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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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Ferris Bueller No More

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.
And yet…
“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,
Tasty meals,
Food Shopping,
Playoff Football,
Vacuuming,
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.

 
53 Comments

Posted by on January 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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My Wife’s Team

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.

 
46 Comments

Posted by on January 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Get on the Boat

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,
a mortgage,
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.

 
37 Comments

Posted by on December 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Feeling Better

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.

 

 
49 Comments

Posted by on December 3, 2012 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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Separating Work & Home

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.

 
35 Comments

Posted by on November 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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