Standing in lines with a toddler

…or how I learned to forget the past and live in the present.

Recently I visited Busch Gardens Williamsburg's Christmas Town. It's one of my mother's favorite holiday activities, and we were in town for a long weekend, so let's do it!

Overall, it was a great experience. Busch has great stroller support. You can load them right on the parking lot trams (with kids still in them). The train has a place to store them for the ride. And all the paths work well with strollers. This was working really well for our toddler at first.

But the lines…oh, the lines. How do you explain lines to a toddler? They see the thing they want, and they want it immediately. In their life experience, this seems reasonable. Normally they point and someone gives it to them. Maybe they have to cry a bit to get it, no big deal. And the worst case scenario is someone says "No" and they cry some more and move on. But lines are different. They point to the thing, the adult says "Yes", but then they don't get that thing. So they move to crying. The adult continues to say "Yes" to the thing, but they still don't get that thing. And even more confusing, they don't even get to move on to the next thing! No wonder a toddler will go into full freak-out mode in a line situation. It just doesn't make sense to them.

However, I did get some useful perspective. When my toddler finally got on the ride, it was as if the line never existed. The ride was the entirety of the universe and it was AMAZING!! Seeing that moment reminded me that I, too, could make the effort to forget the line and focus on the joy of the moment.


Rethinking the Catholic Church

Politics drove me away from religion. I’m sure I’m not the only one. Everywhere I looked, I saw “Christians” that didn’t believe what I believed, so I guess I started to wonder if I believed what they believed, and from there, what did I believe at all?

I’m slowly making my way back. I’ve been reading a really great series on leaving and coming back to faith. My main takeaway is that when a person is raised with religion as a main part of their life then a piece of them is always tied to that experience. There’s a religion-shaped hole that needs to be filled. Even if your brain can’t explain all the mystical bits, it still likes the feeling you get when everybody is singing along and loving each other.

Unfortunately, my wife’s Catholic church wasn’t a place like I needed. It didn’t have the loving, giving community that I needed. So I continued to stay away. It was too hard to go to a different church and besides, my wife’s religion puzzle-piece is designed for solitude and introspection. Our pieces didn’t seem to match.

But that may be changing. The new priest at her church is trying to turn things around. He is trying to resurrect a dying church by building a community around it. I have yet to hear him preach, but I’m excited. My daughters came home with good things to say. Yes, my 7yo and 4yo daughter actually paid attention in church. OMG indeed!

I’m also encourage by the changes happening at the top of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis is putting the church’s focus firmly on compassion and mercy toward all people. In the most recent synod they discussed how to include and support families in all their forms. From the ideal Catholic family to divorced, cohabiting, and even homosexual families.

So the church is slowly making its way back toward my politics, so I guess I can try to make my way back toward the church, too.


Smartphone Plans Make me Feel Dumb

For all of my smartphone using life, my work has paid for my phone and plan. At the time, this seemed like "not-a-big-deal". Sure it was convenient and saved me some undefined amount of money that I never thought about, but how bad could it be to deal with that stuff?

Bad. Very bad.

Now I've started a new job where they do not pay for my phone and plan. I've been cast adrift in the confusing sea of plans and discounts and fine print and OH GOD HELP ME! It turns out that I'm not good at this. I get easily confused trying to keep track of the different prices if I lease the phone, pay for the phone in installments, or just buy the phone outright. And then I have to think about the plans. The PLANS!! Family sharing, individual lines, unlimited, very limited. My brain is feeling delimited.

In the end, the issue is that I keep hoping to find a trick. Some way of configuring the plans and phones that ends up with me not paying $125 or more every month for our phones. Adding $125 to the monthly budget is not exciting, but I'm starting to accept that it is the new normal. Or maybe I'll start a trend and go back to my bar phone. You can still get those, right?


Responding with Compassion

“Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”

We all carry resentment. We all make judgments. Recently, I’ve started to prod myself to respond with compassion instead. At first I told myself to give people the benefit of the doubt, but that isn’t quite enough. That would simply withhold judgment. I want to go one step further and engage with the person. They’ve messed up. Haven’t I messed up as well? Instead of condemning, I need to ask “How can I understand?”. Take the hate, and replace with compassion.

And if I can’t tamp down those negative feelings, I repeat that wonderful quote above about the poison. My negative feelings won’t change what they’ve done, but they will certainly affect my life.


Cincinnati Library calendar in iCal format

The Cincinnati Library has an online calendar that has all the events for all the branches. Unfortunately there was no way to subscribe in Google Calendar. However, after a little digging I found that you can grab the RSS feed (which is supplied) and make a small change to the URL in order to get an iCal-compatible URL. Not much to it, but I bet someone else wants to do this, too. Hopefully Google will lead them here.

So you go to the library's calendar page, then copy the link from the RSS button (usually by right-clicking on the button and choosing copy link). Paste the link into a text editor (notepad, textedit, word, whatever) and look for where it says dm=rss2. Change it so it is dm=ical. Then copy and paste that new URL into your Google Calendar or iCal or any other calendar program that can subscribe to iCal calendars.

Here's the help article.


Indy 500

It was an exciting race this year. They were saying that the new cars are designed to make drafting and passing easier, so we saw the most lead changes in Indy 500 history! It was also the hottest in history, but that didn't seem to change too much.

I enjoyed seeing Tony Kanaan finish so well. I bet he could've done even better if there hadn't been that crash right at the end. Still I think Sato is a racer to keep an eye on, and Dario should've given him a little more room on that pass!



Sometimes it feels good to sweat. Today was one of those days. I haven't sweat like that in a long time. It was just pouring off. But it DID feel good to get outside and do some manual labor. Of course, a little of that goes a long way ;-)


Catching Up

It's funny how some clients can be almost like friends. I really enjoy the conversations I have with this particular client. We talk about our kids, and what's been going on with our families. We seem to have similar views on life and it's always nice to talk with her. Good times.

A Breakthrough

I finally cracked a difficult problem I was having at work. I knew all it would take was a little time for me to focus without distractions. I have to be able to keep on the thread. If I lose it then I get too frazzled and confused. But finally I was able to see it through!!


Being Elmo

Saw a really interesting documentary called Being Elmo. It's about the puppeteer who controls Elmo. Well, really he IS Elmo. Amazing story about coming up from nothing and following your dreams. Glad I found it on Netflix.