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MONORAIL: LATEST ENTRIES [random]
PERSONAL (permalink) 04.23.2014
is this thing on (tap, tap)
my employer recently began a toastmasters group. the second i saw the opiton, i enrolled. one week ago today was our club's first meeting. and at this meeting i had the honor of being our club's first speaker. the first talk you are asked to do as a toastmaster is a six-minute ice-breaker. below is the transcript of my ice-breaker speech.
INTRO
the name of my talk is who i am and why i'm here.

for a man of my mature years, defining oneself can be a little tricky.

so, i'm going to solve this by starting with my birth and ending at this very moment right here.

that may seem an ambitious goal to achieve in six minutes but i'd guess that for many in the room, standing in front of an audience and told to entertain them for six minutes will feel like a lifetime, so it's actually rather fitting.

BULLETED LIFE
to begin.

my name is troy lane dearmitt.

i was born and adopted in lancaster pa.

when i was six, my parents poured their combined wealth on a twin bed in a one room space they occupied. the family fortune on this day came to 23 dollars and some change.

a few months later, my family left the state of pennsylvania in the dark of the night, my father, after fitting as many of the family possessions in the car as he could, rolled it down the hill past the landlord's house to escape detection.

we drove west along the canadian border until hitting the rocky mountains where he turned left.

the money ran out in fort collins colorado. this is where we'd spend the next twelve years. (the story goes, if gas was cheaper in cheynne wy, that is where i would have grown up, but my dad, ever the stickler for a good price at the pump, even to this day, didn't like what he was seeing in cheyenne and thought he could pull another sixty miles from the tank).

aside from puberty wreaking havoc with my hair, the twelve years i spent in colorado were quiet and uneventful which worked well for my demeanor.

when i was 18 my mother started a second career as an std woman for the cdc. translated this means a sexually transmitted diseases woman for the centers for disease control. and yes, your assumption is right, there is not an 18 year old boy on this planet that wants his mom working, publicly at least, in venereal disease, but i'd need another six minutes to get into the neurosis this brought on, but to give you a taste, i'll add the picture that i was usually the only boy in my college class who when pulling his book out of his bookbag would have five condoms spill into the aisle.

six months after arriving in st. louis i was thunder bolted by a st. louis girl. for those that might not know what getting thunder-bolted means, it means after seeing a person, the next thought to come from your mind's printer contain the words 'that is the girl i am going to marry'. and yes, this is like the greatest, most important, most valuable piece of knowledge a young man can ever receive. there is only one exception to this informational windfall and that is when the girl you were thunderbolted by did not get the same message, which was the case here. thus, i got to spend the next eight years convincing here i was the man she should marry (she had many suitors) which in time she did.

as our relationship solidified i assumed between st. louis and colorado we'd be living in colorado. but it is very true what they say about st. louis girls white-knuckling their zip codes because here we are some twenty years later.

and that is how i came to be in st louis.

WHY I'M HERE
next, as promised, let me share how i've come to be specifically in this room.

everyone i've mentioned this toastmasters affiliation with, who knows me, has expressed surprise.

the reason for this is for the past twenty years, every job i've had has included or been solely about public speaking.

so people who have seen me talk or work wonder why i'd join such an organization.

the reason is i have a secret.

the secret is before every speaking engagement i've ever done, a war has been waged in my mind.

a war full of shouting and intimidation.

this war was waged before i gave my first talk twenty years ago.

this war was waged last week when i guest lectured in a class of graduate students.

this war will be waged again this friday when i give an hour long talk to 100 law students.

and yes, this war was waged before this talk today.

the good news is in the last twenty years i have never lost this war. i've never avoided a speaking opportunity and every time i said i'd speak, i spoke.

but the smartest among us say that the true victory is not in winning the battle—the true victory is avoiding the war.

that is my personal goal—to not have the war.

and that is why i have come to be in this room today.

and that is who i am and that is why i'm here.



 
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KIDS (permalink) 04.23.2013
father beware
last week our family watched a film called babysitter beware for our friday night movie. there was a scene at the beginning of the film where these kids put a dog's shock collar around an evil neighbor's neck and then repeatedly tricked him into shocking himself. on the following tuesday at breakfast, anthony said the following in regard to that film.
you know that guy that they shocked at the beginning of the show. when the show ended and they started showing all the names they should have had that guy yell like he just got shocked playing in the background.
i stopped making my lunches contemplating his notion, shook my head in agreement and told him i thought that he was right and that would have been a smart and funny add. i finished lunches marveling at the human brain, and the young mind sitting in my kitchen presently, that conjured that specific thought days after the initial experience.

for any envious of me getting to be entertained by my witty six year old so, let me share what came out of my cerebral cherub's mouth seventeen minutes later after i pissed him off for goofing around in the backyard when he was supposed to be getting in the car. after finally sliding into the backseat and slamming the door in a huff, he proceeded to light me up.

ANTHONY
i wish i came out of someone else's stomach.

TROY
what? why would you say that? we're going to school, we're not playing in the backyard.

ANTHONY
i wasn't playing. i was trying to walk to the garage without getting mud on my shoes.

TROY
well, i'm sorry. i didn't know that was what you're doing.

ANTHONY
i didn't want to track mud into my school. what kind of parent yells at their child for trying to be respectful of their school?

welcome to another glorious day in the corps of parenthood.



monthly archives




PHOTO (permalink) 04.22.2014
hands down, or perhaps it should be hands up (in joy)
LIFE magazine recently asked the question "is this the happiest photo ever made?" (link). the suggesting winning image was taken by one Alfred Eisenstaedt, picture below.



given a daily ritual i have of looking at another photo, my answer of no came quick as my preference quickly turns to the below photo, Burst of Joy taken by Slava "Sal" Veder, on March 17, 1973 and is captioned, "Lt. Col. Robert Stirm, is greeted by his family, returning home after more than five years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam." (fuller back story).



upon digging further i was glad (and affirmed) to see time's more exhaustive list included my Burst of Joy choice as part of their fuller list of 20 timeless, joyful photos.




VIDEO, LIFE (permalink) 04.18.2014
exuisite






KIDS, WEB (permalink) 04.17.2014
so far, so good
people have long chided me that my kids would one day revolt towards this website. the below exchange between bella, age 13, and i affirms my choice, thus far at least. and, yes, i'm documenting this here in case her position ever changes.
On Feb 19, 2014, at 7:26 AM, Troy Dearmitt wrote:
bella,
i thought you might enjoy this dCom post from exactly five years ago to the day.

http://dearmitt.com/index02.php3?selDate=02.19.2009

how times change.

dad



On Mar 5, 2014, at  3:45 PM, Bella DeArmitt wrote:
OMG, I haven't had time to reply, but I read it on that day. I'm so sweet,  demonic, and SMART!

Thanks for making this website,

Bella C;D



QUOTES, KIDS (permalink) 04.16.2014
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.
jack, you're in




KIDS (permalink) 04.15.2014
lieing to a 7 year old shouldn't be this hard.
to give a further taste to the challenge that is raising/educating anthony (referring to), i share the following story which happened just yesterday.

last weekend anthony lost a tooth. sunday night marty helped anthony place the tooth under his pillow. then after he was asleep marty came to my office looking for a dollar bill. she plucked one from my wallet and made the trade. the next morning when anthony woke up, marty asked him if anything had happened. remembering the tooth, anthony looked under his pillow and found the dollar. he held the unfolded bill in his hands, studying it, then cried foul.

ANTHONY
hey. this is one of dad's dollars.

MARTY
uhh. what?

ANTHONY
this dollar. it's dads.

MARTY
what do you mean it's dads? why do you say that?

ANTHONY
because it has this notch right here. all of dad's money has a notch right here because of that clip he keeps it in.

MARTY
uhhh. well. maybe the tooth fairy has a wallet like dads.

ANTHONY
really mom.




WEB, LIFE (permalink) 04.08.2014
in short
in the middle of last year, i retired. not from my proper day job but from doing freelance work. in taking five minutes to do the math, i observed that the amount of enjoyment (e.g. cash money) traded for the amount of effort (e.g. my saturday nights) were disproportionate, and wildly so. so i forfeited the enjoyment by no longer buying things (things i didn't need in the first place) and instead of working through the night each and every weekend, would read books, and watch movies with my daughter, and go on dates with my wife, and work obsessively on my cross stitch skills.

and equally important, instead of making things i was essentially paid to care about, i now make things i personally care about. some would call these pet projects and is, i'd guess, what many old men of this generation do instead of diddling with electronics on their basement workbenches. while many of my projects are for private use, today i'm sharing the first public project to come from my reclaimed saturday nights, In Short Books.


click to jump





QUOTES (permalink) 04.04.2014
beauteous
"Trust those who seek the truth but doubt those who say they have found it."

André Gide


QUOTES, KIDS (permalink) 04.03.2014
payback
the night before i went on my mancation ski trip this year, alex and i spent a few quiet moments together before bed. out of nowhere he reflectively said the following:
it's hard on me when you travel.

at delmar harvard i remember i used to slide into my seat at lunch time and the last time you went skiing, i didn't slide in like i always did because i was sad and everyone (at the table) noticed (i didn't slide in) and then i started crying.

but that is the last time i cried at school about you traveling.
what he doesn't know is when he starts traveling, like for college, life, and marriage, i'll be the one not animatedly sliding into my seat and maybe even crying a bit. i hope i come to terms with it as quickly and maturely as he has.




KIDS (permalink) 04.02.2014
not for the weak-willed
a taste of what it's like to babysit the dearmitt-walter kids. note marty's fourth bullet point below.
WEDNESDAY, AUG 8, 2012
Bella has 2 dog-sitting jobs today. First, the same location and times on Pershing as yesterday. Second, she walks a dog at Pershing on her own. She will need to visit both dogs before leaving for roller skating.

Rollercade is at 11703 Baptist Church Road, 63128. It takes between 20-30 minutes to get there. The kids will probably have just eaten breakfast.
  1. I would pack snacks for the car ride home, water included.
  2. Alexander needs to remember quarters for the video games.
  3. I don't buy drinks or snacks.
  4. The last time that we went to Rollercade, Anthony discovered that he could fit inside the lockers. So if you can't find him, I would just wait patiently.
  5. We usually put our shoes in the lockers but I don't remove the key. I leave my purse in the car so that it stays safe.


QUOTES, KIDS (permalink) 04.01.2014
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.
slackers need not apply




VIDEO (permalink) 03.28.2014
watch this. if you don't you might regret it.






KIDS (permalink) 03.27.2014
hey you!
a few of the hand-crafted flyers bella made last night which she plans to hang up on poles and in bathrooms around our community on her day off school today. my memory might not be what it once was but i'm pretty sure i never spent a day off school making and posting signs in hopes of raising people's self-esteem.

click to enlarge


click to enlarge





KIDS (permalink) 03.26.2014
uncle, uncle!
the biggest problem we have with our two sons is they laugh so often and so loud they annoy and wake their sister with great regularity. watching them play and read and cuddle and rough-house and build together, at times for hours on end, has proven to be a magical combination for us. recently marty and alex had to go away for a few hours on saturday morning, a time i usually do my weekend chores and a time alex and anthony usually hang out. anthony was all over me with an attitude of, "c'mon dude, entertain my shit". his presence was so heavy i imagined how different life would be if he were our only child or if his older brother wasn't as open and engaging as he was and i had this urge to buy alex ten presents, some of which he really wants and some that he doesn't even know he wants in gratitude for how awesome he is to his little brother ... and by extension to me.




KIDS, QUOTES (permalink) 03.25.2014
a kind of mystery science theater
we were at a theatrical production of les miserables in salt lake city. our family sat in the last row of the hale's intimate circular auditorium. this would be my third show at the hale and my family's second. during one particular scene, the necessary prop was lowered from the ceiling. it stood in the center of the round stage as one of the most scant arrangements used through the night containing only a metal gate supported on either side by two stone pillars. in the scene two star-struck lovers stood on either side of the locked gate longing for one another through their drippy sentiments exchanged between the gate's bars. in the middle of the heated scene my seven year old leaned into me for the following whispered conversation:

ANTHONY
dad.

TROY
yes.

ANTHONY
why are they talking through the gate?

TROY
because she is locked in her house and he is on the street.

ANTHONY
but why doesn't he just walk around?

TROY
(muffled laughter)

ANTHONY
i mean, can't they see the fence doesn't go very far and they could just walk around that stone part?

TROY
well, because ...

ANTHONY
then they wouldn't have to talk through those bars.

later in the show when they brought out a grown up and highly decorated Cossette, anthony quietly asked why little bo peep was in the show. this one caused laughter by a small circle of seats surrounding him.

so, if you ever want to make a high-brow show more entertaining, i reckon for the right price (some sweets from the intermission stand) you could have anthony accompany you and ask the questions that need to be asked.




WEB (permalink) 03.17.2014
that good life
stepping away again. be back on tuesday, march 25th.




LIFE, WIFE (permalink) 03.14.2014
while beautiful as heck, the girl is awfully hard on a set of dishes
marty believes that if you make it fifteen or twenty years in marriage you should get to have a second wedding shower namely to replace the things you received the first time because after a decade of use, many of them are starting to wear out or are broken or are way out of style. while i chortled at her suggestion when she initially floated out there, holding one of the struggling items up in example as she spoke, i must confess the notion has been rolling around by brain long enough now that it has nice rounded edges and the sheen of a glassy marble, which is the look all our best thoughts take on in time—in my metaphorical world at least.

granted this time through i think marty would kindly request to swap any suggestive lingere purchaces for a more practical set of wool socks. and sad as it is to report, i would support the request. you would too if you ever had her ice-cold feet graze against your calf at 2am on a winter's night.




QUOTES, KIDS (permalink) 03.13.2014
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.
how does this work




QUOTES, KIDS (permalink) 03.12.2014
a new TROYSCRIPT was posted today.
rat-fink




WIFE (permalink) 03.11.2014
43 years strong, savvy, sexy and smart
today is marty's birthday. several months back she dropped the hint, and by hint i mean she just came out and said, "all i want for my birthday is a working dishwasher". well i, wanting to add master gift-giver to the list of things i am known for, made an indelible note on my mind's whiteboard.

in getting an impressively mature/early start on the endeavor i recalled that getting a new washer involved new and expensive plumbing work to meet code. i then iterated through the notes made by the repairman about the machine as well as the litany of work i had done to date. with about six weeks till today i started studying the problem in hopes that i could figure out why the machine was not doing what it was built, solely, to do. i crossed the finish line on saturday, with three days to spare, by having our dishwasher clean its first set of dirty dishes in better than two years. marty was over the moon and i beamed with a genuine pride reserved for young men who solve seemingly unsolvable problems, given their meager abilities at least.

and now, in addition to providing marty with the one birthday present she wanted most, i have a professional fall-back plan if my I.T. gig doesn't pan out as a dishwasher repairman because i know way more about these animals than any one man who isn't a repairmen should.




LIFE (permalink) 03.07.2014
holy dang
i just got tunred onto this ted video (by super-sam). i have no idea how i haven't seen it before now as it looks to have been out a few years (7 million plus views long at least). what a presenter! what a delivery! what a message! super strong all around. i watched it last night with marty and bella. when he talked about our need to stop teaching to the average and start raising the average, marty shouted and clapped as if she were in the original auditorium. when he talked about the ingredients to a healthy day (e.g. gratitudes, journaling, exercise, meditation, targeted kindness) bella backed away from me a little bit as she knows these are part of the metrics i track everyday. she knows this well because she has mocked me several times for my little LIFE spreadsheet i'm often found to be obsessively pouring over, by her telling, like gollum over his precious. obviously, i would like to describe it differently but it is close enough to the mark i'm left a mildly impotent to paint a more reasonable picture.






LIFE, FRIENDS (permalink) 03.05.2014
caffeine, way optional
my young friend that recently shouldered a cancer diagnosis goes in for his final treatment this afternoon. after that, all involved expect to place him in the 'in full remission' category. but as they say, once a survivor, always a survivor which means the big C knows where you live and you'll never again live without the fear of opening the door and seeing its grim face staring back at you.

in our most recent coffee outing, which was our first to come in under four hours, he spoke of the positive impacts this experience has had on his life. the first thing he said, in example, is he could sit in this chair, stare out this window and see the wonder and beauty of the slush-filled road and its surroundings, and he could do so for hours without getting bored of it. i asked him if he thought the feeling would ever go away. he said he could see it subsiding in time but doubted it would ever leave fully.

he then spoke of a new ritual he has adopted. he now greets mornings with a new respect and gratitude. the first thing he does after waking is not go back to sleep as he would in the past (i mean the guy is 23 and fresh out of college). the second thing he does is walk through his apartment and slide each sun-blocking curtain open wide, letting the sunlight flood each room. third he does some sort of full-body stretch. lastly, he makes his bed. once that is done he begins his day with an appreciation few hold.

i think i've discussed how in recent years i've converted to being a morning guy. my only personal sadness is i didn't do it decades earlier. already, i have my own set of rituals i partake in the morning, rituals meant to prepare for and give thanks to the day ahead but in hearing sam describe his morning routine, i see my own practice lacks the reverence i feel in sam's approach. i'm left wondering if the only way to enter our days with like gratitude is to have been part of a medical guessing game of how likely it is you will be around for the planet's sunrise this time next year.




KIDS (permalink) 03.04.2014
it makes dirty clothes on the bathroom floor seem tame, maybe even welcome
i found a pair of bella's underwear in the dining room.

when i opened the silverware drawer in the butler's pantry, i found a pair of anthony's pajamas stuffed towards the back.

no comments were made though until we found one of alex's socks pulled over the doorknob of our home's front door. marty pointed at the sock and asked me if that meant one of the boys were having sex upstairs and we should proceed with caution.

i thanked her for suggesting it was one of the boys and not my only daughter.




WIFE, QUOTES (permalink) 02.28.2014
i'll let you guess who wears the pants in this arrangement
the email i received from marty after she read the family gallery posting (trapped) about her choosing to quit work and stay home with the kids.
It's amazing how you can write like a woman.
Marty
that was the message in it's entirety. no hello. no thanks. just, you write like a girl. i reckon the most appropriate response would have been:
and, it's amazing how much you write like a man.
troy
but instead of sending that response, i went to the kitchen and did the dishes.




FRIEND (permalink) 02.27.2014
beaten to the punch
i had lunch with a friend. we talked about many things. family, both immediate and extended. the generational divide in belief and approach. he talked about how disengaged his parents were with his children. he went on to add that he shouldn't be all that surprised because they weren't all that engaged with him when he was young. now rolling in his deconstruction of the relationships he said the following, and i'm paraphrasing here:
my girls are the only two people i will know for every minute of their lives. i mean i saw them enter this world. i held them moments after. i cleaned maggie off minutes later. and i've seen every moment since. i get to witness them experience the world for the first time and am watching them turn into adults before my eyes, and get to help mold and direct that. i mean how f'ing amazing is that. how could you not want to be part of that if you're fortunate enough to have the chance?
when he paused i complimented his beautiful verbalizing of the experience, confessing i had never thought of it in just that way—that as a parent you get to experience nearly every facet of a child's experience in this world and how that isn't going to happen anywhere else, like ever again, except for maybe as a grandparent if you're lucky enough to have grandkids and live long enough to see it but even then you will spend much of the time in the next room, thus making your parental run all the more special. then, selfishly, i expressed my dismay at not verbalizing that sentiment before he just did (and me over-thinking just about anything kid related that can be ruminated on).

sometimes i hate being so predictable.




VIDEO (permalink) 02.26.2014
bella meets youtube
a local community activist, after meeting bella, asked if she could interview bella for an awareness program they were working on. bella agreed and we just recently saw the resultant video.






PHOTO (permalink) 02.25.2014
a new GALLERY IMAGE was posted today.
FEBRUARY 2014




LIFE, FRIEND (permalink) 02.21.2014
raising the bar
this recent post by dan martin stands as one of my favorite-ever facebook posts. granted, i've only ever read seventeen facebook post. still, it's one of the best i've seen. beautiful and thoughtful work dan. kudos.






LIFE, FRIEND (permalink) 02.20.2014
the talking artist
so this friend i've written about the last two days (tue, wed) would be the same friend i recently celebrated reconnecting with (told here) after a multi-year hiatus. as noted when i first brought him up, he is one of my all-time favorite people to converse with as partially evidenced by the last two days postings, both of which came from our most recent outing together (i could probably bleed two weeks of content from that single lunch). that said i fear i may not have properly represented him in those two examples.

one problem in sharing our conversations is i'm not a good enough writer to accurately convey the spirit of our talks and because of this, his inquiries might come off as insensitive or fumbling but this is very much not the case. what makes this fellow so good at discourse is he is able to ask the perfect questions, questions that are way obvious and way probing all at the same time. the special part is he can do so without coming across as aggressive or judgmental—no small feat. this is his art. truly. i've never met a person who can engage another as intensely and innocently (simultaneously) as this guy. and frankly, i don't know how he does it but would quickly trade a skill or two of my own to possess the rare ability. after much thought though, i believe it to be, simply, his natural gift.

the big thing he is able to do that most can't is pose his questions, and he has many, in a way that is not menacing. he is not looking to challenge your ways but instead understand them, possessing a genuine interest to know why you do what you do. it's fundamental curiosity at its basest form. the only time i've seen a like level of interest elsewhere is in small children. the significant difference though is his questions are curated and presented with the grace and clarity of a professional conversationalist, if there is such a thing. and this is not a one-way affair. i share a like curiosity and wonder at his life, past and present, and he is every bit as giving as he might ask you to be. the culmination of this mutual interest in each other's lives makes for twisting, unpredictable, and meaningful conversational journeys that, when we really fall into the stream, could best be described as 'heady'.

i cherish my time with this friend because he routinely gets me to re-contemplate my choices. for me this is big because my choices, our choices, are what will go on to make us who we are three months and three decades from now. when looked at like that, i'd challenge you to name a more critical service or use of your time. in our talks, there are times his curiosity affirms my position and other times it prompts me to adjust or abandon my notions. either way it gets cut up, i'm the better for our vivisection of ideas. in many regards it is the relationship bookguy pined for many years back (documented here).

i reckon it's clear by now that i could easily devote six months worth of posts to my interactions with this friend, known by all simply as luby, as our time has been most interesting pretty much from the moment we first met. i hope to enjoy his magical, elegant way for many decades to come.




LIFE, HEALTH (permalink) 02.19.2014
more wheaties. more piss.
another question my friend, the same from yesterday, asked me about in our last outing was why i worked so hard to lose weight and get in shape. his question, obvious as it was, took me a little off-guard and without much thought i told him, generically, so i could make sure i'm able to keep playing with my kids as i get older and don't have to be the dad that sits on the park bench reading the paper, shooing them back to play on their own when they call me in to share in their climbing and chasing games. later in the week, my sub-conscious, certainly un-enamored with my wanting response, pushed forth the real answer by replaying one of lester burnham's many great lines from american beauty. this particular exchange came when he caught up with the male couple from next door during one of their morning runs.
Lester: I figured you guys might be able to give me some pointers. I need to shape up. Fast.
Jogger: Are you just looking to lose weight, or do you want increased strength and flexibility as well?
Lester: I want to look good naked!
if i were honest with my friend, and myself, this is the core reason i'm working as hard as i am. first and foremost i believe that if i achieve that goal, of looking good naked, many other pertinent and meaningful dominoes will fall, like looking good at the pool, having clothes fit me better, feeling energetic, avoiding doctors/hospitals (!!!), walking into speaking engagements with greater confidence, sleeping more soundly, biking a hundred miles with my daughter, getting out of a chair or off the floor without accompanying groans and moans, and yes, all that and being able to rawk the park with my youngins.

the biggest and most unanticipated benefit of getting my body back more like my college days was surprisingly not on my list: making my wife more interested in me. she had never discerningly reduced her affection for me over the decades as i added better than a pound a year to my frame but once the weight left my mid-section, there was a perceptible uptick in the attention i received from her. for instance, as i passed her in the hallway where before we'd politely skirt by one another without any antics, she might now hold a hand out as i passed and rake her fingers across my flat-ish stomach or she might come up behind me as i did dishes and send a slow hand down my side, leaving a tantalizing comment in my ear before peeling away. again, while this sorta stuff never fully went away, this sorta stuff wasn't happening with the same frequency when i was having to up-size my pants every other year. and even though this perk wasn't on my radar of benefits when i began the trek, i can whole-heartedly say it stands out (and up) as the best part of the view now that i've crested the hill.




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