Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I quit my job yesterday.  It had as much to do with internal issues at the company and my frustration with my profession as it did with a desire to pursue new things-- but either way it is done.  I'm starting a few different (ad)ventures that I am excited about.  Micro-businesses, as my friend called them.

Now, I just have to figure out how to both keep busy and make money and still keep time open for the kiddos and writing.  Ha!

Saturday would have been Sarah's 37th birthday and it was a bittersweet day.  The grief process is a strange beast and many days I'm not sure why I feel so blue and miss her so much and others I feel strengthened by her memory and buoyed by small moments that feel like a message to me from her.  I'm sure if I invested the time, I could read about the psychology of the grief experience-- but it feels organic enough that I'm comfortable riding it out and accepting it as some good days/some bad days. 

What I feel strongly about, though, is that I hold that drive to accomplish the important things in my life like a small ember and keep it glowing. Stoke it. Coax it along. Fuel it.  It is the recognition of what is important to me and the drive to stop planning to do those things and just. do. them. This is one of the lessons that I take away from Sarah's life.  She had a quiet determination, and in the last two years she knew she had a short time left. She created. She loved. She saw the beauty and the joy in the everyday minutes that flash by so fast.

When I see sun-dogs, hear a red-wing blackbird, or have a dragonfly flit around me, I know it is the equivalent of a celestial text message from her.  And even if it's all in my mind, that's where that ember lives and those small reminders are like a puff of breath to make it burn a little hotter and a little brighter.

So, time for the new adventure to begin!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Everyone knows an ant can't move a rubber tree...

Saturday is my sister’s birthday.  She would have been 37.  Her journey the last two years of her life was heart wrenching and bittersweet.  But it was also a powerful education for me on the brevity of the time we spend on this planet.  A few times a day I see a post on Facebook that highlights this make-each-moment-count, or life-is-short-carpe-diem idea—but they are like greeting cards: thanks for the sentiment, now on with the present.  I nod my head knowingly, then scroll on or turn back to my work at the computer screen moving pixels around. The truth is, though, that life is too short to spend it on manufactured deadlines and corporate machinery.  Without getting too “down with the man” I’ve come to realize that when I take that last breath, I don’t actually care what kind of an exemplary employee I was.  What kind of dad? Yes.  What kind of brother/son/husband? Yes. What was my contribution to the world as a whole?  It better be helpfulness, happiness, laughter, great memories, and maybe some positive leave-behind materials. It will never be related to my timecard, or how well I managed those projects—no matter how well I do those things.

The next time you read an obituary, look at how many words are devoted to the work that person did.  Usually, it’s, “John worked at company x for x years.” If even that, anymore.  It’s usually followed by some version of, “he loved the outdoors, spent his free time tinkering on motors, loved raising chickens, or some such thing that that person chose to or loved to do with their free time.  And I’ve not been at too many funerals and wakes where the entire time is spent talking about the great employee they were, the projects they worked on, or their fantastic time spent in the office.  In the end, the time spent at work is too often inversely proportional to its importance at the end of the journey.

The second lesson I learned on the journey with Sarah, was that writing is important to me.  I documented many parts of her struggles as a way to communicate for her, and to keep family and friends up to date—but I realized as the time progressed, writing was my way of processing what was going on.  It was balm for my wounds and the way I could get the jumbled mess of my mind into some sort of order.  It was my job to do and my guidepost.  I could cry for a while, but I needed to get that next update written and that meant sorting out what was going on and how to communicate it. 

I have always been this way.  It is only by communicating my ideas to others—written or spoken, that I can best comprehend them myself.  Looking back at these mile-markers, I see my thoughts and experiences throughout the whole ordeal. 

Sarah challenged me to write. One of the last things she said to me was to encourage me to explore writing, as a creative pursuit, further: to commit myself to the endeavor.  I always saw her talent and desire for creating art, and I did my best to help her pursue that avenue.  Now, after years of pushing her to pursue her love of art—I am writing.  Over and over again I heard friends and family say to me in the time after her death, “don’t stop writing.”  Well, this post is the one in which I jump in with both feet and formally declare that process has begun.

Partly to honor Sarah’s memory and rise to her challenge, but mostly because I have stories inside of me that are trying to get out, I am making a concerted effort to explore this “writing” thing.  It’s easy to forget, in the bustle of all the stuff that must get done each day that I am on a journey too. I’m a storyteller. I always have been.  Now, I just need to figure out how to ramp it up and refine what skill I have.

I once read that the difference between writers and everyone else is that they actually write the things they think about. I keep telling my kids that they are never going to be great at something the first time they try it, and it’s only through practice that they will get better at anything. So, I’m listing to my own words.  I’m going to write. Everyday. Some will frequently make it’s way to a post here, much will be for the two books that are trying to tumble out of my brain.  But I’m going to get my writing chops exercised.   

I also know they seem to highlight the reams of stuff psychopaths write after they have gone off the deep end—so we will try and avoid the crazy-rant side of things. There is enough inane blathering on the internet—but well, this will just add my voice to the cacophony.

Draft of Book 1 by the End of the Year.
Draft of Book 2 by June 7th next year.

Hold me to those, alright?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Trying, trying

I have good ideas everyday for blog posts, and the Bean keeps me stocked with unbelievable conversations and scenarios to write about.  I just never seem to find the time.

However, with my duties for my sister reduced for the last few months, I'm going to try this again.

The Bean and I had a conversation the other day.  We were having lunch and he comes out of nowhere with this-

Daddy, I want a lightsaber for my birthday.  No, I want two.


And…I want a bird.  Not a real one. One that flaps in the air.

Ok. A bird and a lightsaber.

No, two lightsabers.  [holds up 1 finger on each hand] And a helmet... to protect me from the bird.

[Laughing] Ok. Two lightsabers, a not-real bird, and a helmet.

Yes. For my birthday. [gestures with both hands] That's all, that's all I want.

I often have to laugh at how absurd our conversations get some days.  I know all parents go though these discussions with their kids, but it is these moments when I am glad I am at home with him.

Then there are days like yesterday, when his robe drops into the toilet and he drags it all over the house before asking me what to do with it.  He didn't want me to say we would have to wash it, so he thought walking around with it would get a different answer.  Ugh.  Then he melted down because it had to be washed AND I had to clean up 2 miles of floor.

I read a post the other day parenting and about Kronos and Kairos (I like the Greek K's because Bean loves the letter K) and these different concepts of time.  I keep reflecting on it, because it was quite a great way to come to terms with the dichotomy of being a stay at home parent.  [If I can find the essay, I'll link to it.] [Found it:]
There are two different types of time. Chronos time is what we live in. It’s regular time, it’s one minute at a time, it’s staring down the clock till bedtime time, it’s ten excruciating minutes in the Target line time, it’s four screaming minutes in time out time, it’s two hours till daddy gets home time. Chronos is the hard, slow passing time we parents often live in.
Then there’s Kairos time... It’s time outside of time. It’s metaphysical time. Kairos is those magical moments in which time stands still. I have a few of those moments each day, and I cherish them.
That's the experience of parenting in a nutshell, and why when people ask if luuuve being a SAHD I always pause and think of that distinction.  Yes, I love parts of it and can't stand others-- and I ALWAYS feel guilty that I feel that way.

I love those Kairos moments with the Bean, and have fewer chances for the with Gote. I almost never get them with both kids at the same time.  Those moments when being a parent is the most amazing thing and we share with our children an experience that make all parenting challenges worth it.  These are what we carry with us like snapshots in our wallet.

It is also often pointed out that during Kairos, we are usually unaware of Kronos.  This is why we end up planning all those family trips, picnics at the park, and end up yelling that everyone will have a good time dammit or else! We are just trying to have more of those snapshots and less of the crazy time.

Anyway, off to sign Gote up for copious camps and swimming-- and to find two lightsabers and a not-real bird (now with free protective helmet!) for Bean's birthday.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Busy time, new gig

So I haven't posted in forever, and now I have a new place to write-- my sister's blog. She is in the ICU waiting for a new pair of lungs and she has asked me to keep her blog going while she is unable to do so. I'm going to have to try to be better about posting to make good on my promise.

So visit me over there:

or on her Care Pages:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

That's NOT what I said....

Gote: Daddy, we had wild rice at school and it was really good. You could make wild rice!

Me: You bet!

I got out the rice cooker. Made it as a side dish for dinner that very night. I wanted her to see I was listening, and responsive to her requests. I wanted to make something she would eat! She was telling me what she wanted, and I was going to provide it. I even kept it simple and added only butter and a little salt so it wasn't all gussied up. I put all the food on the table and we sat down to eat.

Me: Here's the wild rice! Enjoy

Gote: No thank you. I don't want any.

Me (dumbfounded and a little frustrated. No, very frustrated): But you asked for it? Why don't you want any of it?

Gote: I SAID you could make it. I didn't say I wanted to EAT it.

She had a point. (I have a feeling she will use this on me again. &again&again&again)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Don't call it a comeback.

Our tub has a faulty drain plug. It is very slow, but one minute you have a tub full of warm water, the next it has substantially dropped and you are looking around trying to figure out why you are cold. Luckily for the kids, the armada of bath toys tend to ameliorate this problem. This is what I feel like happens to each day. I wake with the Bean (who makes a pretty loud alarm clock) rush to get Gote out the door for her very early school start and clean up the mess/dishes/clothes that seem to explode around the house each morning. Then *poof* I'm in the chute of lunch/nap/bus arrival/fighting kids/dinner/bath/bed.

I dread 11 am because it means the day is gone. How bizarre is that?

So I'm trying to make a schedule. For the day, for the week; for my sanity. I have always known staying at home with the kids would be a HUGE challenge-- I'm trying to not let it beat me, but some days it does. Perhaps I can work in some time to blog... It will be like talking to another adult during the day, right?

Oops. gotta run, I've taken too much time to post. Crayons are being eaten.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Baby steps.....

Ok. So I am a bad blogger. Most of my friends can tell you that I am a horrible pen pal as well.

So baby steps.... I'll upload some photos of our wee lad and our girl wonder. Then perhaps a little text later.