Archives for August 2011

Words

Friday night has come and gone and a week of vacation is coming to an end. The past few weeks have been among the craziest in memory and I find myself thinking about promises made and promises kept. I think about my life and the lives of those around me and I wonder if I have disappointed some people to the same degree with which they have disappointed me.

People who were among the most dear and most important to me haven’t followed through on their promises and I am at a loss. My inclination is to provide them with an excuse that will allow me to let it go. My inclination is to shrug my shoulders and say that we all make mistakes, we all fall short and let bygones be bygones.

But the thing is that the anger that accompanies that feeling of disappointment doesn’t provide much latitude. I don’t make many promises. I am hard to pin down but when I do I follow through- even if it is slow, I follow through. So I can’t help but be irritated by those that don’t. I can’t help but wonder about their “words” and feel like they took advantage of me. I am not just disappointed in them but myself. I look backwards and ask if I could have avoided these situations. I look backwards and try to find the signs that could have helped avoid these moments.

Words should be worth more. Words should be taken more seriously, but they are not.

So I sit here thinking about what I have said, what I say and what I will say. I think of the promises that I have made and wonder what promises I’ll make for the future. In the midst of my disappointment and anger there is still that focus/awareness on doing better. That has to be the goal. If I can’t live up to the standards I demand than I have no business living- so every day the goal is to put the time in and do something about it.

The last thing I want is to do is fall short of these goals. And that is all I have to say on that.

A Moment In Time

I am a collector of moments in time. I try to be present in all that I do so that when something special happens I can capture it and lock it away inside that place where the most important things of my life are filed.  By the time August is finished I will have buried my grandfather, watched my sister get married and moved out of the first house I owned. And I will have done it all in less than 30 days.

By the time August ends I will have taken a running leap at a new beginning and a future full of possibility. I’ll have spent hours worrying about my children and wondering which door offers the best opportunities for the future. By the time August is done I’ll have asked the Magic 8 Ball for help making decisions that are huge with the knowledge that it is impossible to predict what will happen. There is really no way to know without taking that first step so  I’ll shrug my shoulder and remember that life is a journey and this is just another step.

By the time August has ended the kids will be back in school and I’ll have made most if not all of the hard decisions that need to be made and then I’ll wait, watch and see. By the time August has ended I’ll have collected many more memories and moments in time and it will have been up to me to make sure that there are more smiles than frowns.

A Post I Hope You’ll Read Version 765

Good writers who want to be great learn at an early age that they should be prepared to write and rewrite as many times as necessary. It is a worthwhile endeavor and something that I really should do more of as it would make the posts you read here better. Better isn’t really what I want to achieve but it is an improvement over fair and good so there is some motivation.

My head and my heart are at war and have been for quite some time now. The reasons why aren’t really germane to this post so I won’t address them here other than to say that I have a plan. In fact the plan was to write a post called “The Art of Making Tough Decisions” but I decided that I didn’t feel like focusing on one topic so I made this the post that I hope you will read.

It is going to include a few videos, some song lyrics and an assortment of odds and ends. Inside my head I hear the theme to Sanford and Son and see this post as resembling the junkyard they ran.

And now links to two songs and clips of song lyrics:

“In every heart there is a room
A sanctuary safe and strong
To heal the wounds from lovers past
Until a new one comes along”

 

“We started a story Whose end must now wait
And, tell me
When will our eyes meet
When can I touch you
When will this strong yearning end
And when
Will I hold you again”

My favorite bloggers are almost always those who wear their hearts on their sleeve. I like the people who dare to put it all out there and let the chips fall where they may. I suppose that some of it is because I take a similar approach. I suppose it is because I have learned that there are some exceptionally generous people around and that if you learn how to ask for help they will give it.

It is something that I want my children to see, experience and remember. I don’t want them to grow up in a world of fear and uncertainty. I don’t want them to get lost wandering in shadows and darkness wondering if the axe is going to fall. I want them to experience a world of wonder and fun. I want them to continue to see the magic and mystery of the world and to understand that sometimes we fail but we always get back up. And I want them to get back up in a different way than I do. When you knock me down I spring back up with my fist cocked and fire coming from my nostrils.

When you knock me down the Taurus in me lowers his horns and prepares to charge. I don’t want the kids to spring back up like that. I don’t want them to ever let others take advantage of them. I don’t want them to be suckers or to be abused, but there is a middle ground. I want them to find that middle ground.

Seventeen years ago I went to my cousins’ 50th wedding anniversary party and was absolutely amazed by how well my cousin Stan danced to this song. He was 74 but he moved better than almost every man in their. I had no idea that he could dance, but I loved what I saw. It was pure joy and unadulterated happiness.

Some of you have contacted me and asked if I am ok. Some of you have sent some wonderful notes of support and I am quite appreciative. It is worth mentioning that your perception of my reality is different than mine. I am aggravated by some of the things that have happened. I am annoyed and irritated by most of it because there is not much that I can do to change things.

It is not lack of desire, but an understanding that some things are outside of my control. So I come here and vent. I come here and blow off steam and so it goes. But I never forget that this shall past and that in the not so distant future I’ll feel the sun upon my back and see blue skies. Besides, this sort of nonsense makes for good blog fodder- there are endless numbers of stories that I could tell.

The comment section is wide open. Feel free to share your thoughts about the post, about life, movies, music or anything.

Teach Your Children To Be Responsible With Money

The 17 long time readers of the blog know that every year I write several posts about educating my children. There are two standard posts that I include in this group:

1) The cost/benefits of a private school education.

2) Curriculum- What sort of courses should our children be taking and what isn’t being taught in school that should be.

How to use money responsibly is at the top of that list. Ignore your political leanings for a moment and think about the shameful behavior of the US government a few weeks ago regarding the debt ceiling. Think about the economy for a moment and then take a stiff drink because you’ll need it after that.

More than a few of us are living paycheck to paycheck. More than a few of us are wondering how to make ends meet. People are losing their homes, fighting to find affordable healthcare and wondering if they will ever be able to afford to retire. One of the best things that we can do is teach our children fiscal responsibility. It is not something that they will learn in school so it is up to us to teach them how it is done.

Some time ago I learned about a tool/company that we can use to help make that happen. It is called ThreeJars and it is a simple, yet effective way to help provide that education. Watch the video just below and you’ll gain a greater understanding of how it works and what it does:

I strongly encourage you to check it out. They offer a free two week trial. If you like it sign up for it and start helping your children learn about the value of compound interest and saving. If you don’t sign up that is cool too, but either way I strongly urge you to teach your children how to use money responsibly. It is one of the most important and critical lessons that they will learn in life.

(Disclosure: I am part of their affiliate program.)

The Bull In The China Shop

Some years back when things were good and there was an abundance of love and a shortage of problems June told Johnny that she was amazed by how deftly he handled arguments. She said that she found his ability to stay calm and collected to be admirable. He laughed and told her that he wasn’t always as calm as he appeared to be and related how he used to like to try to keep the other side off balance by playing to their emotions.

Initially I had intended to sit out on the balcony and watch the waves break upon the shore. Armed with my laptop, a fishing pole and a bottle of Scotch I was going to write a post that would make your head spin and your heart ache. It wouldn’t have been good this post, it would have been great. It would have  been uplifting, profound and insightful. It would have been the sort of post that made you nod your head and wipe the lonely tears that drift down your cheek. But people plan and god laughs so I didn’t get to write that post.

I didn’t get to sit out on the balcony and watch the sunset nor did I get to enjoy that glass of single malt. Instead I took a group of children, all of whom are related to me and talked about how big the dolphins are and whether I could swim faster than a whale. I shared stories about Superman and Aquaman. We laughed at jokes that I didn’t get but enjoyed for the sole reason that five year olds can be exceptionally funny.

So that super post is doing a little jingle jangle inside my head and the words I had intended to use to describe his bull in a china shop manner are left unsaid. And somewhere out there is a person who would appreciate these words and this tale more than most. Somewhere out there they do whatever it is they do and live however it is they live as do I.

It is one of the great conundrums of my life, this indescribable thing. The question of what to do or what not to do is one that perplexes and vexes me. Promises were made of a nature that I can’t ignore, but the dead of night isn’t the time to think nor consider these things, so I shan’t.

Instead I’ll encourage you to take some time to read one of these recent posts or something from the archives: