Few things motivate me to expand my mind quite like a stack of neglected magazines, the prospect of quiet time and a roll of extra-plush toilet paper. So yesterday morning, when Mrs. Lycke was shuttling “Baby Mozart” to her “Orchestra” class (God forbid I call it “band” ever again…) I found myself camped out in the smallest room of our home catching up the latest male fashion trends courtesy of this month’s “Esquire.” First, and foremost, I really should not mock Madeline’s orchestra class. Little does she know, but that violin presently represents what might be best referred to as the “Madeline Ann Lycke College Fund.” And if Plan A doesn’t pan out, we will be looking for a circus.  Or a generous benefactor willing to make an interesting trade.

Believe it or not, I am the recipient of no fewer than six magazines delivered to my home on a monthly basis.  That is a serious time commitment.  As a matter of habit, I always start at the back of the magazine and work backwards through it– the theory being that whatever the magazine’s editor construed as an after-thought I usually find more interesting.  The back pages of November’s “Esquire” feature an in-depth article and a colorful pictorial spread of actrerss Mila Kunis.  Ever since I was forced to watch “The Black Swan” my fascination with her could best be described as unhealthy.  She is hot.  According to the article’s author she is “The Hottest Woman Alive.”  I find fault with this, as this writer has obvious never met the Honorable Judge Marilyn Milian.  Or Suki Lycke. (Shadow mission.)  Anyway, the fact that she is hot is about to become very significant.  Did I mention she is hot?  About half way through the article I realized that, despite being jagged to the gills on strong, black coffee, my legs had fallen asleep.  Ordinarily, not a big deal.  ‘Cept this time the numbness, coupled with my intense interest in the material i was reading, precluded me from noting one important detail:  Stella, our fluffy, white Cockapoo had been heartily lapping at my toes for an undetermined amount of time. 

I know exactly what you are thinking: “Jeezus, Lycke.  That’s disgusting.”  And you would be absolutely accurate with that assessment.  But honesty and my maker compel me to tell you, that this was not my first reaction.  Instead, I said to myself: “Jeezus, where’s the fkn camera when you need one!”  And there’s a reason why.

I like to get pedicures.  I tell people it’s because I am a diabetic and it’s important for me to keep my feet healthy.  Which is true.  But the Diabetes doesn’t explain why I like to get them painted.  Brightly.  And bejewelled.  With flowers.  Sometimes I can be a bit of a fancy boy.  And my wife loves me just the way I am.  Back in early September I had them painted a rusty orange color to match the ferrous soils of Oklahoma, where I traveled to compete in some athletic events.  The month or so since, my bear claws have grown.  And the once vibrant orange hue has now eroded to an eerily yellowish color.  So as I folded over my Mila Kunis article to observe that fluffy white dog lapping away at my tootsies, you would have thought she was sucking on a pile of Brach’s Butterscotch candies.  The kind you see pictured at the top of this entry.  Hilarity!  And just in time for Halloween. BTW, in the interests of public safety, I’ll be getting another pedicure this weekend.  And I’m taking suggestions on what the next color should be.

Programming note:  I anticipate the legendary perm pic will be getting posted later today.


I have pepperoni nipples.  I’m also Type II Diabetic.  Oh, and I can’t get grass to grow in my front yard, either.  I wanted to get these unpleasantries out of the way right out of the gate, because everything else in my life, for now, is gravy.  Madeline’s mother and I dote on her, too much.  But one of things that makes us extra proud of her are her manners.  The many, many years and those countless requests for “Pleases” and “Thank Yous” are bearing beautiful fruit. (Mom, you were right!)  And her gratitude is gorgeous.  While I am somewhat saddened by how much she resembles an actual person nowadays, my spirit sores when I hear her interact with other adults.  She is the most polite person I know. 

Oftentimes I need to remind myself to enact upon myself that which I duly enforce unto my own– To always make my “Thanking” voice exponentially louder than my “Asking” one.  I have been doing a whole lotta askin’ lately.  And someone’s been doin’ a whole lotta givin’.  Now is the right time to dispense as much gratitude as my human spirit can muster. 

A quick story:  I met Suki Lee Kera my sophomore year at O’Fallon (IL)Township High School.  I was immediately drawn to her because she was such a breath of fresh air.  And so remarkably different from the others:  Styled to the nines, impeccably well-groomed (her hair always resembled spun silk) and a smile that could ignite ice.  Our personalities meshed well too:  I was funny.  And she enjoyed laughter.  Me- 15 years old.  She was 16.  And now, 24 years later, I am grateful to be blessed with having met my soulmate so early in my life.

Anything worth having in my life, I have because of Suki.  The patchwork quilt of my life is held together by the stitches she has sown into me.  That includes some pretty shitty patches.  Over the last several months I have had a litany of events transpire that has converted me into being a believer of the impossible.  The “House of Craig” has now been rebuilt– Walls reinforced, roof lifted.  But the house’s stable and dependable foundation always remained unchanged.  It was not broke.  So it did not need fixing.  But it certainly deserves acknowledgement for the support it provides.

Suki, this is my thank you to you.  I should express my gratitude everyday, but sometimes I forget what is obvious.  And as I listen to my favorite song, I am reminded that you are the poet in my heart.  And that my spirit soars because you have given it wings.  Thank you!