Saturday, December 31, 2016

Coffee and contemplation... the final day of my 2016

  So I wake early, old man stuff, and go to putter around. It is cold outside, two bunnies on my walk, I post the bills from last night. And sit down to run through the future and the past, just me and my mind. Then I look at my home owners insurance that I didn't get a bill for, and I call 'Jake' from State Farm - it wasn't Jake it was Nadia and some other company - she has just a hint of an accent from New York metro, street level.  Very cool, professional and helpful, she worked with me and now we are correspondents, can I say I'm in a relationship?

  So much to be thankful for this past year, so much to look forward to in the next year. Having said that I can go to bed now instead of pretending what ever happens at midnight anywhere on the globe makes any kind of difference. But you all may party, celebrate, hug your loved ones and pray for peace - some of us have never stopped since the last New Year.

  Did write out the first two checks of the New Year, post dating them to the 1st of January, 2017. The most difficult task is to not write 2016 tomorrow, unless I am doing a biography.

   There has been a list of resolutions on my wall for the last several years - I was smart enough not to date it.  The three items with specific goals (in health, strength and speed) should be generalized to: good, able to lift body from recliner, and walk away without aid.

   The others are fine:

                 Go with God
                 Husband wife
                 Gentleman warrior
                 Be one that people look forward to meeting not hiding from
                 Cause more happiness than concerns
                 Love more, and more and more... practice making perfect

Pretty good, hope your list isn't too much longer, memory is in short supply. Take care out there and I will see you on the other
side, God willing and the creek don't rise.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Keeping busy, rebuilding the dwelling without touching the foundations...

Nothing is actually being rebuilt; just shuffling dust, cleaning corners, and moving more to a longer term relationship... it has been twenty-one years for some things.

   One of my projects today was to recover an undershelf light so it would work, first a bulb, then a starter, and then rebuild (I had to take it all apart), then take apart again because I got a bit out of order, put it all back together and now it is done and working. Looked like I was on a roll, so my wife tells me to take curtains down for cleaning (when ever I had some time), and I then decided that to really learn anything about my latest computer and Microsofts goodwill, I would have to collapses the laptop and store it...  All part of the reorganization of the dwelling.

   I have the older kindle, and now a kindle paperwhite - please remind me not to ever upgrade, especially as I never learnt all the things I could do on the earlier model, and now have a newer version with more to learn that I don't bother about - because for me it is the reading not the advantages. Sigh, kind of like getting new tools, firearms, automobiles and sexual partners -- just not worth the effort if you remember what you expect from the item.

  Rest time for today, still not finished but I can get those curtains down.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The clock glows 3:12, there are two of them...

   Allow me to make some coffee and get back.Okay, that didn't take long, about forty-five minutes, because I had a lamp to fix, the coffee to make, the weight to take, recording, blood pressure, a mask to make, some recycle to move, and many errant thoughts to gather as I grabbed the last piece of pie to share with coffee and the eight medicines and placebos.  I move the mouse mat to exactly where it should be for proper control of the mouse.

    There are two of them, electric radio alarm clocks on top of my chest of drawers. Two different alarms for two different working schedules - serving only one master - TIME. And I keep thinking as I wander the house, full of stuff that has served its purpose but remains exactly where we placed it almost twenty years ago, some change would be good.

   I thank the LORD for a very fine day yesterday, my wife slept a majority of it, between bouts of medicine inhaling and fussing. I spent it finding the top of  my desk and some other stuff that had been buried beneath my better ideas as I procrastinated, or I fooled around over a long past ignoring what I should do for all that I wanted to do. That wouldn't be a problem except that want to do list is like a bubbling volcano of more to come - ready or not - here it is!

   Stop! drink some coffee, lovely stuff, in the evening I switch to hot water in a black mug, because it is the symbolism not the coffee and the pot was emptied long ago. Microwaves, how was life before everyone had them? Oh, we spent time preparing breakfast, tea water, mixing pancakes from scratch, didn't know how much time we were using up. We took different parts of the day to make it better, sharing chores as the nation went instant and prepackaged.  Little craft, art nor love left in the common things - like sharpening knives.  I cleaned my newest pistol, which in current time, isn't new.  Everything you need is on the internet, documented in YouTube.  I am again, armed and so much less than dangerous. The pistol is to always be treated as dangerous. Springs and rods will always fly at the first failure to pay attention to them during maintenance. My machine gun comes to mind immediately. And there are springs behind stuff in many tool rooms.

   I note that time, which we measure and try to save for some reason, dribbles away. And family and love and life isn't hiding when you find that pile of daylight saved, you think it should be but it isn't. What was that phrase? Carpe Dium?  Don't you wish I learned Latin or how to spell? Carpe diem. Seize the Day! Make the most of what you have, at least love the memory more than the dream.

  Well, two hours to write five minutes of thoughts, about how I should have but didn't. There are plans, see the bubbling of more to come, for our near and farther future. But you would be bored listening as they keep coming and we aren't centering well, kind of like standing up and waiting patiently for your mind to move and catch up with the brain at the top of  the tottering fool.

   I wonder as I reread that last line, did I forget to put an r at the end of you to make it your, or did the computer decide I didn't need to say it the way I thought it?  You know I can never be alone in my thoughts, seems like there are four or five programs trying to improve my computer, my life and my loves.  They really don't know me, but they keep trying.  Be good out there, and I will do my best to be so here.  Love


Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve, past... there have been many...

   One I remember was during the Christmas truce in the Republic of Vietnam.  The radios were on, the chart tables had artillery red cloth covering them and were laden with goodies, all that wonderful stuff from back home, Stateside. That mythical place where someone loved us. I had added my mother's homemade fruitcake (which was never a brick like so many baked for shipping). She had soaked it with some of Dad's rum, then carefully wrapped it in foil with folds, but when I opened it I found enough to really wet my whistle.

   Since there were no H&Is scheduled I could sit my hammock and write letters to people that would write back and tell them I was thinking about them and wished them the best. I got all those done and still had time before the shift change, so I wrote President Nixon, everyone knows 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Same thoughts, same good wishes, same complaints that I couldn't be where he was... about three and a half weeks later I got an answer and a mention of his service in the Pacific in WWII. Someone, probably on staff, knew where I had spent Christmas Eve. We were already drawing down and allowing the Republic of Vietnam to continue the war. 1971

  Nineteen years later I was in the desert, waiting for Sadam to finish or get off the pot. The Saudi Arabian desert, they muted the celebration as much as they could, not wanting the host country to be offended. Quiet but I still got mail, the Armed Forces had to build up a massive mail delivery system, since they only do it when the personnel deploy.  My Dad had sent me Ken Burns' The Civil War, fine viewing for troopers that weren't sure about many things, time gives you a place to sit and stew about all the things you can never fix.  Awards would be given for people that managed to provide hot showers five days in a row.

   Like most celebratory times, where family and friends and frolic were the norm, we did a lot of watching each other to make sure no one got bad news from home, too quiet nor too aggressive. Christmas eve with a night sky that shows more stars beyond the ground lights, makes you know how small you really are, in the big scheme of things... just one biological being in a universe beyond our ken. Never saw so many sober soldiers around Christmas, unless they were on guard. Somewhere this evening are soldiers on guard, far from home, and normally under-employed (officers will do that to give them time to celebrate - even when they can't and have to wear a reflector belt and carry their personal weapon in gym clothes...) rules, got to have rules.

   Will say a prayer for them before I rest tonight, they deserve some company to help with the watch.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Moving well today, thank you... so happy you are, too.

    A few heavy days of watching the movies and news on my monitor, makes me really wonder what alien civilizations would think about us if they hadn't seen Ozzie and Harriet, I love Lucy, and Leave it to Beaver first...  They might have our problem with perceptions, everything that we can't relate to we pretend didn't happen differently.  In America, there has to be one person that is the main character to tell the story around. Life isn't like that, one person doesn't a revolution make, an empire build. Still we keep trying to keep it simple and it is complex and changing before the ink dries on the paper.
   Go back a couple of hundred years and preparation to celebrate Christmas was very different, some religions thought it shouldn't be a religious holiday at all, especially with heavy drinking and eating and those excesses celebration could cause. Quiet prayerful thoughts and calm thanksgiving somber dress and demeanor. Maybe some hymns, to lift to the LORD.
    Now there does seem a frenzy to give and get, to celebrate and pay it all in the next billing cycle, and wish everyone a happy new year, the old one being worn out and so few surprises left.

    I have checked the Lottery tickets, the news and the past, since it is Friday I have only this day to shop for my lover.  And no great idea what she needs or even wants that I can purchase, build or provide wrapped up in festive ribbons.

    Okay, I do know she would love me being healthier, my computer cave being cleaner and organized so she doesn't have to close the door if her friends visited.  She would love it if people she respected said fine things about us, didn't laugh at me, didn't ask why her husband doesn't do what all the other husbands do.

    I wish you all a fine holiday season, a merry Christmas, and that elusive happier New Year. Great things are going to happen when you and I start making our hearts pure, our vision clear and our goals founded on greater love.  God bless all our best.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

ten pm. to all you ground folks, 2200 to all the Europeans and military masters...

  I have no wife tonight, she is out and about, she has life and relationships that are important to keep.  I do also, and I realize that marriage is different for her as it is for me, and we are always working it out. I do love her, she does love me (I always hope, and she continues to amaze me with) but really, we are not one in how we face the world, reality nor our love. It is fine as it is and all adjustments will be mutual.

  Just mention that because there are many Never Trump (for many reasons) out there, but he will become the President, pray that he and his fellows do well, and more important that you and I do well in our lives, because our lives have never ever depended on a leader that could mislead us, has it?

  I am watching something about the early Christians, interesting, although I always focus on the fact that current history about the past always pretends that they were just like us, somehow. But they weren't, they didn't live for a far away retirement, a mortgage, a personal automobile or two to get around and to fly off to far away places. Really, their lives were very different than yours and what they valued was also totally different.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Sorry, I have been having too much fun...

My wife says I killed it, but I counted the misses.
  Joined the indoor range so I may shoot in comfort once in a long while. But the YMCA calls me daily or almost so, I do like to write down the number of reps and the poundage, engaged in getting another digital trophy for stationary bicycle. Now that I sound heroic, remember I think of myself as just a fat old balding man in the back of the room.  I was responding to the greeter at a store this week and said I was fine (question was 'how are you?') and I noticed how really nice she looked - so I blurted out 'You are looking very good.' and scurried off to the gun department for some ammunition - wondering what kind of an idiot I was to say something nice to a strange woman. So unlike me, I normally would have just asked for a blessing in her direction, but never out loud. Hope I didn't ruin her day - but too much of a coward to go back and try to make it right, and I don't really know that I was wrong, I just felt so out of line... because of someone else's norm?

    We are just getting around to making the home seem like Christmas, my wife's wound on her foot has kept her in a chair and making stuff, while she talks on her phone with other ladies making similar things where they are.

  Plus, when we open the blinds there is snow (a light dusting) on the yard outside, but not enough to cover the road or walkways. Melted right off.

   I have found satisfaction in watch Japanese Public Broadcasting for world news and weather instead of the false news sources in the United States. I once used BBC shortwave when I was deploying worldwide in a life long ago and far away. Really, there doesn't seem to be much on 'merican media worth paying to hear.  I ran across this today. Happy Holidays!

   If thinking doesn't get positive I could just stew depressed all day... but then I do have friends, children and stuff to do that aren't going to make the evening news, the daily rants and fool commentary.  This retired retiree stuff is tough but someone has to do it.  I did see another Help Wanted sign at the gun store and several businesses along the way, a very good sign for the future of the hard working folks.  Y'all have a wonderful Winter to Wonder through, Spring can't be far behind.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

What to do next...

  Seems like I have too much to do, too little to do, too little time and resources to do it well. So why do it?  Drive on! It don't mean nothin' 
   Christmas is coming, a good thing, the world is waking from a long peace to find fools have been starting brush fires all over like they knew what would happen... and even the brush fires got way out of control.  What is going on? Do we know any longer? Are we concentrated on our connections to the point we don't see what is happening around us. I would say yes to that, I would say so.

    There isn't enough thought shared, or even thought about. Certain words strike fear, and the fearful seem to think if they fear something, we all should. But truth is, we don't all have the same vision, wish list, nor the 'to do list'.  We are not united, but then we aren't as divided as those so fearful want, they seem to be the ones divided.

   As I watch and wonder, I see projections from one group being laid upon another group, without understanding nor care.  If we built homes and buildings the way the politicians tried to gain and hold power over masses - nothing would stand.  Focus on making things work, fit, and still flexible.  Change will come, things happen, and drive on, it don't mean nothing.

   For without love.... there should be some Bible verse about that somewhere.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Words, to thoughts, to trouble or triumph... words...

     I have a normal American education: home, public school system and college.  I was a soldier and went through many schools and attitude adjustments while in uniform. I have visited, worked in and lived in other countries and cultures and driven as quickly as I could through some of them (don't remember ever stopping in Belgium). I have talked with foreigners in their home country, in their language (I did it badly, but I did try) and I do know that in their country in their language they aren't the alien, I was. I am so thankful they were kind and had courtesy, when faced with my presence.

   I read a lot, and spend too much time on Facebook but I have noticed there aren't a lot of really nice people writing nor contributing on it, and the ads are really slowing my addiction to it.  But they don't need me for anything.  There are good people, with real lives, families and good friends and I like to see them and see what they share. I haven't gotten to the point of blocking, dropping or abandoning the Facebook feed.  But really, all I have to do is go to the YMCA, Church, or shooting range (I have a new one for me The Marksman , just down the road), and whatever flows on the internets will not affect me. Thank you for choices.

   Coming back from Vietnam in 1971 with bad habits and stupidity, I was telling a war story (and I do not remember the story) in my mother's living room, with family around and the F-word flowed easily from my lips and my mind went into alarms, flashing lights and screams from my nicer side. You couldn't have told it from my story - I just rolled right on over good manners, honor and decency. No more foul language came out but there was a burn scar in my mind over that word and using it right there in front of my mother, and family. I have used the word since, but only in moments of romantic passions.... believe that and I will sell you a swamp by the Potomac River. But I don't use it much at all, although I do understand all the possible correct ways it could be used, is used by others, and all the evil and terrible ways it is used by others. So I believe word choice always matters, it tells me a lot about the person using the word.

   The other night, I wrote something about being a staggering drunk and taking off my gun, which sounds like good sense in one way, and acceptance of stupid behavior another. Well, it wasn't true, I was trying to sound like I had a life.  The reality of changing into my bedtime Mickey Mouse pajamas is not the romantic heroic adventurer - I was about to close out on Facebook.  If I were totally honest I would say 'Earl, just a retired old fat man' and allow the world to paint its own picture of me... I don't have a problem with being old and so near death (knowing the future is shorter than my past is near to death).  But lovely words, can make our lives fun, loving, caring and happy, lovely words work. So do all the words used to convey ugly... there are many. The political season and human hen pecking bring all kinds of ugly labels, words and bad choices.

   Going to a Southern Korean Baptist Church where the majority culture, language and religious experience is based on Confucian relationships - I once noted that I felt like a benignly oppressed minority (being a paleskin American) and my darker skinned Baptist Brother said, yep, he had been that way all his life.  I can't be concerned about being a minority, I have been the only American soldier in a village in Germany, and in Korea and in Vietnam... the children look at you like 'what a strange looking, acting and what is he going to do next???' from around the corner of a building - built of bamboo, packed clay, or timber frames or bricks.  Well, the only thing I could do, of course, was to smile gently, don't step on anything and continue along going my way... survival mode level one.

   For sure, I will be labeled many things by people that don't know me, and by people that kinda
know me, and by friends and family that do know me... except the last normally just call me Earl, which has for many years explained it all.  You wouldn't want to hear our wives tell each other laughing about Dungey men as husbands - but it has always made me think that genetics might be more difficult to hide than environmental molding.  What I do know, is that I never have to accept anything I don't feel is true - especially words that I won't use and don't understand... so all those times I am supposed to feel terrible because sticks and stones and names left marks - just makes for my thicker skin, and I remember that the young ladies practicing their bullying on my mother, who had no idea what foul words were in English when she came to America as a teenager (words her parents never taught her) like water on most ducks backs - just rolling off... no acceptance.