Sunday, June 17, 2007

A bittersweet day

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. I was hot, cranky, not rested, and just in a bad mood. Combined with the woes of third trimester pregnancy and a snotty, coughing child, by 7:15 a.m., I realized this was a day I'd rather just crawl back into bed for.

But of course I didn't. Stella and I let Eric sleep in, while we cooked breakfast for him. When we heard the shower water turn on, we quickly packed up his gift, and she burst into the bathroom holding the bag, saying, "Happy Father's Day, Daddy!" That made me laugh and cry - laugh because I knew he was naked in there, and as her curiosity buds about our various body parts, he does try to maintain some privacy in the house. And cry just because, well, I'm a hormonal mess.

We piddled around the house mainly, doing a little yardwork, watching a Sesame Street video, taking a walk. After a restless, steamy nap for she and I, we decided to get out of the house and head down to the Waynesville Rec Center field, which has a nice shaded walking path along the creek.

All this complaining is leading up to something - I promise. As we strolled along the path, I had a revelation as to why I was being such a complete grouch - this was father's day. Duh. I couldn't believe that I hadn't really thought much about my own dad in the days leading up to Father's Day, and now that Eric is a dad, the focus was naturally on him.

My dad passed away 3 1/2 years ago of liver and pancreatic cancer. It's weird to even type that, because while so many people in my life know this event well, most people reading this blog are friends that I've met after his passing. It's crazy to think that people that I now consider close friends have never known me with a dad.

I don't feel old or mature enough to be here without him. I know that people of all ages lose parents and that it's hard anytime. I just never imagined myself in my 20s with two kids and no father to share them with.

He was a funny man, sociable, with a contagious laugh. He was a prankster, mischievous and took great pleasure in embarrassing me any chance he could get. I know that his marriage to my mom wasn't the best, and he certainly wasn't the perfect husband, but I think of all the roles in his life, he took most seriously the one of father.

We found out in August 2003 that he was sick, and by January of the next year he was gone. 13 days after he died, at some ungodly hour in the morning, Eric and I stood in our bathroom staring at a positive pregnancy test sitting on the counter. Dad always predicted that I'd have a daughter one day, "just like you," he'd say. Well, she's a lot like her dad too, but he called it. Oh, if he could see her now.

How lucky she is to have the father that she does, because I know how special that bond can be between a little girl and her dad. Thank you, Eric, for giving her that priceless gift.

Friday, June 15, 2007

I Love My iPod

The iPod has all but replaced the radio for me. I don't make any apologies, because in these mountains it's hard to get - and keep - a good radio station tuned in. And how many times can you listen to "I Love This Bar" on 99.9 without going a little bug-eyed?

It's possible to download podcasts that have video, but I just download audio podcasts. I plug my iPod into my computer and drag and drop the selections onto the iPod, which will hold around 30 hours of audio. My iPod has ear phones that still allow me to hear traffic around me while I'm driving. Partly that is because I'm not into listening to music on my iPod. I prefer interviews. Here are my favorite podcasts and where to get them:

This American Life (
The Story (
The World Technology Report ( -- I think that's where you go.
Don Carlin's Hardcore History (Find it at, along with lots of other podcasts. You have to sort through the junk to find the jewel.)
The Manager's Toolbox (find it at podcastalley).

I have an iPod Shuffle, which you can order online for about $79. The Shuffle doesn't have a screen to help you make selections, but you can play your library one selection after the other (instead of randomly) or skip forward or back to the next selection at any time.

Give it a try. You'll be amazed how much time you spend in the car once you start listening to your pod and realize how much good programming you can get through. And you'll be grateful that you're not singing along to "I Love This Bar," for the thousandth time.