Friday, August 18, 2017

Random of Acts of Shifeness: C is for Crazy

  • So much craziness to talk about. Where do I start? I will also be showing off my thesaurus skills. Prepare to be amazed. When you hear the word thesaurus does it make you think of a dinosaur joke? No. So it's just me?

  • It's going to be bonkers to the berserker degree here in Idaho. They are expecting up to a million people to visit us over the next few days for the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. I think it's nuts that people are going this cuckoo over the eclipse but I think it's because I am slowly become more and more like the Clint Eastwood character in "Gran Torino."

  • How can this be? It's insane to think that my Hayden Belle will be going off to kindergarten next week. Her world is going to get a lot bigger now. I know I have to let her go but I don't want to. Where is that pause button?

  • And this guy will be in 3rd grade. I am going to be nuttier than a squirrel's breakfast. 
  • And the straw that might break the one-humped camel's back and make me looney tunes is that Ms. Frizzle turned 1. The past year seemed to fly be. It feels like we went from this 

 to this in a blink of an eye.

  • Well that's enough talk about my mental facilities and the march to madness. I hope you have a great weekend. Thanks for stopping and I will talk to you soon.

I will persevere. I will keep moving forward. I will be the stream.

Friday, August 11, 2017

It's Go Time

Well, it's time to jump back on that horse.
It has been almost 3 years since I published my book and now I think I am finally ready to work on something else and something completely different: a love story.
More details to come but below you will find the first 497 words.
Let me know what you think. Or not.
If you don't want to read it, you can just scroll down to the bottom and look at the picture of Ms. Frizzle being a model for the "Dog Days of Summer" catalog, which will not be appearing in your mailbox anytime soon.
I'm excited to embark on another literary journey and I look forward to sharing it with you.

"Whoever survives a test, whatever it may be, must tell the story. That is his duty.” ― Elie Wiesel

I think I always knew I would out live Jack. Morbid as this may sound now –  it’s not something that I dwelled on – it was just something that I knew. Still, I never thought of how lonely it would be without him. He had filled my life for so many years. Sixty-four of them to be exact, and to not be able to talk with him, ask him questions, have a hug or a kiss seemed more than I could bear lately. I revisited some daily diaries I kept to look back on our lives together to see if that would help my loneliness. Unfortunately, most of the diaries just documented all the illnesses, accidents, and medical problems he had towards the end of his life.

I then remembered the metal box in my closet that had been there for so many years. This box contained the letters Jack had written me when he was in the Marines during World War II. Over the years, I had opened it and reread a few but had never read all of them. What bothers me now is that it never occurred to me to get them out and for us to read them together. How much more meaningful they would have been to see his reactions to his words all these years later.

Nevertheless, I hunted down the box. Of course, it was locked. I couldn’t find the key so I pried it open with a screwdriver and immediately started reading the 290 letters it contained. After reading them all, I felt I couldn’t just lock them up again and never share their contents. What I am doing may not mean a thing to anyone else but me. It is his side of our lives for three years, and I can only guess what I was writing back to him. This is a compulsion of mine as I feel driven to get this all down in some order so that I can have our love story saved and maybe it will make its way to someone else. I thought reading the letters would me make very sad, but they have had the opposite effect. I have had a lot of good laughs out of them. They have also brought back many cherished memories that were buried very deep. And, of course, it made me grateful that I got to spend all this time with the love of my life, Jack Anderson.

Words cannot ever express the emptiness I feel without Jack, but these letters have filled a large void. Ours was a love story like no other. I would like to say unique, but then everyone on Earth is unique and their love story is solely theirs. Ours just happens to be ours. And I hope our story will help you remember yours.

All my best,

Elizabeth Anne Anderson

Ruff day at the home office for Ms. Frizzle. 

I will persevere. I will keep moving forward. I will be the stream. 

Friday, August 04, 2017

Random Acts of Shifeness - 2013 vs 2017

  • Kyle and Hayden in 2013

  • Kyle and Hayden in 2017

  • I just wanted to make everyone feel old and show you much Kyle and Hayden have changed. It's also nice to see how much they haven't as they are still quite fond of each other even though I do hear occasionally from one of their rooms, "I'm never going to talk to you again and all your cartoons are stupid, buttface."
  • I look forward to seeing how things look in another 4 years. I can imagine the two of them doing something like these when they are adults and someone puts them on the kiss cam at a sporting event.

Enjoy your weekend and thanks for stopping by.

I will persevere. I will keep moving forward. I will be the stream.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Random Acts of Shifeness - The Sgt. Hulka Edition

  • I don't recommend dropping a piece of plywood on your foot. Here's an artist's rendering of what I think my foot looks like:

And here's how my feet actually look: 

Don't they look awful? But I think the red nail polish really ties those toes together. 
  • In all actuality, I don't have a photo of my foot in it's current state because I haven't had a good opportunity to take a photo. I am writing my blog update while I am on my lunch break at work and I don't think me removing my shoe and sock in the lunch room would help me win employee of the month. 
  • I did get to drop a "Stripes" quote on Mrs. Shife because the bulk of the damage was to my big toe or my Sgt. Hulka.
  • Mrs. Shife and I have taken a different approach to the summer with the kids this year and it basically is to turn them into mermaids. Ever since it has warmed up, I don't think they have gone more than a week not being in or near a body of water. Mrs. Shife spent a lot of summers growing up at the lake so she loves being near the water when she can get the chance and Kyle and Hayden have definitely followed in her footsteps. Me, on the other hand, I didn't do a lot of water activities because of my ear. Since I had numerous ear surgeries as a kid, I had to do my best to keep that ear free and clear of the water as much as possible. Anyway, I am glad the kids are loving the water and enjoying the summer. 

  • Just a few more weeks and our yellow-bellied fur ball will be 1. I never thought I would like her as much as I do but Ms. Frizzle sure does make me happy. 
  • Here's your GIF of the week:

Thanks for stopping by and I will talk to you soon.

I will persevere. I will keep moving forward. I will be the stream.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Random Acts of Shifeness - The Horny Goat Weed Edition

  • Another visit from the tooth fairy as Hayden lost another one. Her third one in about two months. She's not messing around.
  • I'm not the man I used to be and it was suggested that I might need a testosterone boost to help me out. I will let you know how the horny goat weed treats me. Or maybe not for the sake of our relationship.

  • How's Frizzle? She's now 11-months-old and doing a lot better with her chewing. She is also a really good dog and we are glad to have her. 

  • Kyle always likes to help out in the kitchen when he can and he really likes making things. He's now working on his presentation skills. Here's the dessert that he made for Hayden. 

  • Quote of the week: Love what you have. Need what you want. Accept what you receive. Give what you can. Always remember, what goes around, comes around. – Anonymous
  • Another quote of the week: I bought one of those tapes to teach you Spanish in your sleep. During the night, the tape skipped. Now I can only stutter in Spanish. – Steven Wright
  • Recommendation of the week: I haven't watched it yet but I am thinking I might like this new Netflix show called "Ozark." When I see headlines that say this is a perfect show if you miss "Breaking Bad" then I'm in.
  • GIF of the week: 

Thanks for stopping by. Talk to you soon.

I will persevere. I will keep moving forward. I will be the stream.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Fourth of July 2017 recap

I took a blogging break last week because we were on vacation.
The Shifes got out of the urban jungle and enjoyed some time in the oasis that is northern Idaho.
And the best way to share that experience with you is probably through pictures made through my phone. How was your Fourth of July?

Hayden Belle the fearless diver 

Kyle is not quite as fearless 

Kayaking at Heyburn State Park and Frizz approves this activity

When Frizz wasn't busy inspecting kayaks, she played "My stick is better than your stick" with her best buddy Finn, who is an 11-month-old black lab.

Captain's log: Being a captain on a log is hard work

Hayden lost another tooth while we were gone and she gave the Tooth Fairy a thumb's up for finding her. The Tooth Fairy has an excellent GPS system. 

Kyle and Hayden comparing their missing chompers. 

Fireworks in Farmington with Frizzle supervision. 

Frizz and Hayden dancing in the lentil fields. 

And then everyone was tired. Except for Frizzle. She's never tired.
Please tell me that puppies get tired someday. 

Thanks for stopping by. Talk to you soon.

I will persevere. I will keep moving forward. I will be the stream.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Random Acts of Shifeness - Who Am I?

  • I had a bit of personality disorder last week. Someone at work - who has known me since I started my new job about 9 months ago - called me Todd. Never been called that before. I haven't seen the guy since I was his new best friend "Todd" so it will be interesting to see what he calls me next time. 
  • The Todd incident was followed up by someone telling me that I looked like Ben Kingsley.

  • This is also a first. And I think I know why.
    Maybe because I don't look anything like the dude.
    But I'm an idiot so I could be wrong.
  • Perhaps I need to wear a hat to work to help with any confusion.
  • At least she knows who I am. 

  • But only because I wear this hat.
  • If you do celebrate it, I hope you and yours have a wonderful 4th of July. I'm looking forward to it as we usually spend it with family and I usually need it because this is the time of year that my Mom passed away. Hard to believe it has been almost 9 years now. Life moves pretty fast.
  • Take care, thanks for stopping by and I will talk to you soon.

I will persevere. I will keep moving forward. I will be the stream.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Father's Day 2017 Recap

We spent the afternoon at a place called Quinn's Pond seeing if SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding) was fun and determining if the Frizz was a water dog. The answers were yes to both of those questions. But if you don't believe me, I think the pictures below will prove it without a doubt.

Kyle taking Hayden on a tour of the pond. They came back about an hour later.
It was safe to say that they loved cruising around the water.

The guy in the canoe totally left early. 

Hayden took over the captain duties. I sometimes forget that she's only 5.

They both took to the water like a couple of old pros.

Speaking of taking to the water, Ms. Frizzle seemed OK with it. 

We played fetch in the water for about 90 minutes. 

Kyle and Frizzle working on their synchronized swimming routine. 

When the paddleboard wasn't being commandeered by the kid pirates,
Mrs. Shife got to enjoy some time on the water too. 

It was pretty good Father's Day. I am a lucky guy. 
Thanks for stopping by. Talk to you soon.

I will persevere. I will keep moving forward. I will be the stream. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Are You There God? It's Me, Mr. Shife

Never underestimate the power of prayer.
I’m not a religious person but I am spiritual.
Too many things have happened to me – especially after my Mom passed away – that has led me to believe there’s definitely something “out there.” Not sure what that might be but I am definitely more open-minded about it.
I bring up the power of prayer because when we took the kids fishing last weekend, and they were giving away prizes at the event we attended because it was free fishing day in Idaho.

There were maybe 22 kids there and 20 prizes.
I was concerned that Kyle and Hayden might get the Mr. Shife jinx.
I have never had much luck winning any prizes and it was never more evident when I attended a watch party for a college football game with my friends a few years ago.
They were giving away all kinds of cool stuff.
There was probably 41 people at the party and they had 40 prizes.
Someone was going to go home without a prize.
Any guesses on who didn’t win anything?
It was so bad that my friend’s brother-in-law showed up at the last minute, dropped his name into the raffle, and won. And the dude could give two squirrel nut-laden turds about football let alone the team we were there supporting.
No, I don’t hold on to the past at all.
Why do you ask?
But enough of my issues.
Back to last weekend.
As the Fish & Game officials were pulling out the winners, the memories of me not winning came rushing back especially after some kid entered his name at the last minute and got his ticket pulled.
My heart was starting to ache for my kiddos as they looked at me and Mrs. Shife with brave faces but you could also see the concern mounting.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.
I looked skyward and uttered the following words out loud: “Dear Lord Jesus wearing a tuxedo t-shirt, please let my kids win a prize.”
A few minutes later, Kyle got his name drawn.
I looked skyward and uttered the following words out loud: “Thank you, Lord Jesus wearing a tuxedo t-shirt.”
More names were drawn and then the Fish & Game official said “last prize” and Hayden looked back at me forcing a courageous smile but definitely worried her name wasn’t going to be called.
More heartache.
The official pulls out the entry and says “Payton.”
Oh, the horror.
The name even sounded like hers.
I’m kidding.
They pulled her name and me and Mrs. Shife breathed some sweet relief that both of the kids won a prize.
Kyle, later on, told us that when he heard the guy say that it was the last prize that he closed his eyes and said quietly to himself: “Please, please, please let Hayden win a prize.”
Nice try, kid.
We all know who did the heavy lifting on this one. 

Ooops. Wrong Jesus.

There we go.

Thanks for stopping by. Talk to you soon.

I will persevere. I will keep moving forward. I will be the stream.