Sunday, June 27, 2010

sad news

One good thing about FB and blogs is that we instantly know when a friend is undergoing a crisis. I find myself praying sincerely for people I barely know. Now my beloved wife Karen is suffering and needs your emails of concern(she is not on FB). She has been diagnosed with piratitis. The symptoms are odd and it is not fatal. She has been walking around with a bright green parrot on her shoulder shouting "Arggh" and "Avast ye maties" (don't know what that means). She tried to pay for her Dunkin Donuts coffee with a fake gold doubloon which was not really gold-chocolate with a gold color wrapping from a bag she bought at the Dollar Store. She has taught the parrot to order her coffee and ask for a senior discount(the parrot is 65 years old). She also gets the 10% pirate discount that Dunkin Donuts offers. Anyway we are signed up for a cruise this fall and life keeps getting more interesting. Words of sympathy can be addressed to Karen.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

There is no MCAndy

Well tomorrow is my last day of full time work. I am leaving a world that has taught me so much about human beings-maybe more than I ever wanted to know, but I want to leave you with a laugh. I want to remember the laughing and hope when I go to sleep at nights it will drown out other memories. I hope I do this story of what happened yesterday justice. We went bowling. My client this past year loves bowling, but his brain injury impacts his balance as well as his emotions. He is all emotion which means that sometimes he is pure joy and sometimes he is a tangle of agony and anger unchecked by his mind. Anyway Karen was with her 75 year old full of fun client who is a surprisingly good bowler. Another client, a young man, Andy, who is non verbal, was supposed to join us. I set the electronic scoreboard-MCK(my clients nickname), 75 year old Dickie and Andy. We begin the game without Andy but it became apparent he would not get there on time. So my client MCK was asked to bowl for Andy. We called him MCAndy. The game began with MCK, Dickie and the imaginary MCAndy bowling. MCK and Dickie were bowling very well but MCAndy was lights out. I turned to the other staffers and said this is going to be an interesting disaster. My client, MCK, has a melt down when he looses, but what happens when he beats himself. We always encourage whoever is bowling-real or imaginary. So we cheered MCAndy-"Great shot, MCAndy" . The doomsday scenario played out to its most perverse conclusion. MCAndy beat MCK by 4 pins. I asked MCK how he felt. He said, "Horrible! I lost." I said, "You played great, but MCAndy was just having the game of his life." MCK replied, "I'm MCAndy!" All the way home I could not stop laughing promising that we would beat MCAndy tomorrow. "There is no MCAndy! Cut it out you guys!" I was hoping to leave on a high note of maturity, but it was not in the stars. As the sun sets, I will play with Samaya and hopes she doesn't notice that her granddad is only slightly older than she is.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

another proverb

When we were trying to create a game for schools we removed the few religious proverbs because we figured that could hurt our chances. It is delicate to present this kind of proverb still keeping the humor, but not being disrespectful. This one is from the Hadith-an Islamic proverb. A good teacher could generate a discussion about the meaning and wisdom of this proverb.


"Trust in God, but ----------- your camel.

A. Kiss
B. Smoke
C. Ride
D. Tie

"Tie" is the right answer.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Proverb game

One of the seemingly endless flood of ideas that are only held in check by bags of mental sand is our proverb game. Years ago when we lived in New York, my good friend Diana Metreaud and I created a world proverb game. We called it "World Quest" and in those pre internet days we created a form letter asking for submissions from countries that had U.N. Missions in New York. We asked for some favorite proverbs and much to our shock we received many, many proverbs. We augmented what we received from books of proverbs. Our purpose was to create a game that showed that all the peoples of the world had wisdom--not just Americans. And that wisdom transcended imaginary lines on a map. We thought the schools would love such an idea. ANother friend even created some wonderful illustrations. Here is an example:


What is the correct word or phrase that completes this proverb:

"What is learned in the cradle lasts till the --------------------"

A. next diaper change
B. bus leaves for Cleveland
C. grave
D. time when you have your own children

I had such a good time playing this with children and teenagers. In a class I would have the kids form teams. They received one point for the correct answer. Another point for the best explanation of the proverb. I would only except answers that were the product of the group consultation. So they were learning the value and process of consultation while thinking they were just having fun. Another wrinkle was having one from each group try to find the country first on a world map for another point The kids would never tire of the game and we had so much fun. I really tried to get this pub. using a professional to make submissions, but always got turned down. This is another retirement project that I will get pub.--even if we self publish.
I will post proverbs more if my friends wish.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day Thoughts

I'm sure my mother, being a sincere Catholic at the the time, figured she would be married forever. Such was not the case in my parents case. Two good people from different galaxies who could not find a compatible third galaxy to live on together. And I think that is the challenge--the marriage, the relationship must find a third galaxy that the couple must somehow be able to live on together. So, on this father's day I think about my mother who raised my brother and myself. I don't recommend it. The strain of being a good mother or a good father is considerable. And there is the sheer hard work and time required--no please take the boys to the park so I can get some sleep. A single parent fills both roles--or tries to until they become numb or break. I did not know my mother broke until my aunt told me recently in a matter of fact manner why my brother and I stayed with her and my uncle for a year and a half. One question I want to ask the Powers-That- Be in the next world is why we remember certain moments out what must amount to are millions of moments. My mother would come home from working in a nursing home after going to chiropractic college at nine at night. Not very often, usually during the unbearable heat of Iowa in the summer, she would come home with this tiny container of ice cream--not really enough for one person and she would split it three ways. It was the coolness of heaven if only for a minute. I see the faces and hear the words and feel the emotions. I'm sure my mother would like flowers on her grave but she would be over the moon ecstatic if a gallon a butter pecan was left on her grave. After all, she always told me that they gave you free ice cream in heaven.

Monday, June 14, 2010


I have been running on fumes for a while and the stars recently aligned for me to semi- retire. Not that I have a strenuous job-the driving is getting old though. Sounds ridiculous retiring from a job where I swim and go bowling. I'm glad I don't sit in a hot tub sauna--that would be embarrassing to say I've retired from hot tubbing. "I just couldn't handle the stress or splinters any more." I have been thinking about what I will miss. My brain injured client bowls with another client who is basically non verbal and will always be a little girl no matter how old she becomes. We are all quite close, but she likes me to put on her bowling shoes-a size six and then when the game is over she puts her feet on my knee and I put her sneakers back on. I will miss doing that.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

two kinds

The world is divided into two kinds-no, not men and women. Night owls and morning people-or infidels. I get up and my only goal is achieving consciousness and some mornings it is an elusive goal. I make my way into the living room and if I'm lucky, Karen has either made or brought me coffee. If I am unlucky, Karen wants to discuss a life or death issue--a matter that can't possible wait until nighttime. I am suppose to contribute intelligently, but, when I open my mouth, only drool comes out. There are very few life or death problems that can be solved by drooling. Today, was a challenge in that I had to register my car(only five months late a kindly trooper informed me) and my car battery was waning. I went to the town office before work barely coherent and was fortunate the clerk could see me right away-God bless the civility of small towns. I handed over my paperwork and waited. The clerk had no idea I was a mere shell of a human being only able to remain seated because of tight fitting underwear. The next part you are not going to believe. I looked over at the wall and there was a sign listing what services the clerk provided. Halfway down the list was "Deer and Moose Lottery". How shameful!" I thought. "What a sorry state of affairs that we are trying to balance the state budget on the backs(antlers?) of deer and moose--and where does the State of Maine think that deer and moose can come up with the money to buy lottery tickets? And even if they could, any revenue would be offset by the terrible social problems created. How sad to be sitting at a gamblers anonymous meeting and here someone say, "My name is Bambi and I have a problem" Just then another clerk walked by reeking of morning coffee breath. I inhaled and quickly came to my senses. The lady who was waiting on me gave me back my new registration. I asked her if I had mentioned anything about deer and moose. She said no and I breathed a sigh of relief--and so my day begins.