And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by

It has been 9 years since we lost you, Dad. I love you and miss you, so much. Thank you for raising me to be a responsible and accountable man. I could not have survived the past month without your example. Thank you for the example of strength and owning my decisions. I hope I can be something resembling the great dad you are to Van Jr. and Vivie. I also hope I can be a great husband to Abbe like you were to Mom.

They need me.

Thank you, Dad.

Van Sr.

I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face and a grey dawn breaking.

~ Sea-Fever by John Masefield

that’s my wife, that’s my hero, that’s my Abbe

See that proud lady right there? That’s my wife, Abbe.

In this photo, Abbe is holding up her medical clearance to run the Disney Marathon in January 2012. What you can’t see in this photo is Abbe’s tongue which was badly bitten from having two grand mal seizures 36 hours prior to the marathon.

I had run a half and full marathon on consecutive days that year, completing the Goofy Challenge – I was given three medals after I finished the 26.2 grueling miles. Abbe was supposed to have three medals as well, but after hitting her head during her second seizure the day prior to the half, she was not cleared to run the half. Miraculously, she was cleared by the doctors in the ER to run the full marathon the next day.

People often exclaim, “wow, a half and a full on consecutive days?” And I smile and tell them that what Abbe accomplished was 10 times more difficult than my 39.3 miles.

See that proud lady right there? That’s my hero. That’s my Abbe.

Abbe is now almost two and a half years seizure free. I am running the 2016 Philadelphia Half Marathon in honor of Abbe with Athletes vs. Epilepsy. I am seeking to raise $2311 to provide funding for research for treatments that help seizure disorder patients like Abbe. Please consider a donation if you are able to do so.

Funny/Interesting Links…

The Catch

Well, you knew one was coming… if I haven’t bugged you to watch, please consider spending 3 minutes and 40 seconds learning about why I am training so hard for the 2016 Philly Half Marathon. This video describes one of the scariest seizures Abbe had. One which, I literally caught her before she hit the pavement.

This video has a montage of pictures of what my family might have missed if I lost her that day. The music is me using as many of my pedals as possible (I need to get a new pair of studio headphones, it’s tough to get high gain tones and be able to hear the other tracks). It’s crazy to think about how far we’ve come. I’m so proud of my wife. Whenever I’m having a bad day or don’t feel like going for a training run, all I have to do is look at her beautiful face and there’s my motivation.

If you are able to do so, please consider a donation to Athletes Vs. Epilepsy.

Movie Reviews…

War Dogs – really fun to watch. Jonah Hill is great in this.

ARQ – great concept, but kind of a clusterf*ck of a movie.

Funny/Interesting Links…

a thud and a pile of hearts


What was that? I walked to my son’s room yesterday afternoon, the source of the thud. I opened the door and found him in tears.

“What’s up, buddy?”

He was upset after reading his Jags team’s group texts. He misses playing. His teammates are heading up to Connecticut this weekend for their first EJ showcase. Van Jr and I are staying home.

I think after seeing his team play a great game this weekend in their first NJYHL game of the season, it sunk in that he wants to be out there. Van Jr’s days have been spent playing a lot of XBox (too much in my opinion), meals, and doing his exercises to get his leg ready to skate again.

We talked for a while. He needs to change up his daily routine. I explained that I get a little batshit crazy when I stay cooped up in my office too long. We all need to get outside of our air-conditioned electronic cottages to sweat and be human beings.

I pointed out to him that we are going to see Dr. Atanda this coming Monday, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he clears my son to start skating next week. No contact, mind you – just skate with his team. I think that would go a long way to unshrug his shoulders a bit, and I know his teammates would love to see him on the ice, too.

I’m not basing that on anything beyond how well his PT is going, and the activities he is able to do now.

Viv and Abbe have been so great throughout all of this. Abbe is amazing with her ability to enjoy Hurricane Viv and her kinetic, melodious way of bouncing around the house. Her energy is awesome, but sometimes the volume needs to be turned down a notch before coffee, or at the end of a stressful workday.


Viv and Abbe put little Post-It notes with hearts all around the house recently. As I found them (some were hidden), I collected them in a pile on my desk. Whenever life gets a little shitty, I find myself sifting through them unconsciously. I love my girls – they are make the two Vans in the house a lot happier (even if the Van that wears #13 won’t always freely admit it).

Movie Reviews…

The Boy – better than expected. Has the feel of a slow-moving, tense ghost story a lá The Others, but comes crashing down on the viewer with some good jump-scares and action towards the end.

Funny/Interesting Links…

can’t wait to make you filthy

On Friday, I received my Philly Half Marathon race jersey from Athletes Vs. Epilepsy. It is a pristine white tech shirt, and I am going to take great pride in making it filthy during my training. I wore it during my 90 minute run on Sunday, and it’s holding up OK, so far…


I would like nothing better than my race day photo shows me holding my finisher medal, Abbe kissing my cheek, a relieved smile on my face because I hit a new PR and I raised over $2000 for seizure disorder research, and wearing a dirty, loved jersey.

Movie Reviews…

Edge of Winter – I didn’t expect much from this movie, and my expectations were met. Solidly below mediocre.

Independence Day: Resurgence – shooooo-wee, that’s a stinky movie! When the cast attended the premiere screening of this film, I would have to imagine they left the theater fanning behind them from the amazing dump they had just taken on the screen. “Just close the door and leave the fan on for a while…”

Funny/Interesting Links…