Showing posts from January, 2011

What a week

I don't know about all of you, but I am certainly glad to see this week come to an end. Starting with the scare with Purple's daughter and ending with the dismissal of one of my closest colleagues at work, the last 5 days have been pretty grueling. And while there have been some good and even great moments mixed in, I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to the next two days off. It didn't look like I was going to get this break 3 days ago, but we made great strides as a team and earned the much needed weekend rest.
It also was a week that I spent a lot of time in thought. It is funny how things can turn on a dime. I have been pretty comfortable in life recently, just staying the course both personally and professionally. But as I write this I find myself questioning several different aspects of my life. Jason was a good estimator for us. The only member of our staff in Columbus who had been there longer than me, he and I became fast friends when I started 4 years …

Paddling in circles

Every year for the past three Miss Bethany and I have had a standing engagement to head northeast and spend the weekend in the great outdoors. The Mohican Reservation campground provides us our destination for our escape from the real world. It is always a great time, as we light a fire, put on some music, and let the beer and conversation flow. Year one was Bethany and I, along with my ex-wife Angel. Year two it was just me and my best friend, and last year we invited Canada 1.0 and Shaun to join us. While each of those people provided us a lot of laughs and added something to the trip, the key cogs have always been her and I. I imagine they always will be. I look forward to seeing what this years will be.
Our favorite part of the trip is always the canoe trip down the Mohican River. We fill our cooler with Miller Lite and embark on our 6 hour journey right around noon. An adventure every year, the annual trek has included a couple tip overs, a peeing for distance contest between 2 w…


Another midnight, more lack of sleep. I am wired to the gills and have no idea when my head might find the pillow. There was a time not long ago when I could crash out as soon as I got home from work and sleep through til the next morning. Probably not real healthy either. And being on this project, which is such a drain everyday, you would think I would fall into bed exhausted about 7 every night. But I cannot. I usually am up way after Craig Ferguson says good night. And though I don't sit down to write about this often (because I am trying to make myself fall asleep) my mind still goes 100 miles an hour. I think a lot about where I have been, where I am at, and where I am going. The mistakes and failures of the past play in my head like old 35 millimeter home movies. What would I do differently, what can I do differently to stay on course? And am I doing those things. Sometimes I feel myself begin to slip and have to get up and re-read blog posts or go through the box of pictu…


I remember being a kid in Milford how much I wanted a members only jacket. With all those zippers and hidden compartments, it was the coolest thing I had ever seen. Ever since I have always looked for coats, I have wanted one with a lot of pockets. My leather has a cell phone pocket. My suede has 7 hidden pockets. I could go on and on but you get the point. But it is funny how many pocket stories I have had in the last year.
I wrote about last New Years and the eighties party I went to at Miss B's. My date that night wore a really cool pair of ear rings that we got at rag o rama. At some point in the evening she took them off and slipped them into my pocket. I forgot to give them back to her at the end of the night, hung up the trench coat and didn't put it back on until two months ago. When I reached into the pocket I found white and black heart shaped danglers and smiled. A pocket surprise, but not the last.
When I went to the play last weekend, I found myself accompanied by t…

The best (and worst) first (non) date in history

I have been on a lot of dates over the last couple years. Some have been really great and led to more get togethers (see purple by moonlight), while others have ended when I just could not think sitting through the rest of dinner with that person, much less a walk or a movie. I even had an allergic reaction to some one's perfume 10 minutes in, the shortest of all of my first dates.

Dateline yesterday, January 23. I had asked a friend to accompany me to a play and dinner afterward. And later, the plan was to sit back, have a few drinks and some great conversation as we always do and always have. But this just isn't any friend. If you are a regular reader, you will know this person as "Purple". And with history being what it is, we each made sure the other knew that it was a platonic get together, or as we termed it, the "first non-date". I think we both started yesterday pretty excited about getting dressed up for a day at the theatre (the director had told…

A word from the Ralph

To say the very least, I am honored to have been asked by Mike Slusher to be a guest blogger. I do not blog, and my writing has mostly been strange fiction and political and philosophical ranting. However, our lives, and our perceptions of how to live, present the strangest fictions, and all we can do is mold our own realities from endless uncertainties. As Slusher's friend for the the past 15 years, he is the only man I have ever called my brother, and meant it with 100% certainty, even though the two of us have no blood ties. I am the guitar-wielding philosopher, the (laughably) published author, the fellow who shares the burdensome label of 'genius' with Mike Slusher; I am Ralph Harper.

Slusher and I met during mutually uncertain times at Burger King, our first of four jobs together. Our friendship stemmed from the onset through our shared high-regard of the song 'Stairway to Heaven.' Burger King is also where we met our third, Bobbi, and though through the yea…

Just. Plain. Cold

When I climbed into my clown car this morning to head off to work, I glanced at the outside temperature gauge on my dashboard. -3 stared at me as I tried to shake off the cold and thanked God for the invention of the remote starter. It's cold in Columbus Ohio, and when you combine that with our seven day a week schedule on this project, the result is my wish for my Vegas vacation to hurry up and get here. About 8 weeks away, I am very anxious to leave the world behind for a few days of adventure, bad decisions, and great memories. My company on that trip will be Ralph Harper II, one of my closest friends. A guitar wielding philosopher and published author, he has always been closer to me than a brother. Putting us together in the desert for a few days will be legendary. Ralph will be guest blogging on these pages in the next few days.

My very first guest blogger, Miss Bethany, appeared earlier today. Her post made me smile and I appreciate the things she said very much. You have of…

Hold Your Applause

That's right. I'm poppin' the cherry on this guest blog thing. When Michael and I discussed guest blogging I was flattered. Naturally, most everything flatters me but that's neither here nor there. So here is the first guest blog and I get the honors. Thank you, Michael.
Oh. Those who don't know who I am are probably wondering "Who is this?" See what a genius I am? This is why Michael keeps me around. Those who know me know exactly who I am without my 'coming out' as it were. But to make life easy and because I was never good at riddles anyhow, I'll confess my true identity. I'm the crazy bitch. Wait...well, I am, but I'm the very crazy bitch that's been around for a long time...the BFFL...Bethany.
I remember knowing Michael in high school. I don't remember 'meeting' him per se because well, quite frankly I couldn't stand him. The feeling was mutual and continued to be until the summer of 2008. I was b…

The Voice of Truth

If you know me, you know my taste in music is very eclectic. My mother, and entire family really, is very musical and their influence left a very broad musical palette. Raised on Waylon and Willie and The Oak Ridge Boys, and being a child of the eighties, the genres that I listen to have always surprised many. Even if you look in my car today, you will see everything from Eminem to Big n Rich, from Third Day to Led Zeppelin, and of course lots and lots of Cash. Tonights title is by Casting Crowns, and the song bears so much meaning to me.

Never being shy on these pages to admit my mistakes and faults, the road I have traveled has been been a bit rocky the last two years. Not the most gut wrenching story you have ever heard, nor I, but enough to make me examine where I have been and where I am going. There have been milestones along the way, moments of victory, defeat, and clarification. I am definitely better off for having been through it.

The song says "Oh what I would do to have…


I haven't blogged in a few days. Not only have I been busy in my everyday life, but it seems I have a lot on my mind that may not be meant for public viewing. I sat down to write, more than once, only to keep the thoughts between myself and I. Some posts are better off unpublished. So I stayed away until tonight, when a few days worth of people watching and observing the human condition pulled me back.

I write about different aspects of life and how one thing can lead to another. I believe every person has there own story and tales they could regale us with. The last few days I have seen a broad example of that, seeing several different people in various stages of the human condition. I thought about how their journeys affect mine, some in major ways and some very minor. And about what I can do to minimize that factor while still being the person I am.

Linked to my blog is the daily journal of my best friend. At the current time I watch as she tries to replace a loss love with a nea…

No mountain you can't climb.

I sometimes write about people in my life, whether they are family or friends or in this case, colleagues. I get the pleasure of traveling quite a bit and meeting some really terrific people. There are some that I would just as soon never work with again, and some that I would work with anytime anywhere. Brother, you are one of the latter.

I know this isn't easy. The job is what it is, from Pittsburgh to Richmond to Columbus and everywhere else. Finding that hole in the wall bar in Mount Vernon, or that restaurant on the river in Louisville, or a lost maglite in a steel plant, we have had a great deal of laughs and good times. And this project wouldn't be the same without you. But I know where you are at, and I know the feeling. If you read a blog from a few days ago, you will see what my oldest boy said to me that got my attention. So when you asked me what I would do, I told you that I would stay close to them. I also understand the loyalty to TG and to our team. But he, more…

Monday, Ugh

Working as much as I have been lately, the days begin to run together. Everyone has had those times when you didn't know if it was Friday or July 2013. I actually asked someone yesterday why her kids were not in school that day, a clear indication that I have gotten so caught up in the project that I am not paying any attention to the Calendar. But no worries, Monday jumped up and let me know it was here first thing this morning. And it continued to give all day.

My morning routine is to get up, start coffee and walk my dog Oliver. So when I put him on his leash this morning he knew where we were going. He was excited to get out and ran down the stairs from my second floor apartment. He is not a big dog, but he is faster than he looks and likes to pull Houdini disappearing acts. So there was no way I was going to let go of that tether. Instead, about 6 steps from the bottom, six icy, slippery steps, I lost my footing. Down I went, landing on the snow covered concrete below. That li…

A final tribute

Memorializing my mother on the pages of this blog for the last month has really been therapeutic for me. Everyone grieves differently, and this outlet to journal and share some of those experiences has certainly helped me in that process.

Her funeral was January 9, 2009. The four days between her passing and that Friday were filled with stress and angst as you can imagine. As I mentioned, my sister took the lead for our family and we did the necessary things that had to be done to assure that this day would be exactly what mom would have wanted. From the pecan casket with musical note trim to the Catholic Church being reserved to the wake that followed, we were sure it was.

My mother was not born Catholic. She did not spend most of her life Catholic. However, her pursuit of God, desire to have a better understanding of him, and study of Theology led her to convert just a few months before her death. The funeral was a reflection of that. The Church was beautiful, with the kind of paintin…

A brief encounter

About 10 years ago or so I was managing a restaurant on the campus of The Ohio State University. If you didn't already know, I worked a a restaurant manager for close to a decade before making the career change to disaster restoration. My main focus in my previous career was to go into restaurants that had problems and get them back on course, and this one was no exception. One of the first issues I had to deal with was homeless people coming in and begging for food. Restaurant managers, especially the ones I had been trained by, have always been very leery of giving these people anything because you could be opening the door for dozens more to come in and expect the same. So with as much empathy as I could show, I turned them away. One particular man got belligerent when I told him I could not give anything away. I told him I would call the police, and he welcomed the opportunity to get off the street and get something to eat. I called and they took him away.

When I left work that…


I know a lot of very talented writers. Someone recently suggested to me that I should have guest bloggers. It would be a chance to get a different perspective from the people around me. I think it will be really interesting for me and entertaining for those who read. I already have 4 lined up, so look for their posts to appear in the coming weeks. And I am open if anyone else would like to write. Feel free to leave a comment here or on facebook if you would like to write. Thanks!


I have often said that when I lost my mother, I lost a lot of who I am as well. I felt like a giant wall of bricks had fallen on me and I did not know how to get back up. The irony of that statement is that I don't know that I really had a grip on that before any of this ever happened. I was married for 13 years at that point, and happiness had long since been replaced by complacency. I had made the decision that I needed to make a change prior to December of 2008, though I had no idea how to have that conversation. It would mean admitting failure, changing everything about my life, and more over, having a life long impact on my children. But with that desire for happiness and nagging feeling that there had to be more burning in me for years, all I knew in the fall of 2008 is that it was no longer a question of if, but when. And I knew that I would know when the moment arrived. Indeed I did.

I didn't get up that morning thinking today is the day. I went to work and came home. T…

41 minutes

As we sat in that room two years ago yesterday, the mood was incredibly somber. Mom was 45 feet down the hall, in a room where medical devices had been helping her breath and keeping her alive for the past few days. Rose, the family counselor, was in the room with my Father, Brother, Sister, and I. The doctors came in, it is difficult to remember how many there were, one, two, I was more focused on my dad than anything else. I remember distinctly feeling that his entire appearance had changed, though it was probably more that all of us were weary after many sleepless nights and the knowledge that this very meeting was coming. As we listened they explained the options. Options, really? I recall thinking we aren't at a restaurant trying to decide between the seafood or steak, this is my mother here. My hero, mentor, please stop making it sound like something positive could possibly come out of this.

When they were done speaking, my Dad looked to us. I cannot remember if any words we…

The definition of insanity

Tonight, I watched the movie Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. A sequel to one of my favorite movies from the 80's, I had been anxious to see it for awhile. Former tycoon and ex con Gordon Gekko comes back to find a way to claw his way back to the top of the financial world. And without giving away the ending to anyone, he discovers that his mistakes have cost him more than he imagined. It's a good lesson, and one that I can relate to where I stand in life. It is an excellent movie that I would recommend.

During the movie. Shia LeBeouf's character quoted something I have heard and said many times. The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. Such a simple idea, yet so true. During the past few months I really made an effort to try and change things in my life. As you may have read in my New Year's blog, I have found that my own pursuit of happiness has evolved based upon my experiences and mistakes. I have alway…