312 Happy New Year!

All that glitters is gold. Chicago always has a story to tell, sometimes, she just needs coaxing. 1. Yeah, it happened, in the dark corners of the bar where a group of adults consumed mad amounts of alcohol and throwing peanut shells on the floor was acceptable. An all out peanut shell war. There was but a single shot fired that started it all. Everyone had their strategy, some 2 at a time, some single fire sniper shots, some aimed for difficult retrieval on some unsuspecting female, aka the down the blouse shot. There were bad shots that poisoned drinks and there were good shots that stuck to sweaters, and then there was the scatter shot that ended the war when thousands (well, maybe 10s) of peanut shells came pouring down on the table. It was good nutty fun! 2. We were told a story of a day in Pakistan where an unsuspecting baby chicken that was yellow decided to wander around while it's caretaker was reading as good book. During this wandering phase, the baby chicken fell into a paint can that was thought to have contained water. Caretaker finishes her book to find the baby chicken dead, and covered in white paint, no longer yellow. 3. Going back and reading my notes on my phone that I always take to jog memory and such, I find one from last evening that I'm unsure what it may reference. "Baghdad on the boob." 4. Also of interest was the caretaker (see #2) dressed as an Ewok, you know, the one from Star Wars. She had the cutest furry little ears and paws. 5. Just as we were discussing "Nut on the Half Shell," someone noticed the wintery decorations, there's something terribly wrong with this snowflake... Snowflake 6. The next stop showered me with interesting beer choices. I could drink "Insanely Bad Elf" (11.2%) or "Reindeer Droppings" (6%) - I'm so glad I consumed lots of Reindeer droppings else I would not have been alive this morning. 7. It has been a long night when you wake in the morning and you are not sure how you arrived. 8. "3 ibuprofen in case you need them tomorrow morning" 9. 2011 is coming to a close. It's been a long year. It's had it's ups and downs. I welcome 2012 with a new attitude (not sure what that is yet). I cannot wait for new adventures. 10. Family and friends... Happy New Year! Be safe! Cheers!

On raising children or Merry Christmas

I lost it tonight, I broke down so bad that I had to step out onto the porch. The Elves at the resort we are staying at made the long and harsh round trip to the North Pole to bring back stockings for the kids from Santa. The kids had just finished eating left over pizza and were in the middle of consuming ice cream when the knock came to the door. "Who is that?" I opened the door to two Elves dressed in green and red, both happened to be female, I'll come back to that fact in a moment. Eyes brightened, smiles surfaced, but since they are both shy, I did have to coax them from their ice cream, but it didn't take too much. They each took their stocking and said thank you with the biggest smile on their face, said "Merry Christmas" and retreated to our room. Before I could even close the door, from the confines of our vacation residence, I could hear the excitement coming from the dining room table. My daughter, carefully removing items from the stocking one by one, noting in her head each item, then gently placing it on the table. My son, on the floor, presumably dumped it out and then performing an inventory while singing Frosty the Snowman. I listened to the "I got a candy cane" and the "me too" conversation as the both went back through every item in the stocking. "Look, Daddy, this year our ornaments are red." The blue ones hanging on our tree at home from last year are probably their most prized ornaments, they may now have competition. Meanwhile, back at the ranch (my head), someone decided to open the irrigation pipes. I didn't exactly know why at the time, but I knew that I was on the brink of losing it. I kissed them both on the head and quietly excused myself to the back porch. After regaining control (to an extent) I returned to the still excited atmosphere and sat down on the floor to play a game of magnetic tic tac toe with my son while my daughter asked my opinion on names for her stuffed snowman. I then tried to assess what a Bottle of Snow was and determined that it was candy since you could call an 800 number for nutritional information. "Daddy, let's go." Exactly where they were asking me to go I wasn't sure, but their tired and worn out little bodies suddenly had bucket fulls of energy. I knew I was in trouble! They wanted to go searching for the Christmas tree lighting party at the pool, well, my daughter did. My son wanted to (circling back to the female Elves) go find the girls. I decided to be brave and ask him which one. "The one on the left, Daddy, the other one was too short!" I'm sorry son, yeah, she was cute, but she's got close to 2 feet on you, not to mention 20 years, but that's OK, lets go! We never found the party, we never found the girls. We did have a nice walk around the property holding hands, laughing and being silly. It was a nice end to our vacation, another one that I will never forget. Tears of joy: I'm writing this at 2 AM on Christmas Eve with a soaking wet Kleenex right next to me, call me sappy, call me sentimental. Maybe it's the magical moments, the ones that bring joy, excitement, laughter. Maybe it's the innocent perception of life in a child's eyes. Maybe it's family, the family that we've made from what we've been dealt. Maybe it's ritual, annual, things to look forward to. Maybe it's all those things. No. It is those magical moments, when you look upon your children and realize how wonderful they are, and how lucky you are. It is about those times when you do something so small for them that  they think you have given them the world. It is about family and life and all the little things. It is how you treat them and how they respect you. It is about finding joy, excitement and laughter in life. I take a break and end up looking at myself in the mirror. I haven't shaved in 4 days (I forgot to pack a razor), I've been shedding tears and generally look like crap tonight. But I know 100% that I'm giving these kids all that I am and they are turning out pretty dang good. That's all we can hope for, right? So this Christmas Eve I do not have 10 things, I have 2. To my daughter and my son, I love you to the moon! Merry Christmas my friends, may God bless you!

On raising a son

Our yearly Orlando vacation before Christmas, just me and the kids finding lots of little adventures. Yes, that was my son that got locked in the bathroom of a 747 on the way here this year, poor little man was crying his eyes out while the flight attendant and I tried to talk him through sliding the latch over. 1. Are those wings on your head? Oh, you're right, they are ears. Well, I suppose then if you cannot fly, you should use them to listen.  He gets in these zones, like deep concentration or something, and I think he really does tune out the world. 2. You have an amazing knowledge of dinosaurs. That's a what-osaurus? I was unaware that they ate plants even though they have sharp claws.  I did not know that T-Rex couldn't pick his nose because his arms were too short. 3. You can help me file down the 3/4" tubing for the chassis support on the new racing lawnmower, but put on gloves first, you don't want to get the metal shavings all over you.  Hand me the 5mm Allen wrench, please. 4. Girls. Hmmm... Treat them right, with respect and kindness. You can love them like crazy as long as you do that. 5. Eat lots of dirt, it is good for you. Roll in mud puddles, pull the legs off of crickets. These are all things that I encourage you to do. Oh, don't forget the time I told you I would laugh if you fell in the pond, it was adorable when you came up to the front door soaking wet, I'm sorry I was laughing while you were crying, but I told you so. 6. Your sister loves you, really she does (see #4). She has your back and I know you have hers. 7. Don't be scared. Let's start by throwing away the training wheels. I will never let you fall, ever! 8. So about this sleeping in late thing, I just wanted to let you know that you really should consider waking up early. You see, there's a lot that can happen between 5 AM and 9 AM, you don't want to miss it, do you? 9. Don't forget #4 10. You rock, little man. Love you to the moon!

On raising a daughter

1. Yes, I can dress a Barbie doll and I'm dang proud of it, some of those jeans are pretty tight, though, so don't get any ideas that I'll be allowing you to wear things like that. 2. I am OK with standing in the clothing department for an hour while you search for clothes, I don't even mind going from store to store to store at the mall. I may be sad the first time you ask to go with friends instead of me. Ignore your brother, he acts up because he doesn't understand "shopping," but I have your back! 3. Your shampoo should smell good, and yes, I'll be more than happy to brush your hair after you get out of the shower, but we should probably not put it up in a pony tail until it dries. 4. Remember, boys are icky until you are thirty, and sometimes forever if it's an icky boy. I promise you I will not do good with you dating, so you should probably start buttering me up now. 5. Thank you for helping me pick out paint colors, decorate the house, find the right shirt to wear with those slacks. Oh, and keep on drawing pictures 6. I know you are shy, and I'm sorry I keep putting you in situations where you have no choice but to overcome your shyness, you'll thank me for it one day.  Also, the camera shyness thing, I'm pulling an "I'm the Daddy" and you just need to deal with it. 7. Yes, I'll play Taylor Swift on repeat all the way to the beach. You don't have to stop singing at the top of your lungs when I glance into the back seat, I can hear you when I'm not looking too. 8. I actually do enjoy watching all those silly Disney shows with you like Hannah Montana and The Suite Life on Deck. Your crazy dance routines to the theme songs are hilarious, you did not get my two left feet, be thankful for that! 9. Don't forget #4. 10. Yes you have me wrapped around that little finger of yours.  Love you to the moon!

What i’ll miss the most or the 100th just10things

Here is the 100th just10things.  As I warned, there would be a time when the numbers needed to change, or be validated violated .  At times I cannot believe that I've managed to stay true for this long, and that you have continued to support me through my often always random musings.  I'm going for broke with just100things tonight, while unplanned, it was still planned, but not this way.  Enjoy! Time to take a break. I'm tired, my credit card needs a rest.  I will miss it here, and haven't given up hope of someday soon calling it home, but it will be a couple months at least before those plans have any chance of coming to fruition.  So today... I say goodbye to Manhattan, goodbye to Brooklyn, goodbye to Harrison, goodbye to NJ Penn, goodbye to Wall Street, goodbye to new friends, goodbye to dear friends, goodbye to poetry readings, goodbye to good food (guess I'll start cooking again), goodbye to posh bars with expensive drinks, goodbye to the R train, goodbye to the coffee shop at 40 Wall (they are closing their doors for good), goodbye to late nights, goodbye to really late nights, goodbye to crowds, goodbye to protests, goodbye to the PATH train, goodbye to crazy cabs, goodbye to good shops, goodbye to colleagues in town, goodbye to early morning flights, goodbye to not having to drive, goodbye to sweet smells, goodbye to not having personal space, goodbye to random strangers, goodbye to long distance Daddy, goodbye to massive expenses, goodbye to searching for a water closet before hopping on the train, goodbye to getting lost (I'll still do that aplenty), goodbye to Cuban sammys, goodbye to Bowery, goodbye to endless nights walking Broadway, goodbye to city rain, goodbye to cold windy streets, goodbye to Pearl St, goodbye to Mary and Noel at Killarney Rose, goodbye to EWR (not really going to miss this one), goodbye to tourists, goodbye to waiting for the hotel shuttle, goodbye to the hotel staff that always made me feel at home, goodbye to the 2/3 train, goodbye to complete strangers that put me back in the right direction, goodbye to a first (and last) date, goodbye to subway maps, goodbye to my Metro card, goodbye to gin and lemonade, goodbye to Soho, goodbye to Chelsea, goodbye to Bar 13, goodbye to the sounds of the train outside my hotel (sleep is difficult without the noise), goodbye to escargot, goodbye to pumpkin ravioli, goodbye to the river and the bench at the edge, goodbye to dusk that makes the city sexy, goodbye to accordion players on trains, goodbye to station dancers, goodbye to French (I have not been counting, but sticks out as the most often heard language), goodbye to barricades, goodbye to riot gear, goodbye to marching bands that only know two notes, goodbye to living out of an 18" roller, goodbye to WTC, goodbye to machine gun armed military, goodbye to public restrooms that make you gag, goodbye to people more lost than me that ask for directions, goodbye to holiday decorations, goodbye to turnstiles, goodbye to subway stairs, goodbye to dragging luggage through crowded streets, goodbye to pigeons, goodbye to the dog walkers, goodbye to almost getting run over by a bicycle, goodbye to $5.00 umbrellas when you forgot yours again, goodbye to hydroplaning on a Jersey highway on the way to the airport, goodbye to the homeless man who passed away, goodbye to Starbucks hopping, goodbye to searching for power outlets, goodbye to mice on the train tracks, goodbye to the elevator cricket, goodbye to not having cash for a cab, goodbye to long lines, goodbye to rooftop views, goodbye to meeting for dinner, goodbye to getting locked out of the hotel, goodbye to a brutal sun baking the pavement, goodbye to forgetting to pack something, goodbye to missed flights, goodbye to "I'll be home late", goodbye to tall buildings, goodbye to food trucks, goodbye to street vendors, goodbye to horns honking, goodbye to leopard print, goodbye to lots and lots of boots, goodbye to sirens, goodbye to crossing Church St in the morning, goodbye to sidewalks, goodbye to ignoring crosswalk signals, goodbye to Central Park 100. Goodbye New York, goodbye, but only for a little while!

The city

Holding the cardboard sign "Only now exists" I need to move faster And slow down Please, "You first" The smell of horse shit Plastered to the sidewalk Reminds me of weekends at home Where I need to be Chasing stars

I never promised you a beer garden

Or sea monkeys that live forever Oh, the hangovers find me well In this body that refuses to age Stand up artist, pickup paragraphs and Missed connections as I paint a picture and crumple it up The now blank canvas fades to gray In a colorful world Full of living the moments for Sweet smells of your whiskey

When wine was opened

Random senseless morning thinking about interactions with day to day objects. 1. Which came first, the cork or the cork screw? Maybe it was a bunch of wanna be alcoholics staring at a bottle of wine in 1768 wondering how they were going to get drunk. 2. What would be the point of having a screwdriver before you had screws? Maybe to open paint cans or pry open a treasure chest full of gold coins. 3. The infamous red Solo cup and the Dixie cup made for cheap beer and cheap wine, respectively, getting red necks drunk on a daily basis. 4. Canning jars were not meant to preserve food, but rather to show off a collection of mid-summer night fireflies and promote good clean fun for children everywhere. 5. Easy Cheese is just disgusting, as is squeezable yogurt. There are just reasons some things should not be transformed into a squeezable/spray-able form. What's next Easy Beef? Squeeze broccoli? 6. What did people drink coffee from before there were coffee cups? Technically, shouldn't any cup you put coffee in be called a coffee cup? Why are there so many types of cups and glasses? I would have a lot less dishes to wash if all beverages tasted the same in a 16oz tumbler, unfortunately, my brain tells me that wine does indeed taste better in a Riedel glass appropriate for a certain type of wine (see #3). 7. 3D TV, hmmm, I think this is Big Brother trying to lessen the distance in our minds between reality and make believe - the next phase in the master plan of total mind control. One day soon we will all be slaves to the government. 8. The MP3 player, the e-Reader and the smart phone prevent people from having real live conversations in public places. Come ride the PATH train with me if you don't believe me.  Stuff 200 people into a small space and you may get one conversation in a 30 minute period. Everyone is heads down engaged in some sort of media interaction (see #7), not people interaction. And we call ourselves social! 9. Makeup. There is physical beauty in everyone, I just don't get the purpose of painting over this with layers and layers of makeup (I am a sucker for F**k Me Red lipstick, though). 10. Why do we enjoy being scared? Horror movies! Aren't there enough scary things in life that we don't need artificial fear?