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Jan 16, 2017

Life Begins at Forty

I must admit that I used to scoff at the old adage "Life begins at forty".   I'm not trying to perpetuate a cliche, but I truly believe with all of my heart that this saying indeed holds water.  Everyone is different, and some may come to this type of epiphany a little sooner or later than others. Granted.. I took me half of a year after I turned forty to realize this, but then again.. I was always somewhat of a late bloomer.

I'm not sure what it is about approaching midlife that gets people to start deeply examining their lives. All I can speak about is what I'm feeling personally, and the philosophies that seemed to sprout in my brain virtually overnight.  Here's a few of them..

  • Life is precious, and I don't want to waste anymore time dwelling on what I can't change, and what I can't control, meaning.. the past and the future. One can only live in the here and now, and as John Lennon so eloquently stated.. "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans".  I must say that this hasn't been the easiest thing for me to do, but my attitude has improved one hundred times over by keeping this philosophy in the forefront of my mind.

  • I'm slowly freeing myself from the box I've wiggled myself into.  There are so many things I've kept myself from doing over the years because they didn't seem practical for whatever reason.  Many dreams I've always had, have got pushed to the back burner or forgotten about altogether. I was either too busy, or had more pressing commitments that I felt needed my attention first. Things like learning a musical instrument, taking time for myself everyday (even if its five minutes) and writing a book, are just a few things that have totally changed my outlook and have brought immense joy to my life in this new year.

  • I want the second half of my life to be better than the first half.  I'm blessed that I have my health, and fully intend to improve upon it.  I'm actually really enjoying being more active and eating better, because it's helping me to experience as much as this life has to offer.  To do so for many years to come, means that I have to be on top of my game health wise.  It's time for Dad to become a lean, mean, man of the world!

  • For the first time in my life, I'm actually starting to feel comfortable with who I am.  This feeling has got me doing and saying things I would have never done before due to a lack of self confidence.  This feeling of empowerment has made me feel like I'm now the Captain of my own life, steering it in whatever direction I so choose.  I no longer overly obsess about bad things that could possibly happen to me in the future. Unforeseen circumstances will inevitably befall everyone sooner or later.  If you're resolved that they are going to happen, then you will be prepared to handle them if and when they happen.

Turning forty for me was a very positive experience, and in essence spurred me to reinvent myself.  However, the whole experience made me realize that I don't want to lose myself either.  I've seen guys my age go to extremes, trying to pursue things that they think will make them happy with disastrous results.  Fortunately, my bride and kids keep me grounded and remind me that while helping myself to get the most out of life is important.. it's not all just about me. 

I didn't mean to get all deep on you, and I promise my next post will be a bit more fun and upbeat.  In the meantime, I leave you with the lyrics to an old Sophie Tucker song I feel is most appropriate to this post.  And no.. it's not her song The middle age mambo.

Life begins at forty - by Sophie Tucker

I've often heard it said and sung 
That life is sweetest when you're young
And kids, sixteen to twenty-one 
Think they're having all the fun
I disagree, I say it isn't so 
And I'm one gal who ought to know
I started young and I'm still going strong
But I've learned as I've gone along.......

That life begins at forty
That's when love and living start to become a gentle art
A woman who's been careful finds that's when she's in her prime
And a good man when he's forty knows just how to take his time

Conservative or sporty, it's not until you're forty
That you learn the how and why and the what and when
In the twenties and the thirties you want your love in large amounts
But after you reach forty, it's the quality that counts

Yes, life begins at forty
And I've just begun to live all over again

You see the sweetest things in life grow sweeter as the years roll on
Like the music from a violin that has been well played upon
And the sweetest smoke is from a mellow, broken and old pipe
And the sweetest tasting peach is one that's mature, round and ripe

In the twenties and the thirties you're just an amateur
But after you reach forty, that's when you become a connoisseur
Then it isn't grab and get it and a straight line for the door
You're not hasty, you're tasty, you enjoy things so much more

For instance, a novice gulps his brandy down, he doesn't understand
Observe a connoisseur, the way he holds it in his hand
How he strokes the glass, fondles it, warms it as he should
Smaks his lips, aahhh, slowly sips, hah, boy, it tastes good

Life begins at forty
Then it isn't hit and run and you find much more fun
You romance a girl of twenty and it costs you all your dough
But when a forty thanks you, she hates to see you go

And girls of twenty, all they want are big men
Big men with strong physiques
I don't say that it's bad
But you do get tired of those damn Greeks

Life begins at forty
And I'm just living all over again

Jan 9, 2017

Bathroom humor - clever retro sayings for bowel movements

Back in my day.. it seemed like our grandfathers, dads, uncles, and older brothers, had an endless array of ingenious terminology for going number two.  Here's the top ten I've heard over the years that particularly stand out the most in my mind ..

Evacuating the premises
Laying a brick
Paying the band
Brown bear exiting his cave
Dropping your guts
Spray painting the porcelain
Releasing the hounds
Releasing a sewer snake
Dropping the kids off at the pool
Growing a tail

And this is just a short list!  There's many more (some of which I can't repeat here).  Perhaps I'll post some more subdued phrases here at some point.

Jan 2, 2017

Old school snacking with Beer Nuts and Miller High Life

Do you ever feel the need to indulge in some old school snacking?  I often get the urge to do so quite often.  One such occasion was last summer when I was working in the garage on some of my old bikes.  I headed out to the liquor store with a faint idea of what I wanted to buy.  Some old school beer and snacks that dear old Dad used to enjoy, when he was working on weekend projects back in the 70s.

As soon as I saw this retro looking six pack of Miller High Life on the shelf, I knew I had to buy it.  When I was a boy, I remember my Old Man drinking Miller quite often, and nine times out of ten he'd be snacking on Beer Nuts all the while.  Therefore, when I saw the Beer Nuts on the shelf, I of course HAD to grab a can to take with me.

So how were they?  The Beer Nuts.. Excellent!  As for the Miller, well.. it was an interesting experience to drink it.  I'm used to primarily drinking full bodied beers and ales.  To me, Miller was kind of like drinking beer flavored water, but it didn't bother me very much.  Sometimes a beer is just a beer, and you aren't too particular about what you're drinking.  This was one of those times.

It was a beautiful summer day, and I was spending it in my garage engaging in one of my favorite hobbies.  The garage door was wide open, and I could hear the birds singing as I felt the warm breeze gently moving through the garage.  Being able to do something I love, had me totally DE-stressed and made my week.  Maybe my zen-like state was the reason I wasn't being such a beer snob on that particular day.  I was one with my bikes.. the weather.. the Beer Nuts.. and the beer!

There is one other possibility that just occurred to me however.  Is it possible that Beer Nuts can make ANY beer taste better?  Hmm.. sounds like this hypothesis is one that I may have to thoroughly test this summer.

Dec 26, 2016

Geez I'm gettin' old

As a kid, I never thought I'd utter these words, but I must admit.. I use the phrase "Geez I'm getting Old" more and more with every passing day year.  Here are some things that have come to fruition this year, which made me realize I'm no longer a spring chicken..

  • I often wake up more sore than I was when I went to bed the night before.

  • I get excited when I find coupons that will save me two dollars or more off of a meal.

  • I dig Old Spice aftershave. 
    Plain and simple, the stuff works great (it must.. because it's been around for almost 73 years)  It does a great job of tightening up your skin after a shave, and heads off rash and razor burn.  I no longer have an aversion to the scent like I did when I was younger.  Mainly, I didn't like the idea of wearing the same fragrance as my Dad, or men over the age of forty. While I'm still abstaining from switching over to this retro scent, now that I'm a Dad of a certain age.. the thought really doesn't bother me any longer.

  • I don't mind talking about certain subjects with my buddies

    Things that used to be embarrassing for young guys to talk about, no longer bother me and my friends.  Colonoscopies, bowel movements, physical ailments, you name it.  Ten years ago I would have thought this was crazy, but suddenly its no big deal to me and the guys to chat about this kind of stuff.  Misery loves company I guess.

  • Cold weather is starting to really bug me

    Sudden changes in the barometer makes my knee hurt, and the winter months do a number on my sinuses and back.  I'd be perfectly happy taking up residence in Florida immediately.

  • I start more and more sentences with

    "Back in the day.."

    The newer alternative to "Back in my day.." or "Back in the old days".  I feel old when I use it, but it's usually warranted, and followed by absolute fact, or eye opening stories for the young whipper snappers of today.

  • I get irritated when lights are left on

    I swear I'm turning into my old man!  It truly bothers me when someone leaves a light on and is not using it.

I could go on and on, but at the risk of sounding twenty years older than I actually am.. I'm going to stop for now.  How about you?  Are you surprising yourself with changes in attitude and philosophy as you get older?  I'd love to hear about it.

Dec 19, 2016

Dad's Retro phrase of the week

"The bigger they are, the harder they fall"

Isn't this the absolute truth?  From bullies to corporations, the more prominent or powerful they are..  the more difficult it is for them when they lose their power!

Dec 12, 2016

Older is better! Example #125.. Manners

Holy Moly, I could write a book on the subject of manners. Like many from my generation, I was taught about manners from a very young age. What I didn't learn from my parents I learned in etiquette classes at school. My how times have changed! I try not to be pessimistic, but it seems like manners, etiquette, and yes.. even common decency, all seem to be falling by the wayside amongst young and old alike.

I usually try to refrain from using my blog as a platform to vent, but there are things I've seen in the last few years that I just can't get out of my head. Maybe I can find solace by talking about them here. I know I can't be the only one that notices these disturbing trends. Here are just a few examples that prove to me, just how far our society has fallen manner-wise.

Holding a door open for someone
I don't expect anyone to hold a door open for me. People lead busy lives and have lots on their minds, so I can't hold it against anyone who doesn't do so for me.  I however, choose to make a conscience effort to do so whenever possible.   If I am already entering a building, I will gladly pause for a few seconds so someone won't have to open the door themselves. I also make a point to step aside and let women and senior citizens enter a building before myself.

I must give credit for my manners to my parents, particularly my old man. I remember Dad instructing me to open doors for mothers with children in tow, and for senior citizens back when I was only five years old. He never had to explain why I should do so, it was just something "I got".

When I see a senior citizen, my mind starts to wander. What kinds of heartache, joy, or trials and tribulations have they endured during their lifetime? Their lives are truly something to be admired, and they deserve our respect and honor. As for women, they should be regarded as precious, and need to be treasured for no other reason than because they are women.

That being said, let me share what happened to me twice in recent months while holding the door for someone. The first was at the post office one afternoon. I had four boxes in one arm and was opening the door with the other. As I readied to enter the building, I noticed two women getting ready to exit, so I stepped aside and held the door open for them. Both looked me straight in the eye, shot me a nasty glare, and walked by without saying a word.  As the second woman walked by, I heard something faintly hit the ground. It was a couple of envelopes and a book of stamps. I quickly said "Ma'am.. you dropped something." The woman turned around, first looked at me.. and then at the ground where I was pointing, as I held the door open with my elbow.

The woman let out a deep sigh similar to what I'd hear from my kids when I ask them to empty the dishwasher. She walked back into the building, quickly snatched the envelopes from the doorway, turned around, and walked off without uttering a single word to me. Let me clarify that I don't expect a "thank you" for holding a door open for someone, but I thought it was pretty rude in this particular case not to even acknowledge me.  For a second I thought maybe these ladies didn't speak English, until one called to the other and said "What was it?" the other replied non nonchalantly, "My credit card bills and stamps".

The second situation took place at a restaurant with my family of five. From the window, we could see there was already a line forming in front of the cash register. My son held the door open for us as we prepared to enter, when I noticed an elderly couple about twenty feet away slowly approaching. I instructed my kids to step aside and let them enter before us. As they walked past us, there was no acknowledgment to my son for holding the door open, and that was perfectly fine.. no harm done.

When we were ready to enter the building, the gentlemen err.. man stepped back into the doorway so we couldn't pass. He then motioned for the rest of his family to join him. His family was just getting out of their car, which was a good fifty feet away in the parking lot. What was really amusing, is that he didn't look at any of us the entire time he waited for his family. He just kept yelling.. "Hurry up.. Hurry up.. it's filling up in here!!"

I kept wondering.. "How does he think this door is staying open?" But the story gets better. As his family of eight casually walked up to the door, each and every one of them ignored us as well! They obviously saw us holding the door for them and dear old dad, and that we were waiting to enter the restaurant as well. I could do nothing else but shake my head, laugh, and think.. "Wow.. that's one big gene pool of rudeness."

I'm not going to lie. There's been many times that I've thought "That's the last time I hold a door open for anyone!" But who am I kidding.. I'm not going to let rude people change me for the worse. Imagine how the world would be if everyone took this attitude.

Respect for the Dead
I was driving home a couple of years ago on a little side road, when I noticed a funeral procession approaching. I was in the process of turning onto the road from a cross street, so I immediately pulled over, removed my hat, and waited for them to pass. Funeral processions always make me take pause, and focus on what a great gift life is.  What I saw next was something that made my stomach turn. I was parked in front of an International House of Pancakes, and noticed a two door Honda coupe readying to exit the parking lot. I assumed he was going to wait for the procession to pass as well, but apparently wherever he had to go was more important than waiting a minute or so for them to pass by.

This moron peels out of the parking lot at full speed, narrowly squeezing between the passenger side fender of the hearse, and the broadside of a car that was also parked and waiting for the funeral procession to pass. You could noticeably see the hearse hit its brakes and swerve to the left, resulting in the family's cars directly behind it having to brake hard as well. What's more.. it was one of those "customized" cars with a big spoiler, tacky paint job, glittered window tint, and obnoxious muffler that made the car sound like a sick bumble bee.

As the idiot sped off in front of the procession, I sat there horrified wondering how the family must have felt. Here they are on the way to a loved ones burial, the only one there will ever be for that person.. no chances for do overs. It's already a somber occasion, and the family didn't need any more sadness, or aggravation. This idiots actions may have very well traumatized this poor family, or at least made them feel very bitter for years to come.

On a side note, have you noticed how quick people are to joke about the recently deceased? It's no more than a matter of hours that a celebrity can pass away, and jokes start circulating about them. This just doesn't feel right to me, and never has.

What's happened to us? Look at pre 1970's movies, news reels, pictures from newspapers, and magazines, and you'll notice that most everyone used to dress much nicer. Now I'm not saying that men should go to baseball games in suits, and women should wear dresses in most social situations. In fact.. I'm all about being comfortable! I adore my flip flops, cargo shorts, bowling shirts, and blue jeans. However, don't go to a nice restaurant, graduation, wedding, or funeral, in Crocs, flannel, or camouflage prints. Unless of course the guests of honor (or deceased) expressly wanted it that way.  If that is the case, by all means knock yourself out!

I could go on and on about situations similar to the ones I've listed, but I think I'm going to wrap it up now. While I do believe there is a serious lack of manners, common decency, and compassion in society, there are also multitudes of good people who are class acts.  People like the man who told me I had dropped my cellphone, the woman who returned my lost wallet, and the little boy who held the door open for me at the mall, give me hope that all is not lost. I guess all I can do, is try and raise my kids to be compassionate and productive members of society, and they in turn will help to make the world a nicer place to live in.

Retro memories of Hostess Donuts and crazy Colorado weather

Crazy post title right?  I racked my brain for a simpler one, but decided nothing else could sum up my story as well.  Here's the skinny..

Hostess Raspberry filled Donuts

I know Hostess went through a big buyout in recent years, and unfortunately, I believe the wonder that was Hostess Raspberry filled Donuts was a casualty of this corporate reorganization.  I believe they are no longer being made, and it's a shame because they were one of my favorite items Hostess used to make.

I got hooked on these delightful powdered delicacies when I was 13 years old.  My best friend and I had a very successful June with our lawn mowing and landscaping business, and concluded that we had rightly earned a Saturday off.  Friday night we stocked up on fishing gear, and farmed my friends yard for night crawlers. We turned in early and set our digital wrist watch alarms for 5:00 a.m.

Early the next morning we stopped at the local 7-11 on the way to our top secret fishing spot to stock up on some food and refreshments.  I spotted the Hostess raspberry filled donuts on the shelf and excitedly bought a box for our breakfast.  I had seen them before, but my Mom would never buy them for me because she said I probably wouldn't like them.

From there we rode our bikes about five miles to our favorite fishing spot on the river.   After we cast our lines into the water, and waited for the fish to start biting, we cracked open the box of donuts and poured ourselves some coffee from our thermoses.  I don't know if it was the serene atmosphere coupled with the feeling of independence we had that morning, but those raspberry donuts were about the best thing I had ever tasted.

As for the all day fishing trip.. we fished for all of 20 minutes when the clouds rolled over, the temperature dropped twenty degrees, and snow started flying.  Yes.. freak Colorado snow storms at the end of June, have been known to happen once in a blue moon.  We hurriedly packed up all of our gear and quickly hightailed it back to my friends house into the wind, dressed for 90 degree weather.

Sometime before 8:00 a.m. we walked through my friends front door soaking wet, and skin feeling blistered from the wind chill and snow. Walking through the dining room on the way to the kitchen, we came across his parents sitting at the table sipping their morning cup of coffee.  My friends mom poured us each a cup, and we all polished off the remaining donuts while he and I cursed the crazy Colorado weather.  And cursed it we did.. as it was 73 degrees by 1:00 that afternoon.  Like the locals say in Colorado.. "If you don't like the weather here, just wait ten minutes".

For years after.. I would think of this story every time I ate a Hostess raspberry filled doughnut.  Boy, how many times as a kid did I have such grand and glorious expectations which in the end, didn't quite turn out like I had planned.  As disgusted as I was during that particular instance however, I now look back fondly on this childhood memory and can't help but smile every time I do so.