Longing for Adventure 

Wow, trying to figure out how to post again on WordPress. I guess it has been a little bit over a year. Too much happening or just binge watching “Game of Thrones.” I wanted to post another poem from my daughter for comment. I enjoy them so, and will polish them up is she lets me. This one she didn’t. She was inspired from our Friday night Dungeons and Dragons game. (The pic is my son and I shooting rockets several years ago. As you can see my wife’s overzealous safety measures)

Longing for Adventure

Longing for adventure we sit in this room,

ticking past minutes as day reaches noon.

We will no longer be kept trapped up in here

as we set out for adventure in our very best gear.

Armed with swords, arrows and spears,

We sneak out of the room as dark soon nears.

Hidden by shadows the dark reaches night,

As we plan to be back before the first light.

As we reach the courtyard we sneak past the guard who’s too busy to even care

Continuing there, it’s too late to be scared.

In the stillness of the night, around the corner and under the trees,

We crouch down low to crawl on our knees.

Snickering, punching, and stifling laughter,

we narrowly avoided a grave disaster;

A mother scolding her child for being out at night,

As they left we saw the most wondrous sight;

Of fireflies blinking in small specks of light.

We head back knowing that dawn will soon strike,

wondering and preparing for what to do the next night.

We sneak back into the room holding a new secret of something to do,

next time we’re longing for adventure.
Please comment. Thanks.

The Day I Lost my Innocence 

I remember it like it was yesterday. I came home from a grueling day of baseball practice proceeded by an even worse day of school. “What’s for dinner mom?” I shouted as I blasted through the door with my dog Chase at my side. “Red beans” mom said, “and go wash up” I heard as I was running to the bathroom. I was so hungry, it seemed like forever since I last ate. I ran to the table and sat down at my place. What was this? I thought to myself. This did not look like red beans. “Mom, what is this?” I said as the hunger pains were welling up in my stomach. “Why these are baby red beans” she said as coolly as a used car salesman on a Detroit auto lot. I looked back down at my plate. Could it be? Was this some exotic legume I did not know about? OK I thought, succumbing to my hunger. I took a bite. “Do you like them?” mom said. “They are alright, don’t taste like red beans though.” I replied. As I ate, the hunger soon faded and I decided I wasn’t much into dinner anymore.  “Go clean your plate and get ready for bed” she said with a grin of a Chelsire cat. I took my plate and what was left to scrape off into the garbage can. The horror, oh the horror, there in the garbage staring up at me were two empty cans of field peas like some severed head to be discovered at the scene of a crime. I turned to my mom, the innocence of my youth tattered in ruins, “you lied to me” I said with a tremble in my voice.  “Oh don’t be a baby” she chuckled, “now go to bed.”

As always, comments are appreciated.

Call of the Wild and Leadership

I must admit, I’ve been away from WordPress for quite awhile. Things get hectic and work’s been a absolute bear. And with work comes leadership training.  One requirement for the leadership course was a book essay. I took a different path from the regular leadership books and read and wrote about Call of the Wild. I’d thought I’d share.

Call of the Wild

A Leadership Perspective

Jack London 1903

1 Minute Summary

The story Call of the Wild is written from the perspective of a dog named Buck. Buck is a porch dog of Saint Bernard and Scottish Shepard mix who watches over his master’s estate in California. He is kidnapped one night by a servant and sold to traders to be taken to the Northern territory to work as a sled dog in the harsh conditions in the 1800 Yukon gold rush. Buck has to overcome many obstacles and hardships. He learns of cruelty and survival. Through the course of the book, Buck shows his tenacity and leadership. He becomes part of a team, eventual leader, and faces insurmountable challenges. He is eventually saved from a certain death and becomes loyal to his final owner. Buck is drawn to the Arctic wilderness and eventually becomes leader of a pack of wolves and fully evolves from a domestic dog to answer the Call of the Wild.

Buck’s Leadership Qualities and the Team He Leads

Buck changes throughout the story from a pampered Southern house dog into the leader of a pack of sled dogs. Buck proved that he could become a leader by adapting to his surroundings and situations, learning from his teammates, coordinating his team of sled dogs, and by attempting to accomplish his given tasks regardless of the effort it might take. Buck demonstrated his ability to adapt both mentally and physically, with examples being his use of creativity to defeat Spitz and needing to eat less as time passed with him in the Yukon. Buck was capable of learning from both his situation and his teammates to survive in his new environment; his usage of sleeping in the snow (which was first practiced by his fellow sled dogs) is an example of this capability. Buck showed leadership skills in coordinating his team of sled dogs after taking over Spitz’s position as lead dog, as before he accomplished this task the dogs were not working together productively. Finally, Buck demonstrated his determination when he was owned by the Scott, heedless of the weight of the load he was pulling or of the distance he had to travel; Buck never gave up or stopped working.

Buck constantly had to deal with change. Even at the end of the book, Buck went through a transition phase where he would go back and forth from the wild to his domestic life until finally reaching the point in which he makes the decision to stay with his wolf pack.

The Team

Just as we all have served on diverse teams, Buck too was no different. His team consisted of: 

Spitz: Original dog sled leader and Buck’s rival who lead with fear and intimidation.

Curly: Buck’s first friend on the team and a bit naive.

Dave: Another of Buck’s first companions and one of the most knowledgeable sled dogs. Dave comes to life when he is in the harness, motivated and takes pride in his work.

Sol-leks: Like Dave, he is aloof until attached to the sled. He has suffered poor treatment in the past.

Billie: Good-natured and sweet, shows Buck how to make a bed in the snow. Billie is a friendly and helpful member of the team.

Joe: Billie’s brother and is always snarling and defensive.

Pike: Often referred to as “the malingerer.” He rarely gets up on time, steals food and generally undermines the expedition. When Buck becomes leader, he forces Pike to shape up and become a helpful member of the team.

Dub: The awkward goof ball of the team.

When we examine all the members of Buck’s team, we can relate each of them to similar people who have served on teams with us.

Biography of Jack London

London is a San Francisco native, born in the late 1800’s and was a traveler and adventurer in his youth. London not only traveled on trains and ships, but also participated in the Yukon gold rush. London used these experiences for inspiration in his stories. Writing and getting published greatly disciplined London and because of this, he made it a practice to write at least a thousand words a day. Jack London is recognized in literature more for his inspirational stories about man and nature than for his literary prowess.

Why I chose the book

While helping my son study for his English courses, we came into the discussion of the book Call of the Wild. I had remembered the book from school when I was younger, but I didn’t think I was ever required to read it. In our talks, I developed a fondness for the book and put it on my list of “Things to Read.” I had always heard the book mentioned when people discussed leadership, so I took the opportunity not only to read the story of a dog named Buck and his call to the wild but to use it to discuss life’s lessons and leadership.

An Open Letter to the Tooth Fairy

This is the note left for the Tooth Fairy last night because of her dereliction of duty and her forgetfulness from the night before. Although I did have to explain to my daughter that sometimes the Tooth Fairy can be very busy and find it hard to break a twenty. I thought this was too sweet not to share. Happy Sunday. 

Poem

I must say, still being new to the wordpress.com community, I am pretty impressed with all the writings that people have posted, especially the poetry. Now I’m not a big English Lit guy and have long put my books away only to revisit now and then in my children’s schoolwork. This brings me to today’s blog. Every year in the spring, my children’s Montessori School puts on a “Mother’s Day Tea” in which the children recite a poem from memory for all the moms in attendance. My daughter, not to be outdone by her brother who could memorize Hamlet if he had to, wrote her own. It was a pleasant little poem that only needed a bit of tweaking from a loving dad to have a nice transition. She wanted no part of my intrusion and quit talking to me for a couple of days. We have since made amends and here is the poem.

Blow a Kiss

Blow a kiss to the sky
Every night your dream flies by
In the morning as you wake
Another chance you will take
To make that dream come true and then
When the night comes once again
To dream a dream that you will fly
Very high above the sky 

Hannah at age 8

Clouds

“Daddy, where do clouds go?”

Where do clouds go? What the hell, why do I get all the tough questions. Why can’t mom tackle a few now and then?

“What’s that Sweet Pea? What do you mean where do they go?” “You know, some days the sky is full of clouds and some days they are all gone.” 

She’s right, where do they all go? That’s something a child would ponder. I remember being a kid and riding in back of the car on long trips along the river looking at all the plants with their smokestacks billowing  all the steam and what not high into the sky. Big puffs of marshmallow like fluffiness. I use to think that’s how clouds were made. Little cloud factories doing their job. 

I was going away for business recently and she wanted to know what the top of a cloud looked like, So I took some pictures out the plane window so she could see them. You have just shared our memory. 

My Come to Jesus Moment with my Cat

“Hello, my name is Winnie and I am a recovering asshole cat.”

Once again I was running late for work and I was in a hurry to leave the house to catch the shuttle. This morning was different, this morning my cat peed all over my bag. Not that the flee bag never peed on my bag before, because he has. It was that I needed my bag for work that day. Now the cat, seemingly proud of his accomplishment, drifted way too close to my foot and in my rage I kicked him. Well not really a kick. More like a kinetic push off. Anyway, it was enough to get his attention. He scampered away and I quickly rinsed my bag and ran out the door. It was a long ride to work and the pee smell was gaining ground. I was still angry but more so with myself. How could he do that? I rescued him one rainy night when he was a kitten. I clean his putrid box. I’ve woken up on more than one occasion only to step in something he has hacked up, and still he does this to me. Was he still mad about the neutering? God forbid you pet him when he’s not in the mood; fangs! Still, I felt bad. The kids were so attached. CAT, first word for both of them. I called home to check on him. All was fine. Winnie avoided me all the next week, but slowly, gradually, we made amends. He finally made his way to my lap for chin scratchings. We have come to an understanding. An alliance of super powers. There may be bumps in the road but we have moved past our differences and are best buds now.