Saturday, October 17, 2009

a visit to my grandparents.

I went to visit my grandparent's today. They've been dead nearly 5 years. I realized this about a month ago... and it freaks me out. It doesn't seem like they've been gone that long. It still hurts, you know? I still miss them, everyday.

It was a beautiful day today. It was cold, about 40 degrees, but the sun was shining bright, making everything okay. I talked to my grandparents a little bit. Not a deep conversation or anything, just a quick hello and an "i miss you". And then some quiet time.

Someday, I hope to make my grandparent's proud of me. And not just proud cuz they're my grandparents, but proud because of my accomplishments.

(self portrait, 10.17.09)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

3.75 for a club soda... I should write a blog about that!

Most days, something happens and I think to myself, "I should write a blog about that". Most days however, I don't. Today is different.

Last night I went to Fine Line to see my friend Larry, aka Meta. Larry and I went fishing once this summer.... I don't recall catching anything, but it was fun to catch up with an old friend. He told me he's been rapping lately, and getting paid to do it. Damn, dude must be good, right? Yes. He is good, and extremely marketable.

Anyhow, Larry was playing a free show at Fine Line last night, so I did what any good friend would do.... I bit my tongue, crossed the river, and parked in downtown Minneapolis. My friend Amelia and I got there around 9:15 or 9:30.

"ID's, the dude behind the plexi-glass. We handed him our ID's. "Who are you hear to see", he asked? "Larry", I said. He didn't know who that was. "Meta", I told him.... kind of annoyed... who the fuck does it matter who we're seeing?

We go in and say hello to Larry. (note: I know Larry as Larry. We talked about it while we were fishing.... it's okay for me to still call him larry, cuz that's how I know him. Other people, people who know him for his rapping, they can/should call him Meta). We sat for a bit, and learned we'd have to wait an hour or two before he went on.

Drinks, we decided! I'm still on this "no drinking" thing. It's been 3 weeks and a day. (it's been an up and down ride.... mostly good.... just sort of a pain in the ass). Anyhow, Amelia ordered a Whiskey Sour. It was buy one get one free.... which is good, because the 2 she got maybe had a combined total of an ounce of shitty whiskey. Amelia headed back to the table, and I waited to order...

Still waiting....

A few minutes later, the (same) bartender approaches me. "I'll take a club soda please", I tell him. He (overfills) a 12 ounce plastic cup with ice. "I'm gonna have to charge you for this", he says. I figured as much, most places do. "2.75" he told me. Fuck, 2.75 for carbonated water? It better come with a happy ending.... or at least free refills. "Free refills right", I asked? "No sorry, but I guess I can it as a 2 for 1", he replied. Jackass.

I tipped a dollar, to ensure that I'd get a refill, since he made it seem like he was going out of his was to "hook me up", as the 2 for 1's were for cocktails and shots only.

I know I shouldn't complain. It was a free show. I got to see Larry, and hang out with Amelia. We played the "Marry, Fuck, Chuck" game. You name 3 things, and you have to marry one, fuck one, and chuck one. Here's an example that Amelia came up with....

Ice Cream, Chicken, and Diet Coke.

After some thought.... I decided to marry ice cream, fuck chicken, and chuck diet coke. Leaving the diet coke was a hard one, but life without chicken or ice cream would prove too devastating for me.

Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Micheal Jackson.

I'd marry Stevie (obviously), fuck Marvin Gaye, and chuck Micheal.

Larry asked, "But what about Micheal back in the day" (when he was black)? Ooooh... that changes things. In that case, I'd have to marry Stevie, fuck Michael, and chuck Marvin. Sad!

Anyhow, the night was good. In fact, yesterday in general was good! I went rock climbing at Vertical Endeavors with Brienn and Amelia. The last time I had been, I was 8 or 9 years old and it was a pathetic/horrible experience. Yesterday, it was great! We all made it to the top of the wall! Sushi followed climbing, which is always a good thing. And reruns of Boston Legal with Amelia's folks was kick ass as well.

Yesterday was a great day, despite my 3.75 club soda (2.75+ tip). It was awesome to see Larry in his element. I like the Fine Line, and have seen a few other really awesome shows there (Zap Mama and Sia come to mind). As soon as I sat down with my club soda last night, I told Amelia, "I should write a blog about this".

Monday, October 5, 2009

Minnesota Nice

There is such a thing as Minnesota nice, just not when it comes to drivers on the road.

A few weeks ago, I re-read "Staying the Course: A runner's toughest race" by Minnesota native, Dick Beardsley. I had read it some time ago, but figured since I'm on this "6-week-no-drinking-thing" I might as well start running again. And what easier way to start running again, than reading a book about running? Ha!

Anyhow, those who know me well, know that I start many things, and finish only some. (potential employers....feel free to omit this statement). Despite my Attention Deficit tendencies, I finished "Staying the Course" in a couple of days.

"Staying the Course" is about Dick Beardsley's rise, fall, and rise in the world of running. He started out a regular dude, living in the country, working a farm. He proceeded to be one of the fastest marathon runners in the world! His PR came in 1982 when he raced Alberto Salazar in the Boston Marathon. He ran 2:08:53.

Later in life, he got into a wicked farming accident. It had something to do with the "power take off", which I don't really understand, but from the description in his book, he got pretty banged up (i.e. broken ribs, broken arm, metal steak through his chest, and a leg nearly ripped off).

Shitty luck right? It get's worse. In the next couple of years, he ended up getting hit by a car, falling off a cliff, etc. It's amazing that he continued to bounce back... although by reading his book, I learned that both the physical and the mental recovery were aided by pain pills. This led to an addiction, which he has now overcome and been sober for over a decade!!

I often read in bed, hoping that the story/lesson/details will bore me to sleep. Such was not the case when reading "Staying the Course". I looked up Dick Beardsley shortly after finishing his book. When your search engine is on "auto", try typing in Dick Beardsley and the following things might pop up; additction, alberto salazar, boston, yasso, foundation, accident, motivational speaker.

I found out that he was on facebook, so I shot him a message. I let him know that I finished his book (for the second time) and that I really enjoyed it. I mentioned my goal of 6 weeks with no booze, and asked for some suggestions of other books I might read that deal with mental toughness, addiction and running. Although I don't think I'm addicted to booze, I think that reading about overcoming obstacles and finding balance can bring hope, and ideally a bit of guidance my way. At the very least, it can't hurt.

Dick wrote me back, and guess what he did? He offerred to send me a signed copy of his book! I already have the book though, so I asked if he'd send me a copy of his CD, "A matter of Faith" instead. Sure enough, he did! Although Dick lives in Texas now, and travels around the globe speaking about addiction and recovery, he seems to have retained his "Minnesota Nice".

Rarely am I proud to be an American. Often am I proud to be a Minnesotan. And always, yes always, am I delighted to be a Saint Paul Kid.