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I ran into a moral dilemma tonight. When I first got to the gym that we practice at for Special Olympics basketball I saw tons of stink bugs on the floor just inside the door. That he had been crushed but there will several that were still alive. I did what I think I always do and I began scooping them up and into my hat and letting them go in the cold grass outside. I did this for several moments and a couple times throughout the game as they crawled onto the floor where we were playing. It wasn't until after the game towards the end of the night that I found some more and again started kind of putting them in the Hat when somebody mentioned that they were going to die outside anyway because it was going to be freezing tonight. I have to admit that I am both embarrassed and saddened by the fact that they're right. He gets me thinking as I drive home weather statistically they had a better chance of surviving inside. It's funny because I didn't think about that. There were bugs inside and there were several crushed on the floors so I put them outside. Maybe the devil I know is better than the devil I don't. I don't know if they will die outside, I don't know what threats they face outside but they're in side and I simply put them back where I thought they belonged. I don't think it was a moral decision but one where I don't know, maybe I thought they had gotten lost? Now as I'm thinking about it on the way home I did probably just doing them to die after they probably work so hard to get in side the warmth of the building. Also, the person was probably right and they probably would have survived much longer in side than out. though, I wonder with the spider's, pesticides and I don't know people purposely trying to step on them maybe whether these poor things were f***** anyway. I don't know oh, I guess this is what they're talking about When they say that sometimes helping without thinking things through isn't really helping at all. I don't know but I feel like I have a jerk now. :-(

It is Monday in my body is physically sore and exhausted. When I go to see my brother it tends to be mentally, emotionally and physically exhausting. He requires constant attention and I do my best to do everything that he wants in the short time that we're together They're saying that really is his vacation for people. We listen to Christmas music on repeat, we drive, we laugh and wrestle and swim and he eats McDonald's three times every trip. :-) I enjoy watching him laugh and smile and I absolutely adore this kid. I cannot comprehend what it must be like to be surrounded by people that are employed to take care of you for 24 hours a day. He gets excited when I show up and angry when I leave and I cannot imagine what his life is like even if I do feel that most of the time they make the right decision.

Anyway, I wake up this morning groggy and sore I think just from the amount of driving and eating like s***. I'm at the point where Something's Gotta Give. I'm driving to work today thinking about what I can eat from this fast food joint or that one that might actually nourish my body and instead I might just have coffee. I have a headache and if taking 4 Advil and three Tylenol and nothing seems to be touching that or my neck ache. I started Pilates a few weeks ago and absolutely loved it even though I grow in my way through it. I want to find time two meal prep And add some boxing in there too. I work out at least a little bit with my kids everyday Monday through Thursday and I adore it cuz it allows me a chance to bond with them, but I wish I could take the time out of my personal life to commit. Right now I'm constantly under deadline pressure with at least four to five positions that I have and I'm yearning to just take a day off to do nothing but watch bad TV and get work done without anyone around. Even more so I yearn for long walks in crunchy leaves, reading a book for pleasure, painting, creating something that has no meaning... This is generally how I feel at the beginning of every Autumn when it starts to get cold. I feel this need to do things just for myself and not for anyone else and to feel the change in temperatures walk through my soul as a cleansing Breeze. I look back at my twenties and early thirties when auto used to be the time or I prepared to hibernate and I would spend most of the Autumn and Winters doing things that focus on me and my connection with the world. Now I struggle to make sure this season doesn't blend in with all the other ones in my largely climate-controlled life. I'm hoping the most of this bad mood is just my headache and that my coffee will kick in and in an hour I will be the bright sunny self my student see.:-)

I'm on my way to Elmira, New York to see my brother. It's a Saturday morning and I found myself compelled to wear my keeper on the way over. It's funny because I have my yarmulke on under my baseball hat because it really has nothing to do with anybody else recognizing I am a Jew but more about the constant feeling and reminder to take time for myself and appreciates, with intention, what is around me. I'm driving to the Catskill Mountains and although the color is not popping or very radiant, I am still out and enjoying Something Beautiful. Being in school, teaching three different courses being part of a family excetera excetera leads me to sometimes forget about the beauty that is around me. The constant feeling of wearing a yamaka invites me to feel a place as much as I feel that there is something different about me when I wear it. It's almost like a reminder to think differently to feel a little bit more to take stock of what I see a little bit more on Shabbat. I don't know how to translate this into a consistent practice at this point in time, but I feel like it's a start two separating me from the everyday that requires my attention. It doesn't even really have that much to do with Judaism as much as it does the parts of Judaism that invite us to stop and reflect and act with intention. It really is about that practice of making a Temple of Time in which to operate differently than the everyday. I have to admit that I have had an uncomfortable relationship with Judaism for about a year or two, or maybe really since getting married, and her definition of Judaism has been changing for her. I totally respect it of course, but I think that we are in a place where Judaism and practice became a burden not a joy. I think that as she evolves her definition of spirituality when she can, I'm still enjoying ruminating a little bit and wish that I had much more time to explore many aspects of Judaism that I still think a line with my nature and atheist views. In particular the realization and the opinion that my Rabbi expressed which was that you would never ask me to believe simply asked me to go along. I've always enjoyed the dialectic nature of Judaism and really feel like I missed that and being part of Torah study where we talked about other people's views and multiple interpretations of the same words. I don't know, I'm reflecting on this drive and the beauty of the nature that I'm driving through I guess.

This is how we win. For every hateful person out there we talked about the two people that are Red Cross volunteers to point of Puerto Rico. For every hate group we hear about, we talk about Mattress Mack and people like him who donate their businesses, time, employees, money to helping those in need during a disaster. We win by talking about the good that is in this world and showing them that for the 1% that hate there are 50% who will help the person next to them when they're in need. We combat hate, we combat apathy, we combat ignorance through positive action, through letting those actions speak louder than words when people will no longer listen, and by showing the Next Generation that by living their lives in a way that keeps others in mind we replace the dying generation of hate with one that doesn't have to have the conversations anymore. This is how we win. By volunteering, by acting, by being motivated by something other than fear. This is how we win.

Right now our world is in, well, oh world of suck. Between the three hurricanes, devastating wildfires and earthquakes, the fact that President Trump is still in office and the shitshow with a recent shooting, when people are asking me about recent events I kind of play them off or give them a very basic response because I don't have a good understanding of things. Honestly, right now I'm avoiding the news. Not because I don't want to know or because I don't think it's important, but honestly, there are many other things in my life that require much more attention that are much more pertinent to me. I do agree with psychologist that say that the human brain is not programmed to deal with this much information constantly.
For me, I find myself lately listening to Christmas music and trying to find old Chevy Chase movies like funny farm or National Lampoon's or some of the classic movies that always made me smile when I was a kid. It's not that I'm ignoring what's happening in the world, but right now I need to focus on things that are within my sphere of things that I can impact. I've come to the realization that unless I graduate with my doctorate degree, Yael and I will be living in poverty until we die. That was a very sobering Viewpoint considering how close I am to having to leave the university because I'm not making any progress on my work. What can I say, I teach three different courses throughout my day ranging from eighth grade to seniors in college-level classes and I have a part-time job with another University. In addition to that I have a kid in travel baseball serve on a board of directors and serve three different roles outside of all of this. I'm also trying to actually eat healthy and get workouts done. The fact that I'm still standing and have finding any time at all to read her do things I think is pretty damn impressive... The university does not think so.

Thankfully Yael finishes school in December so she can pick up some of the slack while I really double down for the next year I'm getting my proposal approved. So yeah, anyway, right now my life is finding comfort in music and old movies while focusing on little man's baseball games, school work and helping my students understand the crazy things that happen in our world. I know it's ironic that I'm shutting away from the very things I need to teach them but I think it also gives me some perspective on making and connecting things to local events and ways to make a difference to hopefully help prevent these things. I don't know, right now I'm just trying to be a little turtle in a big pond. :-)

I am going back to leaving live journal entries while I'm driving in my car using a text to speech program. I'm interested to see how accurate this is with long journal entries as opposed to the short quick to-do list that I send myself an email normally. It also means that you should forgive, or I should when I go back and reread these, any serious grammar and or spelling errors as my phone can sometimes get very creative with how it interprets what I'm saying. :-)

It seems that I never turned my life journal back on after I got a new phone so one of the things that I'm trying to do lately is reflect more in writing. Actually, I'm going to reflect more in talking because it's easier for me in the car and I'm trying to not use my phone as much while I'm driving. Yes, I'm that guy that is so adverse to being bored now that I literally check Facebook and other things while driving at 80 miles an hour. So trying to get away from that I'm just going to try to talk my way through my drives and attempt to alleviate my boredom that way. :-)

On this Yom Kippur I have spent money, I have driven, and I have eaten. Well I have thought about each one of these acts as I have committed them, it is also not stop me from doing so. I am not able to reconcile observant practice or the intention that I would like to give it with my life right now. As it is, I'm on my way to spend the night at a hotel so I can get the time to work on my doctorate paper. This is been a struggle for me as my doctor and has not been a priority for me through most of my work in the last 4 years. What is changing is the fact that Yael is now pretty certain that she wants to work in a government funded program as a teacher for the foreseeable future. This is exactly where she should be, commendable, and one of the many reasons that I love her. :-) it also means that we will continue to be poor unless I get my goddamn doctorate. So, it needs to become a priority and needs to become one quickly. With this in mind I am taking the time away from my family and away from wanting to spend tonight with them doing otomy type of things and instead I'm going to sequester myself with Starbucks and popcorn and hope that I can get this damn perspectives written before I have a coaching seminar for Special Olympics tomorrow morning.

Now would be a great time to mention, dear reader, but if you're actually reading this then my apologies but most of the entries are probably going to be incredibly boring. I'm going to use this livejournal, as I've said before, as a way for me to kind of talk through things that I need to talk through and that don't necessarily matter to anybody but me. :-) if I ever run for office I'm sure these entries will bite me in the ass as you find out how whiny and paranoid I can be. :-) not really, more like how mundane and full of uncertainty I am. So here it is, my caffeine fueled discussion with myself on this drive to my hotel, on the evening of Yom Kippur 2017 when I would rather be with my family but I'm trying to make needs versus wants a priority. If if you're Jewish that I hope that you were sealed in The Book of Life and I want nothing more for you than warm wishes for a good New Year. If you're not Jewish that I hope you have a good weekend. :-)

On this Yom Kippur I cannot help but be reflective. I have taken no time to consider how I have wronged others or myself. I have made little time for Eddie intentional move the truly make Yom Kippur meaningful. In my head taking a day off before allow me to get things done so I can take the day to be on a nature, alone, to get as close as possible to that in my hectic existence this year. Instead, it is so funny to reflect on the fact that I will be driving most of the day tomorrow, spending money, eating and doing many things that tend to separate this day from all others at our calendar. And yet, I feel as if coming into tonight and tomorrow I am well aware of the choices that I have made and the beauty of things that I will be doing tomorrow. Things like spending time with Aiden, enjoying the fall weather and, taking time to reflect on why I haven't made more time for personal practice excetera. I don't know, between this cold and just the fact that it seems like I run into everything lately perhaps this is exactly what I needed to give me permission to really take stock and whether I'm doing a lot of things well or just doing a lot of things. :-)

I find myself in an odd place where the ways of doing things are no longer satisfactory. I don't want to run away from my family or responsibilities, but in the quiet moments driving home from work or in the shower I feel a desperate need to do something that makes me feel alive, feel capable, feel like I am contributing. 

I am teaching things at school that I love and hope I can continue to teach human rights based classes for my tenure. It is awesome to support 8th grade students with the tools needed to accept differing views and considerations of the world and seniors understand the complexity of the world they are truly about to become complicit in. :) 

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I have posted so little and I doubt that this will change anytime soon. However, I feel so weird lately and have no outlet. I do not hate the President. He is my President as an American and I wish him success. The end. And yet, so not. I fear his lack of knowledge and his lack of information. I regret his seemingly incoherent decision-making and fear the people who seem to own him. I still want him to be successful, I am just so sad for all the people who are scared. Though, I am as sad for all the people who have watched jobs evaporate because of advancements in technology or shitty companies moving overseas and taking their jobs. I do not disagree with some of his ideas but so many of the things that are coming out seem so...I don't even know. SO many people are scared, so many people are unsure, so many people are nervous.

I am going to the March for Science because I hope that the government supports science and that the things that I am reading or not true. I want to support science and although I made the reservation, we won't go if it looks like it is going to be one against the President. I truly believe that the idea should be that we support our President while hoping that he settles into a role that is positive, not adversarial.

I feel lately that I cannot have a conversation with anyone because it seems like everyone has a strong opinion when I am so much more focused on looking at the full picture. I dunno, it just seems like it is hard to have a rational conversation lately.

I hope for my country.

:sigh: