Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Sunday 160

Yes, it's true, today is Saturday, so why the title "The Sunday 160". Well, it just helps me to commit. If I say it here then I have to make it happen.

Now I suppose you want to know what "The Sunday 160" is? It's a spin off of a 55 word blog challenge that Pheromonegirl introduced me to. The idea struck me as I was sending a text which, as most of us know, allows only 160 characters, so I am applying the same basic rules in the Flash Fiction Friday 55 blog introduced to her by a blogger named G-man.
Da Rules
  • The Sunday 160 only uses 160 characters (including spaces)
  • Keep on schedule - post as early at 7:30 PM the Saturday before
  • Let me know you have posted via a comment on my site
  • Visit at least one other Sunday 160

Should be fun. Could be stupid. One thing is certain - I won't use text abbreviations. That would just be wrong. A fella needs a challenge.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Can Gratitude be an Expectation

Gratitude is the act of being thankful or appreciative of someone or something. "I am grateful for the kindness bestowed upon me by those closest to me", is an example of an exression of gratitude. Personally, I am grateful for many things and try to keep a mental list going at all times. Sometimes adding and sometimes subtracting depending on what's going on in my life.

While me being grateful toward the people or circumstances surrounding me seems natural. At what point should I expect gratitude to come back to me from others. I guess it is a selfish thought. My acts of kindness or hard work should simply be tied to my desire to meet a deadline, make someone happy or just do something for someone else because I want to. However, after I do something that is a bit heroic and instead of getting a thanks I get a comment directed at the expense of my services....I get a little pissed.

In my work place we are consistently asked to perform within extremely tight deadlines. Alright, you guessed it, I'm just going to go on a rant, but sometimes when you can't express your rant to the person who deserves it, you have to go somewhere with it, so just suck it up and read. Or stop now and go on to the next blog. Neener. At least I'm grateful I have this blog to post and dump some pent up frustrations. Life can't all be flowers and blue skies you know.

Alright, so I redo a client's artwork, output perfect graphics and meet an overnight shipping deadline all in less than 24 hours and what I get is "You guys are expensive." Not "Wow, you did exactly what we wanted in the short time frame you were given and made me look like a hero to my boss." No. I get that I'm too expensive. Personally, I thought there was value in my performance and my product. Since when does an uneducated, snotty, twenty something get the nerve to belittle my performance. It makes me ill.

But then again, do I really have the right to expect gratitude? That is the core question here. Am I just setting myself up for disappointment? And the answer is......obvious. Of course I am. I really can't expect people to be grateful for my actions. Does this mean I should keep piling up the brick and mortar to keep people out and the pain of disappointment to a minimum? No. That only creates more problems and eventually makes me that skeptical old curmudgeon Walt Kowalsi, Clint Eastwood played in Gran Torino. If there is one thing that is certain, I don't want to be the Walt Kowalski that appears in the beginning of the movie.

So, I give myself permission to get a little pissed, vent, get on with my day and be grateful for the positives in my life. My wife. My children. My health. I have a job. My car is paid for. The skies are blue and the sun is shining. Best of all, I have the ability to keep a smile on my face and share my gratitude.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Monkey Madness

My home has recently become Monkey Central. It began a number of years ago with the acquisition of a single long armed stuffed creature named Rabies and has grown exponentially since then.

Rabies was the official "protector" and office distraction my wife carried with her almost daily. The troop has grown with each new individual being christened with a proper disease or otherwise slightly twisted name. Syphilis, Asthma, Cleft, Smock, Loops and Max to name a few. This is just how we are working to keep it light as a family.

This monkey fetish has become a wonderful source of fun and we are extending those distractions into other areas of our lives. Last night we had Monkey Night Out. We had dinner at a neighborhood pizza restaurant and each of us took the monkey of our choice. Okay, so it was just a tad bit too out there for our teenage son, but at least he did agree to having an imaginary monkey with him.

One of the newest members of our troop is a fun little monkey puppet named Smock. He is quite interactive and expressive. Smock drove us to our destination and entertained a sweet yet shy toddler at the table next to us - much to the dismay of her mother who really didn't appear to appreciate the fun and kindness we were extending as a family. To each his own. It is where your heart is that is important.

We had brief puppet shows. Magnetic monkey feet stealing silverware. Pictures, texting and lots of smiles and giggling. It was light and full of love. We had many stare or glances from the tables around us. Mainly from the solemn ones where conversation was sparse and expressions were stern.

But this night really wasn't really about monkeys. It was about family time and developing the strongest cheek muscles we possibly can.