11 Years

21 Years agoImage

11 years have come and gone since my dad was with us.  I hate to admit it, but after so many years, when the day comes, it’s almost a toss-up on whether I remember or not.  A couple weeks ago just before the day I remembered, and by the time it came, it slipped my mind.  I guess it’s not much different than trying to remember the birthday of someone you’re not in contact with anymore.  That, and there’s no Facebook to remind me, hah.

It’s funny, because memories come and go throughout the year, but maybe as prevalent in my mind as those memories are the situations I experience day in and day out where I wonder how my dad’s presence might’ve changed them.  I’ve mostly outgrown my tendency to dwell on the what-ifs, but even still they cross my mind here and there.

In honor of my dad this year, here is what could have been:

If he were still here, the relationship between my aunt and cousins and my mom wouldn’t be the mess that it is now.

If he were still here, my basement would probably be finished, either because he would’ve helped me (being the workaholic he was), or because I would’ve been a lot less shy about asking him what to do than I am to other people.

If he were still here, my mom would likely still be up in Akron, surrounded by her friends of 20+ years, with a full-time position in the post office, and not worrying about how much money she was making.

If he were still here, the relationship between my mom and his family wouldn’t be so shaky and sometimes sour.  Who knows, maybe the next reunion would’ve been at our house.

If he were still here, our family probably wouldn’t be so divided over the holidays… even now I still don’t know what’s going to happen for Christmas…

The list could go on, of course.

I’ve spent all day reinstalling software on my computer and things are still not working right, so I’m feeling pretty grumpy.

I miss you dad and I wish you were still here, but I’m glad that your suffering has been replaced with joy.

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3 Things on My Mind.

1.  I woke up today with tears in my eyes today because right before I woke up I was having a dream… here was the last sequence of  events:

“How are you feeling today, Dad?”
“I’m feeling okay,  maybe 70%”
::looks into my dad’s eyes that look  really sad and weak::
“That’s good, 70%’s not bad!”
::hugs dad tightly and bursts into tears::

2.  I played basketball with my 2 moms, wife, & Hannah last night.

3.  I got in a fight with George about Libya, yesterday… not because I think that the US is faultless in this situation or even because I’m convinced that we’re doing the right thing… which is maybe how it came off.  However, if you all you really care about is wanting to find every reason to believe our government is completely evil and only has the worst intentions in mind, I guarantee you will be able to find information to support that theory.  I’m sick of hearing a 40 some year old man who has never truly experienced persecution and pretty much oppresses the people around him complaining about how his horrible government is oppressing his freedom.

What do you do…

… when the kids become the adults and adults become the kids, but still act like they still get to make whatever decision they want and everyone else just has to live with it?

Has it been a year already?

It was just yesterday I swore I was going to start posting more… really!  I guess since my last post I’ve had a few life changes… like moving into a condo, getting married, traveled halfway around world and most recently, I’ve stepped down from volunteer InterVarsity staff after 3 years.   However, life is pretty good, it’s been nice to have some more time to do random things.  I’ve started a liiitle bit of prep for the GMAT, and started finishing the basement, though I’ve still got a long way to go on both.  Work is o-k for now, despite still being underpaid, at least I will get to do some different things over the next 10 months or so.  I think I’ll stop my recapping at that, lest I bore anyone bothering to read this to death.  We made it through the wedding, Taiwan was awesome, and it was a great year in AAIV!  There, I covered everything else.  d=

Our living room has received a few upgrades, recently.  Instead of this massive TV… , thanks to a generous anniversary/birthday/Christmas gift from Melissa’s parents, we have THIS massive TV…  (we’re watching our free Avatar 3D disc we got with a mail-in rebate for our blu-ray player).  And yes, I am sitting here blogging with 3D glasses on right now.  In addition, after looking at keyboards for probably like 4-5 years now, I finally splurged and bought my new baby:  a Yamaha CP33.  Maybe I’ll make some new recordings sometime.  I made a deal with Melissa that I wouldn’t buy any luxury electronics > $15 through December 2012 to get this guy… haha.  So I won’t be building a computer anytime soon.

I have to say, playing piano for pleasure and not for a lesson is a lot more fun d=  I went to my mom’s for dinner tonight and played on my real piano for a little bit, and it’s definitely still a different feel, but the electric is close enough.  I have it amped through a little Roland CM30 cube, and it sounds pretty nice.  I’m attempting to learn Un Sospiro, by Liszt.  I’ve can get through the first 2 pages okay, but the next 9 only get harder and harder… so we’ll see.  Aside from that, I’ve been practicing some improv off of chords, which I’m starting to kind of get the hang of, as well as trying to play Tim Be Told’s Lament by ear, to try and expand my abilities on the keys.  I still can’t sing and hold a rhythm in my hands simultaneously though.  Need to work on that.  I have to say, that as a solo instrument, there’s nothing that quite compares to a piano in terms of the fullness of sound you can have and the amount of stuff you can have going on.  I guess I wasn’t lying to myself when I thought I really missed playing piano.  A friend recently introduced me a composer I hadn’t heard about before: http://youtu.be/r49pIDj0hEI – Charles-Valentin Alkan.  I really like his compositions d=

Well, hopefully I’ll start posting more… about more interesting things than just life updates… but I guess that’s the challenge of blogging right?

Technologically Conservative

Probably a strange post title from someone who sits in front a computer about 14 hours a day.  It may be an exaggeration, as I definitely indulge in leisure browsing on the internet and facebook for more than I should, but in general I do consider myself to be on the conservative side when it comes to technology.

What about evolution you might ask… if you don’t push the limits, how will you advance?  Think about how much you can increase your productivity!

I do in fact think that technology is a beautiful thing, and enjoy finding out about the latest and greatest devices and what they can do, so while I appreciate the usefulness and beauty of technology, living in a society that tends to encourage us to indulge in as much as we can afford, I try my best to be very intentional about what technology I do and do not participate in.

Those who know me probably know that I do not text and that I do not have a smartphone.

When I see my students mass texting before an event and successfully recruiting/reminding people to show up somewhere, I wonder if I’m just being stubborn and cheap, but when I’m leading a meeting and I’m constantly distracted by the clicking of buttons and phone vibrations, I can’t help but be annoyed at the constant diversions.

When I play with my friends’ smartphones, I enjoy the convenience of being able to look anything up the internet whenever I want or to pull up a fun game when I’m bored.  But until my job requires it, I don’t plan on getting a phone with a data plan, because knowing my own habits and weaknesses, I know how likely it is for me to become consumed by the device instead of being the consumer… not to mention that data plans are expensive!

When people only had landlines, people only called you during normal hours or in emergencies.  With the emergence of cell phones, access to people has been increased dramatically.  Now with texting, you can literally contact anyone at any time of the day (or night) without having to feel bad about it.  Something about that is a little frightening to me… I don’t think I want anyone to have that much access to me except my future wife.  As technology evolves, our defined boundaries with other people should also evolve, but it seems as they evolve, the blurrier they get.  While it’s obvious that watching a movie in the dark with a person of the opposite sex at 3 in the morning is a bad idea, and maybe even that frequently staying up on your computer ’til 4 talking to someone of the opposite sex is a bad idea, but what’s the harm in a couple flirtatious texts before you fall asleep, laying there in your bed?

I’m not at all condemning texting, but in a generation of portability and convenience, I think that how we’re approaching technology merits some thought, and not only regarding facebook.

Am I just being closed-minded and slow to change?  It’s possible.  Maybe I just need to learn better self-control instead of avoiding the things that tempt me to stumble.  I was recently reading the food blog of Lynn Chen, an Asian American actress, and she was sharing about how when she was overcoming her eating disorder, she had to learn how to live with her “trigger foods” in her kitchen rather than abolishing them from her house, so that when she found herself in a place with those foods, she wouldn’t go crazy with them.  Is that a better approach?  After all, I’m not even married yet and I’m already dreading the day that my daughter asks me for cell phone and trying to figure out what I’m going to do if I don’t think she’s old enough yet.  Crisis orientation anyone?

Health & Wellness

Right after the new year, I started writing a post about Urbana.  Turns out I never exactly finished it… so I think I’ll probably just let it sit and move on d=

As the new year has come around, one of the things I’ve been thinking about a little more is what it means to be healthy and respect the body that God has given me to experience life with.  While still young, I’m realizing that I’m starting to get to the point where I can’t just treat my body like dirt and expect not to pay some consequences for it.

Aside from putting on some weight, I take generally bad care of my eyes & my teeth, and I’ve had a strange lingering knee injury since I played a lot of volleyball last summer that I’m still trying to figure out.  It feels bruised when I push off of it, but there’s no sharp pain or swelling.  But anyway, this is all besides the point.

Here are some of the things I’m attempting this year to be more healthy… with varying success:
-Cutting back on fast food
-Exercising fairly intensely at least once a week
-Adding raw onions to my subs & switching to wheat bread (my typical sub now consists of oven roasted chicken on 6″ 9-grain honey oat, pepperjack, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, spinach, salt & pepper, and oregano)
-Paying more attention to sodium & caloric intake
-Walking to lunch
-Drinking more water
-Eating breakfast (even if it’s just something small on the way out)
-Eating slower (actually chewing my food)
-Taking out my contacts at night (this is a recent development)
-Using mouthwash periodically and brushing my teeth more
-Cutting down the habit of working on the couch until I fall asleep (there were probably almost entire weeks where I didn’t sleep on my bed)

and the list goes on…

I’m hoping to lose 15-20 lbs by my wedding day d=

The tough thing is as much willpower you exert through 80% of the week, all it takes is hanging out with a couple friends or a stressful day to indulge in a horribly unhealthy meal or 3.  But I guess it still helps to be actively trying to be healthy for most of the week than none of it d=  I had forgotten how skinny I used to be until looking back at some old pictures a couple months ago.

I think we often don’t acknowledge how exercise and eating can affect us spiritually.  God has given us our bodies to care for and has called them temples of the Holy Spirit.  How we’re maintaining our body and what we’re putting into it can easily affect our mood and also our spiritual health, so having discipline in how we treat our bodies can serve as an act of worship to God.  That being said, I’ve got a long, long way to go.

What do you do to try to be healthy, or do you at all?