Archives for July 2012

The In Between Place

Lonely man

I made them cry, not him or her but them. You can tell me it wasn’t my fault or that it is not my responsibility but I won’t accept it.

That is because I was the one who made the telephone calls. I was the one who called our friends and told them you were dead.

Some of them screamed and some of sniffled in silence but I heard their voices and we shared the pain of your loss.

Today is your birthday or should I say it would have been. I don’t have a clue what you would have done for this one or where you would be living.

Maybe you would be married and maybe you would be a father. It is a relatively easy guess to make and probably not far off of the mark.

Instead of writing to you and wondering if somewhere you can hear, see, feel or read this I would call you and make some crack about how old you are. You’d give me some sort of sarcastic response and I’d tell you about my family.

It wouldn’t be the first time. I have visited your grave and sat next to you. I have told you about your funeral and how very blue the skies were. It was hot that day and not just because we were wearing black suits.

Nor was it because we buried you.

That has always been important to me. We buried you because you were loved by your friends. We buried you because it was among the last kindness we could bestow directly upon you.

Every year I remember the moment when I saw your mother’s face while I was shoveling dirt on your casket. It was horrifying then and as a father it is only made worse.

Yet there is a piece of me that smiles because I know you would have done the same for me and because I know your parents appreciated it. I know that in this moment of utter horror they knew that people who cared about you were doing our best to help.

We would have done more. We wanted to. Had we known earlier we could have helped carry the load. You knew more than us. You knew this was coming sooner but didn’t say.

Perhaps it was your choice, but we would have listened. We would have shared more with you during a time when we could both communicate.

Life is pretty good now. It has its challenges but that is to be expected. I keep tabs with your siblings and your parents. They are good too.

I don’t regret having had to make those calls or having been a part of the merry men of grave digging. Shit happens and we deal with it.

You are gone but not forgotten. You helped change more lives than you know and that is a legacy to be proud of.

Happy Birthday old friend, I’ll see you again.

 Linked To YeahWrite.

To Be Remembered

“Oh, Baby, it’s cryin’ time, Oh, Baby, I got to fly.
Got to try to find a way, Got to try to get away,
‘Cause you know I gotta get away from you, Babe.”
Four Sticks– Led Zeppelin

Midnight fast approaches and I am back at the computer wrestling to find the words that tell the stories I want to tell and to paint the pictures I want you to see. The music speaks to me and I wonder if maybe the universe is sending me a message.

It is fueling my fire and fanning the flames that burn in  my belly. I know this much is true: I want to write something that will be remembered. I want to write words that touch people and change lives.

Not sure if I have ever shared that before or if I have even been aware of it until now. Maybe I was afraid to say so, maybe I just didn’t know. Either way it makes no difference because I have said he words out loud and placed them here where they will bear witness to the promises I have made, those I have kept and those I haven’t.

The question I am mulling over in my mind is who do I want to remember me and why. Is is my ego and ambition large enough to go for broke. Will I shoot the moon and try to touch as many lives as possible or am I focused on just a few.

There is a story here that has already touched many. It has been discovered by some who think they know something more about it. It has been found by someone who thinks they play a central role in it but I will not confirm nor deny.

It is not because I am being coy, clever or adversarial but because I don’t think of things in those terms. I am still telling, sifting and sorting and am unwilling to commit to one place, moment or person.

“I had to escape , the city was sticky and cruel
Maybe I should have called you first
But I was dying to get to you

I was dreaming while I drove
The long straight road ahead
Uh-huh, yeah”
I Drove All Night– Roy Orbison

I have noticed that my best writing is often centered around my ability to tap into raw emotion and I am not pleased by this. It doesn’t always work this way but it happens more frequently than I like.

My ability to string words together is a gift and I don’t want that based upon anger, joy or sorrow. I want to call it upon it and have it answer regardless of time, place or situation. It is part of why I practice writing. I want to improve. I want to become better.

The goal at the end of the rainbow is to write the work that I mentioned earlier but in the interim I want to take joy in the journey. I talk to my children about this frequently- live now. Enjoy this moment. Things change. People grow. People move. People die.

Pay attention and be in the moment.

Questions

I want to know Are you living the life you expected to live and if not are you happy? If you aren’t happy what are you doing about it? It is tied into another discussion I have with my children. We talk about how this last year was rough and filled with changes.

We talk about how some of them were good and some were bad. I want them to remember that when things go to hell we are charged with adapting and adjusting. Some of the most frustrating moments of my life are tied into this time but I never stopped moving. I never stopped trying to change it up and I think I am on my way, but only time will tell.

The point isn’t to portray myself as a hero. It is merely to say that we have to be our own advocates. When we want things to happen we need to do what we can with what we have to make it happen.

I haven’t failed or succeeded. I am somewhere in between. But most nights I go to bed knowing that I have done my best and that is enough…for now.

To Be Remembered

The way to be remembered is take a chance and to seize the opportunities that come. But I already shared you with the desire, my desire to write that book and to tell that story.

I wonder if you can feel the energy that comes flying out of me and flowing through my fingertips. I wonder if it translates or if you are sitting there rolling your eyes because I sound like a hopped up, over zealous fool.

Ultimately it doesn’t really matter because I only know how to do this as me. Some of you will like me and some of you won’t. That is just how it goes.

This is part of Just Write #46. It is an exercise in free writing that I strongly urge you to consider participating in.Just write

An Easy Way To Say I Appreciate You

One of the easiest ways to help maintain harmony in your home and to create a loving feeling is to let those you love know that you appreciate them.

If you are like me you sometimes live in your own world and wander around lost in the land of, well we can’t really share those thoughts here so you will have to use your imagination.

Go on now, dream for a moment. Really, I could do it for you, I can paint a picture with my words but you wouldn’t learn anything if we did it that way now would you.

Yes, I confess…again that sometimes I get so caught up in what I am doing I sometimes forget to let the gang know I feel, especially those who aren’t part of my immediate family. I am sure that some of you can relate to this. Let gets busy and sometimes we get lost in the minutiae of the moment.

I Have A Solution

The good news is that I have a solution to our problem. It comes to us from the people at Say Please and it is called Lunchbox Love.

It is a simple solution where you can slip a card with a nice note on it into the lunch bag/box of those you live with or leave it on the desk of a coworker. As you can see in the picture below they come in a nice case that contains a card with a note and a nice message on it.

An easy way to let people know you appreciate them.

The cards have a variety of messages on them including things like, “I appreciate you,” My favorite job is taking care of you,” Thank goodness you work here” and “I feel so blessed to have you in  my life.”

Candidly, I don’t know that I would give a card to a coworker or friend because it is not really my style. However I definitely do it for my children and when your penmanship is as poor as mine something like this is pretty useful.

And now my friends I am pleased to let you know that I Say Please has graciously offered to giveaway some of their Lunchbox Love so that you can spread sunshine and joy in your life.

All you need to do is leave a comment about how what you do to let people know that you appreciate them. Thursday morning the random number generator will help me pick a winner and in no time at all you’ll be sharing love too.

Ask Your Father- It Is Just Like Riding A Bicycle

Half Wheeler "is a kids bike that hooks u...

Half Wheeler “is a kids bike that hooks up to an adult bike to help teach kids to balance” – San Francisco – Golden Gate Bridge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The rules of the blog are pretty simple. Tell a story. Make sure it has a beginning, a middle and an end. Have fun telling it or at least try to.

Sunday afternoon is a day that I will remember because it is the day I fixed my failure as a father. I know, some of you are utterly shocked that the guy who calls himself the Original Dad Blogger has failed at anything parenting related but it is true.

I have. I did. I fixed it, or at least I fixed one thing.

I taught my children how to ride a bike.

They Finally Learned How

My children have owned bicycles for years but until Sunday afternoon neither had been able to ride without training wheels.  It made me a little bit crazier than I normally am.

I started riding a bike at 7 and never stopped. I rode my bike everywhere. That bike represented freedom and I couldn’t get enough of it. I can remember the day I learned how to ride and a million days that came afterwards.

When my oldest was born I walked with him in my arms and told him that one day I would teach him how to ride his bike and we would ride together. Yet the little man made it all the way to 11.5 without knowing how to do it.

It felt like a failure on my part. It felt like I didn’t follow through on a promise and it bothered me, but at the same time it wasn’t entirely my fault.

A Different World

My children have grown up  in a different world than the one I did.  I started walking to school when I was six years-old. They haven’t ever done this. In large part it is because we lived too far away for them to walk so they were driven there.

Most of their classmates were driven to school as well. The neighborhood isn’t filled with kids walking to and from school like my childhood home was.

Our old house was in a neighborhood where children didn’t play outdoors. It wasn’t because it was unsafe it was because almost no one went to the local public school. They all went to private or magnet schools.

After school was done they all were driven to soccer or baseball practice. Or maybe mom took them to piano/karate/art lessons…by car.

In my day (old man that I am) we would finish our homework as quickly as possible and then ride our bikes to the park and 7-11. We were outside as much as possible. Being indoors often felt like punishment.

Freedom was outside.

They Didn’t Care To Learn

My kids didn’t care about their bikes. They didn’t see them as being tools they could use for freedom. They didn’t see their friends riding bikes so they didn’t care about learning. It was something they said they would do one day.

I didn’t push. I thought about it, but I didn’t.

Periodically I would see kids riding or hear stories about kids I knew who were riding and I would feel like I had failed the kids in this area. I decided that I had to fix it.

My children fooled me. I wanted to fix it but before I came up with any sort of plan they decided they wanted to learn.

We spent several hours outside and they figured it out. I couldn’t have been prouder of them.

I took my bike out and rode around the neighborhood with them and discovered I don’t ride very often, My legs are sore.

This aging thing sucks. I play basketball every week. I exercise frequently and yet my freaking legs hurt.

What happened to the boy who could ride all day. Don’t answer that because I know.

Epilogue

I am not just proud of them but excited. Don’t tell the kiddies but I just found another way to keep them from sitting on their butts. I love the video games. I play them too. Give me the Wii and I’ll beat you in bowling, but the exercise is too important to mess around with.

Frankly it is too important for both them and for me. Now we can do it together. The bike means freedom. I can’t wait to ride with them again.

Proper Etiquette For Commenting On A Blog

If you aren’t able or unwilling to listen to the audio post here is a short summary of the discussion.

I received an email from someone who said that they are going to stop commenting on my blog because I don’t comment on their blog. I don’t believe that comments are currency or that you should use comments as proof that someone read your post.

When I look at my stats I see the majority of my readers do not comment on my posts. In years past that used to really concern me and I wondered if I was doing something wrong.

After much thought and discussion with other bloggers I have decided the lack of a comment is not indicative of approval or disapproval of a post. Sometimes people don’t comment because they are shy, someone else has already said what they would or because they feel they have nothing more to add.

Comments can provide validation but they shouldn’t be why we blog. They aren’t currency and or proof of a quality post. The best comments advance the conversation and add value.

It is rude to write someone and complain about them not commenting. It is not unlike telling a friend they can’t cook after you have accepted a dinner invitation at their home.

The Olympics and NBC

We also talked about The Olympics and my frustration with the tape delay. It is always fun to get the results of the day at 8 AM my time and then know I have to wait until 8 PM to actually watch them. You would think that NBC might have learned something after the last Olympics, but they apparently haven’t.

Livefyre 3

Overall I have been happy with LF but there are a few bugs that are making it a bit rougher than I would like. I am not happy that some people have trouble commenting or that certain posts have duplicate comments scattered throughout them.

LF is free and they provide great customer service which is always praiseworthy. It is even more noticeable because LF is free.

There is your quick summary. Got any thoughts, ideas or feelings to share? Please do so in the comments.