Thursday, December 31, 2015

Changes in Latitudes Changes in Attitudes

2015 in review -

2015 was a big year for yours truly. I've adapted/adjusted to life without Lynn - we had 45 years together with the usual ups and downs right up til that HD diagnosis. From then on the last 8-10 years were like a bobsled ride to hell.  So 2015 included reflection and moving on. Like the song says - yesterdays over my shoulder but I can't look back for too long - there's just too much to see waiting in front of me and I know that I just can't go wrong. When I think of Lynn I remember the good times. Gotta keep moving forward even though I think of her often.

Then of course there was the big move to North Carolina - I left the huge DFW Metroplex and now reside in Conover NC - population under 9,000.  I get strange looks when I wear my San Jose Sharks jersey - LOL But the folks here are friendly and so far life is quiet and good. The family just grew by two with the addition of Stretch and Willie - the two cats my granddaughter Ashley helped me pick from the local shelter. They are named after my two favorite baseball players - Willie McCovey and Willie Mays.
Stretch - AKA #44
Say Hey Willie - #24
 Plans for tonight? A couple of single malts and then finish my last book of the year - a Longmire book by Craig Johnson.  Happy New Year everyone.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Favorite book or movie

If one uses times viewed as the determining factor in picking a favorite movie my choice would be Camelot. I loved the music, politics and especially the performance of Richard Harris. But though for years Camelot was my favorite movie it has at times been replaced by The Man Who SHot Liberty Valance, The Quiet Man, DR Strangelove and my current fave - The Americanization of Emily.

Emily is an excellent anti-war film starring James Garner and Julie Andrews, written by Paddy Chayefsky. Here's one of the most in-your-face clips from the movie -

Most of the movie is much more subtle in its preaching. It is easily my favorite movie and although that is subject to change Emily never falls out of my top 3 films.

Most of what I read must I suppose be considered light reading.  I have never been a huge fan of the classics as I prefer to read about the human condition as it relates to those sharing this time on the third rock from the sun with mw. I find those observations are best  handled by good mystery writers. I make no apologies for my preferences, I simply do not enjoy reading poetry and consider the classics simply the mysteries of their day.

If you wish to trace the development of the human condition and attitude here in the U.S.A. try starting with Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe series,  Raymond Chandler's Phillip Marlowe, Gardner's Perry Mason, McDonald's  Travis McGee series, Pronzini's Nameless Detective Series, Parker's Spenser series,  Burke's Dave Robicheaux books, Emerson's Thomas Black series or Dana Stabenow's Kate Shugak series., All of these characters and their authors are excellent observers of the human condition. 

Were I to choose from one of the above as the last book I could ever read I'd be hard pressed to choose between a Stabenow Kate Shugak book or - and this is cheating as these are not considered in the above list - a new Harry Dresden novel by Jim Butcher. Dresden is a wizard detective based in Chicago and his forays into the supernatural world and the monsters that inherit same are the literary equivalent to what I call popcorn movies.

In the past two weeks I have read four books, a Robicheaux, a Milan Jacovich mystery set bear Cleveland, a Dresden and a Kathy Reichs Termperence Brennan book. Retirement has been very good for my reading habits - along with my Kindle Paperwhite.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Well of Our Being

Once again my old HS classmate Lin has offered up a topic that flies in the face of the wway I have typically handled these blogs over the years. No simple read the topic and start hammering away at the keyboard. Real thought is required. She clearly bforgets I am n aught but a dumb ex-jock trying to get by on an increasingly complex world.  I tell ya - some people - LOL.

So off we go.  Well being.  I've rare;y seen that term in anything but insurance stuff of latge. The insurance companies want you to calculate your well being score by  having you answer a series of health related questions. In spite of my buffalo petite frame I come out surprisingly well on those - primarily IMHO because I have managed to reach the ripe old age of 66 and have never smoked an entire cigarette  in my life. I tried it once at abou8 and did not like it plus I got busted by the father of one of the gang clustered together under the small bridge in Pueblo where the deed was happening.

Now being healthy is certainly an important part of The Well of Our Being but not the only thoing. What makes us happy?  Well I am really more qualified to say what does not make me happy as I have spent most of the last 12 years or so not happy but somewhere between happy and a state of something I can only describe as unease. I've mainly been simply placing one foot in front of the other and trying to move forward, with varying degrees of success and many failures from which to learn. I felt resounding loneliness while living with 5 other people.  Why? The quick  and easy answer is they were the wrong people for a variety of reasons.  Things are infinitely better now with just Ginger and I as we meet new people here in North Carolina. Here she is on guard - ready and willing to lick anyone who enters her domain. 61 pounds of hustle and muscle - LOL.

And what am I doing different to change the happiness equation? Nothing beyond tring to relax and not let things bother me. Find what does make me happy and pursue that end. Ignore the things I cannot change - or at least not dwell on trhem. I'm pretty good at doing the right thing even when it is not in the best interest of my well being - if that makes any sense at all. This song sums it up - hopefully some of yoou know me well enough to get it

The past is gone - live in the present, knowing that the future is not promised but grab it as it comes and run with it. Every bit of it you can grab  becomes a bit of the present for you to live and enjoy.

That's it for this weeks LBC post. See ya next week, same bat time, same bat channel.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Family Occasions

We have entered the Holiday season - an ideal time for this week's topic - Family Occasions. It's the perfect time to take your first plane ride and cross the country and visit family. That's what my new friend here in Conover is doing - hopping an airplane to visit her daughter in Portland.  Her first flight and her first visit to the left coast. Exciting times for she ad her daughter. When I asked her how her travel prep was going, in typical km fashion she said "My only decision is whether to wear my flip-flops or pack them." It's conservative country lady meets liberal Portland.

Me? Family occasions have been a mixed bag over the years, some great, most good and an occasional bummer. Almost all were marked by huge fa,ily feasts - the kind where after eating everyone hustles to their favorite spot to lay around and feel miserable.

Then there are the occasions like today - my brother recently advised me his youngest daughter Becca  was about to complete her 10-year plan to get a BA.  Tonight is the night  - go Becca. Becca  lives a lifestyle similar to a fictional character  Travis McGee. She takes her retirement in spurts now - she has worked very hard over the years and travels the world while attending college part time. I sometimes wish I'd thought of that.

Then there is the extended family. For years Lynn and I spent New Years eve with our friends. Early on it was just a group of friends and over time as each of us had kids the kids joined the party.My friends maintain that tradition, rotating the host function among the revelers. I truly miss those family occasions.

The most important thong to remember about family occasions is IMHO quite simple. Do NOT let some disagreement keep you from one. As the saying goes, yesterday is over, tomorrow is not promised so make the most of today.

You never know when  you see someone if that will be the last time you ever do. Think bout that - how do you want to remember that occasion?

That's my take on this weeks LBC topic.  See ya next time.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Inner Child The Outer Child

This weeks LBC topic comes from Lin - one of my high school classmate now residing in Germany.

The inner child - that part of me that still gets excited about watching old western TV shows even though they helped enable the gun culture that is a hot button for so many.

That still loves the music of the British Invasion and thinks Patty Duke was very hot back then

That loved Andy's Gang and still doesn't like Howdy Doody

The part of me that still gets excited remembering Willie Mays and his amazing baseball skills

The part of me that constantly battles with my outer child - the part that acts out.

 The outer child - the one that tells me to buy it - whatever the impulse buying little devil sees at any given oment.

The party of me that snatches defeat from the jaws of victory

The part of me that will devastate someone with words just because I can.

My dark side - a very real part of me rarely ever seen

That's my take on this weeks LBC topic - I'll be back next week - same bat time, same bat channel withj another LBC post. Til then, happy trails!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Tis the season!

It is December and despite the fact that I have not seen the Norelco Santa yet our holiday season has certainly begun. This season is marked by great traditions and music. The far right would have us believe Christmas is under attack by the media and liberals/progressives and their ilk (read Democrats). While some who would totally separate church and state squawk about religious themed displays in government locations and Christians claim we all need more God in our lives and that means our schools, our government meetings and in fact everywhere, I have NEVER  been told my wishing a Merry Christmas to someone was offensive - be they Christian, Jew, agnostic, Hindu or insert whatever non-Christian faith you can think of. Most often they simply accept the greeting in the spirit it s given - and more often than not respond in kind.

The so-called war on Christmas may deliver rating points for Fox news, MSNBC and others but that is what we get when we receive news from for-profit companies - a very small number of which control ALL of the so-called mainstream media.

While I am very cautious about making political statements on Facebook - there are simply too few folks even in my friends list too willing to lob right- or left-wing sound bites at anything they even remotely disagree with (though I will engage ANYONE privately as long as serious civil discourse is their goal )- I will simply say this - Merry Christmas. This is meant to be a joyous season and only you can make it anything less for anyone - especially yourself.