Prompt: That Was Then, This Is Now

Maggie, at From Cave Walls, and Lauren, at LSS Attitude of Gratitude, alternate hosting Throwback Thursday. The idea of the prompt is for them to give us a topic and for us to write a post in which we share our own memories or experiences about the given topic.

This week’s prompt is: That Was Then And This Is Now  “Growing up, we all had dreams and aspirations.  I’d like you to think back about what you were like and what you wanted as a kid compared to the adult choices you made.

Here are the questions and my responses:

When you were a kid, did you like your name? Would you have changed it if you could? Do you like it now?

I suppose I liked my name growing up. I really didn’t have a reason not to like it. I was the only Keith in my class and I was ok with that. It always bugged me that people always spelled it wrong, even though I know why (i before e, except after c – so everyone spelled it Kieth).

I really don’t think I would change it. I wasn’t even aware that a name change was possible, and then I found out my dad had actually legally changed his name from Salvatore to Sam, which everyone called him.

Yes, I like it just fine.

As a kid, what always brought a smile to your face? What about now, as an adult? (family-friendly please)

As a kid – summer and all that came with it: vacations, baseball games with friends, trips up north, running through the sprinkler. As an adult, my family. My children make me smile everyday. My wife also makes me smile. The times that we can all be together are priceless.

What was the most important lesson your parents taught you? Did you pass that lesson down to your family? The most important lesson(s) I learned from my parents was to always be supportive, respectful and responsible. I hope that I have passed that down in the way I have parented my children.

Are there talents you started as a child that you still have? If so, what are they?

I don’t know that I would call it a talent, but I always seemed to be able to make people laugh, I truly try to bring levity and fun to wherever I go. I also seem to be good at whipping off some sort of silly rhyme on command. I am a far cry from Nipsey Russell, but I get by.

Is there something you regret not doing or starting when you were young? What was it?

This is sort of a loaded question, because I think I am where I am at today because of where I have been and the decisions made along the way (good and bad). I do regret not going to college right away, but it was probably better that I didn’t. I’m sure I would have flunked out. I also wish I had learned to play the guitar at a young age. My dad recently gave me an acoustic guitar that I hope to try to teach myself.

Did you have more close friends as a kid or as an adult? Any idea why?

I would guess I have more close friends today than I did as a kid. I had a couple good friends growing up (and they are still good friends today), but I think we were kind of the “weird kids” and we all decided to just hang out with each other. As far as “why,” I am not sure. The ones who were important to me still are. They are the ones I confide in, complain to, and share with.

Where did you go to think as a kid? Where do you go now?

As a kid I would often walk up to the elementary school and sit on the swings to think. I spent hours there, sometimes alone and sometimes with a friend. When I got my license, I would drive up to Jefferson Ave and sit by the water. On occasion, I would get to watch a moon rise which was spectacular. Now, I would guess I drive around in my car or go for a walk. If the weather is not ideal, I guess I think in bed.

What would be the name of the chapter of your life from 10 – 18? What would the name be the name of the chapter of your life currently?

Wow, that’s tough. That’s an entire 8 year span and so much was going on. Perhaps it might be called, “Finding Myself” or ” Struggle” or “What Next?” The chapter name for my life currently might easily be “A Wonderful New Beginning” or “The Second Chance” or “Happily Ever After.”

What wonderful thing happened in your adult life that your child self could never have imagined?

Divorce might not be what you expect to see in this answer, and as a child, I never thought it would happen to me. But it was a “wonderful” thing that brought about the opportunity to meet and marry my soul mate and have two more children.

Would your child self like your adult self? Why or why not?

I would think that my child self would like my adult self. After all, we both have the same taste in movies, music, and TV. We also love baseball, golf, and football. We also love the same types of books. I’d think we’d have plenty in common …

I’d love to see your answers to these questions, too!

Holy 500!

I was notified by Word Press that this blog hit a milestone!! Had I been paying attention, I would have made Blog #500 something a bit more special. Instead, my last blog (#500) was about how tired I am!

Reflecting

As I sat down to write Blog #501, I thought on how far this blog has come. I never started this blog to gain hundreds of followers, however, I have. Originally, I started the blog as a way to write down my feelings and thoughts as I went through some troubling times. Then I thought it would be a good place to write some memories down so my kids could look back and read them. It has evolved into a place where I can write about personal things, and not so personal things.

I am glad that the details of how my wife and I came to be together are here. I am also glad that I have detailed blogs about the the birth of my son and daughter. There are also many memories of my mom, so that my kids who never had the chance to meet her, will be able to read about her. I hope that they will be able to come here to read about the special people in my life – my wife, my kids, my parents, my grandparents, my teachers, my co-workers and mentors, and my friends.

It’s also fun to look back at the special “events” I took part in. Recently, I took part in a song draft, which allowed me to feature 10 great songs. There was a bit more pressure than just picking a song and writing about it. It was hard to pick just 10! Blogging about TV shows and movies as part of blogathons has been fun, as well. I’m looking forward to a TV show draft, similar to the song draft, coming soon.

What Have I Learned?

So, just what have I learned after 500 blogs?

1. It’s not easy!

I read somewhere that most people who start a blog quit writing after a month. I am glad that I have continued to write, although finding stuff to write about is not always easy. There are many days where I sit and have nothing to write about. In those moments, I turn to Daily Writing Prompts. Sometimes they will be helpful, but many of them are worthless.

Some days are easier than others. Many times a song will bring about a memory I can share. Other times a conversation will spawn something worth writing about. My kids are a constant source of writing material and funny stories and for that I am grateful. I love bragging about them.

The key for me is to just keep writing. I plan to do just that.

2. I’ve met some really cool friends

When I created my blog, I started to search for blogs about music and movies. I started following some of them and by doing so, found there many people who share similar likes with me. I began to comment on their posts and they commented on mine. By doing so, I have really gained some neat friendships with people I have never seen face to face. I’m thankful for each of them

3. I often wonder if I make a difference

I guess I hope that someone who goes through my blog will find an occasional “nugget” that they can use in their daily life. It’s not easy to put your life out on the internet for everyone to see, but if someone can learn something from the challenges I faced and the issues I worked through, I will be happy with that.

More recently, I have blogged a little bit more about my faith. I was always told to not discuss religion and politics. I follow a few blogs who share my beliefs and I appreciate them. I know that not everyone is going to share my beliefs and that is ok. That being said, I am also not going to be afraid to post more about it and am always happy to discuss it with others.

4. I really enjoy blogging

I’m not sure I could ever be a reporter or a writer where there were deadlines for articles. I enjoy sitting and writing about my passions, my experiences, my family, and my life. I love being able to write down things that I can go back and reread and relive those moments.

I have put quite a bit of time into this blog, and don’t make a dime off it (Although, I hear that there are many bloggers who DO make money off theirs)! It has never been about making money. It has never been about having a blog republished. It has never been about having millions of followers. This blog is my little spot on the internet to save my thoughts and share them.

How about your feedback?

What do you like best about this blog? What would you like to see more of? Would you ever consider being a guest blogger on my site? Tell me your thoughts. I appreciate you being here and reading my blog and hope to keep posting things you find interesting.

So what is next? 500+ plus blogs I hope and I am excited to continue sharing “me” with you!

LIST: Top 50 Overplayed/Hated Songs of All Time

I saw this on Facebook earlier and had to share. I know many of my blog followers are into music and I’d love their opinions on this list.

The list comes from a site called “A Lot Living,” which, from what I can tell, is some sort of entertainment site. I tried to post a link to the original article, but for what ever reason, the link wouldn’t work. Well, at least you have the list below…..

As a radio guy, and a mobile DJ, I agree with many of the songs on the list. Some of them, while overplayed, are still very well accepted by party crowds and radio listeners. Here is the list – YOU tell ME what you agree or disagree with….

Top 50 Overplayed Songs

50. Jam (Turn it Up) – Kim Kardashian

49. Axel F – Crazy Frog

48. Afternoon Delight – Starland Vocal Band

47. Happy – Pharrell Williams

46. What’s New Pussycat? – Tom Jones

45. It’s a Small World (After All) – Sherman Brothers

44. Disco Duck – Rick Dees

43. MMMBop – Hanson

42. Baby – Justin Bieber

41. Barbie Girl – Aqua

40. We Built This City – Starship

39. Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen

38. Message In a Bottle – The Police

37. Do My Thang – Miley Cyrus

36. Livin’ La Vida Loca – Ricky Martin

35. My Humps – Black Eyed Peas

34. Sherry – The Four Seasons

33. Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice

32. My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion

31. Blue – Eiffel 65

30. Copacabana – Barry Manilow

29. Karma Chameleon – Culture Club

28. Macarena – Los Del Rio

27. Wannabe – The Spice Girls

26. I Love You – Barney

25. Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go – Wham!

24. I Want Candy – The Strangeloves

23. Mah Na Mah Na – The Muppets

22. Tequila – The Champs

21. Bread and Butter – The Newbeats

20. Yakety Yak – The Coasters

19. Whip My Hair – Willow Smith

18. Cheerleader – Omi

17. Achy Breaky Heart – Billy Ray Cyrus

16. The Thong Song – Sisqo

15. The Final Countdown – Europe

14. Believe – Cher

13. Honey, I’m Good – Andy Grammer

12. I’m a Gummy Bear – Gummibar

11. Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke

10. All About That Bass – Meghan Trainor

9. Friday – Rebecca Black

8. Marry You – Bruno Mars

7. You’re Beautiful – James Blunt

6. Cotton Eye Joe – Rednex

5. I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) The Proclaimers

4. Who Let The Dogs Out – Baha Men

3. Baby Shark – Unknown

2. It’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time – Buckwheat Boys

…. and the top overplayed/hated song is

1. Photograph – Nickleback

Do you agree? Disagree? What songs were missed? What songs should NOT be on this list? You tell me!

Trip #52

Today is the 12th anniversary of my 39th birthday.

As much as I’d like to be “Forever 39” like Jack Benny, the truth is that I am officially logged 51 years on the planet. Today begins Trip #52.

People are always asked “What do you want for your birthday?” This blog is my answer (or answers) to that question. These are things you can do for me.

Pay It Forward

Every now and then, someone will pay for my coffee at Tim Hortons. It always feel great to know that someone was kind enough to do that for me. You know what feels better? Doing it for someone else!

Thank A Veteran

It is such a simple thing to do. In the Covid world, shaking hands is frowned upon, but you can still say thank you. You may not think it means much, but it does.

Support a Local Business

This is so important today. The big companies are not struggling as bad. Search out local businesses and support them. Make it a point to brag about them on social media. Spread the word. Your community will thank you for it!

Do Something Nice For Your Neighbor

Bring up their trash cans from the road. Mow their grass. Send them flowers. TALK to them! Put the phone down and do some real socializing.

Look Into Your Child’s Eyes.

I saw this online recently and it really hit home. “Stop what you are doing, sit down, and just look into them. Do that every day and you will change the world.” ~Noel Cocca

Give. Don’t Expect To Get.

This one thing can change the entire world! Everyone expects things today. We are selfish. Be the change – “It is better to give than to receive.” It doesn’t have to be money or materialistic things, either. Give a compliment. Give a smile.

Smile More

When you smile, you instantly uplift others! Plus, smiling can reduce stress and activate the smiles in the people around you. Smiling is infectious. Too often we walk with our faces down or stern, perhaps staring at our phones, oblivious to the people around us. Look up. Smile at people. If you don’t feel like smiling, smile anyway.

Be Thankful

Say “thank you.” You will be amazed at how your attitude changes when you become more thankful and grateful. Thank your friends, family, and God daily.

Say “I Love You”

This is a life mantra of mine. You may never get another chance to tell someone how you feel. Always make sure they know. Make it a goal to tell at least 10 people you love them today. Tomorrow is promised to no one.

Stay Positive

Do whatever you can to avoid negativity and negative people. Find the positives in everything.

Unplug

Spend some time away from your phone, the internet, television, etc. Get out in nature. Sit on your porch and take in the sights and sounds. Read a good book. Read the Bible. Pray. Set some time away from technology and reset!

Write a Letter or Send a Card To Someone

Do it for no reason. You will make their day!

Practice Active Listening

When you are speaking with someone, give them your full attention. Ask how they are and then LISTEN to them!

Get Musical

Sing, hum, dance, make music, celebrate music. Music is one of the things that make us experience life more fully and connect to our innermost creativity. Music is the universal language. Get LOST in a favorite song – really listen to it. Listen for something you may not have heard before.

________

Thanks in advance for reading. Now go out and make a difference!!

Sunny Side of the Street

“The Sunny Side of the Street”

One of my favorite commercials on TV right now is the “Spring Into Action” commercial from Kohl’s. There is something about the smile of the little girl as people “hop” by that tugs at the heart strings. It is a wonderful “feel good” commercial. If you haven’t seen it – take 30 seconds and enjoy:

Kohl’s Spring Into Action

While walking the neighborhood with Ella last week, I noticed a few chalk Hopscotch games on the sidewalk. Rest assured, if the child who had drawn it was out on the porch, I would have hopped along just like the folks in the commercial.

The ad itself is wonderful. I love the song choice in it, as well. The Sunny Side of the Street is a song that is over 90 years old! It was written in 1930 by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields (although, some say it was written by blues legend Fats Waller). It made its debut on Broadway in the show International Review. The song is considered a jazz/pop standard now and is part of the “Great American Songbook.” It has been recorded by Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Bing Crosby, Benny Goodman, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Count Basie, The Pied Pipers, Doris Day, Keely Smith, Frank Sinatra, Willie Nelson, Tony Bennett, and so many more.

As I thought about this song, I thought about my life. This was me! It wasn’t until Sam and I got together that I began to walk on the Sunny Side of the Street! I crossed over from the “dark and shady” side. I have always loved this song – it’s one of my favorite cuts from Willie Nelson’s Stardust album. If I had to pick a favorite version it would probably be Willie’s version. It’s just so laid back and smooth….

If you want a more “swinging” version of it – try Keely Smith on for size….

Lyrics

Grab your coat and get your hat
Leave your worries on the doorstep
Just direct your feet
On the sunny side of the street

Can’t you hear the pitter pat?
And that happy tune is your step
Life can be so sweet
On the sunny side of the street

I used to walk in the shade
With those blues on parade
But I’m not afraid
This rover crossed over

And if I never had a cent
I’d be rich as Rockefeller
Gold dust at my feet
On the sunny side of the street

I used to walk in the shade
With those blues on parade
But I’m not afraid
This rover crossed over

And if I never had a cent
I’d be rich as Rockefeller
Gold dust at my feet
On the sunny side of the street

Life Lesson

When life has you down, take a stroll on the sunny side of the street!

Blog # 300!!

Another Milestone

Well, here it is – my 300th blog post. To be completely honest, I have a few more than 300, but some were kept private. So this is my 300th “published” blog. Over the past few blogs, I knew this milestone blog was coming, and wondered just how a blogger celebrates this kind of achievement. I found that most look back and reflect on stats.

I don’t know about doing that. Does it matter that the most popular day my blog is viewed is Thursday? Are you impressed that in the first 299 blogs I have written 64,488 words? Does it thrill you to know that each blog averages about 921 words? I highly doubt that means anything to you.

A Short Reflection

300 blogs. It is amazing to actually look back and see the wide variety of content that I covered since beginning this blog:

  • The blog is full of many posts about music – some about specific tunes (Tune Tuesday) and some filled with many songs.
  • There have been many blogs about television – whether it be actual shows or just theme songs.
  • I have also written many blogs about movies – some as part of blogathons hosted by other bloggers and some of my personal favorites.
  • There have been blogs about holidays from throughout the year – some contain specific memories and some are just general thoughts.
  • I have written special blogs to family and friends – my mom, my dad, my grandparents, my godfather, my kids, my wife, and my lifelong friends.
  • There have been no shortage of radio stories about listeners and coworkers.
  • Some blogs were just full of random thoughts and observations.
  • There were blogs about celebrities – some funny, some musical, some just for the hell of it.
  • I shared the love story of my wife and me.
  • I shared with family and friends the news on our miracle baby and blogged about the days that led up to her arrival.
  • Of course, after she was born, there have been many wonderful stories and things to share about her as she continues to grow up.
  • I was honored to have my brother write a guest blog for me (and hope to have more in the future).
  • I opened up about many personal things – my divorce, thoughts on suicide, the changes in my personal life, reflections on life and death, my faith, and so many other topics I kept to myself.
  • There have been some “Question and Answer” blogs that contained things asked of me by friends and family.

Looking back, I am impressed with myself. Who knew I had it in me?

New Connections

If you have a Facebook, you know that they will occasionally give you friend suggestions. They will offer up “People You May Know.” Many of those suggestions stem from mutual friends. There are people that pop up and I have 65 mutual friends with them because we went to the same high school together, or we both have the same radio friends, etc…

With this blog, we don’t have that feature. However, through searching things for things like movies, TV, music, and such, I have found many bloggers that share my interests. I follow quite a few blogs and continue to add more to my “read” list. Some of those bloggers offer up personal stuff like I do on occasion. Some respond with personal stories to my personal blogs. Through that, I feel like I know many of them.

Max is a good example of this. He has blogged about things I remember and vice versa. We also share many of the same musical tastes. He actually helped me set up the index on the side of the blog. Since doing that, more of my older blogs are being read than before. We swapped e-mails and eventually phone numbers. When I called him to talk about the index and creating some pages, it was like talking to someone I had known for years. How cool is that?

Lessons Learned

After 300 blogs, I think it is important to note some of the things I have learned since the beginning. If you are a new blogger, maybe some of my observations can be useful to you.

Even with spellcheck, I make mistakes. I found going back through some older blogs that there are some typos. Some are spelling mistakes, some are grammatical. My one radio buddy, who also works for a newspaper, told me I need an editor. He then proceeded to tell me I couldn’t afford him! I need to be better at proofreading.

There really is no way to know which blogs will be popular. I have written blogs that I think will get a great response, only to see that is not the case. At the same time, I have written blogs that I feel are just “ok” topics, and had a ton of hits on it. You never really know. It hurts your ego a bit when a blog you think is great is barely read, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

Keywords matter. I try to include as many “tags” as I can with each blog. I have found that this will ultimately lead to more followers and readers. My most read blog? It is about a scammer. I got an e-mail saying that someone noticed I spelled a word wrong and said I should download some app. With research, I found the app is actually something you want to avoid. The keyword “Scam” or “Scammer” has lead to many reading that blog and some even commenting saying that they got the same type of e-mail.

The personal blogs I wrote about suicide, divorce, staying positive, dealing with a narcissist, and depression led to many new people following this blog. Some went as far as to reach out and share their own stories about those things. You know, sometimes, it helps to know you aren’t the only one dealing with those issues.

Each blog represents a moment in time. It represents what I felt at a certain moment in time. Early on in my therapy, I was angered easily. I didn’t realize how certain things by certain people triggered it. I was not a pleasant person. Over time, I have learned to not let those things trigger anger. I have learned coping skills. I am a different person than who I was.

Think about your favorite TV show. Did you like it immediately? The first time I watched Seinfeld or Cheers, I was not impressed. Over time, I came to enjoy the shows more. At one moment in time, you may feel one way, and over time you can feel another way.

Many of my blogs are memories that I want to preserve for the future. Other blogs are about things I have observed. At the time, I felt a certain way about things – over time, my thoughts or feelings might change. It helps to keep that in perspective.

Write about what you are passionate about! Chances are if you are passionate about it, a reader will find it interesting. This same principle was suggested to me when I worked in radio. Share things that “make you feel!” Some readers love my musical blogs while some prefer my more personal ones. I am passionate about everything I write, however, not all things will appeal to everyone. Anyone who comes to this blog will see my love for all things entertainment, but also see my love for my family and my children!

Another principle from radio that translated to writing a blog is to simply “observe life.” Look around and take notice. A successful stand up comedian is one who observes little things, talks about it, and the audience says “Oh yeah! I have noticed that too!” George Carlin was a master observer! Take those things that you observe and relay them. You know the whole “which way should the toilet paper roll go on” thing was simply something that someone wondered about, right!?

I always loved the above Far Side Cartoon. It points out another lesson I have learned. Be yourself. You don’t have to agree with everything I write. That’s ok. You have a right to disagree with me. However, when I write, I’m going to be myself.

While it can sometimes feel like work, I find blogging to be fun. I enjoy writing. I also enjoy hearing from readers who comment on my blog. That’s as much fun as writing them.

There are some blogs that I just sit and write. Others (most of them), it takes time to plan out. Either way, I try to give myself time to think it through and get the flow. It takes time and sometimes, you have to MAKE time to write.

So there you have it ….

Blog #300. As a follower, I need to say thank you. I am truly glad that you are here. I always welcome your suggestions. How can I make this blog more enjoyable for you? Would you like to be a guest blogger? Please feel free to let me know. What do you like? What don’t you like? Feel free to suggest other blogs I might be interested in. Feel free to share this one with others.

Thank you so much for reading. Here is to the next 300 ….

One Hit Wonder Day

Yesterday (9/25) was National One Hit Wonder Day. A One Hit Wonder is a song that would be considered the only hit song for an artist. In surfing through Sirius XM while driving, almost all of the “Decade” channels were playing one hit wonders yesterday.

The book pictured above is filled with great stories about some of music’s One Hit Wonders. There are also many One Hit Wonder collections available on CD. The list below is a poor representation of some of my favorite One Hit Wonders. What are your favorites?

1950’s

Get a Job – The Silhouettes

Sea Cruise – Frankie Ford

Sorry (I Ran All The Way Home) – The Impalas

Hushabye – The Mystics

1960’s

Hey Baby! – Bruce Channel

Suspicion – Terry Stafford

Keep On Dancing – The Gentry’s

Cool Jerk – The Capitols

Judy in Disguise – John Fred and The Playboy Band

More Today Than Yesterday – Spiral Staircase

1970’s

All Right Now – Free

Layla – Derek and the Dominoes

Vehicle – Ides of March

Brandy – Looking Glass

My Maria – BW Stevenson

Get it On – T Rex

1980’s

Tainted Love – Soft Cell

Key Largo – Bertie Higgins

I Melt With You – Modern English

Fantasy – Aldo Nova

Electric Avenue – Eddy Grant

Axle F – Harold Faltermeyer

Da Butt – EU

1990’s

Groove is in the Heart – Deee-Lite

Jump Around – House of Pain

What is Love – Haddaway

How Bizarre – OMC

Sunny Came Home – Shawn Colvin

Bittersweet Symphony – The Verve

Closing Time – Semisonic

Mambo Number 5 – Lou Bega

2000’s

Bad Day – Daniel Powter

1000 Miles – Vanessa Carlton

I Believe in a Thing Called Love – The Darkness

2010’s

Ho Hey – The Lumineers

Am I Wrong – Nico and Vinz

Rude – Magic

Budepest – George Ezra

Shut Up and Dance – Walk the Moon

Feel It Still – Portugal the Man

Me: From A to Z

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By far not the most original blog idea, but this stems from a daily writing prompt.  What is cool about something like this, is that I can probably return to this idea a few times and come up with some different answers.  The idea is to take all 26 letters of the alphabet and describe yourself with each one.  It shouldn’t take too long.  Why not do your own in the comments?  Here is Me … from A to Z:

A     Always early (“If you’re on time, you’re late!”

B     Blessed (with friends, family, and so many things)

C     Coffee drinker.  (Not sure how I’d make it through the day without it)

D     Daddy to Dante’, Dimitri, and Ella (I love them all so much!)

E     Emotional.  (I am probably too emotional.  I cry at sappy TV commercials!)

F     Friend.  (I have some of the greatest friends.  I treasure those friendships.)

G     Gaining weight. (About 25 pounds over the course of my wife’s pregnancy)

H     Happy. (I am the happiest I have ever been in my life.)

I     Italian.  (Proud of my Italian heritage.)

J     Jokes.  (I love hearing them.  I love telling them.)

K     Kind. (One of the greatest things we can be is kind to one another.)

L     Laughs a lot. (Laughter is important.  Life is better with laughter.)

M     Music lover. (“Where words fail, music speaks.” Music is SO important to me.)

N     Night Owl. (Yeah, I work midnights, but I have always been a night owl.)

O     Old Stuff. (Love old TV shows, old radio shows, old movies, etc…)

P     Procrastinator.  (One of my bad habits.  I tend to wait till the last minute to do things)

Q     Quotes.  (Might be a line from a TV show or movie, or a famous quote to apply to life)

R     Radio Personality. (The thing I wish I was still doing full time.)

S     Sam’s husband. (She has made me the happiest man alive.  She is my one true love)

T     Trumpet. (Wish I was still playing it in a band.)

U     Unique. (The easy answer, but it’s true.  We are ALL unique!)

V     Vague (Like this answer, for example)

W     Weird Al Yankovic.  (We’re both weird and I have all his albums.)

X     XOXO (I always kiss and hug those I love!)

Y     Young (Something I wish I was again!)

Z     Zoo (I love the Zoo.  Love going with my kids.  Favorite animal:  The Otter)

2 Years of Ramblings – A Reflection

Looking-Back-Looking-Forward_Slide

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

Henry-Storybook

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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Thankful Thoughts (updated)

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Happy Thanksgiving! I am sitting on the couch next to my wife after having dinner and watching the Detroit Lions lose another game on National TV! (LOL – I get suckered in actually thinking they MAY win a game!) The Christmas tree is lit, the lights are low, and we are waiting to have some pumpkin pie.

When I worked on the radio, we would often “recycle” bits. We would take something we had done in the past and “re-run” it, often updating it to be current. This blog is a recycling of an earlier Thanksgiving blog, updated for 2019. I have gained many new followers over the past year, all of this will be new to them. For those who have been with me from the beginning, I hope you don’t think I am being lazy. By recycling this, I am reminded of just how blessed I am!

Updated 2019

The truth is, we should be thankful for everything in our lives. One of my favorite Bible verses is I Thessalonians 5: 18 which reads “In everything give thanks”. That means good things and bad things – and that’s sometimes hard to do! Believe me, I know from experience! Well, here goes…my list, in no particular order:

Things I am thankful for

  1. My parents. Let’s face it, without them, I wouldn’t be here. I was blessed with a mother and father who raised me right. They supported decisions (good and bad) and were always there for me. Even though my mom is no longer here, her presence is ever-present. Dad is always around to talk music, old movies, and more. As with most holidays, he was the first call I received this morning. Laughing with him is always something I am thankful for.
  2. My wife. Without her, I wouldn’t be here either. She saved me and I am forever grateful. She came into my life at a very turbulent time – first as a friend, and then as someone much more than that. She made me smile and laugh during a time where there was little or no happiness. She cried with me and was a great support through very dark days. Thanks to her, I have found an unconditional love. I cannot imagine life without her, nor would I want to. She accepts me with all my faults and quirks. She makes me feel special. She makes me fall in love with her more each day. She completes me and I am thankful to have her in my life each and every second of the day.
  3. My baby. This year, I can add the fact that I am thankful for our baby on the way. I am thankful for each and every kick I feel from Sam’s belly. I am thankful for the amazing sounds of her heartbeat when we go to the doctor. How do you describe how you can love someone you’ve never met – I can’t! But I do!
  4. My sons. They could not be more different from each other. They both have their own talents. They remind me so much of my brother and I when we were growing up! They are creative. They are silly. They are loving. They are smart. They make me laugh and drive me crazy! I miss them when they are not with me and I love when we are together. I love to think back and remember the things they did as babies and I love to think about what they will do in the future. They make me proud of all their accomplishments. In a year, they have matured so much! Dante’ will graduate this year, and Dimitri is in middle school. They will continue to be a source of great joy for me!
  5. My brother. Just like my sons, we couldn’t be more different. Growing up, we tormented each other! He has listened to me complain about life. He has offered advice on more than one occasion. He, in my opinion, is the more successful of the two of us! He has written – and published – books! He has made his way up the ladder at his job and is now a “big wig”. I am envious of him. Over the years, we’ve grown closer and are working separately (and together) on a project that will honor our mother. This project will only bring us closer – which I look forward to very much. Some of the stuff I have written for the project has been posted on this blog. There is still work to do, and it is slowly coming together.
  6. My radio job(s). In over 30 years, the friendships I have made with co-workers, clients, and listeners have been very special to me. While there was a whole lot of instability and changes in the business, it was also more fun than I can put into words! Even though I am only doing it part-time now, I still enjoy prepping for a show and sharing stories on the air. I’ll be doing quite a few shows over the next few weeks because of the holidays.
  7. My sleep job. It’s really an amazing thing to help people. So many patients come in to our lab who are struggling with poor sleep, insomnia, apnea, narcolepsy, and other sleep disorders. To be able to offer advice, help them get therapy, and in some cases, save their life, it is pretty satisfying. I am lucky to have some pretty cool co-worker friends, too.
  8. My education. For years, my mother begged me to go to college. She had sadly passed away before I finally enrolled in classes. I am grateful to have had some of the finest instructors and professors to guide me and teach me in my journey. Not only did I gain a degree, but I made many new friendships with classmates and teachers. I wish I could find the time and money to gain further education.
  9. My friends. Napoleon Hill said, “That man is rich indeed who had more friends than enemies…” I am truly a rich man! I am lucky enough to have made many friends throughout my life. Many of them I have known for over 40 years! So many good times! So many good memories! I am thankful for each of them!
  10. My enemies. Yes, my enemies. First of all, they make me more appreciative and thankful for my friends! Second, they actually help me, too. How? Here is a great quote (I wish I knew who said it) “Your enemies evolve you at the core. They force you to defend and endure more than you thought possible.” Yes, my enemies may be full of hatred toward me. They may spread rumors about me. They may discredit me and bash me, but I am stronger because of their ignorance and loathing. Over the last year, I have gained lots of strength!
  11. My faith. It may not be important to you, but it is to me. I am thankful for God, His Word, His Son, and all that He has done for me. I am thankful for His unconditional love for me.
  12. Modern Medicine. We are blessed to live in a time where medical advances are curing diseases and saving lives! While there is a long way to go, and there are still many diseases that need a cure – we continue to make progress. I am thankful for the great minds who strive to find the answers, treatments, and cures. I hope to see cures for things like cancer in my lifetime.
  13. Coffee. I was 12 when my grandpa introduced coffee to me (it was probably more cream and sugar than coffee, but I liked it.) Coffee has helped me through many overnight shifts on the radio, many 12 hour shifts in the sleep lab, and is just perfect to drink on a chilly autumn morning. I am also thankful for some of the wonderful flavors. Michigan Cherry, Vanilla Hazelnut, and Cinnamon Holiday Blend are among my favorites.
  14. My country. I am thankful to live in the United States of America. I am thankful that we live in a country that allows us many freedoms. While I have not visited every state in the union, I can tell you that on a recent road trip, I was in awe of the beauty that I witnessed while driving. I am thankful and proud to be an American!
  15. Cameras/Photographs/Videos. How many precious moments and memories have been captured by cameras? Without cameras how many things would be forgotten? Think about all of the historical pictures that have meant so much over the years. Now think about how looking at old family photos can immediately place you back in that exact moment with loved ones! Think about how awesome it is to watch an old home movie and hear the voices of loved ones who are no longer here. I am SO thankful for the memories that have been preserved for me on film. My dad recently gave me a video camera saying that I will need it with the baby on the way.
  16. Dreams and the ability to dream. This kind of goes with #15. I am thankful that every now and then, I will have a dream where I am once again talking with my mom or my grandparents. In the original blog, I mentioned that in my Facebook Memories for that day I mentioned a dream I had where I was hanging out with Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin – only in dreams!! The morning of the baby shower, I dreamed about my mom. Dreams are really interesting things!
  17. My Past. Sometimes looking back at the past can be painful. Hindsight is 20/20, right? It’s always easy to look back and see the mistakes you have made and kick yourself for making them. I look at it another way – I am who I am today because of my past. The things that have happened to me along the way – both good and bad – are a part of who I am and have played a role in who I am today. Yes, I can look back and see people or events that disgust me, but without them – I’d be a very different person.
  18. Air Conditioning/Heat. As someone who loves to go to museums and such, I always wondered how people got along without AC in the summertime or heat in the winter! I can’t imagine having to wake up in the middle of the night to add more wood to the fire or wood stove. I also can’t imagine working 8 hours a day in a place without AC! I am very thankful for those two modern-day conveniences!
  19. Sunrises and Sunsets. One of my guilty pleasures is sitting and watching the sun come up or go down. When I lived on the west side of the state (Michigan), I was lucky enough to live right off the water. I would often go to the beach and just watch the sun set over the lake. It was majestic and beautiful! I am so thankful for these two simple things. Today, with my schedule, I tend to see more sunrises than sunsets.
  20. Laughter/Humor. I love to laugh and I love the sound of laughter! I also love to make people laugh. I am so thankful for things that are funny and things that make me laugh. Charlie Chaplin said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” Milton Berle said, “Laughter is an instant vacation.” Another great quote is “Life is short. Spend it with people who make you laugh and feel loved.” I am looking forward to hearing our baby laugh at the silly faces and silly noises her daddy will be making.
  21. Music. I am thankful for music in SO many ways. Music, is one of those things that can evoke all kinds of emotions. A song, just like an old photograph, can take you back in time. In radio, we used to play what we called “Oh Wow” songs. Those songs that make you say, “Oh wow! I haven’t heard that in forever!” or “Oh wow! That reminds me of my senior prom!” Music is one of life’s great things! It can convey things with or without words. One of my favorite quotes, which is attributed to Hans Christian Anderson, is “Where words fail – music speaks.” SO True! I am thankful for some of the many music blogs I follow. They often remind me of some of those “Oh wow” songs!
  22. The Kindness of Strangers. I have benefited from the kindness of strangers more times than I can count. We saw a brief surge of random acts of kindness when the movie “Pay It Forward” came out, and it is a shame that those acts have fizzled out. The world would be a better place if we took a moment and thought of others. There have been plenty of times where someone in front of me has bought my coffee at the drive-thru window, and I have returned the favor. I remember one time seeing an elderly gentleman eating alone in a restaurant. He never knew who I was, but I saw his World War II Veteran hat. I bought his meal and told the waitress to tell him that I thank him for his service. Random acts of kindness are not just something we can accept – they are something we can do.
  23. Those who have served in the Armed Forces. We live in a free country because of the men and women who have served in the various branches of the military. I am thankful to each and every one of them. I know that our freedom came with a price and so many men and women paid the ultimate price for me – and you. Those that have served, no matter what branch and no matter if you were in battle or not, you are a hero! I am thankful for you and your service! I have friends and family who all served, and I am thankful for these heroes!
  24. The Changing Seasons. Here in Michigan, I get to see them all! Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. The first snowfall is beautiful. Ice storms can be hell! Springtime showers and the grass turning green is a reminder of things becoming new again. Summertime is never long enough, but getting the chance to swim at the pool, golfing, and the smell of fresh-cut grass can always make me smile. Fall is my favorite season! This year we got hit with some early snow, so the joke is that Fall was the best “three days of the year”! The crisp cool air of autumn is perfect for bonfires. The leaves changing colors makes for some spectacular rides on the highway. I wish we had a few more bonfires this year. At any rate, I am thankful to get to experience each one of the seasons.
  25. Spell Checker. Without this, I really don’t know what I would do! I remember all those spelling tests from school! The problem is, as I get older, I seem to have forgotten how to spell. Spell Check is one of those great features that got me through many a research paper in college. It can also be very helpful here in my blog. Of course, sometimes, you can misspell a word that is the correct spelling of another word, so it isn’t foolproof. I’m thankful for it anyway!
  26. The often overlooked necessities. I could easily make these each an item on this list. I guess these are often things that are taken for granted. For example, my home. I am thankful to have a roof over my head to protect me from the elements. I am thankful for the clothes that I wear. My wife was just telling me that I probably need to purge some of the stuff that no longer fits and donate them to Goodwill. It’s nice to have enough that I can donate some and still have enough to wear. I am thankful for fresh water and hot showers. Those two go together and, while it is often taken for granted, there are those who do not enjoy those simple things. I am thankful for electricity. While there are times I think it is cool to sit and read a book by candlelight because of a power outage, I’d rather have the light – and everything else that uses it. I am thankful for a good meal. Sometimes that meal may consist of a simple bowl of cereal, but the fact that I have food to eat is something that some people don’t have.
  27. Bad Days. As much as we’d rather not have them, it is important to remember that when we have them, they remind us of just how awesome the good days are! I am thankful for bad days, but even more thankful for the good ones! I am also thankful that in the big picture – I have had more good ones than bad ones.
  28. The Internet. It’s funny how we lived so long without it, yet we can’t really live without it today! I mean, without it, you wouldn’t be reading this! I am thankful for it and the good things associated with it. I am thankful to be able to connect with family and friends across the miles with social media. I am thankful that at any moment, I can open up Google and find an answer to a silly question. I am thankful that my kids and I can use it instead of encyclopedias to do research. So many things are at our fingertips because of the internet.
  29. A good book/movie/TV show. I really enjoy being able to get lost in a good story. I love to read, but sadly don’t really get the time to do it as often as I’d like to. Same with a good movie. With movies, there are very few new movies that appeal to me. As most of you know, I prefer older films (you know, the ones that are so good some jerk in Hollywood decides to remake it and ruin it). I don’t need to see 20 minute sex scenes, car chases that are impossible to believe, blood and gore, or violence. I want a good story – and a good story is something that Hollywood has seemed to run out of. When it comes to TV, I rarely watch new shows. Most of them are “reality” based anyway and just garbage. I guess that’s why I am thankful for TV shows on DVD. Ok, last year, I kinda dissed on reality TV, and I should clarify that I mean talent shows, dance shows, and shows with singers in masks. To me, these are just a waste of my time. A “reality” show I do love is Live PD. It can be funny, sad, scary, and intense. It makes me appreciate what they do each day!
  30. My dumb cat(s). Ok, talk about aggravating! He is forever knocking things over while I am trying to sleep. I am constantly tripping over him as I walk through the house. He will attack and bite my leg for no reason. He is always jumping up on the table when I am trying to eat. He’s a real pain in my behind. However, there are times where he can really be a cool cat. It’s because of those things – I am thankful for him. Updating this a year later, we heard that getting another cat can actually help and it did. Our older can still can get on my nerves, but he is a lot more mellow now! HE must have a feeling Sam is expecting, because he curls up next to her and falls asleep – he is a totally different cat! The kitten is so cute! Her favorite toy is a bullet from a Nerf gun. She plays with those all the time! She doesn’t purr as much as her older brother, but she is still cute as hell!
  31. The five senses. I can’t imagine going through life not being able to see my children or my wife or some of the wonderful things I have already described. I can’t imagine not being able to smell fresh coffee brewing or my spaghetti sauce on the stove. I can’t imagine not hearing the sound of my boys laughing. I can’t imagine not being able to taste a juicy steak. I can’t imagine not being able to feel a hug from my wife. I am SO thankful to have the ability to have all five senses!
  32. Forgiveness. I am thankful for forgiveness. Sadly, it is one of those things that is rare today. It is, however, one of the great things taught in the bible and throughout history. It is also one of the hardest things to do. I have trouble with it too on occasion. I am thankful that there are friends and family who have forgiven me for past transgressions.
  33. Acceptance. I am thankful for those people in my life who accept me for who I am. They don’t try to change me. There may be things about me that they don’t like or agree with, but they love and accept me as I am. I try to do the same for others.
  34. Encouragement. I would not be where am I today without the encouragement and support of others. It may have been the smallest gesture or a simple sentence in conversation, but the encouragement of others helped me to get through some tough stuff and I am thankful for that.
  35. Change. This is hard for me to be thankful for, but I am. I have to be honest, I hate change! I am a creature of habit. When I lost 85 pounds, I did it primarily by eating the same meals every day. I do not like change, but I know it is important. There were many times over the last couple years that I had to step out of my comfort zone and accept it. I am thankful I did. Change is good – most of the time.
  36. My Therapist. She, like many others, helped me to cope as life offered many challenges. She helped me sort out some feelings. She helped me to see things that I was completely unaware of. She helped me deal with the things involved in my divorce. She also is responsible for my blogs. I used to blog all the time, but was basically told that “no one wants to read that stuff”. I stopped writing. My therapist is the one who suggested keeping a journal. When I told her I used to blog, she asked why I stopped. When I told her why, she suggested starting back up. I told her I didn’t know what to write about. She basically said, “Write about whatever you want! It doesn’t matter if you are writing for others or writing for yourself. If you like to write – WRITE!” From the length of this blog – you can see that I like to write.
  37. Facebook memories. This is a two-edged sword. It is a daily reminder or good things from the past, as well as times with people no longer in my life. I am thankful for it just the same. Many times it is a simple one liner I posted as a status, while other times it is my thoughts about my boys school events. Some pictures bring back good memories, while others bring back sad memories. I smile at the good ones and try to forget the bad ones, but again remind myself that I am who I am today because of the past.
  38. Big John’s Steak and Onion. Don’t judge me! I am thankful that when I am craving a really good sub, I can go here and grab a Supreme Cheeseburger with olives! Yummy!!
  39. Pumpkin Pie with Cool Whip. Ok, so I finally had dessert while I was writing this. I love a good piece of pumpkin pie topped with Cool Whip.
  40. YOU. Yep. I am thankful for YOU. You are reading this and I appreciate it. I am thankful for my followers and for those who read my stuff. Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for following this blog.

What are YOU thankful for??

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