Bullet the Blue Sky

Bullet the Blue Sky

A couple of marbles rolling around in my head lately that I need to staple into the motherboard for safe keeping:

This past weekend I did something that I probably haven’t done since college or maybe even before that. I wrote a handwritten letter. Remember the thrill of getting physical mail? I don’t mean crap, I mean cards from distant family members or letters from people or whatnot. Thrilling! I still get a touch of excitement when my two magazines show up on my doorstep. I love that a thrill from childhood remains with me like that.

Anyway, I wrote a letter to David McCullough. This was part of an exercise I did with my kids where we all decided to write a letter to someone who has influenced us in a positive way. I’ve read several of his books over the years, so I dropped him a line to tell him so. It ended up taking up almost an entire page and by the end of the letter, another memory from childhood came rushing back to me – that feeling I used to get in school when my hand hurt from writing too much.

Zachary decided he would write a letter to J.K. Rowling, and boy did he ever. He filled up a piece of paper, front AND back, telling her how much he loved the Harry Potter stories,Jk rowling how he wanted to be a writer and asking her all kinds of questions. Nathan wrote his letter to Wayne Gretzky. The admiration for Gretz is a recent one, as Nathan has been watching a lot of countdown shows on NHL Network and #99 was featured on one. His letter was wayne gretzkyshorter (part and parcel) but no less inquisitive and adorable. I hope they answer us. Law of averages says we’ll be lucky to receive even one response, but you never know.

Last week my employer sent myself and a co-worker off to Worcester for two full days to immerse ourselves in advanced techniques in Microsoft Excel. Now, I know my way around Excel pretty well and I thought I was in a for a real snoozefest during the first 2-3 hours of the class, but then shit started to get real. I learned way more than I expected and was really happy with what I got out of it. With a full time job, kids at home and a marriage to maintain, time for learning isn’t plentiful, so this was welcomed. I was really glad to add some advanced capabilities into my Excel arsenal. Always trying to build.

armsby abbeySome other highlights of the class happened outside the class. One was a terrific lunch at Armsby Abbey. This is a place I would totally hang out all the time if it were closer. Excellent local & organic menu and a very, very impressive beer list, backdropped by a cool wood/brick decor. My kind of place for sure. We struck up a fun conversation with the two barkeeps, too. Just a great vibe. Go there if you’re local.

I also would be remiss if I didn’t mention my co-worker Jeff Bercume, whom I attended the image001class with. Jeff and I see a lot of each other at work and I consider myself lucky, because I know a few people who don’t get to work closely with people they enjoy on both a personal and professional level. He’s a future leader, smart, well-spoken, a good person and we laugh a lot, not to mention play a fair amount of ping-pong. That’s a good dude to take a two day Excel class with. The ice cream Big Boppers were an added bonus….and added calories. I can’t remember if he’s holding both of them in the picture here.

One last thing. You may have noticed lately a few references to childhood and memories. My last post went into it a little more seriously, but today I’m keeping it light. I really, really want to work on bringing the word “der” back into heavy rotation. This was an ’80s staple and it’s so damn funny.

Night night.

I Have Never Blacked Out

I Have Never Blacked Out

We’re blessed with excellent neighbors. This is not something to be taken for granted, nor overlooked. It’s also something you don’t realize until you’re older.

This past weekend we blocked off the street and all the immediate neighbors – and others – converged for a good little shindig. All the kids got to run around and take their bikes up and down the street. Good, down home American stuff. An opportunity to drink a few beers and chill out.

i have never blacked out

I ended up talking with one neighbor about drinking in college. Drinking happened for me. A lot. And I have a lot of great memories, some involve beer, some do not.

Anyway, we were talking about how some people could drink, have a blast, but stay in control and then there were others who always seemed to lose control – puke, black out, etc. I’ve always wondered if there’s a gene deep down in our wiring that controls this. Why do some people lose control and some don’t?

I’ve never taken alcohol lightly and this post isn’t about alcoholism or anything. It’s just about……control.

Me, I had a lot of drunken escapades and some of my college and maybe high school friends may very well fill in some blanks here (can’t wait to hear it), but I’ve never gotten to the point where I blacked out or can’t remember an entire evening or something. I’m not bragging, either. It just…..is.

never blacked out

That’s me, far right.

Oh, there have been plenty of times where I woke up near sunrise on the floor of my college apartment living room, winter coat still on and a pair of headphones on my head. And there are three occasions from drinking when I did actually throw up.

Three is not a lot, though. Interestingly, the three times were NOT even at college. I simply never let myself get out of control. And I don’t know why. I probably had every reason to.

I ruminated to my neighbor that it could have been because I was allowed at a fairly young age to grab an occasional sip of beer from my dad’s bottle, even in my young teens. While my parents didn’t open the floodgates at home or anything, it just wasn’t a huge sticking point or something they were super harsh, overly threatening or militant about.

I remarked to my neighbor that maybe it was the kids who grew up in the super-militant, obnoxiously strict homes who couldn’t handle the sudden freedom and liberation and easy availability of drinking. They just let it loose. Just a guess, though. No data whatsoever to support any of it and no judgement.

Here it is, though. There was (and is) always some trigger inside me that knew when to stop and “enjoy the buzz,” as my neighbor so succinctly put it. My only guess is that for me, it’s fear. I have a lot of fear when it comes to some things.

Fear. It’s the only thing I can think of. I can’t think of a worse potential outcome, in fact, than being out of control with anything in my life. Always been that way.

What do you think? What’s the difference maker between the ones who could just enjoy the ride and the ones who always took it to the next level?

For the record, this is NOT in any way a criticism or judgement of the people who drank too much and blacked out or whatever. At all. And it’s not a discussion on alcoholism – that is a whole different side of alcohol.

It’s simply an observation and a question about why certain people rode it out and some always went the extra mile! I wonder.