Ponderings and Musings

Celebrate Your Rejection.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a new fan of actor Shohreh Aghdashloo. As Chrisjen Avasarala on ”The Expanse”, she commands a presence that I find most compelling.

Once in a while YouTube will suggest one of her speeches, presentations, or talks she’s given over the years. I took the time to watch this 10 minute clip from a few years ago. I love the way she expresses herself, and more importantly, her words of wisdom.

Celebrate your rejections. They make us who we are.

20 Years Later.

Our country changed forever 20 years ago today. Though I was writing in my blog at the time, I did not write a blog entry that day. I did, however, write a short entry on 9/12/01.

Here’s a link.

Our nation has never really recovered from the events on 9/11. The events of that day, aside from the horrific loss of life, touched each and every American and markedly changed the course of our history. To think there is now an entire generation that’s never known anything but war.

Restless.

It’s probably from my extended tour of midlife crisis or middle-aged syndrome, but I’ve been feeling rather restless lately. Social media feeds have pretty much moved to screaming in an echo chamber, I feel impeded about going out, what with this pandemic raging on and whatnot, and most weirdly, I can’t shake the feeling that there’s another shoe somewhere and it’s waiting to drop. I feel like it’s a big shoe, something that’s going to really rattle society again, and honestly, I don’t know if society can take something like that.

If I take a 50,000 foot view of life, it’s good! We’re all healthy, we live in a beautiful home, my job is going very well (I’m a team leader again!), and we’re getting things done. Yes, we’ve had some ups and downs with getting the house ready for the next monsoon season (contractors are coming later this month) but it’s all manageable. We have friends coming in to visit next month and the holidays aren’t really that far off. (It’s too soon for Halloween decorations, let alone Christmas decorations, so don’t do that yet).

Yet, I’m still feeling restless. It’s probably boredom. It’s that whole “who is a walking incubus of pandemic that refuses to get vaccinated as they walk among us?” thing I have going on in my head. I wish people would just do the right thing for society and stop being so selfish.

Jolt.

I didn’t start drinking coffee until a couple of years ago. I come from a family of coffee drinkers; it wasn’t breakfast until I heard the tinky-tinky-tink of a coffee spoon banging against the sides of my parents’ mugs of coffee every morning. My sister became a coffee drinker in her teens. I had coffee once or twice at that age, decided it wasn’t my cup of tea(?) and then didn’t start drinking coffee until I had entered my 50s. Both sets of grandparents drank coffee. One aunt and uncle don’t drink coffee, otherwise I think everyone else does.

I drink my coffee the Janeway. “Coffee, black”. I usually have two cups of coffee in the morning. Starting my workday at 5:30 AM (to keep up with the East Coast centric company I work for), coffee gets me going.

After 50+ years, I actually look forward to the stuff.

As Captain Janeway once said, “the finest organic suspension ever devised”.

Old Data.

I was going through some old files this weekend and found this photo of me from 2008 or 2009. I was DJing in a local bar at the time. The photo is all grainy because it was taken in a darkened DJ booth before the days of really good cameras on smartphones. I actually think it was a snap from a webcam.

Coming across old photos like this is like discovering a box of photo albums in the attic. While I believe we should live for today and plan for tomorrow, there’s something special about looking at history, even if it’s our own history. We should never stop growing and learning, and there’s a lot to be learned from history.

Outside of this blog I’ve maintained a private journal for over a decade. Every once in a while I’ll read my writings from days gone by and, like reviewing old blog entries, realize I’m just the same guy I’ve always been moving forward in this life.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

As a youngster I always thought life would bring about drastic changes from time to time as we grew older, but now that I’m older I’ve found that for the most part this hasn’t happen. My experiences today are similar, if not hopefully wiser, as to those of 25 years ago. The moral foundation is the same, my belief system, while adjusted from growth and world experience, is pretty much the same. I can’t help but think I’ve been very lucky to have such a grounded life. I attribute my success to many things, including young parents who were just trying to do the right thing with these two youngsters they were raising.

I read about the awful things going on in the country and all over the world and I realize I have no reason to be cranky. Life is as good as we make it.

And making a good life is the success of living.

Jade East.

Twenty five years ago, when I was Program Director of a Top 40 radio station in Upstate New York, I had an office in the basement of the owner’s large home. This is where the “corporate headquarters”, such as it could be called, was located and I could easily hear the owner and his wife and their kids stomping around the kitchen above my office at any given time. They had a certain propensity for yelling at one another. There were rumors of knives being thrown but I never witnessed this sort of thing; instead I’d see them come down the back stairs and throw laundry into a big pile on the room across from my office.

It was cozy. Yeah, we’ll go with that.

In an effort to tune out the chaos and remained focused in choosing the perfect mix of music for the next 48 hours, I’d shut my door and burn incense as a distraction. I had visions of being mentally whisked away to a place where people floated on clouds and had amazing, almost indescribable moments of ecstatic creativity. My incense never brought me this experience, but it did help tune out the noise of the outside world and eventually I programmed the right music mix to take a last place station to a top five spot, which in turn brought us the, at the time, coveted distinction of being a “Reporting Station” for Radio and Records Magazine. This in turn brought in many promotional opportunities with record companies and the like and made the station successful enough that the yelling husband and wife without the knives were able to sell the radio station for much more than the bought it for.

Fast forward 25 years to my office in our glorious home in the Arizona desert and I’m still burning incense but have yet to experience these purported transcendental experiences.

I do enjoy the scent and am happy that I’m able to burn this incense because it was a gift from my husband and family.

Perhaps that’s transcendental enough.

Lightning.

I’m getting better at capturing lightning shots with my trusty iPhone X. I’m tempted to put a “weather camera” up on the roof specifically for Monsoon Season so I can share the excitement with the world. Do people still do that sort of thing?

We’ll probably get another round of thunderstorms in the overnight. The National Weather Service has predicted a good chance of storms for the next 24 hours, and then it tapers off over the weekend. Monsoon Season likes to take a break and then ramp up again; we’ll probably see more storms next week.

As long as the house cooperates and holds itself together, I don’t mind the thunderstorms. They’re still quite thrilling to me. The thunder and lightning here reminds me of some of the storms we’d get on the Eastern shore of Lake Ontario where I grew up, though the storms here move much slower. My sister and I would camp out in the pop up camper set up in the driveway and together we rode through a couple of impressive thunderstorms. One time we brought the menagerie of cats in with us so they wouldn’t get wet. We had six or seven cats at the time. They appreciated the extra pets they would get.

I think they liked the attention more than the thunderstorms.

Truman doesn’t seem too upset by the storms. During the first one or two storms at the beginning of the season he’d station himself under the buffet in the dining room, but now he just hangs out with us during the frivolity.

Like his ancestors, he likes the extra pets more than the storms.

Pause.

IMG 7870

Even though we live in the Mountain Standard Time Zone, my workday is pretty much relegated to Central Daylight Time to approximate the meeting schedule of folks on the East Coast. I am not alone in this approach, I have peers that live on the west coast that work an EDT or CDT schedule and don’t seem to be the worse for wear. At least twice a week this leaves me with a couple of 6:00 a.m. meetings on my schedule. I try not to be blurry-eyed when attending these meetings, especially when I’m leading the whole affair. 

I’m not a morning person. I try very hard to be a morning person and many Professional Growth books tout the advantages of starting your day before God, but try as I might, I’m just not a morning person. I fake it fairly well. Since I work from home and, outside of team meetings at work, I can set my own schedule, I occasionally divide my work day into chunks with a brief nap in between. It works.

This morning I started my day at 5:30 a.m. and I just felt a little “off”. I wasn’t physically ill, aside from a slight bloody nose that can be attributed to the dry desert air. I just didn’t feel quite right. I decided to do something I haven’t done in a very long time and I called off from work today. I sent a message to the team director and basically said “see you tomorrow”.

I then went back to bed for a couple of hours.

Upon waking I found myself feeling “mostly reset” but not what I would call optimal. So I decided to watch a couple episodes of “Bewitched” (my favorite show of all time) and just rest my brain. I didn’t focus on reorganizing anything or getting anything accomplished, I just relaxed.

I have a hard time doing that.

I then ended up taking another nap, this time about 30 minutes. Upon waking I can now say I honestly feel like I’ve hit the reset button. I feel great.

Because I never take spontaneous time off from work like this, everyone in the family has inquired to my well-being and the director did ask if everything was OK when I reached out to him this morning. 

Sometimes we just need to take a mental health day and let the world pause the best we can. I’m ready to tackle the rest of the work week starting with tomorrow morning’s meetings. This is the proper way to start my 54th ride around the sun.