Is there a Richter scale for stress? If so, this month would probably top the charts. There have been a lot of emotions floating around, possibilities, ideas, changes, and I failed. I failed because I did not look down. I failed because I forgot about my commitment. I failed because I closed my eyes. I failed because I forgot for 30 days what I did just over two years ago. Buckle up in the time machine, back to 2011. Managing multiple projects, multi city weeks - New York, Indiana, Tennessee, North Carolina and vacation on the horizon. Vacation. Relax time. So I walked into the tattoo parlor and 30 minutes later, permanently engraved on the inside of my right wrist. My son held my hand, because, yeah, it fucking hurts. Then I left for the Caribbean. Whimsical? Crazy? Maybe. But it has turned into a tool. A quick turn of the wrist and I calm down. A constant reminder. Deep breaths. It will all be OK. Those ten things you need to get done today, yeah, they will be there tomorrow. But I forgot to use my tool for almost the entire month of July. My relax failed. But it's back now. I got this. And here we are. I have a left wrist. And it's screaming for "Tonight" To borrow from George Strait... "Just close your eyes and you can see" "Give it all we got tonight" "Anything can happen" "Trust it" "Drink up" "It should just happen like this"
My Dearest Dyson, I remember the first time I met you, all clammed up in your box. You were my ex wife's pride and joy. She wouldn't let me touch you. I held back and respected her request, though I constantly admired your sleek curves as you gently rolled across the floor sucking effortlessly. It always gave me goose bumps to see you in motion. Sometimes when she was away, I would sneak in your room and turn you on, but it was always a quick turn on, I didn't want her to know. Then one day, she left and took you with her. I was devastated, but I remembered that one time when you used my cell to call your twin sister. So I went out on a limb and called her. We met at Target and she was just like you, all clammed up in her box at first. But once we got home and I took her out, she really opened up. We raced through the house, she was shaking her money maker all over my bedroom floor. Her curves, wow. We danced through the hall, sometimes I was only wearing boxers, but she never seemed to mind. Everything was turning out beautiful. Over time, though, we saw less and less of each other. Sometimes the house cleaner would come over and she would get turned on and completely ignore me. I was OK with it at first. But then something happened, times when I really needed her, it seemed as though something had clogged her head. She wouldn't do the things she used to do. I thought it was me. I nurtured her for awhile. Some days were bad, others just sucked. Then yesterday, I thought I had it all figured out. We sat down and I gently caressed her and finally cleared her head. And we went back to dancing down the hall and rolling around the bedroom until... I broke her heart. Well, actually it was the little red thing that you step on to get the vacuum to go into "sweep the floor mode." So, since you are sisters, do you think I should call your Dad and see if I can get a replacement heart or should I just let her slouch in the corner. She just won't stand up anymore. I. Just. Don't. Know. If. I. Can. Take. It. I love her, but it's killing me to see her this way. I want to fix it. But is it worth it? Please help! Yours truly, Me
What happens when you step onto a 45' cat with 8 people you don't know and sail close to 100 miles in a week off the coast of a country roughly the size of New Hampshire? "This doesn't suck" "...isn't fun the best thing ever?" "Everything that kills me... makes me feel alive" "Has anyone ever seen a baby pigeon in NYC?" Destination, off the coast of Placencia in the Stann Creek District, Belize, Central America. Except for the first day and last day of my ten day escape, there was no internet, no phone, no television; my virgin unplug from the world exercise. I am often criticized for traveling alone. It's not safe. You will be lonely. What if something happens to you? None of these are true. Although a guy I met at the airport waiting for my return flight described Belize City as a shit hole, Placencia, on the other hand, was full of laid back wonder and amazement. And I met many awesome people. From Ana at Laru Beya where I stayed the first and last night who is now a texting friend (think old school pen pals) to Charlie. She was from Whales and staying at Toms Cove for three weeks for advanced dive certifications and gave me the biggest hug when I left in the dinghy and she completed final checks of her gear before embarking on her first ever night dive. Of course there was Captain David and First Mate Patries. Their expert sailing experience saved us from a late night storm that caused our anchor to lose hold. We were heading straight for the reef. I'm not sure how they were able to navigate and reset the anchor in the pitch black night with 40 mph wind and pouring rain, but they did, and I'm still here to tell the story. I cannot forget my sailing mates. Todd and Rhonda, Wes, George and Diane, and Jim. We stepped on the boat at 5 PM Saturday and by Sunday morning, after the first night on the boat, had a well oiled machine of social interaction and fun. The problem, though, is that so much happened. I set out to, as I typically do, with the plan to blog about everything. The problem? I can't. I can't find the words. I've talked to a few people, I've shared the photos with my kids. But every time, another story comes to mind. I went camera crazy during the beginning of the trip, but as the week went on, I found myself taking fewer and fewer pictures. I started to breathe slower, I started to observe more. While I came back with over 1000 photos, they were whittled down to a little over 400. Every one of them has a story. I was disappointed in most of the underwater ones, not sure what happened to the settings on my camera this time. Even the ones that did turn out decent will never capture the true beauty. The 64 million shades of blue. The way the sky blends into the water. The rich purples of fan coral. The blues and yellows of trigger fish. Only the naked eye can truly see the colors, your Retina display has nothing on what I saw! The best I can do is to share a few memorable experiences of the thousands I had. 1. I swam with sharks. Nurse sharks to be exact. Yes, I had a few irregular gasps for air in the snorkel at first, but after that, seeing them glide under me so gracefully, it was relaxing. My mask has prescription lenses in it, but they are not exact, so my depth perception in the water is a little off. I found out after we were out of the water that the depth was only 4-5 feet and those sharks, yeah, a foot below me. 2. Eagle rays are magnificent creatures. Six foot wingspan gliding right under me, I could feel the push of the water. 3. Sea to table. Harvesting conch which turned into the 1st course for dinner as conch ceviche. 4. Eating the conch "nerve" which legend has it, is a natural Viagra. This turned into "Oh Patries, I'm feeling a little frisky" and a great laugh for everyone on board. 5. Intro dive. In 40 feet of water, I made it to a depth of 2 feet. Time for certification this year for sure. 6. Lion fish are invading the reef, eating everything and laying 20,000 eggs every 4 days. Polly, who owns and manages Tom's Cove has a license to spear them. Lion fish ceviche rocks as did the snook and coconut rice pilaf she served on Wednesday night. 7. I missed the boat. Well, the dinghy. Stepping from the cat to the dinghy, yeah, a really good miss as I went straight into the water. I was laughing so hard that I couldn't lift myself out of the water into the dinghy. No one let me live that down and I was asked numerous times to provide demonstrations for boarding a dinghy. 8. Night swimming. I will not reveal whether I had clothes on or not. 9. Night snorkeling. Splashing the water to see the phytoplankton light up and millions of baby fish swimming about. I was asked on numerous occasions to get out of the water and go to bed. I could not get enough of it. 10. You may think taking a walk in the park holding hands is romantic. Nah! Try holding hands "taking a walk" on water, uh, snorkeling. Where burping in your snorkel is OK and blowing boogers into the water after your "walk" is acceptable. All while having garlic breath after a yummy lunch. Yeah, the next person who is lucky enough to go out on a date with me... this is your warning! I came back. I came back alive. I was extremely land sick. It is a true thing that happens. Even a week later, I still cannot close my eyes in the shower without feeling like I'm going to fall down. I also came back having had time to think. Reaching inner peace as the boat rode gentle 12 foot swells on the open ocean. But the strangest thing that I came back with is that every single magical moment I experienced, I kept saying to myself, "She would love this!" She would love the open water and beautiful blues, the black of the night and the rays dancing on the water at sunrise. The gentle rocking of Mother Nature. "Lately I been, I been losing sleep Dreaming about the things that we could be But baby I been, I been prayin' hard Said no more counting dollars We'll be counting stars" ~ OneRepublic, Counting Stars "Sail away with me honey I put my heart in your hand Sail away with me honey now, now, now Sail away with me, what will be will be I wanna hold you now, now, now" ~ David Gray, Sail Away "When you're happy like a fool Let it take you over When everything is out You gotta take it in" ~ OneRepublic, Good Life "And I drink to that." ~ Rihanna, Cheers (Drink to That) The photo albums: Belize 2013
First of all, you didn't technically hack my blog, you have your own account you silly dog. Secondly, you did hack my FaceBook when you posted the link to your plea for me, uh, you. You should know what happens when someone hacks my FaceBook, I get pretty upset. Aside from that, I don't know if I should be mad at you or not. It was a very sweet attempt at trying to find someone for me, uh, you. I should probably let you know that "relationship" laps don't just magically fall out of the sky. It takes time, and commitment and energy and happy blissful feelings that make you all tingly inside. All in all though, you got most of it right. I am mad that you think I'm so old! As for that black stuff, it's called coffee and I will never let you drink it again after the last episode. Remember that? You drank the rest of my cup and bounced off the walls for hours. Yeah, that stuff is reserved for humans, sorry. Do remember that if your little scheme was to work, I could potentially owe my son a thousand dollars. Yeah, that's right, one thousand. The bet was he would have a girlfriend before me. I don't want to lose, but since you started this whole thing, and after thinking about it, it would be kinda cool, with the right person, er, uh, lap. Sorry. I assume you are going to want to meet her first? Please don't embarrass me any more than you already have. I'll be home when I get home. Remember, I pay the bills around here. Kidding, I'll be home at a reasonable hour and no, she won't take your side of the bed. You didn't think about that, did you? Quit stressing my sweets, these things take time, if it's meant to happen, then it will. Your lap will come along. Until then, please just be content with my lap. Let's go for a walk...
Do not tell my Dad that I hacked his blog. I'm being selfish, this is really for him. Really. But. I am a two lap dog, and ladies, he only has one. So. Yeah, it's kind of for me, too. I need another lap to snuggle on when we are on the couch. I mean he needs another person to snuggle with. He really is a nice guy. Short. Yeah. But I think you could just call him compressed and be OK with it. He works hard. But he takes plenty of time to walk me and play with me. I'm sure he would do the same for you. His kids are just adorable, I like to nip at their flip flops. Love me the taste of processed Wal-Mart plastic/rubber. It's wonderful. Oh, did I tell ya, the dude can cook! He makes some mean ass food on the grill. I don't normally get to taste it, but it sure smells out of this world. I digress. So here's why I'm here. Again, I need... my Dad, well, he needs... OK, fine. I need another lap. He's only 259 years old. Oh, that's dog years. Damn, he's old! He does this thing called work on a computer. I don't understand it, but he seems to enjoy it. Sometimes he has to go on trips and my aunt takes care of me, it's cool. She rocks. My Papa also takes care of me sometimes. But Dad always comes home to me. So, he is very loyal. You should remember that. We live in the country. I like to listen to the frogs and crickets at night. You should probably be OK with mosquitoes. If you wear cowgirl boots, that would be a plus. I think he would like that. He makes me listen to country music all the time. I'm starting to get into it, but honestly, I think 80's hair bands are the bomb diggity. You can take musical interests up with him, I can learn to love any type of music. Getting back to my point, he travels. And I mean loves to travel. So. You better be cool with that. If you strike the right pose, he might even take you to some tropical paradise. Maybe if you like him enough, we can all move there. That would be the coolest. He always talks about Chicago. I've never been there. I wonder why he likes it so much. I can't pretend to understand too much. I just know that somewhere there's a lady out there for my Dad, just like he is here for me and his kids. I wonder what color hair you would have. I bet you would give me an extra treat in the morning. Another thing, my Dad, he doesn't like a mess. There was one time that I tore up a pillow. Yeah. He was not happy. He likes to keep a really clean house. Everything. And I mean everything has to be in it's place. You could call that anal I suppose. But it is nice to not be walking around in a house full of cat poo. No, he doesn't have cats, that's just the dirtiest reference I could come up with. I can also tell you that he makes this black stuff in the morning, it smells heavenly. He doesn't put cream or sugar in it. I bet he would love to have a cup of it with you. He's silly, really. He flies by the seat of his pants yet is totally grounded and responsible. You really should consider. It might be the best thing you ever did.So again, I need a second lap to be comfortable. I mean my Dad, he's available. Shit, he's going to kill me when he reads this. Going to chase my tail.........
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.
You came over tonight. It was the first time we met. In person.You sat down in the other rocking chair like you owned it. You didn't. It's mine. You said get over the whatever. I fought back a little. I made excuses. Yes, I realize how I was acting. I understand. I was being emotional. You tried to convince me that I was wrong. I couldn't hear it. Where are you going with this? I was warned that you did not like guys that were short. You are not so tall yourself. I never knew until today. Six months after the fire. You left. Abrupt. I was lost until I thought. I was thinking of the course of events. Do I. Should I. We cannot be anywhere near each other. That's been the case. Yet you continued to contact me. Why? You tried to reason with me tonight. It worked for a bit. I was almost there. Bow down to your desires. Kiss your feet. But. You cannot play puppeteer with me. I am me. I will forever be me. You have yet to convince me that my 10 fears can be eased by your presence. There is more to love than that. I want to. But I can't. And I won't.
It is funny that I think of you tonight. Well. Not funny in the belly laugh sort of way. Funny in what I am about to expose. How I feel. I'm not quite sure why I hang my hat on everything that is you. Be it thought. Be it dream. Be it crush. It will never be so. I will never hold your hand. I will never taste your salty tears. I will never touch your tender lips. You may as well be a ghost. A ghost in my head. Floating. You hold yourself ten feet tall. A height that I cannot reach. You are miles away. I get that. Miles can be broken. I need you. I need your questions. So direct. What do you think of that? It's bold, isn't it. Fuck yeah, it is! What do you think of that? You won't respond, you won't replay the memories that
I have made we have shared. It is funny. Like that. Not in a belly laugh sort of way. And we don't have much. Time.
I go on. You go on. I dream of hedgehogs. You dream of him. The him is not me. My hedgehog is not you. Or is it?
I go to this place. In this place. In the end, it always is you. You are in my place.
Because I want you there. I don't know if you want to be there. You laugh, it's funny. The way I slowly draw the knife. The way they would teach you in culinary school. I didn't go there. Or did I. It's not a belly laugh funny moment. Deeper. River of blood. Thick. Crimson. Pain. Lust.
I sit here in a pool of tears. I never told you how I felt. I could not tell you. I just swallowed it up. That you would never love me. I laugh. Not the belly laugh. The I'll be OK laugh. And I am. I think. I'm not. Because I'll never touch your tender lips and never taste your salty tears. Tonight, I think of you, ten feet away from my heaven.
You. You're dressed in blue jeans and a white blouse. Unbuttoned just enough, but not too much. It's warm out, maybe middle of June. The lightning bugs summon us. We leave tire on the road as we speed away in a black convertible, heading for somewhere, I don't know where. A bottle of wine down by the river. The bank lined with weeping willows, gently softening the harsh lines of the rocky shore. You grab my hand, sweaty palms. Moonlight starts to fill the sky as the water runs over tiny pebbles. It sounds like a song we've heard, so we hum along. Ripples in the water. Stars. Crickets. Gentle breeze. Sip of wine. I start to speak, but nothing comes out. You tell me to be quiet. I already am. A cloud briefly covers the light of the moon and I lose you in the shadows. I can no longer see your lips. Where are we, why are we here? The cloud disappears and the outline of your sweet face slowly comes back to my eyes. Something is different. I excuse myself to get a drink in the river. As I do, I look down on the surface. An unfamiliar reflection stares back at me. One I have never seen. One that seems confused, yet knows exactly why this perfect is not right. What makes so much sense just cannot be. As beautiful as it all could become, it will only lead to confusion. I can smell the jasmine in the night air. Darkness in all directions, lost. What way do I go? I start walking. I can see Orion, so I think I am still alive. I can taste the blood on my lips that are dry and cracked. I can taste the salt in the tears rushing down my cheek. I choke on the nectar of honeysuckle. I blink ten times. I wake in a cold sweat. Is this real? What is real? I jump. I hope to land on two feet. It is a long way down.
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.