Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Late Night

Here it is, almost 9:00 PM, and I'm still at work. About half way through my work day, a server crashed... I spent a couple of hours troubleshooting it... then another hour or two trying to make it work again, and in the end I had to reinstall the OS. Now comes the dreary part... waiting here while the data is restored from backup. By the time I'm done, it'll have been a 13 hour day or so. I haven't done a day like that in quite a while. At least I get to surf the net while I'm waiting.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Performed in Front of a Live Audience

One evening several years ago, Greg and I were kicking back, playing guitar. During our jam session, Greg told me his aspiration as a musician. "I'd like to play live for real people and have them appreciate what I played." It was a modest dream, but it seemed reasonable and achievable. I adopted that for my own goal as a guitar player.

I achieved that goal today. It was terrifying and exciting. My wife and I played in front of our church today... she sang and I backed her up on my guitar. It was the first time I'd ever soloed on my guitar in front of anyone I didn't know. It was the second time I'd ever played in front of people I didn't know. It was a group of roughly 100 to 150 people.

I knew that I'd be nervous, but I can't remember the last time I'd been that nervous. I spent the entire church service mentally practicing my part... I missed most of the sermon because I was in my own little world. Part way through my mental practicing, I completely forgot my chord progression. I ended up writing it all down on the church bulletin. My hands were clammy during the whole service too. Then came the moment of truth...

When I got on stage, I completely tuned out the audience. I had the church bulletin on the music stand, but I didn't need it. My fingers remembered where they were supposed to go, and my ear (which were tuned in to the wife's singing) told me when my fingers needed to move. It wasn't flawless. I made one mistake in the first verse and one in the second. The third time through though, was flawless, as I started to relax and focus on the music.

When the song was over, I breathed a huge sigh of relief, my circulation returned to my extremities, and I finally allowed myself to look at the audience as I heard the applause. It was totally worth it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Another Guest Post

Law Enforcement-
The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
By Ann Nonamus

A different points in MANY peoples lives they have been on BOTH sides of the law- whether or not they will openly admit it. I am one of those people.
There's a reason the phrase "A Thin Blue Line" was coined. There's a "thin blue line" between a cop and a crook. Some people even go so far as to say it takes a criminal to catch one. That's pretty darn accurate, to be honest.

I could tell you about how the "Good Ol' Boy" System is firmly entrenched in our system.
But I won't.

I could tell you about how the system is manipulated on a regular basis to satisfy first one and then another of the Good Ol' Boys needs.
But I won't.

I could tell you about how there are officers out there that you should be afraid of and avoid at all costs.
But I won't.

I could tell you that how the system works-(or rather, works against what/how you think it should ) should make you scared to death if you only were an "insider" for a short time.
But I won't.

I could tell you I had to think long and hard about how to write this article and not be incriminated or afraid to go out of my house because of a few simple statements and the off chance one of the local LE officers should run across it.
But I won't.

What I will tell you is that amongst the many master-manipulators there is a handful of law enforcement officers who truly believe in Law & Order and Justice in every sense of the words and go to work every single day to make our lives safer and our world a better place to live in. These are the ones I call "Everyday Heros". They don't get paid nearly enough to lay their lives on the line to protect us from, not only the "civilian" bad-guys, but the ones in uniform as well, and they receive very little, if any, Recognition or Respect for it. Even worse, they instead usually get lumped in with the "Good Ole Boys".

They know who they are. Both sets of them.
And if we look closely, so do you and I.
Nuff Said.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Interviewing Me

A while back, I gave readers a chance to interview me by sending in questions. The questions are in, and here's the moment you've been waiting for. Thanks for the thought-provoking queries.

*What have you done with yourself since high school?
Joined the Marine Corps, traveled the world. Got married. Had a kid. (She was born on the day I got out of the Marine Corps.) Spent some time as a stay-at-home dad. Moved back home to Iowa. Went to school for a while. Moved from my hometown to another city in Iowa. Had another kid. Became a computer geek. Went back to school for a while. Bought a house. Got divorced. Dated. Got married again.

*Tell me about your job history. What were some of your favorite jobs and why? Least favorite?
I've had several jobs in my day, but fewer than most people I know. I tend to find jobs I like and stick with them for a while... sometimes longer than is really good for my career growth. I started with a paper route when I was in seventh grade, and I delivered newspapers until after I graduated high school. Other high school jobs were detassling and building a nature trail in my home town. After high school, I spent six years in the Marine Corps. I've also managed managed a pizza joint, done telemarketing, worked as a debt collector, and my current job -- System and Network administration/engineering. I enjoyed my time as a Marine. The Corps gave me the opportunity to see the world -- an opportunity that I wouldn't trade for anything, and I got some valuable training. If I hadn't gone into Avionics, I wouldn't have learned the troubleshooting and design skills that led to my IT job. I also enjoyed building the nature trail, and believe it or not, I kind of liked being a debt collector. One aspect about the Corps that bugged me was the promotion system. As for jobs that I disliked overall, I wasn't wild about detassling, and I hated the telemarketing job.

*Tell us about your time in the Marine Corps
I worked as an Aviation Electronics Technician. I fixed the navigational systems on helicopters. The Marine Corps also gave me a love for traveling and experiencing foreign cultures, and an associated appreciation for how easy we've got it in America. And I met the mother of my children. If I hadn't joined the Corps, I wouldn't have my awesome kids. During my hitch, I was deployed to the Persian Gulf twice... once in 1988 during the Iran/Iraq war, where the mission was to escort civilian ships through mine-infested waters, and again for Desert Shield/Storm. In fact, I've got more sea time than many sailors.

*What's your view on education? Does everyone need a college degree in order to succeed?

I think that we have a lot of room for improvement in our school system. I think that our high schools spend too much time "teaching to the test," as opposed to helping young people learn how to learn, and teaching kids how to think for themselves. I believe that college is certainly helpful for a lot of people, but the cost-benefit ratio is nowhere near what it used to be. If you don't have a love of learning for its own sake, then I believe that learning a trade... one that can't be shipped overseas, like plumbing, automotive repair and IT, is a completely viable alternative to college.

*What would you like to do in life that you haven't done yet?
I've kind of alluded to it before... I'd love to travel. And despite the answer to my last question, I'd like to go back to school someday. (Yeah, I know that I've already done that.) But my goal would not necessarily be a degree... it would be broadening my horizons.

*What are your professional long-term aspirations? Personal?
Professional aspirations are tough for me to quantify and qualify. I'm happy with my current career. I wouldn't mind writing a book someday, but that's more personal. I'd like to build something... maybe a car or a house... completely by myself, from the ground up... something that I could pass to my descendants. The thing is, all of these goals require a greater commitment of time and money than I'm currently willing to give.

*What have you done in your life that you're really proud of?
I'm very proud of my parenting. Don't get me wrong, I've certainly made mistakes, and I know I'll make more, but overall I'm satisfied with that. This also applies to my marriage. As for personal achievements, I'm kind of proud that I wrote, composed and recorded a song. I did everything except for the drums.

*What's your basic philosophy in life?

Everything's great... in moderation. In life, you have to suffer a bit in order to appreciate the good times.

*How do you feel about your ex wife?
I wasted a lot of time feeling angry, bitter and betrayed. That's all passed, and I harbor no ill will toward her. I feel like I'm providing for the kids to a greater extent than she is, but I also tend to think that she's giving them all that she's capable of giving. (I wouldn't be surprised if she thinks that she's providing to a greater extent than I am, but that's a different story.) I want to clarify though, I cannot and will not have a friendly relationship with her. I can be cordial, and again, there are no more hard feelings, but I will never allow myself to trust her again. That lack of trust precludes any possibility of friendship in the future.

*You seem to enjoy playing the guitar, but I never hear much about that. What gives?

There's not really much to hear. I enjoy playing the guitar, but I'm not that skilled. There are probably a dozen people that have heard me play live, and maybe another dozen who have heard the song I wrote and recorded. I've only played with other people once or twice. The reason that people don't hear more about it is because I'm realistic in my self-assessment of my guitar playing skills. I may start playing soon in my church band though.

*If you could have anything that you don't currently possess, what would it be?
I'm not a huge fan of owning things just for the sake of owning something. An overabundance of material possessions usually goes hand-in-hand with a lot of debt, and what you own eventually ends up owning you. Furthermore, it's a little tough for me to continually want more when I already realize I'm incredibly fortunate to have what I've already got. Life is about experiences, not about possessions. So the short answer is that I've already got enough.

*What's with the hair and beard? It's always changing!
Yeah, I'm not really sure what's up with that. I guess it boils down to laziness. Too lazy to get a haircut, so I let it grow out. Eventually, the long hair becomes too much of a hassle to maintain, or I get tired of it constantly flying into my face, so I cut it all off. Too lazy to shave, so I let it grow. When it's a full beard, I get tired of maintaining it, so I shave it all off again. Repeat ad nauseum, and in overlapping cycles.

*What's your favorite sport? What's your favorite baseball/football/basketball team?

I'm not much of a sports fan. I have a difficult time sitting still long enough to watch a full game, much less for long enough to really follow a specific team. That said though, I kind of like the Royals and Dodgers for baseball, the Steelers for football, and the Celtics and Lakers for basketball. Take that with a grain of salt though, because I really don't watch sports.

*Where did you come up with the questions you asked YOUR interview subjects?

I came up with the questions for each person based on things I wanted to know about that individual. There wasn't much of a rhyme or reason to it. I had a few initial questions, and their answers let to a few more questions. That resulted in each person's interview.

*We know from reading your blog that you are very happily married to a wonderful woman. What's the biggest challenge, so far, when it comes to having a "Blended" family?

I think it's always a little awkward when we are all together at the same time, such as birthdays and school functions.

*Have you always lived in the state you live in now? Have you ever had a hankering to try someplace else? If so- where? And if not- what makes your town so special to you?

I haven't always lived here. I was born in Kansas and moved to Iowa when I was 12. When I was in the Marine Corps, I was stationed in Tennessee and in Orange County, California. And, as I mentioned, I saw a LOT of the world during my enlistment. I've seen enough of the world to appreciate where I grew up. The things I like about where I live now... it's a large enough city to provide a variety of activities; it's just a few hours from Chicago, St. Louis and Minneapolis; it's a small enough community that I don't feel the need to arm myself just to go to the grocery store... in fact, people frequently leave their car engines running during the winter while they run into the corner store. We're in the city, but less than 15 minutes from the country. People are friendly and genuine. And it's a great place to raise a family. In fact, Cedar Rapids was recently recognized as one of the top ten places in the nation to raise children.

* You go on an awesome Boy's Trip every year. How does the little Missus feel about your yearly hiatus and does she have something along those lines that she does too?
She's a little envious, but understanding. She understands the importance of my male bonding time. I suspect that she'd be a lot less understanding if I was a sports nut on top of it. She doesn't have anything like my trip. In fact, I know very few people -- male or female who do.

*We know you have a motorcycle. Do you get to ride as much as you would like? Is it your main transportation when you go places alone- or do you still tend to take the auto? Do you ever see yourself giving up your bike permanently? What kind of bike is it? What's your Dream Ride and why?
My motorcycle habits depend a lot on circumstances. The seat isn't very comfortable for long-distance riding, so I don't do that a lot. The winters are cold here, so I go three to five months without any time in the saddle. During the spring, summer and fall, I ride as much as I can... it's usually about 3000 miles per year, which is about equally balanced between commuting to and from work, and short pleasure cruises with the kids. Mrs. Evan won't ride. I wouldn't mind getting a bike that's better suited for cruising, but since the wife isn't into riding, that's not a high priority.

*Are you happy being a part-time/work at home Dad?
I usually refer to myself as semi-retired. Seriously though, I'm happy that I've got ANY job in our current economy. That aside though, there are benefits and drawbacks to my current employment, as there are with any other job. You may recall from an earlier question that I've spent time as a stay-at-home dad. I loved it, and have repeatedly said throughout the years that I'd do that if the opportunity allowed. Working part-time is the next best thing. I kind of like seeing the kids off to school and finding out about their day as soon as they get back. I like the flexibility allowed by working part time. My boss treats me very well. I kind of enjoy the opportunity to pursue my own hobbies when everyone's gone. I don't like the fact that the job's not really steady. I make good money on a per-hour basis, but I've got no retirement plan and have to rely on the wife for all of my benefits. I don't always like that I can get called in at the drop of a hat. I don't like the pay fluctuations. I don't like that being a house husband is a thankless job that's never quite done. If you're asking a yes or no question though, I'd say yes.

*Do you game as much as you want, or like the rest of us,are there just not enough hours in the day? Does your family participate in Rock band with you? If so, did you have to "persuade" them to play or were they enthusiastic without that?

Gaming is one of many hobbies, and I tend to play in bursts. On the rare occasion that I find a game that REALLY catches my interest, I play it obsessively for a month or so, then I burn out and move to something else. Rock Band is a game that we bought as a family game or group activity when the kids have friends over, and it's worked well. Believe it or not, it's usually the kids that suggest a session of Rock Band. They like Halo 3 too. I hope that sufficiently answers this question.

* We know you have/had a project building a boat. Is that project finished yet or is it still a work in progress? We also know you have done some major remodeling jobs on your home. Do you have any more "projects" you would like to undergo in the near(or far) future?

The boat project has been shelved for a while. Greg moved a couple of months ago, and has been busy turning his new house into his new home. He's been hinting that he's about ready to start back up, and I've nagged him a bit, but nothing's happened on it for around a year. As for other projects, I'm going to build a bookshelf in the near future.

*What are some of your hobbies we haven't previously heard about? Anything you would LIKE to take up that you haven't?
I think you've heard about most of my hobbies. I like puttering around my house, playing my guitar, playing with my dogs and my family, kayaking and canoeing, camping, riding my motorcycle and occasionally tinkering with cars. Basically I like to build, maintain and improve things. I like working with my hands. I've dabbled in painting, and I like blogging. About the only hobby I haven't taken up that interests me is woodworking. I haven't taken that up primarily because of space and money concerns.

*What's the craziest thing you have ever done? (I realize this may be one you might not answer because then the Young Evans might have ammo to use against you when they do something wild and crazy and it backfires on them. I totally understand.)
I've done a lot of crazy stupid things in my younger days. I consumed a lot of recreational pharmaceuticals in my youth, surfed on top of cars while going down the highway, Chinese fire drills in a moving van. Stupid kid stuff. I've given my guardian angels a lot of gray hairs, and sometimes I'm surprised that I'm still alive.

* We know you like to cook and do it often. Do you prefer stove cooking or outside grilling? Do you have a "signature dish" of your own? What's your very favorite dessert? I like both types of cooking equally, though I generally prefer the taste of grilled meat. I don't cook by recipe, so each meal I prepare is unique. I think of cooking as an art, not a science. This should lead you to the conclusion that I don't really have a signature dish. But when my non-cooking friends ask me for easy ideas, I tell them to cook a pork roast in a crock pot, and throw in a couple of cans of chicken noodle soup for additional flavoring. My cooking style is moderately healthy, country-style cooking. Think Spaghetti, fajitas, stir-fry. Lots of meat and lots of fresh veggies. I've never been a big dessert person, but I love flan and creme bruille. And white chocolate.

*We know you and RayRay have been friends since "forever". Is there any other friends you have kept up a long-time friendship with?
Yeah. I've been friends with my canoe trip buddies for ages. I've known two of them (Greg and Darin) for almost thirty years, and the other (Sonny) for about twenty-five. Greg and Darin have known each other since they were five or so.

If there are any other questions, please feel free to post them in the comments section.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Guest Post From RayRay

In order to help keep things fresh in my humble corner of the internet, I sent a couple of requests to a small, select group of people, asking them to write a guest post on my blog. My friend RayRay has kindly accepted my challenge, and his words are below. I asked him to write about dating in small town Iowa, and his words are shown below in blue.

So, my good buddy Evan has asked me to provide some insight on dating in a small North Iowa town.
Well, in a nutshell:it's not easy. You'd think that being a smaller community, being able to run into a lot of the same faces, you'd be able to get to know someone easier/faster. Well, one of the problems with that is that pretty much everyone has dated everyone at one time or another. And just with any other situation like that, there are going to be hard feelings, leading to constant drama.

The town I currently reside in has a population of maybe three thousand. The term "we've met" doesn't even begin to describe it.

I moved here from a town of more than thirty thousand. Easier to date someone if there's not much chance of running into an ex, mainly because that town had a few [other] towns close by, so someone from here could have dated someone from there, or there, or even there. My current town is more of a farm community, so even if someone dates someone from a nearby town, which would be almost 1/2 hour away, as opposed to like 10 minutes, you'd still have to deal with drama. I'm not much for going out anymore anyway, especially here. It seems the same old people, stressing "old" frequent the local bars. Not much fun there.

After my divorce about 9 years ago, I hadn't been going out much anyway, as my ex and I were together almost 8 years and hung out mostly with her family. Either way, I really didn't know anyone here, and didn't want to.

I turned to internet dating, which resulted in dating three women now:
The first I met in a chat room, who lived four hours away. We 'dated' for almost 2 years, where I did pretty much all of the driving to see her, that almost resulted in getting married and my moving to where she lived. I'd gotten her a ring, and was looking for a job when my ex and her husband decided they were moving back to 'our' town. That meant my kids would now be 5 minutes away instead of 11 hours away. Yea, not a hard decision. I stayed put, my fiancee couldn't move due to her divorce decree, so I moved on.

My next "internet love connection" also came from a chat room in the form of a woman that lived in Pennsylvania. Not much to tell there. She came here twice, i went there once. Good in bed, not much upstairs.

So as of late, I'd developed an affection for a girl 12 years younger than myself that started working where I work about 6 months ago. What can I say about that:no kids, no responsibilities, no clue. However, thanks to a completely free dating site, I've began a connection with a woman 3 years younger than myself, again lives 4 hours away, but she IS a mommy and has a clue.

So for me, internet dating is a better way to get to know someone because there's not that "automatic" feeling of being connected to someone. I've been to see her three times now, and each time it gets better and better.

Thanks for your insight, RayRay. As for my regular readers, stay tuned: I have another couple of guest bloggers in the wings, and you never know when it's going to be their turn to shine in my twisted universe. And if you're interested in being a guest blogger, feel free to leave me a comment.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

They Can't Have it Both Ways

Politicians say that we can't make public health care work. These are the same politicians who say that Americans can do anything better than anyone, anywhere, anytime. Am I the only one who thinks these statements are mutually exclusive? After all, there are dozens of countries that have successfully implemented socialized medicine.

So which is it folks? Are we better than these socialized countries, which would mean that we can make public health care work? Or we unable to make universal health care work, which means that all of these "average" countries are better than us?

You can't have it both ways.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Teacher's Daughter

Ever since one of my favorite teachers passed away, just shy of two years ago, I've had this recurring dream. Well not exactly a specific dream... more of a recurring dream theme. In these dreams, I'd be talking to my band teacher just before he went onstage for a concert with his students. (I'm an adult in these dreams... not back in high school.) There was nothing specific in our conversations, just idle chit-chat. Initially, I'd have the dream and wake up in a confused state... realizing only after regaining consciousness that he was dead. As time passed, the confused state was part of the dream. Kind of "Wait a minute. I can't be talking to you. You're not here." Yet the conversation would continue. As additional time passed, he became more and more ghost-like in the dreams.

A month or two ago, the theme changed a bit. I was backstage in the high school gymnasium. The school band was assembled to play a memorial concert for my band teacher. I kind of expected his ghost to appear, but it didn't happen. What I did see though, was his daughter, front and center in the audience. I knew his daughter fairly well, which makes sense, considering that we'd been classmates since seventh grade. When I woke up, I understood that I had to get in touch with the teacher's daughter... to let her know that I missed her dad.

Then I did something I thought I'd never do. I got a Facebook account. She was the first person I looked up, and I found her almost instantly. I told her about my dreams, and how much her dad meant to me. My mission was fulfilled.

After graduating high school, I never looked back. I kept in touch with a few select people, my band teacher being one of them, but for the most part, I went my own way. I didn't attend high school reunions because with a very few exceptions, I didn't want anything to do with most of the preppie, plastic people that were my classmates.

Recently though, that mindset has changed. (And when I say recently, I mean within the last year or so.) I've come to understand that I'm not the same punk kid I was in school, so my long-ignored class peers have probably changed as well... most of them anyway. With the creation of my Facebook account, providence is kicking in, and I've started hearing from some of the people from my childhood. For the most part, the people I'm hearing from are the ones I never really considered "plastic" in the first place; they're the ones who would cross my mind from time to time. And I'm finding myself surprised with how large this number of people is. As for those that I did consider artificial and superficial? Like I said, I've changed, so who am I to assume that they're the same.

I've digressed big-time though. I heard back from the teacher's daughter today. Here's a lightly edited excerpt of what she had to say...

I cried and cried...I continue to read what you wrote about my dad daily. I know that sounds weird but it was soooo nice of you to write the kind words that you did. It will be 2 years that Dad has been gone and I still can't believe it. It's like a bad dream...I will eventually wake up and my life will continue as it was when he was alive. I ask myself daily why God took him so early. My kids and [brother] and [sister]'s kids were robbed as far as I'm concerned..they were cheated on really getting to know such a wonderful man that they called "Pop." It was so nice to hear from you. I can't thank you enough for taking the time to write what you did. I hope you don't mind but I was with my mom and sister last week and read what you wrote to them...they were both speechless. I have to say thank you again. You will never know what that email meant to me.

I'm a big believer in providence. In retrospect, I guess the dreams were leading me to get in touch with the teacher's daughter the whole time. Doing so, in turn, showed me that my new mindset about my old classmates is proving itself true. Like me, they are not the same people they were as teenagers.

Furthermore, I've come to realize that I was an idiot. I had this big chip on my shoulder about my high school years, and my peers, and I had this chip for no reason. I wasn't really an outcast. And I never had a problem with the vast majority of them. In fact, as I re-think old assumptions and recall old names and faces, I wonder how the hell I got so jaded about high school in the first place. Does this mean I'm maturing?

Either way, I haven't had the dreams since writing the teacher's daughter. I'm glad that I was able to tell someone in their family how greatly he influenced my life, and I'm specifically glad it was her that I told... since I was closer to her than anyone in the family. I'm also happy that the dreams spurred me into reaching out to... old friends.

Monday, September 7, 2009

What Goes Around

Since I've interviewed some people, I guess it's only fair that I answer questions. If you've got any questions for me, post them in the contacts. Of course, I reserve the right to not answer, just like I gave my interviewees that prerogative.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sunny, With a Chance of Interview

That's right... it's Sunny's turn today. You know the routine. My words will be black and bold, Sunny's words will be red.

Hmmm… where to start, where to start… I guess I’ll just write some questions and see where it takes us…
Okies!!!(don't you just HATE when people say that? Me too!!!)
Never heard okies… I’ve always been an okey-dokey type myself.
LOL- It's just Okie-Dokie(southern variation) shortened even more....we like doing stuff the VERY easy way down here.
OK is still the shortest in written form, and verbally they’re equal… two syllables. Besides, I prefer to think of it as being concise, not “doing stuff the VERY easy way."
That's because you're not a Southerner. Concise is a BIG complicated word to us and we like to keep it simple. ;-)

I know that you live in South Carolina now. Have you always lived there? What do you like most about the area? What most makes you want to pack up and leave tomorrow?
Yep- Born and bred South Carolina Girl. What I like most is we live so close to so many different areas....feel like a dip in the river? We're about 5 minutes from the closest one. Feel like a fishing trip to the lake? We're about a 30 minute drive to one. Feel like the mountains? Drive an hour (or two) you're there. The beach? No problem- it's about a four hour drive. South Carolina is honestly one of the most beautiful places on earth in the Autumn. The only things that make me want to pack up and try somewhere new is 1) the lack of snow in the wintertime...2)the unbearable heat and humidity in the summertime....and3) the Super-high unemployment rate- we're fourth in the nation. And that really sucks.
As far as the weather goes, I hear you saying that you only hate SC half of the time… winter and summer. It’s interesting that a born-and-bred Southern girl would “miss” the snow. You do realize that snow must be accompanied by cold weather, right?
Yeah, I realize it. Southern winters used to be different. Up until I was about 9 we actually HAD snow every winter, tho. Then we had NO snow for about 5 years and then we started having mostly ice-storms. I would be very happy with a white Christmas every few years- but that hasnt happened here since I was 8. I can deal with the cold much better than I'm dealing with the heat of the summers- maybe it's my age. :-P
Personally, I do better in the heat than the cold. Maybe we’re both in the wrong part of the country. Speaking of the weather, what is your ideal temperature range for outdoor activities? When was the last time you saw snow?
My ideal temp for indoor OR outdoor activities is in the 65-75 degree range, to which our utilities bill can attest. If I can wear a tee shirt or a turtleneck, I'm happy. The last proper snow with no ice storm mucking it up was in '86 or '87. 16 inches of pure ice- free snow. It was great!

Does SC have boom employment during good economic times? You see, my neck of the woods doesn’t have horrible unemployment, but then again, we don’t explode during the booms either.
Not really. It's pretty steady just BAD..only lately it's gotten even worse. Not just for the undereducated either. My son has a GED and finds occasional work as a handyman. My husband has the equivalent of two Associate Degrees AND a Bachelors and he can't find anything at all because he's "over-qualified" for minimum wage jobs. I really DO wanna move.
Where would you choose to go?
I definitely wouldn't choose a big city like NY or LA or Chicago....Nor Atlanta or Houston. Some place like Charleston or maybe even Cleveland or Boston would be great. Ideally, if I came into some money, I'd like to move to Montana. That's beautiful wide open spaces with no neighbors for miles and miles. My idea of Heaven.

It seems that you’ve had quite a few stressful events over the last few years. How do you keep your … ummm… Sunny disposition?
You're joking right? Have you READ my blogs? I swear I sometimes don't see how anyone even reads them anymore as much as I RANT about my "Misadventures". I actually feel sorry for Paul - I can barely live with myself sometimes- the man has the patience of Job, I think. Seriously, I just try to take one day at a time and look for that silver lining.....and the winning lottery numbers.
Yeah, I’ve read the blog… how else would I know about your trials and tribulations? I think that writing is a great coping mechanism.

City girl, or country girl?
Definitely Country girl- but I can hang with the "Country-CLUB" crowd just as easily.
Meaning what… that you’re able to keep up pretenses if required? Sorry, that was designed to be a slam on the country club snobs, not you.
That's exactly what I meant......or maybe I really am the country-club type and keep up the pretense of Country-girl. There's so many of my personas that sometimes I can't keep up with who's at bat. Scary, huh?

What’s your favorite type of music and why?
Hard Rock & Classical- Golden Earring, Ac/DC, ZZ Top- I love that hard hitting bass thumping for dancing.
Classical or Chamber music is my choice for relaxing, tho.

I remember reading a while back that you know a little bit about cars… you can at least appreciate them, and it sounds like you’ve done more than one tune-up in your day. What’s your favorite car of all time and why?
72 Challenger. I LOVE muscle cars and with no doubt in my mind the standard 318 was way superior in both performance and sound over the larger 400 or 440. My first car was a 65 Mustang Hard-top and since I couldn't afford to hire a mechanic- so I did the next best thing and took Automotive in 4-H. That year I won the State Automotive Championship trophy. The older model Muscle Cars are so much easier to work on than the new ones with not a half inch to spare in the engine bay to work on ''s very therapeutic working on your own car, altho I rarely work on mine now. My son(s) do/did it for me since they turned into grown-ups, bless them.
How do you quantify the 318’s superior performance?
I'd say that the savings in gas alone from the smaller engine size would qualify. My ex had a matching Challenger with the 440 in it. I called it Hoover because it SUCKED the fuel like nobody's business And despite the fact that it was a bigger engine- my Challenger with the 318 walked all OVER it everytime we raced them. And we did that alot. It was like it was almost too much power for the car and did more damage than good.............. Did I mention how hyper-competitive I am?

Let me guess… the 440 did too much rubber spinning at the beginning of the race?Nope, it just seemed to hesitate and then did a lot of fishtailing all over the road- no control...or maybe it was just the driver...I never tried actually racing it myself- I only drove that hunk-of-junk when I had to go to the parts shop when mine was on the rack for maintenance.....that and the fact I liked being in the WINNING CAR!

Is automotive work the only mechanical skill you have, or are you mechanically inclined in general? Who’s more handy, you or Paul?
LOL- yep- I have failed every single skills and dexterity test I have ever taken for a job......except for my weapons test. But me being me- I can take anything together and put it back together because I have a system. :-).......Hmmm...who is more handy? Well, if you're talking about computers and such as that- Paul is much more handy. If you're talking other stuff, I think we're both about equal, altho we have COMPLETELY different styles getting to the same place and we usually disagree about the method while we are doing it. Usually one of us ends up just walking away and letting the other one take over the whole job rather than debate it all day.
Yeah, I’ve heard that Paul’s kind of a masterdebater.
Yep- and I'm a mom and neither of us like to give way.

Who’s a better cook, you or Paul?
Difficult........I have a certificate in Culinary Arts, but I detest proper COOKING...Paul excels at it so he cooks more than me unless we 're having the whole family over for a get-together. I BAKE much better (and more)than him(so far as I have seen), so I do most all the baking. It works.
How did you end up doing Culinary Arts? Is it the proper part that you don’t like… and what constitutes proper, the presentation? Tell me more about your culinary experience. Did you ever work as a chef? Going to the baking aspect, what’s your favorite thing to bake and why? Is there a reason you like baking better than cooking?
I started it in high school as an elective course. Actually, it began earlier than that- in 4-H. As for the proper part.....I got my certificate- with MUCHO difficulty. I'm a cook who likes to experiment and try different things and do things MY way- not by the textbook. That's what bothered me. I worked as a chef at a local dinner restaurant for a while and I just got bored with the same things night after night and decided that it would have to be put aside as a career.
Baking........I love doing cakes. I have a LONG List of cakes I bake and get requests for. Around the holidays are my busy time for baking...not only for my own family but for special orders as well. My favorite used to be a Southern Buttermilk Poundcake, but now I have so many it's hard to choose one as a favorite. Boston Cream Pie Cake, Red Velvet Cake, Chocolate Decadence cake, Chocolate Covered Cherry Cake, Pina Colada Cake, How do you choose?
Cheese-cake? (Evan grins at his witty play on words.)That's the only kind of cake I prefer to buy.I really should invest in a springform pan so I can perfect my skills on it.

There are things that couples love about one another, and there are things that are …. Ummm… less loveable. What’s your favorite thing about your husband, and what drives you nuts? How would he answer these same questions about you?
My favorite thing about Paul is he can always make me laugh and makes me happier than I have ever been. The thing that drives me nuts about him is his short term memory is horrible because of his sleep deprivation when he was working and putting himself thru university. Sometimes we have the same conversation three or four times and it drives me mad because I sometimes think I sound more like his mom than his wife and that makes me feel horrible.
I think if he answered those same questions about me he would say the thing he likes least about me is that I talk incessantly and do annoying stuff just to get a reaction out of him. I honestly have no idea what is his favorite thing about me.....I'd have to ask him and he probably would say something weird just to annoy me....two can play that game, you know.

It’s no secret that you two have a significant age difference between you. How did your family react, and what do they think now?
Well, my kids were okay with it as long as I was happy. My mom was okay with it, Dad was a bit cooler to the idea at first. My sisters were indifferent, one brother stood back and took a wait and see attitude, while the other thought all Paul was after was a green card.
Now- The kids are still fine with it, as is the rest of the family -as far as we can tell....and if anyone isn't- then too effing bad.

Do people ever assume you’re NOT together when you do stuff together, like go on dates? Do you ever notice funny reactions? How do you react? (BTW, some day I’d love to hear you two in the same conversation… maybe singing a song together or something like that… I think it would probably be hysterical at first!!)
I don't think anyone has ever raised an eyebrow to us as a couple....especially since Paul is usually the more mature acting one of us. I look and act younger than I am, Paul looks and acts more mature than his age so it equals out.The only reaction we get is when they hear Paul's accent and then the questions start. As for us talking....well, maybe someday!!! You never know when we might do something wild and crazy like that for you guys!! Or maybe we can set up a SKYPE conversation some day!
That’d be cool. Or you could hop on the mic next time Paul and I chat on Xbox Live.
That'd be awesome- but he saves that for when I'm at work. Occasionally we do see you online when we're watching/playing 1Vs100, tho.

I know that Paul is an atheist, and I believe that you’re Christian. How does that work out for the two of you?
Yes- Paul says he's an Atheist- but to me, just listening to him, he sounds more agnostic than atheist. I personally follow many paths. I was raised a Southern Baptist- but became disillusioned to religion early on in my teen years. Since coming of age- I say I'm more agnostic than anything...I believe in a Higher Power but not particularly in the huge Human-like persona that is pictured in all the stories of God. I believe in an afterlife. I believe in some of the Wiccan beliefs but not the main beliefs of a Mother Earth Goddess. I believe in Demons and Spirits. I also subscribe to Paul's rules of life....I try to be a good person and do unto others.....
And Paul and I don't talk about religion much.
The Southern Baptists retarded my spiritual growth as well. Too much focus on the angry, vengeful God… totally overlooking the loving, forgiving guy.
Yeah it's a total bitch to be scared of God. Sometimes I worry that I didn't do enough when it came to my kids spiritual/religious learning tho. I didn't insist they go to church, altho during my search for a 'religion" that "Fit" me, I did give them a taste of lots of different religions. We tried Pentecostal churches, less strict Baptist churches, Lutheran churches, Methodist churches and even a Catholic church. They were exposed to a lot of different views and I tried to let them decide for themselves.
I think that everyone is destined to find their own answer, regardless of the amount of influence they received from their parents.

It seems that you like to play some games on the computer, but you’re not into gaming like Paul and Kato are. How do you react when Paul gets so into gaming that the whole rest of the world ceases to exist for him?
I don't let it bother me too much. I just go about my business doing MY fun stuff.....FarmTown, YoVille, Reading, Cleaning house, baking. After about 4 or 5 hours tho- I start that annoying stuff so he will pay attention to me. I think that's fair- and to be perfectly honest, Paul RARELY goes on the XBox when I'm home..... unless we are playing 1 VS 100 together. He's usually the one telling me to "Geeeeet Offfff Itttt" about me being on the computer so much. I have an addictive personality and I fixate on one thing and get totally into it for weeks or months at a time. Much to his dismay, I just cannot get into Rock Band- probably because he picks stuff up so easily and it takes me longer and I have a frustration level of ZERO. That's just not very RELAXING to me.

Tell us more some of the “MY fun stuff” things you like to do.
I have a cycle.....when the weather is nice(meaning not so hot you can't breathe or so cold it takes your breath away) I like to do outside stuff. I like fishing and shooting. I like shooting hoops and pitching horse-shoes and badminton. I like Tennis but you'd think I was Hank Aaron when I'm on the court- so that's not a really good game for me.I indulge in my trashy romance novels sometimes, but I'll read anything except tech manuals. I crochet in the winter, and I LOVE to dance but we don't have room to dance where we live now. That sucks. I love to go on day-trips on the spur of the moment with Paul, too. It's one of my Guilty Pleasures. I'll do whatever for weeks or months til I get good at it or bored with it- then burn out and start something else.
Motorcycle or bicycle? How well do you shoot? Do you prefer shotgun, rifle or pistol?
LOVE motorcycles, but haven't ridden one since I sold my Indian Racing bike. It knew two speeds- sitting still and wide-open. I got tired of being thrown off it every time I tried to ride it , so I sold it and then life got in my way and I haven't owned one since. I'd LOVE to own a little Honda Rebel of my own someday, tho. Bikes(as in Bicycle) scare the crap out of me, to be honest, altho I do own one. As for weapons, I own a Glock 9....and am a qualified Expert Marksman with it. (Ask Paul about the first time he saw me shoot....That was FUNNY.) I am also EM with a S&W 38, and I prefer handguns to long-guns, but if I had to choose- I'd prefer a sniper rifle over any shotgun...much to Paul's chagrin. He seems to prefer destructive ability in a weapon- I prefer precision and neatness.

How did you decide that you wanted to do law enforcement?
To be brutally honest- I was a battered woman. My first husband was....well, if you watch the Farrah movie "The Burning Bed" you'll see exactly what it was like. After seven years of living with it and of listening to the put-downs and putting up with the black eyes and bloodied lips and beatings and degradation, I had had enough. I was scared to death of him and his threats and so when I finally got him out of the house and away from me and the kids with the help of my parents, I decided 2 things. 1) I would NEVER let that happen to me again and the best way to do that was to become law enforcement and 2) even if I didn't become a proper cop -which I did, but hated- it was good to have connections in the right places. Besides- you get excellent weapons training- you never know when it might come in handy.
There’s a pun in there… brutally honest, battered woman. How long were you a “proper” cop, and why did you dislike it so much? Do you like what you’re doing now?
LOL- I didn't see that til you pointed it out. I was a "proper cop" for about a year. I hated the "good ole boy" mindset of the commanders. I quickly learned that they didn't care about their officers as long as they had the cushy jobs for themselves. It's hard to explain- but suffice it to say I raised such a stink about a few issues that when told I was told that if I didn't "comply" I might want to think about other employment. So I went home, made one phone call and then turned in my uniforms the next day. The chief was astonished for some UNGODLY reason and asked if I was going to work notice. I told him that HE was the one that had told me the evening before that if I wasn't going to "comply" I might want to look into other employment and since I had no intentions on "Complying" to a policy that put my fellow officers at risk, I considered THAT my notice. I was black-balled, but since I don't EVER plan on going back into that part of Law-enforcement again- who cares? I still have my connections at the LEC and when it comes to something that I really believe in- I put my money where my mouth is. I-Don't-PLAY.
I work Private security for an elective surgery hospital now and I LOVE it. We don't have an emergency room so we have a nice quiet place to work. The worst we usually have to worry about is a smash and grab when someone leaves their GPS out in the open overnight or if we have someone walk into the lobby thinking we have an ER and we have to call a Code. We DO have to do all the extra training tho for all the contingencies. We have LOADS of training for TACT, weapons, hostage situations, Disasters of ALL sorts....the list goes on and on.... I told the regional director the other night that they can stop sending the promotional opportunities updates to us, because we all are happy where we are and plan on retiring from there. She thought I was joking....I wasn't.

Being a mother, wife and workforce drone are all really full time expectations… especially when you’re the primary breadwinner. Are you satisfied with how you’ve balanced things now that some time has passed? What would you do differently? What would you not change in a million years?
Nope- I'm not happy with the balance of things now, to be honest. I work way too much, I don't rest as much as I need to, I don't excersize like I should and I don't eat right. I fit right in with the rest of the world, tho. If I had it to do over- I would have followed my dreams instead of doing what everyone else thought was "proper' and then I would have been able to have had the things I wanted and spent my time much more wisely than I have. There's always the future tho!! What I wouldn't have changed in a million years- having my kids. They are the light of my life and along with Paul, my only reasons to keep living.
What are some of your unfulfilled dreams?
I would have liked to have been an architect when I was younger. Now- I just want Paul and myself to have a comfortable income and more than anything -I want a proper house of my own again. Big Dream- a proper house with a small Pool. I don't ask for much..I'm a simple woman(I wouldn't GO there if I was y'all, so stop smiling) with simple dreams.......(Is there such a thing???)
How about a double-wide with a kiddie pool ;) And have you noticed that you’ve implemented a lot of Paul’s words into your own vocabulary?
To be honest- A double-wide with a REGULAR pool would suit me just fine...have you SEEN any doublewides lately? I've seen some that would make stick built houses look sad. And yes- I have noticed my vocabulary has expanded to include a LOT of Paul's words......but he just laughs at me when he hears me saying them...he says "arse" sounds so vulgar said in a Southern Accent.
I, of course, don't think my southern accent is that heavy...unless I'm sick, and then I admit I sound like a corn-pone, or Scarlett O'Hara and a whiny one at that.

My favorite catch-all question… what question did you expect me to ask that I haven’t, and what’s your answer to that question?
You actually asked the question I didn't expect you to was the one about is there anything I would have changed or not changed for anything. You're actually pretty good at this interview thing!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

RayRay, Come on Down!

You're the next contestant on... oh, you get the point. I'm interviewing RayRay today. This interview will be a bit different than previous ones for reasons that will quickly become obvious... My words are in bold...

Here’s a nice ice breaker, to let the readers know that you and I have known each other for a while… and for a pop quiz… do you remember what year we met?
Wow.........I’m thinkin’ 19.........85 is when we actually 'spoke'
Yep, right on the money. Long time, eh?
I know; who knew we'd grow up to be able to say things like “I've known him for over 20 years!”
Yeah, I thought I’d be dead by 30. And once I realized that wasn’t going to happen, I didn’t think about the whole “I’ve known (whoever) for 20 years” until it had already happened.

When we were kids, you and some friends were in a band. Tell everyone the name of the band, and where you got the name.
It’s funny you should bring that up as I recently posted a pic from our yearbook on facebook. Our "band" as it was (seeing as how myself and the drummer were the only actual musicians) was called "Frontline". That name actually came from the guy taking our picture FOR the yearbook. I can't really remember how or why he came up with that.........but to a bunch of juniors in high school, it was da BOMB..............
Wasn’t it from the arcade game by the same name?
I know there was a Sunday morning 'panel show' of the same name......arcade game though, I’m not so sure.
Maybe this will jog your memory…
Nope...I don't remember it..............and it's not from the age thing!

I had always thought that if anyone I know was going to make it big in music, it would be you. What happened?
I appreciate the compliment! And yes, one would think with my playing guitar, banjo, mandolin, violin and a little piano, I'd be playin’ Vegas by now!
Vegas, Des Moines… CLEAR LAKE!!
I know, right? A group of guys I was jamming with about 14 years ago, ended up evolving into a decent band that played at the surf earlier this year! Talk about kicking myself in the arse!
Anyway, I guess my not pursuing music could be attributed to my first losing my chair in orchestra senior year, and then becoming a dad @ 21.
Losing your chair in orchestra?
I'd sat second chair for a few years by my senior year. When it came time to 'test' again, I was getting over the flu, so my playing was very sub-par. As a result, I got the next to the last chair of the first section. I was livid. The conductor wouldn't let me retest, even though he knew my playing was out of whack due to illness, but he had his 'star Asian girls' sitting first and second.
I ended up not even going to the next performance and was "let go" from high school orchestra. Nice huh?

I also remember how much you hated our boyhood town. You naturally gravitated toward larger cities filled with more excitement. But you ended up in a town that was even smaller than where we grew up. How did that happen, and do you still want to move to a larger city someday?
Ah yes, well, it's a familiar story: Boy meets girl. Boy knocks up girl. Boy feels ready to start a family. (Many years later…) Girl finds [new] bf on internet and moves family away from boy............ boy is stuck.
On a side note, back in 05 or so, I was ready to move to southern Wisconsin and get married, but then my ex moved BACK to this little town and I decided my boys were more important, so I stayed.
And yea, I'd really love to live in a larger city. My therapist says I NEED the stimulus of a larger city............true story............
If you could choose any city, which one would it be, and why?
Probably Cedar Rapids due to the fact that I know people there, and I've got some familiarity of the town.
Awwww… folks, he could choose to live anywhere, and he wants to be near his friend Evan! BTW, did you know that Cedar Rapids recently ranked in the top places NATIONALLY to bring up kids?

You’ve got an appreciation of cars. From my perspective, it’s not an affinity for muscle cars, but a love for vehicles as an art form. (Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong on that assumption.) How did that love develop? What’s your favorite car (one that you owned)? What’s your least favorite car (ever made… not necessarily one that you’ve owned)?
It does seem like I gravitate towards muscle cars over exotic cars, but I still can appreciate the craftsmanship of a European speed demon.
I'm guessing my affection was brought on by the fact that when I was younger, my folks owned two 1955 Chevys, a 1968 Mercedes, a 1970 Duster, and my favorite car, which was owned by my mom, a 1960 Chevy Impala ragtop. SWEET ride.
I've owned some fine rides myself, starting off with my first ever self purchased car: a 1964 Cadillac I named "Tiffany"..........;)
I usually try to personalize my rides, taking a common vehicle and making it uncommon.
I remember Tiffany… she was a fun ride. What’s the first thing you tend to do to a car that makes it yours?
It depends on the car I suppose. I really didn't start "personalizing" my rides until about 4 or 5 cars ago. That was a 1978 Ranchero. Nice ride. It was already black, so I added some custom wheels (which is the easiest way to make a vehicle your own), custom made some Plexiglas head light covers, and tinted the windows. Then two sets of aux. lights behind the grille, and voila! Usually, I go for lighting of some sort, tinting the windows and when $$ allows, wheels and tires.
Do you have any pictures of your favorite car that I could post with this interview?

You’re a divorced dad with two boys. The ex has primary custody, but you’ve got pretty good visitation rights. How do you handle being a single dad? What’s your favorite thing about being a single dad, and what bugs you most?
I 'handle' being a single dad, primarily because I have to. I still reel from the fact that in my opinion, I got juked by the court system in custody, but that's for another time. (That bugs the sh*t outta me still!!) I think the best thing about being a single dad is the fact that when they are with me, I don't have to share them with their mum!
I agree about being raked over the coals. I think that state law should have prevailed. (For those of you who aren’t familiar with Iowa custody law, it effectively says that shared custody is the norm. RayRay’s ex must have had a better lawyer, cuz that’s not how it turned out.)
Tell everyone about your job history. What’s been your least favorite job? (Detassling? [grin]) What’s been your favorite? What would be your dream job?
~breaks into song "GREEEEEEEEEEEEN ACRES IS THE PLACE.....FOR ME!!" That was a great time.
You thought that your blistering sunburn, and riding our ten speeds for two miles on gravel roads was a great time? But then again, we did have a lot of laughs.
Remember when our "supervisor" was giving us grief cuz we knew we were done, and he thought we weren't? walkin' down the rows pulling SOMEthing out of the stalks like he was bigshit.................what a tool!
Yeah, he was quite the @$$h0le.
I started out humbly as a bus boy, and then went directly into factory work. Presently I've worked for the same company going on 13 years now. The job, 9 years now, I like. The company blows though.
I currently make custom shaped aluminum storm doors and windows. Think of Bender (from Futurama) making windows!
So you get to drink beer on the job?!? Where do I sign up?
sadly not on the job.............however I KNOW our manager is crocked most of the can get buzzed just being in the same room as him. I really enjoy it because not only do I get to work with my hands, but it's become somewhat of an art form.
I do regret not going to college and getting into a career, but eh..........
Does that mean that your current job is your dream job?
Far from it. I'd really like to be able to build custom motorcycles. Yea, watching American Chopper made me realize this. Also, Jesse James is an influence.
I know you’re a big fan of comic books… you’ve talked a lot with my wife about them, and you did that satirical photo of you as “RayRay Kent” and “SuperRay.” Who’s YOUR favorite comic book dude, and why?
Hands down, Batman. As another of your "interviewees" put it, Bruce Wayne is just a regular guy that used his resources to become a hero and fight for what he believes in. I mean yeah, there are a LOT of awesome heroes, but with their powers, they didn't really choose to be heroes, ya know? Bruce made a conscious choice to do what he does, because he WANTS to. Clark does what he does because he can.
When you were a kid, you went by your middle name. Now that you’re an adult, you go by your first name. Tell me a bit about that.
Funny you mention that, because when I was going to my therapist after the divorce, she had an interesting insight: (you) want to make a change in your life, and also going by (your) first name you feel you can be taken more seriously, as an adult. Sounds good to me!
Tell us how RayRay likes to pass the time.
Driving around the RayRaymobile searching out injustice..............wouldn't that be COOL?!
Actually, I don’t' really do that much aside from spend WAY too much on the internet searching for the elusive soul mate. However, a few months ago, I pried myself away from that and started walking daily. In two months I lost almost 20 lbs! And even MORE recently, I adopted a 9 month old Chihuahua min-pin I've lovingly renamed........Bruce.....
What is a “min-pin?” How are you going to handle the walking thing this winter?
"Min-Pin" refers to miniature pincher. He's black with brown markings resembling those of a Doberman. As for walking him during the snowy season, maybe a treadmill and potty training?
Or maybe just some 'him-size' snow shoes so he doesn't get lost in the snow drifts.
Ummm, can I recommend potty training regardless of the weather? You could try house-breaking the dog too.
He's pretty well house broken already........although he does still have the minor mishap. MOSTLY liquid.
Did everyone notice how RayRay casually chose not to take the bait in my last question?
Most people I know either loved high school or hated it. How do you feel about high school and why?
I think if i'd had worried more about academics and less about social issues, I'd have gotten along much better.
What is your favorite memory from high school?
Playing the high school homecoming talent show with a revamped "Front Line". We ROCKED the joint.
We started off with Ted Nugent's "Free for all", followed it up with Iron Maidens "Run to the Hills", and and for the LIFE of me I can't remember our last song we did! I DO remember, however, that by the last song, students were trying to get to the gym floor and dance, but were being wrangled by teachers..............good times..............
Dude, that’s cool! Do you still play any guitar? (A little aside for our readers, RayRay came to my house in January and played some guitar with me. He’s good!)
Sadly, not as much as I'd like to.
You were born and raised in Iowa, right? How much have you traveled? Where’s your favorite place that you’ve actually visited? If you could go anywhere, where would it be?
I have relatives in both Texas and Missouri, so I've visited there. Otherwise, I've been to Pennsylvania (damn internet dating!), and living in Iowa, of COURSE I’ve been to Minnesota and Wisconsin. My fave place has become my uncles "spread" in NW Missouri. He's got a HUGE chunk of land where he's built a gorgeous 3 level home and has his own pool AND stocked fishing pond. It's my favorite place because for the past 3 years, it's where I've vacationed with my children.
… and someplace that you’d like to visit?
Scotland, or Asia. The former due to the fact that on my mum's side, I'm part Scottish AND there is a castle that the family name lays claim to. The latter, women.........
Castle RayRay? Never heard of it As for Asian women… well, no matter what I say I’m in trouble, so I’ll just keep my mouth shut. Just don’t go all Gary Glitter on us.
It's the Eileen Donnan, for those who'd like to Google it.
Do you prefer sugary foods or salty foods?
Well, now that I'm watching what I eat, not so much on the sugary. Still like salty, but not too much salt. For a GOOD rush, I go for McD's fries and lick the box!
Here’s a question that I asked Paulius… did you notice that you look kind of like his twitter photo on his blog?
i've not seen his pic yet...............and i'm not stout! (Not anymore anyways!)
Here’s a link to Paulius’ pic on twitter.
Yea: separated at birth!
What question did you think I’d ask that I haven’t asked you yet?
Y am I single for going on 8 years?
Is this a trick ? lol
Speaking of still being single, and your earlier reference to looking for love on the internet, are you willing to share your story about eHarmony?
I’ll do ya one better, I’ll throw in my Plenty of Fish story as a bonus!
Ok, for anyone that's ever seen an eHarmony commercial will know, they boast, they use "29 dimensions to find you a mate"! Well, first off, I’m interested in in 3-d? BA dum bum.............but seriously folks, I spent at LEAST a few hours filling out the survey, being as honest and complete with my answers as possible. A day or so goes by, and I get an email/notification from them. It read something like "thank you for taking the time to fill out our survey, but at this time we don't have a match for you". I spend time on this damn thing, time I could have been looking at something like midget porn, from a site that claims to be the end all be all to finding love, and like Joe Pesche said in lethal weapon 2, "they F*CK you at the drive thru".
Ok, my Plenty of Fish story; for those of you not in the know, it's a free dating sight that allows you to communicate with people you see on the site. I met this one woman who lived 45 minutes away from me. Completely a doable situation. We exchanged messages and spoke on the phone for a couple weeks before decided to go on a date. Long story short, she brought her mom..................yea. I’ll just leave it at that.

As an added bonus, I'll leave you with a couple more RayRay car shots.