Monday, June 28, 2010

What happened to us guys?

Sorry ladies... This one is "Guy Talk" for the dudes out there... read if you like and thank me later.

Holy Crap guys.... what happened to us? What happened to chivalry, or Gallantry .. or how about just plain being a gentleman???
I know that for the most part, we have a pretty big ego. We pretty much believe that the sun rises and sets on our "manhood".... But here's a newsflash for everyone. For the most part, we are fairly unappealing to the fairer sex. With us it seems , they can never have it all. If they want someone successful they get stuck with some guy who's married to his career. If they want someone laid back, they end up playing second fiddle to an X-Box. So we can ill afford to loose some of the few qualities that we have that make them choose us over, spending the evening drinking Margaritas with the girls at the office.
Why the rant? Here's the deal; I was riding the bus today, toward the back. The bus is packed, standing room only, when this woman who must have been 70 years old... with a cane boards the bus. She stood there, while the younger men sitting in the front seats dedicated to the disabled and elderly, sat there ignoring her. The bus pulls away and is almost at the next stop when this girl, around 14 or 15, looks up from her Ipod, sees the woman, gasp that she is standing there and immediately gets up and gives her a seat. That same scene played itself out not once but twice on the same bus ride. Makes me think that as men, we are reverting somehow to the Neanderthals that we spawned from.
Now I'm not perfect, just ask my ex-wife, but be prepared to stay for the afternoon, and part of the evening(sadly, it's all true).....But in the interest of helping out my fellow man. I thought I would share some tips that your parents should have already taught you.

1) Obviously when a woman boards the bus that needs your seat, maybe a senior or a woman with children... get off your chunky butt and give it(also works if the senior is a male).. Nuff said.

2)It's OK(when I say "Ok",I really mean "expected")to hold the door for a woman... This includes your date, your wife, mother, daughter, or the stranger lady at the mall... Really this isn't rocket science.

3)Open the car door for your date/wife/mother/daughter... honestly they should be unaware that the passenger door even has a handle, because they never use it.

4)When sitting on the couch, watching a movie with your significant other and you have the urge to ask her to get you a sandwich.... remember these words and repeat them ; "Honey, can I get you a drink"? Are we starting to get the picture?

5)When the woman offers to pay for dinner, she is just being polite... the answer is "No It's Ok I've got this one"... yes even if you are spending rent money and you need to panhandle tomorrow.

6)If she is talking to you and you are answering her while watching TV,Sports, or on your computer... remember this my friend.... She has OPTIONS. She can find someone who loves the sound of her voice tomorrow. You on the other hand, most likely don't.

Teach your kids.... The day some boy picks up my daughter for a date, and she stands outside the passengers door waiting for him to come out and open it. I will know that I did OK as a Dad. As a side note, the day some guy beeps his horn in the driveway for her to come out, is the day I go out and rip off his arm and staple it to the passengers door handle. When he gets it reattached, he'll know better.

That is my rant for the day. Along with my challenge, lets be the men that stand out in the crowd... for not being a douche bag male that would let an elderly woman stand on the bus.

Peace Kiddies

Thursday, June 24, 2010

She grew up

My little girl graduates Grade 8 tonight. How did that even happen?

Just last week she was born. It was Tuesday morning. There had been a flash thunderstorm that had just blown through, and then she was born. As I held my new daughter in my arms, and looked into those brown eyes, I knew at that moment, that I would do anything for her. I was her Dad, and if she wanted, her slave as well. She pretty much owned my soul from that first second.
A couple of days later, she was walking, exploring everything around her with abandon. Every night I would rock her to sleep, singing James Taylor songs, or her other favorites, until she was simply too big to carry.
We read every night. The early days were books like "Jesse Bear... What will you wear"(By Nancy White Carlsrtom), where she got her nickname that she still lets me call her, and "The Tomten"(by Astrid Lingrin). Next it was Robert Munch and finally books like "The Little Princess", and "Anne of Green Gables. My time reading to each of my children will always be my warmest fondest memories of parenthood.
A few days later, a very determined 8 year old taught her self to ride her bike. Just a pump here and there on the pedals, then a couple... and before long she was a racing girl... zipping around the perimeter of her boundaries.
Those days were also filled with watching the food network... Iron Chef, Emeril live, and others.. she actually learned and before long would discuss with me which spices to use in the dishes we cooked together, or she cooked on her own. Now what seems like a week later.. she is graduating. What will the next week bring? Well High school, University, maybe a career as a singer(as she is practicing to become). Probably a family of her own, and the opportunity to sing my grandchildren to sleep, or read to them with stories of "I read this book to your Mom".
Who even knew that, in what seems like a week, my cute, brown eyed sweet smiled baby girl, would turn into the beautiful young woman that I will watch tonight.

My little baby girl, if you ever read this.... know that I am so very proud of you and the young lady that you are turning out to be. If you look into the crowd and you see me wiping away a tear.... You can pretend that you don't know me... LOL, That will be fine.
No matter where you go in your life or what you do, You will always be my baby girl... and you will always have a father that loves you... no matter what.

Have fun tonight....

Love You Forever, as long as I'm living , my baby you'll be

Love Dad

Time to kill

I was speaking with a university student recently about his plans for summer. The college university crowd have an extra month or 2 holidays in the summer depending on exams. He had rather large plans filled with learning and opportunity. He even had a month long trip to a somewhat poorer nation planned. All in the interest of making the most of his time off. I have to admit that I prefer my time off to be more leisurely, camping, fishing, movies and generally slowing down the pace of my life,however, I admired this kid for what he was doing.
At some other point I spoke to another person... same situation, long summer holidays and the same question came up. What are you planning this summer. His answer was surprising at first, but equally impressive in it's own right. He said ; "Well, I have just over 4 months. In that time I could start to learn a new language, travel, pick up a musical instrument, really the world is my oyster","So which will it be ?", I asked. He said; "I'm going to read lots of Manga(Japanese graphic novels), watch lots of Anime(Those novels turned into animated shows) and play X-box". What I heard was "I'm going to read comics, watch cartoons and play video games". He went on to explaine that throughout the school year, his whole life was essays, lectures and exams. This is his reward for getting it all done. Well ,sound logic. I have to admit that I was equally impressed.
I was impressed because he made a choice. I may look at what this kid is doing as a waste of time, heck he might too, but he is choosing to do it. Why is that so impressive? I'm sure that I am not the only one who has had a day off, slept in, woke up and mindlessly channel surfed for a couple(few hours)... checked my e-mail and a few hours later, got up for the next mindless task. At the end of one of those days we usually feel like "Where has the day gone?", and it's true, the day was wasted. We didn't choose to waste the day, we didn't choose anything, and so it was wasted for us. At the end of a day like that I feel somehow ... less than myself, if that makes any sense at all. That day would have felt totally different, I think, if I had chosen to do that. Maybe when I woke up, maybe the day before. then in my doing nothing I really would have accomplished .... something. I could have been looking forward to that all week.

I guess I am writing this because it's a weakness of mine. Someone said "Time is fleeting", and it's true. Most of us get up and go to work 5 days a week, because we have too. After work there are meals to prepare, lawns to be mowed, people to take care of. Our time really isn't ours, it seems to belong to everyone else. So those moments that are truly ours, should be treated almost with reverence. It's ok to be super busy doing something that you love, or hang out doing nothing at all. What makes the time ours and so precious is that we choose to do what ever we end up doing, and not end up watching "Maury" or"The View" because we haven't chosen anything at all.

Something to think about

Then again... maybe that's just me .

Peace Kiddies :-)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Some people got "It", and I definitely DON'T

Before I start, an small rant like question. Why on earth to they make the wires to those little earbuds that we use in our Ipods 5 freakin' feet long? I mean are people sticking their MP3 players in their socks when they go out jogging? Is an Ipod so large that you leave it on the desk when you walk to the fridge for a drink? If it were any longer you could leave your Ipod on the kitchen table while you listen to music mowing the lawn....Why do i care? Read on dear reader read on......
Some people ooze of coolness. You sometimes find these people in moments when you are anything but cool. Take last night for instance. I was waiting at the bus stop, jammin' to the mellow docile sounds of ACDC on my mp3 player, when the bus arrives. I take out my ear buds, board the bus and say a friendly hello to the bus driver as I give him my ticket. Those were pretty much my last few seconds of being cool for the evening. What happened next was I started to walk up to a seat. An invisible bump appeared right in front of this visually impaired gentleman(Who, shall for the purposes of this story be referred to as the Blind Dude). I know the bump was there because I tripped over it. Fortunately my ninja like reflexes came into play and I managed to save myself from the dreaded "face plant". I stood up, gathered what was left of my dignity and started to walk again(really I should have just left, called in sick and stayed home)to my seat. I was stopped abruptly when, unbeknownst to me, my ear bud cord, which had somehow wrapped itself around the neck of Blind Dudes seeing eye dog practically decapitated the poor little guy. The dog true to form, didn't even flinch. I apologized profusely, when Blind dude says to me "If you are talking to me, I don't know what you did, but I'm sure it's OK".
I said,"Thanx Man, you win my "Awesome Person of the Day"award". he comes back with"Oh? I don't have one of those yet, will it be coming in the mail?", I told him that it would indeed, but it would take 6-8 business days. We both start laughing, I find my seat, and what should have been the most embarrassing thing that has happened to me in a year, turned out to be a pretty funny memory.

Thank you Blind Dude on the bus, You make it look easy. May we all show such moments of coolness when our turn comes :-)

Peace Kiddies

Friday, June 11, 2010

It's not much, but it's something

The woman in my life is brilliant, beautiful, talented with a personality to match. She loves to read to me and thinks that I am cool just the way I am. She is also 13. Yes my daughter. She visited me after school yesterday and told me of a movie they watched. The school year is winding down and they have some spare time to do some leisure stuff now. When I was a kid, we used to watch Disney movies, or feel good family movies. Yesterday the kids watched the movie 9/11 with Nick Cage. It seemed to affect her greatly as she spent over an hour telling me everything that happened in a movie that was probably only a little longer than the time she took to tell me. It seemed to be an emotional journey for her and she was working it out as she told me so I just let her go. I guess towards the end of the movie they pulled someone out, and he was passed down a long line of people that were there to help. A rather moving scene. She said "Dad, everyone was there and they were all being so great and helping everyone". I , with no small measure of pride for my fellow man said "yeah, the world came together, and everyone was at their best during that whole thing. Then she asked the question, the reason for the whole story. She said "Why do we have to wait until a crisis to be at our best?" She explained to me how in Haiti right now, they are entering the rain season. Lots of people still have no homes or place to go. Everyone went in and helped when the earthquakes hit, rock stars did a concert for money to donate, but now they are on their own, and no one is helping. She even had a couple more examples. I didn't know what to tell her. What I have heard people say, and have even been guilty of saying myself is "There isn't anything that I can do". It's how we absolve ourselves of the responsibility.
I know an older gentleman. He is considered to be stern, crabby and mean by many. I have heard some awful things said about him. I was in his home once and I saw pictures of foster kids from different countries on his wall. I asked him about them, and he said that he and his wife had sponsored kids from less fortunate countries for years. He said that it wasn't much, but it was something. I have another friend who is studying to be a nurse, she is planing on opening a clinic in India when she is done school. She has found sponsors and has everything ready to go when it is time. I know someone else that when the food bank comes around looking for donations, they practically empty their cupboards to donate everything that they can.
These are just ordinary people, but they do not believe in "There s nothing that I can do", They believe in "It's not much, but it's something".
When someone truly wants to do good, they don't fall behind an excuse, they find a way.
It's true, not one of us can change anything really, but all of us can change everything.
I learned a very valuable lesson yesterday, and it took a 13 year old to teach me.
To answer your question daughter of mine..... Why are we only at our best in a crisis? I can't speak for the world, only for myself. And the answer is, that I will look for ways everyday, to be my best, Thank you for taking the time to teach an old dad, a new trick.

Monday, June 7, 2010

June Reflections

Ahh... Early June.

For some reason, known perhaps to the universe but not to me, it seems to be a time of personal reflection. Now don't get me wrong, I'm all about reflection. I wouldn't want to give anyone the impression that I am shallow, but reflection should be more of the nature of "should I order the cheese cake for desert, or the flan?" That is good reflection. Taking an inventory of ones life can be somewhat depressing if you're comfortably into midlife and are not anywhere near where you thought you would be. Now truth be told, my life is pretty darn good. No I'm not rich, but I have great friends, a job I like. Kids who, for lack of any good judgment seem to like me(yeah, I'm pretty lucky that way). I guess it's some of the little things that I'd like to change. When i realized that, it came as somewhat of a relief. True, life is not where I thought it would be. It is however still pretty good. It's easy to change little things, one thing at a time. So in my life that can seem somewhat stagnate at times, I have resolved to work on little things. I have started a gratitude journal, because sometimes I loose sight of all that I have to be grateful for. Today, I had my first piano lesson. Not taught my an experienced teacher yet, but defiantly by someone who knows more than me. I picked up a pencil and started to draw again, and I have a list of things that I want to do. If I look ahead to the me of 10 years from now, I would like him to be calmer and more in touch with.... everything, and he will be if I today, step out of the rat race, and get in touch with me.

Now on to the next thing that I learned. I am what you would call.... lets see... Big Boned? A Portly fellow? Stalky(no idea how to spell that one, sorry). You get the picture, I'm not a small guy. So I'm always looking for my next diet to try for a couple of weeks before crashing the MacDonalds drive through and ordering everything off the menu to catch up on lost time. So I heard of the RAW diet. People seem to like it, so I do some research into it. First of all RAW does NOT stand for RoastBeef And Whatever..(yeah I was surprised by that too) It means RAW like uncooked. Tell me more I told my browser. 75% of the food eaten can't be cooked at a temp. hotter that 116 degrees.. Fahrenheit. First of all, if you cooked chicken at 116 degrees.... it would take DAYS to cook, so I think the point is.. If you live long enough for your food to be cooked... you will have lost weight. If not, well then you won't have to worry about it anymore.
All I have to say about that is.... I wonder if they would put bacon on my Quarter Pounder..

Or maybe that's just me.....

Peace Kiddies

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Don't know what to call this one

My first crush in life was in grade 3(and 4&5). Her name was Monica Marvel, a name more suited to a super hero than a mortal girl in grade 3. I remember her clearly. Long curly strawberry blond hair, brown eyes, roundish face. She never really spoke to me. This was the 70's, the age of the cooties, and if there was a kid with the cooties back then, it was pretty much me(or so they told me). There was this other kid in grade school. Pancho, he was my personal bully. He would pin me in the snow, very freaky for a kid with claustrophobia, and take any desserts that I may have had packed in my lunch. How about 1 more for good measure. Little Nigel, a kid with a constant runny nose, who had his own bullies to deal with. I remember one day Nigel crying and yelling at his tormentors "God will punish you for the way you treat me!" Poor kid.
These are just 3 of the hundreds, or thousands of people, who don't even know that i was born, but that when things are quiet, and my mind wonders, sometimes their faces pop up.
Fast forward to today. I work a lot of nights. I take the bus home in the morning, and there is this man who is very slightly mentally challenged. At 7:30 in the morning, everyone is grumbling, and holding on to their coffees like a life preserver in the sea of the morning shuffle. This guy however, is just the happiest guy on earth. He talks to everyone. Everyday, I let him board the bus before me and he says "Thank You sir"(he's my age). I listen sometimes as he talks to those around him, because his joy is contagious. A week went by once and he wasn't around. I had started to wonder if anything had happened to him. Then he was back, and I listened as he explained to the bus driver that he had been taking a later bus, to sleep in an extra half an hour. The driver, did not even pretend to be remotely interested. I however was glad that he chose to start getting up earlier so that he was on my bus again.

Why this trip down nostalgia lane? These people have no idea, that they have influenced me, or that I think of them. Little Nigel has no idea that my heart still breaks for that little kid with the runny nose, who tried to take a stand to his oppressors. Or that i wish that I had helped the little dude out. Mr. Happy on the bus does not have a clue that I look forward to him being on the bus in the morning. So the question is, Who do you think of? Who are some of the people who don't know you, who have made their way into the corners of your mind? When you think of that, the even more important question is..... Who thinks of you? Make no mistake, as we have, a plethora of faces and people locked in our minds, others have us.

It's sometimes easy to feel alone and that we don't matter. Sometimes the ones who were supposed to love us the most, leave us for "greener pastures" Or hurt us physically and emotionally. Sometimes our friends are busy with their own lives. The ones we care about may be far away, and we wish they were closer. Whatever the circumstance, we find ourselves alone. We might wonder who would notice if we just disappeared, not unlike George Bailey in "Its a Wonderful Life". Just like George Bailey though, our sphere of influence goes far and wide, beyond what we can possibly imagine. Our families, friends, and even that nameless person at the grocery store that just likes seeing us come in and shop. We are so important to so many people. It really is easier to feel alone and lonely than to even begin to comprehend the scope of our importance to the world around us. If we disappeared tomorrow, would the world stop spinning? No, but from the mightiest king to the humblest of us, the world would be poorer for the loss.

Today, I am grateful for the many, many people who are important in my life. I am also incredibly grateful for those who, whether I know them or not, feel that I am important in theirs.

Peace Kiddies