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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

PARENTING

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? 






Tuesday, October 3, 2017

TOM PETTY

Some well known people affect you more than others. It seems the younger one is when the attraction begins, the more powerful the affect is. 

Maybe THAT is why I felt all choked up this morning when I was playing Tom Petty music in the car. I was trying to explain a bit to my rider (who was all of 20), but it didn't register. She was actually not as talkative as usual and was listening to some music that I imagine will be quickly forgotten over time... unlike the tunes that Tom and the  Heartbreakers are so well known for. 

"Damn The Torpedoes" is one of my favorite ways to spend 36 minutes, as every track is familiar and good. Few albums can claim no bad songs! While the songs may be on a simple beat, one can't help but move to the music in some way. 

I am one that doesn't look to the words first when appreciating the songs. As a matter of fact, there are sometimes DECADES until I find out what the ACTUAL lines are instead of what I THINK they are. So it may be funny that I include the words to my favorite TP song and a few lines form others....

REFUGEE lyrics.... (which actually, I wish would inspire a certain SOMEONE - who prolly isn't reading me - to understand the irony of my choice)

We got somethin', we both know it, we don't talk too much about it
Ain't no real big secret, all the same, somehow we get around it
Listen, it don't really matter to me baby
You believe what you want to believe, you see

You don't have to live like a refugee
(Don't have to live like a refugee)

Somewhere, somehow, somebody must have kicked you around some
Tell me why you want to lay there, revel in your abandon
Honey, it don't make no difference to me baby
Everybody has to fight to be free, you see

You don't have to live like a refugee
(Don't have to live like a refugee)
No baby you don't have to live like a refugee
(Don't have to live like a refugee)

Baby we ain't the first
I'm sure a lot of other lovers been burned
Right now it seems real to you, but it's
One of those things you gotta feel to be true

Somewhere, somehow, somebody must have kicked you around some
Who knows maybe you were kidnapped tied up,
Taken away and held for ransom
Honey, it don't make no difference to me, baby
Everybody has to fight to be free, you see

You don't have to live like a refugee
(Don't have to live like a refugee)
No baby you don't have to live like a refugee
(Don't have to live like a refugee)

... pieces of a couple songs that hit you...

LETTING YOU GO
I used to think that when this was all over
You might feel different 'bout me
Yeah I always knew, one day you'd come around
Now I wonder if dreams are just dreams

YOU GOT LUCKY

You better watch what you say
You better watch what you do to me
Don't get carried away
Girl, if you can do better than me, go
Yeah go but remember

Good love is hard to find
Good love is hard to find
You got lucky babe
Yeah, you got lucky babe
When I found you-

You put a hand on my cheek
And then you turn your eyes away
If you don't feel complete
If I don't take you all of the way, go

Yeah go, but remember good love
Is hard to find
You got lucky babe
Yeah you got lucky
When I found you

There were so many more in the long career of Petty, and I think you are either a fan of his style or you hate it. I for one will continue to TREASURE the music from days gone by. I will remember his story, of overcoming depression, drugs, and other challenges, and becoming a happy pappy that wanted to enjoy the grandkids and the life he thought he had left. 

Thanx for the memories!

ADDED: Oct 4th

Sometimes you publish a bit too soon. This was the case here. In trying to learn more of Tom Petty, I came across THIS interview. While it IS more than a few minutes, the insight to his thoughts and beliefs ARE worthwhile to not only a fan, but of a person who appreciates honesty and reflection. 

Here are the two parts - [PART 1] [PART 2]




Thursday, September 28, 2017

BEING LAZY VS WORKING

The other day I had a decision to make. It was raining out and I felt a bit unenergetic. Rain used to affect me in much worse ways in the past, but thankfully, not any more. Sooo..... what to do?? Work or be a deadbeat?

The answer ISN'T always "work". Or play. 

Money IS important, of course. You need it to pay the rent, to eat, to buy important things like truck parts and toilet paper. The eternal question is, when do you have ENOUGH? 

Our savings account is not overflowing. Like most folks, we could always use more digits on the monthly statement. But at what cost? 

Everyone should have some time to themselves to do as they please. Time to rest. Time to recharge. Time to get ready for the next day. For me and Mom, that time is usually spent on the road. Riding the Triumph, taking the truck out, or in the best of times, driving hundreds of miles to visit a place we never been. 

This question ALSO popped up YESTERDAY. The weather was nice and I knew it was prolly the last day we will be in the 80's until next year. This was the perfect excuse to skip out on the job and enjoy the open road on the motorcycle. 

I wondered if I was doing the right thing for the long-term. Mental health vs healthy savings. The debate didn't rage on for very long. The bills were paid for the month and we had a bit extra to put in the rainy day fund. There really wasn't much consider. 

The clincher was that Mom was smiling while we took in the sunshine. That was my reward for a job not done....


Friday, September 22, 2017

DAD'S BIRTHDAY

Today would have been my Dad's 82nd birthday. He died in 1990 at the ripe young age of 55. The closer I get to that same milestone, the younger I realize he was. He had all the classic symptoms of heart trouble. The pain down the arm, family history, smoking, and stress. I mentioned him before [here]

Obviously, he wasn't my biological as I have written about that guy before [here]. Dale was who I grew up with and who probably made me stronger than I would have been without his influence. How?

We didn't get along.

As a youngster, I wasn't the best-behaved or the most endearing. I could test patience and probably make my parents happy that they didn't have any other kids. I wanted a brother, but never was lucky enough to get that wish granted. 

Dad brought with him a daughter, Linda, that was a few years older, sadly, too many to really be able to connect at that stage. We were close when we first became a family. She looked after me and saved my life when I was SURE we would die running in a hail storm. We used to spell words on each others back at night, and make a guess what they were. It was an ok time to be a brother. As we got older, she was always doing things like cheerleading and track, was popular, and, I found out later, just as unhappy with her Dad as I was.

Dad was not a tortured soul, but deeply scarred for sure. He was a divorced single-father that didn't seem to have many friends and a family that wasn't that close. He was a loner, camper, and a hard worker.  He was a happy Pappy, and almost started a fight with me when we had one of our more personal disagreements.

I tried in later years to figure out why he was so detached but came away just as clueless. He was a simple guy with simple needs, simple tastes, and simple dreams. Sadly, I don't think he ever reached any of them. It would be an interesting conversation NOW, to be able to ask deeper questions, about more serious topics, and better understand humanity by knowing what made him be the way he was.

As a child, he was both terrifying and infuriating. His moods would swing a lot. We found out later, that the phase of the moon really made a difference in how happy or mad he was. Sounds strange but you didn't want to be around at full moon. Seriously. He would have a short fuse for the most insignificant things and when you did something right, praise didn't exactly come flowing out of him.

His childhood wasn't so easy. I'm told his own father was tough on him. Discipline may have been taken a step or two too far. He lost hos Dad at a young age and lost friends in a car accident while still a teenager. I don't know if that made him hesitate to make friends but he didn't have anyone that he would spend time with unless they were neighbors. He didn't hang out with anyone from work, although he was friendly with them. A few came to the funeral. I wonder if that was a part of the cause of his unhappiness? It's a lonely world without a special someone to talk to, not including your spouse.

He was rarely satisfied with me or even his own daughter. It seemed like we never did things good enough, fast enough, or often enough. It was constant and consistent. It got to be bad enough where we hated when he worked a shift that let him be around the house when we were there. I would go off on my own, riding bike or playing ball, and leave all that behind. I would create my own little world where I was the star, the hero, the winner, anyone but the unhappy, insecure kid I actually was.

One particular burned-in memory was of a bicycle accident I had while running an errand for him. I picked up a few things at the store and was on my way home. Riding bike was a joy that never got old. I felt a freedom that was unequaled. I could ride and ride, going anywhere and everywhere, but on this day, I was not the master of my domain. I was riding with a bag on my handlebars like I did a hundred times. This time, the bag was hanging a little too much and got caught in the spokes of the front wheel. I don't know if this has ever happened to you, but the effect is an instant stop. Instant for the bike that is. I kept moving forward, feet flying over my head, knowing this wasn't ending gracefully. Luckily, my face cushioned my fall. Unluckily, it showed the extent of the incident. I was a bloody mess and strangers tried to help but I just got on my horse and rode away. As I walked in the house, handing over the bag and trying not to cry, I wasn't greeted by concern or questions. No wonder of what happened or if I was hurt. All I got was a comment about how disappointed he was that I couldn't even ride a bike right.

He would buy you things to make you happy then bring them back in your face when you acted up even a little bit. It got to the point where we didn't want a thing from him, because we knew what was coming.

I was a cause of friction between him and Mom. Being a step-child has it's challenges. While there can be a wonderful relationship for some, my own experience was less than that. It wasn't obvious to me or his daughter right away, but as we got older, we started hearing the disagreements that Mom and Dad had about us. Mom would stick up for me and he would stick up for Linda. It created tension at times and other times worse.

There's a LOT more I could write today, but the surprise is, I thought about him at all.

The reward for him making me a stronger, more independent kid was given at a high cost. The happiness of youth was lost to the confusion of my upbringing. Was it worth it? Since I am comfortable with who I am NOW, then I suppose it can be argued it WAS. Yet it COULD have been sooo much better for the both of us.

The more reflection on the past brings along a new sadness. The sadness of a short life, a disappointed life, and a less-than-proud life. His affect on Mom was both good and bad. His dreams were largely unrealized. I feel sad today for the man that had the biggest affect on mine. I also feel that, if not for him, I might have ended up a lot less of a man.

Confusing huh? Welcome to another part of this thing I call "my life".



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!