Wednesday, June 30, 2010

All Who Wander Are Not Lost

When I think about spirituality these days, I think of myself as a man who has left home and is wandering in the desert. However, as Tolkien once said, "All who wander are not lost". Even better is a quote from Daniel Boone who said, "I have never been lost. I will, however, admit to being confused once for about two weeks". I can very much relate to these quotes. I am wandering but I do not feel lost. I do not feel disconnected or confused. What I do feel is that the traditional spirituality in which I was raised, and which has surrounded me most of my life, isn't working for me at this time in my life. These days my spirituality is life itself and I have come to believe that life itself is the doorway to the sacred. My religion is kindness, compassion, and gratefulness. I was raised as a Roman Catholic so I suppose that is my spiritual home. Whether or not I return home remains to be seen. I am not a true Buddhist but these days I feel very much at home with Buddhist ways. I love my solitary backyard with its Buddha statue and wind chimes that sound like temple bells. Of course, I also still love the solitude and silence of the monastery with it's Christian monastic tradition and tolling abbey bells. I think what it all boils down to for me is a love of all things contemplative. I am no longer sure about the value of dogma and theology but I do very much value the idea and practice of mindfulness as a way to be enlightened. Being mindful, living in peace, showing kindness, and seeing all of life as a gift, is not a bad way to live one's life. It is certainly a positive way to live. So much religion fills one with guilt and low self worth. I've spent much of my life trying to overcome feelings of guilt. Going forward I will strive to walk in a more positive light. In the end the only thing that will matter is whether or not you lived a loving life.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

More Pictures From The Crossroads Festival

Pictured from top to bottom are Steve Winwood, ZZ Top, Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Derek Trucks, and Buddy Guy.

Monday, June 28, 2010

I Went Down To The Crossroads....

I spent this past weekend in Chicago, Illinois attending the Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival. It was the third Crossroads festival. All the musicians play for free because it is a benefit concert to support the Crossroads Rehabilitation Center for recovering addicts. Anyone familiar with Eric Clapton is aware that he had addiction problems in the past and he continues to be a recovering alcoholic. This was the first time I have been able to attend. It was a wonderful day of music although the weather was brutal. It was an outdoor event and the heat index was 105 degrees. My faithful Tilley hat saved me. In the late afternoon, however, I finally had to seek some solace in a shady spot. In spite of the intense heat I missed seeing very little of the music and even when I retreated to the shade I could hear everything coming from the stage. Here are what I consider the musical highlights of the day. There really were no low points although I am not sure why Sheryl Crow keeps getting invited. Of course, she is very hot and looks great in tight jeans.

Robert Randolph jamming with Joe Bonamassa.

ZZ Top's entire set.

The John Mayer Trio playing Jimi Hendrix's "Wait Until Tomorrow". I've seen Jimi Hendrix twice and he never played this song live. John Mayer nailed it.

Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang, and Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones playing an entire set of blues together. Ron Wood was a surprise guest.

Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes with David Hidalgo and Cesar Rojas of Los Lobos backing up Johnny Winter on Jimi Hendrix's classic blues song "Red House".

The entire set of Jeff Beck especially his versions of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" and Sly and the Family Stone's "I Want To Take You Higher".

Finally, the absolute highlight of the day for me, and what I wanted to see the most, Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton playing together, performing songs from Blind Faith, Traffic, and their solo careers. In addition to these songs they simply smoked and scorched on the Jimi Hendrix song, "Voodoo Chile" from the very famous Hendrix album titled "Electric Ladyland". By the time they played the sun had finally set and it was much cooler. It was a beautiful night and I was in heaven.

A non musical highlight of the day were all the hot, sweaty, and beautiful women walking around. I'm old but I am not dead.

I am back home now, taking one last day off from work so I can rest up and heal a little from all the sunburn I received on Saturday. It was all worth it because seeing so many great musicians playing and jamming with one another is a rare treat.

Ticket to the Crossroads Festival: $100

Round Trip Airfare to Chicago: $200

Two Nights at the Sheraton Hotel: $250

Food, Beer, $5.00 Bottles of Water, etc: $100

Hearing and Seeing 12 Hours of Fabulous Music: Priceless!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Awesome Things Volume XXI

A couple of things my granddaughter said to me while I was on vacation. Her birthday is coming up so I asked her how old she will be. She replied, "I will be six years old". "How old will you be on your next birthday, Pa Paw"? I replied, "I'll be sixty years old". She said, "Sixty years old? Does that mean you get a walker"?

On the last night of vacation I asked her if she was ready to go back to the day care. She replied, "I don't want to go back to the daycare. I love being on vacation"! I know how she feels.

Just being alive. Earlier this week I visited a funeral home. The next morning I saw a nasty looking car accident on the way to work. Yes, my back hurts today. Most mornings I wake up feeling like the Tin Man before Dorothy found his oil can. I still have to work full time. It's hot as hell outside, but I am alive, working in an air conditioned office and listening to the Dave Matthews Band on my Ipod. Life is not perfect but it is good and I am alive. Don't take life for granted. So what if it is occasionally a pain in the butt. The reality is that most stuff in life is an inconvenience, not a crisis. Be happy that you are alive.

A contented life. I have weathered many storms in my life and I am sure there will be more to come. I think it is true when they say, "That which doesn't kill you, makes you stronger". All storms eventually pass and between them life is often calm. As I have gotten older I have learned more and more the value of a calm and peaceful life. Young people often want adventure and excitement in their lives. Older people are usually content with much less adventure and excitement. We still like it but we don't need it 24/7. This week I will be in Chicago at an all day rock and roll event where I will be reminded that I am not as young as I used to be. At some point I will probably wish I was home, sitting in my chair, doing nothing but feeling very content.

Bagels. I love toasted bagels. A few nights ago I stopped at Panera Bread and bought some Asiago cheese bagels and some cinnamon crunch bagels. When they are toasted and buttered, with a fresh cup of coffee, life is good.

Rain. There's a good chance that it will rain today. I will like that. I'm a little tired of the blazing sun and high 90 degree temperatures, plus my flowers will get a good soaking.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Like many people I suffer from a seemingly never ending fatigue. Like many people I am sleep deprived and many of my days I am running on fumes. Part of it is my own fault. I get up early and I go to bed too late. I have never been one to go to bed early. Why? Going to bed early takes away from my personal time. By my estimate I only have about six hours a day that I am awake and on my own time. I sleep about six hours a night with the occasional evening nap. As much as I love a good nap I usually don't take them unless my body demands it. One of the great myths of modern life is the eight hour work day. Technically I only get paid for eight hours of work each day but the process of getting ready for work, commuting to work, doing the work, commuting back home, and usually stopping along the way for some dinner, takes approximately twelve hours of my day, Monday through Friday. So, six hours of sleep and twelve hours devoted to the demands of working outside my home only leave me six hours a day for personal time and relaxation where I can do what I enjoy or what is required for daily personal needs. By Friday night I am crashing and burning. I know that to be fully rested I need eight hours of sleep a night. Since I only get six, and that's on a good night, I loose the equivalent of a whole night of good sleep between Monday night and Friday night. Therefore, weekends are time for catching up on sleep between the often busy demands of weekends. One such demand is a labor of love. That would be time with my six year old granddaughter.

This fatigue of modern life is the primary reason I don't write more. My personal time is usually in the evenings after a day of work. This time may be personal but it is usually not of high quality. At this very moment I am fighting the urge to stop what I am doing and move over to my chair where I can doze off or sit in a catatonic state while my outdoor water sprinkler splashes water on my window as it waters my flowers. I don't know if I can remember the last time I felt truly rested. I think it was about a year and a half ago when I was home recovering from some emergency surgery.

The good news is that tomorrow is my last day of work this week. I am flying to Chicago on Friday to attend Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival. The bad news is that I will return home afterwards completely exhausted. Periodically I have to do something like this to remind myself that I am not as young as I used to be. Thank God I also scheduled next Monday as a vacation day. I'm sure most of Monday will be spent on my couch in the fetal position.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Empty Mind And Blank Page

Tonight's challenge is an empty and tired mind coupled with a blank page. At this moment I literally have "no thought". I am recently awakened from a short nap. Upon awakening I spent some time in the newly created Zen space in my backyard. I spent some time watering my flowers, filling the bird bath with fresh water, and also adding water to my solar powered Buddha fountain. With my old trees cut down and my new privacy fence build, my backyard is now a place that calls to me. I also placed my new gnome figures that I received for Father's Day on the patio to add a little bit of magic for my granddaughter and me. At this time of night the raging sun of recent days is subsided but the humidity hangs around like a dense fog. Tomorrow will be the apex of the current heat wave with temperatures in the high nineties. Such weather is dreadful. These days I am not full of deep thoughts. Rather I am filled with the idea of living my life as simply as possible while being open to whatever each day brings. Being spiritual and having a Zen mind is not a matter of deep thoughts but more a matter of presence. When presence is filled with peace, what more could anyone want?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Here I am again on a Sunday night doing the laundry. It is dreadfully hot outside. We are in the middle of an extended heatwave, the hottest weather we have had in three years. Temperatures are hovering in the mid 90's with the heat index over 100 degrees. I go outside as little as possible. My new air conditioning system is getting quite a workout. For the record, I hate summer and it is my least favorite time of the year. In this part of the world it is not only hot in the summer, the humidity is also terrible. The combination of the two suck the life right out of me. I dream of snow...

Earlier in the week I went on a family vacation. It may have been the least enjoyable vacation I have ever taken with my family. It was very hot and tempers sometimes flared between my oldest son and me. We also all lodged together and in the best of times that is too much togetherness for me. The lack of privacy and space, coupled with the heat, did not bring out the best in me. I could not get home fast enough. I found myself thinking that the "idea" of a family vacation is better than the reality of it. It was exhausting and not at all relaxing.

Once I got home I felt like I was trapped inside my home by the heat. Of course, I didn't mind that too much because I would rather be home than anywhere. I love my leisure so I am not terribly thrilled about returning to the work grind tomorrow. Sometimes I think it is sad and pathetic how much most people, including me, live for their week of vacation once or twice a year. Usually this week never lives up to our hopes for it. It is almost never truly restful because we try to cram as much as we can into it. We return to work more tired than when we left it. Even sadder is the fact that only 25% of people in America take a vacation and there are no laws ensuring that workers are even given vacation time. In my opinion, any time off less than two weeks does not do much for you in terms of real rest and rejuvenation. In Europe most people get approximately 4-6 weeks off a year and this time is guaranteed by law. Most Americans who have jobs are overworked and burned out. I do not feel overworked. I have a good job and a pleasant work environment. I am, however, part of the burned out masses.

Today is Father's Day so my youngest brother and I went to the cemetery where my father is buried. We also had some rare one on one time over lunch where we talked of many things.

I read a couple of things this week that made me think. One thought was from Thomas Merton. In his journal entry for June 19th, 1966 Merton writes, "The real desert is this: to face the real limitations of one's own existence and not try to manipulate them or disguise them. Not to embellish them with possibilities other than those which are actually present and real, here and now". Another idea I read was from a book entitled "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin. It basically had to do with the discipline of writing on a daily basis. This current month is the least productive month I have had since beginning this blog. I'm not sure if I have run out of things to write about or I am just being lazy. Either way I am going to attempt to be more disciplined about writing something even if it means sitting down with an empty head and a blank page.

I am posting a few pictures of happy moments from my family vacation including a few pictures of my favorite fairy princess.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Psychological Profile, Part II: Myers-Briggs Type INFP

Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiver

The Idealist
As an INFP, your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit into your personal value system. Your secondary mode is external, where you take things in primarily via your intuition.

INFPs, more than other Intuitive Feeling types, are focused on making the world a better place for people. Their primary goal is to find out their meaning in life. What is their purpose? How can they best serve humanity in their lives? They are idealists and perfectionists, who drive themselves hard in their quest for achieving the goals they have identified for themselves

INFPs are highly intuitive about people. They rely heavily on their intuitions to guide them, and use their discoveries to constantly search for value in life. They are on a continuous mission to find the truth and meaning underlying things. Every encounter and every piece of knowledge gained gets sifted through the INFP's value system, and is evaluated to see if it has any potential to help the INFP define or refine their own path in life. The goal at the end of the path is always the same - the INFP is driven to help people and make the world a better place.

Generally thoughtful and considerate, INFPs are good listeners and put people at ease. Although they may be reserved in expressing emotion, they have a very deep well of caring and are genuinely interested in understanding people. This sincerity is sensed by others, making the INFP a valued friend and confidante. An INFP can be quite warm with people he or she knows well.

INFPs do not like conflict, and go to great lengths to avoid it. If they must face it, they will always approach it from the perspective of their feelings. In conflict situations, INFPs place little importance on who is right and who is wrong. They focus on the way that the conflict makes them feel, and indeed don't really care whether or not they're right. They don't want to feel badly. This trait sometimes makes them appear irrational and illogical in conflict situations. On the other hand, INFPs make very good mediators, and are typically good at solving other people's conflicts, because they intuitively understand people's perspectives and feelings, and genuinely want to help them.

INFPs are flexible and laid-back, until one of their values is violated. In the face of their value system being threatened, INFPs can become aggressive defenders, fighting passionately for their cause. When an INFP has adopted a project or job which they're interested in, it usually becomes a "cause" for them. Although they are not detail-oriented individuals, they will cover every possible detail with determination and vigor when working for their "cause".

When it comes to the mundane details of life maintenance, INFPs are typically completely unaware of such things. They might go for long periods without noticing a stain on the carpet, but carefully and meticulously brush a speck of dust off of their project booklet.

INFPs do not like to deal with hard facts and logic. Their focus on their feelings and the Human Condition makes it difficult for them to deal with impersonal judgment. They don't understand or believe in the validity of impersonal judgement, which makes them naturally rather ineffective at using it. Most INFPs will avoid impersonal analysis, although some have developed this ability and are able to be quite logical. Under stress, it's not uncommon for INFPs to mis-use hard logic in the heat of anger, throwing out fact after (often inaccurate) fact in an emotional outburst.

INFPs have very high standards and are perfectionists. Consequently, they are usually hard on themselves, and don't give themselves enough credit. INFPs may have problems working on a project in a group, because their standards are likely to be higher than other members' of the group. In group situations, they may have a "control" problem. The INFP needs to work on balancing their high ideals with the requirements of every day living. Without resolving this conflict, they will never be happy with themselves, and they may become confused and paralyzed about what to do with their lives.

INFPs are usually talented writers. They may be awkard and uncomfortable with expressing themselves verbally, but have a wonderful ability to define and express what they're feeling on paper. INFPs also appear frequently in social service professions, such as counselling or teaching. They are at their best in situations where they're working towards the public good, and in which they don't need to use hard logic.

INFPs who function in their well-developed sides can accomplish great and wonderful things, which they will rarely give themselves credit for. Some of the great, humanistic catalysts in the world have been INFPs.

Psychological Profile, Part I: Enneagram Type Nine

Nines are accepting, trusting, and stable. They are usually creative, optimistic, and supportive, but can also be too willing to go along with others to keep the peace. They want everything to go smoothly and be without conflict, but they can also tend to be complacent, simplifying problems and minimizing anything upsetting. They typically have problems with inertia and stubbornness. At their Best: indomitable and all-embracing, they are able to bring people together and heal conflicts.

Basic Fear: Of loss and separation
Basic Desire: To have inner stability "peace of mind"
Enneagram Nine with an Eight-Wing: "The Referee"
Enneagram Nine with a One-Wing: "The Dreamer"
Key Motivations: Want to create harmony in their environment, to avoid conflicts and tension, to preserve things as they are, to resist whatever would upset or disturb them.

The Meaning of the Arrows (See Enneagram Symbol on Enneagram website)
When moving in their Direction of Disintegration (stress), complacent Nines suddenly become anxious and worried at Six. However, when moving in their Direction of Integration (growth), slothful, self-neglecting Nines become more self-developing and energetic, like healthy Threes.

Examples: Abraham Lincoln, Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung, Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Grace, Walter Cronkite, George Lucas, Walt Disney, John Kennedy, Jr., Sophia Loren, Geena Davis, Lisa Kudrow, Kevin Costner, Keanu Reeves, Woody Harrelson, Ron Howard, Matthew Broderick, Ringo Starr, Whoopi Goldberg, Janet Jackson, Nancy Kerrigan, Jim Hensen, Marc Chagall, Norman Rockwell, "Edith Bunker" (Archie Bunker), and "Marge Simpson" (The Simpsons).

Type Nine Overview
We have called personality type Nine The Peacemaker because no type is more devoted to the quest for internal and external peace for themselves and others. They are typically “spiritual seekers” who have a great yearning for connection with the cosmos, as well as with other people. They work to maintain their peace of mind just as they work to establish peace and harmony in their world. The issues encountered in the Nine are fundamental to all psychological and spiritual work—being awake versus falling asleep to our true nature; presence versus entrancement, openness versus blockage, tension versus relaxation, peace versus pain, union versus separation.

Ironically, for a type so oriented to the spiritual world, Nine is the center of the Instinctive Center, and is the type that is potentially most grounded in the physical world and in their own bodies. The contradiction is resolved when we realize that Nines are either in touch with their instinctive qualities and have tremendous elemental power and personal magnetism, or they are cut off from their instinctual strengths and can be disengaged and remote, even lightweight.

To compensate for being out of touch with their instinctual energies, Nines also retreat into their minds and their emotional fantasies. (This is why Nines can sometimes misidentify themselves as Fives and Sevens, “head types,” or as Twos and Fours, “feeling types.”) Furthermore, when their instinctive energies are out of balance, Nines use these very energies against themselves, damming up their own power so that everything in their psyches becomes static and inert. When their energy is not used, it stagnates like a spring-fed lake that becomes so full that its own weight dams up the springs that feed it. When Nines are in balance with their Instinctive Center and its energy, however, they are like a great river, carrying everything along with it effortlessly.

We have sometimes called the Nine the crown of the Enneagram because it is at the top of the symbol and because it seems to include the whole of it. Nines can have the strength of Eights, the sense of fun and adventure of Sevens, the dutifulness of Sixes, the intellectualism of Fives, the creativity of Fours, the attractiveness of Threes, the generosity of Twos, and the idealism of Ones. However, what they generally do not have is a sense of really inhabiting themselves—a strong sense of their own identity.

Ironically, therefore, the only type the Nine is not like is the Nine itself. Being a separate self, an individual who must assert herself against others, is terrifying to Nines. They would rather melt into someone else or quietly follow their idyllic daydreams.

-from "The Wisdom of the Enneagram", p. 316-317

Friday, June 11, 2010

Awesome Things Volume XX

I thought I would try a new look. What do you think?

A new attitude. I decided this past weekend that I am tired of dreading things, i.e., starting a new work week, going to the grocery store, not wanting to attend a social event, etc. I've decided my new motto is "Dread nothing, embrace everything". Instead of dreading a new work week, I will be more grateful that I am employed. Instead of dreading a trip to the grocery store, I will be more grateful that I can afford to buy food, etc, etc. A wise teacher that I had in the past once said, "The moment is as perfect as it can be". That's really true. Another wise sage, Lin-chi, said, "What, at this moment, is lacking"? Life will always have challenges and difficulties but it is also full of so many good things. Embrace life, don't avoid or dread it.

Getting your day off to a good start. Rule #1: allow yourself enough time in the morning to get ready without being rushed. Rule #2: Don't hit the snooze alarm a dozen times. Just get up. The way you start your day can affect the entire day. Even when I had to get my children up, dressed, fed, and off to the school or daycare, I was rarely late for work. Starting your day in a frenzy, rushed for time, unprepared for the unexpected, can make your whole day seem chaotic. These days I wake up early enough to get ready for work and still have about 15 minutes to just sit and chill before I walk out the door. Today I used that time to water my new flowers and bushes. A calm start to your day can make your entire day seem calmer.

Dinner with my granddaughter at Dairy Queen. I surprised Chloe by picking her up at the daycare earlier this week. We had dinner at the "DQ" where we both had chicken tenders and a banana split. She told me chicken tenders were great with mustard so I tried something new. We talked about her upcoming birthday, a birthday she shares with the Dalai Lama which may or may not be a coincidence. She also told me that she wants a cheerleader outfit, a tool belt, a ballerina dress, and a flute for her birthday. After dinner we went to my house where we both sat in my chair and watched Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland". We also went outside and played with my neighbor's cat. Being her Pa Paw is my greatest joy.

It's Friday Eve a.k.a. Thursday! This is the best I can come up with this morning. When I got out of bed today my neighborhood was shrouded in a deep fog. I think some of that fog has seeped into my mind. Thursday is the work day where I start running out of gas. However, Thursday is always a good day because I can see the finish line for the work week. Earlier this week I decided to try not to dread anything. Not dreading the present does not mean I can't look forward to the future. Like 99.9% of you, I do look forward to Friday's and the weekend. We all deserve a break from our work and workday routines.

Going on vacation for a few days with your family. OK, I'll be honest. This can be a mixed blessing. The best part is spending more time with my granddaughter. However, we will all have fun, eat some good meals, go to the water park, spend all our money and more, and have at least one family meltdown. At some point my wife will give me the look that says, "Cool it"! That's what family is all about, right? When it's all over we will come home broke and exhausted. That's why I scheduled the whole week off. I will need some down time at home to rest and recover from all the family fun.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Random Thoughts

It was a very quiet day at work. Fridays are usually slow days in my office. Most of my staff works at home and the few that are in the office normally work a short day on Fridays so it usually feels like a ghost town. Most of the day I simply kept to myself and pretended I was invisible. I think I was somewhat successful because few people approached me. I did accomplish some tasks but I was not overwhelmed with demands. Mostly I was lost in the musical world of my Ipod where I had created a playlist of "Desert Island" CD's. What would be some of my "Desert Island" CD's? Here's a partial list. I have many, many more because I am a musical fanatic.

•The Allman Brothers Band at the Fillmore East
•The Beatles "Revolver"
•Bob Dylan "Bringing it All Back Home"
•Buffalo Springfield "Retrospective"
•The Byrds "Younger Than Yesterday"
•Chicago "Chicago Transit Authority"
•Crosby, Still, & Nash's First album/CD
•David Crosby "If I Could Only Remember My Name"
•Donovan's Greatest Hits
•The Doors "Morrison Hotel"
•Genesis "Wind and Wuthering"
•Iron Butterfly "In A Gadda Da Vida"
•Jefferson Airplane "Volunteers"
•Jethro Tull "Stand Up"
•Jimi Hendrix "Are You Experienced"?
•John Mayall "The Turning Point"
•King Crimson "In the Court of the Crimson King"
•Led Zeppelin IV
•Moody Blues "In Search of the Lost Chord"
•Procol Harum "Broken Barricades"
•Quicksilver Messenger Service "Happy Trails"
•Robin Trower "Bridge of Sighs"
•Rolling Stones "Sticky Fingers"
•Santana "The Woodstock Experience"
•Spirit's First Album/CD
•Steve Miller "Anthology"
•Weather Report "Sweetnighter"
•The Who "Who's Next"
•Yes "Yessongs"

Every work day I try to come up with "Today's Awesome Thing" for my staff and co-workers. This was a short week for me but I did come up with a few things.

Working in an air conditioned office. It's only early June and we've already broken the record for 90 degree days. I've got to be honest. This kind of heat drains the life right out of me. On days like this all I do is leave my air conditioned house to get into my air conditioned car so I can drive to my air conditioned office. AC is one of life's great inventions and I don't care what it cost. If necessary I will sacrifice in other areas to pay for AC.

Summer rain if you're not having a parade or a wedding. I enjoy a nice, gentle summer rain, especially when it has been really hot. I know lots of people love hot weather and for some the hotter the better. Personally I prefer a good snow. Once in a while, even for the sun worshipers, a summer rain is welcome. It cools things down, and gives the outdoors a shower. If you are like me, and I'm sorry if you are, a steady rain outside your window can also be an excellent backdrop for getting lost in a really good book.

Friday's! Why do four day work weeks seem six days long? This week was mostly good until yesterday. When my wife got into my car yesterday afternoon she looked at me and said, "What's that all over your shirt"? It was at that moment I realized that sometime yesterday a bird pooped on me. Such is life. Some days you are the bird and some days you are the statue. As I sit her typing this I also realize that I have forgotten to put out my recycle bin today. It will be OK, though, because I now have an extra recycle bin for any overflow. During the last thunderstorm in my neighborhood, my street flooded and someones bin floated into my yard and so far I have not been able to locate the owner. OK, I've talked about bird poop and recycling. I can't think of any other awesome things.

A friend emailed me today, concerned that he hadn't heard from me and wondering if everything was OK. I appreciate that some people are occasionally concerned about me. My experience of most people, including friends, is that I never hear from them unless I make the effort to contact them. Occasionally I slip into my passive-aggressive dark side and think, "I am not making anymore effort to stay in contact with anyone. If I am important to them, let them do some of the work by reaching out to me". The good news is that I know that is passive-aggressive so I avoid being like that. This aspect of me is part of the downside of my personality. The truth is that I am a solitary person. I am not anti-social and I don't hate people, but I am happiest and most comfortable when I am alone. It does take some effort and energy for me to leave my solitude. To answer my friend, and anyone else who cares, I am doing fine, living my life and enjoying the simplicity of my current existence. I use the term "simplicity" loosely. My life is still a little chaotic due to the unfinished work of updating and remodeling my home.

I saw a creature downtown this afternoon that appeared to be humanoid but could have possibly been an alien from another planet.

While wandering around in Border's Books today I paid tribute to Dennis Hopper by finally purchasing a DVD of the movie "Easy Rider". This was a very important film during my young hippie days in 1969.

This is it for now. I'll be back when I have more to say. Peace to all.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Awesome Things Volume XVIIII

Our Five Senses. Do you ever stop and reflect on how great our five senses are? We can see the blooming of spring. We can hear music and birds singing. We can taste a great meal. We can smell flowers or bread baking in the oven. We can feel textures and shapes with our sense of touch. Our perception of everything in life is through our senses. Imagine not having one of these abilities. It is through our five senses that we are awake to life around us.

Anticipation. Approximately one month from today I will be sitting in an outdoor stadium in Chicago listening to rock and roll, blues, and jazz from the likes of Eric Clapton, BB King, the Allman Brothers Band, Buddy Guy, Steve Winwood, ZZ Top, and many more great musicians. I think it is important to always have something to look forward to with anticipation. It can be as simple as the weekend, a vacation day in the middle of the week, or leaving your whole life behind for a few days to witness some of the greatest living musicians doing what they love to do, i.e., entertain their fanatical fans. When it comes to music I am passionate and fanatical.

People who get up really early to get things ready for other people. Today I would like to remember the breakfast crew at my local McDonald's who got up early to make my coffee and prepare my Sausage McMuffin with Egg.

Movies. After music, one of my favorite pastimes is watching movies. Last weekend I saw "How to Train your Dragon" with my granddaughter. This past weekend my wife and I saw the new Robin Hood movie. A few night's ago I watched a movie called "Whiteout". It was about a murder in Antarctica. In the movie it was -50 degrees. I got so cold watching it I had to put on a pair of socks!

Long Holiday weekends. Today is June 1st. Although summer isn't officially here until June 21st...the summer my mind it started this weekend. It certainly feels like summer outside. As they say, Tempus Fugit....time remember this. The days are long but the years are short. Seize the days for they will be gone quickly even though they sometimes seems to go by at a glacier pace.

Also, a belated thank you to all who serve in the military, and especially those who have died in war. My father was a veteran of World War II. I read recently that the "Greatest Generation" of veterans are dying at the rate of 1000 per day. Soon they will all be gone. Never forget them. Most of what you have you owe to them.