Tuesday, November 24, 2009

And for that, I give thanks

Thanksgiving is around the corner, a time when people remember all the blessings in their lives. However, there are people who aren't satisfied with what they have. They think that if only they had a little more, then they'd be thankful. It's always easy to focus on what we don't have.

Today, I was riding on the local hike-n-bike trail. For most of the ride I was lost in thought, thinking about problems that needed to be worked out, bills that needed to paid, and chores that needed to be done. I wasn't paying attention to the beautiful weather, the red and brown leaves scattered along the trail, or any other blessings in plain sight.

On one part of the trail a woman was walking with her dog and not doing a good job of staying to one side of the trail. I sighed, slightly put out because she was blocking my path. I politely said "on your left" to let her know I was passing, and she scooted over with a bright smile and a cheery "oh, sorry."

It was then that I realized that there's a good chance she was blind.

It was not one of my finer moments. So for the rest of my ride, I thought about the things I had: my sight, my hearing, my overall health. I have a good job, a roof over my head, a mostly well-behaved dog, and a cat that tolerates me. I get to play the sports I enjoy, and my church choir doesn't mind having me as a member. My family gets along with each other and is only slightly dysfunctional, but in a good way. My life is full of people who genuinely care about my well-being.

And for that, I give thanks.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ego search

An ego search is when a person performs a web search on their own name. A person might legitimately do an ego search to ensure there isn't false or embarrassing information about themselves online. Companies sometimes perform them to see what people are posting or blogging about them. Me? I just have an enormous ego.

I also have the distinction of sharing a name with the Representative for the state of Alaska. Congressman Don Young is currently one of the longest-serving members of the House. He has chaired both the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Resources Committee. He is noted for having lost his first election attempt to a man who had been missing for almost a month and was later declared dead. He has also been investigated on more than one occasion for ethics violations.

As you might expect, there are many web pages, online articles and blogs about Congressman Young and an "ego search" of Don Young returns a lot of hits. There was also an unexpected side-effect. People searching for the Congressman would sometimes end up on my personal website. Despite my "About Me" and "Contact Me" pages specifically mentioning that I am not the Congressman for Alaska, I would still get the occasional e-mail meant for that other Don Young.

One time, I got an e-mail from a woman who was VERY upset with the way I voted on a particular piece of legislation. She went into great detail as to why my vote was the incorrect one, and she was nice enough to thrown in a few insults, too. I had no idea what the legislation was about, and I didn't care, but I began typing a response to the woman. I gave my reasons for voting the way I did, all completely bogus, of course, and I included a few insults of my own. However, I thought better of impersonating a Congressman and deleted my response before I sent it.

I would hate to have been brought up on ethics charges.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

I'm one of the select few

Temptation comes in many forms, and it usually strikes us where we're weak. A person with an addiction will often be tempted by that addiction. A person on a diet will probably be tempted by food. A person with issues with pride will be tempted by power and recognition. Or so I've heard. :)

I like nice cars. I like the big engines, the fancy options, the nice sound system, etc. However, when I have a car, no matter how nice it is, I get as much as I can out of it. I've never had a car for less than 6 years. I've had my current car for over 10 years and nearly 190,000 miles. In fact, I've been a car owner for more than 25 years, and I'm only on my third car.

I've had the new car bug for a few months, but I've been wanting to wait until next year when I'll be closer to paying off one of my mortgages and I won't have any other outstanding debt. I'm hoping my current car lasts until then with just the usual maintenance.

But temptation struck. Yesterday, a loan specialist from my bank left a message. I was one of the "select few" customers chosen for a special car loan rate. And by select few, they mean that I'm a customer who doesn't have a big outstanding loan with them, so they're not making any money off of me. How nice of them to offer me a loan out of the goodness of their hearts. :)

I thought about it a long time yesterday, but for now I'm going to wait. The new cars aren't going anywhere, and I'm guessing the bank will still have money to loan next year. Who knows, maybe I'll be one of the select few again.