Emotions


It’s the day after the NCAA national football championship, and I’m still angry.

You know, it wasn’t so much that OU lost the game — they played hard, and the score was virtually tied until the middle of the fourth quarter — it was the obviously biased commentating that left me so ticked off that I still want to rip someone’s head off. Thom Brennaman and Charles Davis win the award for the worst commentating for a national football championship ever.

Don’t get me wrong; as someone who’s spent my life as a journalist and writer, I understand the need for a hook — that human interest appeal that gets the viewers to stay tuned in — but these guys went to ridiculous levels in their commentary, particularly Brennaman who raised Tim Tebow to the level of messaih. I swear if I didn’t know better, I’d think it was the second coming of Christ!

His most disgusting comment was this one:

If you’re fortunate enough to spend five minutes or 20 minutes around Tim Tebow, your life is better for it.

Oh, come on! I have no doubt the kid is a great guy and a great leader, but I’d put Sam Bradford up against him any day. He, too, is a great guy and a wonderful leader. He’s also this year’s Heisman Trophy winner, and he was virtually ignored by these two horrible commentators. Fox Sports should be embarrassed by their humiliating display of hyperbole and incorrect information.

Other low-lights of their performance:

  • Going crazy about whether OU should go for it on fourth down on a critical play when it was really third down
  • Stating that Trautwein had a false state twice when it was really three times
  • Claiming an OU defender “horsed” one of the Florida players and calling for a penalty when he had clearly not done that.
  • Actually referring to momentum as “Ole Moe
  • Stating that Tebow’s unsportsman like conduct penalty that cost his team 15 yards was “probably the first thing he’s ever done wrong.
  • Not mentioning Stoops’ very strong ties to the Florida team. He *was* their defensive coordinator after all.

There are so many more. Way too many to mention. If you want a real kick, google “bad 2009 NCAA football championship commentators” and read the comments by viewers. I think my favorite was from a guy named Rob who said, “Tebow cured the announcers of their erictile dysfunction.” No truer words were ever written.

I’m not the only one who feels this way about the officiating. Check out this great article by Chris Burke - BCS National Championship 2009: Thom Brennaman Forces Mute Buttons to Work.

Before I go, a few words about the Sooners. This team has been one of the hardest working, hardest playing teams in the country this year. They have proven the ney-sayers wrong again and again. Sam Bradford has 2008 OU Football Team wins Big 12 titlebeen a wonderful, strong, calming influence for the team and has set a wonderful example. The OU coaching team is one of the best in the nation — Brent Venables, in particular, has worked magic with the defensive line. Congratulations to all of them for a wonderful season, and we’ll get them next year!

Let’s just hope to GOD that we have a decent commentary team to do the game justice!

The holiday season is upon us, with all the hustle and bustle as throngs of people shop for the perfect gifts for loved ones.

I both love and loathe this season.  Traffic is horrible, crowds are oppressive, but I actually enjoy sitting in the mall food court listening to the cacophony of merged voices.  It gives me a sense of belonging.

I haven’t done any shopping this year, yet. Back problems and a bad virus have kept me in bed when I’m not at work, so this coming week I’ll be able to share the joy and pain of Christmas shopping. No matter how frustrating last minute shopping is, I’ll remember that it’s all in the name of love.

I’m particularly excited that this year we get to have our family Christmas on Christmas day.  It will be SO nice to see everyone.  As we get older, these times are even more precious.

My new year’s resolution is to find more time to write here, to slow my life down in a number of ways and learn to take better care of myself.  Hopefully, this is one resolution I can keep.  In the meantime, have a very happy Christmas, a wonderful Hanukkah or whatever holiday your religion observes.

Much love,

Maggy

I continue to be amazed at the things one can find on the Internet. For kicks, I Googled my Dad’s name today and was shocked to find the eulogy I wrote and gave at his funeral in 2000. How it came to be online, I’ll never know, but I’m grateful that it did, because it reminded me what a force for good he was in my life.

I miss Dad and think of him every day. Before he died, he told me to think of him when I see a flock of Canadian geese, because he’d be waving at me with their wings. So, when a flock of geese fly overhead, I always whisper a silent hello to him and smile. Here’s his eulogy; I hope it gives you an idea of what a wonderful man he was.

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My brother, sister and I are very lucky people. Like many people, we were born to wonderful parents, who loved us very much. Sadly, though, our father was taken from us at a very young age. The victim of a sudden heart attack, he left a 15 year old daughter, a 12 year old son, and a 3 year old daughter.

For six years, mother raised us alone, first in Elk City and then in a house on Arlington Avenue, and she did a pretty good job of it. We were all happy and healthy. I spent my free time chasing my pet rooster, Chicken Little, who loved visiting our neighbors, Ralph and Mary Wolverton, who, ironically, became my special friends years before I knew Warren Wolverton existed.

Marianne got married and left home, Craig was soon to join the Navy and was moving away as well, which left me expecting to live alone with Mom as I grew up.

Then something amazing and quite surprising happened. Mom introduced us to Warren Wolverton. I’ll never forget that first impression…To me he looked seven feet tall…And I have to admit that, at first, I was a little scared of him, but that lasted only as long as it took him to grin at me and shake my hand. That grin was infectious–I swear his eyes actually twinkled, as though we were sharing a good joke, and my fear was instantly washed away.

I remember their wedding on October 3, 1968. Family and friends gathered at Gordon Winkleman’s home, and though I was still a little shy around him, I can remember Dad taking me aside to show me how well trained his bird-dog, Missy, was. I was fascinated by her. She obviously adored Dad, and when he put her favorite food on her nose and told her not to eat it, she didn’t. She shook all over in anticipation of it, but she wouldn’t touch the food until he told her it was okay. I knew, then, that he must have been a pretty all right guy if a dog would forego her own pleasure just because he told her to. That was real love.

In most families, the introduction of a new step father can be a very traumatic thing, but I don’t remember it being that way in our family. Sure…there was a necessary distance at first, as we became more comfortable with one another, but what I remember appreciating the most was the respect Dad gave me in those early days. He never forced a relationship on me. Instead, he waited patiently as I took baby steps toward him.

As the years passed, those baby steps grew to long strides, as we grew closer. As busy as he was in the store and with his civic duties, he always took time to spend time with us, and the lessons he taught us have shaped our lives in so many ways.

I’m reminded now of one of the first of many lessons. When I was nine years old–the age I was when Mom and Dad married–I was terrified of thunder and lightning. Dad recognized that and made it his job to calm my fears. Because of his care, the memories I have of childhood storms, now, are nostalgic ones, filled with evenings under the carport with Dad, as he explained the ionization of the air, which, in turn, caused the lightning. He and I would sit for hours as the rain (and sometimes, hail) fell just out of our reach, talking about the weather…our lives, hopes, dreams. I thought we were just enjoying the storm, but Dad was teaching me the first of many lessons: To enjoy every part of our lives, even those things we fear. You might just find beauty in the rain.

Dad taught us all so much. He loved and respected all life, from the lichen that grows on rocks to the birds that fly in the sky, and we grew to share that love. Through simple conversation, he taught us little things about the world around us and even a few interesting facts about the universe. Geese mate for life. Purple Martins eat 10 times their body weight in bugs a day. There are so many planets in the universe that the chance for life on other planets is more than good, it’s almost a sure thing. Make sure the hook is set before you try to reel ‘em in. Be honest. Be true.

Some of my favorite memories of my childhood involve Dad, fishing and our family barge, which we often took out on Lake Lawtonka on the weekends. I loved to go fishing with Dad, particularly when we fished for carp. He made Carp fishing an art! His chum recipe was so stinky I could hardly stand the smell of it, yet it was a joy to be chosen to go with Dad to chum the water, not only because I knew that it meant catching the big’uns in the afternoon, but because it was an honor saved for few people. It was yet another of those rare quiet times…yet another opportunity to listen to him talk about sending Morse code in the Allusions…or running electrical lines in Faxon…or bird-dogging some quail in the woods. Each story was fascinating and, in some small way, educational. I ate it up.

Some days, our family spent hours at the lake, catching fish after fish for the simple joy of the catch. Dad’s laughter would echo with glee when one of us hooked one, and later in the week, I proudly showed off the bruises on my stomach caused by digging the pole into the flesh there, during a difficult catch. They were my badges of honor.

We never kept the carp, of course. If we couldn’t find someone who wanted them, we’d set them free to fight us another day. That was just the way it was.

On those warm days, Dad taught me that I could learn as much from someone else’s experiences as I could my own and that there is nothing more sublime than a quiet afternoon filled with the laughter of family.

Dad taught us how to call mourning dove…and then years later, he taught his grandchildren and great grandchildren the same thing. When we hear dove song, we always think of Dad, and I’m sure that we will hear his voice in the dove’s call for the rest of our days.

Many things have happened over the past 32 years, but the greatest of these was that, over time, the words…the very idea…of “step father” disappeared from our thoughts. What we saw was a man who loved us with all his heart, who gave of himself freely to his friends and family, who loved our mother so completely that he was simply a part of us and we were part of him. Mom and Dad together taught us that a marriage is only a marriage if husband and wife are best friends.

We saw this especially this past year, as Dad’s health began to fail undeniably. I’m not sure I can adequately describe their relationship…it was so special…but to say that, when Mom and Dad were together, the love in the room was so strong that it was palatable might come close to describing what it was like for those of us watching. It was as though a bright light enveloped them both in their own special bubble, and when any of us stepped into the room, that light enveloped us with an undeniable love, as well.

In the end, Dad’s only concern was for Mother…that we take care of her after he had moved on. All we could do was assure him we would. The real truth is, though, that he hasn’t left. Real love endures beyond physical death. I can feel his love around us now. Stop for a moment. Can’t you feel it, too? This room, so full of people he loved, is pulsing with it. Dad’s physical body is gone, but his spirit will remain with us forever.

Our family is very lucky. Dad had two daughters that he loved very much. Heather and Maylan were a source of great joy to him, and though they had grown and moved away, they were always in his thoughts. He adored them both. Even so, his heart was big enough to not only share his love with them, but to also love his children and grandchildren who had none of his blood coursing through their veins. That love was so strong that each of us…even Marianne and Craig, who were grown when Dad and Mom married in ‘68…think of him as our dad. And that has been the biggest lesson of all: Love has nothing at all to do with whose genes you carry. It has to do with who we are on the inside. And, I know no one more worthy of great love than Warren Wolverton, the sweetest man I have ever known.

We love you, Dad.

What a great week last week was!

The work week flew by, which is always good news. I had plenty of work to do, was able to complete a long and tedious project and lined out what I needed to do to get my other work done. Work accomplished and done well is always a mood booster, and it certainly boosted my mood last week!

Speaking of accomplishments, I hit a big one last week when I finally hit the 10% mark on my weight loss. It was a very proud moment when I got my 10% charm at from http://pictures.directnews.co.uk/liveimages/scales_1111_18324355_0_0_7006408_300.jpgmy Weight Watchers meeting, particularly since I’ve been struggling so much this past month, thanks to my bout with the flu. It feels great to know I’ve lost 10% of my body weight after so many years of trying and failing. I have finally come to understand that weight loss is all about mind set. Through my journey — so far — I’ve learned that I can basically eat what I want as long as I control my portions, and I’ve learned that there is no such thing as failure. For example, this week my friend, Kim, celebrated her birthday, and I had a HUGE piece of red velvet cake with cream cheese icing piled so high that it easy made up a third of the cake’s height. (OMG, yummy!) In the past, I would have considered myself a failure after eating something like that, but now I just count it and go on. The good news is I lost 4.8 lbs in a week, AND had cake. Failure? I don’t think so!

Speaking of weight loss, I am one of the many participants in the Oklahoma City weight loss initiative that our mayor, Mick Cornett, set in motion. (http://www.thiscityisgoingonadiet.com) I got an email from them early last week saying that a new show on the Food Network is giong to be spotlighting the initiative, and they are looking for people to interview. On a whim, I wrote the woman representing the show, and to my surprise, she called me back! She did a phone interview with me and, at the conclusion of the interview, asked me to send her a video tape of myself, my son and my sister, so she can show it to the show’s producer and the Food Network. So, it looks like I have a pretty good opportunity to be on the show! How cool is that?

Just when I thought the week couldn’t get better, I went to see a holistic physical therapist for help with the constant pain and burning in my shoulders. The first thing I learned there was that I no longer have to associate torture with physical therapy. Holistic physical therapy is completely different. They use a lot of resistance and gentle manipulation to treat the pain. The environment was very relaxing, with soft mood music and fountains that fill the rooms with the sound of trickling water. The woman who worked with me had hands of gold, and when I left an hour later, I was loose as a goose and felt better than I had in a long time. The place is called Back in Action, so if you live in the OKC area and need physical therapy, look them up!!

Finally, on Friday afternoon, I got the afternoon off, so I coufrom: http://www.sciencebits.com/files/pictures/weather/4cmHail.jpgld be home when the window replacement people got there to measure and replace my storm window that broke in last night’s hail storm. The only thing better than having to wait less than 24 hours to get a broken window fixed after a very damaging storm is the fact that it was the only storm window I had that was letting condensation in, so I needed to fix it anyway. Oh, and getting the afternoon off on a Friday, of course.

I’d say life is pretty good for this old gal. Here’s hoping that your week was just as exceptional! Now, let’s make this week a great one, too!

Boredom sucks.

There, I said it. (And so eloquently, too) Boredom makes every minute seem like an hour, every day seem like a week. Thomas Szasz once said, “Boredom is the feeling that everything is a waste of time; serenity, that nothing is.” That’s where I am right now; every moment I spend at work waiting for something to do is a total waste of time. I could be doing something worthwhile, but instead, I’m twiddling my thumbs waiting and doing…NOTHING.

Frankly, I doFrom: http://vaishno.files.wordpress.com/2007/11/boredom.jpgn’t see how lazy people do it. We all know the types who avoid work like the plague, even when it means sitting at their desks staring into space. How can they stand that? I swear I’d slit my wrists!

I’m the kind of person who wants to be busy all the time at work, and if I’m busy with more than one thing, even better. When I’m busy, the day flies by, I’m happier, and I’m more apt to be on top of my game. When I’m bored, the day drags, I’m a drag, and all I want to do is leave and do something productive.

For me, there are two distinct types of boredom. One involves a job where there is often nothing to do. The other involves a job with plenty to do, but the work doesn’t require creativity or strategic thinking. In my current situation, I have both. I’m bored without the work and I’m bored with the work.

Frankly, I can’t think of anything worse.

I look back to the job I had that was my favorite - CommunFrom: http://www.psidea.org/images/BangHeadHere.gifications Manager at America Online - and it’s easy to see why I loved it so much. I was busy all the time, things were constantly changing, my mind was creative and my thinking strategic. As busy as I was, I didn’t mind working extra hours, because it was more like play than it was work.

Contrast that to my current situation where I spend long periods idle, nothing changes and I’m never tasked to be creative or strategic. No wonder I want to run screaming from the building at 4:55pm every day.

I need some serenity. For the love of God, someone put me to work on something that matters!

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a loyal and avid  fan of Stephen King.  I’ve got an entire large bookcase and part of another filled with hard copies of every book he’s ever released. 

When I was getting my Master’s degree in English, many of my peers looked down their noses at me for loving his writing so much.  After all, it was (raise snub nose here) “popular” tripe and mostly horror, certainly not “real” literature. I would venture to guess that most of these people had never read a word of King’s writing, otherwise I have no doubt that their opinions would have changed — at least in secret.

These same people had no idea that he was the author of the novella, The Shawshank Redemption, and the novels The Green Mile and Delores Claiborne, all three made into highly lauded and well respected films.

Interestingly enough, many of those people changed their minds around 2003 when King was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Book Foundation, an honor he shares with the likes of Arthur Miller, Eudora Welty and John Updike. Add to that the O Henry Award, the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters and the World Fantasy Award — to name only a few — and anyone would agree that Stephen King has become a well respected author among authors.

I’m proud to say I was ahead of the cusp on this one. I’ve been a fan since I first picked up Carrie in 1975, and I’ve never looked back. Each book has been better than the last, and I’ve read each voraciously, sometimes never stopping until my eyes closed on their own from exhaustion.  One of the first thrills for me, as a Stephen King fan, was realizing that he enjoyed mentioning something from one of his other books in each new book.  I lived to find that snippet, because only a true fan would know it when he or she saw it, and it as like a secret I shared with King himself.

This culminated in King’s epic opus: The Dark Tower, a seven book series that is, without a doubt, the best story I’ve ever read.  Reading it was joyful and painful, because I knew that, once I’d finished the 1000 to 3000 pages in one of the books, it meant I’d have to wait years before I’d get to start the next one.  Still, each time a new book in the series would come out, I’d start again from the beginning and read them all in order, relishing each moment I got to spend with Roland, Eddie, Suzanna, Jake and Oy. With every reading I laughed, I cried, I got angry and sad and happy. In those books, I not only entered worlds where I was completely enthralled, I learned to strive for only the best from myself, because she who does not expect the best from herself has forgotten the face of her father. 

(There is so much more I’d like to say, but I wouldn’t do anything to spoil the story for you. Just trust me when I say that, while you can read just that series and enjoy it completely, the real joy in reading it comes from reading all of King’s books and stories that came before.  Only then can you get the full impact of the tale. And then follow up and read all the books that have come after, and you’ll get a richer enjoyment from them as well.)

I’m currently reading his latest release, Duma Key, which I believe is one of his best books to date. I’m trying so hard to make it last, but as I round the corner to the last 90 pages, it’s so hard to make myself put it down. I love that I see so much of King himself in the protagonist, I love that I know that he’s going to wrench me out of my comfort zone in the end, and I love the story…such a great story.

King once said in one of his forwards or afterwards (I can’t remember which, but he writes them for his “constant readers,” and I am one of them.) that he enjoys taking his readers by the hand and walking with them around dark corners. (I’m paraphrasing, of couse.) It’s that feeling of being taken by the hand as I enter a foreign, dark and scary place that I love the most about Stephen King. He’s so much more than a horror novelist, so much more than a “popular” writer.

If you are one of the sad few who have never read his books and stories, I suggest a few of my favorites: The Stand (This is my favorite of his novels — I prefer the original version.), The Shining, Hearts of Atlantis, Lisey’s Story (Oh, my GOSH, what a beautiful story Lisey’s Story is!), Duma Key and, of course, The Dark Tower. (And if you read The Dark Tower, don’t forget to pick up his anthology, Everything’s Eventual, when you are finished with the series, so you can read the short story, The Little Sisters of Eluria and be happily surprised.)

And remember, he doesn’t just write horror. The Dark Tower isn’t horror, The Talisman isn’t horror, Lisey’s Story, isn’t horror, The Shawshank Redemption isn’t horror.

Have I convinced you yet? If not, let me take you by the hand as we walk around this dark corner. Don’t worry; I’ll protect you, and if I kiss you in the dark, please don’t be afraid. It’s only a kiss between friends.

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