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.
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)
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.
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.........
I admit, I've seen them all, but only one in the theater and no, it was not at the midnight release party. Blame it on Kristen Stewart's eyes. They make me melt. And since I'm coming clean, yes, I've also read all four books. But that's not why I'm here today. For the next four posts, we get to talk about consulting and vampires. Sink your teeth into that! It all starts on a Friday, usually, at 4:45 PM. Right before you are getting ready to pop the top on that ice cold one that's been staring at you in the fridge each time you open it. The phone rings. Monday you are on a project with a new client. Just like Bella, the decision wasn't entirely yours, although I doubt your boss kicked you out so she could travel with a baseball player. So you start to pack your things in preparation for Forks. It's a sleepy little company stuck in the past on archaic technology. You have no idea what to expect, except rain. Once you are on the ground, you meet your project manager Carlisle Cullen, your visionary solution architect, Alice Cullen, your IT sponsor, Edward Cullen and the business sponsor, Jacob Black. As for the whole falling in love thing, well, that part doesn't exactly fall in line, unless you count the fatal attraction to the bartender at a bar you frequent a couple of blocks from the office after a hard days work. Jacob likes you immediately and tells you about the business requirements. Some of them seem a little strange, some hint towards the impossible, but at the end, you start to draw your own conclusions and unearth the truth. Unfortunately, for Jacob, you are more attracted to the IT requirements as specified by Edward. There's an internal battle starting to brew. You almost get hit by the proverbial van when you were presenting solutions to the CTO, but Edward was right there to save you. You start to wonder how he is so good which makes your commitment to him much stronger. And helps to solidify your conclusions. After some time on the ground and learning the ropes, you meet up with James. He is the lead at a 3rd party marketing firm that Forks has partnered with and is out to get you. Your Cullen project team tries to protect you, ultimately, you have to escape back to Phoenix for the weekend. As soon as you land, your phone lights up. Thirteen emails, seven texts and just 10 voice mails from James. He's trying to trick you. Alice knew this would happen and asked Carlisle to set up a conference call where the team successfully squashed James' absurd suggestions for the project. Edward saved you again, he sucked the ugly thoughts right out of your head. When you return to Forks, Edward takes you out for dinner and you try to convince him that he should hire you direct. You want to be one of them. He politely refuses even though you continue to pressure him. Coming to a blog near you... Spring 2013 - The consulting series - New Moon
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
I was so close to writing about the presidential election, but everyone was doing it and I just didn't have the energy to get into a big debate over my political views and yours. I decided, instead, to post about something that is starting to annoy me on Facebook. It goes a little something like this... When did we lose our ability to speak our own mind?
I no longer understand the social dynamics of the frogs living in my pond. Earlier this spring, there was but a single large frog, presumably male, that spent his days swimming around and basking in the sun on the lily pads. One of the first particularly warm evenings, he sat at the edge of the pond singing his song to any ladies that might be out there. His song worked and she came to answer his call. A few days later, there were hundreds of eggs attached to the underside of the lily pads. I never saw her again. I'm not being critical, but really, a one night stand and she leaves him with the reminder by watching his offspring hatch, grow stubs, and eventually turn into little frogs. I suppose I am a little disappointed that she took off so fast. He doesn't seem to mind. A few weeks later, after all the little tadpoles are well on their way to growing up to be strapping young adults, he sits at the edge of the pond again one evening, singing his song. This time, two answers come to him. The thing is, both couldn't have been more than 3 or 4 feet from him, one on the left and one on the right, but he wasn't aiming his call to either side. This went on for a couple of hours while I enjoyed the rocking chair and some wine. The next day I noticed another frog in the pond, much smaller, but still relatively good size. Was this the mother? I can't be certain as it was dark and I was unable to determine her coloring that infamous night. Regardless, she is still hanging around today. Just the other night, he sings again and gets 4 answers. I'm almost positive I heard the mother say "Seriously, you asked me to move into your pond and now your are off trying to find someone else in the middle of the night?" The next morning, it was still just the two of them in the pond, never in close proximity, but they were in there together. Last night, he sang again. This morning there are 5 frogs in the pond, she's still there, but sometime during the night, he found 3 more ladies to move into his pond. She must have really started to nag on him and express her anger as while I was rocking and enjoying my cup of coffee this morning, he pounced on her. They splashed around for a few seconds, he managed to get hold of her in his mouth and hold her upside down under the water for what seemed like 5 minutes. I really think he was trying to drown her. Her one back leg was kicking for most of the time she was under water, but it started to slow towards the end, and he seemed to be tightening his bite on her. He let go, or she managed to get loose, not really sure, but she immediately swam away and jumped out of the pond. Some fight that was! She's gone. I'm not sure if she will be back and frankly, I don't blame her a bit. Meanwhile, he still has 3 ladies to share his pond. What does not make sense is that since the first "batch" of eggs, there have been no more-or at least that I have noticed. Time for a coffee refill and then back to the porch to relax before officially starting the work day, and all the ladies are gone. I chuckle! Serves you right Mr. Frog for treating the mother of your children that way, I really think you are a creep and "HaHa" on you, now you are all alone (for now)! I'm quite sure that tonight or tomorrow night, he will be back out there
singing preying on some innocent unsuspecting female. I will not interrupt nature or anything, but I would not be upset if a big snake came along and ate him up. But then the kids wouldn't have the joy of watching the eggs hatch into tadpoles and the tadpoles turn into froglets and the froglets turn into frogs. It's nice to have such a strange metamorphosis conveniently located for the kids to see first hand how awesome nature really is. I just won't tell them about the cheating and attempted murder escapades that go on in my pond. Some things you should protect your children from.
So there you have it, the drama and dating and relationships of my pond. The thing is, I might be completely wrong and he might be a she and all the ladies might be dudes. Or, all the ladies might be dudes and he is still a he. Wouldn't that throw some interesting detail in the fire. For now, though, I will accept him as he is and watch the rest of the season unfold. It sure is nice having commercial free drama to watch. I'll leave you with a list of songs as the number of frogs didn't really add up.
1. Break Stuff by Limp Bizkit
2. Time Is Love by Josh Turner
3. All the Small Things by Blink 182
4. Angel Eyes by Love and Theft
5. Cowboys and Angels by Dustin Lynch
6. The Weakness In Me by Joan Armatrading
7. Feel So Close by Calvin Harris
8. Roll Away Your Stone by Mumford & Sons
9. Dreamer by Ozzy Osbourne
10.Casual Sex by My Darkest Days
Bonus Track: "Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog" Joy To the World by Three Dog Night