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Sunday, December 10, 2017


I am embarrassed to say that Mom noticed my sadness today.  

This is NEVER supposed to happen. It is easy enough to get things past her because she doesn't always notice things unless it's staring her right in the face, so you can understand my shame.

On one hand, it's tough to deal with issues in an empty house. Although technically NOT empty, I have to remember FAR back to recall a time when me and Mom could have a real conversation. 

Since I hardly want her to worry about anything, I didn't say a word as to why my heavy heart was on display at the kitchen table. I just said all is well and passed her a full cup of coffee. Discussion over. That's one of the good things about her memory loss. 

On the OTHER hand, words come easily at the moment. That's the thing with being the emotional writer I am. Strong ones create the sentences, following the mood of the moment. If it's a bad mood, bluesy posts will pop up. Happy times bring happy posts. No mood will make it difficult to be interesting. Yup, it's a curse. And a blessing. 

Unfortunately, they aren't all that positive or uplifting, as much as I wish they could be. Not only do I have this world of hers shrinking, despite the laughter, but a personal struggle of yours truly makes it more difficult to draw a smile or pretend to be happy. The good that CAN come out of it is writing about the emotions of a future, altered. 

So, for the next few installments, there will probably be a theme. Sorry...

Mom has a lot less energy today than the amount she had, even two years ago. This limits, sometimes, the things we can do. She also has some days that she runs out by 7 pm. Those are the ones that I end up replacing her as head dishwasher. That is happening more and more. 

It may seem small, but there are so few things she is able to do, that it makes it tough to keep her entertained. You can only watch so much TV...

She brings up Germany a lot less lately. I feared this would be the way it goes. This is a mixed blessing, as we can't afford to go this year, and maybe she won't be capable of speaking by next year. I HATE the thoughts of that. 

She often asks questions or makes statements multiple times in a short span. It's a classic symptom of memory issues and one I hoped she would pass by. 

I wish there was a NEW bright spot to report, but it would be a shock to see anything good added. We still laugh every day, still get in plenty of hugs, and still keep her smiling and happy. 

I guess that's enough.


It's so hard to find someone you like.

 Although there's lots of people, in many different shapes sizes and colors, we don't always notice.  When one DOES stand out from the crowd,  you take notice, and if you can, take action!

 You might walk up to her and hope she doesn't run
 You might hit some buttons on your phone and hit send with a 😃
 You do all you can do to make a good impression.
 The best things about you are on full display.

And then you wait with anticipation to see what she will say...  then she says nothing. All the enchantment from the possibilities ahead blown into the dark, cold void that is your life.

No reply or nothing.
No smile or nothing. 
No interest coming. 
You might try again. And again. 

To show her you need her, and hope she needs you too.
To show her you don't walk away when problems come up.
To show her what a real man would do, if he was convinced she might be the final last love.

When none of that sparks interest, you start erasing all the memories of what made her special, and start listing those things that didn't.

And now there's a whole different hope.  Of one you desperately need. Of leaving this sickening emptiness
and getting back to being you. There is no pill or prayer to ease the pain. There's only the new reality of a world without her in it. The reality you never considered.

You thought she might be the one. 
You thought you were her prayers answered
You thought eternity was the two of you together

All the dreams you had with her are now being lived by someone new. The ego takes a hit for sure, but it wasn't so much "you" or "him". It was "I don't want YOU!" were wrong.

Friday, December 8, 2017


I posed a question to myself around the same time we lost Tom Petty. The inspiration came from a college student as I thought about their journey, and then thought of my own. 

"What is left to do in life?" 

Everyone has a different answer of course. For many, it is measured in raising kids, or vacation destinations, or buying an item on their bucket list. There is no incorrect answer, and none are the same for everybody. But what about ME? 

I've written about the absence of children, but will I consider myself a failure if I never find their Mother? No. Would my life have been better with them included? Of course, but that is somewhat out of my control. You are NOT guaranteed to finding a mate you want to spend forever with, and I won't have kids just to have kids. 

Travel? I have made it to a few countries, but many more are inviting and interesting. India, China, England, Italy, Australia, and a stack of others are on the list of must see destinations. If I don't go? No worries. Plenty to see in the USA. 

Buying anything special??? I got my truck, so I think I am satisfied there. 

Mom has to be mentioned in this. If she stays happy until she takes her last breath, then I can go, knowing I did right by her. 

As a matter of fact, I can go NOW and know I am a better person then I was as a young man. Better to others, better for myself, better for the environment. Just a better human being. It's comforting, and satisfying.

I found the key to my own happiness that frequently is lost on others. I no longer feel the crushing, disabling, and paralyzing sense of despair whenever something awful happens. Or even when a bout of the blues shows up. I recognize it, embrace it, and move on. What else should one do? 

What IS left on my own constantly changing bucket list? 

California! Driving on Route 1 from beginning to end will be like my own version of heaven. Seeing some sights, and enjoying the weather will be like the cherry on top though. Driving Dester is essential to the experience too...

Helping others has always been on the list. There is no reason to erase it. It may be only getting a smile from a stranger, but I hope to be a bright spot in anyone's day. 

Moving South. Yes, I want winter to be a distant memory! No more snow, no more frigid cold, no more salty roads. THAT sounds heavenly...

That may be the shortest bucket list ever! Maybe rename it a teacup list.... 

...subject to change of course....


I watched a movie last night that was pretty darn good. It made me THINK, which is always nice, but I only recommend it if you like STORIES instead of just blowing things up and awesome special effects.
I went down to the local RedBox and got "About Time".
I have to admit to liking the idea of time travel, so this movie was an easy choice. It's English, so it is a little odd to us here in the States, but some of us can appreciate the differences.
The story is about this man whose family has a secret gift - the men can travel through time! This brings up a bunch of questions that the guy's father answers the best he can. What follows is a nice series of episodes that involve his returning to the past as a do-over. Imagine if you could just have a rehearsal to life! One run-though, and then the NEXT time would count... Hmmmm....
The obvious question that comes up is, what would YOU do if you could travel back through your lifetime? Would you change anything or just relive it as it unfolded? It's an interesting thought....
Most people would probably think of money first, but that's before you think of all the important things you could accomplish. People's lives could be enriched, pain could be lessened, and unimaginable numbers of ways to make the world a little better place to live. Memories can be experienced again, people who have passed can be treasured, great days can be appreciated, even more....
Sounds wonderful, doesn't it?


You made an impression...
not with a hammer, but a smile
a genuine, 100% happy kind of look
The kind I strangely want to inspire

You keep your distance, yet.... can I tell?
If you are just being kind.... or maybe
I might be so lucky to attract a young lady
so vibrant, and full of compassion, that....

You make me want to know more....
like, how could I add to what appears in my eyes
is a life that needs nothing at all
You're spirit is free, your soul seems complete

You may not have a place for my heart'
I most definitely want to find out
For better or worse, maybe the truth will hurt
but knowing just might make the dream real

You say, “What dream?”.... disbelieving
the things I have said in the past
“YOU” started off each paragraph here
like the YOU that starts off each day

The YOU in my mind smiles back at me
each morning is the YOU I hope you might be
Happier, still, because I bring along bliss
the kind imagined so often.... so clear

There's nothing like a partner, a lover
a friend that is a help when you hurt
that shares in elations and celebrations
that life naturally seems to bring your way

It's quite obvious.... the signs are there
to everyone that sees us out and about
We found the match to our euphoric lives
The key ingredient, to bring sunshine every day

A partner that loves and supports
not only the you of today, but the you of tomorrow
and more... the YOU you WANT to be
The one you strive to be.... and WILL be

So.... how can I get you to open the door
for this stranger that just came along?
This man, so open.... to all that you are
and all that you might be.... in the real world


One of my favorite movies of all time is Groundhog Day. It isn't because the movie is theoretically set in Pa. it's actually filmed in Illinois.. It isn't because I'm a Bill Murray fan. I could not say that honestly. It isn't because of any deep-rooted fandom of Sonny & Cher, but "Babe" is a good song that fits PERFECT in the movie....

What IS it then?

Of course I like anything that involves time-travel. Imagining the possibilities of going back (or forward!) is fascinating and would be my choice of superpowers - if we had a choice! While this movie isn't exactly time-travel in the classic sense, it's more like a time loop that keeps repeating the day over and over...

I also like endings that make you feel GOOD instead of mad, sad, or plaid. This movie has a happy ending....

The REAL reason I like it is the choices Murray's character makes as he re-runs the days events again and again. I would have done them too! ALL of the m... If you remember or once you have seen this film, you will know EXACTLY what I'm talking about!This entertaining 101 minute classic, appears fairly often on regular TV. As a matter of fact, it was the inspiration for writing this! Once I saw it yet again, it reminded me of why I loved it so much.

It would probably not surprise anyone that the director was Harold Ramis. if that name rings a bell, he was a writer and/or director for a LOT of well-known flicks.... Animal House, Ghostbusters, Caddyshack, Stripes, and National Lampoon's Vacation are all a part of this good guy's body of work. Everyone that speaks of him say the same thing - he was a real NICE guy who liked to tell a good story. And he did....

One of the comments Harold makes about the affect Groundhog day has on various religions is that they all think he must have been a "Christian", or "Jewish" or many others, because it related to all of them.... The fact that a man can change for the better, no matter how unhappy he may have been. It's a journey we all face at one time or another and it's told here in a way that is clever. The DAY doesn't change, but the MAN does, and by the end, is a better human being for going through it.

Phil Connors starts off this adventure being very unlikable. He doesn't like what he does or who he is. Once he realizes what's happening, he is happy knowing there are no consequences to anything done during the day. He seduces women, steals a bag of cash from the bank, eats too much, smokes too much, drives into billboard signs too much. Eventually the fun stops and he gets depressed knowing that nothing will last. The ironic part is, that once he realizes helping people makes him feel much better, he finally can move on....

Laughing at some scenes, it may get overlooked just how profound this comedy is, but I would rate it as one of my favorite movies ever done. If you haven't seen it yet, maybe you would like it too...

Tuesday, December 5, 2017


Hard to believe it's been a year since I started giving rides around Middletown. The cool surprises that have come out of it are many.

College kids - While some folks look down on our younger generation, I see the positives. Enthusiasm, compassion, and interesting stories. These kids might be young, but they have done and seen a lot already! 

I should qualify that most of the ride requests have been from international students. Many have been in the United States for high school. They speak English well, they respect their family, and  have traveled to many places, here and abroad. Their families are generally well-off. It IS expensive to go to school here, but the advantages are in the quality of education and experiencing the world.  

Diversity - The first six months, I tried to keep track of all the different countries my passengers have originated. China was the most common. India was the second, no surprise, since they are the two most populated countries on Earth. Mixed in with those, I counted over 20 nations represented. If I include ALL riders, I had over 30. Wow...

Ghana, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Zimbabwe, Panama, Mexico, Korea, Japan, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Argentina, Australia, Namibia, Jordan, and many others have given me a peek into the mind of people that are, on one hand, similar, on the other very different. 

Take, for example, the two passengers that were maybe the most interesting. One from Israel and the other from Palestine. They rode only a month apart, yet the questions I had were the same. I felt so lucky to have the opportunity to see the world through their eyes, no media bias or political slanting standing in the way of their truth. 

The questions were simple. The young man from Palestine showed passion and resolve in his speaking about home. I asked how he felt about Israel and it's people. I asked about the problems there and if there was hope for a peaceful future. I asked the same of the man from Israel. They both had the same answers. 

What you see in the news is NOT the reality for the common man in that part of the world. According to these two guys, 95% of the people care about each other and want a peaceful resolution to their issues with the land. It's the remaining percentage that creates the issues that have plagued their home for decades. The rest of their stories could have come from anywhere. Most people have the same desires, concerns, and values. They confirm to me that we COULD all get along, if not for those in power that profit from the conflict or are addicted to the power. 

I've had many conversations with people that didn't realize they were NOT just going to sit there and be ignored by their driver! I've had riders that were having a bad day. I've had some that were as happy as could be. I feel like it's my job to lift those that are down and celebrate those that found joy. Talking of hobbies, or work, or vacation destinations, it didn't matter. Getting a stranger to share is something I truly enjoy.

I also enjoy driving, but not at night. I only pick up folks in the daytime, so I don't have drunken fools to deal with. I have met a few that I can call a friend, and a few that I'm sure hope I don't pick them up again, because I talk too much. I've had a few that I had the pleasure of taking on their first ride. 

Long Distance Fun - Most rides are short (less than 20 minutes) but some have crossed state lines. New York City a few times, New Jersey a few times, Virginia more than a few times, DC, and BWI airport have been driven. The really cool part of those trips are, IF you have someone that wants to have a conversation, you can talk about many things. The time just flies by. 

After more than 2000 rides and over 10,000 miles, I can say it is a very interesting way to earn a few extra dollars. Of course I started tracking what I made, hours I worked, and miles I have driven. The average income turned out to be around $8 - $10 an hour. It doesn't sound like much I agree. It serves our purpose though, since I can't be away from Mom for too long at any one stretch.  

The money earned mostly goes to Mom stuff, like saving for travel adventures and related items. I can't imagine doing it full-time though. Too much of ANYTHING, no matter how much fun, is still too much. 

Monday, November 27, 2017


I had to look through all of our old pictures the other day, trying to find ONE in a pile of thousands.

In the process, a few questions and conclusions came to mind....

A) My family takes LOUSY pictures! Heads are cut off regularly. There are subjects that are questionable as to WHY take the picture in the first place. Some of the lousiness can be credited to being out of focus. What makes that more incredible is that the cameras back in the day were NOT adjustable for focus... ugh. 

B) A LOT of pictures were developed that would be instantly deleted these days. Unfortunately, back then, it was like Christmas at the Salvation Army. You opened up the package, with much anticipation, only to be mostly disappointed at what was inside. 

C) Who ARE these people????? Soooooooo many faces that go unidentified, makes you wonder if you accidentally opened another families memory box. No names written, no info or anything on the back. Ugh...

D) Pictures were of TERRIBLE quality. Colors fade fast. Details are lost in the lack of sharp focus. Lighting adjustments were unheard of. Some photos are so abstract it makes you think of a confusing painting. 

E) Pictures in a pack but not with the matching negatives. Or none. I guess folks back then knew already that the pics were terrible so no need to make ANOTHER copy. 

F) Some pictures have dates. Some do not. Consistently inconsistent. 

G) What's up with all the different sizes???? Some are square, some are long, some are bigger, some are smaller. You have no prayer of organizing this mess in a standard binder.

H) Storage itself becomes a problem. Everything was initially scattered in multiple boxes in various rooms in more than one house. Ugh... When it's all dumped in one box, it becomes a nightmare. 

I) Black and white pictures????? I, for one, don't see the artistry in LESS color. It only looks to me like we were poor and couldn't afford the additional cost associated with the "modern" film of the day. 

J) Wow... so many folks in these pictures have passed away. Makes you wish you could just jump into the picture and have a conversation with a long-gone relative..... AND give the photographer some tips!! 

K) Why am I using letters in listing these points???? 

L) Clothing and hair styles have CHANGED. I knew I wasn't cool back then, but now I know even the cool people look sketchy. 

M) Why do the pics from the 30's and 40's look much better than those from decades later???? The people may look way older than their years, but the actual photograph is usually clear and crisp... unless they were taken with a phone in the FUTURE... hmmmmmmm.... 

N) Why did we keep all these LOUSY pictures???? Did we think they could be salvaged???? Did we not know how bad they were??? I got rid of over HALF that should never been taken.

O) The pictures I actually DID keep in photo albums are now falling apart. Is the life span THAT short????? Is the guarantee still good???? 

P) I understand fully why film cameras lost out to the digital ones. Why did anyone think otherwise? Life is sooooooo much easier for taking pictures... except when you realize that the 10,000 photos on your computer need organized! Ugh....

Friday, November 24, 2017


In celebration of "Family Scandals Friday", and in the tradition of the Holidays, I wanted to share one of our country's most talked about mysteries.

Very few times in the history of the world, did a photographer capture a moment pivotal in the understanding of a highly controversial event. We feel fortunate that ours WAS.

No pictures of Amelia Earhart landing on an island, no evidence of who was the person behind Jack The Ripper, no explanation why the Kardashians are successful or even wanted, and of course, why no pictures of Elvis since 1977, since most of us KNOW he's having leftover turkey with his fried peanut butter and banana sandwich somewhere....TODAY!

Yet, after exhaustive research, involving literally tens of minutes of backbreaking examination of the forensic evidence, we now have the answer to one of humanity's unanswerable questions -

Why was my cousin Kevin the FAVORITE grandchild?

It could be said he is a good man. It could be said he helps anyone he can, as long as it's not during racing season, hunting season, hockey season, OR the end of year holidays. And Flag day.

It can be said he's raised 2 great kids, except when raising them got in the way of racing season, hunting season, hockey season, and the end of year holidays, in which case their Mother, Michelle, stood in, like a guest host on the Tonight Show. They did good but Johnny got all the credit. As does Kevin. It was once whispered he nominated himself for "Mom of the Year" award, 20 consecutive years.

It can be said his only fatal flaw is that he, for some unfathomable reason, prefers Chevrolet to FORD. NO SANE person would admit to this in public, private, or under duress, but that is a psychosis better left to professional doctors practicing in Thailand, under an assumed name, for their own protection.


As the evidence became clear (and by evidence I mean discovering the INTENT recorded in a long forgotten family photo), we now have an indisputable timeline that, once and for all, explains why it was Kevin, not Brian - his brother and HOF-caliber coach of Pee Wee football.

Not Mark - also his brother and legendarily hard working man that in his secret life, is a connoisseur of adult beverages in various mixtures of malts and hops. OK... maybe NOT so secret.

We could go on and on, as our family is full of worthy individuals. Chris, Heather, Kristi, Jodi, Stephanie, and Mike, who are all probably happy I don't go into more detail. Lets just say that they may have been ACCUSED of various things, they were never PROSECUTED. One or more MAY even be in the witness protection program. Or not.


Back to the nefarious Kevin.

I submit to you, the conclusive and case-closing submission - the photograph presented here. These are NOT just kids with their Grandmother.

Yes, that is Grammy, and left to right, the aforementioned and not yet Coach Brian, me on her lap (almost as if she, that day, had PICKED her favorite Grandchild), Mark is next, obviously calculating the hypotenuse of his position on the chair in relation to the floor, and then.....Kevin.

You can clearly see in his eyes that the current situation is something he MUST make plans to change. He WANTED to be the favorite. He NEEDED to be the favorite.

In the days that followed, rumors spread that all was not as it appeared in Grandchildrendom. While the photo doesn't have audio with it, there is no doubt the wheels were ALREADY turning in Kevin's 4 year old mind. He may have not KNOWN what innuendo WAS at the time, but without a doubt,  he was already a  prodigy.

All of a sudden, stories of inappropriate touching of teddy bears spread. Rock'em Sock'em robots turned up missing or beheaded. GI Joe mysteriously came back from battle with symptoms of PTSD.

There was no DIRECT accusations of WHO did these horrific deeds, but Kevin ALWAYS had an alibi. One by one, Grammy started to ignore our requests for more cookies, and we started to wake up, not on her couch where we originally were placed for our naps, but in a farmer's field 2 counties over.

Our young minds could not comprehend the seriousness of our declining position in the hierarchy of the grandchildren in Grammy's mind. In all of our years (or in Mark's case, months) of life experience, we could not imagine the lengths Kevin would pursue, to be granted preferred status.

We finally had to admit something was wrong when the great, imaginative gifts from our Grandmother stopped, and in their place was a used card from the dentist with an expired coupon for a free package of brussels sprouts inside.

All these decades, no one came forward to admit to these dastardly deeds. No investigation was called for. No thoughts of wrongdoing were brought out. Nothing. It was a farce at family reunions, as when we were told to play hide and seek, but we were never found. That's why we always had a cab on standby during these functions.

Realization came swiftly and vindication is sure to follow, although Grammy has since passed away, (or she is secretly a year-long groupie for the Philadelphia Phillies) never knowing the crippling effects her choices caused. We tended to forget the "crippling" part when she made Pot Pie, as it was DELICIOUS!...

While CNN has not responded to requests of exposing this breaking news nationally, I feel confident that in short order, all the grands will ultimately file a suite in civil court to compensate us for our pain and suffering. Kevin MAY end up having to sell his race T-Shirt collection which has been conservatively estimated to be worth in the 3-figures.

... unless he was the favorite just because he was the FIRST...

We might never know for sure, but details will surely follow....

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


Thirty One
"This is the last song
I’m ever gonna sing about you
The last time I write I can't live without you
Come on melody, set me free
I have to move on
Yeah you’re gone
So this is the last song"

Not only is this the last song on one of my favorite cd's (It REALLY is a GREAT album, with no filler at all). It also speaks to something we have all lived through.

Letting go of a special someone.

At the time, it may seem surreal, or just plain wrong. The future you see so clearly with that person is squashed like an overripe tomato falling off the counter. It doesn't matter if you think the world is perfect when the two of you are together. It doesn't matter if you have an overflowing bowl of love to give, when that person does NOT want to receive it. It doesn't matter if you feel you can help lift this person through the downs and celebrate the ups. They don't WANT you. It's a tough one to accept.

I've lived it.... and it makes you try EVERYTHING to make it work, because you see the reward at the end of the journey is eternal bliss for both of you. And you SHOULD if the person is deserving of all that hope. Sometimes they are familiar right away, like they have been in your life forever. Sometimes, the affection is revealed in small samples, as you get to know the person and what they are about. 

Very few times in life do you get the chance to experience pure joy, and if you DON'T throw a Hail-Mary (or five!), you will always wonder if you did ENOUGH. That if you tried a little HARDER, it may have been enough to change their mind and correct their vision. I did. She didn't agree. No regrets. Just sadness.... and deep disappointment.

Ironically, the pursuit of happiness has the exact opposite effect for YOU when you live out this one way trip. It tears your soul for a moment. It makes you imagine the future in much darker tones. It distorts every emotion you have, warping reality into a strange, unknown, and unrecognizable place. It almost makes you not want to travel again.... Not today. Not tomorrow. Not next year.


Saturday, November 18, 2017

MOM - NOV, 2017

I haven't written much these last few weeks. Enthusiasm for many things have been tested on multiple fronts. Mom's continued regression, my lack of adult-time with ANYONE other than ME, and the ordinary concerns of daily life for folks in similar situations. 

Just today, we went to the Harrisburg East Mall for a walk around, since it was raining and cold. Mom didn't recognize ANY of the stores or even the place itself. 

She has had an episode or two of dizziness, that, although the doctors say they can't find anything out of the ordinary, is very concerning. The scary part of her having an issue is that she can't tell me what exactly is wrong. Her language has REALLY diminished in the past few months. 

Just a few examples of this are - 

 "make my face" and "gonna mash me" meant "I will wash my hands"
"pull it down" meant "do you want me to lock the door?"
"what time does that go there" meant "where does this coffee cup go?"

The same coffee cup that she has been getting for a year, and until last week posed no problems or questions. 

She has confusion in the mornings at times, but enough awareness to know something is wrong, then feels guilty and stupid. So far, just talking it out or making a joke has swept it aside, but I can see a time where that will no longer work. 

She has been feeling more and more clingy the past few weeks. She sometimes expresses how much she would rather me stay home instead of Ubering for a few hours. Those days, in particular, I stay home and watch her close. Nothing dangerous or worrisome has happened yet. I hope it STAYS that way...

She still loves rides in the truck. That is probably her favorite thing to do. I wish she had a hobby or two to fall back, as now there is NOTHING. She used to sew. Now she just lets me know there are socks that need darned. She used to cook but that is long gone. 

She is a shell of herself, but the part that remains is the best of her. She is happy, easy to smile and laugh, compassionate, and loving. Who can complain about that?

Not me....

Saturday, October 21, 2017


Recently, I was in process of changing phones yet again, and found myself wondering why I maintain 1000 plus contacts. It certainly isn't due to an overwhelming use of my plan's minutes. My phone barely rings at all and I make few calls myself. 

How do I feel about that? Lonely sometimes, but I've always done things solitarily. Most of my childhood memories are of being alone. I would imagine a world completely different, but I always returned to my real world of one. 


My irritation of losing some of the numbers was real. They must have done jumped out of my list and into the black hole that all lost items apparently stay. I was truly ticked off, trying to figure out why/how this could happen.

At THAT moment, I chuckled when, all of a sudden, my eyes opened to the reality that almost 100% of these numbers and emails could be lost and not missed. Time to go through them and see....

Going thru all 1379 of them - who are these folks?

- Friends (too few....)
- former friends (my standards have changed)
- former dates (I think!)
- former "possible" dates (I hoped!)
- former business clients (yes, I actually almost remember working)
- some (too many!) I have completely forgotten.

Is my own memory issue right around the corner??? That's another concern best left to another time... or forgotten! 

It was honestly, sad that I have no good reason for having so many contacts. Time to purge....

I went from almost 1400 to less than 70. Wow. Yes, I did the math and it is around 5% of what I started with... plus I learned to put all of them on the "google" list so I don't lose any in the future! 

Not that I will NEED them....

Wednesday, October 4, 2017


this was inspired by a young lady who, after hearing a few stories and thoughts, my first reaction is that her parents get an A+++++++ 

The question then came to mind, "How many kids got as good of a start as this student?" She was down-to-earth, smart, thoughtful, deep-thinking, and compassionate. 

Once again, I will talk about parenting. No, I am NOT, at this time, lucky enough to actually BE a Father, but I WAS a child, and that counts!!! [HERE] are the other postings on the same topic. How is THIS one different? 

I saw in another person, the results of something I didn't experience. Since I had no point of reference, I couldn't relate to a child that got what I didn't. What was so special about this stranger?

She recognized the gifts that are her Mom and Dad. They are far different from each other, so she gets a unique perspective. A duality that few can appreciate. Her Dad is the thinker. He gave her much of the personality she carries with her. He showed her the world. He didn't hide their good fortune and comfortable life compared to others who struggle to live another day. 

Was Mom just background?  Of course not! She was the cheerleader! The bubbly and outgoing pretty girl that disguises the diva within. There is no doubt in my mind that having both in her life helped her to form the well-grounded young lady I was lucky enough to talk to for a few hours. 

This encounter really made me think about what is truly important for a child's development. Of course, love and affection go a long way to creating a happy home. Without it, no pile of money or lavish gifts at Christmas can overcome the emptiness in the child's heart. 

So..... what else?

I'm beginning to believe that seeing the world, or at least a part of it, would educate a child more than an added class in the school year. I'm not talking about a beach or tourist spot. I am specifically thinking of a land where the people are on a different social status. They may have more or less, but showing the difference up close and personal will give a youngster perspective that will last a lifetime. We can all appreciate this country more if we leave it occasionally and visit a far away land. 

I also firmly believe that SHOWING your kid a GOOD, COMPASSIONATE, and FLAWED Mom and Dad will help in their growth. It's quite hard to walk the walk. There have been so many times I witnessed a situation that a youth was being told not to do something that he is seeing other people in the house do every day. What kind of message is that? Ineffective. 

When Jr sees Dad make a mistake, and react in a positive and open-minded way, he will be more likely not be as embarrassed to make a mistake on his own, and deal with it like his Father. Plus, it's a happier way to live...right? 

Compassion is one of the hardest to show. We live in a ME ME ME world and the idea that another person means much is not a common thought. I'm convinced this absense is part of what drives the hate and anger we see daily on the news. Show a kid you think about others and there's a better chance he or she will become more thoughtful. 

Not surprisingly, education is important to a lot of families that send their kids to college. This in itself doesn't mean much, but the idea that we need to learn is an important trait to a successful upbringing. Humanity and the environment we live in constantly changes so we need to be able to adapt with it. 

Dealing with challenges can reveal the shortcomings in all of us. Stress and confusion will make us follow a bad decision or make a wrong choice. Recognizing and correcting these are important for a child to see and be involved in. They should learn how to make an INFORMED decision and stand by the results. Even if they didn't go as expected. 

Finding something your offspring is good at can be like finding that lost sock in the dryer. Not everyone has a gift at a young age. I don't think we need to be GREAT to be supported and encouraged though. It could be something as simple as a kind word to a stranger, or helping without being asked. The fact you recognize and validate is enough to make us feel pretty good about ourselves. Growing up, we NEED that more than at any other time in our lives. 

I could go on and on, but I know this isn't an easy thing to do in reality. If it was, there would be more well-adjusted men and women out there changing the world. As it is, kids are sometimes handicapped by their upbringing. The strong ones persevere. The less-strong sometimes wilt under the stress. There's no question which child we all want to call our own. The only question is, are you doing enough to increase the chances for your child's success. 

Are you?