Friday, March 27, 2009

Things I don't understand....

As long as I've been alive and as smart and educated as I think I am, there are so many realities of home life and outside home life that are amazingly perplexing. Like the stereotypical dumb blond might exclaim "I don't get it?" It's almost as if the architect of our universe has a sense of humor or perhaps wanted to keep us challenged or honest. Maybe we weren't suppose to take life so seriously or maybe we don't take it serious enough. I doubt I'll ever know the answer, but here are some questions to ponder while we trudge through 2009, the Year of the Rat.

Oh, last year was the Year of the Rat?  Makes sense to me.

Retail -
  • Why is Wal-Mart is so dimly lit?  Come on, the largest U.S. retailer uses skylights and a few fluorescent bulbs.  Shoppers all look like zombies.....wait, maybe they are?
  • Borders moved the "sexuality" section to the front of the store (near the beginning of the checkout line).  So instead of "Sex for Dummies" being sandwiched somewhere between psychology and marriage/family, individuals waiting to purchase merchandise can snicker at the dude slouching like he's looking at dirty magazines.
  • Burger King charges $3.89 for the Whopper Jr. meal which is comprised of three items that you can order from the dollar menu.  So am I paying the additional $.89 for better service or is this a hidden camera "idiot" test?
Family - 
  • Kids fight over the cheapest crap like fast-food toys, crayons, old dress-up clothes and shoe boxes.  Adults fight over the most expensive items like who gets to drive the beamer, who controls the remote for the big screen TV and who gets to use the video or still cameras.
  • No matter what you do (or don't do) for a living, when you have kids your second job is that of a short order cook.  Even when you DO cook one meal for everyone in the family - say spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread,  you'll have special requests from each child.  I have one child who doesn't eat jelly, but loves candy.  I have another child who doesn't like french fries, but loves bread.  Another won't drink milk at home, but will at preschool.  Two actually love Mac & Cheese, but the other two can't stand it.
  • Spelling out words in front of preschoolers puts them on a faster track of learning their letters, words and puts them on a path to reading.  No one, not even a kid likes to be gossiped about especially while they're in the room!
  • Why does every conversation with four-year olds end with potty talk?  It's like we're constantly playing the "Six-degrees of poop" game.
I have so many others to follow........

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

To my son, Alec

To my son, Alec Scott my precious son born second of four, but first of the three on June 3, 2004 at 7:10 P.M. EST, you have so much to learn about this world.  Indeed, I have so much to tell you, but I possess barely a fraction of a fraction of the universe's knowledge.  Just understand that you, like your sisters and those of your generation will have so much to digest, so much to endure, yet so much opportunity.

Here's what I can tell you.....

Your first name "Alec" is derived from the Greek name "Alexander" which means "Defender of humanity." I believe this is very fitting given the current state of affairs in this country, but realize that your Mom & I chose this name randomly.  We wanted a short masculine name that was not trendy.  "Alex" was very popular at the time of your birth.  Therefore, when you hear "Alec's" just know that it's something that belongs to you.

Conversely, your middle name "Scott" was after a dear friend of mine who I've known almost my entire life.  In fact, we rode big wheels together at the age of 2, played baseball together, attended camps together, and even found ourselves heading off to Chico State University together.  Had we been members of the "greatest" generation, I'm confident that we would have gone off to war together.  We both even married an "Amy."

Son, I agonized over which of my two closest friends would be the best man at our wedding.  In my heart I believed that whoever I didn't chose to stand next to me I would honor in another way.  Your birth was my opportunity.

Speaking of friends.  My advice is to begin developing a core of friends starting in elementary school.  Often times your first friends are neighbor kids or those with common interests like baseball.  Maybe you'll join a "sister-haters club" and you'll find a friend for life.  Over time, friends may move out of town or you may outgrow them or your interests may change or they may turn on you and not want to be your friend anymore.  Honestly, ALL of these happened to me while growing up.  Don't take it personally. 

Yeah, you'll hear people say "it's a part of growing up" quite often from now until 30 or so, but in reality this only matters IF you stay true to yourself.  So what does "stay true to yourself" even mean?  Well, for me it represents that core of beliefs that you hold dear.  These beliefs come from your belief in God,  your respect for other individuals, your unyielding love for your country, and your close ties to family and friends.

Be attentive and respectful to those opinions voiced by not only persons who share your views, but by those who have completely different points of view.  In fact, seek out those who come from different places who might have different accents, skin color, political beliefs or religion. Don't be afraid to ask questions of your teachers or professors, but also understand the difference between fact and opinion.  Don't allow educators to rattle your beliefs with their personal opinions.

Other ideas and suggestions...

  • Never allow "school to get in the way of  your education."  My father told me this in Fall of 1986 before I left for college.  I didn't understand what he meant until recently as I now understand "education" to be life's experiences and lessons.
  • Be courteous, kind and forgiving.  Always hold the door for a lady (even when you know she won't say thank you), smile and keep your head held high, and don't hold grudges.
  • Enjoy your youth, but understand that the years that you expect full income tax refunds on 4/15 are the years to be building for your future via education or training.
  • When you find the right woman, let her chose the curtains.  Even if they're black, purple and orange with dancing monkeys, just nod your head in agreement.
  • Don't ever let government take away your freedoms.  You have the right to voice your opinion.  You have the right to assembly.  You have the right to own a gun.  Remember, the United States is comprised of individuals, natural resources and priceless places, NOT its government.
  • Be proud of  your accomplishments, but not boastful.
  • Learn from your failures. This is one of the most common attributes of successful people.
  • Live for the now, plan for the future, and study the past.
  • Look no further than your own family or community for a role model.  I'll give you the first one,  your Mom.  She can't dunk a basketball, but she does Okay!
Alec, as I close...please know that I love you.  Take care of  your family (especially your sisters). Don't ever let anyone take away your dreams or say that your opinions don't matter. Aspire to be the best at the career of your choosing.  Be passionate and be strong young man!

Your R.E. Dad

Friday, March 13, 2009

I have returned.

Hey, I'm back. My absence from the Blogosphere seems like months comparable to the time between the first day of a college course and finals week. Crap, why did I skip class the entire semester? What's going to be on the finals? Did we have a term paper? Ok, it ain't quite as bad as this recurring nightmare, but part of me feels like I have to start over, reinvent myself, go back to square one, reevaluate why I'm doing what I'm doing (& why I'm doing it).

Honestly, up until yesterday I was heavily leaning towards pulling the plug on my blog. I had spent an incredible kidless holiday with Mom MD cruising Southern Florida in a convertible (top down, of course). I had been reading a fantastic book titled "Beautiful Boy" by David Sheff about his son's meth addiction. I had an opportunity to see three very different, but incredibly moving movies while in Florida - "Taken", "Gran Torino", and "Revolutionary Road." I had the privilege of attending my first spring training game at the home of my beloved St. Louis Cardinals, fly first class (cashed in mega-miles for this one), and eat native Floridian stone crab at a world famous restaurant in South Miami Beach. This was our second extended kidless romp since the triplets were born.

I documented some of my experiences in FL via mobile Facebook technology so friends/family could see what I was doing on my vacation. When I returned home my Mom mentioned an article that those who have the ability to travel often don't talk about it because perhaps they're embarrassed or don't want others to feel badly that they can't go on vacations as a result of the down economy. This bothered me on multiple levels, but specifically let me address two.

First of all, I know that my true friends (& even extended friends and newly reacquainted high school and college friends from Facebook) and of course, relatives are interested in where I go, and what I'm doing (as I am with them). Secondly, we all know that life is fleeting. Quality of this space in time from birth to death depends on some circumstances we can control and some we can't. Job loss, personal injury or death of a relative or friend, for example, can happen at anytime putting one in a world of physical, emotional and even spiritual pain.

I wholeheartedly believe in "Carpe Diem." Mom MD in her own style taught me to live beyond what's happening next month or in the distant future, but to embrace the present and take advantage of what's available today. When I arrived home after vacation, I couldn't wait to see my children (or kidlets as Mom MD might say). They are my life and everything else is secondary. This includes blogging.

I've decided to continue blogging as long as my visitors will have me. I probably just won't do as many entries. I know that friends and relatives stop by occasionally, but don't comment on the blog. I have had feedback via e-mail or on Facebook from friends saying that "you never know who might visit your blog" or that they "look forward to my next entry." I appreciate that. By the way, in the Blogsphere, we refer to you as "lurkers" which doesn't sound too good, but don't take this to heart. I love you anyway :)