Retirement is gonna look good on these two.

Jason and Cat got married, and boy did they knock it out of the park. Their vows were funny and moving. The speeches were heartfelt and well delivered. The food was rich, the drinks kept flowing, and the dancing never stopped. There may’ve been actual flames coming off the soles of my shoes.

It was sincerely a beautiful day, and I’m thankful and lucky to have been part of it. I walked away from their day excited for their new chapter, and reminded and inspired to make good on my own vows.

I also walked away a little hungover the next day! Yes, I broke my no-hangover New Year’s resolution, but my Dad put it well when he said, “If there’s ever a time to be hungover, it’s the day after a friend’s wedding.”

Congratulations Jason and Cat. You deserve it all, and you got it all.

Over the years I’ve taken part in a few projects that’ve won awards and recognition. I’m hardly ever credited, but I don’t really care to be honest.

This award will always be my favorite and the only one I’ve ever cared about. Grades wise, I never did too well in school. A good kid but a bad student. This little award was confirmation that I was doing something right though. It certainly seemed more important to me than any report card I’d ever gotten. What can I say, it’s a major award.

Mom, Dad, Alexis, me and Thomas.

Off the Southwest Florida Gulf Coast there’s a place called Estero Island. On that island there’s a seven-story condo called Sea Watch. On the 7th floor of that condo, there’s a unit that’s been in my family since before my time. I was just five months old my first visit. The Smith’s are still making memories there to this day.

My parents hold the keys to it now, and Alexis and I tagged along this year. It was her first time and I hadn’t been back in eleven years. It’s a special place, with a lot of history. It’s a place I’m very thankful for.















Another shooting. This time at a high school in my hometown. It was Valentine’s day. Really don’t know how much closer to home it could hit. We’re talking a margin of literally a few miles.

It’s disturbing not being surprised that this happened. Of course it did. It’s a part of our culture now. Likely only to get worse. If Sandy Hook happened and we’re still here doing this, then there appears to be no last straw, even though the camel’s back is already broken.

My shock is that this happened where I grew up. Where my parents and brother still live. If we had lived just a few miles one direction or the other, I would’ve gone to that high school. My wife graduated from there. She did the morning announcements.

I grew up in a great place to grow up. In a great home. I look back fondly on my younger and teen years there. It feels weird to have this piece of your heart tarnished. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of pitfalls growing up. I’ve seen more than a few fall into drugs. But these are traps found everywhere. Navigating them is just part of getting taller.

Anyways. This one was different for me. Though, I said the same thing the last time I shared my thoughts on gun violence. Thoughts and prayers are useless, unless the thoughts are about solutions.

Donate to Victim Fund

Mom before she was Mom.

First time holding one of these, can ya tell?

Levi and Ashley tied the knot. Yes, what I drew is supposed to be a rope being knotted, not links of sausage.

They exchanged vows on a warm Saturday, in Odessa Florida. It was a beautiful day. Felt really lucky to have witnessed it, and to have helped celebrate it. Was a little concerned my dance moves might get me ejected from the reception, but there was no harm done.

A couple days before the wedding, Alexis and I came to St. Petersburg to spend some time with my parents. Hurricane Matthew had other plans though. They had to hang back and secure their house in South Florida, so we didn’t see them this time. We made the best of it though.









St. Petersburg, FL

Our friends Mike and Christina stayed in our extra room, and we spent the time with them instead. We walked around town a bit, checked out the Dali Museum, and paid the bars a visit. We stumbled upon a lip-sync karaoke contest. Mike won it. Not officially, but in our hearts we know. The next morning, before we headed up to Odessa for the wedding, we stopped to see Alexis’ Mom, and took her out for an early birthday lunch.







Odessa, FL

The 24 hours or so that led up to the wedding entailed logging hours in the hot tub, intervening a car accident, and talking politics. The 24 hours or so that followed entailed, sunburn, late night life talks, and literally sprinting through the Dallas Airport to make a connecting flight.

It was a great trip, filled with great people. Congrats guys.

A rare video chat with some of my oldest friends, catching up over beers, across thousands of miles, sitting in Florida, Oregon, New York, Texas, and California.

The occasion was Dan’s 28th birthday, who I first met when I was 11 years old. His finance Dominique set the whole thing up and surprised him when she handed him a laptop with all of our faces on it.

Such a great feeling shooting the breeze with some of my truest friends.

I do miss those big Florida skies.

My Dad, manning the grill, next to the pool, under the Florida sun. Following his dream of getting his family the hell out of the Chicago winters.

Here’s to him, and my Mom, for showing me what it means to take a chance and follow a dream, and for always encouraging me to follow my own.

My mom forbade me from taking a picture of her and my dad wearing their tie-dye t-shirts together. Putting that picture here just seemed like the right thing to do.

We were really bored and just down right unenthusiastic about this. So boring.

Me and my one and only brother, when we still ran wild, with the Gulf of Mexico to our backs. He turned Thirty last month, can’t wrap my head around it still. I’ve grown taller than him, but he’ll always be my big brother. He’s got a reputation for being quiet, but I think he just chooses his words very carefully, always respected that about him. I believe in him, and have pride in him, always.

Happy Thirty Joey.

My friend Vanessa mailed me a doodle, which now has a peaceful home on my refrigerator door. Of course, I was infinitely late in returning the favor.

Sweet, sweet Florida.

This is my Mom and Dad’s home. I forgot a window next to the door. My room was the window on the right.