A Bit of "Therapy"

The other day, during an unusually busy few days, I received a message from Weaselmomma.  She is the author of the blog World of Weasels.

The message was not just a regular sort of "hey check this out" sort of message, but one that said she had written something, and wanted to share with me (specifically).  Since most of my blog reading is done through a reader, I made mental note of the request, and moved on.

Not 30 minutes ago, I had a few quiet moments (Thanks to SpongeBob), and I sat down with the intent to read what she wanted me to read.

But, before I talk about that, let me reminisce...  For those of you who do not know, let me explain.  I am a 911 Dispatcher.  I take 911 calls, dispatch Police, Fire, and Ambulance.  It was less than a year ago that I had dealt with a couple of "tough" calls, and "vented" a bit.

Here (link)

And here (link)

Back to the World of Weasels.  I read her post.

NIGHTMARE (link)

I cried.  I cried real tears.

Folks - this is one you have to read.  If you have children, if you are in the "emergency services" field, or if you are a human being.  It's long.  Stay with it.

Weaselmomma left me a comment on my second post, but to be honest, I had no idea it was to the extent that it was.  Perhaps naive (or emotionless, or callused) on my part, but I had had not understood that the disposition of her situation was the same as what I was talking about.  I (naively) assumed that in her case, the outcome was different.

So often, I have to "remove" myself from the situation.  Yes, you just talked to someone who experienced the worst possible nightmare a person can imagine... But... The phone is ringing, and you do not have the luxury to ponder that fact.  The ringing phone may be another person's worst possible nightmare...

Weaselmomma's post gave me an opportunity to experience emotion.  The emotion that I am so thankful that I can turn off, and have such a difficult time turning back on. 

Thanks for turning my emotion (even if it's a nightmarishly sorrowful emotion) back on - even for a few minutes.  Thank you for reminding me that I am a human being, and reminding me that I still have some emotions deep down under all the calluses.

Maybe you wrote that post as your own "therapy", but you provided me some too.

Thoughts and prayers will be going to the Weasel family (the WHOLE Weasel family - to include Claire) tonight.

Twenty-one

Yup, it's true.  #1 of 5 recently celebrated his TWENTY-FIRST birthday... 

It was not that long ago that this 21 year old man, was nothing more than a little boy, climbing through the rear window, and pretending to drive of my truck.  (These pictures remind me just how old I am....)

IMG     IMG_0001   Ben21a  Ben21b

Since I was "on-duty" the next morning, I was not willing to / able to do the "traditional" 21st birthday thing. 

I'll have to take him out for his "first beer" (ahem... ahem.... cough... cough... Rolling my eyes) some time soon.

Geo-Caching!

cache Today was one of the first days this year where the weather was warm enough for a little Geo-caching!

Today was a "five out of six" day!

The Four Way Test
Tie a Yellow Ribbon
Lake Shore Micro
Lakefront Hilltop (my "did not find" or DNF)
Blowing Raspberries at Puzzle Caches
Lost Treasure of Deuce and a Quarter

I also picked up a Travel Bug!
The Spongebob Travel-Bug

What? You don't know about GeoCaching?

Head on over to GeoCaching.com to learn more!

Commendation

IMG_2948A while back, I made reference to a commendation I was supposed to receive, but was unable to attend the ceremony due to an activation of the SWAT team that I am attached to as a specialized incident dispatcher.  (Turkeys in the Perimeter) (LINK to newspaper article) (LINK to a similar, but unrelated article)

Well, last week at morning roll call, the officer and two dispatchers (one being me) that were scheduled to receive commendations (and could not due to that SWAT call) were awarded our medals of commendation.  In the absence of the City Council but in front of two shifts of officers instead, our Chief of Police was present to make a small speech, award us with our medals, and thank us for a job well done.  The Chief of Police was my supervisor on the Communications Team for many years prior to being promoted  up the ranks.  It felt good to have someone I worked so closely with for so many years to deliver this Commendation to me.  

IMG_2944 The ceremony itself was short and sweet, but still gave me a chance to feel a lot of pride for what I do, and for the department I work for - and will stay with me for a long time to come. 

I was slightly disappointed that my wife and kids were not there to see me receive my commendation.

Child #3 of 5 has been asking me every other day or so, "Did you get your medal yet dad?", and can not wait to get a glimpse of it

I gripe about hours, and schedules, and short-notice hold overs - but can not thank the Bloomington Police Department enough for providing me the opportunity to fulfill the roll I do.  Helping folks in their moments of crisis, or being there WITH them during life changing emotional highs and lows is an UNBELIEVABLE (and indescribable) thing.  

The real lesson I'd like to leave with my children here is not about what you get for doing a good job - no, the real lesson here is about the "bigger picture".  It is about the positive aspect of doing the right thing WITH your life, and doing something good FOR others even though sometimes doing the right and good things come with a cost (like odd schedules, lack of sleep, missed family opportunities, etc).

There is an odd ending to this story.  IMMEDIATELY following the ceremony, I was stripped of my medal.

No, it's not as bad as it sounds....  Maybe I should have worded it "asked to return the medal so it could be engraved" instead of  "stripped of my medal", but that would not make you do a "double-take" now would it?

"15 Albums"

A while ago I was "tagged" on facebook with the "15 albums" note. These facebook notes are the equivalent to a blogging meme. You know... Fill out your info, and then pass the baton to see how others would answer. I skip most of these, but I found this one pretty intriguing, and decided to take it on.

I tried to put them in chronological order, have attached album covers and links, and am confidant that I rambled on much more than the list creator had in mind. Honestly, I had a lot of fun doing this one!

As far as tagging others... Do it if you want, don't do it if you do not want to. I'm not taggin' anyone.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Think of 15 albums that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life or the way you looked at it. They sucked you in and took you over for days, weeks, months, years. These are the albums that you can use to identify time, places, people, emotions. These are the albums that no matter what they were thought of musically, they shaped YOUR world.

When you finish, tag 15 (or some number of) other facebook friends, including me. Make sure you copy and paste this part so they know the drill. (To do this, go to "Notes" under tabs on your Profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 15 albums, tag 15 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click Publish.)



CC1. A Christmas Carol with Lionel Barrymore

Not really a "musical" album, but one that fits the criteria anyway. I have waxed on poetic in a couple of other blog posts titled A Christmas Treasure, My Christmas Gift to you, and A Christmas Treasure part 2. There is not much more I can say about this album that I have not already droned on about.




Billy_Joel_-_Glass_Houses

2. Billy Joel - Glass Houses

Billy Joel's Glass Houses was the first "popular" album (LP) I owned. It was given to me as a gift by my parents at the ripe age of 11. I did not ask for it, and did not even know who Billy Joel was when I got it, but it did not take me long to get hooked. It ushered the age of music into my life. I remember playing that LP over and over, and I can still sing the lyrics to most of the songs on that LP.




200px-MetalHealthQuietRiot

3. Quiet Riot - Metal Health

Between the age of 11 and the age of 14, most of my music selections came from sitting a cassette recorder next to the radio, and when a song came on that I wanted, I pushed "record". The audio was not that great. Along came a song, that I could not live with such a low quality recording. I had to have the "pure" version. Cum on Feel the Noize was the song. Quiet Riot's Metal Health was the first album (or in this case Cassette) that I purchased with my own money. I played that cassette until it wore out. Quiet Riot was the first rock concert I ever attended (different album tour though). Now, over 25 years later, my boys LOVE listening to Quiet Riot. Go figure. Kevin DuBrow, may you rest in peace.



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4. Mötley Crüe - Shout at the Devil

Although I enjoyed a wide variety of music both before (and after) Quiet Riot's Metal Health, but it was my purchase of Mötley Crüe's Shout at the Devil cemented my interest into the world of Heavy Metal for YEARS to come. This too was another cassette that was played and played and played...




200px-Theatre_of_Pain

5. Mötley Crüe- Theater of Pain

Mötley Crüe's Theater of Pain is not one of my favorite albums. It was an album being released by my favorite band (at that time), and therefore it was the first album that I "HAD TO" go out and buy on the "drop date" (the day it was made available in stores). I still remember getting my parents to take me to Target, walking down the isle (convinced that they may be out of stock)... They were not, and I went home a happy boy that day.




200px-Revolver

6. The Beatles - Revolver

The purchase of The Beatles Revolver ushered in the era of the CD for me. It was the first CD I purchased, and I still own. It was also my first departure from the "Heavy Metal" genre I had been so smitten with for years. Revolver started a short term love affair I had with the Beatles. I would not call them my favorite band, but I certainly do not dislike them.




200px-The_White_Album_svg

7. The Beatles - White

Another "not my favorite" album, but memorable in that The Beatles White Album was the last "album" I bought as a vinyl LP. The White Album ended the age of analog music for me.





200px-DK_Plastic_Surgery_Disasters

8. Dead Kennedys - Plastic Surgery Disasters / In God We Trust, Inc (double album on a CD)

The "hair metal bands" of the 80's - were also known as "glam bands" (Glam, as in glamorous), as in having an "over the top" image... Well, somewhere along the line, I got my hands on a old mix-tape of punk rock (I think from my cousin Gen) that included a few selections from The Dead Kennedys. This music was loud, it was unrefined, it was PUNK, and I LOVED it. It was music with a message, and the message was NOT the debauchery of the glam bands. Music started being more that just about the music when I started listening to the Dead Kennedys - It was about something more.



kissme

9. The Cure - Kiss me, Kiss me, Kiss me

Wow... This album was a step into another world of music for me, moving beyond the 80's heavy "hair" metal (although Robert Smith is known for his unique hair as well) and the similar punk rock . Two of my high school friends were talking about going to see The Cure in concert. I had never heard of the band before - so I became curious. I looked closely at all the album choices, and decided to buy their newest release (Kiss me, Kiss me, Kiss me).

I became OBSESSED with The Cure. The music, the style, Robert's droning voice, some songs very slow quiet and melodic, others more upbeat. I could list almost all of The Cure albums and/or individual songs as bringing back specific memories or feelings for me (They are almost too numerous to mention). Since the spring of 1987, The Cure continues to be one of my all time favorite bands... I still listen to them today, and #3 of 5 also enjoys The Cure.



200px-FleetwoodMacRumours10. Fleetwood Mac - Rumors

Fleetwood Mac's Rumors was playing in the background (as ambient music) during a significantly emotional event in my life. It was the end of one era, and the beginning of another for me. It's one of those benchmarks moments that I can draw a line as one of the dividing point in my life - "pre" and "post" if you will. This memory is neither "good" nor "bad"... but it is very emotional.

I am happy with the decisions that were made that evening. I do not have any regrets with the "pre-Rumors" portion of my life, and could not be happier with the outcome of the "post-Rumors" portion of my life (and the meaningful friendship(s) that have resulted).

I do not listen to it often, but listening to "Rumors" puts me in an PRECISE time and place of my life...



BostonBoston11. Boston - Boston

Boston's debut album Boston is another list item that I categorize as "not among my favorite albums, or my favorite bands" - yet, I can not hear the songs of Boston without thinking back to the THOUSANDS of hours Ed and I have spent hanging out together. Driving around in our cars, on road trips up to his cabin, hanging around in the garage, hanging around the house, hanging around working on our trucks, etc, etc, etc. Just hearing the unique sounds of Boston INSTANTLY reminds me of Ed!




41Z3Q1NHC6L._SS500_12. Fiddler on the Roof Soundtrack

Growing up, my Pépère (grandpa) was a huge fan of Fiddler on the Roof. He had the LP version of this musical, and would listen to it often. I would regularly find their console stereo open, and the cord to the headphones (remember, the big old headphones with the curly wire... the ones that looked like airline pilot's headsets) stretched out to "his chair". I remember listening to it with him, and sometimes alone through the headphones (just to get to play with them). It was not until many years later that I bought that CD. I listen to it often. Tevye and I have a lot in common (and I think that is why my Pépère listened to it also...)



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13. Hatebreed - Perseverance

I have talked before about my use of the music and lyrics of Hatebreed to get me through some stressful times. (LINK)

As odd as it sounds, given the right set of circumstances this "Hardcore Metal" band with all it's high speed riffs, ultra strong lyrics, and guttural vocals can be cathartic to me.




200px-The_Sounds_of_India14. Ravi Shankar - The Sounds of India

For years, I have loved the sound of the Sitar. I was introduced to the Sitar through my previously mentioned affair with The Beatles. I remember going through the racks of "Great American Music" looking for CD's of instrumental sitar music.

(Who remembers music stores? A mega-store dedicated to music! It was the Home Depot of LP's, Cassettes, and CD's, posters, and other rock-n-roll paraphernalia. Best of luck trying to find one nowadays.)

When I am feeling particularly stressed, I can pop in a Ravi Shankar CD, burn a little incense, and it will help calm me down. I have also enjoyed a couple of live instrumental Sitar / Tabla performances through the IMSOM. (LINK). I look forward to future opportunities.



The_Bloodhound_Gang_Hooray_for_Boobies15. The Bloodhound Gang - Hooray for Boobies

Juvenile? Yes. Sophomoric? Yes. Inappropriate and twisted? Yes and Yes. But, it made me laugh. It made me smile, and it made me run out and buy the rest of their collection! They have a undeniable beat that I just cannot get out of my head.

How many 40 year old men listen to The Bloodhound Gang? I don't know to be honest. Maybe it's a mini-mid-life-crisis or some such nonsense. I came to know The Bloodhound Gang a little late in the game (having just discovered them not too long ago).

Some days I wish I could drop out of the world of responsibility, parenting, home ownership, and maintaining a family - and be a little more juvenile, sophomoric, inappropriate and twisted... I live out that little piece of me that is amused by such fodder through The Bloodhound Gang, then return to the reality of responsibility, parenting, home ownership, and maintaining a family.



There ya have it!

15 albums that had such a profound effect on me that they changed my life or the way I looked at it. They sucked me in and took me over for days, weeks, months, or years. These are the albums that I can use to identify times, places, people, and emotions. These are the albums that no matter what they were thought of musically, they shaped my world.

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