Friday, December 31, 2010

A Year in Review, sorta

A new year is approaching; a chance to change calendars. It seems the most popular parts of the rolling over of the year are resolutions, nonsensical lists reviewing the past year and drinking.

People also spend a lot of time reviewing the waning year looking to see if can tell us something significant about ourselves or our peers. The success of the exercise seems to depend on the talents of the analyst and the honesty applied to the analysis.

That is why so many of us don’t make New Years Resolutions, we don’t look at our lives with a great deal of honesty. If we truly did how many of us would smoke, drink or be Conservatives?

So before I begin tonight’s round of smoking and drinking I would like to do a little review of my own year. There are even points where I will apply a little truthfulness to the process.

I spent part of this year battling my own strange little demons. I would like to lay the blame for their existence squarely on my parent’s shoulders but I have to take responsibility for my own life at some point. I will make note of this for next year.

With the support of my lovely wife and our dog Max I have been able wrestle my black cloud of emotional turmoil into something that resembles submission. It isn’t gone, but neither does it control my life like it once did. And now I have ways to deal with it.

The biggest change I saw for myself this year was my son. As much as I loved him before, it is nothing like what I feel now. Sure, at times he can still make me crazy. The logic a two year old uses resembles nothing I have ever encountered before. The lessons he has learned from me, good and bad, have taught me how incredibly important my wife and I are to his development and well being. This is the point where I would like to babble on endlessly about how great he is and what he has taught me, but I hate it when people do that. Instead I will save it for when we have company and I want something to talk about. Nothing like discussing the emotional upheaval brought on by fatherhood to bore the snot out of everyone you encounter.

I would just like to say I have the greatest son in the world but that would then require so many others to rise up and defend their sons, so rather than start all that I just won’t say it. I will think it however.

I still have a lot to work on, like learning to compromise on piles of stuff. It seems I am not easiest person to live with, although I cannot imagine where that idea came from, though I do promise in the future to ………. Who are we kidding? I am not going to radically change, but hopefully I will change a little bit time, like letting my wife know how much I really do appreciate her and how much of a difference she makes to my life.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Penguins

Over the years Christmas traditions have changed. Santa Claus has gown into a jolly cross cultural icon with a wonderfully soft white beard and a belly like a bowl full of jelly. Donder became Donner, don’t ask about Blixem. We stand by as the corporate world turns Christmas into an orgy of packaging and spending.

In the face of all this my family is carving out a version of Christmas with our own symbols of peace, love, harmony and magic. And this is good.

But really, penguins?

When did penguins become a symbol of good will? How did they manage to infiltrate Christmas? Who is on their public relations team? Who are their stylists?

Did it start with Coca Cola and their advertisements showing polar bears and penguins frolicking together? Whose genius idea was that? Has climate changed pushed the North Pole right into the South Pole?

The whole Christmas experience is a northern one. Reindeer are a northern animal. There are no magical elves in the southern hemisphere. Santa Clause lives at the North Pole although there is debate around whether it is the geographic or magnetic North Pole. Recent evidence showing the magnetic North Pole is slipping from the top of the globe will present some logistical problems for Santa, but if you can get eight reindeer to fly you should be able to handle the inconvenience of polar relocation.

The thing is, no matter how much the North Pole has moved it is still not the South Pole and there are no penguins at the North Pole. They have not migrated, emigrated or otherwise been displaced.

Penguins have never made it into our popular mythology. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, while seemingly anatomically unlikely, did not join in the Reindeer Games. There is no mention of penguin games. Cupid and the Easter Bunny have completely shunned the lowly penguin.

They are not even the right colours. Christmas is about green and red. Penguins are black and white. True, they are both dichromatic, but Christmas incorporates so many more colours to underscore its meaning. Penguins ultimately do not. Sure there is some shading and highlights, but penguins are still black and white.

Look at who they are displacing. When was the last time you heard anything about the Christmas seal? It has been a while! Seals are cute, at least when they are babies and before they are clubbed. The arctic fox is beautiful, all white and sly. Sure they have the carnivore thing to overcome but penguins aren’t strictly vegetarian either. The polar bears that the penguins are supposedly cavorting with have more than a little gristle stuck in their teeth. And who ever considers the walrus.

I don’t want it to seem like I have an anti-penguin bias. They have their place in the world; it is just not here, at Christmas. I am sure there is some strange holiday that incorporates penguins although I cannot image what a flightless waddling bird might symbolize.

So please, let’s set aside the nasty penguin and keep the mammal in Christmas!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Another time frame I am pretending approximates a week and another word.

It‘s like comparing apples to oranges. It does seem pretty obvious but in the cliché lives the definition. In composing the image it became necessary to editorialize. Trying to find objects I could use as props was a bit of a challenge. Symbolism can be a challenge. And there are no Beaver Nuts.


This flyer was recently delivered to our mailbox. I commented on it on my Facebook page but it is just too funny to leave it alone. In my obsession to promote this particular piece I have been accused of being a bit childish. I do like the Three Stooges and there are days when this type of humour works for me. It is true that had someone else found it I might not find it nearly as funny, but I found it and I do think it is funny. So for all those who missed it the first time, here it is again (and I promise I won’t use it too many more times).

Friday, November 12, 2010


A simple concept and a picture I made for my lovely wife for her blog. I liked the image so I have decided to use it as the picture for my word this week. She does have a lot of buttons, but she is learning to deal with them. I am very proud of her. Now let’s hope she isn’t too aware of my own hording tendencies.

Also, don’t pay too much attention to the dates. The definition of a week is becoming a little loose around here, at least for me!


It didn’t seem that tough a word initially and in reality it really wasn’t, once I got past the urge to be exceedingly clever. When I considered what I was going to do with this one I decided using it in the context of playing catch with the football would be the concept I would use. I never got to toss the ol’ pigskin around with TroubleMaker this summer and I now regret we didn’t play as much as I feel we should have. That is kind of disappointing to me.

Then my lovely wife threw in a suggestion. She reasoned, correctly, that because we are a team she could contribute to my almost weekly word. Her idea was a picture of her juggling and since we were already set up to take TroubleMaker’s Halloween picture, this would be the perfect opportunity. She was right.

So this weeks work has two images, mine and ours. Sorry, there is no ‘yours.’

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


What a great word. It People have so many interpretations for what qualifies as a leisure activity but the word, as a noun, simply indicates freedom from the demands of work. Two of the many nice compartments we divide our lives into; work and leisure.

So just what might quality as a good subject for ‘leisure’? Photography, camping, gambling, painting? There were too many ideas to choose from so I looked to my 2 year old son, TroubleMaker to provide me with a bit of insight; after all he doesn’t have many of my prejudices yet.

This past weekend we took a drive in the country looking for a suitable location for a picture I wanted to take for our 2011 calendar. We finally found the location in a hay field half an hour outside of town. One of the props we brought with us was TroubleMaker’s tractor.

When TroubleMaker caught sight of the huge round hay bales in the field he became of a single intent: to tractor the bales! So that is what I have selected as my photograph for this week. Tractoring hay bales may not fall into the realm of traditional leisure activities but it was his choice and I have to learn to respect his choices. He doesn’t have a box he has to worry about thinking outside of yet.

Monday, October 11, 2010


The word ‘detail’ is not particularly interesting, if any word can be said to be interesting, but it is a word that left me some room for interpretation. So this past week end my wife, TroubleMaker, Max and I went out to my mother-in-law’s place for Thanksgiving dinner.

I spent a little bit of time wandering around the acreage with my camera looking at the abandoned vehicles and machinery lying about. Somewhere there had to something that I could use for this weeks word. And there was. It is the end of a spoke in a steel wheel from an old piece of farm equipment. I simply liked the texture and colour and so have produced this image.

I also found an old motorcycle which interested me. It was a good weekend with good food, nice family and some satisfying pictures.

Monday, October 4, 2010


The word itself is not evil. Some view teenagers as evil but that is a generalization that generally is not true. The word is seldom applied to anything that is not human, and again some will argue teenagers are not human but generally they are. I was of the opinion that teenagers were just intellectually challenged adults until I started to really look at some of the adults I have known. Either I didn’t give teenagers enough credit or a lot of adults never matured beyond their teenage years.

Despite anyone’s feelings about them, the word ‘teenager’ has been my word for the last week. Not my word exclusively although I can’t say I heard anyone else using it, but a word that was randomly selected for my weekly photographic exercise.

I failed. Trying to photograph something that meant ‘teenager’ to me was difficult. I didn’t want to use anyone in the photograph. I don’t know that many teenagers and using a stranger would have meant release forms, parents and possible stalker accusations. I don’t relish being a creepy old man, at least not yet. For this single picture I wasn’t going to enter that arena. And I also found it is difficult to photograph a school and have the picture mean anything.

So the picture you see here is what resulted. Not very good, not very symbolic and certainly not satisfying to me but a picture none the less. Next week will be better, I hope!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Advances in maturity

The other evening my wife was complaining about life. She wasn’t really complaining and it wasn’t about life. She was voicing a lament about TroubleMaker. And it really was less about him and more about his sense of timing. More specifically she was unsettled by how wide the always present gap between what he wants to play and what we need to accomplish is at any given time.

That morning we had been trying to change the sheets on the bed and TroubleMaker had to help. He always seems to need to help. Now I am not sure how much serious research has been done on this but to a two year old playing hide and seek under the sheets is more fun than actually making the bed. The problem lays in the fact that playing hide and seek does not get the bed made. Then there are all the things we had planned for after the bed was made.

This isn’t the first time we have run into this. Two year old children are notorious for having short attention spans and being distracted by inappropriate activities.. Additionally they do not have the sophisticated coping mechanisms we mature members of the species have developed. We are able to sidestep fun very adeptly. In fact, I am pretty sure it has become an almost instinctual reaction to life for most of us. There is after all an appropriate time and place for fun.

And this is not the first time I have run into this issue. I have lived with a dog for the last decade. Max is a schnauzer. That may seem an irrelevant fact, but the Standard Schnauzer is a working breed and it seems like every moment of every day he is ready to play. If I move towards the door, he is ready for a walk. We step outside and he tries to start some sort of game. In his eyes any movement on our part might, and probably should, lead to some sort of new excitement. But he is a dog and does not understand the pressing requirement we have to be productive.

For a time I was mildly interested in Jimmy Buffet’s life, and to a certain degree with Jimmy Buffet himself. This came from time spent reading his autobiography. I found he has an irrational need to enjoy his life. Music, airplanes and fishing, rather than productive endeavours, seem to occupy a great deal of his time.

More and more this message keeps popping up. From Magnum PI to Santa Claus, the great minds of our time keep pointing us towards a new and different way of living. Something apart from what we already know and accept, something that includes fun: a lifestyle that incorporates time for fun.

There is little flexibility built into a typical adult daily schedule to allow for playing but I have learned to make that time. We need to make time for fun, we just can’t allow ourselves too much of it, either the time or the fun.

Monday, August 16, 2010

spel chekr

i hav bene spendng som tiem lokng thru online clasfied ads dreamn of a lif ov aluans wen i notised a trnd amung tha ads. it seeems the enlish langage is evolvg, ore mybe the peeple r changeing
i see peeples whoe can by an thn sale automobeels, lectronics and lotsa sufisticated consumr stuf butt cannt rite a simpl lines scribing thee itm thay got 4sale.yu needs ta wundr hows thay caan bee respnsbl fore sew manee complx activitys licke driveing a car, helding down a jobe or operateing a computor but thay cant expres! r thy dummy or maybee i can gets stuff frum thems fer less if i talks goodly.
eether waye it difcult sumtimes to unnerstand how peeples funcshun whin thay cnt mister simpl comuncashion. peepl rnt chngeing thay r justly geting lazyer. and whatt so difcult bout spell checker aniway?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Another part of the creative process!

What do you write about when you have nothing to say? I suppose that is what writer’s block is about.

It is not that things don’t happen but none of it seems to excite my desire to write. I don’t want to waste my time bitching about people who text while driving, or the really unaware people all around us, or conservatives. I have a lot of petty squabbles with the world and when I can’t sleep or life conspires against me I spend time considering them, but they are ultimately meaningless. I can do little about so many of those situations.

I live with a 2 year old so it isn’t that I don’t see a lot of funny things happen. I see a lot of cute things happen. When he gives me a big hug and tells me ‘love you very much daddy’, well I shouldn’t have to tell you what that means to me. But is it something people want to read about? Does that matter? If you have made it this far you just read about it.

I think writer’s block is the challenge the Muses use to test us. If you can overcome it through diligence and hard work then you do deserve to be a writer. If you can’t then you don’t.

Or it could really be just an opportunity to see how much like an anal retentive boring adult I can really be. I am not sure I am all that happy with my success.

Monday, June 28, 2010

It caught me by suprise...

We had finished our morning rituals and were about embark on our day. Sometimes I really enjoy the nonsensical, so I had to ask TroubleMaker a question:

“What are you dreams? What do you want from life?”

He thought for a moment and then looked me straight in the eye. He said “Hab mommie milk a night.”

True story!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Women are from Venus, Men are from Toys'R'Us

There are a lot of things about raising a kid I don’t know. Breast feeding and properly dressing wounds are skills I haven’t developed.

There are things I can learn. I can learn to prepare something to eat for TroubleMaker. Although it is difficult to call my creations meals, we do end up with something to nourish us. I have learned to change diapers, bath a child, kiss an ‘owie’ and clean up after he has been sick (sick all over the bed, me and the bathroom). I have learned not to get sick at the sight of someone getting sick.

There are some things I did already know and they may yet come in handy. I can eat for a week using a single pot and a spoon. I can lube the chain on a motorcycle and not get oil on my dress shirt. I can get a Jeep stuck in the mud, while wearing dress shoes, on my way home from work. And I can play. When I boil water it may take a hazardous waste disposal team to deal with the aftermath and diaper changes may ultimately lead to the dreaded poopy blowout, but I can play.

I remember what it was like as a child to be exposed to new toys and have to draw conclusions about their play worthiness. Would it do what I wanted, which should not be confused with was advertised or even what it was designed for. How would dirt affect the toy? How would water affect the toy? How about mud? A child does not just browse the Sear’s Christmas Wish Book.

I also remember the toys that were fun. They allowed us to think outside the box, or at least outside the packaging. They could withstand hours of play and usually did not give us lead poisoning. We were constrained only by our imaginations and the interfering hands of our parents.

So last year my mother-in-law gave TroubleMaker a wooden train set for his birthday. It was an inexpensive one from a local supermarket. It was inexpensive only because my mother-in-law knows how to shop, and it wasn’t branded with some expensive trade mark. We have since added an expansion pack to it and TroubleMaker gets loads of fun out of it – ‘PAY TAINS’ seems to be his favorite refrain.

We can set it up, play for a few days then tear it down. A few days later we set it up again with a completely different layout. TroubleMaker contributes his own ideas to each layout and we have loads of fun. After a while there were some unsettling incidents.

TroubleMaker is an equal opportunity playmate and will draft either my wife or I into playing trains with him. We run the trains around the layout, set up the bridges after he knocks them down, run the trains around some more, wrestle, set up the bridges again, and so on and so on and so on. One night my wife was playing with the TroubleMaker and the trains and asked if we could get some more accessories for the set. I naturally wanted to know what sort of accessories. I am very frugal, sometimes, and the thought of a train shed or turntable scared me. They are expensive. My wife wanted some buildings. Why? So when the engineers parked their trains they would have some place to go for coffee and talk. Go for coffee? Talk? This is not how boys play. Talk? Then it wouldn’t be playing it would be talking. Since when are boys supposed to talk? They yell and scream. Talk? They charge, run, and tackle. Talk? They build and destroy. We do not talk.

Clearly my beloved wife did not understand the point of trains but hours of intense play therapy on the floor with TroubleMaker have taught her how he plays and how boys play. She has even learned to design her own layouts with TroubleMaker. Still, at the end of evening, when it is time to park the trains on a siding and whisk TroubleMaker off to bed, they still call it stopping for coffee. I suppose it doesn’t really matter as long as everyone is having fun.

Maybe play at that level is not as natural for women as it is for men, or maybe I am not as far removed from childhood as I thought. I don’t think I will pose that question to my wife.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Deferential to the end

It seems literacy rates are falling. It may be tragic from a societal stand point, but for me it is not happening fast enough.

A lot of our citizens can still read which is good for people who write books, blogs and graffiti. When they read they are critically evaluating the subject matter, determining if any of the content applies to them; how they might use the newly acquired knowledge to further the interests of mankind and improve their own lives. Of course this may not strictly apply when people are reading Twilight or The Vampire Lestat. Then there are all of those things published on all of those websites about the lives of the rich and famous. That really is not serious reading. And a lot of the ‘news’ we get now is simply advertising for new products, movies and assorted pieces of drivel, thanks to the infotainment reporting industry. There is a lot of good stuff out there to read and people seem to be reading it, sharpening their skills and their minds.

The real problems starts when we, the blog writers of the world, astute observers of life and the human condition, start to express ourselves about things going on around us. Let’s face it, people do things. Sometimes they do silly things, really silly things. And sometimes those people are within my own sphere of existence.

When I witness one of those incidents it becomes fodder for my own writing, which is where the ethical dilemma starts. Do I relate the tales of my own in-laws and friends misdoings risking family discord? Do I just tell it like it is and let the truth stand as my shield? Will misdirection work or can they still see themselves in my prose?

It is people and the things they do that provide so much of the comedy in the world, at least the funny stuff. Too many of these people can read. Even those who can’t read have internet access and seem to be able to recognize themselves in the stories of mayhem and ribaldry that are such an essential part of so many blogs.

From a writer’s perspective petty judgmental drivel can be very satisfying to produce. And we already know how tasty it is to consume.

The reality is that most of the people I might offend will never read this blog, not because of their own deficiencies, but simply because my work does not stand beside the works of Jonathon Swift, Moliere or Oscar Wilde. So I will refrain, take he high moral ground and confine myself to uncontroversial material.

That should keep my wife happy.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A life’s legacy

I recently had the opportunity to consider what I might do if I won the lottery; I was awake, staring at a computer screen and trying to work. What would I do if I had been able to match all the numbers and win $13,000,000.00? Sure there are all the usual promises, making sure my son has funding for his education (to show I am family minded), buying a new but modest car (to show I can enjoy my riches without flaunting it), and giving to charity (to show I am generous of spirit).

So now that I have shown the world what I would like it to think of me, how would I really like to spend the money? I don’t want to blow all of it of course because I do genuinely want to take care of myself, but I would like to use some of it to indulge some of my desires.

This is about thinking inside the box, deep inside the box where the dark resides. This is about indulging that part of you placated by eating buckets of ice cream, giving the finger to old men in Buicks, and wishing the neighbour’s cat would cross the road in front of your car just as you take your eyes off the road.

This is about revenge. Not the hiring a hit man kind of revenge. Too many problems to deal with, like prosecution. This needs to come from where we live, to answer what has scarred us for life. This involves money. Do you really want to give your money away to people who don’t deserve it? People you don’t like? Relatives?

Does your brother really need a hand out of a couple million of your dollars? If by his thirties he can’t figure out how birth control works then maybe he should be forced to understand how maintenance enforcement can improve his life.

Does your sister-in-law think that drinking cheap red wine and playing on-line poker all day really constitutes life experience? Let her fund her lifestyle from her winnings.

And what about that girl you loved in high school? You know the one; you almost asked her out but instead she went to the dance with that long haired creep with the cool car. What would you like to do to her life?

If you dig deeply into your life, into your past, you can come up with so many people who have earned your enmity. Dangle the money in front of friends and snatch it from their grasp. Flaunt your wealth in front of family members who have nothing. Why should they enjoy the fruits of your labours? Let them earn their own way in life. Pull themselves up by their own boot straps. That will teach them to wear flip-flops.

If we have learned anything from reality television, it is that money means nothing without fame or power. In the end isn’t power just the opportunity to control someone else’s life? Right?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The ethical significance of broccoli

Easter, a time to sit back and reflect, review. No, that is New Years, or maybe Halloween. Easter is a time for chocolate. Some people like to drench the long weekend with all sorts of religious significance. That’s fine if you are a Christian and religious. I am not. Conjuring tricks are best left to conjurers.

I have a toddler, TroubleMaker. He isn’t mine in the sense of chattel, like a car or wife, but still he is mine and controls almost every aspect of my life now. Having a toddler around the lets you learn about the priorities in a toddler’s life, in case you had any doubts or never get to see reruns of Dr. Phil. Some people will try to tell you small children’s prime motivators consist of anything that falls into the category of immediate self gratification.

Of course this becomes so obviously false when you are caught doing anything that might be considered embarrassing, like using the toilet, being naked or surreptitiously sneaking macaroons while Mom was supposed to have him otherwise occupied. At that moment their curiosity takes over, becomes the most powerful force in their lives and they ask questions and look for explanations that make your soul wither. You understand societal standards. You know shame. You don’t know why you do, but you do! All that time I spent telling myself I would deal with his need to explore in an educational manner is now out the window because there have to be people around when Troublemaker decides to ask his questions. Mostly his questions consist of pointing and asking ‘Whaz zat?’ Over and over and over.

A healthy toddler only spends part of their time in exploration of your fears and humiliations. Another portion their time is spent in trying your patience.

During Easter however, pleasure in the form of chocolate becomes the child’s life. It is something to eat, to crash from, to end each meal and start the next then fill in those dull periods between meals. It the substance doled out in great quantity by grandmothers, aunts, cousins and Easter Bunnies. And it is the thing TroubleMaker seeks. ‘NO NAP!’ Indeed, his internal clock is set to Chocolate. ‘NO POOPIE!’ No, he just wants to load up the other end with Chocolate. ‘NO TEATS!’ Wait, screwed that one up, he does want treats, Chocolate.

This is Easter in our house. Tomorrow is another day, a day when we will try to break his addiction to that sweet dark confection. In the mean time, CHOCOLATE!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Everyone should get a turn...

A couple of days ago I had to clean Tsarina’s litter box. I have to do it every day and it’s no big deal. But TroubleMaker was watching me do it and started into his “DO IT DO IT!” This means he wants to do it. It means he really really wants to do it. I now have enough experience with tantrums to be sure of my interpretation of his phrase. Of course I couldn’t let him clean the litter box, he’s too little. But one day he will be old enough to take on chores like cleaning the litter box and I just want it on record he wanted to do it. He really really wanted to do it.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A round of introductions...

Before we get too much farther down this road following my fascinating life experiences I think I should introduce the various members of our little nuclear family. This shouldn’t take too long nor should it displace too much of your own required knowledge.

The first member of the family, and the one you will likely read the least about, is Tsarina. She is a cat. A 10 year old cat with a bad attitude, although it can be difficult to distinguish a bad attitude from a good one within the realm of feline psychology but, I am sure hers is bad. It is not malicious, just selfish. The majority of her time is spent creating an annoying caterwaul at the most inconvenient times, looking for snuggles, again at the most inconvenient times, and annoying the dog.

The dog is Max. That is short for Maximilian Finnegan. Max is a Standard Schnauzer although through the years we have come to learn there is nothing standard about him. Every couple of years Max was supposed to hit a plateau recognizable by growth in his maturity. We’re still waiting for the first plateau. Still, Max is loyal, lovable and growing a little grumpy in his old age. In his 10 years Max has proven to be both a joy and comic relief. Max wants to spend all his time with the adults of the house, and this very much excludes the cat. If this country were half as civilized as we like to think it is Max would be able to accompany me everywhere I go during a typical week. We are not that civilized.

The next tallest member of the household is the toddler. He goes by the appellation TroubleMaker. I made the adjective a proper noun and rightfully so. In his almost 24 months of life in our house he has worked very hard to earn the moniker. He has proven that the modern toddler is the most destructive force in nature. When parents are warned to never leave their toddlers unattended it is really to ensure the survival of civilization. What do you think really brought down Mordor? Don’t believe the official accounts. At the other end of the toddler experience continuum is the moment when, after concentrating to master a new skill he looks up at me and smiles with the pride of new found knowledge. Or when he is tired and wants to rest his head on my shoulder. With the simplest gestures he can melt his parents’ hearts.

His mother is my wife. At one time that might have been an obvious statement. It probably could have gone without saying but the world has progressed. My wife is a woman and although that too seems an obvious statement it does bear stating because there is a certain emphasis that needs to be emphasized. She is a woman and a lady. But I must leave off my description of her before too much is said and her ego is radically affected.

And so we get to me, the tallest member of the family, and how I got here, in this place at this time. I laid down one night at 25 years of age, a wounded young man with little idea of what was going on and woke up 25 years later as a father to a toddler, still wounded and still with no idea what was going on. I am working hard on figuring out what is going on.

So there are the major players, aside from some grandparents, in-laws, outlaws, drunks, dullards and a few reprobates.

In order to protect the innocent and those who need to be protected from themselves names will be withheld or modified. Of course identity theft, the newest paranoia, is not an entirely catastrophic event for a house cat or a maximum schnauzer. Their credit scores were never great anyway. So happy days and good reading.

How to make a redneck green...

Pepsico FritoLay has introduced a new compostable bag for their SunChips. Now you can feel good about tossing your garbage out the car window as you drive by.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

It does get done....

In order to help me with the dishes my 22 month old son has to stand on a chair at the rinse sink. Once we are done, which he announces with the simple declarative 'Done', he moves on to other endeavours. As the reigning adult I decide he needs to put away the chair he was using. I tell him a couple of times, just in case he has forgotten the little he knows of the English language, and then leave him to it. I have to help him move the chair off the towel we use to soak up spilled water and then he starts the journey from the sink back to the table. It’s not a straight line journey. In order to get the chair pointed in the right direction when he arrives at the table he must circle the kitchen. It is a small kitchen so it shouldn't take long.

But wait. On the way to the table he comes across an old pair of mittens abandoned on the floor. It would be more fun to put away the chair with mittens on.

But wait. He discovers water on the chair. The mittens do not work wiping up water so he has to get a napkin. Once again the chair is ready to be put back in its place.

But wait. This would all go so much easier with music. So that annoying electronic musical beast he was given for Christmas must be started. A tinny electronic version of The Saints Go Marching In echoes around the house. And the chair resumes its journey.

But wait. Isn't that the toy biplane he built a couple of weeks ago sitting over there on the bookshelf. Yes, having it sitting on the seat of the chair would make the journey easier. And the chair resumes its journey.

But wait. Is that Max the Wonder Schnauzer watching the boy and his chair? It is. And he must go over and pet Max. It's the civilized thing to do. And the chair resumes its journey.

Finally, after countless minutes and an unknown number of seconds, taken from the ever shortening life span and patience of the reigning adult, the child has completed his journey. Mission completed, chair back in place. A short dull task made longer, more interesting and a lot more fun by a toddlers approach to life. And now I can appreciate those minutes.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Proof of my abilities.

Last night I decided to take a new approach to turning off the bedside lamp when we went to bed. By concentrating very hard I psychically turned the lamp off. My lovely wife claimed it hadn’t worked because, as a non-believer, she could not see the darkness I had created. To mollify her I reached behind me gave the switch a flick which seemed to align the physical world with her perceptions so she could see the darkness too. We slept soundly.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I resolve not to procastinate anymore

The first of the year. New Year’s Day. It is January 1 on the Gregorian calendar. In European culture it is a day to celebrate and its history runs back through old Rome.

Today it is a day to celebrate, make some top ten lists, look over the past year and decide on a few strategic resolutions. Celebrations are always a good thing. Always. Top ten lists are a vital way for people to communicate today. It’s a wonderfully concise way to transfer tidbits of knowledge from one hungry mind to another.

And finally the review of the past year, made all that much easier by those ever present top ten lists. We review what our favorite celebrities have been doing, who has had affairs, whose sex tapes were made public and who is jousting with the divorce demon. We might even take a minute to note which pedophiles have passed from life into sainthood.

Most of all we try to look into our own lives and determine our deficiencies. Things like smoking, over eating or general sloth. And to combat these deadly sins we make resolutions. Fine, noble, upstanding, outstanding resolutions. We take a look at our lives, our society and our influences and decide how we might improve ourselves.

The most common ways to improve ourselves and the most common resolutions seem to be to quit smoking, get out of debt, quit procrastinating, eat better and drink less. Laudable goals all but I’m not sure how successful most people are with them. I saw one study that said only 12% of people are able to keep their resolutions.

Rather than making resolutions it may be time to find an alternative. Look back on the past year and see if there might have been something that could have been learned. A message from daily life which could have enlightened tomorrow. Take that lesson, examine it, learn from it and move on to the next one. And maybe the second lesson will be not to limit it to a yearly exercise.