Friday, July 30, 2010

Message Box Full...



"Come on, pick up."


Please leave a message after the beep for 867-5309.

"Shit. Answering machine."


"Um, Hey. I hope you don't mind me calling this number and I don't have your cell. It's kind of an emergency. Not like somebody was shot kind of emergency but I just haven't heard from you in a few days and I was getting a bit restless. Damn, now I feel like I'm being selfish. I'm trying to be patient but It's not as easy as I thought it would be. Lately I've been feeling kind of shitty and I have no idea why. It was going so well the past few months; feeling good, taking it one day at a time and all that crap. I was feeling pretty hopeful and believe me, that's saying a lot. I'm trying to do what I'm supposed to do. I'm trying my best to be diligent. Everyone says, "just keep your side of the street clean and everything else will take care of itself." Honestly, if I hear someone say that to me one more time, I'm gonna punch them in the nuts. Sorry for babbling. I must sound like a baby. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I need some help; maybe a little extra help. I'm not sure if you can do that sort of thing. I know it's probably not your thing to favor one child over another but maybe just this once? Maybe make an exception? There's gotta be like a Chinese Beetle somewhere that doesn't need anything from you today. Maybe I can just take his ration? I'm not asking for anything specific; just help. I'm really good at giving advice to other people. I sincerely try to help people every day. I'm pretty sure that's you talking. I just feel like I'm trying to help everyone but myself most of the time. Is that the plan? Is that what I need to do? If it is, just tell me. Why does it always have to be two steps forward, one step back? It doesn't seem fair. And the truth is, I'm super tired. I don't feel like pushing so hard all the time. I have the house, the cars, the beautiful family. Why can't that be enough? It should be enough. I'm not good at keeping it simple. I need someone to tell me how to do this. Everyone says you'll tell me how to do this. I don't care about money anymore, I don't care about any of that stuff. I just want a little peace. I just want a little serenity. I'm sure I'm not the first one to ask you for this. I read that Judy Blume book when I was a kid. Great book by the way. Do people need to check with you when they they do stuff like that? There's no residuals or anything like that. Is there? Sorry, that was a stupid question. You see, I can't even stay serious. I always need to make a joke about things but this is serious. I need this. I promise if you tell me what I need to do, I swear t"


Message box full.

"God Dammit! Oh shit. Sorry."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Letting Go...

Life seems hard.

Sometimes we bare the weight of the world on our shoulders.

There is work, bills to be paid, kids to rear, the slow but steady destruction of the ozone layer and a multitude of other worries that cause us stress.

Damn. Even the dude from Lethal Weapon has lost his marbles.

Sometimes the pressure gets so overwhelming, that we find ourselves hopeless. It's easy to become a slave to the whirlwind of it all.

What we don't always realize, is that life is going to happen whether we feed the beast or not.

What if every so often, we resisted the urge to jump on the moving treadmill?

What if we just let go from time to time and let life happen?

I don't mean that we should shirk our responsibilities. I just mean that we don't necessarily have to worry about what we can't control.

I'm talking about letting go.

Someone told me recently, "If you can change it, don't worry about it. If you can't change it, don't worry about it."

This statement makes so much sense to me. The message is simple; don't worry about it. It's the worrying that eats us up inside. It's the worrying that keeps us up at night. It's the worrying that consumes our every thought.

Lately, I've been learning to stop worrying and just let things happen. Make no mistake about it, I'm still doing the right thing. I'm still working as hard as I've always worked and I haven't stopped loving my family. The only difference, is I'm not worrying.

And you know what?

I feel much better. I'm getting more things accomplished and miraculously, I have twice as much time on my hands. The reality is that the worry and the stress, take up more time and more energy than it takes to solves the problems themselves.

Easier said than done?


Let me try and break it down a bit.

When times are tough and life serves us up more than we can handle, we sometimes use the expression, "It's like trying to fit 10 lbs of shit into a 5 lb bag."

This is a perfect analogy for all of the stress we let accumulate in our bodies and our minds. It's as if the shit starts in our toes and piles up in our legs, through our mid section and all the way up to our neck, until it's ready to explode out of our ears, like a giant, shit volcano.

But the shit has no place to go. So it stays in our bodies and our minds and starts to stink and it makes us sick, physically and mentally.

This reminds me of an experience I had some time ago.

I was at work and one of my co-workers was celebrating a birthday. As is the standard office tradition, we all gathered around at the end of the day, sang a lifeless and resentful happy birthday and presented her with a birthday cake.

I am not a cake eater, nor a dessert person in general but this cake was glorious. I remember it vividly. It was a large, round, Häagen Dazs cake. It had vanilla ice cream on the inside, with a chocolaty layer on the outside and it was topped with an array of delicious pirouline wafers.

I am lactose intolerant.

I indulged anyway.

Then when everyone dispersed, I circled back to the scene of the crime and helped myself to another piece of cake. I couldn't resist.

I packed up and left for the day.

At the time, my wife and I lived about 20 minutes outside of the city; a short commute via subway if there are no delays. So I hopped on the subway and began my trip home. About 5 minutes into my journey, I felt a bit of a twinge in my belly. I knew right away what that meant. I had about 10 - 15 minutes tops before I was in gastro-intestinal disarray. I could do nothing but sit tight and pray. The twinge in my belly quickly turned into pain and a wave of panic began to wash over me. I began to sweat. Quickly, I started to look around. I needed to be prepared for an emergency. I surveyed the exits located at either end of the subway car.




I needed to move around, so I walked up and down the car. Then we came to a halt. There was an announcement that there would be delays ahead.

"I'm fucked." I thought.

I was 4 stops away from my destination with no where to "go".

Not dissimilar to the stress and anxiety in my life, the shit was beginning to pile up inside of me with no where to go.

But I held it in and it didn't feel good at all.

In the end, I made it all the way to my stop. I got off the train and waddled up the street like a drunken duck with his knees bound together.

I was running on sheer instinct and the pain was draining the life out of me.

I felt powerless.

Then it dawned on me.

Why am I struggling? What's the worst that can happen to me? Why am I fighting what is not in my power to control?

And at that moment, standing not 50 yards from my apartment building...


Standing in a crowd of people, during rush hour, on the corner of Yellowstone and Jewel, I let go and the feeling was indescribable. I had never felt such freedom, such exaltation, or such liberation from the chains that had bound me on that subway ride and in life.

I had shit myself like a baby in the middle of the street and I felt alive.

The point is letting go is hard. It's everything our minds, our bodies and society tells us NOT to do but until we toss all of these expectations out the window and truly let the natural order of things take its course, we'll be forever stuck on the hamster wheel of life; forever turning but going nowhere.

So the next time you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, don't try to stuff 10 lbs of shit into a 5 lb bag.


Just let go.

It's way more sanitary than shitting yourself on a street corner.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Whose Kid Shit The Pool?

A couple of weeks ago, my family and I took an unbelievably beautiful trip out to Lake Tahoe.

God's country.

We stayed with our best friends and their parents.

They have a time share at a very high end Resort and couldn't have been more gracious hosts.

Aside from running around and taking in some of the most breathtaking landscapes this great country has to offer, we were also able to kick back and enjoy the pool at the hotel.

Again, this is a pretty fancy joint.

As a parent, I'm keenly attuned to my children's behavior when we're around other people; Especially other people at a fancy hotel, sitting poolside, eating grilled jumbo prawn and avocado salad, sipping Arnold Palmers and thinking about how birth control, might be the most ingenious invention since Ron Popeil spray-on hair.

I do my part.

With that being said, I wholly expect other parents to do their part.

What happens if they don't uphold the unwritten law?


Nothing pisses me off more, than when someone else's child, performs an act so insolent, so uncouth and so discourteous, that it completely destroys the countless hours of steadfast, hard work that I have put in, to try and establish good will between myself and the pool goers that are sans kids.


In other words...

Try not to let your kid shit in the hotel pool.

That's right. You heard me.

Try not to let your kid shit in the hotel pool.

I don't think this is too tall an order.

Just put a damn diaper on his or her ass.

If your kid shits in the pool, I'm guessing it's probably not the first time this has happened to you.

My family is trying to swim over here. We're messing around in the water. I'm playing shark dad. I'm throwing those stupid diving toys all over the place, so my kids can retrieve them like Golden Retrievers. They're batting around a beach ball. We're enjoying some good old fashioned Marco Polo.





I hate that game.

Now I have to step in a pile of wet shit laying at the bottom of the pool? And because we noticed it, everyone is gonna think it was my kid?

Now, it's like a game of CLUE and I'm Colonel fucking Mustard, walking around, trying to figure out whodunit, with kid pellets lodged between my toes.

Come on dude. It was hilarious in Caddy Shack but not here.

Get your shit together.

Actually, it was pretty damn funny...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What's In A Name?

I think I'll name the one with the funny webbed feet, "Webster", the big brown one, "Neptune", the little brown one, "Olivia Newton John" and the big green one with the spots, "Poseidon".

Jason Mayo - 1981 naming his pet newts

What's in a name?

A person's name can be a very telling.

A name can say volumes about a person's character. A name doesn't always seem to "fit" the person it is attached to. Sometimes you have to grow into a name. Sometimes the name has to grow into you. There are times that a name doesn't live up to the person. Other times, the person doesn't live up to the name.

Most of the time it's a crapshoot.

Unless you're a Greek God or a Prince, it's hard to persuade the masses to accept a name that doesn't fit.

Look at Fonzie. His birth name was Arthur. He ran away from his name and probably struggled his whole life. Eventually, he was able to escape the stigma that was needlessly, saddled upon his leather draped back.

Look at Hercules. His parents were obviously very intuitive. They sensed a strength in their young boy and bestowed upon him a name that became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

How about Alice Cooper? This one doesn't make much sense at all. In fact, you would think that Mr. Cooper would do whatever was humanly possible to steer clear of his association with this name. Alice is traditionally a girl's name. It's a name given to a protagonist in a fairy tale or a sensitive but tenacious, single mom waitress that tirelessly, works twelve hour shifts in a Truck Stop Diner, in order to support her young son. But oddly enough, it fits Mr. Cooper. The name grew into his persona. His persona grew into the name.

Absolutely fascinating.

These theories and musings, only seem to apply to names and people that border on or go to the extreme.

For instance, if your name is Bill, Anthony, Jane, Louis, Lois, Jeff, Phil, Mary, Steve, Thomas, Cheryl, Dawn, Craig, Tim, Linda, Mike, Dave, Jennifer, Scott, Rory or Pat, no one gives a fuck.

In the fore mentioned examples, it's easy to carry a name. These types of names are simple and quaint and often play second fiddle to the person that inherits them. Most of the time, the name is inconsequential.

The point is, when naming someone or something, it is imperative to consider the circumstances at hand and the long term consequences of these sometimes hasty decisions. You might be making some one's life way more difficult than it needs to be.

Therein lies the rub.

This past weekend, I bought my oldest daughter her first pet.

Its species comes from a genus of lizards called the Pogona.

It is more commonly known as The Bearded Dragon.

It is generally a docile creature but its features are unmistakeably reptilian.

When they mature, they can grow up to two feet in length and appear quite menacing.

A creature of this heritage certainly is deserving of a name suitable of its stature.

My daughter has chosen its moniker.

Allow me to introduce to you...


Sorry pal. Welcome to my world...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Scars And All...

Warning: Might Be Inappropriate For Those Who Are Offended By Graphic Discussion About Overweight, Hairy, Balding Middle Aged Men With Scars...

A couple of months ago, another blogger asked me if I would participate in a project that would support a worthy cause. First I said, "sure!". Then I asked her, "what's the worthy cause?". She told me that it was The National Eating Disorders Association and it was to help promote a healthy body image, especially as it relates to teen girls.

Wow. I had never really thought too much about that. When I think of charity, I think of starving kids or perhaps cancer. Heck, I just spent the last eight months of my life putting together a children's book for charity. There's a widget right on my blog to help raise money for The Garden of Dreams Foundation.

But eating disorders?

I just assumed that was a family thing.

Wait, you dumbass. You have two daughters. You have a family. Who's gonna promote a healthy body image in them?

Well, the truth is, to think that my little precious, perfect, beautiful girls would ever be silly enough to think otherwise, that's just poppycock!

Fuck that! This is serious shit. Just because my wife and I think our girls are the most beautiful things in the universe, doesn't mean that they believe that themselves.

There's a lot of other factors that come into play.

Cruel people, peer pressure, the media, expectations, stereotypes, low self esteem and the list goes on and on and on and on.

Here's one for ya:

"In the United States, as many as 10 million females and 1 million males are fighting a life and death battle with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. Millions more are struggling with binge eating disorder."

Put that in your tuna casserole and smoke it.

That means that there are a shit load of lost girls AND boys out there that are trapped in their own heads and most of us know that's a horrible place to be. This disease plays no favorites.

Anyone is vulnerable and the only thing we can do to help prevent it, is to create awareness.

I have two daughters and I can't tell them to do shit without an argument. They have a mind of their own. They are strong willed and stubborn. It's a pain in the arse now but I know that these are all very important characteristics for them to possess as they get older. The point is, you can't shove statistics down a kid's throat and you can't force them to eat.

What we can do as parents is set an example. Lets call this, "attraction not promotion".

I can only speak for myself but we're all probably guilty on some level of sending the wrong message. Look around your house. Is there diet soda, low fat ice cream, lo-carb energy drinks, Weight Watchers cakes?


I know there is at our home.

I'm not saying we shouldn't have this stuff around the house. I'm just saying there's a way we can explain to our kids why we eat the foods we eat.

When my kids ask me why I eat diet "whatever", I try not to tell them, "because Daddy is a fat fuck and he needs to lose weight". I tell them, "because it's important to make healthy choices with the foods you put into your body, in order to stay healthy and feel good." When they ask me why I exercise everyday, I try not to tell them, "Because Daddy is a flabby, old, sea hag". I tell them, "because exercising is good for your heart and if I take care of my heart, I'll have no problem keeping up with you guys out on the playground".

This is tricky folks and we need to be very careful. Kids are very impressionable; especially at a young age. In their eyes, we are perfect. We can do no wrong. If we aren't comfortable with our own bodies, then that sends a very mixed message.

"Why do I have to eat all of my food? You're always on a diet. I don't want to get fat."

My 7 year old will ask me if she looks fat every once in a while. It scares me to death. It starts early. Don't think that it's just a cute little phase. Take it seriously. My kid has the smallest ass on the planet. If she thinks it's fat now, forget about it. We see what we want to see and that's the scary part.

Now back to the project...

It's a calendar. Twelve months. Twelve bloggers. Twelve pictures to help promote body awareness. Some of us will be racier than others but we'll all be showing some skin. We're doing it to show everyone that no one can be perfect but everyone can be proud.

I am losing the hair on my head and it is mysteriously re-rooting itself on my shoulders and on the back of my ears. Age spots are beginning to appear on my face. My ass is starting to look like a rotten plumb. I have a metal plate in my hand. I'm missing the ACL in my right knee. I've broken my nose more times than I can count. I have a scar on my torso the size of a caterpillar . I've never liked my feet. My toes are too long. The nail beds on my fingers are too short, I have bow legs and if I don't pluck them, I would have one eyebrow.

You know what?

I don't give a shit.

I am comfortable in my own skin. I wasn't always this way but I am now.

I'm gonna do my best to send a message. A message that it's OK to be who you are, because in the end, it's all ya got.

So look for me in 2011. I'm Mr. July. The only guy in the calendar.

Scars and all...

For more info on how to spot the signs of an eating disorder and how to deal with it, check out the National Eating Disorders Association website.

And check out the other amazing and courageous bloggers who will be baring it all in 2011.

Also check out my friend Mary and her honest post about her experience with eating disorders on her blog Pajamas and Coffee.

Or if you would like to help, you can show your support with a donation via the widget below.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Rolling Down That Hill...

Sometimes as adults, we tend to get wrapped up in all the craziness of everyday life.

Things like going to work, taking the kids from place to place, shopping, cooking, cleaning, car repairs, mowing the lawn, paying the bills and whatever else comes up on a daily basis.

It can be terribly stressful and overwhelming.

So much so, that we forget to take a moment to breathe and appreciate some of the little things that I like to call, "life's little treasures".

Things like bending down to pluck a dandelion without throwing your back out or getting through a meal without your little one needing to take a dump or having morning sex on a Saturday without having to lock the door.

There are so many countless treasures that we ignore.

What does this mean in the big scheme of things?

Should we try and let go of all that other stuff?

Is it in our best interest to re-prioritize our lives?

Why is it that way back when we were kids, the only thing that mattered was riding our bikes until the sun went down? Everything was about having fun.

Kids know how to live in the moment.

Living in the moment might be the secret to a happy and joyous life.

Because there's nothing you can do about the past and we certainly have no control over what happens in the future.

We as adults need to start being more spontaneous for our kids. We need to show them that the fun doesn't stop when the training wheels come off.

Dandelions and morning sex...

This past week, my family and I spent some time away in Lake Tahoe together. It's almost impossible to deny the sheer beauty that surrounds you. Quite frankly, it's awe inspiring.

God's country.

One morning, my wife and I were eating breakfast outside and our girls were frolicking a few yards away on a grassy hill.

It was a perfect day.

Bright sun, clear skies and Blue Jays singing their morning love songs.

Time and time again, my girls would run to the top of that hill, only to roll all the way back down to the bottom.

There was so much laughter.

They didn't need any Blackberries. No Ipods. No Nintendo DS necessary.

Just a grassy hill and the moment.

My oldest daughter ran up to me out of breath and invited me to come rolling down the hill.

I said no.

She came back a second time and pleaded with me to join her but just once.

I said that I really shouldn't.

She wouldn't let up. She was euphoric about her moment and she wanted me to be in it with her.

I told her that I needed to digest my food and then maybe I would give it a try.

I thought she might forget.

But no...

She came back one more time and begged me to partake.

So I took one last bite of my butt steak and sunny side up eggs and swigged one last sip of my black coffee.

She took my hand and led me to the hill.

And we ran together, breakfast and all.

We had our moment...

After having this one precious, spontaneous moment, I started to sweat. I had a terrible allergy attack, my arms and legs were marked with cuts and scrapes and I couldn't breathe. My brain felt like a lost ship on a stormy sea. I sat dry heaving at the bottom of that hill for almost five minutes, until I had a panic attack.

I learned that there is a reason why we now choose to watch our kids live in the moment, as opposed to us living in it ourselves.

It is because we are old and vulnerable.

We can actually have a stroke from rolling down that hill or possibly even die.

From now on, I'll just sit here with my Blackberry, eating my butt steak and eggs at the top of the hill and watch...

Monday, July 5, 2010

I've Got An Axe To Grind...

Everyone knows that the world will one day be overrun by flesh eating zombies.

That much is true.

How will you survive?

Are you prepared?

Will you be able to protect your family?

I am worried about my family's chances against a ravenous hoard of ghouls. We are not an organized bunch. We argue a lot. We don't exercise much. We are the opposite of resourceful. My kids get distracted easily and they don't listen.

As a bunch, we are an easy target.

We are as good as zombie meat, served rare.

I need to get my clan into shape or we're most certainly goners.

I hope there's enough time...

It is Sunday morning. I am in the kitchen making pancakes with my seven year old daughter. My wife is arguing with my mother in law on the phone about nothing. My three year old sits on the top of our living room sofa. She stares out the window watching the cars go by. It's a day just like any other day...

Out-Numbered - Be careful with the eggs. I don't want them all over the counter.

7 Year Old - Dad! I'm not going to get them on the counter.

Out-Numbered - OK. OK. Just be careful is all I'm saying.

7 Year Old - I'm not a baby.

From the other room.

Wife - Is something burning in there?

3 Year Old - No!

Wife - Not you snuggles. I'm talking to your father.

Out-Numbered - SHIT! I forgot the Turkey Bacon in the oven.

7 Year Old - You're not allowed to say "SHIT".

Out-Numbered - God Dammit! Burnt to a crisp.

7 Year Old - That's two bad words. Why do you get to say bad words?

Out-Numbered - Because I'm the one that burned the bacon.

My daughter purposely drops an egg on the floor.

7 Year Old - SHIT!

Out-Numbered - HEY! I said no bad words.

7 Year Old - Yeah but I'm the one that dropped the egg.

From the living room.

3 Year Old - Daddy.

Out-Numbered - I'm busy sweetheart.

3 Year Old - Daddy come here.

Out-Numbered - Honey can you see what she wants please? I'm kind of busy in here.

Wife - I'm on the phone.

Out-Numbered - Go see what your sister wants.

7 Year Old - Why do I always have to check on her?

Out-Numbered - Because that's what sisters do.

3 Year Old - Daddy. Ted is eating a doggie.

Out-Numbered - OK honey. Your sister is coming.

3 Year Old - He looks mad. The doggie is bleeding.

Out-Numbered - Can you please go and see what she's talking about?

7 Year Old - FINE! This is so not fair.

Out-Numbered - Get used to it. Life isn't fair.

From the living room.


I drop the bowl of pancake batter and it lands in a crash. My wife and I rush into the living room to see what is wrong.

Out-Numbered - Oh Shit.

My neighbor is kneeling over a pile of blood soaked fur. He is devouring a dog. His name is Ted and he looks, well... fucked up. He has no idea we are watching him. My seven year old daughter is frozen with fear. My three year old watches attentively as if she were watching an episode of Wonder Pets. My wife is holding onto my wrist. Her nails are digging so deep into my skin, that I think I might be bleeding.

Out-Numbered - Everyone get down and don't make a sound.

Wife - What the fuck is going on?

3 Year Old - Fuck.

Out-Numbered - Zombies.

I grab my seven year old and lay her on the floor next to the coffee table. She's still frozen. She's shaking like a leaf.

Wife - Should we call the police?

Out-Numbered - That won't do any good. Grab the little one before Ted sees her. I'll close the blinds.

Before my wife can get to my three year old, she starts banging on the window.

3 Year Old - HI TED!!! TED!!! HI!


Out-Numbered - NO baby! Be quiet!

My wife scoops her up off of the couch. Ted turns his head in a jolt, obviously startled by the banging. He pops up from his knees in one snapping and disjointed motion. He sees us. His eyes widen. His face is bathed in blood. He looks rabid. He runs toward our property in a mad frenzy, arms flailing above his head.

Wife - Oh GOD!

Out-Numbered - LOCK THE DOOR!!!

Wife - THE GIRLS!!!

3 Year Old - Mommy! What's wrong with Ted?

Out-Numbered - You take the girls.

Wife - Where are we going?

Out-Numbered - Upstairs!

Wife - What if he gets in? We'll have no where to go?

Out-Numbered - UPSTAIRS!!!

Wife - Where are you going?

Out-Numbered - TO THE SHED, TO GET MY AXE.

Wife - You can't go outside.

Out-Numbered - Don't worry. He's out front. I'm going out the back door.

Wife - Don't leave me alone with them. What if he gets in the house?

Out-Numbered - Grab the Aluminum Bat by my night table.

Wife - What will that do?

Out-Numbered - Aim for the head. It will bash his fucking brains in if you hit him hard enough. GO!

This is how it starts...

In "The Zombie Survival Guide" by Max Brooks, it says that in the event of a Zombie attack, go to the highest point in your home. If there should be stairs leading up to a room or an attic, use a tool such as an axe, to demolish the stairs behind you one by one leading up to the higher floor. Zombies are terrible climbers.

If there is a bathtub or a sink in the room, fill it up with water. You'll need it later. There won't be much time before the water supply becomes contaminated.

I also happen to have a case of canned, cooked bacon in my basement. That's twelve cans of cooked bacon. Fifty slices per can. Six hundred slices in total.

That should last us for a while.

My kids love bacon...

What's your plan?