Chloe, Tami’s little Pekingese passed away a few months ago. She had her for fifteen years and it was very sad to lose her.
Besides the emotional attachment of owning a dog, having a dog in your family really ties you down. It adds another complication to your comings and goings.
So, after we lost Chloe I declared absolutely no more dogs!
It’s like having another “little person” in the home to take care of!
And, I have a full life with plenty of little persons to take care of without a dog depending on me.
In spite of my remonstrations we now have a new little dog. He’s an Aussie Doodle.
How does “I can do it myself!” at three years old transmute into “Can you do it for me?” at thirteen?
At three I got reproached and pushed away for trying to help them perform a task. At thirteen I am implored to do it for them!
When they were little I thought I could surely cultivate this “do it myself” attitude into the formation of self-sufficient, self-actualized young adults.
But, now at thirteen and fourteen they’ve become helpless and dependent. And, they want me to do everything for them.
And, regretably, I do!
What has happened to them in that decade between three and thirteen?
Vinyl is making a comeback.
The first recorded sound was Thomas Edison’s voice, captured on phonograph in 1877 reciting part of the nursery rhyme song “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Then, ten years later Emile Berliner created the first device that recorded and played back sound using a flat disc, which became the forerunner of the modern vinyl record.
Over the next six decades records and record players were improved and standardized and by the 1970s, record player technology had evolved to the point where it has changed little in the last 50 years.
During that time cassette and eight-track tapes came and went. Then CDs came along followed by MP3 players, which were replaced by cell phones that now control the audio and video media we now consume.
Now, vinyl is making a comeback and Tami got me one of those vintage-looking phonograph/record players and a couple of vinyl albums for Father’s Day this year. I had not paid much attention to the vinyl revival because I really enjoy the high-quality audio of digital music downloaded to my iPhone.
But, from the moment I removed that vintage phonograph (although it has CD, FM radio and Bluetooth features) from the box and set it up, I was back in touch with my younger self! Music was a big part of my family when I was growing up. As a young child I I listened to music from my dad’s old 78 rpm records and my older brother’s 45 rpm records.
As I’ve grown older I’ve noticed that when I see gatherings of other old men I feel a certain sense of solidarity with them.
And, now I’m beginning to understand why. There’s an Old Men’s Club….
And I’m eligible for membership!
I’m not talking about some underground, subversive group contriving a conspiracy to take over the world. You know who they are and are familiar with their mission.
What will your children remember about you when you’re gone?
While most parents may not spend much time thinking about that, I actually think about that a lot!
I probably think about that too much! Maybe I even obsess about it. Because sometimes it seems that I am growing older faster than they are growing up!
In my previous post, Lucky and Blessed, I expressed the blessing of raising children the second time around. This post is a follow-up and, perhaps, illustrates the dark side of being an older parent.
Most parents are young adults when they have children. They expect to live long enough to watch their children grow up, graduate, start a career, get married, and have families of their own. And, they certainly don’t recognize their mortality as much as an older adult does.
But, my second-time-around parenthood is being performed nearer the end of my life than the beginning or middle. You might say, I’m parenting from the end!
As I get closer to the end of my working life (though retirement is still a few years away), I sometimes look back over my career and try to examine if I have been successful or not.
While I like to believe that during my career I have achieved many successes for my respective employers, there have certainly been some setbacks along the way (I can’t hardly bring myself to label them as failures!).
I used to keep a plaque on the wall of my office that said “Never, Never, Never, Never Give Up!” When there have been setbacks/failures, I have often been able to turn them into successes not necessarily because of my great management or leadership skills but because I seem to possess a good amount of persistence.
In other words, what I lacked in leadership ability, I made up for in doggedness!
“I can’t get no satisfaction–Mick Jagger & Keith Richards
Cause I try and I try and I try and I try”
When you think of being satisfied, you probably envision something like the feeling after eating a good meal, a fun or relaxing activity, listening to music you enjoy, the sound of ocean waves crashing on the beach or maybe even a accomplishing a goal.
You probably don’t associate a feeling of satisfaction with popping bubble-wrap bubbles, cutting paper with scissors, the sensation of magnetic attraction (or resistance), or the clicking sound made by pressing the keys on a computer keyboard or clicking a mouse.
But the kids do! The sensations produced by these simple experiences and many others seem to fire off dopamine-releasing neurons in their kinesthetic brains. So, they call it “satisfying.”
Parents love to give gifts to their kids at Christmas. Each Christmas season we spend a lot of time and money selecting gifts that will make our children happy. While there is a lot of joy in all this parental gift-giving, there is an element of it that makes me quite frustrated.
While the pre-Christmas gift-buying can be stressful, it’s what happens after all the Christmas presents are opened that can be the most agitating to me.
You might recall in Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas story, A Christmas Carol, The Ghost of Christmas Present appears to Ebeneezer Scrooge and shows him how other people, particularly Scrooge’s nephew and Scrooge’s exploited clerk Bob Cratchit, celebrate Christmas. During its appearance the spirit noticeably ages and reveals to Scrooge that he will only exist on Earth for a very brief time, which is implied to be that single Christmas holiday.
Dicken’s Ghost of Christmas Present provides a befitting commentary of the exasperating problem I confront each Christmas season–Christmas presents that get broken often before Christmas Day is over!
Yes, the remains of these broken toys laying by the Christmas tree in pieces or in silence are the ghosts of Christmas presents.
I was sound asleep in bed one night recently when my somnolent self suddenly sensed something standing by my bed.
My eyes jolted open and standing there right in front of my face was a dark figure–admittedly, a small dark figure or was it a small figure in the dark.
Nevertheless, it scared me awake so much so that I shot up in bed and let out a muffled yelp, “WHO’S THERE???”
Then, I heard Kenzie whisper, “Dad, I just threw up!”
My frightened yell suddenly turned into an agitated grumble. “Why did you sneak up on me like that?” I demanded.
“I didn’t want to scare you,” she explained.
The other day Kenzie came home from day camp telling me that Kaleb said a cuss word at camp. When I asked Kaleb about it, he claimed that he was actually saying another word that resembled the cuss word. (I’ll spare you the details of his far-fetched explanation though it was so ludicrous that I burst into laughter.)
Obviously, my incredulous laughter spoiled any opportunity for turning this into a teachable moment. Instead, I settled for inquiring as to where where he had heard such language.
He claimed that he heard it on a video he saw on TV.
Although we monitor closely what electronic games the kids play and what they watch on TV, I’m sure there’s things that get past our monitoring. But its more like an act of desperation to try to filter their media because it seems as though there is more bad stuff being broadcast or published than there is good stuff (or at least not so bad stuff).
We live in a media-infused world. And, the speech on media, particularly social media, movies, popular music and TV has grown exceedingly vulgar and coarse in recent years.
I mean it’s shocking!
And, although I have a few choice words to say myself about all the trash talkin’ that kids (and adults) are exposed to through the media, my rant will be sans profanity.