Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas, 2005

Was more of a success than I thought possible. I decided, after much guilt and flip-flopping, to go to my grandpa's for Christmas eve. I did not know, however, how sneaky sneaky my grandpa could be. He had invited EVERYONE for Christmas eve, and that included my mother.

Luckily for all of us, she did not bring her boytoy. I decided awhile ago, if he made eye contact with me, I would punch him. No exceptions. So far we have crossed paths twice, and he has kept his face to the dirt. Good boy. I don't want to make it sound like I am some badass: the guy is easily twice my size, and was once a boxer. There is at least a good chance he could floor me. But something about his eyes makes me really want him hurt, and I am a do-it-yourself kind of guy.

Anyway, I got to see everyone, and had a good conversation with my estranged sister. She is loopy (that's probably the lithium-no I am not joking) but at least she isn't trying to kill me. Again.

###I feel this needs it's own explanation###
Once, while we still lived under the same roof, I awoke to find her poised over my bed with a knife. She now claims she was only trying to scare me, but she was in motion when I got out of the way and tackled her. I don't think she was just playing around. Even now, I sleep VERY light. Noises in the house next door can wake me.

WE decided not to stay over, and went to Carly's grandparents. They had rented us a room, so we went swimming and hot tubbing. It was very nice. Except her brother is STILL a snorer(he had an operation he claims was a success), and I woke up a good 30 times (see above). The next day we went to their house for dinner and presents. The family is pretty cool, and laid back, so it's a nice change of pace. Even Corey managed to be civil, and not talk about chiropracty (or, voodoo, as I like to call it) and annoy everyone. He DID buy Mike a Recipes by God book, but that was just good for a laugh. The guy just doesn't get it, so he's sort of moved on from gnat to comic relief. If he is smart, he knows it. Otherwise, he's just dense.

All in all, it was a fine time. My mother, as I was leaving, decided that just isolating herself in the kitchen whilst everyone was in the living room was not getting enough attention, so she decided to cry. A lot. That got her the attention she needed. I had really hoped she would at least make an effort this time. Maybe next time.

I also learned a little dynamic I was, sad to say, not shocked about. See, my other sister spent a couple years not talking to my mother. She had good reason: my mother knew her second husband was molesting her, and did nothing for about a year and a half. This, of course, is one of the reasons I don't talk to my mother. But now, for no reason, other than money, I think, she has moved BACK in with my mother. That is strange enough, but I am not done. My mother is engaged to my sister's fiance. She has been for some time, which is another reason they were not talking. But he STILL lives there. Here's the part that takes this off Springer and puts it square in I-cannot-believe-I-am-related-to-these-people-town: She is fucking him, too. And the guy, before you all ask, has NOTHING going for him. He is oafish, terrible ugly, smells of raw sweat and whatever smell stupidity carries, has an IQ around his age (which is 20 years the junior of my mother), and isn't even funny. Beyond that, he is abusive. So what, in the name of CHRIST, is going on? And they all know, which is perhaps the worst part. My mother has lost all self respect, my sister never had any, and this guy keeps getting in the middle.

That's about all the dirty laundry I can air at this time. If you keep reading, you will start piecing together what is behind the scenes. As I have said before, I don't really hide this stuff anymore. I feel so detached from them most of the time, it is as if I am reading about them, or watching them on stage. Most of the time.


Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Well. So for 22 years, I watched as the other people in my family fought. I never took sides, and I kept my head down (if not my mouth closed). I watched my sister shun my mother, then my other sister slowly break away. I watched my aunts and uncles secretly gossip and plan behind each other's backs. I watched my mother steal a fiance from my sister. I watched that sister go from goth to wiccan to pagan to born again to dominatrix.

Through all that, I really did try. I successfully helped my sister get on her feet. I reached out to my other sister. I reached out to my mother. I tried to get her to wake up, to become someone I thought I remembered. I watched my favorite uncle slowly go insane. I tried to pull him out, and tried at last to visit him when no one else would.

And at each turn, I cut a cord. A string holding me like a marionette to my family's disfunction. I got out to college, and graduated. I met people with normal families, and I never lied about my past, to anyone. Finally, the day came when I was cut free.

And here I am. Right now, and I know how this sounds, I care more for the people I have surrounded myself with than I do my blood family. I care more for Mike, and Josh, and Sean, and Carly and Heather (who happens to be my sister) than I do for Lisa, or Warren, or my mother.

And most of the time I try not to think about it. Or rather, most the time I do not think about it, and when it comes up, I try not to think about it, if that makes sense. It is something can easily becomes a non issue.

Until the holidays. I have hinted at the past I had. It was never easy. But during the holidays, when they were good, they were VERY good. We had love and fun and family. And I was unaware of the way my family operated. Or rather, I chose to be unaware of the way my family operated. It seems they choose one person to be mad at, for one reason or another. Some of them reach out, and offer everything from salvation to advice, and others shun and gossip and openly yell at that person. And that person slowly falls away.

And now, that person is me. Because I refuse to talk to my mother, I am now the target. Nevermind her fiance (the one who was engaged to my other sister) stole money from me and my company, and she covered it up for him. Nevermind that she charged me rent when I got my first job. Nevermind she used to pawn our shit for drugs, and then use rent and utility money to buy drugs, and we sat in the dark and the cold. Nevermind I spent over two years without electricity. Or that I watched her steal things from stores, and put men above everything in her life. I am the bad guy for choosing to be the child, and wait for the parent to reach out, for once. She has my number, and she has not once called or even inquired after me since I made this choice.

And all that, glossed over as it is, hurts. But what hurts worse is when it was HER the family decided was bad, I was the one defending her. Trying to explain to people what I saw in her as a mother and a person, and the potential she had. Eternally optimistic in my assessments that one day she would turn it all around. Promising everyone that was the case. Bristling at backhanded compliments of how far I made it...Considering. That is so far beyond hurt, it is almost a comedy. I write this and I want to cry, cry out, and laugh all at once.

And all this wells up in the way of explanation, that will never be seen, to my grandfather and my Uncles, who I really wish I could see this Christmas. But I know my aunt will be there, telling me how wrong I am, and pretending she is Christian while she does it. And my uncle will be there, pretending to be my friend, and out the other side of his mouth doing the same for my mother. And my sister, recently reconciled for lack of a place to live, will be there, forced to defend her or be turned out. And my mother's fiance, staring behind his stupid, lifeless eyes when he thinks I can't see him, never meeting my eyes, so I can't get myself mad enough to break etiquette, and his nose. And HER. Always on the verge of tears, as if she is the martyr, and I am the executioner, and she JUST CANNOT figure out what she did wrong.

So, I am Sorry Grandpa. I am Sorry, Warren. I won't be able to be at Christmas this year. I don't have the strength, or resolve, or desire, or care, anymore.


Sunday, December 18, 2005


of you give a good God damn, but I had to write all this down, because nights like this are few and far between. I just had probably the best basketball night of my life. Yup, at the rec center, no less.

I started out warming up shooting the lights out. I ama hit or miss three shooter, and I was definitely hitting tonight. At one point people just started shagging balls for me to see how many (13) I could hit in a row. It really was that kind of night.

So we sqaured off and played four games to 15. That's ones and twos, so it is a lot like playing a full four quarter basketball game. I didn't want to play much inside, so I decided to take the point. We won three of the four games, let me start by telling you, and I was AWESOME. I have not played in over a year, organized, I don't think, so it was great to just be out there. But I had 16 points, 8 assists. Yeah. In a rec game, that has to be a 20-10 night. In fact, by ones and twos, it is more like a 30-12 night. I also grabbed four boards and two steals. I only turned the ball over twice. Both were my fault.

The thing of it is, it wasn't just the stats. And yes, I do keep stats on myself. I couldn't tell you my shooting %, but everything else was great. (I think I shot well, too, but in a pickup game, A LOT of shots go up). But it wasn;t just the stats. My legs felt good, I was jumping well with my shot, and I was SEEING people. That has always been a problem for me, and I thought it would only get worse without play. But I was recognizing passing lanes, watching them form before they were there. I was playing with people who had just whipped me two-three years ago, and they knew who I was, and I still took it to them.

Really, this is all just bragging, but it was such a high for me, I just had to let it out. Thanks for reading.


Thursday, December 15, 2005


Days since I last posted, I am sure plenty of things have swam through my head. Here are a few of those things, in no particular order. Feel free to comment on any or all of them:

I have an awesome heart. I mean that literally. I recently had an EKG done, and my resting heart rate is 48bpm. That's just two off Lance Armstrong's pace. My heart is so damned strong, in fact, that it once was hanging out at a bar when these three guys started accosting a nice young lady. My heart picked two of them up by the collar and threw them at the third, all while telling the young lady it would be alright, and getting her phone number. My heart found a cure for cancer, and started the Paul Bunyan rumor. My heart could beat up Chuck Norris. There, I said it.

But really, it was such a good reading that the doctor had to call in a specialist, because she had never seen an EKG so far spaced out. One good healthy heart, that. But it meant something else was wrong with me. That something is asthema. Dear god I wish I was kidding. Asthema is for fat kids. But it turns out I have acute exercised induced asthema. That just means I will get winded sometimes for no reason (that I know of) while others I will be just fine. It also means that the few times in my life I have "overdone it" (which apparently doesn't include biking 100 miles) some muscles around my throat will constrict and I will need an inhaler. It explains some things from my past that were scary, but still totally sucks.

It occurs to me that at least three of the Timberwolves Loses are due to bad coaching, so far. I am not sure how many of these loses we can gift the guy: he IS new to head coaching, but has been an assistant for over 20 years. BUt when your team does not score for 8 minutes, and still only loses in overtime, you as a coach did not put them in a position to win. Five loses by five or fewer points so far, all when the "no shot" package was in for extended minutes. If you bench your top THREE scorers, who is supposed to shoot? A rookie? A person who has been on more teams than he has years in the league? I just don't get it. We are still on top of the division, but we should be on top of the league, the way our guys have stepped it up. I am not hanging all our loses on him, just most of them.


While doing the dishes, I think I figured out why the second team isn't doing so well. This, at least, is better than pointing fingers wihtout explanation, so here goes: The Timberwolves run (most of the time) a motion offense. The ball carrier comes down while the right wing cross screens for the left, who usually goes baseline back out to the right. Then the big man screens off the double team, and either leaves the power forward or the SG who crossed open. IOn our case, that means MArco brings it up while trenton cross screens for Wally. Then Michael creens off KG. This means KG is isolated on the outside of the box (not where we want him, but where he is most comfortable) and Wally has been open for a long jumper. That works because KG will usually draw the d, and can then outlet to a wide open anyone. If he doesn't draw the defense, he is one on one with a (usually) slower big, and can get to the rack. Meanwhile, Wally has been on fiure as the second option, fi the post-entry pass cannot be made.
Now, when the second team comes in, the key three for that offense are out (Marco, Wally and Kevin) And sometimes even Kandi is out, as well. Without troy hudson in the line-up, that usually means Carter, McCants, Eddie, Madsen and trenton or anyone else on the floor (sometimes Casey leaves Marco in as the two). Now, Madsen cannot screen off as fast or as well as Kandi. He just can't. Meanwhile, McCants, who is playing Wally's spot, has yet to figure out NBA spacing, so he usually ends up far in the corner with no lane. He will learn that, he is a rookie, but for now he doesn't have it. EG cannot post up, and his jumper is flat, so he is at best a poor substitute for scoring over where KG stands. That means the play falls to shit. WE either end up with a bad drive from McCants or a flat shot from Eddie.
Truly, this isn't all their fault, though. Without a scoring option on the floor, it is hard enough. But running through an offense that doesn't allow for mistakes is murder for a second unit. They don't have anyone who can create (yet) so when the play breaksdown, and the second wave of screens ends up out of place, where are they? A bunch of half assed one on one players. You cannot win in the NBA that way. Coach Casey isn't really giving them the opportunity to succeed in that offense.
Well, MR. Snarty Pants, you are probably saying, do YOU have a better idea? You bet your sweet ass I do. I wish I could say "triangle" but that would require a shooter. No, the answer is the wheel offense. They have used it a bit before, albeit not this year (that I can recollect) so most the second squad already knows it. The screens don't have to be precise, and the defense, if not in zone (and I think most teams have lost the zone) won't be able to keep up. There is no cross screening, so no one has to be terribly fast. And someone ALWAYS ends up near the rim for a shot. Moreover, the D is spread, so the chance of EG or Madsen getting a second chance increases. It limits the liabilities on the court. Although, admittedly, that means it limits the rewards. You won't see a good long ball from this group anyway, but the screens are generally mroe inside, so no one would get a nice top screen for a three. The driving lanes are also usually crapmed, so that's out, too. But it does mean some scoring output, and someone to leak back when you miss. Limited liability. That's the best you can hope for when you second unit doesn't have ANY scoring threat.

We all know I don't talk with my mother. Most of us know why, too. But that sort of makes the holidays a sticky situation. My uncle Osi called to ask me, persoanlly, to go to christmas at my grandfather's house. First, that's wierd, because it used to be my grandmother's house, and she used to host these things. With her gone, it just seems sort of wrong. Then you add in that my Mother will be htere, and will make a big scene, again, without figuring out, or trying to make right, what is wrong, and ending with me getting blamed for her crying (instead of acting like a mother, I might add), and it just seems too awkward for me to be there. But when my uncle point blank requests it, what am I saying to him by not going? Jesus. Why can't family be easy.

How about those Vikings? We get our real test against some good defenses coming up. Three games against top ten ranked Ds. We will see what Brad Johnson is really made of, won't we. Beyond that, now that the Bears have lost, the first in eight games, I think we will be on top of the division by playoffs. That's a bit optomistic, but that BEar's offense has been exposed, and teams have been coming close to picking them apart. It finally happened last week, and the NFL has tape. Figure that one out. The last game of the season could very well set the stage.

It's official, I hate winter. We are planning on moving after the wedding. My hope is we can decide on someplace warm. Snow is rediculous. It has no real purpose, and it ISN'T cute. Anyone who has a romantic idea of snow hasn't had to shovel it all damned day in the below zero tundra, only to have more of the shit fall and someone complain that the walk was slippery.


Friday, December 09, 2005


what I thought was a pretty good point about Christmas. We were discussing Toys for Tots, and she just blurted out "I hate those guys" SCROOGE! My head started yelling, but I heard her out (she signs my checks). Here is, albeit truncated, her idea:

The idea that children arerequired to have gifts on a holiday that should focus on Christ, and not on gift giving, turns her stomach. The idea that the parents cannot stop overspending or indulging long enough to save a few bucks to get those kids something is even worse, if they feel the need. And the idea that we must compensate for said poor parenting is deplorable.

I really would agree with that. Everyone who has heard me rant know I hate diligent parents, and I hate even more those parents getting a free ride. I hate that we are made to feel responsible, and we like to blame society, or drugs, or radio, movies, video games, and anything else we can find for bad parenting.

All that being said, I cannot be so cold. I know first hand what it is like to have lousy parents. I lived over two years without electricity because my mother would rather buy drugs then pay bills. I went without a lot of things people take for granted. Clean clothes, hot meals, and opportunity mean a lot to a child's development. But NOTHING is worse to those children then the feeling of being so terribly different. Already we didn't wear the right things, say the right things, do the right things. We had so many chinks in our armor it was impossible to defend. The last thing we needed was Christmas to not exist for us.

It is too much to ask a child to understand these things and accept them. It is too much to ask them to take the holiday for its real meaning when everyone and everything around them tells them that is not reality. It is too much to ask them to take one more thing on the chin because their parents are worthless.

So we give to these charities, every Christmas, Carly and I. Were it not for them I would not have known Christmas for most of the years I can remember. If I can make sure that never happens for some other children, it's really the least I can do. I urge everyone I know to do the same, when they can. TO not feel this way would be to deny my past, instead of fix it.


Monday, December 05, 2005


asking this for a long time:


Still think the war is unjustified?



with a new friend about relationships and such, and it really got me thinking for the rest of the day, and well into the evening, about my own past. I really ought not go into the full details here, as some people who read this blog from time to time would, no doubt, be portrayed in a way they would not be comfortable. And I would not be comfortable making the portrayal any different.

But that is not what finds me writing this morning. No, instead it is almost a whim that came to me in the midst of all this. And it is this I cannot remember the kiss of anyone but Carly

Now, before you all think this is some sentimental drivvel, I need to clarify. There are, I think, two ways to remember something. Your brain can tell you how it was: this went like this, and so on and so forth. That sort of memory is wholly reference, and unfulfilling. But your body can remember, too. This is the sort of sensory remembrance that is full. It is the sort that gives you a shiver, when you think of something that put you out, or warms you, or makes you cry.

It is this memory I am lacking. I tried. I can give you the details of my very first kiss: cliched and awkward, duration, location. But I no longer remember what it felt like. How did she smell? How did she taste?

One of my friends had the fortune to be in one of the Mighty Ducks movies. During the time when kissing was requisite at parties, we kissed a lot. I remember knowing that I was special because I got to kiss her, when everyone else wanted to. I can remember the SHIRT I was wearing the first time I kissed her. I could tell you, to a person, who was there and what they were doing. I know she was one of those multiple short small kisses sort of kisser, and it drove me insane. But I cannot remember with any clarity what the kiss was like.

Carly, when she is very passionate, will bite my lower lip. In the winter, that means she can actually, if just the smallest bit, draw blood. That taste stays with me as a defining characteristic of the way we kiss, and I love it. I know other people and other kisses must have had these traits attached to them, and now they are gone.

I wonder if that is a compliment to where I am at now, or a insult to the places I have been.


Friday, December 02, 2005

On November 17th

I wrote about a mouse in our house. We thought we had gotten rid of it, but we had only wounded it, physically and emotionally. It wanted back in our house at all costs.

So I went out and bought mouse poison, and a big ole' run through trap that catches them live. It has a window, too, so I could finally see my quarry. Guess what, not a mouse at all.

Nope. It was a mole. Not the cool CIA one, either. Just a stupid, blind as shit, wanting to dig a tunnel somewhere in my house while looking for food, mole.

So we caught it, and released it about 10 miles away on a nature trail.


We bought an X mas tree yesterday. That sort of starts the season for me. Today I think I am going ot go out and get another gift for Carly and some wrapping paper, in case the good gift finally arrives in the mail. I just want a lot of presents under the tree.