Baudelaire—get drunk

ONE SHOULD always be drunk. That’s the great thing; the only question. Not to feel the horrible burden of Time weighing on your shoulders and bowing you to the earth, you should be drunk without respite.

Drunk with what? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you please. But get drunk.

And if sometimes you should happen to awake, on the stairs of a palace, on the green grass of a ditch, in the dreary solitude of your own room, and find that your drunkenness is ebbing or has vanished, ask the wind and the wave, ask star, bird, or clock, ask everything that flies, everything that moans, everything that flows, everything that sings, everything that speaks, ask them the time; and the wind, the wave, the star, the bird and the clock will all reply: “It is Time to get drunk! If you are not to be the martyred slaves of Time, be perpetually drunk! With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you please.”

A Pink Flamingo was Dancing

A few weeks ago, I awoke around 7am and found my daughter Amelia (2 1/2 years old) sleeping on my legs. My wife and I were tired enough not to hear her as she crept into our room. When we asked Amelia why she came to sleep with Mom and Dad, she responded, “A Pink Flamingo”. She then proceeded to tell us all about the Pink Flamingo and the story was quite creative.

The story as told by Amelia begins as she wakes in the middle of the night. My best guess is the time is around 2am. So, little Amelia wakes up and hears a noise. The noise as she describes it can be best written out as “MMMHMMHM”. It’s a bit of a hum. The noise is coming from her closet. Then from out of her closet, appears the Pink Flamingo. The Pink Flamingo walks to her bed and jumps to the end of it and according to Amelia it’s very nice. She looks on as the Pink Flamingo begins to dance.

Amelia demonstrates the dance that the Pink Flamingo performs. It’s sort of a Beyonce-esque, “Put a Ring on it” number. As the flamingo is dancing, it attempts to hold Amelia’s hand. She of course doesn’t like this and describes the situation as “strange” and “weird”. The flamingo continues it’s dance, then jumps off her bed and retreats to another bedroom. This is when Amelia decides to come to my room and sleep on my legs. She describes everything that took place as, “it was really weird dada”.

I love Amelia’s creativity. Like most children, she approaches art without fear. Her music is always atonal and her stories are elaborate worlds of fantasy. As adults we build up all these barriers of things, most of which come from what we would like other people to think about us. Our images of ourselves are always through other eyes. Amelia sees things through her own eyes. My sweet little girl, completely creative enough to come up with such a wonderful story, keen enough to know it’s incredibly weird and fearless enough to always be herself.

Amelia portrait: The Most “Best” Person Ever

Tonight’s post, a quick sketch and then thrown into Photoshop for color work with my Wacom pen and tablet. The subject of the sketch is pretty much the most “best” person ever, my daughter Amelia. She’s incredible. Right now i’d certainly say she’s my best friend in the world. We have the same sense of humor. I’m not certain what that says about me as Amelia is only 2 years old.

It’s funny about 2 year-olds, they really know how to enjoy life. It’s all the things we take for granted as we age that serves to blow their little 2 year old minds. For instance, how awesome are dinosaurs? Most adults take them for granted, but not little Amelia. She really takes the time to walk and roar as they do. What about the pure joy of eating a bowl of whipped cream or handfuls of marshmallows? Or the excitement of running in circles chasing a Dachshund with a star wand. It’s all the little things.

If you’re really stressed and the 9 to 5 has got you down, try acting like a two year old for one hour and I guarantee you will feel better, more excited about life. Please do this in the privacy of your home though.

Forever is composed of nows

I am a man that forgets things. I am a man that loses things… things like my car keys, my wallet, my eye glasses or my id-badge for work. I forget birthdays. I forget things that others have asked me to accomplish. I am in a constant state of confusion about where things are and what people have asked me to do or remember. I forget where I parked. I forgot what I was doing in that grocery store. What was I supposed to buy? I’ve forgotten to wear socks. I’ve forgotten the password to everything. Did I miss something extremely cute that my daughter said? Did I miss something extremely important in my life?

One day, I asked my two-year old daughter where my glasses were. She promptly found them on the coffee table. How was it my daughter was more aware of my belongings than me?

At dinner one night I realized the answer. My daughter is present. I realized that it’s not because I have a poor memory but rather I rarely live in the moment. I am rarely present. I tell my wife Chelsea this at dinner. I say to her, “You know I have a hard time being in this moment, my mind is wandering on what I need to do later. What website should I program? What idea for a company should I work on? What should I paint or draw? What I need to accomplish in my life. Wouldn’t it be cool if there were an iPhone app that allowed you to find your missing dog or cat using GPS? I could call it FidoFinder”. Sheesh, let my ignorance and lack of consideration be a lesson to all you men out there. You don’t tell your wife over a date-night dinner that you are not enjoying the moment with her but rather thinking about programming a website. I blew it and although I knew that I hurt her feelings, Chelsea is incredible and understanding so she promptly removed my foot from my mouth for me. Chelsea has grace and I apologized.

Emily Dickson wrote, “Forever is composed of nows”. I am missing all the “nows”. I walk into my house after work, throw my keys, wallet and whatever else down in hurried anticipation of some ridiculous thing I want to do later. I am a man that has started hundreds of failed projects and I believe I will fail thousands more. Doing this however isn’t a bad thing, but I needed to find a balance. I believe it’s this balance that allows people to enjoy life and in turn have the energy and creativity to be successful.

Now, I am a man that is a work-in-progress. Since I realized my fault, i’ve been living more in the now while balancing my future aspirations. Although my eye-glasses are missing, I’ve been able to take in more important moments. Last night I sat and watched Chelsea hold our two-week old son Bram and dance with our little girl Amelia. I’ve danced with them before but last night I just watched and breathed it all in. I remember everything about that moment, the music, the lighting, my daughter’s curly hair, my wife’s posture as she cradled and swayed our son. That moment is mine and ours. I will replay it over and over. It was slow motion and I was present. FidoFinder can wait.

 

 

Love and commitment are blind to sexual orientation.

Purchase this design.

I’m a 32 year old man, married to a wonderful woman and we have two fantastic children. Many would say this is the ideal family dynamic. I believe it is one ideal, one of many. Growing up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I have seen many different types of successful families. I have known friends that were raised by just one parent, friends that were raised by grandparents or aunts… or uncles. I’ve known friends that were adopted. I’ve also had friends whose parents were gay.

What makes a family ideal?

What are family values?

It’s my deepest belief that a family is composed of those that love and care for one another. I believe that the right of two consenting adults, no matter their sexual orientation is to marry if they so desire. It’s not something that should be voted on. It’s not something that is bound to a particular religion. It’s a right. Our country needs to recognize the rights of Gays and Lesbians to wed as it is their right as much as it is mine.

I respect religions that do not recognize same-sex marriages. The particular religions that do so can continue with their freedom to do so. However, our government does not have this same freedom. It’s the job of the government to represent its citizens without bias of race, religion, gender, age or sexual orientation. The government should not choose a religious view to follow.

I am saddened by the restrictions placed upon Gay and Lesbian couples wishing to marry. I do not have words for the amount of pure disrespect our government has shown regarding their rights. I am very excited that our Vice President and President spoke in favor of same-sex marriage. However, I am hoping to see actual change.

I created a design to show support for Gay Marriage. I placed it on Zazzle (zazzle.com) and I pledge to donate my portion of it’s sales to http://www.hrc.org/. It is a small percentage of each sale due to the amount Zazzle keeps for production, marketing and shipping but I’d really like to help more than just simply blogging about the topic.

If you disagree with same-sex marriage, I urge you to look at this issue with an open mind and heart. No matter your personal religious beliefs, I urge you to respect the rights of others as you would like them to respect yours.

To purchase the design on a shirt, visit zazzle.com.

Bootstrapping my life.

Every year since I met my wife Chelsea, has been better than the last. As I type, it’s been just about 5 days since my wife, my daughter and I welcomed a new baby into our lives. A beautiful baby boy we named Abram. This completes a very big goal for me and I am ecstatic.

I’m not writing this post to brag or show off. I’m not writing this post to document something incredible, although incredible it is. I write because I want to share my experiences with my friends, family and anyone that is interested. I write in the hopes that it would bring some optimism to anyone going through a difficult time. That no matter how difficult, that things may change for the positive quickly. All it takes is the realization that you are in control of your present and your future.

I won’t go into much detail but in 2006 I went through what one would call a stormy period in my life. It was a challenging time for me and certainly a very low point. Compared to other tragedies, mine was seemingly a speed bump, a blip on the radar. However at the time, it did affect me greatly and much like others I turned to bad habits to overcome emotional turmoil. I went through a period of drinking heavily, not leaving the house or the opposite of not coming home for days. I remember being simply confused.

There was a night that I spent a few hours sitting in my truck in the parking lot of a local grocery store. The rain was pouring around me. I was sitting and watching the rain as I didn’t want to go home and for some reason I couldn’t muster the ability to go inside the store and find something for dinner. Strange as it might seem, I drove to the store just to sit in a parking lot in the rain. I watched as people and families went on with their shopping. In and out of the store they went, despite the rain. I thought how strange it was that each person may be experiencing joy, pain or otherwise and we are all completely isolated in our abilities to fully comprehend what others may truly be experiencing.

Some people need interventions, but people will tell you they only work when someone actually wants to change. I decided that night that I really wanted something better for myself. It wasn’t something profound that I witnessed to make me realize this, but it was the things I could not comprehend about others. In reality we are alone in our thoughts and emotion. In programming there is a term called “bootstrapping”, this is derived from the story of Baron Munchausen. The story goes that the Baron, trapped in a swamp, pulls himself out by his bootstraps. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t seek help from others but simply that you have all the power and ability to change things for yourself.

I went home that night and thought about the things that I wanted. What I wanted the most was to be with a wonderful partner, get married and have a family. This was my decision and to achieve it, I had to make changes. The first change was obvious. I had to snap out of the slump I was in. Easier said than done, right? I quickly made a list of things I knew were good habits. Things that would better my ability to find someone I wanted to be with. I worked on controlling my reaction to my emotional state. Everytime I felt sad, I would try to find a positive habit to focus on like reading, writing, playing music or simply watching online tutorials. Before I knew it I had taught myself several different programming languages. Rather than drinking, I began exercising. Rather than hiding away in my house, I got out and socialized more. I also wholeheartedly dropped the walls I’d built up and approached people I would normally shy from.

Because of this, I met my wife Chelsea in 2006 by putting myself “out there”. In normal circumstances, I would have never approached her but I did. I also felt like I was a better person, more willing to commit to things and because of my positive habits, I was more confident. Certainly knowing my goal was to meet a person I wanted to share a life with, I believe I saw her with new eyes. From the moment I spoke with her, I began to appreciate her honesty, kindness, intelligence, humor and pure potential to be an amazing partner and mother. With some discussion and playful teasing from friends, I had asked her out on a date. She accepted and eventually I charmed her enough for second date.

A year later, I asked Chelsea to marry me. Another year later she gave me a beautiful girl we named Amelia and finally our boy Abram. Each year has been better than the last. The beauty of completing a goal is the rewards you can reap. I get to wake up everyday with two beautiful children and an incredible wife. Now all that seems easy right? It wasn’t and it won’t be for you. The most difficult part was accepting my piece in my happiness and deciding I wanted to change things. It was the acceptance that changing things was possible. The great thing about habits is they are just that, habits. Once you begin doing them, they become second nature. Once you begin it all falls into place.

I am telling each and every one of you that if you feel stuck, if you feel like you can’t get away from heartache, that you possess the ability to overcome and make your life better. It all starts with a decision and a little bootstrapping.