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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Resolving the Resolution

I am not one who is fond of New Year's resolutions. In fact, I, under most circumstances, view them as an individual's response to an annual formality or obligation. A have to do. Not a want to do.

Every year the media engages this philosophy picking at the brains of those who are vulnerable. Gyms offer specials on memberships. Sporting good stores offer best price sales on exercise equipment. Then there are always those companies who are looking to help with debt management or savings. Anything really to start out the new year on a totally clean slate. Anything to substantiate that one will be a better human being than they were the year prior. Anything to show self-improvement.

Call me pessimistic, but how many successful New Year's resolutions have you seen? I haven't seen many. The success stories I have had the opportunity of observing are not of those who wanted improvement for one measly year, but those who opted for a lifestyle change, something that would better themselves for the long term. These types of people decide they need a change in a certain arena of their life, be it weight, money, relationships, etc., and just do it. Change for these types of people is not warranted by the strike of a clock or day on a calendar or, better yet, a tradition shared by the masses. It is simply executed after the observation for change is made.

I digress.

Let's discuss alternatives for the traditional New Year's resolution by taking a futuristic approach. I will use myself as the example.

More recently, within the last twelve-ish months, I came to grasps with the daunting task of furthering my education. That's right folks, college. Yuck. Sorry, but just yuck.

Now following the traditional New Year's resolution approach, I would have strategically placed this goal around the corner from the first of the year at spring semester enrollment. This is not the avenue I chose. Instead, I enrolled as soon as I possibly could with the understanding that I would take small bites at a time while my wife, Sara, finishes the endeavor of obtaining her R.N. She only has one more year to go, people! I can almost see the finish line. There it is! There it is!

Why did I enroll immediately after being slapped in the face with the realization that one may as well be defined as professionally unsuccessful if they don't have a degree? Well, because this is a life changing resolution, one that required prompt action for many reasons. I will list only a few:
1. Knowledge doesn't amount to much without a degree. I have come to terms that the professional world leans more on paper than on information. This opinion is based solely on experience.
2.  Degree = more money. Hopefully...
3.  More money = able to better provide for my family and our needs and wants. Hopefully...

So down the road of education I travel. For this resolution I have selected a technical college as the atmosphere for which I am using to expand my mind. I am not one for institutionalized learning, so this choice was ideal for me because it expands learning beyond the book into the real world; also known as "hands-on" learning.

I digress again.

It is important to keep in mind that these types of resolutions do not normally provide immediate success. In my case, it will be a few years before I have the prized paper, my diploma, in my hand to help me with the reasons 1, 2, and 3 above as well as those that are unlisted. But, remember, there will be small milestones or successes along the way, i.e. me getting over 95%+ in the classes I have completed thus far. Use these to keep you motivated and see you through to the resolutions completion whether that is next month, next year, or next decade.

If you're a resolutioner, a New Year's resolutioner, or something in-between good luck and may the force be with you now, in 2012, and beyond.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Name Game (and a Gender Disclosure)

Sara and I woke up early on Christmas morning, or I should say our slumber was abruptly interrupted by an anxious three year old.

"Go potty," I directed Graisyn, "I'll be right there." She obliged and I lugged my heavy legs out of bed as Sara herself started to stir.  I met Graisyn in the bathroom where we completed our morning routine. 

With our teeth brushed and our hair combed, the three of us trumped down the stairs. Of course we were still in our pajamas, a true tradition for Christmas morning. Sara and I directed Graisyn to the Christmas tree. She was pleased with the abundance of presents she saw and immediately brought out her grabby hands. Let the opening begin!

After a few presents, Sara and I told Graisyn it was our turn. The Christmas card in which the ultrasound technician placed the pictures of our baby's gender was sealed and sitting on the upper boughs of our Christmas tree. Sara retrieved the card and gently released the seal of the envelope. We were all silent. Me. My wife. Our daughter. Quiet. Sara slid the Christmas card from the envelope very slowly. And, just as slowly it seemed, she opened it. We flipped through the pictures. A boy. Though his gender was typed on the photos, it was very evident that we were having a baby boy. Sara and I were and are thrilled. We would have been either way, boy or girl. Graisyn not so much. She didn't cry, but she has mentioned on multiple occasions that she is still having a baby sister. Sorry sweetie. The photos don't lie.

A boy. A little lad that we will raise to be proud, kind, and independent like Graisyn. A young man who will know what it means to respect a woman. A tike who will spend his growing days surrounded by estrogen. Poor little sap. I hope he fairs well. The only other source of testosterone in the house is our dopey boxer, Abbott, and he was neutered so I'm not even sure he counts.

Ahhh, yes. A boy. What shall we call him? When Sara and I chose Graisyn's name, our selection was based on originality and character. We wanted a name that was strong and spontaneous. We wanted a name that was spirited and free, a name that spoke of an old soul. We wanted a name that suggested leader, but that had empathetic notes to it. Graisyn Quinn. I think we hit all of those qualities and then some. Our little girl has given us a run for our money since the day she was born. She is brilliant. I am biased, but she is brilliant. Her name fits. She is a Graisyn Quinn.

Our son requires a name of the same stature. When he is called, he should feel proud. His name should be stalwart yet humble. And, in an effort to pull from the character from his grandfathers, he should share part of their name. Joseph. The first name of Sara's dad and the middle name of my dad. It will be his middle name.

Since we found out that Sara is pregnant, we created a running list of names. On that list was one name in particular that stood out. Kazmer. Sara plucked it out of the baby name book that we borrowed from the local library. I was surprised that she liked it. That name is dear to my heart and the heart of my family.

The name Kazmer belonged to a long time family friend and neighbor. He passed away about five years ago, but was a man that I knew for most of my life. He was a war veteran. His battle wounds from decades earlier were still present when he grandfathered me, my brother, and my sister. Mr. Kaz was belly-buttonless. He had a glass eye and the wounds on his knees still wept even after all those years. He walked with canes, but he was strong and he never faltered nor did he ever complain of the pain that I am quite sure he was in.

Mr. Kaz mentored my father. A true and honest man, he wrote on the slate of who my dad is today. If my dad needed "alone time" he would go see Kaz. They would watch sports. I'm sure they would bitch about their wives (shame on you both). Sometimes in the summer they would sit outside and smoke cigars. Maybe they drank scotch, but I don't know about that one. They were pals. I remember when Kaz died my dad was very, very sorrowful. We all were.

So in honor of Kaz, in respect of our fathers, and in line with the name of his astounding big sister, our son will be called Kazmer Joseph. May his disposition be as true as those he was named for.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Patience is a Virtue

Sara is 21 weeks along and today was ultrasound day! What did we see? Well, we saw a squirmy, healthy, growing baby. A baby, you see, that insisted on putting its tiny hands over its face for most of the ultrasound. The ultrasound technician snuck a couple of pictures in though.

What kind of baby it is you ask? Human of course. A boy? A girl? We don't know. The big reveal with be Christmas morning. Stay tuned. Here are a couple of pictures to entertain you while you wait. Don't get chair-butt.

Monday, December 5, 2011


Recently, at work, I sat in a meeting with my peers. We all have the same job. We phone people. It's really very exciting stuff. Our meeting was with a sales coach. He was a droll, older man with whom we had contracted to mentor us. All week, his ambition was to make our calls more effective and create a sense of cohesiveness between the sales unit and the marketing unit. Ultimately, despite my ability to be overwhelmed with emotion for week's events, I found him to be prudent and commonsensical with a bout of hilarity.

One evening, after the days summits, everyone was going to meet for drinks. It was to be a pleasant gathering with wine and cocktails and an appetizer or two coupled with the bar's televisions sounding the night's sporting events. Not me though. First, I don't like people that much. Second, I don't get to see my family as often as I'd like. Third, I have homework. Fourth, I try my very best to not mix alcohol with work. Fifth, I am full of excuses. So I mentioned my excuses, most of them, to my peers and my coach. It was excepted in the past without issue, so why would today be any different? 

And it wasn't different. Not that different anyway. In fact, the only difference was that one of my peers brought up my family and was raving about what a beautiful little girl "we" have and that "we" are expecting another. Coach didn't know about my family. Everyone else had talked about theirs. Not me. I'm a private person, but I was sure this was going to be the moment. Insert disclaimer here because that statement makes it sound like I am ashamed of my family. Please let it be known I am nothing of the sort, thus the entire reason why I was so taken aback by my emotions that day. In the midst of the ramblings about our child, I felt myself want to jump up and scream, "Okay! You got me! I'm G-A-Y! That's right. Gay. Actually, the technical term is lesbian, but I am completely turned off by that word most of the time, so let's go with gay. I have a wife, Sara, and a daughter, Graisyn. Nope. I'm not pregnant, but my pretty lady is expecting our second child. We live a normal life. We have two dogs. We go to school. We work. I cook. Sara cooks. We like wine, but Sara not so much right now. Remember, she's pregnant. Not me. Her. Graisyn is three. She is a perfectly well adjusted child despite the fact that she asked once at swimming lessons where her daddy was. It was only once and I told her everyone's family is different...even those with a mom and a dad. She agreed and we went on to swimming. Grai refers to me as mommy and Sara as mumma. I anticipate the new baby will do the same. Sigh. Can someone please get ME a drink? Yes, after work. No, not with all of you. Please and thank you."

There was no reason for my silent tangent. Never mind that my brain is a little sporadic. Forget that I have an imagination. The conversation never got that involved. Phew! It never went "there", and even if it did who cares? I wouldn't care. Not me. Not the real me. I don't typically care too much about what people think. That day I did. That day I was afraid of being judged and, more than that, I was afraid of my family being judged. That day I was scared. Shitless. And I didn't like it.