Monthly Archives: July 2011

who to blame? why to blame?

the other day i was in my office while the girls were playing in their playroom. by the way, what makes this room i am in an office? is it the computer? or the fact that saying i’m “in my office” sounds more professional than saying i’m “in my re-created dorm room”. really that is what it is – lava lamp and all. anyhow, they were playing ice cream truck together in the other room. i knew something was coming – they were getting along too well, laughing a bit too much, and sharing everything – it was a matter of time. sure enough. growl. wrestling. crying. “a. what is going on?” poor a., she can talk, h. can’t, she gets all the questions and the lions share of the blame. “i, well, i…she was taking my purse” “and what di…” she jumped on my “…d you do” – it has been asked enough. “well, she took my purse and i got it back.” “did you hit her?” (what a dance this is, huh.) “yah, but only cause she was growling at me”. “go take a break” and then i turn to h. “are you okay sweety”. i laugh so hard while i write this. i’m sure over my shoulder h. gives a bit of a grin through the tears at a. as she makes her way to her room – turning back to me with her lower lip quivering. i’ll work on this…

we get out at least once a day, and much to the chagrin of my minivan passengers (all eleven when you count hippo, destiny, and shadow – riding shot gun – h. and a. in the middle – and doll 1, doll 2, jack the bear, oscar, bunny and some other brown bear with a name in the far back. i’m sure there are some stragglers that a. hasn’t taken the time to belt in safely) about 75% of the time we are going somewhere during the day i listen to talk radio. i span the dial without one “voice” specifically engaging my thoughts: npr, espn, local left and right, and national left and right – is there a middle anymore? anymore? talk radio seems to calm my passengers and offer me the opportunity to hear an adult voice with an adult point of view during the day – not that they make any more sense than a., h. and the goofy kid at the children’s museum that brings me fake food, but i can drift off in thoughts that someone outside my immediate sphere has created. i do like to listen to hosts who run contrary to my view of the world. i enjoy getting worked up and talking to someone who can’t hear me. “what’s that daddy? what does it mean to “live in reality”” she’s listening again. “oh nothing a., just talking to the guy on the radio.” “but he can’t hear you. that’s pretty weird dad” “i know.” she used to say the same thing when i would talk to other drivers – i don’t do that as much anymore.

yesterday we went to the children’s museum downtown. our first stop was “the spring”, where we fed the geese,pigeons, ducks and fish our left over breakfast sausage (mmm), learned to say “get, get, get” to the approaching birds (h. was darn good at this), and sweat our brains out on a “nice” walk that ended at the museum. while at the museum i filled up on plastic potatoes, eggs, and corn, a. and h. played with other kids, and we fished for squid on the river boat. on our way home “we” were listening to espn radio. the show was “the herd” with colin cowherd. he generally has an interesting slant on sports, people love or don’t like him, and he, self-proclaimingly (not a word but it works) gets to the heart of the matter and doesn’t spend too much time dinking around. he was talking about instant replay in baseball. not a new topic by any means. he believed, or was saying he believed, that we should get over the “human error is necessary to the sport” way of thinking and embrace technology. part of his rational was the fact that people pay incredible amounts of money to see the game (he shared that his friend with three kids and a wife paid $500 to see the red sox play the royals – $67 for tickets x5, $40 for parking and $100 for food. ouch.), and that the outcome should be correct – he claims they owe it to the fans to get it right. as far as i am concerned he couldn’t be further from reality. people watch sports because it stirs us with emotion. we live and die by our teams performance. we also live and die by the calls that the umps, refs, and other officials make. we love heckling a ump after a bad call, we love to argue with other fans about bad/good calls, we love to claim that the only reason we lost was because “the ump had his head in his rear” – we enjoy feeling that we have a say in the game. if you take that away, and get closer to perfection, you take away a large chunk of sports fans emotional release – the reason we go to games, concerts and movies – to escape. if our escape resembles the perfection that is asked of us at our jobs, by our children, or other avenues where admitting weakness is forbade – what do we have? it takes away our ability to argue, complain, and shout – and sometimes laugh in a setting where it is acceptable. yes, we can still do those things at games when our team over/under performs, but there is something about releasing your aggression on a third seemingly helpless party. it couldn’t have been my team that lost or was beat by “those” guys – it was the umps.

this style of thinking creeps into many areas of our lives. listen to the radio, read opinion columns in the paper, or eavesdrop at the supermarket. couldn’t have been my kid or my parenting – must have been the teachers, couldn’t be my lack of performance – my boss is a jerk, couldn’t have been the fact i didn’t check my blind spot – stupid car. that’s my favorite – blaming inanimate objects. we have all done it. stub your toe on a chair “stupid chair” and kick it for good measure. blame. we used to refer to it at school as the “blame game”. we would teach the kids to look at themselves, their role in a situation, and what they can change rather than blaming someone else for what happened. a great concept. one i agree with. we can lose far too much time looking to who we can blame for our situations. but, you know what? sometimes there is someone to blame and they shouldn’t get away with what they have been/are doing because we are too afraid to look like “complainers”. “toughen up” they say. “go get your own if you want it”, but how can i when you are holding all the pieces – and not just the pieces but the game board, box and receipt to take it back. damn. it is okay to say “you know what – you. you are to blame for this situation” whatever it is. don’t get lost in the blame, but make sure that we all know who it is. if i were the government i would be lobbying like hell to keep instant replay out of baseball. people need that release. an appropriate third party in a mask to unleash our frustrations on. i believe that we need to accept our role in situations and decide how “we” are going to proceed, but we need to get together as humans and decide what we are really arguing about. what has really created this divide in the nation (right/left) or the divide in the world (religion)? these seem to be the avenues that “they” have left us to decide who our team is. “they” are the umps and claim that every call is perfect – for their fans. “they” have instant replay, but don’t slow it down for us. “they” re-write reality and expect that, as fans, our undying allegiance staves off questions. wait. “we” are “they”. what are we doing. i don’t live in the clouds or claim to not play into sides, but i get frustrated that people have limited themselves to the color of a jersey. time we start heckling the refs a bit more. don’t give them the ability to look at a replay and be “perfect” – let’s hold us to our initial call, examine the reason for the call, and make changes if necessary. i am certain that this would evoke more confidence in people. we would all be, well, fallible – perhaps we could then be more understanding. it appears when we are able to expose our weaknesses – we can grow. we wouldn’t expose our weaknesses if we didn’t understand that there was a greater “thing” we could become.

…after 3 minutes and h. having calmed down, i let a. out of her room. i asked them to hug and make up. a. said “sorry”, h. said “sorry”, a. explained to h. that she doesn’t have to be sorry, and i stepped in to tell them to get ready for nap. they both looked at me. i should have been wearing my black and white shirt.

sorry – had to


memories. cats. not “cats” “memories”.

we have all been faced with the following questions: if you could have just one food the rest of your life what would it be? if you were on a deserted island and could only have one cd – what would it be? (i guess that would now be a playlist) and many other questions that create conversations and allow us to get to know one another better in uncomfortable social situations. of course, there is always that guy or gal at the party that says “it’s too hard” (with a look like they are so well versed in food and music that limiting their expertise on culture to just one answer is an insult), and in the process of answering the question – that no one is going to hold them to (like my animal) – takes over and creates conversation about every song on the planet and ruins the order and challenge of naming just one. frustrating me because i got both answers ready the night before. the party turns into five separate conversations and the cohesive “let’s get to know one another” game is now broken into a group of metal-heads discussing the best metallica album, another group discussing whether we are looking for a food like orange or combinations of foods like tacos or lasagna – and can you break the different dishes apart to eat noodles one day and turkey the next? then there is the guy alone in the corner who finally mustered the courage, and well thought out rationale, to say celion dion’s “taking chances” is the album he would take to the island. i think he’s already there.

somehow, someway i fried my external hard drive on friday. yes, my external hard drive that i hadn’t backed up for quite some time. yes, the external hard drive that held all my music and pictures. yes, the one i used instead of the internal drive – i think that my computer runs faster this way. yes, the external hard drive is fried, done, over. (well, there is someone we know in the neighborhood who kindly biked over yesterday and took a quick look at it – he gave a 10% chance that he could put the drive into his computer and be able to read the memory and a 50% chance that memory extraction software could get the information – after that he said it could be thousands of dollars. like animals with illnesses – there comes a time when you have to put them down. a tough choice for sure. how much is an animal worth? how much are those photos worth? music is replaceable – pictures are not. is it the value of getting your dog/cat better – pictures back? or the reality that you just don’t want to take the chance? a thousand dollar jackpot on a nickel slot is a far better pay-out than a thousand dollar jackpot on a hundred dollar slot. then there is the chance that you put thousands in and walk away with less than you had – which could taint the memories of what you are trying to get back. not remembering the good times with fluffy, but the thousand dollars that you could have spent on a new television.) fortunately we have hard copies of our favorites, thank you r., and back-ups of a.’s early years. um, h., yah, um. well we can draw pictures of your childhood. that’s cool right? reality – we have pictures, and, as r. and i discussed, probably more than our childhoods combined – even if we lose a large amount.

as i went through the first, private in my room not wanting to come out, wave of anger, sadness, and fear, the pictures flashed through my mind – flip book style. wishing i was running out of a burning house, not really, and could choose the ones worth keeping (if your house was on fire what three items would you grab?). which pictures would i choose? is there one moment that a picture defines better than my ability to create that moment-in-time through a story? would i pick the moments after our children were born or h.’s first spaghetti dinner? couldn’t i grab a friends “first spaghetti dinner” picture and either say it was them or say “yah, that is what you looked like too”. i can’t help but think that the pictures that best define our lives are not the grand events that are “suppose” to be recorded, but perhaps the ones that record what our lives were/are really like. we are not our christmas cards, in fact most of the time we are far from that “matching sweater-creepy looking santa claus-angry from standing in line” mess of a picture. what we really are?: far off looks when we don’t know the camera is out, off-centered smiles and hugs, pouts with hands over our faces, alone in rooms, lost in thought, eating left overs, popping balloons cause they are annoying and a vehicle for arguments, spilling drinks when we run to the windows because mommy is home, sleeping in bed together when we’re sick, eating leftovers again (leftover leftovers?), and a myriad of other moments that are better left lived and told through a story than ruining with the time it takes to pull out a camera, and that camera is like when uncle rupbert comes to dinner late – dynamic shift.

i am as guilty as any with “over documenting” our lives, and perhaps ruin, or change, moments that are best left lived than recorded. i go back and forth and side to side on this issue and definitely have waves of more writing and picture-taking than others. our ability to record everyday history is different from in the past. no wonder life was so much better “back then” – no one had proof to show how crummy it was, just distorted memories of the good times to pass on to their kids and smiling christmas card pictures for proof. proof. we now have proof that things were a certain way, rather than relying on and trusting our elders that “this is how it was”, we can look at copious amounts of pictures that point to the fact that there wasn’t a “single” way “it” was. each generation should want the next to be better than them (a wise man passed that on to me) and with this “proof” of events that are either best left to stories or forgotten about all together, we reveal too much of the mystery that makes us respect our elders. we are now unable to select what we show to our youth and when, it is all there for them to see on their own, and if a picture is shared without a story – the mind is able to create its own. the order of passing information to the next generation has been bastardized and the cesspool of images are left to be interpreted by young minds without guidance. hmm. mystery sure helps maintain control, respect and power doesn’t it.

i need more time with the thoughts that this topic has created, but a., h., and i are going to head out for a swim.

ordnung muss sein.

we went to the “y” yesterday morning instead of in the afternoon. i knew this change in our schedule would “rock the boat”, we have a pretty consistent schedule and any variation can take a bit to overcome. i believe this to be pretty normal for kids – the need for structure and consistency – but i know it is also something that i need. any change that is not in my control takes me a moment (sometimes many, many moments) to process. i’m conscious of this and continue to work on “going with the flow” – r. is amazing at it – a survival technique developed from living with me for 13 years. this part of me is probably why i like teaching and being at home with the kids, among the other obvious benefits and challenges, there needs to be a flexible structure in order for the whole thing to work. yesterday mornings change of schedule was so that i could meet with one of the “y”‘s trainers and get an understanding of their machines and computerized fitness program – which is pretty darn cool. i have been running consistently and wanted to get on the machines more – i had no idea where to start – which ones i should be on, how many reps i needed to do, and i was intimidated to be “in the pit” looking silly. i needed direction. r. of course said ‘there’s no exact science to it – just get on em” my trainer for the day was a fellow german, who answered all my questions and understood, or played along with, my need to hear everything twice and know exactly how and why i was doing what i was. by the way – in the past few days i haven’t seen my friend “mister music pants” as i like to affectionately call him (previous blog).

we left the “y”, went to the pool, napped and went on our bi-weekly shopping trip. i guess i figured that the day was already full of so much pinchy-poking-off schedule funk that i would go for broke. well, we went broke. there were maybe a few shreds of mellowness left in the tank by the end of our trip. it started with the carts – they have these cars in the front of the shopping carts which makes them 10 feet long and impossible to negotiate turns in the produce section – oddly enough it also leaves you with a deep, narrow, and short cart. okay, if i have two kids, which is what the car in front holds, you would think i would need a bit more room for my groceries – i’m obviously feeding at least 3 and in this case 4 people. i wish they would leave the play cars for amusement parks and other places where time, patience and space are not important. such a great idea if you have only one child. if the size of the cart with the car was “all cart” i could throw a. in the basket have h. up front and enough space for our groceries. isn’t the world suppose to revolve around my needs? yes, i feel better now. and normally the cars are a hit – just not today. wait, let me get all my complaining out of the way quick. having employees who bag customers groceries is another great idea, if they are taught how to bag groceries. please, perhaps a 20 minute video demonstrating the ins-and-outs of this job (which i don’t take lightly having had done it for 3 years) with skit titles like “milk or bread – which first” “should i wipe my nose before touching a customers produce”, and “did they bring their own bags so they could serve as protection for our plastic bags?”. a. and h. went through waves of laughing, pinching, crying, trying to get out of the cart, getting back in, pulling hair and basically acted like a 4 and 2 year old sisters who were in a funk. my patience was tested. at one point they were both out of the cart and i raised my voice when i “asked” them to get back in. a. told me “you shouldn’t raise your voice dad.”. she got a look. i get a B. the truth is that i love grocery shopping – i love watching people, searching for deals, trying new food, and having the kids help pick out what they are going to eat. i guess yesterday was just not the day to go. though i was happy when i woke up this morning and we had choices other than tofu or izze for breakfast.

teaching is learning – i am learning to loosen up – and honesty is the best platform to demonstrate/model for kids the appropriate way to handle situations. honesty is letting people, your kids, students etc. know when you acted inappropriately or made a bad decision. i struggle with the phrase “daddy said so” or “yes, i am an adult i can act this way” to justify very basic contradictions in what we are trying to teach. yes, there are times when kids shouldn’t argue or question adults, and they need to learn that there is a respect you show elders, but should our ego get in the way of teaching them that we are all working towards being more compassionate, honest, and overall healthy humans? i struggle with this. if you let kids “in” too much, pull the curtain back “too” far – will they think they have all the answers and not show the respect that is deemed necessary in our society? but wait. why aren’t we listening? what are we afraid of? are we afraid that the truth is coming out of their mouths because they are not trapped by “knowing” the rules of the game. when a. told me that i “shouldn’t raise my voice” to tell them to get back in the cart was i upset that she “talked back” or that i looked foolish getting as upset as i did. cosby’s “kids say the darndest things” did more to harm the voice of children than help. children do have a voice and a perspective – one that we should listen to, not just giggle at. do not ignore. even if they have no idea what they just said – what did it mean to you – why did it make you react strongly enough to tell them to go to their room. obviously i am not speaking about blatant disrespect – i’m talking about those times that we silence children because we don’t value what they have to say. or because we are afraid of what they are saying – verbally and otherwise. (see columbine) i remember r. and i were having a “discussion” in the front seats of our car one day – h. and a. were in the back. the discussion got a bit heated, and a. said “daddy, i think mommy needs some quiet time” it stopped us. we could have hushed her or played it off – we both stopped. she was the voice of reason. she was right. her place? yes, young children have friends from mars, say their hand hit their sister they didn’t and say some of the most hysterical things. they also have the ability to share a reasoning and perspective that if tapped into can be beneficial. i lighten up on this topic, but am fascinated by what, how, why and from whom we learn.

stealing. taking. not giving back.

you can’t bullshit a bullshitter. a nice little phrase i learned in 8th grade from one of my friend’s dad. it has stuck with me. i have heard it said different ways, but i liked the direct wording he used, and his use of language made an 8th grader feel two things at once. one – fear – that the person knows you are lying and is “tough” enough to swear. two – camaraderie – hey, alright i belong to the bullshitters club. this guy seems pretty cool.

i’ve had a few things of value stolen and a few i misplaced (my car stereo a few years back – i assure you was not misplaced. my winter jackets? well, probably forgotten/misplaced). i have also stolen items from other people – mostly stores – which i know people own the stores, but it does seem less personal than taking a single item from a person. not that it is okay, but different. right?

i remember stealing an eraser from the school store in 6th grade. they caught me. i had to sit in the office for a few hours – that’s it. i actually enjoyed watching the inner workings of the school – listening to the secretary take calls, the school nurse mumble about fakers, and the occasional parent writing a check or signing a form. more entertaining than mrs. k’s social studies class. i also recall going to baseball card shows at bowling alleys in my early teens. i thought i was slick. i would pick up a baseball card, act like i was really interested in it, carry it away from the table holding it out (that way if they asked me what i was doing i would say i was going to show it to a friend), and when i thought all eyes were off me i would stick it in my my pants or with everything else i was carrying. i was caught once. they asked me to leave the show – they didn’t buy the fact that i was taking their card in my pocket to show my friend across the room. hmm. i think that that is the one that shook me up and helped me realize that the benefits didn’t outweigh the potential consequences, with that said it still didn’t stop me. i will not go into the few things along the way that i have “borrowed”, but i will say it was never anything of notable value and i have not stole anything in probably 10 plus years. 10 is on the safe side – probably more plus – like 14. okay, it was a 40 ouncer from a gas station when i was 20. that was the last thing. one thing i can say is that it was never personal. there is no way i could describe what any of the people i took things from looked like. it was all about obtaining an object – not upsetting an individual. not personal.

we went to the “Y” yesterday. dropping the girls off prior to my run has gotten much easier. this day, a. was greeted with a hug from a friend who she met the week prior. she insists the girl is french – didn’t really appear that way to me, but they enjoy dumping pretend globs of goo on h. and locking other kids in cages (jails?) h. shuffled in after her and i could leave knowing they were happy. i put my stuff in my locker in the family section, hit shuffle on my 8g ipod touch with a clear protector case and two small scratches on the back, a billy bragg/sinead o’connor song i had never heard came on, and i ran 51 times around the track in 28 minutes and 15 seconds. i felt great.

i then went down to the men’s locker room and sat in the sauna for a bit. i kept the music on while i was in the sauna – the whole time wondering if the heat and my perspiration would harm the device – i don’t think it did. i put my shirt, shoes and ipod on a bench by the lockers, took twelve steps to the scale around the corner and weighed myself. after weighing myself, i was coming back around the corner and almost bumped into this guy, he looked at me with big eyes and i wondered if i had come around the corner too quick and upset him – i almost apologized. i turned around (he was at the urinals so i only glanced quick) and looked down to notice that my ipod was gone. i knew then and there that he had just swiped it and was “crotching” it at the urinal as i said “oh man, someone just swiped my ipod.” a few heads turned and then mister “music pants” came over and said “oh man that sucks are you sure.” “yah pretty sure it’s gone” “oh, that really sucks maybe it will turn up at the front desk in 5-10 minutes” why would you give someone a time frame of when they should check up at the front desk? he continued to follow me and act like he was helping. the urge to grab my ipod back was growing, but i knew that would be really awkward if i was wrong. he left the locker room and shortly after i went to the front desk. he was talking to a woman at the counter. hmm? maybe i am wrong. i went to the desk. he asked if i had found it. i said no. he went to leave and i stopped him in the entry way. “hey man, you sure you don’t know where my ipod is?” “no, would it make you feel more comfortable if i emptied my pockets? i mean that is what i would want someone to do.” my mind racing with attack moves with “stop patronizing me” as my mantra. i said “no, that’s cool.” “hope you find it.” “yah”. i watched him walk through the parking lot and around the baseball diamond. the look of death on my face – those of you who know me – my lips were fully pursed, face red, and eyes fixed. (those of you who don’t – it’s more comical than scary.) what should i do? my daughters are in the play area. i asked the woman at the counter, the one he was talking to, if she knew him. “um, yah kind of i went to school with him” “oh” i said “i think he stole my ipod” her eyes rolled back, she sighed and said “i’m sorry. that makes sense. he was kicked out of school for stealing” i told her that i may be late picking the girls up in the play area and went after the guy. (just like jack bauer would have – by the way we finished the first season last night. pretty darn good) i’m not sure what i thought i was going to do. i had this totally un-me moment of walking as if i could destroy or intimidate anything in my way – i felt a foot taller and 100 lbs heavier – i probably looked funny to someone who had no idea what happened – but ready to defend my ipod’s and male ego’s honor. (reality break – i had no intention of catching up with him. i needed to act to satisfy something inside me that said go) i then ran into a cop. (good thing i saw him before i got to the guy – wink) i shared what had happened and he went to look for the guy. he didn’t find him. i filed a report and will probably never see our ipod again. whew. a long story.

today’s thoughts after thinking:

i am not naive or self-centered enough to think i am the first person to have an ipod stolen at a ymca from a non-member, or that there should be a full investigation into the matter. truthfully, i felt funny filling out a police report. why didn’t i just leave it at “oh well someone took my ipod” well, the answer seems to be that i felt powerless against this person who wronged me. i kept hoping that my appeals and presence would get him to decide that he was wrong. why in the hell would i think that would happen? it’s just an ipod. i know. plainly – it upset me that someone took something of mine. i was angry for a while. it is unfortunate that i/we can’t leave something out for 1 minute without the possibility of someone taking it. really, that last sentence is not true, or b.s. as put earlier. that would be like saying we can’t sit in chairs – they might break. or. we can’t hang pictures – your toddler might run into the wall, cause the picture to fall on their head, crack it open, and result in permanent brain damage – don’t hang pictures. we can’t go outside. we can’t shake anyones hands – they all have germs. the truth is that we can trust most people around us, we can leave our garage doors open, we can have a stranger watch our bike quick when we run in to the gas station to go to the bathroom (thanks) – or just leave our bike there, and we can teach our kids that adults/people are (mostly) good and can be trusted. this was not personal and it is not regular. i could use this to make a whole slew of accusations about humanity, a little dramatic, but i could. yes, i’m upset with the guy and would prefer to never see him again. i would also be happier if my ipod touch was still in my possession. but it’s not. damn, now i have to run around the track with my thoughts. i don’t know if this guy knows how much pain he is really causing me. i keep an eye on my things because there are people who don’t want to work for them, but i’m not going to be suspicious of everyone. just more aware.

cool cover.

blowing every time you move your teeth.

jack hopped over the fence and the other agent stepped two feet to the left and found an opening to go through.  no, we are not re-watching the first season of 24 – we are first watching the first season of 24.  it is a great show – as most the world knew ten years ago.

we went to the farmers market today.  tomatoes, egg plant, beans, flowers, strawberry bread and goat cheese.  the kids tried the goat cheese – h. needed a paper towel for her chin and i was glad no one smacked a. on her back (see “a christmas story”). we came home and made tomato sandwiches – h. wanted ravioli.  after lunch h. went down for her nap (she was up a bunch last night. milestone coming?), and while r. cleaned the floors a. sat up on our bar-top table with me.  she felt pretty cool with her feet dangling and new view of the “pool girls” house.  i was playing on my phone when a. says “dad, who are the people makers?” “why was i made the way i am?” “i don’t like the way the people makers made me – i want to be made like mommy” r. and my answers to the questions and how we discussed that with a. is not the point of my sharing her questions.  rather, it is the fact that she believes, without provocation, that there are people makers, aside from mommy and daddy, and that she is conscious of the fact that she was and wants to be made differently than others. ( i can’t stop laughing at the image “people makers” puts in my head. why do i feel like they are really little?) anyhow, we can’t dig too far into the psyche of a 4 year old saying she doesn’t like the way she was made.  believe me, we reassured her of her beauty, but this is the same developing mind that believes her daddy is the prince of the neighborhood, mommy travels to the water tower on the interstate (that is south carolina), and that it’s a good idea for her sister to put peas in her nose.  which h. did last night.  the last one came out two hours after dinner. a bit like her daddy trying to get laughs.  in turn we cannot dismiss these questions as “just coming from a 4 year old.”  these questions are putting a move-on r. and i figuring out how we are going to share our “answers” about what are ultimately opinions. do we need to worry or perfectly craft the perfect answers for her questions?

when r. got back from her travels thursday night.  “travels” sounds like she was legging it from paris to london and back.  “legging it” sounds like i think i know what it is like to travel – other than canada and mexico i haven’t been outside the states.  someday. she had business in south carolina (um. the water tower) and georgia.  when she got home the kids were in bed and we stayed up late on the back porch talking.  i enjoy our “kids are in bed” talks on the porch, sometimes bob uecker (milwaukee brewers baseball radio play caller) interrupts our conversation, but generally we harmonize well with the crickets and cicadas.  the basis of our conversation was how we are going to share with our children our spiritual, religious, and political beliefs. neither of us wants to tell them what to think, but there is groundwork that will give them the foundation necessary to choose whatever they want with the guidance and understanding of love and compassion.  robin and i differ a bit in our view on this subject, but have many good discussions as we both dig deeper into that great question “what does it all mean.”  i think we came to the agreement that it is analogous to the following situation.  there is a disaster somewhere in the world.  the red cross, church groups, habitat for humanity, etc. etc. show up to help with the efforts. they all have different beliefs, funding, and jobs, but they are all working towards the same end – rebuilding a community. and hey – they generally all get along.

i am sure i am not spoiling anything.  jack and the agent ended up at the same spot after getting through/over the fence, but jack stayed behind and risked his life for “answers” from an unknown source and the other agent left to consult with co-workers.

can’t believe it took this long. seems appropriate today.  my blogs namesake. worth the 10 minutes.


change. do you have any?

the morning was spent running errands, a welcomed break in the week.  it’s nice to drive around talking and listening to the radio while we get things done.  a.’s new glasses were ready to be picked up.  she is such a little lady.  we walked into the store, which she assured me was the right place – “yah dad this is it, totally the right place”,and sat down “where we usually sit when we come in, dad”.  the woman who helped her last time, when r. took her, came out of a closet – that’s what it looked like at least and she had a strange look on her face. not a “i just did something weird in there” face. more like “yah i like sitting in closets” face – anyhow. she sat down and a. took over.  i wasn’t needed, as they went back and forth about the comfort of the glasses, how beautiful the colors are, the debt ceiling, and the intense need for a lollipop. they both got two.  i tried to hold h. to one at a time, but it was just too cute watching her work two at once – each in their own hand.  lick right. pause. lick left. pause. lick right and right again nooooow break. a. put the trash in one of those foot opening garbage cans like she had done it a thousand times before, walked out the door, got into the car, buckled herself in, and said go.

we left and went to the bank to deposit their piggy bank money into their savings.  a. insisted she sling the bag of coins over her shoulder – which almost knocked her over.  we left with our money, they don’t have a change counter so we will package the coins ourselves.  we’ll bring our change another day.

a. is growing up. r. and i have noticed a different look in her eye lately.  hard to explain. she just looks as if she is understanding the world differently and in turn is acting differently.  all good, but definitely hitting a corner with her.  slowly they become their own.  as i write that there are a few butterflies whizzin’ around in me.  we have lots of time, but it makes me realize how important it is to hold onto these days.  the days of running through the sprinkler in our underwear. yes, our.

we were driving to the children’s museum yesterday and i noticed a building that i had not before – i then noticed barbed wire and said to myself “that must be a jail”.  “what’s a jail dad?” forgetting that when you speak aloud people may comment i said. “well, it’s a place that adults go when they do something wrong. it’s a place they have to stay. like when i tell you to go to your room after you pinch hazel.”  “they have to stay there?” “yes” “are they in cages?” (no we do not have a cage in her room) “yes, well, kind of, they have to stay in rooms with bars.” “huh? but only animals stay in cages daddy – that’s silly” “well, when adults make bad choices and they break the rules sometimes they have to go to jail.”(get me out of this conversation). “but adults don’t do bad things daddy.” “hey look – that is the antique store i went to.”  “oh, you like antique stores dad” “yes i do.” no need to get into our justice system right now – it may give her too many ideas. i can see her saying “i’m innocent until proven guilty”, “a look on my face would never stand up in court as evidence dad” and that she wants an attorney.   i wonder what is going on in h.’s mind.  she understands a ton, but is working on putting the words together to get her 2 cents in – i can’t even begin to think about how frustrated she must be listening to a. and i go back and forth all day.  we all talk together for sure, but a. and i can talk with the best of them.  i think that is where some of her squeezing and crazy clenched jaw-tongue behind the teeth faces come from.

change.  there are changes that we embark on alone for personal growth, changes that we have no control over but need to embrace, and changes that we can only watch.  we have all had to endure and elate at changes in our lives.  not easy.  it would seem that there would be more painful and more pleasant changes.  not sure that’s true.  each has brought it’s own set of emotions.  watching the girls become their own will probably be the biggest test for r. and i.  a beautifully scary transformation into self – and we have a part in it.  i want to say more about this, but i’m losing my thoughts in images of the girls.

a great song that has meant a lot to me at different points in my life.

poor quality, but i had to include the one below as well.  that is the daugher of shannon hoon – the deceased lead singer of blind melon.


a. looked over at me during snack the other day and asked. “daddy, why is a banana called a banana? why is milk, milk? why is everything, everything? i don’t get it.” a beautifully pure questioning look was on her face. after she saw the look on my face, she knew that she had said something right. i took a moment to make sure that it was indeed albuterol in her nebulizer, shook my head, looked again, and r. started into an excellent 4 year old explanation. for aged answers are the best. i prefer an 8 year oaked explanation myself, to each their own. “a., if i called that glass of milk a “dingy” and you called it “moggy moggy” and h. called it “tinty tin” then none of us would know what the other was talking about. we need to agree on names for things so that we can understand what each of us is talking about.” a. followed that up with “oh” and a large sip of milk.

language. what language we use, how we use it, when we use different types of language, the importance of speaking in a way that the person you are speaking to isn’t put-off by “your” use of language. when you want to put someone off. it’s a skill. one that needs to be taught to you and discovered on your own – equally. when you’re around kids and gwen stefani’s “hollaback girl” comes on (which happens all the time.), do you stop the music? or let the “ohh this my shit” play on. how long do we shield our kids from “socially unacceptable” language. what even is “socially acceptable”? i fear that making words taboo will only increases their weirdness and use of them. words, like actions, need to be taught. like poor choices we make with actions, we make poor choices with words, but if we are left without the ability to make a poor choice we will not gain a skill at an age where consequences are not as serious. calling a 6’6 480 lbs. man/woman a “fatty” at the age of 5, has less drastic consequences then at the age of 15 – when you should “know better”. what is knowing better anyhow. if someone knew better would they really make the horrible choices that some people make. don’t people inherently want to do well? to be liked, respected and successful. as an educator speaking to parents whose children had disabilities, and many times a poor home life (a correlation that i observed in the setting i taught), it was important that i went into every meeting believing that that parent was doing the best that they could raising their child. this is a tough one for some people. i am not saying that people don’t make excuses, lie to get by, or take the easy way. i’m not making excuses for them, but i do think that the previously mentioned behaviors are symptoms to a disease of an under-educated society or a scared society. one where we are taught that if you don’t know it – fake it – because admitting that you are unsure or don’t know something may mean your job, your child ,or worse, that you look “stupid”. the ones “allowed” to ask questions are those that are confident enough with what they already know. not sure i like the way this sounds.

train of thought lost by having to put on barbie’s way-too-tight jeans.

i love language. i like the sounds of words, and, as you can see, i have certain hang ups about writing. i don’t like capitalization or exclamation points. i love commas, though misuse them often and, can’t keep the same tense in a story. some of this is a matter of discipline. most of it, but i write to express ideas. would my ideas be better realized with a “standard” voice – one everyone agrees on, or my own? debatable.

today we went to the “y” to work out and play in the pool. when we went on saturday, r. and i dropped the kids off at the play-room and worked out together. it was great. the kids were happy and we had time alone together. boy, today was a different story. at least for h.. she did not want to stay in the play-room without me. a. was trying to coax her into the room, “come on haze. you can do it. doesn’t this look neat”, but when one of the staff came up to h. to reassure her that she was okay. h. put her hand out and screamed “no. no. stop” in such a way that the woman actually backed up. i can’t say i wasn’t proud of her “get the hell away from me” skills. i then made the crucial error of staying and comforting her. i should have known, from the years they were in daycare, to just leave. i couldn’t. i stuck around for 5 minutes with her “needing me” and then left to the sounds of her crying – though a quieter cry this time. it must have been my comforting – right? it was nice to work out and when i came back a. let me know that h. “only cried for about 3 minutes” thanks a.. we then went to the splash pool together. they have been developing their own inside jokes. pretty neat, but i do feel a bit left out when they look left, wink and start to crack up. probably nothing. right? just some secret sister language.

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