inside17thminuteart.jpg“If you’re happy and you know it, make splashes…”

Emma and I are at her swimming lessons, she is an Aqua-tot at the YMCA. One part of the swimming session is singing songs.

“If you’re happy and you know it, kick your legs…”

I really hate this song. I am not happy. There is a pall cast on my soul from Chris’ suicide and though I have happy moments and pretend a lot (for the sake of my three living children), I am not truly happy at the core.

“If you’re happy and you know it then your face will surely show it…”

My face seldom betrays my feelings; the sadness and despair I feel is often present.

Given all this, please don’t get me wrong: I am optimistic about the world and experience many moments of joy everyday. For example, going to swimming sessions with Emma and singing the songs with her.


A book I enjoyed reading when I was in college that really made a difference in my life was Peace is Every Step by Thich Naht Hanh.  It is a book about mindfulness and truly living each present moment.  I especially remember the parts about being in the moment while doing mundane tasks.  That mindfulness is something I think about often and wish to recapture.

Mindfulness has taken on a new importance now with having two toddlers and an infant.  Finding time to meditate or just relax and commune with myself or just sit and think without interruption is, presently, a rare occurrence.  Being mindful in mundane moments is a way to get that reconnection without needing additional time to do it.

I am in the process of tracking my copy of Peace is Every Step down.  It is a book I definitely recommend to any busy parent.  I will refer to it in the posts to come as part of my quest for achieving peace in my life.

The Duluth race for mayor has been reduced to two candidates. One is Charlie Bell. His main slogan is: “JOIN ME! Together we can build a better Duluth!” Here is one of his ads that he has plastered on billboards all around town:


The first time I saw the ad on one of the billboards in West Duluth, I was struck with a strange sense of deja vu. Where have I heard a similar message before? Why does this sound so familiar?

Then I remembered something from a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…


Darth Vader beckons to Luke Skywalker: “Join me! Together we can rule the galaxy as father and son!”


After a long battle fighting complications from a cancer removal, my mother-in-law passed away September 7.

Many things are on hold as we deal with the changes in our lives. Please check back in a couple weeks when I anticipate resuming blogging at geminitao.

21stcentdadsart.jpgI truly enjoy bringing my two-year old daughter to the library. I also enjoy bringing my almost four-year old son. Bringing them together does not hold the same joy. In fact, it can be quite challenging. It is not just a tad bit more difficult; the difficulty level is exponential. One plus one, in this instance, does not equal two. It equals something, I don’t know what, but it’s much more than that.

Here are two challenges, no, two experiences, from today’s outing:

First, after playing for awhile with the library toys, Luke announced he had to go potty. Emma did not want to come with at first. After being given the thought and choice of leaving for home or coming with, she quickly came around and decided to join us.

In the bathroom, Luke and I were washing our hands when Emma headed for the door. The door was behind a long thick block wall. She was out of my sight, but not to worry: The door is too heavy for her to open. Opening the door was not what she had in mind.

Click. Complete darkness.

Luke is almost immediately upset by this and called for the lights to be turned back on. I slowly made my way to the door.

Click. Emma turned the lights back on just as I reached the door and began looking for the switch.

Later, back at the play area, I started writing this experience in my little notebook. I had only looked down for a moment when I heard Luke’s voice call “Daddy” from a short distance away. I looked up and sure enough, he was nowhere in sight. I got up and walked around the corner from the kids’ play area toward the front desk. Not there. Again, I heard Luke’s voice: “Daddy.” This time with a hint of anxiety in his tone. I called his name as I changed directions and found him walking back towards the play area.

The joys of taking two young children to the library.

What’s Next #2

whatsnextpic.jpgToday’s query: Where can I find…?

Click here to find the top answers.

aisleofviewart.jpg In 2008, Al Gore will be elected the next president of the United States. He will win the popular vote with more votes than he took in 2000 and he will win the electoral vote as well including the states of Florida, Tennessee, and Ohio. That is, of course, if he chooses to run. Before discussing this further, let’s review Gore’s 2000 bid for the White House.

“While I strongly disagree with the court’s decision, I accept it. I accept the finality of this outcome,” were the words that ended Gore’s fight to be president in 2000. It also ended the hopes of millions that their votes would count. It was a dark day for the United States and the world. Gore had won the popular vote and very likely won the electoral vote as well. Had it not been for the Supreme Court’s intervention, he would have been president these past six years. Gore ran a tough and smart campaign and in the final analysis, in the moment of truth on election day, more people voted for him and he achieved his highest ambition at that time. Conceding to Bush was certainly heartbreaking and in “An Inconvenient Truth” Gore said: “Well that was a hard blow. But what do you do? You make the best of it.”

Gore did. He made the best of it. In his words: “It brought into clear focus, the mission that I had been pursuing for all these years and I started giving the slide show again.” The slide show, as he calls it, is his campaign to end global warming and his presentations about it. In the past few years, he has given the slide show thousands of times in countless cities across the United States and world. He has truly become a passionate spokesperson for the cause of recognizing that not only is climate change real, it is here.

Fast forward to 2007, Gore has had an incredible year so far. In February, he won the Academy Award for “An Inconvenient Truth” as well as being nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. In May, Gore’s book The Assault on Reason was released. In July, Gore was instrumental in the effort to produce the Live Earth concerts bringing together two billion people on all seven continents. What will the rest of the year bring?

Can all of these activities be leading to something? Can they be precursors to a presidential bid in 2008? Gore has been questioned time and time again in the past six months about running for president and he continues to say: “I don’t have any plans or intentions to be a candidate again.” Even when it has been put to him in terms of the powerful impact being president would have on addressing global warming, Gore has stuck to his guns that he has no intention to run. He has even said, “I’ve kinda fallen out of love with politics.”

Were he to run, it would not only be possible that he would win, it would be probable. No one else in the running has his experience in politics. No one else has his credibility to move our nation and our world forward toward solving the climate crisis. No one else has the experience of having run a successful campaign and winning the office as he did in 2000.

Al Gore speaks of the “uncommon moral courage” necessary to rise up and solve the climate crisis. Were he to find that courage within himself and throw his hat in the ring in 2008, he would definitely be victorious.