I have not posted in some time. I haven't called in awhile. I haven't sent that random text in many weeks. I haven't opened the 6 books that I'm dying to read. And no, the pile of papers on the counter that need to be filed away, yeah, the stack keeps growing. I'm not one for excuses. So what have I been doing lately? Chasing rainbows. I miss just10things. This was my relax. This was my break. Therefore, tonight, old school.
"And pennies make dimes and dimes make dollars,
Dollars buy gas and longneck bottles,
Beer gets a barefoot country girl swayin,
To a song that's playin on the radio station.
Bad times make the good times better,
Look in her eyes and you're gone forever,
Aw its a helluva ride... Yeah, It's a helluva life." ~ Helluva Life, Frankie Ballard
"Baby you're a song
You make me wanna roll my windows down and cruise
Down a back road blowin’ stop signs through the middle
Every little farm town with you
In this brand new Chevy with a lift kit
Would look a hell of a lot better with you up in it
So baby you're a song
You make me wanna roll my windows down and cruise" ~ Cruise, Florida Georgia Line
"Heard about the old time sailor men,
They eat the same thing again and again;
Warm beer and bread they say could raise the dead.
Well, it reminds me of the menu at a Holiday Inn." ~ Cheeseburger In Paradise, Jimmy Buffet
"Well I see the souls of so many friends,
And I see us all back here again.
With sandy floors and ceiling fans,
A Rastafarian one-man band with songs
That fill my memories like a tip jar.
Yeah, that's what I see
When I see this bar." ~ When I see This Bar, Kenny Chesney
"A lifetime for a day
Would be an even trade
No price I wouldn't pay
For your heart love
I know how it feels to breath
With you beside me
I think about it always" ~ Tonight, Sugarland
"What did you do today?"
"What did you play?"
"Oh. Barbies, Legos, outside, that stuff."
Am I getting too old? Do I forget what it means to play? Everything is so serious. My list of 10 things times 3 that I need to get done? They get crossed off very slowly as the kids are out playing. I want to go play. To not have a care in the world other than to just have fun. Maybe in a few years. That is all for now.
The beginning. Pajama party. The end. 2013. You have been good to me. Challenging. But good. Thank you 2013. Dear 2014, you better be fucking amazing. And epic. And completely amazing. And epic. My third year in Chi for New Years, I wouldn't have it any other way. It's snowing out, the air is thick with alcohol. It's New Year's! It's a stay in party. An all week prep for a warm cozy night with old friends and new friends, all good friends. I love this crowd. Especially when they put up with my southern ways.
What a spread. The food, simply amazing. The wine. The beer. The whiskey (see, they do know the southern boy). North side Chi-town hardwood floors. Perfectly cleaned with love and elbow grease. The reward. Purple Cowboy! The whole place smelled of heaven.
It's the end of the year. It's actually an end to a lot more. It's a start of a new year. A start of a new adventure. They say you can either sink or swim. And I say that you cannot do either if you don't get in the water. So I jump in. My life is changing drastically in the next few weeks, and in times like these, traditions of being with true friends as the ball drops, yeah - that's what keeps me alive and awake.
He drinks a whisky drink
The future is not always certain. But I do know that the days will march on. And if I choose to not react and simply let time fly by. And if I choose to have no passion. And if I choose to be in the audience rather than the show. Well, then. Fuck me, I'm screwed.
He drinks a vodka drink
People are real. I swear. Cross my heart. I just found out myself, therefore will completely understand if you have a hard time believing me. Really, they are living and breathing the same air as you. Even in 3D (without any special glasses), which is pretty cool if you ask me. But because of this, it also means they can get hurt. Which also means that they will bleed. It can happen.
He drinks a lager drink
Men shoveling snow. It's still snowing. Are you chasing your tail? Is anything ever complete? Back home it is leaves. Do I rake every time a leaf falls or do I wait until they are all laying dead on the ground. If you wait, will the sun melt the snow, the wind blow the leaves away. I don't have time to wait. It must be now.
He drinks a cider drink
Smile. Do you know how fucking much it means to someone when you smile at them. Even if it's just a friendly passing smile in the airport. There's energy. Compassion. Love. A simple "Hey, how are you.?" Get your heads out of your text message. In person. Be there. In the NOW!
He sings the songs that remind him
I think this year has taught me one big lesson Love me, hate me, I don't care. But regardless, I will love you in some capacity. I've had the deepest conversations with people I had never met before. Partially because I just wanted to talk. Something on my mind. I'll never see them again, so what does it matter. I no longer believe in bull shit. Let it come out. You have friends and family when it becomes a life issue. But really, who is to say that a random stranger can't offer another view point that opens up the reality and help. Unbiased. Honest. True. Brutal sometimes.
Of the good times
Southern comfort. Some nights. I count my blessings every day that I wake up in a bed. And every cup of coffee I pour myself. And every pair of jeans I pull over my tired feet.
He sings the songs that remind him
Maybe I don't have the best plan. But I have a plan. And that plan is to work hard and play hard. And worker harder. And I refuse to go down without trying. And if I fail. Well. Then I try again. And if I fail. Well. Then I try again. And one day...
Of the better times
The year 2014 will not be easy. If it were easy, everyone would do it. But. It will be real. And real is what I want. Need. Crave. So here's my real. Right in front of me. And I cannot do this without family and friends. Those that listen to my crazy ideas and support me. They may not believe in ny ideas, but they believe in me. It's balls to the wall. It's try to keep up or I'll leave you in my dust.
To the hats in Chi,
I love you. I live on the edge of insanity. You put up with me. I may act irresponsible. I'm the most grounded person you will probably ever meet. I got this shit. Yes, I fuck up often. I'll admit that when it happens. I'm out there. Trying. For me. If you want to go for a ride, hop in.
Cheers & Happy New Year,
This has been one of those weeks. The kind of week you finish, but aren't proud of. It started well. Plans. Goals. Deadlines. And started to slowly sink as the sinuses reared their ugly head. And not breathing turned into not sleeping. And stuffy head turned into nose bleeds. And those turned into doctors. And I hate going to the doctor (no offense to any of you in the profession). In my misery state, box of tissues, nasal spray, blanket, hot tea, prescriptions I cannot pronounce… I thought I needed someone to take care of me, to comfort me and, well, baby me. I'm a handful when I'm sick, be warned. But then I stepped back in my miserable state and looked down. Down at my hands. These hands that write to you tonight.
Someone once asked my if I were to retain only one sense for the rest of my life, what would it be. I used to answer with sight. Visual is still very high on my list, and there are wonders of the world that can only be partially enjoyed without sight. But the more I thought, the more I realized that touch is what I cannot live without. These hands. From holding a child seconds after it's first breath of air to touching a starfish the size of a dinner plate 20 feet under the surface of a vast ocean. Aiming a telescope at Orion's Belt, painting a room. Throwing luggage into the overhead to go find some new place and new friends. Where would I be without my hands? Where would I be.
These hands. They pick up toys, they cook dinner. They make wine. They write code. They dial phone numbers. These hands. They walk the dog, they drive, they write. These hands. They help me find the way in the dark, they navigate through touch. These 10 things, 5 attached to each appendage to make my hands. These hands.
Touch the stars. With my hands.
Do not tell my Dad that I hacked his blog. I'm being selfish, this is really for him. Really. But. I am a two lap dog, and ladies, he only has one. So. Yeah, it's kind of for me, too. I need another lap to snuggle on when we are on the couch. I mean he needs another person to snuggle with. He really is a nice guy. Short. Yeah. But I think you could just call him compressed and be OK with it. He works hard. But he takes plenty of time to walk me and play with me. I'm sure he would do the same for you. His kids are just adorable, I like to nip at their flip flops. Love me the taste of processed Wal-Mart plastic/rubber. It's wonderful. Oh, did I tell ya, the dude can cook! He makes some mean ass food on the grill. I don't normally get to taste it, but it sure smells out of this world. I digress. So here's why I'm here. Again, I need... my Dad, well, he needs... OK, fine. I need another lap. He's only 259 years old. Oh, that's dog years. Damn, he's old! He does this thing called work on a computer. I don't understand it, but he seems to enjoy it. Sometimes he has to go on trips and my aunt takes care of me, it's cool. She rocks. My Papa also takes care of me sometimes. But Dad always comes home to me. So, he is very loyal. You should remember that. We live in the country. I like to listen to the frogs and crickets at night. You should probably be OK with mosquitoes. If you wear cowgirl boots, that would be a plus. I think he would like that. He makes me listen to country music all the time. I'm starting to get into it, but honestly, I think 80's hair bands are the bomb diggity. You can take musical interests up with him, I can learn to love any type of music. Getting back to my point, he travels. And I mean loves to travel. So. You better be cool with that. If you strike the right pose, he might even take you to some tropical paradise. Maybe if you like him enough, we can all move there. That would be the coolest. He always talks about Chicago. I've never been there. I wonder why he likes it so much. I can't pretend to understand too much. I just know that somewhere there's a lady out there for my Dad, just like he is here for me and his kids. I wonder what color hair you would have. I bet you would give me an extra treat in the morning. Another thing, my Dad, he doesn't like a mess. There was one time that I tore up a pillow. Yeah. He was not happy. He likes to keep a really clean house. Everything. And I mean everything has to be in it's place. You could call that anal I suppose. But it is nice to not be walking around in a house full of cat poo. No, he doesn't have cats, that's just the dirtiest reference I could come up with. I can also tell you that he makes this black stuff in the morning, it smells heavenly. He doesn't put cream or sugar in it. I bet he would love to have a cup of it with you. He's silly, really. He flies by the seat of his pants yet is totally grounded and responsible. You really should consider. It might be the best thing you ever did.So again, I need a second lap to be comfortable. I mean my Dad, he's available. Shit, he's going to kill me when he reads this. Going to chase my tail.........
Time flies. A lot has changed. But nine years ago today I held my daughter for the first time. Nine years. I've had to start letting go. A little at a time. And hold on tighter every day. I'm not perfect at this Daddy thing. But I do my best, remain consistent, bend when I need to bend and learn from my mistakes. And this pays off through the actions and words of an amazing little gal!
Welcome Daddy's little girl, 2004
We went to a musical on Saturday where we ran into one of her classmates. During intermission the two girls were chatting it up and being, well, silly girls. Her friend made a comment that caught my attention. "How can you be so quiet in school?" My daughter didn't answer. This is not the first time I have heard this from one of her friends. And I concur. From sun up until sun down, she is a non stop talker. About this. About that. Her favorite weekend activity is chatting with me on the front porch while I enjoy my morning coffee. She tells me about school. She asks questions about things she doesn't understand. She asks about where I went for work the previous week. She comments on birds sitting in the grass. Yet in school, she is a quiet sponge. Always has been.
First day of school, 2009
Somehow, I have taught her the value of education. And respect for it. Somehow, she turned into someone that soaks up every bit of information she can. She can multiple and divide faster than I can, she knows things that maybe I did know at one point in life, just chose to file away. When she doesn't know the answer, she asks. And if I don't know, she turns to Google. But not just turns to Google. She researches. Not once will she find a single answer and accept it. She will verify it with multiple sources online. And if she can't verify it, she will ask me to help her find the right answer.
Yes, she still does kid stuff. She hikes in the woods with her brother and the neighbors. She plays in dirt and catches bugs. She plays with dolls and rides her bike. She helps out around the house. She can cook a mean Hamburger Helper. She helps me bottle home made wine (I hope that's not illegal, she's just holding the bottle while I start the siphon). Washing dishes, cleaning her room, dusting, sweeping, yard work. The list goes on.
Birthday gal, 2013
So today, as she sits quietly in school, I ponder all the memories I have of her and how she's not such a little girl anymore. But she'll always be my little girl. No matter how much I let go. I still will hold her tight. Forever.
1. Don't ever stop asking questions.
2. Don't ever stop being curious.
3. Don't ever stop loving.
4. Don't ever stop living.
5. Don't ever stop listening.
6. Do enjoy time with your friends and family.
7. Do enjoy all life has to offer.
8. Do enjoy southern sunsets.
9. Do enjoy learning new things.
10. Do enjoy challenges.
Happy 9th birthday sweets, I love you to the moon!
Next year is 10!
It is funny that I think of you tonight. Well. Not funny in the belly laugh sort of way. Funny in what I am about to expose. How I feel. I'm not quite sure why I hang my hat on everything that is you. Be it thought. Be it dream. Be it crush. It will never be so. I will never hold your hand. I will never taste your salty tears. I will never touch your tender lips. You may as well be a ghost. A ghost in my head. Floating. You hold yourself ten feet tall. A height that I cannot reach. You are miles away. I get that. Miles can be broken. I need you. I need your questions. So direct. What do you think of that? It's bold, isn't it. Fuck yeah, it is! What do you think of that?
You won't respond, you won't replay the memories that I have made we have shared. It is funny. Like that. Not in a belly laugh sort of way. And we don't have much. Time.
I go on. You go on. I dream of hedgehogs. You dream of him. The him is not me. My hedgehog is not you. Or is it?
I go to this place. In this place. In the end, it always is you. You are in my place.
Because I want you there. I don't know if you want to be there. You laugh, it's funny. The way I slowly draw the knife. The way they would teach you in culinary school. I didn't go there. Or did I. It's not a belly laugh funny moment. Deeper. River of blood. Thick. Crimson. Pain. Lust.
I sit here in a pool of tears. I never told you how I felt. I could not tell you. I just swallowed it up. That you would never love me. I laugh. Not the belly laugh. The I'll be OK laugh. And I am. I think. I'm not. Because I'll never touch your tender lips and never taste your salty tears. Tonight, I think of you, ten feet away from my heaven.
I woke up this morning on the couch with the dog, put my glasses on and looked at the clock. 1:04, holy bleep, I overslept. My entire morning, gone. It's after lunch, did I miss any meetings, no, how could this have happened. I'm a wake up at the butt crack of dawn person. Nooooo! Then I made my way to the kitchen. The clock said 7:15. Wait. What. The. Eff. Something is seriously wrong. Check my phone. 7:16. Computer. 7:14. What did I drink last night? I've completely lost my mind. And after what is probably the strangest day yesterday. Ever. Ever. Ever.
1 odd phone call
3 interesting phone calls
2 strange phone calls
1 interesting Facebook conversation
3 interesting text messages
= just 10 things
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...
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?"
The beauty is, with choice, I can decide if you get to come into my blanket fort or not. Sucks for you, rocks for me. But in all seriousness, think about all the choices we do have. How do you know if you make the right decision? How many times have you said, "What if I had made a different decision?" I suppose the good news is that you'll never know what happened, so don't stress too much about it.
There are some studies that suggest an average adult to have 35,000 choices a day, this varies with age, job, situation, but still, that's a staggering number. Some are simple choices. Do I hit snooze or just get out of bed? Should I have a bologna sandwich or salami? Some are more complex. Should I call her and ask her out? Should I take on another responsibility at work? Should I invest in that startup company? With all these choices, it's a wonder we are not all in the looney bin. How does the human brain handle all of these choices. Yeah, I'm not an expert in that, but I am pretty amazed that we have the capacity.
Let's talk about a very difficult choice. A bee. A worker bee's sole purpose is to protect the queen. If it stings, it will die. That's one heck of a choice, I can here the buzz in the little bee's head, "Hey, is this person a threat to my Queen? Hmm, he has dark hair and brown eyes, must be... goodbye cruel world!" Pretty depressing. I'm sure that this is not how it really happens, it's probably some pre-wired instinct caused by the fact that worker bees are just clones and have no evolutionary responsibility for passing on their DNA, but that's another day.
Point being, all these choices, some are really hard. Think about all the decisions our soldiers make in combat, some are life and death decisions. And they have an even larger weight for each choice they have. They are dealing with choices that not only protect themselves, but the entire country! What I wonder, though, is how many of the choices they have where what they choose to do becomes second nature, almost instinctual. Does that mean we can train ourselves to make better decisions? Faster decisions? Smarter decisions?
I'd like to think so. But I do not think that you can, or even could, unless you really understand you, who you are, what you stand for. I was thinking the other day (which can be a scary thing) about trying to reduce the complexity in my life by creating less choices. For example, instead of sitting there wondering which bottle of wine to have, I would just reach my hand in the wine rack and grab a bottle. Most of the wine in my rack I've never tried, so if it turns out that my seemingly random selection is one of my favorites, I add excitement to my glass. The thing is though, I'm not removing a choice from my life. I am making it a little less complex by not staring at 40 bottles of wine for 30 minutes, but I still do have the choice on whether I will have wine or a gin and tonic on a particular evening. You could certainly argue that my random choice of bottles is still a choice, and maybe it is, but it's a choice about where on the rack to grab, not do I want Merlot, Cab, Shiraz.
I have also come to determine that the choices I have in who I associate myself with have become slightly less complex. I have spent time thinking about who I am and what I want. I've spent time thinking about the traits that I need in relationships. After having spent all this time thinking, it's becoming easier to let relationships go because they don't have the traits that I value. More importantly, I've realized that I don't need a relationship where I continuously give with nothing in return. I've had choices where this seemingly simple evaluation has thrown a lot of stress out the window, and has ensured that when I wake each morning, I feel lighter, happier, more excited about what choices the day will bring me. And it's a great feeling.
I believe that having too many complex choices in your life can lead to stress, anxiety, depression, anger and probably a host of other negative emotions. And I, for one, am done with negative. I want positive back in my life and I want my life to be real (next time).
Cheers my friends.