Me: From A to Z

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By far not the most original blog idea, but this stems from a daily writing prompt.  What is cool about something like this, is that I can probably return to this idea a few times and come up with some different answers.  The idea is to take all 26 letters of the alphabet and describe yourself with each one.  It shouldn’t take too long.  Why not do your own in the comments?  Here is Me … from A to Z:

A     Always early (“If you’re on time, you’re late!”

B     Blessed (with friends, family, and so many things)

C     Coffee drinker.  (Not sure how I’d make it through the day without it)

D     Daddy to Dante’, Dimitri, and Ella (I love them all so much!)

E     Emotional.  (I am probably too emotional.  I cry at sappy TV commercials!)

F     Friend.  (I have some of the greatest friends.  I treasure those friendships.)

G     Gaining weight. (About 25 pounds over the course of my wife’s pregnancy)

H     Happy. (I am the happiest I have ever been in my life.)

I     Italian.  (Proud of my Italian heritage.)

J     Jokes.  (I love hearing them.  I love telling them.)

K     Kind. (One of the greatest things we can be is kind to one another.)

L     Laughs a lot. (Laughter is important.  Life is better with laughter.)

M     Music lover. (“Where words fail, music speaks.” Music is SO important to me.)

N     Night Owl. (Yeah, I work midnights, but I have always been a night owl.)

O     Old Stuff. (Love old TV shows, old radio shows, old movies, etc…)

P     Procrastinator.  (One of my bad habits.  I tend to wait till the last minute to do things)

Q     Quotes.  (Might be a line from a TV show or movie, or a famous quote to apply to life)

R     Radio Personality. (The thing I wish I was still doing full time.)

S     Sam’s husband. (She has made me the happiest man alive.  She is my one true love)

T     Trumpet. (Wish I was still playing it in a band.)

U     Unique. (The easy answer, but it’s true.  We are ALL unique!)

V     Vague (Like this answer, for example)

W     Weird Al Yankovic.  (We’re both weird and I have all his albums.)

X     XOXO (I always kiss and hug those I love!)

Y     Young (Something I wish I was again!)

Z     Zoo (I love the Zoo.  Love going with my kids.  Favorite animal:  The Otter)

Tune Tuesday – Vieni Sul Mar

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I wish I could speak Italian.  I have always wanted to learn.  I guess I always end up talking myself into believing that I can’t learn it.  The older I get, the less I can remember.  I also tell myself that I probably don’t have the time to learn it.  Then, there is the cost involved as many courses you can buy are quite pricey.  At any rate, I think the Italian language is just beautiful.

As a fan of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Lou Monte, there are many songs that they have done in which a lyric or two is sung completely in Italian (Lazy Mary, Volare, Come Back to Sorrento, etc…).  Bottom line, I don’t know what they are singing about, but I like the song, if that makes sense.  I don’t exactly recall how I came to know of Andrea Bocelli.  I don’t think someone said, “Hey!  Check this guy’s music out!”.  More than likely, I was sitting at home surfing channels and saw him on PBS.

At some point, I decided to buy an album of his on iTunes.  I chose Incanto.  I chose this one because I actually recognized one of the titles (Santa Lucia).  As I sat and listened to this album, there was one song that stood out for a couple of reasons: 1) I recognized it and 2) the arrangement was just beautiful.  The song is Vieni Sul Mar.

Funny story of how I recognized it – I saw it in a Three Stooges short.  In their 1945 short, Micro Phonies, Gino Corrado plays an Italian violinist and singer who sings this song at Mrs. Bixby’s party.  The Stooges, with Curly dressed as Senorita Cucaracha, sabotage his singing by flicking cherries into his mouth as he is singing it!

So my first exposure to the song is a humorous one, however, I’m glad I came to hear it in a non-humorous way.

The song is a Neapolitan waltz.  The melody is beautiful.  Andrea’s vocals are just amazing.  I totally get lost in the song.  I listened to this over and over and with each listen I grew more fond of the song – and, because I don’t speak Italian, I had no idea what it is about!

After a search of the internet, I found that Vieni Sul Mar means “Come to the Sea”.  I have to be honest, when you see the translation in English, it’s a bit disappointing.  I am not sure how accurate this translation is, but every time I read the English I think, “How can such a beautiful melody be about a drunk sailor!?”

So, give it a listen.  Enjoy the string arrangement, enjoy his vocals, and get lost in a beautiful melody.

Vieni Sul Mar (Italian)

Deh, ti desta fanciulla, la luna

spande un raggio si caro sul mar.

Vieni meco, t’aspetta la bruna.

Fida barca del tuo marinar.

Ma tu dormi, e non pensi al tuo fido.

Ma non dorme chi vive d’amor.

Io la notte a te volo, sul lido.

Ed il giorno a te volo col cor.

 

Vieni sul mar. Vieni a vogar.

Sentirai l’ebbrezza del tuo marinar.

 

Da quel giorno che t’ho conosciuta,

oh fanciulla di questo mio cuor.

Speme e pace per te ho perduto

perché t’amo d’un immenso amor.

Fra le belle, tu sei la più bella.

Fra le rose tu sei la più fin.

Tu del ciel sei brillante mia stella.

Ed in terra divina beltà.

 

Vieni sul mar. Vieni a vogar.

Sentirai l’ebbrezza del tuo marinar.

 

Addio dunque, riposa, e domani

quando l’alba a svegliarti verrà.

sopra lidi lontani lontani

l’infelice nocchiero sarà.

Ma tu dormi, e non pensi al tuo fido.

Ma non dorme chi vive d’amor.

Io la notte a te volo, sul lido.

Ed il giorno a te volo col cor.

 

Vieni sul mar. Vieni a vogar.

Sentirai l’ebbrezza del tuo marinar.

 

Vieni sul mar. Vieni a vogar.

Sentirai l’ebbrezza del tuo marinar.

 

Come To The Sea (English Translation)

Pray thee, awake maiden, the moon

spreads it’s ray over the dear sea.

Come with me, I wait for you brunette.

Trust in the boat of your sailor.

But you sleep, thinking not of your devoted one.

But they sleep not who live by love.

This night to you I fly, to the shore.

And in the day you fly with my heart.

 

Come to the sea. Come for a row.

Feel the intoxication of your sailor.

 

Since that day I have known,

oh maiden of this heart of mine.

Hope and peace for you I have lost

because I love you with a love so great.

Among the pretty ones, you are the prettiest.

Among the roses you are most fine.

Of the sky you are my bright star.

And on the earth beauty divine.

 

Come to the sea. Come for a row.

Feel the intoxication of your sailor.

 

Adio till later, rest, and tomorrow

when dawn will wake you,

over shores far, far away

the helmsman will be unhappy.

But you sleep, thinking not of your devoted one.

But they sleep not who live by love.

This night to you I fly, to the shore.

And in the day you fly with my heart.

 

Come to the sea. Come for a row.

Feel the intoxication of your sailor.

 

Come to the sea. Come for a row.

Feel the intoxication of your sailor

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Repeat After Me …

The word for today, dear reader is “Echolalia”. Echolalia is a normal part of learning language. A child learns how to use language by repeating what they hear around them. So echolalia is basically when children repeat what you say. I was reminded of a story, which prompted me to write this blog today. That story (and a few others) will follow, and also serve as a reminded to “watch my mouth” in the months and years to come.

I Swear Too Much

When James Lipton passed away, I wrote a blog and answered his ten questions he’d ask guests. One of those questions was “What’s your favorite curse word?” You can read that blog here: https://nostalgicitalian.com/2020/03/03/rest-in-peace-james-lipton/

I won’t lie, I tend to swear more at work. My co-workers have almost come to expect it, and sometimes I swear just to get a laugh. The real swearing comes when I get frustrated about things like computers that freeze or crash, equipment that doesn’t work, and typical work things. When I am at home, I tend to swear a lot, too. Usually, I am talking about work.

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My wife joked that our daughter’s first word might be the F word. Well, I can’t let this happen. I really have to watch my mouth. I almost have to get into the frame of mind of a 10 year old and worry that my mouth might be washed out with soap if I let some curse words fly!

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History Repeats Itself.

The story that prompted this blog happened when I was about 4 or 5 I am guessing. It happened sometime in the early 1970’s. I was a toddler and could obviously talk. I was in the car with my dad. Where we were going doesn’t matter. There were no cell phones or tablets to play with, so I am basically looking out the windows and maybe listening to the radio. I am startled suddenly by the sound of the car’s horn. My dad has been cut off by some driver either getting into his lane or turning in front of him. Immediately, his fist (or maybe middle finger) is raised and he yells, “You stupid prick!” Naturally, I want to know what happened. So I innocently ask, “What did those pricks do, dad?” Dad, without missing a beat says, “There were sticks in the road! Stupid STICKS”!

Many years later, I am sitting in my living room. I am trying to figure out what is wrong with my laptop computer. It was not odd for Dante’ to play on the PBS or Sesame Street websites on it. So here I am trying to figure out if there is a virus or if there is a problem with the internet and my frustration is growing by the second. Dante’ wants to play in the computer. He has let me know this more than once. I keep telling him that I am trying to fix it. At one point, my ex asked me what I was doing. It was all it took to set me over the edge, “I am trying to figure out what is wrong with the damn computer! I can’t do anything on this fucking computer!” Dante’s standing right there and tears welled up in his eyes as he says, “But daddy, I wanna play on the fucking computer.”

Yeah, not my proudest moment.

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Sleep Swearing

Another Dante’ story. As you know I work in a sleep lab full time. I get asked a lot about sleep walking and sleep talking. Dante’ always talked in his sleep. Dimitri does on occasion, as well. One night they both had a conversation with each other while they were both asleep. Sleep walking and sleep talking can be very common in children. One time, I got to witness Dante’ do both at our house. I can’t say for certain, but I am just gonna guess that I influenced this incident.

I was up late, working on a paper or homework for college. While I am sitting in my chair working, I hear Dante’ get up. I am thinking he is going to go to the bathroom or something. He walks to the end of the hallway and into the living room, where I am, and looks at no one in particular. He yells, “Where’s the damn computer?!” I look at him in shock and amazement, and said, “What, buddy?” He is glassy eyed and obviously asleep. He again shouts, “Where’s the damn computer?!” He walks into the kitchen, which is dark, looks around for about 3 seconds, turns abruptly around and says, “I didn’t need it anyway!” and went back to bed. He was perhaps 8 or 9 and it was hilarious.

A Visit To The Principal

Influence is everywhere. I got in trouble in elementary school once because of something I saw on the Dukes of Hazzard! I don’t recall the exact exchange, but I remember an episode where Uncle Jesse said the word “bastard”. I want to say he said something like “bearded bastard” or “bumbling bastard”. Whatever he said, I had never heard the word before and I thought it was funny. So I said it at school one day. I don’t even know how I used it, but Bobby Wilson heard it and told the teacher on me. It got me a trip to the principal’s office. I was scared to death. It was the first time I had ever gotten in trouble, and I didn’t even know what the word meant!! I am sure I told the principal this, and he must have agreed with me because I was sent back to class with the warning to never say that word again.

Watch Your Mouth

I used to tell my sons this all the time – and still do. Now that they are older, they seem to think it is ok to let a swear word fly now and then. Their mom laughs when they do this, however, there are times I feel it is inappropriate. I get it. They are getting older and think that this gives them the freedom to do it. It doesn’t help that I still spew out a profane word now and then. So I guess I need to heed my own advice, and watch my mouth.

I certainly do not want my daughter’s first word to be something I regret. So I will try to curb the use of those words. I will begin sprinkling “dagnabbit,” “shoot,” “shut the front door,” “Sufferin’ succotash,” “Shitake mushrooms,” “H-E-double hockey sticks,” “Balderdash,” “Gee willikers,” “Son of a gun,” and “Fart knocker” into my vocabulary! It won’t be easy, but I will give it a go!

I was reminded of two great quotes that may be of help to me. Maybe they will help you, too.

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The above is something I started using when dealing with certain toxic people in my life.

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The above is one that I had forgotten about. What an amazingly powerful quote. I think I may need to visit that a few times a day. I certainly need to put this in practice.

A Golden Gift

Outside of a wedding ring, I don’t know many men who wear a lot of jewelry (unless they are a rapper!).  I know a few guys who wear a chain around their neck or maybe a bracelet.  I don’t wear much jewelry, and up until a year or so ago, I only wore a ring.  Due to money issues in my first marriage, I ended up pawning a few gold charms I had, and eventually my wedding ring.  If I hadn’t put my foot down, I may have been forced to pawn a very special piece of jewelry.

In a recent blog, I posted a picture of my daughter on my chest.  In that picture, you can see a bit of a necklace that I began wearing again within the past few years.  This is the brief story of this golden gift that means quite a bit to me.

My grandmother had given me a chain with a cross on it when I was probably about 13 years old.  The chain ended up breaking because it was so thin, and she gave me another one.  One Christmas I had asked my parents for a trumpet charm to wear on that chain.  I wish I could remember the year, but that escapes me.  It may have been shortly after my grandpa died in 1981, but I’m not sure.

At any rate, I remember it being the last gift my mom handed me to open that year.  It was such a simple charm, but I loved it.  She told me she had it specially made for me.  She knew some jeweler who had made a ring or something for her and they did it.  I wore it all the time – until a few years after I got married.

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At some point during that relationship, I was told how silly it was to wear the necklace.  “You’re not even in band anymore.  That horn sits in the case collecting dust.  You look silly wearing that thing,” I was told.  So I took it off and it sat in my jewelry box for years.

Fast forward to a few years ago.  I was moving some stuff around at the house and my jewelry box fell and the stuff in it fell out.  As I picked up things like my class ring, my tie clips, tuxedo studs, I picked up my necklace.  I immediately thought of my mom and just how happy she was to give that charm to me.  So I put it on.  Sam said she’d never seen me wear it before and I told her why I stopped wearing it.  She told me she liked it and told me I should wear it anytime I wanted.  I haven’t taken it off since. I have actually had patients ask about it while I am working.  My nieces always ask about it (and try to play it) when I am holding them.  I am sure Ella will do the same when she gets bigger.  She will even occasionally grasp onto the chain when I am holding her today.

The only other piece of jewelry I would ever consider wearing is a pinky ring – after all, I am Italian.  Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra both wore matching pinky rings that Frank had made for them, a gesture that showed their love for each other.  I think it’d be cool to wear one.

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The chain and charm are one of two pieces of jewelry I wear every day.  The other is my wedding ring.  Each piece is a reminder of very special women in my life.  One promise I can make – you will never see me walking around with this ridiculous amount of jewelry on!

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Tune Tuesday – What This Country Needs

It has been some time since I posted a song for Tune Tuesday.  Part of the reason for this is that I have been spending most of my drive to and from work listening to Old Radio Shows.  This week, I plugged the old iPod in and hit shuffle.  I used to keep my “To Blog” Journal next to me in the car and when I heard a song that I felt might work for Tune Tuesday, I’d jot it down. During my drive, I heard today’s song and I figured it would be a good one to write about.

Most of my radio career, I worked in Country radio.  I have had the chance to meet and interview many Country singers.  One of my favorites, is Aaron Tippin.  He broke on the seen with a great song called “You’ve Got To Stand for Something” in 1991.  Follow up songs included “Kiss This,”  “There Ain’t Nothing Wrong With the Radio,” “Working Man’s Ph. D.,” “I Got It Honest,” and the post 9/11 patriotic song “Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Flies.”

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I’ve had the chance to interview him a couple of times, the first when I worked at B95 in Flint and then when I worked at 94-5 The Moose.  The first time we chatted, we chatted about his upcoming show at the Genesee County Fair that summer.  It would have been 1998, because he opened his show with today’s song, more on that in a minute.  His show at the fair was the first time I had ever seen him perform.  During one song, he puts together a children’s bike while singing and donates the bike to a local charity.  That’s the kind of guy he is – he has a heart of gold.  Later in the show, he donned a fedora and sang a Frank Sinatra song, which just blew me away!

The second time I interviewed him was in the studios at the Moose.  We chatted about his love for flying, his patriotism, support of the armed services and so much more.  I had to ask him about the Sinatra song!  He told me what a big Rat Pack fan he was and we chatted about some very cool Dean Martin Box Sets I had.  He was so gracious with his time when he was there.  Before he left, I asked if I could get an autographed picture for my dad, who was also a big fan of his music.  He asked me about my dad.  I told him how he was a Vietnam Vet and how it was my dad who introduced me to his music.  He wrote on the picture for my dad, “To Sam.  I KNOW you got it honest!  Thank you for your service!  Aaron Tippin.”  Classy guy!

On to today’s song.  As I listened to the words in the car, I got to thinking about all the politics and such going on today.  The country is so divided.  We are hearing trash talk from each party about each candidate and so on and so forth.  I remembered Aaron doing this song as his opening song at the fair.  I remember introducing him and there was a podium set up in front of the microphone.  It had one of those red, white, and blue, flowery banners on it.  When I introduced him, he comes walking out with a suit jacket on and shirt and tie.  He goes to the podium and starts singing the song like it’s his campaign speech!  I loved every damn minute of it!  If he ever DID decide to run for office, he’d have my vote!

The opening lyric of the song says so much “keep what’s good, pile up what’s bad and then I’d strike a match”.  Going “back to the basics” would really be a good idea!  And let’s face it, Washington DC could use a cool statue of Hank Sr.!  Wouldn’t it be great if all the country really needed was some “steel guitar” to bring us all together?  I love the USA and yes, I am “proud of it” and I will “always love it”.

This song is one of my top 10 most played songs on my iPod.  Thanks, Aaron, for your friendship and your music!

What This Country Needs

If I was runnin’ this country

I’d start it over from scratch

Keep what’s good, pile up what’s bad

And then I’d strike a match

Yeah, we’d go back to the basics

Of how things ought to be

Yeah, there’d be a lot of changes

If it was left up to me

[Chorus]

Cause what this country needs

Is a little more steel guitar

And put a little fiddle right in the middle

Straight out of a Texas bar

And give us a song, we can all sing along

From sea to shining sea

Be proud  of it and always love it

That’s what this country needs

(Verse 2)

Now if you want to hear about livin’

Just twist that radio dial

Til you come to a singer singin’

What life is all about

Cause you can’t deny that people still cry

They laugh and they smile and they hurt

And that’s my humble opinion y’all

You can take it for what it’s worth

[Chorus]

Yeah, turn it on up and let it ring out

Across the land of the free

They ought to build a statue of Hank Williams, Sr.

In Washington, D.C.

[Chorus]

You just be proud of it and always love it

And that’s what this country needs.

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You can stop by his website and see what he is up to and try his wine here:

https://www.aarontippin.com/

 

Rest In Peace, James Lipton

I was saddened to read of the passing of James Lipton this week at age 93.  Many know him from Inside the Actor’s Studio, but he did so much more.  He was a writer and producer (working with greats like Bob Hope, and writing for many soap operas).  He was also an actor (on Guiding Light, Arrested Development) and voice actor (often playing himself on shows like the Simpsons and Family Guy).  He was also an author (he wrote the novel Mirrors, which was made into a TV movie in 1983).

He was born in Detroit and worked as a copy boy for the Detroit Times.  He actually starred on radio’s The Lone Ranger (which was broadcast out of WXYZ in Detroit) as Dan Reid, the Lone Ranger’s nephew.  He wanted to be a lawyer, but went into acting to earn money to pay for his education.

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It was with Inside the Actor’s Studio that made him a household name.  The show was a non-credit class at the Actor’s Studio Drama School where successful writers, directors, and actors were interviewed by him about their craft.  The acting students could also ask questions of the guests.  The sessions were recorded, edited, and broadcast on television for audiences to enjoy.  The show began in 1994 and continued with him as host until 2018, when he stepped down.

He was parodied by many, including Will Sasso on MadTV and David Cross on Mr. Show.  But the most memorable parody was done by Will Ferrell on Saturday Night Live.  Ferrell’s portrayal was over the top and hilarious.  When asked how he liked it, Lipton said, “I love it!  I love it!  It’s flattering.”  The thing I always remember about it was the HUGE stack of blue question cards Ferrell had on the table for his guest.

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I know many people found him to be a bit creepy, but I found him fascinating.  I was always amazed at how he was able to get his guests to open up and share stuff.  He was very good at that.

Whenever we interviewed someone on the radio, we had a jar with questions.  The questions were written by staff members, listeners, and some were just made up.  We’d have them dig into the jar and answer five of them  We called it the “Final Five”.  It was far from an original idea, as James Lipton always wrapped up his interviews with a series of questions inspired by French interviewer Bernard Pivot.

In honor of his passing, here are those 10 questions.

  1. What is your favorite word?
  2. What is your least favorite word?
  3. What turns you on?
  4. What turns you off?
  5. What sound or noise do you love?
  6. What sound or noise do you hate?
  7. What is your favorite curse word?
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
  9. What profession would you not like to do?
  10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

Here are my answers:

  1. Ridiculous.  I am not sure that I’d call it my favorite, but I use it a lot!  I am guessing it changes from day to day.
  2. Moist.  That’s the first word that pops into my head, and I hate it!
  3. My wife. Constantly!  She is beautiful.
  4. Smoking. I was exposed to it as a kid and I find it disgusting.
  5. Birds singing on a spring or summer morning.  Love it even more when I hear it on the golf course.
  6. Children crying – it always breaks my heart.
  7. Fuck.  Not proud of this, and believe me, I am trying really hard to stop using it so much!  There are just some things that force me to say it – like my co-workers – they’ve come to expect it from me.  LOL
  8. I would love to teach.  Today’s atmosphere is a lot different from when I was in school.  I would love to teach some sort of fun subject – music or entertainment oriented.  Wishful thinking, I know.
  9. Any political job.  No matter what you do, someone disagrees with you. I’m not sure I could handle that kind of criticism or pressure.
  10. I believe heaven does exist, and I would love for God to say, “Welcome, Keith.  You’ve done well.  You were a good father, a good husband, and a good friend.  You’re mom and grandparents have been waiting for you.  They need a fourth for pinochle.”

What are YOUR answers?

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“Hello, Papa!”

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We had plenty of great reactions when we told our family we were having a baby.  One of the most genuine was from my dad.  He was just thrilled when he found out.  He has always wanted a granddaughter and we took a video of him opening up a onesie that told him he was indeed going to have a granddaughter. His reaction to that was priceless!

Throughout the pregnancy, he called to ask how Sam was.  We called him after every OB/GYN appointment with updates and news.  We called him to tell him we were on our way to the hospital, too.  He was upset, though.  He knew it would be a week or so before he would get to see Ella.  Grandma Rose came down with Influenza A, and Papa was not about to get his precious grandbaby sick.

So for the past two weeks, I’ve been using Google Duo to do video chats with him when Ella is awake and happy.  You could tell that it was really bothering him that he hadn’t gotten to hold her yet.  He was loving being able to see her and talk to her on the phone, but it wasn’t the same.

Yesterday, he was finally able to come up and hold her for the first time.   When they got to the house, Sam had just finished feeding her.  She said, “You can hold her if you want” and my dad was up to get her before Sam finished the sentence!

What an amazing thing to see him holding her!  He stared at her, talked with her, touched her cheek and held her hand.  It was such a beautiful thing to witness!  As he spoke to her, I could hear his voice cracking and I could see a tear welling up in his eyes.  It was truly an emotional thing to see.  This showering of love and affection was so special.  I took pictures, but wish I had taken video.  She will never have to wonder how much her Papa loves her – you can see it in his face.

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My dad’s relationship with his grandsons is not as strong as it could be, due to my previous relationship.  But, that doesn’t stop him from loving those boys with all his heart.  I hope they know that.  Ella will never have to question that, as I will be sure that she gets to see him as often as possible.  She has been blessed with some wonderful grandparents and great grandparents!  I am SO glad that they are a part of her life.  I am sure that she is going to be very spoiled.

Grandparents are indeed a blessing!  There is a quote that says, “Grandparents are a delightful blend of laughter, caring deeds, wonderful stories, and love!”  I certainly had those things with my grandparents.  As I look at the picture of my dad and Ella, I can’t help but notice the love in his face.  It immediately reminded me of a picture of my grandpa (my dad’s dad) looking very much the same way at his grandson (me).  Compare the two.  The love of these two men for the babies in their arms is a powerful, never ending love!!!

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Dad, thank you for being an amazing man.  I am proud to be your son.  I am so happy that my children have you in their life.  I see so much of grandpa in you.  He raised you right.  You raised me right, as well, and I hope that one day my children look back and see you in me.

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(My sons, too!)

Ella stayed awake long enough to get a picture or two with Papa and Grandma Rose.  I just love it and had to share.

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Ella and Papa – March 1, 2020

 

 

Fatherly Observations (AKA “Things I Forgot About Having a Newborn”)

Sam and I sat down to start filling in the baby book we received for Ella.  It’s a very nice book and has little pouches to keep her first lock of hair, baby hospital bracelet and other things.  It has places to place her ultrasound pictures, foot and hand prints, and so many other things.  In the weeks and months ahead, we will track various milestones in it.  There is a LOT of writing involved.

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Some of the things the book asks are actually a bit hard to remember, even though the thing only happened within the last 9 months!  Some of it is hard to put into words.  Some of the stuff I have written about in blogs, and may just print them out and put them in the book!  The whole reason for a baby book is so that sometime in the future, she can look through it and read about all the stuff that happened when she was a baby, right?

So we need to write this stuff down while it is fresh in our minds – before we forget them.  Believe me, there will be things you will forget!  Ella will be three weeks old on Monday.  In the time we have had her, she has brought many smiles, and also caused me to remember all kinds of things I had long forgotten about.  Here are just a few:

Baby Sneezes

This was actually the title I considered for this blog.  The first time I heard Ella sneeze, I grabbed my “Blog Ideas” journal and wrote it down.  A sneeze isn’t such a odd thing, I mean, we all do it.  A baby sneeze, however, is so tiny, soft, and gentle.  I had forgotten just how cute these little sneezes are. Gesundheit!

Get a Grip!

How do you even begin to put into words how awesome it is to have your baby grab onto your finger?  I can’t.  I know as she grows, her little hand will grasp onto mine as we walk through the store, but there is something so cool about her little hand grabbing onto your finger and squeezing it.  Those hands are powerful!  I was holding her with just a tank top on this week and her little hand grabbed a handful of my chest hair and I winced with pain – wow, that hurt!

Sharp as a razor

Baby fingernails could easily be a weapon!  They are SO sharp!  They always seem to be grabbing at their faces and as parents, we try to stop that so they don’t scratch themselves!  This is obviously a concern because many of the onsies have arms that actually fold over the hand to keep them from scratching themselves. I was holding her this week and those nails drew blood on my shoulder as she scratched me.

Ch Ch Ch Changes …. of clothes

I used to make fun of a friend of mine who used to always seem to change outfits two or three times a day.  Well, for a baby, this is so true!  They sometimes go through four or five outfits a day because of various reasons.  There always seems to be a load of clothes ready to go into the laundry!

Speaking of laundry, I had forgotten just how much I love the smell of baby laundry soap.  Whether it is All Baby or Dreft, I just LOVE the smell of it!  The first week I was back to work, I actually washed my sweatshirt in her laundry soap so I could smell it at work and think about her.

Baby Faces

One of the most amazing things about watching a baby, whether awake or asleep, is watching the many faces they make.  Sam sent me a slew of four or five pictures, all taken within a two minute period as she was waking up – they are awesome.  You see everything from happy to sad to disgust to wonder – and all the emotions in between!  Our OB/GYN had a big print of his daughter making faces in his office.  I think I may just stand over her one day with my camera to catch a variety of them and then put them into a big collage.

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You’ll Need More Time

A lesson I had forgotten:  You are now on HER time, not yours!  You have to factor in diaper changes, feedings, and so many other things before you do anything or go anywhere!  We had a 10:30am doctor appointment on Friday.  The doc is about an hour away.  I think we were up at …. 2:30am to get ready for it!  Seriously!   We had to give the baby a bath, get ourselves showered and dressed, and by the the time we did feedings and diaper changes we barely made it out the door in time!  There is SO MUCH more preparation to get out the door now!

Whoa!  That’s Heavy!

Truth in arithmetic:  8 pound baby + 10 pound car seat = 500 pounds!  I cannot figure out for the life of me how this all works out!  Maybe it is just the way you have to hold the thing?  You gotta be friggin’ Superman to carry that thing for any length of time.  I am not ashamed to admit I am winded carrying her to the car in this thing!  It’s like the baby has rocks in her pockets to weigh it down or something!  At the end of the day, I am popping ibuprofen and applying heat and ice to my arm and shoulder!

Holy Crap!

Literally!  As a parent of a newborn, you are up to your ears in poop!  They poop – A LOT!  It is not odd for me to change a diaper, and immediately hear her poop again!  I gotta be honest, sometimes I am jealous!  Here I am taking fiber just to stay regular and she can poop at will!  The last time I pooped like her, I was preparing for my colonoscopy!

The Need For Speed

Speaking of poop and diaper changes in general, you gotta be The Flash when you change a baby! I mean it!  I forgot that the new diaper has to be under them as soon as the old one is taken away.  You gotta time it just right or you will regret it!  I was changing her on our bed the other day and Sam was talking to me while I was mid-diaper change.  I was distracted.  I wasn’t fast enough.  She asked me a simple “yes” or “no” question, but it was enough to slow me down.  So as I began to answer it, Ella peed all over my side of the bed.  You gotta be fast!

Side note:  One good thing about changing a girl is that if she does pee, its dripping down and not being shot at you like boys.

It’s a Blowout!

Honestly, I didn’t forget about diaper blowouts – but I have tried!  These are traumatic!  We’ve had a few already!  These result in an immediate bath – or an entire box of baby wipes (depending on where you are)!  The anticipation of a blowout is why every diaper bag in America includes 15 outfit changes!  They are so terrifying that there is even a product available on Amazon called the “Blowout Blocker!”

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Parents everywhere are wishing they had come up with that billion dollar idea!!

Baby Sounds (That Aren’t Crying)

Baby’s make noise.  Crying is their favorite sound to make, because it is their primary form of communication at this early stage of their lives. She is not cooing quite yet, but I am looking forward to that.  For now, I get to enjoy three other sounds –

  • Burping.  She is not an easy burper.  Sometimes I am patting her back or but for 20 minutes before she burps!  When she does, it is either tiny or epic! There is no rhyme or reason for how loud it is.
  • Farting.  Farting comes easy.  Sometimes her “toots” are a bit more than a toot (see above paragraphs on poop!).
  • Hiccups.  Baby hiccups are so cute.  Sometimes I feel bad for her, though, cause she seems to have them for quite awhile.

Soothing Sounds

I don’t claim to have the best singing voice. No one is going to sign me to a big record deal.  I do, however, like singing to my baby girl.  I sang to both boys when they were babies, and now I sing to her, too.  Sometimes she likes it, sometimes she doesn’t.  I think it may be her mood.  I really hope it isn’t my song selection – I don’t know too many by heart!

We were both amazed the other day when the hair dryer turned on.  She had been fussing and crying and when it turned on – instant silence.  It was weird.  Last night, we ran the vacuum cleaner and it had the same effect!  I don’t recall whether the vacuum bothered my sons, but something tells me that the floors will be spotless if she gets cranky! I may keep the hair dryer next to my side of the bed for nights she is upset.

Snuggles

Ella spends a lot of time with mommy, and rightfully so!  She is breastfeeding, so she gets to be in mommy’s arms a lot more than mine.  When I do get the chance to hold her, I love when she is alert and looking at me.  I get lost in her eyes, I kiss her cheeks, I play peek a boo, and just enjoy every second!

I also love when she falls asleep on me.  There is something so special about just holding her.  This week she fell asleep on my chest and didn’t move for over an hour. I stared at this little miracle and thanked the Lord for blessing me with her.  Time stood still as I spent most of that time staring at her.  Of course, I had to sneak a picture to remind me of this very special moment.

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Smiles, Everyone!  Smiles!

I forgot just how much I love to see a baby smile!  According to many sources, a baby’s first smile should take place when they are about 2 months old.  According to parents.com, anything before that time is considered a “reflex smile”.  Reflex smile or not, I just love to see it on her face.  Recently, Ella was in my arms dozing off and she began to crack a smile, so I grabbed my phone to snap a picture.  My friend, Dawn, used to always say “Smile!  It’s contagious!”  She is right, because when Ella smiles – I smile!

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Which Dwarf Am I?  Sleepy!

Lack of sleep is one thing that I did NOT forget about!  The only reason I am getting more sleep than my poor wife is that she is breastfeeding.  She is up every two hours with her feeding her. I am glad for the days when I am home from work, so she can actually get a little break between feedings.

Quick Change

The saddest thing I had forgotten about having a newborn baby is just how fast they change.  She has only been here for three weeks and she has changed SO much since she was born!  Just this morning Sam asked me if I noticed how long her eyelashes had gotten.  I mean, it’s insane!  The facial features, the hands & feet, eye color, and so many other changes are happening.  I guess that’s why I am glad I am taking so many pictures!

The days will turn into weeks.  The weeks will turn into months.  The months will turn into years.  With each second that passes, my little girl will grow up.  I will love her more and more as time moves forward.  I hope she will never doubt for a second that she is Daddy’s Little Princess.

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Tears on My Pillow

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I’m a Registered Polysomnographic Technologist. Those are some fancy words for “Sleep Tech”. I watch people sleep. I test them for sleep apnea, and treat them with PAP therapy when needed. People ask me all kinds of questions about sleep. I know a lot about sleep. People also ask me a lot about dreams. I don’t know a whole lot about dreams. Dreams are an illusive topic.

Do an internet search on dreams and you will find hundreds of webpages or articles with thoughts, theories, and general guesses about what dreams are and why we have them. Many people have different ideas about them. Ask a doctor about dreams and they will tell you something very different from what a therapist or psychologist will tell you.

This blog isn’t searching for why I had this dream. This blog isn’t expecting someone’s interpretation of this dream. This blog has one purpose – to write this down so I will remember it. After all, they say that you forget 90% of your dreams. I wanted to write this one down, so I’d remember it. So I might be able to come back to it and ponder it at some later date. I have waited too long to write this, as some of the details are already fading.

The Dream

“It’s not fair! It’s just not fair!”

I say this as I am looking at my mother, while holding my newborn daughter. There is no rhyme or reason for her to be there. She has been dead for 13 years, I am aware of this, yet there she is. She is alive in this dream, yet I know she had died already and is dying yet again. I am crying as I speak these words.

I am not sure if I am in a park or some public place. My dad is there, too. There are people around me. A crowd, perhaps. Is this a fair? I don’t know.

There is a stroller. Without knowledge of handing her to him, my dad now has his granddaughter and is walking with her in the stroller.

I cannot recall any conversation between my mother and me, but I am aware she is there. This is different from other dreams with her, where she usually speaks to me.

There are occasional interruptions by people I may or may not know. I do not really hear what they are saying, as my mind is still trying to comprehend how my mother is here, and why she is dying again. Cancer has already taken her once. How can she be back and how can it take her again?

I am aware of my dad returning with the baby in the stroller. He looks at my mother and asks if she wants to push the stroller for a bit. I am suddenly aware that I am standing next to a car. The driver’s side door is open and I am standing between the door and the inside of the car (almost like I am going to get into it). Am I in a parking lot?

I am aware that my daughter is now back in my arms and my mother seems further away. She is not looking directly at me, or anywhere in particular. I am overcome with emotion again as I lay my right arm on the roof of the white car and lay my head on my arm. I again begin to sob. I can feel the tears falling and I keep repeating, “It’s not fair! It’s just not fair!”

I woke up today with tears in my eyes. My pillow was wet from those tears.

What does it mean? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. This dream was just … different. There may be some sort of meaning to it. Maybe it was just my mind sorting through a variety of thoughts. Maybe it means absolutely nothing. It left me contemplating and thinking – enough that I felt I needed to write it down someplace, and that someplace was here.

Maybe one day, I will make sense of it. For now, I will just leave it here.

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So Bad, It’s Good: Napoleon Dynamite

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This blog is part of the Second So Bad It’s Good Blogathon, hosted by Taking Up Room.  The idea of this event is to write about a movie that is just SO bad, it’s actually good!

You can see the other entries here:

https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/103513267/posts/42964

Intro

I have many movies that I absolutely love that many would consider “bad”.  They are movies that I can sit and watch over and over, and still find great enjoyment from watching them.  I probably could have picked any one of them to write about for this blogathon, but instead, I chose Napoleon Dynamite.

I must be honest with you, I wasn’t even aware of this film until it was out on video.  I am not really even sure what made me pick up the case to see what it was about.  Maybe it was the school lockers in the picture?  Maybe it was the picture of the weird looking dude on the cover?  Maybe it was because the cover said, “You’ll laugh till it hurts”.

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No matter what the reason, I decided to rent it.  What happened next has NEVER happened before in my entire life.  When you see a bad movie, you usually say, “Well, that sucked!” and that’s the end of it.  As I sat to watch this film for the first time, I was expecting a full blown comedy.  I watched this entire movie – in silence.  When it was all over, I turned to my then wife and said, “Did I miss something?  What the hell did we just watch!?”

But that’s NOT where the story ends!  For the first time in my life, I immediately started the movie over from the beginning and watched it again!  It was THAT bad!!  The second time through, I found myself chuckling out loud at the absurdity of the whole movie, and the characters in it!  Because it was a new release, the rental was for 24 hours.  Dear reader, this movie was SO bad, I watched it AGAIN the next day before I took it back to the store!  You know what?  I found it funnier the third time!

Any time I recommend this film to anyone, I tell them, “Watch it once, and then watch it again.  Trust me!”

The movie

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It is hard for me to even begin to describe this movie.  I am not sure I even can.  Yes, there is a plot.  There are sub plots.  The movie is almost a series of vignettes strung together in a way that sort of makes a story.  Yeah, that is probably a terrible description, but that’s really all I can come up with.

Napoleon Dynamite (played by Jon Heder) is … unique.  He’s different.  He is a loner and he’s kind of happy that way.  He is a bullying victim.  A day at school is complete misery for him.  He is constantly picked on and made fun of.

Napoleon has two friends, Pedro and Deb, who fit right in with him.  They all seem to speak in short, simple sentences.  They all seem to be very socially awkward.  This does not stop Pedro from running for class president, though.

Napoleon lives with his grandmother and his brother, Kip.  Kip is also a nerd and spends almost all of his time in chat rooms talking with girls.  When their grandma is injured in a Dune Buggy accident (let that sink in for a minute!), we are introduced to their baby sitter – their Uncle.

Uncle Rico is a sleazy dude who drives around in an orange and brown Dodge van selling breast enhancement potions and Tupperware-like storage containers.  Poor Rico is fixated on 1982.  He was on the football team and they “should have won state!”  He constantly talks of how things should have been different.  He even bought a “time machine” on the internet to try to go back in time!

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The more I write, the more I keep scratching my head and wondering, “Just what was this whole movie about, anyway!?”  There are just so many scenes in the movie that leave you wondering “why is this in the movie?” “What was THAT all about?”  “Why did he do that?”

Those “what the hell” moments, actually end up being the ones you remember the most!  Many of them are some of my favorite scenes!

Some examples:

Napoleon feeding Tina, the llama

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When Napoleon throws a wrestling figure out the school bus window

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Uncle Rico nailing Napoleon with a steak

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The entire dance scene on stage

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The bully who asks for some of Napoleon’s tator tots (in his pants pocket!), only to be told “no”….so he smashes them…

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The entire Rex Kwon Do scene featuring Diedrich Bader of the Drew Carey Show

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Tether Ball, Summer’s cake, the bike that does “sweet jumps”, Ligers, La Fawnduh, I could go on and on to explain why this BAD movie is SO good.

I probably lose a few IQ points after each viewing, and you will too!  It is one of those guilty pleasure films for me that I will often quote to friends.  You will too!  But only if you watch it a second or third time!

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Thanks to my friends at Taking Up Room for allowing me to participate in this fun blogathon…..and for giving me another reason to watch this idiotic movie!