Welcome 2014

cross-tattoos Mod So, 2013 is gone and we are at the genesis of a brand new year. I will not miss the past year, in fact I’ll wish that it is speedily forgotten. The past year was forgettable for a number of reasons. My house flooded for the second year in a row, my pay was cut short by the sequester and then eliminated by the furlough. Yes I got it back in full, but by that time I was well and truly in a hole I’m finally starting to climb out of.

I will turn 52 in a little more than a week. Having pissing most of those years away trying to find the bottom of the latest bottle or bag, I find myself with a “so much to do and so little time” list that is daunting in its length and growing every day. Some are simple: Kill and dress my first deer; ditto with a hog. Some are not quite so easy: Get my finances in order so as to be prepared for retirement; script film and edit my own short film.

I want to concentrate on some art stuff that I really enjoy. I want to write and have started keeping a journal. I want to concentrate more on my photography and have already cleaned up my Flickr account to help. I want to knit another scarf (I have had three started for way too long). I want to read more books that I’ve bought and put to the side thinking “I’ll read them later.” There are a lot of things that I physically want to do, too many to list here.

Other things in my life that need addressing this year are my lifestyle and attitude. First off, I want to develop a more positive attitude toward my life and my circumstances. I’m the guy you ask “How’s it going?” who replies “Meh, I can’t complain.” and then sets about the next twenty minutes complaining about everything. I need to change that.

I need to finally quit smoking. I hit bottom with my drinking and quit cold turkey more than two years ago. I want to quit smoking before I’m sitting in the doctors office hearing a diagnosis of cancer of whatever kind that would force my hand. I’ve smoked at least a pack per day, on-and-off, mostly on, for the past 43 years. It’s time to stop.

One thing I really want to do is get my life a little more organized. I stay up late at night, most nights until midnight at the earliest. If I had to guess at an average, I would say it would probably fall about 1-1:30 a.m.? That’s not good. It’s not good for my health and it’s not real good for the ability to get things I want to spend time on, done. I want to start getting to bed earlier, getting up earlier and organizing my days to be more efficient with regards to my goals.

I need to pay more attention to my spiritual life as well, but that’s between me and God and I’m sure you’ll be happy to know I plan to keep it that way.

I need to simplify my life. What does that mean? Cutting out some of the dead weight that drags me down. Whether that involves possessions, processes or habits, I need to do some pruning.

I don’t make resolutions but I do plan to change some things. I’m going to give up Twitter and Facebook for the most part. They are huge time sucks in my life and I can use that time for other things. I’ve been thinking about this since Thanksgiving and have the basic outlines of a few goals and a sketchy plan to get there.

All in all, I’m happy 2013 is dead and gone and look forward to the changes coming in 2014. I just hope I’m not writing this same post a year from now. Happy New Year and thank you for being a part of my life. Here’s to the future!

An oldie but a goody …

Quote

… or at least I think so.

angels-demons

Fear and Bones

Hells fire flashes as demons laugh.
Dark, viscous venom cutting rivers in their chins.
Nails flaying skin, shredding, wailing
into the night. The demon taunts me, “God is calling!”

Hells nightmare follows me, toying, teasing.
Insanity closes with every tick of times passage.
Ha! Glowing embers, eyes I’m sure, searching,
hunting from the inky black of Gethsemane’s garden.

Hells demons sniff and snarl, measuring fear.
The stench of decaying flesh surrounds me.
Shrieking into the dark I run, “God, save me from this!”
It’s mine. The death stench permeates my very soul.

Mortal fear feeds Satan’s addiction. When fear fades
bones crunch and Satan smiles. Snapping blades
shred sinew, slice muscle, “Why hast thou forsaken me?”
My blood heavy on his belly, sated, his eyelids droop.

The demon slumbers. And I? I rise to save the world.

Has it really been 27 years …

Twenty-seven years ago, I was in the delivery room with a very worried wife, a group of dedicated, compassionate nurses and a douche bag doctor. My wife was 7 months pregnant and going into labor. Christopher Thomas Bradford came into my life that day. He was beautiful. Shock of dark hair, olive complected, bright blue eyes … and he was dead. Stillborn. Who knows what happened. The pregnancy had been going fine as far as I can recall. But somehow, for some reason, the umbilical cord had gotten wrapped around his neck and he died. When he was delivered, as a stunned father and his wife were trying to take in the fact that our world had just been shattered into a billion tiny, soul shredding shards, the douche bag commented that “this baby’s been dead for a while” an walked off.

I was so shocked I just stood there dumbfounded. How heartless can you be? I know you’re an Army doctor and your making pennies compared to what you could be making on the outside, but for F**KS Sake man, have you NO compassion?

I had to call my mom and dad and in-laws and break the news to them. I know they wanted to help, be there … do … something, but we were in Germany and, for all intents and purposes, alone … together. The next few days were a blur. Somehow, I don’t remember why or how, a stuffed bunny found it’s way into our lives. Danna latched onto it and wouldn’t let it go. We cried, not really comforting each other, but dealing with our pain as individuals. Hell, we had only been married a little over a year. We were still learning to be a couple.

We made arrangements, or they were made for us, to fly home and bury my baby … my first born. I honestly cant tell you what that was like. I remember thinking I had to be strong because that’s what men do. I had to be there to let Danna grieve. I didn’t want my dad to see me and think I was weak because I was losing it even though I couldn’t concentrate on a damned thing because someone was sticking a flaming torch full of glass shards into my gut and twirling it back and forth. How young and stupid I was.

We did what people do. We buried Chris in Cooper Cemetery and went back to Germany to pick up our lives. We sucked it up and carried on. But every day since then, EVERY DAMNED DAY since then, I think about him. It really gets bad when it gets closer to his birthday. I wonder. What would he be like? What music would he listen to? What would my life have been like with him in it these 27 years later? What kind of man would he have grown up to become? I wonder …

I also HATE that I wonder. Why? Because life, as is its wont, marched on. A little more than a year later Josh was born. He’s 25 now … 26 in November. A couple of years later Ryan joined our happy trio and made us a quad. He just turned 23 last week. I love my two boys … young men … dearly. I am proud of the men they have become and the lives they lead. I know that had Chris lived, we probably would have stopped there and Ryan would never have been born and hard as I try to imagine, I can’t conceive of a life without Ryan.

I coached their bowling team when they were younger. They were accepted into the French Immersion program in elementary school so I took four years of French to be able to help them out if they needed it. I took them out of school to go to the early matinee … The Mighty Morphing Power Rangers, Lord of the Rings, Spiderman and many, many more. They were and continue to be the biggest source of pride in my life. I love them so …

Chris, I know you would have been a fine man. I’m sorry I didn’t get to see that happen. You will always be my first son and I will always hold a special place in my heart for you. I think you would like your brothers. With a smile, I imagine the joyous chaos that our lives would have been with you in it. The madness and mayhem we would have caused, together, as the years passed. Mom would’ve been out-manned, outnumbered and out of her mind trying to deal with all of us. She would have loved it. Good times, man.

So. here we are. Life moves on. Seems to be picking up speed these past few years. Must be one of the side effects of passing the half-century mark. I’ll wake up tomorrow and go to work, do my chores, have dinner with the family, watch a hockey game and maybe some baseball and all will be well. But know that you will be on my mind. Happy Birthday and rest peacefully.

Love,

Dad

Indianapolis or Bust!

Well, obviously its a bust ’cause there’s no way i’m getting anywhere near Indiana. In case you’ve been living in a cave or just don’t care, it’s Superbowl Weekend and I have a HUGE party planned … that is if everyone shows up!

Of course that also hinges on whether or not we don’t end up in Oz or some comparable foreign land. It’s been raining this week. A lot.

And wind.

And tornados.

And lightning.

In fact, mom called me this morning at 9 a.m. To tell me about it.

The conversation went something like this:

Me (groggily as she woke me up): Hello?

Her (shocked): don’t tell me you slept through THAT!

Me: What?

Her: THE RAIN! It folded our antennas in half!

Me (feigning coherence): Really?

Her: Yes … Oh wait. Lemme call you back. That’s Merle Norman calling. K? Bye!!!!

So now I’m up. I grab my pith helmet and hit the jungle that is “the back 40” of my property and this is what to my wondering eyes did appear:

Click Photos to Embiggen

The creek running through my back yard is normally just a trickle. The creek bed is at least 12 feet below where it is running now. Probably closer to 16-18 feet.

Too late to worry much now. The party is planned and we will bravely soldier on making our preparations for the guests we’ve invited while at the same time, keeping an eye on the looming disaster in the back yard.

If we’re not here when you all arrive, we’ve probably been swept away to some strange and far-away land. Don’t worry about us though. I hear Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect are good traveling companions and they really like football. (I really wish they’d stop calling the stadium “the pitch” though. What’s THAT all about?).

Oh, and if we do happen to get to the restaurant at the end of the universe, I’ll have a slice of pie for ya and send you a postcard. Until then, goodbye and thanks for all the fishes!