Month: June 2015

If We Were Having Coffee #8 – Not Your Usual Suspects

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If we were having coffee, I would have a number of choices to offer you today. I have hazelnut, Columbian, that decaf breakfast blend that won’t go away, and a Lavazzo Classic. I’m going with the Lavazzo and a Cold Stone Creamery Sweet Cream.  I’m really loving Lavazzo coffee. The package says it’s Italy’s favorite. I wonder if it is but I would bet there is a menu in Italy offering Pabst Blue Ribbon as America’s favorite beer. You just never know.

It’s raining here in New York so I can’t think of anywhere better to enjoy our coffee than my back porch and the beautiful view it offers of the woods behind my house. A teasingly slow drizzle that has graced us for hours now.

It’s been a busy three weeks since I have posted here. I’ve had a birthday, enjoyed Father’s Day, watched my youngest play his last Little League game, and last night, proudly watched my oldest son graduate high school. It didn’t rain last night so his high school held the graduation outside. Perfect.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the event was bittersweet for me as a parent and I suspect it was bittersweet for many of the teenagers graduating. I know it was for me as a teen. I remember standing around on the football field realizing it was over, my immediate thoughts being a reflection on what I had accomplished. I was a straight “A” student, top 5% of my class, and I played football.  That was it. And I had instant regrets that I had not gotten involved more. I then walked around in a daze looking for any of my family members who might have attended. There were none which is a long story in itself.

Because of that, and similar experiences my wife had in high school, we’ve continually pushed my son to make the most of his time. If you’ve read my posts before, you know he has despite the small case of senioritis he contracted sometime this year. He wasn’t alone. There seemed to be an epidemic but the kids worked through it along with their teachers and their parents.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I’ve heard enough feel good graduation speeches that often sound the same. We are the new generation, we are going to change the world, it’s our time now, etc. etc., blah blah blah….  Last night was different.

Three speeches were given by students and although they were all good, there was one that resonated with me. The young lady who gave the speech has been one who has struggled in the past giving speeches. Chalk it up to shyness, youth, or whatever you want. She opened her speech confessing her feelings of being uncomfortable speaking in public. She then went on to discuss her gratefulness to the community, her educators, her friends, and her family for the impact and role they have all played in her and her classmates lives. Thankfulness. It was sincere, very personal, and it made me want to cry.

As parents, we would like to think we are solely responsible for molding or guiding our children. For lack of a better word, that’s bullshit. I don’t want to quote any It Takes a Village verbiage because I don’t particularly care where that speech originated (no offense to you fans) but last night I realized that it really does. Our children our influenced by their peers, their community, their educators, social media, their heroes, celebrities, their siblings, and of course their parents.  Not your usual suspects and all play a role, like it or not. Because of that, all bear some responsibility. They are kids. They are our kids, our friends’ kids, the communities’ kids.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’m very proud of my son and his class of 2015. The realization that high school is over for him is still not sinking in today. Maybe it will tomorrow. We leave for new student orientation at the university he will be attending. The next chapter begins and with more people who will play a role in the man that my son is becoming.

Until next time…

My son

My son

 

If We Were Having Coffee #7

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If we were having coffee, I would only have a breakfast blend to offer you today. I’m having coconut creamer in mine. I never knew coconut creamer existed until the other day when my wife brought some home. I think I like it.  I wish I could offer you a new coffee we have been drinking over the last week by Lavazzo. It was an Italian Blend and has to be the best coffee I’ve had yet in our Keurig. It’s gone now and our local market is already out of it.

It feels good to say hello this morning because I haven’t posted in a few weeks.  The week before last, I worked in Houston for the entire week and had a lot do there in a short amount of time.  I got there on Memorial Day and was there for all the big storms and flooding. I was fortunate that the only flooding I witnessed was an underpass near my hotel where two freeways intersected.  A slight detour for me the first morning of work was my only inconvenience.  So many others there weren’t so lucky.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I got back in time to see my youngest son play baseball on Saturday and a county scholarship event for my oldest son on Sunday. I’ve traveled enough to know I should leave a day buffer for important events.  There was a second scholarship event at my son’s high school on Tuesday night this week and between the county and local scholarships, my son did well.  He won three different scholarships. The one I was most proud of him for was the one awarded to the top two girls and top two boys of his graduating class.

We live in a small community in one of the less affluent counties in New York yet between the county and his local high school, we witnessed well over three hundred thousand dollars being awarded to kids. At just his high school, almost fifty percent of his graduating class received something. That is amazing and a continual reminder to me of how our community gives back. We are truly blessed.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I’ve been making time to read but haven’t been writing for the last month.  There’s just been too much going on. I’m OK with that. No self-imposed deadlines to stress me out.  I will make time in a few more weeks after my son’s graduation.  I have a short story to wrap up and send off to my editor than back to work on my novel.  I read a great article on the plane last week about outlining and decided to try a few of the author’s suggestions. Winging it has been somewhat of a departure from my technical training (day job) and I can see where a little more structure could save me time. Even with an outline, there’s always room for creative tangents.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I need to cut it short today because I really should mow our yard. I would put it off until tomorrow after work but the forecast is for rain. I love sitting on our back porch during the rain and there’s just something about a freshly cut lawn that enhances the experience. Everything is so green right now and the woods behind our house are full, leaving only little openings where we might catch a glimpse of a deer or two. Birds are another story and this time of year we see, and just as importantly, hear so many. I’m not a bird watcher but I am starting to become familiar with their chirps. I think I successfully talked back to one the other day. Well, at least in my mind it was a success.

I’m also taking the time today to sit down with one of my son’s classmates who is also a dear family friend to us.  Just a little guidance through the whole college application/financial process to help her see how it’s very doable. Thankfully I’ve learned quite a bit about this over the last seven or eight months and she still has time.

I hope you have had a wonderful weekend!

Until next time…

Weekend Coffee Share is hosted each week bPart Time Monster

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