Promises Kept Very Late

I had the chance to read some old blogs the other day, catch my memory up on what has happened in my life (and that reallly made me realize that this blogging thing is at least as much for me as it is for you– there were times that I read somethng and said to myself, ‘oh, I forgot all about that,’) and it struck me that the Last Ride of Willy the Festiva never made its way into cyberspace.

There was a bit in the blog a while back (roughly a year ago) about how I got an estimate done and the car was definitely totaled, but then it sat in Dave Schrubbe’s parking lot for another 5, 6 months or something like that.

When I finally took the old boy over to the Ford dealership where Bart Starr would later pick him up, Dave was nice enough to ride with me and take a couple pictures.

He also took a video (about 5 MB).

Look for the photo (very similar to the shot that Grandma Markowski took on the first day I had the car) in the Public Gallery…

Off to complete my party preparation; looking forward to seeing you soon!

A Brief Christmas Recap & Some Thoughts Leading Up to the New Year

It was a nice Christmas weekend — how was yours?

Friday night (the 23rd), Wordy and Michelle & I went to the Bucks game. It was nice to see them get a win. It was also a helluva lot warmer than it had been the week before, when we had to walk a lot farther for a much less positive outcome…

I did a very little bit of last-minute shopping the morning of the 24th, and then made my way over to Jen & Joe’s house for Markowski/Mundschau family tidings. Michelle joined us there for dinner, gifts, etc.

On the 25th, the Bocks got together at the Behling house in South Milwaukee. Among other things, I got to talk to Uncle Bob about his “pest control system,” Uncle Mark about the tail end of the deer hunt, and my cousins Aaron and Matt about school and computers and some other stuff. Dan was feeling pretty crappy due to a dental problem, and that was too bad, but other than that, I think everyone was doing OK.

It was really nice to see everybody and have some laughs. I realized in the course of talking with my cousin Adam that all of us kids are awfully close to being totally grown up; in catching up with family that you don’t get to see or maybe just don’t have a chance to chat with in the daily comings and goings of your life, I thought to myself, “this was a pretty good year.”

Barring any significant tragedy in the next 4 days, 2005 was, for me, a year of generally good news and positive developments. Allow me to cite the significant milestones, in a quasi-sequential order:
– I went 6-0-1 in my wrestling debut on Jan 1 05.
– I was able to go on yet another exciting spring break trip, this time to Boston, MA in March
– Jen and Joe got married in April, amidst much fanfare, libations, and good times
– I met Michelle at that wedding, we started dating in May, and things continue to go just splendidly as of today
– I wrote a novella and earned A’s in both my spring 2005 classes
– I sold Grandma & Grandpa’s LeSabre?, but somehow still managed to “get around” over the summer, thanks in part to Christy’s wheels (June)
– For whatever reason, I didn’t worry about money over the summer
– On August 19, I was hired on as a full-time academic staff member at the Financial Aid office
– I was chosen to be the fiction editor of this year’s Wisconsin Review here at UWO (September)
– On October 2, it was official: the Milwaukee Brewers did NOT have another losing season
– Two of my best friends announced that they’d be getting married in ’06: R Chris Lorch, and Joseph P Knitt
– It was a safe and successful deer hunt (November)
– Despite a grueling work and class schedule, I was able to secure A’s in both my classes again, for the third straight semester
– The aforementioned enjoyable holiday season

In summing up, I guess it’s really no secret that meeting Michelle and getting a real, full-time job were my top two this year, followed closely by the recent realization that all I have left to do is write a thesis and I’ll have a Master’s degree. For such a long time, you (or in this case, I) flounder around and wonder when the hell things are going to start coming together, and for me, it seems 2005 has been the beginning of something.

And sure, in spite of all these good things, there were some unsavory goings on this year, too:
– One of the best friends I had growing up, Ben Wartgow, died in March after an extended fight with cancer
– Joe Knitt’s mom, Terry, had her own cancer scare
– A couple of my friends split with their long-time significant others, and that is certainly never easy
– I had, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the most stressful fall on record, what with the pressures of a new job and the volume of work in two English classes—there were times that I was plagued with nightmares about irrevocably screwing up one, the other, or both

Despite these things, I’m still chalking this up as a “very good year.” I look back and there is an extent to which I feel bad for the self that lived through 2002, 2003, as well as some less-than-stellar days late in college, round one. I suppose it actually is important to maintain the ol’ positive outlook and continue to plod on through. Things could get better, or things could worse, but if you’ve got the essentials covered, and you’ve got people who care about you, you’re not doing that bad.

Here’s wishing you all the best as we look forward to 2006. My hope for you is that the coming year will feel as good as this one did to me…

AP laughs

This headline was in my ‘science’ feed this PM…

“Japan Space Agency May Develop Space Suit”

And I was thinkin, “that’s a helluv’n idea if they wanna send people into space…” cuz I’ve heard that trash bag ponchos don’t quite cut it.

I can see someone out of the brain trust of JAXA in the office this morning, “I’ve finally figured out why we can’t breathe in space!!!! We need a SUIT!!”

Automotively Exciting

So last night I was over at Dave Schrubbe‘s place, helping him to run some cat-5 into the various rooms where he wants it, and that wasn’t bad – it’s just uniquely challenging to undertake such a task when the building is as old as Dave’s house is, and you still want things to “look right” when you’re done. That is, the last time I ran cable in a house that old, it was 456 High Ave, and we didn’t really give a damn where the holes were, or how it would look after we were done. We just wanted the damn internet in all the bedrooms. Then when we did it at Joe’s townhouse, it was easier because the house was just newer, and running the cable was just a matter of pulling it along the same places as power and phone and things were already going.

But that is a minor digression.

Dave took me out for food after that to Fratello’s, and as I was on the way home (around 11), I was thinking I could really use a trip to Target for a gift or two I still have to pick up. I took the clothes I had dried out of the car and ran them upstairs, left the car running, and checked quickly on the web to find out if Target was still open, what with the holiday season, etc. They had closed at 11 o’clock, so, bummer, no trip to happen.

I went to bed around 12:30.

I was actually running “on time” this morning, and so the fact that I couldn’t find my goddamn car key at 7:30 sorta pissed me off. I scoured the apartment for six minutes or so, then thought good and hard about how I could’ve gotten home without having the key to the car.

Then I remembered that when I got home, I left it running, fully anticipating heading back out to shop. Balls, balls, balls, BALLS.

So I starting thinking about how, if the car was actually still there (after all, it was sitting in the parking lot with doors unlocked and key in ignition for 8 hours), it would most certainly have run out of gas (I had less than a quarter tank when I got home from Dave’s), and the battery would be dead. So good thing I’ve got this zippy “roadside assistance” thing built in to my purchase of a brand new Mazda.

I get downstairs and the car was STILL RUNNING. It was on *fumes*, but it was still running. Could. Not. Believe it. I was still about seven minutes late to work since I needed to stop for gas (my car has a 13-gallon tank—I put in 13.086 gallons this morning…), but all things considered, that wasn’t too bad.

How was your ride in to work?

'Free' Time?

If you’ve been in touch with me over the last few months (and part of the problem here is, you probably haven’t), you know that the fall semester really stressed me out. Between the work and the two classes, and the Wisconsin Review, I had a lot on my plate and the grades will probably reflect my lack of time.

THAT BEING SAID: It’s over! Finished everything yesterday, and one way or another, y’know, the grades will come across, and it will have passed, and I’ll be a better and smarter person overall because of it.

This weekend, I’m in MKE for visiting w/ Michelle and some X-Mas? shopping as well. We’re going to go to the Bucks game later on, and that will be pretty cool, since I haven’t seen one yet this year. That team is pretty much kicking ass at this point; fun to watch, their bench is deep, they play hard, etc… One of the things that I’ve noticed is that they seem to have some things that have been lacking, even on the (relatively) good teams that they’ve had over the last 5-7 years or so — they actually rebound, and they play descent defense when they have to. It’s quite refreshing when you’re accustomed to just hoping the Bucks shoot well enough to out-gun their opponents.

But that’s enough about that. Like I said, gifts to buy and stuff like that, so I better ramble on and get to it.

Be watching in the next several days for a more comprehensive list of goods and services required for the New Year hoopla…