Monthly Archives: December 2005

TRAGIC DAY (updated)

My heart, thoughts, and prayers go out to the entire Dungy family. May James find peace from whatever led him to this. May your family find comfort in the fact that God is holding James now. Tony, may you never forget his smiling face when he joined you on the sidelines. I pray that he knew your love for him. Stupid things like football games, season records, and championships mean nothing. But on behalf of my entire family who has known you for so many years because of football, may your entire family find peace.

TRAGIC DAY
By John Oehser – Colts.com

James Dungy, Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy’s Oldest Son, Dies
INDIANAPOLIS – James Dungy, the 18-year-old oldest son of Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy, has died, the Colts have confirmed.

Dungy, the Colts’ head coach for four seasons, and his wife, Lauren, traveled to Tampa, Fla., immediately upon receiving the news early Thursday morning.

It was not initially known when Dungy will return to coach the Colts.

“It is my sad duty to confirm the passing early this morning of James Dungy,” Colts President Bill Polian said late Thursday morning in a brief press conference outside the Union Federal Football Center.

“The thoughts and prayers of everyone in this building are with Tony and Lauren and their children and their extended family and for the reposed

James’ soul. This is a tragedy for the Dungy family, and by extension, for his football family here with the Colts.”

Said Colts Owner and Chief Executive Officer Jim Irsay, “Our Colts family is united in prayer and support for the Dungy family at this time. It is an unspeakable tragedy, and we will do whatever we can to assist Tony, Lauren and their children.”

Jim Caldwell, the Colts’ Assistant Head Coach and Quarterbacks coach, will serve as the interim coach until Dungy’s return, Polian said.

Polian met with the Colts’ staff and players early Thursday morning to inform them of the news.

“It was not easy,” Polian said. “It was somber, to say the least. But we have the greatest role model in the world (Dungy), so we’ll do what he does and what he wishes.”

Polian said he spoke with Dungy early Thursday morning, and at various times thereafter.

“However long he (Dungy) is away is, of course, entirely up to him,” Polian said. “Tony made it clear to both myself and to Jim that he wished for the organization and the team to carry on. And we will. We have the greatest role model there is in Tony Dungy.

“As Jim said to the team this morning, ‘We’ll emulate our leader.’ ”

Asked how Dungy was handling the situation emotionally, Polian said, “He’s Tony. He’s the most amazing person in the world. His faith is his rock, and as much as is possible, he’s doing OK.”

Services for James Dungy are yet to be determined, Polian said.

“We would ask that those who have come to know and respect and care for Tony remember his family in their prayers and remember James in their prayers,” Polian said. “In the interim, until we know in further detail with respect to arrangements and the family’s wishes, we’d ask that people as much as possible respect their privacy at this tragic time. . . .

“When we know what the arrangements are, and what he’s decided to do, when it’s appropriate, we’ll announce them.”

Tony Dungy learned of his son’s death early Thursday morning, and he and Lauren flew to Tampa with Colts Owner and Chief Executive Officer Jim Irsay’s plane, Polian said.

The Colts (13-1) will visit the Seattle Seahawks (12-2) at Qwest Field in Seattle, Wash., Saturday at 4:15 p.m.

“It’s what we have to do,” Polian said. “I don’t think there’s anyone here that would wish to play a football game under these circumstances, but it’s our obligation and we’ll fulfill that obligation. That’s what Tony wants us to do and that’s what we’re required to do.

“We’ll do our best because that’s what he expects of us. . . .

“The routine will be exactly as it was if Tony were here.”

Tony and Lauren Dungy have four other children: daughters Tiara and Jade and sons Eric and Jordan.

“It’s hard to fathom what this means unless you are a parent,” Polian said. “And if you are a parent, there aren’t any words to express the kind of pain that I’m sure they’re feeling. . . .

“I had met James, and I don’t think it’s appropriate to talk about him at this point in time. That’s something Tony and Lauren will do if they wish.

“Our prayers are with the family and the reposed James’ soul.”

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BABY NEWS

I’m sure this is something that Murray and Jaime will post on Murray’s Blog at some point, but for those who can’t wait until then…here’s the news from the Church website:

Murray and Jaime Sanderson are the proud parents of daughter Faith Kinder. 9 lb, 12 oz, 21 ¾”, she was born on 12/20 at 7:45 pm. All are doing well!

Congratulations Murray and Jaime. Welcome to the outside world, Faith!

The Finish Line

My mom has officially gone home for the day. Today is the last day of the Fall Semester. Technically it was yesterday as the students’ last day was yesterday and today was just a turn your grades in day. But this week my mom gave her last 1st semester exams of her career. She entered her last Fall Semester grades into the computer. She took down her last classroom Christmas tree. She cleaned out her Holiday files. She showed her last classroom viewing of Prancer. There are a lot of lasts this year as she’s retiring in May after 41 years in the school system and 40 years of teaching.

I don’t think it has hit her quite, yet. But I did ask her yesterday if she realized those were her last 1st semester exams. She said she had but just left it at that. It’s kind of bittersweet for her I think because she absolutely loves her job, but 41 years is a long time. She’s been teaching longer than she’s been doing anything else in her entire life besides breathing and being alive. It was only a year ago that she surpassed being a mom for longer than she hadn’t been a mom. There are few people in the school system who truly know what the impact will be once next year rolls around, but thankfully it’s the people that need to know that impact. I think she’s tried to treat this year as just another year and I think it’s worked for the most part.

What she’ll do come May, I have no clue, but until then the students of Charlotte County can still enjoy being taught by someone who has their best interest at heart. Who knows what she’s doing and who really and simply wants them to learn and be better students when they leave her class. And as far as the Fall Semester is concerned, her work here is done. Happy Christmas Break!

Busy

I’ve been busy, so make sure you check out the 3 blogs I wrote Monday and the 1 I wrote Sunday night.

Jill Kerby…you wondered if I ever got mad because you think I hide it so well…well check out the Sunday night blog to see the things I actually do get mad about. It’s stupid stuff, but I’d rather get mad about that stuff and people I don’t even know rather than get mad at my friends any day. 🙂

Through HIS Eyes

This past Friday/Saturday my home was opened to my small group for our Christmas Secret Santa Exchange Party. We’d talked a long time about having a small group sleepover with movies and games and such. And we finally decided to plan it for the Christmas party. So Friday night (what I called Christmas Eve) everyone came over and played games, watched movies, hung out, ate, etc. We went to bed around 2am and I’m told my floor in the basement is actually comfortable. 🙂 Saturday morning (what I called Christmas Day) we got up and had breakfast, played a little trivia game about our friends (Congrats to Ashley and Jill for winning), and exchanged our presents. (Thanks to J.Mo for my “wedding” album even if he is in the dog house right now.) From what I could tell, fun was had by all and I finally got the kitchen all cleaned up. 🙂

But at some point, I think on Friday night, I kind of sat back and just stopped for a second to observe. Everyone was having a great time, but I almost cried. A good cry though. Every now and then God stops me where I am and lets me see my life through His eyes and everything becomes so much clearer. In that moment, I felt so blessed to have the friends that I have. To know that even though I might not have the worldly things that I expected my life to have by now, I still am so truly blessed with the things that I NEED! Of course, no one at the party knew I was in that moment, but that was ok because that’s how God likes to have me observe these moments. When no one is looking…it even takes me by surprise most times. So for all the blessings in my life, Thank you God for helping me to recognize them. And if you are a blessing that God has put in my life, I thank you for allowing Him to do that.

During this time when the world suggests we celebrate Jesus (though we should celebrate Him all year long), take the time to look around you and observe the blessings He’s given you…but do it through His eyes. It’s so much clearer!

Like A Fine Wine

(Shout out to J.Mo for the title of this blog.)

Terrific, Extraordinary, Awesome, Excellent, Amazing, Fantastic, Incredible, Unbelievable…

These words barely scrape the surface of describing how great the concert on Saturday was.

I’ve seen Bon Jovi perform twice before, and I held to my belief that my second concert at Nissan Pavilion was the best concert I’d ever been to. That is until Saturday night. That one took the cake by a landslide. They get so much better with age (just like a fine wine). Jon, Richie, Tico, Dave, Hugh, Bobbie, and Jeff performed, played, sang, entertained, etc. for a solid two hours and did not disappoint me at all. After doing this for nearly 23 years, they have quite the bulk of material to choose from, and they did a fantastic job of covering the spectrum. Here’s the set list with album in parentheses:

LAST MAN STANDING (Have A Nice Day)
YOU GIVE LOVE A BAD NAME (Slippery When Wet)
COMPLICATED (Have A Nice Day)
BORN TO BE MY BABY (New Jersey)
STORY OF MY LIFE (Have A Nice Day)
I’LL SLEEP WHEN I’M DEAD (Keep The Faith)
RUNAWAY (Bon Jovi)
NOVOCAINE (Have A Nice Day)
I WON’T BACK DOWN (Tom Petty Cover)
HAVE A NICE DAY (Have A Nice Day)
WHO SAYS YOU CAN’T GO HOME (Have A Nice Day)
IT’S MY LIFE (Crush)
I’LL BE THERE FOR YOU (acoustic – This Left Feels Right version)
BLAZE OF GLORY (acoustic – Crossroads/Young Guns II Soundtrack)
BED OF ROSES (acoustic – This Left Feels Right version)
BAD MEDICINE (New Jersey)
RAISE YOUR HANDS (Slippery When Wet)
LIVIN’ ON A PRAYER (Slippery When Wet)

Encore:
WELCOME TO WHEREVER YOU ARE (Have A Nice Day)
EVERYDAY (Bounce)
TREAT HER RIGHT
RUN RUDOLPH RUN
WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE (The Bon Jovi National Anthem – Slippery When Wet)

Highlights:
1. I was so into this concert that I lost 2.5 pounds jumping around and loving every minute of it.

2. The big screen behind them was great. I could see their smiles. (Jon has a great one.) I could feel their energy and once again I left feeling energized but exhausted and knowing that he could have kept going for another several hours.

3. I had told my friend Carla that even though he is 43, he still jumps around on stage as if he’s 20 and he just started all this. Then, when the concert was going on, I realized he wasn’t moving around as much as usual. (Yes, I know I’m sad…and obsessed…you don’t have to tell me.) And at some point in the encore, he said he had an old man story to tell. He’d apparently pulled his back earlier in the day and was “juiced up on every anti-inflammatory drug available” and wanted us to know that if we’d noticed he wasn’t jumping around a lot that was the reason.

4. A truth universally known, but professed by Jon himself on Saturday night…WOMEN RULE THE WORLD and have since the beginning of time. And he’s actually thankful for that. He wouldn’t have it any other way. But he does think it’s fun to mess with us sometimes. Oh he’s a funny one.

5. 20,000 screaming MCI Center fans singing the choruses of Livin’ On A Prayer and Wanted Dead or Alive a capella to the band. That was awesome and amazing to be a part of. You could hear every single one of our voices…what little we had left of them that is.

6. The one time I’d wished I’d had my camera was the acoustic version of I’ll Be There For You. Picture a microphone and stand dead center on the stage, Richie on one side with his guitar, Jon on the other side with his guitar, both playing and singing. It was the perfect image for the night. I LOVED IT! They’ve been best friends for over 20 years and it’s performances like that where you can really see how great of a friendship it is.

This picture is from another tour stop off their website.


7. Richie’s hand motions during Bad Medicine. I can’t say any more than that. 🙂

8. “Where do you guys think you’re going? Get back out here.” As spoken by Jon when the guys tried to leave the stage before the encore was over.

Of course I could go on and on, but I can tell you this much…I had a lot of fun on Saturday night…more fun than I’ve had in a REALLY LONG TIME!!! They never cease to amaze me and I just dread the day that they decide to stop touring. I love seeing people perform their jobs when they absolutely love their jobs. And there is not a doubt in my mind that Jon and the rest of the guys love their jobs. It is so apparent in the care they give to the songs they put on their albums and the way they perform at their shows. Case in point, their current album was supposed to come out around the same time as the box set last year, but when Jon got ready to hand it to the record label, he pulled it back because he knew they’d rushed it and he knew it wasn’t what he wanted it to be. I don’t know what the original sounded like, but what we were given is nothing short of fantastic. And to get to see them perform those songs they’ve worked so hard on for the last 20+ years is indescribable. It truly was the best Christmas present I could have asked for.

Thanks guys for showing this girl…this fan a great time. I’ll see you in February, but this time I’ll be a little closer. 🙂

Rest In Peace Leo

West Wing Actor John Spencer Dies

Friday Dec 16, 2005 6:00pm EST

John Spencer
John Spencer

CREDIT: 20TH CENTURY FOX / SCREENSCENES

West Wing actor John Spencer died of a heart attack Friday. He was 58.

The actor passed away at a Los Angeles hospital, his publicist, Ron Hofmann, told the Associated Press.

Spencer, a veteran actor who appeared on The Patty Duke Show in the 1960s, received an Emmy for his role as White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry on The West Wing in 2002, as well as a Golden Globe nomination.

On the show, Spencer’s character was a recovering alcoholic, an experience Spencer himself knew all too much about. Though he had been sober since 1989, for more than 20 years he was weighed down by his addiction to booze. He started drinking in high school and later he says he “experiment(ed) with everything: coke, booze, pot.”

“I remember thinking I’ve got to get help before I change my mind,” Spencer told PEOPLE in 2000 of his decision to get sober.

Raised in Totowa, N.J., Spencer was the only child of John Speshock, an Irish-Czech dump-truck driver, and Mildred, an occasional waitress. Captivated by theater at an early age, he left Totowa at 16 to pursue acting in New York City (where he adopted Spencer as his stage name) and landed a role later that year on The Patty Duke Show as Cathy’s boyfriend Henry.

“I had big ears and was quite tall for the show, 5’6″,” said Spencer. “I looked like a toothpick with ears.”

He returned to New Jersey a few years later to attend Fairleigh Dickinson University but dropped out after two years to resume acting in New York.

After Spencer’s first big post-rehab role, as Harrison Ford’s buddy in 1990’s Presumed Innocent, “my life changed overnight,” he told PEOPLE. He joined L.A. Law later that year for a four-year run as street-smart lawyer Tommy Mullaney.

He continued his climb with parts in such films as The Rock and The Negotiator before starting The West Wing in 1999.

Spencer would have been 59 next week. Service and funeral arrangements are pending, his publicist said.

Spontaneous Combustion

That wasn’t even the other shoe dropping. In fact, that wasn’t even 10 pairs of shoes dropping. That was out right bad football playin’. But before I begin:

1. The Chargers came to play. They knew they needed this win to keep their playoff hopes alive, and darnit all if they didn’t do that. But they just plain had the Colts number…all 22 of them…plus a few coaches. So, Kudos to the entire team for not letting that RCA Dome crowd get to you. There are 10 other teams this season who couldn’t do what you did.

2. I am as critical (if not more) of the teams that I cheer for than I am of their opponents, so this may get ugly, but I’m so mad right now, I could scream. Oh wait…I already have.

3. I’m not allowing comments on this post because…well…it’s my blog and I can do whatever I want on it. 🙂 But trust me…I’ll get PLENTY of thrashing at work tomorrow.

Now…back to our regularly scheduled blog…

I went to lunch after church and missed the entire 1st half, but I’m pretty certain that I just missed being even more angry than I already am. The Colts went into halftime 13-0, which is the first time they’ve trailed since the St. Louis game in week 6. So I was already walking mad when I sat down to watch the second half. It started out pretty well and the Colts came back to actually lead the game 17-16 by the end of the 3rd Quarter. However, the team (specifically the offensive line) decided if Tony Dungy wasn’t going to sit them, then they just weren’t going to play their game. This game Peyton didn’t even need to sack himself…the Chargers did all the work for him. The offensive line checked out before the opening whistle even blew and Peyton got sacked more times in this one game than he gets sacked in oh I don’t know 5 games combined. I was volunteering to do the chewing out of every member of the offensive line before the game was over. And then Peyton showed just how imperfect he is even after 8 years in the league. It was 2-11 on the 30 yard line (perfect field goal position for Mike) and Peyton gets rushed like he has been all day and then decided to intentionally ground the ball and I mean blatantly. There wasn’t even a Chargers player where he threw much less a Colts player. 10 yard penalty and a loss of down. 3-21 on the 41. So then, seeing as how the offensive line came to play, Peyton gets sacked AGAIN eliminating all chances of him getting a last ditch effort pass off and get back into field goal position. That was without a doubt the biggest ROOKIE mistake he’s made in a long time. (My opinion of course.) So then I volunteered to chew out the offensive line and Peyton…but only if I could start with him.

Now, of course, I’ve watched my share of post game press conferences and interviews with Peyton over the years and he rarely blames the loss of a game on anyone but himself, so I’m quite certain, though I’ve only seen one quote so far, that Peyton will either blame it on himself (much deserved) or just say “we” and “us” and “them” a lot. He doesn’t tend to point fingers at specific people. I’m actually hoping this will bring them back to reality that they aren’t invincible and that they can be beaten…something I’ve known all along, but no one would listen to me. In fact, all week long I had that feeling that this was going to be THE week when everything fell apart. Guess I should trust my gut a little more and spare myself the anger and disappointment. I’m glad to know that the articles I have read show that the team is (a) disappointed in themselves and (b) keeping their focus on the ultimate goal…the Super Bowl. It’s definitely not an undefeated record that matters in this sport. It’s getting to the Super Bowl and winning it. Eyes on the Prize boys…Please keep your focus because I have this great fear that all of this will be for nothing and you’ll lose that first playoff game and end it all before Motown.

I mean come on. The whole point of Home Field Advantage through the playoffs was for everyone to play in doors with the home team crowd in the stands, but obviously the Chargers showed the Colts just exactly how much that didn’t matter. Playing good football…a solid 60 minutes of good football…is what matters no matter what stadium you’re in.

My kudos to:

1. The Chargers, again. You’ve now beaten all the active members of the Manning family this year.
2. The Colts receivers. Even when Peyton was getting rushed and he threw up a crazy pass, y’all still caught the balls. Well played!!
3. Edgerrin James for not giving up even though the Chargers did a heck of a job stuffing you at the line of scrimmage most times. You should have been handed that ball in the 1st half, but no…Mr. Pass Happy (of yeah…I said it) decided against it. (Let’s read that defense a little better next time Mr. Audible/Game Tape Junkie)
4. The Colts defense for the interceptions and the fumble recovery. Regroup and I’ll see you next week.

If you can’t tell I’m really ticked off at Peyton right now. I haven’t seen him play that terribly in I don’t know how long, but I do realize that some of it wasn’t his fault because his offensive line wasn’t helping much. I expected them to lose. I just didn’t expect them to lose this way.

2 more regular season games left
1 guaranteed playoff game
Let’s get through that and see what happens.

Oh how I wish it was February 6th already…at least then I’d know for sure.

There’s No Place Like Home

13 down, 6 to go, 4 of those are guaranteed. The Colts beat the Jaguars yesterday in a last three minutes of the game nailbiter. Oh yeah and Peyton sacked HIMSELF twice by tripping over the grass. Nice, honey, nice!!! Ugly or not, it sealed a bye for the first week of the playoffs and home field advantage throughout.

So here’s my personal plea for all those Colts fans who actually sit in the stands. Please start drinking your hot tea now because I need your vocal cords to be at their strongest so you can scream!!!

The only thing left to conquer is the ’72 Miami Dolphins undefeated record. However, I draw the line at breaking that record if it is at the expense of any of the players. Keep them safe and healthy.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY (completely off topic):
As read on the bottom of a table display at Red Robin…

If reindeer really could fly, don’t you think they’d just fly off one day so they wouldn’t have to pull that heavy sleigh all over the world??? Discuss!

The Perfect Gift Addendum

*Dianne — Real naps every day for Alexis.

*Jamison — A democrat for President…your choice. 🙂

*Mike McCoy — A Vanderbilt football National Championship

*Margie — All the painting and remodeling magically completed.

I’m sure there will be more….