Saturday, July 31, 2010

Why are you smiling like that?

Today I was able to spend a little time catching up with an "old friend." He's almost 134 but in good condition for his age. (Just kidding Craig! But I am only off by about a century!)

I've known Craig Shaw for about 18 years now I guess. We attended high school and early morning seminary together (I use the word "attended" very loosely as we "missed" as much time as we made it there ... I was a bad influence, but I still blame him!)

He has two boys of his own, Ethan and Timmy, and they are just like all children: mirror images of their parents. It is fun to see the idiosyncrasies of yourself in your own children, but even more enjoyable to see it in other people's kids. They were a delight to have over (wish Mary could have been here too) and Ben really enjoyed playing with them.

One of my favorite memories with Craig from our glory days at the Institute of Religion in Greeley CO, is ping pong. There was not much else to do in the building (other than all the religious stuff, which we clearly were too young to appreciate). So we played ping pong. Craig had grown up playing the game and was clearly much better than I. So much so in fact that he began playing left-handed to "even things out." Unfortunately, I was pretty good by that time with my right hand so we eventually agreed to both play left-handed, which really leveled the playing field.

Now there was rarely a line to play ping pong at the institute so we found ourselves playing quite often. Not daily, but at least 3-5 times per week and for several hours at a time. No matter who you are or what your talent level is, if you practice something that much you will definitely get better at it. I know we sure did. We began playing against others left-handed and could easily defeat anyone who dared challenge either one of us. Of course Craig could still, and probably always will be able to, beat me righty against righty, but we both got very good left-handed.

Another seemingly unrelated pasttime we had in those days was watching movies with large groups of people. I became familiar with a much broader genre of films through this activity and this leads us to our inevitable conclusion where the brilliant Josh ties everything together at the end. (He really is boastful isn't he?!) One of the favorite movies to watch time and again was ... wait for it ... The Princess Bride.

There is a scene in that movie (if you are one of those weirdos who has NOT seen it), where the Dread Pirate Roberts (the presumed "evil" character) is having a sword fight with Inigo Montoya (one of the "good guys" who later helps save the princess). The two swordsmen are equally matched but Inigo is smiling all through the battle. His foe queries him "Why are you smiling like that?" To which Inigo replies "Because I know something you don't know. I am not left-handed!" after which he switches his blade to his right hand and begins dominating the fight. Then the Dread Pirate Roberts begins smiling and the previous dialogue is repeated in reverse with the pirate announcing his dominance with his right hand in similar fashion. (Seriously if you have not seen the movie then you just have to watch it! Go ahead ... I'll wait ... yes it is THAT important! Go on. This blog isn't going anywhere.)

Okay, now that you've seen that scene (and the rest of the movie I hope, except the "kissing parts" ... ha ha) bring your mind back to the ping pong table with Craig and I both battling away. Not always, but more often than not, a small crowd would begin to watch us play. Partly because we were pretty good (not trying to boast but some volleys would go on for 10 minutes or more) but mostly because, as I mentioned before, there wasn't much to do at the institute. Invariably one of these long volleys would get boring for Craig or I and we would look mischieviously at the other and something like this would occur:

Craig: Why are you smiling like that?

Josh: Because I know something you do not know.

Craig: What is that?

Josh: I am not left-handed! (tosses the paddle to his
other hand and smashes the ball across the table)

Craig: (deftly returns the speeding ball while a sly grin crawls across his face)

Josh: Why are you smiling like that?

Craig: Because I know something you do not know.

Josh: What is that? (all the while he is thinking "Oh crap!")

Craig: I am NOT left-handed either! (spins the paddle to his right hand and returns the volley across the table with such force that you will forever see the ball mark it left).

Grandma's got game! :)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Why is this blog so short?

Today was a roller coaster of emotions, weather, volume/noise level and motivation.

Any of these may be the cause,
but the most likely answer to the Title question is this:
Because I said so, that's why!

Thanks to all parents in the world who have ever uttered that phrase, which is a perfect end-all, be-all for virtually any situation.

(Besides, y'all read my really long post yesterday and for that you deserve a break!)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Is it wrong to pray for money?

I don't like cats. Not in the least. Oh sure they can be very cheerful friends and bring lots of joy to this existence. But I don't like them. At all. In my head I am re-writing the popular Dr Seuss book "Green Eggs and Ham" ... the new title is "Dumb Cats and Flan" ... definitely not worth quoting for you. If you've ever read the book you can probably re-write it yourself.

So right now you have a crucial decision to make. You're asking yourself "Self ('cause who really calls themselves by their own name?!) ... what on earth does Josh's dislike for cats have to do with praying for money? Three blogs in and this nut job is not making sense anymore (if he ever did before). Do I really want to read on forever to see the connection? It's like a game of Tri-Bond gone horribly wrong! For those adventurous souls (or those with countless hours in the day and clearly nothing better to do) with curiousity that would make George (the monkey ... people you HAVE to keep up!) turn away in shame, please read on for the exciting conclusion.

I really cannot stand cats. But they LOVE me! I think they may be horribly mean creatures and they know I am so allergic to them and they like the feeling of power they have over this poor biped animal. Maybe not, but I just avoid them like the plague. That is ... until a little over three years ago.

It was Karen's idea really. She had that "twinkle in the eye" and I have not yet learned in 12 years how to resist that look. "Can we keep her?" she asked me. What choice did I have? If we left her behind there is no chance she would have survived to adulthood, let alone the breezy summer night. So we brought her home and she has been with us ever since. And you know the funny thing is that the noise she makes and her hair that ends up all over the place really don't bother me like they have with other cats. And she LOVES me! She is always playing around my feet and just begging me to pick her up and cuddle with her. AND I DO IT!!! Like some lovesick teenager I just melt when she turns those cute eyes up and me and says "Daddy I love you. Pick me up!"

(Holy crap! This guy's off the deep end! His freakin' cat talks to him?! I am definitely not interested in the connection with praying for money anymore ... unless it's for psychiatric help 'cause this guy needs it bad. I better keep reading. Maybe I'll start praying for him too.)

Okay, so you're probably getting tired of waiting for the connection to the title of the post so I'll "land the plane" (this is what one of my co-workers used to tell me to do when the stories got too long ... I heard it way too often). It began one summer even... huh? what's that? oh right the money and cat connection ... got it!

As a family we say prayers together every night. (What in the ? We just told him to land the plane! Like the characters in the Clue movie: "Get on with IT!") We take turns and once you say your prayer then you get to pick who goes next. Our cat gets very upset and will run out of the room if she is not one of the first ones picked. Then she always picks "mommy" or "daddy" after a long, deliberate pause while her eyes scan the room for reverent children. But her prayers are always genuine and she is rather aware of the needs of the individual family members. (Seriously?! Now the cat prays with them?! What a waste of my precious time in life!)

So tonight just before prayers she walks over and curls up on my arm (I'm laying on the floor at this point). I ask her "What's up?" and she says to me "I had a bad day." It is hard to understand her (of course you idiot! she's a CAT!) but we've had her for so long now that I am pretty good at knowing what she is trying to say, even if the words are more just sounds. She goes on to tell me that "Vannah" (that's our 4-year old, Savannah, but she can't say her name ... yet) wouldn't play with her and that "Book" (that's our 6-year old Brooklyn, but Rs are hard for our precious cat to pronounce ... cut her some slack) was mean to her.

All of that leads to this final, closing paragraph. In her prayers tonight, our beloved cat made sure to ask for Book and Vannah's dentist appointments to go well tomorrow (they are both having teeth pulled). This was sweet and just the cutest thing ... but then she began to tell a story (I think, still hard to understand even the "Amen" at the end) about how excited she was that Vannah and Book were going to get "yots of money fum da toof faiwy." So I think when you're young it's okay to "pray for money" especially if it is for your sisters who you love so much. What say you blog-followers?

Editor's Note: Catalina Jacquelle Case (our "cat" who turned 3 years old in June) is just adorable. I have many more stories to share of her life so far, but she brightens every single day with her smile and unique perspective on life. She has prayed for Santa Claus (to be able to make her lots of toys and dolls), Pooh Bear (that he can find some honey), and more than once for her baby dolls (who apparently were very sick at the time). It is such a blessing to have 6 beautiful children and I'm finally okay with being called a cat-lover!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How am I following my own Blog?!

"In Josh We Trust"

Okay, okay. Over the years many people have found me to be a bit egocentric. Not those that truly know how humble I really am mind you, just those who only know the prideful, self-confident ME. But seriously?! Does anyone really believe that I would follow MY OWN BLOG?!

The thought did cross my mind ... especially with the taunting message after I completed my first post: This person has no followers -- BE THE FIRST!

But it was my beautiful wife Karen who "added" me as my own follower. This was either completely inadvertant (her story is below if you want to believe it) or an attempt to shamelessly embarrass me by making it appear as though I find myself so fascinating that I want to read my own blog immediately after I write it! I'll let my fellow followers decide.

Karen's "Version" of what happened (a.k.a. I Didn't Mean To ... but I really did mean to!)
(In her own words ... more or less) ... :)
After an endless day of mothering my sextet of offspring, including all the numberless chores such as feeding, bathing, cleaning up after, etc. I remembered my worthless husband had pouted loudly earlier in the evening about having "no followers" for his Blog. Will my work with this 7th child EVER end?! But I digress, after all he is only a man and therefore a species with much to learn and in need of every ounce of womanly wisdom that can be provided for such a small-brained mammal. Despite my pounding headache, aching back and feet, not to mention the desperate cries for food of our most recent addition Myra, I pried open my eyelids and suffered through a painstaking review of my lesser-half's feeble attempt to post worthwhile commentary among the billions of random ramblings easily accessible through the world-wide-web.

Well, as my brother Dennis would say "It didn't suck." But it certainly wasn't the kind of useless drivel I want to associate my sacred name with. But how on earth can I stop his whining without tarnishing my good name? Then my overwhelming brilliance hit me for the hundredth time that day. Eureka! I will simply add him as a follower and blame "the computer" for the error. I can say that it must have still been logged in as him and that when I selected "Follow" it just assumed he was very egocentric (which is so true!) He will have an increased following and will likely forget for a few days that I never added my name to the list of crazy people who actually want to read his "blah blah blah."

Lucky for me he bought the story hook, line, and sinker. Well it's not luck really since I am so much smarter than he and it is really just a simple matter of lowering my thought process to just above his level of thinking. I liken this to when you are "teaching" any Primary kids below the age of about 10 ... just dummy yourself down quite a ways and you'll easily be able to communicate in terms basic enough for these lesser human beings to follow your shorter train of thought. (No Josh, if you are reading this I am not telling a story about short trains ... sheesh!)

So my fellow Bloggers and Follwers of Blogs ... what say you? Team Josh or Team Karen? It's not a tough choice or even one with lifelong consequences like Jacob or Edward (Jacob BTW is a much better choice!) Pick a side. The lines are drawn. One shall stand. One shall fall. There can only be one.

Yeah ... it's really not fair 'cause we all know it was an honest mistake and that Karen is way too sweet to have even joke about Josh being a big baby, or conceited, or "blah blah blah." And stinkin' Edward gets the incapable-of-screaming-but-still-very-annoying Bella anyway. What a rip! :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Really?! The "Original" JC?!

Oh yeah! That's my nickname all right! Sure there have been others, most that I will not repeat here because some were downright mean and from those terrible teenage years, but this one has really stuck with me.

A sampling of those that did not "make the cut" include:
*Stick Boy
S. P.
Just Josh
*Golden Boy
Herky Jerky
*J Cheese
*Desua Alcott

Several of these nicknames have unique backstories (feel free to comment and ask for one story per person and I'll be glad to entertain your curiousity). But most stem from my many years of playing basketball where there seem to be more than a few Joshs on the court at once. This is the genesis of The Original JC, but I cannot recall whose idea it was to coin the name. What I do know is that for the better part of the last 5 years that has been my pen name of choice from computer passwords, to Facebook game names, and especially on the court. I even bought the domain name some years back but I never bothered to create a website and am certain it has been put to much less exciting use!

Not a long post today, but forever more (if the question comes up) future blog readers will be able to have some simple explanation of my blog name.
*The above nicknames were added after suggestions, comments, etc. from avid readers of my one-time (so far) blog post. Thanks! Keep the suggestions coming! :)