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 July 08, 2018 – Enjoying The G.I.F.T.

    Sunday is here. I am still taking the antibiotics for tonsillitis, and my throat feels closer to normal this morning. I just dropped Hal off at work, and now I am back home deciding what to do with the rest of the day, other than taking care of laundry and getting back into the daily writing routine. I am probably taking another day off work tomorrow to make sure that I feel 100% before I go back. Even though I work from home, I don’t need to spend lots of time talking on the phone until my throat is completely healed.
    I was thinking back to last week, other than feeling like shit, and I found something interesting had happened. I wasn’t trying to stay online or write all the time because I wanted to have a real vacation. Even after tonsillitis kicked in, I found that I was simply finding other things to do with my time. I thought of this time away as a gift I had received. That started my mind wondering about things like that, and I realized that I could write an anagram of sorts to describe it.
    G.I.F.T. Stands for Gaining Independence From Technology. This was what I was experiencing through last week. I was spending more time with Hal since I wasn’t at work, and I felt such a sense of peace and calm, even as tonsillitis started wrecking plans that we had. Although I didn’t get any time in with guitar practice, I didn’t feel any sense of guilt about it. The time for just being quiet and living was wonderful. The only way it could have been better would have been NOT to have tonsillitis.
    I have written in the past about breaking away from the tyranny of social media such as Facebook and Twitter. I knew at the time that I was going to be better off as a result, and last week proved it. I wasn’t constantly checking online to see whatever mindless garbage I was missing out on. My news intake has decreased dramatically, but I feel much more informed because I am no longer living within the echo chamber. Looking back, this was a gradual process that has produced positive results for me in my life.
    I wish that I could win the lottery, or break the bank at a casino. Then I could totally divorce myself from the daily rat race that requires me to work and make money that others instantly demand in return. It is a nice dream to have, but I cannot let the seduction lessen my focus on the here and how. I will just enjoy the peace and quiet that I have been basking in and hope that I continue to feel better.

Dreamer’s World July 07, 2018 – Back On My Feet (Almost)

    My week off has been interesting, to say the least. I had a really bad sore throat that I couldn’t shake. I gargled with salt water, and it only gave me temporary relief. After the second day, I realized that there was something really wrong, so I scheduled a visit with my doctor, but that had to wait until Friday of my week off. Therefore, I remained miserable for the week that was my vacation.
    When I got to the doctor on Friday morning, tests quickly confirmed that I did not have strep, but that I did have viral tonsillitis. What a way to spend my vacation! The doctor told me sine it was viral in nature that the old remedy of removing the tonsils wasn’t an option. Therefore, I had to start taking antibiotics yesterday, and they are working. My throat feels much better, although my overall mood remains down because of the wasted time. I am coughing more now than I did for the last several days, and this is because my throat is no longer as sore. I hope that this is also clearing out the crap from my throat.
Plans to do things with Hal had to be canceled due to my illness, but Hal didn’t mind. He helped me through the days when I was in agony, and I love him for caring like that. Hal has had to work both weekends sandwiched around my time off, so right now he is at work, and I will pick him up later this afternoon. I am grateful that my illness didn’t prevent me from driving because that would have adversely affected him since he cannot drive due to his vision. We did go out a few times because I simply refused to stay cooped up during my time off work. Because the antibiotics worked so quickly, I am going to get something for lunch while Hal is at work.
    I will see about going back to work on Monday morning. I have already contacted my supervisor and let her know the situation as of Friday, and everything depends on how well I feel on Monday morning. I suspect that if my throat isn’t sore and I can talk on the phone, that I will just go ahead and work since I work from home anyway. Obvuiously, feeling like shit cost me several days of guitar practice. I will have to get back into the routine again soon so I can continue to improve.
    I hope that the next time I schedule a week off that nothing like this happens again.

Dreamer’s World June 26, 2018 -Where Have The Years Gone?

    I got word from family yesterday that my cousin came through her surgery with flying colors. She will know the results of the biopsy in a few days, and, at the tender young age of 87, she will stay in the hospital for about a week before going home. I hope that there is good news when the lab results come back, but I am a realist, and I know that cancer attacks people who have never been in high-risk groups such as my cousin. It is an evil and indiscriminate killer.
    Thinking about my cousin having surgery days after turning 87 has me thinking about where time goes once we experience it? I can clearly see in my mind the visits to her when I was a child. She is 33 years older than I am, this is the result of being the offspring of the youngest of my Dad’s clan of 11 kids. It seems that an entire generation skipped when it comes to my cousins. All of them are much older than I am.
    I remember getting to know her, and she was already an adult, teaching at an elementary school. We were never close like most cousins due to the age differential, but we shared a bond because Mom and Dad had helped to raise her in the years long before I was born. In fact, Mom and Dad helped her to attend college at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN and get a start on her own life. Therefore, she has always seen me as special because of the kindness that my parents showed to her when she was a little girl and a young woman.
    When my Dad died in 1981, she was there to comfort me, but I could see that she was just as upset as I was. We ended up comforting each other. When Mom died in 2001, she was there once again. She feels like a much closer relative than just a cousin who is 33 years older than I am.
    She has her own children and grandchildren now, and they are all wonderful people who care about her more than I can because they are much closer. It doesn’t diminish the bond that we share. My life took me away from western Kentucky many years ago, and I have done well for myself. I still think about her on a regular basis, and she was so relieved when I called her on her birthday.
    I am relieved that the surgery was successful. I will be waiting to hear from her kids about how things turn out and when she might be going home from the hospital. If she indicates that she wants to see me, I will take time off and travel to visit her, but I don’t want to be a burden on her or her family. Her children are all older than I am, and it has been many years since we last saw each other. This is the generational gap that I mentioned before on full display.
    Cancer is a killer, Time is ruthless. Each will have its way, and there isn’t much we can do to change either of them. I will keep her in my thoughts and get on with my life and hope that I will be as well-remembered when I reach the age of 87.

Dreamer’s World June 25, 2018 – Contrasting Emotions

    I start this week with contrasting emotions. Part of me is anxious as my cousin goes in for surgery to remove a malignant tumor. She is 87 years young, and when I spoke to her, she said that she is resigned to whatever the results turn out to be. She said that she will not have additional surgery even if that is what the doctors want. I understand her decision, and I respect it, but I know that things will run their course whether I worry about them or not. Knowing that she is at peace with her own decision makes things easier. She goes in for surgery this afternoon, and I should hear something by this evening about her recovery from the procedure.
    At the same time, I am looking forward to the end of this week because next week I am taking a stay-cation with Hal and The Stooges. I need the time away from work to clear my head and recharge my inner battery. I have not made any definite plans for that time, I certainly have a trip to see my cousin in the back of my mind, but the cost of such a trip is outrageous because there is no major airport within an easy driving distance. It is stunning how much having to fly to a smaller airport changes the cost of a trip, and even then I would have to rent a car and travel close to 100 miles just to get to her.
    Therefore, I will only think of things to do that are close to home for my time away from work. Unfortunately, Hal’s schedule will not change during the time that I am taking off from work. Hal has his priorities, and I have mine. Eventually, we will manage to take a long vacation together. I will be very excited when that finally happens.

Dreamer’s World June 12, 2018 – Writing Is Life

    Why do I write? This is a question I have asked myself for years. I have always felt a need to write ever since I was a child. Like everyone, this need has gone unfulfilled for long periods of time, and this ends up causing anguish.
    When I was a child, I would go through notebooks with no problem. I could quickly fill one in less than a month. I took a journal with me whenever I could. I wasn’t always writing about things that I saw or experienced, most of the time I was writing about how I felt and how I saw the world. My parents thought this was a wonderful gift. They encouraged me to write as much as I wanted to, and they never complained when I would grab a notebook or two at the store.
    As I grew older, I stopped writing as often as I had in the past. The desire was pushed under the surface as I made my way through the world, but it never left me. It would return from time to time. When I was in the Navy, I would write letters to friends and family that often ran for 5-6 pages. The postal clerk on the ship joked that I should have to pay extra postage because the envelopes were stuffed full. I knew that writing took my mind away from the isolation and drudgery of Navy life at sea.
    I always knew I was different. No one else wrote as I did. I took pride in my own handwriting. I wanted people to be able to read what I wrote instead of a scribble that no one could understand. I didn’t consider myself to be better than anyone else, but I knew that I didn’t fit nicely into their view of the world either. When I left the Navy, I tried to get back to writing on a regular basis, but there were too many distractions in my way. I was trying to erase my loneliness with a flurry of activity, but all that accomplished was to take me away from my love of writing. Perhaps, inwardly, I was afraid of what I would write, what my feelings would look like pouring out onto the printed page. That fear led me down some dark paths. Luckily, I found Hal and my life began to turn around.
              I am 54 years old now. It is hard to believe that I have been with Hal for approximately one-third of my life. Obviously, I am happy with how my life has turned out. That happiness eventually led to me writing once again, and now I feel so free. My concern now is to write on a regular basis. Most of the time, what I write goes into this blog, but there are occasions when I find that I have written something so intensely personal that I cannot send it out to the world. I consider this a fair trade in exchange for my sanity.

Dreamer’s World June 09, 2018 – Missing A Friend, But Realizing Some Brutal Truths

    I was going through some old blog posts from this time last year, and I came across the one from June 05, 2017. This was written the day that Nicola and her son, Connor, left for Scotland. They were going back forever, this was Nicola’s choice because she wanted to be nearer to her family. After my Navy friend, her husband Donald, was killed in an accident while riding his motorcycle, it wasn’t a big surprise that she decided to return home for good.
    Hal and I saw Nicola for the last time a few days before her departure. We met her for dinner, and we made all the obligatory promises to stay in touch once she got settled into her new life in Scotland. There were a few tears as we parted, but we all swore that we would stay in touch. To her credit, she did call me once abaut a week after she arrived, but we haven’t heard from her since. There was never a message giving address and telephone information, and that did cause a little hurt.
    I hadn’t thought about this for quite a while, it was only seeing the blog entry that triggered the memory. I hope that Nicola and Connor are doing so well that they honestly have forgotten to write or call. I don’t have any bad feelings about this, it is just a part of life that stressing over wont help.
    The brutal truth mentioned in the title refers to another aspect of things that I realized today. The contact between us had diminished over their last year in the States and im sure that had something to do with her plans to move back home that she hadn’t told anyone about yet. Once again, the decision was hers to make, and I believe that she made the right choice.
    The reason I bring this up is that I strongly suspect that if she hadn’t moved back, I might well be sitting here thinking why I haven’t heard from her in such a long time even when she would have been less than 50 miles away. People change, friendships change and sometimes they simply fade away.

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.