No More Waiting for My Real Life to Begin

IMG_20170709_170402I’ve been hiding a long time.

I had to go with that opening line, because I’d promised someone I would. I’m glad, though, because this friend suggested it as we talked about how things are going for me now, and it perfectly tells the story.

No, I’m not coming out of the closet.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. You might have noticed more of a mindful bent on Mondays around here. I can’t help it. Between meditation on Wednesday, yoga on Friday (something old and new), and prayers for world peace on Sundays …

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Guest Post: Rebecca of Ninja Librarian, on How to Get Kids Outside

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One of my players will study in college to become a librarian.

guest postI think it’s quite cool. She’s a studious sort, who found herself determined to try out for soccer in high school – and make it. She did just that and even scored a few goals along the way. She was inspirational to her teammates and to me.

Today’s guest writer is a librarian – but a ninja variety.

Rebecca writes the blog The Ninja Librarian. She’s the coolest librarian you’ll ever know. (Even cooler than that dreamy one at the Mint Hill Library.) Rebecca writes about writing, and of course reviews books for kids and adults.

Continue reading “Guest Post: Rebecca of Ninja Librarian, on How to Get Kids Outside”

Where We’d Take an Alien, in 6 Words

ET stormtrooper alien

When I was a kid, I wanted to be friends with Elliott.

6 words graphicHe’s the boy who befriended E.T. in the movie. He just seemed like the kind of kid I would like to hang out with. Looking back, I believe I probably admired his loyalty and courage in all that happened when E.T. came to town.

Every month, I collect responses for a post I call 6 Words.

If you’ve been around here a while you know Ernest Hemingway inspired this idea when he said all stories could be told in six words. I ask friends, strangers, bloggers, and strange blogger friends to respond to a prompt, in six words.

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Alphabet Recap, Mindfulness Challenges, and 7 Random Smartphone Photos

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Seems as if there’s room for just one challenge in this coach’s bag at a time.

Those of you not participating (and probably a percentage who are) probably turned the calendar to May with a touch of gratitude. We’re cultish, we A to Z knuckleheads. We flood your inbox and social media feeds with sorcery and daily posts and crazy rules.

And who the hell blogs every dad-burn day? We do.

The cleverest among us have compiled posts of their favorite posts from each of 26 days of the challenge. Others have shared their most viewed and commented-on posts. I’m not among those cleverest, but you can bet 10 publish buttons I will next year.

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#A to Z Challenge: B is for Burgers & 3 Lessons I Learned During a Month Without Them (Plus, 3 Random Smartphone Pics)

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I told a co-worker that I staged a hunger strike because of her leaving the company.

BMost hellish 13 minutes of my life, I announced. This food-related sacrifice plays right into the mindfulness challenge I participated in for March. I softened it to be carnivore-friendly: March was a beef-free month for me.

Jen Schwartz’s challenge was to give up meat completely, like a liberal. I believe in miracles, yes, but also in the universe’s balance. I could no more easily go veg for more than a single bean tostada as an NBA star could expect to play every game on his team’s schedule when he’s healthy.

My own depravity – which challenged in duration the time Jesus spent in the wilderness that one time or the average drought between quality starts for an Arizona Diamondbacks starter – taught me.

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Product Review: Marie Tries Out the jimmyCASE

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Photo by HMP

And then there was one.

Over the years here at Coach Daddy, two of my three daughters have written guest posts. Marie, middle child Marie, she of few words and fancy footwork, remained the lone holdout. Until today.

Marie is on the blog today to review a cool iPhone case.

She got to check out an iPhone 6s Card holder from jimmyCASE. Marie’s a girl who takes her phone seriously. She bought her own iPhone 6, with screen protectors. She’s the girl in the bunch that takes care of her stuff way better than dad ever did.

All those iPhone users out there – you really should check out the jimmyCASE.

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7 Random Smartphone Photos, and a Meat-free Challenge

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photo credit: Sr. F First Order via photopin (license)

I used to fill the Wednesday gaps when I didn’t have a guest post lined up with a random assortment of photos from my dilapidated Android phone.

Sometimes, they’d include a shot of my dilapidated car, which is embroiled in a long-haul challenge with my dilapidated phone to see who can last the longest. They probably have wagered also on whether they can outlast me, too.

We’re all still alive and (mostly) kicking, and I have lots of great guest posts and #GirlsRock interviews to get me through weeks and weeks of blogging.

I miss the photos, though. I’ll bring them back, at the first of every month. I’m also involved in the 12 Month Mindful Challenge. It’s Jen Schwartz’s creation, on the Elephant Journal. March is Meat-free. (eek!)

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#GirlsRock: An Interview with Photographer Beatrice Pitocco

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“Life sometimes dulls us; it confuses us, it makes us question things that are basic, like love.” – Beatrice Pitocco

I first picked Beatrice Pitocco for an interview on a blog for work.

cd-interviewsOne question into my interview with her, I knew she was a better match for #GirlsRock – my interviews with women who do cool things. Although the tools Beatrice uses as a photographer are inherently technical, that’s not the main element in her work – or her life force.

Beatrice, like many artists, is a feeler.

You’ll see that in her words here, raw and honest. Beatrice is also a consultant for companies and individuals. I believe you’ll see some of your own life stages in her words today. Through thick and thin, Beatrice lives by a simple credo.

Continue reading “#GirlsRock: An Interview with Photographer Beatrice Pitocco”

Go Ask Dada, ‘Cause Mama Doesn’t Know Squat, or Vice Versa.

Tamara Like Camera here, happily filling in for Eli during his vacation. I remember when I first came to this blog, a long time ago and in a galaxy far, far away, and I worried that I would be laughed right out of here, due to my lack of knowledge (of any sort) of futebol or fatherhood. I do, however, have the market cornered on food. And Stormtroopers, for that matter. It only took one Stormtrooper photo to make me a regular reader. Also, he never laughs at me here. And so back I come, each post, learning more and more about the world through Eli’s features and his “Go Ask Daddy” posts. Now my daughter is younger than his three daughters, but she certainly has asked some interesting questions over the last week. Now let’s see what I can do with them, shall we?

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I think I remember one of the first times it happened. Scarlet and I were walking back home after our long walk to the mailbox, while (then) baby Des was sleeping, and she asked me: “Mama, what makes wind blow?” Barely looking up from my latest edition of Us Weekly, I replied, “Oh, I don’t freakin’ know.” And then we both giggled and giggled all the way home, where I made a mental note to at least look up the answer for her so she wouldn’t think I was a total deadbeat. I was not proud. Of any of it – the terrible answer OR the reading of Us Weekly while walking with my daughter through a beautiful nature path.

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Instead of consulting Wikipedia like maybe I should have, I sent her question to my husband to see what he would have said in my place. Here was his answer: “Hot air and cold air move differently. Ever notice it’s hotter upstairs? That’s because hot air likes to move up. Wind is caused by the same thing. Hot air moves up and cold air rushes to where the hot air used to be.”

Are you ever really prepared for the peppering of questions you’ll have to answer after your kids get old enough to have storable memories? I wasn’t prepared. To credit myself, I was an excellent student in school and I actually do know many things. I’m just not great at explaining them, especially in the moment. I freeze up, although her adorable face is much kinder than my childhood teachers’ faces looked when the same thing happened. I know what words mean and how weather works, but only in my mind as this big, cloudy mass of feelings and memories. How to explain that to a five-year-old? How to explain it to myself?

Sometimes I just need a little help in the matter. Sometimes we all need a little help.

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Although there are some questions that need not be researched, or even answered twice! They don’t require too much thought:

Scarlet: “What’s a bong?”
Dada: “It’s just another kitchen utensil.”
Mama: “It’s like a drum! A bongo drum.”

End of story with that one. Until she’s at least 18. Or 33.

And sometimes, especially in a Star Wars loving family, you may find yourself in the middle of a conversation such as this:

Scarlet: “Why are there only three Star Warers?” (not a typo)

Dada: “Well, they only made three but there are more being made right NOW!”

Mama: (whispering to only Dada) “So you’re not going to tell her about Episodes I, II and III?”

Dada: “Not until she’s 18.” (or 33)

Strong Star Wars opinions aside, I have compiled a small list of her weekly questions. There are certain questions that my husband can answer and I cannot, without looking to Google. And there some questions I can answer and my husband cannot, without looking blankly in my direction and asking for help. I decided to submit the questions to my husband that I had already answered to see how his answers measured up against mine! So now you can see if/how we are either screwing up our daughter, or making her even more well rounded. (I like to believe the second)

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1.

Scarlet: “Why is there ice?”
Mama: “What? So that we finally have a good use for our Han Solo in Carbonite ice cube makers. Obvs.”
Scarlet: “Obvs.”
Dada: “Because when you freeze water, that’s what forms. But you can also freeze water and turn it to snow.”

2.

Scarlet: “What was your favorite thing to do when you were a kid?”
Mama: “Books, books, and more books. I’d also climb trees, and read books. And I liked to eat, while reading books.”
Dada: “I used to love finding a really good stick and playing by a stream near my house.”

3.

Scarlet: “What is Yoda?”
Mama: “A Jedi Master, he is. And a cool guy who lives in our basement right now.”

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(Photographic proof)

Dada: “Just Yoda.”
Scarlet: “What IS he?”
Dada: “A Jedi Master?”
Scarlet: “What’s a Jedi Master?”
Dada: “A good guy who has gotten so good at The Force that they can now teach it to other people.”
Scarlet: “Does Darth Fader (not a typo) think the Emperor is a bad guy?”
Dada: “He does, but right now he’s still a bad guy. He likes to hang out with other bad guys.”
Scarlet: “It doesn’t make sense because you said that Darth Fader found out that the Emperor was a real bad guy and so that doesn’t really make sense..”
Scarlet: (a minute later)…”Ok now it does. Now I know how it can.” (she never enlightened us!)
Scarlet: “Why are they called Imperial Walkers?”
Dada: “Because they’re made by Imperials and they are big, walking things.”

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4.

Scarlet: “Why didn’t Fiona come to my birthday party?”
Dada: “Who’s Fiona?”
Mama: “She was on vacation.” (in my head, I said this:) “I didn’t invite her. Between the bounce house, the cotton candy machine, and the face painter, we had at some point to cut down the list. So sorry, Scarlet, the list could not include the girl that never invited you to her parties, the boy who pushed you down at school, and the adorable Fiona – who I don’t even know.”

5.

Scarlet: “What do you actually do when you’re at work?”
Mama: “I pose people and take their photos. Or I don’t pose people and take their photos. That’s even better. Then I put the photos into my computer from my camera, and I sharpen them and add contrast. All while you’re sleeping, the cat is laying across my keyboard, and the other cat is farting in my lap. I also write stuff for money.”
Dada: “I spend a lot of time emailing and talking to people.”

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*Bonus Question!

Scarlet: “Why do they never pee or poop in Sofia the First?”
Mama: “There are too many other fun things to do!”
Dada: “They do, but a Poop Griffin steals it all.”

**Bonus Question #2!

Scarlet: (while watching Lady and the Tramp) “Can we get a dog like that (Lady) when Athena dies?”
Dada: “…..”
Mama: “…..”

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The bottom line and a special note. These answers are not meant to treat, diagnose or cure anything. This post is mostly in good, old-fashioned fun. We give her well-informed answers the best way we know how. Answer what you know, from your heart. We all know what we love. For everything else, look it up from a reputable source!

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Tamara is a professional photographer at Tamara Camera Photography, a mama of two, a writer/blogger at Tamara (Like) Camera and a nearly professional cookie taster. She has been known to be all four of those things at all hours of the day and night. She is a very proud contributor to the book, The Mother Of All Meltdowns. After two cross country moves, due to her intense Bi-Coastal Disorder, she lives with her husband, daughter, son and rescue pets in glorious western Massachusetts. She spends her spare time looking for moose, taking pictures of her kids, and maybe – just maybe – teaching them about photography. Her five-year-old took this headshot (below) when she was only four. She can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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