Tuesday, May 27, 2008
This weekend we honored our nation's veterans and their sacrifices by painting Jenna's room...yellow. I know not exactly the color for veterans, but maybe the official color of the Democrats if they succeed in surrendering to terrorists in Iraq. (Low blow, but really.) Jenna is a trooper and for years has wanted us to paint her room, which was a hand me down from Blaire as we set it up as the nursery and Jenna never moved out. Leslie had painted a fantastic barnyard scene in the room, with a huge barn, cow, horse, pigs, chickens, silo, gorgeous sky and clouds. All this went up in 1999 before Blaire was born. Jenna came along in 2002 and from about 2004 when she started talking on she has asked for a different room. We finally succumbed and painted it--probably because she finally named a color other than pink. So no more barn, but the room is very nice with the blue sky ceiling still and yellow walls. So other than a two and a half hour stint at ballet, church and Home Depot, and painting how was your weekend Dennis? I loved it, a lot of good family time.
A lot on my mind over the weekend as big-bro Mike called on Thursday to let me know he has an amelanotic melanoma. He was typically positive and upbeat, but admitedly anxious. He has fought off a lot of crap in his time, from numerous surgeries on knees, backs, shoulders, to meningitis to a staph infection from the hospital. When this nasty little bugger came along his body must have said, "Okay troops, here's another piece of nasty shit for us to deal with, let's get it done, you know what to do." He goes/went in today for meeting with specialist to see what the options are. I hope they can rip it out, put some Neosporin and a band aid on it and send him home. My buddy and doc Doctor Larry said his dad had one on his arm and while he has a divot in his forearm that looks like the result of a Tiger Woods wedge from the fairway, six years later and no problems. That is what we want, a divot in Mike's back and no more muss, no more fuss. This weighed on my typically over-reactive mind this weekend. A lot of chance to put into use my positive attitude, thoughts and beliefs mantra and direction I have been working on.
I am still in disbelief that our crappy Congresswoman, Laura Richardson, fell delinquent on three properties, had one foreclosed on and in interviews with local rag and the AP tries to blame the bank, blames she had too many jobs in a short time frame (three of which were elective offices she sought), blah, blah, blah. The lack of accountability and personal responsibility from our elected officials is so disheartening. What is worse is she is completely protected and will probably suffer nothing because of her actions. Our district is about 60-65 Democrat, so she knows even a dead person wins the election as long as dead and a registered Democrat.
Date night tonight, Leslie is excited because her main boy will be on the big screen tonight--Harrison Ford and the Raiders part 3 is on the menu. I will post and rate in the next couple of days. I love that we continued our Tuesday nights out after 13 straight Tuesdays earlier in the year for our class at church. The kids love it because they get the cool and fantastic Tracy babysitting, Tracy loves it because she picks up $40 per week to play with the kids for a few hours before putting them to bed (and they go to bed real easy, seriously they have always been great at going to bed and sleep) and we love it because we get one night a week to be grown ups, partners and friends. We said for years, "we need a date night" and always tried to figure a Friday (now MAPN--see below) or Saturday; but Tuesday is great.
Fingers crossed for good news from Mike, hoping that Harrison's latest Lost Ark movie is not one or more Z's on the rating chart.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Friday, May 9, 2008
The crisis with Iran must come to a head soon, will it take U.S. troops? The U.N. seems incapable of doing anything, or will not since the longer the madman runs the country the more the American nose gets tweaked to the delight of most of the rest of the world.
The incumbent in the White House has incredibly low approval ratings, Congress is right there with him. With a Presidential election happening in six months both parties are gearing up for their conventions and nominating the candidate they feel will win in November. On the Democratic side the initial front runner is getting very negative press--unheard of before this primary season.
Due to the Middle East situation gas prices are fueling inflation in our markets and causing a lot of concern for all Americans, very much in the stump speeches of the candidates.
The Lakers and Celtics are in the playoffs and there is an excellent chance they will meet in the NBA finals, the Lakers with a superstar.
Terrorism is a concern in Europe with splinter groups setting off bombs in crowded areas over the past three or four years.
It is a Friday. Friday May 9th. Friday May 9, 1980 and I have just gotten home from school, I am a senior, and the phone has rung in our apartment and it is my Dad's New York office calling for him.
As Dad talks on the phone I stand at the window six floors up looking over the park. After he hangs up there is a prolonged silence, then, "Your mother died a little while ago."
It was a Friday. Today is a Friday. Friday May 9, 2008. Twenty eight years since I heard those words. Twenty eight years from a scrawny (about six foot 140 pounds), pimply (severe acne), somewhat insecure kid that was somewhat socially inept, to who I am today. At forty six and approaching my 14th anniversary with Leslie, I have lived with her almostas long as I had with my Mom.
This distance in time place in life would seem to diminish the memories of her as life's routine has not included her for almost three decades; but contrarily many memories are reappearing that had been forgotten. This is for two reasons.
First the girls. From the time they were old enough to ask, "Where's your Mama?" we have spoken of their "Nana" or "Nanners" as I would like to think we would have called their Grandmother Nancy, as living in my heart, my siblings hearts and the hearts of everyone who knew and loved her. Just as we all do and will. As well they know Nana lives in their hearts as well. It was very difficult coming to grips with the death of Mom when we were all very young; it has thankfully been less difficult in discussing and teaching the girls. By acknowledging and recognizing her place in our hearts I am able to call upon her spirit to bring back stories from my youth that included Mom for the girls. As one memory is recalled it triggers other memories as well. Happy memories that warm and instill the joy of remembrance.
The second reason for the regeneration of memories forgotten has been my spiritual awakening and learning the past year. A believer in reincarnation for many, many years it has not been until the past year and more intensely the past several months that I have been able to use the tools of prayer, meditation, affirmation and communion with God to properly place my previously disjointed beliefs into a more focused and positive Belief. Without proselytizing nor getting off track to my purpose in writing this essay, my place today has allowed me a more living experience with Mom and memories than I have had since her passing.
It is a Friday. Friday May 9, 2008. A little groggy from staying up too late I eschewed the 4:38 a.m. alarm and did not go for my morning swim. I rolled over following my back up 5:43 alarm and finally dragged myself out of bed at Leslie's initial 6:00 alarm--our home is alarming. After my quiet time of reading and writing with some coffee, the girls were already up when the school day 7:15 "Daddy Alarm" was ready to rouse them from their dreams and get their morning started. While I showered and dressed they got their school uniforms on then we gathered in the kitchen. I made them breakfast and lunch for Blaire to take to school, Friday is pizza day which Jenna likes and Blaire does not. And I shared with them that today was a birthday, or anniversary that was very important to me, their Aunt Sharon, their Unkey Monkey and their Opa. I told them that on this day in 1980 their grandmother, my Mom, had passed away.
"But she still lives in your heart Dad," said Blaire; Jenna nodding her head in agreement. Soon thereafter their Mom came in and gave them hugs.
Yes she still lives in our hearts. Off they went to school and me to work. It is a normal day. A Friday. Friday May 9, 2008; a normal day. Happy Mother's Day, Mom.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Last night being Tuesday night Leslie and I went out for our date night (bad on me for not posting review on our excellent dinner with friends Susan and Dan at La Parolaccia on Broadway in Long Beach for our date night last week--we want to hit new place near us that is also Italian cafe style and then I will do a dish by dish comparison; back to the show..). It was movie night so we headed to the theater.
To refresh the rating system
Comfy on the couch: Good movie, worth the theater money or top of the Netflix list for home viewing
Z: Dozed off for a few minutes
ZZ: Slept through "critical" plot development/resolution
ZZZ: A $10 nap
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
The beauties of Netflix are many, among them is the opportunity to expose the kids to some classic movies (one of Leslie's plusses is the ability to watch Gene Kelly again, and again, and again, and...) Recently we viewed Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly in "Anchors Aweigh" and it remains a wonderful movie. It was an easy one to put in the DVD since both girls, especially Jenna, love "Singin' In The Rain" and this one does not disappoint. Seeing a very young Frank Sinatra crooning and playing the dumb rube from Brooklyn, Gene Kelly performing amazing dance after amazing dance and a great love story plot made for a great MAPN (pronounced "Mappin' " for MovieAndPizzaNight).
Every Friday when we are home we have MAPN and rotate who gets to pick the movie. We started this a couple of years ago and it has become a great routine/tradition for us on Friday nights. We all start to think ahead when it is our week to pick a movie we enjoy. Netflix has really opened up to variety we watch, for some reason it is so much easier to browse and pick on-line than it was to cruise the aisles of Blockbuster. We have seen a lot of the old Disney movies from the Sixties (Appledumpling Gang, the original Flubber, Ugly Daschund...), plus the musicals and movies from the '40s and '50s.
As an added variable we also rotate which local pizzaria to enjoy the different offerings and pies (Dad has a rule: no Dominos! tastes like cardboard!). So while keeping a routine we add some variables to keep it from being a rut.
I envision the time far in the future when the kids are back from college, or visiting over a holiday and we all gather for Mappin', we will have to, it's Friday night!
"Anchors Aweigh" gets a solid: Comfy on the couch
(See below for rating system).
Start your own Mappin' with your family!
If you are like Leslie and a big Gene Kelly fan here is a site of pictures
Friday, May 2, 2008
Why would anyone raise their children in a church, or school, or community organization, in which they are told they have no hope of success, that they will be the subject of systematic and organized oppression from all directions and to mistrust everyone but "us?" Then while doing this falsely preach "hope" for everyone but your kids--and their ethnic group. Anyone caught preaching and/or teaching my kids they have no hope, are doomed to oppression or otherwise give them the foundation of hopelessness instead of the foundation of striving to be the best and a success will not be seeing much of my kids.
Starbucks Grandes have an average price of $3.00 per cup ($48 total divided by 16 offerings). A Grande drink is 16 ounces. There are 64 ounces in a gallon; there are four Grandes in a gallon. Starbucks costs on average $12.00 per gallon. Think of this when someone you know hits Starbucks, or other high end coffee place, religiously...then bitches about the price of gas at the pump.
Milk is also more expensive than gasoline but is falsely so since it is supported by U.S. government subsidies and guaranteed prices.
How do you get a volunteer to quit? "Please go spend your free time somewhere else?" "We want to put you on payroll so we can fire you?"
I was reminded a while ago of a study a guy I knew did on high achievers. He found there are very few people he would designate as "Happy High Achievers". Most high achievers are very driven, their drive prevents their complete happiness as they are always searching for the next success, the next challenge to conquer that they feel will make them happy. I would rather be happy than be a high achiever; I think I am a happy achiever, let's leave out the "high" modifier.
We have an employee who is really good at her job, call her Judy. Her co-worker in the same position is a perfectionist and really gets bogged on small details that usually are not as relevant as she feels they are, call her June. I told June that Judy is excellent at being really good; I need June to quit trying to be really good at being excellent and be like Judy--be excellent at being really good and every one will benefit.
Often when I am by myself cooking I pretend Alton Brown or Tom Colicchio is either watching or will be eating what I am preparing.
Achieve happiness, be an achieving high happier!