With Sails Unfurled

The journey of a lifetime.
Chronicled on the web.

http://withsailsunfurled.com

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Even Galaxies Go Dim

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Last week the LA Galaxy had all the brightness of the most brilliant stars in the sky. This week it seems those stars have all gone dark.

Ok, maybe not completely dark. Landon and Becks both had good games. But as a whole the Galaxy were completely off their game tonight against FC Dallas.

Final Score? 3-0 Dallas. Ugh. That’s just ugly and humiliating.

Still, it was a great time for all of us who went. Mom finally got to see David Beckham up close on the field and she was thrilled. From six seats away, in the middle of the game and the thunderous crowd, I could hear her proclaim, “He has such an amazing ass!”

Thanks to some great seats provided to us by my friend Chris (thanks again buddy!) we were able to really enjoy the game.

Maybe next year the Galaxy can make it all the way to a win and bring home the MLS Cup? We’ll see.

Halloween

David S. Dawson

David S. Dawson

So Halloween is coming up. This is a tough holiday for me. For one… I don’t find it to be much of a holiday… more like a state approved day for acting strangely.

Namely, children get dressed up in costume and are sent out into the world as beggars. And grown women use the day as a chance to slut it up as much as they can and turn every grown man around them into beggars. It’s a little bizarre really.

But on top of that, the first real experience with a death of someone close to me happened around this holiday in 1995. Sure my Grandfather had passed away the year before but, after spending 3 of his last 4 weeks with him talking, I bailed out a week before he actually passed. So I didn’t really experience losing him.

But that Halloween in 1995 what I went through was horrific. It was intimate and it was life changing.

Many of you know the story about my mother’s fiance Rusty dying in a car accident in Texas. Many of you know he was on that ill-fated trip in my place so that he could encourage me to actually live up to my obligations and go to work that night.

It’s a long story. One full of regrets, sadness and pain. Honestly there isn’t really anything good that came of it.

I guess the only thing I can say that might be good from it all is that my dedication to working… to growing into my potential really came into being at that point. That experience has fueled so much of my drive and my ambition in the years since. It stands, to this day, as one of the single most defining moments of my adult life.

I’d have to say the passing of my father in 2007 had as much impact on me, and in much the same way it has pushed me to further dedicate myself to pushing my limits and growing beyond what I comfortably am and instead moving into the unknown. I’ve found through both of these experiences that I am able to be so much more than I think I am if I just allow myself to do the things I am afraid of. To try the new… to explore the unknown and to not sit by and watch my life go by.

So hello Halloween. I still don’t know how to “celebrate” you, but I know that every year your return pushes me to reflect on my life and continue to choose to be something more than I am today.

Francisco Fronteras 1957-2010

Eulogy for Uncle Francis

Quiet.

Strength.

Affectionate.

Loving.

These are the four words that I use to describe my Uncle. He was, to me, a very strong, very quiet and very affectionate and loving man.

Many men are raised in this world without the benefit of having any positive role models in their life. My Uncle was one of these. As my Mother said shortly after he passed, Francis had become an incredible man of strength, integrity and love and he had done it in spite of having little guidance in becoming so. He had chosen to be that way and he found his own path in life. He forged his personality through the strength of his own character.

In my life I have had the honor of having three incredible men to show me what being a man is all about. My grandfather Carl who was as honorable a man as you will ever meet, my own father, Mick who was also a quiet and strong man with an endless love for his family and my Uncle Francis.

Through Francis I have learned that we can be more than the situations of our youth might suggest for us. That we can have the strength of will, the personal desire, and the capacity to overcome obstacles presented to us and to become the type of person who is admired and loved by all who meet us.

Francis had a great capacity for love. I can see it in the grief of his friends, the grief of his family and most especially in the grief of my Auntie Lorna. We do not grieve for his loss. I believe he is in a much better place than this now, joining those who’ve already gone and preparing a place for us all when our time also comes.

We grieve because our own lives are now less than they were before. Without his love in our lives we feel a great emptiness. And that is unbearable. So we grieve, and in grieving we are, together, lifting the voices of our souls to Francis and letting him know that he mattered to us. That he is and will be missed in our lives.

When I was little I visited the Philippines. I was maybe 7 the last time I visited. And I was away from my Dad who had stayed here and I felt very lost and alone. But Francis took me under his wing. He was always a creative man. A tinkerer, who could turn anything into an artistic piece. At the time he was making jewelry and he showed me how he made rings. And in showing me his craft he made me feel connected to him, he made me feel special and he made me feel loved. I have never forgotten that kindness and that warmth he gave to me as a child. And so I was very excited when I heard he was finally coming to the US. I’ll never forget the look of surprise when we met again and he saw how much I’d grown. All he could say that whole night was, “You’re so big!” “David, you are so big!” . . . that, and also, “I’m so cold!”

I for one am a better man for having known my Uncle. We didn’t talk much. I don’t think he ever became fully comfortable speaking English with me. I’m sure I spoke too fast for him sometimes and I think he felt like he spoke too slowly for me. So instead we had developed a sort of silent language of nods and glances over the years. His approval coming in a sort of quiet nod, his disapproval in a glance through his squinted eyes. We understood each other without saying words.

What words needed to be said were often expressed through Karaoke. And usually that meant me singing… For hours. I’d say, “Uncle, why don’t you sing?” He’d just smile and say, “no that’s all right I just want to hear you sing.” And I’d continue. And continue. And continue. But I never wanted to stop singing for him because his acceptance of me always felt so good, and the look of joy on his face as I sang was always more satisfying for me than I could ever describe.

I will miss my Uncle Francis. But I will never forget him. His influence on my life will forever be felt. His example will continue to guide me in how I love my family, how I treat the women in my life and in how I will continue to push myself to be more than I am today. I thank him for being such a positive energy in my life and I look forward to the day when our souls can sing together once again.

INKed

Well it took me 15 years to finally live up to the promise I made to Bryan when we were in college and I got my first tattoo tonight. Hey, we’ve been shooting a production at King Ink here in Vegas for a few days… how could this not be the time to finally get it done?

Of course, as nice a joint as King Ink is, I couldn’t afford it. So we went to Atomic City. It’s a small little hole in the wall kind of place just north of the Stratosphere. We did a lot of research on line and they had great reviews on YELP and the price was fair. I’m very happy with our decision. A dude called “Monk” gave me my tat. (Short for Monkey, a nickname he got a long time ago and it’s gradually shortened up to Monk over the years.) I have to say the place was very clean, the staff was incredibly cool to deal with and very helpful in making that final decision and in keeping it fun while also being considerate of the fact that it was something I’d have to live with.

In the end Monk took the design I had been mulling over for a week (a design I found after 10 months of searching) and he tweaked it and improved it and the end result is something I’m very happy with. In fact, I think it’s pretty bad ass. So there’s another experience to check off the bucket list.

And for those of you wondering about the design, it’s in memory of my Dad. Mick left us 3 years ago this coming August 27. When he died my sisters and I all said we’d get ankh tattoos in his memory. The Ankh is the ancient Egyptian symbol for Life. Dad was very into the ancient Egyptian culture and was always fascinated by their belief system, their advanced technology and in their art. Many, many discussions were had regarding the Egyptians and many TV programs were watched with him regarding Pharoahs, Pyramids and more. We were actively planning out a trip to Egypt someday soon in the months before he passed. Alas, that’s a trip we’ll never take together. But I will forever display my Ankh and remember my Dad and the incredible Life he lived, the Life he gave to me, and the Life I hope to lead in his honor.

Father's Day Blues

So I just had one of the weirdest Father’s day of my life.

My Dad and I Always Had a Great Time Together

I woke up feeling depressed. The day started with the overwhelming realization that I was going to spend my third Father’s Day without my Dad. It’s been nearly three years since he passed away suddenly, and I miss him every single day. The pain has subsided, but the constant reality of his absence remains. It’s a hollow feeling in my heart that I don’t believe will ever be filled. My Dad was an amazing man, gentle, kind, loving, intelligent and incredibly funny in that bad pun sort of way. His laughter, his smile and his hugs and general warmth are sorely missed.

But this was not the only feelings I had for the day, no. In fact, there are two other fathers in this family now. Adam, who is the father of my first three nephews (Mikey, Aiden and Kale) and now Bryan the father of my fourth nephew (Sean). For Adam this was his sixth or seventh father’s day. And for Bryan it was his first. I love my nephews and I love both of my brother-in-laws. So incredibly different people they both are. Neither of them are carbon copies of my father. Indeed, my sisters definitely did not “marry their Dad” as people are so often quoted as saying. No, they are two very different men, with very different tastes and attitudes about so many things in life. But they are both incredibly loving fathers who I know would do anything for their sons and their wives.

So I spent the morning having breakfast with both of these young families. My families. My sisters and their husbands and kids. It was nice to be with them all. The nephews, from Mikey all the way to Sean, are always sure to make me smile. But it’s also hard to sit there with them, knowing that my Dad will have never known Kale or Sean. Knowing that as much as Mikey remembers of his Grandpa Mick right now, those memories are likely to fade with time. It’s sad. And on Father’s Day I sense that more than on probably any other day of the year.

After breakfast I went to work at the Polo club. It was training day for Missy. This carried with it even more mixed emotions for Father’s Day. Missy is going through her own difficulties with her father, Jack. Jack may not have any more Father’s Days left either. It’s terribly sad, and I pray this isn’t the case for Missy and her family. Hopefully it won’t be. But the reality is that I know my friend is closer to that experience than any of us would hope and sitting there with her on Father’s Day made me feel so much pain and sadness it was almost overwhelming.

I know I have a tendency to sound like I’m always depressed, or that I am very sad all the time. This is not the case, there is much to be happy about in my life. I have two wonderful sisters with amazing sons whom I love very much. I have two brother-in-laws who I am happy to call my brothers. I have friends who bring out the best in me and help me overcome the worst and I am succeeding in business in ways I never imagined myself being able to as recently as a just last year. My Mother is still with us and her laughter and love are infectious. I have much going for me.

But still… on Father’s Day, I can’t help but remember, and miss the towering giant, incredibly simple and infinitely loving man that my Father was in my eyes.

Miss you, as always, Dad. I Love You.

It's a Huffy kind of Birthday!

My 35th B-Day gift, the Nel Lusso Huffy Cruiser!

My 35th B-Day gift, the Nel Lusso Huffy Cruiser!

So who would have guessed that my gift of choice for my 35th birthday would be a bike? A beach cruiser nonetheless. And who would have guessed my family would pull through on that wish and get me one of the coolest looking beach cruisers I could have hoped for?

It’s so cool. It’s got a very retro feel to it, right down to it’s 50’s era paint job. Simply gorgeous!

Thanks to Theresa and Bryan and Mom for such a great gift!

And thank you to Laura and Adam and Mikey and Aiden and Kale and Missy and Jess and Alissa and Steve L. and Nicole for coming to my house on Saturday to celebrate my birthday and T’s birthday. It was a wonderful party. Good food, good friends, good family and lots of karaoke and lumpia! My 35th B-Day FTW!

Obama Signs Health Care Bill

Well it’s finally done. The President has signed this bill into law. Now we get to figure out just how the hell this thing really works.

I’m not happy with the entirety of this bill, for sure. But I’m not 100% opposed to the ideas that drove it’s creation. I honestly hope that this helps and solves a lot of problems for a lot of people. But I worry about the cost. I worry about the forceful nature of the government mandating I purchase health insurance.

We’ll see how this all plays out. We do still have the Senate running through it too.

Not looking to start any insane debates here, but what are your thoughts?

More things I'll never forget

Singing with Alissa at our Christmas Karaoke party.

Seeing baby Kale (1 yr. old) gently nurse his older brother Mikey (6 yr. old) who was feeling sick.

The look on Alissa’s face when she broke up with me. That was devestating. 😦