Not another typical Tuesday…

The morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001 started like any other day. Things started at our house in Rancho Cucamonga, California around 5am each day. Brenda had been up feeding our infant daughter Allyn, while I got ready for my midday show at KBIG 104 in Los Angeles. The studios were in Glendale, and the drive each way in the morning was a brutish 2 ½ hours.  As I got ready, Brenda had prepared our oldest, Daryn for school. She had just started kindergarten at a catholic school in Pasadena, which was convenient due to my commute. The rule of thumb was, be out the door by 6-6:15, be at work by 9.

A little after 5:45 in the morning, I came downstairs, flipped on the TV in the front room, and walked to the kitchen to make my lunch. I was only half listening when the news broke of a tragic accident in New York. A plane had struck one of the towers of The World Trade Center.  I didn’t pay much attention at first, and didn’t really look up, thinking it was a private plane or something similar.  I then turned to the television, and saw the cameras now trained on the massive firestorm sweeping the building. All I could think of, was that this was a terrible accident and that something had to go very wrong with that airplane. The last thing on my mind, was that it was no accident.

I finished making lunch, when Brenda came down with Allyn and Daryn. Daryn was wearing her school uniform, and we were getting ready to leave.  I showed Brenda the TV, and we both agreed that this was a terrible accident. I walked out to my car, and walked back in just in time to see the immediate aftermath of the impact of the 2nd tower being struck by another jumbo jet. Brenda and I stared at the TV in horror. Instantly, a tragic accident had become an obvious act of war. I looked at Brenda, holding Allyn, and looked down at Daryn…and realized what was going on. Our world, was changing at that instant.

I buckled Daryn into the car, and gave my wife and infant daughter a kiss, and headed off to work and school…not sure exactly of what to do.

As I drove, I stayed with the local news radio stations for updates. There were reports of other hijackings, and the order that all planes must land immediately.  Traffic seemed to move more slowly than ever.  As if the entire world, was in a catatonic state.  I heard the reports of planes striking The Pentagon…a rumor that one was headed for The Capitol or White House…and the chaos that was unfolding 3000 miles away. At that, I thought of the large skyscrapers in Downtown Los Angeles, which were beginning to come into view. Would one of those be next? Even my daughter…who usually chatted idly in the backseat…was unusually quiet.

Then, the unthinkable. The radio crackles with word that one of the towers had…in fact…collapsed. It didn’t seem possible. Just 7 months prior, I had flown to Rochester, New York for a job interview with Infinity Broadcasting…and remember seeing the Twin Towers in the distance as my connecting flights landed at JFK. Now…that skyline was forever changed.  Then…the word of the 2nd tower collapse. I then turned on The Howard Stern Show (which I usually did not listen to in the car with my 5 year old), and heard the actual human reaction to the tragedy…my heart broke hearing the voices of people who had friends who had presumably, just lost their lives.

Sitting in traffic on the 210 Freeway, I looked out over the San Gabriel Valley. Usually, you could see planes lining up for miles headed into LAX, This morning, the skies went eerily quiet.  It was surreal. Eventually, we got off the freeway and took side streets through Monrovia, Arcadia, and Pasadena to get to Daryn’s school. I was unsure if I should drop her off, but saw that many parents were leaving their kids there. It seemed logical, that this school should realistically be one of the safest places for my child that day. I walked Daryn to her class, gave her a kiss, and walked back to my car. As I walked, I passed by the school flagpole. The flag was still at full-mast, and several other parents had stopped to look up. I did the same, said a quiet prayer, and then gave the flag a salute with a tear in my eye.

I drove on into Glendale, arriving at KBIG just after 9. My show started at 10, but we were in full simulcast mode. We were airing audio from Fox News across all of our stations in the building. I went into the studio, with the instruction that we still needed to play spots.  Every so often, I would do a station ID and play a spotblock. That was it. We attempted to play music again at around 1pm, but the word came from corporate to stay with the news feed. We also had a fear that if terror attacks were widespread, what would happen at our building? We were on the 8th floor, but on the ground level…was an IRS office. Fear that the IRS would be targeted began to take hold, and some people opted to leave.  I stayed behind…because commercials had to play.

That afternoon, I picked up my daughter, hugged her tight, and drove home.  Brenda could not sleep, and stayed up each night feeding the baby and watching news coverage.  I tried hard in the passing days to maintain some sense of normalcy, continuing the routine of driving my daughter to school each day, and then working on the air as we eventually returned to the routine of playing the hits.  From time to time, rumors would pop up…that envelopes in our mailroom had white powder in them…things like that which were always unfounded.  But, the images of the television that morning are seared into my mind eternally.

Last Christmas, I was able to visit the 9-11 Memorial with my family, and the memories of that morning all flooded back…as they do each September 11th

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Never forget…

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Forgiveness and Family…

Today, it’s all about forgiveness and family. I KNOW I’ve been, at times, the worst person in the world.  However, those who don’t hear it enough…are my family. Especially, the lovely Mrs. Lance…

She’s been through a lot. I gave up my life for a fantasy. In doing that, I hurt the person who stood by me through everything. The person who was my strength while I spent time in service of the Commonwealth. It sucked what I did, and again…you don’t go out for stale hot dogs, when you have steak at home.

Love you, Brenda! I am sorry… Now, in my own words…

My Private Prison

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It’s not easy…never has been for me.  Just when I think I have something wonderful, I have this tendency to virtually ball it up and throw it in the garbage. It’s a pattern that I’ve seen with myself time and time again. And now, I’ve saved the best for last.

I cannot get into too much detail, but the past month and a half has been the worst of my life, because of my actions and reactions. Now, I am not in a position to restart my life as of yet, because of my actions and reactions. Eventually, yes, but my private prison is the space in my mind where I know what I should have, and could have done to avoid all of this. To those I loved, it feels like I have died. One day, the Lance they all knew and loved was there, and the next…he was just a memory, replaced by a tragic figure.

There are those who meant so much more to me than others in my life…so much more. I will always feel regret for how things turned out with them, and only wish them happiness, and offer my apologies for hurting them. My mind…is a private prison that I cannot escape from, and my memories, are just as vivid now as they were 5 weeks ago.

I’ve been through hell in the past month, with no end in sight just yet…and am doing what I can to change the world for myself, so that I never have to face the experiences that I recently endured, again.

As I said, there are those who I will always remember, some much more than others. I will miss the experiences we all shared, the challenges we overcame, and the team and friendship we all enjoyed. Those memories will never fade.

In the meantime, I believe that God has a plan for all of us. His plan for me, was to take me off of a road that has no good destination, and give me pause.  He knew I could not make the right choice, so he placed me in a position where all I could do, was work on bettering myself. Your prayers, are so very appreciated.

I am exceptional. I must keep reminding myself of that, in order to learn from my mistakes. I will no longer settle for second best, and will make sure that my happiness always comes first. If you feel you may be settling…change your course. I could not in time. I almost settled for a life that I would have regretted, and now I have more regret than I ever could have imagined…

Escape the prison in your mind, while you still can. Here are some articles that will help you do just that…

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-pattakos/escaping-your-inner-menta_b_327332.html

https://www.earlytorise.com/5-steps-to-escape-your-mental-prison/

 

The Road Less Traveled…

Well, here we are again.

July 28, 2017. To say that the past few weeks and months have been odd, is an understatement of epic proportion. Soon, I’ll be posting up some journals and thoughts about the world, and what I’ve been through lately. So be sure to watch this space.  I am getting back to blogging, writing, and also therapeutically putting “pen to paper” so to speak.

The road less traveled, is the one I’ve been on recently…through very, very good times…and very, very sad.  Right now, it’s all about the reset button. Starting over, while remembering those I love and have loved, and promising to be a better person for the good of the world, and for myself. I’ve seen so much negativity lately…both in my personal and professional lives.  I wish that people would realize that nothing is so important that it should cloud your world, yet I saw it all the time. I wish nothing but love to those absent friends, that they find peace and happiness somehow. Trust me, if you want to see true negativity…I wish you could have walked in my shoes this past month.

Keep watching this space. I’ll also post reminders up online of new blog entries. Some of these…will absolutely shock you. 🙂

Be good to each other…prayers are powerful, and love like you mean it.

After all, it is what it is…

Everything old is new again…including my material.

I’ve came to a realization earlier today. That was: “Wait….I have a BLOG?????”  yep, I had all but forgotten (again) that I have this outlet for conversation, creativity, and bacon-related topicality.  I will admit that I had fallen into a trap that everything I say must be in 140 characters or less…but then it hit me. I’m a long-winded freak. So, here we are once again. On the precipice of random thought and expression. Those roads…should sometimes stay parallel, and never…ever, cross. If I wanted to share the inspiration that lead me here today. It’s pretty simple. Throwback. Freaking. Thursday. Yes, just trying to be somewhat creative for Throwback Thursday brought me to a review of photos that I had taken and shared over the years…and after a Lougle search of my name (I prefer to believe the events of “Hot Tub Time Machine” actually happened) , I stumbled on some very cute pictures of the Junior Ballances.

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This is how I will always think of my kids.

I had included this image to a blog post from 2008, where I shared the events of a random day with my family in Birmingham, Alabama. The full post, can be found right…………..here. Notice the easy, breezy way that I tell the story of my youngest, and a not-so-obvious mustard gas attack. I have to get back into that groove. So if, you will indulge me, I will once again share the absurdity that is my thought process in blog form.

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Dammit….I said BLOG form, not POG FORM!

It’s good to be back, America. #tbt

Has it been this long?

How wrong is it that it took me GOOGLING MY OWN NAME before I re-discovered this blog. Wow, my own narcissism, is what brought me back.

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Example of above mentioned narcissism...

I can’t deny that the past 7 years (and especially the past 2 1/2) have been interesting, if not downright scary at times. However, I am in a wonderful place, with a great company, and family that are genuinely excited about coming to Florida to live. For that…I am thankful.

I could go on and on about what has happened in my life since I last explored the blogosphere…about the experiences that life has given me, about realizing what is truly important, and how not to take the smallest things for granted. But instead:

NINJA KITTEH!!!!!!

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Little Friskies...or I pluck the dog's eye out like Pai Mei taught me.

It’s good to be back, America…

Holy crap…

Hello, blogosphere…my old friend…

How long has it been? Quite a while, I guess. If you have been a regular follower of this blog (and if you are…why?) you’ll notice I have not posted a new one in quite some time.I wish I had a good reason for this…but I don’t. So……….deal with my laziness.

I’ll have a more detailed, and humorous post in the next day or two, so until then…enjoy this photo of the awesome power of birds.