Archives for January 2017

It Was A Magic Childhood

It is some time in the early or mid-seventies and we are running around the neighborhood and schoolyards talking about or singing School House Rock Songs.

We hear our parents talking about the Vietnam War, Watergate and how the Kennedy’s were shot and killed.

Sometimes they tell us about Dr. King’s Assasination and talk about how we should treat others.

I hear stories about who used to be a hippy and who still is as well as who never was.

It never occurs to me that decades later I’ll think about my own magical childhood and wonder how my children will look back upon theirs.

James Bond Comes To Life

Some friends ask how often I talk to my kids and when they are moving out.

I tell them my daughter Facetimes and Snapchats me daily and that my son and I communicate via text or phone.

“It is funny to think about how we used to dream about this stuff. We wanted to get the same cool things as James Bond or Dick Tracy and wondered how long it would take.”

My buddy laughs and asks me if my daughter preps and primps before she Facetimes.

I tell him I am not sure and then mention there have been times I didn’t Skype or Facetime with some people because I was wearing boxers and a t-shirt and didn’t want to put more clothes on.

“Truth is I probably don’t care if most of those people saw me that way, but I don’t want them to be uncomfortable and you never know who else is on the other side.”

He laughs and tells me to prepare for when my daughter really gets interested in boys.

“My girl is a little older than yours and let me tell you, at 17 she will not allow any boy to Facetime with her unless she has fixed herself up.”

We go back and forth a little bit and I tell him sometimes I wish our kids didn’t have access to tech the way they do now.

“I look around and I see a lot of kids who are a little chunky. I don’t see them running around the neighborhood like we did. I don’t see them singing I am Just a Bill while they ride their bikes.”

He tells me I am a cranky old man and I say he is right, but I am not wrong either.

“Maybe we ought to build our own wall away from Trump and create our own safe enclave to raise our kids in.”

We both laugh and then I sigh deeply and tell him I have to go, “it is almost midnight and I am beat.”

Safe Enclaves

I lay down in bed and grab my Kindle to do some reading before I drift off to sleep.

I do like tech but it took me a while to break down and buy a Kindle because I prefer the feel of a book in my hands.

But there is something nice about bringing a library with me wherever I go and so I compromised. I have the Kindle and I still have real books that I read too.

Under the covers I read the words on the screen and think about safe enclaves.

I am not sure they truly exist and when I think about my childhood it is easy for me to wonder about some things.

It truly was magical and I loved it but if you look at it from a different perspective it can seem like a very scary time in some ways.

I was born in ’69 and there is no doubt the sixties were a pretty turbulent time.

If all we could talk about was the assassination of a president and then a few years later his younger brother, a senator, we would have lot.

But we have the civil rights moment and the murder of Dr. King in there too, not to mention Vietnam.

Some of that turbulence from the sixties rolled into the seventies as we dealt with Nixon and Watergate, the end of the war and a host of other issues.

The point is that as a father I sometimes I have to remind myself how easy it is to forget how some of the best times for us may have felt uncertain and imbalanced for others.

Life never stops moving and we are stuck on the giant wheel that means that we get to repeat certain events.

They may not be identical, but they are close enough and while I could let that depress and disappoint me, I choose not to.

We’ll manage the current crisis and challenges too and hopefully with a minimal amount of chaos.

But what I really hope is that when my kids look back they think of their childhood as having been magical too.

Can Blogging Help You See The Future?

I want to say yes to the question I posed in the title and I suppose if I wanted to I could make a case for how it can.

We would talk about how you could use older posts to track how certain things went and use that information to make some informed predictions.

Could be kind of fun to do that but the areas I most want information on aren’t the sort that are easily speculated upon.

That is because we are talking about people and there is often no rhyme or reason to why or how we make the decisions we do.

We like to say there is but if you dig into a lot of those decisions you find you are buying Honda because your father always bought Honda and that has relieved you of the need to really check them out.

Maybe you analyze prices and review dealerships, but the hard research might already be done just because that is what dad bought.

That is not a value judgment or me saying it is bad, it is just acknowledging there isn’t as much logic and reason done for decision making as we sometimes like to believe.

Situations & Circumstances

I am working on finding a solution or solutions to a situation that I have been dealing with for almost a year now.

That is in addition to a couple of other things that have been ping ponging around for a decade or longer.

It is frustrating because it feels like my ability to act as I wish is limited by situations and circumstances that are beyond my control.

Sometimes I am very good with handling those things because if I can’t do any more than I have done I just shrug my shoulders and move on.

But there are things like the aforementioned but not described situation where I feel frustrated because I am certain we are close to a workable and practical solution.

Certain that if I can just get the parties involved to open their eyes they’ll see the door and walk out of the rooms they have locked themselves in.

Convinced the only reason they haven’t is because I haven’t done a proper job of illuminating the idea and lighting the path.

So when I don’t see things going the way I want it makes me crazy and then I think about what I say to my kids about banging our heads against a wall.

I take a deep breath and ask myself if I am really going about it in the right way.

There Is a Cat

There is a cat and if I were like our new president I wouldn’t ask for permission to just reach out and grab it.

But I am not him and so I have to ask not that it matters because the room is so dark I am sure where I ought to try grabbing first.

Of course if I could use the blog to see the future I would be more relaxed about all this because I would know what was going to happen and could plan accordingly.

I can’t so I sit here thinking about a variety of things and hearing a couple of phrases echo in my head:

“You are only as happy as your happiest kid.”

and

“Little kids, little problems, big kids, big problems.”

Manage Life

Right now I am doing my best to manage life and all that comes with it as best I can.

Got one hell of a stomach-ache and a whisper inside my head says maybe this won’t pass, maybe this is the one that sticks around for life, like luggage.

But I also have my Taurus determination and willingness to dig in and go through, over, under or around the wall.

There very well may be a solid solution that I haven’t thought or come across and that optimism pushes me to go forward.

You miss every pitch you don’t take a swing at, so I am swinging.

Babbling About Blogging Boundaries & Frequency

Did You Sleep With My Mother?

There is a teenage boy who woke me up many years ago and asked if I had slept with his mother.

It was an innocent question born of having grown accustomed to finding both of his parents asleep in the really big bed and was the definition of innocence.

At the time he had no idea or understanding about how dad had pulled an all nighter trying to finish a project for work and that this is why he found him drooling upon the keyboard.

Dear old dad smiled at his son and tried not to freak about how exhaustion had forced his eyes shut and robbed him of precious work time.

Many years later the situation would be reversed and dear old dad would suggest sleeping in bed as opposed to upon the computer.

“A pillow would be more comfortable.”

The next day dad would have an argument with another parent about what constitutes excessive homework and demand proof that the assignments led to an improvement in critical reasoning and logical thought.

Fallout From A Nasty Election

I have a bad taste in my mouth from this election and it is refusing to leave not because I think Trump is dumber than a broken clock but because of other people.

Because the fallout from a nasty election has led to a loss of compassion and decorum among certain people who used to exhibit it and the lack of civility saddens me.

I am someone who likes and appreciates a good debate and discussion but that seems harder to find.

We have more disputes and disagreements than conversation and that is too bad. More friendships have been killed because of this and more seem to be on the way out.

There seems to be a refusal to listen and or share reasons why we have done as we have chosen to do.

That makes me sad too.

I might vehemently disagree with your choice but sometimes we could find common ground through discussion.

Sometimes we could come to a place where we could civilly agree to disagree feeling that we both made our choices for reasons we could respect.

But respect doesn’t get to play as bigger role and that saddens me too.

****

I remember when the other parent told me I was crippling our children by saying they had too much homework and how he was angry when I questioned him.

“There is a point at which repetition is not longer instructive and just becomes busy work. I am not interested in busy work, I want my children to be thinkers.

Fake News

That is another piece of the pre and post election fallout.

If you don’t like the news and believe it shows your side in a bad light you call it fake and expect everyone to nod their head.

It is a way to dismiss discussion and demean those who present information you disagree with.

Without a doubt some news is fake, but not all and we shouldn’t be so quick to label what we dislike, but then again we shouldn’t just like everything either.

Smart people spend time being careful consumers of information.

Time To Go

Got more to say and little time to do it, especially since I am tired enough to fear falling asleep at the computer and this time there is no one to wake me.

That is a temporary situation but the kink in my neck and sore body that would come with falling asleep aren’t so I’ll say good night and see you a little later.

Welcome President Golden Showers

I always knew there would be times when being a father would be more challenging because of something unforeseen and unexpected.

What I never imagined was a time when reality television would have any role in a presidential election in which we discussed and debated whether a foreign country had tampered with things.

That little surprise got turned up a notch today when information was released that suggests our incoming president likes to get wet and wild.

Suddenly I was faced with trying to figure out if I need to talk to the kids about the report our incoming leader is a little freakier than others.

Welcome President Golden Showers and thank you for giving me this opportunity to wonder what to do about this.

Computers & Cellphones

My children are in middle and high school which means not only are they equipped with computers and cellphones so are most of the others around them.

If you haven’t dealt with this is in simple terms it means they have access to all sorts of information and see news reports that we might prefer they don’t.

More importantly, I can’t control what the other kids share with my kids and know that they will dispense, disburse and discuss things that I might prefer they did not.

So I have kept an open door policy in which the kids have been told they can ask me about anything.

It is tied into the honor code in which I ask them not to dig for things that are inappropriate.

Between you and me I expect that honor code to be broken from time to time. As long as it is not a regular occurrence I am cool with it.

I have to be, because if I would have had access to computers and cellphones I would have been all over the place.

Hell, I am today. Curiosity leads me all over the place, but it is different when you are an adult and ready for more mature content.

Understanding

A while back Steiner the minor asked me some questions about sex and I did my best to answer them.

Some of his friends are engaging in different activities and curiosity got the best of him.

He didn’t really want to delve too deeply into things but he didn’t want to tell the guys he didn’t understand it.

I know he conducted a basic search online and found the results to be more detailed than he wanted.

“Girls will make you feel and do stupid things. You need to do your best not to let the confusion and uncertainty make you lose your head. Don’t forget, I could say the same thing to a teenage girl by substituting the word boy for girl.”

He nodded his head and I did my best to make it clear we don’t lose control of our ability to make choices and that we need to do our best to make smart decisions.

“There have been moments where I was so in love or lust with a girl that I would do practically anything they asked. It is a great feeling but scary too.”

That is a normal conversation and one I was perfectly happy to have.

I am less happy wondering if it is better to wait and see if the kids ask me to explain what a golden shower is or if I need to take preemptive action and discuss.

Thanks Donnie boy, I am a terrific father and people sing my praises bigly, but this is unwelcome.