Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Yes, today is the day that I officially become a grumpy old man (though I've been working up to it of late). I'm not having a big celebration for this occasion, as I did on my 30th birthday (when the police came to shut down the karaoke party after some loud, after-hours singing of Bread songs). I'm not depressed about this turning into a new decade, but I'm frankly just more focused on this little side project that Mrs. F and I have been managing these past (almost) 4 months:

Sleepy Sofian

Plus, I had a great surprise party out on Sinclair Island with some of my closest friends just last week (complete with gnome candles, whole wheat shortbread cookies full of buttery deliciousness, and some of my favorite Belgian beer), so I feel satisfied on the party front.

At the suggestion of our pal The Velvet Bulldog, I've been trying to put together a list of 40 songs that have been either influential during my life or just constant favorites. I've got a fairly late stage draft, but it's not ready (that's what happens when you've got the aforementioned little project to deal with). I'll be working on wrapping that up and figuring out the best way to publish that here. But until then, here's a tune that's become one of my theme songs in life -- "I've Got a Plan" from the Aussie band My Friend the Chocolate Cake:

I also want to note some special people in my life to whom I'm very thankful for:
  • Mrs. F, the love of my life. I would be lost in a dreary, dreary haze without her. I truly am the luckiest man I know (and she would agree).

  • Lil' F, the new light to my life; here's to another 40 years learning how he ticks.

  • Harry & Doris (aka, Babe), my paternal grandparents, who rescued me at a low point in my life and helped me to blossom by sending me to St. Olaf College. I also want to especially acknowledge Harry, the sole surviving grandparent, who turns 85 tomorrow. As I move forward through life, I find that I'm applying more and more of the lessons he doled out over the years. My grandmother would always say, "My Harry can do anything." I aspire to that for my own family.

  • Charles & Ruth, my maternal grandparents, who were equally helpful in getting me grounded in high school and sending me off to college. My grandmother always worried that I'd never marry anyone because I was a rather picky eater as a youngin'. I just wish shee could see all the food I eat today, and be amazed by my lovely wife.

  • Mom, the Reverend Dr. Ann E.P. McElligott -- a phoenix who rose to heights I'm sure she never thought she'd attain along with her husband Tom, one of the wittiest gentlemen I know. She's also one of my best friends.

  • Dad, Jhanos of Arabia -- the wanderer who laid the groundwork for my roots; I'll take the best that I learned from him and impart it to Lil' F.

  • Old Fogey (aka, my step-mother, Mrs. F's Mom) -- a good friend with a tireless energy to try to make the world a better place for all.

  • Jeff and Judy -- my uncle and aunt, who truly are my siblings; they keep the Schmitz family glued together and I'm very thankful for that.

  • The Canon Valley Guys, my roommates from later in college and great friends ever since:
    • Wardo -- a traveling companion, fellow music lover, and a man who reminds me to be passionate about the important things in life (politics, art, The Police)
    • DGA -- despite his Brussels address, it's like we still live down the hall from each other
    • DC -- I think I still owe Pastor Dave some money from backgammon; I'll always be thankful for his introduction of Bruce Cockburn to my life
    • Lapp (aka, Mean Old Uncle Louvis) -- everyone needs an arch-nemesis in life, and Kevin does a great job at it; the only man who could convince me to willingly fold myself into a sofa bed

  • Sue -- with the smash of an alarm clock, she taught me that I'm not bound by time (thought I still have to occasionally re-learn that).

  • Scratch & EO -- constant companions through my many ups and downs during my 15 years in Seattle; happily, they're very understanding when I get too hot and have to strip down to my boxers.

  • Tina & Ryan -- the two of them have been a welcoming presence in my life for a good long while; DJing their wedding was a high point of my life.

  • Our community of friends in Seattle: Keri (The Velvet Bulldog); Babu & Jeannette; Hammen & Forse; Jon & Becca; Megan & Lindsay; Tobin & Becca; Kat; Eric & Scott & Isaac; Mike & Richard

  • Our community of Seattleite friends who are no longer in Seattle: Adam & Korey; Adam & Jessica (RovCo); Kari; Brad & Sarah; Jolene & Peter

  • Linda Strohmier -- a colleague of my Mom, she became a friend of mine while here in Seattle at St. Mark's Cathedral. Linda was instrumental in starting me down the road toward recovery from depression. She's now passed on, and both my Mom and I miss her much.

  • Toby Malina -- she took a chance on me for a job (Thunder Lizard Productions), and it changed my life and fortunes in many ways.

  • Jeff Carlson and Glenn Fleishman -- my freelance officemates (previously in the physical sense; now virtually through chat software), who have invited me along for work projects and helped me to become a better writer/editor/freelancer.

  • The Thunder Lizard Gang, where it all started -- Steve Broback, Steve Roth, Brett Baker, Michelle Dionne, David Blatner, Ole Kvern, Dom & Suzanne, Marcy... heck, even Artis and Pearcy (wonder how long he had my old car)

  • The Amazon Gang (some of whom were coworkers, and now they employ me) -- Cara (with whom I worked on many CTSU projects; aka, Clean This Shit Up), Hammen, O'Neil(!), Alexis, AraJane, Shane, Mikesell, Porter, Stoesz, Patricia, Mr. Brown, Jill, Molly, Riani, Creighton, McFadden, Trinen, Groebner, Brucia, Aric

  • Burl Gilyard and Tony Dodge -- my musical mentors from high school; I'd love to find you guys again and talk tunes

  • And finally, Craig D. Rice -- my freshman college roommate, without whom I would not have my name today