A writer writes, right?

Heh, that was punny.

So, if I ever want to write, I need to just shut up and write. So many people, books, articles, and signs all say the same thing – shut up and do it.  How do you prioritize things so that you can accomplish the things you want to, along with the things that you need to?  I have a lot of things I want to do, I’m just inherently lazy – or that’s just the excuse that makes sense for right now.

“Make the time” is the most common response.  So, how do I make it so that there are more than 24 hours in a day?  Seriously though, I’ve read so many articles about successful people and how they have a routine in the morning where they get up early, go to the gym, write/read/organize things for their day, all before 9am.  You know what my routine is?  I wake up at 6am, stumble downstairs to make Gillian’s lunch, go up and shake the two of them out of bed, and then slide back into that delicious warm spot that hasn’t even started to cool yet, and pass out for another two hours.  Not productive, but damn that alarm going off at 8 feels good.

So the question is, what do I want?  Which task is more important?  Ideally, that 6am time is a perfect opportunity for me to do a lot of different things.  I could spend more time with the kids, but in truth, neither of them is super chatty in the morning, so I think all I’d accomplish there is annoy them right before school.  (Yes, I’m one of those morning people).

I could sit down and write for an hour at least, but they don’t leave until close to 7am, and truthfully, with them puttering around and how I’m easily distractable (squirrel!), I know that all I would accomplish is to sit and Facebook until the gray matter in my head turned to jelly, but at least I’d finish that level of Candy Crush (woo!).

Or, I could do what I had originally planned on doing, and have managed to find every excuse not to do – get up, wake the kids up, get Gillian’s lunch made, grab my bags and just leave.  Bring my clothes with me and go to the gym across the street from my office – I know, how simple.  Workout for a bit, take a shower and get dressed, and go to my office where I can write for a while, or even *GASP* develop something (I’m part manager, part database developer).

So what’s stopping me?  My bed has gotten compliments from everyone who has lain down on it (get your minds out of the gutter you sick bastards), and according to everyone I work with – I look exhausted so I feel like I should definitely go back for another two hours, definitely (wapner).  Even on the days I’m not really tired, I get the same reaction from people.  It’s kinda sad actually.

I guess the conclusion is the same as the intro – shut up and do it.

How do you do the things you want to do?

Captain America – Winter Soldier

So I woke up this morning, feeling like utter garbage and called into work.  Thankfully, my amazing wife got up and got the kids off to school and let me sleep until around 9.  I’ve been taking it easy and doing a little writing, but my head was starting to hurt so I rented Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Couple of things.  I LOVE comic book stories rendered in movie format, in most cases.  I enjoyed the first Capt. America, it didn’t take itself too seriously, and it was a great movie to watch.  Some really great performances by a wonderful cast.

I think they did it better with this one.  I am not ruining anything by saying who the Winter Soldier is because hopefully everyone knows by now – I’m still amazed it’s taken me this long to watch it.  I really don’t like Sebastian Stan’s work.  He seems to always play the stuck up rich kid in most movies, and I did think he did a decent job in the first Captain America movie.  I have to say, I take it all back.  He didn’t have a lot of lines in the movie, but the emotion that played out on his face was real, and well acted.  So Mr. Stan, I apologize.  I have a feeling that he will be part of the franchise for a while since he signed like a 9 picture deal, so I’ll be interested to see if they do go down the road that some of the comic lines have done and use Bucky to take up the shield at some point.

The other high point for me was Anthony Mackie as Falcon.  I’ve seen some of his work and I really like it a lot, but he made the Falcon for me.  Even knowing what was going to happen, I found myself getting excited to see him and what he could do with the suit.  He did not disappoint there, nor when he was simply Sam Wilson.  His honesty comes out in the role as it did for me in the comic book, so nicely done Anthony.

Maria Hill, Natasha Romanov, and Fury?  Yeah, they rocked.  I had also seen Shield TV series, so I knew some of what to expect, but seeing him put on the glasses at the end tied it into the series, I really hope they do some good cameos in the next season of the series.

Oh yeah, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch intro at the end of the movie?  Duuuuude.  Can’t WAIT for the next Avengers.

Right place, right time

There are days that I don’t know what to do next there’s so much going on.  There are days that are calm and productive, and days that are exciting and frantic.

I feel like I finally found a job, a boss, and an environment that suits me.  I’ve been so far outside my comfort zone since I started, I have no idea where it is anymore.  I’ve had to do so many different things, be responsible for so many items and people, that there are days where I don’t know which way is up.

And there are days that make me truly thankful that I am where I am right now.  the great thing about this job is that those are most days and I really don’t know if I’ve ever felt that way before.

Disconnect & Reconnect

Every summer for the last 5 years, I’ve been lucky enough to be able to go up to Lake George with my parents, brother & sister’s families, and my two aunts for a week of relaxing and fun.  I realized something really important this year.

One of the things I look forward to most is the point about 5 miles south of the place we stay, my signal cuts out.  And I mean completely.  There’s signal in about a 1 foot square, and it moves randomly around the grounds so that I don’t even bother.  The only thing I use my phone for is to take pictures.  It’s really nice to not be distracted by electronics for a while.  It gives me a chance to interact with all of my family and to reconnect with them in a way I wouldn’t be able to if we were tied to the internet and distracted by facebook, or youtube, or things like that.

I spent 7 days walking everywhere, kayaking, swimming, diving off rocks, not to mention taking the kids all wake boarding and tubing.  We all made dinner, all sat and talked over games and ice cream…it gave me a chance to get reaquainted with the people I care about most in the world.

Do yourself a favor, disconnect and reconnect with your loved ones.  Now is only around for a short time, don’t regret time spent online rather than with the people who matter.

45

Well, I made it to 45.  Interesting ride so far.  Didn’t think I’d still feel so young, or at least young at heart by this time.  Thinking back on 45 when I was in elementary school, I wondered which brand of wheelchair I’d be in instead of which workout I’m going to do at the gym.

So where am I now, and what have I done?

Been married to my best friend what will be 20 years this New Years Eve, I have a 16 year old son and a 14 yr old daughter that make me proud enough to burst and crazy enough to snap all in the span of 5 minutes.  We live in a nice area of a nice town in central Jersey.  Yeah, as a kid growing up in Long Island making fun of Joisey, never thought I’d end up here, but I really like it.  I even went so far as to not date people from NY and NJ in college because I wanted to marry someone from MD, VA, or south :)  So I went to school in Virginia, to meet a girl online in Houston who actually grew up 80 miles from me….in New Jersey.

For those who don’t know, I was at James Madison University in 1993 playing a game on the school computers that was a role playing, text based game based on the Pern novels by Anne McCaffrey.  Back then everything was telnet, Bulletin Boards, and Compuserve. It was all text based, black screen green type, old VAX machine stuff, and yet somehow, before the internet really existed, I made a connection online with a person in Houston who I ended up marrying a few years later.

I learned that I love scuba diving more than any other activity else I’ve ever experienced and yet I still live in NJ where there is next to no diving at all.  I’ve seen colors and fish in the waters around Aruba that still take my breath away thinking back on them.

I have a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and loved teaching it for 3 years.  I’ve studied martial arts for the last 20 years off and on, lately more off, but found that there’s something that connects me to western culture finding real peace when i’m moving through forms or sparring.

I got hit by a 26 foot delivery truck in my car and spun it 180 degrees, then flipped it 3 times travelling from the left shoulder to the right shoulder of a three lane highway and somehow walked away with glass in my hair, a wrecked car, coffee all over me, and what ended up needing minor surgery to fix my elbow.  I’ve had both elbows operated on, I’ve had ‘the good’ skin cancer (13 yrs no issue) and lately I am in better shape because I went paleo and found out that I have celiac disease so now I eat no grains.  I’ve had pneumonia, bronchitis, chicken pox, found out I have tinnitus and skin cancer, and I’m still walking around :)

I’ve had good jobs and horrible jobs, worked with great people, and nasty pieces of work, but through it all I’ve thankfully always learned something.  I’ve travelled less than 10 minutes to one place that was 1.5 hours driving each way and into the city which was 2 hours each way, if I was lucky.  The job I’m in now, my manager is fabulous and the prospects at this company are amazing, plus I’m only 15 minutes away.  Now that I’m a manager of a full group of people who are all local (most of my former management exp has been consulting companies), I appreciate some of the hell I put some of my managers through so I believe I’m doing my pennance  :)

I’ve made mistakes, learned from most of them, wasted a lot of time in certain periods of my life and paid for it in others.  Would I go back and change anything?

Nah.  I like me where I am now.  There have definitely been some rough years in there, but we got through them and I think we’re all better for it.  Am I where I want to be?  No man, I don’t own that island yet that has the huge house on it that I go scuba diving every day, but I’ve corrected the mistakes I’ve made and put myself and the people I love on the right track and see where I need to go and what I need to do to get there.  If I can get off my ass and finish my book, maybe this will be more of a reality :)

We’re on this planet for a finite period of time and then who knows what happens.  I won’t say the next 45 years are going to be doing everything on my bucket list, but there’s a quote I like –

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the  intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body,but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming — WOW– What a Ride!”

I don’t see the next 45 years as me being reckless, but I think it’s going to be pretty fun, regardless :)

Ch…ch…ch…ch..chaaaanges

Turn and face the strain….

Nah.  I’m going to turn and face the new job.  Yup :)  I handed in my notes at my current company on Monday and I begin work at my new company on Sept 23rd.  I will be the IT Development Manager in charge of….development :)

They needed a project manager who knew how to read and write code and voila, they got me!

So excited.  New adventure, new surroundings, new commute.  Yes, sports fans.  I’m trading in my 2 hours commute into NYC for an 18 minute commute two towns over.  YES!  TWO TOWNS!  I can wake up at 7:30, get a shower, breakfast, coffee, dressed, and to work before 8:30! :)  Actually my plan is to get a gym membership around the corner so I can get  up at 6am with the kids, get them ready and off, go do 30-45 minutes at the gym, come home, shower, get ready  – and not wear a tie, and get to work before 8:30am.

It’s the gig of a lifetime and the stars just all aligned.  Great Director to report to, can’t wait!

Paris – Day Quatre

I’m writing this from home because we were so spent the nights after we got back. :)

Day four was mostly ile de Cite time.  We hopped on the metro, after a huge helping of eggs and french bacon(lardon), and began the day at Saint Chappelle.  While not especially huge, it really almost brought tears to my eyes.  The first floor is really pretty, not especially impressive in comparison, but I thought it was pretty nice.  Got Aidan and my parents a gift while we were in the ground floor, and took some pictures, then headed up the spiral staircase located in the back of the church.  I noticed there was one on the other side as well.  Everything in the church is symmetrical.  Walked up the stairs and saw what all the fuss was about.

I had seen an article about the stained glass in the church a few months ago and had put this on our list of things to do because I love just staring at it and picking out all of the scenes in it.  I read how impressive it was and I was not disappointed.  It honestly took my breath away it was so beautiful.  Starting from the back left corner moving up the side curving around in the front and coming back down the other side were scene upon scene from the bible, picked out in brilliant colors.  Thankfully the sun was cooperating and blasting brilliant color into the room.  I was literally standing there open mouthed when I heard Fae’s sharp intake of breath and she turned me around to look at the back of the church.

I almost wept it was so beautiful.  Called the West Rose window, i just stood and stared for I’m not sure how long.  Fae took lots of pics that we posted on Facebook, but for some reason we couldn’t get this one to come out as well as we’d like.  The real issue is you really can’t capture how awesome it is.

From there we went to Notre Dame and walked around outside in the grounds.  The architecture is amazing because of the things they needed to do to ensure it would stop sinking.  Yeah, the church had begun to sink :)  The line was hours long and after Sainte Chapelle, we were content to just look at the flying buttresses and the gargoyles from where we were.

After admiring the size and beauty of it, we walked to a gluten free cafe called the Biosphere Cafe (I recommend the potato and bacon quiche), we decided to go to the cemetery of Pere Lachaise where a lot of famous people are buried.  Got some cool pics of Pizarro, and Seurat’s graves as well as that of Jim Morrison of course :)

That night Fae had booked us on a ghost tour that turned out to be more of a historic murder tour, but it was cool nonetheless.

In the next post, I’ll regale you with the tale of Eric the Fussy Frenchman and our trip to Versailles.

 

Paris – Day Trois

Monday August 12th, 2013 9:45am Latin Quarter

“Honey, we are supposed to be walking out of the house in 15 minutes”.  Laughter ensues.  We woke up later than yesterday and spent the morning making breakfast and being lazy.  Note to those who are coming to Paris.  Get the thick bacon.  Holy crap.  Eggs, bacon, avocado fried up in the bacon fat, oh hell yeah that’s a good way to start your day.

We hung out for a little while longer and Fae was practically falling asleep on the couch.  One of the things I wanted to do was to go check out Monmartre and Sacre Couer, which was never really huge on Fae’s list, so Jason and I took off and left Fae and Joe to hang out and rest up.  We jumped on the metro and headed to a church called La Madeline and it was pretty different than anything I’d ever seen.  Dark, almost no windows except for a domed sky light, I was impressed by the structure, but didn’t really feel like what I was used to.  Cool as hell though.  There’s a famous mustard store across the street that Jason got a refill of, I swear the guy inhales mustard, and tried to find a place to get a coffee.  There is no such thing as a deli here, and most places don’t encourage you to grab to go.  The only coffee I saw anyone drinking on the street was Starbucks, and I’m sure as hell not going to drink that here.

We caught the metro to Sacre Coeur and Monmartre, and I have to say, don’t spend any time in Monmartre, it’s a dump.  That and a serious tourist trap.  Took the finicular (tram/train) to the top of the hill and went into Sacre Coeur.  Much more like what I was used to, but it had the passage and chapels behind the altar, it was pretty cool.  Lots of stained glass, mostly red, but then again, the church of the sacred heart should probably have a lot.  I lit a candle for some family and friends, and felt at peace inside, it was nice.

Have to say, the view?  Not nearly as cool as I expected.

Came back, went and did sprints in the Jardin de Plantes, and showered and changed for dinner.  Went to Chez Papa, had the duck with braised leeks.  Dude.  Go.  Get it now.  I think they have restaurants in the states, so try it if there is one.  Ho. Lee. Crap.  Coffee in the little cups, wonderful atmosphere sitting outside and watching people go by.  Lovely.

Back and catching up on pics of Gillian at camp, talking to Aidan, and seeing the the Red Sox are still in first place.  Okay, cool :)  Tomorrow should be Notre Dame, St Chapelle, Conciergerie, and maybe the  gf baker, Helmut Newcake or as I referred to him when I couldn’t remember his name – Hubert Muffintop.