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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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What’s The Big Deal? December 5, 2013

Changing your profile picture.

I see people do it every day. I see people change their pictures several times a week, and I think if they can do it why can’t I?

Well the answer is simple to me. It might seem irrational and ridiculous to you, but I can assure you as I sit here writing this, it is not simple. It’s gut wrenchingly painful.

Then you might say to yourself, what the hell is she talking about? Stephanie has changed her Twitter and her LinkedIn profile picture this week, and I would look at you and say, you’re right I have, but not my Facebook picture. In fact there have only been a few variations of my Facebook profile picture over the last four and a half years. You might recognize them.

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Ok, so let me stop you right there. In your mind, if you don’t know me, hell maybe if you do, you’re thinking c.r.a.z.y. To me it’s not, I’ll explain. Twitter is where I go to blow off steam, have some fun. I’ve seem some crazy stuff on twitter, and I’ve been a part of some of the crazy on twitter…I’ll be the first to admit that. LinkedIn is a business page and I treat it as such. I share information and updates about social media, hardly ever about my personal life. I mean if you were stalking me LinkedIn is probably the last place you’d want to go. I’ve even been quiet on my blog, not intentionally, but I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time to actually sit and think about things like this. 

The other night I was writing a blog about social media and resolutions for 2014, which made me think, what should I change next year? The thought came almost immediately to me, like my Dad was screaming at me. I ignored it and pressed on, I have deadlines you know. Then again, like he was standing right in front of me saying “enough already, change the damn profile picture.”

I stopped, looked around, and started to cry.

Facebook is where I reside now, it is where I spend most of my time. I do most of my work on Facebook. Facebook is also my personal space. It became really personal a couple of months ago when I found out that my space had been violated.

But I’m Stephanie right? I like challenges. I thrive on variety and change. Dullness and routine is the quickest way (if you’re trying) to get rid of me.

So why can’t I change my profile picture?

Because it’s the last thing.

I have changed the picture, but it’s only been variations of Dad and I together. If I change that profile picture it’s almost like (to me) I’m saying goodbye to my Dad forever.  If my Dad were here today he would say “isn’t that the dumbest god damn thing you’ve ever heard?” If it were someone else I’d say “hell yes.”

The problem is it’s not someone else, it’s me.

So I tried this week. I had Angela take a picture of me in the office this week with my new “geek” sweater on, saying it was to “prove to my sister” that I had a sweater that actually said “geek” on it. Then I tried again, until I found out it was “Unselfie Tuesday” or some kind of crap like that. So I figured it just wasn’t time for me to change it. Until I racked my brain trying to think of a blog to write last night and came up with “Social Media Resolutions.” Clever I thought; until I started thinking about my own social resolutions and the Dad interference.

First on the agenda for 2014, a new profile picture for all of my social media platforms, including Facebook (GULP). I can’t do it because I take terrible pictures of myself and Mr. D is pretty much useless with a camera. I need a picture, and I know exactly what it looks like in my head, and my Dad would be proud of it, and of me, I think he would be proud of me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Question I’ve Avoided For 14 Years.. September 24, 2013

me and kam

Until tonight.

“Mom, why did you and dad get a divorce?”

Honestly, I’ve prepared myself for this moment for the last three or four years. I’ve gone through the situation in my head over and over again until it was completely exhausting. I’ve read books, watched so many Dr. Phil shows it’s almost embarrassing, but nothing, and I mean nothing, could have prepared me for tonight when my son asked me that question.

We were just sitting around the dining room table finishing up dinner and doing social studies notes when he looked at me straight in the face and asked “why did you and dad get a divorce?”kam glasses

I sat in silence for what seemed like an eternity, it was probably only a couple of seconds, but it felt like the last fourteen years of my life has suddenly passed before my eyes. I looked across the table at Mr. D who looked as surprised as I was, anxiously waiting for me to answer. Unfortunately, or fortunately, I got my son into counseling about two months ago. He was having some anxiety about being in the eighth grade, high school, puberty, girls, friends, stress – I’m happy I found him someone to talk to, but I wasn’t expecting my usual non confrontational son to ask me about the end of our “happy” family at 7:30 on a Monday night.

The truth is, I should have seen this coming. He was questioning his dad (I use ‘dad’ very loosely) about why he didn’t get any one on one time with him. Why he wasn’t as important as his other kids. Why his “first son” wasn’t as important to him as his other children. I mean I gotta tell you, I’ve always encouraged some kid of relationship with his dad, no matter what it was, but his dad is a poor excuse for a dad. He’s an embarrassment if you want to really know the truth. If you don’t know me, I’m kind of a loud mouth, but I have made the exception with my son’s father, no matter what he says. I’ve watched enough Dr. Phil to know that children learn what they live, and saying something detrimental about his father would someday come back to bite me in the ass. He would resent me, it’s just a fact. I’ve kept my mouth shut, bitten my tongue more times than you can imagine, and it all comes down to that question.

I sat there and looked at my son waiting for him to look away, but this time he wasn’t looking away. He wanted answers, and I suppose it was high time I gave him the best answers I could. So I did.

kambo

I told him that his dad and I were married and that we were both very mean to each other. I told him that when I found out that I was pregnant with him, his dad and I were very excited and optimistic about the future. I told him that when he was born it was the most amazing thing that ever happened to me or his dad. I told him that when he was about a year old his dad and I started having problems, grown up problems, that didn’t have anything to do with him (even though I know kids have an amazing way to feel like everything is their fault.) I told him that we tried the best we could, but in the end, his dad and I decided that being together wasn’t the best thing for him. I did tell him that his dad and I did not do everything we could do to save our marriage. If I told him that we did it would be a lie, he was looking for answers, not lollipops and rainbows. I asked if he ever remembered his dad and I being together, he said no. Which I think is a blessing. I’ll admit I made mistakes, but I honestly gave my best effort the last time with his dad. In the end, he decided other things were more important, which reflects how he is today, and the relationship he has with his son.

The best part of this story is that my son has my husband Mr. D. He’s everything any kid would want in a father. He’s loving, appreciative, patient, kind, funny, responsive, active, I could go on and on, but I don’t want to inflate his ego…

Being in this position is terrible. It’s just a bad situation. The worst part is that I don’t have any answers for my son except for the answers I gave him tonight. I don’t know if that is the end of the questions, I doubt it. At least my answers now (I hope) ensures that he won’t hate me later. Maybe those answers he’s looking for he will figure out for himself, if he hasn’t already.

I know I’ve done my absolute best, I know it. I’m good with that.

 

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.