Tag Archives: parents

From Rebecca: Two entries in a row!

Actually, two entries in a row from me usually means Joe is in Maine, but not today. He is getting ready for his weekend trip to New Jersey with Traci, for his Goddaughter’s wedding, and asked me to do the entry again while he does things like laundry and packing. He is over his cold and feeling much better.

If he was doing today’s post, his topic probably would have been the crash of TWA Flight 800 on July 17, 1996 as the 20th anniversary is coming up. It is possible that he might still do an entry about it next week. Regular blog readers know that Joe loves planes and simulated flying, and watches shows, like Air Crash Investigations, to find out what goes wrong when planes crash. It angers him when people die because of problems that could have been avoided, and it saddens him when people die when it could not be avoided.

Switching topics, I read a book this week that really got me thinking. It was a novel by Liane Moriarty called What Alice Forgot. It is about a woman who hits her head and loses the last ten years of her memory. To Alice it is the year 1998 and she has to adjust to the fact that it is really 2008. In 1998 she was happily married, pregnant for the first time, with close relationships to her sister and friends. In 2008 she is in the middle of getting divorced, has three children, has a thinner body from a diet and exercise routine, all new friends, and the people she used to be close to are angry with her or distant. She is confused by all the change just a decade made to her life. She doesn’t know her children, and is amazed by how wild and precious they are, with such distinct personalities. She seems to have a full schedule with many projects, school functions with her kids, a lot of appointments; she had a busy life. In the week after her accident, she approaches decisions and interactions in a fresh way, as an outsider to her life, because she doesn’t remember any of the recent history that would have dictated her responses. It seems that a large part of the time she had been angry, tense, bitter, willing to lash out to hurt others, and lonely. When she relates to people from how she felt about them in 1998, she changes the relationships for the better. She doesn’t remember her appointments, so when one comes up she either misses it or has to wing it. Then she gets her memory back, including memories of her children being born and growing, and the real trick becomes to keep the positive changes while not losing the good things from the past decade.

As I read this book, I started to think about what changes have been in my life in the last decade. If I had a pause in time with a fresh slate, what would I want to change, and what would I want to keep? I did lose a lot in the last decade – my church disbanded and I lost touch with my friends from there, my mom and father-in-law both died and I miss them both, I have let my step-dad drift out of my life, and my jobs are completely different. I gained some things too – I am close to my dad, sisters and my nephews and niece, I work with my good friend Joe, and I have a much closer relationship with my dear mother-in-law. One of the things that has remained constant is my love for and from my husband, Darren. I don’t know if I will follow through on these things, but I should see my friend Nora again and visit my step-dad Bob.

The other day I was hanging out with Darren, no TV or books or other distractions, and it was nice. I noticed my mind was racing with what I still had to do that day, and I thought of Alice. I relaxed and tried to think about just that moment and enjoy time with my husband. No history, no future, just him and me. I need to do that more.

If Joe were writing this he would also add something about the people killed in violence these past weeks. The deaths that happened just before the ambush in Dallas, during the attack on police in Dallas, and yesterday in Nice, France. From both of us, to the family and friends who lost loved ones in these events, our hearts and prayers go out to you.

Until next week, stay safe, be cool in the heat, have a good weekend, and happy reading.

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Taking stock of my life

Greetings, readers. Over the last few days, I have experienced something which I must admit is worrying me. I was going to call this blog stop the world, I want to get off, but realized we already have two entries by that title. Here is what is going on.

I’m depressed and I shouldn’t be. I have everything I need, minus a car. My financial situation, though not ideal, is doable. I have plenty of free time, and good friends in the building who care about me. I also have a therapist who I see once a week. Couple that with me being on anti-depressants and I should be as happy as a clam and bouncing off the walls. I am not.

I feel like time is slipping away from me. I’ll be 51 years old in a little over a month, and the realization has hit me that more years are behind me than are in front. The three books that I have written weren’t big sellers at all and new material is once again stuck behind a brick wall. I vividly remember when I was in my 20s sitting down and cranking out 10 pages a day sometimes. I fear the well has dried up. If my seizure problems have truly affected my creativity, I’m in trouble.

Recently, I’ve found things I like to watch on YouTube and they consist of full flight real-life airplane videos. You read correctly. A man gets on an airplane, straps the camera to the armrest of his seat, aims it out the window towards the wing of the plane, and you get to experience the entire flight gate to gate. It is actually quite beneficial as background sleeping noise. The other night I watched one of his longer videos, a nine and a half hour journey from Helsinki, Finland to Tokyo, Japan, via Russia. It was an overnight flight, which afforded viewers a new perspective. Once the airplane was airborne, he aimed the camera towards the ceiling and you got to experience the flight attendants walking by, serving drinks and dinner. Ultra realistic. I also continue to watch and listen to nature sounds and other white noise.

I keep thinking of my parents and my old home. I ask myself what they might be doing at this time of the day or evening. Though reminiscing is fun, I’ve been doing a lot more looking backwards than forwards. I feel like I am going into a shell, not wanting to experience life anymore. I see my psychologist tomorrow and this blog entry will be the first thing we discuss.

Lastly, I’ve begun to make short YouTube videos, a vlog if you will, but no format or schedule has been set up. I enjoy making those videos, but fear not, I will continue writing this blog.

Rebecca and I may put a blog up tomorrow, because I have a doctor’s appointment on Friday during work hours. So until then, enjoy your day, take care, and happy reading.

I should mind my own darn business

Greetings, readers. As the caring person that I am, one fault comes with that, and that is I always want to know how people are doing. I’ll ask people how they are, what’s new, and in general, strike up a conversation about anything. Most people don’t mind and converse back with me. Some give me the look like I’m the talkative mentally slow guy. That hurts a little, but I know where I’m coming from, so it really doesn’t bother me that much.

I think my friendliness stemmed from two places: my parents’ upbringing and Bear Spring Camps. My folks were very caring people, always loved a good conversation, and would go out of their way to help somebody. At Bear Spring Camps, friendliness is the key word of the day. I remember many instances in the main dining room where friends and I would talk about the morning fishing trip or how the afternoon happy hour went.

When I was a youngster in school – and this might stem from being an only child – I would say hi and be friendly to anyone who would accept me. This had its advantages and its disadvantages. The advantages were that I did make some good friends. But, as we all know, kids can be cruel. Those that didn’t like my chatter, let me know it in a rather not nice way.

My best friend Dave always kept me entertained by playing ball or listening to records, so after school I always had someone to talk to. When he wasn’t around, I would put on the headsets and start to sing. That is why there was cracked paint in my room. Ha ha. For as long as I can remember, I just haven’t been able to close my mouth for too long.

I’m trying to mind my business more as I get older and I think that is a good thing. My friends know that if they need me they can count on me. But I really don’t need to know who an ambulance is for or where the fire trucks are going.

Wouldn’t you know, lo and behold, we mis-counted how many blog entries we have, even though the blog dashboard tells us after each one. So tomorrow will not be #500. That will be next week instead. Sorry to get your hopes up, but it is coming.

Until next time, signing off from #498, take care, have a nice day, and happy reading.

I am looking forward to spring and summer

Greetings, readers. Although here in central Pennsylvania this winter has not been severe by any means, I am looking forward to spring and summer. I am a warm weather person and always will be. Here are just a few of the things that I am looking forward to in the next five months.

First, baseball season begins in April. Although the 162 game season can get a little tedious to watch every day, I love opening day, the first few weeks of the season, and the playoffs. I will be glad to watch the Pittsburgh Pirates and Philadelphia Phillies once again.

At the end of May is the start of the summer season. The swimming pools open, and my favorite race to watch, the Indianapolis 500, takes place Memorial Day weekend.

In June, is Father’s Day, and that holds a bittersweet memory for me, for my mother passed away on Father’s Day 2003. I always mark the occasion by going to the gravesite to put flowers down and spend time with both of my parents – my father passed in 2008. As a child, June also meant the end of school. I would savor every minute between June 10th and early September. Can you tell I didn’t like school very much?

July is my birthday month, and even today I will treat myself to something special, like going for an ice cream or by going to a restaurant that I rarely go to. One year it was Meyer Dairy, which reminded me a lot of those wonderful evenings at Rummel’s Ice Cream Shop in Maine.

Speaking of Maine, in August is my usual trek up north for a week of fishing, boating, and sometimes swimming. It has to be a really hot day for me to jump in the lake.

Also in mid-July is the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. I have fun walking through the cool mist fern display which really feels good on a hot humid July day.

Before you know it, it is mid-August again and summer is winding down. I wait all year for these five months and boy they sure do go quickly.

This entry is the 488th one I’ve written and published on this blog. As we approach it, I guarantee you, my readers, that #500 will be a spectacular entry. The topic has not been chosen yet, but I can promise you that I will not just be talking about the weather. Until next Wednesday, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

Top ten list of my most annoying habits

Greetings, readers. After taking several days to think about a good top ten list topic, I have come up with this one. There are many annoying things that I do, and they must be bad, because I realize them myself. I thought it would be a good exercise to write them out, so that not only you my readers can see them, but I could take a look at them myself and work on my faults. So here we go.

#10. Eternal pessimism. [If there is a dark cloud around the silver lining, I’ll find it. I think I get this trait from my father. Mom was the exact opposite.]

#9. My annoying verbal tics. [I’ve had many of them over the years. The latest is yes, yes, yes, or right, right, right. I’ve been trying to break myself of this one of late but so far no luck.]

#8. My slight anger issue. [It takes a lot to get me truly angry, but once I am, I feel a degree of rage that frightens even me. I have to sit down and work on calming myself to get rid of those feelings. It’s not a pleasant 15 or 20 minutes.]

#7, My sometimes erratic driving skills. [Many people have told me what a wonderful driver I am and most of the time I agree with them. However, there have been times that I’ve just done some dumb things. They have led to speeding tickets and dented fenders. The way I was taught to drive by my mom, I should know better. But, hey, what can I say, I’m a guy. Sometimes we do reckless things.]

#6. Spouting my mouth off. [Sometimes when I’m extremely upset, I’ll say the first thing that comes to my mind to someone. Such as, so-and-so politician is an idiot, or I hope that guy gets hit by a truck. Do I mean these statements? Of course not. Perhaps I need an anger management class.]

#5. Living space neatness issue. [Although I have made strides in important areas of the apartment, there is still much to do. Mainly the bedroom and the walk-in closet. Very soon, i.e. the next inspection time, I see myself biting the bullet and literally throwing things away to get them out of here. That will be a sad day for me.]

#4. Enjoying too much leisure time. [I find myself playing video games, watching TV or movies, or listening to music way too much. although I do have this evening blocked off for creative writing, I should literally unplug all fun things, sit my butt down in a chair, and write my stories. I am a writer. A writer writes.]

#3. Too indecisive. [Probably brought on by my low self-esteem, I jump the gun and ask for help or opinions too quickly. Most of the time I already know what I want to do, but there is a need to touch base and get that second or third opinion.]

#2. Impulsive spending. [Although I’m not as bad as some people, when I have money I tend to stock up on things, buy a few niceties, and then the last few weeks of the month I am again scrimping, saving, and worrying.]

#1. Cat litter box issue. [Even though I do take care of it, I should do it much more often. To clean it out hurts my back when I bend over. I’ve tried sitting on the toilet seat with the bag in front of me, but I just dump it on the floor because of my shaky hands. I must admit, if I scooped it out every day, there wouldn’t be a problem. But I am a lazy ass, so I don’t. Today I am going to surprise kitty cat Keekee, buy that $10 box of cat litter, drag it home, and use it. My little girl deserves a clean bathroom.]

There you have it. I took a hard look at myself, and yes there are things I don’t like. I have many things to work on. Please do chime in with your list if you wish to or leave another kind of comment here or on Facebook.

Until Friday, take care, have a great couple of days, and happy reading.

I think I hit rock bottom last night

Greetings, readers. I’m not certain whether the remnants of my illness is toying with my emotions or what, but last evening as I was watching television, I broke down and cried several times. I wasn’t sobbing, mind you, so we’ll call them junior nervous break-downs. I’ve experienced this phenomenon before but not since I’ve been on my anti-depression medicine. This leads me to two questions. One, is the dosage as strong as it should be, and two, for some reason could it have completely stopped working?

Body chemistry is bizarre and I don’t begin to claim to understand it. Maybe after a major illness it takes a week or so for regular medications to work normally again. I certainly hope so. I have an appointment with my psychologist on Monday, and I’ll be bringing a list of things to talk about so as to not forget anything.

The bedroom cleaning began yesterday and will continue at 3:00 with a hard choice made. The lamp that was my mom’s which sat on the credenza is going to be put on the swap table in the community room. It’s mildly broken and I have another lamp on the credenza now. I don’t like throwing out possessions that my parents had, as most of you know, but I have no choice. It is now or never, Dave comes Thursday.

Since getting back from the hospital on Tuesday, I am horribly behind on correspondences on Facebook and Twitter. After the blog entry goes up today, Rebecca and I will check emails and social media, leaving time to do our files back-up work as we always do on Friday.

Next Wednesday, the blog will be about one of my all time favorite shows when I was a boy. The mid-1960s Batman series. I’m watching the DVDs now, and am thoroughly enjoying them. That’s going to be a fun blog entry for me, giving my recollections and opinions on three seasons of campy fun.

Until then, take care, keep warm and dry, and happy reading.

Top ten list of favorite holidays

Greetings, readers. Today’s top ten list, as you can see by the title, is my favorite holidays. So here they are and one through five are in order.

#10. Valentine’s Day [I used to love this holiday, but with my luck with the opposite gender not being so good, this holiday has slipped way down on my list.]

#9. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day [When Mom and Dad were alive, I would get them nice gifts and sometimes I would buy Mom flowers. Now that they are both gone, I visit their gravesites on those days.]

#8. Memorial Day [As a kid I loved Memorial Day for on that weekend the Indianapolis 500 race would be on TV. It is one of my favorite sporting events. Also this holiday meant the end of the school year was soon approaching and summer time would soon begin.]

#7. Labor Day [This is the day where the workers of the United States are honored, and when I was a kid it meant the end of summer and school would begin the next day.]

#6. St. Patrick’s Day [It is an Irish holiday and the tradition is that everyone should dress up with some green in their outfit. I always enjoyed doing this. A couple of years ago I plumb forgot and was teased, though in fun, by my friends at Panera Cafe. I also enjoy the holiday because green just happens to be one of my favorite colors.]

#5. 4th of July [When I was living at home, I would always watch the New York Macy’s 4th of July fireworks, which was shown on a New York TV station that our cable company picked up. I watched it for at least a decade before they went with alternate programing. Now, kitty cat Keekee and I watch our local fireworks from the living room window on the top floor of my apartment building. The window faces Beaver Stadium where the fireworks are shown.]

#4. Easter [In my youth I enjoyed getting all dressed up in my Sunday best for church. Later when I officially became Catholic, I enjoyed getting palms on Palm Sunday and attending midnight Mass on Easter Eve. Many good memories with Mom and Dad over those years.]

#3. Thanksgiving [Another one of my biggies. As a family oriented person, I always enjoyed holidays such as Thanksgiving where the family got together, watched parades, football, and eat that delicious turkey dinner with all the trimmings. This year I am going to watch my parade as usual and partake of the Thanksgiving meal served at one of the local diners. I did that last year and found the day quite satisfying.]

#2. New Year’s Day [New Year’s Eve and Day go together for me. I would always watch Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, drink some champagne with Mom and Dad on the stroke of midnight. On the day itself, one of my favorite things to do was watch the Cotton bowl game on New Year’s morning. After a day of football and making New Year’s resolutions, the holiday season draws to a close.]

#1. Christmas [My all time favorite holiday. Even as a small child, I knew Mom and Dad bought the presents but I still believed in Santa Claus. I always enjoyed watching Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a wonderful story told be Burl Ives in that version. In recent years, I concentrate more on the meaning of Christmas, buying myself only a small present perhaps, but I do decorate my tiny apartment. Watching such classics as A Christmas Carol, and TV channel 11’s Yule Log, are must dos, along with plenty of egg nog in between Christmas and New Year’s Day.]

Well, there they are. Most of them are in order. As always please feel free to chime in with your list. Add it on Facebook if you wish. I know that people of other faiths and in other countries celebrate different holidays, and feel free to share about those too.

As always, have a good day and weekend, take care, and happy reading.