When I Write (If I Write)
January 2020 M T W T F S S « Sep 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
The Last Few Things That Were On My Mind
What Others Think
- Rita Baker on A Message to All Teens
- brothertom on A Message to All Teens
- Rita Baker on A Message to All Teens
- Joyce on A Message to All Teens
- brothertom on My KIND of Chicago(Fest)
- IBMJunkman on My KIND of Chicago(Fest)
- Bill E on My KIND of Chicago(Fest)
- Neera on Tom 365 – June 29, 2016
- weird weekends on Tom 365 – June 15, 2016
- cars4usa on Tom 365 – June 7, 2016
What Others are Reading (Top 10)
You Like Me, You Really Like Me!
- 95,646 people really like me
What I Write About
Category Archives: Hairy Post
Early this morning, before any snow started to fall, we made sure to feed our fuzzy friends from the trees.
We have a white squirrel in our back yard. I had originally spotted him a couple weeks ago in a tree in our front yard, but I never had the camera or cell phone ready to take a picture.
We have four other squirrels in our back yard, two brown and two grey, and we keep them well fed because they seem to keep the rabbits away.
Our other squirrel have gotten to know us very well, and at times they will actually look in the windows if we have forgotten to put something out for them.
But then while sitting and having coffee, we suddenly see the White Squirrel. This is the first time he has ventured into our back yard. The other squirrels seem intimidated by him.
Ok. I have decided to put it to a vote. The question is quite simple. All other things being equal, which is it?
Or not to Beard:
I leave the choice to the readers.
I will however retain veto power over the results.
You can feel it in the air. It is just around the corner. That time of year when the winter is officially over and the summer can begin. There are a few sure signs that shorts weather is upon us to stay, and that the heavy sweaters and coats finally can be put away. I will refer to them simply as the three B’s. Botany, Baseball, and Beards.
We had an exceptionally warm day last Sunday, and I spent much of my time outside on the side of the house that gets the most sun. Just outside the front room windows, between the gas meter and the air conditioning unit we have one of our three gardens. This one is dedicated to the sun. Or should I say the sun flowers. While Maureen was at work and then a bridal shower, I cleared out all the dead stalks from last year, weeded around the few daisies that survived the winter and the rabbits, put down some new top soil that I got at the Home Depot, planted some seeds harvested from last years crop, and enclosed the area to protect it from those same damn rabbits. Gardening Season had officially begun. Followed very quickly by painful, I can’t get my butt up off the ground season.
A couple of weeks earlier, there was another change in the seasons, that overlap almost as long as Spring and Winter do here in Chicago. The hockey and basketball seasons are now coming to a close, as the city prepares for the start of the baseball season. It officially started a couple of weeks ago, first with the Cubs Home Opener, and then the White Sox a week later. As with the Spring weather, baseball always seems to get off to a rough start in the Windy City. The Sox look to have the bats ready to go, and the starting five are off to a good start. Let’s just see if the bullpen can do a little better than six blown saves in twelve games.
Of course, with the start of the baseball season, we also bring to a close one of my more favorite cold weather past times. Over the past few years, it has become somewhat of a tradition in our household that with the Sox Home Opener, we officially bring an end to the beard season. A sad occasion that my lovely new wife derives much joy. Beard season this year was actually a little shorter than in the past few years. I had agreed to be clean-shaven for our big day on November 26th, but I think Maureen caught on a bit quickly that our week in Ireland was not only our honeymoon, but also a second chance for a winter growing season. Sure there were threats of shaving me while I slept, but I think she secretly like the fuzzy guy a bit more that she is willing to admit. Besides, if I didn’t grow it over the winter, all she would have to look forward to each spring is just baseball.
So here it is everyone. The beginning of clean-shaven season. Although we are sure to be hit with one last cold snap that will chill my face right down to the dimple and cleft chin, I promise to keep it clean. For a while. Although at some point I will get tired of looking at that face and bring back the goatee. Maureen has said she does not mind that look, and that is probably the look I will keep most of the summer, or at least until the season start to change again. And if we are lucky and the Baseball Gods are good to the Sox, come October it will be time for playoff beards!
Although Maureen and I may disagree about the best look for my face, there is one look with which we both agree. No matter how the season or the hair on my face may change, never in my lifetime will it ever be Frito Bandito Season.
Part Four of Our Treacherous Ireland Holiday.
Just East of Giant’s Causeway as you follow along the Causeway Coast Way, there is a small yet towering plot of rocky land called Carrick Island. Between the island and the main land, among the jagged rocks some thirty meters below the cliff’s edge, exist a westward migration route for the Atlantic salmon. These rich waters have been a local fishing ground for more than 350 years, and it was way back then that the first rope bridge was strung, allowing the fishermen to cross over to the island where the best fishing spots were located.
The walk from the parking lot out to the rope bridge was about a kilometer long and followed along the edge of Larrybane Bay. It was not a gentle stroll, and included descending two sets of steep stairs down to the island that jutted out into the water. The weather was sunny but brisk, and there was just enough of a breeze to give me some concern about the adventure we were about to undertake. Although I felt great considering the walk we had taken earlier in the day out at the Causeway, my legs were just a little bit wobbly as we approached the shack and the man in the red coat who would instruct us on the best way across the ravine. As we walked through the doorway, we found ourselves at the top of ladder like set of metal stairs that led down to our goal. The Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge was right in front of us.
Ok, so yes, it is a rope bridge, but a quick look around also showed it was a far cry from the rope bridge that those fishermen crossed three hundred years ago. It is supported by steel cables and iron chains, but that does not mean that the bridge is what you would call stable. It definitely sways in the breeze…and trust me, there was a breeze that day. Even before I set foot on the bridge, my heart was racing already as my adrenaline level raised almost to that of a panic. Maureen and I never talked about it, but I assumed I would cross first, and she would cross behind me. I grabbed a hold of the ropes on either side of the wooden planks, and started to shuffle out above the water. I was maybe about a third of the way out onto the bridge when I suddenly heard a barrage of profanity that would have made Ralphie’s dad blush, and instantly knew it was my new bride. There was really no way to turn around while on the bridge, so I shuffled my way backwards back to where I started.
I gave Maureen a big hug, and told her she didn’t have to cross with me. I knew that bridges, even the more solid type that you cross over in a car made her nervous, so I was pretty sure this was quite terrifying to her. She refused to listen and told me that she didn’t come all this way just to chicken out, so we set out to make the cross again. The man in the red coat shouted out encouragement from the top of the steps as we started over the bridge again. As I got going, once again I heard the cries of a trucker in a strip club, but a quick look over my shoulder showed me Maureen was determined to make it across. I called back to her as we went, trying to cheer her on as we got farther and farther away from the other side. And then, just as suddenly as the whole adventure started, we were there. We had made it across to the island on the other side.
Of course once the excitement of making the cross has settled down, and our hearts were just beginning to return to some sort of normal pace, there was the sudden realization that the only way back was the same way we just come. So after a few minutes of looking around on the island, we took yet another profanity laden cross of the Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge back to the other side, and then back to Bushmills were we had a late lunch at The Old Bushmills Distillery. We would have to save Dunluce Castle for another trip, because it was getting late in the afternoon and we had a long drive ahead to get all the way across the country to Westport. We left Northern Ireland with full bellies and a sense of accomplishment.
We conquered the rope bridge!
Much to the delight of my girlfriend, I have decided to grow my beard back. I of course tried to tie it all back into the coming of Fall and the natural instinct to get ready for winter adding warmth for survival. The truth of the fact is that I don’t shave because I’m lazy. Most of the time it is just too much work to lift the razor from the side of the sink, lather my face (usually with the liquid hand soap because I ran out of the generic shaving gel and I keep meaning to pick more up but didn’t) and then run that sharp edge across my cheeks, neck and jaw. You will notice that I left the word chin out. That is because on most occasion I do retain a tight short mustache and goatee. Although I did spend most of my life without facial hair, mostly because at a younger age I was unable to grow facial hair, at this point in my life I almost feel naked if it is not there.
My very first attempt to grow a mustache was way back in the summer before my Freshman year of high school. It wasn’t so much an attempt, but the first time that anything grew and I just let it go. I of course thought it was so cool, those little strands of dark hair against my nicely tanned skin after a whole summer of sun. Not yet five foot tall and all of 85 pounds soaking wet, I was strutting my stuff that summer of 1979, with my cut off shorts and “Hangin’ It” iron-on t-shirt, more than likely bought at Rumple-Shirt-Skins, our local custom made t-shirt shop. Overgrown mop of dark hair on top flowing freely with no idea about the silver and grey that would replace it in the years to come. I was cooler than Fonzie during that demolition derby when he had to leap into the fray to help Pinky Tuscadero. Leave it to my mother to snap me back to reality.
Tom, you need to start shaving. You look like a ….”
Let’s just say the name she called me was a less than flattering term used to describe someone of Mexican decent, and it rhymes with a nickname for Richard. I don’t want to give an unfair impression of my mother, because even back then she was not one to use such language or to enhance stereo types in such a manner. Long before it was considered improper to use such terms, she didn’t. Which made the point even poignant. She was right. I did look like a ….
So thus began my long love/hate relationship with the various forms of all razors. Whether I needed it or not, once or twice a week I started dragging that disposable blade across my upper lip, usually preceded by applying too much Barbasol rich and thick shaving cream, and leaving a trail in the sink of tiny hairs and blood. And of course all that extra Barbasol. A few years later, I received an electric razor for Christmas, I don’t recall the name of it, but I do remember the commercial featuring a claymation Santa riding in the head of the razor like a sled. Shortly after that, I discovered that yes indeed, you can still cut yourself with an electric razor, and the burn it left behind was somewhat reminiscent of the time I allowed my cousin David to scrap sandpaper across face. But that is a story for another time.
It really wasn’t until very recently, within the last 10 years, that I started allowing myself to grow out my facial hair. Of course like most men, I would refrain from shaving on weekends and during vacations, but Monday morning when it was time to get off to work, out came the razor and soap. Not being a particularly hairy guy, I do not grow a full beard overnight. It usually takes two to three weeks to fill in, although I don’t mind the look of a one week scruff. So it wasn’t until I happened to take a full two week vacation that I actually grew out the full beard. And I liked it. For a while I was like a kid with a new toy. Musical facial hair so to speak. Full beard, goatee, thick chops, thin chops, even that thin little line that just follows line of the jaw. It was like playing with a life size Wooly Willy stuck to my face. I was not quite as drastic as Nick Swisher before he was with the Yankees, but I did try a variety of looks. I also tried just the mustache once, but I looked too much like my father had when he had his mustache in the 70’s, so I shaved it off before I even left the bathroom. I finally settled on just two looks, full beard and the goatee/mustache combo. Every once in a while when I really goof things up trimming, I have to wipe the slate clean and I go a few days naked. But usually within a week I am back to not shaving. I guess I’m just one of those guys that needs to have facial hair.
Or I’m just lazy.