Wednesday, February 26, 2014


The last couple of weeks have been a complete whirlwind of crap going on.  Changes at job, big plans for life, possible financial constraints, yada yada yada.  Game face is on 24/7 ready to strike.  No time for good behavior, no days off.  We are here for one reason.  To dominate the obstacles that stand in our way.

The sad thing is some of those obstacles come from out of nowhere.  At sometimes it can be the least expected source of anxiety.  It can be a family member, a friend, someone you are trying to do business with, vendors who may be participating in one of the biggest days of your life.  All this angst is enough to get you down.  I know for a fact I have been teetering between anger and despair.

However, those are feelings, thoughts and moments that last for well a moment.

To keep a guy like me down, you need a gun, a knife, duck tape maybe.  If you don't have them, don't bother showing up to the party because I am determined and driven to do good things for the people who matter most.

Sure, you may try to crap on my special parade.  You might be jealous of what I have accomplished and wish you could do it as well.  You probably could but you don't have the balls to do anything but sit around and bitch.  You wish you could find sollutions like I do.  You wish you could get back up and run like I do.  And most of all, you wish you could smile like I do.

The funny thing about the haters, if they could just take a step back and see what they are angry about, they will find it pales in comparison to the positive they could find it they would look for it.

The keys to life are love, support, belief, and faith.  If you can find these four things, you let stuff like this roll off.  No matter how hard the storm blows.  No matter how much venom they shoot at you.  No matter what they try, you have it all.  You are the best.  You can do whatever you want.  Push through the wall of problems and end up in the room of happiness.

Life is a fight 24/7.  Put your gloves on and box your way out of the issue.  You will be the champion.  Sometimes it may take one round, but others it can take a hundred.  Even if people close to you are trying to jump on your cloud and make it your own, remember they can stay they for a while, but its your cloud and you make the rules.  If they don't want to rules, pray they have a parachute on their way down.

You want in my house?  Fine.  You can drink the coffee, but you don't have to leave if you don't like how it tastes.  The people who stay in the house are the ones you can love, support, believe in and faith they will be there for you, always.

You piss me off but you won't ruin my shine.  Be productive.  Work on your shine rather than ruining mine pallie.

Mike C

Monday, February 24, 2014


There are times in life when things just happen and you do your best to go with it.

Sometimes they are good things and sometimes bad.

Life is a series of situations or as they say in the counseling world "neutral prompts."  Your reaction dictates the outcome of unexpected event or situation.  It's always good to keep an open mind everyday you live.  You never know what is going to happen.  Sometimes you may be sitting in a car and some jabroni hits you, other days you are sitting in your office and a bomb drops on you.  Not a nuclear bomb, but something really fricking cool happens.

It's these moments in life where you want to enjoy these moments.

I always try to maintain my life with these three simple principles.

First, always be kind to everyone.  No matter what.  Even if they piss you off.  Yes, Capone said you can get further in life with a kind word and a gun than just a kind word alone, but we don't all have guns because we don't need them, yet.  Killing people with kindness is always more advisable than killing people with guns.  You can always go back from giving kindness with more kindness, and there is no jail time involved.

Secondly, if you do get a gift or present from someone, always appreciate it.  Like Christmas bonuses for instances. I can't stand when people say "oh my Christmas bonus sucked."  You work at a job where you are guaranteed payment for the job you perform.  You get a bonus because it's a bonus. Many people out there get no Christmas bonus.  Therefore be grateful that you did, and love life.

And third, when you get surprised, act accordingly.

Life is about enjoying those little precious moments, and when someone gives you something, be thankful.  They thought of you for some reason.  Pay it forward, and always be respectful, kind, and humbled.  It goes a long way.

Mike C

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Here in Chicago, four words best sum up the winter.  This weather really sucks.

We have had polar vortexs, huge snowfalls, only to be followed up by a storm going on now with lots of wind and rain to boot.  I keep hearing the wonderful sound of our sump pump and the wind banging on windows.

The weather can make you depressed.  I really wrestle with it every winter.  I need to be surronded by sunshine constantly.  This is a huge reason why I want to move to Florida.  Hawaii, if not so expensive, would be a viable option as well.

However some times you play the hand you are dealt and you try to make the best of it.  And sometimes you need to be grateful of a few things and it puts it in perspective for you.

The winter night can be quite a sight, and many out there cannot see it because they are blind.

I don't have to be in the cold 24/7 because I am fortunate enough to provide that for my family, but many are not as lucky as me.

I drive my car to work, some people have to walk.  Worse yet, there are some people who cannot walk.

Many people spend this time of year alone.  I have a family that I can share good times with.

I am reminding myself that I am blessed.  Although I wish I can be somewhere else right now, I can't become depressed or spiteful because of the climate.  Weather is a problem we all deal with in some capacity.  I thank God that I can breath the cold air that's suffocating but I can go inside and walk it off.  There are others not as lucky.

Climate won't change me, and I pray to God he help those who need help.

Mike C

Monday, February 17, 2014


How nice can you be to someone?  Can you put yourself out there to really help?  Have you ever?

Tonight I was on a long trek home after a couple of appointments and I stopped at one of my favorite places, Pita Inn.  I went to get a sandwich and there was this woman who ordered food for her family and they kept telling her something was wrong with her credit card.  She plead with the cashier to run her card again and he did, but it was the same result, declined.  She ran outside frantically to call her husband and came back in to say that her husband said there was enough money.  The cashier disagreed.  She seemed very upset.

I went into my pocket, whipped out my credit card and paid for her meal.  The cashier and the woman didn't know how to react.  When asked why, my response:

You can't go into the Pita Inn and leave without food.  

The woman was very grateful and she thanked me and left.

One of the things I have learned in life is when you put positive energy into the universe, it comes back.

I got Jersey to sleep tonight and then had to go outside to shovel my driveway buried under at least a foot of snow.  I got halfway through it with my shovel when my neighbor across the street walked over and asked if I could use help.  He had a snowplow.  I said sure and he came over and finished off the driveway.  We introduced ourselves, shook hands, had a beer and called it a night.

A nice end to a trying day of white knuckle driving.  I did not get home until late, but I did get to hang out with the kids a little bit, and saw my beautiful soon to be wife as well.

It's days like this that are special.  When you put that positive energy into play and it comes back.  You pay it forward, and someone follows you.  From what I hear it was a crappy movie, but the concept was simple and wonderful.

Find ways to take care of people when you can.  Whether you fill up their gas, help them with food, hold a door open; every move you make can and will affect others around you.  It's always important to think about what you would like someone to do.

There is so much negativity in our world.  However, we can all make a difference together if we learn how to watch out for each other, and make life better for one person per day.  

I started this today.  It's up to you to never break the chain.  Keep the movement alive.  Do something wonderful for someone.  Random acts of kindness can be the best thing in someone's day.  Life is about making people smile.  

So make someone smile today.

Mike C

Sunday, February 16, 2014


"All the noise and everything out there, you can get whiplash if you allow yourself to."-Erik Spoelstra

As you may have heard, Vicki and I are getting married in roughly 6 months or so.  The journey so far has been fun, challenging, and without a doubt, one of the biggest tests in our lives.  Not due to our love for each other, but all the stress that comes with planning an event.  The financial end, the advice, the not knowing what is the best course of action, etc, etc.  This is our ride.

What is your ride?  What is your dream?

Did you ever engage yourself in something that takes over everything else in your life?  Have you ever looked for support and what you got back was limited?  Did you ever try to get on that bicycle and start pedaling down the trail, only to have your team mates tell you you took the wrong path?  How about when you ride down that path, one of your team mates decides to stop and then take their bike and go home?  Then there's that time where you need to stop riding because you know the trail is going to get treacherous and you have to mentally prepare yourself for what's ahead of you, but one of your team mates insist that you go forward, and if you don't, you're not part of the team, and you never really did anything to contribute in the past.  You also think about the times you assembled your team and some people didn't even want to be in it.

That my friends is noise.  The noise allows you to focus on it.  To hear it can break you.  You get distracted and focus on it.  Most of the time, it is so overwhelming it is impossible to ignore.  The fever pitch of it can make you feel hopeless, hurt, angry, upset, insecure, and worst case scenario, defeated.  Noise can be a bad thing, however it can be a motivating factor to attribute to achieving victory.

I heard something new in the last month.  When someone says I can't, I say watch me.  Since I have heard that, I have decided that is one of my rallying cries.  I have spent my life proving people wrong.  I have achieved when many said I wouldn't.  I have dreamed and lived it.  I am very fortunate and blessed to have the life that I have and that God has given me the sense of direction and purpose that I have.  As I have said many times before, we are all blessed.  We were given another day.  Every time we wake up in the morning we are blessed to listen to the birds sing, smell the air, and enjoy our families company once again.

So why we would let a little thing like noise get in the way of that?

In life, some people aren't going to be supportive, no matter what their role in our lives are.  They can be as thin as that dude you grew up with, or thick as your immediate family, not everyone is going to do the right thing all the time, and sadly stated, will never do the right thing ever.  The only thing you can focus on is will you do the right thing?  Will you show people you love that you care?  Will you be there on the side of your team mates and partners?  Will you ride down that path with them if they pick it despite how you feel about it?

Once you do that, you know that you rock.  And you is what matters here.

So find that volume knob and turn the down noise.

And turn up the greatness that is you.

Mike C

Sunday, February 9, 2014


"An accident doesn't exist when it comes to automobiles.  There are only collisions.  Accidents are not preventable.  When collisions happen they're a result of poor decision making."-Some guy in a traffic school class that works for the National Safety Council.

Whether this is true or not, isn't the point of this post.

I was on my way home, family in car.  We just enjoyed a nice dinner at Mandiles in Algonquin and stopped by Meijer to pick up a few things from the store.  On our way home, a young kid didn't allow me enough time to make my turn and turned right into me.  Everyone in the car was OK.  Not much damage to my car, but the steering seems off, so I'll have to get that checked out.

When I got home, I really thought about the collision.  I thought about the speed in which it happens.  Vicki and the kids didn't see it coming.  I saw him start to turn before I completed my turn and I accelerated a little bit, but he may not have been paying attention so he bopped me.  He got the rear drivers side tire.  If I hadn't accelerated, he would have hit my door or worse yet Avery's.  The kid had to be at about 5 MPH or so.  He was leaving a stop sign.

Now think about it if the guy was cruising down the road at 35-40 MPH and hit me.  What would have happened then?

You see the point here is that it can all change for you in the blink of an eye.  Here one second, gone the next.  You may be walking across the same street you walked across for ten years, and you get hit one day.  It's good to be vigilant and watch out for oncoming cars, hazards, things like that, but I can think of one thing you need to be.


Always be grateful every day that God has allowed you another day to live and make the most of what you have.  That your number has not been called yet.  In a split second, you can be gone, and everyone you leave behind feels pain.  It was one split second when my mother passed out in a huge office building and help didn't reach her quick enough and just like that.  She was taken from me.  She fought for ten days to live, but she just couldn't do it.

This is why I exercise and make a conscious effort to eat right every day.  For my family.  I accept the life God has given me.  I will make the most of it and I will encourage others to think carefully about decisions.  I encourage you all to show a great deal of love to those closest to you.  It was once said to me "end every meeting with the people you care about on a positive note."  It's true.  I love my three girls and I make sure every night they know that.

A collision takes a second.  A life can be taken in a second.  However it only takes a second to express how much you love.  Take more than a second and make sure they all know.

Mike C

Friday, February 7, 2014


So have you found love in your life?  I did.  Almost 21 years ago.

First off, full disclosure.  I used this title because Slide In It is a kick ass album.

OK, it was a hot summer night in 1997. She showed up to my doorstep with a buddy.  I wanted her to come back the next day and have pancakes with me.  She thought I was weird.  She thought I was trying to blow her off.  We eventually got together and went out and hung out.  It was awesome.

She taught me so many things about life.  However, 7 seven years after we got together, she taught me the most important thing.

There was a good guy inside of me that could be loved.

Through our ups and downs, the craziness in our lives, and challenges that were thrown at us.  There was one thing that always was in the back of my mind.  I have always been crazy about her.  And 21 years later, you bet your ass I still am.

So why did we wait 21 years to get married?  Easy, marriage was never important to us.  She always said "I don't God and the law to back up how much I love you."  However, we are due for one hell of a party.  And the kids are going to love it.

We want this to be a special day not for a new beginning for us.  It's a celebration of a candle that has burnt bright for decades.  We complete each other.  She is my absolute best friend.  My partner in crime.  The mother of my children.  The closest thing I have ever had to a sister, and thank God she isn't my sister.  That would be wrong.  I feel I have grown leaps and bounds since my teenage years and early twenties, and I owe much of this to her.  Sometimes I don't think she understands the gravity she has had in my life.

So this wedding coming up isn't me finally throwing in the towel and making her an honest woman.  She is the most honest woman I know.  This isn't her trapping me.  She had me trapped the day she met me.

Hope you're ready to celebrate love.  Hug your family, friends, and significant others.  Love is everywhere.  You just need to find it.  I hope you do.  In the meantime, celebrate us.  Two wonderful kids came out of it.

Mike C


I believe you need to work hard to make things work.

Just because you work hard doesn't always mean it has to be hard.

It is 2:26 am and I am still awake.  I just nailed down an expense report for my job, filled out some other paperwork, gone over the contract for my wedding, made rice krispy treats for Jersey to take to school, got some clothes together and manly ironing them (using the wrinkle free cycle in the dryer) and getting ready to crash.

Sure I'm tired but damn do I feel accomplished.

That sense of accomplishment is like a high to me.  We are starting a new contract at work and I am chomping at the bit to get it off.  This along wth other occupational challenges are pushing me to points I never thought I would go.  It helps me discover strength I never had.

Every person on this Earth has that something inside of them that gives them the push.  That motivational to get shit done.  Luckily that's the case for most of us.  In other parts of the country/world, its a will to survive life.  To breathe, to thrive.  Many of us don't need to worry about it and take the gift of life for granted.  I know I say over and over again, every day is a fricking gift.

I just wanted to say to you that working hard is fun, as long as its for the right reasons.  I also need to remind you the importance of finding time to relax and do things for yourself.  Sometimes you need to tell the job enough.  Set some boundaries.  It is very difficult, but it needs to be done.  You need time to play hard as well.

The most important thing to work hard at is enjoying life.  Spending time with loved ones.  Laughing and enjoying as much as you can.  Always remember that is the one job you have that never goes away, and pays you tenfold more than some corporation can give you.

Mike C

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Last week was the first week of February, and the week of sickness in the Caserno household.  It was tough.  I haven't gotten a chance to get to talk to you about engagement, life, things to come, and parts of our exciting journey.  This is because Vicki got sick first, then me, then Jersey.  Somehow Avery managed to escape the hurlarama.  Good for her.  She's the youngest Caserno, so she shouldn't have to.

Yes we were sick.  Hell, at this time, most of America is sick.  However for most of us, there is something really beautiful about being sick.

We have a chance to become better.

Many people in this world stay sick forever.  They stay sick until they die.  My family and I have the grace of God to rebound from sickness.  You feel like you're going to die, but when it's over, you feel thrilled you have the chance to live again.

The way I chose to decide to live, I went and kicked my ass at Insanity, got myself to the office, and get back in the groove.  I am enjoying time with my family, and counting the days until we have a ceremony to celebrate our love.  I will touch on that one more tomorrow, however for now...

Remember that each moment in life is a gift.  Wellness is a gift that should not be taken for granted.  You need to take care of yourself for not only you, but the ones you love, and love you back.  Time is precious and time needs to be spent enjoying life rather than worrying about it.

That is what went through my mind as I drove to our possible venue on Sunday sick out of my mind.  That and the oh shit I might throw up feeling.  However, I ate a peppermint.  At first disturbing, but I started to feel a little less queasy.  Then we headed home, I went right to bed and zoned in and out.  However, the best moment of the night is when little Avery jumped on top of me, waking me up, and Vicki saying "Avery I said you could snuggle on him, not jump on him."  I hugged her back and fell back to sleep, and woke right up.

It's moments like that I love and I cherish.  It's why I work out.  It's why I watch my eating.  It's why I try to be well.

It's the reason I strive to get and feel better.

Mike C

PS: My new friend that I didn't know existed when I went to High School teaches classes at Lifetime (she's kick your ass which is always good) started writing.  Her blog contains shit you should write down.  Check it out.  Her first piece is amazing.  I will list her link here.