Proud Dad Moment: Spontaneous Beastie Boys

The teacher’s mouth was moving. I assume words were spoken.

All I heard was the sound of the adults in Charlie Brown…wont, wont…wont,wont, wont…wont wont.

Like Neal Armstrong driving the American flag into the surface of the moon (did he do that?), the rap culture was hoisting it’s flag triumphantly in the back of a 4th grade classroom in the (distant) suburbs of Boston, MA.

1986.

The Beastie Boys had (crash) landed.

My friends and I passed the Licensed to Ill cassette tape (!!!) around like it was contraband…Because it was!

Like a scene from an 80′s version of Wonder Years.

Hilarious.

The Beasties are forever misunderstood, but the musical legacy is undeniable.

Changed the face of rap with timeless flow, sick mixes, and a continuously evolving style.

Yesterday, in a proud dad moment, I heard Little Dude (4) spontaneously bust out “You gotta fight for your right to paaaarty!”

Awesome. And to celebrate, the Muppets killing it on So What’cha Want

PS – Want more Beastie info? Check out this awesome Rick Rubin interview. Beasties and so much more.

PPS – Related Beastie Boys Posts:

  1. Sabotage for the Kids – RIP MCA
  2. Beasties + Sesame Street = Awesome
  3. She’s Crafty
Posted in Beastie Boys, Dad, Little Dude, Milestones | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Prime Your World: Why Quality Matters

I may, or may not, have been referred to as frugal. Ok, definitely have.

Lack of dinero tends to drive frugality. But I’m realizing quality matters.

Perhaps it is the maturing taste that accompanies my maturing age, but quality has become a sought-after value recently.

Years of frugality leads to disposal junk. (You’re welcome local thrift store.)

Quality, on the other hand, is lasting.

Quality stays with you and helps define who you are.

I’ve been instinctively seeking greater quality, and then I happened upon a great post about the Priming Effect:

Priming: an increased sensitivity to a particular schema due to a recent experience. In other words, priming is when an experience or exposure to a stimulus puts a particular schema at the forefront of our mind. When this in turn influences our judgments and decisions, it’s called the priming effect. (Great explanation - including video)

Quality is everywhere. The words we use, the thoughts we have, the clothes we wear the food we eat, the pictures we see, the people we hug and the time we spend. Everything.

The world moves fast. Modern attention spans are short. It’s easy to lose focus on quality.

That lose of quality is changing who we are. Who we want to be.

A few quotes from the above mentioned post to help build some perspective…

Your visual cortex is only about 1/200th of your brain. Your auditory cortex is about 1/1000th. If you can’t even consciously fathom what these relatively small brain regions are doing computationally, what hope do you have of maintaining awareness of what the rest of your brain is doing on an ongoing basis?

Your conscious mind doesn’t have anywhere close to the capacity that would be required to intelligently monitor and maintain all the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that are constantly firing inside of you. Most of the time you’re not even aware of what’s happening inside your mind.

The reality is that different patches of neurons are processing different thoughts in parallel at all times.

Dude! We are SO cool.

Our bodies just work. And we have no idea how or why. It just is.

But here’s the magic. We can influence. We can drive.

We can work with our ability to “prime.” When we prime with quality, we’re more likely get quality.

In fact, we need to consciously prime. If you’re not aware of what is priming your world, then someone else is – Pepsi, Chevy, Facebook.

It’s a battle for your mind Neo. :) But you’re in control…if you want to be.

Your brain is always bouncing around between linked associations. It does this in parallel, subconsciously, all the time. The vast majority of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors occur without your conscious awareness or conscious involvement.

The lesson here is that seemingly subtle influences matter. If your senses perceive it, your brain is processing it. And this processing is seldom isolated. One little change in input can create significant ripples throughout your neural net. And this in turn can have a significant influence on the results you get to experience.

By exerting some control over our priming influences — which may involve just a few small changes that can be made within a minute or two — we can create a permanent and lasting improvement in different facets of our lives.

By giving your brain slightly different input on a subconscious level, you can enjoy some truly significant benefits on the results side. This is easy. It works. And there are many ways you can apply this for free.

Small changes. Big impact. I dig.

How do we put this into practice?

We need to consciously prime our world. Start on the inside and work our way out. Surround ourselves with the right thoughts, feelings, words, people and sensory input.

Start small and grow. Perfection is overrated. Take the next step and see where it leads.

Get  primin’ y’all!

  1.  Let Your Values Drive Your Choices: Blog post about a great approach to making decisions. Mi Padre preached the gospel of only making decisions you would be happy seeing in the newspaper the next day…more accurate than expected considering social media.
    1. Every decision is made within some type of constraint. Maybe it’s how much knowledge you have. Maybe it’s how much money you have. Maybe it’s how many resources you have. Why not what values you have?
  2. #1 Secret of Astronauts, Samurai & Navy Seals: Develop a practice to build calm mindfulness. Decision points are crucial and keeping a calm mind in tough situations makes an amazing impact. We need to train ourselves to make this happen.
    1. Meditation, spirituality, breathing, yoga, Tai Chi…it’s a long list. How are you going to prime your mind to stay calm when you don’t have time to think about it?
    2. One of my fav quotes – Thomas Jefferson: Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.
    3. Side Note: This blog post mentions a book called Musashi. Supposedly the best samurai book ever written. 900+ pages. 6 months later, I’m almost at 700. It’s awesome. Well worth the time.
  3. 10 Regrets You can Avoid: Don’t steal paperclips from the office. Make good choices. Be true to yourself. See #1 & #2.
  4. Keep a quality journal
  5. Quality pens: The Best Pen evaaaaaa?! From Wirecutter.
  6. Quality mug (for your bulletproof coffee)
  7. Take a nap.
  8. Take distractions and negative vibes out of your view. Keep your world clean and happy.
  9. Keep your world smelling good.
  10. Quality tunes or background noise
  11. Keep some power words lingering in your view (whiteboard?): Flow, Focus, Success, Complete, etc.
  12. Clothes
  13. Food
  14. Technology
  15. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

You get the gist. Quality matters. And everything is quality.

Focus on the things that are important in your world, and make sure you surround yourself with quality. Spend time on the things that matter, the influences that make you the person you want to be.

The Putter: A Great Example of Quality

Quality…scissors. Amazing. I now want quality scissors. Who woulda thunk it?

Hat tip to A Continuous Lean

Posted in Dude Knows Best, Dude's Flow, Hack, Life, Life Lessons, Life Skills | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our New Normal {Awesome Mack}

This post has been 1 year, 72 days and two hours in the making. Hands down the hardest post anything I’ve ever had to write. But it feels good. Cathartic.

Mrs. Dude already shared some thoughts on her fabulous blog. To offer a preface to this post, many similarities below. That post was a bit of a collaboration – Mrs. Dude’s words, my editing. No need to recreate the wheel.

The Mrs. has received some amazing comments and messages from her post – heartfelt, inspiring and loving. Awesome.

But the best message – impeccable timing, but completely unrelated to the post – came from our own house. Princess penned the below gem today in her daily journal…

Awesome Mack

I love our little Mack. He is so nice, kind and sweet. One day I think Mack is going to grow a long mustache and plant flowers. And do yoga.

Nailed it! Future Mack seems super rad. The Dude is going to dig that cool cat.

Yes, that awesome picture did accompany the journal entry.

So what’s all the hub bub about Dudeski?

There’s not a lot to say, and at the same time, there’s so much to say.

His first birthday was perfect. No walking, no talking. But every rug-rat develops at their own pace.

Then the stress kicked in.

We began to question things when the party was over. We heard concerns from both Grandmas:

“Does he say any words? None?”

“He’s not using his fingers at all…still raking.”

“Notice his right foot? It drags when you help him walk.”

We started to consult Google. 12 month milestones. Yeah, not hitting many…any?!

We missed our 9 month appointment. Life moves fast with three! But, thinking back Jazzy Mack hit milestones up to 6-8 months. Then the milestones started to slow down.

Still in denial, the Mrs. and I countered with:

“He’s a quiet kid.”

“He has his sister and brother to do everything he needs.”

“Some kids just develop slower.”

Since both Grandmas also happen to be longtime nurses, we decided to listen to their concerns. We made an apt with our pediatrician to get her input. Concerns confirmed. This appointment has now led to many more – hearing test, thyroid test, a developmental specialist…

The first step was a pediatric developmental specialist. I was traveling for work. Yeah, not the best time to be apart, but the appointment came quick. And we had confidence in our handsome boy.

The development specialist is great (so I hear). She spent 2 hours conducting a very thorough exam – playing with Jasper and asking a lot of questions. As the appointment closed, she said the words that are forever locked in my noggin,

 “I think Jasper has cerebral palsy.”

I wasn’t there to hear the words come out, but I sure did feel them on the other end of a phone.

The Mrs. called me on the way out to tell me the news. We talk (I cursed…a lot), some tears are shed, and we just sit on the phone in silence. Hearts breaking. And we can’t even hug.

What just happened!?!?

As the days march on, we continue with more appointments – an MRI and a neurology consult.

The neurologist shows us Jasper’s MRI for the first time. It’s abnormal.

“There is white matter on the grey matter. I see lesions on the right and left side and additional spots in the back. Was Jasper premature?”

Jasper Mack was born at home, 42 weeks pregnant. No trauma, typical everything. Big & beautiful. 9.2 lbs of total babe.

“This is deeper then what I would expect with a typical CP child.”

She mentions this could have been caused from a stroke in utero. It could be metabolic or maybe a genetic disorder.

Heads spinning.

She gives us an order for physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology, and a leg brace for the right leg that drags.

“I’m not convinced this is cerebral palsy, I’m not ruling it out though. I want therapy, more testing, and then we’ll have the geneticist see him.”

We leave her office, more confused than when we entered.

After weeks of research, we had almost become used to the idea that Jas has a mild form of CP…even grateful that’s all it was.

We headed directly to the hospital for x-rays of his hips and legs, blood work and urine cultures. Genetic blood tests came a couple weeks later – but results are two months out.

Now we wait.

We’re getting good at patience.

In the mean time, we’re working hard. More importantly, Mack is working hard!

We have therapy sessions four times a week, and the little man is getting used to the new leg brace.

In four short weeks we’ve gone from no unsupported steps and no words, to a lot of new sounds (maybe even words!), some sign language, and walking…as many as 25 steps…on his own!

I LOOOOOVE this guy! With every bit of my heart.

Jasper is almost 17 months old, and as much as I want to hear him say a word – a real word – walk on his own, or use his two cute little fingers to pick up food, I really just want him to keep smiling.

If you’ve met Jas, then you know he can light up a room with his smile. He is the happiest person I know, and that happiness is contagious to anyone in the same room.

With so many unanswered questions and endless unknowns, we are doing our best to live in the present, work with Jasper as much as possible, and remember how lucky we are.

Keep smiling Jasper Mack. We love you to the moon and back.

This is our new normal. Awesome Mack.

Posted in Dad, Dude Family, Family, Father, Jazzy, Man Cub, Milestones, Princess, The Dudeski | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Reality of Parenting: An Occasional Hit to the Groin

Parenting is rad. Very rad.

However, for anyone considering a journey down the parental path, every yin has a yang.

The reality of parenting?

Sometimes, as you stretch your arm across the counter to purchase a pound of your favorite coffee beans, an awesome man cub may just reach out and knock you in the midsection.

A toddler ambush. How do they have such a keen sense of attack?!

No matter how adorable, protect yourself. Cute AND sinister.

 

Posted in Family, Father, Jazzy, Kids, Parenting Skills, The Dudeski, Toddler | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Everyday Mobility: Every Dude Needs to Move

Mobility: The Dude Abides

As you may recall, I plan to live to 137.

To make that journey worthwhile, I’d like to make movement a prerequisite.

In order to maintain, said,  movement, we need to move. Everyday.

I’ve mentioned the idea of “mobility” a few times:

  1. Take Care of Yourself
  2. Best Exercises to Keep a Dude Healthy
  3. Dude’s Flow: Off the Reservation
  4. You Should Stand More

Mobility has become a part of the Dude’s everyday. Not even in my vocab a few short years ago, but now it’s daily go-to. We gots to move.

But here’s the catch, Mobility is not a quick fix. It’s a marathon. We’ve done years of damage to our bodies. It takes time and consistent focus to get back on track.

I squeeze my mobility into the early AM routine, before the young’ins start to get too crazy. A little meditation, some movement…recipe for a great morning.

Here’s a quick rundown on some sweet mobility ideas I’ve been digging lately:

  • Becoming a Supple Leopard
    • Great mobility “bible” written by the rad mobility guru Kelly Starrett.
    • Best advice I’ve seen about this book is don’t try to do it all at once. Choose a muscle group and focus on slow, consistent improvement.
    • Read the first few chapters. It will change the way you move everyday, in every way. Do you squat right? Probably not.
  • Mobility WOD broken down by muscle groups
    • Awesome library of Kelly’s mobility YouTube videos categorized by muscle group. Seriously good resource. Hat tip Bryce Lewis putting it together.
  • 5 Things You Should Do Everyday
    • Bret Contreras is a rad dude. Worth following for fitness and mobility ideas.
    • Squatting everyday is one of the best things I’ve started to do…and one of the most difficult. Seriously, as simple as lowering you butt into a squat and holding it for 30+ seconds will rock your world. I’m a believer this will help me hit 137.
  • Sarvangasana(shoulder stand)
    • Loving this classic inverted yoga pose. 10 reasons you should too.
  • Circling Hands
    • Sticking to the classics, here’s a perfect start for Tai Chi beginners.
    • Tai Chi Circling Hands offers most of the potential health and healing applications available in tai chi–without the complex choreography.
  • Boomerang pose rocks.
  • Thoracic Bridge - rockin’ fo sho. Hitting some hard to reach spots. Especially for you desk sitters.
  • Hips don’t lie
    • His and shoulders are key. Hinges that allow you to move. Open ‘em up!
    • Great ideas to gain strength and mobility in your hips
  • Test your mobility skills
    • Some good tests to see how mobile you are and to track your progress.

Get to moving.

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Ninjas, Two Wheels & a Swing

A soup of dude awesomeness.

Ninja Class graduation. Little Dude scores a yellow stripe…

 

Little Dude finds his balance. On two wheels.

The Dudeski realizes how much he loves the swing. Look at that smile! Awesome.

Posted in Jazzy, Milestones, The Dudeski | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dude Approved: An Amazingly Simple DIY Standing Desk

Standing is muy bueno.

I’ve professed my love for the art of standing: You Should Stand More.

I’ll let you peruse that gem for the details.

I used this beauty at my previous job for a make-shift standing desk…ugly, but it worked:

When I started working from home over a year ago, somehow I fell back into the sitting trap.

I had a desk. And a chair. No sweet boxes laying around…..so I sat. For waaaaay too long.

I looked for a DIY standing desk online from time to time, but never found one that tickled my fancy.

Then I came across A New Twist on the DIY Standing Desk on Man Made. Very sweet. Very easy.

How to: An Amazingly Simple DIY Standing Desk

  1. Buy extra-large shelf brackets and pre-cut wood. Lowes? Home Depot?
  2. Measure height of desk – elbow height, i.e. 44″ for a 5’11” person.
  3. Find stud to attach shelf brackets. Bonus Tip: Best Stud Finder
  4. Attach shelf brackets with wood screws.
  5. Make sure they are level.
  6. Attached wood to shelf brackets.

Bam! Super rad, amazingly simple DIY standing desk.

So awesome we have two at the Dude Casa…

Super sweet DIY standing desk

 

 

Posted in Dude Projects, Health, Home, How To, Mobility | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Totally Awesome Obituary

Obituaries are not my forte. But I reckon this is a pretty fantastic note to leave at the end of the line.

Walter Bruhl wrote his own obituary. And it’s totally awesome.

  • “He was surrounded by his loving wife of 57 years, Helene Sellers Bruhl, who will now be able to purchase the mink coat which he had always refused her because he believed only minks should wear mink.”
  • “Walt was preceded in death by his tonsils and adenoids in 1935; a spinal disc in 1974; a large piece of his thyroid gland in 1988; and his prostate on March 27, 2000.”
  • He chose to join the Marine Corps and serve in the Korean War “because of Hollywood propaganda, to which he succumbed as a child during World War II.”
  • “There will be no viewing since his wife refuses to honor his request to have him standing in the corner of the room with a glass of Jack Daniels in his hand so he would appear natural to visitors.”
  • “Everyone who remembers him is asked to celebrate Walt’s life in their own way; raising a glass of their favorite drink in his memory would be quite appropriate.”
  • “Instead of flowers, Walt would hope that you will do an unexpected and unsolicited act of kindness for some poor unfortunate soul in his name.”

Mr. Bruhl, you are were a rad dude.

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Ware Wolves & the Hamster Undertaker

An early morning exchange to start the day at the Dude casa…

Princess: “Lilly died.”

Little Dude: “Was she killed by ware-wolves?”

Good question.

The tiny rodent that made a home in the corner of Princess’ room has moved on to the big hamster in  the sky.

The world works in mysterious ways, although, it’s safe to say ware-wolves were not involved.

And apparently undies, Chucks, and a lumberjack coat are proper funeral attire for a hamster undertaker. Good to know.

Via con dios Lilly.

PS – Is Princess praying for a bunny?

Double PS – I’m not sure that hole will keep Mama Kitty away from the sweet taste rodent remains.

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A Most Excellent Paper Airplane [Quick & Easy How To]

We can’t all be origami masters, but we all certainly need some righteous paper airplane skills.

A piece of paper, a few folds – bam – hours minutes of fun for the whole fam.

I’ve always been a traditionalist when it comes to paper airplane crafting. Fold a nose, fold a couple wings and you’re done.

Then Need Supply Co sent the best paper airplane (ever) my way, and I’m a changed man.

Super easy. Great style. And flies like a champ.

Done and done.

We’ve been tossing a squadron of these bad boys around the house all day!

You wouldn’t let a Bald Eagle loose to fly around in your studio apartment would you? Of course not! Get this Thunder Piglet outside for a good throw with your mates! This is, in fact, the best paper plane ever. -

Kudos Need Supply Co.

 

Posted in Father, Fun, How To, Kids, Toys | Leave a comment