Monday, December 01, 2014

NaNoWriMo Review

Well, its December 1. Its just after midnight. I made it through November (see last post for reference point.).
What I did not do was complete a novel.

What I did do, was average 1200 words a day for the month (400 words per day less than I needed to average to complete a 50 000 word novel, the standard to reach for in the challenge.) Although I'm disappointed in not completing it, this is still more than I expected when I started. I thought the first ten days would be ok, and they were, I stayed at or even ahead of schedule. As life got busier, I began to fall behind and there were even a couple of days in the last week where I wrote nothing at all.
You can check out my progress here. If their site will let me keep updating, I may just do that. I am determined to figure out what happens to my characters. They can't stay like this. Well, one of them has to. There's no bringing you back when you're dead. Not in the genre I'm writing.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

News. I'm writing a book.

I feel like I need to just say it in "public". So here we go, I've decided to use NaNoWriMo to get me going on writing. Its kind of a head first way of getting your feet wet...I'm diving in. I will come back to let you know how its going.

I should let you know that the main reason I'm not blogging is internet issues. We have three Google accounts and one dial up laptop and the frustration and laziness I feel around these issues have made me run and hide from blogging. Perhaps when the internet issue gets resolved, (and no, I'm not moving just so I can get faster internet) then this site will be revived. Until then though? An experiment in BOCPIH (Backside on chair, Pen in hand).

I shall return.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Top Ten Movies BlogFest

For the sake of this bloghop, I have tried to stick with my favorite parent (especially daddy) movies. I will add a list of my favorite, no-restrictions-attached movies at the end too.

I’ve challenged myself to come up with one sentence to tell you why to watch this movie. Ten sentences won’t do them justice, but maybe one of them will be where you are at.

10  Finding Nemo (Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, 2003): Would you swim the whole ocean, face your greatest fears, give up everything- if you could save your child?
Finding Nemo (2003) Poster
9 The Odd Life of Timothy Green (Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton, 2012): Maybe not a classic yet but an interesting look at parenting through desperate eyes.
The Odd Life of Timothy Green (2012) Poster
8 Martian Child (John Cusack, 2007): That box the boy is wearing, who put it there?
Martian Child (2007) Poster
7 The Story of Us (Bruce Willis, Michelle Pfeiffer, 1999): Love is a difficult choice that we can all make.
The Story of Us (1999) Poster
6 What a Girl Wants (Amanda Bynes, 2003): Is her daddy.
What a Girl Wants (2003) Poster
5 Mr Holland’s Opus(Richard Dreyfuss, Sissy Spacek, 1995): Who you think you are does not change who you really are.
Mr. Holland's Opus (1995) Poster
4 The Fiddler on the Roof (Topol, Norma Crane, 1971):  Tevye, I used to laugh at you, now I cry with you.
Fiddler on the Roof (1971) Poster
3 Dead Poets Society(Robin Williams, 1989): Conform your child to your own mould, or help them grow into their own?
Dead Poets Society (1989) Poster
2. The Royal Tenenbaums (Gene Hackman, Ben Stiller, Luke and Owen Wilson, Gwyneth Paltrow, etc, 1991): How to be a jerk of a father, in case you wanted lessons.
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) Poster

1 Life is Beautiful (Roberto Benigni, 1997): There’s the dad I wish I could be.
Life Is Beautiful (1997) Poster

My regular list would likely include numbers 1-3 above along with Citizen Kane, The Philadelphia Story, All About Eve, It’s a Wonderful Life, Toy Story, The Matrix, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Vertigo, High Noon, 12 Angry Men, Modern Times, O Brother Where Art Thou…how many is that…oh and anything else with Jimmy Stewart (like Rear Window or Mr Smith Goes to Washington or Harvey or…)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Head's up for tomorrow's entry

I'm sticking another toe into blogging again tomorrow, joining Alex J Cavanaugh's Top Ten Movie Bloghop. You can join by following this link...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Welcome me back...please.

Well, its been a long time.

What could possibly bring someone back to the surface after such a deep dive?

A great read, that's what.

I'm going to post a review here that's basically stolen from a report I had to do on the book for our local Children's Aid Society. Though I don't endorse every phrase in the book, I heartily endorse, encourage and beg you to read it.

The Boy Who was Raised as a Dog,
In, The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, Dr. Bruce Perry, along with Maia Szalavitz, uses clinical examples to teach about loss, attachment, love and healing. He attempts to deconstruct the myth that children just “bounce back” from trauma, but they can be trained to grow back. He shows how there can be hope for even terrible beginnings, if acted upon quickly.

This book teaches so much about the developing brain and the way it works. He talks about rhythms and how children who have not been nurtured as infants do not learn to read social cues later on. He explains that the best way to build up neural pathways that never developed is in giving children as many meaningful relationships as possible. The body reacts to stress in ways that makes a child appear to have any of a number of “syndromes” or “disorders”. There is so much more too!

The whole last chapter is full of useful suggestions, from strengthening our own children so they become nurturing parents themselves, to ways to encourage our schools and government to make changes to the way we raise children.

The longer we foster, the more we are thrilled to be a part of this, but the more we wish we could do more, lobbying, publicity, creating change in parenting classes, etc. I don’t know what to do about this right now. Can we start a snowball that grows into something huge?

I absolutely recommend this book to everyone… to everyone who wants children, has children, or knows children… or criticizes parents but has no children of their own! Or doctors…or politicians…or anyone who thinks things can and should change.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Guest posting at Arlee Birds' memoir blog

If I'm going to do this guest posting thing right, I suppose I should let people know that it is happening.  If you head to Wrote By Rote, another Bruckheimer, I mean Arlee Bird production, you will see a guest post from me that he graciously accepted for publishing.

Mr Bird's on vacation and invited us to invade his space and so I offered and he accepted. The post has been up since Saturday and as its already Tuesday night, I am pretty late in announcing it! Sorry, Lee.

I hope it will be worth the click. Its some thoughts I've been having recently about life. And how to live it. Simple enough?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Father's Day has come and gone

Did we all do our duty?

Did we all cower and beg for forgiveness from our fathers for all we put them through?

I love you dad.
I'm sorry.
Thanks for loving me still!
You continue to be a good example to me today.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What does it take to become important?

It used to amaze me over the years that when asking students ( I usually taught grade 7 and or 8), what they wanted to be when they grew up, their answer often was "a famous fill-in-the-blank". By extension then, if I am not famous, I am a failure.
 I puzzled about this over the years. Why did they want to be a famous hockey player, artist, writer, movie star, etc.? Why not a successful one? Why not a talented one? Why not a respected one? Was fame the god they were chasing and not the role itself?
 In our western culture, where its not what you know, but who you know, where its better to be popular than to be right, where there's no such thing as bad publicity, how do we protect our kids from chasing fame, at the expense of a worthwhile trait?
 How do you promote celebrity in your home?
 How do you talk about celebrities?
 How do you talk about yourself and fame?
 How can we promote effort over results?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

Willingness Skills

Rather than just repeating the same thing to your child over and over regarding conflict resolution:
     "Stop that!",      "Be nice to him/her",   "How would you like it?", etc..., how about trying out teaching them these important skills (tips picked up from the excellent workbook on bullying, No Kidding Abour Bullying by Naomi Drew.? She calls them "willingness skills", as they are skills that must be learned if you are really willing to resolve conflicts. They are:
       Hear out the other person
       Be patient

         Why is it so important to be willing to work out conflicts?
         Which willingness skill is most challenging for you?
         How can you work on that?

I know its complex and this is not the answer to all our bullying/conflict problems. But there is certainly something to this. I am determined to give it a shot this week. Who's in?

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Greed is getting me down

Greed is good. Or so, it’s been said. It’s been proven wrong. Sadly, Gordon Gekko has been copied, emulated, dreamed up and re-incarnated a million times since (and a billion times before) he first walked across the silver screen. Where were the warnings before it all fell apart back in ’08?

The warnings were there and it didn’t fall apart in ’08. The Fall came long, long ago. Now money has become one of our most revered gods. Even as we struggle to get our governments, businesses and banks in line with regard to money, what are we doing to start at home? Canadian consumer debt is not getting better in fact it is getting worse. We are not taking warnings, we are losing the greed battle. Is it any better anywhere else?

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Tuesday's Tunes: Drive, by Alan Jackson

It's painted red, the stripe was white
It was eighteen feet from the bow to the stern light
Second hand from a dealer in Atlanta
I rode up with Daddy when he went there to get her
Put on a shine, put on a motor
Built out of love, made for the water
Ran her for years, till the transom got rotten
A piece of my childhood will never be forgotten

It was just an old plywood boat
A '75 Johnson with electric choke
A young boy two hands on the wheel
I can't replace the way it make me feel
And I would turn her sharp
And I would make her whine
He'd say, you can't beat the way an old wood boat rides
Just a little lake across the Alabama line
But I was king of the ocean
When Daddy let me drive

Just an old half-ton shortbed Ford
My uncle bought new in '64
Daddy got it right 'cause the engine was smoking
Couple of burned valves and he had it going
He let me drive here when we'd haul off a load
Down a dirt strip where we'd dump trash off of Thigpen Road
Sit up in the seat and stretch my feet out to the pedals
Smiling like a hero that just received his medal

It was just an old hand-me-down Ford
With three-speed on the column and a dent in the door
A young boy two hands on the wheel
I can't replace the way it made me feel
And I would press that clutch
And I would keep it right
And he'd say, a little slower son you're doing just fine
Just a dirt road with trash on each side
But I was Mario Andretti
When Daddy let me drive

I'm grown up now three daughters of my own
To let them drive my old Jeep across a pasture in our home
Maybe one day they'll reach back in their file
And pull out that old memory
And think of me and smile, and say

Just an old worn-out Jeep
Rusty old floorboard, hot on my feet
A young girl two hands on the wheel
I can't replace the way it made me feel
And he'd say, turn it left and steer it right
Straighten up girl now you're doing just fine
Just a little valley by the river where we'd ride
But I was high on a mountain
When Daddy let me drive

When Daddy let me drive
Oh he let me drive
Daddy let me drive

It's just an old plywood boat
With a '75 Johnson with electric choke

Monday, May 07, 2012

Make 'em work for it.

I read two very interesting books last week. Not blogging frees up several minutes for other valuable things like reading. Both books were by Donald Miller, best known for his best selling Blue Like Jazz memoir. The two I read were Father Fiction and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years .

The salient point to this blog that Miller makes in the first book is that we too often look at work as a curse and pass that idea along to our children. This brings about a sense of wanting things for nothing, but also of viewing work itself as a negative thing. Effort is required, Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Tuesday's Tunes - Wide Eyed Wonder Girl- The Choir

This week, its "the choir" and their gentle salute to a daughter. This one was always a favorite of mine, even
 before I had a daughter.

Wide-eyed wonder girl
Starin' into the sky, wonderin' why
It's a good, great world
But it turns around
Never mind the ground

Look up high, stars above
Please don't cry, Father's love
Hold on tight to His hand
Dream tonight, understand


Look up high, dancing bear
Please don't cry, daddy's prayer
Hold on tight to my hand
Dream tonight, wonderland

Wide-eyed wonder girl
Starin' into the sky, wonderin' why
It's a good, great world
But it turns you'll see
Hold on tight to I had a daughter.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Zee end eez upon us

So, we've arrived at the farther end of this April journey. None-the-worse for wear from the looks of you all.

What have we learned, "not to do it again"? No. We have learned we can do this. I have learned that dial up internet is still as frustrating as it was in March. Why do we live in the only house in our county that has no access to anything faster...that doesn't cost $100?

I would like to invite you to hit "followers" and come back again. This is a dad blog and will be aiming to hit a broader daddy market. Please come back and I will see many of you in some of the other closely connected blog challenges that will no doubt be popping up!

God's peace to you!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Y is for Yell with your mouth shut

Don’t say it.  
Just don’t say it.  
You never regret not saying something in anger.  Saying it will only ruin it.  You’re working on something bigger than whatever you’re mad about.  Don’t say it, yell with your mouth shut. As a tiny little Irish rock and roll band said, "Scream without raising your voice". 

For that matter, think of the things we never regret...ever hear anyone say, "I wish I spent more time at the office." or "I wish I had had more to drink"? Hmmm.

Friday, April 27, 2012

X is for X-rays

Falling builds character. 

I used to use that line a lot when I didn’t have kids.  I find I don’t say it too often anymore.  I still believe it, I just have a harder time wanting to see my kids build character that way.  Broken bones are not the end of the world.  That’s why the designed xray machines, to figure out the problem and then fix it.  Let your kids play.  Teach them to be safe.  But broken bones??? Hmmm...

Notice the changes in your local playground over the past ten years. Where are the swings, the teeter-totters, the old climbing apparatus? Now there is a bed of cotton balls surrounded by a safety-net. Has our love of insurance, law-suits and fear itself brought us to this point? Is that why we are content to have our children sitting on the edge of their bed playing X-Box (two more x's!) because carpal tunnel is an okay child affliction but a broken wrist is not? Are we subtracting parental common sense and adding safety bars to take its place?

Who do we blame? Pass the mirror.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is for Wrap it Up

I used to be a real lecturer. As a teacher, I could go on and on. If a student did something out of line, I could tell them five ways why it was wrong, how to do it better, what to try next time, etc...kind of like this sentence. As a parent its easy to do that too.

I began to realize that after the few sentences my eleven to fourteen year old students were not succumbing to my logic but either tuning out or cowering in self-loathing- neither the truly desired results.

One or two well placed sentences followed by a conversation seemed to work much better.

This is so much more important with younger children too. A pile of words in their rear view mirror does not help them to become the people we desire. They rarely check that mirror anyway. I am endeavouring to keep my words few and the dialogue open. Its hard, especially since I have it all together...subdued laughter here... but worth it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V is for Five

I know, it would be better to use X is for Ten, x being the much trickier letter to come up with something original for, but "X" is already written, and Five is more significant...

We have five children, let me tell you their story.

Our oldest is sixteen. She just began to drive last weekend. She's only been on the road two times and the police have suggested never again...just kidding...She loves life, her bird, reading, playing cello, and most of all, not school! We have had a great few days in a row with her watching her grow up, driving, taking risks, making excellent choices, hanging out, laughing. Its been a great few days. We know that life isn't easy when you are sixteen, but she's shown a lot of resilience over the years and is showing it again right now. She is awesome.
Four of five in Savannah, Georgia...I know, boys in pyjamas

Our next son is seven, going on seventeen, like his big sister. We were only married ten months when he arrived. Having a much older sister, we thought it would be best for her and any subsequent siblings to have our children as soon as possible so they would have a few years together before our number one girl moved out. He is a tremendous guy. My wife wrote about him just last week. He loves to learn and spend time with people. He just wants to be a man.

Our next son is six. When he was born, the doctor said, "No more". We said, "okay". Number three child is an absolute joy. He is so much like his big sister we always tell her, "if you want to know what you looked like when you were little..." and she has to laugh, though she has never apologized yet... He loves sports and games of any kind. He loves to tease, he loves to snuggle, he is learning to read and is a great math student.

Our next little fella is our three year old foster son. He is so precious. Everyone who knows him sums up their experience with, "He is so well behaved." And he is. He is polite (often). Wants to play (always). Loves his mommy and brothers and grandma. Loves food and copying his older foster brothers too. We have loved having him in our home (one year and four days as of this writing) and it looks like we get to continue to enjoy him for the next several months as well.

My dear wife with her boys
Lastly, we have our three and a half month foster son. He is the reason I am awake right now at 3:53 am typing this. "Live from Orillia, its Wednesday morning!" He too is the best behaved child you can imagine he eats, sleeps, stares and laughs. Our youngest son was laughing with me yesterday that there is only three things that makes him fuss, "feed me", "change me", or "burp me". He seems to be a very happy little guy and what a story he will have to tell some day. We just hope and pray that we can help in giving him the foundation he needs.

There are our five, a longer post than I usually write for A to Z Challenge, but thanks for taking the time!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

U is for Under where? Corny dad jokes

Da-a-adddddd… you’ve heard the word and the tone and taken in the accompanying eye-roll.  You’ve wondered at your own sense of humor or lack thereof.  You’ve wondered what happened to your witty repartee that you used to be able to come up with and why its come down to this.  But your kids like it.  They really do…

Or do they?  Some have said that corny dad jokes are designed to make our children want to leave the home, its evolutionary.  I beg to differ.  I believe that corny dad jokes are our way of showing our kids its okay to be silly and have fun and try out the language in fun ways and let down your guard at home.  What other purpose do these jokes serve?

Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for The times they are a Changin'

One of the worst lines of arguing I know of is the line that says, "Come on, its 2012."
That line has been said for how many decades, centuries, millenia? Insert your own year here...

I think its a sad attempt to say that because its new, it makes it modern and therefore right or okay. "Don't bother thinking about this, ITS 2012 PEOPLE!"

I thought I would borrow two stanzas from Bob Dylan's ode to the 60's and to human history for today's post. I think they are very telling for us as parents. As much as we want to stay current, understand the times, be "hip" and "groovy" or whatever all the "cool cats" are calling it these days, we really don't understand. 

However, the reality is, people is people, kids is kids. For all the changes, there are so many things the same. Its never too old-fashioned to learn integrity, faith, respect, honesty, love, self-awareness, selflessness,  and all the things that you hold dear. Pass it on, for your sake and for your kids. Dylan knew it was important too, the whole song is forlornly wrapped up in the second stanza here (the last of the song) which reminds us that its the curse of our existence, that it will soon be tomorrow.

It is later than you think!

The Times they are a Changin' 
Bob Dylan
Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Speak politely to your mother

Set a good example.  Your kids need to respect their mother and you need to both set the example and have the expectation that this is so.  
Presenting a united front with your kids' mom is very important and one of the best ways to do this is to ensure a respectful attitude is always expected toward her.  Stick up for her, she’s your bride.  You want the same for your kids later in life too.  Show them what it means to be loyal to your spouse, so that they will pass on the favor later.

Might I add that this is true for you if your kids mom doesn't live with you?  Far better to pass on that attitude than a bitter sarcastic one.  

Friday, April 20, 2012

R is for Respect

“Show some respect”… ever hear those words uttered?  What was the tone of those words?  Was it one of respect?  Perhaps not.

Do you ever hear someone say, “Show some respect by doing this---"? I haven't. We must give respect to get respect, yes.  But I think its okay to teach it too.  "This is respect, or, this is not."  

One of the best ways you can do this is by adopting the phrase that leads tomorrow's post!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Q is for quiet moments

I have pre-scheduled almost all of my A to Z posts. Tomorrow's is written, Saturday's too. Not Thursday's, no. When we first started getting this challenge fired up back in January or so, I proceeded to write almost all of what I am posting this month. I've edited as the days approached, but, the heavy brain work has been done ahead of time.

Not so for "Q".

Q has been eluding me.

Tonight (the night before the Q day) it came to me though.
Q is for Quiet Moments.

One of our sons is a very emotional lad. He carries himself like an adult and has a great desire to learn. Emotions though can and do get the best of him. We've been working with him to get those to work for him, not against him, but its often more of a do-as-I-say, than a do-as-I-do thing.

Well, tonight we had a little sit down, lets-try-this strategy moment with him, and he snuggled in and entered into the idea with us. Then he and I had a few quiet moments to color together. Those quiet moments reminded me of why we do what we do.
We are in this thing together.
Might as well enjoy it and work at making it better.
We want to do it right.

Any suggestions for quiet moments with boys? Or teeanage girls?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Parenting isn't for cowards

We can’t avoid that parenting hurts.  We can’t avoid that parenting is tiring.  We can’t avoid that parenting is hard work and time-consuming and mentally exhausting.

We can’t avoid these realities, but we signed up for this.
And we are not cowards.
We accept the challenge.