My Amazing Wife

My wife is amazing.  She was forced out of work due to fibromyalgia.  She spent most of a year in bed, dealing with the fallout of missed commitments, eroding friendships, and guilt about not contributing to the household income.

Then she submitted an essay to the National Fibromyalgia Association and won a scholarship to their International Leaders Against Pain conference.  Empowered, she founded the Colorado Fibromyalgia Network, a grass-roots support group, which has now been chosen to host an educational event for several hundred people, one of only ten such events nationwide.

She’s found her calling, and she’s loving it.

Blood is Thicker than Water Under the Bridge

The story about the stabbing came in my RSS feed, with no picture.  They described the the attacker as being tall and heavyset, unshaven, with brown hair.  The description matches my first stepson (or at least it did the last time I saw him.)  I read further and find that the name is the same, too.

No, it wasn’t him, but it does set me to wondering.  This year, he turns the same age I was when I first met his mother.

There’s bad blood; I don’t really want to know how he his.  Yet, I can’t help but wonder.

Generally Excellent Dude

I got a great Father’s Day present today. My son, Keith (MySpace, Facebook), called and said that he had completed his GED!

If you’ve been a long time reader of this blog (yeah, you two, there) you might remember a post I wrote a couple of years ago expressing concern about the alarming dropout rate among high school students, and how it affects the way young adults talk about graduation. Little did I know that only about six months after I wrote that, my own son would drop out, just prior to graduation.

It doesn’t have anything to do with intelligence; he is a smart kid — er, young man — although he hasn’t always made wise choices (as is often the case when one is in one’s late teens.) He passed the GED easily, which is no surprise to me. He is faster than I am at solving a standard 3x3x3 Rubik’s cube, and he can solve the harder 4x4x4 Rubik’s Revenge and even the 5x5x5 Professor’s Cube. His musical, spatial, and artistic talents have always been his strengths, but he is no slouch at poetry, abstract thinking, or math, either. (I have no idea how many digits of π he is currently able to recite, but it’s many times further than my mere 3.1415926535.)

And to top things off, he’s decided to enroll in the Art Institute of Colorado, something that thrills both me and Lannette. We’ve always tried to encourage him to expand upon his natural artistic talents, and now he appears to be doing exactly that.

There have been many times when I’ve been proud of Keith: each time he scored a “1” in his fine arts solo competitions, each time he drew fantastic image that simply sprung from somewhere deep in his mind, each time he told a horrible pun, or even out-geeked me on a geek test. But I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of him than I am right now.

Congratulations, son, on completing your GED and on your choice to continue your schooling. You have grown into a Generally Excellent Dude.

King of the Bee!

Please allow me to present my stepson, Logan, the winner of the 2008 Pinnacle Charter School Spelling Bee!

Logan with trophy

A couple of years ago, Logan performed well enough in the school Spelling Bee to attend the Adams 12 district bee, but was tripped up by the word “condor,” which he actually did know how to spell. This year, he got his revenge on the condor, and conquered the spelling bee with the winning word “terrestrial.”

The Pinnacle is a K-12 charter school, and two years ago, it was part of the Adams 12 district. Now, however, it is part of a state charter, and the participation rules for charter schools in the Scripps spelling bee events are evidently significantly tougher than for public schools. The school made sure it crossed all its Ts and dotted all its Is, and was allowed to participate as a qualifying school. Since it is not part of a public school district, that means Logan’s win puts him directly into the Colorado State Spelling Bee, which will take place at the Colorado Convention Center in March!

Way to go, Logan! We’re extremely proud of you, and we’ll be there rooting for you in March!

We have a winner!

Since last year, I’ve been subscribing to the GetRichSlowly blog, written by J.D. Roth. I found his blog through Gina Trapani’s LifeHacker blog, and I’m finding that reading GetRichSlowly is helping me to keep a focus on getting my finances in shape. I’ve always had a tendency to bury my head in the sand when things get dark in my financial world, and keeping up with GRS helps me avoid that tendency.

Last week, GRS ran a contest, asking for true stories of frugality by readers or people close to them, and I submitted a revision of my Of Laptops and Cub Scout Slides post. The contest was to have three winners, all of whom would receive copies of Jeff Yeager’s The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Road Map to True Riches. It actually turned out that there were four winners, and I was one of them!

I had linked to the above blog entry from the GRS site, and I was surprised to see a big spike in traffic on that post. Over the weekend, nearly 200 people read my “Cub Scout Slides” blog post, which I didn’t expect at all. I’m hoping I got some new RSS or e-mail subscribers out of those page views; if you are new to the Lytspeed Communications Creativity Journal, please speak up in the comments and let me know. And thanks for visiting!

I don’t think of myself as being good at being frugal, so I feel a little like I don’t deserve to be awarded a book about frugality. What this shows me, though, is that I do have wonderful examples of frugality in what my parents taught me, specifically my Dad. My wife has told me before that I need to collect all these great stories that I have of my Dad and put them together in one place. Maybe this blog is the place. I’ll create a new category for those kinds of stories.

It’s also interesting to note that I had referred to GRS in my most recent ComputorEdge article, which comes out Friday, January 11th, 2008. The article is called “The Dark Side of the Coin,” and is about debt reduction.

Hmmm … the stars seem to be aligning. Maybe this really is the year I will make headway against 17 years of constant debt.