It’s all in how you look at it ~ Late Evening Thoughts …

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Let’s file tonight’s story as “It’s All In How You Look At It” … OK?
My good friend, also called Bill, and I were out visiting friends in low places. At the end of the evening, we stopped at the 59 Diner for some really great food and fun service. (diner waitresses you know…). We got the same waitress we had last time, who I swear is Inspector Gadget with the decaf coffee pot permanently attached to her hand….. The other waitress in our section came by the table and I asked about the big party that had left shortly before we arrived. Found out it was a party of 27 college kids, complete with their bongos (was I transported back to the 60’s?) … I could ONLY imagine how much fun that part would have been. And yes, I’m being serious – it would have been fun …
bongo2
In the meantime, four fellows who had visited in even lower places came in and took a booth not too far from us. Well, took a booth is perhaps the wrong description … It involved pouring one of them into the booth.
Alas, this same one reached the end of his night and his head crashed onto the table. At this point, two phones came out and the scene is being video taped.

diner3

Now, here’s where how you look at it comes into play. All I could think of was 1) this is most likely going to appear on Facebook/twitter and 2) this kid is going to have a tough time living it down. My friend and I had some good chuckles over what he was going to be teased about when he finally “came to” and then – then – it happened.

Yes, that moment when ALL the alcohol consumed and bar snacks decide they need to come up and out for air.

At that point, I realized that his name had instantly changed to “Mr. Throw-up” and he was going to have a more difficult time dealing with that one.
Remember I mentioned diner waitresses? Well, one cardinal rule: Don’t make their life more difficult than it is. Don’t, just don’t.
Betty-Murphy

She was there in a flash and informed the three to get him out of there…as in now. It was fun to watch them try to get Mr. Limp Body out of the inside of the booth, out the exit door and into the car. The three came back in and she’s standing there with a large take-out box and informed the three that THEY were to put the “excess protein evacuation”* (my words NOT hers) into the box and clean it up to not to make more work for the rest of them. LOL
She also had their food on another table already boxed up, and (diner waitresses again) asked if they wanted THAT box in a bag to remind Mr Throw-up in the morning… LOL
Meanwhile, those around are quite conscious of what happened and were chuckling some in amusement and some with rueful memories no doubt.
Here’s my point (and the world sighs – thank God) … We could have been upset, offended and Lord only knows what else…demanded to be accommodated elsewhere and a discount on the check (really – I’ve been in restaurants where that happened) But seriously, it didn’t really effect us or our meal. I know there are those who ARE but much of that is simply in their mind.
We would have had to disrupt our meal, conversation etc. and would have missed watching Diner Waitresses in action. >shrug< seems pretty simple to me.
OH, yes – as we were leaving the four were somewhat standing outside and yes – the kid was being referred to as “Well, Mr. Throw-up over there”.

________________

“protein evacuation” was the term at Disneyland I heard only once to explain why we were being held up in line.

Pictures:
Seal Picture – NBC San Diego
Diner Waitress Leftatthefork.net

Through The Eyes Of A Child ~ Early Afternoon Thoughts

This absolutely made my day ~ with thanks to the blog Towel Road …..

I’ve had this video for a few days but haven’t had a chance to post it. Ron Fugelseth wins a ‘Dad of the Year’ award imho:

On Aug 24th 2012 we sent my son’s favorite train “Stanley” to space in a weather balloon with a HD camera and an old cell phone for GPS. He was recovered 27 miles away in a corn field and we got some great footage of the trip. This video documents the journey from liftoff to landing.


My 4-year-old and Stanley are inseparable like Calvin and Hobbes. He’s been attached to him since he was two, and they play, sleep and do everything together. I animated Stanley’s face with After Effects and Photoshop to bring him to life how I imagine my son sees him. [added emphasis is mine]

Early Evening Thoughts ~ Life On A Bus …

Living in Houston and not driving (which is another story all in itself) one learns very quickly how to make the Metro bus system work in your favor.

One of the major routes (for me) involves the length of Westheimer and the bus numbered 82. I have maintained for years that Metro should charge an extra entertainment fee for the 82 bus … I’ve seen street preachers, hook-ups, un-hook-ups, and the “chair lady”  who rode the bus with her beach chair and her imaginary boyfriend.  (I’ve posted about her before)

Last night was no exception to the entertainment. I actually was looking around to see if maybe we were a part of  that television show “What Would You Do”, but then I realized that nope, it’s just people forgetting that talking on a cell phone is NOT a private conversation ~ especially at a loud volume!

I sent a txt to my daughter about that and she wanted to know what I meant. I’m sure she’s sorry she asked…. In a short space of time I got so much TMI (too much information)  my main difficulty was not busting out laughing.

I found out about a really bad boss,a school party that went awry (“her two-year old couldn’t even carry her own tray!!”), some really bad customers, a post-break-up break-up … but the topper of the conversations had to have been the faults of a current boy friend. Let’s just say, one of his really bad habits is wearing his socks for two days in a row, then leaving them on the bedroom floor.

Way, way, waaaaaay TMI!!!!  ( to say nothing of the ewwwww factor)

I think there’s a TV show possible involving the 82 bus … but I’m not sure I’d watch it!!!!!

Early Afternoon Thoughts ~ The Day You Think You Are Too Old To …

When I flew up to Montana several years ago to conduct my Mother’s memorial service, I stayed at her house.  On the coffee table was a book whose title I believe was “Getting Old Isn’t For Sissies“.  As I glanced through the book one statement struck me and has stayed with me since.  Part of the statement is the title of this post:

“The day you think you are too old to do something, is exactly the day you should do it …” 

That has governed a lot of my thinking over the past few years.  I love the statement “I will get OLDER, there is nothing I can do about that.  However, I refuse to get OLD.”

At my current … ahem …. age,, I know that I’m no longer 21, 31, 41 or even 51 … but I have developed a love for life and living that I pray I never lose.  That’s why, when I saw this video today, it really struck a chord with me.  I have admit I laughed and laughed while watching this.  This fellow is amazing and so are those around encouraging him.  He’s certainly not lost his love of life!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvKERIKT8eI

(sorry that it’s a link…for some reason it won’t embed!!!)

Which got me looking for some of my favorite quotations and some new ones…

Getting older is no problem. You just have to live long enough.
Groucho Marx
The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.
Madeleine L’Engle
Part of getting older is realizing that you can integrate all these different areas of your life, rather than the adolescent mindset, which for me lasted a long time, which says, ‘It’s all or nothing.’
Chris Robinson
The minute you’re born, you’re getting older.
Doris Roberts

This one is probably one of my favorites:                                                                                           Do not regret growing older.  It is a privilege denied to many.  ~Author Unknown

The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball.  Doug Larson

Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years.  We grow old by deserting our ideals.  Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.      Samuel Ullman

I still have a full deck; I just shuffle slower now.                                                             Author Unknown 

What are some of your favorites?

Early Evening Thoughts ~ The One Last Ride ~

I’ve written about my suicide several times over the last few years, but one aspect that I didn’t cover was one that I really preferred to keep somewhat unknown.  It wasn’t an attempt to keep it secret (if you’ve followed this blog, you know me better than that…) as much as a problem in knowing how to handle this.  When all was said and done, the Dr. felt that I had possibly had 2-3 concussions one right after another … as a result, for several months afterward, I had a lot of difficulty with sentences, names and remembering certain things.  It was, in all honesty, one of the most terrifying times of my life.  I was afraid that I had possibly done severe brain damage (cutting off one’s oxygen supply and hacking one’s neck with an eXacto knife will have a tendency to do that sort of thing…)

At the least, I was afraid that I might have triggered Alzheimer’s and all that would entail.  Fortunately, none of that happened.  Gradually, words, memories and such returned and I seem to hold no further problems from it.

I was and am blessed with wonderful children, and friends who simply said to me – if it happens it happens and we’ll deal with it then.  In other words sir … quit borrowing trouble from the future, you’ve got enough to deal with right now …. and how right they were.

This story, which I understand like yesterday’s has been making the rounds for sometime now, made me cry.  Not only for her, but for the blessings that I have of people around me who know me and mercifully still love me! What would it be like without anyone? I really don’t care if and haven’t looked up to see if the story is true.  The story still makes me cry every time I read it …. [update: the story is true … I just looked it up]

A NYC Taxi driver writes:

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

‘Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I told her.. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’

‘Oh, you’re such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive through downtown?’

‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly..

‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft voice..’The doctor says I don’t have very long.’ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked.

For the next few hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired.Let’s go now’.
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

‘How much do I owe you?’ She asked, reaching into her purse.

‘Nothing,’ I said

‘You have to make a living,’ she answered.

‘There are other passengers,’ I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.She held onto me tightly.

‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said. ‘Thank you.’

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut.It was the sound of the closing of a life..

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day,I could hardly talk.What if that woman had gotten an angry driver,or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

Early Evening Thoughts ~ Have Lunch With God ~ Bring Potato Chips

Potato Chips

A little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God
lived, so he packed his suitcase with a bag of potato chips and a six-pack
of root beer and started his journey.
When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old man. He was sitting
in the park, just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to him and
opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when
he noticed that the old man looked hungry, so he offered him some chips.
He gratefully accepted it and smiled at him.

His smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered
him a root beer. Again, he smiled at him. The boy was delighted!

They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a
word..

As twilight approached, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to
leave; but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran
back to the old man, and gave him a hug. He gave him his biggest smile ever..

When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother
was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, “What did you do today that made you so happy?”
He replied, “I had lunch with God.” But before his mother could respond, he
added, “You know what? He’s got the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen!”

Meanwhile, the old man, also radiant with joy, returned to his home. His son was stunned by the look of peace on his face and he asked, “dad, what did you do today that made you so happy?”

He replied “I ate potato chips in the park with God.” However, before his
son responded, he added, “You know, he’s much younger than I expected.”

Have lunch with God…….bring chips.

Evidently, this story has been making the rounds for awhile, but it was the first time I’d seen it and I’ve fallen in love with it ….

And The Competition Starts Now (2) ~

Yesterday I mentioned that I usually enjoy the non-US competition shows more … here are three reasons why … Just so you know, there is no 90 second time restraint, so the real talent can shine through … in other words these clips are a little long – but so, so good.

This was the clip that first introduced me to Ukraine’s Got Talent … I actually had to go back and look up the history to understand it – I’m including a short lesson:

“…the overwhelming brunt of the Nazi occupation between 1941 and 1944, as of the devastating Soviet reoccupation, was borne not by Russia but by the Baltic States, by Belarus, by Poland, and above all by Ukraine…. nowhere is it made clear that the largest number of civilian casualties in Europe were inflicted on the Ukrainians, millions of whom were killed both by the Nazis and by the Soviets. Thanks to persistent wartime prejudices, many British and Americans still harbor the illusion that most Ukrainians spent the war either as auxiliaries in the concentration camps or in the Waffen-SS Galizien….[but] the Waffen SS recruited three times as many Dutchmen as Ukrainians.” (New York Review of Books June 9, 1994, p. 23).

Here’s the 2009 clip of an amazing sand artist …

This years winners were amazing as well … it’s the Street Workout group – who manage to make working out beautiful, sexy and powerful.  No, I wouldn’t want to be next to them at the gym!! This was the final performance…

I have enough trouble riding a two wheeled cycle … maybe I need a three-wheeler!!!!

BONUS CLIP:

And last, but certainly NOT least ~ The world’s best bartender … unless you’re in a hurry to  get that drink!!!!

🙂

Mid-Morning Thoughts ~

Hopefully, everyone’s weekend was somewhat better than this one …

(h/t to partyfails.com

For my part, I had a delightful weekend…I connected with a dear, dear friend that I had not seen for a number of years!! You know it’s a dear friend when you can catch up on the fly, and not feel as if there’s been a huge space since you’ve been together!!!

Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
Albert Camus
A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.
Arnold H. Glasow
A good friend will bail you out at 2am.  A true friend will be sitting there with you saying: “Damn, that was fun!!! – (unknown)

It also reminded me that life is indeed short, and our purpose is NOT to arrive at the grave all pretty and posed – to be lowered gently into the ground.  Life is to be lived so that at the very last minute you slide in all tattered, worn saying: “What a ride!!! WHAT A RIDE!!!”

And We Got Here How? (Part 1) ~

When I first began to gather my thoughts for this “ramble” … I was concerned with discourse, or lack of discourse.

As I thought and worked through how I want to try and connect my thoughts – yesterday, THIS report was released by the PEW foundation – which has been polling the polarization of America since 1986.  This report, which I’m going to link to in it’s entirety, shows that we are more polarized than we’ve been since they began tracking.  This does not surprise me in the least. http://pewresearch.org/pubs/2277/republicans-democrats-partisanship-partisan-divide-polarization-social-safety-net-environmental-protection-government-regulation-independents

As I’ve said before – I’m a member of several forums, follow an insane number of blogs and news sites (and the comments) as well as being part of World of Warcraft and Pogo games.

I cut my computer “teeth” – so to speak – in the AOL chat rooms of all kinds – where one had to have an advanced degree in AOLese or AOL speak or you would be five conversations behind everyone else.  (For those who may not know, you had to learn to read through the typos/spellings and strange constructions because people were typing so fast and thinking so quickly that sometimes things didn’t quite match-up.)

All of this introduction is to simply say, I didn’t need the PEW organization to let me know “There’s Trouble In River City”, all I’ve had to do is be around people on-line and even in real life.

What has happened over the years is a steady decline in the ability of people of differing beliefs, hopes, dream, ideas, lives to even civilly approach each other.  At one time, personal opinion, you either were willing to listen to another person or you didn’t interact with that person at all.  Much of time now, I feel it has become a game of seeing who can one-up another in either hate/degradation/intimidation/provoking (not to be confused with trolling – that’s a special sub-set of behavior!!)   or proving how much more someone knows than anyone else.

Just the other day on Facebook, I entered into what I thought was a discussion involving the concept of gay marriage (how’s that for a hot button at the beginning of these postings?) and the difficulty someone had found in talking to someone else about it.  Those of us who are friends with this person and know the overwhelming love in her heart for all people, commiserated with her and offered some light-hearted and yes, even snarky thoughts to help.  Another person had entered the conversation and within two posts it had devolved into 1) necrophilia 2) pedophilia and 3) bestiality.  Even with AOL speak, I couldn’t figure out how we’d gotten there.  It became very obvious that the person simply wanted to anger everyone and bait everyone into an “argument” so that they could present themselves as a 1) winner 2) extremely knowledgeable and at the same time 3) the victim.

So, how did we get here? There were news events from when PEW began tracking the polarization: 1984 The Aids Virus is identified it is not the worldwide problem it is today. Following on from the PC Apple releases the Macintosh computer. Following the Widespread Famine in Ethiopia many of the top British and Irish USSR pop musicians join together under the Name Band Aid and record the song “Do They Know It’s Christmas”. Following the boycott by the US of the Moscow Olympics the soviet block boycotts the Los Angeles Olympic games. Recession continues to be a problem in the US and 70 US Banks fail in just one year.  But I think it goes back to even before that.

Here are three images and comments that will start this series of posts ~ and hopefully, you’ll forgive the length of this one…

At this point in time, we as a people were pushed into the realization that those dedicated to protect us, could indeed seem to turn against us.

Kent State by John Filo

Add to that another realization that perhaps our view of life wasn’t quite so quaint as we wanted to believe.

Birmingham Alabama 1963
I don’t know whose picture this is

 

And lastly – an event that shook our already shaky belief in our government.

So bear with me, and more on this journey of thought over the next few days ….

Golden Eggs (2) ~ Early Morning Thoughts`

Last night I recounted a fable about the golden goose that laid golden eggs.

[While many people see the story as a warning against greed or even the more you produce, the more you do, the more effective you will be.] . . . I suggest that within this fable is a natural law, a principle – the basic definition of effectiveness True effectiveness is a function of two things: what is produced (the golden eggs) and the producing asset or capacity to produce (the goose).

If you adopt a pattern of life that focuses on golden eggs and neglects the goose, you will soon be without the asset that produces golden eggs. On the other hand, if you only take care of the goose with no aim toward the golden eggs, you soon won’t have the wherewithal to feed yourself or the goose.1

At this point, I basically had an epiphany about some of what I had been doing in the past and even recently. (Epiphany can be a “nice” word for getting smacked in the back of the head with a 2×4)

I learned there are three kinds of assets – physical, financial and human.
Three years ago, I purchased a good computer. Later I purchased a very good monitor…(not to play World of Warcraft, of course) And over time, I’ve given some thought to their maintenance and upkeep – but not as much as I should have. Now, the computer is in need of some attention, by someone that is a little more knowledgeable than I am about serious maintenance. I was actually looking at the short-term and had started to run this asset down. Of course, I can say the same about my body – and trust me there is a LOT of work to be done there. (major overhaul for 600, Alex)

The next asset is financial. And I’ve had to make some changes there as well. Not that I, at this point, have to worry – but if I were to continue living my life as if tomorrow didn’t matter, I would soon be having to worry about tomorrow. Of course, our ability to earn and manage money is a financial asset as well. But, there will come a time when perhaps I won’t be able to earn money and I don’t want to do things that will get in the way of the now.

A year and a half ago, I took a job as a by-the-week apartment manager 1) because it was supposedly right up my alley and 2) it was going to pay me a salary that was much higher than the level of the job seemed to be. It was what seemed to be a good opportunity. Lots of promises were made and I signed on at the interview. The fact also that I had been without work for sometime might have played a part in it as well.

Now that I look back – especially with the golden goose in mind – I realize that this fable DOES contain principles. The properties were owned by a slumlord less than honorable group of people. There were serious maintenance issues, etc. I thought at the time, if I can only get the rents collected, keep the tenants happy keep moving people into empty apartments and get whatever maintenance needs accomplished I can within the system that I would be fine.

Right at the start what was being produced (the rents) was getting much more attention than the capacity to produce (the apartments). And as I look back over some of my posts about the place, I knew what was going to happen much earlier then I admitted it to myself. And now, I’m doing in six days what “normal” apartment managers do in four weeks. And each week I got the privilege of starting all over again.

So now, I’m fighting my ability to collect rents/fill apartments/evict those who don’t pay/keep the central family office happy (what is being produced) by my constant frustration over what isn’t happening and my feelings of sheer terror at losing the job and not having an income (producing capacity) as well as being determined to please the “boss.”.

Up until the last several weeks (the change due to a lost lawsuit about overtime) managers were basically on-call 24/7 and worked seven days a week. Something was going to give, and I can tell you – as far as the family was concerned – it wasn’t going to be what was being produced.

As I began to spiral downward from all that was going on – to say nothing of what I was fighting mentally that I didn’t even realize – I have to say that my rent collections were the best in the entire system of apartments (in three states). I had a positive balance on the spreadsheets – the bible of the owning family – and everyone had basically paid all that was owed and some were even ahead.

–more on this tomorrow
_______________
1. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey pg. 56