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Archive for October, 2010

So, today is Halloween.  I can’t overstate this enough, I hate Halloween.  If you were to ask me which day out of the 365 or 366 days of the year I hate the most, the answer would be quick and easy, Halloween.  I realize that I am in the clear minority with this, but I don’t care, I could do without the day.  Here is the run down of why:

I hate makeup.  Not the makeup a woman wears to make herself pretty, or the even the makeup an actor might wear on stage.  I hate the caked on obvious kind of makeup.  This includes Mary Kay old women, transvestites, and clowns, especially clowns.  Why do people like clowns?  They are very disturbing, not funny, not funny at all.

I hate strangers at my house.  It is the one day of the year where it is not only acceptable to knock on a stranger’s house, but actually encouraged.  I don’t know these people.  Then on top of that, they show up at my door with their greedy hands out wanting something from me.  this is MY candy.  I bought it with my hard-earned money.  Who do you think you are?

I have a bad childhood experience with Halloween.  First off, I still have a vivid memory of being told to stick my head down in the back of the car that my brother was driving because of some crazy people in chase.  It was in the parking lot of Ganesha High School in California.  Very traumatizing.  Secondly, my oldest brother, Thomas, made it his personal goal to scare me as much as humanly possible.  This was never more true than on Halloween.  Just a day to encourage bad behavior.

I am not a huge fan of candy.  Probably from my childhood days of being denied candy on a regular basis, but nonetheless, I can do without it.  As a matter of fact, I don’t like candy in my house, because if it there, I will eat it.  So, as a general rule, I do not buy the stuff.

I hate glorifying evil.  Once again, this is the only day of the year where it is encouraged to dress up like the dead, ghosts, goblins, murderers, death, etc.  It’s gross.  I don’t care what your beliefs are, but to actively invite evil into your life disturbs me.

I hate strangers.  I realize this is similar to my previous point of strangers at my house, but this point can’t be stressed enough.  I hate strangers.  Strangers in costume, even worse.

And finally, here as some rules that I think should be followed on this horrid day:

If you are 13 or older, no trick or treating.  A city banned this in Illinois and I completely support the move (http://www.kltv.com/Global/story.asp?S=13413268).

If you have a baby in a costume, or a child that can not speak or go up to the door on their own, but you are collecting candy on their behalf, you need serious help.  I realize that the food stamps may not be sufficient, but using Halloween to go shopping is just wrong.  And they always look like they have just got out of a stereotype movie.  One couple I saw was literally barefoot, dressed like hillbillies.  Costumes? I don’t think so.

If you are a teenager, which you shouldn’t be (see above) you should have an excellent costume.  A wife beater t-shirt and ripped dreams (criminal on Cops) does not count.

No reaching or grabbing for candy.  You will be SHOT!

So, that is how I feel.  I am sure you disagree, but I am clearly right on this one.

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Is it me or are Halloween costumes geared towards women? I took my son to Halloween Express to get him a Superman costume.  I felt like I needed to blindfold him as we walked the aisles.  Sexy cop, sexy prisoner, sexy football player, sexy hooker. OK, I made up that last one, or did I?  I talked to my students about this and we determined that there are levels.  Skank is the worst, followed by Whoorish, and then Trashy, followed by Revealing, and then Sexy.  Just in case you were wondering.  I’m just sayin’ …

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Note:  I am having the busiest semester of my life.  Not just at home, but at work.  My blog is suffering as a result.  It normally takes me about an hour to write a blog, but I have not had a free hour in quite some time.  Until things change, I plan on writing shorter blogs more often.

So, I worked out last night for the first time in a long time (Have I mentioned I’ve been busy?).  My son started swim lessons at the Y and while he swam, I did the elliptical machine for 40 minutes.  Before my wife got very pregnant I belonged to a weight lifting class.  Well, yesterday, I ran into the teacher of that weight lifting class about to begin her Water Exercise Class at the pool.  I have not seen her for about eight months.

When she saw me, she turned towards me, away from her class standing in the pool awaiting her instruction, her eyes lit up and stretched out her arms as if to say, “Get ready prodigal son, you are coming in for a landing.” and gave me a huge hug.  This event took about 60 seconds, meanwhile her class is just standing in the pool watching us catch up real quick.  The class must have waited five minutes for her to finish greeting me.

Have you ever had someone see you, eyes light up, and want to give you a big ol’ hug?  I am NOT a touchy feely person, but it made my day.  It really did.

This week, let at least one person know that you are very glad to see them and give them a big ol’ hug, or the greatest gesture you are comfortable with (I think a hearty handshake would do, but that is just me).  But emphasize the “Man, am I glad to see you!”  You will make someone’s day.  Guaranteed.

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I wish every time I walked into a room there would be theme music.  One of these days I am going to have some one cue up the beginning riff of “Beat It” by Michael Jackson as I walk in to class to give a lecture.  If I could set this up everywhere I went, I would.  And that’s a fact.  I’m just sayin …

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So, once again I am preempting my scheduled blog for a blog about my son and being a parent.

I am divorced.  My oldest son is almost 11 (October 24).  He has a three-year-old brother and a nine-week-old sister.  I am sure in his mind he had eight glorious years of being an only child.  Now despite having to share his home with two other young siblings, hs has always had the escape of visiting his mom on the weekends to have a place all to himself.

Yesterday, he received the news from his mom that she is going to have a baby, and he was not happy about the news.  Now, if you are an avid reader of this blog, I hope you have garnered that I take parenting seriously.  I am not a perfect parent, but I do the best I can.  I mention this because I have thought long and hard about the lessons that I must teach my children, more specifically, my son who is getting closer and closer to becoming a man.

As my son becomes more and more independent, I want to make sure that he has the tools to be prepared for what life will bring.  For example, we preach healthy eating in my house.  We know that he will be in many situations in which the food will be presented in large amounts with many unhealthy options.  My wife and I have had multiple conversations with him to talk about what it means to be healthy and hope that he will choose to make healthy choices whether we are there or not.

Last week we talked about tithing.  We talked about how we believe that all we have is a gift from God and He only asks for 10%.  Brett does not attend church with us, so we have made it a point to at least discuss some of the things that we feel are important in regards to our faith.  He has a lot for a 10-year-old, and we want him to not take it for granted and appreciate all that he has.  I also think it is a good lesson about finances, something that I think many of us were not taught by our parents.

So, when my son came home last night and made it very clear to me that he was not happy about his mom having a child, I knew it was time to have another talk, and this is what I said (Thanks to my friend, Doug, for his inspiration of this chat):

Isaac was in the stroller as Brett and I walked and talked around the neighborhood.  “Brett, first of all you are a great big brother.  You have handled the arrival of your brother and your sister very well.  You have done great.  And I know it is hard dealing with so much change, but you have done an excellent job.  What I want to talk to you about today is what it means to be us.  We are Woods men, and that has meaning.  I want to tell you about two things that I believe is something that we do.  One, we do our best in everything that we do.  Whether it is school, violin, football, or Taekwondo, we do our best.  That is why it is important to practice, read or study, we do our best.  Do you know what pride is?  Well, we have pride in everything that we do.”   And we talked about this for a while. 

“The second thing we do is we help people.  That is very important.  When we see people in need, we help them.”  Brett asked, “Just friends?”  “No, everyone.  We open up doors for people.  We help strangers in need if we can.  We help our friends.  And we especially help our family and that is why your job as big brother is so important.  You have been a great big brother to Isaac and Violet, and I know you will be a great big brother to your new brother or sister.  You will help your mom when she needs it, and you will do your best to make her happy, because that is what we do.”  We continued to talk, and he was surprisingly engaged in the conversation, adding his own comments and questions about things.  By the time we got back home, we had moved on to other things, such as Ben 10 Ultimate Alien.

So, I have been thinking, maybe that is our mission statement.  We do our best and we help others.  It makes me wonder if every family should have a mission statement.  It helps with family identity, unity, goals and understanding of who we are as people.  It might make it just a little easier for our children as they grow older having a clear understanding of what they are about.

You see, Brett was significantly more positive after our conversation.  I will never forget the moment and the power of talking and teaching your kids.  It is a conversation I will definitely have with Isaac and then one day with Violet.  I am sure it will be modified, but it will still be our Woods Mission Statement.  The cool thing is that Brett spent the next hour playing and talking with Isaac during dinner.  It was a lot of fun to watch.  Striving to improve and be better, that’s another thing Woods men do.  I’m just sayin …

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So, I am working on another post that will be ready this weekend, however, I must write a quick post about my son.

I just got back from dropping him off at football practice.  He can walk on his own, but sometimes I enjoy chatting with him along the way and then talking with his coaches to see how he is progressing.

Last week, Brett Jr. missed the football game because it was a later than normal game and he wanted to see his mom.  I totally supported that decision and his team did just fine, winning 52 to 33.  So, while talking to the coaches today, they asked me if Brett would be at the game this weekend.  You see, his game this Saturday was changed to a later time, and they wanted to know if he would miss the game again.  I said, yeah he will be there.  I said, “I talked with his mom today and he will definitely be at the game.”  And they responded, “Great, because we definitely missed him last week.”  You see, until last week, Brett’s team had only allowed 6 points in 3 games.  Last week they allowed 33.  The coaches said, “We missed Brett in the middle.”

I couldn’t stop grinning.  I mean, I was sorry for the team’s struggle, but was extremely happy that it was due to my son’s absence.  He is a star!

So, I am happy, but trying to contain myself.  I have locked and chained up “crazy sports” dad from the first two weeks of football, and I have promised my self to not to ever let him out again.  Nonetheless, I am very proud of my son, for more reasons than success on the field.  He is becoming more and more independent.  He is getting his homework done, he is studying for and doing well on tests, he is playing with his brother, and he is having fun playing football.  I am very proud of my son.  I’m just sayin …

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