From the Desk of Dad: Dadly Pursuits

 My total phone screen time for the day is under an hour, even with me drawn to memes about last night's debacle like a dog to its still warm vomit. Part of that time is also just when it sat open playing my audio book. It just has not held any draw for me. Likewise I have spent very little time playing video games in the last while. Not that I could not enjoy it, but it feels less like time I felt I spent well. Naturally, this is all because I recently turned 30, which has unleashed all manner of new dadly powers. I look forward to getting up before the sun and running 4 times a week. I polished shoes that needed it, cut out half of my alcohol intake, got rid of all of the old shit that was taking up space in the garage, aside from the pallets, which are about to be converted to support the new hobby I've become inexplicably attracted to...well okay, Emma suggested it, and I get excited about it the more I read. Folks. I am taking up smithing. I am not doing this because I wan

From the Desk of Dad: Toddler Nature

 I still remember the moment that Charlie discovered violence as an engine for enforcing her little Toddler will. She was right around 1-1/2. She had never witnessed violence, or even adult voices raised in anger (Emma's intimidating physical presence cowed me long before Char arrived on scene). She had been on a spree of increasing resistance to diaper changes, getting PJs on, and the like. She understood physical struggle, and that in the course of struggle that her pushes and kicks could cause us discomfort or cause us to pause. She must have been coming to the realization that she caused us pain in the process. We were sitting on the floor. She had my phone and was toying about with it and I decided that it was not time to be playing with phones anymore. I removed it from her possession and put it in my pocket. She tried to get it for a moment, pushed and tugged at me, then turned her back on me for a moment to make some angry toddler noises, banging her fist down against her l

Patrick's Pub

One of the key selling features of our house--besides it's lovely hard wood floors and great windows and light throughout--was the large wrap around wet bar in the basement. "This," I said, "is just the spot for entertaining." It looks like you might have torn it out of a small neighborhood bar and dropped it in this basement. Dark stained pine wall paneling straight outta the 50s with bar facade to match, aqua-blue vinyl counter-top of interlacing gray and blue boomerangs, shelves beneath for all the extras, and plenty of wall space to work with. I was certain that I would make it my own, and then I would have people down here (where did you think I was writing from?) two nights a week at least. The prospect of having people over was fun and exciting. In part, because it would be fun to have friends over in an actually comfortable space. And for the other part, I'm a bit of a social lazybones when it comes to putting in the effort to contrive additional s

A Piano for Charlie

One of my great regrets is that I had absolutely no inclination to learn music when I was young. My dear, beloved, sainted, mother tried to get me to take piano lessons, and I did have some, but it really was not productive, since I wouldn't practice and I was a terrible menace the whole way through the process. Even now I remember why I hated piano lessons; that painful plucking one note at a time, all of the mistakes I made, and the fact that all of my mistakes and virtuosic inadequacies were broadcast to the whole house by that treacherous instrument. One wrong note and everyone in the house knew you made a mistake! The horror. This peculiar neurosis of mine was not in any way fueled by my parents, who always told me that trial and error were part of learning, and that it was okay to make mistakes--don't know how many times I was told this--but little single digit year old me was not about to allow himself to be lured into mediocrity in the hopes of someday being good at

From the Endless Archive of Blog Drafts

Would you believe that I have one hundred and eleven draft blog-posts going back to 2010 that I never published? I'll tell you why later, but let's see what 20 year old Patrick had on his mind--I can't be made to answer for the quality. Many of these were brief, as they were written on breaks between classes. As brevity has never been a hallmark of my writing, I hope you find it refreshing. 1 of 111 Self-esteem, or a concept of one's own value, formed independent of one's value to others is worthless. No man is complete in and of himself. If one looks into oneself for worth and fulfillment, there will always be anxiety and insufficiency. Fullness comes from loving and being loved in turn. Love is active. Love cares for and works to ensure the happiness of its beloved, and in loving so, the lover finds new worth that did not exist before he loved. Love is not infatuation. Infatuation is self-serving self-love. Infatuation does not live to serve, but objecti

The Curse of Work

According to an anonymous member of my generation, the essence of work/career is, and I'm paraphrasing, pissing away the best years of life to get money for things that we don't need. Now, on the surface there may be a fleeting instinct to say an amen and move on; we are no doubt guilty of consumerism. We have more luxuries than any preceding generation and we always want more. Why do we always need more, and what is it about us that can't be satisfied with plenty? I don't pretend to have the answer, as I'm as bad about this as anyone. But while the coda to the sentiment has a ring of truth in it, the first half is jejune. It has been said that if you love what you do you will never work a day in you life. This is ludicrous, of course. You can love your work, be passionate about it, derive fulfillment from it, and it will still be labour and toil. It brings with it stress and worry and long hour and short nights. Every workaholic knows--or should know--that ha

A Perilous Journey

This week my first and faithful car went to drive down the sunny road that loops past the cheerful farm where my Ben-Cat chases butterflies in the sun. There was nothing particularly glamorous about my 1996 bottle green Buick Regal, although it did have really great pick-up and was always fun and comfortable to drive. What the Peril lacked in flash, it more than made up for in reliability, character, and vroom. The Peril was a hardened veteran by the time it came to me. It started it's story as Grandpa Ron's Florida car; for those of you who know how he treated his cars, a babied and pampered existence in the tropic climes of Florida. In those days it was just "the Florida car." Much the same as any other Buick Regal. When my grandparents sold their condo in Florida, the 'Florida car" came north, made some questionable decisions, and fell in with some bad company. It was during this time that it moved to Fort Wayne, attached itself to Bethany "Shew