Posted tagged ‘feeling older’

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…)

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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…)

Old Music

November 16, 2017

art journalThis fine Southern California morning I am in my office.   I have just finished the wash for a watercolor painting.  OK, it’s not so much a painting as a visual journal entry, paint going where it will until something hopefully emerges.  So far it hasn’t.   That is one of the points of art journaling, to teach creative patience.  I have been listening to music and came across an old favorite I haven’t heard in a long time, Desafinado by Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd.   I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much music slips into obscurity over time, sometimes because tastes change (I don’t listen to much Neil Young any more) but just as often because there is so much music in our personal soundtracks (you do have one of those, don’t you?) that we can’t possibly listen to them all.   That seems a shame. (more…)

Back to Back

November 9, 2017

ArkTraveler

Back in the dim corners of my memory, I recall a song in which a farmer-fiddler sat on his porch fiddling away while his roof leaked rain all over him.   A passing traveler advised him to fix his roof, to which the farmer replied, I can’t.  It’s raining.    The logical traveler suggested that when the rain let up, he could do it easily.  The farmer kept fiddling and said, Get along for you give me a pain;  My cabin never leaks when it doesn’t rain.  As a kid, I thought that was pretty funny. (more…)

Life in the Drivethrough

November 6, 2017

mcdees dtI will confess that I find myself in the drive through at McDonald’s more often than is good for me.   There was a time when I was there for a Quarter Pounder or Big Mac meal, large please with a Diet Coke.   These days, it’s more often a large coffee, two cream in, and a Sausage McMuffin with Egg on my way to the park, or a large Diet Coke on the way home.   I know, I know … that diet soda isn’t good for me.  I came home from our trip to Italy a few years ago with a serious Diet Coke habit.  I’ve got it down to one a day.  Italy is an expensive place to get hooked on Diet Coke, by the way … five bucks for a mini-can.

Like many Mickey Dee’s restaurants, our McDonald’s has put in a two lane drive through.  Two ordering lanes converge in to a single line to pay and collect your food.  When I first saw it, I was sure that our always-in-a-hurry, aggressive Socal drivers would be cutting each other off  trying to be first in, first out.   But after more than a year, I’ve watched customers take turns, left lane then right lane.   The design is such that once a car has pulled forward from one lane, a car in the other lane can pull far enough forward so that it cannot be cutoff.   Brilliant design, I’d say, ever the engineer.  Small things amuse small minds, you might say.  I’d respond that it’s a pretty big drivethrough.

But no drivethrough design is completely immune to human foibles, so customers still manage to slow the pace of service.  This evening my wife and I stopped to get an iced coffee and a soda and a woman in an SUV had positioned herself between two lines so she could choose whichever line moved first.  It’s not the first time I’ve seen the old supermarket strategy brought to the drive through.  There are customers texting in line so they don’t move when the line does, which is doubly annoying because the when they finally get to the ordering station they don’t know what the heck they want.   There are Sally Albright customers who, like Sally in When Harry Met Sally have to customize every food order, something McDonald’s is unfortunately encouraging with their new menu.    There are can’t find my wallet customers and there are have a life changing conversation with the cashier customers.  Happy meal orders are particularly slow … C’mon, Jeremiah, Heather, Andrew and Rebecca … what toys do want? Apples or fries?  You don’t even like orange soda, Heather.

Then there was the little old guy who, while searching his cup holder for loose change, rolled into the Audi SUV in front of him.   Oh, yeah, that was ME.   The driver of the SUV, a forty-something woman dressed for business was all-business when she stormed out of her car with steam coming out of her ears, photographed the back end of her car with her phone  and said to me, Do you realize you just hit my vehicle?   Now, my Inner honeyCurmudgeon wanted to have a little fun.  He suggested, Oh really?  I didn’t notice … or maybe, It was just a little kiss, sweety.   Fortunately, at 73 I am capable of keeping my Curmudgeon Inner, so I said, Yes.  I’m very sorry,  Is there any damage? Disarmed by the politeness of the cute old guy looking up at her, she glanced at her car then back at me, smiled and said, Don’t worry about it.  There’s no damage.  So, that old saw about catching more flies with honey than vinegar is true.  Thank goodness.

So, that’s Life in the Drivethrough for Monday.   Have a great week.  And don’t text in line.