New Year – New Blog – A Recap

Hello and Happy New Year! I hope that this blog finds you well and that you had a fantastic holiday season! Wow, it’s 2020! For the next few months I will wonder whether to refer to it as “twenty twenty” or “two thousand twenty”! Which is correct?!?

One thing that was mentioned at work before the new year, and something I have seen posed on some local and national news feeds that is worth mentioning is that you should probably avoid abbreviating the new year on documents this year. When you abbreviate 1/3/20, keep in mind that someone can easily add 02, 17, or 10 to the end of it to make it 2002, 2017, or 2010. There’s my public service announcement for the year!

Sam and I were quite busy over the past 5 days! We have been in the process of taking our dining room and turning it into a nursery for the baby. We basically made a wall and a half wall, which created her nursery, a hallway, and added a wall in the kitchen. The dining room originally looked like this:

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The wall was erected just to the right of the light switch and ran right to the edge of the counter top you see in the lower right of the above picture. There was no wall in front of this part of the counter, so we built one to finish the room.

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December 31, 2019

On New Year’s Eve, my father-in-law came over to help me put up some of the final pieces of trim, and to put shiplap up in the kitchen. The original thought was that we would put up the shiplap and then paint it. However, when we saw it up, we liked the look of the wood as it was, so we will probably just stain it. We feel that it gives the kitchen a “cabin” feel. As a bonus, I was allowed to use table saws and a nail gun!

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By the time we finished, Sam and I ran out and grabbed some burgers and watched TV on the couch. Since we have been together, we have never been able to spend New Year’s Eve together, because she worked. Until this year, I’d call her at 11:55 pm, and tell her I loved her when the new year rang in. This year, it was just her and I on the couch, and we finally got to kiss at midnight. I felt like I was in high school again! I know it is something so simple, but it meant a lot to have her with me this year.

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This year I bounced from channel to channel. In year’s past, I always watched Dick Clark ring in the new year. As sad as it was to see him on the show after his stroke, it was still Dick Clark. New Year’s Eve and Dick Clark went hand in hand! Ryan Seacrest is everywhere, and while he may be a decent host, I always feel like they find annoying co-hosts to put with him. I don’t know who the gal was who co-hosted this year, but every time they cut to her, I felt like it I was dumber for having listened to her. I tried to watch Steve Harvey, who was also in Time Square, but everything seems forced with him. I found him even more annoying. Carson Daily was ok, but he was almost too relaxed. I bounced round and eventually stopped back on Seacrest for the ball drop. We kissed, and were probably in bed by 12:30am.

January 1, 2020

New Year’s Day, we met one of my oldest and dearest friends for lunch. Margaret and I have been friends since junior high. We are both Italian. My folks loved her, and her folks loved me. I think they probably both thought that we would date or something, but that never happened. We both went to a few dances together, but that was about as close to “dating” as it got. We were just really good friends and that made us both happy. We were officers in band together, we dressed up as twins for Twin Day, she and I both took a senior picture together, and spent many hours on the phone. She was/is one of my best friends!

When she had her daughter, Marissa, was born, she asked me to be her Godfather. I was honored to do it. When I got married the first time, sadly, I saw less and less of Margaret and my Goddaughter. Whenever I was supposed to get together with them, I was always informed that we couldn’t go or we had something to do with my exes family. After the divorce, Margaret was one of the first to reach out to me. She completely understood what was going on. I lost many years of our friendship, and I lost so many moments with my Goddaughter. After all of that, Margaret (and many other friends) had every right to just stop talking to me, but our friendship meant so much, that we have picked up where we left off.

When I attended my Goddaughter’s 21st birthday party, I pulled her aside and apologized for missing so many important things in her life. How do you explain that to someone? She didn’t bat an eye, told me she loved me and we all enjoyed a great evening! I remember driving home from her party crying my eyes out. It wasn’t fair to her that I missed so many things. It makes me angry to know that I missed so much, but I am also happy that I can try to make up for lost time with her!

We were going to see what Margaret and her husband, Walt, were doing on New Year’s Eve and found out she was working that night. So they met us at one of the nearby bars for lunch on New Year’s Day. It was a bit loud as the Michigan game was on. We enjoyed some amazing burgers, and enjoyed good conversation. There is always a lot of laughter when we get together, story telling with wild hand gestures (it is the Italian in us!) and usually some profanity! It was truly a wonderful afternoon. We hope to be able to do it more often!

During lunch, Margaret said something that struck a chord. It was something that made me sad, and happy at the same time. She said, “I have seen you more and talked to you more in the past two years, that the entire time you were married.” This made me sad, because of what I touched on early – a great friendship almost destroyed and the relationship between me and my Goddaughter all because of the stupidity of someone else. It made me happy to know that our friendship remains and will grow even stronger in the years ahead.

A few more things …

We spent the remainder of the week finishing up the nursery. My mother-in-law came over and helped paint. We had put a coat on the nursery and the hallway, but we needed another coat. We then had to touch up some spots and paint the door. We finished all of that today. Her room will have a book case, a glider, and, of course, her crib. My sister-in-law is bringing the crib this weekend.

Before I could build those things, there were a few other things we had on the agenda today. At 3pm, I picked the boys up for the weekend. I feel like it’s been forever since we saw them, especially when I got to see so little of them this month. For Christmas I had gotten them each a book from Barnes and Nobel – both of which were wrong. So we stopped at Barnes and Nobel to exchange them. Dante’ had also received a gift card from my aunt to B&N, so he got to look for a few things. In the end, they both got their books and were happy.

Hoping to see her

When we found out the gender of our baby, we went to a 3D ultrasound place. We were given a coupon to come back for a discounted rate to have another one done at 30 weeks. We came back and found that the baby was Frank breech and couldn’t really get any good pictures. So they rescheduled one for today. We left Barnes and Nobel and met Sam at the ultrasound place. The good news is that the baby had flipped out of the breech position. The bad news was that she was sleeping and not in a good place for us to see her. They gave Sam juice in hopes that the sugar would wake her up. She drank the juice and we even took a walk around outside. When we came back, we still couldn’t get a good picture of her face. They were, however, able to record her heartbeat for us.

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I thought Sam was going to throw up during it. The lady was really trying to get the baby to wake up. She kept rubbing Sam’s belly and poking and massaging her, but the baby would not move. We did get a semi-good profile shot. We also got to see that she has a lot of hair. We got a neat shot of her hand kind of making a fist, but NO good face picture. I admit, I was disappointed. I wanted to be able to take the 3D picture of her face and compare it with her birth picture like so many parents do, but I guess we just need to wait and see her beautiful face when she arrives.

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They did say that her head was moving down, a sign that the baby is getting ready to arrive. We saw on the internet that cats will tend to be more cuddly with a pregnant woman as the baby is nearing birth. Our one dumb cat has been VERY close to Sam lately, so maybe its happening sooner than we think….

We ordered a pizza for the boys and we all came home. I built the glider and book case and placed them in her room. It is all coming together, and it is getting more and more real as each day goes by.

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The paint is dry, but we want to wait a bit before putting up the wall decoration, which looks like this:

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Cute, huh? I love it!!!

Well, it is late and I need to be up to be on the radio tomorrow. I will wrap things up for now. Tomorrow will be another busy day! After the radio station, we have to go grocery shopping, make a few stops, build the crib and hopefully get a second to relax before heading back to work.

Oh, and somewhere over the next 24 hours, we need to find our book from our birthing class….because our “go bag” still looks like this:

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Happy New Year!

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Reflecting on 2019 …

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As the year draws to a close, I have pondered about what I wanted to write about.  Some of the blogs I follow have posted “Year End” Top Ten lists featuring their 10 most read blogs of the year.  Others have written rants about the old year, and posted resolutions for the new year.  Yet another blogger posted a 50 question “Year End Reflection” post, where he answered questions about the old year and the new year.

It is often very easy to diss on the year as it draws to a close.  I do it often.  In the last week or so I have heard so many people talk about how awful 2019 was and how they cannot wait for the new year, so they can start fresh.  I used to do that, too.  Granted, I know many people who truly have endured a very bad year.  I know too many people whose parents have passed away, gone through a divorce, survived terrible accidents, lost their jobs, and many other things.  I can totally understand how looking back can be difficult.

I think it is often easier to focus on the bad things, because those are the things that tend to stay with you.  Personally, I made a list of some things that I recalled from the past year that could go onto the “bad things” list.  I then decided to make a list of all the good things.  Jotting down things from memory, it was no surprise that the good list outnumbered the bad.  To further the point, I grabbed my phone and went back through a year’s worth of pictures and was reminded of many other things that happened, which all ended up on the “good things” list.

Quick Review of My Year

In January, Sam and I went to the Detroit Opera House with my dad, Rose, and my cousin Dianne to see The Phantom of the Opera.  I had never seen it before and I loved it.  Since Sam talked me into seeing Wicked last year, I have come to appreciate some of these wonderful productions.

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In March, Sam and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary with a trip to Cleveland.  Many joked about the fact that we went to Ohio, and I can see how that might be funny.  We really had a great time at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and a visit to The Christmas Story House.  As a bonus, we got to grab dinner with my brother while we were down there.

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April brought about a couple celebrations.  My son, Dante’ turned 17 and we had a small get together with his friends at our house.  It was quite a loud party with all of his friends there!  Then we celebrated Sam’s graduation on the west side of the state.  I still beam with pride at all she has accomplished!

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May was a busy month.  My nieces and nephew ran us ragged at Peppa Pig World, Dimitri was in good voice at his choir concert, and the boys and I went with my father-in-law, and brothers-in-law to the Three Stooges Festival in Redford.  I also celebrated another birthday, and Sam bought me the most amazing gift – a record player.  I have since enjoyed looking at used record stores for more vinyl to play on it.  That gift also led to Sam and I sharing our first dance together.

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Summer was very busy!  I got the chance to golf with my friends Matt and Shawn,  went to the zoo and the beach with the boys, went to carnivals, visited many ice cream places, played mini-golf, and had many bonfires!  In June, I spoke at a Sleep Conference in Detroit, we celebrated Dimitri’s Birthday,  Sam’s birthday, and she shared the news that we were expecting.  This is one of many favorite memories of the year!

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In July, we went to our OB/GYN and got the first glimpse of our baby.  At this point, we did not know the gender, and were calling her “Baby P”.  On August 30, we decided to go to a place near us that would be able to tell us the gender a bit earlier than our OB/GYN.  It was at this appointment that we found out we were having a girl.  This would be another of my favorite memories of the year.  In August, we also took Dante’ around town on the hottest day of the year to try to get some Senior pictures taken, and shared with my dad that he would soon be holding a granddaughter. It was also fun to have the boys go on a scavenger hunt to find out they were getting a sister!

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In September, I spent the day at a work conference called “The Power to Choose”, which was a truly wonderful experience.  There were many great speakers and I was so glad to be able to attend.  I walked away from this day with some great tools to use with patients and in life in general. On September 25, we got “official” confirmation from our OB/GYN, that Baby P was indeed a girl!

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My brother visited us in October, and Sam allowed me to take Baby Bump Picture #1.  Baby Bump Picture #2 came in November in front of the Christmas tree – a picture that I will treasure forever!  November was very busy as we were showered with love from family and friends at the baby shower.  We took our annual trip to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland and bought our yearly ornament for the Christmas tree.  We enjoyed the Christmas light display at the Detroit Zoo, and construction began on the baby’s bedroom/nursery.

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December brought my staff Christmas party, which was full of hearty laughter!  Sam and I attended our birthing classes, and I learned how to breathe (and hopefully not pass out).  We celebrated Christmas with the boys on Christmas Eve, spent time with Sam’s family Christmas Day, and celebrated with my dad and Rose over the weekend.  I have spent way too much time at work, due to where the holidays fell.  I have also been working some extra shifts at one radio station, and doing my normal shift at the other radio station.  In between all of that, we’ve been sanding and painting the new hallway and the baby’s room (only adding to the excitement of her arrival!).

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As I look back, I am inclined to quote Frank Sinatra and say “It was a VERY good year!” Have you taken the time to really look back at the things that happened over the last year?  One thing that I noticed about the “bad things” on my list was that I was surrounded by good friends, and family who helped me through those “bad” times.  That, in itself, takes a bad and makes it sort of good, right?

Frank Sinatra also sang, “Regrets?  I’ve had a few…”  One of the daily writing prompts for December asked “What is biggest regret of the past year?”  I would say stopping Weight Watchers.  I am in no way, shape, or form blaming Sam, but I gotta tell you…it’s hard to diet when you live with a pregnant person.  Yeah, I know, I should be able to control myself, but all too often, when I went out to get her something she was craving…I got something, too!  LOL.  I have already resolved to get “back on the wagon” after the first of the year!

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In closing, I hope that each one of my readers can look back over 2019, and find some really good times!  I hope you can recall happy memories.  I hope you can find the good that accompanied the bad.  I hope you can find the positives, and focus on those things.  2020 brings a new year, a new “book” if you will.  That “book” contains 365 pages and YOU are the author of each page.  I am looking forward to writing our books together.  Feel free to reach out if you ever need a friend – I am here!

May 2020 be a happy and healthy year!  May it be full of joy and happiness!  May it be full of friends and family!  May it be positively the best yet!

Thanks for reading!  Cheers!

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New Year’s Resolutions

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It’s that time again …

Every year around this time I have a joke that I recycle when I am on the radio.  Basically, I say that I am going to make some New Years Resolutions I can actually keep.  I then proceed to list how I am (1) going to gain 20-30 pounds (2) live paycheck to paycheck (3) procrastinate more and (4) personally bring back Disco.  The last one usually changes from year to year, but disco is what I used on the air this year.

In all seriousness, a recent study shows that most New Year’s Resolutions are broken by January 12th.  Wow, only 12 days!  I guess I can see that, especially if the resolutions are biggies.  I have learned that it is important to keep resolutions easy and attainable.  While I would love to lose about 100 pounds, I’ll be happy if I lose 20.

I do have some resolutions that I am planning to put in place for the new year and I think that many of them are reasonably attainable.  Some say that you should only make a few resolutions, but I have made a list of many.  I figure with a lot of them, if I achieve a couple, that’s a win!

I Resolve

  • Make More Lists.  Hey, look at that!  I am already starting on my resolutions and it’s not even 2019!  I have found that I am forgetting things. I used to make fun of people who made lists, but I now realize that those lists can help.
  • Walk More. I am not sure why I don’t do this more.  Maybe it’s because I work midnights and am tired all the time.  I don’t know.  I love to walk.  I just need to do it more.  Time to make time.
  • Exercise/Be Active.  Ok, technically, this goes with “walk more”.  I’m hoping that walking more will lead me to this one.  We’ve been debating getting a gym membership for a long time.  Perhaps we just need to make it happen.
  • Make More Coffee at Home.  I probably spend way too much on coffee from Tim Horton’s.  We recently bought some awesome cups that keep coffee hot for hours.  Making coffee is really a no brainer.  It saves money and it’s always made right (nothing worse that ordering coffee from a drive thru and it is burnt or lukewarm).  My sons bought me two bags of my favorite coffee from Coffee Beanery, so I should be set for a bit.
  • Make More Meals at Home. This goes hand in hand with the above resolution.  We recently got one of those Instant Pots.  So far, we love it!  We made some amazing Potato Soup and chicken and dumplings in it already.  I see this as being extremely helpful in making foods for us to bring to work for lunch/dinner.  Again, it will also help us save money. It will also help cut out fast food.
  • Date Nights With My Wife. My wife is pretty damn amazing.  I love spending time with her and I resolve for more date nights.  Many date nights can consist of dinner or going out, but we have also enjoyed home cooked meals and time together on the couch watching movies.  I am going to make it a point of pampering her regularly in the new year.
  • More Family Time. This kind of goes with the last item, except this is more geared toward my sons, my dad, and my brother.  I have been meaning to take my sons out to learn how to golf.  My dad did that with me, and I think they might enjoy it.  I also want to throw the ball around more with them.  My dad lives an hour away, and I am resolving to do more visits to see him, whether it is just my wife and I, or with the boys.  I am also hoping to make a jaunt down to see my brother, who lives in that state with the very bland landscape – Ohio.
  • Drink More Water.  Ok, I am not stupid.  I know how drinking water helps with weight loss, blood pressure, and healthy living in general.  I, however, always seem to drink coffee…because I work midnights!  Well, I am making it a point in the new year to drink more water.  Along with that, I will plan on more visits to the bathroom to pee.
  • Read a Book a Month.  I absolutely LOVE to read!  I read a variety of genres.  I love biographies, mysteries, and historical stuff.  I have a stack of books at home that I have been meaning to read, and I am hoping to read all of them before the year is up.  This is one resolution I hope to over shoot.  I would love to read two or three books a month, if I can.  My wife and my boys got me some great books for Christmas that will probably jump to the top of the “to read” stack.
  • Give a Compliment a Day.  I know I am always glad when someone offers me a compliment.  Recently, I did a bit about Stan Lee on the radio.  My boss texted me and said how much he liked it.  The next day, one of the other jocks from another station in the building said that she had heard another bit I did on the air and said how much she was impressed by it.  Getting a compliment makes you feel good – so why not give them out often?  I plan on being generous with compliments in the new year.
  • Book a Trip. My wife and I will be celebrating one year of marriage in March.  We’re not sure where we’re going yet, but have some destinations in mind.  An anniversary trip will be booked soon!
  • Say “No” More. Very often we are pulled in many directions.  We often feel that it is necessary to agree to something, even though we really don’t want to do it.  We commit to things to make others happy and by doing so we sacrifice things that are important to us.  It’s ok to say “no”, and I plan on doing it a bit more this year.
  • Get More Sleep.  This, in itself, is a huge challenge.  With the time off over the holidays, my body has been very happy to get a decent amount of sleep.  I am really hoping to keep up that momentum and continue to get at least 6 hours every night.  This is not always easy, but I know all too well the importance of a good night’s sleep.  I work as a sleep technologist and we are forever telling patients the importance of sleep.  Time to practice what I preach.
  • Listen More/Complain Less.  Not really sure why I bunched these two together, but I did.  As I stated in a previous blog, we often don’t really listen to what people are saying to us because we are already formulating our response while they are still talking.  I am really going to try my best to listen more.  I am also very quick to complain about certain things.  Rather than complain, I am going to find the positives and focus on them.
  • Get Organized.  You know what is sad?  I actually think I am organized…..until I need to find something.  My wife will often make fun of me because I tend to sort things in “piles”.   The “to do pile”, the “to call” pile, the “not sure what to do with” pile, and so on.  I’m not sure how to do this….but I hope to figure it out within the next 12 months and am open to suggestions.
  • Expand My Vocabulary.  My friend, Johnny, gets an email with a “word of the day”.  I know there are also calendars with a “new word everyday” you can buy.  I might have to look for one.  Learning new words is just one of the things I miss about elementary school.  I always enjoyed getting a list of words and learning them.  I used to “show off” by using those new words in front of relatives!  I still try to use the word “kibitz” at least once a week!
  • Limit Phone Time.  Let’s face it, we are glued to our cell phones!  I need to remind myself that there is more to life than Memes on Facebook.  When I am home with my wife or with my kids, I am really going to try to put the phone down so that I can enjoy time with them.
  • Show My Gratitude.  “Thank You” are two words that cannot be said enough. Sadly, there are many who neglect to say them when they should.  I resolve to express my gratitude to those who help me, those who do something for me, or those who just offer a compliment or advice.  A friend of mine has what she calls a “gratitude journal”.  Every night, she writes something she is thankful for.  She then reviews it at the end of each month.  What a cool idea!  Might be interesting to actually see all the things in your life that you are grateful for on a regular basis.
  • Make “Me” Time.  A few years ago, I realized that I could not improve the other things in my life, until I started to improve “me”.  How can you make others happy when you yourself are not happy?  Finding time for yourself is such an important and overlooked thing!  Maybe that “me” time is reading a book, watching cat videos on YouTube, or cutting the grass.  Whatever it is, finding some moments for yourself is beneficial for everyone.  I will be sure to set aside “me” time often in the new year.
  • “Making a Decision on School”.  My wife basically gave me an ultimatum recently.  I have been going back and forth as to whether or not to go back to school.  This is probably the most daunting thing on my “to do” list.  It is such a big question mark!  There are so many things to consider.  I need to figure this out….and I will.
  • “Write More”.  Through the encouragement of others, I have found writing to be one of my favorite things.  My brother got me a book with creative writing topics, some of which will be future blogs.  While many blogs I write are personal, I also like to write about movies, music, and other things.  I have a feeling much of the “me” time I will have, will be spent writing.

So there they are.  That’s some list, huh?  Maybe I’ll be able to accomplish more than one of these things in 2019.  Maybe you will find something on my list to add to your list of resolutions?  I hope so.

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Now, if you can do me a favor and every once in a while ask how I am doing on my list … I’d appreciate it!

Wishing you much success and all the best in 2019!

Keith