Day 31: Thank you, fellow slicers!

Dear Fellow Slicers,

Thank you so much for inspiring me to write for thirty-one days. This was the first time that I have taken the challenge or written for so many consecutive days. I’m not sure that I would have written each day if it weren’t for you.   On days when the ideas weren’t flowing as freely, your slices inspired me.   When I posted, I looked forward to your thoughtful and supportive comments. I have enjoyed the experience so much!

While I am looking forward to not having to post tomorrow, I am committing to sharing my writing at least once a week. Finally, I plan to take the challenge again next year.

I look forward to reading your work and your comments next March.
Best,

Scott

Day 30: The Talk

This piece is inspired from a conversation that I had with my wife and kids yesterday morning. As you’ll see, my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek. Read and you’ll see…

The Talk

My wife and I are having the talk with our kids.

You know the one.

Every parent has it or at least they should.

While I’m sure my kids will say that they don’t need the talk since they know everything about the topic, it still has to be said.

I can already see my daughter’s eye rolling and that I’d rather be anywhere but here expression on her face.

My son will drift off into space, trying to pretend that this interaction with his parents isn’t happening.

They will tell us that they understand everything. They know what is and isn’t responsible. They understand the risks.

It’s all playing out in my mind.

The only problem is neither my wife nor I know where to start the conversation, it just seems uncomfortable.

So, where do we start?

Where do we start the conversation around the limits of using technology responsibly?

Perhaps you were thinking that this was a different talk. 🙂

Day 29: Playing One-on-One with My Son

Due to two significant college basketball games on TV later today, I am going to write a quick post. For those who aren’t basketball fans, the winner of today’s games will play in the NCAA Final Four. While I’m thinking basketball, I want to share a thought I had after playing one-on-one with son this afternoon.

My soon to be 13 year old son and I love watching and playing sports together. Our favorites are really anything with a ball. Baseball and basketball are just a few that we enjoy together.

As I mentioned, we played one-on-one earlier today. I usually don’t play too hard because I still have about a foot taller than him. Most of my shots are taken outside of fifteen feet. While I beat him today, our game was different than the past. His quickness, skill and shooting ability are improving to the point where he is starting to neutralize my height advantage. His advancements combined with the likelihood that he’ll be over 6 feet tall, gave me a glimpse into the future.

I hesitate as I write this. The day is coming…the day is coming when he’s going to beat me (deep sigh!).

As I reflect on this thought, I have mixed feelings. I’m proud that he’s a very good athlete and his performance shows that he’s working to get better. I’m sad because it’s sign that we’re both getting older. While I love watching him have grow and have success on the athletic field, I am reminded his early days playing sports. I have wonderful memories of teaching, coaching and playing sports with him. Seeing him play today, makes me realize that one stage of his childhood and my fatherhood is ending and new chapter is beginning.

All in all, I’m excited to see my son grow as a basketball player, mathematician, writer, historian, and other areas that interest him. I just wish it wasn’t happening so fast.

Day #28: Hope will win!

The calendar says spring.

We are shaking free from the dreary, dark, cold days of a winter’s past.

That means the season of new beginnings is upon us.

The signs are everywhere.

Trees raise their branches happily as they awaken from a deep winter slumber.

Annuals peak out from beneath the earth, searching for a hint of promise.

Children line baseball fields eager to show how their talents have grown.

Hope surrounds us or does it?

The thermometer reads 34 degrees.

Winter has us trapped, refusing to let go.

Holding onto cold, dark memories that are better off forgotten.

Spring is losing the battle today.

However, I remain hopeful.

Tomorrow is a new day.

In my heart of hearts, I know.

Spring will persevere.

Day 27: A Short Reflection on My Wedding Annviersary

I woke up smiling this morning. Not simply for reaching the end of the school week, but it’s my wedding anniversary. Today made 16 years since my wife and I were married on a Saturday night in New York City.

Reflecting on our 16 years this morning, I though about how lucky I am to marry such a brilliant, passionate and caring person, who also happens to be my best friend. Thinking back on our marriage and engagement, I was reminded of the genesis for the words I inscribed inside her engagement ring. The words came from a conversation my wife and I had prior to our engagement.   They came from a discussion that many couples  have when they dating for a while, where was our relationship going.

I was happy having the discussion because I was planning to propose a few months later.  As the conversation progressed, I wanted to let her know that she was the ‘one’. However, I couldn’t use those words. The phrase wasn’t me. They sounded corny. Saying ‘I could see myself spending the rest of my life with her’ didn’t sound much better.  So, I went for something that was not necessarily articulate, but simple.

I said “You’re the ‘it girl’”. She knew exactly what I meant.

As I get ready to go out to celebrate my anniversary with my wife, those words inscribed inside her engagement ring are just as true 16 year later.

She’s still my ‘it girl’.

Day 26: Earning a Trip to the Principal’s Office

For some reason, my kid’s recent B’nai Mitvah has reminded me about some childhood memories. Many of which I haven’t thought about in years. Yesterday, I wrote the Great Frog Escape, a memory about frogs escaping and causing havoc in my elementary school. You can see it here. https://iamcurious4.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/day-25-the-great-frog-escape/

Today, I’m remembering a time when I was, let’s just say, less than by my best self.

I was in third grade. We had music class. My two friends and I dreaded music. It was my least favorite class. We were singing the same songs for weeks.  My two friends and I could not stand another moment. It was so painfully boring that it felt suffocating. We needed to get out. One by one, we asked and were excused to go to the bathroom.

When we met up, we decided to waste time in the bathroom. Crumpling paper towels and shooting them into the basket was a much more fun than boring music. The game’s novelty work off quickly. Being resourceful 8 and 9 year olds, we found a way to make the game more interesting.   We decided to shoot the crumpled up paper towels into the urinal. Of course, this was a more difficult shot, making the game far more interesting.

We found out landing a crumpled paper towel inside the narrow base of a urinal was no easy task. Boredom quickly overcame us because we weren’t making many shots.   We picked up the pace of the game. Instead of shooting the rolled up paper towels, we decided to slam dunk them. We took turns coming up with elaborate dunks. No longer were we dunking in one urinal, but now the game moved to all three that lined the back wall of the boy’s room. The urinals became so full that water started to seep over the urinal onto the floor. Our reaction I’m embarrassed to say was “Cool. Let’s flush the toilets.”

So, we did. We became giddy. With each flush, more water found its way out of the urinal and onto the floor. We were having so much fun. We couldn’t wait to see what would happen next, so we kept flushing.  It wasn’t too long before a fresh coat of water covered the entire bathroom floor. However, our euphoria disappeared when we noticed the water was making its way toward the bathroom door.  The excitement was quickly replaced with another feeling, fear.   We were going to get in so much trouble. We needed to get out of the bathroom, but we couldn’t go back to music. They would know we did it.

So, what did three knucklehead third graders do? We went back into our classroom and hid in the closet.   It was only a few minutes until a very angry teacher found us and escorted my friends and I to the principal’s office.

As I reflect back on that day, I still can’t figure out why I did it. However, thinking about it now, I simply laugh.

Day 25: The Great Frog Escape

I was reminded about a funny memory from my elementary school days, so I thought I’d do a quick write. It may serve as inspiration for a realistic fiction story.  We’ll see!

The Great Frog Escape

The traveling zoo was coming to school. This was always one of my favorite days of the school year. Rabbits, birds, snakes were just a few of the slippery, hairy, slimy animals visiting this day. I had no pets at home, so this was one of the few times where I had the opportunity to hold, pet and feed animals.

The birds were chirping, the frogs were croaking and the snakes were hissing.  It was a glorious symphony of animal noise. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the cute little creatures. The pet handlers removed the animals carefully, one by one out of their cage.   However, they forgot to close the receptacle that housed the frogs. The handlers mustn’t have noticed this. It wasn’t until a teacher saw a frog hoping on top of a table. Then a kid started to shout “there’s one on top of a book case.

As teachers and kids became aware, chaos ensued. Everyone was crawling and running around, trying to catch the frogs. Fortunately, the handlers were quick to respond. They calmed the kids and teachers immediately, getting them to sit down. The frogs stood still when everyone calmed down. The handlers corralled the runaway frogs rather quickly. It was as if the animal workers were able to communicate with the frogs without even speaking. It was amazing!

Day 24: B’nai Mitzvah Blessing, Part 2

I received a lot of positive feedback when I posted the blessing that my wife and I wrote and read to my daughter at my children’s B’nai Mitvah this past Saturday  http://goo.gl/a4TjdG.

So, I thought that I’d share the blessing that we wrote and read to my son.

Noah:

Noah, we are so very proud of all you have done to prepare for this day and for every day of your life so far:

Wherever you journey, may your steps be firm and may you walk in just paths and not be afraid.

Whenever you speak, may your words be words of wisdom and friendship.

May your hands build and your heart preserve what is good and beautiful in our world.

May you know that there is a people, a rich heritage, to which you belong and from that sacred place you are connected to all who dwell on the earth.

May you never lose your sense of wonder,

Get your fill to eat and always keep that hunger.

May you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean.

Whenever one door closes, we hope one opens.

Promise us that you will give your talent a fighting chance, and when you get the choice to sit it out or dance…We hope you dance.

Day 23: B’nai Mitzvah Blessing For My Daughter

While I’m two days removed from my children’s B’nai Mitzvah, I’m still in a deep haze. The fog needs to lift before I can write about the event and how special Saturday was to my family and me.

Though I’m not ready to reflect about the event, I do want to share the blessing that my wife and I wrote and read to my daughter during the service.  We read the blessing after she completed reading her Torah portion. Reading from Torah marks the moment when a Jewish child becomes Bar/Bat Mitzvah.  The blessing is a way for parents to send a child to adulthood.

Maddie:

Maddie, we are so very proud of you for all you have done to prepare for this day and for every day of your life so far:

May your enthusiasm for learning continue throughout your life and bring you joy and fulfillment.

May your kindness serve as an example to those around you.

May you be proud of your accomplishments and wiser for your failures.

May you know that there is a people, a rich heritage, to which you belong, but that you are also connected to all who dwell on earth.

May you be blessed with patience and understanding, with wisdom and compassion, in your heart and in your deeds.

May you have the strength to contain conflict and seek justice when it is due.

May your faith be something not inherited, but discovered.

May you keep your feet firmly planted in your values and your family, but may you always defy gravity.

Day 22: Kruel Kale

I used to think eating healthy meant a meal with a vegetable. Then it meant a meal with a vegetable and a salad.  Then it meant a meal made up of a salad with vegetables in it.  Now, it’s kale.

Kale salad, kale smoothies, kale brownies.  Kale.  This wonder food is apparently the answer to all my ailments. Have a cold?  Eat kale.  Feeling weak?  Eat kale. Digestive issues?  Eat kale.  Trouble in my marriage, kale could help…I’m not prepared to write in what way.

And then I read an article about how kale actually has fewer vital nutrients than spinach. Yep, good old fashioned, nasty smelling, Popeye loving spinach.  Spinach may have more nutrients, but it lacks good PR.

It made me think about all the things we are told to embrace today that are really no better than the things we loved when we were kids:  Designer cupcakes.  What if we took out the “designer” ingredient?  Manscaping.  What about a good clean shave?  Social media.  How about a conversation?

Today it’s kale.   When I was a kid, my mom told me to be careful, be a good person and do my homework — in other words, spinach.