Archives for April 2016

I’m Still A Better Father Than You Are

Some people got upset when they heard I said I am a better father than you are.

They told me it is obnoxious and not right to say such a thing, but I didn’t care. I just went about my way and did it.

Ask my daughter if she still has her spoon or if she remembers the I Told You She Is a Bitch conversation.

Flip through the older posts and look at A Letter To My Children- Things That Matter or  A Letter To My Children-2011 and you’ll gain a glimpse into things that we hard and some that were helpful.

That is all part of the blog, it is a place to get Useful Information Used Usefully.

Or maybe it is safer and smarter to say it is part of why I blog.

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Some years ago I would never have admitted to finding meaning in a Winnie The Pooh quote but I am not the guy I was some years ago.

These days I admit there are moments where I could have made life much easier by asking for help and that I probably still don’t ask for it often enough.

It is not to suggest that I have tons of them that I could or should refer to but I am no different than anyone else.

Challenges and problems are part and parcel of the human condition.

There is no way to avoid all of them so we have to learn how to manage and respond to them if and when necessary.

That is a lesson I am really working hard on teaching Steiner the minor. It is not one I am ignoring with my daughter, but the focus is different.

Women and girls are better at leaning on each other about things than we are.

And since I know I am Steiner’s primary role model I try to pay extra attention to the things I think I are less favorable qualities so that I can try to help him avoid taking those on.

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

Somewhere in the archives is a post I wrote about gratitude and trying to instill it in my children.

I don’t have time to look for it now but I’ll probably go searching for it later to see what I said then and ask myself if I feel the same now.

My life is different from what I thought it would be like in more ways than I can express. There are more than a few areas in which I shake my head and wonder how the hell things worked out as they did or as they are doing.

But I try to remind myself to maintain some perspective and to look at the roller coaster of the past ten years in terms of how far I have come and not how far I have yet to go.

The majority of my complaints are what we can refer to as First World problems.

Almost every one of my problems can be fixed or mitigated with money.

That is worth repeating.

Almost everything can be fixed with money.

Why Is That Important?

It means there are solutions that can be obtained and that I am not facing a terrible health issue that baffles doctors.

It means that there is opportunity for growth, change and improvement.

You can argue and debate how much comes from luck and how much comes from hard work but don’t expect me to spend a lot of time mulling that part over.

I am too busy looking at what is so that I can identify what I want and what I need. That is my fancy schmancy way of saying I don’t let my day dreaming (and I do a lot of it) prevent me from taking action.

This is all part of why I blog.

Final Words For Now

I need to run because the real world calls and I can’t sit here and read old posts like How To Become A Better Writer- Build Your Vocabulary or Bad Content Is Like Bad Sex.

I want to.

I really want to sit here and read and write and then do it all again.

But sometimes you have to get out of your chair and head off into the abyss to see what lies beyond and that is what I am off to do.

Look out world, I have taken off the chains and am running amok.

Share The Private Secrets Of The Universe

It is well past midnight and I am somewhere between Led Zeppelin’s I’m Gonna Crawl and Natalie Maines cover of Jeff Buckley’s “Lover, You Should’ve Come Over.”

Lost in thought again about whether things happen for a reason I move between reading my book back to the computer to write and check my stats I see someone has been reading Life Is Meant To Be Traveled Along The Field Of Dreams and I smile.

Been a while since I wrote that post but the timing is perfect and it fits the moment because the thing that has been chasing me has almost caught up and I know when it does for a moment we will Share The Private Secrets Of The Universe.

Can’t say if it will come during daylight or night, but I hope it is more than just a dream and thatI can remember it all because something tells me I’ll gain more clarity and insight about what life is about, at least for me.

So I lean back in my chair, smile again and wonder if things happen for a reason knowing full well I believe they do and swear they don’t.

unbeing dead

I didn’t want to leave Texas and go back to LA.

Was desperate to see my children and to be dad in person and not by telephone but knew that I was living in the future I was trying to build and that going back would impact that.

Knew that even though I wasn’t truly going backwards in time in some ways it would be like I had and yet the only way to move towards the future was to do that.

Contradictions, life is full of them and sometimes doing the right thing for one means hurting another.

But you know old Jack Steiner hadn’t been humbled enough by life to believe that he couldn’t change things, make them happen by force of will and he tried.

Got slapped down, got back up and got slapped down…again.

Happened multiple times and though I teach my children to work smarter and not harder I am not good at taking my own advice.

So when they dumped gasoline over my head and threw me in the abyss I screamed “Fuck you, I’ll dance in the flames and build a ladder.”

And I did.

But by the time I managed to get out I found out that everything had changed and began to wonder if maybe I had made a mistake.

Wondered if maybe it wasn’t smarter to ignore all I had thought I knew and felt and to just take a different path.

After all I teach the kids to be prepared to pivot, duck, dance and adjust their way through the moments of life.

Whatispossible

Why Is This Night Different From All Other Nights?

Sat next to my mother and down the way from my father at the first seder and tried to figure out how far back I could remember.

Closed my eyes and saw my grandparents, great-grandfather and great-grandmothers sitting around the table at my parent’s house and remembered 1974 or ’73.

Pulled up the memories of their voices and heard the echoes of accents and wondered what they would think if they could see me now.

Would I look anything like they imagined I might?

What would they think of my children and the lives we live today?

What advice or guidance would they share?

Got my thoughts and ideas but I don’t expect I’ll let you know if I ever receive confirmation. Don’t know that you would believe it if I said I did and am not sure if I would want to share it.

*****

We go around the table and share the story of our ancestors and their exodus from Egypt. Part way through our meal we have the usual conversation about why 40 years of wandering through the desert is required.

The usual conversation about the importance of losing the slave mentality and learning to think for ourselves comes up and I know this part of is of particular importance.

It is another reminder about where I was and where I am going. Time was I might have seen that as being tied into a selfish and narcissistic moment but that is not how it feels today.

Why You Can’t See The Future

The kids and I have a conversation about how nice it would be if we could see the future and know what is going to happen.

I tell them the reason you can’t see the future is because if you knew what was coming you might not learn the lessons that you need to learn.

You might not force yourself to grow and you might be stuck with that slave mentality forever.

Don’t think they understand or appreciate it like I do and that is ok.

They haven’t lived as long or done as much and that is cool too. They are kids, they aren’t supposed to have the same experience.

Their journey has just started and I am somewhere around the middle.

*****

The Beach Boys are singing God Only Knows and I am trying to wrap this up because I can’t keep going to sleep at 2 AM.

Got a mixture of fear and excitement stirring in my belly and a sense that the best is yet to come. Can’t wait to see what lies beyond that next corner, I bet it is going to be great.

Words Are The Death Of A Blogger

Editor’s note:  Special thanks to Kenya who suggested I link up with Finish the Sentence Friday prompt: “When it comes to sharing online..”

I stumbled across The Death Of A Blogger and was dismayed by what I found there because it felt like wandering into the past was no different than wandering around the present.

But I took a moment to think about what I saw and to ask myself about what I felt and I remembered this has been a journey through along the long and winding road.

And journeys that do not go along straight lines do not lend themselves to measurement, at least not the quick and easy kind such as you might find on your automobile’s odometer.

You can’t look backwards and see where you have been nor can you see far enough past the clouds to know how far you have to go.

It is a spiral staircase you walk and sometimes that means you feel like you are moving backwards even when you might be pushing ahead.

Words are the death and the lifeblood of a blogger and sometimes I forget to remind myself of  the importance of remembering this.

Jack, No One Understands You

Those were the words in the email and the comment.

They were part of a bigger push by someone who said they didn’t like my writing and wondered why I would “pollute the world” with my words.

I don’t remember when I received that particular note any more than I remember the dates and times I received some of the other compliments that have come courtesy of blogging.

Some of those comments made me laugh because they were ridiculous and some of them made me shake my head in disbelief or anger.

I have spent a good part of my life feeling like I was on the outside looking in so telling me no one understands me isn’t something that I’ll argue with.

It is not because I agree or disagree but because I don’t care what most people think. We are all a little out there and though it would be nice to be the cool sneetch with the star everywhere I go that is not how life works.

We are all a little out there and though it would be nice to be the cool sneetch with the star everywhere I go that is not how life works.

But the part that really makes me smile is the idea that someone thinks I’ll quit because they say no one understands me.

If anything it demonstrates they don’t understand me or recognize I take pride in marching to the beat of a drummer who has no rhythm.

It has taken a long time to become this guy and I am not about to cry because some nameless, faceless troll says something.

wheredoyoufindjoy

Twelve Years Of Blogging

I haven’t begun working on my blogiversary post but I have thought about it a little bit.

Thought a bit about what I have learned and what I want to share. Thought about how many blogs I have seen come and go and how I am still here.

I take pride in that. It may not be meaningful or significant to others but it works for me and that is the kind of lesson I want my children to learn.

Part of the journey is to focus on figuring out what soothes our soul and feeds our heart. It is figuring out what brings us joy and doing what we can to drink deeply out of that bottle as frequently and as often as we can.

I want them to recognize that we are all different and that it is ok to have different interests/focus than our friends and family.

If you are not hurting yourself or others…go for it.

Feed your heart. Feed your soul.

That is an integral part of what keeps you/us alive.

“Soul meets soul on lovers lips.”― Percy Bysshe Shelley

If you have never kissed another and forgotten where your lips start and theirs end you have never really kissed another.

I strongly urge you to rectify that one day…or another.

I can tell you one kiss and nothing was ever the same but whether it wrecked or created me, well that is not for you and I to discuss.

The Two Most Important Lessons

You must figure out how to have fun and you must figure out how to write without fear.

Remove doubt and uncertainty about whether your posts will be loved and appreciated and just write. Put pen to paper, finger to keyboard and punch out the posts.

You miss every shot you don’t take and lose every opportunity you don’t make for yourself. I know it sounds like goofy new age stuff but it is really not.

No one knows who is going to come along and read their words or how those words will impact them.

Some of the best stuff I have ever written has been ignored and skipped over. And some of the weakest words I have ever laid down have been described as amazing.

You can’t say and you don’t know how it will go so you need to just write.

Storyteller and Storytelling

When my kids ask me who I am trying to become I say a storyteller whose life is about storytelling.

And then I tell them to be ok with walking their own winding road and understanding they don’t have to find their passion today, tomorrow or next week.

I tell them it might take some time to discover it and that life is about experiments and journeys.

Kind of funny to hear me say that because the guy who wrote about the death of a blogger would have called it bullshit and the man I am today, well he doesn’t.

That is because he has lived and learned more than he ever could have imagined. Eight years later I can say that I feel like my life was a jigsaw puzzle that was pulled apart and thrown around.

But the pieces that used to fit don’t so part of the journey is finding new ones that do.

“Unbeing dead isn’t being alive.”― E.E. Cummings

Dad Needs The World’s Greatest LinkedIn Profile

Dad needs to create the World’s Greatest LinkedIn profile to go alongside the best cover letter ever.

Why?

Isn’t the answer self-explanatory?

The damn lottery people keep forgetting to send me the winning numbers and since my real name isn’t Bill Gates, Sam Walton, Rockefeller or Andrew Carnegie I need to do better than get an ordinary job.

The good news is I am currently employed but the less good is that it is beginning to look like I need to look into making a move to something that does a better job of soothing my soul, feeding my heart and adding to my bank account.

When I Grow Up

One of the many reasons why this blog exists is because it is a nifty repository of thoughts, ideas and stories.

Way back in ’08 I wrote a post called When I Grow Up where I talked a bit about what I wanted to be when I grew up.

Looked at it for the first time in years and smiled at the memories and realized the man who wrote is…gone.

Ok, I wrote it and I am very much alive but the thoughts and ideas I had back then made me smile because they are dated.

I have been on one hell of a journey and have come so very far but have farther yet to go.

But I can answer Tim Mcgraw’s question about how bad I want it.

saveme

There are moments in a parent’s life where you wonder where you went wrong and moments where you realize you did something right.

I had both of those moments, first on Saturday night and then one late Sunday afternoon.

The first came after a particularly disagreeable moment with my teenager and the second came the day after when he apologized for what he had said.

I hadn’t realized how angry and hurt I was and I was more than pleased by his recognition of what had taken place.

“You may not recognize how seriously I take what you and your sister say. I will always do my best to do the right thing for us. It may not always make sense to you but I try hard to take you guys into account.”

He nodded his head and I thanked him again for the apology and he asked me to tell him more about what is going on.

I quoted Take it Easy and told him I wasn’t always good about not letting the sound of my own wheels make me crazy.

How To Avoid Making Mistakes

“Dad, you always tell me to try not to make dumb mistakes. How do you do it?”

I laughed and told him I could tell him how to avoid making mistakes.

“Hold your breath for as long as you can and then accept that once you exhale you’ll make a mistake.”

He shook his head at me and I told him he already knew that there is no way to avoid making mistakes.

“All you can do is make the best decision you can about a situation knowing that you have limited information about it.”

I followed up on that by telling him I think it might be time for me to do a little sniffing around the job market and to think about finding a new opportunity.

“How do you tell if it is better than what you have?”

“Sometimes it is easy to distinguish between two positions based upon compensation or upon what the requirements of the positions are, but sometimes it is not that simple.

Sometimes you can’t tell without making a move and taking a risk. But that is life, that is how it goes.”

workforprize

I have a vision of the life I want to live and the places/people I want to live it in and with.

Ask me why I need the World’s Greatest LinkedIn profile and I’ll tell you it is because it is damn hard to get a person to spend real time looking at your resume.

It is damn hard getting hard because the keyword search screening that doesn’t have the ability to recognize transferable skills that you have acquired over years of hard work.

Sometimes you need a little help getting in front of a person so that you can explain that you have the personal and professional skills they need to fill that position.

So that profile is just another tool you can use to help yourself be found and be seen.

****

Change is coming and I am doing my best to ride the wave and not fight the current.

If all goes half as well as I hope in a short time I’ll be that much closer to living the life I dream and not be dreaming away the life I have.

Midnight has come and passed and it is time for this young man to catch some shut eye. See you in the comments during daylight hours.

Bernie Sanders Is Sleeping With Hilary & Trump

Don’t tell anyone but a teenager just pressed every one of my buttons and three I didn’t know I had.

It probably doesn’t explain why I want to tear the door off of the hinges, throw every loose item in a garbage bag and start vacuuming at 4:30 AM or maybe it does.

Maybe it would be smarter and safer for all parties if I pretended aliens came down from outer space and sucked out the common sense from the still-developing teenage brain.

Bernie Sanders Is Sleeping With Hilary & Trump

You might wonder how a man like myself can move from the opening ‘graph into a subhead that should be taken as an example of hyperbole.

The reason you shouldn’t wonder is if you are reading this you are clearly surfing the net and are aware it is populated by nitwits, buffoons, morons and three village idiots who have yet to find their way home.

And some of the aforementioned folks seem to believe that articles by The Onion and their competitors are truth.

Hell, some of them clearly believe anything that appears online should be accepted as gospel and not questioned because logic and reason are tools that other people use, not them.

Did I mention I just broke a tooth and how much betrayal by my body pisses me off.

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I was tempted to put a caption like ‘Shofar sho good” on this picture but I don’t know how many of you would understand it, let alone find it funny so I didn’t.

Truth is I am writing this post in large part to clear my head and calm down because I truly am frustrated with multiple things and people.

Instead of going to a second seder we went to a wedding tonight.

Typically that is not something that would happen but this was a special occasion and something that required adjusting schedules around.

Ten minutes within arrival I was introduced to a man who I took an immediate dislike to. Can’t say if intuition told me that he was going to be a jerk (he was and he is) but I can tell you I had a visceral response to meeting him.

It surprised me and when I walked away I felt like I hadn’t been fair and made a point to go speak with him again.

I was disappointed by his proving my initial assessment correct and frustrated that I was seated at the same table.

Part of me felt guilty because if my kids told me they didn’t want to spend an evening with someone they disliked I would tell them they could manage it for a short while.

I’d say that we aren’t going to be sitting the whole time and tell them part of growing up is learning how to be civil with people we dislike.

Well, I wanted to civilly tell that schmuck to smile while I jammed that ram’s horn up his rear. I didn’t want to jam it up there to hurt him, but to help him.

How else would I help pull his head out of his ass?

aboutangry

I am not going to lie and say I don’t have a temper because I do and you don’t want to be on the wrong end of it.

But I can say the benefit of having some life experience is it takes some doing to bring it out of me.

Generally if I focus my ire upon you it is because I have made an effort to remove myself and you have refused to allow me to do so.

As I told my teen, that doesn’t mean I am not human and that I don’t get angry or that I never fly off of the handle.

I have done so and will do so again.

Can’t say when, why or how, just that I will.

But I can say I am very aware of how I feel and hold myself accountable for my behavior and my actions.

It is just part of being a responsible person and understanding that acting out of anger is probably going to lead to consequences I prefer to avoid.

How Do You Find The Write Stuff?

There is a story called Timing that I have run several times here.

Technically the first time I published it was on the old blog way back in 2010.

It receives comments and compliments every time I run it and I am proud of the writing. It is a fragement of a bigger story and a reminder.

A reminder that I need to bear down and take the time to write the whole damn thing. I need to do more than just publish the fragments.

I pay attention to the posts where I feel like the words flow my fingertips. Spit or Swallow is another one of those too.

The question I ask is what distinguishes these from the average post and how I can duplicate that each time I put pen to paper.

No need to reinvent the wheel, especially if I don’t have to.

****

I can tell you there is No Cure For Blogging and say I walked away from the computer for a moment because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say about good writing and how to wrap this post up in a neat little bow.

The beauty of blogs and blogging is that it provides us with a cybersandbox in which we can both practice and experiment with our craft.

That is what I here and a big part of why I write.

And now my friends it is time to go see the teen and talk about this last moment and see if we can come to an understanding.

If not, well someone will be reminded about who is called dad and who isn’t.

(P.S. Yeah little sisters, I know I sound just like dad. It happens. 🙂 )