Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Monster they call "Media"

TV has come a long way since the good ol' days of Sesame Street.

I despise the media. Here are just a few reasons.

#1. I turn on the news and I can't ever hear a happy story anymore. All about murders, people getting killed, and the human race doing things that I just don't understand. Where is Anchorman when you need him? I watched the news every single night with my family in my youth. I don't actually remember so many negative stories, but I do remember the story little puppies being saved (ok.....not really, but I do remember good stories too).

#2. Our children have no sense of reality, largely due in part to the idolization of celebrities with facades that fool pretty much everyone. Also, there's only so long you can hide them from a Nikki Minaj, Iggly Azalea, or Kim Kardashian. I mean, I get suckered in too, however, I'm not a kid anymore. It's ok for me to understand that this was the year of the "butt". Or is it?

 #3 The local media (Oregonian) hasn't helped at all with improving our schools. Yes, there are things that need to be fixed or changed. However, how about focusing on the positive accomplishments of teachers and successes of students instead of publishing negative stories that destroy any pride that has been established?  Reporters claim they are unbiased. Whatever. Articles that have been written over the last year have been anything but unbiased. Write something that will help keep our schools intact.

#4 I'm done with Ferguson. Does the media frenzy help or make things worse?......we have our own opinions. Regardless of what side you fall on I think you can agree that the media hasn't made things any better.

There are too many other examples to list.

The point is.........there are a lot of bad things happening in the world right now that the media has a frenzy on. I'm not discounting all of these "real" stories and knowing that in many areas of the world people are barely staying alive because of many reasons. I'm so lucky to be as privileged as I am. I don't have to worry about food, shelter or a loving family. However, we do have to worry about the "disease" of media. In this upcoming year I'm hoping the media coverage uses its power to do "good" instead of focusing on the "bad". Sometimes I envy those who live a simple life without all of the "static" of the human race. I will continue to pay it forward by just being a good human being. I will continue to use the "power" of teaching to teach our youth what is right and how to treat one another. All it takes is just reaching a few for them to pay it forward too. Eventually, we will get there.......eventually. However, it will take a lot more than just one person.

Thanks all for listening to my rant......I feel better now. ;)

Take care everyone!

Friday, January 3, 2014

I love rejection

I love rejection........ok, not really. However, when I look at everything in my life as it currently stands, I should.

Rejection.....something we always fear and dread.The question is....should we?

I look back at the times in my life that I have felt or seen that awful feeling of rejection...heartbreak, disappointment, and a mixture of all feelings that leave you feeling sick. However, have you ever really reflected on what came from it? Sometimes bad, but usually it leads down a better path.

I wanted to share with you some of the top "rejection" moments in my life and what came from it.

1. I was born, because my parents went through series of rejections and doing the "rejecting" in order to get me.I believe this probably happens with all of us. We are lucky to be alive. Ok....cheesy, but true.

2. My parents divorced when I was making the transition through middle school. At first, this was extremely difficult. In the end I have two parents who are happily remarried to wonderful human beings. My parents also changed for the better and molded me into a stronger person.

3. "I like you just a friend".....a common line I heard in middle school and some of high. Yes, I was also a foot shorter than most of the girls I went to school with from middle through high so that may have had something to do with it. I really looked like a little boy even through the beginning of my teaching career. During this time I learned a lot about relationships and was the guy who attained the nickname "Doc" in middle school, because I would counsel others who were feeling rejected. I used to want to be a marriage counselor, go figure. Luckily, later in high school, my "luck" started changing.

4. A few high school breakups (one being the more serious one) along with another "rejection" of girl I know of 19 years (from some guy I have known for even longer) changed my life forever. Now, I'm happily married with two beautiful daughters.....really a storybook ending ( can stop gagging now). Really though, it's amazing how it all unfolded.

5. The first time I applied to the education program at Western I was denied. Forget about my high grade point average, a student government position, working in the education office along with countless other connections. I still remember my roommate reading me the letter of rejection over the phone when I was away for a nice weekend. I actually though he was joking. Obviously, this was a huge smack in the face. This meant more thousands of dollars for tuition having to go for another quarter along with not being with the people I planned on being with. However, from that came being in a program with even more awesome people, doing my student teaching in a 4 day/week school schedule (thank you Perrydale), and acquiring my first teaching job.

6. I went through 3-4 interviews (this is still pretty good) and was passed around until I landed a teaching gig at my first stop of my education career. I love you "Nutters"! This led to my current gig where I have met some lifelong friends, being able to teach with my spouse along with seeing my kids at school on an everyday basis. 

7. Having kids for some people is easy. They just look at each other and have babies. Our journey was a little more difficult. We made the decision on at least one occasion not to do certain procedures where we could have had twins (or more!). These decisions (or rejections of particular plans) gave us our two daughters. I couldn't imagine life without them.

There are many more. These were some of those life changers though.

Why did I write about this? The primary reason is to show you how good can come from rejection even knowing that those sick moments will come. Life's walls can come crashing in really fast. Just know that eventually someone's rejection (or yours) can change everything in the future. That "everything" will be worth waiting for.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Being consistent with consistency is tough being consistent with consistency!

Parenting, teaching, personal choices........everything.

Even though we know we have to be consistent and we know that there will always be the "Gold" at the end of that consistency rainbow, we always fall back to our usual ways. Why? Many reasons.....stress, laziness lack of motivation, and other external variables that get in our way. Many times there are very good reasons. However, many times there are just more excuses as to why we aren't consistent. Very ironic considering the robotic nature of which we operate.....get up in the morning, work, home, evening (very little) and bed. 

I know....I know......"I know this Josiah". For real though, take a look at your life. Remember the times when you have been consistent, what were the outcomes? (ugh.....sounding like a teacher now) I'm guessing they were usually positive and you felt good about yourself. Whether that consistency involved the famous New Year's resolutions of exercising, fad diets, getting more sleep, reaching out to family and friends more often, or simply sticking to what you say. 

As a parent and teacher I'm still building upon my skills to be consistent. It's a battle that never ends. Here are a few things I'm continuing to work on and maybe you can relate. In no particular order.......

1. The best management practices for my own children. Ok.....timeouts don't work like they used to when they were much younger. This "chart of the week" thing isn't working out for us either. Oh wait.....I guess a different chart we come up with each week isn't very consistent isn't it?

2. Consequences and rewards. In my opinion, every child needs both of these. You aren't going to let a dog poop inside and reward him for it are you? aren't dogs, but they are similar in the way they observe your consistency with how you deliver consequences and rewards.

3. Exercise. Damn this is hard. Every year I exercise from February-August and then the school year bites me in the ass and I seem to drown in the education abyss. Having girls in dance class three days a week doesn't help my case either. However, at least they get some consistency right?

4. Affection. Yes.......I can touch my wife out in public. It makes it hard when we're both school teachers at the same school. It's also amazing how three words can change the aura of people around you.

5. Cleaning. Seriously.......we drown in clothing. Hey Josiah.....there is this thing called folding clothes, maybe you should do it sometime. ;)

6. Blogging......I know I has been way to long between posts.

Be consistent with consistency y'all. It is quite the job, but the rewards can change your lives.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Little Things

This is the day we always give thanks to the “big” things in life……family, friends, our faith, shelter, food…..all very important. Then it is Black Friday, and we kill each other. What's up with that?

Aside from those big things, what about those little things we sometimes take for granted? Waking up in the wee hours of the morning with a sick kiddo on this “Day of Thanks” allowed me to ponder some of these little things I’m thankful for (a few big ones too). Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I’m thankful for………….

  •  Having the energy (barely) to take care of a daughter in need of “daddy” in the middle of the night

  • Coffee

  • Friends and family who understand that I have a life with never ending responsibilities and understand that I still love them even though I don’t get to see them much.

  • Smart people
  • Drivers that don’t suck
  • Parents who teach their kids a thing or two about respect and how to treat others

  • My big ears……always holding those pencils (only if they could just hear a little better……..well…..maybe it’s selective hearing)

  • Honesty

  • Being able to take long showers……….anything to help me wake up
  • Clean sheets
  • People who can admit they’re wrong (being prideful is fine and dandy, unless you’re being an ass)

  • Disney

  • My piece of crap recliner, even though you give me back pain

  •  Hearing “daddy”

  • The warmth of the sun (which we need more of…..obviously)

  • Being able to smell (unless you’re in a classroom with sixth graders after PE)

  • For being appreciated

  • People who aren’t lazy (uhhh…….I guess I shouldn’t like me sometimes then)

  • Smiles

  •  Self-checkout at the grocery store so I don’t have to wait behind the people in the express line that decide to take out a bunch of coupons along with writing a check…….oh wait…..they also always need someone to run and go get something for them

  • Technology that doesn’t suck

  • Time alone….something I don’t get often. I need some recharging of testosterone every now and then.

  • Music….especially from artists that can actually sing. I’m so tired of all of those “studio famous” people. I look forward to a time in the future where the music that is created is actually good.

  • Good razors

  • The Chive

  • Sports………..yes, I know……I spend a little too much time on my fantasy teams. I’m also especially thankful for our Oregon Ducks, Portland Trailblazers and Portland Timbers!

  • People who are open to “the world”. Please don’t judge others just because they are different or have other views.

  • Comedy……or anything that makes me laugh.

  • Custodians and everyone else at schools who help make it a better place.

  • Fire (as long as it doesn’t burn my house down)

  • Microwaves

  • Water…… isn’t too bad either

  • When my kids grab my hand or randomly give me a hug

  • Our military

  • Simplicity
  • Packages that open easily during the holiday season (yeah right)

  • Toothbrushes

  • Being an Oregonian
  • Toilets

  • The outdoors

  • People who read this far

  • There are so many more things!

Thank you for being such wonderful friends and family! Happy Thanksgiving! Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"The Talk"

 Hello has been awhile since I have blogged. However, I couldn't pass this one up. happened.......the sex talk took place.

In this day and age it is inevitable for children to find out sooner than later about that word....."sex". If your kids ever watch tv, the word echoes on family sitcoms (not to mention "Bitch" and "Ass" and all of the other words we used to say if we wanted our mouths washed out with soap). These aren't the sitcoms of the old days ladies and gentleman. Not the "Growing Pains" and "Who's the Boss" and all of the others that we stayed up to watch. And really......there aren't even many family shows anymore that you can watch since the reality television era took over "The Tube". Sex is everywhere. Open your eyes ladies and gentleman. Unless your religious views and way of life shelter your kids "The Talk" will happen sooner or later. We also decided to be very forthright with our kiddos. We agreed we don't want to hide anything, because who knows how she would learn her information with those other "little teachers" at school. If she was going to learn about this word, she was going to learn it right. can judge us for starting this early, but I almost felt like we had no choice. it happened. "Dad and do babies get here?". The days of telling her "When two people are married and love each other something magical happens and a baby appears". No cabbage "seed". Nope....not cutting it for this eight year old. "Mom and dad......what if I love someone and I'm married and I don't want a can I stop that?". Oh geez........ok. We decided we needed a little help. We are teachers and decided to use literacy to teach, because that's what we do. We weren't quite ready to answer this question right away.

We took a journey to "The Big City" to attempt to find some good reading material to help us in answering her inquisitive questions. Let me tell you something.......there aren't many good books out there. We found a book entitled "Where Did I Come From?". I mean it said it sold over 2 million copies. We took a look inside and almost crapped ourselves. Really? Let me read you a little excerpt.

"The man loves the woman. So he gives her a kiss. And she gives him a kiss. And they hug each other very tight. And after a while the man's penis becomes stiff and hard, and much bigger than it usually is. It gets bigger because it has a lot of work to do."

Really? Holy Mother of God. By the way.....this wasn't even in the section entitled "Making Love". The above paragraph was mild. I mean, who would read that to their kids unless you wanted to give them a complex?

Now......we did have to buy that book. Not to use it to read to my children, but so we could make fun of it. has some interesting cartoon pictures too. We have used it more than a few times as a comedic centerpiece after a few glasses of wine.

We decided to go with a different book that didn't divulge all of the graphic information. Feeling confident that we could do this, we headed home.

Now.....I was a bad father, or maybe a smart one. I let mommy do the talking. ;) We had some interesting questions that day during "The Talk". Here are a few of my faves.

1. How does the sperm get there?
2. Do you and daddy like to kiss? And then...........
3. Did you have sex last night? (Oh geez.......I had to leave the room on that one with Keely looking at me with a helpless look on her face)
4. Do you like seeing each other naked?

A lot of awkwardness and interesting moments. However, we were honest. In our opinions, honesty is always the best policy (well.......I guess I shouldn't say always.....the "Do I look fat?" question is a different blog). Sex isn't something to hide. Our children need to be educated the right way. I'd love to do a study on the girls that are more promiscuous and whether or not they were sheltered from information about sex. Hmmm....interesting. And what about those teen pregnancies? Did their parents teach them the right way and were open about it? I don't know.

All I know is that us parents have a big job. Sometimes awkward moments like this can lead to nothing but honesty from our daughters (hopefully) in the future. I guess my other choice would be to make them wear long dresses and not let them date until their 18........sounds good to me. of a parent.....always learning and always creating some memories that will never go away.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Wall......A Humbling Experience

Wow…..I was humbled yesterday. Humbled in a kids jungle gym at Safari Sams. Little did I know that I would almost meet my fate at an eight foot wall with a rope with knots dangling from it. Yes, I could have gone back through the thing backwards to get out of it, back up that cargo net. However, letting a kids’ play structure conquer me would be purely embarrassing. For you to read this, you may laugh, but at the time it was no comedic moment. 

As I looked over on my left through the netting, I observed many adults hanging out while the rest of their kids were moving freely throughout the fortress. Luckily, no one saw me in my vulnerable state. I would beat this thing. I grabbed on to the rope thinking that this would be easy. I mean, come on, it was a rope with knots. It brought me back to elementary school at the old Maple Hall (now part of Western Oregon University’s campus) where we would all climb up the 30 foot rope to the top of the ceiling where we would honk the horn. The feeling of accomplishment was always sweet. Fast forwarding 28 years later made me feel ridiculous as I stared at that rope. 

The first attempt was a pure fail. I grabbed on to the first couple of knots and put my feet on the wall. If there was a canyon beneath me, I would have died. I made it up a few knots as my arm muscles were struggling to comprehend what the hell I was doing to myself. Obviously, it was more difficult than I thought, because the rope slipped out of my hands and I went sliding down the wall, the knots pounding me as I slid down on top of it. At that moment I was scared, not that I couldn’t get out of this fortress, but scared that a kids’ structure had beaten me. 

I couldn’t let this happen. I gave it my all. I grabbed the knots once again and started climbing, a little extra adrenaline rushing through me at the thought of the adults on my left watching me struggle. I couldn’t let the ladies see me in this state. I managed to get to the summit and grabbed the top of the wall. At this point I let go of the rope which was close to my second downfall. With the rope out of my hands and my two hands on the wall, I had déjà vu…..with the possibility about tumbling to the bottom again. I made my mind rewind to my youth and/or when I was actually in shape. Muscles shaking with a few grunts in between I managed to pull this out of shape body up to the top. I had finally conquered this thing. The funny thing is that this all took place in about 45 seconds, reading this took longer. This is how I felt though, time was definitely stretched in my moment of weakness. 

Why tell you about this? I knew I would get some feeling out of you. Either feeling sorry for my out of shape ass, relating to the struggles I had, or laughing at my experience. I must say though, I didn’t see many parents going through this fortress. Most of them were either sitting alongside on their Kindles or I-Phones, oblivious to where their kids were even at or if they were ok. My daughter’s asked me to go with them and against my will (knowing I might struggle), I did. All for them, something any parent needs to remember. However, it turned into an accomplishment for me, even though this thing was for kidlings. This experience also taught me that I need to actually do something with myself. 

Take care of yourselves. Spend time with your kids. You are only old if you make yourself that way. My muscles are sore today, but it was all worth it knowing I conquered that f’ing wall. 

Until next time…..


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Lazy Saturday

Here I am….

Watching sports on a lazy Saturday. I’m still in my pajamas, sitting in a recliner.  The morning coffee still sitting by my side.

The sounds of two girls playing “roll off the couch” when mommy is trying to take a nap. Of course I always tell wife that she should go to the bedroom to take a nap, but of course she responds with her usual “lying in a bed to take a nap makes me sick”. Seriously though, it’s nearly impossible to rest when you are listening to what I am listening to right now. At least it’s not me trying to nap. Even with the screaming and chatter and the constant noise, it’s play where they are getting along, so I can’t complain.  Wife, you can’t complain either when you are making a choice to nap in an area that is consumed by playfulness. It makes me grin ear to ear. However, I must say……wife has this super ability to fall asleep in pretty much any condition on that couch in our living room. I don’t know how this is even possible.

Not a care in the world (including their “sleeping” mother). I love these days.

Now….only if the snow could come on Monday evening so I can have another “Lazy Saturday”.  Wear your pajamas inside out everyone, flush those ice cubes, do those snow dances, and just wish it.

Enjoy your weekend everyone!