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Archive for December, 2007

Happy New Year

Here’s to a prosperous and healthy 2008.

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Getting all retrospective on the previous 12 months seems like such a backwards way to look at life when December 31st rolls around each year. While some peeps prefer to analyze their past successes and failures, my approach takes a slightly different course.

I abhor resolutions because they tend to set us up for a sense of failure should some life event take us by surprise. Instead, I accept me for who I am today and who I’ve been through the last 365 days. It wasn’t always the best “me” who showed up each day in ’07, but the mistakes I make in life, at work, while training, or elsewhere I learn from as they happen – and I’m now better than I was Dec. 31, 2006. Life goes forward and I go with it. The past, my friends, is just that.

The following provides a glimpse at just a few of the places and stages you will, no doubt, find me in the coming 12 months. Through it all, I’ll be learning more about the world, those who are important to me, and, in general, becoming further enlightened and wisened – a better me – spiritually, ecumenically, grammatically.

Fatherhood: Placing my role as Dad to my two great teenagers at the top of my list is a natural. This makes up a major part of who I am each and every day. Little else comes before the needs, nurturing, providing, and simple “being there” for my children. Years come and go. This priority will never shift. The kids will graduate, move on and develop their own lives, but will always have each of their parents in their corners.

Career: At gynormous global companies, change is the order of the day. I’m flexible enough to appreciate and adapt to corporate changes. I welcome them because the change keeps the work interesting and challenging. In the coming 12 months my public relations role will indeed morph from its current focus to one that calls on me to develop new skills and re-master old ones. The opportunity for success in this role far outweighs the chance of failure (another good reason to embrace that change as it happens).

Triathlon training: I’ll be 43 years old in May of ’08 and I continue to carry this vision of me in the right manner of physical condition to compete in my age group in short-distance tris. Through focus, determination and improved training, whether I’m competitive or not, I’ll perform better than I did last year.

Relationships: While some people appear to be magnets for solid healthy relationships, I, apparently, wear a thick repellent. But that only serves as good grounds to keep trying to both create new friendships and re-introduce romance into my life in the months ahead. My hypothesis is that a good relationship – even love – consists of one part confidence, one part open mindedness and one part willingness to take a risk. The good news is I have all three parts.

Writing: The freelance gig continues to give me a chance to produce non-work related content. This blog requires regular maintenance and will keep growing and going. I still noodle on that novel inside me and it likely won’t come out in any serious form this year, the door is open. Never say “never.”

Politics: Far away from St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center during the Republican National Convention.

Great River Energy Bike Festival/Nature Valley Grand Prix: Planning and volunteering to spread the good word.

Concerts: At the Cedar Cultural Center to hear former White Bear Laker Alice Peacock who opens for Tim Finn (one half of the brother duo ’80s band called Crowded House) in February.  More to come here as I plan to make live music a significant recipient of my disposable income in ’08.

At home: Face it – at the end of the day a familiar pillow is tough to beat. I’ll be doing a few minor improvements to the domicile during the year, making it even more homey.

That’s quite enough for my limited schedule.

Happy New Year to all who choose to enter it. Stay in it and make it your own.

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Friday Philosophy

PuddleThe past is like a puddle in the street after an April rain shower.  On the surface, the street has been washed clean from the grit and grime of winter. But there, near the edge of the pavement, a puddle of water stands dark and murky.  Cold and uninviting, it’s difficult to tell just how deep the water is. Especially here in Minnesota where potholes develop during March and April. The sun melts the frozen pavement and the ice that formed in all the cracks and crevices during the bitterly cold months of the year. As cars pass over the weakened asphalt or concrete, the material loosens and soon a hole opens.

So with that literal explanation of potholes, our past actions, behaviors and the lives we chose to lead can leave similar potholes in our lives and even on those who are close to us.  Some are mere dimples, barely noticeable. Others are major divets that require care and attention if we ever hope to heal the damage. It’s up to us, really, to repair or ignore the problems our pasts created.

Time may help to heal the wounds and the angst we left in our wake, but with a little careful attention, we can lend time an assist, speed the recovery and move on more productively.

It’s what we do with who we are today that helps lessen the powerful minutes, hours and days of the past which continue to dampen the edges of our now.

Photo credit: “Light in the puddle” by Thomas Milne

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A few days off from writing and it feels like, “Where do I begin?” What’s more, I wonder, “What have I got to write about that hasn’t been written?” But, it’s my blog and I’ll write what I want. Doesn’t really matter if the wisdom or words of flotsam I pass on mean anything to anyone (but it always does).

Resurrecting an older post, here are a few random thoughts:

  • I sat alone on Christmas day, just me, the cat, a book, and the TV remote. Less than four miles away, in a house I once owned and shared, my two kids celebrated Christmas with their Mom and her side of the family. With snow in the air, the Christmas tree twinkling its red and white lights, and a little background noise from “The Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” (which I watched…twice), I felt a comfortable sense of peace. Through it all (and by it, I mean through the divorce process which kicked into high gear two years ago), we’ve emerged in better-than-expected condition. What seemed to be the world’s end for us has resulted in many beginnings, new starts and renewed optimism. Life is too short to live it sad and unfulfilled. Two years ago I was only saying it. But now I am really alive again and each day is better than the last.

It’s not just about living forever. It’s about living with yourself forever.” –Captain Teague (Keith Richards) from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

  • As elusive as love tends to make itself, most people I talk to agree that having it in your life is much better than not. We all have someone who loves us: Kids, family, secret admirers, stalkers. Those of us in search of the all-elusive romantic love…the kind that just fits and sits well with us, like a favorite pair of jeans, or shoes, or baseball cap, must keep our heads about ourselves. We can be dreamers as well as realists when it comes to love and being in love. And because we’ve been around the block a time or two, we can also be a little on the selective side. I’ve been waiting for the right moment to share this video from Ray LaMontagne and Damien Rice. Here they cover the Bee Gees, “To Love Somebody.”
Lyrics:
There’s a light
A certain kind of light
That never shone on me
I wanted my whole life to be
Lived with you
Lived with you
There is a way everybody say
To do each and every thing
Oh but what good does it bring
If I ain’t got you, if I ain’t got you?
Baby
You don’t know what it’s like, baby
You don’t know what it’s like
To love somebody
To love somebody
The way I love you
In my brain
I see your face again
I know my frame of mind
How you got to be so unkind
And I’m blind, have I gone blind?
But I’m a man, can’t you see what I am
I live and breathe for you
Oh but what good does it do
If I ain’t got you, ain’t got you?
Baby
You don’t know what it’s like, baby
You don’t know what it’s like
To love somebody
To love somebody
The way I love you
Baby,
You don’t know what it’s like, baby
You don’t know what it’s like
To love somebody
To love somebody
The way I love you
  • I’m reading profiles and background information on Democratic candidates who are running for President of the United States. Let’s face it, there’s no chance in hell a Republican wins the 2008 presidential election unless Bush pulls our military out of Iraq (which he won’t do because he’s incredibly stubborn when it comes to admitting mistakes). So, I’m thinking: Hillary. Obama. Hillary. Obama. Hillary. Obama. Hillary? Obama. Obama. Obama. Obama.
  • I continue to be a bit confused on how assumptive e-mail spammers are when it comes to my needs. For example, should I not be offended when a subject line from an e-mail spam reads, “Want a larger male organ?” And lately many spammers are hunching that they can match me with a “special buddy” in my city who is apparently a nymphomaniac. Of course if I choose to ignore these appeals, I can always “play craps online for free.” I wonder if they’re going to give me free money to lose in my crap-playing activity? And if I do lose and am unable to pay my debt, will a thug appear at my door and break my knee caps?

I think I’ll just continue to read, write and enjoy my day job instead of getting lost in all these intriguing e-mail offers. As long as I keep hitting the delete button I’m thinking I’ll save myself several trips to the emergency room.

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Celebrate Christmas 24/7/365

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tiding of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.’

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem. And they said, ‘Where is he that is born King of the Jews, for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.’

And they found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger and when they had seen it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.”

Of all religious holidays, Christmas owns the top rung on the ladder. Even for those of us less-than-certain about all things biblical, Christmas opens the window long enough to ponder the possibilities. It also gives us opportunities to make memorable moments with family, show our gratitude to friends and be thankful for all that’s been given to us.

In the car sometime last week, while listening momentarily to a radio station that plays Christmas songs 24/7 from Thanksgiving through Dec. 25, I caught a lyric that essentially said, “Every day should be Christmas.” There would be a lot of Christians unhappy if that were the case, because Jesus needs His birthday.

But when it comes to making memories, saying thanks to friends and being satisfied with where we’re each at in life instead of toiling to get ahead all the time – Christmas should be each day. These are things we need to live and breathe regularly, not just once a year.

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I Heart Pie This Christmas

The kids and I will celebrate Christmas on Sunday (they’ll be with their mom and her family on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). By special request, we will dessert on apple pie.

Looks good, yes?

Apple Pie

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Are your stockings hung? If not you better get to it! For in just a couple days, Santa will be making his rounds – snacking on cookies and milk at each stop and leaving all kinds of goodies around the Christmas tree for you to enjoy on Christmas morning.

Naughty or NiceThat’s IF you’re on his “nice” list, which I’m thinking most of my regular readers made this year – the “nice” list, that is. From Kitty over at “The Show Must Go On,” who helped me, and numerous readers learn how to make roux for gumbo; to Woeful at “@ The Library,” who continues to assist library patrons no matter how bad their hygiene or their interest in searching porn on public computers; to Jill at “Wordsmith Extraordinaire,” who writes some of the best stuff on the blogosphere; Colleen at “Communicatrix,” who has shared her soul-searching, goal-setting and hypnosis trials with her readers unabashedly; and Fatty at “Fat Cyclist,” who serves as an inspiration both for riding with continued frequency and enthusiasm and being a rock as his dear wife deals with cancer recovery; it’s clear these friends (and other bloggers too numerous to mention in this short post) enjoyed a good year. Santa will smile down on you for all your efforts.

As it stands, St. Nick may be sitting on the fence when he comes to my chimney (is that a mixed metaphor or what?). It’s not that I’ve been intentionally bad since last Christmas, but I haven’t made all the best of decisions.

There were a few nasty grams that were written but never sent to my former spouse (hey at least I didn’t hit send, so give a little credit, right?). And back in July I failed to return a call to an old college friend, throwing a wrench into that long-standing friendship. I haven’t been the best at maintaining relationships of any kind really, in 2007, except when it comes to my kids. For them, I do whatever it takes. They’re family, after all, and I’m their Dad. When I’m old one day, they’ll be the ones deciding if I go into a care facility or come live with them – so I figure it’s best that I be nice to them no matter what.Santa's lap

Still, with all my indiscretions during the year, with any luck, good ol’ Santa will have a little something with my name on it Tuesday morning when I climb out of bed. I’m hoping she’ll look something like this. Is that a look of desire I see on Santa’s face? Santa, does Mrs. Claus know about your little innocent tryst or is that yet another secret that you’re keeping under your red hat?

I think we best leave those questions unanswered. It’s that time of year when mystery needs to be appreciated.

And with that, my friends and partners in blogging, I just want to wish you all the very Merriest of Christmases and the Happiest of New Years. To Misty, Max and Michelle, Greg, Stil, Biblio, Jenn, and LK – and to the one and only Jason Mraz – thanks for writing, commenting and sharing all you share.

I don’t know what to do!” cried Scrooge, laughing and crying in the same breath; and making a perfect Laocoön of himself with his stockings. “I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a school-boy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to every-body! A happy New Year to all the world! Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo!”

Cheers to you, everyone!

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