Halloween 2015: The Force Awakens

By | Fashion, Inside My Head

May the Force be with you

I’ve always loved StarWars. I played with the toys when I was a little dude, and still have all of them. Maybe even still play with them. Always a kid at heart. I’ve seen all the movies and have been in constant wonder of the imagination and talent that goes into the story and cinematography. I definitely tried to hone in all my midi-chlorians and use the Force.

I’ve always wanted to be a Jedi. So this year, I decided why not. My 4 year old son wanted to be Darth Vader for Halloween this year, even though he’s never really seen much from the movies or cartoons. I wanted to be able to summon the Force with him. He really helps remind me that I can still be a kid. Especially when I, him and my daughter had an impromptu light saber battle last night.

Thanks to my beautiful wife for letting me use your leather skirt, and thanks to my mom for supplying me with belts, straps and chains to sharpen up my look. Extra special thanks to my mommy for buying me a light saber. She’s the one who kept all my old toys for me; constantly lugging them around from house to house as they’ve moved throughout the years.

Not sure which side of the Force I would actually be on (leaning light side), but I had some fun in Photoshop editing up this version.
Best part of this costume is that I only spent $20 on the harem pants at H&M and $10 for the long sleeve hoodie from Gap. All the rest was borrowed or repurposed.

Telling The Story vs. Being a Part of it

By | Adventures, Family, Inside My Head

Searching for a balance in storytelling versus participating in the story.

This is something I toil with frequently, so I thought I’d lay down some thoughts and see if it gets me anywhere revelational. In fact the dilemma rises to the top of my thoughts quite frequently. I’m love to find the story that seems hidden, beautiful, relevant or intriguing. I strive my best to share that with anyone who will listen. I collect objects, memories, photos, videos…anything I think might make a great story. I talk a lot once I get going. My wife can attest to that. My mouth often struggles to keep up with the meandering parts of stories I’m attempting to organize and verbalize. I’ll admit, I’m a little scattered in my approach as a storyteller. Simultaneously, I also fight to be a part of the story. I want to be in it. I want to be copying moments into my memory. But, when you can just whip out your phone and capture anything you want, it makes it tough to keep it holstered during a great moment in your life.

Let’s take a look at an example from a moment with my family.

Last night, I was playing in the backyard with our kids. We were all kinda doing our own independent activities. This was after dinner. The sun was setting, yet there was still a thick wall of heat to walk through outside. Marisa was lying down on a cushioned lounge chair, reconnecting with friends on social media; taking a little well-deserved personal time after being completely overruled by kiddos all day. I was checking the pool to see if it needed to be cleaned or treated—it had been cloudy for a week now after we shocked it from the green, murkey state it had gotten to, quickly after we first filled it. (It’s an above the ground, blow up vinyl pool…with a filter, and it’s quite difficult to manage) I digress, as usual.

Meanwhile, Jameson and Mila were taking turns on an electric, riding motorcycle that Jameson had gotten a couple years back from my mom. All of a sudden, Jameson started screaming in excitement, “Dad, we found a grasshopper come look!” Of course, I couldn’t drop what I was doing fast enough to show him the initiative that I was making my way over there. He started running over towards me and ecstatically shouting, “DAD! COME LOOK AT THIS GRASSHOPPER WE FOUND!” I felt his sheer enthusiasm and ran over to him. Together, we crept over to the front of the motorcycle and peaked around underneath the front fender. Concurrently, Mila stared on with intensity at what we were doing and made the decision to jump off the bike to get right in the middle of the action. Marisa was also making her way over to the edge of the patio to watch. Then we saw him, a medium size green grasshopper with reddish-orange accent colors. His back legs were huge! He tried his best to hide from us. He/she didn’t realize we meant it know harm. We were merely adventurers looking to explore and analyze the world around us.

Well joy ensued as we gently captured the little guy and let him crawl on us and hop off only to be picked right back up. During that time we also found another larger grasshopper that was yellow with tiny black stripes and bigger wings; a grasshopper I’m more familiar seeing in Texas. We had a blast together for this short time that felt like an entire journey together. And we were, most definitely, all in the moment together! My creative/journalist mind told me to whip out the phone and capture a photo or quick video, yet my storage was maxed out. I felt saddened that I couldn’t capture the moment visually to share with others. At the same time, it worked out good because I got to just be there and wholly involved in the story.

We often play dual roles as storytellers and active participants in the story we are telling. Finding the right balance in that scenario can be confusing. Sometimes you just can’t grab the phone, open it, let it focus and force it to take the photo before the moment is lost. And sometimes, that leaves you feeling sad that you can’t share that with others, except through telling a good old verbal story. It’s such a quick struggle conversation you have in your mind, and I guess you just have to trust your gut that everything will be ok. Other times, you interrupt the story to get the photo/video and it feels forced, or you completely ruin the moment. Then, you feel like a dick for having done that. It’s an encounter we share these days with always having a phone at our fingertips to capture the moment.

We did have Marisa grab her phone and capture the moment, so we could share it with anyone willing to experience our story. Jameson pleaded for the opportunity to also capture some photos. Often, interrupting the story for the sake of capturing it is bad. The other people involved feel vulnerable or as if you don’t value it as much. In this case, we were able to involve the kids and make capturing the moment, part of the moment.

I think my take on this whole balance of capturing the moment versus being in the moment is to just trust your gut. Be aware and make a snap decision on how to record your life’s wonderful moments. I hope you do share them and I can run across it to enjoy your take on life.

Jack of All Trades, Master of Some

By | Inside My Head

Mediocrity over mastery

I’m not necessarily a fan of Isaac Mizrahi, but I do like something I heard him say recently on an interview on “Design Matters” with Debbie Millman. He said, “I’ve never been interested in mastery.” I can relate to this idea because I constantly find myself want jumping from one thing to the next to see what else I can discover. A Jack of all trades, master of some is the way I like to describe it. For me, being masterful at one or a few things just isn’t as interesting as continuing to branch out and explore many directions. I’m ok with failing and learning. I’m ok working with others in areas where I’m deficient. And I’m ok  with the notion that I may never be recognized for mastering any particular discipline.

“I’ve never been interested in mastery.”
Now, don’t get me wrong, I strive for greatness in all I do. I put everything I have into most things I put time towards. I am just good at noticing when I’ve filled my curiosity meter and how to recognize it’s time to move on. I’m not a flaky person who will drop and run as soon as I see the next shiny object. I’d never leave someone high and dry or go against my word or an agreement. This philosophy is more geared towards my own hobby projects and explorations.
I do some things really well, but I don’t want to be stuck doing only those things for the rest of my life. Nothing but respect for those who do take the time and effort to truly hone in on the perfection and dedication it takes to truly master something. Me though? I like variety, discovery, pressure and something new to look forward to. That makes it hard to brand yourself and find your way sometimes. Hard to put your whole heart into something and look back to see your efforts. It’s harder to explain what you do and prove your worth sometimes. And truthfully though, I struggle with the concept of rejecting the need for mastering any one thing. It seems that’s what people expect you to do. What they want to see.
But maybe these days, that’s changing. More and more, I hear of people with more talents/titles than they have room to list on a resume. Some of which I’m not even sure if I was aware existed. I never want to be fenced in and writing that down helps me feel better about my struggle in accepting the idea of not being the best at any one thing.

Produce in The Workplace

By | Food for thought

I’m consciously making an effort to eat more whole fruits and vegetables and leaning away from the over-processed snacks and prepared meals. There’s something odd about this when it meets the workplace. As I precisely lined the veggie drawer in the shared refrigerator with paper towels and placed my produce gently inside, I had a shocking thought. This feels wierd!

There is a sharp contrast of having a refrigerator with whole plant produce in a place where cookies, candies, donuts, bagels, cakes, etc…are the accepted norm.  I found myself thinking, “someone is going to remark on this and I’ll look like an oddball for bringing produce in to work.” Typically the produce drawer in our refrigerator at work has been used to hold bottles of water or sodas for client meetings. I’ve been somewhat concealing my produce snacks in bags that I place in the fridge and restock everyday. Last night at the grocery store though, I decided, “why the hell am I wasting my time everyday parsing out portions of snacks to take and consume that day. On some level, portioning allows you to know your limits of how much you should eat. But in this new endeavor, I’m allowing myself to eat almost any amount of produce I desire. Where I used to graze on crackers, pretzels, candies and such, I’m now opening the gates to eat whatever the hell I want and however much I desire. I’ll balance this with drinking water and limiting myself with not over-consuming things like nuts that have high fat, but mostly no-holds-barred food fest.

I think I truly am feeling better about myself due to my new eating habits and I crave sweets a little less. Which with a last name like Hershey has been a constant struggle my whole life. All cards on the table, I did have a bowl of ice cream last night. I’m not perfect and I’ll evolve over time, but I do feel ardent in my idea of dedicating a large portion of my food intake to whole fruits and veggies which have not been altered to be more appealing for consumption. And sure, I’ll probably get some odd looks for eating whole carrots with the leaves still on them (picturing Bugs Bunny here), popping cherry tomatoes like candy, and gnawing on broccoli crowns like a turkey leg, but I’ll feel better and perhaps it will get those people who remark on to think about whether that’s a good thing that they should also be doing.


Picture of me gnawing on a broccoli crown? Picture of the veggies in the fridge?

Reflections on Fatherhood

By | All My Heart, Family

Fathers Day 2014 Adventures

I couldn’t have had a better day if I relived it a thousand times over like the movie Groundhog Day. Though it was such a great day that I would have gladly relived it. Multiple moments felt like time paused for a short period in order to soak it all the goodness, love and positivity. Exactly how it felt the first night I met Marisa [Link].

The day began with the kiddos sleeping in, so we all got a little extra relaxation. Jameson woke up in a great mood and wished me “HAPPY FATHERS DAY!” That was a small gesture, but so huge to me! Mila woke up full of smiles as usual. Marisa ran around taking care of everything we needed for the day, so I didn’t have to worry about it. That gave me some extra time to play with the kids.

All day long, Mila was happy and excited to see everyone and Jameson soaked up all the attention, too. With all the positive reinforcement, Jam stayed well-mannered and fun to be around. By the time we got to my parents house, Jam was still napping from the drive over, so Mila and I got a little extra time hanging with my parents inside while we gave him some extra time to nap.

When it came time to jump in the pool, Jameson was a little cautious; par for the course this season, so far. At one point he stripped down like he was going to skinny dip and began running around free acting silly. Mila got in the pool for the first time and went swimming with me. She loved it and liked bouncing up and down in the water. She ended up getting so tired from all the excitement that she started trying to fall asleep right there in the pool.

After a long, pleasantly exhausting day with family, I walked outside with Jameson to load up the car for our drive home. He loves to be a good helper. As I held him in one arm and a handful of stuff in the other arm, he looked at me and thanked me for a wonderful day. Then he really floored me. He said, “Daddy, you’re the best dad I’ve ever seen. I love you with all my heart!” I dropped everything immediately, squeezed him as tight as I could and told him how lucky I am to be his dad. It doesn’t get any better than that! He’s got a sentimental heart underneath all that fast-paced, fiesty, wild boy exterior that reminds me every day why it’s so great being a dad.