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Cadillac Envy

She looked just like this.

She looked just like this.

My first car was my great grandma’s ’83 Cadillac Coupe de Ville. Yes, I was spoiled. While my contemporaries inherited much newer, more practical, reliable cars— think Corollas, Civics, and the like—I got the Caddy. It was passed on after my Great Grandma Beulah’s death and I was honored to take the keys.

The year was 1996. I was entering my senior year in high school and I had just gotten my license. No one had a car like that. All white on the outside, white walls, white leather interior, with burgundy trim, wood paneling inside, 3 (yes 3!) ashtrays and lighters (one for each passenger in the back seat), digital controls for the thermostat/radio, and seating for six. Looks were just one thing. This car was like a scud missile. Being heavier than most modern trucks, it just floated on the road, quiet as hell, and although its 8-cylinder engine could barely get the tonnage moving, once you got going, momentum and inertia took care of the rest. It was easy to hit 90 on the freeway and barely notice.

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Looking Past #nerdlution

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I have 9 posts left in my #nerdlution challenge (well, 8 after this one). It’s been a long haul for sure and I can’t say it’s been smooth sailing, but I’ve really gained so much from participating.

What I’ve struggled with over the last 41 posts:

  • Finding/making time to write every day.
  • Coming up with topics. Which is funny because I had a list of topics before this thing started that I was excited to finally check off, but when I sat down to write each day, I wasn’t usually interested in those topics. They’re still on the list because I think they’re important/interesting, but maybe they require more time or energy than I’ve been allowing.
  • Coming up with graphics/photos for each post.
  • Loss of sleep due to putting the writing off until the end of the day/night.

What I’ve learned over the last 41 posts:

  • Writing publicly every day pushes me to think, feel, question, create, and connect.
  • I’m a night creature, always have been, and that has not changed, even with efforts to write earlier in the day. Just. Can’t. Do. It.
  • I procrastinate like hell. (Okay, I already knew this one, but new data confirms it.)
  • I love to write/blog.
  • I love when people read my stuff and love it even more when people comment, retweet, and share my posts.
  • I love writing and putting stuff out there even if people don’t respond to it.
  • By commenting on and sharing others’ posts, I become a part of a community.
  • It’s easier to make connections online when I share every day, and my connections have grown by sharing regularly.

Beyond #nerdlution
I think the idea for #nerdlution was that after the first 50 days are up, you just move on to the next 50-day challenge. What I’ve been asking myself is if I’ll keep writing every day on this blog, and/or will I choose something else to work on for another 50 days? Not sure I can answer that at this point, but I almost feel that if I don’t commit to writing every day, it will just slowly slip away, the distance between each post gradually growing further and further apart. That’s been my experience with just about everything in life: whatever I don’t work on every day tends to fade, sometimes completely.

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Writing the Reality I Want

Photo by Jonathan Kim

Photo by Jonathan Kim

Writing has become one of my “go-to” tools for getting through life. Up until last year, I didn’t really journal much. I often came to this blog or my family blog to work through a situation, thoughts, or feelings on certain topics—as a way to think through the act of writing and to put it out there for feedback—but I never wrote privately to work through my more personal struggles. Let’s just say I’m a late-bloomer.

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It’s a Beautiful Thing, but Glad It’s Not Me

newborn_cryingTonight, someone I know is in labor. I have three kids of my own—two born at home—so I have a little experience with the child birth process, at least from one perspective. Yes, not the perspective, but let’s not get into that here.

Child birth wasn’t just a life-changing event, but it totally changed the way I saw the world entirely. Everything came into focus; all of sudden, everything made sense. Even with the second and third one, I gained so much (besides the obvious). It wasn’t just “same old, same old.” In fact, I know now that no child birth is exactly the same, except for one thing: there’s always something. It’s such a crazy process—whether you do it naturally or there’s an emergency or you do a c-section—that there’s bound to be some aspect of the birth that tests the very core of your being, even if you’re not the one expelling the being from your core.

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A Case of the Sundays

Many of you will know this gem from the seminal film Office Space where the main character, Peter, asks his construction worker neighbor, Lawrence, about The Mondays:

Basically, I get the Mondays on Sundays. I get cranky and irritable as it starts to sink in that Monday is coming. I start to dread getting back into the less flexible routine of our weekly existence of work and school. Of course, this has a tendency to spoil my last day off which in turn pisses me off too. And this Monday is the first one back after three weeks off, so it has a little extra resistance behind it. This doesn’t always happen, and has actually gotten better over the last few years, but I’m hoping that by writing about it now on Saturday, I’m releasing it so I can rise above it and enjoy tomorrow.

Anyone else out there get the Sundays? Remedies?

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Pondering the American Life and “Where’s This Thing Headed, Anyway?”

Once again it’s late and my thoughts are swirling. A few things got my mind stepping from place to place. First it was this chemical spill in West Virginia that has hundreds of thousands of people without water to drink, bathe in, etc. Then there was the update on the Target data breach which now says that up to 70 million people’s card numbers, addresses, phone numbers, etc. could have been compromised. From there it was easy for me to jump to one of the few questions I struggle with on a regular basis: what the hell are we doing?

enjoy_capitalism-largeAs far as I can see, the vast majority of the world’s issues stem from money, one way or another. Governments and companies abuse their own people in order for a few to profit. Large populations are taken advantage of in order to make stuff at a lower cost, so that product prices are lower/more competitive, thereby selling more, and again, making a small percentage even richer than they already are. Capitalism and the model of “go to school to get a job to make money to buy stuff” just can’t be sustained. Have you ever walked through a department store or grocery store and wondered, “Who is going to buy all this stuff?” And for me, the next question is, “Why do I want all this stuff?”

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On a Date with My Doctor

I had my first trip to the doctor today in 17 years. Yup, I was 17 when I last visited the doctor for a routine physical to play baseball. Nothing was wrong, but being a father of three, it just seemed like something I should get back into—the responsible thing to do. As I was getting ready this morning, I was laughing at the thought that going to the doctor is kind of like getting ready for a date. I showered and shaved so I was fresh and clean (didn’t know how, err, intimate we were going to get). I was a little nervous, probably because I didn’t quite know what to expect.

Photo by sbluerock

Photo by sbluerock

When I arrived I forgot my insurance card and had to run back home which didn’t help my blood pressure reading. I waited in the exam room with anticipation, like waiting for a date to ring the doorbell. When she finally knocked and came in, we started with small talk, getting comfortable with each other. Very soon after we were on to more personal subject matter. I’d be lying if I didn’t say my heart jumped a beat when she asked me to jump up on the table. With more than a little relief, the exam was basically “G-rated” as I was healthy with no concerns.

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Letting Go of Cracked Notes

Photo by Sean Nolan

Photo by Sean Nolan

Though I’ve been on a hiatus from performing for a few years now, I’ve probably played hundreds of concerts/gigs in my life as a trumpet player—and I’ve probably played millions of notes—yet I still remember all the major times I cracked a note. Of course what this expands to is how I dwell on mistakes in general. I have a tendency to hang on to not just these cracked notes, but mistakes as a husband, parent, or friend; mistakes at work; and even past seasons of baseball where my batting average or ERA was less than desirable.

In my head I can reason out all kinds of things:

  • I’m only human and humans make mistakes.
  • Nobody’s perfect.
  • Mistakes happen for a reason, learn from them.
  • If you hold onto mistakes, you can’t move forward.
  • The good I’ve done outweighs the bad. Focus on the positive.

I do really believe all these things, but still, old behaviors and ways of thinking creep back in.

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I’ve written before how sharing here creates connections across spaces, lives, and people in ways that sometimes I see, and sometimes I don’t. The other day I wrote about this article I read and how it illustrated choice and acceptance for me. My friend Terry in Kentucky responded with how it reminded him of one of his favorite videos from 2013, “This is Water.” So I, in turn, checked that out and it captured so many principles and behavioral changes I’ve been working towards over the last few years, that I’ve decided I should highlight it here.

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War Dances, A Book Review

I guess I finished reading War Dances by Sherman Alexie back in October and never got around to reviewing it. Book reviews are sort of a new thing for me, but I’ve found it’s a nice way to provide space to reflect on what I’ve read and possibly offer something helpful for anyone considering reading the book too.

war_dancesAnyway, it’s a collection of short stories and poems which makes it great, if you read like me, in short spurts, catching time where you can with very few long stretches to gain serious traction. It also probably makes it a quick read for those of you who fly through books. That being said, there’s nothing light about the content of the book. Though Alexie usually wraps his characters and plot lines in some amount of humor, many of the stories deal with very non-funny, intense subject matter. One story is about a man who accidentally kills a young, black teenager who breaks into his house. The character grapples with his choices and actions, as well as what it means to be “innocent.” Of course, issues of race, violence, and justice come up as well.

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