MY SLEEP SAGA CONTINUES…


`newsanchorLast month I featured a few reports on a new and innovative treatment I was embarking upon to help deal with my sleep apnea. There are some new developments in this story–breaking news, if you will.

[Note:  If  you followed my  previous reports on this subject,  you can skip the background information and proceed to the last three paragraphs.]

Briefly, for those who are not familiar with this health issue that millions are affected by, Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a disorder that interrupts breathing while an individual sleeps. Once asleep, the muscles relax, including those at the base of the tongue. In OSA victims, these muscles relax so much that they collapse and close off the air passage. The victim begins to suffocate and, usually, hopefully, the brain will kick in and wake the body up so it can begin breathing again. In severe cases, this pattern continues throughout the night, awaking the victim as many as 40 or more times an hour. People with OSA get very little quality sleep. This often results in their “crashing” during their daytime awake hours. Many fall asleep in the middle of common situations like reading or sitting at a desk working, watching television or, most scary, while driving.

The treatment for OSA can include surgery that rearranges things inhibiting the flow of air into the body. The surgery is usually very painful and there is no guarantee it will fix the problem. A more popular treatment is called C-PAP. This is system whereby the person wears an air-tight facial mask while a machine pumps a continuous flow of air into his or her nostrils, thereby keeping the airway open. For many people C-PAP is so intrusive they cannot sleep while using it. I am one of them.

For us, finally, there is a new surgically implanted system that has proven to be highly effective. It’s call Inspire and it’s modeled after the well-established pace-maker that helps many victims of heart disease. If you are interested, you can learn much more about this new procedure at inspiresleep.com.

InspirePicInspire involves the implanting of a small module just below the surface of the chest. Two leads run from this module, one to a lung that monitors breathing and another that attaches to the base of the tongue. When the system is activated during the patient’s sleep hours, it will provide a continuous flow of impulses, based on the breathing pattern. These impulses cause the tongue to lift up and out, thus preventing it from collapsing and shutting down the air flow.

This procedure is so new, less than 1500 people worldwide so far have met the qualifications and have had it surgically implanted. I am the 32nd person in South Florida who has undergone the procedure. Last night I turned it on and used it for the first time.

Immediate results are not expected. There is a period of time when the exact strength of the impulses needs to be determined through trial-and-error. It needs to be strong enough to move the tongue, but not so noticeable that it awakens the patient. I have to admit it is somewhat weird feeling my tongue moving up and out over my lower lip during the initial testing of my unit. In normal use, the system is turned on at bedtime by a hand-held remote control but it allows for a time period for the patient to fall asleep before revving up the impulses.

So, I have begun this adjustment period that may take several weeks. I am enthused, however, because on this first evening using my Inspire system I actually slept uninterrupted for about three hours. That is certainly not an inadequate amount of solid sleep for most people, but for me it was incredible. I never sleep for periods of time lasting more than 20-30 minutes if that. Now, mind you, I am not quite ready to fire the sheep I’ve been counting all these years, but I have suggested they may need to start getting their resumes together.

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DARE I GET POLITICAL?


BillofRightts2

My entire career was spent working in, or very close to, the news media. As such, lies the motivation for this rare, politically oriented comment I am sharing here.

I’ve sat in a local radio station’s marked news car on Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C. while a mob of protesters against the war in Vietnam jumped up and down on the car’s roof and hood. I’ve been a news producer who oversaw coverage of elections and other political events. I’ve spent years at jobs that entailed formatting and hiring personnel for the presentation of news and special events, not to mention years programming talk radio.   So, to some degree, I have experience and accumulated knowledge of how the news works and is presented.

All that said, I was raised old-school journalism and I have a hard time accepting the heavy influence of the ever-emerging subjective news channels that have evolved over the past decade.  I welcome commentary, but in my day it was clearly labeled as such. Today, whether you favor Fox News or MSNBC, the opinion is well integrated within the presentation and it is no longer easily decipherable what is subjective vs. objective. Never before has it been more clearly evident that mass media guru, Marshall McLuhan, was correct back in the 1960’s when he attempted to teach us that the medium is the message. It is my hope that the majority of the audience knows how to filter what they see and hear…but I admit I am not as hopeful as I have been prior to the Trump Presidency.

Uh-oh! There, I said it: a political statement with a specific opinion… something I never expose on any of my social media platforms. But Donald Trump has finally hit a nerve.

It is my understanding that, while running for the Presidency, the Trump Campaign worked a deal whereby the Sinclair Broadcast Group was given special access to the candidate in return for enhanced coverage on its many local television outlets—the level where most of Trump support resides. Sinclair has significant media punch, potentially owning enough local television stations to reach 70% of American households. If Trump is successful in expanding these kinds of media relationships he could indirectly control an unprecedented number of local news distributers who will favorably tout and willingly forward the Trump message without question. This is how demagogues formulate propaganda and ensure its penetration into the mindset of the people.  They control and manipulate those who deliver the news.

I know it may sound naïve, but in all my years of working for companies, both big-name national broadcasters and local mom & pop shops, I never recall my station’s ownership dictating direction to the news department. No, never. That does not mean it does not happen, but I do not believe it happens nearly to the extent that the White House would wish us to believe.

Mind you, I am focusing in on only this aspect of our country’s current leadership. I am not taking position on or initiating any discussion, pro or con, dealing with any other parameters of the Trump administration.

But regarding this one issue, I cannot express how I feel anymore simply than this: Freedom of the Press is one of the sacred entities that ensure a democracy. Don’t take my word for it…just look around the world. Do you actually think that the citizens of countries such as Russia, North Korea, China and numerous others around the globe receive uncensored information from their news media? I don’t think I need to say anything else…other than, as an American, a nerve has been struck and I am a little scared, as never before.

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WHAT’S ON YOUR WANNADO LIST?


Dream Hopeful Inspiration Imagination Goal Vision Concept

I was sitting in my thinking chair on the back patio this morning and I got to thinking about phases I’ve gone through…you know, things you sort of dream about doing one day, and then one day you give it a shot. It’s like attempting an item on your bucket list, but in this case maybe it’s a beach pail list since the timing is still plenty early in your life. You may actually accomplish the goal and reach your expectations…or not. Examples? Oh, I thought you’d never ask…

I have never learned to play a musical instrument. It’s really something I’d like to do. I’ve made two attempts. Both failed. The first time was when I was in 6th or 7th grade—sometime around then. I went to the music room in my school and I asked the school’s band teacher how to go about learning to play an instrument and maybe even join the band. He was in a hurry and just told me to go to the closets that lined the back wall and pick out an instrument I’d like to play. Then I was supposed to sign it out, take it home and begin practicing. “But, I don’t know anything about music,” I yelled as he was already in the front of the room and halfway out the door. “I can’t even read music,” I confessed. “Just pick something out, take it home and practice,” was the fading repeated solution he offered as he disappeared down the green cinderblock hallway.

I began opening closet doors along the back wall of the music room. I knew exactly what I was looking for—a clarinet. Yep, I was going to play the clarinet. But what’s up with this? Closet after closet was empty. Only one had an instrument inside.

Now, I must tell you at this point that I was skinny when I was a kid. No, I mean it, really skinny. If I weren’t ready for it, you could easily blow me over if you just walked by me too quickly. Well, back at the closet, it could have been worse. It could have been a tuba or a big bass fiddle. No, neither one. It was an awkward shaped instrument that just didn’t seem too cool for a kid my age to be playing. Perhaps that’s why it was the last instrument in all the closets. It was a French horn. But, hey, I was determined. So I signed it out.

To make a long tortuous story short, neither of my parents were musical so they were no help. The music teacher, he was no help either. He was always too busy with the kids who already knew a quarter note from a quarter teaspoon. Meanwhile, at least for me, the most critical issue with the French horn had nothing to do with learning how to play it.  It was its case.  Empty, it still probably weighed more than I did. Attempting two six-to-eight block walks back and forth to school each day, with a stack of books under one arm and the French horn under the other as it side-swiped my leg with each step…well, it  was a real struggle. That, and the lack of anyone giving a hoot about my toot was enough for me to decide to give it up. So, into the music room I went, strutting like a drum major. I signed in the French horn, put it back in the closet and went on with my life. I didn’t bother saying goodbye to the music teacher. I figure he’d only tell me to go home and practice.

I didn’t give up my musical pursuits entirely. I had a brush with a guitar for a year or three when I was in my thirties. That did not work out either and that’s its over there, on a stand, decorating the corner of my room. Next story:

My wife, the lovely Rosemarie, has had similar experiences, but with painting. No, not houses—pictures. Over the years she has ventured in and out of adult-class lessons. She has dabbled in pencil, charcoal, watercolor, acrylics and oils. She’s tried them all. She is famous for the Rosemarie Wipe-out. That’s when she finishes a painting, decides she does not like it and then proceeds to wipe the entire layer of paint from the canvas and begin all over. I have always encouraged her, but truthfully, my expectations have never been more than, say, my being an accomplished French horn player. That is, until this weekend.

Recently, Rosemarie picked up the brush and pallet once more and she began following the instructions of a video series on YouTube. Yesterday I saw what she was working on. It blew me away! It was a scene that had depth, proportion and lots of detail. In an hour or so she had pretty much competed a water scene that actually looked like a water scene. But don’t take my word for it. Check it out–Rosemarie’s first painting that may eventually hang in a world-famous art museum…or at least on the wall above my guitar.

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THERE’S NO “HAPPY” IN MEMORIAL DAY


American cemetery in Normandy,France.

Many Americans routinely spend their three-day holiday weekends with family, sometimes traveling or just gathering for a special meal or picnic. Many others go shopping because retailers looovvvvveee  to run sales during a holiday weekend.  Such are the activities of many Americans this weekend as we honor Memorial day.  Notice I said “honor” Memorial Day, not “celebrate.”    “Celebrate” is not the correct term for this particular holiday.   Few Americans understand that.

Each year at this time, I hop up on my soapbox to remind many in the younger generations, and I’m sorry to say some of my peers too, why “Happy Memorial Day” is simply not the proper greeting to use for this holiday. With that in mind, here is my annual posting for Memorial Day…

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I am a traditionalist.  You remember the song, Tradition, from Fiddler on the Roof, don’t you?  “And how do we keep our balance?” asks Zero Mostel.  “I can tell you in one word,” he says–-“Tradition!”   Now, when it comes to certain holidays, especially the patriotic ones, I went to the School of Normal Rockwell where I learned how to observe them.  That said, here is my take on Memorial Day.

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First of all, many of you have it all wrong.  This is NOT a joyous occasion that we are honoring this holiday weekend.  What was originally called Decoration Day was established by a group of Union Army veterans in 1886 following the Civil War.  The former soldiers thought it would be appropriate to set aside a day to honor those Americans who had died in service to their country.  Veterans of the Confederate Army did likewise on a totally different day.  Eventually, the two holidays merged into one, now called Memorial Day.  It is held on the last Monday of May.

Crosses in the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial

It is tradition that American military graves are decorated this day.  Those in Federal cemeteries in the United States and abroad are usually adorned with a small American flag.  When I was a kid in the 1950’s, I remember seeing lots of American flags on Memorial day.  They were hung on poles or were draped from window sills, porch railings and anything else that one could be tied to.  Almost every household displayed a flag—and I lived in a row-home neighborhood so you can just imagine the sea of red white and blue that ran endlessly down the blocks, one after the other.  Of course, World War II was still very fresh in the minds of Americans, especially anyone who had lost someone in the war.  Most storefront windows also displayed flags back then, not sale signs.

No shining academic record do I hold, but I cringe when I hear a young person today who does not know the difference between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, let alone any of the great conflicts that followed them.  I am not making that up.  I realize that I sound like an old curmudgeon when I criticize “these kids today” who have no concept of the sacrifice their forefathers made for them.  There are many adults too who have gotten caught up in the redundancy of how Americans celebrate their historic events.  As such, we treat all holidays pretty much the same: big retail sales, family gatherings and sporting events.

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But wishing someone a “Happy Memorial Day” is…well, it’s just not correct. Think about it. If your neighbor recently lost a son or daughter in Afghanistan, would you feel comfortable wishing them a “happy” Memorial Day?   This is a sad day, a solemn day when Americans should take a formal, structured time-out to think about, and pay tribute to, the thousands who died so that we and many others who aren’t even Americans can continue living in a protected and free environment.  Unfortunately, a lot of that thought process has gone from this holiday.  Memorial Day does not impact as many of us as it once did.  It is no longer relatable to all of us.  It is no longer as relevant.  It is fast becoming a tradition lost…and it leaves us, as Zero Mostel said, out of balance.

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“OPEN WIDE,” SAID THE DENTIST. “NO, NOT YOUR MOUTH…YOUR WALLET!”


Owner checking horse teeth. Multicolored outdoors image.

Whenever I run into two people who are currently engaged or about to be, I have a tendency to butt in and offer some sage advice. I feel it is worthy information that I should share. And it’s good, solid advice, based on years of real-life experience.   It’s quite simple actually. I just advise whomever that it would be prudent for him or her to check out their partner’s teeth before making any locked-in, lifelong commitment.

Now, I sense the expression on some of your faces right now, and I admit I am being a little outrageous. After all, you are marrying the person you love more than anyone else in the world. It’s not like you’re buying a horse. No, wait.  Maybe it  is.  When you get married you’re supposedly in it for the long haul. The track is often muddy. You’ll start off in a gallop and finish up barely able to trot and you’re bound to be saddle sore about six months in. Yeah, I’ll stick with all that—it is a fair analogy. So where am I going with all this? Well for sure, it’s not to the dentist, at least not right away. That’s where it all started–at the dentist office where I had an appointment to have my teeth cleaned. Well, I got more than that.

As usual The hygienist reminded me about the virtues of good flossing and rinsing regularly with the floride kool-aid they gave me. But then the big cannons unloaded with volley after volley of explosives like cavities, crowns, root canals, implants—it was like the 1812 overture featuring a mighty crescendo from all the instruments that had just been playing around in every cavern and crevice in my mouth.

The entire orchestration left my heart pounding and my checkbook quivering.  My wife, by the way, had orchestra seats at the same concert a few weeks back when she was at the dentist. Between the two of us, we could more easily afford to renovate the master bath complete with dual vanities and a seamless glass shower enclosure than figure out how the heck we’re going to pay for all the dental work the two of us need. To put this in perspective—no wait—to put it into really fine-tuned, sharp focus, let me disclose one thing:  there is no dental insurance in this scenario…none, zilch, buttkiss.

My script calls for a dramatic pause at this point.

(begin pause……………………………………………………………………………………………………..(end pause)

Like my wife and I, many seniors have to sacrifice lots of things when they retire, like dental insurance.  And it’s precisely one of the things I just knew would come back to bite us if we didn’t have it.  But decisions had to be made because that steady stream of paychecks was going to be pretty much sandbagged forever. So now another decision has to be made and it’s certainly one we don’t want to gum up. It’s almost like having to buy a car when you hadn’t planned on it. It could mean a loan with monthly payments for the rest of our lives and, face it, at this point there is a lot less “rest of” in our lives than previously.  Looking for funding elsewhere, we’d have to consider exhuming chump  change buried in the backyard that we otherwise need to survive…or, we could become the desperate and blundering old couple that robs banks….They’ll make a movie about us and everyone will say how cute we are.  Come to think about it, the cute factor may eventually influence the plea bargain in our favor.

Needless to say this dental dilemma is a puzzlement. I have no idea how we are going to resolve it.  I know we just can’t sit back and allow out teeth to disintegrate and eventually fall out….or could we.  Nope, this is no easy decision.  For now, I guess, I’ll just have to chew on it.

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THAT DREADED CAT


tonifiled2

I have discussed Toni the Cat several times before. Toni’s been living in our house for a good number of years now. She’s actually Haley’s cat. Haley is one of our granddaughters. She came to live with us at the same time Toni arrived. They were a package deal.

Toni the Cat is one mean feline. She’s the kind of cat that cat haters describe when they explain why they don’t like cats. Toni is not friendly. Toni will arbitrarily take a swipe at you as you walk past her. In fact, if she can, she’ll attempt to bite you too. This is no warm and fuzzy lap cat, far from it. Some of the other grandchildren, when they visit, deliberately walk an arc around her, keeping at safe distance to avoid her wrath. They badmouth her all the time.

So I ask you, of the four people who make up our household, why is it I am the one Toni always hangs with? Let me explain. I spend an inordinate amount of time in “my room.” Why?  Because it has all my toys, my books, my computers, my radio collection, my stash of cookies, a bed that goes up and down at each end, etc etc. But “my” room is not mine alone. I must share it…with Toni the Cat.

If I am in the bed, Toni is on the desk chair with the cushy cushion. When I get up and I want to sit at my desk, I roll the chair to the bedside and she jumps off and pick a nice warm hallow spot on the mattress. She knows the drill. When I am busy at the computer and she wants to watch what I’m doing, or at least let her presence be known, she will wedge herself into the top tray of my desk-top file unit. It is half the size she is. I have no idea how she manages to shrink herself down enough to fit in, let alone put up with how uncomfortable it must be.

Oh, by the way, just so you know: I am not sacred. She will take the same swipes at me as she does everyone else. She will also spring like a snake, bite my finger slightly then take off like a…like a…like a scared cat. She knows I will swipe back or even throw something at her if she draws blood…and she has.

In the morning, if I have drifted off to sleep unusually later than feeding time, Toni will have no problem putting her entire body in my face as she sashays back and forth in an attempt to get me up, get me downstairs and get her breakfast. Then she’s back on my bed or my chair or in the file tray another day, barely tolerating anyone or anything that enters her realm.

But I, I get a free pass. I have no idea why. Maybe it’s because I don’t attempt to befriend her or demand she cuddle up in my lap portraying a purring furball. Then too, as I write whatever it is I may be pecking away at on the keyboard, she seems interested, in fact, almost supportive, like really caring that what I write might actually be worthy…worthy of what, I am not sure.

I must admit there are times when I am stuck for the right word or have a question about punctuation and I’ll look to Toni to help me out. She merely stares at me and offers nothing–nary a meow.  This is what I resent the most about her. Because I know, don’t ask me how, I just know…she’s got a book in her and she knows it’s better than any of the ones I’ve written. Trust me, I know this… it’s just a matter of time when she finally lets it out.

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BUY’N YEARS


Demographic segmentation mind map flowchart social business concept for presentations and reports on blackboard

I noticed lately that I must have arrived? “Arrived where?” you ask. Well, I’ve arrived at yet another demographic level. When you get to my age bracket all kinds of things begin to change. There’s a definite divide widening between folks who want to sell you stuff…or not. For example, the folks in the pill industry, especially those who work in the aches and pains division, are eager to let you know they have the goods that’ll help you get along in your day-to-day activities over the next few years despite that axe wedged in your back between L3 and L4.

And that’s not all. Other friendly people, the ones who make things like walk-in bathtubs, hearing aids, back braces and those button gizmos you press when you’ve fallen and can’t get up—well all those guys and gals suddenly find you a fascinating person they’d like to know better. Meanwhile, the guys with the rock, the good hands and the ones who are on your side—you can start saying your goodbyes to them. They’re all sort of quietly leaving your party. You know, sneaking out the bathroom window and slithering down the drainpipe on the side of your house…they didn’t even come over to you to say goodnight.

I had this one life insurance policy for over twenty years before I noticed that the once irritating small print had taken growth hormones and blossomed into a major announcement which told me my annual premium would soon be changing from $650 to $20 some thousand. Yeah, you heard right—650 to 20 grand. See, what happens is, when you reach certain age brackets, the ones surrounded with flashing red lights, the insurance companies no longer want you on their rock or in their good hands and for sure they aren’t hanging around anymore on your side.   I was lucky enough to find a new policy for only three times as much as my old one. But that one, too, will generate the same kind of explosive premium in two years. That’s when, in all likelihood, I will drop out of the insurance arena. But I am sure I won’t be left alone. Nosiree, at that point I will be pursued by the funeral industry because those folks don’t want me to suffer a loss in the number of my incoming sales solicitations.

One fascinating piece of breaking news that’s come out of all this is that I now know how many years longer I will be hanging around this computer. The other day an insurance agent spilled the beans. He told me how long I am expected to live, at least according to the statisticians in the insurance business. I would assume this information is pretty accurate. After all, they have real money, and lots of it, riding on their calculations. Now, assuming the equipment holds up and I don’t forget to look both ways before crossing, I have just under 14 years ahead of me. That about 5000 sun rises/sun sets yet to come. Hmm…I wonder how many more pints of Chucky Monkey there will be?MainBanner

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Testing, Testing, Can You Hear Me?


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One of the big benefits of retirement is T I M E. I have lots of time. I probably waste more of it than I should, but the opportunity to simply do nothing can be tempting. I remember when I worked long days and then brought things home with me so I could resume the insanity after dinner. Well, not no more.

These days I can spend big chunks of my time having fun. Fun is relative. For some it may be fishing or a round of golf…for others it may be sitting under a shady tree with a good book. Hey, I can recommend a good book—oh never mind.

Actually, the books I’ve written since retirement have provided lots of hours of fun. Those of you who hate having to write anything surely won’t understand that, but… that’s how I feel about math. I like the creative process, including the research that’s involved in writing a book. And after you string together some 50-to-70 thousand words into a document that’s reasonably coherent and tells a story to boot…well, there’s something indescribably rewarding about holding all that in your hand.

In between books, this blog has provided hours and hours of fun. I’ve published 488 postings since the fall of 2012.  And here I thought I had only 94 things to talk about…and I don’t even discuss politics. I can only imagine if I start shooting off that cannon.

All that being said, today marks the beginning of new fun…my blog postings will now become podcasts. Yep, I plan to record each one. They’ll be just like little mini audio books. And just like when you read my blog to help you fall asleep, now you’ll be able to listen to me—that for sure will help you fall asleep…although for some my Philadelphia accent may interfere with that.

All righty then, let’s get this road on the show and see where it takes us. For those reading, the Podcast is available at www.spreaker.com/user/radiomarc …and for those listening, the blog address is https://mk4567blog.wordpress.com.   Maybe best you simply go to http://marckuhn.com  and there you will find links to everything….even the elusive one to the meaning of life.

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72 SKIDOO!


BD

Today I am 72 years old. No, you don’t have to drop right down to the bottom of this posting and wish me a happy birthday. Lots of past and present friends already have done that.  I am touched and so grateful to have left enough of a positive impression on so many people that they have something nice to say.  I know there are a few out there who would not be so charitable. In fact, I suspect there are a few who would not hesitate to toss a nasty of some sort my way.  It’s okay, I forgive you; hope you me.

While I arbitrarily selected “50” as the age I’ve reached today (who in the hell wants to celebrate 72) it hasn’t been achieved without a few rough spots along the way and I have certainly had my share.   As I have on past birthdays, I got to thinking about all the things I’ve lived through and there are a few key decisions I’ve made that I wish I had back to redo over again or at least be given some time to figure out an alternative outcome.

Then I thought what a perfect opportunity this is to “rerun” a previous posting that I particularly like. In fact, I like it so much I may have run this one twice before! So, if you remember it, don’t feel guilty moving on to something else…even if you don’t remember it, you can still move on guilt-free if you wish.   Okay, here it is…

GOING BACK WITH ALL YOUR SH*T,  Originally Posted on February 13, 2014

So I was out on the back patio in my thinking chair once more.  Not sure it was exactly reincarnation I was thinking about, but it had something to do with going back for a second spin.  I suppose many of you are like me when it comes to wanting a second chance.  You know, a chance to go back in time and relive a moment, a day or maybe even do your whole life all over again.  Of course, we’d want to be transported back with full knowledge, full awareness of who we were and who we became.  To live over again while being able to use your personal history to your advantage would be the opportunity of a lifetime—maybe that should be two lifetimes.

There are a few things I would certainly like to correct.  You too?  I made some wrong decisions; acted inappropriately at times; or simply didn’t understand what I was doing.  Given a second chance, I would not make those same mistakes.  But, as they say, you can’t go home again.  Too bad.  All this wealth of knowledge and experience and no opportunity to use it is a woeful waste.

I’ve made reference to a scene in the movie Rocky before (the original Rocky movie).  Bergess Meredith plays an old has-been boxer turned trainer, turned corner gym manager.  One night, he wearily climbs a few flights of steps up to Rocky’s South Philly apartment and knocks on his door.  The younger wannabe champ is less than hospitable to his unexpected guest.  But Meredith comes with a mission.  He wants Rocky to let him train and manage him for the big fight with Apollo Creed.  Rocky isn’t very receptive.  He questions Meredith’s motive.  Meredith’s response?  It’s classic:

“I got all this knowledge. I got it up here (points to his head).  I want to give it to you. I want to give you this knowledge.  I want to take care of you.  I got all this sh*t and I want to make sure that it doesn’t happen to you.”

catchingtrainHow many us have “all this sh*t” wallowing in us, too?  Crap and circumstance that we experienced and now it dwells like a permanent infection that haunts us for the rest of our lives.  The sh*t is all those things we did wrong, or all the wrongs that were done to us.  True, we get over most of them, but wouldn’t it be great to be able to go back, knowing what you know, so you could “un-sh*t” your life on the second go-round.  Can you imagine what a trip that’d be?  I don’t know about you, but I’d buy a ticket, grab all my baggage—especially the heavy pieces—and run like hell to catch that train.  WooHoo!

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One decision few people regret is adding a pet to the family, especially the first pet.  My friend Ron has a three-part posting underway on his blog, one for each of his best friends.  Part one is about his golden lab, Angus.  It’s a nice story, exceptionally well written and if you are a dog lover you will instantly relate.  Here’s the link:  https://rcarmean.wordpress.com/

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GARDEN TOUR


 

Growing Plant Sequence in Dirt - a seedling grows progressively taller in dirt - metaphor for success or growthSpring in our little world has been much like me this year—it’s been staggering a bit behind and slow getting started. But as I have begun to recover, so too has our humble little array of plants. We do not have a lot of room and much of what we attempt to grow resides in pots. Wanna take a look? I thought you’d never ask.

A few years back we bought a pineapple at the supermarket and after cutting off the top, Rosemarie placed it in a saucer of water. A few months later we transferred it, roots and all, into a pot of soil. That little gesture has led to our huge .000054 acre pineapple farm consisting of eight plants. Patients is required to grow these guys. Each bloom is a good six-month process before it’s pickin’ time. But take a look—we got pineapples!

pineapplesm
In a similar move, Rosemarie grabbed a fallen coconut out of the canal that flows by the back of our house. It had already begun to sprout a little. Now it’s about two years old and there’s no stopping it. I wouldn’t be surprised if we have coconuts beaning us on the head this time next year.

coconut

Meanwhile, the tree farm keeps Miracle Grow potting soil in business. The four larger ones: a lemon, avocado, mango and a peach.

trees

Below is another peach tree, this one planted in the ground. There was so much stone and junk hidden under the grass we had to rent a jackhammer a few years back when we planted this tree.  We got it at good old Home Depot. It’s a special peach breed supposedly developed for the hots of South Florida. I trimmed it back last fall and was worried that I maybe overdid it. But, finally, little green spouts are showing up, albeit about a month later than usual. I keep hoping one day we have peach pie from this guy, but he’s being real stubborn about it.

peach

And finally, from our visit to Hawaii about ten years ago, the Plumaria tree. It flew back with us in a plastic package, about eight inches long. It’s the only tree here that reminds us of those back home in Pennsylvania. It loses all its leaves every winter, very different from the year-round leaf-bearing trees of Florida. It too has been late coming, but it has lots of blossoms.

tree-bloom

Okay, it’s officially spring in our backyard, a little late, but finally here. Next comes summer and the accompanying AC bill that never fails to blossom this time of year.

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