Save the queen, aw hell no!

I've been battling fire ants for what feels like ten years now. I finally found some good stuff to kill them, but it only partially works. And the bad part it that it smells like pure crap, rotten eggs, sweat and beer farts all rolled into one disgusting odor. What has been happening as of late is that I sprinkle the white nasty powder on a huge ant hill that mysteriously appeared overnight. Then I watch the worker ants slowly die. Then a few days later, no more ants. Then a day or so later, damn, another ant hill a few feet away. So what I'm wondering is if the queen counts her workers and if a large enough quantity do not return from their daily duties, she tells the whole colony to pick up and move. So yes, a queen in any other sense should be saved, but I'm ready to kill this bitch!

Send Mary to Paris

Mary, you have certainly rocked the world with your words. We met in NYC (sort of... virtually), you wrote It's snowing in New York and I read your words while stuffed into a small hotel room somewhere around 22nd and 6th ave. And trying not to wake my roommate, I snuck outside only to return back to my room having not seen the snow. And then I wrote back. And fell off to dream land. And woke up in the morning to snow in New York. And I've read every word since. And today... well, I read The Paris Promise, and by gosh by golly, I think you should go. So. What I propose is that you have a world wide campaign to send you to Paris and the only thing the world will ask for in return is for lovely pictures on your blog and the wonderful words you share with us. So Mary, set up a PayPal account or something, because I'm challenging the world to make sure you celebrate your 30th in Paris. Because we want to hear your words tell us all about Paris. And to quote you, "As long as I am choosing life, and honoring my passions and keeping my dreams alive and not stifled, I don’t think I can really go wrong." I hope to travel to Paris through the wonderful words you write. I will personally contribute to your Paris fund and I hope everyone that reads this will as well. It doesn't have to be a huge amount, a few dollars each and we get to experience Paris through Mary's eyes. And wonderful words. Cheers!

The truth, just relax

Is there a Richter scale for stress? If so, this month would probably top the charts. There have been a lot of emotions floating around, possibilities, ideas, changes, and I failed. I failed because I did not look down. I failed because I forgot about my commitment. I failed because I closed my eyes. I failed because I forgot for 30 days what I did just over two years ago. Buckle up in the time machine, back to 2011. Managing multiple projects, multi city weeks - New York, Indiana, Tennessee, North Carolina and vacation on the horizon. Vacation. Relax time. So I walked into the tattoo parlor and 30 minutes later, permanently engraved on the inside of my right wrist. My son held my hand, because, yeah, it fucking hurts. Then I left for the Caribbean. IMG_20130801_213836_454 Whimsical? Crazy? Maybe. But it has turned into a tool. A quick turn of the wrist and I calm down. A constant reminder. Deep breaths. It will all be OK. Those ten things you need to get done today, yeah, they will be there tomorrow. But I forgot to use my tool for almost the entire month of July. My relax failed. But it's back now. I got this. And here we are. I have a left wrist. And it's screaming for "Tonight"   To borrow from George Strait... "Just close your eyes and you can see" "Give it all we got tonight" "Anything can happen" "Trust it" "Drink up" "It should just happen like this"

Leaving perfection

You. You're dressed in blue jeans and a white blouse. Unbuttoned just enough, but not too much. It's warm out, maybe middle of June. The lightning bugs summon us. We leave tire on the road as we speed away in a black convertible, heading for somewhere, I don't know where. A bottle of wine down by the river. The bank lined with weeping willows, gently softening the harsh lines of the rocky shore. You grab my hand, sweaty palms. Moonlight starts to fill the sky as the water runs over tiny pebbles. It sounds like a song we've heard, so we hum along. Ripples in the water. Stars. Crickets. Gentle breeze. Sip of wine. I start to speak, but nothing comes out. You tell me to be quiet. I already am. A cloud briefly covers the light of the moon and I lose you in the shadows. I can no longer see your lips. Where are we, why are we here? The cloud disappears and the outline of your sweet face slowly comes back to my eyes. Something is different. I excuse myself to get a drink in the river. As I do, I look down on the surface. An unfamiliar reflection stares back at me. One I have never seen. One that seems confused, yet knows exactly why this perfect is not right. What makes so much sense just cannot be. As beautiful as it all could become, it will only lead to confusion. I can smell the jasmine in the night air. Darkness in all directions, lost. What way do I go? I start walking. I can see Orion, so I think I am still alive. I can taste the blood on my lips that are dry and cracked. I can taste the salt in the tears rushing down my cheek. I choke on the nectar of honeysuckle. I blink ten times. I wake in a cold sweat. Is this real? What is real? I jump. I hope to land on two feet. It is a long way down.

It’s the end of the world as we know it

So first of all, welcome to the last day on Earth! I've been working on this post since August, this is the last time we get to converse, so I have to make it perfect! Since this is the last day, I have no limits, no telling how long this list will be (and these are in no particular order). [Edit: Of note, this has been written across many geographies including Phoenix, Aruba, Chattanooga, Chicago, Key West, Buffalo, Tampa, Baltimore, Orlando and North Carolina (Home Sweet Home), so excuse dialect changes mid post.] A little bit of history: I'm thirty something, I sometimes act like I'm twenty something, my kids are both under 10, my body makes me feel like I'm seventy something, so I guess you could say that I span a lot of generations. My "learning to walk and talk" years were spent outside of Cleveland in the quaint little farming town of La Grange, Ohio. My "relearning to walk and talk years" have been spent moving as far out into the country from Raleigh, North Carolina as possible, as long as there is high speed Internet access. It's not that I don't like the city, I love it! But I also like to kick back under the stars next to a campfire and roast marshmallows with the kids. History will not matter tomorrow. The list of people and/or things I want to thank/be thankful for in the remaining hours of our existence... 1. Facebook (and Mark Zuckerberg) - Thank you for being a total geek and expanding Facebook beyond the ivy league. What you did was a great last ditch attempt to bring the world together before we all self destruct. 2. Orville Redenbacher - Thank you for bringing buttery movie popcorn to the average home in 90 (ish) seconds so that I do not need to pay engorged prices to watch a movie with my kids... AND, I get to snuggle with them on the couch. 3. Neil Armstrong - your footprint on the moon will last for at least a million years, what an impression! 4. Alcohol - could we have ever made it this far without it? It "makes white people dance," it makes ice breaker conversations a little easier, it makes us take our clothes off, it makes us say things we shouldn't say (or should say), it makes us fall down in public and run into walls, it makes us fall asleep in the chair or fall out of the chair if we're unlucky. 5. To my dog Lola, I never thought I'd have a dog, but you have been an awesome addition to our family. When I see the fireball in the sky, I'll let you out to run. I hope you can find a safe place and live out the rest of your life - your chances of survival are much better than mine! I'll leave the rest of your food out and a big pail of water to get you started. If you want to know what kind of dog she is then just ask my daughter... "She is part silly dog, part crazy dog, part cute dog, part clumsy dog, part lazy dog, part long tongue dog, part sniffer dog and part cuddle dog." 6. Kirkpatrick Macmillan, although there seems to be some dispute, in 1839 for developing the mechanics behind our modern day bicycles, for without them, as children, we would not have had so much freaking fun riding around. Bumps and bruises aside, our childhood would have never been the same without these awesome vehicles promoting staying fit and learning how to balance. And no, I do not make my kids wear helmets, I don't think that makes me a bad parent. 7. The wonderful world of the Internet for without it, I would not be here talking to you and for making life a little easier with online shopping, communicating, sharing, researching, the list could go on forever, but I don't have forever, so thank you Al Gore! :) 8. Sunscreen for allowing us to soak up harmful sun rays and feel protected. 9. Sex... uh, to the one that decided to put that in there, and share the ins and outs, you've kept us reproducing and I commend you!  Without you, it would be a planet of two. 10. 5th-4th Century BC Chinese and Greek philosophers describing the basic principles of optics and the camera. And further up the timeline, 1822 Joseph Nicephore Niepce for developing the first camera obscura and then again in 1880 when Eastman Dry Plate Company founded and started the photographic revolution. We preserved memories on paper (and then digital) and I honestly wonder why, who will look at them in 1,000 years? 11. Peanut butter and chocolate together, and I hate chocolate! 12. Hats off to country music! For my favorites... "Barefoot blue jean night" and "Midnight Chardonnay", you have gotten me through many a night, sparked many conversations and made me all warm and tingly inside (wait, that might have been the Chard). But seriously, what's better than songs about broken hearts, trains, trucks, pontoon boats and whiskey? I actually love all music, so my hats off to the caveman with a stick busting out rhythms on a rock and "Delta Dawn, what's that flower you have on, could it be a painted rose from days gone by?" 13. My ex-wife... yeah, I have to be thankful for her. We didn't exactly work out, but she wiggled out two awesome children for us to share. Since the split, although we have had some rough roads and nasty fights, we have gone back to being friends, which is how it all started anyways. [She actually has proofed (part of) this post and commented... "You think I just wiggled them out? You were there, you know that it wasn't that easy." Yeah, I know!] 14. Henry Ford for bringing cars to the masses, and also for those that many years later decided taking car manufacturing back to it's roots (hand made) and charge a seriously high premium for ultra fast sports cars. I love speed and gas and grease and power (and Top Gear). 15. Sushi, how I love thee. 16. For Gay Marriage!!! I mean really, marriage is hard enough (see # 13), so who really cares who you marry, if it works, it works. I have plenty of friends happily married to same sex partners and they are doing a hell of a lot better than I did! Love is love, companionship and compassion are just that-don't judge! 17. To drama, yeah, no, I could have been fine without you! 18. For eye glasses. From Wikipedia... The first eyeglasses were made in Italy at about 1286, according to a sermon delivered on February 23, 1306 by the Dominican friar Giordano da Pisa (ca. 1255 - 1311): "It is not yet twenty years since there was found the art of making eyeglasses, which make for good vision ... And it is so short a time that this new art, never before extant, was discovered ... I saw the one who first discovered and practiced it, and I talked to him." For without the spectacles, I should not have been able to see clearly all that was in front of me. 19. Ah, the Wright Bothers and pioneering powered flight. If it had not been for them, I would have never fallen in love with the Caribbean! 20. All of the awesomely fantastic 80's and early 90's flicks that I grew up with, The Breakfast Club, Risky Business, 16 Candles, Cocktail, Heathers, Goonies, wow, the list could go on and on, but I need to be conscious of the time. Oh, I cannot forget Dawson's Creek, for I spent many weekends in Wilmington on the waterfront wondering if I could get a glimpse of Katie Holmes (and the day she married Tom Cruise, they sent the rescue crew in to find my sunken heart). 21. Gardenia, Carolina Jasmine and Honeysuckle, you have made my summers fragrant. 22. Lego's... I love (still at 37 years old) playing Lego. I think it's really swell of you to have released the "Friends" collection for girls, I know my daughter loves that, it's kind of like a doll house with the ability to build something new and creative (oh, and I love the Lego hedgehog). And the Dino series, my son eats that up! 23. Edgar Allen Poe
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore, `Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven. Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore - Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!' Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'
24. For The Dukes of Hazzard! 25. The keyboard, well, this one is bittersweet. Without it, it is difficult to compose crazy blog posts or to work, but it also has caused over 3 years of pain dealing with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome that has escalated beyond what surgery might be able to fix. Oh well, just don't laugh at the way I type, I can still hen peck with the best of them! 26. Angry Birds for passing time in a few situations I inadvertently put myself into that I kind of regretted. 27. Spam (the processed spiced ham?). 28. To books, I know you are made from trees, but I've always loved the way your pages turn as we passed time at leisure. Yeah, I tried the whole eBook phenomenon, it just didn't feel right, kinda like a bad kiss. So I should also give a shout to all the great authors I've read in my life, I won't name you all, not even sure if I could. 29. Midnight. 30. To Cassie who got me drunk is Buffalo, NY by serving me a quadruple gin and tonic for the price of a single. And for when I got stuck in Buffalo a few nights later due to delayed flights, she promised to take it easy on me with a light and tasty IPA. 31. Props out to Felix Baumgardner for having the balls to jump out of a capsule at over 128,000 feet above the earth. And land safely. And set some records. Not that those records will matter tomorrow. 32. To my employer for taking a chance on hiring me almost six years ago and letting me grow a job into a career where i can honestly say, "I absolutely love what I do and enjoy work, it is not always easy, but it is always rewarding." 33. Marilyn Monroe, yeah, I would have totally slept with you! 34. To Kool-Aid, for without, I would have never puked in 3rd grade. 35. To playgrounds, for without, I would have never had my first kiss in 3rd grade (and calling out the HashTag... #MyLastKissForManyYears) with a girl that was from Greece, and that same year, said, "Hey, you should go to Greece with me." - we never did. 36. For rain. According to the song, "Rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey, whiskey makes my baby, feel a little frisky" (Just need to find "my baby" in a short period of time, that's all we have left). 37. For toilet paper. 38. Waffle House, 'nuff said. 39. For blankets and snuggling on the couch and blanket forts when you destroyed every piece of furniture by removing the cushions and creating your own little haven to chill out in. You better remember the secret password to get in! 40. To pen and paper. There is a lost art of writing love notes (and other notes) and passing them around in class, hoping to not get caught by the teacher. Kids these days have no clue what this was all about. Those lucky enough to have not had a significant other burn them on the grill will have the luxury of going back and reading what you were like and the relationships you had. For the rest of us, if we only could. For the youth, you have Facebook! It's not the same. Check Yes or No. 41. For Egg Nog, not for Custard. 42. For cooties. Yes, there are boy cooties and girl cooties and they don't go away as you get older. They exist until you do the circle circle dot dot now I got my cootie shot ritual. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then you must have the cooties! 43. For Tacky Christmas Sweaters. 44. For prescription snorkel masks that let me discover the absolutely stunning world that lives below the surface of the water. 45. For the sweat shirt I gave my Dad when I was about 16 because I thought I was too cool to wear it. And the day when I was 37 and he gave it back to me with only a few small holes. What happened to quality craftsmanship? 46. For the zipper. From Wikipedia... "Elias Howe, who invented the sewing machine, received a patent in 1851 for an "Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure". Perhaps because of the success of his sewing machine, he did not try to seriously market it, missing recognition he might otherwise have received." 47. For the wheel. This has sure made life easier. 48. For butt dialing. It's only caused a few awkward moments. 49. For my 6 year old son. What an awesome little man. He loves life, can be stubborn, get's shy around pretty girls (I think he got that from me), has one heck of an imagination and can talk non stop. He knows more about dinosaurs that I ever did. 50. For coffee that gets me going every morning. Black, velvety, hot. Again, Wikipedia to the rescue... "Other accounts attribute the discovery of coffee to Sheik Omar. According to the ancient chronicle (preserved in the Abd-Al-Kadir manuscript), Omar, who was known for his ability to cure the sick through prayer, was once exiled from Mocha to a desert cave near Ousab. Starving, Omar chewed berries from nearby shrubbery, but found them to be bitter. He tried roasting the seeds to improve the flavor, but they became hard. He then tried boiling them to soften the seed, which resulted in a fragrant brown liquid. Upon drinking the liquid Omar was revitalized and sustained for days. As stories of this "miracle drug" reached Mocha, Omar was asked to return and was made a saint. From Ethiopia, the beverage was introduced into the Arab world through Egypt and Yemen" "The Oromo people would customarily plant a coffee tree on the graves of powerful sorcerers. They believed that the first coffee bush sprang up from the tears that the god of heaven shed over the corpse of a dead sorcerer." 51. For my beautiful daughter. My Daddy's Little Girl. According to her, I do not know where the middle of her head is when I fix her pony tail every morning. She enjoys sitting on the front porch with me while I sip my morning coffee and we just talk, about anything. She's got a great head on her shoulders and reads well above her grade level, but most of all, she just has a really great personality. 52. For the cell phone. This one is also bittersweet. I no longer recall how we lived without them. It was one thing when you just received phone calls on them, now they are connected to everything, mutiple email accounts, text, web, Facebook. Do you go into shock if you leave your phone at home for a quick trip to the market? Mine is usually attached to my hip from 6 AM until 10 PM. I have learned (usually) to leave it alone on the weekends and almost every Thursday from 6 PM until Friday morning. It's a very rewarding experience to be freed for a little while from the thing that seems to run our lives. So I spend this reclaimed time with my awesome kids and the dog and doing normal things around the house, you know, fun things like cooking and cleaning and yardwork things. 53. For voodoo dolls. Yes, I have 9 of them. My first one was the only one that went through the naming ritual, I will not tell you whom it was for. Yes, I was bitter, yes, I was mad. The rest, well, they just sort of showed up because they are a great conversational piece. 54. For PBR and an acquaintance in NYC. I expected to buy you a $20 fancy mixed fru fru drink, and you wanted a PBR. 55. Brooklyn. [On a NYC kick right now] 56. For poetry slams. We all have a voice, some of us are just really good about sharing it in front of a live audience. I have yet to attend one where I was not in tears at some point in the evening (and no, it wasn't the alcohol that made me tear up). 57. For My Side of the Mountain. It took my wonderful sister and I close to 20 years to figure out the name of this movie that we both watched when we were much much younger. I was surprised one day to find a copy in my mailbox. 58. For the perfect kiss. 59. For Vegas, we have a love/hate relationship. I don't gamble, but I love your larger than life attitude. 60. To conch fritters. These tender yummy concoctions that scream "Caribbean!" [Caribbean kick now] 61. For crystal clear azure water that defines the Caribbean and every time I see it or dive right in, it takes my breath away. It's like a drug that I'm drawn to, addicted to and NO! I will not go to therapy because of my addiction, it IS my therapy. 62. For airport bars and the hundreds of people I have struck up random conversation with. Everything from sports to travel to higher education and all the things in-between. [Oh my, Chi] 63. For Chicago. Ahh, the many many stories I have from her. From the best in the world Bloody Mary at Reilly's Daughter to bacon infused whiskey at The Southern. We've been drunk together wandering the streets at hours that were probably not safe. We've reunited with old and dear friends and done vodka flights at The Russian Tea Room. I've watched a couple join in holy matrimony, walked a gazillion miles, breathed in the lake air, heard stories of the most odd things, almost taken muffins from strangers, bought a bottle of wine for a complete stranger and met really interesting people. I'd have to say that Chi is my favorite city, so full of life, culture, good food, great drinks, great friends. 64. For Navy Pier and a random three hour conversation with a complete stranger on a warm summer night. 65. For hedgehogs, the most adorable little creatures. 66. For everyone that knows how to Wang Chung tonight. And for those that know "Wang Chung" is translated to "Yellow Bell" and is the first note in the Chinese classical music scale, my hats off to you for that useless piece of knowledge. (This also makes the song a bit more odd... "Everybody yellow bell tonight?" WTF?). 67. For lawnmowers, although I do not hold on for dear life and whip you around the dirt track any more, you are the reason I have met so many wonderful people. 68. To pickled green beans, yum! 69. Emoticons. :) 70. Campfires. 71. For all of you that read my crazy shit. Honestly, I don't have a clue how many of you actually read this mess, although analytics on this site say there are at least a couple of you. 72. For not being normal, a little on the crazy side, but living and loving life. Any other attitude and it's a waste of breath. 73. To oysters on the half shell with a little squeeze of lemon, pinch of horseradish and a couple shakes of Tabasco. Ohh, my mouth is watering. 74. WiFi at 36,000 feet. How cool is that be be able to catch up on all the blogs I read while speeding through the air at over 400 miles per hour. 75. For proper Chicago hotdogs with mustard, relish, onion, tomato, pickle and hot peppers and a dash of celery salt. 76. Did I mention Chicago? 77. For Katrina and the Waves Walking On Sunshine - because that's how I feel! (I do like Aly & AJ's version better) 78. For my awesome sister and our front porch nights, we haven't had one in a long time, need to fix that. 79. For the fact that this list has grown so long and I have less than 24 hours to finish it. 80. For The Hobbit, Christmas parties, tacky Christmas sweaters, The Holiday Club and Mirai Sushi. This unlikely combination of things is turning out well. 81. ................ to be hopefully continued Maybe this is all a waste and the truth is that we all just love the drama that the world could end now! But really, it could end any day and at this point, only time will tell. I really think we are on a path to self destructing ourselves and the lovely planet we call home. But, should we all be here tomorrow, I think we should start to take life a little less for granted and appreciate each other more; Love a little more, hate a little less. Now for some factoids...
"It's the time when the largest grand cycle in the Mayan calendar—1,872,000 days or 5,125.37 years—overturns and a new cycle begins," said Anthony Aveni, a Maya expert and archaeoastronomer at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. The Maya kept time on a scale few other cultures have considered. During the empire's heyday, the Maya invented the Long Count—a lengthy circular calendar that "transplanted the roots of Maya culture all the way back to creation itself," Aveni said. During the 2012 winter solstice, time runs out on the current era of the Long Count calendar, which began at what the Maya saw as the dawn of the last creation period: August 11, 3114 B.C. The Maya wrote that date, which preceded their civilization by thousands of years, as Day Zero, or 13.0.0.0.0. -Courtesy of National Geographic
The end of the Mayan calendar coincides with a galactic alignment, in which the Sun will align with the center of the Milky Way galaxy. It is said that this rare event occurs once every 26,000 years and some predict it will be the 2012 apocalypse, potentially catastrophic consequences. The theory goes that on the day of the winter solstice in 2012, the Sun will be aligned with the center of the Milky Way . This alignment could mean that energy which typically streams to Earth from the center of the Milky Way will be disrupted on 12/21/12 at 11:11 p.m. Universal Time. This galactic alignment has the potential to create a shift in the Earth's poles, initiating the 2012 apocalypse, which would involve a sries of disastrous environmental events. There is also a good possibility that the effects will alter the magnetic polarity of the Sun. -Courtesy of 2012 Apocolypse
Maybe we should all just be looking forward to the next 1,872,000 days... or say Happy New Baktun! On another note, should you choose to spend you last day learning, go forth and educate yourself on the Maya Codices, and the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, it's freaking interesting! As for me, I'm going to go pour a drink, a Gin and Tonic to be specific, and wait for the big fireball in the sky to swallow me whole and should I wake tomorrow with a hangover, well, at least I woke up! Cheers and love my friends! (And good luck, I hope we can still chat tomorrow) [Final disclaimer, I've tried to note references where applicable, if I missed some, blame it on alcohol or sleepiness or laziness or that person over there]

Right side, left side

After packing and laundry last night, I ended up on the phone for awhile with a colleague and thought I would share an interesting topic that we talked about. We only covered a couple of these, but in my 2 hour flight this morning and my Starbucks relaxation time in Chicago, I figured I'd think about this more. The ones we talked about: 1. I always talk with the phone to my left ear 2. When I fly, I always sit on the right side of the plane, on the few occasions where I have not, I'm terrified of flying The ones I've thought of since: 3. When navigating the airport, I always pull my roller bag with my right hand 4. When walking the dog, I always walk her with my right hand 5. When I'm on a boat, I always end up on the left side of the boat 6. When I cut my grass, I always make left turns (this might have come from racing) 7. When I hug someone, I almost always come in from the left (of me) 8. I usually open doors with my left hand (or elbow or foot if I'm on the phone) 9. When taking a walk with someone, I feel more at ease if I'm on the right side 10. When parking a car, I usually look for a parking spot where I would make a right turn into it So being me, I started wondering more about the brains left and right hemispheres and spent my morning reading about it rather than the new book I picked up. Wikipedia is for sure a great starting point on lateralization of brain function, but by far, the most interesting thing I found was on bicameralism. Anyways, enjoy your day and my words of advice...

Don't ever stop learning!

Making memories

Grrrr, I've been enticed to write this (note to self... keep mouth shut). So it goes like this; Rush - Making Memories. It's a song that will always be near and dear to my heart. It started back in nineteen ninety something, I was working the retail management part of my life. The company I was working for had just purchased a smaller retail establishment, so I was promptly put on a team to go "transition" the stores. Emporia, VA was my destination, I was managing a crew of 10 to get the job done. I remember the hotel very well, pool and late night drinking. One really overweight gay dude. Not interested. One amazingly attractive brunette. Interested. Eight other people. So we all worked, we had things to do, but at the end of the day, we all hung out at the pool. By day 3 of 14 we started talking. No, not the gay dude, the amazingly attractive brunette. After work that night, sitting by the pool, she asked me if I had heard Rush's album Fly By Night, in particular Making Memories. I had not. 2112, check. A Farewell to Kings, check. But not that one. I did what any guy would do. I drove 2 hours back home that very next day after work to buy the CD (You see, back "then" we didn't have Google Maps or GPS or anything like that and there were no CD stores listed in the Emporia phone book at the hotel front desk, how did we ever survive?). Actually, I think I called my sister from my Motorola StarTac and asked her to buy it and meet me somewhere to pick it up (but I might be confusing that aspect with another story, not sure, she would remember). So then I again did what any other dude would do and drove back listening to the CD on repeat for 2 hours. I'll admit, I did fall in love with the album on that ride back. Day 5 after work we grabbed a bottle of wine and jumped in the truck with Rush playing and just drove. We stumbled upon a quaint little pond out in the country. No houses around. Cute little dock. We parked on the side of the road and spent the evening drinking wine with our feet dangling in the warm water. We didn't talk much. I honestly don't even remember her name. We held hands occasionally. Days 6 through 12 we did the very same thing, sometimes packing a sandwich, but always bringing a bottle of wine. Often, we would lay down and stare at the stars filling the night time sky with an occasional giggle and even less often, words. We never really talked much, yet many nights would last until 4 or 5 in the morning. Sometimes we would take a walk around the pond under the moonlight, listening to the crickets and frogs with uncut grass tickling our toes. Other nights a gentle back rub or foot massage. Day 13, our last night following a long days work finishing the store. We took our last trip to our little escape place with a bottle of wine. Neither one of us spoke a word that night, until... A little after midnight, we went back to the hotel and spent what seemed like hours in front of her room in that leading up to a kiss moment. We never kissed. And she said to me, "In The End." I turned around and walked away, never seeing her again. I left the next morning before anyone else was awake. So why does this still mean so much to me almost 20 years later? Because it has taught me that communication between two people isn't always verbal. It taught me that relationships don't have to be sexual or physical. And many years later when I look back, that holding hands still means something. And that you should cherish relationships because they often do not stand the test of time. And sometimes you have to walk away, even if it was a good thing. And music is a great ice breaker. And warm summer nights with your feet dangling in the water is a great way to spend time together. And although I don't remember your name... and after all of this time... I still remember the moments we spent together... mostly just being together... and drinking wine. Rush - In the End Well, I can see what you mean It just takes me longer An I can feel what you feel It just makes you stronger Well, you can take me for a little while You can take me, you can make me smile in the end  

Tonight

It's my site, I can break the rules if I want to! You have a choice! I have a choice! Live the day like you fucking mean it, or just treat it like another day. Live tonight like it's the last fucking night, or just have another night. Again, it's your choice, make wise decisions, but don't ever underestimate the power of you!

Real (1)

The filter is off... those easily offended, please skip this one. I never expected this exercise to actually invite situations where I would be applying my thoughts. So thank you to all of those that seriously fucked up your relationship with me during the last few weeks, you gave me a chance to test if I really feel the way I do! And I appreciate that, because it just drives home the fact that I do know who I am, what I stand for and how I hold myself. I'll give you a cookie if we ever talk again (unlikely). I have not only successfully examined myself, but I have been fortunate enough to examine some of my relationships. Kinda cool that I'm killing multiple birds with a single stone exercise. It all started when I asked my boss, "what do you want me to do?" And he answered with, "what do you want to do?" And I think. No. I believe that I took it to the next level. He shared with me a simple exercise involving a Ven Diagram. Inputting what I can do, what I like to do, and the delta is what I should will do. Then I took a step back. I examined core beliefs. These just10things are in reverse for a reason, because I needed to back up and get all fundamental-like before I could answer the true question on the table. Think about you, what you like, what you want. Be humble. Be passionate. Be intimate. Commit. Be honest. Trust. Be real, to yourself and others. Those familiar with SCRUM will understand, but the basic principal is spend 5 minutes every morning and answer three simple question. What did I accomplish yesterday? What am I doing today? Is there anything in my way? Maybe you do this once a week, but you need to answer these things about yourself. The rate at which the world is changing means that a five year plan is going to do you no good. Maybe a one year plan? I don't know what the right answer is. But I can tell you that it is not "decide and forget"-you must constantly be in evaluation mode. Life is not predictable and will always present you with choices and challenges. If you are not willing to meet them head on, you may get left behind. Live each day to it's fullest and trust in yourself, believe in yourself, and it might just all turn out OK. Sometimes we lose ourselves in the day to day. Sometimes we become stale, stagnant. What I have learned is that we must constantly be "out there" living and learning. It really is the same premise that I started just10things on. In one week, if I did not learn 10 things, I was not being successful. It's about the drive, about being real. If you don't believe me, go fuck yourself, I'll leave out the details on how that should happen, but if you have been following this exercise, I think you kind of have a hint as to how that should happen. Just make sure it's intimate. So now we have 10 things... Passion Intimate Believe Commit Trust Honest Pride Balance Choice Real And we have examined a little more about who we are, who you are, who I am. Now I am ready to go forward and accomplish the next phase. So what's next? Glad you have asked. I've executed this list, I recommend that you do as well. Read The Tipping Point (some times it's the little things that change the world) Watch Soul Surfer (Believe in yourself) Listen to Road To Nowhere (Find your road) Read  Who Moved My Cheese (Sometimes, you have to change to keep up, commit) Watch Being Elmo (Have passion) Listen to Sanctified (Be yourself, don't let someone else define who you really are) Read The Happiness Project (Experimentation) Watch Lemonade Mouth (Because Disney movies rock and there's always conflict, choices) Listen to We Own the Night (You own your life) Finally Be yourself and be honest and keep it real! Absorb. Find yourself. Be honest. Be real. Commit. Believe. Do it all with passion. Trust. Exercise intimacy. You have choices. Take pride. Find balance. Find yourself, you are out there. I don't know that I will ever 100% know who I am, but I can tell you that I'm a hell of a lot closer now. And I just begun finding me. There will always be a mountain to move, it's called life. It's your choice what you do with it. Sit back and say fuck it or take it by the horns, you decide. I have a handful of people to thank. I won't call you out here, but you know who you are. In the last few weeks we have talked, listened, grown relationships and killed a few. All in all, it's been an interesting road, but I feel like I am in a better position to move forward living life and being real. Cheers my friends, and all my love. Thank you for the adventure (it's not over). And one final question you should ask yourself... "AM I IN WITH EVERYTHING I HAVE?"