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 14, 2013
My new $8 thrift store Cuisinart mini food processor is helping out with Taco Night. And if that weren’t beautiful enough, Zero’s had two and a half consecutive days of new pup housebreaking success. He’s the happiest puppy in the world. Life is beyond good and winning is just winning.
Pass the salsa… we’re celebrating.
January 12, 2013
My tendency has always been to load up my two-day weekend checklist far beyond any possibility of achievement. For whatever the reason, this weekend has been different.
Saturday offered a perfect day for relaxing. After more than seven hours of listening to vinyl records and playing with my buddies, the hour hand began to cast a shadow on the afternoon. The cold damp day affirmed my decision to still be in my flannel pjs as a second pot of coffee began brewing. Though denim was eventually exchanged for flannel, our day of comfort was well maintained into the evening.
We’re in the early hours of Sunday morning and there are plenty of naps taking place all around me. Faded blue jeans and a secondhand t-shirt have committed themselves to my day’s fashion statement. A stack of selected vinyl await their turn to spin goodness at 33 and a 1/3rd and my coffee cup has once again promised to stay full all day. I’m not too sure what else I could ask for, so I won’t. It’s good to be with friends.
Perhaps removing expectations can sometimes deliver the greater return.
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.
January 6, 2013
Life is chock full of uncertainties, ponders, and Google searches.
Today, while Zero and I were on our quickened pace and heading towards the end of our four mile hike, a kind middle aged stranger approached us. His warm smile delivered his pondering thought.
“Have you ever heard that phrase “Walking the Dog”? I’ve heard it on several sports casts and I never really understood. So a little while ago when I saw you walking your dog, I thought maybe you’d know. Do ya have any idea?”
I thought about it for a second, knowing I’d heard it countless times, but realized I didn’t have a really solid answer. I replied with having control or ownership of a competitor or situation. I didn’t bother to explain that it was also an Aerosmith song from the group’s first album. Thanks to Google I discovered that it was originally written and recorded by Rufus Thomas on Stax Records in 1963, reaching number 10 on the charts of December of that year. Rufus’ song has also been released by at least fourteen other artists or groups including The Rolling Stones, Johnny Rivers, The Everly Brothers, and Ratt.
Zero and I are still learning. How about you?
January 3, 2013
I’m not usually one that reads too terribly much into patterns or numbers. Common human nature though seems to look for signs, especially when turning over a New Year. Yesterday was a prime example. I found two like new Polaroid cameras at two different thrift stores on day two of this New Year. It was clearly a sign, so I was left with no other option than to add them to my collection.
Today, I adopted a new member into our family. It just so happened that the two of us met several months ago while I was hanging my art exhibit. Little did I know on that hot summer day in August that he and I would be taking a car ride together on January 3. As I write this, he and our other two dogs (that makes three on day three of January) are sitting in my office together, getting acquainted, and chatting about our new family.
New Years always have a tendency to offer us fresh beginnings. Both are incredibly healthy and provide a way to look forward while at the same time allowing us the opportunity to recharge from our pasts. On January 1, the idea of adding a few more cameras or another love to our family by the end of the week was the furthest thing from my mind. Things just happen some times. Out of the blue. I’ve always believed in the idea of making good of those things around you. In return, they’ll find a genuine way to return that goodness back to you.
July 29, 2012
We recently celebrated our daughter’s birthday… again. It feels like I light the candles on that family tradition birthday cake every few weeks rather than years.
Aside from those years when I was an ambitious teen managing my small town paper route monopoly, fatherhood feels like it’s been a fixture in my life for my entire life. With everyone now grown, my position, as a father is certainly different than it once was. The love and dedication I have for our children has never wavered. Those emotions however, much like our children and myself, have all matured. Adjusting from so many years of dedicated full time parenting to an occasional visit a few times a year has certainly taken some getting use to. I get better at it every day.
From the time I was a child myself, I’ve always been an avid collector of music. With this new level of parenting, I’m now able to listen to quite a few more albums in their entirety than I was able to find time for over the past three decades. My dogs and I also spend more quality time together than we once did. They love it and so do I. Luckily for me, the pups are also music aficionados. It’s a double win for each of us.
Perhaps there was a day or two during my endless years of parenting that wasn’t quite perfect. The whole parenting thing is so judgmental. It doesn’t come with a manual or even a report card, but I’m convinced that I did a better than average job as Daddy. What I do know for sure, is that every moment of it came from the heart.
Before you know it, we’ll be celebrating another birthday year with that same cake recipe and lighting a few more candles. Before that time though, the pups and I have enough time to listen to a few more records. Life, like a song, is beyond that good.
March 20, 2012
I’ve rarely given much thought about the motivation driving me to place one foot in front of the other. I take it for granted as something I’m simply expected to do. Through my years of parenting, I did my best to be the father that I wanted to be, a good one. Looking back now, as I’m able to spend time with our three grown children, it’s apparent that we all survived our younger years quite well. Myself included. In addition to my role as a stay at home father during those influential years, I also balanced my adult life as a fulltime studio artist. My career was far from a nine to five routine, and I loved every moment of it. Finding the stability I needed to balance my role as a fulltime Dad with a business centering on creative self-expression, marketing, promotion, and forward thinking, taught me quite a bit about myself, most of which centered on commitment, ambition, and fervor. A number of years later as our children prepared for their own young adult lives and I approached fifty years of age, the idea of my returning to college became incredibly important to me. I was driven. Two years later at the age of 51, I received my Master’s Degree with honors from the VCU School of the Arts in December of 2010. Though I’ve never labeled it as such, it’s clear that my life’s path has been directed through personal innovation.
My blue-collar upbringing was honest, hardworking, and continues to be an inspiration in my day-to-day passion for life. I owe a great deal of gratitude to my father for many of those life lessons. He was far more scholarly than his partial high school education, and he taught me skills about treating people honestly and the importance of working hard towards creating something better, not for yourself, but mainly for others. My father’s unexpected death in 1993 was a giant hurdle, but I recovered. The day before he passed, the two of us spent several hours together over a long father and son conversation. It was simple, honest, and beyond life touching. His blue-collar way of life didn’t always understand my fine art world. He was however, very proud of the things I’d accomplished in my career, as a father, and as his son. He made it a point on that sunny afternoon to encourage me to do all of the things I wished to do in my life. I replied to him with a promise that I would. I continue to do so. The following morning, he passed away just as I arrived at the hospital. My father was a hard worker, a good man, a teacher, an inspiration, and an innovator.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve made it a point to continually evaluate my life’s focus. It’s a healthy place, always providing me that personal opportunity to think ahead and move forward. I believe in it. I’ve also discovered the truth in surrounding yourself with the right people. During the past decade I’ve been extremely fortunate to be involved with some of the most influential people I’ve ever known in my life, most of whom I’ve met through my circles in education. I have the greatest respect for these friends and colleagues, especially their commitment, dedication, and willingness to make such a positive impact on others. While I find it to be such common nature to do what I do, I continually find it humbling to receive warm accolades from those I consider principal influences in my own life. Their praise and inspiration never go unnoticed as they continue to inspire and propel me.
Innovation. My life has continually been directed by that very concept. As a parent, a fine artist, or middle aged adult returning to college, there have always been a few common threads running through each of those chapters in my life… forward thinking and reinvention of self. My rewards in return have been personal growth and knowledge. As I near the age my father was when we shared that long talk on that warm afternoon in 1993, I look back and realize that very little has changed since I was the young, curious, and spirited son of that blue-collared military man. I continue with my promise and my life path, always hoping to move in that direction ahead of me. Forward.
March 16, 2012
Over the past month or so, I’ve spent a great deal of time in self-evaluation mode. It’s a healthy place and provides me that personal opportunity to move forward.
I’ve never had much faith with the idea of sitting and letting life come to me, even as a child. That certainly isn’t to say that I haven’t had my share of wasted time or even days. I have. Plenty. But as I grow older, I’ve discovered my time is far more valuable than ever before. I understand it, evaluate it, and move in that direction… forward. Tick, tock.
February 26, 2012
I spend fewer days in the studio than I wish I could. Life has a fascinating way of getting in it’s own way sometimes. Those days when I am able to lock myself away in that creative place are treasures. Today was one of those days. When I’m able to share that time with my closest friend, we both own the day… together.
This is exactly how goodness looks. I love goodness.