Sunday was my Birthday, and like I have for several years, I celebrated the anniversary of my twenty-first Birthday. This year I did something new (for me) and made it a celebration of the twelve days of Steve-mas. The twelve days were recorded on FB and I’m going to repost them here (minus the replies and most of the photos). I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
Day One: Welcome, friends! Today is the first day of Steve-mas, a festive 12 day celebration of the nativity of… me! I’ll be posting throughout the season up until Steve-mas Day (May 15th). And on that hallowed eve I’ll be accepting drinks and shots at the Owls Nest in beautiful downtown Ottumwa.
Day Two: Merry Steve-mas everyone! On day two of the twelve days of me, I thought it might be fun to share memories of how we met. Even if you haven’t seen me in years, I’d still love to hear about something that stood out to you from back then.
Day Three: A lot going on today, so I’ll make my day three of Steve-mas post a twofer. Fire safety is important!
May 3, 2010 at 4:43pm ·
So, this one time when I was burning grass out back and B suggested I use the gas can to light the fire – which worked great till the can caught on fire… then my shoes and pants caught on fire – meanwhile I’ve tossed the burning can away from me to keep the imminent explosion away… so it rolls into the rubber wheel of the wheel barrow. Once I put my pants and shoe out, B and I decided I should get the hose to keep the rest of the back yard from burning up… oh yeah, the can was spilling gas out just fast enough to spread the fire on the ground. I hosed down the wheelbarrow – got it away from the can, which I then kicked to try and flip upright. The can rolled into the only wooden chair out back – so I dashed to save it. Finally kicked the can upright and put out the fire on it. Then I got the ground to stop burning. The whole time, B is laughing herself silly. Five minutes later – she starts calling the girls to share the joy with them. I’m not burning grass anymore. Yeah, that just happened.
A late post for day four of Steve-mas, I thought I’d share a snippet of something I wrote a few years ago. It’s kind of a guiding principle in my writing, “Hope Springs Eternal.”
I only had the dream once, but it has never left me since. It was so real, so perfect, that the images seared into my waking mind. Even twenty years later, the tall, fluted marble columns are crisp in my memory. I walked between them, a cool mist at my feet, before I came face to face with her. A woman in white, young and beautiful. Her hair was black and lustrous, pulled back but still framing her face. Bright brown eyes regarded me with mirth, but no laughter escaped her luscious, pouty mouth. She smiled though, and it sent a thrill through me that I wouldn’t have understood had I been any younger. We walked through the columns and mist together in silence, as she and the temple faded away, I heard a single word that has burned in my soul ever since. My muse said, “Hope.”
For day five of Steve-mas I thought we could play rarely have I ever. It’s like never have I ever, but I can play too! Here are my answers – copy and paste with your own answers, if you want to.
Lost a job? Yes
Been fired? No
Been in a car accident? Yes
Taken a trip to another country? Over twenty.
Been to an amusement park? Yes
Been to a concert? Yes
Had a really bad dream? Yes, more than I’d like to remember.
Been in a fist fight? Yes
Seen a UFO? Yes
Been to a Renaissance Faire? No
Had a huge argument with your parents? Yes
Broken something on purpose? Yes
Written a love note? Yes
Had a close call with death? Yes
Had your phone stolen? No
Ridden a horse? Yes
Had a crush on a teacher? Maybe in elementary school?
Seen a tornado? Yes, I live in the Midwest
Tried to lose weight? Not hard enough.
Fought a bear? Not a grizzly or anything, but I’ve messed up some care bears before…
Day Six: Day six of Steve-mas is upon us! That means we’re halfway through the celebration of me. Since today is also Mother’s Day, I thought I’d share a few pics of my mother. She taught me unconditional love, and I miss her as desperately today as I did the day she died.
Day Seven: Day seven of Steve-mas is here! I thought today might be a good day to share pictures of us together. We started to do that earlier, but it was mostly memories without pictures. I’ll start with some favorites of mine:
Day Eight: For day eight of Steve-mas, I thought I’d say thank you. I appreciate the people in my life, whether you’re family, a friend, an acquaintance, or an example, each of you bring something unique and important to the round table. Here are some pics that remind me of that:
Day nine of Steve-mas is upon us! There are only three days left, and for today’s post, I’ve shared some of my thoughts on life. It’s taken me almost five decades to get these ideas. Some are clichés, but I’ve found some truth in them nonetheless.
1) Youth is wasted on the young.
2) Just because there is a goalie, it doesn’t mean you can’t score.
3) Breathe. Life comes at you fast sometimes, and it can be overwhelming. The best way to tackle the problems you come up against is to take a second to calm yourself. Breathe.
4) Do the things that scare you, get out of your comfort zone to do it. Even if you fail, at least you tried. I regret the things I didn’t attempt more than the things that didn’t go well.
5) Travel. You don’t appreciate how small our world is until you visit new places. It also reminds you of how good (or bad) you have it where you were. The food, the scenery, the people, all of it is better with a wider sample of what the world is like.
6) Take care of your body. It’s the only one you’ve got. So use it, enjoy it, abuse it if you must, but take care of it till you cross the finish line.
7) Dream BIG. Your life is what you make of it. Make it something extraordinary, don’t settle for mediocre.
Complain in private, but get over it and change things if they don’t suit you. Move somewhere else, get a different job, meet new people, or do whatever it takes to remove frustrations from your life.
9) Build friendships. I can’t count how many times a friend has helped me through rough spots. You don’t have to befriend thousands of people either. Just make sure the ones you trust believe in you as much as you believe in them. Reciprocity makes the world go round.
10) Love deeply. None of us get out of this world alive. One thing I’m sure of, is that love is the secret sauce that makes this whole thing worthwhile. So leave the world a little better than it was when you got here, and be sure to leave an imprint of love in your wake.
But what do I know? I’m still figuring this stuff out as I go!
For day ten of Steve-mas I’d like to share some of the events that helped shape me in one way or another. Most of them aren’t personal experiences, but big picture events that I happened to be alive to witness (usually on TV). I’ve left out going to Stonehenge, Rome, Athens, and Jerusalem (among others), because those visits don’t fit the theme of this post. I tried to think of the first big deal I could remember as a child, no surprise to me, I nerded out quickly at age five:
I saw Star Wars in a theater in 1977.
I saw Iranians take Americans hostage, even though I didn’t really know what that meant.
I watched MTV launch, and eventually stop playing music videos.
I saw Ma Bell broken into baby bells, before cellphones put unlimited information in our pockets.
I saw 3 Mile Island and Chernobyl unfold long before Fukishima. None of them made a Godzilla – yet.
I’ve seen Challenger and Columbia explode.
I’ve seen the Exxon Valdez foul the coast of Alaska long before BP fouled the Gulf of Mexico.
I watched the Berlin Wall come down, and Tank Man try to stop bloodshed in Tiananmen Square.
I’ve watched Mandela walk free, and become president of the nation that imprisoned him.
I’ve seen the United States go to war and stay at war for too long, too many times.
I saw riots erupt in Los Angeles because people can’t get along.
I’ve watch cultists kill people with ricin, drink poisoned Kool Aid, suicide to meet a spaceship, and burn alive rather than be arrested. I never want to understand why any of that made sense to them.
I saw a bomb blow up a building in Oklahoma City. That didn’t make any sense either.
I’ve seen Mad Cow disease, Bird Flu, Ebola, and Swine Flu arrive, long before Covid-19.
I’ve seen the Twin Towers fall, and the Pentagon burn.
I’ve watched tsunamis and hurricanes wreck coastlines from Banda Aceh to New Orleans.
I’ve filled my top 8 spaces on Myspace before trudging over to FB, IG, and Twitter.
I’ve seen Columbine, Aurora, and Sandy Hook covered in blood. Trayvon, Daunte, and Breonna are names people don’t like to bring up either.
I’ve lived through four Popes and ten Presidents. Neither group has impressed me much.
I watched savings and loans fail, banks implode over bad mortgage loans, and government bailouts of major automakers. Seems like the government always has all the money it needs unless Congress needs more attention and shuts some of it down.
I’ve seen wildfires destroy homes in the south west and blacken the skies of Australia.
I’ve seen cancer, heart disease, pneumonia, and bad decisions kill people long before their four score and six. Covid has taken more people than I care to think about either.
That’s a pretty long list, but it hardly scratches the surface. Life is more than the sum of days and events, it’s the moments in-between, when nothing much is happening. That’s when we live our best (or worst) life, when we lose a loved one, meet someone special, make babies, make mistakes, and figure out what really matters to each of us. What matters is different for all of us, but we all end up as the dearly departed. As one of my favorite authors wrote, “Life is short, but the years are long.”
Day Eleven: Day eleven of Steve-mas is all about you! Comment something you’ve always wanted to tell me or ask me a question. Leave a memory we’ve shared together or repeat some story you’ve heard about me from someone else. (Rumor on the street says I’m pregnant but I don’t know who the mama is…) You get to choose – so choose wisely!
Day Twelve: It’s finally the twelfth day of Steve-mas. Pat yourselves on the back – we made it! Steve-mas Eve is tonight, so make sure you leave out the vodka and coochie by the hot tub for me. I’ll be celebrating at Owls Nest, and at Midnight, I’ll magically level up to the highest level I’ve ever been in the game of life. Join me if you wanna.
And they did!
If you stayed to the end of this recap – I hope you enjoyed some of it, I absolutely loved it. Have a twelve days of you if you like, and feel free to borrow any part of my ideas you find useful!