Was It A Dream

Cecilia, you're breaking my heart
You're shaking my confidence daily
Oh, Cecilia, I'm down on my knees
I'm begging you please to come home
Come on home

Jubilation, she loves me again,
I fall on the floor and I'm laughing,
Jubilation, she loves me again,
I fall on the floor and I'm laughing
Cecilia-- Simon & Garfunkel
 
Go to sleep, may your sweet dreams come true
Just lay back in my arms for one more night
I've this crazy old notion that calls me sometimes
Saying this one's the love of our lives.

Refrain:
Cause I know a love that will never grow old
And I know a love that will never grow old.

When you wake up the world may have changed
But trust in me, I'll never falter or fail
Just the smile in your eyes, it can light up the night,
And your laughter's like wind in my sails.

(Refrain)

Lean on me, let our hearts beat in time,
Feel strength from the hands that have held you so long.
Who cares where we go on this rutted old road
In a world that may say that we're wrong.  
 
Johnny sat down, took a sip of his coffee and looked around the room and smiled. It was a mischievous grin that lay upon his lips. The kind of smile that made people grab for their wallets or wonder if something was stuck in their teeth. It was silly, but if you asked him he would tell you that it was his favorite smile.

He loved it because it could be used in so many ways. With those he loved and who loved him it was simply disarming. Among those who didn't know him so well it could be seen as a bit less than charming and in some cases simply infuriating.

Johnny didn't care. He liked it that way. He was both intense and brooding. At times he could be exceptionally quiet or gregarious. He was perfectly happy to be the life of the party or content with his own company. Smiling again he chuckled and thought about the inherent contradiction in the description.

June didn't want to be the center of attention. She didn't need it nor did she look for it. But invariably she attracted people and more often than not she had her own group of people hanging around her. She was a natural hostess and entertainer. 

Sometimes Johnny thought that she didn't enjoy the dinners as much as she enjoyed the planning. Or maybe it was that she took so much joy in her lists. She was goal oriented and being able to cross off line items on her lists gave her pleasure.

Johnny wasn't like that. He wasn't a slacker nor did he lack organizational skills. He was very effective and efficient, but he moved at his own pace. Sometimes it frustrated June. All she wanted was a plan. Just something that she could look at and know what was supposed to happen. Looking back Johnny supposed that he should have given her one, she liked to be able to measure progress and a plan would have made it easier for her to do so.

But he hadn't and that had created issues for him. June had been so very in love with him that he didn't see how she could ever walk away. His own feelings mirrored hers and so it was more than a bit surprising when she walked out the door for the last time.

For a while he was angry and then just very sad. It was hard to understand how things had reached this point. For months she had refused to have any contact with him. He tried hard to break through the wall. There were telephone calls, faxes, emails, flowers, smoke signals and more. None of them worked.

And then one day she picked up the phone and he hung up. He had to laugh at the memory. On a whim he dialed her number and expected to hear her voicemail greeting. The shock of hearing her voice threw him so like a teenager he hung up the phone and stared off into space.

Heart pounding he wondered if he should hit redial, but he didn't. Didn't because he couldn't figure out what to say or how to say it. That was assuming that she answered again, you never know, it could go straight to voicemail. 

More time passed and he tried calling again and she answered. This time they spoke. For a short time they shot the breeze and caught up on what was happening with the other. In some ways it was very comfortable but it wasn't quite normal.

For a while after this they would exchange short emails or text messages. But that communication only lasted if he drove it. If he didn't reach out contact would cease. After a while he decided that he didn't need to be responsible for carrying everything and he let go.

He figured that enough time had passed that he had to accept that it really was over. At least he tried to let go, the reality was that he never really did. Little things kept happening, reminders every where he went. So one night he drove out to a deserted field and screamed at the sky. Complained to the universe that it needed to be clear in its communication and stop fucking around. 
And in return he received an answer of silence.

It was fitting. He didn't really expect to hear some heavenly voice speak to him from a burning bush or any of the supernatural events that you read about. So he grumbled to himself, got back in the car and drove home. Once there he walked into his bedroom and promptly fell asleep on his bed.

In the morning he woke up, still dressed in the clothes he wore the night before. Somewhat groggy and disoriented he realized that he had been dreaming about June. In his dream she had kissed his cheek and told him that for the time being they needed to walk their separate paths. Then she hugged and kissed him. 

When he woke up he realized that he could still smell and feel her touch. It made his heart pound some more and he realized that this just wasn't done. At least he really didn't think so, couldn't say for certain.

But what he did know was that some of the darkness had lifted and he was ready to attack the world again. It wasn't clear to him how long that would be for, just that he needed to do it. 

Johnny reached out and grabbed his mug to down one last swallow of the liquid gold that he had brewed a short time earlier. That same mischievous smile danced across his lips. Had to be more than six months since that morning and all he could see were improvements in his life. Career was moving forward, workouts were productive and he was on his way to making the world his bitch.

That last though made him chuckle again. More than a few people would be irked by such a silly line, but that was fine with him. The man had been lost but now he was found. Might not know exactly where he was going or how he was going to get there, but dammit, that journey would be fun.
 

On Time

Beloved Wife

A few days ago I sat on the phone with my grandfather and listened to him talk about my grandmother. Slowly the talk turned to how much he missed her and I felt very badly as I heard him begin to choke up. He misses her terribly and hopes that she recognized how much she meant to him.

So grandma, if by some chance you are out there, somewhere and you can find some way to let grandpa know, please do it. We all miss you, but he lost the love of his life and that is something a little bit different.

And thank you again for everything, your great grandchildren still talk about your 75th anniversary party and watching you dance with grandpa. For a brief moment they got a glimpse of my grandparents and understood how very active and full of life you were.

Got to go now, it is time for me take off the grandson hat and go be dad again.

"You were the love
for certain of my life
you were simply my beloved wife
I don't know for certain
how I'll live my life
now alone without my beloved wife
my beloved wife

I can't believe
I've lost the very best of me

you were the love
for certain of my life
you were simply my beloved wife
I don't know for certain
how I'll live my life
now alone without my beloved wife
my beloved wife

I can't believe
I've lost the very best of me

you were the love
for certain of my life
for 50 years simply my beloved wife
with another love I'll never lie again
it's you I can't deny
it's you I can't defy
a depth so deep
into my grief
without my beloved soul
I renounce my life
as my right
now alone without my beloved wife
my beloved wife

my beloved wife
my love is gone she suffered long
in hours of pain
my love is gone
now my suffering begins
my love is gone
would it be wrong if I should
surrender all the joy in my life
go with her tonight?

my love is gone she suffered long
in hours of pain
my love is gone
would it be wrong if I should
just turn my face away from the light
go with her tonight?"
Beloved Wife- Natalie Merchant

The Man of Steel Versus The Spam Beast

It is only fitting that it was during Comic-Con that I received an urgent call for help from the Man of Steel.

For several days he had been engaged in all out war with Captain Spam. It was one hell of a battle. Every time he tried to comment on one of my posts it was marked as spam and sent to the Phantom Zone.

In days of yore he would of called upon Captain Spam and the Keyboard Crusader would have surely answered the call. But CS hasn't been seen in months. Some wonder if perhaps he was captured by the Nigerians in the 419 zone.

It had been my understanding that one or more members of the Lantern Corps were investigating this. Having been forced into an early retirement I have been a bit more reluctant to pay attention to events that don't have a direct bearing upon myself or my family. And yes, I am bitter about that but that's a topic for a different day.

And it is only fair to mention that the Man of Steel was one of the few who stood by my side during those crazy days of allegations, trials and kangaroo courts. Unfairly accused and convicted I refrained from telling the world to go to hell and made a quiet promise to help the man should ever he need it.

Those were bad times, ugly days that I care not to remember as the pain hasn't ever gone away. So you can understand that I meant it when I said that I'd never march out the castle gates again. But a promise is a promise which is how I came to find myself suiting up for battle.

Fair warning is given to those who would oppose me. I expect no quarter and will give none in return.Evil shall once again tremble at the sound of my horns and the anticipation of my wrath. Stand in my way at your peril, The Bishop of Bullfrog has returned.

A Potpourri of Posts

Been digging through the archives and decided to provide some links to some old material:

A Story of Two Souls Searching to Merge
Who I Am Versus Who I Want To Be
A Note to my Coworker
The Many Layers of Hell
The tears that do not fall

The Humpty Dance

It is a thousand years ago- we're juniors in college and feel like princes of the universe. We are all 21 now and no longer have to rely upon smart networking or the other tricks of the trade we used to rely upon to get into the bars. Not that any of it mattered, we were living the fraternity life so the social life was ridiculously busy.

I am a Zebe and we are ridiculously proud of our claim that we party harder than any other house and still maintain the highest GPA on campus. Technically it is a C+ but when you consider that we were a 100 man plus house it is not bad.

Saturday nights are filled with ridiculous amounts of craziness. Somewhere around 6 or show I hop into my Camaro and head out to pick up a couple of the fellas. We're going to grab dinner and drinks and then head to the house for the party. Tonight we have a local reggae band playing and that girl from my poli-sci class is supposed to be there.

We hit Chilis or some other restaurant like it and grab some chow. The conversation is typical for a group of college guys- girls, sports and more girls. My little brother is riding with us tonight. He is all of 19 and we're giving him grief for being the baby. He is good natured and laughs off the comments about pacifiers and diapers.

Time passes and we are at the house. I am working the bar, passing out drinks and just talking to whomever ambles over. Not so long before this a night like this would have been hard. The girl I thought I loved had dumped me and I would have been moping a bit. But not tonight, having too much fun and like I said that girl that wears the shorts and sundresses is coming tonight. All I can see is long dark hair, a nice tan and a smile that lights up a room.

The band is great and the music is infectious. Really it is hard not to sway or dance. All around me people are bobbing their heads back and forth to the beat. I am still working the bar. I like it there for a host of reasons. It is the kitchen of this particular house, the place where everyone eventually congregates. Hanging out at the bar is the best way to meet the girls. You don't need to come up with any clever lines, just a simple "what can I get you" is enough to begin the conversation.

Just down the way I can see my little brother dancing with a couple of girls who are older than he is. Later I'll tease him about his babysitters. He'll tell me that I am just jealous and I'll respond with something about how they weren't really dancing with him. He'll insist I am wrong and I'll remind him that women travel in packs and that it is not unusual for them to dance together without the need for male companionship.

Time passes and the girl that I want to show has yet to make an appearance. I am still having a great time, but I realize that I had been really looking forward to seeing her. I shrug my shoulders and get lost in the music again. They finish their set and begin to pack up- she still hasn't shown up.

I don't have her telephone number and even if I did it wouldn't matter much. It is a different time and no one has a cell phone. A few people I know have car phones and a ton have pagers. I have neither- can't afford the car phone and hate the idea of someone beeping me.

Must be about midnight give or take twenty minutes and I have already figured that she is not going to show up. I am wrong. She comes strolling in accompanied by two friends. From my vantage point at the bar I can see her walk through the party. She hasn't noticed me so I take advantage of the moment and stare at her. She looks fantastic. The three of them head spot the bar and head over to get a drink. She smiles when she sees me and I smile back. I can already smell her perfume. I don't know the name but think of it as essence of let me smell bury my nose in your neck- it smells great.

I slip out from behind the bar and we make talk for a few about this and that. In a moment she'll take my hand and drag me to the dance floor. I try to relax. I am good at talking but dancing is not my thing. Slow dancing is easy and I can do that without concern for tripping over my feet, but this won't be slow.

The good news is that the dance floor is packed so all you can really do is try to move in time with the music. It is like a handicap in golf- I feel like I have been saved. We hit the floor and The Humpty Dance comes on.


We're dancing and having a good time. I am thinking that this is promising and that maybe good things are going to come from this. A few more songs come on and we keep moving. Out of the corner of my eye I notice one of her friends kissing one of the guys, but the third is no where to be seen.

In a few minutes she'll come over and interrupt us. Apparently she is not having a good time and wants to leave. She is the designated driver for the night so my friend tells me that she has to leave.  I want to offer to take her home but I have had a few drinks and won't be ready to drive for a bit. Besides I don't want her to take it the wrong way.

She hugs me goodbye and leaves. It is right around Spring Break so I won't see her in class for a while, but when I do I find out that the party was good for her too. Apparently when she first got to the party she spent a while speaking with one of my fraternity brothers. As she was leaving they bumped into each other again and he got her telephone number.

During Spring Break they went out on a few dates and decided that they had real chemistry. I don't know any of this when I see her in class and only learn about it a little later. But it provides a quick explanation for why she was acting a little bit weird that day.

Eventually they'll get married and I'll attend the wedding. I'll be tempted to tease them about a finder's fee but will be happy that I didn't say anything because three years later they'll get divorced.

Music for The Night

A snapshot of songs I listened to tonight:

Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning-Alan Jackson
Rain In The Summertime- The Alarm
Paul Revere- Beastie Boys
Hallelujah- Leonard Cohen
The Mighty Quinn- Manfred Mann
Do You Wanna Hold Me- Bow Wow Wow
Let's Dance- David Bowie
Be Good Johnny- Men at Work
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic-The Police
This Is Radio Clash- The Clash

A Collection of Recent Posts

If you haven't been by recently here is a list of recent posts:

Stay tuned as several new posts are coming soon.

Can't Find My Way Home

"One slip, and down the hole we fall
It seems to take no time at all
A momentary lapse of reason
That binds a life for life
A small regret, you won't forget,
There'll be no sleep in here tonight
Was it love, or was it the idea of being in love?
Or was it the hand of fate, that seemed to fit just like a glove?"
One Slip- Pink Floyd

Well woman it has been more than a long while since you and I had a proper conversation about anything. In the so called real world in which people measure time they would say that this is proof that the moment has passed and the window has closed. It is a fancy way of saying that they'd tell me to move on and forget about the dream.

Some would use tough love and tell me that you have moved on and that my hanging around is nothing more than a fool's errand. They'd say that if I enjoy exercises in futility I can use a thimble to fill a swimming pool with water. Others might take a different approach and use a kinder, more gentle approach to encourage me to come back from the abyss they see me standing above.

But they don't understand what you and I had, what we were together or why it has kept my attention. And they certainly don't understand me. When they say that I have been cast adrift and seem lost at sea I nod my head in agreement. It is true. I have been sailing through uncharted waters for longer than I care to admit.

There have been more than a few storms that have threatened to sink the damn ship. And moments where I wondered if it wouldn't be easier to let go of the wheel and let the damn rocks have their way. The thought of slipping beneath the waves into the deep has a certain sort of attraction to me, but not in a literal sense. And you of all people know that the fire that burns within won't allow me to give up in that fashion.

So during those dark moments I channeled my anger, my frustration and rage and screamed. Like a wounded bull I shouted at the sky and begged the imaginary beings who live there to come down and do battle with me. I shook my fist and cursed them for their cowardly nature. In the midst of it all I sometimes wondered if the aforementioned fire had escaped its cage in my belly and made its way up into my chest.

It seemed clear to me that it must have burnt that heart of mine into something black and twisted or worse yet, consumed it whole. But the familiar ache made it clear that it hadn't and that it was only my imagination. And then I thought that if you could only be next to me I could let go and shed some tears.

How perverse and strange it was- to think that the only way I could let go would be for you to be there. But you weren't and so I didn't. And as time passed I grew more accustomed to the hole and found ways to ignore the emptiness.

I turned inwards and explored the darkness inside. And then I found some glimmers of hope and reminders of the guy I was and who I am to become. The boy who was helped to remind me that the man can dream and that there is a path to making those dreams so much more than fantasy. The funny thing about it is that some of that came about by returning to the places I had left behind.

More than a few moments are spent inside the gym swinging iron back and forth, side to side and up and down. Covered in sweat I find moments of peace and tranquility. In between the clinking and clanking I close my eyes and listen. My heart still says that you are my air and my home is wherever you are.

Sometimes in the silence between sets I hear A Kiss To Build a Dream On and I can't help but picture dancing with you in our home. And there in the silence I remember that one kiss that we used to speak of and I smile.

So maybe it is just for the time being that I can't find my way home but something tells me that it won't be like this forever.

Project Mom Casting

If you spend any time roaming through the mommy blogosphere you are aware that the moms are going a little bit crazy about the big mommy blogger conference, BlogHer10. At last count there were 1,987 posts offering advice and or instruction as to how to successfully navigate the coming conference.

There are also approximate 9,987 posts written today by moms who are upset that they haven't lost the baby weight, are concerned that their husbands will be unable to handle taking care of the kids and or can't decide if bringing 27 pairs of shoes is excessive for a three day conference. Somewhere Imelda Marcos is clapping her hands in glee.

And then there are the posts for Project Mom Casting.
"Julie & Julia" was the first blog made into a motion picture. It will not be the last. Do you think you have what it takes to go from online to on-air? A major award-winning production company is now casting for an exciting new series featuring online moms. This groundbreaking show will showcase the untapped world of social media, moms and bloggers and the incredible influence they wield in our society.

A small production team will be at BlogHer ’10 in New York City to discover and interview exciting online mom personalities. The producers are interested in connecting with a diverse sampling of media savvy moms who are working to build an online brand. Who will be the next sensation in the mom-blogosphere?"
Call me a cranky daddy blogger, but I just don't see this as being particularly interesting. Maybe I don't understand the concept. Maybe I am just not following and that is the issue but I have trouble understanding what is going to be exciting, novel and different about this.

Are the viewers going to watch these women blog and tweet? Will they get a click's eye view of the mom's interacting with brands and commenters while trying to change diapers, help with homework and or work. There has to be more to it than that, right. Because who is going to sit down and watch anyone do the point- and-click or cut-and-paste dances.

I am certain that there are some very interesting personalities out there. But what are they going to be doing- how are we going to be exposed to them. Again, maybe I am just obtuse, but I don't understand how we are going to see them engage in social media in a fashion that is remotely interesting.

How To Really Hurt Someone

If you are really interested in hurting someone there is no better way to do so than to inflict some sort of mental pain. Physical pain can be overcome. There is always a way around it, but mental pain is a different sort of animal.

Take whatever he loves most, break it and then give it back to him. It can be an educational experience. How does he respond to adversity. Does he accept the damaged goods? Does he try to repair the damage or does he discard it and go about his business.

When he reaches that place in which he can no longer feel the warmth of the sun upon his back he faces a choice. Does he allow the darkness to invade his soul or does he hold out hope for a brighter day.

Memory- A Game We All Can Play

We played a game here a while back in which I asked you all to share a memory of something that we did together. I'd like to try it again.

Go ahead and leave me a comment in which you relate something that we did together. It can be anything. I look forward to reading about our adventures.

Flecks of Grey

I sit at the table staring at the screen while I wonder what words will work best. Mulling, debating and considering which combination of nouns, verbs and adjectives will most effectively transmit the message that I wish for you to take from this.

Ear buds firmly implanted inside my ears I listen to iTunes send forth song after song while I pretend to be in an "old time newsroom" listening to the clickety-clack of a tired old typewriter. Every I hear the silent ding, stop typing and roll the paper down a notch so that I can resume typing on the next line. It won't do to type over the lines that I have already composed.

It doesn't matter that the 'e' sometimes sticks or that the paper is already riddled with splashes of liquid paper. This is Pulitzer Prize winning material. Really, it is not bad. Not bad at all, somewhere between decent, nifty and elegant the words tell a story that we all can relate to.

Three cups of coffee later I can't fight nature any longer and head off to the head. Two minutes, three shakes and a big sigh of relief go by before I catch my reflection in the mirror. It was just a flash, but I think that I spotted something in my hair. Have to stop and figure out if the light is playing tricks on me or is it what I think.

Are there really flecks of grey splattered across the side of my head. A careful and cautious inspection is undertaken amidst feelings of ambivalence. Another milestone has been reached- it is not flecks of paint or pieces of fuzz stuck amongst the dark hair. Nope, there are a few malcontents trying to instigate a mutiny among the crew.

In the grand scheme of life it is not that important- hair color isn't as important as health. It is unlikely to have much of any impact if any on my life.

Let's Dance

I never get tired of this.

Posted via email from thejackb's posterous

The Blogger I Want To Be

(originally published here)

The Blogger I Want To Be. I like the sound of that, kind of reminds me of the old standby essay that teachers made us write: What I did on my Summer Vacation.

I like it because I love summer. It is my favorite time of years. I love going to the beach and camping trips. I love leaving town and doing a little globe trotting. Summer reminds me of hot dogs and barbecues, summer loves (ok, all you Danny Zuko and Sandy wannabees you can stop humming 'Summer Nights.') and just endless possibilities.

Endless possibilities, that is what the beginning of every summer felt like to me. Who knew how many cool adventures lay ahead of me. I never did, but I always looked forward to them.

The Blogger I Want To Be knows how to tell a good yarn. He can take those endless Summer nights and compose a tale that is too compelling to skim. He can come up with tremendous insight into the human psyche and what our roles are in the world.

The Blogger I Want To Be can write about politics and history. He is erudite, refined and witty and he does it all without coming off as being stuffy. People seek him out because it feels good to be near and to share in his community. He is not arrogant nor pretentious although his detractors wish that he were.

The Blogger I Want To Be is not just a myth or even a mister. The Blogger I Want To Be is a goal that I set for myself. I don't know if I will ever be that guy. In part because I am very much human and subject to all of the failings and frailties of humanity.

But without The Blogger I Want To Be as a goal I am not sure if this blog would worth visiting. Goals are important. They help to keep us motivated so that we always try to do our best. Why work if you are going to give a subpar performance. If you are going to do it you might as well do it well.

I'd write more but I hear the roar of the ocean in the background and I desperately need to feel some sand between my toes. I think that I am going to go commune with the sea for a while. I'll catch up with you all later.

Your Perception of Me Is Not My Reality

"I am here to remove your illusions of grandeur. You have false hopes and unrealistic expectations. My job is to bring you back to reality." Those were the words of one of my teachers in high school. It is not an exact quote but it is close enough- "illusions of grandeur" was one of his favorite terms.

It was tenth grade and we were taking a course that was supposed to help prepare us for the future. I don't remember the exact name of it, but it involved taking the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). It was a test that supposedly could help identify what you were good at so that you could focus your attention upon whatever that was: truck driver, scientist, doctor, misfit etc.

Twenty six years later I don't remember what my results were. Can't tell you whether they were promising or disappointing. I suppose that means that they were neither stellar nor disappointing. I have to admit that I am somewhat surprised that there is nothing more to this memory- I am famous for remembering all sorts of useless trivia.

Perhaps it can be attributed to ego. I was irritated by Dr. What'shisface and his assertion that most of us had unrealistic expectations. I thought that it was shameful for a teacher to try and throw cold water on our dreams.

All these years later I understand it differently. Many of our dreams were not founded in reality and some were certainly outside of our grasp, but not all. I am not a professional athlete- that didn't happen. And that girl Stacey that I spent hours staring at never did go out with me, but then again I never asked her.

But that is neither here nor there. 

I suppose that some people would disagree with me. They'd see the actions of this instructor as a kindess. Why push kids into trying for something that they can never get. I don't. I disagree. I am a dreamer. I spend a lot of hours living in a different world. I wander through worlds where I have abilities that I don't have now. In some I can fly and in others I am that singer/songwriter I have always dreamt of being.

But I also spend a lot of time in touch with reality. Hours and hours are spent in tune with what is happening here and now. And mixed in with or through it all is time that is devoted to trying to make the dreams I have today into the realities of my tomorrow.

That teacher wasn't the only one to say things that I disagreed with. His comment wasn't directed at anyone person but all of us. Frankly I was more irritated by the English teacher who refused to write a recommendation for AP English. She told me that my writing wasn't strong enough to merit being in the class. I thought that it was a personal attack and told her that she was wrong.

And she was.

If you ask my children they will tell you that I speak with them about perception. We talk about impressions and how they impact how others treat us. They know that I am relentless in teaching them to make decisions about others based upon actions. It is the only way to truly know who a person is.

But the contradiction of life is that sometimes you never get the chance to show others who you are because their perception prevents that experience from taking place.

It is not nice, it is not fair and it is not reasonable- but it is reality. And through the years it is going to be a recurring topic in some manner or another.

The one thing that I can tell the kids that has always worked for me is the reminder that "Your Perception of Me Is Not My Reality." You can have your ideas, your thoughts and your beliefs about who you think I am. But those thoughts, beliefs and ideas don't have to limit or define who I am.

The Long And Winding Road Part Two

Here is part 2 of this story.

When we arrived at the high school we were all sent into the gym along with the other campers, counselors, staff and families. It was a tense situation and there were a lot of tears, cries and whispers.

I remember trying to process what was happening. Back at camp we had all waited on the baseball field and watched as a series of buses pulled in and were loaded up with people.

The youngest campers were only nine and they were among the first to be sent out. We made a point of waving and smiling at them so that they would feel better as we felt an obligation to be good role models.

Bus after bus was filled and then there no more buses, yet we remained. We were told to stand up and we began the first of what would be many marches that summer. We headed up the road out of camp and were loaded into US Forestry trucks. As we left camp I looked out the back window of the truck and watched the flames roll down the hill and wondered what would happen to camp and if my trip to Israel was over before it started as my passport and clothing were all left there.

I can't quite remember any more if I slept at all that night, but I do remember that early in the morning they got all of us together, the entire machane and told us that we going to daven shacharit.

Initially I was angry and a bit dumbfounded by this as it seemed to be particularly cruel. Why would we be asked to do this. Were they stupid. It just seemed ridiculous to me.

It was during the Shemoneh Esreh that I suddenly realized that I wasn't just saying the words, that I was trying to participate again. The realization caught me off guard and like any good teenager I immediately ceased participating and tried to pretend that nothing had happened.

There are a lot of other stories about the fire and the things that happened during that time, but they are not relevant to this story, perhaps I'll share them at a different time. What I can tell you now is that later that day we were able to go back to camp to get our stuff and later that evening we left the high school and spent the night in a hotel by LAX.

The next morning our parents hugged us goodbye at the airport and wished us a safe journey. Some hours later we landed in New York and switched planes, tired, but exhilirated.

As I walked to the very back of that TWA jet I remember being in awe as it was my first time on a 747, not to mention the first time I had been on a plane in 15.5 years. I can remember wondering if maybe, just maybe I was wrong about a few things in my life.

But the introspective thought was pushed aside as I realized that there were literally hundreds of other teens from the other camps on this flight. I was far too excited to do more than gawk at some of the girls and conspire with the boys to impress them with tales of our amazing escape from the fire.

It was a long flight from New York to Tel Aviv and I remember so many other things besides trying to meet girls. One of the primary memories is of realizing that I was a part of a huge community, maybe not as large as some others, but so much larger than I had ever realized.

It felt like every few hours there was a buzz among the passengers as the men tried to gather a minyan. I especially remember noticing that it wasn't a problem, there wasn't any lack of volunteers.

It helped to build upon the sense of community that I had been feeling, but in a different way. I grew up being involved in Jewish life, but whenever it was that I stopped believing in G-d I had also lost some of my faith in the community.

That is, I knew that we all shared something in common, but it really didn't have any meaning to me. Now, the meaning was returning to me. Now I was starting to feel as if I was a part of something special again. On that plane ride I really began to feel like I was coming home again.

My Best Writing

Don't ask me to provide you with examples of my best writing because I can't do it. It is not unlike asking me to tell you which one of my children is my favorite. I love them equally, differently and fiercely. The contradiction in that last sentence is intentional. Or maybe it is not.

Can you love equally, differently and fiercely. If you are a person who considers themselves to be logical, rational and methodical that last statement will drive you crazy. You can't quality, quantify or dignify it with the sort of black and white answer that you might like.

There are no mathematical formulas to rely upon. Science cannot provide you a formula or rationale that you can hang your hat on. You'd be better off asking Bootsie, Cocoa, Smokey and Lizzie to explain it and even then I don't think that you'd be able follow the answer. Or would it be callous to say that a dog can't understand a pussy.

That reminds me that I still need to write a song for someone. I once promised to do some sort of Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow and John Denver mashup. Boy meets girl named Annie to sing a song about Country Roads during a weekend in New England. Ah, somewhere down the road I might see about such thing. Just ask Tommy and he'll tell you that they don't makem like that anymore.

Sometimes these posts are used to empty the shelves inside that dusty, musty and rusty cobwebbed filled place I call my mind. Yes, I have a mind and I am not afraid to use it. Of course that suggests that sometimes I do choose to do so, use it that is. But more often than not I prefer to let it lie where it is.

I don't really know what last line refers to, I had intended for it to be different but it didn't work out. Damn, how often I have faced that. How many freaking times have I tried something and found out that it didn't work. Of course more times than not I have found that I can "repurpose" whatever it was and use it in a different way.

That is a lesson I pass along to the kids. When it doesn't work and perseverance can't make it work for you than try looking at things a different way. Stand on your head, do a somersault, eat a ketchup sandwich, just be different. Or should I qualify it and say that you should just find a different place to stare at the problem. Change the angle of attack, adjust your perspective and you find that solutions present themselves. Sometimes it is a solution to a different problem than the one you were working on.

Maybe I shouldn't call this my best writing. Maybe I should call this my favorite writing. It is seven minutes of just typing out thoughts and ideas. Got a bunch that need to be turned into a proper post. Stay tuned 'cuz you are going to want to read those.

She Is My Girl

"She's a butterfly, pretty as the crimson sky
Nothing's ever gonna bring her down
And everywhere she goes
Everybody knows she's so glad to be alive
She's a butterfly

Like the purest light in a darkened world
So much hope inside such a lovely girl
You should see her fly, it's almost magical
It makes you wanna cry, she's so beautiful"
She's A Butterfly- Martina McBride

The dark haired beauty turns six tomorrow and like so many other parents I find myself asking the ridiculous question of how did it happen. How could she possibly be six. It hardly seems possible that my baby has already finished a year of school. But it is possible and it has happened.

She who was born just days after her grandfather's triple bypass came into the world and immediately stole my heart. I was in the room when she was born and watched her emerge. Studied her features trying to tell if I would have another son or the first daughter.

Watched as a nurse cleaned her up and introduced myself. In a quiet voice I told her that she was my girl and promised to do all in my power to raise and take care of her. Stared in amazement as she grabbed my finger, just moments out of the womb, laughing to myself as I thought "she is already trying to take control."

But I was right, she was and I was ok with it. Still am. This girl with the dark eyes, freckles and a smile that lights up a room proved that love at first sight exists.

The girl who I waltz around the room with has vision and ideas of what she wants. She knows her mind and works hard to get whatever it is she wants. She is clearly a mix of her mother and I but has more than a few of my personality traits.

She is kind, caring and relentless. Her older brother is her biggest hero which sometimes annoys him to no end for whatever he does is what she wants to do. He hasn't quite realized what a compliment this is or how well she understands him. He may be her biggest hero but that doesn't stop her from pressing his buttons. No one knows how to piss him off faster than she does.

This little girl of mine, she loves babies, music and laughter and is often in search of one or all three. This little girl of mine is well aware of how I feel about her and is not afraid to try to manipulate me. If she wants something she is not above crawling onto my lap to hug and kiss me. She'll offer to rub my shoulders and then midway through ask for whatever it is she wants.

I haven't told her yet that I know exactly what she is doing. Can't give away all of my secrets- she is much smarter than I am and it won't be long before I really have to work hard to stay ahead of her. This little girl of mine scrunches her nose at me when I say no and asks if I am really sure. She does her best to suggest that maybe it would be smart to reconsider.

It makes me smile and it makes me laugh to see her try. I appreciate her effort and her ingenuity but what kind of father would I be if I gave her everything. There are benefits to having to work for what you have. One day when she is older I am going to tell her what life was really like when she was born.

I'll share how hard and how frightening that time was. I'll talk about how many challenges there were and how very thankful I was when she joined us. I'll tell her how her presence made such a positive impact and remind her for the 1 millionth time that she is loved by her family.

Happy birthday girly, I am so very proud of you.

The Long And Winding Road

(Originally posted here)

I often think about how many twists and turns life throws at us. By the time I was 14 or so I knew that I would be going spend the Summer of 1985 in Israel. In part my father had pushed a little for it but it was also something that I wanted to do because I saw so many of my friends older siblings do it, not to mention the impetus of being relatively independent from my parents.

In order to be able to afford the trip I saved all of the money I received at my Bar-Mitzvah and then did what I could to add to it. My parents covered the rest helping to buy a backpack and providing me with $400 in cash to spend over the nine weeks I was to be gone.

It was an incredibly exciting time for me. Just a short time before we were to leave for Israel a TWA flight was hijacked in Athens. The terrorists made a number of demands including that Israel release a large number of prisoners.

I remember my father sitting me down to speak with me about terrorism, but more to offer advice on how to act and blend in overseas. He explained to me that as an American I would stick out in some situations and explained that it would be smarter to try not to do so. I remember bits and pieces of the conversation, including his telling me that I should remember that he loved me and to be safe.

In the world around me there was a fair amount of chaos and there were a number of people who told me that they thought I was stupid to go and that I could be killed, "just look at what happened in Athens."

It didn't faze me at all, which I can attribute in some respects to being young, dumb and male. Besides, I was going with a group of friends from camp and we even spent a little time discussing how we could stop a hijacking. That was the beauty of being a sixteen year-old boy, we couldn't conceive of failure only how badly we would beat the crap out of anyone dumb enough to try and hijack our plane.

As part of our trip we went back to camp for a week long orientation. There were 38 of us on the trip, most of whom I knew from past summers at camp. During that initial week we spent time learning some key phrases such as where is the bathroom, were briefed upon some cultural differences and used the rest of our time to try and figure out who we thought the hottest girls on the trip were.

We also participated in a somewhat normal camp routine including waking up for Shacharit (morning service) daily as well as the rest of the Jewish liturgy and ritual of camp life. At that time i considered myself to be an atheist so I was less than pleased to be asked to daven, let alone do so after spending the majority of the evening screwing around with the boys.

About a day or so before we were supposed to leave camp and fly off to Israel we noticed a fire in the hills behind camp and joked around about what could happen if the wind changed direction. I remember it well, flames in the hills and ash floating in the air. Even though we could see the flames they were relatively far away from us.

Later that day the camp held a fire drill in which the director stood up and gave a speech that was supposed to reassure all of us. We didn't care all that much because we were leaving and I can remember jokes about the camp burning down. They were tasteless, but we were 16 and who really believed it was possible.

That night when the sun set we noticed a few things. In the darkness we could see a number of different patches of flames in the hills, it wasn't located in just one are any longer. The other thing that sticks out is that there was an exceptionally warm breeze. When I went to sleep I made sure that my shoes were beneath my bed.

And with good reason. At 3 am we were awakened by the sirens of the camp fire alarms. When we looked outside the tent it was evident that this was not a drill as the hills surrounding camp were in flames. That dry hot wind was blowing and there was a crackling noise in the air, even now just a few weeks short of 20 years a wind like that reminds me of the night we were evacuated from the fire that covered
118,000 acres and is referred to now as the Wheeler Fire.

By 3:30 AM we had been evacuated to Nordhoff High School and within a couple of hours I was well into an experience that would be part of making me a believer in G-d again.

Part 2 coming shortly.

Hooked on the Memory of You

"Time, time standing still,
I know it's you, I always will
Want you to, be here with me
I want you to stay right here with me
I need you to love with me,
Laugh with me,
Forgive the past with me
I know you can"

Truth is that I don't like that song very much, but I know that it means something to you and that is enough for me to include it. It is a baldfaced attempt to get your attention. A little more subtle than paying a pilot to fly banners over your home and easier to understand than smoke signals.

Been thinking about you for obvious reasons, wondering if there is anyway that I can help you with things and frustrated knowing that I can't. I feel a bit like I am living inside a Salvador Dali painting. Things appear to be normal but if you look closely you can see that they aren't quite right.

That doesn't have to mean that they are bad, but it doesn't necessarily mean that they are good. What it really says is that perspective has been twisted and distorted in such a way that it is more challenging to see which side is up. Kind of reminds me of this special I saw on television a thousand years ago. Can't remember if it was Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom or Jacques Cousteau.

Kind of think that it was the latter 'cuz I don't remember Marlon Perkins swimming. Anyway, this diver was swimming in pitch black water and couldn't figure out which way was up. Periodically I think about that. I was just a little boy when I saw it, but it frightened me a little. I couldn't understand how you couldn't figure out which way to swim to the surface. As an adult I keep thinking that there are a bunch of ways that you could, but I am well aware that sometimes you can become disoriented.

Disoriented describes my view of you and I. We're disoriented. Instead of holding hands and fighting the fires side by side we're doing so separately. Instead of a team we're two individuals trying to figure out the fastest way to run through the maze to capture the cheese.

It is not a smart way of doing things. We're so much stronger together. Really, formidable the kind of power that we wield would be frightening in the hands of a super villain. I know, I just went to that goofy place that makes you roll your eyes.

But I know that you understand. I know that you remember our secret world and how we knew that it didn't matter what life threw at us. We were so very much in love it was easy. Holding hands or listening to each other breathe provided all the energy that we needed to take on those challenges.

Not so long ago you told me that you didn't think that you were so great. You listed a variety of things that you thought were flaws and I laughed. I laughed because you can't see yourself through my eyes. You don't see the girl who makes my heart pound. You don't see the woman who alternately infuriates and delights me.

If you had my vision you'd never worry because you'd recognize that you have the sort of beauty and grace that will live with me forever. If you could walk through the fields inside my mind you'd understand.

And you need to remember that my vision of you is not so blurred that I don't see flaws. I know who you are and what you are about. It is because of all those things that my feelings are so deep and why I see the potential to live out the sort of life that most people dream of.

Maybe it is nothing but a dream. Maybe it is nothing more than a memory of something that never was what we wanted it to be. It is possible. There have been moments when I have questioned myself, my judgment and my ability to make decisions. 

The first time it happened I was shocked at the realization that I really wasn't sure about my about my ability to make smart decisions. I had never questioned that, not with the ferocity of this particular day. It made me think of a storm. I felt a bit like a sailor who was stuck on a ship that had a broken mast and no tiller. The fury of the ocean and the rage of the winds had me at their mercy.

Eventually the feeling passed and I felt like I was centered again. And I accepted that sometimes I would make mistakes, some of them larger than others. I hate making mistakes. Hate feeling foolish, stupid and silly. But at the same time I appreciate how human it makes me feel. And I appreciate how good you were at making me feel good even when I felt that way.

And I remembered how crazy we could make each other and how good it felt to make up. So what I am really saying is that I am hooked on a memory of you. Convinced that what once was could be again. Not sure if it ever will happen, but not ready to accept that it never can either.

So I make my usual offer to you. Take my hand and step out into the clouds with me. Take my hand and let's go explore the world. Take my hand and be whatever it is we will be.

Posts You Should Read

Here is a collection of recent posts:
And a couple of old posts that might be worth looking at again:
A Valentine's Day Fable
The Almost Warrior

I Call Him Dad

I call him dad and today marks the six year anniversary of his triple bypass. This past April marked six years since he suffered a major heart attack and spent six months in a hospital. It was an experience that had a major impact upon my life and in many ways is really the reason that this blog exists.

It is true that I started writing it on a whim, but I quickly found that it was a safe place to write about my thoughts, ideas and fears. It was my cyberspace refuge and one that I quickly learned to love. Now I look back at posts that I wrote then and am taken back to those moments. In some cases the writing is just awful but that is ok.

My abba
More on dad
My dad
My father- The saga continues

They say that hindsight is 20-20 and in many ways I suppose that it is true. When I look back at some of the posts I shake my head and wonder about how and I why I reacted the ways that I did. Some of that is unfair. I can't expect that the 35 year-old to respond as the 41 year-old one would. All the responsibilities and life experiences from then made me a tougher, harder man.

Some of that is good. Life can be very rough and there is no exaggeration in saying that it can and will beat you down. The moments of doubt and fear forced me to grow. Standing next to my father's unconscious body, watching a ventilator keep him alive helped to provide perspective.

It reminded me that fathers love their daddies too. It made my dad human. That probably sounds a little bit funny coming from an adult, but it is true. Until then I hadn't realized that I thought of dad as being invulnerable and invincible. The man who at times made me crazy at times had been given some super powers by his oldest son.

I remembered when a couple of marines started arguing with my mother. We were near Camp Pendleton on a family trip. I must have been about seven or eight. They thought that mom had opened the car door into their car and were giving her a hard time. They didn't notice my father loading the bags into the old station wagon.

But I remember how quickly they got into their car when they did.I remember how one moment he was at the back of the car and the next he was standing between our car and theirs. I remember the look on his face and knowing that he was angry. I don't have to close my eyes to see that look or remember his clenched fist.

They left before we did. I can't tell you exactly what they said to each other, although I did hear quite a bit. But I can tell you that it is one of those moments that helped me understand that a father's job description includes protecting his family.

It isn't the only time that I saw my father go to bat for us. There are lots of different examples not all of which involve conflict or confrontation. I didn't recognize some of them for what they were until I became a father. Didn't understand or appreciate a lot of things, but sometimes that is how it goes.

There are a lot of stories to be written and told about dad. I am guessing that until I turned 25 or so he was probably still physically stronger than I was. It is kind of a silly thing, but as a rite of passage I had always planned on winning a wrestling match. I never did.

Not because he always beat me but because that match never did materialize. You can blame my mother for that. She is the one who asked me not to challenge him, explained that he wasn't ready to let his son win. It was hard to accept. I waited for years to be big enough to take him on.

Worked out extra hard at the gym too. The men in the family tend to have broad shoulders and a lot of natural strength. I was convinced that without throwing the weights around I wouldn't stand a chance. So it was hard to let mom convince me not to throw down the gauntlet.

But I understand it differently now. I can't imagine the day when my son will be capable of beating me. Call it ego but I just can't and I don't want it to happen. So I can appreciate this now and understand that it was better for us. I am ok with it.

Seeing dad on that machine was awful, a memory that haunted me for a while. Listening to the beeps and whistles and general click clack that kept him alive scared me a bit.

But like I said, he beat the odds and now six years later I am still incredibly thankful to have my father. Not everyone is as lucky as I am.  Not just because we still have him but because I can say that we have developed quite a relationship. It is still father and son, but there is a sort of friend aspect to it.

Took decades to get to this point, but I have finally lived long enough and experienced enough that I can sit with him and talk about things with a real understanding. So dad, if you ever read this let me say thank you for everything. I am still learning from you and I appreciate all that you have done.

With a lot of love,

Your son

Jack's Experience In the Ladies Room

(I received an email from someone who said they were disappointed that my posts have become so serious. So here is one of a lighter nature. It is a gas.)

I have a dysfunctional digestive system. I write about it frequently as I have done here, and here. That probably gives you more information than you wanted, but I am going to continue on and regal you with one of my many tales of the loo.

For those who are interested in my motivation in writing about such things part of this stems from my embarrassment/anger/frustration regarding this little problem. I like to make fun of it because I feel better, and yes Shmata Queen I know that one day I should get a colonoscopy. Frankly I have the exit system down so making it an entrance bothers me greatly.

This particular incident took place a number of years ago. I had been going through a spell in which my stomach had been doing quite well and had been more relaxed and adventurous in what I was willing to eat. On that fateful day I had taken on a chilidog and some coffee. Under the best circumstances it was not a great combination but for me it was even more dire.

Initially I didn't notice anything. I had eaten the food and enjoyed my meal immensely. It was a gastronomic feast that was soon to turn into a gastrointestinal nightmare. {cue horror music now.}

I was minding my own business tooling along the 405 when the attack hit. There was a tickle followed by a gurgle and a rumble. Another gurgle gave proof to the night that soon there would be a mad rush for an exit. I knew that it was going to be similar to the rush for a free sample at Costco.

I was in an unfamiliar part of town but nature smiled upon me and I exited the freeway at breakneck speed and made for the first restaurant I saw. I couldn't tell you the name, but I can tell you that the nice girl up front understood my garbled and frantic gibberish to mean "show me the bathroom now or no one will want to eat here any longer."

I followed her outstretched arm and just managed to avoid knocking over a busboy carrying a bucket of dirty dishes and a waiter armed with three plates of hotfood.

Without looking up I straightarmed the bathroom door and jumped into an empty stall. My fingers fumbled and strained to unhook my belt and pants and at last I was able to engage in the task for which I had come.

If you are easily grossed out than you should hang up your spikes now.
Aside from the almost immediate relief one of the first things I noticed was that the air had grown toxic. I was choking on my own fumes, not to mention that there was an endless supply. I was unnerved to realize that I didn't have any medication on me and had at least 20 miles to go before I would be encased within the refuge of my home.

Lost for a brief moment in thought I hadn't heard the bathroom door open. Footsteps, light footsteps that sounded like a pair of heels made their way in. I stiffened as I realized that the heels were accompanied by what was clearly a pair of feminine voices. In shock and horror I lifted my size 12 Reeboks off of the floor.

In my haste I had entered the wrong bathroom and now I was frantically trying to figure out how to exit. There were a couple of problems with that. First, the rumble and gurgle were in full effect. They and their crew of noisemakers had. not finished playing with me. There was a marching band with a full horn section. It is hard to leave when the band is still playing When the Saints Go Marching In.
It was made worse by the comments of the ladies in there who had any number of suggestions for how and what I should do, talk about catty.

So I sat there and waited for them to leave. As my legs began to go numb and my feet started to tingle I despaired of ever leaving. More women were coming into the bathroom. It felt like there was a steady stream of visitors. The more polite among them entered without being too obvious about the immediate gag reflex, but there were plenty of who coughed.

The situation was summed up well by a little girl who said "mommy, it stinks in here!"

After untold agony and frustration I made up my mind to make a run for it. So I pulled up my pants and massaged feeling back into my legs. I summoned up a ton of attitude and waltzed out the door of the stall and the bathroom to a number of shouts.

The only thing that I remember hearing was this: You didn't wash your hands.

Mosque at Ground Zero- Just Say No

There is going to come a time in the not so distant future when my children ask me about 9-11. They'll look to me to answer the hard questions about how and why something like this could happen. It won't be the first time that we have talked about why people are willing to maim and murder others for no reason other than ideological differences.

And when that day comes I want to look them in the eye and remind them that we judge people based upon what they do or what they do not do. They know that remaining silent in the face of wrongdoing can be just as bad as participating in it. That is not liberal, kumbaya, feel good clap-trap but common sense.

If you stand around while kids tease other kids you are helping to create an environment in which that kind of abuse is acceptable. It doesn't mean that should or have to like everyone either. You don't have to be friends with everyone. And just because you have the right to do something doesn't mean that you should either.

I love America for what it has given my family. I am thankful, grateful and respectful of our heritage and traditions. Those laws and traditions means that the group that wants to build the mosque at Ground Zero has the right to do so. And if I lived in a world in which everything was black and white I would say that it is the end of the discussion.

But I don't, we don't and for my children's sake I cannot stand idly by without proclaiming my opposition to this. There is no reason nor need for a mosque or any sort of religious institution to be built there. It is not because the murderers who slaughtered the innocent on that day happen to be Muslim. It is not because there is a history of Muslims trying to claim control of land by building mosques on the sites of churches and synagogues.

Let me be clear that I won't say that this is the reason for the selection of this location any more than I will say that it isn't. I don't know what the reason for it is and I don't care.

My position is that Ground Central should be open and inclusive to all groups. Keep religion out of it.

It is not because I do not like religion, consider myself to be an atheist or dislike Muslims. There are good Muslims and there are bad Muslims just as there are Jews and Christians.

Building a mosque at this location doesn't do anything but help to foster an environment in which we define ourselves based upon religious affiliation. It will be divisive and create animosity. It doesn't have to be built there. There are lots of places within Manhattan to build one, it be wise to choose one of those other locations.

Tisha B'Av- 2010

A collection of thoughts and posts from the past. Will try to produce something more coherent later:

And We Sat And Wept
Tisha B'Av- 2008
Eicha- An Aching Heart Mumbles
The Anguish of Disengagement

Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #18

2010 is the year of the daddy blogger and as such it is time again for the Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience. You can call this the better late than never edition.

Almighty Dad: Impulse Toy Purchases: The Outrageous Cost of Tiny Toys
And Triplets Make Six: Mind Over Matter
Clark Kent's Lunchbox: On Sawyer
The Good Men Project: Screwing Up
Carrying a Cat By The Tail: Spuds... Back In the Day!
DaddyFiles: Goodbye Princess. And Thank You.

Man Of The House: A Man’s Sanctuary - Man Caves
SAHDPDX: Balance
BellaDaddy Blog:An Open Birthday Letter
Stay at Home Dad in Lansing: Dad Blog Review: People in the Sun
Dad Who Writes:Business as usual. Sigh.
DadWagon: Nostalgia
Suburban Daddy:How To Get Three Kids To Sit Down For 5 Minutes
People In The Sun:This is What It's Like to Be a Stay At Home Dad
Busy Dad Blog:Ignorance is Tastier
Luke, I Am your Father:Square Up!
DC Urban Dad:The beauty of being a dad
Undad:Being Cole Gilbert
Dad's House: Enjoying Life!
Pacing The Panic Room:"The Phone is Ringing... Oh My God!"
Jack: Will They Know Me- I Am Going To Die

If you like what you see here then please consider becoming a fan of the blog. Have additional questions/comments? Send me an email at talktojacknow-at-gmail-dot-com.

Prior Editions:

Festival Of The Fathers- A Blog Experience
Festival of The Fathers- A Blog Experience Part 2
Festival Of The Fathers- A Blog Experience Part III
Festival Of The Fathers- A Blog Experience Part 4
Festival Of The Fathers- A Blog Experience Part 5
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #6
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #7
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #8
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #9
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #10
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #11
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #12
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #13
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #14
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #15
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #16 Father's Day Edition
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #17
Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience #18

Some Days I Feel Broken

Some days I feel like I am broken. I am a giant Lego set that some child put together with a lot of love but not as much skill as one might like. The pieces don't always match or work quite like we want them to and so consequently I feel like I am broken.

It is not easy to write those words. I am not sure if it is because my ego doesn't like it or if I am worried that I might believe it to be true. It just might be that some times I fear to admit that I am afraid of failing. Or maybe it is that I am most afraid of failing those I care most about. Maybe it is that I worry that somehow I'll stumble and fall face first into some deep, dank and dark hole.

One slip and I'll tumble over the side headfirst sliding down a hill at breakneck speed, ass-over-elbow fighting to stop myself but not quite able to ever grab on to something that can hold me.  And the crazy thing is that I when I imagine this, when the picture forms within my mind I am not really afraid of dying. That fall won't kill me, that is not my fate. I can't tell you why or how just that I know that I survive because that is what I do.

And then in anger I charge into the darker recesses of my mind and seek the things that lie beneath the surface. There in the dungeon I look for the demons and attempt to slay the dragon. I turn on some music to set the tone, take a deep breath and set off for parts unknown.

"And it's been a while
Since I could hold my head up high
And it's been a while since I first saw you
And it's been a while since I could stand on my own two feet again
And it's been a while since I could call you

And everything I can't remember
As fucked up as it all may seem
The consequences that I've rendered
I've stretched myself beyond my means

It's been awhile
Since I can say that I wasn't addicted
And it's been a while since I can say I love myself as well and
And it's been a while since I've gone and fucked things up just like I always do
And it's been a while but all that shit seems to disappear when I'm with you

And everything I can't remember
As fucked up as it all may seem
The consequences that I've rendered
I've gone and fucked things up again

Why must I feel this way?
Just make this go away
Just one more peaceful day

And it's been a while
Since I could look at myself straight
And it's been a while since I said I'm sorry
And it's been a while since I've seen the way the candles light your face
And it's been a while but I can still remember just the way you taste

And everything I can't remember
As fucked up as it all may seem to be
I know it's me
I cannot blame this on my father
He did the best he could for me

And it's been a while
Since I could hold my head up high
And it's been a while since I said I'm sorry"
It's Been A While- Staind


I am alone in the dark. I don't take companions along on this trip and it wouldn't matter if I could. You can't go where I am going nor can you see what I see. All you can do is go live your life. Your touch and your words can't fix this and I won't allow you to try.

I can't stand it. Can't be emotionally vulnerable in front of you. Can't be naked- not now. Too busy chasing after the will-of-the-wisp. We caught lightning in a bottle once. We shared something special, meaningful, incredible and important. And that is why I won't let you see me now.

This moment, this feeling I have inside me won't let go but it won't last forever either. I have to do this. Have to plumb the depths and find the way to smooth the rough edges. Until I do that I won't be able to rest nor give you what you ask for.

So I am closing down the shop for a bit and hoping that you understand. The dreams of the past can meet the echoes of the future but only if I deal with the reality of today.

Will They Know Me- I Am Going To Die

(This piece ran 5 years ago. I am taking a look back and asking myself if I still feel the same or have things changed.)

Among thinking people there is a fundamental question that is asked about our place in the world. Who are we? What are we doing here? What does it all mean? How can I be a parent? Will my children ever really know me as my friends do or are they destined to see me as nothing but their parent.

Ok, that is more than one question but it hits on a central theme of who am I and why am I here. I don't spend much time wondering why I am here. I am. I live and I breathe and while I walk the earth I might as well enjoy myself.

For me one of the tougher questions is tied into my children. I sometimes wonder how they will see me. By the time that they are old enough to really start asking these questions on a deeper level I will most likely be in my fifties.

What kind of man will they see? I won't look like I do now. In my mind's eye I see that 19 year-old boy who wore a flat top and had a rock hard body that was chiseled and solid courtesy of hours spent swimming and lifting weights. I see the boy who drove a '69 Dodge Dart Swinger, a '77 Camaro and a '77 Chevy Impala.

I see a free spirit. I see a shirtless tanned body and a pair of shorts and I remember knowing that my parents had never been like me, that they were so very serious and different. I remember thinking that they couldn't know what it was like to be so madly in love that it made their heart ache and their lungs burn. I remember thinking that they had never partied as hard as I did or laughed as much.

Now at 36 I look back and smile. I was immature and short on life lessons and I suspect that my children will look at me through similar eyes. Sometimes I find that to be difficult. Sometimes it bothers me that my children will know me so very differently than others do and other times it makes perfect sense.

One day I am going to die. One day my physical presence here will end. The light in my eyes will be extinguished and there won't be anything but memories of me. I don't need to leave a legacy of stone, no building need be erected in my honor or memory.

The only legacy that I need is that provided by my children and any offspring that they may have. It is a weird thought and a strange corner that I am trying to explore. I am not sure that any of this makes any sense, but...

I'll come back to this topic again. It is something that I will revisit.

A Six Year-old Speaks of Marriage

Technically the dark haired beauty isn't quite six, but since we have less than a week I am rounding up. I look at my girl and I see less and less of the baby and more of a little person. Truth is that the only thing she does now that reminds me of the infant I used to hold is sleep.

When that girl closes her eyes you can almost see her as she used to be. She had a full head of hair and she held her arms above her head in the same manner as she does now. But really she is all little girl now, my baby has grown.

She surprises me on a regular basis with comments and criticisms of this and that. She notices things that surprise me and regales me with all sorts of stories about school, friends, family and life. But sometimes she comes up with things that make me think WTF! Obviously I don't say that out loud in front of her and more often than not I try to keep a poker face.

It is a great skill to have as a parent. That poker face can save you a lot of trouble. Really inscrutability is valuable in many facets of your life, but we shall save that for a different day. Today let's talk about the moment where that girl of mine looked at me and said that if she didn't marry Jason she didn't know who she would marry.

That made me scrunch up my face or so said the dark haired beauty. But really, where does this child come up with this kind of craziness. We don't talk about it at home. What is with the marriage talk. Why is she talking about this now. I told her that she didn't have to worry, that her mother was 26 when she got married.

I figured that should be worth something. Intentionally went with the number one female role model and intentionally left out the part where she learns that her grandmothers and great grandmothers were all younger still. No need to provide that much detail.

Still, that girl looked at me and said that she is getting pretty old. I smiled and said that she was right. She nodded her head and said that any moment she might be losing her teeth. She looked at me and said that boys like girls with no teeth. I stood up and looked at her and demanded that she tell me who said that why it was important.

She looked up at me, the picture of innocence and asked why I looked angry. I was most certainly not going to tell her what her comment made me think of. And then she told me that her grandfather had been the one to say something. Her grandfather had told her that she was exceptionally cute and that I was going to have to work extra hard to keep the boys away.

Thanks dad, thank you very much. She isn't cute, she is beautiful but we don't need to say anything about that now. Let's talk about dolls, soccer or something other than boys. I am not ready for this crap. The same rules for dating my daughter apply now as before.

Unless you can beat me in single combat you may not take her out. All losers will be decapitated and their heads will be placed upon spikes to be displayed in front of the house.I figure that should keep most of the boys away. Of course there are a few negatives to be considered:

1) Decapitating suitors isn't seen in the same noble light as it once was. Rumor has it that you can be incarcerated.
2) It might cull out the smart ones who have the most common sense. So in effect I could narrow the field down to the kind of guys I really don't want chasing my daughter.

So I might reconsider the whole decapitation thing, it is kind of bloody. But maybe placing the kid in the stocks might be an option, or maybe not.

Ok, so maybe I am a tad protective of my girl. But what father isn't. I can't help myself. It is instinct. Sometimes boys are really stupid and my job is take the stupid boys and throw them under the boss so that they can't harm the dark haired beauty. The job description might not read exactly like that, but it is close enough.

What can I say other than I love her and am ever so glad that I have a long time before I have to worry about letting some other shmuck try to take care of her. I am more than happy to have that responsibility for years to come.

Words On A Page

 Added a few words on a page, some well written, some less so but all with purpose in mind. Can't win the Pulitzer every time, for certa...