Monday, March 31, 2008

A Strange Thing Happened...

...when I went to pick up my son from his mother the other day. The strange thing is that I saw his mom, my ex-wife, in a whole new light. As I have mentioned before she divorced me about four years ago, and at first I was dealing with it as best I could. I mean I had no anger towards her and desperately wanted the marriage back and the family intact. I have also mentioned that last summer a wave of anger towards her hit me and hit me hard. I mean I didn't even want to think of her and didn't want to see her the very few times we would be together to have our kids go with her or me(yes strange situation with us having five children together but 4 with her and one with me-the reason for that:too long to get into right now).

My son had a week off from high school for winter break and he wanted to go up to spend it with his siblings and his mom. We live about 5 hours from each other and meet at a halfway point when he goes up there or they come down here. When I went to go get him this past Saturday I was very happy to see that my other 4 children were there too. I absolutely HATE being apart from them and moving to the Midwest from the Northeast had everything to do with being closer to them.

Anyway, my ex-wife was there and I have to confess that I get very nervous around her the few times that we are near each other for these exchanges. The thing is that we don't speak to each other and the communication that we have is mainly through text messaging on our cell phones. I would love to be friends with her and speak regularly regarding our children but I cannot force her to do something she does not want to do. I have learned, the hard way, to give her the room that she needs because I need for our kids to have as little stress in their lives regarding this divorce.

I worked Friday night and had to work Saturday night so that meant that after a 12 hour shift I had to hop in a car and drive 2 and half hours up to get my son so I could get drive 2 and half hours back to be in time to grab a couple of hours sleep and then get up and go back to work for another 12 hour shift. Not a fun day in that regard but seeing my entire family made it all worth wile.

It was 10am when I got there and I asked them all if they were hungry and they all were, however, the son that lives with me wanted to go home right away-more on that in a bit. We ended up going over to Denny's where the waitress didn't believe me when I told her that we were all celebrating our birthday that day(you can eat for free at Denny's on your birthday).

It was busy when we got there and Roni(my former wife) went in and gave them her name and the number in our party(Yay! A party!). As we were waiting she jumped up and ran up to the hostess and told them that she gave the wrong number for our group. She had given 6 instead of 7. I chuckled as I know that she didn't mean anything by the 6 instead of 7, it just was what it was.

Well we all got seated and I was trying to not be rude and to speak with everyone including her and I looked at her and it hit me: she is not my enemy! She was the woman that I spent 19 years of my life with, 15 of those married(we dated for 4 years of college) and had 5 glorious children with. How could I be angry with her no matter what her divorcing me meant? I was not looking at her for restoring our marriage, as I am not certain that I would even want that back, yet I saw the person that I fell in love with way back when.

It was hard to speak with her as I think that she may have been nervous too and I felt bad that we both may have been experiencing these feelings. I have noticed, and Saturday was no exception, that she rarely looks me in the eyes. I always attributed this to her not loving me anymore and that she disdains me. Yet, some female friends have told me that she may be experiencing guilt over the divorce and that is why she can't look me in the eye. I don't know, maybe it is that.

There was laughter there as the kids were joking around and Roni and I laughed along. I even made her laugh with a comment that alluded to our first year of marriage and something funny that happened then. I didn't plan on making the comment but it was just one of those things. She giggled and I felt good.

Well we ate our meal and then after much hugging and kissing of my kids the 4 got in her van and the one got in my car with me and we went our separate ways. On the ride home I asked my son why he wanted to head home so quickly and he said that he was nervous about his mom and me being together, that we might start fighting or something. I told him that I was a bit nervous too but that his mom and I had to learn to be together in those situations for the benefit of the kids and each other. I told him that his mom and I had to learn to be acquaintances again before we could even be friends again. After that is in God's hands but I would be happy to be able to just be friends with her and to talk every week or two about our kids.

I do wish her happiness as I believe that she deserves it and I know that she has a lot to offer. I am thankful for this way that I see her know as I know carrying anger towards her around was not good for me, my kids, or her.

I live, I grow, I learn.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Back in the Saddle...


I have not been on my beloved Canondale bicycle since I was hit by a car whilst riding to work on June 1st of 2006. I have many reasons for not getting back upon it and the main one had to do with my mind just not being ready for it. When I moved into my current residence I lived about 150 yards away from a bike shop. My bike was fine and suffered no damages from the accident, it was just me that got banged up pretty bad. No, the only reason that I would bring my bike into the shop would be for a tune up. Several months ago the bike shop moved even closer to my home and is literally just up the street about 50 yards or so, and it seems that someone is trying to tell me shake it off and be a man!

Well I finally brought my bike in to get her tuned up as the recent warm weather has convinced me that it is time to get back on my horse, so to speak. I thought that I would be able to get her on Monday but the bike shop is closed until later this morning (Thursday) for Easter.

I must admit I am a bit excited to get her back and to start riding my Beast of the East. It is time. I kind of feel like a kid on Christmas Eve who can't get to sleep in the hopes that he wakes to a bike under, or at least near, the Christmas tree. Well I know my bike is there and I am still revved up to get it back.

I will keep you posted as to how it all pans out.

Oh, do you like my mug at the top of the Blog? Kind of big isn't it? Well if someone can tell me how to shrink it and make it fit the banner I would appreciate it, and that means you MacFixer!

Well peace to all and to all Canondale dreams. Must get some sleep since it is 4AM and I have to work tonight.

Be Good, But Not Boring!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

10 Songs

1. You Are the Space Invader (An Optimo Espacio Mix)-Prinzhorn Dance School
Not sure where I heard this first. I think it was watching TV and I just heard a snippet of it. I Googled the lyrics that I heard and got the name of this song. I went to iTunes and found this funky little number. I dig it for the beat and the fact that it is just a different song. Its rhythm is infectious.

2. Wise Up-Aimee Mann
I was watching the movie Magnolia (an interesting flick to say the least) and at one point all of the characters started singing this song. It was nothing flashy as they were all just sitting there singing along with this song. Very poignant lyrics that, at 2AM, spoke to me in a profound way about my life.

3. Dreams I'll Never See-Molly Hatchet
Man do I miss Southern Rock! This is actually a cover of The Allman Brothers Band's song Dreams. The two are fantastic yet Dreams is more Bluesy while Hatchet's version is a bit more lively with a touch of hope in it. I love this song and it speaks to me about not giving up on your dreams.

4. Kiss and Say Goodbye-The Manhattans
I'd forgotten this classic oldie until the other day. I just love the singing on it and the fact that the guy realizes that his affair was wrong and that it should end. It is a great Karaoke song.

5. Down in Mexico-The Coasters
I was watching Death Proof by Quentin Tarantino when I heard this song and fell in love with it. It's got a lot of spunk and pizazz. A great dancing song.

6. Into the Open-Heartless Bastards
So I was watching Cinemax and they were doing a lot of teasers for the movie 300 in late February. In these teasers there was this haunting song playing to the slow motion images of the battle scenes. I just heard snippets of lyrics, but not enough to get the song from Google. So I just Googled "The song on the 300 teaser from Cinemax" and darned if the title didn't just pop up. It is a great song and the lead singer has a smoky, raspy voice and the lyrics are wonderful. Check it out. And yeah I watch a lot of movies.

7. Tightrope-Stevie Ray Vaughan
Pound for pound, in my humble opinion, he was the greatest Rock and R&B guitarist to ever have wielded and axe. The guy knew how to make a guitar literally cry. This song came out just as he was getting clean and sober which was right before his untimely death. I love the song for its lyrics which are about forgiveness and for its wailing guitar.

8. Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)-Kate Bush
I have always loved Kate Bush's ethereal sound and this song is timeless. Released in the mid 80s it still carries a lot of umph as far as its content and style. Another song that has gained meaning in my life over the past several years or so.

9. Worried About You-The Rolling Stones
This song is off of their Tattoo You album which, imho, is one of their most complete and best albums. This song captures the strength of Mick Jagger's voice back when the Stones actually rocked and weren't sellouts like they are now.

10. All Mixed Up-Redhouse Painters
This is a cover an older, lesser known Cars tune. I set my iTunes for shuffle one night and it was amazing to find out what I had forgotten was there. I like this version of the song a little better than the original.

Check these songs out and let me know what you think.

Have Fun!

Monday, March 17, 2008

St. Patrick's Day

Back when I was in seminary I did a 20 page paper on the life of St. Patrick. It was not an easy task as hard facts about the man are few and far between while fables about him seem to have flourished. He was actually a Roman citizen who was abducted by Irish raiders and brought from England to Ireland when he just sixteen. This happen circa A.D. 403.

He escaped from his captors after some time with them learning their ways and customs. After returning home to England he had an Epiphany experience much akin to St. Paul's in Acts where he had a dream of a man beckoning him (Paul )to come to Macedonia to spread the Gospel. Patrick had dream much like that where his captors begged him to come back with the Light of Christ to bring them out of the darkness. So Patrick answered the call and was very successful in bringing the Christian faith to the Irish people. It wasn't easy but his faith led him through many hardships.

St. Patrick is credited with driving the snakes out of Ireland. I guess to this day there are no indigenous species of snakes there. I believe it is just an allegory of him bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Ireland and driving out the devil (the snake of the pre-Fall Genesis). Again it is just allegory, in my humble opinion as the Irish (of which I am one) are still people who commit sins. However, we are a devout people and full of wonderful stories and a love of family.

The Shamrock, or three leafed clover, was used by Patrick to explain the Trinity to the Irish as the hills were covered with them. Just a little fun fact.

I think that it is sad that on this day, the day we memorialize Patrick's death, that we indulge in drunken tom foolery. Many people I know just think of St. Patrick's Day as a day to get drunk and act the fool. What a shame that many honor this man of God with acts of sinfulness.

I guess that is just how things are nowadays but people of God don't have to go along with. Now don't get me wrong I love the occasional beer and am not a teetotaler. I am an Irish Lutheran (yeah go figure but some of us do exist). Beer is mother's milk to Irish and almost a Sacrament to the Lutherans. Yet, moderation is the key.

So if you are out and about tonight, have fun but don't get drunk. And remember what Patrick was all about. And if you are living apart from Jesus then drop me a line and I will gladly tell you all about the greatest Man to have ever lived who gave the greatest gift ever given. Patrick new Him and spread His Word. Honor what he stood for.


P.S. Please no green beer tonight. That is bush league!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Things I Am Learning from Divorce

Growing up the only thing I ever knew about divorce was that Elizabeth Taylor had done it 5 times or more. It wasn't something that I gave much thought to as I never saw me divorcing the person that I married. I must admit that it never occurred to me that my wife-to-be would someday fall out of love with me and want out.

During this time of soul searching and awakenings I have heard people talk about divorce as a door to freedom, of course those were the people who wanted out. I never wanted out and for a time I wanted it back and right now I confess that I don't really know what I want. It hasn't been until that last 10 months or so that the hurt finally caught up to me, and the anger. Oh, how the anger has caught up to me!

For the first two years or so I was pretty cool with my feelings and making excuses for my ex-wife (as an aside I just recently came to terms with calling her my ex. Before then it just didn't feel right). Some would say that I was in denial, and maybe I was. I have sought some counseling over this as people have said that going through a divorce is akin to mourning the death of a loved one and I can see the truth in that.

I find it strange how it hits me out of nowhere that I have been rejected by the person that I loved the most, other than God. I was watching TV the other day and saw a movie that I had not seen in a long, long time and had first watched it with my wife. The reality of me watching it alone in my apartment without her hit me and I started to bawl like a baby. The same thing happened right before Christmas. I had all our children and I was trying to make it as special as I could. It was then that I realized that she knew how to make Christmas special with all of her projects and baking and other things. It was her gift. I cried then too when I understood it all.

I am coming around to it all. I wish her the best and pray for her. I know that she is seeing other men and that hurts, but it was bound to happen. She is young and attractive. I talk about dating, but it remains only talk. I think about it, but somehow it doesn't feel right. When it is the right time it will happen, or so I am told. Right now I am focusing my energies on my kids, and I believe that it should be that way.

I have learned a lot about myself through all of this. Most of it positive, some of it not. I know that I was a good husband, perhaps not the best but one that most women would die for. Not bragging here, because I never believed that while I was married.

I also realized that I am an encourager and heap praise on those around me. I love doing it because when I see it I need to let people know. I know the importance of hearing an affirmation at the right moment, the uplifting feeling of knowing that someone cares enough to say it. The hard part is when it doesn't comeback and you end up emptying yourself because of it. We all need praise and affirmation and so I give it still because in my eyes it is the thing to do. However, even now I confess that I crave it and don't see much of it. Maybe that is my lot in life, my cross to bear, and other than this sentence right here I have never mentioned my feelings on that to anyone. I guess I just want to hear that I matter to someone. Sounds kind of selfish, I know but I pledged to be honest when I started this blog way back when.

One of things that I have discovered through the course of my divorce is that I missed my music. I have always been into music as I believe that it is the language that brings people together, expresses one's soul, and makes life bearable. When I got married I got away from listening to music for the sheer pleasure of it mainly because my wife did not like my musical styles. So I capitulated and gave into her wants and listened to what she liked: Pop and Country and Western. Well I have rediscovered myself through my music. Right now I am listening to my iTunes library on shuffle and am hearing some wonderful Jazz, Rock, Techno, and World Music. I have very little Pop and only old school C&W like Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson.

In some areas of myself I am coming back to life while I have died in others. I am still learning as I move forward but that is the thing to remember: I AM moving FORWARD. I am learning to crawl again but soon I will be walking on my own and then eventually I will run. First things first. Situation's still developing. More to come in time.

Be Good!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Sea Refuses No River

I grew up on Long Island Sound. Not a gigantic body of water, but it was salt and had outlets to the ocean. I love the ocean. It has called to me ever since I was young. I would spend as much time as I could at the beach or on the water. I would got to friends summer homes on the Jersey Shore or up to Boston to visit with them and to see the ocean. I remember going to Maryland as a kid and standing on the beach with the Atlantic lapping its waves on my feet. I was in heaven.

I loved, especially, after spending an entire day at the beach when I would take a deep breath and feel my lungs tighten with a slight pain from at the salt sea air. There is nothing like the smell of the beach at low tide. Kind of funky and malodorous, yet something intriguing about it.

My most favorite times at the beach were in a storm or during winter. The sea is frightening yet mesmerizing at the same time. I can sit on a dock or a boat or the beach during the storms or winter and just lose myself in thought and feel as if I could float away in the breeze.

I remember the first time heading out in a friends catamaran where we lost sight of the shore. I was petrified and excited at the same time. I expected some terrible sea monster to lurch up out of the waters and swallow us whole. I deemed it a fitting way to die. Then my fear left me. It was then I wanted to head further out to the deeps. It seems my fear had turned into respect and that respect lives on today.

I never learned to sail myself, but I have read books about it. I have a dream about circumnavigating the globe in a yacht just to see of what I am made. Could I complete the journey? I don't know but I would love to try. I envision it all with me being alone, though I would love to be accompanied by a beautiful woman who shared my dreams and passions and was madly in love with me. However, I don't think any of those types of women exist sadly enough. I am the kind of guy, it seems of late, that women don't mind having around but never give a second thought or glance to. It is what is and I guess I am coming to terms with living out my days alone. What did Barbara Mandrell used to sing? "Sleeping single in a double bed." That is the cruelest fate of all.

So I turn to my love of the sea. It is much like a woman with its steely beauty that can change from peaceful serenity into a gale storm in a minute. It holds beauty untold and can transport you anywhere and yet it can be silent and still and leave you wondering if the tranquility can last forever.

While the sea can be unforgiving it is also welcoming. It, in the words of Pete Townshend, ...refuses no river. It doesn't care how dirty or pristine the river is it accepts it, welcomes it, blends with it. It holds life and whispers death. It contains creatures we don't even know about. There is more known about space then there is about the depths of the ocean. It is mysterious and I find that enticing. Compared to the ocean I am an insignificant speck and yet men like me have learned to harness its power and thrive in it and with it.

I live far from the ocean, smack dab in the middle of the country and I do not like swimming in rivers, or lakes, or ponds. They hold no appeal for me. To immerse myself into on of those bodies would be like being unfaithful to Lady Ocean. I can't do that, and so I don't. The sea calls to me, and if I am lucky enough to see a seagull I am filled with a brief joy and happiness that I have only ever found on or near the sea.

I am living on dry land and I am haunted by the ocean.

Friday, March 7, 2008

It's My Birthday!

Whooppee! Another year older! Yay!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Stop Winking at Me!

There is a guy at work who seems to be a really nice man. I don't know him all that well aside from the casual conversations of "How are doing today?", and the like. He is a large man and appears to be a hard worker. However he doesn't wear a belt. Doesn't wear a belt? So what? you ask. Sure it sounds weird until you see him bending over a piece of machinery or stooping down to get something out of a vending machine and then see him winking at you. No, not with his eye, but with his plumber's crack. Man I see that thing at least 4 times a night and I really don't want to look at it anymore. Not that I WANTED to look at it in the first place.

The people that I spend my breaks with sit near the vending machines. The tables are towards the back of the break room and it is just the place where we congregate, play cards, eat our meals, talk about life, and generally give each other crap, in a friendly way. Me, being the good Lutheran that I am, sit with my back to the wall so I can see everything that goes on in the break room. I may have to re-think my Lutheranism in general and sit elsewhere so as not to see the MONSTER eyeing me anymore.

Everyone at the table knows that this guy is showing his crack with wreckless abandon. As a matter of fact they know when he enters the room as I usually say something to one of them like, "You must be on crack", or "Krakatoa was a violent explosion." Cute? Maybe. Subtle? Not so much.

I keep challenging my break mates to drop a quarter into his crack when he is bending over the vending machines and to say something like, "OH! I'm sorry I thought that was the coin slot for the machine." They are chickens, one and all and never go for it. And if you are thinking that I am a chicken I am not. I just feel that if I come up with the idea someone else should carry it out. Hey, I can't be the brains and the brawn of our breaks.

So, basically this post is written in the hopes that if you are a crack baby that you will pull your pants up, wear a belt and stop winking at the world. And if you know someone, anyone, exposing their evil eye then you should approach them and let them know of their offense. You can even do it while giving them a belt as a token of appreciation for them to cease and desist from their shame.

Are you with me on this? Make it happen!


BTW-The pic at the top is not of the guy or his eye. It is just there for exemplary purposes.