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Moving On Up

A conversation between a man and blog:
MeMyselfandKids: So, how you doing?
Blog: Where you been?
MMK: Huh?
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.
Blog: Really?
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?
Blog: Sure.
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.
Larry (MMK)

 
8 Comments

Posted by on January 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Morning-Shower Phobia

Arachnophobia, claustrophobia, xenophobia. There are phobias for just about everything. I, thankfully, suffer from none of them. Well I’m not big on heights and you don’t want to see me around ketchup and iced tea. But other than that, I am just short of normal.

I took a self-imposed break from blogging though I continued commenting on other people’s blogs. Anyway, the break from blogging coincided with my break at school. Movies, Chuck E. Cheese, a visit to mom, editing of my novella, a staycation with my wife only, and sleeping in till 8:00 (yes, that is a big thing in my house) were just some of the highlights from my break. Of course, I found some time for self-loathing and questioning of my direction. However, the best part was not setting the alarm and moving at a different pace.
On Tuesday night, I had my clothes out, lunch made, lesson plans prepared, etc. I had psyched myself up and was ready to return to work. Then, I made a terrible mistake. I checked weather.com. The site said it would feel like 9 degrees at 6 a.m. That is the time at which I am standing on a street corner praying for the bus to come. My heart sank as my resolve froze. Uggh. I added a pair of long johns to my pile of clothes.
Wednesday morning came, and I got out of bed and headed to the bathroom for my shower. You see, there are two types of people in this world: “shower-before-bed” people and “shower-in-the-morning” people. I happen to be the latter. Thus my shower serves a dual purpose: a clean start and a wake-up call.
I looked at the shower and had reservations. Let me tell you about our shower, and you will understand. It takes a couple of minutes for the water to warm up. Once it does warm up, it can be scalding. Now, you may be thinking to yourself, why don’t you just balance the hot and cold knobs so the water will come out at a temperature you are happy with. Sounds logical. However, my shower is not logical. The knobs are inconsistent, so I never know where to turn them to in order to get a comfortable temperature.
As I have mentioned many times, I often lack patience. So, sometimes in my rush to warm up the water, I turn the hot up too far. It will be a comfortable temperature when I get in and suddenly the water will be scalding. Then, I will turn the hot water down and pump up the cold water and a minute later, the water is freezing.

I have little tolerance for extreme temperatures. So, I spend half the shower jumping away from the water. I jump so often in the shower that it could be a new kind of exercise. You have zumba, pilates, and shower dance (sounds like it should be way more erotic than it actually is). This drastic change in temperature makes washing my private parts an act of faith. So, one minute, I’m burnt like a beach bum and the next minute, I’m frozen ala Walt Disney.

Then, you have water pressure. Well, you may have water pressure, but my shower sure doesn’t. Give my two cups of water and an hour, and I can generate more pressure than my shower.

So now, I have made a change. I am no longer a daytime shower person. It is too scary in that shower on cold winter mornings. In fact, you could say that I have a fear or phobia of my shower. There’s got to be a name for morning-shower phobia.

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Saving the Moon

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.”

“It’s cold.”

“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.”

“You’re welcome.”

“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.

 

 
51 Comments

Posted by on November 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Slow it Down

Tick, tick, tick. I am a slave to the clock. I call it productivity. I say I am proud and feel accomplished when I get things done. And I am. Yet, I am still a slave to the clock.

I’d like to blame my mother. No, I am not in therapy. But it is true, Dr. Freud. My mother is crazed about getting things done and says the same things about her sister and her mother. I would add my brothers to this list as well. So, I guess you could say it runs in my family. I was brought up on this concept.

I wish I could stop it. There are repercussions you know.

I check the clock 50 times a day. When I was younger, I used to stare at the clock. I decided some numbers were happy numbers and some were sad. For example, the five was happy because the bottom curl looked like a smile. Now, I think the five laughs at me as I curse it every morning when it makes me up. But that’s another story.

I walk fast enough to consider entering the speed walking competition in the Olympics. This is not a good date trait. My wife rarely holds my hand. She doesn’t like feeling pulled. She goes for the arm in arm. I think it’s to slow me down.

This Thanksgiving was different. No, I don’t mean the abundant food and houseguests.

I slowed down. And I liked it.

I was speaking to a friend of mine at 11:15 on Sunday morning. He excused himself. He had to get off the phone as he and his family were eating together.

“What are you eating? Breakfast?”

“Yes.”

“At 11:15?”

“We are taking it easy today. Everybody slept in.”

“Okay.” I hung up slightly confused.

And jealous.

Why can’t I be that at ease? I would feel guilty that the day is half over, and I have accomplished little.

Well, I thought I had been taking it easy over the weekend. However, my friend’s actions inspired me to slow down more.

It was a struggle. But a worthwhile struggle.

I go back to wondering. Why am I in such a rush? Yes, I know I said it is genetic thing, but there has to be more to it.

I am going to psychoanalyze myself for a moment here. You know that bumper sticker, the one who dies with the most toys wins? I disagree with that completely. I think it is stupid.

No. It’s as if I am trying to prove something. Often the hardest person to prove things to is oneself. If I keep busy, I will accomplish. If I accomplish, I will find fulfillment. Fulfillment – isn’t that what life is about?

I don’t have all the answers. I just know it felt good to slow down. It’s something I need to do more often. In fact, I may eat breakfast at 11:00 next weekend and then go for a stroll with my wife – hand in hand. Okay, we may have to run after the kids, but I am not going to be happy about it. For me, that’s an accomplishment.

 

 
74 Comments

Posted by on November 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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No Digression

The Eagles suck. Really, really suck. The Sixers have gotten off to a mediocre start with their star centered injured and out for who knows how long. The NHL is on strike and therefore no Flyers games. The Phillies are coming off a mediocre season and are in the quiet part of the offseason.

So, sports is out.

The election is over. There are no more polls, advertisements, or speeches. Barack Obama, for better or worse, has been reelected. The Senate and House of Representatives remain nearly unchanged.

So, the political races are over.

What am I to do?

I am on the computer. Maybe, I’m creating an assignment for students, writing a blog entry, creating a story. My mind wanders. I’m distracted. Or maybe, I’m just stalling. Semantics I suppose, but I digress. The point is I am leaving the productive mode and entering wandering mode. I click a button and am suddenly surfing the world wide web (by the way, I always wanted to learn how to surf. I think I’ll put it on my bucket list under learn to play the harmonica. There I go digressing again).  I’d like to think this digression is actually part of the creative process. Research if you will. It keeps my mind active.

Who am I kidding?

For every time that I am doing true research there are 15 times where I am feeding my overactive mind with useless information. Do you know how often I pop on WordPress? Way. Too. Often.

So, what else should I do? I don’t have a ton of interests. I hop on Yahoo and see the ‘big’ stories. By the way, the latest headlines are Theron’s shocking haircut and small room’s big surprises.  Despite my wanderlust, I think I can stay away from those ‘big’ stories.

Ahh, self-control feels good.

If something doesn’t come along soon, I might stay focused. I might find myself cranking out work quicker than I could skim through another useless article. I think I might become Super Productive. Maybe, I could get a cape and a theme song.  This could be good.

 
24 Comments

Posted by on November 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Let me Help

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.

 
30 Comments

Posted by on November 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Reject Me!!!

Sometimes in life we face rejection. I know positive-thinking types might say something like, “Well, you learn as much as or more from your failures as you do from your successes.” They may have a point. However, rejection still sucks. Yet, I crave rejection.

A few years ago, I initiated the YOC. YOC stands for year of communication. I was tired of the irony that–despite the incredible ease and multiple outlets for communication–people seem worse at communicating. One of my very few type A personality traits is returning calls/emails/texts etc. expediently. I don’t accept someone saying I was too busy to get back to you. Do you know anyone who is not busy these days? Okay, there may be a couple, but you know what I mean. There is always time for a two-line email or an 8-word text. “Crazy busy over here. Talk to you soon.” I am perfectly content with that type of rejection. So, go ahead friends/family – reject me.

There was a point that I was considering switching schools. Fortunately, I was able to get some interviews. Unfortunately, none of the interviews materialized into jobs. It’s okay. That’s life. I can move on. Really, I can. But something about the process pissed me off. I took time out of my schedule to prepare myself, come to you, answer your questions, and send you a thank you. Is it too much to expect a rejection letter? Tell me no thanks, good luck, and see you never. Yeah, I can easily get over the lack of communication, but it’s not cool dude. Not cool. Just reject me.

One of my goals this summer was to send off some of my work in the hopes of getting it published. I did have a touch of success and a couple of misses (including one where the publication simply publishes the winners without letting the rest of us know we were not chosen). The rest of my submissions – to quote the band Genesis – “No Reply at All.” Now, some (hopefully all) will be contacting me shortly to let me know that they received my submission. The editors will tell me my work blew them way. Ok, maybe not. I can handle it. A writer with thick skin (well, at least not reed thin) – can you believe it? Anyway, reject me.

I feel better now that I have gotten this off of my chest. In fact, I am ready to scream reject me. Just don’t ignore me.

 
24 Comments

Posted by on October 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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