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Showing posts from May, 2012

Coffeeee

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I kind of feel this way every morning ...

Family

I’ve kept in touch with several friends over the years but family contact was much more challenging. Through some cosmic miracle I usually hear from friends right at the moment when I need to, but not so much with family. Till about ten years ago. I specifically reached out to cousins I hadn’t seen in years and, sadly, family funerals and Hurricane Katrina helped unite us more. Actually, that could be considered the positive side to those tragedies.

Now because of my persistence and digital communication like email, texting and Facebook, I often hear from family right when I need to. I was missing family contact this week when out of the blue I received a text from my sister reminding me she was vacationing in Alaska. I didn’t remember she was going to do that, so I’m glad she reminded me. I’m also happy she has friends to share travel with.

Then today I got a Facebook message from a cousin who lives near Seattle who happens to be here this week. Dinner one night? Definitely! Her brot…

Quote Collection.

It’s been awhile since I posted a list of quotes. These are very appealing to me this month. Enjoy.


“Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.”
- Albert Einstein

“Sometimes you can’t let go of the past without facing it again.”
- Gail Tsukiyama

“The great courageous act that we must all do is to have the courage to step out of our history and past so that we can live our dreams.”
- Oprah Winfrey

“You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.”
- Wayne Gretzy

“Even if you stumble, you’re still moving forward.”
- Anonymous

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.”
- Mark Twain

“Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action.”
- Walter Anderson

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.”
- Elbert Hubbard

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”
- Mary Anne Radmacher


Memorial Day Randomness

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If a "normal" picture is worth a thousand words, how many are these worth?




I took these two years ago at Rolling Thunder, an annual event during which more than 100,000 bikers thunder through Washington DC in honor of those who gave their lives in the service of our country. 

The top picture might be obvious: one of the American flags that circle the Washington Monument.  The middle picture is of two bikers reading names on the Vietnam Memorial Wall, possibly spotting the name of someone they served with during that war; I am proud of that picture but it doesn't even come close to capturing the feeling you have when you are actually standing there before the names of more than 58,000 who died in that "conflict".  The bottom picture is just a tiny glimpse of the parade, as the bikes thunder down Constitution Avenue on the National Mall. 

Thunder is a very appropriate word to describe the event, an auditory representation of both the roar of the motorcycles and…

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is an odd holiday with conflicting purposes. The day itself is intended to be a time to reflect on those military men and women who died in the service of our country. Yet it is also the unofficial beginning of the summer, an anchor holiday to open the season, with Labor Day as the close in September. It makes perfect sense to greet people with “Happy Memorial Day” but when you really think about it, the point of the day is not happy.

Soldiers fight our wars. Inevitably many of them die so we ultimately can live free. At my core I believe all war is wrong but I do understand its purpose and I certainly benefit from it. Those contradictory beliefs are as complicated as the dual celebratory nature of Memorial Day.

My job dominates my life so it is actually odd for me to contemplate a three-day weekend. It is Friday night as I write this, I am drinking wine and picturing the rest of my weekend. Tomorrow afternoon I’ll be at a co-worker’s housewarming party, tomorrow night I’…

Popping In and Popping Out of People’s Lives

Random odd things happen to me regularly, so I shouldn’t be surprised when they do; but I am.

A few years ago I began to search for old friends and acquaintances online. In some cases, my goal was to get in touch with some of the ones I hadn’t heard from in decades; in other cases I just wanted to see how they turned out. The biggest surprise happened about three or four years ago when I found my first wife. Both the marriage and the divorce happened while we were in college and we had no contact since. The breakup was bad and mostly my fault; nothing illegal or immoral, just my immaturity and inability to handle responsibility at the time. I never expected to hear from her again and it didn’t really matter anyway. I knew she remarried, had kids and lived in that city and two or three others in that part of the south over the years.

A bigger surprise I discovered on that web site was that she and her family had moved north, far north, to a town less than fifteen miles from where I cu…

Sharing

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I’ve heard the studio version of this song at least three times in the past week on one or more SiriusXM channels. Thought I’d share it. Enjoy. A friend is seeing their concert this week and I hope to see it in June.

Threes

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You know that thing about celebrities dying in threes? Robin Gibb, one of the Bee Gees, died today at age 62. He had been living with colon and liver cancer for some time and more recently was in a coma from complications related to pneumonia.

The 1970s were a time of significant changes in music, but disco could be called the soundtrack of that decade and no group was associated with that music form more than the Bee Gees.

So just this week: Chuck Brown, Donna Summer, Robin Gibb.  Three, each an icon in their own way.  Each with a legacy of very memorable music.

Choices and Priorities

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My original plan for this fine Saturday in Maryland was to go to an all-day blues festival. Some of my favorite performers are on the lineup and the venue is on the shore of the Chesapeake Bay. The forecast is for sunny skies and temps in the upper 70s. I decided to pass.

Plan B was the Andrews Air Force Base open house and air show. I love planes and I’ve been to this event many times, camera in hand. Passed.

What I am going to do is look at apartments in my new favorite neighborhood then return home to make progress on a home office cleanup that I have been putting off for six months or more. Boring choices to service top priorities.

Sometimes we have to make choices in life, decisions that are not fun in the short run but are beneficial to us in the long term. Over the past few decades I have run the distance between being all business and all fun. Those places are not mutually exclusive but it can be a challenge to put them both together. Fortunately my job blends them nicely. Com…

Eclectamania

I don't know why I should ever have trouble finding topics to write about for this blog. I live a fairly odd but interesting life. Here are some eclectic examples of what was on my mind a little while ago as I waited for an early lunch at a sub shop that sells mostly Chinese food:

- The G8 Summit you've been hearing about in the news is in my neck of the woods. Camp David, the Presidential retreat, is in a fairly secluded location in my current county, with no obvious signage (for security reasons). But long-time locals know where it is and I'm sure the rest of will by the end of today. Likely evidence: traffic, black Suburbans with tinted windows, helicopters and thousands of protesters.

- My music taste is very eclectic. On my long ride home the other night I listened to Thelonius Monk and Johnny Cash; and thirty seconds of a Barry Manilow song.

- Injured my left thumb last night … while trying to remove the plastic packaging from a roll of paper towels. Not sure what&#…

There Goes Another One

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Two days in a row, two aging music stars dead. This time it is Donna Summer. She was called a disco queen, a term she apparently disliked. Her most popular songs were from the disco era, however. She died from lung cancer, but had still been performing until recently.

Her music was fun. Here is one of her songs …

Go Go Gone

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Chuck Brown, a guitarist and singer known in Washington DC music circles as the “Godfather of Go-go,” died today at age 75. Brown was born in Gaston, NC but lived most of his life in the Washington DC area. He is considered by many as the pioneer of the ‘go-go’ style of funk music.

Prior to living in the DC area, I had never heard of go-go music, which is not at all related to the ‘go-go’ term used in white pop circles of the 1960s. This ‘go-go’ music is funky, danceable and known to people of all races and ages in the Washington region. It had some national notoriety in the late 1970s and some of the riffs were sampled in other music more recently, but it is a style instantly recognizable around here.

Brown was still performing this year, but canceled performances recently while trying to recover from pneumonia. He died at Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

Bustin Loose is his signature song. Listen to it below if you “feel like bustin’ loose, bustin loose now.”

Wet Advice

Saw this on a cousin's facebook page.  Good advice ...

When life gives you rough waves, surf them.

Crossing Lines

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I am not religious but I am tired of non-religious activists blocking all forms of religious symbolism in public places. Today's example: an atheist organization objecting to the display of the "ground zero cross" at the 9/11 Memorial.

I read about this in USA Today a few days ago. Here is part of the story:

Atheists have sued to prevent cross-shaped steel girders from the destroyed World Trade Center towers from being included in the official Sept. 11 memorial, saying the religious symbol is unconstitutional because its gives "preferential representation" to Christians who died in the 2001 terror attacks.


"Many of American Atheists' members have seen the cross, either in person or on television, and are being subjected to and injured in consequence of having a religious tradition not their own imposed upon them through the power of the state," the complaint (pdf) states. If the cross is not removed, the group wants a non-religious exhibit include…

Depression Sucks, but …

At a point in life when many of my high school buddies are at or near retirement and contemplating coasting through the rest of their lives, I’m climbing another flight of stairs. Each of those guys is sitting on some metaphorical deck, or maybe the real deck on his paid-for house with his first and only wife of thirty or more years sitting beside him. Two are recalling stories of their kids growing up. One of them might even be a grandparent now, a thought I can't wrap my head around. My first wife is a grandmother, my second has a son in high school and my third has dogs, the only living things she really cares about. My only female friend from high school, who was also my high school girlfriend, is married to somebody who has mostly retired and she is counting the few years left to hitting that marker herself. Their house is paid for and their kids are out of college.

I'm about to be single again and the house I thought I'd pay off and live in the rest of my life will n…

Today's Attitude

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This is how I'm feeling about myself today.  I'm damn proud to be unusual.

Road Trip Finale and Moms

Well, I'm back in my home zip code. A four-day getaway is too short but this one was needed and the results are good. Some random thoughts:

This was my 7th visit to Asheville NC. It's an awesome town and I have a great friend there which adds to the fun of my visits.

Had more great food, drinks and laughter yesterday.

While walking back to the car I heard my name being called. Turned around and there was a co-worker. He grew up in Asheville and I knew he was in town visiting family this weekend but running into him on that sidewalk at that moment was so random.

Left town at 7:15 this morning ... cool, partly cloudy, NO traffic. Nice.

I-81 in Virginia is as bad as I-95. Hate them both.

Today is Mother's Day. My Mom loved to travel and that might be where I developed my love for it. She died several years ago, partly related to being on the road. The circumstances are cloudy and sad, but there is a small comfort in knowing she was travelling.

Back to work tomorrow in …

Road Trip 4

Well, I have to go home tomorrow. That sucks. My visits to Asheville are never long enough, partly because of the friend I have here. Our friendship is unique and most of our other friends do not understand how we can have the friendship we have. Many people do not understand how a man and a woman can be ‘just friends’. One benefit of the self-discovery journey I have written about a lot during the past few years is that I don’t have to explain myself. I know what this friendship is and I know what it isn’t. Much as I share big parts of my life with anyone who will listen, I don’t care if anyone gets this one or not. I get it, she gets it and that’s all that counts.

Road Trip 3

This is the perfect long weekend relaxing road trip. Asheville is an awesome place, made even more fun by having a good friend here. She is a great tour guide and drinking buddy. And friend. This is my 7th visit here and I am starting to know my way around. I have stopped at some of the same bars, restaurants, coffee haunts and retail shops each time as well as some new ones on each visit. It’s a great balance between the familiar and the experimental. I had some tasty dark roast coffee this morning at a place called World Coffee. The scents ran the gamut from almond latte to incense and the customers included locals, tourists, modern-day hippies and artsy people. It’s 1969 meets 2012 … my kind of place. I spent some time with a media counterpart at some local radio stations and right after I post this I’ll be doing a little work. I don’t like to work on vacation but I have to this time. At least I’m in a quiet hotel room with little chance of anything being added to my…

Road Trip 2

On the road for a long weekend escape from stress and other things. Got great news from a good friend shortly before hitting the road. Made my whole day. Spending tonight in a clean but dumpy hotel in Virginia. Will be in a much nicer hotel for the rest of the weekend. All for tonight.

Road Trip

Those two words say it all.

A Few Random Thoughts

Sometimes I am good at keeping in touch with friends and sometimes I am not, but my best friend from high school is a master at it. The single most significant reason he and I are still in touch is that he has never given up, even though I have gone for years at a time without making contact. I’m certain he has not missed sending me cards for Christmas or my birthday for the past several decades. By the way, he just ‘discovered’ email a few years ago, so most of the previous contact has been through traditional postal mail and the occasional phone call.

I am entitled to plenty of vacation in my job but so far I have only taken one day off this year. So I put in a request for two days this week. I made hotel reservations in one of my favorite cities but I don’t know as of the time I am writing this whether or not I’ll be making that trip because the friend I plan to visit might have a scheduling conflict. But even if I don’t go there, I will take the days off and go somewhere. I need t…

May the 4th be with you ...

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Some Uplifting Quotes

A short but significant phone call last night led me to look these up.  I have my reasons.  Read and learn.  This is good stuff.


Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

We are not human beings on a spiritual journey. We are spiritual beings on a human journey.
- Stephen Covey

Don't deny the diagnosis; try to defy the verdict.
- Norman Cousins

Always look at what you have left. Never look at what you have lost.
- Robert H. Schuller

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly."
- Buddha

People who laugh actually live longer than those who don't laugh. Few persons realize that health actually varies according to the amount of laughter.
- James J. Walsh

Neither fire, nor moisture, nor wind can destroy the blessing of good deeds, and blessings enlighten the whole world.
- Buddha