Another New Beginning

Well, the girls and I are faced with another new beginning. We need to find another place to live and it couldn’t come at a more difficult time of the year. Christmas time, with expectations of presents and such, makes moving into a new place seem like a nigh-insurmountable feat of accomplishment. I won’t go into the reasons behind our unexpected change of venue, suffice it to say, it’s not helping the feeling of family togetherness.

It’s another new experience for me, Christmas as a stay-at-home dad. Last year I was able to provide a modest haul of gifts for the girls, who absolutely adore Christmas. This year couldn’t be more different, for me or the SO. With the impending move to be made around the 1st of the year, money hangs like a dark cloud over this years holiday festivities as there isn’t likely going to be enough for anything but food, gas, and moving expenses. This isn’t the recipe for a Merry Christmas or a Happy Holiday for the girls and I. Yes, I am aware that the holiday season isn’t supposed to revolve around gifts and consumerism (unless you are asking anyone in the media or the retail sectors), but try telling that to a child who has no clue about money and how it doesn’t grow on trees. For us grown ups it’s difficult because we feel like we can’t provide for ourselves or the kids. For me it’s difficult, sometimes, to see the importance of my role at home when money is the issue on everybody’s mind. Yes I take care of the kids while the lady is busy bringing home the bacon, but as a previous wage earner, it’s hard for me to be unable to help solve the main problem causing all this stress and unpleasantness.

Despite all this, I am grateful for all that we do have. We have each other. We will be fine. It will be a rather bare Christmas, yes, but it will pass and life will go on and the girls will find more reasons to be happy. Maybe that sounds callous in regards to the magic of Christmas, but as I cook the bacon the SO brings home, all I can do is stay positive.


Happy Belated Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving, even if it is a bit late. It is never too early or too late to give thanks for who and what you have in your life.

We all make plans. We have dreams and desires, we set goals, and sometimes we even accomplish those things. Other times, life gets in the way and we get diverted from our path into a new direction. Those can be difficult times, trying to figure out how to start over again or how to adjust to a new set of goals. In this way, I never pictured myself having children. I wasn’t anti-kid, I just never saw it as a part of my future. Now that I have a child and am helping raise another, I find myself adjusting to my new reality. More importantly, I find myself being incredibly thankful for the children and my girlfriend, they are wonderful people and I am a lucky guy to have them as family. My baby is 7 months old, now, and she is as active as I could hope for. Babbling, rolling, jumping, and darn near crawling, she is a joy to see and I can’t wait to see how her life unfolds. Z, my girlfriend’s daughter, is progressing at school and it’s cool to watch her learning new things and becoming more able to understand the world around her. As for my girlfriend, she just got promoted at work and, even though it’s a hectic position, I have no doubt they got the right person for the job. I love them and the make my life better every day.

I am also very grateful for the childhood I had, and the family I was born into. I have always been loved and I have always known it, something that many people can’t say, unfortunately. I’ve had opportunities, I’ve had help, and I’ve made mistakes, but my family has always been there for me, and I will always be grateful for them.

This Thanksgiving, or whenever you read this, I challenge you to sit down a while and think about what you have to be thankful for. Please take some time to put away the frustrations you may have over changes or adjustments and give thanks for what you have, even if it’s not what you planned for or expected. Yes, sometimes life doesn’t follow your plans, but that doesn’t mean that the unexpected path won’t be every bit as wonderful as what you had in mind.

Happy Holidays

Chronic pain as my companion- Weigh the benefits with the side effects

This is my mom. She is in a lot of pain and the difficult part is that the doctors aren’t exactly sure why that is. Despite that fact, she is finding ways to stay positive and grateful. This is a trait she and my dad both possess,and it is inspiring to see that. If you know anyone who is in chronic pain pass this along, so that they might know they are not alone. Even if you or someone you know aren’t/isn’t experiencing chronic pain, give it a read. My mother is a wonderful, loving person and I’m sure you could find something of value in her words. Also comment, comment, comment. Positive words from strangers are always uplifting.

Redeeming Pain

Hello readers.  Any of you who suffer from chronic pain have heard the phrase: ‘you must weigh the benefits of this medication against the side effects.’  I have had that conversation with all the neurologists i have consulted with trying to find the cause for my constant headache and vertigo.  When you are in severe pain, you want to believe that the new medication being prescribed by a well respected medical professional will be the source of relief so long hoped for.  The side effects seem a small price to pay if the medication will return you to normal enough functioning that you can return to work.

i am now at the end of the 7th week of medical leave and just consulted with the 6th neurologist to weigh in since May.  After looking at the transcripts from all the previous doctors, his opinion was that the medications I was…

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For the Doctor

I love science fiction and fantasy, be it in novels, movies or even television. I am a major fan of Dune, Harry Potter, Ender’s Game, Fringe, Eureka and so many others, it’s hard to know where to begin. Today it seems relevant to pay tribute to a show that I recently discovered but that has quickly become a favorite.

Dr Who is not only a story line of truly epic proportions (not epic as the newer generations would know the word), but a record setting (check Guinness) cultural phenomenon centered around a character known simply as “The Doctor.”
First aired in 1963 on the BBC, Dr Who is the winding tale of a “Time Lord”, a humanoid who travels the length of time and space in a blue police box (the TARDIS: Time And Relative Dimension In Space, a sentient time machine) accompanied by ordinary people, to save civilizations, right galactic wrongs, and somehow make people feel like they are the the most special thing in the universe. As a Time Lord, The Doctor can see time as a whole (I think that’s the idea…correct me if I’m wrong…please), and the time vortex along which he travels in the TARDIS. The Doctor might be humanoid, but there are differences. Among them, he has two hearts (with which he loves with reckless abandon). Another, and this is a big one, is that he can survive grievous injuries through a process called Regeneration (this is how the writers have had so much time to continue the show as a VERY long progression).

This fine piece of programming has had some broadcasting trouble along the way, as it went off air in 1989. But as it had come to be a beloved piece of British pop-culture, there were attempts to restart production, and finally success in 2005 (Many thanks to Russell T Davies for sharing The Doctor with a generation that might have otherwise missed out).

The Doctor has touched many people in the nearly 50 years since it’s first episode, and influenced the science fiction genre. Since my discovery, I have come to love who The Doctor is. My favorite Doctor is undoubtedly Matt Smith (who is finally leaving the show 😦 ). He is quite simply a 900-something big kid, trying desperately to be the hero all kids want to believe in. He IS the Oncoming Storm, but he never uses guns. He is friends with Charles Dickens, Vincent Van Gogh and Winston Churchill, among others. He is frequently scared, but he doesn’t run away. Nay he runs into the big scary thing, with a smile on his face, willing to give his enemies a chance to change their ways.

He may not be my hero (no disrespect Doctor), but that’s only because I’ve already got two, and you will have to stay tuned to my blog to find out who they are. But the Doctor is a great role model for the big kid of any age, and I for one would like to wish him a happy 50 year anniversary.

On a Winter Night Years Ago

Greetings lovable readers, and welcome back for another helping of my thoughts. Today I would like to share about an aspect of my life that is important to me, an aspect that I don’t often share with other people. I recently posted a comment on another blog (Dark Circles etc) about a nostalgic reaction to a song. The song reminded me about a winter night a long time ago, when I gained a better understanding of the energies that surround is, infuse us, and connect us to everyone and everything in the world.

I am a Pagan. At least, that’s the closest term for a spiritual belief with which I identify. It should be noted that I also use the term “Pagan” as a blanket term so that I don’t identify myself too tightly with any one brand of Paganism because I am still searching for a clearer direction in my spiritual journey. No, I am not a witch. No, I do not worship satan. No, I do not engage in ritual sacrifices, either animal or human. There are many ways in which people, now known as Neo-Pagans, practice their spirituality, but a common belief is centered around nature. They, and I, believe divinity can be found in nature and the natural order of the world.

The night in question is the night that I came to look at my previously held spiritual beliefs. I was with a friend who could already be described Pagan, and we were at Starbucks discussing nature, energy and how energy affects the world around us. More specifically, we were discussing how energy could be directed to affect a desired change in the world around us. It was cold out, we were drinking coffee – go figure – and as I contemplated what she was saying, the more sense it made and the cold seemed to be less cold, somehow.

Energy is everywhere and in everything. Matter, as we see it with our eyes, is merely a very wide variety of energetic configurations of the minute amounts of actual matter of which the universe is composed. Our personalities, the behavioral traits that make is who we are, are the result of our unique synaptic pathways. Energy in the form of electricity. There has even been shown to be an electrical field around our bodies.

Many people in the Pagan communities use ritual magick to effect the world around them, using ceremonial artifacts and incantations to focus their desires/energy to be sent out into the universe. There are also particular times of the year when the communities celebrate the changing of the seasons, those who have come before, and give thanks for what has been given. These times are known as sabbats.

I suppose I am not all that different. While, I don’t worship the pantheon of Pagan deities throughout the year, I do pray to the Mother Goddess and Father God. I don’t have intricate rituals, but I do have a simple ritual of meditation and visualization to focus my energy. As for nature, I have always felt more at peace while in nature. Nature goes on as nature does, has always done, regardless of human interference. I find that particularly comforting.

It’s been a while since I’ve been out in nature, truly out in the wilderness, and I miss it. But it’s not that bad. I live in a house in a neighborhood surrounded by trees of all sorts, we have a family of squirrels in our backyard, and all sorts of birds (including woodpeckers, blue jays, owls, and small clouds of little tiny hyperactive birds I can’t identify). Time has passed. Priorities have changed. I’ve got a family and all the activities that surround daddyhood. Although I haven’t been out in the forest for a while, I am comforted that I have nature here with me, in the kids and my family, as we all grow.

That night at Starbucks, I didn’t find an absolute answer about the functioning of the universe. I’m willing to admit that I am wrong about it all if that’s where life goes. What I did find was a way of looking around me and relating to the world in a way that is comfortable to me. It encourages me to learn, it is a moral compass, it helps me embrace change, and it just felt right. No matter what life hands me, I know I will be okay, that I can be a loving individual, and that nature will be there to welcome me home when the time comes.

Scrabble in the Cold and the Meaning of Life

I love scrabble, you should know that. I’m not world class great or anything, but it is my favorite game, hands down. Some of my best conversations and cups of coffee were enjoyed amidst games of scrabble in the cold with my friend Marnie. I met her on her first day of work at my favorite Starbucks back in Palm Desert and immediately I knew we would be friends. It wasn’t long after that day that we were playing our first game of scrabble and discussing a thought that has gotten me through a lot of difficult times. The Meaning of Life (cue suitably dramatic music).

People spend so much time contemplating, philosophizing, and pontificating about the meaning of life that it’s hard to know which brand to buy. A lot of it requires a number of college courses to understand, but even then, one is frequently left with more questions than answers. Sometimes it seems that the study of philosophy has been made intentionally difficult to understand so that philosophers and philosophy teachers are kept relevant and necessary because they are the only ones who understand what the hell is going on (much could be said for politicians, too, I suppose).

Why is philosophy so complicated? If you are expecting an answer from me on that, then settle in and prepare for a disappointment. Sorry. However, perhaps I can make it up to you by proposing another answer to an even more difficult question, a simple answer, even. A simple answer to the question: What is the Meaning of Life?

During my first game of scrabble with my new friend, it came into my head to discuss the meaning of life. Why? I don’t know. I had never discussed it before, nor even considered it for any length of time. I blame the scrabble, really, it gets my mental juices pumping, and cool things happen because of it, sometimes. (That’s crap, I know, but it’s the best I’ve got) So, having started this lofty line of discussion, I had to come up with something, and quickly. Didn’t want to come off as a dope by saying something stupid like mongooses or the music of Abba (42 would be a great answer, but only for laughs and only in certain circles). I thought about it for a moment and then, I held forth, extemporaneously about a topic that I had never held forth about before.

Looking back, I am suitably impressed, with the simplicity of my answer and the amount of sense it makes to me. The best part of all is that it is accessible to anyone who can think clearly for about 10 minutes or so, depending on the time of day.

Change. In my opinion, the meaning of life is change.

I told you it was simple. And why shouldn’t an answer as simple as this be right? Everybody’s lives are a function of change, whether they are religious, atheist, agnostic, etc. We are born, we age, and we die; these all examples of changes in life, that’s the obvious angle to take, sure, but it’s what we do between birth and death that I’m talking about, more specifically the things that are important to us.

As a baby, love, warmth, food, a clean diaper are where it’s at for us. As kids, it’s candy, playing, our parents attention, and anything that makes us feel grown up. As teens, it’s stretching our legs and testing boundaries in an attempt to find out who we are. You get where I’m going with this, yes? Life marches on, whether we like it or not, and with it our biological clocks and what moves us to action (or what tempers our tempers). Our needs change, our tastes change, our fashion changes (not as critical, though the media would tell you otherwise), our understanding of constants in our life changes (religion and science, for example). Change comes for all of us, no matter what we do. We can either be ready to embrace and use change the best we can or we can fight it and become embittered, out of touch versions of ourselves.

Life is hard and complicated enough, people. Why complicate this, too? The meaning of life is accepting the inevitable changes we will face in life (that’s just an opinion, of course), however you feel called to relate to life. Whether you are religious or atheist, your understanding of those respective lifestyles will change over time. If you are a nihilist, well, time still passes…so, there’s that, but you don’t care anyways. Moving on.

I guess what this all means is that there is no ONE meaning to life. How could there be? When all lives are different, how could the meaning for all of them be the same? Perhaps when I die, I will find out that I’m dead wrong (see what I did there?), that there was a different meaning that I missed altogether. But the way I look at it, taking this stance leaves room for learning and admitting when I’m wrong. That’s a change, right? It has also freed up the energy I used to expend trying to keep things the way they are in favor of enjoying what is in front of me and figuring out how I can ride the “change wave” to be a version of myself that is in touch and loving.

Anyhow, it’s late, and I’m rambling. So, the last thing I will say is this: change is good, you might not always know how at first, but if you let fear get in the way, you will never know.

[if you have a smart phone and you want to discuss or simply play a game of scrabble (words with friends), my user name is bohemiamdan81]

Batkid Saves San Francisco

The San Francisco branch of Make A Wish did this for a boy who loves Batman. It was his wish and people from far and wide came together on this day because of and for this one boy. Faith in humanity increased, not necessarily restored. We’ve got a long way to go, but it’s things like this that make me think we might just be able to make ourselves a more loving global community.