Doing It Wrong archive

Tag : emily (12)

Ten seconds, twenty years ago

Categories: Family
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Published on: November 20, 2011

One afternoon in the early 90s I was walking on the 3rd St Promenade in Santa Monica with my friend Heather when I heard what can only be described as the sound of unadulterated joy. A little girl, about three years old, was getting her face licked by a friendly dog and laughing like only a child can laugh. It was my memory of that moment that eventually led to my wife noticing me and eventually to having a daughter of my own.

I’m going to go tickle her now.

Persistence of memory

Categories: Buddhism, Family
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Published on: October 6, 2011

Emily was interested in amnesia today when I picked her up from school. She got around to it by asking about automobile accidents and brain damage but eventually settled on amnesia; what it is, how you get it, what you forget and for how long. I can’t say I’m an expert on brain damage but we spent the drive to her choir practice discussing memory and it’s loss.  One thing that she asked that particularly stood out was her question of whether you changed who you are if you lost your memory. I don’t remember exactly how the conversation went (it’s like rain on your wedding day) but here’s the gist of it.

We’re always changing. Who I am now, this moment, is slightly different from who I was a moment ago but is quite different from who I was ten, twenty or thirty years ago. We don’t notice the changes because they’re small but they do add up over time.

The other side of that coin, however, is that my memory of who I was yesterday, last week, last month and last year acts as a guide for who I will be tomorrow. I remember being a daddy and an engineer and a Buddhist yesterday so there is a very good chance that tomorrow I will continue to be a daddy and an engineer and a Buddhist. Remembering who I was yesterday, I’m going to get up in the morning and go into where I worked yesterday, life is very much the same. The chance that I’ll get up and go get a job making coffee at Starbucks is pretty slim.

But what if I’d lost my memory and didn’t remember who I was or where I worked? The chance that I would go out and get a job working as a java monkey is going to be a lot higher. I like the way coffee smells and, not knowing I have the skills of an engineer, it might seem like a good thing to do. Without the memory of who I was yesterday there is suddenly a much larger chance that my life is going to take off in a wildly different direction.

But that’s just my job, where I live, what I think my name is. Is that really me? Will I still be grumpy in the morning if I don’t remember being grumpy? I could see her trying to work out what part of who I am was left when my memories of who I was were gone.

The drive ended at that point but I think we’d agreed that I’d still be grumpy in the morning.

It’s Like Deja Vu All Over Again

Categories: Buddhism, Family
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Published on: August 20, 2011

I’ve been an asshole today. It started out okay, I went out this morning and picked up donuts for my daughter and also surprised my sister-in-law and niece with some as well. There was some confusion regarding what Jyllian wanted and what I thought they were called so I picked her up a big cinnamon roll. Pickings were scarce and the bakery was like a combination mob scene and Running Man food riot.

Anyway, I was feeling all good about myself and puffed up with what a good Dad and all around great guy I was when I brought Jyllian coffee and the cinnamon roll. What I didn’t remember was that she’d gotten sick after eating a cinnamon roll a couple weeks before. She said “ugh” as her stomach rolled over and handed the plate to Emily which completely let all the air out of my inflated self esteem. I didn’t get the praise and accolades I was looking forward to. How dare she!

With my vanity wounded I barked out something that inadvertently hurt her feelings and went downstairs to nurse my bruised ego. I ended up working out in the yard; mowed the grass, cleaned up dead leaves, watered the plants and moved the woodpile to it’s new location, holding on to my anger and wounded pride the entire time. I finally had to come in as it was after noon, over a hundred degrees and I was flirting with heat stroke.

After a shower and some water I sat down in my office to finally have a cup of coffee and that cinnamon roll while I read only to find that Zak had vomited hair into the top air vent of my desktop computer. All the anger came rushing back and I spent the next hour cleaning my office and generally barking at anyone who came within twenty feet of me. I got my office clean but made my daughter cry and barked “I’m not angry!” at Jyllian which would have been funny at any other time.

The girls went out to go swimming while I continued to work on my office and clean up the house. With the quiet and lack of targets for me to blame for my assholery I had to admit that I was the one acting out and that my girls had been trying to find a way to help me feel better.

I’d love to say that I’ve learned and grown from this experience but to be honest this isn’t the first time I’ve just been a general ass to everyone around me simply because things weren’t going my way or I’d had my pride stepped on. Next time maybe I’ll pull my head out of my ass a little more quickly though.

I txted Jyllian an apology and spent some time hanging one of the strings of prayer flags she and Emily got me for Father’s Day which have been buried in the general chaos of my office. I also made space for another present that Jyllian got me, my Buddha Board, by putting my desktop machine under my desk where the cat can’t vomit on it as easily.

Tibetan prayer flagsI’ll hang the second string soon but have to trim the evil holly bush with the sharp leaves before I can get a clear run from the house to the tree. I’m sure there’s some lesson lurking in that statement but, to be honest, I’m a little too wiped out at the moment to try being profound.

Scrub, scrub, scrub

Categories: Journal
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Published on: April 7, 2011

I used to sing a song to Emily when giving her a bath. It was a simple song with almost no tune but it made her laugh.

Scrub, scrub, scrub
Scrub the baby.
Scrub, scrub, scrub
Scrub the baby.
Scrub, scrub, scrub
Scrub the baby.
And make… a clean baby.

I don’t expect I’ll be getting a Grammy any time soon but it’s one of those silly things you do as a parent.

Kite flying on a blustery day

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Published on: April 3, 2011


It was a nice but windy day so after I finished my allotted time working in the yard we went by Toys R’ Us, picked up a kite and spent a few hours down in Gully Park trying to keep it up in the air. Unfortunately it was a little too gusty and the kite a little too lightweight to stay up for long periods without divebombing into the ground. Still, it was fun and I got to answer her stream of decidedly odd questions about things like “why people who want eternal life really want eternal youth” and then trying to explain to her why I wouldn’t want either.

The you can’t see in the the pictures but the kite was a Star Wars: The Clone Wars kite with Yoda on it. Emily chose it because she knows how much I like the little Jedi Master.

She doesn’t quite get why I like Yoda more than the Sith since my wardrobe clearly marks me as one of the Dark Lords.

The Can-Can

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Published on: April 1, 2011

When Emily was a baby and an early toddler I would hold her in my hands and kick her legs while I sang the tune usually associated with the can-can dance. She used to giggle like her head was about to fall off.

Memento redux

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Published on: March 29, 2011

Jyllian and I were talking the other day and she mentioned the “bug sack”. The “bug sack” was a set of green baby pajamas with little bees on it for the infant Emily but it didn’t have legs. It was just a sack on the bottom like the PJs Sweet Pea wore in the old Popeye cartoons but was my favorite thing to dress Emily in. I’d completely forgotten about it.

I’ve always sort of looked as life as pouring through me like water through a sieve. Sometimes things stick and change how it flows but mostly days are ephemeral things. Maybe it’s because I’m getting a little further on in years and I know that I won’t be around forever to sieve time’s passage but I wonder what it is that I no longer remember and whether I have too large a set of gaps in that sieve.

I know that I need to spend more time keeping track of what happens if only so I’ll have reminders of what my life was when I’m to old to remember without assistance.

Since it’s been a while, here’s the short list of things:

  • Emily is doing well with her choir
  • Making a concerted effort to get the yard under control
  • Quit EVE, started Rift, stopped Rift, playing EVE
  • Eating about 80% primal
  • Lost probably 15 pounds in the last three months.
  • Grumpiness is fading and seems to be replaced with a sunnier outlook but that could just be spring
  • Planning to run a guild in Star Wars: The Old Republic
  • Work is still work
  • Halloween work needs to get underway soon

Cemetery ducks

Categories: Buddhism, Family, Life
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Published on: August 14, 2010

Spent some time feeding the graveyard ducks with Emily in the morning. The ducks and geese were generally well behaved. As we left I noticed that someone had broken the face off a small Buddha statue that is near the back “entrance” to the cemetery.

Errands and cleaning followed by a visit from Laura, Cedar and Sam.

Spent some time in the evening recovering lost notes for Memento. The virtual machine is gone but I set up a new wiki for project notes and identified a couple books to read.

Let me explain… no there is no time, let me sum up

Categories: Family, Life
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Published on: March 17, 2010
  • Wife was ill
  • Grew another eye on the back of my head
  • Wife is better
  • I was ill
  • The eye is still there
  • Exercise is hit and miss
  • Emily loved the Lightning Thief
  • Emily loves Lady Gaga
  • Still hacking out ideas for Memento
  • Going to get the eye removed soon

What I did over the weekend.

Categories: Life
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Published on: February 28, 2010

But it was for a good reason as I was helping Kurt and Tanya move into their new place. It’s really nice and the view from their deck is going to be amazing in the spring and autumn. Emily spent the afternoon playing with Annie and I helped move stuff from the old house to the new. I may end up going bow hunting with Kurt this autumn if the whole diet and exercise plan pays off. I’d considered working out when I got home but was pretty wiped out and still sore from Thursday.

Jyllian has been sick with the stomach flu or something so we stuck close to home on Sunday. I read a chapter out of my python book, got some other reading done, goofed off on EVE, puttered around the house and looked after my girls.

My diet pretty much sucked on Saturday. Sunday was a little better.

I start running again tomorrow. I’m really not looking forward to it.

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