Let's face it. Despite the million (perhaps billion) dollar industry into proper parenting and how to be an A+, gluten free, no TV, no devices, always ready, activity boss, no sleep, always awesome parent whose kid kicks ass, smells good, has clean clothes, uses their manners and never questions your authority - I've yet to find a rule-book on parenting.
Honest truth? This sh*t is hard. And, despite my many down-on-my-knees prayers, I don't think it will be getting any easier as my kids age. The game never stops. The rules simply evolve. And much like healthcare, we are living in a reactive reality. There is no proactive habit here. Because we, as parents, are not calling the shots anymore. Our power is gone. Because of these adorable little bundles of joy. They are so cute and cuddly at first, stealing our hearts and filling us with love. And then, they use that love against us. As a stranglehold on our relationship they manipulate their way into the highest levels of power in the kid ecosystem and dangle it relentlessly in front of us like a mule to a carrot.
My kids are training to be prizefighters. They dance around each other like a modern day Ali, flaunting what they have to the other, begging them to take action. My daughter, just the other day, kijacked my son's favorite (of the day) car, and proudly put it on display as she cavorted around the living room, taunting my distressed son into action.
*Cue the whistle* - Personal Foul- unsportsmanlike conduct - 15 minutes in time out, automatic loss of snack.
"Kids!! - What are you doing??!" Is often the cry heard around my house. What once was a sane and normal play activity suddenly erupts into a territory dispute worse than the Grangerfords and the Shepardsons.
How did it come to this. I used to be this kid. And now I'm the adult? And, as choices have it, I've got another little one to add to the mix. 50% ownership is now reduced to 33% - I can't wait to see how this plays out.
I was trained in this life as a player of the game and now I'm forced to be the referee.
There is no training for that.
To all you inherited refs out there-good luck, make the best call, don't be afraid to review the tape, and hang in there- you're not alone!
So happy and Love to announce and share that Jude Scott Christensen was born 9/28/17!
7 lbs and 10 oz and 19.5 inches long.
What a gentleman! As you can tell, he already loves to think, just like his mommy and daddy.
Other interests include drinking milk and sleeping.
Of course we will keep you posted as he grows up!
"You're having another baby? Looks like you have to start all over again! You ready for that?"
Let's face it. I hear that one a lot. And at first, I didn't think much of it. Three kids, after all, will be even more of a circus than two. And, if you know my kids, we have quite a circus. But the more I heard it, the more it started me thinking (I know, a dangerous prospect).
Having a third baby will certainly be a game changer. It will certainly be a new phase. But it isn't starting over. It's simply hitting the reset button.
Much like on the computer, when you upgrade your software, drivers, hard drive etc, a nice little reboot is needed to freshen things up.
This is our reboot. We didn't get a new computer, we simply upgraded the one we have. Now, just like any upgrade, we have to figure out where the new shortcuts are, which features have changed since out last upgrade, and which features have been eliminated altogether. But, in technology, isn't that the fun of it?
In 4 days as of this writing (tick, tock), we will be upgrading our system. The nice thing? I already know most of the rules of the programs. The basic premise of the system hasn't changed (don't drop the baby, don't forget the baby, change the baby periodically). I went through bootcamp for this twice before and I wear my battle scars proudly (a gray hair or fifty). I know what to expect once baby is out and screaming and I know my wife will be a rockstar in making sure that the little fella never goes hungry. The new part comes when we are looking at how this added software plays nice with the other programs already running in our proverbial computer. These programs have been running for years flawlessly (ha, ok, that was a a bit of a stretch), and they are comfortable with the resources they have been consuming. Now, for the first time, they will have to allow resources to be taken from them to allow this new 'program' to run.
As anyone who has even added a new program to a computer, we know that it can take some time to get these resource priorities squared away. This can often be frustrating and leave one impatiently striking harder and harder on the keyboard as if through some magical force the computer can sense urgency and force and fix the problems it is having through a keen understanding that the force you use on the keyboard is intimately tied to the need for things to work. To my knowledge this doesn't happen. However, if we roll with this computer analogy, the whole prioritizing process and available RAM and memory to make programs run needs to get figured out- programs just don't magically run smoothly and things don't automatically start working without issues (if they do for you, please call me I need your help).
Equally so, in parenting, the process, available time and available energy needs to get figured out when a new baby comes along. The existing wee little ones need to find their new resource allocation and learn how to deal with that as do Mom and Dad. They need to learn how to not pound on the keyboard when things take a longer amount of time and rather, let the programs sort themselves out through patience and a hell of a lot of coffee (coffee is life). As an aside if we use the computer theme still, I don't think computers drink coffee. Yet.
Anyone and Everyone who runs a family understands that from time to time, a reset is necessary to upgrade and change the way things are running (budgets, school, behavior, etc). This doesn't always include adding more software to the computer. And, right now, this is no different for us. Our scheduled upgrade however, is coming with a lot of new features that we get to explore and learn about.
Frankly, I'm excited to do it. It's a reset. Not a start over.
Have you ever hit the reset button? Tell me how below.
"Honey, did you wipe your pee-pee?"
Wait. Hold up. Did I just really say that? "Wipe your pee-pee?" Really?
This is my favorite part of being a Dad. Reflecting on all the things that, in the moment, make perfect sense, but given an outsiders perspective may garner a double take. As I sit, collecting my thoughts, holding back laughter (it's early A.M. here, God forbid we wake anyone up) I have amassed my top 3 Things I Never Thought I'd Say But Say it Daily list (*in no particular order):
1. "Get your finger out of there." -
Ah. A Classic. This phrase applies to many instances in life: the cookie dough bowl, the ketchup pile on a plate, a belly button, a nose, a pair of pants, an outlet, my ear, my eye, a squishy toy's underbelly. It seems my kids are Part Aye-Aye (thank you Wild Kratts) and they seek to gain extra knowledge of their world through stereognosis (perception of object using touch). Unfortunately, there are lots of places those fingers don't belong.
Owen takes the cake on this as he once, simultaneously had one finger in his nose while the other was spelunking for gold in his belly button.
Ah- the mind wanders at times. In moments like this I often try to sit back and take in just how funny this looks, and just how lucky and blessed I am to see this because all those DINKS out there have never experienced a bliss like this.
2. Why are you peeing there?
Seems that when you have to go, you have to go. Without warning. Without hesitation. Without any sense of damn decency. Let me give you two heartwarming examples: Owen, as we leave the grocery store (and literally using the restroom five minutes earlier) has adopted this cute habit of ALWAYS having to pee before getting in the car. I stress the word ALWAYS because he stresses it. As if he is hinting -"Dad, come on, you know this is me. You know about my condition, I ALWAYS have to go pee before I get in the car." Always is relative as it only seems to be my car, and only at the grocery store, but alas, I digress. So there we are, unloading groceries into the car and I turn around to my son watering my tire, pants at ankles, bare buns glowing bright in the nuclear Phoenix sun. People aren't as open to a 5 year old urinating in public as I would have suspected but hell, I probably won't ever see them again anyway.
Cora is my second lovely example - this little dear wants to be "One of the Boys" at times and takes a literal stance on that when it comes to peeing (STANCE, get it?!?). She has really gotten used to peeing standing up. So as we are playing on the patio, often with minimal clothes as it tends to be hot and kids get clothes dirty- I look up to a wonderful little fountain with decent distance. My little angel, standing hands on her hips, a perfect ring of light around her blonde hair, grinning triumphantly as she waters the grass without sitting down. She has this amazing disarming smile, and she uses it - looks right at me and says, "Just like you Daddy."
I have no idea where these kids learn this stuff from.
3. What did you just wipe on me?
It would seem that kids don't particularly care for things being on their hands. Odd, because they could care less if things are on their face, in their hair, all over their clothes, nose, shoes - you name it, they literally don't care it is there. Until it comes to their hands. Then, we have a stage 5 emergency on our hands.
"Daddy, get a wipe!!" is screamed with the urgency only a toddler can impart. God forbid the chocolate you just shoved into your pie-hole and is currently ringing your mouth like bad lipstick should linger on your delicate digits any longer.
A fun story - I got double teamed. Daddy Date Night happens ever Friday night. I usually sit between the kids to manage chaos and ease the distribution of dinner equally (Lord help me it it isn't equal) between the two. We had just finished a delightful dinner and both kids, almost instantaneously, decided that a wipe would be necessary prior to the evacuation process. Me, being the upstanding, and polite adult (someone has to be one) I was wearing my napkin on my lap. However, in the hustle of dinner, it had fallen. Bending forward to grab it- there it was- four tiny hands massaging my back. My shirt, in convenient reach of their grubby paws had transitioned to napkin nearly instantly.
"Nevermind Daddy, I don't need a wipe anymore."
Sometimes, dinner isn't the worst of it. And sometimes, I don't even know until they confess.
"Daddy, I wiped a booger on your back."
Ofetn it's more discrete - "Daddy, my hand was dirty so I wiped it on you. All clean." This one leaves me to discover the joys that await.
What do you find yourself saying that never, in a million years, did you think you'd say?
HEADS UP: I posted a very similar blog on my other pages: Sockdolager Wellness, and Chandler Physical Therapy - because I think this topic applies to all of them. So if you've read it, I'm sorry.
It's no secret that I love to read. I once read a blog post a long time ago that discussed different book you should be reading to make you a more well-rounded person. It suggested you needed to read a book for someone you serve (for me, that is my patients of my physical therapy practice and regular folks like you), a book for your business or profession, and one for you (a personal read). That blog has always stuck with me and I strive to keep that balance when seeking out new books to read. So with that being said, I decided to feature a semi regular blog post on the different books I am reading and share them with you.
Without further ado the first book up on the list is the book for YOU:
Ok - I recognize I cheated here a little bit, in a couple ways. One, because this is TWO books, not one. And second, because I just plugged some shameless self promotion (totally true). However, I am re-reading my own published book because I crafted it as a reference for you and (sneak preview here) am crafting a course where you can learn even more advanced techniques for breathing.
The second book is all about chronic pain. This book is one I've read countless times. And I love and learn something new from it every single day. If you are in chronic pain, or know someone who is, this book if a perfect intro into the neuroscience of chronic pain. It describes what happens to the body and the brain when pain shifts from acute into chronic. Fantastic stuff and the illustrations and the way it is written make it actually fun to learn!
Next, we move on to one for the business. For me, this is my Practice at Chandler Physical Therapy. This book is one I've read about asking for feedback to gain better insight into offering what your customers want more of:
A quick read, if offers lots of action steps to creating a survey funnel to offer more of what the people you are serving want from you, in their own words. As I am wrapping up reading it, I find myself wanting to go back and read it again, because there are so many action steps to get the process down well. If you're a business owner, or responsible for customer acquisition, this is a must-read.
Lastly, one for ME. This book is on personal development and I just now cracked it open:
I have heard many great things about this book and look forward to diving in deeper. The basic premise is that a good solid morning routine sets you up for success. It out lines the S.A.V.E.R.S. - all the steps to a great morning of self discovery both physically and mentally. As I wrap this up you'll likely see another blog post!
So there you have it, the 3 books I am reading right now.
What are you reading, and why?
I find myself waxing poetic today on many things. Maybe it's the recent cooler mornings giving me hope that there will be an end to summer in Phoenix. Maybe it's the impending birth of our 3rd child. Maybe it's even the fact that I just sucked down an iced coffee and I can feel it coursing through my veins like a racehorse. Literally, I'm smelling colors. It's glorious.
So today I mused on many things, but the one thing that stuck with me, running round and round in my dome was the concept of a house being a home. We spend so much of our time making our home presentable to the exterior world - hiding away the life we love behind closed doors and sanitized with Clorox wipes. But this life we live behind those doors is what makes the house a home. And I'm ok with that. After picking up Legos (Registered Trademark of course) for the millionth time, I couldn't even be angry or upset but rather tickled that this is my life. I am without a doubt being subjected by Karma to what I subjected my mother and father to as I had BUCKETS of Legos. I fear I am only at the tip of the iceberg as I stare at the small tub my kids have amassed so far. This routine, this life, the clutter and the necessary tip-toeing around certain foot-death (have you ever stepped on a Lego?) defines my home and our life. This is real living. My living room floor is a dance floor, stuffed animal graveyard, gym, running track, and chill zone. And it's rarely spotless. But it's ours. Much like the sticker picture you see above.
I put that picture up as another example. That sticker somehow made its way to our garage floor approximately 3 years A.O.B (After Owen's Birth). So for two years now, that little joker has been smiling back up at me with his toothy grin and witty charisma. And most days, I barely notice it. It's another part of the day-to-day and I likely step on his face more than I see it.
But then, there are days like today, where you pause, and reflect. This little guy came to be after Halloween. It takes me back to a Princess with a Tutu and an Owl; Tri-Tip on the grill, and a couple Brewskis. This little sticker is a link to my parents because they always visit on Halloween (a tradition of sorts which has become so much fun for the kiddos). And of course My daughter, Cora. Because it was her tiny little hand that so gently adhered this landmark to my floor.
So this tiny sticker, which most would overlook- comes dripping with memories. And that, to me, is what really makes a house a home. Not how clean, how organized, or how cute- but how many things trigger the recall of the history of your life and family in an instant.
What makes your house a home?
Something amazing in my life happened last week. No, I'm not talking about pre-season football, however that would be high on that list as well!
No, I published my first (ok second) book this past week.
Breathe Better: A User Friendly Guide to banishing stress, improving chronic pain, and bettering your health through the power of breathing.
This book is all about things I use every day in the clinic to help my patients lead a better life. There's nothing difficult to understand in this book. It is written to the average everyday user to help them incorporate power strategies into their lives every day to make them healthier and happier.
In the early chapters I go over why breathing is important, what happens when breathing goes wrong, and what stress (good or bad stress) can do to our bodies.
Then we jump into anatomy of the breathing system. what key players are involved in getting air in and out and how they fail us when breathing goes off the tracks.
Then we jump into techniques that can be used to address all the things we just talked about!
It is a quick read and I hope you folks enjoy it. You can find it here:
If you aren't an eBook Person you can Visit SOCKDOLAGER WELLNESS COMPANY to get yourself a hard copy of the book.
There is a certain sense of accomplishment as well as pride knowing my work is our there. Sadly (or happily) there is also a sense of hunger. I feel there is so much more to teach, to spread about this topic and many others! This just fuled the fire for more! So keep your eyes peeled for more to come. The link above takes you to my other website that's more clinically oriented. If you have any questions, of course you can always simply ask below! Thank you all so much for the support I've been getting for this venture! It truly means the world to me!
As for the first book I published? A children's book. You can check it out below:
It's that time again, to celebrate the dude who brought you up to be a man. Father's Day. A true legend in their own right, fathers can be the angel without wings or the stern foot of reason depending on the situation. There's no doubt about it though, Dads are cool.
Being a father has made me appreciate that fact all the more. There is no time to be tired and lounge when there are kids around. Adventure is to be had, everywhere, everyday!
My Father, Lynn, spent a great deal of time making sure we were adventure filled. From skiing, to hiking, to fishing, to riding in the back of the truck high-fiving tree branches we never got bored.
He deemed himself an ambassador of knowledge as well- encouraging me and insisting I learn techniques and tricks about life (flat tire, oil changes, how to fix our sprinkler pump, the finer art or unclogging a toilet, how to tie a fishing hook on... you get the point) so that if, "Ever died, I would know how to do this stuff." This was way before YouTube where knowledge acquisition actually took time and effort. Gruesome but realistic I suppose. For me, and the rest of my life benefit he never did die and is still well and good riding his bike.
Happy Mother's day to all the moms, grandmoms, and motherly figures out there! Today is your day! What are you going to do with it?
If you're like my wife, less is more. You rockstars spend all your weeks on proverbial tour, grinding out show dates (more like play dates), hitting the road just to give more of yourself to the next venue until there is nothing left to give. And yet, like the most seasoned veteran road warrior, you dig deep, and pull more out to continue to give.
Mother's, you are the ultimate philanthropists! How you can live such a selfless life is admirable. You give and give and give. And rarely take - and feel guilty when you do take. And then take more on when we Dads come home and unload. How do you do it?
Yes, we Dads do see it. It amazes us on one hand because it's magical in how things run around the house. It frightens us on the other because we recognize no matter how are we try, we could not ever step into the shoes you wear (this is metaphorical, because I don't fit in your shoes because you have smaller feet). Side note: when you get upset, you also frighten us (at least me).
We recognize you don't always get to look pretty (Even though you want to), that you don't always get to sleep (even though you want to), you don't always show up on time (even though you want to), and you kids aren't always little angels (even though you wish they were). And yet, you take it all in stride, with grace and, dare I say, elegance? I'm not about to pop a string of pearls around your neck to compliment your graphic tee, but It would fit the role if you want. You're a modern day June Cleaver- except much more colorful, much more hands on, and much more independent. You set the tone of the house, keep our lives in order and organized and somehow manage to smile too.
So, in short, thank you. You strong women make our lives a better place to be! So get out (or stay in) and celebrate you being you and your awesome kids that made you a mom. And don't feel guilty for splurging today (or any day really)!
It's true. I DO love Fishes because they ARE so delicious. There is something about that crispy, pseudo cheddar crunch that is amazing. Maybe it is because it is a staple from my childhood; that I have some unknown dependency on it - it was always there when I needed it, never let me down, never stood me up. Or maybe it is because they are simply delicious. And easy.
My kids love goldfish too. And lots of other snacks that, thankfully, I love too. We have a snack in the early afternoon usually. The kids get to pick and then we all sit around enjoying each other shove food in our mouths. It's a special time where we bond, catch up on the day, plan the rest of the day, and share. Because what better time to teach your kid how to share than when you're jonesing for a handful of their precious snack? Teaching/Learning at its best.
Let's face it, I don't lose weight like I used to. Dad Bod might be here to stay. Which, isn't bad. Some folks love the squishiness of a human teddy bear. I attribute some of my curves to the kids snack time menu. I attribute others to the utter lack of self control around oreos.
It starts small at first. A simple pinch between finger and thumb, you score a couple fish from the bowl and deliver them to the homeland with neither child ever the more aware (you have the benefit of Paw Patrol of some other God-Awful show being on to create a diversion). The rush. That Crunch! The residual on your tongue- a dance of cheddar in all its baked glory coating your mouth, into your tummy and straight to the cranium! Memories come flooding in- me, as a wee lad pounding some goldfish while crushing my world domination with Legos (that's a registered trademark). Happiness comes inching in replacing the afternoon of fits, crocodile tears and meltdowns.
You swallow. And then, just like that, it's gone. Yanked away. But it's too late. By now, I'm hooked on the good feeling it provides. I need more. So like a junkie needing a fix I go into full on ninja mode to acquire more. As a result I've developed a movement repertoire that is outstanding- 'The Drive By', 'The Speed Racer', 'The Annexation of Puerto Rico' are all patented moves I've taught myself to get the goods from my kids, undetected.
Do I feel bad? No. After the meltdown my darling children just had over not getting a stupid 1$ slinky, NO I DO NOT.
As way lead on to way, however, we eventually all get caught. "Dad, what are you doing? That is MY snack."
" Is it?! I thought it was mine."
"No dad, it isn't. It is mine."
"Sorry buddy, lets just share. It's nice to share."
"Ok Dad. You can have ONE."
And just like that, meltdown dodged. Life lessons and agreements were made. I may have gotten caught, but it has worked in my favor. Part of me wonders if in some small way, I am addicted to the risk of it all, that, if caught, a meltdown would ensue. Am I addicted to danger too?
The real irony of the situation is when it works in reverse. My special snack (lets say, a doughnut). I open it in the bedroom to avoid alerting the little ones to it's presence in the house. Casually, I meander back to the kitchen to monitor the situation (because let's face it, we can't leave these kids alone-they aren't puppies). But, just like bloodhounds they find the scent. And before you know it, I have two new shoe accessories begging for a treat.
"Please dad can we have a doughnut."
"No. You just brushed your teeth."
"But Dad, It's nice to share." - And just like that, my children have used my tool against me. Powerless, we enjoy the rest of my doughnut together. And then we brush our teeth.
My favorite Children's Snacks in no particular order:
-White Cheddar popcorn
-Any form of chocolate chip cookies. (Especially those tiny bite sized ones from Trader Joes. Good Lawd!)
The other day we (we being my wife and I) went shopping. It was date night. So the kids were being corralled by someone else and we were left to our own devices for fair bit of time. I know you're thinking it... did we? No. We didn't nap. BUT we did have a lovely meal of food and did a bit of shopping.
It is this shopping stuff that has me entertained. I am very much into advertising, who these stores are targeting, and how they are targeting them. It is fascinating to watch folks be driven to a decision they had no intentions of making and purchasing something when they just came to 'browse'.
One of the most effective stores I've seen was Victoria's Secret. They know who they want in their store. They broadcast images designed to catch your attention in colors that educate you immediately who this product is for. One might argue that they don't market to men. I would argue they market relentlessly to men. For who gets the benefits of the newest latest and greatest lace/spandex blend?
When I was in my formative, pubescent years Victoria's Secret was an attractive mystery to me. Beautiful women, beautiful design, smells great, and they sold----underwear. Not just any underwear. Underwear designed to be seen. A statement piece of clothing typically not shown. A large amount of my teenage years were blessed by Victoria's Secret as my focus became isolated on a chance instance where I got to intentionally encounter said undergarments. We used to call this getting to second base. Or third if you were a heavy hitter (which, I was not). A young man's life changes for the positive the first time his hand contacts the lacy, padded greatness of a Victoria's Secret Bra. Pupils dilate. Heart rate increases significantly and you realize you aren't in Kansas anymore. In no uncertain way you have stepped from the minors into the big leagues. The proverbial crowd is roaring and you feel ten feet tall. A tip of the hat and you acknowledge it: Yes, I did just touch a fancy bra. Yes, it was the most amazing thing I have ever experienced. Yes I will not, and cannot, ever possibly view women's undergarments as a routine anymore but rather as an intentional act of attracting a possible mate. Yes, I am a changed man. I promise you if you ask any man they can tell you who this first happened to them with.
From that moment on you realize that a woman chooses things to wear intentionally. Particularly undergarments. And VS has made this dream much more attainable and NORMAL. Thank you. From all of us. Side note: A young man's life changes again when the time comes to be the one to take the bra off and you have no clue how to do it- but that's for another blog ( I see workshop opportunity for Victoria's Secret and a potential niche market).
Anyway, back to shopping. We stepped into VS- the mecca as I like to call it. A large amount of women were carefully and decisively picking through panties. No purchase was made on a whim. Each and every item down to the counter check out fragrance is calculated. There were women of all ages, sizes, and ethnicity all proudly purchasing the next great item. For me, I felt right at home. This was the birthplace of my puberty, the reason I showed up to class frequently, and most likely the reason I have kids.
But something perplexed me.
What confused me were the other men in the store. They seemed put out by the fact their wife had brought them in. They were making odd, uncomfortable jokes about the mannequins, about the underwear, and playfully looking freaked out by them. Loud sighs, irritated glances, and frustrated phone checking or merely standing in the corner were the behavior of these men. How? Why? Make no mistake, anything their wife picked out would be a bug zapper light to the bug in them. So why the feigned ignorance?
You are standing in the holiest of holies and you're putting up a front like you don't care? In what world do we pretend we don't like something when we like it the most? Oh wait....
Seems like Dating in Middle School all over again, waiting for that chance to be at bat. But sadly, our wives are giving us the opportunity to get on base by intentionally walking us. They are literally asking us to simply step up to the plate to play the game, and let her do the rest. You'll likely score. And, yet these men wouldn't even step up to the plate!!
PS- Was surprised by how much this took a turn toward baseball. Maybe spring training is affecting me more than I thought.
I love dining out. I take my children with me most often (ok, pretty much all the time). So silence and peace during a meal for me is foreign. Very foreign. In fact, if I get out of the restaurant without some sore of mini disaster (spill, toys on the floor, seat getting taken by sibling) it's a win all the way around. If I eat my food, even better. It doesn't sound like it, but I love that. I love taking the kiddos on adventures. Breakfast, lunch or dinner adventures with the promise of something new and exciting, the chance to order your own food, and just spend time with Dad. Typically this daddy date occurs every Friday night. Sometimes on Saturdays.
It's interesting to see the dividing line of folks at the diners: Those with kids, and those without.
Those without kids do not understand those with kids. They simply cannot fathom how the chaos and constant motion could be fun. They often get irritated with said children being children and snapping the perfect Instagram food selfie becomes increasingly difficult when you're getting lapped by a 3 year old. Kids are bothersome, yucky, and failures of parenting when out of line.
The other faction, those with kids (or those who have once had kids) are much more understanding. Smiling and laughing - they ask questions; "How old are they? Are they twins? Is it pajama day?". They also make observations: "Looks like you've got your hands full there.... ". It's nice - they understand, they care, and they appreciate how difficult it is to take kids anywhere and how freaking cool my kids are. Because I have cool kids. Because they ARE wearing their pajamas and cowboy boots to dinner, because they can speak to you on the lineage of Disney's Princesses, evolution of Pokemon and the life cycle of the frog in the same conversation.
But.... A strange thing happened to me the other day - I discovered a new faction of diner out there. The silent ones. Picture this: A couple was seated by the hostess. Elderly and shuffling they sat as if they has assigned seats. There was no question about what they were going to order. They would have the meatloaf. Because they always had the meatloaf. It is as regular as the sunrise. They took their jackets off and faced each other. Silence. Pure silence. Not a finger lifted, not a word said. A nod and a brief word to the waitress was it. Silence. 5, 10, now 15 minutes had gone by without a single word (or even a glance) being said. It was fascinating. By this time my children had just finished discussing the finer points of tone inflection through the songs of Disney's Moana and had moved on to their Christmas list for next year. "Dad- I still want a YoYo."....
But the couple, not one peep out of them. Not one. Magical. Almost by default the food came and they commenced their eating experience. Like clockwork in a factory they exchanged salt and pepper shakers, spread their napkins on their lap and continued their silent meal. It was almost as if they knew the other's move before they moved. LIke the prefrontal cortex of the brain prepping movement and muscles, these folks had this down to a science. They finished, paid (in exact change) and shuffled out, nary a word said for nearly 45 minutes.
Were they communicating via telepathy? Was there something I was missing? Or were they in fact, simply that in touch with each other words were not necessary? I like to think the latter. I dream of a time in a relationship when you level up to a point where you are so in tune with each other you feel everything rather than say it. Transcending the communication barrier - like time travel. Your entire relationship becomes a give and take of habit and feelings and tradition rather than anything else. It's romance at the highest level. You've earned the silence.
So, the next time you're out and about keep your eyes peeled for the Silent Ones. They're out there, and they're in rare form.
Music is a funny thing. In a moment it can take you back to a person, a situation, a memory of exactly where you were when this tune starting infecting your brain. It can tie events together and memories together in a way that nothing else can (not even smell! Take that you freshly baked sugar cookies that remind me of Grandma's house!).
Music can flood you with emotions and inspire you. It makes you pull out that old music medium (or simply do a YouTube Search) and pause your life, for just a moment to allow the past to become the present. In my house, my kids get forced to listen to what Daddy likes because Daddy is the boss. Yes, I realize this isn't a hit Trolls Soundtrack song. Yes, I realize this isn't in Moana. No, I won't stop the music because, damnit, you're gonna love it like I love it.
Music is funny in that way too. BECAUSE it is tied to so many X-Factors in your memory and because it links things in ways nothing else can - it means certain things to people that means nothing to others. You love it because you had the experience with it. No-one else will ever understand how that makes you feel. Music is, an entirely independent, yet co-dependent experience. Eternally meaningful to only the listener, but eternally affected by those around at the time as well. Wow. Deep. Way deeper than I needed on a Saturday morning.
SMASH MOUTH. You can still find them HERE.
The Astro Lounge Disc. Wow. Talk about a flood of memories. Somehow, this resonated with my 1999 self. First thing that comes to my are my friends Tony and Ben. We listened to this record like some folks listen to their preacher. This was our church. We knew every song, every key, every small variation in vocal inflection that Steve Harwell would give us. We knew that the odd numbered tracks were more of our favorites than the even numbered tracks. We played that until my CD broke. Literally it disintegrated.
It was that summer we would go to Lake Powell. I think I spent two to three weeks there. Listening to Smash Mouth. The 4 hour drive was filled with this CD on repeat (on a personal discman with exernal speakers because the car didn't have a CD player mind you). One image permanently fixed into my brain: Riding in the back of the truck towing the boat cruising over the slow rollers of the San Rafael swell in Utah - nothing but sandstone and dirt for miles. With Smash Mouth singing "Road Man". I remember sitting on the shore of the lake, baking in the sun. With Tony and Ben. And Astro Lounge. To pass the time when we weren't in the water or doing crazy hikes or jumping off rocks into the water we read. We read the Anthologies of Calvin and Hobbes. Front to back. Back to front. Until these were in tatters. With Smash Mouth providing the soundtrack. Good lord I love me some Calvin and Hobbes. And Smash Mouth. And I still do-maybe even more than before because so many good things are tied to these tunes now. There is so much comfort in music and the memories you make and relate you.
So, in my universe Smash Mouth, Lake Powell and Calvin and Hobbes come colliding together for some of my fondest memories. I can still feel the heat of that summer on the rocks when that record comes on.
What records do you have that bring you back?
6 years ago I finally got to lock up this beautiful woman. We had met a fair bit before this, in arguably the toughest period of our lives. We were in school, under pressure, and only had each other.
I distinctly recall it was the weekend of Halloween (at that age, Halloween is an event for weeks, not for a day).
She was a rough cat (meaning she had cat ears on, maybe some whiskers) and I was attempting to be a tough guy as one of the main characters from The Boondock Saints.
We knew we liked each other but we didn't really know where this was going. So, a few drinks later, I managed to profess my love for her.
"I Love you."
Even slightly tipsy it took me by surprise. I tried to backpedal, I was scared, I was freaking out, and I wanted to go away. Was it too soon? She probably doesn't feel the same way, she probably won't ever talk to me again etc etc.
But she did. She did more than just talk to me again.
She said it back.
Cue the fireworks and high fives.
That was 11 years ago. 6 years ago she decided she would marry me.
From there we've been on an adventure of epic proportions. Through good, bad, indifferent, a pair of kids, and a business, moving to a new city, and just life in general. She has stuck be my side through thick and thin.
She does it effortlessly. It takes me a lot more work.
I am so grateful for you Ashley. You are my rock and I strive to be more like you every day. Happy Anniversary.
I loved Calvin and Hobbes as a child. I still do as an adult. But let's face it, Moe, the bully, was a jerk. Maybe he was misunderstood, but he certainly never changed his M.O.. Calvin just managed to smile his way through it somehow, but bullying isn't cool and it seems to be getting worse.
So many kids think, just let me get through high school and then I'll be rid of these bullies, as if somehow, the promise of adulthood gets rid of bullying and all the problems that go with it. The thought is that now, with a high school diploma, I can finally handle my problems with decent rapport and an open mind and others will do the same.
Adults can be bullies too. In fact, there are a lot of adult bullies maybe even more than in high school. They are just sneakier about it. Because legally, as an adult, shoving someone into a trashcan or punching them in the face has ramifications that are much more magnified and has been termed, 'uncouth', These adult bullies go about it in a much more subtle way. They impress upon you their OPINION.
In the 'real world' bullies stop impressing physical force and start leveraging mental force.
It is no consequence where, when or what it's about, these opinions come out. For some it is pointed, direct, and a no bones approach. For others, it is a under the breath comment to a friend just loud enough to be heard. It is full of disdain and the assumption that their opinion is correct and that yours is, in fact wrong. Dead wrong. And they aren't afraid to make that known.
That school you're choosing for your kid? "It's not a good school- I know because I looked at it. Just make sure you do your research...I mean, it's your choice and all but, ...."
That car you're thinking of buying? "Oh honey, you'll never be able to get DVD players in the back seat. And I doubt they can upgrade the seats. My car, on the other hand, has custom fit seats- have you seen it? "
The way you parent your screaming child."Why are you so patient with them? If it were me, I'd whup their butt and put them in their room - you're too nice to your kids, you're too patient."
No matter where you go, and what you do, you're going to be dealing with bullies. It doesn't get better after high school. It just gets more petty. The cool thing? My drive to give a shit about it is nearly nil. The true benefit of getting out the circle of crap is that once you're out on your own, you gain perspective. You grow. And you find yourself. And you then can start to recognize that these bullies, both pre-pubescent and adults, never climbed out of the pool. They're still there. Lounging. Lacking perspective. To them, they are the epitome of awesome because they never have been proven different. So they impose themselves, like they always do, because it is what they always do.
I guess my rant it to encourage you to get perspective. To get out of the pool. To grow yourself. Because only then will you find what's right for you. You'll learn to stand on your own to feet without worry of acceptance. You'll wear house slippers to the store because it's been a hard damn day and they are comfortable and the only pair you could find. Back off made up moms and dads with their fancy shoes and high heels and looks of shame. I'm happy, I'm comfortable, and I'm me. Who are you?