Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 In Review

I started out this year of eleven sure it was going to be a sad testament to an otherwise glorious number. In fact, if you had told me when the ball dropped to end the old year and welcome the year of eleven would be anything other than the worse year of my life, I felt I would have had an argument against your case. In sharp contrast, I'm the happiest I may have ever been. But before I end this post right there, here's a blow-by-blow of Sam's 2011...

  • The year started out with my marriage of thirteen plus years ending. At that point I really couldn't see what life would look like without my wife, but I really couldn't see it being anything worthwhile. As almost everyone close to us saw it, it was more like a death than a divorce; so much grief with no real explanation. What a horrible way to start a new year.

  • While the previous ten months had been bad enough, a few days before the annual Jamaican Party, I sat alone in front of a stereo speaker listening to a single song and crying my eyes out as I waited for my Ell to walk in the door that she would never walk through again. The devastation of realizing she was truly gone was the lowest of lows I had ever emotionally been in my life. It was the rock bottom I'd heard about in many psychological conversations, even though I couldn't see it at the time. By the time the night was over, all of my emotions, from good to bad and everything in between, were gone. I was blank.

  • Two days later I held the fourteenth annual Jamaican Party. It was a starkly different party than all thirteen before it, and to this very day, I barely remember anything from that night except knowing it shouldn't have happened. Many tried to make it a good time, but it was somber at very best.

  • After the emptying of hitting rock bottom, I got back into the dating game in the form of a hot, sassy, hundred pound blond girl eleven years my younger. The relationship was fast in every form of the word, and on the eve of St. Patrick's Day, turned out to be a little too fast. At four am, I left her drunk and naked on her bed, too much of a gentleman to follow through on the thing she was literally begging me do. It was not the best moment in my adult life, but it turned out to be exactly what I needed. This cute little blond wanted me just because I was me, and to the heart in my chest that had been so painfully rejected, that may as well have been an angel singing. It was truly a turning point for me.

  • Over the next few months leading into summer, I began to realize what I had actually lost, when I had actually lost it, what I was actually missing, and where I had actually lost it. Despite still never having any kind of a real conversation with Ell about our failures, I accepted them. In stark contrast to all the pretending I'd been doing for so long, I finally became alright with what my life looked like as a single man. Before long, I had settled into a peace that was evident to all around me.

  • As soon as that peace settled on my spirit, I set some new goals for myself including my health. Before the summer was over I had crossed the fifty pound mark in my weight loss and was still losing.

  • September dawned with the event of the year, the Columbiana Street Fair. Friday night I decided to walk the Fair with a young lady I'd met a few months previous. That night turned into another night, and then a hike a few days later, then a dinner the next Friday, and then more and more and more. At a moment in my life where I was not looking for companionship of any kind, in walked a Lady that seemed to have been made especially for me by God himself. There's more to this relationship than could possibly fit into a whole post let alone a single bullet point, so I'll just say the relationship is still going strong and I'm as happy as I've ever been in any relationship in my life.

  • In the ever-present goal of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, I sold my Log House in November and then held the, "Last Party in the Log House" two weeks later. It was a great time to celebrate memories and to allow my friends to leave their last mark (literally) on this page in my life.

  • In December, my Lady decorated the most beautiful tree in the history of Christmas in the living room of my Log House. It was a beautiful moment only made better Christmas Eve as my Lady and I opened our presents under the glow of its lights and bulbs.
2011 turned out much different than I thought it would, and as much as anyone thinks they can guess what the future holds, I sit here in wondrous anticipation of what 2012 holds for me. I share a toast to all of you and wish you the best that life has to offer in this new year. Cheers and love to all of you.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Some post Christmas ramblings

So....... the question post kinda fell flat. I'll pretend it was because people were super busy with the holiday even though it was probably cuz no one cares about my secrets. :)

I've been on the planet for thirty seven Christmas days, and it wasn't until this year that I realized ham is a staple of that traditional dinner. I grew up enjoying very traditional Swedish fixin's, and the sparse other visits to other dinners over the years were far enough apart to not create a link in my brain. Last Saturday through yesterday I attended six parties with my Lady, and every one of them had ham. Hello, lightbulb. Suffice it to say, I ate a lot of ham even though I'm not a huge fan. As a result of all that ham as well as way too much other food, I'm been sick since 4am this morning. Blah............

This Christmas I decided I don't like (for myself) the idea of Christmas lists. I know there are some good arguments out there for their usefulness, but I really like the idea of listening to cues, hints, likes, and dislikes. To me, it shows how much you care about the people in your life to surprise them with things they love without having to ask for them. No slams on those of you who do lists, but I really like the idea of connecting to your loved ones in a deeper way.

I thought I had some more ramblings in me this morning, but that about taps me out. I hope all of you had a great holiday and I wish all of you a great New Year.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Post Six Hundred

Kimmy reminded me I never announced a winner for the NaBloPoMo "Ghost" contest. It is with great pleasure that I can say no one guessed correctly. The "Ghost" post was Thanksgiving morning and was titled Morning Person. To read it click HERE. My Lady is quite pleased that she was able to channel my writing style, and even more excited that she is, in fact, not a morning person. The sentiments contained within the post were hers, but beyond the fact that she loves the beauty of the morning hours, she would much rather be in bed than awake to experience them. Thanks for all who guessed, but we got you. :)

I had wanted to do something special for my six hundredth post, but kept forgetting it was sneaking up on me. To make up for that, I want to mirror some of the writers in ELEVEN's blogroll who answer the rough/tough questions. So here's your chance. Ask me anything. Find out the answers you've always wondered about. Post your questions in the comment section and I'll use as many posts as necessary to answer every question.

Here's to the next six hundred posts.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Baby-Making shopping list

One pack disposable razors
One gallon bottled water
One string white Christmas lights
One bag Christmas M&M's
One pack cigarettes
One bottle male enhancement pills

That was the exact armload of supplies the guy in front of me purchased at the drugstore yesterday. The lady at the cash register must have known him, because as she started to check him out she asked how his wife was doing. In a proud, a bit too loud voice, he answered, "Great. We're trying to have a baby!" The cashier politely rang him out and said goodbye, only to burst into laughter the minute he walked out the door. I, of course, joined in the laughter. Best of luck, dude.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Time to say goodbye to a friend

Almost thirty seven years ago, a young couple found out they were pregnant with their first child. In anticipation of the impending uncomfortable state his wife would soon be in, the husband went to the local Lay-Z-Boy showroom and bought his wife a brand new, red plaid, wooden armed, reclining chair. That couple was my parents, that baby was me, and that chair was handed down to me when I got married and has been my very own Lay-Z-Boy for more than a decade.

As I type this, that Lay-Z-Boy now sits at the end of my driveway ready for the trash men to haul it away. Before anyone starts tearing me apart for throwing away a precious family heirloom, know that it probably should have been done years ago. I've had to repair the recliner mechanism twice, the fabric was completely gone on both sides thanks to a Great Dane and multiple cats' claws, it's been leaning against a wall for a long time due to the left side of the back support being collapsed, the seat cushion long ago gave way leaving the sitter sitting on the wooden frame support, and the wooden arms were sticky and gross from layers of sweat, drink, food, and who knows what else. Despite all those issues, I ignored the logic that it was ruined and held onto it as long as I could.

But alas, with the sale of my house and the elimination of almost all of my worldly possessions, I was forced to face the reality that the lifetime of my beloved Lay-Z-Boy had come to a close. For many years it held me snug as watched TV, was a warm resting place for my beloved cats, and was the favorite seat for my friends at more parties than I can count. Now, reality has set in and I see it as the horribly uncomfortable eyesore it truly is. Its time to go has come.

One of my favorite memories of my Lay-Z-Boy is the lasting image of my sisters sitting in it. When they were young, all three of them used to curl up on its broad, soft seat under an always present handmade blanket. This is a picture of my sisters Ginny and Kristen at a young age just after they'd woken up from a nap:

Many years later, when both of them had daughters of their own, they recreated the picture in the same chair:

And then, trying to capture the image close to the same age as their original picture, they sat their daughters down once again. As I've said, this is one of my favorite memories of the chair and I'm so glad my sister captured it on film. And I see it as a fitting way to remember the chair for all time. Goodbye, sweet Lay-Z-Boy.