Lydster: acorn turns into an oak tree

trimming trees

I was musing to my wife that sometimes it’s difficult to hit on a topic for a blog. “It’s not as though you can write, ‘An acorn turns into an oak tree.’ Where’s the narrative?”

My wife says, “You know that oak tree that’s in the backyard?” It would be difficult not to. It’s about a meter from the fence. Our absentee landlord neighbor complains about the occasional branch that falls into his yard. And I’m sure that he’s annoyed by the leaves he has to rake every autumn.

“That tree began the year that our daughter was born.” Huh. I did not remember that. Some squirrel undoubtedly got an acorn from somewhere else but dropped it onto our lawn. Now it’s the largest tree in our yard, bigger than the spruce and maple. That’s not unlike the fact that our daughter is now taller than her parents are. The little acorn we had is becoming a mighty oak.

About five years ago, my wife called a tree service to trim back the older trees. She asked the guy if he thought the oak tree also needed tending. He said, rather effusively, “Oh, no. Let it grow freely.” NOW, all of them need to be cut back, lest they interfere with some low-hanging wires.

Messenger

Here’s an odd thing. My daughter and I often communicate on Facebook Messenger even when she’s IN THE HOUSE. And it’s not, “I’m home” or “You’ve got mail.” The discussions are usually some sort of philosophical treatise. Would she become lazy if she could take advantage of nepotism? Or a bizarre conversation comparing Jerry Maguire with Jerry Seinfeld.

Texting is not my preferred method of communication. I prefer to talk. It’s mostly because I’m more likely to mistype what I meant, which confuses her. But one must meet people where they are, and for her, it’s on the cellphone.

When is a father’s job done?

Mongoose is gone

When is a father’s job done? I’ve been musing about this a lot, probably because it’s Father’s Day. The photo is of my father when he was young, posted by the younger of my two sisters on Facebook about a month ago. I don’t know just how old he is, but he is at 13 Maple Street in Binghamton, NY, the house my grandmother and my mother both grew up in.

As I’ve noted, my father, who was born in 1926, almost certainly didn’t know his biological father, the Rev. Raymond Cone. His mother, Agatha Walker, married McKinley Green, pictured here, in 1931. But Agatha and Mac were separated by 1936. In the 1940 Census, Agatha Green and Les Green ((misspelled as Greene) were living with HER father.

Yet in 1942, there was a photo in the local paper of a bunch of Boy Scouts and their dads. On the left were Les and McKinley Green. But it wasn’t until September 13, 1944, three weeks before Les’ 18th birthday that Les was legally adopted by Mac, who was back with Agatha.

My father was involved in the post-World War II occupation of Germany in 1945 and 1946. He married my mother, Trudy Green, on March 12, 1950, in the very room where the piano he’s leaning on is located. By 1954, my parents and I were living downstairs at 5 Gaines Street, and Mac and Agatha were living upstairs.

I wonder if less ever sought Mac’s advice? Certainly, I never witnessed it, but that’s hardly proof.

Me and my dad

Reading through my diaries in 1971 and 1972, when I was 18 and 19, I see that I talked with my father a lot. I didn’t always AGREE with his advice. And sometimes he was in that “black cloud” mode where he was impossible to talk with. My sisters will verify this.

My real breakthrough with my dad wasn’t until the 1980s when I was in my thirties. I was in Charlotte, NC, visiting him, my mom, and my younger sister. He was telling me that he talked about me and my intellectual curiosity with his co-workers. I was in SHOCK. WHAT? Really? It took me by surprise.

Me and my kid

My daughter is getting ready for college. At some level, she is looking forward to getting away from the ‘rents, and that’s understandable and welcome.

On the other hand, she still needs her father to get rid of the millipede crawling along the wall near the ceiling. I said, ‘when you’re off to college, you’re going to have to deal with that kind of stuff on your own. (The song Riki Tivi Tavi by Donovan is running through my head at the moment.) But, quoting the musical Hamilton, NOT YET. She still needs her daddy, and that’s OK.

The extra Paul McCartney tickets

passion

paul-mccartney-out-thereAs I have noted, my daughter and I saw a certain musician at the Knickerbocker Arena* in Albany on July 5, 2014.

I really wanted to see this show, so I went to some secondary seller online site to get Paul McCartney tickets. It wasn’t until the transaction was complete that I realized that I had made a purchase for the Pittsburgh show two days later. The layout of the Consol Energy Center looked quite similar to the Albany venue. I don’t know why I had it in my mind that the Albany performance was on the 7th; I even initially wrote that in my review.

A month later, a friend of mine gave me a lead to get better tickets for the Albany show, and at a cheaper price. I bought two MORE tickets for the 5th. I figured my wife, my daughter, someone else and I would attend.

But when I offered my wife the opportunity to go, she seemed rather indifferent. “Yeah, I guess so.” It wasn’t really the enthusiasm I was looking for, whereas my daughter was psyched. I suspect the amount of money I had now spent might be driving my need for more passion.

In the end, I gave the more expensive pair to a couple at church. They have had season tickets for the Albany Symphony Orchestra for several years. When they couldn’t go, they would offer them to my wife and me. This seemed like a way to pay them back.

Steel City

But what to do with the pair of tickets for the July 7 Pittsburgh show? At first, I contemplated going, but I didn’t want the expense of flying there or taking the time required to ride the bus. I attempted to sell them online without success. Yeesh, I couldn’t let them go to waste.

Finally, on either July 3 or July 5, I searched for a radio station in the Pittsburgh market that I thought had the right playlist; don’t remember which one. I called them up and asked if they could give away two Paul McCartney tickets for the July 7 show. Naturally, they were suspicious that this was a ruse. But they said that if I had them, they could and would give them away. So I emailed them the electronic tickets.

That was my story that I needed to share on the eve of Paul McCartney’s 80th birthday.

* The arena in Albany has had a few name changes. After the Knick, it became the Pepsi Arena, then the Times Union Center, which it was in 2014, and now the MVP Arena. So I just call it the Knick.

Lydster: scrub a street of Albany?

most artistic

Most Albanians – i.e., people from Albany, NY – know, the city has been holding the Tulip Festival every May since 1949. This started during the 40+ year reign of mayor Erastus Corning. It is the city’s “signature spring event featuring annual traditions rooted in the City’s rich Dutch heritage.”

We love our tulips in Albany much as they do in Holland, MI. Washington Park is strewn with them every year, different varieties planted at staggered times to maximize the beauty regardless of the vagueries of the 518 spring.

As part of the tradition, started in the Netherlands, young women in costume would ceremonially scrub a street, a small section of State Street, prior to the celebration. It’s a bit kitschy, I know, but I would often watch it when I was working downtown.

My daughter was one of eight people from her high school’s senior class chosen for the task on Friday, May 6. It would involve getting picked up from school at 10:30, participating in a photo session at 11 at City Hall. The ceremony with the mayor is at noon, then symbolic scrubbing of the street until 12:20. Lunch at the mayor’s office, then returning to school by 1:30. We all thought this was rather cool.

But she can’t go. She has her Advanced Placement final in Economics on that very day at noon, and that is inflexible. We’re all a little disappointed that she can’t participate in this Tulip Festival activity.

College

At the same time, we recognize that she had accomplished quite a bit in her high school, despite the very disruptive COVID interruptions and distance learning. In that senior superlatives thing they still do, she won most artistic, which is no surprise.

I’m looking forward to the final decision on what college she will be attending. That is, I can’t wait, so I can clear out my email inbox. She applied to eight colleges and was accepted at seven. They are all in New York State or New England. Since she has to give them MONEY by May 1, this will be determined VERY soon.

Changing up the morning ritual

Quordle

Daily Quordle #51
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I’ve been changing up the morning ritual in the past, lessee, two years. Formerly, I would get up, check the email, and perhaps work on the blog, But at 7 a.m., my wife and I would go downstairs and watch CBS This Morning, now CBS Mornings, to watch “your world in ninety seconds.”

When the headlines were unrelentingly about COVID – the spread of COVID, the death toll of COVID – I sometimes passed on the opportunity to start my day with misery. Presently, I’ve been feeling similarly about Ukraine. I guess I’m more equipped to deal with distress in the evening. Besides, I tend to get enough news from various news outlets during the day.

Instead, I do the daily Wordle. I should note that my wife is MUCH better at this than I am, just as she’s better at Boggle. My daughter is better, too. Wordle has become an odd family bonding experience.

I’ve repeatedly told my wife she’d rule on Wheel of Fortune. We actually have the home game, a consolation prize from when on JEOPARDY! and our comparative scores prove my point. But at least we all still have our Wordle streaks going, unlike some people.

FOUR words

Then I attempt Quordle. The first several times I never got the four words in the nine tries. My mistake was to work it like I played Wordle. I know now to try to expose as many letters by finding three or even four words that hit most of the consonants. I’ve been much more successful.

After wishing my wife goodbye, I go back into the office. The cats want to be fed. I HAD been giving them nourishment at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. But with the stupid time change, if I attend them at 7 and 7, when we “fall back”, they’d be caterwauling to get food at 6 and 6.

This is just one reason that I’m OK with the idea of changing to permanent Daylight Saving Time, even though it’ll be dark on December mornings. I’ve made my feelings about changing the clocks quite clear here. (I’m essentially agreeing with  Marco Rubio; this pains me.)

After finally feeding the felines, I take my blood pressure and my pulse to make sure I’m not dead. THEN I eat. The rest is the usual alternating of email/blogging to music, riding the stationary bike while watching TV (JEOPARDY, 60 Minutes, Finding Your Roots, Trevor Noah, et al), washing the dishes/reading the newspaper to music. This may be altered by a medical appointment, Bible study, grocery shopping, or the eternal “something else,” that unexpected task that sucks up hours in the day.

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