Thursday, December 13, 2012

Jeremy vs. Life

Dear Life/The Universe/Whatever,

Look, I get it.  You don't like me.

I know this.  I got the message when I was 8. But, seriously, do you have to keep reminding me so often?

Don't get me wrong, I understand that everyone needs to get knocked down a peg every once in a while, but can I climb a few rungs up the ladder before you boot me in the face again?

No?

Well, then there is something that you are going to have to come to terms with... you are not going to get me to give up, and even if you do manage to knock me off the ladder completely and put me in the dirt, I'm going to get back up and start climbing again. Sure, ten or fifteen years ago I might have given up.  I might have let myself lie there face down in the mud with your boot grinding into the back of my head.  Not anymore.  You see, my life and how it turns out isn't about me anymore.  I have two people counting me to deliver for them everyday... and I will never let them down.

So go ahead and keep kicking.  Just keep in mind that while you may have connected with that kick in the stomach yesterday, you missed the last couple of times.  Eventually, you and I will be face to face on the ladder.  When that day comes...when we are finally eye to eye and on equal footing, I will grab you by the throat and drag you the rest of the way up the ladder... on my terms.

Sincerely yours,

Jeremy

Monday, December 3, 2012

Jeremy vs. Parenting - Bedtime Sucks



When people ask me what it's like being a parent I always tell them that it is both the most rewarding and the most frustrating thing I have ever done in my life... yeah, tonight definitely falls into the latter category.

Tonight is one of those nights where the limits of your patience gets tested.  It is one of those nights when you have to suck it up and let them cry.  It's a night when you swallow the lump in your throat and try to un-knot your stomach because you're standing outside the closed door to their room where you've dropped the giant pile of stuffed animals you just angrily stole from their beds. You're the one that made them cry and you feel like a big pile of shit because of it.  You tell yourself that they have to learn... that if they hadn't been talking and screwing around way past their bed time this wouldn't have been necessary... but it doesn't change the fact that they are both crying and calling for you because of what you have done.

I signed up for this.  I wanted to be a father.  Most of the time I love it.

Just not tonight.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Share this with someone you love...


The randomness of the internet brought me to this song and for that I am grateful.

From the description on the YouTube page...


Filmed in Berlin, at the MichelBerger Mystery Music Festival, August 2011.

"After the concert I finally dared to ask her what I wanted to ask her that morning, to sing us this lullaby that struck me down. It's Sunday morning, a morning of hangovers. The whole hotel seems suspended in the air. We ask her to get to the bar, to make it sing for her, to sing for her son (for whom she had written this song). We erase ourselves. She, she doesn't. After we're done filming, I cry. She cries too."

Friday, November 23, 2012

She's growing up...

November 22nd, 2005.  

It feels like yesterday and ages ago all at once.

It was the day my life had been irrevocably changed forever.  It was the day my daughter, Sophia came into the world.  That day I learned more about myself than I had in the entire 30 years leading up to it.  I held in my arms the most unique little being that had ever graced my life.  I marveled at human biology and stood in awe of the complexity of the universe. I had helped to create a new life and now I would help it grow and flourish.

That was seven years ago.  It sounds cliche to say it, but so much has happened in that short amount of time.  Sophia has grown.  She’s almost too big for me to just casually pick her up any more.  She’s grown intellectually to the point that now she doesn't accept things so easily.  She questions things and wants to understand the how’s and why’s of the world that she inhabits.  As fascinating as it was to see her discover the world around as a baby and a toddler, it is even more so to watch her begin to pull things apart and really start to put the puzzle pieces together.


So much of her world has changed over the last year and yet she has somehow managed to handle it with a surprising measure of strength.

She amazes me everyday.

There a no four sweeter words in the English language than, "I love you daddy..."


Sunday, October 7, 2012

So It Goes...

I can't deny it, every morning after I drag myself out of bed I check Facebook. Usually there isn't much going on and I quickly move on with my day.  Today turned out to be a punch in the gut. Two identical posts were at the very top of my news feed. One from my friend Tony who goes by the handle "Jumping Jack" and the other was a post from Empire Comics, the comic book store that he owned and operated.

Here is the text of those posts...
To all of Anthony's family and friends. After a long battle, Anthony passed on today at 3:45 AM. Details will follow soon with calling hours and service for later this week. God Bless and Rest In Peace. 
My heart burst and I sat struggling to accept the reality of what I had just read. How could this be true?  I had just traded messages with him 3 days ago. When I last saw him about 3 weeks ago he seemed almost like his old self again. Unfortunately, given the circumstances of his condition, I knew this post would be coming.  I just never believed it would be this soon. Tony had been battling lung cancer and sadly, cancer had claimed his twin brother Jim only 5 months ago. The last we spoke his doctors had told him that while the cancer appeared to be responding to the treatment, he would never achieve remission and they couldn't give him any expectation as to how long he could expect his body to fight. As he told me the last time I saw him, "Jeremy, you just never know."

I have known Tony for close to 30 years.  In 1983, when I was 8 years old, I started reading comics.  Every week I would take my allowance and ride my bike down to the convenience store and hit the spinner rack and come home with a bag full.  Within a year I was following 3-5 books and I began to realize that I was missing issues.  The spinner rack just wasn't going to cut it.  That's when I discovered Empire Comics.  I can remember practically begging my mother to drive me there.  The first time I walked in it was like stepping into a brand new world.  I couldn't believe that there was an entire store that just sold comics!  It was there that I met Tony.  I still remember his first words to me, "You gonna buy something, kid.  This isn't a library you know!"  He scared the living hell out of me.  I reminded him of that a few months ago and I think we laughed for a good five minutes.

For the next 9 years I made a once a month trek (sometimes twice if my mom had to go somewhere near there) to Empire Comics.  I still have every one of the comics, graphic novels, posters, and other paraphernalia that I bought there. As I got older Tony and I had more and more conversations and he scared me less and less.  However, like so many others around the time I graduated from high school in 1993, I pretty much stopped buying comics and my trips to Empire ceased.  I moved forward with my life and I thought I had left comics behind.

Enter 2004... A couple of my friends whom I was working with at the time were big into comics and when they discovered that I had been into them as a kid and wasn't reading them now they dragged me back into the fold.  After spending a good 6 months reading borrowed materials, I decided that it was time to buy some new comics of my own.  So, naturally, I went to familiar ground... Empire Comics.  I still remember walking in the door after a decade and being hit with not just the sight of the place, but the smell.  Ask any comic geek... nothing smells like a comic book store.  It's like a strange mix of newsprint, plastic and nerd.  It's awesome.  There was Tony, almost right where I had seen him last over a decade before.  We chatted and he showed me some of the stuff that was popular.  I spent 3 hours there that day, chatting and reminiscing about the comic book industry of the late 80's and how things had exploded.  I walked out with almost $100 in books and what I didn't realize would end up being a great friendship.

After that I made the trek to Empire at least twice a month.  Always buying and always ending up having a great conversation with Tony.  After a few months I had finally convinced him to stop calling me Mister Thompson... my reasoning, "Tony, I've been buying comics from you since I was 9... I should be calling you Mister." ...and so it went.

About 4 years ago I get a friend request on Facebook from someone going by the handle "Jumping Jack"... The message that was with it read, "Hey Jer, it's Tony from Empire Comics.  Always great talking to you at the shop, I figure we can keep it going here too."

I happily accepted.

Tony was a good friend.  2 years ago when I got laid off from HP, he encouraged me to come down to the store and hang out.  He made it clear that he was not expecting me to make any purchases, he just wanted to give me a reason to get out the house.  Inevitably I would spend a couple of hours talking about anything and everything and I would end up leaving with a stack of books that he would hand to me and say, "Look, man... I know that you don't have the money to be buying comics.  Take these, read them and bring them back. You know, take your mind off your troubles for a while."

It's just how he was.  When he found out that I was getting divorced he handed me a folded up promo poster, with the direction to decorate the kids' room with it.  It turns out that it was a poster for Marvel's the Wonderful Wizard of OZ series.  It was beautiful with art by Skottie Young (one of my current favorites).  Whenever I brought kids in he always made sure they went home with something special.  Even after he got sick and I didn't see him as often, I would always get the occasional message from him asking me how things were going.  When he got really sick, Facebook was a blessing for staying in touch.

About 3 weeks ago I had a horrific day and posted as such on my Facebook wall.  I got a message from him within an hour telling me to come down to the shop after work.  He said he would be there and he figured we could just hang out and I could vent.  He seemed like his old self again.  He admitted that he was still fighting, but things were looking positive.  He let me vent, he let me blab on about my problems and then he helped me just let it go.  We talked for probably another two hours.  Mostly about life and how unpredictable it was.  We didn't talk much about comics, or movies, Godzilla, or Doctor Who... we just talked and I was able to put things back into perspective.  He shook my hand and we said good bye.  That was the last time I saw him.  We continued to stay in touch online and now I find myself, today...

As I have said before, I don't pretend to know much about religion or the after-life, or if any of it is true.  All I can say for sure is that my life was richer, because Tony was in it.

Thank you, Tony.  Thank you for the years of fun reads.  Thank you for the conversations.  Thank you for helping me keep my head on straight when it was looking to spin off my neck completely.  It was truly an honor to call you my friend.

Rest in Peace, brother...

Anthony Furfferi, August 31, 1950 - October 7, 2012

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Writing Challenge - Day 4

Another piece for my parenting blog... these posts are almost therapeutic at times.



On Being Daddy: The 3 P's of Paternity: Patience... Presence... and Partnership... P #1 - Patience: Everyone knows that you're supposed to be patient with your children. I con...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Writing Challenge Day 3

I'm just skirting in under the wire here.  I revisited and revised a story that I had started a few months ago and promptly abandoned.  Now is as good a time as any to get back to work on it...

Fair warning don't read this if you're squeamish...


----------------------------------------------------

Pete Farmer slowly began to stir from his deep sleep.  He could feel the cold hard concrete beneath the weight of his body.  His head throbbed.  Given the amount of alcohol he had consumed the previous night it was safe to assume that this was his punishment.  It didn’t take long before he realized that this was the worst hangover he had ever experienced in his life, even since college.  It felt like he’d been clubbed over the head and thrown down a flight of stairs.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Jeremy vs. the Next 30 Days - Day 2

My writing for today... enjoy :-)

On Being Daddy: Putting the "Father" in "Single Father": So here's a question for you... What is the definition of a "single father"? Hold that thought for a moment and let's focus on "single p...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Jeremy vs. the Next 30 Days

So, I have decided to embark on one of those self-imposed 30 day challenges.  I want to get back into the groove of being creative again.  It's been far far too long since I let the creative side of my personality take over and run wild.

Here is the challenge...

Everyday for the next 30 days I will take 30 minutes to write. It can be a blog post, a poem, a short story...ANYTHING.  I just have to force myself to spend at least 30 minutes at my desk writing.

I will post my updates here and hopefully, when all is said and done I will have begun to resharpen a skill which has long gone dull...

Without further ado...

I've decided to "reboot" my parenting blog.  With so many changes happening in my life over the past couple of years some of the posts just don't feel right any more and my perspectives on some of the subjects I previously wrote about have vastly changed.  That being the case I felt it was time to polish it off and start over.


On Being Daddy: What did you call me?: Dad... Daddy... Dada... I've been all of those over the last few years since becoming a parent. Now that I find myself in the position...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Jeremy vs. World Folk Music: Afghanistan

I like to think of myself as a lover of music.  In particular I have always had an affinity for traditional/folk music. Up to this point when I think of the term "folk music" my mind immediately jumps to American or Irish folk music.  Recently I heard a traditional southern Indian folk song and I felt myself so moved by it that I decided that it was time to broaden my scope a bit and take a trip into the realm of folk music of other cultures.  I'm not a music scholar so I won't pretend to offer any real insight into the music, but I will try to offer up the more interesting bits of trivia that I find along the way.

I decided to start my journey into world folk music by simply opening a list of the countries of the world and going through them alphabetically.  The first country on the list is Afghanistan...


Searching through YouTube for examples I've found that Afghanistan has an amazingly rich musical heritage and thankfully, now that the Taliban have been thrown out of power this rich heritage is making a flourishing return...



As with most other traditional songs in other cultures, the primary function of a song like the one above is to tell a story and though we cannot understand the words the emotion clearly comes through.  Here is another one...



I could just close my eyes and listen to this stuff all day... 

If you want to read more about the traditional music of Afghanistan check out this article on Wikipedia... 

Next stop... Albania

Jeremy vs. 2012

Hmmm... I am really beginning to wonder if this whole blogging thing is for me.  Seriously!  My last post was back in October, the day that Steve Jobs died.  It's not as if I haven't had anything blog worthy happen since then.  I just need to motivate myself better.


So here comes the resolution... uh, no... wait a sec.  I don't make resolutions.  You know what?  I'll just try and make this year better.  That's really all I want... just a better year.

A year where I'm not struggling to pay my bills and maybe get to save a little money...

A year where I have as few life changing crises as possible...

A year where at the the end of it I can look back and feel like I haven't been upside down spinning my wheels for most of it...

Then again... maybe I'll just settle for learning how to deal with things better.