Thursday, February 8, 2024

 Some things to think about:

Have you ever entertained the thought that being pro-choice is not automatically being pro-abortion?  The thought that someone has the right to choose for themselves when it comes to their own body, their own health, their own well-being should be about personal responsibility.  I could not see myself standing in someone elses shoes and telling them "this is what you should do."  Is there a possibility that someone would do something morally wrong or even morally reprehensible?  Absolutely, but that is the case in so many acts of life.  I have actually witnessed someone ranting about women who get abortions and then turn around and get in a car after having one too many drinks.

I understand those that have a personal belief based on their religion.  But even in that I have noticed that people tend to pick and choose what parts of their religion to support, while dismissing other important tenets. 

I still think the best way forward is to be introspective and fix the things in our own lives and live  fully according to our belief system.  If that were done, I believe you would see a much kinder world.

I made the observation that being pro-gun does not mean you are pro-murder, however murders do occur sometimes from a gun. There are so many comparisons that can be made to things inherently good that have the potential for bad outcomes, and again it should come down to personal responsibility.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Mirror Mirror on the wall...

When I look in the mirror I don't see what you see when you look at me.  The blemishes are different, the faults are different, the beauty is different.  But what is even more evident is that the mirror itself is not without its flaws. While inanimate, it also has a perspective that differs from our own.

What initiated this train of thought for me was a recent text conversation with one of my grown children.  He was seeing me from a light that I did not know existed.  Harboring resentment towards me for his upbringing and the turmoil that he witnessed from the father and mother dynamic.  While, I believe, we tried to provide the most for our children, we were often embattled in our own relationship with bitterness, and anger  (which both parents will have a different perception of).

He said he felt discarded by me, and while I cannot characterize it as he did, there were circumstances that led him back and forth between his mother and I after the marriage crumbled.  Backing up, I watched him as he grew up and he was an angry child, battling demons that may or may not have been a result of the home environment. but abandonment was not one of them.  It is complicated, no doubt.  I can think of many things that I could have done better, many ways I could have improved upon my own life and by osmosis improved upon his.  But over the years, he always had a home should he have chosen to be with me.  But my desire to fight with his stubborn nature waned and as he grew older, any advice I had for him was heard, I suppose, but not heeded.  So as a parent of an adult child, I felt it was time for him to make his way.  Still willing to add advice, but never unsolicited.

So during our conversation, he said he needed me as a mentor.  A role I honestly was not aware of him needing.  Mostly due to the fact that he oft times did it the way he wanted, against better judgment.

When he said that i was not there for him, I started the list in my head.  The list of times that may or may not have added up to sufficient.

He quit school in his freshmen year - Helped him get his GED.

Wanted to go to school for mechanics - arrainged funding through my sister to pay for it.

Got a call....needed money (several calls over the years) - was there most if not for all of those calls.

I know that money is not a substitute for personal interaction, but i helped him where he said he needed help.  Do I wish that things had been different?  Sure, what parent can't look back and see areas where improvement could have been made.

Was I a bad or neglectful parent?  I didn't think so until this conversation.  

But when I look at the circumstances I see how perspective can rule how we see life.  My perspective is obviously skewed, as I believe his is.

But what it all comes down to is that he and I both miss each other.  We have different ways of expressing it.  And now at almost 33 he feels it, as do I.  It was never my intention to let so many years and miles go between us, but it has.

We have something that I did not have growing up.  You see, I lost my dad when I was 23.  I never got the chance to ask him advice as a young father, worker, husband.  And that is not what I wanted for my kids. yet at the same time, I never pictured my dad coming to me and offer advice unsolicited.  I am who I am because of the decisions I made on my own, and to be perfectly honest, I am in a great place.  But it took me a few years to recognize it.

We HAVE to be thankful for what we have, where we are, and the road it took to bring us to the place we are in.  To harbor ill will, regret, and anger will only serve to bring us poor health, poor wealth, and unhappiness.

To my children:  I love you. Maybe not how you want to be loved, but it is how I know how to do it from my experiences.  Room to Grow?  Most Definitely.

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Living in a Dream.

 As some people may know, I consider myself an Arizonan.  Most of my formative years were spent in the desert.  Catholic school for most of my education until college and growing up in the family business of restaurants. But my mother and father were born and raised on the east coast in New Jersey.  It was actually the place of my birth, and for some weird reason I shyed away from that part of my heritage.  As I am growing older, the place has taken on more meaning for me, so much so that what little memory I do have is being replayed over and over in dreams.  Dreams that have a similar theme or place that change ever so slightly with each time they occur.

My birthplace was Bloomfield, New Jersey. For the first three and a half years we lived in two different homes in the same general neighborhood (within walking distance of each other).  The first was on the corner of Hickory and Sycamore street in a neighborhood where many of the homes were built by my great grandfather whom i never met.  Some of the homes were taken when the state constructed the New Jersey Turnpike, but many of the homes still exist.  I was going to add "oddly enough it was the same street (sycamore) that my mother grew up on", though history tells me that it was not odd at all, it was how many families lived.  I visited the area several  years ago, and as i have recounted at least once before in a similar post, the concrete outline of the above ground swimming pool that was erected in 1960 was still prominant in the back  yard.  My great-aunt's home, now inhabited by my cousins, still looking the same.  There are pictures of me and my family that jog memories of those early years, but I can still remember several of them as if they happened yesterday.  One vivid one was that of our pet pig, Willy, (yes we had a pet pig) running through the house and out the back door into the pool area, my mother swatting at it with a broom.  I can also remember my dad taking me in the pool and bouncing me up and down and pulling me around in a plastic inflatable doughnut.  My father, at this point in his life, I believed was a salesman, possibly working for Proctor and Gamble (i know that was one of his jobs), but had previously been a Bloomfield Police officer and a fireman.  My godfather was the mayor of Bloomfield, Ralph Conte, a classmate of my fathers at Bloomfield High School. My mother, if memory serves me, stayed at home and raised the children (4- I was the youngest).  She had worked for Bell Telephone for a while and had dreams of being a clothing designer in New York.  

At some point in my first three and 3/4 years we moved out of that house into a home on Belleville Avenue.  The home was marked by a bright red front door and sat upon a hill.  At one point the circus came to town and was sponsored by the Jersey Jaycees (junior chamber of commerce).  As a publicity stunt a trailer loaded with two elephants pulled up in front of our house and unloaded.  The elephants were brought up our driveway and posed for a picture of several men trying to fit them into our barn (it seems odd now that we had a traditional barn in our yard complete with a loft).  There are a couple of photos of my dad holding me while I feed one of them a peanut and a photo of the men pushing the elephant's behinds into the barn.

I could go on and on, but I know how attention spans work, so I will get to the inspiration of this post...

We moved to Arizona in the summer of 1964.  I was three and a half years old.  We only lived there for a short time before heading back to New Jersey.  I am not sure why we moved back, maybe home-sickness, maybe a failed attempt at the restaurant business, maybe my dad didn't like working for the mines as security, I don't know, but we left.  We returned to Bloomfield and stayed for a short period in an apartment while my parents looked for a home.  I am not exactly sure of the time frame, but i remember attending first grade at Sacred Heart School.  So, to the point...Last night I dreamed of a little deli/sandwich shop that my father would take me to get a pork roll sandwich on a toasted, buttered Kaiser roll.  It seems that is was on a main street, possibly Bloomfield Avenue, but time and memory have changed that truth.  My first dreams were that of my father interacting with the owner, someone he was obviously acquainted with, from his youthful years in the town. But through my years the dream has changed with the location being different, yet oddly familiar. The way you ordered, the seating setup etcetera. Thankfully the memory of the smell has remained even to this day and in last night's recollection.  But last night there was a new owner of the establishment, an older, grey haired woman that was working the grill with patrons standing at the raised counter where you could view the making of your sandwich.  There were rolls slathered in marinara and cheese awaiting a meat ball topping and pork roll sizzling on the grill.  There was an older gentleman sitting with another in a booth and I told the lady that he was the son of the original owner, late 70's in age.  She told me that he was also in a band that went around on tour that played for the likes of Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennet.  While the dream was a total fabrication of my mind, there were many familiarities.

So going back to my original sentence...I may have grown up in Arizona, called it home, and told many a folk that it was where I came from, the truth is that I cannot escape my geographical DNA.  I'm a Jersey boy.  It is in my blood and most definitely in my dreams.  Mom and Dad are gone, ties are no longer there, at least not for me.  You see we moved again back to Arizona within two years. This summer some cousins are organizing a family reunion which my oldest sister plans to attend, but that is because she did not return to Arizona with us in the late 60's, she went back to Bloomfield where she finished High School.  I thought about going, but I don't know any of them, not one.  I remember brief interactions with some, but not enough to buy a ticket and spend a day with them.  Most of the evidence of my Jersey roots are gone, leaving Arizona in the forefront where I went to school and made friends that are still around today.  but the one lasting, vivid memory will always be me, my dad and pork roll on a grilled, buttered Kaiser roll.

Hopefully I will feel inspired to continue the story, there is so much to tell...

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Lucky Me

 I have said it many times before, but I consider myself the luckiest man alive (my apologies to Lou Gherig).

I grew up blessed and knew at an early age that I had an angel on my shoulder, albeit there was a devil on the other one, but nonetheless.  I had opportunities and experiences that I deem as wonderful and transformational.  some of the stories I have shared in this blog, so I will not go into all of those, but some of the highlights, which obviously molded my path stick out.  as those of you that know me know that I am somewhat enamored with celebrity.  Not because they are anything special to deserve praise or adulation, but rather that they found a path that led them to success.  Okay, that's a little bit of BS...yes of course it is because they are famous, but let me tell you how my reverence for the celebrity came about...

I was introduced to my share of celebrities in my formative years, individuals that came off of the television screen and wandered into my life.  as early as 8 years old I can remember meeting them from Bill Bradley to Forest Tucker to my all time favorite Ricardo Montalban.  then when my parents opened a restaurant just 2 1/2 miles from Old Tucson, the famous movie studio, they kept coming.  in my early 20's it was religious leaders, rock stars, pro wrestlers and a few politicians.  then in the 90's it was all rock and roll.  working for a AAA format radio station I was introduced to folks like Billy Preston, Jewel, Bernie Taupin, Keith Urban (the Ranch version, not the current one), Natalie Merchant and the list goes on and on.  in the 2000's it was politicians and more musicians/actors.  Football players turned Congressman, first ladies turned Senators (wink wink), Playwrights, famous songwriters, etc.  it took a little different turn in the 2010's it was all about authors.  Judy Collins, Lee Child et al.  Most recently I got to meet La Femme Nikita actress Peta Wilson.  She and her partner were at our house for dinner and for a brief moment she considered maybe settling down in Florence and working for our Radio Station.  and as I am reminiscing through the ages I realize that this was just the tip of the iceberg and many were left out.  Yes I know it is name dropping and I say so what.  I am sharing my experiences.  

All this to repeat that I have been blessed.  and I have gravitated towards the famous and sometime infamous for some reason.  the thing that I have learned through all this is that they are people.  Just like me, just like you, and at the same time, not like anyone else on earth.

If you ever hear me complain...mention this to me.  I have not reason to complain.

Thankful, blessed.  but wait, that's not all. over the years I have been married, divorced, married and divorced again, tried and was not as successful at the end as I thought I would be going in to it, but that too has come full circle:  A loving, beautiful, joyful creature to spend these days with, who also considers herself blessed.  Thanks!  Her name is Deb.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The Asparagas Separation

 As a child, I can only imagine that my memories are a bit skewed by circumstances, lack of available perspective, and the utter lack of understanding the triggers my parents brought to each life event that i personally experienced.  It was 1972, i was 11 years old.  My parents, particularly my mother, would complain that we had little, and at times just a few years earlier only $.20 in the checking account, yet as i sat at the kitchen counter of our 2nd home in Tucson awaiting dinner I did not know what was about to transpire.  My sister, Joanne, was also joining us that evening.  I believe the main dish was pork chops, but on the counter sat a can of vegetables.  Asparagus!

Now it may be hard to believe, but at 11 years old I have no memory of ever eating asparagus before, but I do have a memory of the taste of it, so it must have happened, or perhaps the smell was enough to dissuade me.  

Dad was at the sink, back to me, and was washing something or perhaps preparing the breading for the pork.  Mom was opening a can of asparagus when i exclaimed (blurted out, casually announced, vehemently opposed - I leave all possibilities open) that I did not like asparagus and that I was not going to eat it.  It was then I experienced something that I have never before seen:  A well of volcanic lava in the form of verbal frustration exploded from my mom (now i will admit, it may have been a little less explosive but the following events make me say no)

The parental go to, from mom, started with the obligatory "When I was a child, we ate what was put before us."

then the childlike response of "I am not eating it!"

"Then you will go to your room and get nothing!"

That is all that i remember of the conversation, but I remember resigning to my room.  There was then some conversation in the kitchen that i was not privy to and a bag was packed and mom was gone.  She had left the house and gone to the Spears' house.  Everett and Iris, a much older couple than my parents and friends that were customers of one of the restaurants that my parents owned.  it was the last time I would see my mom for about 3 months.  and it was now summer time.  School was out and I was hanging out with dad at our other restaurant, the MCW (Museum Chuck Wagon) "The Restaurant."

This is only the second time I had seen cracks in the familial foundation, the other was a night that my father stormed out of the house (back when we only had one), but was only gone for about an hour before calling and begging to come home.  He was not as determined as my mother, or perhaps not as willing to fin for himself.  Mom, on the other hand, was Mrs. Determined.  after spending the weekend at the Spears, we learned that she had moved back into the house out in the desert.  for the next three months I am not sure what conversations my parents had, but there was obviously some renconciling going on, because by the time school resumed, all had returned to normal.

As an adult, I can look back at that time and realize that my place in what happened was a minor nuisance compared to things I was unaware were happening, but it did remind me that children often see things for what their involvement was and that carries on into adulthood and how they then react to circumstances.  And with that deeper understanding, I also realized that my mother and father were carrying their own triggers.  The only way to avoid those types of altercations is through learning, Unfortunately the learning usually comes after the event.  and after the can of Asparagus is opened.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Well, well, well, so how have you been?

Fine, thanks for asking.  it has been a while since I spent time to specifically write something for the blog, in fact I often dismiss the feeling of "need" because I am the only one who truly knows of its existence, but just for shits and giggles, I thought I would catch myself up on what I have been doing.

After a very bitter divorce, but well worth the freedom that followed, i returned to the Oregon Coast at the behest of my former boss, Jon Thompson.  You see after flitting around the country following a broken spirit, I decided to do what was best for me.  I don't often think about taking care of myself, but then I get a little bitter when i find myself in the position of "having" to think of others.  That is some pretty inane thinking when I step back and objectively look at it.

So anyway, I packed up all my belongings from my Mount Juliet, Tennessee residence and headed back to Oregon.  It was quite a prophetic thing that happened.  On the day that I pronounced that I was "finished" being manipulated, the phone rang -not more than an hour later-.  It was my predecessor, Bob.  He informed me that he was quitting and that I could expect a call from Jon inquiring of my current situation.  I thanked Bob and hung up the phone.  30 minutes later it rang again.  It was Jon.  Job offer, quick turn around (three weeks) and I had to be in my seat at the station, ready to go by May 1st.  

This was going to take some divine providence to make happen.  Afterall I had just dropped the divorce bombshell and she was not too happy about it.  I had to file for divorce, get an agreement with my soon to be ex...promise her a butt load of money, and find a way to get back to Oregon with little or no money in my pocket.  Not a big deal.  Been there, done that, and was better off and I knew that this time would be no different.  So I went to work on it.

The biggest difficulty was talking to my then boss, Tony Didier.  You see, I had just been offered the GM position at the new radio station that I had spent the last three months remodeling: WHIN.  The plan was for me to take over the morning show, do news, day to day operations and the rest.  I had committed to the job, but when the phone rang and Jon gave me the details of what I would be earning, it far exceeded what WHIN was offering with half the responsibility.  Added to that that there was the possibility that I would remain in the same town as my ex... and no way was I up for that.  So I broke the news to Tony.  Long story, long... I made all the deals I needed to make, filed the papers I needed to file, rented the truck and car dolly and waved goodbye to the town that I have loved since my youth (ok, since my late 20's).

In a side note, I had agreed to pay my ex $1650.00 a month for 13 months. and pay half of her tuition bill that she had accrued during our marriage.  Fine, no problem.  I knew that the money I would be making would more than allow for that to happen...more on that later.

So I said my goodbyes, hit the road and headed west.  by this time I had about 7 days left before my deadline and i knew that if I wanted to start from a successful advantage, I should arrive a few days early to at least have time with my predecessor to glean what I could from him.  So I beelined for the coast.  I arrived on April 27th of 2017 (an interesting date to be explored later) and I had prearranged living quarters through Tim Sapp at TR Hunter Real Estate.  It was all coming together.  Got to my work, acclimated to the office climate and hit the ground running.  WHEW!  did I say Whrilwind?  I certainly meant to.

The next 12 months were the most difficult 12 months that I can remember, not because of the job, but because of the ex.  I had to block nearly everyone that was a friend of hers that also accumulated over time, because she was starting a Russian-like incursion into my life that consisted of half-truths and some outright lies.  Then there was the financial aspect, while not a burden it was a fight.  I will go back to my "more on that later" segment.

According to the documents signed before a judge and submitted to the courts in Tennessee I had agreed to pay spousal support of $1650.00 a month for 13 months.  Enough to allow her to pay rent and utilities for over a year.  she would just have to provide food and car insurance and gas.  I began paying the money on June first meaning that my last payment would be on June 1st equaling 13 months.  Well, she did not see it that way.  the finalized divorce papers were not signed by a judge until July 7th, which she decreed entitled her to a 14th month of support.  There were threatening letters, texts, phony lawyer letters (or maybe real) demanding another payment of $1650.00.  HA!  I could tell that I was not concerned by the way I argued through the situation.  You see the documents only said 13 payments, not 13 payments from the date of the divorce decree.  It took some time, but she finally quit harassing me after a few demands to cease and desist.  Despite my consistent adherence to the decree she refused to let me abide by the decree and constantly accused me of breaking the agreement, however the court saw it differently.  It was a slow process, but the nasty posts on Facebook quietly calmed down to vague references of her ex rather that the spewing out of my name.  Friends came out in my defense and even shared personal private conversations that painted an entirely different light.

I still have some of the emails back and forth and as I read them I see the different realities we were both living in.  Quite a shame honestly.

enough for now.  If you want to read more, just ask.  

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Hard Feelings


It is difficult at times for me to have compassion for those who determine to wreak havoc with their words.  Today was the passing of a very controversial figure in media and as i scrolled through many of the posts on social media I noticed friend after friend being compassionate.  Many, I believe, because they were on the same side of the fight as the person who died.  I immediately looked to see how many likes they had regarding their post and made a mental note of the individuals that agreed with the sentiment.  I have often said that i would not judge a friend for having different beliefs than me, but that does not mean that I will put myself in a position to argue the point.  I find it senseless to engage in political or religious debate because I will not change their way of thinking, nor will they mine.  It's set.  That program in my brain has chummed through all the data and added the wisdom of years and cemented my position.  My politics and religious choices will not differ.  That is not the same as an education though.  I am very open to learning new things and hearing new ideas...if they are truly new.  but rehashing the old is not something with which i want to waste my time.  Give me a new discovery in medicine, enlighten me about the cosmos, update me on the latest ears are open.  The rest?  Keep to yourself.  Bring me joy, love, peace, and happiness.  Leave your pettiness, hate filled speech,  and conspiracies behind.