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After while...

Oct. 24th, 2010 | 08:49 pm

5 years is a pretty long time to keep something like this going I suppose.  Skimming through my entries just now was weird, and I'm sure it will be an interesting thing to look back on one day.  I started this with you guys as a brand-new medical student.  Two kids, four homes, a lot of student loan debt, and a Guns N' Roses album later I agree with Monica that it's time to close up shop around here.  Distance, changes in interests and personalities, jobs, other obligations, all of that will only increase from here, but I still think it's so important we all keep in contact with one another through some regular means.  I'll eventually get around to facebooking like the rest of the world, although some recent Air Force training makes me reluctant. 

This would absolutely be the best journal entry ever... if I could really tell you everything that I've gone through over the last 3 weeks.  That's because parts of it are classified and therefore against the law for me to talk about.  This stuff either isn't something our government wants foreigners to know about or to know that we know.  Suffice to say that it's been both the best and worst training I've ever encountered, and I've experienced mental and physical exhaustion like you wouldn't believe.  That's redeemed by the huge amount of practical knowledge I've received during my time here from people who have pretty sound firsthand knowledge of the subject matter.

The course was called SERE -- survive, evade, resist, and escape.  You can wiki it, but basically it's here to teach those of us in high-risk military jobs how to handle some of the no-shit life-threatening challenges that we could encounter.  It's been around forever and is taught in Washington State, and I can honestly say there's no way I could have completed portions of the training had it been January instead of October.  That's because after a few days of classroom presentations and small-group discussions on survival and evasion, we got bussed out to the forest to put theory into practice. 

So prior to leaving, we were broken into groups of 6 and issued about 60 lbs worth of gear each.  When we offloaded the bus we got our gear and rucked half a mile into the woods.  We set up camp and started learning how to build shelters and fires and catch game, how to navigate, how to move with all that gear up mountains and through thick brush for miles and miles, how to signal our position if someone were looking for us, etc.  On day 4 the situation changes from us being stranded in the wilderness to being stranded inside enemy territory.  We were put out on our own to do all those other things while at the same time keeping a low profile and evading capture.  Our trained instructors were 'in character' with paintball guns and dogs and helicopters etc, so all of this was pretty tough.  But, looking back, it was also a hell of a lot of fun.  My group of 3 was one of the few who managed to evade capture the entire time, although we went through some pretty extreme lengths physically to accomplish this.

When everyone was either captured, rescued, or had made the final checkpoint, we all got rounded up by 'the enemy' and got our first taste of interrogation.  We were then hooded and sent to the POW camp, where the resistance portion began.  This part is brutal because it involves torture of various kinds.  Nobody was sexually abused or boiled in acid, but you'd be surprised how being hooded and forced to listen to certain, er, music can really fuck you up (think Yoko Ono or this poem to subtly dissonant music and performed by Adolph Hitler), particularly when combined temperature extremes, sleep deprivation, and physical confinement.  You're strip searched and treated like an animal (you have 'paws' and 'hooves' and 'carcasses').  They do all these things to make you feel powerless, resigned, and thoroughly softened up for the individual and group interrogations.

This part I can't talk about, either their techniques for extracting info or the methods we were eventually taught to resist giving anything up.  You can wiki enhanced interrogation techniques to get an idea of the some of the ways they do things down there.  They do internet research on you as well, and really surprised some people with the dirt they dug up.  They trick you into doing propaganda videos, create dissension in your group by using people against one another, indoctrinate you with information, all sorts of things.  We're a group of well-trained, intelligent, dedicated soldiers, but believe me when I tell you it was the easiest thing in the world for them to accomplish their objectives... without utilizing any 'real' torture. 

After a week in the woods and as a prisoner, we were all pretty tapped out when we returned to the dorms that evening.  I took 2 showers, ordered a shit ton of food, called Kelley and passed out.  The next few days were spent teaching us how to do better with the interrogations, how to communicate and organize and escape and otherwise resist to the best of our abilities.  A key concept they gave us was to be a prisoner AT war instead of a prisoner OF war.  The more you resist and push your agenda, the more you make your enemy work.  This sucks up their resources and time and manpower, and if at the same time you're successfully preventing them from obtaining useful information then you're really doing a valuable war mission.  Not that it's all war; we were also taught what to do in a hostage situation and in a 'detainee' situation (like what you'd be if you accidentally landed in Iran). 

So this went on for awhile before we were ambushed and taken back to the camp.  This time we were there for 3 days, cycling through the wartime/peacetime/hostage scenarios in turn.  This portion of the course sucked bad, but even though it was longer it was honestly easier than the 8 hours we'd spent as captives previously because we were trained to deal with it.  The whole thing ended when we accomplished the set individual/group objectives and escaped.  The next day we had a few med/psych talks, got and gave some feedback, and GTFO of Fairchild AFB as soon as humanly possible.  I thought I was OK leaving there, but back home I was in an awful mood.  I slept like shit and woke up several times a night thinking I was back in my little box.  Anyway, one of the guys took a couple of good pics, will make those one last post if he emails them one day. 

So right now I'm in Pensacola, FL getting ready for a water survival course.  I'm not entirely sure what to expect but have heard it involves a fair amount of swimming, parasailing, and treading water.  The big thing here though is getting put in a helicopter and dunked underwater, spun around with lights and bubbles everywhere and having to find a way out prior to drowning.  I just finished an emergency parachute course, where we literally got to do everything with a parachute except jump out of an airplane.  Doesn't make much sense, but it was pretty cool getting picked up and flown around in a helicopter.  Next week I'm back in San Antonio for a supplementary flight medicine course, then finally I'll be back in Minot for good.  Just in time for the snow.

Dixie has lung cancer.  She's smoked forever so it wasn't altogether unexpected, but it has been tough on Kelley and her family.  We're still getting information, but right now it may be isolated and amenable to surgery.  We might all be able to come down for a late Christmas, although that may change depending on my work schedule or her prognosis.  Molly's really interactive now.  She's a lot more vocal than I remember Harris being but is trailing him in the crawling department.  Pics below.  Harris is going to be a mess keeping indoors over the winter.  Sure we'll do some sledding and stuff hopefully, but you really gotta keep your eye on him.  He's scary fast, makes Speedy Gonzalez look like a regular Gonzalez.  Kelley's already usurped power in the local mom's group and is implementing her evil regime of McDonald's playdates and random beatings.  My job is shaping up to be pretty laid-back, particularly if we get another doctor as is rumored, so all in all Minot could be an OK place to spend some time. 

Want you guys to get with me in the next month on possible Christmas gift ideas for you and your significant others.  We're keeping it simple for the kids this year.  The main things we'd like to get them are a toy kitchen and an outdoor swingset, but stuff in the more affordable range includes a sing-along CD player, hand puppets, Disney movies, books, and clothes.  Shoot me an email for specifics or ideas for Kelley.  My Christmas wish list:
-GPS
-Terranigma (super NES game)
-Castlevania:  Symphony of the Night (playstation game)
-gas grill
-external hard drive (250 GB+
-Louis CK DVD
-itunes gift card
-fiction books (Stephen King has a new one out soon)

Final Links:
Knockin' on Heaven's Door
Like you haven't been there
...Crocodile


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Weekend Plans

May. 2nd, 2006 | 02:28 pm

Kelley and I are planning on going out to the crawfish boil Friday night to see Live and POD. Kelly, I haven't heard from you, but I hope you guys can come either day or both. Kelley's nephew Chase from Dallas is coming, too. My friend David will be driving up Sat, hopefully early enough for us to fire up the grill and cook some burgers for lunch. It's supposed to be nice weather for it. Not sure what time we'll drive down to the fairgrounds, but it'll probably be early afternoon so Miles and Moni y'all try and get here fairly early if possible. We've got a few extra blankets and pillows, but you might want to bring one of each just in case. Don't forget the guitar! Auntieq haven't seen anything from you here in awhile but I still need your share of the TV money. Can't remember what it ended being, $62? I think you've got my address but if not I'll post it.

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That new car smell!

Apr. 28th, 2006 | 01:18 am

Any of you ever deleted a journal entry on here? Just type up something random and then delete it, then check out the little pic it gives you. WTF? Anyway, bought me a new truck today, a 2006 Nissan Frontier King Cab XE. 4-dr, black on black, with automatic transmission, inline five cylinder, safety features, cruise, all that jazz. It gets 23 mpg, which is a big step up from the Jeep. 6 yr/60000 mile warranty, sticker price was $20,400, paid $17500 including tax, title, and fees! We put down the $3000 we're getting for the Jeep so our note is under $300. I'm planning on bringing it down to Laurel the weekend of the concert. Terry'd be proud of Kelley though; there's a new IronAss in town fo sho. Took about four hours for us to haggle them down, one extra at a time. Even got our first oil change free!

We did look at all the options, though. I found an '02 Tacoma (70000 mi) that we could've gotten for around $8000. I even did a CARFAX on it, and although it looked great on paper the test drive was terrible. We called, emailed, and/or went to dealerships and used lots all over Jackson, Meridian, and H'burg but just couldn't find anything. Kelley was sick to death of salesmen calling her cell during clinic. I was iffy about buying used anyway because of all the hurricane-damaged vehicles that are floating around right now. The real quality light trucks like the Tacomas and Frontiers were scarce, although there were tons of Sonomas and S-10's laying about. Up until the very last we were set on getting a slightly used Ranger, but it was single cab, completely stripped, and only about $1500 less than what we ended up getting the Nissan.

In other news, I'm heading into the home stretch for my first year. We had another two people quit recently, five total so far. The stats for the class indicate another 10 of us (of which I might be one who knows) will either have to repeat a course this summer or the entire year. Our Biochem boards were the lowest in school history. The Genetics department had to implement one hell of a curve in order to pass everyone. The Neuroanatomy folks have taken the opposite tack -- they've responded to the 60% cutback of their schedule time by trying to cram in the same amount of material and failing half the class (the class average on test #1 was a 68). Then they can go to the curriculum committee and say, "See what happened? Now put it back."

I'd say the systems-based experiment failed miserably, but administration seems to think that the class dress code the most pressing need of a makeover (sandals are now discouraged; there was a memo). They're pushing ahead full steam, revamping the third and fourth years to include longer primary care clerkships with less time for electives or specialty experience. It's impossible to describe how frustrating it all is.

Serious discussion: Suppose somebody drops a huge box of ebola on DC tomorrow, which takes out the government and rapidly spreads across the country and around the world. You're immune, along with about 1% of the population. Picture SK's The Stand, War of the Worlds, or The Road Warrior here. Infrastructure goes offline, law and order breaks down, etc. Would you band together with family and friends, try to recruit others, form a protective tribe? Isolate yourself and venture out armed to the teeth only for food and gas? It's really not that far-fetched after seeing what the hurricane did to people. What precautions or plans do you realistically have for something like that? It's getting late, so I'll pull a droolman and post my thoughts after while.

Memory: Riding in Grandaddy's new cars. I was always fascinated by the interior door lights, and still think of Cadillac leather and aftershave every time I see one. "The door code is 232786048... no, no, 232768..."

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A Quest!

Apr. 16th, 2006 | 08:31 am
location: the couch

Not much happening here on the home front. I'd like you guys to keep an eye out for Boone's Farm Pina Colada -- Kelley loves the stuff. I haven't seen it since high school and am coming up short on the internet, too. If you see some next time you're in the grocery or liquor store buy a case and let me know. In other news, Kelley's sister has expressed interest in buying my Jeep. I'm seriously considering it, 'cause it's getting old and has served me faithfully for over 6 years now. I'm going to start looking for a light truck like a Tacoma or Frontier, or maybe another Jeep.

Happy Easter to all. Q: Why does the Easter Bunny hide his eggs? A: Because he doesn't want anyone to know he's screwing a chicken! We have new neighbors. Kelley noticed people over there last week and walked over to introduce herself. A woman answered the door and Kelley said, "Hey my name's Kelley and I live next door. Are y'all moving in here?" The woman said, "Iono, this my brutha's place, sho." Greeeeat. Whoever is over there is driving what looks to be a brand new Hummer. Living in a $75000 condo. Damn thing takes up their whole garage.

Anyway, it seems this complex is gradually being 'taken over' if you know what I mean. For the longest time there was this Cadillac parked at the end of our row of condos. Every time the wind blew, about twice a week, the alarm would go off, and continue going off for hours. After four months of this I found a brick outside my house and tied a note to it, "get it fixed or put it in your garage", and laid it up on the windshield. I think they got the message because it got moved the same day. Kelley and I were out walking the other night (we've gotten into the habit of walking 1-2 miles almost every night) and heard it going off INSIDE a garage! Ridiculous. Anyway, we're keeping our eyes open for housing elsewhere.

As I said, Kelley and I have been trying to exercise a little. I've gained my freshman 15 for sure, what with all the free lunches and a McDonald's right there in the hospital. I weigh 150, which is still only a little more than I weighed playing football in 8th grade, drinking weight-gainer shakes and working out every day. I'm sure I'll lose some of it at boot camp this summer, if only temporarily.

Memory: Seeing the shark in Gulf Shores. It was the year all Dana's stepchildren went with us, probably the best week I've ever spent at the beach. There was some storm or hurricane moving in our last day there, sending 8-10' waves our way. We all got up early and hit the beach. Chris and I had just rode a wave in, looked back and everyone else was yelling and swimming toward shore except Kelly, who was just standing there looking at something. I looked where she was and got a glimpse of something swimming across the wave coming up in front of them, Chris yelled "Shark!", and we took off to the shore. Very cool!

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(no subject)

Apr. 11th, 2006 | 03:50 pm

Just a quick update. For all concerned, I got the Eagle's birthday present today, $246.05 tax and all. It's a JVC 27" SL-AV27D305 (and really, why can't they name electronic devices "The Cobra" or something meaningful as they do with cars?) in case you want to check it out online. I found one other of the same size $15 cheaper, but it didn't include a remote. Kelley will bring the TV up while I study for upcoming neurobiology exams.

Memory: Not sure if this has already been mentioned, but picking blackberries at Granddaddy's (and going on scout missions for them at Cathy's) was always great. Then you'd clean them off, drop them in a cereal bowl with some milk and sugar, and have a great snack.

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(no subject)

Mar. 28th, 2006 | 05:05 pm

Gotta check this out, very creepy. Put in your address and see all the sex offenders living around you, including a mugshot, vital statistics, what they did, etc. The locations are apparently color-coded; not sure on some but the reds are kiddie molesters and the greens all seem to have under convictions, "Unnatural Intercourse". I'm guess that's getting caught banging a horse or dead person or something equally as disgusting. Jackson seems to be a hotbed *sigh*

http://www12.familywatchdog.us/

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Please take a moment of silence...

Mar. 27th, 2006 | 10:01 am
mood: sadsad

If it was any closer, I'd go to the funeral. From MSNBC:

Poultry Pioneer
Chicken-nugget creator Robert Baker devoted his life to food science, and revolutionized the way we think about America's most popular meat.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11977348/site/newsweek/?GT1=7850

Memory: Acting sadder than I really was after getting a beating or sent to my room. Mom or Dad would get me McDonald's to make me feel better! Sly, sly...

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Memoirs of a right-leaning moderate

Mar. 14th, 2006 | 10:18 am
mood: pessimisticpessimistic

Three posts in a week lawd, lawd! I actually meant to put this in with yesterday's but forgot. It's another thought-provoking serious discussion topic.

This week is the three-year anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom (or The Iraq War, depending on which cable news network you watch). It is becoming increasingly evident that unless their version of George Mohammed Washington steps up or we seriously and unpopularly ramp up our involvement, the newly formed Democratic Iraq will likely degenerate into civil war. Just today soldiers found 85 people executed Mafia-style in a mass grave. We've found no nukes, no anthrax, no smallpox, and no Osama. We nabbed Saddam, but we've been unable to replace him. I don't think it was a Big Oil conspiracy or a political distraction from a bogged-down Afghani operation or some such nonsense, just a massive error in judgment by the President and his advisors. If we had it to do over, I'd be on the side of the people against the whole thing, or at least saying "why bother".

Religion can bring out both the best and worst in people, and I'd be hard-pressed to say which predominates. It seems that a larger Islam vs. the West conflict is emerging and nothing we can do to convince these people we don't care whose 4000-years-dead son of Abraham was the rightful heir, much less which Islamic caliph speaks with the true voice of the Prophet Mohammad. We would like nothing better than to get the crap out of their desert, but leaving now would result in the formation of another strongman regime that would do everything it could to kill Americans. And so it appears that we will be stuck in the Middle East tarbaby for many years to come.

And therein lies my rationale for changing my mind. I'm looking forward to a career as an Air Force physician. So if this thing is still going on in a few years, I'll more than likely be out there with my stethoscope in one hand and a military-issue 9mm in the other, riding a camel and getting skin cancer. Things have a different impact when it's happening or could happen to you. I believe empathy is the primary difference between liberals and conservatives -- conservatives don't empathize enough and liberals empathize about everything. I have a tendency to side with the conservative point of view because I believe in personal choice and responsibility. You skipped half of high school to get high and play Xbox that's cool, but recognize you chose your lot in life and don't have the audacity to bitch about not getting a large enough handout.

Anyway, I invite you to share your thoughts regarding the war, religion, and/or your own political philosophy.

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Spring Break and March Madness

Mar. 13th, 2006 | 10:32 am

I guarantee you'll be thinking about me the next time you take a shower. I'll get to that in a second. Livejournal is allowing me to post comments now, so I deleted my last entry and copied it to Kelly's journal, which is where it should've gone in the first place. Don't plan on hearing from me much over the next three months, as I'll be studying quite a bit. Our next block exam is 3/24, on Head & Neck. It'll be primarily an anatomy exam, counting 25% of the final grade, a make or break for lots of folks including myself. Then we jump headlong into Neuroanatomy, historically the toughest first-year course, and then on to finals. After that I get a break... for eight days, then it's off to boot camp!

Can you tell I'm bitter about spending my Spring Break looking at recurrent laryngeal nerves and anterior digastric muscles and foramen ovales? I do want to point out too that 3 or 4 wks ago it was missprissmonimo that was all stressed out over grad school, and I was riding high over my first really successful block of exams since September and scraplady about her trainee as well as Bryan's new job. There are ups and downs, and we all just need to roll with it and do the best we can.

Kelley is on her way back from Dallas with her mom in tow. They drove over to visit her sister. I've enjoyed having the house to myself over the weekend, got to watch NCAA basketball championships without having to switch over during the commercials to figure skating or some damn thing. It's bad luck though that they had to drive through that wicked storm front (as mentioned in bond58's latest entry) and are driving through another to get back.

I'm probably the only one in our little group even remotely interested in March Madness. Two of you grew up with Mike Ballard, so I don't need to explain anything, but for everyone else this is the month-long stretch of conference championships and the 65-team tournament in men's college basketball. More people bet on the Big Dance than the Super Bowl, and the employee hours spent printing brackets and BSing around the water cooler cost employers over a billion dollars last year. This year's favorites are Connecticut, Duke, Villanova, and Memphis, although in my bracket I have Gonzaga and Kansas challenging as well. No MS teams in it this year, although U.Florida is pretty good.

We had a lecture Friday by an ER doc who talked about all sorts of neat stuff. You're probably all familiar with how diabetics have to take care of their legs and feet because of their poor circulation and immune response. If they get so much as a scratch or ingrown toenail, it could cause gangrene and blood infection if not treated aggressively. So this doc was talking about how diabetics sometimes presented in the ER with lower limb sores infected with E. coli bacteria. E. coli lives in the intestine and is generally a sign of fecal contamination. This is in contrast with non-diabetics, who usually get sores from insect bites and whatnot infected with Staph or Strep, normal skin dwelling bugs.

So this doc was wondering why these diabetics, most of whom were upstanding people that didn't walk around shitting themselves, got butthole bacteria all over their legs. A eureka moment came when he was getting out of the shower one morning. He was drying off his head, moved down to his arms, his pelvis, then he stopped. He said he, like most people, washed his ass with soap and water, but didn't sterilize it with alcohol or iodine or anything. So when people get out of the shower they drag that intestinal bacteria all over their legs. Although gross, this normally isn't a problem for anyone but diabetics. Regardless, I doubt I was the only one in the class who let my rear end air-dry Saturday morning. I sincerely hope, if nothing else, I've convinced you to dry off from the neck down and not the feet up :)

I went into med school thinking about surgery as a potential specialty. If I continue to pursue that I would, in all likelihood, have to explain to some residency interviewer how on earth I think I'll be a good surgeon when I made a C in Anatomy, so when you combine this with my poor depth perception I'm exploring other career options. A lucky few of us have been set on some specialty or another since middle school, either because of a family member or they had some life-changing experience that made them want to be a cardiologist or OB or whatever. Most will have no idea what we like until third year, when we start seeing patients and rotating through specialties. My flavor of the month right now is anesthesia, something that combines my interests of surgery and pain management with my desire to see patients but as often as a family doc. We'll see I guess.

Memory: Granddady and I were at Shipley's one morning getting donuts. He had ordered everything and went to get his wallet from his pocket. It wasn't there, he had left it at home, and he was so disgusted with himself that he shouted, "OH, PIDDLE". I thought it was the funniest phrase I'd ever heard and cackled hysterically. The drive-thru lady laughed too and let him have the donuts on credit cause she knew him. I always liked going to pick up the donuts. You got to pick out exactly what you wanted, and he'd let you get a bag of holes to eat on the ride back.

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Tic's Post!

Feb. 17th, 2006 | 11:02 pm
mood: stressedExams every day now
music: Sportscenter

.mmjh dxw

Translated it means, well, I'm not really sure. Probably "stop chasing me across the keyboard" or something. I've been remiss with my links lately, so I've included one: www.stellaawards.com dedicated to ridiculous lawsuits. Also www.despair.com Hilarious pseudo-inspirational posters, such as (picture of a zoo leopard laying on a log) "Indifference: It takes 43 muscles to frown and 17 to smile, but it doesn't take any to just sit there with a dumb look on your face." Monica's currently in Tallahassee for her FSU grad school interview. She stayed here last night so she could get on a plane early this morning. She was stressing about the trip, but I really think by June she'll have at least two or three acceptances from which to choose. If you're reading this, good luck and post something to let us know how it goes. And during the interview, make sure you don't pee on yourself. It looks bad.

I want to thank folks for birthday gifts and birthday wishes again. Miles gave me a neat US history book, mom a great reproduction of Amerigo Vespucci's first map of the New World circa 1498, and Moni a comfortable new pair of pajama-style pants (to make up for the ones my thieving wife yard-saled). I'll enjoy them all. Today classes were canceled so the university could put on a "Primary Care Day" for us. It was like a job fair in a way; the 80 or so of us that showed up were divided into groups and shuttled from one specialty's presentation to the next. Some were cool, like the Internal Medicine room where we got to do echocardiograms (basically an ultrasound of the heart computerized into 3D), and the Pediatrics room where we got to intubate, or stick tubes down the throats of infant dummies. We learned a little about delivering babies and doing pelvic exams in the OB room. Just something I've noticed, but next time you're at the OB office, see if they talk with their first two fingers popped out. Like they're just itching to stick them somewhere. I think it's unconscious, but it's sure unsettling.

I read on ESPN.com that more people watched the dog show the other night than the Winter Olympics. I haven't seen any of the events personally, but I can't imagine why the rest of America isn't tuning in by the droves for ice-dancing and bobsleding. And Curling! It's like something a bored housewife created while swiffering the kitchen. Can somebody explain to me why these people get the same gold medal that the world-record breaking swimmers and decathletes get?

Memory, and serious discussion topic in the vein of restaurant-going blacks and death-wishes, all rolled into one: It's pretty clear Zach isn't joining the party, I thought we could talk about how weird it was spending time at the Bryants'. There's not really a single good example that encapsulate the experience, coming closest may be Z and J forbidden to play video games featuring demons or listening to Jack tearing up an ass for not making the bed. Auntie-q and bond58 have some idea what I mean, but Miles you'll just have to take my word for it. Every dinner was uncomfortable (like Memaw's at Thanksgiving), and every activity was monitored for appropriateness. You could never leave a glass unattended, you had to share your Happy Meal with your cousins, and you went to church three times a week (in your fancy new K-mart clothes bought special for you from Libbye's weekly allowance money). I always liked going to church with Granddaddy as a kid, and only partially for the ring cookies and Hi-C. But that Birmingham church was like the kind you see on the television, with stadium seating and no shortage of collection plates.

The point is, I've also seen the converse, like Kelley's nephews who had no boundaries at all and ended up teenage fathers with rap sheets (Adam), strung out going nowhere (Chase), or worse (Brad). I think we all turned out pretty well, so I wanted to know what the two moms thought were the best and worst parts of their parenting (and their parents' parenting) philosophies looking back like Monday morning quarterback. It's possible I will soon breed a crop of hellions and reap what I've sown, so I'm curious. Everybody else can go from their own angle. For example, Monica and I were given extraordinary freedom from parental filtering growing up in Madison. I developed my own ideas about things and became independent, one of the main qualities that defines me as a person I think. But with that came learning from the neighborhood kids that I was getting a little brother, or murkily picking up the birds and bees gradually between age 6 and 14 instead of an all-at-once scab ripoff of an embarrassing chat. There were and are still topics that aren't discussed or will yield a cryptic or roundabout response if they are. I don't mean to press any buttons, but this whole journal thing is kind of a waste of time if all we do is talk about TV shows and what we had for dinner.

Word o' the day: logolepsy - an unnatural obsession with obscure words.

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