“Write Drunk, Edit Sober”

Intersting title, no? Many people attribute this quote to Ernest Hemingway, but as far as historians can tell, it’s not true. I love Hemingway, so who cares. It sounds like something he would have said.

It should come as no surprise that I love reading. My favorite contemporary authors now are Clive Cussler, who’s main character Dirk Pitt is a true “Man’s Man”, not to mention the action is pretty much all based on underwater archeology. Stanford has a wonderful FBI team. And Jance hits home with action in Seattle and Brisbee. The novels these folks turn out are wonderful summer reading. They keep you entertained, and you feel like you know the characters on a personal level.

But they aren’t Hemingway, Kerouac, Salinger or Bukowski. Continue reading

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Serenity on the Tree Stand

It’s Friday afternoon and you feel the stress of the whole week hanging on you like the coat of a wet Newfoundland. You get home, cast off the crap of the week and grab your go-to pack and run out the back. Your buddy picks you up and you head to hunting camp. Finally.

Once at the cabin a fire gets started and somehow the best steaks you’ve ever tasted are on plates as everyone settles in for a serious nosh. After dinner and the plates are washed, the cards and whiskey come out.

Stories begin to flow through the cabin like the smoke from the cigars.

Whaddayamean a straight flush don’t beat 2 pair? Yer crazy, man! And on, and on. After I win…well, in my memory at least, we all crawl into our racks. I’m nervous about the morning, but not willing to show it. Continue reading

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“Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others.”

– John F. Kennedy

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Empathy and Love

Empathy and love is sorely missing from Facebook these days, replaced instead by the constant back and forth of why this political party or that one sucks to the delight of trolls everywhere. Is it just easier to be a troll on social media? Maybe it is. Takes more effort to call someone on the phone, and more guts to talk face-to-face. Thankfully, empathy and love are not dead in the real world.

Last summer Beth took in her second litter of abandoned kittens. As usual, she spent time with the cats, got them socialized, healthy, and ready for adoption. 2 cats didn’t get adopted on the assigned day, so Beth stepped up and adopted them both. Harley, strong willed, large and beautiful, is doing great. She’s a goofball, more dog than cat, to be honest. Davidson, as it turns out, got the short stick of the litter.

Davidson has FIP. At least that’s what the vets and Beth think. There is no real test for it, so diagnosis is all based on symptomology. Bottom line is that Daver (Beth’s nickname for him) is basically going through what a human with ALS goes through. He is losing all motor functions, he cannot eat on his own, but yet he is still alert to all that is going on around him. Continue reading

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Home is the Heart

Odd thing tonight. Something I’ve struggled with since I was kid, was answered in an episode of NCIS:LA when a character spoke the “Home is the Heart” line. I’ve lived in a lot of places, but I’ve never really felt what I thought was true home sickness. Why is that? Well, it’s because I’ve subconsciously never felt that home is where the heart is, rather that home is the heart. I carry “home” with me all the time.

I remember when my friend Steve Szili and I used to wear our underwear on the outside and pretend we were Batman and Robin. Continue reading

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Camping Time

From biker babe to camping cutie.

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Old Bikes Never Die

Unfortunately, old bikers do. RIP man, RIP.

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Seattle Seahawk-dog

Maggie wasn’t too happy with that crazy field goal attempt.

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Old Men, Stories and Beer. Part II

Michael “Sargent Major” Marshall passed away on Jan 3rd at the age of 71 and was laid to rest on Jan 10, 2013. During his time in the military he was awarded over 30 medals and commendations, including the Purple Heart and the Gallantry Cross (Vietnam). One of his personal crowning moments, I believe, was when he was awarded a meritorious service medal by President Obama last year. He carried that picture of the two of them everywhere, never bragging mind you, just damn proud.

Sargent Major exemplified the ideal of ‘gentle strength.’ Built like a pencil thin reed, he would bend when life threw heavy winds his way, yet he managed to support all of those around him. Once the winds passed, he would snap back to full strength, ready to take on the next. Kind and generous, sometimes to a fault, he was still a man you didn’t want to get on the bad side of. A true leader, in every sense of the word. To be honest, all he would have had to do was ask, and I would have followed him anywhere. Continue reading

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Magical Memory Mayhem

Hang on kids, it could be a long one.

It was a hot one in Seattle today. I know, 89 does not qualify as hot compared to the rest of the country, but for us it’s frickin hot. We are not well equipped here to deal with multiple hot days. A/C is lacking in most places and to be honest, as much as we complain, we love what is our normal weather. Just don’t let that get out.

After the brutal day, much like what this part of the country is known for, we got a wonderful evening. Temps fell and sitting outside became a joy. Clear skies, slight breeze and the smells. Man. Look, I’m being honest here. We have the best smelling air in all of the US. I’m not kidding. When we do go home, part of what I look forward to most is coming back and just smelling the air. It’s clean and crisp, yes, but there is… something else. It’s hard to explain. Most folks that come to visit say something about it, but they never really get it. You live out here for more than a couple of years though, and you can’t live without it. 

So any way, I go outside on our “patio” and just sit. Bug light is on, a pale yellow light is cast over the grill and chairs. I sit. I smell. I start to remember. Boy, do I remember. 

My family comes from back east, PA and OH to be exact. My parents grew up in a small town in PA called Union City. I have so many fond memories of both families, but for this I’m going to talk about my mom’s parents. Meme and BumBee. Actually, I’m not sure of the spelling, but you get the idea. Story goes I couldn’t say Grandma or Grandpa, so Meme and BumBee were ‘born.’ 

My grandfather used to take me fishing out to French Creek. He taught me patience, but more importantly, he taught me to love canned fish and baseball. You know what I’m talking about. Sitting by a small stream, line in the water while you listen to baseball on a radio. Get hungry, you open a tin of sardines and life is good. 

My grandmother taught me…man. She made me who I am today. Which brings me to the point of this post. I remember sitting on Meme’s back porch on summer nights, bug light lit, playing Rummy. Not only did she teach me how to play the game, she taught me about life. She taught me how to be calm. She taught me what it means to say ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I was wrong’ and actually mean it. She taught me right from wrong. And she did all of this under a pale yellow light, sweet smell of slightly damp earth wafting in and treating me like an equal, not a goofy little 10 year old kid. 

My brother Brian was even closer to her than me. Our dad left the family in August, I went into the Navy in September, and Brian was suddenly left alone with our mom. I love our mom, but that was a lot for him to take. Meme stepped in and gave him the anchor he needed. I’m glad to say it worked, because he’s become a man I am more than proud to call my brother.

So, I’ve come in from the patio. Left the bug light behind. But Meme? I felt you there with me tonight. I felt your unconditional love. I felt your joy that I’ve taken your habit of having toast and coffee for breakfast. I felt your disappointment that I didn’t get you a great-grandkid in time. I felt your pride that I recall your stories of being wooed on horse-drawn carriages. I felt that you understood how much in awe I was of you that you went from horses to bikes to cars to planes to seeing a man on the moon. More than anything though, I was reminded of just how much I miss you, and the wisdom you gave while playing a simple game of cards. 

Grumpy out. 

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