As 2022 fades into a memory, I’d like to thank you for following my blog and reading my ramblings. At some point, I’d like to look back at the year and reflect, but for now I thought I would look ahead. Here are some great quotes (some of which I may have posted in the past) to kick start the new year.
May the new year present us with wonderful memories, blessings, and lots to explore. May our days be filled with happiness and love.
At midnight tonight, we’ll start a brand new year – 2022. Some have compared a new year to a book. The book with 365 blank pages – one for each day – and said that the book is ours to write. There is truth to that.
As I looked back over my “book” entitled “2021,” I see that (despite the pandemic and all the crap that came with it) I really did have a good year. Bear with me, he’s the recap:
January started with some snow. It actually looks like we should be getting snow again this week. Ella absolutely loved being outside in the snow. It was fun to watch her try to figure out just what all the white stuff was. Today, when she sees it, she get’s excited and yells, “Snow! Snow!”
In mid-January, we scratched our heads and wondered just how Ella was 11 months old! I mean, it seemed like she was just born!
The pressure was on as we closed in on her first birthday. With Covid, we weren’t quite sure if we’d even be able to have a party for her.
As we got closer to Ella’s birthday, Sam was just not feeling right. 3 days before Ella’s birthday, we found out that baby #2 was on the way!
This took us both completely by surprise! There was great excitement all over again. The hardest part was keeping it a secret…
Ella’s first birthday was a fun and busy day. We ditched the pink blocks and marked the birthday with a HUGE number “1” balloon. This was followed by a trip to the Sea Life Aquarium, the Build a Bear place, and cake at Nana’s house.
We were glad to be able to get some professional “1st Birthday” pictures, too!
In March we got our first look at the baby we now know as Andrew/AJ and announced Ella’s promotion to big sister.
Ella also got her first haircut
March also consisted of many walks around the neighborhood and stops at the park.
Big brother, Dante’ turned 19 this month! Before that, Easter fell on my mom’s birthday. We got Ella all dressed up in her Easter dress, stopped at the cemetery to visit grandma on her birthday and then went to Nana’s for an Easter Egg hunt!
Ella is so very blessed to have wonderful people in her life. Aunt Margaret is one of them! (She will kill me for posting this picture, but I just love this!!) She and cousin Marissa came to visit and the highlight was watching them read books together.
We also found out the baby’s gender, but that wouldn’t be revealed until May.
Birthday’s have never really bothered me, mostly because I opt for the Jack Benny attitude and say that I am stuck at 39. However, in reality I turned 51. 30 was big. 40 was tough. 50 a bit hard to swallow. Over 50? Well…..I examine my own mortality every day.
The month started warm enough that Ella got to spend lots of time in her sandbox and pool.
We revealed that Ella was having a baby brother and got another look at him on an ultrasound.
Ella and I worked on a special project for Sam for Mother’s Day and we got to visit the Detroit Zoo.
May also brought Ella her first taste of corn on the cob!
My second oldest boy celebrated his 14th birthday in June. We got to spend Father’s Day together by visiting Crossroads Village. They had a Classic Car Show there and we walked the village and rode the train. It was such a great day with my kids!
It was SO hot that day!!! By the end of it all, Ella was physically exhausted. June was a hot month and we did get to get out and enjoy walks in the park and a day at the splash pad.
By July, Sam was 5 months pregnant and was so sick. The pregnancy was a rough one on her. The heat didn’t help things. Despite that, the middle of summer was packed full of amazing things and our family had loads of fun.
We celebrated America’s Birthday, Ella had her first visit to the public library and bowled for the first time, and we all visited the Saginaw Children’s Zoo.
As Summer drew to a close, we continued to squeeze as much into it as we could. I got to spend a perfect day doing a daddy daughter picnic, my name was finally on the board at the Corner Cone for a free ice cream, Ella spent lots of time drawing with crayons, and our stress levels were through the roof as we took Ella in for her ear tube surgery. We also got another peak at AJ and had a visit from my brother.
Fall! My favorite season of all. I was glad to be able to get together with Margaret, Walt and my buddy Chris at Margaret’s house. Since she’s already mad at the one picture I posted, I’ll just share the one she told me I could share. Hopefully, that makes things a little better….
We always love going to get pumpkins and decorating the front of the house for fall. Ella seemed to like it, too.
Ella and I also got to take one last trip to the Saginaw Zoo before it closed for the season. It was a great day for us, and Sam actually got to relax a bit.
We had been told more than once that there was a possibility that the baby would come before his due date. He held out almost until the date! Just two days before he was born, Ella and I got to go outside and enjoy the fall colors.
On October 11th, AJ entered the world. I watched in awe as my son was born and all the pride of being a daddy again filled my soul. We weren’t sure how Ella would handle it, but she welcomed him with open arms.
They still did not have a photographer at the hospital, so we went to JC Penney to have some newborn pictures taken. AJ looks spiffy in his outfit!
While this wasn’t Ella’s first Halloween, it was the first real Trick or Treating adventure for her. She was happy that big brother was there to walk with her. AJ was obviously way too young to attempt to go out this year.
Fall walks are among my favorites. I love looking at the colors. Ella and I took many fall walks and there were many instances where she’d just play in a pile of leaves! AJ kept us all busy and so it was just Ella and I making the trip to Bronner’s to get his ornament for the Christmas tree. We enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving at home and got the house ready for Christmas.
The final month of the year brought many happy memories. Professional Christmas pictures, my annual reading of Dickens, AJ turned 2 months old, a visit from Papa and Grandma, Christmas Eve with my boys, Holiday lights at Crossroads, our first Christmas as a family of four, and the anticipation of a brand new year.
Blog highlights included my entries to the 2021 Song Draft, salutes to Soupy Sales, my grandpa, and Ernie Harwell, a guest blog from my pal Max, silly blogs about hats and Bernie Sanders’ mittens, fishing memories, my favorite Twilight Zone episodes, and a blog about an amazing cartoon Dog Dad.
There were many sad moments in 2021. I lost classmates and friends to cancer, heart disease, and of course, Covid. If the past two years have taught me anything, it is that life is precious and another day is not promised. You never know when it will be the “last picture,” the “last phone call,” or the “last visit.” It takes me make to that quote that my band director wrote on the grease board my senior year. I have quoted it many times. “Live every day as if it were your last. Someday, you’ll be right.”
Life is too short. Live. Laugh. Love.
As we welcome 2022, I pray that it is a good year for all of us. May we find it full of happiness and good health. May God bless you and yours in the upcoming year.
Get ready. The Book of 2022 awaits. Grab your pen and turn to page (January) 1.
“What feels like the end is often the beginning …”
I will be the first to admit that this blog is more appropriate for the end of the year. However, with the events of the past few days (which I will elaborate on in a future blog), it weighed on me to write these thoughts down.
2020 brought many things to an end. Sadly, the one thing that didn’t go away was Covid-19. The virus has forced many local and small businesses to shutter their doors forever. The virus cut short the lives of many Americans and people all around the world. It has also put many things in jeopardy of disappearing forever – going to a movie, free samples, touch screens in public, buffets, and even shaking hands.
While not official, I am pretty confident in saying that 2020 has forced the end of my radio career. Stations have their DJ’s broadcasting from home live or recording shows from home. I enjoyed doing it part time and it allowed me access to studios to do any free lance voice work that might some my way. I am sure that if I needed a studio, I could call and get into one (thanks to a few friends). I don’t do enough of it to warrant buying equipment to set up a studio at home. I have come to terms with this and will always look back on my days in radio fondly. I’m a pretty lucky guy to have worked with so many great people.
I am also sure that I am officially retiring from DJing parties and weddings. The equipment has become too heavy for me to lug in and out. The money people are willing to pay is much less than it used to be, and it has stopped being fun for me. There are some events that I would probably still enjoy doing, but those are the low paying gigs. At one time, I really enjoyed doing it, but it has become more like work.
With the end of things, come new beginnings. One up side of not working at the radio station on weekends is time with my kids and my family. Over the past few months, I have watched my daughter accomplish some firsts – and I am glad I didn’t have to miss them because I was working.
There was a time when I was working full time, working part time in radio, and doing DJ stuff on the side. I was never home. That may or may not have been intentional due to my home situation at the time. However, over the past 4 years, my life has changed drastically for the better. I like being home. I love being with my wife, my daughter, and my sons. I cannot wait to be home with them, even if it is just to sit on the couch and watch TV!
So as 2021 approaches, you and I are faced with 365 blank pages to write as we wish ….
I’m sure that the new year will bring challenges, especially since we will still be dealing with Covid-19, political unrest, division, and hatred. But with each blank page – we can make a choice to be positive, be happy, enjoy every minute, and count every blessing.
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!
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.
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!