Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Archive for the category “Food”

A Shortage I Just Don’t Understand

Not since the great Liverwurst shortage at the beginning of the Covid19 pandemic, has my life been so affected. But it seems, there is a shortage of my favorite breakfast treat, the cinnamon fry from Publix. I do not eat them often, but oh are they ever the best when they are fresh and warm. Krispy Kreme eat your heart out.

Alas, the last several times that I have gone in search of these mouth-watering treats, now going on several weeks, the slot inside the bakery cabinet that they are normally located, is a replacement donut. When I ask, and plead with the employee how much I enjoy these baked goods, the person behind the counter acknowledges the fact that they are that good, but has no solid answer as to when to expect a new supply. Come on man, it is just dough and a couple other ingredients. This makes no sense. There is no shortage of dough.

Do you know what else makes no sense?

A self-created gas shortage. Now, in full disclosure, these are not my photos, but rather shared from other friends social pages, so I do not know if these are actually current pictures or where they are located. But besides the stupidity of the concept of rushing out to panic buy gasoline, when there is no shortage, is actually creating one. And I will at least give some credit to the ones using actual legal containers.

Ok, so this last one did happen today, and locally. Yep, can’t wait until this dope has to hit her brakes hard enough and the fuel starts slopping all over the car. Then again, she might be planning on re-enacting a Pinto episode (you have to be old enough to remember that fiasco).

A Russian hacker took advantage of our insufficient infrastructure and got into the system of one of our pipelines. It should never have happened, but the actions of the hacker shut down the flow of oil all along the east coast of the United States. That is the simple explanation. The hacking should be the only serious problem because, well, we have other things that are clearly vulnerable as well, such as our water supply, our electrical grids, and medical system just to name three. Our country is so behind in cyber security, these should be real issues. Instead, we, collectively, are creating another one, a self manufactured gas shortage.

First, there had been no shortage of gasoline to stations until people started going out, panic buying gas. The truth is, there was plenty of gas at the pumps and distributors until the panic buying started. Then the pipeline being shut down became a problem. In Florida, it was just sheer stupidity, because most of Florida does not rely on that pipeline, as it gets its fuel from Gulf resources.

So, there you have it. To quote Forest Gump, “stupid is as stupid does.” Once again, like the great toilet paper shortage of 2020, we have done it to ourselves again. Greed, hoarding, and just plain selfish behavior have done it again.

Now, about real shortage, how soon before those cinnamon fries come back in? What do we need to do to restore the flow of these yummy donuts?

I’m “Gonna Miss This”

It is inevitable.  It is something parents have to go through.  A child turning18.

Over the years, it has gone unnoticed by my daughters how many photos I have taken of them over their childhood.  It is safe to say, thousands.  They definitely notice now, and get teenage-level annoyed as I attempt yet another photo.  I try to explain to them, that I feel bad, as there are not many pictures of me with my parents to reflect on.  I want these pictures for them in the future.  And for me right now.

I spend a lot of my time, looking over time.  Time from when each daughter was placed into my arms to today.  I do this mainly in between visits with them, not being able to see them every day.

I realize, just because my daughter is turning 18, becoming an adult, she is always going to be my daughter.  I get that.  But right now, the world is not ready, or worthy of a child with such a beautiful and kind heart.  By the same token, the world does need someone like her, now, more than ever.

I have been celebrating with her this week, and she will turn 18 next week with her mother.  The next time I see her, she will be my adult child.  Gone are the days of reading bedtime stories, amusement rides, and lots of giggles being shared.  Now I have to hope that I have done all I can as a father to teach her the important things that will help her in life, from relationships, to careers, to money management, to being happy.

As a DJ, I spent a lot of Saturday afternoons doing weddings, and playing songs for Fathers and the brides, and annual Daddy/Daughter Dances.  And during each, I had the opportunity to play songs that would forever last in each and every dad’s heart as they heard it, and danced with their daughter.  As I look through the photos of my daughters, this soundtrack plays with an endless loop.  I love both of my daughters to the ends of this earth.  And as one becomes an adult, I am going to cling on to my other teen, for as long as I can.

So, I would like to share some special lyrics I have heard over the years.

Trace Adkins – “You’re Gonna Miss This”

“You’re gonna miss this.  You’re gonna want this back.
You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast.
These are some good times.  So take a good look around.
You may not know it now.  But you’re gonna miss this.”

Thomas Rhett – “Remember You Young”

“And hey, babies, crawling on the carpet, no, you won’t be that little for long.
One day, you’ll move away, but you’re still gonna stay this innocent after you’re gone.
‘Cause no matter how much time goes by, and no matter how much we grow up
For worse or for better, from now ’til forever, I’ll always remember you young.”
Alabama – “Never Be One”
“No. you’ll never be one again.  The two’s are tumbling on in.
Daddy’s little girl is growing up in the world.  You’ll never be one again.”
Tim McGraw – “My Little Girl”
“You’re beautiful, baby, from the outside in.  Chase your dreams, but always know the road that’ll lead you home again.
Go on, take on this whole world, but to me you know you’ll always be my little girl.”
Peter Cetera (of Chicago) – “Apple Of Your Daddy’s Eye”
“If I had my way, time would stand still.  You’d stay as sweet as you are.
But time waits for no one.  It never will.  Your gonna leave me soon enough.
I’m just sad ’cause you’re growing up.  Held you in my arms so tight.
I’d never forget the best years of my life.”
Al Martino – “Daddy’s Little Girl”
“You’re the end of the rainbow, my pot of gold, you’re daddy’s little girl to have and hold.
A precious gem is what you are, you’re daddy’s bright and shining star.”
Darius Rucker – “It Won’t Be Like This For Long”
“It wont be like this for long, one day soon that little girl is gonna be All grown up and gone.
Yeah this phase is gonna fly by, he’s trying to hold on, it won’t be like this for long.”
John Berry – “How Much Do You Love Me?”
“Children grow and years go by, moms and dads get grey.
Little girls get married and give their dinosaurs away.
They’ll live their grown up lives and call their daddies now and then.
And from a thousand miles away I’ll hear her on the stairs again,
“How much do you love me?”  “How much do you really care?”
I touched heart, spread my wings and said, “All the way to there”.”
Steve Kirwin – “My Little Girl”

“You wrapped me ’round your finger, your smile made me melt.
I wished so many times I would’ve told you what I felt.
From your first steps to sweet sixteen, the rush of memories feels like a dream.

I see the woman in you, but for my whole life through, you’ll always be my little girl.”

Happy birthday to my “ting ting”.

One Year Later

Although the warnings had been coming for a couple of months already, this is the time of year that changed for most of us, a health crisis that most of us had never witnessed before, perhaps not even read about in the history books.  Personally, I would rather just enjoy some meatballs or a nap.

Our country was facing a pandemic like never thought possible, for one reason.  We should have learned our lesson over a hundred years earlier.  But we did not.  Just as a hundred years ago, we faced a virus with no vaccine, no known treatment.  What we did have, was the experience of what we knew not to do as this virus would spread worse than wildfire.  And yet, instead of learning from history, we repeated it.

There was no plan to deal with the virus really.  Science was pitted against politics.  Soon, our country would be at its most divided point ever arguing feelings over facts.

Science is not exact.  It is trial an error.  The vaccine for polio did not happen on the first shot (pun intended).  A pill for insomnia was not discovered overnight.  I could go on.

But instead of recognizing the “trial and error” process of science, it was just easier for many to just say, “see, they don’t know what they are talking about.”  And then, enter the political rhetoric, because, those who took feeling over fact, saw any concern expressed by those side with facts over feeling, shouting concerns of the need to do more, prepare, prevent, protect, instead was an attack on their president.  And the only way to protect that president was to deny reality.  It is what it is.  And now, we have over 525,000 dead Americans, over 2 million world wide, from Covid19.  That is fact.

But a year ago, those of us who live by fact over feelings, made conscious decisions.  We heard the experts, scientists.  Sure, some politicians, and plenty of our neighbors and friends contradicted the scientists, but we knew that we had to have faith in those that knew what to do.  Sure, mistakes were going to be made.  But in the end, we expected to get through this.  Certainly, we did not expect it to reach a year, hoping for maybe one or two seasons.  Yet here were are, and though an end is in sight, we still have a ways to go, and still so many disagree with each other.

When it comes to having to sacrifice, I, and many others may have an advantage, being cancer survivors.  We have already gone through life, having to restrict our activities for our own good.  In fact, it is our own experience with science, that saved our lives.  This is why I trust science.

I made the difficult decisions last year, and continue them today, because they are what has been recommended.  Some of these changes have been good ones, long overdue.  Eating in.  My doctors are certainly pleased with weight loss resulting from not eating out, where I would dine on salt and fat loaded foods.  At home, I cook with no salt, and lean portions of meat.

Honestly, I do not miss “greetings” with hugs and kisses at all.  These things always gave me the willies because these gestures I felt were always meant for people that you felt strongly about.  Not as a general salutation.  Just seems so fake and awkward to me.  Even the handshake, while in general I do not have a problem with, I am okay with saying “goodbye” to it.  I will say over this year, I have seen way too many hands go up to mouth and nose, and then not get washed.

I have missed movies and concerts, but even now, many have learned how to stay relevant with streaming services.  The best thing?  Great concessions, free parking, and no traffic once it is over.  But I miss going to the local music scene as well.  Music is how I relax.  In fact, one of my favorite activities I like to do, and need to do, is karaoke.  I use this to exercise my lungs, damaged from my treatments for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  Beats inhaling and exhaling with a spirometer.  And, given the nature of Covid19, it is important I keep my lungs as good as they can be.

But the hardest thing for me to deal with over the past year, was my children.  Being divorced, we live a great distance from each other, far enough to require flying.  In the beginning, as we dealt with nothing but unknowns, I had decided that it would not be safe for me to travel to see them, because of my obvious vulnerabilities, nor, to have them travel to me.  I would miss each of their birthdays, Father’s Day, and a couple of other visits.  Being older, my daughters understood the risks and agreed, that until more was known about how to deal with the situation, we would just have to settle for video calls like Facetime and Houseparty.

During the Summer, as more became known, and more precautions being taken, it was time to see what could be done about getting to see my daughters again.  After serious considerations, and all things considered with risks and precautions, both with human mitigation and engineering, we felt it would be okay, following the precautions, to fly.  Wearing masks and washing hands is one thing, but the one concern, being inside the aircraft, that went against guidelines for being “indoors” in close proximity more than 15 minutes was the only thing to be addressed.  And it was addressed through engineering with an air exchange system, circulating the air rapidly enough, not to allow transmission.  It made it possible to see my daughters again in person.

So here we are, a year later.  And just like many other outbreaks I have lived through, and lived with over the years with my vulnerabilities, I am learning to live with this.  I know we are finally heading in a direction that will get this under control finally.  I do feel that we will likely have at least one more hiccup as people “touch the trophy before playing the championship game”, celebrating too soon.

When I saw this image, which occurred in Boise, Idaho over the weekend at a “burn the mask” rally, this is what confirms the likelihood of another hiccup.  And what is worse, besides the fact that it makes a mockery of all the first responders who have cared for patients who had Covid19 or died from it, but is completely disrespectful to the millions who have lost their lives.  And this is what these children have been taught by this act.  I get it.  Some people don’t want to wear a mask, but it is not because they don’t believe it has some protective qualities at the minimum.  It is more of a statement against, and that is a foolish stance to take, and why we are still dealing with this a year later.


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