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QUOTES (permalink) 11.30.2012
i'm beyond good being on a need-to-know designation.
lick your finger and push down on it
these were the first words i heard coming out of sleep on the morning of friday, november 16th. marty spoke those possibly scary words. they were directed, i assume and hope, towards one of our three children. i'm not sure which one. i've been a parent of miniature humans long enough to know that you not only have to pick your battles but you also have to pick your details. there's only so much granular kid-centric data the average man can shoulder.

QUOTES (permalink) 11.29.2012
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.

QUOTES (permalink) 11.28.2012
the one-twitter challenge
were i to use twitter i would not only be brief in characters (as mandated by them) i'd also be brief in contributions (as mandated by myself). after some thought, i've concluded my one and only contribution to the twitter morass would be the following.
in life, always:

1 act with respect.
2 make mature choices.

honor those and you will sleep well and hit life's end line content and grinning.

the above text is taken near verbatim from an email exchange with a former student, who is now graduated and i need to just start calling a friend given our ongoing relationship. he and i have shared two lunches recently. the first to celebrate a new responsibility given to him at the dream job he secured six months ago. the second lunch, just a few weeks later, focused on how he could depart the company. it turns out the owner, who at first seemed to be a warm and patronly mentor is mildly, but not quietly, deranged. when sam explained what had gone on, i expressed surprise that he hadn't left already. one week after the second lunch i received an early morning email from sam announcing his plan to put an end to the crazy job this day. usually i'm not a spry mail responder (like, that happens at nine, ya know) but given the import of the moment, i took a minute to dash off a quick reply, hence the brevity of the message. the only bit removed involves a statement that no matter how the world around you (e.g. shitheel boss) behaves make sure to conduct yourself with grace and aplomb.

SOCIETY (permalink) 11.27.2012
good reason to get your thanks on
a boy spent the night at our house. it was his first time in our home. he did the usual room to room discovery most kids seem to do on an initial visit of a new space. as he passed through the kitchen where marty washed the morning dishes, he stopped in front of the refrigerator and in a wondrous and astonished tone said, "woooowwww. look how big this refrigerator is." and then asking no one in particular added, "have you ever seen a refrigerator this big?"

in all my years i've never had a guest in my home marvel at the grandeur of my perfectly normal sized refrigerator. truth is, aside from a dorm style cube fridge, i didn't even know they came in another size. since that moment i've not looked at my fridge, or its contents, the same again. in fact i've not looked at many of my possessions the same again. a fruitful and balancing issue to have in this thanksgiving time of year.

QUOTES (permalink) 11.16.2012
he's probably a quicker wit than most in his zip code too.
from a bill murray interview. when asked if he thought he was a gifted actor, he replied, "i'm pretty good at what i do. i'm as good as anyone in my neighborhood."

what a great answer to a really un-great question.

QUOTES (permalink) 11.15.2012
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.
got religion

KIDS (permalink) 11.14.2012
your adorable smile says yes, but all the broken crap in my home says no.
while eating breakfast, anthony told me that he liked having a dad who didn't always say yes. surprised at his share, i asked him why (as he and the others usually ask me why i have to be so much meaner than their mother). he launched into an excited, blended-syllable outburst where i made sense of only the occasional word—a few i could distinctly discern being "high roof" and "unicycle". it's rare that i wholeheartedly agree with someone when i only glean twenty percent of their story but in this case, i would have put my name to the dotted line in support of my need to be the heavy.

KIDS (permalink) 11.13.2012
friends and shitake mushrooms
in choir bella (11) bent down to pick something up and hit her head on the back of the chair. she exclaimed an unchecked and uncharacteristic "shit!". when she stood up one of her friends had turned to her, held her arm forward offering her hand to bella and said, "bella. welcome to the dark side. we've been expecting you." then another friend standing behind them started breathing like darth vader. it seems bella was the last to utter a swear in front of the group, a group of playful and sweet girls, as evidenced by this wonderfully precious moment.

i later caught bella muttering the same swear around the house and told her she needs to mutter that more quietly because i didn't want my kindergarten boy taking it to school. after catching bella in the phrase a few more times, i asked a favor of her. i asked that whenever she says felt required to say shit, she extends the phrase to shitake as in shitake mushrooms. early on there was a prominent pause in the syllables as you'd hear "shit" then a few beats later a "... take mushrooms" tacked on the backside. but now, already, it pretty much just comes out as "ahh, shitake mushrooms".

while we're talking inside language, the phrase bella and i use to reference "girl things" is fuzzy pickles. this might go something like:

bella what took you so long? i thought you were ready to go.

i was but had to deal with some fuzzy pickles.

oh. right. you good now?



i like being part of a larger family far more than i ever thought i'd like being part of a larger family.

BOOKS, QUOTES (permalink) 11.09.2012
what a great exercise, thoughtfully and thoroughly done
Yes, the relationships with our children matter most, but I found myself wondering if my son had learned enough from me, whether he was prepared. So what do I want him to have learned as I send him on his way, off on his own? What do I want him to understand about life? What will help guide him through any difficult times? If I could only just tell him.

Hey wait! I can!

Here is what I want him to know; some words of wisdom that will guide him reasonably happily through life.

Always know that—
  • No matter what happens to you in life—no matter what ups and downs life may bring—you have all the health and well-being inside you that you will ever need, it can never be destroyed, and it contains the wisdom and common sense to guide you through life.
  • All you need to do to hear it is to quiet your mind or clear our head (which you can do in any way that suits you), and it will speak to you in the form of common sense thoughts popping into your head—so all you need to do is trust that it's there.
  • When you feel frustrated or angry or irritable or down or bored or lazy, or any of those emotions, the more you know that those feelings are coming from your own thoughts, and those thoughts are coming only from the way you're seeing things at the moment—and that can change—the less you will be controlled by those emotions. The more you notice and are aware of what you're feeling at those times and the less you take those thoughts too seriously because those thoughts are just tricking you by giving you faulty messages, the less you will be controlled by those emotions. The more you can't let go of something, the further way you are from that healthy, but you're the one making it up—inadvertently.
  • The more you understand that everyone sees the world in a completely different way from everyone else because of their own way of thinking, and their world makes as much sense to them as yours does to you, and you can't talk anyone out of their world any more than they can talk you out of yours, the less you will be bothered and troubled by others.
  • The more you recognize your moods, and that you think differently about the same situation depending on your moods, and the more you wait until your mood rises before acting or saying anything, the better off you'll be and the better people will respond to you.
  • If someone does you wrong or treats you badly—it's just that he's lost—his world is telling him to act that way, and he is just doing the best he knows how to do at the time, given how he sees things. If you can see him as innocent because he can't see a better way at that time, and if you see him with compassion because he must be hurting to be taking it out on you, and if you don't take what they do or say personally, you will be protected emotionally from what he and others do [Note: This does not mean not taking appropriate action, when necessary.]
  • Whenever you're down in the dumps or caught up in your emotions and you can't seem to change your thinking, all you need to remember is that your thoughts will eventually change and, with them, you will see your situation or that person differently. What you see as "reality" or "the way it is" now will change as your thinking changes—and it always does. So you don't have to get so caught up in the way you think it is now—because how it looks now is guaranteed to change, eventually.
  • The way you treat others creates what you get back in return.
  • People who achieve what they want in life believe they can do it, trust that what they want will fall into place for them, if they work hard to get it and don't give up. And if it doesn't work out, have faith that you will be okay—it is all unfolding perfectly—no matter what.
  • We will always be there for you if you need us.
  • We will always love you no matter what you do!
excerpt from parenting from the heart by Jack Pransky

SOCIETY (permalink) 11.08.2012
this just in ...
i found out about the election results the morning after at the bus stop from some neighbors who routinely pass by walking a dog. it went something like this.

yeah, nate's tired. i let him stay up to watch the election.

oh! right! the election. do they know who won?

BETH (astonished look)
what? well yes.

so who was it?

BETH (still astonished)
you don't know?

no, i don't know. do they know?

later in the conversation beth asked me how i could ever be a good citizen without the news (backstory). i said i guess i couldn't be. what i didn't say to her was BEING A GOOD CITIZEN did not make the top ten list of things i hope to achieve with my life at this juncture and it's everything i can do to save and steal enough minutes for the things that did make the top ten. perhaps after my kids are all out of the house there will be room for which senators think rape is cool or who are having affairs with their assistants as well as other distant, out of my control things for my shiny, sexy mind to occupy itself with, but not yet, not now.

and yes, i know "now" may never come and i'm perfectly content with that in this particular case.

LIFE (permalink) 11.07.2012
bad life day
we know a man who self-destructed. timing smacks a bit of a mid-life thing but people are tricky and complex so who knows. whatever the source the man lost virtually everything he had amassed over the last few decades: wife, kids, job, home. seeing him since the falling has been strained and when we cross paths he predominately ignores us. marty saw the man's brother and stopped to ask how his brother was making out. she also asked him to pass along the message that she wasn't judging him since his troubles and is ok continuing a relationship. ultimately, she said she wanted him to know she wasn't turning her back on him and if he needed a friend from before, she'd be there. the brother smiled knowingly and assured her she mis-read his brother's behavior. he then summed the situation up by saying, "he's like a grown man standing in the middle of a party with a diaper full of shit."

given how self-conscious i feel sporting a sizable zit or wonky hair, i reckon i can vibe this man's unease. the thought of a more permanent blemish that can't be washed or cut off must surely be debilitating.

SOCIETY (permalink) 11.06.2012
trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something unexpected to eat.
my favorite halloween tale from this year came from one of marty's students.

when st louis kids trick or treat the majority of folks (e.g. those who grew up in the lou) require a joke or trick before giving out candy. thus, the lead up to the big day involves in addition to choosing your costume, finding the joke you will tell hundred plus times that evening while you make your rounds.

how strictly a house chooses to enforce the joke/trick rule varies widely. in the day after re-hash at school, one of marty's ninth grade students told of unique practice he runs at his door. if he guesses the punchline to a kid's joke, instead of candy, he gives them a piece of american cheese, individually wrapped of course.

as a collector of thoughtful human moments, this particular thought and subsequent practice holds a prominent spot on my wall of noteworthy artifacts.

MUSIC (permalink) 11.02.2012
this should not be humanly possible

KIDS (permalink) 11.01.2012
for real.
at the dinner table alex told bella, "the author that came and spoke today at school i think you and your girlfriends would have said was a 'hotty'."

talk about a brother helping a sister out.

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