Jason's Untimely Thoughts

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Archive for October, 2008

Rambling Selfishlessness

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Way over simplified, but I think in general moms of the world become selfless, sometimes to a bit of a fault, once the kids come along.  While the dads of the world become selfish (or moreso, smartasses).  Job first versus family first and who gets to do which is the easiest typical example.  Could also go with who sleeps with the kids every night in their little beds versus who sleeps in the big bed all alone.  Or who gets the minivan and who gets the truck.  Combined, it’s a good system, especially if you get the truck.

One of my concerns at the moment is who is going to give the kids the selfless portion of things.  I’m still at work, I’m still concerned about getting my own sleep (but still having a hard time wanting to go to sleep), where do they receive that typical mom unbridled unconditional love without reservation that Sarah would have been providing?  There are lots doing more than their parts to help, but in the early morning or middle of the night meltdowns, having a team to contend with the meltdown was a good system.  Having just me to contend with the meltdowns isn’t the best system.  I make good effort, I think, to make sure the kids understand right and wrong, but I wonder if I’m able to do that, long-term, in a way that they understand intrinsically that they’re loved, regardless of right or wrong.

All this selfish talk also comes up because that’s how I judge myself at the moment.  Basically, this isn’t what I signed up for.  We had a good deal going, living where we wanted, how we wanted, and doing mostly what we wanted, when we wanted with only occasional whines (me) about money along the way.  I worry that my rush to get home is hurting me at work.  I worry that I’m an idiot for worrying about that.  Mostly though I feel sorry for myself that Sarah’s not home to share stuff with, including the work of parenting the kids.  And I think I’m an idiot for feeling sorry for myself.

I’d like a reset button, to reset the parts that don’t make any damn sense to me.  Like, the past 4 months.  Who needed that surgery anyway, or why wasn’t I more adamant on certain details during the recovery?  Why didn’t I know more and why couldn’t I predict the future?   And I’d like to be able to have fun again.  And I’d like for the times that are fun to not then cause guilt about how can I have fun given the circumstances.  And I’d like for the kids to be able to run up and hug their mom.  That’s the part I’d really like.

This is possibly the most rambling entry I’ve ever written.  And perhaps the twentieth where I mentioned that things aren’t fun.  I should have called it Rambling Whining.

Written by Jason Becking

October 28th, 2008 at 3:33 pm

Posted in Mindless Ramblings

Hold That Hug Slideshow

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Amy & Kim at Silverbox Photographers have created and posted a wonderful slideshow of the Hold That Hug event.  The slideshow is here.  Their blog entry on the slideshow is here.

Similar topic, here is the article that ran in the Columbia Daily Tribune on the event, written by Irene Haskins.  (have posted before, but seemed to fit here too.)

Written by Jason Becking

October 27th, 2008 at 10:37 am

That Parrot is Wearing Shoes!

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Sitting at the house on Saturday, between the Homecoming parade and the homecoming game, flipping through the channels.  We land on the Texas Tech at KU football game.  Jack says “Hey, look at that parrot!” as they show the ugly bird on the middle of their football field.  A few seconds later, “That parrot is wearing shoes!  Why that parrot wearing shoes?”

He has a stuffed parrot, “My parrot doesn’t wear shoes.”  No, what does your parrot have?  “My parrot has toes.”  Exactly.  Birds don’t wear shoes.

Written by Jason Becking

October 27th, 2008 at 10:29 am

Posted in Mindless Ramblings

CU at the Tailgate, Again

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When starting my tailgate e-mails, I typically write the subject line and then go from there.  A good topic sentence will lay out the rest of your paper, don’t you know.

I just wrote “CU at the Tailgate”, which seemed familiar.  A trip to the archives (below) confirms that I used that same line 4 years ago.  Coupled with my general unexcitement about tailgating this year, let’s just review those entries for humor.  The most important items to review, of course, are “you can’t spell ku sucks without CU”, and “screw ku”.  (And maybe I should go down to Reactor Field for tailgating, Sodom/Gomorrha evidently has lots of excitement.)

Game time is 5:30 p.m., Fox Sports someone doing the broadcasting.  Bryan Ninichuck (and Todd Bennington) of Wingate Pest Control fame, will be providing some home cooked delectables.   We’ll be there by 2:00 or so, I’d imagine.  Call Wingate for all your pest control needs.  (and despite the two bad weeks, we’re still good enough to be on national television again, and it’s become so mundane that I can’t even remember who is showing the game… “New” Old Mizzou, I say.)


Written by Jason Becking

October 23rd, 2008 at 3:10 pm

Posted in Tailgating Fun

A Little Perspective, A Little Silence

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I was very pleased with the way Sarah’s “party” turned out, including most of what I remember of my own remarks.  One thing, though, that I regretted even before I finished saying it was the talk of Sarah watching MU football games, bounces going our way, etc.  I simply don’t believe that in the realm of space/time/eternity/infinity, watching (and certainly not interfering) in a football game can possibly rank very high.  And then I don’t believe in ‘curse’ talk or whatever that many MU fans seem to anxiously bring up, so the opposite of a curse can’t be the case either.  She’d want them to do well, absolutely, because of the fondness and how much the rest of us follow it, but more than that doesn’t seem realistic (a word that doesn’t seem to fit with any of this paragraph).

A large group of friends gathered in Austin for the game.  Fellowship, you might call it.  A great time was had by all, even the one who fell immediately before kickoff and had to miss the game while his newly broken wrist was attended to.  One of the first things he said Sunday morning was “it was a great time”, before pausing in self disbelief that he’d said that.  It was a great time, though.  The kids missed this trip, but will travel with me to Waco in a couple of weeks for more fun.

Bits of perspective have added to my ability to withstand what others call disappointing losses.  Following the Tigers is still fun and I still hope they win, but I’m no where near miserable when they lose.  I enjoy the journey as much as the game, or it’s at least closer to even.

Through all of this, it’s the silent times that bother me the most.  I’d thought it would be hard to gather as a group of friends, when almost all were there with their spouses, with Sarah very much a missing part of that group.  Really, it wasn’t, though, as good times and such hid the missing.  It was the flight home, the drive home, the calm moments throughout that were harder.  Makes sense, as it’s the same on normal days too.  Busyness hides the sorrow.  It’s the times when the house is empty, going to bed early without being fully exhausted, that are still hard.  I feel like I understand how an addict needs the action the addiction provides, as the quiet times can be intolerable.

Finally, the Columbia Daily Tribune did a nice piece of Hold That Hug.  Here’s a link to the article.

Written by Jason Becking

October 20th, 2008 at 2:43 pm

Posted in Mindless Ramblings

Successful Hugging

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This past Sunday, a cast of many completed an enormously successful venture in honor of Sarah called “Hold That Hug“.  Friends, photographers, and family combined to organize and manage the event.

Cast of Many, or most of them

Cast of Many, or most of them

At least 147 families, consisting of at least 504 bodies, with at least 3 dogs, all had their family portraits taken at Stewart Park near our house.  It was a neighborhood gathering, a kids run in the park gathering, and a very nice tribute to Sarah and to everyone that helped organize and photograph.

The photos from the event are online and for sale here.  All proceeds from those sales will be donated to Pictures of the Year International.

The Photographers who donated their time and services

The Photographers who donated their time and services

Written by Jason Becking

October 15th, 2008 at 1:50 pm

Cockiness in the ICU Waiting Room and Other Stuff that’s been On My Mind

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When first in the hospital in New Orleans, we went straight to the surgery waiting room.  It was nice and plush.  We were there all day, after all the others had left, so eventually had the room to ourselves.  We received the good news from surgery and were naturally feeling pretty good about ourselves.

Sarah was then transferred to ICU, which had a separate waiting room.  I remember walking into that room and seeing people whose loved ones were obviously having a hard time.  We were happy, but tried to be quiet and respectful of their needs, worry, and sorrow.  Over the days, there were several bad visits from doctors with others in that room, delivering bad news, which would send us scampering away both to give them privacy and to avoid the awkwardness.  Mostly though, I was relieved that it wasn’t us and cocky that it wouldn’t be.  Everything was good for us, I would reply.

Quite a change from the wreck I became later.

It’s been three months.  Everything is going as well as it possibly could — the sitter is great, Jack loves CDC, Adelaide loves kindergarten, I’m able to work enough, meals/cleaning/laundry are almost all taken care of by others, Tiger football is winning, etc.  Again, it’s all going well.  Except I still feel like that broken dude in the waiting room much of the time.

And there’s not much going on that is fun to me, including most of the things that used to be fun to me.  Most days are a series of sprints to the next thing, broken up by silence at work or silence after the kids have gone to bed.

I read and re-read and re-re-read everything I can find… notes from everyone while Sarah was in the hospital, e-mails that came pouring in after the bad news, the various internet articles and sites, my updates, and on and on.  It’s heart-breaking, but helpful at the same time.  At least sometimes it helps.  I hope the kids will be able to read all that later and be able to easily tell how much Sarah meant to so many.

We’re lucky in Columbia with lots of places to go where there are friendly faces.  I ate two meals downtown yesterday, for example, where I had chats with people we’ve known forever, who still miss Sarah like I do.  I go there mostly so I can have those brief chats, in between the sprints.

I wish I could have something besides brief chats, but that’s all there is.  Even when I try to have a real conversation, it doesn’t seem to be possible for me.

I’m going to Texas next weekend.  A trip to see the Tigers play that Sarah & I had started planning in the Spring.  A great group of friends will be gathering from all over the country.  The kids and I are returning to Texas over Halloween, another trip we’d planned in the Spring, to visit friends again.

Those trips will be good for all of us.  Will certainly be some times when I can find some fun and some conversation.  It will be around a bunch of people who can each make me laugh which is a good start.

There is still no normal for me.  I still have no idea what is appropriate for me to do or think, except that it seems most of what’s going on for me is to be expected.

Finally, I’m sorry for those that read this that have dealt with losses of your own.  In some cases I wasn’t aware until recently, in some I knew but didn’t know how to say anything to you.  I am sorry, though, and wish I could repay the kindnesses you’ve shown me.

Written by Jason Becking

October 10th, 2008 at 1:30 pm

Posted in Mindless Ramblings

Burn the Orange, Before the Burnt Orange

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It’s homecoming-like in Columbia, Mo., even if it’s not homecoming weekend.  There’s a chill in the air and the trees are starting to turn pretty shades of red, gold, and orange.  This is all happening early this year, in anticipation of the arrival of the OSU orange pants.  They may be men (or kids), they may be 40 (or 41) (youtube video for context) but they can’t be proud wearing orange pants.

OK State is decent team, ranked #17, which we shall beat by 30.  Something like 52-24 seems like a good guess to me.   ESPN2 is broadcasting the game, which will begin at 7:00 pm.  We’ll be tailgating no later than mid-afternoon, joined by the group from my work again this game.  Hoss’s Market will be doing the catering, food served at 4:00 p.m.  Hope to see you and yours there.

While I’m very used to the Tigers being good, even great, and answer “yes” when people ask me if I ever believed this was possible, I admit that it is very odd to see articles asking “Who Needs the punter, anyway?” and ESPN Magazine cover stories featuring our back up quarterback.  On a side note, screw ku.

Written by Jason Becking

October 9th, 2008 at 2:54 pm

Posted in Tailgating Fun

Cafe Adelaide play-by-play

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My mom sent a thank you note to the folks at Cafe Adelaide in New Orleans, especially Courtney, who helped tremendously with materials for AEB’s birthday party.  It included a nice run down of what happened, so posting it here.

I’m writing to give you all the details on Adelaide’s party.

But first let me say that I hope all of you were able to weather the most recent storms without too much damage and that you and your families are all safe and back in your homes and businesses.

We can’t thank you and the Cafe Adelaide enough for all you did.  The things you sent were just unbelievable, especially the placemat you designed.  As you will see, “great minds think alike”.  Your kindness helped us all through this.

Adelaide had a great 6th birthday party at the Country Club on Sunday, Sept. 21, just a few days shy of  her actual birthday on the 25th.  I’m putting a package in the mail to you today that has some things from that party, including a few photographs.

The club has a beautiful brunch on Sundays, and it worked very well for the girls.  As you will be able to imagine from the photos, they created quite a stir.  Adelaide had selected 3 special friends to accompany her for brunch.

Jason & I arrived first and put out the decorations.  We used the placemat that you designed & printed it back-to-back with a placemat that a great friend/next-door neighbor/almost sister to Sarah had designed, even before we received your box.  They worked wonderfully together; each of you had used a different color and a different photo of Adelaide.

Tables were decorated with gerbera daisies, Sarah’s favorite, and we put a ribbon across the table to denote “special service” (just like we received in New Orleans).  Each girl’s place was marked with a small clear vinyl purse filled with a diamond ring big enough to choke a horse, pink sugar swizzle stick, “Hannah Montana” compact mirror,  lip gloss, and a photograph snow globe.   As you will see from the photos, each purse was “fancied up” with your Cafe Adelaide ribbon and other ribbons, with the girl’s name on them.  We had a long, glittery scarf on the back of each chair and a pair of  “classic” rhinestone earrings, chosen by Adelaide for each girl,  for her to put on when she arrived.

The service staff was advised about the party, & they had another sugar swizzle stick to put in each girl’s drink when it was served.

Sarah’s mom & a friend chauffeured Adelaide to get each of the 3 guests.  Adelaide presented each friend with her own fancy hat as she was picked up.  Daddy did the valet parking when they arrived at the Country Club.  He & I left shortly after the “entrance” into the country club, but all assured us that it was a grand time!

After brunch, all came back to Adelaide’s house where many other friends and family were waiting.  Jason had rented a “bounce house”, so the rest of the party was just as much fun for boys and girls alike as the first part.  We used your placemats, napkins, ribbons, etc., here also.  Your bread bags were  “party-favor” bags, something that Sarah always worked really hard on.  This was one of her first ideas on the party theme.  Your matchbooks were set out, and the adults in the crowd took them for souvenirs.

But . . . one of the really special items that I’m sending you is OUR Adelaide matchbook.  Same neighbor/friend/almost sister and Sarah’s mom designed and made these; these are something you will just have to see to appreciate.

I’m mailing these items to you because we want you at the Cafe Adelaide to see what a grand thing you all helped with, in such a huge way.  Please share this with everyone there, and please pass our most sincere appreciation to all who helped with this project.   Sarah was such an amazing person, such a mom, and it’s so great a loss.  It helped to know that we were doing what she wanted for Adelaide on that day.

Again, our heartfelt thanks for your kindness and for all you did.

Written by Jason Becking

October 8th, 2008 at 2:51 pm

Posted in Kids

Official Hold That Hug flyer

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Written by Jason Becking

October 8th, 2008 at 8:32 am