Some things about me. I am very into social justice. I am a Bernie Sanders guy and proudly use the words, socialist, feminist, pro-choice, pro-LGBT (every human should share the same rights), pro-union (what they are doing to our public teachers is terrible) and I think that every human should be born with access to good healthcare without regard to their income. And I am a strong believer of every word it says at the foot of the Statue of Liberty.
I volunteer with two organizations. One is Engineers Without Borders. I have traveled to Honduras, Guatemala and Peru building bridges, schools, water distribution systems and wells in developing communities (been doing that since 2007). And I recently started volunteering for another group called Upwardly Global that helps train recent immigrants how to interview for jobs here in the U.S. – it’s quite a different experience from what they are used to.
I love love love music, I love to see live shows, I love to see plays, I have actor friends who I go with all the time. I love food, I love to eat out. Discovering new music is one of my favorite things. I was also just recently introduced to a comedian I had never hear of - John Mulaney... you must see his stand-up specials - side splitting funny
I am passionate about many things; however I am a very laid-back person (you just can’t see all the serious anxiety going on – HA!) I like to be challenged by smart people and like to be surrounded by smart engaging people who are interested in the world around them. I promise I will tell you something interesting if you tell me something interesting.
I like to write. Below is just a little story if you are interested.
While growing up in St. Louis, every Thanksgiving, at noon, on almost every classic rock radio station, they would play “Alice’s Restaurant” by Arlo Guthrie. And every Thanksgiving at noon, you could find me sitting by the radio to listen to that song. Arlo Guthrie had sworn never to play Alice’s Restaurant live ever again.
Three weeks before Thanksgiving this past year, Arlo Guthrie played the Harris Theater here in Chicago. It was the 50th anniversary of Alice’s Restaurant and he was touring the country and playing it live. Of course I had tickets. Alice’s Restaurant is an 18 minute and 34 second long song… and he sang it, and when he did, for 18 minutes and 34 seconds all was right with the world. And somehow, in 50 years, Arlo Guthrie’s voice has not changed one bit.
In my bag, in the car on the way to the cemetery I had a CD of Alice’s Restaurant with the intent of playing it for my sister’s kids, and of starting a tradition of playing it for them every year on Thanksgiving (turns out; they were not so impressed).
I knew this cemetery very well and I loved going there. My grandmother died when I was 8. Her name was Gertrude and she tried to get me to call her Gertie but I refused and called her GeeGee instead. Aunt Doris was GeeGee’s sister. Aunt Doris’s grave was directly next to GeeGee's grave so all of the dirt that had been dug out for Aunt Doris’s grave was sitting on top of GeeGee’s grave. Like it was meant to be.
The funniest thing the Rabbi said during the ceremony was that Doris was notorious for never accepting gifts. So if you were going to buy her something, you better pick out something you need for yourself.
Foot Note: I was raised Jewish, and even Bar Mitzvahed but I have been an Atheist since I was about 11, so I do not consider myself Jewish (so yes, the Bar Mitzvah was kind of a sham… but it had its purpose - no, not the cash).
It was chilly and windy outside at the cemetery. I reached into my pockets to put on these black leather gloves that my mom had bought for me a long time ago. I had just quickly grabbed them off the shelf in my closet as I ran out the door to the airport that morning. As I put them on, one glove was the one I was expecting but the other was actually one of my motorcycle riding gloves with the armor built into it so you don’t lose all the skin off your hands if you go down. They look very much alike; at least I had a right glove and a left glove. I don’t have a motorcycle anymore.
I was telling this little story at the cemetery as I took off my right glove and my sister’s eyes popped wide open as she saw my hand and exclaimed “What is that!?”
My grandfather, whose body was exactly six feet below me at that very moment, had worn a ring nearly every day of his life. He had passed away about 7 years ago. He did remarry about a year after my grandmother GeeGee died. About six months earlier, I got this call from my mom, my grandfather’s second wife decided that she wanted me to have his ring. At the time I didn’t remember the ring. My mom described it over the phone: it’s gold, it has his initials “LN” and it has a diamond. I’m not a jewelry guy, especially not a diamond ring kind of guy.
When I saw the ring I immediately recognized it. My grandfather was not a pleasant man. However, and as I looked at the initials, “LN”, they looked nothing like an LN at all; they looked like a “GN”… my grandmother’s initials. The ring fit me perfectly. Again, it was meant to be. So I guess I’m a diamond ring kind of guy now.
Food, I will never say no to sushi, Mediterranean, Indian, Greek, Italian, BBQ (chicken or pork only... not a beef eater), fish, Mexican or Central American of any kind or just an almond butter and jelly sandwich.