Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Thursday, March 15, 2018
Played golf with Kayla and Suzy today. More like I played golf with Kayla and then Suzy. Played the first 13 holes with Kayla and when we reached Suzy's parent's new house on the 13th fairway Suzy came out and took Kayla's place to finish the round. Quite a special day. While we were walking down the 18th fairway at dusk a little old man came through his gate shuffling out in front of us with a couple of clubs and handful of balls, but when he saw us he turned and hurried back into his yard. Amused, I waited until he turned back around and I waved to him and then waved for him to come out and join us. He suffled back out a little embarrassed and said he thought he had the course to himself it being so late in the day. I told him to join us and he said he hadn't played in a while and has to play in a tournement tomorrow and just wanted to chip a few to see how'd he do. I told him to go right ahead. He chipped three near the front fringe and Suzy and I played our balls. He chip his on the green and my ball got mixed up in his three and he picked mine up by mistake. He started to get a little flustered and I assured him it was nothing to worry about. As we were sorting through his three balls to trade out mine I felt a huge change in his demeanor and emotion. He was turning over one of the golf balls and it was marked with initials for tourney play. He took a deep breath and said It's funny. I just grabbed a few balls out of an old bag and who'd a figured I pull out this one. As he rubbed his thumb over the hand written initials I asked who's they were. He said my wife. She died in August. I asked her name and he told me. He said her named with such love and tenderness. Said her name twice, like he hadn't heard her name in a while. Tears welled up in his eyes and took another deep breath and let out a sigh. Then said, wow. We smiled at each other and he patted me on the back. Suzy walked up and he wished us a good evening. We wished him good luck in his tournement tomorrow as he was walking away. I sunk my put and as we were walking off the green Suzy asked me what that was all about. It took me a few minutes to be able to talk without crying, but eventually was able to tell her about his wife and what an incredible moment it was to share with a complete stranger, a very special moment. As I was walking off the course with my wife I knew what a special gift that little old man had just given me. He gave me the gift of appreciation. I was so grateful for my wife. So grateful for my life. So grateful for our kids and our family and that we still had so much life left to live. So much golf left to play together. So grateful. Amen.
Mary (9) on her grandparent's new back patio.
Sunday, February 4, 2018
Today was Super Bowl Sunday. Football always makes me think of you. I still remember the Raiders Vikings Super Bowl you took us to. In CA in the Rose Bowl, I remember meeting Ray Ninski and getting his autographed book, "Mean on Sunday" I remember rooting for Fran Tarkington and the Vikes because it was maybe his last chance to win one, but they lost. We went to Disneyland and one of the days you had the whole park rented out so there were no lines and we ran from ride to ride. Oh well, good times, we had a lot of them.
So I remember writing in a post not so long ago about the futility of trying to be happy. I think I said something like I finally stopped trying and have found a way to allow happiness to happen. Or some such nonsense as that, this weekend, Suzy said she had heard a Podcast (don't ask) that made the point that Happiness doesn't just happen, you need to work at it! I have learned the futility of arguing with my brilliant wife so I asked her how one would go about this work. She downloaded the Podcast on my phone, Ten Ways to Work at Being Happy (something like that). She said, first, "you do things that make you happy." Second, "you try new things that may make you happy." She asked me what are the things I do that make me happy? I said being home. Being with you. Doing stuff with the girls. Cooking for the family. Playing my guitar. Good movies. I don't know what makes you happy? I asked. She said Traveling, accomplishing things, reading, walking, traveling. I then said I knew what makes me really happy is making you happy, but that's not so easy. She knew I meant no offense. Just is. I think it goes both ways.
Makes me think it's important for your happiness to not be contingent upon the happiness of someone else, but when it's your wife or children easier thought than done.
I told her a friend had recently written me on LinkedIn and said he remembered I always had the biggest smile and was such a joyful person and from what he sees on social media I still am. She said that's why she fell in love with me. That's why she married me. I apologized for letting life wear me down as I don't feel like the joyful guy I used to be. She said something like it's OK, he's still in there somewhere. You're not to old to change back into the guy I married. Maybe I am, but at least I'm willing to try.
Makes me think maybe Joyful is something you are and Happy is something you do. Anyway I want to be both and for the most part I just have to get myself out of the way and let them happen. Suzy's right too, she always is, so I'll try to do more things that make me happy. What could be the harm in that? Maybe if I do happy I will once again become joyful. Sounds like a plan. Well, sorta anyway. Love you Pops. Miss you and wish you were here. Love, Bitty-Buddy
Sunday, December 17, 2017
Looks like this is my 200th post and I still don't know what I am trying to say. I'm sorry, the last couple letters to you have been a little unfair as you died nearly thirteen years ago. It's unfair because as I write them I sort of intuit your response to my prose and tho I look like you I know I will never be you. You never were predicable. In fact, you surprised me all the time with your reactions and responses to me and my situations and actions. I always thought I knew how you were going to react or respond, but rarely was I right.
I see a lot of me in Kayla. She is always harder on herself than I would ever be. I think that was the way it was with you and me too. I always wanted to be great for you. I always wanted to win. To be the best. And now as I look back and hear what you were saying to me and see how you were when with me, you only wanted me to be me. The me I wanted to be. I wish now that I knew this then, but I didn't know who I was. I know more than anything you and mom just wanted me to be happy, so that is the one thing I always tried to show you I was. Unfortunately, it's the one thing that never came easy to me. To this day I struggle with being happy. I'm really good at looking really happy, but the people who really get to know me always seam to worry about me. Fortunately I've figured it out.
You cannot try to be happy. You cannot seek happiness. If you do you will never find it. It's a lot like love. You have to learn to let it happen. You have to be good with yourself when it doesn't. You must learn to be OK when it isn't. You must give love when you are not getting it. You must allow joy to follow sorrow. You must welcome happiness even when you are sad. I have learned to get out of the way and let it happen. I forgive myself more easily and when I do I accept my apologies and live on. Life. Thank you for mine.
As this is my 200th post I may be taking some time before I post again. I promised myself a long time ago that if I ever got here I would take the time to go back and clean this puppy up. It's a little scary, but I plan to go back to the beginning and edit DDD. I hope it to be a labor of love. I'll let you know when I am done. I'll let you know when I am happy happy!
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Monday, December 11, 2017
I miss you. I wish you were here. I started a new blog. It's called I pray to God my soul to keep. Been kind of magical what this blog has done for me. Hard to explain, but let's just say it's been good for me. One of my posts started out with Dear Dad, figured you'd understand as he's your dad too. It helped me talk with God more comfortably as my love for you makes it easier to understand His love for me. It also made me wonder about grandpa Keith, if you and him have reconciled. I hope you have forgiven him. I hope grandma has forgiven him too. You two deserve to be free and someday when I join you maybe you could introduce us. I think there is a lot of him in me and I think those are the parts of me I find hard to love. But, without him, neither of us would be who we are today. So do me a favor and send him my regards and tell him you love him. Send my regards to grandpa Penrose and Grace, and your mother too. Of course give Carol and Karen my love and let them know I think of each of them every single day. I am the luckiest man alive to have had them as big sisters and look forward to seeing them again some day. Having three daughters I get to see parts of them in their eyes and looks and ways. I know they know all this, but tell them anyways and hug them for me. So I'm getting a little sleepy so I'll close while I still have the energy to get up and turn off the Christmas lights before I fall asleep. Sure thought a lot about you as I was putting them up. Someday I'll do it like you used to. I remember you doing all the blue and green lights and using a staple gun to hang them all. I'm surprised I haven't done a DDD post about you and Christmas. Or about back in Cleveland when you would always build a big ice skating rink in the back yard. Guess there's still time for all of that, but not tonight.
Thursday, December 7, 2017
Sunday, October 29, 2017
I woke in a foul mood from a Sunday-afternoon, unplanned cat-nap on the couch. I overheard my nine year old daughter asking my wife if she'd come play on the trampoline with her. My wife, awsome wife that she is, said sure, you go out now and when I'm done straightening and paying bills I'll come out and join you.
Like I said, I was in a foul mood. My back hurt, chores were still undone, Monday was already looming and the Sunday doldrums were already strangling me. Then I did the unexpected. I joined Mary on the trampoline! She was pleasantly surprised and said dad are you really coming over here to jump with me? We played a couple classics like break the egg, log roll, and dead lady dead lady and before long I was huffing and puffing and played dead man dead man and on the count of five I didn't come alive. As Mary jumped around me it dawned on me how truly lucky I was to be alive. I invited her to lay down with me for a rest and thanked her for getting her old man out here to play a little bit, told her I was in a pretty grumpy mood. She said, "I know." Ouch.
I asked her if she ever heard of Mindfulness. I told her being mindful was about being present in the moment. About being in the moment. Engaged, aware, and open, while at the same time attentive, focused and able. I asked her if she'd join me in a Mindfulness exercise I had recently learned. As we lay side by side on the trampoline on a brilliant Fall afternoon we closed our eyes and we discussed what each of our five senses were trying to tell us.
We closed our eyes and started with what we were hearing. Wind chimes way over at the neighbors, birds, a car driving by, a distant dog barking and then it became real quiet and she said I hear the wind blowing in the trees. I asked her what she could smell and she said she could smell the leaves. I asked her what she tasted and she said her mouth. I asked her what a mouth tastes like and she said hers tasted like the Lemmon tea and honey Mom had made her for her sore throat. Yum. Told her I tasted my bad breath, yuck. I asked her what she felt and she said the trampoline pushing up against her. She said they had just done something like this in dance class. We all laid down and the teacher said relax. Feel your feet melt into the ground, now your legs and back-side. Feel them pressing against the floor, now feel them melt into the floor. Now your back, and shoulders let them relax. Now feel your head. Feel the weight of your head against the floor. Now as you relax let the stress flow out of your head and feel it lighten. Feel the muscles in your face and neck loosen and relax. Let the stress flow out of your shoulders and back and feel yourself get lighter. Let your legs and feet become light like a feather. Feel the tension and stress blow away like the breeze. Feel yourself floating on the floor. Now wiggle your toes and feet and flex and stretch the muscles in your legs and back. Open and close your hands and reach up into the sky. Roll your head slowly back and forth and up and down. Take a deep breath in. Let it out and slowly open your eyes. Now what do you feel Dad? I feel wow. I see wow. I opened my eyes and everything looked different. Everything looked brilliant. Crisp. New.
I asked what she saw. She said the sky is so blue and the leaves are so gold and the sun is so bright and the shade is so dark. I see Mom. I see her too babe and she is so beautiful. Suzy said what's going on out here. And I said Mary just made me see better! You have got to try this. So we repeated the Mindfulness Dance Class Relaxation Exercises and to my surprise the sky got even bluer, the leaves got even more golden and the sun even more bright! They started jumping and I went in to get Mary a water bottle, but came back out with her two sisters! All five of us on the tramp and two out of three of the dogs. Tyler would have jumped up too, but he's getting too old for such nonsense. He was witness, however, to what I will always remember as a little heaven on earth. As close to perfect as I will ever be.
Monday, October 23, 2017
Sorry it's been so long since I have written you. I'm sure you'll forgive me, as you know I've been busy with parenting and working and wrestling with life and all its challenges. I used to love getting a letter from you with that beautifully readable script and command of the written language that was always so clear and confident and understandable. I loved how you'd sign it, DDD.