Monday, December 27, 2010

2010: The Year that Was

I'll start with the biggest news of the past year. After 10 years of marriage, Mecca and I split up. We are still good friends and socialize with each other, so just in case you're debating whether or not to invite us both to the same party - don't worry about it.


Of course, it is a big change for me. I am slowly re-learning bachelorhood. I'm sharing my new apartment with two furry roommates - Baci and Moshi.

The year was full of travel. I probably logged more than 5,000 miles by air and by land.

2010 brought some other significant milestones.

My baby niece Chela turned 1.

My nephew Jett turned 6; my first niece Allie turned 20. Wow. My dad turned 70. And my only grandparent - my grandma Alice - turned 90. I flew down to Florida in order to wish her Happy Birthday in person. It was one of the highlights of my year.

I spent Christmas with my folks in Denver. They are doing great. Under doctors orders, my dad has adopted a near-vegan diet. So we had to-furkey for Xmas dinner. It didn't taste too bad. It was about 95% brown rice and veggie stuffing and 5% tofu. For the first time in my life I beat both parents at Scrabble. Here's a tip, 'qi' - another spelling for 'chi' is a great word. So is 'qat' - another spelling for the leafy opiate 'khat.' Unfortunately, the mountains clogged with snow, preventing my big bro and his family from driving in from California.

2011 promises to be an exciting year. I will be doing a lot of traveling for work and play. And, Zeus-willing, I look forward to turning 44 this fall.

I wish everybody peace, prosperity and good health in 2011.

Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Happy Birthday Grandma

The woman my Aunt Gerry (pictured in the middle) affectionately described as "too ornery to die" turned 90 last week. In fact, this is a rare photo because grandma is actually smiling. Usually, grandma sports kind of a scowl or deadpan.

My grandmother has outlived her husband by 15 years, and her youngest daughter. She's lost a leg to diabetes and has developed a cancer on one of her eyelids. She recently had a bout with a bladder infection that almost killed her. Grandma didn't think she'd make it, so she wrote a letter to her children to tell them that she loves them, even though she doesn't always show it.

Grandma loves to gamble - whether it's bingo, scratch-off cards, lotto, slot machines. But she has a special soft spot for her grandchildren and great-grand children.

It was great to be able to hang out with her in Florida for a few days. We surprised her with our visit. One day we took her to the casino. I helped her feed $10 and $20 bills into the slot machines. And I cashed nearly $300 worth of tickets for her. It was great to listen to her cuss in her Cruzan accent and reminisce with my mom and my aunt and uncle about life back on St. Croix, U.S.V.I. Of course, the conversations inevitably turned to talk about neighbors, friends and family members who'd died.

Happy B-Day grandma, may you have many more.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Actions speak louder than verbs

In Michael Pollan's "In Defense of Food" he wrote a simple, 7-word, phrase:

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

I've tried to follow that as best as possible and have found it to be life-changing. It has helped me improve my physical health.

But, of course, there is more to life. And lately, I've become aware that I'm missing so much more. After some soul-searching I came up with a list/mantra to help guide me in the future. The list is in no order of importance:







Monday, September 28, 2009

Uh, now that's just plain stupid

People who know me, know that I try to be diplomatic and non-judgemental about perspectives and points of view that differ from my own. I also have an aversion to snarky bloggers who heap loads of hate on people by saying things they'd never say to someone's face.
But I'm 42 now and I've come to a few conclusions that some things are just plain stupid and I'm not afraid to tell people who disagree with me that these things are stupid:
First, the Second Amendment.
The Second Amendment, which too many people believe is God's justification to stockpile every gun ever made, was written at a time when the Government was still unstable and vulnerable, kind of like a baby turtle whose shell is still soft. It's stupid in the same way the book of Leviticus - and much of the Bible is stupid. For Christ's sake, we don't stone children to death who talk back to their parents and we don't need muskets at the ready to join up with the local militia and defend ourselves against a tyrannical local or foreign government. These ideas are out of date and now they're dangerous because paranoid idiots have adopted them as God's truth.
Church is stupid. If you believe in the big 'g' God and feel like you have to be somewhere, at a specific time and perform a specific set of instructions (rituals), I think what you're doing is just plain stupid. And if your god requires you to do these things in order to get some reward at the end of your life, then your god is just plain stupid too.
Here's a list of some other really, really, stupid things I can think of off the top of my head: diet soda, fat free cheese, greeting cards for Halloween, situational comedies, ideological bumper stickers, buying and wearing expensive sports jerseys, equating President Obama with Hitler, equating the far left with the far right (the right is much worse, cuz they're armed to the teeth), denying man-made climate change, raw food-ism, etc.

Monday, September 21, 2009

No racists here.

OK, Mr. tea party protester, you say you're not a racist. And since I can't read what's really in your heart, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe your angry opposition to the president's health care plan is based on your fiscal conservatism.

So you must have seethed with rage when the Bush Administration and the majority Republican Congress passed the Medicare part D drug program and essentially wrote a blank check to fund the war in Iraq? One of your fellow fiscal conservatives, Judd Gregg (R-NH), said this about the Medicare part D drug program, "Things like the [Medicare] Part D drug program were truly a big mistake from the standpoint of fiscal policies. The Part D drug program alone added an $8 trillion unfunded liability to the federal books. If we were going to put that program on the books, we should have paid for it." And about that war in Iraq? Economist Joseph Stiglitz called the Iraq war a, "$3 trillion war."

That was probably when you first printed up that "Congress is enslaving our children with debt" sign. Yes?

Or maybe you're a civil liberties conservative who is concerned that Obama's Recovery Act and health care reforms border on totalitarianism -- that they endanger the freedoms guaranteed us under the Constitution? So, as a staunch advocate of personal liberty, you must have become positively apoplectic with anger when the Bush Administration/Republicans crafted and Congress passed the Patriot Act. You had to be 'mad as hell/not going to take it anymore' when the Bush Adminstration admitted to illegal wire taps and when the NSA admitted to monitoring private phone calls of American citizens. I have to imagine you were angry enough to punch a nun when you found out the U.S. detained and tortured terrorism suspects (including Jose Padilla - an American citizen) for years without being charged. And holy buckets, your ears had to be shooting steam when you discovered that Bush Administration officials instructed interrogators to use torture tactics that totalitarian regimes like the Soviets and the Nazis once used to elicit false confessions from prisoners.

Nope, you're not a racist. You're a true patriot.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

I need to say this. But I don't know if it helps.

(Note: if you want to read this, but are confused, follow the link in the first sentence before reading further)

I went to the office the morning after it became apparent we were losing our potential baby. I didn’t know what else to do. I told my boss what had had happened, and she sent me home. She told me that it was necessary for me to be at home for my wife.

But when I got home my wife told me there was nothing I could do and that I might as well go back to work.

She was right.

I was not the one who was undergoing a miscarriage. I was not physically losing a part of my body down the toilet. What in the glorious fuck was I going to say or do to make her feel better?

So I did what any decent husband would do. I hung around the house, waiting to be needed, for anything – to be cried upon; to take her to the hospital; or run errands for her. I was utterly heartbroken for many reasons but mostly because I had to watch the woman I love suffer physically and emotionally, and be helpless to do a goddamned thing to help.

It turns out she did need me to run to the store for her. And I was happy to do so. I also installed a temporary screen in the front window and shoveled a bunch of wood chips onto a path next to the garage. I was trying to do anything to be useful. I needed to feel like I was good for something.

But I felt like that was not the time to share that particular sentiment with her. She didn’t need to hear about my biological/sociological male needs to feel useful. That was not going to take away her pain, her cramps, her blood and tears. Times like these make me think that a man can never really get any sympathy from a woman. And we don't deserve it.

That’s certainly the protocol for expectant fathers. I was preparing myself to undergo the ups and downs of pregnancy; to be the understanding partner who might feel the occasional verbal swipe from a hormonal wife. I was preparing myself for late night runs to the store for the foods she would crave. I was prepared to go perhaps months without sex or intimacy of any kind. And I was preparing not to complain about it – after all my inconveniences would be nothing compared to carrying and giving birth to a baby.

And I was more than willing to endure it. For one magical week, I was an expectant father. I felt like a king-stud and I walked with an extra swagger. Like my wife, I felt like we were going to have a boy. And that made me glow. I looked at my friends’ Facebook pics and videos of their sons with an entirely new outlook. I was going to be a fuckin’ daddy. I was going to have the opportunity to raise a boy and teach him stuff I knew about like girls, guitars, grilling steaks and a whole lot more.

We are experiencing a tragedy together, but honestly I don’t know if telling my wife about my disappointment and heartbreak right now will help her work it out. That’s why I decided to write this down. Maybe I’m wrong. I’m just trying to figure out what’s best for her, but I’m in unchartered waters. I don’t know any other men who’ve been where I am. Someone close to me and his wife had a miscarriage some years back, but they already had two kids at the time. And frankly I don’t know how much good it would do if I did know someone in a similar situation.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Heavy Metal Kittens

I did the guitars and sampled/cut/paste the drums.