Finishing a Book…Again

Recently I decided I wanted to reread The Lord of the Rings.  I hadn’t read them since high school, which was well before the movies came out, so I wanted a little refresher.

I knew there had been parts left out, like Tom Bombadil, and other things added, like Arwen doing pretty much anything, but it was fun to go back through and read it all with so many great visuals from the movies.  

I just finished Return of the King tonight, and I must say that it really is an amazing series.  The pictures that Tolkien painted in words is just amazing.  He created an entire world of life and places and things, and he brought you there in a way that even a documentary about a real place would struggle to do.

I repeatedly found myself in complete awe of the intricacies of his world.  The detail that he utilized, while at the same time moving the story along, is simply incredible.  

I have always found it ironic that I actually find Frodo’s story the less interesting of the paths that are described.  With that being said, it is still a marvel to behold.  I only wish there had been a way to include the cleansing of the Shire into the movies.  

I realize it would be quite anticlimatic and ruin the flow of the movie, but I think it is some of the most powerful writing because of the way it shows how the Hobbits grew and changed their world when they needed to.  None of us would be called in to destroy a magic ring, but each of us has the chance everyday to change our world. 

We can clear out ruffians, and go about planting trees and such to beautify our world.  We can take on community leadership roles to help improve our neighborhoods.  We can stand up to those who carry a big stick, but are clearly in the wrong.  It is not usually easy, but if a couple of Hobbits can take down the greatest power of evil ever seen, then we can do it too.


I Love Ice Cream Sandwiches

There was a time that I would tell people that I didn’t really have a sweet tooth.  Looking back now that was really just a lie.  While I don’t need sugar and candy everyday, I really do enjoy a lot of them.

Today I just happened to have an ice cream sandwich.  While it was just a poor knockoff of my favorite ice cream sandwich, The Fat Boy, it was still quite delicious.  My other favorite are those Toll House cookie ones that is just ice cream in between two cookies.

I know they aren’t good for me, but life is meant to be enjoyed.  As long as you aren’t eating that crap everyday, or the whole box in one sitting, I think it all works out.

I Love Seeing My Kids Succeed

My oldest daughter started at a new dance studio today, and I got to take her to her first class.  She went with her mom last week to check it out and see if she wanted to switch, but today was her first class.

As she stood outside waiting for class to start I could tell she was a little nervous because she didn’t know any of the girls, and they had already been practicing their dance for a little while.

But being the brave little trooper that she is, she headed in and went to work.  About fifteen minutes into the class I could hear the teacher say, “This is Olivia’s first class and she is already doing it better than most of you.”

It made my daddy heart swell to hear something so positive about my daughter.  She really is a very good dancer, and I am glad it is something she enjoys so much. 

I asked her afterwards if she liked her new class and you could just tell beyond the words that she is so much happier.  She also told me it felt good to have the teacher say that about her.

It is so great watching your kids succeed at something they really enjoy.

I Love a Good Porkchop

I made a fine meal for dinner tonight which included a quite delicious porkchop.  Along with some homemade mac and cheese and some fresh green beans and salad, it was quite a lovely meal.

Fortunately, I have a wife who thinks about these things so we actually have all different types of food to eat.  If it was just me there would be a ton of pasta and a lot of canned vegetables.

Every Boy (and girl) Should Have a Dog

We went and got a dog today.  We had talked about it off and on, but we didn’t really expect it to happen today.  

I grew up with no animals in my house because my oldest brother was allergic to everything, but since I moved in with a friend that had three dogs, two cats, a couple of horses, and a bunny, I have really enjoyed having animals.  They add such a beautiful dynamic to a family that I love.

My kids are also old enough now to do more of the caretaking of a dog than they used to be.  It was so fun today watching them get so emotional about the dogs we looked at.  My oldest actually started crying at one point because she felt so bad for the dogs with no home.

If nothing else I can be grateful that she has learned to love and respect animals.  I am excited for the coming months of getting to know our new dog, though I hope she gets over the sleep farting really quick.

Living Outside Your Comfort Zone

I am not an incredibly social person.  If there were a picture of an introvert in the dictionary, I could easily be there.  It isn’t that I don’t like being around people, I just really struggle to start conversations and make new friends.

As the few friends I do have would tell you, once you get me going on the right subject I may never stop.  Fortunately for me, I have a wife that forces me to be social far more often than I would choose to be on my own.

Tonight she made me go to a theme Christmas party.  She forwarded me the invitation which I subconciously ignored until she started putting our costumes together.  This is totally her type of thing, and totally not mine, but it was good to get to know more people in our new home better.

We had some nice treats, and some good laughs, and just a nice time with a lot of really nice people.  It was super out of my comfort zone, but I’m glad we went because I need to expand myself, and we really do need to make some good friends since we are planning to stay here for a long time.

Another Checkride Complete

As much as I love flying, it isn’t always just fun and games.  An important part of all flying is recurrent checkrides to make sure that we continue to do our jobs right.

For many people it is an incredibly stressful time as it can have significant career implications.  I generally am not very worried about them because I believe that if you just always do things the right way then a checkride is just another flight.

However, this time I was flying in an area that I am not familiar with, with a crew I hadn’t flown with, and an evaluator that I also didn’t know anything about.  On top of that, I had only flown four times in the last three months so I was much more stressed than I usually am.  I also had to get it done before the end of the month.

Long story short, I passed my checkride and am now good for another 17 months.  It is amazing how much physically lighter I feel now that it is complete.  I can just focus on learning the local area, and hopefully get back to some instructing, which is what I really love to do most.