Parent household maintenance in my world is a series of cycles.
Parent household maintenance in my world is a series of cycles.
Well here we are 2014!
I promised myself that I would start hitting the Tumblr-ama again this year so here we go! Apologies to my kids (who I write this for) for taking some time off, but you miniature people can keep a dad quite busy.
It’s been a while since I checked in, but that’s only because we have been rolling through life with the petal to the metal and now in June, baby makes three. That’s three total, with three year old and a five year old already throwing down the hammer. We will now officially go from man on man to playing the zone. We are excited and nervous, but plan to stick to our credo of taking things day by day and week by week, as we head into the new unchartered territory we aren’t going to try to boil the ocean and think to far ahead.
I work in the entertainment industry which is a blessing and a curse filled with many highs and lows. A few years ago when we had our little girl I was presented with a choice. The choice to roll the dice and stay at home for the most part, or to push into more of a full time world which would complete the dual income family script (and bless those out there that do that) - I chose to roll the dice at this junction as my friend said to me at a poignant moment “You will never get to rewind this time with your kids, once it’s gone it’s gone.” Now a child later and with one on the way, the script remains the same.
I grew up an only child of a single mother who worked many long hours for many years so we could have the basics. I might add she is my hero and there is not a day that goes by I wish she was still here. That being said, unfortunately she missed a lot of life moments and mile-stones due to our situation. I had a rare opportunity to break that cycle, and I took a shot. Mom, if you were still around you would be a welcomed baby-sitter, heck you would have a wing on the house.
So here I am, sappy life story out of the way and onto bright blogging once again. I am blessed with a wonderful wife who works in my industry so she definitely understands “crazy” and we have two wonderful, challenging, awe inspired, magical kids that keep my on my toes 24-7 / 365.
Stories, musings, thoughts, good, bad and ugly, are coming down the pipeline, so here I go again. If I am lucky enough have someone read and comment here and there so be it.
Thank you. Have a great day.
Well as the great Steven Tyler once said “I’m back, I’m back in the saddle again” After a little hiatus in which life took over I wanted to get back on track because much like a resume, when my kids read these someday I don’t want there to be too many gaps.
I have one of those interesting careers where I talk, write, and create for a living and here in my middle age, I am really starting to understand the value of words and realize if you consistently say nice things, “try” to keep good things in your head, and match those with actions you have nothing to look back upon with regret. I have done a lot of good in my life and admittedly I have made more than my share of mistakes, but isn’t life a learning process?
This is something that I hope to instill in my children as they grow up. It is funny how a simple cliche like “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all” would play out in a global spectrum if everyone followed the rule. Obviously this could be a thesis of theory, example, history, and experience, but in the interest of cranking this out before my toddler wakes up I’ll just move on…
It is wildly fascinating to me when I shut down the social media and turn off the phones how much I enjoy bathing in the wonder of my one and half year old. I bask in sitting with him and seeing with his eyes. It is exponentially more delightful than any form of media or work duty, even if it’s creative. I posted a few weeks ago that in the span of 7 hours I only heard four words “puppy, ball, mama and more” and it made for one of the happiest days of the year. Four words and nothing else. We walked, we played, we listened, we looked, we imagined. It was simply a fantastic journey that concluded with the wonder people coming home, which of course kicks things back into the crazy, lovable family zone.
Speaking of wonder people, my four year old is now in the avalanche of vocabulary learning, deciphering, spelling and process. It is so funny to us to watch a miniature person spout out full sentences, question things, argue with meaning, and try to figure out the way of the word. Sure, it’s frustrating at times, but she’ll be ok. We help her along and let her discover naturally, but are also quick to correct if words are used inappropriately or in a hurtful manner. It is impossible to thoroughly explain the power of the spoken word, as I am still figuring it out in my middle age, but she is definitely doing the math that words can make you feel very good, and words can make you very bad. It’s so simple and so elementary, but we just hope they both grasp this concept throughout life as it effects not only the social space, but the family space, the work space, the creative space, or any space for that matter. I won’t touch on bullying here today, but we all know the power of the word can have long range effect on people, and in a way I am glad people finally caught on and are being so pro-active in trying to gain awareness around the fact that it is wrong. I keep hearing “It’s just part of growing up” No it’s not. It’s wrong. Will it still go on? Of course, but recognition and awareness are half the battle, now let’s move on to action. Our kids and yours too are heading into unchartered waters, but if you stick to…”If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” ( I am sure there’s a hipper version of that saying out there) It would probably make the world just a little bit better.
Oh yes, the four words that got me thinking about this entire blog post? We were going out to dinner during the holidays and amidst the chaos of family logistics, and me not being in a particularly wonderful mood, my daughter simply took my hand and said “Daddy, You look handsome.” A four year old turned a grumpy forty year old around with four small words…and I am writing this six months later.
Have a great day and thank you for reading.
Tall Trees and Finding Joe
As I walked my little one to the market today we stopped to look at a butterfly. Here it sat on the edge of a lavender plant just long enough that we could admire it, pronounce it, (we’re trying to move on from “ball” and “mama”) and proceed, but something unique happened. As I traipsed up the sidewalk the little friend followed us from bush to bush, landing, looking, and then fluttering on. This went on for a long city block. I thought, hmm…our daughter loves butterflies so maybe that’s her way of being with us right now as she’s in school, then I thought; my mom loved nature, so maybe that’s her way of checking in on me during my daily walks with the little man. Regardless, it left us as we crossed the street, but it got me thinking about signs in the metaphorical sense, and of course the literal sense as I was indeed, crossing the street.
Did you ever notice that when you read a horoscope no matter what it says, for the most part; it oddly fits your day or your situation and you think wow…that’s really strange? I have had my share of wrinkled horoscopes and fortune cookies in my wallet over the years so maybe it is just me, but I do believe in signs.
This leads me to the Tall Trees, Finding Joe, and a little bit of the Grand Canyon. A recent convergence of seeing both an inspiring movie about the teachings of Joseph Campbell, and visiting the Tall Trees forest in California seemed to lay a comfortable “I’m doing the right thing” feeling on my life just like the horoscope I had aforementioned.
Danny Glover has a line in the movie Grand Canyon where he says, “When you sit on the edge of that thing, you just realize what a joke we people are” I have been to the Grand Canyon, but I had the same feeling while recently visiting the Tall Trees of California. Some of these trees have been around since the dinosaurs and have grown to hundreds of feet over thousands and thousands of years. They have been on earth from cavemen, to the times of Jesus, and through the Roman empire. They have been around for the discovery of America as well as the depression, world wars, and the inventions of everything from fire to cars and computers. Something tells me they will even survive the Kardashians. When you stand in the midst of these trees it is truly awe inspiring. Yet, here we were this tiny little family on a weekend getaway looking up at these behemoths and I; just like Danny Glover’s line, had this moment of self analysis/ clarity, realizing I wasn’t even a blip in the grand scheme of things, humanity, and the world. So what am I doing here on this planet, and what actually is my purpose? Don’t worry- not going to get philosophical here, just pondering.
"All of life’s riddles are answered in the movies" is a line by Steve Martin, also in the movie Grand Canyon. Oddly, this seemed to be the thesis statement of a wonderful movie I saw in the same week I visited the trees, called "Finding Joe". Joseph Campbell was one of the leading mythology experts of our time who believed that every human takes a heroes journey, and if you look at the history of movies, stories and literature which I love, (coming full circle soon) the story is told over and over and additionally, all things in life are based around taking that heroes journey in one form or another. Each person has the potential to become that hero and take that journey, and the only inhibitors are our fears, society, and ourselves. What we do with our lives can make us heroes in any way we choose if we believe, but in that journey we must think and go beyond the limits of our possibility. I won’t get lengthy but I have been blessed by entertaining and making whole lot of people smile during my career. Even if it’s not much, I took those folks away for those tiny moments and made life just a little more fun . I really think that’s why I am on the planet, but I have not really grown until recently when I had my back to the wall, had to reinvent life, and push through some a scariest things I could imagine just a few years ago. By "following my bliss", looking past the end of my nose and believing in myself, I now feel like I slayed some dragons, and I am in the right place for just this moment. This is until my heroes journey begins again. Hopefully, not for a minute or two.
I saw this movie and visited those trees at the right time.
I only share this because I think as a fairly new parent, I am still in a process of trying to figure out what I am going to be while raising and inspiring my children. They too will begin their own heroes journeys someday, and I want to lead them not by teaching cliches, chasing GPA’s, and drilling in educational and financial goals, but by actions and examples of following your passion, no matter what it may be. Also, ideally I would like to leave them a small form of a legacy, even if it’s only the printed out versions of this crazy old blog. So someday when they stand in the Tall Trees or on the edge of the Grand Canyon and have their moment of clarity/self analysis they have more information than I did to solve that elusive life riddle. When they ask am I just a number? or did I make a difference? Hopefully they will answer the latter.
If you made it this far, I thank you for reading. Please have a great week and keep slaying those dragons. As the little known band U2 might say “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.”…either.
One final thing - click on the tree picture above and you will see tiny little humans.
To be, or not to be: that is the question.
Well here we are in the middle of the MLB Playoffs, NCAA football, and the NBA, NHL and more NFL right around the corner, so let the games continue as they always do.
Here’s the hilarious situation in my house. I am born and raised Phillies. I used to sit on the back porch with my grandpa and listen to KYW radio each and every night in the summer. When I think about it, I can see the glow of his smoke stick (daughter’s name for cigarettes), feel the humidity, smell the Budweiser tall-boys, hear the crickets chirping, and draw to mind the vivid imagery around the great radio calls of Harry Kalas and Richie Ashburn. When we were a little older and the Phils were getting better, I recall tying pots and pans to my belt loops during the playoffs and all of us kids running down the street when the Phillies scored. I can draw dozens of other memories to friends, family, games, bars, little league dreams etc. etc. What older Phillies fan can’t tell you were they were when Joe Carter hit that home run in 1993?
Now go to the other side of the duct tape in our our living room. My wife was born and raised Giants. A California girl who has been going to games since she could walk and probably even before that. Her parents are die hards who have had season tickets for over two decades. They are the first in line for every give away, attend dozens of “Giant centric” events a year and have more gear than the team store. Without sharing too much here, they also lost a family member whose wonderful memory is directly correlated to the Giants and their exceptional outreach. They are outnumbering me 3-1 out here as the kids have three influences.
Those are our tribes, but here is the dilemma - Our oldest’s first year of life the Phillies won the World Series. Pictures, smiles and little high-fives will forever tie me to that moment. Now our son was born the year the Giants deservedly won the trophy beating my Phils and then winning the World Series. Pictures, smiles and little high-fives. It was ironic that our then baby- became tagged the “Rally Baby” as he was in attendance at 7 straight Giant wins down the stretch. Trust me I had no say. It was so funny/tense/ crazy in our house that I had to leave the room at points and listen in the car down the stretch.
So here we are again, the Phils are having the run this year so I am swinging the kids back to my side of the living room. What tribe will they end up for the long run? My wife and both are part of the sports world so we definitely unite on many fronts. Tennessee Vols, the Niners, the Eagles, the Warriors, etc etc. We even get our kids up early on Saturday to watch College Gameday and my daughter and I wager chores over what mascot head Lee Corso will put on. I’ll just leave you with this, my grandma on my dad’s side (rest in peace) was buried in a Carolina Tar Heels Blue casket, and that’s all I’m going to say about that. It’s fun, it’s passionate, it’s stupid, it’s crazy, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
"Sports is life with the volume turned up" - Barry Mano
Oh yea and- GO PHILS!
Have a fabulous day and thank you for reading- MKbythebay
Balance+ Hustle+ Reality = Happiness.
Is that a real equation? Recently it has been in my book. Sorry these blogs have trailed off lately, the second part of the equation “Hustle” has taken so much time, that to have “Balance”, the “Reality” of me sitting down to write these when Mr. Jiggles is sleeping, will not lead to my new vision of “Happiness”. Nonetheless I am here. I want to to thank my friends who have given me positive feedback about MKbytheBay, but also want to thank my family for their contributions both by loving me and letting me chase the the next round of life, dreams, and visions. Without support I am nothing-
I could start whining and sharing poop stories like some typical daddy-blogs, but to say life is unchallenging and mildly cute right now would not service the story. Peek in if you will and I thank you ahead of time for indulging me. I had a full-day of work/creative Friday, went to my little girls pre-school open house, then went to research/ network a television idea at a food truck event, got home, slept woke at 6AM, drove to LA (5 hours), had a writer’s meeting, went to a television taping, networked till 1AM, got up at 7AM, drove back (5 hours) and still had time to take my kids to the park then our favorite Mexican restaurant. I feel right now I can do anything, anywhere, anytime. It made me feel like a chubby, middle aged Superman! I think if I could live all of my future weeks like this, nothing is insurmountable and looking back, I want to smack myself for wasting time in the past worrying about the future. “Just get out there and make sh** happen” as my good friend Scott would say.
A few years ago my life drastically changed without notice, as I left a 12 year career in the NBA and dove into the real world without a net …and a newborn. It took me a good two years to remember what I was actually good at, as those of you who know me can attest I have anything but a typical resume. I took a few enterprising gigs to make ends meet, but here I am back where I am happiest, in the hustle to get new ideas seen, heard and created, performing in front of people, and networking with such a wide stream of amazing creatives it is hard to even keep up, and that’s just the way I like it! It took a drastic change in my life to break me out of complacency and boredom and I have an amazing family to thank for that. Speaking of, back to stay at home daddy mode, so there’s the reality…for today.
By the way - we don’t have a dog and that’s not us in the picture.
Have a great day- MK by the Bay
"It’s not weather you get knocked down or not, it’s if you get up"
I just read this Russell Simmons book again called “Do You!”, and it reminded me of the time I spent as a paperboy in suburban Philadelphia. Now Russell definitely can get a little preachy, but he also lays out many great messages to today’s youth and / or people that can be stuck in a rut :) One key word he maximizes chapter after chapter is “hustle”. Thanks Uncle Rush-
Here were my internal paperboy rules:
Connect- Schmooze- Hustle- Work- Deliver- Exceed- Collect- Repeat.
To most of my generation it does, and I think it should. One thing I hope to teach my children is the value of hard work, hustle, a respect for people, and honesty. The paperboy rules I learned as a kid have been carried with me and delivered (pun intended) throughout my entire life. These are the things I honestly remember as I delivered papers to over 150 customers on my paper route in Langhorne,PA. The funny thing is there was no daily supervision, no texting, email, cellphones or Skype. You just knew it was your job, you got home or woke up, and you did it. Even though my mom did have the secret plan of building character and integrity (Yea, crazy right?). You picked up your papers, you delivered them and you collected your money. Along the way you rode your bike, made friends, got chased by a dog or two, learned many values including money and time, and became the most popular kid in your apartment complex. If you were lucky, you would make some money for the bank, and maybe have some extra for some baseball cards, Spree, an Italian hoagie and Andy’s hot fries, or whatever else a 12 year old might need. It definitely had it’s small perks- but you earned them. I also worked in a 100 degree warehouse in the summer-time, but we’ll save that for another day. I’m already sweating just thinking about it.
I don’t know where along the path I began to see this sense of entitlement with today’s kids and young workers entering the force. (Insert-grumpy old man face). I can share many examples, but here is one that sticks with me. I worked in the NBA for over 10 years (worked my butt off to get in there) and at the time the mythical stat was that for every job in the NBA, there were over 2,000 applicants nationwide. Yet new interns and game-nighters, would walk in feeling like they owned the arena without a care, or a sense of responsibility in place anywhere. Texting, phoning, abusing their credentials, dressing inappropriately. They would show up whenever, show very little respect for an office environment, contribute very little, pay their proverbial “dues” and then head out. I could get into grave detail, but I’ll save that for the book.
I didn’t get it and still don’t. It wasn’t all of them, but a surprising number. Maybe it was me, but I guarantee 99% of you have witnessed this in other forms of this at the supermarkets, local mall, sandwich shop, or even your own workplace. Again, I think the media is creating these unrealistic role models that are portraying life as a non-stop party of lights, glamour, VIP life, and entitlement. I saw all of this first hand for a decade in many other places as well. It’s time to flip the switch back the other way.
Work is a privilege and not a right, so when you show up and are invited to participate you better follow the paperboy rules- and then some. We live in the greatest country in the world when it comes to opportunity and realizing potential, but when it comes to employment you better get your butt in gear and out hustle your competition, or I’ll be ordering my sandwich from you at Subway when you are 30 and living at home.
Again- I don’t mean to be preachy or ranting. My goal is to print these out for my children someday so they have some sort of a diary of what was going on in my/our world. Finally, I have always said my life has been a mix or Forrest Gump and Ferris Bueller with hard work stirred in, so I’ll end with this quote-
"I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it." -Thomas Jefferson
Have a great day and thank you for reading this.
That’s what this picture says to me. I snapped it while my three year old little girl was saying goodbye to the fairies of Oregon which she met on a recent visit. She built a fairy house out of rocks and flowers, and each night she hoped the fairies would come and visit for a while. She has this sweet habit of saying goodbye to things she has become attached to on our trips including the snowy mountain with fireworks inside (Mt. Shasta), the butterflies and mauves (moths) that fluttered around my aunt and uncle’s home in Oregon and the ducklings in Lithia park. What I love most about this time in her life is the wonder, thoughtfulness, and imagination that accompanies it.
I hear some guys say that part of the joy of raising kids is that you get to play with toys and be a kid again. I can appreciate that, but I think what I find magical in a three year old is there is no skepticism, judgement, pessimism and over analysis on how, or why things can’t be done. The sky is the limit. Spending time with her coloring, sidewalk chalking, listening to music or playing in the open is very inspiring. I think spending so much time with adults has jaded me over the years and I have lost a step here and there because of either the pessimistic suits in the room, or working with creatives in a sea of muddy parameters. I have had a privileged career run so far, but I definitely needed the tree shaken up. Who knew it would take my daughter’s inspiration to do it?
I also recently read a thought provoking book by Daniel Pink who believes the shift is definitely heading towards very different people with a very different kind of minds in the future and I thought this was important to note while raising kids. He believes the era of left brain dominance and the Information age is slowly giving way to the thought leaders, empathizers, inventors, creatives and right-brainers. Anyway it’s a good book, but just read the summary and you’ll get the drift.
I will end on a couple things as Mr. Jiggles is beginning to stir in the other room. I too believe that imagination is becoming a necessity in civilization and not just in the arts. Creatives, inventors and imaginaries will be paving the way for the future. Yes, of course I recognize the importance of engineers, mathematicians and left brainers. I live right outside of silicon valley so I see both examples everyday, but also some of friends run the companies that are thriving, and I do watch closely to see who they stock their shelves with when I consult with them. The land of “what ifs” and “why nots” has propelled these new companies into the stratosphere. I am not drawing conclusions here. I am just saying. What do you think?
Most importantly however, I want to thank my three year old daughter who is helping me lay fresh eyes on the world again, in the best of ways. When you can string words together someday and read this I want you to know how much you mean to me.
"The man who has no imagination has no wings" - Muhammad Ali
Have a wonderful day and thank you for reading.
I sat yesterday and watched the amazing women of USA soccer defeat Brazil in what had to be one of the most dramatic matches I have seen in my lifetime. More importantly I watched this with my three year old daughter on my lap who quietly said after the game, “Daddy, I want to play soccer like those women someday”. For me it was a great dad moment because I got to have the (you can do anything you set your mind to, if you work hard enough) speech again. The only time she has ever laid out that statement before is when we were watching a Bruce Springsteen video and she asked “What instrument is that man playing dad?” I said, “The saxophone”. She looked up and said, “I hope to play the saxophone someday ok?” I said, “Absolutely dear, the world is yours.” Of course she was referring to the late great Clarence Clemons. Luckily she will also always have her mother to emulate as well, an amazing woman who has excelled in her world without compromising, and admittedly can be quite a buttkicker.
Last night got me thinking, who will be the role models of the future for the children growing up today. Will it be superficial, media/ television created psuedo-celebrities or will it be a canvas dotted with people like Maya Angelou, Joe Montana, Amelia Earhart, Bill Gates or Nelson Mandela. Let’s face it as much as we would love to have the second group, it will be impossible to shield them from pop-culture, psuedo celebrity, and all the faux glory that comes with it. Jersey Shore? Real Housewives? Teen Moms? As a country we have definitely taken an interesting turn. It finally takes someone like Reese Witherspoon to actually stand up to the sex-tape / reality /stupidity path to success. Watch this if you get a second- My wife and I actually high-fived.
This could be a rather lengthy entry, as have hundreds of thoughts on this, but for stay-at home sake, I hear Mr. Jiggles stirring.
So I guess we do the best we can as parents is share what we know, lead by example and hope our kids make the right choices, but today I will chalk one up to the incredible women of USA Soccer, the man with the golden saxophone- Mr. Clarence Clemons, and my wife. I figure if they’re her first three role models, that’s a pretty good start out of the gate. Now I just hope Taylor Swift and DJ Lance keep their heads on straight :)
Gotta run- my son is eating his crib again.
Have a wonderful day and thanks for following me,