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Showing posts from 2018

Au Revoir, 2018: A Poem

2018, oh what a year
The same in 2019 is what I fear.
It wasn't all bad, so I shouldn't be blue,
I did, in fact, gain a beautiful nephew.

The Winter was snowy, and I shoveled each day,
The irony is, for this to be done, I'm the one who pays.
The Spring came around and there was talk of a birth,
I was walking without pain, and decreasing my girth.
The Summer was spent outside reading and drinking, '
The life of someone wealthy, what was I thinking?
As Autumn stopped by for a very brief show,
I knew the cycle and anticipated snow.

I'm back working with kids and it makes me so happy,
If you knew how much I miss it, you'd probably call me sappy.
I'm trying to find inner peace, much like a lama,
I just can't seem to escape being surrounded by drama.
People around me who have so much more,
Complain and criticize, to me it's a bore.
At home, out, and even at work,
I must keep appearances, not to be a jerk.
People are obsessed with appearances and stuff,
Am…

How Much Screen Time Do You Allow?

Yesterday, I had my first opportunity to see my three-month-old nephew. It was joyous, humbling, and put the importance of time into my life. My two and half-year-old niece was also there and it was both wonderful and difficult to realize I'd not seen her in over a year. Missing that year of her life has been stressful, but yesterday was magical. My eyes could not be taken off of them, and for the most part, theirs on me; except when we were in a public place with a television.

I had bought my niece a chrome book for Christmas, understanding this was jumping the gun, but wanting to be the person who pushes her educationally. I of course, do not understand the first thing about what a chrome book is or why it appears necessary for all school-aged children, because I'm from the school of thought that screens are bad. Apparently, my sister-in-law is from the same school with a more strict principle. The irony, of course, being, she and my brother are glued to their phones (before…

Chance, Choice, and Change

This time of year is always filled with reflection and some silly universal feeling that something will change as the clock strikes midnight and our new year begins. The problem is, the clock changes at different times, in different places, and for the most part, we are where we are because of chance. I often wonder how often people who are where they are in the world because of change experience it, for better or for worse. How do we make a change if we are unsatisfied with our locale, whether it be a continent, country, city, or home?

Every year we make resolutions, whether we announce them, document them, or simply think them. We vow to be better people, love more, work harder, save money, lose weight, what have you. We then spend most of the year leaving most of this up to chance, making safe choices, and minor changes. Then, 365 days later, we make some minor adjustments and make these same resolutions. Not much changes and we continue the process, either accepting our fates or i…

The Day After

As is often the case, I wrote a somewhat long, drawn-out blog about my lack of a day yesterday. I then deleted it and started all over, changing it, then coming back to the initial concept, but with a much less bitter tone. I of course came back to something similar, which unravelled into this mess. So bear with me. A lot is on my mind.

With the exception of some reciprocal greetings, I was universally ignored by those who spend much of their "busy" time boasting of how their door is always open, nothing means more than friends and family,  and my favorite, how one can never be too busy for those they care about.  To be honest, it hurt. I could care less about those who I know are phony and simply create a facade of human decency, living their lives for none other than themselves. Those who aren't even friends with their children, grandchildren, or even spouses, simply manufacturing a picture of what they believe love is supposed to be. I care about those I feel for. I w…

Narcissistic Post

Do you ever feel that you hold yourself back by being level-headed, modest, and humble? Do you ever project yourself in a manner that demeans your character and intelligence, all the while feeling as if you're surrounded by people who do the opposite? Do you think those of us who are chronic underachievers are so because of our empathy, compassion, and simply because we spend so much time bringing up and helping others, we fail ourselves?

Someone made a joke recently in regards to someone who thought they were bright, simply because they were somewhat organized in appearance, saying "They're no MENSA candidate." I laughed, then in almost a knee-jerk reaction, uttered: "Who is?" Silly, simple story. No meaning, right? Here's the thing, I was. I passed a prerequisite test, by a lot, and was invited to apply for membership, which would have entailed taking their entrance exam. I didn't. Why? Numerous reasons, but maybe I didn't want to quantify my …

Trying to Fit In Where You Don't Fit In

I fit in while living in Brooklyn. It may be true I was a bit of a chameleon during those days, but we all were. White, Black, and Spanish kids all playing together, in our minds all alike, but with so many differences, not able to be seen by the naked eye, one would be astonished by our solidarity. At 15. I moved, and suddenly everyone looked just like me, but I soon found they weren't. I attached myself to those I most felt comfortable and today, those I call my dear friends. I speak to them via text or messenger less often than I should, but that two-way street has always felt like it was on a very steep hill. I blame no one.

So it's been four, almost four and a half years, since I've journeyed northwest and I have lived now in four different places. It started with my father, who I grew apart from. We grew apart more because of who we were than any other thing. He valued his friends and minor acquaintances over family, something I've learned through letting go of s…

The Santa Clause

Imagine Jesus coming back during Christmas.
Imagine the teachings of religion were real.
Imagine then, what would our current celebratory process do to our chances to enter into the mythical gated community in the sky. The penance, purgatory, and inevitable exile into Hades most would face, would bring fear into every consumer.

But hey, we've all signed into a social contract with a Pagan icon. One who is a gluttonous stranger, who judges us constantly, and shows up once a year to decide, depending on our deeds or expenditures, if we're worthy of praise or punishment. I, of course, am talking about the capitalistic idiocy we've agreed to with this Santa Clause we've all deemed as normal.

Yes, I'm an old curmudgeon, because I can take inventory, and view the tens of thousands of dollars I've spent on others, and they on me, on trinkets and bric-a-brac and items I and others will covet until the next new thing arrives. I'm finally at the age where the future …

What's Worse?

This was actually a Facebook post so you can consider not being friends with me on Facebook the gift that keeps on giving. 

I'm not sure what's worse (Yeah, I know it's a weird follow-up to my happy post), but this time of year, well, it says a lot about a lot of people.

Being selfish with your time when you can be with others or being selfish with your time when you're with others.
Being absent when you could be present or being absent when you are present.
Taking those you care about for granted or getting angry when those you care about take reciprocate this.
Doing enough to make yourself feel good or to not care if you've done enough for another feel good.
Being adequate or accepting it.
Doing it for you or thinking it's about you.
Putting up appearances or thinking that's what it's about.
Thinking quantity is quality or not understanding the quantity of quality matters too.
Thinking you're a role model or ignoring the importance when you are.
Not sayi…

Signs Can Tell You Who People Are

I was going to write out a long story, using a group of ten people who must carry twenty-five rocks from point A to point B. The rocks would have been of varying sizes and the people who have been of varying strengths. The other variable would have been when the people arrived to help. I think you can all see where this is going, but as I started to write it, I started thinking about other things that predetermine who these people are and how they'd approach this task. There are indeed more variables, but I started thinking about how we can tell major character traits about ourselves, the people around us at home, work, and in society, by the little things they do. The real difference with this blog will be, I will not describe what the traits are based on these things. Those who read it are free to think of those they know and attach their own traits, but if you do read it, think about it and think about the behavior. Is there a correlation with the act and other behaviors that a…

For You

I am not a man who likes routine, yet I keep the routine, every morning.
I wake, take care of your needs, your food, your freedoms.
I then try to take care of the simple things for me, all the while, giving you all the attention you crave/
I apologize when my schedule changes and our time is cut short.
I say goodbye every day, whether you're listening or not.
I think of you when I'm gone. I worry when you are.
I fear when I have to stay late and wonder if you're worried, upset, or OK.
I realize you're home and wish to be out.
I open the door and you're there, usually waiting with your own form of embrace.
I take care of your needs. Always before mine.
I make sure you're comfortable as possible.
I brush your hair and massage your neck until you drift off into a slumber.
I take care not to wake you, should I have to get up.
I keep the noise to a minimum,
I give you most of the bed, careful not to startle you with my tossing and turning.
I sleep light, just in cas…

Amateur Child Assessment

Working with kids for almost three decades has taught me that, in general, most people who work with children, are not very adept at picking up or handling behavioral problems. This is not to say they aren't capable people, even capable instructors, and teachers, simply that they lack the experience or knowledge of how to handle a variety of behaviors. They tend to believe, setting a standard is the way to deal with all children. Not only does this not work with children, but it's also a dangerous precedent to set in the adult world. I normally do some digging into these people's pasts (or presents) and usually find they need structure personally, whether it be for health, mental, or social reasons; often all three.

One of the other problems with group discussions about children is, many times, the person with the most to say is the least knowledgeable, is referencing childhood memories of their own, or is simply someone who feels the need to be heard. Ironic that when dis…

Respect Is Earned

I was having a discussion with someone about respect. It began when I mentioned I worked with kids and the person said he gave me a lot of credit because "kids today are disrespectful." I explained I've encountered moments of disrespect, but in general, I feel they respect me. I went on to tell that I am very careful not to talk down to them and even more careful not to use my being an adult and my position to make them feel lesser. In showing them respect, I receive it.

It has dawned on me recently that many people think they deserve respect without it being a reciprocal relationship. They often believe their position, title, or situation gives them the leverage to demand it, without showing it. In some senses, this is classic bullying and when one looks at those who do this, they're usually lacking in self-esteem, intelligence, and quite often, any behavior that merits it. With the exception of human decency, they quite often deserve the opposite.

As the years of m…

A Sense Of Humor

I consider myself lucky. I am viewed by most as a funny person. I am viewed by those who know me well as someone with a wonderful sense of humor. Being funny, appreciating humor, and having a sense of humor are very different things. I assume, those without a sense of humor, don't realize this.

There are times in life when our humor gets us in trouble. Most of the time, it's because we assume most people can decipher humor with seriousness, not that they are mutually exclusive. I've often wondered what life must be like for those without a sense of humor. Sure they can laugh at a TV show or movie, enjoy a comedian, even laugh at a joke, but that's all a reaction to an outside stimulus. A sense of humor comes from within. It's the ability to view any and all situations, if the moment allows it, with a touch of farce, sarcasm, irony, and quite simply, humor. I assume there's something wired differently in people who can't do this or maybe it simply boils down…

A Quick Note On Workplace Production vs Efficiency

I work in a job where many different things happen every day. I work with kids, so this is an understatement. That being said, I also work in a place where certain things, not pertaining directly to the kids, MUST happen every day. Their completion is not production, but a necessity. So here's my issue. There's this idea that if there are ten employees working, for there to be 100% production, each person must do 10%. This, in fact, is completely false, as is proven by the fact that yesterday, 100% of the production was achieved, despite 80% of it being done by three people.  Production at my job never changes, it's the efficiency that does. Here's where it gets confusing. A lot of people still think if they do 10% of the work and 100% of the work is achieved, they've done their part. The problem is, for one to be efficient, they must individually give 100% and if everyone gives 100%, there will be 100% production in a 100% efficient manner. This is what we call a …

Tiny Epiphanies

Maybe they happen daily. Maybe they don't. Maybe it's not so much an epiphany, but simply us becoming "woke" to what is right in front of us. Maybe it's simply opening our eyes, not a sudden burst of insight. It seems to be happening more and more for me. Is it simply being observant, realizing how similar most people are, or is it truly an epiphany? They just seem to pour in. Some are about me; some are not.

When you realize someone who needs to be, isn't as observant as you once thought.

When you realize someone is living the same life you once had.

When you realize two people are bound by insecurity and necessity, more than by love.

When you realize it's been a year since you've seen your family.

When you realize what you miss most in life is solitude.

When you realize bettering yourself makes others angry.

When you realize pointing out the obvious isn't so for others.

When you realize you care too much about too many.

When you realize those ar…

Are Our Expectations Of Today's Children Ridiculous?

As friends, family, and especially parents of children, we all have hopes that the children we know and love will live better lives than we did. At least that's the way life is supposed to work. As someone who has worked with children for over almost 30 years, I'm starting to believe that while our hopes are justified, our expectations, even in their day-to-day lives, are ridiculous.

Kids are sitting in their classroom before most adults are at work.
Kids don't have the luxury of hitting the snooze button.
Kids don't have the luxury of easing into their day with a trip to Starbucks.
Kids don't have Me Time during their commute.
Kids can't make the decision if they are well enough to go in.
Kids can't take a personal day to clear their minds.
Kids have 40-minute meetings all day long.
Kids can't choose who to have lunch with.
Most kids can't even choose their own lunch.
Kids can't pop out for a smoke or breath of fresh air.
Kids can't hide in…

Mental Wealth Inequality

Why is it that we put so much value on the things that drive us insane? We're so concerned with appearing to be well off, happy, and living the American Dream, that often, the things we desire destroy us. The irony, of course, is that most of these things are either unnecessary or superfluous. For example, many of us need a car, but very few of us need a car that is either as big, as fast, or simply as expensive as what we are paying. Most of our lives is getting from point A to point B, either physically or metaphorically and the less baggage and constraints, including financial, the better. 
In the news, we are constantly being reminded that mental health in this country is not only weak in terms of treatment, but the plethora of mental disease categories are growing. Another hot topic, is wealth inequality, and for most of us, we're on the short end of that stick. Sadly, the two are tied in, as anyone who lives paycheck-to-paycheck is well too aware of. But why? Is it marke…

You Can Take The Boy Out Of The...

Where we grow up plays as big a part of who we are as adults as anything we experience. Out families lay the foundation, but it's those we befriend out of locale more so than mutual interests, that form who we are. I believe this is why I feel so out-of-place where I am now, and why I never really fit in during my time in Eastchester, NY, a place I lived for 30 years.

Brooklyn, where I spent my formative years, taught me to trust. Trust my instincts, trust my knowledge, but mostly to trust my friends. Reconnecting with an old friend yesterday, something clicked. I realized that we humans are so much like animals in the wild, but those of us who have never had to rely on others for safety, grow up very differently. In a world where we tell people, we'll always be there for them, most say it metaphorically, never knowing what it is like to live a life like this. A life based on reciprocal care, protection, and appreciation for all of those around us.

As kids, we were a pack. A p…

Words! Understand them before using them.

Over the last few years, the past two or three especially, I've been away from what had always been my normal environment. Despite having friends from all walks of life, with different values, educational levels, and socioeconomic backgrounds, most of those I associated with understood words and their meanings. Now living (near) and working in an Ivy League college town, you'd think this would be similar. It's far from it. What I've realized is, most people, much of it due to social media and memes, do not understand what most words mean. Their misuse of them is comical at times, but when they use them to define themselves, without understanding their true meanings, it's actually quite sad. See below.

Compassion: This is not a simple act of caring. It's the, at times, overwhelming concern and care of others who are less fortunate than you. So many people think simply being nice is compassion. Being nice is being nice and it's definitely a wonderful thing, b…

My Answers: The Inside the Actor's Studio Questionnaire

I have done this shortened version of the Proust Questionnaire a few times, but decided to do it again and then maybe go back and see how my life has changed, where I am, and where I want to be....or at least in terms of these questions. So here it goes.

What is your favorite word? Sincerely

What is your least favorite word? Karma

What turns you on? Intelligence

What turns you off? Willful ignorance

What sound do you love? My cat Swag's purr while he is sleeping.

What sound do you hate? Any a cell phone makes.

What is your favorite curse word? Cunt

What profession, other than yours, would you like to attempt? Writer

What profession would you not like to attempt? Butcher

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? It took you a while but you understand what it's all about.












A Good Day

Yesterday afternoon, I walk into a local restaurant and there's one open seat at the bar. I ask if anyone's sitting and upon hearing it's vacant I sit. The men to the right were the hunters whose drinks of choice I mocked. Nice guys, but hey, hunters. The woman to my left, I'd spoken to last Sunday and who had remembered my veganism. A few seconds later, the bartender walks over and says "Your first beer is on us. Someone bought the bar for a 50th Birthday." A few moments later a chip was put down and the birthday boy had apparently bought the entire bar another round, as he left. Pretty good start to the afternoon. A few moments later, The woman to my left, pulls out a small Ziploc bag. In it were three macaroons. She explained that despite being an avid fisher and hunter, she was once vegan and completely respects and admires my choice. She said, her go-to macaroon recipe is vegan, so she figured she'd bring them in hoping to see me. I thanked her, boug…

Sharing Responsibility

As Thanksgiving rolls around, we sometimes misuse the term thankful when we really mean grateful. We are thankful for those outcomes, behaviors, and situations we expect, while we are grateful for those which surprise and lift us up. Many times in relationships, whether they are simple acquaintances, working, or romantic, we tend to take that which is expected for granted, as do our partners. It is at these times, where we tend to be grateful for that which is expected. Without our even realizing, this is a fracture within our bond.

I think this happens most when we look at shared responsibilities. If one person generally cooks, and the other cleans, when the other cooks, then it is assumed the regular cook will clean. At my job, I generally do one aspect of set up and clean up more than others, but it is expected that they do the other jobs. Yesterday, this didn't happen, and I realized that when you add more people to this relationship, the idea of shared responsibility, of acco…

15 Observations Based On This Week

As I stated in my last blog (nobody read), I am an obsrvationist. Again, I am not even sure if that's a word or a thing, but I'm sticking to it. So without any true explanation, I'm going to simply point out things that I observed this week that seem to almost always be true.
1. Men who speak down to their wives and girlfriends in public, seem to have friends who are very warm, comforting, and supportive to these women. Especially, when the husband isn't there. 
2. The laziest people sincerely believe they are hard workers.
3. Being smiled at is like a drug. 
4. People who jump into Christmas before Thanksgiving tend to do so because they are selfish.
5. Good bartenders are good regardless of the expected or past tips. 
6. Most people exaggerate their daily struggles.
7. People who work with children primarily for the money are the worst childcare providers in the world. 
8. People who are insecure in their abilities use body positioning to shut out those who may be st…

An Observationist's Struggle

This was originally about seven long paragraphs. I've reduced it by taking out every example and the feeling they give me. It is now three.

Observationist may or may not be a real thing. According to a little red line, it's not even a word. I'm fairly certain it is a word but have no real desire to confirm. I would think there are people who are paid to do such things, but this is not anything I could see being healthy. Being observant, at times, feels like a mental illness. The funny thing about this affliction is that I do not consider myself one who spends much time on attention to details in my own life. I do not care if the covers are made, the soap is centered on the soap dish, or if the car is parked evenly between two lines. I simply don't think about it when it comes to myself. That being said, when it comes to others, I am painfully aware.

I notice people's trends, especially when they are beneficial or hurtful in some way to me. I notice patterns in thei…

Capture-The-Flag

While working with kids the other day, there was a moment when one team won, another lost, and the immediate reaction from the losing team was that the winning team cheated. To be honest, both teams had cheated, but that was irrelevant to a bunch of 5-10-year-olds. Only the team that benefitted from the cheating was wrong. In some ways, it's a microcosm of today's society, with everyone fighting to get ahead at one another's expense, but the only people who speak up are the ones who don't. For kids, the repercussions last only until the next game, but in this scenario, the young girl, wise beyond her years, felt that the stigma may stick. 
At the end of the day, a kid on the losing team brought it up to me and mentioned that he was pretty sure she did cheat. I told him that it was only a game and we had played so many others during the afternoon that he shouldn't let it bother him. A few moments later, in a game of skill, a very smart boy tried to win the game by b…

Subtraction > Addition

As Americans, we have been sold on this dream. The dream is to accumulate "stuff" and label it success and happiness. The problem is, with more things to take care of, we tend to choose one of two paths; to be burdened by our possession or to let them diminish and decay.

The greatest example I can give you is a home. Think of most young people's apartments. They buy or rent, then accessorize. Their homes look straight out of a catalog. Then they start to collect and their space lessens and their so-called assets increase. Soon, their dwellings look like a storage room and they feel they need to move into something larger. They do, and for a while, they enjoy the comforts of their spacious new homes. Then the process repeats itself, but now, they're locked into this home for years, maybe even decades and they start to forego their chores. Pretty quickly, their home not only looks tiny and cluttered, but it becomes unclean and unhappiness settles in because in attainin…