Tuesday, June 12, 2018

80! OMG! But after after years of lying about my age I now tell the truth -- and PROUDLY!

The truth is I'm getting old. And that's no lie.

As ages 50, 60, 70, flew by, I have answered questions about my age this way: "Whoa, I can't believe it, late 30's." I then changed the subject.

Now, I have to take a deep breath. Sorry, this is hard for me. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. You still there? Okay, here is the truth: on May 2, I turned 80!

80! 80! 80!

I did it! I told the truth!

And you know what?  I feel better.  Not only that, but friends and family and even my tennis guys have been telling me how lucky I am and that many people die much younger.  They are right. On a regular basis, most of the of the people in the obits are younger than I am now.  In other words, I have already lived a long, interesting, and happy life and can't die young!

If that is not a reason to celebrate turning 80, what is?  So that's exactly what I have been doing. Following are photos of this celebration.



I was a hockey player in Stoneham High in Mass. and then Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass. In fact hockey literally saved my life. I was the oldest of five kids and in different and uncaring foster homes.

When parents of Stoneham High teammates noticed that no family attended my games, the practically adopted me. They opened up their homes and even refrigerators to me. I went on to Merrimack College on a 4-year full-tuition athletic scholarship.

Knowing how important hockey was in my early days, my good wife Barbara had the above cake made for a reunion with my hockey teammates from Stoneham High graduating class of 1955. She hid the cake in the trunk of our car. At our recent reunion at Brothers Restaurant in Wakefield, Mass., she suddenly pulled out the cake and my old high school hockey inmates -- all in their 80's -- sang a rousing happy birthday to me.

Don't believe me? Here is the photo taken by Barbara:



Barbara also invited longtime friends Joanie and Art and four grandkids to our place for a feast and a happy visit. And, wouldn't you know, the gang surprised me with, believe it or not, ANOTHER gorgeous birthday cake. Joan and Art bought the cake.  As if that was not enough, they also gave me a generous check. When I came up from my "mancave" downstairs, the gang were all standing around the cake and surprised me with singing a boisterous Happy Birthday.

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Monday, December 18, 2017

Edmonds, Washington: Enjoying Family and Second Home Across the Country.

For a couple of weeks, Barbara and I have been in Edmonds,
Washington across the country from our home in Worcester,
Mass. We stayed with daughter Misha, son-in-law Ed, and
grandkids Mia, Bella, Max, and Talula. The oldest, Mia,
is 15. The youngest, Talula, is 6. They are pictured below:

 

Whoops, Mia isn't in the photo! Sorry Mia. Let me
make it up to you. Here is the photo displayed at the local
Phoenix Theater where we saw you perform in Twist
of the Magi, a great laugh-making comedy.



Wish we could have gotten a picture of you on stage,
but photos were not permitted. You sang, danced and
acted like a pro. Mimi and I loved your performance
and are so proud of you! 

With Barbara and I making extended visits a couple of
times a year, Edmonds has become like a second home
to us. Just like back home in Worcester, I go on miles-long
walks all around local neighborhoods.

I snoop at dozens and dozens of homes, wondering about the
stories of people living there. Here is a neighborhood scene
of beauty that is almost common in Edmonds:



When  homeowners, curious about the stranger outside,
look out from doors and windows, I greet them with a
big smile and a hearty hello.

Not one has ever called the police on me. With people in
Edmonds amazingly friendly, they invariably respond in
kind. Some even come out and chat with the crazy old
stranger.

Edmonds is also one of the most prosperous areas in the
state with everything that residents could hope for. Home
values have soared. Misha and Ed's home has nearly doubled
over the past few years.

Taking advantage, they have just sold their home and put
the huge gain in equity into a home in Edmonds that is
much bigger and has all that Misha and Ed -- or anybody
else -- could hope for in a home.

They took us out to see their new home just a few miles from
their current home. We were both flabbergasted with the upscale
neighborhood, the house's wide-opened spaciousness, and the
newly renovated indoor accommodations. 

There were even community tennis courts practically across
the street. "Wow," I said, practically jumping up and down with
joy since I play tennis four or five times a week. "Can't wait to be
playing tennis there!"

Downstairs is like a second home with spacious bathroom,
bedroom, living room, and everything else. "Whoa," I said
to Ed. "Now I know why you bought this place. This
is for Barbara and me so you and Misha can care for two old
people. Thank you!"

Ed, shaking his head, managed a fake smile.

"Can't wait to move in," I said, beaming.

 "Sure," Ed said, his face saying NOT IN A HUNDRED YEARS.

All kidding aside, Ed is an amazing guy as a father of four and
as a high-level, high-pressure manager at LA Fitness. He has
earned multiple promotions and raises.

At home he cooks, cleans, repairs. He drives the kids everywhere.
He puts up with me. Whatever needs to be done at work or at home,

ED
DOES
IT!

Buying and preparing everything, Ed cooked a pre-Christmas
fresh seafood dinner (clams, shrimp, mussels) to die for. Yummy!

After feasting, we exchanged gifts, mostly cash cards for the kids
(with me gasping for breath at the amounts). Misha and Ed gave
the old folks six months of free movies. Coming up: movies

BY
THE
DOZENS!

But don't get me wrong about Ed. He also has a childish side. It
comes out when he is playing with the kids. Here Ed is being a
kid playing with Talula:



Misha is equally amazing, doing whatever it takes for family.
She has introduced the kids to the arts. They have all appeared
in local plays. Acting, singing, dancing, and the arts are a way
of life for them.

On top of that, amazingly, Misha is a party and design stylist
running her own business.  Here she is photographing one of
her displays:



With Barbara and I visiting a couple of times a year
over the past few years, Edmonds has come to feel like
a second home. I go to Starbucks every morning for
coffee and to fulfill my decades-long addiction to The
New York Times.

I have a great time at the local Starbucks. When I walk
in, a group of regulars greet me by making fun of just
about everything I say or do. Keith, the manager, pokes
fun at my Boston accent. With a straight face, he asks,
 "Did you paaak your kaaa in the gaaaraaage?"

But when I told Keith that I got the last New York Times
and asked if he could save the Times for me, he quickly said,
"Sure, I'll hold it for you." And every day I got my beloved
NYT, which I have been reading daily for over 50 years.
That is the kind of friendliness that I find everywhere in
Edmonds.

Here is a shot of a few of my Starbucks friends:

 

At Starbucks, I spend most of my time in my "office,"
a separate walled off room with a long desk-like table
and chairs, where I read my New York Times, write,
and receive visitors.

When I need a break or need some attention, I go out and
sit with the daily regulars. The attention I get is mostly
being made fun of for my Boston accent and just being me.

But, hey, it's attention.

For info on my ebooks, click here. 

P.S. Notice that there are no photos of moi above. Why? It has
finally dawned on me that no one is interested in photos of me.
Are my feelings hurt? Of course. But I'll get over it.

P.P.S. Looking for help dealing with life's many challenges?
Of course you are.  We all are. Here you are:
www.betterhelp.com/advice/.