Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Being 40: The Flu is... Still the Flu

I am not a good sick person. Doing nothing is difficult for me and when I am sick, I am non-functional. I lack focus for anything beyond soap operas and infomercials and I feel so weak I can hardly lift my big fat arms. But, when you are blowing noodle chunks through your nose, it's time to admit you have the flu and just sit down and relax.

Unlike many other things in life, the flu does not get easier with age. When I was a kid, my mom would set up a comfy bed of pillows and blankets on the couch in front of the television in our family room. Beside me she would set a big plastic olive green bowl. It was the puke bowl. And a TV tray with a cold rag, the thermometer and a small glass of coke syrup sat within arms reach. Every now and then, between wiping up the floors and ironing my dad's handkerchiefs, mom would come through the kitchen and into the family room to check on me. She'd plunge the glass thermometer filled with mercury into my mouth and jam it under my tongue and after a couple of minutes she'd remove it just as quickly. Then she'd make me take a sip of that coke syrup. Soda without carbonation that she'd get and Venker's drug store up the street... Mom would clean out the puke bowl and bring me a fresh cold rag and change the channel on the television to a new show (because back then... WAY back then... we didn't have remote controls for our televisions). I was sick and I was uncomfortable but I was taken care of and it was nice. I could sleep all day without worrying about how far I was falling behind at work. And within days, I was like new!

Today, after puking through my nose and choking up a glass of water, I curled up on the couch and took a couple of calls for work, answered some emails, had a conference call with a client and then I fell asleep. I woke up in a panic because I can't imagine how much work I have to catch up on tomorrow after two days on the DL (that's disabled list for you non-sports-minded folks). I ate some Jell-o and I hate Jell-o. Then I had a Diet Dr. Pepper and some mac & cheese. There was no fluffy bed of pillows and blankets. There was no temperature gaging or coke syrup. My mom wasn't around... and I thought... that's the problem!

Without our mom's we aren't forced to be good sick people. They made us stay in bed or on the couch. They forced fluids in us until we practically floated. They told us when we were better and it was ok for us to go back to school. It doesn't matter how old you are... The flu is still the flu. And sometimes, I suppose, you still need your mom.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Being 40: The National Anthem, Ten Years Later

After, the September 11th attacks ten years ago, I decided that it was my responsibility as a singer of our country's national anthem to take a step back and reconsider how I performed the song. At that point, I had been singing the national anthem at events for about 15 years. There was rarely a situation in which I didn't panic about remembering the words to the song or get butterflies before singing.

So I sat down and wrote out the words. I studied the story. And I realized that, while we emphasize the phrase "and the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air," the anthem is really about more than the fighting. It's about coming through the battle and surviving. It's about being the side that is STILL STANDING when the smoke clears. It's about perseverance and victory.

In honor of the men and women who served before, during and after 9/11, here's the anthem as I sing it today. The crowd was small but that doesn't change the importance of the moment.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Being 40: Wonderful, Wonderful People

It has been my experience that most people only remember the bad things you've done. It has also been my experience that in situations of conflict most people do not look deeper than what they see and hear on the surface. And it has been my experience that once you've hurt someone, directed your anger toward someone (or even seemingly so), revealed your vulnerability or exposed your flaws to others, the person you are in that single moment is the person you are to that person or those people for the duration of your relationship. 

Over the last few days, I learned a very big lesson. I learned that there are people who will take the time to get to know who you are, who will remember your heart, weigh the whole of who you are and not just a single moment and love you in spite of your flaws and vulnerabilities.

People I've known for just six months demonstrated more faith in me and more loyalty than people I've known for many years.

There is an exception to every rule if you are willing to recognize it. There are some wonderful, wonderful people in my life right now and I count myself very lucky.

Begin 40: Online Dating Tips for Every Guy

This is the blog that almost wasn't... It started out as the Top Ten Things a Guy Should Never Do. But, who am I to tell guys what they shouldn't do? However, the idea came out of my online dating experiences and the more i live in this online dating world the more I believe this should be shared.

Here are my top seven tips for any guy who is dating online:

1. User Name/Screen Name: There are certain words you should not include in your screen name. One of them is "lonely." It gives you an air of desperation and even if you are desperate a woman doesn't want to know that. It's too scary. Also, steer clear of names like OhMeSoHorny and ThisOnesHung. If you insist on names like those, then just steer clear of me (from now on).

2. Photos: Make 'em current. And in order to avoid confusion, by current I mean within the last year. The more recent, the better. When you post your Marine photo from 1989 and your date arrives to find a 40-something guy with a scruffy beard and his belly hanging over his belt, it's a... well... it's a surprise.

3. Make It Plain: Your profile description is an opportunity to let the world know what you like and what you don't. So just make it plain. I am not going to promise you that it will keep 60-year-old women who are posing as their 30-year old-daughters on the site from contacting you or that the women who are absolutely not your type aren't going to fall in love with that Marine photo from 1989 but... Being honest in your profile and taking the time to really fill it out completely will sort of cover your tail. You can always point back to it as proof that you were up front from the beginning because it's all in writing.

4. Answering the Big Questions: Most profile templates include drop down menus or check boxes for you to complete so you can be specific about your physical desires, your compatibility with regard to activities or lifestyle and your preference for the type of relationship you want. They are seemingly small and trivial but... they are the BIG questions. Complete these. Most guys have a preference for a particular body type. Most guys know if they prefer a woman who is shorter or taller. Also, many women want to know if you want kids or not. That's kind of a big deal given that we do the birthing and some of us really want kids and some of us really don't. And the truth is you know if you want kids or not so just say it.

5. Initiating Contact: When you send the first email to a girl, typing "hi" and hitting send isn't enough. In fact, "Hi, How are you?" isn't enough either. Tell her what caught your eye and why you're emailing. Give her a reason to respond.

6. Knowing When to Say When: If a woman doesn't respond or tells you she's not interested. Let it go. Don't keep emailing her. Period.

7. Anything is Possible. Or is it? While I don't think you know if someone will be interested in you unless you try. Take a woman's profile into consideration before taking the first step. If she's young enough to be your daughter or old enough to be your mother, think first. If she says she really wants kids but you don't, don't waste the time. She isn't going to change her mind. If she says she is more comfortable staying within 50 miles of her home don't email her from 3 states away. Anything is possible. Sometimes. Just keep that in mind.

Up next, all you ladies... Man I've heard some horror stories. You are not exempt from the rules.