Category Archives: Thoughts

I’m Growing Older But Not Up

Dear Board,

I don’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member.

Sincerely Yours, Groucho Marx


Thought I’d take a few moments today to reflect on what it means to join Club 50.

On one hand… I made it!

On the other hand… WTF – 50?

I feel blessed to have a loving family, good health and most of my mental faculties intact.

I feel frustrated about missed opportunities, unmet goals and unrealized potential and sad about the times I failed to appreciate or recognize the gifts the universe left right in front of me.

I feel pleased about all those once in a lifetime moments (and there have been many) where I did in fact stop to smell the roses and take in the magnificent beauty of our world.

I feel angry about the times I offered an olive branch of compromise when I should have presented a middle finger of objection.

I feel proud of all the times I’ve been able to do something and do it well…


The Cool of the Evening

“He [Johnny Sain] used to say a pitcher had a kind of special feeling after he did really well in a ballgame. John called it the ‘cool of the evening’, when you could sit and relax and not worry about being in there for three or four more days; the job was done, a good job, and now it was up to someone else to go out there the next day and do the slogging. The cool of the evening.”

– from Ball Four by Jim Bouton


Moving forward… the fact is I’m further from the beginning and closer to the end. Thankfully, I’ve learned to appreciate and be grateful for what I have and care less about what other people think.

I’ve finally learned to pay more attention to my inner voice.

(Note to Li’l D – don’t wait until you’re 50 to fine tune this trait. What you wear/own/drive/live in really doesn’t mean  a thing. Who you are and what’s in your heart – regardless of what other people think about you – is all that really matters.)

My birthday wish for my next 50 years is to be able to follow the path of my fictional Uncle J.T. in “Why They Call Me Captain Dan”


Mine has been a life well lived. I’m gonna go out happy Danny boy and they can’t NEVER take that away from me!!

Best wishes and always remember

1. Make ’em laugh so’s you’ll never be lonely
2. Don’t ever let the bastards get you down.
3. End your day with a stiff drink at sunset to forget about the bullshit.

 

 

Moving Week

I suppose it’s human nature to notice the flaws and the shortcomings in one’s life and one’s environment. Somehow it seems we are programmed to always be looking over the hill for the greener grass and the next ‘big thing’.

“If only I could have _____ then I would be happy”

Tonight as I sit here on a warm, quiet Spring evening in our soon-to-be former house , I notice how peaceful and beautiful this place is. Did I not notice this before or was I just not paying enough attention? I look at the cabinets Dad built and it chokes me up a little bit because it is a project we completed together with a great degree of success. Many times he and I would disagree about projects every step of the way, but in this project I see love and mutual respect between a Father & a Son. I remember thinking at one time that I would always have this kitchen and these cabinets to remind me of Dad, but I guess that isn’t going to be.

I’m not sure what all I’m feeling tonight. I don’t think it is sadness because this house and this neighborhood are the scene of so many happy memories. I carried my new bride over this threshold; I brought my new baby daughter into this home on a glorious, sunny Fall day; I watched from this living room as my beloved St. Louis Cardinals won two World Championships!

I don’t feel resentment toward our move because I’m starting to get comfortable in our new life and I know there are many friends and new memories ahead.

I don’t feel regret because (for the most part) I consciously tried to live in the moment while we were here and enjoy whatever gifts the moment was giving me…. and I have a lot of memories of so many wonderful moments and people here.

I suppose maybe I feel a touch of fear… fear that we will never be able to capture the magic of this place in our new life. I know it isn’t a rational fear. I also know I intend to make a conscious effort to enjoy each moment as it arrives, enjoy whatever we have, and spend zero time focusing on what we don’t have.

I feel blessed to have lived here and to have been a part of this neighborhood and I want to feel the same about my new city… and I know it is my responsibility to make it happen.

To my old neighbors, my old house, my old neighborhood and my old city… I never say goodbye, only ‘Be well my friend until I see you again.”

Leavin’ On a Jet Plane

Li’l D,

Today is the day! You don’t have to wait any more ‘sleeps’ to get on the plane and fly to your new home in Florida. Since you are only 3 1/4 years old, I wanted to write this so you can know more about the time when we lived in St. Louis.

Sometimes I wonder why we are moving. The neighborhood we are leaving is quite possibly the best place I have ever lived and the neighbors are some of the nicest people I have ever known. During our ten years there, we have met countless people who we hope will remain our friends for life.

We have made memories that will last a lifetime. I could write volumes about concerts in the park, house tours, runs from the fountain with friends, parties we hosted, watching it snow from our favorite corner table at our favorite neighborhood restaurant… the list would go on forever!

But… it is time for a change. Good times are ahead, with more adventures, new jobs, great weather year round and fewer bills to pay. Your Mom and I think it will be a better place for you to grow up.

The hardest part of moving will be leaving Grandma, Papa, Aunt H. and Miss J behind.

Nothing can convey the depth of our gratitude to them or explain how much they have been a positive influence in your young life. Your Mom and I have rushed about, tending to our daily tasks and not once have we ever worried about you when you were with them.

Many people measure success by the things a person has, where they attended school, how much money they make, what kind of car they drive, etc. The truth is, when it is all said and done, a person’s success should be measured by the positive impact they have had on the lives of other people – especially the life of a child.

They have been the steady hand guiding you during a period where we  experienced parents in the hospital, job changes, uncertainty about how to be a parent as well as the normal everyday challenges that arrive for any family. Through it all, we never doubted for one second their love and commitment to you.

So now, change is at hand. Our family faces life without seeing our loved ones regularly, not seeing our good neighbors every day. Things always happen for a reason and I have no doubt things will work out for all of us despite how difficult it seems at the moment. I pray you will remember some of your time in St Louis because it has been one of the happiest times in my life.

To close, you should know that your Dad never says goodbye… he only says “Be well until I see you again!”

Happy New Year 2014

Happy New Year 2014!

Right now I’m sitting at my computer with a hot cup of coffee. It’s early – D.O.D. and Li’l D are still asleep. This is my favorite part of the day… the quiet of the early morning.

I took a walk around the neighborhood and thought about how blessed we have been. As always, life threw us a few curveballs last year, but everything worked out. Thank you for visiting this little corner of cyberspace! I hope you’ll return – we’ve got a great year planned.

Finally, I want to end the first post of the year with an old piece of writing that I love. There is a fun story and a bit of controversy about who actually wrote this piece. It has been attributed to Kurt Vonnegut, but it was actually written by Mary Schmich  (you can do a Google search to find the full story). Anyway… I think you’ll enjoy it.

Be well my friends!

——————-

“Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’97:

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Sing.

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Floss.

Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.”

Author: Mary Schmich (USA)
First published: July 1, 1997
Copyright: Herald Tribune

Health and Fitness Advice

I want to be sure Li’l D can read this when she gets older, so I copied it from the Wellfesto website and posted here in its entirety. I think the ideas in this article are absolutely brilliant.


10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Working Out

by brynnharrington on November 19, 2013

Mid-way through a recent group exercise class, the teacher lost me.  She didn’t lose me because of some complicated step sequence or insanely long set of burpees; I mentally checked out because of a few words she kept saying over and over.  “Come on!  Get that body ready for your winter beach vacation!  Think about how you want to look at those holiday parties!  PICTURE HOW YOU’LL LOOK IN THAT DRESS!

THAT DRESS?”  My brain couldn’t focus on an image of some random dress hanging in my closet.  All I could think about was my three-year-old daughter hearing and trying to process those words.

My daughter’s little brain is making sense of the world every single second, taking in verbal and non-verbal cues about how things work and what things mean.  And when it comes to exercise, I want her to grow up seeing it as a joy, and not a utility…as a gift, and not a chore…as an opportunity, not an obligation.  I want her to do it for the love of it, not to fit into a dress.  I want her to grow up knowing that…

  1. Strength equals self-sufficiency.  Being strong – particularly as a woman – is empowering.  It will feel good someday to be able to carry your own luggage down the stairs if the airport escalator is broken, and it will be important to have a solid shot at outrunning a stranger should you meet one a dark alley.
  2. Fitness opens doors.  Being healthy and fit can help you see the world differently.  The planet looks different from a bike or a pair of skis than it does from a car or an airplane.  Out in the elements you have the time and space to notice details and meet people and remember smells and bugs and mud and rain and the feeling of warm sunshine on your face.  And those are the moments that make up your life.
  3. The bike is the new golf course.  Being fit may help you get a seat at the table.  Networking is no longer restricted to the golf course, and the stronger you are – and the more people you can hang with on the road and trail – the more people you’ll meet.
  4. Exercise is a lifestyle, not an event.  Being an active person isn’t about taking a class three times a week at the gym.  It’s about things like biking to the grocery store and parking your car in the back of the lot and walking instead of taking a cab and catching up with friends on a hiking trail instead of a bar stool.
  5. Health begets health.  Healthy behavior inspires healthy behavior.  Exercise.  Healthy eating.  Solid sleep.  Positive relationships.  These things are all related.
  6. Endorphins help you cope.  A good sweat session can clear the slate.  You will have days when nothing seems to go right…when you’re dizzy with frustration or crying in despair.  A workout can often turn things around.
  7. Working out signals hard-working.  The discipline required to work out on a regular basis signals success.  Someone recently told me they are way more likely to hire marathon runners and mountain climbers because of the level of commitment that goes into those pursuits.
  8. If you feel beautiful, you look beautiful.  Looking beautiful starts on the inside.  And being fit and strong feels beautiful.
  9. Nature rules.  And if you’re able to hike/run/bike/swim/ski/snowshoe, you can see more of it.
  10. Little eyes are always watching.  We learn from each other.  You may have a daughter—or a niece or a neighbor or a friend – one day.  And that little girl will be watching and listening to everything she you say and do.  What messages do you want her to hear?

I’ll never talk to my daughter about fitting into THAT DRESS.  But I will talk to her about what it sounds like to hear pine needles crunching under my feet and what it feels like to cross a finish line and how special it is to see the world on foot.  I will talk to her about hard work and self sufficiency.  I will teach her the joy of working out by showing her I love it.  And I’ll leave the rest up to her.