Tonight I Post!

Well, what can I say except I’m sorry? No excuses, just that combination of winter malaise, lack of motivation, and nothing in particular to say that makes me such an unreliable blogger.

Tonight I Post! because some of you wonder if I am still amongst the living. Near as I can tell, that’s an affirmative. Although I feel the beginnings of a cold/sore throat thing in my chest and throat. Small stuff. Hmm, I heard a motivational speaker once say that there are only two big things in life, and everything else is the small stuff. And you should never worry about that small stuff. The two big things are being born and dying. Everything in between is the small stuff. Can you believe that guy makes a living talking that crap? It’s the modern equivalent of a snake oil salesman I suppose. But if it makes people feel better I guess there is no harm. Hell, I should thank the guy. It gave me a paragraph in what I suspect will be a rather meandering post.

Tonight I Post! will I guess just cover what I’ve been up to these past several weeks in reverse chronological order. To ease your pain I will try to limit myself to bullets. If you have been a regular around here (God help you!) you will be able to fill in the gaps quite easily I’m sure.

My father has been ill with pneumonia, which coupled with his emphysema has not been an easy go. Get well soon Dad!

Good news and bad news on the dart front: Monday we beat Rubbies 25-6. But 3 of those losses were mine. Which is ok, because I did manage to win six legs. The previous week I was 1-5 and responsible for a tough 16-15 loss to XOX. the first place team. Perspective is a beautiful thing.

Had a nice weekend visit from a fellow blogger, Jenn of I Got Two Shoes fame. She has already blogged the event here, and I can’t add anything else. Well, the “gay friendly” bar she mentions did not involve any friendliness on my part. Not that there is anything wrong with it.

Saturday night was the wedding reception of Duke and Ji Young. Very nice affair. Ji Young looked outstanding, and even Duke cleaned up pretty well. I wish them much happiness and success in the future. That old saw about the wife being the better half doesn’t apply to Duke. Ji Young is at least 2/3s better! Hey Duke, if you can’t take a joke, F.U.!

Actually, I would nickname Duke lucky except for one thing. His darts. Ha!Ha! Actually, he played quite well, just never quite well to win any of the tourneys we played in his honor. But it appeared he had a lot of fun trying, and at the end of the day that’s the main thing.

In all seriousness, it was great to have Duke back at Dolce again. It almost seemed like he had never left. I know he was impressed with the metamorphosis of Dolce Vita into a premiere dart bar, and I hope he knows that his dedication to promoting darts amongst the clientèle had a lot to do with the way things are now. Consider it your legacy Duke.

Other than that all I have done during this hiatus was work hard and play harder. Lots of beer consumed and darts thrown to varying degrees of success. And I’m still standing.

Tonight I Post! is now completed. I do have some photos that would have went well with this narrative, but alas, I am to frickin’ lazy to upload them. And yeah, I know all of the above is not technically in bullet form like I promised. Whaddaya goin’ do about it? And you know damn well it could have been worse. Much worse. Trust me on that!

I will try to become more regular. At least until my colonoscopy is scheduled. Oh my, what a post THAT will be.

Later y’all.

It’s too cold to talk about the weather…

…so let’s talk about darts instead!

Monday night my team, the Sliders, locked horns with our neighbor bar’s Blue Bulls. We took a 20-11 victory, but in reality the match was much closer as nearly every leg was tightly contested. As seems to invariably happen I was matched up with the Goat in singles cricket. Me and Craig are friendly rivals (well, friendly between matches, but never at the oche). Over the past couple of seasons one or the other of us would win the match 2-1. Neither of us had gone 3-0 in league play. Until Monday night.

The odd thing was it was a close match as both of us were pretty much equally off our game. The difference in the end came down to bulls. And I hit them a tad more frequently than my opponent on this occasion. So I get the bragging rights until our next meeting. Heh.

Actually, it was a stellar night for all the Dolce teams. Take it Easy beat Bless U, Rubbies won their first match of the season against White Horse, and our new team (Sweet Life) took down Nashville.

Here’s hoping for a continuation of that winning tradition. Go Dolce!

These three guys walk into a bar…

A Scotsman, an Englishman, and an Irishman are playing darts at Dolce Vita in Itaewon (you guys know who you are, so I won’t mention any names…).

“Y’know” said the Scotsman, “I still prefer the pubs back home. In Glasgow, there’s a wonderful little bar called McTavish’s. The landlord there goes out of his way for the locals, so much that when you buy 4 drinks he’ll buy the 5th drink for you.”

“Well,” said the Englishman, “at my local, the Red Lion, the barman there will buy your 3rd drink after you buy the first 2.”

“Ahhhhh, that’s nothing, laddies,” said the Irishman.

“Back home in me own Dublin, there’s Ryan’s Bar. Now, the moment you set foot in the place they’ll buy you a drink, then another, all the drinks you like. Then, when, when you’ve had enough drinks, they’ll take you upstairs and see that you get laid. All on the house.”

The Englishman and Scotsman immediately scorn the Irishman’s claims. But he swears every word is true.

“Well,” said the Englishman, “did this actually happen to you?”

“Not to me meself, personally, no,” said the Irishman… “but it did happen to me sister.”

Remembering Linda Ketner

linda.jpgFour years ago this month my friend and soulmate succumbed to breast cancer. Until this moment I have never written of her, although few days pass when she is not in my thoughts. Even now the pain of losing her seems too raw and fresh to contemplate, and yet her memory is so wonderful that it begs to be shared, if only to give her spirit some substance within the dimension of the living. Although mere words, especially within the constraints of my limited talent of expression, could never capture the essence of this remarkable woman. But Linda Ketner loved me and would certainly forgive my feeble efforts at a proper remembrance. And so for you my friend, I share the story that I carry in my heart.

I met Linda in Prescott, Arizona in 1981. She was working as a legal secretary in a law office on my mail route. I’m not sure why I asked her out; she was a couple of years older than me and not really my “type” physically. But she did have a great smile, and her dark Italian eyes sparkled with equal parts of mischief and wisdom, as if she was in on some cosmic joke and my cluelessness was most amusing. Well, whatever it was that created the spark, the resulting fire was to light and warm a friendship that lasted over 20 years.

For the first couple of years we toyed with romance. We were both single parents with two children. She was Catholic and I wasn’t. I was on the rebound from a major heartbreak and could not let myself love again which made her incredibly angry. I moved to Arkansas several months after we met. She brought her kids cross country by bus to visit me there. We spent time at my parents small farm in eastern Oklahoma and she told me later it was the only time in her life she had truly felt at peace and at home. She wanted me to ask her to stay. And I didn’t.

We continued to write and speak on the phone and I’m not sure how I would have borne the loneliness of that time in my life without her kindness and support. About a year later she had moved to Phoenix and I came out to see her. By now I had come to love her and was finally ready to commit to a relationship. And she wasn’t, at least with me. She had met someone else and I was too late. Which really pissed her off. I saw first hand her fiery temper in what we fondly recalled as the refrigerator cleaning incident. As she was emptying the contents of the fridge, she would hurl food items and invectives my way, telling me in colorful terms what an idiot I had been. That actually turned out to be one of our favorite memories that always made us laugh, but it was a pretty intense experience at the time.

So, we both wound up marrying others and going on with our lives. But we always stayed in touch sharing our trials and joys in long letters, and with the advent of email our correspondence became even more robust. And she was always there for me, a rock to cling to in stormy seas and a beacon of light on my darkest nights. Her love for me was always unconditional, and even when I screwed up (which was often) she gave me encouragement instead of censure. I’m not sure there is a better definition of friendship.

Looking back, I probably only saw her in person six or seven times over all those years. We were connected in a way that transcended the physical, there was just some power that bonded us in a way I cannot adequately explain. She knew how to touch the places in my innermost being in a way that no one ever had before. She KNEW me. And despite that, still she loved me. I had never known that kind of affirmation and it was a source of strength and comfort to be blessed with her love.

Whenever I lost myself she helped me find my way back. She visited me once in South Carolina. Our house was decorated in manner worthy of Southern Living magazine. She looked around and said “wow, this is really amazing. But tell me, where do YOU live?” She saw through the lie I had been living for years in five minutes.

Of course, I was only one part of Linda’s life. I’m sure I was important to her, but not the most important. She had her children, her grandson, and on her third try, a husband who was worthy of her love.

Linda was no saint, but she was saintly. I nicknamed her MT2 (Mother Teresa the second). She had an amazing capacity to love. It was her gift. She did things like visiting nursing homes and reading to strangers on a weekly basis. She was always there for the people who needed her most.

As good as Linda was, her life was hard. She was emotionally abused as a child. She was living on the street as a teenager. She married two men who treated her badly. But nothing could overcome her indomitable spirit. Well, nothing but cancer. But no, the cancer beat her body, but it never beat Linda.

She was first diagnosed in the late 1980s and underwent a double mastectomy. In true Catholic fashion she told me God was punishing her for her vanity about having large breasts. But she was a survivor. When she reached the ten year mark without a recurrence she noted that statistically she was home free.

Damn statistics. The cancer recurred at twelve years and was inoperable. But she never quit fighting. I know it is cliché to talk about the “brave struggle against impossible odds”, but Linda was the poster child for fighting the good fight against the evil that was eating her body. Her faith, courage, and strength were inspirational to all who knew her.

And just when it seemed things could get no worse, her daughter Amy died from a drug overdose. When I heard the news I thought Linda would lose her will to live. I think it was touch and go for awhile, but Amy’s son needed her and she fought on. And on. She was in pain most of the time, in mind, body and spirit, but still she would not quit. And she never lost herself. I visited Linda a couple of times during the last year of her life and always came away uplifted. It was as if she had had her faith challenged in the most severe fashion and had passed the test. Her reward was acceptance and peace of mind.

Well, maybe not acceptance. The last time we were together was at the hospice. She was drugged up and in and out of consciousness, but early one morning she awoke while I was sitting at her bedside. She looked at me and smiled, and that same mischievous mirth from the day we met was twinkling in her eyes. We talked about all we had shared, we laughed and cried, and then she squeezed my hand and told me “this is NOT goodbye”. I don’t know if she was right, but I didn’t argue the point. I love her now as I did then and she lives on in my heart. If there is a heaven I know of no one more worthy than her to reside there. She was my angel on Earth and I miss having her here watching out for me.

As I got up to leave the hospice for the last time, I accidentally tripped on the oxygen tubes that had somehow gotten twisted around my legs. Linda started gasping and clutching her throat. I stood there in shock and near panic. Then she flashed me that big smile and said “Got ya!”

Yeah babe, you got me. You got me good.

linda.jpg

A drunken mess

That pretty much describes my long holiday weekend. Lots of darts and beer. Last night finished up with some norebang with the Dolce crowd and stumbled home at six a.m. Today I am feeling the after affects, but I’m still standing. Barely.

A new week and a new outlook are on tap. Duke arrives Friday and we are all looking forward to spending the next couple of weeks getting reacquainted.

And that’s about all I have to say for now.

I will survive

At least I think so. Starting to feel much better today. Thanks for the get well comments!

Went to the doctor today. It took me two months to get into the Army hospital for an appointment and the original problem was the crick in my neck, which resolved itself weeks ago. But given that I am of an age, I am going to do the complete physical thing to see what kind of damage my lifestyle might be wreaking on this tired old body.

So the cute little Korean reception person took my vitals and history. Smoke? check. Drink? check. High blood pressure? Yep. (144 over 86, but then I smoked a fag just before going in). Overweight? Actually, I qualify as obese. So, what else is new?

So, Dr. Lee asks why I’m there. I think medical folks don’t have much patience (heh, patients) for people like me who don’t take any proactive interest in maintaining good health. I professed a desire to change my ways, but I wanted to make sure it was not too late before I went through all the hassle of actually altering my lifestyle.

So, today we did the chest x-ray. Tomorrow I will get blood work done. And I will schedule the dreaded colonoscopy (I can’t pronounce or spell that procedure). She also gave me a prescription for zyban so I can quit smoking. Which I may attempt here soon. As soon as I get my test results back!

So, despite feeling rather poorly all weekend I did play a lot of darts. Friday night at Dolce, Dan and I took the tourney, beating Seung Yeob and Rick. The most memorable thing for me was taking the last leg of the championship game with a 48 out. Double 8, double 8, double 8. Yeah, the first two were misses, but still…

Saturday night at the big Blue Frog farewell to Doug and Tom, I teamed up with Chris B. for a 3rd place finish. We might have done better, but we couldn’t hit when we had too against Alastair and Billy. They took us out of both the winners and losers bracket with some smokin’ ’01 play. The tourney technically ended in a tie because the Championship round didn’t start until 12:30 am. Karl and his partner Rod took the first game, but Rod is a soldier and had a 1 am curfew to deal with. Total purse for 1st and 2nd was W450,000, so Alastair and Billy graciously agreed to split it almost evenly and everyone went home happy.

Sunday I played in my first soft tips tourney out on the far side of Seoul (near the end of line 6). I played decent but didn’t make the money round, finishing in 5th. It was definitely different. 90% Koreans, but they were mostly very kind and gracious to the Yankee interlopers. I could have done better but I let myself get distracted by an opponents handicap rating that appeared to be sandbagging. As I told myself later, that’s bullshit. If you can’t overcome 30 points you don’t deserve to win. Lesson learned for next time.

Last night we had our league matchup with White Horse from Blue Frog. Gawd, I was awful. I struggled all night. How bad was I? In doubles teamed up with Alastair and Petro we went 2-4. And that was all on me. I was fortunate to sweep my singles match 3-0, but I was damn lucky because Won Jun had me on the ropes a couple of times, only to let me sneak away with the win. That won’t happen often against him or anyone else. I’m not playing up to my capabilities and I am damn sure not playing like someone who belongs in A division. Hopefully last night was my wake up call.

Still, its all good.

Today I say

I feel this obligation to update but you see I have this problem. There’s absolutely freakin’ nothin’ I need or want to say. And while I am too often prone to talk (or write) under such circumstances regardless, its just not there for me tonight.

Perhaps its because I am a tad under the weather. Well, I guess except for astronauts we are all technically under the weather (hmm, maybe submariners are exempt as well). Truth is, the weather is actually into me. By that I mean the cold. As in I have one. No big deal, just feel lazier than usual, have a hacking cough (above and beyond my normal smoker’s cough), a little congestion, a general malaise.

So how is this going to impact my weekend routine? Not much. Darts at Dolce tonight. Darts at Blue Frog Saturday. A soft tips tournament somewhere in Seoul on Sunday. And of course, dart league on Monday. But, no worries, I will not forget my weakened condition. For tomorrow I will have chicken soup. The kind they serve where there is half a chicken in the broth. Can’t remember what it’s called now and I am, ahem, too sick to look it up.

Did you notice how I included Monday in my weekend plans? That’s because I’m not working Monday. Being as how it is “Superbowl Monday” General Bell has declared it a military holiday and a liberal leave day for us civilians. Pretty cool, eh?

Am I going to get up early Monday morning to watch the game at Hooters? Hell no! I’m too sick…