Archive for May, 2007

Enjoying the Ride

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

I had a particularly wonderful childhood.  I was blessed enough to know both sets of Grandparents and three Great Grandmothers.

When I was small we would often drive North on the weekends.  We would go from Odessa up to either Brownfield or Lubbock to see Grandparents.  Either way we covered the same ground.

As we left the pumpjacks on the savannah and moved into the south plains, the landscape became more agrarian.   We moved from oil fields to cotton fields.  The horizons were so flat that they seemed to go on forever.  Most of the rows in the fields were plowed perpendicular to the road.  The car moved fast and the rows seemed to move like a runner’s legs.   I could look out to the window for hours.

Even though I wanted to get to our destination, I always really enjoyed the ride.  I don’t recall ever asking if we were there or how long we would be.  I knew the route.  And I enjoyed the ride.

Now when I travel, it is not always so pleasant.  I wonder just how much good behavior my children have to spend.  I worry too much about the vehicle, the road and the dangerous obstacles that I may encounter.

I miss just enjoying the drive.

Yes, this is a metaphor for the way I live.  I’ve been coping with a lot of work and worry lately.  I miss just enjoying the drive.  It is time to notice the running rows again.

Lord, help me enjoy the ride again.  Put my mind at ease.  Give me peace as I trust You.  Help me notice the little things and the ways that You tell me how much You love me.

Gratitude

Monday, May 28th, 2007

Some people go above and beyond what they have to.   We seldom realize the sacrifices that we claim to remember.  We find ourselves unable to pay the debt we owe.

I can’t write a thing that would be good enough.  My freedom and safety exist because people I did not know died protecting them.

Today, I will shed tears for the fallen warriors that protected me.  Tomorrow, I will live in a way that would make those fallen warriors proud.  As they look down on me from heaven, I hope that they can see my appreciation and gratitude.

Disappointment

Saturday, May 26th, 2007

I hate it when a plan falls to pieces.

I have been looking forward to taking the wife out for dinner and the fights tonight. It did not happen. I’m more than a little disappointed.

Getting us out of the house is a tall order. We don’t get to do it much. I aint whining but, that is the truth. I’ll have to find some way to make a night out happen soon.

The Long Barrel of the Law.

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

I told a story to my boss the other morning.  He liked it so much that  he said, “That is something for you to write about.”

I’m not saying this whether or not this story is truth or fiction but I may have to include it in the Butch book.  I think it is interesting.

It was getting late.  The sun was starting to go down. I knew if I did not get to the store fast, I wouldn’t get to go.  Mom did not want me riding around in the dark.

I peddled as fast as I could to the convenience store.  It is always fun riding in and out of the bar ditch.  I could smell the stench of death where the dog was decaying so I was about halfway there.  I peddled on.

Right when I was about to enter the parking lot, the deputy’s car screeched in ahead of me.  I put on the brakes and went down on one foot.    The cruiser fishtailed sideways and stopped parallel to the store.  The door flew open and the deputy stood up.  He drew out his revolver.

I was amazed at the sight of that pistol.  It was a .44 magnum with a ten inch barrel.  You can watch Dirty Harry all day and not get the experience of seeing that thing actually fly out in front of you.  The report was as loud as a rifle shot.  The muzzle blast was huge.  Even the cylinder gap blast was huge.

As the glass all dropped to the ground, I peddled ahead.  He stood still.  He seemed gigantic to me.  He stood about 6’6”.  He was lanky and dark.  His afro pushed out from under that silverbelly Stetson.  He holstered his pistol and looked down at me.  His face changed from mean to gloomy.  “Look in his hand boy.  I had to do it.”   I looked through the broken window to see the headless gunman.  “You gonna be alright, boy?”  I did not answer.  “You need to go to the store across the street to get your stuff then go back home.  Then you need to talk with your daddy.  I’ll come by talk with your parents later.”

It wasn’t like the movies.  It was ugly.  It was real.

I finally feel inspired.

Sunday, May 20th, 2007

Since Texas Instruments told me my job ends at the end of this year, I have really had a time trying to figure out what I want to do. But that has changed. I finally feel inspired.

Some of the autism bloggers encouraged me to watch the webcasts of the recent MIT Media Lab Symposium on Assistive Technologies. Now I understand a little more about what I want to do with the rest of my life. I want to work in the assistive technologies business.

The MIT Media Lab does all kinds of stuff. It ranges from weird stuff with cars to practical technologies for living today. I love that there is a place like that for imaginations to run wild and creativity to manifest itself. To me it is like the old Xerox Palo Alto Research Center but for more specialized stuff.

Seeing this symposium makes me want to be a part of that industry. I think I know what to start doing now. I desperately want to help disabled people find and take the freedoms that God endowed to them. This industry is full of visionaries. That is exciting. That is worthwhile.

Being Moved:About a Way of Being

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

I have been doing a lot of autism posts lately. I don’t know how long I will keep that up. It has just been on my mind a lot lately. I really want to direct this one to the folks out there who have very little contact with autism. As you consider what autism is, consider this.

I made a major transition in the way I see autism and in the way I see my son. Part of that transition was from viewing the work of one particular person, Amanda Baggs. She really moves me.

A while back I posted a link to a page called Getting the Truth Out. Many of you were moved by it as was I. That was my first exposure to Amanda. I then started dropping by her blog Balastexistenz. But the main thing that brought on a major change was viewing her videos.

Here are a couple of them. I know the second one is long. It may be difficult for some of you to watch but please stick it out until the end. You will be glad you did.

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Texas Charm School Lesson 3

Monday, May 14th, 2007

If you find yourself driving down the rural roads in Texas you will quickly notice the finger wave. Texans drive with one hand on the top of the wheel. As you approach oncoming traffic, the drivers will raise two fingers on that hand. This is the finger wave.

This may seem trivial but it aint. This is a big deal. If you fail to finger wave of return the finger wave Texans will think less of you. You will be considered, “stuck up.”

The finger wave is not the only important wave in Texas roadway etiquette. There is also the passing wave. This is not to be confused with the pass me wave. The passing wave is needed when someone pulls to the shoulder to let you pass. Failure to execute the passing wave will be interpreted as ingratitude.

The pass me wave is done by a driver with his left hand. The driver will lift two fingers to his ear and motion forward. This is a go ahead signal. At that point you are free to pass without any fear of acceleration. Follow up with a passing wave.

Being Texas friendly on the Texas roadways is not only a moral imperative but smart. Texans will help you when you’re broke down. They will give you great directions. They are happy to meet folks from other places. And they will be happy to lend a hand if you have trouble of any kind.