Monday, May 27, 2013


Executive Mansion,
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.

Dear Madam,

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

A. Lincoln

Painful thought

To be honest, I would rather not be writing this post right now. The easiest thing would be to walk away from my computer here, go back to bed for a few hours, and pretend these thoughts and realizations never crossed my mind. I think that would be the coward's way out. I do not believe that my thoughts will flow smoothly here, nor do I think that these words will paint me in the most favorable light. So be it. Sometimes the truth hurts.

I woke up earlier than I expected this morning, made myself some coffee and took some time to set outside and allow myself to wake up while contemplating my day. After a series of complicated thoughts and reflections that I will not bore you with, I understood something about myself that is still stuck in my head.

I am a selfish person and I do not love other people as I should.

While that sentence may have been easy to type out, it certainly isn't something simple or comfortable to confess to myself, much less the world at large. In fact, as I did so, I began making all types of excuses and justifications for why it was not and could not be true. Then my mind started comparing myself to other people, thinking about some of the choices I have made, and started reasoning away why I simply must be mistaken.

It still remains true.

Now this isn't going to be some maudlin assemblage of words where I castigate myself and drag out every last detail in order to gain some satisfaction out of my misery or despondency about accepting this fact. In all reality, I am sure the true weight and meaning of it has yet to hit me. I know how my brain works and it is entirely possible that I will have talked myself out of this idea in a few short hours, but while it is fresh, I wanted to get it down in writing, if only to reflect on this head and heart space at a later time.

It is never enjoyable or easy when you find yourself falling short of your own expectations for yourself. I am sure to other people looking into my life, this seems like it could not possibly be the reality with which I live my existence. They would be wrong. In point of fact, almost every single decision and course of action I take each day is weighed heavily in favor of what I want, how it benefits me and an intricate cost benefit analysis that has become second instantaneous nature that boils down to, "What is in this for me?" I rarely, if ever, do something altruistically only and solely for the benefit of another person. That may sound caustic in self examination, but it is true. I am a selfish person.

These choices and manner of life hinge directly on the second part of that bolded statement. "I do not love other people as I should". I think I do love a few people in this life. I know that I have been in love. I love my family and some of my friends, but actually, I think I might only rather like them for who they are and what they have done and do for me. I do not love them for who they are and nothing else. I do not place value on them simply for their existence and I can honestly say, I do not live my life and choose my words in such a way that respects them in the manner in which they should be. It would be a much easier list to compile if I were to start listing all the people, groups, activities and ideas that I do NOT love. I could come up with a hate list really quickly and I fear it would be quite extensive.

I can couch these likes and dislikes in whatever fluffy language would make me feel better, but it still wouldn't make the truth of them any less real. We find all kinds of creative justifications for why we do and say what we do. Often times, I am really good at lying to myself about motivation or buying into the group accepted story of why things are, but I still cannot escape the fact that I am selfish and do not love people.

There is no massive conclusion to be found here yet. This isn't the paragraph where I vow to do better and pledge in some foolhardy fashion that I am going to change. You might ask me what my baseline for this assessment is and I can't quite put my finger on it. It is something inside of me that quickly looked at my life and found it wanting. I am not the best version of myself I know to be possible. I am not giving more than I am taking. I was made for more than this. Don't buy the marketing hype and fancy packaging with which I may present myself to the world with. I am as depraved, wanton and capable of all manner of things which we would find reprehensible. In short, I am not a good person. I may have done and do some good things. I can almost assure you my motivation for that was not good.

So that is where I am right now. I am in need of change and growth. I don't want to be selfish. I want to love other people. I want to be a better man.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Om, nom, nom

Daniel Humm’s Ham and Egg Sandwich

Serves 4 (or two guys)

8 slices rye bread, 1/4 inch thick
1 pound sliced Consider Bardwell Farm Rupert cheese (an aged raw cow’s milk cheese made in the style of Gruyère)
1 pound thinly sliced smoked ham
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Build each sandwich by starting with a piece of bread, followed by cheese, ham, and then more cheese. Using a 2 1/4-inch round cutter, punch a hole through the layers of ham and cheese and the bottom piece of bread; remove the circle of ham, cheese, and bread. Top with an unpunched slice of bread. Spread butter on both sides of the sandwiches. Heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat (use two skillets if necessary to hold all 4 sandwiches). Place the sandwiches, hole-side down, in the skillet, and reduce the heat to low. Cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the sandwiches and crack the eggs into the holes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the egg is cooked and the cheese is melted, 10 to 12 minutes.

Share and Devour.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Imagine a World...

...where Heterophobia existed.


A second day off

My body woke me up today at 3:00 am, my usual time, as if it had forgotten in some way, that today
was my second day off. I guess old habits die hard, if at all. I worked six days a week for so long that this pattern seems to be one that is sticking around for a while, so I decided to get up and begin my day.

Yesterday was a good day. I managed to sleep in until 8:00 am, after staying up till midnight, which considering my usual schedule, was incredibly late. I ran some errands early in the morning and then spent the rest of the day at home. I caught up on some reading, played piano for a while, took an afternoon nap and then spent the rest of the evening till sundown, working in the yard. I got the hedges trimmed, all the walkways edged, the flower beds and garden cleaned up and the yard mowed. It was with  a good sense of accomplishment that I watched the sun go down and then promptly went to bed. But then, now that I think about it, most people, self included, do not read personal blogs in order to simply find a recounting of ones day. There is sometimes an expectation or urgency with which we look outward and for others, hoping to find that someone, anyone out there has had a common experience, or a new revelation similar to ours, that can make us feel less lonely in this amazingly huge and vast world we call life.

All kinds of thoughts swirled through my mind as I sat here to write. The question of, "Who am I?" came to mind but was quickly discarded when I pondered how enormous that question was to answer. Then my mind rambled over all the different people I have been in life. Not that I have ever been anyone different than me, but rather, all the different chapters, places, uniforms, obligations, responsibilities and labels I have worn on this journey so far. I also set that aside, as it would take numerous posts to answer. Another question that has been on my mind lately is, "What am I doing here?" and "How did we get here?". Taken either literally or metaphorically, these too are also immense questions with deep and profound implications. I am not quite sure if I am up to the task of ruminating over those in a public forum, at least not this early in the morning.

The thing is, I do have answers, for all of those questions and all the many more that drop through my mind as I sit here slowly stretching and starting up my mind. I do know who I am. I also know everyone I have been up to this very moment. I know my labels and my history. I was there. As far as for what I am doing here, I may not have some penultimate answer that spans the broad scheme of my entire life thus far,but I have a rather good grasp on what I have done and what I am trying to accomplish. As far as how we got here, I am really not worried about that one. Sure, I wonder at all the explanations and ideas offered by others as truth at different thinking times, but considering the fact that we are here, I find its endless speculation rather moot. We ARE we best get along with it then, shall we?

I guess one question I cannot answer in any real certain fashion, besides the notable exception of friends, blog buddies and known faces that read here is, "Who are you?" Who are you different souls, you passersby of whim, the myriad of different people that happen along by here at different times? What are you looking for? What answers are you seeking? What about the words I have shared here at odd times has compelled you to return again? What about the single lone individuals who may have just dropped by once in a great while? Where are you and what does this all mean to you? It looks to me as if this is more than just the one question of, "Who are you?" I am okay without that answer. I will be fine without knowing the answer to all of them. There is no possible way to grasp and comprehend all of the endless stream of humanity that might stumble across this little space where I share my mind and words. But one thought remains...

For those of you I DO know, I am grateful. I have made some amazing friends and shared time, space and thoughts, battled questions and slew dragons over endless discussions of whatever I was rambling on about at the time, all because I simply started to share. Those of you I have met, or exchanged comments with, or read through your book of days, or all the varied ways we communicate in this day and age have added richness, depth and tone to my life. I am glad and thankful to you all.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep on reading if you like. Know that it all matters. See ya around soon. :)


Monday, May 20, 2013

Goodbye, Zach

Goodbye, Zach. Thank you for sharing so much with so many. May you rest in Peace.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

End of my day

This picture  of a guy pissing against a rock wall I ran across today was so comical, authentic and
interesting I had to share it. It has nothing to do with this smattering of words I will throw up here. I did get a kick out of it. :)

So it is 6:14 in the evening and I just got off work after a 12 hour day. Needless to say, I am a bit worn out but in rather good spirits. I dropped the top right after walking outside and took the very long way home, Listened to some music, enjoyed the country side, found some great curvy roads, watched the sun hit the lake and then came home.

Tomorrow is Mother's Day! It is the busiest day in the restaurant and hospitality industry and for good reason. Everyone takes their Mom out to eat to celebrate her and give her a holiday off from cooking, which is fantastic! It simply causes quite the logistical problem in every single dining establishment in the country. We are prepped five ways to Sunday and I am ready (knock on wood) for the whirlwind. I will get into my kitchen at 4:00 am, feed the hotel guests their breakfast and then rush down to the Conference Center and go nuts cooking for over 750 people who will be bringing Mom in for our fantastic Mother's Day brunch. Part of the fun is manning the ten burner omelet station and getting a chance to personally talk to, meet and serve many of our guests. It is a lot of work to get ready for but also is incredibly rewarding. I get to see these families, speak to them about their day, make something custom and unique for each person and be a part of the special event that is all of them together.

In other news, my hands and arms are incredibly sore from prepping that many raw ingredients for my station. I literally sliced, diced, julienned, pared, minced and chopped for six hours after serving breakfast this morning. It was good to see the piles of produce, meats and cheeses finally find their way into their containers and on the cart in the walk in refrigerator when I left. I can always measure my progress and success with tangible results. That feels good.

I am just rambling now. My little sister just called and wants me to help a friend of hers with a cupcake business they just bought. I might consult a bit and help her with recipes and to find a kitchen she can rent, but I cannot get involved in another project this summer. My plate is full with my own concerns but I will help as I can. I love getting volunteered for stuff. (meh) She is taking off for Peru for the summer so we are still nailing down all the details for my parents wedding anniversary party in July. They just got their surprise invitation the other day and are excited. This year is really speeding up quick! Christmas will be here before we know it.

A couple of things I am planning now for myself are a solo camping trip, a group camping trip, a road trip out West somewhere maybe Colorado, a canoe trip and a driving trip down to the hills of Arkansas. I need to get away for a bit and reconnect with me and some of my friends with whom life has got in the way. Man, my fingers are tired.

Random thought: I don't remember so much of this stuff I write and post here. I guess that is what time does to us all. Some of it, quite literally, I feel like I am discovering for the first time. Weird that. Well, I am going to make me some dinner, watch the sunset, listen to some new music, catch up on my book reading and then crash early. Morning will be here before I know it and I'd like to beat my alarm clock to the buzzer and hit the ground running.

Tomorrow, I may write about my Mom. She is the most amazing women I have ever known and one of my dearest friends in this entire world. I love her more than I can express. Call your Mom. Tell her you love her. Make a point tomorrow to let her know, in even a small way, exactly how much you love her. Mom's are awesome. Freal.


Monday, May 6, 2013

Hello me

 I wonder what the world looks like to you? This question can be taken literally or also metaphorically, however you may wish. There is nothing really deep and profound in my mind at the moment but this question popped into my head. It sprang from a quiet settled place as I realized something that I was missing.

What is absent in my life is the craving, the desire, the burning quest for more. More of what, you may ask? More of anything. Sure, there are experiences, places, unmet people and a myriad of things I still hope and long for. I work each day to not only provide for my current needs but also to set aside resources for future times and plans. What I mean by missing the need for more is simply that I am content.

I woke up today relishing the possibility of a day off of work. I would love to have a traditional weekend of two days free from obligation and did get to enjoy that for a month or so, but I am thankful for even this one day. I took a shower, shaved closely and dressed comfortably for a day of leisure and I did miss the body I once had and took for granted at eighteen years old. It didn't tire quite as easy, have the odd aches and pains that accompany time and use or look quite as normal as this one does but I like who I am and what I look like. I could put more effort and thought into getting into even better shape, but the desire to enjoy my time and other things often over rides the drive I used to have to devote hours to swimming, running and lifting. I wouldn't call this complacency or apathy, but realistically, we all change as we grow older. This is what I live in and it pretty much fits the mind's eye view of who I am. I've also learned that broad shoulders, a deep chest and long limbs hides well a multitude of languidness.

There were times in my past when every waking moment was spent looking, searching, questing, working and worrying over the "what next". My curiosity about this world, the people in it and the search for more information, truth and experience has never waned, but rather it has been balanced by the fact and idea that who I am, what I have, what I am doing and where I am at, is a good thing. When I wake up on a day off and realize there is nothing that I need to purchase, no person I must see, no experience I crave, no place I must get my body to, in order to be happy then I think I have found something truly precious. (though I did walk to the store to get some milk for my coffee, because while I do not need it, I really like it)

This is who I am. This is where I am at. This is what I have. I am who I have become.

And I am rather thrilled about that. :)


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Nothing gay here...

I came across this J.C. Leyendecker'esque illustration today and smiled quietly to myself. I do realize that this scene comes from a more simple and possibly innocent time in American marketing history, but really?

I know I always model my swell new underwear while showing my best friend my keen badminton racket in the living room. I wonder what this conversation sounded like? Pictures always tell a story. What does this one say to you?

On subject, but at a tangent. Check out J.C. Leyendecker's illustrative work if you like. His own personal life and style certainly influenced the images he produced and sold to the American public. I have always been an admirer of his work and subject matter. He has a pretty neat story. That is all for now.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013


This has to be sweetest thing I have seen in a long while. And yes, it made me cry like a little girl. I love love.