After my wife became a vegetarian, we have had some awesome healthy meals (side dishes for me). The other day she made a fantastic organic pasta dish that smelled like heaven. As I was salivating over the stove, my 19-year-old son walked in the room holding his nose. He loudly exclaimed, what is that horrible smell? I could not believe the same fragrance produced two very different smells. It brought to mind the opposite reactions I received from varying people to the announcement of my early semi-retirement, One Fragrance, Two Smells.
The ‘terror attack’ of 9-11 seared a memory that permanently changed the lives and minds of many. Post-traumatic experiences burn a scar on the mind with both a pain-filled fear and a hate towards the terror inducer. This average mind and that of all in our family were rocked in the same year of 9-11. It was forever branded as ‘3-11’ day by we who were touched by the bullet of a bully. Indeed, it was a family’s worst nightmare on that horrible evening of March 11, 2001. Sixteen years later, I tell the story of the biggest lesson gained and how to be sure to Put an End to Bullying.
Ever take one of those personality tests and think, that is not who I am? Tests are taken between grade school, job interviews, and ‘self-improvement’ conferences supposedly determining your inner make-up. Despite every test indicating I was an ‘introvert’ I opted to ignore the test results. Somehow, for the past thirty+ years, I became An Introvert Living an Extrovert Life.
I love animals, especially dogs. My favorite part of the day is greeting time. Regardless of all other circumstances, they are always happy and excited to see me, it is impossible not to share in their joy. Every morning I look forward to waking them up and opening the door for the morning relief. So much so that I fix my coffee first and get set to go outside with them to watch them excitedly, romp around the yard. Yesterday things were going great on the usual romp, until, they saw something in the woods. I questioned who would appear, a Bad dog or Good dog.
It seems that no matter what anyone says or does lately it sets off a media storm and some average Joe’s cannot hold back spewing their anger laced opinions. ‘I am right, you are wrong’. ‘I am better than you are or smarter than you’. Who is the greatest (or worst)? The division amongst all parties has produced far more enemies than friends. I had a quick pre-flight lunch stop at Quizno’s this week that led me to stop, think, and be inspired too – Quit Quibbling.
We all desire to be first, how would you feel about being better than first?
The modern way of work has been accelerated by technology and tools to further increase productivity. Expectations for exorbitant quantities of tasks are expected to be excellent and expedited. Deadlines have eliminated the word relax and there is no excape! (sic) If I could start my years of employment over I would have implemented a secret formula. The secret; Hurry to Unhurry.
Work before play that is what they say. There is much merit to getting a job done first and then relax or have fun with your mind free of worries, afterwards. But, when deadlines loom the pressure builds.
Post releasing a deep personal story a day ago I find myself evaluating; from what position did I write that story? Being Martin Luther King Day the thoughts flooded my feelings wondering, how he felt about those who hated him as he lived his life seeking to bring freedom and fairness for all. What did those, even of his own race, with contrasting views say and do? Were they operating from a position of hurt their entire lives? How awful must that have been?
Christmas brings a time of reflection as we see the picture of a baby born in a manger surrounded by animals in a stable. The ‘Christ’ian belief is that God came down from heaven, was born as a baby and grew to be a man who came to show us how to live on earth as God intended us to live. He portrayed love. We learned that ultimately that love was displayed when the man willingly sacrificed his life as he was crucified at the hands of ruthless people. Each December 25th around the world people commemorate the day of His birth and give gifts to one another as we try to learn to live with the same love that, God in the form of man, showed us how to live. The baton was passed to each of us and today we walk on earth Learning To Live, somehow with the same type of Love.
Alone. By Myself. I am on my own. Lonely. Words that no one likes to say to themselves. They are ones that bring sadness and discouragement and echo in our mind. We wish to shout out, ‘do not leave me alone, where are you, I need you’. Especially around the holidays, this can a depressing time if feeling lonely. When it comes to sharing the same feeling, we are not alone!
Sometimes I need to hear things backwards to fully grasp the meaning of words and phrases. While sitting at a ‘four-way stop’, where the traffic was ridiculously long, I complained how dumb it is to make every car stop at an intersection. A thought popped in my head and made me laugh aloud, what greater chaos there would be if the intersection was a four-way GO.
Thanksgiving Day is a great reminder for our need to be thankful for all we have received. It is sad however, that we need a holiday to remind ourselves of what we should be doing, always. Henry Van Dyke quotes:
‘Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.’
The FBI! I dreamed to one day be like my neighbor next door who packed a gun under his suit coat and had a shiny FBI badge in his wallet. I loved taking care of his dog as he was off guarding another important dignitary. One day it was Bob Hope, another Vice President Spiro Agnew. I helped him carry sealed boxes from his black car to the kitchen table for another big case to review. Protecting important people, carrying out justice and helping people to be safe, that was my dream job.
I took his advice and joined the Army to be a Military Policeman as soon as my senior year ended. I did not heed his advice to avoid the justice system though, he said, if you want to change the world, it sure is not going to happen working in the criminal justice system. I did not understand.
Some things are puzzling and difficult to understand. Like, how is it that a bird can sit on a hot electric wire and not get fried? After being zapped, again, by my neighbors’ electric fence I have gotten to the stage of not wanting to touch any fence, at all. Thus the mystery of a Bird on a Wire, sitting calmly and alive, always makes me double think on the matter when I see it.
Science was not my best subject by any means. In fact, in my high school days, I found a lot of it to be theoretical hogwash, and even if it was true, I did not understand why anyone would care other than science teachers, and later, my wife who loves the topic? It is like trying to figure out the meaning of Bird on a Wire by one of my favorite fireside song artists Leonard Cohen. (to get in the mood for this blog, you have to play it while reading) If you’d also like to know the real reason why a bird does not get zapped while sitting on an electric line, read this MIT article on the topic.
If you remember your old science classes all we need to know about the laws of power transfer, or as a seventh grader said with a smirk about the bird on a wire – duhh!, is a closed loop.
It’s all about the connections they’re making—or, more importantly, not making.
Triggers set off memories, sometimes good ones and sometimes not so good ones. A picture was posted of a recent Cleveland Indians game with a fan wearing a throwback uniform of one of my old favorite baseball players, Cory Snyder. It brought back memories of the day my son Cory died.*
I recall back in 1988 being so excited that our next try for child number two was going much smoother than the first (which had turned into an early term miscarriage). We were now at week 16 and the doctors said you have crossed that hump. We could not wait to see the results of the ultra-sound. The pound pound pound of the heartbeat increased our heartbeats to our hearts being filled with joy.
We just had to know, so the doc zoomed in to the middle to find out, is this a boy or a girl.
Do you care? What are you going to do about it? The words rang in my ears as a black woman shouted at me and my son and a friend as we were leaving a baseball game and passing through a small but loud and raucous black lives matter protest in Greensboro, NC Thursday night, July 7th. I was shocked. Of course I care, I love all people. I said back to her, ‘YES, I care’. She shouted again, ‘If it were your kids, what would you do? Do you care?’ I said, WE CARE!’ She repeated her lines a bit louder, I replied ‘WE CARE! A bit of fear started to build up as I glanced around and saw people turning their attention to us.
My Father pictured here in this 1942 Navy photo did not talk much about his days in WWII. We know he was a flag man (aka Landing Signal Officer) on an ocean carrier and helped land planes. Normally I don’t think much about what it must have been like for him and the many others that fought to save our country from the mad men in Germany and Japan, but this year it is different. It is different because we have a President running our country who has reached out to Japan regarding the act that ended the war, to a country whose leaders at the time cost the lives of millions of people and many of the 420,000 Americans killed. It has made me ponder my gratitude towards what he and others did, while questioning just what kind of world do we live in.
I cannot imagine what it must have been like for my Father sitting on a boat in the middle of the ocean wondering when and if one of the 7000+ known Kamikaze flights may have made its way to his ship. Reading from the stories written by those who experienced this shocking (read here) fear I am horrified just thinking about it. And to think, the possibility is very high that I wouldn’t be here to write about it today, had he not been fortunate to survive. I am grateful for all he and the many soldiers who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.
Neck Pain Relieved!
Life can be a real pain in the neck. Take a few sports injuries, mountains of stress, take many long driving stints for years, stare down at a computer for hours every day, and bend your neck to hold a phone in place while multi-tasking, and ultimately you look and feel like Quasimodo.
For many years I, like many people, have walked around with constant pain in my back. The neck had become so jammed up that I could not look over my shoulder to see if a car was in the blind spot. Thanks to side view mirrors I could make those heavy traffic lane switches without too much trouble. But at times, the pain had become excruciating to where that is the only direction I could turn my head.