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Showing posts from March, 2010

Old Friends, Opportunities and The Sands of Time

Back in the time in which my friends and I were known as college students we used to gather upon special occasions. Mind you that in those days we were spread out far and wide and very few of us understood that we were living through a special occasion. The gang as we collectively referred to ourselves then and now was a mixed group of boys and girls who had known each other for a while. Many of us had met in elementary school or junior high. By the time our university lives began we had the benefit of years of friendship together. We had seen the first loves come and go, witnessed more than a few life cycle events and used those things to build the foundation of the friendships that we still share.   Since we found ourselves scattered across the country we looked towards the holidays as a time when we could reconnect in person. As I sit here typing on my computer I find myself smiling at the memories, if for no other reason than the recollection that we had few of the modern conv

Passover 2010- Grandma is Gone

"Lean on me when you're not strong And I'll be your friend I'll help you carry on For it won't be long Till I'm gonna need Somebody to lean on" Lean On Me - Bill Withers It is Passover 2010. I sit down at the table and wait for my father to start the seder. My son is on my left, grandfather just to my right. It is the first holiday since grandma died and I am surprised by how hard it is. Grandma wasn't particularly religious. She was proud of her Judaism but didn't go to shul unless it was for a family function. Didn't keep a Kosher home and really didn't do much to Kasher the house for Pesach. But she was an integral part of our lives and it is impossible not to notice that she isn't there. It is not the first seder that she has missed. Due to health issues she didn't make it last year, but that was different. She was missed, but it was understood that had things been slightly different she would have been and that is a

Like Two Prizefighters

  ( The story continues )  I stood there and looked blankly at the man, my arms dangled at my side like two sides of beef. It was overwhelming me. I stood there knowing that this man had been tortured, knowing that Georgie expected me to torture him some more. And the worst part of it was that part of me was curious about what it would be like to do it. What would it feel like, would I get some kind of rush of adrenaline or would it be the beginning of a nightmare that would haunt me. It would have been nice to say that I was a nice guy who had never done anything wrong, but that wasn’t true. It would have been nice to blame it all on Georgie and to say that he was responsible for the violence that I had been a part of, but that wasn’t true. He may have gotten me involved, but I always had the chance to walk away, to say no and I never did. The reality was that I blamed myself for the way my life had turned out and even though I knew that Georgie played a large ro

Bad things Come in Threes

That's the old saw isn't it, bad things come in three's. At least I hope that is the case. If this were a twelve round fight I'd have to say that the other guy is winning. I have been beaten up, down and around the ring. My legs are wobbly, I have two black eyes and one hell of a concussion. The only reason that I am still on my feet is that I am too stubborn or perhaps too dumb to go down. So I keep fighting because I don't know what else to do. I stagger around the ring, trying not to collapse. I search the crowd for my Adrian, knowing that if I can see my girl's face I'll find the strength to continue. But she's not there. Alone in the dark I hear things, the echoes of the past and whispers of the future. She is gone. Can't say if it is for good or for what. Silly 70's songs like Just When I needed You Most play in the background, but I can't focus. I try to buck up, be a man who can shrug it all off and maintain th

What You Missed- The Review

If you haven't been by recently here is what you missed: Festival Of The Fathers- A Blog Experience Part 4 Haveil Havalim-The Empty Seat At My Seder Edition The Six Million Dollar Man The Cemetery- Who Is In the Box Dad, I Didn't Get To say Goodbye Back With More Bad News Georgie in the Mountains Hump Day Notes Grandma's Dying & Grandpa Has Cancer Dad, Can You Teach me About Girls

Haveil Havalim-The Empty Seat At My Seder Edition

Welcome to Haveil Havalim-The Empty Seat At My Seder Edition. This past week we lost my grandmother , Miriam bat Shoshana and as a result will have one less seat to fill at my seder. At a hair short of 41 I have been privileged and blessed with grandparents for longer than many of my friends. I have learned much from them and taken great joy in watching them play with their great grandchildren. Due to family obligations this edition is a bit rough. This one is for you grandma. Founded by  Soccer Dad , Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs -- a weekly collection of Jewish & Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It's hosted by different bloggers each week and coordinated by  Jack . The term 'Haveil Havalim,' which means "Vanity of Vanities," is from Qoheleth, (Ecclesiastes) which was written by King Solomon. King Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and later on got all

Festival Of The Fathers- A Blog Experience Part 4

2010 is the year of the daddy blogger and as such it is time again for the Festival of Fathers- A Blog Experience. This is the fourth edition of our weekly series. A collection of posts from the unsung heroes of the parenting gang. Take a moment to read the posts the men have written and let them know that they are appreciated. Cleverfather: Kids are like mint cars Mocha Dad: Parenting By the Book or By Instinct A Little Monkey, Chased By The Nazis. We Have To Help Him. This Is Curious NoobDad: She Heard That PapaRocks6: Me and my fears DadWagon: The Tantrum: Should You Bring Your Kids to Fancy Restaurants? Part IV Howefitz Blog: Saturday Morning Fare: Frog In Armor Edition Luke, I amYour Father: Recycled Humor DC Urban Dad: Dear Pampers..... And Triplets Make Six: Dear Elmo Daddy Files: Her Shit Don’t Stink Canadad: Life in a Zoo Clark Kent's Lunchbox: A SAHD Resume BloggerDad: Cooking With Chef Blogger Dad It Ain't All Pizzas and Cre

The Cemetery- Who Is In the Box

I woke up a little bit before six and slowly realized that whatever I had been dreaming about had been disturbing. Tried to relax for a moment to see if memory would serve me a few images to digest but got nothing. Nada, ephus, bubkis. Can't tell you what it was that made me uneasy, won't speculate either. What I can tell you is that grandma's funeral is later today and I am surprised by feeling completely unready for it. Shocked by the feeling of unease and discontent, unprepared for it entirely. As I move through the house it is a blend of morning rituals. Kids are moving slowly, getting ready for school at a snail's pace. That is no different than any other day. I am supposed to have a conference call at 7 A.M. but it has been canceled today. I shuffle into the bathroom and close the door, a temporary refuge. I look in the mirror and see dark circles beneath my eyes, lines in my forehead and a very thick beard. As I stand there I realize I am looking for a 12 y

Dad, I Didn't Get To say Goodbye

  Grandma died the night of my 14th wedding anniversary. With the news of her departure a night of nostalgic reminiscing took on new meaning. As is obvious by this post and the prior one I have been thinking about it all and have decided to continue to chronicle my thoughts, feelings and ideas here. Chicago has always played a big role in my life. It is where my grandmother and many other families were born and raised. I have teased most of the family about our great inability to find a decent pizza or steak in the Windy City so I thought that the song above kind of fit the tone. And of course I have to include Sweet Home Chicago if for no other reason than it lightens my mood and makes me smile. This morning I told the children about grandma and received the expected responses from them. My daughter kind of shrugged her shoulders. The dark haired beauty is 5.5 and death is still a bit foreign to her. She understands that grandma is gone, but the weight and the import of the mo

Back With More Bad News

My grandmother died a short time ago. It wasn't unexpected but it happened a little bit faster than I had anticipated. And now I am sitting at the computer, trying to process it all. I don't think that it has sunk in yet, not completely. The call came a few minutes after midnight, I didn't have to look at the caller ID to know that it was bad news, what else do you hear about late at night or early in the morning. Twenty years ago if the phone rang then it would have been a girl friend or friend with benefits. Twenty years ago it might have been one of the boys looking for a ride home or a shoulder to cry on. Those days are gone and I have come to dread those late night calls because they almost always mean that someone is gone. My grandmother is gone. The woman who used to take my sisters and I on long walks is here no longer. The woman who had more energy than anyone I ever met has finally run out and the world is a sadder place for it. Across town my mother, aunt

Georgie in the Mountains

( The story continues )  Three hours later we joined a half dozen other cars in a campground turned shantytown. If I had been a photographer for Newsweek I could have composed a photo essay about the working poor. The people roaming through the grounds couldn’t have been much older than their mid-thirties, but the tired and weathered looks upon their faces told a different tale. Callused hands and leathery skin spoke of untold hours engaged in manual labor. I still didn’t know much about why we were here, other than Georgie’s comment that morning about needing to see someone. I wasn’t real happy about it either, but Georgie wasn’t the kind of guy you complained to, let alone about. So I shut my mouth and followed him out of the car. It was late afternoon and the sun had begun its journey to the other side of the world but somehow no matter which direction we walked I was squinting. I tripped over a pile of empty beer bottles and found myself face down in the dirt. Am

Hump Day Notes

"And in the end The love you take Is equal to the love you make." The End - The Beatles "This is the end Beautiful friend This is the end My only friend, the end Of our elaborate plans, the end Of everything that stands, the end No safety or surprise, the end I'll never look into your eyes...again Can you picture what will be So limitless and free" The End - The Doors A million thoughts and ideas are flowing through my mind. There are an endless number of projects and things to do that are fighting for space alongside the impending end for grandma . I find myself a mix of bemused and bewildered with an extra dose of grumpiness. Last night I watched LOST and wondered what would happen if I were to walk around the island. It is a television show so this is nothing but the foolish speculation of a man who is putting off running some errands. But as I watched the show unfold I wondered if I walked the hills would  I find my dead waiting for me

Grandma's Dying & Grandpa Has Cancer

Grandma's Dying & Grandpa Has Cancer . That should be the name of some sort of country music song shouldn't it. Really, I can see Tim McGraw doing it. He has more than a few songs that I like but this isn't a song title, it is my life. How is that for drama. Not bad, huh. If you are among the 17 long time readers than none of this is that much of a surprise. My life is just like your life, filled with a tapestry of good and bad. Stories about those we he have lost and those we haven't are scattered through it. Some of them make you smile and some of them make you cry. This morning as the kids got ready to head off to school I told them that my grandmother had fallen and needed to go the hospital. They looked at me and said, "again?" I smiled and told them that she had fallen again and was besieged with a thousand questions about how and why it happened. It was a bittersweet moment. What I didn't tell them was that she broke her hip and that due

Dad, Can You Teach me About Girls

Slowly but surely the wheels of time are moving closer to the day in which my son stops pretending that he hates girls and admits that there is something intriguing about them. At the moment most of his comments are of the appropriate sort for an almost ten year-old boy. He wrinkles his nose and looks upon them disdainfully. At school they don't play the same games as him and his friends and when they do get involved there is almost always a disagreement. He tells me that he sees them in groups laughing about stupid things, but just what those stupid things are he isn't really sure. When I ask him for an example he looks at me like I am crazy and tells me that "they're girls." Periodically I'll find two or three chasing him and his friends. I am not really sure what the game is other than the boys run and the girls chase them. I have told him to be careful because one of them just might decide that they want to catch him. He doesn't quite understand

Dad's Drinking Again Because He Just Doesn't Care

The following story is fiction in the sense that it is not based upon one person's story. However it has elements of truth from many and that lends itself to a certain reality. Take it for what it is worth. "Men walkin' 'long the railroad tracks Goin' someplace there's no goin' back Highway patrol choppers comin' up over the ridge Hot soup on a campfire under the bridge Shelter line stretchin' round the corner Welcome to the new world order Families sleepin' in their cars in the southwest No home no job no peace no rest The highway is alive tonight But nobody's kiddin' nobody about where it goes I'm sittin' down here in the campfire light Searchin' for the ghost of Tom Joad" The Ghost of Tom Joad- Bruce Springsteen It was almost noon, the first Monday of a new spring and the last week of a month he needed to forget. He was three beers and two shots into the day and there was no bartender yelling out las

What You Missed- A Quick Review

If you haven't been buy in a while here is a short review of recent posts: Best of The Jewish/Israeli Blogosphere-Haveil Havalim #261 Festival Of The Fathers- A Blog Experience Part III I Won't Back Down Talent- A Heavy Bag & Dad's Medicine Cabinet Dad, What is Prostate Cancer? Jack Sings to You Georgie Five Years Later Words on a Page Conversations With The Kids

Best of The Jewish/Israeli Blogosphere-Haveil Havalim #261

Founded by  Soccer Dad , Haveil Havalim is a carnival of Jewish blogs -- a weekly collection of Jewish & Israeli blog highlights, tidbits and points of interest collected from blogs all around the world. It's hosted by different bloggers each week and coordinated by  Jack . The term 'Haveil Havalim,' which means "Vanity of Vanities," is from Qoheleth, (Ecclesiastes) which was written by King Solomon. King Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and later on got all bogged down in materialism and other 'excesses' and realized that it was nothing but 'hevel,' or in English, 'vanity.' It has been a busy week so my apologies if this is not up to my usual work. Israel Cosmic X blogged about the King David Hotel and Crisis in U.S.-Israel Relations and the Jblogosphere . Eric covered it as well in United States and Israel Squabble Over New Homes . Don't forget to read The United Nations: Let Us In! Esser Agaroth wants to

Festival Of The Fathers- A Blog Experience Part III

I am Jack and I'm pleased to welcome you to the third edition of the Festival Of The Fathers- A Blog Experience. It is a collection of posts from throughout the daddy blogosphere. It is a diverse group of men of varying backgrounds and experiences. Though we may have our differences we share the joy and challenges of being fathers. Take a moment to walk through and learn a little bit more about some very fine men and how we handle fatherhood. I also want to say thank you to the kind hosts who allowed me to serve as guest blogger this week. PapaRocks6: Dad’s Represent DadWagon; Which Way Home PDX Dad: Though it be madness there be method to it And Triplets Make Six: Triplet Standard Time Random Thoughts: Dad, What is Prostate Cancer? Elisson: THINGS MY FATHER TAUGHT ME Clark Kent's Lunchbox: Washeteria The Daddy Files: I Hear Dead People Tessa's Dad: #FatherhoodFriday – My first gut check as a dad Sex and The Single Dad : March Hotness Toner

I Won't Back Down

For Fragments of Fiction "I've been tryin' to get to you for a long time Because constantly you been on my mind I was thinkin' 'bout a shortcut I could take But it seems like I made a mistake I was wrong, mmm, I took too long I got caught in the rush hour A fellow started to shower You with love and affection Now you won't look in my direction" Expressway To Your Heart- The Soul Survivors There are more than a few stories about the experiences we have with the people who change our lives. Part of the beauty and majesty of the world is that we are given a lifetime in which to go find them. And if we are lucky we recognize them for who and what they are while they are a part of our lives and not afterwards. But sometimes circumstances blind us. Sometimes life gets in the way or maybe it is our own fear of the future and the unknown. I suppose that you could say that it really doesn't matter what the reason is because once that moment ha