Posts Tagged kids

The big time dream coefficient

Swim…Bike…Run. I’ve been training for months for the 11 Global Lake Oconee Olympic Triathlon. That’s 1.5km swim, 40km bike, and 10km run. I can do it, but an entrapped ulnar nerve in my right elbow has forced me out of the competition, again…
Three doctors told me surgery should be done ASAP to prevent further permanent nerve damage yet I struggle to find excuses why I shouldn’t do it. “It’s getting better; it’s not so bad…” My mind reels with the what if’s. I am stronger, faster, and fitter than I have ever been. Why me? As if that’s an excuse… The road to Hell has been paved by excuses.
Why am I so obsessed with a race that means relatively little in the scheme of life? The Boston Marathon has been forever marred by the senseless tragedy of it all. All those people chasing their dream have had their glory ruined by cowards.
My kids love me; I know they do. I see it in their faces when I give them chocolate milk just because. I want them to grow up chasing their dreams as wife and I have done. I am weeks away from dissertation success and beating the human odds everyday for the last five years since I was confined to a wheelchair and hobbled by a cane. Right now, son’s dream is to beat “Temple Run.” Well, he’s four. Daughter’s dream is to be a dance choreographer and she competes at the highest levels of our expectations.
I am reminded of Rudy where a small-town guy that is too small battles and beats the odds of a big-time dream. Dreams can be reached; they just need to be tempered with realistic expectations. On September 29, i will toe the line at Ironman 70.3 Augusta. See you at the starting line.


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The curious case of the missing beaver

For several lonely years, a gopher lived in my Father’s study when one day, a beaver came to live and be friends with it. Now, that beaver is missing. See, son is fascinated with those two creatures, so much so that the last time he was at Poppy’s house, son took and hid the beaver. When Poppy asked, “Do you know where the beaver is?” son replied with a noncommittal answer.
“I don’t know…”
They searched high and low, all over the house to no avail. The following week when son was again at Poppy’s, he was asked if he could help them find it. “I can’t remember…”
Last Saturday, I discovered why Kroger Supermarket puts candy at toddler eye level on the checkout aisles. Son tried to sneak a Rollo into his pocket.”What is that?” I asked knowing exactly what was going on.
“I want a Rollo.”
“Not today.”
“I want a Rollo!”
I pulled the candy out of his tightly clenched hand and returned it to the shelf. He went for it again and I deftly picked him up and moved him away. Or, so I thought. By the time I grabbed his waist, he had a vice grip with both hands on the candy shelf. I pulled and pulled until he finally let go and moved him toward the end of the aisle. He made a rush for it, but I blocked him and moved him back again, while he was kicking and hollering.
He then took it upon himself to block the cart with his body; ” What’s the password?” he asked.
Really…I thought. “I don’t know. What is it?”
“Move, Now! We have to pay the lady.” I picked him up again, kicking and hollering then blocked him with my knee as I paid, hoping no one was going to call DFACS.
We get to the car where he then refused to get in his car seat. After pleading with him then forcing him in, I finished unloading the groceries in the trunk and made for home. As I was leaving, I noticed I had a voicemail from wife from an hour earlier: “Listen, if you want to wait until I finish running, I will watch son while you go to the store alone. I know how hard it is to take son with you.”


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The Reality of Reality TV

Why is the SyFy channel showing more reality dreck on TV? I pay for this channel so I can watch reruns of TV shows that engage me with quality story lines and B-movies that make me laugh at their horrible special effects. I don’t need reality; it’s mundane and trite.

As I lie in bed recovering from minor surgery, I was hoping for an escape from all the details I’m missing by not working, not writing (dissertation), and not parenting. When a trip to the bathroom becomes the highlight of my morning, I need to move on.
Daughter turned ten this week and now constantly reminds everyone she’s officially a tween. Next thing I know, she’ll want the car keys.

Meanwhile, today at son’s school, Santa is visiting. Yes, I think it’s the first week of November but the Big Man gets pretty busy this time of year. So, last night wife and I encouraged son to make a list of what he wants from Santa. See- Santa told me he wants to give him a bike, but the first words out of son’s mouth, “Zero bikes!” This might pose a bit of a problem…

As son was being toweled off and daughter was in shower, she had no problems spouting off everything she wants. Yes, I said it was her birthday recently and I may have mentioned she won a Kindle Fire HD and has an iTouch, but she wants a computer. I think it’s time she got ahold of some lowered expectations. I imagine Santa might be suggesting a bike for her as well. Heck, why don’t we all ask for bikes!

Speaking of bikes, I continue to research the best possible options to improve my tour de force in the 2nd leg of my next triathlon. I am hoping that a sale will occur at the same time that I actually have cash to buy one because they never seem to coincide.
I’ve noticed that sales are tricks, friends, meant to steal our hard earned cash by “enticing” us with a slightly better model for a modest increase in price. No, I want the cheap one to be cheaper. I don’t want the more expensive one to be just a touch pricier that I spend more money.

This is a lesson that I learned in college, not through education, but late night TV viewing. One night the wife comes into our apartment and catches me, phone and credit card in hand, buying…you guessed it! A Body by Jake Total Fitness Gym that had interchangeable bands for weighted resistance. Best damn clothes rack I ever bought!

Well, I won’t get any good feedback from the doctor until next week when the stitches come out and I get a set of X-rays. My fitness goal is to be cross-training until January 1st then hit the pavement. I have 9mos to reach my goal. Speaking of which, I saw a tweet that said Ironman Florida sold out in 30min. I just hope I get a starting spot at the 70.3 Augusta.

It seems SyFy has a whole damn day planned for Hollywood Collector so I guess I could actually read. My latest book is I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell. Lets hope I never find out because I know they serve it in Heaven. Hey, wife! Get me a beer and make me a ham sammich.


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Wrangling technology for the youth of today

Over the summer, I had the chance to watch a baseball game every day through DirecTV’s Major League Season Pass. When the NFL football season started, though, baseball fell to the3 wayside to make room for time spent analyzing players and teams for my fantasy football leagues and Sundays in my blue chair watching every game at the same time. Except, it isn’t happening. My fantasy teams are in the toilet and every Sunday, I have alternate plans that leave me without access to the programming. Ah! DirecTV has a plan that allows you access to the NFL games on the iPhone and iPad, but not surprisingly, they charge extra for. Really?!!?!? A season long subscription that could include internet access to the games decides they want to charge extra for it. I have enjoyed every chance I have gotten to watch sports on TV because I know it monopolizes the big screen away from a wife who really doesn’t like watching them on television.

                While I spend my leisure time with the family, I always found sports was a “safe” TV event that everyone could watch without worrying about inappropriate content…until I saw an advertisement for an R-rated movie that scared even me. I wrote the networks last year, but to no avail, they have appeared again. My wife and I spend considerable amount of time discussing the impact that TV has had on our family and even the American family. While we monitor our children’s viewing habits, they probably watch too much. It’s just too easy to grab an extra 30 minutes while they watch another episode of “Arthur”.

More importantly, though, when they are engaged in watching, they are disengaging with the family. TV is hardly a family event anymore. With televisions in every room, children and spouses can visit the next room over to find a show that they prefer. Just the other day, I lamented the fact that the playroom did not have any episodes of “Caillou”. I guess if I want my children to watch less TV, I should be the first one to turn my programs off. Setting boundaries for the kids cannot be predicated on the “Do as I say, not as I do” mentality. Kids mirror their parents’ behaviors.

Also, I see the growing impact that TV has had on the generations who enter school every year. As I struggle to get students to invest in the learning process, I find they all too often want their content delivered to them rather than seek it for themselves. When one channel bores them, they simply tune to another broadcast and never look back. A 250 page novel takes more effort than an episode of “The Jersey Shore”. I had one student ask me this year if he could just watch the movie instead of reading the book. Again I must say, really?!!??!

I think this exemplifies our society’s current struggle with technology. We love our gadgets and the tasks that we can use them for, whether checking business emails or playing a quick game; we simply need to integrate them into our lives in a way that enhances our daily existence. Yesterday, a student had his headphones on and his iPod turned so loud I could actually hear the music from across the room. After three attempts to call his name, his neighbor tapped him on the shoulder so that I could remind him that those are not permitted in my classroom. He actually said that he was listening to me. Whether TV, music, or games engage our children, they must know that there is an appropriate time and place for each of them. The next person that tries to hold a conversation with my while one earbud is in his left ear while the right one dangles across his chest will find me, for once, mute. I mean, really?!??!

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Counting Calories

Recently, my wife received a compliment that her appearance was better because she’d lost weight over the last few months. When asked her secret, she simply replied that no secret existed and she had simply been counting calories and exercising more. It seems that in the seventies, when people became increasingly focused on looks, that “fad diets” became the rage. Twenty years later, dieters had abandoned the Pritiken diet for the Atkins and South Beach. Even more recently, everybody that can afford a webpage is peddling a new way, an easier way, to lose weight.
Without stepping on my soapbox and proclaiming the ills of society and chide those f us who spend an unhealthy amount of time focused on appearances, i must ask again why everyone thinks there is an easy way to solve a difficult problem. Thin or fat, i bet you are unhappy with some attribute of your figure that others barely notice. The central theme of today’s entry focuses on the inordinate amount of emotional energy that focuses on finding an easy way out of a problem.
This past week has shown me that students are not resistant to learning, rather; they are resistant to work. Who can blame them? When those of us take on difficult challenges, we should be aware that failure IS an option if we don’t push ourselves. Yet, here again I find myself questioning how I could teach my students to work smarter and use their God-given talents to better themselves. Everybody has an idea, but no one has a concrete plan. How do I battle innate human characteristics. Like water, we find the route of least resistance to our destination.
When someone acts surprised that your effort has merited a positive change, thank them for the compliment. It simply can’t be our duty to lift everyone out of their abyss of problems and provide them with the answers they seek. Self-help books are a joke. If you need to fix your life, roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. Look out for number one; chances are, no one else is.

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