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Road Rage Haiku

She cut me off bad
I laid down on the horn mad
We screamed, no net gain

My apologies to the horrible driver I chose to engage. You put us in unnecessary danger. My response did nothing but entertain the line workers at the intersection and upset both of us. Certainly we would have behaved differently had there been children in either car. I am not an asshole as I am sure you are not a bitch. I hope we did not know each other prior to this interaction but perhaps we will meet later on better terms.

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From the mouths of babes

I decided to teach Amy the Daimoku today and it is wonderful to chant together with her. At bedtime, I asked her if we could do it again and she wanted to chant then read a book. We repeat the Daimoku 3 times. What does Nam-myoho-renge-kyo mean?

Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the Buddhist prayer that means I dedicate my life to bringing out the very best in myself and in all people. [Source, Jason Jarrett of A Buddhist Podcast, A Buddhist Podcast – Bodhisattvas of the Earth, 24:17-26:12]

Dad and Amy (6 years old), repeating 3 times: "Nam Myoho Renge Kyo"
Sarah (15 years old) with shocked look on her face: "You’re brainwashing her!"

Dear Sarah:

Buddhism is about revitalizing humanity, and transforming the world we live in from one dominated by greed, anger, and stupidity into one of peace and happiness. [Source, Jason Jarrett of A Buddhist Podcast, A Buddhist Podcast – Bodhisattvas of the Earth, 2:46-2:58]

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Happy Anniversary Cathy!

She should have run like Hell! (our story) On February 12, 2000 we had our first date. Seven years ago today, Cathy and I were married at Gatlinburg’s Ye Ol’ Tyme Photo Boothe and its been one grand adventure since then!

August 25, 2001

How will we celebrate our anniversary? It is 4am and I am frantically programming to make some goals I set for this weekend and missed. Today, in between programming, I will try to find a divorce lawyer in Knoxville who actually returns phone calls so that I can have some old history reviewed. I have to do further negotiations with the karate studio who increased my monthly bill from $175 to $190 because I asked that the billing date be moved from the 20th of the month to the 5th of the month. Cathy will spend the day texting Tommy to try to convince him that if he is not in class he still has work to do. This evening we will rush through a chicken pasta dinner of Sarah’s request which due to the finickiness of our eaters has been reduced to basically sea shell shaped noodles, bite-sized broiled chicken, and mayonnaise with my special mix of seasoning (dill, oregano, garlic powder, sometimes onion powder but rarely, parsley, salt, and celery flakes). The boys…er…boy and I will rush off to a Scout meeting while Cathy fights the other children to clean up, bathe and get to bed. She will prepare their clothing and school bags laying them out neatly by the front door. Noah and I will return home. I will kiss Cathy and tell her I love her then return to programming. She will guide Noah through his evening ritual to usher him off to bed then she will spend a bunch of time hand washing dishes since the dishwasher long ago quit doing its job. Around midnight we will both crawl into bed, make a joke about being intimate, then fall asleep. Gifts? The karate studio gets those this year. Maybe we can send the girls to Blogher.

I cannot put into words how much I love Cathy! She moves me in so many ways. She has brought so much happiness into my life!

Cathy I love you! Happy Anniversary! I look forward to many more!

  1. This post.
  2. 2007 anniversary
  3. 2006 anniversary
  4. 2005 anniversary
  5. 2004 anniversary
  6. 2003 (started blogging in ‘04)
  7. 2002 (started blogging in ‘04)
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Top 10 Ways to have a happy marriage

@RandomChick asks "what’s the key to a successful/happy marriage?"

  1. Never let your wives find out about each other.
  2. Having a twin brother, never telling anyone, one works/one is at home, and the two of you can never be seen together.
  3. Lots of money. Because money can buy you happiness! And it can buy you love. But if you want happiness in marriage, never use your money to buy love.
  4. Nannies, babysitters, Mary Poppins, Oh My!
  5. Two houses. She should be living in the one you aren’t remodeling.
  6. Date nights! Just because you are married doesn’t mean you should quit dating. Get a babysitter for the children and act like you did before you said, "I do!" And don’t talk about todo lists, appointments, or other issues on your date!
  7. Remember small things add up. Leave a note, scrub a back, do one of your spouses chores (that is unless she hates the way you fold clothes and in that case just stay away from the laundry!), or knock something off that honey do list you’ve been ignoring.
  8. Viagra + Zoloft + Depakote
  9. Read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman and practice it.
  10. Be married to my wife! (But be aware you’ll have to support me as well as the five children too)
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Schools want emotionless zombies

First we ban tag because playing tag causes physical and emotional injury and now we are giving girls detention for hugging because it violates the school policy banning public displays of affection!

Megan’s mother, Melissa Coulter, said the embraces weren’t even real hugs — just an arm around the shoulder and slight squeeze.

District Superintendent Sam McGowen said that he thinks the penalty is fair…
[The student handbook] states: "Displays of affection should not occur on the school campus at any time. It is in poor taste, reflects poor judgment, and brings discredit to the school and to the persons involved."
[Source, MSNBC

What kind of poor, scarred adult wrote that handbook?! I want my children to hug! I want them to hug their friends. I want the elementary school teachers to hug my children when they fall down on the playground. Touch is important for emotional development.

An example of this can be seen in early childhood development of infants who respond and attach themselves to the adults who love and are responsible for them. In the magazine American Baby it states, “What’s usually the fastest way to soothe a crying baby? Snuggle together while gently stroking him. Your touch has an amazing power to communicate love” (Wu, 2004). [Source, Debbie Cluff, Emotional Development and the Self Esteem in Children]

Touch is one of the five love languages. We need to encourage touch for healthy people and a healthy society! We need to move beyond the sensationalism we hear and read in the news and quit assuming every adult is out to assault our children. Hug frequently!

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Is $1000 for someone else not worth YOUR time?

I am really enjoying participating in The Problogger Birthday Bash Darren Rowse and Lara Kulpa have put together. I do find it a little troubling that when they offered a prize of $1000 to your favorite charity it only generated 24 qualifying entries! Now turn it around. Instead of offering a decent sum of money for someone else, offer a $20 gift certificate for yourself and they got 724 comments! (not all of those would have been qualifying but I’m not going to count). Granted, there was a prize in that post which could have gotten you $500 for yourself but winning any other prize did not disqualify you from entering the charity giveaway. Every single Problogger reader should have entered the charity giveaway!

Ok. Let me get off my soap box and add in a little rationality.

  1. The money for self contest required no effort, just a comment under the post itself with as little as one word in it, so it makes sense that the number participants would be far greater.
  2. We assume that every reader of Problogger, due to its subject matter, has a blog BUT that could be a false assumption; ergo, the participation in the money for self would be higher.
  3. Not everyone is into charities. And that’s ok. So the participation in the money for self would be higher.
  4. The charity post required a little substance and effort. Unfortunately, effort and substance do knock a lot of people out of the game. Therefore, the money for self would be naturally higher.

All that said, it does make sense that some of the other contest posts would generate more comments. But only 24 valid entries for giving $1000 away to a meaningful cause?! Surely we should have done better than that! Karthik shares my sentiment.

Life is a participation sport. Get up! Participate! Be active in your community. Vote! Go to school board meetings. Pick up trash. Bring a shopping cart into the grocery with you instead of leaving it in the parking lot. Say hi to your neighbor. Hug someone daily! Volunteer your time. Leave a legacy. Make a difference!

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Warning to cat owners!

Keep your cats indoors at night if you are in Columbia SC! I’m sure we will see this announced on the Psychozilla Tribune soon. (Russ?) I have seen the photographic evidence! Columbia, SC has a cat vampire! Remember, vampires cannot enter your house unless you invite them in so as long as kitty stays indoors, they will be safe from Catdrakula. Oh the humanity!

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Yes and…

Earlier I wrote about speaking positively to your child. The next step comes from some comedic training I had under David Brian Alley who trained in Second City with the i.O. under Del Close and Charna Halpern (the teachers of most of the Saturday Night Live greats!).

Using these lessons, I became a founding member of a Knoxvillian comedy troupe called Einstein Simplified and performed regularly at Manhattan’s for two years. We forewent the Harold, Truth in Comedy’s performance piece, and focused on performing the exercises. The end result was a format exactly like Whose Line Is It Anyway? before it became vogue. (Our inspiration was the British version) The performances were thrilling!

Truth in Comedy: The Manual of Improvisation written by Charna Halpern, Del Close, and Kim Johnson should be considered a guide to positive living. Its lessons can be applied to the stage, business negotiations, better familial relations, politics, parenting and most social interactions. The basic lesson is "Yes and…"

For instance, on the stage, one performer might say, "the sky is green." The other performers must now roll with this statement. To negate it is argumentative and not comedic. The next performer might add, "Yes and gravity has quit working!" If another performer said something like, "No that’s crazy" comedic opportunity ends because again the performers are arguing or contradicting. So instead, the next performer agrees and adds, "Look, the ground is blue. Pull your ripcords!" By agreeing and adding information, the comedians create a story. Is it funny? That depends on the connections it makes with the live audience and physical choices the actors make. As long as the actors did not argue or contradict, they are at least entertaining in the fact that they could piece together such a story on the fly. Connections with the audience can be guaranteed by starting the story with suggestions taken from the audience. "Give us a location. And a color."

Applying this lesson to positive parenting is as simple as avoiding "no" in conversation. When your teenager asks, "can I go to the mall?" instead of abruptly declaring, "no I don’t have time because I am cleaning" agree and add, "yes, as soon as your room is clean." Do not set your child up for failure. "Yes, as soon as you have painted and re-roofed the house" is not agreeing and adding with respect to positive parenting. When your teen asks to go on a date, agree and add, "yes, as long as it is a group date with a chaperon."

Another example might be when a younger child asks for a sleep over. Delayed gratification and planning are difficult concepts in your single digits so their "yes and…"s should be more immediate; however, sleepovers give a great opportunity to teach scheduling. "Can I sleep over at Wyatt’s?" The child is obviously implying tonight. Rather than saying, "no, you didn’t plan ahead" try "yes, and let’s find a good night in our calendar." Your agreeing and adding to the conversation has created a win-win situation whereby the child’s disappointment can turn into anticipation, you bond with the child and teach cooperation as you look together at the family calendar, and planning/scheduling skills are taught. Simply saying, "no" in exasperation would have created an unhappy child who would eventually learn, "there’s no point in asking my parents."

"Yes and…" works in business too. Imagine having a sales meeting without once uttering the words "no," "but," or "not." How energized and excited the prospective client will be from such a positive experience!

Negativity seeps into our lives. The news thrives on shock, gore, and evil. Adversity, bill collectors, road ragers, corporate back stabbers, con artists, and just plain mean people abound in our lives. It is no wonder so many people need antidepressants. We should avoid adding to the bad karma! We have all heard that it is easier to smile than frown and yet we furrow our brows constantly. Breaking our negative habit takes hard work. Practice agreeing and adding! You will become a more positive, happier person with greater success in your endeavors.

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I feel the Reaper staring at me

On days like today, I wonder if I’ll make it another 10 years.

In my single digit years, I never pondered my own demise. In my teens, I wanted to be immortal. In my teens and twenties, I acted like I was immortal, feared nothing, pushed beyond my limits with everything, and challenged Death. My thirties have seen me fatigued, mentally and physically worn out, and a focus on my children instead of me; mortally has different meaning to me now. For my sake and theirs, I hope that I am in the middle of my life and not at the end.

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Give Free Hugs – Get Harassed By The Man

You know.. I could see apprehensive people thinking "this perv is looking for a cheap feel" or "what a creative way to get a date" but the guy isn’t doing either. He is genuinely giving love. Watch the video and see the smiles he brings. The joy. The bonding and community. Then, in response, our society tries to take him down. Douse the good. Make a negative from a positive. But there is hope and the community rebounds and gives back what Juan Mann started. The community gives love and where Juan Mann first supported them and brought them up, they in turn help him. It’s a good watch.

Read the story behind the serial hugger Juan Mann.

Juan Mann (pronounced one man) is a play on words, but the hugger insisted his rules included no names, no phone numbers, no relationships and no dates. [Source]