other than the knowledge I gain - through loving and serving them, I will learn how to love, and to serve, my future wife.

At the same time, my own personal concern will be to fully redeem the time during this season of singleness - continuing to deepen my relationship with God, serving Him by serving those around me, and, most importantly, continuing to prepare myself for Him to work His Plan in my life. I will learn what it means to be a good husband and father, what it means to be able to support a family, and what it means to take the next step closer to fulfilling God's Plan in my life. I know that God has given me a heart for people - and for missions, in particular; however, God also brought me through engineering school, and placed me in Kalamazoo, MI for this season of my life.

Do I know, exactly, why God chose this route for my life? No, not yet. But I am trusting Him with all of my heart; I am purposing not to lean on my own understanding. I am once again trying to acknowledge Him in all of my ways - and I am trusting Him to direct my path.


So Much Has Happened – Part II: Friends

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

As I mentioned yesterday, one of the reasons that I broke up with Erica is that the relationship was having a detrimental affect on my relationship with God. I finally realized the truth through the prayer with and counsel of some people whom I now consider to be some of my best friends.

Last month, the KVFC coffee house, affectionately known as "The House", opened. The NFocus group spends most of our time together at the house. NFocus is the college-age and twenty-something young adult ministry at my church - Kalamazoo Valley Family Church. The core group consist of about 10-15 of us, and we have really grown closer together, and closer to God, in the past couple of months. We meet at the house Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights - to hang out, chat, drink coffee - and most nights, we are in the parking lot after the house closes, just praying.

For a few of us, one event in particular really got things kick-started. Five of us went to see Eli perform at the Ground Floor in Grandville (Grand Rapids). Afterward, we all felt like praying together. That was just about the time that God was beginning to convict me with respect to my relationship with Erica, and that night, I told them about it. Among other things, we prayed that God would direct me in the relationship. The next night, a bigger group of us were praying in the parking lot, and we all prayed about it again. The same thing happened the next night, and after praying, I was talking with a couple of the guys, and one of them - Scott - told me that I knew what I needed to do. I knew what I needed to do, but also knew that doing so would be very difficult. Interestingly, the pastor who is basically in charge of the NFocus group, Kurt, had just recently spoken about how "God meets us at the point of our obedience." I spent a lot of time on my own in prayer, too, and talked to my parents about it. I knew I would have to rely on God's strength to carry me.

A week later, I broke up with Erica.

Also, at the Eli concert, I had the first opportunity to get to know a guy who has become one of my good friends also - Brian. He is now a confidant, as well as my tennis/workout partner. We also are going through the "Get a Grip" class together at church. He, Scott, Brett, and Andi are now some of my closest male friends - not to mention Cosmas, Jason, Andy, Tavis, and Carl. It is really nice to have guys to talk to, to counsel, and to be counseled by, and to hold me accountable.

It is also really nice to develop friendships with Godly women, whom I can serve unconditionally, from whom I can learn what it is to know, to serve, and to love a woman after God's own heart, and hopefully, one day, with whom I can develop a Godly relationship that will lead to a family. I am very happy and fortunate to be able to see two such relationships developing, with other members of our group. One couple is dating; another is engaged.

But, while I am single, I am taking the opportunity to continue to grow closer to, and to serve and to please, God. Often, I have been able to do that through serving my friends. A few weeks ago (actually, two days after I broke up with Erica), five of the girls got together for a sleepover on a Saturday night, and five of us guys made them breakfast the next morning, before we all went to church. Now, since I love to cook, I especially enjoyed that opportunity. That afternoon, I helped one of the girls paint her apartment - I really enjoyed not only serving her, but also getting the chance to talk to, and really get to know, her. This weekend, I helped another one of the girls move out of her apartment - of course, there is much more to that story, but I will save that one for another day.

All in all, these past few weeks have been really good for me. Once I realized, and admitted to myself, that I had been putting aside my relationship with God, and put forth the effort to turn things around, I have felt so much better.

I have always felt that God has called me to be a "Prayer Warrior" - someone whose first answer to anything is to pray; someone who prays by conviction, whether or not I know exactly *why* I am being convicted to pray. And, for the first time in years, I can feel that my prayers once again have power behind them.

Also, even though, through Christ, all sin is forgiven, sin still has consequences. For me, that has meant that, for years, I had been struggling in my thought life. Now, for the first time in years, I am claiming authority over my thought life. I will not dwell upon any sinful - especially lustful - thought; rather, I pray Psalm 19:14 - "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer."

I have a lot more to write about, but I will save that for later entries.


So Much Has Happened – Part I: Single Again

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

Ok, so, I literally got too busy to keep up with my journal entries. I'll try to get caught up.

Probably one of the biggest changes may come as a surprise - I broke up with Erica about three weeks ago. For today, I will tell that story.

Ok, so I'll try to start at the beginning... I was raised as an independent (i.e., non-denominational) Christian, and that is what I consider myself today. Where I'm coming from may be hard to explain, but I'll try... I chose to be baptized when I was six years old - that is to say - and this is by the grace of God, and the working of the Spirit in my life - I understood what it meant to dedicate my life to Christ, before I was seven years old. Since then (and this is hard for me to say, without sounding arrogant), I had always been on a different level than my peers - mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It's as if I was set apart by God - and, in fact, I still feel that way to this day (for what reason, exactly, I have yet to discover). Since about junior high, I knew that I was called to the mission field. That is my passion - I will never be truly happy until I can get back to the mission field (I have been on three short-term mission trips - all in my early- to mid-teens).

That's the beginning; let me fast-forward to a couple years ago. That's when I met Erica . We started dating ten months ago this past Monday. I knew that she was raised in the church (I would not have started dating her otherwise).

Ok, quick tangent - I don't want to come off as some religious-nut, Bible-thumper-type. You know me; you know that I'm (well, basically) normal. But, at the same time, I've never been interested in the dating "game" - part of the reason I never dated in high school was that no one who really met what I was looking for, and I didn't see any reason to date just for the sake of dating. I have a LOT of friends - and really, really good; really close friends - who do not share my beliefs. I just believe the Bible when it says "do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers" (2 Cor. 6:14). I knew that I did not want to be in a relationship that would make me choose between growing closer to my girlfriend, and growing closer to God.

So, back to the story... my relationship with Erica was great - we were great, close friends, and were great together. Then, some months ago, Erica revealed to me that she did not know what she believed. She said that she had been raised in three different churches - Catholic, Lutheran, and Baptist. However, right now, she has too many unanswered questions to be able to believe in God, or Christianity yet. Now, I know she's open to God, because she willingly chose to go to church so that she could seek out answers. But, right now school is her one and only priority, and she does not feel convicted yet to seek out "the meaning of life".

At first, I did not consider our differences to be that important. After all, our relationship still was not really that serious (ground rules for our relationship stipulated that it also was a lower priority for her than school). Then, earlier this summer, I had cause to re-evaluate myself, and my own priorities. I realized that I had stopped growing closer to God - I was fully consumed with growing closer to and pleasing Erica. The bad part of that was, I was ignoring my own convictions and beliefs. I had stopped going to church regularly, hoping every weekend to try to find some way to see Erica. Other things had slowly changed. I had stopped praying regularly (to be honest, that started a lot sooner). But, the biggest difference, for me, was that I had suddenly become willing to give up my one true passion (mission work), to be with Erica (who I knew, Christian or not, had NO desire for the mission field).

After I realized how much I had really changed, God began to convict me about all these things again. I talked to a lot of people about the decision, and spent a LOT of time in prayer about it. I consider this to be the most difficult decision I have had to make since my senior year of high school, when I gave up a full-ride to a Christian college to go to a $25,000+/year engineering school, having no money, and knowing that I eventually would become a missionary. But, I knew that it was where God wanted me to be.

One of the pastors at my church here, who knew what a difficult decision it was that I had to make, told me, "God meets us at our point of obedience." Of course, by that time, I knew what I had to do. Because of my firm belief that I should not be in a romantic relationship with someone who does not share my beliefs, I knew that, if we were to keep dating, I would feel too much pressure to try to get her to address her questions, to try to get her to firm up her beliefs. I also knew that, if I did that, it would put a great deal of strain on our relationship - since school is her one and only priority - and it would also strain our friendship. If I were to be any help to her, in terms of answering the questions she has, I knew that I would have to do so, not as her boyfriend, but as her friend. I only hoped that Erica would understand, and that our friendship would not suffer.

We talked about it, and when I finally mustered up the courage to start the conversation, it actually went really well. She understood completely (she brought it up in the first place because she knew it would be an issue with me). She also told me that (as I had begun to guess) she also did not see us together forever. As she put it, "our passions are too different". So, we decided to stop dating. We both knew that, if we kept dating, and kept growing closer in a dating relationship, that our eventual - and inevitable - breakup would be messy, difficult, and painful, and that our friendship would likely suffer a great deal.

I should also add that, when I say, "share my beliefs" I'm not asking for much. My basic beliefs are as follows:
God created man.
Man sinned, thereby separating himself forever from God.
God sent his Son, Jesus, to atone for man's sin, by accepting that sin in an innocent death.
Man cannot come to God by any means other than believing that Jesus died for man's sin, and by accepting Jesus as his savior.

That, in a very tiny nutshell, is the summary of my foundational beliefs - the common denominator of basically all Christian denominations. Obviously, there's a lot more than that, but ultimately (in an eternal-life-or-death sense), that's what's important.

If Erica chose to believe, no one would be happier than I would be; but, unless she is so changed by accepting Christ into her life that she suddenly discovers the same passion I share for missions, I don't think we will ever be in a dating relationship again. I believe that our friendship will continue to grow - in fact, I went with her to her family reunion this Labor Day - a few days after we broke up. As friends, we still get along famously - which made things somewhat awkward, since most of her family did not yet know that we were no longer dating.

I consider my experience dating Erica to be entirely positive (except my lack of growth that I talked about already). She was my first true girlfriend; I learned a lot about having a girlfriend, being a boyfriend, and what to expect - and, more importantly, what I am looking for - in a relationship. I know that I will never date anyone again if I know that she does not share my passions. That decision may seem extreme, but I see dating as a means to finding a wife. I have a lot of friends, who provide an abundant social life; the intimacy of a dating relationship, for me, is reserved for seeking out the woman with whom I will spend the rest of my life.

I hope all of this has made sense; I'm sure that I didn't do the best job explaining everything the way I wanted to. I read what I have wrote, and realize that I might come off as some kind of radical. Maybe I am, but I will never apologize for my faith. If I didn't have such a strong desire to find a wife, and raise a family, I could easily believe that God had chosen me to be completely separate, unmarried, and fully devoted to Him.

The bottom line is, Erica knew the way I believed, and she understood why I made the decision that I did, and, most importantly, she fully supported that decision. As she says, she trusts me a great deal, and I know that, when she is finally compelled to find answers to her questions, she will have even more trust in me, because she knew that I stood by my convictions enough to make an extremely difficult decision - a decision that will save our friendship, and hopefully, ultimately - will save her eternal life as well (that is something I continue to pray for).


Part II – Chiropractor Visit

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

I just got back from my second chiro visit. Dr. Peristeridis, my chiropractor, is really good. He did some more "adjustments" to my neck and back (by the way, the sound you hear when "cracking" your neck or back is not that of bones crunching; rather, it is the sound of gases escaping from joints as the pressure is released). After that, we looked at my x-rays. Generally, they look pretty good (the straight-on x-ray will need to be re-shot Friday, as the assistant who developed the first one screwed it up). I have retained some/most of the natural curveature in my neck, which means my rehab/therapy should be quite successful. He also pointed out what he assumed to be calcification around my thyroid gland. While my normal body temperature has always been 97.6 for as long as I can remember, I have never been diagnosed with thyroid problems (although, I do have family history of them). He wants to investigate it further.

Tomorrow should be pretty busy - we are having the farewell lunch for our office manager, who has accepted a position with Pharmacia; after work, I am going to play tennis with one of my co-workers; then after that, I have my first Kalamazoo GOP executive committee meeting to attend.

Also, I just found out, the Kalamazoo Blues Festival starts tomorrow. I think I might see about getting out to see some of it Friday night, or maybe Saturday, after Erica gets here. She is coming in some time Saturday, and is staying through the company picnic Sunday.

My apartment is steadily getting closer to being cleaned. I work on it a little bit each night. I got all the trash taken out, and the kitchen fully cleaned, which took care of any bad smells that might have been lingering. The living room is also cleaned, since I had to have it ready for the delivery of my new sofa. Really, that just leaves the dining "room" (try, nook), my bedroom (which also is mostly cleaned, since I did some rearranging with the new computer and desk), and the bathroom (which is not too bad, since I cleaned it partially the last time Erica was up here).


Chiropractor Visit

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

MY appointment with the Chiropractor went well. As I suspected, I have some neck/shoulder problems, due to ergonomically incorrect positioning while at work. The doc made some "adjustments", explained to me what the problem was, took some x-rays, and scheduled me for eight follow-up visits - two this week, and two for each of the next three weeks. I will be taking a look at the x-rays when I go back in today. What he told me about chiropractic problems explained a lot - including the pains in my neck and shoulders, and possibly, also the pain in my left hand, which I had forgotten to mention.

I still do not know if I will be returning to Indy. As of this morning, Lilly still had not accepted or rejected Rick's proposal for me to return. He expects that they will, since this project really needs to get done. Because of my chiropractor visits, I will only be able to be down there two days a week, until the first of August.

I have spent the past two nights watching two new DVDs I bought - "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" and "Dazed and Confused". I had never seen either, and felt like expanding my movie-viewing horizons. I can see why Fast Times was, and remains, quite popular (and really enjoyed the early performances of what have become quite-successful actors); however, aside from the incredible soundtrack, nothing much stood out for me with Dazed and Confused.

The Wedding Waltz Continues

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

Friday afternoon, I had a telecon with the people I am working for down in Indy. We were trying to figure out what needed to be accomplished yet, and what else needed to be done to get the proverbial ball rolling. As it turns out, Rick wants me to go back down to Indy for four to six weeks to act as the facilitator. I also got a copy of the revised CSV policy, which makes pretty substantial changes to the documentation I have been working on. Today, I re-submitted the revised documents.

Also Friday, the Dell service technician arrived with my replacement laptop screen cover. My screen cover has cracked identically twice in the past two months. Considering that I managed to use a piece-of-crap AMS Soundwave laptop, without problem, for five years, I am led to believe that something is wrong with the screen cover. As the service tech was replacing the screen cover, he discovered that the one he was sent was also cracked - in the same place mine was cracked. When he called to report the problem, he discovered that I had been getting the wrong part number - for both times the screen cover had cracked. He was to have the correct part delivered Monday.

My sofa was delivered Friday morning; my apartment is finally feeling like a real "home" - after being there for a year now. The next thing I need to get is a bigger bed; I have been sleeping on the same, dorm-room-sized, twin bed since high school, if not junior high.

Saturday, I picked up my suit pants and dress shirt from the dry-cleaners, got a quick bite to eat, and then headed down to Angola to pick up Erica. We got down to the church about an hour early, so we went to get a drink at Arby's. When we got back, quite a few more people were there when we got back to the church. I was surprised to see Scott Wisker - one of the guys I graduated high school with, and who also played in the band with me, was at the wedding. He now lives in Mississippi, and happened to be back up this way visiting his parents. As it turns out, Scott, Troy Fox, and I were the only guys from our graduating class who were able to make it.

The wedding was a really nice ceremony, and Denell looked beautiful in her dress, which had one of the longest trains I have ever seen. They rode to the reception in a horse-drawn carriage (Yellow Rose, the same company Erica and I used for my birthday). The reception was held at Primo's, and while there, I got to spend a lot of time catching up with Troy, as well as a couple of our old junior high teachers.

Erica and I stayed Saturday night at the Holiday Inn Express near the banquet hall. After I woke up Sunday morning, I found out that Market Square Arena was imploded that morning; Channel 8 had a lot of really spectacular video footage of the event. The weather was gorgeous that morning, but I knew it was destined to change drastically, as the over-charged nature of the atmosphere was pretty evident.

We drove down to Shelbyville to go to Town and Country for church. It was really good to see everyone there again, as I had not seen them since about Labor Day last year. I grew up in that church; going there for most of the 17 years that we lived in Shelbyville. As the service - led by the youth - was ending, the skies just opened up to the ensuing deluge. The rain - strong in certain cells, would last all afternoon, and would make the drive back north a bit tedious at times.

After church, Erica and I spent the afternoon with my Uncle Don and Aunt Trish. We had lunch, and then spent time just visiting. My shoulders were hurting, so Erica gave me a back massage. She wasn't having much luck taking care of the problem, so I decided that it was time to look into going to see a chiropractor. (This morning, I made an appointment for tomorrow, to see one of the chiropractors in our PPO network.) We then headed back north; I dropped Erica off, and got back home around ten or so. I called my parents when I got home, since we always talk Sunday evenings. I especially wanted to find out about their experience with the freak storm over the weekend, that beset Myrtle Beach, SC, where they had been vacationing for the past week.

As it turns out, they were on the golf course when the storm hit. They waited out the storm in the clubhouse, and took note of the extensive damage on the drive back to where they were staying.

My dad will be traveling to New Hampshire in the early part of this week, and my mom will finally get to transfer to a new job position - something she has been wanting for some time now.

The Dell service tech called me back this morning to let me know that he had been sent the wrong part, and that he should have the correct part tomorrow.

I called Bruce this morning, to discuss with him the idea of me returning to Indy. He was fine with it, as I expected. Since he was on his way to Indy at the moment, he was going to discuss it with Rick, and then he is going to call me back this afternoon, to let me know the final decision.


The Beach, Take Two

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

So, after I got home from work Tuesday, I ate a quick dinner, called Erica, called my aunt and uncle, and then planned to get ready to head to South Haven. Well, for some reason, I started feeling really tired, so I thought I would rest for a couple minutes before leaving; BIG mistake: the next thing I know, I'm waking up, everything is dark, I look at the clock, and it's one in the morning. So, by the time I got up the next morning, I had gotten lots of sleep, which was good, but I missed the beach, and the fireworks, and hanging out with everyone, which was bad.

So, my plans for yesterday were to put my bookshelf together, to clean the apartment some more, to do some laundry, and to get a sofa. First, I got the bookshelf done, and put in place. Then, I got my living room rearranged for the future sofa. Then, while I was eating lunch, Andi IM'd me, asking me if I wanted to go with the group to Holland, for more beach fun. Especially since I missed the night before, I thought it would be a great idea to go. So, I showered and headed out to buy my sofa. I decided to go to La-Z-Boy, since I already had two of their recliners. I ended up getting a gorgeous, garnet-colored, really cushy eleven-hundred dollar sofa for just about half-price. It will be delivered some time Friday.

I then went back home, changed for the beach, and headed up to TGI Friday's to meet everyone. I took Andy, and followed Jason and Carl, since I had no idea where I was going. Brett, Andi, and the rest of the group would be following us up after a stop at the grocery store.

Incidentally, I found out that two of our group from church have had car accidents in the past week - both Carl and Alexis; Carl totaled his truck, and I have yet to find out how bad Alexis damaged her car.

The drive up to Holland - about an hour to get to Holland, and another fifteen minutes to get to the State Park where the beach is - was pretty nice; yesterday was perfect for going to the beach - sunny and hot. We got to the beach around five, walked out to the pier, and then back to our "site" where we had all the drinks and food. Jason, Carl and I played football for what must have been almost two hours - which, in the sand, was some really good exercise. After that, we got something to drink, and then went back out to the pier. We jumped in to get cleaned off; the water was probably between fifty and sixty degrees, which I assume is pretty normal for Lake Michigan this time of year. I thought it felt really good, but the other guys thought it was too cold.

By that time, it was almost eight, and I needed to be heading back, so I could get to bed on time. We walked down to the volleyball courts, so I could let Andy know I was leaving. He wanted to stay, and Brett had room for him on the way back, so he grabbed is stuff out of my car, and I headed out, not really knowing how to get back home. I got directions back to M40, which got me back to M89, and from there I knew where I was. I left around twenty after eight, and was home by nine-thirty, so, really, I made good time.

I grabbed something to eat, and deciding that two hours running around in the sand was exercise enough for the day, decided not to hit the exercise bike. I went to bed right around ten, and when my alarm went off this morning, I was really tired, so I decided that I would get my exercise bike time in during lunch, and slept for almost another hour and a half, then got up, showered, and headed in to work.


Getting it Together, Finally

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

After work yesterday, I started planning the big meal I wanted to cook for Erica's birthday today. I decided that I really would not have enough time to cook what I wanted to, and still be able to make it to South Haven to see the fireworks over Lake Michigan. So, I thought that I would just take her to a nice restaurant in South Haven, and cook for her tomorrow. I went to the grocery store and got some New York strips for dinner, plus some chicken breasts and burgers for lunches this week. I grilled the burgers and chicken, and then made the steak - crusted with freshly ground coffee and peppercorns.

After dinner, I called Erica, since she had called me Sunday night while I was at church. She told me that some of her family had planned a birthday party for her tonight, so now I won't get to see her at all, until this weekend, when we go to Scott&0039;s wedding. Needless to say, I was disappointed; but, I guess that's life.

One of the guys from church had invited me to go see the fireworks anyway, and since I won't get to see Erica tonight, I called him to let him know that I could go with him now. Since his group is leaving here around 4 or so, I will have to meet them. The drive takes about an hour with traffic, so I'm going to meet them around 7 o'clock.

Even though today is Erica's 21st birthday, as well as our eight-month anniversary, I can't really complain that I'm not getting to see her. I will see her this weekend when we go to Scott's wedding, and then to Town and country - my home church - Sunday. Then, I'll see her the next weekend, when we go to my company's summer outing (a picnic), and then I will see her the weekend after that, when we go to Chicago for the Chicago Pro summer picnic at Six Flags.

I tried to give my aunt and uncle in Shelbyville a call, since I will be in town Sunday. I always try to get together with them when I'm in town. They were not home, and I talked to my cousin. They weren't back by the time I went to bed, so I will call them back this afternoon, or tomorrow.

Since I'm getting back into my routine, I went to bed at 10, so that I could be up by 6 for my morning workout. I rode my usual 15 miles in 30 minutes, and then showered and headed in to work. I really wasn't hungry when I left, so I didn't eat breakfast.

Work is going well; I am about two weeks ahead of schedule - well, the schedule I set out for myself. Basically, I have 16 documents that I have to submit for approval in the next six weeks (I have been working on them for the past two weeks), and I made a schedule of when each would be submitted for review, and then when each would be submitted for approval. I have 10 of them in for review already, and possibly the last six will be in by the end of this week, which would put me a full two weeks ahead of schedule for document review.


I am a Slacker, Again

Filed in PersonalTags: Palliative Polemic

So, once again, I haven't managed to get around to writing in the past week; however, I have been pretty productive in that time. I've been trying to get my apartment cleaned, since, not being there, I didn't have to clean it at all since the beginning of March.

I washed all of my dirty dishes. My dishwasher/sink had been acting up for a few months before I went to Indy - whenever I run a dishwasher load, the right side (where the garbage disposal is) fills up with the dirty dishwater, and sometimes even overflows. I really need to get that looked at, especially since my garbage disposal no longer works, either.

I decided that the little desk my new computer is on just was not going to cut it, so I bought a build-it-yourself computer desk at Meijer. At the same time, I got a new floor lamp, and also an office chair - one of the little forty-dollar chairs, but it works. With the desk, and the computer desk, I effectively tripled the desk space in my room.

Also, I was running out of bookshelf space, so I bought another build-it-yourself bookshelf, matching the one I bought a while back. I will put it together tonight, so that I can finish getting my living and dining rooms cleaned up. While I was in Indy, I bought about 20 books, and have gotten a few more since then - mostly political books, cookbooks, diet/nutrition books, and Star Wars novels.

Speaking of politics, some political figures attended the "God Bless America Day" service at my church yesterday. Among them were Dale Shugars and Jerry Van Roost - a Republican state senator, and a Republican state representative (and party whip). They both (along with a Democrat representative) spoke briefly during the service, and I introduced myself to them afterward.

The picnic yesterday afternoon was a lot of fun. I never did make the Caesar salad, but the barbecue sauce was well-received. I got in about an hour of sand volleyball, then went to help out with the closest-to-the-pin golf chipping competition. I had the exciting job of collecting balls and measuring distances - which meant I got to play dodgeball for about an hour. No left-handed clubs were available, so I decided to take a couple shots right-handed. I'm proud to say that my very first shot actually ended up within about ten feet of the pin, from a distance of 30 yards.

I also got to do some jousting, which I had not done since some time in college, at a similar spring festival-type event. Of the three guys I faced, I beat two of them, and lost 2-1 to the third. The guy that beat me was undefeated the entire day, and I was one of the only people even to knock him off once. The thing with jousting is balance - the goal is to keep yours, while throwing off your competitor's. You need to be able to keep your balance with your legs, while simultaneously attacking your competitor using arm strength. The guy who beat me definitely hit the hardest of anyone I faced - I must say that the 15 miles a day on the exercise bike that I've been doing really helped me stay upright. I realized his weak spot - he would leave his face open. The time I knocked him off, he started in an attack stance, leaving his face open, so I started in a defensive position, with my jousting implement pointed right at his chin. A quick, hard jab right into his chin threw his head back, brought his whole body up, and a following shot to the side of the head (while withstanding his first hit to the side of my head) threw him off balance. A final jab to the chin landed him on the air mat. The biggest problem was that the jousting platorms were not stable - they rotated, and rocked about five degrees in all direction. Keeping your balance after a stiff blow, only to fall backward because the platform moved, could be quite frustrating.

After the picnic was over, we had the grand opening for the coffee house. A band, of which my friend Brett is a member, played for a couple hours, and we all hung out enjoying the evening. I left around nine to head home.

The start of my weekend was eventful, too - Friday night I went with Jason and Lex to Milennium Park for a 19 Wheels concert. I had never heard of them before last week, but apparently, they are quite popular in this area. As it turns out, they were pretty good; I am surprised they didn't get any/much airplay in Terre Haute. They reminded me a lot of Ben Folds Five. After the 19 Wheels concert, we went to Club Soda to see Shaffer Street - the band put together by former Why Store lead-singer Chris Shaffer. I liked their style of music - bluesy/jazzy/alternative - more than I did 19 Wheels' alternative-pop style, though both were enjoyable.

I spent all of Saturday cleaning around my apartment, and building my new furniture.

That pretty much sums up the weekend; nothing terribly eventful happened through the week.

Erica will be coming over tomorrow, so I need to finish cleaning tonight, as well as buy food to cook her a special dinner. I think I want to cook her dinner, and then take her over to South Haven to watch fireworks over Lake Michigan.

So far, I have no plans for the Fourth - I think, if nothing else, I am just going to enjoy being able to be at home, relaxing for the day.