The One with Simba’s Goodbye and The Rolling Stones concert

This will be my first blog entry since my beloved 17 year old dog Simba died a few months ago.
I really haven’t felt like myself lately, having experienced multiple losses in the last couple of months, and I more or less just felt like I was going through the motions, kind of phoning it in on a daily basis.
It was my best friend Simba that seemed to always get me through the most challenging times, but he was no longer here, and I just had to deal with everything on my own.
Everyone has their own lives, and their own troubles, I think that’s one of the best things about dogs, they help you through those troubles, and take on your troubles as their own.
I have always believed in the healing power of music, to cure a wide variety of ailments, anything from depression, grief or anxiety, to plain boredom and numbness.
One of my lifelong dreams has always been to see ” The Rolling Stones”.
My all – time favorite band, with my all time favorite charismatic front man, the amazing Mr.Mick Jagger.
I remember as a small child being mesmerized by pop anthems like “Brown Sugar” and “Miss You”.
I remember being eight or nine years old and riding my bicycle and hearing thundering bass coming from the neighbors house down the street, and I was so mesmerized by the catchy tune, I rode my bike back and forth in front of that neighbor’s house until the song ended.
This of course was the Stones’ foray into disco, “Emotional Rescue”, which is an absolute delight in all of it’s cheesiness.
As I became older I developed a deeper appreciation of this fine band, they covered every genre -blues, country, pop, disco and rock (Hey! It’s Only Rock and Roll but I Like it!)
I learned to appreciate the more meaningful lyrics to the Vietnam protest anthem “Gimme Shelter” and the haunting lyrical mastery of “Sympathy for the Devil”.
I even tried to force them on my daughter when she was very small, and at two years old she could recognize any Stones song from the first three guitar riffs.
She was once asked by my former employer if she liked “NSYNC” or “The Backstreet Boys” better.
She replied that I had taught her that those weren’t real musicians, and that there were only so many good songs to write, and that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had already written all of them.

So imagine my surprise when I arrived home a couple of weeks ago, to my roommate’s announcement that we have free tickets to their concert in Boston, this past Sunday July 7th.
No one but my mother, daughter, and those closest to me can really fathom what a bucket list moment that was for me.
A ten hour drive later, and a little sight seeing in Boston, and there I was.
By the time they reached the stage at Gillette Stadium, I was so energized and excited I thought my heart was going to pound out of my chest.
At the risk of sounding like my mother, the energy was so high and so pure here, I have never felt anything like it and I never will again.
All of the aforementioned songs were performed ( with the exception of “Emotional Rescue”, apparently there isn’t a very large market for disco these days, much to my dismay.)
They opened with the classic “Street Fighting Man”, to set the stage for this fabulous evening of musical genius, where of course “Gimme Shelter” and ” Sympathy for the Devil ” were the standout performances.

I think I must have danced to every song, and felt peaceful and relaxed for the first time in months.
Hell, maybe even years.
I thought of my dog for a moment while I was there, and that he was probably smiling at me from somewhere far off, content with my smile.

Maybe “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”, but if you try sometime, you just might find ,that what you need is to see some rock legends that are pushing EIGHTY , prance around with more energy and passion than I had in my twenties.
Damn that Jagger’s got moves.

By the time we got back to our hotel, I was still so pumped I couldn’t even sleep.
I thought about how The Stones have been with me for all of the joy, sadness, exasperation, grief and celebrations of my life.

And from the looks of it, they will be here for many more.

I thought of Simba, and how he and this great band had healed my heart more times than I could count, and how very grateful I was to them.
There are not many feelings that are better than gratitude.

Well played Boys, Well played.

The One About Funerals, Apologies, and Being Humble

One of the best things about being an insomniac is being able to enjoy the peaceful solitude of the quiet dark world in the early morning hours.
The only good thing about being up by four am is that I do my most clear thinking at this time.
This morning my Facebook news feed is full of obituaries.
An old friend lost his sister, one her mother, another a dear friend, and another, a child.
All of these people were relatively young.
I found myself wondering what their final thoughts were.
Were they scared? Did they feel loved?
Were they upset with friends or family members?
There are so many cliches about appreciating the people you love because life is short.
The cliches are so over used I think most people are numb to them.

I start to think about all of those funerals I was too ” uncomfortable” to attend.

No, not that ninety year old aunt or uncle that lived a long full life, that you really didn’t know or had only seen a handful of times in the past thirty years.

What comes to mind are the people that suffered long illnesses, battled personal demons we don’t like to talk about, the ones that left a huge void, because you felt they should have had more time, or less pain, anything that would make it easier to comprehend.

I think of the people that have passed that I may not have been on the best of terms with. I think of the guilt I feel that I never got the opportunity to make amends.

I think of my friend Holly, who is so vigilant about attending wakes and funerals, whether it be for her own closure, or to aid in the closure of those left behind. I guess the why’s are insignificant, the knowledge of it being the right thing to do are what is most important. And sometimes doing the right thing can be borderline traumatic.

Maybe think of it this way.
The next time you are engaging in an argument or fighting with a friend, family member or significant other, picture that person just not being there anymore, and see if whatever it is that has you so upset is that important.
A few days ago , a friend made a post asking if it was right to apologize to someone, even if you feel you are not wrong, because the person is not ready to understand , and is it better to just keep the peace?
My comment was absolutely not.
You should not have to apologize if you are not wrong, and that I was tired of apologizing to people that hurt me.
I am re thinking my comments this morning.
What if the other person wasn’t there anymore?
Would I be relishing the fact that I didn’t apologize because I believed I was right?
Or would I be wishing that the other person left this Earth knowing how much I loved and appreciated them?
The answer is definitely the latter.
I think that fear plays into our need to always be seen as “right”
As Yoda would say:
Fear Leads to Anger, Anger Leads to Hate, and Hate leads to suffering.
I surely do not want to suffer.
I consider myself to be fairly intelligent, but with that being said, I still have a lot to learn in terms of what is important and what is not in life.
If you are angry with someone right now,
Picture them just not being there anymore ,and see if your desire to be right is still important.
Love is always more important than righteousness.
Always choose love, if you choose love, you always win.
Sometimes the simplest things show you you have a lot of growing up to do.
Lesson learned.
I hope all of the people I love have a great evening.

The One about The Novel

I took a wise man and fellow book enthusiast’s advice to take a break from the horror that has been plastered all over social media lately ( child murder, animal abuse, drug overdoses) and partake in a good novel.
I have loved reading books ever since I was a very small child, but over the last few years, the stress of life has caused my attention span to wane.
After reading the first few chapters of a book I found satisfying enough to devote my focus to, it occurred to me that our lives are really just a novel.
The main characters being our spouses, significant others, friends and family, the supporting characters our co- workers, neighbors, teachers.
Some of the characters are often villainous, some change our lives forever, and we don’t even notice until weeks, months, or maybe even years later.
Some provide us with plot twists we didn’t even know we desperately needed, or in some cases, their occurrence can be devastating, and heart breaking.
The bit players are the people we run into at the grocery check out, the people we see at the playground while playing with our children or grand children.
It occurred to me, that unlike the great literature we read by other authors, we have the ability to control at least some, and often times most, of the content that goes into our story, not all of it of course, because some things you just can’t control.
I think some things are mapped out by Fate, and no matter what we choose, it will lead us to our destiny, or where we are supposed to be.
Some things I believe we choose, with our free will, and some are just coincidence.
I believe we have the biggest hand in who gets to play the starring roles, and who gets to play the supporting roles.
Sometimes characters run their course, and you have to write them out completely, because they no longer fit the story line.
When you get rid of a lot of the dead weight, you can give larger roles to the people (or pets) , that mean the most to you.
The people who make you smile, the people who make you think, and are a calming influence, the ones who value their importance to your story, and are respectful of their role, and yours.
The best part is that we get to help choose our own ending.
Sure circumstances and situations are always going to arise, but you always have control of your actions, and reactions.
Start editing your story.
If there are characters and situations that are no longer serving the best interest of your story, write them out, or give them a bit part.
If there are characters you have been neglecting that you want to have larger roles, give them more of your efforts, more of your time, a bigger part of your story.
Start preparing for a great ending, but always keep in mind, it’s great to reach your destination feeling you did the best you could, with the tools you had.
But more important is the journey, the people and places that awe you along your way, and make your life, your book, extraordinary.
Make it a great read.

The One About Technology

Is it just me , or are people starting to get a little “underwhelmed” with technology?
There seems to be a growing trend on social media, of people posting pictures of beautiful isolated log cabins in the mountains that they would love to live in , people cancelling their cable, due to the outrageous rise in cable and internet costs, a backlash against Hollywood’s self righteous, self important brand of pretentiousness and an awakening of the public as far as televised news media outlets being exposed as duping the American public to further their own agendas.
I believe the discovery of a cure for cancer would be just about the only thing technology could accomplish to awe us at this point.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some conveniences that technology has produced that we couldn’t live without at this point, and I am grateful for them.
The aforementioned beautiful log cabins are undoubtedly more expensive than any house I have ever lived in, and they’re hardly the old, worn-out, rough , depressing abodes of “Little House on the Prairie” or anything else from 100- plus years ago.
There are only so many I-Phone updates you can implement, so many shock value series, and so many new inventions you can create, before people lose interest.
If there were some sort of cataclysmic event on this planet, people would have to learn life skills.
How to cook, how to change a tire, how to read and write.
I think people would like to be able to keep some of their modern conveniences , but they’d also like to go back to a simpler time.
Get to know nature, not being bombarded to live beyond their means, and simply enjoy the companionship of their loved ones.
Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned about the human race, it’s that we bore easily, we have a short attention span.
And we don’t like to be controlled, we will rebel if things become too expensive, too complex, or too extravagant, and we will start regressing back to a simpler time.

And I think that’s a time most of the population yearns for in the days we are living, in the world we are living in now….

The One about God, Love, and Catastrophe

I don’t want anyone to feel turned off by this post at the mention of God.

So, If you’re so inclined, replace it with Energy, the Universe,etc.

The last few years seem to be a string of catastrophic WTF moments, I try to keep a self- deprecating sense of humor, but sometimes my sense of humor leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth , worse than that first bad taste of cheap whiskey you felt compelled to taste as a kid.

I believe some things were set in motion when I wrecked my car a couple of months ago.

Almost like God felt my sadness, desperation, a path overcome with obstacles.

But God loves love, and I believe he saw my struggle with true love, plagued by memories of a not so distant past that was heartbreaking, and what was once thought to be catastrophic, has resulted in a plethora of rewards that are no less than astonishing to me.

We are rewarded for faith, and we are rewarded for our faith in love and our faith in the people we love.

I know many of you are unable to see or feel that way, because of loss, grief, sickness, heartbreak, or any kind of trauma.

But I think if you really try hard enough, you will see that you are rewarded by love in some aspect of life, and that counts. No matter how monumental or how seemingly irrelevant.

I feel as though my path has been made calmer, more peaceful, and two months ago I’d never have imagined feeling that way beyond my wildest dreams.

The more we continue down that path ,the brighter it will become, because we are all more powerful together , destructive on our own.

I like to believe that karma not only works in the negative, but the positive as well. Not that I am referring to myself as a good person, a person’s character speaks for itself without the nonsense of trying to convince the masses of their righteous nature.

Have faith in the good things and the good people in your life. People will never become trustworthy if you don’t learn to trust them. People can’t help you if you won’t let them, just as people can’t love you if you won’t let them.

Wherever you are focused, that’s where you are going.

Have faith in the reality you want to create.

The Car Goes Where the Eyes Go.

The One About the Awesomeness of Snow

As I was letting Simba in from his morning bathroom routine,
I looked out at my backyard and the white shiny blanket of snow
I wondered, just when exactly was it that we all went from being excited and awestruck by this stuff
To dreading it, being terrified of it, and letting it incapacitate us?
I remember forty- plus winters of cold, bad driving conditions ,etc.
It was just part of life from December through April.
Where are the skis, the snowmobiles, the snowboards, ice skates, snowmen, snow angels?
All of the things that made this time miraculous in our youth?
Why does snow have to be the enemy?
Snow is a part of life.
As long as you are living in Ohio anyway.
Learn to adapt and accept this part of life, as it has been here forever, and will most likely stay .
Stop falling for the media scare tactics predicting the next snowpocalypse, I mean Jesus, weren’t most of you around in the seventies and eighties, this ain’t shit!
Learn to adapt to things you can’t control.
Dress warmer, give yourself extra time, build a snowman with your kid (or grand kids.
But people, stop the insanity.
Change your way of thinking and dealing with the white stuff.
In the words of Jack Nicholson’s Joker in Batman
“This Town needs an enema!”

The One About 2018 (or as I refer to it, “What the Hell was that?”)

2018 was a difficult year for nearly everyone I know, myself included. But I also learned some very valuable lessons. I guess if you can make a positive out of a negative, that’s all that matters.

  • People will come and go from your life . Everyday. Stop labeling the ones who have challenged you as toxic, narcissistic, evil, etc. There’s an old saying that inside every person you know is a person you don’t know, and I guarantee you each of us has been the villain in someone else’s story. Everybody has a light side and a dark side. If having certain people or situations in your life has caused you more pain than joy, then let them go. Move on. There is no need for the manufactured drama.
  • Kids are smarter than we are. We can learn a lot from them.They have more common sense than we do , they are more creative than we are, they are better at having fun than we are, and their hearts are more pure than ours. Don’t dumb them down with an overuse of technology ( the decline of civilization), overzealous obsession with meaningless structure, and over-medicating for everything from ADHD, OCD, etc. before they’re even out of their playpen. Let kids be kids, let them encourage you to be a kid. The wisest people I’ve ever known are my four year old grandson, and my ninety year old deceased grandmother.
  • Sometimes you should just add a little alcohol.
  • Now wait a minute, before I potentially irritate someone, let me explain. Never ever mix alcohol with driving of any kind, if you don’t believe how devastating that can prove to be, refer to my introductory post. I’m not talking about getting embarrassingly fall-down sloppy drunk. Drinking lowers your inhibitions, including the inhibitions of your mind. No, it does not solve problems, but it does allow you to relax and breathe for awhile. To not be so hard on yourself, to take yourself less seriously, to allow yourself to loosen up and enjoy life a little bit, maybe even get a little creative. Not intoxicated.

If you are totally against alcohol of any kind, that’s completely fine.

Remember this post is not titled lessons the world learned in 2018, it’s the lessons I learned, for my benefit, and perhaps for the potential benefit of others as well.

  • When i was young I always hoped I’d be able to afford botox, a face-lift, a nip here , a tuck there, when I entered my mid to late forties.

That’s not quite affordable in the lifestyle and income level I currently am accustomed too, and I guess I’ve made peace with that.

And i find it quite terrifying that even with the abundance of plastic surgery she’s had, Nancy Pelosi looks far worse and more weather- beaten than Keith Richards.

This year has started off with a very peaceful sense of calm that i don’t recall feeling for at least ten years, and i will do everything in my power to keep it that way.

I’m not a fan of overused cliches like “Life is too short to live with regrets”.

But there’s a reason why cliches become cliches, it’s called truth.

And the truth can be a fickle thing.