A conversation between a man and blog:
MeMyselfandKids: So, how you doing?
Blog: Where you been?
Blog: Huh? What do you mean huh? Last time you spoke to me was July.
MMK: Well, actually, every time I post I am talking to you.
Blog: Don’t give me that.
MMK: You don’t have to be so cranky
Blog: Oh, so now I’m cranky?
MMK: Can we move on?
Blog: Fine, what is it?
MMK: I wanted to let you know we’re moving.
Blog: Moving? Is it somewhere warm? I like warm.
MMK: Huh? Anyway, I don’t think you’ll notice much of a difference.
Blog: So, what you are saying?
MMK: Remember, I told you about a website?
Blog: Wait! Are you dumping me? I can change. I’m sorry I was cranky before. I was just feeling lonely. You didn’t show up on Thursday.
MMK: I’ve been really busy.
Blog: Don’t try and let me down easy. I can take it. I know it’s me.
MMK: No, really it’s true. It’s the end of the term, and I have a ton of marking to do.
MMK: Yes, really.
Blog: Oh, what a relief! Tell me more about the website. By the way, didn’t you talk about this months ago?
MMK: Yeah, well things don’t always go the way you plan.
Blog: Sheesh! You screwed up didnja?
MMK: No. Wow, you are cranky. My friend was…
Blog: Now, you are going to throw your friend under the bus?
MMK: Shut up and listen. My friend worked on it for me. Issues came up. Anyway, now it is ready to be unveiled.
Blog: So, is it all finished? When are we moving?
MMK: Well, I want to edit some sections. Plus any website needs to be attended to on a regular basis. Despite that, this is my last post from this address.
Blog: Wow. So how does that affect the followers?
MMK: For those who do get it delivered directly to their e-mail, there will be no change. Those who don’t get it delivered directly to their e-mail will have to re-subscribe.
Blog: You expect everyone to follow you there?
MMK: I certainly hope so. I very much appreciate my readers and try to put out quality posts. Besides, I am going to be joined by some special guests.
Blog: Who, who? Tell me who.
MMK: Well, I want people to be surprised.
Blog: Spit it out.
MMK: Well, I am going to have some of my blogging friends, members of my writing group (I think), the Website designer, and Ms. MMK.
Blog: Cool. When are the guests coming?
MMK: Over the next few weeks.
Blog: Anything else I should know.
MMK: Yes, our new address is http://larrydbernstein.com/me-myself-and-kids
Blog: Well, that sounds great. Any worries about the site?
MMK: Well, I don’t photograph well.
Blog: Nah – you’re just ugly.
MMK: Shuuuuut up. Seriously I can’t smile on demand. Anyway, my picture is on the website, and I am a bit sensitive about it.
Blog: It’ll be fine.
MMK: I guess you’re right. Want to hear a quick story?
MMK: Today, Sunday the 20th, is my 11 year wedding anniversary.
Blog: Happy anniversary.
MMK: Thanks. Anyway, people kept asking me before my wedding, “Are you nervous?” I said no, and I really meant it. Now, of course, I was on some level. But there was one thing I was really nervous about.
Blog: What’s that?
MMK: The pictures. I was worrying about smiling for the pictures. I was afraid my lip would start quivering during picture time.
Blog: Did it?
MMK: Not so much. That’s what happens when you’re happy.
Blog: Ain’t that sweet.
MMK: I think so. Anyway, take it easy and see you on the on the website.
Blog: Sounds good.
Thanks to all of my followers. I hope to see you on my website. I appreciate the community that we have created, and I am so grateful for your loyalty, for your comments, and for your acquaintance. I hope you (and all your friends) will join me on my website. Take care and thanks again.
Tag Archives: reflections
A conversation between a man and blog:
Drunken parties, packed bars, wet and wild (you fill in the blank). Yep, my weekend had it all. However, it did not include anything noted above. In fact, it was plain and ordinary.
I was 19 (or somewhere in that age range) and on the Philadelphia side of the Delaware River. Cloudless sky, brilliant sun, light breeze, low 80’s –a beautiful Spring day. Some friends of mine and I were lounging on the river bank watching the water flow on. It was as if we were ready to film a beer commercial.
“Yo man, I’m bored.”
“What do you want to do,” S asked. He was one of my closest friends during the high school and college years.
“I don’t know. Something.”
“Dude, it’s a beautiful day, and we’re all hanging out. What do you want?”
I looked around at the array of friends and acquaintances lounging around and sighed. “This is boring. I want an adventure.”
“An adventure? Who do you think you are Ferris Bueller?”
“I love that movie. Don’t mess with Ferris!”
“I know you do. How many times have you seen that movie?”
“A lot.” Sticking my hand out in greeting, “Abe Froman, sausage king, Chicago.”
“I know you know the movie by heart.”
“I weep for the future.”
“Okay, Abe I got it.”
“Anyway, what would be so wrong with a Ferris Bueller like adventure?”
“We’re not in the movies.”
I don’t remember how that afternoon ended. It was probably via some chemically induced haze.
So, I had it all and was bored. I wanted more.
Here’s a sampling of the events I experienced this past weekend:
Playdates for both of the boys,
Meaningful conversation with my wife,
Praying at the synagogue on Sabbath,
Writers group meeting,
Playing golf on the Wii.
There’s more, and it’s equally mundane. I’ll spare you the details. I’ll bet you had some of these and more on your plate this weekend as well. So you can fill in your own details.
You could say I did not have much going on this weekend. Yet, when Sunday night rolled around, I turned to my wife and said, “I wish it was a three day weekend.”
So, while I still know most of the lines and would be happy to watch Ferris Bueller’s Day off, I don’t need the same adventure. However, there are days. Nah, let me stop there. The plain and ordinary suited me quite nicely, thank you.
I give my children a bath. I make dinner a few nights a week. I do the weekly food shopping. I thank my wife when she makes dinner. I remember my wife’s birthdays and our anniversary. I ask about work. I’m a good husband. No, not great. I’ll keep my ‘areas in need of improvement’ to myself. Anyway, somewhere my wife is reading this, shaking her head, and making a list.
“It was a nice visit dear,” my mother said to my wife of nearly a year.
“Yeah, we enjoyed it.”
“I’m just sorry the Eagles didn’t win.”
My wife looked at my mother and added, “Yeah, it’s a shame.”
Shortly thereafter, we were on the SEPTA train headed out of Philadelphia to Trenton. From there, we took a New Jersey Transit Train to Penn Station and Manhattan. As we settled in to our seats, my wife turned to me, “Did you hear what your mother said to me while we were waiting on the platform?”
“What? You mean about the Eagles?”
“You heard that?”
“Yeah, I heard. So what?”
“I just can’t believe that she would say that the weekend would have been better if the Eagles would have won.”
“Well, it would have.” (No, we are not the real life version of the Solatano family of Silver Linings Playbook, though I did note some similarities.)
“What is wrong with you guys?”
“You like football too.”
“I know but still.”
She does like football. My wife that is. In fact, her interest in sports was one of the things I enjoyed about her from the beginning.
However, there was a problem. You see, she is a Notre Dame fan. Huh? My family did not like Notre Dame. Nope, they were not the good guys. They won too often and were cocky.
Yet, my wife liked Notre Dame. What would I tell my family? Well, I eventually broke the news to them, and they took it in stride. However, the question kept coming up – why?
What can I tell you? When she first started watching college basketball, she thought one of the players on Notre Dame was cute. Hence, a fan was born.
You can be sure it came up when I brought her home to meet my family for the first time. I had to be a mediator.
Later this month, my wife and I will celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary. We have had our ups and downs. Like most couples, we have had to adjust for each other. Some of the adjustments have been harder than others. For instance, I have learned to not dislike Notre Dame.
That brings me to the BCS National Championship game tonight. It features Alabama verses Notre Dame. Yep, you heard right. Can you guess who’s rooting for Notre Dame? Yep she is, and so am I (though I not enthusiastically). After all, I did say I was a good husband. Go Irish.
An old joke:
A great storm has taken place and massive flooding has occurred. A pious, holy man stood on his roof to escape the flood. As the water continues to rise ever higher, a boat comes along. The boat comes up to him and the people inside offer the religious man a ride. He declines, “No thank you. G-d will save me.” While those in the boat are surprised at his reaction, they recognize he will not get in, so they drive off. This same happenstance occurs two more times. Each time the end result is the same. The pious man declines by saying, “No thank you. G-d will save me.” Eventually, the holy man drowns.
The holy man gets to heaven, and he has his moment to speak with G-d. He says, “G-d, I don’t understand. I pray to you regularly, give charity, study the bible, and do acts of kindness to the stranger. I am a true believer. How could you let me drown? G-d replies to the religious man, “I sent you a boat three times, but you refused to get on.”
When offered an opportunity, take it. Don’t question. That is the lesson I take from that joke. You don’t know where or when opportunity will present itself. However, that doesn’t matter. Remember that Stevie Winwood song, When you see a chance, you take it.
Too often, I am a double clutcher to use a basketball comparison. The player who double clutches despite an open shot has his shot blocked. He/she can’t believe the opportunity they have, so they pause for a split second. Well, in that split second, the opportunity has come and gone.
I wonder what if, playing out multiple scenarios in my head. I tell myself I am being wise and practical. I tell myself I have:
children depending on me,
food to put on the table,
private school tuition bills.
I have, have have. Too often, these blessings can double as burdens.
This week is Chanukah. A very brief summary of Chanukah – The Jews overcame the Greeks, the superpower of the day. The Greeks had ransacked the Temple. When the Jews came to the Temple to rededicate it, they found only one day’s worth of pure oil which was needed to light the menorah (or lamps). They lit the menorah, and miraculously, the oil lasted for eight nights by which time more purified oil was able to be secured.
One could easily ask why did they even bother lighting the menorah? The oil was not sufficient and ultimately would have disappointed. However, the people took that chance and let G-d determine what would be. They had faith. Another question which is commonly asked is why celebrate the holiday for eight days (of course extra jelly donuts, latkes, and presents is the answer most kids give)? After all, the first day was not a miracle. There was enough oil for one day, so the miracle took place over the final 7 days. One answer that I have heard to this dilemma particularly impresses me. The fact that oil lights at all is a miracle. It is not an acknowledged miracle but an everyday miracle. The lesson I learn from this is to appreciate the every day.
So as my family and I celebrate Chanukah and I contemplate the end of the year, I have lessons to relearn. I need to move forward, and pledge to get on the boat when it shows up at my door.
102.3! No, I am not referring to a radio station.
“I told you I didn’t feel well,” I said, vindicated. I was shaking, my teeth were chattering, I was itchy, and I felt a perpetual need to pee.
And I was scared.
The last time I had a fever was about 30 years ago. I was 10. I woke up on Saturday morning, excited to play little league basketball. As a child, I lived for little league; some of my best memories come from me playing on various teams for the Bustleton Boys Club. I played basketball and baseball. My soccer career ended after one year when I didn’t even score one goal (I was robbed!), and my team was 1-7-1. Anyway, I woke up and called for my mom. Five minutes later, she removed the thermometer and diagnosed me with fever.
“But doc, I want to play. My team needs me.”
“I don’t think so.”
“Ahh mom. Come on. I’ll be fine.” I tried getting out of my top bunk bed. Was it me or was the room spinning? It was me, and I was done. I resigned myself to missing my game. Turns out the flu bug was going around, and many kids had to miss the game.
So, you could say I am not used to being sick.
My family and I had been at a synagogue event – parent/child learning. My wife was the organizer, so she was running around making sure everything was going smoothly. As the hour turned to 8:30 pm, SJ was getting cranky, and I was feeling more and more uncomfortable.
“Will you take me home? Daddy doesn’t feel well. So, can you take me home?”
SJ said through muffled tears, “What about mommy and BR?”
“They can get a ride home from someone.”
“Okay. You can take me home, and I’ll take you home.”
“Thanks buddy. I really don’t feel well.” BR told my wife we were leaving. She was ready for this contingency. A meltdown can come at any time at that hour. She just did not expect me to be the one melting down.
A rough Saturday night of Advil and fitful sleep followed. However, upon waking up Sunday morning, my fever was gone. G-d bless drugs. I probably should have relaxed and taken it easy, but I didn’t. After all, I am not used to lying in bed sick.
102.3 is back to being a radio station. And that is music to my ears.
What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary.
George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) It’s a Wonderful Life
I was driving home from an errand last night, Wednesday. It was around 5:15 when I looked up in the sky. I was struck, nearly dumbfounded with what I saw – the biggest whitest moon I ever saw. For a moment, I convinced myself that I could reach up and touch it or at least drive to the horizon and be enveloped in it.
As I drove home, I had to continually remind myself to look at the road and be aware of the traffic. Driving 101 – right? Well, yesterday, this basic driving necessity was truly a struggle. Instead of giving the road my full concentration, I followed the moon which seemed to be moving as I moved. I imagined G-d was playing volleyball. I remained mesmerized and marveled over nature the whole ride home, “It’s so huge, isn’t it especially bright, is it following me home?”
I had to share this beautiful moon with my family.
I walked in, and my wife was sitting at the kitchen table working.
“Come outside. I have to show you something.”
“What? Is everything okay?”
“Yeah, yeah. Just come. You have to see this.”
“Just put on your jacket and come with me. Trust me.”
She got on her jacket and followed me outside. I brought her to a spot where you could the moon was visible. I put my hands on her shoulders and said, “Look at the moon. Isn’t it amazing?’
She was quiet for a moment, taking in the amazing sight. She smiled, “thanks for giving me the moon.”
“Now, let’s go back in the house. It’s cold.” We walked back together.
Later I brought SJ outside. It was after his shower. He wore his winter coat. He was shoeless so I carried him on my shoulders. When we got outside, I said, “Look at the moon. Isn’t it awesome?”
“Wow, it’s so big!”
“Doesn’t it look like you could touch it?”
“Hmm. I don’t know. I’m cold. Let’s go inside.”
“Don’t you want to look at the moon some more?”
“No, I just want to go inside.” He wasn’t impressed.
Later on, I took BR out who was dressed similarly to SJ. BR decided to walk. When we got outside, I said “Check out that moon. Look how big it is.”
“That’s it? You brought me out here to see the moon. I’m going back in.”
“Don’t you think it looks huge?”
“I’m going back inside.”
I guess the children aren’t ready for the moon. Well, my version of Mary liked it, and so did I. Next time, I’ll save the moon for my wife and me.
Something is going on at home that is causing my wife and me a great deal of stress. It relates to one of our children. I don’t want to go into details. I am comforted by the thought that ultimately, G-d willing, everything will be fine. I recognize that when you are in the middle of a situation, it always seems bigger than when looking back upon it. But the stress at this time is weighing on me.
I believe in work and pride myself on being a professional. As I’ve noted before, I am very concerned about my students on a number of levels. I strive to keep my home life at home. When I come to work, my focus is in the classroom.
Just yesterday, I was counseling a colleague who recently had a baby about the importance of separating work and home life. My colleague responded somewhat dismissively, “But you’re a dad. You’re not a mom.” Besides the obvious, she may have a point. My wife struggles mightily with this separation, although sometimes she finds going to the office to be a form of escape.
Today, I struggled along with her. I called her at noon. She said, “I’m not doing so well.” I said, “Me too.” Sure, it’s nice to be on the same page. However, I would have preferred to have been that kind of dad my colleague was referring to. It would have made my day easier. Of course, my day also would have been easier if all the students had sat there with their hands folded, desirous of taking in information, asking questions when appropriate, and responding to questions in respectful manner. (As if!)
Ultimately, I still taught the lesson I wanted. I hope the students gained the information I strove to impart. Yet, being a teacher was hard today. My mind was elsewhere. It was on the challenges at home – the challenges of being a dad.
It was a beautiful late summer day. The streets were crowded with people milling around. Aimlessly.
“I think we should go down there,” I said.
“Why” my fiancé asked?
“I want to do something. Maybe, we could help somehow.”
“I don’t know. I’m not sure what we could do there.”
“Yeah, dude,” my roommate added. “I don’t even know how we could get there. The subways are not running below 14th.”
“We could walk from 14th. It’s not so far. I want to help out. What good are we doing sitting here?”
The three of us stood outside of the temporary Red Cross building. By the time we had gotten there, they were no longer even taking blood. All we could offer was dried goods – soap, power bars, etc.
“I think it’s nice that you want to help, but there is nothing we can do,” my fiancé said.
I scoffed in frustration and replied, “I want to see what those bastards did. I want to see with my own eyes. I want to help. We’re just sitting here. Sucks. I’m going a little crazy here.”
On September 12th, 2001, there were probably many such conversations going on around the city.
It’s natural to want to help others in times of trouble. When we hear that a friend, neighbor, or family member is ill, one of the first questions we ask is, “How can I help? What can I do?” It is the normal reaction and one that binds us together. People want to help and feel useful. Being productive allows one to feel pride, accomplished and useful.
Since before the storm began, I have felt compelled to organize my home. I have been going through drawers, closets, and desks. Throwing out, straightening up, and sorting through. There is chaos outside my door. Everyday life has been thrown into tumult. However, in my home, I will keep order. I suppose you could call it a coping method. I’d like to think it is a good method – cleaning the house while not driving my family too crazy.
On Tuesday afternoon, I went into my backyard and gathered up the largest limbs that lay strewn about and placed them on the curb. Today, Thursday, I called the Office of Emergency Management a couple of times. I wanted to offer my services – a healthy, relatively strong body. No answer. I spent over an hour and a half raking leaves and gathering sticks. The trashcans are no longer in the garage, the basketball net is no longer on its side, and the outdoor furniture is back on the lawn. Our house looks like it would normally on a fall day.
We remain without power. School is closed for the children and me. My wife’s work place is closed. So, things for us are far from normal. Yet, many have it much worse and their normal will never be the same. I wish I could help.
“We’re not gonna take it. No, we ain’t gonna take it. We’re not gonna take it anymore,” Twisted Sister.
Eurorail train schedules, Let’s Go Europe, and maps surrounded the unemployed 23 year old. He was planning out his backpacking through Europe summer. Responsibility and reality be damned. The epitome of freedom and youth.
“Larry,” my father shouted as he came into my room undetected.
I jumped, “Oh, hi dad.’
“Does the music have to be so loud?”
“Sorry.” I turned down the music.
“What is all the stuff,” he motioned at the paraphernalia that decorated my floor.
“Planning my summer trip.”
“Oh.” He shook his head, half smiled, and walked away after reminding me to keep the music lower.
I looked at the information around me, contemplated my looming weeks long trip, and considered my unemployed status. I felt guilty. Then, I got over it.
Yesterday, I was assisting a girl with her college application essay. During the tutoring session, she started talking to her mother. “Mommy,” she said “I am going create an empire.” She was certain that the business she had recently begun was bound for big things. I raised my eyebrows but said nothing. Her mother smiled a yes dear smile. The girl bubbled on so proud of her declaration that she wrote it down.
Another college recruiter visited my senior class. He talked about his school and how attending there will enable the students to achieve their academic goals. This of course will enable them to fulfill their dreams. Never mind the 70 average.
“I’m happy she is getting a chance to go away,” she explained. “But when I dropped her off, I felt a little jealous.” So my fellow writer said at a recent writer’s group meeting. She clearly felt a little guilty. There was no need to apologize as the rest of us – parents with children in various stages – shook our heads feeling the same such feelings.
It’s not youth we want. It’s the unbound enthusiasm. It’s the certainty that everything is not only possible but a mere question of when.
I wish good things for my tutee, my students, and my co-writer’s daughter. I hope they achieve big and great things. They are in an amazing and exciting stage in their lives.
By the time you reach a certain age, there is some level of stuckness (I know it’s not a word, but it so fits). Whatever you’re level of contentment – nice family, decent job, comfortable home – choices have been made, life is being lived, and dreams come in size small.
The world is not our oyster. It’s not free for the taking. As adults, we know this. Lumps can and will be doled out. I, for one, am okay with that. I will cope and be happy for the dreams of the kids around me, hopeful about fulfilling my goals, and content with the wisdom I have gained.
One question that rattles around my brain on occasion – particularly after watching Superhero movies – is what superpower I would like to have. Now, I am sure we all have our (it’s not just a boy thing – is it?) superheroes. I am a Batman person myself (LOVED The Dark Night). Anyway, it would be nice to have his powers – capabilities would be more accurate. However, the ability I would choose is brilliance!
This question always makes for a good conversation with my classes – particularly the freshmen. They come up with all kinds of answers and always seemed surprise when I reveal what superpower I would like. They very well may be thinking that is such a teacher answer. Yet for my wish, I can’t imagine wanting anything else.
I would like to think that this wish says that I respect intelligence and knowledge. As a matter of fact, I respect and admire knowledge and those who are very intelligent. I enjoy being in their company and hearing what they have to say.
On occasion, my mom will say it is not good to be so smart. And no, she is not saying that when I am being sarcastic. She believes many brilliant people are not as happy. They lack people skills or are perpetually caught up in deep thought. While this is not an uncommon perception, there does not seem to be any clear proof that brilliant people are, on the whole, less happy than ‘normal’ people. At least, that is what my brief Google search has told me. See, I wouldn’t know. I am not brilliant.
I am an intensely curious person and read a lot. What would it be like to remember all I read and be able to satiate that curiosity? How would my like be different? Truthfully, I don’t know
I don’t know if my life would be better if I were brilliant. However, I am willing to take that chance. As they say, knowledge is power. So, maybe I am simply power hungry.
Imagine if you could learn things easily and remember things readily. Am I the only one who saw the move Limitless and thought that I would take that pill? Look at the way the protagonist, Eddie, was able to use his gift of awesome intelligence to accomplish great things. By the way, I once read that we only use a small percentage of our brains whereas Einstein used just a bit more and look what he was able to accomplish.
You have thought about this question before, right? So, what superpower would you choose to have? I am going to ask my wife and children. I wonder what they will say.