In my post of November 11, 2011, I mentioned an occasion when I was asked what my “favorite day” is. And I replied “Thanksgiving.”   It’s a long weekend.  Family time.  Detroit Lions on t.v. (yawn).  Christmas is on the way.  Well, it’s another November. Three years later.  Wow!  The days go slow and the years go fast.  Faster it seems every year. 

My best wishes to you for a wonderful, happy and blessed Thanksgiving weekend.  The Bears are playing the Detroit Lions so I may have to stay awake . . . zzzzzzzz. . . .

What keeps you awake at Night?

In my posts of March 19, 2012, and March 23, 2014, I talked about the RH’s remedies for falling (back) to sleep. The one point that I overlooked – and did not discuss – is the issue of “thinking.” What do you think about that keeps you awake at night?

I like most readers will wake up at night and think.  And worry.  I think about work.  What I have to do.  I think about and worry about family.  I think of aches.  Pains.  Problems.  Of family.  Friends.  Me.  I keep a pad of paper by the bed so that if I wake up thinking O’m’gosh – I forgot to . . . . . . .  I can lean over and write it down.  Of course in the morning, I look at what I wrote at 3:00 a.m. and it reads something like “xpoWm snork xipsdf glub greschhleb.”   What the %&*@x! was I trying to remember?

There’s something else that keeps me awake at night.  Maybe it’s just me.  It’s whether I am living up to my potential as a person.  Accomplishing the most I can with my time.  And talent(s).  Doing things that matter.  Being the best father.  Grandfather.  Husband.  Friend.  Attorney.  It’s not a “bucket list” (I really do not like that term as for many it applies to travel and “experience” rather than achievement).  

In the 7th game of the 2006 National League Championship Series,  no one will forget – that Carlos Beltran of the Mets stood there and took a called third strike with the bases loaded and two out.  And the Cards won the Pennant.  When things are drawing to a close, I don’t want to be accused of standing there.  Taking a called third strike.  Having regret about not trying to hit a home run or even a bunt single. Maybe it’s just me.       

Patrol Boys

When I was in 6th and 7th grade, I was a “patrol boy.”  I was given a white Sam Brown belt (a 3″ white belt with an angled strap from one hip to the opposite shoulder). And I was given power. I was the capo di tutti capi (or one of them) for Lincoln School in Mt. Prospect.  Donna was a patrol girl back in Rye, NY. 

I stood at the street corner. When kids wanted to cross the street,  I would thrust my arms out to the sides (“don’t go“).  When traffic slowed, I would step into the street and shove my arm into the air – stop! And cars would slow and stop.  It’s a patrol boy.  Kids would cross. I would step back and motion the drivers with an “as you were” wave.  6th grade.

Today, you see crossing guards who are older than dirt.   Some look old enough to be my grandfather (or grandmother).  Now that’s old.  Not as nimble as a patrol boy.  They wear iridescent vests, reflective hats, and they carry a monster “STOP” sign.  A few look like they’re geared up for a SWAT team.  I remember seeing one old guy wearing a helmet. 

I always wondered why the patrol boy era came to an end. Probably lawyers. And parents who worry about giving their child authority. Autonomy. Power.  Risk.  I frankly think it would be great if we could resume the patrol boy (and girl) era. Think about the sense of responsibility. Confidence. Growing up.  Yes – I know it’s a different time.  But it’s still the old protecting versus insulating children (see my offering of  11/21/13).   We want to give children wings.  And roots.   

Forbidden Cities

All people – of all faiths – are welcomed into the Vatican — the Holy See of Catholicism. All may tour Jerusalem – the Divine City of Judaism.  All may visit Nazareth, the birthplace of Jesus.  Lumbini, Nepal, the birthplace of Siddhartha Gautama is open to visitors.  The red carpet is out in Tokyo (and Edo’s Shinto shrines), the Seven Holy Towns (of Hinduism), Salt Lake City (home to the Mormon faith) and a host of other countries, cities and locales which are relevant to a particular religion or faith.

But heaven help you (no pun intended) if you try to enter the cities of Medina or Mecca in Saudi Arabia. You are carded at the door. And if you are not a Muslim, you are not welcome. If you try to get in, you will be booted out. Physically.  Why?  Because the Koran dictates:  “O ye who believe!  The idolaters are unclean.  So let them not come near the Inviolable Place of Worship. . . . ” (Surra 9:28).   And so based on this centuries-old Scripture, Muslims deny entrance to “Scott” “Donna” “Abigail” or “Rex.”  Expressways have checkpoints – much like toll booths – where your credentials are examined.  If you are “unclean,” you’re shown the bypass that takes you well out of your way — and far away from Medina or Mecca. 

Christianity and Judaism take a major beating these days from our government and our (allegedly) mainstream media.  A crèche or menorah?  Puh-leaseAre you a radical?  But just try and object to highly controversial Islamic practices, suffocating prejudice against women or demands for Sharia law in increasing locales in America – and the pinheads will condemn your speech as “discriminatory.”  Or worse.  And I’m the one who is unclean. . . . .

Today I became a Grandfather – Again!

It just happened.  Hours ago.  Elin (“Light” in Swedish) Louise was born.  8 pounds 9 ounces.  🙂  I have become a grandfather.  For the second time.  Lauren and Trent are floating on Cloud 9.  And Donna and I are ecstatic.  And Elin is to soon be greeted by her big sister Eve Victoria. 

The last few weeks have been preparatory.  Lauren has become increasingly “ready.”  And Eve has become keenly aware that there is a change in the wind.  And soon she would be a big sister.  And today – Wednesday, November 12th – is the day!!  As you know, I have posted occasionally about Eve.  But now Elin will be sharing center stage.   

I haven’t met Elin yet (that comes Thursday morning) but I know that she is special. Beautiful. Wonderful. The best. I can’t believe it. Today I became a grandfather.  Again.


When I’m with my buds on the golf course and we tee off on the first hole, a “Mulligan” is frequently offered for an errant tee shot. It happens only on the first tee. On the drive. We call it a “breakfast ball.” It’s a do-over.  Even if we’re playing for a few coins it’s “hit another – nobody saw that first one.”  During the round – a single Mulligan may also be given. Wherever you want to take it (except on the green). A do-over. . . . .

Wouldn’t it be nice if in life we had do-overs? Mulligans? For errant words or deeds.  Or behavior.  We do in a way though the granting of a do-over lies in the province of the recipient – or arbiter – of the errant words or deeds. It’s called “forgiveness.”  I am confident that we all have things we’d like to do over.  And we’re all grateful for the granting of forgiveness (or lack of ill consequence).  I’m sorry . . . . It’s okay.  No worries.  I know I’ve said some hurtful (or dumb) things and done some even dumber ones that I’d like to call back.  But in the words of the great poet Omar Khayyam:

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”

Our futures are for the most part in our own hands.  The “moving finger” business is probably a good reason to think before we act — or speak.  And knowing of our own fallibility – and frailty – better reason to be generous with the granting of Mulligans to others.  It’s okay.  No worries.   


Lemme get this straight.  Illegal immigration is a violation of federal law (as in every other nation).  Yet our government does not enforce its immigration laws.  We hand out drivers licenses, Social Security cards, free education, hospitalization, food stamps, the right to sue.  Even the right to vote in some places.  And the federal government sues states that try to enforce immigration laws.

Freedom of speech is guaranteed by the United States Constitution.  It is an absolute.  But just say the wrong thing or “offend” someone and you can be fired, go to jail or be sued.  Witness the public demonization and eternal branding of anyone caught using a politically-incorrect word or nuance.  The Constitution?  Puh-lease.   Your government and the media know better what speech is permitted.

Drugs – including marijuana – are banned under federal law. It is a crime to possess, sell or transfer.  And yet the federal government turns a blind eye to the open markets for drugs which are springing up around the country.  Selling pot gets a smile and a wink from Uncle Sam even though it’s illegal. 

Federal loans to college students (using taxpayer money) must be paid back.  With interest.  But now, our government is saying it’s okay to delay payment.  Or maybe forget it.   Obligations are ignored.  

There are federal guidelines for quarantines on those with potential communicable diseases.  Those who may have deadly viruses.  But – hey – if you feel okay, you can ignore the quarantine.

There are more and more examples of this.  We live in a new America where some federal laws means nothing.  Soooo I have an idea. Counterfeiting.  We can all use a few extra bucks.  What about running off ten dollar bills on color copy machines?  Or printing bills on your computer?  And using them when going to the market or shoe store?  Maybe pay taxes!  Even though there are federal laws against counterfeiting, I’m sure it will be okay.   Especially if you’re in the country illegally . . . .

Jim the Barber

I had a haircut today in the little one chair barbershop in Kenilworth.  Jim the Barber has been my barber for years. I’d called the day before and Jim said his only open time was 3:15. That didn’t work for me so Jim said “C’mon in at 9:30. I’ll open up early.” So I did. And he did.  Jim the Barber has been at it for pushing 50 years.  He is an institution.  In the neighborhood.  The community.  The North Shore.  When I walk in the door and someone is sitting in the chair, Jim always introduces me “Scott Petersen, I’d like you to meet. . . . ”  And when I’m in the chair and someone walks in, it’s the same.  You meet new friends.  And so it goes. 

I had my last haircut today from Jim the Barber.  He told me that he is retiring in a few weeks to help care for his wife.  Jim said he loved the work but he found it necessary to make a change to help out.  “Besides I’m 87 years old” he said – much to my surprise.  Jim looked around his barbershop and pointed to the chair (“from 1902“) and the mirrors on the wall (“from about 1920 taken from a barbershop in Winnetka“).  The décor is pure guy.  It’s great.  A monstrous poster of the 1983 Chicago Bears is on the wall.  Many photos of family and kids.  A collection of Little League stickers dating to 1959.  A host of barber paraphernalia.  Old bottles of hair tonic (does anyone buy that stuff anymore?).  I just had my hair cut a few hours ago.  For the last time by Jim the Barber.  As I left, I gave Jim a few extra bucks.  And my eyes were misty.  I will miss Jim.  Many will miss Jim.  I may never get another haircut.  In a year or so, I may look like Billy Gibbon of ZZ Top.