progression: from tolerate to love to hate – the story of football

I didn't really grow up in a football centric home. Well, I might have. I remember my Dad watching football some Sundays, but I'm not sure if it was just his excuse to take a nap in his favorite recliner before the Monday work week hell started back up. I never got into watching sports after I moved out, didn't even really watch TV for that matter. Where I live is a college basketball crazy town. Although there have been years where I have watched every game that I possible could, today, I can say that I haven't watched a game in a few years. And I still don't watch TV. But this post is not about me. I used to tolerate a football game on the TV at the bar or visiting a friend. My son. All 117 pounds of pure joy in my life decided to play football this year. He found a decent league to play with and started practice. His first game was, to me, hilarious. A bunch of 8-9 year old boys running around the field tackling the other team. I honestly do not believe any of them knew where the ball was at any given time. But they got to be tough and rough and tackle other kids. The first game did not go very well, they lost by a land slide even though they did not officially keep score. All is good. I'm starting to love football. The league is small, so the games were anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 1/2 hours away. Small price to pay for his enjoyment. Then it happened. The second game was cancelled? Come to find out, his team was suspended from the league because they didn't have enough players and were not bringing enough money into the league. I'll explain. All parents, friends, family that came to watch the game had to pay the $5 admission fee to be a spectator. Because his team only had 11 players, well you can do the math. So, after his Mom put up with a lot of stuff (I've only heard parts of what she had to go through) to get him into another league, he went back to practicing. I still am now loving football. Mother Nature decided to step in and it rained for a good week and a half. Game cancellation. Then doubling up with a game on Saturday and a game on Sunday. This coupled with between 3 and 4 days of practice per week, rain or shine, it was a lot of work. Once the rain decided to dissipate, he played exactly 4 plays in the next game. Three plays in the next game. No plays in the next game. He practiced his ass off during the week, finishing covered in boy sweat (yuck) and tired. I now hate football. This is my opinion, maybe not yours, and I will take no offense if you disagree with me nor will I be defensive if you disagree (see, I do know offense and defense). This is supposed to be a rec league where you DO have to pay to play. It's not horribly expensive, but it is money. I completely understand when you get to middle school or high school that you will go through tryouts and may not make the team. What I question is that this is supposed to be something the kids do because they want to and the parents decide to pay their dues, both in time and money. And when the child does not get to play and gets upset and although they practice their little butts off, they aren't really playing what they signed up for. So, in the end, although the season runs through the end of the month, he has decided that he no longer wants to play for this team. He does not feel like a quitter. He does feel like an outcast on the team. I believe that this is due to him joining the team 2 weeks after the season kicked off and the previous league being under different rules than the current. I also believe that his coach expects him to completely understand the game in his first season because most of the boys on his team have been playing for at least one season. His size, he's a big boy, not fat, just big for his age, put him in a 10U team when he is 8. To all the coaches out there, it's not for your benefit, it's for the kids. They are doing this because they want to. If your rec league team absolutely has to win or you feel like a failure then you really should not be coaching (and may want to re-evaluate your mental state). Take this advice and realize the kids will do their best, but only based on the direction and coaching you give them. And most importantly, this is not about the money, it is about my child wanting to play with a team - a wonderful life lesson for him to learn in the early years, which is what I thought was part of playing sports, apparently not. It is also not about me being a jealous or irritated parent because my son doesn't get to play. It is, however, about your lack of skills in coaching to teach the kids (it is also not just my child that is sitting out, the last game, 3 kids sat out the entire game) My final words to the coaches (trying to refrain from the "F**K YOU"): This is life folks, we all lose from time to time, but if we are not in the game, we can never win. I'm off my soap box, for now. Basketball starts in a few months. I kind of feel like "one of those parents" right now!  

Just10

My baby girl is 10 today. My how time flies! I feel like I should write more, but I just cannot believe that I have such a beautiful young gal that I love to the moon and back a zillion times, therefore, do not know what else to say except... Happy 10th birthday my love!!! ...and I'm not getting all teary eye and sentimental and stuff like Dad's do, and you know, and sniff, sniff

Merry Christmas 2013

"And so this is Christmas…" I jumped up this morning from a happy dream into a cold sweat. The next few months are going to be tight, how am I going to make it? That's all I could think about. And then it kicked in. The drive. So I put on a pot of extra strong coffee and sat down to fight deep copy versus shallow copy on javascript arrays. Yes, I was working. And the coffee was excellent. Santa hasn't made it here yet. I suppose he is waiting for me to go pick up the kids since I was up half the night. My tree looks like shit, but has character thanks to the cat. And I am OK with this. IMG_20131225_112302_282 After resolving a few bugs, I decided it was time to make the phone calls and text messages and FaceBook messages to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. The work can wait. Well, no, it really can't wait. But, family and friends come first, and long after the kids are worn out this evening and well on their way to dream land, I will be up. Working. But until then, I think that I should really put it down and see how my skills with wrapping paper and tape are this year. Probably not any better than the last 10 years. The kids will be here in a few hours, and although this year is *light* - it will still be a good time. I had a weird, sinking feeling yesterday. This is the first year since the divorce that I have not taken the kids to Orlando for Christmas. With the way Christmas fell on Wednesday and their school holiday schedule, it just didn't make sense. Usually I'm writing this from warmer weather, and it kind of makes me sad. The kiddos understand, but this is our thing. Last year peppered our vacation with 24 hour stomach bugs, but we got through it and made the best of it with trying to find Lego Santas in LegoLand. And then there is the whole waking up on Christmas morning to presents under the tree. It's become a coming over at 3 PM to find presents under the tree. I suppose that it does relieve Santa of some pressure to get here in the middle of the night. He's a busy guy, for sure! Well, maybe it doesn't really matter. I mean, it's Christmas. And what ever we do together is what is important. I'll spend the afternoon and evening with the kids, the dog, the cat. And I'll probably cook a horrible dinner tonight because I don't feel like cooking. But that is OK, we are together. So to all of you out there... Merry Christmas!

Dad wants pie

Well, he does! I suggested that I would bring the normal drunken pumpkin pie for dinner tonight. And then I called him the other day and told him about the mamey sapote I had ordered for what I hope to be the last batch of wine this year (no, that's a lie, lavender is also happening this year) and somehow he got on the subject of sweet potatoes. And raisins. So the request changed to "Dad wants sweet potato pie with raisins" and my Caribbean rum loving self says, "and rum." Because what pie isn't better with rum! So yesterday, off to the store for sweet potatoes, milk and eggs. Yeah, no, I came back with all sorts of goodies. Ground lamb for chili tomorrow (unless Mom sends home leftovers and then it's Saturday chili night). Oh, and raisins. Which reminds me once when my sister and I were much younger, still living in Ohio, Mom had these little pie dishes and we made raisin pie. I don't recall if they were good or not, my 6 or 7 year old taste buds probably thought they were delicious. Or maybe it was just the fact that I was baking with my sister. I think we also made Cheerio pie once, who knows. Which then got me to thinking about where I am now. And yes, also about the Thanksgiving holiday. If there really even is one. I mean Black Friday was bad enough, only once in my life did I venture out. But no, now it's Fucking Thursday. And I don't mean the thing that happens in bed (or on the kitchen counter). Sure, you go line up at 7 PM at that Wally place to get your $69 LCD TV and your  $10 deep fryer. Because you know, that shit is more important. Damn, just come to my house and you can have my TV for free. But you will stay and have a drink and we can chat and hang out because I could give 10 shits about my TV, but I give a shit ton about you. All of you. Those people in my life that are friends, family, acquaintances. No, I don't "need" the holidays. I need my kids, my family, my friends, the people that make life rich and full of awesome sauce. The ones I would drop anything for and they would drop anything for me. That is what I am thankful for. And I can celebrate that every day of the year. But I am looking forward to sweet potato pie.

The boy gets an ice cream cake

Seven years ago today. My how time flies. To my son that sometimes doesn't listen. To my son that starts talking when his feet hit the floor and stops talking  when his head hits the pillow. To my linebacker. To my little boy that knows more about dinosaurs than I ever dreamed of knowing. To my son that now wants to learn just as much about other animals. For my frog catcher extraordinaire.  To the soundest sleeper I know.
s6000725

Christmas 2007, sound asleep on the floor.

To my camping buddy. My water gun canoe dude. To your curious mind, your creative thoughts, your positive outlook. I loved spending your special day with you (and guess what? time changes tonight, so it lasts an extra hour). Happy birthday! I love you to the moon!
Joey

I love Oreo Ice Cream cake

 

Degrees

There has been some talk in the last few years about degrees of separation. So I know Brad Pitt. Not directly, but some one I know knows some one that knows him. So how many degrees of separation between any two people are there? Some studies say three, some say five, some say 10degrees. All I know for sure is that I have three degrees of separation between my daughter and myself. In the summer, she likes the AC on 78 and I like it on 81.

Growing up and letting go

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!
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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

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.
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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’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]

Thanksgiving 2012

No crazy duck theme Thanksgiving this year, the themed dinners are now every other year. You see, I won't have the kids tomorrow, and I should be sad, but I'm not. We just moved our Thanksgiving to Friday. We be flexible like that! So what shall I do tomorrow? I could sit around and drink beer and watch football. No. I'm going to be out in the yard working on my landscaping project that gets larger every time I look at it. It's going to be a beautiful weekend, why not take advantage of it? (And hey, there's always the possibility of redefining sexy through Carolina clay and sweat and white T-Shirts) It's a trade off, really. The kid's school schedule is all in a tangle this year for Christmas, only one week off. So I give a little (for Thanksgiving). And take a little (for Christmas). It's all good! I guess the only down side is that Lola has to go to the doggie hotel on Sunday before Christmas since they are closed for drop off on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We leave for our vacation on the 26th at the wonderful hour of 5 AM. Wow, that will be fun waking the kids up. Anyways, I guess the point is that it pays to be flexible and not "keep score." It makes a much better life. What am I thankful for? You silly women with these "secret" posts on Facebook, yeah, a month of "Day xx: I'm thankful for..." I get it, but seriously, the dudes are thankful for shit too! So here we go, I'm not doing every day in November, I'm exercising just10things: 1. Spandex - No, I'm kidding (maybe). Hoodies, cause it has gotten down right chilly out there 2. Kids - they just freaking rock. Sometimes they aren't the most well behaved, but I love them unconditionally 3. Family - I've learned a lot from them and they continue to enrich my life 4. Friends - Uh, TRUE friends. Repeat, TRUE friends! 5. Simplicity - because complex is a pain in the back side 6. A roof over my head 7. Food on the table 8. The truth - you never know how important it is to you until it's a lie 9. My drunkin' punkin' pie recipe, except I forgot the pie shell 10. To be alive and to being surrounded by friends and family Cheers my friends, Happy Thanksgiving!

Passion (10)

I cannot reveal the details to the Nth degree, but this week I have had a little extra time. A little extra time to focus on something that I haven't focused on in quite some time. That focus has been me. Call it egotistical if you want, I'll quickly tell you to go eff yourself. I needed to figure out me. I determined what it is... It's passion. I have realized that I have passion in every thing that I do. From raising my kids to working 80 hours a week. I don't talk to you, I engage in a conversation with you, with passion. I have an idea, I embrace it with passion. I have a new way to solve a problem, I attack it with passion. It's odd, the crazy hairstyle kid dressed in all black in high school gets this swift kick in the ass at some point in his life and it all changes. I don't know how I got here, I can tell you that it wasn't easy. I know that at some point along the way that I quit saying "I'm sorry." Well, not entirely as my ex wife reminded me this morning after she found a shoebox full of letters and cards where I pleaded and begged for forgiveness, and said, "I'm sorry." Regardless, there comes a point in life where you need to focus on you, what do you want to do, who do you want to be. I'm there. Defining that dream. It's my time to figure out the next 30 years. I recently threw in the red flag and said "What do you want me to do?" My boss quickly picked up that red flag and threw it back at me with a Post-It note attached that read, "What do you want to do?" Huh, tough situation... I want to win the lottery and drop to part time! But in all honesty, he was right. I control my destiny by my actions, and if I'm not in control, then I'm not in the right place. And if I am not passionate about what I do, and what I want to do, he probably will not let me do it! And I'll never get "there," wherever "there" might be. I have passion. I enjoy work, life, relationships. I thrive on conversation, engaging others to converse and feed, feed off of each other. Embrace others in your life, give them the opportunity to share with you things that mean something to them, return the favor by sharing things that matter to you. Beg them to share with passion. And listen! Listening is important, listen with passion. Really bunker down and hear what someone is saying to you. Repeat it back, ensure that you heard it correctly. Conversation is not a one way street. Relationships are an eight lane highway, and if you don't go in with passion, you will end up stuck in traffic giving someone the bird. So now it's time to figure out what I want to do for the next phase of my life, and I'll be just as passionate about it as my current spot in life. I guess that I'm one of the lucky few that can say, "I love what I do," but I want to do more. And we should all want to do more. Now it becomes intimate, that's another topic. Cheers my friends!