Marriage Manual – Be there

Marriage Manual rule #239 – when your partner is having a shitty day, it doesn’t matter how shitty yours is, give them a hand or a hug, or some space to be alone, or smother them with cuddles, tea, and those biscotti that you get fresh from the farm stand on your way home from class on Sundays.

I think that in relationships, sometimes you get so lost in your own shit, that you don’t really examine what’s going on around you. Remember you are in a partnership that doesn’t run itself, it needs constant work and change and tweaks here and there to handle the bumps that life throws at us. Take care of the kids (if you have them) but remember that at some point, they’ll leave and you’ll still be there with your partner. Too many couples get to a point in their relationship where they turn around one day, look at their partner, and wonder “Who the fuck are you?”, at which point, there’s some serious trouble. Relationships are constant change and work and effort, but in the end how awesome is it to spoon at night, or have them get you a cup of tea, or just ask if you want anything when they’re going downstairs for a drink or a snack.

A lot of people don’t realize what they have until it’s too late, or are so blinded by their own need that they don’t see how the relationship is changing without them. A bit of upheaval is healthy I think, because it means that both of you still care and are willing to work. There should always be a balance, and the wherewithal to understand when it’s your turn to support, and when it’s your turn to lean on the other person.

What’s up?

I know it’s late, and I have class tomorrow morning, but I promised myself that I would post more, and I haven’t done a great job so far, so I’m posting before I go to sleep.

Work is getting more hectic, but it’s actually good. It’s more hectic because more work is being done and there’s more to plan for and handle on a daily basis. My intern is turning out to be a total gem, he has a lot of skills that now that we’ve dusted them off, he’s picking things up really quickly. To the point now where I’ve given him a whole bunch of day to day stuff to take care of as well as a programming project to keep him busy. Leaves me a lot of time to plan, implement, and test the move of our internal portal. Which, at this point, I’ve probably migrated like 3 times now. Going live with this thing should be a piece of cake. Until someone does something totally out of the ordinary and I have to put out small fires. Should be cool tho. I’m not going to go into details because I’m always careful about including work here, but things eased up in several avenues, so I’m feeling pretty positive about the whole deal.

Physically? Yeah, I feel like shit, mostly because I’ve come up with every excuse in the book to not work out. And yeah, my triathlon is in July. Maybe I should start training eh?

Anyway, just wanted to drop in a note for those of you reading. Totally hooked on the HBO Series True Blood. Vampires in it? Cool, yeah, I’ll watch ūüėČ

8 days?

Good lord! I can’t believe I haven’t posted for 8 days! Between waiting to get the AC fixed(hopefully today), going to Hershey (I’ll post the pics tonight, hopefully), and trying not to get sick, it’s been an interesting 8 days.

Things with the intern are going really well, he’s picking things up really quickly. I’m in the midst of moving our portal to another machine so that’s a lot of headaches because nothing ever works the way you want it to. Murphy just rented out the guestroom in my house of luck ūüėČ It’s all a learning process so it’s pretty cool.

We had a blast in Hershey! Must do – Fahrenheit

More hopefully tonight.

Social Networking technology and why it is cool/totally sucks

So you want to share some pics with friends on Facebook(FB) of your wild weekend in Vegas. Except after you put them on Facebook, you realize some of the people in your Facebook Friend list are the parents of the kids you teach every day. You want to make a comment on your blog about how much something sucks about this person, or your job, or your family or the state of affairs on your school board. But you realize that they’ll see your tweet, or check out your blog, or see just how much time you’re spending on Facebook or MySpace.

So why bother? Sometimes I don’t really know. I have friends on Facebook that I work with. My parents are on Facebook. Hell, my boss reads this blog every once in a while. I was reading a post put out there by Mike at Unraveling Mysteries on Why We Blog, and he brings up some good points

One of the main reasons I blog is because when I have a head full, I tend to sort it all out better when I write, rather than just sitting there, talking about it. I sometimes tend to beat a dead horse because I don’t feel like I’ve gotten my point across and keep taking and talking. For me, blogging is therapy of a sort, and I liked being able to write anything I wanted about just about everything.

Now, both my parents are on Facebook (which is updated by a plug-in from WordPress telling Twitter I made a new post), and my boss reads my blog. And I actually have people who read this blog, goodness knows why.:)

That initial freedom that I felt is kind of gone, and no Matt, I don’t want you to stop reading. I’m just bringing up a point I’ve been kicking around in my head. We join Facebook and blog, and tweet, and other things – never got into myspace, too freakin busy lookin – to hook up with people that we don’t see all the time and reconnect with people we knew long ago. It helps us reconnect with old friends, helps us stay more easily in touch with friends and relatives, and generally makes communication easier for us.

My favorite thing of all is Twitter. The funny thing is, it started as a social thing where I would update with everything from ‘I’m eating a cookie’ to ‘I am going to the hospital because I just sliced open my damn finger and I’m taking the time to tweet about it on my blackberry one handed’. That sense of fun tweeting occassionally turned into a VERY good tool for me to use in my development work and the tech administration that I do every day at my job. I get crap from FB people all the time because my Twitter account updates my FB status automatically. And I have gotten into the habit of Tweeting tech related questions that to the normal joe, looks like a cross between hieroglyphs and stick figures. The wonderful thing about Twitter is I can usually get a solution or advice in 5-50 minutes with several different and viable suggestions. The offshoot of that is people on FB giving me crap about speaking in Klingon ūüôā

The interesting offshoot of that teasing on FB is I’ve gotten several websites of work from people who tell me “Well, I don’t know what 1/4 of your FB status updates mean, but you seem UberTechie – can you design a website for me?” AWESOME! I’ll take that any day of the week. Tease away, I’m getting business.

So, why is it cool? It allows you to reconnect with people from your past, keep tighter with people you know, and allows a constant stream of communication back and forth.
Why does it suck? Lets face it, how much time did you spend on Facebook playing all of those games and doing all of those “If you were a dictator, which one would you be” quizzes? I’ll raise my hand and say, A LOT! It was cool and fun to catch up with people, and it still is for the most part, but I don’t spend all that much time on Facebook now a days. I do get quite a lot of comments about my FB Updates, which I should really see if I want to disconnect the Twitter account updating FB Status.

So, in conclusion, I think I’ll stick with what is out there, talk about things on my blog that won’t jeopardize my relationships or my job, Tweet till I turn into a freakin birdie, and use them for what they are there for – to communicate. Putting yourself on the internet- and yes Mom and Dad you are now part of the internet- allows people to get in touch with you easier, but it does put quite a bit of you out there. So before you start a blog, or Tweet, or join Facebook, take a serious look at how ‘out there’ you want to be. And if you do decide that you do want to get involved in it all, be careful what you say and to whom you say it. Dooce.com is a site of a woman from LA who lost her job because of stuff she was blogging about. Granted, she was blogging about what an a-hole the DBA in her company was, but still ūüėČ You can now find ‘Dooced’ in the urban dictionary online somewhere which means ‘to be fired for content on your blog’.

I know plenty of people out there who blog and tweet and do other social networking, totally anonymously. Take a hard moment and see if that might be a better road for you. I’ve thought many times of starting another blog so that I didn’t have to worry about people finding my blog and getting upset with what I am writing. It’d be nice to be able to say anything that I want, but to tell the truth, I’m not a fan of Anonymous online rantings, because truthfully, people hide behind these personas and make other people’s lives miserable. And more importantly there are some things that shouldn’t be out there because all it takes is one person, knowing that Anon9901 is Matt Cushing and he said….. ūüėČ

Oops I (over)Did it Again!

ow. Wait, that’s not right.
OWWWW!

yeah, that about sums it up. Man o man. I went to class on Sunday and I am so freakin sore right now it’s not even funny. Well, maybe a little. Okay, watching me hobble around this morning did seem a little humorous.

Normally the one doing most of the demonstrating in the class would be Sempai (or Senpai). Sempai is the senior student in the class and if we’re doing techniques and Sensei wants to point something out, he usually demonstrates on Sempai. Well, when we got to the jujitsu part of the practice, he split us up into senior and junior students. I’ve been there almost the longest, but I took an almost 3 year sabbatical, so I am having to relearn quite a bit and so I am with the junior students. Sempai was working with the three seniors. So that left me as the most senior in our circle, and Sensei demonstrated things…a LOT. I think I hit the ground more than 100 times on Sunday.

The funny thing is, I could not be happier. I was feeling good, my rolls and falls were lining up correctly. I even got taken for a high fall (picture diving into a forward roll, but you land on your side with your arms splayed out to spread out the impact) which I did pretty well. I find my practice getting tighter and more fluid, but as I felt on Monday am, I had to pay for it.

Cool thing about it is I chugged a bunch of water this morning, did some stretching and felt pretty damn good for the rest of the day. Until I went to Field Night with Mr. Schmael. That’s Gillian’s gym teacher. They have this program called Coins for and it raises money for some charity. IF you drop the coin in the the bucket of water and it lands in the cup, you get an invite to this thing. It was cool. Me and Gillian and about 10 other kids and a parent each and we just played games and ran around the gym and played hula hoop and tried to knock over pins with those squishy koosh balls. We took a break at one point and I realized I wasn’t the only one that was soaked.

Now I’m sore again ūüėČ

Technology is wonderful

My roommate from college and I used to play this game called a MUD. Multi User Dungeon. D&D online with people all over the place. We used to use those old green screen terminals to telnet to a server and play the games on the servers. That’s actually how I met him originally – we were grouping with a bunch of other people and killing some monsters for gold and experience points when we all started talking about where we were. When he mentioned James Madison University, and I asked where, he said the name of a building across campus. Turns out he was also the ex-roommate of my RA that year. I met my wife the same way.

One of the things he and I used to talk about was “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could take a computer and put it in the middle of the quad (the huge lawn in the front of the campus) and play games sitting out there with no wires and no network cables?” Granted, this was 1992, and there were no such things as laptops, Windows 3.1 was in its infancy, and forget about wireless connections.

So it’s 15 years later, and I’m sitting on one of those laptops in my bedroom looking out the window at the sun on the lawn and typing this. As I am typing it’s autosaving my information through the air and sending it to somewhere in Chicago where those of you reading this will see it on your browsers.

It’s amazing to think that 30 years ago, I was tapping away on a Commodore 64. There were no such things as cable tv, the internet, DVD’s or even Online Porn. Just in the last 10 years things have come so fast that it’s mind blowing. In 1999, people were still using dialup connections, posting stuff on bulletin boards, and generally just trying to find their way around the World Wide Web. When was the last time you called it that?

Considering the speed with which things are happening, I wonder what will happen, even in the next 5 years. I’m hopeful that through government help and philanthropy, that we’ll figure out how to not use oil, and fuck up our planet any more than we already have. Wouldn’t it be great if we could find a way to actually help the planet get back to what it should be? Or at least close?

So what is the one thing you couldn’t do without that you use all the time, besides the internet. For me, it’d have to be the DVR ūüôā

Karma

Dictionary.com has several definitions for the word Karma. I liked “the cosmic principle according to which each person is rewarded or punished in one incarnation according to that person’s deeds in the previous incarnation”, but I wanted to define it myself.

I believe that Karma is generated by your actions, thoughts, and intentions but I think that we are responsible in THIS lifetime. What you do, good or bad, generates Karma. This seems to work most of the time, but what happens when bad things happen to good people or good things happen to bad people? How fair is that? How fair is it when you do your best or you try your hardest, that someone else comes in and totally walks off with what you’re striving for? How can I believe that if I am good, and fair, and treat people with an honest and courteous manner that I will somehow be rewarded for it based on what I’ve witnessed? Is the whole concept bullshit? Is the only way to be rewarded for things to be pushy and demanding? Sometimes it makes me sick to think that because I am reserved and don’t stand up enough for myself that I’m getting the shit end of the stick and that if I had said or did something more pushy or demanding that I would get what I want or need.

I’m also a big fan of the phrase ‘thing all happen for a reason’ and that even in bad situations there is some good. Sometimes shitty things happen like you lose your job or you get divorced or find out you or someone you love is really sick. WTF? How am I supposed to see the good in something like that? There are times that I see opportunities that pass me by in a flash because I’m not pushy or feeling entitled or just grasping things because it’s all about me me me. I sometimes think that I should start doing that – be obnoxious and fuck what everyone else thinks because it’s about getting ahead and all about what _I_ need. Perfect example on a small scale – everyone is waiting to pull off at the exit, some ass hole drives all the way up to the end, slips in, and goes on his merry way. Am I a sheep for sitting in the line? Is he a genius or just some entitled prick? Or is he in a hurry and he’s feeling guilty as he does what he has to do to get where he has to go?

I honestly don’t know. To tell the truth, I don’t want to know. Does it hurt me to watch these people slip in line ahead of me, or get something when I think I deserve it more? Yeah, it sucks. Do I think they’re taking the easy way out and getting rewarded for it? Sometimes, yeah.

The important part here is what I think of me. What I think of how I carry myself both personally and professionally. Is there anything I can be doing that I’m not already doing? No. Can I afford to sit and stew while I get dicked? No, but there are always extenuating circumstances. Do I have to like it? NO! The thing is, I can’t let any of that change me. I can’t see how someone is getting something the wrong way so i allow myself to be sucked into that when I know it’s wrong. That’s just not the way I’m built, nor is it the way I want to bring my kids up. I don’t want them growing up thinking it’s okay to cut in line, or steal music, or advance/get rewarded when they haven’t done the work or haven’t bought it or don’t deserve it. I have integrity to the point where I think it does get in my way, and I’ll have to really look at whether or not I’m hamstringing myself or not, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to do something I feel is wrong just to get something. And it’s not necessarily that I see being pushy or demanding as being wrong. It’s just that I want to stick to my guns and be rewarded for the way I do things. I feel like being pushy and demanding would lessen the achievements.

I never thought I was a jealous person by nature, but I’m finding that as I get older that I am to an extent. I went through a period of time in the last 5 years or so when my self esteem was pretty shot and I wanted what everyone else had and was jealous of the things and the accomplishments that others had around me. What I realized is that I spent so much time in looking at what everyone else has, that I didn’t see what I had. I was feeling unproven at work, fat, old, and sore all the time. Between then and now I’ve had ups and downs but I’ve really felt more confident in the last few months, mostly because I’ve been working out a lot more, and because I feel like I know what I’m doing professionally and personally.

So why is this post about Karma? It’s about karma because I have to believe that at some point, I will get what I deserve, truly deserve and that the line cutters will get what they deserve too. That I will be rewarded for sticking to my guns and really getting the chance to show what I can do and what I’m made of. I’ve been rewarded with so much in my life, that I almost feel guilty looking for more. That I have so much more than some, and it sometimes shames me that I want more, or that I have the feeling that it’ll never be enough. When it comes down to it all, I have to decide what I am willing to do to provide for my family, to teach my children, and to have a relationship with my wife in my decisions and actions.

I know what prompted this post, and I think it’s been stewing in my brain for too long. I’m not in a rush to go out and change everything, but I do feel better for getting it all out where I can see it. I’ll leave you with a saying that I saw on a bumpersticker about 20 years ago.

Karma, is a boomerang.

rambling about parenthood

Reading and writing the posts about Ditching and remembering some of the crap that I had to deal with as a kid mades me realize that it must have not been easy for my parents having three. ¬†I only have two and my oldest is only 12 at this point. ¬†I am SO not looking forward to the next 9 years or so until Gillian’s 18.

So I’m sitting here thinking about it, and several things come to mind that I am doing right. ¬†I was at the store tonight and the guy behind me was just letting his 3-5 yr old son scream his bloody head off. ¬†And just smiled and shrugged his shoulders. ¬†I’m sitting in bed “watching” the “Real Housewives of New Jersey” and every 5-10 seconds realize that I am doing so much right. ¬†Yeah, I know. ¬†My wife is the reality tv addict. ¬†Dunno why she watches some of this crap, but I’m not really watching. ¬†Not until they say something so over the top or the kids start screaming over and over.

Anyway. ¬†So what am I doing? ¬†I can tell you I do plenty wrong. ¬†That being said, the main thing I try to focus on is making sure that they see me (and Fae) as being consistent. ¬†Kids are all about pushing boundaries. ¬†Not to be obnoxious – tho some parents do let it get to that point – but because they’re kids. ¬†They need to push a bit here and there to not only see what it’s like, but see what the reaction will be, and to learn where the line is. ¬†I also think it teaches them that if something is particularly important, and they do feel the need to push harder or farther, that they do it for a good reason. ¬†I’m getting to the point with Aidan, and Gillian to a lesser extent, that when I think the argument or the point is made, he’s coming back with “Can I say something” and begin his argument from another tack – not begin to yell or be beligerent or angry. ¬†He’s forming his own opinions of things, and in a different way than before, pushing different boundaries. ¬†It’s frustrating at times because sometimes he makes NO sense whatsoever, but he’s exercising that ‘muscle’ in a safe enviornment and seeing the right and wrong of his approach so he can do it again with his friends. ¬†Lets face it. ¬†Being 12 is NOT easy. ¬†Especially with all the hormones.

It’s healthy. ¬†Gillian is going to be a lot more passionate about things, mostly because she’s Gillian. ¬†Aidan has opinions about things and will open his mouth and say something if he’s excited or upset, which is 1000 x further along than I was when I was his age. ¬†I had the slickest shoulders that things would roll right off of without me having to deal with shit. ¬†Something’s bugging him, he’ll wait, but he’ll definitely say something where I definitely wouldn’t. ¬†Nice mix of Fae and I.

I think as parents we use what we saw and learned growing up as a guide. ¬†Of what to do, and what not to do, in equal measure. ¬†There are things that my parents did REALLY well, and other that they didn’t. ¬†At least in my opinion. ¬†There’s the same thing for Fae’s parents. ¬†I think it’s important to be partners with your spouse, to look collectively at what they learned to do and not do, and formulate a plan and STICK TO IT! ¬†I see WAY too many people put up a united front against a particular issue, and all the kid has to do is wait it out and they’ll crumble eventually. ¬†If I say I’m going to do A, if you do B. ¬†You can bet your ass I’m gonna do A, and you’re going to remember what happens and not do B again.

The biggest piece of advice I can share about being a father is this. ¬†Be friends with your partner, always put up a united front, don’t contradict each other, and have a PLAN. ¬†So many problems are caused because Spouse 1 thinks B is okay, and Spouse 2 thinks they must be smoking crack because 1 should know that 2 doesn’t think that and so on and then the fight happens in front of the kids, etc.

Anyway, that’s my ramble for the night. ¬†Goodnight internet.

Ditched part II

So there’s a girl that Gillian hangs out with sometimes that’s just pretty much a nasty piece of work. I won’t go into details, but Gillian had a friend come over and they went to see this girl. The three of them ended up going back to the friends house and then the friends mom drove them back here. The friend and the girl that is annoying ended up telling Gillian to pretty much go home, they were going somewhere without her. So Gillian came home with another little girl from the neighborhood (the sister of friend 2 from yesterday), and the little brat ends up calling OUR house, talking to the little girl, and tells her to come meet them, but not bring Gillian.

Dude, girls are so much worse. WTF? Ugh, dude, shoot me.

Ditched

Remember what that felt like? If you don’t, consider yourself lucky.

The kids were hanging out at the playground after school with two friends and one decided to go see if one of their other friends was around and said they’d come back. ¬†He lives about 2-3 blocks up from us. ¬†20 minutes go by, and he didn’t come back. So friend #2 says that he’s going to go check on the first friend to see whats up. 20 more minutes go by so G & A decide that they’ll go see for themselves. ¬†(Why they didn’t all go initially, I didn’t understand until Aidan said that the first friend told them to wait there for him)

They get there and the first two are hanging out with a whole bunch of other kids, having decided that there were a lot more there, than back at our playground.  Essentially not bothering to go back for A&G.

Dude, wtf?  Having thought that especially the first but also the second would at least come back to get them, and then having it not happen, plain sucks.  What do you say to your kids?
“I’m sorry you got ditched for other people” ?
“I’m sorry they didn’t give a rats ass that they left you totally alone at the playground having found other people to hang out with”?

It just sucks because I thought they were better friends with the two kids.

I remember growing up and having this happen a lot(even in college), where one friend would turn another against you and essentially the two would gang up on you. ¬†I got so fed up with it that once I figured it out and started seeing the signs of an imminent gang up, I’d just go hang out with other friends. ¬†Funny thing was when the original ones would come to find me. ¬†Hard to gang up on someone when they don’t stick around to be ganged up on.

Anyone else have this happen?