Being a father is not easy, becoming a father is…. well, not the point of this post.
Today is my twentieth Father’s Day as a dad, my fifty-fifth as a son, and eighth Father’s Day without my dad. My dad passed away July 20, 2009 after a brief illness and my brothers and I took his cremains to France in June 2010 and he remains at rest and peace with the world.
7:41 AM Somewhere in the middle of the paragraph above my brother, David, called and we talked… when were finished talking, I got back to writing – 8:11 AM.
I don’t believe there has been a day since, when I haven’t thought of my dad; just think of him, no judgement one way or another. There are days, like today, when he is constantly on my mind. On these days, I call my brothers and check in, or they call me and check in, either way we talk. Sometimes, we talk about dad, or we talk about our kids, or we talk about growing up; mostly we talk about the thread that holds us together – mom and dad and being brothers.
Summer would not be summer without red geraniums blooming on the deck overlooking the lake. Today is summer vacation day three with many more on the horizon. This morning I am Up North on the shores of Lake Margrethe. It’s relaxing coming here, but it comes with a price set up and maintenance. This is the setup visit and maybe I’ll be able to squeeze in some relaxation time into the order of business.
There is order to our work. The dock and lifts must go in first, then the boats, then of course a bit of fun, then yard work.
Yesterday we got the dock and lifts in and one of the boats – the Sea-Doo. The Sea-Doo is the easiest of the boats to get in the water, and according to O, the boat with the most fun potential. Continue reading order – a photo challenge→
I live almost a thousand miles from mom and I don’t get to see her as often as I’d prefer, but we talk and I occasionally write a letter or note. She responds and I love reading those letters and notes.
A couple of weeks ago, I took off to see my mom. It was a quick trip down and back in about two days. Mom still lives in the house where we all grew up. When I was home, I got to sleep in my old bedroom for the first time in a couple of years. On the morning I was to leave, I texted her that I was excited to come and visit,
Can’t believe I am going to go to sleep in the house where I grew up – can’t wait to see you. Love Clay
and she responded with,
The corner room you and Robert painted ORANGE. It’s still showing on the screen.
Yeah, she let me paint my bedroom orange. I don’t know what I was thinking or why I thought orange was a good color for my bedroom, but she let me paint the walls orange. It stayed orange until a few years later when I left for college, and when I came back it wasn’t orange anymore.
My mom let me do all sorts of things that taught me lessons that her words or my ears would not allow.
She let me make the mistakes that she knew would hurt, but the experience would help me grow.
When I pulled into the driveway at 1:45 in the morning, she was up waiting. It was wonderful to see her. I gave her a big hug and we sat down to talk. An hour later, I had to excuse myself and go to bed, but if I could’ve stayed awake, we would’ve talked until the sun rose.
My brother took the photo above Saturday morning. It was great to see her and to see my two brothers. We celebrated her birthday Friday night and on Saturday morning my brothers came over and we all went for coffee before David had to go to work- that’s when the photo was snapped. Warren and I spent the rest of the day together and I gave my mom a BIG hug before I left Saturday afternoon. Continue reading Thanks, mom→
Every morning the sun rises and every evening the sun sets. It happens every day, everywhere. Sometimes the time in between the sunrise and sunset is longer, sometimes, it’s shorter, but on average it rounds out to about twelve hours of daylight. Yesterday the sun rose here at 7:18 AM and set at 7:38 PM. We had twelve hours and twenty minutes of daylight in between sunrise and sunset, of course there was a bit more light in the dawn and dusk periods.
6:51 – my first photo
7:01 – a lobster boat returning
7:02 – the lobster boat coming in and another boat headed out for the morning
7:21 – the sun has risen,, but it’s obscured by the clouds
7:26 – the sun peaking through the clouds
7:29 – the sun, almost visible
7:34 – the sun is above the clouds and morning has broken
The dash. It’s what happens in between which matter most. I remember reading an article about the poem, “The Dash” by Linda Ellis. The poem is about a eulogy and what is most important in our lives, what happens in the time between when we are born and when we die. It’s a wonderful, and deep, concept to consider. However, it’s more important to live life rather than think about it.
I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on the tombstone
from the beginning…to the end
Yesterday morning I was up early for the sunrise. I made my coffee and watched patiently as the sun rose above the horizon. Slowly sipping my coffee, I snapped 85 photos in the 43 minutes from first to last photo. That is a short dash, but much happened in between, the sun’s rays were visible well before the sun broke the horizon and finally appeared above the cloudbank in the east.
Yesterday afternoon we took a trip to one of our favorite beaches, Bahia Honda State Park. We visit the beach every time we are here.
Much has happened in between that first visit, and now. In all of our lives – my life, my wife’s life, W and O’s lives, as well as the life of our family. It’s shaped who we are and how we look at the world.
For that dash represents all the time
that they spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved them
know what that little line is worth.
We had a wonderful time at the beach. We arrived late in the day and the beach was mostly ours. It was low tide and the beach was wide. We staked our space and settled in. O and I built a sand castle. B watched as we constructed, then walked the beach searching for seashells, then we all took an ocean dip. It was a wonderful time. O was reluctant to leave as she was having such a good time in the surf.
2004 – our first visit
2017 – our sandcastle
the beach and my message
me – a selfie
The tide had begun to rise and by the time we packed our things and readied to return home the water’s edge was a few feet from our spot. I had scribbled Making the Days Count dot org in the sand earlier and when we left the tide had erased my mark.
I teach 8th grade and sometimes I feel like I am the ringleader in a circus.
“There’s a sucker born every minute.” P. T. Barnum
In January, when the I first heard the news that the Ringing Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus would be ceasing operations in May, I did a quick search to find out where the circus would be before it ended it’s 146-year run. I discovered it was in Cincinnati, Ohio – a short five-hour drive away. 317 miles, give or take. I did a quick search of tickets and found they were available. I mentioned it to B and we remembered the summer we met and when went to the circus with a large group. We laughed about the memory and then, I forgot about it and the idea shifted to the bottom of the pile.
Last weekend the memory came back and Monday night and I sent O a short text, ‘Circus?’ and another six minutes later, Circus?’ No response.
The next morning, I mentioned the circus before I left for school and left it that. No response.
It’s late Saturday evening and the day is almost done. The sun set hours ago, and it’s dark now. The moon is visible in the clear western sky. Last night it lightly snowed and this morning when the sun rose its warmth melted the fresh layer of new snow. Spring, at least official Spring, is a little more than a fortnight away, but all indications are that Spring is here.
I woke early, made coffee and began work before the sun rose this morning. I was driving to church when I snapped the photo. It’s the road I take to church or downtown or whenever I visit the Northside of town. This morning was the monthly men’s group gathering and I joined this year. Most of the time I am the youngest member of the group. It was my turn to get donuts. Continue reading Road Taken – a photo challenge→
It’s Saturday and I find myself searching for solitude. It’s been a peaceful day, so far: Men’s group at church, a Saturday morning webinar on Tinker vs. Des Moines, a bit of school work, and a power nap. Earlier, I found a bit of solitude at my desk after the webinar and I’m back after the nap. At the moment, I have the sounds of “Still Wild” by La Mar playing. It has a pleasant beat and it’s peaceful and calming.
Tomorrow is the Super Bowl and an unofficial national holiday. I don’t have a preference who win, I only hope it’s a good game. In previous years, I have made my predictions known, not this year. Tomorrow will be a busy day getting ready for the coming week.
We were up at the lake last for Thanksgiving. We had a good time and celebrated Thanksgiving and enjoyed the peace and solitude of being Up North. We invited our neighbor, Mr. Bill over for Thanksgiving dinner, he’s retired and a full-time resident along the lake. He’s also a diehard Detroit Lions fan and they had won the Thanksgiving Day game with a field goal as time expired. I always look forward to seeing him. When we talk, it was always about family, friends, and the peace and solitude along the lake. Especially, the lake.
looking southwest- the storms spilt and miss the lake
funnest – but the funnest times are when I can sit and take the beauty of the world in and just be….
the sun lights up South Bay, the wind whips the lake, and we’re here… by the lake, Up North.
This past Friday night we went to watch the movie, A Dog’s Purpose. I cried and O noticed, and she pointed it out to B, who admitted she cried, too. O was perplexed, why did we think the movie was sad? O didn’t like the movie and had spent the entire movie trying to figure out why the movie didn’t follow the book. The critics didn’t like it either. O read the book and was disappointed, I reminded her that the book is almost always better.
I enjoyed the movie, not because it was a wonderfully crafted story, but because it made me thankful for the unconditional love of our dog, Ivy.
The movie made me wonder what really is the purpose of many things. I think the purpose of dogs is to remind us to be better people; and some days I don’t measure up.
Ivy joined our family almost seven years ago, in April 2010. The day before Easter, how we got Ivy is a strange story in itself. In the time, she’s been with us, she’s done all the things a dog should do:
She’s caught a bunny
She’s caught a squirrel
She’s been blasted by a skunk – more than once
She’s run away – well, not really run away, more of gotten loose and taken off
She’s destroyed every one of her stuffed animals
And, she’s made a place in our hearts
and, i am sure I am missing something.. O or W will remind me, or even B.
When we got Ivy, O and W both promised they’d feed her and pick up the poop. They promised they’d walk her and take care of her. They promised they’d brush her and take care of her. Sometimes they actually do those things, but most of the time I feed her in the morning and let her out when I get up in the morning.
This morning, I went downstairs and she stayed upstairs asleep. I was pouring my first cup of coffee when I heard her come down the stairs, clip, clop, clip. She came into the kitchen, then walked over the back door and looked at me, as if to say, ‘hurry up, I gotta go.’ I opened the backdoor and she pawed at the screen door and sat down. It’s her routine and I let her out. She walked across the deck to the first patch of ivy, which is how she got her name, and did her thing. Then she patrolled the yard for several minutes before she came to the back door, barked to let me know she was ready to come inside. Once inside, she checked her dish, then sat down beside the couch, placed her head on the seat cushion, as if to ask, ‘may, I please join you?’ Then she jumped up and lay beside me and went back to sleep.
It’s been several months since I wrote a Tuesday’s Tune post. But, I’ve got a song in my head, thanks to some obstacles that popped up yesterday morning.
Yesterday was Monday and like most Monday’s I wasn’t looking forward to getting out of bed and embracing the new week. It had snowed most of Saturday afternoon and Sunday and the cars and roads were coated with snow. AND it was cold.
Sometimes you’re the windshield
Sometimes you’re the bug
As I always do, I get up early. Yesterday I rose around 4:30. And as usual I checked my e-mail while the coffee brewed and discovered the WIFI was down, so I re-booted the system, twice. The re-boot didn’t work. Then, I realized we had a service technician coming to change and upgrade our service and the internet and cable must have been turned off. Yep, the television signal was dead, too. Thirty minutes wasted spent trying to solve the problem. But, the coffee was good.
Sometimes it all comes together baby
Sometimes you’re just a fool in love
Thursday was my birthday. I turned the speed limit, the speed limit in the United States, in miles per hour, or at least the speed limit that President Nixon signed into law when I was 12. Earlier this year, I was following Sammy Hagar’s example and got a citation for exceeding the posted speed limit. It was an expensive reminder to stay within the boundaries.
I am 55, not 70, this year and I am comfortable with the number and idea. Each year, I gain a bit more wisdom, realize I have much more to learn, and realize that I have limits. We all have limits.
Since November ’13, I joined the Movember movement and have been growing a moustache to bring awareness to men’s health. At the beginning of November, the moustache is barely noticeable, but after twelve days the whiskers are visible and several people have asked, ‘Growing a moustache?’
I reply, ‘yep.’ And the conversation begins….
I am growing the moustache, not because I look amazing with one, but because the moustache opens a conversation with men my age about the importance of a regular checkup. There are two other men whom I see regularly at school – they both teach 8th grade and we eat lunch together and talk about school, sports, politics, and teaching. But the conversation came up and I asked,
‘When was the last time you had a checkup?’
Neither could recall their last visit for a checkup and were fuzzy when they were last at the doctor’s office and why. Several years ago, that could have been me, but I’ve had a checkup going back to ’09 and the only reason I’ve had a checkup every year since was that I couldn’t go to Boy Scout summer camp without a medical form which included a physical signed by a doctor.
Each doctor’s visit ends with the same reminders – lose weight, watch you what you eat, get some exercise and each year I’ve promised myself to do better and I begin and then, I am back to my old habits.
Earlier this year, I restarted and I am working hard. I have several friends – real and blogger friends – who’ve influenced me through their actions and blogs about the importance of getting and staying active. So, I am moving. I feel much better and my knees are thanking me for it. I am watching what I eat, taking time to exercise, and feeling better.
So, my moustache grows and it looks ridiculous. The more ridiculous the better because it opens the dialogue and the chance for me to ask, Continue reading The speed limit→