I went to a restorative yoga class a few weeks ago and much of the session was spent on mantras, or words or sounds repeated to aid with meditation. It was an interesting exercise but for a chronic overthinker like me, focus can be a challenge at best. That said, I’ll keep plugging away.

To reset my focus, I’ve had better luck using mental bandages. On the occasions where I find my thoughts circling the virtual rabbit hole, I dig out a happy thought. I’ve got a few in reserve, and they rotate in and out depending on the situation. Sometimes, it’s a memory. Other times, it’s a person. It could also be a place or a feeling or pretty much whatever I want it to be as long as it throws a pie in the face of whatever was twisting me up.

Running is good too but that’s another post…


triplet tales, vol. 2

It may not look like much, but this is where by daughters spent their preschool years.

How do you spell relief? In the fall of 2001, I spelled it P-H-D-L-C, short for the Palm Harbor Diversified Learning Center. Tucked into the corner of another stucco-covered strip plaza along US 19, the PHDLC was messy, loud, and sometimes it smelled a little funny. In other words, it was family.

A family that brought my triplets into the fold and followed a Montessori-style teaching system that, among other things, taught my daughters to read, write, paint and co-exist with others in their little ragtag rainbow corner of Florida. They also learned sign language, Spanish and even some manners along the way. And all for $276 per week. If you’ve ever had kids in daycare, I don’t need to say anything else.

But to me, that wasn’t the coolest thing.

I don’t remember if was the first day, or even the first week, that I stopped after work to pick them. I was chatting with Miss Chris, the owner, when she said she’d let the girls. She disappeared around the corner from the front desk and was walking down the hallway between the classrooms when she started calling, “1, 2, 3! 1, 2, 3!”

Why didn’t I think of that? I could only smile and drop to my knees as three sandy, sweaty three year olds raced around the corner and into my arms.

touching moments …


In the early 90s I worked with, and then dated, an amazing woman. In addition to being smart, funny, beautiful, etc. etc., she was one of the most together, sincere people I have ever met.

To this point, after we had been dating for a while, she felt compelled to confess something to me. Before we had begun dating, and even while we were dating different people, she had been “stealing touches” from me.

Maybe she brushed by me in a hallway, or used my shoulder to support herself while she adjusted a shoe, or tapped me on the shoulder when she had a question. Whatever shape the contact took, her underlying motive was to make physical contact with me – to safely, innocently, express her attraction.


I don’t remember my exact reaction, but if it wasn’t to lean in for a kiss and then steal away for other unspeakable acts, I would be disappointed with my younger self.

When I think back to the idea of “stealing touches”, it always reminds me of how powerful physical contact can be, and not just in romantic situations.

Whether it’s a handshake to say hello, a hug to say goodbye, a tear wiped from a cheek, collapsing on a couch together in a fit of laughter, or rubbing a shoulder to offer solace, the emotional bonds strengthened by touch seem to go far beyond the physical connection.

So reach out, when appropriate, and let others know you care, that they are important to you. It might make more of a difference than you know. They might even blog about it 25 years later.

what’s in the box …


Life is like a game show, said no one probably ever. So you’re gonna have to work with me here.

Have you ever felt like you were up on that stage, with the emcee repeatedly prompting you, a studio audience shouting at you, and three curvy temptresses each luring you to mysterious rewards just beyond your view? Not to mention the imagined millions at home watching you make this one, fateful decision. No pressure.

Some decisions in life might feel just like that, with at least a modicum of your future seemingly hanging on the outcome. And one way or another, you’re certain it’s going to be curtains for you. Well, in this example, one of three curtains.

Curtain 1: This option is clear. Do what you think will benefit you most in the long run, but know that it’s also the one thing that will almost certainly blow up the now … and hopefully not the later. In game show parlance, you know the vacation of a lifetime is hiding behind this curtain, but you’re hoping that cabana on the beach has the same allure if a hurricane watch pops up on the Weather Channel.

Curtain 2: This option is a bit of a high-wire act. Done correctly, you get rid of the worst of your current situation and you just may get to enjoy some of the changes you’d like to see. But like the high wire, one wrong step …. If you pull this curtain back, you’ll probably win a new game room, sets of kitchen appliances and the latest power tools, but those taxes and delivery fees may take a pretty big bite, and it may all be junk you never use anyway.

Curtain 3: You’ve exhausted your options as you see them so you’ve turned to the studio audience. You’re hoping someone, somewhere, screams out something that will solve this problem for you. You have no clue what’s behind this curtain. When it’s pulled back, you may end up with an empty candy wrapper or A NEW CAR!!!

Stand pat: No risk here, but no potential reward either. While you’ve been getting by with the status quo, it’s not why you waited in line all night to earn your spot under the lights. In other words, you won’t go home empty handed, but you better be happy with a lifetime supply of Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco Treat.

I’d be interested to know which choice you’d make. Because those stage lights are pretty bright and I can feel the sweat dripping down my back.

triplet tales, vol. 1 …

I’m not a big beach guy, but Fred Howard park was close and had great sand and kinda cool.

I lived in Florida for five years, getting divorced about one year in. Might be a blog post or two about that in the future but the good news was I began running again full time and ended up bumping into another runner/divorced/midwestern transplant with twins.

We became pretty good friends and would often get our kids together for some fun in the sun. Of course, with 5-year-old triplets, beach time could get a little hectic. Sometimes, I was a bit frazzled by the time we even got to the beach at Fred Howard Park in Tarpon Springs.

It helped that I had a jogging stroller that I used as a beach carryall because it had big wheels and was easier to pull through the sand.

And it was stuffed with blankets, umbrellas, toys, food, lotion, water, aloe, a newspaper, radio, sunglasses, flip flops, etc. I didn’t want to forget anything. The girls trailed along, each carrying a towel and/or floaty item or toy.

As the seven of us hit the sand one sunny Saturday I took a head count but only saw Emma and Sarah. As I started to panic and jerked my head around Megan said, “Dad, are you looking for me?”

I was carrying her.

I guess I didn’t forget anything … kinda.

more than a pretty ear …


In my early 20s I had one of my best, best friends ever. Like many bromances, we were a total mismatch. He was the wild card, I was the straight man. He was the ladies’ man, I was the wingman. He was the loose cannon, I was the clean up crew. We were like a bad 80s sitcom (see photo). But damn, we had so many epic times. It really worked … until it didn’t.

We met at the fast food service restaurant we worked at. Our first moments together were actually captured by two supervisors from the other side of their one-way mirrored office door window. I remember sitting down for break one day when one of my supers sat down with me and, with a smile, asked, “What do you think of the new guy, Humphrey?”

“He’s okay. Why do you ask?”

“Because we were watching you from the other side of the glass and were taking bets on when you were going to choke him.”

She recounted their delight at watching me working my butt off to get the front line ready to open that day while my soon to be best friend followed me around with his coffee mug sharing some jokes and his latest adventures, but not lifting a finger to help.

I’m pretty good at seeing the humor in situations and this was pretty damn funny, especially considering that instead of doing their job and putting my friend to work, they took delight in watching him putz around behind me.

I try to keep these blog posts snappy but man, so many stories! The white clothesline, the parking lot barriers, the snowy Halloween, Rogues Hollow, the Assassination Game, the silent treatment, the Fxxk Rax Party, the Maypops, Beau Coup, the railroad crossing, walking on the hood, and Munroe Falls just to name a few. Drop me a line if any of these sound intriguing.

And here’s where I need to drop in a tangent. I can’t promise you I’ll be the best friend you ever have, but something I’ve always promised is that I will always be there for my friends, 24/7. It’s a standard I held myself to with this friend, and every friend since, sometimes to hilarious effect (more stories for another time.)

And honestly, it feels a bit selfish to be there for my friends. It actually makes me feel better than it will ever make them feel. I’m sure you’ve had many similar experiences. Tangent over.

Then it started. There was the drunk, stranded phone call at 2:30 a.m. from Youngstown. The drunk, lost, early morning tap on my bedroom window, with the ripped shorts from apparently hanging upside down on a fence. The snoozing in the passenger seat as a poured my guts out. The drunken, repeated phone calls from the stripper bars, seeking company. And so much more.

And I was there every time. But almost without notice, until it was noticeable, something was different. I was helping a friend but it didn’t make me feel good anymore. And I realized something. I needed something from him too. I’d never felt that way with a friend before.

And then I realized something else. I wasn’t really his friend anymore. I was tireless ear. I was a get-out-of-trouble-free card. I was an “I’m lonely please be around me” option. I was someone he knew and hung out with. But I wasn’t his friend.

And that’s what I needed. I was his friend, but I needed him to be my friend, too. I needed someone to cry with, as well as someone to laugh with. Someone to adventure with, but someone who could be serious when needed. Really. I’m more than a pretty ear! But here’s the trick, he had to want too, and he didn’t. And you can’t make someone want that. Honestly, if you have to ask ….

It was the first time I learned that lesson. And like many lessons, I’ve been a repeat offender.

Alas, we’ll always have Rogues Hollow.

re-dunce-dent …


So I’m always fascinated by my dreams, even when they seem repetitious and boring, because I feel like they are trying to tell me something.

Lately, I’ve been having those dreams where I’m back in school but I’ve missed most of the classes, I haven’t done my assignments, I can’t find the classroom, I don’t know who the teacher is, etc. Basically, I’ve done everything I can to fail that class.

And I was thinking about these dreams again tonight when I had a thought. Maybe these dreams reflect the fact that there are some lessons I never seem to learn. And like those classes, and like those dreams, I’m doomed to repeat these failed lessons over and over again until I finally get a passing grade.

But lessons can be hard, especially when there is no textbook and no teacher and apparently, no aptitude.

But then the class is over, and you get the F and you failed. But you know what? You get another chance. Sure, it gets old, but even if you get 50 F’s, it’s only takes one A to pass the lesson. And then, you get to move on.

But then there’s that dream, where I’m in my underwear ….