4 years, 3 months, and 4 days. Remember to breathe deeply, and recipes for simple meals.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/29/0d/2a/290d2a835021e2a80050ab76d41d7b70.jpg

For generations, mothers have encouraged children to take long, slow breaths to fight anxiety. A long tradition of meditation likewise uses controlled breathing to induce tranquillity.

Now scientists at Stanford University may have uncovered for the first time why taking deep breaths can be so calming.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/05/well/move/what-chill-mice-can-teach-us-about-keeping-calm.html?_r=0

My dearest and most beloved Shosh and Jaialai:

Breathe, my sons.  When anxious or stressed, just take deep breaths and breathe your way to calmness and peace.

I know must be very hard for you without me there.  Shosh, I remember that one time after your mom and I had separated, I came to your school concert, and, afterwards, you just came up to me, leaned your head against my shoulder and cried for the longest time.  I worry for you because you wear your heart on your sleeve and you are my sensitive boy.  Jaialai, I equally worry about you because you are introverted and hold everything in.  As your child therapist said, you worry about whether you’ll get your needs met.  I worry because if only your mom had attended more of the debriefings following your weekly therapy (which I paid for out of pocket), she would have better understood your needs.  As it was, she attended only one debriefing during your year and a half in therapy.  I took you boys to therapy every week, even on weeks when you stayed with your mom.

God, I miss you guys!  It is a physical pain, not just an emotional state of grief.  Know that no matter what happens, I will always love you.  Also, remember, it’s what people do that counts, not what they say.  Actions speak louder than words.

I also worry about what and how you’re eating.  Back then, despite working 90-100 hours per week in a high paying and stressful job, it was your maternal grandmother and I who did most of the cooking everyday.  Now that your maternal grandmother had passed away and I am not there, who cooks for you?  What do you eat?

Shosh, you are older.  I suspect the burden falls to you now.  I’m sorry.  Learn to prepare easy but healthy meals.  Don’t over-indulge in the spicy Korean noodles, which I know you love, Shosh.  Remember, Jaialai said you once ate so much at your mom’s that it made you throw up?

Try not to eat out too often.  In the divorce filings, your mother’s financial records showed that she spent almost $1000 per month eating out everyday.  I hope that is not happening.  Restaurant food tend to be tasty but less healthy for your because they have greater salt content, etc.

Yesterday, I made the Caveman version my favorite snacks, deviled eggs.  http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/classic-deviled-eggs-recipe/.  Instead of going through the trouble of mixing all the ingredients into the yolk, I simply cut the hard-boiled eggs (which I’d cooked over the weekend and kept chilled in the fridge) in half and putting each of the ingredients directly onto the yolk.  While it wasn’t as pretty as the normal deviled eggs, it was tasty nevertheless.

Another simple dish I often resort to is baked chicken.  It’s easy. Do the following:

  1. Get drum stick, chicken thigh, or other parts
  2. Put the chicken in a plastic bag and put in a tablespoon of salt, a little black pepper, a little minced garlic or garlic powder, a tablespoon of olive oil, and enough balsamic vinegar to coat all the chicken pieces.  If you want more depth of flavor, you can also add a spoonful of Worcestershire sauce.
  3. Let the chicken marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, or longer if possible.
  4. Preheat the oven to 390 degree Fahrenheit, line the metal tray with tin foil, then bake the chicken for about 25 minutes on the middle rack.
  5. Eat it with rice or bread and a side of salad.  It’s a very tasty, healthy and simple meal.

I also make lots of sandwiches and pasta.  Remember how I used to heat up a Italian seasoning and fresh garlic in a little butter and olive oil, then mix in pasta and sprinkle it with a little bit of Parmesan cheese before serving it to you guys?  That’s a simple dish.  You can always throw in a little basil, tomato and/or bell pepper to add more depth and dimensions.  For sandwiches or wraps, the easiest thing you can do is get a Costco roasted chicken, tear off chunks of meat and put it into a sandwich or flour tortilla, then throw in some lettuce and ranch dressing and call it good.  It is simple, healthy and delicious, remember?

Cooking doesn’t have to be hard.  Just be creative, and be caring.  Meal time was always a special time for us, remember?  We used to cook together, then everyone would sit down at the dinner table to enjoy our meal and each other’s company, remember?

Cooking is more pleasant as a group activity.  Cook with Eli.  Use the internet to find easy, 3-4 ingredient recipes.

Eat well, and breathe, my sons.

All my love, always.

Dad

4 years, 3 months, and 2 days. Anonymous exposed the fraud and harms caused by Oregon CPS and other states’ CPS.

 

http://www.opexposecps.anonresistance.com/

Oregon CPS couldn’t even safely care of the hundreds of thousands of children it had ripped from families at the slightest anonymous report, yet it continued to destroy more families and to destroy the very kids they are charged with protecting.

On Sept. 28, a former Give Us This Day staff member, Rachel Rosas, told the Senate interim Human Services Committee that children entrusted to the organization went hungry, slept in filthy beds that lacked sheets, and were regularly neglected. That treatment came in spite of state contracts that paid Give Us This Day a minimum of $118 per day per child.

“There was no budget for groceries,” says Rosas, who worked in a group home for 15 girls. “It was disgusting.”

http://www.wweek.com/news/2015/09/30/documents-show-a-portland-foster-care-provider-wasted-2-million-on-lavish-expenditures/.

The latest lawsuit was filed Thursday in Multnomah County Circuit Court. The three plaintiffs are seeking $16,320,000 in damages that could be trebled upon a guilty finding.

The lawsuit alleges the three victims – identified only as “AA,” “BB” and “CC” – are 9, 8 and 7 years old respectively and that they “suffered severe permanent and progressive personal injuries and traumas.”

DHS is accused of falling below the applicable standard of care.

The lawsuit claims the agency was negligent by:

  • Failing to adequately perform reasonable screening of the victim’s foster placement
  • Failing to adequately perform reasonable home study, certification and other background checks on the foster home, the people in the foster home and other children in the foster home.
  • Failing to detect the presence of a potentially abusive environment
  • Failing to protect the children when “DHS has actual or constructive” knowledge that there was an unreasonable risk of harm.

The children, the lawsuit claims, have been abused physically, emotionally and sexually.

“They have been exposed to pornographic material and sexual touching,” the lawsuit asserts.

Other allegations made in the lawsuit include:

  • The children received “inferior” care and hygiene.
  • DHS has “actual knowledge” that the children were being abused and neglected.
  • DHS placed the three children in the care of parents who did not speak English.

http://koin.com/2016/04/01/dhs-lawsuit-foster-children-exposed-to-porn/

 

Lawyers for two children in Oregon’s foster care system filed a federal class action lawsuit against the state Tuesday, alleging the Department of Human Services’ increasing practice of housing some children in hotels and offices violates federal and state laws.

A disproportionate share of the foster children parked in temporary quarters have mental disabilities including behavioral and psychiatric impairments, and the state has described them as “hard to place” with foster families and programs, according to the lawsuit. By housing these children in hotels, offices and even a juvenile detention facility, the state denied them access to the family-like environment and stability that it’s supposed to provide for all children in its care, it says. 

That violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and other federal and state anti-discrimination and child welfare laws, the suit says.

“These children are disproportionately denied — by reason of their disability — the opportunity to benefit from a state program to provide safe, nurturing homes for children and from the mental health services offered by (the state),” lawyers wrote in a court filing.

http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/09/suit_slams_dhs_for_parking_ore.html#

We need not look far for human rights violations.  We have human rights problems in own back yard.  Let’s clean up that mess first before we look overseas.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Matthew 7: 3-5.

4 years and 3 months. Challenge yourselves and grow.

https://i1.wp.com/thechurning.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Growing.jpg

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

I hope you are well today.  Recently, a neighborhood kid encountered some personal challenges, and his parents responded by clearing his plates of all challenging matters and telling him it is not necessary for him to challenge himself regarding anything.  That struck me as a less than ideal strategy.

Today, another neighborhood kid shared with me his excitement at achieving something I’d shown him how to do earlier.  This struck me as being the natural order of things.  See, e.g., https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/nurturing-resilience/201202/summer-camps-make-kids-resilient.

Kids need challenges in order to learn and grow.  Denying them challenges is to deny them opportunities to grow.

Life is but a series of challenges.  If you love your children, prepare them for life.  Don’t hobble them by removing the challenges and making their lives easy.

“Per aspera ad astra, Papa,’ I whispered. Through hardship to the stars.”
― Ruta Sepetys

“If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?”
― T.S. Eliot

“Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.”
― Seneca

“Don’t handicap your children by making their lives easy.”
― Robert A. Heinlein

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
― Helen Keller

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
― Randy Pausch

“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”
― Paulo Coelho

“If we are not allowed to deal with small problems, we will be destroyed by slightly larger ones. When we come to understand this, we live our lives not avoiding problems, but welcoming them as challenges that will strengthen us so that we can be victorious in the future.”
― Jim Stovall

Embrace challenge, my sons.  Be persistent.  Live fully.

All my love, always,

Dad

 

4 years, 2 months, and 29 days. Beware of small minded people: they will drag you down.

https://i0.wp.com/cdn.attackofthecute.com/January-04-2013-19-49-48-w.jpg

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

People are constrained by their prisms of their realities.  In other words, they are limited by who they are.

They see the world as a reflection of themselves.  Thieves think everyone else is a thief and out to steal from them.  Cowards think everyone else will run in the face of danger, just like they do.  Fools think everyone else is a sucker.

Beware the little people — the small-minded, the petty.  They rarely lift their sights above the smallness of their stations, and, by fixating on the small and petty, they will drag you down to their level.  They are so fearful of losing what little they have, that they end up channeling all of their energies on fighting to protect and maintain those limitations instead of improving their lot.  But, worse, they resist acceptance of their limitations and bully or berate those they perceive as less fortunate or less powerful than they in order to prove they are better than their station allows.  They are the epitome of the adage “kiss up and shit down.”

It is for this reason that I urge you to take the time to find and befriend those who inspire you to be better.  Look for those who train their eyes beyond the horizons, those who see possibilities instead of limitations, those who are prone to act instead of whine, those who accept ambiguity and change as natural parts of life.

These also happen to be traits of entrepreneurs, see, e.g., https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2013/11/05/how-do-entrepreneurs-think/#3e52f7473905; https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/285625; and, https://www.inc.com/peter-economy/6-things-successful-entrepreneurs-always-believe.html.

That’s why I want you to think

1. Anything is possible.

If you believe you’ll never be capable of creating a multi-million-dollar enterprise, you’re never going to take the effort to create one. If you think your business can’t compete with the major players, you’ll lose enthusiasm and eventually fold under the pressure.

Believing that some things are flat-out impossible becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy; instead, successful business owners have a mindset that anything is possible with the investment of enough knowledge, effort and determination. Having the confidence to move forward is half the battle, and as long as that action doesn’t turn into foolhardy arrogance (more on that later), it will empower you to work harder and set higher goals.

2. Hard work pays off — even if it takes years to see it.

Successful business owners also believe that, fundamentally, hard work pays off. They aren’t afraid to invest hours, weeks, months or even years of hard work into their businesses, because they have faith that the outcome will be valuable.

The key difference here with successful entrepreneurs is that they’re able to envision and embrace long-term payoffs. This ability is known as delayed gratification, which theoretical physicist Michio Kaku once referred to as the “hallmark of human intelligence.”

Related: The Incredible Power of Believing in Yourself

3. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

Even experts make mistakes — all the time. If you’re a perfectionist, you’ll suffer in a number of different ways: You’ll set goals that are unreasonably high, you’ll feel defeated and discouraged when you don’t reach them or make mistakes and you won’t be willing to move forward despite a flaw or two.

If you wait until everything is perfect before you launch a product or move forward with a decision, you’ll never cross that threshold, which is why it’s important to start only with a minimum viable product and make gradual improvements from there. Embrace your mistakes, learn from them and don’t let them stop you from taking the next step forward.

4. You can’t do everything alone.

Even if you’ve managed to build something amazing for yourself, through your efforts alone, it’s still because of the people in your life who have taught you and supported you that you got as far as you did. Even in matters like building a social following from scratch, you’re relying on outsiders to help support your own initiative, and in that respect, you’re always going to be relying on other people.

The trick is to do as much as you can by yourself, then surround yourself by the most talented, capable, respectable people you can find to help you take care of the rest.

5. Risks are necessary.

It’s true that not all risks are equal, and not all risks are worth taking, but if you separate people into risk-takers and non-risk-takers, eventually, statistically, it will be people from the risk-taking pool who end up being the furthest ahead. Successful entrepreneurs may not have a mindset that urges them to take every risk they find, but they aren’t afraid to take calculated risks, and that gives them more potential for bigger, more successful initiatives.

6. Perspective and experience matter.

Successful entrepreneurs know that they aren’t the smartest, most experienced or most rational people in the world. They recognize that other business owners have more experience, have different perspectives and may have valuable ideas or insights that they themselves haven’t considered.

Successful entrepreneurs demonstrate humility, and aren’t embarrassed to ask for help or too proud to ask for others’ opinions. They’re willing and eager to gather information from many sources before moving forward with anything.

7. There’s always more to learn.

Humility extends to this belief, as well. No matter how long you went to school, how many courses you’ve taken or how many years you’ve spent on the job, there’s always something new to learn about your industry and about the world. Maintaining the desire and initiative to pursue your own education indefinitely keeps you sharp throughout your entrepreneurial journey, and keeps you a step ahead of your competitors.

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/285625.

Lift your sights beyond the horizon.  See yourself succeed.  Ignore the cowardly warnings of the nay-sayers, the intrepid, and the small-minded.  Focus on what must be done to make your visions become reality.  Know that every failure brings you one step closer to success, and know that no matter what happens, you are always loved and valued.

Be you.  Be the best you.

All my love, always,

Dad

4 years, 2 months, and 28 days. Stand up for yourselves

https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/usao-edca/fieldable-panel-panes/basic-panes/images/2015/02/18/stopbullying.gif

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

I had a dream about you being bullied, Shosh, and it concerns me.  Bullies exist.  They always have.  They are like cockroaches, scurrying out of reach when exposed to light or a more powerful presence and rushing back under the cover of darkness.

Never give in to bullies.  Stand up for yourself and for each other.  If you won’t fight for yourself, who will?

I am not an advocate for violence, but there is a time and a place for it.  When faced with a bully, ramp up your responses as necessary.  Say, “No! Stop!”  If they don’t respond, scream for help or seek help.  However, don’t be afraid to fight back.  Yes, you may get beat up, but make sure you get your licks in.  Make it count.  If you hurt them back enough, they will think twice next time about bullying you.

I have faced them in school yards and in corporate suites.  It is never a moment I relish, but neither is it something I shy away from.

Never allow them to get into your head and hurt you or your brother.  Hurt them back.  Make them regret it.

All my love, always.

Dad

 

 

4 years, 2 months, and 18 days. Willful blindness is a bad thing: be open-minded.

ELEPHANT AND THE BLIND MEN

Once upon a time, there lived six blind men in a village. One day the villagers told them, “Hey, there is an elephant in the village today.”

They had no idea what an elephant is. They decided, “Even though we would not be able to see it, let us go and feel it anyway.” All of them went where the elephant was. Everyone of them touched the elephant.

 

 

 

 

 

“Hey, the elephant is a pillar,” said the first man who touched his leg.

“Oh, no! it is like a rope,” said the second man who touched the tail.

“Oh, no! it is like a thick branch of a tree,” said the third man who touched the trunk of the elephant.

“It is like a big hand fan” said the fourth man who touched the ear of the elephant.

“It is like a huge wall,” said the fifth man who touched the belly of the elephant.

“It is like a solid pipe,” Said the sixth man who touched the tusk of the elephant.

They began to argue about the elephant and every one of them insisted that he was right. It looked like they were getting agitated. A wise man was passing by and he saw this. He stopped and asked them, “What is the matter?” They said, “We cannot agree to what the elephant is like.” Each one of them told what he thought the elephant was like. The wise man calmly explained to them, “All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently because each one of you touched the different part of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has all those features what you all said.”

“Oh!” everyone said. There was no more fight. They felt happy that they were all right.

My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:

There is much noise these days about “fake new” and “alternative facts”.  Elevate yourself beyond the nonsense.  Be discerning.

Gravity exists regardless of whether we believe in its existence.  Likewise, the truth exists regardless of our perception. The fact that the elephant has four massive and rough legs, two big fan-like ears, a thick body, and a rope-like tail does not change the fact that those are all but parts of the creature we call an elephant.

These days, talking heads play fast and loose with the truth and would have you focus on only parts of reality … the parts most amenable to their claims.  Don’t be fooled.  The sins of omission are just as, if not more, egregious as the sins of commission.

The trick is to pull back until you can grasp the whole truth, not just the part offered up by those who want to persuade you to buy their wares.  Snake oil salesmen haven’t gone the way of the dinosaurs: they’ve only gotten better dressed and smoother tongues.  Beware the snake oil salesmen!

How can you discern the truth?  There is but one way: to investigate and gather as much information as necessary.  For example, if you are curious about a subject matter, don’t just read one book or from one source about it.  That one source may be — and most likely is — biased.  Look to many sources.  Read materials by both those in favor of and in opposition to that subject.  Once you see the data starting to repeat, then draw your own conclusion.

Be your own man.  Don’t be mislead by fools.

All my love, always,

Dad