A Week of Adventures

This has been a very adventure filled week. It started off with Father's Day. Ben and Daniel were riding their bikes when they had a head on collision. Ben hurt his wrist and I ended my Father's Day in a MedExpress watching Ben get an x-ray of his hand. They were completely sure if it was not broken. I had to wait for the radiologist to take a look. Monday morning I was told that Ben is just fine.

Wednesday was such a nice day out that I decided we all needed an "Adventure Day". Off we went to Pittsburgh. Our first official stop of the day was at the western ware shop. Daniel just wanted to see it. Then it was on to the new South Side Works area. We walked around and looked in a few shops. I wanted to take the boys to see downtown Pittsburgh but it was getting close to rush hour time. So we headed to the Waterfront for dinner.

After a quick stop at the bookstore Ben decided on Pizza Uno. We sat outside on the patio and had a lovely time watching boats and people ride by on the bike trail. It was a very relaxing time. Then we were off back to Pittsburgh. We drove around downtown while I gave the boys a bit of a sight seeing tour. 

After that we were off to Station Square. I had intended to stay there long enough for the boys to see the city at night. However it was going to be too long a wait. I hope to be able to take them back sometime to see the city at night. Ben talked me into getting a cheap pair of sunglasses. Because as he told me, "Daniel has lots but I don't." They both found a pair they liked.

On Friday I took them to see Monsters University. I had a free ticked from a earlier purchase of a Disney movie. So we went to our first and last 3D film. The movie it's self was great. However we all agreed that 3D was not worth it. Ben said it gave him a headache and I ended up with the glasses pinching the back of my head. 

It was a very busy and enjoyable week with my sons. I hope to be able to take them on many more adventures this Summer.

 

New is not always best

Sometimes the old and simple ways of doing things are best. I have been brewing coffee at home using a French press. It takes a little more time than a automatic coffee maker. I have to put on a kettle. Put the coffee grounds in the press. Wait for the water to boil. Pour the water. Wait for the coffee to be ready. Then I can enjoy my coffee.

The extra time and attention to detail makes it worth it. This is also the same with writing. If I am going to sit down and write a lot, I use a fountain pen. There is a little bit of a learning curve of how to properly use them. To me no other form of writing feels as natural. The words flow from my mind onto the paper. There is a connection to what I'm doing and thinking that I don't get with any other form of writing.

I also like to use a shaving brush and soap when I shave. I still use a modern day razor but, someday I hope to learn to use a strait razor. All this takes more time but the results are, for me, much better. I think there is a balance point between the old ways of doing something and the modern way. 

I like to pick and chose between the old and new. It's my own style I guess. I have not worn a watch for years. For me it's silly when I have the time on my iPhone. Also I don't like the feeling of being "tied" to time when I have a watch on. It makes me feel like I "have" to keep to some unseen cosmic schedule and I don't like that. I prefer to let fate decide my free time. 

I like to read. I like the idea of ebook. For me I would rather have the ability to carry around dozens of books on my iPhone or Kindle. Also the ability to have my place synced across multiple devices is great. I usually have three to five books that I'm reading at one time. I sometimes don't come back to a book for a year or more. I'm able to remember the story up to where I left off, just not where I left off.

Just because it's an old way does not make it the wrong way.

May I help you?

The other day I had to take my mom to an appointment in the morning. Afterwards we went out for lunch. While we were eating she told me that she needed my help hooking up here new DVD and VCR combo player. The old one she had died.

When we got to her house I started by unhooking the old unit from the TV while my mom got the new player. When I opened it up the first thing I noticed was that it did not have any input for a coaxial cable. No big deal I thought. There was a set of Video/Audio cables in the box. I hooked them up to her TV and then realized that I need another set of the same cables to hook up from the Comcast box to the player.

By this time it was later in the afternoon and I didn't feel like running the extra hour it would take to and from our Walmart to get the cables. Walmart being the closet store that I knew would have such a common cable. My mom insisted that we had to because she would not be able to hook this up herself and didn't know when I would be able to come back to finnish the job.

So I said, "Let's go." and off we went. While leaving the driveway it I remembered that five minutes away was our town's local hardware store. Being that this was such a common cable I was sure that they would carry this. I know the owner and he's a supper nice guy and when I can, I like to buy at a local store like this.

I went in and did something against the man code, I asked for directions. I would have just wondered around the store looking like I knew what I was doing until I found the right isle but, not this time. I was in a hurry and didn't want to waste time. The first employee I saw I asked where I could find cables for hooking up TVs and such. She told me, "Isle 26 should have what you need."

I hurriedly strode off to isle 26 thinking "What a stroke of luck!" When I got to the correct isle I noticed that there was half inch wide pink ribbon strung across the isle. "Odd", I thought. Just then another helpful store employee asked, "Can I help you with something?" "Yes", I said. "I need something down this isle but, there is this tape here." He looked at it and said, "Oh you can't go down there. We just waxed the floor."

I'm sure the look on my face must have said WTF! You just waxed the isle? Before I could even say anything another employee came up to me and asked what I needed. I explained to her that I needed an Video/Audio cable to connect my mom's DVD/VCR player to the TV. She said, "Oh. That would be down this isle but, I just waxed it and it wont be dry for about twenty minutes. If you have other shopping to do I'm sure it will be ready for you then."

I had to bite my tongue to a bloody pulp to keep form exploding into a Denis Leary impersonation. I calmly told her that I didn't have any more shopping to do and left the story. When I got in the car I told my mom that, "They have the cable but because the one isle in the whole store that I need to get was waxed, we would be going to Walmart."

So now I give you the held back rant. Why in the world would you wax one isle in the whole store! Not to mention why are you waxing any part of the floor in the store in the middle of Winter? It's going to get messed up by salt and dirt anyway. Plus, why are you closing off an entire isle in the store during business hours! That's something you do when people are not standing in front of you waving cash in your face begging you to take it. But you can't because out of the at least 26 isles in your store you waxed the one that held the only item that I needed!

How brain dead do you have to be to do something like that? In what universe dose that make any sense? You are a little local store hanging by a finger nail and you pull this kind of shit? Sometimes I think people like that forget to breath until they almost pass out. 

Okay I'm done. Oh and turns out, on the way to Walmart I saw the Rite Aide in town. We stopped in there and got what we needed. Because they didn't close off an entire isle of the store during hours customers might want to purchase something from them.

I can't decide.

I'm trying to decide what kind of fitness band I want to get. My two choices are the Nike+ FuleBand and Jawbone UP both are worn on your wrist. I want to start living a more active lifestyle. I think both of these are great choices but I'm not sure what one would be better for me.

Both have iPhone apps that let you keep track of your activity. The Jawbone app seems to let you keep track of much more than the Nike one. However the Nike band has a display on it that gives you instant feedback while the Jawbone does not.

I'll break down my choices bellow:

The Nike+ FuleBand

What I like about it. It has a display that shows you your "goal" activity number and when you have achieved it for the day. It also displays the time. You can sync it wirelessly to the iPhone app.

What I don't like about it. Seems to only be geard to tacking activity and nothing else. While it has a social sharing feature, I really don't need to "compete" with my friends or the world. 

The Jawbone UP

What I like. It keeps track of much more that just activity for the day. It tracks sleep, rest and what you eat. Has a smart alam function to wake you up in the morning at the "right" time. A nap time to wake you up after the "proper" nap length. Seems to be a much more complete overall collection of your daily lifestyle. Also I like that it comes in my favorite color, red.

What I don't like. It has no external display at all. No wireless sync. You have to take off a cap and plug it into the headphone jack of your iPhone to sync data. If you don't have your phone with you there is no way to know how your are doing for the day. 

Some other things to consider are that the Nike+ is a more expensive choice than the Jawbone. The Jawbone has a better battery life. I like the color choices for the Jawbone.

I guess I'll just have to sleep on it. 

2012 The Year That Was

Time for my look back at the 2012. The year started off as badly as 2011 ended. It was a struggle to keep going a lot of days. I was still dealing with the loss of my marriage. I spent a lot of days at Starbucks just sitting outside and thinking. My favorite Starbucks has become a place for me to seek shelter when I need to hid away form life for a while. I can just sit there and watch the world go by and collect myself again.

I spent the first half of 2012 getting myself put back together. I had many up and down days. By the Summer time things were starting to get better. It's hard to not be happy when the Sun in shinning and the weather is warm. I spent a lot of great days with Ben and Daniel. Lots of time at Starbucks. Sheetz saw a lot of Ben, Daniel and I this past Summer. It was a favorite stop for slushes. 

Before the start of the school year I got laid off. It was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. I got to spend the last have of the year taking care of Ben and Daniel more and got to spend so much time with them that I would never have been able to. I also finally found myself again. I got my writing back on corse and finished the year strong, happy and healthy.

2013 is going to be a breakout year for me. I'm going to be doing what I want with my life and I'm not going to look back. I have found my 'self' and I'm not going to apologize to anyone for who I am. I love my two sons. I love to write. This is the year that I will surprise a lot of people with what I am capable of.

I can't wait to get this year going! Big plans are ahead.

Working on the Lego chain gang.

This year for Christmas Ben and Daniel got a lot of lego sets. Ben is able to build most of his own sets now but Daniel still needs me to build them for him. Christmas and the day after had me working on the Lego chain gang. I was forced to build sets all day. I don't mind it really. It was my secret that I like to build them. Don't tell the boys though. I have to keep up the impression that it's a pain in the butt for me. :-)

It reminds me of when I was their age. I loved to build Legos then and now. I just with they were not so expensive. It's insulting that a box of tiny plastic bricks that I have to put together can cost up to or even over a hundred dollars! I sure hope that when I was a kid they were not that expensive.

Well back to work I guess. There seems to be no end to the Legos. Oh and why is there not a Lego magnet yet? Those things hurt when you step on them!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

This is the end of another very trying year for me. There have been many ups and downs. I have learned that it's best to take it one day at a time. I'm beginning to learn that you should treat every day like it's your last day. Don't let that special person you've had your eye on never hear you say those words you are afraid to speak.

Try to leave the world a little better each day. Hold a door open for a stranger. Let that car go in front of you. If you keep at it you'll be very surprised all the little things that start to go your way. It also doesn't hurt to just be nicer to each other. After all who wants to be with a grump all the time?

I hope you all have a very merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year. 

SIX THINGS I LEARNED FROM A FAILED MARRIAGE.

My story started a little over a year ago when my wife decided to tell me that she did not want to be married anymore. I was devastated and didn't know what to do. I was so upset that I could not sleep. I couldn't even eat. When I tried it only made me feel sick. I lost almost twenty pounds in three weeks.  

I found out that my wife had found someone else only a few weeks before telling me she was done being married. It all boils down to she was not happy in her marriage. 

After reflecting on all that had happened I began to see my own, as well as societies role in the failure. I came up with these six observations.

1. My role.

I can readily admit that i was half of the reason my marriage did not succeed  Marriage is a 50/50 partnership and I know that I did not do everything right. There are things I regret doing. I was pretty blind to here needs. I could have told her "I love you." much more than I did. 

2. My inability to express myself.

It has only been in the past about two years, and specifically after my marriage falling apart, that I have really been able to express my emotions in a meaningful way. Up until then I was the typical cave man who's range of expression was limited to grunts and wild gesturers. 

I have for most of my life been a terribly introverted person. I was and still am very shy.  I did not want to be bothered with strangers and small talk. I completely had no way to cope with it. 

I grew up an only child, in a area where I didn't have any other children to play with. I never developed social skills. I was, and am quite capable of fending for myself and not need someone else around me.

I think this played a very large factor in my wife's behavior. She is very outgoing and will strike up a conversation with anyone. I think my polar opposite nature was tough for her.

3. Sex educations needs redone.

Think back to your sex education class. While they teach the biological process of sex and reproduction, there is no guidance provided for how to communicate feelings openly. As a parent I think this is more important for my sons to learn than the mechanical "how to". I know that some day my boys  are going to have sex. Even if I don't want them to. 

They are bombarded with the "how" but not the "what". I define the "what" as our interaction with our partner. How not only their basic physical needs are involved but, also their emotional needs. Both are involved in sex and a healthy relationship.

I think it would serve our children much better if we taught them to consider both the physical but emotional part of sex. They go together and I think that is a key problem in what I see happening today.

4. Our societies hang up on "sex" in general.

Our society is so hung up on using sex to sell, entertain, and distract, it's no wonder kids are missing the basic understanding of how sex and feelings go together. We spend more time trying to prevent sex than teaching everyone how to interact emotionally together.

In my state we have only started to be able to purchase six packs of beer in grocery stores. Even now you can't pay for it along with the rest of your groceries. You must go to a "separate" part of the store to pay.

This seems to be how sex is treated. Sold in a separate part of the store and kept away form where emotions and feelings are sold.

5. It's not my fault.

No one takes the responsibility for their own actions it seems. There is always someone else to blame. Someone else who was the cause but  not our selves. This not taking responsibility for your own actions and consequences.

I really like how a Buddhist monk once explained karma. It is not a living thing. I does not think or act on it's own. It is the effect of your actions and the resulting consequences  It's a simple process that you have control over by doing your best to not have negative consequences to your actions. 

I am a complete believer in this definition. I have experienced it myself many times. Even if you think it's not "real", it helps to make me and my actions towards others better.

6. Real men don't show emotion.

I'm from the generation that "men" don't show emotion let alone talk about "feelings". What are you a baby? Real "men" don't show their emotions and talk about them. 

The reason we don't is fear. Fear of being made fun of. Fear of not being seen as a "man". I say that those men who don't show emotions and talk about them, are NOT real men. I took my sons this past weekend to see 'Rise of the Guardians' and I'm proud to tell you that I cried in the theater!

I don't want my sons to make the same mistakes I have. I want them to know that you can be a real "man" who shows feelings. I want them to be able to openly communicate their feelings so when they do find that special someone, they wont have to go through what I have.

Thanksgiving 2012

Operation, 'Cook the Bird' went off as planned last week. It started the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I attacked the Walmart at dawn to assemble the supplies for the big day. It was like making a getaway in some action movie. The isles were so crowded with blue hairs. I had to dodge and weave every step of the way. I managed to get in, load up and get out with out any casualties. Unfortunately I found myself back two days later to pick up a few more items that I had forgotten.

After finally assembling all the necessary supplies I proceeded to gut and stuff the bird. Okay, well not so much gut as "Remove the prepackaged bags of guts." found inside. I prepared my stuffing and while that was cooling I got the bird cleaned and ready to go. This year I went with a olive oil rub with course sea salt and a secret blend of herbs and spices. 

I also tried using an oven bag this year to cook the turkey in. It worked very well. I didn't have to take the bird out to baste and it still browned up and came out juicy. This was also my first time making the mashed potatoes and home made gravy. Both turned out very well. (I don't really like mashed potatoes that much.) 

Since I had the bird ready to fly the day before, Thanksgiving day was easy as can be. I popped the turkey in at 9:00 am and that was pretty much all I had to worry about until it was time to make the green bean casserole. Forgot about that again. 

I also got to cook Thanksgiving for my mother for the first time. It was nice to have her just show up and enjoy the time with the boys. Not a bad way to spend your Thanksgiving.

Remember me?

It's been a while since we last spoke. Sorry about that. Life has a way of taking the wheel out of your hands and going in a new direction. I have been enjoying the time I get to spend with my sons since I was laid off. I think it's time to stretch and grow some more. I have been doing a lot of that in the past year.

It's time for me to get back to writing here and I also want to use my old Wordpress site as a outlet for more of my crazy creativity and sharp edged humor. I also want to get into more photography and art. It's time to let my creative side have more say.

I've been thinking that it may be time to unleash my inner self. Some people are not going to like that. I'm not the same push over I once was. I'm not going to live my life trying to please everyone. If you don't like it, walk away. I'm my own person and I will not be held back anymore.

If you will excuse me I have a beautiful Fall day to go enjoy. Until next time.