Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sick because I'm crazy and Grey's

I have two things weighing heavily on my mind today that I have to share. I keep having the same conversation with people over and over about how I lost, weight, I look better... I look different. I don't really have an answer as to what's going on because I have worked so much harder at my nutrition and fitness over the past 5 years than I have been recently. It's weird. The weight fell off, I eat like crazy, I don't worry about it any more. So, I'm starting to explore the possibility that this my have been psychosomatic on some level. In October, we changed companies and our general manager was let go. If we had a two week vacation together I couldn't tell you how horrible this person was to me. He put me through a living hell and that's where the physical challenges started in my life. No sleep, gaining weight, tension, etc....
This guy is let go and things have inexplicably started to change for me. I drop 20lbs with no explanation, I'm getting some sleep, I'm feeling better, I'm loving work again. Isn't that crazy.
Our new GM comes by the studio just to say hello. I love that. I love it when she comes by. I don't think our old GM knew where the studio was. This is a great thing that maybe I will dig into later as I try to understand the changes I'm going to physically... I'm trying to understand it, but can't make any sense of it myself. My hunch is that it had to do with this #$@hole, but I'm not sure yet. Sure, I'm burning some bridges by talking about this, but I'm hoping I can help somebody reading this understand what might be happening to them physically. We all deserve a healthy life, right?

The other thing is that I'm trying to catch up with the rest of the world that watches Grey's Anatomy. I haven't watched the show, mostly because my daughter stays up really late and I got to bed when she does. Our schedule hasn't allowed me to watch the show. I knew I would like this show and tried to jump in late on season two, but was lost.
I just watched the second episode. I absolutely love this show. I'm sure that most of you reading this already watch the show, so this should seem really weird to talk about the second episode.
This is the one where Meredith and Derick are flirting like crazy, make out in the elevator. Izzy is helping an Asian woman and her daughter in the parking lot because they are afraid of being deported. A young woman is raped and left for dead, but bit off the rapists junk and Meridith had to keep it in a cooler until the police took it. Meridith also wandered off to the infant ward and saw a baby turn blue and stuck her nose where it didn't belong and told the parents of the infant that it had problems
Remember this episode? Enough about the plot. I love the way this show is shot. I love the closeups of their eyes and their expressions. These actors are amazing. I love how they use new music to set the tone... this is so well done and it blows me away.
I love how they included a little thing like Meridith was wearing the same shoes as the rape victim and that made it so personal for her.
I love how they share their true feelings and difficulties. They are all so vulnerable. This is what makes this show so good. We have been watching perfect people do wonderful things on television for too long. I love seeing the more human side of all of them... even if it's cold and callous at times.
I love the inside joke that the interns don't want to be hugged by the family when they help a patient. That is brilliant.
Two episodes down and I've cried at both. I really enjoy going there emotionally... is that sick or what?
I don't even want to read the tabloids about these actors anymore. I want them to just be the characters on the show. I don't want it to be ruined. I already know too much.
Will the show stay from so much of Meridith's perspective? Surely it can't?
Another thing. I just watched this episode on my computer with the headphones on. This is the way to watch TV! I swear. I was lost in it, uninterrupted with incredible sound.
I can't wait to catch up on three seasons.

Monday, May 28, 2007

my current playlist

I am really trying to fine tune my ipod for a full 4 gig of songs that I can put on rotation and absolutely love. I'm kind of old school in that I try to keep albums in tact whenever possible. I just can't bring myself to be one of those people who just downloads a single they hear and has no curiosity about the rest of the album. I have to like most of an album to feel good about a band.
Also, for right now I only want new music on my ipod. I have been on a discovery of new bands since the first of the year. I have found a ton of new stuff. Here are the albums that I am really into right now, for this week anyway.

Band of Horses- Everything all the Time

The Bravery- The Sun and the Moon

The Fratellis- Costello Music

LCD Soundsystem- Sound of Silver

Phoenix- It’s Never Been like that

What Made Milwaukee Famous- Trying to Never Catch up

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Writing starts to "happen"

I have exciting news. At least it's exciting to me. My third issue in a row will be published in Austin Monthly Home in the summer issue. If you are not a subscriber, get your order in now! In this issue I talk about hanging out and finding peace in my vintage Airstream. Thanks so much to Jennifer and everyone at Austin Monthly who have been much to kind to a hack writer. I appreciate them, especially for being the first to give me an opportunity like this.

June is going to be a big month. I will also have an article coming out in RARE Magazine.
Rare is a very cool magazine that I took a particular interest in long before I ever met anyone there. Matt was kind and trusting enough to give me an opportunity to try my hand at writing something compelling for this very cool magazine. You will love the layout and the vibe of Rare. Very, very hip. I share the story of the ongoing transformation of mens fashion. It's very tough to be a straight guy and dress hip without being over the top or feeling gay... not that there's anything wrong with that. :) I'm expecting a very cool photo with this article from their photog Dustin. Awesome guy with some killer vision. Should be out any day.

And then another totally fell into my lap. I got an email from Kim at Parent Wise Magazine a few weeks ago. She had seen my writing in Austin Monthly Home and asked me to write something fatherhood related for the June issue. I chose to write about a small memory of spending time with my father which will hopefully enlighten dads that it's the very small things and time that matter.

What a great month tackling something I truly enjoy. It's very intimidating, but I appreciate those who are helping me and lending their advice. Writing feels so permanent and that's scary. With radio, there is so much and it's all disposable and no one has a record of it, unless you chose. Anyone can chose to read, reread and criticize an article and hang onto it as long as they like. Very intimidating.

What I love most about Stewart Copeland?

So The Police open on Monday in Vancouver. Hard to believe that my favorite band from my high school years is back! I'm going to the show next month in Dallas with a couple of my closest friends from high school. This is going to be a real walk down memory lane for us. My buddy Larry, just sent me a Stewart Copeland interview that is great. Stewart was always my favorite member of the Police. He seemed like the one I could relate to the most. In this interview he said something that makes me love this guy even more:

I have one house (in Los Angeles), I drive a Jeep Cherokee, I live very simply. I discovered in life that I have the same joy in divestment as I once got as a young man in acquisition. I have the perfect house. I'm never leaving this house that I'm in. I might trade my Jeep in for some environment-friendly vehicle of some kind. But I'm not into fancy cars. My watch is a Casio. I live very simply, and I've discovered that half of the so-called luxuries that people strive for do not provide happiness. My happiness comes from my children, my wife, my house that I love that I live in. OK, it's a very nice house, but there's only one of it. But what's really cool is that I've got my mate who's got 4,000 acres in Tuscany. I can hang out at his place. He can hire the 10 chambermaids, the half-acre of kitchen and pantry.

If you would like to read the rest of the interview, check it out here:

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

My strive for better chi.

I have written before about wanting to simplify my life. I'm working on that. Part of that process is freeing up more time for what's important in life, time with family and friends, reading, writing and relaxing. I have had a really hard time accomplishing this.

Maybe you are like me, you come home and you are overwhelmed with the projects that surround you. For me, I had a car that needed repair, two that needed detailing, I needed tons of yard work done, carpet replaced with wood floors, decks sanded and restained, some outlets fixed, office cleaned.... the list goes on and on. I don't by any means think these are unique problems, they are just too much for me to handle. I can't get any piece of mind with these things looming over me.

My wife and I made a list of everything that was bothering me. We decided to have all of these things taken care of, even though we really can't afford it. We have been making arrangements and tons of people and crews are banging this out over the next few weeks.

Oh, did I mention we need new gutters too?

Today the lawn crew was there. It wasn't cheap to get to total cleanup with the trees trimmed, bushes cut and everything, but it looks and feels so good. The important things is how it "feels". I needed this so much. We all work so hard, why are we so reluctant to reward ourselves. Sure, I would rather save or invest the money because I worry about the future just like you do, but I realized I need to try to enjoy the moment. I have been neglecting so many simple things and moments.
My daughter is five, she's growing up fast. In fact, today she used the word "penis" for the first time. What the hell happened. Before long she won't want anything to do with me.

I'll be writing a lot of checks before May is over but I am so looking forward to "feeling" good about my home, my life.

This made my day

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Mas Nuevo Musica!

So I went a little nuts at Waterloo records again. I am really enjoying discovering a lot of new music. I was definitely stuck in an old, familiar music phase, the new music rolls on. Here's what I bought.

New- What Made Milwaukee Famous

New- Elliot Smith - although he killed himself, very sad.

New- Wilco- I have tons of Wilco and love it all.

older- Phoenix- The New Phoenix cd is the best one I have picked up in the past year, I'm hoping this is as good.

New- St. Germain

New-Kaiser Chiefs- I picked up the last one because all the hype. It didn't impress me that much. I'm giving them another chance.

New-Kings of Leon- Similar to Kaiser Chiefs. I checked out the last one. Maybe I didn't listen to it enough, but I'm hoping this one catches my attention.

New- The Fratellis- I have no idea what to expect with this. I just keep hearing their name come up. All I know is that they are a british band causing a big stir, that usually a safe bet.

I'll report back to you soon enough. Plan to spend some time with this new music and I'm not ready to abandon all the new stuff I have purchased in the last few months.

Still digging:

The Reconteurs
Band of Horses
Rocco De Luca
The Soundtrack of our Lives
The Shins

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Our post-pre-school dinner

Classic evening. My 5 year old had her last day of pre-school yesterday. She's very excited about kindergarten and can't wait for it to start. We wanted to celebrate over dinner. My daughter wanted to go to Romeo's. She loves the heart logo out front and we like sitting outside. This was the dinner that was not meant to be.
They are kid friendly enough that they put her water in a styrofoam cup. Within just a few minutes, my daughter shoved her thumb through the side of it and sent the water leaking all over our table. The waitress could not have been any nicer about that.
Once we settled down from that chaos, we made friends with a squirrel who would come right up to the table and beg for scraps. I haven't been that close to a squirrel since UT campus. Have you ever been around the squirrels on campus? They will eat right out of your hand.
So the food shows up and within about a minute, my daughter threw up all over her pizza. She wasn't sick or anything, something just hit her funny. My wife and daughter darted to the car while I had to sit there next to the yack that went all over her plate, my leg and all over the floor. I had to get our food to go and the check. It was very lonely sitting there next to her chunks with what seemed like a lifetime to get the check. Poor waitress. I left a huge tip.
We were laughing about it by the time I got to the car and everyone lost their appetite for the evening. We went home and all went to bed.

Friday, May 18, 2007

A big day for the kiddo

Kind of bittersweet today. Today is my daughters last day of pre-school. Scary to think that in a few short months she'll be heading off to an elementary school with BIG KIDS there. No one to hold her hand every step of the way. I know it's cliche' and parents say that the kids grow up way too fast, but I'm really feeling it now.
We're going out to dinner tonight to celebrate. I'm feeling like these short summer months are the last one's that mom and dad are the most important thing in her life. I've got to find time to share as much of this summer with her as I can.

Monday, May 14, 2007

My grandmother's Eulogy

Over the weekend, I was asked to do the Eulogy at my grandmothers funeral. This was the hardest things I have ever done. I thought I would share this with you....

This is nice… a record gathering of Hagers. We should get ahold of the Guiness Book of Records because this might be the worlds largest gathering of underachievers in the history of mankind.

The strange thing about all of us coming together like this is that there really shouldn’t be anything sad about it at all. We were all so lucky to have known such an amazing person. I joke about us all being underachievers, partially because it’s the truth, but mostly because my grandmother had a way of making us all feel so special… like we were the most important thing on earth and that everything was going to be all right.

I’ve been thinking about her a lot since my last visit in February. After I went home I sat down and wrote some thoughts about her. I felt like I needed to share those thoughts with her somehow, but couldn’t tell her because she was too darn stubborn to wear a hearing aid.

I was never perfectly certain of the extent of her hearing loss. But earlier this year I was sitting next to her and the entire room was full of family cracking jokes and laughing hysterically. I was watching her … and she would laugh and throw back her head and shake her head as if she couldn’t believe what she had just heard. I looked her straight in the eye, wondering “how the heck are you hearing all this?” I didn’t even have to say a word to her and she leaned into me and said, “I can’t hear and darrn thing anyone is saying….but it sure does look like everyone is having fun.”

Funny thing is, I don’t think she needed to hear what any of us had to say in her final years. Everything was just “understood” with her. All it took was a hug and a look in her eyes and a million words were transmitted telepathically. In short, it always said, “thank you for being here with me at this very moment, I love you more than words can ever describe and I’ll treasure every moment of this.

We can thank her for all of the fun and laughs that we have had for so many years. It’s because of her that so many of us can find a joke in the worst of situations. We owe her for making life a much more pleasant experience.

I have to keep this short, because something tells me that grandma would think that the person that does the most talking is usually the biggest jackass of the bunch.

So…. I was asked to share some of the things I wrote after my visit in February. I could spend the rest of my lifetime telling you all the things I loved about her, but I know you all are good Catholics and would like to get back to your beer as soon as possible.

So, here’s some of the things I wrote about her after her 94th birthday:

She’s lived a perfect life and everyone that meets her loves her and feeds off of her energy and sense of well being. What at wonderful place to be in your life. I’m so envious of her.

We got to celebrate her birthday around tons of extended family. Her kids (my aunts and uncles) are all amazing and so appreciative of her. There was such a great moment where she was sitting there, we had just divided up the birthday cake and one of her great, great grandchildren came up to her to get a bite of cake. Here you have a 94 year old giving a one year old a bite of cake and 5 generations passing from had to hand. It brought me to tears. It was a very emotional weekend.

It made me want to have more kids as soon as possible. But, as we all know, for every Imo and Gere… there’s a Gary. So, I reconsidered.

I have been emotional every time I have left her for the last 10 years or so. I’m afraid to say goodbye and I’m afraid it’s the last time I’m going to see her.

I spent most of yesterday and a couple hrs today just sitting next to her with my arm around her and holding her hand. She’s so sweet. Today, she kept asking if I was tired of holding her hand, I repeatedly said no. She pointed out that my leg must be tired from holding up her hand. I denied it and she pointed out that I was on my tippy toes for over an hour. She was right. I was doing that so her hand wouldn’t have to hang down too far and be uncomfortable. So my leg was tired and shaking a little, but I just wanted to sit with her.

So finally the time came to say goodbye. I dread this as I have for the last 10+ years. I’m saying goodbye, looking into her eyes, giving her as strong of a hug as I can without hurting her frail body and she asks me “Will you please be a pall bearer for me?” I lost it. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It was sad and wonderful all at the same time. She is doing so well but she’s also so at peace with herself, her life and her future. What an amazing woman.

Of course I had a good cry all the way to the airport, but everything felt very peaceful. It was a pleasure to drive out of there and look at the snow covered hills. I love this place; I love my grandmother and family. I have this feeling she’s ready to let go… and she deserves it. What a wonderful life.

She is the most selfless person I have ever known and I'm sure she is hanging on so that we all feel better... classic grandma.

I have been trying to tell her for some time that it's o.k. to go. What a perfect life. It shouldn't be sad, but it's hard to imagine life without her, the most dependable, perfect person I have ever known.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

she's in a better place

My grandma Gertrude Francis Hager passed away this morning at about 9:15 at the age of 94.
It's impossible to describe how much she will be missed and what an incredible impact she had on my life.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Amazing woman pt. 2

I hadn't talked about this, but my grandmother Hager had a stroke last week and has been in the hospital. It looked like a recovery was well on it's way but it took a turn for the worse today. She's unresponsive and ready to go. I knew the last time I saw her she was ready. She has a lot of family with her in her final hours and they are saying she could go any moment. She is the most selfless person I have ever known and I'm sure she is hanging on so that we all feel better... classic grandma.

I don't have it in me to share much more right now. You can read my previous blog about her if you like. click here.

I have been trying to tell her all day that it's o.k. to go. What a perfect life. It shouldn't be sad, but it's hard to imagine life without her, the most dependable, perfect person I have ever known.

It's o.k. to go grandma. I love you so much. jb

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Steven King "On Writing"

Just finished another fantastic book. So far I'm right on track with my new years resolution to read at least two books a month in '07.

Steven King "On Writing"
is really interesting. It's very a very autobiographical look at Steven King and his life. It's so interesting to find out what such an occomplished writer is thinking, where he came from and how he got to where he is now. He shares a lot of his intimate thoughts about his career and about writing as a career.

I don't expect to become a professional writer or anything, I'm just fascinated by successful writers. Here's a funny thing, I have never read a Steven King novel before. Now I plan to read several. I'm such a fan of this guy now because he seems to normal and real. Prior to reading this book I would have guessed that he was so eccentric and extroadinary that I would not be able to relate or understand him or what he does for a living. In this book, he makes you feel like becoming a good writer is obtainable, but with a lot of hard work. He is definetely a hard working guy.

I think anyone would enjoy this book. Steven King is a fascinating guy. You don't have to aspire to be a writer to enjoy this book. You may just want to read it because you are a fan of his novels or your just curious about what it would be like to be a writer. He shares a lot of great tips on being a better writer. He also shares so many great stories, including what it felt like to be on the brink of death when he was hit by a van while going for his daily walk.

If you have a friend or someone you care about that wants to become a better writer, this is a must read. I enjoyed every single minute of that and Steven King is now one on my list of people I would love to meet.

Friday, May 4, 2007

reverse mid-life crisis

I think I'm having a reverse mid-life crisis. Funny thing is, I don't even know when mid-life is anymore. Didn't adults used to have them in their 40's? Guys would go out and get a Corvette and a young girlfriend. If we are living so much longer and retiring later, when is mid-life? In the 60's. I don't understand.
So my reverse mid-life crisis is that I no longer want anything. I'm trying to simplify. I want to do less, go less places, slow down... chill. I can't think of one possession I want in the world. Isn't that was the traditional mid-life crisis was? Going out and buying things to find a new happiness? I don't want anything. In fact, I want to get rid of so many things I have. I need more of a minimalist life style to find the vibe I'm looking for.
One of the first steps I took was to give something away I love. I love my '63 Ford Truck. It's a classic pickup and I’m going to raffle it off to benefit the Luekemia/Lymphoma society. Someone is going to be very, very happy with this truck. I would post a photo of it here but it’s being completely redone for it’s new owner. I can’t wait to give this away. So just a few weeks before the raffle begins for my truck, I won a car. This is insane. I posted this on previously, but like all classic cars, it has a few ticks that I need to get fixed. This is a new project and not part of my simplification process. It’s making me nuts.
Do you guys feel overwhelmed when you look around your house at all the things you have to do? I don’t know why this beats me down so much but it does. I feel like I’m never going to catch up. I would welcome some advice from any of you that have dealt with this overwhelming feeling.
I need to do some tax prep, so much lawn work, need new carpet in the office, need to sand and stain parts my deck, need electrician to do some work around the house, the driveway needs repairs, need to get rid of more things I’m not using… it drives me nuts.

Am I just being a big baby for whining about this stuff? My apologies. How do we catch up with adult life?

I do want to spend more time with my family. I do want to workout more, read more books and listen to more music. I want to rest. I want to hang out with my true friends.

I'm sure you can relate to how hard it is to relax and enjoy the things you love because you feel guilty about all the crap you need to do. Crazy