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Saturday, September 16, 2017

NOT FALLING

I spoke to a college student the other day, and despite her outgoing personality, her deep-thinking, and her positive attitude, she admitted to never having fallen head-over-heels for anyone in her life. She said she just didn't NEED anyone. 

As usual, it made me go into full-amateur-analyzer mode. 

At first glance, it sounds healthy to NOT NEED anyone. It is also not expected in someone so young. That is a very difficult lesson to learn in adulthood. Learning it before 20 makes me suspicious. 

The downside of the college kid's rides with me is that they are so short on most occasions. A quick 5 minutes or so and that's it. There are some that request almost every day, so we get to meet a few times a week. Those are the ones that I like to ask different questions of. 

This ride, however, was two hours and we made good use of it! 

I will admit that some people understand life better and much sooner than others. Or at least have all appearances of that! Are they lucky or smart? I don't know. 

This student explained her past and it COULD be that she just wasn't impressed with the folks that approached her. I asked the obvious - where is she doing her shopping??? The world is FULL of impressive human beings. 


Soooo.... the question would seem, are her standards TOO HIGH???? What SHOULD our expectations be in meeting new perspective "friends"? In answering this question she said all the usual things.

At the very least, she wanted RESPECT. Without THAT, a relationship ceases to be mutual. No one should consider a person that can't spell it without a hint... or two. 

Attractiveness. Of course, there is a certain look we all like for ourselves. It is what starts the conversation. 

She also wanted to see some type of success in someone. That is harder to define. What IS success? NOT committing a felony? Winning the birth-lottery? Being great at solitaire? I found this interesting. 

Maybe she IS ready to fall for someone who fits all the traits she is looking for. Maybe she IS doing the right thing and taking this "relationship" stuff more serious than most. Or maybe she will be uninspired to fall forever. I hope not. 

In our few hours talking, this young lady made an impression that I haven't felt from many strangers I met. She is doing well in life and I wouldn't bet against her in any way. She was impressive on many levels and only will get better with time.

I only hope she wins in the romantical department as well... 


Sunday, September 10, 2017

THE GUILT AND THE.....

For the first time since I can't remember when, Mom is not around me or home alone. She went with one of her oldest friends and daughter to an event in the area. She didn't really want to go. She said a few times she wishes I would be along. ....sigh.....

Yup.... that's where the guilt comes from. 

Part of me wants the solitude. Part of me wants to just make her happy and go. Part of me wants to run away. Part of me wants to do something I wouldn't ordinarily do. No idea of exactly what that IS, but anyway... 

The largest part of me wants to spend it with a certain very special someone but they have deleted me from their life. That must be the part that just wants to just sit here and feel sorry for myself. Well.... 

THAT isn't going to happen. 

As empty as I feel inside, I WILL go and do SOMETHING I enjoy. 

It's amusing to think that I FINALLY have some time for whatever, and what I am doing at the moment is write about it. This is most definitely a sign of a lack of friends and sound mind. 

The cause of this situation is my asking Mom's friend if she could come over while I am going to see a movie that I know Mom wouldn't like. The friend has been in her life for over 50 years and has also had to deal with memory issues of her spouse for many years. I certainly don't want to take advantage of anyone, just to dump off Mom and go have fun on my own. They have certainly been through enough on their own to take any of MY issues with them. Another source of guilt... 

Yet, I realize that without my solitude occasionally, I become someone I don't like. Short tempered, selfish, and  impatient. These are NOT qualities to have with a person in Mom's condition. I try and have some time every day, even if only the hours after she goes to bed, that I can think of something other than her. So far it has been mostly successful in keeping away the demons. I recognize pretty quickly that those undesirable qualities have sprung up and I can whisk them away, for a while. 

I guess I better stop typing and just go.... maybe a motorcycle ride. maybe a ride in the truck. Maybe the young lady will be inspired to reach out and take my mind off any problems the world (or me) is in at the moment.... 

maybe.... 






Thursday, September 7, 2017

TO MY UNBORN CHILD

I'm sorry we have yet to look each other in the eyes, to feel the touch of your tiny hands on mine, or to one day realize just how lucky I am, to have you shake up my entire world.

I've tried to avoid you, seemingly, forever. I had many reasons. My biological father taught me to NOT just make babies, as he did. He taught me to NOT get married again, and again, and again, and again, and again.... as he did. He taught me to look at almost everything he did with me - and do exactly opposite. But it's not HIS fault you were never born. 

That failure falls only on me.

A bit of selfishness of course. A lack of luck. A completely unsuccessful finding or recognizing the amazing mothers that have crossed my path. Maybe I was thinking too much about the family curse of Alzheimers. These and maybe dozens more have stood in the way of living out my dreams or our time together. 

I thought we were close a few times, but fate had another vision of the future that didn't include us. I searched and hoped I found your Mother, a few times. She would have been as perfect for us as my imagination allowed, yet she didn't believe that I was perfect for her. She was probably right. 

There's no doubt that if you WERE born, your Mom would have done a fantastic job of being your Mom. She would have been there every time you needed her. She would have been your secret weapon for the dilemmas that are inevitable. The question comes up though, what kind of DAD would you have had?

Your arrival would have meant the end of my life as I knew it. No doubt it would be a celebration NOW, but what about years ago? Was I ready? Was I worthy? Was I going to be better at this "father" stuff than my own? 

I like to think I would have made you proud. I like to think you would feel safe and loved no matter what. I like to think you would be able to come to me with any question and we could find a way to answer it, together.  I like to think I would show you how to be a happy and compassionate human being. 

Talk is just talk though and we don't really know. Will we EVER? 

I still hope so....






Wednesday, September 6, 2017

DAMAGED

I had someone I highly respect admit to me recently that she was damaged. Not in the physical sense of the word but emotionally. While I don't know her as well as I would like, if she is, she hides it very well. I would more likely use words like "smart", "driven", "focused", and "winner" to detail what she is like in my eyes. It got me to thinking....

AREN'T WE ALL DAMAGED IN SOME WAY?

Life usually doesn't discriminate when it comes to surviving people or situations. We all have had to overcome things, some of our own doing, some we are just innocent bystanders. One of the cool things about getting older, besides no one expecting us to hit a home run at Fenway Park, is that life has taught us MANY, MANY things. We are such a better version of ourselves after we've gotten beaten up a few times. We have (hopefully) learned from our and other's mistakes, are able to recognize situations faster than we did in our youth - for better or worse, and we have answers to most of our issues that pop up because we have seen them already. 


I know we all have our own way of dealing with the challenges that stand in our way. Not everyone can or will be able to come out on the winning side every time, but the destruction that may come along will usually be minimized because of our lifetime education. Or not. 

I certainly would rather bring a person into my life that has had some difficulties and found a way around them or through them, and come out the other side a better and stronger person, than someone who has sleepwalked their way in life, no problems, no walls to climb over, or no crushing defeats. They probably didn't recognize any problems or deal with them in any constructive way. 

I like to think we keep trying and keep learning and keep the joy in our lives as much as we can. I like to think that, even a damaged Mercedes is better than a new Nissan. I like to think that, sometimes, victory for us involves bringing in the cavalry to help us out of a jam. I like to think this can and will happen to my friend. I am certainly here for her and any person in my life that I respect and am lucky enough to know. 

Will anyone ask? 



Thursday, August 24, 2017

A LUCKY DAY

I woke up thinking this was an unlucky day. I was ignored by some people I adored, I had a restless night, still tired, and someone stole my lottery money that I mentally started to spend. PowerBall picked the WRONG numbers AGAIN!

But it all was about to change....

I've been Ubering early in the morning, before Mom gets her breakfast. This gives me some time to decompress, maintain some separation for my sanity, and meet some new folks without her to limit my conversation. 

This particular morning started slow, so I went to the garage and was going to clean up the car. I put my phone, wallet and keys on the sunroof, so I could easily grab them in case of a ride request. I hardly started to dig in to the project when I got an alert from a rider. I quickly got the phone and put away the cleaning supplies and headed off. 

Turns out the ride ends up cancelling and I head home. On the way, I got a text message stating that they had my wallet!!!! Uh Oh!!! I looked around, then remembered, I DIDN'T bring that OR the keys inside the car.... My 2nd lucky break (the 1st obviously was a good soul finding my things) was the keys had slid back in my sunroof as I had opened it up because it was such a beautiful morning. They had stuck between the glass and the frame so I had them. 

I met the young man soon after and he didn't want any finders fee. He just felt like he would want someone to do the same for him. I was happy that everything in the wallet was still there, including the few dollars I had on hand. Score a win for humanity. 

It dawned on me a bit later that the 4 lottery tickets I was going to check that morning were gone. I figured they might be on the road, so I went to the area I knew they went airborne. I already checked two of them and had a small winner. I thought they were lost - until I found two of the four. But was one of them the winner???

My 3rd lucky break was, yes, the winning ticket was one I found. 

My 4th lucky break was in giving some pretty cool folks a ride and having nice chats with them. One was a neurosurgeon from Russia. One was a young man going for an interview, and wanting to go to college for photography and video. One was a young lady that wasn't outgoing on our first ride together but this time she was laughing at Mom and I and seemed happy. 

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. 

I didn't win the big jackpot, but I felt as lucky as anyone in town today. It was a small gesture by a stranger that helped make a potentially disastrous morning turn into a pretty darn good day.  

Now....about that NEXT PowerBall drawing.....





Saturday, August 12, 2017

UNTOUCHABLES

It was a movie-night kind of a night, and which did I pick to entertain Mom?

The Untouchables!

One of my favorite movies, and NOT just because Kevin Costner stars in it (although I can't seem to find a movie he is in I DON'T like!). When I looked it up online, I never imagined it was released 20 YEARS AGO!!!!

Dang....where does time go?

This classic has a cast that you KNOW the movie will be very cool. Sean Connery, De Niro,  Andy Garcia, plus great supporting actors grab you from the very beginning and don't let you want to leave the screen until the credits are rolling. Action, good stories, and many iconic lines make it not only memorable, but a film that becomes one of your favorites.

Yes I know, it's been out and a lot of folks have seen it. This is just a reminder that, if it was a GREAT movie in 1997, it is STILL a great one in 2017.

Thus endeth the lesson.....


Friday, August 11, 2017

GLEN CAMPBELL

With all the tributes for Glen Campbell coming forward since his passing, I went back and looked at what I wrote, after seeing the movie "I'll Be Me". 

If you don't know the film, it's the story of Glen Campbell's last concert tour. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's before it started, but they decided to let the show go on and document the progression of his symptoms as a way to bring attention to this crippling and widespread affliction. 

What was expected to last 5 weeks went on for a year and a half! 

Yes, I have a reason to watch, since Mom is going through her own set of memory issues. It seems everyone afflicted has their own path to follow in dealing with brain-related disease. Some folks run down that path, and others have a slow stroll. 

I was interested in Glen's journey because I figure he had the best of the best care. He had a family that was involved, doctors that were motivated, and a subject that had unique abilities. I was even more interested in Mom's reaction to the ongoing challenges that everyone experienced. 

I was glad that Mom didn't see MY reaction, as the family told of their experiences leading up to the movie. It was heartbreaking hearing folks going through much the same things and more than I was. 


Unlike Glen, Mom doesn't have as much short-term memory issues, but hers is more Swiss-cheesed. She doesn't know my name but knows I am her son. She doesn't remember her husband's names, but she recalls the marriages. Her vocabulary is also being limited more and more, making conversation a struggle. She also isn't able to think things through, so if I ask her to get me a spoon, she might bring me the milk. 

For a while, I had hoped she would show improvement, but sadly, that has also been forgotten. The sadness of that reality is offset by the fact that, at least for now, she is the happiest she has ever been. I wish I could explain WHY, but I have no clue. 

So what was her reaction to the movie? 

She can't relate at all. 

She felt sorry for the man and what he had to deal with. No tears or deep feeling came out of her like came out of ME. This despite the similarities in her own symptoms. What differs in Mom is that there isn't much confusion. Maybe it's because I don't want her to deal with that struggle. There is no hostility, as she is a laughing, compassionate, and outgoing young lady. There is not many surprises as she likes the days to be very similar. A routine I think, helps folks in her condition maintain their sense of independence, in spite of the fact they have none. 

It would be nice to have my old Mom back. The one that I grew up with. The one that could have a real conversation. The one who had a tough life and overcame all the challenges. 

That would be greedy though, since she THESE are her good old days.... 






Monday, August 7, 2017

TUESDAY'S WITH MORRIE

This book came out in 1997 and many, many people (14,000,000 and counting!) have bought it for good reason. It's a great TRUE story. After 200 plus weeks on the New York Times best-sellers list, it certainly isn't a secret treasure I am sharing. And I HAVE shared! I can't count the number of copies I bought and gifted to someone I thought might benefit from it. It is, so far, my FAVORITE book and I decided to re-read it again. 

This is an easy page-turner, and can be done in one sitting. I can't guarantee you WON'T cry but.... 

There are so many good messages within the covers I won't list them all here. From marriage advice to death-advice, I am SURE anyone can find something to take from it and make a good life better or an unhappy life to turn around. 

My own opinion of what it offers? Taking responsibility for finding your happiness. It usually IS a choice. Taking bad luck and finding something positive to offset the crappy situation. It is also a great reminder that there are extraordinary people out there... maybe a few in YOUR life as well. 

If you look for them, you may be in for a pleasant surprise....







Sunday, August 6, 2017

SOLITAIRIALITY

Yes... I know I like to make up words.

This one fits the the mood lately though. Even with Mom around, my world seems so small and empty at times. I'm not complaining.

This time it IS a choice, unlike a couple I saw recently arguing in the car. He wanted out of the relationship, and she was begging him for more. She was all over him, trying to use her feminine ways to open up his mind to a different option... one that included her. I don't know how they ended up, but I can only remember how I reacted the last time someone didn't want to be bothered by my existence.

These are the kinds of moments in life that sometimes demand we withdraw and regroup. Moments like if someone goes away. If life is shattered by an event or person. If one's heart is broken by another's choices. There are MANY reasons, and for everyone dealing with the curves on the path of life, many GOOD reasons to step back and re-evaluate the current situation.

What that means to ME is that I won't reach out to people. It makes it easy to ease into the this temporary lifestyle because most of my interactions are initiated by ME. Without that push, the phone doesn't ring, the computer doesn't chirp, and the world gets very very quiet.

In my world at that moment, there is no re-evaluation, but a realization of the way things were.

I usually have enough sociality with folks that I don't feel lonely or isolated. A good conversation goes a  long way to making one feel a part of the human race. I have enough interests to ask questions of a stranger, but it gets harder when I would rather just walk alone on the moon.

For those that might think it sounds dull.... far from it!

When it's just you and your imagination, it may allow some of the best discussions to happen.

When you play a game, you are guaranteed to win.....and lose.

You can watch what you want on TV, listen to YOUR radio stations, and let your dishes pile up until you run out of plates.

I know myself by now that without reflection, I may make some rash and stupid choices. I need to make peace with how my world has changed (or NOT changed, like I wanted). I will eventually not feel like part of my soul was ripped out. I will eventually not get emotional thinking the "what-could-be's" have morphed into a "never be". I will eventually let the memories fade and be open to new ones that will replace them.

...it just won't be in a day.... or many days.

I hope that young lady accepted the situation and is dealing with it in a good, positive way. In the long run, he did her a HUGE favor by being honest and upfront. I hope she realizes it sooner rather than later. She will be able to look back and see what was right there but was blocked by her heart. There's something to be said for holding out hope of a good ending. It's what keeps us going through the hard times and puts a smile on our face at any moment it comes to mind.

Yet....

It's funny (not FUNNY!) to look back at all the times where, in the back of your mind, you just knew something wasn't quite right, but all you wanted to imagine was sunshine and daisies.. Most situations you can explain away in both positive and negative versions. When you are still hopeful of course you are going to think nothing but good thoughts. Hindsight allows you to throw away the version that was incorrect.

Hindsight also allows the healing to begin.

I don't know how to describe the feeling that, despite all the evidence to the contrary, one still thinks the situation will end happily ever after. I used to think back on the story of George Burns and Gracie Allen. It took George 3 years to convince Gracie that she should be with him and I guess he was right since it lasted 40 years. Unfortunately, that theory has never worked out for me! Haha

How can your heart still feel broken when it never really belonged or was wanted by the person you pined for?? Hindsight will allow us to see it clearly for what it was, not for what you wanted.

Luckily experience teaches you to react in different ways when you are older as opposed to when you were young and dumb. Hopefully it will be in a more positive way and not blaming anyone or anything for the awful conclusion.

There really isn't an explanation needed when someone decides you don't belong in their life. It's not going to help you feel any better. It's not going to make any more sense. It's not going to help you heal any faster. It's just an excuse for you to speak to them again and it just makes you look stupid. You aren't going to convince them otherwise. They already made the decision. Respect it and move on.

Most times, you will be able to look back years later and feel lucky you didn't get what you think you wanted. Not just because Garth wrote a song about it, but because it's true. There are reasons things do or don't happen, whether you want to hear them or see them doesn't matter... they still exist. A one-sided relationship will never work for both people as well as two people who deeply care for each other.

These are usually the facts -

All those times when you were thinking of that person, they probably weren't thinking of you at all.

All the images of the future that you had of the two of you together probably never entered the other person's mind ever.

The other person is probably ecstatic right now, while you wallow in misery.

The many excuses for not getting together were all the evidence you should have needed to make an adjustment in your feelings about that person.

Most people who care about you will find a reason to reach out or show up to see you. Those that don't care, will not.

"Bad timing" or "I'm just doing me" are code words for leave me alone. You are not the one. Move along.

It doesn't pay to get angry at someone because they don't care about you. If you find out about it soon enough it's actually a gift that you should appreciate and celebrate.

If you look back at past relationships, once the pain has gone away, you understand and agree, most of the time, with The Break-Up.

While it may seem hurtful, painful, and bleak at the time, I assure you this feeling won't continue once you look realistically at the way things were.

When you do finally find someone who feels similar to you as you feel for them, all these past hurts disappear. Memories fade and faces get erased.

It's okay to crawl in hole and disappear for a moment, so that you can have time to think and react to a new reality. What it shouldn't become is a lifestyle.

Contrary to regular guy theories, jumping back on that horse too soon will only expose your bad decision making processes while you are in the throes of healing. Once you can think clearly and without malice, it may be time to get back in the game.

Love is elusive when played alone.



Wednesday, August 2, 2017

JOB INTERVIEWS

I had the pleasure of taking a young man to a job interview the other day. He was dressed VERY well and was quiet, so I had to ask what's up. 

He was a finance guy and had experience. The only problem was, he was going to a place I KNEW would have MANY folks to choose from.How could he possibly stand out from the rest?

Being a hiring manager for years, and sitting through MANY interviews, I felt I could ask this eager and optimistic man  a few of the questions I KNEW would come his way - and give him an idea of how someone would react to his answers. 

I wanted to see how he exuded his confidence. Not everyone can or will. It doesn't mean THEY aren't, but if a less-than-observant interviewer doesn't pay attention, it could be lost. He gave the standard statements and in general, didn't stand out among a group of one. 

It's easy to forget that YOU are interviewing the COMPANY at the same time THEY are measuring YOU. Not EVERY company is a good fit. The atmosphere may or may not be one you can thrive in. If you are just looking for a paycheck, a few good questions can bring that out and end your discussion early. NO ONE wants a person around that just puts in the time. 

So why are you there? 

Have you checked out the Company? Had a conversation with anyone that works there? Know who is in charge and what kind of leader they are? Even if you have the answers, these are the kinds of questions to ask.

What can you do better than most? Did you improve anything at your past employment?  Why should they hire YOU instead of the other 100 applicants? What makes you move beyond a faceless name on a piece of paper to memorable and desirable? 

What future do you see for yourself? Is this job change a part of that? Now is the time to start in the direction of your dreams and desires. If you wait till tomorrow, it will ALWAYS be a day away. 

Are you ready for the standard industry questions that you KNOW will come your way? Do you have a GOOD, HONEST answer ready or will you say the same thing the last 10 people that sat in the chair said? 

The job market has ALWAYS been competitive. Knowing someone always helps, but if you don't, what can you do when computer scans have taken the place of flesh and blood human beings? Obviously you need a resume that includes all the buzzwords applicable to your business. 

Once you get facetime with someone, the odds CAN increase in your favor, if you make the effort to be memorable. I hope the young man I met did...


Monday, July 31, 2017

GOODBYE JULY

Another month goes by, but this time I felt reflective....

During the month I found myself -

withdrawing from social media. No reason to blame, just felt like my "isolation time" has begun again. With Mom around, I get very little, so I am not surprised I feel like I need some alone time. 

grumpy... and again, no good reason. My moods in the past would sometimes overwhelm my senses, but that hasn't happened in a long time. I can look back and realize what is happening and deal with it. Even my less-than-stellar outlook during the month I can recognize and make the needed adjustments so Mom doesn't have to be exposed to my blueseyness. 

able to keep Mom happy with less effort than in the recent past. Maybe it had to do with my unhappiness, and seeing how much joy Mom finds in the simple things. Maybe she just reminds me that life at the moment is more about HER than me. Maybe it helps that she doesn't remember my corny jokes and they are fresh every time. 

reading again and liking it. Like most things in my life, I have to have a certain mindset to do things.... like reading. I have a LOT of books yet to be read so no need to go shopping.... The one I am onto now -  a William Shatner autobiography. It's. Good. So. Far. 

working on the truck is still fun, despite the colorful words that were clearly needed to complete the job at hand. If you never hung around a bunch of guys that are working on something mechanical, be prepared to relearn the English language... or just imagine talking in real-life like most comedians talk at work. 

appreciating nature, and actually watching on purpose. More than once I took the time to pay attention and appreciate the sounds and sights of mother nature and her fantastic animal kingdom. From birds to polar bears (OK, I MIGHT not have actually SEEN polar bears, but I watched some videos!) I was smiling as I observed the world around me. 

still wishing the Powerball and MegaMillions people would FINALLY pick the RIGHT numbers... but also comfortable in the idea of NOT playing anymore... NEXT week. Is it greedy to want to win BOTH in the same week??? 

not wanting summer to end. No need to explain THAT one right??? 

Will August be much different??? Stay tuned and find out! 


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

MARCH 8

Tomorrow (as I write this on March 7th) is Mom's 74th birthday, but it will be one of the first ones she has no recollection about. No concept of celebrations, aging, or even time itself. It doesn't sound so bad after all right? 

I've been fighting myself for weeks now, sensing I am on edge a bit, slightly out of sorts, or just plain grumpy. There might be a lot of reasons for that. There has been some setbacks on the timeline I had with the travel plans for the coming spring/summer. There is still a void in my romantical department, which got downsized from a department to an empty folder hidden away in the closet. There has been a struggle in my mind with Mom because of her relentless slide towards nothingness. Communication has gotten to be a chore. Things she could do seemingly weeks ago are now lost. She has noticed a few times that I wore down my patience and she simply stated "You don't like me anymore"..... I can't imagine a worse feeling than knowing that I wasn't strong enough or smart enough to keep my emotions in check while she is right in front of me. I only see the "bad" son in the mirror at THOSE times...

Then I get a message from a friend like "My mom just turned 80 and seeing all the things you do for your mom touches my heart and makes me want to be a better son you are a inspiration to a lot of people . I share your story and journey with people at church your mom is blessed to have you as a son and i am blessed to call you friend"

I read this to Mom and had a hard time not getting choked up. I don't think because I wanted to HEAR it, but I aspire to be a good son and a good friend. I know I fall short too often on both counts, yet I hold out hope for a better me. She only sees me as "good", but then again, she calls EVERYBODY good! hahahaha

I had a dream the other night that was surreal. It was of a forgettable situation that was interrupted by a call out for help. I awoke instantly and listened closely. It was 2:30 in the morning and all was quiet. Was that Mom calling out? Was she ok? I had to check.....

Of course, she was asleep, but in checking on her, she opened her eyes and smiled. I knew right then it was just a dream and went back to bed, hoping to stop shaking, hoping to stop the thoughts of Mom needing the kind of help that no one can give her. It was an uneasy morning.


Like any challenging ordeal, there IS a bright side that I constantly remind myself, sometimes aloud. If Mom was her normal old self, we WOULDN'T be spending so much time together. I would be working and she would be doing something to use up the time I was away. She wouldn't need me to cook, do the laundry, or even wash her hair. While at times that sounds like my version of heaven, mostly I appreciate the closeness we continue to have. She may unknowingly stand in the way of a so-called normal life for me, but she ALSO allows me to do what many many kids can't do.... see the joy in a Mother's eyes at the smallest of things. Not just every now and then, but OFTEN.

And THAT is what gets me through.

I don't know what I will be writing a year from now. I've written a few times about her [here] and re-reading it brings me to tears. I try and not think about the day she will no longer be the light of my day. The day she may quit speaking at all. The day she doesn't know she has a son. The day she no longer takes a breath. It's the natural cycle of life yet I cannot accept it yet because I feel like her life is not yet balanced. She has so much happiness to catch up on it will take years.... and I will be right there to help with whatever she needs.

I just hope that I can bring a smile to her face, even if the words to explain it are gone.




Saturday, July 8, 2017

PERSPECTIVE

I was feeling a little bluesy lately. I couldn't blame any one thing or any one person, but I had very little enthusiasm for most things. I couldn't blame the rain, or Mom or anything. Then I got a message that put things in perspective - someone who I met while Ubering and tried to help had passed away.

Her name was Beatrice and she was one of the nice people you hear so little about. She worked more than one job for years. She had been undergoing chemotherapy and it wasn't easy for her. Her family wasn't close and she liked it that way. She had worked hard in her life and had just retired and was hoping to enjoy her free time to travel and do whatever she enjoyed.

Here is the type of lady she was. In our talks on the way to her treatments, we got to know a bit of each other's life. Once she heard about Mom (and met her a few times), she mentioned that once her illness had been dealt with, Mom could come and stay with her so I could have some time free to do as I wanted. She was THAT kind of lady.

 I offered many times to help with whatever she needed, if it was household chores or just an ear to listen, yet it took months before she mentioned anything at all. I was more than happy to help this compassionate woman any way I could. I felt humbled that this independent, strong, and proud woman would allow me the pleasure to assist in some small way. It is hard to imagine that she is gone so soon.

She had so much to look forward to and we all need a good soul to touch our lives. I hope she found the peace and freedom of pain she so deserved. I won't soon forget her....


I don't need reminders of how lucky I am or how I should always be happy about everything. The one thing I have learned about myself is that I see deeply. I think deeply. And my emotions run deeply as well. The downside is it takes a moment to spring back when the down-times occur. This time I give full credit to Beatrice for wanting to be happier, but the world would be a better place with her still in it.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

KNOWING WHEN TO STOP

Yes I know.

The title flies in the face of every "never give up" meme ever created. While it's true that the wildly successful folks have a determination the rest of us envy, there comes a time when each of us is faced with a choice - continue to frustrate ourselves with effort that is not rewarded OR decide that more attention to the particular challenge that eludes us will NOT result in any change so you move on.

The seeds of this posting was planted months ago by a student that opened up about his girl problems. He had recently been dismissed by his now-ex, and was having trouble dealing with the lingering sadness. I asked plenty of questions, hoping that his answers would open his eyes to the new reality he is trying to avoid. That DIDN'T exactly happen so we talked some more about life and choices. I tried to give him a glimpse of what the current situation was from my perspective and also added some of my own experiences with being dumped on. He left with a weak smile and I hope his intelligence wins out over his emotions.

We all have had episodes where the person of our dreams wasn't seeing us in theirs. it's probably the most common tale of dating.... they don't feel like WE do. it's not sad, tragic, or even bad. Like I explained to the young man, it's a gift if we find out EARLY in a relationship and not after YEARS of pretending. The person (and pain!) will soon be forgotten and life continues on a path we couldn't have imagined when they were the object of our desires.

This idea of waving the white flag can be used in so many different situations as well. When we dream of money, or celebrity. When we wish for the "perfect" life. When we pray for things out of our grasp or capabilities. That's not to say we can't still HOPE, but if it affects your life in such a way that it prevents you from moving forward, beyond your realities, then it's time to get acquainted with the person looking back from the mirror.

There's MANY reasons for unhappiness, and many more that we have no power to change. Why waste time or energy reacting to those we can't influence? The hardest realization for me was admitting I WASN'T who I wanted to be. It is truly a sobering thought that sometimes we reach our limits and we can go no further. The happy souls might keep trying but with an outlook of positive thoughts and a sunny future, despite the failures.

I doubt that the "time to move on" is the same for everyone. The key is to NOT regret trying. Give all you can and if it doesn't work out, you did all you could and your heart will accept that. Trust me. No excuses will be needed if we must turn around and walk away. The decisions we make should also be done with this in mind. There should be NO REGRET in doing what we do. If you feel like what you are thinking of doing will be wrong or embarrassing, then don't do it! Our gut-feeling is there for a reason.

We can do a LOT to change our life. We ARE the masters of our universe. Until we make someone or something mean MORE to us than our own happiness. That will usually have predictable (BAD!) results, especially if we are blind during the journey to the end....

You are worthy of much more than that.










Wednesday, June 28, 2017

RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE?

On a FB page today, the question was "Should PA raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour?" 

https://www.facebook.com/fox43news/posts/10155532309758331?comment_id=10155534501608331&notif_t=feed_comment_reply&notif_id=1498702407670997 

As usual, the comments were the most interesting part of it.... Some were positive but the majority had a less-then-compassionate tone. The reality is, Government has let the business world do what it wants and I think most would agree, the country is NOT better off than it was BEFORE this all started over 30 years ago.

People complain about the "kids" that are lazy or entitled. I hate to hear that. Especially since it was MY generation that has let them down. Imagine a world where you don't have the opportunities your parents (or Grandparents!) had at the same age. Imagine the older generation looking down at you with a resentful tone. Imagine if you want further education it will cost a FAR GREATER percentage of income to pay than ever before. This is a problem, that will continue to burden everyone until it's fixed.

The arguments AGAINST the adjustments make me laugh. Someone hears a line or two on the news or on the net and all of a sudden, its part of THEIR vocabulary. "those jobs weren't meant to raise a family on" is straight from a Republican's lips. I'm not a Democrat either, yet its obvious to me that we have an economic-disconnect in our country. Those that are comfortable don't accept that others are not and blame only the person struggling. There are MANY reasons folks aren't working better-paying careers. Its not a simple problem and definitely NOT a simple solution.

http://www.pennlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/11/it_pays_more_to_be_a_pa_state.html


The key words to ME was "annual pay raises" ..... If Congress feels the "need" to make an extra $1000 a year when they ALREADY don't earn the $90 plus thousand they are paid, then maybe we should tie THEIR pay to the min wage.....

 The only FACT most of us realize is that the 1% is winning the war against everyone else, despite the HUGE disparity in the number of them vs the 99%. Once we do something about THAT we can ALL start winning again...

 https://www.google.com/amp/s/mobile.nytimes.com/2017/06/26/business/economy/seattle-minimum-wage.amp.html 

 The best comment on THIS article to me was from a restaurant owner - no one she knows has STOPPED hiring because of the minimum wage increase. The takeaway I get from it is that FEW folks can find a measurable, definable, and indisputable bit of evidence either way.

Doesn't THAT speak volumes?