Tag Archives: so long freedom

So Long 2014!

2 Jan

Its been a heck of a year filled with up and downs…as life should be.  So Long Freedom began 2014 with a post entitled “Parenting On A Plane,” a look at some of the rules we created for our then 2-year-old (Max) and ways to enforce them.  Max was on the verge of turning 3 and we had no idea that the “Terrible Threes” would put the “Terrible Twos” to shame.  Dodge was 10 months old and referred to as “The Octopus” because he grabbed everything within his reach…seemingly with a multitude of arms.  Time moved forward and the blog marched on.  I adjusted to being Midwestern, my sister got married and landed a role on NBC’s “The Blacklist,” Dodge began using baby sign language, one of my music videos won a few awards, and Max turned 3.  Max turned 3!  Wasn’t it yesterday I posted a sonogram photo of him on here as this journey began?  Dodge learned to walk just before his first birthday, I co-founded an arts organization with my wife and great friend, my beloved Wichita State Shockers went undefeated in the regular season, Max began throwing temper tantrums, and Kate and I instigated the “Good Behavior Chart.”  Max discovered the freedom of playing alone outside, Dodge ate dirt, I finally identified with Wichita as my home, my anxiety got substantially better, the boys took their first bike ride, we adopted and rescued an ornate box turtle, and we returned an ornate box turtle to the wild when we realized they are a terrible pet and it is against the law to “rescue” them.  Max rode a horse for the first time, Dodge started biting, Max got bit by Dodge a few times, Dodge started talking, Max started playing with Dodge by the pool, and Dodge learned that he doesn’t float.  Dodge switched to a forward facing car seat, Max got a booster seat for the car, we vacationed on Lake George, and Dodge learned again that he doesn’t float.  My dad’s best friend and surrogate uncle to me passed away…I love you Ali, thank you for reading with me in your final days on Earth – reminding me there are things bigger than my understanding of the world.  A few weeks later my grandma Dawn passed away…goodnight Grandma, I love you now and always and will always think of you when I have pancakes.  My pear tree had a bumper crop year, I hit my mid 30’s, Max and Dodge saw their first movie in a movie theater, the boys started roughhousing, Dodge started daycare, and Kate rediscovered what its like to not have 2 kids clinging to you all day long.  I made a hand-developed black & white Super 8mm film in under 24 hours as part of a film race which was selected to the Tallgrass Film Festival where it won the audience award for its showcase.  I lost Max in a crowd.  I found Max.  I cried.  I voted in the midterm elections, Harvester Arts found great success, and my 9-year-old nephew (Jake) humbled me when he wrote a Thanksgiving essay at school about how he was thankful for me, his Uncle Boo Boo.  Max got his first haircut in a salon, I lost my bacon, I got new bacon, and lest we forget from the Lay’s Salt & Vinegar Chips letters…don’t come between me and my food.

Max's Christmas Croup

Max’s Christmas Croup

…and that’s just what happened on this site.  Max got croup on Christmas, Uncle Mark brought out the best in our family over the holidays, and our best friends bought a house 4 blocks from our house…3 minute walk…amazing!  In 3 weeks Max turns 4 years old.  That little schmoop!  He’s turning 4!!!  Max is fully potty trained and sleeping in a twin bed…across the room is another twin bed where Dodge sleeps, and he’s started asking to use the potty on his own in the past few weeks.  Dodge turns 2 years old in 2 months.  My nephew turned 10!  There are 2 major milestone birthdays coming up in my family but that’s not my place to say…never discuss age and politics, right?  Yesterday the company I work for nearly tripled in size and I was humbled to be asked to move up in to a senior director position, something I have been working towards for the past few years.  Our cat is dying…not today, but probably this year.  Luna is 17 and time has simply caught up with her, Kate and I are doing everything we can to make her happy and comfortable.  Both boys will be in school, work schedules look to be insane, and 2015 is looking like the year our little family turns the corner and finds our own identity with each other.  Its been a great year…and 2015 has potential to be even better.  Through it all, the best moments of 2014 were the ones I’ve shared with my loved ones…the simple things.  Oddly, the highlight of the year was my grandmother Dawn’s passing.  Her passing was a relief because I know she was in pain and it eases my soul to know that pain is gone.  It simply was her time and she left behind a great legacy and a life too funny and complex to ever fit into a blog.  Her passing allowed me one last trip to Lake George where I was able to visit my favorite spot, feel the sun on my back one more time, feel the water on my toes, the air in my hair, and say goodbye.  Not just to her, but to the lake…which always feels like home, but Wichita IS my home.  I dove down deep in the water and retrieved a stone from under the Commission Island buoy.  It is mossy.  It is orange.  It is my little slice of home.  When I feel lonely or sad I hold this stone and I can remember EXACTLY how I felt that sunny day…Sunday, August 3rd…sun on my back, water on my toes, and wind in my hair.  It is the moment I will always think of when I look back on this year.  It is the nexus of all the events of the year.

So long 2014.

Me and Grandma, 1980.

Me and Grandma, 1980.

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From Label Whore to Polo Bore

19 Mar

YoungRyanThere was a time in my life when narcissistic sentences would erupt from my mouth like, “I don’t wait in lines.”  Or, “I don’t believe in black licorice.”  Or, “I only shop at Villains-Vault.”  While my hatred of waiting in lines during my 20’s and the taste of black licorice lead to many nights forcing my way into NYC nightclubs and not ordering Flaming Sambucas…I had to eventually stop shopping at Villains-Vault when I moved away from San Francisco.  Some of my favorite articles of clothing and accessories are from there like my handmade hoodie by Paul Frank himself, limited edition Vans, and of course my 1 of 500 white ceramic Nixon watch most people still identify me with.  I was a label whore.  I owned a black Armani suit that fit me perfectly and from that day forward I was convinced that Armani was the only label I would wear for suits…because…duh…it fits me perfectly.  Sunglasses?  Armani.  Jeans?  Armani.  Ties?  Yves Saint Laurent.  Shoes?  Vans.  Tee-Shirts?  RVCA.  Hats?  New Era fitted.  Dress shirts?  I picked out fabric and had them hand-tailored because my arms were so long and my neck and torso so skinny.  I was a 6’4″ 180 pound runway model turned actor, turned filmmaker, turned commercial producer, turned…

…turned into a 30-something father of 2 living in the Midwest with a closet full of stuff that doesn’t fit anymore and a spare tire around the waist.  Polos.  That’s whats in my closet.  Polos.  Lots of polos with logos of golf courses I’ve played like Bandon Dunes, Flint Hills National, and Royal County Down.  So many polos.  I must have over 100 polos in my closet right now.  On Friday my wife and I decided to go out on a date and I realized I barely had anything anymore that didn’t advertise a place I worked for or a place I’d been.  Friggin polos!  I’m wearing a polo right now with a logo on it!  Polos!

Young RyanI can remember sitting on the beach in Hermosa with a buddy about 10 years ago commenting on the odd things our older generation wore.  Powder blue shorts with knee-high socks!  Tie-dye.  Above-the-waist slacks.  I came to the realization that everyone hits a point in their fashion where they say, “This is it…I’m comfortable!”  From that point on they no longer buy new things, keep up with fashion trends, or evolve.  They just replace things in their closet’s inventory as needed.  It made me laugh to think that one day I’d be an old man wearing New Era hats, hoodies, Vans, chain wallets, and dark sunglasses.  Who would be the Wilford Brimley of our generation?  “Hi, this is Ryan Seacrest and I’ve got diabetes!”  Doesn’t sound right without that Wilford Brimley accent.  “Die-a-beet-iss.”

Sherpa DadThe truth is that as we get older we seek clothing that is more comfortable and stop caring so much about what we look like.  I’m married…who am I out to impress?  Seriously…nothing impressive going on here anymore.  Just a bunch of southern facing man breasts, a receding hairline, and a propensity to throw my back out if I stand up too fast.  I like to wear boot-cut jeans these days from Seven For All Mankind along with a pair of Eccos and an untucked polo.  That’s my jam.  After work I like to slide into a pair of basketball shorts and the loosest fitting tee shirt I can find that covers my crumpled paper looking stomach ripples of fat that appear when I lounge on the couch.  Kate and I call this look “fat pants.”  I rock it on the daily.

So as I stand in my closet looking for something to impress and only see labeled polos looking back at me…I find myself saying much less narcissistic things in my 30’s.  Now I say, “I think I’ll swing by Target and see if they have some polos without logos on them.  Maybe I’ll grab a bag of black licorice while I’m waiting in line to check out?”  Whoa!  Take it ease Rhino…take it ease.  The truth is I moved away from NYC, LA, and SF for a life in Wichita, KS.  Why?  Start with the first post on this site and read forward from there.  This is the 400th post and it felt appropriate to reflect back and recapture what So Long Freedom was all about in the beginning:

“So long sleeping in…

So long tennis shoes…

So long freedom.

My journey into fatherhood, corporate America, and responsibility.”

Ryan GlassesFunny that 400 posts ago in 2010 “So long tennis shoes…” was part of the plan for this ongoing article and made it into the tagline.  “Hello polos.”  (The polos say, “Hi.”)  If we still lived in NYC, LA, or SF I bet I would still be wearing RVCA shirts, New Era hats, chain wallets, Vans, and so on…and I’d look pretty funny to current day me in my slacks and polos…because people don’t dress like that here, not people my age.  Actually, most people my age here wear suits or are much less casual than I am and wish they could wear polos.  (The polos are chortling)  So maybe I have to amend my Hermosa Beach hypothesis and include geographic location into the fashion equation.  You wear what is comfortable and indigenous to your area.  For me…I guess that means polos by day and tee-shirts by night.  Maybe its time I switched things up a bit?  Maybe I should rock the short-sleeve button down shirt look?  Not the plaid “hipster” look…but the “guy in his 30’s who likes the sophistication of a button down but doesn’t like to feel sweaty so he wears short sleeves” look.  Yeah.  Maybe that’s my new jam!  Pretty sure Target carries that look.  Its time to reclaim my casual look!  I have great formal wear!  I don’t care what I look like when I’m lounging!  I need a new casual look!  (The polos are giving me the stink-eye)  Don’t make any sudden movements…the polos are getting restless and I think they might be forming an alliance with the khakis to start a rebellion.

Shhhhhhh!  Don’t make the khakis angry.

So…with my 300th post I encourage you to share this site with friends, subscribe if you haven’t already, and join me for 400 more posts:

“So long classic 20’s narcissism…

So long polo shirts…

So long…hmm…<blank>…hello future.

My journey into fatherhood, corporate America, and responsibility continues!”


Wearing what I want at the launch party of Harvester Arts (Co-founder)

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Merry Christmas!

25 Dec
Merry Christmas from Max, Dodge, Santa, and all of us at So Long Freedom!

Merry Christmas from Max, Dodge, Santa, and all of us at So Long Freedom!

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Best Wife Ever

7 Oct

Kate VS and Ryan GWhile So Long Freedom is about “my journey into fatherhood, corporate America, and responsibility,” my wife (Kate) is the one truly down in the trenches slugging it out every day more than I am.  Since the beginning of this project I have moved us to Wichita, KS for a job, given up freelancing for a corporate gig, become a father, taken on real responsibility in my life, been almost leveled by anxiety, and clawed my way back into life…and I’m only 34.  Ha!  I’m standing on the tip of the iceberg.  I need to toughen up.  Anyhow, throughout this journey my companion in life has agreed to move to Wichita, put her career on hold to be a full-time mom, taken on more responsibility, remained calm in the face of my anxiety, and been the everlasting rock of calm as we trudge forward.  That isn’t to say she hasn’t had her battles, struggles, anxiety, and bumps along the road as well…but she’s tackling her 30’s much better than I.  With that said, I just want to send out my love publicly to my wife Kate on a day that isn’t a holiday, her birthday, or prompted by anything other than my fascination with her sheer awesomeness.  Every day she gets up and tackles the world with calm determination and patience and somehow puts up with me…even more fascinating is she likes me.  She is proof that true love exists because there is no earthly reason why someone as amazing as her would associate herself with someone as annoying as me.  But she does.

So…Kate, on this random Monday in October for no reason other than my love you.  Thank you.  Thank you for orchestrating an amazing Sunday where you let me sleep in, made chili for football, put both kids down for their naps so I could watch the Chiefs game, and let me have a pajama day.  Days like this are greatly appreciated and I love being pampered out of the blue…just know they don’t go unnoticed or unappreciated.  Remember, I am here to support you too in your endeavors which we are about to embark on.  I’m glad I get to be on your team and grateful I have you on mine.  Thanks for being my true love, best friend, confidant, safety blanket, and number one fan.  You are the best person I know and I hope as we grow old together I learn to be more like you.  Your teammate in everything,


Kate and Dodge in Stripes

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Letter To My Boys

26 Aug

Before my boys were born I wrote them letters in hopes that someday when they were older they could read them and maybe understand their dad a little better.  Now, Max is 2 years old and Dodge will be 6 months in less than a week.  Today is another letter for them to read when they are older:

Dear Max & Dodge,

wpid-IMG_0640.jpgThese are frustrating and rewarding times in my life as well as your mother’s.  This past week we moved you (Max) into your “big boy” room which you seem both excited and scared of.  We moved you (Dodge) into the nursery, and while you sleep better when not disturbed you are clearly having some separation anxiety when you wake…and you wake often as you are teething.  The fall semester of school started last week and your mother has resumed teaching which means Thursday nights are “guys night!”  Right now that means managing chaos and getting you two to bed…but I see the forest through the trees and know one day we’ll be renting movies together, going to events, and eating unhealthy food and not telling Mom.  Seriously…don’t tell Mom.  We wouldn’t be in trouble for eating greasy food…just in trouble if we didn’t save some for her.  She doesn’t like to feel like she’s missed out on something.  Nobody does.

20130825_173204Dodge, I’ve felt like I was missing out on your baby days the same way I felt when Max was a baby.  You are so attached to Mom right now (as you should be) since she is your food source, source of comfort, etc.  I’m just the goofy guy in the background who holds you from time to time.  Then…last night happened.  Max, you’ve been feeling jealous of Dodge because he has gotten almost all of Mom’s attention.  Dodge is a baby and needs Mom’s attention and you are a toddler who doesn’t understand why you are not getting attention.  It is rough to see you want to spend time with her and not be able to…I know I’m not Mama, but because of the new sleeping arrangements you and I have been having awesome bedtime tuck-tucks once you accept that I’m the one who’s going to read the books.  Sometimes when Mom can read the books you won’t go to bed till I come up and kiss you goodnight…you have no idea how much this request from you and the gesture itself means to me.  It makes me feel included.  Last night you (Max) were exhausted from swimming in the pool and were melting down.  I told Mom, “Go ahead, I’ll take Dodge till he needs you.”  So you got your wish…Mom read the books.  Dodge, you started fussing almost immediately.  No joke, you have started crying immediately when you see me because you know you are going to be away from Mommy.  I came over to comfort you and you starting wailing…I mean wailing!  It broke my heart.  It broke my heart to know I couldn’t comfort you, that I couldn’t help Mom more, and that Max wouldn’t get the time with Mommy he seemed so desperately to need.  Then it happened…I sang to you just like I used to when you were still in Mommy’s tummy.


At first, you (Dodge) didn’t know what to think of my singing.  In the past it had pissed you off…one more sign you were not getting Mommy right away.  I added in some rocking and started doing laps around the house slowly.  Family room, back hallway, kitchen, dining room, front hallway, family room…repeat.  Your little eyes moved back and forth with concern and curiosity till you stopped looking at where we were going and started listening to the sound of my voice.  You see, Dada live by a simple mantra nowadays.  Focusing on the past is depression, the future is fantasy (anxiety)…so all we can do is focus on what is happening right now in the present.  You focused on me…right there in that moment and I was focusing on you.  You know what you did?  You fell asleep right there in my arms.  Something you have not done in months.  It has been Mom’s privilege to experience that recently and I forgot how amazing it is.  You gave me a moment to hang onto in my brain and remember forever.  You were perfect.  Mom came downstairs and was in shock to see you asleep in my arms.  You don’t go to bed easily so you were either exhausted or I still have the baby-whisperer magic touch.  Maybe both.  Either way, I carefully handed you off to Mom for your bedtime feeding and you fell right back to sleep.

20130820_231701As I handed you off, Dodge, I heard your brother Max calling me from his new room.  I came in and found you (Max) sitting up in bed waiting for me like a prairie dog.  I crawled in next to you and asked, “Did you hear what Dada was doing?”  You nodded and replied, “Singing.”  I smiled and said, “That’s right, do you know who I was singing to?”  You proudly answered, “Dodge.”  You hugged me tight…you held me longer than usual so I whispered in your ear, “Do you want me to sing to you?”  The smile on your face grew rapidly and you placed a request, “Could you sing Chocolate Jesus.”  You’ve been a sucker for Tom Waits since you were teeny tiny…its your favorite.  I happily obliged.  You rolled over, hugged your stuffed rabbit “Muffin,” and I sang while gently rubbing your back, brushing your hair away from your face, and kissing your cheeks.  You know what you did?  You fell asleep in my arms.  Right there…in my arms…just like you used to when you were a baby like Dodge.  You are a very affectionate little dude but usually you’re moving too fast to get a real hug or a snuggle.  Your mom and I think you might be a shark because sharks will die if they stop moving…but you are not a shark.  You’re my baby boy.

20130824_164723Max, in the two and a half years I have known you…you have opened my heart in ways I had no idea was possible.  You have frustrated me to the brink of my sanity and represent the redefining element of my adult life.  You have caused me to take pause and ponder things…you’ve opened understandings to my father, my mother, and what formed them into the people (and parents) I know them as.  Dodge, in the 6 months I have known you…you have opened my heart further and tested my frustration even more.  I can’t wait to find out what you’ll be like as you get older.  You, Dodge, have caused me to take pause and ponder things as well.  You’ve provided clarity into myself, my relationship with the world, and my relationship to those around me.  You are the youngest of two…just like me, and there is so much I understand now.  Max, you are my first-born and will forever test the waters for Dodge…who will always be vying for your attention and will constantly compete to better you.  You both will constantly yen for my attention, your mother’s, and of course…our love.  I have learned that it is impossible to love your children equally…rather, I love you differently.  Parents say they love their kids equally because they don’t have a favorite and because if you don’t say “equally,” it implies you love one less.  It’s the polite thing to say.  I don’t love one of you less or more…I just love you differently because you are two different people who will forever be part of my life.

Sherpa DadThere are many more of these letters to come and perhaps these are better things for me to leave publicly behind on the internet than my other ramblings as a parent…which you will be able to read some day.  Hopefully what you’ll garner from all this is simple:  Dad loves you very much.  That’s the moral to the story kids.  I’m not perfect, I make mistakes every day, and I’m still growing up too.  We grow till the day we die.  I’m not the same person I was when I started this project called “So Long Freedom” and I won’t be the same person I am today when you read this later in life.  In my life, I have found that the things that are awesome are more awesome when you have someone to share it with.  I thought that was Mom…Kate.  Mom is my best friend, but I have come to realize I want to experience all the awesomeness with you two as well.  We are all on a team.  Someday you’ll hate the things I say, you’ll fear for your life when I drive a car, and you’ll mock your mother and I behind our backs.  I know…because that’s the evolution of things.  However, as your parent I am still somebody else’s kid…and no matter how old I am I will always be their kid and you will always be mine.  Its comforting to know someone’s got my and Mommy’s backs…just like we’ve got yours.  Whatever age you are when you read this…close your eyes.  Listen with your memory.  I’m still singing you to sleep.

I love you both…differently.  Always and forever and as big as you can imagine,


2013-08-26 12.14.01

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