I’m Losing It

Actually for about 20 minutes it was completely lost.

First my eyesight, my hearing and my memory. Now I’m losing my mind.

After a brutal work week I slept for a couple of hours this afternoon. Then I needed to rally. Too many things to do that cannot wait. Officemax to pick up some last items for D before he takes off for college. Then to the grocery store to pick up a few things. I am about to get into the checkout aisle and I reach for my wallet. Not there. “What do you mean its not there” the left side of my brain screams to the right. Have you checked every pocket. Of course I have, twice. Where the hell can $200 in cash, all my credit cards my license and every piece of I.D. known to man wrapped up in an overstuffed brown leather package be?

I run to the car. Maybe I absentmindedly put it in one of the OfficeMax bags. No, damn it. I race across the strip mall to the Max. “Anyone leave a wallet?” I frantically ask the 16 year old cashier with the bad highlights in her hair. No.

I race back to the car to look again. Then back to the grocery store. Did I drop it in the cart which I had now abandoned for 15 minutes. Not there. on to the service counter. Anyone bring in a brown wallet. I must have looked like a total crazy person because the woman behind the counter could not pull all of the stuff out of the lost and found drawer fast enough. Still nothing.

A few memory cells kick in. I DID HAVE IT IN THIS STORE. I had pulled a shopping list from it. I was at the Pepsi display. Quick to aisle 10. Damn it, damn it. Not near the Pepsi. I race to the few other areas of the store I had been. At this point I have passed into that region beyond panic. Visions of some schmo buying expensive things with my credit cards and cash flashed before my eyes. It was the weekend and I was going to have to cancel my credit cards and we are to take my son to school in two days. ARRRRRRHHHH.

One last look in the Pepsi aisle. Wait, what is that on the four foot high stack of cartons? My wallet of course. Laying open for all to see. Maybe you had to be looking for it. Everything was there. Well almost everything. The money, credit cards, driver’s licence, etc were there but the shopping list was gone.

So you decide. I am I some unfortunate schlemiel or the luckiest guy in the world? All I know is that I am glad I found my wallet and my mind tonight. I hope neither disappears again too soon.

Doctor My Eyes

Last night.Toronto. I had gotten directions to a local sushi place.  OK. I was given the directions an hour earlier and I have short term memory issues. But…since I refuse to acknowledge them the map and directions stay in  my room. This was not going to be hard.

Out of the hotel is Front St. Turn right a short distance to John and another right and several blocks to Queen. Look for the Starbucks then the small grocery store and then the restaurant. No problem.

A nice night and it is still light at 8 pm. Onward. Five blocks later I know something is wrong. No John St. and it should not have been more than 2 blocks from the hotel. Fortunately there is a bus stop on every corner and a map at every bus stop. Got to love Canada.

A nonchalant stroll up to the map to check out the scene. I find myself standing there for several minutes. I have a problem. Not a life threatening problem mind you. After all the hotel is only five blocks away and at this point I am fairly confident that the right turn should have been left. It is still light out and a very pleasant evening. Except for one thing.


My eyes are not perfect. In fact I have worn glasses since the sixth grade . But my ocular affliction is  nearsightedness so reading usually comes easily even without glasses. I can get up in the morning and get around without needing to find my glasses.

All of you in your forties and later years have been ready to pounce for a paragraph or two. Are you too vain to wear reading glasses. You know that you can get them for a few bucks at CVS.  Ah ha. It was a trap. Got you. I already wear trifocols with readers built right in!

Still I stood there. Glasses on.Glasses off. Squinting. Right eye. Left eye. Nothing worked. This has never happened to me before. I am frustrated beyond words–at least any I know. F–K!

I remember many years ago listening to people about ten years older than me share stories about their various deteriorating body parts and functions. I decided then and there on a life rule.  I would NEVER become one of those stereotypical old men grumbling about their health to other people grumbling about theirs. One modification to the rule. No complaining about anthing from the neck down. Those are the gross areas. I reserve the right to complain about my deteriorating mind and eyes. maybe my ears. That’s it.

The evening at least ends well. I head back in the other direction. Find John St. Find the intersection of Queen St. and John St. Find the Starbucks, the grocery and the restaurant. The food was good, surprising and incredibly cheap. That almost made up for whatever is happening to my vision. Almost.  



I just came across an ad for the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s sixth solo album. Did I miss something a few months ago? The release date was 11/30/82. I guess this MJ does not get the press he once did.

Amazing how much changes in 25 years. Forget the world at large (no PCs, mobile phones, Internet, Clinton or Bush presidencies). Just think about how different Michael’s and my life are now vs. then. He was actually famous for his music. Well, enough about him. Let’s get to me.

It was close to half a lifetime ago. I not only had a young constitution—I was young. Lighter, faster. Single, no children. Early in my career. Runner, not biker. Living in my first apartment with Eric the cat. Out drinking on a Friday night with Dave. Not a woman in sight.

Michael Jackson and I crossed paths soon after Thriller was released. Actually, I crossed paths with Thriller. I was doing what I did for many of my early, single vacations. I went to an all inclusive, singles oriented warm locale in the winter. The year before had been Hedonism in Jamaica. This year was the Club Med in Cancun.

At that time Cancun was not built up like it is today and the Club Med sat at one end of the beach not very near much else. That meant that entertainment in the late evening was reduced to the Disco at the Club. In early 1983 disco was just about dead everywhere but Club Med. The DJ had limited music choices. My dancing skills had limits. I could be not embarrassed if I jitterbugged which at the time I liked to do to 1950s and early 1960s Rock and Roll. I had no moonwalking capability.

It seemed that 90% of the songs played at this disco were bad disco music (is that a redundancy) or songs from Thriller.  Thiller, over and over again. Night after night. One night a bunch of us were just standing around. Listening to Thriller. Not dancing, standing. I asked the DJ if he had any Rock and Roll. He did.

For the next 15-20 minutes the dance floor was packed as we danced to music we enjoyed. Then he ran out of songs or just needed another Thriller fix. Moments later the dance floor was empty again. You would have thought he might get the hint. No way.

Its been 25 years so I guess I can listen one more time.

‘Cause This Is Thriller, Thriller Night
And No One’s Gonna Save You From The Beast About
You Know It’s Thriller, Thriller Night
You’re Fighting For Your Life Inside A Killer, Thriller

Here is 8 minutes worth. Feel free to play it over and over.

I Have A Youthful Constitution

This is one of those good news/bad news stories. The last thing my doctor said to me was that I had a youthful constitution and it was a complement. Since crossing the 50 line I have not felt youthful. Not old, not dead but only in very rare moments have I been feeling youthful.

Back up 90 seconds from my doc’s last statement. His penultimate statement was that I have strep throat which does not usually occur in people my age. As I said, good news/bad news.

Maybe this is just the kind of thing doctors learn to say to make their patients feel better- the youth thing not the strep thing. If so, it worked.

Seventeen. Happy Birthday Davide. Part 2

Today I have a seventeen year old. Wow. Normally for me this would be a time for me to think about and wax nostalgically about what he was like at 2 and a half when we met (a cute story to be shared later), the early fatherhood years, watching him grow and how much harder the teen years have been for me than all the years that preceded them.

Maybe later today. Right now I am waxing nostalgically about yesterday. It was a coming of age day for all of us.

Yesterday the three of us drove 100 miles to go visit Marquette University with the idea of exposing Davide to a variety of schools. The campus visit was good in that we got a feel for the physical presence of MU, the academic opportunities and the pros and cons of being at a college in the middle of a moderate sized city as opposed to out in some rural area. The day was enhanced greatly by spending time with a distant cousin who is on campus as a soph. With him Davide attended his first college class, a large lecture, and received more insight to MU and being in college generally than we could have imagined.

Yet the time together in the car provided the memorable moments. We do not make nearly enough quiet time together as a family. We occasionally will share dinner together actually at the table, but more frequently our varied and full schedules keep us from being together or dinner is in front of the TV. More meaningful communication happened in that car yesterday than has happened in  long time.

I have been concerned about my relationship with my son. Strong feelings about how poorly we have been acting and talking to each other have been brewing for a long time. Some of this is the natural evolution of parent/child relationships as teens strive for more independence and parents endeavor to provide the right balance of both freedom and guidance. We had gotten way past this evolutionary level. While my wife and I tend to focus on what we felt are Davide’s shortcomings, I  also knew that his actions are intertwined with his perceptions of how we treat him.

Bottom line is that he listened, not merely heard but actually listened. We did a better job of sharing our points of view in a way that helped him listen. He spoke. We listened.  Emotions were shared. Understanding ensued. It was a family growth moment.

It is amazing how much this car ride made us happier and feel better.  I do not believe in epiphanies that change forever the relationships between people. However, this feels like a grand step forward.

I think that I am going to have to schedule more long car rides. Even if we have no particular place to go.

Remember Song

This song by Tom Rush was passed along by my friend Loryn. It tells the story of one aspect of my life all too well!

On The Road To Greatness

Front page article in the Christian Science Monitor and on csmonitor.com. Speaks fluent Mandarin. Running around China working for CSM during the summer break between his sophomore and junior years at Harvard. Political science major. Future Secretary of State. Nice Jewish boy. Nineteen. Someone that anyone of any age would enjoy hanging out with.

His name is Andrew. I have known him since he was 4 and he has always been special. This leads to a great nature vs. nurture discussion as to what is making him to be such a high achiever. Is it the intelligence of both parents handed down or how he has been raised?

 Both parents extol true 48 Facetness. The dad is an esteemed cardiologist who also sculpts, landscapes the house, grows a garden, studies art, etc. The mom is a whirlwind of energy, teaches French at a private school but has also has become a renown speaker around the world. Andrew and his brother have been exposed to much of the world and encouraged to develop an intellectual curiosity.

Yet if it was all nurture how do you explain that at the age of 4 instead of collecting baseball cards or action figures, Andrew had a collection of flags from around the world. He knew something about countries that I barely knew existed.

Well, whether nature or nurture this is one heck of a young man. Read his article on the CSMonitor.com but checking the link above. There is even a side article about the author. While for those who know of Andrew’s love for politics and history this story may seem a bit frivolous– but get real. I am writing a blog at no one’s request and this kid is writing for the Christian Science Monitor! I am not kidding about the future Secretary of State. Andrew has all the tools. He may, however be too ethical. I hope that does not stand in his way.

Lifetime Acheivement Beats 15 Minutes of Fame


Actor Charles Lane recently died at the age of 102. He was a character actor. In fact one site I researched had as an executive summary “grumpy character actor”.  He never played in a starring role but he portrayed memorable characters in dozens of well known movies. Many of us will recognize his face. The great director Frank Capra used him in several films including the classic “Its A Wonderful Life”. He met Lucille Ball when she was still an RKO chorus girl, and the two became friends. Years later he was a frequent guest on “I Love Lucy” and appeared in one of that series’ most-watched episodes, the birth of Little Ricky, in 1953.

He acted well into his 90s. In all he appeared in 250 films and countless TV episodes. All-in-all a rich and full career.

When I read about people like Charles Lane my thoughts also turn to the anti-Lanes. This would include all of the poor mannered, rich, spoiled actors, singers, performers and celebrities that populate today’s culture and dominate the media. People who have turned one or two modestly good movies/songs/sex videos into far more than 15 minutes of fame and too much fortune.

What have they achieved? What will they do with their lives beyond their mid-20s? Will anyone care about them when they hit their 90s? Their 40s?

I do not know about the man that Charles Lane was but I appreciate and value the longevity of his contributions and his devotion to craft. There are certainly many people in other less public careers who demonstrate quiet competence or even excellence that will not get written up in the NY Times but deserve our respect. These are the folks that should be on the cover of People. These are the people that should inspire our children.

BTW. Does anyone know how Lindsey is doing after rehab?

Generations Before and After

Within about 20 minutes this morning I found out that my mother had been admitted to the hospital and my son’s soccer team won their tournament. While not events of a common magnitude, I had this brain flash of movement from the generation behind me to the one in front.

Mom has not been well for awhile with a series of pains in several parts of her body that have made it hard to walk. She has been weak. She went into the hospital because of heart attack symptoms– fortunately false– and they are keeping her there for “observation and tests”. It would be great if they stumble over some treatable underlying cause of everything that is wrong with her but given the number of doctors she has already seen that is unlikely.

My wife reminded me of how healthy she had been just 5 short years ago at her 70th birthday party. Mom turns 75 on Wednesday. I am not ready for the switching of parent/child roles just yet. Raising a son is enough to handle right now. Not that I  expect this role reversal to happen today or this week but this is the first time I have witnessed my mom in a hospital bed. The future is getting near.

My son walked in minutes ago after being away for three days. After experiencing more freedom than usual reentry is always a challenge. I tried to remember how it was for me at similar points and gave him a little, just a little, space. Of course his mom and I wanted to hear all about his last three days and the last thing he wanted to do was talk with his parents. We compromised. Watch part of the Cubs highlights, change the cat litter and take some time for yourself.

 “May you live in interesting times” is a proverb/curse attributed to the Chinese. It sums up how life is for anyone in between aging parents and children.

“May we thrive in interesting times.”  48Facets 6/24/2007

50 (Plus One) Ways To Leave Your…

Youth. Technically its mine not yours but I am already playing loose with Paul Simon.

51 years young on Monday. I no longer wait for milestone birthdays to get reflective. Last year a friend who had just turned 60 told me that the 50s are great. People hit their stride and have an opportunity to take all of the wisdom and experience of the past decades and make their mark. I have never thought of myself as a mark maker. At least not in any big way. I have always tried to positively impact a small number of lives in a meaningful way.

So, how have I spent the first 10% of my 50s? I helped my son get his drivers license. This may sound small but for those that spent the 50 hours with a teenage boy behind the wheel holding both of your lives in his inexperienced hands, you know this was big. Really big. I started this blog. A new experience and an enjoyable part of the journey. No life changing events though I am more open to having fun, I think. In a life filled with responsibilities fun can get lost. Another year older looking forward to more sums up how I feel.

So how did I spend the weekend leading up to my birthday? Friday night I got home at 10 pm after a 14 hour day and collapsed. Saturday was to be spent riding. I had done 48 miles last weekend and felt strong the whole ride. I was set for a strong 51. The good news. I rode 51 miles. Just not in the way I imagined. You know, riding as fast at the end as I had in the beginning with the Rocky score blaring in the background.

June 16 was the first really hot, humid weekend day of the year. I never got into the rhythm I had had on the last ride. OK. No problem. I am an experienced rider. I know that I just need to grind it out. The first 3o were good. I stopped for some Gatorade (product placement here because I am working on an endorsement deal). Then heat and Karma stepped in. The heat is self explanatory.

I am not a big believer in Karma but sometimes things are more than coincidences. While sipping my Gatorade, a rider asked if I had a bike tool. I did. He borrowed it and went off on his way. 5 minutes later I passed the same guy pulled off the path working on his bike. I knew I should stop and offer the tools I had but chose to ride on. As I rode, it bugged me that I didn’t stop. Not in a My Name is Earl kind of way but because the man I think I am would stop to help a stranger. Karma stepped in. I lost leg power with 10 miles to go. Then a flat tire. The rear frickin’ wheel. It is always the rear wheel. Small lapse, small Karma slap.

The rest of the weekend was good. My family took me out Saturday night and hung with me on Sunday. As of now, I haven’t even opened birthday or Father’s day presents. More joy to come.