Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Not Feelin' it This Year....

Here we are 4 days from Christmas, and I've had some trouble feelin' the Christmas spirit this year.

Not sure why exactly. I have a lot to be cheerful about, namely that my beautiful wife is pregnant and next July we're going to have our first child. Pretty awesome.
I guess it's a combination of things, I think. The older I get I just realize how commercialized it's all become and how any real meaning has just gotten trampled on by the insane crowds at the malls, black Friday sales, people fighting over parking spaces to be 10 extra feet closer, and how the "season" begins earlier and earlier each year, which just translates to more shopping, spending and guilt. And when I say "real meaning", I take it as a time to get together with family and friends. It's like a reward for all the hard work over the year. That's what I really look forward to (aside from getting some time off from work!) I miss being a kid at Christmas. There was so much innocence and joy about it. Yes, as a kid, it certainly was about the gifts, but it was the one time of year that it seemed anything was possible! In addition, kids don't usually have the means to just buy whatever they want, whenever.


The gifts have begun to mean less and less to me over the years. It's actually freeing to think of just spending time with family on Christmas, without gifts, without the hassles of shopping, without worrying about paying your credit card bill in January, and the feelings of guilt when someone gives you a gift and you haven't gotten anything for them. I bought stuff for my wife, of course, and the dogs, and I am looking forward to giving out gifts this year, more so than receiving anything. When I tell her to not get me anything, I actually mean it (even though know she's getting me stuff anyway).

Living in south Florida, it's pretty easy to have the holiday season come and go without notice. A lot of people put lights up and other decorations, but it's still not the same as up north. I'd say this time of year is really the only time I miss the winter and the cold weather. Plus, the people down here don't exactly emote holiday cheer.

<-----"Merry Christmas, asshole! Give me your parking space NOW"

Christmas music has usually been a huge part of the Christmas season for me, too. I've enjoyed putting together my Christmas playlist, or trying to find wacky Christmas tunes, or cool rock versions or songs by bands I like. This year, I haven't bothered. I know Trine wants to have Christmas music for our drive to my mom's house, so I will have to put something together in the next couple days. Between taking care of Trine, the dogs, working and trying to keep the house in shape, it just hasn't been a priority.

Plus, a couple weeks before Thanksgiving, when I turned on South Florida's only modern rock station, all I heard was awful renditions of Christmas classics. Only then did I realize that the morning DJ I like (Bubba the Love Sponge!) was fired and the station was reformatted. Then I just got sad. It is now "easy listening," whatever that means. Believe me, there's nothing easy about listening to that shit.

This Christmas, what I really look forward to just spending time with Trine, the pups and my family; having dinner and talking about all the hopes for 2011, which for me, will include the birth of my first child (What, me daddy?) and hopefully beating Donkey Kong Country Returns & Super Mario Galaxy 2 for the Wii.

I think having a new baby will give me reason to be more cheerful next year.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Looking Back, Looking Forward: 2010

Happy New Year everyone!

(Clint Howard, for no particular reason)

Ok, so I am a few days late. Nevertheless, every year I make it a point to reflect on the year and think about my hopes for the upcoming year. This past year was a rollercoaster and I cannot say I am sad to see it go. This year was a tough year for a lot of people, I think. There was a general feeling of unrest, of something not quite being right. The economy was in shambles, folks lost their jobs, and those with jobs, even crappy ones, were thankful to have a paycheck coming in. I think that a lot of people are glad that 2009 is history. I am sure everyone has their own take on 2009. Everyone reading this has their own highlight reel and their own hopes for 2010. Here are mine:

Highlights of 2009

· Though Trine and I were married in December 2008, 2009 was our first year of marriage. On August 1, 2009, our episode of Wedding Day aired and it was amazing to see the show for the first time and relive our wedding with all of our friends and family, including those who could not attend. (Pictured: Trine, guitar god Yngwie Malmsteen, myself).

· Trine was accepted in Florida International University’s inaugural class for the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. I am so proud of her. Sorry for the cliché, but she is truly following her dream. Ever since we met in late 2006, Trine’s dream was to attend medical school and be an amazing doctor. She has already accomplished the first part, and I know she will fulfill the second. Her compassion and intelligence are two of her greatest assets. Plus, she will be making mad cash! Woohoo! Daddy wants a recording studio!

· In September, Trine and I bought a house. It took six long months, and two lost houses, but we finally landed a nice 3/2 in west Broward County. It was bank owned property, but was left in decent condition. We have updated the appliances, repainted the walls and put a lot of hard work (along with loads of help from my mother and Bill). Our next goal is to turn the mess of a backyard they left us with into our own little paradise. This time next year, we hope to have a new lawn, stripper pole, refurbished grill and some nice outside furniture. We’ll keep you posted on the backyard BBQ’s. And the stripper pole. Wait...Trine said no stripper pole.

· My health has been great this year. I had a brief, minor rejection episode in March 2009, but that is about it. I am proud to have realized my goal of getting back to the gym and regaining my pre transplant physique and strength. I have rediscovered the dedication and drive to be successful in the gym. I am so happy to be able to workout again.

Me lift weights. Me drink protein shakes. Me strong. You weak like little girl.

· Lastly, but certainly not least, Trine and I made two additions to our family of puggles. We picked up Isabel (Izzy) in March 2009. She is our only female dog, and is a total nutcase. She is also the sweetest little daddy’s girl. In November 2009, we adopted Pudge, a five year old puggle whose family abandoned him after being foreclosed on. Pudge has some food and toy protection issues, but he just wants to be loved. It’s been an adjustment period for the all the dogs, but with time I think they will all get along fine. And we're done with dogs. Seriously.

Looking Forward: 2010

I do not make resolutions. They come with a lot of pressure and leave little room for error, which is why they get broken so easily. Then people get discouraged or give up all together, and end up making the same resolutions the next year.

Instead, I make goals. My goals for 2010 include:

· Improving budgeting skills (lotto)
· Keep the house cleaner (french maid)
· Decrease anxiety/stress (drugs)
· Fix up the yard (arson)
· Beat Super Mario Bros. Wii (cheat)
· Continue writing music (boy band)

In February, as part of Wedding Day TV show, I will be on a 3 ½ day pass to Rock n’ Roll Fantasy Camp in Hollywood, CA where I will write, jam and perform with musicians and rock stars alike, such as Sammy Hagar, Kip Winger and Gary Hoey. I am hoping to meet Vince Neil of Motley Crue, too! My buddy Beau is gonna come along. When 2/3 of Radium Therapy get unleashed on Hollywood, craziness will ensue.

While, as I said, I do not make resolutions, I do view the New Year as a starting over period. I look forward to strengthening some of my weaknesses. Like many of you, I want to make 2010 a better year than 2009 was. Happy New Year everyone!