Growin’ up….or grown up

23 08 2014

As time goes on, I realize just what you me to me. -Chicago

It’s been a pretty normal week leading up to the start of a new school year.  As normal as can be when one of us is a teenage girl who is changing school districts and jumping into the unknown feet first.  As normal as can be when one of us is a middle aged father who is desperately trying to hang on  to his little girl and stop time that seems to jump decades every time he blinks.  As normal as can be with two houses and two sets of parents with different views.

Friday night rolls around and it is orientation night at Valley, our high school of choice.  Orientation will be followed by a lock in at the local YMCA for the whole freshman class.  I can tell Syd the Kid is nervous.  I know because she is short with me and I don’t mean height.  She is also very quiet and doesn’t feel well a combination of nerves and unknown I suspect.  I do my best to keep her mind off things while getting ready.

Kitten has arrived home.  As we all get ready to go she brings out a gift for Sydney.  Jenny had sewn a new comforter for Sydney.  One side was royal blue and white with the Hemlock Husky and the other Navy and Gold with the VLHS Charger logo, very cool.  First smile of the night and I think it made her relax for a few minutes.  Time to go, Jenny asks “What wrong with you?” “my tummy hurts” I reply, damn you nerves.

Orientation goes well, lots of information the children go one way the parents another.  We meet up at the end for a final prayer and to say good night to the kids.  Sydney is so nervous I don’t get a kiss…I’m ok I understand…I don’t get a hug….uh, but that dad over there got one, and that guy there too….I’m ok, I got this, sigh.

5:45am the next morning.  I am not surprised that I am the first parent at the YMCA to pick my daughter up, they get out at 6am.  I over planned the time and calculated in some extra traffic I try to convince  myself, yeah big dumby lots of traffic at 5am on a Saturday morning (my inner voice of reason is screaming “you got to learn to let go”).  6am here she comes with a tired smile and a “hi Daddy, I get the back seat so I can lay down”.  I try to ask and get cut off and we go home.  i wanted to hear about the night and know if she had fun or not.  Nerves, I need a piece of toast.

11:45 am she has been awake for about 15 minutes.  I am busy in the kitchen making her some food so she has the energy to go school shopping today.  “Daddy, come here” I am beckoned.  “Hold on” I  reply “I’m getting you some….” “come here  I want to talk to you” she cuts me off.  Whoa, here we go.  She spent the next half hour or so telling me all the details of the fun and friends she met, the subjects the teacher told them about, the games to meet more friends, the pizza, the swimming, the fight song and more.  We talked about being a teenager and a parent and how important these next four years are and how we….gulp….would be growing together.  We talked about how she was going to have to learn to be more responsible for her time, work and schedule and how she will need to learn to be more independent and we talked about how I need to learn to….let go.  Big Gulp.

She is not a toddler anymore.  She is not a small child anymore.  She is a beautiful, brilliant, funny, unique and precious young lady.  A young lady who taking another big step, painting a new scene on her canvas of life full of vibrant color.  But, she will always be my little girl.  I’m ok, I got this.

Now that your near, promise  your love, that I’ve wanted to share.  And dream of our moments together, color my world with hope of loving you. -Chicago




6 06 2014

Where did it go?  Time, where did it go.  Seems like yesterday, the blink of an eye.

Freeland, MI September 2006.

Sydney 6 years old AMI“My belly hurts Daddy” moaned Sydney on the big morning of her first day of grade school.  This was the common reaction to a nervous moment in the life of a beautiful budding 6-year-old.  She was barely waist high, cute chubby cheeks, a smile with some missing teeth and still small enough to throw over your shoulder at a moments notice.

We were dressed and ready for school.  Typical for big moments in her life, I had a lump in my throat and honestly my belly hurt a little too, but I kept that to myself.  Off to the big time, all day school, first grade, new adventures.  Hemlock Elementary School, ready or not here we come.  At the schools door kiss kiss, “I love you Daddy”.


Sydney first day 2nd grade










Sydney 8th grade jock

Hemlock, MI June 2014.

“I can’ believe your this old” moaned Daddy(Me).  She just shrugged her shoulders “It happens” she said.  Smart kid.  “It went too fast” I replied.  This was the common reaction to a nervous moment in the life of father who doesn’t want his little girl to grow up so fast.  She’s taller than her mother and sister now, long limbs like her father, the beautiful smile of a young lady and I have to put some real effort into throwing her over my shoulder without throwing out my back.


We were dressed and ready for school.  Typical for big moments in her life, I had a lump in my throat and a bit of sadness in my
heart(ok pity for myself because my little girl is growing up), but I kept that to myself.  Off to the big time, last day of middle school.  She is receiving an award Sydney Confrimationfrom the school according to the letter we received.  Last day of Hemlock Schools as her next adventure takes her to Valley Lutheran High School.

“Love your buds today ok”? I whisper as the bus approaches, whispered so I don’t choke up.  “Make sure they know this isn’t an end but a new beginning” I try to sound so assuring “we will see lots of them over the summer”.  My big girl’s choice to change schools leaves many questions about staying in touch with her friends from 8 years of school.  A day of mixed emotions I am sure.  As the bus approaches “I love you kid” again whispered, “Love you too Daddy” my princess replies.
8 Years…in the blink of an eye.


A Mothers Gift

7 05 2014

A guest blog today from my friend Curt Harding.  Curt is a very talented writer who gladly shares his feelings and his faith through his blog.  Curt has a way with weaving everyday life into inspirational stories that cause the reader to think, feel and explore the deep dark spaces in our worlds.


I hope you enjoy the link below


Living on the edge of Gotham

28 09 2013

Titt River Sept 25

I live in a pretty great place.  It is beautiful surrounded by forest and farms.  The colors and smells are amazing as they change with the seasons.  My neighbors, as few as they are, are kind and generous and lending a helping hand is the norm, not the exceptin.  The calm and quiet is therapuetic.

I leave this serene world each morning as I head to work.  I pass the forests and the farm fields and clumps of houses scattered about.  As I take the gentle curve to the north and I come to the river (photo), this is when I know I am getting closer .  Closer to a world that is darker.  A world not unlike mythical Gotham that needed a super hero in Batman to protect it.

Beautiful isn’t it?  The sky was ablaze with color as the sun was coming over the horizon.  The river was calm with a touch of steam.  Calm, serene, peaceful are a few words to describe this idealic setting.  This is one of my favorite sights each morning as I make the commute in to work.  From farm fields to here at the river things are great, and then…

One mile to south you will find farm fields, farm houses, a big nursery filled with plants and trees and a National Wildlife Refuge.  One mile to the north you find a middle class neighborhood filled with families, a little league baseball complex and surrounded by duplexes and apartment complexes.  Across the street is a convenience store that gets robbed on a somewhat regular basis by shady characters not from these parts.

I continue down past the subdivision and a mile later I find myself driving by a couple of bars with cars lined up at 7am.  One, at least was shootingthe scene of a fatal shooting in the last year.   As I round the bend now four  miles from that beautiful river scene I am diverted to an alternative route by six police cars lights ablaze, crime scene tape across four lanes of road, EMT and fire fighters on hand but no one is working on the white, still, lone body bag that is left laying in the front yard.  I came to find out it was one of three who died.  This is the second time in the last few weeks I have been that close to a crime scene that involved shootings, the other wasn’t very far away and fortunately we were a few minutes late for the action.

What is our town/world coming too?  Kids are running amok, bad people are shooting people(no the problem is not the guns, people kill people, not guns), crime is running rampant and it seems like nothing is being done to protect the innocent.

Parents are growing their children instead of raising them.  There are no repercussions, no accountability.  We are a desensitized generation.  You only have to watch a show on television to see that.  Vulgarity my generation would have had their mouths washed out with soap now are common on TV.  Where’s our Batman?  Where’s the parents in a child’s life?  Where does it end?

Gotham CrimeGotham City to me was deep dark place.  It was filled with evil and bad people doing bad things.  Concerned citizens cowered and hid in fear.  No one lifted a finger until Bruce Wayne had enough and became Bat Man.  Bat Man saved Gotham, over and over as the movies made money so sequels made good sense.

Hey Mid Michigan, where’s our Bat Man?  I am in  no way condoning someone putting on a pair of tights, tieing on a cape and becoming a vigilante, that would be foolish.  Inside all of us is a super hero, we can start by teaching our children to be respectful and kind.  We can lead our community by example and stand up for what is right and shun what is wrong.  It starts with you.

Fighting Dracula in the hospital cafeteria

24 09 2013

cartoon-drawing-dracula-20743810Yeah, I know but it really happened….sort of.

Dreams, you know those images, ideas, sensations and emotions that happen in our mind while we sleep?   Have you ever had dreams so vivid that you awake and think what you dreamed had actually happened?  Or perhaps, the detail is so clear it is alarming or humorous.  Some have found dream world to be frightening, amusing and even amorous.

I am not sure if anyone knows what causes dreams.  They can last for seconds or as long 20 minutes or more.  From what I have read we are more likely to remember dreams if we are awaken during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, our deepest sleep with the highest brain activity.

Some shrinks (head doctors) think they can interpret dreams.  Sigmund Freud considered dreams as kind of a unconscious dream fulfillment, but then again he had a thing for his mother.  There are others who think they can interpret tea leaves and chicken bones and I will leave it at that.

So anyway back to the kung fu fighting, in  my dream.  It turns out Dracula, who’s first name is Peter by the way(I always was skeptical about Vlad), works at the hospital with my wife Kitten.  Strangely enough he does not work as a phlebotomist even though they have a nick name in most hospitals of “vampires”.  I digress, turns out Peter Dracula wants my wife and my unborn baby boy named Keegan.  A few interesting points here; 1. my wife is pregnant, I didn’t know. 2. The kid must be special as Dracula wants the tyke. 3. Keegan….really?!  Jack would be more fitting.  So Drac makes the demand to meet us privately in his secret attempt to abduct my child bearing wife.  I being a pig headed and dream land super hero say no way Pete and we meet in the….wait… for.. it… hospital cafeteria.  Old Dracula is not amused and pretty ticked off, which I find amusing in dream land.  He goes all fiery eyed and smoke coming out of his ears (seriously) screaming about if this is the way you want it and for some reasons I remember all the security cameras (ironically in today’s world of security I am fairly certain at this moment that I wasn’t able to sneak in any silver bullets or wooden stakes, just my luck), but anyway I refuse like any knight in shiny armor to turn over my fair vixen to the dark lord.  He hauls off and smacks me.  At first I am shocked and then I laugh at Pete and mention for the powerful Dracula he hits like a girl and I knock him on his ass.  As I laugh at this enjoying my fun, he takes the opportunity to exit, stage left with Kitten and I see the elevator door closing as my wife is screaming for me.  This is when I wake up.  Dazed and confused but laughing at the absurdity.

Kitten and baby Keegan?

Kitten and baby Keegan?

Who knows why we dream.  Who knows what caused this little midnight mischievous.  I think it was probably something I ate or drank.  Maybe the really yummy steak, onion & feta wood fired pizzas we made, or perhaps the glass of Beugolais we enjoyed with our pizza.  Could be Im just goofy and was looking for adventure and to save damsels in distress.  Perhaps forks in our roads of life that closed some doors and opened others.

Just for fun, I tracked down a hand ful of tea leaf and chicken bone readers and had them meet with Fruedian scholars to see what they come up with.  The image on the left is the best they can do, sort of a police sketch of what Peter Dracula was after, a photo rendering of Kitten holding what they deem a baby Keegan would have looked like.  Handsome little devil if I don’t say so myself.

Like I tell Sydney, dream big and dream often.

Our fleet has lost its Dad

15 07 2013

Our fleet has lost its Dad.    -Sue Alexander

I think Sue summed it up perfectly in her brief statement upon hearing of the loss of our friend Joe Dissette.  To understand this 00000005statement you would have to know Joe or about Joe.

Joseph C. Dissette, 91, of Midland, MI died Tuesday July 9, 2013.

Joe was the Patriarch of the Bay City Yacht Clubs Lightning Fleet (Fleet 216) and in many ways of the Club itself.  Joe joined BCYC in 1953, as one of the founders on this new sailing club on Saginaw Bay.  At that time Joe  had the only Lightning at the Club which had  a fleet of 110s which Joe was encouraged to buy.  Instead he went out and found a couple more Lightnings and started Fleet 216.  One of my favorite quotes of Joes “I would like to be remembered for resisting the temptation, back in 1953, to sell the only Lightning at BCYC, buy a 110 and join their active racing fleet”.  I would imagine the more than 150 crew Joe trained would agree.

Joe’s love affair with the Lightning began in 1938 after he saw an article in Yachting about Olin Stephens and a new one design class he called “Lightning”.  Joe mentioned to his Dad that he would own one someday.  Joe bought his first Lightning in 1945 and owned 38 more Lightnings with his final being Carousel 35.

Joe’s leadership was evident in many aspects of Lightning sailing.  He always had his hands on the pulse of the local fleet but also was active in the District and National levels.  He set up a business, Dissette Sail Yacht Sales, as a way of bringing more people into the class by buying new and used Lightnings and brokering them to prospective sailors.  Many of the boats currently in Fleet 216 were originally one of Joe’s personal boats, or one bought from Joe’s business.  Joe and his wife Ann, were the gracious hosts to Fleet 216’s annual spring meeting which was held in their basement which is an incredible shrine to Lightning sailing.

Joe was also the teacher.  He was always calm and composed and had the patience of a saint.  He taught many the art and joy of sailing.  Many of his students would go on to own their own Lightning and many went on to become champions.  We honored Joe many years ago as a tribute to all he had done for our Lightning Fleet by renaming our series the Joe Dissette Championship Series.

Joe has been my friend for 22 years.  I am one of his new friends, many have known him much longer.  I will miss his wisdom and kindness and the phone calls out of the blue just to say hi or inquire on the family and to make sure I keep him on the Fleets email list so he can read about our antics.  Many stories have been shared this week about how Joe touched our lives and one memory that is brought up by many is Joe’s bugle which he would play leaving the dock followed by his crews emphatic “Charge” as the battle cry.

Joe will be missed but never forgot.  I think he is now sailing Carousel 36 with a huge grin on his face.


The shadow of an empty chair

23 11 2012

a beautiful post on Facebook from my friend Denise


the shadow of an empty chair. we all have them at our tables during the holidays.. for those that are gone or not able to join us as we gather with family and friends… May the shadow’s of those we have loved be ever present in our nows. Childhood Thanksgiving’s spent around big tables loaded with all the good recipes we still cherish today. Giving thanks to all today Past Present and Future… God Bless you all….
the shadow of an empty chair.  we all have them at our tables during the holidays..  for those that are gone or not able to join us as we gather with family and friends...   May the shadow's of those we have loved be ever present in our nows.    Childhood Thanksgiving's spent around big tables loaded with all the good recipes we still cherish today.  Giving thanks to all today  Past Present and Future...  God Bless you all....

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