Category Archives: My Thoughts on Life
Here I sit, on January 1st, and find myself again thinking about what I want to accomplish in the New Year. 2011 was a year of great change, great excitement, and great stress – but all in all, it was a pretty good ride. When I sat in this chair on January 1st last year, I put together a list of 15 things I wanted to accomplish in 2011 (you can read it here.) I didn’t get to them all, but I’m proud to say I was able to cross 10 of them off the list. In particular, I’m proud to say that I lost a total of 65 pounds last year, was able to do another interview with a NY Times Best Selling author, saw Rock of Ages twice more (both with Constantine), and tried my best to be a better father, husband, brother, and son.
So what does that leave for 2012? I’m glad you asked. It’s going to be another exciting year (I hope), as long as those pesky Mayans are wrong. I have lots more change coming my way, but also have lots more opportunity to try new things and embark on new adventures. Just as last year, I’m going to put it all out there and trust you to hold me accountable for my success or failure. Who knows, I might even remember to give a mid-year update this year. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. So, without further adieu, here’s my list for 2012.
Sitting there on Christmas night, listening to carols by the light of the tree, I kept telling myself I should get up and go to bed. It was after 2:00AM and it had been a long day. The thing was – it had been a great Christmas and I really didn’t want it to end. It’s curious, that – finding moments in time and wishing they could last forever; holding on to the assurance of “now” and avoiding the uncertainty of “later”. I really didn’t want Christmas to end this year. “Maybe just one more song…”
This was probably the last year my son will believe in Santa Claus. Truth be told, I think he may have figured it out already, but I can’t be sure. Knowing this was likely the last year he would truly see Christmas through a child’s eyes, I couldn’t help but be a little melancholy. Christmas will still be special – but something will never be the same for him after this year. A piece of his youth will pass away into memory, and he’ll never be able to quite recapture that feeling again.
Have you ever had one of those moments when a song comes on the radio and, in an instant, you find yourself in another time and another place? Just a few seconds of music and you begin to relive a fragment of your past with perfect clarity? The sights, the sounds, the smells – everything comes rushing back to you?
I had one of those moments last week while on my way to the airport to catch a flight. As I came barreling into the parking lot, “Hold On To The Nights” by Richard Marx came on the radio – and just like that, I was back in high school. It was a moment that took me by surprise with its suddenness and intensity – and it brought my mad dash to the airport to a screeching halt.
As we all get ready for the Holiday season, it’s important to be prepared. The chances of a zombie outbreak are always greater when you find yourself in a shopping mall. As you all get out to brave the masses over the next few weeks, make sure you are alert for signs of the undead. For those not as conversant in all things zombie, I’ve found an informative and video to teach you Zombies 101. Please take time to watch this video and share it with your family and friends. It could be the difference between becoming a survivor and becoming bait.
Last year I shared with you ten things I was thankful for on Thanksgiving. It gave me an opportunity to sit down and reflect on the year and really served to start my day off well. So, in the spirit of giving, I’ve decided to make it an annual event and share ten more things I’m thankful for this year. It’s not an exhaustive list (and I’m still thankful for almost everything from last year’s list), so consider this more an expansion of that list, not a replacement. Either way, I hope you enjoy it.
- I’m thankful for the new opportunities and challenges I’ve been given this year. I’m not one to enjoy standing still – it’s good to have motion in my life.
- I’m thankful for the support of my family and friends. Those new opportunities have come with a healthy dose of change – and without the support of those closest to me, I wouldn’t have even considered them.
- I’m thankful that my wife has a love of scrapbooking. She is capturing so many moments, both large and small, that we will be able to savor again and again like a fine wine in our old age.
- I’m thankful for the time I got to spend with my grandfather before he passed away this year. Saying goodbye is never easy – but it’s far better than not getting the chance to say anything at all.
- I’m thankful for the light in my daughter’s eyes as she greets me at the door when I get home from work each night. It always makes my day better.
- I’m thankful for books. I am still able to lose myself in them every single day. They open up new worlds to me, provide me with an escape when I need it most, and make me think about the world around me. They’ve helped me meet some very cool people over the last 18 months.
- I’m thankful for my grandmother’s strawberry cake. It is, quite possibly, the perfect food.
- I’m thankful for afternoons working on piano with my son. He doesn’t always enjoy it (especially my clapping to keep him in tempo), but sharing music with him brings me great joy.
- I’m thankful for warm blankets on a cold winter’s morning and cool sheets on a hot summer’s night.
- I’m thankful for my freedom. Okay, you’re right – this one was on last year’s list as well – but it’s so important, it bears repeating. Without freedom, we’re all just colorful paper puppets dancing at the end of someone else’s strings.
Take a moment and think about all you have to be thankful for this year. You may find it’s more than you thought. I hope all of you have a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy the food, the family, the friends, and the football!
First, let me apologize to everyone. It’s been almost a month since I’ve posted anything new here at The Word Zombie. When I sat down, looked at the site and realized how long it had been, I was shocked. And saddened. I’ve poured myself into this site over the last year and a half. The last thing I want to do now is to let it languish. I still have a lot to say (that will come as a shock to no one who knows me), and a lot to share. So why the long delay? Let me explain.
Two things have conspired to keep me away from the keyboard over the last month. They are both good in their own right, but not so good for the flow of content to The Word Zombie. The first has to do with my job.
Last week, I accepted a new position at work. After starting there 18 years ago as an unpaid intern, I’ve just been promoted to the head of sales for the US and Canada. It’s been a long and exciting journey, but the new job will require that I relocate my family to Los Angeles.
That wasn’t a decision or decision making process my wife and I took lightly. Both of my children are now in school. Having myself lived in the same house from the day I started kindergarten until a few months after I graduate college, having my kids deal with changing schools again was not something I looked forward to. Add to that the pressure of finding good schools in LA and it made for a lot of late night discussions.
We’re not new to relocation – we’ve done three times before. Still, it’s stressful. There is a lot you have to do. Some things go well and some things don’t. Selling a house is never fun, even in a good economy and housing market. I’m not sure if you’ve read the news lately – we don’t have either right now.
That being said, the job is a great opportunity both for my family and I. It’s something I really wanted to do, and to her credit, my wife supported me – just as she’s always done. So, we made the decision to take the job and relocate. It was announced last week and now the wheels have all been set in motion for a move.
During all the conversations over the past few weeks, all the late nights doing research on the internet, and all the pitches to my kids on how cool California is – I found it hard to focus on writing. It was hard to find the time and, quite frankly, I gave myself permission to let the blog slip while we where making our decision. Right or wrong – that was the choice I made. Now, however, everything has been decided and I can’t give myself a free pass any longer. I need to write. So, here I am – writing about why I haven’t been writing. Ironic much?
The second reason I haven’t written much has to do with what I’ve been reading. I have a few reviews I need to catch up on, but about 5 weeks ago I dove headlong into a tremendous series of books and haven’t been able to put them down. I’ve literally been finishing one book and picking up the next in the series within minutes. I’ve been so consumed with reading them; I haven’t even begun to think about how to review them. I wanted to finish the series first.
What are the books you ask? They are the Repairman Jack novels and the Adversary Cycle novels by F. Paul Wilson. Between both series there are 21 books, telling the “secret history of the world”. The final Repairman Jack novel was published in October and a revised version of the last book in the Adversary Cycle is due to be published early next year. When I get finished with the last Repairman Jack book I’ll share all my thoughts on the entire Repairman Jack series. Next year, I’ll recap the Adversary Cycle after “Nightworld” is published again. I promise.
I’ll have a lot of time on airplanes in the coming months – time I plan to spend reading, writing, and also sleeping. As I said, I still have a lot to say. I’ll have new content up more regularly over the coming weeks. In fact, to get things back on track, my daughter has graciously agreed to provide reviews for two books she’s recently enjoyed. (She’s just learning to read and is excited to be joining the blogosphere.) They’ll be posted by the end of the week.
Again, let me apologize for the sorry state of the blog over the past month. I don’t take a single reader of The Word Zombie for granted. You are gracious enough to spend a small portion of your day here with me; I owe you a small portion of my day spent writing in return. Thank you all for your patience and your understanding. Talk to you soon.
I have what might be best described as a love/hate relationship with flying. I love to travel and see new places – I hate the ridiculous amount of regulations and “theater of the absurd” rules. I’ve written about many of my adventures on airplanes and in airports in the past. This week, I hit a new level of the absurd. It would be laugh out loud funny if it weren’t true.
On a flight to Los Angeles this week, I had taken my seat and was getting settled in for the trip. I’m a quirky traveler, but I have a system that works for me. I pulled out my iPhone and headphones and dialed up my “Plane Music” playlist. I took my book and a thermos of hot tea (brewed after the security checkpoint, of course), and put them in the seat pocket in front of me. I checked my Blackberry, answered a few messages, and then turned it off for the flight. All systems checked out – I was ready to go.
If you’ve been with me for the past year, you’ll know I always seem to learn something interesting when I travel. It might be that my cordless mouse is a threat to aviation security, that some restaurants have no business advertising, or even that “Unskinny Bop” is a song that will follow you, no matter where you go.
This past week I had two trips, back to back. One was a sales meeting for work and one was a mini family vacation to the Great Wolf Lodge waterpark resort. Besides being completely exhausted, I again managed to learn a few things along the way. Since it’s been over two weeks since I posted anything, I thought I would get back in the swing by sharing a few of the pearls of wisdom I’ve gleaned during my most recent travels. Enjoy!
10 years ago today, the phone woke me up from a deep sleep. My wife had gotten up early and gone over to the YMCA to work out. I had been up late the night before packing for a trip to Los Angeles, and had planned to try and sleep in a bit that morning. I was very groggy as I rolled over and picked up the phone from the bedside table.
“Are you awake?” my wife’s voice asked me from the receiver.
“No, not really,” I replied.
“You should get up, there has been some sort of plane crash in New York. Turn on the news.”
I rolled out of bed and in to the living room, grabbing the remote from the end table. I clicked on the TV and sat down to see what was happening. I didn’t get back up off the couch for the next 15 hours. Like so many other people in the country, I went to bed on September 10th, 2001 with absolutely no idea the next day would change my life and set the country on a new path. It was the proverbial calm before the storm and looking back now, I can only describe 9/10/01 with one word – before.
The phone rang at 6:02 on Tuesday morning. Before I could even open my eyes I thought, “It’s not good news”. It’s never good news when the phone rings that early in the morning. As I struggled to come fully awake, I heard my Mom’s voice telling me my grandfather had passed away. He had lost his battle with liver cancer. They say, sometimes, when you know it’s coming, bad news like this is easier to hear and process. They’re wrong.
My grandfather was Kenneth Bailey, although he was always Papa (“pa-paw”) to me. He was born in 1928 and lived his entire life in Buford, Ga. He was married to my grandmother (Mema) for 61 years. He has two daughters, four grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. And while all of those things are true, they really don’t get to the heart of the man that Papa was.