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, Me (10)
This morning I was sitting at the Orange County airport in sunny California when the clouds rolled in. They were the not so good clouds. They were the clouds of a friend that fought, and fought hard. They were the clouds of a Dad that loved his children. They were the clouds of a racer that didn't have to win to enjoy his fellow racers. They were the clouds of a friend who has moved to the next chapter. They were the clouds of a friend that was fighting pancreatic cancer. They were the clouds of a battle. They were the clouds of strength. They were clouds of persistence. They were clouds of... Brian. It was all for you brother! That crazy day in Mobile, Alabama. And all of the times we both tried to connect in Chicago, yet it never happened. You are loved and will be missed, never forgotten. You are a legend! All my love, rest in peace.
Is 2012 over already? It's been a game changer of a year. Maybe a little mid-life crisis where I didn't buy a sports car (maybe next year). A year of realizing that relationships are fragile and sometimes you just need to know when they are no longer worth trying to protect. A year where I finally understood that you can love me or hate me and I'm OK either way. A year full of new travel adventures. A year of finally being able to talk. I suppose it's been a little bit of a selfish year. But a good year with an unexpected ending. This post comes a little early this year, but only by a day-that should be acceptable. This New Year's Eve promises to be full of unknowns of epic proportions. As I sit here trying to figure out how best to outline just10things of 2012, I'm stumped. I've lived through yet another apocalypse that was uneventful and lacking on the boom boom bang side. I think the year will end in style though, so I turn to music that has influenced me in some way this year. Enjoy and listen on YouTube. 1. Fireworks are beautiful, if you disagree then you have issues. We all have fireworks inside of us, yet the choice to ignite them is sometimes hindered by fear. Go ahead let 'em out. Own the night!
You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine Just own the night... 'Cause, baby, you're a firework Come on, show 'em what you're worth Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh" As you shoot across the sky-y-y ~Kate Perry, Firework2. Believe in who you are, being popular is not a way to live your life, maybe in high school it was, but grow up. We are all individuals and should be proud of that. And while you are at it, raise your glass and have a grand time!
So raise your glass if you are wrong In all the right ways... So if you're too school for cool (I mean) And you're treated like a fool (You're treated like a fool) You can choose to let it go We can always, we can always party on our own So raise your (oh, fuck) So raise your glass ~Pink, Raise Your Glass3. Time will happen, you cannot change that. Don't let this happen to you. I now believe my parents when they said that as you grow older, time goes faster. My kids are growing up fast and I have realized that I need to cherish every moment with them and spend time playing or just hanging out with them. These days will not last forever. Let them grow up, but don't miss out on a single second of it.
I’ve long since retired, my son's moved away I called him up just the other day........ I said "I'd like to see you if you don’t mind" He said "I'd love to Dad, if I could find the time. You see my new jobs a hassle, and the kids have the flu. But It's sure nice talking to you, Dad, It's been sure nice talking to you........" And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me He'd grown up just like me, My boy was just like me.............. ~Cat Stevens, Cats In the Cradle4. Balance. Know the way home. Experience the world. Life is about adventure, every minute of every day. Get out there, it's amazing!
I have since become a drifter And I just can't wait to pack Cause I know the route I leave on It will always bring me back ~Brad Paisley, Southern Comfort Zone5. You never know what you will find, or where, or who. More importantly, listen. To the sound of the music, and sing along, and dance while you sing.
Somebody said they might have seen you where the ocean meets the land So I've been out here all night lookin' for your footprints in the sand Did you hear the ocean singing, baby did you sing along While you danced out in the water to some ol' forgotten song, ~Kenny Chesney, El Cerrito Place
Sing (Let it take you Let it make you Never break you down) Sing (Let it mold you Let it make you bold And never hold you down) Sing Sing, your heart out Its on the street The neon glare The hard concrete The cold night air Its in your voice The way you sound Have no choice But come unwound ~Wynonna Judd, Sing6. It's been a year of new, better, bigger things-rising up to meet challenges, pushing forward no matter how difficult it seems.
Can't see nothin' in front of me Can't see nothin' coming up behind I make my way through this darkness I can't feel nothing but this chain that binds me Lost track of how far I've gone How far I've gone, how high I've climbed On my back's a sixty pound stone On my shoulder a half mile of line ~Bruce Springsteen, Rising7. You just never know when your time is going to be over. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Live the day like you mean it and live the night like it's your last.
Excuse me but I might drink a little more than I should tonight And I might take you home with me if I could tonight And baby, I'ma make you feel so good tonight 'Cause we might not get tomorrow ~Pitbull, Give Me Everything
Tonight, tonight, tonight I'm waiting for, waiting for the night Tonight, tonight, tonight I'm waiting for, waiting for Tonight, tonight, tonight Tonight, tonight, tonight Tonight, tonight, tonight Tonight, tonight, tonight Tonight, tonight, tonight Tonight, tonight ~Sugarland, Tonight8. It's OK to cry sometimes, when you are lying in bed just to get it all out. It may be in your head. Take a deep deep breath, you'll be fine. Scream if you need to!
I realized quickly when I knew I should That the world was made up of this brotherhood of man For whatever that means And so I cry sometimes When I'm lying in bed Just to get it all out What's in my head And I, I am feeling a little peculiar. And so I wake in the morning And I step outside And I take a deep breath and I get real high And I scream from the top of my lungs What's going on? And I say: HEY! yeah yeaaah, HEY yeah yea I said hey, what's going on? ~4 Non Blondes, What's Up9. I gotta know tonight; Patience, patience, patience.
Little patience, mmm yeah, mm yeah Need a little patience, yeah Just a little patience, yeah Some more patience, yeah Could use some patience, yeah Gotta have some patience, yeah All it takes is patience Just a little patience Is all you need ~Guns'n'Roses, Patience
I gotta know tonight If you're alone tonight Can't stop this feelin' Can't stop this fire ~Def Leppard, Hysteria10. And just10lines...
For inspiration For conquering fear For choices For celebration For dreaming For your voice For accepting challenges For risking everything For friends and family For living, lovingHappy New Year! Cheers my friends. It has been a great year and 2013 promises to be even better!
Well, here I am in my favorite windy city, Chicago, but this trip isn't about me. It's about two awesome friends that are tying the knot tomorrow afternoon. Last night, the groom and I did some hopping (bars, that is) and I (re)introduced him to good old American light beer. And we got green beads from the bartender, and free shirts that say "Half way to St Pat's Day", but tonight I'm relaxing in my room, 22 floors above the streets of a town that I love. Tomorrow, I get to share a special day with two people that have become very dear friends. I look out my window and I notice this big white ball in the sky. A full moon (almost... tomorrow it will be). I stared at this moon hanging effortlessly in the sky. I stared at all the buildings and cars and people below and sort of drifted off. I thought about how small we really are. How many of us there are, all alive, busy, working, playing, shopping, planning. And I thought of this couple that is about to get married! Married! It's funny how you come to meet someone in life, and something just clicks. Next thing you know, you are the best of friends, you are hanging out for New Years in Chi, meeting the soon to be. It was all just too amazing. I guess what really was going through my head was... I was genuinely excited for these two. They really have something special, and in a world where there are billions of people, to see two, just two, find each other and grow their relationship is just amazing. So under the almost full moon, I tried to think of ten things. I'm in Chicago, this should be easy. And it isn't/wasn't. I was nervous, the day before the wedding and there were things not panning out the way they were planned. When does life play out the way we plan? Never! There were so many things to do. Last minute. It's going to be a wreck of a wedding! No it's not! Yes it is! No it's not! Yes it is! Yeah, you get the idea... jitters... Absolutely f*ing amazing!!! It was a beautiful wedding! On the lake, perfect weather (I swear the lake was like glass during the ceremony, not a ripple around, not sure if anyone else saw that). We were introduced to Mr. and Mrs. you know who you are :) (there I go with emoticons again, need to stop that!). The dinner was interesting, and ingenious. Put a bunch of people around a table and make them eat with their hands. Brilliant!!! And the food was awesome to boot. Ethiopian cuisine... basically you have this moist bread that is your fork/spoon/knife and if you are sensitive to spice, don't choose the spicy dishes (lamb, beef, chicken, beans) - I did, and survived! And it was yuuuuuuummmmmmmmmy! Now to get jiggy with it at the bar... Oh shit! I'm the appointed DJ. This should be easy, just play the song list we talked about - no - play whatever keeps the crowd dancing - no - slow it down, we are all sweaty - no - speed it up - no I don't have that song - wait - I have Internet - Amazon, take me away - dance - oh, no, wait, I don't dance - a shot? - oh, no, I can't - OK, well maybe one... Just a great crowd celebrating you two! (And for a dude that said many times prior to Saturday that you couldn't dance... you sure owned the freaking dance floor) So 10 things... I'm happy for you both. FINALLY YOU TIED THE KNOT!!! That alone should be worth at least 10 things. Cheers my friends, may life love and happiness bless you forever. All my love (and the kids) (and Lola)!
8:34 I have a secret, well, it's no longer a secret. 8:41 I love this town, she has never let me down. When we're together, snowmen come to life (to borrow from my Americano cup). 8:56 "In real life I could be that anonymous nerd sitting across from you in chem lab, staring at you so hard. Then when you turn around he tries to smile, but the smile just comes out all wrong. You just think, How pathetic. Then he just looks away, and never looks back at you again." 9:18 Intricate weaving this morning as I cannot look away. 9:38 The song came out all wrong, the trumpet unable to stay in tune. The drums, a different beat. 9:57 Take to the skies, it's a faster way to travel. I'll never see it all, but I'll do my best to see as many beautiful sunsets as possible. Then you realize that everyday brings a memorable sunset no matter where you are, even when the clouds suppress the radiant colors or the rain scatters the light. 10:06 Comfort, as in dead of winter stew, as in blankets and a book, as in scarves and slippers and sand. Random secrets. 10:25 Positively half full, even when empty. Painting my own pictures now of live long and prosper. 10:46 [the kangaroo that cannot hop backwards and the dragonfly that cannot walk] 10:59 My secret? I now love beets!
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... 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!
Pushing the limits... 1. Interactions with insects: I had heard on some radio show trivia contest the other day that the average human gets 17 insect bites per year. I'd like to know where their sample pool was, I had 17 last night. 2. Interactions with software: Hacking it up because it never does exactly what I need it to. There is a great challenge in taking something that partially fits the bill and mold it. 3. Interactions with computers: Does not compute! Kidding aside, I have moved from a traditional laptop to a touch screen tablet with full laptop processing power and no keyboard (well, there is a wireless keyboard that I'm trying not to use). Getting used to alternative input methods is nothing short of crazy difficult. Typing on the on screen keyboard is getting better, but I'm still not very accurate. Not having a cursor is just, well, odd. I do believe that I will become accustom to this after a few more posts and work day emails. 4. Interactions with Carolina sunshine: Yeah, so, we had a huge fight this week. I almost broke up with Carolina in favor of Chi-town after my AC went out and it's only 98 degrees with a heat index of 105. I love you Carolina, but Chicago treats me so well, is beautiful and pretty "cool." 5. Interactions with caffeine: I'm addicted to coffee, there, I admitted it. (See #4) Yesterday, I survived with none, today, two cups. 6. Interactions with fragrances: For the last few nights, my yard is covered with the overwhelming smell of gardenia. There is something about it that is refreshing, ranks up there with jasmine, honeysuckle and wormwood. 7. Interactions with words: Words can hurt, be truthful, but ensure the filter between your brain and mouth is in check. 8. Interactions in the dark: You may really think you can navigate your dwelling in the dark until someone leaves something in the middle of the floor. 9. Interactions with water: We are composed of a lot of water, respect it! 10. Interactions with people: I've realized this week after a brief encounter with my health that I have a lot of people in my life to thank for a lot of things. In staying with the traditions of the medium, yet also breaking them by nesting Just10Things within Just10Things, here goes a few shouts to people I've interacted with that I may or may not have thanked properly (full names withheld, but you know who you are) (this is not a complete list, but I'm not breaking any more rules tonight) :
- For just being there, for support, for a shoulder to lean on - ND, KD
- For bookends, I never knew what they were used for before this week - HW
- For front porch moments and "My butt itches" - AO
- For kicking the town, good food, good drinks, and keeping it REAL - JD
- For being a best friend - RT, ST
- For saving me when I didn't know what was happening - RH, JW
- For Shadowboxer - VW
- For the best extended family anyone could ask for - DB and family
- For a wreck that was forgotten and you made me remember, it's all good - SS
- For showing me that there are still beautiful people in this world - CM
1. Six comes early when you are delivered back to a hotel at three in the morning climbing sideways up the elevator testing rooms with your key until finding one that unlocks. I fell into a deep passed out state only to be startled by an alarm promptly waking my not so sober self. No! I was not going stay horizontal and big headed. I would not do this, I could not. I was in my magical kingdom. Throw some sweats on your drunk ass, swallow some coffee, an aspirin and an energy drink, now! Take your sorry self and go jog Michigan Avenue. And that's just what I did for thirty minutes, returning to the hotel less mushy than when I had left. A short taxi ride gallops me to an underwater wonder, close up and personal. Rivers of Cichlids, oceans of Jellies, seas of Horses. Poison dart frogs in blue and yellow breaking the green landscape. A pool of ocean sport whales and dolphins recognizing shapes and sounds jumping, breaking waves putting on a mystical show. Red tailed hawks glide across the pool to gently claw solid ground upon a perch with rewards of cryogenic mice. Natural beauty caged in concrete, steel and glass. The remainder of midday filled my ears with fingers tapping keyboards. 2. Design is the ability to provide form over function. 3. Listening to the sounds of ideas surfacing over potentially mesmerizing, yet unheard, music was intriguing. 4. While never experiencing notes directly, the passion behind promotion is sometimes just as soothing. Hours and hours pass before a venturous soul toting essential baggage decides to cruise through the quiet streets of Andersonville heading west towards Clark in anticipation of a friend coming in from LA, my Oz until Sunday. Geo-tagging check in at a posh wine bar serving freshly tapped Firkin. Thirstily, I consume. 5. My connected world is collapsing with a laptop battery dying and a cell battery dying even faster. Luggage has been dropped in the land of Oz and my place in the wine line preserved. I had stepped outside to breathe a nicotine enhanced breath when I started a chat with a pleasant lady from Michigan. We spoke softly of wine when from out of the wine store proclaiming the best Shiraz he had ever tasted. I stepped in, bought two bottles returning to my companion presenting one for her and one for me. She bought me a drink later that evening. Native and Oz present themselves and a ciggy break finds two ladies again. More stolen kisses and Firkin flowing, the night once again dances to the beat of randomness. “Will I see you again?” “In the social channels.” Kiss and good night. I stumble back to something horizontal once again, but only a few blocks walk. My tired feet take me with Oz guiding, too intoxicated to make a list of 10, just 10 things. The drinks:
- Stone IPA from North County San Diego
- Raw Power Shiraz from South Australia
- St. Germaine
- Death's Door Gin
- Time to Pretend by MGMT
1. I have slipped into a middle aged life peppered with business trips, meetings, late nights and an overall geek attached to anything that goes online. 2. The thought of two women having a conversation amongst themselves about Cascading Style Sheets completely turns me on, that is tomorrow though, let's get through day one. 3. My escape was invigorating and exhausting. The wind blows strong and constant off the water, running through the valleys full of concrete, steel and glass; somewhere amongst this exist exotic fish, Sarsaparilla, firkin, pumpkin, poison muffins cupcakes, taxis, trains, coffee, friends, social marketing, social networking and possibly even stolen kisses. The miles upon miles added to my shoes and the wheels of my luggage gave way to self awareness and mind boggling events I never thought possible in four days. With no rules, minimalist plans and a connected world, I set out to conquer the streets of what is, quite possibly, the most magical place on earth. 4. Day one was an endurance test, both to my physical stamina and my liver's processing power. 5. Taking the first flight in was the best decision I made, regardless of the close proximity of the flight returning me home the night before and the one to roll me back out again. With feet back on the ground, I set off for the cheapest and most expedient mode of transportation to the hotel that turned out to be an “amazing,” to quote a three year old, adventure. Ten passenger airport shuttle, boring ride full of complete strangers that don't speak, not this time. Darting in and out of traffic north bound on Lake Shore was not complete without the “Whoa” and “Wee” sounds effects. The city buses were described in vivid detail as “Spectacular” and the thirty minute disagreement that we were not on a “airport shuttle,” but a “space shuttle,” made the ride top notch. 6. Day one was an endurance test, both to my feet and my heart strings. 7. Going to dinner was the best decision I made, regardless of the bill, but it really started much earlier. Nine in the morning found me, forty pound backpack, one cup of coffee and a pair of walking boots heading due east until I met water. Once at water, I followed concrete until it ended, wrapped back around the opposite side and found the first food establishment en route. To care for my every desire was a thin, short haired red head with a vibrant disposition. Somewhere in the middle of catering to her guests, she managed to deliver a Caesar chicken wrap, a Dixie cup filled with brew and some very unhealthy waffle fries, yum. Next up, mainstream hip and urban loitering Michigan Avenue with hundreds of establishments eager to get a portion of my hard earned dollar. Shopping has never really been a past time of mine, however there is excitement in watching the hustle of shopping fanatics bargain hunting. Parched and in need of a pick me up, I opted for an iced Americano and decided to start the trek back to the hotel and give my tired feet a rest before heading out for dinner. Back in the four walls and a bed home away from home, the shoes quickly escaped from wrapping my heels, followed by a shower and ready for the second start of the day. I do enjoy the train, but do prefer the guided tour as my familiarity with their routes is lacking. Six o'clock meeting an old friend for an adventure yet to be determined. Destination posh restaurant in Wicker Park. Duck fat fries, hanger steak, salted rock fish, some drinks, catching up on old times, new times and between times. 8. My palate experienced some explosive sensations finished off with a fine cognac. Summoned though social channels is the best way I can describe the road to our next location, meeting not one, but two ladies; destination, southern influenced bar. The rest is a social marketing mystery. Three of the four in our party planted firmly in chairs on the outdoor patio “checked in” through social Geo-tagging. Upon check in, we were notified of the special for doing so which has since that night, slightly reoriented my desire to consume bacon. Joining our table next were four shots of bacon infused whiskey. I had a strong suspicion that this breakfast flavored drink was to be tasty; I will stick to non-infused whiskey. Remaining cautions on the levels of alcohol in my blood, I opted for the safety of hops. This managed to work well until someone exposed our location which summoned various members of kitchen management and chefs. We could have asked for the moon, but seemingly, opted for pumpkin crème brulée. Sometime during this crazed escapade, my female companion decided that I was not consuming enough alcohol and proceeded to convince me that Sarsaparilla was a great idea. Her beautiful eyes just would not let me say no, even though this would mean trouble. Keeping warm and toasty partly from a propane heater, partly from spirits, the conversations danced through the evening. Some time passed and our chef friend convinced us to join something and we gave him something that would do something and we got a local cookbook autographed. At that point, it was a brilliant idea, so three, or two, of us, were now sporting a real honest to goodness cookbook with a real honest to goodness autograph, sure to be worth tens of dollars soon. Mine, upon re-examination, simply says Sarsaparilla. 9. As evidence suggests, or the inability to recall some of the details suggest, I was definitely on the not so sober side of life. 10. It is somewhere between there and a taxi that I may have potentially stolen a kiss and then possibly proceeded to steal more.