2 Years of Ramblings – A Reflection

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Two Years Old

Word Press informs me that this blog turned two years old yesterday!  Two years and the blogging continues….

I wrote a blog reflecting on one year and some feelings remain the same.  Rather than look back on the entire two years, I thought I would reflect on the last year, which had many milestones!  Over the past year, I have gained many more followers, so for those new followers, let me give you a brief look at why this blog exists two years later.

The beginnings

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When I began this blog, I really didn’t have any idea of what it would be.  In my head, I thought that I might blog about some things I liked.  I also knew I would probably write about some favorite memories.  I might also write tributes to important people in my life or just random thoughts to help me deal with emotions or life situations.

This blog was meant for me.  It was to be a “sort of” therapy for me.  I envisioned it as a way to keep track of thoughts, write down stories I didn’t want to forget, and occasionally just vent. I had often joked about writing an autobiography, and in a way, this blog has become “chapters”.

I never thought that anyone would actually want to read these blogs (unless, of course, the blog mentioned them)!  Yet, here I am over two years later and I have “followers” – people who actually make it a point to read this no matter what the topic.  It humbles me.

Looking Back

If I were to compare “year one” with “year two” I would say the blogs leaned a lot more happy.  They contained many happy moments.  Looking back, I see how I have grown and learned to deal with certain people, certain situations, and look at things more objectively.  I have learned to think before reacting.  I have learned to separate myself from those things that bring on stress and make me uncomfortable.  I have gotten more in touch with the person I want to be. Looking back, I see much more happiness.  Life has been very good to me over the last year.

Musical Blogs

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Much like last year, there were plenty of blogs about music.  I began to post a song every Tuesday that held some special meaning.  Maybe the song was prompted by a singer’s birthday or it was just something I heard on the radio.  I admit toward the end of the year, I neglected the Tune Tuesday feature a bit.  I hope to be a bit more consistent with it in the year ahead.  Last year’s songs ranged from Dean Martin to Hugh Laurie to the Muppets!  I look forward to this year’s selections.

Memories of the Past

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Nostalgic memories are often featured here.  Many of them stem from things I see that bring back memories.  Some writings stem from an idea I got from a fellow blogger.  Some of the topics from last year included the ice cream man, toys I remember from my childhood, breakfast cereals from my childhood, memories of band class, the Sunday comics I used to read, books I read as a child and to my boys, and the summer baseball games I played in the neighborhood.  There was also a blog about Muppets phased out of Sesame Street.

Guest Blogger

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I toyed with this idea, and my little brother stepped up to bat.  It was fun to tell him to write whatever he wanted to and see what he came up with.  I really like this idea, and I hope to get a few others to write occasional pieces for this blog.  I am very open to this idea.  Let me know if you would like to do this!  You could write about me, our friendship, or expand on something I have already written.

Friendship salutes

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This year I saluted my oldest and best friend on his birthday.  I also saluted three of my friends from school/band in one blog because they all celebrated birthdays in October. Remembering some of the funny radio stories that involved my co-host Stephanie was a blast for sure!  Some blogs were inspired by friends and their posts on Facebook.  Year three I am already planning some overdue friendship blogs.  Stay tuned!

Movies

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This year, I did a series on my favorite movies by decade.  The idea was to pick one favorite film from each year you have been alive.  I was born in 1970, so I did a blog for each decade (70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and 2000’s).  I neglected to do 2010-2019, but now that we have entered the new decade, I will have to make sure to wrap that series up.  I really enjoy being able to write about my favorite films, and I found it a challenge to narrow it down to one each year.

Celebrities

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Last year I wrote about less celebrities than the year before.  I wrote about The Three Stooges, in a round about way, as I went with the boys to the Stooges Festival in Redford.  I devoted an entire blog to some of the very funny lines that Paul Lynde had from the Hollywood Squares.  The great Jack Benny got an much deserved blog on his birthday.  I also wrote about Elvis on the anniversary of his passing.  I believe that there are a few other celebrities who I could easily devote an entire blog to, I just wonder if folks would read it.

Television

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Along with movies and music, TV tends to be a topic I love to write about.  This year I wrote a blog about the classic 1966 Batman show.  I also wrote about my favorite TV shows of the 1950’s.  For Tune Tuesday, I picked Sanford and Son because of the theme song.  I really need to write about that show and some of my other favorites.  This year I blogged about the remake of All in the Family and The Jefferson’s which again brought me back to one of my original blogging ideas – “why must they remake everything!?”  I also had a chance to talk about one of my favorite Christmas TV specials this year.

Serious Topics

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While many blogs tend to focus on entertaining things, some blogs wind up being of a serious nature.  I am human.  I can’t be upbeat all the time.  I finally had the guts to write about the topic of divorce – just to see if I could do it. Death was also a topic.  I lost some close friends this year.  I also had friends of mine who lost loved ones.  Just this week alone, my buddy Chris lost his mom and a co-worker lost hers.  It’s a hard topic to write about, but I did.

Emotional Blogs

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As I look back over “year two”, there is no shortage of blogs that brought about strong emotions from me.  One of those stemmed from a photo shoot for my oldest son.  Senior pictures.  I still choke up as I think about him being a senior and graduating.  Speaking of graduation, my wife graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in April.  I felt so much pride for her as she walked that stage.  She did all the work, so why it was so emotional for me, I don’t know.  I sometimes think I can get too emotional.  Rest assured – there are more emotional blogs in the year ahead!

Rants

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The blog also consisted of many personal rants.  Some I have mentioned (TV and Movie remakes, missing Muppets, and such), but I also ranted (and whined) about having the “man cold”.  That blog brought about much teasing from friends!  I also ranted about how much I miss record stores (prompted by a record player I received for my birthday).  I know I have other “rant” topics in my blogging notebook.

A Love Story

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Sam and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary.  I chose to take the occasion of our anniversary to tell “our story”. The people who were close to us knew the story, but many didn’t.  As sort of a “love letter” to my wife, and as a way to tell just how our wonderful relationship began, I wrote a series of three blogs leading up to our anniversary.  Those blogs talked of how we met and became close friends, how we began dating and how I proposed, and then how we got married.  Those blogs were among my highest read last year.  A blog followed about our anniversary trip.  Sam makes me SO happy and I am sure there will be many more blogs about our amazing relationship.

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On Father’s Day, Sam told me that we were expecting a baby.  It was SO hard to NOT blog about that!!  We waited some time before spilling the beans with our big announcement.  A series of blogs about expecting a baby, then finding out we were having a girl, and finally sharing the name we had picked for her remain the most read blogs in the history of this blog!  The support from our friends and family has been SO amazing!  Sharing stories of the baby shower and 3D ultrasound pics has been a thrill.  We are closing in on the due date (February 16) and she can come anytime.  The nursery is ready and so are we! We anxiously await her arrival and with it, I will have plenty of things to share with you about being a dad again!

The Future

As I said last year – Not so long ago, I was told my someone once close to me to stop writing.  “Nobody wants to read about that crap!  It is a waste of time.  Stop trying to be creative. Nobody cares about what you like and don’t like!”  If I have learned anything from Facebook and this blog, it is that people do care!  People do like to read what I write!  In the end, I don’t really write for others, I write for myself.  The fact that other people read this blog and get some enjoyment out if it is a little bonus.

In future blogs, I will continue to write about things I love.  I will write about things that people want to know about.  I hope to do more Question and Answer blogs and I will continue to participate in Blogathons.  I want to write about how Autism played a role on my life, which I never seemed to get around to last year.  I also want to continue to write on movies and music. I will continue to write about things in my personal life (and how it is affected by the arrival of our beautiful daughter). I will continue to write – because I enjoy it.  The minute this is no longer satisfying and I feel that I have written all I can write … I will stop.  Until then, thank YOU for reading my “various ramblings”.  I appreciate you!

Happy 2nd Birthday!!

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The Big “D” (and I don’t mean Dallas)

I have been blogging here for almost 2 years.  That, in itself is pretty unbelievable to me.  In that time, I have blogged about a variety of topics.  I have blogged about family, friends, music, and music.  I have blogged about changes in my life, happiness, and things I have struggled with.  Today, I am going to blog about a topic that I have avoided.

I won’t lie, there have been times that I have thought about tackling this topic.  I know that I could easily spend a LOT of time on it, but for the purpose of this blog, I won’t.  Yes, I am going to write about it, but I am going to attempt to write about it in a way that I will benefit from it.  I am going to write about it in hopes that someone else may stumble on this and read it and take away some of the things that I did.

I am going to write this as a constant reminder to myself, and a word of encouragement to those who are going through it, or considering it.  I am not going to focus on the negatives, because I already know what that does.  Instead, I am going to be truthful and focus on the positives.

Deep breath.

I had a phone conversation today.  That is what prompted me to sit and write this.  You know how when you get married they say, “You aren’t just marrying that person – you’re marrying their family?” The same holds true when a marriage ends in divorce.  In some cases, that can be a blessing, while in others, well, not so much.  People are going to take sides.  Both sides will try to put the blame on the other.  Hate grows towards people.  Gossip spreads.  Stories become tall tales.  A division takes place and you “no longer are family.”

I was gently reminded today of how “former family” members felt about me.  It was very nonchalant, almost said in passing.  It was one of those things that often happens in conversations that start in one place and end in another.  A jab here, a jab there, something that is meant to seem like nothing, but in reality is there purposely.  The nice thing about where I am today, is that it doesn’t effect me like it used to.  I can totally handle it.

You know, with social media today, we have constant reminders of our memories.  Facebook memories go back 10 years and remind me of what I was doing or what I posted a decade ago.  Some memories are pleasant reminders, while some bring back painful memories.  Here is what I have always believed, and I have mentioned it before – I am who I am today, because of where I have been, the people in my past, and the choices I have made.

When a memory of times with “former family” comes up, I see them.  I don’t delete them.  Why would I?  Even if it was something I want to forget, it still happened.  Unlike my grandma, who cut out people’s heads in pictures because they did her wrong, I don’t do that.  Those are memories.  Sadly, I was told years ago to get rid of pictures of some of my exes.  I did to make someone else happy, but by doing it, I no longer have any pictures from my prom.  Is that fair?  No.  Your past is responsible for who you are today.

So here is what I need to write about all of this:

Divorce allowed me to find “ME” again!

I was not a pleasant person by the time I got divorced.  I was angry.  I was confused.  I was on so many meds, I am lucky I remembered things.  Those meds made me say and do things that I don’t even remember doing.  I apologize to those who were affected by that.

Afterward, with the help of therapy and true friends, I found ME again!  I was that happy guy who wasn’t on medications.  I was enjoying the things I enjoyed before.  I was laughing, loving, and LIVING again!  I was no longer NUMB.  Sure, life still throws curve balls, but that always happens.  The difference now is that I am equipped to handle them and think clearly.  I am no longer making decisions in a fog – I am ME again!  I am in control of ME. Finding me was liberating and encouraged me to do things that I wouldn’t have done in my past situation.

I believed in myself again.

Divorce allowed me to reconnect with people

People used to tell me I was a good friend.  That was NOT true in my last marriage.  I neglected SO many people.  My relationship with my father and my own brother were strained because of my situation.  Some of my BEST friends (some from all the way back in high school) never heard from me, unless they called me (and often those calls were cut short because I was forced to end the call).  I missed more things than I care to discuss because of that situation.  What I felt was important was often trumped by what someone else thought was more important.

Over time I began to leave things like group outings early.  Eventually, I stopped going to them all together.  I stopped bowling on a league.  I always had a “prior engagement” when asked to golf.  I sold my DJ business.  I got out of radio.  I neglected birthdays, anniversaries, parties for friends.  No wonder people stopped bothering to call me.  I had abandoned them to keep peace.

Thankfully, many of those friends welcomed me back without hesitation after my divorce.  They said they understood.  They didn’t want to interfere.  Sadly, I can never get back that time.  Missing events like my Goddaughter’s confirmation, funerals for a friend’s parent who passed away, family holidays, and things like that leave me with feelings of regret.  I cannot get those moments back.  I was a terrible friend.

Divorce has allowed me to reconnect with friends and family who mean the world to me!

Divorce has allowed me to move past what I cannot control

Specifically, what other people think of me.  Sure, you heard all kinds of things about me.  I know you think this and that about me, and that is ok.  I cannot control what you think of me.  You can take the one side of the story, the embellished stories, the second hand gossip and judge away.  In truth – you don’t know the truth.  You didn’t live my life, so how could you possible know what I went through?  Believe what you want.  I have no control over that.  If you want to truly come to a conclusion based on whatever you hear, well, as George Strait said, I have some ocean front property in Arizona to sell you!

Admittedly, it is one of the hardest things I had to deal with.  I worked on the radio for years.  If someone called me and told me I sucked or judged something I did on the air, it bothered me.  Same thing here – it bothered me what people were thinking about me.  What were others believing?  What was being said?  Why didn’t they come and ask me?  I really let that weigh me down!!

With a lot of help in therapy, I came to realize that no one but me knew what I was going through.  No one knew of the struggles that I was dealing with.  No one was wise enough to sense the smile I wore in public was fake.  No one knew how much I hurt.  No one knew how many times I broke down in tears in private.  I was the one who finally had to make the choice that I felt was right so NO ONE has the right to judge me for my choices.  I took control.  I decided that I needed help.  I was the one who tried to fix me, because I felt I was the one responsible for the situation and I was the one who was the root of all the problems.

Post divorce I carry on.  I live with the choices I have made.  I chose to do what makes me happy, with those who make me happy, and I could care less about what people think of me – because I have no control of that.  I do, however, have control of ME.

Divorce allowed me to find true love and experience a healthy relationship

I grew up in a home where my parents argued a lot.  Perhaps I felt like this was a normal thing in a marriage.  Perhaps that is why I always made the assumption that fighting was something that just happened with any marriage.  Don’t misunderstand me, I understand that in ANY relationship, there will be disagreements and arguments.  In my case, over time, those arguments got more and more heated and happened often in front of the kids.  I guess it was when this happened that I knew it wasn’t normal.

All strong relationships take some effort.  The thing to remember, is that when both people are committed to each other, are compatible, and truly love each other, the effort that you need to put into the relationship doesn’t feel like work.  It is effortless.  It just happens.  You both care about each other, each other’s opinions, and you genuinely want it to work.  It’s not about one upping each other or doing what is best for you – it’s what’s best for US.  There is a connection between the two of you.  You LISTEN to each other and HEAR each other.  You don’t put each other down – you lift each other up.

That is the kind of relationship I have with Sam.  We lift each other up.  We love each other.  We listen to each other.  We are honest with each other.  We make decisions together.  It’s never about “me” or “you”, it is about “US”.  What an amazing blessing she is to me.  What a blessing our relationship is.  When my youngest son looked at me recently and said, “Dad.  You are a good husband to Sam,” I almost cried.  I hope that they look at what I have now and see it as what a marriage is supposed to be like.

Moving on

I think waiting to write this has only helped me more.  Going through it, moving forward, and then looking back at it.  You can look back at it without all the emotions and stuff that cloud your judgment or perception.  Looking at it from where I am now, allows me to look at it, with a new perspective.  I can move forward and know what to do and NOT do.

Divorce changed me.  Going through it made me more aware, and it made me a stronger person.  I went through the stress and pain and came out on the other side a wiser person.  My therapist probably said it best – “You are not the same person that you were before.  Now, you are better!”  Yes.  I am better.  MUCH better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tune Tuesday – All I Want

I spent the majority of my radio career playing country music.  I started with oldies, dabbled in classic rock, played adult contemporary songs, and even had a stint at an urban station.  If I add up the years by genre, I have played more country music than anything.

Today’s country music, in my honest opinion, is more like a southern rock.  Some of it even borders on rap.  My current PD (and many others) call it “bro country,” whatever that means.  Recently, on my weekend show, I actually played a George Strait song – a new one at that!  It actually sounded country!

While some laughed at Darius Rucker for cutting a country album, he actually fit right in.  Darius, of course, was/is the lead singer for Hootie and the Blowfish who burst on the scene with their album Cracked Rear View in 1994.  They had some huge hits and great success.  Darius did some solo stuff in 2001, and in 2008 signed with Capital Records to release a country album.  That album was called “Learn to Live”.

The album had some great songs on it.  The first three singles (Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It, It Won’t Be Like This For Long, and Alright) all reached #1!  While I Still Got The Time, Drinkin’ and Dialin’ and Learn to Live are also great songs lyrically and musically.  The song that just stands out the most for me on the album is “All I Want”.

Darius co-wrote the song with songwriter Frank Rogers, who wrote Brad Paisley’s “I’m Gonna Miss Her.”  (Brad Paisley, coincidentally, plays lead guitar on the song. )  Darius says that the song sounds like it was written by two guys who hate their wives, and thought when he played it for his wife, she’d think he wanted a divorce.  He says that wasn’t the case at all.  Darius stated that when they wrote the song, there were a lot of people around him getting a divorce, and that’s where the idea came from.

As someone who was recently divorced, this song was one that I played often on the iPod.  The entire first verse, I could relate to:

“Don’t act surprised, it ain’t like you didn’t know.
It’s been like a long time coming and it’s time for me to go.”

While the subject matter of the song is a bit more serious, the way it is written in a tongue and cheek sort of way, is just one of the reasons I love it.  The last lines of the chorus, is one of my favorite lines in music.  Darius said when his wife heard it, she was on the floor laughing.  I also love it because it has a great boogie-shuffle rhythm to it.

“All I Want”


Don’t act surprised, it ain’t like you didn’t know
It’s been like a long time coming and it’s time for me to go
Tryin’ to split things up could drive us crazy
So I’m gonna make this easy, baby

You can have the money, you can have the house
Take the Cadillac and that boat out back
And your mother’s pink and yellow couch
You can have every penny that I’ll make from this here song
Girl all I want you to leave me is alone

Don’t get me wrong I will always love you, girl
You were my life you were my heart, you were my world
But we both know it’s over, there’s no need to fight it
Girl I just need some peace and quiet

So you can have the money, you can have the house
Take the Cadillac and that boat out back
And ugly pink and yellow couch
You can have every penny that I will make from this here song
Girl all I want you to leave me is alone

You can have the money, you can have the house
Take the big screen and your diamond ring
And those shoes that you swore you couldn’t live without
You can have every penny that I will make from this here song
Girl all I want you to leave me is alone
Girl all I need you to leave me is alone

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Side note to trolls:  All I want you to leave me is alone!  🙂

 

 

Part II – The Proposal

Yesterday’s blog was an emotional one to write.  I put some things in it that I had been quiet about for some time (depression, suicide, divorce, and unhappiness). It came as a surprise to many, and the wonderful words shared by friends on Facebook, and right here on my page meant more to me than you can imagine.  Thank you for reading, following, and your comments.

But, wait!  There’s more!  The story continues…..

When I ended my blog yesterday, I brought you to the place where I had come to realize what an amazing woman I had been blessed with.  As crazy as it sounds, so soon after a divorce, I knew that everything was right!  I did not want to lose this wonderful woman that had been placed in my life.  She had expressed to me that she was very happy as well.  There was no doubt that we had both fallen deeply in love with each other.

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I knew I wanted to be with her forever.  I wanted to propose and I wanted it to be something special.  I had bought a ring and had kept it hidden.  It was not your traditional “solitaire” diamond.  I liked it, but I kept wondering whether she would like it.  I finally caved and texted her sister and asked for her opinion.  She told me it was “perfect” and that it was exactly what Sam would like.

Now, I had to think of how to do it!

The Plan

Sam loves Disney movies.  In discussing movies, we discovered that we both loved the Disney/Pixar film, Up! (An amazing film, that is a MUST see).  The film begins by introducing us to Ellie and Carl.  They are adventurers!  Ellie even has An Adventure Book to record all of her adventures.  Ellie and Carl grow up, get married and the book plays a big part of the story.  In doing a search, I found the perfect way to deliver the ring!  I found a book that could be personalized and when you opened it up, the ring would be tied to a ribbon!

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It was PERFECT!  I ordered it with the understanding that it would take a few weeks to deliver.  I had made dinner reservations at a nice Italian place we had discovered quite by accident.  It technically wasn’t where we went for our first date, but we both really liked it, so I chose to go there to have dinner after she (hopefully) said “yes”.  We live close to Frankenmuth (home of the world’s largest Christmas store, for those who don’t live in Michigan), and I had arranged for a horse-drawn carriage ride.  The plan was to hand her our book and ask her while we were crossing the bridge in Frankenmuth.

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When the plan fails to come together, you improvise …

As that Saturday approached, I continued to watch the mail.  The book had not arrived yet.  I knew when I order it that I was cutting it close.  When the book didn’t arrive in the mail, because of our work schedules, I decided I didn’t want to wait a week.  I had the carriage reserved, I had reservations for dinner, I would proceed without the book.

We arrived in Frankenmuth and we began to walk toward the Bavarian Inn Restaurant (where the rides leave from).  Sam looked a bit confused, because I had already told her I had dinner plans in another city.  She must have thought we were going to eat there, until I walked up to the horse and carriage.  We climbed aboard and the ride began.  I began to thank her for how she changed my life.  We turned onto main street and approached the bridge.  I told her how happy she made me and how much I loved her.  As I struggled to try to get the ring box out of my pants pocket, I told her I could imagine my life without her in it.  Off in the distance, there was a slight rumble.  With the ring box now in my hand, my anxiety level was through the roof!  As we reached the point – it was time.  As I began to speak, from behind the carriage that rumble had become a load roar!  At the very moment I was about to ask Sam to marry me, this group of 20-50 bikers came roaring past us with a thunderous noise that made it impossible for us to hear each other!

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To this day, I am surprised that the noise didn’t startle the horse that pulled the carriage.  I don’t know, maybe it was deaf!  It had to be.  Honestly, that horse should have jumped and scurried and wrecked the carriage with us in it!  That didn’t happen, thankfully, but by the time the motorcycle gang from hell had passed us, we were over the bridge and the ride was just moments away from ending.  We were almost back to where we started.

All the momentum that I had built up to lead to that special moment was now long gone.  I think, to be funny, I said something along the lines of, “So, anyway ….”  and eventually popped the question before the horse and carriage had come to a stop.  She, of course said “yes”.  There were tears and my anxiety was no longer present, it had been replaced by overabundant joy!

We held hands almost the entire way down to the restaurant.  I think the only time we weren’t holding hand was when she was looking at the ring, now on her hand, smiling that wonderful smile of hers!  We had an amazing Italian dinner at Maggiano’s and we had an amazing day!!

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Now to plan the wedding

The only people we told right away were some family members.  Her folks knew, her sister at least knew it was coming, and My dad and Rose knew.  We chose to keep it secret from our friends and other family members until we decided when and where we were going to get married, and go from there.

With our first anniversary only two days away, that story will be next.

Oh, and that book showed up the Monday after our date!