Archives for September 2015

They Lost Their Virginity While Blogging

Readingandeducation
My 11 going on 30-year-old daughter asked me to tell her about the hardest moments of my life and then got upset because she realized I was holding back.

“Daddy, we are family. You should be able to tell me anything. I know you are not telling me all that is going on.”

“Sweetheart, I have told you all that you need to know right now. There are some stories that aren’t appropriate for you.”

“Daddy, I am not a baby. I am old enough to hear everything.”

“Then hear this, I tell you as much as you need to know. There are some stories that have to wait.”

“That means never.”

I shake my head and laugh, “maybe yes and maybe no.”

You Don’t Need 50 Condoms

Springsteen is singing Tougher Than The Rest and I am taken back to the summer of ’88.

My dad and I are at Costco and I am picking up some gear for the summer. In a week I’ll be heading off to be a camp counselor at a sleepaway camp that I was once a camper at.

“Jack, do you expect me to pay for those? You don’t need 50.”

I smile at my father and tell him I can pay for them.

“You don’t need 50.”

“Dad, I don’t think you really want to know if I do or not. College has been pretty good to me.”

“Do me a favor big shot, don’t get anyone pregnant. You are not ready to be a father and I am not ready to be grandpa.”

“Ok.”

“Do me a favor, don’t bring this up with your mother and no girls in your room.”

I nod and smile.

“Jack, making babies is fun but you won’t like what happens if you screw this up. Try to keep it in your pants and if you can’t be smart. Please…”

*****

Funny to think I am older now than dad was when we had that talk. It wasn’t the first or last of the sex talks but it was the first where he and I both knew that I needed to hear again to be smart and careful because it wasn’t about hypothetical situations anymore.

They Lost Their Virginity While Blogging

Blogging is a great place to answer questions like How Did You Become Who You Are?

It is a place for introspection and discussion and an opportunity to look deeper and find out what lies beneath the surface.

Sometimes I look back at those posts and smile because they bring back good memories or cringe because I think the writing is awful.

And sometimes it is both, because I like most of what I see but discover some blog error like the comments aren’t showing and wonder why things can’t just work as they are intended to.

Reminds me a bit of Unanswered Prayers by Garth Brooks and how sometimes the things we think, want or expect to happen just don’t.

Speaking of Garth, hell he rings up all sorts of other memories, especially when I hear Friends In Low Places, like this one time where a couple of friends taught me how to two-step.

But maybe we’ll save that for a different time.

but it was the first where he and I both knew that I needed to hear again to be smart and carefulClick To Tweet

Garth fades out and Gerry Rafferty fades in.

We’re on Baker Street and the images are flashing hard and fast through my head. Memories of being a kid, of being a teen and everything that happened in between then and now flow through my mind.

I can see myself again standing on a hill overlooking the ocean, there is a red bandanna covering my head and a backpack at my feet.

We’re midway through a 15 mile hike and the view is spectacular. If I was capable of freezing time I would because looking out across the water I know I can see my future…almost.

imagination

In some ways life is nothing like I expected and in others precisely what I knew would happen has.

The boy who looked out across the water moved from a hill in the pacific to various locations throughout the Holy Land.

He stood in the Judean desert facing Jerusalem, threw his head back and laughed because he knew he was home.

And then one day years later he stood in his home in Texas and smiled because he knew he was home again.

Now the man he became sees home as being some combination of Jerusalem, LA and Texas but he can’t say where he’ll finally hang his hat or for how long.

I took the long and winding road and managed to find my way to both Heaven and Hell. I don’t know if there is some grand plan we follow or just basic outline but I do know that I have lived one hell of a life.

If I died today and you were to take a complete accounting of all I have done I am confident it would be quite a tale, but it is not nearly enough to satisfy me.

There is still so very much to do.

After The Fire

Lost in thought and memory, curiosity pushes me to dig further into the past so I turn to music to see what comes up.

Roger Daltrey is singing After The Fire and I am back in ’85. I am back in Jerusalem and wondering if I really need to go back to the states.

Fast forward a chunk of time and I am a college student listening to Zeppelin singing Babe I’m Gonna Leave You. Something about it sets off the wanderlust that lies inside and I get this feeling that I am going to have to travel, that I am going to have to go places and do things.

I do and I will…many times.

Parenting Is Hard

“Dad, what are you thinking about?”

Dark eyes look intently into mine.

“Don’t tell me nothing because I always know when you are, your face gives you away.”

“I want your brother and you to learn when to stand on your own and when to stand with the crowd. I want you to learn how to be independent thinkers and to know how to confront the good and the bad that comes with life.”

“That is not what you are thinking about. There is something else.”

“Yeah, I am thinking about blogging about the daughter who makes all my hair fall out.”

She scrunches up her face and rolls her eyes.

“Don’t blog about that.”

“Don’t worry, no one reads my blog anymore.”

“I don’t believe that anymore than I believe you aren’t thinking about something.”

“You are right, I am thinking about how 2014 was a very hard year and so was part of 2015, but things are pretty damn good now. So I am grateful for that and thinking about what else I can do to make things even better.”

She gives me a hug and says she loves me.

As she walks away she says that grandma is right about me, I am a pain-in-the-ass.

“Don’t grow up so fast little girl, enjoy these moments now because they go way too quickly.”

The Beauty Of Sunday Rituals

Sundays and Stuff
You might read about The Ghost In Your Blog and ask where my head is at and I wouldn’t blame you, especially if I told you that Carole King is singing again about people being so far away.

Except the thing is, that is just because I have listened to the same playlist a bunch of times and it just happens to be on now.

If there is a reason why my head is looking backwards it is because of a couple of things that happened this week that reminded me of just how far I have come and how much progress I have made.

There is never enough time devoted to gratitude, never enough time focused on acknowledging that you got swept up in a few storms and have weathered them…more or less.

Don’t know why, but it is far too easy to remember the things that tore us wide open and left scars that we can still feel, see and touch than to focus on the beauty of having overcome them.

So I am reminding myself of the joy in the journey and the pleasure of being able to say more than I was because you can say I am.

The Beauty Of Sunday Rituals

Sometimes it feels like a million years since I left my apartment in Texas and sometimes it is yesterday.

That apartment was life changing for me, the place where I looked inward and outward and acknowledged what I had suspected to be true was and recognized that such a thing meant that the future I had once planned upon would be different.

While I couldn’t say then and can’t say now exactly what it would be now the things I discovered then are what set the path before me.

It made me feel a bit like an ancient explorer who set sail upon the sea following the faint outlines of the stars above and the tug of his heart.

That is not the kind of map that you could find on paper then nor is it the kind of thing you can Google or Ask Siri about now.

It is the faint echo of a song you hear and your gut response to it.

Basie
I am not what anyone would call a clean freak but I am not a slob either. I can only live with clutter for as long as necessary and then I am simply done with it.

Sunday mornings were usually spent ridding my place of extras, vacuuming and cleaning up so that if I chose to entertain it would be presentable and so that the rest of the week it would always be livable.

The afternoons were different.

They were designed to be moments in time where the world would be stopped and the challenges of the week were forgotten.

Most of the time that is how it went and for a brief while I got a glimpse of possibility and potential. I suppose part of what I liked best was how well I did at living in the moment and not spending my time thinking about the future.

It is not always easy to do, especially when we live during a time where you are always supposed to be actively working towards your next accomplishment.

you are always supposed to be actively working towards your next accomplishment.Click To Tweet

I used to buy into that wholeheartedly and believed that if you weren’t focused on moving yourself from Point A to Point B you were wasting time.

Hell, I still sort of do, when you know from experience how fragile our grip upon life can be and have been to as many funerals as I have it is hard not to be cognizant of it.

But somewhere along the way I realized you can’t maintain that pace without it having a negative impact upon you.

And I say that having been told multiple times by multiple people that they don’t know how I have kept so many things going for as long as I have.

The gift of high energy doesn’t come without a price and only a fool ignores it.

Do Things Happen For A Reason?

I am an atheist turned agnostic regarding this.

There was a time when I would have suggested it was something people said to make themselves feel good about things they can’t explain, but I won’t say it now.

Too much has happened to me, too many things for me to give the automatic no so I call myself an agnostic. Some say that makes me a fence sitter but I don’t care what they think.

Scientists will tell you they don’t know everything about everything and so it makes sense for me to say that I don’t either.

What I do know is that the period of time between January of 2014 and roughly May of 2015 was among the most challenging I have been through.

There were moments that were awful. Well I would use more colorful words but that wouldn’t provide you with the full impact of just how bad they were for me and even if you understood it wouldn’t make a difference.

What I know is that something about the beauty of Sunday rituals and the bubble in time that was created helped fortify my desire to push forward.

Well, that and my ridiculously stubborn nature which doesn’t know how to just lie down and say I have had enough.

So there were moments where I wanted to scream with frustration and I looked back at those Sunday rituals and nodded my head because it was proof that I had survived the prior storm.

Keep On Going

Whenever I tell the kids about the importance of fighting through the hard times I do so knowing that I have done it. I have visited my own private hell and kept going, didn’t matter if they doused me in gasoline I just screamed a little louder and kept on walking.

There is more to success than being told to keep on going or to work hard, luck plays a role there but sometimes you have to manufacture some of your own and that comes sooner to those who are willing to keep on going.

I am grateful for all I have and thankful for having made it this far.

And like that ancient explorer I am still following that faint trail in the sky to see where it leads because you really never know what sort of treasure if any lies at the end of that rainbow.

The Ghost In Your Blog

MalibuPierBenchbloggerI don’t know how you would measure a person’s imagination or if it is even possible, but if we could I expect mine would be bigger or more active than average.

That is not meant to be anything other than a comment, not bragging or even humble bragging, I am just sharing a thought.

It comes from a lifetime of having a million stories floating through my head and comments people around the blogosphere have made about how many blogs I support or the real life folks who ask how I never seem to run out of stories.

I don’t know how or why, it is just how it is always been for me. It is kind of like asking me to comment on what it is like to be a man, it is all I have known.

Sure, I have my thoughts and ideas about what it would be like to be a woman but I don’t really know if they are all that close because I have never been one.

What If You Weren’t Alone In The House

If you are among the few who know me in real life and know me well you know that the bravado isn’t really an act. I don’t consider myself to be a tough guy, but I am a guy who has been through some tough situations.

Some of those include having exchanged efforts to hurt or not be hurt by others. Yeah, I know what it means to hit someone else and to have been hit, not really fun or something to brag about but I am sharing it here because I am trying to provide some details and layers for those few who read these pages and review the tapestry I am trying to paint.

Anyway, if you go back to those who know me you know that for my entire life there have been times where I have found the dark to be uncomfortable.

I usually attributed it to my imagination because it was always easy for me to picture monsters, bad guys and just stuff that could hurt me looming somewhere beyond my eyesight.

In fact, I attribute my learning how to fight to this fear of the dark and the sense I got at times that something was waiting to get me, something I couldn’t see but I could feel.

That sense of anticipation, the worry about what might be coming has always been a sore spot for me. Any time I got into some sort of altercation (there really weren’t that many) I was always anxious…until the first punch was thrown.

After that I was good, it was kind of like getting into a very hot/cold bath where the slowly dip yourself into the water approach could be excruciating.

Of course burning water wasn’t exactly comfortable either, but you can’t expect to have everything now can you.

the sense I got at times that something was waiting to get me, something I couldn't see but I could feel.Click To Tweet

The feelings  started around a month or so ago, maybe longer, it took a while before I started to pay close attention.

It was this uneasy sense that I wasn’t alone in the house, yet I knew that the only living creatures inside the house were the dog and some goldfish.

There were moments where I would be in the shower when I was certain that someone was about to walk into the bathroom, where I would sometimes stick my head out of shower and listen or call out but never hear anything in response.

Moments where I would be working at my computer or standing inside the garage and get this sense that something bad was close but I always ignored it because I figured it was just my ridiculously active imagination.

One day I had enough and I shouted out into the air that I wasn’t ready to go back to prison, that 10 years for murder was enough.

There was no answer and so I looked at the dog and told him I was being ridiculous and that if he wasn’t barking I wouldn’t give a second thought to it.

The Ghost That Attacked Me

Not long after that things changed and I started picturing a man or men with knives or guns coming up the stairs or sneaking out at me.

I looked at the dog and told him I was certain my imagination was playing tricks on me and asked him if he thought I should get more sleep.

He just wagged his tail.

And then one day I wondered if a ghost or malevolent entity was attacking me. Probably didn’t hurt that I watched The Amityville Horror late at night.

Anyway, I mentioned it in passing to some people and one of them suggested I ask for help from the angels. I shrugged my shoulders and figured why not.

If they don’t exist it wouldn’t matter and if they do, well they are supposed to help.

But being who I am I also made a point to create a mental picture of myself dressed as a Jedi who wasn’t just capable of using The Force, I could also shoot laser beams from my fingers, had Adamantium claws and was ridiculously fast/strong.

Hell, if you are going to imagine yourself as some kind of superhero you might as well go for it.

Anyway, things changed after that and the sense that something was in the house with me disappeared. That doesn’t prove that anything was here or that any efforts to call upon angels or become a Jedi worked.

But it doesn’t prove it didn’t either and the way I see it since I haven’t tried to Force Choke the drivers that cut me off or levitate the dishes from the table to the sink I must be ok.

The Ghost In Your Blog

Sometimes I look at old posts and decide to run them again.

Sometimes I grab something like Our Patron Saint- Our Lady of Getting Lucky or He Used To Be The Six Million Dollar Man because I am pleased with the work I did there and I think that new readers would appreciate them.

Most of the time I try to change the headline a bit and or tweak things just a little and then I read through the comments.

That is where I find the ghosts of the blog, faceless names of commenters who used to hang out here, part of the evolving community.

Somewhere along the way they chose to end their stay and stopped walking with the rest of us.

Sometimes I read their names and wonder why they no longer visit and why they chose to end the journey. I wonder if they grew bored, were offended or ran short on time and decided this place wasn’t providing enough of a benefit to keep coming around.

Any or all of them are ok.

I have used every one of them as reasons for no longer journeying with other bloggers.

Sometimes I imagine that one day we’ll all gather together again and share our stories. Sometimes I imagine we’ll find ourselves sharing a meal, or drinks around a wooden bench at the beach or a cabin in the mountains and that the ghosts of our past will walk back into our present.

Boo.

Tailgating U Is A Better Way To Do & Be

cheatriots

You know what I saw when I looked up at the blue sky above, a perennial cheater and overrated quarterback named Tom Brady.

A man who started his winning ways by being the beneficiary of a horrific call, yeah the Tuck rule was awful and if Brady were an honest man he would have acknowledged it that day.

He would have been honorable and admitted that Charles Woodson stripped him of the ball. Had he come clean about that fumble we might not have had years of controversy surrounding him and his deflated ethics, but he didn’t and one must deal with reality.

The Patriots are cheaters, very successful cheaters, but cheaters nonetheless.

That is part of why I prefer to do my tailgating on the college circuit. It is not to say that everything is always on the up and up, but it just doesn’t feel as dirty.

Tailgating U Is A Better Way To Do & Be

Ask me what prompted all this and I’ll tell you I am part of a Life of Dad crew consisting of Phil Corless (@NorthIdahoDad), Daniel DeGuia (@deguia) and Andrew Kardon (@Mommys_Busy).

(Cue Cool intro music and a deep voice saying) “Together we are Team@ESPNGolic!” (Cue cool end music.)

I have had the good fortune to tailgate at both pro and college football games and can confirm that tailgating at a college game is almost always better than an NFL game.

You won’t find me writing that just because studies show that  Americans prefer tailgating for college football to pro football but because in my experience college wins and in the age of the Internet we don’t need to support our statements with numbers because if it is written online it must be true.

If you are among those who would dare to question that you ought to remember that the first person to say that whatever you read online is true and accurate was President Abraham Lincoln.

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t argue with Honest Abe. Did I mention that he hates the patriots too, but I digress.

Part of what I love about tailgating at college games is that if you need an excuse to get away you can always call an old friend and ask him to join you on a road trip to visit your alma mater.

Alternatively if you are of a certain age and have children who will be heading off to college you could always claim you went to visit the university to make sure it lives up to high academic standards and decided to tailgate because it would enable you to obtain crucial information about the school.

In the interest of not providing an evidence that could be used to perjure myself I won’t tell you why I opened up the closet-0f-doom but I will confirm I needed some tailgating necessities.

j jeans

I’m always ready for a spur-of-the-moment road trip.

Did I mention that one of the big fails people commit while tailgating is that they forget paper towels.

No?

Well now you know and if you happen to forget to bring them you can always raid the bathroom at the school library. I don’t want to deflate your high, but that is not something you can do at an NFL game.

After invoking the name of Honest Abe somewhere above I can’t lie and tell you the Lee Jeans I’m wearing in the picture are the same pair I wore in college because even though they have 125 years of experience making jeans they haven’t figured a way out to make people shrink-to-fit.

Someone in their R&D department ought to get on that, figure out how to make people shrink-to-fit your jeans and you’ll be rich beyond your wildest dreams.

Anyhoo, that leads me to a picture collage that helps tell the story of our 985th college tailgating trip of the 21st century.

tailgate crazy

An old friend used ancient technology (a payphone) to call collect to see if I wanted to join him on an adventure.

He said to pack light and to be ready ASAP because we were going to travel in style. So I threw on the jeans, grabbed a backpack and figured that a successful hedge fund manager would show up in a Bentley or something equally cool.

Remind me never to assume because the cheap bastard showed up on a tractor and said we’d make a grand entrance.

I told him that if we were going to play a game of Cornhole there was no doubt in my mind that a tractor was the perfect ride.

He called me a snob and I told him that I’d teach him how to play a real tailgating sport like Beer Pong because let’s be real, beer is the perfect drink to go with tailgating fare such as wings, brats and burgers.

And let’s not forget the three co-eds on campus who referred to the tractor driver as sir and treated him like the parent of a college student or the fact they said they believed me when I said I was a third year student at the university.

That is proof that they had been tailgating for quite some times before we came upon them or that they are legally blind, maybe both.

What Is the Answer? Is College Or Pro Better?

If you have to ask whose better at spying upon other teams and getting away with stuff they shouldn’t, well we have to say a certain pro team is, but if the question is about which provides a better tailgating opportunity than it is college.

Let’s see what the experts say?

Sounds to me like the answer is clear, college is better and if you are going to wear jeans make sure you are wearing something comfortable like a pair of Lee Jeans Relaxed fit.

Lee-1024x768

Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad and Lee Jeans for this promotion. I have received compensation for my participation, but my thoughts are my own.

Our Patron Saint- Our Lady of Getting Lucky

best friend

It is the Spring of 1988 and I am a 19 year-old freshman in college enjoying all of the freedom and benefits that university life has to offer. My initial plan to spend the year in Israel has been scrapped and I am pleasantly surprised by how much fun I am having.

There is a girl in my political science class that intrigues me. I have spent more than a few minutes trying to stare at her without getting caught. She has long black hair and dark eyes.  It is quite warm in spring so I am treated to lots of sun dresses and or shorts. Some days I make a point to sit just behind her and to the side. From there I am able to drink deeply in the dreams I have of her. She has a lot of attention from men so I don’t want to be like everyone else- I need to figure an angle that will make her notice me.

Little do I know that tripping over my own two feet will be enough to catch her eye.

Class has just ended and we’re heading out of class to wherever we need to be. She is standing in front of me and my eyes are drawn downwards. I am walking but not watching where I am going and somehow I end up sprawled in the hallway. Don’t know if I grunted, screamed or if she heard the soft thud my head made when it smacked the ground. What I do know is that  I find her standing over me. She wants to know if I am ok. I mumble something at her and stand up. We talk for a moment. I attempt to be cool and fail miserably at it.

But the fall has broken the ice and we start to have conversations. I am ecstatic about it and work hard to say just enough not to sound like a fool.  A few weeks pass and I gather the courage to ask her out. She takes me with her to a party at her friend’s apartment and we grab a few drinks. I am more than pleased that she laughs at my jokes. She flips her hair and touches my arm throughout the night and I begin to think that maybe lady luck is with me.

if I did it would be great for our Lady of Getting Lucky tonight to put a good word in for me.Click To Tweet

A short time later we’re at her apartment. I try to figure out how to kiss her without looking foolish. I think to myself that Jewish kids don’t have patron saints, but if I did it would be great for our Lady of Getting Lucky tonight to put a good word in for me. My silent prayer is answered and she invites me in.

Moments later her arms are wrapped around me and I am trying to hide my response. Can’t give away all my secrets so quickly. A few soft kisses lead to her neck and I feel her melt. She grabs my face in her hands and I prepare to enter heaven when I receive a sudden and rude shock.

Her tongue is everywhere and not in a good way. Apparently my dream date has graduated from the St. Bernard School of Open Mouth Kissing. I stand there in shock trying to figure out if she thinks that my face is made of chocolate or peanut butter. Remember, I am 19 and the boys have told me that we want a woman who is a master with her tongue, but this isn’t what they were talking about…now is it.

(Originally Posted Here)