Friday, December 24, 2010

Joys Of Being A Dad - Part 5

  I always found it interesting that six children raised under the same roof can be so unique from each other.  As Spock would say, "Fascinating!"  All of the kids had 'pet' names that I suspect most do not want to hear in their present stage of life.  Among other 'cutsie' names, Bobby will always be "Bobby" to me, even though he prefers being referred to as "Bob" now that he is an adult.  Hmmm, I am 61 and some people that I have known all my life still call me Bobby.  That's OK, I like reminiscing on the past!
  One interest that he had from an early age, that we shared, was computers.  That was way back in the days of MS-DOS 6.3.  One day he was on the family computer and decided the files needed cleaned up and organized so proceeded to delete files he felt was unnecessary.  Unfortunately, he deleted some important ones like AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS.  So the next time he turned the computer on, it was a no go.  "Help, Dad!"  Fortunately, since it was DOS 6.3, I was able to do UNDELETE on the files he took out.  I still have a leg up on him in regards to hardware, but when it comes to software, he now has me beat.
  His talent in almost anything he endeavors is something he and anyone that knows him should be proud of.  I admire that he imparts his 'thinking outside of the box' and his creativity to his children....and to me.

Monday, December 20, 2010

All I Want For Christmas.....

File:Regency transistor radio.jpg
  Here is an interesting bit of info,  about the Regency TR-1, transistor radio:
  Two companies working together, Texas Instruments of Dallas, Texas and Industrial Development Engineering Associates (I.D.E.A.) of Indianapolis, Indiana, were behind the unveiling of the Regency TR-1, the world's first commercially produced transistor radio. Previously, Texas Instruments was producing instrumentation for the oil industry and locating devices for the U.S. Navy, and I.D.E.A. built home television antenna boosters, but the two companies worked together on the TR-1, looking to grow revenues for their respective companies by breaking into this new product area.  In May 1954, Texas Instruments had designed and built a prototype and was looking for an established radio manufacturer to develop and market a radio using their transistors. None of the major radio makers including RCA, Philco, and Emerson were interested. The President of I.D.E.A. at the time, Ed Tudor, jumped at the opportunity to manufacture the TR-1, predicting sales of the transistor radios at "20 million radios in three years".  The Regency TR-1 was announced on October 18, 1954 by the Regency Division of I.D.E.A., was put on sale in November 1954, and was the first practical transistor radio made in any significant numbers. One year after the release of the TR-1 sales approached the 100,000 mark. The look and size of the TR-1 was well received, but the reviews of the TR-1's performance were typically adverse.  The Regency TR-1 is patented by Richard C. Koch, US 2892931 , former Project Engineer of I.D.E.A.  (Thanks Wikipedia!)
  Click here for a video of the manufacturing process of the TR-1.  Very retro!
  I wish I had one to add to my little collection, but they are valued up to $600.00.  I don't think so.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Angels Walk (and crawl) Among Us

  It seems like only yesterday that my children were small and running around the house like perpetual motion machines.  From my current perspective and looking back, they grew very fast, too fast.  While they were going through their many stages, it did not seem so, however.  Isn't it interesting how Time can change our viewpoints?  While sitting in church this morning, my eyes focused on a little toddler who was in her own little world, munching on fish crackers, studying people in her view and making faces at them (and me).  It made me think how innocent children really are and how lucky we are to have them grace us with their presence.  When we get all caught up in the complexities of Life, we should sometimes consider approaching it with the simplicity that a child does.  Often they can be our external conscience when they quietly ask us to explain something they don't understand.  But there they are, images of ourselves and how we once were, once upon a time.
  So if your kids grew up too fast and you didn't have enough time in your busy schedule to fully appreciate them, take heart because, if you are lucky, you will get a reprieve and can make up for it with your grandchildren.  Look, here comes a little angel now, Morgan!

The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives. - Albert Einstein

Friday, December 17, 2010

Joys Of Being A Dad - Part 4

  Having Twins is pretty special, along with everything else, you have double fun and double worries.  The first big adventure with Trevor took place when he was 10 months old when we found him in his crib with one eye completely white.  It was scary, to say the least.  To make a long story short, he had congenital glaucoma and it followed with many doctor visits, hospital visits and surgeries.  The disease was arrested but he never had vision in that eye again.  The next big adventure, he was a little older and had a burst appendix and we almost lost him.  No thanks to a misdiagnosis by our pediatrician.  (His last diagnosis for us, I might add).  He was a trooper through that and many other maladies after that, including broken bones, lacerations, etc.  I suspect that he had more doctor visits then all the other five children combined!  But all the emergencies only helped build his unique character which we have all grown to love.  If you ever need to be 'pumped up', just spend time with Trevor. 
  He now has a wonderful family that completes him.  He has worked very hard to overcome difficulties.  If you had asked me, when my six children were small, who would be most likely to attain a Master's Degree, Trevor would have been my last guess, but he has recently achieved that goal and I am proud and humbled.
  If you ever want to see him in a moment of ecstasy, just give him some lasagna.

Monday, December 13, 2010

It's All In The Mind

Image result for state of mind  Why is our mental state such a fragile thing?  Okay, I may be making an unjustified assumption, let me rephrase.  Why is MY mental state such a fragile thing?  Perhaps it is biorhythms, or mood, or external influence, or a combination of everything.  Methinks it is the latter.  I find that I am in a better frame of mind subsequent to a positive event, such as completing a task with better then average success or receiving an unsolicited compliment.  This euphoria can last for the entire day unless it is shattered by a negative event, such as receiving a traffic ticket, or being enraged by the poor driving of someone you are sharing the road with.  I get frustrated because I am not 100% in charge of my thinking process.  Why should I get upset over someone or something I have no control over?  More importantly, why do I lose it when I do have control over a situation and make wrong choices, i.e. exceeding the posted speed limit?  I think it is a response mechanism that we developed when we were young and never refined it.  I believe it all comes down to developing patience and insight.  I find one tool that has always been helpful, and that is to ask myself, "When you look at the big picture, does it really matter?"
  Be thankful for the highlights in Life, large and small, and learn to cope with the challenges as best you can and don't let them take charge of you.

In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility. - Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, December 10, 2010


Image result for magic of christmas  One thing that I miss from my childhood is the magic of Christmas.  Even if some of it endured, it would be very nice, but in reality, it falls to the wayside as many things do in this non-Peter Pan world.  As a child, I don't remember being a big proponent to Santa Claus.  I think my little logical mind wouldn't allow it, but I loved Christmas nonetheless.  When I was small, it seemed that the days leading up to Christmas were very magical, indeed.  Christmas was always a special time as a boy, largely because of my grandparents on both sides of the family.  After all, grandparents, in reality, are Santa's helpers in remote locations away from the North Pole. 
There were several ingredients to Christmas that made it special:

- Spending time with my cousins was always fun.  With myself and two sisters and five cousins, the house seemed very active and lively.  On Christmas morning, opening presents was an exciting event.  I sometimes wonder if my six children recall Christmas morning.  They were a small army unto themselves, so opening presents was quite an affair, being quickly absorbed into an ocean of wrapping paper!
Remember the old fashioned
Christmas Tree lights?  One
burned out and they all went out.
- Every year my grandfather would put up colourful lights outside, and I am not talking the itty-bitty lights but the big bulbs that were half the size of regular light bulbs, technically known as C9 lamps.  There were always electric candelabras in every window as well.  Being the kind of kid that I was, I would sometimes rearrange the coloured light bulbs in different orders.
- Omigosh, the food!  Lots of it.  In particular, the yeast rolls, squash pies, and the best apple pies in the world.  The mashed potatoes were always perfect and turkey and hams that would melt in your mouth.
- A house full of family at Christmas seemed so very cozy, cold Maine winter outside and the physical and mental warmness inside.
- Back then, you could always count on a White Christmas so we would happily go outside to make tunnels and angels in the snow, sporting our new, hand knit, mittens and caps, and perhaps new coats or boots or maybe sweaters or snow pants.  Knitting mittens was one thing that 'Gram' was very dedicated to.  I remember many evenings that she would have one eye watching television and the other on her knitting.
- Some of my fondest moments were the hours spent on the living room floor playing with toys thoughtfully provided by family.

  Even now, as I get older, a spark of Christmas magic sometimes touches me, and for a brief moment I can feel that old familiar warmth inside.  I wish it would happen more often, but if it did, would it lose that special feeling?  I think not.
  Merry Christmas to all, far and near.

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. - Norman Vincent Peale

Friday, December 3, 2010

Joys Of Being A Dad - Part 3

  I am lucky enough to have twin boys and as often happens, they may look alike but in many ways they are definitely individuals.  Odds of having twins are roughly 3 in 100.  And the wives' tale that twins skip generations is wrong because I have a son with twins.
  Anyway, Scott is my oldest twin by ten minutes and he is the most personable person you could ever meet.  Even though he is grown up, he is still a kid at heart and loves playing with his nieces and nephews.  If you want to get into a political debate, Scott is ready for it.  He also loves his country and is fiercely patriotic.
  If Scott is in the right state of mind, he can do anything.  When he was young, we heated with wood in Vermont, consequently I would have wood delivered.  The wood would eventually have to be stacked up to dry and then over the course of the winter, be stacked in the garage as needed.  I would have the kids get involved with the moving of the wood.  The only way I could get Scott to willingly move the wood, was to tell him to pretend that each piece of wood was a round of ammunition for heavy artillery.  Growing up, he loved playing a soldier in combat.
  Scott is generally a private person, and when he finds out that I have been doing this little exposé, he will probably want to kill me.  Good thing I am a couple thousand miles away from him!  But I always miss having him around.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Blast From The Past - Part 2

Another of my old favourite, feel good songs was Brown Eyed Girl (click on the title for music and lyrics) by Van Morrison.  It came out in 1967, I was 18, graduating from high school and the world was my oyster (yeah right), if I only knew what was ahead!  While you are in high school, you think you have it really tough with all the studying and the homework.....let me tell you, it is a breeze compared to what comes after.  But it's all good.  Every phase of Life has it's rewards, don't you think? 

<  And speaking of rewards, this is one of my granddaughters, Jessica!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Oh The Horror Of It All....

  Funny the things we remember.  I imagine a shrink could have a field day with my little brain.  Recently I was reviewing upcoming programming on the TV.  I still think the DVR is the greatest invention ever!  Anyway, I came across a film called Pit And The Pendulum.  It was a cheesy production of Edgar Allen Poe's short story.  Of course it starred Vincent Price and, as often happens with these kind of films, about the only thing that the story and the movie had in common was the title.
  Though I have never been a big fan of horror films, I did have a fascination for Poe's works.  When Pit And The Pendulum came out in 1961, I, a lad of twelve, was looking forward to seeing it.  I even had the movie advertisement clipped out of the paper and pinned to the wall over my bed.
  As I was saying, funny the things we remember, because I cannot remember any other films that I saw in 1961, so what is your diagnosis, doc?