Archives for January 2010

A Restaurant Surprise

This is kind of a cool idea.

Cabel Saasser brings word of a mysterious cafe that he recently experienced in Kashiwa in Japan. Located inside the Urban Design Center Kashiwa-no-ha, the Ogori cafe looks innocuous enough, but holds a surprise in store for its patrons. In a nutshell, you get what the person before you ordered, and the next person gets what you ordered. Thus, if you’re in on the game, you can choose to be either a generous benefactor, and treat those that come after you – or try your luck at being cheap. Either way, it’s an interesting experiment that explores surprise, kindness and encourages interactions.

Caught My Eye

Pepper Spray Mistakenly Used On Burning Man
Texas Fraternity Brother Branded, Family Furious Over Ritual
6 Epic Infomercial Fails and Bloopers
Gates makes $10 billion vaccines pledge
Misspelled Tattoos: Permanent And Hilarious (PHOTOS)

The Search For Answers About Our Ourselves Part II

“Kathy, I’m lost,” I said, though I knew she was sleeping
I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why
Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike
They’ve all gone to look for America.”
America– Simon and Garfunkel

A while back I decided that it would be interesting to review some old posts and see if time and experiences had changed my opinion. The Search For Answers About Our Ourselves seems like an appropriate place to begin. It happens to be one of the posts that made me appreciate blogging.

Five years later I have witnessed the disintegration and destruction of a bunch of marriages. Friends who appeared to be the ultimate expression of madly in love are no longer. Their relationships crumbled for a variety of reasons.

Some have fallen out of love and others have said that they never were. Some say that with age and life experiences they grew apart and realized that they had become different people. The problem wasn’t that they had become different people but that they had become different people who couldn’t grow/change with their husband/wife.

And so they came to the conclusion that they had irreconcilable differences.

“Tonight I’ll sing my songs again,
I’ll play the game and pretend.
But all my words come back to me in shades of mediocrity
Like emptiness in harmony I need someone to comfort me.
Homeward bound,
I wish I was,
Homeward bound,
Home where my thought’s escaping,
Home where my music’s playing,
Home where my love lies waiting
Silently for me.
Silently for me.”
Homeward Bound– Simon & Garfunkel

As the music plays I am trying to remember where my head was when I wrote that original post and I realize how much has happened during the five years since. It feels kind of foolish to write that. Five years isn’t a huge amount of time, but it is significant.

For me it feels like a lifetime ago. I have since changed careers and am doing some things professionally that I don’t think I ever would have expected to be doing. It is more than fair to say that I have been pushed out of my comfort zone and that I am engaged in a struggle to make sense of some of these things.

That Homeward Bound quote has always resonated with me, especially during times like now. Moments where I am working through a transitory period and am trying to identify solutions that will work. Home doesn’t have to be a physical place. It can also be a mental/emotional refuge.

I suppose that some of those things are in flux for me which is part and parcel why I feel a bit unsettled now. My own particular piece of this planet is shaking. It is moving at light speed in sort of an uncomfortable and awkward position.

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Some of you are going to read this post and be bothered because it is not real fluid. There are awkward transitions and hints at things that aren’t being disclosed. That is intentional. It is not being done out of laziness or for some sort of trickery.

It is a reminder that I am placing here for me so that when I come back in the future it will be easier for me to connect with these thoughts.

When I read that original post I see the man I was then and I realize that I have changed. The experiences I have had and things that I have seen since then have made me more cynical. The edges are rougher and less polished.

I still have a habit of beating myself up for some things. I am still my worst critic, but that is to be expected. In any case it is time to stop rambling. I’ll end this the same way that I ended the other.

“Here is what I know for certain…..Nothing and everything. I know that I have friends and family whom I would die for. I have known and know love that burns so fiercely it leaves me gasping for breath. I have experienced passion that leaves a sharp a pain in my side and a burning feeling that does not diminish with time.


What I know for certain is that I am alive. I feel it and I live it. What else can a man ask for.”

Life Changes- What Now?

In the back of my garage there is a section that is devoted to baby gear. There is a diaper genie, a high chair, crib, clothes and assorted toys neatly stacked, wrapped and boxed up. For a moment I stare at them and and wonder if there is reason to keep them any longer.

My youngest is midway through kindergarten and there seems to be no compelling reason to believe that babies will be forthcoming. I am torn about this, unsure if I am ready to accept that this part of my life is over. There are a million reasons why it makes sense to not have any more children. Smart, sensible and practical reasons.

Yet I find myself feeling a bit sad and unsettled about this. Am I really ready to say that there will be no more? That doesn’t mean that I don’t love my kids. I do, they are my world. But I always thought that there would be a few more and I find myself asking myself a ton of questions.

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In May I’ll be 41. I am still young and in relatively good shape. I don’t have any doubt that I could do it again. Heck, part of the beauty of being male is that in theory I can keep procreating until I am 130. Although just because you can doesn’t mean that you should.

The private school battle has been strenuous and difficult. More children means more bills and that is not necessarily something that I want. It angers me to bring finances into this. I don’t like it. I really want to base decisions upon whether the children will receive the love and attention that they deserve. Although I suppose that finances do come into play because of the impact that work has upon life.

Meaning that a good job that pays enough to support the family can require so many hours that it is challenging to spend time with one child. So here I am recanting, finances have to be a part of the discussion. It still irks me, but perhaps that is more of an issue of the general struggle with accepting that the end of this part of my life is at hand.

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Maybe this is all tied into trying to figure out some of the what now business. I have reframed it from being a midlife crisis, although that is what some people would deem this to be. I don’t like viewing it as a crisis or being reactionary. It is an approach that is far too negative.

What I have been doing is going through a transitional period in which I have been figuring out what it is that I want for me now. Been out of college for a long time. I have spent time working in the corporate world, worked for small and midsize businesses and been self employed. During that time I have gained a lot of valuable skills and experience.

I want to take that and use it for things that make me happy. I want to wake up and be excited about the day. It happens, but not with the frequency that I want it to. I want to look at the future and be excited about that and not see a grind. Again, it happens but not with the frequency that I’d like.

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Back in the garage I am staring at my weights. They are trusted companions of a different sort. Cold and unfeeling the steel has been a companion of a different sort. Some of them have been hanging out with me since the Reagan Administration. That is a pretty good investment. Too bad they don’t provide a financial dividend to go with the physical.

Old luggage lies on a shelf. A suitcase and a duffel bag. I picked up the duffel bag at an army surplus store around 1988 or so. Back then I spent hours in the gym. I was rock solid and wore a flat top. Occasionally I would be asked if I was in the service. There is only one time that I remember not saying no. It was in Denim and Diamond, a Country/Western bar. A couple of drunk boys were starting up with some friends and it made sense to let them wonder what I might be, but that is a story for a different day.

The bags and the weights remind me of the past but they also speak of the transition into the present. They serve as an easy reminder that change is not always absolute nor scary.

I bend over and grab a dumbbell. Twenty-five pounds is all that I am working with now. The fragile male ego is irritated. I used to swing far more and with greater ease than I am using now. But those were days without responsibility. Back then I would have laughed at the Jack who wonders if he wants more kids or not.

But then again the truth is that kid had his own share of anxieties. Though they may have been different, he most certainly worried about things.

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The crib is broken down into pieces and covered with shrinkwrap. I close my eyes and for a moment I can see the babies who once slept in there.Tiny creatures who taught me that I hadn’t even begun to understand what it meant to love.

In my mind’s eye I see a little boy who was once called Red by great-grandparents who are no longer here. The image changes and I see this baby girl pull herself up. She smiles at me and I melt. Damn, she can’t even walk and I know that I am already wrapped around her finger.

My reverie is interrupted by the beeping of a BlackBerry. The real world is calling and with that we fade to black…………….

A Transition- Call it a Blog’s Midlife Crisis