Shine

Dreams, empty, Family, fathers and daughters, flying, God, Life, Love, off to college, Old Days, Personal, Truth, women 5 Comments »

 

In a little while from now our youngest daughter, Hannah, will be heading off to college.
My wife and I will be staring at something of an empty nest;
a new frontier and previously distant horizon for the two of us.
While we’re incredibly excited for her to embark on this wonderful journey our hearts are a wee bit melancholy.
It’s almost like this time in our lives was so far off in the distance that we needn’t give it a second thought.
The days of the Murphy family all living under one roof has all too rapidly come to an end.
That we would always be together was an illusion I unconsciously chose to create.
It’s what father’s do, I guess.
Little girls turn into teenagers and teenagers turn into young women and the time comes when they ultimately fly away.
Thank God it’s not forever.
There will be one less bell to answer and much less laundry never mind the savings on the water and electric bill.
(each daughter took at least 3 showers a day, or so it seemed)
I should be happy.
Somehow, I am not.
I will now be cooking for me and Pamela (more savings?)
This house chef is seriously jonesing his favorite customers, the ones who always said the meal was great
(even if it moderately sucked).

Change is an inevitable fact of life and nothing can alter that,
not the weather,
not God,
not even American Idol with Steven Tyler.
When change does happen in a major way as it will this coming September,
I will still scratch my cueball noggin and wonder where the hell the last 25 years of my life went.
I do have much to show for it though in three exceptional, vibrant, creative and beautiful young women ready to change the face of the world for the better.
They are all destined for great things.
Lofty, but heartfelt.
Like the Wally Lamb book title says,  ‘I know this much is true’ (Not the Spandau Ballet song!)
They all managed to somehow find their wings
and my wife and I are so very thankful and ultimately blessed that they did.

To my little Hannah(shine)-

Dad’s going to miss having you around.
Who else would leave a friend’s house on a Saturday night @10PM
to get their father a head of garlic and a can of chick peas because he wanted to make hummus?
To see you begin this incredible journey in your life makes my heart swell with pride because you have worked so hard and are so deserving of it.
I will also tell you that with being away from my cooking for a time,
Thanksgiving Dinner will be the very best you have ever had in your life.
Truth. (yes, you can pick the bacon off of the turkey)
And although my heart will break a little when we get back to an ‘all too quiet’ house,
I know that you’re but a heartbeat away.
As will I be.
So shine, Hannah . . .
Close your eyes,
dream big,
don’t take any shit from anybody and shine
just shine . . .

~Dad

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Empty House (redux)

Angels, Babies, blues, chances, Dreams, Family, fathers and daughters, flying, God, Life, Love, off to college, Old Days, Personal, Sacred, Truth, writers, writing 17 Comments »

I was doing some work on my blog last Sunday and found a new template that I loved.
It’s the one you’re looking at right now.
It’s called ‘Absynthe’.
I wanted to make sure everything worked and entered some text in the ‘search box’ in the upper right hand corner of the site.
As I scrolled through the search results, I came across a post called ‘Empty House’.
Hmmm, I thought, and I clicked on it.
I wrote this post in late August of 2008 before Jenna went off to college.
I always wax philosophical whenever a daughter leaves the homestead.
Although I can’t for the life of me remember writing it
(1200+ posts will do that to you, I guess)
I read it with the eyes of a new reader, a wonderful and incredibly insightful moment for me.
As I read the post, I felt warm tears forming.
Since the death of my father, life looks a bit different to me these days.
I read my own words and got blown away.
I felt weird.
I’m not supposed to be that jazzed by something I wrote, am I?
Yet, I was.
I am not blowing my own horn here just saying that the craft of writing is a magical thing.
Sometimes it gives you back something totally unexpected.
Very unexpected.
Check out ‘Empty House’.
After checking Google, it looks like I did write this.
And I did check Google, several times.

********************************************

If these old walls could speak,
I wonder just what they’d be saying
the comings and goings of life; the hellos, the goodbyes
tears of the restless nights, memories of suppers shared, stories told

time shuffles his feet like that of an old man
that just can’t help but grow older,
he’s now quiet as a mouse
listening to the days gone by in this almost empty house

Sunny days and skies of blue, little girls saying, “I love you”
echoes from a heart that breaks
Simply because it knows,
that nothing can ever stay the same,
life is ever changing and the tiny souls once held in gentle hands,
aren’t meant to be held forever
But it’s so damn hard to understand and accept ‘temporary’
Take them to the edge and tell them to “fly”;
towards all that makes their hearts happy,
all their souls desire,
every dream they could ever hope to find
just fly . . .

We’ll watch you walk away embracing this wonderful thing called life
but inside we’re still calling out your name
Although you can’t hear it, we want it that way
maybe we just needed to tell you

in everything you do, know that this almost empty house will always wait for you
Doesn’t matter how long or how far away you’ve been, it remembers,
like we remember . . .
that whenever you’re here, you are truly home.

~Dad

Douglas Adams on Australia

Akubra Hats, amazing, Australia, Beer, chances, Dreams, Family, flying, Friends, Funny, Humor, Internet, Just For Fun, Life, Pamela, Personal, yukky 6 Comments »

God willing, Pamela and I will be traveling to North Queensland, Australia in 2011.
It’s a long story as far as my newborn love of a country I’ve yet to see but know that
most of the story is already here on the blog.
Troll the tag ‘Australia’ and I think you’ll begin to see why.
We have taken into our hearts two people from the ‘Godzone’ and will be spending
three wonderful weeks with them this coming July.
That said, I found this essay tonight from a favorite writer of mine and thought it was worthy
of a pass along.
Adams has amazed me for years if only for his twists of ideas and language.
When I saw his thoughts on Australia, I had to share this.
It is, for the most part, a tongue-in-cheek look at a country/continent/ island  most of us barely understand.
Pamela and I feel like we’re getting close though.
And we love it, vegemite/Bundaberg and all.
I just want to see the Southern Cross.
Too much to ask?
I think not.
*btw-Pamela is not laughing about all the insects, spiders and other yukky, crawly things Downunder.
I told her, get a stick.

This is Douglas Adams and his deepest thoughts on Australia.

______________________________________________

Australia is a very confusing place, taking up a large amount of the Bottom half of the planet.
It is recognisable from orbit because of many unusual features,
including what at first looks like an enormous bite taken out of its southern edge;
a wall of sheer cliffs which plunge deep into the girting sea.
Geologists assure us that this is simply an accident of geomorphology and plate tectonics,
but they still call it the “Great Australian Bight” proving that not only are they covering up a more frightening theory, but they can’t spell either.

The first of the confusing things about Australia is the status of the place.
Where other land masses and sovereign lands are classified as either continent, island, or country,
Australia is considered all three.

Typically, it is unique in this.

The second confusing thing about Australia are the animals.
They can be divided into three categories: Poisonous, Odd, and Sheep.

It is true that of the 10 most poisonous arachnids on the planet, Australia has 9 of them.
Actually, it would be more accurate to say that of the 9 most poisonous arachnids, Australia has all of them.
However, there are curiously few snakes, possibly because the spiders have killed them all.
But even the spiders won’t go near the sea.

Any visitors should be careful to check inside boots (before putting them on),
under toilet seats (before sitting down) and generally everywhere else.
A stick is very useful for this task.

Strangely, it tends to be the second class of animals (the Odd) that are more dangerous.
The creature that kills the most people each year is the common Wombat.
It is nearly as ridiculous as its name, and spends its life digging holes in the ground, in which it hides.
During the night it comes out to eat worms and grubs.

The wombat kills people in two ways:
First, the animal is indestructible.
Digging holes in the hard Australian clay builds muscles that outclass Olympic weight lifters.
At night, they often wander the roads. Semi-trailers (Road Trains) have hit them at high speed, with all 9 wheels on one side, and this merely makes them very annoyed.
They express this by snorting, glaring, and walking away.
Alas, to smaller cars, the wombat becomes a symmetrical launching pad, with results that can be imagined, but not adequately described.

The second way the wombat kills people relates to its burrowing behaviour.
If a person happens to put their hand down a Wombat hole, the Wombat will feel the disturbance and think
“Ho! My hole is collapsing!” at which it will brace its muscled legs and push up against the roof of its burrow with incredible force, to prevent its collapse.
Any unfortunate hand will be crushed, and attempts to withdraw will cause the Wombat to simply bear down harder. The unfortunate will then bleed to death through their crushed hand as the wombat prevents him from seeking assistance.
This is considered the third most embarrassing known way to die,
and Australians don’t talk about it much.

At this point, we would like to mention the Platypus, estranged relative of the mammal,
which has a duck-bill, otter’s tail, webbed feet, lays eggs,
detects its aquatic prey in the same way as the electric eel,
and has venomous barbs attached to its hind legs,
thus combining all ‘typical’ Australian attributes into a single improbable creature.

The last confusing thing about Australia is the inhabitants.
First, a short history:
Some time around 40,000 years ago, some people arrived in boats from the north.
They ate all the available food, and lot of them died.
The ones that survived learned respect for the balance of nature, man’s proper place in the scheme of things, and spiders. They settled in, and spent a lot of the intervening time making up strange stories.
Then, around 200 years ago,
Europeans arrived in boats from the north.
More accurately, European convicts were sent, with a few deranged and stupid people in charge.
They tried to plant their crops in Autumn
(failing to take account of the reversal of the seasons when moving from the top half of the planet to the bottom),
ate all their food, and a lot of them died.

About then the sheep arrived, and have been treasured ever since.
It is interesting to note here that the Europeans always consider themselves vastly superior to any other race they encounter, since they can lie, cheat, steal, and litigate (marks of a civilised culture they say) – whereas all the Aboriginals can do is happily survive being left in the middle of a vast red-hot desert, equipped with a stick.
Eventually, the new lot of people stopped being Europeans on Extended Holiday and became Australians.

The changes are subtle, but deep, caused by the mind-stretching expanses of nothingness and eerie quiet,
where a person can sit perfectly still and look deep inside themselves to the core of their essence,
their reasons for being, and the necessity of checking inside your boots every morning for fatal surprises.
They also picked up the most finely tuned sense of irony in the world,
and the Aboriginal gift for making up stories.

Be warned.
There is also the matter of the beaches.
Australian beaches are simply the nicest and best in the entire world.
Although anyone actually venturing into the sea will have to contend with sharks,
stinging jellyfish, stonefish (a fish which sits on the bottom of the sea, pretends to be a rock, and has venomous barbs sticking out of its back that will kill just from the pain)
and surfboarders.
However, watching a beach sunset is worth the risk.

As a result of all this hardship, dirt, thirst, and wombats, you would expect Australians to be a dour lot.
Instead, they are genial, jolly, cheerful, and always willing to share a kind word with a stranger, unless they are an American.
Faced with insurmountable odds and impossible problems, they smile disarmingly and look for a stick.

Major engineering feats have been performed with sheets of corrugated iron, string, and mud.
Alone of all the races on earth, they seem to be free from the ‘Grass is Greener on the other side of the fence’ syndrome, and roundly proclaim that Australia is, in fact, the other side of that fence.
They call the land “Oz”, “Godzone” (a verbal contraction of “God’s Own Country”) and
“Best bloody place on earth, bar none, strewth.”
The irritating thing about this is they may be right.

There are some traps for the unsuspecting traveler, though.
Do not under any circumstances suggest that the beer is imperfect, unless you are comparing it to another kind of Australian beer.
Do not wear a Hawaiian shirt.
Religion and Politics are safe topics of conversation (Australians don’t care too much about either)
but Sport is a minefield.
The only correct answer to “So, howdya’ like our country, eh?” is ”
Best {insert your own regional swear word here} country in the world!”.

It is very likely that, on arriving, some cheerful Australians will ‘adopt’ you on your first night,
and take you to a pub where Australian Beer is served. Despite the obvious danger, do not refuse.
It is a form of initiation rite.

You will wake up late the next day with an astonishing hangover, a foul-taste in your mouth, and wearing strange clothes. Your hosts will usually make sure you get home, and waive off any legal difficulties with “It’s his first time in Australia, so we took him to the pub.”, to which the policeman will sagely nod and close his notebook.
Be sure to tell the story of these events to every other Australia, you encounter,
adding new embellishments at every stage, and noting how strong the beer was.

Thus you will be accepted into this unique culture.
Most Australians are now urban dwellers, having discovered the primary use of electricity, which is air-conditioning and refrigerators.

Typical Australian sayings:

* “G’Day!”

* “It’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.”

* “She’ll be right, mate.”

* “And down from Kosciusko, where the pine clad ridges raise their torn and rugged battlements on high, where the air is clear as crystal, and the white stars fairly blaze at midnight in the cold and frosty sky.
And where, around the overflow, the reed beds sweep and sway to the breezes, and the rolling plains are wide. The Man from Snowy River is a household word today, and the stockmen tell the story of his ride.”

Tips to Surviving Australia:

* Don’t ever put your hand down a hole for any reason whatsoever. We mean it.

* The beer is stronger than you think, regardless of how strong you think it is.

* Always carry a stick.

* Air-conditioning.

* Do not attempt to use Australian slang, unless you are a trained linguist and good in a fist fight.

* Thick socks.

* Take good maps. Stopping to ask directions only works when there are people nearby.

* If you leave the urban areas, carry several litres of water with you at all times, or you will die.

* Even in the most embellished stories told by Australians, there is always a core of truth that it is unwise to ignore.

See Also:
“Deserts: How to die in them”,
“The Stick: Second most useful thing ever” and
“Poisonous and Venomous arachnids, insects, animals, trees, shrubs, fish and sheep of Australia, volumes 1-42″

StormBirds

amazing, Cool Sites, flying, guystuff, Internet, Just For Fun, Video, War 3 Comments »

 

This is some awesome video with stuff blowing up.
Nothing like getting right to the point, eh?
It’s a guy thing so don’t ask me to explain it.
And I know, this has ‘cheat post’ written all over it.
You gotta admit, I keep it cool.
Click on the full screen and put on headphones for an Avatar-like experience.
Kinda.
Knuckles all around, boys . . .
Blow it up!

Get There

amazing, Angels, Blogging, blues, Cape Cod, chances, Dreams, eye dew, Family, flying, Food, Friends, God, Guinness, Holidays, hope, Love, Personal, Sad, Truth, Video, women, YouTube 2 Comments »

A quick post for Maureen and Mark who will be leaving us tomorrow afternoon bound for home.
This post is more emotional for me than you could ever believe.
Thank God it’s not live on YouTube.
From Pamela, Sarah, Jenna, Hannah, Jon and me . . . Godspeed on your trip back home.
Know that there will always a ‘home away from home’ for the both of you right here.
We don’t want to let you go but sadly, we must.
Two weeks ago, the song in my head was ‘Get Here’ but now I’m thinking it should be ‘Get There’,
back to Oz where your hearts and souls live.
Thank you for your love, your stories, your hearts, your incredible ability to make us laugh
(and take the piss out of us) and your endless Aussie generosity.
Pamela and I are gobsmacked and so incredibly blessed.
Might take a while but We’llberightmate . . . until the next time anyway.
Love you both to bits . . .

ps. light the candle, Maureen  ;)
pps. I’ll keep on working on the G’day . . .

And they flew

Angels, Babies, Dreams, eye dew, Family, fathers and daughters, flying, Food, Friends, God, hope, Kids, Life, Love, Memoir, Old Days, Personal, Truth, wishes, women 5 Comments »

“Come to the edge.”
“We can’t, we are afraid.”

“Come to the edge.”
“We can’t, we will fall.”

“Come to the edge.”

And they came.
And He pushed them.

And they flew.

~G. Apollinaire

Graduation ’09 is done and dusted but the torrential rain of emotions put Pamela and I through the proverbial ringer.
As we both sat outside the other night mesmerized by the roaring firepit she quietly said,
“Things are changing again.”
When things change, a subtle discomfort settles in.
For as happy and proud as we were for Sarah, we also share her sense of trepidation, a subject not many people talk about.
But it’s there in every single family attending a graduation.
After the ceremony we had an old fashioned BBQ back at the house with burgers, hot dogs and salads galore.
There was laughter and music, beer and cigars, goodbyes and tears when roommates and friends had to leave.
Later that day, Pamela, myself and the girls went to move the remainder of Sarah’s belongings from her room and let her say goodbye to her college high atop Mt. Saint James.
As I waited by my truck for Sarah to come out of her dorm for the last time,
I looked around at the ivy-covered buildings that had occasionally surrounded me over the past 4 years.
My own sadness at saying goodbye leaving the comfort of this place surprised me.
Thank God for sunglasses.
It was quiet in the car on the way home with everyone lost in their own thoughts.
I thought about a large Monarch butterfly I’d seen in the air that morning as I listened to the list of graduates being read.
It flew gracefully down towards the moving sea of black mortarboards below disappearing amidst the caps and gowns; almost like it was going home.
For Sarah, another class has already started as of tonight.
She must want stronger wings . . .

Asshole

amazing, Blogging, Denis Leary, dickheads, Dreams, email, EPA, flowers, flying, Humor, Imagine, Internet, Ipod, Itunes, java, Jazz music, Life, Love 5 Comments »

Denis Leary just kind of spoke my mind with this video.
The video and song are a bit old but are incredibly relevant even more so today.
My disillusionment with federal  and state government policies
have turned me into an asshole with a cause, I guess.
I can’t believe anymore in the total money-grubbing  douchebags that run this country.
As a citizen, I really want to quit.
But I can’t.
I am an asshole and I am damn proud of it.
Click on the picture above to see the classic ‘Leary’ video.
He smokes, drinks and swears and went to High School here in Worcester, Massachusetts.
He Rocks.

Special Request

amazing, Angels, chances, choral, Creative, Family, flying, Friends, God, Internet, Ipod, Life, Love, Music, Personal, prayer, Sacred, Sad, Truth, Video, wishes, women, YouTube 5 Comments »



I went to the candlelit chapel at Jenna’s college tonight for mass and heard the choir (which Jen is in) do this song.
I had goosebumps and tears in my eyes simply because they sing it so well and the song moves me so.
I also thought of a close friend that needs to listen to this.
I know she will cry but I am ultimately hoping it gives her some much needed light at this somber point in her life.
Close your eyes and listen . . .
Groban’s voice is an amazing instrument.

I Am

Blogging, blues, chances, Cigars, Creative, dancing, dark, Dreams, Family, flying, Ghosts, God, health, Internet, Life, Love, Memes, Mondays, not funny, Personal, prayer, Rants, Sacred, Sad, storms, the Cosmos, Truth, wishes, women, writing 13 Comments »


I am: always waiting, endlessly hoping
I think: the world is going to hell in a hand basket . . .
I know: I’m not the only one that thinks so
I want: just enough
I have: a sad heart . . .
I wish: it weren’t so
I hate: Winter . . . (it’s coming)
I miss: Summer
I fear: things I have no control over
I feel: tired, like always
I hear: conversation, the rustle of a newspaper, a train on the tracks
I smell: like a fine cigar . . . (that nobody likes)
I crave: anything but
I search: for ‘the’ words . . .
I wonder: exactly what they mean
I regret: so very many things, so many mistakes, wrong turns and unfulfilled dreams
I ache: daily
I care: deeply
I always: keep ‘hope’ somewhere very close
I am not: a brain surgeon, but I’m pretty freekin’ smart
I believe: in my three wonderful daughters (my 3 hopes)
I dance: like an epileptic underneath a manic strobe light
I sing: rarely these days, which is sad
I cry: behind locked doors (not often enough)
I don’t always: shave my head
I fight: for what I truly believe in
I write: to simply stay sane
I never: feel that life is fair
I stole: a nice four-wheel dolly from a ritzy Hotel in Boston many years ago
(actually, I just ‘forgot’ to return it)
I listen: to those that truly need to be heard
I need: something
I am happy about: the fact that the dung-slinging elections are almost over.
And I could give two sweet shits about them.
Politics suck. Period. Amen.

Feel free to tag yourself on this.
No tagging here.
I borrowed this from Moe.
Great Meme . . .
Maybe too much information?
Ah, well, it had to come out sooner or later . . .

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