LONNA


Lonna tirelessly continues to care for her parents, who will be 91 and 89 years of age in the spring of 2015. Those that are the primary caregivers for their parents know how physically and emotionally challenging this is. She is still working at Greenleaf JTS in a managerial role, which also has its challenges. She completed her ninth year there in December.

 Speaking of challenges, Lonna's niece Kristin, got her to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge last summer.

 
 
 
 

ADAM, TALYA, VIENNA & CAMERON

 

Adam, Talya and the kids are doing great! Parenthood took on a whole new meaning when Cameron came along. Vienna was not always friendly towards Cameron in the first months of his arrival. For the longest time, his name was "No Baby, No Baby!" meaning she didn't want him near her, and certainly not touching anything that she felt belonged to her, which was... everything. I think things have improved, but she still is not 100% convinced he needs to be around. Cameron, on the other hand, is so happy-go-lucky by comparison. Nothing phases him. (The pictures below seem to capture their personalities. Vienna = concern. Cameron = carefree.)

 

Vienna enjoyed her second birthday on September 28th. This pic was taken in October.

Cameron enjoyed his first birthday on Christmas Day. This pic was taken in August.

Invasion of personal space happens no matter where you are in the house.

 

This one below brought tears. April, 1976 and November, 2014.

Note the left hand on both Adam and me. Same angle of all four fingers and the thumb. (Not staged.)

I had the opportunity to go to North Hollywood shortly after Cameron was born. It was the weekend of the Super Bowl Golfkon Tournament held in Adam & Talya's back yard. It was a brief trip but I at least got to meet Cameron and see everyone again. We managed to get a pic of me with Cameron and Vienna.

I actually qualified for the tournament, but unfortunately, it didn't count. I played my best game (6 under) the day before, while I was practicing with Adam and my nephew, Jimmy. How about these scores!

The tournament was videotaped, of course.

(You may recognize the recording Adam used for the opening.)

 

 

Thanks to our iPad and FaceTime, we are able to see our grandchildren often. Here's a short video.

 

 

KENNY & AMY

 

 

Kenny and Amy celebrated their second year of marriage in October. Both are working very hard in their fields. Amy works as a paid intern at Interhack while she continues to work towards her Bachelor's Degree in Cyber Forenseics. Kenny continues to be one of the top mechanic/technicians at Slow Motion Motor Sports. He invited Lonna and I to an event the company held back in September. Being a fan of cool cars, both new and old, I put together a little video of the event.

 

 

BILL AND BILLY

Dad is hangin' in there. He's still an avid Buckeye Football fan and still walks twice a day around his neighborhood. Here he is pictured with his grandson and namesake, Billy, in November.

   
 

THE CREATIVITY CONTINUES

Our goddaughter, Meghan, continues to show her creative side. In January, she was given awards for her artwork at the very prestigious Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD). She is now 19 years old.

Meghan went from brunette to somewhat blonde in November.

 

 

FOUR STATES, FOUR GENERATIONS, FOUR FAMILIES

Christmas 2014 was quite a celebration. Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New Jersey and Maryland were all in Ohio. I'll let the video tell the story.

 

 

 

 
 

Being a part of this organization continues to be a blessing in my life. I really look forward to performing with the In Spirit band each month. Joe Lambert and Joanne Blumm are always so gracious with all of us. They became the proud owners of two golden retrievers who are now a little over a year old. THIS is quite a selfie!

We had the pleasure, once again, to perform with Eddie Watkins, Jr., former basssist for the Temptations, at the June 1st Saturday Chant. In Spirit Ministries recorded the event.

(Click on a song title to hear the track)

Joanne wrote a book back when she was the minister of Untiy East Church in Pickerington, OH. I highly recommend it. It can be purchased at Amazon.

 

 

 

I continue to perform either as a pianist or a special music artist once a month at the Unity Church of Delaware.

Much like the people who attend the 1st Saturday Chant, this congregation is very open and inviting. If you are seeking a truly spiritual environment without all the confines of organized Christendom, take a drive north to Unity. You will not be disappointed.

 

 

Kyle Clark and I worked together at MAPFRE Insurance for over six years and in the same department for three years. I consider him a good friend and wanted to mention him in this year's page. Lonna and I were invited to his wedding but were unable to attend because we were in Memphis, TN. He married Lynsey Sartin, a girl he's known since his college days. The two children in the picture, Aubrey and Crew, are from Kyle's previous marriage. He now works for Hatfield Volkswagen as their Finance Manager. Occasionally, we meet for lunch at Chipotle Mexican Grill on Georgesville Road for a "much needed" burrito and some good conversation.

 

 

 

I'm now in my 8th year at American Commerce Insurance Company, that markets its auto, home and life policies under the brand name MAPFRE Insurance. The pace is very hectic and there are many nine and ten hour days. My licensing duties are the same as last year, only we've added nearly 200 new agencies and God only knows how many new sub agencies and producers since I have been in this role. In 2013 we added 105 new agencies, which more than doubles the previous year and more than quadruples any years prior to 2012. There are times when the work seems overwhelming but I continue to hang in there.

Welcome to Corporate America, Michael.

 

Studio Artists has been busy this year with smaller projects - mostly video and some website building. In addition to outside projects, I had an opportunity to create the projects you see above with Adam, Talya and the grandchildren, Kenny at his Slow Motion Motor Sports event, the Christmas Reunion and one below about how Lonna and I needed a recent picture for our online Christmas card.

 

 

TGL is now in its eighth year and shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, as of December 31st, we are very fortunate to already have 42 bookings confirmed for 2015.

2014 saw the retirement of one of the founding members of the band, drummer Joe Holton. He was very dedicated and brought many good musical ideas to our repertoire.

This summer, we were interviewed by the local ABC/FOX TV affiliate before our performance at the Whitehall Food & Truck Festival. Joe had an opportunity to speak about his connection to the community. TGL even had a chance to do a little acapella preview for the event.

 

Our new drummer is the talented Marty Brasington. He quickly learned over 80 songs to be ready in only one month. He brings a great new energy to the band. His character, personality and sense of humor have endeared him to our fans. All we hear is how "...he fits right in..." with the rest of the band.

Since we didn't have a chance to have new photos done before the end of the year, I did my "Photoshop Thing" and put him in an existing photo.

An interesting side note: Marty auditioned for POWERLINE in 2010, but we were not ready to start performing live and he was looking for a band that was more prepared to start working. What I remember most about that audition is how extremely well he played the material we asked him to learn. We even threw tunes at him that we had not asked him to learn, and he played them perfectly.

I want to mention this wonderful organization that was founded only two years ago and has already raised nearly $20,000 for breast cancer awareness with only two events - one in 2013 and another in 2014. Studio Artists Productions created their website and also produced the video for the 2014 event using pre-recorded video from others. To learn more, please go to the website: www.bandsforlove.com. TGL has been a part of these events both years and will be there again in 2015. Here's the video from this year's event.

 

 

   
 

I was contacted by an unknown niece of an unknown step brother who had no idea I existed. Click on the picture to read the story of this man, my biological father, William E. Pokhias.

 
 
 
  
 
 

MY "TWIN"

It is often said that everyone has a twin somewhere in the world.

A fan of TGL saw us at the Hollywood Casino in May of 2013. He came up to me and said, "Do you know Tommy Hawk?"

"Nope. Never heard of him. Why?"

"He's a country singer turned preacher and he could be your twin."

I've been told this in the past and then introduced to my so-called twin, only to see that there is very little resemblence.

But this time...

While attending one of our gigs in January, Tommy walked up to me and said, "I've been told we look alike." Although I couldn't really see the resemblence as I looked at him, I can see why others saw it when I saw this picture. If you look him up on YouTube, you'll find a couple recordings by him from many years ago.

 

THE ONLINE CHRISTMAS CARD NEEDS A PICTURE

Every year, I create an online Christmas Card that we can send out by email and post on FB to all our family and friends. The card usually has a recent picture of us with a Christmas setting that I use as a backdrop. This year however, we did not have a 2014 picture of us, so we decided to take it ourselves.

 

 

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES

It has been a VERY long time since we've seen gasoline prices so low. I know some think a drastic drop like this in such a short period of time could hurt us economically, but I don't agree.

I'm old enough to remember what happened when a barrel of oil went from $7 to $21 in a matter of weeks. It crushed our economy not to mention what it did to Jimmy Carter's presidency. We are seeing the current trend due to far more fuel efficient vehicles on our roads and increased drilling off our coasts. Investment in oil futures is also way down because there is such a large supply on the world market.

Will the prices stay down? I doubt it. When a commodity's value (in this case, oil's) drops enough, people will buy when they feel the price has hit bottom and will eventually start to rise. I think we'll see that in 2015. Whether it goes up to the previous highs of over $3 a gallon is probably not likely unless demand suddenly increases dramatically. The one sure way for that to happen is our country getting involved in a ground war overseas.

 

180,000 AND COUNTING

My 2000 Toyota Avalon reached 180,000 miles when Lonna and I were coming home from a Christmas dinner party on December 20th.

I purchased it in July, 2000. I have never owned a car for over 14 years. The cost of maintenance on this car is still far less than leasing a new one, so unless something major happens, you'll probably see me in it when it reaches 200,000 miles. What does a vehicle with a 180,000 miles look like? Not what you might think. Take a look.

 

A RUSSIAN KONTRAS

I discovered that the name Kontras is not only Greek, but Russian as well. In fact, Michal Kontras, a young musician in Russia (currently living in Vienna), has been a friend on Facebook for a couple of years now. He's told me that his ancestors are all Russian back to his great grandfather and he knows of no Greeks in his family tree.

We have messaged back and forth on several occasions, the most recent being my birthday. He hopes to come to America soon for a visit. It would certainly be interesting to meet him.

 

FASCINATING

He was eccentric, closed-minded, unsociable, unliked, and a genius. Walter Issacson captures the good and not-so-good essence of Steve Jobs in this excellent biography. I learned a lot about this man who changed the way people live all over the world. This is a great read.

 

BELIEVE AND YOU WILL ACHIEVE

This story is the reason I did not publish this year's page until after January 12, 2015.

It's not often I mention sports because other than The Ohio State University Football team, I barely have a passing interest in sports. But this year, the Buckeyes defied the odds.

I usually watch the games with my dad because he is the quintessential OSU Football fan. And although his energy level has waned from the days when he used to be interviewed by local television news stations for his "Buckeye Car", he still watches each game with great anticipation - happy when they do well, and ready to throw a brick at the TV when they don't. (We actually bought him some foam bricks he could use.) By the way, this is his MO all during each game, not just at the end.

This year's team did what no one - including a majority of the fans and virtually all of the pundits - thought was possible. They lost their first and second string quarterback and still managed - with one non-conference exception - to win every game of their regular season. They were ranked #5 at the end of the season.

Then came the post-season games.

The third string quarterback's first time as a starter was the conference championship game.

They won.

The team then moved up to #4 in the rankings.

The second game for this quarterback was the semi-final round of the first ever college football playoffs. Their opponent was ranked #1 in the nation and considered the best-coached college football team in recent history.

They won again.

They went on to face yet another opponent that was favored to win - much like their two previous opponents - for the National Championship.

They won the title.

The old saying, "Believe and you will achieve" comes to mind. This team learned how to believe, not only in themselves, but in each other. Enjoy this brief highlights video of one of the most remarkable stories in college football history.

 

GO BUCKS!

 

 

 

In order to know the reason for the title, you'll need to read the story about the two people who were fathered by the same man, and born with the same name: Michael Pokhias.

 

 
 
 

Since Lonna and I had our 2014 picture session recorded (above), we decided individual pics of Koal and Kelso were in order for this year. Both are doing well.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Cameron discovers that a bowl is far more useful as a helmet. Who knew?

 

Thanks for taking the time to read my year end page.

Have a great 2015!