Archive for May, 2006
So what do I receive email about over the weekend? Someone asking for a pearl of wisdom? Thoughts on the amazing season the Detroit Tigers are having?
Of course not. Instead everyone (all three of you) asked what I thought of the season finale of LOST. Fine, you want my thoughts? Here they are:
***Warning. May contain spoilers. If you don’t want to know them, scroll down and read what I posted earlier today.***
First, I’m amazed that the writers of LOST can make me care about so many characters and have different storylines and plots going on and still be able to keep track of everything.
I’m trying to figure out why the Others call themselves “The Good Guys.” Makes me wonder if there’s another group on the island that we don’t know about yet. Of course “Henry Gale” was the one that said they were the good guys and he was also the one who told Locke that he didn’t push the button. (And we know what happens when the button doesn’t get pushed.)
I’m glad the hatch was destroyed. I always thought the Island was the most interested character in the show. I’m glad they’re moving the story back there. Maybe we’ll be able to see more interesting creatures. (Any thoughts about the foot of a statue that only has four toes?)
I keep going back to the “snow globe” comment Desmond made. I wonder if it’s an obvious bread crumb or something the writers are using to distract us from the real mystery behind the island.
I think Michael and Walt will come back soon and try to salvage his relationship with those he left behind.
Finally, is it just me or was it Libby that gave Desmond the boat? I’d really like an answer to that one.
May 31st, 2006
Nothing Good About Grief Tagged Me. Here goes nothing!
I AM: A father, a husband, a writer
I WANT: To own the Detroit Tigers
I WISH: I had more time to write
I HATE: The Oakland Raiders, New York Yankees, and disco music (but not in that order)
I MISS: LOST. No new episodes until September! How will I survive the summer?
I FEAR: Rats. They really creep me out.
I HEAR: My coworkers chatting about The Da Vinci Code movie. They all seemed to like it.
I WONDER: What my life will be like if I hadn’t made the decision to pull myself out of the deep dark hole I found myself in four years ago.
I REGRET: Nothing.
I AM NOT: A victim.
I DANCE: Me? Dance. Ha ha ha!
I SING: To Marathon Girl (but only if it’s our song)
I CRY: When I think of Hope.
I AM NOT ALWAYS: Able to save the world. (But that doesn’t stop me from trying.)
I MAKE WITH MY HANDS: Stories and novels and (hopefully) entertainment for others.
I WRITE: Because that’s what I was born to do
I CONFUSE: The names of my children. They’re easy to tell apart but that doesn’t stop me from mixing them up. I think they’ll be scarred for life and need intense therapy when they’re older.
I NEED: To sleep more. Really. I can’t do six hours a night every night.
I SHOULD: Stop doing this and work on my second book.
I START: Running and I can’t stop.
I FINISH: Reading books. No matter how bad they suck, once I start reading one, I have to finish it.
I tag Rick and Redlaw. Do better than me, guys. It shouldn’t be hard.
May 31st, 2006
I remember going to the cemetery every Memorial Day with my family. We’d put flowers on the graves of dead relatives and my mom and grandmother would tell stories about them. Since most of them died before I was born, they were strangers to meand I’d walk amongst the headstones reading the names and dates of the people who died. I’d figure out how old they were when they passed on and wonder what kind of life they had.
Because it was Memorial Day, most of the headstones had flowers or other tokens people had left for the dead. I remember once walking amongst the headstones and hearing the faint sound of music. I followed the sound until I came to a small music box someone had left on the headstone. The music box was playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star over and over again. I thought it was a strange song to leave at the cemetery until I realized the headstone was for a baby that had died three months after it was born.
There were always some headstones that, year after year, never seemed to have flowers. One I remember in particular was a three foot tall, polished black headstone that always impressed me as a young boy. I thought someone with a headstone like that must be important. Yet every time we came to the cemetery, I never saw flowers or anything else there. When I was younger I thought, “The family lives far away and can’t come every year.” In my teens I took a more cynical approach and thought that perhaps the person buried there was a bitter person who never loved anyone and as a consequence his family never bothered to visit his gave.
I haven’t visited my first wife’s grave since the first anniversary of her death three and a half years ago. Marathon Girl was with me at the time. I remember standing there looking at the headstone shared by my first wife and our daughter then looking over the cemetery and wondering if I’d ever go back. I had just gone through the hardest year of my life and even though I had been very successful in putting my life back together, each time I visited the cemetery, I felt like I was taking a step backwards and dwelling on the dead and the past and not my future. I made the decision not to return.
I didn’t tell anyone about this decision until the next Memorial Day weekend. By this time Marathon Girl and I had been married three months. At some point that weekend Marathon Girl asked when I planned on visiting my first wife’s grave. Marathon Girl was surprised by my response.
“Why not?” she asked.
“I don’t want to dwell on the dead,” I said.
There was a pause then Marathon Girl said, “You know I’m okay with visiting as often as you would like.”
“Are you sure?”
“I rather spend my time with the living.”
There was a hurt look on Marathon Girl’s face â€“ a look I wouldn’t understand the meaning of until a year or so later when the topic came up again and Marathon Girl explained to me that she worried that if she were to die, I’d never visit her grave either.
The topic of visiting my first wife’s grave comes up this time of year and we’ve established a standard routine to this topic. She’ll ask if I’d like to visit. I smile, shake my head, and say maybe next year.
It’s been over a decade since I’ve been back to that cemetery my family visited every year. During that time I’ve occasionally thought back to that polished black headstone and thought about why no one ever left flowers at the headstone. The reasons have changed over the years but today, when I think of that black headstone, I wonder if maybe the person buried there was loved tremendously but his family had made the decision to move on with life and instead of dwelling on the dead in this life were looking forward to seeing him in the next.
One day I will go back and visit the first wife’s grave though at this writing, I have no idea when that will be. But when I do return Marathon Girl and our children will be at my side.
May 26th, 2006
Marathon Girl and I must eat a lot of Chinese food. The other day we were deciding where we’d like to go out and eat and when Aidan realized what we were talking about he came running up and said the words “Chinese food!” over and over again.
Would it kill a TV station to air a Detroit Tiger game once a month? I’m tired of looking at upcoming televised games and seeing only the Yankees, Mets, Cubs, White Sox, Dodgers, and Angels on the schedule. Contrary to popualr belief, I’m not the only Tiger fan out there.
One the things I enjoy doing most is chasing Aidan. Despite the fact I run three or four times a week, I seem to tire physically from the game much sooner than Aidan.
I’m slowly working toward my goal of benching my weight by the end of the year. The only discouraging part of this goal is the knowledge that benching my weight would be something most men could do very easily.
Aidan turned two recently. It seems like just yesterday he was born. These have to be the fastest two years of my life.
The best part of my weekend was rocking Steven to sleep for an afternoon nap. Rocking babies to sleep has to be one of my favorite activities.
May 22nd, 2006
I have to write about this now because it may never happen again in my lifetime.
The Detroit Tigers have the BEST record in baseball — a game better than the defending champion White Sox. Yes, it’s the middle of May and there are many months of baseball to come but the Tigers haven’t been this good in over 13 years.
Sorry to bore anyone with baseball news but I thought I’d brag about the Tigers while I had the chance.
May 19th, 2006
I’ll be hosting FreeCapitalist Radio today (Thursday) from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Mountain Time. If you’re in Utah the show is broadcast on 630 AM. If you live outside the broadcast range you can listen to the web stream here.
It’s a talk show so if you’re listening and want to comment feel free to call the show at 1-800-331-4301.
May 18th, 2006
Author’s note: Names of individuals and locations where they live have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.
It was my intent to finish up this email several days ago. I went to bed that night thinking of what I was going to write. Then I received a phone call that delayed my completing this email until now.
An old friend of mine, Anne, tried to kill herself last weekend. I don’t think you knew her. We dated off and on in high school and kept in touch over the years. She married this great guy, Trent, about 12 years ago. Three years ago they moved to Iowa. She’s the mother of four young children.
Anne was in town a few months ago to visit family and had dinner with Marathon Girl and me. She seemed happy and normal. She told us about going back to school to complete her bachelor’s degree. She talked about her kids and how much she enjoyed being a mom. So when I received the news that she attempted to take her own life, I was stunned. According to her mom, several people have mentioned that she left a note behind stating that Trent and her children would be better off without her.
I’ve talked to Trent once since then. He’s in shock and “pretty messed up.” He blames himself for what happened. I tried to console him the best I could from 1,000 miles away. Of all people you’d think I’d be the one that would have comforting words and but I really didn’t know what to say to him. Mostly I just let him talk.
The only part in which I felt I was somewhat helpful was telling him about the day my first wife killed herself and the three promptings I ignored that, had I heeded them, may have saved her life. You know all about that but Trent had never heard that part of the story before. I’m sending him a copy of my book because I think some of my experience might be beneficial to both him and Anne.
Over the last few days, I’ve thought about Anne and what was going through her mind when she tried to kill herself. And, in answer to your question, I’ve thought back to my first wife and what she was thinking when she put the gun to her head. But knowing Anne and my first wife as well as I do, I’ve concluded that there must be a dark place that some people reach. I cannot fathom such a place but it must be horrible if people think the only way out is death.
I was surprised to read in your email that before your second child was born a few months ago that your husband constantly worried that you’d do something similar to Krista even though you’ve had no history of depression and mental illness in your family. How powerfully the effects my first wife’s suicide still reverberate years later continues to amaze me.
In Sunday school last week, I taught the teenagers at church how there is no such thing as a “private” decision. Every decision we make will affect someone else at some point in our lives. Rationalizing that what you do won’t hurt anyone else is a lie. The world, I told them, is made up of the “private” decisions of millions of people. I think if we understood how our actions truly affect those around us, we’d think twice before doing certain things.
My mind returns to Anne. I wonder how her decision will affect her relationship with her husband and her children. I think of my own life and choices I need to make in the upcoming days and weeks. Some are minor. Others are looming large. I hope and pray that I can make good decisions that will not only be beneficial to me but to my family.
Again, I apologize for the delay in sending this email. I hope it finds you well and let’s arrange our schedules so Marathon Girl and I can meet up with the two of you for dinner. There is still so much I’d like to talk with you about.
May 16th, 2006
It was nice to receive an email from you this morning. It’s been many months since we’ve last talked. It sounds like your life is just as busy as mine but I’m glad to hear your husband and children is doing well. And yes, it would be nice for our families to spend an evening together and catch up. Since we live so far apart, how about meeting at a restaurant somewhere near Bountiful? Marathon Girl knows our schedule better than me. I’ll have her call you tonight and arrange a night when we can meet.
You asked some questions about my first wife and Marathon Girl and I thought I might answer some of those questions now before the hour grows too late.
It amazes me how many people pick up on how happy I am with Marathon Girl. Just the other day I received an email from someone stating that one of the reasons she continues to read my blog is because of the optimism and hope I continually exhibit. Others email me and want to know what I’ve done to become so happy.
The question you asked, however, is one I’ve never been asked before, though I know that there are probably friends and family that wonder the same thing: Could I or did I have the same happiness with my first wife as I do with Marathon Girl?
I believe I could have been just as happy with my first wife as I am with Marathon Girl, if I was the person I am now. But I was such a different person when I was married to my first wife. I was more selfish, less caring, and less loving. It’s not that I think my first wife and I had a bad marriage (I would marry her again in a heartbeat) but with Marathon Girl I’ve learned how to be a better husband and have a stronger relationship with my wife.
Ironically it was my first wife’s death that was the catalyst for my current happiness. In those moments of mighty darkness, on the days when I thought I’d never be happy again, I spent many hours pondering what I’d do differently if I was given a second chance — not necessarily with my first wife — to be married again.
In those moments of absolute darkness and despair I came to the conclusion that you only have one chance at life. Slowly, I began changing my life and doing the things I always wanted to do. That’s why I went and saw the Tigers play in Phoenix that summer, for example. I decided I would live my life in such a way that I could do so without regretting anything else.
There are so many things about my relationship with my first wife that I regret. Not big things but little things I could have done to make my marriage to my first wife stronger. My first wife and I had a wonderful relationship. But there were little things I regret. My first wife always wanted to take a trip to San Diego. We never did it. The times when we could have spent an evening together but chose not to because we wanted to spend time with friends or doing things that didn’t involve the other person. I vowed that if I was ever blessed enough to find someone else I could give my heart and soul to, that I would not make the same mistake again and would put everything that I had into making my second wife happy.
I tell people all the time that Marathon Girl and I have a very unique relationship. Most people assume it’s because of the widower issue. They’re partially correct, but the uniqueness of our relationship goes much deeper than that. Marathon Girl and I do everything together. And I mean everything. If we need to pick up a loaf of bread that the store, we pack up the kids and do it together. The only time we are apart is when I’m at work or Marathon Girl does a church activity one night a week. Most married couples we know don’t spend nearly as much time together as Marathon Girl and I do. In fact most married couple I know seem to be in a similar kind of relationship that I had with my first wife: a good marriage but not doing everything they could to make it a strong marriage (Please don’t think I’m comparing our relationship to yours. This is something I’ve observed since being married to Marathon Girl.)
If Marathon Girl was killed in a horrible accident I’d be very sad. But I would be able to look back on the three years we were married and say that we had a wonderful marriage and that I have no regrets about anything in our relationship. I don’t mean to imply that Marathon Girl and I have a perfect marriage. We don’t. But we have a good and strong marriage and relationship with each other. And I credit it to the fact that we both put everything into it.
The hour is late and I’ll write more tomorrow and answer some of your questions about my first wife’s suicide.
May 11th, 2006
Last week wasn’t a good one for liars. A mayor, young author, and personnel director for a NFL team were all exposed for dishonesty.
The mayor of Eagle Mountain, Utah, Brian Olsen, admitted he lied about having a master’s degree in Public Administration. It turns out Olsen had a public manager’s certificate from a series of courses he took three years previously. When confronted with the accusation, Olsen told the Daily Herald that he first explained the certification to people by comparing it to a master’s degree and then began telling people he had a master’s degree because “it was simpler.”
Nineteen-year-old author Kaavya Viswanathan had her book pulled from shelves and her six figure book contract canceled after it was revealed that her first novel How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life contained plagiarized passages of at least three, and possibly four, other novels. When first confronted with the allegations Viswanathan said she had unintentionally “internalized” passages from other works. But as the number of plagiarized passages grew, Viswanathan ran out of explanations and has not been heard from in over a week.
Finally, Fran Foley, personnel director for the Minnesota Vikings, was fired for an inaccurate resume that misstated his early work history and exaggerated his college football career. According to the Associated Press, Foley claimed to have held “coaching positions with the Citadel, Rutgers and Colgate when he was actually a graduate assistant at the three schools. He also said he played four seasons at Framingham State, when he only played two.”
These stories illustrate a growing trend of dishonesty. Though there have been deceptions and dishonest tendencies from the beginning of this world, such intents and actions seem to be more acceptable today. We blame the pressures of wanting to succeed in a competitive environment or look to some people such as former President Bill Clinton, whose lies were made out–in the eyes of the media anyway–as no big deal.
Why did Olsen, Viswanathan, and Foley feel they had to lie? Olsen certainly didn’t need a master’s degree to be elected mayor of Eagle Mountain. Considering her strong writing background, Viswanathan was certainly talented enough to write her own words instead of relying on others. And Foley probably could have succeeded in the NFL without the embellishments in his resume.
Honesty is a matter of personal integrity. If you want to prosper and be successful in this life, honesty is essential. Yet it seems that this virtue is increasingly something that is pushed aside for the honors and praise of the world under the justification that the lie isn’t hurting anyone.
Because of her dishonesty, Viswanathna had her book contract canceled. Foley was fired. And Olsen? Olsen told the Daily Herald that the lie was “a terrible falsehood and something I regret” and he hoped to finish out his term and use it as an opportunity to earn back the trust of voters.
If Olsen wants to regain the trust of Eagle Mountain’s citizens, he should resign and run again in another election. Trust is something not easily regained once it is lost. The citizens of Eagle Mountain, not Olsen, should decide if he’s worthy of their trust.
And for that matter, it rests on each of us to not only conduct ourselves with honesty in all of our dealings, but also to require the same honesty in return. The sad fact is that dishonest words and actions have become more prevalent because more people think they will be able to get away with such things. If we hold ourselves, our entertainers, and our leaders accountable for the actions and thoughts expressed, then perhaps people like Olsen, Viswanathan, and Foley will not be so inclined to deceive.
This article was originally published at FreeCapitalist.com
May 9th, 2006
Second post today
….I co-hosted FreeCapitalist Radio yesterday. The topic of the show was about not being a victim when bad things happen in our lives. About 35 minutes into the show we started talking about when I lost my first wife. The rest of the show was about how I refused to be a victim after my first wife killed herself. If you’re interested in hearing what I had to say, you can download an MP3 of the show right click here
then select Save Target As. The show is about 1 hour and 50 minutes long. If you want to skip to the segment where I start telling my story fast forward the show to 37:45. The rest of the show is mostly about my situation.
May 4th, 2006
I was glad to read that Little, Brown and Co. found some brains and decided not to republish
a revised version of Kaavya Viswanathan’s novel.
Little, Brown and Co. will not publish a revised edition of Kaavya Viswanathan’s “How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life” nor will it publish a second book, Michael Pietsch, Little, Brown’s senior vice president and publisher, said in a statement Tuesday.
Apparently the plagiarism was to onerous even for them. I hope she has to pay back her advance.
Usually the adjectives “red hot” and “sizzling” don’t precede the Detroit Tigers. But at 19-9 the Tigers have won six in a row, have the second best record in the American League, and are only a half game back of the World Champion Chicago White Sox.
The upside of all this is it’s not embarrassing to wear my Detroit Tiger hat in public.
May 4th, 2006
Marathon Girl, I, and our boys were filmed for a public service announcement for the United Way over the weekend. I don’t know if they’ll use the footage but if they do, this is how you can identify us: If you see a gorgeous woman, two adorable kids, and some less-than-average looking guy next to them then you’ve seen our spot.
It amazed me how our actions can affect people we don’t even know. Saturday Marathon and I were in the middle of a six mile run when we ran past a park. A woman at the park yelled at Marathon Girl as we ran past: “I see you running all the time! I want you to know you’ve inspired me to get back into shape!” I asked Marathon Girl who the woman was. Marathon Girl shrugged her shoulders and said, “I have no idea.”
Aidan and Steven have their own language that consists of coos, yelps, and laughs. I don’t think I’ll ever figure out what they’re saying to each other.
When bad things happen to us, we sometimes wonder what we did to deserve such a thing. But knowing why bad things happen to us isn’t nearly as important as facing our challenges with unrelenting optimism.
May 1st, 2006