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Celebrating Special Days – “Gifts, Money, or Out to Eat”

So Father’s Day is coming up and I was asked what I wanted, new shoes – which I was telling my family I needed, or go out to eat. Before I had the opportunity to answer, my significant other blurted out, “Well, I like to give gifts instead of going out to eat, because once you eat it is all done”. Now, I got upset when she said that, and let me tell you why.

I will be married 24 years this August 31st, and when my significant other became a mom, I always planned an extravagant Brunch or Dinner, such as Horn Blower Cruise (average about $600), a brunch at an exclusive Hotel and Resort or restaurant (Average about $300) for Mother’s Day. For the first five maybe 7 years I added a nice gift, a necklace, ring, or one time I even got her an iPad. But around the seventh time, she got upset with me because I planned a brunch and bought her a necklace. She told me I did not need to spend that much and for me to choose one or the other. I stopped buying gifts but kept planning extravagant brunches or dinners. Heck, this last Mother’s Day we went on a Brunch Cruise. Me thinking here that all this time, she liked these brunches or dinners I was planning – low and behold she wasn’t.

You see my significant other is the type of person that does not hit around the bush, she says things like they are, plus her English is not so strong so sometimes she sounds sarcastic and outright rude – she doesn’t mean to, but it is what it is. I know her well and when she said that she prefers giving out gifts than going out, she meant that she prefers that for herself – trust me, that is what she meant. Now, I was blown away by that, because she could have said something when I told her I was planning something for Mother’s Day – she could have said no and asked for something instead. But now that she said that, I am upset and I told myself “Never Again will I plan a Mother’s Day – ever”. To think some guys, say that they don’t give their wives anything because they are not their mother – go figure. As for giving a gift, let me tell you why that does not work – at least in my case.

If you recall earlier, I mentioned she got mad when I both gave her a gift and planned a brunch. Now, wait you are probably thinking that maybe she wants the gift now – right, but there is a reason I don’t give her gifts. Besides getting mad at me that one time; there were a few times I did give her a gift on her birthday and other occasions. The first few times it was ok, but one time at a friend’s party she got a little tipsy and during the party we were talking about birthdays and gifts, and she just blurted out that my gifts “sucked” and I did not know what she liked anymore – take it, I did ask what she wanted and she would reply, “Surprise me.” It was then I stopped giving her gifts altogether. Now it doesn’t mean I do not give her gifts, for example, she recently bought a new truck, and she wanted some cool rims, so I told her I would be happy to get her the rims she wanted, they cost $1300, she was happy, but she was not completely satisfied, because after the rims were installed she looked at the truck, and she said she wanted bigger tires, as well, but that would have been another $1000 – as you can see I can’t completely make her happy – just saying.

So, I am trying to understand when is it right to give a gift, give money, or take someone out to eat – maybe a combination, but remember in some marriages or relationships money can be tight so doing multiple things might not be financially possible. But let’s say we can keep the cost down, and then we can ask when would it be ok to do one, the other, or a combination. This could be different for different stages of a relationship. When you first start to date, we love to give gifts (pamper our loved ones) and I am sure receiving is just as nice. As the years go by, it is more of a stay at home, maybe save some money up possibly to get married. Now in the marriage stage, the honeymoon stage, we shower our significant other with gifts, dinners, date nights, etc. Years into the marriage gifts and date nights are rare because you are saving up for a house or the kids’ college. The stages could be different for different folks, having disposable income plays a big part, but in any case, I believe we still try and do something for your loved one’s birthday, Valentine’s Day, Mother or Father’s Day – so what happens, do you give a gift, give money, or eat out?

I am not sure, a least in my case, but neither of the options will happen again in my household. I know that sounds mean, but I don’t feel it was nice of her to say that, as much as I tried I don’t think it was my fault – she should have just said something.

Once again thanks for stopping by and reading, I leave you with this thought, “If you have a preference of what you want as a gift, please say something you will both be happier for it”. Have a wonderful Friday.

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Does a Father’s Opinion Matter?

Picture is actually a book by Paul Raeburn, “Do Fathers Matter?: What Science Is Telling Us About the Parent We’ve Overlooked”. You can find it on Amazon. I simply liked the picture, but I have not read the book – I might though.

So, today something happened that sort of made me think if a father’s opinion still mattered in a household. I am not trying to be negative, just sharing something that happened and maybe I am reading too much into it.

My daughter is into anime, and today she received a package with an anime hoody. I felt left out; because her mom bought her the hoodie, and I was not involved in the purchase. Why should I be, you might be asking, but the thing is that when I saw it, it sort of looked like a hip hop, gangster hoodie. Not saying there is something wrong with that, but I just thought maybe it wasn’t right for her; ok wait, let me be honest; I thought maybe it wasn’t right for the neighborhood we live in – sounds selfish or dumb. The thing is I grew up in a bad neighborhood. I could share stories of the things I saw, but the point is, we worked hard to get where we are and decided to move into a nice neighborhood. We were not easily accepted if you know what I mean, but after a while, the neighbors came around. I was just simply trying to avoid my children having to grow up in the same environment I grew up in, but somehow they both, including now my daughter, like that type of clothing style – gangster/hip hop. Once again, nothing wrong with it. Anyhow, back to me, the thing is that I wished I would have had the chance to get involved with my daughter’s decision early on, only because I know how her mom can get. I wanted to prepare my daughter and talk about the look and possible reactions from mom. I was trying to avoid my daughter from feeling bad like we don’t let her do things because her mom possibly would not like it. See her mom never sugarcoats things, and she does not have any diplomatic charisma when it comes to talking, so she could sound rather rude at times, but it is her way of talking. It turns out that mom did not like it and told her it looked like a “Cholo” hoodie, which is a type (stereotype) of a Mexican gangster look.

My daughter is now in her room with a headache, but I believe she is upset because of what happened. I felt bad, because my son got away with a lot of things, and I see it every day that mom is tougher on her daughter and this is an example of one of those times. I want my daughter to feel like she could express herself, we all go through changes in our lives, it is how we handle them while we are in them and when we come out if we desire to – society can be judgmental and we wouldn’t want individuals to look at my daughter in a bad way. Now, I know, it should not matter what other people think, but we all know that life is tough, and sticking out a little can make things a little harder. I know I am probably hitting on some nerves, but no one said parenting was easy, and trying to be a good person and still be yourself is sometimes tough. For example, people with tons of tattoos or motorcycle riders, get a bad rap – not that it is wrong just saying that society can be judgmental and it makes it a little harder to move around in life when you stick out. Anyhow, the thing is I was left out of this decision and now I have to deal with the aftermath.

It upsets me because I have seen fathers being left out of many decisions – even among my friends – I have seen it. Households are quick to ask fathers to fix something, clean something disgusting, fill out paperwork, fix a leaky faucet, but when it comes to other household decisions, we are left out and later we are left to deal with the aftermath of the decision – we have to fix it. Now, don’t get me wrong I am not saying that moms make all bad decisions, just saying that when the “sH!t” hits the fan fathers need to clean up the mess, which could have been avoided only if we were included in the initial decision. Maybe not in all cases right, but for the most part, and I am not saying moms make bad decisions, of course we all do, fathers, boyfriends, friends, etc.

Anyhow, I am left with trying to clean the mess up. I know my daughter liked the hoodie, and I will tell her she can keep it – after talking to mom, but my daughter is strong-headed and will just say no, even though she wants it.

Thanks for reading and I hope your weekend was a great one. I will leave you with this, “Allow your child to express themselves, but make sure they understand their decisions and how people may react. Just prepare them for what might be”.

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“Kindness” Gone Forever

The reason I am writing this post about “Kindness”, is that I feel that kindness is all but gone from our society – maybe not completely but for the most part. Even before the pandemic, kindness was but a whisper in the wind. Now, this phenomenon might not be everywhere, but here on the West Coast I think it has been replaced with “Meanness”. We have all seen the news about Road Rage incidents, and the statistic indicating that since the pandemic started road rage has increased substantially. According to an article on MSN, by Bankrate, and written by Lena Borrelli on 04/29/2021; “more than 75% of Americans admit to aggressive driving – a lesser form of road rage.” Also, “in an analysis of more than 10,000 road rage incidents over seven years, there were at least 218 murders and 12,610 injuries”. Just recently a 6-year-old boy “Aiden Leos” was shot due to road rage.

I don’t want to just stick to road rage, but have you noticed that even in supermarkets, parking lots, sidewalks, people exhibit rage for the smallest reasons. I have raised my kids to always be kind to people, and I taught them certain rules to follow; for example, I explain to my kids if they are walking the dog and you see someone coming towards you, to cross the street simply and carefully. Our dog tends to bark a whole lot, more than normal, we are working on training her, but it is tough. So, we try and be kind to not disturb people walking on the street. Also, as a neighbor on the weekends, I try not to make any noise before 8:00 am, only because I know most of my neighbors get up early during the week. A couple of years ago, my next-door neighbor complained about the bathroom light been turned on late at night. The light happens to shine into their bedroom window. So, me trying to be kind I talk to then my teenage son, asking him to use his phone flashlight when he uses the bathroom late at night. The reason for his late bathroom visits was because he was studying late and would go to bed late, so before heading to bed he would use the restroom. I did these little things to try and be kind. Check this out, I even put up window tint on the bathroom window, to block out the light – it worked. The thing is my partner did not like it because during the day the bathroom was dark. Once again, I was trying to be kind – eventually, the tint fell off. Even at work, I remember my boss telling me straight in my face that I would never move up because I was too kind.

I look back at all the times in my life, the experiences, I came across when kindness was not returned to me or my family. I know that we have enough with all the issues in life and that I should not add to it, but you know what it, can weigh on you after a while. Just today, our neighbor texted telling us if the kids could stop banging on the fence. They were playing tag and just happening to be running around and ever so often bumping or hitting the fence – it is not like we do this every single day. I felt bad, but then I thought about all the times they did yard work with machines going on full blast, or home improvements exactly during the nap time of the kids – they knew about the nap time – and we never said a thing. My daughter was walking the dog today and she always crosses the street if another person is walking towards her. Today our dog happens to be pooping and someone came around the corner, they saw my daughter, and she tried to hurry up but by the time the dog was finished and she was able to pick up the poop (yes, we pick up poop) the person was upon her. They said something to her, she could not hear – because they were wearing a mask- but she said she heard that she should have moved. She felt bad, and I told her not to worry, things happen and you will meet people like that in this world. The thing is, why did she have to move, why couldn’t the person, walk across the street like we do when we see someone else walking on the sidewalk.

I don’t get it, what has our society come to? Kindness is so much better to give and it feels good when we do. Come on how many of you have watched TV commercial or news, or watched a video on social media that simply says “kindness” and it makes you feel good. Heck, you even comment that it is nice to see kindness in the world. Whether it is a barber shaving a homeless person for free, or someone rescuing a person from a burning house or car; when we see these images our bodies tingle, they feel all warm and fussy inside. So, why can’t we show more “Kindness” to our neighbors or fellow pedestrians – why? I thought about no longer caring, or worrying about those around me, since they don’t care. Come on how many times have we heard people say, I pay my taxes, I paid my dues, so why should I care – if no one else cares.

I am angry right now, and I am sure it will pass, but it might not be the best time to write, but the thing is “kindness” is not too hard to do, we are all capable of doing it. I do not believe we are born mean – but I guess whatever life throws at you, can start to take a toll on a person and change them for the worst. I have been through some craziness, and I am far from perfect, but I think I turned out ok. I think it comes down to “us” as a people, on how we want the day or even life to go – we as people can do amazing things and of course destructive things as well.

I appreciate that you stopped by and read my post, please have a wonderful Friday, and I leave you with this, “tomorrow wake up and make someone’s day”. Thank you.

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13-Month Crises

Picture by pokerbottle

I was 12 years old when I heard a knock on the door, late one Saturday night. When I opened the door two police officers were standing there with their flashlights on my face. I turned on the porch lights and they lowered their flashlights. They asked me if I was “my name”, and I was nervous, but said yes. They proceed to tell me that my mom had been arrested for driving under the influence and since it was her third offense she would be going to jail. They asked me if an adult was living with me, and I don’t know why I told them that my older brother lived here, he was 19, because he did not; I hadn’t seen him for months. They said OK and went on their way. I was surprised they did not ask to talk to him. A couple of days went by and I received a phone call from my mom, letting me know that she was ok and not to worry. I later heard from someone else, not sure who, but they told me that my mom was convicted and had to complete a three-year term, possibly less for good behavior and something else. I did not know what that meant or what it meant for me.

That was when my 13-month crisis started. I think back and ask myself; how did my mom continue paying for rent, electricity, water, and phone while she was in jail, it boggles my mind even today. Now think a minute, this was back in the early eighties, social media did not exist and the internet was not something homes had. There was no Pay Pal or Venmo back then or let alone cell phones. I always wondered but never asked how she did it. The one thing that she was not able to do was provide me with food, home essentials like toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, toilet paper; yah it is amazing the little things we use daily that we do not think about. I was a twelve-year-old boy, living alone with no money and I did not know who to ask for help. The good thing was that I was in school, I did eat breakfast and lunch for free. Come dinner I had food for a while, but I eventually ran out of food about two months into my ordeal. There were days I went over to a friend’s house after school and I would get lucky and eat something. I never did tell anyone; I was too embarrassed.

Now, getting to school was something for the ages. You hear stories about grandpas walking miles in snow and rain just to get to school, but let me tell you my daily routine. The good thing was, that I had a city bus pass, that now that I think about it my mom somehow paid for that as well. I live completely on the other side of town from where I went to school. Class started at 7:35 am, so I would get up at 3:30 am each day to make it on time. I would leave the house about 4:00 am and walk about 45 minutes south – I remember the streets and now that I am older, I know the four cardinal directions. I would then turn right going west and walk about another 15 minutes to a bus terminal. There I would catch my first bus at 5:05 AM, which took me an hour to get to the second bus. I would have about a 5-minute window to catch the second bus which was at 6:10 AM. That bus ride was about 40 minutes. I would arrive about 6:50 AM to the third bus, but most of the time I would miss third bus by about five minutes and I would have to walk the rest of the way to school. I would make it to school about 7:15 AM or so – some days I would make it at 7:05 AM if I was able to catch the third bus. Once at school, I would rush to grab breakfast and well school started.

My ride home was a bit longer, but I did not mind, because I read a lot of books or studied a lot for school during those bus rides. I eventually got to know the bus drivers, and I remember one time, this was about 6 months in, I was running late about 5 minutes, and the first bus driver waited for me. He said he got nervous that he did not see me, so he decided to wait. He called ahead for the second bus and he waited for me as well. I was totally surprised and grateful. I had some good conversations during the bus rides with both bus drivers – I happen to sit at the front on both bus rides so I talked with the bus drivers quite a bit. I realize now that, even though I had friends, I socialized at school, the real-life conversations were with two complete strangers.

The summer was horrific, I did not have any food and I would go days without eating. The thing that I believe kept me alive that summer was the neighbors having weekend Carne Asada’s, they would always invite me – I sometimes wonder if they knew. After the BBQ they would offer me a plate of food to take home, which they would pile up and it would last me a couple of days – maybe they did know.

When I got back to school one of my teachers asked me if I was ok, I said yes. He said that I was looking thin and pale, I told him I did not realize that. The thing is I had lost nearly 35 pounds. I was normally about 130 back then. So, I was about 95 pounds when the teacher asked. I was about 5 feet tall back then, so I did look a little skinny, but not much. I guess it was noticeable. Anyhow, a year had gone by, and I was not sure anymore. I remember that month because it was so hard. Every evening going to bed without eating, I tried to shower but had no soap, toothpaste ran out so I rinsed my mouth with water, and sometimes I added a little salt – only because I remember my mom putting salt in water and making me gargling it. I was not sure if that worked, I just tried. I also realized that I had no detergent and I had no clue how to wash clothes, so what I did was rinse them in the sink and hung them outside to dry – no detergent, but they were clean somewhat. The little things we do not think about, is amazing.

I remember being curled up on the bathroom floor after I showered one day, I was lost, I did not know what was going on. It was then I heard her voice, my mother – it was weird but she sounded far away like in a tunnel. She was in tears and all I felt was her arms around me, but I wasn’t sure if it was her. I could hear her sobbing and scream, but I thought it was only a dream. My mom had found me laying on the bathroom floor, she thought I was dead – what she found was a small shriveled-up boy, that weighed 70 pounds. I woke up the next day and I looked around, but my mom was not there. I think I lost it and started to cry and thought how real it was. The thing is my mom had gone to the store early, bought food, medicine, shampoo, and it looked like she bought the store. She prepared food and had me take another shower; it was nice, what the difference shampoo and body soap make. I changed my clothes and ATE, but I got sick afterward, so I had to go easy. My mom got a hold of my older brother, and she put a beating on him – you know what I mean.

My mom was released from jail for good behavior. My mother had taken nursing classes while in jail so it was a combination of things that allowed for her early release. All I know was that I was glad she was home. I honestly do not think I would have made it through another summer. Those 13 months had opened my eyes to many things about the kind of person I wanted to be when I grew up. Now that I look back at those 13-months and the person I am. I wonder, if I became what that kid was thinking about. I wonder if social media would have made my life different, would I have been in foster care, or something else could have crossed my path, I don’t know. I just know that those 13-months of my life I will never get back.

Thank you for reading, I hope you are having or had a wonderful Memorial Day. My deepest respect to those that have served, thank you. I leave you with this thought, “life can get tough, and sometimes nearly impossible, but never underestimate what you can do, and keep pushing – never give up”.

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The Lost Conversation

First, let me give thanks to those that paid the ultimate price for our freedom – Happy Memorial Day to all veterans – thank you for your service.

Yesterday, I went out for lunch with my partner and son. We went to a fancy restaurant, semi-fancy, to get out of the house and do something. It was a time that I realize something when does talking stop between a couple?

Do you remember meeting your significant other, you guys could talk just about anything, all day and all night long. It seems you can’t take your eyes off of each other. Even after getting married, the first several years are about getting to know each other even more. The conversation, the hugs, the small touches on the arm. So, when does the talking stop?

As I sat there, I looked around I could see different couples at different stages in their relationship. It is funny but you can tell by the way couples sit and the way they talk to each other, at what point in the relationship they are. When couples are newly dating, they tend to sit towards one another or next to each other, you can see the laughter, the subtle touches, and the caresses while they talk. You can see them holding back a little, you know not to let on too much. I saw another couple in the bar, and I could tell they knew each a bit longer. You see, once some time goes by maybe a year, couples still sit facing each other, but the look on their faces seems more in love, their faces during the conversations more serious; maybe it is in the hope to take it to the next level. I ate and kept looking around. I saw an older couple, you can tell they were together for some time. I know it’s weird but you can tell when couple are in different stages of their relationship – I don’t know how to explain it. You can tell by the body expressions, their mannerism as they are next to one another, it seems like they already know everything they need to know about each other and are trying to see what is in store for the future. They sat at the bar, but they did not face each other, instead, they faced the bar. Each one was on their phone, typing away. The food arrived, they each took pictures of their food and then proceeded to eat, not a word was exchanged between them. I kept looking around and found a table with a family with young kids, their I could see the conversation was focused on their kids, they barely said a word to one another. I understand this happens, I am a parent, but the conversation between couples should be a priority.

I ask myself when does the conversation stop and why? I have been with my partner for nearly 24 years and these last several years, maybe more, we barely say a word to one another when we go out and pretty much do not talk at home unless it is about dinner, bills, chores, or our daughter. The few date nights we went on which has ben more than a year ago, were mostly arguing about one of our kids. The thing I noticed yesterday, was she looking out the window as she ate. I asked her how her food was and she said, “ok”. She did not even ask how my food was and just looked out the window. My son did try to start a conversation, I jumped in, exchanged words with my son, but we both looked at his mom and she looked like she did not want to interrupt me and my son instead of jumping in – it was weird, but now that I think about it, it wasn’t the first time.

As I was paying for lunch, I saw an elderly married couple come in – late 60’s. They sat at the bar next to each other right next to me, not facing one another, but when they sat, they leaned towards one another gave a smile to each other – that smile that says “I love you”. They ordered wine and an appetizer. When the appetizer arrived, you can see their eyes, they smiled, they looked at one another and I could hear them say, “Wow, look how beautiful this looks”. During the bit of time I was there waiting for the server to return with my card, I could see them chatting, looking at one another, smiling, and talking.

As I got up, something came over me, it was a weird feeling. Not sure if maybe it was one of those times that people get – ‘Aha moment’, but I told myself, “Never Again!.” It sounds mean, and I know that in a relationship it takes two to make it work. I know I am not the only one that has gone through this or is going through this, but that is not the reason I am writing this. I am writing this because I wonder when does, maybe not all relationships, the conversation stop between two people. At what point could I have stopped this from happening, if I could have. All I know is that to me communication has always been important in whatever I do. I believe that communication is important for everyone. We might be able to guess what our partner will do or say next after knowing them for such a long time, but we can’t read minds.

I appreciate you taking the time to read my post and I leave you with this thought, “Communication is important, please do not stop talking to your partner, wife, husband, son, daughter, friend, mom, dad, aunt, or those that are close to you – keep the conversation going”. Have a wonderful Memorial weekend.

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Try-Try Try Again

Back on April 12th, I attempted to get back into a fitness regimen by starting the T25 Alpha workout which is a five-week program. My starting weight was 224.6, and I did great the first week and weigh in at 219 at the end of the first week. I am reaching 50 this year, and I know that is not an excuse, because there are older folks that compete in fitness tournaments and start their weight loss journey older than me. It was tough, the second and third week, went great, I made it through each exercise each day – not nailing them, but making it through the days’ exercise. During the fourth week on Wednesday, I had some family issues, which I talk about in Troubled Daughter post. That took away any means for me to work out on Thursday, and that rolled into Friday. Over the weekend it was ok, but Sunday evening it was all downhill. I did not work out one day of the fifth week. I had pizza and beer that Friday to make things worse – I blew it. The thing is when I weighed in that final week Saturday, I lost a little less than a pound from the week before, I came in at 222. I thought that was strange since I did not work out at all and ate poorly – go figure. I told myself that Saturday that I would start the program over again the following Monday, of course, that was last week, the week of May 17-21, which means I did not start.

Ok so, Today May 24, 2021, I started the T25 Alpha program again, my first weigh-in is 222.7. This time, I was thinking maybe if I record each day as I exercise, I would stick to the program. Better yet I will post on my YouTube channel each workout and maybe, just maybe, I will stick to the whole five-week program this time around. I am thinking if I believe people are going to see me, maybe it will hold me responsible – I don’t know that was an idea I had. The thing is that trying to fit in some kind of exercise is tough, for me at least. Let me give you a brief overview of my day; I wake up at 5 am to get ready to go to work and I start working at 6 am. I work until 3:00 PM. Now, being at home there is no commute, so at 3 pm I help my daughter with her homework, which takes anywhere between 30 minutes to one hour, depending on the assignment. I then take a little break, but during the break, I start prepping items for dinner that evening. I left open 4-4:45 to work out because I start working on dinner around 5, we usually eat at 6:30 each evening. After dinner, I clean the kitchen Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat, and Sun, because Tue and Thur my daughter cleans the kitchen. The main cooking is done by my partner, she is a better cook in the kitchen unless cooking that day has anything to do with BBQ, that is my domain. Anyhow, I am usually done cleaning the kitchen by 7:30 depending on what is cooked – sometimes more dishes are used one day than another. At 7:30 I then try and write for my blog, prep any videos, and take care of my social media platforms, and as many as you already know, it can take a few hours – depending on what content is put out there. So, my day sort of ends at 9:30 pm, give and take. I then try and sit with my partner for at least an hour to watch a show, don’t want to neglect her. So we are looking at 10:30 to 10:45 pm wrapping up my day, now I sometimes sit and see if anyone contacts me or I spend a little time reading some blog post,  there are some amazing people out there and the content they put out is just amazing – I still have a ways to go.

As you can see my 4 to 4:45 window is small, and believe me I have had to occasionally use that time for family and work issues. Other times, my day is exhausting so I end up watching some TV, maybe catch a quick NHL game or some news. That is the reason I say it is hard for me to get into a fitness program. Thing, I might have mentioned this, but there is a good possibility that I will be losing my job in three months or so, and that is when I realized that I need to get back into taking care of myself because I read that this pandemic has caused people to lose focus on themselves and if you go out to an interview employers see that if you let your self go, this might reflect on your performance – just saying, it might not be true. That is why I decided to get back into shape, take care of myself not just for the next potential employer, but for myself as well.

So here I am again, the second attempt to try and stick to 25 minutes a day for 5 weeks.

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To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate

This post will stir some trouble, but in the words of Shakespeare, “To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate”, that is the question. I do not wish to get the COVID vaccine – that is my choice. Now, I have never taken the Flu shot, and all my family has never taken the flu shot, we seriously never or rarely get sick. I think the last time I had some sniffles was back in 2019, and that was like a runny nose and which lasted a few days. I have over 250 hours of PTO at work, which lets you know I don’t miss work. I do take a couple of weeks off a year for a recharge or sometimes a family vacation. Check this out, both my kids have missed a combined maybe 15 days of school their entire time, so far. We take pride in keeping or trying to keep healthy. I understand that not everyone is like us, yes, some people have underlining health issues which means they need to take extra precaution.

I know that this pandemic is real, I have had close friends and some distant family members lose loved ones to COVID. I think the Government along with the media are making this out to be more than it is – not saying it is a conspiracy act or anything like that, just saying I believe there is more to this hat we are being told. But back to the COVID vaccine, as I said I do not wish to get it, that doesn’t mean that peer pressure can change my mind or that it already has. I know I said “Peer pressure”, come on now, as children it was all around us, and even as adults we still see it and feel it. The reason I say peer pressure is for the following reason. Our neighbors have all gotten the vaccine, and they keep on asking every other day, which makes me think is that going to be a new thing, asking the people you meet, “Hey did you get vaccinated?”. I mean are we going to need new pick up lines around vaccination, just saying. Anyhow, so our neighbors keep asking – that is one. Another reason is that my partner runs a daycare and of course, most of the parents are in the health care industry doctors, scientists, and even a health inspector. They are all fully vaccinated and have asked if my partner was vaccinated, at first it wasn’t something she wanted to do, but yesterday she got her second shot and she did it for the parents, kids, and of course her – peer pressure. Another reason is, that I am hearing in the news that there are restaurants that will require people to have a vaccination card to dine in – “Wait, what!”. I was completely astonished, not saying it is in their right to do that, but I am pretty sure that if they lost business during the shutdowns, they will lose permanent business if they ask for vaccination cards – a lot of people are simply tired, just saying. Also, some states when traveling might require a vaccination card otherwise you will need to provide negative results when traveling, or you could end up quarantined – I don’t know all the details just what I hear. Imagine heading on a vacation and you are confined to your hotel room, is that possible.

Let me say, my poor son is in college and this was his first year. He started last year during the pandemic around October was the move-in date for him at his dorm. He had to get COVID tested before he could take his room, plus do a weekly test to remain on campus. The dorm he is in was for 32 students, double occupancy, but they only allowed 16. My son had his own room. Yet he could not gather in the dorm with anyone, eat downstairs, even after everyone in the house tested negative week in and week out, he was confined to his dorm the entire year. He is in his finals at the moment, I believe he will wrap up his first year on June 10 or something. The poor guy all year long took the COVID test each week and was stuck in his dorm – not the college experience I wished he had. Now wait there is more; so he receives an email stating that they will be reopening the campus and in-classroom teaching this coming fall 2021. He was super happy and was looking forward to participating in campus activities and everything about college. Well, he later received another email stating that students that were fully vaccinated were the ones allowed back in the class. He was upset and told me that it wasn’t fair because he has been taking care of himself, following the rules, and now it was a must if he wanted to attend in-class instructions. We talked about it and he told me and his mom that he was going to get the COVID vaccine because he really wanted to get back into the class, talk to the professors, and interact with people – of course, we supported his decision. Wait check this out, he receives another email, keep in mind he is now fully vaccinated, stating that it would be up to the professors if they want to teach in person. My son lost it; he could not believe what he was hearing. The thing is the cost of college did not go down, they kept charging for facilities that students could no use, it was upsetting – there is more to this. Poor guy, he might end up taking classes online again, not sure how many, but he is worried that most of the professors will decide to teach online. Let me tell you, this year was tough for him, the professors were hardly ever available for help, or questions, and sometimes he said they would give busy work. The students were upset, and they all felt they did not learn the objective of the class. So you see “Peer pressure or social pressure” just to get in-class learning. I know what some of you are thinking, well if your friend jumps off the roof will you jump off the roof, I get it, but this is different for some reason and I know there are people that want to get vaccinated, and those that do not.

Circling back to me; guess what, Friday I received my first dose of the vacation – yup. I thought to myself I just rather avoid something unpleasant in the future when it comes to dining, traveling, visiting a friend, or heck going grocery shopping – so I decided to just do it. I got the Pfizer, and the only thing so far is a soar arm, a little hard to move, but nothing serious. So the thing is, even though I did not want to get vaccinated, did I do it for the right reasons? I care about people, those around me, but was it necessary for me to do it. I mean let’s talk about the Flu, yes it is not COVID, but let’s talk about it. According to the CDC as of April 4, 2020, between 24,000 and 62,000 lost their lives to the flu (USA). I know, I know more died of COVID . The thing is not everyone gets the flu shot, yet we go about our everyday lives, yes once again it is not COVID – I got it, but the flu has been around a long time and not everyone gets the flu shot and we move on. If you get vaccinated shouldn’t we stand a better chance to not contract it or our body has a better chance to fight it? I am not a doctor, but the thing is I still feel something is not right with this whole thing, once again I am not saying it is a conspiracy or anything just saying that something is fishy. Anyhow, so I got my first dose and whether I did it for the right reason or not I could not tell you, because my answer may not be the one you want to hear.

Anyhow, the question I leave you with is “To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate”? I appreciate your time, I hope you have a wonderful day or evening.

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I Want to SCREAM

Picture from Fine Art America
Artist Mimi Yoon

Just when I thought my daughter was back on track, low and behold she’s back to getting Fs. I am going crazy and I simply want to run out of the house and scream. Maybe I should not care and have her get Fs for the rest of the year. If she continues to get Fs from this point on she will have F in every class and fail.

Maybe I should be a cool dad, like my brother-in-law. You see he has two daughters, both barely finished high school, one did culinary school and the other did a semester at UCI. But both are now in their mid 20’s each with a kid, and not married – I am not judging. But wait, let me tell you why my brother-in-law is cool. You see when his daughters were let’s say 12 maybe 13, they had large parties that included lots of drinking. That turned into living at home and partying all the time, whether it is in Cancun Mexico, Florida, Greece, San Diego, and lots of other places – they live simply to party and drink. Yeah, it sounds cool doesn’t it – I mean they get to travel all over and just party. Don’t pay bills, each of their kids is taken care of by my brother-in-law. They pay nothing, but they both work – just so that they can party. I think that is the type of dad I need to be, I mean my brother-in-law is going to live forever right, they don’t have to worry about growing up and maybe that is what I need to do. Let’s do this, from this point on I am going to be the cool dad, party, drink – heck, do whatever because you know, you only live once and adult life is crazy EASY!

Come on I am a bad dad because I nudge them, not push them, to be their best, because I want them to be better than me, because I want them to have the things they wish to have, knowing it took work, but they can have them because it is possible. I am a bad dad because I don’t want my kids to ever have to sleep in a car, or out on the cold, because I don’t want them to go a day without eating, feel hunger, or go through a garbage bin to look for something to eat. Yeah – guess I am that bad dad, not the cool one. Yeah, I don’t support them on almost everything they want, if one wants to play Ice Hockey, heck I didn’t cough up nearly 5,000 dollars on his goalie gear, or paid every freaking season 3,500 dollars to play on a travel team – that was twice a year, or pay for piano lessons for both them, of course, they both decided it wasn’t for them; I had no problem with that, I was trying to give them options. I am a bad dad because my daughter loves to draw, and I buy her cheap number 2 pencils – heck no I went out and bought her a few sketch pads, a nice drawing pencils set, special erasers that don’t leave streaks, heck I am a bad dad. Nope, I did not paint my son’s room with a special design, he made, on one wall taking me hours to do – and I am not a painter. Yup, I did not put up lights in my daughter’s room all around the top of the edges, taking caution that it looks good and making sure to hide any wires- heck it had a remote control and she could sync it to her music – yup not a cool dad.

I don’t know, I could stop preaching and see where this goes with my daughter. I just don’t get it, they both saw me working a full-time job, go to school at night, graduate during the pandemic and still try to maintain a family life. I would get up at 5 to go to work, get home help with homework, help with dinner, and then hit the books; sometimes I only got a few hours of sleep. I don’t think they are not appreciative of the things they have, but I don’t know. I think I could blame this freaking pandemic for my daughter’s state of mind. You know what drives me crazy, she has this blank look on her face when I am talking – she tells me it is her resting face – but it is motionless. I can’t tell what is going on, so I try and try to talk to her, ask what is wrong, telling her I would be happy to help her with homework, reminding her that she is NOT alone. I just don’t know. I think I am going about this whole thing wrong and it is driving me crazy.

Yup, it is one of those days where life can really push you down so much that it feels like the weight of the world’s problems are on my shoulders. Wait, and to think that in three months I may be out of a job, I don’t know yet, but it is hanging over my head each and every day. Yet I wake up each day as if there was nothing wrong. I truly wish to just get up, jump in my car, and drive, and keep driving, and maybe life will be more clearer. As it is I am not even hungry and told the family I was not hungry. This was the first dinner my family did not eat together. I am dumbfounded because it is tough and I do not know what to do. I know I am not the only one on this planet going through this with their kids, but it is close to home and it hits me hard because of what I went through as a kid – the horror stories I could tell, but I try my best to not let them drag me down, but sometimes it feels they are catching up.

I am sorry for all the blabbering, but I just ran out of mojo and can’t go on writing. Thank you for reading, have a wonderful day or evening, and may your day or night be a great one.

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The Struggling Man

It has been a rough ride for me up to this point. I mentioned before as a child, maybe in my first 5 years I lived a comfortable life with my mother, she comes from a wealthy family so I remember the private school, the cook and made we had, but most importantly I remember my mom being happy.

I was almost six when I moved to the states with my mom and brother. It was then that my life or our lives changed dramatically for the worst. Now, I can go into a lot of detail, but it might get a little dark and well I don’t want this post to be a sad one. I want to talk about how I moved through my life. So, I will leave it at we went from living nicely to pretty much living on the street when we came to the states. During my childhood we were definitely poor, and the only thing that kept me going was that I simply wanted to get me and my mom out of the situation, and I know money can’t buy happiness, but it sure can take away hunger, keep a roof over your head, put clothes on your back, and make life easier.

So, as I watched my mother struggle day in and day out, at the time I did not know it was a problem. I mean as kids we simply get up, eat, go to school or a friend’s house and come back home eat dinner, and sleep. The problems that adults have; a child does not comprehend. I mean there were a few times my mother had to go to the back of a Safeway and look through the garbage bins to find our next meal, and there were days we had to sleep in our car, but as a kid, I just did not know. It did not sink in I mean I thought it was normal.

It was until my mother passed away when I was 19 years old, I was left all alone, I had no clue how to rent a place, purchase furniture, buy food, balance my bank account, I mean I was completely helpless. Everything from that day on was on a learning day-by-day basis. For example, the landlady came by and gave her condolences, but then she asked if I was going to stay. I was like, yah. She then told me I had to sign a lease agreement since my mother passed away. I had no clue what she meant, and I simply signed the paper. The good thing is that she was kind enough not to raise the rent, but that was my first contract. Each day I had to learn something new, it is amazing but grocery shopping isn’t as easy as it seems. I mean you need to remember the ingredients for three meals, and not go over a budget. A lot of things were new and scary, but I made it through.

I was going to community college and working at night and I remember one day coming home late and turning on the TV and seeing this commercial, but back then I did not know it wasn’t a commercial but instead, it was an Infomercial. The guy talked the talked and made whatever he was talking about like the way to financial freedom. I stopped and stared and said this sounds easy and not too costly – I think I can do it. That was the first time I started a small business or what I thought was a small business and guess what it was – Placing little ads in newspapers. Yup, Don Lapre. Over the years I was fascinated with all the ways people could make extra money back when the internet was not even a thought.  Bought a vending machine route, and sold it. I did trading commodities with the Ken Roberts course, yah I was all over the place. I did some paper trading to learn the methods and started trading. It was about 8 months and I started to make some money, not a whole lot. One day when I was 21 or so I went to this conference about note flipping. I sat right in the front, had a note pad and looked like a kid at the candy store. Next to me was a man in his 50’s and I am pretty sure he was from Texas. He glanced over to me and said, “Is this your first time?”. I looked over and took a deep swallow and said yes. He smiled and said that note flipping is a good business, and that he made 50 thousand in one transaction. Excitement took over every part of my body. I set it all up, made the connections, and placed my first ad in the newspaper, and low and behold I closed my first deal. The thing is no one explained to me about retirement accounts or investing in other things like stocks. My money was all in my savings account. So, I worked and did some side things, saved, and kept going. I ended up in a new job, where they offered a retirement account and that is where I was introduced to Fidelity. I quickly moved over my money from my savings and started to contribute from my paycheck to this retirement account. Now, since then social media, apps, and so many online or on the smartphone investment options have popped up. There are many options to invest in, being careful is the trick here. Now, I have heard of affiliate marketing, Shopify, amazon programs, pre-built e-commerce sites, cryptocurrency, social media influencer, YouTuber, and well a whole lot more right, the trick is trying to get one of them off and running – hmm.

All my life I have worked hard, and sometimes smart but I still have a lot to learn and a ways to go. I know that maybe I won’t get to the point I was as a child before moving to the states, and I am not looking for that, all I want is to retire comfortably. I don’t need caviar; I just want cheese on my burger. As you can see I have dabbled a little here and there, but I still need to work and maybe someday something will give and when that happens I will be sure to blog about it.

Thanks for reading, please have a wonderful day or evening. I leave you with this thought; whatever your dreams are, keep at it, don’t give. Some days will be tough, but push through and don’t give up – you are not alone.

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House Cleaning

Over the weekend I was cleaning the bathrooms which I have done for many many years and as I was cleaning, I realized that I am an organizer or someone that must-have things in a certain way to get the job done; I have always known this but for some reason this weekend it crossed my mind. I start by gathering my cleaning supplies, not much, they are Windex, Ajax, all surface cleaner, Lysol, 3 lint-free rags, cleaning solution for the toilet, floor cleaner, and a scrubber (they are in a small caddy) – I will add the cleaning supplies I use to my Cool Stuff page.

I then begin removing all the stuff from the counter, plus anything on the floor like a garbage pail or our foot mat. Some people recommend wearing gloves while cleaning, but I don’t use them personally – that is just me. This is where it hit me that I do things in a certain order. I begin to clean from the top down. I squirt cleaning solution, plus a little Ajax in the toilet. I let that sit a bit. I spray some Windex on the mirror and clean it, then I spray all surface cleaner on the walls and get those cleaned – you would be amazed at how dirty walls can get. I get a toilet scrubber and begin cleaning the toilet – I let the suds sit for a while before I flush. I grab some Lysol and spray the bottom layer of the toilet, the seat, and the cover. I wipe all around, including the basin of the toilet, moving towards the back of the toilet. When I am done cleaning it shines like a star, man I even joke and say, “Man you could eat of that seat” – my kid’s cringe. I know some say that Lysol is expensive, but the spray lasts me a couple of months easily, maybe more. I then move to the shower. I first slightly wet the shower walls and floor. I then sprinkle Ajax on the walls and the floor. I also pour some Clorox on the floor – keep in mind the odor is strong so make sure the bathroom is ventilated. I start scrubbing from the top and work each wall working my way down to the floor. I then scrub the floor mixing the Ajax and Clorox as I scrub. The added Clorox makes the floor shine white and of course, kills any bacteria. Now, when I rinse, I like to use hot water, yah it can get costly, but personal health and safety, especially now day is important so the extra little increase in gas/electricity is worth it – it isn’t much trust me.

Now that I am done with the mirror, toilet, and tub I begin cleaning the bathroom sink by pouring some Ajax and a little Clorox. I scrub and rinse. I move to the countertop by wiping it down with Clorox wipes or I use Lysol spray and a rag – depends on your countertops, of course, so be careful.  Like to spray a little lemony scent all-purpose spray and wipe down. I begin putting stuff back on the counter. I then reach for a dry swifter to sweet the floor. Now, why do I use a dry swifter, because I noticed that using a broom simply moves around the dust and hair would get stuck on the broom bristles, which I did not like? One day I happen to see my son use the swifter instead of the broom and not only did it pick up the dust but the hairs too, and now I just simply throw out the swifter pad – of course you can use a broom and duster pan, I just happen to like the swifter. Once the floor is clear of hair and dust I begin from the back of the bathroom and work my way to the door. I pour Favor 3 in 1 floor cleaner with a lemony scent – Yes, lemony scent, I just like the smell of lemons – and it kills 99.9 percent of bacteria. I work the floor using a Swifter with a rag attached on the end – you can wash the rags and reuse them.

I then empty the trash bin and place it in front of the bathroom door so no one gets in, to make sure it dries – usually about 15 minutes. That is it, I put away the cleaning supplies and I am done. It takes me about 30 minutes to clean a bathroom – slowly – maybe less. The thing I was trying to say is that I noticed that not only cleaning the bathroom but anything I start to work on, I gather my tools and imagine the process. Whether it is cleaning from top to bottom a bathroom or working on a project at work I use an organized method. Now I clean the bathroom from top to bottom, because in my mind if I clean the mirror or walls last the dirt falls to the ground or on the countertop, so I use gravidity to clean the bathroom – weird huh.

Once again as always, I do appreciate you stopping by reading an article or two. Please have a wonderful rest of your day or evening and remember you don’t necessarily have to be organized to accomplish something, but having a plan in place does make for an easier trip.

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Father and Daughter Bonding

Picture from iStock

This past weekend, me and my daughter had the opportunity to do some bonding. You see, back when my son was her age, there were times that mom would leave for a weekend, and when she left and my son prepared appetizers and played games, either WII or board games for hours on end. I have not had the opportunity to experience that with my daughter until this past weekend. I have to say it was different, but I have not laughed at that for such a long while.

Friday, we ordered pizza, and watch the movie Naruto, she like anime. Saturday, we had to go get food for her snake, and then we ate some Mexican food. After having lunch, we played Minecraft for at least 3 hours, man the time flew by. We started on Bed Wars, in which the objective is to destroy your opponents’ bed, it is extremely fun to play with her, because we joke that she could beat me with both hands tied behind her and just using her nose. Afterward, we played VampieZ, the objective here is to stay alive for the duration of the game – there is more to it. Well, guess what I had my first win, and I screamed like crazy, and my daughter just laughed, but it was fun. My daughter is a little bit of a fussy eater so our food choices were limited, but we ended up having delicious nachos. While we were eating, we played some WII, Mario Cart, Kirby, and Mario Smash Bros. We always have fun with Mario Cart, and Kirby well I stink at it, she pretty much did all the work. Then we played Mario Smash Bros, which neither of us had ever played. You need to imagine that both of us did not have a clue on what to do and we just ran around crazy pressing all the buttons. We were not sure what the objective was, and of course, we never bothered looking it up on the net, but we laughed so much for nearly 30 minutes that I think our neighbors heard us.

Sunday came about, I made breakfast, and we did some homework she had leftover. It was pretty cool because we had to come up with a Greek myth about Tornados, make something up with characters, it was a lot of fun. Afterward we a late lunch and mom came home.

The thing is that it was nice, to connect with her and I would do it again in a heartbeat. The thing I wanted to share that it was a different connection that when I did it with my son, it seems more of a guy thing, and with my daughter, it felt deeper, well not that I don’t have a connection with my son, I am just saying that it was different.

Thanks again for reading, I hope you have a wonderful Monday or had a wonderful Monday.

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Back On Track Daughter

Recently I was experiencing some issues with my daughter. It seemed she simply did not want to do her homework any longer. So, after straight A’s since the beginning of the year, with an average of 99%, she simply decided to stop doing her homework. I approached her and asked her why, but she simply gave me a blank look and said nothing, I cover that in the recent post Troubled Daughter.

Since then, she seems to have bounced back, not only has she been turning in her homework, she also went back and completed the other homework she had not done. Her grades went back up to an A, except for a strong B, she has like 89.5 in the class. The teacher barely gives out homework and she assigns a high value for each assignment, which means if you miss an assignment it could potentially drop you down a whole letter grade – I don’t think that is fair, but it is what it is.

So, I am trying to understand what happened, she will not tell me or her mom, so we are not sure what made her decide to stop doing her homework, but when we talked to her, we explained the importance of school. Her going to school was not for my benefit, I had completed my schooling, her going to school was simply to give her an edge. I told her it is tough out in the world, the competition is fierce, and unfortunately, it is a little tougher for a woman – not saying that a woman cannot do it, just saying it is tougher for a woman, which is not fair, but you need every edge you can get. I told her that she was a smart young lady and that whatever happens to make her decide to stop doing homework she needed to shake it off. I told her if one of the teachers was giving her a hard time, or did someone in her class said something or even someone outside – I mentioned Minecraft – did someone say something during the game. Whatever it was that triggered this, you need to shake it off. At the end of school, you are probably not going to see any one of those students again, or anyone on Minecraft again – so what anyone might have said, it probably will not affect them in the least. So, I asked her to think about what she was doing, why she is doing it, and do the things you want to do. If you want to travel when you grow up, be a veterinarian, or maybe an artist – she loves to draw the choice is yours. I promise you I said to her, you will meet real friends, people that care about you and all of you, but for now concentrate on having fun, but following the path, we suggest for you. Not that we know better, not that we know what is best for you, but simply what we believe will help you reach your dreams. I am sure I said it differently, and I cannot remember everything word I said to her, but the thing is I tried.

I don’t know if my words reached her, but whatever happened she is back on the path and finishing up her homework. I did tell her that she is never alone and that there are three people on this planet she can count on me, her mother, and of course her brother – so never feel alone and remember communication is the key.

Anyhow, once again thanks for taking the time to read my post, I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day or evening.

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Feeling a Bit Alone

photo: Shutterstock

Unfortunately, I did not work out yesterday as I should have, I mentioned that in my post Dads Bod – Fitness. I think I was feeling a bit alone. It was awkwardly strange yesterday, it almost seemed like the universe was telling me something – I don’t know. It felt like anything I did went wrong. When it came down to working out I simply said “NO”. I tried talking to my partner, but they seemed occupied and not interested in what I had to say. Of course, as you know my daughter has been acting up a little and I have been trying to understand her, but she just won’t talk to me. When we said goodnight yesterday, we usually say we love you to one another, but this time it did not happen. It sort put the last nail in the coffin – sort of speaking. At that moment I felt alone. I started to think about my dad, and how we never did have any kind of relationship, and how it felt like maybe I was somehow going down that same path with my kids. I don’t know, and to top it off, I have no one really to talk to about this stuff. I think maybe that is why I took to writing this out sort of lets me talk to myself without it looking funny (crazy). Actually, I started a blog over 10 years ago, and did it for a while, and just stopped because of everything that was going on in my life. Man, if I would have kept that up, maybe I would be in a different place in my life right now – makes me wonder.

Back to that feeling of being alone, you know, I know that I am not the only one. There are thousands if not millions of individuals out there exactly feeling as I did last night. The thing is how and why do we get to that point. I know it is a combination of things, right. It could be work, financial, marriage, relationships, co-workers, customers, I mean a myriad of things could be going on. Heck, maybe your coffee was not exactly how you wanted it and it set the tone for the rest of your day. All I know is that getting to that point of “Lonesomeness” is tough, it takes a toll on the mind and body. I know we have our good days and our bad days, and each day that we wake up is a good day – correct. The thing is as you get older – maybe it is just me – but it weighs a lot more and sometimes a bit harder to get out of.

It is like losing your mojo or getting writers’ block, then you are stuck trying to get back the mojo or getting the juices flowing again, but it gets harder as you get older, well at least for me. As you get older you go through many-many experiences, and learn from them – hopefully. Not everyone has the same life growing up, right and some studies indicate that a child’s environment is what makes the child. I don’t completely believe in that but it does affect it in some way; I guess we can believe anything we want or break it down to a science when it comes down to it. Maybe that is why there is that visual we have about people laying on a couch and spilling their guts to someone. Is communication what will ultimately make us feel better about ourselves, talking about our past experiences we had as a child, does that tell the story of why we are where we are.

I always tell my children, that communication is very important, people are not psychics; well I never met one. So it is important to talk because if you don’t it is very possible that whatever is happening at that moment will not go well. I think that is true with anything when you think about it. For example, someone robs a bank or a convenience store, and people close to the person sometimes say that the person always kept to themselves, was always nice or they simply could have never imagined they would do something like that. If you think about it, did they know them, did that person talk to them or tried. Later you read about that person posting on social media, strange things, and when that information is looked at later, it is analyzed and concluded that they were calling out for help – Hmm. Ok, wait, not that I am calling out for help – too funny. My post started to read like that, sorry about that. It is more of a rambling of how I felt yesterday, and I think I went into a whole different category. Anyhow, to wrap things up, I felt a bit alone yesterday, did not work out, and well here I am.

Once again, I appreciate you taking the time to read. I hope you have a great Wednesday and remember communication is important, and we might not always want to or like it, but I think it makes a big difference when it comes to our mental health and what we desire – speak out, and don’t be afraid.

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Dads Bod – Fitness

So, I am a little overweight, and with the help of the pandemic and working from home this past year (or more), I gained even more weight. I decided recently that I need to look into losing some weight and decided to go with the T25 Focus. I had purchased the program a while back and did it for a few weeks, and of course then stopped, because of some excuse I am sure. Now, I made the decision not only because of my health, which is not bad but because my job situation might change. I have worked in the same company since 2004 and it might come to a change. It made me think, if I need to start looking for a job, my excess weight might not be the prettiest thing when I arrive. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not calling out anyone, this is simply my thoughts about me – personally. I thought to myself, if the potential employer sees that I let myself go, they might think the same thing about my work habits. I thought, if I show up somewhat fit, they might say, “heck this candidate took take of themselves” which could relate to my working habits – just a thought. Of course, some of you are thinking, “how would they know what I looked liked before”, and you are right, but it is in the back of my mind of what if.

Anyhow, so I started on April 12  and of course did some videos, and each week I was weighing in. The first week in I lost like 5 pounds, then the second week gained a pound. In the third week I gained less than a pound, then the fourth week I think I gained a little less than a pound again. The problem was that the fourth week I did not work out Monday or Friday, that is the main reason for my post, but I will get to that in a minute. For those that might not be familiar with T25, it is a 5-week plan, in which you do video workouts that are 25 minutes apiece. I am a scheduler, so I had it programmed in my day between 3:30 and 4:30, anytime in between – 25 minutes. Monday that time slot got filled in with something more important, which meant I could not do it because I had other things planned before and after. So Monday was gone. Tuesday I had a bad day that carried onto Thursday, which I talked about in one of my posts, A Troubled Daughter. So come Friday I just did not feel like working out, and to make things worse I went and bought a 6 pack of beer –  there went my week. The thing is I am still under my original weigh-in, which is good, but I really should be further along. This is my 5th week in, and I am writing before the time for me to work out, so at the moment I will work out, so I am hoping that I will stick to it – I am sure I will.

After along winded post, what I wanted to say was, when it comes to, let’s say, fitness as an example, we can come up with a lot of excuses not to work out. I did my share, but I think sometimes it is not so much that we make an excuse, but that life sometimes comes hard and can throw us off our path. The trick is not so much the excuse but what we do after the excuse, do we try and get back on track, or does life come at us again, and again – the excuses can keep coming, but what you do after the excuse I think is what matters.

Remember do not dwell on the excuses, instead, think about what is next – another excuse or accomplishing what you set out to do. Well once again thanks for reading, please have a wonderful rest of your day or evening.

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My Thoughts on Social Media

TikTok, yah I am sure anyone that is reading my post is well aware of TikTok. I know that since this pandemic started and the introduction of TikTok, I have begun engaging a lot within Social Media outlets, besides TikTok, I like to browse Instagram, Facebook, and just recently Pinterest. To think how far we have come, the amount of information that is out there, whether it is good, bad, true, or false we are exposed to a lot of information. This makes it very difficult to know what to believe in and whether you read or see the information, I hope we all do a little research before jumping on a wagon, freaking out, judging others, or even going into a deep depression or anxiety attacks – I have seen it personally. Social media has left its marks, good and bad. Now, I am not saying that social media is bad, don’t get me wrong, and I cannot argue with those that believe social media helped them through this pandemic. Like I said it is good and bad in social media, I guess like in most media outlets, not just social media like TikTok, news, books, blogs, podcasts, and even music, what we hear and see comes at us in a wave of information.

I grew up when computers were not in every house, or cell phones did not exist. As a kid I grew up outside, sitting on my skateboard bombing a hill. Even as a teen, I had the Commodore Vic-20 Computer, made my games, and played lunar landing on it, but the internet still did not exist. “The Internet first came under widespread use in the United States in the 1990s” (Weegy). My college was done in person, on a piece of paper, and any projects I had to present were done by hand using household items. Not saying that my kids did not do a project or two by hand, but most of their presentations were done on PowerPoint or wait for Google Slides. Now, I might hit a nerve with some reader on my next statement, but Social media has brought to the attention of the masses the many awful things we see now, from racism to wrongful treatment of people – I don’t want to get specific here. The thing is I believe what we see on social media or the news has always been around. I think that social media has brought it out into the light, but I think it did it in the wrong way – I think social media acts like gasoline, fueling the anger in the masses. I am not saying that it is wrong to let it be known how society is, acting or whatever, but to be honest things haven’t changed since before social media.

Does anyone remember the Rodney King incident, “On March 3, 1991, King was beaten by LAPD officers after a high-speed chase during his arrest for drunk driving and driving while intoxicated on I-210.” (Wikipedia). Half of Los Angeles burned, and yet after 30 years we still see no real change. And to think we did not have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok back then, what we saw was either on the news or in the newspaper, but for the most part, the majority of the population was not aware immediately of that day. Nowadays information is instantaneous and believes some of the videos, recordings, or whatever you see, are not always the truth. With today’s technology and pretty much an APP for that individuals can easily edit video or sound right from a smartphone, which can lead to catastrophe. As I said social media is not the culprit, and the information is not always bad, but how it is used is what makes me think about where will we be as a society in say 10 years? Will we look back on the events of 2020 and think alright things have changed or will we be sitting once again in the same situation about some awful event, injustice, or hatred with the same people uniting, marching to what is right or believe to be right – not saying anyone is wrong.

Not all social media is bad, there are opportunities to enjoy different cultures, foods, expressions, beliefs, it sort of brings faraway lands closer to you. Come on, I am sure that everyone wants to wake up and have a good day. I don’t believe that a person wakes up in the morning and says I want this day to be awful; I mean there could be, but I am pretty certain that there are more people out there wishing to have a good day. I don’t mean necessarily to be rich but have a life away from feeling hungry, being cold, feeling alone, and instead be loved, and healthy, and successful. Now, there are all sorts of levels of success; I see in TikTok people living in a van, which makes them happy and successful from what I see.

Social Media is an abundance of information – immediate information, it provides people with entertainment, news updates, what is happening around the world, recipes, new trends, new fashions, and even new groups in society. I have to say I do watch TikTok, I post on Facebook and Instagram, and connect to colleagues on LinkedIn, but social media can take people down the wrong path, and I could only share with you what I do when it comes to Social Media. I enjoy, I laugh, I post, I have even done a few recipes, but I don’t believe everything I see or read. I take the time to research other outlets, try and see the full picture before taking a stand or sharing what I saw. When it is all done and said, Social Media is not the reason things are bad, good, chaotic, tranquil, whatever the feeling is at the moment it is the people behind the posts that ultimately need to change. Like the Rodney King incident, before social media, change starts with the people.

I can tell you from my experiences and before social media, everything you see happened back then, the only difference was no one knew about it when I grew up and now that people know, think, has it changed? I am not saying that change is not possible, what I am saying is once again – change starts with people.

If I may make a suggestion, take a step away from all the social media platforms for a few hours and sit and talk to your family, loved one, friends, heck even your pet. But don’t just send a text, but try and call them, ask them over – safely – and have a real conversation. Once again thank you for reading, and have a wonderful morning, afternoon, or evening.

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Cinco De Mayo

Two posts in one day huh – I wanted to write a quick post and wish everyone a happy Cinco De Mayo, may it be a wonderful day of celebration. Be safe. Here is a little history about Cinco De Mayo, thanks to Wikipedia.

“Cinco de Mayo is Spanish for “Fifth of May” is an annual celebration held on May 5, which commemorates the anniversary of Mexico’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Led by General Ignacio Zaragoza, the victory of a smaller, poorly equipped Mexican force against the larger and better-armed French army was a morale boost for the Mexicans. More popular in the United States than in Mexico, Cinco de Mayo has become associated with the celebration of Mexican-American culture. Celebrations began in California, where they have been observed annually since 1863. The day gained nationwide popularity in the 1980s due to advertising campaigns for beer, wine, and tequila. In Mexico, the commemoration of the battle continues to be mostly ceremonial, such as through military parades or battle reenactments. The city of Puebla marks the event with various festivals and reenactments of the battle” (Wikipedia).

“Cinco de Mayo is sometimes mistaken for Mexico’s Independence Day—the most important national holiday in Mexico—which is celebrated on September 16, commemorating the Cry of Dolores in 1810, which initiated the war of Mexican independence from Spain” (Wikipedia).

Now, of course, we all know that this holiday is just another day where people get the opportunity to drink and eat. Of course last year Cinco De mayo pretty much did not happen. Now with some states open and bars or restaurants have seating indoors the parties can be heard, with laughter, clicking of glasses, and the smell of that delicious Carne Asada on the grill, yah it is nice to be able to mingle, safely of course, and try and get back a little of normality or of what it used to be like before this pandemic.

I am for one, enjoying a glass of whiskey on the rocks, raising my glass to you and hoping only but the best. Thanks for taking the time to read and have a wonderful Wednesday – Cinco De Mayo. “Ariba”.

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Troubled Daughter

As a parent I am always hoping for the best for my kids, I push them enough but not too much. I want them to have a good life, you know, maybe travel, start a business or find a job they love to do. Of course, once they have lived a little, I hope they start a family, with someone supportive, in tune with them, and striving together for what we all believe we want, a happy ending – right. There is nothing wrong to wish for a happy ending is there? I know sometimes life can take a different path, we just don’t know what life might have in store for us. The thing is, there is nothing wrong with trying to pave the way and don’t leave everything to chance. Now, I am a lucky father, because my kids have always been good in school. My daughter has been an excellent student, and besides the last two months of her fifth-grade year, she has been getting straight A’s so far.

Unfortunately, she started sixth-grade online and up until a week ago she had an A in every class, I mean 99.5 was her lowest grade. Last week something happened, and she is starting to miss assignments, already missing three, which dropped her grade down to a B in one class. In the other class, she missed an assignment, but that one assignment of course the teacher placed a high value on it so it dropped her grade to a B. I get a notification every day on her grades and attendance. So, if anything looks a bit off, then I checked her full class assignments to see what the cause is. I try talking to her, but she has no reaction, nothing, she does not speak and just looks at me. I ask her what is wrong, did she not understand, can I help her, is there something that happens to you, but she has this blank expression on her face and all she says to me is, “I’ll turn it in” almost angrily. I am worried because all year long she has had As, and in the last 40 days she is dropping quickly and I don’t know why. I don’t know is it a father thing, you know, because I worry. My mother came from a wealthy family, and she left all that for love. Unfortunately, it was the wrong type of love and we ended up living in poverty. My poor mom had to work hard just to feed us and keep a decent roof over our heads. There were times I went to bed with nothing to eat. There were times the grocery garbage was in our store. It was tough watching her, I might not have known it back then, but now that I m a parent, I know it was tough for her and more so for a woman. I don’t wish that for my daughter, and I push just enough, but I always try and explain. She might no understand right now, but I am hoping she does later in her life. I tell her these grades are not for me, they are for you. These grades will be a step for you to get into college, and college will be but another step for you in life. But don’t worry about that for now, I tell her, let’s focus on today. But something is amidst, I feel there is more to her days that she wants to let on. Something has brought her down these last several days maybe a week. But I just can get her to talk.

That is the same problem with her mom, her mom doesn’t talk, doesn’t listen, and doesn’t like confrontation; I think my daughter is headed in that direction. I kept asking each day, sometimes it feels like I am pressuring her, and I don’t want to push her away, but I don’t want her to get away from me either, it could be disastrous. For the time being, I am going to keep asking, and pushing ever so gently. I am going to talk to her, and maybe share something about my life as a kid, I don’t know if that is a good idea, but I want to be sure she knows I am there, always – you know as I am writing this, I think the best thing I can do is keep reminding her that I am there for her always. So strange, there are no books on how to raise kids, well you know what I mean, kids don’t come with a manual. I mean I did read books on how to talk to teens, when my son was growing up, I read books on raising a confident toddler, but there are times that books just don’t tell you what to do in every moment, and those are the times a parent needs to wing it. It is tough, to say the least raising a girl, my son was tough too, but I think my daughter is going to challenge me a lot more and all I can do is be ready, be supportive, simply be there for her.

Thanks for reading, I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday.

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Sleepless in California

In my previous post, I briefly talked about my issues with sleeping, which is that I have one. I know I am not the only one on this planet with sleeping issues, so I am sure many of you that read this post will relate.

I am not sure when my sleeping issues started, I might be able to point to a moment in my life that I think might be the culprit – let’s see. I do recall as a kid sleeping all night, even as a teenager in high school I recall getting at least 6 hours of sleep. I mean you remember the last night studying or the late-night chats with your girlfriend or boyfriend, right. I remember sleeping throughout the night.

Of course, going to college was different for me. I had to work full time so sleep was a luxury. The thing is I still recall getting some sleep. Let’s see I would go to school in the morning 8 to 2 a usually taking three classes which sometimes was either 9 or 12 units depending on the class. Of course, there were a few days I could do homework before I went to work, so that was good, but it was tough because I had to work full time to support myself completely. Anyhow, then I would work from 3 to 11 give and take, then get home at 11:30ish do some studying or homework and maybe fall asleep at around 3ish. I would then get up by 7 and start my day all over again. That means I would possibly get 4 hours of sleep most days and of course Fridays and the weekend a little more.

Then came marriage. Now, please don’t get me wrong I am not blaming marriage, just saying that I think I can pinpoint the culprit for my sleepless nights in California. Let me explain; I got married late in my life, I was still enjoying my twenties, and was looking to settle once I was a little more financially prepared. I met my significant other at a bar, we had one lunch date and a week later I asked her to marry, we ended up getting married two weeks after we met – so that was a week after I had asked, Right -crazy; that is another story. Anyhow the first year of marriage was horrific, we did not know each other, of course, and living together certain little annoying habits emerge among other things. We wanted kids, of course, she was ready since she was 4 years older than me, and remember I said I got married late. Anyhow, the first five years we attempted to have kids, but no luck. We went through infertility programs and tried so many things, but no luck. It was both mentally exhausting and it placed a strain on our marriage. Around the 5 years, we decided to take a break from the infertility program and took a small vacation – guess what we got pregnant. So, we had our son, and afterward, we did want another child so we continued, but it wasn’t until seven years after my son was born that we got a surprise with our daughter. Now, let me get back to my sleep issue. When you are married or even when you have your girlfriend or boyfriend or significant other comes over to sleep, it is not always a deep sleep we get, but for the most part, we sleep. The first 7 years of marriage sleeping was fine, as far as I can remember. I think that the day came where I started to struggle was when my daughter was born. She is not to blame, but I think a combination of things contributed to the sleeping issues.

The late-night bottle, crying from our daughter, work stress, financial stress, and the disconnection between my wife and me was I think started me on the road to sleepless nights. Now wait I am not saying that was the reason, just saying that is one of the contributors because from that disconnection other things emerge, she would start to complain about my breathing, which later was snoring, then I would complain about her tossing and turning all night long. Of course, the sleepless night caused by waking up to feed the baby, and of course age was not on our side. Trust me, having kids at an older age is not as easy as when you are mid-twenties – just saying. It is possible but harder. So, since 2009 when my daughter was born I started to have sleeping issues, to the point where I started to sleep in another room. Now, the baby and the marriage thingy was only the beginning, because, of course when two people lose the connections other things start to rise, such as money issues, trust issues, and how to raise our kids became a thing. I mean when we first met, I thought we had the same beliefs, but come to think, that wasn’t the case later in the marriage, which was tough to chew on. The money issues started with her opening her own bank account, not that it is a bad thing, but it does cause a rift.

So, as lay in bed, each night and my mind races with thoughts about; my daughter in this pandemic, my son stuck in his dorm, the pandemic locking us up, working from home, not being able to socialize without freaking others out, having to pay my sons college, enough for retirement, the darn washer broke, the refrigerator is on its last legs, I need to lose some weight, all this racing through my head at night, which meant I could not focus on sleep. I lay there never knowing when I would dose off, but I tell you this much it was never more than a few hours a night if that. There are days I lay with my eye closed thinking, thinking, and the next thing you know I look over to my alarm and say to myself, look it is 30 minutes before I must wake up, I might as well get up.

If there is anything I can get out of writing this post, is to try and focus on myself each night, only me, shut everything else off, and try and sleep – sounds easy enough, right. I don’t know, so far, I can function ok up to this point, but I have a feeling that it will catch up to me sometime.

Well, thanks for reading, and please have a wonderful Sunday, make it a relaxed day and enjoy it with your loved ones.

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A Father & Daughter’s Connection

I was thinking last night while I was trying to sleep. The thing I have sleeping issues, my mind is always racing a million miles per hour, with “Did I do that, was this the right spreadsheet, did I take out tomorrows dinner, do I have enough to retire”, yah and it goes on for quite some time. Eventually, I fall asleep, but that is not why I am writing this post. So, you see last night I was playing Minecraft with my 6-grade daughter and let me take you back in time for a minute.

You see my daughter was a huge surprise, 7 years after my son – that is another story. I remember friends telling me that she would have me wrapped around her little finger “Daddy’s Little Girl” they kept saying. The thing is we did have a huge connection since she was a baby. She was always waiting for me at the door when I got home from work, we read together every single night up until her fifth-grade year. Also, I love Football, and no one else in the house does, but one day when she was maybe 5, she saw me screaming at the TV and asked why I was so mad. I explained to her what I was watching, the next thing you know she sat next to me and we watched the rest of the game together. The next football game she ran to sit next to me to watch the game. She even asked questions about the game, “what is a down, what is the guy with the ball in the back called, and so on.” Well, eventually we watch football together and it was an amazing feeling. We laughed, we yelled, we shared the moment. Anyhow, so back to my last night thinking. As I was playing with her Minecraft, I realized how much our kids take after us. You see I noticed last night she was a lot like her mom when it came to dealing with problems or things she doesn’t like. Let me explain. In Minecraft, they have a game called VampireZ, and when we zone in if there are any tough players (I am sure she used another word), she immediately wants to zone out. I tell her it is ok, and that is how you become a better player, plus it is only a game, but she wasn’t having any of that, that is when I realized she was growing up.

Now it could be that she is entering the teenage years, and all the hormones I am sure are acting up, but as a father or maybe it is just me, I want her to be able to handle anything that comes her way. Life isn’t all pretty and perfect, we all have to deal with some negativity sooner or later. As kids, it is different than when we are adults, but if you learn how to deal with things, whether the result is what you wanted or not, it is an experience. These experiences prepare us for what could come next. Now, I think as parents, we would want to share our experiences and how we dealt with certain things with our children – right. I mean it might not be the exact solution but it could reduce the number of attempts the child is going through. So, it brings me to my late-night thoughts, besides all the other things that race through my mind each night. I realize that the most important thing I should focus on or think about is my family. I mean don’t get me wrong I am always thinking about their wellbeing, but sometimes I think I lose sight of what is right in front of me. I think now that I am writing this out, I am going to reconnect with my daughter, and maybe during our ventures in Minecraft I can help her deal with certain things that bother her – we’ll see.

Thanks for reading. I hope you have a wonderful Saturday, May 1st.

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Quick Thoughts on Pandemic

March 17, 2020, around 8:00 am, was the dreaded day we were told that we would be working from home starting on March 20, 2020. We were asked to pack it up and head home due to a pandemic. At first, it was like ok guys see you in a couple of weeks or less and we all hugged and parted our ways. Little did we know that was the last time we were going to be able to hug anyone, for a while.

My kids, one a fifth-grader and the other a senior in high school were told they were going to begin learning online on March 23. Now I felt bad for both my kids, of course, and each had different things they dealt with when it all happened. The Senior pretty much lost everything that was coming to them as a senior, you know prom, granite, and well graduation for that matter. My fifth-grader had a tough time adjusting to learning from home and the last couple of months almost blew their academics, simply because they were not doing their work. The funny thing is that the parents were told, due to the pandemic and situation of distance learning no student was going to be failed – no matter what. That could have easily been why my fifth grader sort of gave up, but I wasn’t having any of that and we sat together and worked through a lot of overdue assignments, it was a mad scramble, to say the least.

Anyhow, as for me the first couple of months were ok, I had no issues. Then I started to feel like the walls in my home office were coming in, yeah I know that sounds like a movie, but it’s the truth I felt isolated, like time had no essence, one moment it was 7 am and the next it was lunch. The days started to blend together. There were days that I just sat in front of my computer and before you know it, it was time to log off. I mean what happened to lunch, my breaks, the day simply flew by. I think when you are in an office, you tend to get up and walk a little, you know chat with a coworker, get some water or in some cases, it was coffee, but you get what I mean. I felt alone, like I was just paddling away in the middle of sea and was headed nowhere. Of course, the days led to weeks, then months, and at some point it even felt like years. In the pandemic I saw my daughter isolate herself, the few friends she had was getting hard to keep in touch with. My son went off to college and was stuck in his dorm. Ever so often he’d complain about the teachers not being available, or just giving out busywork, it seems drastically the same for my daughter. Not saying teachers are bad, ok, just saying that his pandemic took a toll on everyone. Then you started to hear about business, such as restaurants starting to close, and of course other business as well. Then there was the toilet paper and water hoarding, it is funny but man I could just keep on the writing of all the craziness. Of course, then all the protests, and what happened at the Capital. This past year was just incredible, life changing, and just left me with no words.

All through this, we are now in 2021, and we are almost in May. I started to not mind working from home, but I still do miss the interaction with the people, the smiles, the arguments, the useless meetings that were only to schedule another meetings, yah those, I miss that. As the year keeps rolling by, I realize I made it this far. Man, I even started to exercise seriously. I started the T25 Focus thingy, and I am three weeks in. The first day I could barely breathe, but now into the third week, I am making it through most of the routine a little better, not nailing it yet, but better.  I am hoping before my fiftieth birthday I will lose some weight. You know now that I think about it, one good thing did come out of this all, I did complete my degree in business. Hold on, I almost forgot, my son, tore his ACL and required surgery back at the end of 2019. Then came more bad news at the end of that same year, my father had cancer. Wow, ok now that I think about it, I guess I made it through all that, the pandemic, and I am still here. Of course there is a whole lot of in between stuff that happened. To think that 2020 was said to be the perfect vision of a year, well we know how that went. Anyways I am simply ranting, I have so much more to say, but for now, I will leave you with this thought. We all went through this pandemic and our own struggles, but if you are reading this, you are alive, healthy, and able to look back at the year behind and say – “I made it this far, I am ready for whatever is next!”. Thank you for reading and please have a wonderful last day of April.