Archive for December, 2006
Itâ€™s time to hand out the best and worst awards for 2006.
Best Movie: 2006 was a bad year for movies. I canâ€™t think of one that knocked my socks off. There were a lot of movies I wanted to see but never had a chance to. Maybe when some of them arrive on video Iâ€™ll find one that I really like. But there were several good movies that I enjoyed. They are: World Trade Center, The Lake House, and Pirates of the Caribbean 2.
Worst Movie: Lady in the Water. This movie was disappointing in every possible way and having my favorite filmmaker responsible for making it was like rubbing salt in the wound. Do better next time Mr. Shyamalan. Honorable mention: Superman Returns.
Favorite fiction book read this year: The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly. Connelly is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers. This book, about a defense lawyer, is a break from his Harry Bosch novels, but enjoyable to read. I really enjoyed the complexity of the main character Mickey Haller. Honorable mention: The Time Travelerâ€™s Wife by Audrey Neffengger and Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman.
Favorite non-fiction book read this year: Conquests and Cultures by Thomas Sowell. Sowell does a great job of showing the roll of cultural evolution in economic, social, and political development. Well researched and written and not the least bit boring. Iâ€™m looking forward to reading some of his economic books this year.
Favorite political columnist (aside from myself): Orson Scott Card. Though I donâ€™t always agree with him, Card is at least honest and thought provoking in his beliefs. Cardâ€™s columns are a refreshing change from those who simply regurgitate Republican or Democrat talking points. Honorable mention: Peggy Noonan.
Best blog (aside from my own): Hit Coffee. His unique perspective and clear, concise always make it an enjoyable read.
Best blogger that I met in person: Chicago Jo. She ran the Salt Lake Marathon in June. Marathon Girl and I enjoyed having dinner with her and getting to know her better. Sheâ€™s just as cool in real life as she is in her blog.
Best podcast: Extra Life Radio. You donâ€™t have to be into video games to enjoy this podcast. These guys are really funny.
Favorite TV show: LOST. Did anyone really expect me to pick something else?
Best game: LOST: The Game. I got this game for Christmas and will have a full review of it in the next couple of weeks. This game is hard to learn but hours of fun once you understand the rules. Stay tuned.
Best Chinese restaurant that no one has ever heard of: Rice King Express. Food is good, the portions are perfect, and also very affordable (a plus when you have two boys that eat like thereâ€™s no tomorrow). I recommend Mongolian beef. Marathon Girl loves the pon pon chicken.
Best Italian restaurant: Ottavioâ€™s. Took Marathon Girl there for her birthday and we were both impressed with the food and its quality.
Best sports moment: The Detroit Tigers post their first winning season in 13 years and make it to the World Series.
Worst sports moment: The Detroit Tigers lose the World Series to the lowly St. Louis Cardinals.
Favorite magazine to read: The New Yorker. Aside from their fiction (usually pretentious and boring) most of the content in The New Yorker is enjoyable to read. Honorable mention: Sports Illustrated.
The New Yearâ€™s resolution I had the hardest time keeping: Not drinking any carbonation. Yeah, youâ€™d think it would be easy considering how little pop I drink. But I did make it all the way until September. This year Iâ€™ll do better.
The other New Yearâ€™s resolution I had the hardest time keeping: Benching my weight. I flatten out at about 80-85 percent of my body weight every year. Maybe I need to get a trainer or something to get me over the hill. This year Iâ€™ll do it!
Best moment of 2006:Â Having Molly come into the world alive and well. So glad sheâ€™s part of our family. Honorable mention: Finishing my book.
Worst moment of 2006: Canâ€™t really think of any. This has been a great year! Iâ€™m looking forward to 2007!
December 28th, 2006
Let’s say you’re dating a guy who pledged his undying love to you one day but the very next day became withdrawn told you he wasn’t ready for a relationship. Let’s say you dated him for several months and he exhibited this erratic behavior on a consistent basis. Would you stay with this guy or end the relationship? Most people would realize he wasn’t ready for a serious, committed relationship and would move on.
What if you were dating someone who was exactly the same as person in the previous paragraph with one notable exception: this man also happened to be a widower. Would you be more tolerant of his behavior hoping that he’d eventually commit or would you end things with him?
Unfortunately, there’s a tendency to put up with behavior from widowers that women wouldn’t put up with from single men. Slap the widower label on someone and suddenly their widowerhood becomes an excuse for all sorts of screwy behavior. If the he’s not willing to commit to you, it’s because he’s still grieving. If he gets angry when you try to talk with him about your relationship, it’s because his wife died. If the widower keeps the house like a monument to the dearly departed wife it’s nothing to worry about (he’ll move on eventually), it’s because he’s still sad. If he tells you he feels guilty about spending time with you and needs some space — well, you get the point.
If you’re involved with a relationship with a widower, you should expect the same treatment from him as you would from anyone else you were dating. Don’t let his widowerhood give you an excuse to cut him some slack. Yes, dating a widower comes with some very unique issues and challenges, but that doesn’t mean the widower is allowed to put you through the emotional wringer whenever he feels like it. And you shouldn’t enable his bad behavior by excusing his unwillingness to have a loving, committed relationship because of his marital status. Men will generally rise to whatever standards you hold them to. If you lower the bar, they’ll find a reason to meet your lowered expectations.
When I was dating Marathon Girl, it became readily apparent that she wasn’t going to change the way she wanted to be treated simply because I had lost a wife and daughter. She let me know early on her reservations about dating a widower and told me if she didn’t feel the relationship was moving forward, she had no qualms about ending it. She was not going to settle for someone who wasn’t going to treat her like the number one woman in his life.
Marathon Girl was patient when hard moments came and always willing to listen if I needed to talk, but her high expectations made me realize something: if I really wanted a serious, committed relationship with her, I was going to have to make the necessary mental and emotional effort to move on. Excuses would not be tolerated. Marathon Girl’s high expectations are one of the main reasons I was able to move on and marry her as quickly as I did.
Your relationship with a widower should be moving forward to marriage or wherever long term goal the two of you have for the relationship. There may be a day or two where things don’t go as planned, but all relationships had bad days. Ninety nine days out of 100 the widower should make you feel like you’re the number one woman in his life. If he’s struggling in giving you the loving, committed relationship you want, in a loving, caring way let him know how you expect to be treated. And don’t be afraid to let him know that if he’s not meeting your expectations, you will end the relationship.
Remember that not all widowers are ready for a serious relationship. Some widowers date simply because they want company. Some date before they’re ready — while they are still heavily grieving for the loss of their wife. And some know they can use their grief as an excuse for getting away with a lot of bad behavior. You need to make sure you’re not dating one of these men.
If you’re not looking for something serious but want a relationship that comes with extreme ups and downs or abusive behavior then sit back and let the widower take you on an emotional roller coaster. However, if you want a loving, committed relationship then demand the same treatment from him as you would from any other man you were dating. If a widower really loves you, he will treat you like the number one woman in his life. He won’t let his grief or loss serve as an excuse. He will do what it takes to make you feel loved and important. He will not only tell you that he loves you but show you that he loves you. He will treat you the way you deserve to be treated.
Don’t settle for anything less.
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More widower-related articles by Abel Keogh
Up with Grief NEW!
Dating and Marriage: One Regret NEW!
Widowers: They’re Still Men! NEW!
10 Dating Tips for Widows and Widowers
Photos of the Dead Wife
5 Signs a Widower is Serious About Your Relationship
How Vice President Joe Biden Dealt with Grief
Life with a Widower
Dating a Widower
The Grief Industry
A Letter to Elizabeth
Sex and Intimacy with Widowers
The Widowerhood Excuse
How to Talk to a Widower
Red Flags to Watch for When Dating A Widower
December 26th, 2006
Hope you all haveÂ a veryÂ MerryÂ Christmas!
December 23rd, 2006
MSNBC has put together a cool slide show showing some of the best news photos of 2006. My favorite news photo wasnâ€™t among them but I liked just about all they picked. You can view the slideshow here. I voted for the one below.
Nineteen-month-old Hardhik cries as he takes a bath in a bucket in Virar, about 40 km from Mumbai. REUTERS/Adeel Halim
December 21st, 2006
It is late. I’m driving southbound on I-15 heading home. Marathon Girl is in the passenger seat looking out the window at the orange lights of the sprawling suburbs of Salt Lake City. Our three kids are sleeping in their car seats. I hear Steven snoring softly. Glancing back at him, I can just make out his head titled to the right, leaning on his shoulder. Outside the headlights illuminate the white lane divider lines and dreary grey concrete of the freeway.
We haven’t spoken a word on the way home. It’s not because we don’t have anything to say. Rather, the silence is a result of us both being exhausted. I had a long, brutal day at work. I’m not happy with the way my radio show turned out this morning and have a headache from staring a computer screen for hours on end. Then Molly had a follow up exam at the doctor’s office that took longer than planned. We ended up eating dinner at the in-laws house and since the kids were having a good time playing with grandma and grandpa, opted to stay there until their bed time. Marathon Girl is tired too. Adjusted to three kids in the house has been difficult for her. At times she feels overwhelmed and that she’s not giving the kids the attention they need.
“I almost called her Hope today,” I say.
For ten seconds all I can hear is the sound of tires on the road. I’m starting to think that Marathon Girl didn’t hear me. But then her voice rises over the din of the drive.
“At your parents’ house,” I say. “When she started fussing in the middle of dinner. I told you â€˜I’d bring Molly into the kitchen.’ I almost said â€˜Hope.’”
“You almost made that same mistake at the hospital,” Marathon Girls says.
“You caught that?” I say. I’m surprised. I didn’t think Marathon Girl had noticed. A few hours after Molly was born, I was rocking her to sleep, talking to her, telling her how happy I was that she was part of our family. Somewhere during that talk I halfway blurted out Hope’s name but caught myself. I had looked up at Marathon Girl immediately after the mistake. Her eyes were closed. I thought she had been sleeping.
“Does she remind you of Hope?” Marathon Girl asks.
“No. Not really,” I say. “The only similarity is that they both have my dark brown hair.”
“Have you made this mistake a lot since she was born?”
“I’ve caught myself about a half dozen times,” I said. “Time seems to help. It’s not as bad now as it was a week ago.”
More silence. We crest Point of the Mountain and start the decent into Utah County. Off to the west there are homes decorated with the Christmas lights. The homes look happy, cheerful, and warm.
“You were different after Molly was born,” Marathon Girl says.
“What do you mean?” I ask.
“As soon as the boys were born, you were right there hovering over them, asking the doctors questions. With Molly, you kind of held back. You looked uncomfortable. It was like you didn’t know what to do.”
“I was worried about her health,” I said. “Since she was three weeks early, I wanted to give the doctors some space to check her out.”
“Is that the only reason?”
I shake my head even though I don’t know if Marathon Girl can see that in the dark. I glance over at her. Her face is tinged with the blue glow from the dashboard lights. She is looking at me, waiting for a response.
“I wasn’t sure how I was going to handle it if Molly had problems,” I say. “The last thing I wanted was another baby girl in the ICU.”
Marathon Girl squeezes my hand. “That’s something that both of us didn’t want.”
“Sometimes I think your life would be so much easier if you didn’t have to deal with these things,” I say. “You should be able to bring home a baby girl and just be able to enjoy her.”
“I’m not upset at you, Abel. Before we had kids, I didn’t quite understand why you had a hard time talking about Hope. But nowâ€¦.” her voice trails off and she looks back at our sleeping children. “â€¦now I can’t even think about what it would be like to have one of them die. I don’t think I’d handle it nearly as well as you have.”
A gust of wind rocks the van. Snow blows across the road. I’ll be glad when we’re safe at home.
“There are days I wonder why you married me,” I say. “You could be happily married to someone that didn’t come with all this baggage.”
“Love had something to do with it,” Marathon Girl says.
“Just something to do with it?” I say. ”
“Love had everything to do with it.”
“I guess I gave my rugged good looks too much credit,” I say.
Marathon Girl squeezes my hand and says, “That had something to do with it too.”
I change lanes and take the exit to our house. Another ten minutes and we’ll be home.
“I still feel bad about mixing up their names,” I say.
“Look at some of the issues that some my sisters and our friends have to deal with in their marriages. At least I have a husband who enjoys spending time with his family and does his best to live righteously and be a good example to our children,” Marathon Girl says, “I knew what I was getting into when I married you. I’m not saying it’s easy to know that you mix up Molly and Hope but I know it’s just a little bump in the road. We’ll get through this just like the other issues that come up from time to time.”
“I really don’t deserve you,” I say.
“I know,” Marathon Girl says playfully. “Now you’ll have to lavish me with gifts, fine food, and lots of late night snuggling.”
I bring Marathon Girl’s hand to my lips and kiss it. “I think I can manage that,” I say.
“Thanks for telling me,” Marathon Girl says.
“No problem,” I say.
We hold hands the rest of the way home.
December 19th, 2006
Congratulations! You are the Time magazine “Person of the Year.”
The annual honor for 2006 went to each and every one of us, as Time cited the shift from institutions to individuals – citizens of the new digital democracy, as the magazine put it. The winners this year were anyone using or creating content on the World Wide Web.Â –Â AP News Story December 16
This is such an unexpected honor! Never in my widest dreams did I think I’dÂ ever be nominated, let alone chosen to be Time’s person of the year.Â This is going to addÂ some serious weight to my resume!Â Â :-)
December 17th, 2006
My radio show co-host, Jon, and many others have taken me to task over my comments about Prince being the halftime entertainer for the Super Bowl. Since my impression of Prince apparently outdated or just plain wrong, Iâ€™m going to spend the first 10 minutes or so of my show today having Jon and others tell me why Prince rocks. If you want to listen, go to theabelhour.com and click the Listen Live link startingÂ around 11:05 a.m. Mountain Time. If you want to share your feelings on PrinceÂ free to call in at 1-800-331-4301 during the show.
Update: If you’d like to hear an MP3 ofÂ The Abel Hour segmentÂ where we talk about Prince, right click here then select Save Target As to save it to your computer. The segment is about nineÂ minutes long.
December 14th, 2006
Editorâ€™s note: Since this column was published, officials have restored the 14 Christmas trees to the Sea-Tac International Airport.
Hereâ€™s a quick Christmas quiz for Sea-Tac airport officials: What religion do Christmas trees symbolize or endorse?
Answer: Christmas trees donâ€™t symbolize or endorse any particular religion. But donâ€™t tell that to those who run Sea-Tac International Airport. Christmas tress must endorse something unconstitutional because when a Seattle area rabbi asked officials to place a menorah next to the trees, Sea-Tac officials thought it was best to remove the Christmas trees altogether least others ask to display religious symbols too. Sea-Tac spokesperson Terri-Ann Betancourt said: “We decided to take the trees down because we didnâ€™t want to be exclusive.”
Exclusive? Exclusive to whom? Though Christmas trees have existed in one form or another as far back as the Middle Ages, they donâ€™t represent one religion or belief. Like Santa Clause and gift giving, they symbolize the more secular part of the holiday and can be found in just about any home regardless of oneâ€™s personal beliefs.
Though some claim Christmas trees can be traced back to pagan rituals, the modern custom regarding Christmas trees can be traced to 1570 when reportedly a small fir was decorated with fruit, nuts, paper flowers, and other goodies for the benefit of children who colleted those items from the tree on Christmas Day. It wasnâ€™t until the 18th century that the custom of Christmas trees became common in parts of upper Rhineland. It took about 100 years for the custom to spread to such places as Russia, France, Austria, and England. Though Christmas trees reportedly appeared in the United States as early as 1777 (thanks to the Germans) they didnâ€™t become popular in the United States until the late 1800s. Christmas trees were usually put up in connection to a religious holiday; they came to symbolize not a particular religion or belief but the spirit of the Christmas season. Even the Supreme Court has stated that Christmas trees are secular enough that they donâ€™t violate the Constitutionâ€™s establishment clause. In their County of Allegheny v. ACLU (1989) Justice Harry Blackmun wrote: â€œThe Christmas tree aloneâ€¦does not endorse [a] Christian belief.â€
If you want to see how secular Christmas trees are, then check out the Festival of Trees held annually in Salt Lake City. Christmas trees are decorated by a diverse group of local businesses and other organizations and donated to raise money for charity. The trees are usually decorated in themes that advance or promote football teams, colleges, television shows, and that of local businesses. Even though trees with religious themes are in the minority, no one is offended because people understand Christmas trees are not a religious symbol. (I personally found the American Idol tree a little tacky.)
Christmas trees in many homes tend to portray the personality of those who live in there. I know of one family whose has a tree decorated with dinosaurs. Another friend has a Star Trek themed tree. Yes, you can find trees with very Christian or religious themes too but in my circle of friends â€“ most of whom are religious, finding a spiritually themed tree is the exception rather than the rule.
Yes, there are Christians who believe evergreen trees symbolize the renewal of life, but even amongst Christians there is a small minority who think the Bible prohibits Christmas trees. To confuse Christmas trees with an endorsement of a particular religion or faith is wrong. You can celebrate Christmas without a Christmas tree or have a Christmas tree without celebrating Christmas.
I have friends who are atheists, agnostics, and non-Christian. Yet every December they all have beautiful and festive Christmas trees in their homes. Why? Because they embrace the spirit of giving and goodwill that this time of year represents. Itâ€™s a message thatâ€™s not limited to one religion or faith but one thatâ€™s applicable to all of mankind â€“ regardless of ones personal beliefs.
Instead of playing the Grinch next year, Sea-Tac officials should stop tying their Christmas stockings in a knot, drink a big glass of eggnog, and spread some holiday cheer. Maybe then people will be a little less likely to say Bah Humbug when they hear about such stories from the press.
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This essay was originally published on FreeCapitalist.com. You can read all of Abel’s FreeCapitalist essays here.
December 14th, 2006
The amount of hospital security in the labor and delivery/newborn sections of the hospital is amazing â€“ even if youâ€™re one of the parents. Iâ€™m grateful for it but at the same time, getting in and out of the place felt like trying to visit someone in jail.
I love the way newborn babies smell. Like a new car smell, it lasts several months before going away.
Trying to type 50+ words per minute and hold a newborn baby in your arms is possible so long as the baby doesnâ€™t squirm too much.
Molly looks just like Marathon Girl when she was a baby.
The final draft of my book manuscript weights two pounds, fifteen ounces.
Though I donâ€™t care for Super Bowl halftime shows, I thought the NFL usually does a good job of lining up some decent music. But Prince? What are the people at NFL headquarters thinking?
The thing I was looking forward to most this winter was taking Aidan sledding for the first time. Unfortunately, weâ€™ve yet to have a snow storm thatâ€™s dumped more than one inch of snow on the ground making it, for now, impossible.
Why does Wal-Mart always so crowded? You can show up at six in the morning and find the store packed with shoppers and long lines at the cash registers.
Itâ€™s interesting that different names have different connotations in different parts of the country. Nixtress mentioned that she liked the name Emma but where she lives itâ€™s considered too Amish. In Utah the name Emma is quite popular as it has some historical connotations with the LDS Church.
I always wanted to have a kid named Ethan but had three friends that named their kids Ethan long before my oldest boy was even a thought in my mind.
I need to finish my Christmas shopping soon. Only 12 shopping days left.
December 12th, 2006
December 10th, 2006
Congratulations to my Bulgarian friend Maria who just had another volume of poetry published, this one titled Otnovo (Once Again). And thanks for sending me a copy. Iâ€™ve enjoyed it immensely.
December 8th, 2006
Things are finally settling down at the Keogh household. The addition of Molly and having sick boys has been a lot of work. The good news is that the boys are on the upswing, Molly is sleeping better at night, and Marathon Girl is recovering well from labor and delivery.
Despite a very busy schedule and little or no sleep Iâ€™ve been so incredibly happy the last week. It is so wonderful to have a little girl to hold in my arms. Itâ€™s been something Iâ€™ve wanted for so long and it feels so nice to have a girl who can grip my finger, smile, and nuzzle her face into my chest. I love Molly so much. Iâ€™m glad she arrived healthy and well.
Several people asked how we came up with the name Molly. Itâ€™s actually one of Marathon Girlâ€™s favorite girl names. And since I didnâ€™t have any objections to the name (i.e., I didnâ€™t know anyone named MollyÂ that IÂ associated negatively with the name,Â the name wasnâ€™t overly popular, etc.) I was okay with it.Â We’ve had the name in the cooker for a long time and would have named one of our first two children Molly ifÂ either of them had been a girl. I even wrote a poem titled To Aidan or Molly four years ago in the waiting room of the doctor’s office — right before we found out our first child was a boy. (I just realized I haven’t posted this poem on my website yet. I’ll have to see if I can find it.)
December 6th, 2006
Because weâ€™re runners, Marathon Girl and I donâ€™t drink much soda pop. Since weâ€™ve been married, I can count on one hand the number of times weâ€™ve gone to the grocery store and ended up with something carbonated in our cart. The only time we might have something carbonated is on the occasion when we go out to eat. Even then weâ€™re more likely to order water than anything else.
The day we brought Molly home from the hospital, I came down with the stomach flu. (It has now spread to the boys though Marathon Girl and Molly â€“ thankfully â€“ seem unaffected.) Needing something that would help settle my stomach, I went to our local grocery store for a six pack of 7up. I guess itâ€™s been awhile since I seriously pursued the soda pop aisle because, to my surprise, they donâ€™t sell six packs of any type of soda pop anymore. You can either buy two liters or a refrigerator pack that contain 12 or 24 cans. Not a fan of two liters because they quick loose their fizz (itâ€™s the fizz that really settles my stomach) and thinking that even twelve cans was way more than I needed, I drove to another nearby store and discovered they donâ€™t sell six packs either. This second store did sell six 20-ounce plastic bottles of pop, but quantity wise that was still more than I needed.
I donâ€™t know if this is just a local thing or if itâ€™s something thatâ€™s gone national, but I really miss having the six pack option. Maybe people drink more soda pop and therefore more convenient to buy the large refrigerator packs. Itâ€™s been so long since Iâ€™ve purchased soda pop on a regular basis, I have a hard time seeing myself buying that much.
I ended up purchasing a refrigerator pack of 12 (which was a good move with Aidan and Steven getting the stomach flu yesterday) but still think that wee have way more than we need.Â This is good news for Aidan and Steven seeing that they might have some pop to drink long after theyâ€™re feeling better.
December 2nd, 2006