Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Day After

After a flurry of activity, running around, looking, buying and a marathon of wrapping, the big day arrived. But we also had to make preperations as the hosts for the family Christmas party. Then the guests arrived, an aunt, uncles and four cousins, three under age 12. Sounds of paper tearing and excited squeals. Then the food, relative calm, relaxed conversation. A few hours of fun. Time to leave, divy up the food and pack up the rest and the aunt, uncles, and cousins head home to finally collaspe. We do the same. Wow, it's over.

Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

December's entry?

It's been a while and I apologize for not posting anything sooner. It's been busy and I lost my focus for a while. That can be a problem for bloggers I suppose.

So far my holidays are going okay, all things concidered. Our college student is home for the holidays and our high schooler finished her last day, so now we're all home for the holidays! Lately, I've been wanteing to take pictures of lawn decorations. So far I've only gotten a few. I'm still learning how to use all the settings on my point and shoot Sony S650. It's fun.

One of the things I've done with my camera's settings is to set the megapixels from 7 to 5 so the images aren't so big and therefore can load a bit faster. The image quality doesn't suffer because I'm not enlarging the pics to a size that matters. They won't be any bigger than 4x6 on the computer screen.

There seems to be a cold wanting to rear is ugly head during the holidays. With medicine I could be such a space case and there are so many decisions to be made I don't know how I will get through these days. Rest and fluids.

When we had that snow storm that came through the midwest, there were partial white conditions, and there were people driving around without their headlights! Amazing.

I may be driving for a limo company soon. I have an interview this Friday. Having a CDL helps, you get to drive the big coaches and get bigger tips (I hope).

Well if I don't write again, I hope you all have a happy and blessed holiday season. Stay safe and God Bless.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Things going on

Some time has gone by and I've had some time to think about things. As you know I was laid off from my driving instructor job. It just so happened that I was having second thoughts about it myself. So I guess it all worked out anyway.

I've been putting out applications at some different places, mostly dealing with retail, which is where I did a lot my early work so I'm familiar with the routine. I've been working a bit more on my photography, that's been fun.

I've also found a way to set up my best photos to try and sell them and get paid via PayPal. Actually you can do quite a few things at this place. It's called I'll keep you posted on how things go. Right now I'm cautiously optimistic.

Thanksgiving went pretty well, had the relatives over to our house because we have the most room for everybody. On Thanksgiving I was doing some last minute shopping, like so many other people, and I noticed that they turned up the volume on the Christmas music. Before I could hear it faintly in the background. Hmmm.

I think they're pushing the season real hard this year because there are so many bad things going on they have to work extra hard to get peoples attention.

I don't know if it is just me or did it take forever to get to the end of November? December will probably go real fast.

Happy Shopping!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Parenting Rewards

Before I tackle my main topic, I would like to address the issue of the previous post, work and such. In my quest for 'quick work', that is work that can be done without a lot of prep or being hired and such, I have come back to an old favorite of portrait photography. I've got the equipment and skills (technically). The thing that I lack is enough confidence and successful marketing. In this case it seems like I will have to muster determination and apply the saying of; If you don't succeed at first, try, try again. More on this later.

Now to the main topic. One of the early rewards of parenting are the smiles, giggles and laughter that one inevitably sees and hears in the early years of child-rearing. Children like to play and have fun. Being a major contributor to creating an environment where they can play and have fun safely is a great reward. For me when my kids were little , that was my my goal as a parent, to give them that safe happy environment. It wasn't the physical surroundings like house and neighborhood, it was the emotional surroundings. They knew Mom and Dad were okay and would love and protect them. Being a part of their play and laughter was key too, serious bonding going on here.

As they got older I was always there for them, involved in their world through elementary and middle school right up to high school. All the sports, and plays and family activities, I was there as much as I could be. Occasionally I would miss something for work but my heart was always with the family. Being there was easier for me than some as I never got far up any corporate ladder. Anyway, the older the kids got I never let myself feel afraid that they'd find out I was human and flawed. Actually, I did think of that from time to time, but I didn't let it stop me from interacting with them. I say that because I suspect that it is a temptation with a lot of men. Stay with them Dads!

When your children are older you still need to bond with them and maintain it. Be their best friend, do things together. When girls get older they won't need to find boyfriends until later, and boys will have a healthy role model as to what a man is and does. Also you will see them flourish in the things they love whether it's sports, music, theater, arts, whatever it is, you can remember that you gave them than environment to flourish in. That can be more satisfying than anything done for a corporation and can last a whole lot longer, generations longer.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Change of Plans

It seems that my vocation may be changing in the near future. The driver ed company I worked for is going through a re-structuring, or reorganization of some sort. This involves trimming the staff and so I will be laid off at the end of the year.

I wondered about something like that because I have been getting less and less hours. Making me think about looking to a different vocation anyway. Right now I don't know what that is but I will definitively keep you posted.

In the mean time I thought I might try and perk thing up around here by maybe adding a few appropriate photos or something.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Parental Marathon

Having kids is the first step. I remember being scared of all the things that could go wrong before the birth. When the birth is over and everyone id fine, such elation and relief.

Then the marathon begins, keeping up with the behaviors, learning the language and trying to get enough rest. My wife read books and articles on child development so we knew what was coming. That helped an awful lot. My biggest concern was to make sure that they were happy. I didn't want to have them worrying at all about things at home. That was to be a safe haven, a refuge from the outside world.

Having two daughters I learned that my presence and involvement in their lives was very important. My wife and I would teach them about the world, I would teach them about all things men. To do that I would 1) have to be there. Be involved, engaged, an active part of their lives. Do things with them, go places and communicate with them. 2) somehow put aside my fears, anxieties and self-doubts and lead by example. They would observe and 'catch' what being a man meant by watching me day to day.

Dads, if you are there for your daughters, be there in body and mind. Don't be afraid to be vulnerable. Mistakes will happen, just keep going. Be involved in their world. Let them know you love them unconditionally and they are important to you. Giving them that knowledge will carry them far in life. When you give them the love they need growing up, they won't go looking for it from another man when they're older.

I hope this is an encouragement along the way.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Automobile Visibility

This is a topic that has popped in my head from time to time. Mostly because I see it when I'm driving. That is people not using their headlights when they should;
  1. between sunset and sunrise - even before the sun goes down below the horizon, sometimes it can get pretty dark in some situations, heavily shaded areas. You're safer if you're seen.
  2. any unfavorable atmospheric condition; rain, fog, snow. One day I was out and there were snow squalls, I saw someone driving a white van with no headlights. A snowsquall hit and he disappeared withing 50 feet of me!
  3. any situation where you can't see beyond 1000 feet clearly. Even at 35mph you're covering a lot of ground.
One last thing; sometimes your car color can make it difficult for other drivers to see you in certain situations. A dark car on a dark road in shade, or a light colored car on a concrete highway can be hard to spot by some other drivers. Remember, not everyone is paying attention like they should.

All kidding aside, let's not meet by accident.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Common Sense for Driving

This will be a brief introduction for my future posts on driving. Suffice it to say that I have seen my share of strange things on the road. For ten years I have driven professionally (local livery) and now am a driving instructor. I still see strange things.

If I could make a suggestion to the on road community it would be this; use your turn indicators. I love driving behind someone when they suddenly slow down for no reason, only to turn off the road somewhere. Folks, I can't read your mind. Plus it would protect you by making you more visible. If I'm driving along and I'm distracted or zoned out, your blinking turn signal might catch my attention and I'd be able to slow down in time. Otherwise I might rear-end you.

Just a little something to think about from your friendly road warrior.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Our Children

By "our children", I mean it collectively, as in all our children. Recently, I was helping out our daughter by getting signatures for a National Honors Society application. She was invited to join, yea, she's that good. The people I got the signatures from all said nice things about her and wished her well. It felt good to know that she had a positive effect on people. Her life is so different from mine, academically and personally.

When I was growing up I had issues that kept me from fulfilling my potential. Family issues that impacted me and caused me emotional pain on a subconscious level. Pain that I tried to mask with sex, drugs and rock n' roll. As far as school went, I was there because I had to be and I did what I had to to get by, and I got by, that was it. College was pretty much the same thing, just get through.

Since I've gotten married and had children, I've had a lot of time to reflect on my life. I've noticed some patterns and made some decisions in regards to child raising. The main one being that I would give my kids what I didn't get. By this time I had talked to a few therapists and realized some things about my life. One, that a lot of my issues started when I was really little with the decisions my parents made about raising me and two, I didn't want my kids to have those issues in there lives.

What I did want was for them to grow up happy and secure. That decision would take and did take a lot of love, attention, and interaction. For the next eighteen years I did all that I could to make sure they knew they were loved and had nothing to worry about at home. It worked, today, they are well adjusted and doing well, much better than I did at that age with a wonderful world of possibilities ahead of them.

If there's one thing I want to say in this post it's that parenting takes a lot of energy and active involvement. Be there for your children. They really want you more than toys and things. Time with Mom & Dad are the precious moments that will last forever.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Environmental Thoughts

Since today is Blog Action Day for the environment, I wanted to throw some ideas out there that I had been thinking through throuout the day.

Solar power has been of interest to me for a while. Solar panels on houses covering the southern-facing roofs made sense but is expensive to do, at least initially. What if the solar panel idea could be done in smaller increments, and added to as funds are available?

Now the reason I am saying this is because I read some comments about how to conserve energy. They were good but they were all related to computer usage; don't use speakers unnessessarily, get energy saving monitors, etc. Good ideas. Then I got to thinking couldn't we move toward doing more? That's where the solar power came to mind.

Other ideas were like this; developing adapters to attach solar panels to that are affordable for more people to use. Easy to set up like a lawn sprinkler. Maybe a mobil unit that could be moved around if you have a lot of trees in your yard. Or how about developing a stationary bicycle type thing to generate some power and loose weight at the same time?

My thoughts were to start small, replace the power used by a computer one day a week, then move up from there. That is where the solar power would work best, start small and work up to something the size of a roof and really make a difference.

If anybody can develope these ideas futher, take it and run. Lots of potential to be tapped here. In the mean time use only what you need and don't waste it.

I will be searching for sites, articles and the like to add to the "Green Things" section, so check back from time to time.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Time-bomb kids

Something has occured to me and I want to try and get this idea out there before something else happens. It's regarding the latest school shooting incident in Cleveland, Ohio. The names and locations change; Asa Coon in Cleveland, Dylan Klebold in Columbine, Cho Seung-Hui at Virgina Tech. They were all disturbed, picked on, outcasts. In school and in life. I believe this can be avoided.

We need to be able to spot these kids who are in such distress that they want to kill people, before they do it. Somebody must come in contact with these kids and get an idea that somethings wrong. The thing seems to be, what to do next. Who to tell?

What if there could be a few trained individuals who could take some time and interact with these kids, and hopefully steer them away from their destructive desires. I'm thinking something on a very small, community by community level. Maybe a church ministry kind of thing.

These are rough ideas. I want to put them out there and maybe someone can pick them up and build on them, put together a task force where you live. Organize something. Maybe befriending one of these troubled, unpopular kids would help. Know who to call in case you need help. Develop a network that can jump into action when needed, and know when to involve the authorities.

Sometimes the parents share a big part of the blame. Sometimes they may have an idea of trouble brewing and don't want to deal with it and don't know who to turn to. Can we help them?

My hope and prayer is that these few ideas will spark more ideas that will turn into action that will stop these time-bomb kids from going off.

Thanks and God Bless.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Kids Growing Up

We spent last weekend with our daughter and my parents at her college. For me at least, it was strange. Seeing her as her own person, making her own decisions and charting her own path apart from us. Everyone who has kids in college goes through something similar. The child you invested 18 years into raising so you could get to this point, now it has happened, now they're out of the house. Now there's that strange void where they used to be. It's different when they're away for the day at high school. You know they'll be back later in the day. Now it's stretched out to weeks at a time, maybe months, with just a phone call every so often. And all you can do is wait, and adapt.

But they are standing on they're own two feet. Your parenting role is different, you are the sideline coach, still important, but in a different way. There's still memories to be made and fun to be had. And a wonderful future to look forward to.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Death in the Funnies

In the comic strip FunkyWinkerbean, one of the long time, main characters died off today from breast cancer. That doesn't happen very much, if at all, in the comics.

Funky Winkerbean wasn't one of my favorite comics, but I kept an eye on it from time to time. Within the last year, I knew that Lisa was diagnosed with breast cancer. Every so often I would check in and noticed that she seemed to be getting worse as she went through her treatment. I wondered how it was going to end, would she recover and be a cancer survivor? Or would she die?

Several months ago, I think, one of the news stations covered the decision of the creator, Tom Batiuk, to have the character die. So even though I knew it was coming, it was sad then. Today it has hit me harder than I thought. Maybe I'm thinking about this way too much, I don't know. One thing I thought was touching was how he depicted her crossing over, switching from the present day hospice to the all white environment of...eternity, I suppose. There the host, if you will, comes for her and guides her away. As she's walking away from Les, she says “I Love You”. Back in the hospice Les asks, did she say something? The nurse says “She's Gone.”

It was very touching and very well done. I applaud Tom Batiuk on his handling of the topic and courage having one of his characters die.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Here Goes

Well, here I go on a bit of a adventure. I'm using Blogger as my "real" blog. That being my main blog, the one that holds the really important ideas.

I had recently, in the last month or so decided to get into blogging as a more serious venture instead of a "this is what I did today" kind of thing. Although there's nothing wrong with that, it serves a purpose. I've done it with three different blogs on AOL, MSN, and Yahoo!360.

My hope is that this blog will be worth reading and have some useful information. What I want to blog about, and share with you, things near and dear to my heart are; parenting, self-esteem, psychology, pop culture to name a few. If I come across any useful onformation or links, I'll make those available one way or another. Also things on the format may change from time to time as I figure out how to organize the look an feel of the layout.

Right now I don't know how I am going to do this. One day at a time, one post at a time. You build a wall one brick at a time, you take a journey one step at a time. So this is my first step. Come with me, I appreciate your company.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Parenting Resources

Parenting Resources Page

Are you a new parent? Or been at it for a while and are running out of motivation? I know, I’ve been there. As of the writing of this, my wife and I dropped off our oldest at college. We have two more years with our youngest, then she’s off to college.

Parenting is the biggest project you’ll ever do, because the legacy you create in your child will live longer than you. Getting it right is so important. With that in mind I’d like to point out to you two resources that will give you motivation and information on your parenting journey.

The first one is called “The Secret” by Martha Stevens, mother of five. Some of the things she talks about are; giving children what they need to know to navigate life and be successful, educate their heart with wisdom and not just their brain with knowledge, and giving them values they can live for.

Parenting is a lifelong endeavor, but the basic core part is only 18 years long. Ideally, by 22 they should be on their own. But if parenting isn’t done right, then it can take a lifetime to undo.

Now this resource is only $19.95. At least worth a look considering what’s at stake.

For more information; CLICK HERE

Here’s another parenting resource that may be of value to you. It’s called “The Parenting Toolbox”. This one is a different in that it covers all parenting situations; married, divorced, single, grandparent parenting, (insert your own situation here).

One aspect that I think is really valuable, is that this is a continuous resource, you join with other parents and learn from them. So you have advice and help at all stages of life. I know that it was always a challenge when our children would change likes/dislikes, or their routines would shift as they got older. Having some parental commrodery was always wonderful. It sure was better than feeling tired, alone and overwhelmed. As they say, People Make the Difference.

This resource is available for a one-time fee of $59.95.

To check this out; CLICK HERE

Monday, September 10, 2007

A new back to school

It’s been the “Back to School” season since mid-July. We’ve been doing this for about 13 – 14 years, actually, we still are. For us now, we are at the tail end of it. Now there’s a new component, we have a freshman college student. Our little girl will be going away for a significant amount of time.

In the past she had gone to summer camp, for a week. Then she went on a trip with her Aunt and Uncle and cousins, for about a week. This last summer she, her sister and her cousin went on a driving trip out to the East coast. That took three weeks and was a strange experience for my wife and I, the house was so quiet for so long even though we heard from them a couple times a week. It was so good to have them back safe and sound. They had a wonderful time and would do it again in heartbeat.

Now she will be going to college and staying away for a much longer time, visiting occasionally. It will take some getting used to as she becomes more and more independent. Slowly but surely we will adjust, and look forward to becoming “empty nesters” when our youngest goes off in two years. Wait, I’m not sure about that looking forward part.

Transitions are a challenge we all face. Time goes by, things change, routines, relationships, situations. As a parent that seemed to happen every 3 or 4 months as the girls grew up. They’d learn a new skill, grow, develop, change something. From infancy on most of the time I felt like I was playing a game of catch-up. I get used to one way of dealing with them and then they do something different, like a new food or whatever. The learning curve starts all over again. *sigh* When the girls were growing up, one of my favorite routines was when they were into the cheeseburger macaroni skillet meals. It was easy for me because I was the main cook in the house, but it was also a special time when we could be together and have fun. That lasted about 6 – 8 months, then they’re tastes changed.

Now that one is leaving and another will be leaving soon enough, we have some big adjustments to go through. I wanted to share this with you, if you find this, and put together some other resources for you to check out that might make the transition a little easier.

Some Links:

Letting go

Cleaver Words

Google at College

Hope you found this helpful, maybe just a little something to take the edge off of your anxiety or something. I’ll be back with some more stuff from time to time so stop by again and until then , take care. Thanks.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

My Early Photography

Most of my photographic career, if you will, was in the days of film. When I worked at the college paper and yearbook it was all black and white. I have liked B&W film because it dosn't show everything that color does. It seemed more artistic.

One of the things about black & white film, particularly Tri-X, is that it had a good exposure latitude. That is, in the proper exposure, it would use all the values from black to white, as in this photo. Note: unfortunately any example I use are taken from digital originals, this one included. I will have this photo and others in my Google Photos section. This one may look different as it will have another effect added to it, film grain, to more simulate the look of Tri-X.

During those days Tri-X was the film of choice by photojournalists. It had lots of exposure latitude. It could be pushe; underexposed and over developed and you could get a decent print out of it. It didn't get too grainy, the photogrphers worst enemy.

As time went on I understood more about things like reciprocity failure; when the relationship between the shutter speed and apeture don't deliver a good exposure. Usually in low light situations, if I remember correctly.

Generally the faster the film, or higher the ASA number, the grainier the picture. The lower ASA numbers were usually the chrome films, or slides. The lowest being 25, which was known for it's fine grain. Reciprocity failure was an issue if you tried to do longer exposeres in low light with the chrome films. Although it could happen withhigher ASA print films as well.

I've been thinking about how to develope this photography blog and I thought a few links to info on film cameras might be helpful. If I find any I will let you know and include them here somewhere on this page.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Start Here

Hi, this is my first blog here on Blogger with Google. I've never done anything with Google until now and found out there's a lot of cool stuff here. Anyways I hope to share some thoughts and ideas about things in my life and things that readers will find useful. I really want this to be more than me just blathering on about my day to day life.

I'll keep working on this blog site to keep it interesting. One of the things I'll be sharing with you is my photography. It's been a part of my life since I was a teenager. I have lots of relatively current photos at under vhtman. That ID was from a time when I photographed homes for a real estate company and the images would get posted on their website. The company was called Video Home Tours.

During my college days I used to take photos for the school paper and yearbook. It was a fun, busy time.

In my recent past I used to be Limo Driver for about 10 years. Currently I'm working as a Driver Education teacher in Ohio. So I'll be talking a bit about driving ettiquete and such. This stuff I hope you do take to heart when you're out on the road. People seem to forget so much when their driving.

I'll also be sharing some things from life that I've learned from that maybe could be beneficial to those reading this blog; parenting, marriage, aging. Little life lessons stuff. Also I'll try and gather some useful information for as you read.

Anyways, I think that'll be all for now. I'll go work on making this a more interesting place.