Virtual Happy Hour

Yesterday I experienced a new phenomenon that is a direct result of social distancing. The company I work for decided to hold a Virtual Happy Hour at the end of the workweek. At first I wasn’t sure how this was going to turn out, but everyone actually had a very good time.

The rules were very simple. All the participants had to show what we were drinking, and either describe it or show the bottle. At first we proposed a series of toasts to set the mood and get everyone relaxed,and within a few minutes it was almost like we were out at a neighborhood pub together.

The software we used was MS Teams, because of the recent issues with Zoom, our company is moving away from Zoom rather quickly. The experience was interesting and different, but apparently this is the new “normal” that we will be dealing with for a long time to come.

Dreamer’s World June 07, 2018 – The Journey To Happiness

    I wrote that Happiness is a Journey. Now the time has come to embark on that journey. I only know where I am going, everyone is different.
    The only advice I can give from this point on is to enjoy the journey. Take your time getting there, stop along the way and smell whatever roses you run across.
    Endure the bad stretches of road and coast along the sections where no extra effort is needed. Take your mental pictures and write about your experience if you choose.
    It is your journey, enjoy it.

Dreamer’s World June 05, 2018 – Happiness Is A Journey

    Yesterday I wrote about Happiness is a choice. Once you have made that choice, then you must determine where you want to go. This is more difficult than it sounds because it involves some serious soul-searching. What is it that makes you really and truly happy?
    For me, the path to happiness has to include my home life with Hal and The Stooges, as well as music. Physical well-being is also a part of this, as well as self-improvement in all of those areas.
    We never start an important journey without knowing where we are going. It is the same with happiness. Knowing what you are heading toward is vital to a successful journey. It allows you to plan what you need to get there, how to progress towards your goals and gives direction toward the destination.
     Of course, the destination for the journey doesn’thave to be and rarely is, a physical location. It is normally a state of mind and well-being that we are trying to achieve. Personally, the biggest decision I made was to wean myself away from social media to focus more on home and music. I only have a Google + account now, besides this blog. Earlier today, I delted my Pinterest and Instagram accounts to complete my purge.
    The way has been prepared. It is time for the journey to begin.

Dreamer’s World June 04, 2018 – Happiness Is A Choice

    As I have made my way through this life, I have learned many valuable lessons. Sometimes I have to remember lessons that I had forgotten about.” One instance of a lesson from my parents was brought back to my attention when I was reading a quote from the late John Lennon, which read
“When I was 5 years old, my Mother told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy.” They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them that they didn’t understand life.”

Happiness is a choice. It is a choice that we all must make each and every day as we go through our lives. Happiness isn’t something that we earn, it cannot be given to us by others. Happiness is a deeply personal choice that is the most important choice that we can make. There will always be people and circumstances that will push their own agendas onto us. Our Happiness is not their concern at all. We usually give in to the constant pressure to conform and find ourselves further and further away from the happiness that we seek. Eventually, happiness seems unattainable and impossible.
We try to make ourselves believe that we are happy with things and personal pleasures, but the emptiness persists. Deep down inside, we know that something is missing, but we have been so conditioned that we fail to realize what we are missing is happiness.
The world is full of schemes to trick us into believing that we can find happiness by following someone else, by doing what they tell us to do. Sometimes we force ourselves to believe that we have actually found happiness when we really have no clue. The plans that others laid out for us lead to dead ends, or worse, to conforming to something that takes away our freedom without us realizing it.
If we maintain our intellectual freedom, we find that the only way to reach happiness is to strive for that goal. This is the decision I mentioned. It is easy to make, but difficult to make work. The decision goes against every aspect of life that we have been forced to accept as we grow up. This decision can cost us dearly because it involves throwing off so much of the life that we have built, but we realize that the life in question wasn’t the one that we really wanted.
Personal priorities must be re-evaluated. Choices must be reshaped to determine if they are actually helping us along the way to happiness. Sounds impossible, I know, but life is a journey, and we decide which way to go. Happiness is also a journey that often takes us in a different direction than what is expected of us. I am not advocating abandoning everything and taking off on some wild goose chase, I am advocating making a personal decision based on what it is that we really want from life, what will it take to make us happy?
I said that Happiness is a choice, and the first thing about this choice is to decide to embark on a journey. As with any journey, preparations must be made before setting out on the trip. In this case, the first decision to make is where we want to go to find Happiness. That answer is different for each of us, and it requires breaking free of the patterns we have fallen into.
Plan your trip carefully, determine where you want to go to find happiness.

Dreamer’s World May 19, 2018 – Happiness Is Unexpected Laughter

Snoopy and The Gang have come to my rescue once again. I found myself intrigued by the message for today. Why don’t we laugh more often? 

Study after study, from both the physical and mental perspectives, has shown that laughter is a great thing. It actually improves our health and our outlook on life. How often do we look with envy at someone who is happy and not afraid to show it? 

We must never forget that being happy is a choice that we all must make. It seems that life has conspired against us in so many ways. We find ourselves too stressed, or too rushed, or too busy, to be happy. We allow events and people to dictate our lives to such a degree that we end up surrendering our own autonomy to them without realizing it until it is too late. Actually, it is never too late to take some level of control back over your life. It is never too late to make the choice to be happy. 


Dreamer’s World May 15, 2018 – No Surrender

    Since I deliberately removed myself from most social media, I find my mind is at peace. I still maintain a presence on Google + but that is because the people there have always been more real and interactive, rather than bots screaming for attention. Occasionally, I do run across a person or bot on there that can irritate me, but it is so easy just to block them and never say a word. I just keep enjoying my day and never look back.
    The response I get from people when they learn that I left facebook and twitter behind is shock. When they ask why I decided to leave, I point out that they didn’t notice for over a month and then say nothing else.      As is the case with most people, their attention is drawn to the easiest and most flashy things that can occupy their time.
    FB and Twitter offer people the cookie-cutter approach to social interaction. No thought is required, just start posting away and liking this and forwarding that, and somehow at the end, you are supposed to be a better person??? I was guilty of that myself. I found it so easy to hide behind an avatar and just follow the other lemmings over the cliff.
    If nothing else, FB and Twitter taught me an old lesson once again. I desire real interaction with real people. I don’t like cliques or trends. I cannot be happy as a member of the herd all of the time.
    I am the person in a crowd who looks in the opposite direction from everyone else. I am the person who takes the path less traveled when I come to a fork in the road. I prefer to hike along a trail in the woods over speeding down a paved highway.
    I prefer silence over the mindless chatter. I find happiness in music rather than TV. I would rather read than listen to a conversation about the latest fads or celebrities.
    I don’t feel I am better than other people, I just realize and embrace the differences that make me unique. I feel that everyone should take the path that diverges from the crowd, but I don’t demand that from others. Freedom includes the freedom to surrender to the mob, but I threw my white flag away years ago.

Dreamer’s World May 08, 2018 – Thinking About Dinner

Since everything is calming down here after the initial adjustment from the move, it is time to think about getting into the kitchen and preparing dinner for Hal and myself. I have 4 pork chops that have thawed out, and I will marinate them this evening. I will cook them tomorrow, and that will provide us with meals for a few days since these are large and thick pork chops.
After work, I made sure that I had the ingredients for the marinade I prefer to use, as well as the necessary spices. Also, I made sure that we have the side items for the meals. This will be the first real cooking adventure in the new apartment. I have used the Instant Pot a few times, but not the oven in the kitchen. There are always a few quirks that have to be accounted for, but I am confident that things will turn out delicious after I finish cooking the pork chops tomorrow evening.
    I am tempted to get some applesauce from the grocery store, as well as some fresh asparagus. I don’t want to go overboard, but I also want this meal to be special for Hal and myself. We already have potatoes, and green beans and baked beans. I know that I will have to get an onion or two to spice things up.
    I will be glad to cook in the new kitchen at last. As great as the Instant Pot is, it cannot replace something that is prepared the old fashioned way in the oven.
After a short time away from the computer, I realized that tomorrow is the night that we are going to see the new Avengers movie. This shouldn’t affect the overall plan to cook, it will just push things a bit later in the evening. We are going to the early evening session so we won’t be out late. I expect we will be home by 2030 tomorrow evening. Probably too late to eat after cooking, so it will be a decision at that time whether or not to put things off until Thursday.

Dreamer’s World April 30, 2018 – Letting Go Of An Old Friend And Welcoming A New Addition To The Family

I first started seriously focusing on learning to play guitar about 2 years ago. The first guitar I got was via the Home Shopping Network on an impulse buy.
This was the Keith Urban acoustic/electric model. It was an excellent beginner guitar and I enjoyed playing it for months. Then, I noticed that my progress hit a wall. At first I attributed this to simply being tired, but nothing improved. It wasn’t until I tried playing a left-handed guitar that I realized I had been doing this all wrong.
    Soon afterward, I purchased a Jackson electric guitar that was left-handed and resumed my practicing. The Keith Urban guitar sat in the closet and collected dust because I was no longer using it. I finally made up my mind that I needed to trade it for another guitar, but that had to wait until after we moved to the new apartment. I figured that if anything was going to get damaged, it might as well be the old unused guitar, rather than a new one.
     Yesterday, I finally traded in the Urban guitar for a new lefty Fender CD 60S, and it is a beauty.
    I feel a sense of regret about getting rid of the old guitar, but life does go on, and times change. I am looking forward to many years with the new guitar.

Dreamer’s World April 26, 2018 – The Morning Light

      One of the things that I like the most about the new apartment is the light that comes in early in the morning. This is the first place that we have lived for many years that faces towards the north and east, which gives us more light in the morning. Because we are in a corner unit, we do have two sides of windows in the living room that really capture all available light during the day.

    This wonderful way to wake up has really made me appreciate the new place even more than before. For the first week, everything was still too hectic to sit back and gaze in wonder at this place. This morning, I watched four ducks paddle across the serene lake outside the balcony and marveled at the sense of calm that came over me. There was nothing like this in the old apartment, we looked out over the parking lot, and the daylight was behind the building. This meant that all we saw was blinding light in the afternoon and cars going back and forth in the parking lot all day and night. This is much better.
    It is amazing how such simple things can affect one’s outlook on life. This move was stressful, but it will be worth it for us in the long term. We both are looking forward to being here for many years.

Dreamer���s World February 24, 2018 ��� A Foggy Start

Dreamer’s World February 24, 2018 – A Foggy Start
    The fog is slowly burning off this morning as I prepare to take Hal to work. I forgot to get a picture earlier when I couldn’t see across the street, but I am glad that I wont have to drive in those conditions.
    I am not sure how I will spend today since it is nearing the end of the week off work that I so desperately needed. Looking back, we got a lot accomplished during the week. We managed to find a new apartment. We can move out of here in late April. Hal and I also had lots of time spent together, and that was something that we nboth really needed. Now as Hal goes to work today, I start to realize that Monday is creeping up on me. I wish that I didn’t have to go back to work, but that isn’t a possibility worth worrying about.
    I will come back home after I take Hal to work and spend some time with my thoughts. I have neglected writing while I was on vacation, but I managed to avoid the guilt by staying busy most of the time. Neverthless I have multiple aborted blog posts laying around that I might be able to save by combining them into something useful, or I might just decide to let them be and start fresh. I am leaning toward just starting something new like this and moving on. There is no reason to revisit the past when the future is right in front of me.
    Today marks the return of the old routine. With Hal working today and tomorrow, there wont be much chance to get out together. Hal needs to rest, and I respect that. Perhaps one of theses days he can work a schedule that will give both of us the weekend off. I am cpontent working from home during the week and avoiding the rat race commute in the DC area.
    Because we know when and where we will be moving to, I will have to set up another week or so off from work in late April. This gives me something to look forward to that isn’t too far in the future. The move will be less than a mile actually. We like it here in Centreville and see no reason to move out of the area. The new apartment will give us a lake view rather than a parking lot, and that will be a welcome change.
    Friends asked us why we are moving again. The answer comes down to the management company that recently purchased the apartment community that we are living in. The new owensership is less than stellar, and that is being very kind to them. The community portal that is used to pay rent and submit maintenance requests never works, most of the maintenance staff have left as a result of the ownership change, and finally, we were accused of not having renters insurance by the new company even though the paperwork is on file in the office. All of this happened in just over a month, and we realized it was not going to get any better, so it is time for us to move on.
    After we found the next apartment, I managed to do most of the things that I wanted to while on vacation except going to the casino. That can happen another time, there is no rush for it. We never take risks when we go anyway. We show up with a set amount to spend, and when that is gone, we walk out with whatever we have won, or with nothing left from the original amount at all, and we always have a good time. We just never had the full day to make that trip this week.
    Hal is at work, and I am back writing once again. Hal forgot his cell phone, but if he gets away from work early, he can still call me from his job. If I don’t hear from him, I know to be there at 1630 to pick him up and bring him home. I am going to rest here today since it is raining and there is no need to be out. I have food here that was prepared in the Instant Pot, and that will tide us over for the weekend. I will try to catch up on sleep again tonight and tomorrow night to be ready for the expected avalanche of emails and phone calls on Monday morning. Fun times.