I Finally Fell In Love.


Growing up, the world as I knew it was gigantic. It expanded as far as my legs could peddle to and from. Wooden Fences, dog chains, and no trespassing signs could never limit my explorations. To me, China was Perrysburg and everything I ever truly needed was in a four block radius. Those four blocks were my world and now looking back, that’s why life once seemed so comforting. Living a sheltered life is impossible when you never step foot outside of the shadows. As I grew older, so did the world. Friendships grew distant and traveling depended greatly upon the price per gallon and how heavy my wallet felt. Leaving Toledo was either something you did, or wished you had. With the knowledge of a truly endless world of opportunity, I literally outgrew my own backyard. The world that allowed me to grow into the man I have become, was now limiting me from everything I could possibly ever want in life.

I almost let the love of my life go for something “prettier” and perhaps superficial. I really had a great thing going and it took me nearly fifteen years to realize that Toledo is more than everything I ever wanted. Northwest Ohio is the girl you want to take home to mom and dad. It’s the love of my life that I grew to appreciate and understand the opportunities it has offered. Every day, I see it’s beauty and every day, my world once again begins to shrink. I am no longer reluctant to find comfort within the confines of the only place I will ever honestly call home. We have several small outlining communities that posess all the necessities we need and unfortunately, that does not force us to explore outside of our tiny bubble. The surrounding cities in each and every direction, the metro parks, country roads, and dilapidated barns were all quietly awaiting my appreciation for my Midwest beauty queen.

Specifically pinpointing locations and highlighting must see spots around our city is exactly what limits our imaginations and our appreciation for the simplistic comforts and hidden gems that present themselves all throughout the upper left corner of this great state of Ohio. I can’t possibly imitate the sounds of the tall swaying pines in Oak Openings, the smell of fresh leaves burning in Tontogany, and the horses roaming the open fields in Swanton. I challenge anyone to gas up the truck, pack a lunch, pick out your favorite playlist, roll down your windows and explore what our city and the surrounding areas have to offer. If I am correct, you’ll fall in love as well. Just know that I found her first..

Photos of NW OHIO- Facebook


For: Ever. From: Me.

    I realized the other day that if I were so fortunate enough to have any last words, they would likely be in the form of a question. I was never blessed with the ability to accept the ideals of life’s simplistic foundation and fundamental guidelines. Everything has to have a profound answer and purpose to its existence or an explanation that pushes the boundaries towards reinventing the entire way we view our meaning in this life. I question normal behavior and it’s profound effect on us and how it’s become a superficial concept that may no longer be permissible. I want to be able to grow wings and fly, but I can not. However, that does not detour me from losing sleep over a nonsensical fairytale that I think exists, but I’ve never seen. I have a motion picture that plays in my mind about how I perceive happiness and my desire to share love with another. Perhaps these details have set up such a high expectation that I am bound to fail. It has caused me to walk away from my own hope and become stepped upon for another’s.

    Most love comes from one of life’s most selfish gestures; stemming from how YOU feel with another in order to willingly offer your companionship in return. Other than the love for a child, I have a very difficult time intertwining unconditional with love. Divorces, Infidelity, and distinguishing true love from conformity of comfort with reputation and familiarity. I have read a lot that love lasts merely a few years and then the concept of separation often becomes too unbearable for consideration because your life has been situated and based around/upon someone else. I hope I am wrong. I want to spend the rest of my life with someone so compatible and complimentary that we wouldn’t be able to achieve our dreams without one another. I think the idea of balancing another’s happiness for the rest of my life scares the hell out of me. I think it’s one of the biggest factors in making a successful relationship last and I can’t even balance my own. Till death do us part and forever is something I take extremely serious and perhaps to all fault of my own. I can’t half ass the idea that there is only just one perfect person for me that can complement my life just as I can hers. I can’t settle for anything less.

Broken Hearts and Discarded Toothbrushes

Breaking Bad : A Holiday Tradition

Hi. I’m back. (You know what that entails)

As disheartening as it may be for you, it’s near devastation for me. As I opened up my laptop on the exact night that is designated towards giving thanks, I could still see my fingerprints from months ago upon the keyboard and visualize the desperation in which they were laced with. I could envision my old self once again as the light from the screen beams into my now dreary and exhausted eyes. I failed miserably at writing about the times I have smiled and laughed and loved during this short hiatus. With all apologies to those, if anyone, whom I left in the dark, I was busy living and when you’re living, your sorrows are far to shallow to drown in or consume. I’ve wanted to write about falling in love and how I escaped the deafening silence and self comfort of a broken heart on the way towards self toleration and eventually compatibility. I needed to express the joy of fate and how it brought a photo to life and allowed me an opportunity to break the bad. This did not happen. In fact, it parlayed itself into a tradition that only I could be capable of achieving.

Whether it’s pure coincidence or the moons gravitational pull, I’ve relinquished a lot of relations on or near holidays. I can’t answer why. November has been a near disaster for the Shanteau side of our family and although I do not entirely believe in fate or destiny, I would never disregard fact. I can’t fully understand why we seem to pass away specifically during one particular month over the remaining eleven. What I must tell you, is that life holds a lot of answers and lost puzzle pieces that we are incapable of understanding until quite possibly our time has passed. Unfortunately, I am a firm believer that this is when we finally realize that these missing moments and opportunities were intentionally unavailable in order to mask reasoning and highlight misfortune in hopes of learning and bettering future moments that are forthcoming on a daily basis. Be it in this life or the next. The decisions I have made in my life have all been derived from my willingness to do what was best at that exact moment. Thus, I have never made a bad decision. However, we grow as human beings and transform into something better and unfortunately, time often allows us to reflect back and sometimes regret those decisions. I can only hope that if it was meant to be, then our paths will cross again and allow my regret to relinquish into a second opportunity.

Heartbreak never gets easier. I’ve learned with age, that it’s just a part of life. (and blogs) Whether you’re single, married, divorced, widowed, or all that proceeds, vice versa. Deep down in my soul, I’ve never hated a single person that I have crossed paths with during this lifetime. Two people bond in one form or another and may separate as that initial connection is quickly substituted with thirty four years of trials and tribulation within great detail in a short period of time. I know that physical features, personalities and traits allow us the differential that is necessary to separate one person from another. This guides us towards an opportunity to close the gap between one and the one. It’s helped me to understand that if something does not work out, that hatred and vulnerability need not persist. It’s just an unfortunate set of circumstances that leads use to another. That patience is a virtue within a life that refuses to wait for our permission to officially begin. I’ve held on too long and let go too early. I’ve listened to my heart and also ignored it. What I envision as “life” or “living” when my eyes are closed and my heart is open, is expressed when ever I’m willingly allowed to grace the ground with my foot each morning. That “life” may never happen and that is something I am willing to accept as long as I believe that it can each and every day. That possibility is my greatest asset and it will surround me and comfort me just as much as another had previously.

Tonight, I wondered how many times it takes following off a horse until I no longer want to get back on. How many times do I have to touch the stove before I know it’s hot? Why is possibility burning my finger and extinguishing my desires? How many toothbrushes will I have to discard? Then I realized that without tribulations, I would never get back up. I would never experience what I have and in return, I would not be the person I have become. Slowly, I am trying to grasp the concept that I do not have to get right back up. I can slowly evaluate myself and allow my experiences to relinquish my mistakes thus presenting the positives. I’ve learned that balance in my life is what I desire. I’ve seen my scale tip from one end to another as I tried to find what was missing from one to the other and in return, this has made my life erratic. Thus, I am currently emotionally and physically drained. Possessing patience will hopefully allow me to balance out and even keel my life and maybe, just maybe allow me an opportunity with complete compatibility with another in the future. Permitting me to break the bad and understand that heartbreak does not come with a permanent scar.

Innocence Lost.


In even the most horrific moments in life, I somehow view them differently than most. My heart is heavy and the four words; Hug your children tighter, has been echoed repeatedly throughout every social media outlet I’ve ventured through during the past twenty-four hours. Without reiterating what seems logical and expressing yet another opinion that will go unnoticed due to topical overload, I want to share what goes through my mind. A single, middle-aged man, with no children. I hardly know any details, nor do I want to. Nothing is going to change what has happened, and hopefully we make sure it never does again.

I think about the suspect being born. I think about the innocence of birth and how it will never be as pure ever again as it was in that exact moment. I think about him being held in his mothers arms, as his tiny hands grasp her fingers. I imagine her looking into his eyes and smiling. She thinks about hope and endless opportunity. That without her nurture, he would not survive. I do not know how his childhood upbringing may or may not have contributed to a mindset that no one in this world can relate to. However, I think about how evil is never born. That even the worst souls have loved and felt loved. That at one point or another, he had smiled and brought joy to this world. Unspeakable actions, such as this, will diminish those memories. I am sadden tremendously by the thought that good can turn to evil. That innocence is lost in all sense of the matter; for what was undeservingly taken away from what was once his very own hope. To make strangers suffer in your own pain, instead of realizing that life has choices that do not require the unthinkable action. Hatred is a fuse that effects anyone that does not refuse to contribute wrong by passing it upon the innocent. Let it stop with you. Stand up for the good in what you know exists and defuse the very thought of hatred. Let go of the evils of yesterday, by focusing upon the joys of today.

Roadtrip Confessions – Ultimate Happiness.


Stop. Don’t listen to this if your going to be judgmental. I am by all means capable of taking all the sticks and stones thrown in my direction, but I’m warning you in respect for your own time. Don’t bother with it. Doing something malicious with your time instead of hugging your children or complementing another is not fair to yourself. I know that my blog, photos, and what I write have reached someone. That is enough for me to keep going. Impacting someone, to me, is very rewarding and hopefully someday, I will impact more.

I absolutely hated being in the military. Don’t get me wrong, being near Savannah/Charleston, driving an M1A1 Tank, Shooting a 120mm gun (for the first time), and making a few friendships was about the extent of what I enjoyed. However, what I took from enlisting are life lessons that I carry with me. Possibly never realizing that I had grown, considerably. Traveling, being a minimalist, eating what is offered to me, respect, the ability to function without life’s material objects (including daily showers), honor. And two of the biggest factors: 1. Appreciating what you want in life. You make very little decisions for yourself in the military. 2. Being able to live and cope by myself.

I drove from Portland Maine to Erie Pennsylvania (nearly 11 hours) in a downpour. I had a lot on my mind and things were popping up and I couldn’t write them down. So, I naturally recorded me talking. It was initially meant for notes to write my next blog, but I did not stop. That’s how I know I can write. When I sit down to write, my fingers never stop. They just know what I want to say. I’m not going to lie, I talk to myself occasionally and the rain, coffee, and fruit loops among little sleep had contributed to it. I’m sharing this because I think someone out there is going through what I am. All in all, we are all very similar. We just don’t know it yet.

(This isn’t staying up that long)

Obviously I am not a public speaker and I apologize for using “like” You know”, etc all the time. Just realize that this was intended to be used as notes.

The Stepford Maumee

I am 14 hours, 17 minutes and 851 miles away from the place I call home. I voluntarily missed my first flight (see Changed my Maine) ever. Over a month ago, I had envisioned myself to be somewhere in Myrtle Beach and although that ticket was not purchased with intentions that have led me to cancel, it did make me realize that I am the only one in this world that can guarantee my own happiness. Not my mother, or father, friends or siblings and especially any girlfriend. So, I ran away. Again. Naturally.

Six months ago, I ran far away from home to Wyoming. I diagnosed myself with a broken heart and the only cure was to try to discover myself in one of the most remote places in the entire country. Nearly six months since then, I did it again. My heart is completely broken with the loss in faith. (F’ing show me that fate and hope exists.) Stop making my eyes bloodshot from not sleeping. My clothes dingy from being on a constant go. I haven’t touched my luggage yet. In fact, I slept curled up in my truck reading a book on Bloody Pond Road. Regardless, I’m ecstatic to be on the road because I’m running away from my hometown. I don’t believe in it anymore. It’s a superficial town that pokes fun of anyone that reaches outside of the norm. I apologize for my ramblings but I found my laptop beneath the pile high luggage that accompanied me upon my trip. I have a lot I need to say.

5am: My cat gently paws at my face for food
5:25: I feed him
5:30 Back to bed
7:30 Shower and go get coffee
8:00 Work
8:01 Hope I don’t get yelled at for some mundane incident
8:02 Wonder what I’ll be doing (I’m the odd man out due to lifers)
9:00 Annoying co-worker whistle the theme to Jurassic Park
9:15 Still whistling, but now added loud claps.
10:00 Co-workers turn on multiple tv’s. Max volume different channels. I physically can’t think.
5:00 I leave. Wonder if this “is it”.
5:30 Run
6:15 Shower
7:00 Eat
7:30 Walk
8-10 Depends
11:00 Bed

Repeat. This is my life.

Why do I go on road trips? Maumee is a ritual. Including my own faults, it is a cycle that can never be broken. I’ve tried my hardest to become happy with myself, by myself. I’m god damn close. Why? Because I am finally leaning on myself. I banked my life on another for as long as I can remember and it struck midnight years upon years ago and I’ve spent way too much of my life trying to convince people that the glass slipper belonged to me. I can’t tell you how disappointed I am in trying to help kids out by coming up with an idea and getting no response at all. My requests have gone so unnoticed to the point where I want to just buy pumpkins and give them away to kids. No one donated. Not Meijer (6.4 billion), Not anyone that sells pumpkins (discount or any free pumpkins for donation). I can’t even find a spot to give them away. Maumee is Facebook and I am just as guilty. It’s a hey, hey, hey….look at me!!! What did you say; lifestyle. I’m ultimately defeated.

I met a guy tonight who was quite possibly the nicest guy I ever met. His daughter was a Boston Celtics cheerleader for a few years and she was getting married this weekend in Portland, Maine. He was from West Boston and he went to Amherst until his sophomore year when he dropped out to run from San Fran to Boston, averaging over 50 miles a day. Setting a record. He is a public speaker and talked to me for a considerable amount of time and even buying me a beer. He convinced me that running away is ok, but always run towards what you believe in. I don’t believe in anyone back home anymore. I’m not going to run away, because I’ve imagined myself in every little city I’ve passed along the way on my trip and I can’t see a different answer. I just know that I need to balance my life on my own and I have to now accept this..

Prove me wrong. Someone. Something..

Please Help. Please Read. -Thank you.

This morning was very typical. It began with my three legged cat gently pawing at my face around 5am until I would struggle to get out of bed to feed him. I proceeded to get ready for work and have just enough time to grab a cup of coffee from uptown. As I was nearing work, the morning sun was blinding my still tired little eyes. I reached for the visor and pulled it down just slightly. A set of keys fell down and landed directly into my lap. (Please read blog entry Stranded With My Morning Jacket for an explanation.) At first, I was shocked and that quickly turned into feeling like a complete idiot. However, with a simple suggestion, I felt saved. I know this may sound silly, but for some reason or another, I was not meant to drive home that night. I believe that with all my heart. I can not recall putting my keys up above the visor, let alone why I’d ever put anything up there. So much in life will go unnoticed. In a way, I think we dodge tragedy often. Even during the worst of days, I think there is an explanation that will never be explained. Waiting on a train, spilled coffee, a sick child, or losing your keys. Something that could have happened, didn’t happen. I believe something powerful happened that night. A miserable night that could have been my saving grace.

I’ve been doing better lately. Taking everything one day at a time and keeping busy. I’ve said this before, but helping others makes me extremely happy. I feel an overpowering sense of worth. Before, I’d rely on others to help me, but now I’ve realized that it’s nearly impossible to have an identical sense of motivation and desire as another. Especially at the same time and for the same causes. I have to take this into my own hands.

However, I need your help. I do. Please consider. There is so much you can do and in so many ways on several different levels. I wanted to help others and that was the obvious goal. I’ve been drawn to the idea of helping children and perhaps even with special needs. Helping a foundation in Toledo, was also an ideal objective. I want to do something anyone can do, on their own time, raise money for it, make it fun, and possibly see rewards for your actions. I came up with the concept of simply carving pumpkins and donating $10 dollars to enter it in a contest where everyone can possibly win something. All you need to do is donate $10 dollars, carve a pumpkin, take a photo of it with feedlucaschildren somewhere near it. Done.

The photos will then go on a Facebook page, and Instagram. The most likes wins prizes donated by local businesses and people from within the community (hopefully everyone gets something). From October 1st – October 28th the contest will take place. If you wish to just donate a dollar and not enter, fantastic! All profits (100% go to http://www.feedlucaschildren.org/)

Every year, more than 30,000 children in Lucas County don’t have enough food to eat. When the school year ends, so do the school lunch programs that give most of them at least one meal a day. Poor and hungry, some children are so desperate they dive into dumpsters to search through the garbage for their next meal. Many children and families living in poverty don’t know where to turn for help. “Feed Lucas County Children (FLCC) isn’t a food bank or a soup kitchen. Instead, we’re a foundation that provides children with free meals that are balanced, healthy, and hot. Our program has coordinated a community-wide initiative involving over 80 agencies to offer a safe haven, educational programs, and sports during critical summer months,” says Tony Siebeneck, Executive Director of FLCC. “During the school year, these same agencies count on FLCC to increase the number of children attending after-school learning programs.”

You can feed all the hungry children at one of our food kitchens for…
a day ($63.90).
a week ($319.50).
two weeks it will cost ($868.50).
one month ($1,405.80).
one summer ($3,514.50).
Join us in the fight against childhood hunger. Just $10 per month can feed all the children at a site for two days – and every penny helps.

My goal is to feed enough children for one month. $1,405.80. I spoke with Emily from the organization and she was ecstatic. She asked what organization I was from. I said I wasn’t. She said amazing; we’re onboard.
I desperately need sponsors and donation before the 1st of October. A coupon for a Wendy’s Jr. Frosty, University of Toledo Football tickets, Walleye Tickets, OSU, BG, A free coffee, A free meal, gift cards, a hug, ANYTHING…..anything. If you know someone that can help, please let me know. This means the world to me and I can not allow any more attempts to fall through. Let’s make a difference.

Any information, comments, etc – ericshanteau@yahoo.com

Thank you sooo sooo much! I’m sure I’m leaving out details, but I had to get the word out quickly.