It was 20 years ago today…

And this doesn’t have anything to do with Sgt. Pepper.

I was sitting in my fourth period social studies class on that Tuesday morning, when the principal came over the intercom and told the entire school that there had been a problem during the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger. After lunch, I had a study hall. I signed out and went to the library, and watched Tom Brokaw show the footage over and over again of the Challenger, 73 seconds into its flight, disappear in a ball of smoke and flames.

I knew as soon as I saw it that those astronauts weren’t coming home. Despite what everyone on the news was saying, that they didn’t know if there were any survivors, that they didn’t know what exactly had happened, I knew. This was going to be one of those days that changed the course of history.

It was a very sad day for me, personally. I was your typical geeky 8th grader. OK, more than your typical geek. I knew just about everything an 8th grader could know about the space program. I wanted to go to Space Camp, and I wanted to be an astronaut, so the Challenger disaster was a great personal loss for me.

It was my Kennedy assassination, it was a day that changed not only my life, but the life of so many peole in America. It’s just a shame that NASA didn’t change.

On a Saturday morning in February, just 3 years ago, Monica and I got off a plane in Orlando, Florida. I was no longer that geeky 8th grader, but a Technology Director of a school district working on a Master’s Degree. When we entered the concourse from the jetway, I started looking around for the baggage claim signs. I saw some people gathered around a TV near the gate and saw what appeared to be falling stars streaking across the screen.

I was immediately taken back to that junior high library, and that feeling of loss. I turned to Monica, trying to hide the emotion in my voice, and said, “They lost another shuttle.”

Cowboy up

It’s rodeo time in San Antonio again, and today was the kick-off Cowboy Breakfast. In the simplest terms, this is a free breakfast for the entire city of San Antonio.

You can imagine the kind of traffic headaches this might cause.

People get up really early to go stand in line to get breakfast tacos, biscuits and gravy and coffee. It’s ain’t the greatest food in the world, but hey, it’s free, and there’s entertainment, so why not?

Last year, I took a personal day to attend and then came home to sleep. Sure, sure, I could have gotten up at 5 AM, gone to the Cowboy Breakfast and still made it to work, but that takes all the fun out of it.

When I was younger, and the breakfast was at Central Park Mall (it’s now at Crossroads Mall), I would take the day off because I knew that they country bar opened at 8 AM on the day of the Cowboy Breakfast. Last year, we found out that Dave & Busters was opening at 8 so folks could drink (it’s 12:00 somewhere, right?).

This year, though, Monica and I decided to skip it. I actually took back roads to work so that I could avoid the traffic.

Skipping the party and worrying about traffic. My God, am I getting old.

And by the way, I know when you’re from up north, you don’t exactly think of February as being a month for rodeos, but it works. The rodeo here is a lot like the county fair–lots of animal judging and the like. Imagine all the wonderful smells, and then imagine them in the heat of a San Antonio summer, and you understand why February is the perfect month for the rodeo.

It’s a….

Blurry alien being.

OK, ok…here she is.

Of course, there’s always that margin of error. And since the tech said, “I’d have to say it’s a girl,” instead of “You’re having a girl…no doubt,” or “Look at the johnson on that kid! It’s a boy for sure!” it was kind of a let down. I guess we were both expecting a drum roll and a much clearer picture of what this kid’s anatomy would be.

So it’s a girl, and her name will be Rachel.

Dumbing down America…

ABC’s show, “Stupid in America” should have been about NBC’s television schedule.

It’s a sad day when a smart, timely show like “The West Wing” is cancelled, but “My Name is Earl” and “Joey” are still on the air (sorry, Mom and Dad…I just don’t find the humor in “Earl”). And don’t try to tell me that “Law & Order” is a smart show, either. In real life, nothing gets solved in an hour. Those shows are just modern day versions of “Perry Mason.”

I guess it’s official…we have no reason to watch NBC anymore. Tom Brokaw is gone, the local news sucks, “Today” has become more celebrity gossip than real news, and they have canceled or lost all of their good shows.

Winter has arrived

After weeks and weeks of endless sunshine and spring-like temperatures, it has finally turned rainy and chilly in south Texas. I still refuse to say that it’s cold, because, honestly, these people down here don’t know cold. However, that doesn’t mean that I’m not breaking out the ski jacket to head outside.

It’s an interesting thing that happens when you live where it’s warm (OK, freakin’ hot) for most of the year. Your blood thins out, and you become a cold wuss, and this next paragraph will exemplify that:

Yesterday, we took puppy and peanut to the dog park (of course, we have to take peanut everywhere, since it’s living inside Monica), and it was in the mid 50′s, which isn’t bad, but the wind! My God, you’d have thought we were in Chicago the way the wind was howling. I was wearing a sweatshirt and fleece and I was freezing. I was so ready to go home after 15 minutes, but Sparky was having such a good time playing with the dogs of the 5 other insane people that were there, we decided to tough it out.

See? Cold wuss. I know those of you that live north of the Mason-Dixon line are going, “It was in the 50′s! Do you know what we’d give to have a day in January in the 50′s?!”

We actually cancelled our planned trip to the coast because it was just too cold, and walking along the beach when it’s 50 and windy just didn’t sound like that much fun.

Have I mentinoed lately how much I don’t miss the winters up north?

Thank God this will be over in a week or two.

I guess I’ll have to lay on the bunny

Monica uses one pillow to sleep with. I sleep with two. I developed a habit a long time ago of sleeping on one pillow and hugging another. Monica is very particular about her pillows, and will even go so far as to bring her own pillow when we sleep in a different bed, such as at a hotel or at mom and dad’s house.

Tonight, I walked into the bedroom, and there were no pillows on my side of the bed. She had two under her head, and one on her belly because “I don’t want to expose Peanut to the magnetism in my computer.”

I’m digging the other pillows out of the closet tomorrow.

Birthday blues

Because my sister is totally kicking my ass with blog posting in the past week, and because my wife is giving me shit about not updating my blog (although she already knows everything I write here), I have decided to take a few moments to say “hello.”


The past week has been pretty hectic. Between dealing with incompetence (again) at work, and being in the classroom 3 days this week, I haven’t had much time to think, let alone sit down and write a post (sorry Mom and Dad).

So this weekend I turn 34. It’s funny, really, because when I think back on my youth, which to me doesn’t seem like that long ago, I thought about how old people were when they were in their thirties.

I mean, when I was 12, back in 1984 (remember? Reagan, Mary Lou Retton, Cubs win the NL East…OK, so I’m dating myself), people in their 30′s had grown up watching black and white TVs, not having cable, heck, not having computers!

It makes me wonder what kids who are 12 think about people in their 30′s now. I guess they can marvel at how primitive our video games were, but, really, we had them. It seems to me that we had a lot of the things kids have today when I was growing up. Maybe I’m just old, and not hip anymore, so I don’t have any clue, but it doesn’t seem like the world has changed all that drastically in the last 20 or so years.

So why is it that I feel so old around all of these kids today?

We’re having some people over on Saturday night for game night and burgers…oh yeah, and beer too. I’m looking forward to spending the remainder of the 3-day weekend relaxing with my wife, our dog, and our unborn child.

My turn

Yesterday, while we were getting ready to go to work, Monica felt the baby moving around again. I ran over and said “Let me feel!” She put my hand low on her tummy and after a few seconds, I felt a little bump against my thumb. My eyes got really big, as did my smile. Monica started to laugh, and as she did, I felt a twinge of disappointment because I thought what I had felt we just her abs flexing. When she stopped laughing, though, I felt it again. I asked her, “Is that it?” and she said that it was, indeed, our child beating against my thumb.

Friday, January 6, 2006…the day I first felt my child.