Archives for 2014

It’s The Kind Of Life We Should Live

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The kind of life we should live.

The children are far too young for us to have real discussions about marriage and life partnerships but the short version of what I want for them is contained in that quote.

My hope and dream for them is many years from now when I am long gone and they lived decades and decades of life they’ll be able to look back upon a rich tapestry of experiences and smile because they shared them with someone meaningful and special to them.

Not everyone gets to experience that. Not everyone has that and some who could never do because they fear to move from where they are at.

Lonely

I could sit in that chair and be content.

I suppose it is natural to start thinking about our lives as they were, as they are and as we hope them to be.

Especially at this time of year, when you look around and wonder how almost 365 days could have passed by so very quickly and you know you were conscious of the time because it often felt like the clock had stopped.

Some people pass through life, barely awake and aware of what is happening around them and others are fully aware.

Don’t get hung up on that last part. If you are like me it is natural to question what fully aware means but also natural to accept it as meaning you pay attention to whether your living the kind of life that makes you happy and content or not.

If you are me you also accept that content doesn’t mean you are happy all day long, every day because that is ridiculous. We all have hard moments and go through times where we feel something other than happy and that is ok.

You don’t see the light or the dark without the other.

Sunset
Some of my favorite moments come from the in between place where day doesn’t know whether it is time to be night and night hasn’t decided if it should turn to day.

I don’t know what kind of life you want to live but I know the kind of life we should live and I am working on it.

It is time for me to go now, we have reached the in between moment so the dog and I are going for a walk to search for magic.

Don’t know if we’ll find it or if it will find us.

I just know that I tell my kids you have to be open to possibility to find opportunity.

Men Use Pinterest Too

You don't last unless you love it.

You don’t last unless you love it.

Writing reminds me of a hot, steamy and heavy love affair. When things are great you feel invulnerable, unstoppable and convinced that you have figured out one of the great secrets of life.

Then there are those moments where you sit there dumbfounded, slack jawed and amazed at how quickly your arch nemesis discovered and used your Kryptonite upon you.

And sometimes in the midst of you sorrow you discover not only did that bastard drop a dime on you, he took your girl and made a film of them doing things you never want to think about and now you curse having a more active and colorful imagination than most.

This is the moment when you figure out whether it is true love or not because instead of throwing that bleeping, bleepity bleep out you scream at her and tell her you wish you’d had never met her and seconds later you beg her not to leave because you can’t live without her.

Later on in the dark of the night when she brushes her lips across yours and wraps her body around you the anger fades completely and you remember that your invulnerability is based upon you working together as team.

Somewhere in the midst of the moment you forget about the hard times and smile because you are back.

Men Use Pinterest Too

I used to view Pinterest as being a social media platform for women. I didn’t care about dresses, frills or jewelry or need a place to search for recipes and crafty stuff that moms do with kids.

One day as my daughter did my hair and talked to me about stuff she wanted to do I thought about trying to come up with something that she would see as being special because it was just her and I and didn’t include her brother.

So I figured I ought to look at Pinterest because it would probably be a good resource and I discovered I had this silly, misguided stereotypical impression of it.

And as I spent time thinking about the The Pinterest Predicament & The Rule Of Four it became clear I could make my Pinterest boards into something that served my needs.

The level of my engagement there varies from week to week. There are days where I barely acknowledge it but I always do something with it.

Initially I did it because my focus was on trying to use it as a way to drive more traffic but somewhere in the midst of that I saw it as a great resource/tool for writers and that has been where my most recent efforts have gone to.

That is not to say I have decided against using it for driving/generating more traffic to my blog because that would be foolish but our time is limited so I chose to focus on where I think I will get the most return.

Why I Write Daily

I write daily because writing is the one mistress I dare not ignore and because when I want something I go after it with a passion.

There is no way to become better at this than through practice and since it is a true love of mine I never get tired of chasing after that brass ring.

Pinterest helps provide inspiration and food for thought. Sometimes I pin posts/articles/quotes there because I am using it as an electronic bookmark.

Don’t have time to read now, but I’ll check it later.

It is part of why I try to go through my boards periodically to delete what isn’t needed and better organize that which isn’t.

Writing isn’t always glamorous. You don’t always find yourself sitting by a roaring fireplace watching the snow fall outside of your chateau or on a beach chair at your island hideaway.

Sometimes it is a take your lunch pail to the quarry and hammer away at rocks until you get something suitable and then you collapse from exhaustion.

But I love that crazy chick far too much to ever go away so I guess I am here for the long haul.
Visit Jack Steiner’s profile on Pinterest.

Is It Legal To Murder Santa Claus?

Imagination

Imagination will lead you anywhere and everywhere.

A reader once asked me to justify using quotes in my posts. They suggested it proved I am a lazy thinker and suggested some of the quotes I used were fabricated and or misattributed.

Attribution matters to me and I try hard to make sure that what I share here is accurate but the allegation that sharing quotes represents sloppy thinking is as foolish as asking if it would be a crime to kill an imaginary figure.

I didn’t engage with the fellow. Didn’t mention much of our education involves studying the things others did and said because there are moments to wrestle with mental midgets and moments to do what we can to expand our minds or so I tell my kids.

What Is The End Of The Beginning?

One of the reasons I write is because I hope one day it will help my children find their way through some of life’s challenges and gain a better understand of who their old man is.

I have done my best to shield them from some of the chaos and confusion of recent years because I didn’t see how knowing more would help and figured the faster I moved through these moments the better it would be for all of us.

Some of this stems from what happens when dad gets caught in the corporate chaos created by others and some of it comes from the turmoil that comes with mid career moves.

When the day comes when they ask me how I have made certain decisions and how I justified analysis and a dose of going with my gut I’ll share these quotes with them.

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” ― Albert Einstein

“I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking”― Albert Einstein

They are all tied into the posts below. There is a whole theme here, a rhyme and reason that others might be able to follow or might not.

One of the things I want my kids to understand is it is nice to be understood and to have people follow your train of thought but it is not always needed or necessary.

Sometimes you are the only one who can hear the song of your heart and you follow a yellow brick road that no one else can see.

People make fun of what they don’t understand because of fear and insecurity but I don’t want them to pretend they can’t hear that music or see the road when they do.

I get it. I know it. I understand it because I am living it.

It is not always clear and I still would prefer to have more concrete rules, items and examples to use but I don’t. I am good with that. I am ok.

That is part of why I blog too.

This where I suss and sort it all out.

If you want a rough and inelegant way of describing it this reminds me of the surge of energy and fear I sometimes had before a fight. I was always nervous about getting hit but once I knew what that felt like it was game on for me.

A nicer way of describing it would be to compare it to entering really hot/cold water.

“If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.” ― Albert Einstein

I love that quote more than I can say.

It reminds me of a discussion with a good friend about the importance of asking the right questions.

Good questions are part of the foundation of a good education. It begins with recognizing you don’t know what you don’t know and trying to figure out what gaps need to be filled in so you can ask smarter questions.

Circle back to the quote about changing the facts for a moment and I’ll say sometimes I think we get the right answers but they are attached to the wrong question.

Part of growing is figuring out how to expand your mind so that you recognize the opportunity to look for other answers/facts.

“Somebody who only reads newspapers and at best books of contemporary authors looks to me like an extremely near-sighted person who scorns eyeglasses. He is completely dependent on the prejudices and fashions of his times, since he never gets to see or hear anything else..” ― Albert Einstein

Ask my kids about the importance of being able to argue both sides of an argument and they’ll tell you I am an advocate because the person who can argue both sides often has a greater understanding of the issues.

But it is also because I am pushing back against a growing intolerance for being offended. All too often I hear/see people complain about being offended and their response is to call for a ban or boycott.

I find that shameful and disappointing. Don’t like what you see on television? Don’t watch.

Is It Legal To Murder Santa Claus?

Why not ask a serious question like Why Do Clowns Make Better Lovers Than Mimes?

Or more importantly tell me the man who just spoke about tolerance why I shouldn’t burn your evil spawn, the elf on the shelf and the mensch on the bench.

I hate those creepy things.

Now if only I had a quote for that…

Sometimes Dad’s Just Don’t Know

"Crossroads of the Confederacy" -- The Civil War Railroad Crossroads at Corinth (MS) 2013
It is fair to say we have reached the crossroads here and I who am quite decisive is feeling a bit less so because sometimes the choice to go left instead of right or up instead of down is bigger than trying to decide if dinner will be steak or sushi.

Flip through the pages and posts and you’ll find comments about paralysis by analysis. You’ll see I am a man who likes to consider the consequences but understands that sometimes you jump into the flames and dance your way through but the weekend has made me question everything.

It has made me wonder if the teenager in this house is just being a teenager or if maybe I have been clueless. Maybe the crap that is being flung every which way is because I am a fool and an idiot.

Except I don’t believe I am both. Might be a fool, might be an idiot but I am not both. Of course if I am clueless I wouldn’t have any idea that I am both a fool and an idiot which would be appropriate for a clueless man.

It would be nice to have a mentor, guru, big brother or oracle I could consult with. Would be great if there was someone I could lay out all my questions in front of and be confident they could tell me precisely how to navigate these challenges but that person doesn’t exist.

And might I say I wish I was the author of the quote just below.

“…In books there’s always somebody standing by ready to say hey, the world’s in danger, evil’s on the rise, but if you’re really quick and take this ring and put it in that volcano over there everything will be fine.

“But in real life that guy never turns up. He’s never there. He’s busy handing out advice in the next universe over. In our world no one ever knows what to do, and everyone’s just as clueless and full of crap as everyone else, and you have to figure it all out by yourself. And even after you’ve figured it out and done it, you’ll never know whether you were right or wrong. You’ll never know if you put the ring in the right volcano, or if things might have gone better if you hadn’t. There’s no answers in the back of the book.”― Lev Grossman, The Magician’s Land

That sums it up, doesn’t it. We want to turn to the man/woman/kid and ask for directions to the volcano. We don’t care if we are going to have to fight flying monkeys, orcs or cross the seven seas because we have simple directions to follow.

Take this ring and destroy it and life will be easy, peaceful and magical.

We know it is not going to be easy to destroy the ring. We know it is going to be a struggle but we like it because the ring is tangible and the task is clear.

Sometimes Dad’s Just Don’t Know

The high level mission for dads is to provide for our families and raise children who are of good character and capable of living on their own and contributing to society.

But the way to do that is far more complex and filled with more uncertainty than trying to decide whether to go around the mountains or face the dread in Moria.

I suppose what is really irritating me right now is not having a made a decision about a few things because I just don’t know. Maybe it is because I am so invested in what is happening around me I lack some perspective and maybe I am frustrated because I am dealing with idiots who are make fools look like geniuses.

But this is one of those moments where I feel like I am failing and when it comes to parenting failure isn’t acceptable. It is just not.

It is one of those moments where I expect someone to walk out from behind a curtain and tell me this has all been a joke and they were only kidding.

This moment is one of the reasons why I blog because blogging helps provide clarity. It makes it easy for me to see what it is I think/believe and to lay out reasons why I should or should not do something.

Really, in the moments in which I have been writing this certain things have become more more clear and the resulting clarity has only made me wish that figuring this out was as simple as taking a fucking magic ring over the hill and through the woods to the volcano.

I was built to beat up orcs and kill monsters. I am good at it.

But that is not what is happening now. Instead I am looking at the words my pal Emerson wrote again and again.

Intention and decision work together.

Intention and decision work together.

If I have done my best I should be able to follow these words.

It is done.

It is done.

Most of the time I feel like I do a pretty good job of doing that. Most days I fall into bed know I did all I could do but there are moments where I get frustrated because I feel like my best just wasn’t good enough and pick apart the moments trying to figure out how to do better.

When I fall into the trap of replaying and rethinking what I did or didn’t do I try to remember to follow a different suggestion.

The Cure.

The Cure for what ails you.

A good walk is invaluable. I take them often and usually bring my phone with me because a good storyteller doesn’t rely solely upon memory to find fodder for their tales.

The phone serves as a notepad, camera and assistant muse but that is a tale for a different day.

And now we have reached the end of this particular mental march I feel a bit better than I did when I began but between you and me I still wish it was as simple as destroying a ring.

Oh well, dad operates off of touch and feel as much as anything else because sometimes we just don’t know.

It Is The End Of The Beginning

life

When they ask me to describe this moment I am going to tell them it is the end of the beginning and then when they scratch their heads and screw up their faces I’ll laugh and walk away.

The few that stick around and ask me to explain it will hear me rattle on about wishing I was like Aragorn and how if I was I would command the dead men of Dunharrow to come fight for me and then I’d go wipe out ISIS and other terror groups because that is the kind of man I am.

And if they pressed me to give them a more serious answer I’d probably talk about the Henry James quote above and then I’d throw in a couple more quotes that I have been thinking about lately, like the Emerson one just below this line.

Intention and decision work together.

Intention and decision work together.

And the David Whyte below this one.
The Lonely Blogger

I’d talk about how I am trying to blend pictures with words to tell a story I see inside my head and explain how it relates to me on a personal and professional level.

But I expect few people would really listen or be able to hear what it is I am saying or guess what it is I am striving for and I would think how interesting life is.

Because my son tells me all the time about how he is trying to figure out where he fits in at school and I am convinced that I no longer fit where I once did and am in the midst of the journey to where I do.

In large part I am operating off of gut feelings and trusting them not to steer me wrong but understanding that there is a process in getting there.

The places you'll go.

I always wanted to meet Dr. Seuss.

Life is the greatest adventure of all but you can’t and won’t notice it if you sleep through it. One of the goals is to recognize that sometimes it is the ordinary moments and things that are the most extraordinary.

So this is the end of the beginning for me because it is clear I am in the midst of the great journey to find the next place to hang my hat.

My mind and my eyes are open wide. Got my notebook, a pen and a camera and am making preparations for the next part of this journey.

Open minds...

Open minds…