Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Wednesday November 30, 2005 Different Priorities

I was reading in the paper this morning that the Bush administration has asked for an additional 3.9 billion dollars for next year to help train and equip Iraqi troops. This is on top of the 10.6 billion dollars that lawmakers have already approved to rebuild Iraq's security forces.
In the same paper american college students were worried about the 14 billion dollar cuts over the next 5 years ito the federal student financial aid program. With this cut, many students may not be able to afford college in the coming years.

We are cutting school aid, we are cutting medical aid to the poor, we are reducing federal aid to the states while we are piling on the cost for an unnecessary war. Our congress is trying to reduce the budget by cutting as many programs as possible while, at the same time, our war costs escalate in dollars and lives.

It's infuriating that the people we have chosen to lead us can't see beyond the noses on their faces. I have no idea what the real reason was for this invasion of another country, but the reasons we were told proved to be untrue and possibly fabricated. We are mired in another country with nothing to gain but pain and enemies. We have turned the world against us and have proven to be the biggest bully on the planet.

I guess my priorities are different than our leaders.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Tuesday November 29, 2005 Enjoy the trip!

Are we there yet?

Children on a trip are so concentrated on the destination that they don't enjoy the trip. The world is passing you by each and every day. There are moments in each day to be savored and enjoyed and treasured. Too often we, like the children, become so focused on the goal that we have set that we forget to enjoy the moments passing by.

You spend so much time as a youth preparing for your life. Then you spend so much time acquiring and establishing a home and career. Then you have so much time to prepare for retirement. Then you have so much time to prepare for the end. It seems that we are continually packing our bags and preparing to move on to the next step or next adventure or next goal that we overlook something very precious – the moments of our lives that we are living right now. This particular moment with these particular surroundings and these fellow companions will never exist again – it is a rare and unique event that can be enjoyed fully or completely overlooked.

Enjoy the trip.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Saturday November 25, 2005 Minnesota winters

We were just talking about my wonderful foolish relatives up in frozen Minnesota. They actually think that winter is fun and they even look forward to it. We folks down here is slushy Missouri don't really understand what winter is. To us winter is sometimes sunny, sometimes cloudy, sometimes cold, sometimes warm, sometimes rainy, sometimes dry, sometimes snowy, sometimes icy and sometimes slushy. We don't know how to dress appropriately until the day arrives. We wonder if we have to shovel or if we can wait for the driveway to melt. It's very confusing down here. Up there they KNOW when winter has arrived and they KNOW that it is going to stay until the thaw. I think they enjoy the winter because you can be outside without any mosquitoes. But winter picnics have to be really frigid. I suppose once you get numb the wind chill doesn't bother you as much. I know many Minnesotans enjoy ice skating and ice fishing and snow mobiling and other such frolics in the winter. It's okay, they are really nice people. They have been trapped up there in the snow way too long – that's all.

Down here in slushy Missouri, we endure the confusion of winter just waiting for the spring that comes much earlier than up in Minnesota. That way we can mow grass for months and months.

Saturday November 26, 2005 Lost thoughts

Thoughts flicker!

(I must remember this thought) but they get forgotten before they can be expressed on paper. I wonder how many truly great thoughts and solutions have been lost over all the years. We'll never know, but I suspect that some of those lost thoughts were well worth preserving.


Friday, November 25, 2005

Friday November 25, 2005 Burp!

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to spend with your family. There really isn't much else to do but sit down and eat and eat and eat. My problem is that everyone in my family is a great cook and when we get together there is just too much good food not to try at least some of everything. Unfortunately we fix enough food to last until Christmas so we prepare for hibernation by indulging to our stomach's displeasure. Way too much! But it was nice to get together and be with loved ones and to be thankful for all the blessings we have.

I just wish that everyone could be as blessed as I have been.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Wednesday November 16, 2005 Photos of the past

Photos are pictures of the past.

I was sorting through the pictures I had scanned into my computer, separating the various years into different folders. The years and events fade into the past and yet the photos bring back a memory of the moment or the person as if no time had passed. Time passes so quickly and people we once knew are no longer here and places we have been are no longer the same, and yet the memory lingers fresh and new just waiting to be relived in our minds. Time has a way of taking off the sharp edges off of memories. The bad times don't seem quite so bad and the good times seem tinged with gold.

It's nice to look back occasionally just to see where you have been and to help focus on what's important in the future.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Thursday November 10, 2005 To my friends at Builders Steel

To my friends at Builders Steel

How are you this bright and cheery morning?

It's been a while since last we met. I can tell you truthfully that although I miss your friendly faces and the great conversations we used to have, I don't miss the pressure at all. Retirement is a frame of mind that you must sink into. You really need to get comfortable with yourself and your surroundings and rediscover your personal interests. While you worked the center of your interests and scheduling was mostly concerned with the job, except for weekends and vacations. You put off many of your own interests and hobbies until some future date. For me that date has arrived. It takes a while to realize that you now have the freedom to do whatever you have the inclination or desire to do. You were so used to keeping a list of functions you had to perform and your time had to be structured to allow you to finish those functions on time. With retirement, there is no list or structuring or time requirement that you have to complete. You are free to be yourself and approach the day freely discovering what new and exciting things there are to be seen and enjoyed each and every day.

Many people, including me, when they first retire rush around trying to accomplish this and that and hate to waste a day. They are still in the “vacation from work mode” where you only have so many days to enjoy and must get the most out of every day. After a while you realize that you can afford the luxury of taking a whole day off without accomplishing a single thing and not feel guilty about it. At that point you have accepted retirement and are ready to greet the natural world about you.

I feel good about the years I spent with you and what we accomplished together. I will carry all of you pleasantly in my memories as I watch the passing of the seasons and explore who I have become and what lies ahead for me. Someday you will each reach your retirement and I hope you won't look forward with trepidation, but with anticipation. It's a great world out here and there is much beauty and much joy to discover.

I wish you health and happiness.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Tuesday November 1, 2005 Dad's Birthday

November 1, 2005
Dad would have been 90 years old today. I still miss him, but I don't begrudge his passing away in the manner he did. He suffered a little pain at the end but it wasn't overwhelming and his end came quickly with his family about him. He did well living that long and left fond and loving memories. He had a good life.

I was looking back over my life to see if I had any regrets. I have been blessed with a loving family throughout my entire life and this has been a great comfort to me always.
I have felt sorrow for many years that my marriage didn't survive, but there were compensations that arose after the divorce that I wouldn't have suspected. I was able to quit playing roles and look into myself and find out what was really important to me. Career became less important than family. Because I was alone and free, I was able to start up a loving relationship with my younger brother that wouldn't have been possible otherwise. I was able to spend much more time with my sisters and became much closer to them. When I moved in to help the folks, I was able to develop a deep and meaningful friendship with mom and dad. We were able to lean on each other for support and love. It was a rare opportunity that wouldn't have been possible without the events that lead up to that time. I wouldn't have been able to take my camping trip around the United States if I had remained married. The divorce enabled me to really be free to know myself and to know my family members more than otherwise possible. As time passed I feel that my daughters and I have passed beyond the father/daughter relationship into a much deeper friendship. We are able to trust and share with each other as loving friends who really care.

In summary, even though things didn't turn out like I had planned, my life has been a success and I have great memories and am surrounded by loving and caring family. Who could ask for anything more?