The Mysterious Life of Bob Ross…Still a Mystery. But Now We can Watch the Very First “Joy of Painting” Episode.

A gross disservice. A disservice to you – dear reader, to me, and most of all to the legend himself, Bob Ross.

I have spewed 312 posts on this very blog, and not one of them has referenced the venerable Mr. Ross.

However, as Bob would say, “there are no mistakes; just happy accidents.” No need to dwell in the past. Let’s celebrate the present.

A present that now offers the ability to consume the very first Bob Ross episode of The Joy of Painting

Awesome.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/oh5p5f5_-7A[/youtube]

In fact, we can now joyously watch the entire first season of The Joy of Painting

[youtube]https://youtu.be/RInDWhYceLU?list=PLAEQD0ULngi69x_7JbQvSMprLRK_KSVLu[/youtube]

Actually, 70 full episodes of Bob!

[youtube]https://youtu.be/kasGRkfkiPM?list=PLAEQD0ULngi67rwmhrkNjMZKvyCReqDV4[/youtube]

I’ve missed Bob. His soothing voice, cool as a cucumber attitude, amazing afro…and happy trees.

I was coming up during Bob’s heyday. I’m pretty sure he was my babysitter on a few occasions.

I didn’t paint. I just watched. That’s how cool Bob is.

I never knew any backstory on Bob. He was just a groovy dude jamming out rad paintings at the speed of light.

Turns out he’s a bit of a mystery. And that just adds to his cool.

Here’s a great article about Mr. Ross: The Surprisingly Mysterious Life of Famed Artist Bob Ross, and some interesting Bob facts…

  • Nobody ever really asked Bob Ross to do any interviews and he only gave a handful of them over the course of his life. “I never turn down requests for interviews. I’m just rarely asked”.  Missed opportunity!
  •  PBS once lost track of him until Ross called to let them know he’d moved to Orlando after the fact.
  • His company, Bob Ross, Inc, today is fiercely protective of their intellectual property and Bob Ross’ privacy, even in death.
  • Ross left school in the 9th grade to support himself as a carpenter with his father.
  • When he hit age 18, Ross joined the Air Force which saw him relocated from Florida to Alaska.
  • He disliked the job because it forced him to be “mean.”Ross left the Air Force after two decades of service, supposedly quipping that he’d never yell or raise his voice again.
  • Ross found inspiration after watching a show called, The Magic of Oil Painting hosted by artist, Bill Alexander.
  • Ross would later use an almost identical format for his show, The Joy of Painting, which greatly annoyed Alexander.
  • After leaving the Air Force, Ross returned to Florida in the early 1980s intent on seeking out Bill Alexander to learn the finer points of wet-on-wet painting. Alexander, who was an art teacher in his spare time, happily taught Ross everything he knew about painting, blissfully unaware that he was training his soon to be arch-nemesis.
  • With money tight, Ross made the bizarre decision to have his hair permed, exchanging the military crew cut he’d sported for two decades for his now iconic afro. Ross’ reasoning was that if he permed his hair, he’d save money in the long run because he’d no longer need to pay to have his hair trimmed once a week. Ross kept the ‘fro for the rest of his life, though grew to dislike it in his later years.
  • Exactly how Ross went from “perming his hair to save five dollars” to “being on TV” isn’t clear.
  • When the time came to film the first episode of The Joy of Painting, Ross made the conscious decision to speak as though he were talking to a singular viewer, giving the illusion that he was giving a private lesson.
  • Ross almost exclusively wore jeans and a casual shirt throughout the show’s run, a look he felt would be “current” regardless of how many years later an individual episode was aired.
  • Ross was never actually paid for appearing in the show and he never sold a single painting featured on it. The show was instead used as a vehicle to promote Ross’ teaching business, interest in which exploded after the show first aired. Over time, the business expanded to include Bob Ross branded brushes, paint, supplies, etc., all making Ross a millionaire.
  • As for his paintings, with the exception of the ones he sold to tourists during his time in Alaska, Ross gave away virtually all of them made during the show’s 403 episode run. As for the thousands of other paintings Ross made during his life, many of them were similarly given away or, when Ross became a household name, given to various charitable causes to be auctioned off.

Interested in hanging an original Bob Ross in your humble abode? Good luck.

Bob may have been charitable with his paintings, but the general public sure isn’t. Here a screen shot of the top two B. Ross paintings on Ebay – yes, that’s $20K+!!!

Related Bob Ross links…

 

Zen and the Art of Mobility: A Minimalist Approach to Stretching and Mobility [Fitness Bonus]

I won’t claim to be an expert on Zen. But I dig the Zen/Buddhist ideas I’ve studied.

I’m a big fan of simplicity and minimalism. Both of which seem to have strong ties to Zen.

Simple and minimal also have a broad application to an efficient, productive everyday life – a core focus of the Dude’s world these days.

Including health and fitness.

You can dig a bit further on the Zen philosophy and the relation to minimalism in this blog post:

Rather than a focus on esoteric ideas, let’s use this post to explore a minimal, simple, quick and easy approach to mobility and stretching.

And start to consider an efficient, minimal approach to fitness as a whole.

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
  5. Everyday Mobility: Every Dude Needs to Move

From my experience, mobility has always been a drawn out approach – from a short and long-term perspective.

I stretch and foam-roll for 40+ minutes almost every day. And I’m still working through deep-seeded damage to muscle groups.

It’s not a quick fix…but neither was the damage.

Progress is being made, but there is a strong time commitment as well.

As I explained in Dude’s Flow: Off the Reservation, my approach to fitness has changed drastically over the last few years, and it is continually evolving.

Efficiency and minimalism are at the core of my fitness approach.

It’s great to see the fitness and health world moving in this efficient/minimal direction as well – forget the gym, use everyday objects and activities, stop over-training, use science to focus on minimal exercises with best impact, get back to nature and use your body.

I could share a long list of resources that are moving in this direction, but rather than an overload, let’s look at a couple recent gems I’ve enjoyed (check my posts listed above for additional links)…

And the motivation for this post – Dan John.

Dan is an impressive dude with a long list of credentials and experiences.

Jumping from one link to another I landed on a post Dan wrote about his go-to mobility exercises:

2 exercises. That’s it!

A big difference from my daily 40 minutes+.

I see value in my slow, deep approach to mobility and stretching. But dang, only two exercises?! I dig. Always room for efficiency.

I’m now working with both approaches. Some days long. Some days short. Dan’s exercises, every day.

Dan sums up his approach to minimal mobility well:

Listen, I KNOW you can do more…I know it! But, will it be better?

Checkout Dan’s great explanation – Two minimal mobility movements:

  1. The Windmill Stick
  2. The Stoney Stretch.

Bonus

Dan shares a great minimalist fitness practice (Pavel says don’t call it a workout) in the same post:

Day One

  • Warm up with Turkish Get Up, Goblet Squat, and Swing
  • Bench Press
  • Snatch

Day Two

  • Warm up with Turkish Get Up, Goblet Squat, and Swing
  • Bench Press
  • Deadlift

Let’s Get Creative

create something!

create something!

The world is a crazy place. Frankenstorms, economic roller coasters, political wastelands, but you know what? We are lucky enough to live in some amazing times.

Forget the craziness. Let’s focus on being creative.

I came across a couple great blog posts today that offer some creative inspiration. So, I figured I’d pass the inspiration to you.

First, here’s a post by Seth Godin that offers some much needed perspective.

Seth is good; amazingly creative. But I tend to shy away from him because he’s become a bit to popular for my liking – the Dude tends to have an irrational aversion to anything mainstream. Sorry Seth.

But I love these thoughts…

  • There’s never been a better opportunity to step up and make an impact, while we’ve got the chance. This generation, this decade, right now, there are more opportunities to connect and do art than ever before. Maybe even today.
  • It’s more important than ever [t]o persist and make a dent in the universe[.]
  • We’ve all been offered access to so many tools, so many valuable connections, so many committed people. What an opportunity.

It’s time to create. It’s time to “Make Good Art.” It doesn’t matter what it is. Just create.

Numero dos, a post by the CTO (Chief Technology Officer) for TwitPic, Steven Corona. I just started following Steve’s blog the other day (can I call you Steve? Thanks. :)). I think this is the first post I’ve received. But it’s a gem.

Steve synchronictically builds on Seth’s post by offering some advice to get the creative juices flowing

  • You don’t need to be an expert to solve a problem and it doesn’t need to be perfect the first time. Cut before your measure.
  • Block off a chunk of time; 6 [hours] is good 12 is better.
  • Write out as many actionable steps as you can in 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, stop. You now have your plan.
  • When you’re creating, Google is off limits.
  • When you set yourself up for success, creating, doing something actionable, is the easiest part.

Creativity. It’s magical. And we all have access to it. Use it.

The Dude Has Always Wanted To…Blow Glass

If I have an idea, I tend to give it a whirl.

Thanks to a wise sage (Mr. S. Barry :)), I tend to live by the motto of “Be the Expert.”

Wise words, right? We’re all just faking our way through life. Regardless of how smart we might think we are, we have no clue. Zero. Nada. Zip! We are all just making it up as we go, so we might as well “be the expert.”

I love to tell Mrs. Dude that everything is easy….she loves it too. 🙂

I know that lots of stuff is pretty darn difficult, but a huge part of me does believe that everything is pretty easy when we put our mind to it. If someone else did it, odds are, you can too.

As a result of this can-do attitude, I tend to latch onto ideas that I have no business holding on to. Like blowing glass.

Blowing glass seems awesome, right?! Shaping molten glass into gorgeous designs. Awesome.

Where do I sign up?

Then I watch a video like this that reminds me that sometimes it’s ok to leave it to the “experts.”

Who knows, someday Mrs. Dude may end up with a mis-shapened glass vase crafted by the Dude in an overcrowded garage utilizing dangerously hot materials in dangerously hazardous ways, but for now, I’m cool with watching this dude create an awesome glass blown horse in all of 90 seconds…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFSB3-SzgoQ[/youtube]

Hat tip to The Kid for sharing the love.

Best Day Ever? The Bob Ross Remix Hits the Streets

Bob Ross

Bob Ross

A few weeks ago I shared a remix of Mister Rogers. And I pondered the other great 80’s remixes I’d love to hear.

But I didn’t know it could be this good.

You know what’s hot in the streets right now?! The Bob Ross remix.

Mrs. Dude is slightly too young to understand Bob Ross. And I feel sorry for her.

Bob Ross was the man. He kept us company after school on many occasions.

Such a cool cat. It’s impossible to watch this video and not smile. I want to hang out with Bob Ross.

And his paintings are ridiculous. He would whip together some happy little trees, a happy mountain, toss in some happy clouds, and a happy little brook rolling down a hill passed a happy little house in minutes.

And he’d get his audience to believe that they could do it too. FYI – it’s not as easy as it looks. At least it wasn’t when I was eight.

Not to mention that AMAZING hair. Love the dude.

By the way, there were a bunch of Bob Ross episodes. I think he was on every afternoon. As a result, you would imagine there would be a bunch of Bob Ross paintings floating around. Nope. I’ve searched, and there are very few around at high prices. Bummer.

I’m saving my pennies for a Bob Ross original. It’s sure to tie the whole house together.

R I P Bob.

Classic…

  • “Believe that you can do it. ‘Cause you can do it.
  • “This is your world. You’re the creator.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLO7tCdBVrA[/youtube]

Dude’s News: What’s Up 2012?!

Little Dude - Not a Fan of Santa

Little Dude - Not a Fan of Santa

Happy New Year! So, here we are, 2012. Lots o’ hoopla these days; world’s gonna end, the Mayans said so, yadda, yadda, yadda.

After 15 whole days, I’d have to say, that it seems like more of the same. Which, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sure, there’s a wide array of world characteristics that could/should be improved, but overall, life is pretty groovy. Sure as shit could be a lot worse.

So, rather than looking at the “is the world gonna end perspective,” the Dude is going to spend 2012 focused on why life is rockin’…and doin’ my best to keep it that way.

I always say that I don’t do “resolutions,” but was that a resolution?

Nah, just a glass half full perspective that I try to maintain. So, keep your resolutions. 🙂

It’s been about a month since the last edition of Dude’s News, so hold onto your hats, we have catching up to do. Actually, it’s A LOT for one post, but it’s all sooo cool.

I really need to post more often. Another resolution?!…damn you resolutions!

Local News
6 children + 7 adults + three cars + 12 hours = ridonculous travel arrangements. Holy moly!

It was an awesome trip, but wow, what a blur. There is no good way to travel, but even more so with that many people/children over hundreds of miles. Just a matter of grinning and baring it.

It’s been too long since we’ve been able to spend Christmas with the Dude’s extended family. It was fantastic to be with my Grandfather and join in all the reindeer  games; Santa and Mrs. Claus, 30+ people, singing around the tree, living room stuffed with loved ones and gifts, a Yankee swap, lots of tasty food, football (extra bonus considering the Dude’s are still t.v.’less.), an overall fabulous time.

The downfall of taking so long to update DKB is that I lose the grasp on small details and clever story lines, but overall, there were no major fireworks. Traveling is never fun, but everyone was well behaved, and we all had a great time.

However, since I’m definitely underselling the chaos, here’s a quick video of some of the festivities with the kiddos.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Qd0GSwNC6A[/youtube]

While we’re on the subject of local news, check out this 14 month old baby using sign language with her mom. Both deaf, they carry on quite an extensive conversation.

Little Dude is putting some words together, but it’s clear that he has so much more he wants/needs to say…hence the screaming when he can’t convey his message. This video helps me understand how much must actually be going on in that fabulous little head of his. (Thanks Kid Should See This.)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3o8Z2lzS764&context=C364dcd7ADOEgsToPDskKerngtSGaJDmFa63e-RujQ[/youtube]

Happy New Year
Check out Woody Guthrie’s list of New Year resolutions from 1942. Woody was 30 years young when he wrote this. The sweet spot; young enough to maintain his ideals but wise enough to be dangerous.

Woody Guthrie New Year Resolutions

Woody Guthrie New Year Resolutions

1. Work more and better
2. Work by a schedule
3. Wash teeth if any
4. Shave
5. Take bath
6. Eat good — fruit — vegetables — milk
7. Drink very scant if any
8. Write a song a day
9. Wear clean clothes — look good
10. Shine shoes
11. Change socks
12. Change bed cloths often
13. Read lots good books
14. Listen to radio a lot
15. Learn people better
16. Keep rancho clean
17. Dont get lonesome
18. Stay glad
19. Keep hoping machine running
20. Dream good
21. Bank all extra money
22. Save dough
23. Have company but dont waste time
24. Send Mary and kids money
25. Play and sing good
26. Dance better
27. Help win war — beat fascism
28. Love mama
29. Love papa
30. Love Pete
31. Love everybody
32. Make up your mind
33. Wake up and fight

This ditty from Woody is perfect for the kiddos…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUDtFdnn9oQ[/youtube]

Let’s stick with the New Year subject to share a quick list: 12 Simple Steps for Going Green in 2012

It’s a decent list. I’m not sure I agree with all of them, but the Dude Family is happy to say we are trying to practice most.

1.  Recycle
2. Turn off the lights
3. Make the light bulb switch
4. Turn on the tap water
5. Turn down the heat
6. Support food recovery programs
7. Buy local
8. Get out and ride a bike
9. Share a car
10. Plant a garden
11. Compost
12. Reduce your meat consumption

Technology
A camera that is fast enough to capture light moving. Go get ’em MIT. It’s sort of a complex explanation, but pretty cool. (Thanks Kottke.)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtsXgODHMWk&feature=plcp&context=C32a9c62UDOEgsToPDskLORj8HPPm_p9RnBgiIPFDX[/youtube]

Space

  • Announced this week. The most advanced map of the “dark matter” that makes up 3/4th’s (that’s almost all!) of our Universe. Another great reminder of how small we are.
  • Here are 24 beautiful reminders of the teeny tiny size. Top 24 Deep Space Pictures of 2011.
  • In the last edition of Dude’s News, I mentioned the discovery of the largest black holes to date. Now we have some black hole news closer to home. The black hole at the center of the Milkyway Galaxy – our galaxy – (which is 27,000 light years from Earth!) is going to eat a giant dust cloud over the next decade. This is the first time scientists will have a front row seat of a black hole feeding…feeding! (at least that’s what we think).

Kids Shows

  • Since we’re still talking about the holidays, here’s a quick reminder about the joy of giving from the Dude and Little Dude’s fav show; Yo Gabba Gabba. (Thanks The Kid Should See This.)[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/33952163[/vimeo]
  • We’ve also been digging some Sesame Street lately, and Little Dude has become a die hard fan of Elmo – What does that little red dude have over kids? However, I’ve yet to see the “Hold On, Elmo’s Texting” Elmo. (Thanks Questionable Skills.)
Elmo - Hold on, Elmo's Texting

Elmo - Hold on, Elmo's Texting

Middle Childhood Rocks
Who even knew there was a “middle childhood,” but after reading this New York Times article, I have to say, MCH (I made that up) rocks.

“It is a time of great cognitive creativity and ambition, when the brain has pretty much reached its adult size and can focus on threading together its private intranet service—on forging, organizing, amplifying and annotating the tens of billions of synaptic connections that allow brain cells and brain domains to communicate,” states the NYT. Or as one anthropologist puts it, “Kids can do something now.” 

It’s so true. The Princess is 6 1/2, and this stage of development is fun to watch. She’s not a little kid anymore. The dots of life are being connected, and she’s becoming more confident and adventurous.

MCH…very cool.

Nature
As I’ve professed many times, the Dude loves the ocean. Here’s an awesome cover story in Outside magazine about a marine biologist that is training himself in neuroscience in an effort to demonstrate that the ocean physically makes us happier people.

Could there be a more worthwhile mission?

I’m sure this principle applies to all of nature…although the ocean does seem to have very unique effects.

Intense
This is the tearjerker section. Grab a couple tissues and sit down for two awesome videos.

Both of these videos tell their own story, so I won’t set them up, but I can say I felt better – in some way – after watching both of them.

Life is intense. But, intensity = growth.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vw5HLT-TyRs[/youtube]

 [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BACnPBdsH20&feature=related[/youtube]

History
Over the past two editions of Dude’s News I’ve mentioned some interesting new findings in history, and here’s another one.

How is that we are so off in our history? I guess we are way off in a lot of things – health, economics, education. This is a crazy society.

So, this history lesson is that there is now evidence that Neanderthals 44,000 years ago were constructing buildings out of mammoth bones that were at least 26 feet across.

Our history education of 44,000 years ago is soooo not that. Perhaps they weren’t mere “cavemen.”

The collective “we” should stop passing on poor guesses as facts – across all aspects of society. And the collective “we” should all be more pissed about the fact that this is happening – again, across all aspects of society.

Art
Check out this awesome artist from England, Rob Ryan. His paper cutting skills are sick.

The Dude strongly dislikes a mess. And the Princess loves to cut up some paper. As you can imagine, this creates some paper cutting vs. clean floors tension. But after watching this awesomeness, I’m reconsidering how important paper cutting skills are. Princess, cut on.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/30265328[/vimeo]

Do you remember Bob Ross? No?! The dude from the 70’s with the huge afro that painted amazing landscapes – including lots of “happy trees” –  in about 15 minutes on PBS. The Dude killed many afternoons after school mesmerized by Bob. He must have painted so many pictures for his show, but I looked on ebay to buy one, and they are hundreds of dollars…if you can even find them. I guess I wasn’t the only one who dug his magical artistic talents. Here’s a peek at Bob doing his thing…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRa5VhrbSLY&list=UUuXEB99IdPg_vSZKoVhNRVw&index=7&feature=plcp[/youtube]

Now check out this street artist. He might just be better than Bob…and that kills me to say. 🙂

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGJCBGhyO7o&list=UUwAbrDxPOvgOCIgZ6jvaLKQ&index=3&feature=plcp[/youtube]

Extreme
In past posts/Dude’s News, I’ve shared some pretty rad videos of…I guess you’d call them sports…maybe extreme sports. I’m not really sure. The world is pretty cool today with all of the cross-over from one genre to the next…music, art, fashion, sports, etc. It’s hard to keep track of the stew that makes people who they are these days.

I’ve shared some street skiing and mountain biking that is not on a mountain, and now I’d like to introduce you to Scott Stevens, a snowboarder that seems to draw on a lot of skateboarding…and also is not on a mountain. Creativity is awesome! And he hails from the Dude’s home state…stand up MA! Enjoy. (Thanks Kottke)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MQMUIUkw0I&feature=plcp&context=C387c529UDOEgsToPDskKMqA2T82VqkMrRmwnC8DNR[/youtube]

Surf Break
Check out this amazing photo – Surfer Magazines’ photo of the year. I’ll admit, the Dude is a sucker for anything surf, but come on, does it get any better than this? A perfect wave at the end of a perfect rainbow…my kind of pot o’ gold.

Surfer - Photo of the Year

Surfer - Photo of the Year

2012 & Beyond
Here’s to an amazing 2012. Let curiosity be our guide.

From Skillshare, a fab group of peeps who are out to revolutionize the paradigms of learning, comes this beautiful manifesto for the transformative power of curiosity. (Thanks Brain Pickings.)

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/34853044[/vimeo]

Let’s Paint

How rad is this little princess?!

The Dude is a believer that we all have art inside of us. It’s just a matter of figuring out how to get it out. My guess is that art vibe gets buried deeper the longer we wait to bring it out…always there none-the-less.

Never to early to bring out the artist. Plus, kids have that raw connection.

This is four year-old Aelita Andre. She has a solo show opening at New York City’s Agora Gallery on June 4th. It should probably not come as too much of a surprise that a child should be able to produce beautiful, abstract expressionist art on par with the professionals, who are probably tapping their “inner children,” anyway.

The beauty of Aelita is that she has been given the freedom to create. She has been given free reign to express herself, with as much space and materials to explore her creativity as anyone could want. As a result, she displays real talent; working in a thoughtful, methodical way, and making deliberate creative choices.

Amazing to watch such a peanut be so focused and intense.

Zen and the Art of Parenting

Zen and the Art of Parenting

Zen and the Art of Parenting

Zen and the Art of Parenting

It’s 2010.  We have women’s suffrage.  Women have broken through the “glass ceiling” in corporations worldwide.  I read the other day that for the first time, more women are now graduating with PhD’s than men!

Women have made huge strides in equality, but from where I sit, Mom’s still keep the house together.  I think it’s an instinctual ability.

When Dad  steps in on a solo mission, there’s always a chance for a little craziness.  The mission will be accomplished, but it’s never quite as smooth as when Mom handles it.

Tuesday offered a good test.  The Princess had her first dance class, followed by soccer practice numero dos, and Mrs. Dude had her first photography class.  It was a busy day.  Tuesdays will be busy for a few weeks.  If you do the math, this leaves the Dude managing all parental tasks including to and from soccer, dinner, bath, bed…sans Mrs. Dude.

Solo parenting is tough.  There are a lot of challenges managing multiple little lives.

Parenting definitely creates an environment conducive to increased levels of stress.  Opportunities to worry.  Reasons for frustration.

But, it also gives us a catalyst to focus on the moment we’re living in.   Worrying and/or getting  frustrated with kids makes the situation that much more difficult to handle.  Kids sense emotions and energy, and when the energy is off, kids tend to shut down.

It’s an interesting task running a solo mission and trying to balance peace and tranquility with the hurdles along the way.

Ever heard of the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance?  It grabs my attention every time I see it at a bookstore.  I’ve never read it.  I don’t have a motorcycle.

But, based on assumptions I’m making solely from the title, I think parenting offers similar opportunities to motorcycle maintenance.  Parenting is stressful, but we have a choice between letting stress get to us or going with the flow.

I’m no Zen scholar, but my loose understanding could be summed up with the phrase “going with the flow.”

So, Zen and the Art of Parenting.

I approached this solo mission as most dads would, blindly.  I didn’t give it much thought.  See, dads tend to stumble our way through things.  Like that whole not asking for directions stereotype…it’s a stereotype for a reason.

I planned to leave work a little early, pick up the kids, and hit the road.  Shouldn’t be more to it than that.

Except, he’s hungry and his milk supply is leaving to learn how to snap pictures, so it’s bottle time, it’s getting chilly so he needs to change, might as well change the diaper, make sure the diaper bag has all of the necessities, Princess needs to get dressed, she needs to find her cleats and shin guards…and put them on, she needs a water bottle, and the dogs should probably go out.

Ok.  Not quite as easy as pick up the kids and hit the road.  Thankfully Mommy was there to offer these suggestions prior to me leaving the house with a hungry, underdressed baby, and a soccer player without her gear.

To test my stress levels, these instances always seem to stretch to the last second of available time.  So, we’re rushing out the door.  But there’s really no rushing with a five year old and a 3 month old.  Life just moves at a slower pace.

I realized this as we meandered to the car, and I decided to move slower but more deliberately.  Give myself time to make decisive actions, and ultimately move at the pace kids move.  But more importantly, I was focusing on the task at hand…the present moment.  I was moving slower, but I was more efficient with my actions.

We pile in, and Little Dude starts to wail before we’re out of the driveway.  He’s been doing this in his seat lately.  Not a big fan of being locked down.  But we didn’t have time for consoling.

We hit the road, and I reached behind me trying to soothe him.  Yeah, not the safest idea, but a screaming baby requires a bit of risk taking.

As I pull to a three-way stop in the neighborhood, I let the car to my right and the car across from me go before me.  Both slightly beat me to the intersection.  Once they passed, I made my way through the intersection, and some dude decided he was playing the role of Citizen Patrol and yelled “Nice stop!” at me.

I’m still reaching back trying to soothe a screaming baby.  The windows are down, so he should be able to see this.  This seems like a situation where regardless of a minor traffic infraction, you should probably give the driver the benefit of the doubt.

Plus, I did stop!  I let two people go!  Perhaps I was rolling slightly, but it was a stop.

It seems like these types of situations always happen at the most inopportune time.  A perfect opportunity for me to lose it.  But before any words could pass over my lips, my mind jumped back in and reminded me slow down.  Getting upset isn’t going to make this trip any easier.

In a minute or so I was passed it, but Little Dude was not past his screaming.  I pulled over and was able to calmly tuck some blankets around him, and he was asleep in seconds.  If I had been mad, that stop would not have been that easy.

Zen and the Art of Parenting

Zen and the Art of Parenting

Eventually we made it to the parking lot.  As I’m wrestling with the Bjorn, the pacifier bounces out of his blankets and rolls under the car.  At this point I’m relaxing into things, and rather than letting that be the straw that breaks my will, I recruit The Princess, and she crawls under to grab it.

We roll into practice a couple minutes late, but we are all in good spirits, and we didn’t miss much.

Mission accomplished.

Well, except that whole dinner, bath, bed thing.  But the kids were great, and I was practicing my Zen and the Art of Parenting, and we were good to go.  Whatever minor hurdles we encountered along the way we easily surmounted.

And the reward for a job well done, other than the opportunity to practice a little Zen, is a hug and kiss goodnight from a princess and  some Dude/Little Dude bonding time with lots of silly voices, tickles, smiles, and a five second lock of the eyes where it was clear connections were being made.

My boy is starting to realize who his Daddy is.  Glad I was in the Zen frame of mind to enjoy the moment…well, five seconds anyway.