Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Single Father’s Guide to Natural Disasters (Time-Permitting) Checklist - Part I

Photo Credit:
So, I’m here at The Single Father’s Guide headquarters in charming Warwick, New York, even as “Frankenstorm” begins its monstrous approach. New Jersey Governor Christie has called for evacuations for essentially all of the Jersey Shore, while New York Governor Cuomo began to shut down MTA on Sunday. Yesterday afternoon, I received an automated phone call from Warwick Valley Central School District Superintendent Ray Bryant who notified me school will be closed through Tuesday, at a minimum.

 Unfortunately, natural disasters are a fact of life. Whether it’s flooding in the Midwest, hurricanes in the East and Gulf Coast States, or earthquakes in the West, preparedness is not just a luxury, it’s a down right necessity.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends a steps including, “be informed, make a plan, and build a kit[i]” prior to a predicted or sudden disaster. In other words, be ready. “A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:
  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger[ii]
Photo Credit:
In the case of some disasters, like this storm in which the East Coast is in the crossfire of an approaching hurricane and an eastbound winter storm, some floods, and other natural disasters, people in the path are the fortunate beneficiaries of notice. Those of us in the eastern time zone were pretty sure on Friday that a storm would arrive on Monday or Tuesday. As such, we had a little time to brace ourselves even a little more.
Check in to The Single Father’s Guide tomorrow for Part II of “The Single Father’s Guide to Natural Disasters (Time-Permitting) Checklist.”


Friday, October 26, 2012

Food or Romance: Third Date Salad

A recent USA Today/ survey indicated that two in five women would prefer to give up sex than their favorite food for a year! (There's more to the story, but if you don't already know what it is, it would be indiscreet for me to tell you.) At least part of the answer, though, is the fact that although these women may have had sex, I'm pretty sure they haven't had . . . sex.

Still, the takeaway here, for all of my single brothers out there, it would no be a bad idea to learn your way around a kitchen. Let me help you.

Third Date Fruity Nutty Salad with Sautéed Vegetable Lamb Chops

                                    1 head iceberg lettuce
                                    2 carrots, sliced
                                    1 tomato, sliced
                                    ½ cucumber, sliced
                                    ½ cup mushrooms, sliced
                                    ¼ cup dried cranberries
                                    ¼ cup raw cashews
                                    ¼ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
                                    2 lamb chops
                                    1 green pepper, sliced
                                    1 yellow pepper, sliced
                                    1 green pepper, sliced
                                    1 onion, sliced
                                    2 cloves garlic, crushed
                                    1 tablespoon olive oil
                                    ½ teaspoon salt
                                    ¼ teaspoon pepper

Food or Romance? Why not both?
Remove outer leaf and stem from lettuce, hand shred in a colander and rinse. Toss with carrots, cucumber, mushrooms, cranberries, cashews, and shredded cheese. Dress with favorite vinaigrette. Heat a large frying pan to medium or medium-high. Add olive oil, lamb chops, peppers, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper. While regularly stirring the vegetables, cook lamb 4 – 8 minutes on each side, considering preferences for meat temperature. Enjoy with a bottle of wine with an interesting adult when there’s no one else in the house.

Third Date Fruity Nutty Salad with Sautéed Vegetable Lamb Chops, along with 25 other simple, healthy recipes that even a single father can make, is featured in The Single Father's Guide to Life, Cooking, and Baseball. This isn't brain surgery.


To make sure you're getting blog posts and news, connect with Matthew S. Field on Facebook at Matthew S. Field - Author and subscribe to The Single Father's Guide by adding your email address at the upper right side of this page.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Grady Harp's Literary Aficionado: The Single Father's Guide "Hall of Fame Reviewer" Grady Harp recently reviewed The Single Father's Guide to Life, Cooking, and Baseball on Literary Aficionado.
To read his review, visit Grady Harp's Literary Aficionado: The Single Father's Guide.

To order a copy of The Single Father's Guide to Life, Cooking, and Baseball, stop by your local, independently owned bookstore like Ye Olde Book Shoppe in Warwick, New York, your nearest Barnes & Noble Bookseller, or Amazon: The Single Father's Guide to Life, Cooking, and Baseball.

To make sure you're getting blog posts and news, connect with Matthew S. Field on Facebook at Matthew S. Field - Author and subscribe to The Single Father's Guide by adding your email address at the upper right side of this page.

Friday, October 19, 2012

"6 Secret Turn-Ons" . . . for Single Fathers?

Considering I wrote a book about single father parenting, The Single Father's Guide to Life, Cooking, and Baseball, and now I'm writing a book about single father dating, The Single Father’s Guide to Dating, Cooking and Kids, I regularly scan the news for articles and information about single fathers, parenting, single father relationships, and so forth.

I recently stumbled across a article posted on Yahoo! News entitled "6 secret turn-ons for men" written by Matt Schneiderman. Obviously, the blog was written for women, but how can I put this tactfully? Well, I guess I can't. I'm afraid I disagree with Mr. Schneiderman, at least when it comes to single dads. Frankly, knowing what I know about men . . . because I am one, and knowing what I know about single dads . . . because I am one, I'm not sure much this applies to most of us.

With tongue mostly, but not completely, inserted in my cheek, here's my take:

He loves that you indulge at dinnertime - This may have some validity for newly minted single dads. Those guys are still feeling their way around not only the kitchen, but single father life in general. Seasoned single dads have either learned their way around a kitchen, hired a cook, or have starved. However, if you happen to be a woman dating a single father who gets aroused by your lasagna, he's too new in the dating world to be serious about a long term relationship.

He loves your occasional outbursts - defines the word, "outburst," as "a sudden and violent release or outpouring: an outburst of tears." No guy I know really gets stimulated by a "sudden and violent" release of anything, e.g., Lorena Bobbitt's sudden and violent release of John Bobbitt's, uh, well, you know. And, of course, every guy enjoys a volatile outburst of tears from the woman he loves. MAN: "Hi, honey! I'm home." WOMAN: "Aaaaaaahhhhhh ah ah ah ah aaaaaaahhhhhh." Single dads already deal with tantrums from tired toddlers and tempestuous teens. Here's a secret: I don't think another dimension of irrational behavior will turn-on a single dad. Sorry. Not getting it.

He loves that you aren't a neat freak - This may actually be code for, "You're the next guest on a special episode Hoarders!" Look, I know a lot of guys aren't much for housekeeping. Still, I'm not sure any guy wants to see his girlfriend's or wife's soiled undergarments on the bedroom floor. The single dad is already busy enough picking up his own kids' dirty clothes.

He loves your extra padding - Yes, love is in the eye of the beholder, but I think most guys appreciate a woman who respects herself and her partner enough to eat right, exercise, and stay healthy. In his book, His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage, Willard Harley lists "An Attractive Spouse" as #3 on "His" List. Like it or not, men are visual and usually first become interested in a woman based on her physical attributes. Most men will have trouble seeing a woman's inner beauty if he does not see her outer beauty first.

He's passionate about your knowledge of things you're passionate about - Have you ever seen commercial that shows the lengths a guy will go to get a Klondike Bar? Well, if you haven't, here it is. Enough said.

He loves a good head rub from you - Okay, score one for Schneiderman, and this does not apply exclusively to single fathers. A head massage is as fun, playful, and erotic as a foot massage and is almost as fun to give as it is to receive. It's wonderful by itself and it's great as part of foreplay. (For those guys out there who aren't familiar with the concept of "foreplay," that will be a topic for another blog.)

In the meantime, if there are any single ladies reading out there, don't put too much credence in Scheiderman's "secrets." You'll have wasted your money on, have to renew your membership, and have to start over . . . which is probably what they want you to do if they keep posting articles like this one.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Single Dad's Tip of the Day: Lining Up Your Putt

I don't know how many times I need to make this clothing error with my son before I learn my lesson, but like a Tiger Woods learns the line after Rory McIlroy putts from the same part of the green, learn from me.

To make my mornings go more smoothly during the school year, I lay out my son's clothes so, after he gets out of the shower, he can just get dressed. (He's still only eight, and it's a HUGE time saver to have his clothes ready!)

On a cool September morning, I put out jeans, a white tee-shirt to "layer," and a nice, light colored golf-style shirt to pull over. After he dresses, combs his hair, and brushes his teeth, my little man walks into the kitchen to eat his breakfast.

That day, our breakfast is Daddy's Chocolate Chip Strawberry Cookie Pancakes (for recipe, see The Single Father's Guide to Life, Cooking, and Baseball). Of course, next to his plate is a fork and a napkin. Nevertheless, when he gets a little bit of chocolate chip on his face, he wipes it with his hand rather than the napkin. Then, he wipes his hand on his shirt along with a large glob of chocolate chip.

Dude! The napkin!

As he finishes his breakfast and before we walk out the front door to catch the school bus, I run upstairs to grab him another shirt. The second shirt is navy blue.

Go to school on me, fellow single dads. Put the light-colored shirts away until your son is at least, well, married. In their stead, buy dark shirts . . . or at least don't let him get dressed until after he finishes his breakfast!

To make sure you're getting blog posts and news, connect with Matthew S. Field on Facebook at Matthew S. Field - Author and subscribe to The Single Father's Guide by adding your email address at the upper right side of this page.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Dad, You're a Role Model, So Date With Care.

Photo Credit: Jill-Marie Parella Vaughn
When my son was about four years old, I bought him a few pairs of single-color Hanes boxer briefs. You know, the same ones that Michael Jordan and, well, his dad wears, except his are quite a bit smaller. He thought they were so cool, he couldn't stop giggling. He wanted me to wear a pair that were the same color as his so the two of us could be the same.

Courtesy of Kathie Austin Photography
It’s pretty clear that a father is an important role model for his children, regardless of the family circumstances. For single fathers the influence is even more acute. In my own case, I don’t have to look far to see the affect I have on my son. My favorite baseball team is the St. Louis Cardinals, and his favorite baseball team is the St. Louis Cardinals. I like to eat sushi, and he likes to eat sushi. Of course, while he and I don’t always wear the same color briefs, my son gets a kick out of the fact that he wears the same kind of underwear that his dad wears.

For daughters, the relationship is different than that that dad has with his sons, but no less vital. A father’s attitude women, his respect for himself and others, and his unspoken behaviors are cues, which his daughters will observe and develop expectations for their own relationships with men as they mature into women. 

A daughter's relationship with her father is usually her first male-female relationship. From Dad, little girls gain their first reflection of themselves as a female. They develop a sense of acceptance or non-acceptance; they feel valued or discounted. Self-respect is initially based upon respect received from others. Their self-concept as a female person is largely shaped by this early relationship. In short, children regard themselves as they think others regard them . . . and Dad is an important person in her life.[i] 
It goes without saying, single dad, your behavior influences your children’s opinions of themselves. For girls, the equation is shockingly simple. Spending “time with a dad who provided high-quality fathering reduced risky sexual behavior. More time with a dad who provided low-quality fathering actually increased risky sexual behavior.[ii]” Considering your parenting decisions will substantially influence your daughters’ decisions about their own sexual behavior, well, make good parenting decisions.
When the single father dates, his children are watching. Here are some of the things they might learn based the decisions you make:
Dad’s Behavior
Children May Learn
Dad is a gentleman with the women he dates: opens her door, walks on the outside (street side) while walking, pulls out her chair at a restaurant, etc.
Sons will learn to be gentlemen; daughters will accept nothing less.
Dad only introduces to his children a woman who is a lady and whose actions and words are caring, constructive, and consistent with his family’s values.
Values, manners, and attitudes are reinforced; Dad’s romantic interest may become a role model, but will certainly be a tangible example of the personal qualities Dad holds in high regard.
While his children may not know the details of Dad’s personal life, they’ll know he’s taken the time in his relationships with women and hasn’t rushed into a new commitment.
Commitments aren’t to be taken lightly; take the time to make sure a relationship is “right.”
Dad marries soon after the end of his previously ended (or failed) relationship.
It doesn’t really matter to whom you make a commitment; one person is as good as the next.
Dad is verbally or otherwise abusive to the women he dates.
Women are second class citizens; it’s okay to treat women as such.
Dad permits women who he dates to be impolite or abusive toward him or his children.
Other people who are not part of the family are more important.

Your daughters take “cues from you, her father, on everything from drug use, drinking, smoking and having sex, to self-esteem and moodiness[iii].” Of course, as I’ve already illustrated, your sons are little “you’s.” You’re a role model for your children. In dating and in all things, be the kind of man you want your son to emulate and be the kind of man whose values and actions you want your daughters to value in the men they date.

[i] “From Dr. Jane’s Notebook: Father Daughter Relationships.” Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. Copyright 1995 by Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.
[ii]“Role Modeling By Dad Influences Daughters’ Sexual Behavior.” Rick Nauert PhD. June 15, 2011.
[iii] “Dad as a role model for his daughters.” Cheryl Wetzstein. Washington Times. June 14, 2010.

To make sure you're getting blog posts and news, connect with Matthew S. Field on Facebook at
Matthew S. Field - Author and subscribe to The Single Father's Guide by adding your email address at the upper right side of this page.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

". . . 'Til Death Do Us Part" by Kandy Magnotti

…five little words with such enormous meaning.

When two people make that promise to one another the last thing on their mind is divorce or the truth of mortality.  But if you are reading this article, it is very possible you or someone you know has experienced the death of a spouse or a divorce, which is in fact a death of a relationship. Whether your relationship has ended due to a death or divorce, the overarching emotion you are most likely experiencing is grief.
Grief can manifest itself in many forms; depression, anxiety, anger, isolation, fear.  These are very normal and natural reactions to any kind of loss experience.  What is not normal or natural is to deny oneself the opportunity to actually feel the pain of grief, emotionally process what has happened, and then allow oneself completion from the pain caused by the loss.  Unfortunately, society has created the notion that to feel bad, IS bad, therefore we do everything in our power to avoid the pain caused by the losses in our lives.  Unfortunately, the energy spent trying to avoid the emotions conjured up by grief caused by death or divorce eventually takes its toll.
Death or divorce may be the obvious loss you are experiencing, but it is the underlying, unidentified, secondary losses that keep you grieving in ways that you may not even understand.
The experience of a marriage or romantic relationship creates a world where we naturally begin to manifest many of our hopes and dreams and expectations for our lives.  As our relationships evolve, so too do our habits and rituals; the very experiences that give you a sense of safety and comfort.  Envisioning the children you one day hope to have… buying your first home together… planning your family’s annual vacation… kissing each other goodnight… dividing up responsibilities for getting the kids to and from school… waking up on Sundays to the smell of coffee brewing and the fashion magazine waiting for you to quietly peruse… filling up the gas tank for your loved one so the car is ready to go…
Somehow you believe these moments will last forever and then one day, for whatever reason, the relationship has changed or has ended.  All of your hopes, dreams, expectations, habits, and rituals are crushed.  Like an emotional tidal wave, you suddenly feel a loss of safety, a loss of security, a loss of trust, a loss of faith, a loss of identity, a loss of stability, just to name a few… These underlying, more intangible losses provide the fuel for grief.  Couple that fuel with the incorrect ways we’ve learned to deal with our loss experiences and you can begin to easily see why the pain resulting from the death of a loved one or divorce can often feel overwhelming; like the rug has been pulled out from under you and you can’t catch your breath.
After the end of a relationship due to death or divorce, many do as much as they can to avoid the painful feelings that follow.  Have you or someone you know tried any of the following?

·         Begin a new relationship soon after the event…
·         Drink in excess…
·         Eat more than usual…
·         Eat less than usual…
·         Gamble more…
·         Become sexually promiscuous…
·         Watch sad movies…
·         Listen to sad songs…
·         Work long hours…
·         Shop excessively…
·         Work out excessively…
·         Sleep more than usual…

There is no denying these activities might make you feel better in the short-term, but they are in fact SHORT-TERM and they only fuel the pain of grief by keeping you from completing the emotions that result from a change or end of a relationship due to death or divorce.  In Grief Recovery®, we refer to these behaviors as STERBS – short term energy relieving behaviors.
Until you become complete with the emotions stemming from the losses in your past relationships, no matter how they ended, you will forever influence the choices you make for yourself in future relationships.  Completion allows you to be influenced by positive energy from lessons learned THROUGH the loss experience rather than negative energy created by running away from the pain of the experience.
So how do you become complete with your loss?  The Grief Recovery Method® is a dynamic, finite step-by-step program that people who are grieving as a result of any loss experience have turned to for over 30 years.  The Grief Recovery Method® has helped hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world truly recover from their loss experiences.  The Grief Recovery Method® is NOT a passive process; it is in fact grief work.  There is "homework" involved in the process.  The steps are simple, but they are not emotionally easy.  The difference is... THEY WORK.  The process is educational and experiential in nature so you will feel emotions you have managed to suppress for years.  That is part of the work to becoming complete with your emotional losses.  The results are powerful and permanent. What you put into the process is what you get back exponentially.
Incomplete relationships create unresolved grief and unresolved grief creates incomplete relationships.  This vicious cycle strips you of the opportunity to learn the life lessons to be gained THROUGH your loss experience and keep you from obtaining authentic happiness.  You may have heard people talk about stripping away the layers of an onion in order to understand who you are; Certified Grief Recovery Specialists® prefer the analogy of stripping away the leaves of an artichoke, and discovering the heart inside of your authentic you.
‘Til death do us part may come sooner than we anticipated, either by way of physical death or a relational death.  It’s what you choose to have that experience mean in your life that will forever influence your future relationships.  Allowing you to authentically experience the emotionally painful part of the loss is the pathway to gain a renewed Life THROUGH Loss™.
Kandy Magnotti is a Marriage & Family Therapist (Masters Degree through the College of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences at Argosy University – Sarasota: completion December 2012) specializing in grief, loss, trauma, and end-of-life issues.  Mrs. Magnotti is also a Grief & Loss Facilitator, a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist®, a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP) and the founder of Life THROUGH Loss™.
Kandy Magnotti’s unique personal and professional experiences provide her with a distinct ability to understand, connect, and facilitate your grief process in a way that is unlike what is offered through traditional psychotherapy.  From a professional standpoint, Mrs. Magnotti sees grief as a natural reaction to ANY unresolved emotional loss.  Grief is not, of itself, a diagnosable mental illness.  It is an “illness” of the heart, so to speak, and that is the lens from which she views one’s grief manifestations.  If you are grief stricken to any degree, your heart is broken and your “diagnosis”, as she sees it, is fundamentally grief and loss.
Kandy Magnotti holds membership with the Association for Death Education & Counseling (ADEC), the American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy (AAMFT), and the American Counseling Association (ACA).
Kandy Magnotti lives in Sarasota with her husband and twin daughters. 
For more information visit,, or

Friday, October 5, 2012

So, Your Daughter Wants to Read 'Fifty Shades of Grey:' PART II

A couple of weeks ago, my bright and diligent teenage daughter asked me if she could read Fifty Shades of Grey. This isn’t the first time I’d had a difficult question from my her. In many ways, it seems my young lady was born ten years older. When she was nine, she asked me if she could read Judy Blume’s young adult novel, Forever. I said, “Yes, but I want to read it, too, and I want the two of us to have a ‘Father-Daughter Book Club’ talk about it.” In spite of her maturity, there were just some things she did not yet understand and I wanted her to learn those things from a parent rather than another child. She agreed and we both read it. Then, we talked.

Photo Credit: Arts Beat: New York Times
Still, no one will confuse Forever with Fifty Shades of Grey. While the former is a fictionalized account of a teenage girl who falls into what she believes is love with a boy and loses her virginity, Shades is a contemporary cultural phenomenon in which a young woman, Anastasia, subordinates herself to a man, Christian, whose sexual tastes involve consensual physical abuse of women.
Among others, these are the facts I pondered while considering my daughter’s request:
Anastasia has unprotected sex with Christian. – During Anastasia’s first sexual encounter with him, he does not wear a condom. After Anastasia starts to use birth control, on which Christian insisted, Anastasia and Christian continue to have unprotected sex.
For Christian, subordination is a prerequisite if Anastasia wants to have a relationship. – For a woman, the message is, “You have to give a guy anything he wants before he’ll be your boyfriend.”
Anastasia believes Christian is damaged and she wants to “fix” him. – In spite of Anastasia’s belief that Christian is damaged goods, he’s rich and handsome. This implies that if a man has money and is cute, regardless of his problems, which in the real world might include substance abuse, spousal abuse, child abuse, or just an inability to brush his teeth or take out the garbage, well, then anything goes.
Sadistic sex is glorified. – The prolix references to Anastasia’s “inner goddess” blissfully celebrating her satisfaction as Christian’s subordinate sends a message that such behavior is perfectly acceptable and, perhaps, even typical.
The book’s “original target audience .  .  . middle-aged women,[i]” have implicitly accepted Shades’ premise – In Manhattan, hundreds of women stood in line at“.  .  . ‘pleasure carts’ like the ones for selling hot dogs. The crowds were so big the city shut them down temporarily .  .  .[ii]
Look, I sincerely have no problem with or, frankly, any business knowing what two consenting adults do behind closed doors. In fact, the glorification of Christian Grey’s sexual preferences isn’t the most profound of my concerns. I don’t believe that having to “put out” to have wealthy and attractive boyfriend, that one person can make another person into something else, or that it’s all right to have unprotected sex as long as it’s oral sex are among the unchallenged messages I want my daughter to receive.

Courtesy of Trish Miller
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then an action is worth ten thousand. Many readers’ behaviors have suggested that Christian’s and Anastasia’s conduct is not just reasonable, but is also typical. I don’t think these messages are appropriate for a teenage girl if all sides of the issue, that unprotected sex is not acceptable, that a woman should not have to subordinate herself in any form in order to have a relationship, and that “no man is a ‘fixer-upper’[iii],” aren’t also addressed.

So, my teenage daughter asked me, “Dad, would you mind if I read Fifty Shades of Grey?”
First, she asked me if she could read, which is an activity that I’ve always encouraged. Second, she asked me if it would be all right if she read what she knew to be provocative, adult fiction. Because I know my daughter, I know her question was also, “Dad, will you help me through this?” Finally, like her mother was, my daughter is stubborn. When she sets her mind to accomplishing something, she finds a way to do it with or without my help.
When my daughter, now a young lady, was just a little girl and she needed to cross a busy street, I held her hand and crossed with her. That young lady is still my little girl, and I’m still holding her hand.
I drove her to library.

[i] “Without ebooks, would there be a ‘Fifty Shades of Grey?’” Andrew Franklin. The Economist Group. www.theeconimstgroup .com. July 2, 2012.
[ii] “’Shades of Grey’ Merchandise Invasion Continues.” Leanne Italie. Huffington Post. August 15, 2012.
[iii] “Are You Trying to Fix Him?”

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

It's Your Health with Lisa Davis

Lisa Davis, the host of It's Your Health, interviewed Matthew S. Field on Thursday, September 27, 2012 about his book, The Single Father's Guide to Life, Cooking, and Baseball, and discussed everything from creating a healthy lifestyle for the single father to "The Single Father's Golden Rules," to easy-to-make recipes, including Missouri-Style Gravy 'n' Biscuits and The Old Man's Secret Recipe Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings! Obviously, the secret is out!
The It's Your Health is syndicated by the It's Your Health Radio Network and can be heard on KPLW AM 1220 in St. Louis, Missouri, WUML FM 91.5 Public Radio in Boston, Massachussets, and WERL AM 950 in Eagle Rock, Wisconsin, among many others.
To hear the podcast of Lisa's interview with Matt Field, check out It's Your Health with Lisa Davis, and click the podcast link.

To make sure you're getting blog posts and news, connect with Matthew S. Field on Facebook at Matthew S. Field - Author and subscribe to The Single Father's Guide by adding your email address at the upper right side of this page.