On taking the final step (or shave)

I have had this in the house for over a year, using it for regular shaving, which surprisingly, I have to do (neck and cheeks).

The other day, I don’t know what got into me, I took my shaving razor to my head. I have been shaving my head quite close for months, I have just not used anything but my Wahl, ‘Peanut’ hair trimmer to do so. I have avoided using anything with a blade since my skin loves to be nicked, and does so easily and frequently when I pass a razor over my skin. Even when I don’t actually nick it, it can open and bleed. Therefore, I have resorted to an electric shave.

Shaving my head has been one of the best things I have done, as I have mentioned before, perhaps one of the most liberating things I have ever chosen. I had feared, as most men do and yet don’t care to admit, hair loss. I had figured out when studying genetics in high school, that I was most probably safe. As it turned out, theories in the late sixties were off, well demonstrated on my pate.

I located a photo album for a friend the other day, to show her and her son photos of his possible exchange location in France that I have helped arrange. In it I saw myself at the age of forty-eight. I still had plenty of hair on the top, clearly losing it (in more than one way!), but still there.

At one point in this balding process, and being a long time hater of comb overs, I started cutting my hair really short, a style I wore for a long time, liberating me from the barber shop. As time went on it got shorter and shorter. Early last summer, I tried to shave it off with my electric trimmer and liked it.

As vain as we are, instead of being more self-conscious, I felt even less so, a serious surprise for me. I am thankful to all of the men who have preceded me by being courageous enough to let go of their follicular plumage and making being bald a possibility.

My biggest adjustment has been to the air. I cannot tell you how different it feels to have the air movement and feel the cool air on my head. At the beginning of the winter, I actually wondered if I would ever be able to go outside without a hat. As it happens, it was a slow adjustment, and I can actually do that.

Now that I have taken an actual razor to my head, thanks to a thirty-something student at Oakton I met while playing Santa, Joshua Rodriguez, I have the tools I need to actually shave my head with a razor (which is way faster and feels even better), without blood loss.

More to come…

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Good friends, dinner, and a play (An Inspector Calls)

The snow is in its melting stage.

Last night we had a wonderful time with our friends as we went downtown and took in a play at the Shakespeare Theatre on Navy Pier.

Our friends picked us up and we went downtown, braving the crazy traffic and yet somehow slipping through in way better time than any of us had expected. We had a wonderful dinner at Riva Crab House after giving over the car to the valet. The strange thing about the valet at Navy Pier is that once you get it validated by the restaurant (where we usually go anyway), the price is less expensive than parking it yourself in the adjacent parking area.

We always have an especially good time with our friends as we have so much in common: three sons, living in Deerfield, their being members of the same catholic parish we once belonged to, and also taking care of grandkids. More importantly, these are people who have a beautiful view of life, one that is imbued with a Carpe Diem, life is good set of themes, but also one that is completely aware of the reality that so much in life is less than perfect and thus we need to go with the flow. It is also nice being with people who are not judgmental and not imprisoned by a fear of the modern times we live in. In short, being with them is a sincere, heavy upper.

After finishing our meal, we sauntered down to the theatre on the other end of Navy Pier. There, we went into the theatre to see ‘An Inspector Calls,’ a completely British production of JB Priestley’s. Last night was their opening night and sitting beside us were the parents of a young man with a role in the play. He is a local boy, from Highland Park, and one of the few actors in the play that is not a Brit. It is a British Touring company, after all.

It was a very different play with a fantastic set and directed by Stephen Daldry. At first, it seemed tough to follow, but it soon morphed into a play that somehow reminded me of ‘A Christmas Carol,’ in that one had the sense of being warned of one’s culpability and of its ramifications. It pointed out as well that when things happen, we are all involved in the outcome, especially when our actions may have been negative or hurtful. Many of us do bad things, rationalize them, and then when we are not called out on them, forget whatever happened. The play really made the audience think.

Is there any better way to spend an evening than to have the opportunity to be with wonderful people, break bread with them, and see a great play? I don’t think so.

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More snow and a sense of ice storm

The weather outside is frightful.

I woke up to see a layer of snow that was over an inch. I was a bit surprised to see it. I ended up going outside and cleaning it off, ever fearful of not having done that and thus paying the price. I am still paying the price of a snow well over two weeks ago as there are still remnant ice patches.

My foray into snow removal took me almost half an hour. It was heavy and slushy and I feared for what it might have become had I not removed it.

I removed it and now it is raining.

It remains to be seen whether or not it shall be a situation of an ice storm and danger.

February weather can be crazy.

I did my stint at Oakton and tutored a student, did an ESL Hour session, and then a French session.

Luckily, despite my fears for the traction as I departed home, things were okay.

Today we are going to a play downtown and luckily I don’t have to drive. I am pleased about that. It is on Navy Pier and we drive up, park, eat dinner at Riva, and then go to the play.

Yesterday was a busy day as we had all four grandkids. Tomorrow it will be like withdrawal as we have only two. I think we shall survive.

Stewart has conked out by the grandfather clock and I need to feed him as we shall not be home for his dinner. I think he shall be okay. Stewart truly leads a charmed life.

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Photos, photos, and more photos

Most of the photos I have, and I have no idea how many there even are, are digitized. Actually, now that I think about it, I am not sure about that. For years I took slides as my main photographic tool. A few years ago, I decided to bite the bullet and I bought a printer that had the capability of digitizing more than one slide at a time. I don’t even remember how long that took but I finally got them all done.

For a bunch of years, I took photos. These I had organized with Mary Kay’s help into albums and put the overload into special photo boxes that I divided so as to appear as a mini-filing cabinet.

For whatever reason, the system I employ is one that got out of hand. When I went into the family room cabinet to retrieve some of my New Trier in France memories from the trips I took with my students, photos started falling out all over the place. Besides the boxes for photos, I also have large envelopes in which I have put photos of each of the sons, me, MK, and various family members. The bulk of the photos are elsewhere but these are handy if you want to find a photo of someone that is not digital. Anyway, it was a mess.

I brought out the albums after my new organization and put them on the shelves, but I am not sure that I want to leave them there. I mentioned to MK that we really don’t look at them very often and maybe we ought to put them in the crawlspace. That would be a pain, but the reality is that they are not often looked at.

By the end of the day, I had pretty much managed to get it under control. As I mentioned, I am not sure I like seeing all of the albums out since we really don’t access them. I am going to ‘sit on’ that one for about a week.

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Facing the impending snow shoveling and motivating myself

As I prepared to go downstairs and face the day, I saw that a pickup truck was in the driveway, scraping snow from our driveway, from our gate in the back to the street. That still leaves me a sizable amount of snow between the garage, the gate, and the patio (where one of our cars is parked). Thank you, Koerner Snow Removal Service! It doesn’t hurt having a son in the business. Usually I get to it before they do, using it as an exercise outlet. Call me crazy…

The snow is fluffy. That means it is a pleasure to push and remove.

I cannot motivate myself, however, to get out there, I just had coffee and a piece of toast and I have already been out, having walked Stewart after his breakfast.

It is so much easier for me to keep to my original rule, do something when you are there.

Of late, to waste less time, if I find myself in an area of the house where some attention is needed, I do it then, so as to avoid having to return to it later. It helps immensely.

It saves me from the hassle of perhaps being seated, and having to get up to do something since I have hopefully already done it. Overall, my current philosophy helps me out. I scope things out when I am in a particular area of the house and do what needs my attention before moving on.

I had planned that if I put in enough time shoveling that I will not go to the gym. As of right now, that remains to be seen since I don’t know if my shoveling time will suffice as an appropriate work out. As it turned out, it was almost an hour of work, even with the plowing that was done.

I almost feel like finding nonsense to put down in this Internet diary of mine so as to prevent myself from having to don clothing that I know I will soak despite the below freezing temps.

But no, I will stop and go out. The snow is calling me…

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