Friday, November 21, 2008


It's been kind of a boring and frustrating week of job hunting so I haven't written anything. I have had some very interesting leads mainly from recruiters who have contacted me saying that they help ex-military folks find jobs for free! Anyway, more to come if when I choose a good college job.
So it was another day at Joe's today. I can use my computer there just as well as at Mom and Dad's, so I spend lots of time there in 24 or 48 hour stretches. This time I brought my new Winchester 30-30 (thanks, Dad) so that I could test it out on the plentiful rabbits out at Joe's farm. Joe told me that they come out by the driveway at dusk and that if I sit by the window facing the driveway, I should be able to wax a bunny from the comfort of a their heated home. Sure enough, just after the Sun (Are you s'posed to capitalize Sun? I think our planet's source of energy and warmth deserves it) had set, out pops little Peter Cottontail from the bushes near the driveway. At this point in the story, I feel I should give a little background info in case your'e not a hunting/gun person. A 30-30 is a hunting rifle with bullets about 2.5 inches long and half an inch thick. It's normally used for deer, not rabbits. So when I hit the rabbit, I was kind of surprised that was able to limp back into the bushes. We went to check it out and get the carcass (bunnies = dog and cat food at Joe's). When we got to the scene of the crime, I saw a little tuft of white fluff about four feet away from where I had shot it. No way, I thought. But sure enough, I had cleanly shot that bunnies cotton tail namesake right off.
Of course, the rest of it's hind end was nowhere to be found, so we euthanized it and by then, one of the tiny cute little kittens had found us. Joe picked the kitten and dropped it next to the rabbit. It literally hadn't hit the ground with its paws yet and was already buried ears deep in that bunny and making crazy little growling sounds that fluffy, sweet kittens shouldn't be able to make. It was pretty gruesome, but Joe's kids were very mature about the whole thing. I thought it would bring at least a few tears to the girls. but here's what I learned from this gritty display of Nature's brutality: Kittens are unbelievably cute even with a Bugs Bunny flavored Kool-Aid smile.
Anyway, time for dinner! Everyone washed up and then Joe and I realized that Jessica was still gone at the store. Joe isn't into cooking and even though I am, I don't know my way around their kitchen very well, so we decided on pancakes. Halfway through, I found some ground beef in the fridge. Burgers and pancakes struck me as a very odd combination and I'm a man intrigued by all things odd. So we decided to try mixing the ground beef in the pancake batter(after making some normal pancakes for the kids). The result... BEEFCAKES! They just tasted like pancakes, but greasier. I don't recommend it, but not because it tastes bad, but because it's just too silly.
Pink batter.... Hey, at least it's not yellow snow ;-)
The finished product: the unholy bastard child of breakfast and lunch served for dinner. Please do not attempt to recreate this abomination. It has been destroyed for the good of all mankind. TTFN.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Well it turns out that it's Veteran's Day. I guess being a veteran doesn't mean that you automatically get a memo reminding you of that. Fortunately, I have a grandmother. This afternoon she asked me if I would please take her to the cemetery like it would be some kind of favor to her. I tried to explain to her that there was absolutely nothing in the world I would rather do than honor the memory of the best man I ever knew on the most appropriate day of the year to do so, but she still seemed to think that I was somehow inconvenienced. Of course, the trip still meant much more to her than I.
Grandma had gotten some small American flags from somewhere beforehand, and we picked up two bunches of red carnations on the way. The drive to South Dallas took about an hour and a half so there was a good deal of quality time with Grandma thrown into the deal for free! After some minor navigational difficulties, we arrived at the Dallas/Fort Worth National Cemetery. Grandma expressed a desire to drive around and see the grounds. The cemetery is centered around a pond encircled with plaques honoring various services and units who had distinguished themselves in the wars. We had arrived just as the ceremony overlooking the lake was ending which was a shame because it looked like quite a production complete with a stage for distinguished speakers, a Marine color guard in full dress regalia, and some massive Army artillery guns for firing salutes. We did a full circle around the grounds enjoying the weather which was uncharacteristically warm and sunny for this time of year. Grandma was already beside herself with joy and pride and we hadn't even gotten to Grandpa's grave yet. The walk from where we parked to Grandpa was pretty long for an 85 year old woman, and the grass was spongy and treacherous after the previous night's storm, so Grandma was winded and exhausted when we finally found the marker for William Benac. She sent me to fetch some of the vases provided by the facility as she leaned forward almost doubled over on the marker stone. She was still in this position when I returned and for a long while afterward. I patiently waited at a respectful distance as I tried to imagine the love, longing, joy, grief, and hope that filled her during those minutes. I realized that I will be a very lucky man indeed if the day ever comes that I have as much to lose as she already had.
To me, William Benac has always embodied the "Greatest Generation." He was a true patriarch and to a young boy or teenager, he seemed more than a man. He had a quiet patience and confidence which I found daunting at times, but was also one of the most tender and caring men I have ever known. He had accomplished great things with his life and took pride in them. Grandma always tells me how proud of me he must be watching from the other side, but when he died, I was a perfect loser. I will always live with the knowledge that I was a disapointment to my hero on his deathbed. The least I could do was to pay my respects for the sacrifices and hardships that he and his peers made so that my generation could have the opportunity to live and to make the poor choices that we have. I guess that my own abuse of my legacy mirrors that of my generation's abuse of our nation. But as always in life there is hope and I am beginning to learn that hope can go a long way.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

You asked for it

There. It took a lot longer to write captions for all those photos than just posting them, but at least now I have anecdotal evidence that I was actually there and didn't just find those photos somewhere.


Being unemployed means doing lots of fun stuff, but I've gotten behind so here's what I been up to:
This is my new truck. It's a beaut.

Here's one of my brother Joe's goats. The shaggy pile next to it is all the fleece that we just finished shearing from it. My job was to pin the goat down by holding his horns on the deck. Just in case none of you've tried it before, let me tell ya: shaving goats is hard, smelly work and you get absolutely no appreciation from the animal. But it's satisfying work all the same.
During a weekend trip to visit sister Ruthie in College Station, we had a hayride for her student ward. Here is Ruthie coaching us from atop a 10 foot stack of hay bails while her brother and fiance are at the bottom pitching bails on to the trailer for the hayride. It was tons of fun and I got to know her hubby-to-be better. What a guy.
Today I took my nephew Sterling to the park. We went exploring in the woods and found this "bwokin summawine" I have no idea what it really is, but it sure is cool. Joe's entire fam came over for dinner tonight, and for some reason, it was just like a family reunion: total blissful chaos. Children were screaming, photos were oohed and ahhed over, and at least four people were involved in a turbulent swarm of kitchen activity that somehow resulted in a wonderful Sunday dinner. Good times.
Other than that, i've been looking for a job to tide me over while I finish this phase of Operation Build a Successful and Fulfilling Civilian Life. I will start a full schedule of correspondence classes after the holidays in order to get an AA and become acceptable to a four year school where I will get a bachelor's in Audio Design, and go on to an exciting, lucrative, and creatively satisfying career making and processing sounds. I've been getting out to Joe's farm at least once a week lately just for fun. They are always up to something there wether it's re-flooring their house, rearranging their rooms, fixing cars, etc. It's all good stuff plus, once we've done enough useful stuff to feel productive, there's always time for fishing, tractor driving, rabbit hunting, armadillo chasing, home run derbys with golf balls, camping, or just playing with the chickens or cats or goats or cows or frogs or dogs or turtles or anything else we can find.