Monthly Archives: December 2011

whoa man, that’s deep. now go back to what you were doing.

i was seventeen, hanging out with close friends at a certain special cabin, and having a discussion about, well, about all of everything. we had many of those discussions, when our minds were freer of stress, and we could explore possibilities without ridicule, or being told that we needed to ‘get back to reality’. reality, i understand what you are and mostly live within your confines, but question you daily. it is not so much questioning reality, as it is questioning the confines that humans have put themselves in. the brick walls we surround ourselves with, to feel safe, the lies we tell ourselves, or lies we believe, in order to join the herd, in order to feel understood. perhaps, it is just an agreed upon language, but i think the dictionary needs to be added to, rather than abridged.

why, when we step into the ‘question’ of ‘reality’, or as i said before, the reality that we have agreed upon – mostly talking about western societies, do we seem to think or say things like, ‘wow man, smoke another’, ‘oh, he’s young, he’ll grow up’ or ‘hey, you, get back to reality there is work to be done. things will never be like that. live in reality lebowski, the bums lost.’ i have to say i am really disappointed that many of the ‘friends’ i have on face book sound far too much like david huddleston’s character, from ‘the big lebowski’, these days.

back then, back when i was an age where it was more socially acceptable to sit in a circle and discuss anything, when we could say what we wanted without being told we are ‘out there’, i remember having a conversation about contradictions. i clearly remember declaring “i’m a walking contradiction”, and one of my friends having a difficult time with that. i believe, but can’t recall word-for-word, that i said that situations and people continue to change, views of the world are changed by people we meet and places we go, therefore, in order to be a growing and developing person, you have to be a contradiction, you have to contradict yourself through the years, heck sometimes i contradict myself in the same paragraph, but as much as i strive for facts and perfection in the world i see, i strive for questions, debate, conversation and lack of certainty in the ‘reality’ that i can’t ‘see’. that interests me. driven by fact in the world that is ‘our shared societal reality’, but want to bang off of every wall in the reality that has yet to be created, or exists, and i am not open to, yet. sorry, I had to say that again.

we seem so quick to judge and ‘get’ one another, unfortunately, not ‘get’ as understand, but ‘get’ as in ‘gotcha’. waiting, lurking, and finding our opportunity to say (the following should be read in a hurried tone, like giving directions to the mall, after six cups of espresso) ‘nope, that is not what you said two days ago, and how can you say this, if you did this and then did that, well, your whole idea is crap cause you said this then and this now and now you want to wear sandals to the beach and we all know what you really want to wear on your feet. heee heee heee hohoho and off you go and boy, didn’t i show that guy, he clearly hasn’t been ‘down’ since day one. i bet his mom was a republican democrat meat-eating dinosaur who gave birth in a hospital where there are real doctors.”. what? what? really? this is what we are reducing ourselves to?

contradictions and thinking are good. i know i shouldn’t feel the need to say that, and i’m probably right, but still, with all of the comments i see on social media sites, my own feelings, and timid choice of conversation and words with people other than close friends and family, i get sick, for ‘all that is’ sake, can we get off it. can we agree that thinking, changing our mind, exploring concepts, and contradicting ourselves is good – it is how we arrive at the proper decision, it is how we grow.

now, i do it too. i play the gotcha game. many times it is in the course of discussion about something not concrete, and it is mostly a logic thing, but i do it. i also do it with the kids. this is a tough one to get around.
“what dad?”
“what is this on the wall?”
“i don’t know? i think h. did it”
“did what? how do you know that there is something on the wall?”
“cause you asked, what is on the wall?”
“but, you would have come and looked if you didn’t know what it was on the wall.”
a. comes in from the other room.
“oh, that? i didn’t do that.”
“but you are the one who had the blue crayon”
“no i didn’t”
“are you sure?”
“look under your bed”
a. sheepishly turns away and puts her head down.
i feel horrible.

we have all, i think, entered that line of questioning with our kids, the “you’re busted. when are you going to tell me?” line of questioning, and i am now thinking that it does more harm than good. not sure i’m going to stop, because sometimes it is fun, but in the long run, what are we teaching? instead of teaching direct communication, trust and respect by saying “hey a., quit coloring on the walls. i saw the blue crayon under your bed and your sister can’t make circles that well. i get that you’re four, but please don’t do that again. come help me clean it up.” we teach the ‘gotcha dance’ and it is really sadistic. when we say it directly, it isn’t a game. it isn’t a game that will continue into adulthood. it isn’t a way of approaching people, and view of thinking about the world, that creates more skepticism, fear, and hiding. really, when you are holding the cards, and ‘know’ ‘reality’ and are questioning someone about something you think you know, you are exerting your power. you are standing over someone, you are slowly tightening your grip and showing him or her who is boss. that is a poor way to live. not sure how i got from contradictions to here, but, here we are.

yes, people change their minds and contradict themselves for selfish reasons, but if they are changing their mind to a belief that is better for the whole (another discussion – who makes the judgement ‘what is better for the whole’), and it serves them as well, why does it matter. it’s like saying “i had that idea first and now you are doing it and acting like it’s yours. you shouldn’t do that, you should still hate my good idea and let me have it.” listen to that. sounds like we enjoy being divided. sounds like a nice way to make friends out of common enemies. i’m tired of writing about this. what do you think?

i may be out for a week or so. lots to do for the holidays. you may also get more posts like this one. i hope you all enjoy the holidays. change happens every year, every month, and every day – take the opportunity to recognize it and make something of it. if nothing is happening to you – you’re right. if everything happens to you – you’re wrong. and both can be answered the opposite way. whoa man.



hello to all of you who read my blog, and a big thank you for your support. this is not a whimsical diatribe about the joys of keeping a clean house with two young ones, but some real housekeeping of the blog. although it was pretty, um, awesome to find a. and h. snacking on kernels of two week old popcorn they found in their playhouse microwave yesterday. we do feed them.

it has come to my attention that it is not always easy to get into wordpress and comment on a post. i love feedback and comments, and in an effort to hear all of your thoughts, i have created a idiosyncratic wind email address. please feel free to send your comments there. if you would like me to publish them on the site please indicate that in the email, if you just want to say hi – I welcome that as well.

new post coming soon.

my week in music.

in the interest of being honest, i must tell you that i write this post in my christmas ornament pajamas, and it is eleven-ten am. now, i am normally up, showered, and off to here-and-there with the girls (on most days), but today, today is rainy and cruddy outside, and even though the girls are dressed and cleaned, mostly, i am half clothed, drinking tea, and taking advantage of not having a dress code. um, yah, so, ‘carry on andy you’re losing them’.

after an intense dance session, that left me gasping for air, i am once again drawn to the subject of music. i don’t think i’d be gasping if i wasn’t alternating between a twenty-eight and forty pound body boa around my neck, torso, and legs. whipping a. and h. around me as if i were oleg protopopov, yes, oleg, a great figure skater in the world of pair figure skating, you should see me on the ice, is an incredible work-out. they love it, and like all kids want “more, more, more.”, and i am going to be “sore, sore, sore.”. that last sentence was a “bore,bore, bore”.

okay, so to the music. as i wrote in a previous post, i enjoy music, as all humans do, or should, and have a broad range of musicians that i listen to. it seems to be too easy an exercise to share with you my three, five or ten favorite songs or musicians. if that were the case, i would go to my bag of regulars, think about what impression i want to make, and dish out the artists that represent the me i want you to think i am. instead, i would like to share with you some songs/musicians that i have been listening to lately, and by lately i mean that each of the following have been listened to more than once in the last week. let me say this: i am sure the weather has influenced the songs that i have been listening to – overall, a bit on the somber side.

so, where do I start? hmmmm. okay, kate nash ‘paris’ and ‘don’t you want to share the guilt’ quite frankly the whole album is good. a. changes the lyrics in ‘paris’ from “you’ll never listen to me” to “you know how to listen to me.” – perfect. i have always enjoyed female singers who’s lyrics reflect their emotions in an honest and raw manner. these lyrics and songs seemingly have no place in my life right now, but i am drawn to them.

next up. a few weeks ago i got a series of texts from my brother that went like this: “andrew jackson jihad. get it now. you need to hear this” “on song three amazing” “listening to song six. get them.” and so on. he is right. pretty darn good stuff. a bit gritty, they bang the guitar in rhythm with lyrics that catch you by surprise and get you thinking. see for yourself. uplifting?

number three, number three, is there a number three here? the next song i couldn’t get away from if i tried. if you only listen to one of the songs in this post – please listen to this one. sinead o’connor’s “black boys on mopeds”. if i were a dog, her voice, the lyrics, and feel of this song, would erect my hackles. never thought I would write “erect my hackles” in relation to a sinead o’connor song. a beautifully brave musician.

aaand number four. “release” by pearl jam. i’m not sure what to say about this one. a rainy day song packed with emotions.

and rounding off our list at number five is neutral milk hotel’s “king of carrot flowers”. this song and album took me a bit to warm up to, but the start to this song, which starts the album, is really quite spectacular.

what have you been listening to? not, what do you listen to? but what has grabbed you in the last week? this was hard for me to do. i want to expand and share other songs and musicians that i love, but will leave it there.

time is on my side.

this post is in some ways on the heels of my last post. actually, in all ways it’s on the heels of my last post, and it relates to what i wrote last tuesday.

we were pleased (i wanted to use the word ‘fortunate’, but after my last post, i caught myself thinking that i may contradict myself. more on contradictions later – like ‘on another day’ later.) to have a set of the girl’s grandparents in town this past weekend. i know, ‘a set’ seems like a rather odd phrase, but there are four of them (couples that is) and they travel in pairs, or sets. that expression seems to make them sound inanimate, but, rest assured, they are living, breathing humans, that aided in the raising of either r or me.. ‘raising’? why am i so stuck on language today? i can’t help but think of farm animals when i hear, or write, the word raise. we were not farm raised (even though we are wisconsin born. speaking of wisconsin – twelve and “o” and roses. feels good.), nor were we in cages, however we were grain fed, and i imagine there were chemicals and antibiotics in our diets – don’t eat my eggs.

while our ‘set’ was in town, we kept busy. we had a – holiday light seeing, santa lap sitting, tree getting, parade watching, pizza eating, holiday decorating, football watching, bird feeding, mountain viewing, ginger bread house making, football throwing, polenta eating good time (the tofu was not met with as much enthusiasm.). ‘the set’s’ departure was hard, as always, with the girls cry/singing their names as we left the airport. h. gave a little whistle noise to call them back to the car – she’s good for providing moments of levity.

we had some rather enjoyable moments that we didn’t plan, and had we, they would have been stressful and time-consuming. surprise number one came when we arrived at the botanical gardens ‘galaxy of lights’. h. was sleeping in the back seat, a. was talking away, r. and i were trying to ‘discuss’ directions, and ‘the set’ were listening to us all and getting their first glimpse of the city. we pulled into the botanical gardens and to our surprise there was ‘santa’s workshop’. why not? the girls, more specifically a., had their first encounter with santa, a reindeer, bubble snow and ornament making. perfect, we moved on. lights were great. surprise two: our neighbors/friends were at the tree farm. we had wanted to introduce our ‘set’ to them. surprise three: we went to eat downtown, were reminded, by the people lining the streets, that northern alabama’s largest parade was going to take place, we parked, ate a relaxed meal, and came out to find our car positioned on the parade route. we hopped in our car and watched the hour and a half, yes, hour and a half parade – from our car.

watching the parade from our car.

had we allotted time for santa’s workshop, planned to meet up with the neighbors, or waited for the parade, i don’t think any of those events would have been as enjoyable, due to the fact that we would have anticipated, over-planned, and waited for them to take place. i especially think that waiting for the parade, planning when to eat, deciding where to park and sit on the parade route, would have been, well, annoying.

i am a planner. i enjoy: anticipating, readying, and executing an outing, event or plain old day at home. ‘covering the bases’ and thinking through scenarios that may come up – excites me. perhaps, that is odd to some – unless you too are a planner, then you understand the feeling of having taken into consideration that the kids may count all ninety-three cheerios in their snack bags (because they just learned to count to one hundred, wanted to show their family, and were using the cheerios to keep track) and wonder why someone has more than them. nope, not in my snack bags. ninety-three in every bag. this is an aspect of my personality that made me successful at my previous job, and annoying as hell, at times, to live with at home, or be around when gearing up for an outing. r. is a planner, but more of a ‘long range’ planner. she sees the big picture and the big steps that it takes to get to the big goals. i see the many little steps to have a successful painting session. they work together, but i am finding quite a bit of value in letting go of the reins, and enjoying what comes our way. relaxing? kind of.

i don’t think i will ever lose my need/ability to be sure that things can go as smoothly as possible, but you can’t possibly take everything into consideration (i don’t write that thinking that i am proclaiming anything new. i am simply reminding myself that this is true, and reminding other, um, nut-jobs like myself that this is the case. especially as the holidays approach and the demands of planning intensify), like i used to think, you can’t possibly waste time/life waiting and planning without losing time/life, and i am a fan of time and life. this past weekend helped me expand my understanding of ‘going with the flow’. i used to think, or am still working on changing, that if i didn’t account for every possible situation that may arise in my day, that i would fail, and that i would be taken by surprise. that’s it. i am afraid of surprises. i want control. (every birthday i remind r. – a few hundred times – that she is not to surprise me, she thinks i am asking her to surprise me, i remind her i am not kidding, and it isn’t until the end of my birthday that i am mildly disappointed that i was not surprised.) anyone else feel this way? well, sounds like another case of the old balancing act. the center is calling me. that last sentence is awesome, and i am leaving it alone.

no certainties and plenty of surprises – i guess we can’t over plan our way out of the positive times or waste our lives waiting for the tough times. i figure we saved three hours not sitting on the parade route, getting to the ‘galaxy of lights’ early, and not waiting or planning our time with the neighbors. three hours well spent on our packers.

i have coulrophobia. glad i was in the car and they were in the trailer.

nothing to do with the post. everything to do with now.

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