Big Man + Little Dog = Perfect Combo

FullSizeRender-3Image-1-1I was always a ‘big dog person’. Despite at one time having a chihuahua, I always had Country Bulldogs or I would domesticate one of my dad’s big hunting dogs as a pet. I would grow to hate little dogs due to my grandmother’s half chihuahua – half feist – all demon possessed Hellhound that would growl at us and bite at our ankles if we moved too quickly around his aging food bowl. In my adulthood, I began to make fun of Paris Hilton and her little Chihuahua accessory dog whose little head we would occasionally see pop out of her Gucci purse. So when my son asked us for a dog that would ‘always stay puppy size’, I knew what that meant. My worst fear of having a yelping, ankle biting tiny demon dog would now come to fruition.

I was against it, as you can image, but you do what you have to do for the happiness of your children. So to make my child happy; my wife & I settled on a respected small dog breeder (ensuring that they were not a despised puppy mill) and went to visit her facility. In the entryway to the facility, the owner’s husband greeted us and Image-1asked us to dip the bottoms of our shoes inside of a shallow container of miscellaneous liquid; whose Bitter solution would keep us from bringing in outside contaminants into the dog’s sterile environment. The air conditioned building’s walls were a dull gray and instead of a cages, the puppies lay on nicely padded beds inside of their own 4 foot walled rooms. As we rounded the first corner, we found the area where a Mini Yorkshire Terrier and her newly born puppies lay. Most of the tiny black and brown puppies were barking and  jumping up as high as they could on the 4 foot cinder block wall that kept them from running around the facility. Five tiny female puppies were energetically trying to gain our attention….except for their little runt of a brother who sat alone in the corner staring up at us. We asked about him and the breeder picked him up and gave him to us.

As I held him in my hand, he laid his tiny head down on my thumb and went to sleep. IMG_2254Tears filled my eyes and my heart was broken. The walls of animosity towards tiny dogs was gone. The angst and fear of having a yelping ankle biter had dissipated. As a tear rolled down my cheek, I looked over to my wife and we instantly knew. We knew that we had found the furry addition to our family and that puppy that would never grow too big for Daniel. Seven years later, our little Deacon (that’s what we named him) has been joined by another Yorkie that we rescued named Ginger; a fat, energetic English Bulldog named Annie; and a skittish, fawn colored Chihuahua named Cookie that we rescued from an abusive family. I went from closing my heart to little dogs to having a wife that laughs at me because the ‘big tough man gets out of his big four-wheel drive truck after working out at the gym after work, sits down in his big manly recliner only to pick up, hold and commence baby talk to a 2 lb. dog in his arms’. Sounds like a perfect picture to me. 🙂

via Photo Challenge: Friend

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“…and remove all doubt”

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool

than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

-Abraham Lincoln

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My uncle (my dad’s brother) held a lot of influence during the formative years of my life. His daughter (my only cousin on that side of the family) were only 11 months apart and grew up more like siblings than cousins due to the fact that we were both only children.

Due to us being that close; a close friend group formed and would always meet up at my aunt and uncle’s house. I remember when in high school, we were all trying to sew our wild oats; my uncle sat me and one of our friends down and plowed some words of wisdom into our rebellious minds.

He wanted to urge us to remember that ‘our name’ is important. Not meaning that our 381px-advice_to_a_young_artist_by_honore_daumier_c1865-68name is significant based on who we were named after but the weight that our name carries. He continued on to tell us that he is not saying that we should care what people think to the extent that we don’t live our own lives, but that we should live our lives knowing that our actions affect those who are attached to our name. The fact that if I, as his nephew, and mine and my cousin’s friend went out and did something terrible that it would not only negatively affect our name but look bad on everyone around us. It sounded so selfish when he first said it but the more that I thought about it, tears welled up in my eyes. The realization that my ignorance and ‘tomfoolery’ had a blowback effect on everyone around me.

miedo-ajenoI wouldn’t know if my old friend remembers it, because we don’t talk anymore. Heck, I don’t even know if he remembers sitting us down on the couch that afternoon but I remember the emotions that I felt and the tears that fell on that throw pillow in their den. That knowledge has resonated in my psyche; and it has already been passed on to many of my students, friends, acquaintances, and most importantly my son.

 


Images:

Featured image – Good advice image by Frank Kovalchek from Anchorage, Alaska, USA – “This reminds me of my Vulcan side giving me good advice”, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24473423

Advice image by and accredited to Honoré Daumier – National Gallery of Art, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11497763

Crying image by and accredited to RayNata – Mis documentos, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5270246

Springing to Life

640px-father_with_tow_babyAs my son gets older, I miss the little things. I miss him crawling into my lap to watch cartoons. I miss his little hand reaching up to hold mine when we were walking somewhere. I miss hearing him giggle when we would tickle him. But it doesn’t have to be the truly beautiful things in life that you miss. I miss quickening in the middle of the night. You know, that springing into action. The sprinting down the hall to his bedroom to see why he was yelling out ‘Dad!’ I think that that’s because you know that at that moment, that he knows that he is safe because you are there to protect him. Whether it was an upset stomach or a bad dream, it was important for him to know that you were there for him. You can’t always be there with them though. Even though the controlling part of you as a parent wants to be. They have to grow up. They have to develop and most of all, they will know pain. Their first love will break up with them. Someone will call them a name. We can’t protect them from the ever changing world.

The one thing that I have always wanted to ensure in Daniel was the knowledge that he was loved. True parental love is a multifaceted tool at which some parents, regretfully fail. Parental love consists of a warm smile or friendly look at which the child can feel empathy 640px-Happy_child_finds_joy.jpgand good nature. The physical affection felt through a hug or kiss. A parent must be attuned and responsiveness to the child’s needs. Now I know that not all parents are huggers or show their emotions in that way; just ensure that your kid knows that you love them. Now you condescending parents who are scoffing at those parents who don’t show love like ‘we’ do, I’m sure that every one of ‘us’ did things perfectly. Right? Wrong! I have witnessed well-meaning parents insensitively scolding their child for missing a ball during a game or ignoring a playful moment that left the child scarred and hurt. Now before you get on the defense, I’ll tell you that most of us, as parents, are telling the truth when we say that we’re doing the best we can. Sometimes that dad at the ball field has the best intentions when he yells at his son for not swinging the right way or the mother who scolds her daughter for not pivoting her foot right during a pirouette.

159px-happy_childWe will make mistakes as parents, just like our parents made mistakes with us. But it is important for our children’s future to not view our children as our replicas; and we must properly externalize the components that will positively affect our children. Remember that your good intentions are not a substitute for love. Being able to throw a football is not more important than the love that you see in your child’s eyes. As the Beatles said, “All you need is love.” Because when you truly love your child…everything else will fall into place.

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Featured Image: H. Ambrose Kiehl and his daughter, Laura Kiehl, on a bicycle photo by and accredited to UW Digital Collections – https://www.flickr.com/photos/uw_digital_images/4951162891/, No restrictions, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=53410386
Father with son and Daughter by and accredited to Niriho khoka – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49572330
Happy Child Finds Joy image by and accredited to Hillebrand, Steve, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – http://www.public-domain-image.com/public-domain-images-pictures-free-stock-photos/people-public-domain-images-pictures/children-kids-public-domain-images-pictures/happy-child-finds-joy.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24874186
Happy Child image by and accredited to امید رستمی نیا – Own work, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3623295

Celebrity Crush: Beauty in Pop Culture

As someone who has an affinity for all things popular culture; it always intrigues me to see other people’s opinions about all the different avenues of popular culture. Pop culture has become such a vast wonderland that flows down different avenues and gets influences from many different venues from all around that world. These avenues allow us to encounter new interesting ‘celebrities’ who we inevitably end up liking one a little more than the other. Whether our significant others like it or not, sometimes we develop a

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Magazine Stand on Nanhai Road

celebrity crush. My only question is that based on the pantheon of the normal “Sexiest Man Alive” or “Most Beautiful Woman” choices that People magazine presents to us once a year and other media outlets push down our necks every day….do they fit your criteria? Does your personal taste and your personal celebrity crush fall within the usual guidelines and perimeters of who is chosen for “Sexiest Man” or “Most Beautiful Woman”? I was curious about this because some of my choices wouldn’t appear on the list and most of the ones that are up there….shouldn’t be.

To ensure that I was not alone I created a poll/questionnaire that I posted on a popular social media site (I won’t say which one but its the one that let’s you read people’s face) and the answers that I received astounded me.

img_1838As you see in the picture, in the questionnaire/survey I asked both male and female participants: agree/disagree with the choices for Sexiest Man and Most Beautiful Woman (the last 5 year’s worth of choices), who their celebrity crush was if it was not on the list, if their ‘type’ was also indicative of the person they were attracted to in real life, how big of a role that their celebrity crush’s popularity plays in the selection of their choice, and who their celebrity choices were 10/20 years ago.

I was pleased to receive responses for the questionnaire/survey from 23 people (24 if you include me).

  1. Adam Levine and Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson received an equal amount of votes for being a female’s celebrity crush while Scarlett Johansson received an overwhelmingly large amount of votes on the male end.
  2. Male celebrity crushes who were not on the list included: Chris Pratt, Joshua Bell, Clive Standen, JJ Watt, Kit Harrington. Females who were not on the list included: Jenna Fischer and Blake Lively.
  3. A resoundingly large percentage of the questionnaire/survey participants said that their celebrity crush is also indicative of their personal dating choice.
  4. All but two of the participants in the questionnaire/survey indicated that the celebrity’s popularity had nothing to do with their selection. But some did bring up the point that they would have never been exposed to this person, if not for their immense popularity.
  5. The female participants indicated that 10 years ago their crushes ranged anywhere from Ryan Gosling to the Backstreet Boys while they indicated that 20 years ago their crushes ranged from Peter Steele to Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Affleck. The male participants also presented interesting choices for their crushes from 10 and 20 years ago. The male choices from 10 years ago ranged from Trish Stratus to Erica Durance while their choices from 10 years prior to that ranged from Terri Hatcher to WWF wrestler Sunny.

I won’t deny that I was surprised to read some of the participants responses, I was pleased to find out that I was not the only one that deviated from the usual list of ‘most _____ person’ .  What did I truly learn from my investigation? In my investigation, I learned that we end up having crushes on people that we see and things that we love. My friend had a crush on Terri Hatcher back in the 90s but that was because he really liked Superman. Another friend really liked Peter Steele but that is because she was/is really into rock music. Without seeing these celebrities and being followers of them, these crushes wouldn’t exist. And even for me, you can’t really say that I am deviating from a norm or following a trend but take my celebrity crush as an example. Scarlett Johansson is my celebrity crush because….I mean…she’s Scarlett “the Black Widow” Johansson. Have you not seen her?!? 🙂

Sooo….How would you fill out my survey? Answer the questions in the comment section below.

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Photo attributions:

Featured image ‘People magazine title’ accredited to and by Time Inc. – http://www.people.com/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30478424
Magazine stand photo accredited to and by 玄史生 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33730954
Scarlett Johansson SDCC photo accredited to and by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27440650
Scarlett Johansson at the Don Jon premiere photo accredited to and by GabboT – Don Jon 09Uploaded by tm, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30090976

The Obligatory Thanksgiving Blog

Thanksgiving is a time of mixed bag of emotions for most Americans. There are those of us who are privy to the ugly truth of the original Thanksgiving dinner wasn’t that pretty for the Native Americans. Then you have the sadness of loved ones that aren’t with you this year. Ultimately Thanksgiving time should be a time of giving Thanks. A time to realize the blessings that have been bestowed upon us and spend time with those that we love.

This year, I make a choice to say some of the things that I am truly grateful for…since we know that I love to make a list of things. 🙂

I am thankful for my salvation and for God. Whether you are a Christian and believe in the Judeo-Christian God as I do, a Pastafarianism who worships the Flying Spaghetti monster, or if you are an atheist; I respect your belief in something (or nothing at all) and I hope that you respect mine. God has blessed me beyond belief and I would be remiss to not include God in this list.

I am very blessed to have a lovely family (both immediate and by marriage). I am very thankful for them and the beauty that they bring to my life. I am thankful for a beautiful and supportive wife who has blessed me with a son that no one could have ever told me would bring so much pride and happiness. I am thankful to have parents who are not only wonderful, supporting people but they are my biggest fans. They are proud of everything that we do and support the decisions that we make.

I am thankful to have a small yet amazing group of friends and acquaintances that bring a joy to my life that is inexplicable. Their presence in my life brings balance to anything else that might lack. Over the years, we may not always see one another like we want to but know that I love you all and do thank God for you.

I am thankful to be an American. I am thankful to be an American despite any embarrassment that I am might feel due to the negative political climate in this country. I feel that I am blessed to be able to enjoy these particular set of freedoms that I think that we sometimes take for granted.

I am thankful for relatively good health and sanity. I may not have the perfect body but I am so blessed and so glad to have my health and sanity. I never look down on anyone with a disability but it makes you realize just how lucky we are…..just being able to wake up and walk around. These little things are taken for granted and it is a blessing and a privilege.

Along with being thankful for sanity, I am thankful and oh so blessed to have had an education. My parents worked extra hard to send me to college and I am so thankful for that. I am thankful for the education that I received which fueled a lifetime love for reading and writing. For the education which led to a degree that allowed me to work in a job that stresses me to no end….but I do love it.

I am thankful for entertainment. As corny as that may sound; I am thankful for the things that I have in my that make me happy. Without He-Man,  Washington Redskins football, music, comic books, Doctor Who, Wrestling (aka Sports entertainment), and any other random fandom or part of pop culture that entertains me; just imagine how boring life would be. These forms of entertainment help keep me sane and gives a welcome break from the mundanity of our every day lives.

I am thankful for you. The select few that chose to read these blogs. No matter how few of you that there are….I am thankful you. I am thankful that you search for knowledge and entertainment in other places. I am thankful that you believe in me. Thank you for allowing my voice to be heard!

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Top Cat’s Top Ten: 10 Ways Men can Help Make their Wife/Girlfriend Happier

equalsSo I recently watched the movie Equals starring Kristen Stewart (Twilight) and Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: Apocalypse, Warm Bodies). The movie takes place in a dystopian, Orwellian like future in which all emotions are not only outlawed but are medically sought to be bred out. Emotions are viewed as a disease in this futuristic society. The illegal love (which was WAY too reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984) made me think about the way that some people are emotionally and sometimes quite literally out of it in a relationship. Since I do love making Top Ten lists, I figured that today’s list would be the Top Ten ways in which Men can Help to make their wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, lover, or whatever you have happier in your relationship.

Just listen: It’s not always easy to listen to someone else’s problems but it is viable to us all to have someone that we think cares about the things that we have going on in our lives. If we don’t make our significant others feel as if they can communicate with us then they will be something important that is lacking that in your relationship. And chances are they will seek that attachment from someone else.

Know and respect that Women are Different: It’s good to acknowledge and appreciate the fact that a woman is not only physically but emotionally different than their male counterparts. Most women are more emotional and more ‘touchy-feely’ than you are. And just like our section on listening, women usually tell stories that will be longer than your stories. Women explain things differently than men. That’s a fact. If she is out shoe shopping, she’s thinking about 8,000 different scenarios…so don’t give her a hard time. You should relish in the fact that she actually wants to spend time with you. Know her differences and the nuances that make up YOUR partner. Just by remembering the specific things that she looks for in your relationship will keep her happy. And by God isn’t a good thing?

Pay Attention to Your Partner: A good relationship is built on getting along. You have to get along with one another. So it helps to also be your partner’s best friend. I often see meme’s around the time that football, basketball, or hunting season is going to start that say “We interrupt this marriage to bring you Hunting Season.” or “I’m so happy its hunting season!” Said no wife with young children, ever.” These are said in jest but I can imagine that no woman wants to feel like they are a second choice: TO ANYTHING. With that being said, a partner should allow their partner to do things that make them happy with moderation. If you’re happiness comes at making everyone else around you miserable, then your happiness comes with too large of a cost. This time of paying attention is not just in regards to the sexual realm. While the physical aspects of a relationship are important, the emotional aspects of a relationship also lie deeply important to your partner. When they talk to you, they might not be looking for you to solve the problems that they bring to you. They just want to know that you care. Sometimes just spending that moment with them is worth a lot.

Sexual Healing: Country singer Brad Paisley knows that sometimes a back rub means only a back rub. And men especially need to remember that affection does not always mean sex. Foreplay doesn’t always take place in the bed. Foreplay is sometime that starts in the morning and lasts throughout the day. How do you talk and or treat your wife? Do you treat her as if she’s the most beautiful woman in the world even when her hair is up in curlers and she hasn’t brushed her teeth yet? Do you come home in the afternoon and speak rudely to your wife just because you’re still fuming over what your boss said to you at work? Sometimes you never know what your actions can do to someone’s feelings. We all get complacent in our relationship. We get comfortable and this comfort can come between us. Don’t take that person for granted. Treat them like a princess or King. The Bible says that “Love is patient, love is kind.” If you’ve been to a Christian’s wedding, you’ve more than likely heard the section from 1 Corinthians chapter 13 verses 4-8. Even non-Christians can find truth in this section of text. And just a side note: your happiness for the week may be a foot massage away. It is the little things.

Spend some time with them: To go along with what I said about paying attention to your partner, it is equally important to spend time with them. Depending on what your partner is interested in, take them somewhere that you know will matter to them. If you really hate the ballet but she loves ballet…TAKE HER! Suck it up and take her to the ballet without complaining. Be involved in your partner’s life. Even the boring, mundane parts that you think are so inconsequential. Taking time to be involved and care about the things that your partner loves makes the difference in a happy relationship. Now this goes both ways. Your wife may hate football, but it wouldn’t hurt her to sit down and watch a game with you every now and then. With that being said, if she’s in her craft room don’t crack that third beer. Go sit with her for a while and do something with her. FYI: Being in the same room, even sitting on the same couch, IS NOT SPENDING TIME WITH THEM. Do something. Go out if she’s social. Do something at home if she’s a home body.

Just KNOW Her!: As my dad’s favorite musician Percy Sledge says in one of his most famous songs, “Take time to know her. Its not an over night thing.” There is a reason that people had such a long courting ritual long ago….its because it allowed the two to respectively get to know one another. Now I know that some of them used that time to settle dowries and arrangements but it was mostly intended for the potential bride and groom to get to know one another. In a world of Facebook and instant potatoes, we are used to getting things as soon as we can and I think that we rush relationships. We need to take time to realize the nuances and things that make your potential love….them. Some women want balloons, flowers, chocolates, and jewelry for Valentines but my wife doesn’t see the point in spending all that money for something like that. My wife would rather me take that money and make an extra car payment. The key to this scenario is to know her. Take the time to know what makes her happy.

A Woman’s Work is Never Done: Ever sat back and realized how hard that a working mother or woman actually does work? Most of the time we expect food to be on the table, the kids to be washed, and for our wife to be smiling at the door awaiting a kiss. But that’s not realistic. The working mother ((as the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated in their yearly survey) over 60% of married mother’s work outside of the home) usually is the ‘soccer mom’ that hauls kids to soccer practice, karate, or t-ball. To expect the house to be spotless and food prepared on time after the woman of the house has also worked an 8 hour work day is preposterous. So not only should you appreciate what your woman (or partner) does, but you should be willing to help. Like my wife says, there is nothing sexier than a man washing dishes.

Make her Laugh: Andrew Carnegie said, “There is little success where there is little laughter.” This is especially true in relationships. Ever heard that a woman loves a guy with a good sense of humor? If you make your wife or partner laugh then they will enjoy spending time with you and wanting to spend time with you is pretty important. Being light-hearted and allowing yourself to get closer to one another is such a vital part of any relationship.

Tell Her that she’s Beautiful: Everyone wants to be wanted. Every man and woman wants to feel not only appreciated but they want to feel as if they are attractive. They want to not only feel it but to hear that you find them that way. So….tell her that she’s beautiful. Notice her new haircut and compliment her on it. Be observant! Take her to get a manicure and pedicure and tell her how beautiful she looks. Walk by her as she’s sitting in her chair, kiss her forehead and tell her that she’s beautiful. Do these things….but mean them when you say them or do them. There are a lot of people that are not affectionate and your spouse understands that but you can find a way to do it…in your own special way.

Take Care of Her: Respecting your wife or partner is key. If you she has a headache and you know that she’s trying to relax on the couch, go to the fridge and get a cold rag to place on her forehead. Know that she has a long trip to take the next day? Make sure that she has gas in her car. Know that she has had a tough day at work? Take her out to eat or prepare something for her at home. Just taking the weight off someone’s shoulders is such an important thing to keep them happy. Keeping someone from being too stressed will allow them to keep a sane mind. Taking care of her is not just financially.

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Note that I am not a perfect husband. I’m not a perfect man. I’m not a trained sociologist that has training with relationships. What I do have are these suggestions. Take them with a grain of salt but more than anything show love, have respect and now true affection.

God Bless.