>The Gaslight Anthem "American Slang" (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO)

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If you are looking for something real, American, heartfelt, moral, and rocking to listen to in the car, the shower, or around the house, check out The Gaslight Anthem’s American Slang. This is what Bruce Springteen used to be like in the 70s but not as overtly commercial. Gaslight Anthem’s first record is even better, google it too. American Slang is a terrific rock song. Blare it.

>Homecoming

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>The dress was teal, the nails were clear, the hair was curly, and the tears were real. Taylor, aka Tay, my fourteen year old daughter, just left the house for her first homecoming dance. Before you ask, I’ll just tell you, heck no I’m not ok.

I’m different than many parents. I don’t think about the benchmarks life will bring before they happen. That’s too much stress. I don’t read parenting books, I don’t take parenting blogs, especially mommy ones too seriously; and as of a couple of years ago, I stopped listening to other parents direct advice. Parenting is heart, instinct, and not making the same mistake twice.

Today was a whirling dervish of emotional clarity. My wife and I are not good, but great parents. Tay woke up this morning around 9 o ‘clock and asked for eggs, not pointers on how to handle her first real date. Deana aka Bobina, made her eggs and told me to keep my mouth shut, lovingly. Later, Bo and Tay hit the nail salon and to calm my building nerves, I ran from our house to my gym, about a mile and a half away. Then I pounded iron like a college football player. No amount of sweat or heart rate monitoring could distract me from my daughter’s inevitable event.

The homecoming dance starts at 7pm, as I write this, it’s only 5:20pm. Yet, a little after 1pm, Tay, with hair straightener in hand, attitudinally started the date preparation. I tried 2 or 3 wisecracks, the death glare I got from my wife and daughter told me to keep watching football, silently. Every few minutes my opinion was asked. I made sure beautiful, stunning, amazing, perfect, flowed from my clueless mouth and I tweeted accordingly.

Bobina and I realized how great we were as parents when Tay was ready, and her attitude had subsided enough to enjoy taking pictures in the backyard. She looked at us with pride, not disgust; with love, not annoyance. We were letting her have her day, and keeping our emotions separate from hers.

I wonder why my wife wanted to drive over to Tay’s “date” (I dislike that word) but I figured out quickly that paying attention to the road was distracting her from breaking down in front of our gorgeous daughter. As we walked to her date’s door, Tay stopped a few feet short, sighed deeply and smiled at her mom. Why Bo didn’t didn’t break down, I’ll never know, but it was one of her finest moment as a parent. Her date was a nervous mess. I liked his tie, I liked is family being as emotionally goofy as Bobina and I. Tay glowed around him. I hope the little scamp realizes how lucky he is to be in her aura.

The next stop was Tay’s friend’s house. Her friend wasn’t ready. Her family was going through the same motions we were 90 or so minutes earlier. We got details on the chaperoning, they were a little different that we originally thought. Bobina saw the look on my face and rushed me out of the house, politely. As I starting asking questions and worrying incessantly, she told me to shut up and get in the car. As we started backing out of the driveway, Bobina kissed me, perfectly, and told me “she’s going to be okay, she’s our daughter.” For the first time today; for the first time in two and a half years, I believed her.

In case you’re keeping score at home…..I’ve cried three times, I’ve asked Bo twice if we can pick her up earlier than scheduled, and no, I’ve not even close to okay. I hope Tay is having a good time, just not too good of a time. She looks beyond beautiful.

>Shine

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>She runs into the warm Cancun breeze to check on her husband. Dazed, he vaguely looks into the dropping sun. She tenderly brushes his wet hair across a cut above his left eye. “We need to get that doctored”, she drawls. “I just bumped my head on the surf board. I’m fine.” he replies. She waits until he turns away before she wipes a tear, then looks down at her left ring finger and sees the diamond gleam in the Mexican sunset. He says, “Come on, love. You promised a day on the beach, I promised a night of dancing.”

*blogger’s note* – This is my latest entry into http://www.velvetverbosity.com/ ‘s 100 word challenge. The one word prompt was VAGUE.   I am compiling the entrys along with other writing into a story being posted at http://www.writingonsteroids.blogspot.com/

>I’d Like To Thank The Academy

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>you know….I just want to thank ME for being ME and winning this award:

That’s sarcasm, I want to thank a fellow writer for liking this web address. You are reading an award winning blog. Today, your humble writer has been recognized by the hallowed blog halls of velvetverbosity.com http://www.velvetverbosity.com/2010/10/13/100-words-whos-to-judge/#comment-201
Monday’s entry in the 100 Word Challenge titled “Back To Life Back To Reality” prompted by the word HANDSOME. Initially written as a breakup post for something else, wrongly, but later refined to reflect on the changes that happen when you come back from vacation and delve into every day life.

Please visit my friend at velvetverbosity, she’s a fine writer and has equally fine writer colleagues. I stumbled onto her site through my boy, Brian at DadsChalkboard, and the site and Brian’s site have helped me through some writer’s block, and to get started on a book. Velvet’s inspiration came at a great time for me a few others.

For the record, my wife does have extraordinarily cute toes.

Thanks for reading.

>Back To Life, Back To Reality

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>Her cute toes, highlighted with sparkling rose nail polish, fixed on the dashboard. She sighed moderately, and reached for the car radio buttons with her left hand; nails the same color. A station playing “generation x” music made her smile; she settled. Pitch perfect, she began singing with the chorus “back to life, back to reality” the 20 year old pop song memorialized, poignantly, the end to a weekend, long for it’s two extra days, and revelatory ocurrences. Nothing would be the same. She slowly moved her head towards her adoring husband. She cooed at him “you’re so handsome.”

*blogger’s note* I missed this week’s 100 word prompt from http://www.velvetverbosity.com/, which was HANDSOME. I combined last week word with the end of our vacation and will be combining this entry with the other posts at http://www.writingonsteroids.blogspot.com/ tomorrow.

>Racing

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>I was on a conference call at work, my head started hurting, I got flustered and frsutrated with a few minor things in my life, and my heart and mind started racing. The spiral was downward and I couldn’t stop the inevitable. I called my doctor, didn’t get anywhere, got more fed up, and called my wife. She was busy,so was her friend, my friend too, and I snapped at them on the phone. I wrapped up my conference call, realized I had a break, and started rationalizing, wrongly, that i could take care of four things in an hour and a half, before my next meeting. I felt trapped by my stress and I had no good reason for even being at the bank, but I decided to do same menial task there. I was missing my daughter, Bug, who I hadn’t seen in over a week because of a crazy schedule, and I had to see her immediately. As I made the thirty minute trek, I caught every red light, every cell phoned driver, every in my way clueless fool that I couldn’t legal knock off the road. I get to Bug’s afterschool program (she’s on Fall Break for the week) she was doing kickball games and she wasn’t in her usual place. I couldn’t find her. No one knew anything. My wife is calling to check on me and every vibration made me fluster more. There Bug was, on the furthest field at the place. Suddenly I was a little better. Not much, but enough to calm me, some. After visiting for a few minutes with her I decide to drive to my doctor. Again, does anyone know how to drive in this county? I get to the physician’s office, my doctor’s nurse, the only person in the place with a brain and a bedside manner see me right away. She listens, understands, and gives me two pills, which I take with no water. My perscriptions, which had expired five days earlier, were being refilled later. I go back to work. My wife, still checking on me, says she needs something from the store, I take this as a personal affront, the medicine hadn’t kicked in yet. I apologized for snapping at her, eventually. Finally back at work, the pills are making in into my system. I’m much better now.

I’ve had anxiety since I was a teenager. I ignored some symptoms and some diagnosis for years. Over two years ago, I had a similar attack I described, only I was working out with weight in my garage and I tore muscles in my arms and chest. This exacerbated the panic attack so severely I passed out and failed an EKG. I and everyone around me thought it was the heart trouble I had 9 years earlier. It wasn’t. Another doctor didn’t blow me off, prescribed anxiety medication and my life has been smoother since. I have attacks rarely, only when the medication runs out and I try to make it a week or more without it. It had been almost a year since I had something this significant as I had today. This was the best I had ever delt with an attack. Good to know I’m getting better.

Before I scare you off from this blog or any other correspondence, know that my mental illness is minor in the grand scheme of things. I function well at work, at home, and with my family and friends. They and I like to call me “regular crazy”. I never believed in pill popping. It’s why I avoided taking anything for twenty years. I was flat wrong. If you have anxiety symptoms, bi-polarity, or depression and you think you can handle it without medicine or a doctor’s care, you’re flat wrong too. It’s affected almost every relationship and job situation I’ve ever had, at least I have it under control now.

Its funny, when I’m racing, which is what I call not being on the medicine, I’m more prolific in creative things like writing and music stuff. I think the great artists are and were probably afflicted with something. Kansas City Royals pitcher Zack Greinke has the exact same disorder I have and he says he doesn’t take his meds on days he pitches because he likes to feel as loose as possible. I’m neither a big league pitcher and my writing can go at the pace it can go so that my family and friends don’t have me whacked.

As I write this I still feel the medicine I was given at 11am this morning. I am about to post this and leave for the grocery store and pick up my normal pills. I don’t preach and I don’t care if this blog made you uncomfortable but if you have issues, trust me when I tell you, you can’t handle them by yourself. My wife is the most amazingly patient woman I have ever met. She loves me enough to let me know when I can’t handle my life on my own. Today was one of those days. For twenty years I thought I was strong enough to handle things myself. It took Bobina, a great doctor, and some children who need the best father possible to make me realize, I wasn’t Superman and I was weak minded to think otherwise. Now, they appreciate and love the flawed, pill regulated, me. Thom Yorke has social anxiety disorder, I’ll listen to Radiohead on the way to Kroger.

>The Puffy Paradox

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>The room’s dark, the kids are asleep, and she summons me sweetly. It’s been a long week of travel, work stress, not getting to see one of my three daughters, and the usual melodrama that surrounds my four ladies. I am thinking a hug,a kiss, maybe even some compliments, instead I get the questions no man should ever be asked. “Do I look fat?” “Have I gained weight?” Really? Is this the first day we’ve met, honey? I’m thinking that maybe I have died and entered the first realm of Hades. I’m expecting a Bon Jovi concert, Black Friday shopping, and a Sex and The City marathon to start playing. No man should have to deal with this, yet I deal with it every other day.

For the record, if their is one, I think my wife is the most beautiful woman I have ever see. Yes, I am legally required to say this but I also believe it. Thsi blog’s about honesty, right. Well, even the lovely Bobina needs to check herself and realize her weight is not my business, it’s hers. So, go ask a female blogger if you look heavier.

I’m joking. This personal antecdote brought to mind how each of the women I live with bring me into their issues with how they feel about their looks and how they want me to respect them. Tay, our teenager, is headed to homecoming in two weeks. We are dropping her off at the high school with her friend who is a boy. This past Thursday, while I was in Houston working, Bobina took her to the mall and got her a dress and shoes. I am not allowed to look at the checkbook this pay period. Today, on the way home from church, as her mom and I were joking that we would chaperone her dance, Tay said “You know you guys are making way too big a deal about this thing (homecoming), I don’t really care.” Hmmm. You don’t care, Tay? Is that why you weeped when we were apprehensive about you going? Is that why you dress shopped, twice? Is that why you talk on the phone with your friends and facebook about the details of the night. The truth is my beautiful daughter cares a lot. She cares what we think, what other people think, and what she thinks about her appearnce and reputation.

About a year ago, Bobina and I had a heated discussion about weight loss, mostly centering around my working out so much. During this discussion she dropped this bomb, “honey, my weight is my business, not yours.” Ok, fine. Then why do we spend 30 minutes at the women’s clothing department for you to try on 3 pairs of jeans, 4 shirts, and a parttridge in a pear tree? Then you put everything back and say “nothing fits, I hate the way I look.”

I’m not picking on Tay or Bo at all. Their reactions and their behavior are normal. Crazy, but also normal. I care too. Turning 40 kicked my tail. I have spent more time and energy on my body and my looks than I did when I in high school. I realized I do the same things my girls do. I want them to tell me I’m awesome but be able to worry about what other people think about me. It’s life big paradox isn’t it. I mean it’s not equal to Puffy and Biggie telling us It’s All About the Benjamins then saying Mo Money, Mo Problems, but it’s up there.

Tay found a dress and shoes. The dress isn’t too short, she looks beautiful. Bobina found a new pair of jeans, and no one has been punched and no furniture has been broken. I answered her hellish questions the way I was supposed too because my finger still work to type this blog entry. I am learning that Tay, Bobina, the little ones, and the female friends I have don’t want your real opinion, they want your unconditional love, in the form of flowing, flowery compliments. Heard and done.