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Outgrowth & Progress

The smoke has cleared...I've dusted myself off...the fanfare, the pain, the annoyance of it all has passed. I had a major event at my job last night and I was sleeping an average 3 hours per day leading up to it. I'm off today, and enjoyed most of it in a prone position on my couch. Life is good, love is sweet (if you have it) and good things are all around. You just have to be focused enough to find them. I'm in a new place today --- a place where I wasn't yesterday and don't expect to be by this time next week.

That's what life is after all...isn't it?

Makes Me Wanna Holla! Part I

Superman has Lex Luthor, Batman has the Joker, Spider-Man has...practically anyone with an ax to grind, and Iron Man has...I actually don't know, but the trailers for the movie are hot and Robert Downey, Jr. is the perfect person to play Iron Man's alcoholic alter ego, Tony Stark. Anyhoo, I digress, spending a moment in what my wife considers "cute geekdom" (who I am really at the end of the day). My point is that for every superhero, there's a supervillain, some jackass hell bent on ruining the good guy's day, no matter how hard the good guy tries to be. This is going to sound ridiculous but currently (as in the last 9 years) my enemy has been work.

I have to clarify and classify. I can sit up all night long writing at a desk. I've worked until exhaustion renovating a property I owned. When my daughter was born I only slept less as a drunken college freshman and I cleaned and washed all day long for fear that she would grow up maligned if there was a speck of dirt in her presence (now she eats food off the floor). This stuff I live for, the thrill, the desire, the challenge of toiling physically and mentally. I LOVE this!

I HATE work. Work is getting up at some ungodly hour to take a train with a gabillion other people who believe they're more important than you, so you can go sit at a desk and piss away eight hours of your life pushing papers back and forth, answering phones, sending emails, goofing off online, and looking for other jobs on the sneak. Oh and the best part: doing all this with people you can't stand, would never spend time with anywhere EVER ANYWHERE, who probably feel the same way about you. I have existed in this deadening conundrum for longer than I care to realize and I still do to this day. My mother was a teacher for 37 years. My father worked for the University of Illinois doing something with his Ph.D. for even longer. When God was deciding what to pass on to me from my folks, this level of dedication to a gig got left out of my DNA entirely. Other than a healthy dose of Christian faith, I have most of the characteristics of an anarchist.

Like A-Rod, and T.O. (but unlike their salaries and entitlement) I bounce around until I find the right fit. Better put I'm simply not challenged. This is the right fit. Writing is a love affair. Sometimes I hate it. Many days it hates me. It has left me full of disappointment and as of recently it's been making me feel real good about myself. As I put pen to pad I feel alive. Unlike a job, I have yet to reach the end of my creativity and I enjoy the chase. Honestly, I don't hate work, my hat is off to those who have the stamina for it. I just find it to be God-awfully boring and lately I feel like I'm spending more money than I have between transportation, childcare and an occasional lunchtime splurge to make money. Making all this that much more intolerable is where I currently work, which I won't discuss here until I'm working somewhere else.

Valentine's Day

So, today was the big day for some. For me it was a trivial observation. Being a romantic is all about having a plan (always) or at least being spontaneous and electric on the fly. By the looks of things in the city, most were operating with blinders on --- buying any old bouquet of flowers/roses they could get their hands on. Every grocery store and deli storefront was overflowing with people buying cheap, overpriced (based on demand) flowers that'll probably be dead by the time the sun sets on Saturday. I can only imagine what it must feel like to receive some afterthought, last-minute, cheap flowers. It's on days like these I'm thankful I was born male.

My wife and I decided to eat comfort food, make hamburgers and French fries and bake cookies with the kids. We were all pretty exhausted after the hamburgers and fries and never made it to the cookies. For the day I gave the wife a kiss, a card, a funky brush from Pylones in Grand Central Station and a promise of a pair of shoes she's been drooling over. I gave my daughter a Romeo & Juliet chew toy (for dogs). She loves it and went to sleep saying "Romo - Julet" clutching it in her little, fat hands. My son gave his little girlfriend a teddy bear and some candy at school...and so it begins. I got to take a nap for a few minutes after dinner, and as far as presents go, that was enough for me. Like I said, my maleness (through trial, tribulation and straight-up horror story...more on this later) prevents me from wanting on a day like Valentine's Day. I'm just happy my family's happy.

To all the lovers out there and all those without love, Happy Valentine's Day.


Live, Love, Laugh & Thick Skinned

So today was a good day. First off, I was off from work for Lincoln's Birthday. (Does anyone celebrate that anymore?) I mostly ran errands...doing stuff I don't have time to do on the weekends anymore, now that fatherhood has gone from fresh to all encompassing (if not consuming). After dropping the kids to their respective destinations --- middle school and the baby sitter --- I went shopping for them, after which I was able to sit down for lunch for about 30 minutes before having to go back out to pick everyone back up and run more errands along the way.

I bought a sign today. A long piece of black metal that was covered with white crackle to give it the appearance of age. It says, "Live, Love, Laugh" in script going down the length of the sign. It looks good on the front door and I made sure my family (except for baby girl) read it as they came through the door. This is what I want for us: To Live, To Love & To Laugh. Amazingly while checking a string of emails from work (even though I was off I couldn't help myself) I couldn't help but laugh. My boss, a nice enough person who deserves a boss category unto herself corrected/reprimanded me as usual via email with no prior instruction or direction. Reading a work email from home can be a hilarious exercise and I suggest everyone try it at least once in a comfortable setting, whether that's loud music, the TV on in the other room (my scenario) or drunk --- you'll see at least once that work emails are absolutely absurd outside of work. So I was reprimanded about a nearly-million dollar fundraiser I'm managing and a red, yellow and blue plastic dump truck filled with oversized Legos was no more than three feet away from me, meanwhile everyone on As The World Turns tried to remember if the oven was on before the commercial.

'Nuff said about that. A short-short story of mine entitled, "The Gentleman", was published on Spindle Magazine today. I'm very, very happy about this. It's been a while since I was published, even longer since anyone in a publisher capacity told me they liked my work. Thick-skin earned from many years of rejection will definitely keep you humble. I'm thankful to God that a little bit of age and a whole lot of wisdom has sharpened my voice and given me the ability to tell a story that a few people can relate to.

I aspire to be able to continue to do so. Click below for the story.

The Gentleman
Spindle Magazine - Tuesday, 12 February 2008


Here I Go Again...

So I've tried this blog thing a couple times before. Three years ago I was angry, then excited, but frightened out of my mind over the birth of my daughter. I wasn't married and from time to time not even sure I liked my girlfriend. My blog was a collection of angry, fantastic ramblings with several references to God and lots of photos from my vacations that year. That was a good year. I was scared, but I was living.

I tried again last year with my wedding website. There was a page for blogging so I blogged and my anger bubbled up in thinking there wasn't enough money for this ceremony I was having in Barbados. But after a lot of arguing, much prayer and some savvy financial management we (my wife and I, the mother of my child) pulled it off. But again, I left behind these sullen, sad and sometimes hopeless words for all the world (or whoever was visiting) to see.

So now the smoke has cleared and everything that was "wrong" has passed. Now I'm just livin' in NYC, juggling my dreams, my job, my responsibilities, my love and my own wants. Everyday my daughter teaches me how to be happy (somewhere I unlearned this) and because of her and her brother, a lanky 12 year old and my wife, I now dream bigger than I ever have because I'm no longer dreaming for just me.

I'm a Manchild in the Promised Land, uncertain of what I thought the promise of NYC was when I arrived here over a decade ago from Chicago. But I am determined to be happy, determined to succeed on my terms, and determined to see my kids have the same things I had, even though when I grew up, my parents had more than I do now when they were my age (or they did a very good job of not showing otherwise). I don't even believe their is a Promised Land anymore, the beneficiaries of that contract are long dead. But there can be Promise in every breath, in every word, and every action taken. Promise is where I now reside and intend to stay.



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