Catherine

Whataburger... I checked in on Facebook and within seconds you were mad at me that I didn't let you know I was in town and only forgave me when I explained that I was in Dallas, not Austin. The storm clouds move in and out, shifting with the wind. Quickly changing shape but always allowing a small patch of clouds to reflect the sun's orange tint on the surroundings until the sun sinks below the horizon. I will forever see that and remember you. There are friends in life that are more like family. They are always there. And in the blink of an eye, they are gone. Rest in peace Catherine, I enjoyed our conversations and the time we spent. You have such a wonderful personality and will be greatly missed.

Dear Mom,

I tried to help, I'm sorry I dropped the diaper pail down the stairs. I just felt that you needed my help. You know, when my sister showed up, we had to deal with her poop, right? Elementary school, thank you for moving us to NC!!! Next stage in life, I probably was not the most studious middle school person. I think I did OK, but I should have done better. And high school, oh my. I apologize for all of the things that I did that you may (or may not) know about. Most were stupid. Most were irresponsible. Let's sweep that under the rug. After that, well, you supported my decisions, although they may not have been the best decisions in the world. But Mom, I would not be who I am, where I am, what I am today if it had not been for you (and Dad). I know I call too much, pretty much every day. Hopefully you don't mind. You are my anchor, my role model, my everything. I could not be raising your grandchildren without your advice and input and support. Life is not easy, but you make it feel that way even when it's not. Thank you! Happy Mothers Day!!! Love, Your Son

Gin and tonic

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.
  1. "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
  2. "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
  3. "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
  4. "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
  5. "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
  6. What I started, I will finish
  7. I will not go down without a fight
  8. There will be many tough decisions along the way
  9. I will not lose touch with work/life balance
  10. IT WILL BE AN EPIC STORY

Sober

I haven't shaved in 22 days. The facial hair is past the itchy stage except for the few mustache(ish) hairs that twice a day decide to tickle my lips. I just brush them out of the way and carry on. They say that facial hair grows faster when you think about sex all the time. I suppose that's why I don't have a full beard or anything like that, it's more like brown fuzz on my face. Three months ago, stranded in an airport bar in Phoenix, AZ, I bought a drink for a lady standing next to me. Both of us were waiting for a flight to different destinations. In the random of the world, turns out, we had mutual acquaintances. Small world. She called me last week, she needed a favor. I executed. After the "use me" conversation was complete, we decided to stay in touch with travel plans and meet up soon for a drink in a random airport. Random airport. Who the fuck does that? My bags are always packed, always ready to go, but 22 days no shave, 3 months later? And I think I'm wearing dirty socks since the dog has done a real good job of finding all the clean ones. But in the end, it's just a drink. And a drink is just a drink. And dinner is just dinner. Why is it so hard to relay to people that most things in life, well, they don't have strings. Even if you admit that you would like strings. Ten things are 10 things.

Oh the hats in Chi – happy new year

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)

Hands

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.  

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!

Some nights

There are some memories that you can only share with yourself, no matter how close another person might be. And there are some things you read, or hear that spark that distant memory and you want to share, you really do. But you can't. And those 10 things you learned from that one experience are forever locked in your head. Safe dreams my friends.

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]

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