Monday, September 28, 2009

Swimming in the shallows

I used to be deep. No, really. In high school, I read — on my own, not being forced to read them by a teacher — the novels of Ayn Rand, Ernest Hemingway, Balzac and others. I devoured these huge books by the dozens, and my razor-sharp mind understood them. Now I’m lucky if I can make it through an episode of Scooby-Doo without getting confused.

I don’t know how it happened. I was still deep in college. People would comment about it. When I started talking, they would invariably say, “It’s getting deep in here.” I found other deep people there, and it was nothing unusual for us to spend hours discussing socioeconomic issues of modern life and who was the Student Assistant was dating.

But after leaving college, I began swimming in the shallows, and my mind began to go. I don’t know where it went. I suspect it’s on a beach in Aruba.

For the most part, I haven’t missed my mind. It was inconvenient, always bringing up things that it shouldn’t, particularly during Presidential elections. Of course, I can’t do math, but I couldn’t do that when it was here so it doesn’t seem like I lost much.

In fact, I was content until last week when I chanced on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” I knew what the show was, but I had never watched it. I was immediately hooked. In case you aren’t familiar, the host asks a contestant various questions, and with each correct answer, the contestant wins more money, up to a million dollars. Ah, $1,000,000. That’s such a pretty number. I could just stare at it all day. Wait, where was I? Yes, I recall. The evil codfish had attacked the fortress of the fruit bats … No, wait. The evil fruit bats had attacked the fortress of the codfish. It’s easy to get those two confused because they are so much alike, one being a flying mammal and the other being a fish. See?

Anyway, the first questions on the Millionaire show are easy:

Which of these is a fruit? A. Tomato B. Lettuce C. Spinach D. Rush Limbaugh. (The answer is tomato, but the impulse is to pick Rush is almost overwhelming.)

Who invented the telegraph? A. Isaac Newton B. Galileo C. Copernicus D. Samuel Morse. (The answer is Morse. Newton invented fig newtons; Galileo and Copernicus were rock singers.) Easy.

But as the questions progress, they get harder until the million dollar question, which is something like this:

What is the atomic weight of lead? A. 2 B. 207 C. 512 D. 141.

What excited me about this is that it happened to be something I knew. The atomic weight of lead is 207. So there I was, yelling the correct answer at the TV. And when he said, “D,” I groaned and did the frustration dance. While it was the most exercise I had done all week, something is wrong when you get that involved in a game show. I realized I had lost my depth.

Some people don’t mind being shallow. They revel in it and end up in a political office or on Jerry Springer. I, however, vowed to fight my mental decline. I immediately went to the library and checked out three of the heaviest books I could find. I had to have a strapping library aide carry them to the car for me, and even she had a bead of sweat on her forehead when she finished. I also decided to watch more Public Television, at least during Pledge Week when they show good shows to entice their viewers to give them money.

But other than Public Television, I cut back on my TV time which saved me at least 30 minutes a day, and I never liked the news, anyway. Except for the newsgirl who has a nice smile and lovely eyes but also has a wedding ring so I don’t like her.

And I will use the most potent wisdom I know for regaining your intelligence, a secret passed down by the ancients, a secret I will now share with you, something that will make you a super genius and allow you to balance your checkbook forever!

Oops, gotta go. The Millionaire show is on.

Excerpted from Floozy by Stephen B. Bagley. Copyright 2009 Stephen B. Bagley. All rights reserved.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Nice and relaxing

Summer is over, so I switched the Harbor Street template back to our regular template. I tried to find a good fall template, but couldn't find anything that was attractive and readable. I'll keep looking.

Still fighting a cold. Sigh. But I've been drinking lots of fluid, getting lots of rest, trying to eat immune boosting foods, and so on. So far, I've been able to keep it from developing into anything really bad.

I'm attempting to finish the August family newsletter this week. I want to do the September one in the week following. And then I'll be caught up and only need to do the October one before the end of that month to stay caught up. Whew! I'm excited about being caught up.

Otherwise, not much to tell you. I did housework, watched football, ran some errands, napped, and so on this weekend. That's about it. It was a nice relaxing weekend. I hope you had the same.

Talk to you tomorrow! Have a great night.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Both ways

We hold onto our lives as hard as we can. Isn't it strange how we say we seek adventure, travel, and new experiences, but will do everything we can to preserve the status quo? Weird creatures we are, as Yoda would put it.

Sometimes our world gets shaken. Sometimes we are forced to confront the unknown. I'd like to think I'd face such a change with my eyes wide open, my body straining against the new wind. But too many times, I've tried to retreat. Tried to preserve what couldn't be preserved. Done it too many times with too many relationships and life situations. I know me too well.

When I was younger and quicker and harsher with my judgments, I used to think it was cowardly to not embrace change. But now that I'm older with too many sins of my own to presume to judge the sins of others and now that I've seen so many changes that definitely weren't for the better, I know that both ways take courage, stubbornness, and hope.

Talk to you later.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

We need a laugh or two

These announcements are supposed to be from actual church bulletins. Don't know if they are, but they're still funny.

The 1991 Spring Council retreat will be hell May 10 & 11.

The senior choir invites any member of the congregation who enjoys sinning to join the choir.

Thursday night-Potluck Supper. Prayer and medication to follow.

The rosebud on the altar this morning is to announce the birth of David Alan Belzer, the sin of Rev. and Mrs. Julius Belzer.

The associate minister unveiled the church's new tithing campaign slogan last Sunday: "I Upped My Pledge - Now Up Yours."

At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What is Hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice.

Eight new choir robes are currently needed, due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.

Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles, and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

Irving Beltson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.

Attend and you will hear an excellent speaker and heave a healthy lunch.

The Rev. Adams spoke briefly, much to the delight of his audience.

A new loudspeaker system has been installed in the church. It was given by one of our members in honor of his wife.

The Pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday morning.

Low Self-Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 to 8:30 p.m. Please use back door.

Ushers will eat latecomers.

Next Sunday Mrs. Vinson will be soloist for the morning service. The pastor will then speak on "It's a Terrible Experience."

For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.


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Monday, September 21, 2009

Surprisingly similar

Despite the huge change regarding work, the work day was surprisingly similar to previous days. It was high stress in the morning and calmer in the afternoon. Of course, we had a lot of rain in the afternoon, and that always cuts down on the number of customers who come by.

Things remain unclear, but I'll know more as the week progresses. At least, I think I will. Who knows? I still feel amazingly calm about it. Well, calm for me, which I've been told is somewhat less than calm for other people, but since it's the only calm I know, I stick with amazingly calm.

Tomorrow falls begins, and we're supposed to have a cold front move through. Sigh. Goodbye summer. I'll miss you muchly. I'm already looking forward to your return.

And now I'm going to call it a night. I'm very tired. You have a good night and a great day tomorrow. I'll talk to you then.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tomorrow things change

Tomorrow I will get up and eat breakfast. Like I've done a thousand and more times before.

Tomorrow I will shower, shave, and dress. Like I've done a thousand and more times before.

Tomorrow I will drive to work and open the doors and answer the phones and take care of customers as best as I can. Like I've done a thousand and more times before.

But tomorrow will be different. My work world has changed. It will not change back. The situation has changed, and I must adapt -- or not -- as I choose, but the situation is different no matter what my response.

My friends and family keep asking me about the future of my job. I have no answers. I won't be making any of the decisions concerning it. I don't think anyone knows. The decisions will come or be forced upon us all as we deal with how things have changed.

Strangely enough, I feel quite peaceful about it. Maybe I just haven't realized the gravity of the situation. I know I might still be in shock. It takes a while to recover from a hard jolt to our system. But overall, I'm doing okay.

Yes, okay. Not perfect. Not untroubled. But okay. I feel like I'm going to survive this and be okay no matter how this works out. That doesn't mean I don't need your prayers. I do. And that doesn't mean I know any answers. I don't. But I still believe I'll be okay.

Talk to you tomorrow, my friends. I hope you have a good night and great tomorrow. Good night.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Office announcement

My office will be open again on Monday. We will continue for the time being as the family adjusts to these terrible events. That's all I know right now.

Please have the Ensey family in your prayers tomorrow as they make it through the funeral.

Good night.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Obituary

John Nelson Ensey of Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, was born to John Cebran and Mildred Imogene (Nelson) Ensey on March 27, 1949 in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, and passed from this life on September 13, 2009, in Norman, Oklahoma, at the age of 60 years.

John grew up and attended school in Wynnewood, Oklahoma, graduating in 1967. He then attended East Central State College in Ada, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State University where he obtained his Bachelors of Science in Accounting in December of 1971.

Due to a blind date, John began dating Lucille Little at the age of 15. Six years later they were married on August 22, 1971, in Pauls Valley and joined the family to create the LBE Ranch.

After twenty years of farming, John opened his own insurance agency with Allstate in Ada. In 2002, he found a way to fulfill his desire to help others by forming Ensey Bail Bonds.

Because he never got the dirt from under his fingernails, John added a third job, which was his true passion, and began farming and ranching again.

In his spare time he enjoyed the lake and boating and any opportunity to spend time with his family.

Mr. Ensey is survived by his wife: Lucille Little Ensey of the home; two sons: Corey Ensey and his wife Telise of Duncan, Oklahoma, and Craig Ensey and his wife Crystal of Pauls Valley, Oklahoma; his mother: Mildred Ensey of Wynnewood, Oklahoma; two sisters: Jere Hanchak and her husband John of Bradenton, Florida, and Luanne Howk and her husband Andy of Norman, Oklahoma; five grandchildren: Chase, Cade, Faith, Tag, and Jack; and a host of other family and friends. Mr. Ensey was preceded in death by his father: J. C. Ensey.

Funeral services for Mr. Ensey are scheduled for Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 4:30 p.m. in the Pauls Valley High School Auditorium with Rev. Tom Buzbee officiating. The family will receive friends following the service at the Bosa Center. You may send a condolence to the family at www.woosterfuneralhomes.com. In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer that friends send donations to Regional Food Bank , Food 4 Kids Program/Garvin County, P. O. Box 272153, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73127-2153

Visitations:
9:00AM to 7:00PM on Tuesday, September 15th, 2009 at Wooster Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 1601 South Chickasaw, Pauls Valley, Oklahoma.

9:00AM to 7:00PM on Wednesday, September 16th, 2009 at Wooster Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 1601 South Chickasaw, Pauls Valley, Oklahoma.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Funeral

Funeral services for John Ensey will be at 4:30PM at Pauls Valley High School Auditorium on Thursday, September 17th, 2009. Contact Wooster Funeral Home in Pauls Valley for more information at www.woosterfuneralhomes.com.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Horrible news

My friend and boss John Ensey passed away early this Sunday morning after an auto accident Friday morning. Please pray for his wife Lucille and their family and friends that God will give them comfort and strength during this terrible time.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Happy Labor Day

I had a very good Labor Day. We kept Mikey this weekend, and today, my roomie's son and daughter-in-law and their three precious childen came to visit. We talked and cooked out. The kids swam and watched cartoons and played. It was a great time, and although I'm exhausted, I enjoyed it. I hope your Labor Day was as good.

And now I'm going to bed to read a bit. Night!

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Nada

I don’t have anything to say.

Which is obviously incorrect. Because by saying “I don’t have anything else to say,” I’ve said something. It would be more correct to say “I don’t have anything else to say.”

But then someone will ask, “About what? You can’t say you don’t have anything else to say unless you’ve said something about some subject to begin with.”

So … I should really say this: “I don’t have anything else to say about any subject other than this sentence.”

And then I should be quiet so that the sentence is true.

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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Missing the bat

Gospel singer and songwriter Gloria Gaither tells a story of her son Benji when he was young. He was four, I think, and they were having a party at the park. Benji was playing ball with his grandpa, and as Gloria walked toward her son, she saw him furiously throw down his plastic bat and scream, "You're missing my bat, Grandpa!" That's how the whole day went for Benji, she said. Nothing went right for him. Finally the day was over, and as she watched her exhausted son sleep, she thought about how we aren't very different from Benji. We stand there with our needs out and scream at the world, "You're missing our needs!"

Bear with me. Every path leads to a destination.

It's been a long, hard year for me so far. Health difficulties, job anxiety, and money problems have occupied my time and mind. And this time around, writing hasn't stepped in to save me. Used to be, I could count on my myriad fantasy worlds to divert me, to fill my imagination so full that darkness couldn't even creep in around the edges. But I'm empty now. Just me in a huge echoing place that stretches to the dark horizons. Creepy.

Can't really blame writing for this. Writing has always been dependent on my ego. No, seriously, it is. Somewhere there is -- or was -- a voice inside me that said I could write as good as anyone else if I tried and worked at it. I don't know where that voice has gone. I can't hear it anymore. I think it tired of the responsibility. And without that certainty, that stubborn knowledge that I could do whatever I started out to do come hell or high water, I'm stalled.

I doubt now. I doubt everything now.

It could be I'm just tired. I don't get enough sleep. I don't seem able to get enough sleep. Or maybe it's only depression, the black dog, sapping my energy, stealing my willpower, pushing my face into the mud.

I wish I could get angry. I wish I had something to push against. A defeatable evil that I could righteously hurl myself against. I told my friend Gail today that I go around in a state of exhausted outrage.

I should be angry about health care, medical bills, dangerous additives in our food, the sorry stage of our justice system, and the fact that 32,000 people -- most of them children -- starve to death each day. I should be furious because capitalism has become another name for unbridled greed and because our elected officials whom we elected to protect our interests take bribes, gifts, trips, stocks, bonds, donations, and more from lobbyists who would sacrifice their mothers on the altar of their special interests.

Instead, I'm tired. I don't want to watch the news. Can't listen to NPR or FOX anymore. If I could retreat from the world, I would. I'd shut my door, take up my tent, go to the mountains, ship to a deserted island, and never return. The thing is, wherever I go, I'll still be taking me along.
***
It's the next day. I've read this back over, wondering if the whole point is simply a long drawn-out boring whine: "Life isn't treating me right. No one loves me. Poor, pitiful me." Whine, whine, whine. Whining isn't attractive in children and is downright annoying in adults.

I didn't sleep well last night. A flare of the IBD. Woohoo. In all the uncertainty in my life, I can always count on my stomach to punish me. I'm just not sure what I'm being punished for.

Somewhere inside me ... sometimes I feel that there is something inside me that wants out. It's fighting for freedom. It's trying to claw its way into the light. It's tearing away vast chucks of me, and I'm bleeding everywhere. Whatever it is, it's frantic. It's gasping for breath. It wants to leap into the sky, but it's held back, wings crippled, head forced down. But it's fighting for that glimpse of blue, that vastness which lies beyond what we're allowed to see.

Does this make any sense?

I'm toyed with deleting the whole post. I've done that many times before: Wrote things I thought were too revealing so I delete or save for my private journal. It seems pointless to share a struggle with people who have their own burdens to bear. Why should they divert resources from their battles to aid me in mine?

We're funny creatures, though. Peculiar creatures. Halfway between the angels and the apes. Tangled in the webs of our problems, trashing around, occasionally throwing out a hand to pull ourselves up or to catch another before he or she falls into the depths. Lord only knows why we do it, why we sacrifice ourselves for others. It's in our nature -- the angel in us.
***
It's Tuesday evening now. I haven't made up my mind to post this or not. Of course, if you're reading it, then you know the answer. If you're not reading it, only I know there was ever any question about posting it.

The thing about drifting is you're still going some place. Maybe slowly. Maybe too slowly to be defined as movement by anyone watching. Maybe too slowly to be felt even by you, but you're going somewhere. Every path leads to a destination.

Ah, but the rub is, the crux of the matter, the core of your personal life apple is this: Where you end up, can you live with it? Can you survive it? Is it where you wanted to go? If you had known where your path would lead, would you have followed it?

The easy thing is to not decide. To drift. To pretend drifting isn't a decision. To abdicate your responsibility for your life. But in the end, you will have to live with your decision to not decide. Every decision leads to a destination, that's more correct.

I have more to say. More ramblings. But it's late. I'm tired. I'm drawn to the bed. Perhaps tonight I'll sleep.

Good night.