lessons for a father

January 26th, 2015

I attended an Emotional Intelligence training class last Friday. I sneered at this class with cynicism just as I used to as an arrogant, young man that knows everything. But this time, I decided to keep my eyes and ears open. And I am glad I did. There were many lessons in that class for this 40 something year old. Lots that will apply for work, but most of the improvements I felt were for my most important role as a leader… lessons for a father.

It’s weird how much more I worry about my children’s struggles than they do. I need to quell my own “inner hulk” to give them calm leadership.

Even in the face of seemingly unprovoked unfair treatment. We are going to stand strong and work harder to change minds. As a family, we will keep our ears and eyes open to do our best to understand the other side.

Impact doesn’t always match intention, so we need to do our best to dig through to grasp what is needed to break patterns that are unproductive.

Above all else, we need to be honest with ourselves and be honest with our own abilities. Being able to back up and make sure of our footing when we take a stand is important. Take this logo…


Have you ever seen the arrow?


I’ve seen that logo thousands of times, but never noticed it. We don’t know everything. We need to be humble and recognize that.

Funny/Interesting Links…

Welcome to the Hotel Squirrelfornia… You can check out any time you like, and you can also leave.

January 22nd, 2015

I hate squirrels. There I said it. Hate them. They tear up parts of our house so that they can get inside the attic for warmth. And they have been livin’ it up in our attic at the Hotel Squirrelfornia…


A tiny squirrel scratching and running around above your head at 3am sounds like a full grown man climbing through your insulation. It sucks. We’ve been losing sleep. So I took action…


I cut back the limbs near the entrance to the near the dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair. Where I could smell the warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air…


And sealed up the doors with a couple layers of screen. So suck it, squirrels. You can check out any time you like, and you can also leave.



It’s worked well… at least, the past couple of days.

So I called up the Captain,
“Please bring me my wine”
He said, “We haven’t had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine”
And still those voices are calling from far away,
Wake you up in the middle of the night
Just to hear them say…

So yeah, Captain bring me my wine and I don’t want to hear any voices or squirrels waking us up in the middle of the night any more.

Funny/Interesting Links…

secretly, we all wouldn’t want to be anywhere else

January 20th, 2015

Van Jr and I arrived home from the hockey tourney in Charlotte, NC yesterday afternoon safe and sound. After nine hours on the road, I find my son doing this…


Yep, that’s Van Jr shooting on his net in the playroom. He then came out and asked if his team’s normal ice slot was open tonight so he could skate. For all the effort, time, and money I put into allowing my kid to play travel hockey, he sure does love it.


The tournament was good, I think despite not coming home with a win. The Jags played against A level clubs and held their own. The boys really enjoyed running around the hotel together. I really liked getting to know some of the players that I don’t normally get a chance to chat with at the rinks. Lou (#88 in the white helmet, pictured above) and our team manager, gave a stirring rendition of Jay Z’s 99 Problems on the way to an excursion to the mall. And the parents had a great time hanging out together commiserating about miles traveled and money spent, but I think secretly, we all wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

Last night, I climbed up into my attic to throw some ammonia soaked rags to convince some squirrels that our attic is not a hotel and I found this laying out in the open…


The thing is, we’ve never done Elf on a Shelf. Ever. On the positive side, the 8 year old girl-like scream I let out when my flashlight unveiled the thing probably scared the squirrels out of the attic.

Funny/Interesting Links…

enjoying the ride

January 16th, 2015

IMG_4732Van Jr and I made it to Charlotte, NC safe and sound. The drive was long, but not too bad outside of some traffic in Northern Virginia.

We were in our room (our room number ends in 13… is it a sign for a great tourney for #13?) for about 5 minutes when he started hearing familiar loud voices in the hall. The boys piled into one of the rooms with an Xbox and were having a blast. Tonight, we are going go watch the Charlotte Checkers take on the Toronto Marlies in some AHL hockey.

Saturday will be the first games of the Hemby Cup for the Jags, the boys really enjoyed a great tourney at Silver Sticks. The Jags got some amazing news yesterday, one of their best players that has been out the past month and a half with a broken wrist has been cleared for the tourney. Moving up a tier to play at the A level is a challenge, but this team has shown all year long that they have the heart and guts to meet anything thrown at them.

Getting to Charlotte without hitting traffic, or any other unforeseen obstacles was great, but you know what was the best part? My son talked to me the entire 9 hours. He barely played on his iPad, didn’t glue himself to his phone. No arguing about schoolwork or anything, we talked. This tournament has already paid for itself and been a great experience, as far as I am concerned.

That said, we’ve got some games, boys! Let’s do this, Jags!

Funny/Interesting Links…

the unbearable lightness of an obligate ram ventilator

January 14th, 2015

Hm.kO3eCI.W4CpAA4HJLCw_mToday, I am working from home. There are some things to pack and quick errands to run before Van Jr and I head to Charlotte, NC tomorrow for the hockey tournament. I’ve got another Gorilla Workout (oh joy, 100 burpees and 200 supermans in my future) to do at some point today. A trip to the bank. Fill up the truck with gas. A few bills to pay. Make sure Viv’s rides are covered one more time.

I feel like a shark some days – I have to keep moving to stay alive.  OK, before anyone goes apeshit, I know not all sharks require constant movement to breathe… let’s just assume I’m talking about the shark species that do not breath using buccal pumping. So, I’ll try that again…

I feel like a shark that does not breath using buccal pumping some days… See? That sentence totally doesn’t flow now. Thanks a lot, nerds.

Back to my point, I’d really like need to take a break. Last night, Viv spent the night with us so I could have some time with her before I go out of town. She sat next to me on the couch, but had headphones on and she spent the night glued to her iPad Mini. I made her take a short break, and got about 10 minutes of time… once she got over her evil dad that made her disconnect for a couple of minutes. Oh well, sometimes it’s just about being there. I’ve found as my kids are wading into those weird teen waters, as long as they aren’t on fire – it’s best to maintain the kid/teen-approved distance.

Abbe had two sewing lessons yesterday evening, and was tired. She pretty much went right to bed after those were over. Tired spouse waters are similar to the kid/teen waters – keep your distance and nobody gets hurt.

The truth is for an obligate ram ventilator, like me… I’ll just keep on moving. I’ll get home next week and everyone will miss me. Then everyone will want to hang with dad the shark again.

Funny/Interesting Links…

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