Friday, February 28, 2014

The theory of relativity

Who knew?
Why are we surprised when the odd
connection happens out of the blue?
You don't have to be an Einstein to
know that birds of a feather flock
together. Most things happen to us
because of some sort of connection
between circumstances, people, or
various odd phenomena. This chain
reaction of shit can suddenly explode
upon the unsuspecting. And yet... if
one really steps back to think about
it, there's always some fairly rational
reason why it happened to YOU.
What's her problem?
Case in point. Your boss calls you on
the carpet about some oddly obscure
happenstance. After quite a tongue
lashing you exit their lair in a daze.
How could something unimportant
suddenly become very important?!
Months later you dance with the big
guy's wife at a soiree. After a few
spins on the floor you connect the
dots. Your error in judgement was
that you had no idea what Mrs. Big
was interested in. Finally you know
what caused your boardroom mambo!
What was that?
Frank claims that I'm as unobservant
as is humanly possible. I argue that
my random disconnects are due to
a lack of interest versus ignorance.
A lady client once draped herself
across the bed in my hotel suite.
As she languorously stroked her leg
I wondered why she was acting so
oddly. Years later when a young
gentleman of my persuasion tried
the same schtick, I  knew exactly
what he wanted. You see, we both
were interested in the same thing...
Two of a kind?
You never know who you might
be connected to. Two women (one
my grandmother) attend a funeral.
They strike up a conversation on
the merits of the deceased. Quickly
it becomes apparent that they both
knew him fairly well. Apparently
he visited my Grandmother every
Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
Whereas he stopped by the other
lady's residence every Monday,
Wednesday, and Friday. It turned
out Sunday was his day of rest!
Full circle?
Commonality links us together and
familiarity usually breeds contempt.
That's why living by the golden rule
is so important. One never knows
where the other may end up. That's
why it's best to treat everyone well.
Otherwise one could be left hanging
off the edge of a cliff when all you
really need is a helping hand. Call
it six degrees of separation but the
fact is, if you screw somebody else,
chances are you'll end up screwed.
And that's my theory of relativity!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Till the clouds roll by...

Doom's day
Whether purposeful or not, there are
times when a large, ominous, black
cloud descends over our lives. Try as
we might there simply seems to be no
way to rid ourselves of the doom and
gloom. While this may happen to us
individually, the older I get the more
I truly believe that it also happens to
all of us collectively. I've slowly come
to realize that this phenomena is not
random but actually quite cyclical. It
seems that we all go through good and
bad times en masse. Think Dark Ages...
Faster than you think
The transition from light to darkness
can be quite subtle. One can't possibly
know what people were thinking as a
seemingly silly man gained power in
post WWI Germany. After watching
Monument Men, I'm reminded of just
how evil that man truly was and how
his warped thoughts quickly redefined
a country's values, morals, and laws.
The resulting terror created a period
of great darkness across our world.
At times the odds seemed against us
and yet light overcame the darkness.
Past present
If you step back and look at our current
economy, we're living in the midst of a
modern equivalent of the historic Great
Depression. First 9/11 then the crash of
2008 traumatized us all and shifted our
perspective. As the child of depression
era parents, I know that those truly dark
years impacted their values, opinions,
and perspectives go-forward. So, why
wouldn't the same hold true for us and
therefore the next generation? Abused
and confused by these traumatic events
we've all lost some mojo in the process.
Phantom pain
You see, it's just not easy any more.
Gone are the days when money was
plentiful and interest paid big bucks.
Post the real estate crash your home
was worth less than your mortgage.
If they could afford to, many opted
to wait it out. Those out of a job lost
everything. Others bit the bullet and
moved on. No matter the outcome,
losing money changed their lives.
Baby sitting
Most of our children grew up in a world
of immediate gratification. For a time we
all lived a life that was not sustainable.
Our drive for more ended in less when
suddenly the world changed. Sadly, so
did their chance at a comparable future.
In the new world order, nothing is ever
handed to you. Now adults, our kids
must work hard and yet may not ever
gain momentum. Challenged by such
insurmountable odds, many give up.
How many "adults" do you know who
still live at home with their parents?
The end is near
As my generation now faces retirement,
we're even more scared than our children.
Knowing that chances are I'll live longer,
how will I pay my bills when I'm over a
hundred? Working and living in a down
sized world, we could lose everything in
a heartbeat. Age and wisdom no longer
seem to be valued. Instead inexpensive,
smart "kids" are standing in line to take
your job. Given so many of us are quite
miserable, what better motivation to stop
and figure out what might make us happy
before "they" make the decision for us?!
Let the sun shine...
The fact is that the lives most of us led
may have led us nowhere. Rather than
Kool Ade, that's the bitter pill we must
line up and swallow. In the end we all
need something to shift us from apathy
to action. Given we've already lived
through dramatic change, it's time to
refocus on happiness. The bravest of
us will go and do things we've only
dreamed of. What matters most is the
will and desire to change. As this new
dawn rises, the sun will shine and the
dark clouds will fade and disappear.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


Odd men out
The other day Frank and I stopped
by our favorite home emporium.
We wandered all six floors looking
for anything that caught our fancy.
Fortunately for our wallets, nothing
seemed fresh, new, or even faintly
enticing. As we prepare to combine
the contents of multiple residences
into one, we truly lack for nothing.
We can easily shop our storage unit
and boxes for all sorts of amazing
accoutrements. Will it be enough
for this pair of homo homaholics?
Been there, done that
As usual, we ended up in linens. While
surrounded by the best purveyors of all
things bed, we struggled to discover
something NEW. Our last surprise in
that particular shop was when Frank
realized Uma Thurman was reaching
for the same pillow he was! It seems
that even Uma was searching for NEW.
As I recall, since then we haven't seen
anything as exciting in linens. Actually
that's not true. There is one new trend
in the bedding arena... OLD. And we
absolutely loathe it. More on that, later.
What a spread
Growing up making the bed was
easy. Ethel liked her sheets crisp
with perfectly folded corners. On
top was a woolen blanket which
was covered by a "bedspread".
Being addicted to early American
decor, Mother preferred a candle
wicked Bates Washington to soft
chenille. What could be easier?
All you had to do was place the
woven mass over your bed. Fold
down the top, position pillows,
flip the flap, and voila, finis!
I slept with Bill Blass
My childhood pillow was latex foam
and still to this day, I prefer a mass
of solid rubber versus fluffy feathers.
I recall the first time I saw "designer
sheets". In the seventies we all went
mad for those boldly patterned no
iron percale extravaganzas. Initially
mine matched my bedroom decor of
eagles, fifes, and drums. Later on I
upgraded to a sleek, modern set from
Mr. Bill Blass. It all seemed so chic,
who knew that soon every bedroom
would be from a bed in the bag?
Comfort and joy?
Later on we all started to a layer it on.
Comforters, feather beds, throws, and
seemingly thousands of pillows. Since
then I think I've spent the bulk of my
existence removing and returning
(according to a carefully prescribed
formula) said pillows every evening
and morn. When, where, and how did
we get so fussy? And honestly, does
anybody ever use more than one or two
pillows? There's a reason the others are
called "decorative", the only purpose
they serve is to sit there and look pretty.
Stop, drop, roll
Back to our shopping spree. Apparently
the latest trend is anything rumpled or
wrinkled. I don't know what else to call
it except MESSY. Bed after display bed
was covered with linens that to my eye
looked like a horde of peasants had just
awakened and arose from said beds.
While I'm happy that the Belgian linen
weaving industry has apparently been
revived, I don't like the idea of sleeping
in a feed sack. Initially we tried to like
these muted masses. Yet post purchase
of an ensemble, we quickly returned it.
White out
You see, we like our beds crisp and
freshly pressed, not a mess. Try as
we might, we seem to be unable to
embrace any tone beyond white.
The higher the thread count all the
better and the stiffer the starch even
more so. Rather than embrace new,
we seem to be returning to the beds
of our youth. Less is more and gone
are the masses of pillows. We've
slowly edited down and now prefer
to top it all with an elegantly simple
woven coverlet or duvet.
Peas in a pod
I guess in the end it really shouldn't matter
what your bed looks like. More important
is who one shares it with. While sleeping
solo can occasionally be delightful, I love
nothing more than reaching over to find a
warm soul adjacent. When apart, I simply
don't sleep as well as when we're together.
Upon reuniting, that nights sleep feels as
good as a million bucks. Oddly it's just
like I used to feel whenever I visited my
parent's home. For whatever reason,
I slept like a baby in their guest "womb"!
Night night, sweet dreams dear friends!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Looking for love
Last night we watched Dodsworth,
Samuel Goldwyn's 1936 version of
Sinclair Lewis's novel. While rather
dated, it was still an engaging tale of
mid life crisis. Ruth Chatterton plays
a woman in denial. She rejects the
love of her provincial husband in an
effort to recapture her youth. Beyond
self absorbed, she ultimately finds that
money can't buy love. Nor can one
expect those we've rejected to still be
waiting in the wings when we finally
realize that all we need is their love.
Facts of life
At some point we have to accept that
we are who we are. That's the moral
of Dodsworth. Walter Huston plays
the patient husband who gives and
gives until his wife rejects him. Free,
he goes on to find unconditional love
with a woman who accepts him "as is".
As the curtain falls Mr. Dodsworth
moves on to enjoy his sunset years in
the glow of his beloved's love and the
Italian sun. One wonders if then his
wayward ex embraced her role as a
doting grannie or returned to Paris?
From here to eternity
Either way, one won and the other
lost. That's they way most mid life
crisis go. Usually the reason one is
running has little to do with their
spouse. Often it's because they've
suddenly figured out that life is all
but short and therefore they must
chase some long forgotten rainbow.
The resulting mania often leaves
those left behind in a different sort
of daze. Suddenly everything they
had is up for grabs including them.
And often they end being the prize.
It's now or never
You see, all that glitters is not gold.
The truth is that once we get what
we thought we wanted, one realizes
that their search was for naught. In
the end what they desired was not
enough. A momentary indulgence
rarely equals the value of any long
term investment. Sadly by the time
one realizes that, the other has also
come to a realization. Once spurned,
many embark on a journey of self
awareness and awake to a new life
that's better than whatever was lost.
Nothing is forever
Life is a delicate balance. While rarely
perfect, few realize the value of what one
has while we have it. More important, just
how fragile mundane stability is. Rejecting
what we deem ordinary can seem exciting.
However most soon realize that anything
new quickly becomes old. All the more
reason to nurture and value what we have
before we lose it. My humble advice is
that you look before you leap. Stop and
savor what is yours. And please, give the
one who loves you a kiss the moment you
walk into the house tonight. Kiss kiss!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Whatever happened to baby...

Come to Papa
Late this afternoon my youngest daughter
will arrive for a week long visit. I can't tell
you how excited I am to have my "baby"
with me. While we certainly survived some
rocky years, we've become quite simpatico.
"M" is a talented artist, photographer, cook,
decorator, and bon vivant. More than that
she's also beautiful, smart, funny, and bright.
For seven days I will pamper and adore her
as only a doting father can (and should)!
Broken dreams
"M" has no cognitive memory of
ever living within an intact nuclear
family. Still a toddler when our
family fell apart, her memories are
of "visiting" me as I moved across
the country. While genetically and
emotionally connected, that meant
that sadly "M" didn't grow up in
my house. For years we mourned
that loss until we finally accepted
that our relationship was different.
Once we embraced reality, things
moved to a much better place.
Out of focus
Like it or not, divorce is never easy.
It splits one family into two while it
throws all involved into emotional
turmoil. Good intentions aside, few
handle the resulting debacle well.
Suddenly Mom and Dad are single
parents who must share the burden
with a former lover they no longer
love. The resulting tension creates
a family dynamic that is anything
but nurturing. Sadly it's the children
who are always stuck in the middle
when all the need is to feel the love!

Friend or foe?
Most of us marry again. That thrusts
a complete stranger directly into the
family circle. Odd man in the middle
is rarely a pleasant place to be. I've
watched many truly committed step
parents try their best and yet struggle.
While few get to pick their parents,
everyone selects their spouse. Why
should anybody assume their choice
will be welcomed into the fold with
open arms simply because they love
them? Time, fortitude, and patience
are the best tools for joining a family.

Growing pains
Ultimately we all grow up and that's
an imperfect process at best. While
victims of divorce fuel most psycho
analyst's pay checks, at some point
everybody moves on. In their anger,
some opt to reject their parents. As
one who has been sent to purgatory,
it's not pleasant, however one learns
to accept their fate. Others continue
to nurture and maintain even tenuous
parental relationships. Whether said
need is driven by guilt or love doesn't
really matter, staying connected does.

Glad to meet you
I'm blessed that this dear child of mine
continues to want to be part of my life.
I can't wait to catch up on what's new
and discover who she has become. Like
most adult parents, my role has shifted
from disciplinarian to friend. Now we
can discuss almost anything and learn
from each other. This new dynamic
requires candor, humor, and intimacy.
Roles often reverse because now both
are willing to be vulnerable and have
nothing to prove except the love they
have for each other. "M" meet "G"!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

7th Day Surprise - FLICKER

And to think we lament about reality television?!
See you at the movies...