Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tongue Biting

I was eating pizza this evening and I must have mistook the tip of my tongue for the pizza. I bit down hard on the tip of my tongue and thought I might have bit it completely off. I went to the bathroom to look at it in the mirror. Nothing was separated but a small chunk was sliced enough to flap. I usually accidentally bite the edges of my tongue. I have never bitten that hard on a solid part of the tongue before.

Now, I'm a little worried about keeping it clean and healthy. I need the flap to grow back into place as quickly as possible but how do I get it to stay put while eating and drinking? You would think after forty years of life you would have enough experience not chew on your tongue but you would be wrong.

I guess it could be worse. My wife's brother bit his tongue in two. Luckily the doctors were able to get it back together again. He doesn't even have a lisp or anything. The doctors figured he would always talk with a lisp.

Anyway, be careful eating your food and make sure your tongue has not mixed itself in the middle of it before you chew down :P

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Learning to Swim

I don't remember the first time I went swimming but I do remember the first time I think was my first time to go swimming :)

When we lived in Irving, my Mom packed towels and sun tan lotion and took us to a public swimming pool. My brother, sister, and I were excited about going. We all hopped in the car and waited impatiently to arrive.

When we arrived, there were lots of people there. Some were sitting or laying on the edge of the pool. Others were climbing a tall ladder to jump off of a board hovering over the pool. Most of the people were in the pool.

I watched the people climbing the ladder and jumping off. I really wanted to do that and told my Mom as much. She laughed and dismissed it and my brother laughed too. We all got in the pool. I waded in the shallow end and got water in my eyes. I went to where my Mom was with a towel and dried my eyes. I went back out and water got in my eyes again. I went back to my Mom for the towel. I did this several times until my Mom said, "Rub your eyes with your fingers to clear them." I tried that and was amazed it worked. My fingers were wet and so were my eyes but by rubbing my eyes with my fingers, the water in them cleared. I had much more fun after that.

I'm not sure how, but I got away from my Mom and decided to climb the tall ladder to jump into the pool from the board above. Boy afraid to jump on top of high dive It was much taller than it looked from far off. I stayed in line behind the other people. I made it to the first rung and waited to start the long climb. When I got to the middle, I began to get a little scared. I continued climbing though not wanting to be embarrassed climbing back down. I made it to the top, got on top of the board, looked down, and couldn't bring myself to do it. The people behind me were trying to get me to jump but I was so scared I couldn't. I began the long embarrassing climb back down the tall ladder.

If I had jumped off into the pool, I probably would have drowned. Sometimes fear is a good thing. I had never been taught to swim; obviously since this was probably the first time I had ever been in a swimming pool. My Mom was afraid of the water and would stay in the shallow end. My brother had witnessed me at the ladder and told Mom what I was doing. She was upset with me and didn't know whether to spank me or hug me.

My Grandfather had a boat when I was a little older and we went out onto Lake Bonham. This was my first time on a boat. We were made to put on an orange life jacket. When we got out a ways, we threw out the anchor and everyone jumped out. I jumped out and went under the water bobbing back up due to the life jacket strapped to me. I had seen people swim on television and mimicked their actions with the life jacket on and found that I was able to swim from point to point. After a while, I had my Uncle watch me with my life jacket off to see how I did without the life jacket on. I swam under the water which I like doing much more than splashing around on top of the water. I don't like my eyes getting wet so I never open them under the water unless I have a pair of goggles on. That was the day I learned to swim. Well learned enough to keep myself afloat but I doubt I would be able to save someone if I had to keep both of us afloat.

Wearing a life jacket and mimicking swim movements is a good way to learn to swim but you definitely want someone with you when you take the life jacket off. You always want a swim partner when you swim as well. Never swim alone. Never climb a tall ladder to jump into a pool if you don't know how to swim. It's a terrible idea.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Great Driver in Reverse. Not!

During my term at Altus Air Force Base, OK, a couple of years of service was under my belt and I lived in an apartment. I owned a real pretty green Ford Escort GT. Green Ford Escort GT I made lots of trips back and forth between Altus, OK and Lake Tawakoni, TX.

In Altus there was a movie rental store on the main street through town. I would visit there to rent Nintendo games and movies. The store had a small parking lot right off of the main street. There was enough room to back out without entering the street to turn around. When I drove up this particular day, I parked around the middle of the parking lot near the front door. I went into the store and got whatever I was looking for that day and then came back out. I got back into the Escort and started the engine. I looked all around the car while putting it in reverse. I pushed on the gas to back up quickly knowing that there were no cars around me. I heard a crunching and scraping noise completely surprised that I had just backed into a car that just pulled into the parking lot. To this day, I still do not know how that car was there.

I tried to open my car door but couldn't so I crawled over to the passenger side and got out there. Mobile phones were not popular back then and I didn't have a way to call anyone. After making sure the people in the car I hit were okay, I walked into the store to call the police. The woman at the desk had already called them and said she saw the guy pull up in there and was acting like it was their fault. I wanted to believe her but I knew it was my fault. I should not have backed up as fast as I did.

The police officer showed up to get everything straightened out and afterward, I went home. When you are backing your car, always keep your head turned around watching for any surprises that might show up unexpectedly.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

History of Book Reading

When I moved to Lake Tawakoni and started going to school, my friends and I would meet in the library after lunch. We would play Dungeons and Dragons or Dragonlance (D&D like game set in the Dragonlance world). My friends noticed right away that I had never played and instructed me how to play. I really enjoyed building a character from scratch and using my imagination to help him grow.

My friend Kevin was surprised I had not heard of or read the Dragonlance novels written by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Dragonlance He had already read the first book and asked if I would like to read it. I thanked him and opened the book. He immediately asked me not to open the pages so far or he would take it back. From that moment on, I have always kept my book pages half open so as not to hurt the spine.

I read that first Dragonlance novel and from the first word I was mesmerized. I could not put it down. I was a slow reader and Kevin asked me many times if I was done with it yet. I said no and kept plugging along. When I finished it, i gave it back to him in the same shape I received it. I asked him for the next book which he had already completed. I read the first three novels this way and I liked the books so much, I bought my own. I still have the complete set, though the books have looked better. If you are looking for fantasy novels, and haven't read the Dragonlance Chronicles or Legends, I highly recommend them.

My friend Frank introduced me the world of Piers Anthony's Xanth. I don't remember how many books were in the series Xanth and I don't think I ever read them all but the books I did read were very good. I highly recommend these books as well. He also introduced me to Terry Brook's Shannara series and Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern later in life. Very good books.

In the Air Force, I had a friend that introduced me to David Edding's Belgariad series. Dragonlance has always been a favorite of mine but these books are just as good. I highly recommend reading these. I am currently reading these Belgariad books to my son and he can't get enough. I read all of the Dragonlance books to him as well. He ate them up and hated when we were done with them. By the way, sharing books with your children is a great bonding time. I really enjoy it and I know he does too. In a fast-paced world it is nice to slow down and read aloud. When my daughter is old enough to enjoy the books, and if she is interested (she might not like the books I like), I will read them to her. More than likely, I will read books she is interested in instead.

I branched out on my own and bought The Dark Elf Trilogy by R. A. Salvatore. I enjoyed reading about the darker side of life and this Dark Elf Trilogy author wrote a great story about evil characters. If you want to understand the phrase evil turns upon itself, these books are a must read. I looked for other books by the Dragonlance authors and read their Darksword trilogy and The Deathgate Cycle. Those are very good books by them as well.

Except for reading to my children, I rarely have time to read for pleasure. I took time to read J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black with my wife, and Eragon by Christopher Paolini.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Life vs Work

It has been a crazy week this week and we have only made it half way through. My Great-Aunt, my Grandfather's sister, passed away and her funeral was Tuesday. I planned to go to it and emailed my boss that I would.

At work on Friday, I was given a very difficult task to complete by Wednesday morning. I got everything together on Friday night and Monday. I then used what I gathered to acquire what was asked for. I found that my application would not do as much as I thought it would. I had to scale down what I would be able to give by Wednesday.

To make sure everything was completed successfully, I worked instead of going to my Great-Aunt's funeral. I finished the work late Tuesday night. I missed seeing a lot of relatives I have not seen in a long time.

Sometimes life isn't fair. My Dad instilled in me the importance of my job over most things in life. "Take care of your job and it will take care of you." If I would have gone to the funeral, I would not have finished my work on time. I chose to take care of my job over family and I definitely made the correct decision.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Family Games

I grew up playing games with my family. When I was unable to play with my family, I was playing by myself. I received a deck of cards and was taught how to shuffle them. I think it was my brother who showed me a cool way to shuffle. You shuffle normally and when the cards are mixed fold them together to shuffle them back into one pile. I played with cards so much that they would become very flimsy and eventually I would need another deck.

skip bo, 42 tricks, hoyle cards, checkers, chinese checkers

There were several people in the family that taught me everything I know about games. Way before there was Skip Bo, a card game called King Sol was played instead. It was played with two decks. The dealer would deal 30 cards to each player. The goal is to get rid of those cards. I was taught strictly how not to play. By learning how not to play, I learned to play strategically and my Aunt Noni enjoyed her games with me. She is my Dad's sister who passed away a few years ago. I lost a great playmate that day. She liked a challenge and could not stand it if you made a mistake. She would let you know if you made a mistake and it would stick in your head. I think others might not have understood her but I totally understood and enjoyed my lessons and games with her.

My Uncle Buddy taught me new Solitaire games that I did not know existed. He is my Dad's brother. I can't remember the names of all of the games but I played those games by myself. He saw me playing solitaire at his house and asked, "Would I like to learn a different solitaire game? I said, "Sure!" I absorbed every card game he threw at me and played them all the time after that. He had a lake house on Lake Tawakoni. We would fish off of his pier and other things... I will post more on Uncle Buddy in the future.

My Grandfather and my Aunt Beverly get credit for teaching me how to play a mean game of 42. 42 is a domino game. The only game that is similar that I can think of is the card game Spades. Instead of telling you the rules, I will provide a link to the game. My Grandfather who is much older than me is still as sharp as a tack when it comes to this game. My Aunt Beverly and I play a mean game when we are partners. She is as sharp as her Dad (my Grandfather). We win more than we lose.

Another game I knew nothing about and thought I did is checkers. You might think checkers is a kid's game but it is a sport similar to chess. There are tournaments like in chess but I have never played in one. My Grandfather is the best checker player I have ever played. He taught me how to keep my checkers structured. Something I did not know that he taught me was that you must always take your jumps. He taught me how to win with two kings against one king. It took me a long time to get good enough to give him a challenging game but I finally did. He beats much more than I beat him though :)

My Grandmother taught me how to play Chinese Checkers. It is a game I was never very good at. I guess I just never got into it the way I did other games. My Grandmother was very good at it though.

There is probably nothing better than playing games with your kids. I know as a kid, I was in hog heaven when I got to play with my family. Even a game as simple as Go Fish makes for great memories.