Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Interior Heat Wave

Waiting too long when you have a blog is not a good thing to do. Too many thoughts, ideas and experiences go by and meld together and soon fade from memory. But I will most likely find more ways to put things off in the future.

This summer is one of multileveled change for me. Being a blog dedicated to rolling and random thoughts there is no particular order to the changes. In fact there is something of an interrelation among them. And from what I mentioned in the above paragraph I don't expect to mention most of them. (One thing that will always stay the same is my lousy typing skills.)

I like where I live and its landscaping. Every year it takes a lot of work to maintain, however. And this year I have noticed that I am not so efficient at it - I get wiped out quicker than before. Of course, many days of rain have delayed those jobs, and the unusual heat wave(s) make outdoor work more difficult so I have to account for these to some extent. But say, even yesterday, mowing the lawn and hedge trimming in the 80 something degree sun left me dizzy and somewhat sick. Deciding to quit for the day and put my equipment away my wife, who has been painting the shed, asked me to bring the stepladder I was using over to where she was working. It's only a six footer and wooden - but by then seemed to weigh a ton and the distance to carry it left me with some very choice words under my breath.

This post is going to be a day long effort. Went to the orthopedic guy this morning for a follow up to discovering hip arthritis. Conclusion: after another x-ray seems I have some in my lower back, too. Current remedy: become regular with taking the pain pills I was originally prescribed. Gonna do that for sure as I have plenty of outside work to do today.

 Making the break with a lifetime at one job is, I have found, tough to do. Relationships, communication, etc. undergoes adjustment and I have found, many times becomes defunct. My mind gets the better of me and I consider all sorts of possibilities that may not even be true. Then there's that feeling of becoming somewhat invisible to the world I used to be a part of. But there is the other side, too. Not too many days ago I filed for unemployment over the phone with a gentleman who treated me as a human person, not just another number added to an ever-growing list. Got a first hand taste of dignity and it ran deep and was wonderful. Sneaky blessing. Never be surprised where you might encounter an angel, they tend to show up where least expected. Since I am not feeling too profound right now I am going to walk away from this and do an oil change.

Oil changes, and today's never ending yard work have done me in. Time to lighten up. Need to take stock of the bigger picture perhaps by way of some spiritual reading, taking a reflective walk, prayer.  Sunrise and sunset...I am amazed just how fast a life's day goes by.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Time to get away from my regular way of living life for a while...spending some time in Colombia to visit in-laws, eat the good stuff, and balance my perspective by letting the culture overtake me. Although Bogota is a big metropolis and so one needs to take the typical precautions, it's a great culture and a great people. The general courtesies and politeness of folks is immediately noticeable. I gotta let some of that rub off on me!!!

Spent most of yesterday waiting for a connection in Miami. Was at Bradley/Hartford around 3:30am yesterday - the wi-fii is free there - then waited 8 hours in Miami - the wi-fii is not free there! Thought about spending time taking a cab to a great Cuban restaurant  called the Versailles in Little Havana for lunch. Been there before and it's a great place. But decided that the cost of a taxi would make for too much expense. But I also like La Carreta right in the airport - like the cuban food there also.

Was so tired in Miami that at one point I gave up all modesty and got out of the seat I was in, found a little away place, made a pillow for myself and crashed on the floor...turned out to be a very good idea!!!! Other people are much better than me at dealing with lack of sleep.

Made it to the apartment of one of my nephew's that didn't take long from El Dorado airport and after some pleasantries crashed some more. Woke up to the drone of a major city starting its day and a real good cup of Colombian coffee (Juan Valdez, you rock!).

Although people are different by culture, we also share lots in common. Folks here get up in the morning and go to work like anyone else for the same reasons as anyone else. This is the capital, and has some really fancy parts, malls, restaurants, night life, hugh super-markets, home improvement super-stores, etc.
The language changes, lots of the food changes, stuff like that, but plenty of new business buildings and old ones, too. And yes, all the fast food joints at home are here also. Progress?

Lots I am not used to goes on, too, and requires some change on my part. My wife and nephew had a 7:30 am meeting to go to... I was exempt. They were still at home at 7:10. I reminded them that they needed to leave and are probably already going to be late. I was reminded that I am on colombian time, and that everything is approximate here. Wow. Lesson #1 right out of the gate.

So now I have to let myself adjust to the flow of things. That will be the big challenge and if I am cooperative it will do me enormous good.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

"Summer Time, and the Livin' is Easy"

Yep, I should-a known don't just run out and try to do olympic level hedge trimming on a hot and humid day. Lasted an hour and fell apart. Smartened up, got out of the sun, drank fluids and rested a bit. All better.

This weekend I am going to turn 53. That carries a lot of meaning. My father made it to 53 and then died suddenly. At the time I was a mere puppy at 30. So, a lot of life's wisdom I had to waddle through on my own for better or worse.

Change really can be good for you, but I mostly find it rattling, inconvenient and not a little frightening. Didn't get a cavity until my late 40's, and never had a prescription other than the occasional remedy for this or that. Now, having had two root canals, one tooth implant, a waistline that likes to grow at warp speed and the fact that now I ought to have bought stock in Big Pharma - all these lovely things they forgot to tell me about years earlier. Never mind, I wouldn't have listened anyway.

Career changes, moves and morphs, and how my perspective on this has changed. Climb "the ladder"? Really? What's up there anyways? (I once read Hope for the Flowers by Trina Paulus -- you should, too.)

In the last resort, I think it's all about good living. About finding out who your friends are and how they are so wonderful at mirroring back to me who I am in their eyes. This past month has been a difficult time of life for me and I have seen how I can be frail about losing my own bearings and sense of direction. I got a booster shot of negatives this month, feeling down on my own self, my need for good people in my life and the loneliness that easily jumps in when I no longer think that they are there, a sense of stupor or lack of direction and the feeling of inadequacy that goes along with it. And the worst is my letting my little "pity party" blind me from a the blessings and life gifts that Someone has always had for me. That hurts really bad because I feel that I ought to know better but my imperfect humanity (or as Soren Kierkegaard would call, 'finitude') has shown itself very clearly to me lately and believe me, it has a certain power that clouds things up really well.

The Hindus worship 330 million gods. They're on to something. Maybe due to my Western way of thinking-mindset (and the pompousness that it all too easily induces) it's absolutely too facile for me to miss their point.

God, who is unfathomable in his total transcendence and "who dwells in light inaccessible" has in his sovereign freedom chosen to show his face to his creatures.  And the sucker punch is that we are consistently surprised at what that face looks like. Two thousand years ago a man was made known as the "visible image of the invisible God". And he did so in ways universal - or, should I say, 330 million ways. I'm gonna be 53...wanna 'grow up' soon to be able to see the many "faces of God" before I give more control to some 'pity party' or whatever.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Trapped in the System

Not sure what to make of today. Be patient and let me explain. I've been going to physical therapy for some time now due to some sort of left hip strain I gave myself back in March, thinking I can just go and start jogging as if I was still a kid. After several weeks of limping around and general discomfort I started physical therapy on the recommendation of my doctor.

All good. The problem was that I wasn't getting better and sometimes the therapy aggravated the situation. So that place suggested it might be good to see an orthopod to see if there might be issues other than muscles at work here. Had an appointment for today. Was advised to get there a half hour early to fill out the usual forms. I downloaded the forms form the office's website and filled them out at home. Still, I got to the office about 25 minutes early.

Handed in the forms, paid my copay and sat down in the waiting room (which was certainly not full of people) and waited. And waited. And waited. After about an hour the receptionist who took my copay called me and led to me to an examination room, saying the PA would be along soon. I waited. I waited some more. And a little more. By then I had been at this place about an hour and a half with no word from anyone about how much longer I would be there. That wasn't so bad, but I had already read those anatomical charts they always post on the walls. I even checked out the box of examination gloves to see if they were latex or not (they were latex, size large). A couple of magazines on a chair did not interest me. After a half hour in the exam room with no word forthcoming, I decided that maybe, just maybe, my time might actually be worth something, too.

I let myself out of the examination room, immediately walked past a guy with a stethoscope reading an x-ray (he glanced at me, said nothing and went back to the x-ray) and found my way down a hallway to the same receptionist who took my form, copay, and after an hour had brought me to the exam room. I asked her to credit me back on my copayment. She looked perplexed. I told her I had been there for about an hour and a half and never saw anyone (admittedly, I was ONLY one hour past my appointment time - but I have been cancelled from at least a couple of dentist appointments for being 10 minutes late!) She sounded surprised that I had not been seen. I simply asked to be credited back on my copay, which she promptly did. And then she asked me if I wanted to reschedule.

Now I got confused. They should be rescheduling with me, I thought to myself, not the other way round.
I politely said no thank you, I will just go to another business, and went home.

Now, it is entirely possible that I was impertinent. Maybe I should have held out for 2 hours. But being Thursday I knew that I still had to get some things done like vacuum the house et al. Besides, by then I was feeling rather unimportant in the eyes of that place and was losing my grip on the humility factor. End of the world? By no means. Just meant that I would have an appointment with another office (oh, man, more forms to fill out). Ok, so I'll hobble along like I just came from a shootout at the OK corral for a few more days.

What's with all of this? I think most, if not all, of us get trapped in the system. Just in different ways. Perhaps our jobs, duties, obligations, relationships or expectations put us in places where we run the risk of winding up unimportant or forgotten. Good people who take it off the chin. Or, capitulate in fear of.

In the first century, a man exhorted people to trust and to go beyond being trapped in the system. Maybe it'll cost you. It cost him. All today cost me was some time. Big deal. What about all those other places where we are "trapped in the system" and the cost of authenticity can be very high. And to trust beyond what appears to be can be very hard indeed. Your comments welcome.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Taking the Splash

So today's visit to the dentist was uneventful. The best thing about going to the dentist is the free (my favorite "f" word) stuff you get. As a kid I would look forward to intriguing and exotic things like secret decoder rings. Now, it's a toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, and those little floss containers that come in handy for traveling. At least there were no cavities.

Seems like today was a "hurry up and wait" kind of day. Don't live in Massachusetts anymore, but passed the Basketball Hall of Fame four times (should-a stopped for lunch). All in all, everything I did today was basic mundane stuff. But then again, most of what I do every day is basic mundane stuff. And it mostly wouldn't matter all that much if I put some of it off until tomorrow.

There's a lesson in all of this - perhaps someone reading this can develop it better than me. Most of the time, most of our days are spent doing regular things. Some things are constantly repeated (give up brushing your teeth for a week and you will rapidly understand.) I'm taking the saying "going around in circles" to a new level. (Sure hope somebody out there in blogland will jump in and comment otherwise I have to fly solo here.)

What for me seems to change a lot is my mood/attitude toward what is happening at the time. I often don't like that at all as I can dredge up some of the old negative, lazy, lethargic attitudes I have become proficient at. Every now and then I am able to infuse a good/positive attitude about things to which I surprise myself and think "how come I don't see it this way more often?", and I don't really know why I don't use it more often. Maybe I feel it takes too much effort, or I believe it's not realistic - just a passing phase, or my humanity is simply not up to the task.

Two thousand years ago a man underwent his Paschal Mystery and revealed the fullness of the divine life in the depths of the human heart. How does one realize this in one's own human experience of life, and how come (at least it seems to me) most folks don't even seem to notice? Does the mundane stuff and our ever-changing attitudes cloud things and preoccupy us?

But, ever get that gnawing feeling that something bigger than the ordinary is going on precisely in the ordinary? Somebody says the right thing at the right time, or unexpected favors or compliments or friendliness catches us off guard. Those are the places I need to look for more often. Don't think I have to  look too high or low or around the ordinary. But I do have to look. Your comments are very welcome.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A New Experience

Today I created this blog. I thought it can be important as a way for me to spell out and order my ideas, and to gather input from those much more insightful than me.