Friday, September 19, 2014

Random Acts of Shifeness

  • Hello there. How's it going? I'm doing OK. Really glad it's Friday. How about you? 
  • Well softball is over for this guy as my season ended yesterday and it was a pretty good year besides the bee sting and dislocated finger. However, I'm not going to lie and I'm really looking forward to not having any obligations 2-3 times a week during the evening. 
  • Kyle got in trouble at school because he is putting his head in girl's laps during story time so we had to have a talk with him about how that type of behavior is frowned upon. He might be a chip off the old block after all. =) 
  • I will be taking the next week off as I will be heading out of town for a few days with the lovely Mrs. Shife to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. And a big, special thank you to Grandma for coming into town to watch the kiddos for us. 
  • After the short break, I'll be back with a vengeance as it will be Shifetober and I will be counting down the days until my book is officially available for public consumption. Are you ready for 31 days of blogging from me? I hope I'm up for it. 
  • And thank you to everyone for their comments and support about my book coming out soon. Very much appreciated. 
  • Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend. 

A little bit princess & a little bit Hulk. She's wearing a hair bow, pink books and a Hulk shirt.

Kyle was pretty happy with himself that he could climb a pole. 

Just enjoying some popsicles in their costumes. 

The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man are ready for Halloween.

The kiddos had a great time at Grandma & Grandpa's house swinging from the hay bales. 

I will persevere. I will keep moving forward. I will be the stream. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

COADWG: The Book

Notice anything different about my blog? 
Maybe something over there on the right side?
Well the dream is becoming a reality and my book will be available October 31 or as I will be promoting it, Shifetober 31.
Here's a picture of the complete cover:

Here is the link to my Amazon Author page,
You will be able to order the electronic or paper book version there. Right now the paper book isn't available for pre-order because I need to review the proof but it will be up soon.
The paperback will sell for $10, and if you want a personalized copy just send me a message on the form on the right or send me an email at
For personalized copies, just send payment via PayPal and then I'll order a copy then mail it to you.
How does that sound?
This is exciting and stressful all at once but so far so good.
Finally in an effort to help spread the word, I will be having a contest in Shifetober and 4 lucky winners will get a personalized copy of the book as well as a special bookmark.
I'm not 100 percent on the contest but it will be probably be stuff like guess how many times the words Ambushed Paddington are mentioned in my book.
What do you think?
Well that's it for now. And a special thank you to the group of you who are regular visitors and make comments. I couldn't have done the book without you and for that you are mentioned by name in my Acknowledgements section. Does that sound like I'm trying to guilt you into buying my book? I hope not. =)
Any questions?

Have a good weekend.

I will persevere. I will keep moving forward. I will be the stream.

Friday, September 05, 2014

All Jammed Up

In a few years Kyle and Hayden might find it hard to believe that I was actually a teenager once – but I will assure them that I was – and this story is about something that happened during those awkward and formative years. Dislocating my finger last month helped this memory surface and I’m proud to present confessions of a dumb, white teenager.

High school can be hard enough but if you are truly lucky, you will find ways to make it even more difficult.
I was truly blessed on this day.
First off I was the new kid in school as we had just moved from Alaska to Idaho.
Then to add my misery, it was P.E. class.
Besides being the new guy, I was also 15 and not fully mature.
And by mature, I mean I was still waiting for the pubic hair fairy to pay his final visits because there were still some bare spots on the yard if you know what I mean.
Good times.
Even better times when you have to take a shower after P.E. with a bunch of other guys, who based on their facial hair, hit puberty at 7.
SARCASM ALERT à Of course boys would never tease other boys about their shortcomings like a lack of hair down there à SARCASM ALERT OVER
So I really didn’t look forward to P.E. class.
Another reason I wasn’t a big fan was because our P.E. teacher could care less about the class. He would just leave the equipment out that we were supposed to play with and then head to the top of the bleachers to enjoy his coffee and newspaper.
The activity for this wonderful day was the most dreaded of them all, dodgeball.

It was the seniors and any junior on the varsity football team against everyone else.
For the sake of storytelling we’ll just go with seniors instead of SAAJOTVFT.
The seniors got all of the yellow balls first and then headed to the gymnasium’s half-court line to begin pummeling us with no regard for our health, welfare or cries for mercy.
It was like they just got a pep talk from Johnny’s sensai in “The Karate Kid”: “Mercy is for the weak. Do you have a problem with that?”

They did not.
The first wave of balls came at us as like wuss-seeking missiles and it was a target rich environment.
We were all spread out against the back wall praying to whatever deity that was listening and hoping that we had not been the chosen one.
If you had somehow caught the senior’s eye, you got their undivided attention and their mission was to beat you like a piñata with those dodge balls.
The first poor bastard caught in the senior’s fury fell for one of the oldest tricks in the book.
As Admiral Ackbar from Star Wars said, “It’s a trap.”

They toss you a nice, easy one and play into your desire to be the hero. As you are gazing upwards preparing to make the big catch, a horde of balls is sent your way from a multitude angles taking you down like a lion on a wounded gazelle in the Serengeti.
The gazelle in this case was a guy named Steve.
He was thrown a nice, soft ball and before he had a chance to grab the ball in his hands, the seniors had fired away catching the kid in the most sensitive of areas.
The balls had nailed his balls.
He went down faster than a soccer player taking a dive in the penalty box during the World Cup.

After writing in pain, he eventually harnessed enough strength to seal crawl off the floor to the locker room.
Our numbers kept getting smaller and smaller as the seniors picked us off one by one.
Eventually there were only a few of us left so it was time to take our beating because it was going to happen one way or another.
No pain, no gain, right?
All 5’7” and 100 pounds of me ventured out from the friendly confines of the back wall to face the balls and get my thumping. As I waited near the free throw line for the ball tsunami to commence I suddenly felt something I hadn’t felt before in dodge ball: courage.
I don’t know if my fight or flight genes decided it was time to cowboy up but I was ready to get it on like ping pong.
Game on seniors.
The first ball missed wide.
The second ball whizzed over my head as I ducked.
The third ball went between my legs as I jumped.
Then I caught the fourth ball.
“Holy shit” I screamed inside my head.
Then I got drilled by the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth balls.
But I caught a ball.
Unfortunately the victory was short-lived as I looked down at my hands.
The ball was coming in so fast that when I went to cradle it in my chest it bent both of my thumbs back and jammed them.
It hurt but I didn’t think it was much of a problem until I went into the locker room to shower and change out of my gym clothes.
When I was in high school my pant of choice was the Levi 501s button fly jeans. If you are not familiar with them here’s a picture, 

You know what’s really hard to do with two jammed thumbs? You guessed it. Buttoning up those damn pants.
You know what’s even harder to do than that? Being the new kid and asking some dude you barely know to button up your pants for you.
Good thing I discovered some courage that day.
I ended up asking Steve because he was so distracted by his recently-acquired case of elephantitis of the balls (Do not, I repeat, do not do an image search of elephatitis of the balls) that buttoning up the pants of the new kid in school was the least of his problems.

Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your weekend.

I will persevere. I will keep moving forward. I will be the stream.