Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas is...

...literally right around the corner.

I'm done with my shopping.

Ok...I'm almost done with my shopping. I always feel as if I haven't done enough for those that I'm shopping for.
Even if I were independently and obscenely wealthy (which I'm not), and were to spend insane amounts of money on those whom I love so much (which I cannot), I'm sure I would feel the same way as I do ever year at this time.

And then there are those on my list for whom shopping is damn near impossible. We all have people in our lives to whom that it the holiday season or not. Those are the people for whom you sincerely never know what to get. Maybe it's because they have everything they could ever want. Maybe they already have all that they need. Maybe we, the shoppers, are wholly and totally insensitive to the wants and desires of our loved ones. Maybe when asked they simply replied with, "Thank you, but I don't really want or need anything".

Incidentally, that's exactly what I did to my lovely wife and two beautiful daughters. I know that I have frustrated them to no end this holiday season.

...but I really don't want anything for Christmas. Ok...there is one thing I do want... wake up in my own bed, next to my amazing wife, and then have breakfast and hang out with her and our kids while we shower them with gifts and love on Christmas morning.

That's it. That's all I really want for Christmas.

Though I could (and maybe should) probably ask for some new socks and underwear. Funny how, as a kid, that seemed like the worst gift in the whole world.
C'mon...I'm not the only one. We've all been there...eagerly sitting in the family room with everyone around you, staring longingly at the gift from your favorite grandparent, hoping that inside will be the greatest gift in the world...the gift...the only thing you really truly wanted that year. You intentionally saved it for last because you just knew that special package contained overwhelming amounts of awesomeness. You shook it to see if you might be able to divine its contents, carefully removed the stick-on bow, took a deep breath and tore past the neatly pleated, folded, and taped paper, snapped the tape that was keeping the box held shut, ripped the box open only to find a fresh new set of Fruit of The Looms and a three-pack of athletic socks...all while your favorite grandparent smiled at you as if they had just given you a enormous sum of money and the keys to FAO Schwartz.
And, of course, you just smiled, said thanks, and hugged your now-least-favorite grandparent...all while thinking quietly to yourself, "Worst...Gift...Ever".

I've said it before, and I'll say it that I'm an adult, the idea of getting socks and underwear seems like the most thoughtful gift in the world. I mean...they do wear out. Most of us will wear our socks and underwear until they have more holes than a pile of Swiss cheese. They do need to be replaced from time to time. It truly is a practical gift considering that most of us don't even bother replacing old under-garments until they have disappeared or disintegrated.
...Such practicality in gift-giving makes me now think that my grandparents were freakin' geniuses.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Bucket List

Just in case you haven't heard, or aren't familiar with the term...
"Bucket List" is a slang term for that list of things you want to do or accomplish before you die.

Recently, during an interview with one of my favorite local reporters, I was asked about my personal bucket list and what kind of things are on it. I can't remember the exact answer I gave, however, after much thought and deliberation over the matter...the answer I gave may have been too vague, esoteric, and not at all the type answer that the interviewer was looking for. So -for my friend, Mary, who was so kind to put me on the spot, and was also so forgiving and patient with my candid, yet ambiguous answer- I have amended my response.

I have decided to include some of my bucket list items here in this post. Please bear in mind that this is not a complete bucket list, and certainly not listed in any particular order. So here goes...

*Visit places of archeological antiquity-
       ~ Great Pyramid of Giza
       ~ Stonehenge
       ~ Machu Picchu
       ~ The Acropolis
       ~ Easter Island
       ~ Ankor Wat
       ~ Chichen Itza
       ~ Petra
*Drive a race car...a REAL race car...REALLY FAST!!
*Go spite of being scared shitless of heights.
*Play shows at notable venues-
       ~Hollywood Bowl
       ~Red Rocks
       ~Madison Square Garden
       ~The Meadowlands
       ~BJCC (my hometown's big arena)
*Win a Grammy Award
*Write and record my own jazz record.
*Tour the entire Smithsonian Institute.
*Learn to play jazz piano.
*Make music with some of my musical heros (here's the short list)-
       ~ Sting
       ~ James Taylor
       ~ Willie Nelson
       ~ The Allman Brothers Band
       ~ Kenny Loggins
       ~ Michael McDonald
       ~ Branford Marsalis
       ~ John Scofield
       ~ Larry Goldings
       ~ Oteil Burbridge
*Be a great dad.
*Be a great husband.
*Be a great friend.
*Be remembered as a good person.
*Tell "the one that got away" how I always felt about her.
*Marry my very best friend.
*Become the best musician/drummer that I can be.
*Perform as a clinician at PASIC.
*Own a few hot rods-
       ~'34 Ford
       ~'35 Chevy
       ~'40 Ford
       ~'49 Mercury
       ~'57 Chevy
       ~'60 Corvette
       ~'65 GTO
       ~'67 Impala
       ~'68 Camaro
       ~'69 Charger
       ~'70 Oldsmobile 442
*Learn to fly an airplane.
*Learn to scuba dive.
*Write a that people will actually read.

Well...that's all I could come up with in one short sitting. I'm sure if I gave it more than five minutes thought I could come up with plenty more to add to this list. I'm also sure that you've noticed that a few items have already been marked off the list. I did that because they have always been on my bucket list...even before I knew to call it a bucket list. I also wanted to show that if effort and hard work (as well as a little good luck) is put into it, one can actually mark things off a bucket list...and not just in a last ditch effort to feel as if life hasn't passed you by.

We only get one ride on this roller coaster called goes by quick, so make it count. What's on your bucket list? Do you even have one? Make one and see how many items you can scratch off before you die.