Kindness Journey – Day 192 – Preparation Day

The picture is not our kitchen, but it conveys the sense of organized chaos on the Eve before Thanksgiving. Even though I’m only cooking for two people, that presents unique challenges. The trick is to cook enough food without wasting it in the long run. Leftovers only satisfy for so long.

Let’s start with the main course. A 3 of boneless turkey breast has been thawing for 24 hours; by the time I prepare it, 36 hours will elapse. I’ve never had good luck cooking turkey, but this time will be the first to use an air fryer. I plan to baste the bird once it’s on the spit with a mix of olive oil and a hint of hickory-flavored liquid smoke and then a quick rub with seasoned salt, pepper, and a touch of onion powder. If I fail again with the turkey, I have a backup plan of pork chops I made tonight.

A variety of side dishes consists of; stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans with onion and white pepper, mashed potatoes, and finally, asparagus. I’m deliberately not making too many of any side dishes. This menu should work out well regardless of what happens to the turkey.

I planned the cooking so tomorrow won’t be stressful. Besides the main course, everything else will be microwave-ready tomorrow afternoon.

Kindness Journey – Day 191 – Will I ever sleep normally again??

I have suffered from insomnia for years. Recently, things have gotten worse, and I am fortunate to get 3 hours of sleep before waking up with a painfully dry mouth. Sinus congestion keeps me from breathing through my nose at night. Allegedly, I am on the waiting list for a CPAP machine after my pulmonary doctor finally diagnosed me with sleep apnea. I hope that the machine will finally give me sone real rest once it arrives, but that is at least several months away.

Kindness Journey – Day 189 – I am the luckiest man in the world. Even more relevant today #ClubQ

The world is full of things we all know are negative, destructive, and hypocritical. Thanksgiving is presented as the time to be grateful for what we have, followed the next day by a blatant wave of consumerism that preys on the feelings of inadequacy from the things we just celebrated being grateful for.

I remember being aware of these inconsistencies from my childhood because my parents never sugarcoated life. They taught me to find the joys in life each and every day instead of pretending that only one day was special. I never forgot that lesson.

There have been times when life was hard, but I always tried to live by what my parents taught me. I had lapses, but it was that inner knowledge that never let me stray too far away from the truth.

In my personal life, I have been the luckiest man in the world. I have been in a wonderful relationship with Hal, my partner, for almost 23 years. Now, I want to say that I waited for 36 years to find him, and there were times when I just felt like I was destined to go through life alone. I hoped for change, my optimism never wavered, but there were times I grew so tired of waiting. My patience and belief has been rewarded many times over.

Life can be hard and unpleasant, but finding the right person, the one you love, makes things wonderful.

Kindness Journey – Day 188 – Watching Twitter Burn from afar

I used to use Twitter on a daily basis. Initially, I thought it was a great way to keep up with news, but eventually I watched it dissolve into a cesspool of hatred driven by algorithms that showed people the absolute worst that humanity had to offer, and the equally sinister bots that promoted views similar to your own but we’re not real people.

Twitter reminded me of the old Monty Python skit about the argument clinic. While hysterical when viewed from a distance, twitter was nothing but a cause of anger and frustration.

Kindness Journey – Day 187 – Memories of Maine

Nearly 30 years ago (where have the years gone?) I was a young man in the United States Navy, ready to serve my country and save the world. After I completed basic training at the old Recruit Training Command (RTC) in Orlando, Florida, I went to school in Pensacola, Florida, for nearly a year before being assigned to a follow-on school in Winter Harbor, Maine.

I remember the drive to Winter Harbor. I had never been that far north or to any part of New England. Everything was an adventure, and I was so excited about it all.

As I drove north from Boston along I-95, I realized how far I was traveling. Once I passed Portland, I was in a different environment. When I arrived in Bangor, or Ban-aware as the locals called it, I felt like I was in another country, but I still had a way to go before I reached Winter Harbor (or Wintah Haabaah as the locals called it.

I left I-95 at Bangor and proceeded to the town of Ellsworth along US 1A. I didn’t know it then, but Ellsworth would soon seem like the big city.

From Ellsworth, it was another trip along US-1 through some beautiful, rugged country towards the coast. Eventually, I turned on to 186 and proceeded to Winter Harbor. When I got there, the town looked like a Rockwell pairing come to life. There were fishing boats in the harbor right where the road made a sharp left. I continued for several more miles until I reached Acadia National Park. The base was inside the park. A twisting one-way road eventually brought me to the base’s front gate. Here I was greeted by what looked like a castle

The command building was associated with the Rockefeller family. Sadly, I cannot find a picture of the enlisted quarters and the galley, demolished after the base was closed.

Winter Harbor was very remote. When I was there you didn’t have cell phone service, and landline phones still had pulse/rotary dialing, and you only had to dial the last 4 numbers for the base and the entire town.

The best story that illustrates how isolated the base was happened when a Subway restaurant opened in the town of Ellsworth, about 25 miles away. People from the base drive in caravans to buy Subway sandwiches in bulk because it felt like civilization had finally discovered us.

I made some friends Ike I was there, but military friendships are often temporary and transitory. I’m no longer in touch with any of them.

I left Winter Harbor and went on to my next duty station. If the mood hits, I’ll write about that one as well.

Kindness Journey- Day 186 – A Past Life

Nearly thirty years ago, I was a proud sailor in the US Navy. I served for approximately ten years before leaving the service. People ask me why I didn’t make a 20-year career since I was at the halfway point. The answer is complicated, but it centers on my Mother’s health.

I was scheduled to be stationed overseas for my next tour, and I was looking forward to the adventure. Fate had other plans for me. My Mother suffered a stroke when I had less than a year to decide about re-enlisting. I talked to the detailer, that is the person who matches sailors with available positions around the world. One of the rules was that my next tour was supposed to be overseas, but I asked for an exception because I knew that my Mom wouldn’t last 3-4 more years.

I didn’t want to be halfway around the world, dreading a phone call or a visit from the Chaplain telling me my Mom had passed away. Mom did not want to be in an assisted living facility; she preferred to stay at home.

At any rate, the Navy refused my request for an exception, and I sadly informed them that I would not reenlist.

Within a year of that decision, Mom passed away suddenly. I got to her and was there with her when she passed away.

Since I have made a decent life for myself, I am at peace with my decision. Friends ask me what the Navy was like, but due to the nature of my job, I still have to give vague answers. The friends I had from those days have drifted apart. Sadly, a few are no longer alive.

As my Navy years fade into the past, I keep looking forward. We all have critical moments where there is no right or wrong answer. We should learn from those moments and be better people.

Kindness Journey – Day 185 -My Sanity

Our never-ending election cycle just rolls on and on without stopping. We can’t catch our breath at the end of one election before the greedy and corrupt grifters who never worked an honest day in their lives start the madness all over again.

I have had enough. My personal wellbeing and sanity are more important than any candidate. I refuse to let the media scurry from one self-manufactured fake political crisis to another and drag me along. I just won’t take part in any of the bullshit between now and the next election. At that time, I will make my informed decision and vote accordingly.

Until then, I want nothing to do with politics or candidates or elections or campaigns. I began filtering my online content, and if necessary, I will sacrifice sone friendships if I’m subjected to more bullshit.

I want to be Kind, but the first thing about practicing Kindness is to be Kind to yourself first. I want to protect my health, both mental and physical, from the never ending onslaught of political bullshit.

Kindness Journey – Day 184 – Regrets

Everyone has regrets. We all have made decisions, or avoided making decisions that we look back in and wish things were different. Personally, I believe that the worst regrets come from those choices that have hurt others as much as ourselves.

While we can try to make amends for our choices, it is important to remember what we did, and that it cannot be undone. We have to accept responsibility for our actions and express remorse when called for.

Kindness allows for change. We are not prisoners of our past decisions unless we choose to be. Regret does not have to be eternal, time will heal all wounds if we allow it to, and if we make the changes that allow us to move on.

Anyone who reads this blog can look back bat my posts from more than a year ago and think they were written by a different person. In a sense, they were. I was bitter and angry all the time because the world was unfair, and people were suffering. Those things are still true, but I discovered the gift of Kindness. Kindness leads to Acceptance. Acceptance allowed me to overcome the regrets I had about my own past.

Regret should never hold you back from living. Learn the lesson and carry it forward.