Longing For The Slow and Happy Bungalow Days

So I used to hear from my wife about when she was young and went to the bungalow colony in the Catskill Mountains.


And today, I heard from a wonderful young Ukrainian woman whose family does the equivalent in the mountains there in the summer. 


When I listen to the stories, it sounds so good to get away with your family and friends for the summer to the countryside. 


Just live simply in a cabin, stay up late by the campfire singing songs, get up lazily in the morning, and during the day play sports, go fishing, and swim in the lake. 


I can’t imagine talking 3 months a year and actually being able to do this…so natural, so carefree, so back to living!


Yes as kids, we went to camp, but it’s not the same as living communally like this in such freedom and fun. 


Honestly, listening to the stories about this, left me amazingly jealous!


Perhaps, it’s a lesson about life these days…we’re adults, we’re responsible, we have to earn a living and take care of the bills and all of life’s responsibilities. 


But maybe, just maybe, there is something–a lot–to be said for letting loose a little, and just being with your loved ones, and living, really living again. 


Why do we have to wait until we’re old…too old to work anymore…and maybe too old to appreciate life as life was meant to be. 


We can’t run from our responsibilities but isn’t it worth looking for ways in life to enjoy more than a long weekend or a week vacation.


Life is too short to let it get away from us. 


Balancing the contributions of our hard labor with the enjoyment of family, friends, and fun…those are the memories that last a lifetime and beyond. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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That Look On Their Face

So I love that look on people’s face when I say something that just startles them or takes them back a little. 


The other day when I got a haircut, the barber lady was talking to me (BTW, she’s a very nice person).


At one point, she says something about my hair being a little different on each side. 


So I blurt out something like:


“Well, that’s because my brains are pushing it out!”


I got the funniest look from her…yes, it was priceless.


First, she’s like right, of course, your brains are pushing out your hair!


Then, she looks at me, and I start smirking, and she gives me the big eyes and raised eyebrows, like a combination of that’s funny and now don’t be such a wise guy. 


Then, we both started laughing. 


I love that. 


I love doing that with people. 


Being alive. 


Getting a reaction. 


Making them wonder for a second. 


Getting them to smile and laugh. 


Maybe my brains are pushing my hair out!  😉


(Source Art: Sean M., 8th Grade Montgomery County and Photo by Andy Blumenthal)

Everyone Deserves A Day of Rest and Happiness


So someone I know came over to this country and literally has to work 7 days a week for months at a time!


They don’t want or need to work that much, but their employer insists that’s the way it is. 


On top of it, they don’t even get overtime for all the unbelievable hours they have to put in. 


One day, this person actually just broke down in incredible tears, just asking to get a single day off. 


Finally, finally, finally–the employer gave in–for just a single day!


The person was so happy–one day of freedom; one day to enjoy; one day to regain their inner beauty and humanity. 


I was so happy for them!


Every person deserves at least one day off per week. 


Every single one of the major religions in the world that is anchored in the Bible–Judaism, Christianity, and Islam–have a holy Sabbath as a day of rest.


There is a divine and ancient wisdom to this. 


People need a day to rejuvenate.


Everything is nature does.


Even the fields have to lay fallow every 7th year so the earth can revitalize and replenish itself. 


There is a natural cycle to things–peaks and valleys–and we need to have some rest and relaxation–to work for something and not for nothing. 


The joy on this person to just have a day off–it was so incredible and touching. 


It spoke light years to me about treating people right–just–humanly–with compassion–and doing good over evil in this world.


What does the employer need to wring an extra days work out of their employees for the rotten greed of money and profits?  


Better to care for your people, and they will be better off for it and thus to the needs of the business and its customers. 


Care for people–they are people. 


Love people–they are G-d’s beautiful children. 


Treat others as you would like to be treated. 


Let everyone have a day of rest and something to look forward to–to enjoy, to have some happiness, to get time with their family and friends, to get back to themselves, to attain a deserved and proper peace of mind, body, and soul. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)  

Square Trees

So I never saw square trees until I visited Palm Beach, Florida. 


What’s the saying:

“It’s hip to be square!”

I definitely had to take a doubletake when I saw these. 


Wherever we were going, I was gonna stop and get a photo of this. 


These trees are almost as if they are from another planet. 


What planet would have square trees? 


Hope you enjoy it. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Terrible TV

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So we bought a new big screen television. 


That’s exciting, right?


We brought it home from Costco. 


And we gave our prior model away to a family member. 


It was a shlep to move that $2,000 Panasonic behemoth from 2007!


By the time we got back home and connected our new LG TV, oy vey what a disappointment. 


It had this brilliant display in “test mode” that when hooked up to the cable box looked dark and worse than lackluster. 


Even when fidgeting with the settings to offset the dark screen, the gorgeous test display mode still came out looking like crap in actual tv mode. 


But the worst part was that there was a black line down the middle right of the screen. 


When we looked it up on the Internet, it was a known error. 


The instructions said to call LG and make a service appointment. 


WTF!  To heck with this sh*tty TV–it’s supposed to be brand new and actually work–so it’s going back to Costco where this crappy product came from. 


I dragged this widescreen TV back to the store and put it on one of their flat wide carts. 


The problem was that the wheels on one side of the cart were busted, and it kept turning into the fence, store shelves, and wall.


When the lady behind the returns desk called me for my turn, I tried to push the cart and it wouldn’t move. 


Not being able to budge this thing,  I gave it shove forward and the TV went flying from upright to horizontal–SMASH!


The lady behind the returns counter goes to me sarcastically:


“So what was wrong with it BEFORE you just knocked it over???”


Well to make a long story short, I returned the lousy LG television and got a refund. 


And instead ordered a new Samsung curved TV from Amazon–hope this one works!


As for the horrible quality control of today’s electronics–it’s a shame that they can’t seem to make them without problems–they’ve only been making televisions for like 100 years or so. 


In fact, we recently bought a Dell laptop and within like 5-6 weeks, the motherboard died.  


As you can see, the vendors are wringing profits from the products they are making at the customer’s expense. 


There is no quality control to speak of–instead be ready to return the junk electronics to the garbage vendors that make them. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Today is Father’s Day

What a beautiful Father’s Day card from my daughter. 


Also, the message she wrote to me inside was so thoughtful and mature. 


It is wonderful for me to see her grow up to be such a lovely young lady. 


The cover of the card:

“Father:
Neither an anchor to hold us back, 
nor a sail to take us there, 
but a guiding light whose
love shows us the way.”


As parents, we certainly don’t have all the answers either for ourselves or certainly for our children. 


And frankly, the kids don’t want us to tell them what to do or how to do it. 


The best we can really do is to be there for them–to spend time with them, to support them, to show them we really care, and to provide perspective, balance, and faith. 


I used to love going to my parent’s house even if just to lay on the couch and feel the comfort of being “home” and with them. 


I didn’t have to think about what I did or said–I could just be me, and they loved me for that. 


Now, I want my home to be that for my kids. 


Even though they are adults now, they know we are always here for them in any way that they want or need us. 


Our home is always their home. 


Our love is always surrounding them. 


My father used to say, he would go through fire for his family, and I always knew he meant it. 


I could count on him for anything.


I miss him always, and especially today, Father’s Day. 


But I can carry on his fatherhood to my children and try to be a good dad–there, and loving and giving–no bounds, no expectations, no judgment–just love, plain and simple. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Making A Real Difference

I saw this sign posted at an organization’s office. 


I thought it was a nice way to motivate people working there. 

“What people are saying:
You are making a difference.”


Later in the sign, it says:

“The work you do is important.”

Isn’t this really what is critical to people–that what they do is important. 


Yes, we need to earn a living and pay our bills. 


And sure, we’d like something left over to save for a rainy day. 


But our lives are more than materialism. 


We are spiritual beings inside. 


At the pinnacle, we need to know that our lives mean something!


– That we are touching people’s lives. 


– That we will be remembered for the good we did. 


– That our good deeds and words will live on. 


– That our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren (etc.) will carry the lessons and message forward. 


– That we’ve contributed in some meaningful way to the fight of good over evil in this world and the next. 


– That we’ve shown proper respect and worship to our L-rd/Maker/Sustainer. 


When we make a difference, it’s about so much more than what money can buy. 


It’s about our soul, our contribution, and even destiny.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)