Monday, September 26, 2005

Monday September 26, 2005 Another week begins

How are you this bright and cheery day? What new and exciting thing is happening?

It's Monday and another week has begun. I used to really dread Mondays - it was time to sacrifice myself to the necessity of making a living. It was time to turn away from the joys of the weekend and return to the drudgery of work. And then I discovered that It was only a matter of changing my opinion and revising my attitude to make Mondays joyful. I started asking my fellow workers how they were this bright and cheery day and they eventually responded cheerfully. It took a while for all of us to start to enjoy each others company and to think of work as a place of friendship and sharing. We were all in the same situation of needing to work in order to survive and we had all chosen to work where we were because of circumstance or availability. We figured that if we really hated working there we should move on to greener pastures but since we had chosen to stay we had only to set our minds to finding the joy of working together. Once you break through the hard shell that we all assume for our own protection and start to trust and enjoy and empathize with those around you, you can find true friendship. When you are working with friends and sharing a large portion of your life with them, work takes on a greater meaning and life becomes more enjoyable.

I hope you all stay happy and healthy and enjoy each precious moment.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Wednesday September 21, 2005 The last day of summer

The last day of summer.

It was nice while it lasted, but school has started and football is upon us and it's now time for the leaves to turn. We're getting our last gasp of hot summer weather and I'm looking forward to cooler weather. Fall has pleasant memories for me. I remember the rustle of leaves and the rekindling of school friendships after the leisure of summer. It was time to learn new facts and to grow just a bit older in a higher grade in school. I remember the smell of burning leaves in the gutters along our block. Everyone would rake their leaves into big piles at the curb and then burn them under a watchful eye. We kids loved to jump into the piles of leaves. The colors of autumn were bright and I loved to watch the leaves float to the ground. It seemed that the sky was bright and clear in autumn – you could look up through the brightly colored leaves to see a brilliant blue sky above. In our neighborhood, we played touch football in the street (not much daytime traffic then on the side streets). You could only get 2 or 3 players on each team so you didn't need much room. It seemed that we walked to and from school in large groups. The older kids hung out together but looked out for the younger ones. Grade school was only 5 block away, so I could walk home for lunch. Fall wasn't very stressful. It was a time of harvest – apples and pumpkins and the last of the tomatos. After a summer of heat (no air conditioning back then), the cooler weather was welcome. There were more pleasant smells coming from the kitchen (with the heat gone, you could once more bake and can).
Vacations were over and everyone seemed ready to buckle down to another season of study and work. It was nice to enjoy the autumn evenings (not so hot and before you had to close up everything for winter). Looking forward to Halloween and Thanksgiving and eventually Christmas – but that's a long, long time from now.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Tuesday September 13, 2005 Don't put it off

I never really planned on living as long as I have. I am now almost 64 years old. Looking back at my ancestry, I see that many of my relatives lived into their 70s. On my father's side, they lived into their 80s. I figured, with the extra weight that I've carried over all these years, that I would be lucky to make it to retirement. With that in mind, I enjoyed as much as I could when I was able. The trip around the United States in 1983 was one of the highlights of my life, and I'm glad that I didn't put it off. I'm also glad that I got the chance to do things for my folks as they got older – it really brought me closer to them. We became great friends. I've tried to keep a close bond with my daughters and my sisters and brother. I've tried to keep an ongoing dialog with my cousins. With just a minimum of effort you gain a lifetime of friendship. Much of all this that I have gained is due to the expectation that I wouldn't have an extended lifetime and couldn't put things off until later. Whether I pass out of this life now or 20 years from now, I know that I have enjoyed the time that I have had. I have seen many loved ones face old age and infirmity and oncoming death and have seen the quiet acceptance that they come to have. I can appreciate their feelings, for I know that I will have no regrets left behind when I pass into the light. Looking back over my life, I find that I have loved almost everyone whom I've come to know. There were just a few people who were unlovable, but they were excusable - they just didn't know what life was really about. Life is about giving and sharing and loving and building memories for yourself and others. When it's all over, that's all that's left – the feelings and the memories. Thanks to all the friends and relatives in my life, I have felt great love and have great memories. I've tried to leave them with pleasant memories of me.

It's been a great life.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Thursday September 8, 2005 Check out the recipes

Enough already about politics. It's time to think about something really important - like food!

I am constantly on the lookout for meals that taste great and are easy to prepare. I don't want to spend all day to fix a meal that will disappear in minutes. But, I do want a meal that tastes like it took all day. I don't mind fising food that cooks for hours but just takes minutes to prepare. With that in mind, I have collected many of my favorite recipes and decided to put them on my new blog linked to this one: If your tastes are similar to mine, you will enjoy. I'll add others in time.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Wednesday September 7, 2005 And the beat goes on.

Let me investigate myself and see if I did anything wrong.

Nope! I did the best I could and if that's not good enough, then too bad. Besides, I can't think of any mistakes I've made over the past 4 years.

But, maybe someone else around me made a mistake. Yeah, that's it! Someone else made a mistake without me knowing about it. We'll just have to look around and find out who is really guilty. It sure couldn't be me. After all, the buck stops somewhere else. I just tell my people to handle it, handle it. That leaves me time to do what's important to me. I don't have time for the details or for the little people. I handle the BIG problems and work with the IMPORTANT people.

Trust me, would I lie to you?

Maybe I can line up a few more photo ops and make the little people feel better. Where is my flight suit? Give me a bull horn!

Durn, this will set back my overhaul of taxes and social security. It will be hard to give all those tax breaks to my friends when we have to spend money to help these Katrina victims. What do you mean when you say we have to INCREASE medicaid to help the refugees? I just got through getting that cut!

Let's see how we can put a spin on this to make us look better. We need to get our poll numbers up to help keep control. Maybe I could go down and have my secret service agents help pull people to safety while I hand them a towel. No, too much chance of getting shot by those angry young men. I sure wish mom hadn't said how the astrodome was a step up for some of the people. That makes us look out of touch with the little people. Maybe I could get out the chain saw and help cut some of the downed trees – yeah, that would be a great photo op. The people could see how hard I was working with my sleeves rolled up and everything. Let's see Hillary top that!

And the beat goes on.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Sunday September 4, 2005 It's a bit scary out there.

It's a bit scary knowing that our leaders seem to have no ability to preplan. What, me worry? Why worry about the national debt? It will take care of itself in the future. Why worry about an exit strategy for Iraq? We'll win and go home. Why worry about the aftermath of a hurricane until it has passed.

What's going to happen if terrorists attack some urban center with biological or chemical weapons? Will we just have meetings and wring our hands for a while before trying to help those who survived? It's not like we haven't had warnings. It's not an unexpected event. We had to know that someday a hurricane was going to hit New Orleans. Someday a volcano will blow near a major town. Someday an earthquake will strike a city. Someday another tsunami will hit our shores. We know this!

Is this the best we can do to help our own people?

We're getting help from poorer countries all over the world. They have to be wondering why we aren't faster in response. The terrorists will be watching this response and it will help them decide their next type of attack.

As the hurricane was approaching, I heard analysts assessing the levee system at New Orleans. They said that it was only designed for a category 3 hurricane at best. They said that it wasn't worth the additional billion or so to beef it up to handle more. The corps of engineers budget has been cut over the last few years, so their hands were tied. It should have been no surprise when the levee failed and the town flooded! It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that a town below sea level might get flooded.

When I was a child, we had fire drills in school. In my area they test the tornado warning system and people know to take cover in basements. Was there no thought given to the population along the coast and no preparation for anticipated catastrophe?

What are our leaders for, except to help us protect ourselves and provide for the common good? What happens next time?

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Thursday September 1, 2005 Repeating?

I seem to be repeating myself on my blog.

Looking back over the months, I see a recurring theme of time passing more quickly and building memories mentioned.

I guess that I'm just more aware of the passing of time and events now than I was when I was younger. I have seen loved ones, while in the process of leaving this life, mentioning how short life is and how time flies by more quickly with the passing of years. When you have a myriad of wonderful memories to look back on, it's hard not to occasionally reflect. You spend more and more time looking back on what you have enjoyed and experienced than you do in looking ahead to new experiences. If you have enjoyed your life and haven't put off adventures, then there is a feeling of “Been there, Done that” that comes back to many new, but similar experiences. “The mind is willing, but the spirit is weak” takes on new meaning as you get older. The willingness to risk and recover is greater when you are young. Sometimes when you look back on some of the risks you took, you marvel at your good fortune to have survived. With age comes a bit of wisdom and a reluctance to risk it all for a thrill.

I'm a bit calmer now and a lot more patient. I don't feel the need to prove myself to anyone. I'm comfortable with what I've done with my life and where I am right now. I'm willing to find new adventures, but not actively pursuing them. I get a vicarious satisfaction by watching the adventures of my daughters and son-in-laws as they progress through life. Each person has their own set of adventures, trials and tribulations to enjoy or endure. It's interesting to see how different people handle their own particular set of circumstances. In the end, they wind up where they have brought themselves and hopefully they have gained wisdom and strength and built memories in the process.