Friday, September 21, 2007

The B'day List

That was the subject line on the e-mail.

I spend a lot of time at my computer. At work, technology is my job, so I'm almost always looking at my screen, using photoshop, setting up keynote slides, creating training handouts, and checking my 7 different e-mail accounts.

Then I get home...and use the computer a lot there, as well. Blogging. Reading blogs. Browsing web sites. Etc. Etc. Etc.

I'm not saying I ignore my family. You guys know I spend plenty of time doing the family stuff. But still, I love my computer time, as well.

And Daughter13 is no dummy! Her birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks. And she has a list of wants and needs. But she didn't just scribble it out and hand it to me or her mom. And she didn't just tell us about it over dinner.

Nope, she knew just how to put that list where I would be most certain of seeing it and dealing with it.

She e-mailed it to me. With instructions that said I could "print it out when I went shopping".

Now is that a kid who knows how to get things done, or what?!?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Brought to you by the letter P

My friend cs has tagged me with this little meme. It seems simple enough...write about seven words that begin with the letter P. All I have to do is choose seven words and start writing.

Yeah, I know. Seven words that begin with P. I was tempted. What a list of P words that came to mind! P words in the bathroom. P words in the bedroom. Body parts and body functions. All starting with P.

But that would be too easy. Besides, if you read the words chosen by cs, you'll see that she set the bar a little bit higher than the words that first raced around in my brain.

So I've chosen different words to explore - all beginning with the letter P.

Parent. I've got three kids between 13 and 20 years of age. And one of our kids has multiple special needs. So for the past twenty years, one of the most significant aspects of my life has been parenting. And I feel good about my parenting. I'm not great at it but I take it very seriously. I'm not always conventional or predictable. But I have a great time with my kids. And no matter how old they get, I'll always have the pleasure of being their parent.

Partner. There are so many ways to describe my relationship with my wife. Spouses. Lovers. Best friends. Soul mates. Some terms seem more romantic, some seem more practical. And they all imply different aspects of our relationship. And 'partner' is certainly one aspect that is very important. We share in having fun and also in making tough decisions. We share in the challenges of raising a family and making a home. We support each other when money is tight and we celebrate together when things are going well. We are partners - side by side, sharing in all aspects of life.

Pagan. Just a couple of weeks ago, I participated in the Joys & Trials meme. In the comments, a couple of folks asked questions about just what spiritual path I followed. I grew up in a conservative Southern Baptist family. Upon reaching adulthood and moving away from home, I stopped attending church and didn't really even think about religion for many years. When I finally returned to a church, I chose Unitarian Universalism, a church that has no specific doctrine, giving me the opportunity to explore based on my own interests and feelings. And that exploration has led me through a much more liberal perspective on Christianity, some Buddhist study, a lot of reading on Quantum Theology, and paganism. I'll admit, I don't practice any pathway as much as I think I should. But I do seem to have settled into a belief system that is sort of a blending of a few of my original beliefs combined with some of the quantum theories and a lot of paganism. I've sometimes referred to myself as a solitary autodidactic eclectic. Just a fancy way of saying I sort of make it up as I go along. But for me, it has to be that way. There are aspects of different spiritual pathways that are meaningful to me and I incorporate those into my beliefs. But I probably pull the most from paganism. I love the connection to nature, the feelings of mystery, the historical connections to old Celtic practices. The more I really pay attention to my body, the more aware I am of just how much I am influenced by the changing of the seasons and by spending time outdoors. And pagan spirituality reinforces that for me on many levels. I used to think I had to pick a path and stick with it. Sort of the "finding the right way" attitude. Now I know that, for me at least, it will always be a learning process, growing as I grow.

Play. I love to play. I enjoy board games and card games. I love to just be silly. I'm sure everyone in my family would tell you that I rarely act my age. But who says old guys have to act serious? My daughter just told me this week that one of her friends told her that she really liked me and wished her dad was more fun. You just can't beat that kind of review!

Pets. Animals have been a huge part of our family. At the moment, we only have five - one dog, two turtles, and two rabbits. But we've had as many as twenty at a time including dogs, cats, turtles, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, and fish. Some of our animals have been entered into the local fairs. We've even had a couple of Grand Champions! And just in case all those animals weren't enough, we've also been a foster family for raising guide dog puppies a couple of times. All those extra paws and claws and fins certainly make our house a fun place to be.

Present. Nope, not like a birthday present (though you can send me a present any time you want!) I'm talking about being present. In the moment. This is my personal challenge - to really be present in the moment. It is so easy to be sitting in the sun or floating in the lake while my brain reviews things I need to do at work. I can go out to dinner with my family and find myself planning things I need to get done on the weekend. And I'm trying to stop that. To learn to really be present in the moment. To embrace each activity as it happens. There will be plenty of time for work when I get to work. Plenty of time for chores and paying bills. My kids are growing up fast and I want to really live in every minute.

Word seven. But cs established a pattern (oh look, another P word!). She chose to only write about six words. That seems perfect (there's another one). So I'm going parrot her lead and do the same (okay, am I trying too hard now?).

But I do need pass this P meme along to another blogger. And to do that, I'm going to the Pole. The North Pole. Well, nearly that far. I'm passing it along to Kati in Alaska. Have fun, Kati! I'm eager to see what you do with the P's!

Thursday, September 13, 2007


After 5 days of healing, it is starting to look pretty good. You should have seen it on the first day. Ugly and oozing. Both cuts are about four inches long. And it hurt!

I'm not bothering to say how it happened because the story is just too mundane. But I think one of these cuts may leave a bit of a scar. So I'll need a not-so-mundane story. I'm torn between wild sex and bear attack. But I'm open to other ideas.

Oh...first time I've ever shaved part of my leg. That was odd. But I do have baby-soft skin. :)

My wife suggested I just go all the way and give my self a little Brazilian styling. She is so funny sometimes.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Friendly Wager

Son20 and I both love pro football. We were thrilled to sit through opening weekend. We watched our beloved Patriots. But we also watched every other game we could find - flipping channels when more than one game was on. It was sweet!

And just to make this season a little more fun for us, we have a little wager going. Each week we select who we think will win all the games. The best record for the weekend wins that weekend. The one with the most weekend wins at the end of the season takes the other out to dinner.

And I had a good weekend. I was winning. I was winning right up to the last 22 seconds of the second game on Monday night. The last 22 seconds of the entire weekend of games. And then San Francisco scored a winning touchdown.

Now I'm just one week closer to buying a steak dinner.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

While I was away...

Just before school began, I was away from the blogosphere for a while. A little time camping. A few days of working extra hours. And when I got back to this corner, I was surprised and honored to find that three different bloggers had passed along blog awards to me.

Talk about a shock! When I started blogging I really didn't expect anyone to read it. And I certainly never expected anyone to check in on a regular basis. But many of you do and it is more fun than I ever imagined. And to get a pat on the back along the way is just very cool.

Jenster, who has a wonderful blog, tapped me with the Blogger Reflection Award. The award gets passed along to bloggers who have been an encouragement, a source of love, impacted you in some way, and have been a Godly example to you. Bloggers who, when you reflect on them you get a sense of pride and joy… of knowing them and being blessed by them.

Wow, quite an honor to have Jenster think so highly of some of the things I've written. Thank you!

Now the rules of the award...

1. Copy this set of rules.
2. Reflect on five bloggers and write a least a paragraph about each one.
3. Make sure you link this post so others can read it and the rules.
4. Go leave your chosen bloggers a comment and let them know they’ve been given the award.
5. Put the award icon on your site.

I'll proudly display the icon. And I read more than five blogs that really touch me with their writing. But I'll narrow it down to five for the moment and here they are...

Nancy at Just Thinking... certainly qualifies as a reflective blogger. She writes about her life and family, but she also speaks courageously about her concerns for the world, the environment, and the people that live on the planet.

Wizened Wizard is definitely someone I feel proud to know - at least as much as you can know someone through their blog. She continues to amaze me with her thoughtful writing and her love and respect for nature (and her amazing photos) keep me coming back to her blog day after day.

Radioactive Girl is an inspiration. She has shared openly and bravely about her battles with cancer and the health concerns of her children. Of course that isn't all her blog is about. All of her writing is great to read.

Many people would claim that a seventeen year old kid isn't very reflective. In most cases, I might agree. But there is one seventeen year old who has great insight and writes about it so well, she clearly sets the bar higher for all of us. Theory of Thought definitely earns this blogging award with her writing.

Lastly, one of my newest blogging friends is Darren over at Clare's Dad. For the past year or so, he has been a stay-at-home dad with his pre-school daughter and has written a lot about the joys of sharing that time together. Now, she is off to school and he is off to find a job outside the home. I can't wait to see what happens next.

In addition to the Reflective Blogger Award, two people passed along the Nice Matters Award. This award gets passed to people who are just plain nice. And frankly, that's about a high a compliment as you can get!

The two folks who passed it along to me are pretty darn nice, too! Which explains why they got the award. Tulip Mom is a stay-at-home mom raising her son with Asperger's Syndrome. But she doesn't stop there. She writes about parenting plus a whole bunch of other stuff at her blog. And then there is Dorky Dad. When it comes to writing entertaining blogs, DD is the guru, the Peyton Manning of blogging. If you don't know who Peyton Manning is, he is a pretty decent football player - which is hard to admit for a real New England fan. But it isn't hard to admit that Dorky Dad is a totally rocking blogger. And I would have nominated both of these if they hadn't already been honored.

Fortunately, so that you can stop reading soon, this award has no rules that require me to write individual little paragraphs about my nominees. So let me just say that all five of these folks are super nice. They've all left comments and/or sent e-mail that encouraged me along the way with my blogging. And they all write blogs that I love to visit. So my nominees for the Nice Matters Award are...

Jocelyn at O Mighty Crisis - a great entertainer with her writing
CS at another tangential thinker - great writing with terrific photos
Big Brother - he IS watching...and writing about it.
Whim at The Babblings of Whimsicalnbrainpan - she has been through a lot (you can read all about it) and she is an amazing person
Charlotta (who looks just like Wonder Woman!) and is very supportive to other bloggers.

These are all terrific bloggers and totally deserve recognition for being super nice.

It is an honor to get these awards...but an even bigger honor to shine a little light on some of my favorite bloggers!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The 3 Kinds of People

Son20 started his new year in college last week. One of his courses is Criminal Justice. He anticipated a class with a bunch of political science majors discussing the justice system. He was half right. The other half of the class is apparently populated with people planning to go into a career of law enforcement. That alters the class just a bit, but no problem.

But then they all met the professor. This guy is an ex-military, ex-law enforcement, homeland security-loving, gung-ho kind of a guy. His first comment in the first class was to give the one and only class rule. No sandals. Apparently they "ruin your stance" making it much more difficult to walk a beat later in life.

His next comment was on the seating arrangement in the class. And this is where Son20 learned about the types of people in the world. According to the professor, you can figure out which kind of person you are if you imagine standing in a circle of people when a hand grenade is tossed into the center of the circle. One type of person will run away looking for safety. One type of person will freeze in place from the fear.. And the last type of person will throw themselves on the grenade in an effort to protect others.

Having given that description of the 3 types of people in the world, the professor then said he needed four people who were the "jump on the grenade type" to sit nearest the door. He said if a terrorist entered the class, he was willing to jump in front of him and take the first bullet. But the professor felt it would take up to four additional people to help subdue and disarm the terrorist. So the professor scanned the room and asked if there were four volunteers.

Son20, who just happened to be sitting closest to the door, was the only person who moved. He slowly gathered his books and pencils, stuffed it all in his backpack, stood up and announced to the class (which was still a bit stunned from this opening salvo from the professor)..."I'm pretty sure I'm a runner". And he slowly made his way to the far corner of the room.

Once Son20 made the first move, a few other students shuffled around, basically leaving the corner nearest the door barren. I guess it went a little beyond a typical classroom seating chart to try to group all the grenade jumpers in one corner.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

What Girls Wear

I went back-to-school shopping with Daughter13 and my wife a couple of weeks ago. I know, the first thing that pops into your head is "am I insane?" Nope. I actually thought it would be a supportive and helpful thing to do. So we headed to the mall for school clothing.

As we entered the first store, I made my move. I asked what sizes my daughter wore so I could assist in the search. Again you wonder, have I lost my mind? Nope. But I knew if I didn't stake my claim as a "helper" right up front, I would end up sitting in the corner holding the purses. Or worse yet, sent to the food court till the entire event was complete.

As it turns out, Daughter13 was not 100% humiliated to have me helping, so she actually responded to my question. She shrugged. Not being entirely sure what size the shrug indicated, I turned to my wife. She ventured that she wasn't certain, this being our daughter's first time moving up from the girl's department to full-blown adult wear, but she thought we should look for a size 1 in jeans.

One? How can someone who is thirteen years old wear a one?!?! I thought those were for babies. Remember the 1T size? How did we get back to a '1' all over again?

Not wanting to rock the boat, I kept my mouth shut and went to look for jeans in size one. Once a few different pairs of jeans had been located, Daughter13 went to try things on. And guess what? They were too big.

So now what? Turns out there is a size zero. Zero. As in nothing. How freaking small must a pair of jeans be to be a zero?!? But as we scanned the zero pile, the kindly salesperson suggested that those might not fit, either. Nope, she suggested double zero.

Who ever heard of double zero???? And just what the hell are they? Is this like a bra...a double-A cup is bigger than an A cup? Turns out...nothing like a bra. A double zero is smaller than a zero.

Roll that phrase around in your head for a minute. Smaller than a zero. How can that be? How can clothing come in sizes smaller than zero???

So off we went in search of double zero sized jeans. Insane. And as I flipped through racks of size 2 and 3, I couldn't help but wonder....are the teens who wear those sizes giants?!?! Suddenly a 2 seemed gargantuan compared to double zero. Clearly, all reason has been set aside. Numbers on girls' clothing are meaningless.

Fortunately, we did find double zero jeans. Plenty of them. And Daughter13 now has pants to wear.

Then we had to find shirts. To cut a long story short, I'll just say that the lack of logic was consistent. She does not wear double zero shirts. Not even close.

Who made up this system? And on what basis did they choose these numbers? When I need pants, I measure my waist. Thirty-six. So I go to the store and buy size 34 cause I know I'm gonna drop a few pounds soon...right? And then I go home. The numbers and the size actually relate to MY size. Not for girls. Not for women.

Next time I'm waiting in the food court.