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Showing posts from December, 2011

Another chapter closes: 2011 in review

As we wind down the hours in 2011 and prepare to ring in the new year, I think back to where I was just 12 short months ago. A lot has changed since then, and I find myself once again reflecting on all that happened and where it has led me to today. I have said many time that life is fluid, and the lessons we learn from today will take us to our next stop along the path tomorrow.

When the new year dawned, I was working on a large project with Belfor. It was a large hotel renovation that kept me busy 7 days a week. Constantly on the go, I was balancing work with an ever busy social life and spending time with my boys. An evening at the theatre, nights out with the BFFL, and a day at COSI with my guys all highlighted a very busy first two months of the year. In late February a minor fender bender couldn't even slow me down as I had a project to finish and never had a night without plans. But on March 4th, it all changed.

I have often recalled the day of the accident in my mind. The…

Year two of a Christmas tradition - "The Pocket Watch"

Last year, as I was remembering my mother and reliving the last memories I have of her, I wrote a blog entitled "The Pocketwatch". It is my favorite Christmas story, and I have decided to make it an annual tradition on this blog. Please enjoy and I hope you all had as wonderful a holiday as I did!

As a kid growing up, Christmas Eve was always the most special day of the year. Aside from the Santa visit, the day was filled with so much tradition and family that is was more like an event than a holiday. Everyone would gather at my grandparents house for Christmas dinner. Cars would fill the drive way, be parked on the hill, and even in the front yard. It was always a feast, with us kids pushing everyone to finish their plates so we could get to the presents. And there were a lot of presents. Whatever car mom was driving, from the Pacer to the Nova, would always be packed full by the end of the evening, and many years required a second trip just to make sure we had it all. Afte…

Christmas at home

I have been reading recently about Secret Santa's that are showing up at retail stores all over the country and granting holiday wishes to complete strangers they will never meet. They simply walk into a Walmart or Kmart and tell the lay-away department that they want to pay off all the past due or soon to be past due accounts that the store has. One person in Cleveland paid off 23 accounts to the tune of almost nine thousand dollars, and the same thing is being repeated coast to coast. These random acts of kindness embody the Christmas spirit and bring life to Santa Claus for those who benefit from the outpouring of generosity.

There is something about Christmas this year that is so special. While I hadn't been able to put my finger on why until now, the last few weeks have had a different feel than I have grown accustomed to recently. In recent years I have had somewhat of a bah-humbug  mentality, dreading going shopping, scanning past all the Christmas music on the radio, a…

Brutus

When I was a kid in Pleasant Plain Ohio, my grandparents had a dog named Shep. A sheepdog by breed, he was a staple at mamaw's even in my earliest memories. I remember pulling into their driveway and seeing him waiting for me everyday as I was dropped off before school. He was one of many dogs that I had growing up, from the 'beagle" named Max (my dad got him and told us he was a beagle, but he clearly was a much larger breed) to the beer drinking Simon,  who would get drunk and wrestle a basketball in the yard.

As I got older and became a father I decided my boys should have similar experiences. I wanted them to learn the responsibility that comes along with having a pet, and I wanted them to have the same experiences I had with Shep growing up. Oliver was really the first animal we had become a true part of the family. A tan cocker spaniel, he immediately took to the boys and became John-Michael's best friend. He is a lazy, stoic guy who at this very moment is layin…

A marked difference

I had the pleasure tonight to have one of my oldest friends sit at my dinner table for the first time since Tiffany began our life together. For 17 years Ralph has been my brother from another mother, seeing me through all the ups and downs of my roller coaster ride of a life. He was there when my oldest son was born, and when the two that followed came along as well. We sat around bonfires in his back yard as his marriage fell apart, then years later as mine followed suit. He was there when the power of F8 revealed itself to me, both many years ago and just this past spring when my gypsy girl entered my life. And tonight, as we ate our meal and talked about the past, present, and future, he said words to me that I will never forget.

Of course this isn't the first time that Ralph and I have spent hours in philosophical conversation, nor is it the first time that he has given me words of wisdom that helped guide me out of the woods and onto the path again. He told me many times dur…