Sunday, August 30, 2009

what did I get myself into?

This week was the math refresher for the Executive MBA program that I enrolled in at Chapman University. It was interesting to meet some of the professors and the other students. However, right around 9:30 PM Thursday night when we were rolling on derivatives, my brain started to turn to mush. And, apparently, I wasn't the only one who felt that way.

Fortunately, we are treated like executives, and had a fabulous dinner of roast beef loin, mashed potatoes (from scratch), baby green salad, lemon cake and fresh fruit before class. I know now to load up on coffee before heading down to the classroom. Saturday morning, we had breakfast burritos with fresh salsa, pastries, fresh fruit and juice. Plus lots of coffee!

The math review was helpful, and the professor said what I love hearing after spending hours learning something, "Don't worry about memorizing any of this, you'll never use it again." Argghhh!

Honestly, though, it was like reviewing sentence structure before writing the great American novel-important to understand, but not something you think about as you work.

Next week we head to Del Mar for the first of three residentials. Lots of reading assigned before we get there, so it won't be all fun and games.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

one more first night

Here I go again, starting an MBA program. What in the world am I thinking? This program has a lot going for it, I'm very excited to be a part of it. I was doing great until the last half hour-brain shut down and that was it. Honestly, what fool can concentrate on derivatives at 9:30 PM? Not this fool for sure.

Only one evening and one morning every week for the next 21 months. yeah!

Friday, August 21, 2009

excuse me, when did that happen?

A friend is turning 50 and she is having a big party. No gifts, no fuss, just a celebration with friends and family. I made her a card, "50 thoughts on turning 50 and aging", with fifty quotes both funny and serious.

However, it makes me did I get to know so many old people? My friends aren't old, and I certainly am not old. Heck, I feel like I'm just getting started with this life.

But suddenly, one day, I'm surrounded by elderly aunts and uncles who seem to go from one health issue to another. And my parents, heck, when did my mother get so grey? And my father's beard has more white hair than black. Well if they're old, what does that say about me? I can't be old, I certainly don't feel old. Well, except for that back pain I never had before. And wait, I need to shift my seat because my knees can't take one position for very long. Boy, were my feet swollen today from the humidity.

No, I'm not getting older. In fact, I refuse to get older. Where is that danged time machine anyway?

We can fight aging, though it is a losing battle. However, we can get a little immortality. When you look at your child and see that she has your dimples, a little piece of you goes into the future. And they do say that what goes on the Internet is forever. I think though, a little of Murphy's Law acts on the Internet, the less you want something to be seen (like an embarrassing photo), the more it gets passed around.

I will still live by this:
"You are only young once, but you can stay immature indefinitely." Ogden Nash

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

ever want to join the circus?

One of the great joys of having a young child is rediscovering the books that we loved as children. There are the old classics, the new classics, and books that struck a chord with us for whatever reason all those years ago.

My current favorite is "Put Me in the Zoo" by Robert Lopshire and published in 1960 by Random House under the Cat in the Hat Beginner Book label. Using only 100 different words and about 60 pages, Mr. Lopshire tells in gentle rhyme the story of a large spotted animal rejected by the zoo.

Bear-like, but with a long thin tail, he puts his spots through a number of amazing tricks for his two young companions, then asks them:

"Tell me. Tell me, now,
you two.
Do you like
the things I do?
Tell me. Tell me, now,
you two.
Will they put me
in the zoo?"

Oh, the longing to belong in the zoo. Oh, the longing to belong, anywhere.

His new friends have different ideas, however, leading to a different place to belong, and giving new meaning to running away to join the circus.

If you have a chance to read to a young child, revisit an old favorite at your local library.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Lately, I've been having a weird series of dreams. The dreams all start out with driving in a car, and as the dream progresses, the road gets rougher and rougher, until it turns from pavement into gravel, then dirt, finally deteriorating into a crude path too narrow for a car. The road climbs and drops, with the climbs getting steeper and steeper. We cross bridges which all look like they are on the verge of collapse. We abandon the car and walk for a while. For some reason, we never turn back and retrace our steps, but we keep walking farther and farther away from the car. Sometimes we ride bikes until the path ends and we climb a rocky hill.

The locations for these journeys is never the same. One started on a suburban highway and ended in a multi-level mall. Another started in an average looking neighborhood and ended in an abandoned quarry. Sometimes I have the feeling that we are being chased, or are in danger. Sometimes I am looking for someone, or feel that I am in a hurry to meet someone. Who is chasing us? Who am I going to meet? The sweet mystery of dreams.

I usually wake up (exhausted) before arriving anywhere. Is there a final destination? I may never know. Does this mean I'm on a journey that will get worse? Or is it some unknown fear that surfaces in the depths of sleep? Without getting all Freudian on the meanings wrapped up in them, it will be interesting to see how all these stories play out.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

getting started

This blog is starting out a little like a journal-a very public journal if anyone stumbles upon it. I will try to not write anything that I would be embarrassed for my mother to read, however that may make for a very boring blog, even though some of the posts may be about her.

Perhaps I'll write about my great-grandmother. She was weird. Sometimes she would watch me when I was little and I remember that she would put a sweater, scarf and knit hat on me to go outside for a walk, in the middle of August, in a little desert town in the southern California heat.

She lived in a trailer park in a real trailer, not one of those fancy triple-wide mobile homes. It was silver and had an attached enclosed porch that she had filled with potted plants. Inside there wasn't much to do. She had a piggy bank made out of a bleach bottle and she would let me count and stack the coins. After she died, that was the one thing she left me, which was a lot since she didn't have much.

She came to the U.S. from Czechoslovakia as a young girl. She always seemed to be cooking sauerkraut with sausages when I was there. Maybe because my great-grandfather, who died before I was born, was from Germany and liked sauerkraut. The smell of the cabbage cooking really reeked in her small trailer. She knew I didn't like the sauerkraut much and would give me a sausage to eat and let me use as much ketchup as I liked.

That's a start.

Leave a comment if you like.