justbecausetwit

Just another WordPress.com site

Tag: home

Ciao, Camino! It’s been belissimo. Really.

Now is the time.

Goodbye, my Camino Frances.

I may not return, especially alone.

If you’ve followed this blog, you know how I love ❤️ Spain 🇪🇸 and, at this moment, detest my Divided States 🇺🇸 of America. So happy to have four weeks away from the man who shall not be named.

Regardless, it’s about time to fly home to the D.S.A. and my loved ones.

Really loved ones.

Many post about the post-Camino blues and readjusting to their normal lives. Back to normal responsibilities and cares that don’t involve 20-40kms walking 🚶 per day.

I admit that I did had a bit of that after my first Camino. My first European experience was special and rather emotional with my two daughters.

Not as much this time. Just as special, just much less emotional. Except for happiness. Very happy few weeks here with everyone. I love this world 🌎 even more now.

Moving on…

I have a wonderful, gorgeous, and super successful wife, partner, mom, and sales pro supporting me and wanting me home. Two boys that miss me too. Two girls out on their own adventures. And a great life and belissimo hometown to return to in no time.

This last week began in Samos and its Monastery from the 6th century. I made a couple of friends from France 🇫🇷 and Boston/San Diego and they made my lunch and my evening walk joys.

This was and is a lovely town of Samos.

Off to Sarria and just passing through. Too overcrowded. Roughly 60% of Camino pilgrims start there. 5 days to Santiago for that piece of Compostela paper. To each his own Camino.

I filled up my APOC credential and I am now using the Espana credential that I bought for €2 at the Samos Monasterio. Lots of room for stamps.

This last week, as well as parts of the last four weeks from Burgos to Santiago, have been my long goodbye. I know the end of a very good thing when I experience it. Like a sweet beach town with nothing but locals in business turning over to chains and big $$$ business interests. That’s when I need to move on. The magic is gone.

Our Camino now smells of ample Euros. What was €5-7 is now €8-11. Habaticions to ordinary pilgrim meals, the smell of money 💰 is in the Camino air. BTW. Check out the number of BMWs and Mercedes in very strange Camino places. One huge BMW parked on the lot/sidewalk of the newest Albergue in Tríacastela. Not a pilgrim, I’m guessing.

Standard “sandwich ” signage everywhere for sugary desserts and carbon copy pilgrim menus. Hamburgers and pizzas??? I came here to escape America. Not eat more of it.

Please understand.

I love Spain 🇪🇸!!! Her countryside. Her authentic food and her vino tinto. Her happier people. Her rare villager who will smile and offer “Buen Camino!!!” …those 3 older folks…one sweet woman in her gown with a cane, one cigar chomping man on the road, and one beret wearing man sitting under a tree in his backyard….three brief joys and my heart and mind were lifted as I responded “Gracias!!!” to each “Buen Camino!!!!!” each of those three offered right when I needed it. All too rare moments this time on my Camino.

I will indeed miss the cool daily walks on uncertain paths and the sights, sounds, and smells of rural Spain. No doubt there. But, as I’ve shared with many, one can make one’s own Camino everyday, anywhere. Just walk.

Walk through any wooded park. Walk through fields. Walk around any small town or village, if they still exist.

Just walk. And think.

No phone. No tunes. No distractions. Just walk and listen to the natural 🌎 world including your own footsteps. Easy to do in rural Spain. Little traffic. Mostly people on foot. Locals and pilgrims alike. Just walking.

Outside the old to ancient towns and villages, there are a million+ calm and beautiful places to walk by and through…..excluding the tissue strewn areas where grown men and women squat and literally dump on their Camino. 💩 Yuck.

I’ll never understand that level of disrespect for such a special, historic Way of St. James. Tissues used to wipe off the disrespect are all up and down the Camino and don’t think that the locals haven’t noticed. Hence, the lack of “Buen Camino” in the air. More Camino magic lost on me.

Back to the beauty of my last week here in Spain.

Beauty is everywhere here.

My walks alone. Walks with others. Just walking.

Jeremy, an actor from California, was another joy to walk and chat with. We only learned our names hours later at the top of Sarria. Funny. Hours after meeting in the Tríacastela dark. I had a flashlight for us to see our way.

What I love most about my Camino, and travel anywhere , is the unknown that turns into a discovery. A wonderful discovery. Sarria is too big and busy. Barbadelo offered a resort and farmhouse. I wanted more. Delicious menu and belissimo company for the evening. Si. Every night!

Is there a country spot that’s peaceful and smells of fresh air? Yes, there is.

Milano de Marzan.

Her owner looks very young, but acts like a mom to this middle Age pilgrim. Kinda funny. She did not appreciate my efficiency for vino tinto consumption in very remote regions of Spain 🇪🇸. Fair enough. She grew on me.

I chose to miss out on the Barbadelo resort for a farmhouse that wasn’t attended until 1pm. It was 11am. I moved on, with my trusty guide book, and found my paradise for one night. It was more magic.

Once the usual cleaning and laundry was hung, I went for …what else???…another walk. Met several peregrinos along The Way and offered all Buen Camino! with gusto. Most were happy.

God was watching and caring.

I arrived home that night to an almost full room of Italians. I had just slept with a small room of Italians the night before. No bueno.

This group was different. Young to my age. Maybe older. Who knows??? Very friendly. Not detached like the albergue before. They were and are very sweet at dinner and beyond….

I won’t forget our belissimo time together that night and the brief morning walk together too. More than belissimo.

Made my way to Portomarin and very familiar sights. Small river town, but not as small as the Gonzar ahead that we enjoyed before. This town did not smell of cow 🐮 and had more dining and sleeping options.

However, “Completo. Completo. Completo….” was all I heard until I ventured off my Brierley guidebook grid and found a small, family bar albergue with two bunks, four beds and that’s where I settled, washed, and cleaned early.

Sometimes, you just take what you can get for 10€.

Later, to be joined by one BASQUE biker 🚵 and two other Spaniards. There’s a difference… Basque is not Spain 🇪🇸, even though the Basque territory straddles Spain and France 🇫🇷. Watch “The Way”. It explains.

All 3 gents are very nice, very fit, and probably very curious about this large fellow that is not from around here. I understand.

Fine healthy meal, churchside!

y

Belissimo siesta. Bueno tour around Portomarin.

No cow smell. All good that night.

Tomorrow is another day….

What began as a short 4 hour day turned into an almost 7 hour day covering about 27kms. About my maximum. The nice cafe owner 10km back advised me that his albergue was Completo or full with reservations tonight. One group. A growing Camino issue that goes against the history and spirit, in my opinion. So, I kept walking. I’m pretty well trained these days. Another 10k came and went with beauty…

Until, after offering “Ciao!!” to my Italian ladies, I found my next albergue paradise. First one there again….

Casa Domingo was recommended by a friend of the owners at the Ant sculpture albergue that was Completo. I made it. I rested. I napped. I ate. And I loved Casa Domingo…

After I inhaled my super burger for only 4€, I chatted with the owners who live in the distant farmhouse. They own 8 albergues. Guess where I’m staying tomorrow night?

But, another dinner with a lovely Italian family of 4 and my bunkmate, a German….

The 21 yr old daughter was my family interpreter. They were a joy.

We chatted in the yard all afternoon and after siesta while it rained at dinner. All belissimo. Italians are very curious about America.

I tossed and turned a bit that night, let most bump and thump their way out by 6 and I finally rose to get ready to walk at sunrise.

Other than my classic sunrise 🌅, grande croissant 🥐, and those ancient Roman bridges…all that’s left to show before today’s siesta is the most beautiful young couple in the 🌎!!!!

That photo cannot begin to describe how beautiful these two new “friends” from Madrid are!!! Then, add their curiosity, their youth, their spirits, and their collective energy….so beautiful to spend seconds with them everyday and a good hour with them today!!! They will be missed, as we had to say buenos Dias and Buen Camino to Marta & Danny one last time….

Goodbyes sadden me.

A few family updates and a short siesta later. I’m back. Ready for dinner. Menu sounded so limited and bland, but I am stuck in this one kitchen town. So I thought!

First, my sweet server gives me choices.

Insalata, por favor…..ehhhhh…no tuna. Jamon??? Si, she says. Grilled steak???? Si!!!!

The best grilled meat, fried potato, and fresh insalata with Jamon I’ve ever had…no dressing needed Perfecto!!!!

Then St. James tarta and a mysterious shot. Looked harmless.

Goodnight, sweet Saint James.

Another 20km done today in rain. A 4 hour slog was enough for me and The Way Pensión I booked in Brea allowed me in 2.5 hours early. Being soaked may have helped. The pool is perfect for kids and polar bear challengers.

Hoping for the sun to make an appearance soon or sometime tomorrow. Then on to Santiago on Thursday.

I recall a pretty industrial landscape between here and Santiago de Compestella. Not going to bore anyone with those sights.

Not going to selfie the historic Cathedral either. Plenty of those out there.

I’m just going to end my almost three year fascination & Love affair with Frances this way.

The Way. My Way.

My Love, you know who you are.

Our way from now on.

Gracias for following along.

Find your Camino where your heart is…just be there, walk long walks, and think about your Way everywhere and everyday.

Finally…..

Buen Camino!

Advertisements

Home. Camino. Home. All sweet.

I miss home…again…and that’s a very good thing. Just a few great reasons why here…

When we get away from home, it’s almost always as a family, sometimes as a couple, and rarely on business or pilgrimage. That’s just how we roll.

Although, My Love did ask me the other night if she could go stay on the coast of Mexico next February with a great friend and fellow working-hard mom/business pro. I’m in Spain for four weeks. I’m sure you can guess how easy my answer came. Of course.

This will be my last Camino Frances for a while. I need time to process and explore other pilgrimages with loved ones. It’s just not the same solo. I did not expect that thought. But, it’s true for me.

We all need to getaway. With family or alone or with best friends. It’s healthy and makes you realize who and what you miss. But, you also have super, rare moments that will be etched in your brain forever…

My 2017 Camino is etching beautiful caverns in my brain this month. Half of it dig a little deeper with the help of July, 2015. Other half brand new.

The kind of caverns I see My Love and willing kids and others carving through all of Europe by train and foot, through the Sea of Cortez, Caribbean, Mediterranean, and ??? by sail, moorings, marinas, and other friendly confines. Deep memories that last for generations. Not what we did for a living. Nor what we owned. But, what we did with what we had and who we shared it with…that is my intended legacy for our future kids I’ll hang with and those I’ll never meet. In the meantime, My Love and I plan to share really fun, interesting, and mind-altering places and people with the kids we have, those they bring to the adventure and those we cannot imagine.

If you can’t tell, I’m already thinking about post-Camino.

A sad American curse is struggling to live in the moment. We are always thinking about the next thing. Or 22 next things. It’s sad and I’m guilty too. Another reason to love Spain and other “in the moment” cultures.

Dinner outside at 10pm , even with kids, with little regard for tomorrow. Siesta in the middle of the afternoon because you need it…and it’s just feels good.

I had a communal dinner several nights ago with 6 Italians, 1 older German gent, and 1 very young Hungarian gent…all very entertaining and too curious about the America that I gladly left behind.

Tonight, it’s dinner with my new Israeli/Irish young couple. Already caught up with them after siesta as we lounged on our respective bunk beds in our cool (literal and figurative) bunk house/room with a new bath and stairs to it!!!!

The other 3 dining companions were Italian, of course…it is August…and worked very hard to speak English for all of us to understand. We did. Another young couple and a fellow a few years younger than me with a story of love. His new love is just a couple of days walk behind up. We wants to wait for here here or in the next town. Not sure how that love is going to work out. We shall see.

These five from Italy 🇮🇹, Ireland 🇮🇪, Israel 🇮🇱, and our hosts from Brazil 🇧🇷 & Italy 🇮🇹 joined in a round of Happy Birthday 🎈 in their respective languages…so, Reagan had a happy birthday from this world 🌎.

So sweet.

Take #2 happened (to be posted later) with a different group of pilgrim diners since I decided to hang back and stay in La Faba, Spain 🇪🇸 a second night. Not usual for a non-injured guy on my Camino like me. I just need my second dose and I will move on. Maybe. We shall see. Hard to move on from all of this lush green and simple agrarian life. Except for animal poop everywhere. I could live without that, like people 💩 along the Camino.

Then, today, a little 4.5km day trip to O’Cebreiro….up there and back….

…to pay homage to Father Don who , before his death in 1989 at age 60, he led the yellow arrow waymarking movement along the Camino. Many salutes and memorial plaques with his likeness outside and his resting place in this church. Thank you, Santiago & Father Don for The Way.

A day trip to O’Cebrieo was a good morning climb, kind of touristy past the beautiful church, but also had gorgeous views and I met several beautiful young people from Wales and Spain on foot and on bikes. Both asked for pictures and I took mine too plus conversations with each, before I went one way and they another..

Back up early before 4am. Cannot make too much noise, like the Italians behind me…

…during my lunch today.

We were in bed and not a courtyard. I waited for the two Spaniards to wake up and make noise before I even moved.

Then, back in the dark to Galicia…

Long 26km to Tríacastela. Passed my Canadian friends as they pushed their bikes a km or two to O’Cebrerio. Arrived there. Filled my 1.5 liter agua bottle. And onward through several little towns. Jewel of a meeting was Elizabeth from Australia 🇦🇺. About my mom’s age, I’m guessing. So strong. So beautiful. Left her son in her dust. Oh, so funny too. Our encounter was just minutes, as she needed coffee ☕️. I can only imagine our conversation past family chat we had. I was strong and needed to keep moving. No caffeine required. Which led to meeting Louis from Paris. I passed him at a cafe and he quickly caught up. He had a hearing issue or something that we did not discuss. We just walked and talked.

Fortunately, he was a fan of Americans and his English beat my French hands-down. We walked a long way together, discussing life , and parted ways when my body told me to find rest. His young frame took him onward, I’m guessing.

I passed the Albergue that I knew from last time, toured and declined the historic one I liked in my book, then tripped over the chosen one. I helped “Completo” this one. Bunking with more Italians. All Italians. Maybe one family. Very loud people. Everywhere.

Moving on. Great 10€ meal with calamari, pulpo, Santiago tarta, and a bottle of vino tinto. Alone. On a patio. No Italians. By design.

Now relaxing in my pension garden. All clean. Clean clothes. All packed for quick launch 🚀 tomorrow and ready for Jean.

Jean is the very lively U.K. gal I met while she searched for an Albergue. She seemed so relieved meet someone who spoke fairly good English, by mother land standards.

She asked if I had enjoyed dinner yet. I said “no, I just ate it” and she carried on to eat hers. I’m expecting Jean anytime for sundowner vino tinto….

…alas, Jean never made it back. Must have had a better offer. Goodnight, Jean. Off to bed to rest with 7 Italians in our tiny bunk room. Then. This!

and then this…

Most peaceful, tranquil, and lovely solo walk over 10k in my life. Only to arrive here early and find my ideal habaticion privada for €20 in …

Samos town revolves around this 6th century Monastery that is one of the oldest and largest of its kind in the western world 🌎. Pretty cool, no?

Si….

Last picture. My room view. Gracias.

Samos is small and lovely. I walked around town in a few minutes. Found places of rest. Ate a late lunch…

8€ plus vino tinto de la Casa🍷. Done.

Then, siesta in the lounge….

…with windows open and a nice breeze.

The Camino provides again!

Home for tonight. Still thinking about our actual home 🏡 and my loved people. Happy to share with and speak to some via FaceTime today with this strong wifi.

Less than one week now to Santiago. Last week of 4 weeks away from home. It will be time. I could go home now.

But, I will finish. I will continue. I will pray even more. I will take it all in as it reveals the journey to me. And, I will continue to share the highlights.

All great. Goodnight from Samos in Galicia, Spain 🇪🇸 !

Buen Camino.

And, Ultreia.

Camino stories..

I love stories.

Not fiction. Real stories.

Real people doing what they do and not afraid to share it.

Walking every day across the north of Spain certainly offers a lot of stories, given generously or slipped in maybe by accident. Maybe not.

Two tough gals from Germany 🇩🇪, over fresh paella, made my first communal dinner this year much more interesting and entertaining …

I text my daughter about her German experience and both women were so cool 😎 about it. They knew exactly where she had lived and served outside of Munich.

I’m not quite half-way through this Camino and I cannot possibly transfer the conversational interaction between myself and around two dozen or so other pilgrims. Mostly Italian this time, then French, German, Spanish, English, Argentinian and Hungarian…as seen here….love them all……

Just 2 happy Americans and they were married, thank God.

This is the greatest place in the world to really find out what other cultures think of our American culture AND their own. Same the other way around. What this Americano thinks about Espana and the man who’s name shall not be mentioned. Abundant honesty is here on the Camino, since we may never see one another again. Or will we????. Walls come down that way.

Perfecto! This IS the wonderful space to escape America and all of her current dysfunction right now.

A deserted island 🌴 would work well too, but Spain 🇪🇸 has varied scenery, sweet people, delicious tapas, pulpo, vino tinto, and cervesas. They keep you going after a long half-day of walking 20-30km and afternoon siesta.

And dinner. Sweet peregrino dinner with Italians all..

I will really miss mi amigos , Nicoletta & Filippo , dos kind & sweet people. I ❤️ them. My Love and I have our Italian friends when we sail their way. Jump on our catamaran, you two lovely friends!!!!

A little more than two weeks and I will walk or limp into Santiago and get my next Compostela in Santiago.

Then back to Madrid and fly home.

The Camino is at home too. Trails resemble the peace and the chaos of regular American lives. Cars rule the day. Schedules rule the lives. Nature is slowly paved over. Progress is profit over peace. All very American.

I prefer any alternative to that.

Pura Vida in Costa Rica 🇨🇷?

Not Costa Rica, but you get my Good Life, Pura Vida point, no?

Spain 🇪🇸 & Italy 🇮🇹 have a very similar way of embracing life.

And those kinds of cultures tend to allow people to live longer and show their future generations what really living well is. Pura Vida, si.

Gracias, amigos. Thanks, new friends for lifelong memories and valued education about a bigger world 🌎 than our little America.

Buenos noches,

There are no words….sans Perfecto!

I love Spain. That is fairly clear.

America is fine…but Spain.

Perfecto.

Quiet walk today. No open kitchen nor agua for 18km. I was fine.

Met María & Roland from Italy 🇮🇹 once again. One lovely couple. Getting their rental bikes ready to cross to Astorga.

May see them again. May not.

So quiet today….until….the return of Isaac from Wales. Hilarious 😂 with his Italian travel companion. 2 young blokes just trying to figure the Camino out as cheaply as possible. They argue in different languages like a freakish old married couple, with an occasional f bomb. Leon may just see another reunion of ours. Hope so.

Now, I sit here with my paella and I must dig in now.

Perfecto. Now Jamon croquettes. And small insalata. Limon vinaigrette???? Perfecto.

This place, Restaurante Gil, is THE place at 4 o'clock. Not much else to do and the shady weather is perfecto too.

I've never seen so many thirsty locals and limping peregrinos in one patio bar. Back to my Jamon.

I've also never heard "Americano" used so much around the patio and bar doorway. Who do you possibly think they are discussing? No problem. My flan is here.

This young lady at Gil is taking good care of this Americano. Gracias!

Ahhhhh. They play cards here. Now I get it. Stupido . Americano.

Three bars in this tiny town and they all have a really different vibe and feel. You'll figure it out.

Supermercado is about three phone booths in size, but has all I need. €1.95 bottles on vino tinto for dessert. Muchos gracias.

Nap time in one sleepy town.

Great sights today and a nice time in a tiny town before walking into Leon on a Sunday!

But first, my veg dinner at my veg Albergue. Kait, our youngest daughter should be so proud.

So, returned to my sweet little Albergue Ada to find the owner and his Familia having their lunch.

Very cool and sweet. They all gave me attention and I just pointed to their table and group and gently offered my patented "perfecto" and they all smiled.

Up for my siesta now. Be back later.

Whew! Excellent siesta!!!! 😍😍😍

Great walk today. Excellent Albergue find, thanks to Pedro (owner) and Grace (volunteer from Argentina). Both very sweet.

About time to eat again. Only me in my habaticion for 4 so far. €10 for my maybe privada bunk. Not bad.

7:30 approaches rapido! Delicious vegetarian meal 🥘 to come on another beautiful, sunny ☀️ Spain 🇪🇸 evening! ❤️

That is my back yard for tonight.

Tonight is slipping away fast. Huge insalata mixta with quinoa and a delicious Rioja …

and, now, this….

Veg & queso frittata creation with a flaky crust! Yum!

I'm stuffed and heading outside to hear a young Buddhist monk play his guitar and sing. Should be wonderful.

Goodnight from 🇪🇸, friends.

Cliche’ Alert: “The Camino provides”

….but, if you allow it, the cliche' becomes true.

After a very relaxing afternoon and restful night at La Morena, an oasis of its own, we hit the trail at 7am and sunrise for another day. Their last day on their Camino.

Another beautiful Camino morning for all who are up to enjoy it.

Our morning went on with searches for breakfast and allowed us fresh zumo de naranjara , as Brierley's book was no so bueno.

We finally found a crusty couple who opened up their bar fashionably late, seemed to be irritated by pilgrims, but actually had real food that was not commercially wrapped in plastic. More zumo and croissant pour moi. It was delicious and came with a healthy serving of disgust. Buen Camino.

Hours later, we made it through our walk, very personal conversations, and fine vistas to reach the ceremonial mid-point of the Camino. For Jen & Ron, it was time to stop, for now, stay the night in Sahugan, train back to Madrid, and fly home to Massachusetts.

I've never met a happy, American couple on the Camino like them. Americans are rare anyway. We are typically solo and have reasons to be here alone. Jen and Ron had been here before. Time only allowed them their St Jean to Sahagún Camino over two weeks, as they still have careers back home….and a sweet beagle and two grown kids too.

We hugged, exchanged phone numbers, and settled up the €3 each for beers and ample, free tapas that we inhaled quite nicely on Sahagún's Plaza Mayor. And off I went…

My Camino continues for a couple of more hours and I pass a young lady that seems to be grinding out each step and an Italian couple who is about done like me.

Another small village awaits to provide a nice bed and lots of delicious food and conversation over vino tinto . First, at check-in, the nice Italian couple walks in and kindly offers me Italian and Spanish lessons about requests for non-peregrino menu options….nice effort. Hot shower and clean clothes later, and I'm outside with all cafe tables occupied. Very nice German couple that I had exchanged pleasantries with over days had a seat at their table. I asked. They obliged with smiles. Lovely, lovely couple. After an hour or so, they had to go and meet a bike delivery van to help speed up their Camino to fit their German life back home. Peddling to Astorga tomorrow. Not moments after they left, a young girl leaves her table and her parents as well. I recognize them from the last few towns too and ask to join them. Another sweet couple from France and their 3 teenage kids, with two other families, totaling 14 on their walking Camino. Lots of stories there. We talked about family, politics, and other cultural things until their sleeping kids arose and joined us for tapas and cola drinks.

A young man sitting beside alone finally chimed in when I was inspired to whip out my jaunty, Cockney accent to make a point "there guvnah!" He is a philosophy graduate from London, who's father is Indian and mother is Nordic. Handsome chap with a wealth of conversation. Thus, he must join me for dinner.

He reminded me of that fellow in "Lion" and the "Marigold" hotel movies. Young, smart, global, and fairly seasoned for a man of 25.

We both shunned the peregrino menu and ordered the grilled steak and chips (double insalata for me, no chips). Delicious slab of beef was devoured by each of us. €9 each with a shared bottle of vino tinto. Like our long, very personal conversation, that meal was a joy and nourishing beyond food.

We settled up at the bar, since no one auto-presents the check here…take your time in Espana….and we said our good nights.

That was one remarkable, global day that will never be repeated. I love that.

Most of us shall meet again. No doubt.

Buen Camino.

Do we need to fake it?

According to the Today show, today is national honesty day, the last day of April. If Matt & Savannah say it’s so….

Coincidently, I’ve been thinking lately about the antithesis of honesty. To fake or not to fake?

I’m just not sure where to start…my history of faking it…my older self rarely faking it…my former & current family faking it…or not. Too much there. And, too personal to detail here.

However, what about all of the modern faking of all kinds by so-called friends, acquaintances, & strangers?  Fakes are everywhere we go. Thus, when we stumble upon genuine, unique characters, we find a little Heaven on earth.

We all want honesty & truth to prevail & improve our lives.

We all need honesty. Really need it, for sure.

I walked into a great family movie last night about a work-aholic dad, his submissive wife, neglected kids, and illuminating/corruptive nanny….yes, Mary Poppins. Really. But, the truth did prevail and all ended well, thanks to Walt Disney & Co. of 50 years ago.

Having about two decades of sales & small business management experiences in my gut, I’m convinced that we are only as successful as what each of us accomplished today. Your college transcript means nothing. Your resume’ means very little.  What really matters are proven results you influenced and your potential to do so moving forward for others. You cannot fake those.

Enjoy your national honesty day today….and, hopefully, many positive results to come for you & yours.

Brad

image

Too cute.

image

Time goes really fast. There’s nothing you can do about that. It just goes. One day you’re in your 20’s and just trying to make a living for a very young family… And there it goes.

Two beautiful and brilliant girls. That’s what you see. We now have two handsome and brilliant boys. And time continues to get away from us.

That shot of Brianna and Kaitlyn was taken on the front stoop of our North Hills home many years ago. Our sweet home. Our simple home. Our home that was surrounded by friends, wonderful friends, and the most eclectic bunch of neighbors we ever had.

Cookouts. Sleepovers. Parties. Live jazz. Little gardens. A wonderful patio. And the man cave too. All very good.

Those early years were very special. They can never be forgotten. They are in us forever.

Those gorgeous, little girls are all grown up now. But, they’re grown gorgeous girls who now are wonderful ladies. And this dad could not be more proud.

Best 20 options ~ The Plan cont.

Paradise found…times 20. Adventure. Family. Exploration. Living. http://www.liveandinvestoverseas.com/kits/how-to-retire-overseas-kit-2/

3 faces …+ one.

3 women. 3 faces. 3 stories yet to be told.  3 very different stories, I’m sure.

I started this weekend traveling up to Ohio to move our oldest daughter’s furniture and stuff out of the dorm where she was interning the summer.  She loves kids and she’s going to be a great teacher.  Her face is one of hope, inspiration, love, joy, and just a sweetness that, for her generation, seems the norm.  Whether watching her face dining al fresco on a cool patio that night or seeing her face as I walk away from our time together this past Friday night, hers is a beautiful face I will never forget.

As I drive away, I think about her. I think about her dreams. And, I think about all the things to come for her, for her sister, and for these   little guys we have today.   As I’m kind of daydreaming about all those things, I drive through what would be called the rough part of Cincinnati.  I pull up to a red light and stop. However I’m in the middle of the cross walk, like a big jerk. Enter, to my right, another face. The face of a mom.  She has 5 kids, mostly younger children.  She starts to cross at the intersection, but stops because my oversized SUV is out in the middle of the crosswalk. Her face speaks volumes. Jerk!  Her timing to cross was not good, which was partly my fault.  The light changed, I stayed put, and I watched for cars beside me to make sure they weren’t going to pull out at the same time. She gathered up the children back to the corner. Jerk! That’s exactly what I felt like. 

Now, it’s Sunday morning.  It’s very quiet downtown.  It always is on Sunday mornings. Even the homeless, the derelicts, and the ones who just lay around downtown are somewhere else on Sunday mornings.  Maybe they are at church, unlike myself.  Enter the third face. One light-hearted face. One kind of sauntering to the bench where she’s going to lounge in peace.  Yes, there’s going to be a lounger this morning in downtown.  Unusual. Strange. But, there she is. Laying down on the bench that you’re not supposed to be able to lay down on, because of the bar in the middle. But, she’s obviously slightly more creative than city planners had planned.  She curls herself right around that bar, laying sideways on the rain-soaked bench, and smoking a cigarette like she is Greta Garbo as the Queen of Sheba.  It seems like her happy place.  Just enjoy your happy place, wherever that is.  

3 faces. 3 stories. 3 women. All with stories to tell you, I’m sure.  All teaching me something different this weekend.  Granted, faces number 2 and 3 are not nearly as important to me as face number 1, my beautiful daughter.  However, all 3 reminded me of important things this weekend. Things that I  already know. But, things that are important nonetheless. 

None of us really see the faces around us until we make eye-contact.  The eyes really are the windows to the soul, which can be full of joy, hope, fear, sadness, disgust, contentment, or whatever life throws at us and makes us feel. 

But…..there’s a 4th face that I need to mention.  A face that I have loved for almost 2 decades. 

Today is our anniversary.  We’ve raised four children together, so far. We’ve helped a bunch more children who we will never really know.  We’ve been relatively poor in the bank account. We’ve been relatively wealthy there, as well.  However, we’ve always been rich, in ways that really count.  Hers is a beautiful face. A face every man should know. A face that everyone should should enjoy as a friend. A face that is a friend to everyone she meets.  One beautiful face. 

Happy anniversary, Ginny Lee…that face.

image

xoxoxoxo.

Brad

Fathers Day. Happy & otherwise.

Today, it’s here again. One day on the calendar to do what we should do for most of 68 million Dads in America. Simply saying thanks and I love you will do. Our two boys did just that in voice and handwritten card form this morning. Very sweet. On the other hand, my Dad will be sleeping late in the same home that I was raised in and will not recall what day today is, let alone the holiday itself. Alzheimers never takes a day off, it seems.

I may be a very profitable, family business manager. A hit and miss entrepreneur. Any career politician’s pain in the rear. An intolerant, bitter, and disgusted ex-husband. And many other things….but, more important than anything, I am a 20+ year father and almost 17 year husband of unconditional love. Today’s gifts are sweet and appreciated. But the year-round challenge, laughs, stress, and privilege of being a fulfilled man at just 43 is the very best.

As our parents age, we are educated even more about the priorities, challenges, and opportunities ahead when our parent role declines again. What will Ginny and I do? Where will we be. I have a few ideas to explore far from here in God’s Country. Wherever it is…this family’s fulfillment will lead the the way. Dare to be different, as we say, today and everyday.

May all dads out there have a blessed day with those you love and who return such a blessing unconditionally.

%d bloggers like this: