Friday, December 10, 2021

Turning 50 isn't all Sunshine...or is it?

Begrudgingly, I turned 50 this week.  It’s been a while since I’ve written for my blog, in large part because of my upcoming birthday.  My wife put together a very special birthday for me, frankly, a little out of my tax bracket but suffice it to say, I entered the back half of my particular century in paradise. 

I didn’t mind turning thirty.  I loved turning forty and found myself shocked that I was so apprehensive about hitting the big 5-0.  Maybe it’s that mid-life crisis you hear about.  Maybe it's that my sense of accomplishment is going the opposite direction of my waistline.  Any way you slice it, I wasn’t ready and father time didn’t care.

I traveled to Mexico on an extremely early morning flight and started my fiftieth a little under rested and a lot down.  I didn’t stay that way for too long.

A funny thing happens every time I go to paradise.  It isn’t the sun or the cheap beverages.  While I love being with my wife and family, it isn’t them either.  It’s the people you bump into.  They seem to smile easier than I do.  When problems arise, they handle it with a better sense of calm than I do.  When day turns into night and night turns into early morning, they seem to just laugh off whatever comes their way. 

I was having dinner with my dive master a few years ago and in a less than candid moment, he told me about dock fees, and license fees and the cost of gasoline for his boat.  It was an unguarded moment where he described that, despite owning his own company, that times could get tighter than he liked.

I asked, probably clumsily, if he was okay.

“Mister Chris,” he told me, “Look around.  I dive for a living.  Look where I live. The ocean is my office!”  We were eating tacos at the time.  In a restaurant with plastic tables and loud music.  He leaned in and was more impassioned than usual. “It's easy to live without money in your pocket when you’re happy”.

I went on a snorkeling tour yesterday and was lingering on turning 50 and my station in life.  The young men who took us out had the same easy smile that I’ve seen so often in paradise.  I worked in the hospitality industry for years and I’m pretty good at spotting who is working happily and who is wearing the work smile mask.  These weren’t fake.  They were happy to be doing what they were doing.  The boat ride and the snorkeling.  These were guys that probably live with less than my dive master did.

They understand something that I forget too often.

 “It's easy to live without money in your pocket when you’re happy”.

Here’s the thing, girls.  Victor, my dive master, wasn’t on a soap box when he talked about happiness.  He was in a taco bar with a beer in his hand and cabbage in his beard.  It wasn’t a scripted moment and, honestly, I would have liked to massage his words into a more beautiful statement.  But it says what it says. 

“It's easy to live without money in your pocket when you’re happy”.

The way I took it then and the way I think about it now is that we all need to stop chasing a bit.  Money and happiness do not exist in a one-to-one ratio. Does your car get you from “A” to “B”? Then it's fine.  No need to envy the car in the next driveway.  The way I thought about it on my fiftieth is that I need to live a little slower and a little more simply. I spent my fiftieth surrounded by people I love, my feet in the sand and a boat drink in hand.  It was a really good day. I need to remember to stop for a minute and appreciate that.

I’d like to go on about corporate greed and the “keeping up with the Jonses” mentality that we all seem to have these days, but from where I’m sitting, there is literally a hammock in the ocean and it has my name on it. 

Monday, September 20, 2021

Somehow, I Made a 200 Mile Race Less Fun

A few weeks ago I participated in a race called the Wild West Relay.  For those who don’t know, the Wild West Relay is a 200-mile relay race from Fort Collins to Steamboat Springs Colorado.  For most teams, the race takes about thirty hours and is riddled with pulled muscles, insomnia and foot stink.  We pay for the privilege to run it.  We are not bright.

Most of the runners have been with us for years.  We’ve had husband/wife tandems, brother/sister and this year we even had a father/ daughter.  We’ve had lawyers, restauranteurs, students, bartenders and bird rescuers. The common thread for all of us?  Running perhaps?  Nope. Morons, one and all. 

Its something that I look forward to every year.  This was the eight year I’ve run it.  We have a few runners that are in their tenth or eleventh year.  It’s a chance to see friends that we don’t get to see often. 

For some reason, this year, my heart wasn’t in it.  I hate to say it, but I literally spent more days trying to get out of the race than I did training for it.  It showed.

For a twelve-man team, each runner runs three legs ranging from a few miles up to ten miles each.  My legs added up to approximately 16 miles and each of the three legs were vastly different from one another.  My first leg was a short but very uphill leg that is considered “very hard” by the race organizer.  I struggled more than I expected.  It was at around 8000 feet and there was a lovely combination of a headwind and smoke-filled air from a nearby forest fire.  It was no fun. 

My second leg started around 3:00 in the morning and was a seven-mile leg with rolling hills.  The only issue with this one was the fact that my headlamp kept quitting on me.  Running around in the mountains with passing traffic, no shoulder and no light provided more than a couple of pant soiling moments, but I think fear sped me along and made for my most enjoyable leg. 

My final leg was the one that will stick with me for a while.  It is a five-mile leg that starts at 9000 feet and loses 1800 feet by the finish.  Sure, a nice downhill run is great.  This isn’t that. This is just gravity at work.  You set off and hope for the best.  I’ve run this leg once before and despite being my fastest five mile run I’ve ever had, I hated every step of it.  This year was much, much worse. 

My first mile was fine, fast actually.  The first mile had a 7:30 pace.  Anyone who knows me knows that is uncharacteristic at best.  Just after the first mile I felt a ‘pop’ just above my knee.  At first it was uncomfortable more than it was painful.  Discomfort was a sensation that would last only another mile or so.  Discomfort gave way to an achy pain that seemed to grow step by shitty step. My miles got slower, 8:30, 9:00, 9:30 and then a 10:30.  My knee was killing me. To run that last mile at a 10:30 pretty much defies physics.  Near impossible to fall down a mountain that slowly. I had a tough time walking by the time I was finished and wouldn’t run again for nearly a month.

I’d like to make excuses, but it comes down to two things: 1) I didn’t want to be there and 2) my pre-race training reflected that.  While I enjoyed seeing everyone, this was not a banner job for your tubby writer friend. 

The lesson here, little ladies?  It’s a good one.  If you commit to something, commit to it.  Wrap your mind around it and do the best you can and apply yourself.  Here is the part where I could say, you’re part of a team and you owe it to them to do your best, which is a fair but obvious point. 

There is another, far more selfish reason to commit.  I got hurt, I would wager, because I hadn’t trained well enough.  I hated my first leg for the same reason.  In the spirit of self-preservation, if you are going to commit to something, its best to be in a position to keep yourself from hurting yourself while doing it.  That is a brand of “lazy tax” that you should be reluctant to pay.  I paid that lazy tax for hours.  I can tell you, I’d have been happier if I had trained, or given my spot to someone else, or faked an injury or manufactured a real injury or paid someone else to run.  But I didn’t.  A lesson I won’t soon forget, at least until my next race sign-up.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Ten Goals in a Half? Seems Like a Lot!

Two of my daughters played in a soccer tournament this weekend, my middle, Macy and my youngest, Darby.  Macy is a very accomplished soccer player and her team is more than competitive.  Per usual, Macy left the tournament with a medal, albeit silver, much to her chagrin.

But this post isn’t about made goals and wins, not off any of my kid’s cleats, anyway. 

To the uninitiated, a team is a team is a team.  Any given day, any team can win.  In a perfect world, sure, but anyone who endured 2020 knows the world isn’t perfect.  Because of the imbalance, every league splits its players into different tiers based on ability.  For example, my middle daughter plays on the “gold” team which is tier two only behind the “select” team.  Below Macy is the “white” team and below that is “blue” where Darby plays. 

See, Darby, while enthusiastic, hasn’t hit any brand of growth spurt yet and tends to be slower and less physical than most of the other kids.  She tends to be behind the play as it migrates down the field.  It doesn’t matter all that much.  She’s having fun and she will catch up. 

The problems, for the point of this story, are that A) Darby has started playing goalie and B) the first team they played in the tournament was a “premier” level team.  A premier team is the equivalent of the highest-level team in the tournament. 

It was a recipe for disaster. 

Anyone waiting for the “David versus Goliath” ending might as well stop reading now. 

Darby was in goal for the second half of the game.  The team was already down 3-0 when she took the net.  They were behind big and it got much, much worse. 

Darby would allow ten goals in the second half.  She was outmanned, as was her team.  There was a sense, as the half went on, that the girls had to endure the drubbing they were taking but their willingness to fight back waned.  The less the girls fought, the worse it got for Darby in the net.  It was no one’s fault.  They ran into a buzz saw and there wasn’t a lot they could do about it.

The worst part about it was the other team.  The most politically correct way to describe these 11-year-olds would be “snarky little shits”.  Literally the kindest way I can find to describe them. 

The girls made jabs at Darby.  As the goals mounted, the jabs got worse.  The team would rip a goal past Darby and mock her with a sarcastic “nice try goalie” then “it’s like you’re playing for our team”.  It was audible to the parents.  It concluded with a penalty shot that went off Darby’s fingertips and left her in tears.

The game ended 13-0. After the game, Darby was a hybrid of angry and embarrassed and sad.  She asked if she could skip the rest of the tournament, and truth be told, we were tempted to let her.  Deep down, her mother and me knew that was the wrong thing to do and we sent her back into the fray.

It felt like bad parenting.  It was a feeling that would be exacerbated watching Darby putting the goalie jersey back on for the first half of the next game.

“You’ve got to be joking” I thought to myself.  “Yesterday wasn’t bad enough?”.  I was hoping that she would be put in midfield where she could blend in and just get by.  Instead, what happened was remarkable.

She was stopping balls.  Her team was scoring.  At the end of her half, the team was up 3-0.  She didn’t play goal in the second half as it was someone else’s turn.  When the game ended, she was happy. I was relieved.

The lesson here, ladies?  There’s a few.  The first is this: don’t let someone else take your joy.  Those little girls, and their snarky little selves, made you want to quit.  Screw them.  I’m proud of you quieting the noise and playing again. Secondly, be brave.  I took stones to go back on the field.  The fun you had with your teammates over the last few days is directly attributable to the bravery you showed going back on the field, back in the net and back in the line of fire.  I couldn’t be prouder of you.  I’m sorry I doubted you. I’m glad you went back to goalie. 

Finally, it’s about those sardonic little shits on the other team.  Maybe you didn’t get the chance to shut them up (nor did anyone else as they outscored their opponents 33-0 in the tourney).  Every team, and I mean every single one, gets their comeuppance at some point.  Any team that behaves the way they did will not handle losing well.

Your team hugged and consoled each other.  You had a water balloon fight.  You ate snacks and played with your teammates.  Winning as a team is easy, losing as a team can be harder.  There was no blame between one another.  The lesson is to be a gracious winner and an optimistic loser.  This weekend your team was both.  You won a couple; you lost a couple and you had fun.  Seems about right. 


Thursday, July 8, 2021

Just Because There's a Knock, Doesn't Mean You Have to Answer

 I heard a quote a few weeks ago.  Per usual, I feel like there is a need for transparency here.  I wrote this post once a few weeks ago but didn’t love it and didn’t post it.  This is a second run at it, so instead of “I heard a quote today”, it’s “I heard a quote a few weeks ago”.

“You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore for you to decide to be happy”

It struck a chord a little harder than I’d like to admit. 

The purpose of these blog posts is to give my girls a little bit of guidance as they get older.  I suppose that I need to peel back the proverbial curtain of myself every once and a while. 

The last year has been rough.  Maybe it’s the lockdown.  Maybe it’s the four-foot commute from my bed to my desk.  Maybe it’s the weight I’ve put on or the reclusive lifestyle I found a way to pull off despite living in a house with five people.  Regardless of what it is, I’ve been down, like Chrystal Pepsi down.

I’ve hidden it as best possible from the girls, but I know there have been times when the mask slipped.  Maybe I should be more honest with them, but we’ve all dealt with so much over the last year.  In reality, the last year has done a lot to all of us but the biggest thing it’s done to me is to make me feel helpless, maybe a little weak.

“You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore for you to decide to be happy”

The person who said this quote is struggling with cancer and was offered a 2% chance of survival.  She doesn’t look at the ninety-eight percent that stands in her way, she embraces the strength of that 2%. 

I guess life is all about that 2%.

I had dinner with my stepbrother over the weekend.  He has an unrelentingly optimistic view of me, one that sometimes feels both unearned and unattainable.  While unearned, being with him recharges my batteries.  I see a lot of younger me in him and I like being able to offer pathways through the potholes that I so frequently stepped in.  One of the things we discussed over dinner was gratitude. 

Perhaps when life seems content to leave a bag of poo on your porch maybe it’s fair to just not answer the doorbell.  Maybe it’s better to look at the Honor Roll Avery made, or the soccer teams the girls all made. Maybe peek at the tough half marathon Adrienne just ran and the growth she and you girls have done over the last year. 

The lesson here, girls?  I suppose it’s as much for me as it is you.  Happiness, in large part, is a decision.  It is often easier to answer the doorbell and its fecal package.  It’s a doorbell, its what’s expected of you.  It’s easy to spiral and think of the world as something that is conspiring against you.  It’s simple to let it compound and blind you to the good things. 

I know it’s easy. 

I’ve been doing it effortlessly for quite a little while. 

“You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore for you to decide to be happy”

Life will always be hard.  There will always be things that don’t go your way.  There will always be loss and even grief.  Life, like it or not, is short.  Something I forget, more often than I’d like to admit, it that life is too short to get caught up in the smelly bag on the porch. 


Friday, May 28, 2021

Avery's Test of Mettle...or Medal

This is the last soccer post I will have for a little while.  The season is over as is tournament weekend.  In a previous post I mentioned that we were one weekend away from a chance at an undefeated year, for all three of the girls.  That weekend came and went and the girls remained undefeated.  It was a fun season.  Tournaments can be different. 

Way different.

Tournaments tend to be a place for the best teams to showcase their skills.  It is a place where an undefeated local team can get their doors kicked in on a bigger stage.  A place where dreams of grandeur meet the nightmare of reality.

My wife and I are well versed in this.  In years past, Macy, my middle daughter played for a team that was the deliverer of reality to unsuspecting teams.  My eldest, Avery, has always been the recipient. 

Macy has a shelf full of trophies and medals from tournaments.  These are not participation awards.  They are bonafide articles of battles won.

Avery has always looked longingly at that shelf. 

She had a great season and declared in the days leading up to the tournament “I’m coming home with a medal”. 

Poor sweet Avery.  Her teams, in the half decade she’s been going to tournaments, has won just one single game.  Just one.  I loved her attitude, but the odds were stacked in the nightmare’s favor.

My wife was out of town running a trail race in Moab (a story for another post) so I knew it was going to be me to wipe the weekends tears.  The first game was against a team that they had beat during the season. We had a feeling that they would win their first game, but it would get dodgy after that. 

We were right.  On the first day of the tourney, they won their first game, 3-0 and Avery played well and had a goal.  The second game that day was tougher.  It took a late goal to earn a tie.  The girls looked a little out of their depth.  They may have been a little lucky. 

Avery was a bag of nerves that night.  She had hurt her foot and was concerned about her ability to play at the level she wanted to. We stayed in a hotel with the team and being surrounded by her friends on the team was a pressure relief valve for her but her “taking a medal home no matter what” proclamation had lost its luster a bit. There was some positive math for the team.  If they won their next game they would make the championship game, and more importantly, if they make the championship game they get a medal, it may be silver, but it’s a medal none the less. 

Avery was nervous when she woke up.  We went down to breakfast and Avery sat quietly eating a bit distracted.  We talked but she was absent.  She got dressed and we made our way to the field. 

I saw something I don’t see in Avery very often.

I watched her settle herself.  Her face went from “all nerves” to “business”.  The game wasn’t five minutes old when Avery scored.  I may be a little biased, or completely so, but I believe that the early goal set the tone for the game.  The team won 7-0.  The girls played great.    They were in the championship.  Avery would get her medal. 

That wasn’t enough for Avery.  In the championship, Avery would score the team’s first goal again.  They would go on to win the trophy. 

Her smile was ear to ear, as was the rest of the team’s.  There was no clear MVP.  Everyone had played hard.  Everyone contributed.  They had exceeded their own expectations.  It was great.

The lesson here, ladies?  First of all, set your own boundaries.  If I were honest, I didn’t think you guys would bring home a medal.  Thank goodness you didn’t think the way I did.  Secondly, and most importantly, its about rising to the moment.  There are moments in your life that you either sink or you swim.  Moments that you will remember for the rest of your life, with joy when your succeed or with regret if you crumble a bit.  It makes me proud that you made your declaration and then backed it up.  I’m proud of you, regardless.  In that I am totally biased, but last weekend, you put an exclamation point on it.  You played well, you were unselfish and you were a leader.  I would have been proud if you didn’t win a game last weekend.

But you did win a game last weekend.  A bunch of ‘em.  So, congratulations, sweetheart.  You’ve got your medal.  I hope the achievement outshines that little piece of metal.  Probably won’t bet here’s hoping!

Saturday, May 15, 2021

One Day...Three Possible Championships...Lots Of Potential Tears

 I was watching a YouTube video (do yourself a favor and type Foo Fighters Kiss Guy into YouTube *some bad language for those faint of heart).  A guy gets pulled out of the audience and gets to play guitar with the band.  Suffice it to say, he does not disappoint.  It got me thinking.  How do you perform when your number is called?  Do you rise to the occasion or crumble under the pressure?

Personally, I’ve done both.  I remember playing baseball and pitching on short notice with the knowledge that if we won, we would go to the state tournament.  I would pitch very well, and if my memories haven’t been corrupted by time, had a couple of important hits as well.  I also remember playing in a softball tournament years later that had I got a clutch hit with two outs in the bottom of the last inning, we would have taken home the trophy.  The lazy fly ball I hit insured the trophy would go to the bad guys. 

I suppose, in life, we all have these moments.

This weekend, any or all of my daughters may see such a moment.  The girls, and their spring soccer teams have combined for a record of 19-0-2 going into the last weekend of the season.  You would think, by the grace of God, that at least one of them would have already secured their league championship.  No such luck.  All three girls need to win their remaining game(s) to insure they win their respective divisions.  This is not really something we have needed concern ourselves with in the past.  Why is it we have to have these pressures for all three kids?  Maybe karma? Maybe lingering 2020 vibes?  Who knows.  Whatever the reason, this weekend could be a nail biter.  There could be high fives to give and cheeks to dry. 

I’m sure some would question my parenting when I say “I hope its all celebrations or all tear wiping”.  I dread two league championships and one second place finish, regardless of which kid finishes second.  I’ll brace for the hate mail.

Full disclosure, I don’t put a ton of stock in winning and losing.  I am definitely a “how you play the game” fella.  I think you push hard and let the chips fall where they may.  Leave it all on the field and you’ll sleep well regardless of the outcome. 

I truly believe that.

I am also in the minority.

All of the involved parties really want their respective first place finishes.  It looks like they will have to run the table for all of them to be happy.  Fingers crossed.

The lesson here, little girls?  Pretty straight forward.  There is some chance your number will get called this weekend.  That there may be a moment that you’ll remember for years to come that you either look back on fondly like my pitching to go to state or that you will bemoan like my failures on the softball field.  There is a certainty that your teams will need each of you to do your best to succeed.

You’ve all put in the work.  You’ve all practiced, listened and learned.  There is a philosophy to “let the training take over”. I suppose that’s fine, but I subscribe to a different train of thought. I believe you should live in the moment.  Enjoy it.  If you win, enjoy your trophy.  If you lose, lick your wounds and take your lesson.  Embrace the competition and let it move your cleats.

Regardless of how you approach the game, remember one thing, for your daddy’s sake, you all need to win or you all need to lose.  Thanks in advance.


Saturday, April 17, 2021

Avery, Assists and Avoiding the Spotlight

 If 2020 taught us anything, its that sometimes wins can be few and far between.  Personally, I haven’t been running as much as I should, I now have a four-foot commute to work and my skin smells like gravy.  I’ve had worries about each of my children as well.

But this isn’t that kind of post.

The last couple of weeks has had a few “wins” hanging around in them.  The Jacobson girls are 5-0-1 on the soccer field and they have looked good in doing so.  This post is about my eldest daughter, Avery, whose team has won their first two games and she has been a solid part of both victories.

It should be said, that realistically, I don’t care all that much if my kid’s teams win weekend to weekend so long as they try hard and have fun.  While that is true, they seem to have a little more fun when they win. 

Avery has played on a split aged squad for the last three or four seasons and until this year she was the younger half of the team.  This fall was the first time she was among the older group of players. 

Those who know Avery know she is nothing if not shy.  Being the older kid in the fall didn’t have much of an affect on her game.  Despite her being as big as the other kids for the first time in years, she shrugged off any leadership role that was put on her shoulders.

This spring has been a little different.  This is not to say that she is the best player on the team or that she has suddenly become irreplaceable.  What she has done is become a “go to” player on her team.  Its little things like hearing the coach yell to “find Avery” and get her the ball or having Avery put against an opponent’s better players. 

The first game of the spring, her Rapids team won 4 – 0.  Avery scored two goals, the first of which she outran the defense and scored on the far side of the net.  She looked fast and shot accurately.  The second game, her team won 4 – 1.  She had three assists.  Not bad for a young lady who doesn’t give herself credit for any of it.

The spotlight is an uncomfortable place for Avery, but maybe she needs a little. 

So here it is, ladies, the point of this post.  It’s okay to have the eyes on you occasionally, especially if you’ve earned it.  Its not being boastful or too proud to acknowledge when you’ve done well.  Its okay to give yourself a pat on the back.  I’m not saying go full Brandi Chastain after each goal, but yourself a little credit is just fine.  That’s not just for soccer either.  Avery, your grades have really shined, and your artwork has taken leaps.

That goes for all of you.  Take pride in what you do and then take pride when you are successful at it. Hell, take pride if you’ve worked hard and it didn’t go your way.  Take that from your marathon running, hole-in-one hitting ol man.  (Jeremy, I know you can add a 300 game to that list of accomplishments, but that’s for you to tell your kid about).

Monday, February 1, 2021

Its Uggs or the Chefs. A Raider Fan's View of a Not So Super Sunday


Sometimes these posts get a little light and sometimes I aim to make people smile.  This is not one of those posts.  You see, last Sunday both the Kansas City Chiefs and Tom Brady were able to make it to next week’s Super Bowl. 

Sure, to some of you this is a fairly innocuous situation.  Those who aren’t particularly bothered by this aren’t fans of the Las Vegas Raiders. 

You see, as a Raiders fan, there is no good option for the Super Bowl.  First of all, there are the hated Chefs making their second consecutive appearance in the big game.  In the Raiders division, there are probably no bigger rivals.  Unfortunately, for the last, two decades-ish, The Raiders have been less than equal competition.  Last season, watching the Chefs raise the Lombardi trophy, was akin to watching your kid sitting the bench while the opponent hits a game winning home run.  It was stomach turning. 

Kansas City not only broke a decades long drought of Super Bowl squalor, they also look primed to do the same thing over and over again.  They have the best quarterback in the league, perhaps the best tight end and a ton of playmakers on offense.  It’s terrible.

Their opponent is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  I am able to ignore the fact that the last time the Raiders were in the Super Bowl it was against them and I can dismiss the throttling the Raiders took. 

The bigger issue is the quarterback of the Bucs.  In the off season the Buccaneers added Michigan alum and all-around dung heap Tom Brady.  Speaking on a personal level, years ago Tom Brady replaced The New York Yankees and intestinal flu as things that turn my gut.   

You see, January 19th, 2002 Tom Brady was the quarterback of the New England Patriots.  He was nothing remarkable at the time.  The legend of Tom Brady should have started a season later as the Raiders seemed to have knocked Tommy Uggs out of the playoffs.  Late in that game at Foxboro Field Charles Woodson stripped Brady of the ball assuring the Raiders of a win.  But as the celebrating started, something awful happened.  Something so terrible that it was clear that the football gods had conspired against the Silver and Black.  The officials got together searching for a way to take the game from the Raiders.  They uncovered a little-known statute called the “Tuck Rule”.  The rule basically states that any time the Raiders come close to any modicum of success the officials are required to yell “Tuck You, Raiders” then take a win away from them. Tom Brady went on to win the Super Bowl, the Raiders went on to a few decades of obscurity.

Of note, I had tickets to that Super Bowl assuming the Raiders went.

The lesson here girls?  Probably not a great one.  Let’s try, if you aren’t cheatin’ you aren’t tryin’?  Nah, probably a bad lesson.  How about this.  “Sometimes you’re going to lose no matter what you do.”  I can live with that one.  Be it on the soccer field or on your bike or in the classroom, despite your best efforts things are bound to go against you sometimes.  You may fall on your bike or play a team you just can’t beat.  You will be in a no-win situation here and there.  I guess that’ll have to be the lesson.

Yeah, the Chiefs will win, or Tom Brady will win, and the world will keep on spinning, I guess. In the meantime, we can hope that there is a problem with the stadium’s plumbing and the game has to be cancelled.  A boy can dream.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Nice Ceiling You've Got There. Be a Shame if Something Happened to It

 We kept our daughters out of school today.  My wife and I value education, but today is a rare day where there is nothing to be taught in the classroom that would outweigh what they could learn at home. 

This morning, my wife put on a shirt bearing the Kamala Harris quote “I’m Speaking” and gathered her daughters on the couch.  She had intermittent tears as Amy Klobuchar spoke about the grit of the country and as Lady Gaga sang the national anthem. 

This is not to be political, but I need to rewind four years to get the impact of what she is feeling.  Four years ago, my wife had been sure that a glass ceiling was going to be smashed and the first woman would hold the office of President of the United States.  When Hillary Clinton lost, Adrienne was devastated. 

Sure, she was upset about who had won.  But more specifically, she was upset about what the loss said about our country.  She was crushed that a woman, regardless of how qualified she may be, could not get the support to hold the country’s highest office.  She thought less of her country because she felt she was worth less in it.  It was a sentiment shared by my sister, my mother and I’m sure millions of women around the country.

Fast forward to today.  My wife, sitting in her “I’m Speaking” shirt, hugging her little girls and a little champagne celebrating something long overdue.  She watched as Kamala Harris took her oath of office and was sworn in as the Vice President of the United States.  A woman who represents a shattering of a ceiling for my wife and kids, but that isn’t the only ceiling she left broken.  Women of color, Asian American people have reason to sit with their children and their champagne. 

Twelve years ago, a ceiling was broken, and a large swath of people got to feel like they finally had a seat at the big table, but half of our country had never had that feeling.  Today marks a day where we can be more honest with our daughters and say, “you can be anything you want to be” without the asterix that we used to have to apply to it. 

In our house, today is the best day we’ve had in a while.  Of course, there have been great days.  The girls got a trampoline for Christmas for God’s sake, but today speaks to more about front flips.  Today is the first day in this country’s two-hundred-year history that the fairer sex officially has a seat at the table.

So, the lesson here my young ladies, is a big one.  You can do anything you want to in life.  Full stop.  There are cracks in each of your ceilings that weren’t there yesterday.  It warms me to know that my mother, my sister, my aunt, my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law and my niece got to see this.  It warms me that my wife and daughters can walk a little taller today.  It warms me to see that my country was able to give these things to my family. 

Enjoy your time on the couch today, girls, and pamper your Mommy a little.  But tomorrow is a new day.  You have no excuse for not being president in a few years.  You have a lot of work to do.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Judging By the Scale, I Ate A Wildebeest In 2020

 Every year I post my New Year’s resolutions to my blog site.  I am one of the few people I know that sees January one as a means of hitting a hard reset on myself and generally do pretty well about accomplishing the goals I set for the new year. 

Most years are not 2020.

I have had a lot of successes over the years.  I’ve replotted my career, run marathons and one year I lost 20% of my body weight. 

But none of those years were 2020.

Last year’s resolutions were easy enough to remember.  I had a race I was going to run, I had weight I wanted to lose, I had career goals I wanted to hit and I had a book that I had done the research for that I wanted to write.  I trained for the race for six months, but along came COVID.  Weight? COVID. Career? COVID.  Book?  Oh, I’d love to blame COVID for that one. 

I should have known if I was going to pull a hamstring, it was going to be playing adult kickball in 2020.  I should have known if I were going to train for an out-of-state race in 2020 that it would get cancelled while I was packing for it.  Didn’t get to miss a single training run.  Go to hell, 2020.

So, generally speaking, I spend the days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve going over my results and plotting next year.  Lose weight?  I was ready to run a tough race in March, now I sweat when I use the steps.  Fail.  Run a race?  I can’t run to the mailbox.  Fail.  The book?  Ugh. 

It felt like the disappointment I was feeling was one last kick to the undercarriage from 2020. 

Frustration led me to skip writing my New Year’s post. Then this week I had an unfortunate epiphany.  Why would I only post my year end post when it’s positive.  I began to write the post and it felt okay.  A couple of nights ago I went to bed with finishing it and posting in the morning butt lo an behold, I woke up to a computer that decided that I shouldn’t post it.  My writing was no where to be found.  I see what you’re doing 2020.  Nicely played. 

It wasn’t until last night that I decided that I should post something.  I guess, here it is.  My resolutions are ~drum roll~ the same as last year (insert disappointing wa-wah sound).  Twenty pounds, a ton of miles and a book that needs written. 

Here’s the thing, girlies.  You can look at failure a few different ways.  It can beat you into submission or you can stand up against it and try to rectify.  Not writing a post this year, at least to me, was akin to not setting resolutions.  Seemed like a great idea, too!  But that wouldn’t make good messaging to you little pumpkins, so I suppose I should stick with the alternative. 

Another thing, little ladies, is about giving yourself a break.  2020 was a weird year.  It kept offering things that were difficult to get around.  I failed on a bunch of things.  You can beat yourself up about it or forgive yourself.  The trick is, to forgive yourself but allow a little space for constructive criticism.  Yeah, I put on some weight.  A medium sized dog’s worth.  But I can drop it, too.  I didn’t run as much as I would have liked, but I can sign up for a race and get trotting. 

I also didn’t write as much as I should have, and that I have to come to grips with.  That one falls square on me and I have to fix it. 

One final note, I’ve loved spending the year with you guys and mommy.  It’s made 2020 a whole lot more bearable.  That being said, I want to expand on it and start to try to harden some bonds with some more extended family.  Looking at you, Philadelphia.  Like so many other things, you can beat yourself up or fix it.  I’ll take fix it, at least 70% of the time!