Dreamer’s World February 14 2016 – More Snow On The Way

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As I sit here on Valentine’s Day with all my necessary errands done, I am thinking about tomorrow and my day off. I am glad that I am having this 4-day weekend because I was truly hitting the wall at work. We all need time to rest and recuperate from the daily grind. I just wish that this could happen without more snow to deal with. I know, it is still winter and we have to deal with it, but February always seems to be the worst month to get through. At least in March, we know that by the end of the month that Spring will officially arrive, whereas February offers us nothing.
     Rather than complain about the approaching winter weather, I can do my best to make certain that we are prepared for it. Tomorrow is a day off for both myself and Hal (person), and I work from home anyway the rest of the week. It isn’t an inconvenience in the sense of getting back and forth to and from work so that is a good thing.
     Perhaps I should reassess and take my cue from The Stooges.
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Dreamer’s World February 8 2016 – Perspective

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There are times when we all need to take a step back from the daily grind and take a good long look at ourselves and our lives. With so much information available to us at any given time, we can far too easily become inundated and lose focus on the truly important things in life. The little spontaneous joyful moments that really make life worth living need to be celebrated as often as possible.
     I have been deep into work today preparing for afternoon meetings that are important at first glance. Then I realize that this is the same pattern that every Monday follows. There is never any variation from this routine, and it makes me rather frustrated at times. It is simply the checking of the boxes as we go through the day, something to allegedly justify our existence as part of a larger group. The problem is that by conforming to this in any way other than the essential minimum simply makes us nothing more than cogs in the machine.
     We all know what happens to a cog that is worn out. The wheel comes to a temporary stop, but only long enough for a new cog to be put in place of the old one before the wheel starts up all over again. I don’t want to love my life like that, I am unique and valuable and that makes me irreplaceable rather than just another brick in the wall.
     I love my job, but there are times when I grow weary of the repetition involved with meeting after meeting. Today, I took a quick break to stretch and happened to pass the laundry room here in the apartment. I looked up and saw Hal (cat) snuggled up in the dryer after Hal (person) had removed a load of clothes. I immediately went back for my phone in order to get a picture, but of course when I got back, Hal (cat) was already on his way out of the dryer.
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There is no great cosmic meaning to this, that isn’t the point anyway. What I am saying is that seeing this innocent event made me realize how fortunate I am. I am fortunate enough to work from home and not miss a moment like this. While I am sure that Hal (person) would have told me about it if I worked in an office, it would not have held the same charm as seeing it for myself.
     The important thing that I realized while watching all of this was that Hal (cat) has been with us for 2 months now, ever since we had to put Maxwell to sleep. Hal (cat) was a 2-year old stray that had been brought to the local animal shelter and was looking for a home. The adjustment that he went through must have been a real shock to him. He no longer had to scrounge for something to eat, he no longer had to fear people approaching him, he no longer had to worry about finding shelter from the weather. It was a moment when all of these important things came into laser-shape focus for me. That was what made the moment so special.
     I admit that there have been points in my life where I would have ignored a moment like this without a second thought until much later when my mind would struggle to reconstruct that moment, the moment that made me smile. I am so glad that I have managed to come to terms with the balance between work and life so that I never knowingly ignore these precious moments again.
     Little things like this are what life is all about. Don’t forget to cherish each of the things that really make life worth living. Don’t lose your childlike wonder, or your inner curiosity. Use moments like this to bring you truly back to reality. There is always something deeper to see if you take the time to look for it.

Dreamer’s World February 2 2016 – No Sleep

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At least I managed to get some sleep and wake up without feeling like I got hit by a train. The downside to this is that I woke up at around 0330 in the morning and now will struggle to get back to sleep. Thus, the perfect balance still eludes me. I will try to go back to bed in a while and sleep if I can until 0800, but I am not optimistic at this time. I will comfort myself with not feeling sore all over as I write this, it is a victory of sorts.
     When the real day starts, I will be busy. Hal (person) has made his arrangements to travel to Philadelphia later in the week for a family member’s funeral on Saturday. I am sorry that he has to do this, I really do hate funerals, but I understand. For today, nothing will change here. I will work my normal day and be totally exhausted once again by the time it is over with and hope against hope for a long and comfortable night of sleep. We will see what happens.
     So far my nocturnal adventure has been joined by Hal (cat) and by Stevie Nicks. They both know, especially Stevie Nicks, that I have suffered from insomnia in the past. Stevie Nicks has now taken her place in my lap as I try to write more of this blog post. I don’t mind her being here at all, she is happy and makes me feel that way as well. I held her for about 30 minutes and let her know how loved she was before she decided that it was time to go and explore the possibilities that only she could see. Luckily, Hal (cat) and Spartacus didn’t intrude on our time together.
     As 0500 comes and goes I am still here with no sign of sleep yet. I am remaining very quiet even though Hal (person) is in the bedroom because I don’t want to wake him. I am switching between the iMac and iPhone as I continue to write using Evernote to keep things in order. I haven’t used the Chromebook yet because I didn’t feel like getting it out right now. If nothing else, this shows the value of Evernote as a blogging and writing tool. I occasionally still think about purchasing an MacBook, but I no longer feel that I am missing anything by not having one. I find it comforting that when my tax refund arrives that I won’t feel the urge to go out and spend it on something that I really don’t need.
     At least my BG levels are fine. In the past that has been the cause of my insomnia. Perhaps I am fighting off some winter crud right now because I don’t quite feel 100%, and haven’t for about 2 days now. I will have some oatmeal for breakfast in a while if I can’t get back to sleep and hope that helps. Even though I have felt less than 100% I have at least managed to maintain my 15,000 step daily routine over the last week. I know that this is good for me in the long term so I will make every effort to continue this. 
     Another thing that crosses my mind at times like this is how well I have done with my blog. I have met some truly fascinating people by following their blogs and many of them have returned the favor and followed this one as well. I believe that we all benefit from the encouragement and the exchange of ideas. The Blogging 101 course was incredibly useful and I am sure that I will take the next course when it is offered through WordPress. The course opened my eyes to the possibilities that are out there and helped me to realize that I am not writing in a vacuum. There are other people out there just like me who feel the need to write and exchange ideas with other people. 
     0600 has arrived and at this point it seems clear to me that I will not be going back to sleep at all before i have to go to work at 0900. to be blunt, this sucks but I have to force my way through. The only option that I have would be to call in and let the job know that I am taking a day off. I really don’t want to do that, but if I am exhausted I might have no other choice. I will just keep pushing until I cannot push any more.

Dreamer’s World January 30 2016 – A Quiet Saturday Morning

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There are times when all I want to do is just relax. Today is one of those days. As I woke up after Hal (person) has left for work, I can spend time with The Stooges and not have any deadlines on my mind, no tasks that require my immediate attention, and no obligations that I have to meet. Times like these are special and should be cherished because they are so rare. As I was sitting in the living room I had the good fortune to look up and saw this beautiful sight. Immediately I reached for the iPhone and snapped this picture.

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If I were to title the picture, it would be Solitude and Bliss. It represents a beautiful moment when the sunlight comes into the apartment on a quiet Saturday morning, and there isn’t a sound to be heard. Stevie Nicks is resting on the back of the chair, while Hal (cat) is relaxing on the floor. They both value this quiet time as well. There is no sound at all, no TV obviously because I prefer it that way and no radio or music either. The quiet is welcome here except for the clicking of the keyboard on my Chromebook as I type. I am actually very proud of this picture because of the variations in light and I feel that it really captures the mood I want to create. As with most things, serendipity plays a role because I never imagined that the picture would turn out so well.
    I have already made a few adjustments to my blog format and I am pleased with the results so far. The theme itself might be changed although I thought that would be more of a necessity than an option because I wasn’t sure that my intended changes would reflect the way I wanted them to. Consider it a live-and-learn type of thing and keep moving forward. That is how I will approach it. I am sure that I will continue to mess with the blog settings on WordPress in the future as I get more comfortable with the settings and recognize how the options and widgets can help me get what I want to see onto my blog.
     I finally decided to take a nap and the last thing I really saw before falling asleep was Hal (cat) keeping me company.

 

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I slept for about 3 hours, I was more tired than I thought, and woke up when Hal (person) came home. We have no plans to go anywhere right now and I can enjoy more time as I write this afternoon. I suppose that I more tired than I though I was. I am forsaking my daily walks today as I just rest. I will hopefully get back on track tomorrow.
    Hal (person) has gone to bed for a nap of his own right now. That is a sure sign that we are not going anywhere later, and I am fine with that more than I might normally be. If I do venture out later, it will only be to the store for necessities and then immediately back home. It reminds me od how this post started when I said I enjoyed not having things that had to be done hanging over my head today.
     I am tempted to order dinner this evening, but I think that I will just have something here at home and perhaps I will go to brunch tomorrow.

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 17 2016

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The day started here with snow flurries in the air. Nothing was sticking to the ground, but that didn’t stop the local idiots from making my planned trip to Harris Teeter for some groceries into a real adventure. Drivers in the DC area are notoriously bad drivers under the best of conditions, but when the “S” word is mentioned, or there is snow in the air, they lose their minds!
    One group of people want to show off their 4×4 SUVs and drive even faster than normal while another group will slow down to approximately 20 mph regardless of the speed limit. This creates the hazardous driving that this area just doesn’t need. Luckily, Harris Teeter is less than a mile away and I made it there without incident, although I witnessed several close calls.
    Of course, the crowd at Harris Teeter would convince you that the end of the world was upon us. There I was, just picking up a few items and I was stuck there for almost an hour due to the long lines for checkout. The trip home was even worse because I was behind one of the 25 mph lunatics which was causing a real traffic jam and making the other lunatics too impatient.
    After I got home, I put the groceries away and checked on The Stooges. Spartacus was taking it easy on top of one of the chairs in the living room
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Stevie Nicks was looking elegant on top of the other living room chair
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Meanwhile, Hal (cat) was doing his thing in the chair along with Spartacus.
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I got some walking in around the building after lunch, and now I am waiting for Hal (person) to get home from work. The sun finally came out, and the snow flurries have stopped. Since tomorrow is a holiday, I will find out if there are any potential plans for this evening after Hal gets here.
     Now that Hal (person) is finally home, we are all set for the evening here. We both have tomorrow off, so we will spend the time together. It is nice to not have to think about going to work in the morning for a change on a Monday, but I think I can adjust to it 🙂

Dreamer’s World January 13 2016 – Where Have The Years Gone?

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     Next Wednesday, I reach another birthday. I am not superstitious about these things and I know that age is just a number that we assign to ourselves. I suppose what makes this upcoming birthday different is that as I prepare to turn 52 years old, I am realizing that there is more life behind me than ahead of me. Where has all this time gone?
     I can clearly recall mornings from my childhood. There seems to be a memory for each season. I can smell the grass in the summertime, I can feel the silent cold of the snow that I hoped would keep me from going to school. The memories are so intense I can almost reach out and touch them.
     I remember Mom and Dad always teaching me to think for myself and to question everything. I thank them for that each and every day. I remember the talks around the dinner table that lasted for hours. I remember the difficulties Mom had with her family since she had been adopted as a young girl. Her natural siblings found her later in life. I remember how Mom struggled to put together a family that she never knew. I remember Dad telling me that it was the three of us against the world.
     I remember our town getting a McDonald’s and thinking that we had finally reached the big time. I remember cable tv when it was something that we couldn’t afford, but somehow we never missed.
     I remember playing 2nd base and center field. I can still hear the “ping” of the aluminum bat as I would race around to 2nd base after hitting a double into the right-center field gap. I remember playing right field on e game and backing up an errant throw to first base. I unloaded a bullet to 3rd base that had the runner out by 10 feet.
     I remember listening to songs for the first time. These are the most relevant memories for me. The music never changes. The memories the music evokes varies from time to time, but always in a good way.
     I remember the first kiss, I remember the first date, I remember the first rejection. I remember the first heartbreak that I swore I would never recover from. Silly me, life would prove that was just a warmup for later. I remember playing in a band, I remember being in the marching band, I remember friends that have vanished into the mists of time. I remember Saturday morning cartoons that weren’t designed sold to sell toys. I remember the Road Runner and Wiley Coyote on a 13-inch screen.
     I remember elementary school where it seemed I was always being held back because I was taught so much at home. I was taught to be inquisitive and to never stop learning. I remember thinking that so many kids there we’re just going through the motions and not caring about anything.
     I remember middle school, I remember the school dances. I remember the feeling that I had made some cosmic and karmic advancement from elementary school. I remember finally being allowed to write what I wanted in English class to let my creative side out.
     I remember high school. I remember the nerves when I took my driving test since my Dad had suffered a stroke and was unable to be there with me. I remember parties that I wasn’t supposed to go to, so naturally I went anyway. I remember causing trouble, or what passed as trouble in a small town. I remember school trips with the marching band. I remember the feeling that I was invincible just like everyone else and that life was nothing but roses (watch out for those thorns). I remember dates, I remember long quiet evenings just talking about getting the hell out of our hometown. I remember my Dad passing away when I was 17 and feeling that a void had been created that would never be filled. I remember graduation. It felt like parole had been granted.
     I remember the year before I went away to college. I remember watching so many of my friends dutifully lock themselves into our hometown. I remember their expressions that said they had no choice, that they had not prepared to do anything else. They attempted to comfort themselves with the belief that thus was the best that they could do. I remember the revelation that I was indeed different. I remember knowing that I could not just melt into the town to never surface again as an individual.
     I remember college. I remember the new faces and the new environment. I remember the tears in my Mom’s eyes as she drove away after making sure that I was settled into the dorm my first year. I remember making new friends. I remember being challenged intellectually for what seemed the first time in my life. I remember the college marking band and the football and basketball games that I was able to attend because I was with the band. I remember the Challenger explosion as it happened on CNN in the Student Center. I remember the sense of awe as history unfolded in its terrible glory and older people talked about the JFK assassination, although that happened before I was born. I remember that it taught me that the world goes on regardless of tragedy, and the only real choice we have is to keep moving forward as well.
     I remember when I joined the Navy after college because I wanted to get into a job field that wasn’t open to anyone without military training. I remember the pride my Mom had when she saw me in uniform. I remember seeing parts of the world that the old friends in my hometown could only dream about. I remember good times and bad from the Navy. I remember nearly being married twice (luckily I never got there).
     I remember meeting a friend, Donald Beasley, who would remain a close part of my life. I remember meeting his wife and family years later and feeling like I belonged. We still visit them even though Don was killed in a motorcycle accident in 2014.
     I remember leaving the Navy when my Mom’s health failed her at last. I remember finally finding my soulmate in Hal (person, not the cat) right as I left the Navy. I remember Mom treating Hal as part of our family. I remember us both being there as Mom let our her last breath. I remember saying goodbye to her.
     I remember the struggles after leaving the Navy. I remember how Hal and I have always managed to find a way to get through things together. I remember various jobs, some good, some bad until I landed the right job that I have held for 10 years. I remember the cats that we have had, UK, Muffin, Spartacus, Maxwell, Stevie Nicks, and now Hal (cat).
     I remember all of the cars I have had, the AMC Pacer (don’t laugh), the late 70s Mustang (yuck), the Nissan Sentra hatchback, the Chevy Nova (blah), the Ford Explorer, the Honda Civic EX, the Jeep Cherokee, the Nissan Sentra (nothing but trash), and finally the 2002 Beetle (love it).
     I remember how I feel at this moment. I wonder where have the years gone?