11/1/11

A fine line

Halloween came and went, another year of being too old to gather free candy. But not another year to skip on dressing up (or down, you'll see).

Rachel and I made a Goodwill run to get outfitted for the night. Perfect for my costume: a hobo. Rachel ended up dressing up like a redneck. I didn't allow myself to feel guilty for haplessly purchasing secondhand clothes, even as many folks actually, and seriously wear the clothes we sported in jest. After all, we were giving funds to GW, so they could stay open, right? Spent $12. Made a hobo suitcase with a broomstick and some grocery bags. Added a little makeup and I was good to go.

Here's where the fun started, at least in my mind. I was dressed like a hobo, but man did I look homeless. When you think about it, a hobo is funny; a homeless man is really sad. People gave me some strange glances at the party, but I assured them I was in fact a whimsical hobo, who would ride locomotives from town to town, living a lifestyle of the free spirit. But still they all looked like they wanted to give me money, yet worried I would just spend it on booze. Is the only difference between a hobo and a homeless guy their mode of transportation from town to town? Meh, I'm overthinking this. But I really should have invested in a corncob pipe. What do you think?


9/6/11

This is what will happen to your stuff



The grandparents' house is also ready for the market. We cleaned out the 3rd story attic 2 weeks ago, and finished the rest of the house, including the garage attic, this past weekend. Don't hoard, people. We are resolved to keep only essentials at this point. We literally (and sadly) had to fill a dumpster with grade reports from the 40s, battered clothing from the 50s-70s, random unsellable trinkets, and plenty of dusty, broken, miscellaneous junk from the 80s, 90s, and today. Stay simple America, and come to our yard sale this Saturday (9/10/11) from 7am-2pm. 504 Northbrook Dr. Raleigh, NC.



Viva la haggling!

8/30/11

See Below

Here come the non-Facebook updates, introspections, and much anticipated info on the Hunts.

Well, not much has changed. Drat. Well, except that I just wrapped up a summer at Alexander Family YMCA, and Rachel is starting Duke this fall. This has been a quick year, and I attribute that to just getting older. We have mastered our routine, and the day-in-day-out part of life has set in. That routine does come with its surprises along the way, but it's not the same as being young and dumb. Maybe not dumb, but the sense of optimism we had as kids, eg, "I could be president" or "I'm going to be a marine biologist", is no longer a goal or an issue. I remember an Inside the Actors Studio episode when Alec Baldwin said: (See 6:25-7:00, or watch the whole thing)



So embracing these next steps of our lives with a sense of normalcy in routine is really the goal. More so for me than for Rachel. Job-wise. You get it.

Other than figuring out how to plan for an amazing future, there are other happenings in our family life. Will graduated from UNC, Caroline and Rita are approaching the end of college, and Ed is recovering from his last chemo treatment. We just moved my grandparents into an assisted living complex, and we're cleaning out their old house to get it ready to sell. Found a lot of cool stuff in the attics, including artwork and mementos from the 50s-80s.

Friends are getting married, having kids, buying houses and cars, finishing internships, getting promotions, moving closer and farther away, and settling in to their lives. That's another thing you deal with in your twenties. In school you are almost force-fed friendships, as the academic setting is like social superglue. I love our friends, but as I'm more of an "out of sight, out of mind" type guy, maintaining relationships has become more work. Good work, that I need to pay more heed to. I hate grammar. That I need to pay more heed? Heeding pay for good work is a must? Bah.

And here are some thoughts I can't just work into a flowing paragraph:
I installed a new horn on the Vespa. Beowulf is in a constant battle with his GI tract, and he's finally putting on more weight. I drove the Vespa to Durham for an oil change. We have no dining room table, as it was taking up too much space. Rachel has almost finished the entire Harry Potter set. I'm getting a new tattoo. We are seriously considering buying a juicer. I'm refinishing an old rocking chair. I spend too much time on modernvespa.com. Companies do not send you requests to see your master's degree. I think I'm too old for Facebook, I'm not LinkedIn, and I don't use Twitter. This fall, we plan on tailgating at State games with the Vespa. We still don't have cable, and we're fine with that. Dyson vacuums have saved our lives. Irene did not affect us, and yes we felt that earthquake.

Thanks for reading, see you in a month!

8/24/11

Has it really been that long?


Here is a map. More posts to come. Also, I a 1/16 Cherokee. No joke.

5/27/11

"Three Wolf Moon" shirt review

From Amazon, enjoy:

"This item has wolves on it which makes it intrinsically sweet and worth 5 stars by itself, but once I tried it on, that's when the magic happened. After checking to ensure that the shirt would properly cover my girth, I walked from my trailer to Wal-mart with the shirt on and was immediately approached by women. The women knew from the wolves on my shirt that I, like a wolf, am a mysterious loner who knows how to 'howl at the moon' from time to time (if you catch my drift!). The women that approached me wanted to know if I would be their boyfriend and/or give them money for something they called mehth. I told them no, because they didn't have enough teeth, and frankly a man with a wolf-shirt shouldn't settle for the first thing that comes to him.

I arrived at Wal-mart, mounted my courtesy-scooter (walking is such a drag!) sitting side saddle so that my wolves would show. While I was browsing tube socks, I could hear aroused asthmatic breathing behind me. I turned around to see a slightly sweaty dream in sweatpants and flip-flops standing there. She told me she liked the wolves on my shirt, I told her I wanted to howl at her moon. She offered me a swig from her mountain dew, and I drove my scooter, with her shuffling along side out the door and into the rest of our lives. Thank you wolf shirt.

Pros: Fits my girthy frame, has wolves on it, attracts women
Cons: Only 3 wolves (could probably use a few more on the 'guns'), cannot see wolves when sitting with arms crossed, wolves would have been better if they glowed in the dark."

5/20/11

Coloradi

Heading out west this weekend to go to Rachel's cousin's graduation from the Air Force Academy, near Colorado Springs. Here's some pics of Cadet Chapel.




We'll be staying in some hefty houses provided by her aunt and uncle, which is very exciting. Though we Hunt's have traveled near and far, this will be the first time either of us has been to Colorado. In gearing up for what will be a great trip, we asked ourselves, "what kind of clothes should we be packing to accommodate for both the temperature and style of the mid-west/west?"



While this probably is not proper attire for the actual graduation ceremony, it sure looks warm. We're taking Beo to boarding school this afternoon, so we may hit up some thrift stores afterward.

If anyone wants gifts from the wild, wild west, be sure to give us money before we leave. We also charge a $5 handling fee. Until then friends, be well and do great things.

5/9/11

Time for a new ride: Getting stung by the Wasp

***This was to be posted May 14th, but Blogger was experiencing technical difficulties***

If you're good at keeping up with my ramblings, or reading my mind, well it's time to get a Vespa. I am going to comprise a Pros and Cons list in a second, after I spend some time letting you, our faithful readers, get to know our situation.

"Scooters aren't safe"
"The Explorer isn't safe"

The battle wages on. Rachel drives 26 miles round trip to work each day. She takes our Honda Civic. The fact I called it "our" Civic will probably disturb her. She hates the car. I drive 1 mile to Caribou, and 1 mile home. Many times I just ride my bike to work. Because I hate the Explorer. Horrible on gas, falling apart, screeches, bad shocks, etc. So...

Sell the Honda, let's get a Subaru something
Sell the Explorer, and I'll get a Vespa, you keep the Honda
Send both off cliffs and collect a fat $8,000 check
Keep both, hire Rita as a running coach, run everywhere

Those are our options. A Saudi guy from Caribou tried to tell me we could sell the Explorer for $2500 on Craigslist - there's a Vespa right there. Now let's pause. Why do I want a scooter? There are many practical reasons:

Thrift


70-80 miles per gallon. And your animal can ride with you. Seriously, not having to pay $40-$60 twice a week would be tear-jerking sweet. And insurance is something like $20 a month through gecko, so that would be substantially cheaper as well. Plus I ain't got no kids. That's enough. Picture number two.

Eye Candy




I mean, just look at it. Here's where I realize many of my goals are just about right, insofar as they are realistically attainable. I don't want some yacht, or 1.8 mil dollar something or other. With a scooter you can be kind of poor, but interesting enough that people will still look at you. Gotta be hip, right? I digress. But there's a point in there somewhere. Anyway, remember when you got your first adventurous medium that took you places faster than you could run? Bliss. The lot, wind in your face, going too fast, wrecking, bleeding, and doing it again. Then we got cars and windshields, seat belts and airbags, and if you're lucky, a sun-roof or convertible. Where's John Eldredge when you need him? And that leads us to our next chart:



And to make a long post short, we took a trip to Richmond, bought a dragon red Vespa LX 150 with only 380 miles. Oh yes we did. And now it sits idly by as I study for a motorcycle permit/license. Fast ending, but hey, it happened. Thanks for your support! Please don't hit me on the road.

4/26/11

On Dealing With Death

It's been a blur of a year now since my mother died. So I figure it's time to type this out, and deal with losing a loved one, word by word, line by line.

As I struggled through attempting to understand just how to react, I found the K├╝bler-Ross model quite helpful, and yet somewhat confusing. As each person experiences a unique loss, each person's response is unique. Well, here's a tell-most of how I have fared with each stage, if indeed I have not been hindered by delusion. In no particular order:

Denial

She died on a Monday. I returned home from work around 5:30pm, to hear from my step-father, "Jon, I have some news, some bad news. Your mom passed away this afternoon." She had been in a hospice for a couple of days, and the fact she was going to die soon was on all our minds. The year and a half leading up to this point had been a numbing emotional adventure. Like tone-deaf ringing after an explosion, our psyches had been shocked for some time. There was no accident, or sudden event, that claimed her life. It's a strange thing to work through the levels of grief while your loved one is still alive. So when the news hit, I initially denied it, but quickly accepted it. We rode over to the hospice to see her upright in a bed, silent. My grandfather, who stayed at the hospice that afternoon, was serene and wise. We took deep breaths, said our goodbyes, and retreated into the courtyard to, I don't know. Then they came and got her, we cried, and went home. I really don't remember that week.

Here's where my twisted denial sets in. I was more concerned with her eternal state at this point. I began following Christ at the age of fifteen. My mother did not hate the idea, but she definitely had problems with it. Suffice it to say, words like brainwashed, mistake, and immature, were thrown around. Whatever her take, I was convinced, as my life completely changed at conversion. So how does a person who has experienced the joy of Christ react? He prays for 10 years that his family can understand what he understands. Let's get nitty-gritty. God's chosen were hand picked before the foundation of the world, Eph 1:5. Yet, whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, Rom 10:10-13. Hmm. I believe both, and I'm not willing to twist Scripture to settle into one camp or the other. One thing you can't get away with, is the idea that all are saved, unless God has some huge surprise for humanity, which is doubtful based on all Jesus had to say about hell. Round and round the debate goes of a low view of sin, God's holiness verse forgiveness, the question of God altogether, etc. If this really interests you, go read the Bible. That's nitty-gritty enough for my purposes here. With my background, I have found that a peace that passes all understanding sets in after a while, that is, if you pray about it. It takes too much energy to stay in the fantasy of denial, so my heart must find rest. Conclusion: God's mind and his plans are intricately perfect. And no, I don't believe that whole-heartily, every minute. My denial often fast meshes with my anger.

Anger

Mad at God. And the lightning didn't strike. I guess I had the luxury of not having to be mad at nothing. For ten years I prayed for her, and I saw no results. Either I didn't pray well, she rejected it, she quietly accepted it, prayer is meaningless, prayer is for a different purpose; that is quite frustrating. Christians go through this. Often you bear your heart on your sleeve, and nothing happens. If you're honest, you wheel your way through doubt, anger, peace and acceptance, and hopefully you learn something. For me: Maybe God wants us to be angry. Maybe then we come thrashing up to him, beating our chests, to realize that death is not good, though it is normative in this world. I hate death. All the "no's" become "why's" at this point for good reason. Maybe we have a hard time accepting it because we intuitively know that we are not supposed to die. That's a great reason to be angry, and over time I am redirecting anger towards God to anger at sin. Here's a story you haven't heard, because I have not been able to process it.

The night before she went to the hospice, I sat alone with her in the hospital room. As the brain tumor crippled her ability to speak, I figured out that she could communicate by squeezing hands. I realized her time was short; the doctor has just admitted she probably only had a few days left to live. For the hundredth time I ran through the gospel with her, that Jesus offers peace and forgiveness to those who call on his name. I asked her if she wanted to pray and accept that, and she stared at me, and squeezed my hand "no." I was devastated. An hour after I left, my father and step-mother came by to sit with her. My dad unabashedly presented the gospel to her again, and this time, according to him, she prayed with him.

I was doubtful and still angry when I heard this. Not because she didn't pray with me, but because there is no way to get closure from that. Plenty of people have deathbed conversions, but there was no way to gauge what she understood, if anything. If you're not a Christian and reading this, I don't expect you to sympathize at all with my theological dilemma. Either way, this was psychological distress for me. Not because I want to win souls for Jesus, but because the way I have studied and understand the gospel according to Scripture. It was a heaven and hell decision, and there's no way to know which she picked.

You can judge me for being judgmental. I'll point to Scripture, not because it's a scapegoat, but because I'm convinced it is story of God coming to save man. Let me go on record as saying I often reject the gospel. I've plunged myself into realms of doubt and open-mindedness, bouncing around from atheist to agnostic, just to see if there's anything else out there worth my attention. To see if there is any other peace I can attain. I've neglected reading the Bible for months at a time, filling my time with all kinds of distractions. The worst part of this was/is, I'm trained to help people like me. I can point you to the chapter and verse that will rock your world, yet I couldn't bear to read it myself. As I skipped through the denial of her death, I often found myself tantalized with anger, as it has released countless nagging demons to question not only my understanding of God, but also my goals in life. Reading Romans 8 will give you a taste of my dilemma. If you want to read it, go here. While my faith has not been defeated, I confess it has certainly been rocked by this.

Bargaining

Bargaining goes like this: "If I could get more time, I promise to change ______," or "If I could just live a few more years to see _______." It seemed like my mother was stuck in denial/depression. She did not even think she was going to die in the hospice. Melancholy over lost jobs and various other events leading up to the discovery of the cancer seemed to deflate any idea of bargaining. And when the chemo and radiation wreaked havoc on her body in the last months, her mental state was deteriorating in such a way that she just accepted her sickness; yet she somehow stayed optimistic. Her stubbornness and steadfastness fascinated me at times, as I didn't know how to grieve. I did want her to make it to my wedding; But, as I stated, in the last months of brain radiation, she would often ask me if I was already married. So in a way, she had already accepted the fact, and was excited for Rachel and me. To add a twist, I think my brief interest in universalism/agnosticism is also a way I've tried to remedy death. To wrap up this stage, I would surmise that my mother, in her mind, completed everything she had set out to do. She had fun, plenty of friends, two degrees, a career, and a family.

Depression

"It gets easier day by day. The sun sets and the sun rises, life keeps going on, and it gets easier." My dad told me this the night she died, and as simple as it sounds, it's spot on. The slew of deep sadness gave way to wedding plans and job searches, to getting a dog and an apartment, to school and graduation, and on and on. At first you feel unable to move, then guilty for moving on, but after you cry so many times, you start to cope. The wedding could not have come at a better time, as weird as that sounds. To be able to be busy and surrounded by so many friends and family members was an incredible, fortunate experience that I believe helped the entire family cope. It was heart wrenching to not have her there, but we had to move on. That shock, I believe, saved me from severe depression. Another curious thing about my family is that all of my grandparents are still alive, and for the most part, doing well. I feel incredibly blessed to have so many people to fall back on. There is a lot more I could write about here, but no one wants to read about depression, and after all I dubbed this a "tell-most."

Acceptance

I'm getting a little bleary-eyed after writing for what seems like two hours at this point, so I'll be brief here as well. My theological concerns over my mother's eternal life are outside of my control, and I'm still learning that. I cared deeply for her in this life, and I only want the best for her in the next. Not having her around torments me at times. I want to see her, and I think about her everyday. Sometimes that statement sounds trite, so I'll reemphasize, I think about her, at least once, each and everyday. And I wait like all my fellow man to see what death brings. But I must confess that whatever qualms I have with how God works must be set aside. I haven't grasped acceptance completely, but I state this confidently:

O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

2/17/11

Got new undershirts

And I feel younger already...

2/10/11

Quotes

“Thirty (27) was so strange for me. I've really had to come to terms with the fact that I am now a walking and talking adult.” - CS Lewis

“Roses are red, violets are blue, I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.” - Oscar Levant

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” - Mark Twain

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” - Colin Powell

“Silence is one of the most effective forms of communication.” - Anonymous

2/8/11

The Status


So after a week or so of trying out different statements, quotes, etc, here's what I found out about the Facebook status:

1. If you vent about something inconsequential, no one cares
2. If it's your birthday, everyone cares
3. Funny quotes or statements get responses from funny people
4. Inspiration quotes get liked by smart people
5. People like pictures
6. Witty photos get good comments
7. When I commented on my posts, they got more attention (top news)
8. Asking a deep or funny question = lots of attention
9. And finally, the worst way to draw attention to your page: put something up on Facebook's marketplace. Wait, I'm only at 9...
10. Link your blog to Facebook and true friends will notice and comment:)

2/1/11

What do you like on Facebook

I've had some pretty popular Facebook posts. You know, when more than two people either like or comment on the post. I've decided to try a little experiment. So if you are actually following this blog, please don't point this out on Facebook. Ah linking social media. So here it goes. I'll explain later.

1/18/11

How to Smell Young

I grabbed an clean undershirt from the dresser today, and while putting it on, I thought, "this shirt smells like my grandfather."

This led me down a road of observations, albeit insignificant ones, but ones that may make you consider some options.

I realized I have not bought new undershirts in over a year. I normally get a slew of them at Christmas, but this year, nothing. Even though I wash clothes regularly, a worn out, tired scent had made its way into them. Just dusty smelling. Then I realized that my grandfather, one of the richest, most frugal men I know, still uses really old undershirts.

So buy new undershirts people.

I realize we haven't blogged in a while, and this may not be the post that hooks you, but we will be updating as there are some major changes about to come. And no, it's not that major change you just thought of.

Jon and Rachel