Music reloads strong memories from my life!

“A film is – or should be – more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what’s behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.” ~ Stanley Kubrick

I would be hard-pressed to identify the first music I ever heard my mother and father playing on our family phonograph. I couldn’t tell you the genre, artist, or whether it was pressed on a 45 RPM, 33 RPM or 78 RPM patter — yes, they had them all! Mom’s influence was to the early rock-n-roll of Bill Haley, Buddy Holly, Tom Jones, and the Strawberry Alarm Clock. Dad was pure Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Sr. and George Jones. I can’t remember who of them bought “Peter and The Wolf,” a recording in 1953 by the Boston Pops Orchestra; but I DO remember Mom asking us kids to listen for the various instruments that portrayed the different animals in the music.

Music was a big part of our family life, and I eventually DID begin paying attention. Once the change came over me, I began (and still do) associate music to so many memories of my past. In a way, music is the chapter index of the best times of my past, present (and ongoing) life.

Studies show that I’m not unique — we all use music in some way to see us through our day-by-day. If not as a memory tickler, it’s often used to reduce stress, change our moods, drive our energy levels for exercise, and to simply keep us company when we’re alone.

Amazing Power of Music (link to article)

In fact, as I write this I’m listening to an all-time favorite album – Bridge Over Troubled Waters by Simon and Garfunkle — an album that always bring on excellent memories of my sister Cindy, who bought this album and played it out!   Today, the music of Paul Simon tends to make me creative…I can’t tell you why – specifically — it just does! Music evokes so much more from me than the sounds of the blathering TV in the background. Maybe that’s a small part of what’s ailing current pre-teens and teens — not enough variety of music and TV’s for babysitters?  Well, that’s another chapter in my blog for another time.

As I close out, here’s a list of very specific songs that I listen to with regularity…solely for the emotions the evoke. What’s your list sound like?

1965: Help! The Beatles. My cousin Kathy who was 10 years older, came to live with us for a year. In addition to be a difficult girl for my parents to handle she introduced me to the Fab Four. I can’t thank her enough.

1966: Wipeout – The Surfaries. One of my Mom’s albums. After hearing this severeal times, I memorized the drum solo (at age 7) and would practice playing it in our backyard on the bottom of a plastic pickle bucket. A neighbor friend of mine soon started responding in kind from his yard!

1968: Indian Lake – The Cowsills. The summer picking strawberries at a local farm. This blasted from the radio the older kids set up at the collection center. I’ll never forget the Row Boss picking on me one day and my walking 5 miles home feeling dejected.

1970: Evil Ways – Santana. Sitting in my friend Paul’s bedroom listening to this album and having his 18 year old babysitter (she was hot, and I had a crush!) explain the symbolism of the cover art.

Cosmos Factory – Credence Clearwater Revival. “Traveling Band” had already had a chart peak at #2. “Who’ll Stop The Rain,” the single’s B- side, hit #13. I played these over and over until I had all the lyrics memorized (45’s didn’t include cover art).

The Beatles announce their breakup and we all wondered if “Let It Be” would be the last music we’d ever hear from them. Some call it the second “Day the music died.”

73 to 77: High school years. My high school band played “25 or 6 to 4” by Chicago at every assembly, football and basketball game. It’s really a wonder I like that song. We used music to get pumped up for football games; to study; it was a time for my first-ever slow dance with someone other than my Mom (“Dream On” – Aerosmith (1976)). Then thinking that nothing would ever top Deep Purple (“Smoke on the Water” ’75) or Fleetwood Mac (“Rumors” album ’76)…and watching live as MTV debuts with “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles.

Video Killed the Radio Star – The Buggles

78 to 82 – College years. Where the best sound I ever heard from a home music system was Pink Floyd – “Wish You Were Here,” and attending live shows that came to Seattle became a staple. The dawn AND sunset of the Disco era – where lot’s of disco and funk played in the men’s locker room at Husky Stadium (Commodores, Wild Cherry, and Earth Wind & FIre). Where I came to love the sound of Blondie – Eat to the Beat – and met the woman who would be my wife. Blondie’s “Dreamin'” was her album. My love of Billy Joel’s writing (again, an introduction by my wife) made me a die-hard fan (Piano Man); leading to seeing him each and every time he and his band visited Seattle or Tacoma. And finally — Aerosmith – “Big 10 Inch Record” – music of the first dance with the woman who would be my wife.

Until next time…Cheers!

Can we just get a health decision on Caffeine — please?!

Today’s post comes courtesy of three hours of restless sleep.  If I fade into a ramble of utter nonsense, stick with me — I’ll come around to the my point again…eventually.  And while the occasional bad night’s sleep is far from unusual, I’m not so sure we do much about them except pray for deep slumber the following night.  But I can’t seem to let it lie.  I have to diagnose “why,” determine a “what,” and conclude with the “how” I’m going to prevent a recurrence.  It’s my nature…I’m a Controller-Analyzer…I can’t be helped.  When it was all boiled down to a heaping mass of confusion, a simple change in my daily habits seemed to be the culprit!

Recently, I’d cut my usual intake of caffeine from four cups (grande, or viente specifically) to nada.  Yep…complete cold turkey.  I had help and I’m not ashamed to tell you about it.  We’d lost electricity in a February storm for about four days…days I was not going to the office…and  with no means to make coffee, and with our town’s power down as well…no means to buy a brewed cup…I found myself decaffeinating over a four day period.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner

“Great,” say the experts, “caffeine is not good for your overall health…and at your age you don’t need the increased stress, blood pressure, heart disease, impact on your diabetes, etc, etc.”

Not so fast!  First off…I do feel better.  I don’t hit that point at 3pm when I’m so ramped-up I can’t think…or I find myself trying to think about 20 things simultaneously.  I don’t have the 6pm crash…followed by a 9pm reawakening that keeps me up way too late.  So things were good until today…that’s when I read this:  How Caffeine Works, which offered four benefits of caffeine that immediately caught my eye:

  • Regular coffee drinkers were 80 percent less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.
  • Two cups a day reduced subjects’ risk for colon cancer by 20 percent.
  • Two cups a day caused an 80 percent drop in the odds of developing cirrhosis.
  • Two cups a day cut the risk of developing gallstones in half.

So now something else to keep me awake…should I take my chances with high blood pressure and diabetes (both under great control by the way, and have been dating back before the de-caffeination!)?  Or cut my risk of Parkinson’s, colon cancer, and gallstones?  I discount cirrhosis because I’m not a heavy drinker!

This all really just boils down to a simple request…please:  “Can’t we just get a final health decision on caffeine, one way or the other?”  Is it too much to ask?  Well, now I’m so worked up I need some chamomile tea — decaf, of course!

Until next time…cheers!

Don’t wait for your life to come you!

John Lennon wrote: “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”  And I think there’s truth in what he was hoping to convey. But there’s another side of this coin that I think is also true:

Life also happens while you’re busy fretting over that which you cannot control, all-the-while wondering when life’s customer service rep is going to home-deliver some happiness.

In this regard I say that Life is an all-you-can-eat, self-service, buffet restaurant with a fully-stocked salad bar! So grab your plate, and dive in!

What’ll it cost you? Pay me 2 hours of self-loathing, and promise to walk with your head in the clouds — and we’ll call it even!

No Longer Relevant

We All Need a Little Inspiration Sometimes…

…and if you’re like me, you often find it in the most unusual of places…the internet.  But where do you start looking?  The internet is a vast and oft-times difficult swamp of misdirection to wade through.  Allow me introduce you to a good friend and former co-worker of mine, Cheryl Maloney.  Cheryl and her husband Jack host and maintain several internet sites where the sole focus is to promote positivism.  No one can tell their story as well as they do, so please take a visit to the Simple Steps Real Change blog to see what their vision is all about.

Okay…you’re back.  So, having spent several years mining the internet for evidence of positivism and uplifting Facebook pages, Cheryl and Jack have accumulated their findings into the “Inspirational Resource Compendium.”  It’s a free publication created to provide you with as many resources as they could gather including websites, blogs, internet radio stations, social media pages, Twitter and businesses… all of which focus on the positive aspects of life.  Attached is your free copy.

I encourage you to use this compendium as your guidebook to the positive side of the social networks.  Share it with others, make Simple Steps Real Change on Facebook a new LIKE, and help spread positive messages where you can.  Because really, there are far more positive people in the world than negative – we all just need to help them find their voices!

Until next time,  cheers!

Inspirational Resource Compendium – SPRING 2012

New Years’ Resolution: Five Steps to Being a Bigger Fan

A “fan,” sometimes also called aficionado or supporter, is a person with a liking and enthusiasm for something, such as a band or a sports team. Fans of a particular thing or person constitute its fan base or fandom. They may show their enthusiasm by being a member of a fan club, holding fan conventions, creating fanzines, writing fan mail, or by promoting the object of their interest and attention. (Wikipedia)

Fans come in all shapes, sizes, and...well, colors!

Are You a “fan?”  By definition, being a fan means that you display a positive approach to your support. If this were not true, then why would the definition be littered with so many positive words (see underlined)?

Nowhere do I see this definition so clearly displayed that during the college football season, and more enthusiastically during the Bowl Season. The opposite is also true – where I see people who call themselves “Fans” behaving in ways so contrary to definition.

For example: My alma mater just completed their season with a loss in a bowl game. The so-called fans are calling for assistant coach’s heads on platters, and bad-mouthing the play of young men who have given their all this season for the sheer love of game and a college education. For me, being a fan means support through thick-and-thin, during good times and bad.

How much money I donate (or not) to the school does not determine how much of a fan I am — and I have no more or less right to claim my “fan-ness” than the next supporter.  But my parents raised me to understand that “…if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.”  I still try to live by this credo, and when the team is not performing well, I keep my mouth shut.

I also try to apply this approach to how I live each day — I’m a fan of me!  I’m a fan of my wife and the life we have together.  I’m a fan of my kids, their wives and our grandson.  I’m a fan of my friends, co-workers, and the connections I’ve made on Facebook, LinkedIn and @Twitter. But even I know that living my life as a better fan is possible!  And that is my resolution for the New Year, to work at being an aficionado of those objects of my fan-ness!  It’s so easy being a fan if you adopt these Five Steps to Being a Bigger Fan:

    • Support the object(s) of your affection with enthusiasm;
    • Regularly write and send fan mail (a Post-It with three words on it is often more than enough!);
    • Promote your person’s interests and be attentive to their need to pursue them;
    • Keep feedback positive, even if the instance prompting the feedback is negative;
    • Don’t keep your “fan-ness” to yourself. Be a fan in public, leading by example so others can see how they could be a fan in their own circles.

You know, 2012 is starting to look pretty good.  Until next time, Keep It Relevant and have a Happy New Year!

Lane

How to Add Years to Your Life – No Kidding!

So my friends (not really my friends, but it sounds better than “my trusted advisors I’ve never met!) at Men’s Health magazine have published a list of 50 things to do to add years to your life. Fifty. Not five, not ten, but 50! With friends like this, who needs enemies? Anyway…I read the list for you and in lieu of laboring you with the an entire synopsis, I thought I’d just cut to the quick and list the 50 ways here. If you want to read more, feel free to visit their online website at Men’s Health.

In looking at this list compiled by authors Denny Watkins, Alison Granell, & Heather Loeb, you might try to pick out the contributions of authors Alison and Heather – hereafter referred to as A&H. I’m not intending to sound sexist…I’m just sayin’ that from my personal experience with women…well, I’ll just leave it at that!

1 Drink Five 8-Ounce Glasses of Water a Day
2 Take a Laugh Break
3 Don’t Go to Work Sick
4 Put Out the Fire in Your Chest (i.e. treat your heartburn)
5 Indulge Your Chocolate Craving [A&H?]
6 Say No to Froot Loops
7 Take a Magnesium Supplement
8 Burn 1,100 Calories a Week
9 Take a Daily Multivitamin
10 Hit the Weights
11 Set a 3-Drink Limit
12 Plop an Alka-Seltzer . . .
13 . . . and Call a Ride
14 Treat a Killer Bee Sting [Do we still believe the KB’s are coming?]
15 Eat Produce at Every Meal
16 Monitor Your Blood Sugar
17 Think Positive [A&H?]
18 Keep Your Cool
19 Dive with a Partner
20 Hit the Shark in Its Eyes or Gills [What happened to “don’t dive in shark-infested waters?]
21 For God’s Sake, Don’t Pee in the Ocean [A&H? Denny wouldn’t use “pee” in a sentence…]
22 Try a Natural Remedy [A&H?]
23 Eat Breakfast Within 90 Minutes of Waking
24 Vacuum for 30 Minutes [I’m convinced Mrs NLR contributed this one!]
25 Eat Berries
26 Drownproof Yourself
27 Sleep on Your Side
28 Light a Jasmine-Scented Candle [This is “Mens Health,” right?]
29 Live Life in a Smoke-Free Zone [What? Kill all the smokers first?]
30 Dodge a Deadly Lightning Bolt
31 Put Your iPod on a Mount
32 Check Your Smoke Alarms
33 Sip on Mint Tea
34 Don’t Jaywalk [I am a big believer in this one! Your insurance settlement climbs by a power of 10 if you’re hit while in a cross-walk!]
35 Don’t Get Blown to Bits
36 Find Time to Exercise . . .
37 . . .Then Take It Outside
38 Cut Out the Sweet Stuff
39 Douse Your Salad with Oil and Vinegar [“Douse?”  C’mon Denny…grow some!]
40 Add Curry to Vegetables
41 Be a Career Coach
42 Stash an Air Freshener in Your Car [“…or Alison and Heather won’t ride with you.]
43 Test Yourself for HIV
44 Fall on Your Butt
45 Design a Colorful Menu
46 Take a Noontime Nap […and keep my job too?]
47 Steep Your Tea for at Least 3 Minutes
48 Use Watercress in Your Salad
49 Enjoy Your Joe (coffee!)
50 Ask for the Heel (of bread).

So after digesting the 50-item list I really thought that ten simple recommendations would do — and I don’t know about you — but remembering 10 things is pretty much my limit.  So here are my suggestions:

    1. Subtract five years and legally change your date-of-birth records
    2. Encourage your spouse to use the courtesy clerks at the store to pick products off the higher shelves.  This way, you can stay home, keep your feet up and watch the game in relative peace and quiet.
    3. Think positively,,,about sex…or supermodels…all the time!  It’s good for the heart muscle.
    4. Vacuum until the house is done – 30 minutes is not going to get the job finished, and will keep the missus from swinging on you!
    5. Sleep when you want, where you want.  You’re old…it’s expected…downright forgivable actually!
    6. Have your kids check your smoke alarms when they come over — you shouldn’t be up on ladders anyway.  Which leads us to #7.
    7. Don’t fall…period.  This really needs no further explanation.
    8. Eat roasted jalapenos – they help remind you you’re alive!
    9. Try a natural remedy – let the grass grow (lawn mowing has been linked to several fatal heart attacks)
    10. Man up!  Take your whiskey straight, or with a splash of water – cut out the sweet mixers and garnish.

There…that was rather taxing.  I think I’ll go find a place to lie down for twenty minutes.

Until next time — Cheers!

Exercise and Aging: Winter is Cardio Season!

There are days I wake up and wonder “Now where did this pain come from?”  Has that ever happen to you?   For 45 years I believed that “activity leads to injury, injury results in pain.”  Eleven years of American Football was my classroom for pain management.  So after a day of pruning trees on the property it’s only natural I’d question pain, because I don’t equate pruning trees to tackling halfbacks and quarterbacks!

Only these past few years I have come to realize that time is starting to catch up with me, and with it the latent effects – pain, stiffness, popping joints…you know the routine!  Like most of you, I’m still 30 years old (in my mind) and coming to grips with “the fifties” (physically, not emotionally) is harder than I thought it would be.

It’s time to do something about my limbs before it’s too late.  And since I have NO desire in getting around on one of those battery-operated personal transports – unless it FLIES – I’d best get serious now!  

I figure that winter is a good time to get back on the horse, so to speak.  I’ve got a treadmill, stationary bike and a home gym in the extra bedroom on the lower floor of our home.   Perfect place to work up a sweat and work off some pounds!

To help get myself back into a routine, I’ve thought it out and put together this list so I won’t overdo it or lose interest:

  • See my doctor.  Every return to physical exertion that constitutes a drastic change in lifestyle at this age should start with a quick visit to the doctor.  Getting that checked off…let’s see, he can see me in two weeks.  Okay…short delay, but not insurmountable.
  • Remove all the clothes draped over the treadmill and stationary bike, hang those for future wearing.
  • While I’m on a clothes kick, clean out my drawers and closets of all the clothes I won’t wear ever again…not the big ones, or the small ones, but the ones from 1970!
  • You know, there’s some stuff in the garage that needs to go the Goodwill too.  Let’s take a few days to get that sorted and hauled off.
  • Check off that doctor visit!  “Good to go” he said, but “easy” to start.
  • Hey!  Now there’s room in the garage for the car!  But first, let’s clean the cement and lay down that vinyl floor we’ve been wanting.   If I don’t do it now some clutter will naturally return and I’ll never get to it.
  • Now that the garage floor is done, the walls could use some paint too.  That should be easy enough…maybe two days effort.
  • Wow…the garage suddenly looks nice.  There’s even space to set up my miter saw to finish off the crown molding project.  I could knock that out in a week, two tops since I won’t have much help.  Let’s get that off our list!
  • Okay…back to the exercise room.  It would be nice if we had some music in here.  Wait, I could run some speaker wire from the stereo in the family room, outside along the house, then back in through the wall here.  Speakers in here in no time!  I’ll just need a couple of things from the hardware store…
  • Speakers done.  Wow…it really feels nice outside.  Spring came much faster than I thought it would.  The exercise room is almost ready, but I think maybe I should make an appointment with my doctor.  Something tells me I need my A-ADD medication adjusted.

Until next time…keep it relevant!

The Thrill of Victory; and the Agony of Defeat.

“If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down.”   Mary Pickford (1893 – 1979)

On March, 21, 1970, Yugoslavian ski-jumper Victor Blogataj was an entrant in the Ski-flying World Championships in Oberstdorf, West Germany (now Germany).  We’ve all seen his infamous jump attempt where, upon final approach to the lip of the jump ramp, he tried to abort his jump because he felt he was going too fast.  For decades Victor was known as “…the agony of defeat,” and we saw his ill-fated jump attempt in the opening sequence of ABC’s Wide World of Sports every week for a decade or more.

What we never did see was Victor getting up after that fall, having suffered only a minor concussion.  Nor did we see his return to competitive ski jumping the following season.  And while Victor never did regain his former standing in the world of ski jumping, he went on and became a successful coach in the event – eventually coaching the 1991 World Champion Slovenian ski jumper, Franci Petek.

For many of us, our only impression of Victor is that of a failure.  We laughed at the slap-stick nature of his fall, and never considered him relevant in the world of ski jumping.  This label was unfairly pinned to Victor, so it seems, because we never had the opportunity to witness his refusal to stay down.  Victor made a serious mistake, but he got back up, used his minor celebrity to get in the game, and continue his pursuit of his passion — and quite successfully I might add.

Don’t stay down.  Until next time…

Empty-Nesting: Not just for the birds!

“We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered?  About something important, about something real?”  Ray Bradbury, “Fahrenheit 451,” 1953 (US science fiction author (1920 – )

Let me first make something perfectly clear – Empty Nest Syndrome is a very real condition from which many women and men suffer when a child or children leave their home.  While more predominate in women, more and more evidence is surfacing that speaks about the affect a child’s absence has on their father.  One of the best articles I’ve read on the subject is Father’s Empty Nest — with links and help for addressing the syndrome.  It is not my intent to make light of the condition, nor to offend author Susan Yara (who wrote Father’s Empty Nest for Forbes.com) or anyone else who has suffered from ENS.

But I am also dealing with changes since our youngest son left home, married, and gave us our first grandchild — Mason (isn’t he cute?).  And I think I can speak for other fathers who share similar experiences.  So who am I to wallow in my self-pity when I can talk about this, and bring some sense of understanding to other fathers who find themselves in my situation?

So you might want to take a seat because those who know me know that I’m likely to put my own wacked out spin on this matter…so putting all “political correctness” aside — I can’t NOT talk about this!  ~ Lane

# # #

For us, no longer having kids at home meant the return of certain freedoms we’d been missing.  No, I’m not talking about “Naked Thursdays,” but of something more valuable.  Sure, it’s nice to come home from work, toss your work duds on the floor, and not even bother replacing them with a robe — but I’m taking about real freedoms — those you had to avoid with the kids at home or run the risk of causing real long-term emotional damage.  For instance:

Necking openly with your spouse.  It’s said that a marriage enters its second honeymoon phase when all the children have grown and moved out to begin their own lives.  The most successful ’empty-nest’ marriages are cultivated while the kids were still at home. There are hundreds of pages on-line that address how parents must work to keep their relationship alive, and not giving all the attention and love TO the children.  Parents who do often find that once it’s back to just a 1-on-1 relationship, they often no longer know the person their spouse has become — and the relationship suffers, and often fails.  Because the presence of the kids prevented you from engaging in certain PDA’s (public displays of affection) that were a part of your daily routine before your first child, and getting back to that level of open affection might be a challenge (if you abandoned it).  It’s not an insurmountable challenge, but your marriage may depend on overcoming it!

Playing your music loudly.  I like my rock-n-roll played at a level where I can hear it throughout the house, in the yard, and out as far as the mailbox.  But so did our son.  So to set an example while he was living at home, the volume of our music was at a level where it could not be heard outside the family room.  We asked that our son do the same, since his bedroom was directly below our master — and we asked him again, and again, and again… Now that he’s gone, I will play AC/DC’s Back in Black at an appropriate bone-crushing level — 8, 9, 10…sometimes 11!

Did I mention “Naked Thursdays?”

Last-minute trips out-of-town.  I fondly remember 1981 BC to 1998 BC (Before Children), when we could decide on a Wednesday to take Friday off and drive to San Francisco after work on Thursday.  A 1,380 mile road trip thrown together faster than a shotgun wedding!  Those days have returned!  No school commitments, sports leagues, tutors, music lessons, or “but I don’t wanna go’s” to contend with.  Just toss some clothes into the overnight duffel (no need to include clothes for Thursdays remember!), a razor and few other toiletries — and GO!

Now there are certainly more things you can go back to doing now that you have the house to yourselves.  I’ve included four of the most glaring I recall.  In fact, if you’re an empty-nester or know of one, please take a moment to share with us (in the Comment section below, or on my Facebook page) something you’ve experienced that you thought you’d forgotten.

Of course, it hasn’t been all fun and games.  I didn’t used to need an appointment with my son to get him to hold up the other end of the crown molding while I nailed it in place — that’s changed!  And I’m suddenly the only one at home who’s easily convinced to clean the litter boxes, and mow the lawn.  But I digress.  Complain as I might about the litter boxes, item #1 my list above more than makes up for it!

Until next time…cheers!

10 Ways Your Man is Like a Retired Racing Greyhound

“Women and cats do as they damned well please, and men and dogs had best learn to live with it.”  ~ Alan Holbrook

I’m taking a diversion from my customary themes to talk about dogs.  I am a dog lover with no dog at home, while my wife – the cat lover – has three cats she adores and that I get to feed, bathe and clean up after.  We used to have a dog when our youngest son lived at home.  However, when Zach moved out we quickly learned our lifestyle was unfair to the dog.  We soon adopted her out to a great situation where she lives today.  Still, we talk about getting a dog when we retire, so at times I find myself considering all the available dog breeds to see which might be best for us when the time comes.

I’ve come to understand that a lot of people choose dogs that look like them.  It’s true!

    

I don’t know if this is by chance, or intended…but I’m pretty sure I don’t want any dog that resembles my looks in any way. A dog best suited for us, I think, would be a dog who was a “behavioral match” — you know, one that was also “retired” from a former life to match our retirement from the corporate treadmill.  During this research I stumbled upon a website featuring retired racing Greyhounds:

http://www.retiredracinggreyhounds.com/index.html

The author of this page, Lee Livengood offers “Ten Reasons NOT to Adopt a Retired Racing Greyhound,” along with the companion piece “Ten Reasons You Should Adopt a Retired Racing Greyhound.”

From Lee’s piece I quickly came to realize that I, like a lot of other Boomer husbands, have a lot in common with the retired racing Greyhound, so this might just be the breed for us. So here in my own slanted way I offer for your consideration the “10 Ways Your Man is Like a Retired Racing Greyhound:”

1. They shed.

Yes!.  Need proof?  Check the drain in the shower, or his hairbrush.  He doesn’t use a brush, or a comb? Then he’s all shed out!  The only difference is that your man’s hair doesn’t end up in your food as much as the dog’s.

2. No matter how gentle they look, both are still large, to very large, creatures.

This size issue is more apparent when you get either of them overly excited.  An untrained 45-95 pound Greyhound may knock down smaller children, while your overly excited 250 pound man-child may knock you down trying to get to the car when you suggest going out for a beer, or a few lines of bowling!

3. Men, Dogs, and lawns are not great combos.

Greyhounds love to run and while they don’t need a lot of exercise, when they run they will destroy your landscaping.  Men like riding lawnmowers regardless of the size of lawn they mow.  No patch is too small for that new John Deere D120! And given their druthers, both man and dog would do their business outside, which will certainly kill off the grass in small, obvious patches.

4. Both make messes.

Even the best mannered, best trained dog gets sick occasionally – which is no picnic to clean up.  And the best mannered, best trained husband will take a home improvement project to 90% complete, abandon it, and start on the next project!

5.  Both want love, and Greyhounds need soft, warm places to rest.

If you want a dog/man you can house outdoors or if you can’t stand the idea of either of them on your bed or furniture, then maybe the single life is for you!  Greyhounds are not suited to living outdoors and their bony joints need padding and a soft warm place to rest.  Men seem to cope sleeping on the hard, damp ground with little between them and Terra Firma but a 4 mil. sheet of plastic and a sleeping bag.

6. If you don’t have time for a ______, chances are you don’t have time for a ______.

Both man and Greyhound are social animals that need physical and mental stimulation.  And just because both are quiet, often-times gentle, doesn’t mean they don’t need training. Training the dog isn’t about obedience as much as it’s about forming a trusting relationship; while training your man is more centered around sorting the laundry, proper loading of the dishwasher, and vacuuming the carpet in that special way that leaves the nice marks in the pile.

7. Your man, your dog, and your best friends are not as compatible as Hollywood would have you believe.

Of course it’s nice to have the BFF’s over and show off how well you’ve trained Buster to refill drinks, fetch hors d’oeuvres, and sit quietly while you exchange gossip.  However, once they catch a glimpse of your Greyhound and his slim physique, soft, sleek skin and next-to-nothing body fat percentage – they will be on you like fruit flies to give up his dieting secrets and exercise regimen!

8. Just because your lifestyle and interests change doesn’t mean you can abandon your man or dog like a used toy.

Job changes, relocations, and new babies happen. If you can’t be as close-to-certain as humanly possible that your husband will be part of your life for all of his life, don’t let him get too attached to the dog!

9. Both are easy to live with but they do have special needs.

A Greyhound’s lack of body fat, long thin bones, fragile skin, and sensitive soul means they need protection from extremes of temperature, rough environments, and inappropriate handling.  If your husband is long of limb and has a body-fat percentage similar to the Greyhound, well…I guess a little inappropriate handling is to be expected!

10. Adding a retired racer should never be an impulsive gesture.

While both man and Greyhound may have run track at a peak time in their lives, don’t take them in because you feel sorry for them – or because having them around the house and underfoot is fashionable.  Well fed, both will love you unconditionally, and the man is good to have on hand to pick up the surprises the dog will leave lying around in the backyard.

Author’s Note:  I have the utmost respect and admiration for those kind souls who volunteer countless hours rescuing animals of all breeds from abusive, neglectful, or misunderstood situations.  And while I’ve taken licence to have some fun with one such animal, the retired racing Greyhound, I applaud the efforts of hundreds of people who are finding and taking in these majestic “best friends,” and giving them the care, love and life they have missed out on.  If you can, please find a way to offer your support to an animal rescue organization in your area.  Thank you! ~ Lane