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Five Things

I am grateful for…

  1. … time off from work that reminds me that I am not my job (and takes me far enough out of my routine that I forgot to post one of these on Monday).
  2. … time spent at the park with my family and my nice niece and her family.
  3. … a clean house.
  4. … girls who regularly astound me with how much they’re learning and the wonderful people that they’re becoming.
  5. … the scary realization that people at work put a lot of trust in me.

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Lessons Learned During a Week Without Blogging

Like a hairy (but disarmingly handsome) prophet am I come back from the promised land.

In case you didn’t notice, I took last week off from blogging, both reading and writing. I responded to a couple of comments here to avoid being discourteous. Other than that, I put myself on a strict no-blog diet.

Twyla Tharp‘s book The Creative Habit (via 43 Folders) inspired me to swear off blogs for a week. Her examples of voluntary sacrifices that can foster creativity made it clear that blogs were a perfect choice for me.

My conscience had been nagging me that blogging had become an unbalanced part of my life. My daughters often came to me as I sat on the couch reading blogs and asked to read a book or play with me. I (irritated by the distraction) would brush them aside, “Not now. I’m reading. Maybe later?”

How fucking backwards! My time with my daughters is slipping away one minute at a time, and I feel obligated to get my feed reader down to zero unread posts? That is the very definition of having my priorities upside down.

Blogging is great. I love that people the world over are having conversations. I have let that conversation with relative strangers distract from my relationship with the people closest to me. There have been far too many days where I came home from work and spent no meaningful time with my family because I was blogging.

Blogging also provides an easy way to procrastinate while feeling like I’m accomplishing something. I do my duty to stay an informed citizen by reading blogs while I put off all those projects that intimidated me too much to even start them. The blogosphere kindly provided a never ending supply of new blog posts to read. Meanwhile, I left important things undone.

So I took the week off from blogging. I also took a week off from work and spent my time at home. So what did I do with all that time? I read the newspaper. I caught up on my reading (books). I played with the girls. I watched movies. I did a few chores. We took field trips to museums and state parks. I worked on long neglected projects. I relaxed. I remembered what it was like to live in a world without blogs.

I noticed something. The non-blog stuff that I read or watched was well thought out and lucidly presented. I felt rewarded for my time spent with them. I imagine the creators put their creations through at least two drafts before giving me the finished product. Let’s face it. With occasional exceptions, a lot of the blog world barely makes it through one draft. It’s a world full of rough drafts that we dash off and send out with a spellcheck (maybe) and a smile. It’s easy to waste time on this noisy channel trying to separate out the valuable from the dross.

Perhaps I am judging the blogging world too harshly. It is more like a conversation with friends than reading a book or watching a movie. Even so, I think I should spend less time chatting with friends and more time with my girls while they’re still interested in spending time with dear ol’ Dad, more time romancing my wife, and more time accomplishing something meaningful to me.

So now what?

I’ll make a deal with you blog-o-sphere: I’ll keep reading in moderation and put my posts through at least two drafts when it’s appropriate (I sat on this post all week), if you’ll forgive me for not reading everything that comes my way. Once I can read all my blogs in about 30–45 minutes a day, I’m done. Any new kid on the block who has a chip on his shoulder and something to prove will have to bump someone else off my reading list.


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Please make a movie about a girl who is not a princess

Linda Holmes on her NPR blog says “Please make a movie about a girl who is not a princess.


Having daughters has changed my perspective tremendously. I want desperately for them to see that their gender won’t prevent them from seizing life by the collar and shaking it down for every last nickel of its lunch money.

Making their 2012 movie about a princess places Pixar in danger of descending into the trite. I still have faith that Pixar can turn the princess motif on its head, but…

Why does every animated heroine need to be a princess?

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Five Things

In light of last week’s five, I’ve decided to write thank you notes when appropriate.

  1. My daughters, thank you for forgiving me when I make mistakes as a parent. Your lenience gives me the space necessary to make an attempt to improve.
  2. My wife, thank you for being patient when I don’t listen enough. Your patience shows me how committed you are to our marriage, to me.
  3. Jon Kabat-Zinn, thank you for your guidance in making the most of the life that I have.
  4. Nevada State Legislature, thank you for doing the right thing, making Nevada a more just place for everyone to live.
  5. Life, thank you for your little reminders (i.e. pain and suffering) that keep me on track.

Can you tell I’ve had a down week?

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Five Things

Today, I am thankful for…

  1. … having a good woman as my partner.
  2. … music and art. My life is infinitely richer because of them.
  3. … the time I’ve had recently with my daughters. I’ve been trying to focus more on the truly important things in life, and it has paid off with immediate returns.
  4. … homemade yogurt. It’s eerily simple to make. I feel like I’ve learned a secret art.
  5. … the philosophy of fire and motion.

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