An Update

Just thought I’d let you readers know that I’ve not forgotten about you. I’m still not sure how best to proceed with my new project. As such, I’ve been delaying its launch until I feel it’s ready. Until I feel ready. I do not want to start something new and not be completely committed. Thank you for your continued patience.

Taking a Break

I have been writing this blog for over two and a half years. There has been a new post every Monday, Wednesday and Friday over that span. But this will change this week, because I’m taking a hiatus.

Since I started this blog, I’ve covered a wide range of post. Everything from religion to architecture to politics. This has been a great benefit, because it means there is often something for whatever reader comes to visit.

But this has also been a problem. The scatter-brained method created a fragmented approach. Everything could be part of the blog. It has never developed a consistent tone and voice.

Rather than working with me, the blog worked against me. This has made it harder and harder to write new posts. What started with enthusiasm has fell to frustration.

I am taking a break in order to decide where this blog needs to go next. Or whether this blog will go forward at all. Hopefully with a few weeks away, I’ll be able to decide what’s next.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you on the other side.

-That is all.

Wishing I lived in Minnesota . . .

. . . So I could vote for Al Franken when next he runs for re-election. He has taken the role of being a representative of the people to heart, rather than the simple lip service most elected officials give it. He has stood against every injustice he can find, from government subcontractors raping employees to Comcast trying to monopolize content. His latest effort? Calling Focus on the Family for their bullshit about gay marriage:

Keep fighting the good fight for all of us. We’re cheering for you.

-That is all.

Who is my Family?

Michelle and I recently had a debate that stretched over several days. As is often the case when arguing with my wife, she was right. Of course, if you don’t tell her, I won’t. This can be our little secret.

Our conversation was in part based on the concepts in this draft of my high school graduation speech. The idea I proposed is that there are  two kinds of families. There the families we are born into, our brothers, our sisters, our parents, and there are artificial families that we make ourselves, our coworkers, our teammates, our drinking buddies.

As my wife pointed out to me, in this I was wrong. I fell into the trap of a false dichotomy. While it is true that we do gain family beyond those of blood, it is false to call them a separate kind of family, to call them “artificial family.” They are nothing of the sort.

They are simply family.

To call them anything less, to put any sort of qualifiers on it, is to cheapen the value these family members have. I am surrounded by people, both by blood and by choice, who would do anything they could to help me in any way I asked. I was recently reminded of this in my last move, as I stood inside my own house with over a dozen people to help me. They were all family, and I am grateful to each and every one of them.

In fact, I realized that my most important friend, my truly best friend, is not of my flesh and blood. I choose her, and continue to choose her, over all others, for the rest of my life. Michelle, you are and will always be my family.

As will all of the rest of you who are important in my life. Screw blood or genetics. Family is what you make of it, and I could not ask for a better one. Thank you.

-That is all.

Check-In Conversations

No relationship is ever truly stagnant. Change is the only constant in life, and relationships are no exception. Change comes both from within a partnership and from without. How partners deal with this change can greatly impact a relationship.

Big, epic changes are easy, in that that they evoke an immediate response. That challenge is in dealing with slow, methodical change. The old cliche talks about how a couple just “grows apart” without realizing it. As busy as our lives get, it is easy not to notice minor changes until they add up into an unexpected surprise.

The key to stopping this from happening is to have what we call “check-in conversations.” Pick a topic of importance to your relationship, sit down with your partner, and discuss it. Topics can range from household chores to work schedules to sex. They do not have to be of earth-shattering importance; just things one or both partners care about

The best place to start is with your current assumptions; this is often where problems lie. One partner may assume everything on a subject is fine, while the other is in the middle of a crisis about it. Even if there isn’t a problem per say, it is possible that both aren’t exactly on the same page and need to adjust.

Even if both are thinking similarly, this is also a good time to bring up changes to those assumptions.  Joe and Jill might agree that the current agreement is that Jill always does the dishes, but Jill wants to renegotiate that. Talking about in a check-in conversation is far more agreeable than simply refusing to do any dishes one night.

Check-in conversations can be valuable for opening up new avenues that haven’t been discussed before. This allows partners to lay down ground rules and prevent anyone from feeling like they got the short end of the stick. Joe and Jill moved into a house from an apartment, bringing with it a whole host of lawn care responsibilities. Discussing this before hand prevents confusion or hurt.

A word of caution: these check-in conversations NEED to be safe spaces to talk. They can not be used for accusations or punishment; they won’t work to your relationships benefit if you treat them that way. Partners must be able to express their feelings, needs and desires if a team solution is going to be found to the discussed problems.

Finally, making time for these discussions can be difficult. So plan them into the schedule. Put them on the calender if need be. Because if you put a serious effort in, they won’t happen, and more problems will occur. Make the effort. Its worth it.

-That is all.

Outside Aperture

Because there can never be too much Portal in your life. Take a look at this incredible fan-made video about Portal heroine Chell on the outside of Apeture Science. It is adorable. Plus there is cake.

-That is all.