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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Wake Up Call

Frequent and timely health checkups

·       Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.” ~ Bill Keane
How often do we hear this quote and for most of us, it goes in one ear and out the other (at least I know it used to for me)?

As our families mature (our children) the family extends because of the friendships that they develop and eventually the marriages that follow.  With the extended families come a whole complete set of new family ties.  This includes: an equal partner, in-laws (spouse’s parents, siblings, grandparents, nieces, nephews), including extended friendships.  In essence a total and complete new social unit (nuclear family).

Up until recently, I thought of myself as slightly removed from that extended unit, simply because I felt like it would affect my child who marries into that family, and not me directly.  However, if you truly love your child (which I know that I do without a doubt), anything that affects him or her (especially emotionally) affects us, his or her parents.

As usual I won’t mention any names or get into too much detail to maintain a level of privacy.  At the end of last year, just before the Christmas Holidays, a mother in-law to one of my children fell and hurt herself, she was not known for frequenting doctors’ offices or clinics with aches and pains.  She loved her church and had a great big faith in prayer, which she heavily relied on for her ailments.

After a few days of lying in bed for he bad back pain, one of her children practically forced her to go to the emergency room to be checked out.  Approximately 9 days later she passed away from advanced (terminal cancer). I am still in shock that life can be that way.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: there are two professionals that we must communicate with, probably the most important is your physician.  The other professional deals with finances (feds).

I implore you, that if you have any personal pains that persist or that you can’t explain, please have it checked.  If you have an elderly loved one or friend that has a condition that hasn’t been checked out, please convince them to go to the doctor.  If you can’t influence them to do it, talk to other family members and gang up on them to take action.

We all deserve every day that we can extend our life with our loved ones.  Because I have had this wake up call, I feel that the best is yet to come………….. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Surprise At Every Turn

Surprise At Every Turn

Do you remember a time when you felt in control of most aspects of your life?  Perhaps I am unique and no one else ever felt that way.  A possibility but doubtful.  Even if raised in poverty I believe it's human nature to be optimistic.  I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but thanks to the love and nurturing of my parents, I had all my needs and many wants.

Special treatment growing up didn't set me up for false expectations, but did encourage me to strive for attainable realistic successes (goal outcomes).
Two key words so far are "optimistic and realistic."

  • someone who is optimistic is hopeful about the future and tends to expect that good things will happen
  • optimistic about: She said that she was optimistic about the future of the company.
  • be/remain optimistic that: I remain optimistic that a peaceful settlement of the dispute can be achieved.
Synonyms and related words
  • Feeling hopeful and optimistic: the glass is half full (empty), hopeful, optimistic...

  • The definition of realistic is someone who has a good grip on the reality of a situation and understands what can and cannot be done, something that is a practical, achievable idea, or something that resembles the actual truth about life.
  • An example of realistic is a person who knows his own limitations and isn't going to expect to be an amazing opera singer when he can't even carry a tune.
  • An example of realistic is having a steady job that pays a monthly amount and realizing that you have to keep your budget within the constraints of your pay.  In other words, don't plan on a 30-day vacation at a 5-star resort if you budget can't handle the expense.

Because of my love for my country I am optimistic that we will survive the political turmoil that we find ourselves in, evidenced by the 100s of thousands of demonstrators in our country and around the world.

I won't admit to what side I stand on, but it doesn't matter.  Even a blind person can see that we are a country with its citizens divided.  One side sees the country in need of being saved from self-destruction to include carnage.  The other side sees a country in need of improvement from within and by the people themselves.

I am optimistic enough to know that we have survived times in our history worse than what we are going through right now, three examples are: 1) two world wars plus other undeclared wars possibly worse, 2) The Great Depression of the 1920s. 3) the assassinations of presidents.  Believe me when I say that many books can be written about all the bad times that our country has survived.

I am realistic enough to know that the ship won't right itself, we will need to roll-up our sleeves and put our shoulder to the wheel.  I consider what's happening in our country a wakeup call.  Many of us have become complacent, and confident that our country will continue to be great on Auto-Pilot, not so my friends.  You can interpret this post anyway you want, just don’t take your eye off of the desired outcomes.  The best is yet to come……….

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Caught in the Middle

Caught in the Middle

I’ve served my time at getting caught between, being there for my gracefully aging parents while meeting the demands of my own children growing up.  Well, it has now been more than a dozen years since my parents went to be with the lord.  I’ve enjoyed the relief that comes with knowing that that they are free of their aches and pains and in a better place all together.

Now enough time has gone by and it pains me to see my children begin to struggle with the realities of aging in-laws.  Our children are fortunate that their parents (us/we) are healthy and enjoying life to the fullest with minimal discomfort.  As with most people when young couples meet and marry they have no way of foreseeing what awaits at the end of the line.
One rule of thumb that I strongly believe in and promote is:  get to know the family before you get married, especially the older family members (particularly) the parents, because what you see is what you get.  Many times children have a way of mirroring their parents.  There are many exceptions to be sure, many children turn out great despite their parents and upbringing.  Can’t move on without mentioning that some relationships will be great, just because the people involved are so special to each other.

This writing comes to be because I am seeing one of my children struggle with the emotions of dealing with an in-law that is struggling with serious (possibly terminal) health issues.  I wish I could be more helpful, but every situation is different and I am not close enough to the developing situation to know what to say.  I do offer my support and understanding as much as I am allowed without intruding.

I am willing to bet that I am not the only one and that this situation is not unique.  This scenario must play out time and again all over the world.  It just hurts to witness it affecting people that I love.

Life is not discriminating when it comes to love and suffering, sooner or later we all come to that intersection of life.  The best is yet to come……

Sunday, February 12, 2017



Everyone knows that some of the best tearjerker movies are also known as “Chick Flicks,” a great example that I can think of is “Love Story.”

This morning I woke up to some of the best company possible, my three youngest granddaughters and newest addition to the family (two-year-old grandson) spent the night in order to give their parents a well-deserved break.  My grandson is so energetic and bordering on over-active that he woke up a couple times during the night ready to start his day.  Grandma managed to get him back to sleep, after all 2:30 and 3:30 in the morning is a bit early even for grandpa and grandma.
Finally, at around five am we gave in and walked him to the family room to watch his latest favorite movie “Toy Story 3.” 
  • With their beloved Andy preparing to leave for college, Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen), Jessie (Joan Cusack), and the rest of the toys find themselves headed for the attic but mistakenly wind up on the curb with the trash.

While not a recent release in general, it is to my grandson.  He totally loves it. The idea was to have the movie playing in the background so that he might fall asleep for a couple more hours, after all it is Sunday morning.

Well, the plan backfired.  We have had that movie around since it was first released in 2010, but I’ve never taken the time to view it.  My grandson got energized by it and all the action that makes up the storyline.  I slowly got into the plot and it got me into comparing my growing up years, and even wondering where all my toys and comic books might have ended up.

I got into the movie so much that I actually might have shed a tear or two towards the end.  To be clear, there were no witnesses, so I am not owning up to it.  The question is something like: if a tear falls and no one sees it, did it actually happen?

Since my grandchildren are the center of my Universe, I’ve decided that I will spend some more time enjoying some of their movie entertainment (besides Star Wars and the like).  The quality entertainment available to our little ones is unbelievable, and definitely enjoyable. 

I would encourage anyone that isn’t already sharing their children’s and grandchildren’s entertainment to test it out, you just might get hooked.  The best is yet to come…….

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

An Ounce of Prevention

An Ounce of Prevention

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.                                                                     Meaning:

·       You use this proverb to say that it is much easier to do something to prevent a problem than to deal with it after it has happened. 

·       This proverb expresses a similar idea to that of A stitch in time saves nine.


·       I strongly recommend backing up your data at least once a day. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

·        This vaccine costs $25, but it would cost you at least $1500 if you caught the disease and had to be treated in a hospital. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. ~

At the risk of jinxing myself I will tell you that I have always been blessed with great health.  This isn’t a testimonial for the vaccine controversy but I can give credit to my mother for making sure that I had all my vaccinations while young and continued the habit after I grew up and left the nest.

I can point out to the fact that right around 1951 there were almost 60,000 cases of Polio in the United States and it definitely was a motivator for mothers to vaccinate their children.  In my small circle of friends, I had one friend that had Polio, and in my elementary school I was aware of two others that wore braces due to Polio.

Washington State Department of Health reports that the 2016-17 Influenza year records 46 deaths due to the flu.  Any preventative effort taken is worth the effort in cutting down the risk.

Many members of my immediate family have come down with the flu this season and are fully recovered or recovering as I write this.  While standing in the middle of it all serving as a caregiver to my family, I have not yet caught the flu this last year or any of the last 5 years (fingers crossed).

Up until 8 or 9 years ago, I didn’t think that I could benefit from the annual flu shot especially that the vaccine doesn’t always cover the strain of flue that will hit on anyone given year.  It is, however, estimated that the flu shot has an 80% possibility of protecting the public of the strain that is affecting the population on a given year.

I’ve been known to be stubborn, but then again, I also have a reputation for being sensible.  One day it just seemed to make sense that I should take a chance on the flu shot.  My (lady) doctor whom I only visit twice a year for checkup and lab work convinced me that I should try it out.  Haven’t had the flu since.

If you haven’t tried it, take it from me (I get mine free from my care provider) nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Remember an ounce of prevention is worth a week or two in bed recovering (or worst).  The best is yet to come……….

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Silver Lining

Silver Lining
This year (2016) even more so than other recent challenging years, seems to be affecting a larger portion of the United States population than ever.  Whether it be the internet false news phenomena, the post truth era being discussed on news programs, the election, the Russian hacking, terrorism acts, WikiLeaks, are any of numerous other distraction/events going on in society.  To one degree or another everyone is being affected.
Silver lining
·       Use the term silver lining when you want to emphasize the hopeful side of a situation that might seem gloomy on the surface.
  • ·      The common expression "every cloud has a silver lining" means that even the worst events or situations have some positive aspect. 
  •     You are most likely to remind a sad or discouraged friend that there is a silver lining as a way of cheering him up. 
  •     The origin of the phrase seems to be John Milton's 1634 poem "Comus," which includes the line, "Was I deceived? or did a sable cloud/Turn forth her silver lining on the night?"

Where do I start?  Campaign 2016, whether you are a Republican or Democrat, whether you voted for any of the candidates or none.  The results are what they are.  At this point it no longer matters if you are happy with the outcome or not. The results are in.  The Silver lining?  It seems that many in the country have been clamoring for change, well, hang onto your hat because change is here.  One of my favorite sayings is, be careful what you wish for.  Wishes and prayer have one distinctive thing in common:  They seldom manifest themselves exactly as you imagined them.  

Many of our politicians seem to get comfortable once elected, and almost immediately forget who sent them into office.  Furthermore, they start campaigning for reelection as quickly as they start their term.  Slightly more than 16 years ago our senators and congressmen/congresswomen started stonewalling instead of passing legislation. On that note I agree that we are way overdue for cleaning up the slate. 

I pray for positive changes.  My idea of change is to analyze the problem and repair or replace the broken parts “only.”  It’s seems that we are headed in the direction of discarding all that we have in place and starting over from scratch whether and improvement is made or not, only time will tell.  Just join me in praying daily for good results.

All the other problems and concerns can directly or indirectly be attributed to our country’s leadership and direction.  Please always remember that I am remaining out of the political sides.  I vote at every election, but like in anyone’s case, that is my right and duty, and shall remain confidential.  I don’t want to influence anyone to my way of thinking.  I just want to encourage my readers to continue to stay involve.  The best is yet to come…….

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Reality Check

Reality Check

I woke up Christmas Eve 2016 at 4:40am with the thought that I needed to reexamine my life and determine that I had been true in most instances to family tradition.  I almost immediately found at least three occasions where I had strayed from tradition not because I was rebelling but because society changes and so must we as individuals if we want to excel (improve past family performances).  I imagine that if I spent more time analyzing my life I would find that in many instances, I at least tweaked family traditions to allow for the changing times.

One major tradition that I changed, and the jury is still out on whether, it is right or wrong (for the benefit of family improvement), was to concentrate on my children’s chances for success, by making their first language English.  To understand my point of view, you have to know that I come from long line of proud Mexican Culture.

The way that I was raised, I would speak English in school, and was punished (corporal – smacked with a yardstick) by the nuns, if I was caught speaking in Spanish.  Yet, when I got home all I spoke was Spanish.  I could expect no assistance at home with my school homework, the lesson there is that I became self-reliant.  I performed very well despite the internal battle with two languages at the same time.  To this day, if I have a tough problem to compute, I think in Spanish and the answer comes out in English.

I decided to improve my children’s lives by not burdening them with the two languages at the same time. They grew up very successful, but I have forever been criticized if not chastised for not teaching them their cultural language when young.  Of all my children only one speaks Spanish as well as I do or better, and the others get along just fine.  They picked up Spanish in the educational system.

Another tradition that I broke away from was maintaining close ties with family and friends.  I am not talking about just close family and friends. That tradition I still do.  I’m talking about 2nd, 3rd. and even 4 times removed cousins, and friends that were met at work on the first job I ever had 30 or 40 years ago.  My mother and step-father traveled back to Texas from Washington State once a year to visit family, and even crossed into Mexico to visit family and friends.  I don’t mean dropped by on the way through, they actually stayed at their homes for two or three days at a time.  Even when I visit sisters and brothers out of State I insist in staying at a hotel and renting a car for my own transportation.  After all I am the one on vacation not them, they still have their daily routines to perform.

My wife and I decided to concentrate on starting our own traditions (more normal), major holidays, like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and others centered more around the grandchildren are based at the good ole home where everyone was raised (we still have the wall with all the markings and dates of progressive height of the family members, even grandchildren now).  Traditions for us are about maintaining close family ties, and includes close friends.  Our children have already started some of their own traditions like visiting with their in-laws on the holidays after our get together or before.

We enjoy seeing someone that we haven’t seen in 15 or 20 years, but life is so much busier for us than it was when our parents were young, as an example my step-father’s job was as a head-foreman on a 10,000-acre farm, and because we lived in the Northwest he normally had about a two-month flexible time where he could wander around the country visiting family and friends (which he loved to do).

There are other traditions that we tweaked to accommodate the changing times but for the most part we try to toe the line.  The best is yet to come……

Monday, December 12, 2016

Disappearing Acts

Disappearing Acts
Once upon a time not that long ago there was the wonderful developing technology where you could throw your voice to anywhere in the world (the telephone).  Not every household in the USA had one because of cost or even accessibility.  Telephones were connected by wires that had to stretch over “telephone/electrical” poles all over the land.  If you lived out in the country, you would be required to pay a high cost (somewhere in the thousands depending on distance) to run the lines to your property from the nearest phone pole.

For the multitudes that couldn’t afford a telephone at home, there came the payphone.  So interwoven was the payphone booth into our society that even Superman used the phone booth in the storyline every time that he had to change from Clark Kent to Superman.

About the same time the television technology was emerging (black and white at first).  Horrible reception in the beginning, more snow than content.  Transmission capability (towers) were limited at first and most prevalent in areas of dense population (cities) where you could reach the most people with the least number of transmitting towers.  Initially there was only 3 major television networks competing for viewership.  Programing was also minimal for the number of hours of broadcast.

While there was progress being made on all fronts of technology, new emerging technologies were coming to the forefront.  Imagine being able to send documents across the country within minutes to complete transactions that required your signature.  The fax and fax machine slowly worked into every one’s life and eventually would become indispensable.  At the start of this phenomenon you would go to a central location to send and receive faxes.  Eventually the more affluent (businesses to be sure) would acquire their own fax transmitting machines.

Audio recording media has gone from vinyl to 4, and 8 track cartridges, cassettes, CD’s. and now digital with the leap to the latest (streaming).  Video rentals have pretty much disappeared because you can now rent DVD’s out of a red box or better yet stream from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video or iTunes.

But wait! There’s more; the latest rumor is that televisions sets will be the next to disappear from your retail shopping.  The best way to catch your favorite movies at present and on the run is iPad, Tablet, your PC or your cellphone.  It wasn’t that long ago that everyone was striving to outdo the Joneses to the largest television screen possible.  I presently have a Home Theater projector for up to 100 inches and more.  The best is yet to come……….

Friday, December 2, 2016

Life and Building Bridges

Life and Building Bridges

I consider myself a very optimistic person, however, I would debate with anyone that our state of society is at its best ever.  You would almost have to be in my age group in order to look at society in our life span and compare apples to apples.

For starters, survival skills are one thing and survival instincts are yet another and not to be confused with one and the other.

Survival skills:  The ability to hunt for food, grow your own food, fix your own car, start a fire without matches (or lighters), how to navigate without a compass or GPS, build a raft, make your own home repairs, etc., etc.

Survival instincts:  the ability to read people, to anticipate a confrontation and how to avoid it or deescalate it, knowing when to take action or when to compromise, assessing the unseen dangers (example: undercurrent in a stream or river, making split second decisions, etc., etc.

Many of the skill that we developed in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s was the difference between success and failure, but today our society for the most part consider those to be the skills of dinosaurs (unimportant or at the very least antiquated), and unnecessary. 

Today’s younger generations are so dependent on technology that if a power outage takes place they are dead in the water.  Have you ever seen a young retail clerk struggle to make change for a dollar when their cash register fails?  We are so dependent on GPS that if you go into an area of limited or no cellphone signal a young person can’t find their way around because even if they had a street map they wouldn’t be able to read it.

How about the wonderful communication skills (writing or reading) of our youth due to their prevalent use of texting?  The youth are not the only ones to blame, the educational systems in some States are dropping the required cursive writing, because it is no longer needed or relevant.  The unskilled educated can’t grasp the big picture:  Who is going to translate or decipher our historical records (documents) in the future.  Cursive writing may as well be a foreign language to any one that is proficient in, WTF, LOL, LMAO, etc., etc.

My children and grandchildren are still being raised the way I was raised.  I insist in teaching them the old survival instincts, and skills, and even more important, I am teaching them to be competitive.  In other words, there are winners and there are losers, we all need to strive to prevail (win).  Nothing wrong with 2nd place but 1st place is the objective.

When my children use to complain to my wife that life wasn’t fair, their mother’s gentle response was “build a bridge and get over it.”  If you didn’t get that saying, it's ok, it took my children a few times to get the real meaning also.  My grandchildren don’t only get it, but I hear them saying it amongst themselves now and they are still young.  The best is yet to come…….

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Careful What You Wish For

Careful What You Wish For

Idiom Definitions for 'Be careful what you wish for'
  • If you get things that you desire, there may be unforeseen and unpleasant consequences.
  • ('Be careful what you wish for, lest it come true.' and 'Be careful what you wish for; you may receive it.' are also used.)
How many of us remember telling our parents in our growing up years: “if only I can have this one thing I want, I will never ask for anything else.”  Without exception soon after we got what we wanted something better came along that we wished for. 

One of the things that I remember wishing for was my first car, well, guess what with it came responsibility.  Buying the fuel and maintenance for it, paying for insurance.  Tires, and rims, not to mention tighter restrictions.  Even though I could go anywhere (transportation wise), I wasn’t allowed.

My personal budget got so that I had to plan what I wanted to do for the weekend, because I may not have the flexibility to catch a movie, eat out or go roller skating all on the same weekend.  My friends that didn’t have their own wheels were everywhere, just like I used to be, even if their parents had to drop them off.   I guess if you don’t mind the consequences, it was still ok, because I didn’t know it then (until Happy Days came out) but I was the Fonzi of my crowd.

The same applies to everything in life, try if you can to look ahead at all possible outcomes beyond the obvious because there are consequences to everything we do.  Consequences are also known as side effects (unplanned outcomes), and the worst part is that in some cases, once a decision is made, you cannot get a do-over.

The best is yet to come….