My Life My Way

countryeconomy.com article ‘United States – Life expectancy at birth’ reports the following –

In 2013 the life expectancy in United States increased to 78.84 years. That year, the life expectancy for women was 81.30 years and for men 76.50 years.

I am currently 55, so I am expected to die in 21 years.  And then take into account I need to minus an additional 10 years because I am a smoker, this takes me down to 11 years before I die.  Interesting to think about; I have 11 years before I die.  I am unsure why I am writing about this particular subject except to say, I really am not afraid to die and really have no doubts for those bad behaviors that could cause my death – I am living my life my way.

Now I need to minus additional years because I am a drinker.  Some articles I read indicate I will die in 3 years at age 58.  Again, I am not afraid to die – I am living my life my way.

I have heard the argument many times, the smoking the drinking not only do they affect me, but others as well.  Do they really?  I do not smoke in the company of my family; I separate myself to an area far from them as I do not want to expose them to my smoking.  When out in public I will do the same; separate myself away from others.  I drink in the privacy of my own home and do not drive when drinking, I do not allow the drinking to get in the way of my responsibilities and have control over when I will drink.  So how is this affecting others?

I guess it might affect my family when I die in 3 years because the smoking and drinking resulted in it occurring sooner than later.  It may be they would like to have me around for as long as possible and I am not allowing this.  I am not giving my family, my loved ones the opportunity to enjoy me for 21 more years, just 3 years.  Will they be angry with me when I die in 3 years?  Will they be sad?  Will their lives continue on without me?  They may be angry, they most likely will be sad for a time and yes their lives will continue on without me.

February 1970 – Venus

February 1970 – a song popular in this month – Venus by Shocking Blue

Shocking Blue was a Dutch rock band from The Hague, the Netherlands, formed in 1967. Their biggest hit, “Venus”, went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in February 1970, and the band had sold 13.5 million discs by 1973, but the group disbanded in 1974

Interesting facts about the song Venus –

The female vocal trio Bananarama recorded this in 1986. It was one of the first songs they started performing when they formed the band in 1979, but they wanted to record original songs first so they would be taken seriously.

In the US, both this and the Bananarama cover version reached #1, making it one of the few songs to do so. Strangely, in the UK both Shocking Blue and Bananarama reached #8 with “Venus” and both spent 13 weeks on the chart with the song.

Masks

images2Masks – they are not just for Halloween anymore – I see people wearing them every day – or I use to – until I stopped paying attention to them.

Masks – they allow people to be someone else – or it may be their actual face is the real mask.

anymask.com –
A form of disguise. It is an object that is frequently worn over or in front of the face to hide the identity of a person and by its own features to establish another being. This essential characteristic of hiding and revealing personalities or moods is common to all masks. As cultural objects they have been used throughout the world in all periods since the Stone Age and have been as varied in appearance as in their use and symbolism.

Today the most common mask is Facebook – yep – I said it – a new symbolism for the mask.

Facebook allows people to sit behind a computer – protected from others – allowing people to be something they are not – allowing people to be their true self.

Recent social changes in the United States – imagesthe revealing personalities behind the Facebook mask are now showing their true identity – some of the cultural objects.

Anger, Hatred, Belittling – it is easy to do when using the Facebook mask – easy to do because one is sitting behind a computer.

anymask.com –
Some masks, however, do represent malignant, evil, or potentially harmful spirits. These are often used to keep a required balance of power or a traditional social and political relationship of inherited positions within a culture. The characters depicted are also prescribed by tradition and enact roles to achieve the desired ends.

images1The Facebook mask achieved its goal – I still have an account – I rarely log in – I am honest, sincere, respecting of others – I do not need a mask – I do not need to be cruel to others.

The Facebook mask achieved its goal – I still have an account – I rarely log in – I stopped paying attention to those wearing the masks – I deserve better – this is my desired end.

Thoughts From Years Past.13

Another documented ‘Thoughts From Years Past’ that reflects what was going on in my life at a particular time.  My post ‘I want to write a book’ describes my desire to write a book and several times in the past started this process, without proceeding very far. In my post ‘Thoughts From Years Past.12’, I ended with ‘They bring a sense of peace and focus in my life that at one time was hectic and confusing.’

The following documentation is a continuation of those pages.

Thoughts I wrote from September, 2004 – (unedited from original writing)

These men were born back during the eighties when I was married to my wife.  She and I created precious babies that were prefect creations.  I remember clearly when each one was born; we actually selected the days, as they were all to be born by caesarian section.  I remember their tiny helpless bodies needing the care of a parent.  They brought great joy to my life and I knew at that time the dad I wanted to be.  I would be there for everything in their lives; all their sporting events, their concerts, the first day of school and the graduations.  I would be there for all of it.  They would know their dad loved them not only because I would tell them honestly, but I would show them through my actions.  Little did I know at that time the turn my life would take resulting in the shattering of my hopes and dreams of being that dad I so desperately wanted to be.  My relationships with these men today are honest, wholesome, loving and fulfilling.  But once upon a time in my mind I was unhappy with the relationship I had with these three boys.  I hated the father I was, for the not being there, the mistakes I made and the missing out of so many important events in their lives.  So I carried guilt and shame as a father and blamed myself for ruining my relationship with my kids.  I added to my list of failures me being a worthless lousy father.

….to be continued….

(more about my sons in this post: My 3 Sons)

Hello, Drive Thru Please!

Many years ago I was employed at a national long distance company.  I loved the job and the people and the company; they were all good to me and for me.  The majority of time with this company was spent in one position and I gained great friendships with a close group of people.  We were a group; very diversified, welcoming, tolerant, open, fun, professional and friendly.  A small group of us became a clan, a band of jokers, friends and in a way a family.  We would gather together after work hours for dinner, drinking and other activities and our friendship was the best I have ever had.

Our small group was made up of 5; 4 women and me, 1 guy.  I have so many wonderful memories of times spent with these ladies and after I left the job to move on as well as and eventually others in the clan, the group disbanded and staying in touch was limited and time moved on.  Years after we moved on with our lives, one of these ladies passed away.  She was older than me; I would be in my 30s back then and I believe she was in her 50s.  Her death mostly like occurred in her 60s.

She was a character; a heavy set women with long stringy hair and very understanding, supporting, caring and humorous.  Our conversations were always fun and interesting and when talking about subjects about things people did or did not do, her response would be “Hello, Drive Thru Please!”  I still use this phrase today.

I like this phrase; it is a fun phrase to say when responding to someone else who does not get a joke or a person who is not thinking and does or does not respond to something that seems logical or obvious.  An example is when someone is in the drive thru of a fast food restaurant.

When a person orders at a drive thru and just sits there without moving – just sits there, what do you say?

“Hello, Drive Thru Please!”

Holding Back Emotions on the Treadmill

I was on the treadmill this morning at the gym listening to my 70s music.  Each aerobics machine has its own TV and I usually turn it off because I do not like the distraction.  My partner is on the treadmill next to me and always has the TV on watching the news channels.  I look over for a glance and see the horrible news of the shooting of a TV journalist and cameraman on live TV.

My heart sinks and I hold back emotions.  Why?

Why do innocent people have to die like this, why?

I am saddened about this act and my heart is still heavy hours later, why?

It will be all over the news today and later I will listen and watch the latest on this tragic event.

I extend my prayers to the families, the friends, the colleagues, the audience, the loved ones – their hearts are broken.

We live in a world now full of medal detectors at all government offices and airports, movie theaters are now searching bags, what is next?

Whenever a tragedy such as this occurs, I think to myself, could this happen to me some day?

Will I be on a treadmill someday, exercising and minding my own business and someone walks in and starts shooting.  Could this happen?

Yes it can – and before today’s event – with previous events – I have thought this before – could this happen to me?

Yes it can, but I will not stop using the treadmill or going to see a movie or grocery store shopping or going anywhere else.  I will not allow fear to keep me away from those that wish to hurt others.

I will not stop living – I hope the living does not stop me – when will it end?

I am home writing this post and no longer holding the emotions back – I cry for loss of these people as I cry for the loss of life itself.

Memories &/or/of Dreams

I have memories or are they dreams I remember?

I have memories of events with me as a young child that do not appear to be real memories, so could they be dreams I had as a young child and I remember the dreams?                                                                images

The first memory I have I am a young boy and I can see the house I live in and I am about 5-6 years old. This memory I have is in black and white and I remember walking down the hall to my bedroom and when approaching the doorway, coming from under the bed is a creature. This creature was in color – like an animated creature. That is all I remember of this dream and it is still vivid in my memory today.

untitledThe second memory again at the same age and this time I am at my preschool building. In the town I grew up, the school rooms were entered from the outside with a covered walkway connecting all the rooms. I am standing under this covered walkway waiting and standing there with other kids and adults walking around me. The weather seemed calm but out of nowhere lighting strikes directly in front of me and creates a huge hole in the ground.

untitled2The third memory I am a little older and on vacation with my family. I am in a hotel room with double beds and it is nighttime. I am laying in one of the beds with someone else; most likely my twin sister. My parents are in the next bed and everyone except me is asleep. My bed where I am laying is closest to the wall and opening into the bathroom. A light from the bathroom comes on and in the doorway stands a figure of a person. I lay motionless for I am unable to determine who it is. I do not want to move to see if my parents are still in bed, but I feel certain my sister is lying next to me. Who is this figure in the doorway?

So is seems obvious the first 2 memories are probably dreams.

#1 the black and white dream with the animated creature would be an impossible real event. It did however create a fear of me lying in bed at night with my arm hung over the side. This fear carried well into my adulthood; I am over that fear now.

#2 dream is another impossible real event in that if lighting struck that close to me, I think I would have some adverse effects; some injuries or even not being here today to write about it.

#3 dream, was it a dream or could this have really occurred? Unsure at this point; this could have happened and seems like a reasonably event. There is no lasting adverse effect, but for some reason it stays in my memory and easily recalled.

So are these real memories or memories of vivid dreams or memories that are products of my own mind? They seem so real in my mind and in my memory.

And why are these memories or memories of dreams so vivid in my mind yet other events and activities of my life; I am unable to recall.

 

 

The Countdown Is On

Do you know today’s date?

Most schools in the US are back in session and this means the countdown is on.  It is the countdown to the major holidays and the ending of another year.  Next week is Labor Day, followed by Columbus Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year.  Many other days in between are observed as holidays including Patriot Day, National Grandparents Day, Boss’s Day, Veteran’s Day, President’s Day, and the list goes on.

Do you know today’s date?  It is not a holiday or a day for observing anything significant – except if it is your birthday – that’s significant, and by the way – Happy Birthday!  Today is 4 months until Christmas and untitledI am sure there are merchants already displaying Christmas decorations for purchase.  After all we do rush in the holidays here in the US.

Did anyone watch the holiday series ‘The Great Light Fight’?  It is about families competing on whom has the greatest Christmas display.  We know those people similar to Clark Criswold from the movie ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’.  I am one of those people, I love to decorate for Christmas and my house is decorated with lights and synchronized to music – or it was until this year. untitled1

For past years I decorated our house with Christmas lights and it grew, then I added music, then added characters in the yard and in the windows and it grew and it was fabulous – or it was until this year.  My past Christmas displays have included up to 26,000 lights all synchronized to music; this also included Christmas trees in 3 large front facing windows.  This effort starts the first of each year and takes all year to complete; between choosing the music, creating the light sequences on my computer program for each song is a tedious process and in all I spend up to 300 hours over a year’s time for planning, building and installing my Christmas display – or it was until this year.

What changed and why is this year different; so different that there are no decorations at all.  I decided not to decorate this year for several reasons.  One: my body is slowing down and climbing a ladder to hang Christmas lights on a two story house is becoming increasing difficult and dangerous.  Two: because the installation is time consuming I have missed visiting family on Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Three: my partner and I are considering moving to a different location and down-sizing so I need to down-size the Christmas decorations also.

This year is very different for me in that my time spent creating my Christmas display was no more.  I missed creating my images1Christmas display and will be sad to see the house ‘dark’ this year.  My partner and I will be away visiting family this year for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  We will also be making trips for a location to move to for our next chapter in our lives.  When that next location is found we hope to move next year and maybe I will reconsider the Christmas decorations and start over in the next home, which by the way will be a one story.

– the ‘unsocial me’

I consider myself an unsocial person.  Most of my life I have desired to be a loner, a hermit and reclusive.  I think I became this way as a young child when I felt I did not fit in well with groups.  Whether it my family, at school or this world, I did not fit in because I felt I was different somehow than everyone else.  This caused me to want to be alone – I wanted to live on a deserted island away from everyone and everything.

As I grew into early adulthood, this desire to be unsocial became stronger and ultimately caused issues in my life and those close to me.  When my partners wanted to enjoy activities I declined, instead to stay behind in solitude.  This solitude became my comfort zone, a place of refuge from the fear of danger of others.  The danger I refer to is the feeling that others are talking negative about me, thinking I am not friendly and that I am unattractive, stupid and different.

images1Starting at a young age with a very low self-esteem and carrying this mindset in adulthood resulted in my major depression, attempted suicides and this desire to be unsocial.  It is difficult for me to overcome the desire to be unsocial as odd as it sounds, I like to be alone, I actually really like to be alone, really!  I fear getting close to anyone as this results in my guard being let down and then I am unprotected and open to attack.  These attacks have resulted in sexual violation as a child by an adult, bullying in school from other students, misuse of my money from other adults and being taking advantage of by friends.

I remember in my previous job, the job I really enjoyed and retired from, that I would tell fellow employees I was there to work and not for friendship.  Being at this job for almost 10 years, my fellow employees understood what I meant by this.  Sure I would have conversations that were not related to work and were on a personal level, but I tried to stay clear of others getting to know me too well.  I had no desire to be attached in any way.  There was a time during my term at my job the company decided to move offices and we located into a larger office space.  Being a small company there was a large portion of cubicles empty, so I had an opportunity to select my cube in a specific area of the office space.  Wanting to be unsocial and reclusive I choose a cubicle in a corner away from everyone else.  I was alone in my corner and I liked it very much.

Years have come and gone and I still very much like to be alone away from the dangers of the attacks.  The ‘unsocial me’ causes some issues with my partner and me; but I think he understands even though I know at times it frustrates him.  I make excuses to not do activities or attend events or to go on trips and I even avoid going out into our own front yard.  I know this is not a good life to live and I want to change my unsocial behavior into a social behavior.   Having friends to socialize with and meeting others and attending events are good for the mind and good for the soul.

This is just one of many characteristics of me I am working on, striving to change and wanting to let go of

images2the ‘unsocial me’.

January 1970 – Spirit in the Sky

January 1970 – a song popular in this month – Spirit in the Sky by Norman Greenbaum

“Spirit in the Sky” resonated with music fans. Released in late 1969, it peaked at No. 3 in April 1970 and sold two million copies. But Greenbaum’s other singles and albums failed on the charts. He eventually got dropped from Reprise Records, and attempts to find a new label failed because he was unwilling to return to the distinctive sound of “Spirit.” Frustrated, he gave up music, lost all his money and went to work as a cook in Northern California.

Interesting facts about Norman Greenbaum and the song Spirit in the Sky –

Set to be a “religious-Rock” song, Jewish Norman Greenbaum used “Jesus” thinking (correctly) that it would be more marketable this way…he was right. In his own words — “”I’m just some Jewish musician who really dug Gospel music. I decided there was a larger Jesus Gospel market out there than a Jehovah one.”

Not only this is a classic case of a “one hit wonder”, it was re-released by another “one hit wonder”, Doctor and the Medics.

The words to “Spirit in the Sky” took, by Greenbaum’s estimation, 15 minutes to write.

This song has been used in more than 30 major movies — including Maid to Order, Ocean’s 11, Apollo 13 and Guardians of the Galaxy — and featured in numerous national television ad campaigns.