Friday, December 2, 2011

Dear Santa...

Dear Santa,

     It's been 30 years since I last wrote you a letter.  Back then I asked for stuff for Christmas that pertained to a 5 year old.  At the time Atari was the game system to have, small color televisions were popular and Tonka trucks were still made of metal instead of the plastic they are now.  I wrote you then because I believed in you as most that age would.  I grew up and realized the truth:  There is no Santa Clause.  It was only my parents and family keeping the spirit of the holiday alive and  to give me something to look forward to and create excitement.  For them, I think, that was half the fun.  They enjoyed the gratification of making me behave by instilling the fear in me that you wouldn't visit.  I was obedient, did what I was supposed to because i was deathly afraid of not getting the things I wanted.  It worked and I got everything I wanted.  When I got older and realized what the truth was I can't say I didn't know already when I was told you didn't exist.  Part of me wanted to still believe.  Part of me wanted to still have that excitement for Christmas other than eating and gift exchange.

     Well, Santa, 30 years has passed since then and I'm approaching my 36th birthday.  The reason for my letter after such a long delay is simple.  I'm not asking for gifts, not asking for the latest gadget or electronic nerd thing.  In fact I'm not asking for me at all.  I have everything I need and then some.  What I'm asking for would probably be better taken care of after you've finished delivering presents because it can't be put in your bottomless red bag.  There are a few people in my life right now that need a little slice of the good cheer you tend to hand out along with the gifts.  They could also use a box full of reassurance that everything will be better in the future.  Most importantly they need some inner peace and comfort.  These are gifts I can't give them no matter how hard I try.   For these special and infinitely important people in my life this time of year has always held a special place for them.  It was a time for them that had its rituals and created indelible memories of happy times.  This year is different than any previous year.  There is an empty seat at the dinner table this year.  This empty seat has caused a lot of stress, frustration, heartache, anger, resentment and all the emotions that no one wants to feel this time of year.  For me Christmas stopped being incredibly important a long time ago but for these irreplaceable people it has always meant so much more.  So, Santa, I'm asking for you to help me try and make this Christmas sneak by without a lot of fanfare and slide 2012 gently under the door. Help me give these people I love these small gifts so we can wake up January 1, 2012 with a renewed outlook and a t least a small sense of comfort that the new year will be better than this one.  

     I've always been able to keep things light-hearted and fun and kept everyone smiling.  This year I'm having a hard time doing this and frankly I'm burnt at both ends so I'm reaching out to you in my adulthood with the hope that this letter makes it to the North Pole and one of your Elves reads it and points it out to you personally.  I know this is one of hundreds of millions you will get but I still have hope you will see it and be able to fulfill my gift request.  I'm not exactly sure where I will be this year when December 24th rolls around so I hope you can find me.  I'm sure you will, you always did before.

Oh yea, by the way, I don't use the same name I did back then cause I'm all grown up now so I'll help you remember me.  I hope you and the Missus are doing well.  Don't work too hard and try and eat some veggies now and then.  We have an obesity epidemic right now.

Take care, Santa.  See you soon.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

My Best Friend

Yea, yea I know it’s been a while since I put anything worthwhile down on “paper” but I’ve started to have the mindset that when I say something in this blog or on Facebook I wanted to be pee-your-pants funny or I want it to be insightful or just be my own little “FTW’ moments.  I guess this entry we can file under insightful.
It has been almost 3 years since Melissa and I met and every day has been a blessing for me.  Those of you who know me know damn well I don’t use the word “blessing” very often, if at all, due to my controversial views on religion…..but that’s another blog entry that will probably never see the light.  Anywho…after all this time together and us being husband and wife I have grown a new appreciation for the term “Best Friend”.  Typically when one says this they are referring to someone of the same gender.  “My Bro”, “My Homie”, “Muh Dawg” but I can’t use these terms to accurately describe what she is to me, beyond wife and soul mate, than “Best Friend”.  I know it’s a term used often and with little regard to its meaning and tossed around to whoever is most convenient and visits often.  I happen to be lucky enough to have a live-in best friend and it’s wonderful.  The best part…..she’s female and we are married.  BROWN CHICKEN BROWN COW YA’LL!!!
I will attest to the fact right here and now that I have not had ANYONE, and I mean A..NY…ONE, whom I could call “Best Friend” in my entire life save one person I grew up with .  He’s in the Military and I have no idea where he is.  We haven’t seen each other in well over 10 years.  I have had other guy friends who have filled the temporary position of “Best Friend” but again it was never the bond that I feel with Melissa and this bond that goes beyond the vows of our marriage. has an interesting definition for the term:
Main Entry:   best friend
Part of Speech:   n
Definition:   See boon companion

Ok…what the hell is boon companion???
Main Entry:   
boon companion
Part of Speech:   
a very close friend
She is inseparable from her boon companion of 20years.
1566; literally, 'good fellow'

Well I’ll be damned.  The term for “Best Friend” goes back 210 years before the birth of our country and what’s more, the Italians had it right the whole time with the term “Good Fellow”.  It was someone they trusted with their life.  Someone they knew would have their back no matter what happened or what was said, someone who would walk through the fire shoulder to shoulder with them.  They also knew the dirtiest of secrets.  I know Melissa’s and she knows mine.  We have weird quirks we don’t tell anyone about but if asked we have nothing to hide.  We also don’t hide anything from each other and, God forbid something happen and we are no longer together, you will NEVER hear me utter one single solitary bad thing about her as a person or what she was as a wife.  See how this works?  She’s my best friend, my Queen and the center of my universe.  She has earned this illustrious title NOT through attrition as my wife but because she exudes all the attributes of wearing the badge of my “BFF”.
Everyone should have a best friend, BFF, “bestie” or something similar.  Do you?  Look around at your circle of friends.  Go ahead I’ll give you a few minutes to flip through your Facebook list.  Do you have someone in that list that you can say you are best friends with?  Maybe you do…maybe you think you do?  It’s something in life we should constantly evaluate.  Family is one thing.  They will always be there no matter what, but friendship is different.  It is an unmistakable and undeniable bond that forms between two people who come from different cultures, backgrounds, ethnicities and belief systems.  Is that not an absolutely incredible thing to have happen?  It’s like fucking magic.  Sociologists say that really close friends, whether they be same sex or opposite sex, will be as close as two people can be without becoming intimate with each other.  THAT is how close good friends are.  THAT is what the term “best friends” really means.
 “Bro, you know all my bullshit secrets and you pulled me off that Tijuana whore before I got married…then we found out she had 2 vaginas and we kicked ourselves….but anyway…. I love you, man.  I’ll never fuck you in the ass or open mouth kiss you but I love you, dude.”

I wrote this not because I was bored or hadn’t said anything in a long time, but because as I have grown as a person over these last few years I have come to appreciate what it is to truly have a best friend.  Do you have one?  Are you one?  If you aren’t or don’t then why not?  It never hurts to take a look at YOU and see what qualities you bring to the proverbial bargaining table to be someone’s best friend.  I have a best friend….her name is Melissa Simmons.  I couldn’t be more proud. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I wish I could tell you...

I wish I could tell you exactly what kind of birthday weekend my wife just had.

She turned 30 this year and has been sort of dreading it.  I guess because hitting 3 decades of existence it makes us all realize we aren't kids anymore.  We have left behind our 20's in a blaze of glory and never to be spoken about again.  There are exceptions of course.  We all recount our first legally drunken night, being excited about an insurance drop when hitting 25-ish and then the dreaded walk to 30's front door.  I wish I could tell you I enjoyed my 20's.  I guess in some ways I did but I don't remember many.  Regardless, this past weekend was about closing the door on Melissa's 20's and opening the door to her 30's.  Me being the person I am wanted to do something different and special and make the weekend enjoyable.

It all started about 3 months ago or so when I got a Facebook message from her 2 best friends Laurie and Liise.  Both live in Arizona and both are two of the most incredible people I have ever met.  More on that later.  They had a drunken night idea to jump on a plane and surprise Melissa for the weekend.  I agreed, without hesitation, to orchestrate a 3 month trek to make this happen on my end.  It would involve scheming and being treacherous and deviant and sneaky all for a good cause...........FUN!!!!

I wish I could tell you the plan was executed with "Mission Impossible" precision.  I wish I could tell you that my original plan to have them waiting when Melissa got home went down without fail.

My beautiful wife who is as innocent as she is sexy found out that they were coming.  She kept her silence until the night before and then sprung it on me.  So the tables were now going to be turned on her dear unsuspecting friends.  But beyond that it was my job to keep up the bed of lies I had been sleeping in for so long.  I had to continue to convince Laverne and Shirley that Squiggy had no idea they were coming.  The drive home from the airport from picking them up was pure torture.  I wish I could tell you it was easy lying to 2 people I have only met once.

So now the plan was laid, destroyed, rebuilt and sprung.  Laurie and Liise walked in to Melissa hiding in the dark kitchen and she jumped out like a stripper from a cake.  Laure wet herself.  The rest of the weekend was a blur of sorts.  I cooked, we drank, we laughed, we played guitar hero and we all cried a little.

I wish I could tell you what kind of friendship I witnessed, but I can't.  It's beyond words.  I sat back and watched 3 friends who initially came together due to life changing circumstances and bonded like hydrogen and oxygen.  Planetary alignment couldn't be a more perfect analogy.  The come from different backgrounds, have different life goals, act completely different from each other but they all share a common bond that must be witnessed to be explained and even then words would escape the most linguistically talented.  It's so hard to describe that it's making this part of the blog difficult to write.  All I can tell you is that they love each other like sisters.  Sisters who don't have to be in constant contact with each other or even talk every month and then when they get together it's like they were never more than a day apart.  Simply amazing and, in my opinion, a rare thing.

I could not have been more pleased to have them in our house and I have never taken more pleasure in cooking for someone as I did over this weekend.  I was a cooking machine and my only goal was to make sure that these 3 ladies wanted for nothing and did not have to lift a finger for anything.  I was happy to lay down as their servant and make sure their every whim was taken care of with pride.  My pleasure was from them being pleased and having a good time.  I wanted Melissa to have a 30th birthday she wouldn't forget and I'm pretty sure it was mission accomplished.

There was so much more that happened and I wish I could tell you.....

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The end of the year is upon us....a little 4th+ quarter update.

It has been some time since I've posted something in this blog.  Not sure why...maybe apathy, laziness or just a blah attitude to putting anything down for anyone else to read.  I have a habit of sharing my daily routine with my wonderful Wife and she patiently listens to my nerdy ramblings.

Speaking of nerdy stuff, I'm no longer in the Conference Center.  I took a new job in the same hospital as a Technical Analyst in the IT&S department.  I went from a private office on the 2nd floor of a relatively new tower to a cube in the basement devoid of any natural light.  I am constantly surrounded by screens, computers, laptops and various gadgets and tech stuff that keeps me content and my mind constantly occupied.  This is a VERY good thing.  I basically sit in my cube and work trouble tickets that come in from various departments around the hospital.  One thing that has become more clear to me than anything since I've been in IT is that the general populous of clinicians and clinical managers are fucking stupid.  At least here they are.  And when I say stupid I mean they know NOTHING beyond what is right in front of them.  On top of all that they are all in an ass-kissing contest with our still-new CEO.  It's disgusting but at least I don't have to subject myself directly to their world.  I go in, do what I have to and then I'm gone.  Most of my stuff can be done remotely as well.....BONUS.  On top of that I can still listen to music and chat with Melissa....BONUS..BONUS!!!

I did start school this semester.  It didn't go as well as I expected and pretty much bombed.  I suck at math and couple that with starting a new position....well let's just say I had a meltdown and the semester is/was a bust.  There is always next semester and I'm in no hurry to finish.

As I have immersed myself deeper into the IT world I realize that I should have worked harder to stay in it before.  I went to culinary school and took a huge detour and learned some skills that will definitely benefit everyone around me.  Was it worth the cost.....that is still to be decided.  Am I much happier now...definitely. More-so in my new job than before.  When I leave work I leave work at work.  I don't get the random calls on Saturday mornings because the stupid breast feeding instructor can't learn how to turn shit on or calls from my Director telling me about her current ailment and why she can't come in to work.  The only time I'll have to take a call after work is when my name falls in the on-call rotation.  Then I'll actually be getting PAID for answering that call and for potentially having to go in to help someone.

I'm looking forward to 2011.  I'm looking forward to spending another year with the woman I love more than myself and seeing what happens.  We always have something planned or a goal we want to achieve.  We have been thinking about a rent house after this lease is up, have a few other things planned for next year but beyond that I couldn't tell you.  We tend to be spontaneous and I love that about us.

That's all I have.  I hope those of you who read this (if anyone) have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.  Spend these last days of 2010 with those you love and who love you equally.  Too often we cherish the tangible and take the intangible for granted.  I'll be around.....

Friday, July 2, 2010

So a little update...

Just wanted to drop a quick update to let everyone know that things are going exactly as planned. I have had a couple of really good runs and yesterday I hit a new personal distance record by going 4.57 miles in just over an hour. Not bad for a fatty who never put much stock into running and laughed out loud at the running fools I used to see around the neighborhood.

Also I have enlisted the help of technology once again. I started using the Nike+ system with my iPod. I am amazed at the information this thing gathers. Time, distance, pace, calories and best of tracks your overall progress. Info is synced with iTunes and then uploaded to the Nike+ site. You can put goals for yourself and it keeps pace of those goals. Really cool stuff:

Pretty damn nifty. Unfortunately I can't add the miles I have already gone cause this is more "real-time". As of right now I have completed about 18 miles give or take. Still a long way to go but I have time and I have a feeling I will crush my goal.
Stay tuned....

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The journey of 1000 miles begins with one step

Yea, yea...OK that title was thuper ghey but I just couldn't think of anything else to title this blog post. It does, however, have a great deal to do with the goal I have set out for myself for this summer. We are planning a vacation in September where the beaches are vast, alcohol is flowing and clothes are limited. So here we go...

Everyone seems to have a goal for the summer and for some reason I had a hard time finding one for myself. I'm within about 20 or so pounds of my overall weight goal so I needed something to challenge myself. I love a challenge and I love learning something new. Before I begin explaining the torture I plan on putting myself through I need to take a moment and recognize a couple of people.

First, my lovely and beautiful wife. She has set out for herself a monthly goal for weight loss and I firmly believe she will accomplish it. I have the utmost faith in her and her abilities and her tenacity is one of her many endearing qualities which I love.

Second, my Dad. Christ on a cracker this man never ceases to amaze me. 61 years old and about 8 weeks ago he put down the cigarettes. After 10 years of smoking he just dropped them. No question, no self bargaining to slow down. He just quit. Now he has a goal to lose about 20lbs by the time our September vacay rolls around.

This brings me to my goal for the summer. I thought long and hard about what I wanted to push myself to do and then it hit me yesterday during my workout:

I VOW TO RUN/WALK AT LEAST 150 MILES BETWEEN NOW AND THE TIME SEPTEMBER 23RD ROLLS AROUND. must be asking yourself "When did Thomas start running?" I have been attempting to increase my running capabilities pretty steady-like over the last few weeks. I have a trail mapped out thanks to a biking/running trail built by the city:

You can kinda see my route in red but if you can't just know that it is long and hard like 3rd grade for a bl....never-mind. Bear in mind that I am still running at the same time of day I was working out in the gym which is around 4pm. I'm in's hot a balls get hot. The temperature is averaging around 98-101F for the last few weeks. Yup I'm a sadist. I must be to run in Hell.

Here is my challenge laid out in its entirety:

There are approx 14 weeks til September 23rd. That is 98 days including weekends. My average route is 3.2 miles. If my plan is to run/walk 150 miles then it should take me 47 days to do so. "Whoa, bro, you got plenty of time to hit that mark." Well you would think that but as of right now I don't have the stamina to do this every day so I am accounting for 3-4 times per week of hitting this trail. I expect my stamina to slowly build as I do this more often so I thing 150 is a very attainable goal.

To track my progress I have a spreadsheet where I will notate my mileage, steps and calories burned. I can do this thanks to the glorious miracles of modern technology and a little device called a pedometer. It will track all the info I need to make sure I'm honest with myself and can achive everything I want to.

So that's it. My challenge, my goal, my hell for the summer. 150 miles by September 23rd. As always I will update my blog and let you know how I'm doing and the inevitable heat stroke that will happen.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Hello, my name is Thomas and I'm an addict...

I'm not addicted to illegal drugs, food, alcohol or prescription pills. I'm addicted to energy drinks, specifically Monster. I like to "Unleash the Beast" as the can says. L-Carnitine, taurine and ginseng how I long for your tingle on my tongue. Caffeine, you my friend, are what gets my blood flowing. Hey there B-Vitamins glad you made it cause I need you more than ever. What exactly is your flavor? Fruit punch? Strawberry? Some amalgamation of everything that is tasty? It matters not because you quench my thirst, tickle my taste buds and make me crash. Ah the dreaded crash. I feel you coming on as my eyelids get heavy, my irritation levels increase and my urge to kill rises to Ted Bundy-like levels. Like a junky looking for a heroine fix, a coke addict looking for a bump or a fatty looking for a donut to eat in the dark. You have me fixated on the rush and I cry a little inside when you are gone.

In all seriousness I drink way too many of them. Monster, Red Bull and Venom are my poisons of choice. Unfortunately 2 of them are CONSTANTLY at my disposal as they are sold here at work and for much less than my local QT or Race Trac does. To make matters worse is I get $6 each day allotted to me for food by my department. Now, let me make one thing very clear: I do eat and I do not squander my per Diem on energy drinks. I do, however, use some of that allowance to buy one. That being said, I looked in my car which doubles as a trash can and noticed the carnage of spent cans in the back. It's pure aluminum carnage and some cans are crushed most likely as a result of the "monster" strength I got from chugging a can. Yea I know....don't crush my dreams. The can has a small label "warning" on it that says not to consume more than 3 cans each day. There have been days in the past where I have had more than 3 so I hope that's a polite suggestion and not a precursor warning of imminent death or coronary explosion. I felt OK afterward.....a little jittery and was playing with knives but I was fine.

Since I am of the analytical, aka. nerd, mind let's dissect the components of a typical 16oz can of green Monster shall we? First off you see the green trademarked "M" logo where it's obvious that a huge beast of a person has scratched his way through sheer aluminum. OK...I'm sold. Blog post done. KIDDING!! The next thing you see is "ENERGY". Hey, I need energy, there is energy in this can. If I consume the drink I can have energy too. FUCKING SWEEEET!! WWWRRRRRRAAAARRRRRRR!!! Oh wait...there is some strange "extra" stuff in my can of liquid fuck-off. Let's dig deeper into them and see what's up:

Straight jacked from Wiki:

TAURINE- Taurine, or 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid, is an organic acid. It is a major constituent of bile and can be found in the lower intestineand, in small amounts, in the tissues of many animals, including humans.Taurine is a derivative of the sulfur-containing (sulfhydryl) amino acid cysteine. Taurine is one of the few known naturally occurring sulfonic acids.

Despite being present in many energy foods, taurine has not been proven to be energy-giving. FUCK!!!!

Taurine is regularly used as an ingredient in energy drinks, with many containing 1000mg per serving, and some as much as 2000mg. A 2003 study by the European Food Safety Authority found no adverse effects for up to 1,000 mg of Taurine per kilogram of bodyweight per day; however this was in regards to Taurine alone, noting they did not compare the effects of Taurine when combined with the other ingredients in energy drinks.

A review published in 2008 found no documented reports of negative health effects associated with the amount of taurine used in energy drinks, concluding that "The amounts of guarana, taurine, and ginseng found in popular energy drinks are far below the amounts expected to deliver either therapeutic benefits or adverse events".

OK, so we can derrive from my snippets that Taurine is pretty useless on it's own but let's keep on trucking cause there is more.

L-Carnitine- is a quaternary ammonium compound biosynthesized from the amino acids lysine and methionine. In living cells, it is required for the transport of fatty acids from the cytosol into the mitochondria during the breakdown of lipids (or fats) for the generation of metabolic energy. It is often sold as a nutritional supplement. Carnitine was originally found as a growth factor for mealworms and labeled vitamin Bt.

Is your head spinning yet?? There's more:

As a weight loss supplement
"Although L-carnitine has been marketed as a weight loss supplement, there is no scientific evidence to show that it improves weight loss, however some studies show that oral carnitine reduces fat mass, increases muscle mass, and reduces fatigue. All of these effects may contribute to weight loss."

Regular supplements of L-carnitine, however, contribute to energy metabolism and improved neurotransmitter function in the brain in elderly.

Well...that's promising, right? BUT WAIT!!! THERE'S MORE!!!

This stuff has some other things in it too like Ginseng root used for many things in the Asian culture for centuries like treatment for Type II diabetes, as an aphrodisiac and for sexual dysfunction. As my smoking hot wife will tell you I got no problems in the dysfunction part. Giggity.

Guarana...ahhhh this little climbing plant produces a bean that is harvested. Now you java junkies think you got the low down of caffeine?? You got nothing on this little gem. One bean contains TWICE (2x) the caffeine found in your typical coffee bean. BOOOOOM!! What some may not know is that naturally occurring caffeine is actually a defense mechanism to keep the bugs away from the fruit of the plant. Being humans we have once again pilfered nature for our own personal gains and because I need my caffeine before I kill someone in a bloody raging fit because I haven't had my FIX GODDAMNIT!!!! But I digress...

Most people think Americans got the juice when it comes to energy drinks, strong coffee and sodas but the Brazilians have soft drinks(pop, coke, soda) that is made with guarana and supposedly these sweet Baby Jesus-sent cans of love give American sodas and energy drinks the dirty middle finger when it comes to zip-zoom.

Ok, ok so what am I getting at with all my Monster induced rambling? It goes back to what I have said all along.....moderation. Aside from energy drinks having a sleu of questionable chemicals, sugar, rocket fuel, gun powder and maybe trace amounts nuclear over run they are filled with empty calories. One 16oz can has 2 servings at 100 calories per serving....200 per can....drink one a day and that is 1000 extra empty calories per work week. Ouch. I'll make you all a promise: You find one thing you love and back off by half and I'll cut my energy drink consumption down to 2 per

Pardon me, I need to go mainline another can first.

I'll leave you with some parting thoughts as I setup my Monster IV: