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 April 15 2016 – Identity



I decided to try a new profile picture for the post today. I still love having my calendar included to provide myself with a sense of time, and the Lucy and Charlie Brown item adds a touch of unreality as well. The Bose SoundTouch 20 adds music for my mood. The song that happened to be playing was “Message In A Bottle” by The Police, which remains one of my favorite songs of all time. I suppose that I needed a change to things around here as the week rolls to a conclusion.


I finally feel like I am in a good place to write again. My Evernote is filled with abandoned blog posts from this week. There are so many times that I start to write something only to realize that I shouldn’t be posting it after all. I sometimes re-read these aborted posts to get a sense of perspective on things, and I find that really helps me in my day-to-day life.


It often escapes us, in our busy lives, just exactly who we really are. Myself, I am a very intense person with a strong sense of purpose, but in a very Zen type of way. By nature I am a Type B personality and I can easily manage myself when left to my own devices. I find that deadlines and the encroaching problems of other people cause me to tune out subconsciously. This gives others the impression that I am aloof and uncaring. Nothing could be further from the truth as far as my friends are concerned, but it a stark truth to those who approach me in the wrong way.


I am an interesting mixture of introvert and extrovert. I usually take my time to formulate a response before I speak in order to say what it is that I really want to say. Once words have left our lips, or appeared on these pages, they can never be withdrawn.


I seldom interact with people that I have difficulties with because experience has taught me that these people seem to only thrive on chaos that they can cause in those around them. My life and my time are far too valuable to waste on these people. When I was younger and more naive, I wanted to think that I could single-handedly change the world and everyone in it. Now I realize that is impossible, and a waste of time and effort.


I welcome a wide variety of people into my life but they remain a part of my life only provided that they behave properly. I believe that each of us has the responsibility to maintain order and happiness within our own lives, and to NOT attempt to be a cause of turmoil to others. This has resulted in my discarding some old friends but those have been replaced with new ones that I would not trade the world for.


I know that life is transitory. We never stand still, but it is up to us about which direction we move. People are a part of our lives at all times, but we are the ones who determine how long they remain because we are each on our own journeys and paths often diverge.


I love cats. They are the animals that I can most easily identify with due to their independent natures. Cats choose people with whom they wish to associate, and so do I. Cats show affection to those they care about, and this is much different than simply showing interest in those they have to tolerate.


I love music more than TV. Music is timeless and not trying to get me interested in something to buy. I seldom watch TV unless there are sports or cartoons on. The news is a complete and utter wasteland to me because I get my information from online sources. Basically all of TV is trash and info-porn that I have zero use for.


I prefer a small group of friends to a mass of acquaintances. There are no benefits to me of being a part of a large group of people because I tend to focus my attention on the person/s I am with at any given time.


I hate people who cannot communicate without giving the appearance that I am something that isn’t that important to them. Being out with a friend who constantly checks their phone means that is the last time I will waste my time with them. I purposefully will silence or turn off my phone when I am spending time with another person.


I am introspective. I can lose myself in my own mind very easily when I am bored, and the boredom goes away quickly. I can be extremely quiet at times, and this puts some people off.


I served in the US Navy. I appreciate and respect those who serve and have served, but I know that there is nothing tremendously unusual about the experience. It is simply a system in which some people have worked. My prior service does not govern my life now any more than my experiences in the 3rd grade. There were some impacts, but I frame myself in much larger terms.


I am unique, I am special. However, in the grand scheme of things this is meaningless. Rather, I am as important as I choose to be. That is true for all of us.

Dreamer’s World March 11 2016 – What A Difference A Few Kind Words Can Make In Our Day


Far too often, we let life pass us by without a second thought. We get busy with work and we miss out on things that are truly important. Sometimes we are fortunate enough to get a second chance to correct an oversight, and that is what happened to me earlier today.
     A friend, Xena, I cannot call her a friend in the sense that we have met face-to-face yet, contacted me through this blog to let me know that she wanted to have us follow each other on Twitter as well. I am all for that, but it turns out that she has a restricted Twitter account, and for some reason, I never received her follow notification. Such is life in the 21st century, our parents would never understand what I just said, and our children will also be clueless as technology leaves us in the dust. All a part of life, as I would say.
     At any rate, Xena contacted me via this blog and I told her that I would be honored to follow her on Twitter as well as to follow her blog. She responded quickly and I hope that things will be worked out soon.
     In less than an hour, everything is right with the world once again. The pleasant feeling I have over re-establishing contact with Xena is incredible. It is truly amazing how much interacting with another person, even in the digital realm, can make even the worst day into a wonderful one.
     I am so glad that Xena took the time to contact me. I promise that I will do everything in my power to not let us lose contact again. If we are physically close enough, I hope to meet Xena in person one of these days in order to thank her in a more personal way than this blog post. Until then, this will have to do.
     Xena, thank you so much for being a friend and for brightening my day. I hope that you will have a wonderful weekend.
Evernote Camera Roll 20160311 171135

Dreamer’s World February 22 2016 – To Be Happy

One of the hardest lessons we have to learn in this life is how to be happy. Being happy is a choice that we all have to make for ourselves, no one else can ever make us happy without our choosing to be happy first.
This isn’t an easy thing to do. The world seems intent on not allowing us to be happy. The pressures of everyday life can be overwhelming at times, and so many of us react by throwing ourselves deeper down the well in search of relief rather than just stepping away from the edge and re-evaluating our lives. That feeling of impending doom is a warning to us, when we ignore it we have willingly chosen to deprive ourselves of happiness.
Remember that each one of us is special and unique. We can never be replaced. We deserve to be happy and to let others around us see that happiness as an inspiration to them. When I tell friends this theory, they look at me like I have lost my damned mind, but that is because they fail to see the truth in it from their inner perspective. They look at this as the world tells them to and this won’t give them the happiness they seek. You cannot buy happiness, as the old saying goes and it is very true. Only you can choose to be happy within yourself first. After that choice is made, it is amazing how much easier it is to deal with the world, and it is also amazing how people respond to you after you make that choice.
Being happy isn’t some mystic roll of the dice. It is a choice that each of us has to make.

Dreamer’s World February 15 2016 – A Snowy Day Off



Today is a holiday so I am spending it at home with Hal (person) and The Stooges. It is always a good idea to not plan things out for these Monday holidays because it takes away the freedom of choice and serendipity and puts you on a schedule. I thought that a holiday was all about NOT having to conform to a schedule for a change.
     It looks like we will get more snow than was predicted. Estimates now call for 3-6” of the white shit before it turns to rain tonight. I am sure this will make tomorrow morning’s rush hour a disaster for those who have to commute. Luckily, I work from home and will miss out on all that fun. By tomorrow, the temperature should be in the 50s and hopefully between that and the rain it will melt all of the snow.
     Any plans for going out today have been effectively squashed. There is nothing that we need to do so badly that we would risk being on the roads with the lunatic drivers around here. The main road outside the apartment complex is almost deserted right now to prove a point, even though there have been multiple snow plows out and about this morning.
     I will write more throughout the day, but the morning post is done for now.

Dreamer’s World February 6 2016 – Mom’s Birthday


We all have days when the past comes roaring back into our lives. Today is one of those days for me. My Mom, who passed away on February 2, 2001, was born on February 6, 1925. She had an interesting and difficult life, most of which seemed to always be beyond her ability to control. Since I have written about her in the past, I decided that this year I would write about some of the things that concerned her rather than about her simply being a wonderful Mom, which she was.
     Mom was an orphan, it happened when she was a small girl. The details have never been that clear to me about what exactly happened. I do know that she was part of a very large family (more about that in a moment), but she was sent to an orphanage until she was adopted by a loving family that raised her as their own daughter. Mom knew that she had been adopted, but from all accounts she led a happy and normal childhood, even though she grew up during the Great Depression in rural Kentucky.
     Eventually, Mom met my Dad. They married and moved to another town where, as fate would have it, one of my Mom’s older sisters also lived. Contact was re-established, but this was years before I was born. It is easier to fast forward to a point where I can take over the proper narration.
     I was born in 1964. As I grew up I noticed that there was always tension between my Dad and my aunt, Mom’s sister. As I grew older, Dad told me that Mom desperately wanted to re-establish a real family bond with her siblings and at first he supported her. I wish that the story ended right then and there, but it didn’t.
     Mom’s older sister was a real piece of work. As I got to  know her, I began to sense the manipulative nature that she possessed. My instinct was to resist, because even knowing her as an aunt gave her no right to interfere with me or my parents. Episodes occurred throughout my childhood that drove me further away from my aunt and more to the point of view that my Father held about her. Mom never gave up trying to make an extended family based on blood ties where there was really nothing else that bout her to her sister or to any other sibling.
     Looking back through the years I remember that none of the siblings ever seemed to contact Mom unless they also contacted her sister. There were a few “family reunions” which were always held at my aunt’s house. When I was a small boy of about 5 or so, I remember seeing an uncle arriving in a Winnebago. Like any kid, I was enthralled at the site of something so wonderful as a vacation home on wheels.      I asked my uncle if I could look inside and he said “sure”.
     When I approached the screen door to the Winnebago, two Dobermans lunged at me. I wasn’t necessarily scared because I remember the old movies about the “Doberman Gang” where trained dogs robbed banks, a cultural reference that some might have to Google. My Dad ran over and grabbed me to prevent the dogs from getting closer as they tried to burst through the screen door. When my Dad asked my uncle exactly WHAT IN THE HELL HE THOUGHT HE WAS DOING allowing me to get that close to the dogs that were trained to protect the Winnebago, my uncle laughed it off.
     Well, he laughed it off at least until my Dad grabbed him and I though he might have killed him, but he let him go. Dad took me away from the rest of the crowd and we sat and talked until Mom noticed us and realized it was time to go because she hadn’t seen what had happened. When we told her, she was shocked but I never heard what, if anything, she said about ti to her sister or her brother.
     My final straw came around the age of 7. We were visiting my aunt and something was brewing in the background between her and my Dad. I had no idea at the time what the problem was other than his mistrust of her, but I was about to get both barrels of BITCH from my aunt.
     I commented to my aunt that she had a beautiful home. Since I had not been in the adult conversation, I didn’t think that this was anything destined to cause trouble. I was wrong. My aunt told me to my face in front of my parents that “If your parents were “better” then you would have a house as nice as this one”.
     There was nothing in my Dad’s background that warranted such a remark. He met my mom when she was with her adopted family. Perhaps Dad was over-protective of Mom since he had observed this “relationship” between her and her sister for years before I was even born. I distinctly remember my Dad grabbing me before I could run across the room to start attacking the BITCH for saying that about my parents and where we lived at the time.
     From that day onward, I only set foot in her house when forced to by Mom, and after a few years, even she realized that it was best to leave me and Dad at home. Dad died in 1981, but we talked about the situation many times. He said that my aunt was a manipulator of people and that she would rather spit on you than have you around if you wouldn’t knuckle under to her demands. I realized that I was like my Dad in the sense that neither of us would accept that. When Dad died, my aunt was  constantly trying to get information out of my Mom about how much was left to her. I saw no concern for my Father at all from her.
     Mom tried for the rest of her life to walk that tightrope between Dad and myself on one hand, and her family on the other. I have a tremendous amount of relatives, but I have never met most of them. At this point in my life, it no longer bothers me. A cousin of mine, daughter of the aunt, was one of the most beautiful people I have ever met. Sadly, we never grew that close because of the situation. My second cousins are all wonderful people, but we hardly ever spoke growing up because of the situation with their grandmother.
     To my cousins I mentioned, I hope that all of this sounds completely unbelievable to all of you, and that you never saw that side of your grandmother. I hope that she treated all of you like the wonderful people that you are. I can accept hard feelings based on the feeling that I must be the one with the problem who doesn’t know what I am talking about. It doesn’t bother me anymore. The last time I saw the aunt was right after Mom’s funeral, and I only did that because the BITCH didn’t bother to show up at Mom’s funeral and I am convinced that she knew that I didn’t want her there.
     I wonder what drove Mom to continually try to “get along” with her sister. They were raised differently and there was never any real chance that things would get any better. I know that they had strong feelings for each other, it was Dad and myself that despised her sister, and I believe that the feeling was mutual. My parents were not perfect, but they were not terrible, they were human like everyone else. For my aunt to ever call our family into question as she did revealed a side of her that others might not have seen, but I did, and I didn’t like it one bit.
     After Mom died I wondered why things couldn’t have been better. Mom was a good person, but she had a fault and that was trying to be part of a family that she could only remember vaguely from many years ago. I know that she probably suffered because it seemed that she had to make a choice between her siblings and us. Once, when I told Hal (person) about all of this he asked me a question that I had never even thought to ask. If Mom’s natural family was so wonderful, then why didn’t the older siblings, and there were plenty, take the younger ones in with them rather than see them sent away to orphanages? I will never know the answer to that one, and I have no real interest in trying to find it out.
     Despite her troubles, Mom was a wonderful woman. It just made sense for me to get all of that out of my system before saying so. I have been in touch with a girl I went through school with and she remembered my Mom as a Room Mother, an outdated concept that seems to have faded away through the years. Whenever the room mothers would organize some event for the class, Mom would always make sure that each child got a hug and some time. This started in 1969 and the girl I mentioned remembered that a white woman had never hugged her and talked to her as if she were her own child. Mom made those impressions on people throughout her life.
     She met Hal (person) before she died, and she approved. I never knew her to have a mean bone in her body, and perhaps that is why she went through the emotional suffering that she did. She never stood up to her sister in defense of her husband and son. It isn’t my place to fault her for that, I know that my Dad never did. We empathized with her and wished that things could have been different. Sadly, they never were.
     I don’t believe in god or heaven, but if I am wrong I hope that Mom and her sister and other siblings have gotten over their issues. Grudges are too painful to hold, it is best to let them go, but at the same time, it is helpful to let them go in the open sometimes to air them out before you toss them behind you as you move along with life.
     The most important thing I learned growing up was what my Dad taught me. It was us against the world. We all make our choices and to a large degree we also make our own families. Never experiencing the real extended family thing means that I cannot really miss it. I am who I am and I am happy with myself. After all, isn’t that the important thing in the long run?

Dreamer’s World January 31 2016 – A New Day


Sometimes a break in the routine is good. I have been walking regularly since December and yesterday I took a day off. I have already resumed walking for today and am feeling great so far. After roughly 3 miles I am halfway to my new goal for today and I will maintain this for at least a week before attempting to increase the distance again.
     I am doing this in order to lose some weight, but I know that it won’t happen overnight. Persistence is the key. Once the weather warms up and the days get longer as Spring approaches, I will be taking rides on the mountain bike once again as well as my daily walking.
     Establishing a routine is fine, it gives a sense of purpose. We cannot let it dictate our lives at the expense of everything else, and that is the key to being happy, at least for me. I always strive for balance in my life. I have goals that I set for myself, but they are long-term goals that I will not waver from. Other goals are useful at times, but I cannot give them as much emphasis as I would to the long-term goals. I suppose that the shorter goals function as measuring sticks towards the larger goals to a degree.
     Harmony at home is the one goal that I will never sacrifice. I am so fortunate to be where I am at this point in my life and I don’t ever want to do anything to mess that up. I only wish that Hal (person) and I were on more compatible schedules. I work M-F while he works Sat and Sun. That is because he makes more money working on the weekends, so unfortunately it makes us having lots of time together a rare thing. I cherish those times and make the most of them.
     As far as the blog itself goes, I am happy with the changes that I made this weekend. I am keeping the theme for now, that might be the next thing to change, but it will give me something to think about later.

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


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.


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.



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 28 2016 – The Incredible David Bowie – Life On Mars


One of the things that I admired the most about David Bowie was his reflection that he put into his songs as the years passed by. Listening to the lyrics, you can hear him telling stories about his own past and how he has changed through the years. To make such songs and still have them as excellent as they were proves his genius.
     I wanted to cite an example of how David Bowie actually used a song to almost predict a future statement for himself. In 1971, David Bowie released his album “Hunky Dory”, and on this album was a beautifully haunting song that in retrospect seemed to indicate what was going to happen in his career. The song was “Life On Mars?” in which Bowie created a scene of loneliness and alienation among the youth of the time. He observed that young people were in need of an escape. The title itself seemed to produce the arrival of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars which occurred less than 2 years later on his next album. Yet, there was something more about the song that has made it timeless. A series of observations, seemingly thrown together that turn out beautifully.
     “Life On Mars?” was not a hit at the time the album was released, but it was re-released as a single after the Ziggy phenomenon arrived and became a minor hit then. I found on old video in which Ziggy sings the song in it’s original style, but it seems rather vacant and empty.
     As David Bowie matured and lived and learned, his voice deepened and became richer. “Life On Mars?” remained a favorite among Bowie fans, and I found this version of it from 2000. Listening to this version, the song becomes even more beautiful as Bowie slimmed it down to the basics. Judge for yourself

I wouldn’t put it past David Bowie to have planted that seed for Ziggy Stardust in advance of his arrival. If nothing else, David Bowie was a true artist, and his life was indeed his canvas. I hope you enjoy the song as much as I always have. Had Ziggy never come along, this song would still stand the test of time.