Teaching Children To Give Back

My children and I have an ongoing discussion about what our jobs are. I tell them that their job is to to go to spend each day learning as much as they can about everything. My job is to help them figure out what is most important and what isn't.

Occasionally we have discussions about the contradictory nature of being told to learn everything while simultaneously being told that not everything is important. I suppose that one could argue that some of this is a bit too sophisticated for them, but that is ok. We aim high so that if we don't hit the mark we still end up ahead of the game.

Anyway, this week we got to celebrate Tu B'Shevat, sort of a Jewish arbor day. It is a great teaching holiday because it offers numerous teaching opportunities. It also has a very cool story that is tied into it about a guy called Honi, the circle maker. I know a bunch of stories about him, but there is one in particular that I really like. I found a version of of it online that I'll share:

One day, Honi the Circle Maker was walking on the road and saw a man planting a carob tree. Honi asked the man, "How long will it take for this tree to bear fruit?"

The man replied, "Seventy years."

Honi then asked the man, "And do you think you will live another seventy years and eat the fruit of this tree?"

The man answered, "Perhaps not. However, when I was born into this world, I found many carob trees planted by my father and grandfather. Just as they planted trees for me, I am planting trees for my children and grandchildren so they will be able to eat the fruit of these trees."
It is a very practical story that I have often used in business settings. Since it is not cloaked in religious trappings it provides an easy opening into discussing a number of things:

1) Planning for the future.
2) Doing something to help others.

Since I like tying these discussions into action we made a point of planting flowers and a small vegetable garden. I mulled over including a fruit tree but decided to hold off. We have a bunch of fruit trees in the backyard already and I thought it might be nice to do something a bit different.

Besides the flowers and the vegetables will yield results a bit faster than a tree would and that is very useful with young and impatient children.

Now the kids have this idea that we can take our vegetables to sell at one of the local farmer's markets. They were so excited by the idea that I didn't have the heart to tell them why that is unlikely to happen any time soon.

A Few Links of Interest

Haveil Havalim, The blog carnival of the Jewish/Israeli blogosphere just came out with Haveil Havalim 254: Tu B’Shevat Edition.

And there is a nifty review of this blog that you can find at 2010: The Year of The Daddy Blogger.

It is time to do more to stop the pirates or we'll keep reading stories like, British hostages: We're being badly treated.

Stupid criminals deserve worse than this.

A Restaurant Surprise

This is kind of a cool idea.

Cabel Saasser brings word of a mysterious cafe that he recently experienced in Kashiwa in Japan. Located inside the Urban Design Center Kashiwa-no-ha, the Ogori cafe looks innocuous enough, but holds a surprise in store for its patrons. In a nutshell, you get what the person before you ordered, and the next person gets what you ordered. Thus, if you’re in on the game, you can choose to be either a generous benefactor, and treat those that come after you – or try your luck at being cheap. Either way, it’s an interesting experiment that explores surprise, kindness and encourages interactions.

Caught My Eye

Pepper Spray Mistakenly Used On Burning Man
Texas Fraternity Brother Branded, Family Furious Over Ritual
6 Epic Infomercial Fails and Bloopers
Gates makes $10 billion vaccines pledge
Misspelled Tattoos: Permanent And Hilarious (PHOTOS)

The Search For Answers About Our Ourselves Part II

"Kathy, I'm lost," I said, though I knew she was sleeping
I'm empty and aching and I don't know why
Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike
They've all gone to look for America."
America- Simon and Garfunkel
A while back I decided that it would be interesting to review some old posts and see if time and experiences had changed my opinion. The Search For Answers About Our Ourselves seems like an appropriate place to begin. It happens to be one of the posts that made me appreciate blogging.

Five years later I have witnessed the disintegration and destruction of a bunch of marriages. Friends who appeared to be the ultimate expression of madly in love are no longer. Their relationships crumbled for a variety of reasons.

Some have fallen out of love and others have said that they never were. Some say that with age and life experiences they grew apart and realized that they had become different people. The problem wasn't that they had become different people but that they had become different people who couldn't grow/change with their husband/wife.

And so they came to the conclusion that they had irreconcilable differences.
"Tonight I'll sing my songs again,
I'll play the game and pretend.
But all my words come back to me in shades of mediocrity
Like emptiness in harmony I need someone to comfort me.
Homeward bound,
I wish I was,
Homeward bound,
Home where my thought's escaping,
Home where my music's playing,
Home where my love lies waiting
Silently for me.
Silently for me."
Homeward Bound- Simon & Garfunkel

As the music plays I am trying to remember where my head was when I wrote that original post and I realize how much has happened during the five years since. It feels kind of foolish to write that. Five years isn't a huge amount of time, but it is significant.

For me it feels like a lifetime ago. I have since changed careers and am doing some things professionally that I don't think I ever would have expected to be doing. It is more than fair to say that I have been pushed out of my comfort zone and that I am engaged in a struggle to make sense of some of these things.

That Homeward Bound quote has always resonated with me, especially during times like now. Moments where I am working through a transitory period and am trying to identify solutions that will work. Home doesn't have to be a physical place. It can also be a mental/emotional refuge.

I suppose that some of those things are in flux for me which is part and parcel why I feel a bit unsettled now. My own particular piece of this planet is shaking. It is moving at light speed in sort of an uncomfortable and awkward position.

++++++++++++++

Some of you are going to read this post and be bothered because it is not real fluid. There are awkward transitions and hints at things that aren't being disclosed. That is intentional. It is not being done out of laziness or for some sort of trickery.

It is a reminder that I am placing here for me so that when I come back in the future it will be easier for me to connect with these thoughts.

When I read that original post I see the man I was then and I realize that I have changed. The experiences I have had and things that I have seen since then have made me more cynical. The edges are rougher and less polished.

I still have a habit of beating myself up for some things. I am still my worst critic, but that is to be expected. In any case it is time to stop rambling. I'll end this the same way that I ended the other.

"Here is what I know for certain.....Nothing and everything. I know that I have friends and family whom I would die for. I have known and know love that burns so fiercely it leaves me gasping for breath. I have experienced passion that leaves a sharp a pain in my side and a burning feeling that does not diminish with time.


What I know for certain is that I am alive. I feel it and I live it. What else can a man ask for."

Life Changes- What Now?

In the back of my garage there is a section that is devoted to baby gear. There is a diaper genie, a high chair, crib, clothes and assorted toys neatly stacked, wrapped and boxed up. For a moment I stare at them and and wonder if there is reason to keep them any longer.

My youngest is midway through kindergarten and there seems to be no compelling reason to believe that babies will be forthcoming. I am torn about this, unsure if I am ready to accept that this part of my life is over. There are a million reasons why it makes sense to not have any more children. Smart, sensible and practical reasons.

Yet I find myself feeling a bit sad and unsettled about this. Am I really ready to say that there will be no more? That doesn't mean that I don't love my kids. I do, they are my world. But I always thought that there would be a few more and I find myself asking myself a ton of questions.

++++++++

In May I'll be 41. I am still young and in relatively good shape. I don't have any doubt that I could do it again. Heck, part of the beauty of being male is that in theory I can keep procreating until I am 130. Although just because you can doesn't mean that you should.

The private school battle has been strenuous and difficult. More children means more bills and that is not necessarily something that I want. It angers me to bring finances into this. I don't like it. I really want to base decisions upon whether the children will receive the love and attention that they deserve. Although I suppose that finances do come into play because of the impact that work has upon life.

Meaning that a good job that pays enough to support the family can require so many hours that it is challenging to spend time with one child. So here I am recanting, finances have to be a part of the discussion. It still irks me, but perhaps that is more of an issue of the general struggle with accepting that the end of this part of my life is at hand.

++++++++

Maybe this is all tied into trying to figure out some of the what now business. I have reframed it from being a midlife crisis, although that is what some people would deem this to be. I don't like viewing it as a crisis or being reactionary. It is an approach that is far too negative.

What I have been doing is going through a transitional period in which I have been figuring out what it is that I want for me now. Been out of college for a long time. I have spent time working in the corporate world, worked for small and midsize businesses and been self employed. During that time I have gained a lot of valuable skills and experience.

I want to take that and use it for things that make me happy. I want to wake up and be excited about the day. It happens, but not with the frequency that I want it to. I want to look at the future and be excited about that and not see a grind. Again, it happens but not with the frequency that I'd like.

++++++++
Back in the garage I am staring at my weights. They are trusted companions of a different sort. Cold and unfeeling the steel has been a companion of a different sort. Some of them have been hanging out with me since the Reagan Administration. That is a pretty good investment. Too bad they don't provide a financial dividend to go with the physical.

Old luggage lies on a shelf. A suitcase and a duffel bag. I picked up the duffel bag at an army surplus store around 1988 or so. Back then I spent hours in the gym. I was rock solid and wore a flat top. Occasionally I would be asked if I was in the service. There is only one time that I remember not saying no. It was in Denim and Diamond, a Country/Western bar. A couple of drunk boys were starting up with some friends and it made sense to let them wonder what I might be, but that is a story for a different day.

The bags and the weights remind me of the past but they also speak of the transition into the present. They serve as an easy reminder that change is not always absolute nor scary.

I bend over and grab a dumbbell. Twenty-five pounds is all that I am working with now. The fragile male ego is irritated. I used to swing far more and with greater ease than I am using now. But those were days without responsibility. Back then I would have laughed at the Jack who wonders if he wants more kids or not.

But then again the truth is that kid had his own share of anxieties. Though they may have been different, he most certainly worried about things.
++++++++

The crib is broken down into pieces and covered with shrinkwrap. I close my eyes and for a moment I can see the babies who once slept in there.Tiny creatures who taught me that I hadn't even begun to understand what it meant to love.

In my mind's eye I see a little boy who was once called Red by great-grandparents who are no longer here. The image changes and I see this baby girl pull herself up. She smiles at me and I melt. Damn, she can't even walk and I know that I am already wrapped around her finger.

My reverie is interrupted by the beeping of a BlackBerry. The real world is calling and with that we fade to black................

A Transition- Call it a Blog's Midlife Crisis

Worth Reading Again

Time to air out the archives again and shine a light on some old posts that are worth reading:

Where I Come From

The tears that do not fall

The Supermarket

A Conversation with Someone Dear To Me

Why I Blog

Are You Smarter Than A Rabbi? Part I

I Never Stop Thinking About You

Another insert for Fragments of Fiction

"Oh, I know (oh, I know)
That the music's fine
Like sparkling wine
Go and have your fun
Laugh and sing
But while we're apart
Don't give your heart to anyone
But don't forget who's taking you home
And in whose arms you're gonna be
So darlin', save the last dance for me, mmmm"


Baby, don't you know
I love you so
Can't you feel it when we touch
I will never, never let you go
I love you oh, so much

You can dance (you can dance)
Go and carry on
'Til the night is gone
And it's time to go
If he asks if you're all alone
Can he take you home you must tell him no
'Cause don't forget who's taking you home
And in whose arm's you're gonna be
So, darlin', save the last dance for me
Save The Last Dance for Me- The Drifters


"Just another Saturday night and I ain't got nobody
I've got some money cause I just got paid
How I wish I had some chick to talk to
I'm in an awful way"
Another Saturday Night & I Ain't Got Nobody- Sam Cooke

"Action speaks louder than words
And I'm a man of great experience
I know you got another man
But I can love you better than him

Take my hand, don't be afraid
I'm wanna prove every word I say
I'm advertisin' love for free
So, you can place your ad with me"
Hard to Handle- Otis Redding

In a different life a woman once told me that because men weren't as in touch with our feelings it takes us longer to figure out what women know in less than half the time. It was the sort of comment that most men dislike hearing at any age, but as a twenty-something I was even less interested.

The future was nothing but endless highway filled with opportunities. I couldn't see anything but pots of gold waiting to be discovered. Not to mention that an overblown fragile male ego was completely unprepared to do more than feign being interested in the conversation.

Can't tell you exactly what happened after that, but I can remember a few things. She said something, I said something in reply and went straight into foreplay. Decades later I realize that her participation in the festivities was not tacit approval of the aforementioned non response. If anything it was a check mark that she used on the wrong side of the mental list of things she like and didn't like about me.

But like I said, I was young and foolish. Who knew. Time passed and she and I found ourselves entangled in a weave of differing interests. She wanted to pursue her dreams in different cities than I did. We talked a lot about what we wanted as individuals, at least that is how I remember it. She might see it differently, might even claim that I am engaged in revisionist history. But I truly don't remember talking as a 'we.'

The end result was that we went our separate ways. It wasn't because of major issues with each other, just bad timing.

Some years later we found each other and picked up where we had left off. Being a child of technology and history I call it relationship 1.5. It started out relatively quietly. There were a few emails and then some conversations followed by a meal.

We met in front of the restaurant and hugged each other. I didn't realize until we got inside that I had buried my nose in her hair. It was instinct really, she always smelled good. Three minutes later we sat down and I got lost in her. I know that sounds goofy, pull my man card. But I did. Her scent was still stuck in my nose and all I could think about was taking her home as quickly as possible.

Apparently I wasn't alone in my thoughts because right after we ordered she suddenly came down with a migraine. At least she thought that is what it was going to be. While we waited for the waiter to box our food I offered to walk her home and she said yes.

Along the way she told me that the night air had helped to clear her head and asked if I wanted to come up and eat at her place. Did I mention that it took me until the next day to realize how she had set me up. I spent most of the walk back to her place silently lamenting the crash and burn of the evening.

Anyway, we set the table, enjoyed a bottle of wine with our meal and then woke up together. As I said earlier it was part of relationship 1.5. And if you haven't guessed it didn't last long. Her company transferred her to an office in the Southwest. I was climbing the corporate ladder and too close to a major promotion to move.

Time passed and we drifted apart again. Another case of two people who probably could make it work if they could find a way to be together.

And now I find myself saying that more than I'd like to. Two people who could probably make it work if they could find a way to be together. Oh, did I mention that relationship 1.5 was the most intense that I have ever been in.

It was the kind of love affair that makes you write stupid poetry and plays. Did I tell you that I apologized to her for being so stupid when we were younger? Well I did. I told her that I wished that I had never let her go. I said that it was the mistake that haunted me and that she really was the love of my life.

She told me that was great and that she wished that I had said it earlier but that we missed our window. And then came the fights and accusations. The hurt feelings built up and over time we stopped communicating. That is sort of the filler part of what happened when relationship 1.5 moved on.

So I find myself in quiet moments thinking about my girl. Not sure that it is right or fair to say that, but I can't help it. I like to think that she still thinks of herself that way. I like to think that sometimes she thinks about me and wonders if maybe someday we can find a way.

Although we can give the standard laundry list of he said, she said issues the reality is that we didn't really end things because of issues with the other. It didn't fall apart because I stand her incessant need to make lists for everything or desire to keep Laura Ashley in business. The things that killed us were external issues and those can be dealt with.

Maybe it is one of those once in a lifetime opportunities in which you grab that brass ring or you don't. Maybe it is something that I'll look back upon and smile. But I hope not. For a long time she was more than my best friend. I am still holding out hope that she can be again because I never have stopped thinking about her.

The Greatest Blog Post Never Written

This could be the greatest blog post that was never written. It could be magical, amazing and enlightening. This could very well be the one that launches my career as a writer. Well, I should qualify that.I have worked and am working as a writer. This is a different sort of thing that I am referring to.

A post that leads to an opportunity to write a book and to become a published author. I keep dreaming about it. I keep writing about it and wondering how to make it into reality. Do I want to write the great American novel and if so, what do I want to write about.

I can be funny. I could tell a million stories that you make you laugh. Or I can go a different direction and write about the great love that got away. I can make you remember that man or woman you still carry a torch for. I can tap into those feelings and make you ask yourself the uncomfortable question of, "what if."

But then again maybe it is better to write a book under my role as a father. It could be called "The Dude they Called Dad" and feature me with a very serious and solemn look on my face. Or it could go the silly route, that fits me.

The other day I realized that I have an idea for a line of clothing. If you are one of the three people that know me you recognize how goofy that is. Me, the clothing designer. Ok, it is not really meant to be a designer like you'd see at some fashion show. It is different, but I have a pretty clear idea.

It is an idea that I am going to give life to. I am going to turn take it from something that I play around with in my mind into something that is real, tangible. Damn it, I am going to make it happen for no other reason than I can.

This thing is going to be proof that sheer desire and force of will can make amazing things happen. I am really fired up right now. We're almost one month into the year of Jack and things are happening, albeit slowly, but they are happening.

It reminds me a bit of moving a heavy object. I have started to rock it back and forth. Slowly the momentum is building and its own weight is beginning to make it move. I just need to generate a little bit more movement and then that sucker will start traveling.

The hard part is not getting started but making sure that I don't smack into any icebergs.

Well have to see what happens. For now all I can say is that this could have been the greatest blog post that was never written.

Are you There God? It is Me, Jack

Are you there G-d, it is me Jack. You know, that crazy kid who grew up down the street from you. You remember me, when I was five I got chased down the street by the neighbor's dog. The same neighbor who gave me that awful Kool-Aid concoction that made me puke through my nose.

Kind of nasty, but when you are five nasty is kind of cool. Gave me some sort of street cred, not that I knew what to do with it.  Or at least I don't really remember knowing much about it. But maybe I did, maybe that five year old boy knew some secrets that he has since forgotten.

Ya know G-d, I am not all that different from a lot of people. I like to think that I make an impression upon people, that they remember me. You can call it ego, fear or insecurity, but it is just nice to know. I know, I say that I don't care about any of that. Most of the time I don't, but I have my moments.

Is it a contradiction? I suppose, but that is ok. Women change their minds all the time and although I am most assuredly male I am happy to write this off as being part of getting in touch with my feminine side. But let's be clear, I don't need 2,876 pairs of shoes or want to decorate my home in some sort of flowery motif.

G-d, I have got to tell you that I am not sure how I feel about you these days. Do you have any idea how many friends of mine have died? It started in junior high. You remember that girl that had a seizure in the bathtub and drowned. What was that about? Or what about those kids that died every year I was in high school.

Two neighbors died in car accidents during college another girl that I kind of knew was killed in Europe. Of course we can't forget about D. He really was like a brother to me. Twenty-nine, why? What the hell is that about.

And then last year three more. Two mothers and a divorced guy. C'mon G-d, WTF is that about. It doesn't make sense to me.

I mean I understand that when I was 20 it might have been a little forward to ask you to put a good word in with Ann Stacey for me. Ok, I didn't ask for a good word. I asked you to give me a couple of hours of alone time and promised to close the deal.

Have to tell you that I feel kind of foolish here. I am not sure that you are listening. Can't say that this is anything but it a very poor attempt to engage in some sort of silly blogging trick. Nah, scratch that, this is something a bit more than that. It is me cleaning out the pipes and stretching my legs a bit.

Not sure if it is working, but we'll see.

Back To The Hospital...Again

That tweet was only partially tongue-in-cheek.I made it shortly after finding out that my grandmother had been rushed to the hospital. She tripped and fell late Sunday night and her eye was swollen shut. The docs weren't sure exactly what was going on and ran a bunch of tests.

My mother called me early Monday morning to fill me in. She told me that the doctors had provided several different options for how to treat grandma. Sometimes conversations about medical issues are simple. You operate because the patient will die if you don't or you don't operate because the risk is too high.

You'll forgive me for not providing all of the details here. It is not really important for you to know and unless you are a medical expert the details won't make this any more or less interesting. And now back to our story.

Anyhoo, the docs presented my mother with several different options to choose from and reminded her that though they didn't want to pressure her time was of the essence. And so I found myself doing some basic research on surgeons and the procedures we were discussing.

A short time later I called my mother at the hospital and asked how grandma was doing. I knew from my mother's voice that things weren't great. She didn't try to hide it. If you read The Long Goodbye you are aware that dementia is beginning to steal my grandmother. It is not easy for me to see and it certainly isn't easy for my mother.

Until relatively recently grandma had been blessed with excellent health. She was very active physically and mentally so it is really shocking to see the changes. All I have to do is read Passing The Baton- Grandma is 94
and I can't help but shake my head in disbelief.
"Macular degeneration has taken her eyesight and her short term memory is a little rough, but overall she is in really good shape. She told me that she thinks that her age has finally caught up to her. That may or may not be true, but she still exudes quiet strength and she still is among the happiest people I have ever known. If you ask her why she'll laugh and tell you that life is hard and that is why you have to smile. If you press her to provide a less cryptic answer she will, but that is a story for a different day."

That is how I think of my grandmother. She tells you that age has caught up and still has more energy than most people, at least she did. That is just not reality anymore.

My children don't know her like that. They see a different woman than I know. It is life and that is ok, but it makes me a bit sad. I'd write more but it is late so I am going to cut this off here. But before I go I want to share one more excerpt from the post about grandma's 94th birthday.

"When I dropped them off at their home I had to take a moment. They both hugged and kissed me goodbye, and then without any further ado they held hands and walked off towards the entrance. When I tried to follow them in my grandfather stuck his cane out and told me not to interrupt his time with his special girl and with a twinkle in his eye told me to tell the office that they wouldn't make it to dinner tonight."
In a few minutes I'll go to sleep in my own bed while some miles away my grandmother lies in a hospital bed. Tomorrow I'll go back and visit her again and hope that she recognizes me. If she doesn't that is ok, I am a big boy, but I'd be lying if I said that I don't wonder...

Quality of Life

Whenever it is that I may die there are certain things that I want to be able to say, need to be able to say.

1) I did my best to help my children gain the skills and character to fulfill their potential and become the people that we all see that they can become.
2) I did my best to live a life that was filled with passion, joy and fulfillment.
3) That I didn't give into fear or convention. That I didn't allow doubt and uncertainty to prevent me from achieving and obtaining those things that I desire on all levels. That includes spiritual, emotional, mental and material.

And it is my hope that I am able to do these things while giving more to the world than I take and while causing a minimal amount of damage and destruction. I take seriously the idea of planting seeds so that fruit trees will grow for the benefit of our children and grandchildren.

The path is rockier and stormier than I'd like it to be, but I don't know any other way. I can only be who I am. But I suspect that if I do these things I will have enjoyed a high quality of life. More to come on quality of life in a later post.

Never take your health or those of families and friends for granted.

Minnie The Moocher Meet My 9 Year Old Son

I am feeling a bit spent and fighting hard to publish a post that doesn't make me grit my teeth in disgust. If you follow me on Twitter you know that I survived 1,276 hour slumber party. A gaggle of nine year-olds roamed the hallowed halls of Casa De Jack and did their best to wreck the place.

Ok, that is not fair, they didn't try to wreck anything, well maybe each other. More than once WWF matches broke out in the bedroom. The grandmothers were none too excited about this and tried to break them up. You would think that since they raised boys they would have understood that wrestling is one of the ways that little boys show affection for each other.

Since they seemed to have forgotten this I made a point of instructing them that "in my house they must follow my rules." Have to admit that I took great pleasure in telling them this, payback is sweet.

I know all about boys, I am one, albeit far bigger than these guys.

Anyhoo, I figured that it wouldn't hurt to let them burn off some steam and besides I monitored it pretty closely. Those little lion cubs didn't do much more than growl and nip at each other a few times. Far more time was spent discussing the finer points of game play on various game systems.

Video games were a big topic. My son had requested that each of his friends bring one of their portable game systems with them.

Initially I was reluctant to agree to the handhelds but it occurred to me that they might be useful in helping to keep the kids occupied, especially if people had trouble going to sleep.


So I told my son that it was cool for the other boys to bring them along provided that we had some other activities for everyone to do.

We ended up with a handful of Sony PSPs and a bunch of Nintendo DS handsets generating all sorts of beeps, whistles and music. While they were playing it was remarkably quiet. Aside from beeps, whistles and the accompanying music there was silence.

Of course when they weren't playing the games the noise level here made the Superdome in New Orleans look like a monastery. These boys made jet engines sound quiet.

After they had played their games, eaten dinner, built Legos and engaged in all sorts of other nonsense they pulled a move that made my jaw drop. They all changed into their pajamas and laid out their sleeping bags. It was around ten.

For a moment I thought that they were really going to sleep. I suspect that I might have even teared up a bit at the joyous thought of their going to bed at a decent hour. But something happened.

Those boys suckered me. They took a ten minute break from the madness and then let loose with a cavalcade of new games and nonsense.We had planned for this and turned on Empire Strikes Back. I figured that a movie would help calm them down.

I was only partially right. It quieted them down until it ended at which point the jet engine roar resumed. I let it go for a moment or two and then made it clear that it was bed time. Well that lasted for as long as I could stand in the room.

As soon as I left the tittering and giggles would resume. I didn't want to be the mean father and split them up. Slumber parties are known for this kind of nonsense. I did what I could to help those who wanted to get to sleep do so. Some did, but several did not.

Eventually I found myself sitting on the couch. Somewhere around 1 most of them drifted off and  I made my way to bed. They of course woke up at some ungodly hour and left me groaning and coffeeless.

After they ate me out of house and home the parents picked the little buggers up and I sat on the couch in a daze. Now hours later I know that I must look like some overtired slackjawed fool. Really I had intended to go to sleep hours ago.

I figured that I'd watch Big Love and hit the sack, but I found myself unable to sleep, but exhausted. Would it be wrong of me to call the parents of all of the guests and thank them for sending their boys over. It is only a quarter to one, really, they might be excited to hear from me.

Probably not.

Well, overall it was a success but I think next year I might push for something more tame. I suppose we'll have to wait and see.

(P.S. I forgot to include the Minnie the Moocher story, will have to do so at a later date.)

Just Another Day

"When I'm tired and thinking cold
I hide in my music, forget the day
And dream of a girl I used to know
I closed my eyes and she slipped away
She slipped away

It's more than a feeling
(More than a feeling)
When I hear that old song they used to play
(More than a feeling)
I begin dreaming
(More than a feeling)
'Til I see Marianne walk away "
More Than a Feeling- Boston

"(There's life underground)

I feel it all around / I feel it in my bones
My life is on the line / When I'm away from home
When I step out the door / The jungle is alive
I do not trust my ears / I don't believe my eyes
I will not fall in love / I cannot risk the bet
Cause hearts are fragile toys / so easy to forget "

Just Another Day- Oingo Boingo

Sometimes I sit down and type these words and am amazed at the simple truths I learn about myself. The words that appear on the screen illuminate and enlighten me. Now I suppose that to some it sounds narcissistic and superficial, but I would argue that it is not really either, at least not in this context. Because here is where we empty out our mental closet and ask if there is a purpose for the contents contained therein.

These simple truths are my reality check. They are where I confirm whether I am being truly honest with myself. It is one thing to engage in acts of deception and duplicity with others but quite another to do so with oneself. For the lies that we tell ourselves are among the most harmful and the most dangerous.

And that is how I came to realize that I have been fooling myself about many things, but primarily about you.

In the beginning I used my anger to shield myself from the pain of our separation. I tried your trick and made a list of your negative traits and actions. It worked for a very brief time. For a short time it convinced me that none of it had been real. Those feelings were a lie that I have conceived because I had been desperate to find someone like you.

The very thought of being desperate filled me with shame and in turn made me even angrier. That anger was my friend. It cloaked the pain of the loss and made me feel like it hadn't been as terrible as my heart made it seem.

My heart.

My heart was what made me let go of my anger. It was what told me that I was sad and not angry. So I let go of the anger and tried another tack, to forget.

I thought of the heroes of the music and movies I have loved and made a conscious decision to start walking. I'd walk the other direction and you'd never see me turn my head around to look back. Each day would take me one step further away from you. And with each moment I'd find it easier to forget and easier to just live my life.

That was smart. It was sensible, really the wise and mature move. And so I tried it. I envisioned it as being part of a great adventure. I was a hero who was heading off into the unknown. It didn't matter what, could have been a soldier going to war or a cowboy out on the range.

The only thing that I cared about was finding a way to keep busy until I reached that moment where I  no longer noticed that you weren't standing by my side.

It was far harder than I expected it to be. A million little things reminded me of you. Songs on the radio, stories people told, movies, books and more made it virtually impossible to do. I told myself that I needed to just buck up, and keep busy. Promised that every day I lasted would make it easier, little victories that I could build on.

Some days were harder than others. I'd sit on the couch and wonder how I could feel so empty and hollow. It wasn't time that my heart was broken.I told myself that I had been through it before and that was proof that this would be just another story.

But this was harder because it was the worst.

Time passed and the pain eased. Gradually I began to wonder if it was gone. It happened faster than I expected. It made me sad to say goodbye to the pain. Made me wonder if I had fooled myself. But then I figured that it was silly to over analyze it and I just went about my day.

And then I dreamt about you. It was as vivid and real as any dream I have ever had. It brought it all crashing down upon me. All the memories and all the feelings came storming back. The good and the bad, it all showed up for some sort of crazy reunion.

I could tell you about it. If I wanted to I could share so many details you'd ask if I had made it up. But that would be a betrayal of a different sort. It is far too intimate and not because it is sexual. That intimacy is derived from the sort of mature love that can't really be explained.

All that took place a while back. I decided that I wasn't going to make myself crazy by over thinking it. Wasn't going to try to analyze every little thing either. Haven't reached out because the unofficial rules of this say that it is not time.

Don't really have a plan, just going to take it day by day and see what happens. I find it all very curious and wonder if this is the road to wreck or ruin. I suppose that we will find out.

(Not sure where I am going to insert this in Fragments of Fiction)

What I Dream About

My mother tells me that my preschool teachers used to tell her that they were certain that I would grow up to be a writer. They said that I had a very active imagination. They were right, I did and still do have a very active imagination.

I dream in bright colors and crystal clear images. I see movies play in my mind and wonder why I can't turn them into reality. I am not Walter Mitty, although I suppose that we share some traits. I am a dreamer but I am not someone who intentionally misleads other into believing that I am someone other than who I am.

I dream about writing books and becoming a published author. I dream about becoming a columnist and writing screenplays. I dream about becoming a doctor, a scientist and a teacher. I dream about playing left field for the Dodgers and power forward for the Lakers.

I dream about building a castle and manning the walls. I dream about traveling around the world and quiet moments at home. I dream about places and things that make me smile. I dream about MLBF and having a home library. A place with built in shelves and big overstuffed chairs.

I dream about owning a private jet and island getaways. I dream about living out the stories and promises and whispers of the night. I dream about that kiss and the moments in time. I dream about walking those roads in Jerusalem again.

I dream about doing the Ironman and the incredible amount of work it will take to get there. I dream about carving and reshaping my body so that it once again looks as I remember it.

I dream about many years from now when my children are grown and wonder if the visions I see will resemble reality. I dream of long walks on the beach and quiet drives up the coast.

I dream about writing songs and playing music. And sometimes I dream about being granted the talent and ability to perform them.

I have many dreams, far more than I have shared here. There are endless details that I could list but haven't. Some of these dreams will become reality and others will remain unfilled. The ultimate goal is to see that I don't look back in regret. I don't want to have a life that ends in I could have but didn't.

I want a life that is more than that. It is not to much too ask for. I may dream big, but I am willing to do things to make them into something more.

What Do Fathers Dream About

The dark haired beauty looks up at me, a mass of long dark curls cascading down the side of her head and orders me to pick her up. "Abba, I am 5.5 now and I want a phone and pierced ears."

As she says this she hugs me, caresses my face and kisses my cheek. This girl of mine has been studying me for her entire life. She thinks that she has me wrapped around her finger. A hug, kiss and a coy look are all tools that she uses to try and disarm me. This little girl has discovered that feminine wiles can be used to try and get her way.

I squeeze her back, kiss her forehead and ask her if she wants to know a secret. She smiles and leans in so that I can whisper in her ear. "I love you! And that is why you aren't getting a phone." She snaps her head back and gives me a quizzical look.

I laugh and remind her that I grew up with 1,298,098 sisters. I know all of the tricks and none of them work on me. And then I explain to her that because I love her I set boundaries. She tries one more tactic, tells me that she dreamt that I gave her a phone. I smile again and tell her that dreams are good and that mine are different.

In response she asks, "What do daddies dream about? It is an excellent question. And I swear that for a moment the little girl is gone and a woman is standing in front of me. I suppose that it catches my attention because I think of dreams often. It is a regular topic between the boys and I, dreams that is.

We talk about about them, the boys and I. All of us are in some kind of transitional place in our lives. Some are getting divorced, some are dealing with unemployment/career issues and all are trying to figure out what it means to see our thirties in the rear view mirror.

I take the dark haired beauty by her hand and lead her to the couch. We sit down and she curls up against me. I close my eyes for a moment and savor the moment. She is growing quickly and I see the time when she won't make this sort of time for me.

I tell her that daddies dream about taking care of their families. I tell her that daddies look at their children and dream about helping them to become good people who have character and are happy. I tell her that it is my job to help her avoid making some of the mistakes that I have made. She scrunches up her face and says that is impossible, I am a boy.

I roll my eyes at her and watch her giggle. She is at that age where it is fun to say that "boys are stinky." I say that we aren't stinky and she tells me that she told everyone in school that I can't drink milk anymore. I smile at her and tell her that she should tell them I am "lactose intolerant." That should make for fine conversation.

Just when I think that I have redirected the topic she tells me that she doesn't want to go in the bathroom when I come out of it. Damn if this kid isn't trying to get the last word on me. I smile at her and tell her that it is time to get ready for bed. She tells me that she isn't ready.

I nod my head and tell her that I have a solution for that. She asks me what it is and tell her to follow me into the kitchen. I open up the fridge and take out the milk. As I get a cup I tell her that if she doesn't want to go to bed she can hang out and see what happens if I drink milk.

She scrunches up her nose and screams "no way." I smile and chuckle. I have to call my sisters and let them know that I have found a new victim for old tricks.

A short time later that little girl is tucked inside her bed. She has just finished reading a story to me. As she drifts off to sleep I smile and think about writing a post about my dreams. Maybe I have grown a bit too accustomed to blogging about life. ;)

David Blaine: How I held my breath for 17 min

Stories of Love and Relationships

Boy does that title sound hokey. Anyhoo, I noticed that my flock seems to be wandering so I decided to shepherd them back into the corral, or at least try to.

One of these days I really have to sit down and work on these and see about stringing them together into something more coherent.

Here are the pieces that I wrote for NaNoWriMo:

Who Broke Your Heart- Things You Might Not Know
The End of a Marriage
A 21st Century Break Up
"I Don't Want To Kiss My Husband Ever Again"
Once Upon A Time
Hanging Out With Hairy
I Will Never Fall In Love Again
A Love Song That Needs To Be Written
A Love Song That Needs To Be Written Continued

Here are some others that I wrote afterwards:
Lightning Strikes Twice
More than Heaven Will Allow
These Pictures of You
I Don't Love My Husband Anymore
Some Background
The Almost Warrior
All I Want Is You
It Burns
You Won't Take My Call

And here is a link to a ton of other fiction I have written:

Pieces of My Heart & Mind- Collection of Fiction

Some Notes About Fragments of Fiction

More than a few of you have left comments or sent emails asking for me to provide more details about a series of posts that I call Fragments of Fiction. These posts are exactly what they seem, fragments of fiction intermixed with fragments of truth.

I write about experiences, places and people. I weave stories out of these moments in time and do my best to create something that you, the reader can relate to. I suppose that it is fair to say that I have a few themes that I fall back upon more frequently than others.

The story lines always involve some sort of relationship, but the story of that relationship is not always black and white. On their most basic level there is a beginning, a middle and an end. Part of the joy of writing these stories is that there are so many different things that can happen. Life is nothing but interesting.

Someone once asked me why these stories always seem to be sad. I suppose that is one way of looking at them. Certainly my mood affects my writing, but at the same time I don't necessarily view these pieces in the same way as others. They are fragments, little snapshots of a moment in time. They aren't necessarily representative of what is going to happen, just a history of what has.

When I write them I usually envision a brighter future for whomever I am writing about than it may seem.

A Musical Interlude

Working like a mad man on several projects and am taking a short break. Here is what has been playing on my iPod.

Tunnel of Love- Bruce Springsteen
The River- Bruce Springsteen
Jackson- Johnny Cash/June Carter Cash
City of Blinding Lights-U2
I Melt- Rascal Flatts
S.O.S.-Abba
We've Got Tonight- Bob Seger
The Fire Inside- Bob Seger
Prodigal Blues-Billy Idol
I am The Walrus- The Beatles
Insanity- Oingo Boingo
Uprising- Muse
Bhangra Fever-MiDIval PunditZ

Lightning Strikes Twice

One more for Fragments of Fiction:

"No more talk of darkness
Forget these wide eyed fears
I'm here, nothing can harm you
My words will warm and calm you

Let me be your freedom
Let daylight dry your tears
I'm here, with you, beside you
To guard you and to guide you"
All I Ask of You- Phantom of the Opera

"You sheltered me from harm, kept me warm, kept me warm
You gave my life to me, set me free, set me free
The finest years I ever knew, were all the years I had with you
Chorus:
I would give anything I own, give up my life, my heart, my home
I would give everything I own, just to have you back again
You taught me how to laugh, what it solved, what it solved
You never said too much, but still you showed the way
And I knew from watching you
Nobody else could ever know, the part of me that can't let go"
Everything I Own- Bread

The stormy weather matches my mood. It fluctuates between pensive and irritated. Flashes of light streak across the sky followed by deep booming noises. It reminds me of places past and present. Twenty-five years ago I walked down the streets of Jerusalem and watched a soldier react to the sound of dynamite exploding.

He threw my friend upon the ground and brought his weapon to his shoulder, eyes scanning the highway for signs of danger.

Seventeen years ago violent shaking woke me from a restless slumber. Women and children screamed, car alarms shrieked, glass broke and the earth issued this incredible rumble. For a moment I feared that I would be thrown from my bed and then the moment had passed.

You are out there somewhere. You were always out there. When I walked those streets of Jerusalem and made plans to leave America you were living your life elsewhere. And again you were there when the earth shook and I wondered if this was the moment when the ground would open up and swallow my home.

There has never been a time or moment that you weren't there. Only moments of ignorance and lack of awareness. You weren't on my radar or a gleam in my eyes. Perhaps you were a dream that I never wanted to believe in. A dream because I didn't believe that someone like you was out there.

It is funny in an odd sort of way. I can hear you telling me that you'll never forgive me for not finding you sooner. I can hear you calling my name, asking why I am silent. I tell you that I don't share my thoughts easily. I live in a world of silence because I choose to be silent. I tell you that I am shy and you laugh.

You don't believe me. You don't understand how very different you are. You don't know how many complained about my unwillingness to share. You don't know how very silent I can be. You don't know because I gave you that key. You don't know because you have always seen what others couldn't. You don't know because I celebrated being able to be so free and so open with someone.

But it is a two way street. When my door opened wide so did yours. I don't share your grace. I don't walk, I lumber. And so I lumbered on in and made myself at home. Home, that is what we were for each other. A refuge and a sanctuary that provided incredible amounts of strength. An indefatigable team who was naturally able to heal each other.

Those echoes of the future still rumble through my head. That feeling is there, the one that tells me that you are out there. Sometimes I feel you fight it and hear you cry out for logic and reason. I see the lists that you make and I know why you do what you do.

There are moments in time when I shrug my shoulders and work on accepting what is and what cannot be. It is not as hard as you might think. That guy still lives inside me. The hard ass who preferred to keep people at arm's length. He stays just beneath the surface and snickers at me. He snickers because he is convinced that in short order he'll be given free reign again.

Yet...I am not so sure that he is right. When I close my eyes I see you staring back at me. Lightning crashes and I am convinced that it can strike twice. I have that knowing smile, that crazy curvy lip you remember. The promises of the past and the echoes of the future tell me that some things aren't quite done. The whispers in the wind tell of a time coming that will give the truth of the matter.

Midweek Monstrosity- Recent Posts

A quick round up of recent posts:

Adventures in Driving- Children's Edition
More than Heaven Will Allow
These Pictures of You
The Northridge Earthquake- I forgot
Is Hell Endothermic or Exothermic?
Happy Birthday Dr. King-
Stuff I think About...Sometimes
Haveil Havalim-The Year of Jack Edition

Adventures in Driving- Children's Edition

A thousand years ago when I was but a wee lad my father told me that he wouldn't let me play high school football because I was young, dumb and stupid. Although I used all of the prodigious debating skills a 15 year old could muster, I was unable to change his mind.

Furious with his heavy-handed manner I took my bike out and rode like a mad man around the neighborhood and through the city. More than one driver honked at me and received a sharply worded reply that consisted of four letter words and a gesture. It was the beginning of my adventures in driving.

Now I could recite many tales of valor and bravery that I earned while driving as well as a few that should be classified as utter stupidity. Such are the stories of the men that survive the young and dumb years when we curse and scream at others. It is one of the blessings the dear lord grants us- extra testosterone with a heaping dose of bravado.

But this is not the time nor place to regale you with such stories. I'd make my male readers green with envy and cause the females to swoon with lust. No, I'll save those stories for a later date. For now I wish to speak of what has happened to me since I became a father. The days of cursing and creative lane changes are long gone- most of the time.

Age has brought more patience and a dose of wisdom. I don't want any more aggravations in my life. I have too many responsibilities and too much to do. Consequently I am a more cautious and patient driver than I used to be.

Not to mention that I am very aware of the presence of my children. Whenever they are in the car I make an extra effort to be good. Better to be a good role model, or at least try. Sometimes we are less successful in that area than I'd like.

Such as the time my three year old son asked me what "fuck" meant.  I told him that I said "truck" and he told me not to lie to him. In one fell swoop he fed my own line right back to me and caught me in a fib. Damn if I didn't think he had been asleep, not to mention that I really had been cut off by a truck.

Six years later the dear lad has a much better understanding of how to use these words appropriately. For example a car ran a stop sign and we were forced to slam on the brakes. He asked me if it was ok to call the other driver a "stupid asshole."

I looked in the rear view mirror and found him staring back at me. The smile I had expected wasn't there. Instead I was greeted by a quizzical look. So I told him that while it was probably an accurate description it wasn't something that we should say.

In return he told me it was ok because it was only the two of us in the car. During the next few minutes he grilled me on what words and expressions we could use. I have to admit that it too some restraint not to share some of the more colorful terms as I know that he would have been positively giddy to share that with me.

But he is only 9 and it is a bit early for him to start swearing like that. I told him that I want him to have command of the language before he used words like that. Of course moments later he told me about an "intangible wall."

It floored me to hear him use "intangible". Now I am biased, but that little man has a better vocabulary than many of the adults I know.

Anyway we went back and forth for a bit about language and what is appropriate. I kept trying to come up with a "Father Know's Best" line. Kept searching for that piece of fatherly wisdom that I could share, something that would make me seem wise and all knowing.

Instead I opted for the parental default of, "because I said so." It didn't have provide the satisfaction that I was looking for, but it did a good job of explaining why I called a driver in the parking lot at Trader Joes, a "stupid asshole."

I love that store, but I hate their parking lots. I think that they intentionally build a lot that isn't big enough for all of their customers, but that my friends is a different post altogether.

More than Heaven Will Allow

"It ought to be easy ought to be simple enough
Man meets woman and they fall in love
But the house is haunted and the ride gets rough
And you've got to learn to live with what you can't rise above
if you want to ride on down in through this tunnel of love."
Tunnel of Love- Bruce Springsteen

"Time in New England
Took me away
To long rocky beaches
--and you, by the bay
We started a story
Whose end must now wait

And, tell me
When will our eyes meet
When can I touch you
When will this strong yearning end
And when will I hold you again?"
Weekend in New England- Barry Manilow


"I have been astonished that men could die martyrs for their religion -
I have shudder'd at it.
I shudder no more.
I could be martyr'd for my religion
Love is my religion
And I could die for that.
I could die for you."
~ by John Keats ~


The problem with opening that box of memories is that once I do I am compelled to relive it. I stand on the riverbanks and stare at a sky full of images. It is a tapestry of hope and fear and loss and love. The pictures go scrolling by and I do my best to absorb every detail. I look for answers to questions I dare not ask aloud and I wonder.

Thus is the life of a dreamer whose feet are still rooted upon the ground. My flights of fancy are not simple in nature. Oh sure, I have them. Simple desires that help to make me smile are mixed in among the lot. One does not preclude the other. The dreams I have are often no different than that of mythology.

Do you remember when I told you that I would be your Orpheus? Remember, the story, the woman he loved died from the bite of a snake and was taken to the underworld.Orpheus was heartbroken by her loss and refused to accept it.

It is an incredible story. He made his way into the underworld and convinced Hades to set her free. A love so strong that not even death could keep them apart. Since it is a Greek tragedy there is another piece to it. Orpheus overcomes death to bring his girl back and then loses her again.

But, we won't talk about that. If you are going to dream big you don't settle for a moment in time. You don't fight your way into death's domain and then lose her. Not me, no way. If I faced death to bring you home I would find a way to make sure it stuck.

I'd use force of will, my wits and a size 12 boot. I'd bring you home, I would.

Maybe the tragic ending is why I also told you about the Tolkien story of Luthien Tinuviel and Beren. Luthien was the most beautiful elf to ever live. She fell in love with Beren, a human. I promised to read the story with you. A chance to read about another great love that wasn't supposed to be, but succeeded against all odds.

I love those stories. I always have. Don't know if I ever believed that they had any basis in reality. Not sure if I ever imagined myself being a part of them. I may be a dreamer, but that is not really the sort of dream that I used to have. The thing is that I can't remember.

I can't remember a time when you weren't a part of me. Intellectually I know that it existed. Intellectually I know that there were years in which I was a boy and then a man who had no idea that a girl/woman like you existed. I think that I might have dreamt about you. I think that I must have, but I am not even sure.

There are moments that stick out, little fragments of time that I think foreshadowed your arrival. I remember nights in Jerusalem where I felt like there was someone waiting for me, felt a presence that I could never identify. I remember a time in Yosemite hiking through the hills where I felt like I was going to find someone.

We didn't meet in any of those places. It was elsewhere, a secret garden that we built. Our private sanctuary in the world that we created. We laughed and cried together. Sometimes we screamed at each other. We let loose the arrows and slings and unloaded all that lay there.

The trust we had was incredible. No one had ever spoken to us like that. It would have been intolerable and unforgivable. But we were more than that. Incredible and extraordinary. Our fire burned brighter and hotter.

I have heard people suggest that this sort of passion isn't sustainable and that it is the beauty and burden of the relationship.They say that this is what makes you love another more deeply than ever before and that is the reason you can't stay together.

But I never paid attention to that. I jumped into the fire and burned but wasn't hurt. You protected me. Your heart and your soul kept the flames from consuming me. And while you sat in the boat I pushed it through the river of flames.

It was part of my promise to you. When I saw the storm coming I said that I would find a way to get us through. I told you to focus on the things that you had to do. I told you that your love would be enough. You are my air and my heart.

And so here I am engulfed in the flames. I burn and I ache in ways that I cannot describe. The normal lines of communication have been severed. I move ahead on instinct and the belief that my gut will lead me to where it is we need to go. I have paid a severe price, but I would gladly pay it again.

"Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove,
That valleys, groves, hills and fields,
Woods or steepy mountains yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses,
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;
A gown made of the finest wool,
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair-lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold;
A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs;
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my love.

The shepherd swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning;
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love."

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love- Christopher Marlowe

These Pictures of You

"There was nothing in the world that I ever wanted more
Than to feel you deep in my heart
There was nothing in the world that I ever wanted more
Than to never feel the breaking apart
My pictures of you"
Pictures of You- The Cure

"I just called to say I want you to come back home
I just called to say, I love you come back home"
Picture- Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow

"With the calm of the mountains, I will love you
with insanity and balance, I will love you
with the fury of my years
the way you taught me to be
with a powerful raw scream, I will love you
In secrecy and in silence, I will love you
risking (bordering) in what's forbidden, I will love you
in what's false and in what's true with my heart wide open
because you're something that's not perfect, I will love you
I will love you, I will love you in a way that's not allowed
I will love you, I will love you in a way that's never been known of
Because that's what I have decided, I will love you"

Te Amare- Miguel Bose & Laura Pausini
+++++++
I don't look at your pictures as often as I used to. It got to be too hard. Every time I'd look at them I'd see the great love of my life and wonder what happened. Sometimes I'd find myself caressing the screen and whispering words that I only share with you. I'd stare in silence and wonder why you didn't answer.

It wasn't a big secret, pictures don't speak to us in that sort of manner. They tell stories about a past life and hint at echoes of a future that we might share. Echoes of a future is a phrase that would have caught your eye. It is a contradiction. We expect to hear echoes of the past, but that is not what I think of with us.

Those days in which we talked about our future aren't that long ago, though sometimes it feels like a different life. Those moments where we lay naked and said that there had never been a time when we weren't a part of each other. I know that you remember. Outsiders will read naked and think it is a physical reference, something sexual, but you know that it is different.

Naked refers to our hearts and souls, although I am not sure that it is accurate to describe them as being separate. Once they were two different sets. That was before we realized how very empty they were and how we filled the gaps.

Neither of us were prepared for what came afterwards. No one could have predicted it or told us how to act or what to do. When things were right there was no one happier than you or I. The night sky was filled with stars and the forest floor was lit by a huge smiling moon. We held hands and walked for hours through a wonderland.

The days were similar. Endless blue skies called out to us. We played like children and ran through the waves, each taking a turn to chase the other. It was magic.

And then it wasn't.

Things changed. Those fingers that had been intertwined lost their grip and our hands slipped out of each others grasp. Fear, anger and frustration sowed doubt where there had been none. Little nicks, scrapes and bruises that had never bothered us suddenly took on new meaning.

And then we lost each other. Somewhere on the road we got separated. Those moments of doubt made me wonder if perhaps it had been intentional. Anger came and it seemed pointless to chase something that was a pipe dream.

But somewhere along the way it changed again and I began to hear little whispers. Quiet moments in which I could hear you calling out for me. I wondered if it was just my mind playing tricks on me or if perhaps you really did need me.

I told you that I would be your hero and that if you called for help I would do whatever it took to rescue you. But the truth is that I need you to rescue me as badly as you need me to rescue you. We have always known this.

So I kissed you one last time. One final kiss so that we'd never forget. One kiss so that if we ever lost our way we could use it to find our way back.

For now that kiss is a silent memory that is locked inside my heart. It is a reminder of what once was and a promise of what still might be. One kiss and nothing was ever the same. Who knew that a single kiss could hold so much power.

The Northridge Earthquake- I forgot

It is hard to believe but I completely forgot about the anniversary of the Northridge Earthquake. I wrote about my experience with it here and here.

It is the first year that I didn't spend part of the day thinking about it. First time that I didn't spend a moment before drifting off to sleep remembering.

We were lucky. Very few lives were lost, but I knew more than a few people who lost their homes. I knew more than a few who had to start over. When I look at the pictures of destruction in Haiti it brings a lot of memories back.

I am grateful for all that I have, thankful that I didn't lose more. Those poor people in Haiti deserve better. What happens when more time passes and the spotlight goes elsewhere. What happens then. How many will die because people forget and there is no one there to push for change.

I wonder.

Is Hell Endothermic or Exothermic?

Is Hell Endothermic or Exothermic?

A thermodynamics professor wrote a take home exam for his graduate students. It had one question: "Is hell exothermic or endothermic? Support your answer with proof."

Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law or some variant. One student, however, wrote the following:

"First, we postulate that if souls exist, then they must have some mass. If they do, then a mole of souls can also have a mass. So, at what rate are souls moving into hell and at what rate are souls leaving? I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to hell, it will not leave.

Therefore, no souls are leaving.

As for souls entering hell, let's look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Some of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to hell. Since there are more than one of these religions and people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all people and all souls go to hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in hell to increase exponentially.

Now, we look at the rate of change in volume in hell. Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in hell to stay the same, the ratio of the mass of souls and volume needs to stay constant.

1. So, if hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter hell, then the temperature and pressure in hell will increase until all hell breaks loose.

2. Of course, if hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in hell, than the temperature and pressure will drop until hell freezes over.

So which is it? If we accept the postulate given me by Therese Banyan during our freshman year, and take into account the fact that I still have not succeeded in having sexual relations with her, then # 2 cannot be true, and hell is exothermic."

(originally posted here)

Happy Birthday Dr. King-

2006 Martin Luther King and My Son
2007 Martin Luther King Jr. Day
2008 Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Jammed on time again. The top three links are old posts about MLK day. Wonder what it is about this day that always seems to be so busy for me.

Need to write a post later about discussions with the kids about why people hate others.

Stuff I think About...Sometimes

A few odds and ends before I shut down for the night. Sometimes I think that I was born 20 years too late and 20 years too early. Yes, that is a contradiction, but I am consistent in my contradictions.

Money doesn't make you happier, but it does a damn fine job of helping you discover the things that do. I am not materialistic, at least I don't really think so. But I admit that I have a list of things that I want that require more than just a couple of bucks.

Here is an incomplete list of those things:

  1. I'd like to have a house that includes a library. I want built in shelves and a media center inside it with big overstuffed chairs and a fireplace.
  2. I want to travel more often than I have been as of late. I'd like to visit every continent at least once.
  3. I'd like to have enough cash to go back to school just for the heck of it. It might be nice to get a degree that is useless for no other reason than for fun.
  4. Back to travel, it would be cool to have enough cash to have a private jet. 

That is enough for now. All of those are subject to change and or modification at a moments notice, by whim or reason.

I want to write a book, turn it into a screenplay and then make a movie out of it. I have an idea for a character that I want to create. He is separate from the book. Been thinking about him a lot lately, would turn him into a website and  a t-shirt.

I still want to do the Ironman when I am 50. It is not important to win, just to finish.

Sometime in the future I think that I'll move this blog over to Wordpress and grab my own domain. It is time to make some changes.

Every time I see someone stick a gun in their waistband I envision a trip to the ER. Let's be honest, men want to be blown, but how embarrassing would it be to accidentally blow your boys away. How silly.

I have no desire to be on reality television, but if I did I would probably be a villain. It would be far more fun to be a complete caricature of myself. Still, I'd rather not do any of it. I like being an ordinary civilian who can go to the store without being chased by the paparazzi.

Sometimes I look at the popular blogs and roll my eyes. Can't decide if it is because I am truly envious of their popularity or if it is contempt because of how they made it.

Not sure how I feel about seeing Starbuck on 24. Some things are far more important, but every now and these little details catch my eye. ;)

One more thought,Who do you think was more surprised by the firestorm they landed in, Tiger of Leno?

Haveil Havalim-The Year of Jack Edition



Welcome to Haveil Havalim -The Year of Jack Edition. Also known as the Best of the Jewish/Israeli blogosphere. 

As always remember to keep checking in because this will be updated throughout the day. Also, please help promote the carnival by telling your friends, relatives, neighbors and readers. Easy ways of notifying them include links, billboards, smoke signals, telegraph, telephone and Ouija Boards.

Founded by Soccer Dad, Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs -- a weekly collection of Jewish & Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It's hosted by different bloggers each week and coordinated by Jack. The term 'Haveil Havalim,' which means "Vanity of Vanities," is from Qoheleth, (Ecclesiastes) which was written by King Solomon. King Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and later on got all bogged down in materialism and other 'excesses' and realized that it was nothing but 'hevel,' or in English, 'vanity.'
Go visit Rav Fleischmann who unfortunately lost his mother, Baruch Dayan Emet.

Israel 

Aussie Dave blogged about Kathy Ireland and her feelings about Israel. Lady Light wrote Israel Sends Emergency Aid Team to Haiti and Israel is Not the Problem- (Guess Who Is?)*.

Shiloh Musings covered Natural Growth. The Rebbitzin's Husband had Fun with Israeli Security.

Mrs. S. discussed the confusion caused by trying to create a list of names in a post title Who's on First? Over at Remember Jerusalem Sharon talks about winter getaways in Israel. On a side note I want to mention that I never understand why fellow MOTs like cold weather. We're desert people.

At Torat Israel you can read PA Rejects Federation Proposal. Want to know the key to aliyah? Read Can you say "adaptablilty"? Sure. I knew you could.

Chaverim, another member of our Jblogosphere family is going to be visiting soon.Elms In The Yard is dealing with Peer Pressure of a Different Kind.

Our resident comedian Benji wrote Israel: Where a Senior Citizen Can Be a Gever Gever, all I have to say is Yeehaw or is that yeehah, yi-hah etc. Kind of like Chanukah, Hannukah and Hanukah.

And while we are talking about Benji (Chumus baby!) we need to provide support because he seems to have an issue with the metric system and real football, the American kind. One of these days the Big B and I are going to hash this out over Chumus. See, still working on maintaining my position as top dog for Chumus on Google. ;)

All this talk about Chumus makes me hungry, I could practically go to war over it.Soccer Dad has an interesting piece called From HAL To Chaim: Israel And The Robotic Age Of Warfare--And International Law.

Go visit EOZ and read Today's future martyr. Alternatively you can attend an academic conference with Yisrael Medad on the subject of the Temple Mount.

Tzedek Tzedek asks Should Israel be Turkey’s Wet Rag? Ben Yehudah asks the age old question, Hey, Jews! Still Want To Live In America? 

MyRightWord suggests that Tzipi Livni doesn't know her Jabotinsky and discusses Arab Non-Violence.

Yourish covered Idealizing terrorism. Omri put together Past Anti-Israel Diplomacy Makes Obama's New Peace Push "Doomed From The Outset" Because Of Inflated Palestinian Expectations.


Joel put together his usual bits with Religion and State in Israel - Section 1 and 2. Joshuapundit writes about Answered Prayers - Rain For Israel.

Over at The Augean Stables there is an interesting post,Ben Wedeman trying to undermine Israel on its Aid to Gaza: But even he has to admit…

The Muqata has an update on the IDF in Haiti. Watch the video: IDF Spox: Footage from Haiti (baby Israel). A Soldier's Mother has information about Israel's role in Haiti too. You can see it at Haiti Rescue.


Judaism

Miriam Shaviv wrote a post in response to Treppenwitz called How bad is Jewish life in Britain?
Lady Light shared Dressing to Greet the King?* (*Nablopomo Day#12).

Jew in the City talked about taking advantage of the time we have. In the Pink has a question entitled Rabbi Mouse.

Over at Parshablog you can read What does ויעש להם בתים mean?  and  Dodato as female first cousin.

The Sexing of Judaism's Founders poses some interesting questions to consider.While we are at it let's talk about Jewish Birth Control.

I certainly relate to Westbankmama's discussion about the Orthodox middle class. School tuition is a pain in my...

Yachdus covered one of the more interesting stories,  Rav Batzri First Dybbuk Exorcism. Heshy wants you to know Why I love being an orthodox Jew.

I enjoyed Mottel's Tale of a Table.It reminded me of my zaide, he would have had plenty to say. The family has been out of Vilna for a long, time but I sometimes wonder if the Vilna is out of the family. Food for thought.

Cosmic X recalls The Lion of Monsey. A Jew in the City talks about why women don't read Torah in Orthodox shuls.

Jacob has a list of educational resources for Tu B'Shvat. At Solomonia you should take a look at: 'Lady Al Qaeda' Aafia Siddiqui Wants Jews Tossed From the Jury Pool 

From the midwest we have Being a Jew in C-U: Save a Life, Save the World. Batya has an opinion about The Advantages of the Traditional "Ezrat Nashim," Women's Balcony.

The topic of Jewish Philanthropy is covered  by David at Those "Illustrious" Men Who Watch Our Money. Ask Batya about Jewish music or just read Chazzanut, Traditional Jewish Prayers, Can Be Fun!

Does your spouse deserve to know everything. Click here and join the discussion.

Seraphic Secret included The Last Jews of Yemen.The Rebbetzin had One Kick-Ass Kabbalat Shabbat.

At SupeRaizy we are learning Yiddish With Dick and Jane.Rafi has his own round up too. Some good links to read.



Personal/Miscellaneous

Take a moment and go see the Velveteen Rabbit,  Read Write Poem #109: six weeks. At Everybody Needs Therapy you should read Earthquakes.

Over at Leora you should read Protect Children from Abuse.

With gas prices like this who needs a family car. Want a way to help Haiti? Go visit Ann's Rants and leave a comment on It's Delurking Day! Let's chat, shall we? [Edited: 1$ per comment for Haiti]

Scary Mommy shared Murphy’s Laws of Parenting.

I wrote If I Was a Professional Blogger and Is Private School Worth It.

From my son a video



That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of haveil havalim using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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