Archives for November 2013

Blame It On The Food Coma

Airport Barbecue, Close Up

I said I was going to do the 99 Things challenge. Really, I said I would add my name to the list of people who have done it so far but it hasn’t happened yet.

Blame it on the food coma or on Halley’s Comet but I haven’t yet produced the list that you see cropping up at Judy’s, Gini’s and Kaarina’s places.

Hell if it makes you feel good you can blame it on my hating the holiday season, doesn’t matter to me. Besides do you really expect the guy who beat up Santa Claus to make one of these lists.

I cooked the Easter Bunny and served him for Thanksgiving dinner so coming up with a list of things I love is a bit like asking me to admit to the Shmata Queen that I would consider visiting cleveland with her.

Damn, did I just write that out loud.

Did You Read The Last Post?

Did you read  The Blogging Jedi Trick That Might Work or any of the post that ran before it? Have you noticed that more of our compatriots seem to have hung up their keyboards and if so, did you reach out to them and ask them why?

I haven’t checked in with them, but I have been meaning to. Really, not making that up but I have been living in my own world for a while now and been so caught up that I barely remember my own name.

Some days when I walk away from the computer I wonder if I should load up my car and move back to Texas.  Been great to be back but in the old country we would say I wandered into a balagan and have been dealing with more mishegoss than anyone person ever wants to.

If I wasn’t already meshugeh this would turn me into a full fledged meshugehneh and that is saying something.

For years I have joked around and said that I am the original storm walker. Been a big joke to say that I wander where storms fear to tread but lately it feels a lot like I wandered out of the eye and right into the storm.

Not really where I want to be.

Thanks and Gratitude

Maybe I should chronicle these things in the journal I won through Yeah Write. Got it because I have been participating in NabloPoMo and because Zoe contributed it.

She did a hell of a job and I owe her a thank you.

But like I said I have been living in my own world and people keep telling me that I am not telling them anything. Keep telling me that  I have forgotten to tell them basic things as well as the not so basic.

Got no good reason other than I get lost doing whatever it is I am doing and I forget that I never mentioned it. Kids told me today that I didn’t answer a couple of questions that I had promised to answer.

Supposed to take Little Jack to the car show and I never told him that I planned on going tomorrow or Sunday. Swore that I had, but he insists I didn’t and he is probably right.

So I suppose that this is part of why I am ready to go back to Texas. Ready to go find a new cave where I can slow things down and figure out what I am supposed to be doing.

In the interim I have a mental list I have been making of things I am grateful for. Stuff like my health, family and friends’ health and numbers like 8/31/68 and 1724.

Grateful that overall things are moving in very positive directions and that my best friend and I have had so many good times together and have so many yet to come.

Grateful to have much to look forward to.

Now all I have to do is slow the world down just a moment and I’ll figure out how to do the 99 things and write a proper post. In between it all I’ll try to visit more of your blogs and even leave a comment to let you know I am around.

Life is pretty damn hectic, but it is good and I suppose sometimes that is all we can ask for.

What do you think?

 

The Blogging Jedi Trick That Might Work

Told my best friend a while back that if I ever win big money I want to buy a castle, but I am not sure I want one that doesn’t make me think it is a cross between Hogwarts and some cool Errol Flynn flick.

Castle Tioram


Something about a castle just attracts me, maybe it is the idea that I can tell traveling salesmen I am not interesting in buying their wares by dumping burning oil or throwing rocks down upon their head.

What Happens When A Writer Falls In Love With Their Own Words?

Some people will tell you it is bad when a writer falls in love with their own words because it screws up the editing process. They’ll say they lose perspective and that it makes it impossible for them to properly edit their work and that consequently it becomes weaker.

There is some truth to that but there is a benefit to being attached to you words too because often times it helps prove that you put something into them and it demonstrates passion.

Passion is one of the spices in the stew that makes up great writing so there is much to be said for it.

When you write as much as I do it is not uncommon to find lots of writing that you hate and a bunch that you don’t. It is not uncommon to find fragments that you love or at least like a lot and when you do you sometimes realize that even though they might not work within the piece they are posted in there might be a better place for them.

And that my friends is what leads to our Jedi blogging trick today.

I stumbled across some pieces that deserve more attention and I am going to use the blogging force tonight to try to make something happen with them.

Here They Are:

Dreams Require Action

There is magic in the night and I look at these children of mine and tell them that dreams can come true but there is a price to be paid. Dreams require action. They require work and a willingness to take risks. This is not the first time that they have heard these things from me. I tell them that one of my dreams is for them to live their dreams and not dream their lives.

I want them to understand that you cannot rely upon luck or fate to make your way in this world. You can’t hope your way to living that life you dream of. You have to put some effort into making it happen. You have to be willing to work and to do so with your eyes open so that you recognize opportunity when it comes.
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And Then The World Shifted

You are the song of my heart. Even now so long after we parted I still hear your melody being played in places too deep to ignore. I can still feel your touch and taste your lips. Your scent is not forgotten nor have I forgotten the grace with which you move.
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A Question of Dignity

I know happiness and I know heartbreak. Failure has kissed my lips and wrapped its arms around me- but victory hasn’t ever been a stranger to me either. I have a closet full of trophies and more than memories of triumph. I have loved and lost and lived. Take a walk through the stacks here and you’ll find examples of these things. You’ll see the stories that make you laugh and stories that make you feel other things.

Read the archives and you’ll find more than one discussion about the boundaries of blogging. I think about these things for many reasons. I worry about invisible people and wonder about whether we live in a bubble. Really I spend quite a bit of time looking for teaching moments. I do it because two kids and a dog call me dad. I do it because being a parent is a little bit like being on one of those crazy Japanese game shows.
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The End Of a Marriage

I’ll say this much for divorce, it makes for great blog fodder. There is something wrong about that, isn’t there. Shouldn’t there be some rule that says that being this connected is wrong. Isn’t there some rule or law of silence about this. I am not really supposed to be able to communicate such intimate thoughts.

The pain of a broken heart isn’t really something that you should be privy too, or maybe you should be. Maybe that is the point of all this. I act as the exhibitionist and you act as the voyeur. I pull aside the shades so that you can look inside the window and see just what is that I am doing.

And that is how you get the great image of “6’2 of stupid that is shtupping my wife, sleeping in my bed and enjoying the house that was the fruits of my labor.”

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The key to using The Force isn’t complicated or hard to understand. It is tied into a willingness to take a chance and to believe in yourself.

More to come in a separate post.

A Thanksgiving To Remember

broken toilet-1

The first candle has been lit, Chanukah has started and now our focus has shifted to Thanksgiving…for the moment.

Between the two holidays there is going to be an enormous amount of food and family time and we are grateful for it all. Grateful for many different things such as not being the guy in this picture.

Grateful to have had some life changing experiences this year that I know are going to have a positive effect on myself and my family. Grateful for health. Grateful for opportunity, for possibility and so many other things.

Too tired to write a longer post tonight or to be more serious than this and that feels right to me. Feels right because this is the kind of blend of serious and silly that warms my heart and hopefully yours too.

So from my family to yours, Chag Sameach and my you have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

See you tomorrow.

Dad, Can You Buy Condoms For Me?

Awkward

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look on my father’s face when I put a box of 50 condoms in the cart. I was 19 and getting ready to head off for the summer at the overnight camp I worked at.

Dad looked at me and made a comment about my not really needing so many, if any and I laughed. “Costco is the greatest store, do you know how much these would cost if I had to buy them somewhere else.”

He looked at me and said something about being too young to become a grandfather and then repeated the line about my not needing 50 condoms.

At the time I thought he was trying to tease me but looking back I wonder if he was trying to reconcile what was happening in front of him.

The Old Man Who Really Wasn’t

I had just finished my freshman year of college and I thought I was a seasoned veteran of life because at 19 I had been through so damn much.

Really, I had survived high school, graduated and then had a freshman year that I won’t ever forget. It was ridiculously fun and as a newly initiated brother of ZBT I was certain that college was going to be the greatest experience of my life.

And it was awesome but fortunately it wasn’t the greatest time of my life. It left an indelible mark and I look back upon it fondly but I am glad that I have had many amazing memories come since then because it would be more than a little sad to say that the best times in my life have come and gone.

Anyhoo, like many 19 year olds I was smarter than everyone and convinced that I was far more worldly and wise than I was. Had I had more sense and life experience I probably would have realized how awkward that moment was for my father and not made such a big thing about it.

But I didn’t and now I wonder if the curse of parenting will follow me because something tells me that my kids will help me realize just how awkward those moments can be.

Your Daughter Was Doing What?

Around ten years or so ago I got a good laugh from a story one of the guys I played ball with told. The short version is that one day he came home early from work and walked in on his daughter and her boyfriend.

We all thought it was hysterical.

I remember him looking at me and saying something like “just wait until your kids are older. I laughed and nodded. That day felt so far away I didn’t care.

It was a million years in the future.

But today the past and the future had a sort of collision or convergence.

My seventh grader started telling me some stories about middle school and asking questions.

His Questions Were Appropriate

His questions were appropriate and I was happy he asked. I don’t know if he had forgotten that he had asked some of them in the past, but I didn’t mind.

I answered them again and wondered if the boy who said he will never kiss a girl or get married has his eye on someone. I can guarantee that some of his questions came because of discussions the other boys are having around him and he asked because he didn’t feel comfortable saying he didn’t know.

Did my best to make it comfortable for him and told him multiple times to always feel comfortable talking to me about anything but midway through I realized that he isn’t that much younger than I was when certain things started happening.

And then I looked at him and wondered how long it will be before nature grabs my boy and has her way with him. Some things are happening now– appetite is increasing and he is beginning to get broader. His voice is a tad deeper and I suspect a growth spurt is imminent.

The Train Has Left The Station

When I think back about my growth at his age and beyond it is hard not to feel like the train has left the station. Hard not to wonder what the next few years will be like and all that jazz.

So I am gearing and girding myself for some rougher waters and wondering if a few years from now that kid of mine is going to share a 50 condom moment with me.

Got to run now, I think I better apologize to my father. Don’t know if that will head off the curse but it certainly can’t hurt.

When Does Middle Age Start?

Workers

Someone told me that age is a state of mind and I told them I wasn’t worried about it because I would always be out of state.  She was about 41 and I was 24 and I thought I was cool because I was with an older woman.

I can’t say I remember all of that conversation but I am pretty certain it happened because I was teasing her about her age. Who knew that I would blink my eyes and discover that I am older now than she was then.

Took me a little while to realize that people weren’t kidding when they said that time moves faster as you age because I am not exaggerating when I say it feels like I blinked or sneezed.

The Sign Of The Apocalypse

Every year my fraternity holds a big tackle football game in which the alumni play the actives and every year I play in it. I have missed it once or twice because I wasn’t in town or had some sort of family obligation but I always play.

This year I didn’t.

It might not sound like a big deal to you but I love contact sports. Love the challenge of taking on the other guy, pitting my strength and will against his. I play offensive and defensive line, occasionally run the ball.

I am the guy in the trenches because I love the battle but this year I didn’t play because I was concerned about how long it would take to recover and ‘cuz I was concerned about potentially getting hurt so close to my son’s Bar Mitzvah.

It is unheard for for me to be like this and I am a little embarrassed by it.

I had to leave early because I couldn’t stand on the sidelines and watched. The actives are little guys who talk smack and who think a guy like me is old.

Hell, I am older but not old.

Yet here I am feeling pretty damn good the day after because I decided I didn’t want to take the punishment.

When Does Middle Age Start?

A couple of younger guys asked me if I feel badly about being middle aged. I grabbed one of him and shook him, not because I was angry but to make a point.

I am not even close to being dead. If you take a look at me now you aren’t going to think of me as being an athlete, at least not the way you once would have. But if you take a serious look you’ll see that even though I fill out my shirt I am more muscle than anything else.

But the truth is that his question probably tapped into my own insecurity and vanity. It made me ask the question about when middle age starts and should I care.

I used to say that I wouldn’t be middle aged until I was half as old as my oldest grandparent was when they died.

Grandpa was almost 98, I am 44 so I am not quite there yet.

But does it matter? Should I care about middle age?

My Answer

My answer is that I age really is just a number and that as long as I can do what I want to do it shouldn’t matter. That means that as long as I am healthy enough to live the kind of life I want to lead it shouldn’t be a big deal how old I am.

Ego gets involved sometimes, not even going to try to lie about that.

Got a 23 year-old kid who plays ball with me that sometimes makes me crazy. He is faster than I am and it burns me up because he is a half step faster.

It is enough now to make a difference but not so long ago he couldn’t have beaten me. If I am warmed up and running a flat out sprint I can keep up with him, but that is not how the games go most days and fact is we aren’t talking about what I could do in 1990 because it is 2013.

So I do my best to put the ego aside and focus on the important things.

Physical, mental and emotional health are what I focus on. Some days are harder than others.

There are those mystery aches and pains and the feeling sometimes that I should have accomplished more than I have. Most days I feel pretty good in all categories and that puts me ahead of quite a few people.

I suppose my goal is to respond to the question of when does middle age start with “does it matter?”

If I can say that then life is pretty good.