The Twelve Questions of Christmas

11 12 2008

It’s that time of year when good cheer is spread everywhere except in packed store aisles where shoppers’ carts recklessly crash into each other while racing around in search of those hard-to-find Christmas gifts.  It follows then, that it must be time for my wife (see hers here) and me to bust out or annual Christmas meme.  Feel free to use it; we’d love to see your answers.

1. What’s the best Christmas gift you have ever received?  What’s the worst?

It’s difficult to pinpoint the best. I probably answered differently last year, but I’ll go with the electric train set I received as a child.  It was circling the Christmas tree when I woke up.

The worst I received was while working at Goodwill.  I “won” a freaking canned ham in a raffle there.  It was disgusting to look at.  I didn’t venture a taste.

2. What is your favorite Christmas movie moment?

This one:

3. What is your favorite version of a Christmas song?

I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Frank Sinatra.  My late father, who was a prisoner of war during WWII, once told me this was his favorite Christmas song (not necessarily the Sinatra version) because of his time during the war. That always stuck with me.

4. Describe an ornament that has special significance to you.

My ravishing wife gave this one to me.  The sign says, “I burn 4 U.”

5. Have you had any traumatic Christmas-related experiences?

Just the one with the aforementioned canned ham.  I swear that thing was alive.

6. What is your happiest Christmas memory?

This year, just a few days ago, when my 3-year-old daughter sat in Santa’s lap for the first time and had the biggest smile on her face.  She asked for a “Pink girl tractor” to drive. I also remember, as a small child, lying under our Christmas tree and watching the cool patterns the blinking lights made on our ceiling.

7. Favorite Christmas picture:

This one from many years ago because it shows a bunch of my family.  Most importantly, though, it shows my nephew being a HUGE baby when everyone else is having a blast.  What a tool.  See his blog here.

8. What’s on your grown up wish list (other than world peace, of course)?

Just to keep getting to be around this beauty:

9. What Christmas TV special do you look forward to all year?

The Year Without a Santa Claus because of the Heat Miser and Snow Miser.  I’m looking forward to their new special, called A Miser Brothers Christmas on ABC Family.

10. What famous person would you most like to encounter under the mistletoe?

I’ll go with Brooke Burke.

11. What’s the best thing to do in the snow?

I always thought it was cool to build a sort of igloo out of it, dig a couple of tunnels and then make my poor cat go in it with me.  I don’t have a pic of him in an igloo, but here he is in a happier place, resting on top of one of my other nephews.


12. Favorite Christmas Quote:

I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year. – Charles Dickens.







111 Things for Which I Am Grateful

24 11 2008

(See my wife’s list here.)

1.   Good brain functioning

2.   My kidney-donating sister, and the other siblings who were also willing

3.   My daughter’s hugs

4.   My wife’s intelligence and wit

5.   Old Chicago pizza

6.   The actions of Jesus

7.   Scary movies

8.   Logan’s Roadhouse chili

9.   Pastors who are able to move me

10. My daughter’s joy while trick-or-treating

11. Jolly Rancher Pink Lemonade suckers from my daughter’s trick-or-treating

12. Mistletoe

13. My nephew’s sense of humor

14. Passing hidden radar guns while going the speed limit

15. Breaking Benjamin’s music

16. Great daycare centers

17. Good doctors

18. Gentle dentists

19. People who adopt

20. Movie popcorn

21. Exciting books

22. My wife in skirts

23. Comfortable shoes

24. Good in-laws

25. Antibiotics

26. ESPN radio

27. College basketball buzzer beaters

28. MP3 players

29. Christmas lights

30. Summer

31. The way my daughter likes to shut every door in the house

32. The men and women who fought WWII

33. 30 Rock

34. Peaceful, sleeping pug dog at home on a chair

35. Less news about Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan

36. Chuck and Shandi on Lingo, but especially Shandi

37. Good friends playing fun games

38. Free tennis courts

39. Hilton Head Island

40. Nice strangers

41. Living in a place that’s kind of like a small town and city all in one

42. Sinatra Christmas songs

43. Great writing pens

44. Wrinkle-resistant clothing

45. My wife’s smile

46. Naps

47. People who give good haircuts

48. Libraries

49. My daughter’s cherry-scented shampoo

50. The Opryland Hotel

51. Chicken and dumplings

52. My wife’s photographic eye

53. Open highways

54. Good, kind-hearted family

55. Guitar solos

56. Well-acted plays

57. Emails

58. Cool late night radio talk shows

59. Drive-in theaters

60. When you wake up feeling great after the flu bug has passed

61. Microwaves

62. Dishwashers

63. Packages in the mail

64. Health insurance

65. Soft, fat pillows

66. Warm blankets

67. Snow days

68. Kissing my wife on New Year’s Eve

69. Memories of childhood pets

70. Believing in heaven

71. People who stand up to bullies

72. Tears of joy

73. Eyesight

74. Starburst fruit chews

75. Grilled cheeseburgers

76. Tall trees

77. Orange juice

78. Granny Smith apples

79. July tomatoes

80. Bikinis

81. Hardwood floors

82. Good neighbors

83. Safe roads

84. Police officers

85. Being out of school

86. Volunteers

87. Going on dates with my wife

88. Windows

89. Cures

90. Being unique

91. My wife’s determination

92. My daughter’s assertiveness

93. Remote controls

94. Air conditioning

95. Heat

96. Educational t.v.

97. Mysteries of the world

98. Freedom

99. Starry skies

100. Forgiveness

101. Creativity

102. Penguins

103. Programmable thermostats

104. Hand-written love notes

105. Purring cats

106. Fireworks

107. Surprises

108. The sound of crickets

109. My daughter’s breathing when she sleeps

110. Smoke detectors

111. Being touched





A Contagious Virus Or Meme – You Decide

23 06 2008

I was tagged by my lovely wife to sum myself up in exactly six words. Easy. But first, the all-important rules and such.

So many rules, so few words:

  • Write your own six word memoir.
  • Post it to your blog including a visual illustration if you would like.
  • Link to the person who tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogsphere
  • Tag 5 more blogs with links
  • Don’t forget to leave a comment in the tagged blogs with an invitation to play
  • Without any further ado, my illustration and awe-inspiring six-word memoir:

    Where’s the beef? Look no further.

    I tag the following five people, but it’s important you know I will only be slightly hurt if you do not wish to play. (How hurt, you ask? It will be about the same as if I stepped on a very small pebble while walking on the beach, while ever-so-slightly sunburned and also experiencing a very mild irritant in my eye, such as a small fuzzy thing that blew through the air. Oh, also, picture all of this happening while I am suffering from the kind of heartburn that is so mild it would only take 2 Tums to wipe it out. Additionally, imagine that something just doesn’t feel quite right in my spleen, but it’s probably nothing. On the plus side, I’m wearing really nice sunglasses, so the sun glare is not an issue at all.)

    • My weird nephew, Luke who is ALMOST but not quite too busy right now to do this.
    • Any of the dudes over at The Nasty Boys. Since they write about sports, I’m sure they’ll appreciate this tag.
    • A new blogger I discovered named Nathalie. This way, she’ll incorrectly think I’m one of those people who tag people all the time. Unless she reads this, then my cover is blown.
    • Pamajama, who is just crazy enough to do a really good one.
    • Lastly, I decided to completely randomly pick someone whose page I’ve never been to until today. The lucky winner: Cheribomb




    Bookin’ It: A Literary MeMe

    21 02 2008

    From Shakespeare to James Patterson: It’s time for a book survey. You guys know my charming wife and I like to come up with memes. She thought we should do a book one, and I thought that was a very good idea. Feel free to use the survey; we always enjoy reading the answers of others! Sorry about the length of my “answer” to #1. (I’m taking a brief break from blogging about my current health, but for those wondering there was no new news today. An Ice storm shut down doctors’ offices early today.)

    1. What is your favorite passage/line from a book? I love the Pendergast books by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Pendergast is a difficult-to-summarize, eccentric, extremely intelligent, usually mild-mannered, nearly albino FBI agent who does things differently than anyone else. Here is an excerpt from Brimstone:

    The Sergeant took a detour around the lawn and cut behind a small duck pond and fountain, keeping out of the way of the SOC team. As he came around some hedges he saw a man in the distance, standing by the duck pond, throwing pieces of bread to the ducks. He was dressed in the gaudiest day-tripper style imaginable, complete with Hawaiian shirt, Oakley Eye Jacket shades, and giant baggy shorts. Even though summer had ended over a month ago, it looked like this was the man’s first day in the sun after a long, cold winter. Maybe a dozen winters. While the Sergeant had some sympathy for a photographer or reporter trying to do their job, he had absolutely no tolerance for tourists. They were the scum of the earth.

    “Hey. You.”

    The man looked up.

    “What do you think you’re doing? Don’t you know this is a crime scene?”

    “Yes, officer, and I do apologize—”

    “Get the hell out.”

    “But Sergeant, it’s important the ducks be fed. They’re hungry. I imagine that someone feeds them every morning, but this morning, as you know—” He smiled and shrugged.

    The Sergeant could hardly believe it. A guy gets murdered and this idiot is worried about ducks?

    “Let’s see some I.D.”

    “Of course, of course.” The man started fishing in his pocket, fished in another, then looked up, sheepishly. “Sorry about that, officer. I threw on these shorts as soon as I heard the terrible news, but it appears my wallet is still in the pocket of the jacket I was wearing last night.” His New York accent grated on the Sergeant’s nerves.

    The Sergeant looked at the guy. Normally he would just chase him back behind the barriers. But there was something about him that didn’t quite wash. For one thing, the clothes he was wearing were so new they still smelled of a menswear shop. For another thing, it was such a hideous mixture of colors and patterns that it looked like he’d plucked them randomly from a rack in the village boutique. This was more than just bad taste— this was a disguise.

    “I’ll be going—”

    “No, you won’t.” The Sergeant took out his notebook, flipped back a wad of pages, licked his pencil. “You live around here?”

    “I’ve taken a house in Amagansett for a week.”

    “Address?”

    “The Brickman House, Windmill Lane.”

    Another rich asshole. “And your permanent address?”

    “That would be The Dakota, Central Park West.”

    The Sergeant paused. Now, that’s a coincidence. Aloud, he said: “Name?”

    “Look, Sergeant, honestly, if it’s a problem I’ll just go on back—”

    “Your first name, sir?” he said more sharply.

    “Is that really necessary? It’s difficult to spell, even more difficult to pronounce. I often wonder what my mother was thinking—”

    The Sergeant gave him a look that shut him up quick. One more quip from this asshole and it would be the cuffs.

    “Let’s try again. First name?”

    “Aloysius.”

    “Spell it.”

    The man spelled it.

    “Last?”

    “Pendergast.”

    The pencil in the Sergeant’s hand began writing this down, too. Then it paused. Slowly, the Sergeant looked up. The Oakleys had come off and he found himself staring into that face he knew so well, with the blond-white hair, grey eyes, finely chiseled features, skin as pale and translucent as Carrara marble.

    “Pendergast?”

    “In the very flesh, my dear Vincent.” The New York accent was gone, replaced by the cultured Southern drawl he remembered vividly.

    “What are you doing here?”

    “The same might be asked of you.”

    Vincent D’Agosta felt himself coloring. The last time he had seen Pendergast he had been a proud New York City Police Lieutenant. And now here he was in Shithampton, a lowly Sergeant decorating hedges with police tape.

    “I was in Amagansett when the news arrived that Jeremy Grove had met an untimely end. How could I resist? I apologize for the outfit, but I was hard-pressed to get here as soon as possible.”

    “You’re on the case?”

    “Until I’m officially assigned to the case I can do nothing but feed the ducks. I worked on my last case without full authorization and it, shall we say, strained some high level nerves. I must say, Vincent, running into you is a most welcome surprise.”

    “For me too,” said D’Agosta, coloring again. “Sorry, I’m really not at my best here—”

    Pendergast laid a hand on his arm. “We shall have plenty of time to talk later. For now, I see a large individual approaching who appears to be suffering from emphraxis.”

    A low pitched, menacing voice intruded from behind. “I hate to break up this little conversation.” D’Agosta turned to see Lieutenant Braskie.

    Braskie stopped, stared at Pendergast, then turned back to D’Agosta. “Perhaps I’m a little confused here, Sergeant, but isn’t this individual trespassing at the scene of a crime?”

    “Well, uh, Lieutenant, we were—” D’Agosta looked at Pendergast.

    “This man isn’t a friend of yours, now, is he?”

    “As a matter of fact—”

    “The Sergeant was just telling me to leave,” interjected Pendergast smoothly.

    “Oh he was, was he? And if I may be so bold as to inquire what you were doing here in the first place, sir?”

    “Feeding the ducks.”


    “Feeding the ducks.” D’Agosta could see Braskie’s face flushing. He wished Pendergast would hurry up and pull out his shield.
    “Well, sir,” Braskie went on, “that’s a beautiful thing to do. Let’s see some I.D.”

    D’Agosta waited smugly. This was going to be good.

    “As I was just explaining to the officer here, I left my wallet back at the house—”

    Braskie turned on D’Agosta, saw the notebook in his hand. “You got this man’s information?”

    “Yes.” D’Agosta looked at Pendergast almost pleadingly, but the FBI agent’s face had shut down completely.

    “Did you ask him how he got through the police cordon?”

    “No—”

    “Don’t you think maybe you should ask him?”

    “I came through the side gate in Little Dune Road,” Pendergast said.

    “Not possible. It’s locked. I checked it myself.”

    “Perhaps the lock is defective. At least, it seemed to fall open in my hands.”

    Braskie turned to D’Agosta. “Now, at last, there’s something useful you can do. Go plug that hole, Sergeant. And report back to me at eleven o’clock sharp. We need to talk. And as for you, sir, I will escort you off the premises.”

    “Thank you, Lieutenant.”

    D’Agosta looked with dismay at the retreating form of Lieutenant Braskie, with Pendergast strolling along behind him, hands in the pockets of his baggy surfer shorts, head tilted back as if taking the air.

    2. What do you consider the best film adaptation from a book? What do you think is the worst film adaptation? I have a tie for the best: To Kill a Mockingbird and Seabiscuit The Worst: Along Came a Spider (a really good book in the Alex Cross series by James Patterson but a below-average film)

    3. What is the first book you remember reading? Other than picture books, it was Charlotte’s Web.

    4. Did you have a favorite kids’ book as a child? The Monster at the End of this Book. My mom read that one to me often! You have to enjoy lovable, furry old Grover being inadvertently afraid of himself.

    5. What book did you hate reading for a school assignment? I’ll say Beowulf, even though it is actually an epic poem.

    6. What is the most recent book you read (or are currently reading)? Lost by Michael Robotham. It’s a good thriller so far.

    7. What book would you most like to see turned into a movie?

    8. What book did you cheat and read the “Cliff Notes” version? I know I did this a time or two. I want to say I did for Shakespeare’s King Lear. I hope no one can take collage credits away from me now.

    9. What book would you never read again, no matter how much someone was going to pay you? I’m not counting ones I couldn’t finish. I’ll go with The Camel Club by Baldacci. It’s not that it’s terrible; I just expected more from him. I felt this one jumped the shark a little.

    10. Are you more of a library or book store person? I like both, but the library is the best.

    11. Have you tried audio books? Do you like them? I use them all the time while driving for my job. They are great. However, I have difficulty staying focused enough to keep track of an audio book if it’s something really complex, like a novel that takes place all over the world (for example, R. Ludlum).

    12. Has any movie ever inspired you to then read the book on which it was based? Yes. The Bone Collector is one.

    13. Describe a passage from a book that made you cry. The surprise ending of The Wedding by N. Sparks. It’s the sequel to The Notebook.

    14. What is your favorite book series? Again, I love the Pendergast novels by D. Preston and L. Child. You have to try them.

    15. Describe your favorite place to read. Near the river or on a beach when the weather is just right. If there is a pretty girl (like my wife) to glance at from time to time, that’s even better.





    Mary Ann or Ginger: A Valentine’s Day Survey

    1 02 2008

    My wife and I created a Valentine’s Survey. Use it if you’d like. We’d love to see your answers!

    1. Describe your favorite romantic/love scene from a movie.

    I’ll go with Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack in Serendipity. They spend a long time looking for each other and finally get to kiss outside amongst falling snowflakes when they connect. (There is always that Phoebe Cates scene in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, but I’m going for “romantic” here.) I’ll give a runner-up prize to the band chick and the dork in American Pie. You can’t beat her taking charge and ordering him to “Say my name, bitch!”

    2. What was your worst Valentine’s Day experience?

    Hmm, probably a first date with someone I thought I might like that I worked with. However, she turned out to be kind of scary needy. She had set up a hotel room for the night, but it was shared with her friend. When we got there, her friend and a guy were making out on one bed. My date went into the bathroom and came out in lingerie. OK, for the guys reading this, I’m sure you’re thinking, “where’s the bad part?” I’m telling you, there was nothing “hot” about this as she was very immature and annoying. I found some excuse to get out of there after awhile. I remember her saying, “I blew it, didn’t I?” which made me feel bad.

    3. What is your favorite restaurant for a Valentine’s dinner out?

    One in my hometown called The Cork and Cleaver. It’s intimate and has great steaks.

    4. List a hot/romantic line from a song that you like.

    Even though I’m mostly a rock guy, I like this one from an old Sinatra standard:

    Who Cares to define, what chemistry this is, who cares with your lips on mine, how ignorant bliss is….so long as you kiss me, and the world around us shatters, how little it matters, how little we know.

    5. What is the cheesiest aspect of Valentine’s Day?

    The Valentine’s cards that say things like, “You’re my every heart beat.” Just once, I’d like to see one that says, “You really help with my digestion, honey.”

    6. Did you have any elementary school traditions for Valentine’s Day?

    We passed out Valentines to each other. I think we included candy. I hope we did. It was a Catholic School so we probably went to mass as well!

    7. What fictional character do you have a crush on and why?

    The original Charlie’s Angels. When I was a kid, I could barely handle it when it came on. I think my parents tried to keep it from me, but we all have our ways! I actually liked Jaclyn the best.

    8. How old were you when you had your first, real kiss? Was it good or bad?

    6th grade. It was pretty good!

    9. Describe the most uncomfortable crush someone has had on you.

    High School. I had a lot of phone calls from a girl who always said she needed help on a homework problem. The phone calls would last forever, with me saying very little. I recall literally being able to set the phone down to go get a drink, and she would still be blabbing when I picked the phone back up. I should have been more assertive.

    10. How long did your first heartbreak last?

    First time I felt “heartbroken” was back in elementary school so I don’t think it lasted more than a day.

    11. Do you prefer to give/receive: a) jewelry b) chocolate c) lingerie d) tools

    I like giving a, b and c.

    12. If you are male, do you prefer Mary Ann or Ginger? If you are female, do you prefer McDreamy or McSteamy?

    Mary Ann.

    13. Would you rather be broken up with by: a) phone b) text message c) in person d) email e) carrier pigeon

    Carrier pigeon. I’d have to give the chick credit if that happened. (Plus, you could get dumped and dumped on by the bird…that’s like killing two birds with one stone. Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

    14. What is your favorite Valentine’s Day candy?

    Peanut M&M’s (any color, even Valentine-colored.)





    Captain Quirk

    30 01 2008

    Let it be known that I in NO way believe in or participate in chain letters, dumb email forwards that tell you you’ll make millions if you forward it to just 4,000 of your friends, or signing petitions to try to get Carson Daly off the air. I’m too much of a loner for those types of things. I certainly hate playing phone tag. However, when your own captivating wife tags you, what are you to do but play along?

    The rules are:
    * link to the person who tagged you
    * post the rules on your blog
    * share six non-important things/ habits/ quirks about yourself
    * tag at least 3 people at the end of the post and link to their blogs
    * let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog

    1. I am very, very good at remembering things that I need to take with me to work, or to someone’s house, etc. I do this by stopping and going over mental notes about what I might need at my destination. The kicker is that I don’t ever remember to do this until I’m already out the door or in my car. This results in FREQUENT trips back into the house (or office, or wherever I’m leaving). It annoys those around me and myself.

    2. I still really like the rock band, Dokken (still around but most popular in the 80s). When a song of theirs comes on my MP3 player, I mention to my daughter that George Lynch is the best guitarist ever. She (being 2) sounds very cute trying to say George Lynch. I’m guessing she’s the only 2-year-old in the world (not related to George Lynch) who says this.

    3. I love overnight talk radio if having a bout of insomnia. I keep the radio and headphones very near my side of the bed.

    4. I think a good portion of social work/counseling ideas are crap and not realistic. This wouldn’t be so quirky if I wasn’t a mental health counselor myself.

    5. I worry about tsunamis when I go on vacation anywhere near the ocean.

    6. I worry about really big tsunamis even when not anywhere near the ocean.

    I tag the following (I will NOT be removing any of you from my blogroll if you don’t do this blog):

    Molly Mac

    Romi

    Paper Spoons

    There are others I like just as much, and if this tag thing ever happens again, you’re next! (Yes, you. Don’t look behind you…I’m talking to you. You, with the keyboard.)





    How Well-Rounded Are You?

    6 01 2008

    Don’t misunderstand the title. This is not a ploy disguised as a blog to get women to post their measurements (if you feel you must, I guess I won’t stop you. No guy measurements, please, though my wife might enjoy). Instead, this is a survey. How many of the following 40 things have you done? I’d like to see the answers of others, and feel free to copy this survey.

    Have you:

    1. Been to a play: Yes, many. This is one of my favorite things to do. I enjoy professional plays, but I also enjoy seeing a high school play once or twice per year at my wife’s alma mater.

    2. Bungee jumped or something similar: Only if climbing up on a garage roof is “something similar.” I’m more of mental thrill seeker than a physical one. Sports is probably the closest I ever got to “danger.”

    3. Been a mentor/big brother/big sister: Sort of. I do this in my work, but I don’t think I ever did this on a volunteer basis. It’s an awesome thing, though.

    4. Read at least one of the classics (War and Peace, The Great Gatsby, The Red Badge of Courage, Beowulf, Crime and Punishment, etc): Yes. Off the top of my head: Beowulf, Wuthering Heights, Gulliver’s Travels, and Macbeth.

    5. Stood up for someone publicly: Yes. I remember coming to the aid of a kid who was being bullied a couple of times.

    6. Been on a major roller coaster: No thank you.

    7. Been to a drive-in movie: Yes, quite a few times. This is one of the best things to do on a nice summer night. They are really dying out so if you have one near it, give it some business.

    8. Done something at a drive-in movie other than watch the movie: Sadly, I don’t think so. I guess I like movies too much!

    9. Done volunteer work: Yes, but I am ashamed to say that I haven’t really done that much. A few things for church and once delivered Thanksgiving meals to those in need.

    10. Given at toast a wedding, a eulogy at a funeral, or some similar, meaningful speech: Yes on the toast, and I think a yes on the eulogy. It wasn’t officially the eulogy, but that’s basically what it was.

    11. Been to a major sports playoff game: Yes. St. Louis Cardinals game 1 of NLCS against the Mets (in 2000, I believe.) My Cardinals lost that game and the series :( Also some time in the early 90s, I think, I was at the sweet sixteen regional in St. Louis. I believe the teams involved were Kansas, Indiana, California (Jason Kidd), and Louisville.

    12. Thrown a costume or theme party: Yes, my wife and I had a blast hosting several couples for a murder mystery party that had a 50s theme. I recommend this!

    13. Been on or near the set of a major motion picture: Nope. I missed my chance in the 80s. A good portion of A League of Their Own was filmed where I grew up. Tom Hanks, etc were there for quite awhile. I never got in on being an extra, though.

    14. Taken a compliment well: I think so at some point. This is difficult though, isn’t it?

    15. Planted a tree: Yes, about a year ago (a river birch).

    16. Been stung by a jellyfish or something similar in/near the ocean: Yes. Jellyfish got me several times on vacation last year. There was a major explosion of them where we were!

    17. Quit a crappy job: Yes. I’m not the type to do this without some big-time planning and another job lined up, but I did in the 90s when I just could not stand to set foot in the place anymore. I’ll just generally describe it as an advertising sort of place. The morale and environment sucked there. I stayed way too long (several years). At some point later on, I got myself into grad school to try to avoid this same type of situation again.

    18. Been on a blind date: Yes. Mine wasn’t great (probably mostly due to my own shyness), but it wasn’t a nightmare or anything like that.

    19. Done something kind and unexpected for a stranger: My wife and I left a greeting card saying something like, “Have a great day” on a parked car one time. Hopefully whoever it was got a smile out of it. (Nowadays, it probably just freaked them out and made them look over their shoulder for the next week.)

    20. Had a major surgery: Yep, kidney transplant. I plan to blog about this at some point.

    21. Taken a car/truck road trip that covered at least 6 states: Yes. As a child my family drove to the Grand Canyon, which covered at least 6 (may have been 7). My wife and I just missed last year (and will again this year) when we were in 5 states on our way to Hilton Head.

    22. Been in 4 or more countries: Nope, just the U.S. for me.

    23. Spent New Year’s Eve somewhere special: Well, it’s obviously “special” to be anywhere with someone you love on New Year’s Eve. However, to answer what I think is the spirit of this question, I don’t think I ever have.

    24. Visited an ancient landmark: If the Grand Canyon counts. I think it does.

    25. Been face to face with a celebrity by chance: Yes. In St. Louis in church, we realized were were a few feet away from Steve Garvey. (For those of you under 35 or not at all into sports, he was a very famous L.A. Dodger who was charismatic and appeared on tv shows, etc). He was friendly and nodded, etc on his way out. It was a few hours before a Cardinals/Dodgers game. Come to think of it, we were in a famous, very old church at the time so maybe this sort of applies to the previous question as well.

    26. Given to charity in the past two years: I’m sure we don’t give like we should, but, yes to the Humane Society and to a children’s hospital. (Let’s just say it was NOT an amount that would get anything named after us.)

    27. Helped a stray animal: Yes! We possibly saved a cute stray dog and ended up finding the grateful owner a day later. Actually, it was the relative of the owner; the owner was gone on vacation, and the little guy had accidentally gotten out. We found him running down a major street.

    28. Dated someone you met online: Yes, once. It didn’t end up being THE relationship, but it wasn’t a bad experience overall.

    29. Won money on a long shot: I’ve done the horse races a few times, but I don’t think I ever won on a big long shot.

    30. Won your office/family/friends NCAA tournament pool: Yes! That was fun.

    31. Won an award/medal (even if something “small”): I received recognition for a short story I wrote in college (it was accepted to a national conference), and I won “Best Sports Writing” award at my small college paper once!

    32. Driven a foreign sports car: No. The closest to that for me is riding in (not driving) my brother-in-law’s classic Corvette.

    33. Been in the front row for a concert: I think I was for Joan Jett when she played at my college.

    34. Attended a symphony orchestra performance: Yes. I enjoy that even though it isn’t the type of music you’d generally find in my cd player.

    35. Caught a criminal in the act and did something about it (reported it, smacked them in the head, etc): Other than traffic violations, I don’t think I’ve witnessed anything like this.

    36. Sung solo on a stage: Nope. Just school plays as a kid, but I wasn’t solo (thank goodness!)

    37. Witnessed something supernatural: I don’t think so. I have a brother who saw a UFO or something weird like it one time a long time ago.

    38. Covered for someone (who deserved it) at work: Yes, a great co-worker (and a hard worker) who needed a little nap one time on a third shift job.

    39. Overcome a major fear: Sure. See my last blog about the spider.

    40. Mailed a surprise care package to a loved one: Yep, my wife has gotten a candy care package in the mail at work a time or two. She has returned the favor as well.

    Anyone else care to post answers? I’m curious!

    Regarding question 33:








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