Sunday, November 29, 2015

Ten Dollar Trip Around The World

Last night as a family we went and saw the new James Bond movie, Spectre. A couple of years ago we all went and watched Skyfall, so it was kind of a family tradition that our time together over this holiday made possible.

I don't get to many movies these days, so when I do it's a treat. After watching it, I now remember how much better seeing a movie is in the theater than watching it at home. For me, it is two and a half hours of escapism.

In the opening scene, at one point James Bond is fighting a villain inside a flying helicopter. When he finally defeats him, he then moves on to fight with the pilot. As they wrestle and punch, the copter zigs, zags and even flies upside down for a bit.

And in the midst of all of this action, there I am.

An hour before I was feeding the dog and hanging Christmas lights. Now, I was in an upside down helicopter over Mexico City. Not physically, of course, but in a wild fantasy sort of sense. The movie transported me out of my dull, mundanity into the world of espionage and danger.

Not too much later in the movie came the requisite car chase scene. In this one, Bond is in his bulletproof Aston Martin being chased down tight alleys and along river banks. The walls of the theater were thundering with engine revs and crunching with the shift in gears. It was intense and exhilarating.

And there I was again.

Twenty five minutes earlier I was driving five miles over the speed limit in my minivan. (Most days in the van, I'd rather take a bullet from a villain than be seen driving in it, but that's a different story.) But then and there, I was a passenger on the precipice of death.

In the final scene Bond and his Bond girl drive a boat out from underneath an exploding building and proceed into a high speed chase with a helicopter. As they near it, he shoots his small handgun with unbelievable accuracy and she drives the boat.

Yep, there I was again.

That is the beauty of movies for me. Total and complete escapism.

It happened with Narnia, where I was taken to the snowy land of the White Witch.

It happened in Star Wars where I was flying through the tight maze of the Death Star or walking among the Ewoks in their village.

It even happened in Casablanca where I was transported in both place and time.

And so while I realized that I have a quiet, safe life, it sure felt good to dive into one so different and foreign and exciting to me. It transported me to 7 foreign countries in two and a half hours.

And for me, it was time well spent.

Blogging off...

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Reasons for Thanksgiving

Giving Thanks is Day to Day

It's the holiday we all take a moment to think of things we are thankful for. I have many. Here's just a few.

  1. Faith. I was blessed to be raised in the parochial school system where religion was part of the curriculum. I was even luckier to be pulled along in my faith years ago by people like my friend Pat and continually challenged to seek deeper faith today by people like Brandon, Claude and Nick.
  2. Wife. We celebrated 25 years this summer by taking a trip to Nashville. She is still someone I laugh with daily, sometimes doubling over. And while we snip and snipe at times, she is still the best thing that ever happened to me. She taught me how to love.
  3. Kids. I don't know what we did right, but they came out pretty good. After years in the trenches fulfilling physical needs, then years meeting emotional ones, they're finally starting to find out who they are. Good students, compassionate hearts, smart and funny. I can't wait to see where they end up in life.
  4. Extended family. Though I only see them a few times a year, we all still get along really well. There's something to be said for all that we've been through together making up the glue that holds us together. We have our warts, tics and goiters (goiters?), but you can't deny the love that runs deep.
  5. In Laws. Our New York (and Milwaukee) family is much the same story. We only see them once or twice a year, but when we do, we laugh, love and reminisce about all the things we've shared together. As we all age, we realize that every time we get together is precious.
  6. Friends. Old friends and new friends. Friends near and far. We appreciate that when we get together, it's just the same as when we first met. Good friends are like that, and I am thankful for each one of you.
  7. House. She's 93 years old and has definite quirks and creaks, but she is home. With all that's going on with the refugees in Syria and other places, it's time we're ALL thankful for having a roof over our head. 
  8. Health. Every day I walk by a Senior Activities Center as well as the March of Dimes center for special needs kids. And every day I am reminded that I am incredibly fortunate to have good health, mentally and physically. The senior center is a reminder that the clock is ticking and you're only as young as you feel. 
  9. Job. Next year will mark my twentieth year at Waukesha County and over 30 years in GIS and Mapping. If you'd have told me that coming out of school in 1985 with a degree in Geography that I would work in my field (cartography) for 30+ years, without a day waiting tables or driving a forklift, I would have laughed my head off. 
  10. Dog. Toby is as much a part of my daily routine as going to work. He loves me unconditionally and only wants three things in life. A walk, some love and whatever I'm eating.

In the day to day grind, we all tend to overlook how lucky and privileged we are in this country. We spend too much time getting mad, shouting about our political differences, and spending money trying to get more of whatever we think we need to be happy. How about taking some time today and this season to be thankful for the things that we should really be thankful for? Let's not look at what we need next, but rather, what we have and have had. 

Because life is rich, and I for one, am THANKFUL for being around to enjoy today. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Blogging off...

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sporting Lessons

My son has decided to join the swim team at Waukesha South this year. He's a junior and hasn't played a sport in high school. He played football back in 6th through 8th and a host of various sports before that. When faced with the prospect of being small with little chance for playing time as a Freshman football player, he opted out. I've always thought that my kids should play a sport in high school. I think it's important to be part of a team, if only once. 

I felt strongly enough about it that we encouraged Sarah to play volleyball as a freshman. She did. She didn't like it very much, but to her credit, she finished it. She actually would have probably made a better swimmer or track person, as those are individual/team sports instead of just team. You work for a personal best in those sports and no one challenges Sarah worse than Sarah. Alas, she did what we asked, hated it, and maybe came out knowing more about herself, her abilities and her role within a group a little better. 

I played a few high school sports back in the day. I should say, I wore the uniform. Being a small guy as a freshman, I played the football, the sport I loved the most. I quickly learned the difference between middle school level football and high school. And I had a great moment of clarity when I was de-cleated  while holding a blocking dummy by our running back with anger issues. As I flew through the air on the way to my butt, my collective conscience whispered to me, "Maybe try soccer." 

Football taught me to realize my limitations.

I listened to myself and tried soccer the next year as a sophomore. It was a better fit for my size, to be sure. But it was like kissing my sister. It wasn't football (actually to Europeans, it IS football, but I digress) so it could never replace it. I did get a lot more playing time and even scored a couple of goals. 

Soccer taught me to recognize a better fit for my physical skills.

I also ran track as a Freshman. My events were the high jump, long jump and triple jump. I loved working on the Fosbury Flop method of high jump. I kind of wish I had pursued it past Freshman year to see how I could have improved. Or perhaps I should have tried a running event, as I liked that later in life. In any case, one thing Coach Miles taught me was that you set a personal best for yourself and try and beat it every time. Never mind what the team did, just do your part. If the team is good enough it will take care of itself. 

Track taught me personal goals are sometimes the best goals.

And so as Ben takes this leap into a sport he's never played before, I couldn't be more excited for and supportive of him. If I tried out for swimming at his age, I would have been Cretin High School's first swimming fatality. Seriously, man. Love the water, can't swim a stroke. 

But he's going into it with a great attitude. He even said to me the other day, "I am so glad to be part of a team sport again. I only wish I hadn't waited this long to do it." These words made my day. 

As a person who loves all sports, I want my kids to love them too.

Blogging off...

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Coffee, Canaanites and Comaradaerie

"A mechanical engineer, a metallurgist/tradesman, a GIS analyst, a bi-vocational pastor/photographer, an attorney, an optical salesman, and a stay at home father of eight walk into a coffee shop and..."

This is either the start of a great joke, or it comprises what has become one of the best hours of my week, every week.

Any combination from two to six of these guys show up every Thursday morning at Cafe De Arts, a local coffee shop in downtown Waukesha. The group started 3-4 years ago and I have been part of it for about two years now. I was asked to be part of it by the pastor/photographer, but having just left a "Bible study" group that went rogue on me, I wasn't ready to commit. The funny thing is, not two weeks later the metallurgist/tradesman invited me to the same group. I figured it was God's way of smacking me upside the head and saying, "What are you waiting for?"

The group was originally built around studying a book usually, but not exclusively about spiritual matters, but that is really just a formal excuse to get together and have coffee once a week.

I say the hour we spend together is sometimes the best hour of my week because you never know where the conversation is going to go from week to week. We usually cover the book for at least a few minutes each week, some weeks it's much more. Then, the conversation winds and weaves until anywhere between 7:45-8:00 we disperse and go about our day.

Today's conversation was a typical week. It started with talking about the mechanical engineer's music gig (he's bi-vocational in a different sense) in Little Chute, WI. That led to what he was doing for Thanksgiving, which led to the dynamics of discussing faith matters with in-laws. From there it led to how we were raised shapes our faith to a point, at which time we either continue to grow in it or become stunted and married to dogma.

It circled around to how what we remember is not always as it happened. By this I mean, we remember what happened at the time, but much of what we remember is shaped by our first memory of that memory (including what provoked us to recall the memory.)

Then the attorney joined us, and the metallurgist/tradesman had to get to work. From there it went to the Biblical view on warfare and the slaughtering of the Canaanites. And much of the time we are dropping one liners that crack the whole group up, or asking questions that make each other go, Hmmm...

There's wit, and laughter, and camaraderie, and support, and teasing, and just a dash of accountability.

So, you see why I enjoy this group, right? It's like Thursday morning philosophical/spiritual/mental gymnastics fueled by Waukesha's best coffee. Today made me aware how little I know about the Bible and how I need to start reading it more in order to keep up with these guys. And I'm glad I listened when I was asked a second time. I call us the Thursday Theologians, but we're a much more motley group than that name denotes. Whatever we're really called I'm happy to be a part of it.

Blogging off...

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Homework Again?

It's been a while so maybe a writing update is in order. There is always something going on from a writing, publishing and promotion standpoint, it seems. You can only share so much on social media, so a good synopsis goes a long way.

  • First of all, as of tomorrow, I'm back in class at AllWriters. It has been about 15 weeks since I was part of the "Mighty Monday Nighters," so it's high time that I return. This isn't to say that I haven't written since I left, I have. It's just that being accountable to my peers as well as getting great feedback from them makes me better. Every week we bring in from 1-10 pages and after reading it front of the group, people tell us where it excels and where it sucks. (Well, that might be a bit harsh.) It is a very encouraging climate and I really miss the banter among the group. The best moments are the "word of the week." You don't want to be the person who gets called out for writing a word a half dozen times on a page. It seems to be someone different every week. 
  • Tomorrow I also have a radio interview about Dirty Shirt. It is on Dan Small Outdoors radio, I believe. I think he has affiliates associated with WISN, so it might make for some decent exposure.
  • The same gentleman, (Dan Small) has offered to do a book review of Dirty Shirt which should appear in Wisconsin Outdoor News. He described it as a "fun read," so I can't wait to see the review. 
  • My story Christmas Presence is in the coming Christmas Anthology titled Memories from Maple Street, USA: The Best Christmas Ever. The book should be available soon for pre-order. This should be a great collection of Christmas memories. I am very happy with the way the story came out and am proud to be part of this collection. 
  • I am guest blogging on the Sundown Press Blog as one of the contributing authors. Check it out on the first Wednesday of every month. Click here for this month's post.
  • The Write Stuff Radio Show featuring Parker J Cole will be interviewing me about all things writing sometimes after the first of the year.
  • I will be presenting on Dirty Shirt at the Waterford Public Library on December 9th at 6:00 PM.
  • The Poetry Workshop at AllWriters' Workplace and Workshop in January, led by myself, is still scheduled for Thursday nights from 7:00-9:00. Spread the word.
  • I am working on a story for the coming Sundown Press Memories from Maple Street Anthology about Pets and Pet Rescues, Anthologies are so much fun and again, I hope the story is well received and accepted. 

So, that's a rundown of a few of the things going on. I feel like I'm forgetting something major, but if so, I'll post it here or on Facebook at a later date.

In all of my busyness I am constantly reminded that I am so blessed to be where I am. It's all a ton of work, but much of it is coming to fruition for me. These past 12-18 months have been some of the best of my life for a number of reasons, with writing being a huge part of it. There's a saying that being a writer is like having homework every day for the rest of your life. That's how it feels some days, but I am having a blast with it. And as I figure it, as long as that is the case, I'm going to write my head off.

Blogging off... 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

In The Trenches

My daughter turned twenty this week, which makes me about thirty nine as I figure it. Twenty is one of those strange milestones as a kid that you kind of look forward to and dread all at the same time. Leaving your teens behind is probably a good thing any way you slice it, but at the time, as I recall, there is a bit of remorse that you are finally "grown up" in a way that even the age of 18 didn't bring. There's something about that number two digit.

As part of wishing her a happy birthday on such a landmark date, I wanted to put together some short videos of her as a child. I broke out the DVD's that my father in-law had dumped from videotapes and started my search. I came up with three defining videos that took me back to my days of early fatherhood that I look upon with both great fondness and hesitant nostalgia.

The first video is of the two of them dancing to Trisha Yearwood's "Under the Rainbow." Back then, Donna was selling Pampered Chef and working at Matteos Italian Restaurant. This meant that many nights I was left at home with the kids. After dinner, we would frequently head to the living room and wrestle, goof around or dance. I captured this video of them dancing and  it is priceless. It's one of those things I am so glad I did at the time. It shows the freedom, joy and expressiveness of being a kid all in one song. Sarah was about 5 at this time, and Ben just 2 years old. It is one of those idyllic moments of being a parent when everyone is getting along and having fun.

The second clip was filmed on December 10th of 2000. Again, Donna is not home for this video, and I am taking care of the kids. While videotaping Ben playing nicely, Sarah points out that we didn't do the Advent Calendar. This is a 30 day calendar with a piece of chocolate behind every day. Donna usually had Sarah or Ben open each day and eat the chocolate. Not knowing that it was dated by Advent instead of the days of the month, well, you'll see my confusion in the video. Luckily, Sarah was there to straighten me out on things.

When I watch this, I long for those days when they were so cute and so dependent. Sarah says in this video "We degot to do the calendar!"

I can't even.

Near the end, Ben makes a photo bomb appearance that cracks me up as well.

The clincher is though, when it all comes crashing down as Sarah plays keep away from Ben. This is the part of parenting that wears a person down. The squabbling, fighting and noise. It is an unpleasant reminder that as much as I miss the "cuteness" of it all, I'm still glad it's behind us. I imagine being a grandparent will bring some of that back into our lives.

The last video hammers this home even better. It starts with Sarah asking Ben if she can have a try at using his glove. He runs away and she smiles so cutely. Eventually though, she gets her turn and when Ben tries to get his glove back, she denies him and the air raid sirens go off. Again, an idyllic moment of playing catch with my daughter, brought back down to the reality of the hard part of parenting - namely, being a referee.

As my kids get less and less dependent on us, I look back on these days wishing I had seen the big picture a little better. My wife and I have often said that we thought we'd never make it out of those days and, now they're gone forever. When you're "in the trenches" you can barely see past the next meal or diaper change. But if you string those together - one day at a time - pretty soon you have a twenty year old and a seventeen year old. And while they create their own set of demands and impose new trials on you as a parent, they seem to pale in comparison to the "physical need" years.

The best part of all the work and interaction and listening and nose wiping and feeding and teaching, and story time, and nap times and laughing and crying with them is the payback in having great kids. And you can't put a price on that.

Blogging off...

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Trees for Tots

If you've followed me at all recently, you know my wife and I are part of starting a new church, called CollectiveMKE. At the moment, we're still fairly small, though growing two people at a time lately. I have come to really look forward to our Sunday morning "home church" meetings where we gather as 12-15 people and half as many kids. We have the greatest discussions about our faith, Biblical stories and just life events.

We were talking this morning about the story of the widow who gave only a couple of pennies. It moved us to talking about what it takes to change how we view the world. Person after person gave accounts of instances where doing something selfless or sacrificial led them not only to feeling better about themselves but also how blessings came back to them in some sort of circular flow. It's hard to explain. Actually, it's easier to just do it and see for yourself. 

An example from my own experience happened this past weekend. A guy from our church asked if anyone would be willing to help him remove some trees from another guy's property. 

Now, like every volunteer event that I've done in the past five years, my first thought was all about the time I was losing in my weekend. Because, of course, serving others is all about me. My time, my comfort, my resources, me, me, me. 

You see? I've still got a long ways to go. 

To be fair to myself, I did immediately say yes, despite my first thoughts. So, that's worth something. 

So at the appointed time on Saturday I showed up to our friends' house. When I walked in, there were seven kids at the breakfast table, with most of them under five years old. This couple has three of their own kids but also have taken in five foster kids.


I have two kids and barely made it to fifty alive. They have eight at the moment. 

Now, I understand this is a choice. No one forced them to take this on. They just did. They did it because they made a choice to try and make a difference in the world, one child at a time. And I know them enough that I know they certainly didn't do it because they want accolades or special recognition for it. They just saw a need, and met it. 

And when I walked into the door, to see those kids' smiling faces and how they were all just sitting like one big family, it warmed my heart. One toddler even motioned for me to pick her up, which I did out of habit. (It's weird how you snap back into young dad mode, instantly!) 

The whole scene reminded me why I was so quick to say yes to helping remove these trees. I knew the makeup of this family and I realized that four hours out of my Saturday was nothing compared to the sacrifices they are making. In fact it pales in comparison. 

So we cut down two trees and trimmed back a third. I got to work a chainsaw for the first time in my life, which was an absolute blast. (I only buried the blade in a tree once, but wrested it free eventually). It was a beautiful fall day, and I was outside, getting a good workout with good friends, so I don't know why I was worried about losing part of my Saturday. That's the selfish part of me that I'm still working on. Furthermore, I still got everything done that I'd planned on for the weekend. Funny how that works.

But like we were saying, if you start doing things for the better of the world around you, it starts to change how you see everything. Then it changes how you act. Then it becomes part of your nature. And it culminates in how you can't see things the way you used to see them. 

The best part of it all is your life becomes richer and more fulfilling and, not to mention, you get to meet some great people along the way.

And sometimes you get to cut things with a chainsaw too. 

Blogging off...

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Plumb Broke

We finally broke down and called the plumber to fix a laundry list of issues in our 93 year old house. Being brutally aware of the charge out rate of plumbers, we made sure we had exhausted all other measures; namely me plunging the sink and shower until there were no curse words left and my shoulder was like a wet noodle. (I didn't really curse. Okay, maybe once. On the inside. In a whisper.)

The guy was scheduled to come yesterday "around 8 o'clock." The first thing to realize is that plumbers get their watches from the same place as cable guys, appliance repair guys, and teenage children. So I stay home from work to meet the plumber at the appointed hour (of 8:48). To their credit, they were upfront with their charge out rates. It's $120 to show up, then, $120 an hour.

Now, when I'm paying that kind of coin, I think I should be able to just point to stuff and he, being a plumber should be able to deduce what the problem is. Kind of like plumber sign language. No time for small talk here. Get to work.

Instead, I got the gabber. Nice guy, just liked to talk a bit. Now, if you know me, I'm a man of few (spoken) words. So when this gentleman started telling me all of my options in entirely too much detail, I stood patiently, estimating that our little 15 minute discussion was about $30. Hey, I'd love to talk about the problems with the Packer running game last week, but if I don't see some snaking going on here soon, I'm going to file for foreclosure.

We had really four issues that he was visiting us for.

The first was the water main valve is corroded open and can't be turned off. Might seem like a minor issue, until we get that unexpected shower geyser or busted pipe and can't shut the water off at the main. Get out the surfboard and swim fins at that point. Catch a wave dude, cuz the surf's up!
Ain't it purty?

That job only took him about twenty minutes. Not bad, and it gave me incredible peace of mind.

The next issue was the dishwasher shut off valve. It can be shut off, but when I installed the dishwasher there was still a trickle of water coming out. When the guy looked at it, he made all kinds of bad noises. Grunted and wrinkled his nose. Then he said those fateful words no one wants to hear,

"That's the problem with these old houses..."

It turns out, that to remove the valve, because of the way it's threaded, he'd have to bash the cupboard floor out so he could unthread it. He admitted he didn't have time to do it that day and that if I could live with it I should.

Hey, I can live with it if you can live with it. What are we standing around here talking about it? I should have been able to point at it, have him shake his head and we move on. Would've saved me ten bucks.

The third and fourth issues were a slow bathroom sink and shower drain. While we were up there we got to talking about whether my shower was a "box drain" or some other style. He was trying to speculate before he even opened it up, thus provoking another 10 minute "Plumbing 101" diatribe about the differences, pros and cons and "that one time he had one at this one house..."
What the outdoor shutoff's look like.

Again, all I should need to do is point, make a snakey motion, and he should set to work. Save the small talk for email.

Then, for some unknown reason, I mentioned that we'd like to renovate the entire bathroom someday, which sparked another rambling discussion about how to hack the cast iron tub out, or maybe get it reglazed, or maybe a Bathfitter solution.

Hey, I don't know, so do you think Eddie Lacy needed better blocking, or was the play calling just bad?

Bleeding dough at this point. Someone get me a tourniquet here.

While we were in there, he mentioned the shower cartridge seemed sticky and would I like him to change it out as long as he was here? I changed it myself about 10 years ago, but you know what? He was here, it would save a trip to Home Depot and a whole lot of internalized, whispered cursing, so I said, "Hey, go for it. Make it nice for me."

When all was said and done, after about two hours I was out $353.16 and I have no idea where the sixteen cents came from. I don't remember that anywhere along the way.

Anyways, after all was said and done we are no further ahead with any significant plumbing improvements out of the deal at all. We ARE flowing again, which is a good thing, but hardly a selling point for the house. We're still mostly galvanized iron pipe. (I have PVC dreams at night, believe me.) We're still mostly unexposed, difficult to get at, old piping with crustified valves. We're still putting band aids on the bulging aorta.

But hey, we're flowing.

And I'm going to run with that.

Blogging off...

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Seclusion Elusion

These past four days have been what I will term an introvert's nightmare for me. Lots of people, interaction, face time, small talk and networking. For a private person and a confessed introvert, it was a string of events that would make you cringe - I know it did for me, as the days unfolded. Usually I'm good for one social event a weekend, and if pressed, two. When faced with four in four days, well, I grind it out and deal with it. Here's what I was up against with my thoughts in italics.

Thursday to Friday Morning: (This will be good, but I'll need some downtime afterwards.) For work, I was at a two day regional conference in Oshkosh. Like most conferences this is wall-to-wall networking and socializing. Great stuff, all of it but I always come away from them wiped out from long days in sessions, lots of standing, walking, talking, restaurant food, late nights and early mornings. This one was especially good, as I met a couple of GIS guys I'd never met before. When the subject of my book, Dirty Shirt, came up, one of them had been to the BWCA several times and so we had a great chat about that as well as his GIS background and experience. It's brutally apparent to me that these encounters are why it is so important to push ones self outside of your introverted nature and meet new people. There's also the possibility that I'm not as introverted as I think, or that perhaps something's changing as I age. For me, it's the dread of the "meeting." Once I'm introduced, I'm all in and it gets easier. It's just that, if left to my devices, I'd stay in the shadows.

Friday Evening: (Wow, I'm tapped. How many people are coming?) I was only home from Oshkosh for about two hours before my wife and I hosted about 12 people to make up sandwiches for the Guest House of Milwaukee. The people are all friends from Collective MKE, so it was familiar faces which makes things easier. I can't say enough about how satisfying it is to stand shoulder to shoulder making food for men in transitional life/housing. It is incredibly gratifying and we had some great conversations while we prepared the sandwiches.

Saturday Morning: (Why did we schedule these so close together?) We woke up early Saturday and drove down to Guest House to serve the men breakfast and to drop off the sandwiches we made. Again, all good stuff. These guys are so fun to be around and serve. They are super grateful for all we do and it turns out the meal we served (made by Donna and a friend with donations from others), namely biscuits and sausage gravy, was a House favorite. Again, lots of face time, small talk and socializing.

Saturday Night: (Help me please, I want to be alone!) Because it was Halloween, we went down to visit some friends and play card games in Milwaukee. If left to our devices, both Donna and I probably would have stayed home. I'm glad we didn't! We laughed SO HARD with these good friends, that by the end of the night, all of our stomachs hurt. The group was loud, brash and so much fun.

Sunday Morning: (Can't we stay home?) We got together with many of the folks from Friday night for our Collective MKE "Home Church" gathering. This is the group we have been a part of for almost a year now and I have grown to love being around them. Good friends who care about what is going on in your lives. Giving people who help serve the community and each other. The additional benefit of this group are the kids that all of the families bring to the events. It's great to go from stimulating spiritual conversation to goofing around with the kids ranging in ages from 2-14 years old. Again, I was really happy I didn't stay home.

So each of these events filled a very different niche: Work, Service, Volunteering, Play/Laughter, and Spiritual Growth. These are exactly the things that make life rich. And in every case, it requires taking people into your circles, giving them your time and attention. In some cases it means telling them you love them, and in others (like the Guest House) you just love them without saying. It means stepping outside your comfort zone and meeting someone you'd never reach out to because they reached out to you. When you do these things, beautiful stuff happen.

And while this introvert is dreading the next series of social events that will inevitably happen, he is also looking forward to them greatly. I just need someone to push me out the door and say, it'll be fun!

Until then though, I'll be recharging with my laptop and headphones in my favorite chair at home.

Nothin' personal.

Blogging off...