FIFTY!??!

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NOTE: This post is a little late. The actual day was 3/31.

It is not the optimal time to be having a birthday, yet it happened.  Not only did I celebrate another trip around the sun, it was a milestone.

Six hundred months

2, 607 weeks

18,250 days

FIFTY YEARS.

Yes, I made it. Fifty years.  This birthday however get a little derailed by the pandemic we are all going through.  The original plan was to try to go away for a few days, the little guy was supposed to be on his spring break and the three of us were going to get away.  Obviously with everything in the world being cancelled, those plans fell through.  We will do something to celebrate this milestone later in the year, if and when we  of this and figure out what the new new normal is going to be. Although we are “quarantined” we were able to make a wonderful day of it.  We participated in the “Carry out America” and ordered to go meals and went to play in the park (while observing physical distancing).  Newmom and the little guy made a delicious cake and there were even a couple of gifts to open! All in all it was a very nice, relaxing day and under the circumstances, I could not have asked for it to be better!

So I spent some time in the days leading up to my birthday and then a couple days after reflecting on what this milestone really meant to me. What does it mean to be fifty?  Well, for one thing, if I ever participate in a run or ride again, I will be in a whole new age bracket (MOOTR and Running on Healthy, that one was for you!)! OK, now looking at it a little more deeply.  I said something to someone on my birthday and said life has just continued to get better. My 30’s were amazing, my 40’s were by far, the best decade of my life.  I just can’t wait to see what my fifties bring me.

Reigniting my faith has helped keep me feeling energized. It has definitely helped re-energize my own spirit, I have to say it has been one of the benefits I have discovered.  Being a man of faith does not mean that bad things won’t happen, that I won’t be without sin, but it means that my spirit is not weighed down the way it was before.  It may sound irrational to some, but it is my truth, whether they believe or not.

I don’t know what it is supposed to feel like, being 50.  To be honest I feels a hell of a lot like 49 did. today my cousin’s daughter celebrated her 16th birthday.  That made me feel older than turning 50 did. I have written this before but seeing kids grow up makes me feel older than my birthday does.  Like how the hell did my 2nd cousin turn 16? Oh yeah, she lived one day older than she did when she was 15 years and 365 days old (it’s a leap year people, my math is fine).

I have seen amazing leaps in technology. The boom of the digital age.  I have seen 8tracks get replaced by cassette tapes. Cassette tapes replaced by Compact Discs, digital streaming making physical media obsolete.  I have seen the rise of the Cell phone for everyone then they morphed into our own personal assistants.  I have seen advancements in joint replacements and other procedures we never thought possible not all that long ago.

My first television was a little black and white set (probably 16 inch screen) that had rabbit ears for tuning in. Now I have a flat panel television that is over 50 inches and produces more colors than my eye can comprehend.

I could go on and on and on.  There is an ugly side to all of this.  I have watched many loved ones succumb to old age. I have lost family members, friends, mentors and others that have meant so much to me to disease, accidents and just time.  What I (and so many others) wouldn’t give for one hour with those we have lost.

Now I know I too will become a victim to father time. But I don’t plan on going anytime soon and I will do what I can to make sure the time I am gifted with is spent well.

I used to play pretty hard.  I was not easy on my body and used to think with youthful abandon that I would not see 30. Now I say with aged resilience, I am going to be here forever!  And through our little guy, a part of me will be.

Here’s to my milestone. If any of you would like to send a belated gift, let me know and I will send you an address to mail it to! Scotch makes the perfect gift!!  OK, I am not 100% serious, just reading and continuing to support the blog is greatly appreciated!

 

 

 

Not planned

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So yesterday the little guy came out of his room after getting dressed and we matched. Pretty much from head to toe. It was not planned or intentional, it just happened.

From our Hurley hats down to black and gray trainers, we pretty much were twinsies.

Just a fun pic to share. It was taken in one of the large spaces along the open space trail in our neighborhood. We went to go throw the baseball around and if it were windy, fly our kite. All things we can do outdoors while honoring social distancing rules!

A picture is worth a 1000 words (OK, 516)

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It is impossible to not talk about what we are going through.  When I say we I am not talking about we as a family, or as a nation, I am talking about what we are going through around the world.   I looked at the last few posts in this blog since this really took off (I am considering the week ending March 13th the real ‘start’) and I have written eight posts (not including this one) and only two of those have not revolved around the pandemic and the new normal we have all been adjusting to.

It has altered the way we live and what it means to be a functioning human being on the planet today.  We have all seen the wiped out shelves…

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We have waited in lines…

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received notifications of our lives before all of this…

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and shared our stories of how we are adapting to this pandemic world…

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And it just gets stranger and stranger every day.  Today I saw a report that the State of AZ has closed public schools for the remainder of the school year.  Articles about salvaging sports seasons (the NBA, MLB) pop up in my news feed daily.  What we took for granted is now what we want the most.  Real interaction.

I will look back on this period once it has passed and remember.  I will remember this strange 2020, A year where for the spring season I was a head coach (for two games), a year where a monumental birthday basically went uncelebrated (until later this year), a year where we learned the phrase ‘Distance learning’ and schooling was done through a Chromebook at home.  A year where you felt like you won a sweepstakes when you actually found toilet paper in the store when you were starting to get nervous about how much you had at home.  This is a time where the technology that actually promotes social distancing (social media, texting) has been  something we are starting to rely on to keep connected.   This entire experience is starting to make everyone take notice of how important human connection is.

I could go on and on and on.  There is one thing I will always remember.  The impact to our little guy.  No classmates. No school.  No team sports.  No weekly Sunday school at the church.  But also no playing with his friends. The boredom he has expressed.  The ENDLESS play on his Nintendo Switch and the number of times we have had to tell him to get off of it.

I think I captured how he is  feeling, his perspective, in a picture.

This picture:

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I snuck this picture when he wasn’t looking.  It was not planned or staged.  He just went into his room, sat on his toybox and stared out the window.   It perfectly represents what many of us our feeling. How we are dealing with this very foreign situation.  ESPECIALLY  OUR KIDS.

 

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, this picture drew out a few less than that, but I think the point is made.

And with each notification…

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…comes another brutal reminder of the world we live in today.

If you have read this blog for a while, THANK YOU! If you have you will know that our little guy has been active in team sports. We have especially been enjoying baseball. He is a lefty and a decent first baseman.

Recently, baseball has been an adventure, see here for more.  I was really getting in a groove with the coaching, really enjoying it.  I attribute that to a great supporting staff (I have the GREATEST assistant coaches) and a great supportive group of parents. The kids are the icing on the baseball cake, all very attentive and respectful and ready to learn.  I really miss them all.  The season has been effectively cancelled, although there has been no official announcement, it’s pretty much a forgone conclusion.

This doesn’t stop the reminders I built into my Google calendar, which pop up in my email and on my mobile phone’s home screen.  Each of these are painful tiny daggers of what might have been.  The games I would have managed, the practices we would have run, watching these young boys develop into better players than they were at the start of the season, to see the pitchers develop and start to see more strikeouts. To see the defense come together and start to become a force in the league.  It could obviously go the other way and I could be driven to drink by multiple errors and coaching mistakes, but in my heart I felt this group of kids and this group of dads who stepped up to make this a success along side me would not let that come to pass.

So every time I get a message like this:

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or one of these:

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It hurts.

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on the way to the game. Not anymore this spring!

I know I am not the only one.  I had a great opportunity to spend a few minutes on the telephone with a great friend who coaches his daughters soccer team and he commiserated on this very thing, each reminder that pops up a painful reminder.

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No more Views like this…

I don’t even have to mention that Thursday of this past week was supposed to be the start of the 2020 MLB season.  The Little league had an “Angels Night” scheduled.  That too has been cancelled and not rescheduled.  Refunds are on their way.

The Australian rock band INXS had a song called “Tiny Daggers” in the chorus, Michael Hutchence sings “Who put those tiny daggers in your heart?”  well, in this case it is the Corona Virus.

 

What have you lost that you are reminded of with pop ups?  With schedule reminders? Have you cut them off? Deleted Them?  Please comment and as always, thanks for reading and supporting the blog!

 

 

 

A message from a stranger

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So this morning I went for a morning walk with a coworker who happens to live in the same neighborhood as I do.  Before you get all bent out of shape, I was very clear about setting social distancing (gotta be careful!) standards.

While on the walk I stopped when this caught my eye.

A simple message. A powerful reminder.  Written where people will see it.  It could have been anyone who wrote it, but what a great message to see in these times where we are seeing escalating numbers of those infected and impacted by this pandemic, we have a government who can’t get out of their own way to try to help the people they are supposedly serving and there are not many messages like this in the news.

Thank you to whoever you are who wrote this, and to everyone who reads this, I hope the message impacts your day as much as it made my morning.

Big kudos to my friend who made the effort to meet me at 7:30 in the morning to just get outside and go for a walk, and thank you for honoring the social distancing rules!!!

OK Google,

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One of the gifts the family got at Christmas this past year was the Google nest hub.  I was torn between it and Amazon version, we ultimately went with Google, as we are an android family.  The virtual home assistant with a small screen to display videos, text and pictures, and a speaker to play back audio and answer your questions.

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Ah yes, the questions. More on that below

Well, I think the person who uses the device the most is our little guy. HE LOVES IT.  He asks it for the local weather almost everyday to know if it is going to be a shorts day or a long pants day. Before our trip up to Big Bear, he asked it everyday for the current weather there, so he would know how cold it was and if there was going to be snow up there.  He also has learned it will play his favorite music (much to our chagrin, because we have heard the same songs over and over and over again, you get the point) and will turn on background music when he is playing or we are just hanging out.  Another funny thing we learned is that if newmom is listening to music on her phone, if we ask it to play something at home, it stops playing what she is listening to and plays our request, ON HER PHONE (Oops!!)

The assistant has helped solve math questions and confirm some spelling issues that have come up.  He thinks it is funny that when he is doing math at the kitchen table all he has to do is yell out “Hey Google” followed by the question for an answer. Yes, that’s cheating, and we discourage him from doing it, usually be losing a privilege (or three).

We love seeing the photos it constantly scrolls through, often bringing up great memories that we can reflect on.  Past holidays, trips and visit with friends.  Often we will just stop and look and say “remember this?”.

Well, the fun has been seeing all of the different ways he uses the assistant.  The questions sometimes are nonsensical, sometimes just silly because he wants to try to stump the assistant.  Newmom and I have really enjoyed watching him use this new tool made available to us.  There will be times where we come up front to find him listening to music while playing with his toys.  There are other times where we hear the voice say “I’m sorry I can’t help with that” and we know it was another one of those questions that just can’t be answered the way it was asked.

Newmom and I use it as well, it has been pretty helpful in finding answers for quick questions and of course, we use it for weather updates, music and whatever we need.  I know there is a lot more it can do, and I am sure we will use it more and more as we unlock all the awesome things it is capable of.

Long gone are the days where you had to research something using encyclopedias and other reference books.  That was the old world, this is the new world, where the answer is just a few words away, starting with “Okay Google…”

Just waiting in line

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So I got up and headed straight to Costco, thinking ‘almost two hours before it opens, should be fine’.

Ha!

The line is remarkable. Goes completely around the building. There are A LOT of people on front of me and even more behind.  The look on people’s faces as they slowly drive by the line, realizing how many people are actually in it is both amusing and sad at the same time.  Surprisingly I am ok with just standing here, waiting for the store to open.  If I can secure these items, it will be a bit of a relief to both newmom and I.

the people behind me. 

the line in front of me. it turns to the left, goes down the entire side of the building, then there is a 180 degree turn and you come back up the length of the building just to get in. 

This reminds me of the pictures I used to see as a child of lines of people in front of basically empty stores in the old Soviet Union to buy basic necessities.  Being a child at the time I had no idea of what I was really looking at.  No concept of that reality these people lived in.  Now here I stand in line for paper products and maybe a couple of other items with no guarantee of success.

Amazing how perspective changes with age.  Back then I could not comprehend what I was seeing, now I feel a lot more sympathy to their plight.  To say this sort of thing is not what entire countries normal daily lives are like would be blatantly ignorant.  I am blessed to live where I do, to have the things available to me that I do and realize especially in these days that any complaining I do is useless noise.

UPDATE:  I was fortunate to be close enough to get the items I went for, Toilet paper and Paper towels.   I was starting to get a little nervous as I watched our own supply start to dwindle.  I also purchased some additional items that we needed as well.  It is definitely a relief to know that we will not be running out and will share with a couple other people who need these items as well.

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SUCCESS!!!

Even as I was walking out of the store, there was still quite a line to get it. I think they were limiting the number of people coming in and out of the store, which I have been seeing in different locations (I saw this yesterday at our local grocery store).

Again, welcome to the new normal.

March 17, or was it?

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Today is a day where millions of people across the world throw caution to the wind and celebrate something most of them have no idea about. Nor do most care, because its an excuse to have a few adult beverages and maybe a little too much.

Today is a day where you are supposed to get a pinch if you do not wear the color green.  Lets just say someone in our household was very upset he did not get to pinch anyone (thanks newmom for the awesome shirt no one will see in person that would have saved me from a few pinches).

Today is a day with parades in major US cities, an entire river is dyed green and Bars will have the Guinness flowing and the Jameson shots pouring.

If it were any other year I can remember.  But this is this year, 2020, a year that will be remembered for what we didn’t do.  For what didn’t happen.  Bars will be empty. Guinness reserves will still be plentiful. The river will remain whatever disgusting color it always is.  Because this is the year of the covid-19 coronavirus and everything is shut down.  Earlier today the county issued an order that basically quarantined everyone unless you were doing something essential (getting food, going to bank, etc).  We’ll see how that goes.

In our family there are a couple of traditions that even in this new world we find ourselves in, we were able to keep.  the leprechaun made his annual visit, leaving a little mischief behind and after three separate shopping trips, I was able to procure a corned beef brisket, cabbage and carrots. it has been cooking for hours and should be deeee-lish!

Today has another wrinkle in it for me.  It was 13 years ago I got the call that my Uncle Les passed away from complications of diabetes.  This would not be the first diabetes related loss my family would suffer in the following years, but his was the first.  I really loved this Uncle and his kids (my cousins) and I are close to this day.  So every year, as I raised a pint, I always remember him.  This year I have to unfortunately add to this list of remembrance, as I received word that my old boss lost his wife after a lengthy battle with cancer.

So if you didn’t wear green, you were saved from a pinch or three.  If you are used to imbibing a little more than usual on this day, you are saved from a hangover (or at least some discomfort) tomorrow morning.  To Les, here’s to you and to my friend who lost his wife, my deepest condolences, I hope we get to have the opportunity to share how much we loved her and you as well once this is all over.

Cancel Culture (this time not by a bunch of offended people) AKA- no madness in March

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As I wrote Here the world was a much different place a week ago.  The world seems to be cancelled one event or aspect of our lives at a time.  Now there has been a new phrase on the collective consciousness in the past couple years: ‘Cancel Culture’.

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Dictionary.com defines it as:  The practice of withdrawing support for (cancelling) public figures or companies after they have done or said something considered offensive of objectionable. Cancel Culture is generally discussed as being performed on social media in the form of group shaming.  I want to go on record and say I HATE THIS.  I hate the ‘social justice warriors’ that think that they know better and try to tell everyone else what they should be offended by.  However, with that being said, I am a firm believer if you don’t like something someone did or said, don’t support them.  Don’t go see their movies, don’t buy their albums, don’t watch their television program.  But social justice warriors, don’t try to make up other peoples minds for them.   Don’t believe that just because you found something to be offensive that everyone else does or should as well. Let people make up their own mind and create their own values.

What we are experiencing now is different.  We are seeing unprecedented actions being taken. One of the biggest sporting events of the year, the NCAA basketball tournament was cancelled for both men and women’s programs. So there will be no madness in the month of March.  The NBA (Basketball) suspended all play after one of their players tested positive for the virus.  They literally walked off the court minutes before tipoff was to occur.  The other Major sports leagues have all followed suit.  Major league baseball ceased spring training and has put the start of the season on hold.   NHL, MLS, just about everything sports related has shut down.

Disney closed its parks here in California.  That one was a surprise to me, I have to admit. Newmom and I had to cancel the outreach ministry we do through our church (the next day there was a message that all of the other activities on church campus were cancelled, we are trendsetters!).  Not an easy decision, but one we felt had to be made in this (hopefully temporary) culture we find ourselves in.  On Friday I received notice that both little league was ceasing all activities until April and then later in the day, we got notice that the little guys school was shutting down effective tomorrow.  I will be working from home all week next week, so my commute has been cancelled.

Today the governor of the state of Ohio has closed all bars and restaurants.  The financial and social impacts of that move are going to be devastating to many in the industry. I have already seen posts on social media from people who will be greatly impacted by this move.   As a former waiter/bartender myself, I can’t imagine the prospect of my income being completely shut off like that, and most of the waiters I knew back in the day did not really have a lot of savings put away (including myself!).  My prayers are with them all.

Well, the cancel culture has caught up to us. Nobody had to be offended to get us there, just cautious, very, very cautious.

 

Please comment with what impacts you have experienced. I would like to hear what you have had cancelled.  Whether you are a giant NBA fan, a Baseball junkie, etc. If you had a vacation or event planned. Whatever it may be, I want to hear.