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Social Media Is About Friends January 25, 2014

Remembering Gordo

My Uncle Gordon “Gordo” passed away on Monday. Our family knew he was not doing well, but the undeniable event landed right in our lap Monday around 3 p.m. When my Cousin asked me “what do we do? We have 30 people coming into town and I have to handle the funeral arrangements. Can you get the food together? I said yes, and without a thought I messaged my friend Russ . Inside info on Russ, he’s an awesome guy, his wife Kate are completely adorable.

All I did was message Russ that I needed his help, I needed this to be a seamless, low key, no problem type of deal, Russ delivered in a huge way, for that my family that we will be forever grateful.

The ceremony was truly beautiful, but the execution at Thr3e Wish Men was as good as it gets. Everyone had what they wanted, food was awesome, drinks were full, it felt like there was nothing else that could have possibly been done.  http://www.thr3ewisemen.com

Thanks Russ, you came through for us when we really needed it!   gordo3

mjk

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I Hear A Pounding In My Head September 16, 2013

Then I hear silence.

The silence I’m grateful for, it seems peaceful in this cluttered mind of mine.

What I am grateful for today:

I have my husband, my son, and my stepdaughter. They have believed in me beyond measure, for that I am truly grateful.

I have work at a place where I believe people truly care about me. For that I am immensely grateful.

I have friends, some I’ve known for 30 years, some I’ve only met via the internet. For those friends I’m truly grateful.

The loss, I haven’t overcome it, and I don’t know if I ever will.

I will do the best I can for everyone I can (including myself) – please, if you feel like I’m not giving you my best tell me. I promise I will make it right.

 

It’s Wicked August 22, 2013

Tonight I was chatting with my best friend Brandy that is celebrating her 18th wedding anniversary this year to her husband Lonnie. I introduced them by the way… I should get some kind of best friend credit for that.

Anyway, while we were chatting she mentioned that “Wicked” was coming to town and tickets will go on sale in September.

August and September are sketchy months for me because of my Dad. I’m over the top emotional, I take everything personally. I smile, and hide my emotions. Honestly, I just do the best I can, for everyone I can, until after September 15th.

Anyway, this was not supposed to be a “feel sorry for Stephanie moment” because there are times I can laugh about my Dad. I can remember things about him and appreciate the times that we had, and the times that were especially funny. Which brings me back to Wicked.

You see Johnno was never a “let’s go to dinner and see a show” kind of guy. He was always “there’s a football game on, and where is my damn beer and onion dip” kind of guy. So when my mother started buying tickets to Broadway shows like Wicked, well, my Dad was less than enthused.

There are many moments with my Dad that I won’t forget, and this is one of them. (If you never met my Dad you could never really appreciate this, but you could see the humor in it.)

Wicked was at the Murat, we (Dad, Mom, Mr. D, and I went.) The conversation after the performance went like this….

Mom:  Wow, what a great show!

Me:  It really was great.

Mr. D:  It was awesome!

Johnno: Yeah…

Mom: (Asking everyone) Did you cry at the end?

Me: Yes!

Johnno: I cried too..

Mom: Really? You did? (more interested in my Dad’s response than anyone else.)  (Sounding hopeful..)

Johnno: Yeah, I cried…. I was just so happy it was finally over.

Mr. D said tonight that was one of his favorite memories of my Dad.. “Johnny Carson couldn’t have written a better script, that was one of Johnno’s all time greatest lines.”

That’s a memory that still makes me laugh.

 

I Am My Father’s Daughter August 14, 2013

johnno volume

I caught myself today driving with the top down in my car, listening to a “Wings” CD thinking to myself what a great moment, then reality (the bitch that it is) sunk in.

My appreciation for music, the “British Invasion”, and why I turn the volume all the way up in my car and pretty much embarrass Kam while I dance and drive in my car came from my Dad.

My Dad loved music, he loved it so much.

I don’t imagine my Dad ever being a musician, he never wanted to be a headliner. He was much happier behind the scenes. Truth be told, my Dad always wanted to be a DJ.

I’m not kidding.

I remember when I was a kid him making tapes of “The John Eppich Show.” Transferring albums to cassette tapes, adding his own improvisation between cuts. I can still see him sitting on the floor at our old house on Norwaldo making those tapes, yelling at me and my sister if we stomped across the carpet covered hard-wood floors. “The record skips if you walk by like that, walk softer damnit.” I can still see him in his huge headphones hunched over his cassette recorder with his microscopic microphone recording his favorite songs. Maybe he was living out a dream he had for himself that never came to pass, or maybe it was just a fun hobby. Whatever it was, “The John Eppich Show” didn’t survive the several floods that we had on Norwaldo. At least that’s what I think. If there was a cassette that survived I would want to have one of them. I would find a damn recorder to play it.

I am grateful that I have my Dad’s albums, and that I have a record player to play the records on. Sometimes it makes me sad listening to the songs that are so familiar to me growing up. Wishing I could look at my Dad and hear him say “that’s a helluva song baby, some day someone will be impressed that you knew that song and who sang it.”

Truth be told, the only person I was out to impress was him.

 

What I Wish I Didn’t Wear June 17, 2013

necklace sA necklace.

If you work with me or know me you might have noticed I wear a silver necklace. It’s a longer necklace so the charm on it isn’t obvious unless I pull it out or it makes its way out of my shirt. What hangs from that necklace means more to me than most things do. It can’t be replaced. It’s my Dad’s thumbprint.

It’s hard to believe that my Dad has been gone for four years in September.

People leave memories with us that will last for the rest of our lives. Some of the memories my Dad and I shared were the best times of my life. Teaching me about football, and watching me learn to love it. Kameron being born, and what a great Pop he was.  Mr. D and I getting married, knowing that the third time really was the charm.  Going to Lambeau Field together, our first trip together! Watching the Packers play in Indianapolis, tailgating with those silly Indianapolis fans.  Sunday football, coming over to my house every Sunday to watch the Packers play. Catching my first fish.  Teaching me how to jump a car. The difference between a flat head and a phillips head screwdriver. How to check a breaker and change a fuse. How to buy a car. How to make home made french fries. That Mikesell’s Rippled Potato Chips work best with Dean’s French Onion Dip. And the way to his heart was through my deviled eggs. Those are just a few of the millions of things that he taught me.

The selfish part of me missed my Dad, even though I know he’s in a better place.

The worst part about it for me now is that I know he would be so proud of me (not that he wasn’t before.)  He would be so ridiculously proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish. It really has been awesome, and I thank sincerely the people that have (REALLY) supported me (Firebelly Team – Duncan Alney)  -my gratitude and your belief in me is immeasurable. I sincerely from the bottom of my heart thank you. I’m so happy!

Without my Dad there is a space in my heart that can’t be replaced. I don’t get to tell him about the awesome day I’ve had. I don’t have that smile, or pat on my shoulder anymore, he was the one person who always believed in me, no matter what the circumstances.

Things aren’t the same without you Dad, I love you and miss you so much.

I’m kicking ass Johnno, I hope you know.

 

Dogs and Spirits April 22, 2013

Johnno at Lambeau

Johnno at Lambeau

While I was dishing about my Food Network addiction earlier on Twitter something else happened. Some of you might find this a bit bizarre and that’s ok. By now I’m use to the questions or comments I get sometimes after I spill my guts all over the social media world. Don’t mind me while I spill, again.

I’ve heard more than several times in my life that dogs can see spirits, or ghosts, whatever you care to call it. I don’t like the word ghost, especially after my dad passed away. I’m sorry, I just don’t see Johnno floating around in some Casper-like state. Whenever I think of him I always think of him in jeans and a Packers or green golf shirt. That was standard issue Johnno garb. Another thing I don’t see my Dad in is wings. I can just picture my Dad entering the gates of heaven and giving a big “Hell No” to St. Peter as he tries to give my Dad wings. Wings the group he liked, the feathery things, not so much.

I believe in an after life. I believe when our time comes that we will see the loved ones that we have lost in our lifetime. I have to believe that, I have to believe that A LOT. I also believe that every once in a while spirits like to have a little fun with those of us here on earth. Us and our pets.

I have a leather couch it seats three comfortably. When my Dad was over watching a Packers game everyone had their “assigned” seats. They weren’t really assigned, but you would have thought they were if you came over to my house every Sunday. I sat in the middle, my Dad to my left, and Mr. D to my right. I still sit in the middle, and Mr. D still sits on the right. We don’t do it on purpose, we’ve just did it that way for a number of years, I guess it’s a tradition. My dog Shayla takes up Johnno’s now empty spot. It’s where she crashes out for 18 hours a day. Seriously, I think my dog is part cat.

Anyway while I was confessing my Food Network addiction on twitter Shayla was nuzzled up right next to me, which is weird. She really only does that with Mr. D or Kameron, Sam when she’s home. I really hadn’t noticed she was there until her tail started the happy thump. Then she looked up in the air and started licking the air, like someone had put their hand in the air in front of her and she started to go to town on it. I sat and watched her thinking she had lost her mind, but she kept at it, for like two minutes. I said “Shayla what are you doing” she stopped to look at me but went right back to it. I thought of my Dad, he would always pet Sha-na-na (as he called her) when he sat down and she would lick his hand. I decided to put my hand above her to see if she would lick it, nope. When I took my hand away the tail thumping and air licking continued. I closed my eyes and placed my hand on the left seat of my couch, expecting it to be cool to the touch. It was warm, like someone had been sitting there. Then Shayla stopped her licking and put her head down.

I think my Dad can sense when I need him around. Sometimes it’s an unexpected penny. Sometimes the lights go off. Sometimes he plays with my dog. Whenever those things, and other things happen I smile because I know he’s with me. Someday we’ll be together again.

 

Are You There God, It’s Me Stephanie, Again January 16, 2013

I wrote a post last year titled: Are You There God, It’s Me Stephanie

I would suggest reading that post first and coming back to this one. I’m really proud of that post. It was probably one of the first times I really opened myself up and let you into part of my crazy world. I’m about to do it again – so here it goes…

Confirmation. So I decided not to have Kameron confirmed last year. The reason I told everyone else, and even myself, is that it would be nicer for Kameron if he waited and got confirmed with his class. He’s the oldest kid in his class. I decided on a recommendation from the pre-school that he attended to wait one more year before sending him to Kindergarten. He needed to develop more socially, and he was sad because his dad and I were starting what turned into a very long divorce process. Waiting for everyone else to catch up age wise and get confirmed with his class was a much better idea….

Better for me, because I wasn’t ready to have God back in my life.

I wasn’t even slightly interested. Even though my first post had a glimmer of hope in it, and I was hopeful, at least that is what I told myself. Honestly, the thought of going into church again made me sick to my stomach. So I sold Kameron on the idea of getting confirmed with his classmates, and he bought it. Which bought me time, because time heals all wounds right?

Sorta.

At least in my case. In that situation and others I was still fighting my secret battles.

Last Friday email – subject – Confirmation. This email didn’t catch me off-guard like last years email did. I knew it was getting close to time to start having meetings about confirmation. The email confirmed that yes, it was in fact time to start meeting about confirmation. Meeting at school (not church) about the confirmation that doesn’t happen until April/May buys me time. I can do meetings in my sleep. I can do uncomfortable meetings standing on my head. Meetings are not my problem. Wednesday night meeting – sure thing! So I had it in my head confirmation meeting Wednesday night, I can be as enthusiastic as I need to be.

A few hours later I get another email – subject – Meeting Change. I thought I hope it’s not a meeting on Thursday, I already have something going on. A change of plans. Instead of the meeting at the school on Wednesday night, we are going to church to have mass with the Archbishop. I put my head in my hands and said (fuck) very quietly to myself. Mass, that’s my first problem.  With the Archbishop is another problem, the bigger the hat in the Catholic Church the longer the mass. I’m looking at a an hour and a half mass easy. At this point it’s fair to say I would rather stick a pencil in my own eye than to have to walk into church tonight.

I haven’t been to church since my dad died, that’s not an accident. I’m still very upset and angry about the untimely death of my father. Where was God when my father died right before my very eyes? I asked for him, I prayed to him, I begged him on that day not to take my dad away from me. Yet my dad was gone that day, and it changed me forever.

Going back to church to me in a way is like saying it’s all good between me and God again. Which it clearly isn’t.

Then of course there is Kameron. Kameron is young and still has faith. He hasn’t had his faith tarnished by life and its unexpected curve balls it likes to throw at us. Even though he was old enough to understand what happened when my dad died, it didn’t break him like it did me. In Kameron’s eyes “Pop” is in heaven with God, having a good old-time. As time has gone on Kameron’s mentions of my dad have become fewer and fewer. In a way that makes me mad, but in a way I have to be happy for him. Knowing that his school is doing exactly what they’re suppose to be doing in religion class. Teaching that we are all God’s children, and that he loves us, flaws and all.

So I’m going, but I am not happy about it. I’m not going for myself, I’m going for Kameron, I don’t want to disappoint him. I promised him that I would try to make an effort and go to church more often. It was just going to be on my time-table, which kept getting pushed back further and further away. Abruptly, it is in my face and ready for me, scorn and all, at 7:00 p.m.

I doubt I’ll have some kind of epiphany, but if I do, you’ll read about it soon.

SED