Saturday, December 19, 2009

Just A Humble Word Of Thanks

Howdy folks... Merry Christmas!
I just wanted to take a moment (I'm in Iowa as I write this) and say thanks to all who have sent kind words and prayers up for my sister Terri and our family. I gave her a call to check up on her and she still is a little down (duh Mik, what did you expect?), but is still putting her energy into getting ready for Christmas. She sent me a pic of my baby nephew and I love the little guy but he has HUGE pointy ears. I know he'll grow out of them and it's really no big deal, but I made some elf reference about him and I caught all kinds of flak from Terri. She was saying things like "Oh you didn't just go there did you?" and she was ready for a scrap I could tell. That made me feel better because I knew she wanted to go back to some minor sense of normalcy. Unfortunately, chemo therapy has been part of her new "normal" for quite sometime. But she's dealing with it as best she can... By the way, here's how that little conversation we had ended:

Me: Nice picture, I'm glad they could find some elf, er... ear covers for the little guy
Terri (in a bit of a huff): Oh you just didn't go there did you?
Me: No, I often refer to a 6 month-old baby as 'Yoda' because he reminds me of a 3 thousand year old dwarf simply because he is 'wise' beyond his years... just chock full of wisdom he is...
Terri: (click)

I got a couple of text messages from her later giving me crap like only siblings can... So she is trying to kick it up a notch and keep it going. Who am I to stand in the way? Three thousand year old dwarfs not withstanding...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bah Humbug

Hey guys,
Just a heads up that I would sure appreciate if you kept my sister Terri in your prayers. She gave me a phone call and was sobbing. It seems that her cancer, which appeared to be held in check for quite some time, has spread to her lungs now. She is just crushed. She was questioning God and why would He let this happen? I wanted to be able to give her an answer. But to be truthful, I didn't have one. Only He knows and has the answers. But that is not a very comforting answer for her right now. She's hurting right now. The type of chemo that they treat the lungs with, well, she's allergic to it. Last time they tried it, she ended up in the hospital because it dang near killed her. I can tell you one thing: it makes you treasure and appreciate Christmas a whole lot more...

Monday, December 07, 2009

Mik- Miktoria?

I've got to tell you... sometimes you gotta laugh at yourself. I spent Friday down with the gal pal. I went down for a church dedication. I gotta tell ya, it was a-m-a-z-i-n-g... I couldn't believe how incredible those people were who helped build a church for people that don't know Christ. I sat there in complete awe of these people. They had a great time of fellowship and wished I could've stayed there forever with my gal pal... I love that girl, I tell ya... But duty called and I had to hit the road to drive back up north because I had to be in Grand Rapids, Michigan the next afternoon to broadcast a hockey game. So right after the dedication that night, being a little sleep deprived, I headed up I-75 and stopped for a little shuteye (and in Cincinnati, for the only food that matters... SKYLINE CHILI). So anyway, I get to Grand Rapids on Saturday afternoon and check into the hotel. I expect my hotel key to be like it always is when I'm on the road. My name is usually written on the envelope and the key is inside of it. Well, apparently, someone got the message all screwed up. I ended up getting an envelope from the lady behind the service desk with MISS G... written on it. WHOA BOY... er girl... Uh, I think maybe the moustache and beard were the giveaways.... I didn't think that she was optometry deficient but I'm guessing if she couldn't figure out that I was a guy, then if she's not married, then she could date just about anyone! She wasn't wearing glasses. Geez, I don't know if I should feel bad for her, or insulted that she thought that I was a woman. The guys on the hockey team had a field day with that little nugget of misinformation. It didn't bother me in the least and by the time we headed to the arena for the game, I was making fun of myself over it. It felt like a bizarre "Bosom Buddies" episode... only without Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

For The Birds...

Okay... to my U.S. brethren... Happy Thanksgiving. To my Canadian and European friends: happy Thursday...lol

I'm putting together a top ten list of things to be thankful for... Just my brain (in)activity:

I AM THANKFUL:

10) That inspite of the fact that I spend more time in arenas, stadiums and behind microphones than with her, my gal pal still loves me. She deserves better, but still thinks I'm great. She looks through rose colored glasses, but I'm not going to change her... not one bit.

9) Despite the prognosis... my sisters STILL are kickin' butt and trying to enjoy and live life. They really do define what it means to beat the odds and are good people on top of that.

8) Even though I lead a somewhat hard lifestyle with all the miles that I log, I am still in relatively decent health. Some days I feel more like 93 than 45, but I still enjoy living everyday life.

7) While I'm a working stiff and could complain about my job, that I have an ounce of brain matter to realize that I'm pretty darn lucky to have a job. Let alone three. Perspective Mik, it's always perspective...

6) Despite the odds, we are slowly making Toledo Sports Radio a small success.

5) While I have a nice round figure (read: belly), I can't cook. I eat at work and I nuke meals or eat out but when I need some real home cooking, I can call any member of my family and go visit and they let me stay for dinner...lol

4) While I have a nice round figure (read: BELLY), my gal pal still loves me insanely. There is no one on this planet that I could ever ask to love me more completely than her.

3) When I have screwed up (all the time) and had a pity party or two, that God had enough of a sense of humor not to listen to me whine and still loved his brat inspite of that brat's stupidity...

2) That I'm painfully aware that while I have tried to do good for others, that I could do so much more. What's the old saying: The size of your funeral will be determined by the weather?...

1) to the Good Lord, that inspite of my best efforts... HEY! I'm still ALIVE!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone... Hope you can find things to be thankful for... infact, if you care to share, leave me a comment about what you might be thankful for this year...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

When Life Throws a Curve Ball...

I'm just kicking back and taking it easy right now... Weird crap can sneak up on you when you aren't looking. One of our supervisors at work is finding that out firsthand. It isn't weird crap... It's life and death. She went into the emergency room yesterday cause she wasn't feeling good. She got a diagnosis today... pancreatic cancer. Wholly crap! Talk about a slap to the face or a sucker punch to the guts... I sat there stunned. The diagnosis they gave her: it's terminal. I feel so horrible. The people at work all just kind of sat numb. I don't know her that well, but it hit close to home. I think about my sister and how she is hanging on with her cancer battle and I have really come to appreciate what she's going through. Life can be such a precious and delicate thing. Many times it's unappreciated or more likely than not, taken for granted. I just know that I'm approaching middle age and feel like I'm 90 sometimes, but when I see people who are suffering and dancing with their mortality, I stop complaining about what aches me and I feel so grateful to be alive. You pray and you hope for the best. And for pete's sake, LIVE and enjoy life... even if it's just deciding to be in a good mood when you don't feel like it. LIVE and LOVE...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Eleven - Eleven...

It's November 11th... My sister Terri's birthday. Glad she's holding on to keep celebrating another year of life. Truly a gift from God. I think about her situation and her prognosis. She's defied the odds and continues to live life as best she can. I'm grateful that she has done as well as she has... The other reason I'm looking at things with a bit more perspective is because I always get sentimental about Veteran's Day or Rememberance Day... I guess because I see how much people really sacrificed for a guy like me to be a full time goof ball. I just feel like "Thank you" is so weak... especially after what happened in Fort Hood last week. It really drives home how important it is to appreciate and support our men and women in uniform. I was sitting in my hotel room last sunday morning, flipping channels and watching TV when I came across a preacher show (Charles Stanley) called "In Touch"... I was expecting just the typical sunday morning fare. But this program was a re-run of a guy in church talking about our founding fathers and the early days of our history and how they would rely on their faith to govern. It was a real eye opener for me and it got me thinking about history and it snowballed from there... and it got me thinking about our troops and those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Thank you seems inadequate, but it's all I've got. I do say thanks not only those who gave their all, but those who have served or are currently serving...We are forever in your debt...

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Deja Vu... all over again!

I'm a guy who's a creature of habit. Ask my gal pal, she'll tell you. I know what I like and I usually like it alot. Whether it's sports, food, or people, I like familiarity... for the most part. A case in point... last spring I wrote about a kid I met when I was in Dubuque, Iowa for playoffs last season. I enjoyed the heck out of the kid. He's a special needs kid who took to a couple of our players. The team really went out of their way to make him feel special during the playoffs. He was/is a really neat kid. I'll never forget when we were getting on the bus to head for home, he stopped outside and went up and hugged a couple of the players who he'd really liked. I was genuinely touched.
Fast forward to last Friday night. We were in Dubuque again to play them in a pair of regular season games. I was getting my gear set up to broadcast the games online. Well, I look down near the area where the two teams will go onto the ice and there is the familiar smile and the familiar glasses. I finish setting my stuff up and head down to say hello, not even sure if the kid would remember me. He does and his mom also remembers me and so we chat about the team and I tell them how most of the players from last year have moved on with their careers. I give them info about a couple of the kid's favorite players from our team. So they were really happy to hear about what happened to the guys they became fans of. Now we get beat while we're there so that stunk to high heavens. But as we got back home on Sunday morning at 6am with no sleep, I get off of the team bus and walk over to my car. I get in and stop to get some gasoline. I fill the tank up and decide that since I have Sunday off from everything, I can drive home five minutes and sleep till the afternoon and putz around all day and watch football. It would've been great. But of course, the term 'normal' and me have never been on the same page. So I decide to do something crazy. I pour myself into my car, and drive six hours to go see the gal pal. She had no idea. I freaked people out. I show up in church, and afterwards, I go up to her and she about freaked out. She just grabbed me and pulled me into her arms, hugging me so tight that my air supply started to go out. But she let me come up for air and the look on her face was just perfect. She was shocked and when folks came up to me to say hello, they found out that I was in Iowa the night before and had been up all night coming back to Ohio and then another six hours to there. They were all stunned, but as I simply stated the obvious: "hey, my gal pal is WORTH IT"... I spent about five hours with her and then headed for home, six hours back. I got home to Michigan a little after midnight and slept for what felt like five minutes and went into work dragging my knuckles. But I'll never forget the look on my gal pal's face and when she said how much it meant to her what i did. I am not one to pat myself on the back, and I'm not looking for that here now. I only mention it because I think about how much she does to motivate me to be a better human being. And how most of my friends at home would be laughing at me for being so freaking crazy to go almost two and a half days without much sleep and drive six hours each way to spend a few hours with my girl. Now if you care to share, I have a question for you: what is the craziest thing you've ever done to be able to spend time with someone you are/were/ used to be crazy about? I hope you all are okay and have a great week...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pigskin Flu...

Only in my world....
Okay, so I've been feeling kind of under the weather this week. For the most part I've ducked the flu. No flu-like symptoms but still problems with the inner workings and as such, I didn't feel much like carrying out the broadcast duties I had. My radio partner was flat out down with the flu. So I stayed away from him all week and we decided not to do any sports this week. I tried to go into work on Friday and lasted only 90 minutes. My boss and my co-workers sent me home and told me to go directly to bed. Do not pass go, do not collect $200 dollars. I vegged a bit, snoozed some and tried to eat. Unfortunately for my waistline, eating doesn't seem to be a problem. But my gal pal wanted to attach a rocket to her wheelchair to come take care of me. That girl is something else. She never fails to amaze me. So while I was home, I get a phone call. It was my radio partner. He decides that he feels good enough to go do a high school football game. In particular, HIS alma mater. Now my radio partner loves his old high school. Maybe a little too much. He graduated from there over 25 years ago. But he is still a freak about that place. I just don't get that. Some people are strongly identified by their college alma mater. They love the teams and cheer for them endlessly. But my radio partner's school is a very small school. And the way he talks about them you'd think they were division one in the whole state. I think they're down in division six. There are only six divisions in the state for football. I simply shake my head and roll my eyes. He calls me at half time and it goes something like this:

Him: So, it's not that bad. It's a pretty good football game!

ME: Uh, what's the score?

Him: They're doing alright for playing in the rain...

ME: Hey Elvis Presley, what's the score??

Him: Um, uh, 28-0

ME: (hang the phone up and go back to bed)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My Hometown... I Must Be So Proud... Maybe Not

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This bar is about five minutes from where I work during the day. I'm so glad I don't go out to bars anymore... sheesh...

Thursday, October 08, 2009

It Says It All...

I appreciate signs like this because I'm the type of guy that will see the sign, but miss the cop. When you travel as much as I do... Hope you all have a great one!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Another Typical Mik Weekend... zzzzzz....

From the "I'm not as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was" department....

I seem to be fully recovered (I think) from last weekend. I went on a long long venture without much sleep to speak of (read: NONE) but I guess I still got it when it comes to pulling an all nighter... I suppose an explanation is in order here. Friday, I was supposed to travel with the hockey team to Chicago for a pair of games on Friday and Saturday night. Well, I couldn't make it to the bus on time Friday morning so I drove from my house out to the Windy City. No big deal. I figured four and a half hours and I'd be sitting in my hotel room with my feet up. OOPS! I get to the South side of Chi-town, and make the tragic mistake of going through town to get to the northwest suburbs. OUCH. The actual distance is something like 40 miles. It took me nearly THREE HOURS to get through there. And on top of it, there was a driving rainstorm going through! I know those of you who live in or near big cities are chortling at this point. But I live in a small town with the nearest big city being Detroit. And while Motown is a decent sized city, it sure ain't Chicago. Anyway, I get into town, and we win each night. Life is good. I decide to take the same expressway back out of town because the Chicago folks told me (after they stopped laughing at the thought of me driving through downtown on a Friday afternoon and in a rainstorm) that late on Saturday night there wouldn't be bumper to bumper traffic and I should be able to get right through. Well, I decided to go for it and they were right. I got out of Chicago in a decent amount of time and five hours later, in the middle of the night, I make it home. But only to change clothes and gas up the car. I took a quick nap and got up cause I had to hit the road down I-75, six hours to rural Kentucky. My gal pal was in a wedding (one of her best friends got married but it was on very short notice so I couldn't change my schedule) and I had to miss it cause I was in Chicago. While everyone understood and said "we understand", I knew that I had to go down there and somehow try and make it up to her. My gal pal is the most amazing human being i've ever known. But I knew she was kind of bummed at the prospect of me not being there. I got there late Sunday morning, and knew that she and everyone else would be in Church like any other normal Sunday. So I drove to the Church and I was late (big surprise) and so I snuck in and sat in the last row with one of my gal pals good friends. Lindsay looks at me and whispers "I heard you were coming here from Chicago... oh my gosh, you are like the most awesome boyfriend to come down like this." I smiled and thought, "yeah, but that's only because I disappointed everyone by not making it down for the wedding." I had told my gal pal that I probably wouldn't get to Church on time and that I'd meet her at a restaurant afterwards. She was sitting up front in Church so she didn't see me. After the service, I walked up to her and the look on her face was priceless. She lit up like a Christmas tree and was so genuinely thrilled to see me. After that, I didn't feel like a dirtbag for missing the wedding. We went to eat after we left the Church and had a wonderful afternoon together. She told me about the wedding and was a little surprised that I didn't tell her that I missed the bus going to Chicago. "If I had known you were driving to Chicago AND THEN here afterwards, I would've told you not to and to just stay home"... to which I replied "yeah, I know... that's why I didn't tell you." Well, we spent about four hours together and I had to jump in the car (okay 'jump' might be too strong a word, maybe 'pour myself into my car' might be more accurate) and then make the six hour trek back home to start another wonderful week on monday. Tired? abso-freakin-lutely. But after seeing her so happy to see me, it was an easy drive back home.

Mik's World Tour Around The Midwest Logistics:
Each way between Chicago and Home- 350 miles (700 total)
Each way between Home and Rual Kentucky- 400 miles (800 total)

The look on my gal pal's face when she saw me- PRICELESS!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Look Back... Steve-Style...

Greetings from the travelling maniac...
I'm putting a boat-load of miles on my car and this is a time of year where my broadcast schedule has picked up considerably. But sometimes it can come at a cost. Other times it can lead to the unusual. I've had both of those occur with me... But it's going to turn out good. I hope.
Last week, I was broadcasting a football game and after I finished, I walked towards my car and I looked at a bar just down the road a bit. It was a bar I had gone to back in the day (many years ago) not so much to drink, but to see different bands play. I remember that there was a large group of people that would hang out there every weekend. A couple of them were my friends from high school and they were really into the music scene. So just for the heck of it, I stopped by to see if anyone still went to the place and sure enough, I ran into my best friend from high school, Steve. Steve's band was playing that night and I have known Steve and his brother Mike since 1981. When Steve saw me (mind you, I've only seen him twice in the last 15 years), he about flipped out. "WHOLLY ****... LOOK WHO'S HERE?" and proceeded to run over and give me a hug. His younger brother Mike saw me and almost screamed. He was so incredibly happy to see me and I him. I hadn't talked with them together since the 90's... So we stood there like the goofballs we are and talked and caught up on stuff. Steve married a very beautiful young lady. The emphasis is on the word 'young'. As in Steve and I are in our mid-40's and she was celebrating her 25th birthday. I thought of my gal pal and smiled. She's a bit younger than me but not nearly half my age. I met Steve's wife and she seems like a nice girl. We all swapped phone numbers and emails. He wanted to by me a drink but I told him that I don't anymore. He was a little surprised but after about five minutes, we were laughing and making plans to get together for dinner and maybe take in the odd game or two. We were like 15 year olds again just discovering our enjoyment of our first rock concert. I think I went to one of my first rock concerts in my home town with Steve. We went and saw Nazareth I think. Man, does that make me feel old... Okay pop quiz time for you... leave me an answer (regardless of musical taste... If it entertains you... that's all that matters.) What was the first concert or show you ever went to?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

It's All In How You Look At It...

I gotta say, some days can be a whole world of misery. Some days aren't the best. Each of us go through such times. Whether it's poor health, loss of a job or a disagreement with a co-worker, or worse... family, life can hand you a big crapola burger sometimes. It's never easy when things get tough. But if there's one thing I've learned over the course of my life, the word for it would be "perspective". No doubt about it. I can't ever complain about things because when I use perspective, I realize that I don't have it so bad... at all. I look in the mirror and think "geez, I need to lose weight". But I think about my sisters. Lou is a bilateral amputee. She is also on dialysis, but she lives life to the fullest. Terri has cancer in various parts of her body. She continues to fight valiantly. I don't think she worries about if she's gained a pound or two. I think about my true love, my gal pal. She inspires me every single day just by being who she is. She doesn't look at her wheelchair as a hindrance. We both just see it as a piece necessary furniture. She defines it, it doesn't define her. I whine about getting up in the morning and driving to work. I think about her and realize that she'd love to be able to do what I do,and then I realize that I'm blessed because I can get up and walk to my car and just basically be a bum anywhere I want. But she doesn't ever complain about it. She feels like she's being used by God for a specific purpose. Keeping me from becoming a total door knob, goofball, is only part of it. I don't complain anymore when things don't go my way. It's all a matter of perspective.
My days can be outright insane sometimes because of my day job and then the broadcast stuff I do in the evening. But I can't complain. Others would love to be in my situation but are unemployed. And then there's my nephew, the marine. He just came back home from deployment and his work days made me look like a completely lazy bum. Again, it's all a matter of perspective. He was just matter of fact about his time away from home. There's no way I could ever do what he did. Not even close. But he looks up to me and while that's neat for the ego, the truth is that I look up to God, my gal pal, my sisters, and him... They are awesome to me. They inspire me each and every day. I might be the brother who's on tv and radio...blah, blah, blah... But they are the real stars in my family. It's all a matter of perspective.

Friday, September 04, 2009

And So It Begins... Hut One... Hut Two... HIKE!

Ah yes, the smell of pigskin is in the air. That can only mean one thing.... FOOTBALL!!!

My schedule now official kicks into warp drive as I start again with broadcasting high school football and next week (dare I say it) hockey starts up for me... I love this time of year. I love to watch sports and these are my two favorites. Of course, my gal pal is not much for sports except college basketball (loves her UK Wildcats), but she loves me and puts up with me and my sports nuttiness. Now the grueling part of the job (yet I still love it), is the travel. The hockey takes me throughout all of the midwestern part of the country. Again, I'm an old road dog who has rode team busses for years so it's all old hat to me. I look forward to it. However, one sign that I'm getting old, is that there are halloween displays already up in some places. Wholly smokes... at this rate, can Christmas be far behind?? Yikes, I don't even want to think about it yet... With that in mind, Have a nice Labor Day everybody...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Happy Birthday To My Dad...

Just wanted to say happy birthday to my dad. He would've been 80 years old today. There are times when I still really miss him. I guess I'll always feel that way. I look up to him a lot as I go through my walk in faith. I look up to him as someone who did it the way I am trying to do it: It's not how you start, but how you finish... He made some huge mistakes in his life, as did I. I used to carry around a lot of anger and guilt and depression. I think he did too. But as it got closer to the end for him, we both made an effort to patch things up and I must say, the last few years he was on this earth, we really got along great and I managed to love him again. He became a dad to me again, someone I could look up to. And most of all, someone I could love and be proud of and l miss very much to this day. But the best part in developing my faith, is I have come to believe that he is in Heaven with my mom, the true love of his life. When she passed more than 30 years ago, a major part of him died with her. He fell into a deep hole and didn't get out of it till about the last ten years of his life. But like I said, it's not how you start or run the race in the middle, it's all about how you finish. And when I say he turned it around, man did he ever! Even though he still missed his girl, he began to live again. And he was happy. The relationship we re-built is something I will cherish forever. Happy Birthday Ol' Man... (I never called him dad or daddy or papa or stuff like that. I just always called him ol' man... but as a term of endearment)... I miss you a lot, but give mom a hug for me and know that I will continue to live and love in the way you showed me... for better or worse... hahahah...

Thursday, August 06, 2009

It Could Only Happen To Me...

From the "I may not be the brightest candle on the menorah, but..." dept:

Okay, just shy of a month ago, I chalked up another birthday. I used to like birthdays. Back in my party days, it meant that I could go get drunk off of my butt and it was okay. Of course back then, I'd be more than happy to crack a few open to celebrate Flag Day, Bastille Day, and the Feast of St. Francis if it meant getting hammered... Okay, fast forward to the current edition of me. Sober, a little older, a smidge wiser, and a few pounds fatter (okay, time to celebrate... er, oops... ain't doing that anymore)... I celebrate differently now that I survived the insanity that was my younger years and am now more grateful that inspite of the really poor choices of my past, I am trying to live a more docile, peaceful life with my faith at the forefront. I don't hide it nor am I embarrassed by it. I'm a child of God. 'Nuff said. I use that to guide me these days. It doesn't mean that I'll have peace from difficulties. Not everything is going to be sunshine and daisies and chocolate bunny rabbits (which I can't eat any way because I'm a friggin' diabetic...) But a faith that tells me that He will be there beside me when I struggle with life. That if I blow it, He will still love me and forgive me and understand me. He created me for cryin' out loud. I needed to start focusing on worshipping the Creator and not his creations...
Now back to the birthday thing three weeks or so ago. I stop at the Bureau of Motorized Vehicles (BMV) to get my new tags for my license plates for another year. The lady wishes me a happy birthday (an a.d.d. moment: in her line of work, I get the feeling that wishing EVERYBODY a happy birthday is an occupational hazzard) and I politely say thanks and leave. Fast forward to last Sunday. I go to church and am talking to people afterwards. I'm just enjoying the time with folks and cracking a few jokes along the way. No big deal. Till I leave and stop at the gas station to fill up. I reach for my wallet and the only thing I feel is the surprise of my backend (a side note: if I wore white pants, you could show a movie on my rear, but I digress...) and that sickening feeling hit my stomach. So I drive back to church. And I stop at the info center and the lady behind the counter is very helpful and tells me that they found my wallet. I breathe a HUGE sigh of relief. I take my wallet and thank her profusely. I leave church, head for home and when I stop at the store and grab my wallet again, I look inside and find everything intact. Everything but my driver's license. Now I'm thinking (a danger in itself) "Did someone take it from me for identity theft?" I am fearing the worst. So I drive back to church again, and they're very helpful but NO license. So I go and look all over the place in the church but nothing. I go home and look all over. Again, nada. So I call the BMV and tell them my dilemma and they tell me I need my birth certificate and social security card. I lost my social security card years ago but never though of replacing it because it's also on my driver's license. But now I needed one and had to go to the Social Security administration office to get another one. I got my number to wait to called and my ticket said that the estimated time till my number would be called was 140 minutes... WHAAAAAT!!!! So what's a dork to do? I waited. I finally got called after only about 45 minutes (thank you Lord), and got what I needed and headed over to the BMV to get a duplicate of my license. I walk in there, take another number to wait, and sit and wait. My number gets called, and I go up. I have the same lady that I had a few weeks ago. I tell her that I need a new duplicate license and she tells me that it'll cost full price (ugh...) and I told her "the last time I remember seeing my driver's license was when I pulled it out here a few weeks ago on my birthday to get my new tags." She looks at my info, asks when my birthday was, and then excuses herself and goes to a back office. She comes back, with a big grin on her face, and extends her hand out with the driver's license that I had left on the counter at the BMV three freakin' weeks ago!!!!! The only thing I could manage to say was: "y'know, it could only happen to ME..." Man, I gotta tell ya, it's funny sometimes. I can do some really dumb things. But I have faith and I didn't panic at any time during this whole thing. It's always easy to talk about faith but when something is happening in your world like you have serious issues with a family member or a close friend. Or when a loved one is having serious health issues. It's easy for me to say on the outside to have faith and it'll be okay. But sometimes my faith gets tested. Whether it's something small like losing a wallet, or something more serious like my sisters' health issues, I have put my money where my mouth is, so to speak. God Bless you and I hope you all have a great weekend and I'll stop by soon... eventually! (you've been warned... mwahahahahahaha) :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Julia Childs Moment...

Hey folks,
sorry I haven't been on much lately. I was chopping up some cucumbers to munch on since I'm really trying to eat better. I was really getting into slicing the cukes and was in a groove. Well, I think I got TOO much into it because I was not thinking and the next thing you know.... WHACK! and there goes a chunk of the meaty part of my palm into the pile of cucumber slices. It wasn't that big of a piece. But it was enough. At first I was in stunned silence, no blood and no pain. Then all of a sudden there was an avalanche of both. I was able to clean it up and make a dressing for it (uh, for my wound... not for the cucumber salad I was making) and when I cleaned the wound up, it stopped bleeding. It does sting and it will for quite a while but I'm dealing with it alright. It's not too bad. But I realize that a chef, I am NOT... Of course, when I mention it to family and friends, the words of encouragement came flooding to me: "geez Mik, were you trying to make finger sandwiches or something?" ahhhh... delightful folks I deal with... I prefer humor to worry and like I said, it wasn't a real big piece of my skin and tissue. It was about the area of 3/4 the size of a dime, just below my pinky finger... Though it hurts to type. But as the saying goes, this too, shall pass. They always say when you get knocked off of a horse, that the 1st thing you should do is hop back on. Well, for me that meant chopping up more cucumbers and eating them without feeling like I was a cannibal... mission accomplished!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Yo Quiero Taco Bell... Gidget Buys It...

It's not normal for me to wax poetic on a pop culture fixation but I gotta say that I was kind of bummed to read where Gidget, the little chihuaha from the Taco Hell commercials of the 90's had passed away at the ripe old age of 15 years old. I really loved the dog and the character it portrayed. To this day and now beyond, there isn't a time that goes by that people will not automatically associate "Yo Quiero Taco Bell" or "Here Lizard Lizard Lizard" without thinking about that little dog. Gidget was the name, and selling tacos was the game. I still have lying around somewhere, a couple of chihuahua dolls that when you pull the string, the Taco Bell dog says something silly. I'm not an animal freak or anything like that. Of course my girlfriend laughs at the thought of me trying to explain my peculiar, if not misunderstood relationship with that most selfish of doggy divas, my Penney. But outside of my penney-pooh, I didn't have fixation with any other animal. Except for that goofy little chihuahua who hawked some below average (alledged) Mexican food... RIP Gidget... I'm going to eat an enchirito in tribute to you...lol... catch you guys later.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Highlights of the holiday...



what's a guy to do when he's got a girl who is WAY out of his league? Simple: just love her like crazy and never let her go.... A couple of pics from when the gal pal came over on the July 4th holiday and spent the day with me at our garage sale. Well, the garage sale at my place. My gal pal had stuff to sell. Her mom had stuff to sell. My sister had stuff to sell. My sister's boys had stuff to sell. My sister's best friend had stuff to sell. EVERYONE had stuff to sell at the garage sale... Everyone but ME... go figure! But being the congenial (if not exhausted) host, I endured all day long. And I do mean ALL DAY...lol But my gal pal was right there with me. She is simply the best and most wonderful human being on planet earth. Have a good week everybody...

Monday, July 06, 2009

Fireworks? What Fireworks? Well...

Howdy one and all...
I spent the weekend with my gal pal and both of our families... and I had a wonderful time with them. It was a typical Mik experience- whacky. I don't do normal. I haven't for years. Why start now? Let's see... In the span of 48 hours I had to get my house cleaned (no easy feat...lol), welcome my gal pal and her folks into town, get back home because my sister and her best friend were bringing a boatload of crap to sell at the garage sale (our town has a city wide garage sale every July 4th weekend) on Saturday, so my house and my garage were full of things to sell. Plus my beloved and her mom came and brought some jewelry and clothes to sell... Now for those who are parents or are used to company coming over an a routine basis, this is no big deal. For a guy who NEVER entertains at his home, let alone have everyone coming over to have a garage sale at his house, I was simply enjoying the PPF to gauge how nervous I was. (PPF = poopin' pickles factor). Nervous? Me? Nahhh... (yeah right!). But the topper for me was that the girls (Lou and Terri) were feeling good enough to make it out and come over. To give you an idea how significant this was, it was huge to me because it was the first time they had ever been to my house since I moved there several years ago. My place is not wheelchair friendly and with Lou having no legs, presented a touch of a challenge. But she and Terri (who cooked for me for Saturday) were great and it made me downshift from all out panic at having this stuff come together, to a somewhat stunned appreciation to what I was witnessing. My whole family and my gal pal's family sitting at my place hanging out with a garage sale all day and having a great time. All this and to top it off, my oldest nephew became a father for the first time at age 34. Yep, I became a great uncle. And here all this time I thought I was a great uncle because I was a nice guy. But my nephew became a dad for the first time and has a brand new baby boy (7lbs 1oz and 21ins. long). Little Alec has turned my family upside down and I'm a great uncle. And the translation of the term "great uncle"? Simple. I AM OLD...
Say hi to Alec....

Monday, June 29, 2009

Passing Bye...

So, some rambling thoughts as I get ready for my gal pal and her parents to come up to chateaux du Mik...
I'm really glad that we're into a new week. After the insanity of so many folks passing away, it's just crazy. I mean... all the big names of my youth: I grew up watching the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon. Farrah Fawcett was a huge part of my life as a pre-pubescent. I was not a Michael Jackson fan during his adult years (aka "the white years"). I LOVED the music he made as a little kid as part of the Jackson 5 (I always dug Motown)... Even losing Billy Mays was a cultural shock. You just never expected it. I can't ever watch commercials the same way again. I'm glad he didn't get to do the Taco Bell spots he was hired for... I probably couldn't eat there again. Granted, with my diet, I'm not supposed to eat there any, but I digress. And then someone who nobody gave two craps about, but for me, he was such an entertainer when I was a little kid that I was just awestruck when I saw him work. His name was Fred Travalena. And for a goofy fat kid in the midwest, I thought he was great. An absolute blast... I think about all these people that we have lost in the last week, and the thing that bugs me (besides the wall to wall 24/7 MJ overkill), is seeing parts of my youth start to die off. I dunno. I guess I don't like to see people I watched from my youth clock out so early... But I guess you never know, do ya?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tick Tock

Gotta tell ya, it gets scary every once in a while...
I have been hitting the sauce hard lately. By "sauce", I mean for the first time in over 20 years, I started drinking coffee again. I don't do de-caff... besides the java, I've always been a fan of Rip It energy drinks. The sugar free of course. But I've been drinking them for years. Well, this past weekend, my body decided that it had enough of what I was doing to it. I woke up in the middle of the night with serious heart palpitations. I was sweating to beat the band, but not at all short of breath. So I took some medication and felt better and went back to sleep since I stopped having any more symptoms. I figured I'd call my doctor from work in the morning. I slept pretty good and woke up and got ready for work and went in. Well I was there about 2 hours and it started happening again. So I got a hold of my doc and he wanted to see me in his office right away. I went over there and he ran some tests on me and once we got the palpitations taken care of, he asked me about some issues with my history and my diet. Long story short, I had to make some changes to my diet because of my sugar. And NO MORE CAFFEINE!! Great. Why not just ask me to stop living while you're at it... And with my history, I had to be put on another med... great... the one guy who HATES taking any kind of medicine has to take more. Grrrrr... I guess I could have it worse... I know some folks that take enough meds that they are almost a meal in themselves. So I'm not going to complain about five. But I feel MUCH better today than I did yesterday. I'll be undergoing a few more tests over the next couple of days, but things have stabilized nicely so far. So my gal pal freaked a bit but I re-assured her that I'm going to be around long enough so that we can be stuck in a nursing home together and chase each other in our wheelchairs... I feel good. So I'm going to make the adjustments. I dread having to start eating salads routinely, but I'll make due. Talk to ya later...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Mayflies Doing The June Bug...



A sure sign of summer on the lake... MAYFLIES... they come around every early summer for about 3-4 weeks and make life generally miserable for people because they are completely harmless but there are millions of them around here. They live only 24 hours because they have no digestive system. But supposedly are good for the water and eco-system. Generally, all they do is be born, reproduce, and then croak... what a life, huh? lol... Hope y'all have a good week...

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Suddenly (liking) Salad... say it isn't so...

Hey all,
Just touching base as I get through the daily grind of work, work, and more work. I am hoping that you guys are enjoying the beginnings of summer. I promised that I would let you know when I tried something that someone sent me as an idea for making an easy dish. For lunch, I tried the suddenly salad idea from Indigo (greetings out on the smoke Indigo). Yes, it was easy. And it was pretty good. And this from a guy who cannot stand salads. But I've been trying to eat them because I'm trying to eat healthy. My body might revolt against it, but it's probably for the best. It's funny, I went through the Wendy's drive-thru the other day and it was hard for me to do, but instead of ordering a burger combo with a chili, I opted for the mandarin chicken garden salad. I have to admit, it wasn't all that bad. I liked it... Now don't worry, I have a couple friends on stand-by that if I do something crazy like stop eating meat or chicken, that they are to commence with an intervention. With my friends, that could be hazardous to my health. Have fun this weekend...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Take Two...

Ahhh... Greetings from the work place... (zzzzzz...)
I had the chance a little while ago to pop a movie in my laptop but my pickings were very slim. So I had all of one movie to pop in the DVD player. It was a sequel to a classic movie. Slap Shot 2: Breaking the Ice.... wholly smokes... it was bad... or should I say, wholly CRAP! One of the worst sequels I've ever seen. It's without a doubt the most brutal sequel of all time. And I've seen some awful ones... for some reason, Caddyshack II pops up near the top of the list. Mighy Ducks 3 is about in the same boat. So it got me thinking... what's the worst movie sequel you've ever seen. Most sequels aren't that good to begin with... But there are some good ones... Like the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. The "Lord Of The Rings" trilogy was alright too. But there have been some real lemons... And I was wondering, what's the worst sequel that you've ever seen... Hope this finds you in good spirits and a grateful mindset... Have a great Memorial Day! And to all who have served, and those that sacrificed and those who survive them... Thank You so much and God Bless you... We are in your debt.

Monday, May 11, 2009

And The Winner Is (well, um, was)...

First off, many thanks to all who offered recipe ideas in the comments and via e-mail (even Dirk who suggested I just go pick something up at the store... believe me Dirk, I thought about it)... I promise that I'm going to try each and every recipe idea that I received from you all. And I will report it in these pages when I do... But I narrowed it down to one choice and the winner was something that I've made before. The last time I made this was about a year and a half ago when I made it for my gal pal's church for their tuesday night ministry. I had forgot about it until a friend of mine sent me a note to remind me that I made it before and it was so easy a ten year old could've made it. (which means I barely qualify).... The history of this tasty treat was that a co-worker made it originally and called it "Candy Shoppe Pizza". However I added more toppings (the candy) and when I presented it at work, because of all the chocolate and candy involved, the girls re-dubbed it "PMS Pizza"... so here's the recipe and directions to make this. It's so easy that even MIK can do it....

PMS Pizza:

a regular size tube of Pillsbury chocolate chip cookie dough
a half cup of semi sweet chocolate chips
a half cup of peanut butter
6 to 8 candy bars, chopped up

a 12-inch pizza pan

Directions:
set oven at 350 degrees (farrenheit).
Take cookie dough and spread it entirely onto pizza pan and bake as one big cookie.
When cookie is done baking, take cookie out of the oven and turn oven off. Then pour chocolate chips and peanut butter on middle of cookie and place back into oven so that the chocolate chips and peanut butter can soften. Meanwhile, chop up the candy bars.
Next, spread the chocolate chips and peanut butter mix to coat the cookie. leave about a half inch or an inch edge around the outside of the cookie. Remember, this is supposed to look like a pizza with pizza sauce on it.
Put the "toppings" on the "sauce". As for what candy bars to put on, my general rule of thumb is to use about three different types of candy bars. Allow to cool a couple of hours in the fridge and cut the pizza up to serve as you wish... serves 8-10 people

Different combinations that I use:

Almond Joy, Snickers, Twix

Milky Way, York Peppermint Patties, Zero bars

(my personal favorite) is:

Snickers, Almond Joy, Butterfinger

note: you can add more or less toppings to whatever your taste desires... this one is whatever tastes good to you... again, thanks to all who gave me ideas... I mean it when I say that I'm going to try each of the recipes that you all sent me... I let you know when I do it...

Monday, May 04, 2009

A (Culinary) Cry For Help...

So,
I've been going from one thing to another and I've been trying to get some things done. As per usual, I am in a constant state of hurried nuttiness. And it always seems to be the case that when I've got a busy schedule, I need to make food for a potluck. Oh perfect... just what I need. I'm a guy who can't cook. Let's put it this way: anytime I need to get something done food wise, I either:

A) Go to the grocery store and buy something
B) Go to a restaurant and order something to take
C) "Uh, hello? Terri? It's your brother. Wait! don't hang up!"

And since I need to whip something up for this weekend for a potluck of about ten folks, I want to break tradition and actually MAKE SOMETHING... But being an inept cook/baker/disaster in a bowl, I want to make something that is easy and quick to make, that an absolute clod like me can put together without burning down my house or bringing bodily harm to me or anyone around me. I thought about the always reliable multi-layer taco dip, but I'm not going to do that again. I do it every time that I try to make something and it's predictable. Since most of my readership is female, I'm going throw myself at your mercy and humbly ask if you've got any ideas for an appetizer of some sort that I can make that won't have someone calling 9-1-1 while I'm in the kitchen, I'd be forever in your debt... any ideas?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Pickin' and Grinnin'...

Now I am not one to puff myself up and let my ego get built up. I try to keep things in check and show appreciation to others. Anytime I think I am feeling good about myself, something inevitably happens that brings me crashing down to earth to remind myself not to take myself too seriously. Case in point: Yesterday, after church, I run into one of the church elders who recognized me from my broadcasting stuff. So we're out in the atrium of our church having a nice conversation as people are walking by. He asks me about the business, I ask him about his son who plays basketball. We chat for a while and then part ways. I then start talking to some of the guys in the band who were hanging out nearby. Had a nice chat so as I head out to my car, I run across folks who smile and say hello and I return their greeting in kind. As I get into my car, I look up into the rearview mirror for some reason... and there it is... shining in all of it's glory. I'm looking straight at a category five booger hanging on for dear life at the end of my nose. I was looking to some how crawl under a rock and perhaps take up residence for about the next five years or so... just absolutely crushing to the psyche'... But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how I can't take myself so seriously... by the time I left the parking lot I figured there's nothing I can do about it now and was laughing as I got to the highway to head towards home.

Side note: Now this past weekend was the NFL draft. I need to keep my GUY credentials in order here so I feel the need to comment... it was mighty lame in my eyes. But the funniest thing I read online was from Kentucky Sports Radio's Matt Jones who said the following... " There are a number of stories that come from the day but the most interesting to me is the saga of former Fort Thomas Highlands Micheal Mitchell. Mitchell was picked in the second round by the Oakland Raiders (team motto: "We are officially nuts"). He is a Safety out of Ohio University and his athleticism is impressive enough that Mel Kiper had him ranked as the 73rd best Safety in the draft. From 73rd to 1st, that's quite a leap. When you add to the fact that (Raiders owner) Al Davis is 143 years old and is making the call, you can't help but love the randomness of it all..."

Matt, I couldn't agree with you more... Have a great week everybody!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Love And Food... or Love Of Food? Is There A Difference?

So,
what's a guy to do when he's tired, busy, cranky, irritable, and just plain snotty? Simple, spend a weekend with the gal pal... It's funny, someone pointed out an observation to me that I didn't realize before but now that I think about it, it makes sense. It seems that most often due to my whacked out schedule, I don't post as much as I should. But when I do post, it almost always seems to happen after spending time with the gal pal, or I've finished chatting with her. She cracks me up. Every time I go see her, and I spend about ten to twelve minutes with her, I feel every tired, busy, cranky, irritable and just plain snotty attitude disappear. They don't exist anymore. They are replaced by awe, and by amazement. We went to lunch after church on Sunday with her folks and I think all four of us were almost ready to nod off at the table we were at in a mexican restaurant. Of course the lone exception being when her dad and I both were busy inhailing the tortilla chips and salsa that we had before our meal arrived. I normally don't eat like that with the lone exception of when the gal pal and I go to that restaurant. Of course, her dad wasn't buying that... He laughed at me and just kept saying "uh-huh, sure Mik". I even pleaded that if I wanted to eat heavy duty mexican food, being of mexican descent, I could just go home or over to my sisters' and I could whale-out all I wanted. He acknowledged that and then laughed when I told him that when I do eat mexican food, sadly, it's usually Taco Bell. Or as I like to call it after eating there each time... Taco hell. I dunno... They just opened a Del Taco in my town and I've gone there and tried it a couple of times. It's not too bad actually. I liked it. I've tried Jack In the Box and again, not all bad. Okay so nothing can take the place of homemade... My question today: outside of homemade, what's your favorite chain for mexican food and what's your favorite meal from there? I know, I know, not the most ponderous question we've ever dealt with, but hey, why not? As I type this out, I'm dreaming of FOOD.... GLORIOUS FOOD...mmmm... (oh yeah, and how awesome my gal pal is...) That figures. I started this entry to say how much I love and appreciate my gal pal and I get side tracked by my one true weakness in this world... FOOD...lol

Sunday, April 12, 2009

And On The Third Day, He Rose

Happy Easter folks,
Hope you all have a great weekend and a good week. Me and mine are doing fine. Nothing major going on right now (whew!) and trust me, I don't mind the doldrums of day to day life. In fact, I kinda look forward to them. But that being said, this is my favorite part of the year. Well this and early fall... I love spring because that means warmer weather and no more wearing mulitiple layers of clothing. As much as I like winter, I can only stand it for so long. Spring means golf, baseball, my gal pal in a much better frame of mind... (hint: she HATES winter and just being cold in general). Easter is a starting point for me. A new beginning of sorts. I have come to appreciate the REAL meaning of Easter. I don't mind kids doing the egg hunt thing (so long as they don't trip over the left over Christmas lights in the process... that's a true story which I'll write about someday...). The easter candy stuff is okay too... I don't get wound up about it. However, the REAL meaning of Easter is something I never took seriously before. But I do now. I guess in the commercialization of Easter, some things get lost. But I don't want that to happen any more. I have a heart of gratitude that wants to say thanks to Him for taking my sins and all my crap and letting me lay it down at the foot of the Cross. I seen a bumpersticker the other day that says it all... 1 tree + 3 nails = 4 given

Sunday, April 05, 2009

The Parting of a Great Lakes

Whew!
That's the best way to describe the last week and a half I reckon. I was looking so forward to going to Boston for nationals, but that got derailed in Iowa. (side note to Di from Dubuque: I hate that town because the last two years I've driven out there for the Hurster Cup playoffs... twice I've gotten to meet State Troopers if you get my meaning...lol) So I had taken that time off from work and still thought about going out to bean town just to take everything in. But then I thought about my gal pal and figured spending the time with her would be a good thing as I really didn't have the heart to watch another hockey game that my team wasn't in. So my gal pal tells me that her grandfather wasn't doing well and it was a matter of time till he passed. I got out of church on Sunday morning and drove the long trip getting there in the evening. When I woke up on Monday morning, my gal pal calls me and tells me that he passed away at the hospice during the night. I went over to see her and her folks and hugged them. I didn't know what to do except to just be there. I spent lots of time with my gal pal because she was very close to her grandfather. They watched UK games together all the time. They shared alot of special moments together. I just tried to simply be there for her and her family. They were prepared for this as was her grandfather. He was very prepared and ready to go. He said he couldn't wait to go to Heaven. His faith was of utmost importance to him and he shared it with others in testimony and witness right up till the day before he passed. Friends and family rallied around my gal pal's family in a wonderful and loving way. It was funny because to give you an idea how serious they are about UK basketball... during the whole process of mourning and burying my gal pal's grandfather, in addition to saying kind words to the family about their loss, they also talked about UK getting a new basketball coach that same day. The conversation was going back and forth and they all were excited about UK naming John Calipari as their new coach. In fact on the day of the funeral, they had "Coach Cal's" news conference that same morning and I took my gal pal into the back office of the mortuary where they had the TV turned on to it and she watched it until it was time to head in for the services to begin. It was a very strong and moving service. Two different pastors preached at the service and while I am usually pretty stoic and not one to show any emotion at all, I had to hold back tears on a couple of occasions as I saw them mourning a really good man. It made me think a lot about my dad. I miss him a lot sometimes. I really do. It hit home during this whole time with my gal pal's family. I miss him so much but I don't wish him back for one minute. He's with my mom in Heaven. I couldn't him bring back here just for my benefit. That's just selfish. I know that he's in my heart. I felt in my heart that I just know that I was meant to be here. After a series of circumstances that came into play, I came to the conclusion that the good Lord didn't want me in Boston. He wanted me to be with my gal pal's family. I was meant to be there. The time that I left to be there until the time I came home which was the day AFTER the funeral... was the exact same number of days I requested off from work two months ago so I could go to Boston. Yeah, I think God had a hand in this and directed me where I needed to be. As for my gal pal, she was amazing. She handled everything with grace and kindness and no matter how tired she was, she always welcomed everyone that came up to her to express their condolences. She was exhausted, but reached out to everyone that was there and she was a real inspiration to me. I was so grateful for the honor of being allowed to be a part of the experience. I am grateful to have gotten to meet and know her grandfather a little bit. He was quite a charachter. I'm glad and thankful to God that I was able to be there and supportive of my gal pal. I learned so much about my gal pal, my faith, and the love of a community for a really good person.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Cornfield Chronicles

Hi,
Well, it's been awhile (again) but that's because I've been traveling all over the midwest with reckless abandon. My hockey season is over as we lost in our league championship game over in Iowa and that prevented us from qualifying for the national championship tournament in Boston. It really hurt because if our kids had won or tied one more game in the regular season, we'd be packing our bags for Beantown on Wednesday. But because we gave it away during the regular season, we had to win a round-robin playoff tournament with St Louis, Peoria, and Dubuque. Well, to quote Meatloaf “two out of three ain't bad”... We beat Peoria and St Louis but couldn't get by Dubuque. So Dubuque goes to Boston... oh yippee... I'm so tickled to death... not! A Dubuque fan was so happy and came up to me not realizing that I was with Toledo and said “Isn't this great?” I was polite, but droll and said “yeah, I think I'll go wet my pants now.”
Now the easy thing to do would be say bad things about Dubuque, Iowa because I've never liked the town or the area for a wide variety of reasons. But this time around, I came across a Dubuque fan who just warmed my heart and made me smile. This kid looked to be around 12 or 13 years old. He appeared to be a very innocent (as in naive), soft spoken and gentile. My first thought was maybe special needs but I didn't want to seem judging. But boy did he loved his Dubuque team. But he came out to the early game on the first day of the tournament to see Toledo play Peoria in the afternoon. This kid, reached out his hand and touched the glove of one of our bruiser types, Brandon. Brandon is 6 foot 3, 200 lb rugged defenseman, who loves to intimidate, and drop the gloves and scrap. Well, after our game. The kid runs into Brandon in the concession lobby and the kid was just in total awe. He looks up at Brandon and asks him his name. Brandon is not the type to converse politely for a long period of time. But for some reason, this kid has Brandon's complete attention. I think Brandon realized that he was dealing with an innocent child so he couldn't just rip a bunch of expletives to try and be funny. So he chatted with this kid for a while and ends up befriending the boy. The boy brings his game program for Brandon to autograph. Now here's where I love hockey so much more than any other sport. The people involved in the game are just so different than Basketball, Baseball, and Football. Hockey is not just a sport, but the people involved know how different it is than the other big three. We love those sports too, but for some reason, hockey has it's own distinct culture. But for a lot of the people, it's a lifestyle. It's a big part of their lives, not just a hobby. Kind of like how Soccer fans around the world that get passionate during the season. Anyway, back to Brandon. This kid asks for Brandon's autograph and Brandon says “give me a minute”. Brandon takes the kid's program into the locker room and has the entire team (including staff... meaning me), autograph this kid's program. He takes it back out but the kid had left. So Brandon gives the program to me and asks me to hold it till either one of us see this kid again. Brandon sees him later asks me for the program and gives it to the kid and you would've thought he gave him a million dollars. The kid's face lights up. So while a bunch of our players were in the stands watching the Dubuque – St Louis game, the kid comes over and starts talking to our guys who razz him a little because he's a Dubuque fan, but were overall, good to him and treated him with kid gloves. So, when they were getting up to leave, the kid walks over to Brandon, like he's his new best friend, and says, “I'll be cheering for you guys tomorrow when you play St Louis.” Brandon in true fashion chirps “okay but just don't wear that $&*#%### Dubuque jersey to our game okay?” The other players laugh. The kid says “yeah but I don't have a Cherokee shirt”. So the players talk one of our fans into doing something amazing. The fan gives up her game worn jersey, and the players autograph it, and the next day, they present it to the kid to keep and wear during Toledo's game against St Louis. The kid just lit up like you wouldn't believe. Of course the same night when Dubuque played Peoria, he went back to his Dubuque jersey... but we couldn't fault him for that. And then the capper... after the championship game when we lost to Dubuque, the players packed their gear for the final time and headed out to the bus for the long ride home. Some of the players, still in tears over losing, were hugging family and friends and taking a few pictures for posterity. After all the celebrating by the Dubuque fans inside the rink, this precious kid comes outside to the Toledo bus and is shaking hands and then starts giving big hugs to Brandon and the rest of the team. As much as the trip home sucked, I'll never forget this kid or how our team embraced a supposed “opponent”. It just made me feel so good that when those that rag on hockey players sometimes calling them cement heads because hockey can be such a violent sport sometimes, stories like the one I wrote about here happen often without anyone noticing it. But I witnessed this one and I wanted to write about it and say thanks to the players... They are what is good about our sport... and they're what is good about human beings.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

It Figures...

So,
Here I am, trying to recover from this nasty cold and coughing up lung oysters and nurse this sore throat back to health because I have to broadcast hockey this weekend on Toledo Sports Radio... Anyway, during this time, I get a text from my sister Terri telling me that my sister Lou is in the hospital having some (minor) surgery and wanted to know if I could check on her. Whaaaat!??? Um, could you at least have let me know that she was going to go in there in the first place. Oh well. Such is life. Anyhow, my youngest sister is texting me from the cafeteria of the hospital that I work at. I'm plopped on the couch, being thankful that my fever broke and that I'm able to breath reasonably again. It goes something like this...

Angie: "Hey, I'm in the cafeteria! where are you"

Me: "I'm home sick on the couch, trying to breathe"

Angie: "I guess that rules out you buying me lunch."

Me: "Ok, um, what's the word on Lou?"

Angie: "Just went back, she'll be able to go home in 2 hours"

Me: "alright, let me know how it goes. nobody in this family let's me know about anything until 6 months after the fact. I didn't know about this until 20 minutes ago."

Angie: "In that case I'll text you in December"

Me: "Merry freakin' Christmas"

I come from a family of whackos... Lou is home and recovering nicely by the way. Not that anybody in my family was willing to volunteer that info right away... ugh... I am just starting to move around and feel a bit better. Still coughing lots but otherwise, I'm feeling better.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Like A Really Bad "Three's Company" Episode

Okay,
When last I was trying to write and keep up with you all, I was pointing out some great virtues of the gal pal.. I had a bizarre thing happen to me last week and after clearing it with the boss, I figured I'd share it with you guys. So, for Valentine's day, my gal pal gets us tickets for the Kentucky – Georgia college basketball game. This was a nice surprise for me and I looked forward to seeing the tradition rich program of Kentucky basketball and the historic Rupp Arena. So last week was the game. I was feeling like crap with a terrible head cold and sore throat to beat the band. But I wasn't going to miss this. It was important to her, and it was important to me. So I took some Zicam, and headed down to meet her, and her folks for dinner at Applebee's. I chose that place because I had driven by the Rupp Arena exit and saw an Applebee's sign there so I figured it would be easy for everyone to meet there. Of course, I'm not the local and when I got off the exit to head towards the restaurant, I notice that there's no restaurant. What do I find at the address? Applebee's Ball Park, the home of the local minor-league baseball team. So after realizing that I'm a clod and am directionally challenged, I get directions from someone at the ticket office, and call them and get things figured out and meet at an Applebee's that's about 8 miles away. Ugh... once we get there, we have a great time. Since I'm such a wonder at finding places in and around Lexington, we decide to leave my car and we all ride together over to Rupp. Once inside, things were a lot of fun. You could see the rich history of the place. It was very cool. I was sitting with my beloved and trading text messages with my buddy back home. Then during the middle of the game, I get a text that does not have a name on the header, but rather a phone number. I did not recognize it at all. So I shrug my shoulders and show it to my gal pal and say “I dunno who it is” and I proceed to open it in front of her. The message read “I'm heading out of Findlay and wanted to know if you wanted to meet or ? This is Michelle by the way” To which my gal pal looks at me and says “who's Michelle?” I looked at her and said “I have no idea. This must be a wrong number.” So I text this person back and tell her that she must've texted the wrong number. I get a quick text back saying that it was indeed a wrong number and they apologized. I look back up at the gal pal and she's got crocodile tears in her eyes and my heart just flat out sunk. This is a no-win situation if ever there was one. Any person that even knows a little about me knows that I would NEVER cheat on my gal pal or do anything purposely to hurt her. But here I was, because of someone's wrong number, trying to explain to my gal pal that while many of my species are indeed swine and like to “play the field”, that I was strictly a one woman man. I told her if I was that kind of guy that I would never have shown her the text message in the first place. I would've tried to be secretive and hide the message and the phone. She stopped crying and I looked her straight in the eyes and asked her if she trusted me. She said yes and I told her that I trusted her too. After a little while, she came around and realized the truth and told me she was fine and that it just got under her skin and it took her awhile to process it all. So I am trying to continue watching the game and my gal pal lays her head on my shoulder and I never felt such a surge of love go through me as I looked down at her head on my shoulder. I kept stroking her hair and I kissed her forehead because I didn't want to give her my cold. Then I started sneezing and sneezing and sneezing.... she laughed. By the next day, I felt a lot better because we talked about everything and she knows that I'd never ever do such a thing to her... She knows that I adore her. But man, talk about a simple thing that could tear you apart. And you didn't do anything wrong! By the next afternoon, she was feeling better about it than I was. She was trying to console me about it...lol... It really bothered me a great deal because it was such an innocent thing that could've destroyed a relationship. But I've got a good woman. I spend time every day showing her that I feel that way about her... She laughs about it now. In between sneezes and sniffles. Because as a true sign of my love for her... I gave her my cold. If that doesn't say “I love you”, then I don't know what does...

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Chatter Box...

Hi everyone,
Sorry I haven't been around much lately. As my gal pal puts it, “Mik is in the busiest part of his year. I know I won't see him very much.” Sports and more sports have kept me busy to beat the band. Hockey and Basketball have kept me swamped to where I haven't done much of anything else. I have tried to make time to spend with the gal pal (at least on IM or texting) because I have been traveling quite a bit and I've got to hand it to my gal pal, she loves me a lot. She listens online to all of the games I broadcast. This really floors me. She listens to all of the hockey games that I broadcast online on Toledo Sports Radio and she doesn't know thing one about hockey. But she is always there for me and I've got to say that it is a great comfort for me to know that she's there listening to every game. Well, every game as long as there is not a Kentucky Wildcat basketball game to watch... then it's “Mik who?” lol... she loves her Cats and almost never misses a game. She's even gotten me to become a fan of UK and their basketball program. But I'm my gal pal's biggest fan. She is simply amazing. She puts up with me and that's no easy task by any stretch. She really is the best thing on this earth to ever happen to me...

Saturday, February 07, 2009

The Game of Life...

Hey guys,
First off, a special thanks to Joann out there in California who was kind enough to have folks come visit me in my little corner of the world. Thanks Joann, I appreciate that my friend. I guess I've been thinking lately about how precious life really is. I mean, in the last 6 weeks, I've seen several folks that I knew pass away and it did kind of get my mind in a bit of a pickle. I am a firm believer that if you accept Christ, you are saved. I believe 100 percent that heaven exists and that only through His grace, can we enter. I guess that's why I have had some thoughts about death on my mind. Not in a morbid way or anything. I firmly believe that they are in heaven now. I guess it's just that when people leave you unexpectedly, you're not prepared and are left feeling bewildered, shocked, dumbfounded, and then later, a little bit po'd. That's normal stuff to go through as we process those feelings. Me, I have found some comfort in the fact that I believe what I believe. It's been comforting for me in believing that they are now in a much better place, not suffering anymore. And that they're not just "resting in peace", but that they are enjoying themselves in paradise. I look at those folks and am grateful for the time I had with them. And it makes me appreciate the time I have here on earth now. Especially with my sisters. I don't see them that often, but I know that with everything I've seen them go through with Lou losing both her legs and on dialysis, and Terri still dealing with the ravages of cancer, yet both of them are still able to live life. Terri is still getting chemo every 3 weeks non-stop for the foreseeable future. While the tumors have metastisized in four spots, the constant chemo has prevented them from spreading. They've not worsened. So that's a good thing, even though she is wiped out by the chemo every 3 weeks. Me, as I size up the situations that are around me and have realized something. I've seen others who have suffered much worse than I have. They have had much worse happen to them and some have endured, and others have not. Sometimes, when there's nothing to celebrate or if you feel like there's nothing to be grateful for, (and I've felt that way many times) it might have to be that there are others who have suffered far greater and I can't complain. I mean think about it Mik old son... You're a person of faith. You've got a roof over your head. You've got 3 jobs. You are in decent health for the most part. You've still got a couple members of your family who by all logic, should have been gone long ago. You've got a gal pal who loves you every bit as much as you love her. There are others who would give anything to be in the situation you are in... Sorry for the a.d.d. moment there. But sometimes one has to look back (or in my case, have it pointed out to me) and see just exactly what I have versus what I don't. It didn't seem like much before. But now, I've really grown to value and treasure life and the people in it... Much more than I used to...

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Rudy... (no, not the Notre Dame guy)...

Y'know, just when I think I'm dealing with things okay, I get hit with a sucker punch to the flippin' solar plexis that another person that I knew passed away. Rudy was a deacon at my dad's church and he was one of my dad's very best friends. For most of their adult lives, these two were always great friends. My dad was godfather to a couple of Rudy's kids. I got to know him through my dad's church and later in life, they worked together in prison ministry by going to an area prison to minister to the guys in there, dad and Rudy and a couple of other guys. They had mass in there on Saturdays. Anyway, it really hit home for me when I was losing my dad back in '05... Rudy was there every step of the way and was so instrumental in helping prepare my family for saying goodbye to my dad... He was awesome. He even got the (retired) Bishop come and say mass at my dad's funeral. Even though I wasn't catholic anymore, it still meant so much to me that Rudy was able to do that. When we buried my dad, the prisoners had made a crucifix out of string and gave it to my dad. We buried him with it. Rudy had asked the men at the prison to make more of those string crucifixes, one for each of his kids. We all got together for dinner and Rudy came and blessed them and presented them to each of us. I still wear mine to this very day. I don't ever take it off. It reminds me of my dad, and now it also reminds me of Rudy. Of course it always reminds me of God and that yes, He DID die for us... all of us, not just some of us. Regardless of our relationship (or lack thereof) with Him, He did give His life for our transgressions. I went to visitation and when I looked at Rudy, he looked at peace. He buried his wife a year earlier, almost to the day. He felt empty without her. They're together again. With my mom and dad. And if I know Rudy and my dad, they're cutting up like kids and my mom and Rudy's wife are just rolling their eyes like they used to when they got together here on earth. When I first learned he had passed, my eyes were moist and I felt that same sense of loss when I lost my dad. It reminded me of that. But in the midst of the tears, I simply said "thank you Rudy". That's what I will remember him for. He was always a funny screwball type. Kind of like me... Him and my dad would get just crazy and howl with laughter for hours. That and what he did for my dad at the end. I will never forget him... Thank you Rudy. I know you're enjoying paradise. Say hi to my folks for me and tell them I love them. And again, Thank YOU Rudy...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Me And My Better Half...

Hey one and all,
I suppose that when there is a black cloud, you have to find the silver lining. For me, last week's difficult turmoil was tough, but I got through it and when the week was over, I got to go spend some much needed time with the gal pal. I must admit, I was sleep deprived and could've used the time to sleep, but you know what? I got to enjoy my gal pal and I don't care how tired I am, she is always worth the effort. This last weekend was no different. I fell asleep in her arms on the couch watching TV (side note: I'm such an exciting guy...yawn) and she just sat there and stroked my hair while I snoozed. I even snored because I was so exhausted and she was understanding. She's a keeper, I will say that... I felt so energized after spending time with her. My attitude was better, I felt like my inner spirit felt better. And to all of you who keep asking me about when am I going to ask her.... well, I'm not going to ask her THAT question yet, but when I do, she told me to tell you all that she's already said 'yes'...lol... Like I told her, we may set a record for the longest courtship on the planet, but she is stuck with me and I'm not going anywhere but with her. She gave me the biggest smile of satisfaction that just lit up the room. I looked in her eyes and I felt the warmth and reassurance that even though it's going to take lots of time, I know that I'm where I am supposed to be. Where I was meant to be... with her as her man.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

More than a feeling... (with apologies to Boston)

Hey folks,
Hope your week is going decent. Me, I'm feeling better after a rough start to the week. One of my co-workers passed away suddenly and another co-worker ended up in the ICU with Lord only knows what. But she is now out of ICU so that's good, but still... Not a good start to the day, week or anything... I was bumming a little bit. Bev was a very cool lady. She was tough as nails if she had to be, but she also had a very warm soft spot that made her so endearing to people. She was suffering from the ravages of cancer and we knew it was going to eventually happen. But we were thinking in another year perhaps. She called work on Saturday night to talk to some of the folks that were there and she was laughing it up with them. On Sunday night, she felt short of breath, her daughter asked Bev if she wanted her to call for help. Bev said 'no' and closed her eyes and that was it. Bev would come in to work and she didn't like sports as much as I did, but she did love baseball. Atlanta was her team and every once in a while she'd go down and catch a game. She would also give me a word each week out of the dictionary to use on my sports show. Sometimes a tough word, sometimes a whacked out word. Her family was her passion and she loved them dearly. It's times like these that make me so grateful that despite the trials and tribulations that we have from time to time, I still have family to love. My parents are up in heaven, but I've still got some siblings and nephews, etc... I've learned to appreciate that regardless of the make-up of family, whether it's blood related, or if you're alone with only a couple of close friends, as much as I used to be a loner, I now know that we weren't meant to go through life by ourselves. I did for most of my life, but by choice. I didn't let people get remotely close to me for most of my adult life. Not till the last eight years. Dumb move on my part. But now with God in my life, and an inspiring gal pal to touch my heart, I've found more happiness in the last 2 years than I have in the previous, well... ever... That's because I've allowed myself to feel more of what goes on around me. There was once a time where sadly, Bev's passing would've not even phased me. But I thank God, that over the last few years, I've learned that it's not about me. It's about serving others and my faith in my Creator. That has allowed a bright light to shine in this once cold heart and say g'bye to my friend Bev with sadness. But also a sense of gratitude. A thanks for having gotten to know her and know about her family. Things I used to take for granted. Not any more. God Bless ya Bev...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Curveballs and Change-ups...

Hi all…
Y’know, sometimes you just gotta reach back and go for the fastball in life. You sit and look back at how sometimes life will present some challenges and throws us a curveball or a change up and we bite on it and end up in even more miserable circumstances. And when you look at it, the people involved are not able to do anything about it. I was sitting here mulling that over. I usually get over it when I start to think about how blessed I actually am when I think about my issues. The first thing that pops into my head is that my gal pal faces serious challenges every day in her wheelchair and she handles them without even batting an eye. She makes me realize that I don’t have much in the way of issues that I can’t solve. She inspires me to want to do more for others instead of myself. Well, sometimes, we get that curveball or change up that we weren’t expecting and we swing at it and miss. Or better put, we get reminders of how blessed we really are. One such a reminder is a young man named Kyle. Kyle is a 14 year old freshman in high school. Kyle was injured in November playing in a hockey game down in Dayton and is now paralyzed from the chest down. Kyle is still in a hospital trying to stay alive and cope with his new situation. Don’t know about you, but for me, to have such a life altering change to your world, would be dang near impossible to deal with… and at the age of 14 years old??? On Wednesday, January 14th, there’s going to be fund raiser from 5-9pm for Kyle at Buffalo Wild Wings and Weck (or better known as BW3’s) in Oregon, OH. We (Myself, Jamo, and Dave… better known as the ‘3 for All’ radio program) will be broadcasting from 6-9pm ET. BW3 or as we call them ‘B-dubbs’, is going to donate 10 percent of all the food bills from 5p-9p to Kyle and his family to help offset his medical bills, which are astronomical. We’re honored to be allowed to be a small part of this event. You can listen to the show at Toledo Sports Radio online. If you’re in the area, please stop out and say hello. If you’re listening from anywhere else, leave a note saying hi if you would be so kind. It would really help raise some spirits around here.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Raising The Roof... (literally!)

From the “just between you and me” department...
So, last we chatted, I was asking about what you hope for in the new year that you would try to improve on. Me, I walked out of my house last week in the hope of getting together with my gal pal and enjoying the holidays and her birthday and have a great time. Well, I got (figuratively speaking) a swift kick in the pants. I walk to my car to head to church, and as I start to open the car door, I look back at my house, and notice that part of the roof is gone!! My jaw dropped and my heart sank. I just looked at roof and all that was there in the one corner was wood. Everything else was gone. I was numb. The wind storm that hit during the night before had wreaked havoc on my roof, the siding on my house, and the roof of the garage. There were 60 mph winds and higher wind gusts and the shingles couldn't stay in place. I swallowed hard and went to church anyway, choosing to thank God that nobody got hurt and that there were no leaks into the house. Trust me, that wasn't an easy thing to do. But that I did and I'm glad that I did. Our pastor just happened to be talking about being tested and how to be grateful to God during the tough times. Coincidence? I think not... So I go home and look at the roof again and this time, I wasn't so angry or sick about it. I felt better. I knew that I had a lot of stuff to do to get done, but I knew I was going to be okay. The only bad spot was that my girlfriend was expecting me to be coming to see her in a matter of a couple of hours and I had to let her know that I wasn't going to make it. To say she was disappointed is a great understatement. I couldn't be with her for Christmas. I couldn't be with her for her birthday. And now because of a stinkin' roof, I wasn't sure if I'd get to see her at all. Well, I threw my arms up and asked God to handle this one. As I was reporting all the details outside on my cell phone, a neighbor of mine is driving down the road and stops and gives me his card. Turns out he's a roofer and said he'd be able to help me to get this puppy taken care of. I felt better immediately. After getting the info I needed, I was able to go 2 days late and head to the gal pal's and spend a couple of days with her and her family. I took her out for dinner and a movie and by the time that we got home, it was 11:25pm on new year's eve. We were both so tired that we forgot that it was new year's eve. I had kissed her goodnight and when we seen each other the next morning, we both laughed when we realized that we missed bringing in the new year together. But we made up for it on new year's day... lol... So, what started out as miserable week, ended up being a pretty good one after all. So I thank GOD for being so good and giving me peace during difficulties and helping me deal with what seemed to be a rotten situation and putting people in my path that allow me to not only resolve things, but give me the perspective to realize that I needed to deal with everything and keep my sense of humor and calm throughout the whole ordeal. Plus my gal pal. Without her being there, I'd be toast. She wasn't happy about me not being there at the beginning of the week. But she understood and continues to amaze me with who she is... a true gift from God...