Tag Archives: sandwich maker

The Whirlwind of Life: Tangling with the Unknown

I planned on turning some notes into posts today, but that is not what happened. Instead, I let my fingertips just work magic on the keyboard.

It’s been a while since I sat down and actually put a post together from my notes. I’ve been writing consistently in my notebooks, working on a bunch of different ideas and content. I’ve toyed around with shorter posts concerning random thoughts, stories and workouts (which you can read on the website). I took a small hiatus to restore the creative juices; I was beginning to get bogged down in the routine of creating. Since it’s a one-man show right now, having to come up with constant ideas was becoming a burden. I don’t want it to be at this point. I have enough to-dos with my family and working for the man. I want to get to a point where I have more time to devote to this endeavor, but it will be few more years before that becomes a reality.

I’ve been in Japan for 3 months now, while the family has been back in Virginia. The wife and I received some awesome news the other day; we will be able to live together here in Japan! Since we are a blended family, there were certain civil matters that needed to be addressed. While we planned on flying over as a family, our court case kept getting continued for various reasons. We lost our initial hearing (once it actually happened) and the appeal didn’t happen until this past week. We won. All of our money and effort finally paid off. When I left for Japan a few months ago, we didn’t know when the family would be back together. Was it going to be me flying home to visit, or them flying our here to live? To say is was a stressful situation would be an understatement. With my job, being away from the family comes with the territory. It was the unknown outcome of the court case that caused the most stress and heartache. I don’t wish this situation on anyone.

While being away, I have enjoyed the random videos I get of my kids. I watched my son smack his dome piece in his teepee and get back up like it was no big deal. My daughter got involved in gymnastics and is becoming quite the young lady (even though she is 4). I’ll be flying back to pick them up in about a month, and I can’t wait. There is still plenty to do, but we now know what direction to go. We have been sitting in a holding pattern waiting for the green light to land. My wife has been doing a hell of a job holding it down since I have been gone. Being able to facetime and talk daily has been a huge help. Both Kash and Lincoln enjoy when my face pops up on the TV (Isn’t technology is awesome?). Sometimes when I call, Hot Rod would get a hold of the phone and run off to hide, not wanting to share. If I had a weaker stomach, the motion sickness from his phone handling would have been terrible. He also enjoyed hitting the red button to end the call (future marine?). When I would talk to Kash, we came up with way to keep mom on her toes. The sandwich maker was not amused at times and used my full name a few times. 6,000 miles doesn’t really make a difference when your wife uses your full name. It still has the same effect.

The unknown can be a bitch. It’s something that is out of your control and you have to learn how to work with it. Plans can be made and executed, but it’s never a guarantee you will get the outcome you desire. We wanted to come to Japan as a family last year. We couldn’t, and we had to figure out how live not knowing when we would be back under the same roof. Sure, there are always things you learn that could have been done better, but beating yourself up over them doesn’t help. Looking back at this whole situation, I could have done some different things and maybe avoided some of this. Who knows? Hindsight is 20/20. All you can do is keep going and look to the goal. Shake off the missteps, press on, and adapt. If you have a hard time adapting, life will chew you up, spit you out and feed you to her chicks. 2017 was a rollercoaster of emotion for our family and we came out on top. While I would like life to slow down a bit, it’s still ramping up. The man has me working hard, the oldest will be starting school, and we will be living in a new country. It’s going to be awesome.

Do work, be rad

Mustache

Do work: Buck Farlow

If you ask my wife, she will tell you I’m a yuge fan of t-shirts. I was pretty excited when a package from America arrived for me the other day. My wife sent out some t’s and other odds that I meant to pack for Japan. One of the t’s that arrived was from my cousin Jason. He owns a screen printing company and dabbles a bit with his own with his own designs when he isn’t cranking out orders. This design references a hill that he trains (for triathlons) on, Barlow. It seems to be well known in the triathlon training groups in Madison, Wisconsin and everyone says the same thing, Buck Farlow. Anyway, it is a rad shirt and super comfy for fitness. So comfy, I wore it today while doing some cleans, push presses and kettle bell swings. I forgot my video recording device and had to settle for a selfie to show off the shirt.

Do work.

Warm-up

2 rounds

x10 sit-ups

x10 squats

x10 push-ups

x2 barbell complex

Training

x10 drop squats

Cleans

x3 @115

x3 @135

x3 @135

x2 @155

x2 @165

x2 @185

x1 @185

x2 @165

Push press

5 @115

5×3 @125

Front squat

5×5 @135

Kettlebell swing

4×15 @70lbs

Stretch

Daily Quickie: I hate hair in my face.

Everyone has one or two things that they just can’t deal with. Mine is hair in the face. It comes in the form of my wife or daughter when hugs happen. If I am holding Kash or throwing her around “wrastling,” her hair is bound to smack me in the nose or mouth. Sometimes, that little princess deliberately hugs or loves on me just to get her hair in my face, knowing how I will react. My wife does it too! I swear she plots these things to mess with me. Pictures in the wind are the worst, hair blowing everywhere, getting all up in my business. There is nothing that ruins an intimate moment with my wife than hair in my face. I’ve been through training evolutions that tested me physically and mentally with the military that are easier to deal with than hair in the face.

Hair in the face, can’t handle it. It’s for the birds.

Daily quickie: Where my sammich makers at?

What happened to the good ol fashioned sandwich maker? It seems women now-a-days are getting on their soap box, wearing “pussy” hats and protesting (and seem to write books about it). I have a message for you, get back in the kitchen, make your man a ham and cheese sandwich (with all the fixings) and bring him a beer. He will appreciate the shit out of you. Hell, he might get around to fixing that squeaky door, do the dishes, or even make you breakfast in bed.

I have the raddest wife in the world and love the shit out of her. She doesn’t need that garbage(modern day feminism) to be a strong, independent and loving women and mother to our kids.

Note: I saw these books at the local Barnes and Noble in VA and had a chuckle. Shit ain’t that serious.

Let’s take a moment and find the humor in the 20% off sticker.

Family, meet the U.P. U.P. meet the Family Part 2: The Camp Experience

Life has been crazy the past couple of months. I finished up school at Great Lakes in Chicago, flew home to Virginia, then hit the road to visit family in Texas (I’ll expand on that at a later date). There are a lot of unknowns surrounding my family and me lately. While it hasn’t been easy to deal with, we have been pressing on and focusing on the future. I imagine when everything is wrapped up and settled, I’ll put pen to paper to reflect and laugh at much of it. I know I’ve left you with a cliffhanger and some vague information, so, now, a continuation of our family trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

We had arrived. We unloaded the kiddos and took a quick tour, from the Millionaire to Conway Lake. Then we headed over to the “Tupa” to check out our quarters for the next week. Tupa is Finnish for “little cabin”. It is the size of an efficiency apartment. Inside were the bunk beds my brother and I shared as kids, an air mattress and a small kitchenette. It was a blank canvas ready to be worked on. Krissi and I unloaded the truck and got settled in.

We went over to the Millionaire for dinner. It was a keto diet special, burgers without buns. My Aunt Ruth had prepared them for everyone. After dinner the kids took a dip in the lake. There is nothing like getting all washed up and clean with a lake bath. It gets you close to nature. By the end of “getting cleaned up” nature’s way, the matresses were calling our names…Ben, Krissi, Kash, Lincoln! Exhaustion was upon us and it was time to get some good, solid rest. Now, it doesn’t get dark until around 10 p.m. in the U.P. during mid-summer. Of course, we had to explain to Kash why it was time to go to sleep while the sun was still visible. And, after convincing the Sandwich maker that a bear wasn’t going to bust through the door and eat us, we finally zonked out.

Camp is a calming, yet amazing experience. There is no cell service and plenty of forest to run around in. You have to hall in your drinking and cooking water. There is a pump from the lake to fill the trash cans used for flushing toilets and washing dishes. Did I mention that you have to use a bucket to flush the toilet? There is an abundance of fish to catch with a few rowboats and canoes for lake cruising. The mosquitoes are as big as a small horse and will leave a welt on you the size of Georgia with a single bite. They can also be as thick as Black Friday shoppers at Wal-Mart at midnight.

I remember as a child always running through the woods, playing in the lake and attempting to catch fish (it has never been a strong suit of mine). My Nanny helped me catch a small garder snake, named him Conway. We took him back to Texas as a pet. We would hike to Lake Superior and climb Breakfast Roll. My cousins and I would build forts and explore the area around camp (we did most of this without parental supervision) for hours and hours on end. The sauna would be fired up throughout the day for our use. If you ever get the chance to use a wood burning stove sauna, do it. A lot of saunas now-a-days are electric. I enjoy pouring water on the hot rocks and choking on the rush of steam (it really opens up the lungs, ha). This trip, I took the time to learn what makes camp tick. I am at the age where I want to invest in learning the responsibilities that my parents had when I was a young’un. I started with the sauna. It wasn’t difficult, just simply starting a fire in a cast iron stove and keeping it fed. This meant keeping the wood pile stacked and the stove clear of ashes. We used it to relax and bathe. Both the kids enjoyed a sauna bath. We would stick them in dish washing bins. Hot Rod found enjoyment in splashing water everywhere, while Kash was all about using the ladle to bathe herself with.

We had the pleasure of Alexis and Ali (two of my cousin’s daughters) join us for a couple of days. They took Kash under their wings and showed her the ropes of being a kid out there. They took her to the fort in the woods, out of sight. There was some hesitation from Krissi (because of bears), but it was calmed by the “screams” of fun and laughter. They had a blast! We took a canoe ride later that day. It was a bit windy, which made for a fight on the way back to shore. Come to find out, it was both Krissi’s and Kash’s first time in a canoe. As dinner approached, we made our way over to Chris and Dave’s (GramB’s cousins) for a meal. They were the next camp down and live there full time during summer. Rachael and her dog Dude met us out there. Dinner was full of great food, good drinks, and superb conversation. Dave took the girls for a tour of his wood shop and Hot Rod crashed from all the excitement he experienced. We had some ice cream for desert and then headed back to “our place”. After we got back to camp and put the kiddos to sleep, Rachael, Krissi and I relaxed on the porch of the Tupa. We swapped stories and enjoyed some more adult beverages.

I could go on and on about camp. This just covered the first couple of days. There is still Lake Superior, adventures in Marquette and shenanigans at Pike Lake I want to share. I’ll save those for another day. My time up there has always been limited, leaving me to cram as many activities as I can into a short time. Camp is a real vacation from society. It forces you to put down the electronics and get your hands dirty. You can see an endless number of stars at night and hike through nature at it’s core. Kids make the forest their playground and adults can enjoy the calm of nature. It is truly a one-of-a-kind experience.

Do work, be rad

Mustache

Family, meet the U.P. U.P. meet the Family. Part 1: Road Trip!

It was a Tuesday. The Sandwich maker, Hot Rod and I loaded up in the truck to pick up our girl from her dad’s house. I was re-enlisting later that morning and wanted the whole family to be there. While I could ceremony and certificate, I knew the wife and kids would get a kick out of being there. The ceremony was quick and to the point. The kids were recognized for putting up with me, and ended up stealing the show with their personalities. It is a great feeling to know you are supported by the ones you love.

We got back to the house and loaded up for our great adventure. Prior to getting on the road, a good hearty meal is the number one “to-do” for me. The wife and kids had never driven more than 4 hours anywhere before. This drive was going to be at least 18 hours. We decided to stop in at the small cafe where Maw-maw works to grab a bite to eat before hitting the road. It was 3 p.m. when we wrapped up our pre-trip meal and we were finally on the road. Our original route had us driving through the D.C. area. Siri recommended that we take a different route, saving us from the traffic and about 10 min. of drive time (Siri didn’t know we had kids with us – go figure). We decided, why not, and took the detour “she” recommended. It just so happened the new route took us right next to Krissi’s dad’s house. Maybe “she” knows more than we thought! We stopped in for an hour or so, said hi, let the kid’s run-a-muck, then we were back on the road. Krissi took over as pilot and made it to the beginning of the Pennsylvania turnpike. We decided to drive through the night, switching out as needed.

It was a great idea. We made the most distance driving at night while the kids slept. I made it about halfway into Ohio and Krissi got us about a third of the way into Michigan. We arrived at the Mackinac Bridge around 9 a.m. As we crossed the bridge, the air began to freshen and the foliage became lush and rich in color. The sky had a brighter color of blue than usual. Well, not exactly. It was cloudy and raining off and on. But Lake Michigan was a deep, rich blue. Krissi and the kiddos were amazed by the beauty of the U.P. and it was just the tip of what was in store.

After crossing the great Mackinac Bridge, Krissi noticed the plethora of smoked fish and pasty signs along the highway. What is a pasty?

Note: A pasty is a “meat pie” or “pot pie without the pot”. There is a history about it, but in the U.P., the miners used to take them to work for lunch. The U.P. has a Cornish and Finnish background, where the pasty originated.

We stopped at the White Tail Café/Resort on US Highway 2 to grab a couple of pasties, 1 beef and 1 bison. As we pulled back onto the highway, Krissi began to dispense the food to the three of us. Both Sweet Pea and the Sandwich maker were fans. A couple of hours later, we arrived at the Ore Dock in Marquette, MI. It felt great to be back. We hopped out of the truck and looked for GramB and Grump’s, but they were nowhere to be found. Then, from a distance, I spotted my father’s dome piece (he’s tall). They were on the other side of the parking lot making their way toward us. While Krissi was putting Kash together, Lincoln and I made our way to them. Linx was pumped, Kash was pumped, GramB was pumped, everyone was pumped! We took some photos at the Ore Dock, made a couple stops in Marquette, and then headed out to Big Bay.

The Millionaire, or Camp, is about a 20 min drive from Big Bay on a dirt road (black top to dirt, to two rut with many pot holes). After a stop at Cram’s in Big Bay for some ice, we arrived at the Huron Mountain Club gate. The drive was green and you could still smell the rain on all the bushes and trees (literal forest) that lined the road. The weather was cool and cloudy. Everyone was antsy to get to our destination. It seemed the longest part of our drive. We were ready to be done with wheels turning over the miles. After a few more twists and turns, we pulled into camp, the Millionaire, Conway Lake. We had arrived.

Do work, bed rad

Mustache

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pasty

https://www.hu.mtu.edu/vup/pasty/history.htm

Daily Quickie: Pink Flamingo

There are only a few things one needs for a garden. Some plants, lawn gnome, and a pink flamingo. When the wife and I got married, we bought this at our local big box store. While our garden was mostly dirt and weeds, the flamingo really brought it all together. It distracted from the ugly yucca plant and my wife’s lack of a green thumb (I still love you babe). It has survived hurricanes, punk ass kids, and relocation during flower bed renovations. It will be the one yard decoration we will carry through life until we settle at our forever home. This one is for you Pink Flamingo.

Going to start something new. Just a little blurb about anything. Could be about current events, happenings in life or about boobs. It will only last as long as a quickie. Enjoy.

My wife and I were bee-bopping around Marquette, MI this past summer and stopped in at a thrift store. We were looking for a lamp to put in the Tupa at camp. As I was standing in line to pay, she brought up a corduroy, lime green trucker hat. It was the most glorious hat I had ever gazed upon. I threw it on the counter and paid for it. I wore it the rest of the time the family and I were in the U.P. When we left, I decided to leave it there so I would always have a hat to wear at camp. Until next time camp hat.

The World is Ending: an adventure in things not going your way

We missed the train. The first part of our weekend in Chicago was ruined. The world began to crash down around us. The station didn’t have AC (it was hot, humid, and stuffy inside) and the next train wasn’t due for another 2 hours. Literally, forever, in this age of smartphones and twitter. The sandwich maker was beside herself and a sketchy looking dude was staring at us. It was a terrible start to some well needed “us” time.

During the last few days of July, Krissi left the kiddos with the grandparents, hopped on a plane, and arrived in the city known for being windy and getting shot. Before she arrived, the most time we had spent away from the kiddos was a day with an overnight stay. This trip gave us the opportunity to cut loose, be adventurous, get together with close friends and relax. I have a bunch of notes compiled from the weekend, but I am just going to stick to this one instance for now.

I’ve had to alter my approach to publishing my writing (touched on it with my last post). I used to translate my notes from my Bieber book straight to the computer. The last post I wrote was on my phone. It was a pain. So I decided to finalize my notes using a bigger notebook before I thumb away on my phone. School has been “school” so I took up a new hobby…GOLF (more on that at a later date). Enough about all that, let’s get back to the tragic events of missing our train.

After we spoke to the ticket attendant, we exited the station and walked down to the sidewalk. The wife was ranting about how everything was ruined and we should just call it. Just go back to the hotel. We had two hours to kill and no car to go anywhere (Uber would have been $175 to the city). We started walking. There happened to be a running/bike trail that ran parallel to the train track. At first we were going to walk a short distance and come back to the station. After checking the maps on our phones, we discovered that the next station was only a mile or so down the way. As we walked, we face timed the kiddos, dodged some bikers and I watered some plants (Krissi is a terrible lookout). As we approached the Lake Bluff station, we noticed a small farmers market and Krissi got excited. She is a sucker for a farmers market. We checked in at the station. There was not a ticket attendant. There were, however, instructions on how to download an app and purchase our tickets. We still had a hour and a half until the train arrived, so we made our way to the market. It was your typical hipster/basic white bitch vibe. There were vegetables, meats, cheeses, crafts and someone sharpening knives. There was a white gazebo, children playing in the grass, and a guy jamming on his guitar to a small audience. There were moms drinking wine out of tumblers, pushing their strollers. If we had been on our way back to the hotel, we probably would have grabbed some veggies to cook. After our walk perusing through the market, we began to check out the store fronts across the street. There were a couple restaurants, a bank and, wait for it, a brewery.

Lake Bluff Brewery is a sweet little spot. They had just finished renovating the tasting room and it was nice and comfortable. The only person inside was the bartender (they had just opened) and he was rocking to some classic country. We grabbed some seats at the bar and let the conversation fly. We talked beer, adventure and music. The bartender happened to be the manager. He also worked at another brewery, helped brew the beer, and runs his own concert photography/blog website. Our future adventure to Japan came up. He had just returned from a concert tour in Japan. He told us it was one of the raddest experiences of his life, and he couldn’t wait to go back. The only music in the whole joint was played on vinyl and the coasters were made from retired records. We traded artists to check out (he was already a fan of Townes Van Zandt), and talked trash about new age country. It is the worst. I had the Black Squirrel Bourbon Stout. It was delicious. I forgot what the wife had, but it’s not important. We finished our beers, paid our tab and said goodbye. We had 15 minutes before our train arrived and we weren’t going to miss it this time. We boarded and took our seats. This gave me the perfect opportunity to take a nap. I woke up at our destination ready to rock and roll.

Plans and expectations. We all have them and do our best (or not) to make them happen. Our plan was almost derailed (pun intended) because we missed the train. What happened afterwords was an unexpected find and a new connection with someone. We also discovered a rad little spot to grab a beer close to the hotel. We turned our misery into something spontaneous and fun. When it comes to spending time with your loved ones, plans are cool, but you may want to throw them out of the window to make some rad memories. If you expect things to go a certain way, and they don’t, you can either get frustrated and stew about it or adapt and overcome. So, maybe missing the train every once and a while, could turn out to be a cool little adventure.

Also, check out this website run by the bartender from the brewery. Enjoy!
http://www.patothornycroftphoto.com/

Do work, be rad

Mustache