To Mrs. Grant

9 A.M., 5 years ago I was already up. After a long night out with the fellas I woke with not much sleep. The nervous anticipation of the day grew as the minutes ticked by. With a blink of the eye it was sunset and  we stood on a beach, me in my tux and her in her gown, with smiles that hurt our cheeks. The 5 years later that was about to fly by wasn’t even on my mind, just that moment. It was one of those moments in life that all of your functions are controlled with your heart. I love that day.

Everyday since has been an amazing adventure. I couldn’t have imagined the things we would go through. In 5 short years we bought our first home, had two amazing children, Stephanie has the beginnings to an amazing career, I quit my job to pursue passion instead of paychecks, amazing trips and adventures,  we’ve lost people along the way, steered through rough water, we’ve cried hard, laughed even harder, we have days where our smiles still hurt our cheeks. What the next 5 years hold? I have no idea but I do know the partner I have next to me. The happiest of Anniversaries Mrs. Grant!

Rerun Nostalgia

I was in the gym late last night and I was enamored by the people scattered around the place. Shift workers galore were grinding. It reminded me of a piece I wrote a while back. Here it is. It’s called Saturday Morning Grinders. Enjoy.

 

I am a grinder. I’ve often thought of this over the past 10-20 years. I’ve never really had a clear definition of what it means. I woke up to the reality of it this morning. You want to see real “grinders.” Go to a gym or any 24 hour workout facility at 4 AM on a Saturday. You’ve entered our realm, our domain. You won’t see the pumped muscles and inflated egos like later in the PM. It has no place here. Nobody is wasting valuable time sitting on a bench, chatting profusely about their new PR. The music is low. The focus is intense. I look around as I work and my mind evaluates my fellow allies. A gangly teenage boy in a corner rotating wall sits and lunges. Perhaps he was cut from his high school team. Perhaps he missed a big shot this last week. He works so it won’t happen again. There is a young lady busting it hard on a treadmill. Maybe she’s a young single mom trying to lose that difficult baby weight. She doesn’t have to be here but it’s the only time she can. There’s a very large man hitting the “core” area the entire time I’m there. I actually talked to him for a second. He lost 100lbs last year and tells me he’s got 100 to go. I have  a hard time contemplating that dedication. Amazing. There are two guys still in there work attire rotating between the dumbbell rack  and a bench. The night shift at what looks like some manufacturing plant, getting it in before they retire for the day. There are few here but the one’s who are, are GRINDERS. You see, we’re the crowd that is given nothing. We’re the crowd that has to put in 100% effort to get small incremental results. If you’re wandering where the term 120% came from, it’s here. Being pretty has no place on Saturday morning. Spandex give way to sweats. Overpriced Nike, Addias and Under Armor lack meaning in this sacred of times. I get my full potential from getting my ass out of bed on Saturday mornings. Do You? Saturday morning grinders don’t care what your answer is.
Is this a bit dramatic. Yes but have you ever been at a place like this at off hours. Pay attention and it can be very inspiring.  Interesting fact about the Super Bowl. There is not a player on either team that was a 5 star recruit out of high school. Pure grinders. No doubt they have seen Saturday morning workouts!
Have a great weekend and be safe everyone.

Remember Robin, the Captain

I wrote Dear Mr. Williams 3 years ago. It goes so fast. As we continue to lose voices of generations to mental health, my passion for the subject grows. I will keep trying. “Turn Towards, Not Away.” -Billy Grant Please read and enjoy a reblog from the near past.

 

Robin-
People are upset today sir. We grieve. We morn. We are pissed off. Some of us don’t understand, unfortunately I am not one of those. Unfortunately I completely understand. I’ve stood on that ledge before. It’s been a lifetime ago Robin but I can remember. I can remember that hopelessness. I remember the terror of waking up the next day. You get to a point where a mirror represents the end, don’t look into it. Folks that don’t get us will say that your way out is cowardly; I scoff. They say you should have asked for help, even though you did, over and over again. The disease is a game that is played for a lifetime and some win and some…well, some lose. I am so sorry you lost your game. My generation and a few before us, for us you were always around. From Mork to the Genie in the lamp; when you were on screen for some reason the world seemed a better place. “Oh Captain, My Captain” taught us “Carpe Diem” and the soulful Professor taught us and Will Hunting that it wasn’t our fault. Well, I’m here to tell you Mr. Williams that it’s not your fault. Whether up or down, which ever way you are looking right now, you are going to see and hear things of contradiction. Anger begets sadness; sadness turns to remembrance and when we remember, we heal. I don’t remember ever being this low for a non-family member’s death. Perhaps it’s because you were part of our family, always around. And because you were always around, we are left with incredible works of art. I can not wait to teach my kid about John Keating (Dead Poet’s Society) and what he meant to me. So I bid you farewell Captain, rest easy. In your voice:
“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?” -Mr. Robin Williams as John Keating (DPS)

 

 

Reasons.

When something goes wrong in the human world the comforting words of “everything happens for a reason” resonate through the heart. It’s a warming sensation that says, “it’s ok to be.” I also know that there is plenty of pushback or hold outs when it comes from this kind of deep think. Well, just go to the next paragraph then and get to the meat.  In my continued introspection there are so many examples of this cliché I could fill a novel, of course it would have to be fiction to protect the innocent.

Ever think about what would have happened if you turned left instead of right that “one time.” As you read this, think back to times that didn’t make sense and how it relates to where you are today. It will make sense if you look hard enough. The divine puzzle has a tendency to put itself together.

I literally was lost. Circa, guess-timated Spring 2002; I head out from my apartment to find a golf course in order to fill out an application and leave my resume. I didn’t have a map app, so I was forced to write down the directions. I wrote them wrong. I pulled up to Stone Creek Golf Course in Phoenix Arizona confused. “This is not Orange Tree,” I thought. I went inside, hoping the golf pro might have directions. This young man with blue eyes took the time to write down directions to the other club. As I was leaving, I posted up on one leg, spun around and said, “you guys have any openings?” To this very day, I have no idea why I said this. Perhaps I was desperate for a paycheck or maybe it was something bigger. I would spend the next 5ish years in uniform at this place trying to figure that out.

Jimmy. He worked the golf shop counter and quickly became a great friend to me. He was one of the only people that knew every detail of my life, took the time to know me. I tell the painful story of his death in other blog posts, so I won’t do that in this one. I can hear the inner pessimist say, “If you would have found Orange Tree, you wouldn’t have befriended Jim and your pain wouldn’t have existed.” That was the talk of a broken man, an unrealized man. I now know that having had him in my life, as briefly as it was, has made me a better person and our friendship along with a cast of other characters made stories that are still told today. His life had purpose. What if it was someone else at the counter that day? Would I have turned around?

With Jimmy’s death I hit a rock bottom. I’m familiar with it down there, so it was no surprise. This part of the story is something not a lot of people have heard, I can count on only a few fingers. Here I go, risking vulnerability.  After Jimmy was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I didn’t spend too much time in our apartment (room mates at that point). I spent a lot behind a bar. There was a particular night that put me over the edge. I bellied up for a few hours then decided I had enough, like forever enough. A few weeks earlier I rolled my ankle and Jim gave me a Vicodin that he had from an old prescription. Well, I knew where that bottle was. I went to the apartment, grabbed the bottle (18ish pills), walked to a local park, sat on a bench and ingested the entire bottle. I didn’t know if it was enough to kill me, but I was willing to find out.  I laid myself down for the last time. At exactly 8:08 the next morning I woke up. Covered in my own vomit, I got up and went home. I laid in bed for 3 days after that, thinking “why did I wake up?” It’s a question that has been tucked in the back of my grey matter since and the other day, with some deep thought, I think I  have an answer. I’m a side sleeper. I sleep on my belly too but imagine a park bench, perfect for side sleeping. I passed out from alcohol and then my body rejected those pills before they could irreversibly damage my organs. Had I slept on my back, your reading someone else’s post tonight. Just now, as in a couple days ago, I asked the revealing question that I never had, “why am I a side sleeper?” Everything that you are as an adult comes from your childhood, unless you change it. My mother used to work late shifts at her bar. It always worried me and I would wait up for her late at night. I would lie on my side and wait to hear the garage door open, then I would flip over to my other side facing the wall because she would always poke her head in to check on me. I didn’t want her to know/worry that I was awake late. I then would have a sense of relief and my brain would shut down… on my side I slept. Over a couple decades later, my mom unknowingly saved my life. Let that wash over you for a moment. Reason.

Some of the greatest friendships materialized in between painful moments at that job. I would befriend a man that grew up just a few miles from my hometown, didn’t even know he was there. He remains a person that always checks in, no matter what. Those are rare in “these days.” I would caddy for an instructor in a local US Open Qualifier. We didn’t advance past that local but We would however go on to work in 2 Senior Opens, a PGA Tour Event, half a dozen National Championships and so many qualifier and one day events I can’t count. Along that golf road our friendship has grown mighty. He’s going to be in Napa next weekend and for the first time in our relationship, I set him up with golf. We will celebrate his birthday but underneath I will be celebrating the wrong turn I made all those years ago and being a side sleeper. Thanks Mom. My adventure continues! Have you thought of any instances where a “mere coincidence” changed your path forever? Everything happens for a reason. It’s ok to be.

Of course there is soooooooooooo much more detail to these stories but I’m saving most of it. Cheers.

 

 

 

 

The Power of James

The genre is not my first choice. I am, however, a believer in the power of music. Last night we were treated to a concert at ATT Park, home of the San Francisco Giants. It’s the home of the great American pastime and this house is full of championship trophies. The sporting venue was converted into a vortex of positive energy. It’s hard to imagine, in this day, over 50,000 coming together in one light.

I was surprised by many different facets of the evening. 1. Bonnie Rait opened and joined for a couple songs later. She is 68 years old and one badass chick. She plays guitar better and more technically than most musicians I’ve ever seen. 2. James Taylor brings a huge audience. The park was packed out, on the field and in the stands. His music has permeated the generations. The older crowd thinks that the “kids” just don’t understand but there they were, singing every lyric side by side. 3. James’s music is written around a lifetime of experiences. He tells cute little stories before each tune and you can tell each song means the world to him, except Steam Roller, haha.

Finally, the message and feeling that hung in the night air (to me at least). If everyone in the world was just a little more like James, even a small percentage more, we would be better. We would all be a little better. I know I would be.

“I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain.
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end.
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend,
But I always thought that I’d see you again.” -original JT

Race to Redemption

The road has been a long windy path of uncertainty. My life, well documented here, has been a romantic tragedy turned inspirational journey to the center of my grey matter. The many “start overs” have been frustrating and left me with a sense of helplessness. In a leap of faith I am surrounding myself with people filled with light. I’m slowly, always with caution, letting that light shine on me. The warmth has pumped my heart full of love and compassion. The shadow viewer that lives in my soul remains but your light combats it at every turn. Thank you.

I’m taking on several different projects at this very moment. These include: writing and producing a documentary, writing a memoir, social media active, continued college education, contacting and interacting with heroes (you), inspiring with my story, leading my household with better husbanding and fathering and training (both for golf and wellness).

Training for wellness is thrown around like a pig skin in a parking lot in the fall. For me, it’s always been fleeting. I bounce up and down it’s ladder yoyo style and when the season is over, it’s hung in the closet with my jersey. I have a new mission. I have found something to contain both my passions for bringing awareness to mental health and training for something that is bigger than my frame.

Recently, last week, I was engaged in a text conversation with an old friend, childhood old. His recent struggles with mental health are near and dear to my soul. I feel his pain through the brief letters on my phone. I know him. I’ve been him. I sweated trying to find some common ground, some way to reach him. I thought about our commonalities. Besides growing up across the street, taste in music and sharing brain mis-firings, we don’t have a lot in common. I quickly remembered that he used to run. I proposed, “how about we run some kind of endurance race next year?” I didn’t know if he would go for it but was proudly surprised when he said, “Yes.” We thought about a half marathon and left it at that. I could tell that the joy of being part of a team meant something to my friend and to me too.

After a day or two, I couldn’t shake an idea. I want to run the big marathon, 26.2. I carefully proposed the idea. After a day of deliberation the decision was made. We are running the Rock N Roll Marathon in San Diego on June 3, 2018! I am not a runner. I can jog about 2 miles right now until exhaustion. The challenge is real and it looms larger than my life can understand. A journey inside my journey begins. In the coming months I will be leaning on you, my light givers. I will be promoting our run. I will be beckoning on behalf of those that feel their voices aren’t heard. Wish us well but don’t go anywhere. We need you. 312 days.

Please Like and Share!

Cows across America are being fed a certain kind of vitamin supplement called Karafinanin. It’s a chemical compound that was an accident in a laboratory. The scientist in charge was attempting to make a better and more efficient polymer for vinyl flooring. The process involved kept producing  a byproduct in the form of a pliable substance that appeared to be “sawdust” like. Instead of discarding the substance it was stored, to be studied later. A colleague took on the task and very quickly noted that the compound contained high levels of vitamin supplements. However, in testing the compound caused all sorts of issues in lab animals, including; excessive bleeding, heart disease, colon and prostate problems and terminal cancer. There was one animal though that seemed to be immune to the negative side effects of the supplement.  Including this into the daily meals of the common milk cow another breakthrough happened. It tripled the output of milk! The cattle ranchers that were directly involved with the sales of this milk had one big client and one big problem. The client is one the biggest “Organic” baby food producers in the United States. The problem, when combined with certain ingredients in the baby food, the strength of the carcinogen’s potency increases exponentially. This product has been on the market for many years and there are babies out there that have been directly affected. Some have even lost their battles.

Please like and share to bring awareness. The name of this “Organic” baby food product is “Imadethiswholethingup puree.” The cattle company is “straightfrommybrain circle bar ranch.” The scientist is “Dr. YoullbelieveanythingtheInternetellsyou.”

I have zero scientific background. I’m a dullard on the processes that I just expertly wrote about. I’m also far from a professional writer. I wrote this in 4 minutes and 25 seconds to illustrate a point that most of you already get. Fear is no way to live. True, there are things in the world that are disgusting and harmful. Also true, not everything from a lab or manmade is bad. Also also true, liking and sharing fear based posts from places like the Huffington post and other bs web based news sites does nothing but perpetrate increased ignorance and fear.

Now I’m taking my kid to a jump house style play land where she will interact with Muslim kids. On the way home we’ll get Chipotle, extra chicken. If we have time, we’ll stop and buy a couple dozen fidget spinners. We may even ride bikes today, helmets optional. We live unabated by fear tactics of over payed mongering advertiser turned blog post writing assholes. Do the same.

The opinions in this article do not reflect any other than my own.