Old.

It’s amazing to me that I was looking at Oriental pottery from the 12th century today. The family went to the museum at the Art Institute this afternoon. I found the pottery the most interesting.

Skate.

Randy Gardner and Tai Babilonia, photo from ESPN.

The family room in the house my dad built for us had a hardwood floor. The room wasn’t particularly big, but building a house and relocating from a 10’x50′ mobile home (with an 8’x35′ addition) into a two-story Colonial house left my parents with little resources for furnishing the new house. We had furniture, but there wasn’t a lot of it and much of it was second-hand. We had a lot of room to move in that family room.

When the 1980 Winter Olympics rolled around, they took place in Lake Placid, N.Y., about 175 miles from where we lived. My sister and I watched the Olympics on the small 17-inch Zenith color television that sat on the bookcases that flanked the fireplace, the centerpiece of the living room. After watching various skating events on the small Zenith on WIXT-TV 9 (ABC), my sister and I would put on our socks and “skate” around the hardwood floor. We were trying to be like Randy Gardner and Tai Babilonia. We’d put a now forgotten 45 on the record player and slide around, pretending it was ice. My mother would, um, speak loudly, as she cautioned us about banging into the wall, falling into the fireplace, or do something else that was equally ridiculous. Since the room was probably no larger than 12’x10′, there wasn’t much of an opportunity to get our speed up, until I discovered if I ran down the adjacent hallway and then slid, I could get a little bit of speed before banging into a lamp that hung from the ceiling in front of the fireplace. It was the beginning of my growth spurt so I had enough height to hit that horribly placed lamp. Occasionally I’d scare a cat. My mother would yell.

Ever since those Olympics and our “skating”, I think of Randy Gardner and Tai Babilonia whenever the latest round of the Winter Olympics are starting up. Earl and I sitting here as I type, watching the Opening Ceremonies.

Before the end of the night I’m going to run down our hallway and “skate” across the wood floor in our dining room.

Eyesight.

Tonight I had my first eye exam in about 15 years. Like 15 years ago, the doctor spotted a spot on the optic nerve to my left eye. When I told him it was there before he was surprised because he had never seen a spot like this spot. It’s like a freckle but it’s just there, it’s not really doing anything. They scanned it with lasers and the like and determined that it’s just a spot. We’re going to keep an eye on it for next year’s eye exam. Since I’ve reached what is probably the halfway point of my life I suppose I should get regular eye exams.

The glasses will debut on a future blog entry. I like to think they’re fetching.

Day By Day.

I’m not a religious person. I’m a confirmed member of the Methodist church. I was baptized when I was a baby by the minister of the church, who happened to be my great uncle. Rumor has it I peed when they sprinkled the water on me but I don’t know if I’m remembering that correctly or not. I was a baby so I don’t remember the incident but it sounds like something I would do.

My grandmother was the organist for the small Methodist church that we went to when I was a baby. I can barely remember her playing the organ and me waving at her; the church closed and combined with the slightly larger congregation in the village. My grandmother rarely went to that church as she believed the organist shouldn’t be paid to play for Sunday service and that organist was paid. She rarely talked about this but she mentioned it to me once when I was in my teens. That side of the family rarely talked about such matters but once in a while there’d be a small discussion. It’s like when my grandmother told me she could spot those “gay boys”, usually a waiter encountered during travels, and that was ok, she could just spot them. She knew what was up with her only red-headed grandchild. Like my grandmother, my dad never talked about these things either but he was adamant that his two children be confirmed by the church and that I sing in the choir when I was old enough to drive myself to choir practice. My dad rarely made demands of us (outside of the usual family stuff), but that was one of them. I’m happy about my time singing in the church choir and the couple of times that I filled in as director as a senior in high school.

With the constant barrage of news in today’s world of chaos, I sometimes think back to those times when things were calm and people didn’t throw around their beliefs like so much up chuck, much like I do when I spout opinions here, there, and everywhere. My it’s years of not talking about things that’s fueled my impulse to talk about these things to do. Silence wasn’t demanded, it was expected. The only time controversial topics were really banned from discussion is at the dinner table; apparently too many family meals my father attended as a child ended up in yelling and tears, and he wasn’t going to have the same thing at his family meal, so we’d just talk about school and work and various things like that. The only time the family dinner had any sort of turmoil is when my mom forgot to put in meat in the chili (don’t ask), or my father couldn’t fathom what to make of sloppy joes, or my mom plopped a grilled hamburger patty on top of spaghetti. My father would question, my mom would start to take it away and throw it in the trash and I’d eat it so that no one would cry.

What does this have to do with “Godspell” (as pictured above)? Well, “Godspell” is one of my favorite Broadway shows, and listening to the soundtrack helps me find my center. The simplicity of the performances, especially in the original Broadway cast album and the follow-up movie soundtrack, remind me of the simplicity of my youth. There’s no screaming to be found as performers try to “out run” each other with yodeling noises in place of notes or crazy embellishments. The simplicity of the music, and the heart in the performances, help me reconnect in my spiritual beliefs: do good things, work hard at what you do, and love. Make people smile. Be a light in the world.

As I was walking about the other day I was daydreaming and wondering why the louder Christians don’t talk about all the great passages in the Bible. During my grandmother’s funeral in 1996, the minister, a lovely woman named Betsy, began the service by loudly proclaiming Proverbs 6:6 “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise.” She said this with such a booming voice that to this day I’m convinced that even my grandmother jumped. That’s such a simple verse, though. Don’t be lazy, work hard at your task. God or the Goddess or the Universe, or whatever name you choose to use, if you choose at all, just asks that we work hard to be good people and to love one another. All of that other stuff about being gay and eating shellfish and mixing clothing fibers… that’s all a bunch of crap probably inserted by a crabby human and/or translator that felt they weren’t getting enough attention.

The truth of the matter is, my spiritual beliefs are not anyone’s business but my own. Your spiritual beliefs are none of my business. Just keep it simple. Do unto others as they would do unto you. Be a good person. Work hard. Give more to society than you take. Love.

Keep it simple. Day by day.

Good Day.

Sometimes you just wake up one morning and you know it’s going to be a great day. You might have to work at it to keep it a great day, but you feel up to the challenge. You do what you do to keep it a great day.

Today was a great day.

My meetings at work went well. An issue with an application came to an end as a fix magically occurred to me while I was out taking a breather, walking in the snow. I went flying with an instructor today, challenged myself a little bit and now have the blessing to fly the club’s Piper Archer III, with all its electronic goodies. Earl and I had a nice walk tonight and my pants are feeling kind of loose.

It takes a little bit of work but even in the dead of winter, one can have a great day.

Winter.

It’s winter. There’s snow on the ground. It’s quite chilly. On the bright side, there’s not nearly as much snow on the ground here in Chicago as when we lived in Central New York, but as I’ve been telling people today: I’m ready for warm breezes, pubs having their entire front facade open, sidewalk cafes and enjoying life outside.

Hopefully it’s not too far off.

Eagles!

Being married to a man from Philly means there’s been a lot of happy hollering around the house today.

Happiness.

I always say, find your happy place. This morning, this was my happy place.

Unable to fly due to aircraft availability and wind gusts that would have made it a bit choppy, I headed home, picked up Earl and we went for a ride in the Jeep. This afternoon, this was my happy place.

Always find your happy place.

Inspiration.

The sun was shining down upon my face. The air was bitterly cold, with a bit so well known in the Midwest in February. And yet I smiled as I walked the city streets because I am alive. There’s always a reason to smile. Find that reason and remember it. Keep it close. When you don’t feel like smiling, find that reason you stored away and remember it. And then you’ll smile again.

Today I watched several videos featuring Maya Angelou. Inspiration, you can find it anywhere. When you find it, share it. It’s the sharing of inspiration, positive energy, and smiles that will brighten the darkest, coldest day.

Retro Shot.

It turns out my old Instagram account (that I deleted years ago) was all backed up to a Tumblr account I had forgotten about. I found the Tumblr account today and have been looking through old photos.

Here’s an old photo from 2011, taken with a Droid, using the reflection of my original iPad while sitting in our first Jeep Wrangler.