Up until last year, I never realized that it was the dad dressed as Santa getting kisses from the mommy under the mistletoe. I always thought the mom was a horny Santa freak. What the hell does that say about me as a kid?
Sorry about not posting too much lately, but as we've been in the hospital in Winston-Salem for most of the past 2 months, there's not much to say about Statesville. Anything going on here at the hospital is being posted about on www.caringbridge.org/visit/lindsaytempleton So head on over there to get caught up....don't worry, it's not a really depressing blog. We try to keep it entertaining. Also, check out www.lindsaybeans.net It's a website that a friend of ours from back in Madison, WI set up for Lindsay. See you in the funny papers.
This experience with Lindsay's leukemia has really thrown me for a loop, twisted me in a knot, kicked me in the balls, put my head in a vise, got my panties in a wad, etc., etc.....
I've not been a big fan of Statesville since we moved here. Seems like some crazy bad shit happens around every turn. We had the whole Nightmare on Elm St. We had really bad house buying experiences (structural issues, sellers holding ernest money hostage) Now Lindsay's AML. I hate Statesville....or do I?
I know about 12 people in town fairly well. That's it. About 5,000 people know us now and have shown an amazing amount of support for us. It is pretty unbelievable. People we don't know, and will probably not ever know, are giving donations to help us. There are fundraisers all over the place. I just read a comment someone made about an upcoming fundraiser for Lindsay. I had no idea what she was talking about. What fundraiser??
Ginger's work has supplied us with a pretty bad-ass laptop. Lindsay gets to video chat with uncles, aunts, and cousins now and is having a blast doing it.
A certain group of NC at home dad's (whether they all know it or not) donated some Whole Foods Gift cards. I've only met these guys once!!!
We get constant letters from people that heard about Lindsay from a friend of a friend of a cousin of the mother of a kid whose dog walked by our house once.
So, do I have to like Statesville now? I think I do, whether I want to or not.
In case you didn't know, I take photographs. I just started in June of this year (with a good camera), so I'm very much a novice. I filled out an application to show at the Statesville Art Crawl and got accepted. Now came the hard work. I had to pick which shots to use, get them printed, get them matted/framed, figure out how to display them, come up with price tags, get business cards made..... Just before I got my notice that I'd been accepted in the Art Crawl, we found out that our 3 year old daughter has Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). If you want details and updates about that, please visit www.caringbridge.org/visit/lindsaytempleton So when I saw the email saying I'd been accepted, I almost immediately replied that I'd have to bow out, because there was no way I could get all this stuff done with the emotional state that we all were in. But I didn't reply. I told my wife about it and she said that I had to do it. A very good friend and her daughter stepped up and said they'd take care of the printing and matting/framing. My father-in-law took care of the business cards. All I had to do was pick which shots and get them to my friends. The Art Crawl was last night and it was pretty cool. I actually sold some pictures (I came up with prices as we were hanging the shots) and had a great time!
Ew, nasty. Wal-Mart. What a nasty place to shop. I hate it. Never mind the evils of Wal-Mart driving out small local businesses, it's plain and simple a nasty place to go. I get physically ill just walking in and seeing the people that live/shop there. You all know what I mean. Physically repulsive people smacking their kids, waddling down the entire width of each isle in stained spandex pajamas, and t-shirts sporting confederate flags or an iron-on picture of Mickey Mouse. I waste precious gas and money to drive an extra 15 miles to go elsewhere when I HAVE to. That said, their business strategy of marketing the lowest prices has made them even richer. This time they can thank the government. I've never been to Costco, so I can't comment on them. Great. I love capitalism, but damn, some shit you just don't need to spend your money on. I'm not even sure why I'm so irritated about this. It's not that Wal-Mart greatly benefited from the stimulus packages. I think it's because something so aesthetically displeasing did. If Target had made headlines, I wouldn't have had a second thought about it. If you gotta buy it, buy it local.
This is the haunted room in The Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC. "As the tale goes, the ghost is that of a young woman dressed in pink who fell to her death in the Palm Court Atrium around 1920." She has been seen by many hotel employees. To get this picture, I had to travel to the 5th floor in a small elevator built into the rocks that make the hotel. The elevator operator took us to the 5th floor. I had my 14 month old son on my back in his carrier. I saw the door as soon as I got off the elevator and got my camera up to shot. As soon as I paused at the door, my son starts screaming as loud as he can. I quickly try and take the picture, but the screen reads "CF card is full". NO WAY!! There was only about 35 pics on this card!! I quickly delete a couple of pics and am able to snap a quick shot. I get my son off my back and get back on the elevator. I tell the operator, "I guess he doesn't like the 5th floor." He replied, "Well, it is haunted, you know. It strange, though. The Pink Lady supposedly likes kids." Weird. My son calmed down as soon as we returned to the main floor. Really weird.
We went to Friday After Five downtown the other night (Friday). It was really hot still and we took the kids. We got there at about 5:30. We were 4 of about 20 people. Well, maybe a few more people were there than that. It actually did pick up a little shortly after, but my first impression was, "Uhhh, really? This is it?" There was a church playground right next to where the band set up so we just hung out there so the kids could play. I must say, I did like the song selections by the band. Tom Petty, Green Day, Lynyrd Skynyrd. I guess they are your typical cover band, including the fact that they sounded like crap. I have no idea what the band's name is, so, sorry, I can't post their schedule. My favorite band member had to be the lead singer. Very stationary, unenthusiastic. Bright, red polo shirt with the collar up....way up. There was a huge empty space from the stage to the "crowd". I'm not sure if there were supposed to be people in that area or not. Maybe people were staying clear of the bass guitarist (the guy in black) hocking the biggest loogies I've ever seen out into the street. I did get a sweet picture of them...from the back. I do have a side shot, but it doesn't capture the fiery energy of this gas-powered rock and roll band.
I visited the Quaker church here in Statesville a couple of weeks ago. To me, this is surprising on a couple of levels. a) Statesville has a Quaker church??? and b) why am I going to church in the first place. Answers: a) yes b) that's a good question
I went without wife or kids. It was part scouting mission to see if kids would be cool at a Quaker meeting...that's what they are called, meetings, and part looking for something different that might appeal to me in Statesville. It turns out that, yes, children are very welcome at the meetings and they can talk as much or as little as they want. The same rule applies to adults. There is no pastor/minister/priest/holy man. No performance to watch. No music to listen to (unless you bring your own). No obligation to pray or read aloud or anything else that I've had to do at other churches (mostly Presbyterian, because that's what I was raised) They have Bibles and hymnals if you want to read scripture or songs. They believe in The Trinity but don't make blanket statements in regards to it because they believe that what you believe is not necessarily right on with what the guy next to you believes through and through. And it's not their place to question others' beliefs. Be peaceful with yours and I'm peaceful with mine. You are supposed to (I think) be at peace with yourself through self awareness and self discovery. Also be at peace with everything and everyone else. (the Quakers are pacifists) Contemplate what you will and if you so choose to talk about it to anyone else or the entire group (I was one of three people there) then you go right ahead. I gotta say that I liked it. I was alone with no obligations to anything. I could just sit in the silence and look at the stained-glass windows and really old organ. I read a pamphlet on prevention of deadly conflict (very insightful) In the end I did not stand up and share my thoughts with anybody else. I did talk to the guy in charge before and after the meeting. I learned about the history of the building and a little bit of lore about Statesville. I will go back and try it with the fam. Maybe not too soon though, they didn't seem to have any air-conditioning. I did return later that day to take some pics. Click here. The pics are not separated into albums, so you'll just have to look through the list. If it looks like a small church, that's it.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I got a bumper sticker, WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER
I don't remember getting that at any other church, but then Quakers don't have an annual BBQ to advertise on T-shirts either.
Most of my new pictures are going into my Flickr account. You can see some of them on the top right of this page. I'll keep posting here too, but it's better organized on Flickr. Check it out. Make comments please. Tag them as favorites if you like them.
I woke up today and the Cubs have the 2nd best record in baseball!! Also, the Statesville Farmers' Market opens in about 30 minutes...fresh, organic produce!! Thank you Milk and Honey Farms!! Me thinks it's gonna be a good day.
Yesterday I found out that a manuscript for a children's book that I sent to a publisher had been accepted. Then I realized that I can not afford the author's investment required for a new author. Pretty cool getting accepted. Pretty crappy not being able to do it. Oh well. Life goes on.
I may have been really stupid. A memory came to me as I was driving down the highway this morning. I past a road sign "Bridge Ices Before Road". When I was a kid, I had the worst trouble trying to figure out what this sign meant. I had it in my head that the word "before" was referring to the "in front of" meaning. As in, "What do I see before me?" So when I would read the sign, it would come across as the bridge ices in front of the road. What the hell does that mean? Is the sign saying the road is a witness to the icing of the bridge? I actually remembered having that thought. I think, genius.
Sometimes I get a strange look from people when I answer their question, "What do you do?" I usually point to my son and daughter and say, "This is what I do. I raise my kids." Usually, from younger parents, I get a very positive response. One of them (the wife normally) may be an at-home-parent as well and won't blink twice. The husband may make a comment like, "I don't know how you do it." I could say the same thing to the guy that funnels money from here to there all day, or helps mass produce something that's so important that I DO live without it. There is a class of people that almost always respond the same. The Greatest Generation. "Ahw, that's sweet. It's Daddy's day out. Your wife is very lucky today. And what do you do?" 2 days ago, I was asked by an 82 year old Native American (Cherokee) lady, "So, what do you do?" We were in a hair salon (that's right) and I was wearing my son. I pointed at him and said, "This is what I do. I raise my kids." Her face flashed confusion, denial, maybe she heard me wrong, these kids today are so out of touch. The look lasted all of a millisecond. I understand there is a generation difference. I even think I may understand there may be a cultural difference that has something to do with this one. So I just looked at her. Then.... we had the most pleasant conversation. It turns out that she knew the parents of the guy that built my new house. My new house was built in 1901. Did I mention this is a small town? Right now, I'm thinking of a certain other Native American lady (not 82) that will set me straight. Check the comments to see if she reads her friends blogs.
I've been finding new music to listen to and am loving it!! I'm normally listening to Led Zeppelin or Lynyrd Skynyrd or some cheese ass 70's/80's band like Journey or Styx. And don't get me started on Abba. But now....I have found some really great stuff that is from this decade. My current playlist on SeeqPod is White Stripes, Gary Jules, Erin McKeown, David Bowie, Dee-Lite, The Rolling Stones, Nirvana, Robert Plant & Allison Krauss, Jack Johnson, Fiona Apple, Jeff Buckley, Thao Nguyen, Bon Iver, M. Ward & Zooey Deschanel, The Black Crowes, and The Killers. Ok, so a lot of that is still not from this decade, but honestly, was there any better music than what we had in the 90's. Nope. Anyway, all these guys are still rockin' (except Buckley...he drowned).
I've made a couple of changes to the nest. As you can see, there is a game of hangman to the right. Go ahead and waste an hour playing. I don't mind. Also, I've added a music player. Currently it's set to play Bon Iver tunes, but I'll be changing that from time to time. I also found a cool Album Art gadget that located below on the right side. It shows different album covers, very cool. Down on the right is a link to Goodreads. You should check it out. You enter whatever books you've read, rate them, review them, compare them to friends' books, find new books to read, and so on..... I'll probably goof around with it a little more to try and find more new things to add, but for now this is it.
I am one of those people that REALLY gets into the tourney...at least I used to. Nowadays I fill out my own bracket and follow the games a little, but mostly just check scores at the end of the day. No more office pools, no more gambling away my last twenty dollars. This year, I started a group on ESPN.com in their bracketology. Go there now, fill out a bracket for free and join the group Red Squirrel. That way our brackets will compete with each other and whoever else is in the group. You can fill out up to 10 brackets if you want. Go. Do it. Why are you still reading this? Go now. You obviously don't have anything better to be doing, so GO!!
I FINALLY got my first issue of Paste and it is pretty great.
With every issue I get a CD with like 20 songs on it. I've not heard of most of the artists on this new one, but I've listened to it a couple of times and already really like it. Check out Thao and Bon Iver. Those are my favorites.
Since I accidentally wiped out all 3000+ songs from my iTunes, I'm really appreciating the new music.
We went to story time at the Iredell Public Library yesterday. The reader selected "It's Okay to be Different" by Todd Parr. Personally, I think it's a great book. It goes through several different subjects stating that "It's okay if...". For example, "It's okay to be a different color." And the picture would be of two zebras, one black and white, and one different colors. The reader comes to a page and announces to the group that, "I'm gonna skip over this page, and I'll show you why." She shows us the page. It's the cartoon faces of two women next to each other, and the faces of two men next to each other. The book reads, "It's okay to have different mommies and different daddies." Or something like that. The reader is nodding her head and raising her eyebrows as if to say, "See this filth?" I can't decide what to do. I checked the Iredell Public Library website and they have no email address to contact them. I hate confrontation, so I'm pretty apprehensive about going there in person and accusing this lady of bigotry. Maybe I'm reading way too much into this. Maybe the reader was thinking that some of the parents/grandparents that were present really didn't want to have that discussion with their kids. Discussing issues with your kids is pretty overrated anyway. Am I right or am I right? I guess I just feel like she should have never even chosen that book to read if she's going to censor it due to her "beliefs". So, is it okay to different in Statesville, NC? I guess it is, if you are a colorful zebra.
The paperwork is signed, everyone is happy. Now all we gotta do is get past the inspection and we are golden. We've been down this road before as some of you know. I didn't write about it here because I didn't want to relive that nightmare. When I told my brother we were buying a house, his very appropriate response was, "I'll believe it when you move in." Fair enough.
Now the Statesville weirdness kicks in. Last night we accepted the counter-offer made by the sellers. Their last name is Sink. About 12 hours later, I'm dropping Lindsay off at pre-school. As we are walking up, we pass the teachers on curb duty and they both say, "Congratulations!! We heard you are buying the Sink's house!!" I looked at them like "how the hell do you know that?" They just shrugged and said it was a small town. When we went inside, no fewer than four teachers told me congrats on the house. I had only told one person in town that we were buying the house and she didn't tell anybody. I'm not sure if I should be creeped out or if I should accept it as small town life. I sort of feel like I'm being watched and monitored. Of course we are all being watched and monitored all the time now, but I didn't know the info was public knowledge. Sorry. That's my conspiracy theory mind kicking in. I can't help but wonder, though....how are they tracking me? I've never had a flu shot.
We were going house hunting. We thought we had a potential winner, but it turned out to be a lead-paint hazard. As I pulled into the driveway of the second house we were looking at, I clipped the short brick wall that bordered the driveway entrance. I ripped a 4 inch hole in the side of my back tire. So my wife loaded the kids in her car and continued the morning looking at houses while I dealt with the tire. I ended up using AAA 'cause I'm not a real man that can easily change a tire without crushing myself to death. By the time we got the spare on the van, my wife was back. So I loaded up my daughter and went back to our apartment where my daughter fell about halfway down the concrete stairs leading to our second floor apartment. I've never been that scared before. She ended up being ok, but shit...what a morning. That afternoon I went to get a new tire which 'caused me to miss Lindsay's playdate and my wife had to cancel the surprise massage I had scheduled for her. Needless to say, tensions were high in the ol' red squirrel family. So, my question to you guys is this: Who put a whammy on me? WTF??
It turns out that not only does Statesville host the world championships of slalom skateboarding, they also host the Xtreme Sports Expo. Pretty cool right? Welllll....It's held in the parking lot of the Landmark Church of God. There was a band and everything. A christian band....at an xtreme sports expo. I don't know. Something's just not quite right with that.
Oh yeah. Also hosted by the Landmark Church of God (I'm not clear if it's at the same time as the expo) is the Halo 3 tournament. Really??, you might ask. Yes. Really.
One of the things we (Lindsay and I) do during the day is to play music and play on our "guitars" (plastic golf clubs)It's one of the most fun things we do. She really gets into it, and so I. That said, here's a great poem by Shel Silverstein: ROCK 'N' ROLL BAND
If we were a rock 'n' roll band, We'd travel all over the land. We'd play and we'd sing and wear spangly things. If we were a rock 'n' roll band.
If we were a rock 'n' roll band, And we were up there on the stand, The people would here us and love us and cheer us. Hurray for that rock 'n' roll band.
If we were a rock 'n' roll band, Then we'd have a million fans. We'd giggle and laugh and sign autographs, If we were a rock 'n' roll band.
If we were a rock 'n' roll band. The people would all kiss our hands. We'd be millionaires and have extra long hair, If we were a rock 'n' roll band.
But we ain't no rock 'n' roll band, We're just seven kids in the sand. With homemade guitars and pails and jars And drums of potato chip cans.
Just seven kids in the sand. Talk'n and waven' our hands. And dreamin' and thinkin' oh wouldn't it be grand, If we were a rock 'n' roll band.
This is quite a skateboard friendly community. I see skaters all the time. If I hadn't been reallllly bad at it 20 years ago, I may have the itch to join them. But, as I have gotten very accident prone the older I get, I won't be giving it go.
I'm learning that to find culture where you think there isn't any, you really have to quit looking and trip over it. I love art (as in paintings) Sometimes you just see a piece of art and you can't help but to stop and look. When I say stop, I mean stop everything. Stop moving, stop thinking, stop listening. I love it when that happens. Well, needless to say, that has not happened to me in a long time. And it still hasn't, but I really liked this one anyway.