January 27, 2013
My life is a record album. I have no top 40 radio singles, but the liner notes are extensive. An ever-growing list of thank-yous and special guests continue to make appearances in my unending swansong.
January 23, 2013
Over the past several weeks, I’ve spent a good amount of time working with our latest family addition. Without detailing the lists of new things that he’s learning, it seems the best word to describe them all would be respect. Happiness, pride, dedication, and love each follow that “R” word pretty darn closely. Although he’s not quite mastered all of his new skills yet, he’s one happy boy who gets so excited with himself and absolutely loves doing the right thing. He also has a fond appreciation for peanut butter dog biscuits.
I think these past few weeks have been obedience training for myself as well. Perhaps I walk on two legs instead of four, but aside from those peanut butter treats, my list of things that make me the happiest aren’t much different than Zero’s. Good Boy.
January 20, 2013
I’ve been incredibly fortunate to be lots of things in my life. Unquestionably, one of those things I’m most proud of was the younger version of myself as a youthful, dedicated, full on, wrap my world around it Dad. In my children’s bright young eyes, they made me feel like I was their superhero. In reality however, I was just a man, doing my best, with what I had at being Daddy.
With the kids well into their young adult lives now, those days have long passed. I still remember them though, even if I didn’t get the chance to wear a cool cape or fancy boots. Those years were the most inspiring, creative, and loving times of my life. Super powers aren’t just for comic book heroes.
Live life. It gives far more back when you do.
A big thank you to my good friend Matt for tripping the shutter on this image.
January 12, 2013
I believe in second chances far more than abandonment.
Fewer days thrill me more than those where I can take something that’s been discarded, breathe new life in it, and have it resuscitate the same in me. I’m constantly surrounded by hand me downs, throwaways, secondhand left behinds, and rescues… each by choice. With their used to be past, their visibly less than perfect flaws, and their distinctive individualities, each mirror my own life perfectly.
Popularity is generally temporary fluff. The combination of uniqueness, imperfection, and originality however, will always display a sincere timeless genuine beauty.
I believe in believing.
December 1, 2012
Well into the chapters of my 50′s, I welcomed the challenges that came with my continued life-learning path and enrollment into another Graduate program. Crossing those flashing broad yellow lines of Business and Engineering have certainly intrigued, and sometimes bewildered, my left brain’s creative soul. I brought to our multi-disciplinary cohort however, those things that are inherently me. What else would I bring?
Turning the corner on December and now into the final days of my first full time semester in years, while also working full time, I’m spending plenty of hours listening to classical music while preparing for each of my final presentations. Without question, I’m also mentally preparing for that upcoming post semester block of “me” time. Before diving into those days of vinyl records, classic cinema, studios filled with cameras, easels, and restoring another 1975 Polaroid SX-70, I have a few tasks to complete first.
My world saving calendar will be extremely busy over the next 10 days. I’ll be the guy resurrecting and saving a 140 plus year old brand with my $10 million marketing and advertising plan. Once that fire’s put out, I’ll spend the following day unraveling and correcting worldwide water filtration issues, while at the same time reversing global utrification concerns. Day three of my world saving agenda will commence after a nap of three or four hours. Then with my travel mug filled with a microwaved serving of day old coffee and a diagonally cut peanut butter sandwich, I’ll remedy aging at home problems while juggling a world class and masterful biomimicry solution, complete with hand crafted sock puppets and cardboard props.
Welcome Business and Engineering folk, you’ve now entered my world, one with an endless supply of dull blunt scissors, masking tape, and ripe imagination. Wipe your feet, buckle up, and keep all arms inside the car. You’re now in the Creative Zone.
January 30, 2012
While my wife vacationed in Cancun with her parents this past week, I spent a great deal of time with my thoughts and myself. I’ve changed a lot since I was a younger man. Then again, I haven’t changed much at all. My wild and frenzied week of being home alone looked vaguely similar to this.
I listened to more records on my turntable at high volume than I have in a decade and even found a few rarities that I forgot I owned. I prepped a few new recipes in the kitchen and made bbq chicken twice. It was delicious. I cleaned the refrigerator. Every single shelf is spotless, including the condiments shelves and the crispers. I laundered all of the Mexican blankets and linens. I drank coffee whenever I wanted and took my medications regularly as prescribed. I watched football, basketball, music videos, and Bogart films.
I danced with my pets. They make me laugh and I’m willing to bet they laughed at me too. I just can’t tell. I made the best grilled cheese sandwich in the world… three different times. I wore a ponytail, a baseball cap, flip flops, $600 slacks that I paid two dollars for at a thrift store, and many nights I wore pajamas before Brian Williams welcomed me to the 6:30 evening news. There was even one night when I sat with the flickering glow of candlelight while reading liner notes.
I did those mundane things like the dishwasher, the litter box, the laundry, the grocery store, and my weekly jaunt to the landfill and recycling center. I reorganized the kitchen cabinets. I captured a few moments with my camera and a few more with words. I taught myself how to do a few things that I didn’t know before last week. I spent time with each of our three children. They’re all adults now, but they’ll always be my children. I saw red cardinals on several different occasions during the week and I managed to catch an unexpected afternoon nap one day, something I rarely ever do.
I talked to my Mom on the telephone and told her I loved her before saying goodbye. Several nights I was in bed before 10, and other nights not until after 2AM. On Saturday morning I served up a wonderful breakfast, just for the pups and I. I made it a point to say my prayers before going to bed, but admit that I missed a few nights. I also cursed a couple times during the week and apologized whenever I caught myself.
Looking back, my week was everything that it normally is on any given week, minus the company.
January 28, 2012
I treated myself to a few of the things that I love most this morning – music and cooking. As a result, my Saturday morning looked a little like this.
Scrambled eggs with tabbouleh and feta folded in and sprinkled with parmesan; crispy turkey bacon; toasted oatmeal bread topped with a friend’s delicious homemade lavender peach preserves; a pot of Puerto Rican coffee; and orange juice. Of course an excellent dining experience could never be had without the right ambiance of music, so my turntable soundtrack included Little Feat, Eddie Kendricks, and Cheech and Chong’s Los Cochinos. I do my best to keep the peace around our ranch. So yes, I made enough to share with the pups. The world is a happy place.
I’m almost certain if you Google Map “eclecticism”, you’ll see my house and get directions. See you for dinner.
January 27, 2012
I’ve spent the past few weeks cataloging my record album collection and database. It’s been sort of like attending a 40-year high school reunion without the awkwardness or the nametags. I dig the musicians and their art that helped sculpt the boy I once was into the man I’ve become today. Aside from decades of gained “life” knowledge and grayer hair, there’s really not too much different between the two of us.
My collection represents me. It really is a mish mash of genres, trends, classics, oddities, and accented with its share of one hit wonders, all of which I still believe in. From the time I first began collecting records, I’ve always taken great care of them. Most still have their original shrink-wrap including the advertising sticker that reads, “Includes poster and an eight page collector booklet”. Although the music is essential, great package design has always intrigued me and been equally as important. Several albums in my collection are there strictly because of their packaging and art.
Long before the internet or telephones for your pocket, I’d spend hours and hours on a regular basis studying my heroes through the pages of rock and roll magazines and by flipping through rows and rows of record albums at locally owned record stores. Spending the past few days sorting through thousands of liner notes and deep grooves has been a welcomed reunion with some damn fine music, some which I’ve not heard in years. It’s also been a reawakening with a medium I’ve never ever been very far from. I’m pretty fond of that kid I grew up with. He spent hours each day absorbing a world of music through his turntable. It makes me even happier today, knowing that he still does.
I brought a 1970s Creem Magazine to the office today that I stumbled across during my cataloging. I’ve decided to resurrect show and tell… just because I can. Peace!
January 15, 2012
Between the news I heard last week and the question I was asked this morning, I’ve spent much of today taking a far closer look than normal at myself.
Following my morning coffee, weeding through emails, and a few good morning kisses from the pups, I headed out the door for Sunday worship. Recently I’ve missed more sermons than heard and today I wanted to change that trend. It is after all a new year. For me, the best messages aren’t those that are simply well prepared and delivered from a pulpit, but instead the ones that suggest deeper thought and self-evaluation. Today was one of those kinds of sermons. The takeaway as I made my walk to the car was quite simple, “what defines me?”
Ironically I’d already begun asking myself this very question on Friday afternoon upon hearing that a friend had passed away. I was shocked by the news and to my surprise, she hadn’t passed recently, Friday marked the fourth anniversary and I never knew. Naturally, I spent the balance of Friday in memory mode. It was a healthy mental time and two days after receiving the news, it continues.
The older I become, I find myself holding onto my past more than I once did. I certainly don’t make it a point to live for the past, but I have great respect for it being responsible for much of the very thing my pastor discussed this morning. In all of it’s greatest, worsts, and more than it’s share of mediocre days, my past defines the very man that I am today.
Reflection is a way I continue moving forward. That evaluation of knowing where I’ve been propels me. My father guided and taught me more than his share from the time I was a child through my adulthood. His far too early death nineteen years ago however didn’t erase those life lessons. I still use them… many of them daily.
Although we hadn’t seen one another in several years, the news of Donna’s passing still saddens me. To say that she died too young is such a cliché, but it’s the best I can come up with and the fact is, she did. I’m incredibly grateful however for all of the life and laughter that she brought to mine. Each of them are now blessings.
The passing of time continues to move quicker than it once did, all the while defining me and defining us. Hold onto it.
January 14, 2012
In preparation for the weekend playoff games, I spent some quality time in the kitchen today for a little pre-game warm up.
My homemade chili and skillet baked salsa cheddar cornbread are ready and waiting for the coin toss. The afternoon cooking soundtrack had a number of LP fare on the menu from southern rock to Donna Summer’s Live and More spinning on the turntable. It all worked just fine together. Playoff games after all are about the spice and the last dance.
Good luck to your team this weekend and Bon Appétit. Life is delicious.