Happy Father's Day...Remembering my Dad.
   Since it's Father's Day I figured I'd take the time to remember all the wonderful memories I have of my Dad.  He died when I was 13 but there's many great things that come to mind that I remember about him.  All of my friends, as well as my brother's, loved him.  I don't think he had an enemy in the world.  I know I hated seeing him upset or angry because it wasn't a frequent occurrence and he was much more fun when he was smiling (which is did often).  I can remember falling asleep to music coming from the basement just about every night.  He was a drummer/musician and he let anybody who needed a place to jam to come into his studio to use any of his equipment.  At the calling hours after his death, there were so many people there to pay respects that the line was just about out the door of the funeral home.  There were plenty of people I didn't even know but it was amazing to see (even if it was a very sad day).  To know that many people loved my dad was something special to learn.  I knew he had many friends and he loved his family, so it was a tiny bit of reassurance when I knew that he wouldn't be with us anymore.  I can remember all the times he'd take us to the beach to swim in Lake Erie or we'd go crayfish hunting in a river close to home with our dog, Thor.  My dad was a goofball.  He loved when he had the chance to do things with us.  He was always excited when he could afford to take us places or buy us something cool for our birthday or Christmas.  Even though he didn't have much money, he managed to make our childhood pretty awesome.  Even after my mom and dad divorced and my mom moved out, I never heard him say anything bad about her.  In fact, he completely ignored the whole "every other weekend" rule the court gave for us to see our mom.  If we wanted to go see her, it was done.  He never thought it was right to keep us from seeing her.  For that, even now I have so much love and respect for him.  I see so many people have such ill feelings toward their ex spouses.  It's nice to look back and not see that in my memory of my dad.    I also recall the last movie that my brother and I saw in the theater with my dad was the movie, The Lion King.  It's little memories like that which keep him alive even after all these years without him.   To this day he's still my hero.
    So make sure you take the time to appreciate your father while you can and cherish those memories if they're no longer living just like I find myself doing on a daily basis.  Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!!

My dad holding me not long after I was born (1982)

Me and my dad when I was little.  I love how we're making the exact same expression! haha

My dad doing his drum thing.  I can't remember the exact year this was taken, but it wasn't all that long before his death in 1995.

So I hope all of you have a wonderful Father's Day!! 

The Benefit of the Doubt (Don't hate someone you've never met)
You ever feel like screaming?  I'm sure just about everyone has at one point in their life. Unfortunately, that doesn't go over well when you live with other people (or have neighbors).  Stress seems to permeate into every possible aspect of life anymore.  There's all kinds of suggestions for dealing with it online, or in books.  I wonder why it is there has to be books on it in the first place.  When there's a whole section in bookstores for self help and how to deal with things like stress it says a lot about the culture we live in.          

 There's also ridiculous amount of hate being thrown around in the world today.  Everywhere you go there's someone angry about something, whether a cashier got something wrong or somebody got a food order incorrect to all out hate for things about people who have no control over what it is they're hated for.  Who can help where they were born or to whom they were born?  It's ridiculous that these days it's even an issue. But sadly, it still is.  People are being raised to hate without ever having met the people they are supposed to hate.  How can it be that people can look into the eyes of another human being and hate them for something they had no control over?  It's one thing to be angry at someone who hurt you.  It's another to wish someone harm or worse simply because their skin color, language, religion, culture etc. are different than yours.  We've been taught all our lives that this country (the United States) is a melting pot and that we're so great and accepting of everyone, but it's not the case.  I have encountered so many people who never have anything good to say about certain people just because they are classified as a certain race or religion.  People they have never even met or bothered to get to know.
         I have a rule that I try very hard to live by. One simple rule when I first meet a person, even if I heard horrible things about them.  Give them the benefit of the doubt.  That is my rule simply because I feel every person has the right to prove to you whether or not what you have heard is true or something made up because someone didn't like them for whatever reason.  I've met countless people who someone had told me something along the lines of "oh she's a bitch" or "he's such an asshole" or "they're a horrible person" only to be shown that they were simply misunderstood.  How many times do we have to repeat the same mistakes before we realize we're all the same?  We all want to be accepted for who we are without worrying that people will judge us before we can even show them the kind of person we really are.  I've even had a person tell ME "oh I thought you were going to be such a bitch" when I started working at a store when I first went to college.  I was shocked.  I never thought I'd come across that way to someone or that someone would outright think that when they hadn't gotten to know me first.  Needless to say, that person ended up saying I was different from what they first thought and that they considered me a friend.  I couldn't help but feel bad for this individual.  I feel bad for anyone who doesn't want to take the time to get to know someone before writing them off as unlikable.    These are frustrating and trying times we live in.  I hope for everyone's sake that people can stop looking for reasons to hate people and start giving them the benefit of the doubt.  Yeah, sometimes those people will end up not being a very nice person but at least you gave them the chance to earn your respect before writing them off.  
So I guess that's kind of a long rant but I'm so exhausted from all the hate flying around out there in the world.  Take from this what you will, but I hope you'll think twice before judging someone without trying to give them a chance first.