65Herndon, United States
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My self-summary
In many ways, I think that who I am right now is defined by my relationships with the living things around me. The living things that I'm around most are my kittens, Jake and Maggie. I really do love these little things, and I suspect that sounds a bit weird, but it's still true. They depend upon me completely, and there is also a bond of trust between us. Neither got a say in this -- it was a lifestyle that was more or less forced upon them -- but nonetheless they are in a lifestyle where they depend upon me for food (and affection). I can not violate that trust. So foremost, I'm a cat lover.

I'm also around my students a lot. I operate my own tutoring business, and I still do spend a lot of time tutoring. Most of my students are high school age, and I'm defined in large part by how we interact with each other. I really enjoy helping them to get to the places where they want to go in life. It is just so very rewarding. And, I believe that my students trust me, and rely upon my advice, and some of them even genuinely like me. In some ways, I'm a mentor, then.

I also spend a lot of time in contact with my family. My daughter lives in the area, so I get to see her a lot, but she's the only member of my family that's close, geographically. With others, like my five sisters, there are a lot of phone calls, and a lot of e-mails. Also, I have kind of been establishing a reputation as having the summer address of choice for a handful of my nephews and nieces. So, I'm also a father, an uncle, a brother, and a son. (And, to update, my mother recently passed away, so, I will have to stop calling myself someone's son.)

I also have to include the house plants in this. (No, I don't name them. Anymore.) There are a lots of them, and they, like Jake and Maggie, depend absolutely upon me. They give back, too, but in their own very subtle, and of course, passive ways. One of my sisters once told me that she could always judge the state of my emotional health by just looking at the plants. Plants are good = Art is good.

To characterize myself in a few words, I am very much a smart ass. The students (and nephews and nieces) seem to enjoy this, the kittens put up with it, and the plants don't really seem to care.
What I’m doing with my life
I think that I'm pretty family oriented at this stage of my life. I've been trying to be a good father - and I have to admit that I have been a terrible one in the past. I've been trying to be a great uncle. I have 8 nephews and 3 nieces, and I would like to try to be a big part of their lives. I think that I really regret that my aunts and uncles were not at all a part of my life. Maybe I can make that scene different for my nephews and nieces. And, I have been trying to tie together a family that has gotten strewn all over the continent: from New York to Utah; and from Illinois to Texas.

Update: It's gotten worse. I now have a niece in Japan, another one in Minneapolis, and a nephew in Hawaii.
I’m really good at
1) Working crossword puzzles. Never allow me to look over your shoulder while you are working one. Shoo me out of the room. We'll get along better, that way.

2) Gaining the trust of children and other small mammals. Dogs like me. Cats like me. Squirrels tolerate me.

3) Getting lost. I'm not sure that I am really good at this, but I do it many times on purpose. I just love to take a ride (or a drive) down a road I've never been down before.

4) Dicing, especially onions. I really do enjoy cooking. I do not enjoy cooking for myself so much. (Here is where you come in.)

5) Starting novels (terrible at finishing them.) I am not sure, here, if this is so clear. I mean novels that I am writing. Not novels that I am reading. Those last ones I finish quickly.

6) Making lists. Oh, boy, am I ever good at this!
The first things people usually notice about me
I kind of hope that people will notice that I'm really warm and sincere and genuine and kind and generous and funny and fun. But I pretty sure that this isn't true at all - it is probably that I am intelligent. I tried wearing this clown hat and funny nose around for a week so that people would get the idea that I am funny but that didn't seem to work, so I tossed the whole shebang.
Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food
Books: My favorite books tend to be whatever I am reading at the moment. I usually find an author I like and then read everything they've ever written. Currently, I am picking on Cormac McCarthy, sort of backwards. I've read On the Road, No Country for Old Men, and All the Pretty Horses. Next, I'll be finishing the Border Trilogy (The Crossing, Cities of the Plain). Then...

Movies: Does The Wire count? I sure hope so, but I just love it, love it, love it. I want to be Stringer Bell when I grow up. And, if that doesn't count, it's The Princess Bride. And now, I see that they are considering Idris Elba to be the next James Bond! Yes, yes, yes!

Shows: You know how a lot of people say that they don't watch very much television. Okay. Here's me -- I don't have a television. I mentioned The Wire, above, and I have watched that on my laptop. But, no television.

Music: Not much I don't like. John Coltrane and Miles Davis have been with me for a long time. I also get into this thing where I mess around with Coltrane's and Davis' sidemen: McCoy Tyner, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock. Chopin (I can actually play some of his Preludes) and Liszt, too. Lately, I've been listening to a lot of Genesis, because their back catalog just came out on SACD.

Food: I prefer spicy to bland. So, that covers a lot of ground. Tomatoes might be my single favorite food, I think. So, Mexican is probably at the top of the list. Italian works, too. If it has tomatoes in it, I'm sure that I like it.
Six things I could never do without
Music, plants, cats, coffee, books, and children. In some order.
I spend a lot of time thinking about
Why we are such a polarized, divided society? I think that this is a such a shame, that we all seem to take these positions on one side or the other, and refuse to "cross the aisle." And, it's everywhere; it's pervasive. It's in politics, it's in religion, it's in our choice of coffee vendors and cell phone providers.

I aim to be more tolerant of others. I aim to dispense with this notion that "you can't be a man if you don't smoke the same cigarette as me."

Thanks, Mick.
On a typical Friday night I am
Wishing that I wasn't working. I try so hard to keep my Fridays and especially Friday nights open, and I usually fail so miserably at that. But, when they're free, I'm probably relaxing at home with a couple of kittens, a book, and a cup of tea.
The most private thing I’m willing to admit
I can't whistle. Consequently, some dogs view me with total contempt. Not all dogs, just some. Many dogs are actually quite fond of me despite the whistling thing.
You should message me if
You would enjoy someone reading The Princess Bride to you...Your dogs need a good buddy...You think that men who cook are cute...Your kids have trouble with their math homework...You need somebody to ride your motorcycle with...Your rosebushes are overgrown and need trimming...
The two of us