Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sharks Teeth

Most Floridians have an extensive collection of sharks teeth - I love standing in the crunchy shells on the beach, letting the water wash over my feet, and sort through until you find one of the shiny black teeth. It is a test in patience, and most of the time, there are lots of little black things, but every once in a while, you find a sharks tooth sitting there, tumbled by the murky, sand churned water - just ready to be placed in the zip lock bag.

There are varying styles of searching for sharks teeth - there are the walkers that constantly scour the beach with their heads down, looking for hours and walking for miles, there are the combers who grab handfuls of shells and sort for them - and then there is my style, find a nice spot without screaming children, full of shells, and just sit at the tail end of the waves, and let the water sort the shells and cool your body. It's wonderful when the water is cool and the sun is hot, and finding sharks teeth becomes secondary -

Yesterday was one of those days, a nice family day at the beach, only interrupted by the northerners who stay at one of the nice resorts a little further south from the locals beach - that is another thing that sucks about the internet, our Micklers Landing has turned into the Jersey Shore - because it is one of the best beaches to go to - or used to be. I wish the folks at the resort would stop telling folks about it - watching pasty white overweight New Yorkers (and their equally poorly behaved city children) yell and scream and listen to the Beastie Boys is just not what Micklers is about - it is about quiet play time, and private laughs, and swimming with family, a picnic, petting strange dogs - not two piece bathing suits on fat girls with tattoos or children who have never seen a tree not surrounded by concrete - let alone the vast expanse of the ocean. I want them to enjoy Florida - just not my Florida - there should be places preserved for the locals - we suffer with the snow birds enough, we should be allowed to have a requirement that some beaches are only for folks with "Florida Drivers Licenses". I have included a panorama of Micklers during an extremely low tide -

Today has been a boring day - my son's gaggle of friends came to the door - they are probably going to play in the dirt piles from the recent work they have been doing on the lakes, and will come home covered in mud and smell like a Florida swamp - but like most things, soap and water will cure it, and he will sleep like a baby tonight. His back is beet red from the sun yesterday, and he is proud that he has a little sunshine and was able to enjoy the ocean.

I head back out to Seattle tomorrow, I am looking forward to the trip - it is actually the last full week that I will be there, and it is sad - there are new assignments, new places to be, new focuses, but I have fallen in love with beautiful Edmonds, and all about it - and it is hard to say goodbye to a place that you find wonder, beauty, and a sense of having that wanderlust calmed. Maybe someday I will return to Edmonds for a longer stay - but for those of you who read this, if you ever make it to Seattle - make sure you spend one night a the Harbor Inn, have a cold beer with Lucky at the Channel Marker, and take a run with a friend on Sunset Drive. I still have not ridden the Kingston Ferry - and one day I suppose I will, but for now, I am saving that for the next trip.

Until next time -


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Travellers Camping...

Well, I have been touched by the gods of humor, for some reason I woke up with a string of druel sticking to the blue vinyl seat covers in Atlanta, and have come up with a top ten list -


1. Hang out in the family bathroom - it is quiet in there, and there is actually a lock on the door - and it is relatively clean if you decide you want to escape the blaring piped in happy music that plays all night long.

2. Head to the international terminal and begin tap dancing for change. The foreigners are amazed by the lack of talent most Americans have, and I merely proved the point last night.

3. Walk around with a brown paper sack with a can of coca cola in it, don't walk straight - the security gaurds really like it when you ask them if you can piss in a trash can.

4. Lay down right in front of the lady vacuuming the floor. She can't speak english, and you can't speak her native tongue, so it creates an interesting scenario.

5. Ask the folks opening up the shops at 5:00 am what time they open every five minutes (starting at 4:30 when they get in)

6. Strip down to your boxers in the mens room, take out all of your toiletries, and take a bath with wet paper towels in the sink. I found out that this is not actually public indecency, it is more just really really uncomfortable for everyone around you.

7. Change into your workout clothes and do your best Richard Simmons workout in the gate area - working up a really good sweat and doing a few squats makes everyone sitting next to you on the plane extremely happy.

8. Get into in depth conversations with other tired people who really really want to sleep - granted there are only six other passengers sleeping in the airport, but if you sit close to them, I find they either get up in leave (in that case you follow them) or they look at you with the what the fuck look, and continue the conversation.

9. Read a Hustler magazine out in the open, and if someone looks at you strange, ask them if they caught the article about Steroids in Baseball in last month's edition.

10. My favorite number one thing to do - ask every Delta representative if they have seen your three year old child, and then watch them is funny until they realize that you don't have a three year old.

That's the best I can do right now - but hell, I just spent the last six hours trying to entertain and occupy myself in Atlanta Hartsfield, and trying to avoid this guy who found it necessary to follow me around and discuss the plight of the businessman and his relationship with Jesus.

Gnight all -


Terminal thoughts at 4:15 AM

The Atlanta airport is an empty place at 4:15 AM - you catch a nap from time to time on an empty chair, stroll around, go have a lemonade from one of the two places that are open (Wall Street Deli on the A Terminal and O'Charley's on the C Terminal) and wish that you had not been left behind by three or four minutes off of the flight that could have you home in your own bed, not feeling tired, not thinking of home, not wanting to have taken the bump and slept in Seattle for one more night.

It has been one of those weeks for a traveller - it started out wonderfully, and it looked as if it was going to end wonderfully, but those Spring snows in Seattle had a way of making it damn near impossible to get out on time, and of course, no plane waits for no man - so here we are having terminal thoughts on an early Saturday morning.

Terminal is a funny word - there are many things in life that are terminal - hell, for that matter, life is terminal - I have a friend who went to a funeral the other day and we got into that discussion of what we would want done - and how we really don't have a choice what happens to us...I would think the best thing that could happen after I leave is that everyone brings their favorite adult beverage to a calm place - perhaps the patio in my backyard, and carries on about life - that's all - nothing more - don't bury me, don't even claim my shell from the hospital, just get together a few days later, and have a beer or two, and decide what to do with the rest of your life. I don't have any real thoughts about the hope of the afterlife - so the pomp and circumstance that surround the entire death thing, in my opinion, should be wasted on those things in life - like birth, love, family, and friends. It's too late to honor someone when they are dead - who gives a shit - their dead...

I think the only thing in life that is not terminal are those relationships that never end - you know the ones - where by circumstance, or by time, or by no fault of anyone, they just go away - but somewhere in your mind, they are still there. The never really died their natural death, but were forced apart and just float around (sort of like a ghost relationship - except I don't believe in ghosts) looking for somewhere to be more comfortable within the world of your brain. You grow accustomed to the haunting feelings and the longing they occurs from time to time, and endeavor the occassional what if, but you never really reconcile what really was happening or what really was supposed to happen. I wonder if these loves haunt us because we know they too would be terminal if we would have seen their course through? Or is it merely the fact there is no certainty in their finality that causes us to ask those what if questions - I mean we lose jobs, lose money, lose keys - but can you really ever lose a love?

I am not a what if kind of person with exception to the above - I don't spend hours wondering about what could have been or should have been, it frustrates me. I spend more time tinkering with thoughts on what is, and what it is perceived to be - for the traveller, the what is grows to be more important than what might be - if you worry about the rest of the world going on outside of your sight line, it gets too complicated, and too difficult to focus on the task at hand.

With that being said, I think I am going to walk around the terminal for another hour or so, and think about what is going on, and why it is going on, and what I can do to make sure that it isn't one of those things that will continue to haunt me...

Saturday, March 22, 2008


I am having a hard time sleeping - I got about eight minutes earlier this evening and was woken up, and now my thoughts are wandering and things that bother me - and for all good reasons should bother me - keep floating into my mind. I have been controlled and a reasonable person for the majority of my life - granted, a little on the extreme side at times, but have never felt the way I do now - images - albeit manufactured, and thoughts altogether created in my head, take over the darker parts of the weekends - it would be nice to be so tired that I had to sleep - but it is not happening tonight. Typically the story of every Saturday night...

Well, little Gray - there is not too much I can say about my wonderful young lady - the picture is from Hurricane Season 2004 - we had several hurricanes that year, and I was the project manager for the FEMA portion of the Duval County clean up - I was working 17 hours a day, 7 days a week, and was basically exhausted - with a three year old in the house - who was fascinated by taking care of people, a dad who passed out on the couch was a perfect target while the power was out - she broke out every first aid kit that we had in the house - and I awoke to band aids and surgical gloves - not to mention an emergency blanket - after I woke up, she asked if I could help her open the band aids so she could finish making me feel better -

Even to this day her smile makes me feel better - she is happy go lucky - takes life at face value, and has inherited her dad's sense of humor - she certainly looks like her mother, but she has my twisted and somewhat inappropriate sense of humor.

Today at the pool prompted me to write about her tonight - she just wanted to dance - a ritual game we play where I spin her in the water, and then we go for the "big dip" and she cackles from her stomach.

Gray is a wonderful little girl - she marches to her own drum, she cries when she needs to be held, but most of all she laughs when she feels the need to laugh - and with Gray, it is most of the time.

Chinese Food and the Ocean...

My tennis match today was shortlived - wiped clean in two straight sets, but the sound of my feet sliding in the clay and a few good shots made the bright sun and the breeze worthwhile, even if the performance left more in the space between my ears instead of on the court (where you should leave it all) - teh Bausch and Lomb Women's Tournament starts this week, and it is funny to play on the same courts that Venus Williams or Anna Kournikouva might be playing, although I am certainly not as sophisticated or anywhere near as good as those players, the tourists oogle as they walk by the courts looking for a superstar - unfortunately, all they saw was a middle aged guy with a gray beard prancing on the court (I use prancing as a graceful way of saying fat guy sweating) hitting home runs out of the courts.

After the match, the most exciting thing is going to the ocean. At Amelia, you are never more than five minutes away from water, and you have your choice of heated pools or naturally heated oceans - I chose the pool at first, throwing my daughter in the air until she would laugh so much that she had to take a break (or drown from inhaling too much water) and then give my son a "steam roller" ride through the pool until the bottoms of my feet hurt from the concrete pedicure...the ocean was warm today, but there were no shells to hunt, no sharks teeth to be found, it was calm, and the shells sensed that there would be better breaks to shove them onto drier ground, so apparently they just stayed in the deep water. My kids raced down the beach, smiling, laughing, jumping, skipping, just excited to be close to water and hanging out with dad. I have to admit, I did little of the above, but was pretty happy to be with them as well - the weekends are full of them, and I can only think of a few things that I would rather be doing (and some of them include them)...

Texas was a whirlwind of exhaustion this week, too little sleep, too little time, and too little relaxation, but there were those nights where it was wonderful to lay in bed and just be there. The quiet time between 1:00 am and 7:00 am are always the best hours on long trips - there is a warm soft bed, a breeze pushing through the window, and just a few hours to fight off sleep, and enjoy where you are. The schedule consisted of repetitive training sessions, dinners, and the obligatory gallons of alcohol, but none the less, I would go back tomorrow and enjoy those bright orange sunsets across the open Texas plains.

Easter is a funny day for me - I used to get excited about it - we always had new church clothes, and shoes even - and as a kid - those were a big deal, new suits to look nice for Jesus, the excitement of ham and fruit salad at Grandma's house, and thought of the hollow chocolate bunny rabbits that were a staple at this time of the year. Being agnostic sort of pushes that away from me now, my wife still likes the thought of re-birth - I prefer the thought of new awakenings, new experiences, new friends, and building new lives around those things that are important. I don't think necessarily that the religious folks are wrong, I just think that draping a wooden cross with a purple cloth is not anywhere near as redeeming as waking up, stretching, and like any other Sunday, being thankful that your family is healthy and your children are ready to play. This Easter, I am working on a resurrection of my own - of things in my life that always were good, but were pushed back and sold off in return for stability and the American Dream - my savior is in the form of a glass beaded spiral and auburn brown flowers and pinky blue skies and sweet southern honeysuckle - those are the things I look forward to, even Chef Boyardee Microwave meals and Vanilla Swiss Almond Ice Cream make me think of a re-birth of sorts - they are good and simple and pure -

My birthday falls on a normal day, but some birthdays fall on those special holidays - and I suppose and Easter child is a wonderful way to celebrate re-birth and renewal - the little boys and little girls enjoying the wrapping paper crumpling in their little hands as their annual fix of trucks and dolls litter the floor - countless children wrestling over shiny trucks or golden haired dolls. I have never been to an Easter birthday party, but I can assure you, that would be better than any church service - watching a young boy smile widely as he pushes a truck across the ground, watching his mother and father smile widely as he giggles from all of the sugar - that is resurrection, and every year around this christian holiday - maybe one day I will be able to make an Easter Birthday - this year, I would like to think that I was at someone's - (although I was apparently not)...

I never really made it to Chinese Food - I made it to the Ocean - but there were other things that needed to get on paper - and Chinese Food is exactly like many other things in life - you take it in, and a few hours later, all you want is a little more...

Until next time...

Cold Early Texas Spring...

Ron could not have been better picked to play songs for me late Thursday night - he told stories, whether true or not, that made the crisp Fort Worth breeze not so cold, and made the warmth of the muse seem that much better.

I had a long, exhausting week that was tiring, but it was a good week.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Finding out about the Neighbors...

When you don't spend a large amount of time at home, you really do not get to spend too much time talking to the neighbors - I mean I know George and Vicky live next door and are hard core anal retentives, but they are nice folks, and Ricky, the retired Army guy lives on the other side, and he is constantly washing his cars, and is hard to understand because of his heavy Philipino accent - but you know, you just don't spend much time paying any attention to them...

I wonder what the neighbors go through on a daily basis - the more I talk with people, the more folks I sit next to on airplanes who share their life story, the more I realize that the statistics that we read about in our complimentary USA Today newspapers are just the tip of the ice berg. How many folks deal with family issues - I suspect it is 100% - how many folks have problems with their home lives - I suspect it is 100% - how many of those people that we don't stop to do much more than say "hi" to wake up tired, and go to bed wondering - I suspect it is a large number of them.

There are things that I should never know about other friends, and there are things that the people closest to me will never know - but I don't understand the hesitance to share with one another, to talk, to hold, to tell a joke and have a cold beer. I might like a few of the people who read this blog, tolerate a few of them, and love one or two of them, but they have things that they protect, and I respect that.

Tonight, I had a good mind clearing run (after three bottles of wine at Cork & Keg my body was not in a very good mood this morning) - and the crisp spring air was not too muggy. I ran by the guy who lives across the street and rides the Harley - he was walking his terrier, and he looked at me, I looked at him, and he just nodded. That's what brought this post on, that's about all I know about those folks - he likes to walk his dog and ride his motorcycle.

My posts have been sparse and boring lately, but I am falling in love with a new found perspective - and the writing is harder when my mind is sometimes in a whirlwind of thought and emotion, and sometimes in a deep sleep - I am trying not to reflect as much, and trying to retain more - and I find that the thoughts and dreams are enough to get me through most of the days, and that a couple of deep breaths seem to help me catch up and slow down...

Until next time,


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Mr. Brightside...

Being stuck on the runway in Atlanta in the summer and spring months is not a very uncommon occurence - you get used to it, and if you are lucky enough to be on one of the refurbished 757's that Delta has, then you get to play with the entertainment system - last night, Mr. Brightside (the remix) was available, and I started thinking about that song...If I was going to follow true to form, this blog would be about Leigh Anne, but I only have one picture of her, and I really don't feel like getting into that right now -

Us travellers are expected to be a large amount of things - in my line of work, I have to be a cheerleader, a psychologist, an analyst, a leader, and most of all, we just have to be there - it would be great if we could have all of those things gien to us, but usually that's not the way it works in my world - 92% of the time, I have to act like I give a shit, then act like I know how to fix it, and then find a way to fix it. I am used to being second guessed, pulled in multiple directions, having open and honest discussions, and then generally just smiling and nodding as my eyes glaze over, and my brain slowly converts from pink healthy mush to a brownish yellow jaundiced mass of jello that keeps my ears from caving in on themselves...

I am a Mr. Brightside - like the song says - it was all in my head - but hell, that's the only place it really matters - I mean our reality is built in between our ears - we could be sitting in a fire, and if we had the strength to tell ourselves this is where we need to be, then we would probably sit in that fire a little while longer - he takes off her dress now, I am feeling sick, etc. It was all in my head - that's the amazing part about perception - it does not matter what is going on, it is what I perceive going on. I am exhausted right now, the plane did not get in until 1:30 am, I got home at 2:30, and just need to rest - I will edit this one later - but I hate Mr. Brightside...

Sunday, March 9, 2008

2008 River Run...

Well, after looking at my results, it is at least a great feeling to have finished! I never thought in my life that I would ever place 6,421st in anything - but hell, ran just over 10 minute miles, I really did not hurt too much, and finally, I was able to beat the Hart Bridge.

There are only two hills during the entire race - within the first two miles, you hit the blue bridge (Main Street) and then the last mile or so of the race is spent running up the Hart Bridge, and then a nice downhill to the finish line. My knees are a little achy right now, but I think tomorrow morning yoga and a huge breakfast of hot pancakes and plenty of greasy sausage will cure those ills.

This is the first year that I have run with music - I have this CD that has about 18 tracks of songs that were picked for me, and I have to admit, they helped this year -I don't know how many times Cake sang "It;s three o' clock in the morning, or maybe it's four" to me today, or how many times Feist told me how much more she knew, and how much less she knew...all I know is that it worked, it helped, and it kept me close to the race and made we want to run faster and harder, and just finish without having to walk. It's funny how much work we can do, and how hard we can train - and granted, there are always going to be people who are better - but I finished, and I gave it an honest effort, and loved every step of the race. It was a good feeling to love to run again - I grew to a point where I hated it, where I felt like I had to do it for some other reason - but now, I have that feeling back where I just run to run - no other reason, but to see how far I may go, to see the Puget Sound on Sunset Drive, to hit the Main Street Bridge in full stride, to run through hay fields in Kentucky, to run the golf course in the neighborhood. You see so much more when you run - you get to spend time enjoying everything, and the only distraction is the consistent pounding of your feet and a great list of ipod music.

I am a little miserable right now, it's late, and I slept much of the afternoon, so now I get to sit awake and think - I tried to fall asleep during the Saturday Night Fights on HBO, tried renting Jackass 2.5, tried girl scout cookies and strawberry ice cream - but I cannot stop thinking. The blog helps pass on these feelings to the paper, but it does not do much to help me get rid of those thoughts that haunt you late at night - some folks are good at ignoring them - me I want to think them, but I just wish I could do it during the day...if I had some Cakes and milk, perhaps then I could sleep, but Cakes is hard to get at 12:15 AM on the east coast on Saturday night, and I really don't want another thing to think about.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Veronika...and Swedish Thoughts...

Well, as promised, as if you all care, I decided to sort through thousands of photographs and came up with the novel idea of writing about them - I have honestly only 'loved' five women in my life, and the number that I have 'LOVED' - (in the secular sense) is pretty much the same - I have never been the fan of the one night stand - it sucks to invest, and then feel guilty or stupid for it. Some people can do it, but I think it leaves the shell empty, and the soul sorry and weak.

With that being said, these blogs might bore you to death, but it funny how we all have memories in our lives, and they are stages as well - it is therapeutic to me to put these things down on paper - and I really don;t care who is reading, I prefer to get it out there, and then, perhaps, read it ten years from now...

Speaking of which, my parents actually had one of the typewritten copies of my poetry - I am scared to read it, but hell, we shall see what they say...

None the less, Veronika was an exchange student from Halmstad, Sweden. I remember the first day I saw her at cross country practice, it was, for me, a first - actually some interest in a girl (sure I had interest in girls, but this was head over heels stupid interest)- I worked as a stockboy at the local Giant grocery store, and can remember buying those "foreign" chocolates and candies - boy I was absolutely way down the road of young love - she was exciting to me, her english (at first) was a little choppy, but I have to admit that her Swedish was much better than mine...

I think the funniest memory that I have is the last day that she was in the states - that's the picture of us with me in the coolest Izod purple striped button up shirt that you have ever seen (admit it - you are jealous). I have photographs of the entire day, the terminal at the airport in Norfolk, the gift that I gave her, her parking her car in our driveway - it was a crushing day for a sixteen year old kid who actually had fallen in love, but it was a clear day and I still remember much of it.

I was a junior in high school, and there was a large amount of learning that year - I think we all learn those two years, and then we go on to college and learn how to drink away all of the morals and feelings we were supposed to develop at home. Veronika was a mystery, a strange and new galaxy to me, and I still can honestly say that she is one of my best friends in the world - we still keep in touch, I get a Christmas card and the occassional email, I call at Christmas, and it's funny to hear about her husband and her children, and what we have grown into - I always thought she would be a doctor or a lawyer, I think she always thought I would be a writer - she does work in the medical field, and I work in the finance field - I guess we do change when we realize we have to get in line, and march to the pay window...

Veronika and Eric came and visited us in Orlando prior to either of us getting married - it was a wierd feeling to spend time with someone that you felt so much for, and realize that a stage in your life had passed, and you had changed into a new place, a different place - I knew that there was still something there, but it became more of a friendly love and respect -

A world away, six hours time difference, and twenty years do wonders for the memories, but the best ones stick around - and the worst ones, well, why waste the time dwelling on them - so let's all raise our glasses to the simple beauty of first loves and first loves lost - it has molded all of us into who we are today, and we should be able to appreciate that every once in a while...

Friday, March 7, 2008

Sharing and Taking...

When we have really, really good days - sharing is easy - I think we would all agree that when payday comes around, we are less apt to share our last $37 dollars - we are less likely to buy a lunch, or pick up office kitsch from your co-workers (everything from Future Farmers of America Pig Sponsorships to Sally Forth Gift Wrap Paper)....

That's not the sharing I am talking about - it is not the sharing that you see when kids are telling secrets and giggling, and it is not the sharing that comes from the necessity to share - it is the willingness to give time, and take what is given and, simply put - cherish the time and the care that you can get when you can get it.

That may be a sad commentary on folks in my generation - I am by no means implying that we should take what we can get, but I am reinforcing the belief that giving without reward or taking without reciprocation is generally the way of the world. To expect commitment in today's world, other than to obligations and responsibilities, is a strech - I am not an oracle, and can't see into the lives of the billions of folks around - but I have seen enough of them across the United States in the past 11 years of travel that this is the norm - take the businessman who can't say thanks to the coffee barista, or the lady who is shocked by the simple act of someone holding a door, or the child who nervously walks away in a stupor after you compliment their cool baseball cap...

Different approaches are needed when you share. It is selfless - that makes it no easier, makes it no more gratifying, and sometimes makes it down right miserable - but it is the way things are, and perhaps, the way things should be. An expectation of a smile, or a thanks, or a commitment should never be the answers looked for. It is a tough place to be - to decide whether to invest time and energy in that type of openness, it is never fun to think about the returns - but then again, it would be best if that simple plain fact of the act of sharing - right then, right there, right now - could be enough.

I have been reading the teachings of Buddha, and with the exception of every other page being written in Japanese manuscript, it's message is pretty much the same as every other religious book I have read - but the concept is more novel in that there is no heaven and hell, only a progression towards reaching that state of enlightment to cure all ills - and not to mention a large number of parables about snakes. Reading this work prompted the sharing conversation, among several other conversations that I have had over the past couple of months - what do I have a right to expect? Am I entitled to some return? The answer, bluntly, is no - we cannot own someone else's soul, but we can touch it from time to time by giving. We can promise our hard work, our effort, our time - and sometimes, that may be enough, other times, it may not.

I love sharing right now - that's the elixir that I have, and granted, it may be snake oil or it may be the cure for all that ills, but right now, sharing seems to be the perfect medicine that keeps everything else in balance...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Old Photos...

Tonight was quiet about the house, the kids were easy today, Gray helped me stuff chicken breasts with cheese and bacon, and cleaned the asparagus "so that we don't have to eat the hard parts at the end, just like Rachel Ray says" - Gabe went and did his homework and studied his wordly wise with me, and we played in the back for a while, and just enjoyed each other. Christy went to a tennis match tonight with Shannon, John, and Moira, and seeing how I am trying to curtail the amount of alcohol I ingest, that is not really the best group in the world for me to be heading out for fun. It rained a little tonight, the only way I noticed was when I was sorting through the thousands of photos that we have stored away in an old Hartmann Steamer Trunk - it still has the bachlorette party veil complete with condoms and old love letters tucked away - it was a good quiet night to look through those boxes and laugh, and remember some of the things that are so easy to forget.

I decided to write a few blogs on my favorite photos - some of them bring back memories, some of them bring back regrets, and others, just make me laugh. In the attic, I have a box of stuff pre-Marriage - that contains my first ribbon for Field Day, my high school letters, elementary report cards - hell, even dental records. I don't know if it is gay or not, but I have every card, love letter, poem, and other significant thing stored away in that box - after about 19, all of the significant things were pretty much stored away in a shared box, but hopefully I will get to those...

I was a goofy, skinny, awkward kid - I ran cross country in high school, and used to enjoy things that probably were not on the high school curriculum, the photos in this blog are my favorites - the goofball sitting on dad's bass boat - the prize catch of the day being displayed proudly, the fake blond hair (and the ability to stay amazingly skinny) and the sullen look in those well touched senior photographs - I look at them now, and after looking at 20 years worth of photos - things just seem so far away - my ideals (oddly enough) are the same - which kind of makes me wonder if I really ever grew up? I mean some things have changed, obviously we work, our pant size is bigger, our hair is its natural color...

These are four of my favorites. There are no significant others involved, just simple innocent pictures - funny to look at - almost like reading a diary after years and years, or old poems - they are funny in their innocence, but they somehow let you know that things started somewhere, and now you are here.

I have tried to sort the photos into chronological order - these are probably the only photos that I have (with the exception of two sheets of head shots - but we'll save that for another blog) by myself - it's odd - I have never been by myself - ever - since these photos were taken...

The next blog will have to be on Veronika - I have a multitude of photos and memories to write about - they are sterile and platonic now, and seem clumsily innocent when I think about them now - but we still keep in touch, and we still occassionally talk - but I am guessing (for those of you who care to read on) that the blogs are probably going to be Veronika, Leigh Anne, Players by the Sea, Jen, Christy, then go into my kids - those are the loves that I have photos of - there are probably more out there, but I don't have photos to share with you, or to prod my memory enough to blog -

This World of Work...

Work makes you free, or some other bullshit cliche would be an appropriate start to this blog - below, you can see the fruits of the normal 92er's neglect on things that really should be handled - I have a 15K race this weekend (that is 9.3 miles) and I still have to be physically and mentally prepared to embark upon the wonderful journey of cleaning out the accumulated crap in the garage - from the voice of experience - here is my latest and greatest top ten list for "garage and other assorted storage spaces":


1. Although a roll of Aluminum Foil 500 Yards long is sometimes a necessary item when strolling through COSTCO - it generally becomes an arts and craft object. Do not store this in your garage. Use this to cover your windows in the summer - the neighborhood association may not like it, but they are not the ones dealing with the spy satellites watching your every move.

2. Use an empty receptacle as an ashtray - those monogrammed lead crystal glasses that had a little bit of grapefruit juice in them left after a yard work day make a perfect addition to the pile of empty cigarette boxes on the old coffee table.

3. Buy several bins from Rubbermaid and stick a whole bunch of crap in them - that way when you have to clean the garage out, you get the Christmas like surprise of finding that electric blue sweater that was such a bargain at $129.95 - then use the sweater as a good way to start fires in the chiminera - cotton burns hot!

4. Make sure that you buy obscure sports items for your children, and then store them in your garage. For example, we have a pair of zebra painted stilts - occassionally, when I feel like giving myself a hernia, I break those things out and see how long it takes me to fall.

5. You must have an old table that doubles as an arts and crafts station for your children - that way, you have an excuse for not cleaning the garage - it's art by god, it's art - the glitter and glue on the floor are Cristo like in their appearance, and you can tell everyone that this is your commentary on the Y2K scare.

6. Have an arm chair in the garage - that way, when you get overwhelmed looking at all of the shit, you can sit down, and see if there are any cigarettes in one of those empty packages.

7. Use Goodwill or VFW as storage - you can actually take your really nasty crap to Goodwill, get a tax deduction, then buy it back from Goodwill and take another tax deduction - if it is really nasty crap that you are attached to, it will never sell, and you will get a great deal when you need to buy it back!

8. Make sure that you secretly throw away the crap that your nearest and dearest friends give to you that you are never going to use. Sometimes I look at some of the gifts I receive, and really wonder why they did not just buy me a 24 pack of really really nice lotion treated Charmin - that way it would get used.

9. Use those odd cleaning supplies to defumigate the garage - after enough of the chemicals rot through their containers, they tend to remove paint, skin, eyes, the lining of the lungs, and pet stains really easily - and the planet is much better off when you landfill the caustic formulas you create with the excess chemicals.

10. Tell your kids to go organize your tools - that way, you always have an excuse for your shit to be everywhere, and you have someone to blame for the extension cords laying in the floor, two hammers that have mysteriously become liquid nailed together, a box of screws rusted into a complete block of "screw", and four empty toolboxes strategically placed in the garage just in case you are actually ever able to find what you need.

That's my weekend, a 9.3 mile run, and then the disposal of all of the stuff that seemed to have been pretty fucking important - at least important enough to place in a plastic bin in my garage.

Take care everyone - and if you need anything you see in the pictures, or if it actually belonged to you and I failed to return it, there will be a pile of crap in front of my house on Sunday, feel free to drive by and claim it.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Insomnia and Praying for Sleep...

Another interesting accident that happens to the 92%er is the lack of sleep - and the chance to catch sleep when you can - 9 hours twice per week on an airplane, late dinners, odd emails, and time differences create an abundance of bright lights that blink somewhere between your cornea and your eyelids - the schedule never stops, the thoughts get cloudy, and the places all run together...

My biggest thought right now is cheese and a roller coaster - the click,click,click,click as the old chain pulls the wooden cars up the track - in all reality it is the antique clock with paint that is a little hazy about fifteen feet from my bed, but it is nice to think of the thrust of the rickety cars as they plummet down the weathered wooden tracks and bang against the thin steel laid over the top of the wood.

I never have had so little sleep in my life - I think I am running on 9 hours in the past three days, but the schedules keep coming, the demands for time are still there, and the answers are still requested. It is easier to fall asleep when I fill my head with cold Coors light or a good swig of Nyquil - but right now, I am not sure that I want to sleep - or risk a dream that might give away a secret or two. Someone has told me that I don't breathe at night when I sleep - that it is like someone who holds their breath too long under water, and then gasps for air as they reach the surface - but for some reason, after two hours I feel more alive, I feel rested and ready to go at another day.

There is an overabundance of stimulation these days - 600 television channels, playstation, books on demand, over the counter remedies, but there is no real solution to just getting tired and trying to shut off the old thinker for a little while and sleeping. Some people can sleep in the midst of a fire, some people sleep their entire lives away and wake up in hospice care, and some people just never want to sleep - I think I fall in the latter - I am always afraid that there is something to miss, something to think about, something to see.

Sleep has the power to enlighten, it is a gift, an object of desire, but I am deeply in need of being awake, I don't want to dream, I want to feel the real thing and accept the jet lag as it comes - I particularly want to think more of my choices, and my travel, and silly fun things like my cheese and another sip of cold agua, agua, agua.

I rested peacefully the other day, maybe a week ago, I was with a friend at a park and their child had never ridden a see-saw - it was after a 3.5 mile run, and the air was cold, and it was serendipitous to see that family at the park - the laughter as the old log fulcrum went up and then down was enough to put me to sleep, who needs to dream when laughter like that brightens the day, and makes schedules go away. It was similar to the coy smile my daughter gave me tonight as I put her to bed - she just smiled and said "Daddy, I am funny like you" or my son, whose eyes lit up when he heard I was cancelling my trip- and hugged me tightly around my neck. Those feelings, burnt CD's, norwegian daisies, Austin music, and uneasiness are keeping me up nights, and I can't say that I really want to go to sleep...

Long winded rambling, but hell, I am tired.

Family Time...

A large amount of family time today, the picture was Thanksgiving - and I am giving thanks for what I have. They are all happy and we are all smiling...

My favorite things...

My favorite things in our house are our paintings - we have tons of artwork, and the garage is filled with work that we have somehow inherited through garage sales, years of accumulation, and family unloading their stuff - I like paintings - I have never really been very talented at anything artistic - I have been consistently mediocre at writing, and if nothing else, prolific in my ability to fill pages with nonsense and sometimes humor.

I am working from the house today, my wife went for a walk - and it is a wonderful day for a walk! My little girl is sick, and is watching one of those disney like rip off movies, and giggling, and I am taking a lunch break from typing incessant emails, reviewing numbers, and doing third grade level math. Last night I flew with another M&A guy from one of the big three, he was private equity - and we are the same age and same work, and we joked about the rocket science that we partake in. People hear mergers and acquisitions and think that we are some sort of brainiacs with really expensive calculators, and what we really are is guidance counselors and cheerleaders - granted there is work that has to be done, but none of it is really that complex, there is just a large amount of it...

Well, to the paintings - obviously, my favorite I talked about in the last blog, the birch bark, the white pond, the orange and blues of a cold winter day. When I was younger, I went on a creek hike in Pennsylvania - it was cold - and I crossed this scene a million times - it was beautiful, and looking at this painting gives me a calming effect - do you think the artist was looking to the center of the painting, much like I do, and wonder what is in that clearing?

The second one, the boats and the sky tease me with what some small Italian coastal town in Spain is like - I have never been - but, I like the sailboats and the dark sky and the colorful houses. After a few glasses of wine and a little bit of quiet, one can hear voices clammoring over seafood cooking...

Not too heavy or deep, just sharing a few of my favorite things..

Home is...

Tropical weather sometimes makes its way to this part of Florida - generally it hits south of here or north of here, the phenomenon of being 33 miles from the gulf stream steers away the big storms, and we typically get side-swiped by those the push across the panhandle and knock down our sensitive untested yellow pines and water oaks.

I thought alot about home today - I am at home now - and it is strange to be sitting in my office with the sounds of my sick daughter yelling at Dora the Explorer (or her somewhat ambigiously gay sidekick Diego - he is gay, he just does not know it yet) about following the magic path to los montanas to somehow get the monkey what he needs to make it through the day - if I was the monkey, I would shoot myself, because obviously both Diego and Dora cannot make a decision on their own, and it really sucks to be a monkey with two folks who cannot make a decision. Maybe that is why zoo monkeys throw feces - they get sick of keepers trying to make a decision, and all they want are a few bananas, a big tree, and some good looking girl monkeys.

Last night's flight was a long one - the weather in Atlanta (when you fly Delta) is horrible from about March until June - and you get delayed and have to listen to the not so seasoned travellers bitch about flights being cancelled or ask you questions that somehow come across as "I am a real dumbass, but them big planes should be able to take off in 40 mile an hour winds and thunderstorms with rain drops as big as my hand and lightening like a Christmas tree" - with that being said, it is the deep south, and apparently, Greyhound Bus Lines has made it much cheaper to fly these days. Coming into Jacksonville was beautiful, there was a storm over the ocean, and the lightening lit up the clouds in a brownish orange - I listened to Feist, and enjoyed the light show off in the distance. It made for a 2:00 AM arrival to my comfortable bed, and then an early wake up call for some doctor work, but it was still a pretty site.

I took pictures of my house today. I wanted to remember what I have to lose - the doctor was brutally honest today, I like how a therapist just sneaks in the bomb at the last minute - and is always aware of the time - in the last 5 minutes of the session, the doctor cordially volunteered his outlook - and bleak would be positive. Granted, I have my issues, but hell at least he was honest, and he gave me two choices - stay or go, fix or flee, work or walk - then his outlook was not all that great. I included the photos - they are pretty boring photos, a kitchen, a patio, a bedroom, a living room, a dining room - all filled with 18 years worth of stuff. The art work is what I like best, the patio is my favorite place, especially when the indian hawthorne is in bloom, but this is my home.

There is one painting in the office, it is an abstract winter scene, in my mind, on some frozen lake in upstate New York, the birc trees showing their lack of color, just whites and auburns, and some intwined shades of brown -

This morning was a good morning, albeit tragically honest, and it has put me in a thoughtful place. Home is where the heart is, home is more than where your stuff is, and I have a large amount of room, with a large amount of stuff. I don't need anymore stuff, and just want to find out where my heart is - 92% travellers have the luxury of going anywhere and everywhere, and one day, I will get to go to that painted scene that hangs in my office, but right now, I long to find out where my heart is - and just define where home is.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Seattle Sunday, and Ben and Jerry's

Sitting on the couch in a hotel room after a long hard day is a good feeling - it is a quiet place, and only the occassional car stereo or cheesy commercial breaks that resting that goes on. I like Sunday afternoons, whether sitting on my couch with my kids watching re-runs of America's Funniest Home Videos, or sitting in a hotel room building card houses and eating Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream. Seattle has been particularly beautiful this weekend, the weather never really made it above 50 degrees, but the skies were relatively clear, and the mountains were always in view. Apparently I had a pretty good time celebrating on Friday night with the most recent acquisition folks, I have a receipt and some voice mails to prove that it was a good time - no matter what everyone says...

I went for a run yesterday, I have the 15K next weekend, and have been trying to get into some sort of shape to make sure I can finish in a respectable place - at least for me, and to get the race behind me, and move forward. I actually got dizzy and fell over, it was wierd, I had not eaten, and was up way too late, but it was an unpleasant fall, and I certainly am paying for it now.

There is not much for me to say in this blog - I am not as serious on Sundays normally- maybe my agnostic or athiestic nature is not so black and white, because I believe Sundays were made for resting - just sitting on the couch or in the backyard, resting with family and friends, and wrapping up the week before starting another week (is Sunday the first day of the week or the last day of the week - none the less, I cannot think of a better way to start or end the week).

Consciously, I made the decision to stay in Seattle this weekend, and wanted to see how I would feel being so far away from my family, and having to compensate for that by living the life of a single person - this may sound foreign to a large number of folks - but for someone who has not spent a weekend alone in probably 13 years, it is a new (or familiar but odd) feeling. It's pretty easy to occupy time - there is always work to be done, there is always somewhere that you can go, but sometimes, especially on the weekends, you just want to be with someone even if just for a few hours...

Last Sunday was the exact opposite of this Sunday - I sat in the backyard of my dad's house and soaked up Florida sun while listening to the myriad of music that he has somehow managed to cram into his nine-thousand CD changer -

Speaking of music - everyone needs to download Ferris Wheel by Donovan - it is a little hokey, and somewhat sixties popcorn - but it seems to hit the spot - I think his music is just dark enough and catchy enough, that no matter what the mood, it seems to help - here are the lyrics:

Ferris Wheel

Walking in the seashore twilight,
It's then you spy carnival lights,
You slowly near the magic sight,
Tangerine sky minus one kite.
Take time an' tie your pretty hair
The gypsy driver doesn't care
If you catch your hair in the ferris wheel on top,
In the ferris wheel on top.
A silver bicycle you shall ride,
To bathe your mind in the quiet tide.
Far off as it seems your hair will mend
With a Samson's strength to begin again.
Take time an' dry your pretty eyes,
Watch the seagull fly far-off skies
To build its nest in the ferris wheel on top,
In the ferris wheel on top.
If ever I reach her.
And the moral here, if any, my friend:
Follow through your dream to the end.
Dig the seagull fly across the sky
To build its nest in the ferris wheel,
In the ferris wheel.

It's a beautiful song, and it is dreamy enough to create a Sunday afternoon that makes for a perfect bite of ice cream, and a hazy Seattle day on the couch.

Until next time...