Posts Tagged ‘family’

Bernie Madoff Was My Health Consultant

Posted 28 Jan 2013 — by admin
Category Uncategorized

In an earlier blog, I wrote about how I worked and played through life with a false belief that my overall health was good. That attitude of overconfidence came crashing down when my cardiologist diagnosed me with heart blockages, and said that I needed to have heart-bypass surgery. The followup to that statement came swiftly, when a vascular surgeon contacted me and said, “I’ll be operating on you Tuesday, 8 a.m.” I didn’t have a chance to reply, as the doctor’s statement was emphatic and left no room to dispute. As it turned out, Dr. T. and his surgical team operated, and successfully completed, the quadruple-bypass surgery. The hurt from the operation didn’t slow my thinking. As I recovered in an ICU unit, I was surrounded by my family who showed great concern, along with encouraging words, that I had to get better to watch the grandchildren grow up.

I knew what my marching orders were. I knew my family was counting on me to make a strong effort to recover. I knew the surgery and the subsequent road to recovery would allow me a return to a happy life, a family life, a life of normalcy, with no chest pains, no shortness of breath, and no heaving as I walked up a flight of stairs. I would have low cholesterol and no other symptoms, no nothing, the same symptoms I had before surgery. I had a serious illness, and I felt lucky to be awake. What I needed was a new definition of what good health meant, a societal norm, and how to measure it. In the heart recovery section of the hospital, I felt better each passing day. My awareness was greater. The TV screen looked clearer. But that definition was too abstract.

Betterment was changed and measured by reading the strength of my blowing into a breathing apparatus. I could record my numbers each day and compare them to readings from earlier days. It was scientific. It was the best I could do to measure my progress. But I wondered how doctors measured betterment. I concluded they measured information with sophisticated instruments, which was more than I could comprehend. At least under my method, I could wrap my arms around my breathing apparatus. It was something.

I wasn’t finished searching for betterment. Blowing higher numbers was good, but not the finish line. My mind compelled me to step up to the plate and seek out how to keep my good news going. In the hospital, I had plenty of time to reflect.

One day, I heard someone enter my room and I turned my head. My visitor was Bernie Madoff. His picture appeared so many times on Internet and TV news, I recognized him immediately, right down to the hair on his nape curling up over the back of the baseball cap he wore. I was startled. Read More

The Nissan Leaf Test Drive

Posted 05 Mar 2012 — by admin
Category Uncategorized

Writing could wait. A purposeful trip to spend some quality time with my son’s family, and enjoy warm weather was underway. A treat awaited me. When I arrived at my son’s home in CA, a Nissan LEAF sat in the driveway. Being a lifelong Detroiter, knowing the up-to-date specs on cars was a must. My storehouse of car knowledge would have a new addition. Grandpa’s encyclopedic mind had room. A test drive in the new car would be a given. That way I could tell everyone back home a personal critique about the electric car. What’s giving up one day at the beach compared to driving about town in a state of the art auto in the environmental capital state?

My son encouraged me, at dinner, to drive with him the next day while he went about his business errands. I noticed earlier, the oversized electrical cord attached to the car. I’m not an engineer, but this car would be sucking in some serious wattage overnight, 6-8 hours being the normal charge time. Growing up in the Motor City meant you loved cars, and knew what belonged where. I walked around the car and surveyed the outside panel and trim. I peeked inside the car, and saw the trunk space. I imagined two sacks of groceries would be the limit. As to the spare tire, I didn’t see a compartment or a device to inflate the tire if it went flat. Maybe the tires were solid made from substitute rubber material.

We drove the next morning to school and dropped off the grandchildren. I paid particular attention to the dashboard, the mileage remaining being the key number. If it went to zero, the other transportation arrangement went into effect. Walking long distances on the freeway or strange neighborhoods was not my idea of good exercise or a fun vacation. Filled, the range was about 120 miles. That was deceiving. Turning on the air conditioner or heater lowered the drivable miles by 20 miles. I noticed using the turn signal lost 5 miles, as it blinked. Whatever you did started the ball to run downhill. Listening to the radio was a gas guzzler. If you ran out of electricity, no petrol based gas tank with engine bailed you out of possible trouble.

That console number was all that mattered to me.  My son reassured me that electric stations were being built all about town. My question to my son was, ‘Am I to believe you wait around for 6-8 hours at a station to refill the empty electricity storage tank?’ He replied, ‘stations provided fast charges, about an hour, to get you closer to your main supply.’ I mentioned I thought the system hilarious and convoluted.

Another sticky matter centered on watching the fuel remaining number. Laws are being passed by states to prevent drivers from using cell phones to text or even call, considered distracting and thus dangerous. What the hell do you think you’d do if you were down to your last drop of electricity, concentrate on traffic? Oh, and get your mind back to the main mileage meter. Am I to believe two persons weighing 250 pounds apiece have no impact on remaining mileage? Or what about a 50 pound suitcase in the trunk?

Back home, some friends I consider to be car experts said the payback to break even compared to gas automobiles was measured in years, like five years or longer. Harsh winters are not kind to cars, especially golf carts trying to look like automobiles. I can imagine an electric car driving in a snow storm. The car is lightweight and traction would be difficult. An accident in wintery conditions would be a total wreck for the car, with severe injuries possible. For $40,000, I’d prefer to purchase a standard model and love it. The variables for owning an electric car are many and not disclosed. In cold weathered MI, golf carts are not recommended. To me the car was not safe.

“I suggest you complain to your congressional rep.” I might just tell Washington I test drove an electric car and prefer safe cars.

Parental Lessons

Posted 08 Sep 2010 — by admin
Category Uncategorized

Can you accept and love your children who live a life style which you despise to your inner core? May I suggest a family member with a spiked green Mohawk, ink head-to-foot, a face full of protruding facial studs that belong on a snazzy tuxedo shirt, and clothes worthy of a Halloween costume? Can you accept and love your children who live in hatred of your moral codes, your religious or political beliefs? Dare I say a child saying, “God who, peace, freedom, the president is an asshole;” a daughter high on dope sitting spread eagle ready to happily administer a gang bang. If you answered yes or no, you’re in serious trouble.

Let me be philosophical. From a father’s prospective, if your daughter rides in a motorcycle gang as someone’s bitch, are you happy about birthing a decadent child? Abstract philosophy will help us understand the question of unconditional love, but may not be helpful to relieve the pain. A little recall may help answer the question: Did my wife ride in a motorcycle gang as somebody’s bitch?  Statistics say, it’s a 70% chance the answer is yes.

As child to a parent, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Hey, I understand and expect all parents not to be upset by a child’s abnormal life style. We supplied the genes. We supplied the culture. We supplied beliefs. We supplied the community surroundings. We supplied the family unit. We supplied 3rd party persons as leaders to teach in our stead. We cannot do all the work of upbringing. School teachers, TV, spiritual leaders, celebrities, music, books: Did we allow the surrogates to mold our child in concert with our efforts? If you answer no, your answer speaks as a stranger to your child. If you answered yes, you’re in a band of gypsies, persons who lead unconventional lives. Do you know of a happier group of people on Earth?

I’ve also faced the most difficult task in my life: to love my children unconditionally. Part of that love contains unpleasant moments and parts. There are no set of rules that apply to each child. Some children grow to be smarter than you, some are disabled, some never reach a satisfaction which life offers. Psychologists on TV opine about micro issues which may help. The macro issues are the world. How do we teach children how to live on this planet? Thousands of issues make up the world. You start by teaching what you know, but no one knows everything. Working together with a child looking for answers teaches, not only the child, but you as well. Discovering a facet of life together: Is there anything more worthwhile?

May I suggest reading “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” by Betty Smith. In Chapter 9, the author narrates a story about Katie, a young woman and mother of a day old child, admitting she knows nothing about being a parent. Her mother, Mary Rommely, describes how she was raised in a peasant family, unable to read or write. She wanted to have it better, so she read books she learned were important. Her advice continues and is most inspiring. Her narration is most unconventional and relevant. As a successful father, I encourage you to read what was written almost 70 years ago.

When Looking in the Mirror Becomes the Only View

Posted 23 Aug 2010 — by admin
Category Uncategorized

As we get older, our youthful looks, our strengths, sag in a slow spiral. The truism of life states sagging chins and stomachs are set in stone, etched alongside the law of gravity. No puns intended. The law of gravity cannot be challenged; it is a bedrock of physics. Our aging law happens with variety—not all chins sag the same way. What is sure is that growing old won’t be pretty looking in a mirror.

Knowing tomorrow will not surprise us, we only wonder what remnants of today will remain. Hair will gray or recede, faces will wrinkle, chins will drop, gum lines will recede, breasts will droop. They may find a happy home resting on a sagging overfed stomach. Our remedy is to stay in shape with exercise or commit to plastic surgery. To do nothing, to vegetate, invites scorn from family or friends. I suggest a no-calorie effort: botox injections.

Prescribed pills or medications find a home inside our chemistry. Most notable in the march of physical decline is our sexual functions. Our vigorous days overfilled with hormonal adventure eventually reaches empty. There are no refueling stations. If we want, what better way to inducing sadness or depression is there than looking in the mirror. Tears flow until we need to replenish with artificial tear drops.

Enough of our personal physical evolutionary. Will the same be said of our abilities and our minds? Will they sag and forsake us? Read More

Maintaining That Girlish Figure

Posted 18 Aug 2010 — by admin
Category Uncategorized

People often ask how I’ve maintained my girlish figure for so long. If you saw me, no bulging stomach droops over the belt. No fat arms hang from the biceps. Genes count, and I attribute a lot of success to my parents. They passed me genes which never allow a 10 pound overweight condition. (By the way, my parents never looked overweight.) That’s about as scientific as it gets.

Now that I’ve reached a senior citizen age, nothing has really changed. I look trim. I drink alcoholic beverages and eat rich food. I sometimes overindulge, eating fatty and other high caloric foods. Sometimes I notice the waist on my trousers get a bit tight, and have to notch out the belt. My arms develop a muscular fat of a wannabe body builder. My facial cheeks puff, as does my backside cheeks. No, I’m not using steroids.

A bell rings, alerting me that I have reached the extra 10 pound overweight limit. I march in front of a mirror and confess I look like Porky Pig, complete with ears atop my head. Eventually a gatekeeper appears, holding up a sign, saying I’m not allowed to enter into the overweight domain. He cautions me to slow down on eating. I listen, preferring my clothes to wear from use, not ripped stitches. An automatic switch flips, waking my metabolic genie who says, ‘I’m back. I’ll take it from here.’

Truthfully, the pounds didn’t dissolve by themselves. It started with my wife pointing out, ‘You’re overweight. The seams on your pants are ready to split.’ Her underlining warning means I’d have to buy a new wardrobe. Her silent warnings were, ‘How much mortgage money do you plan to spend on new clothes?’ or ‘I can’t stand your fat ass. I’m looking for a younger man.’ Simultaneously, my inner voice speaks about practical measures. ‘Have you priced clothes lately?’ Or my armchair medical voice warns. ‘You’re vulnerable to Onset Diabetes.’ With my full attention gained, weight control becomes my main priority.

I dusted off my weight reduction remedy. Read More

Struggles and Triumphs of Writing My First Book

Posted 16 Apr 2010 — by admin
Category Uncategorized

The biggest struggle I faced writing my book, was learning how to write English. As a business executive, writing quality reports to my superiors or clients proved easy. My mind and my ability to compose words melded. Words on the page jumped out at the reader. Magic would describe the process. I’ve heard that many touts at racetracks are illiterate, except when reading the racing forms or odds boards. For now, call me a semi-illiterate.

My effort to complete a mature work, connecting action to thoughts was passionate. Needed was instruction and serious practice. I scribbled compared to writing business reports. I tried to connect with an editor to help. When interviewing prospects, they looked at my drafts and politely said I had a long way to go. I knew the samples were poorly written. The problem went further: What are you talking about? The subject matter is incomprehensible. Find another editor.

I eventually found my writing coach and editor, Ian Leask, who understood my thinking. At first, our relationship worked similar to a TV show or movie, as if I roomed in an insane asylum. I wasn’t actually locked up in a cage in a guarded building. He role played, metaphorically being a doctor, dressed in a white uniform, visiting his patient in a locked room. After reviewing a draft I’d sent, his opening mantra was consistent; did I know what sort of rubbish I submitted? The time allotted listening to my response was limited to one minute. My nonsensical response was to understand why the chapter I submitted had so many editing marks on the margins. Hearing his response, I dared not ask at what grade level my writing belonged. I needed strength to rise above my doldrums. Compose good sentences and logical paragraphs; you’ll be set free from the asylum and allowed to live with your family. That was the agreement. Read More