Archive for the ‘feeling older’ category

Mom and the King

March 10, 2018

muscialsI grew up to the sound of music (and, yes, The Sound of Music) on the TV/Stereo Console in the living room, right under the picture window that looked out on Bradley Street. That is, I grew up to music when Dad wasn’t home.  Dad liked it quiet and I can remember Mom lovingly lifting the needle for one of her favorite LPs at the sound of Dad pulling into the driveway.   I get it.   I would have music playing all the time (it actually is, in my head) … my wife Muri sees it as background at best, off even better.  Like so many things that define me, I got my love of music from Mom.   What did she listen to?  Yes, there was some obligatory Montovani, 101 Strings and yulFerrante and Teicher but mostly she played big bands (especially Glenn Miller), classical music (she favored symphonies) and Broadway musicals.   I still remember the lyrics from South Pacific (Some enchanted evening …), Oklahoma (where the wind comes sweeping down the plains ...) and My Fair Lady (I’ve grown accustomed to her face …).   Then there’s The King and I.  My Mom’s favorite.   She saw it in New York and immediately had a crush on Yul Brynner.   It was the only time I remember my Mom owning up to a crush.   I think my Dad was OK with it because he had more than a little bit of the King in him.  Then I went away to college and became educated (technically) and sophisticated (supposedly), too cool to listen to Broadway musicals.  Once I was married, my wife and I became fans of live theater, but I resisted seeing those uncool musicals.   It would be years before I admitted my love of musicals and began to add them to our theater repertoire.   Sophistication be damned, right?   At 73, I’m nostalgic. (more…)

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Life as a Marathon

March 3, 2018

ScanYou wouldn’t know it to look at me now, but I ran my first marathon in 1983.   That would make me 39 years old.   Fred, a running friend at work who ran marathons and ultra marathons convinced me to run the annual Long Beach Marathon, known as a good beginner’s marathon.   That meant it was held in March along the ocean, so the weather was usually cool and the scenery was there to distract you from your pain.   It had a good turn out of spectators to encourage you and few hills to wear you down.   I trained Marathon Meta2seriously and had run 23 miles by the time race day came.  Fred and I started out together but about 10 miles in, he started to feel sick, so he told me to go ahead without him.   I was feeling good, drinking water at every station and chatting with other runners.   I was on about a seven and a half minute per mile pace.  At sixteen miles, I figured I had this made, so I picked up the pace.  Unfortunately, I also stopped drinking water. (more…)

Stars for President

January 9, 2018

There is a scene in the film Back to the Future that I think of often lately.  In it, Marty McFly, after traveling to the past in a time machine invented by Doc Brown, is trying to convince a much younger Doc that he is indeed from the future by knowing the president of the United States in the future.

The scene is actually funnier here in 2018 than it was in 1985 given the propensity of show business types to decide that, based on their vast experience in the make believe world of show business, they should bring their questionable talents to government.   If that sentence doesn’t give you a hint how I feel about the trend, then go back and read it again.

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Christmas Mornings

December 25, 2017

wreathThis is my 73rd Christmas Morning.   My oldest memory comes from a picture I have, me sitting on the floor with a train set I got for Christmas in my parents first aparment in New Haven, Connecticut, and I remember getting a red Columbia bicycle our last year thereelectric-train before we moved to the little house in East Haven that would be home until I got married.  My wife had her first Christmas tree in our apartment in Rhode Island the year we got married (she was jewish) but we returned to my parents house for Christmas morning until we moved to California in 1971, going from White Christmases to Warm Christmases.   And from family Christmases to best friend Christmases with our friends Don and Jackie and their kids.  Once we adopted our two kids, Aaron and Amy, those were some of the best Christmases ever.   As our kids grew into adults, as often happens, Christmas Mornings lost some of the magic.   There is nothing like seeing Christmas through the eyes of a child. (more…)

The Tree

December 10, 2017

bahAs I get older, I find it harder to get myself into the Christmas spirit.   Yes, that is partly because my Inner Curmudgeon is a distant relative of Ebeneezer Scrooge.    Bah, humbug, he says as my neighbors literally cover their front lawn with every inflatable garish Christmas decoration they can find.   Bah, humbug, he says as car company commercials co-opt the holiday season, renaming it The Season of Audi or Happy Honda Days, and air commercials with adults drooling like toddlers over a car in their driveway.   I work hard to keep my Curmudgeon Inner, but it’s hard to do when the parking lot at Costco is like a demolition derby and in order to shop at the Brea Mall, I have to park on the outskirts of Lithuania.   Shopping for gifts for those I love used to be a way to lift my spirits, but these days, my daughter posts all the gifts her family wants on Amazon and both Muri and I have reached a point in our lives where the things we want can’t be bought.  Shopping becomes work.

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Doctor Doctor

December 4, 2017

EHHSSchool has always come easy to me.  There was a time when I would have seen that as bragging but in my fifties, a friend taught me the notion of being right sized in the universe, that is, knowing what you are good at, bad at and everything in between.  I do. And I’m comfortable with it.  Now, you might think that having school come easy would mean I was as the top of my class all the time.   That wasn’t the case because of some of the things I wasn’t good at were: focusing on grades instead of fun;  working hard in classes that didn’t interest me;  putting aside the personalities of my teachers; and caring about who was valedictorian.  So, while I made the honor societies, it was often by the skin ofTBP my teeth.  In college, I discovered fraternity life, so while I sometimes made the Dean’s list, sometimes I didn’t.  Parenthetically, college transformed me from a somewhat socially awkward high school kid to a fraternity social chairman and president, in the long run a transformation that would serve me well.   But at no point would anyone have termed me a scholar.  OK, Miss Rocco, my Latin teacher (yes, Latin) called me her on-again-off-again-scholar.  Fondly, I think, if with some frustration. (more…)

Keeping Up

November 27, 2017

as_grandparents1465617201.jpgOver 44 years ago, my parents made their only trip together from Connecticut to visit us in California.   We were waiting to hear from the Orange County Adoption Agency regarding our pending adoption of a baby boy and had hoped that it might happen before my parents arrived.   But never did we imagine that it would happen while they were here.  But it did.  Three days before their arrival, the agency called and said our first child would be coming home with us on Monday.   It was perfect because we had plans to take my parents to San Francisco for the weekend.   We were so excited about Monday that I remember very little about the weekend, except that we had an ambitious sightseeing schedule and that my parents … particularly my Mom … had trouble Keeping Up with our thirty-something pace.  Yes,  we slowed down and we waited patiently.  They traipsed along gamely.   But we stuck to our schedule and saw all the sights. (more…)