the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero


I am grateful to be DAD

Mass media and much of society still has yet to get the memo.

It’s still lonely, but, I would be remiss if I forgot to mention that my ward (local church congregation) has been better about including my perspective in discussions of parenthood.

Our Relief Society president more or less acknowledged on the stand that visiting teachers minister to families as well as sisters.  Whew!  I thought Cimmy’s were just putting up with me.  Then again, she is my right hand woman for one of my home teaching assignments, because she is assigned as a visiting teacher to the women in that family. Because our respectively assigned companions are inactive or very busy, sometimes, the only way we maintain contact and help for that family is to pair up.

The dads in my ward are hands on.  The elders’ quorum (one of the men’s groups) usually has some kids in the meetings, because our dads take turns caring for their kids.  When my son was younger, I was grateful to get some help when I took my turn caring for him.

Sometimes I sat in during his Primary time, either in opening exercises (when the children met together) or during his individual classroom time.  I am grateful that I don’t have to do that anymore, although, I did like the change of pace then.  I liked singing the Primary songs and listening to the lessons.

I have been hurting so bad that I haven’t been attending services much… again.  I am still grateful that Cimmy is still willing to take the kids anyways.  She didn’t feel well enough to get them to the main worship service, but she took Boy to Primary and Princess to Young Women‘s.  Someone in the ward very thoughtfully gave them a ride home.

boy in tent

Still an old photo. The tent was broken, and then repaired after it was taken. I suggested Cimmy move it closer to the east fence (in the background) to shield it from the wind.

Cimmy set up the tent for Boy to sleep in over the weekend.  I’m grateful that she fixed it.  This is a tent I used during my Scouting years, and I am glad that it’s still servicable.

He slept in it last Friday and Saturday nights, but Cimmy brought him in last night as he was melting down again.  We’ll try again this upcoming weekend.  He slept alone as Princess had no desire to sleep in the tent this time, but we gave him a flashlight, kept the lights on on the back porch areas, and he was fine.

EDIT Friday, September 5: Our ward had a church social that we somehow missed out on (while Cimmy makes it to meetings, she often misses announcements about social activities unless I press her to add it).

Didn’t know until I called an old family friend two hours ago (who incidentally moved into our neighborhood some months ago– sometimes the stars just align that way to our benefit); he promised to let me know about things a little bit better.

Called my father– he schedules for the building the social was in– so many members are just having trouble adjusting to the new technology (ward organizations– Relief Society, etc.– are supposed to schedule online themselves, but they don’t know how, they keep calling him to do it).

Called our bishop (read: pastor, if that’s more familiar to you) about an hour ago to let him know that we were falling through the cracks and not learning about things.  Told him about what I was learning from my father and his calling (read: assignment, position) and said I was willing to help people learn the system– once I can get surgery for the bone spur in my spine and whatever else– and am more healthy to do it.

We will see about Boy sleeping back in the tent tonight.



Ten things of thankful: ID4 2014 and more

I’ve started a new 43Things goal for Lizzi’s Ten Things of Thankful blog hop.
As always, I’ve added additional long-form edits to this WordPress crosspost.

This weekend brought so much to be thankful for.

1. Our daughter continues to work on her artistic skills. She was our principal photographer and videographer for our trip.

Photo credit: Bill 1939 B at Flickr, a.k.a. “Pop”. My father-in-law decided to take some shots of Princess at work

2. She has friends and family that are cheering her on!  Notably, they include:

the ever-lovely and generous Tahira “TJ” Lubrano

Bill 1939 (her maternal grandfather, as mentioned before)

I’ve been in touch with Dean at Dean’z Doodlez about starting some artistic, creative synergy with his work and the stuff that Cimmy, Princess and I do.  So far, the response has been fantastic!  Please do me a favor and check him out.

3. The gooseberry bush at my in-laws’ house is always ready to harvest (often more ready than my MIL’s liking) every July 4th. They allow us to come each year to pick gooseberries.

It wasn't TOO hot, but we took time during the hottest part of the day to remove the stems and blossoms.  Photo by Princess

It wasn’t TOO hot, but we took time during the hottest part of the day to remove the stems and blossoms. Photo by Princess

4. The Yakama Nation is less stringent about fireworks than our local municipalities, so we go to Toppenish to watch local displays. Although the casino didn’t have funds for a display this year, there was plenty to see from nearby stands.

Oh snap, Princess is better at capturing fireworks than I am!

Oh snap, Princess is better at capturing fireworks than I am!

5. Although we essentially get a free show, Cimmy and the kids have enjoyed lighting sparklers the past few years. Sparklers are banned in our home city.

Do you see now this girl has got talent?  Wow!

Do you see now this girl has got talent? Wow!

6. I spent some time to be mindful of the holiday and talked with my father-in-law about the reality of wartime military service that Friday. Specifically, he served Navy on a nuclear submarine during the Vietnam War.

7. I am grateful that my wife spent some loving and pleasant time with her youngest sister, with our daughter along.

8. I am very glad that my sister-in-law is doing well right now, and that she always welcomes my hugs.

9. Yakima and Toppenish were my other homes at one point. Returning is sometimes bittersweet, but I enjoy returning and recalling many memories.

10. I am grateful for the old highways (WA HWY 22, 241) that are less-traveled. They are a welcome respite from the freeways (SR 395, I-82) and the manner of their drivers.

1 Comment

Weekly Photo Challenge: Threes

I’ve been in pain, and otherwise busy– it’s almost time for the next photo challenge!

If you’re following  jak & Cimmy’s Journal Jar, you’ll have already seen an example of three there back on Valentine’s Day/President’s Day weekend.  If you’re not– well, please have a look at How the Journal Jar REALLY celebrated V-Day.

Now, here are three more pictures I took at RadCon 6B:

which should give you a small idea of the things you could find at the convention.

We didn’t take a lot of photos and videos, but if you’d like to see more, please see our RadCon 6B 2014 photoset on Flickr.

Enhanced by Zemanta

1 Comment

Weekly Photo Challenge: Treasure

This is my wife, Cimmorene.

A selfie Cimmy took for her Loving Myself Through Gratitude blog.

A selfie Cimmy took for her Loving Myself Through Gratitude blog.

I treasure her, and I treasure her commitment to character.

Young Women (organization)

Cimmy created this while working on the LDS Young Women Personal Progress program, to be ready to help our daughter when she does it.

Cimmy created this while working on the LDS Young Women Personal Progress program, to be ready to help our daughter when she does it.

As usual, this post was inspired by the Daily Post at for the Weekly Photo Challenge.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Zero to Hero Day 28: Build on Popular Content

Today I’m guest posting at Cimmy’s blog The Dragon’s Lair to help with a Zero to Hero challenge.

Comments are closed at the tao of jaklumen… come and give Cimmorene your support!

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Dragon's Lair

I can’t believe there were no suggestions at all.  

Wait a minute, what’s this?

“Get jak to answer the question about you.”  

You got it.  Take it away, jak!  

Thanks, Cimmy!

The assignment for day 28 is to find the post that has received the most views, likes, or comments, and write a related follow-up post.

I suggested to Cimmorene that I could write a “he said” follow-up to the Day 27 question:

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from the person you’re the closest to?

Cimmy taught me to love myself more, and to smile more often.

(The character Cimmy is portraying is Scene from the Fine Bros. MyMusic YouTube show)
-She is sweet to a fault, always showing kindness and love

I love you, my dear, every time I go
You have a way to let me know
No matter how upset I…

View original post 60 more words


A Blogger’s Journey: The beginning

I still have trouble believing it.

I think I realized how long it’s been when Aussa prompted comments with a “How long have you been blogging?” question, in one of her posts.

Then I was reading Rara’s blog and saw her mentions of being 29 years old.  Looking back, I slowly realized that I started blogging when I was 29, too.  I had tried to think of what was happy when I was 29.  I thought of my daughter, when she was born, but that was a year earlier.  She brought such joy, but 2003, the year I began blogging, was filled with sadness and sorrow.


I created my account at LiveJournal on the 12th of November, 2003.  My first public post was the next day, with this quiz meme (reconstructed as the original code has been taken down):

You are Morpheus, from “The Matrix.” You have strong faith in yourself and those around you. A true leader, you are relentless in your pursuit.

It was a time of fluff– lots of users did these quizzes, posting the result.  Although some users wrote about their lives in the old journal/diary style that was common for the time, others were writing in the same style, for fictional characters.  I’d been drawn into LiveJournal by LARPers (Live Action RolePlayers).  The organization they were part of was known as the Camarilla (at that time), and so users were writing diaries as development for their characters– usually vampires and mages, for a horror-based setting.

I will save tales of woe concerning them for another time.  Know simply this, dear readers, was that so very many of them blurred the line between fantasy melodramatics and drama in their own personal lives.  And it brought out some of the worst in me.  I’d already been with them for about three years, if I remember right.

Anyways, I continued on with the meme fluff at LiveJournal until November 18th:

I got a job for the holidays! It’s work with Noerr Programs ( working as a Santa at the Columbia Center Mall. It’s full-time hours, Monday-Thursday, 10-8, $10/hour. My final interview included two hours on the floor playing the actual role and I got a photo of my daughter on my lap, which was actually sent to the regional manager, which I’m sure sealed the deal. I’m very excited.

Not to mention I can get off the dole for December and be rid of my case manager at DSHS for a little while…

This is the picture in question.  Smarty-pants here later figured out too much about the Santa myth, so we used it to reveal the reality of it all.

This is the picture in question. Smarty-pants here later figured out too much about the Santa myth, so we used it to reveal the reality of it all.

This was the first time I gave a hint to the ugly reality of that year.  The year previous, we had been homeless and bankrupt, and so we had stayed with a friend, whose marriage was ending while we were there.  We had moved to a fourplex, which brought horrors detailed in the 5 Truths, 1 Lie meme.  Both Cimmy and I were in welfare-to-work, because we were valiantly trying to be self-sufficient.  This dragged on until Cimmy had a nervous breakdown in the middle of the DSHS office, and Rhenda Stewart (the “battleaxe” of a case manager I mentioned in the quote) wormed it out of me that I was on psychiatric medicines, and then they pushed us to apply for Social Security disability benefits.

I had worked as a mall Santa before, but I didn’t get the job that year.  I had been walking the mall and an employee at the Pepperidge Farm kiosk tried to give me a sample, and I just couldn’t manage with that fake beard.  Noerr normally insists Santas have real beards, bleached white, but I did not have a long enough, full enough beard at that time.  This was my post on December 5:

Well, I found out the Santa gig won’t pan out… I got grounded because of a background check, and they just kept me hanging forever. I had to play phone tag between my case manager and the set until I finally found out the background check would take too long (and my case manager called me to tell me this… no, my employer couldn’t tell me that. Meanwhile, I was five days without money). I wish they would have just been straight with me. I had to reapply for benefits today, and the whole thing just rather cheesed me off.

By the way, Princess was only a year old in that photo.  Cimmy was worried she might freak out, as young children that age sometimes do, but she was fairly calm and serene.  She told me today that she knew it was me with my kind, smiling eyes.  (Tell me, how many of you are saying “Awww…” right now?)

Now what does this have to with the Hero’s Journey?  Well, this time I started blogging– I was already past The Ordinary World (outer), and the Limited Awareness of the Problem (inner).  This was well into the Call to Adventure, with its increased awareness of the need for change, but also the Refusal of the Call, with fear and resistance to that change.

Inner steps: 2. Increased awareness of need for change 3. Fear; Resistance to Change (from Christopher Vogler)

Inner steps:
2. Increased awareness of need for change
3. Fear; Resistance to Change
(from Christopher Vogler)

Next post in the series: A 10-year blogging journey: The hidden beginning

Leave a comment

Atonement with the Father: I survived Father’s Day

I do not like to toot my own horn, generally.  But I survived.

I know that there are many that do cookouts on Father’s Day.  I didn’t.  I prepared chili stew, because I knew it would require minimal prep and could sit in a slow cooker while we were at church.

I hurt like hell, unfortunately as usual.  But the family didn’t get ready early enough to walk, and I guess I was relieved that we opted to drive there, although it was only a few blocks.  I knew that I’d need to run the electrostim device during the last two hours of meetings.  And I suspected that I’d have to wrangle my son during the main worship service again.  He’d been antsy ever since school ended, and any disruption to his routine usually presses him to act up.  (He’ll start summer school twice a week beginning tomorrow, however.)

My suspicions were confirmed when the children were asked to come up to the stand for a musical number.  I appreciated my daughter going up to help my son out, as some of the younger children would have plowed through me (how do little children do that?)  But he didn’t want to come down after that, and so I had to go up and sit with him, basically in full view of the entire congregation.  He wouldn’t sit still at all and seemed to take great glee in surfing the choir chairs to the back.  Once he came down to the pews, I dragged him out, despite his go-limp-as-a-ragdoll resistance.

Last week was very difficult, too.  But his teacher had prepared some activities to keep him busy during opening exercises (about 30 children all gather to sing songs, etc., I have told his schoolteachers numerous times that this arrangement is NOT negotiable), before they dismissed to separate classrooms.  So I could rest a bit after I was sure he was settled, and not once did Primary leadership come to get me during the next two meetings.

However, for the past four weeks, I’ve had to use an electrostim device, which Cimmy sets up for me in one of the mother’s rooms, set just off the stage of the cultural hall.  It is the less active of the two, so it’s less likely that someone will come in and see Cimmy attaching electrodes to my bared backside.  (Our meetinghouse does not have a spare handicap-accessible restroom where a caregiver of opposite gender may assist someone.)

I’m crashing hard, so I will not be able to finish this post as well as I’d like in a manner that is probably timely for anyone to ever bother reading it.  All I have left to say is that my father bawled out my grandfather Marine (Mom’s dad) last week for hounding me so much about my weight.  Titanium balls, I tell you.  He may not have nerves of steel, but given how much his nerves hurt him, I’m truly amazed at how well he can put on a good face and not chew everyone to bits.  I mean, I can’t… yet.  I might not grump publicly but I grouch and bitch and moan in private about how badly I hurt.  He does, sometimes, but a hell a lot less than I do.  So these days I think he’s tougher than my crusty old Marine grandfather.


Atonement with the Father.  Fatherhood is important to me, no matter how jaded or bitter society can be about it sometimes.  And some days, I want a little more public respect.  Sundays are damned hard sometimes, you know?  But I go, I go for my children, and for me, and for Cimmy.  I go because they mean a lot to me and maybe someday it will reap more intrinsic rewards.  But I want a little acknowledgment, even if it’s “my father was an abusive ass/negligent bum/absent idiot, but props to your hard work, sir.”

Oh, and please let me deck Madison Avenue so hard that they start advertising to dads.  I like to read about how I can be a better dad, but not when ads say, “Mom, Mom, Mom, Hey, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, oh yeah… hi Dad, Mom, do this Mom, Mom, give us your money, Mom, it’s good for your kids, Mom, oh yeah, maybe talk to Dad, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom.”  Damned soulless marketing fools.