Category Archives: 1

The Power of Half: Review and Philosophy

In the life of this single parent, even nights where I don’t have my daughter, I still have a lot to do.  There are flash cards to prepare for a spelling test on Friday, clothes to wash and put away, a little girl’s bedroom to organize, and tonight, serious project work to complete.  It’s the same thing that I do every other night that Grace is away; work like a fiend to get ready for the nights that she is here.

Somehow, though, through this, I managed to pick up and read a book called The Power of Half by authors Kevin Salwen and his fifteen year old daughter, Hannah, on their family’s unusual quest to give away half of their assets to fight poverty.

Hannah is the spiritual leader of this often tumultuous journey, which in some ways validates a belief that has at times has ruled my life, which is this: if an adult listens carefully enough to a child, teen or otherwise, sometimes their seemingly innocent observations can spark profound positive change.

From the quest to sell their opulent home and move to a house half it’s size to the Salwens’  interactions with adult and younger friends and co-workers, this story tells a frank, humorous, and altogether human tale of one way that a family begins to grow, communicate, and share on a different level than many of us will ever even attempt.

Inspirational,  remarkable, and to some people, no doubt, ridiculous, the story recounted in this book just might have the ability to give the reader the spark and gumption necessary to change the world for the better in their own way; perhaps not on the scale that the Salwens’ hoped to achieve, but in a way that’s appropriate for them.  In my world, the steps to a better place for us all is measured not just by miles and feet, but by inches.

I enjoyed the The Power of Half, and whether you are like me and believe that giving hope is one of the most profound gifts, or if you are often disappointed at the lack of positive stories that the world occasionally has to offer, I have to think that you would enjoy this book as well.

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The Best Job I Ever Had

Sitting in my apartment, watching HBO, with my almost six year old daughter sleeping peacefully in the room next to this one, it occurred to me that I haven’t written in a while, and I have decided to start writing again.

Certainly it isn’t because I have more time than I’ve had in the last several months, I’m not bored,  not depressed, nor morose.  I’m happy.  Why?  Not because Grace has begun to really show aspects of her personality, and I’m sure over the years, I’ll see things that I don’t like, although I haven’t yet.  It isn’t because I’m satisfied, because I’m neither that nor overly comfortable.  Life is still a challenge; I still have many, many goals to fulfill.  So why the quick change?

I’d like to think that I’ve embraced my life and that is the reason for my attitude.

I am a parent.  Like many of you, I’ve faced roadblocks and problems.  All single parents do.  I suspect, also, that there will be many, many more to come.  However, I am a parent; a single male parent, with a ex, with a girlfriend, with a home, with a job, with responsibilities that often times seem to be more than I can keep track of at one time, but I’ve learned, managed, and will continue to get even better at being the best parent that I can be.

Better yet, I have embraced my destiny, and for parents, non parents, and people, I truly believe that there may be no lesson more important than this.

I might only have my daughter half the time or sometimes a little less.  Bills will continue to grow.  School problem might loom.  Anything could happen.  But right now, my daughter’s room is not empty, and my skills will continue to grow, and I might not be totally prepared for the future, but I am working on it.

Some people are forever changed by a religious conversion, or a marriage, some other life changing event.  I, however, believe that at this moment, the path that began when I first saw my daughter’s face six years ago in the hospital was the ultimate jumpstart to realizing exactly who I was, who I could be, and how I could get there.

I am a father.  And I am working towards exactly what I need to do, which is to bring a wonderful contribution to our world in the form of my daughter, who I hope becomes a truly remarkable young woman.

It’s the ultimate job, and it’s the most difficult vocation that I’ve had yet.

But I think that I like it very much.

Homage To A Master

I haven’t said much about anything lately, especially about Death staging a huge celebrity sleepover last week, but for some reason, this struck me as a classic, appropriate of the classic Michael Jackson. You want proof on how much the King of Pop has influenced culture? Look no further. For your amusement: Prison Thriller.

From one single dad to another, rest in peace, Michael.  I might not have “gotten” everything that you did (I never believed some of the more disgusting allegations), but damn, did you leave a legacy.  Thanks for that.

How I’ve Passed The Time

Hello, all! It’s been far too long since I’ve blogged here.  Yes, I’m still alive.  But time has proven to be an issue. 

In all honesty, though, I have been a bit busy lately, and posting suffered a bit. 

Expect a real live update here soon!

A Definitive Response To 6 Sneaky Ways to a Better-Looking Partner

Culture is an excellent propagator of divorces as well. Let’s prove that in today’s lesson.

Many years ago, I knew a woman that I’ll call Jill. Jill was an attractive woman, more intelligent than most, who was at heart, a nice and relatively well meaning person with an interesting personality and a decent person. She was a good cook, a loyal individual, and a snappy dresser. In short, she was a great catch for just about anyone.

Unfortunately, she had one major flaw.

I’ll call it “The Cosmo Factor”.

Everything that she knew about men she seemed to cull from the pages of women’s magazines. Cosmopolitan, Elle, and others were a continual staple of her reading diet. If she wanted to know how to impress a man? Cosmo had an article with the goods. Why did men leave their girlfriends? The answer was in Allure. Any and all answers to all of the burning questions surrounding the classic, awesome, and continual Battle Of The Sexes could be found in a pop culture magazine geared towards women. Each magazine contained to the gospel to her. None of her male friends had the courage to tell her how wrong those periodicals were, though… much to our detriment.

Eventually, we drifted apart.

Enter 2007. To my horror, I read an Internet article titled 6 Sneaky Ways to a Better-Looking Partner , and God help me, the first person that I thought of was her. Here’s the intro, via Yahoo.

Pride may be one of the Seven Deadly Sins, but your lover’s lack of pride in how he looks can be even deadlier – to your love life, that is.

Sure, dedication, intelligence, and a sense of humor are what really stir the chemistry between you, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want your partner to feel like they’re on top of their game, looks-wise.

After all, a confident partner is a sexually motivated partner, and sometimes an extra dose of sensuality is all a relationship needs to go to the next level. But beware: Goosing your loved one into taking better care of himself can be dicey territory, and even the most polite suggestion that “maybe you need to lose a few pounds” can lead to somebody sleeping on the couch for a week.

The solution? Sneaky partner upgrades, the kind that are good for his or her health, as well as their libido. So if you want to motivate your partner to dress sharper, eat better, and get their butt down to the gym, you need to take a stealth approach. Here’s how to save their ego – and perhaps your love life.

As I read this, I stifled a scream. Please, not the return of women again trying to change their men. Aren’t divorce rates high enough in this country and others? Isn’t the level of resentment, among men and women, high enough, finally? Doesn’t anyone believe that men can read?

People, people. If you’re getting involved, and the thing that you want to do is CHANGE your partner, I can promise you you’re not doing it right.

And guys, before you start thinking that you are all clever, “Maxim” is a man’s answer to Cosmo.  Both magazines give false hope to clueless individuals.  I could have called this the “Maxim Factor”quite easily.

So, for this article, I award this comment on the article 6 Sneaky Ways to a Better-Looking Partner:

You have failed.

At no time in recent memory, has an article failed more than this one.

Please, never do this again.

A Financial Tip For Your Kids (And For You)

As a man with children and an ex, I’m always keeping my eye out for things to help my daughter out (and me) out financially. One important thing that you can do at the end of the year is start planning for your kids future, both financially and educationally, and one way that I’ve done that is by using a 529 plan.

A 529 plan is an investment vehicle for future educational expenses that grows federally and state income tax free that has various rules and regulations based on the state in which you live and the specific plan in which you want to enroll. In Colorado, the plan that I enrolled in was found at CollegeInvest.org, and I can tell you from experience, it definitely pays to shop around for a plan, as fees and past performance can be vastly different. Also, in my plan, my ex has no claim to the money invested and my donation to the plan is state income tax deductible up to $250.00 as long as I donate that amount to my daughter’s plan before year end. Nice. Another bonus is that if your children don’t use the 529 money, you can use it yourself for qualified expenses, and in other cases, for unqualified expenses, although a tax hit would probably occur. If my daughter doesn’t use the plan that I started for her, I’ll buy a boat and give it her name instead. Probably.

Naturally, before you were to invest in such a thing, you definitely want to do your research or talk to a financial planner or another tax or financial professional before you jump. For me, though, it’s perfect. Better, I feel like I’m doing something positive for my daughter, as I suspect that college expenses in the future will be astronomical and I have no indication that my ex is doing any planning for my daughter’s educational future, period.

But now is a great time to look at some sort of educational planning for your kids. Take a look at it.

What I’ve Learned About Divorce From Writer’s Block

On occasion I suffer from writer’s block, that bane of bloggers, journalists, authors, musicians and poets everywhere, and after reading an article from someone that I read regularly on the pratfalls of writing, it occurred to me that the waffling over the decision to get a divorce and the affliction known romantically as writer’s block have something in common: both can be partially explained by the emotion of fear.

This writer mentioned a few fears: failure, success, rejection, mediocrity, and risk. Think about the possibility of a divorce that looms. What are your fears with divorce?

There is the fear of success, meaning that you won’t have to deal with a painful relationship any longer, which also means that you won’t have the certainty of knowing who you’re coming home to at night.

There is the fear of failure, meaning that you broach the divorce solution with your spouse and they reject that, which could mean, if you weren’t resolute in your feelings for a divorce prior to the conversation, that you might change your mind and be stuck in terrible relationship.

There is the fear of separation of family, meaning that if you have kids, you might not be able to see your children whenever you might like.

There is the fear of rejection, meaning that after your successful divorce, other people might find you to be a poor relationship risk.

There is the fear of the unknown, meaning that you might have been together with your ex for so long that you have no idea what it’s like out in the single world again, and that you have to start your search for your true love all over again, and you might fail at that.

If those fears aren’t enough to terrify you, there are others: fear that the ex will sully your reputation, fear that you’ll lose mutual friends, or fear that your ex will leave with your money or possessions that can also come into play.

If you are truly ready to get a divorce, seriously consider your fears. Only after serious contemplation will you be able to conquer those emotions that hold you back.