briefly, a bedtime story

So the girls have been getting stories about ‘the sleepy princesses,’ and since I’m a crappy storyteller, I just barely dramatize the events of their day. The names of the sleepy princesses are Princess E and Princess I. There’s also Prince Brother, Queen Mama and me, Brave Sir Daddy. They’ve already figured out that I’m just recycling the day’s events and it bothered them at first, but now they just go with it.

Tonight, they wanted to hear about the sleepy princesses; I wanted to hear about a dragon (who was introduced a few nights ago and is actually imaginary), but E wanted nothing to do with a dragon, even one who was friendly and played with them before.

So, I started in on how the sleepy princesses went outside on a beautiful day with a nice, cool breeze and were playing with their friend, the dragon. E began throwing a fit over the apparent indignity of invoking the presence of said friendly dragon.

“…and their friend the dragon went home because one of the sleepy princesses was mean. Princess E.”

The end.

briefly, an opening day devotional

I bared my soul yesterday to a co-worker I hardly know at all. I did not realize it at the time. It is wasted if left there. It is possibly less-wasted here and is presented unedited.

***

Apr-3 4:20 PM

For me, it’s love. I stopped playing baseball when my parents moved us from Plover to Stevens Point (and the uniforms in Point’s Little League were generic and lame, while Plover’s were actual kiddie ML kits, stirrups and all. I was stupid; some things never change.)

I lost interest in baseball, then went to college in Minnesota, where I lived about three blocks from the Metrodome. The Twins, who were execrable for years, started making the postseason (Johan Santana, Torii Hunter, before Mauer and Morneau.) October baseball, and living in that for a month one fall, made me swoon.

I started reading the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel daily, following the Brewers, who were in those years, charitably described, utter and complete butt. I write and occasionally turn a decent phrase, so I got suckered into the writers there (Haudricourt, Drew Olson, Dale Hoffmann, then Bob McGinn, Cliff Christl and the Packers writers.)

Baseball somehow tied itself into the deepest part of my soul. It’s love.

***
Whatever noun connects itself to the deepest part of your soul–your natural talent or gifting, a place that sinks deeply into your conscious, a person who makes you feel like half-person, half-chasm without them–that noun is only there because it is rooted in love.
Don’t ever risk those nouns.

briefly, dust

“…you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” — Genesis 3.19b

I was not raised in a Christian tradition that paid much recognition to Ash Wednesday or the Lenten season, which began for many Christians a week ago. With the arrival of the season, though, this phrase has stuck in my mind.

To be returned to dust. Pulverized; pulvis: dust, powder, ash.

We will all be pulverized. What (ahem) levels the playing field more than that?

Perhaps in our heightened state of enlightenment, we have forgotten what it is we really are. Regardless if one believes in the literal creation (which I do not), or in evolutionary development (theistic or otherwise), the source is the same: we come from the elements. In kind, we will end up elements again.

In the meantime, we are animated dirt.

And, as dirt, living amongst dirt, we tend to lack self-awareness of our own dirtiness. As such, we take our fellow dirt for granted, we mistreat, we hate, we ignore, considering our collection of dirt of more value than someone else’s. All the while, neglecting the fundamental fact that I am dirt and could be dispatched to my natural, dusty state at any given time.

The fact that we are animated dust, then, should never be far from our minds, Lent or otherwise. This is the time to be grateful, to be fair, kind and to recognize the myriad ways in which we fail one another. This is the day to seek forgiveness and to forgive. The garden might not be an option anymore; that shouldn’t keep us from creating something beautiful (or as beautiful as dust can possibly be.) This is hope, that in spite of our mutated condition, we might yet even have the faintest resemblance of a time when things were right.

Indeed, while we yet have anima, we are extraordinary pulvis. Capable of life and destruction, often in the same manner and from the same source, inexorably thrust toward our pulverization. Ashes to ashes; dust to dust.

What will you do with your interim? What shall I do with mine?

briefly, on getting used to very long commutes

For the past ten months, my day job has gotten me up at roughly 5 AM, on the road somewhere between 6.15 and 6.30 (or, umm, not, see also: morning, this) and in the office’s door before an 8 AM start.

At first, this was great! I love driving (when gas prices aren’t as prohibitive as they have been for the past ten years) and traveling and figured this would slay the avian wanderlust and provide opportunity to clear my head going in and coming back.

It was a lie–noble, but a lie nonetheless. And it worked for a while; it was great to be back amongst the gainfully-employed and I did indeed come to work focused and the drive home was cathartic.

When summer gave way to fall, and fall to winter, that eager approach gave way to prolonged yawns, frustrated stumbles out of bed, and that 70-mile drive from point A to point B became familiar, boring and countered any sense that it could be a good thing.

I hate the drive to work now. I like what I do–moreover, I very much like the team I work with, and I very much like getting paid–but I’m up too early, here too long, go home too late and get to bed later than I should.

Then there are the beans. Those wild, weed-esque beans. I’ve missed so much in missing three hours a day to the road. They grow faster, miss me more, get that much more hyper when I get home and just want to breathe for a moment (and wife-mama needs to .)

Well, our circumstances are changing. We just had an offer accepted on our first home and in a few weeks, I’ll be roughly two-thirding my commute.

I spent a long lunch today signing roughly 1038945790183470985 pages of paperwork with our lender and celebrated the fact my hand didn’t fall off with one of those deliciously generic cheesesteak sandwiches at the nearby mall. Behind me, in between sizable bites of chicken teriyaki sandwich and malt vinegar-laden fresh fries, was a toddler and her mama. I overheard one of those sentences virginal to all save the parents of littles, something along the lines of, ‘Don’t eat that off the floor! That’s icky!’

I could hear wife-mama saying it. I could hear myself saying it. And I smiled, in the way only bittersweet parents who sacrifice far too much of their time for their families know how. I’ve missed so much of this, the insanity of child-rearing, the naive madness of children. Days of the month lost to the road.

I turned, and saw mother and child, seated at a tiny table, turned back to the doors and made my way back to my car, to the road, to work.

The sacrifice is worth it. For many reasons–for three, for one, for all of the above.

Even so, I miss my kids.

briefly, …hired!

A personal aside from everything else.

Well, life is about to ramp up considerably.

I accepted a position with an IT firm elsewhere in Wisconsin, which I will be starting a week from Monday. This unexpected four-month vacation is coming to a close, and I can’t wait to get started there.

Also, seven-plus years of blogging has at last paid off: in no small part due to my occasional work on baseball here at sailerb, I have accepted a position with Outside Pitch Sports as a baseball staff writer, and will start publishing stories there tomorrow. OPS is proudly powered by WordPress, and I’m pleased to be featured there.

The reality is that, with a new full-time job and a part-time role that requires me to be writing extensively on top of that, sailerb will have to take a backseat. There will be the occasional post, but by and large, this blog will be going on hiatus.

The even greater reality is that, without you reading and your support, I wouldn’t have these opportunities. Seriously. You have helped me not only get a job, but helped me get my break. 

There are over 700 followers, subscribers, fans on facebook and followers on Twitter. Some of you were the only ones reading early on (and for that, I’m profoundly sorry); others of you jumped on when I was Freshly Pressed with ‘Running with Scissors’. Some of you just joined this month. All of you made this happen. I cannot begin to express my gratitude for your comments, ratings, kind words, not-so-kind words and, most importantly, your time reading here.

If you’re into baseball, feel free to follow my work over at Outside Pitch via my Twitter feed: @BSirvioOPS. If you’re not into baseball, even clicking my posts helps with page views.

I’ll be around. Drop a line anytime. I mean it.

Thank you again.

Best,

–b.

briefly, on being ageless and thankful

An old high school teacher found me out about town today. Amidst the catching up and small talk–kids, life, unemployment, the uszgh–she mentioned that it was hard to see me as not as I was in high school.

This terrifies me.

I can grow old, but apparently I can never age. Never mind the fact that teachers can point out old students blindfolded clear across county lines, I was just told that I might as well be 17. For many of you, that is a compliment. For me, not so much. Part and parcel of being in public in one’s hometown is the reality that to everyone, you are who you were.

I largely do not like who I was 15 years ago.

Regardless, I showed pictures of las beañas to her and caught her up on life since they came on the scene, the dangers wife and I faced as expecting parents, nearly losing them once, nearly losing another again, weeks in the NICU, another week of bowel rest, how fortunate we are to have happy healthy little rats running around.

Indeed, nothing allows gratitude to well up than to look back and see what perils we overcame to be where we are. Talking of all the crap we’ve waded through just to continue being made me impossibly happy and thankful.

Then I look at where we are right now and the challenges we face, looking forward to the day when I can be grateful for the blessings–now largely veiled from cognizance–that sustain us. I do not deny that our little family faces serious circumstances; I deny that they will sap us of our joy and hope.

I may not be thrilled that I am who I was, but nothing will make me happier than the fact that, right now, I am and we are.