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Sunday, April 30, 2017

It Is What It Is

It Is What It Is

Have you ever heard the popular saying: “it is what it is.”
It is what it is:

  • A cliché, popular within the circles of coaches, business execs, and those of us who just want to say "It's happened. 'I'm going to forget about it. I'm going to move on. There is nothing that can be done about it." 
There are so many things in our families and personal lives that we can change or minimally influence, and then there are some things that try as you may, you just have to let go of, and move on.

Those things that we can’t change we must come to terms with and live with.  One thing in particular that I can think of in my life is the following.  Life takes us all through various stages (examples): graduating from school and attending friends and relative’s celebrations, Attending friends and relatives’ weddings, etc., etc.  However, as we get older and start getting invitations to retirements, it seems that our social calendar also starts filling up with invitations to memorial and celebration of life services.

One of my friends soon notice my apparent deliberate absence from friend and coworker memorial services, and pulled me aside about 10 years ago.  Because I loved and respected this friend, I embraced the question and his input.  When asked, the why, I honestly answered that I never knew what to say to people that were grieving the loss of a loved one.

My friend explained that people were not expecting soothing words from me and that my presence alone would be lending the support they needed. I have attended many services since then, and have gained as much as I have given by my presence.  Facing up to this one thing that was causing me discomfort has definitely turned into a blessing.

One other “it is what it is,” situation for many people it's either their appearance or even voice or both.  Your voice will always sound different recorded or amplified compared to what you think you sound like.  With regard to appearance some people hate participating in photo opportunities because they don’t like how they come out.  Here definitely, it is what it is!  As I like to say, “What you see is what you get.”  What you see that you don’t like in photos is what everyone else sees day in and day out.  Your recorded or amplified voice is what others hear every day.  Just roll with the punches and enjoy life.  The best is yet to come……

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Pluses and Minuses

Pluses and Minuses

I still remember like if it was yesterday, how incredibly nice and empowering it is (was) to be young and have things going your way.  I was in my early twenties starting a family studying and held a job in mid management.  Among my passions, I lived for driving my muscle cars which I upgraded on average every 18 months.

In today’s socio-economic environment I feel bad for my children that they didn’t get to have the kind of easy going life that people my age enjoyed.  Yet, I am so proud of their accomplishment, and ability to handle the challenges that come their way on a daily basis. 

One parent got to stay home and guide the children through their formative years. There was abundant work to be done (no exaggeration here) The only way you didn’t make a living is if you were ill or were otherwise plain lazy.  You didn’t have to pay gym membership because there was plenty of physical activity to be involved in, you drove into town and parked your car and walked to every store to shop or pay bills.  Family activities were almost always outdoors: biking, hiking, baseball, game of tag, and so much more.

We didn’t have the internet, or the electronics (iPads, iPods, cell phones).  Our knowledge was still there to be gained, just at a slower pace (encyclopedia vs Google).  You always had to have coins in your pocket in case you had to use a payphone while in town.  Dating was so much less risky back then. Today you could end up dead if you hook up with the wrong person (illness).  Today a college degree doesn’t guarantee you a job or better yet a career.  In the old days even without a high school diploma, as long as you had a strong back you could support a family.

That is just the surface of the Pluses and Minuses, if you are willing to give it some thought you can come up with so much more.  Today I constantly get an earful about how fast food service doesn’t pay enough to support a family; DUH, it was never meant to!  With higher pay will come higher cost fast food, can you imagine McDonald’s selling value meals at gourmet priced hamburgers?

That job was meant for people transitioning between, high school and college or perhaps transitioning between living at home in mom and dad’s basement and sharing an apartment with a friend.  Bottom line:  it’s a vicious circle, if you raise the pay to make it a livable wage, better qualified people will apply and compete for the fast food jobs, you will also have to compete with robotics (if for no other reason), because they don’t complain about long hours and or better pay.  The best is yet to come……………

Saturday, April 22, 2017

First Time I Did It

First Time I Did It

When the family gathered all its belongings and moved to Washington State from Texas I was an innocent young pre-teen.  You could say I was sheltered beyond normal. I am not embarrassed to admit that my brother and I were mama’s boys.  That used to happen a lot to young boys when they are raised by the stay at home mothers.  Add to that, the fact that you are raised strongly in the Catholic faith and don’t dare do anything out of the ordinary without considering that you will be in church on Sunday and participating in the Confession process.

All justifications aside, I loved and respected my mother and would have no consideration for being raised differently.  Our life style was very repetitious but never boring.  Mother was a wonderful cook and while we were typical of the families of the time, the dinner options were restricted to two:  Take it or Leave it! 

Being of the Mexican culture, Corn and flour tortillas were always part of the lunch and dinner meal.  Bread was not a staple that we were too familiar with.  I don’t recall ever hearing of hamburgers, or hot dogs before we moved from Texas.  I do know for a fact that McDonald’s was already in business in 1954 so for at least 5 years prior to moving to Washington State (1959) I had never even heard the word hamburger.

After that lengthy introduction, I need to get back to the subject at hand.  The first time I did was at the drive-in theater.  There were two movies playing but I still remember the main attraction: Hercules Unchained starring Steve Reeves.

I remember that my older step-brother and his wife went to the snack bar (just before intermission to avoid the crowd) to buy popcorn, soda and candy.  When they returned, they brought back something that smelled especially tempting and delicious.  I asked what it was and she told me but I had no clue what she was talking about.  So she allowed me to take a bite and I was hooked to this day.  That is the first time I heard of it and had my first ever taste of pizza (Saturday, October 1959).  Since the first time I did it, I’ve never said no to an offer of a slice of delicious pizza.  The best is yet to come……

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Lost Art

Lost Art
I’m willing to bet that many people in my age group remember working diligently to learn cursive handwriting in the classroom from the earliest school grades.  I actually mastered it early on, similarly succeeded with the futuristic skill of keyboarding in high school.  That’s right, I was the only boy in a class of 21 young lady students taking a typewriting class.  I signed up on a dare but the challenge to improve my speed kicked in and I was off and running.

The beautiful young ladies I was surrounded with were a definite inspiration, and in the beginning, I do remember Ms. Burkholder telling me to stop dropping my papers on the floor.  My instructor suspected that I was doing it for purpose to try to sneak a look from closer to the floor level.  Couldn’t have been further from the truth.

Once the challenge of increasing my speed surfaced, I stopped messing around and the papers stopped dropping on the floor from my desk.  I actually overheard my instructor brag about how well I was doing and how they should actively recruit more of the young men to enroll.  The following year after I broke ground (at my school anyway) 6 guys enrolled in typing class.

The whole reason for this post is that once again, I took on the challenge of writing a whole letter in cursive writing, and it took me longer than I thought it would.  Guess what?  It’s not like riding a bike!  By the middle of the third paragraph my hand was cramping.  The quality was not anything to be proud of.

We need to encourage cursive writing in the classroom as a subject.  In the future, if we get away from it, cursive writing will become like a different language altogether.  Many historic documents are written in cursive and many of our young children are growing up writing in text shorthand (OMG, LOL, LMAO, etc.).

As usual, I don’t expect a response by everyone that agrees or disagrees with me.  Food for thought is all I intended to do.  The more we think about our future (youth) the more we need to stay involved in their development, and the educational system.  The best is yet to come…….