Straight shooter, brutally Honest, Irreverent at times? To be sure.
Love to Learn & Grow. As your friend I would do anything for you. I love my wife and kids more than anything. I respect and look up to my father as my hero.
"Our lives are not determined by what happens to us, but by how we react to what happens; not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst...a spark that creates extraordinary results."
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Tony & Pete
For Sameday Service See "Uncle Pete". Aka The Mayor
I would like to write a brief tribute to our esteemed Federal Government & those banking and investment Corporate Executives who have damn near destroyed the American dream through their stupidity and greed. Oh but these are the folks who companies pay to come speak at function about leadership and profitability. that is how our prison system works. Put criminals with other criminals or even non criminals and they refine their criminal activity. Genius. Yes, they have earned this tribute. I would like to take my hat off to each of those public & private servants for the tremendous job they have done in selling the American public and all their dreams down the Honey Bucket just outside the White house fence. (You know the single use kind that smell a lot like roses and come with their own flies.) I would like to see the accounting sheet showing me what I (we) have gotten for our $700B and growing loan to the Government, banks, car companies, etc? Getting a home loan is harder than ever, even a re-fi is an absolute freaking joke, as is getting any type of credit. The joke is on us, the tax paying public. Those who are losing their jobs, 45% of their 401K's in 10 months and 30% of their home value at best. Yet the "Loans" were meant to have loosened up the credit markets and allow for all markets to stimulate growth and public spending. Hmmmm, I guess I realized last week as I turned 41 that the word retirement had now been extracted from my new Webster's Dictionary. Hats off to you ladies & gentlemen of our government and you greedy bastards who have run these companies into the ground and keep coming back to the tax payer for handouts. Where is my bailout if I need it? Oh, that's right, if things get really bad I can dig into what retirement savings the sagging market has not eaten. All the while slitting one wrist as I bend over and lube up so I can pay 42% taxes on the funds that are mine. I hope you can sleep with yourselves at night as the other 97% of Americans struggle to make this all make sense and keep their homes and businesses intact. May you burn in hell. Sorry, but Obama is not the second coming of Christ in all this. A good man? Yes. A great speaker? Absolutely. Savior of the free world? Good freaking luck with that smokin' pile of elephant feces left in your care, Sir.
Remember, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig. Maybe if they knew something about true leadership we would not be in this economic wasteland.
My cup runneth over!!! I am a simple person, but I have so much to be thankful for as I step across this birth line in the proverbial sand. Family, Valued Friends, Associates, Health and My Mind (well, some say that's debatable). I share just a few moments captured in time that fill my glass. I thank God everyday for all I have.
So, This is my first venture in to Wordful Wednesday. Here we go. I thought I would share an idea that I found to be very cathartic and I am sure someday will be very enjoyable for my kids. Specifically my daughter Alayna. When each of our children were born I took advantage of some of the "quiet moments" in the first month to gather my thoughts surrounding the events of their birth and what their arrival into this world and my life meant to me. I wrote of what I wished and prayed for them in the future and put those thoughts into a letter. I then hid and sealed the letter behind the matting of this picture. So one day each of them will find this letter written to them from Daddy and be able to hopefully enjoy its contents and cherish it forever. A few other items that are a hit can be found ( Daddy's Heart, Mommy's Heart )or in Utah.
This week's Tuesday's Tribute is all about a man who I knew for a very brief yet crazy, action packed, fun filled, adventurous 9 months to a year. I remember my first encounter like it was yesterday. He was sitting by a volleyball court speaking with a gal that I knew and we were introduced. He had a very friendly, professional demeanor, yet a razor sharp whit to his overtly sarcastic manner. I liked this guy and his style. (No, now don't get all crazy with your thoughts, gutter grey matter geeks.)
Over time I learned more and less about him, kind of like the study of DNA. He was a very busy body, hard working, goals driven sales rep for Revlon. He had an insatiable enthusiasm about him to enjoy life and his weekends to the fullest. Who could blame him? We were young and who knew how much time we had rented on this here rotating multi-colored gumball? Curiously, he kept a life sized floor stand of Cindy Crawford, used for "promotional purposes", in the living room of his apartment. I guess back then that could have been considered a fine piece of furniture or artwork, take your pick. We had some great laughs and wild adventures together during that year. One warm summer night I finally broke the "DNA" code. He talked me off the ledge, if you will, over a very painful life event I was dealing with, and that evening reliving for what I perceived for a second time. That is when I knew that JAY was truly my friend. I cannot speak for him, but from that day on I had a new and stronger respect for him. I needed a real friend that evening. A rational, understanding, bring me back to earth friend. I raise a toast to you Jay, for because of your selflessness that night and being able to put your drink down, walk away from the crowd and be a friend. Colleen and I celebrate 13 years of beautiful marriage this year.
Fast forward 16 years, and I found Jay or he found me on Facebook. What a small world. What a nice and unexpected surprise. What a great tool for reconnecting with family, friends and most importantly people who have positively affected your life. Jay is the one responsible for my start up in this blogosphere. (I'm not sure that is a word, but it is now my neologism.)
Nonetheless, my point is, that those who have the honor of knowing Jay on a personal level as friend, family member or Blogatopian, you have found a rare pearl in the sea of clams. If you are reading this and have not been over to Halftime Lessons, you are missing out on some very funny, provocative and heartfelt rants. He we will at times make you laugh your ass off, bring a tear to your eye and actually make you think. What a concept, right? Thinking? To me he is the "House" of Blogland. He and Hugh Laurie share a striking resemblance. Seriously, he and "Halftime Lessons" have built somewhat of a cult following. In a very good way of course. So, go... go and enjoy the breath of his work, which continues tirelessly. Be inspired. Challenge to better yourself through his spirit.
Jay, I thank you for your continued friendship. Kat is one lucky woman. Our family is lucky to have you as a friend.
Here's looking up yur skirt mate! Can you find the Crazy Canuck Stud?
P.S: Remember to send well wishes next Wednesday for his 14,355 day of life.
20 years ago there was a young lad who had been very blessed athletically, had some decisions to make about where to accept a scholarship to play his sport and get an education. Originally he decided on The University of California at Berkley. Upon further review, due to the fact that he was coming out of a Junior College early, he did not yet have his Associates degree. Thus deeming him ineligible for play. So that left him Arizona State, Utah and Virginia Tech. He had always been an adventurer, so Virginia Tech it was.
(Cue The Beverly Hillbillies Theme Song)
Come and listen to a story about a man named Tony. A poor athlete student, barely kept girlies out of his head. Then one day he was looking for a school that would not be a wreck, And up through the Blue Mountains came a place called Virginia Tech. School that is, Maroon & Orange, The Hokies. Well the first thing you know ol' Tony's living there, Kinfolk said, "Tony study hard while you are there, Said study hall and the library are the place you ought to be." SCHREACH......... but football & girls and so many things, oh goodness, gracious me?
Enter stage left one of the most wonderful, down to earth, elegantly simplistic, very direct and stern, yet kind loving woman I have ever had the honor to meet. Lois Berg. Associate Director of Athletic Academic Advising. (say that ten times fast.)
Lois-"Tony, nice to meet you. Reviewing your academic progress, you are an Athlete Student. You need to become a Student Athlete. Do not waste the gift you have earned in a full scholarship."
Tony- " Yeah, k, well, gotta run. Things to do, girls to meet and places to go."
Lois- " Hey, Tony, have you ever read the back of your birth certificate?"
Tony- " Umm no." (thinking in the back of my head what a weird f-ing question.)
Lois- " It reads simply: No Guarantees, No Warranties, this is life."
Tony- "No Way." (Crazy woman.)
Lois- " Read it when you get back to the dorm. We will talk more tomorrow."
So the relationship began.
Regressing a bit. My time line might be a bit off, but it is the meaning of the story and the strength that should build in you as you read. At some point during 1984 on an icy road in Colorado Lois and her husband were returning from a long day's work at one of Colorado's beautiful ski resorts. Not a long drive, but one that very quickly changed things for Lois permanently. An on coming vehicle hit ice going far too fast and careened into the truck Lois in which Lois was riding. The truck left the road in a violent collision and Lois ended up while still in the truck, pinned to an aspen tree. Her right arm between the two. Her arm was a total loss.
I have never pretended to understand the pain, the mental anguish and the internal struggle to regain one's self perception she went through. Although, you could see it in her eyes as she spoke to you. By the time Lois entered my young, somewhat gelatinous life, she was hitting her stride again. In the years since the accident she had lost everything. Everything but her fire and her will to piece by piece rebuild herself and her life. And rebuild, did she ever.
Lois took me under her wing. I was a long way from home. Meeting new people, having new experiences and searching to become a respectable young man. Lois was like a family member for me. She would spend hours talking to me about academic challenges, approaches and strategies. She would then don her friend/older sister cap and talk to me about life and growing up, and the many challenges, pitfalls and road signs that come with that journey. As I said, you could see her struggle in her eyes. Her eyes were the conduit to her soul, the crystal ball to her moods and attitudes. She taught me it was ok to cry once in a while. I also learned it was ok to let her cry once in a while. She lost her arm for God's sake. She had torment and frustration to be sure, but it was through her torment that she built some of her greatest masterpieces of strength. She had the heart of a lion in that little frame. Her passion for life was infectious. So much that my Junior year she sat within review of my academic status and proclaimed,
"Mr. Utah, you're going to graduate."
Just her believing in me that I had really become a student athlete was all the fuel I needed to set my sights. No one was going to stop me now. (well, except maybe the Calculus With Matrices professor from some foreign land with the heavy accent, that try as I might even my malt-o-meal decoder ring could not help me decipher what emanated from his mouth.) Some how, by the grace of God, I passed. Now a great deal of work went into the final result, but I did it, and I think it made Lois's heart swell with pride.
I had lost track of Lois for a time until last week. I honestly got a tear in my eye when her name popped up on my screen. She was such an integral part in me becoming who I am today. The lessons in strength and tenacity that she imparted on all she met is almost indescribable for words. She became a legend at Virginia Tech for work with Student Athletes. She is beloved and respected by her many colleagues, notably Nikki Giovanni, her close friend and author of Sacred Cows... And Other Edibles. Since those good old days Lois has helped , guided and molded many student athletes to graduation.
To quote a few passages from Emerson's, Success: " To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children. To leave the world a bit better. Whether by a healthy child, a garden path or a redeemed social condition. This is to have succeeded." All of us that you have touched are stones in your gardens path. Some of us may even be your redeemed social conditions, but you will always have our affection. Lois, you can stand proud for you have accomplished so much more than that.
I am a stronger, more resilient person for having met Lois. I can only thank the good Lord for allowing our paths to have crossed. Lois, you are very special to me and always will be. Keep touching the lives of those in which you come in contact. Enjoy retirement, you have earned it.
Oh, by the way, just to reconfirm, you were right.
Ok , so I was strolling through some old photos and came across this beauty. I am not sure if she was going for the I am under cover look or the early retirement look. You know where nothing worn seems to match anything else, high riding socks with Tevas, but if I hide behind the Lennon sunglasses no one will notice.
She may kill me someday, but I am holding onto this one for the rehearsal dinner.
I am a late entry today as I had to drive to Seattle and back for business. ( 7hrs on the road). So I apologize, but I am going to link you to a Post I did when I first started out and maybe 4 people knew of me and my Blog. It is well worth the revisit. My Friend Sam.
What you feel is what you are, And what you are is beautiful. That is how I choose to feel today.
It is day 5 of my New Year journey alone. I finally got through to my much loved wife to rekindle her relationship with her mom she has been estranged from for about 3 years. Well, that brought on an unplanned trip to visit her. I had no more vacation, so I was left behind to work and well, work.
I have cleaned the house 3 times, taken down the outdoor Grizwald decorations from Christmas, fixed the broken water pipe which could have flooded the entire house and really been a bitch to deal with. I have chopped about a 1/2 cord of firewood, so I can stay warm. Spoken to many old friends from school and otherwise. I can't say I have not been lonely and missed my wife and kids dearly. I guess times like these really add a thankful perspective for what I have.
If by my last few posts you have not figured it out, I am a huge college football guy. So this time of year is heaven on earth for me, with all the games to be watched. I don't know why. Hmmmm. Oh, and on a high note, my Hokies won the Orange Bowl last night. Now I just have to hope that the Utes of Utah can make it a night to remember for my beloved father who played tight end for them back when gas was 25 cents a gallon. Go Utes! Utah by 5!! I hope that Colin Cowherd and all the other national sports radio and TV prognosticators get to eat a big fat bowl of bird shit for dogging a non BCS school with a hell of a lot of talent end strength. In the words of Kid Rock-- Roll ON my friends.
So, I could probably write a thousand words about my awesome times while attending Virginia Tech University and playing football. I will always cherish these memories and most importantly the friendships that we forged during those times.( Bill, Skip, Eugene, Will, Scott, Angie, Lois, Cheryl, Karl,Viktor, Hackman, Coach Gentry, Coach Hite, Coach Beamer, Coach Foster and so many, many more.(please accept my apology if I have left your name off - nothing personal.) We are... Virginia Tech!!
I hope someday to meet you at the Top of The Stairs, to say hello again. God Bless each of you and your families. I wish you the very best in this New Year. Today I choose to share some old school, 20 yr old memories. (I know it dates me, but what the hell?)
Thank you for visiting my Blog. I do this for family, friends and any soul who dares venture into my whacked out mind to join me for some 12 step therapy. I forget which step this is, but I digress. I warn you I am authentic & call a spade a spade. Please take a moment and leave a comment within any posting that you like or dislike.
Life can happen a day early. Unexpectedly or not. Never give up the chance to give a compliment, a hug or kiss, say thank you, Pay it forward, or say I love you, a day early. It may help you breathe easier because you lived, a day earlier than planned.
Mt. Hood from Trillium Lake
Clear Lake, OR
Majestic Oregon Destination
Fog from the Beach
Deadhead Beach - Indian State Park
Coastal Storm Waves
Newport, OR Lighthouse
To Have Lived
To laugh often and much;To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.This is to have succeeded.
Tribute to My Tribe
Alayna & Jordan 2007
St. John Fishermen
St. John USVI 2004
St. John USVI
Sunset in Paradise, St. John USVI
"Rain drops are falling on my head..."
God is a Hokie. That is why the leaves turn Maroon & Orange each fall.