Saturday, October 31, 2009

Truth or Chocolate?

     2000 years ago what we know as Ireland, England and northern France today, was the Celtic Empire. It was believed that the 1st day of    November marked the end of the harvest and the last days of Summer.  Soon would come the cold days of winter.  Samhain, believed to be the God of Death would allow on this one day of the year, all of the souls of those who had left the earth, to return to their homes.  This of course terrified the people who would run into the fields to stear clear of the ghosts and goblins that were sure to inhabit their homes and town centers and mini malls and Starbucks.

     Now, somehow  throughout the course of the 2000 years that have gone by, the tradition has been distorted and reshaped into something that..................well something that scores me a lot of chocolate.  So, get those kids into their Hannah Montana costumes and send them out there into the world with their pillow cases and well versed chants about  smelling feet which apparently makes them hungry, hungry for only something good to eat.  Get out there and make Samhain proud........ I can't wait to do quality control on the chocolate goods...........What?  You have to run several tests to make sure that the candy is good. Right?  HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Research Is Complete And Now It's Time To Do

     A few days ago I posted a similar picture brought to you by the nice folks over at Google Earth of this hill that I all of a sudden after 4 years of living in my house at the base of, feel compelled to climb.  Today, I revisit this topic because this is how important it has become. 

     Yesterday, I was hanging out with a dear friend of mine who grew up under the shadow of this hill.  I told him that I was going to climb to the summit just to prove to myself that I can do it and to make the damn thing quit taunting me every time I am out and about in town.  There is nowhere in town that I can go to be out of its sight.  A quick moment passes with no response, but then he says to me with I smile, "I've done it.  I've done it a handful of times and it is awesome up there.  Just do yourself a favor and don't go up there on a day where there is even the slightest hint of a breeze down here. Because if there is a breeze down here it is wicked windy up there."   At this point we get into my truck, (it's a dark blue GMC Sierra with custom wheels, a billet grill and a snug top on the back for those who are trying to keep the paint of their mental picture fresh) and drive around the neighborhood and up into the hills to the east of this rocky peak to get a look from all angles.

     So here we are, the research is complete, I have exploited every angle that Google Earth has to offer, I have gone into the field to see it with the naked eye.  The time for preparing and just talking about it have faded into the shadows.  Now....... Now is the time to start doing.  When I say now, I don't actually mean right this minute, I do have to go to work today.  I say now as in, now it's a plan and not just an idea.  I am going to invite my friend Mark to join me for a number of reasons.  He is an extreme outdoorsman, he has a new Canon EOS T1I that will shoot this endeavor in full 1080p, and I think that he would enjoy this just as much as I will.

     Will you stay tuned to see the real life pictures taken from the peak?  Do you think I can do this?  Do I think I can do it?  Let's just go for it! 


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Farewell To Greatness

     Ladies and gentlemen, the captain has just turned off the TOO MUCH INFORMATION filter and would like to warn you that what you are about to read is not going to be pretty.

     I'm 35.  I'm 35 for one more week and the gravity of 36 is beginning to pull things in the wrong direction.  The hair on my head has statred its migration to my upper and middle back.  I have told the girl who cuts my hair (less frequently than she used to I might add) that when the flesh yarmulke becomes the focal point of my dome, she needs to just pull out the clippers without warning and just shave my head.  This started out as a joke but I fear that the day when it becomes a reality is much closer than I had anticipated.

     I remember being a strong 16 year old kid painting the trim on my Mom's friend's house.  With one foot on the roof the ladder slipped out from under me and SPLAT!  Flat on my back on the driveway from about 10 feet up.  I remember laying there for a moment wondering if I was dead or if I had actually just defied the laws of physics.  Nothing hurt, nothing seemed out of place.  I slowly rose to my feet, checked to see if there was blood pouring from any of my orifices....  Nope, all good.  I looked at the pavement on the driveway and asked it, "Are you ok?"  I was unstoppable and it was awesome.

     At 35, I wake up in the morning to the screaming of a stiff lower back that takes at least 30 minutes to cooperate.  My Achilles tendons, the ones that are supposed to give me the spring in my step act like bungy coards that are stretched to their limits and leave me walking like Frankenstein down the stairs to get the kid off to school. 

     At 35 my eyelids are starting to hang over themselves to the point where I can see them in my line of vision.  They are drooping from the top down like a pair of socks that have lost their elastic.

     At 35, you start to remember all of the little comments you used to hear your grandparents make about their age and you begin to realize that these comments are not too far away from coming out of your mouth too.  Some may say that they age like a fine wine and to them I communicate the only sign language that I can remember.  I tend to be aging like a fine cheese.  No, not a sharp cheddar or muenster or even a tasty brie.  No, I am aging like one of those Danish cheeses that you can smell from a mile away.  It stinks to think about not being unstoppable anymore. The time has come to bid a fond farewell to the greatness of my younger years.  Now, I will take things just a little slower and maybe see more of life instead of rushing through with reckless abandon.   I know what you're thinking.  36 is not old, and you're right, but 36 is older than I want to be.  There is no evidence of the kid who used to live in this body and I think that is where the struggle lies.

     So, at 35 and 358 days I come to grips with the fact that there is nothing that I can do to stop the decomposition of my youth, so I might as well look in the mirror, point and laugh at the guy I see and keep on keepin' on.





Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Muck And Mire

     This photo was taken from my window seat on an Alaska Airlines flight on our way home from Seattle.

     When I looked down on the Emerald City from this perspective, I was reminded of of how life can often be a lot like looking at a Van Gogh painting at less than arm's length.  As we wade in the muck and mire of our every day routine and focus on the individual brush strokes of the world we live in, we have to remember to take a few steps back (or in this case up) to get a good look at the big picture.  Every time I look at this pic, I think about how small I am in the overall scheme of things and how even smaller the things that we worry about are despite how huge they might seem when we are knee deep in it.  Take a step back, breathe in some fresh air, take it all in and get over yourself every once in a while.

     I see a pattern forming here in my last couple of posts, and all signs are pointing to the need for a vacation.  The boss and I are planning a trip or two in the next couple of months.  Perhaps a trip to San Francisco with the kids followed by a little winter (if you call what we have in So. Cal. Winter) camping (and what I mean by camping is camping in a trailer with a heater and hot running water with a shower and a king size bed).  Until then , my self motivating posts will continue to hold me over until we really get the chance to decompress.  I always seem to wait too long between vacations and let myself get to the point of extreme burnout.  How foolish is that?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Never Wonder

     A few months ago, I decided to actually LIVE my life.  Nothing drastic, no affairs, no new sports cars, no Hair Club for Men.  Just live life like I want to.  Let's be realistic though, I am a married man with two young daughters, so to rephrase, I am going to live my life like I want to with frequent stops to compromise.  Because let's face it, little girls aren't always going to like my ideas. 

     My new found liberation has started with small steps.  For instance, I have been trying a lot of different foods that you don't find on a lot of mainstream menus.  I had cow tongue tacos not too long ago and let me tell you , once you get past the fact that it looks like cubed cow tongue, it is absolutely delicious.  I tried cabeza (cow head) tacos as well.  I guess what that is is just the muscle tissue around the skull of the cow.  Equally as delicious and equally as disturbing as the tongue tacos.  I tried pickeled herring the other day too.  That tastes exactly how you think it would taste, not delicious but not horrible either.  I wont be rushing to Costco to buy the 10 gallon jar of it any time soon. Next will be menudo.  My friends laugh at me because I have been talking about it for months and still haven't done it.  Why do these things?  I want to do these things so that I can say that I did these things.  I never want to wonder what something is like as long as I have the ability to find out on my own.

     My latest endeavor is this hill back behind my house.  Lately, when I pull out of the driveway, this hill seems to stare down at me as if to be challenging me.  I see you standing there with your tall vertical peak and I don't think you know who you're dealing with.  You are no Everest that's for sure.  You are a miniscule 1600 feet and I will stand on your summit one day soon. 

     So many of us are living just to work.  We go to work, we come home to eat and sleep just to go back to work the next day.  What are we ants?  Are we bees?  This just seems like such an incredible waste of what could potentially be an amazing existence.  I'm not saying we all need to quit our jobs and meander through life without any cares or responsibilities (but that would be cool right?).  What I am saying is that if we change our herd mentality and we work to live instead of live to work, we might have a lot more fun. 

     I challenge you my friends, to get out there and LIVE your lives, really LIVE it.  Never wonder what could have been when instead you can say, "remember when?" 

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I Am Not Who I Am

     I am the nice guy.  I am the Teddy Bear.  I am the guy you come to if you're looking for a good laugh.  I am the compassionate one.  I am the guy who will get it done and get it done right the first time, or at least delegate it to the right people who will get it done right the first time.  I AM WRONG ABOUT ALL OF THE ABOVE!

     I am a manager for a large company, and I manage a lot of people on any given day.  Some of these people I know very well and they know me to be the guy who I have described above.  Some of the people don't know me very well, which is where the heart of this post beats like a tympany.

     There is a woman who has worked in my building for less than a year or a year at the very most.  Other than the occasional smile and or obligatory "hello", we really don't know each other at all.  The other day, she happened to be near me while I was joking and laughing with one of my subordinates.  I saw her look at me and then double take as if I had a booger on my cheek or something.  So, I say to her with a lingering smile still hanging on my face, "What's up?"  Her response was that she hadn't ever seen my teeth, she had never seen me smile and that to her I have always seemed so stoic and intimidating.  Stoic?..............Stoic?    I have never in all of my life been refered to as stoic.  Intimidating perhaps, but never stoic.  So, with my quick wit, forked tongue and newly discovered stoic intimidation, I looked her straight in the eye and said,"When you say stoic, do you mean stoic like I am as solid as a rock and an unwavering pillar of this organization, or do you mean stoic like my brain is an indifferent rock rattling around in my skull?"  Needless to say we have laughed and joked about it every day since and she seems to be a lot more comfortable around me than she did before.

     What I have taken from this unintended misrepresentation of my own identity is that, you are not who you are, you are who other people perceive you to be.  Whether they are wrong about you or not, that's who you are to them.  If you look at it that way, does it change the way you conduct yourself or do you just keep being who you perceive yourself to be?

     There's no place like, "My Process".

Friday, October 23, 2009

If I Only Knew How To Ask

      My wife took this photo of our daughter and her Grandmother a few months ago, and when I saw it, I couldn't help but wonder what could have been going through their minds as they sat there together.

     " I see depths of wisdom in your eyes, a wisdom that can only come from a long life lived.  I see stories both  told and untold, they are written on your face.  I wish that you would tell me those stories, and I wish that you would share your wisdom with me.  I wish that you would tell me what life has in store for me.  If I only knew how to ask."

     "Sweet child, I see a world of opportunity and a world of dreams laid out before you.  I hope that you will chase those dreams and seize every opportunity that comes your way.  I hope that you will share your dreams with me, and I hope that we can share our stories.  I hope  you will know that I am here for you no matter what you may need.  You don't even have to ask."

     We tend to get so wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of every day life and sometimes lose sight of what really matters.  I wrote this post today not only to share this great picture, but to reel myself back in towards what is important, my family.  This is how I keep my job from consuming me.  This is "My Process."










Thursday, October 22, 2009

Welcomed Idleness

Tonight, as I sat at my daughter's soccer practice going over the mental checklist of things that I had planned on or at least said that I was planning on doing today, I realized, with a guilt free smile on my face, not really caring who might see me smiling to myself, that I hadn't accomplished a damn thing all day.  You see where I'm going here don't ya?  Aside from having lunch at my favorite Mexican joint, messing around on the computer, and sitting for an hour and a half watching my daughter play soccer, I never intended to get anything done today in the first place.  Great Caesar's ghost, that burrito was everything I wanted it to be and then some.  How do you make a perfect burrito every time?  Perhaps I shouldn't question a good thing.  Today was my day off , and for the first time in a long long time, I was actually able to have a day with zero obligations.  Quite honestly, I had forgotten what it felt like to have a day where there was nothing that had to be done, where there were no phone calls that had to be made, and where life didn't toss me a curveball.  So, as I sat on the sidelines of that soccer field on this beautiful Southern California evening in my little beach chair, watching the sun set over the hills to my west, locking my fingers together behind my head as I leaned back smiling because I had pulled it off for once.  I quickly snapped back to reality and realized that I am going to miss my new friend, "Idleness".  It was a relationship that was never meant to be in the first place I suppose, but we will always have this one day to look back on fondly.  Back to the loud, fast paced world of Corporate America and parenthood first thing tomorrow morning.  Sometimes it's the simple things in life that can bring us the most joy........Isn't it?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Riding The Wave of Parenthood

     When I originally took this photo, I didn't know why I felt so compelled to do so, but subconsciously must have known that it would one day serve a purpose.  As it turns out, that purpose ended up being this little blog with 3 followers, none of whom really give a damn about what some stranger from California has to say. 

     Being the father of two young girls and the husband of a beautiful wife, I find myself grossly outnumbered in almost every circumstance.  It often feels as though the uterine walls are closing in around me and there is no chance of escape.  As one can imagine, living in a house full of girls, a man has to grow accustomed to the sound of crying either up close or in the next room almost at all times.  Trying to find commom ground between an 8 year old girl and a 35 year old man  is always a challenge.  Wanting to watch the game, drink beer and scratch myself in inappropriate places will never be a popular decision in this house and can only be done when the girls are out doing whatever the girls go out to do.

     Being the father of two young girls and the husband of a beautiful wife, I find myself loved unconditionally no matter what the circumstance.  It often feels as if that love grows every day and that there is no chance of ever being alone.  As one can imagine, living in a house full of girls, a man has to grow accustomed to the sound of laughter and singing either up close or in the next room almost at all times.  When common ground is found between an 8 year old girl and a 35 year old man, it makes it all worth it.  All of a sudden, watching the game, drinking beer and scratching myself in inappropriate places doesn't seem as important as it used to.

     This is the wave of parenthood, and for as long or as short as it lasts, shouldn't we enjoy the ride? 



Friday, October 16, 2009

The Week In Review. It's All A Blurrrrr

It was a busy week. Worked 6 days straight, didn't sleep much, rain one day, 90 degrees the next, boy flew away in a helium balloon and then he didn't fly away in a helium balloon, 2 So. Cal teams in the playoffs, cat left footprints on my otherwise spotless truck, racist judge who claims not to be racist but doesn't like interracial marriages wouldn't marry an interracial couple (what a damn shame it's 2009 for the love of God), people die in sweat lodge, this long, blurred week is over and so is this looong run on sentence.  Have a great weekend.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Butthead No Longer

66 days ago, I made the decision to stop smoking.  I had tried several times before only to fail miserably.  It took me a while to figure out how I have been able to succeed so much easier this time and thought I'd share what has changed my mindset completely.  On days 7 & 8 of this mission to live smoke free, I felt like a crack addict, (or at least what Hollywood has portrayed a crack addict to be) all curled up and miserable.  I tried to give myself any and every possible excuse to light up.  It was at that point when I realized what this journey was going to be all about.  When you quit smoking, there is no finish line, no one is going to be there to cheer you on, trumpets are not going to blare and a flock of doves will not circle above to honor your success.  The only reward is going to be a healthier life and the pride you take in knowing that you have been able to defeat a very difficult habit to break.  Don't get me wrong, I don't consider myself out of the woods by any means here at the 66 day mark, but I am standing strong and I have the right attitude this time.  I wake up every morning and tell myself, "You are a butthead no longer." 

A Little Justice

So, today I saw a Lamborghini get pulled over by the Highway Patrol.  I don't know the driver of the car, and I'm sure he's probably a nice enough guy, but as I drove by him I giggled a little.  I giggled because in a way I felt like justice had been served.  Not because this guy had been driving too fast or perhaps because the officer just wanted to get a closer look at the car.  No, justice had been served for those of us who work our butts off and still don't have the means to be able to afford such a beautiful automobile.  In the end, no harm done I suppose.  I got a good laugh at the way my mind works and the driver of that car can afford to pay the fine.  Welcome to, "My Process."