About This Blog

For the next 365 days, I am focusing on KARMA as my resolution to 2010. I'm open for stories, ideas and kismet. EMAIL ME.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Orange you glad I'm into Karma in 2010

One of the things I love about the weekend is the extra time to bake cinnamon rolls and to allow such gooie karma into my life. Saturday did not fail and I got my treat.

Back in the day, Cindy's Cinnamon rolls and Great Northern Mall used to be the bomb, but they have since closed. In the meantime, I have to rely on Pillsbury and I suppose they suffice.

The orange glaze on a weekend roll makes the work week seem worthwhile.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

good night

My nephew has his routine and I was a part of it last night when I put him to sleep at my mom's. First, you have to arrange the pillows. Then you have to tuck his lizard and his two rubber duckies by his left side. You have to read him a bedtime story and finish with a series of songs. The hall light must remain on and you can't leave or he gets upset.

I sang him the lyrics of the book we read:

I love you for always
I like you forever
As long as I'm alive
Your uncle I will be.

Of course, I had to sing this repeatedly and after six or seven rounds, it seemed to work. This is the way karma works at bedtime.

Friday, February 26, 2010

cake karma

Yesterday's unexpected cancellation of most CNY life brought a snafu to my normal schedule, including the cake I baked to share with graduate students at a SOLER meeting.

The result of this, however, was I could have a slice of this cake after I had instant potatoes and a salad.

Now, if more snow days arrive, I'm afraid of what will become of that cake and I admit that having it in my house without fellow eaters is rather dangerous. If you notice I've put on a few pounds in the next couple of days, you will know I've had too much time alone at home with this cake.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Doing some Karmic Math

In 1934, 76 years ago, America was still dealing with the Great Depression and Hitler was continuing his rise to power and building his Nazi regime. FDR was president. 76 years ago, a house cost $6,000, the average yearly income was $1,600, and gas was ten cents a gallon. If I wanted to rent an apartment in 1934, it would cost about $20 a month.

Here's why I'm doing this math.

My buddy, Derek had a son, Noah, born on my birthday of this year. I am currently 38 years old and when he is my age, I'll be 76 and the year will be 2048. I decided I wanted to know what life was like 76 years ago, because I'm trying to imagine what the world will be when I'm that age.

This is life's greatest karma. We get old and a new generation arrives not knowing what the world used to be.

I saw a report about being mid-life this evening and I thought, well gosh-dang, if I live to be 76, then I am there already. My friend's son will only remember when "the internet was the latest craze," when gas was $2.76 a gallon, and when houses cost only $120,000. He may even remember the first African American president was Obama, and the economic slump of his presidency may have been caused by Wall Street's greed and a credit crisis. Maybe he'll know an America with guaranteed health insurance.

We don't know.

During the Olympics tonight, they announced that the last Canadian WWI survivor passed on. With him went his experience and soon, WWII veterans will be history, like Vietnam War veterans and Iraq War soldiers.

When Noah is 76, the year will be 2086 and I will be long gone. What a fascinating thing life is.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

There's a "Corp" to Every Story

Those of you have followed my three-years worth of blogs know I often make comments about NPR shows and I'm a fan of downloading free programs for my IPod. One of the programs, Story Corp, travels the country and places booths where people can come and interview their friends or family about amazing stories. Sound engineers work with the stories and edit them for a weekly program on the public broadcast.

Today, I had a conversation about possibly bringing the booths to Central New York and what this might mean for teachers and students. If you were to interview one person about an event from their life, who would it be and why?

What I love about these stories are they are not about the rich, ridiculous and famous people, but about individuals who live next door or down the street. We shall see what we can do about having a chance for CNY stories (and I will keep you posted about whether or not such karma might come this way).

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

When the Cup Runneth Over

For those of you who are non-Syracusians, you may not appreciate the fact that yesterday went slightly above 40 degrees and so, inevitably, people had a spring to their step.
I am included.

I took Baby for a walk when I got home from work, did some writing, went to the gym, and returned to write some more. I poured a tall glass of water and put it on the floor next to me as I began to edit my work. Then I heard the lapping of water.

Baby was totally drinking from my glass as if to say, "Karma's a biotch, Bryan. You walked me. You disappeared. You worked up a sweat. You came home and poured yourself some water and, wola!, it tasted great."

That will learn me.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Karma is a Corn Fritter

Mom made Sunday, yesterday, extra spectacular with an evening rendition of Corn Fritters and breakfast for dinner. I stopped to pick up my dog and bought her some Lindt Truffles. The winter blues are ubiquitous up north and everyone is feeling a little bit of cabin fever.

With this said, I can honestly say that corn fritters (as I've noted in other posts) are quirky, are happy, and are evidence of how Karma works. With my stomach satiated, I now want to do a million good deeds for the world, but whereas it is Monday, I will settle for one. I just have to think about what it should be.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Have a Little Faith

For my birthday, Rhiannon loaned me a copy of Mitch Albom's Have a Little Faith. I have readTuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven, and like them, this book didn't fail. I read about "faith" while riding a school bus to and from Rochester, in a gymnasium, and finally at home while lying on my couch before bed.

In the book, Albom quotes being told that a newborn arrives to life with a clenched fist,
trying to grasp life and to contain all it has to hold. An elderly person, however, leaves the earth with open hands, knowing that none of his or her life can be taken with them.

The last line of the book is, "I am in love with hope."

This gift of a loaned text is such hope, which as Irish Poet, Brendan Kennelly scripted, is a part of the world's oldest trilogy. I love/ to believe/ in hope.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Peter Griffin works in Cicero

Peter Griffin of the Family Guy is actually Patricia Griffin and she manages a shoe store in upstate New York. I know this because we met Peter yesterday when looking at shoes, but Peter was dressed in women's clothing and had a wig. His deep voice asked, "Can I help you?" and my niece hid behind several size eight shoes.

I, however, being in karma mode tried to make the most of the moment, and embraced the opportunity to show my maturity and ability to make sense of the unexpected. I said, "I am in need of boots," and was pointed to the right aisle.

I had a student once who took baby sitting courses from a similar Peter in Kentucky who was trying to get in touch with his feminine side. I didn't know there was a shoe store next to WalMart, but now I do. Peter Griffin has a butt for a chin, that is for sure. Happy Saturday.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Growing up, we feared my father for many reasons, but our mother scared us, too. Not only did her toes freak us out because they looked like Aqua-man from the Marvel Superheroes (mom reminded me of this from yesterday's post), and not only because she occasionally grew banana trees from her forehead, but because she had flare ups with psoriasis and they looked painful. We didn't want them. I have many memories of her placing her legs into the summer sun in hopes to dry up her patches.

Fast forward to 2010 and, wola!, all three kids have psoriasis now. Mine began earlier this year and they burn...especially when I run and sweat. They are not fun.

I recognize now it is karmic that we have these spots. It is because we sucked the life out of our mom while growing up and now that we're older, we have been given the marks as a reminder that life is very uncomfortable at times.

(Note: My burning doesn't bother Baby. Notice she's eating a biscuit behind me and totally oblivious to my scarring legs)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

You take the good, you take the bad...

The horrific news is that Saucony didn't send me a free pair of sneakers, despite my long, complimenting letter and inquiry about the weakness in the little toe.

The good news is I went to a shop today to get new kicks, and there was only one pair of sneakers on the clearance rack in my size - A PAIR OF BLACK SAUCONYs! Bonus. I saved $65 on the shoes and can celebrate my cheap-skate ways.

Why such good karma? I don't know, but I'm stoked to have a pair of running shoes that contain my left toe again. Happy trails!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Facebook & 2010

The first bit of good Karma is I won a beer. Derek, a graduate student at the University's son was born late and landed yesterday on by birthday. A crew of Aquarians bet on where he'd fall and I ended up winning the roulette board.

Rhiannon stopped by the NOPL where I was writing (the Northern Ondondaga Public Library) and gave me a book called, A Gift of Inner Peace. It is all about karma and has many quotes I shall try to live by, including,


At 38, , now's as good of a time for choosing a better life than ever before.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

And Jacob Begins to Crawl

My father called last night to tell me Jacob Charles has begun to move forward on his chunky little legs and rumor has it he's already found ways to get into things (which should be a fascinating bit of karma for KC to wrestle with over the next few years).

Let the attacks begin! And for those of you who haven't seen Jack Attack by Pixar, I post it for your delight. Enjoy.

Happy Birthday!

Monday, February 15, 2010


This is a summary of yesterday - a pulled pork sandwich in honor of Daytona, Valentine's Day, the U of L / Syracuse basketball game, the Olympics and a pre-birthday celebration. I think because I'm out of the habit of eating a lot, when I do eat a lot, I simply go numb. I want to sleep and my mind shuts off. It's a Thanksgiving curse, but that is the way good food works on the stomach: chili, cheesecake, cupcakes and beer. Stomach karma.

And Monday had to come to ruin it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The 14th of February

This isn't a lengthy post. I had a flashback memory of J. Geil's Band, and remembered the song where a man plays drums with a fish. I tried to embed it but it was disabled. So, IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE A FLASHBACK VIDEO THAT WILL PUT A SMILE ON ALL THE FACES OF THOSE WHO LIVED THROUGH THE 80s, THEN CLICK THIS LINK.

In the meantime, do something loving so that others will do something loving for you.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Karma is a wet dog

My vacuum cleaner is delighted by the karma I'm sending its way, simply because I took Baby to the K9 wash and gave her spa treatment. I washed her, massaged her thick winter coat with a giant rubber dog brush, blew her dry and had her nails cut. Chewbaka is now groomed and, I hope, the excess fur has been left in their drains so that it won't end up in every crevice of my house.

Is my dog stuck up? Some think she is. Really, she's just a gigantic canine baby, hence her name. And now she smells like Apricot, which is worth every traumatic moment of her afternoon bath.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I forgot to bring my sneakers

I drove home from S.U. and had one goal: the gym. I packed up, went, and when I got there, I realized, "Crap. I forgot my sneakers."

I thought, "hmmm. Maybe I'll pick up my mom, have her buy me new sneakers, then take her to dinner." I drove to their house.
Maybe we didn't need to go out to dinner. Maybe she could cut me a slice of lasagna. But no one was home.

When two cars are missing at my folks, where could they be? I don't know about mom, but Dad will be at Chubby's, the local cigarette / convenient store / ice cream parlor / video arcade / condom distributor / pizza joint / local bar. Yep. There he was.

We drank a couple beers and I ate Val's famous chicken wings. This turned into the good karma that comes from not grabbing my sneakers before leaving for the gym.

Chubby's. It is a brand of paradise on Caughdenoy Rd in Clay, New York. You should check it out.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

slippery karma

Working last night's Syracuse vs. UCONN game, I harassed Cynde that I was a better icer than she was, because I was able to get my ice into the buckets at a faster, cleaner, pace.

Two seconds later, my bag exploded in our veal-fattening-pen of a work station and ice flew everywhere. I flooded our floor and announced, "Karma does that to you. I teased my big sis, and look what came at me."

I had to clean it with a dust pan. Fun. It's a good thing I didn't tease her about her hat-head and hair. If I did, I would have woke up bald. (I'm kidding. She was paranoid, but I thought she looked good in her hat).

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Can chemicals be karmic?

Yesterday was a marathon day. I knew I'd put in 18 hours of work, and it about killed me when at 4 a.m. I woke up with squirrels blowing air into my ears, nose and eyeballs with invisible straws. My sinuses were freaking out.

I took a hot shower which allowed me a little clarity and managed to get through a day when it returned. Driving home from my work, I thought I was going to die. I pulled into a Sam's Club and, very unlike me, purchased the only Sinus product they had (the cost of a week's groceries). It was an expensive box of Sinus Tylenol and I opened the package in the store and took two immediately. About a half hour later I could feel the chemicals working.

If you've never experienced the sinus pressure I'm talking about, then I worship you for such luck. It is awful and blinding. In fact, it was so severe, I thought I might puke then pass out.

But all is good now. My head cleared and I was able to get work done late into the evening. Someday I will understand the reasons for sinuses. I've tried, but I've failed. In the meantime, I have a box to save me.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

This Post is for Sean Man

Last Saturday, I presented for the Central New York Reading Council Conference at Manlius Pebble Hill. I was thanked by receiving a great coffee mug filled with chocolate (I shared the chocolate with Cyderballs) and two children's books. My goal is to get these books to Sean-man, because I know how much he loves reading before he goes to bed and that his parents are always thankful for new material.

So, the karma given to me is being spread to others. I love when life works out this way. Bullies Never Win and The Great Paper Caper are coming your way, Mr. Sean. How excited are you?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

revenge of the eye

I'm running on empty, and when this happens, my strabismus gets worse and Nadia in California will call me and say she's seen my eye wandering in Burbanks and wonder if I want it back.

I joked over the weekend that my wandering eye is the result of making fun of a photography teacher and her wandering eye in junior high school. I always wondered how she could focus the camera, and of course, now I wonder the same about how I manage to focus on anything myself. Actually, focusing on one thing has never been my strong point and now I have the eye to use as an excuse.

So, this Monday post results from my sense of humor as a 15 year old which has come around so, now, others can poke fun on me and my eye. Oh, the eye. And then there's my sweating disorder. What a mess I am. What a way to kick of the work week.

Karma has its secrets, too

In my last year of room 301, we were given professional development on Oprah's well-supported book by James Ray, called THE SECRET. Instead of problem solving how to best teach kids, instead of learning how to better embrace student achievement and our school's philosophy, and instead of celebrating the accomplishments built over many years, our administration chose to show the movie, The Secret, during professional development.

In short, the movie promotes positive thinking to get better cars (and for weight-struggling women stuck in a world of cats and Hershey bars, to get Chippendale strippers into their bed).

We didn't know why we were being shown this film and my greatest memory of the day was hearing Rita, a middle school math teacher, laughing out loud at how ridiculous the message was. We believed in positive attitudes. We believed in hard work. We didn't believe in the purpose for this during a school day.

Fast forward, the above is in the news. The man who capitalized on the secret of positive energy has a bit of negative karma following at his heals. Such a shame. The world does work mysteriously.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

I need an exorcism

I stopped by Cynde and Mike's after the gym and somehow got roped into watching the movie Paranormal with them. Karma works in this film for a simple reason. You date a girl who is followed by a demon and continue to sleep with her and try to solve her possession and ghostly stalker with a video camera and intuition, you deserve to be killed and have your girlfriend disappear. What was he thinking?

Of course, karma also works because I probably won't sleep tonight for watching that. it serves me right.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Mr. Moonbeam and the All Stars

In 1997, when I first began at the Brown School, Bonnie Cecil invited my seniors to work with her All Stars. They were the kindergarten class. During one of our visits to the kindergarten room, we asked, "If you are the All Stars, then who are we?" A kid responded, "That's easy. You're the Moonbeams."

I asked the kids, "Then who am I?"

They yelled out, "You're Mr. Moonbeam," and the named stuck.

Bonnie and I co-wrote a fairy tale of our friendship and we had it illustrated. For ten years, my Moonbeams and the All Stars (soon to be Fireflies) became thinking buddies and the collaboration was a tradition. High School seniors and all day-kindergartners built a friendship.

Fast forward. It's 2010. The first generation of those All Stars are now Moonbeams. It's been thirteen years and they will graduate this year. Yes, karma can kick you in the $#$. Dear Class of 1998, We are all old. Your All Stars are Seniors!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

This time last year, I received word from my mortgage company that I no longer qualified for New York State's Star program and, consequently, my monthly payments would go up nearly $150. After a year of fighting, arguing, writing letters, getting involved with inner-county politics and a tremendous bureaucratic wasp nest of home assessments, time and rules, I received in the mail that I now re-qualify for the Star program and, as a result, my house payments go back to where I originally budgeted them. Too bad they don't make retro-payments for the error on their part.

Ah, life. There are no classes to prepare you for the reality of our systems. They kick our butts, don't they? Either way, I'm thankful for the karmic return in 2010.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

In case you missed Phil yesterday

The winter karma predictor is in for the North East. Phil saw his shadow. It looks like there will be six more weeks of winter. I expected that. That will bring us to March 16th, Syracuse University's spring break, and I doubt - seriously - winter will be over by then.

Are Grounhogs good eating?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

To the little noggin' of RLAC

Last friday when I left campus, it was ridiculously cold. I didn't wear a winter cap and my ears were frozen. When I went to go, I saw a child's hat lying in a corner in the office and I put it on. It was too small, but I didn't want to go out in the cold without my ears covered.

On Sunday, I returned the hat to the place I found it and left a note for the noggin' it belonged to. I asked them to contact me and let me know their favorite candy so I can return the enormous favor of their unwarranted kindness. I haven't heard from a munchkin yet, but when I do, I'll let everyone know how the karma was returned.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Revisiting Last Summer - A Karmic Event

Last August, my colleague at the Say Yes program had one goal that she worked on relentlessly. Being student directed and focused on what they wanted from the summer camp, she asked them to make lists. One young man requested, "I want a helicopter to land at our school."

Well, she made this happen. Through collaboration, calling, air traffic controlling, working with the community, and keeping it a secret from students, a police helicopter landed in the field of the school and all kids were able to sit in it.

The kids were excited and the fact she pulled this off is a moment I'll never forget. Amidst stress, heat, supervision, and keeping control of the schedule, she successfully made a child's dream come true.

That's what it is all about.