Life Lessons

Life Lessons

Since I’m around my daughter 50%, or less, of her life these days, there are things which I’ll always feel are important to have her learn, with or without my assistance. The opportunities for these lessons aren’t always evident, and usually, are quick moments when a parenting trigger is flipped and the chance has to be taken immediately or else it loses context and meaning.

cecelia and her apple

APPLE!

These events happen when my daughter is with me or with other people of course. They revolve around her life and are meant to provide guidance as to how to make strategic and important decisions through her life and shape the path she follows, hopefully, more towards personal fulfillment, success, and happiness, and not what lies along so many treacherous but tempting offshoots along that path. The details and shiny things present themselves endlessly through life, and as a parent, I feel it’s part of my job to teach her how to decide hot to approach, engage, or walk away from such distractions or opportunities, and how to distinguish between the two at the very least.

As I embark down this trail with her by my side, apart from her mother and others that inject themselves into her life along the way, I have to be careful and conscious of how they are presented on many levels. But at the core, my will is to have something she can always use to learn from and help her navigate herself through life, which becomes more intrepid with every tick of the clock, I’ve found.

I’ve approached her mother with concerning situations Cecelia has mentioned to me out of the blue, which was not only tossed to the wayside when retold as folly, but taken steps further and turned into serious accusations, again, against me about creating imaginary situations involving people I don’t even know and planting harmful and strange violent scenarios into our daughter’s head for reasons I can’t even fathom and don’t even want to try to imagine. It renders me as a malicious sociopath, which if were the case, I don’t believe I’d be free to walk the streets, much less have joint custody of our daughter. So the challenges I have before me to help Cecelia hopefully are apparent and real to anyone who ever reads this. It’s a situation akin to having someone drive straight into your car, and then call foul when the situation realistically and by necessity, evaluates their driving and the incidental consequences. You want to help those that are the most exposed by the accident, but the other driver is more concerned about getting out of the situation as best as they see themselves entitled to, no matter what steps must be taken.

Since I take the time to craft deliberate and thoughtful approaches to help Cecelia, and then have them tossed into the trash, that’s not the result I aim for. So I’ve decided to write down my advice to her and maintain them here and in digital storage for her or anyone to use as they see fit. It’s not for my benefit, inasmuch as seeing my daughter grow up to be healthy and happy is my benefit, and not to harm anyone, since I have no enemies of my own I’ve made. Others may see me as theirs, but that’s the situation they’ve created in their own world and something I can’t or don’t want to be involved in. People’s perceptions are their own. I write things down here for the world to read and see because I try to live my life as an open book for others to judge. I have nothing to hide and all I want to be remembered for, or at least one thing is to have been a helpful person, especially as it relates to my daughter and raising her. I’m open to any ideas and suggestions that are available that might be beneficial at any time, which I have stated here, there and everywhere.

So with that preface, I’m going to begin assembling some life lessons for her here that can be utilized and not hidden and thrown away never to be considered or discussed as they normally would between two parents about their child. They are lessons I’ve learned through my near half-century life, and should be regarded as something to think about, act upon, discuss, wisdom to heed, or even dismissed, but at least not without the same diligence I’m using to present them. They are lessons I’ve learned by trial and fire, as I was raised, and certainly aren’t a one-size-fits-all toolbox of remedies. But if I can provide an ounce of prevention to avoid a pound of cure, then it’s working.

Look Out 2019!

Look Out 2019!

Here are some things I’m thinking about as we enter into a new futuristic year, where I couldn’t have imagined what it would be like back in the 1980’s. Some things have moved faster than expected, some more slowly, some have failed to emerge and some have shifted into the still unfathomable.

I just finished cleaning the house, mopping the floors, steam cleaning the rugs and sterilizing everything in anticipation of my little girl’s next visit. She still pops things off the floor into her mouth, although she’s starting to grasp the concept of germs and get the connection between them and sickness. Thanks to my lecturing, some gross cartoons she’s found and setting examples for her, of course. She’s three, so I don’t blame her for doing it whatsoever. But knowing she will do that, I take the responsible step of always cleaning my house prior to her visits, otherwise, I’m to blame for her getting sick if she drops her pacifier and pops it back in her mouth while here. I realize not every parent does this and I’m not trying to disparage others who prefer to be lazy, let their children get sick, risk others getting sick from them, and then take their children to the doctor after they get sick and send half the bill to the other parent to pay. But those types of people do exist. And they will naturally attract other unrefined slobs who, for example, see nothing wrong with blowing their noses in towels and making other people sick that way.

While cleaning I was listening to a webcast of Bob Weir’s New Year Eve’s show in Kauai’s North Shore, Hawaii at the Crazy Rooster Ranch, which I bought the HD version of online, and it sounds unbelievable on my sound system. As good as if I were there, and a front-row view as well. I bought it because I saw the set list on Twitter, which was short, but impressive. My favorites were all on there. I’m going to try and download/upload it here or somewhere.

I saw Bob play here in Louisville a couple of months ago and it was a good show. He was with the Wolf Bros, and a three-piece band at the Lousiville Theater was a nice way to spend a night and go home “early.” But this show was pretty alarming. It was bad. I wanted to give them the benefit of a doubt, but it sounded like an unrehearsed bunch of middle-aged guys trying to get a Dead cover band together for the first time. No one was leading, Bob played like he was on valium, which at his age and his schedule I don’t fault him for, but it was an acoustic mess to me. nothing jelled, nothing surged, nothing really made it special. That’s a hard thing for me to say/write, because I listen to the Dead’s play nearly every waking minute of every day in some fashion, whether it be bluegrass covers, different ensembles of the members of the Grateful Dead like Jerry and some of his friends, NRPS, or straight-up bootlegs or recordings of which there are thousands. Sure, I listen to other stuff, but I would guess it’s 80/20.

I wonder if Bob will just keep playing until he croaks on stage. I’m sure he would like to. He’s not doing it for the money, but he is charging people to hear/see him play, and at some point, it’s going to start selling a false bill of goods. People go to his shows for different reasons, but does he really want to keep doing what he’s doing until the value runs out for the audience? I would hope not. I hope he’s not that self-centered. He can still play when and wherever he wants, and he does have a young wife and family after all. I wonder what they think about it all. Personally, I wouldn’t put the music before my family but it’s hard to know what he thinks about of course. I think entertainers should go out on top, and he’s gone over the top, in other words. In any case, I still think he’s inspirational and I’m glad I got to see him play in an intimate setting like I did as well as with the Grateful Dead so many times, both with and without Jerry and with and without Brent and with and without Bruce Hornsby. All unforgettable experiences.

I also realized lately, like an octopus, I collect things. Over time I’ve gathered some weird collections of items which I’m going to start galleries of on this website. Some mundane, like baseball hats, of which I have a gazillion dating back decades. And others more interesting like watches and guitars, if you are the pawn shop type.  Fountain pens, old coins, and just piles of collections of old stuff I’ve been lugging around for no reason at all. So if for no other reason than insurance purposes I’m going to spotlight some of them. And for would-be robbers, I also have started a nice collection of guns, so think twice if you’re interested in misappropriating them. A new hobby of mine.

Ain’t Life Grand?

Ain’t Life Grand?

I’m sitting here after just getting back from a Christmas party, reflecting on this year’s Christmas versus last year’s. And I’m feeling very grateful and counting my many thanks. Although last year I still had my sweet dog Annie by my side, right now I have another dog I’m watching laying beside me. And a fire in the fireplace. And the house is completely decorated and ready for Christmas. This is going to be a very good Christmas.

My daughter will be rejoining me in a few days and I cannot wait. I’m as excited about Christmas as she is, because she’s so excited. It’s just a great time of year. She’ll be with me for a long stretch of time and I cannot wait. She’s so much fun at this age.

I have a long gratitude list to write. My cup overfloweth. I’ve managed to dial everything in just right so that I went from last year being in the most miserable place ever to today, where every facet of my life is perfect. Totally amazing. I guess they’re right: you have to hit rock bottom to appreciate all that life has to offer. I’m ready to embrace life with Cecelia by my side and we couldn’t be in a better position to explore this amazing world we live in.

Time to start setting some goals for 2019! And beyond!

grateful for my grate

I know one goal I’m thinking about involves something along the lines of the following:

911s porsche guards red

I think Ronnie Van Zandt said it best in his musical masterpiece: “I’m as free as a bird now and this bird you cannot change.”

My Big Night Out

My Big Night Out

I went to see a Grateful Dead cover band play tonight at a bar/”concert hall,” which I’d been to before but decided to venture out to alone tonight. My daughter is away for Thanksgiving holidays, for TEN days, which is absolute insanity for a parent to legally be away from their child, but that’s the reality of life these days. So having a long holiday weekend has resulted in a days-long overindulgent production of hedonism which has been long overdue.

I’ve been doing different things as a new divorcee for a while but they’re a little more understated than what I went to tonight.  I’m a little more protected, or in a place where I don’t need protection. And I don’t mean from other guys looking for fights or trouble. I mean women looking for trouble, which is far worse.

I don’t drink so my plan was to lurk in the shadows of the bar/concert hall and just enjoy the music for a few hours. And I’m a little down on most females at the moment so I haven’t been looking for any attention from women.

The first set went by no problem and was pretty good. I saw some familiar faces, in fact, which are the same old deadheads that go to these shows when this particular band plays here every time. I’ve been going to see them for 8-years now, amazingly. And the same old people are still showing up to these things. But the second set was when everyone seemed to loosen up a lot.

I guess everyone was pretty buzzed or had an eventful break between sets, or I was emitting a pheromone that smelled like patchouli oil because every snaggle-toothed spinster and over-40 barfly was pulling me out to dance and putting their arms around me. It was like a prank-based television show. People were even noticing how absurd it was and pointing and laughing, rightfully. I’d been in this situation before, so it’s not unfamiliar to me, and I try not to be an utter wallflower in any case.

So I went out and danced some because I was having fun and I’m not a total prude, but they kept wanting to talk and were all obviously kind of drunk. I guess they couldn’t figure out I was there to listen to the band and not socialize since I was, you know, ALONE. But I ended up leaving early just to escape. I now feel like joining the #metoo movement. Here’s some video of me last night: me dancing

So, I’m going to need to restrategize my social callings it seems. Next time at least bring a wingman along or even better: a chick to serve as a decoy.


Imagine Jan Hooks here as a Deadhead. Those are the ladies that go to the shows I go to.

This video made me think of this one, which has nothing to do with anything but is still hilarious. Phil Hartman was the best.

Let Us Give Thanks

Let Us Give Thanks

It will be Thanksgiving in one hour, Eastern time, and although I’m sitting here by myself, it would be hard to recall the last time I was this much at peace and feeling grateful. I make an attempt to remind myself regularly during the day of all the things I should be grateful for, but tomorrow’s the official day most people in America do it. Usually while gorging themselves on plenty of carbohydrates, starch, and butter and before too long whatever’s in the bar or the wine people brought over.

This is my 49th Thanksgiving. That’s a lot of them. Looking back at what I was doing over the years on Thanksgiving is a wild roller coaster ride involving people, places, ups and downs and usually a turkey. I’ve spent Thanksgiving in all sorts of places around SC, where I’m from, as well as Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Alabama, North Carolina, New Jersey, and probably a few locations I’m forgetting. I’ve spent it with Koreans who had no family in the US. I’ve spent it with a pair of lesbians and their adopted children who had no one else to spend it with. I’ve spent it doing charity work, and spent it with huge groups of people and, like I will this year, spent it alone. More often than not during my adult life, I’ve been the chef for Thanksgiving. It’s a job people happily give away, with lots of praise and high expectations to make each dish just like they like it. I’ve reached a point where I can manage a kitchen and cook things for everyone without problems; the trick is in the planning. You have to do a LOT of preparation, but it makes the day much less stressful if you’ve also been tasked with feeding a small army of picky eaters.

I miss my daughter terribly, and I still miss my old dog Annie, but other than that, this Thanksgiving is a perfect day to reflect and give humble thanks for all that has been bestowed upon me. This year is a stark contrast to last year’s Thanksgiving. And I suspect each year’s Thanksgiving will become incrementally greater from this point onward. I have optimism, and I’m grateful for that, and I give thanks for the reasons I can be optimistic.

The reasons I’m thankful are many. Mostly because I now know how dark someone’s life can become, and I’m thankful I have the health, both mental and physical, and wherewithal to take care of myself. Not everyone can do that, as we see each and every day. And I’m thankful not only that I can take care of myself, but that I can take care of my daughter in a way that she deserves. I’m thankful for all the decisions I’ve made over the years that have culminated in where I am now and where I’m headed. I’m thankful for a family that still supports my goals and dreams and cares about me, even though they themselves may not be as healthy and have their own struggles. I’m thankful for the people I work with because a lot of them are rare men and women who are kind, humble and genuine. And they enable me to work at a job I love that makes a difference and is rewarding. I have everything a man could ask for and more and don’t have any wants. Anything that matters, anyway. I have a beautiful, healthy, smart daughter. I thank God every second of the day for her because she’s so special to me. My adoration for her is unequaled by anything else and everything else combined. She’s just amazing to me, which I’m thankful for. I’m very thankful for the opportunities I have in life which have enabled me to work and take care of her.

I’m thankful that tomorrow is going to be better than today and today is pretty great.

 

 

A Timely Commentary

I’ve been working for a while on a post which details what just happened recently with my life. I had a bit of a downward turn, in most every way. It’s coming and it’s a doozie. That is, how I went from having a steady, years-long happy marriage with a newborn baby and stepdaughter that I had helped raise for a decade, to suddenly being thrown to the curb as trash.

But while I craft that narrative, which should entertain, educate and be a warning for all men, I happened upon this video post from Paul Joseph Watson, whom I share many perspectives with. His offerings usually are political in nature, but this one veered to the side, and into an area where I also have to completely agree. My ex-wife just got engaged for the third time, not 4 months after our divorce was finalized. Beggars can’t be choosers, sure, but it goes deeper than just being willing to marry the first person that crosses your path. Paul explains it quite well, indeed. It’s a mental illness.