Finally – A Movie I Can Get Excited To See !

If you were to ask me “What is the last movie you saw in a theater?” I wouldn’t be able to give you an answer. Honestly. I don’t remember.

For what it is worth, there really haven’t been any movies that have really made me want to go to the theater to see them either. I have become extra picky about what I will drop down money to go see. For quite a while, it seemed like I’d go to see a movie that looked good in previews, but ultimately, the trailer was better than the movie itself.

While I can’t remember the last film I saw in a theater, I do know the last GOOD movie I saw in one. The Incredibles 2. I realize that “good” is my opinion and also subjective, but really it was the last movie I felt was worth the money.

Sam has watched the Downton Abbey show on Netflix (or some other streaming service) and really likes it. I’ve never seen the show (as a matter of fact, I actually called it “Abbey Downton” instead of Downton Abbey). It is, however, one that she wants to go see. We had planned on doing it for her birthday, but time got away from us. I still plan on going with her, before her schedule changes.

The two movies that seem to be getting all the “hub bub” this year are: The Batman and Top Gun Maverick.

I’ve been a Batman fan since I stumbled on to the 1966 TV show. I enjoyed the first few movies with Michael Keaton, but now it seems so dark that I have no desire to see it.

I saw the original Top Gun in the theater. I liked it. It seems like every one wo has seen it says the new one is superior to the original. I’m sure that it is an exciting movie with more CGI/Green Screen stunts than they can pack into it. It’s just not one that I am going to run out and see.

I Guess I Have Changed

The change happened long before Covid threw the world into an uproar. I used to love going to the movies. Not so much anymore. Especially since I can usually watch them at home now. I can pause the movie when I need to use the restroom or rewind it if I didn’t understand what an actor said. Refreshments are free at my house and I can wear whatever I want when I watch it.

I had found myself walking out of the theater more disappointed than I used to. The stories just weren’t good. There was an over abundance of special effects. Often times, the sound effects drowned out the actors talking. It wasn’t fun anymore.

Dad Life

Then I had kids. A trip to the movies was never to see something YOU want to see anymore. A year or so ago, I wrote blogs about movies I loved from each year of my life. As I got older, more and more kid movies made the list: Shrek, Up, Sing, Cars, Toy Story, etc… I actually found myself enjoying wonderful stories with things for kids and adults.

All of that being said, I saw a preview for the next film that I am actually excited about:

I was BEYOND excited to see that there is a new movie featuring Puss in Boots. From the moment he made his debut in the Shrek series, he became my favorite character. His solo film was not excellent, but it certainly had a lot of great moments. Antonio Banderas will once again provide the voice.

I can only hope that it is not something that was thrown together. From the looks of the trailer (and you know hoe deceiving those can be), it looks like a good premise. It should be a fun one.

I’m looking forward to it!

These Things I Wish – Lee Pitts

A friend posted this on Facebook today and I felt it was worth sharing. As a radio guy, when I saw it attributed to Paul Harvey, I wanted to be sure that was correct. I found the following at the Snopes website:

Origins:   The essay reproduced above has circulated on the Internet for several years prefaced with a statement indicating it is “from Paul Harvey,” an attribution which is somewhat ambiguous — does it mean that the late radio commentator wrote the essay, or that he popularized it? It’s unclear which concept the original e-mailer was trying to communicate, so we’ll answer both questions in preference to guessing what was in that person’s mind.

Paul Harvey didn’t write this essay. The true author of the piece is Lee Pitts and the nostalgic composition was published (under the title “These Things I Wish”) in his 1995 book People Who Live at the End of Dirt Roads and appeared in the 2000 “Chicken Soup for the Golden Soul” collection.

However, Paul Harvey used material written by Lee Pitts in his daily news and commentary radio segments from time to time, and he did read this particular essay (crediting Pitts, of course) during his September 6, 1997 broadcast.

Here is the version posted on Facebook:

These Things I Wish


We tried so hard to make things better for our kids that we made them worse.

For my grandchildren, I’d like better.


I’d really like for them to know about hand me down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meat loaf sandwiches.. I really would.


I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated.


I hope you learn to make your own bed and mow the lawn and wash the car. And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you are sixteen.


It will be good if at least one time you can see puppies born and your old dog put to sleep.


I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in.


I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger brother/sister. And it’s all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room, but when he wants to crawl under the covers with you because he’s scared, I hope you let him.


When you want to see a movie and your little brother/sister wants to tag along, I hope you’ll let him/her.


I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your friends and that you live in a town where you can do it safely.


On rainy days when you have to catch a ride, I hope you don’t ask your driver to drop you two blocks away so you won’t be seen riding with someone as uncool as your Mom.


If you want a slingshot, I hope your Dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one.
I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books.


When you learn to use computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head.


I hope you get teased by your friends when you have your first crush on a boy / girl, and when you talk back to your mother that you learn what ivory soap tastes like.


May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn your hand on a stove and stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole.


I don’t care if you try a beer once, but I hope you don’t like it… And if a friend offers you dope or a joint, I hope you realize he/she is not your friend.


I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your Grandma/Grandpa and go fishing with your Uncle.


May you feel sorrow at a funeral and joy during the holidays.


I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through your neighbor’s window and that she hugs you and kisses you at Christmas time when you give her a plaster mold of your hand.


These things I wish for you – tough times and disappointment, hard work and happiness.

To me, it’s the only way to appreciate life.

_________________________________________________________

Snopes, however, has a similar, yet slightly different version (I’m not quite sure which one is the original):

These Things I Wish

We tried so hard to make things better for our kids that we made them worse.

For my grandchildren, I’d know better.

I’d really like for them to know about hand-me-down clothes and home-made ice cream and leftover meatloaf. I really would.

My cherished grandson, I hope you learn humility by surviving failure and that you learn to be honest even when no one is looking.

I hope you learn to make your bed and mow the lawn and wash the car — and I hope nobody gives you a brand-new car when you are sixteen.

It will be good if at least one time you can see a baby calf born, and you have a good friend to be with you if you ever have to put your old dog to sleep.

I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in.

I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger brother. And it is all right to draw a line down the middle of the room, but when he wants to crawl under the covers with you because he’s scared, I hope you’ll let him.

And when you want to see a Disney movie and your kid brother wants to tag along, I hope you take him.

I hope you have to walk uphill with your friends and that you live in a town where you can do it safely.

If you want a slingshot, I hope your father teaches you how to make one instead of buying one. I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books, and when you learn to use computers, you also learn how to add and subtract in your head.

I hope you get razzed by friends when you have your first crush on a girl, and that when you talk back to your mother you learn what Ivory soap tastes like.

May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn your hand on the stove and stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole.

I hope you get sick when someone blows smoke in your face. I don’t care if you try beer once, but I hope you won’t like it. And if a friend offers you a joint or any drugs, I hope you are smart enough to realize that person is not your friend.

I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your grandpa or go fishing with your uncle.

I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through a neighbor’s window, and that she hugs you and kisses you when you give her a plaster of paris mold of your hand.

These things I wish for you — tough times and disappointment, hard work and happiness.

Weekend Wrap Up

Saturday Sam and I took the kids out to eat at a local pizza place. They have a patio, which allowed us to eat outside. The weather was perfect. It was sunny, but not too hot and there was a nice breeze. Of course, there was plenty of cottonwood flying about, which was only a problem if it landed on our food.

Eating outside also allowed for Ella, who isn’t really great about sitting still, to wander a bit. There was a family who came out the patio and sat a table or so away from us. I guess the kid hurt himself, and Ella really wanted to help him. She said, “Kiss and make it better?” We told her that the boy’s mommy would do that for him.

She was walking around like she owned the patio. In one photo I snapped, I swear she looks like she is walking a model runway. She looks like a movie star with her sunglasses and all.

Sunday and Monday both allowed for neighborhood walks, but there were also showers and storms.

Tuesday started with “weigh in” for me. I was thrilled to see a 3 pound loss this week, bringing my total to 9 pounds in two weeks. I hope to keep seeing weight loss.

After breakfast and a few errands, I took the kids for our neighborhood walk. It’s become a thing to count squirrels, birds, cats and “puppies.” Ella sings through the entire walk, saying hello to everyone we meet. Tuesday, there was a guy riding his bike who passed us about 4 times. She said hello every time. LOL

When we got home, she wanted to swing on the swings, until she heard loud yelling and noise from the back of the house. It was field day and the kids were out with bounce houses, outdoor games, and kickball.

Both kids absolutely loved watching the kids play. Ella said hi to all the kids sitting on the bench and they were very nice to her. I think Andrew got the biggest kick out of it though. His smile as he stood against the fence was priceless.

Sam said if it was warm enough to put them in their bathing suits and let them play with the water table and little pool. The two of them had a blast. As much as Ella gets to where she doesn’t want Andrew around her, outside she welcomes him as a playmate. They splashed together, she poured water on him, and they got muddy together.

The only time they were really unhappy today was when it was time to come inside and nap.

Looking forward to the rest of the week and Father’s Day weekend.

As a Kid, I Was An Idiot

As a child, I wish I had thought more like Dwight Schrute (see above quote). In swapping childhood stories at work, it became very clear to me that as a child I was an idiot. Here are just a couple examples.

They’d be worth money today

In 1977-1978, my grandparents bought me and my brother the entire collection of Star Wars figures. We had them all. We played with them all the time. At some point, I guess we got “too old” or “too cool” to play with them anymore.

My buddy’s cousin (I think) used to sell fireworks out of his house. I don’t think I ever saw him sell any real big stuff, but we only used to buy bottle rockets, firecrackers, and jumping jacks from him. I’m guessing it was probably illegal, but we never said anything.

I believe we started with Hot Wheels or Matchbox cars. “I wonder how far we can make these cars go if we put a bottle rocket in it?” This is an example of “Idiot Thinking.” Those cars went pretty far for sure.

It didn’t take long for us to find Star Wars figures we disliked (like the Tuscan Raider) and we started to tie them to bottle rockets. They didn’t go as far, and once the thing exploded, we’d want to see the damage done to it.

We also used to put fire crackers in their hand, which almost always held them perfectly. Why we got such a thrill out of this, I will never know. We destroyed so many figures and cars. When I look to see how much some of those figures are worth today … sigh.

Never Blew Up

Jumping Jacks were sometimes called “spinners.” They would spin and bounce and sometimes fly up in the air. These were a favorite of my friends and me.

I’m not sure who had the brilliant idea of dropping them in the sewer, but we spent many hours dropping them into the sewer and watching them spin underwater. They always made the funniest sound as they went off.

I’m not sure just how much flammable gas is in a sewer, but I should be thankful there was never an explosion!

Another Fire Tale

Back in the days before computers, people used typewriters. If you wanted to make a copy of what you were typing, you could throw a piece of carbon paper between two pieces of typing paper and when you were done, you’d have a copy.

I’m really not sure why my dad seemed to have an abundance of carbon paper at our house. I’m also not sure why it was in our garage. At any rate, we found it and my buddy said to me, “You know, if you put a match to that, it will go up really fast!”

That’s all it took for me to go in the house and grab a lighter. My buddy and I took one piece of carbon paper and took the lighter to the bottom of it – “WHOOSH!” It flamed up and disappeared in like a second. We were both amazed – and had to keep doing it. Piece after piece went up in a “Whoosh” until….

The garage door to the house opened and my dad is standing there. “What the hell are you idiots doing?,” he said. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out how he found out. I think I tried to say, “Nothing,” but he knew. Our neighbor across the street was in his front doorway watching us burn those pieces of carbon paper and called my dad.

My dad yelled, “You know there is gas in here! You could light the fumes and blow up the house!” I’m sure I got one heck of a spank and was probably grounded for a week or two. Bonus: No explosion.

It Must Be a Boy Thing

The gals at my work place just laughed as the males shared our destructive tendencies. They obviously have never destroyed toys – just for fun. When our lead tech called, I asked him if he ever blew up Star Wars figures, to which he replied, “Never Star Wars figures, but I’d build Lego houses and blow them up with firecrackers!

This was the late 70’s and early 80’s. I really do not want to think about what kids today are doing “just for fun.”

TV Show Draft – Round 8 Pick-Sherlock

We have come to the eighth round of the Hanspostcard TV Show Draft. I have already picked Columbo and Perry Mason, and for this round I have another mystery show. I’ve noticed a few of the other participants have picked some great BBC shows, so I guess it is now my turn. For this round, I pick Sherlock.

The series ran from 2010 – 2017. Series 1 aired in 2010, Series 2 in 2012, a Christmas mini-episode ran in 2013, Series 3 ran in 2014, a special “period” show aired in 2016, and Series 4 aired in 2017. What I love about this show is the modern take on a classic character. Having Sherlock Holmes solving crimes in modern day was the draw for me and it did not disappoint.

The Premise

The show features Sherlock Holmes, who is a “consulting detective”, along with his flatmate Dr. John Watson solving crimes in a modern-day London. He helps Detective Inspector Greg Lestrade, who at first is a bit suspicious of Sherlock. Over time, however, he realized Sherlock’s intelligence and ability to help solve various crimes and considers him an asset.

Dr. Watson documents their adventures on his personal blog and Sherlock becomes a sort of celebrity. This leads to a lot of press coverage and ordinary people and the British government seeking out Sherlock for help with cases.

The show features various crimes and villains, however, a recurring feature is the battle between Holmes and his archenemy, Jim Moriarty. Many of the stories in the series have been adapted from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books.

Who’s Responsible?

Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss were both writers for another BBC show – Dr. Who. They were both huge fans of Sherlock Holmes. They were both no stranger to taking Victorian stories and adapting it for television. The two men spent many hours during train rides discussing creating a new series featuring Sherlock Holmes. Moffat’s wife suggested that the two begin developing the show before someone else stole the idea.

The Cast

Sherlock Holmes – Benedict Cumberbatch

According to Moffat and Gattis, Benedict Cumberbatch was immediately the guy they wanted to play Holmes. They had seen him perform in Atonement and thought he was perfect. A producer said that he was the only one they actually saw for the role. According to one article: “The part is modelled as a charismatic secondary psychopath or “High functioning sociopath” as Sherlock self-describes, unlike Doyle’s rendering as a primary psychopath, thereby allowing more opportunity or ambiguity for traits of empathy.” Cumberbatch told the Guardian, “There’s a great charge you get from playing him, because of the volume of words in your head and the speed of thought—you really have to make your connections incredibly fast. He is one step ahead of the audience and of anyone around him with normal intellect. They can’t quite fathom where his leaps are taking him.”

Dr. John Watson – Martin Freeman

Actor Matt Smith was originally the actor Moffat and Gattis had in mind to play Watson, but there was something about him, the chemistry with Cumberbatch, and the way he played the character that they didn’t like (They would eventually cast him in Dr. Who). Eventually, Martin Freeman won the role. Moffat says of Freeman, (he is) “the sort of opposite of Benedict in everything except the amount of talent… Martin finds a sort of poetry in the ordinary man. I love the fastidious realism of everything he does.” Freeman, when considering his character, says he is “a ‘moral compass’ for Sherlock, who does not always consider the morality and ethics of his actions.

Detective Inspector Lestrade – Rupert Graves

According to Moffat and Gattis, many auditioned for the role, but they all seemed to have a comedic take on the role. The creators liked Graves’ approach to it and he was cast. There is some great interplay between Lestrade and Holmes throughout the series. He works for Scotland Yard.

Jim Moriarty – Andrew Scott

Scott is fantastic as Moriarty! Moffat said, “We knew what we wanted to do with Moriarty from the very beginning. Moriarty is usually a rather dull, rather posh villain so we thought someone who was genuinely properly frightening. Someone who’s an absolute psycho.” They certainly achieved this. There were times I was genuinely freaked out by his performance! The creators never intended to have a “confrontation” scene between Holmes and Moriarty, but then they saw Scott’s audition and they knew that they HAD to!

Other Cast Members

Amanda Abbington – Mary (Morstan) Watson

At the time of the series, Amanda Abbington was Martin Freeman’s real life partner. She was cast to play John Watson’s girlfriend/wife.

Mrs. HudsonUna Stubbs

Mrs. Hudson is Holmes’ and Watson’s landlady. She brings a wonderful bit of comedic dialog to every interaction and scene. Interesting story – Una has known Benedict Cumberbatch since he was 4 years old and she has worked with his mother!

Molly HooperLouise Brealey

Molly Hooper works at a morgue at a London hospital. She also has an apparent crush on Sherlock. Because of her work position and crush on him, Sherlock frequently exploits her to let him examine or perform experiments on victims’ bodies. In the first episode of the series she allows him to hit a corpse with a riding crop to see how it might bruise in post mortum.

Mycroft Holmes – Mark Gattis

(SPOILER ALERT) When Mycroft first appears in the series, you really have no idea who he is. He is this mysterious man who tries to get Watson to spy on Sherlock for him. You only learn later on that he is Sherlock’s brother. Mycroft is even more skilled at deduction, correcting Sherlock on occasion and beating him in deduction exercises, as well as lacking enthusiasm for “legwork”. His intellect is borderline superhuman. The sibling rivalry between the two lead to some very good scenes.

Sally Donovan & Phillip Anderson – Vinette Robinson & Jonathan Aris

Srgt. Sally Donovan often works with Lestrade on cases. She resents Sherlock’s presence at crime scenes and treats him with extreme disrespect and rudeness, cruelly calling him a “freak” to his face, and warns Watson that Sherlock is a psychopath who will one day get bored of catching killers and become one himself.

Phillip Anderson is originally a member of the Metropolitan Police’s Forensic Services. From the series opening, it is clear that Anderson and Sherlock have history of mutual dislike with Sherlock repeatedly humiliating Anderson and Anderson refusing to assist him at crime scenes.

Why I Picked It

Growing up, I had read a few of the Sherlock Holmes books. I has seen Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes in movies, and certainly heard many old time radio shows featuring Holmes and Watson. I was intrigued to see just how Sherlock would play out in modern times.

I began to watch the first episode and all it took was the first meeting of Sherlock and Watson, and I was hooked. The way Sherlock is able to tick off things about Watson after just a couple minutes was awesome. Here is that scene:

Pardon me while I sort of digress for a moment.

One of the shows I considered picking in the draft was House, M.D. starring Hugh Laurie. I had heard it said that House was based on Sherlock Holmes. House would often make brilliant deductions about his patients, and often was able to rattle off things about people because of his keen sense of observation – just like Sherlock Holmes. When I began to watch Sherlock, I immediately noticed just how much the two were alike.

The two characters are very similar. Check out the following links:

https://screenrant.com/house-ways-similar-sherlock-holmes/

https://screenrant.com/house-show-sherlock-holmes-comparison-similarities/

Now, back to why I picked it. I love a good mystery, obviously. I was fascinated by the way Sherlock worked and how he figured things out. Sherlock is a bit different that my earlier picks of Columbo and Perry Mason. I loved watching him sort through all the things that helped get him to the final conclusion.

I love good characters. This show is full of them. There are times I laugh out loud at some of the interactions. One of my favorite exchanges between Sherlock and Lestrade happens in the first episode. Sherlock, Watson and Lestrade are in a room and Sherlock yells, “Shut up!” Lestrade answers back, “I didn’t say anything.” Sherlock adds quickly, “You were thinking. It’s annoying!”

Holmes and Watson are the perfect team. They play well off each other. The same holds true for Cumberbatch and Freeman. Their chemistry is magical. I remember seeing the Sherlock Holmes movies with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law and thinking they had good chemistry, but Cumberbatch and Freeman’s chemistry is far superior.

In between Series 3 & 4, Sherlock aired a special on New Years Day of 2016. The Abominable Bride was set in Victorian London. Set in the time of the original books, it takes Sherlock out of the modern day and places him back where we all know him from. Moffat stated that “The special is its own thing. We wouldn’t have done the story we’re doing, and the way we’re doing it, if we didn’t have this special. It’s not part of the run of three episodes. So we had this to do it … It’s kind of in its own little bubble.”

The special won an Emmy for Outstanding Television Movie at the 2016 Primetime Emmy Awards. If you only watch one episode – I’d suggest this one.

The final episode of Sherlock aired in 2017. Steven Moffat stated that He and Mark Gattis had fifth series plotted out, but weren’t ready to fully produce it. Whether or not a new series of shows will come to fruition is still up in the air.

When Benedict Cumberbatch was asked about whether or not Sherlock would make more episodes, he said, “I’m the worst person to ask because my slate’s pretty, pretty full at the moment, as is Martin’s and all the other key players involved. So, who knows? Maybe one day, if the script’s right. And I say ‘the script,’ maybe it could be a film rather than the series. Who knows?” 

Sherlock is a multi award winning show full of mystery, adventure, comedy, and fun. If you have never seen it, I highly recommend it.

The game is on!!

Cast the Movie of Your Life

The Word Press App on my phone will offer a daily writing prompt to bloggers. I subscribe to a few “prompt” emails and such, and they can certainly be thought starters. Today’s prompt was one I had considered before and I may have even been asked a similar question by a Facebook friend. The prompt:

They are making a movie about your life. Cast it. (Keith adds – with any actors living or dead)

My thoughts on this are to jot down what comes to mind immediately for some (not all) of my family, and a few friends (other friends may request I suggest an actor/actress for them if they really want me to). I will then continue to ponder the question and see if, after thinking it over, I would change any of my choices.

Me

Dom Deluise – No Brainer. This has always been my answer to this question!

My wife, Sam

This was tough. I tried to think of who might look like her and carry herself like Sam. Toss up between Charlize Theron and Olivia Wilde.

My Dad

I’m not sure there would be any better than Jackie Gleason to play my dad

My Mom

Who in the world could play my mom? Tough question and still not really sure, but I forced myself to pick someone. At times, Cathy Bates’ facial expressions remind me of her, so for now – that’ my pick.

My Brother – Chris

Really difficult pick. So just because it will either make him laugh (and he needs that, because he is recovering from Covid) or it will make him mad… William Shatner (Because I wanted to post this stupid picture!)

My Grandma and Grandpa P

Estelle Getty on Golden Girls WAS my grandma! I always felt Abe Vigoda looked like my grandpa, so there ya go.

My Grandma and Grandpa D.

I have always felt like at times, Betty White reminded me of my grandma. My grandpa was tall, a bit heavy, and always smiling. John Goodman reminds me of him.

My best friend, Jeff

Another no brainer. I’ve said for years that he reminds me of Robin Williams.

My friend Steve K.

Steve always has some sort of crazy fact that seems unbelievable to tell. So, he would be John Ratzenberger – but John Ratzenberger AS Cliff Claven from Cheers.

My friend Joe K.

Joe is probably one of the smartest guys I know. At first, I couldn’t get Jeff Goldblum out of my head, and then I though Rainn Wilson is a bit more “Joe” to me.

My friend Steve M.

Steve and I wear our hair the same. My first choice was Vin Diesel, but then I though Michael Chiklis looked more like him (and he played Curly in a Three Stooges movie, so he wins).

My friend Margaret M.

She’s Italian. She’s fiesty. She is strong. She is an expert at inserting profanity into conversation. Without a doubt – Marisa Tomei.

My friend, Chris B,

Tall and funny = Conan O’Brien

Uh …… I’m Stumped

Now, as far as my kids …. I’m just not sure. My older boys (Dante’ and Dimitri) have personalities that are very established. Ella does in a sense as well. Andrew is just a smiling happy baby. How do I begin to pick who will play them? I just don’t know….

It’s my blog and my rules. Let me think a bit on this ….

If I left you out …. and you want me to think about who will play you – let me know. In the meantime ….

Go ahead and cast YOUR life. Who would play YOU?

Is 1988 really 34 years ago?

June 9, 1988 – 34 years ago. I graduated from high school.

How did time go by that quickly?? It’s crazy. Yesterday, I began to write a blog about that day, only to realize that I already had. See, as you get older, your memory goes! I forgot about this blog and I actually re-read it. It is worth sharing again, especially for new followers who may have missed it the first time.

My feelings haven’t changed in three years. Re-reading this blog brought back a lot of fun memories ….

“My Hat!”

This is just one of those stories that I wanted to document for my kids. It is all about a silly game that I never thought would be the hit that it is with them. Now, Ella asks for it ….

One day Andrew was crying and I started to try to do things that would make him laugh. My mother-in-law made a few tiny “Nana Blankets” for Ella. This used to be the blanket I would put in front of my face to play “peek-a-boo.”

I began to put it on my head and he would just stare at me. Once he started to be able to stand on his own, I would put this blanket on my head and he would start smiling and eventually he would reach up and pull it off.

When Andrew pulled it off my head, I would yell, “My Hat!” This would make Andrew laugh out loud. Once that happened, it started to crack Ella up, too!

It got to the point where they would both be laughing out loud. Ella would come over and start ripping the “hat” off, too.

Now, I have to tell Ella whose turn it is to grab “My hat!” And I HAVE to say “My Hat!” or Ella gets mad. As I said, she will bring over the blanket now and simply say, “my hat.” This means it’s time to play.

It is a good game to redirect Andrew. If he is walking around and about to get into something, I grab the blanket and put it on my head. He will immediately start to walk toward me to get the “hat.”

This is a game that gets old for me after about the 20th time, but as long as they keep grabbing it and laughing about it, I will continue to do it. I love to see them laughing!

Physically … Fat!

The pandemic has done a number on a lot of us. The first year of the Pandemic, when we were forced to stay home, it was easy for me to fall of the wagon. We drove through a lot of places and it seemed like we were having pizza more than usual. It didn’t take long to gain some extra weight.

Last Tuesday, I got back on the wagon. The focus is now on healthier eating and healthy snacks. It is also on moving more. I’m SO glad that the weather is allowing for more outside time. I have an app on my phone called Map My Walk.

It uses the GPS on my phone and actually maps the walk (or run) around the neighborhood. It will tell you how many steps you took, how long the walk was, and how many calories your burned.

I’ve been averaging about a mile and a half a day. I’d do more, but I always walk with the kids in the stroller. Sometimes, the walk gets a bit slow when Ella wants to get out and walk. She loves being outside and walking.

Today, I did my normal mile and a half (with a pitstop to say hi to her puppy friend) and when we walked up the driveway I told Ella we were going inside to have lunch. She said “More walking?” I asked if she wanted to keep walking and she said yes. So I ventured back down the driveway and walked a little bit more. According to my app, I walked an additional 7/10 of a mile. I was happy with that.

Back in the day I’d walk 4 miles daily. I’d love to get back to doing that, but I am always afraid the kids will get bored or will start getting upset. On the bright side, I’m glad to be getting out and walking.

Today was weigh in day and I was down 6 pounds. Hoping that it continues. I am being very deliberate and making sure I am drinking a lot of water, which will help for sure.

Looking forward to fitting into some old clothes soon…

Thank You, Nancy!

Nancy was a music teacher at the school district I attended. She was always wearing a smile and her student’s loved “Mrs. T.” She was a very special friend.

I worked part time for the district as a custodian, in between radio jobs when I was in my 20’s. I would get a call each day from the secretary who told my what school I would be heading to each day and who I was filling in for. I remember being at one elementary school in particular for a long stretch of time. It was during this time that Nancy and I got to talk more.

I went into the music room to clean, and she was there working late. I don’t recall what she was working on, but I re-introduced myself (it had been some years, since I was a young boy). She remembered me, and my (now ex) wife and her family. We had some wonderful conversations about life and, of course, music.

I remember talking to her about how we used to put on musical plays when I was in elementary school. We did one on Thomas Edison (The Electric Sunshine Man), the year before they did Annie (Which scarred me for life), and I played the lead in The Runaway Snowman. She smiled as I recalled those memories. She loved working with students and she was glad to share many stories.

After I left the district and moved for a radio job, I lost touch with her. She reconnected with me on Facebook and we began to chat again. She was always interested in my life and supportive during some tough times. When Sam and I got married, she sent congratulations. When Ella was born, she made her a beautiful blanket/quilt. She was right there to congratulate us again when Andrew was born.

Over the past few months, I noticed she was a bit absent more than usual. It wasn’t until just recently I found out she had been in and out of the hospital. During that time, she was diagnosed with cancer and she came home to hospice in mid-May.

Her family set up a page for her on Caring Bridge, which allowed her friends and family to receive updates. You had to be approved to take part, so I reached out to one of her daughters. In talking with her, she asked for my address because Nancy had something for Andrew. I asked for her address in return, because I had misplaced it, so I could send a card.

On Sunday, I sealed up the card and was going to drop it in the mail Monday morning. When I awoke Monday, I saw that a new journal entry had posted. Her daughter posted that Nancy had passed away earlier that morning. I was heartbroken.

Just over an hour after I read of her passing, there was a knock at the door and a package was left. It was from Nancy. Inside was a gift for Andrew and gifts for Ella.

Nancy had made a blanket/quilt just like she had made for Ella, for Andrew.

Ella was excited to open up her gifts, too. Nancy had sent two pop-up books with shapes and colors. Ella loves books and immediately began to read them – while sitting on Andrew’s blanket!

I won’t lie, I was kind of overwhelmed with emotion. Nancy was gone, and yet, she still managed to shower my family with her kindness. Inside the package was a card:

Rest assured that there will be plenty of snuggles and smiles, Nancy. I hope you can here me expressing my gratitude to you for loving my family and for your friendship.

After the news began to spread of her passing, I was not surprised at all to see that she showed kindness to many others.

One post read: “Years ago, a wonderful woman looked at a beaten down young boy who she thought had amazing musical talent. She took that young boy under her wing and taught him the greatest joy in life – music. She also taught him all of the wonderful things music could do for him in his life. When in high school, she believed so much in this young man she helped pay for his vocal lessons so he could continue his talent and passion for music.”

Another wrote: “She was a wonderful, kind woman whose absence in our music department was felt the moment she retired a few years after I started teaching. Memory eternal, Nancy. Thank you for having such a profound impact on me.”

Yet another wrote: “You were inspiring in so many ways and will definitely be missed.. 😢 I’m glad you got to meet my kids and teach Emily music. We love you”

Another: “Mrs. T was a truly amazing teacher. Such devotion and compassion as hers is not seen enough in a lifetime. It was an absolute privilege to have you as a teacher, and for my children’s teacher. Thank you for your kindness and years of dedication. You will be missed.”

There were also posts from friends she had for decades! She obviously was a very special lady.

I began this blog with a picture that had a quote on it:

” There are some who bring a light so bright to the world that even after they have gone the light remains.”

Nancy “light” will definitely continue to shine for many years to come. Her influence and impact that she made on her students will live on through them. Her friends will forever have wonderful memories of her and the times they shared.

I will always look at those blankets and think of my wonderful friend.

Heaven’s choir obtained a wonderful voice this week.

Thank you, for being you, Nancy!