Dreamer’s World January 27 2016 – Still A Relative Newbie To The Blogosphere

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Although I have been writing a blog for a few years, I still consider myself to be a newbie when it comes to blogging. I marvel at the ease with which gifted people can churn out multiple fascinating posts per day while I feel like I struggle at times to simply complete one remotely coherent post. Part of this is due to the job that I have, and the time that it requires each day. I seldom have the time to really focus on my blog and give it the attention that I feel it deserves.
     I don’t mean to make this sound like a swan song for my blog, far from it. I am going to make the effort to really increase the quality and quantity of my outputs. I wonder how many others have had this problem? I would appreciate hearing from any of you about this. I suppose that writers block is the wrong term to use in this case. I will be experimenting with the style and theme of my blog in the hopes of getting it like I envision it, at least for the time being.
     By this weekend, my blog will undergo a change of theme and I will try to add a few widgets to track entries by tags and categories. It might get messy for a while, but I hope that everyone will bear with me through the growing pains. I have encountered so many wonderful blogs that have given me ideas on what I would like my own blog to look like when I am finally done with the formatting.

Dreamer’s World January 26 2015

 

There are days when writing seems to be a breeze. then there are days like this one. It seems like nothing is firing my imagination this day. I hope that something pops into my mind soon.

    The federal government is closed again today. This means that my day will be on the quiet side once again.

    One possibility for writing is my desire to improve the blog. I am looking through some ideas and might try them out by this weekend. I would love to create the menu at the top of the blog where I can list tags and have the appropriate posts appear under each page. I have been reading and watching some videos about that. It may require a change to the theme that I use, but themes are rather temporary when you think about them anyway.  I will see about making those changes when I am comfortable with what I am doing.
     At least the weather is warmer again today as the snow continues to slowly melt. When we walked across the street for dinner last night, it was an adventure because most of the sidewalks were not really cleaned off and we had to walk in the street in order to avoid the ankle-deep slush. Supposedly, residences and businesses should be FINED for failure to clear the sidewalks after 24 hours. I hope that this is being enforced today, but I don’t have my hopes up.
     At least I have my music to keep my spirits up as I make my way through the workday here at home. The meetings are spaced throughout the afternoon, and I am making sure to get my steps in as often as I can in the meantime. I am over halfway there now and I still have approximately 3 hours left in the workday.
     Hal (person) ventured out to the store earlier today and he informed me that the roads are passable, but not all of the lanes are cleared, especially turn lanes. This makes things rather difficult and I am surprised that the main roads have not been treated better by now. I know that the crews have had to go onto the side streets due to complaints but I cannot see the area ready to get back to normal by tomorrow morning if right now is any indication.
     Right now, I would say that I am not going to the client’s location tomorrow morning. I can dial in IF they have their normal Wednesday morning meeting. Our trip last night just across the street revealed that the bus stops and sidewalks are still in terrible shape around here. I will work early as normal on Wednesday, but I will not travel.
     I just stepped outside for a smoke and it is 52 degrees! The snow will melt gradually, but temperatures like this will certainly help although there is a good chance that things will freeze again overnight.
     I am beginning my last meeting of the day here and looking forward to the evening. Plans to go to the store are off because there are too many people out on the roads right now pretending that all is well with the world and that there are no lanes still covered in wet. slushy snow. From the window I have seen several near misses due to this. Whatever we need will wait until tomorrow when I am off work early anyway.
     I am going to sign off early tonight and get some rest. I hope that everyone has had a great day and will have an even better tomorrow.

Dreamer’s World January 25 2016 – Starting Up Again

And so, another week begins here. After the snowstorm, things are still in flux around here. The government is still shut down, but that is due to all the people who live miles away from the area and commute far too long on any given day. I know that there are areas that got a lot more snow than we did here, and they are still digging out especially in the subdivisions. It was the right decision to keep hundreds of thousands of people off the roads in those areas today, but that has no affect on me. Being a contractor means that I have to work regardless of the weather but since I work from home this isn’t a problem at all.
I feel reinvigorated about writing today. Perhaps it is the start of the week that makes me feel this way, but I am not complaining. I am looking forward to topics and inspiration surrounding me right now.
I took some time to play with The Stooges this morning during a break from the job. Hal (cat) found one of his catnip toys that he must have put away somewhere, so I had him chasing it until he was ready to lay down. I gave him the toy to snuggle up with and he is happy now.
I am getting my walks in during breaks in the routine here. I’ll have lunch in a little while and check on The Stooges again as well as Hal (person). He is watching TV so I have the door closed in order to keep the droning monotony away from me in favor of some music as I work. The daily meetings are slowly passing and the sun is shining. There are still people in the parking lot who decided that today was the day to clear the snow from around their cars. Most of them must have the day off from work, or they are teleworking like I am. It helps that my car is in the underground garage and doesn’t have to be cleaned off 🙂
I think that after work today, I am telling Hal (person) that we are going across the street for dinner this evening at Shooter McGees for 1/2 price burger night. It will get us out of the apartment without having to put either of our cars on the road, so that is a great option for later today. Eventually, we will venture out to the grocery store again but that isn’t something that we need to do right away.
As the workday begins to draw towards a close, I am doing some research on how to improve my blog template. I have some ideas and have researched how to implement them by finding some reference material and videos. This will be a task that I will work on as the week progresses.
Work is over with for today, Hal (person) is showering before we walk across the street for dinner. It will be good to get out of the apartment even for a short while.

Dreamer’s World January 24 2016

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Yesterday was a day of staying inside as the storm roared around us. Today is a day that I hope will allow me to get outside and get some exercise even with all the snow hanging around. With any luck, it will actually get above freezing at some point today and that should really help things out around here. I did clear the snow off the balcony last night so that chore is no longer awaiting me.
     The area is attempting to return to normal today. The roads are still rather tricky once you leave the main thoroughfares. I am so glad that we decided to pay the extra money to have our cars in the garage at a time like this. Honestly, I wouldn’t look forward to digging our cars out. The apartment complex crew did a great job with the parking lot to make a lane, but obviously this shoved a lot of snow in front of or behind the cars. 
     The recovery will take a day or two at least. There are areas to the west of us that really got buried with snow, although we didn’t get the real storm that was prophesied about endlessly for the better part of a week. Looking across the street at Shooter McGees, it is looks like they will not open for brunch today. It will be difficult to get out and actually go anywhere today because most places will be CLOSED.
     The worst part of this whole episode, personally, is the feeling of being trapped. It irritates me beyond words. I want to be able to get out and go places if I choose to, but I realize that my needs don’t run things around here during a time like this. I do see people walking up and down Duke Street, and I DO MEAN walking ON Duke Street because the sidewalks are not cleared off.
     As I watched people digging their cars out, I’m glad I paid extra for garage parking.

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The afternoon is slowly moving along and we’re staying home as rage area digs out. The same n is shining and the temperature is above freezing and that helps everyone who is out working on snow removal.
     I deliberately took some time away from the blog to get some exercise in this afternoon. After a wonderful dinner with Hal (person), I am going to get another walk in before it gets late. I will be staying indoors and just doing the circuit of the building rather than risk stepping on an icy patch outside and falling down and busting my ass.  When I return from that, I will write more to finish up the day here.
     I just got all my steps for today logged and I am looking forward to a good night of rest. The federal government has already announced that it will be closed tomorrow, but that has no impact on me and I will start my day at 0900 on the usual schedule. I hope that it will be a good week for us all.

Dreamer’s World January 23 2016 – Sometimes it is the smallest things that mean the most

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As I was going through my list of blogs that I follow, I made a comment last night. The blog, which I highly recommend is:
     Nothing unusual about that, but when the author, whom I have followed for some time, reached out and responded personally to me I felt like a million bucks. Isn’t it amazing that such small acts of kindness can create such a wonderful impression on us?
     This morning I also received a very nice response from another follower:
     Her response was much more inquisitive about how things work here as opposed to in her home country. I love that she took the time to reach out and ask me questions.
     I wish I knew what the secret was to make us always feel that we need to be nice to one another, not out of a sense of responsibility or because we have some ulterior motive, but because it is the human thing to do. Why is it that we can become so jaded that we take those around us for granted? Sure, there are assholes in life, but not everyone is an asshole, not by a long shot. Yet we always seem to expect the least from everyone based on the negative experiences that we ourselves have had in the past.
     What a tremendous waste of time and effort those feelings are. They pale into nothing when compared to the exhilaration of human interaction and contact. The need to reach out and feel accepted is universal. Sadly we far too often will forsake the risk because we fear failure or rejection.
     One of the very hardest lessons I ever learned was also one of the most simple. Being happy is a choice that we have to make for ourselves. It won’t always mean that we will be happy 100% of the time, but it opens the possibilities up to us on a much greater level if we decide that happiness is what we want for ourselves. Making that decision eventually shows when you interact with other people in the most ordinary ways. In turn, those people are much more likely to be attracted to someone who projects that choice that they have made.
     Never let anyone have such a level of control over you that you are no longer able to choose to be happy. If we have a soul, losing the ability to make that choice is the closest equivalent to losing a soul that I can think of. We become empty shells without that choice, and will complete the self-fulfilling prophecy of not being happy in the future because we aren’t happy now.
     Take the time to make the decision to be happy. And take the time to send some positive wishes and comments on to others. It makes a world of difference.

Dreamer’s World January 21 2016 – Impending DOOM/SNOW

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“Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here” is from Dante’s Inferno, but a paraphrase for this week would be “Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Reside in the DC Metro Area” would seem more appropriate with the oncoming winter storm that threatens to dump between 1-2 feet of snow on us beginning sometime Friday. In anticipation of this, Hal (person) and I want to Harris Teeter yesterday to get what groceries we think would be needed in advance of the storm because panic will begin setting ion today.
     It didn’t help that there was snow last night, just a few inches, but still the first time this winter that we have actual snow cover on the ground. Naturally, this caused chaos around the area last night during rush hour. This is only a small taste of what is predicted for us with the big storm. I am glad that we don’t have any trips that have to be made today or tonight.
     Work is slow today, this is not surprising since the weather is the topic on everyone’s mind right now. At least after tomorrow I will be all caught up on the time for this pay period and next week I will return to my normal starting time of 0900 as opposed to 0800 this week. Since I work from home, the weather will not affect me in terms of getting to and from work, so I won’t have to worry any about that.
     After a deliberately slow day yesterday, I am getting back into my walking routine. With work being slow, I can take my cell phone and get in the walks throughout the day here and not miss anything, and still be able to respond quickly if I am needed.
     Last night we received about an inch of snow and this happened:
     We are DOOMED!
     At least this is, as I predicted, a quiet day at work. After 1730, we will determine if there is anything we really need that we didn’t pick up yesterday while we were out. Honestly, I cannot think of anything and that is good. Word is that tomorrow afternoon the entire DMV area will start to shutdown as the storm approaches, but with the way things usually go around here, the storm will arrive early and that will start more chaos. If the forecast is wrong ,the panic and chaos will still ensue due to mass stupidity.
     Truth be told, I am tired of all the hype about this storm and would rather just get it over with! The media does their typical fear-inducing and panic-mongering so I cannot watch them at all. With more than 24 hours left before the storm even ARRIVES, I am already so over the whole thing.
     It is hard to believe that we are approaching our collective demise here in the DC area by looking out the window on this Thursday afternoon, the sky is clear, last night’s snow has melted, the roads are dry, and life is good. We will have to wait and see what things will be like in 24 hours or so. If the storm fucks up the weekend, I might get upset!
     Now that the evening is here I am avoiding the media. I cannot handle the crap anymore. I will write again tomorrow before the storm kills us all, according to the media.

Dreamer’s World January 20 2016 – The Big Day

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52 years young today. I wonder where all the time has gone. I don’t feel any real difference from yesterday, but the calendar states that something is different today. I arrived on Planet Earth on this day in 1964. I remember in later years being told how my Mom worried so much over the assassination of JFK that she was afraid that she might miscarry. Thankfully, that didn’t happen or else this blog would be incredibly awkward.
     Today is an interesting day to be born on. I am on the cusp of Capricorn and Aquarius. Basically, this means that I am a stubborn and highly motivated dreamer who sees things from a different perspective. It seems to be a constant struggle as each side tries to impose its will onto me. I suppose that is how I ended up as a Type B personality, because the struggle was just too intense to handle and I decided to let life take me where it will with no extreme guidance or demands from me, but without allowing flights of fancy to dictate as well. For this reason, some people have a hard time reading me personally, I consider that to be a safeguard against which only those who really want to know me will struggle through until the end.
     I am taking today off from work. I always do for my birthday. I deserve it, as everyone does. Hal (person) is at work for a few hours today, just like every other Wednesday, and I am writing and responding to birthday wishes from friends and acquaintances. Hal made spaghetti last night, and there is plenty to last us for several days. I consider that the most special gift because it is something that he made, rather than something he bought.
     After a quick look at The Weather Channel, it is now obvious that a major snowstorm is forecast for the DC area starting late in the day on Friday. While this is not the best news, at least it gives us time to prepare and make sure that we have things here that we need before the storm arrives. I will be going to Harris Teeter with Hal (person) after he gets home from work before we do anything else. 
     We did get to Harris Teeter before the real crowds got there. It was still crowded but we got what we needed.
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After that, Hal (person) took me to my choice of places for a birthday dinner. I chose iHOP. Some might think that is weird, but I like it and it isn’t expensive for Hal. We are home now and should be for the rest of the evening. I will get some rest and have a wonderful spaghetti dinner with Hal. After that, tomorrow is another day as I start my “new year”.
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Dreamer’s World January 19 2016

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The morning has begun, and I am about to start work an hour early to make up for my day off last Friday. Tomorrow I am taking off because it will be my birthday, and who wants to work on their birthday?
     I spent the first hour or so this morning after waking up completing my Blogging 101 assignment and also responding to comments on this blog. I am understanding that I will have to take some time each day to dedicate specifically to my blog as my proficiency and readership increases, but that is a good thing.
     One last item before I really start work, Hal (person) decided to pose with Stevie Nicks for a picture this morning.
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I know that I am very lucky to have both of these wonderful companions in my life. I have gone through tough times in order to finally find happiness, and I am grateful for each and every day.
     The work laptop, which is very old, is still trying to get itself started this morning. With any luck, next month I will finally get a tech refresh and that means a new machine that is more up-to-date and robust. Rumor has it that I might get a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 which would be nice. That remains to be seen, and my immediate goal is to get through today at work.
     Hal (person) asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I told him that all I wanted was for him to cook a spaghetti dinner for the two of us so we can spend the time together at home. I think I surprised him with that request, but that was the point 😉 I really don’t need anything right now. Of course there are things that I might WANT, but those things aren’t necessary.
     It is 16 degrees this morning, by far the coldest of the winter season. According to the Weather Channel, we might be in for some heavy snow on Friday. I prefer to listen to TWC rather than the hysterical local idiots with the hyper-sensational panic over any story that involves the remote chance of snow falling. What it does mean is that we will make sure that we go to the grocery before Friday to get a few items in case there is a major snow event here. It isn’t a big change from our normal routine, just moving it forward a day or so.
     As lunchtime approaches, I am caught up with things and waiting for the afternoon meeting cycle to begin. I have gotten several short walks in on my breaks and am approximately 33% of the way to my 12,000 step goal for today. Obviously, I am NOT going outside to walk, I am just making circuits of the apartment building to get the steps in today.
     Hal (person) just came back from running his errands. It is still bitterly cold outside and I am glad that I am working from home rather than dealing with the cold and a commute. Surprisingly, I only have 2 more meetings this afternoon before quitting time finally gets here. Since I am taking tomorrow off anyway, I can deal with that.
     I seriously doubt that we will go anywhere after work today. If there is any trip at all, it will be my last-minute items that I would normally get on Friday and getting them early because the weather forecast seems to be getting worse for Friday and Saturday.
     As I have my meeting started, the other attendee has not shown up. Since she works for a different company, I have no way of knowing if she is at work today or not. I lose nothing by hanging out in the virtual conference for 10 minutes to see if she shows up or not. She never dialed in, so I ended the call and took a short walk. My next meeting is at 1630 and by the time that is over with, I will be just about done for today.
     I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about tomorrow. Another year in the books for me and I start yet another chapter in my life. I will certainly look forward to continuing my writing, and hope that it brings some pleasure to those who happen across it. I don’t really have any expectations for year 52 other than to remain happy and be content with where I am in life. I am not expecting any big presents from Hal, although I did ask him to make spaghetti, as I mentioned earlier. In the past we would celebrate birthdays with friends, but that became rather tedious and then the problems started when relationships broke up. It is never easy to decide who to be with and who to exclude since neither person has done anything to us.
     Since there were a few episodes of people believing that they did not get a gift that was as nice as the one someone else received for their birthday, Hal and I opted out of that altogether. We are still happy and will let the other people sort out their issues amongst themselves. Life is too short for shit like that! I will be just as happy spending the day with Hal and The Stooges and no outside interference. 
     Now that the afternoon is rolling along, I have my second wind. I feel weak today. I am at 50% of my steps for the day and I will easily reach my goal. I suppose that if there is any chance that Hal and I would go anywhere this evening, it would be right across the street to Shooter McGees for wing night and come beer.
     I was so wrapped up with work that when I just stepped out of the bedroom/office that I almost stumbled over the maintenance man who is here taking care of a few minor issues in the apartment. Hal is taking care of him and it won’t interrupt the rest of my workday at least.
     The apartment maintenance person is still working as the 1600 hour arrives. I am sure that he will be done before 1730, but I cannot say he will be done before my last meeting of the day at 1630. No sooner than I typed that last sentence than Hal (person) poked his head in the door and told me that the maintenance person was gone for the day. Now I will have peace and quiet for my 1-1 with my supervisor. 
     Work is finally over with. I am relaxing as Hal (person) is making dinner. Everything smells absolutely delicious, the aroma is permeating the apartment and really making me hungry. It feels great to be here safe and warm at home with Hal (person) and The Stooges on this cold night.

Dreamer’s World January 18 2016 – Winter is here at last

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In addition to MLK Day, this day has really been the first day that truly felt like Winter has arrived here in the DC area. The skies have been mainly clear, but it is bitterly cold here today. I don’t think that the high temperature will get above 25 degrees, it it gets that high. Hal (person) and I did go out for a little while. I got 2 new sweaters to help me stay warm here at home, and we ate lunch at the mall food court. I know that we won’t be going out this evening, it will just be too cold for any of that nonsense.
     I hope that everyone will have shelter from the cold. It is inhumane for anyone to have to suffer in weather like this. Here is the local link for shelters in Alexandria
 
     Please share this with links to your local shelters.

Dreamer’s World January 18 2016 – MLK’s message. More important now than ever.

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 I found a prompt for my post today. It came from the DailyPost and it is:
A Reason To Believe
     Bruce Springsteen say in his lyrics to “Reason To Believe” that we all need something at the end of the day to believe in. Bruce is a great spokesperson for the working and middle class people of America. What is it that drives us to strive and achieve each day?
     Today in the US, we honor the memory of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and we attempt to use this day to help others in accordance with the many wonderful messages that Dr. King left to us. It is a tragedy that he was taken away from us far too soon, I was only 4 years old when he was assassinated, but I am fortunate enough to have lived in an era where we struggle to make his visions and dreams into reality.
     The ideas that Dr. King endorsed are so very basic that we sometimes have to step back and wonder why they are so necessary. Sadly, there are those who still believe that these ideas are controversial. It is the struggle against those people that makes it so important for all of us to live a life that would honor the ideas that Dr. King fought for. Since I am white, I cannot ever fully appreciate the impact that Dr. King really has had on this country. While I completely support his message, I cannot comprehend being denied basic rights based on the color of my own skin. This is the definition of what we now refer to as White Privilege. It is the completely corrupt idea that because an issue has not impacted the white portion of America that it must not be a real problem. Sadly, that is the problematic viewpoint that too many Americans still have.
     Equality is not something that is achieved in an instant. Equality is not something that, once finally achieved, is then considered something that is over with and moved on from. Equality is something that we all have to work for. Equality has not been achieved, and those who claim otherwise are in effect defending the discrimination that Dr. King dedicated his life to fighting against. Equality will never be something that we look back on and wonder why it took so long to achieve because it will always remain an objective for each generation to strive towards.
     In America today, we see the ugly side from those who would diminish Dr. King’s message. We see people for whom racism and discrimination are a way of life clinging to power and once again attempting to broaden their support by claiming that “Racism is over with”, or they will claim that “Dr. King was a conservative” in a vain attempt to justify their own hateful practices. We see white Americans seduced by a Nazi like Donald Trump, with his message of division and hatred that look exactly like the Nazis in Germany in the 1930s. I always have to remind people that Hitler and the Nazis first came to power through elections, there was no violent revolution that came first. The terror came afterwards.
     I think that Dr. King would be proud of President Obama. I also believe that he would urge the President to do even more to address the issues of inequality that we still face today. Dr. King would likely see President Obama as a milestone for how things have improved, but I also believe that he would see the intense hatred directed against President Obama as proof that we still have a long ways to go before we reach what he described as “The Promised Land”.
     Before his tragic death, Dr. King began to talk about things like the violence of poverty and the injustice of war. In the decades since his death, progress has been made. We are much farther along than we have ever been, but the road is still a long one and there is no time to turn back or to stop. I believe that Dr. King would have endorsed the same struggle for equality that women, other ethnic minorities, LGBT and  the disabled continue to fight today.
     As a Gay Man, I appreciate Dr. King for his struggle and his message. Because my partner is black, I have gained a much deeper understanding of how important Dr. King is, and needs to continue to be for us all. To allow any segment of our society to be lessened is an indictment of us all, particularly those in power who have the responsibility to make this country great for all of us.
     I believe that the message left to us by Dr. King can never be diminished. It remains an eternal goal that must be constantly fought for and defended. There will always be people who want power only for themselves, these are the ones that we have to guard against. I believe in HOPE. I believe in EQUALITY. I believe in JUSTICE. I believe in LOVE. These are the beliefs I have that comfort me at the end of the day and inspire me on to the next.