Lawnmowers, Camelias and Dandelions…

Grateful Blog: Day 68: I heard the sound this morning: The low rumble, the whirr and whine of a small engine spinning round: The neighbor’s lawn mower. It’s been coming for awhile. I saw the first Camellia bloom and the other day and today the first dandelion. Last week it snowed but this week you need to mow the lawn and pull dandelions??? That’s spring in the Pacific Northwest. They say this past winter was the warmest on average. I don’t know. Maybe it felt that way and maybe it was statistically. Every winter seems too long to me. But today the sounds of lawn mowers filled the air and I was indeed surprised. March 8th? Lawn mowers? Really? Incredible. Surprised? Yes. Grateful? You bet…

Breathe…

Grateful Blog: Day 67: I got home from 13 hours of work today, in time to sort of make dinner and sort of relax and sort of have a few minutes to breathe. I’m a born and bred workaholic. 50 hours is ‘normal’ and this week, at 60 hours, won’t be unusual. I know I’m self-employed and supposed to be ‘in charge’ of my business but more often that not it’s in charge of me. So now I’m just hopping on the computer and checking my email at 11pm at night for the first time in the day. I think I’m supposed to answer some of it but honestly, I’m too tired. Just gotta Breathe…

But I got to thinking: Someday not too distant from now, the itch will hit like it does every year. It starts with the first warm days, a bit of a false spring, followed by 2 solid weeks of cold rain. The forecast will be bleak for a bit but by then it won’t matter. I’ll be like today, like every other ordinary Wednesday for just about everyone, getting up, going to work, trying to stay on top of it and trying to breathe. But I’ll pack the car. Fill it up with gas. Damn the price, who cares. I’ll start by heading east, then south, then further east, through the mountains and several high passes, down into the sagebrush country. I finally go around the northern tip of the range, drop down the old gravel road. Follow it for 40 or 50 miles. Stop to hear the red winged blackbird’s singing. Getting closer. Breathe…

I’ll be rolling down the highway, the spring desert blooming, the mountains beckoning in the distance with a rush of snowmelt flying down to make that dry, cracked sandy world come to life for a few months again before the unrelenting heat of summer puts an abrupt stop to it. But for that moment in time, the smell of sage, the tang of a sulfur hot spring I know, the warm wind on my wet hair, the smooth trail beneath my feet, I’ll be in heaven. There’ll be no work, no cell phone, no email, no Facebook and maybe even no blog. Yeah, it’ll be Wednesday but it won’t matter. All will be right with the world. The 12 hours days and 60 hour weeks will be too far to even see in the review mirror. My gaze will be up at the stars, down with the noisy creeks, along the ridges searching for bighorn sheep, out into the sagebrush looking for wild horses, and on the road to the future and what comes ‘Next’. And all that matters, will be enjoying the moment. Breathe…

It’s coming. I can feel it. It comes every year and right about this time. I’m so Grateful when it does. So, so Grateful. I’ve just got to hang on a little bit longer and Breathe….

This is what we DO…

Grateful Blog: Day 66: I got the email today that said:

Help! We need more copies of Dan Weber: Ash and Bone.

Congratulations! You’ve sold enough CDs through CD Baby that our all-knowing inventory management computer wants you to know that we need more discs to satisfy anticipated demand.

I LOVE that!

Not because I’m making any money selling CD’s, I’m not. The simple truth of the matter is when I gave the first copies away to my wife and my Mom I was already under water on the project as it were. It ‘is what it is’ I guess. But I didn’t make ‘Ash and Bone’ because I wanted or needed to make a profit. I made ‘Ash and Bone’ because I cared about the songs and I wanted people to hear them and maybe share in the joy they’ve given me. Making a CD or any form of art is something like: 70% long shot, 19% exercise in vanity and 11% ‘What the HELL were you thinking’?

For my 11% I was thinking: ‘You know, this song, or that song is REALLY something special, and all these Amazing people who come to my shows tell me how much that means to them, so I think, just maybe, I should record them and share them, and somehow spread that feeling that you get when you truly connect with a song or an artist. You know, see where it goes, see who you’re drawn to and who’s drawn to you. Take that shot in the dark, bet on the long shot, and hey, don’t over think it, because the songs are good, maybe REALLY good and you NEED to share them…     

So that’s it in a nutshell. I could go on at length and try to rationalize it further but I think my friend Gil Reynolds summed it up best when he said ‘Look Dan, we write songs, we make music, and then we record them and then do it all over again. It’s what we DO. It’s who we ARE.” I couldn’t agree more.

Tonight I’m Grateful for everyone who’s listened to or played ‘Ash and Bone’, who’s sent me a nice note, who written a review on CD Baby or iTunes, bought it, downloaded it or even pirated a copy. I don’t care. I want YOU to hear it. I think it’s REALLY good. Oh and that email from CD Baby, they wanted a BUNCH more copies. I guess it’s selling really well. I’m Grateful for that too. I’m gonna need the money one of these days, to make another CD, because as Gil pointed out “It’s what we DO. It’s who we ARE.”

Thanks for listening!

If you want a copy you can find it at:

http://danwebermusic.com/ or at CD Baby at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/danweber

‘Consider yourself, at home’…

Grateful Blog: Day 65: I met a woman at her front door today and she opened the door, warmly invited me in and said ‘Consider yourself at home!’ I said ‘Thanks!’, walked in and then something deep, deep, deeeeeeeeep, DEEEEEEEEEEEEEP in the recesses of my sleepy Monday morning brain started kicking in and I reflexively started singing to myself, every so softly at first:

‘Consider yourself at home at home
Consider yourself one of the family
We’ve taken to you so strong
It’s clear we’re going to get along…’

It took me a few seconds to even realize I was singing as I was measuring and writing things down. And then the next verse wandered in:

‘Consider yourself well in
Consider yourself part of the furniture
There isn’t a lot to spare
Who cares?..What ever we’ve goin we share!’

I thought ‘My GOD, what the heck is THAT song from???

It took me a bit. But then I remembered. Was I 6? 7? 8? I don’t recall. It was the beginning of summer and my next door neighbor Andy Cup came over and said “Hey, some of us are going to be in a play this summer called ‘Oliver’ and they need kids to play the part of Fagan’s boys. We’d be thieves!” Me and my brother Gerard we’re definitely ‘In’ for that sort of adventure.

Every day we went down to the local (Irondequoit) high school and practiced. Or mostly we watched the main cast member’s practice. We bought cokes from the machine and rolled them for hundreds of yard in the high school halls and then opened them up—the winner was the one with the highest spraying fountain and the least left in those mercilessly shaken cans. Just thinking about it seems even dumber now than what it was then.

Occasionally they hustled us kids up on stage and we learned how to ‘steal’ this and that (Hey, it was our part!) and we learned the classic songs in ‘Oliver’: ‘Food Glorious Food’, ‘I’d Do Anything’, ‘Be Back Soon’ and of course ‘Oliver’. Even at my age I had a SERIOUS crush onNancy, she was probably 16 or 18 I don’t remember. What I do remember was getting to dress ‘up’ like bums: charcoal on our face, ragged clothes, and fingerless gloves. And then the other intoxicating things: backstage, all those weights and ropes, secret staircases, the black, creaky wooden stage and the mysterious backstage passageways.

And I remember the buzz of opening night. Oh man was it something. No matter how many times you rehearse or see someone do it, doing it in front of a full theater with seemingly every eye on you was special indeed. And the after party in the gymnasium? Wow!!! Everyone still in costume but suddenly transformed into stars, still buzzing with the opening night energy. I was so young I’m sure I’ve idealized a fair bit of it. It might have been painful to watch, I don’t know. I thought it was great, the practice, the songs, the people, the work, the boredom, the rolling Coca Cola’s, the whole shebang. It WAS Adventure for an entire summer.

So it really threw me this morning, when 35 years later I was singing ‘Consider Yourself’ word for word, not trusting that I remembered the words correctly but having no reason not to. I just started singing and the words came back to me. That summer was really special. Heck, most if not all of my childhood was pretty special. It was easy, it was generally uneventful and it was fun. And it’s full of all sorts of memories.

And mostly it was un-dramatic, but that one summer, when I was a thief, one of Fagan’s Boy’s in ‘Oliver’, it was anything but un-dramatic.I’m Grateful Mom let us do that (I have no idea why—it was ripe for getting in trouble), and I’m Grateful we stuck it out (we could’ve quit multiple times). I’ve loved creaky old wooden stages, dark theaters and mysterious backstages ever since. Once in a while I’ve got to sing on a few of those and I’m always Grateful for the chance to be up there and to remember the words of an old song I thought I’d forgotten.

‘Consider yourself at home’ indeed…

The Grateful Blog: Day 64: Music and Show News…

Hey Friends…

A bunch of years ago I went backpacking with my friend Nate at this place called ‘Snowgrass Flat’ up in the Goat Rocks Wilderness. It supposed to have a beautiful view but that day everything was fogged in so we not only couldn’t see the view but at some point, hiking at 6,000 feet on the Pacific Crest Trail we lost all sign of the trail too. It’s rough country and rather than fall off a cliff, we pitched our tent right where we stopped, got out the deck of cards and the whiskey and spent the rest of the day and night playing the world’s longest game of gin rummy, occasionally toasting everyone we could think of until the bottle was empty. In the morning I got up to use the ‘bathroom’ as it were, walked out of the tent, and at some point I managed to open my sleepy eyes and realized two things ‘WOW!’ The view ofMt.Adams,Mt.St HelensANDMt.Rainierwas beyond amazing. The second was that lost in the fog, we had literally managed to pitch out tent directly in the middle of the trail…It was an ironic sight, an incredible view and a great and memorable trip.

The ‘Ash and Bone’ CD Release Show at Artichoke Music on February 18th was a bit like that morning. In a word: Amazing! The view was incredible and the trail ahead was clear. I’m not lost for words much but that night was one of those nights for me. I could not have enjoyed a crowd, a venue, a show or a night more than I did. To EVERYONE who could make it, Thank You!!! for making that one of the absolutely most special and singular night’s of my life. It was so incredible and just perfect. I’m so humbled by the sheer outpouring of your Love, Support and Enthusiasm. Let’s do THAT again—and Soon!!!

So speaking of ‘Soon’…

We have a NEW show to share and this one’s going to be special—AND really cool. On Saturday morning March 17th (St. Patrick’s Day) Jerry and I will be getting up early to play LIVE in studio at KBOO 90.7 FM on during Wayne and Kathy Johnson’s ‘Swing and Country’ show at 8am.   http://kboo.fm/SwingCountry Playing live on KBOO is a big honor to me considering I’ve been listening (and taping) the show for over 10 years.

To hear the show you can set your alarm early and tune to 90.7 FM in Portland(100.7 FM in Corvallis& 91.9 FM in HoodRiver–or online at http://kboo.fm/ and click ‘Listen’)

Or? (Here’s where it get’s cool!) Or you can come down to the station at 20 SE 8th Avenue, Portland, OR 97214 (Just south of E. Burnside by the Doug Fir—lot’s of parking that time of day) and Be Part of the Show, and see it Live. Yeah, Live! A bit like they did it in the ‘50’s. You can check out the station, meet the DJ’s, and as an added incentive, we’re going to have plenty of good local coffee and I’m buying a bunch of Voodoo Doughnuts. That’s right: Portland’s own World Famous Voodoo Doughnuts. http://voodoodoughnut.com/about.php It’s going to be a fun way to kick off the St. Patrick’s Day weekend and a very rare chance to part of a live studio audience. So yeah, a live in studio show, good coffee and Voodoo Doughnuts!

Seating is EXTREMELY limited (and is already filling up!), so to guarantee a seat ASAP, send an email directly to Wayne or Kathy at KBOO at kjwj@comcast.net or go to https://kboo.fm/user/4258/contact and send them a note and tell them you want to be part of the show! They’re requesting folks get there about 7:30-7:45am to get settled in and get the coffee and doughnuts going. I’ll also have the new ‘Ash and Bone’ CD’s there if you’ve not gotten one yet. Come on down, it’s going to be a Classic!

So you know by now that ‘Ash and Bone’ is FINALLY out! It’s selling extremely well and you can get it at my BRAND NEW fantastic website at www.danwebermusic.com through CD Baby and iTunes.

CD Baby http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/danweber

iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/ash-and-bone/id499666252

Scott Docherty at Redhare www.redhare.com did the brilliant design work on the CD and also built me a top notch website. Be sure to check out his work and my site at www.danwebermusic.com for updates, new shows and links.

Finally, our 2nd Official ‘Ash and Bone’ CD Release Show, at the fabulous Doverlaff House Concert Series, will be as special as the first. On Saturday March 24th it will be in the intimate ‘Tiki Room’ and will feature Mike MidLo of far and wide Pancake Breakfast http://pancakebreakfastmusic.com fame opening up the night. I first met Mike at the always incredible Sister’s Folk Festival and have been a big fan ever since.

The show has already Sold-out Thank You! but you can Contact Dan Dover at doverlaffhouseconcerts@gmail.com to see about getting on the waiting list. There’s always a last minute ticket or 2…

And the News…

Song News???

Last month week my song ‘Lost and Found’ was given an Honorable Mention in American Songwriter Magazine’s Lyric contest. http://www.americansongwriter.com/2012/01/lyric-contest-winners-januaryfebruary-2012/ It’s a big contest so it’s pretty darn exciting!

A Blog???

Yup. My new blog ‘The Grateful Blog’ is now in its 65th day (only 301 days to go!). It was my New Years resolution to be Grateful for something or someone every day of 2012. It’s my way of giving something positive back to the Universe. You can find it at: http://danwebermusic.wordpress.com/ and click ‘Follow’. It’s pretty cool, or as my friend Barbara Louis recently said “The best way to start my day…reading Dan’s Blog!” Sweet!

And speaking about blogs: Check out our friend Gerry Hubbard’s blog: http://hubbardfamilymusic.blogspot.com/2012/01/wishing-is-just-for-fools-dan-weber.html?spref=fb

Please tell your friends to come see us play and say ‘Hi’. We’d love to meet them! Thanks again! for a truly Special, Amazing and Overwhelming show of support for the CD Release. Don’t forget to tell your friends, ‘Share’ on Facebook, Twitter, etc. It ALL really, really helps spread the word and takes just a minute or 2.

And Thank you! for Listening,Reading, Sharing, and Helping me make this long musical journey possible!

Gratefully,

dan

Get show specifics (times, addresses, etc.) and listen at

www.danwebermusic.com

Facebook??? www.facebook.com/danwebermusic and ‘Like’ us…

Video???

Check out my one and only video by filmmaker Travis Madden of my song ‘Hank and Jesus’ at: http://www.youtube.com/highway142/

Newsprint???

If you didn’t see it already, here’s a cool feature article that Rob Cullivan did last year for the GreshamOutlook http://www.theoutlookonline.com/features/story.php?story_id=130386495708649600

To ‘Unsubscribe’, just put that in the title at dan@danwebermusic.com

 

Lunch: And the Zen of SpongeBob…

Grateful Blog: Day 63: I stopped what I was doing to eat a little lunch today and flipped on the TV. Saturday afternoon. Bland sports, mediocre movies, and mindless other Saturday afternoon stuff: my company for lunch. Then I switched over to ‘SpongeBob’. Yeah that SpongeBob, the one with the Square Pants. Plays his sponge nose like a piccolo and does a thousand other silly things. It got me to thinking how nothing’s ever the same, like even Saturday TV comics aren’t what they used to be. It’s silly really. I mean wasn’t Bugs Bunny and the whole Looney Tunes cast more or less perfect? Not sure why they had to add new characters and new episodes and change the voices and more or less ruin it. Must be some greedy TV executive behind it somewhere who said ‘No one will even notice!’

But there was SpongeBob, surrounded by the miserable neighbor ‘Squidward’ and his greedy self-centered boss ‘Mr. Krabs’ doing his ridiculous best despite them both to live a happy, carefree life. At some point it wasn’t working so SpongeBob sang a silly song called ‘Attitude of Gratitude’ which was pretty much the whole point of ‘The Grateful Blog’, chapter and verse not to mention verse and chorus. Of course I laughed so hard it brought me to tears. I don’t know if it was the silliness or the irony of the sentiment that did it for me but it didn’t matter. SpongeBob rescued that 20 minutes of lunch from the mediocrity of his surroundings and from every greedy boss and TV executive everywhere who thought I really wanted to watch a half hour infomercial on some exercise equipment. It was damn near as good as Bugs Bunny for just a bit and I forget about life and its troubles for a few minutes while I laughed myself silly.

And ANY day of the week, I’m Grateful for that…

‘Deep in the heart ofTexas’…

Grateful Blog: Day 62: I was just talking to a friend a minute ago when I realized I had 11 minutes to get my blog done. That’s how it works sometimes. It reminded me of this time I was in Austin, dancing with a young lady at the Continental Club and while doing so she grabbed y hat off my hat, and shortly thereafter disappeared. I spend the next frantic 20 minutes searching for her before we were reunited…me and my hat that is. InTexas, you can get life in prison or shot for less. A cowboy hat is something sort of Holy there…but that’s Texasfor you. It’s a 181 contradictions wrapped into one: A decidedly Red state with a love of poet singer-songwriters and a state of mind as much as a state that borders Mexico.

Today is the 176th anniversary of the Texas Independence Day. It’s serious business down there. They still talk of secession (from THESE Unites States) while sending an ever madding succession of their own to try to run the county. Think LBJ. George HW Bush. Bush the 2nd (the ‘Shrub’) and Rick Perry. Yeah, it’s a contradiction. I get it. When I think of Texas I think of wide open spaces, Austin, good barbeque, poet singer-songwriters, the Alamo, San Antonio, the hill country, Kerrville, 108 degree heat, Luckenbach and caliche (limestone) dust…there’s a thousand other things that are associated with Texas (feel free to name your own) but those are mine.

The thing that strikes me the most however is a woman I once met who’d recently moved to the Pacific Northwest from Texas. She said ‘When I first moved toTexasI saw all the people who went out of their way to display theTexas flag in some sort of display of state pride. At first I thought it was obnoxious, after all, who can you think of that you know that regularly displays their state flag??’ I thought about it awhile and understood what she was saying and I said ‘well no one I can think of in Oregon, Washington or any other state I know of’ and she said ‘Exactly!, that’s what’s so SPECIAL about it, because people who live there REALLY love Texas.’

It took me a while to realize but I finally GOT it. What’s wrong with people having pride in the state they live in? Nothing! And so I finally understood what was so SPECIAL about Texas, it was the people, and the passion they felt about the place they were from (or lived in). So here’s a Happy Independence Day! to all me friends in (and from) inTexas.

All I’ve got to say, that really matters to me tonight, is that I’m Grateful that the spirit of Texas lives on in the hearts and minds of its people, that they still have kick-ass barbeque, wide open spaces, the Alamo, the hill country, Kerrville, 108 degree heat, Luckenbach and that they still have a soft spot for poet singer-songwriters…

Amen…

Oh and one last thing: Bob Wills is STILL the King! Awwww Haw!!!

‘The stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart ofTexas’…

Delivering in the Snow: The Newspaper Boy..

Grateful Blog: Day 61: Woke up to a layer of snow on theRose Citythat fell last night. Snow’s pretty silly here. Everyone goes crazy. The media blows it out of proportion with non-stop ‘Snowmageddon’ coverage. People blow off work when there’s 2 inches on the ground. Kids make snowmen and when they’re done the lawn is green again because they used it all up. And the car dealership looks like the fall ofSaigonwith folks stacked cheek to jowl trying to get chains or their snow tires put on. Growing up inWestern New York, with an annual snowfall of roughly 100 inches, snow was a regular occurrence. I was a paper boy, alternately delivering the afternoon ‘Times Union’ and the morning ‘Democrat and Chronicle’. Generally I did it by bicycle but during the winter I hoofed it on foot, in sometimes waist deep snow, slip-sliding around the neighborhood in below freezing temperatures to get Mr. Ennis or Ms. Renz or old Mr. ’so and so’s paper there on time. It wasn’t that I took pride in it, it was that I got YELLED at if it was late. So every winter morning I’d put 5-6 layers of long john’s jeans and coats on, sling 75 paper’s across my back in y canvas satchel, and get those things delivered, knowing it wasn’t gonna get done any other way.  

So this morning, waking to a whole one inch of snow, I got a little grouchy when I realized that somehow that one measly inch kept my carrier from delivering my morning ‘Oregonian’. It’s different of course these days. Kids no longer deliver papers. Adult do it, by car, trying to make extra bucks to make the mortgage or whatnot. Its serious business now and I don’t want anyone getting in an accident delivering my paper. But it’s inch of snow, seriously.

I learned a lot when I was a kid delivering the ‘Democrat and Chronicle’. When I’d go around collecting the money I was owned, Old Mr. Cramer, who always called me ‘Don’, would give an extra 10 cents and say ‘buy yourself a good cigar kid’ which even in 1976 I knew that wasn’t going to happen unless he gave me another dollar on top of it. I learned that some folks will REALLY go out of their way to avoid paying (those are usually the same folks who yell the loudest when their paper is late), and I learned that I hated collecting money, but also that I was fairly good at it, cause it was MY money and I’d trudged through the snow for it. So I was determined and I learned the value of hard work plus determination doesn’t always equal money, but it helps a whole bunch.

I also learned to be ‘Green’ before there was such a thing. I got most of the people on my route to save their newspapers and I went back around and brought them home with me. We FILLED out garage to the rafters with them (Wow, what a fire hazard…why did Dad let us do that???). Then when the price was right, we took them to this greasy, dirty, smelly and eminently fascinating place under this railroad bridge near downtown called Kreiger’s that took those newspapers to recycle them and paid us cash. That’s what I used to get $900 to go to Philmont Boy Scout Camp inNew Mexicowhen I was 13. I saw the ‘West’ for the first time and I’d argue it changed my life because from that point on I wanted to live out ‘West’ when I grew up. I’m still out here, I still love the ‘West’ and I still LOVE northernNew Mexico.

But the thing I remember most about being a newspaper delivery boy was the mornings: The ones where it snowed a bunch the night before. There was an hour of so before the snow plows came by. So it was just me. No cars. Just the newly fallen snow making that distinctive ‘crunch’ underfoot my heavy boots, an occasional lonely wind and the sound of my breathing as I hopped over snowdrifts to get to the front door, where I’d unstuck the know of the storm door, quiet as I could, and slide the paper inside. We didn’t have plastic sleeves for them back then. The thing was, there was this eerie bluish light the snow gave off right before the dawn and the combination of that diamond glistening of the perfectly new fallen snow, the beautiful stillness, and that faint indigo light was intoxicating. I’d stop for a second of two to catch my breath and just listen to the stillness, look around and marvel at how beautiful the world was at dawn, before everyone was up. It was magic and to this day, that half hour of the day, that blue light of dawn is my absolute favorite moments of the day.

So I’m Grateful for many things this morning. For having parents who let me do a job that taught me the value of hard work (and kept me in shape), for learning what other people were like when I delivered and collected papers and money from them. But mostly I’m Grateful because I fell in Love with mornings, a love affair that’s lasted over 30 years. It’s still my favorite time of day to get up, have a little coffee, and watch the darkness turn just that perfect shade of purple right before the dawn. And I still love reading the morning paper—If it’d ever get here…

“Say what you mean, don’t let the words get in the way”…

The Grateful Blog: Day 60. February 29th. Leap Year.

“Leap before you look I always say. Say what you mean don’t let the words get in the way” –Crazy Love by Dan Weber.

When I started this enterprise, this shot out of a cannon ‘blog’ idea I don’t think I was thinking straight. I mean who in their right mind would decide to do a lengthy blog every day for 365 days and decide to do it publicly so as to not chicken out and blow it off? I mean it SOUNDED like an OK idea, but 365 days? That was New Year’s Eve, 2011 when I made that resolution to myself, never fully expecting to share it with anyone. Now here I am, 60 days later, 1/6th of the way.

I don’t know if I’ll make it to be honest. Some days I feel like ‘Oh God, what to say today’ and others they just seem to fall into my lap. After working 60 hours a week, sleeping and the occasional meal, and oh that songwriting, performing, CD promoting thing I’m up to, it’s a stretch some days to even find the time. I’ve literally been in bed, thought ‘Oh crap, didn’t do my blog!’ and got up to do it, before midnight hit. Some days I didn’t succeed and then did 2 the next day to stay caught up. It almost felt like cheating…

But you know ALL that misses the point. THE point of The Grateful Blog was to slow down the Universe, or at least my little corner of it, for just 10 minutes a day, to find something or someone I’m Grateful for and then to express that. If you know me at all, you know I’m not exactly ummmm, straightforward (to not put TOO fine a point on it) at expressing myself. Sometimes it takes a while, often longer than I’d anticipated. But somehow the message always comes out, that I truly AM Grateful for the things I’ve been given and more importantly for the people, family and friend who’ve blessed my life.

Today is officially ‘Leap Year’, the ONE day I did not count on having to do this. But there it was, snuck onto the calendar. So I thought about skipping it, and I thought about it just being another day. But then I thought maybe the best thing to do on this extra day in a year or days was re-state my mission and my commitment (so as to make myself feel even more guilty when I blow this), that is, I will endeavor, each and every day, to find some good in the Universe. Be that some thing or someone. Be it eloquent or simple, be it straightforward or meandering. Someway, somehow, I will try each and every day to be Grateful for the gifts: For the magical and the mundane, the inspirational and germane, for the ugly and the beautiful and for better and for worse.

I don’t how I know this, but I think this year will continue to be momentous. That something very special is underfoot in my life and in yours. The Grateful Blog is a LOTlike one of my concerts—it’s NOT a performance, it’s a Conversation, and I’d like you to be part of that. I hope you stick around and come along for the ride. If I know ANYTHING so far 60 days in is that by intentionally trying to be Grateful and counting my blessing I’ve actually become more Grateful. If that sounds easy, well it is–and it isn’t.

There’s no magic to it but it’s a bit like meditating. You won’t meditate until you sit down and actually do it. I’d be more convenient otherwise but it turns out life isn’t all that convenient sometimes. I’m kind of Grateful for that too, even the hard stuff. I think it means I’m learning.

So that’s my mission in a nutshell. To inspire and be inspired, to teach and learn, to laugh be laughed at and occasionally a cry a bit. It’s good for the soul.

Sign up and hit ‘Follow’, come along for the ride, tell me what you’re thinking or how you’re feeling.

60 days down and only 306 to go…

It’s as good a day as any to take the Leap…

dan

Parenting, Playboy and a Trip to the Grocery Store…

Grateful Blog: Day 58: I was still sick today, stuck inside listening to the radio and there was a raging debate on the school shooting inOhioand just what drives kids to do that sort of thing. I don’t know. It’s really saddening. And I have nothing to offer because it’s baffling to me and frankly I never had kids so I feel like I’m grossly under qualified to comment. But occasionally I do wade a toe into the parenting side of things when I’m given the opportunity. But the results are highly mixed.

To wit: When our nieces and nephews were younger, I used to dig when my wife and I would take them roller skating once every grand so often. That was cool. They loved it, we loved it. It felt like as much of a night out for us as it probably did their parents (until we brought them got back from spinning in circles for 3 hours, loaded up on ice cream). Of course then there was that ‘incident’ where my nephew was inAlaskafor over a year, in some remote town. He was all of 21 and of course perfectly corruptible. I don’t know what it says about me but I can admit it now. I sent him a year’s subscription to Playboy for Christmas. He seemed to appreciate it so I seemed to be worth my $15. Given how remote the town was I think the postage alone was twice that. It was probably inappropriate or just plain perfect or maybe both. His Mom and Dad thought it was funny anyways and potentially useful if it kept him from fraternizing too much with the locals gal. But I know, it’s a slippery slope…

Anyways, I tell those anecdotes only to point out that I’m not ENTIRELY curmudgeonly although I certainly aspire to such lofty heights. So recently I was in the grocery store and there was this kid, oh maybe 7 or 8, who was walking down the aisle, arms spread wide, probably playing some sort of bird or fighter jet in his mind. He was ducking, dodging, buzzing and swerving and ultimately took out a few signs. Just plum knocked ‘em right over. He looked back briefly at them, then towards his Mom (who never saw), then back at the signs, and kept going. This wasn’tCarthagein flames or carrying a loaded Glock to his elementary school, it was just a couple of DUMB grocery store signs. Dumb signs that needed to be picked up by someone I might add.

I happen to see the kid on the next aisle down, where his Mom stopped to eyeball something on the shelf. He was still careening over, under and through a new jungle of ‘2 for $5.00’ and ‘Buy ONE get ONE FREE’ signs. I passed by him and while his Mom wasn’t watching I said to him in this real conspiratorial tone: ‘Hey Kid!’ and he looks up at me wide eyed and I said ‘You knocked those signs over!’ and of course he gives me his best ‘What me?’ look. Then I said real authoritative-like ‘Look, you knocked over the signs, I saw you do it. So I tell you what: Go do the RIGHT thing. Put the sign’s back up. I’ll wait here with your Mom till you get back’.

So I don’t really know tonight about the how or the why of school shootings. I know it deeply saddens me and I know it took a long time to get here and it’ll take a longer time to fix it. I don’t think it has anything to do with roller skating or Playboy or grocery store signs or me becoming curmudgeonlier as I get older. I just know I’m Grateful that more kids weren’t hurt in Ohio today, that Playboy doesn’t automatically renew my nephew’s  subscription on my credit card (anymore) and I’m Grateful that kid put the sign’s back up. Cause frankly, if he’d have called my bluff, I had nothing…