Archive for the ‘Dog Journal’ Category

Time Crunch In Paradise

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

UM HouseI’m happily enjoying my “Chautauqua Fix” – one week in summer that I return to the Chautauqua Institution in Western New York for a summer diet of lectures, concerts, and ice cream on the village green. Coming here is like boarding a time machine, back to the turn of the 20th century.

Sure, there are IPhones here and IPads. But there is also a violinist performing for pleasure on Bestor Plaza, Chautauqua’s village green, and families strolling with kids and dogs. In this place where automobiles are allowed only for unloading and then banned to the outside lots, it’s possible to reconnect with the Power of Slow.

But even here, in this turn-back-time paradise, we wrestle with scheduling overload.

I laugh as my friend Robin, here for the first time, tries to map out a reasonable schedule from an intimidating list of opportunities. A poet, she’s pledged to spend some time writing this week.

I understand the dilemma. It’s easy to want to be in two places at once. This afternoon, at 3:30, there’s an hour of poetry reading at the Literary Arts Center. And at 4, a program at the Jewish Center called “Shalom, Y’all.” Maybe a little of both? Anything called “Shalom, Y’all” is too good to miss.

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Advice From Dad

Sunday, June 20th, 2010
Steve Ondo

Steve Ondo

My dad’s been gone for more than a decade, and though he was an avid computer user up to the end, he was also a very private person. The thought of my writing about him here on Fathers Day would have prompted a serious talk. “Do what you want,” he would have said. “Just leave me out of it.”

In deference to his imagined request, I will not write about him here – only about his advice – the two pieces that have especially stuck through the years. So here, from my dad…

It only takes one. This refers to those times when we want someone or something to come into our lives, but the statistics are against us. For example, selling a house in the current market. If you told my dad the odds of finding a home buyer were against you, he would say, “It only takes one,” usually followed by his five recurring words of encouragement: “Don’t get your dauber down.” Whatever a dauber is.

You can’t build a fence around her. This sage observation was actually traded back and forth by both my parents so often that it’s hard to know which one started it. But it refers to those times, now popularly known as helicopter parenting, when a parent wants to jump in and stomp on a child’s passion to do something that could be a little bit dangerous. This one came up for me just yesterday when the youngest boarded a plane for six weeks in Israel. “You can’t build a fence around her,” my dad reminded me. I gave her a hug and told her to have a great time.

Thanks, Dad. I think.

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Buy Yourself Flowers

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

flowers 001I’m not sure why the cashier at Trader Joe’s wanted to know, but I’m glad he asked in front of a crowd:

“These flowers are BEAUTIFUL! Are they for you or a friend?”

“ME!” I announced, happy to share a bit of personal philosophy. “I buy some every week.”

Admittedly, there are exceptions. There are some weeks in summer – not arrived yet – when I’ve actually grown some worth cutting and putting inside.

But for years I’ve splurged on a bouquet and never been sorry. The color, the symmetry of the petals are nature’s reminders that beauty and balance are possible.

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Be A Water Baby

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

taylor in suitFor several years before my mom died, we did the typical role reversal – child parenting parent. Now that she’s gone, I’m delighted to notice she’s back – parenting to the max in my head. She would be happy to know this, I think, because she had so many opinions and much good advice.

I thought of her this weekend when Taylor, my granddaughter, took her first splash in a backyard baby pool. It was just like mama said – “put a child in water and it’s calming.” Once out of the pool, Miss Tay took a plenty long snooze.

Same with my visit to a lake up near Cleveland. Listening to the water pound the rocks with the window open, and voila! Instant sleep.

Whether it’s rain on the roof, a real ocean, or one on CD, give mama’s advice a try if you’re stressed. Be a water baby.

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