“Do not regret growing older.
It is a privilege denied to many.”
On this my 55th birthday, I can only say that I’m happy to still be alive.
“If I knew I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.” [att; Mickey Mantle]
Years ago I heard this quote and laughed.
Hindsight is 20/20. (that should be engraved on my headstone)
Mickey spoke the truth.
As Bernard Shaw said, “Youth is wasted on the young.”
If only they knew.
A family gathering will ultimately ensue this weekend and for that I am eternally grateful.
Oh, what a lucky man, I am. [He was]
Happy birthday to me. [and my twin sister, Maureen]
Come on 2014 . . .
I saw a woman on the train tonight that had a seriously disfigured face.
It wasn’t a subtle flaw but one of great magnitude.
We’re talking Hollywood magnitude.
I stole glances as she carefully applied makeup to her face, eyes and lips.
I couldn’t help but wonder who she was meeting.
My heart felt sad as I watched her painstakingly apply her ‘mask’, knowing that make up can only do so much.
What does she go through in a day as far as strange looks from passersby?
I wanted to go and sit next to her and tell her she didn’t need all that crap on her face because inside she’s beautiful.
That’s what went through my head anyway.
For all I know, she could have been a total asshole.
But I don’t think so.
Suffering with psoriasis I understand the ‘look’ you get from people that don’t understand your condition.
I see people looking at my elbows, the patches and scales that sometime accumulate making my arms a virtual stomping ground
for questions and unknowing observations.
I can deflect comments on my skin easily.
I have herpes. Deal with it.
This flaming red-haired girl had a face that would stop anyone in their tracks.
I am not saying that to be funny because this is in no way a funny post.
I wanted to say something, anything to this girl to give her some affirmation that she is a beautiful woman.
She got off the train two doors down from where I was negating any sort of confrontation.
I just wanted to tell her that she was beautiful.
Maybe I’ll have another chance someday . . .
I watch ‘Dancing with the Stars’.
There. I said it.
American Idol? Nope.
The Voice? Nada.
The Bachelor? Puuuhleeesse. I have standards.
The Kardashians? They need to find a new planet to inhabit. Soon. And hopefully don’t pro-create.
The Biggest Loser? Whoever watches this stoopid show.
If you need a power tool to get your fat ass out of a chair . . . just sayin’
The Amazing Race? I personally know Max of ‘Max and Katie’ and I have never once watched the show.
It’s not that I don’t like Max, it’s that I don’t watch much TV.
New England Patriots.
It’s a short list.
My list could go on but I will spare you.
Get my drift?
DWTS came on tonight and my wife drew me into the living room in the only way she knew she could.
“Come here! Michael! Come here! Kellie Pickler is on! You have to at least watch her.”
My wife is telling me to watch a hot, sexy, gorgeous blonde that is half my age.
Did I like it?
What do you think?
Pickler has pickled my pickle since American Idol.
Okay, yeah, I watched some AI.
I feel dirty.
It does make me smile when Pamela makes me watch a bit of a show as I did tonight.
What kind of wife does that?
I think she also knows that her face is much prettier than 1,000 Kellie Picklers.
It’s not only her face but it’s her unfailing heart and soul.
I love ya, Kellie Pickler but Pamela owns my heart.
And that, my friends is the end/beginning of the story . . .
Can’t wait to see what KP will be wearing next week.
I’m sure Pamela will tell me . . .
It was 29+ years ago that I married my best friend.
29 years ago that my world changed because I found something that
some never do, someone that understood me sometimes better than myself,
someone who has never let me down and someone who has made this thing called life worth living.
I have 29,000+ reasons for loving her with more reasons by the day.
29+ years ago I didn’t think I could ever love her more.
I love it when I’m wrong.
This Winnie the Pooh quote sums ‘us’ up to a T:
“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.”
There’s a quiet forest that lives in my heart.
If you look long and hard enough you will find an oak tree that is older than any other tree in the forest.
If you look closely you will see a heart.
Inside the heart is inscribed: “I love Pamela Chesna”
It was written before we ever met. I know this much to be true.
And to this day that oak tree continues to grow . . .
Happy 29+, Pamel
Always . . .
A year ago about this time the talk around town (and Facebook) was all about Pamela and me going to Australia.
It seems like yesterday but it feels like years since we were talking about it.
That said, here I am still reminiscing about the 2 weeks in time that I will not soon forget.
I began writing about our journey a while back and stopped short for reasons that now elude me.
Let’s just say that life sometimes gets in the way.
Please forgive me.
My last post got us to Townsville in Queensland where Moe and Mark live.
I remember descending into the small airport and thinking, “So, this is where we Skype every weekend,” not knowing that there was much more than meets the eye behind this place called Townsville (aka, Paradise).
After taking a badly needed shower, Pamela and me proceeded to do what you do on holiday.
We sat our asses in the backyard and had a few drinks, a few cigars and talked about our flights over.
The QLD sun was hotter than I thought it would be and I found a slice of shade to sit in.
I kept mentally pinching myself as if to notify my tired brain that I was really sitting in Oz;
being that far away from home can disorient you into believing you’re not really there.
I got the piss taken out of me 244 times that afternoon. (yeah, I counted)
The plan for the day was to chill out for a bit and go to Mel and Steve’s
(Moe and Mark’s daughter and son-in-law) later that day for our first authentic Australian barbecue.
The details of our first afternoon are a bit foggy but I do remember shitting my pants on our drive over when Mark went into the first Aussie roundabout I had ever encountered.
I mentally made the sign of the Cross knowing I was about to die because he was going the opposite way that people in the States go.
After getting through the roundabout I once again made the sign of the Cross and began a deeper understanding of the phrase, ‘DownUnder’.
Please pass me the vegemite.
We arrived at Mel and Steve’s and got a tour of the place which was under some serious renovation.
With the help of Caleb and Lucas (M&S’s sons) we toured the house which was in a transition phase.
In about six months this place would be a palace.
I still badly want Mel’s kitchen which was any true chef’s dream.
Appetizers came out; Prawns (huge ass shrimp for you folks in the Northeast, but they’re sweeter than shrimp), Cabana and cheese (Cabana is like a really nice mild but spicy kielbasa), fruit, veggies and more than one could ever eat. [just you wait for my description of the amazing Brie in Victoria]
But Steve had a plan for me in terms of Australian beer.
XXXX Gold: (rat piss in a can, and Steve told me I could just toss it, which I did)
Toohey’s New: (not bad but reminded me of Sam Adam’s lager, which I hate. I drank it though)
VB Victoria Bitters; once again not bad but not much better than Toohey’s.
James Boag; a total winner for me, hands down. A great beer with flavor and strength to boot.
With multiple beers under my belt I watched in amazement as Steve grilled our food.
The smell coming off the grill should be made into a MAN cologne. [truth]
Snags, lamb chops, steak and grilled onions made my stomach yearn for some food.
Snags, btw, are beef sausages and not available in the US.
The aroma of grilled snags is simply wonderful.
Steve also made some snags w/ vegemite.
How do you spell AWESOME?
We sat and ate a BBQ that just blew my mind (and our caloric count for the day)(like I was counting, right?)
Life was very good that night at Mel and Steve’s.
To them we were in a sense strangers but they made us feel like family.
And maybe we were; I like to think that.
The blazing sun had set hours before we got done eating and it was time for yours truly to look at the Australian night sky.
Me, Mark, Steve, Caleb and Lucas went out into the front yard.
“There it is,” Mark said.
As he was pointing, I saw it.
I’ve loved stargazing for as long as I can remember but never have I wanted to see something as bad as this.
“The Southern Cross.”
I gazed at it, totally spellbound, tears forming in my eyes.
My first night in Oz was now complete.
That was until Mel brought out the Pavlova.
to be continued . . .
ps. Snags and eggs? I love you.
I have never been shy about professing the love I have for my wife.
Over the years she has been my greatest advocate, critic and friend in a way that defies the actual meaning of love.
Since I ceased writing music (for now) I listen daily and in a deeper way than ever before.
Now and again a song comes to me via chance/serendipity and explains to me why God sent this gentle and beautiful soul my way.
Yes, I am sappy but I couldn’t care less what people think.
I love this woman and am not afraid to tell the world every chance I get.
I heard this song for the first time tonight and was close to tears on the train home.
It hit me like a ton of bricks.
It is a deep version of Pamela and me in so very many ways.
Those that are close to us will possibly understand.
If you haven’t listened to Marc Jordan or even heard of him, check this song out.
I’ve listened to him for well over 20 years. He is quite simply awesome.
This song is not unlike a personal anthem to a woman that has stuck by me through thick and thin for almost 29 years.
She is absolutely the ‘best part of my life’ . . .
[lyrics are below. took me the better part of 1.5 hours to transcribe them as they are nowhere on the web]
(as with most of my posted videos, headphones are essential)
lyp . . .
I walked on all these streets in victory and defeat
gathering the fragments before the sky turned grey
but always in my mind, you’re with me all the time
and every while now Lord I take . . .
I feel you like the rain . . .
And from this windowpane the world feels like a dream
the lights shine on these streets where you and I have been
sometimes I think I see . . . you looking back at me
‘cause loving you has been a story without end
a river running through, my heart and back again
A place where I was safe, when the world felt like a knife
loving you has been the best part of my life
Your arms gave me faith, to reach out for the light
and although I was lost sometimes I ran to you each night
and if these wounds could speak they’d cry your name out loud
and if my heart had wings I’d fly beyond the clouds
I’d carry you away beyond this maddening crowd
‘cause loving you has been a story without end
a river running through, my life and back again
a place where I was safe, when the world felt like a knife
loving you has been the best part of my life
From this windowpane the world seems like a dream
the lights shine on these streets where you and I have been
sometimes I think I see you looking back at me
to a place where I was safe when the world felt like a knife
loving you has been the best part of my life . . .
A co-worker was walking back to the store last week after lunch when he was approached
by a grown man dressed as a Girl Scout.
Dress, hat and all.
Around Park Square in Boston, freaks like this elicit little but a glance.
This freak spoke to my colleague in passing and said,
“I always wanted to be a Girl Scout. If you could buy a box of cookies you could make me really feel like one.”
These people exist, folks.
We get phone calls from people looking for K2, Salvia and numerous cannabis alternatives.
The latest is ‘Kush’.
I took a call yesterday from some bonehead that asked, “You guys have any kush?”
I said, “Try ‘Bed, Bath and Beyond. They sell it by the boatload.”
I think BB&B sells bath salts too.
We hear you can smoke those and get off with the right pipe.
Christ save us all.
Off to snort some totally rad solid Degree deodorant.
Pass the aaa batteries . . .
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 . . .
Peter Hanson made a cell phone call to his father at 09:00am on 9.11.01
“It’s getting bad, Dad. A stewardess was stabbed. They seem to have knives and Mace. They said they have a bomb. It’s getting very bad on the plane. Passengers are throwing up and getting sick. The plane is making jerky movements. I don’t think the pilot is flying the plane. I think we are going down. I think they intend to go to Chicago or someplace and fly into a building. Don’t worry, Dad. If it happens, it’ll be very fast….Oh my God… oh my God, oh my God.”
[As the call abruptly ended, Hanson’s father heard a woman screaming.]
In the past few weeks I have had numerous hits on my blog and
70% of them have been related to the tragedy of 9/11.
It’s a part of our history that will be told from a million different perspectives and from a million different hearts.
A sunny, beautiful and blue sky forever September day that changed the face of the United States forever.
The tenth anniversary of anything as monumental as this will have 99% of people scouring the internet for information regarding one of our nations darkest of days.
On the 5th Anniversary of 9/11 a website was born, dedicated to the writing of tributes to all those taken by this senseless and avoidable tragedy.
I thank Dale Roe for taking on the challenge.
I have written 3 tributes for the site thus far:
I decided to write another tribute on this 10th anniversary;
for Peter Hanson, his wife Sue and their 2 ½ year old daughter Christine.
The conversation you read at the top of this post was from Peter Hanson’s cell phone, a message left minutes before Flight UA175 hit the south tower of the
World Trade Center, the plane we all saw live on national TV (and the flight Amy Jarret was on).
My thoughts now are what was going through the mind of Peter.
You are on an airplane that is headed for a destination unknown and you know it’s not a good place.
Consoling a 2 ½ year old is trying enough without knowing that you are about to die.
The plane they were on was descending at 5 to 10,000 feet per minute towards the end.
You can’t explain that to a child.
You probably wouldn’t want to.
My heart broke reading about the final moments of their all-too-short lives.
In my heart, I know they were all together and died in each other’s arms,
a beautiful prayer of sorts.
To the Hanson family, I can’t even begin to estimate the size of your sorrow.
My heart breaks for all of you with the upcoming 10th anniversary on Sunday.
In my mind, I see three candles lit and burning brightly, piercing the darkness.
Three souls together.
Three hearts finally at home, albeit a bit too soon.
God bless you Peter, Sue and little Christine.
You are all with the angels now.
Of that I am sure.
Maybe it’s time to turn the mourning of 9/11 into the celebration of the people that once were.
Thoughts of death and dying every year on 9/11 is futile.
It gets us nowhere.
Let’s look at celebrating the vibrant lives of all those lost, the unexpected heroes, the ones that gave all that they had, the ones that took a stand on UA Flight 93, a proud moment for Americans everywhere.
September 11th will never be a happy date but I feel it’s one that needs a serious makeover.
It’s been 10 long years of grieving and the United States of America has accomplished so much since.
I say it’s time we show the world just how strong we really are, and can be.
God Bless this land that we love . . .
Maybe in another space,
another silly rhyme
we would gently collide,
in a dance of serendipitous destiny and fate;
and all that the blessed heavens could cast in our way
Falling stars, like ethereal butterflies touching our lives without us even knowing,
with whispers of ‘meant to be’,
transforming the colours of life that we once took for granted
When the tired and crimson sun sets on another distant horizon,
know that chance and coincidence are sometimes pure and beautiful random happenings . . .
meant to give our lives an oh, so deeper meaning and understanding
but for the biggest part, they give us love
from a place that’s not so mysterious after all; the heart.
And yours answered.
But that 1 click ultimately took us on a long and still unforgettable journey home . . .