This is what grocery stores in the Mid-West look like when you tell people there’s a snow storm coming.
(Picture from my friend Lori. We both grew up and went to high school together in Hawaii.)
P.S. I’m posting twice today because I didn’t post anything on the third. I did write in my notebook that day though. And now that I have an app on my phone for my blog, I am going to try to post something almost everyday.
Ugly sweater parties are quite the rage these days. People get together and eat, drink and vote on the ugliest sweater.
Here is the runner-up of the party I went to. I didn’t feel comfortable asking the winner if I could take a picture of just her sweater. Especially after this model said, “Are you just wanting a picture of my boobs?”
Sometimes life is like an 8-ball tournament. You get your first match under your belt and move on to the next. You win a close cat-and-mouse game on the next match and then have to win the third game for the whole team to win the series.
You’re playing a guy who you are literally 2 ½ times better than. You know that because he’s rated a two and you’re a rated five. (The best you can be is an eight.)
Sometimes you completely lose your concentration. Your game falls apart with four balls left on the table and then you scratch the cue ball in the side pocket.
With ball in hand and only two balls left, your opponent sets up for his easy out. But he ends up drawing the cue ball so far back he leaves it on the head-rail when all he really needed to do was stop the ball. You know he doesn’t understand the game, that’s why he’s a two and he shouldn’t be beating you and knowing that, makes you play worse.
He has a pretty easy cut shot to the corner. But he comes down on his stick, cue ball flies and it looks like the eight is going to roll in easily. But then the 8-ball hits a small piece of chalk that is on felt of the table that must of broke off when someone was chalking their stick. The ball swerves to the complete opposite side of the table and leaves you a perfect shot in the corner for the game and match.
Your opponent drops his head and is pissed and salty as you call, “Eight in the corner.”
You both watch the eight as it slowly rolls in and your team screams as they know you’ve just put them in the finals.
Lucky or not, a win is a win and you will take it when you can.
I decided a few days ago that I was going to start a new 365-Day Project. I’ve written about this a couple times and completed one the year my daughter was born.
For that particular 365-Day Project, I wrote my daughter a note every single day from Jan. 1st to Dec. 31st. My wife even joined in around Jan. 3rd and we both finished out the year only missing writing something to her once or twice each for the entire year.
For this 365-Day Project, I’ve decided to continue with my theme of, “Observations on the human experience.” But I’ve decided that I can use not only my own writing, but also: videos, art, pictures, music, quotes and whatever else strikes me for the day.
I read or write almost everyday, but I have not been very good about getting on my blog and publishing things. Mainly because I don’t think people want to see stuff in their email boxes from me everyday.
I haven’t decided if I’m going to publish on my blog everyday or not. But expect to see a lot more things pop-up in your email box from douglasthomaswallace.com if you decided to sign-up. Sometimes you will get two pieces at once depending on if I published it before 11:00 am. (If it’s after 11 am, it shows up the next day.)
And if you need inspiration to start your own 365-Day Project just remember this, you don’t have to wait until New Year’s Day to start something new. Just make sure it’s something that you like.
My Grandma emails me every year on New Year’s Day and tells me, “There’s an old Irish saying that says, ‘Don’t do anything on the first day of the year that you don’t want to do all year long.’”
Today I got up, ran on the treadmill, set some goals, wrote in my journal and hung out with my family. As I did a search on my website, I realized that I’ve done this exact same thing for the last three years in a row.
New Year’s Day is a time of reflection for me. It’s also a time that I try imagining my best possible self. Maybe this year I will actually follow through with some of my goals. But since we all know history has a tendency of repeating itself, the answer is, “Probably not.”
I guess we will know in about two weeks. Hopefully this year I can make it past two days.
It’s my last week at work and I need a little inspiration to get me through. So here’s a little clip from “The Greatest.”
“I can see better/
looking through the rearview mirror/
than I ever could see/
looking out over the hood.”
I gave my two weeks’ notice on Monday September 9th after 10 years of service with the St. Charles County jail.
When I told my Captain I was leaving, he said, “Well, I’m going to miss you. You’re one of the good ones. It’s like when we lost, ‘What’s his name?’ He went to St. Charles City. Remember him?”
“Whitman?” I said.
“No, not him,” he said.
“Henry?” I said.
“Noooo, not him either. He had a mustache. Was a park ranger…”
I thought for a minute and said, “Meynard?”
“Yeah! That’s it. Meynard.”
That is a perfect example of what will happen to the memory of me after I leave. Everyone liked all three of the Officers that I named. Then after they are gone for a few months, it often takes several minutes to even recall their names, if you can recall them at all.
I was talking to another veteran officer and he said, “Man, we’re like family up here at the jail. We see each other more than we do our own families most of the times. I think I could ask for help from most of the people here, and if I really needed it, they would help me. You ain’t going to get that where you’re going, at least not right away.”
I said, “Ok, but ask yourself this, how many people do you stay in contact with after they leave? Besides seeing them on Facebook, how many of them do you actually see in person?”
This officer has been working at the jail for 17 years. He has seen hundreds of officers come and go throughout the years. He thought about my question for a minute and then said, “Wow. I can honestly say none.”
I feel like I’m ending my second “mini-career.”
My first mini-career was working in restaurants and kitchens for 10 years; and believe me, I don’t miss it. My wife loves to watch cooking shows on T.V. and I hate it. Why? Because I lived it for 10 years.
The T.V shows don’t show the early mornings. They don’t show the burns up and down your arms. They don’t show you feeling like you’re living the same day over and over wondering why you’re doing this, until that one day that you decide, I’m not doing this anymore.
My second mini-career has been working in the criminal justice field. I started off thinking that I was going to go to law school. I worked for an attorney for two years, and then I got my B.S. in Criminal Justice from one of the top three criminology schools in the United States.
From there, I worked with juveniles for a year. I then worked for the 22nd Circuit Court at the St. Louis City holdover for two years interviewing people about their crimes and getting their background information.
From there, I went to work for the St. Charles County jail as a Corrections Officer for 6 years, and then was their Training Officer/Director for the last four years. Add it all up and that’s 15 years in this crazy field.
I don’t think I’m going to miss working in jails. I won’t miss the smell of urine that smacks you in the face when you walk through the door in the summer time, or fighting people covered in feces, or having people call you every name in the book on a weekly (or sometimes daily) basis.
What I will miss are the people, the stories and getting out of speeding tickets.
The positive side to this is, I don’t feel like I’m starting a whole new career. I’m going into healthcare training, which is obviously a different field. But I’ve been the Training Officer/Coordinator/Director for the jail for the last four years and I feel like I’m getting a four year head start in this new career. Hopefully this will be the one I retire from.
But if history repeats itself, I should be starting my next mini-career at 50-55 and that’s probably not the best time to start something new. Guess I’ll have to wait ten to fifteen years to find out.
Today marks the 12th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
There is a campaign underway to, “Take a day to remember the day that changed us forever.”
Queue Robert De Nero:
“Take a day to pause. Take a day to reflect. To explore. To learn. To honor the best in humanity that overcame the worst. To remember compassion. Kindness. Courage.”
I remember the day that changed me forever. I was working the midnight shift at the St. Louis City Holdover. I got off work at 7:00 am CST and went to sleep. Shortly after that, my ex-girlfriend started calling me repeatedly, but I kept sending her to voicemail.
After the fourth or fifth call, I finally answered the phone. My ex was frantic and she said, “Get up and turn on your T.V.”
“What? No. I’m sleeping,” I said.
“Just do it,” she said.
“I don’t want to watch T.V. I’m trying to sleep.”
“We’re under attack!” she screamed.
I jumped up and turned on the T.V. The first Tower had already been hit, but not the second.
I said, “We’re not under attack. A plane just flew into a building. There’s got to be some kind of explanation. I’m going back to bed.”
I hung up the phone and turned it off so no one else could wake up.
When I woke up, I turned on my phone and had about 20 messages. I could tell without even turning on the T.V. yet, that the whole world had changed. Forever.
What’s to say about a girl fixing her hair in an abandoned storefront window?
I got pulled over this morning. It was about 2:15 am and I was on my way to work an overtime shift at the county jail.
The young cop walked up, shinned his flashlight in my face and said, “License and insurance please.”
I handed it to him and he said, “I pulled you over because you didn’t use your turn signal when you turned from Sulphur Springs onto Manchester,” which was three miles back, so I laughed out loud.
He shinned the flashlight in the car and saw my badge and said, “Who do work for?”
“I work at the county jail and that’s where I’m headed right now,” I said.
He handed back my license and insurance card and said, “Have a good day, brother.”
I wanted to say, “Thanks rookie,” but I didn’t and instead said, “You too,” and took off.
When you work in the field, getting out of petty tickets is part of the perks. But I later thought, he was just fishing for a DWI and for some reason that made me mad. But I guess it’s lucky he didn’t pull me over a few days ago around this time or there would have been a good chance that I went to work on my off day.
It’s just another reason that I’m taking a break from drinking.