They say that a picture is worth 1,000 words.
I say that it’s worth much more than that.
Now and then the events of a single day subtly dovetail.
I have been an admirer of photojournalism for as long as I can remember.
Seeing images that were most likely seared into the retina’s of said photographers would give me pause.
The past few weeks in Boston have produced some images that I can’t seem to ‘unforget’.
I want to rewind the organ of soft nervous tissue contained in my overcrowded skull of vertebrates and bring it back to April 14th when life
seemed idyllic and almost normal.
Not gonna happen.
And I didn’t even take the pictures.
Last weekend my future son-in-law, Jonathan, showed me the cover of SI.
On the cover was a picture of an older runner that had been literally knocked down by an explosion at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
Behind him were three Boston Police officers seen drawing their weapons and running in three different directions.
It was a photograph of a surreal moment in time.
It was also a photograph courtesy of a 30 year photojournalist for the Boston Globe called John Tlumacki.
Little did I know that my own personal path would intersect with that of Tlumacki.
I’ve never met the man but I am sure he is deep.
Read a glimpse of him HERE.
This Sunday morning I sat in a sunny living room reading an article in the T&G.
Read it HERE.
(and look at the photo credit below)
As of this morning I had no clue as to who took the pictures that had moved me close to tears.
In my last post here I used a photo of a woman found on her knees, crying and praying fervently to the heavens above.
She was completely devastated in every possible way, beseeching the blue sky above to take back what had just happened only moments before.
This was the picture I chose to use for my last post.
The picture spoke to me, plain and simple.
Fast forward to me Googling “photojournalist Boston Marathon 2013″.
There were many results but one stuck in my craw because it gave a preview of the photo I had used in my previous post.
I was gobsmacked in learning that the picture was actually taken by Tlumacki.
In my mind, I began to juxtapose many images while thinking how difficult it must have been to take them.
I will never know how these folks do their job.
It was then that I realized that it’s not unlike what I do when I write a song or a post.
I go into something of a trance until the job is over.
It’s a phenomenon that just happens.
The biggest difference for me is that I don’t have to worry about my head getting blown off in the process.
I have a new found respect for these graphic soldiers that visually time stamp the complexities of our lives.
I contacted John via email this afternoon after realizing I had used one of his photos for my ‘Boston Strong‘ post.
I asked for permission to use his photo after finally realizing how much courage and balls it must have taken
to capture an image as haunting and visceral as what it was.
He replied to me 20 minutes later;
“You can keep the photo on your blog, this is my Boston, your Boston, let’s not forget that.”
This is from a man that found himself on the front-line of the battle and chose to do his job.
I am honored that he gave me the okay to use his photo and blessed that he took the time to reply to me.
I pray that the ‘Man Upstairs’ keeps a special eye on this guy.
He’s paid his dues.
If this guy doesn’t garner a Pulitzer this year, I will be shocked.
Thanks, JT for doing the daunting task that you do.
The blood you found on your shoes tells me all I need to know about your integrity.
Time to find some rainbows . . .
As I get older it’s on my birthday that I scan back through my life and think about the people that have
made a difference in my life.
There are many people I could add to my list but I would inevitably leave someone out and would have to pay
I’m pretty sure the folks on my list know who they are.
But there is one person that makes this day truly special; my twin sister, Maureen.
Through thick and thin we have weathered some serious storms.
Both Mom and Dad died from Alzheimer’s.
We traveled through Hell together, holding hands all the way and lived to tell the tale.
And believe me we have a tale to tell.
Maureen, on our birthday, I wish for you health, happiness, the inner solace and warmth of a long run, happiness and all the love your heart can hold. We are blood.
Through thick or thin we will remain . . . heart to heart.
Happy Birthday, my twin.
I love you.
“To me, faith means not worrying.” – John Dewey
for someone close, yet so far away . . .
About a month or so ago Pamela decided that we needed to modify and improve our eating habits.
We shied away from calling this a diet and settled on what we consider to ultimately be a change
What we’re doing is in no way groundbreaking but it does make a lot of sense.
Based on your height and current weight you are allowed X number of calories a day.
Pamela said, “If you want to drink Guinness all day, you can. But when you’ve reached your calorie limit, you’re done.”
Obviously a diet consisting purely of Guinness draft would never work for me.
Just for shits and giggles I did figure out that I could have 12 glasses of the dark magic to equal my daily allotment.
My employer wouldn’t like it nor would my MD (who already put the kibosh on my past Guinness intake)
One or two beers a night doesn’t seem like much in the scheme of things but it does add up over time.
I’ve since limited myself to several on the weekend.
I am breaking my own rule tonight as I write this by having one but I have counted it and still have 600+ calories to consume before bedtime.
I have lost close to 14lbs since embarking on this diet change and I have noticed some changes in my body.
It’s easier bending over and the edges of my underwear don’t roll up anymore like a tightly made burrito from Taco Bell.
And I will need to look for some new khaki’s and pants soon because when I tighten my belt the trousers reek of hillbilly feng shui.
Maybe I just need a rope belt.
Walking is easier and sleeping is more sound these days so I’m thinking I’m on the right track.
But with everything good comes something not so good.
I am realizing that two visits to 5 Guys Burgers in one week is not a good thing.
Fried Clams are not my friends anymore (sadly) and Ben and Jerry’s should actually be illegal.
I think back through my eating history and just wonder, ‘what the hell?’
But fried clams are sooooo good.
As is Chunky Monkey ice cream.
But I also want to be around to see my grandkids, too.
You can’t have both.
Fried clams or grandkids?
How about fried grandkids with a side of Chunky Monkey?
I digress . . .
At 53 years old, I have seen the light.
It’s not pretty to look at but it has shown me that the food I was eating was killing me.
Sodium, saturated fats, sugars and little bastard carbs have been swirling around my body wreaking havoc on everything from my triglycerides to my cholesterol and more.
Now before you start thinking I’m going all health-nut on your ass, I’m not.
We all make choices everyday in terms of the food we eat.
I’m just thinking we could all do a bit better.
This little nugget came to me after a friend inhaled an entire plate of Dan Dan Noodles from P.F.Chang’s a week ago.
(I call the restaurant Poof Changs)
On a whim, I checked out the nutritional value online and was gobsmacked.
One order of Dan Dan’s supposedly serves three people, not one.
One serving contains 990 calories.
Sat Fat: 23gms
Sodium: (a drum roll, please) a whopping 6190mgs!
I do hope I was reading the chart wrong and maybe I was.
A dish with over 18,000mgs of sodium can’t be possible, could it?
Your heart would just stop, yes?
Either way at over 6K mgs of sodium, divided three ways you’re still talking close to one daily allotment of salt.
Smack my ass and call me Sally, that’s a shitload of salt.
All I’m saying here is you should weigh your options in terms of what you eat.
I will get off my dietary soapbox now and go back to wherever it is that I go when I’m not writing.
It’s a low-sodium place these days.
When our friends from Australia get here in October, Mark wants fried clams.
I’m hoping he’s up for splitting an order.
I want him around for a long, long time . . .
and you guys too.
After we arrived in Brisbane we needed to get ourselves over to the domestic terminal for our final flight to Townsville.
We were tired. We were stinky. (well, I was stinky anyway)
We needed some food.
We needed to brush our teeth.
All was accomplished when we finally got to our last boarding gate.
We both fell into the chairs nearest the gate and looked around the terminal, in awe of where we were.
“Hey,” I said to Pamela, “we’re in Australia.”
After 5 minutes, Pamela had crazy legs and red ants in her pants and couldn’t sit still so she was up and went to check out the few gift shops near the gate.
I just sat and looked around the busy terminal with people flitting about like so many fleas on a used and abused mattress.
It was then that I noticed a smell, a very nasty smell, the smell of something ripe and obviously gone bad.
Maybe even a badly soiled mattress smell.
It didn’t take long to realize the source of the smell.
It was yours truly.
I must have been too tired to engage my gag reflex.
A shower would be the first thing on my agenda when we got to Chateau Harrod.
On the short flight to Townsville we looked out the little oval bubble of a window at the alien terrain below us knowing that there were people we knew down there.
It was at once a bit strange but oddly comforting.
After we landed, we grabbed our bags from the overhead compartment
(giving me yet another nice big whiff of my seriously stinky underarms).
We came through the gate to see six smiling Aussie faces; Moe, Mark, Mel, Steve, Caleb and Lucas.
[Mel being Moe’s daughter]
Moe came running up to me and threw her arms around my neck before issuing a bear hug of leviathan proportions.
She had tears in her eyes and I was wondering if they were there because she was
#1) happy to see me and relieved we were both finally there or
#2) the natural repellant that was partying all over my body made her spring tears like she was cutting 100 onions.
Turns out she was just relieved and happy.
We all hugged and got hugged which is a really nice way to enter a country you’ve never been to before.
It was our first (and not the last!) time meeting Mel, Steve, Caleb and Lucas.
They were as warm and welcoming as we thought they’d be.
No surprises there.
It was like we’d already met but hadn’t seen each other in a long time.
It was very comfortable.
As me and Mark loaded our bags in the car, I looked at Pamela and said,
“Guess where we are? We’re in Australia!”
(a reoccurring theme, btw, right Kel?)
We pulled into the driveway of Chateau Harrod and both me and Pamela just stared at a house and its surroundings that we’d only seen via Google Earth and weekly Skype calls.
After a guided tour of the house and our simply amazing bedroom we felt like we were ‘home’ in a particular way.
We both forgot about how tired we were (second wind, thank you) and immediately started unpacking while laughing and telling stories about our multiple flights.
I stepped out the backdoor in the kitchen and into the brilliant Australian sunshine and stretched, both arms over my head.
Good God, it was time for a shower.
I was attracting flies.
There were oh, so many little things we enjoyed while in Oz, some we expected and others that caught us off guard.
The shower at Chateau Harrod was one of those surprises.
The bathroom was small and modest, sporting a toilet with a power that could flush away the body of Elvis in the wink of an eye.
The shower/bathtub had two tallish windows that opened out onto the sideyard but still allowed for privacy.
The sun poured in through the window and seemed to illuminate every single droplet of water coming from the showerhead.
It was not unlike bathing in a sea of shooting stars.
And those stars can get you clean as a bastard, let me tell you.
I could have stayed in the shower all afternoon but where’s the fun in that?
We still had our first real Australian Barbie to attend at Mel and Steve’s and the bus would be leaving soon.
I looked into the mist-covered bathroom mirror and said, “Holy shit, we’re in Australia.”
To be continued . . .
Ps. the post pic? It made me belly laugh but the ‘Danni Minogue’ thing simply killed me . . .
On the eve of my daughter Hannah graduating High School,
I am a bit melancholy.
Maybe it’s because I know that life is going to change again for me, my wife and the girls.
Maybe it’s because my three daughters have almost all but left the ‘nest’ that was (and always will be) their home.
Maybe it’s because this event makes me realize that no matter how much I wanted to slow down the tick of the clock, slow down the lazy, hazy summers when I had all three of them to myself, pushing them on swings and endlessly enjoying the rides in the ‘StoryLand’ of their dreams, that time was not something I could ever control.
They just keep growing, like flowers in a distant and beautiful Spring meadow; a place I will always try to dream of.
I miss those days of innocence and sense of landing.
It was firm ground back then.
I had them.
They had me.
We all had home.
These days, I am a different kind of Dad that’s trying hard to answer different kinds of questions.
More complex questions than I had originally hoped for.
While my three stars are searching the galaxy for their corner of the sky, I hope and pray they find their
The world will be a better place because of them.
I just know it.
I could never ask for more than that.
Me and Pam are proud as a peacocks.
For today, leviathan congratulations to my little feisty one, Hannah. [Mark is proud]
Just know that all of you are but nebulae; stars that are just beginning to shine.
And 3 Musketeers?
My favorite candy bar . . .
love you all,
Because they gave up their tomorrows, we can have our todays.
To all the men and women that have so unselfishly given of themselves, we offer a
prayer and a heartfelt ‘thank you’ for all that you have done for our beautiful country.
Although some of our freedoms are being compromised by a government that has too much power and might,
your courage and willingness to serve will be forever remembered.
To all the living soldiers abroad and all those who have sadly passed away, we are remembering you.
God Bless all in harms way.
Happy Memorial Day, folks.
As you’re stoking up your grills and icing the tall boys, look to the sky and say a small, “Thank you”.
Hopefully, it rocks, in terms of chemistry.
80mgs of a particular drug are coursing through my system/veins right now.
Dear God, help me and ultimately save me.
The end of my rope is looking shorter, methinks . . . .
Those that know, know.
For the sake of a Needle . . .
I have been hopefully given something of a miracle today.
I just wanted to thank those that have chosen to love me as I am; crimson blemishes and all.
This is a small thank you for the comfort, advice, support and unending compassion you have so willingly given to me.
I promise to keep you all apprised of my future progress.
Sweet relief is but a precursor to the hopeful and long awaited end results.