I’m a Sap.

Amazingly, I’m not here to write about death. Does that mean you’ll stay? Hope so. But, whatever. I mean, they are my words.

But it’s your choice?

Still here? Good.

You might learn a little more about me tonight. Why?

Well, for some reason, I’m feeling ridiculously sentimental tonight.

That’s OK, right? Wait. Why am I asking you? Of course it is. Remember, my words.

(But I am glad that you are reading them.)

(Really.)

So, this sentimental thing. I’ll try to explain.

Maybe it’s because we took the kids trick-or-treating tonight in my old stomping grounds. We’ve done it for the last few years, but something was different about tonight. Not sure what it was. It’s great to go there because my sister and her daughter join us. Or, we join them since they live in the neighborhood now. And I think that’s part of it. That we’re giving the kids a memory they’ll look back on in the years to come. Lord knows I’m looking back on it. I remember going to each house in the neighborhood. Who gave out the best candy. Who pulled pranks. Who kept the lights off. I did this year after year with Steve, Steve, Gary, Tim, Pete and Tim. Just great memories. The neighborhood was alive tonight. And what was even cooler about it? Coming home, signing on to Facebook and seeing other people comment about how great it was there tonight, too.

And, in terms of making connections there between now and then. Well, it happened at two houses. One is still owned by the family that I’ve know there forever. Though instead of the parents handing out the candy, it was the kids. And by kids, I mean, they were my age. And one of the two works where I work now, so that connection continued. And then another house, next to the house I played at the most growing up…well, the people that live there now? One of them works with me now, too. So it’s kind of like the old and new coming together. Only I didn’t know she lived there until tonight. Makes our next conversation an easy one. Good times tonight. Great memories.

Why else am I feeling sentimental? Maybe it’s because both my mom and my nephew have hard incredibly hard months medically — yet both are home. Where they belong. Neither are 100 percent, but each is getting stronger by the day. And, well, that alone is a good thing. I’m done asking for good vibes. For now. I’m just thankful to all who shared them. And, well, I’m just thankful they are both home. We’re the closest non-closest family you’ll ever know. And what I just wrote right here, well, that means a lot. Good times tonight. Great memories to come.

Hmmm….still want another reason? Well, I just read a friend’s blog tonight for the first time in a long time. This is a blog I used to read every day. Heck, this is the blog that made me start a blog. I miss this friend. She and I don’t talk as much as I wish we still would, but I think she knows that we’re always connected. I’m hoping we have the chance to get together for dinner some time soon. Because I want to hear more of her stories in person — and not just in a blog or a vlog. I think I have the connection with this person that it really doesn’t matter how long we don’t talk — because when we are together, it’s always easy to talk. Simply put, she’s the little sister I never had. Ready for dinner when you are.

More? Of course there’s more. I mean, when I get sentimental, I get sentimental. It’s all in, so to speak.

Well, I’m going to see two of my closest friends this weekend with a trip back to Marist. I’m wishing another friend could be there, but alas, that won’t work out this time. What I really wish — at times — is that another person could be there. But I’m not sure that’ll ever happen again. I don’t think about that person much, but when I do, well, it’s just a sad situation. What I’m most glad about is that I have some amazing friends and I’m looking forward to walking campus, going back to check out the places we lived, admiring how much the place has changed and realizing how much we really haven’t changed that much since we first got to know each other back in (gulp) 1988.

What else? Well, I’m digging my new job. Totally digging it. Of course, it’s not really new anymore. Not after having been there for more than a year. But I’m really enjoying it and starting to make my mark a bit — or so it seems. At the same time, there’s one part of my old job that I really miss. So much so that I’m doing it again this holiday season. It’s not part of my old day-to-day job, it’s completely separate and doesn’t interfere at all with my current job — or I wouldn’t do it. But it’s a way for me to get back to something I loved doing for eight out of the last 10 holiday seasons. And I heard tonight that a lot of people are looking forward to having me back. That works for me. First ‘meeting’ is 11/7. And, honestly? I can’t wait.

Ok, we’re getting to the end, but there’s still a bit more. We had some family pictures taken a couple months ago and they just came in this week. A huge package arrived at the door and out they came. First really good shot of the family. First really good shot of Renee and me. Two awesome shots of Aidan and Erin. At one point, when I was struggling what to pick out, the photographer said, ‘think of what photo Aidan and Erin would want hanging in there house some day.’ Great perspective and it, well, made it easy at that point. They are lifestyle shots — all of them. And, well, it makes me think we’ve developed a nice little lifestyle here.

The last reason why I’m feeling this way — or at least another good reason why I might be….my birthday is tomorrow (or today, depending on when you are reading this). I’m turning 42. Every day. Every step of where I’ve been has brought me to this place. And you know what? It’s a good place. I haven’t always realized that. Maybe haven’t always appreciated it as much as I should. Maybe have been distracted by things beyond my control. But, at least I realize that now. 

I’ve got family. I’ve got friends. I’ve got the best health I’ve been in for some time.

Yeah. It’s good. It’s real good.

So thanks for being a part of it. Seriously. I don’t always say it (yeah, that again), but I think it. A lot.

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Amazing Connections

Sometimes — check that, most of the time — it’s really hard for me to understand that people can take something positive from what I write.

Yet, apparently, it happens.

Hard for me to figure sometimes because of the topics I tend to write about. Let’s face it, it’s not always rainbows and flowers over here at I Got Nothin’.

A lot of it, as you know, is about the challenging things I’ve dealt with — and, well, continue to deal with.

So, that begs the question. How is it possible that some people are actually taking things out of what I’m writing about?

Well, one reason is because other people have gone through similar situations — or even worse. And in the interest of this post, much worse.

Example one is about a sometimes email friend that I discovered while writing about the death and subsequent dealings of my brother. Not easy to find someone who understands this. Except in this case, I did.

This person lost her brother in a horrific way. And she reached out and said, hey, I get it. I totally get it. She explained what she thinks about, she understood what I was thinking about. It was nice to have that connection. We emailed a few times and then it went away. How do you keep something like that going?

Well, apparently it kept going. Because without another email and without me writing for months, this person reached out when I wrote about my brother’s birthday. She knows what the feeling is like. And she just sent a note to say, hey, thinking about you today. That’s a pretty cool thing.

An amazing thing, actually.

And I am grateful that she reached out a while ago, and I’m grateful that for some reason she kept my email and made contact again. 

To her, I say thank you.

The truly most amazing thing goes back to my brother’s wake. There was someone who came that surprised me. Not in a bad way, but a good way. This person and I were friendly. We were business associates. We always had a laugh. Always had fun with whatever conversations we were having.

But, quite frankly, I didn’t expect him to be at the wake. And I don’t mean that in a negative way. I just didn’t expect it, for whatever reason.

But, again, you just never know what other people have dealt with.

So, fast forward to this week when I learn something about this person that literally made me stop doing what I was doing for like 10 minutes. Just sort of stared at the screen with what I learned. That this person could thrive the way he has after this, well, it’s beyond compare.

Simply put, this person should be an inspiration to everyone. And I had no idea. At that point, I’m like, gee, some friend I am for not even knowing this horrific event in someone’s life. Then again, I’m not sure how many people know. I mean, it’s not like dinner conversation.

So when I found out, I had to write him. I had to say something. I wasn’t sure what, but I had to do it. I had to say that I don’t know what I could ever do, but I can at least offer my support and constantly send good vibes in the direction of this person.

So what kind of response do I get back? Something pretty amazing.

The first part was:

“I was thinking of you today, Mike, and thinking back a few years — now you know why it was important for me to be there for YOU.”

Seriously?

Seriously.

I had no idea. No freaking idea. If I did, the firm handshake I got a few years ago would have become a huge hug. I mean, trust me when I say that I don’t wish anything like what this person has gone through on my worst enemy. And, yet, his focus was on me.

Mind boggling.

And then this where I get into the part about not understanding how someone can take anything of substance from what I say.

Because then he said:

“Keep writing, Mike. It makes a lot of us smile, laugh, cry, feel and reflect. You help a lot of folks….”

Those are unbelievable words to read — especially when it’s about you and your writing.

I’ll never truly understand what people take from this space and these words.

It goes back to the point that I’ve tried to make in the past. This is my space. For my thoughts. For my feelings. For my emotions.

Never at all thinking that some people would have the same or be able to relate to the same.

Yet they do.

And, if because of that, I’m able to help one person — like either of the two mentioned here — then I’m beyond grateful.

Because there’s absolutely no doubt the two of them — and countless others — have helped me.

So, to my two friends, you know my feelings about your situations. Call this our crazy bond that will always give us common ground. Thank you for your words and, more importantly, your actions.

And to anyone else that pulls anything from my words, I appreciate you coming to this space and sharing it with me, and I’m humbled that anything I say can help.


I’m Back.

It’s been nearly six months since I’ve been here.

Not even sure if anyone cares. If anyone missed it. Not sure what you’d actually miss, but you know what I mean. At least I think you do.

Giving up on blogging? No, not really. Just didn’t have much to say. Or, if I did, I didn’t really want to say it.

Last blog was about getting help. I got it.

And it’s been a good thing. Has definitely helped. And, well, that was the goal.

So what’s brought me back?

I’m not sure. But I’ve been thinking a lot about this space in recent weeks — trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to do with it. If anything.

January is typically a month filled with emotions for me, so I knew if I was coming back, this would be the time.

But, I was waiting for the right time to start. You know, just like the right time to start a diet. Well, there is no right time. When you start, you start. And that’s what matters.

So here I am. A start.

And that’s what matters.

Of course, some of you won’t be surprised by the topic that got me back.

Death.

But, it’s what I write well about. Maybe it’s not death, per se, but the emotions and the memories that come with it.

And only this time, it’s about the death of one of my favorite teachers. Lots of memories when I heard the news today.

Memories that I’m sharing with you in the next post.

And hopefully more memories and other moments that I’ll be sharing with you in the future.

Because, for now, I’m back.


I’m Back…Again

Well, well, well. It’s been a long time.

No excuses, no reasons. Though maybe some of the reasons may come out in time.

It’s not like nothing has been going on. Lots has been going on. Some good. Some confusing. Such is life. I suppose.

I’ve come to realize that I do need this space. I just need to commit to it. Again.

I’ve had a number of moments where I’ve been, yeah, I should write about that. Came this close a few times, but never made it. Not sure why I didn’t.

Maybe there’s a part of me that didn’t want  you to realize that,  you know, I’m human, too.

Maybe I didn’t want to come here and profess my love for GLEE. Wait, was that outloud?

Whatever the reason(s), I’m here for now. And, essentially, I’m starting the blog over — hoping to build up to the readership I had before. I won’t lie. I liked it.

More importantly, I hope I can begin to use this as a tool again for myself.

Afterall, that’s why I started it in the first place.


You Tell Me.

OK.

I want to start writing more. Need to do that. And will do that.

But, honestly, right now, I’m not having great luck coming up with some topics. I’ve got one lined up for later this week, but you’ll see that in due time.

And, thanks to the beauty of Facebook, more people have seen this blog lately.

To those viewers, as well as any other newcomers, is there anything you’re dying to read about from me?

Anything that I’ve said here intrigue you that you want to know more about?

This is your chance to control the content a bit. If you so desire.

Help me get things going again.

(And, I know I’ve said this before, but I’m not going to write the Rachel Ray story until my friend Christine and I can do it together. We’ll get there!)

Ok, the floor is yours.


Interesting Connections

I’ve known since the instant I started this blog how unique connections can develop.

I mean, how else could you explain my recent happiness for a woman I’ve never met in the midwest who just announced she’s pregnant. And, she’s an Indians fan. So how could I possibly really like her? But, I do. And I’m very happy for her.

How else can I explain my recent happiness for a blogger/facebook friend who recently got engaged. Because I haven’t read much, I actually don’t know if she still blogs, but we’re friends on the ‘book, so I know about it that way. She was a regular commenter here, as I was on her blog. Things change. I get that. But I can still be happy for her through the connection here.

How else can I explain my secret blog crush on someone down south? She doesn’t blog anymore either, but the rumor is she might be back soon. But, we’re ‘book friends, too. And, did I mention she has amazing taste in music and in baseball teams. She’s funny, witty and I don’t know if we could ever carry a conversation in real time, but that’s fine. We’ve got something in common here and it works — because of blogging.

How else can you explain someone sending homemade baked goods to your office — other than blogging? Actually, two people have done this.

How else can you explain getting to know people you work with on an even deeper level — sometimes without even talking about it. You just come here and share — and that leads to a deeper understanding of some friends. And, honestly, I like that.

I write a lot about stuff that has happened to me — and death is always a part of that. First, a lot about my dad and now my brother.

And it was through writing about Tim that two more great connections just happened.

First, a woman that I deal with through work sent me a personal email about shared experiences. I knew she lost her husband a few years ago, but didn’t know much more than that. How much do you bring up over business?

Well, she became a friend on the ‘book and therefore discovered my blog (which was fine). She read some of the stuff I wrote about Tim and my desire to try and do more with my nephew. She then wrote me a great email that started with something like, “I hope this is OK to write….” and then she shared some things that she’s dealt with since the loss of her husband that helped me by giving me a different perspective — not just of what can help me, but also, unbeknownst to her, of what things my sister-in-law is no doubt going through

So through work, that connection was established, and through the blog, it became even greater.

If you’ve read me, you know how I got started — thanks to Molly. Well, after having lunch with Molly the other day, she wrote about our experience and suggested that her readers come visit me.

Well, one reader did — and she sent me an email last night that I’ve read about 10 times already.

Turns out, eight years ago, she lost her brother due to a random act of violence. She wrote to me about she’s dealt with that a little bit and how she’s been able to have a stronger relationship with her older brother — much like I hope happens with me and Tom. It’s about making sure opportunities aren’t lost.

This person didn’t have to email me. But I’m glad she did. I wrote her back and said, hey, maybe we can share stuff from time to time. Having someone to talk to that understands is a great thing.

And what’s unique about our situations — anger. For her, at someone — a real person. For me, which is an entire other element of my frustration — God. Tim didn’t do this to himself. Nobody did it to him. So why was he taken? Yeah, I know. But it’s what I think — and more importantly — what I feel. And if there’s one thing I’ve actually accepted recently, you can’t change feelings — you can only respect them.

So, again, a link from one blog to another brought this person in my life. Whether she stays, I don’t know. But regardless of that, it was nice to connect with someone in a similar situation that can truly relate.

Not that others can’t, but, well, you can’t — not unless you’ve gone through this. And trust me, I’m not not wishing this on anyone.

So, to that person, thank you for following Molly’s link, thanks for reading and — more importantly — thanks for writing.

And, to all of my blogging friends, regular readers and casual visitors — you all have a connection here somehow. It’s what brought you here. And it’s what keeps you coming back.

And while this is about me — I appreciate that. And I appreciate you.

A lot.


I’m Not Quite the Energizer Bunny…

…but here it is three years later and I’m still going and going and, well, going.

Yup, this blog is three years old.

Not only that, this is my 300th post.

I’m actually surprised — I wouldn’t have figured that I’d average a post every three days or so. Despite my recent hiatus, I guess it does go to show that (at one point) I was writing fairly regularly (and I’m trying to build back up to that pace — honest).

For that (the writing regularly part), you can thank Molly.

In fact for all of this, you can thank Molly.

It’s as simple as this — without her encouragement, this blog never would have started.

And, quite frankly, without her encouragement, this blog wouldn’t have lasted.

It’s funny in a way. When she and I get together now, she mentions my writing and tells me not that I shouldn’t stop, but that I can’t stop.

So, here I am, reading her stuff tonight and she’s asking the same questions I’ve been asking lately. And my answer to her, it’s not that she shouldn’t stop. It’s that she can’t stop.

See, I was debating what the heck to write about for a three-year/300th entry…then tonight it hit me plain as day. Talk about the person that got you started here in the first place.

Of course, I went to her when I was looking for an idea for this entry and she might as well have used my line and said, “I got nothin’.”

She actually did have a great idea — it would just take me too long to do right now. And I need to get over this 300 hump.

What’s kind of funny is that while I’m writing less now, I’m even reading less. Only a few blogs are in regular reading rotation right now — Molly’s being one of them.

What could I possibly have in common with twenty-something blogger? Well, in her case, it’s a lot.

We’ve each written about each other before. I’ve called her my little sister. She’s called me her big brother. That’s just the relationship we have.

We had a great working relationship that turned into a fabulous friendship — even after she left for what was then greener pastures.

I don’t see her as much as I’d like, but it doesn’t matter. When we do connect — like today at lunch — it’s fabulous.

Our conversations cover it all — light, heavy and anything in between. Ususally over pizza and onion rings. But, today, we’ll do it over salads instead. And that’s ok.

True friends make a mark on your life — a mark that sets them above and beyond others.

Molly made a mark on my life two years ago — in a big way. I doubt that Molly and I will ever lose touch, but if we do for some reason, I’ll always be grateful to her.

And you should be, too. After all, without her encouragement, I wouldn’t be here.

Thank you, Molly.

Wouldn’t be here without you.