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When I want to share a web page that has a long honkin address I go to and create a shorter address that redirects to the original link.  There are other services that do this.

I’ve created:
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Why Average Should Be The New Excellent

Why Average Should Be The New Excellent

I am reprinting an article I came across. The original is linked at the end of this post.
This is also posted on the Lake Travis Parents site.

Are we pushing our kids too hard?

It’s a natural instinct to push our kids to succeed. We only want the best for them, after all. But are we damaging our children by teaching them that their choices are limited to either success or failure?

Our children grow up under the crushing weight of all our hopes and dreams for them. As they master crawling, walking and talking, we plan their futures. We imagine ourselves standing gracefully on the White House lawn, in the front row at the Academy Awards, waiting in the wings in Stockholm, courtside at the NBA finals. The child who absently bangs a few notes on the piano as he passes by is nurtured with lessons, his innate talent praised. The girl who twirls joyfully in the park is signed up for ballet and gymnastics lessons the next afternoon.

All over the world, parents push their children to succeed, to be the best, to excel. And that’s fantastic, except that the reality is that most of our children will not be world-famous whatevers or the greatest fill-in-the-blanks of all time. Most of us, after all, are fairly ordinary. Oh, sure, we’re really good at something or other, and we enjoy relative success in our chosen fields, but are we world-renowned? Are we turning down endorsement opportunities or juggling our schedules to give back-to-back keynotes at conferences on different continents or inspiring unauthorized autobiographies? Are we even writing unauthorized biographies? Most of us are not.


What’s critical is that our kids understand that even though we want the best for them, “the best” is relative. We want them to try, to dream, to reach, but we also need to ensure that they understand that normal does not necessarily mean mediocre, and that mediocre does not define their character, even if they can’t cure cancer or play in the NFL — or even make the JV team in high school.

People can be ordinary and still make a difference in the world. People can be average and still be extraordinary. And before you brush away that word disdainfully, before you discount average, consider this: Average is what you pray for during pregnancy. If you don’t believe it, just ask any parent of a child with special needs.


Dreams matter. Of course they matter. Of course we want greatness for our children. But we don’t want them to be so paralyzed by the thought of greatness that they fail to do anything meaningful with their lives. Life, in general, is not an all-or-nothing proposition. Our children deserve the chance to experiment, to dabble, to be free to aspire to normalcy. To do, without worrying about success or failure. To do. To be.


It’s not, “I’ll love you even if you can’t be the best or no matter what you do.” It’s, “I love you.” That intrinsic, essential, fundamental thing that makes your son your son is why you love him. Unconditional love means you don’t put conditions on it. It sounds obvious, but it’s something that’s easy to forget.

Hopes and dreams are a good thing. They’re an important part of parenting. But an equally important part is to remind yourself — and your child — that those hopes and dreams are there to inspire, not to crush. The only weight your child should feel on his shoulders is his head held high with pride in who he is now, at this moment.

Here is a link to the original article posted on and written by Abbi Perets:
Are we pushing our kids too hard? Why Average Should Be The New Excellent.

Lake Travis Parents

Lake Travis Parents

I’ve recently spoken to several parents about their kids school schedule because we were wanting to make some adjustments to Cassidy’s.  It helps to know the experience of other parents with kids in LTISD, especially if they have older kids!   I got some great insights and information from friends which motivated me to setup a blog to help us share our experiences and offer advice.  Lake Travis Parents is now live and I invite everyone to visit, subscribe to it (via RSS) and to register so that you can be a part of the discussion.  You don’t even HAVE to be a Lake Travis parent!  Registration is not required to post comments.  Click here to check it out.



Played InkLink with my kids last night.  Still one of the best free online games EVER.  There is not a whole lot of activity, which is just fine with us because we are happy to have a private room to play in.  You can find it at  It’s basically online Pictionary

Home Videos on your TV

Home Videos on your TV

I posted before my goal of having all my home videos available for viewing on my HDTV in the living room.  The XBOX hasn’t quite delivered.  Lo and behold I recently gave my PS3 another try and it does circles around the XBOX! I can view all my MPEG2 video using the free TVersity Media Server application running on my PC.  I can now get rid of all the lower quality .MP4 files I created for the XBOX.  Maybe the XBOX will one day be updated to allow it to stream the same MPEG2 files; or perhaps it would work today if I knew how to set it up better.  I wonder if the iPad with iTunes running on my PC will be able to stream my video; if it can it will probably be limited to what formats it will stream (QuickTime).

I ran into the following error message on the PS3 while trying to connect to TVersity:

Media Server Error: DLNA Protocol Error (501) has occurred.

This thread lead me to this solution on the TVersity site.

The iPad is here

The iPad is here

Yeah, I’m pretty sure I want one.   I did not run out and buy an iPhone.  I never thought it was worth the price of the monthly cell + data plan.  For sometime now, I have been watching TV shows and movies on my MacBook Pro; Cassidy has too.  She is always borrowing it on weekends to catch up on the network shows she doesn’t have time during the week to watch.  We settle in, in our favorite place on the coach, or in our bedroom, put on some headphones and have a close-up immersible experience on the laptop.  So the iPad is in effect, our second “laptop” but in a form factor that is better tailored to that personal intimate experience on the coach.  It’s not a small laptop, it’s a big iPod Touch (oh, we have 3 of those in the house).  It does not run Mac desktop software, but instead runs iPod apps plus the software that comes on it.

A pleasant surprise was the price!  I feared it would start at $1000 but the WiFi-only model starts at $500 for the 8gig model, $600 for 16gig and $700 for 32gig.  It will be available in March. In April the Wi-Fi + 3G version comes out and will be priced $629, $729, and $829.  Again there’s that data plan for 3G which I feel I can live without.

Ascii Emoticons

Ascii Emoticons

I needed a mischievous emoticon so I looked for one on Google.

Thought I would post some here for future reference.  Emoticons you can type are referred to ascii emoticons as opposed to icons that are inserted in email or IM.

From  WindWeaver:

:-)     smiling; agreeing
:-D    laughing
|-)      hee hee
|-D    ho ho
:->     hey hey
;-)      so happy, I’m crying
:’-)     crying with joy
\~/     full glass; my glass is full

;-)      winking; just kidding
‘-)       winking; just kidding
;->     devilish wink
:*)      clowning
:-T      keeping a straight face

:^D    “Great! I like it!”
8-]     “Wow, maaan”
:-o     “Wow!”
^5      high five
^        thumbs up
:]       Gleep, a friendly midget who wants
to befriend you
(::()::)   bandaid; offering help or support

:-(    frowning; boo hoo
:(      sad
:-<    really sad
:-c    really unhappy
:-C   really bummed
&-|   tearful
:’      crying
:’-(   crying and really sad
:-|     grim
:[      really down
:-[     pouting
\_/    “my glass is empty”

>:-<   angry
:-||      angry
:-@    screaming
:-V     shouting
:-r      sticking tongue out
>:-<   absolutely livid!!
:-,      smirk
:-P     nyahhhh!
:->     bitingly sarcastic
:-&    tonguetied
:-S     incoherent
:-\      undecided
:- I     “hmmm…”
:-,      “hmmm ”
:-#     “My lips are sealed”
:-X    “My lips are sealed”
:-Y     a quiet aside
:-”      pursing lips
:-W    speaking with forked tongue
:( )     can’t stop talking

:~/     mixed up
%-)    braindead
(:I      egghead
<:-I    dunce
=:-)    hosehead
:-]      smiling blockhead
:-[      un-smiling blockhead
|-O    yawning
|-I      asleep
:-6     exhausted; wipeout

:>    What?
:@   What?
:Q    What?
:-o   “uhh oh!” OR surprise
;-)     sardonic incredulity
:O     shocked
8-|    eyes wide with surprise
:-/     skeptical
8-O  “Omigod!!”
:-C    just totally unbelieving
|-{    “Good Grief!” (Charlie Brown)

: *      kisses
:-X     a big wet kiss!
:-x      kiss kiss
:-{}    blowing a kiss
[]        hugs
(( )):**    hugs and kisses
((((name))))   hug

:-*      Oops!
:-I       indifferent
\-o      bored
:-P      tongue hanging out in anticipation
O :-)   angelic; being an angel (at heart, at least)

NEW  EMOTICONS (by Tracy Marks):
][       feeling separate
] [      separating
)  (     really separating
{ }     face-to-face
[ ]      wanting to hug
}xx    kisses
()       feeling in harmony; connecting
] ?     moving away and wondering about you?
[ ?     moving toward you and wondering about you?

From Yahoo Messenger 9: