My Message

Yesterday I asked for people to let me know some topics they would like me to write about. So far I have had only one suggestion. “What is the number 1 message you want to get across with your blog?” That is a tough question. This blog was started as a simple means of stress relief. I never intended on having hundreds of people read it. I just wanted somewhere to put down my thoughts and empty my mind. I have posted funny stories about my life, and I have poured my heart out about some of my hardships. I have written poems, and I have bitched about politics. There is no real rhyme or reason to this blog. At least that is what I thought until this morning.

My mom and dad with me on my wedding day

My mom and dad with me on my wedding day

After spending some time thinking about that question I started to go over some of my old posts. The more I read the more I realized I actually do have a message. It is all about me. Not me as a person, or my life, so much, but me as a human being on this planet. About joy and hardship. About loss and love. About the day-to-day things that humans endure. It is about how much pain a person can feel and how low they can sometimes get, and how that seems to always be followed by something wonderful.

People out there, everyday, feel the same types of pain that I feel. We all deal with that pain in different ways. Some ,like me, write about it. Some keep it locked up inside, and some take drastic measures, like a total life change, or even suicide. The message I want to send everyone is that today might suck. Today might feel like life is stepping on your face and laughing at you. But keep reading! If you keep reading you will see that giving up will only make you miss tomorrow, and that is when something wonderful might happen. Maybe you lost your job today, or your wife/husband left you, or your car broke down, and you feel like you can’t handle it anymore. Well guess what! Tomorrow you might get that job offer that you have always wanted! You might meet the woman/man who you are truly meant to be with, or you might find that your insurance will cover the cost of replacing your car with a new one that you love.

One thing that I am sure of is that tomorrow is always better than today, because it means you made it. You pushed on and now get to live another day watching for that wonderful moment. It might not be the day after the darkness, but it will come. I am living proof of that. And tha,t I suppose, is my message.577786_566545723362404_221624833_n

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Long Overdue

Well I am back. I have been away from this blog and many other things for some time. Life has been hectic with a remodel of my house going on, my boy’s birthday coming up, and a million other things. I simply have not had the time or energy to write much.

My creative juices have not been flowing much either. I have not been able to focus on the sequel to my novel at all, and I was hoping that taking a break from all writing would help to re-energize things. That has not happened, so I figure I will go back to the other way and try writing more. I need your help! Please comment with things you would like me to write about. It can be anything from politics, to diapers. Yeah, I know these things go hand in hand as one is used to gather what comes from the mouth of the other, but you get the point. You want a short story? Give me a topic for it. You want my opinion? Ask me a question. Help me “juice” my mind and I will try to write something entertaining. Thanks for reading and I hope to hear from you soon!482465_10151338188789331_973862105_n

Dads And Sports

IMG_0705I signed Jr up for track the other day and the guy behind the counter asked if I would like to volunteer to help as a coach or in some other capacity. I wanted to say no. I want to be able to go and just enjoy watching my son compete, but I didn’t. I said yes.

The reason for this is simple. As a kid I was very active in sports. Soccer, baseball, football, swim team and anything else I could sign up for. I loved to compete, and I think part of that is because my dad said yes. I could look back through my team photos from my childhood and my dad is in almost every single one of them. He was so supportive. He was involved in everything he could be and I love him for it. He worked hard all day, came home, changed his clothes and headed to whatever practice or game we had going on, and always cheered us on.

There are so many kids out there who have parents that really don’t even care. It is a sad truth. I want my kids to grow up and know that I support them. I want them to know that I will help them succeed in life in every way that I can.

Thanks dad for all you did, and continue to do for me! I don’t know if I showed the appreciation for it back then, but your effort did not go unnoticed, and I will pass that on as best I can to your grandkids!

Can I Sleep With You

A pixella I had made for Esja

A pixella I had made for Esja

My son Evan is sleeping in my bed right now. I was trying to sleep but for some reason tonight more than normal, I was stricken with the emotion that comes from watching your beautiful child sleep. There is peace on his face. He is content. He is safe and loved and he knows it. This got me thinking and I had to get up and write this post. The title is a question that has been asked of most people at some point or another. It has started one night stands, and it has cemented relationships. It seems simple, but can, in its various forms, be the greatest thing asked. It can start a family. It can warm a heart. It can bring peace. I wrote this little story below tonight as a way to show the power of this question. It is very different from my normal writing, so I hope you like it.

His mind confused by passion, and his heart filled with love he looks into her eyes

“Can I sleep with you?”

The door creaks slowly open. Standing in the light is a two-year old boy.

“Daddy, can I sleep with you?”

The bedroom is filled with light and seconds later the house shakes and thunder fills the air. Footsteps come quickly down the hall as the now eight year old child asks with fear in his voice.

“Dad, can I sleep with you?”

The much-anticipated day has come. A son returns home from Boot Camp, now a man.

“Pop, can I crash at your place?”

The door creaks slowly open. Standing in the light is a two-year old boy.

“Grandpa, can I sleep with you?”

Lying in a hospital bed, torn apart by time, the lights begin to dim. He overhears the nurse explain to her that he will probably not make it through the night. He listens with sadness in his heart as she cries on the other side of the curtain. After a moment the curtain is pulled back and she looks at him with a smile.She leans over and kisses his forehead.

“Hi sweetheart. I decided to stay the night tonight. Is there room? Can I sleep with you?”

He looks at her with love in his eyes.

“The answer has always been yes.”

Angry Curiosity

nightmares-aboundI woke up this morning pissed off. Not at anything in particular, just in general. I was mad about the cruise industry not taking care of people, I was mad about how little progress my kitchen remodel has made, I was angry about a list of things that really had no business being in my head at the time. This made me wonder if I had a bad dream during the night that I simply could not remember. Bad dreams are a part of my life. They always have been, but for the last couple of years they have increased in both frequency and in terror.

I am forced to watch my brother die over and over again, or to see something horrible happen to my kids. In my dreams over the last couple months I have seen these and many other things that all seem so real. I wake, rush to my boy’s room to check on them, and then sit for hours sometimes in the living room afraid to go back to sleep.

The irony of the situation is that I am scared more than angry, and yet I can only assume that my mood today was caused by the same demons in my head. It is funny that ones I don’t recall make me mad, and ones I do recal do not. I think this must be because when I do recal them I can rationalize the situation in my head. I can explain to myself that it is not real. That Jason only died once, that my boys are fine and sleeping in their own beds. When I can not recal them my subconscious is left wondering at the unexplained events.

I wonder what people’s thoughts on this might be. Do you think I am right? Do dreams have a big effect on our moods when we wake up, and can remembering them or not have differing effects? I know this is not one of my normal types of posts. I have taken less time to write and edit than I usually do, but that bad mood is still with me. That is why I called this one Angry Curiosity.

Now to drink more coffee and get to work on this kitchen. Maybe seeing some results in there will ease my mind. Thanks to you all for reading and for your continued support!

Together 4J: Time To Ramp It Up

With the truth I fight the giant

With the truth I fight the giant

Most of you who read my blog know the story of my brother Jason. For those that don’t here is a brief recap.

Jason and his wife went on a cruise aboard Holland America’s Eurodam in November of 2012. Halfway through the trip I received a call that changed my life. My big brother somehow went overboard and was never found. I have spent much of the last year working towards creating transparency on cruise ships as I feel a great deal of information in Jason’s case is being hidden for some reason. I also know that the industry is failing miserably when it comes to following current laws. For example there is a law that states they are required to have man overboard systems. These systems should have been in place at the time of my brothers cruise but were not. Sadly, they still are not.

I have made trips to Washington to lobby for new stronger laws and repercussions for not following them. I have traveled to New York to do press interviews to spread the word. Each time I do something to create change I am met with road blocks. The interview I did for 20/20 said they had time limitations that would not allow them to show my interview, but they had plenty of time to do a fluff piece that left the cruise industry looking fairly innocent and the one victim they did show looking like a money hungry drunk.

I attended many meetings in DC to discuss new laws. Yesterday, Rep. Connie Brown from Florida effectively blocked that legislation from moving forward. It is by no means over, but this past travel agent turned politician was able to get a large enough “contribution” from the industry to at least delay it.

Needless to say I am growing more frustrated by the day. At this point I really have only two options. Give up or Ramp up. I promised my brother I would not allow his voice to die, and so giving up in no longer an option. That leaves me with only one choice. Ramp it up. Work harder. Do more. Fight until my metaphorical knuckles are bleeding. That is what I plan to do. Here is the tough part. Money.

I can not do this alone. I need people to email their Reps and let them know that they need to make changes to the cruise industry. I need people to share posts like this one and help spread the word. Sadly, I also need money. There is a lot of cost that goes into things like this. Flights and hotels. Web page costs. Promotions to spread the word, and even child care when I have to be away from home. I am planning some fundraisers but I have also started a page on If you can please donate and/or share this site on your twitter pages or Facebook or anywhere else you can.

The cruise industry is huge. It is a billion dollar industry that is not afraid to use its money in order to keep these laws from being passed. I can’t afford to pay off our politicians, but with your help, I can at least put my face in front of them. I can tell my brothers story. I can tell them that if they vote against this legislation, the loss of life that continues will be partially on their hands. Thank you to anyone who can help me in any way. Only if we stand together 4J can we hope to gain victory and save lives.

Please take a look at and “like” my new Facebook page:

Can’t wait to turn 40

A pixella I had made for Esja

A pixella I had made for Esja

A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook that today was the last day of her 30′s and it got me thinking. I don’t turn 40 until September. That was always a number that I dreaded. I remember my dads 40th and how much grief we gave him about being “over the hill” and that has always been a number that stuck in my head as old. Of course that was a long time ago. Dad is now well into his 60′s and is going as strong as ever. I have also aged a lot (the exact same amount as dad if you can believe it) and life has changed my views on many things. 40 is no longer a number I dread. I am actually really looking forward to it. Not because I want to be in my 40′s but because I am looking forward to things that will happen in those years.

I have two young boys that will become men during my 40′s. Eric Jr will graduate high school in that time and Evan will be in high school. They will fall in love, have their hearts broken and fall in love again. They will both learn to drive. They will become better than me at many things. These two young boys of mine will learn to do things that don’t even exist yet, and I get to watch it happen. In my 40′s I will celebrate a 20th wedding anniversary (if I can convince her to stay around that long) a thirty year high school reunion, and release at least one more book.

My 30′s had many ups and downs. My boys were born. Up. My mom, brother, cousin, aunt, in-laws, and many others passed away. Down. I released my first book. Up. The economy collapsed and I was out of work for a great deal of time. Down. The list goes on and on. I am sure that my 40′s will do the same. It will not be all great milestones and wonderful events. Bad things will happen. Unlike in my 30′s, I am learning to look forward to the good things more than feel bad about the rest. I have learned to take a bad situation such as my brothers and turn it into a quest for good. I am looking forward to seeing this quest bear fruit and lives be saved by it during my 40′s.

There is a feeling out there among people in their 30′s that life ends at 40. This is just not true. During my 40′s hundreds of thousands of lives will begin. Some of those, I will be lucky enough to be part of. I no longer look at aging as a curse. I now look at it as justification for youth. All those years spent doing things that really didn’t help the world. Things that, while yes, they were fun, didn’t do anything to really help the grand scheme of life on this planet. It is a time to sit back a little and look at what those silly decisions have led to. Change one of them. Just one, and I might not have my boys, or my wife. I might be sitting alone in a dilapidated house somewhere, or I might be living it up in a mansion. One of those options sounds pretty good right? Who wouldn’t want to live it up in a mansion? Me, not without my boys. I am glad I made mistakes and did stupid things in my youth. I am also glad that

I got a few things right. All of these things led me here to this imperfect life of mine, that is so perfect I could die happy right now.

Bring it on 40! I can’t wait to see my boys become men!

My beautiful wife Esja and Evan

My beautiful wife Esja and Evan