Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Friends For A Season

The problem with meeting people online is that I have a hard time calling them friends. How can you be friends with people who don't tell you their real names, or who pretend to be someone they aren't? I do count those whose names I know as friends, but due to the distance between us, they have a lower priority than those I know offline.

I can't just hop in the car and run over when something bad happens in their lives. I can't hug them when they need it, nor can I stand beside them when trouble comes. It doesn't mean they have no value, it's just difficult to find the time for online friends when life is so consuming. Sometimes these people you meet online go on to bigger and better things and simply stop associating with you. They forget about you on many levels and you return the favor until something happens and they again occupy a place in the forward part of the mind.

For me the something that happened is the very devastating Colorado flood. Some of you former Blogstreamers will remember Prank from "The Paradox of the Prankster". He lives in Colorado. At least he did the last time I heard anything from him. He was someone who, for reasons known only to him, moved on long before Blogstream shut down.

He, whoever he is, has been on my mind these past couple of weeks since the pictures of the devastation in Colorado were made public. I'd like to know that he is safe, and I can't because I never knew who he was.
I enjoyed his poetry, his tales from the Mile High Palace and the always unique perspective of Woogie the Cat. It seems to me that I read somewhere that he was sick, but never heard that he recovered. He and Woogie may have passed into the great beyond long before the flood of 2013. I probably will never know. On some level that grieves me and on another level it feels right to be capable of retaining fond memories without the knowledge of permanent loss.

Online, as in life, people come and go. The best we can hope for is that those who went did so with sails full of wind to carry them onward and that they found a soft place to land.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

When I'm 64

Since Friday Paul McCartney has been singing that song in my head. At least he's singing the parts that I remember the words to. Something about knitting sweaters by the fireside, going on Sunday drives. Doing a garden digging the weeds, needing and feeding.

I don't knit, although I do crochet, gas prices are too high for Sunday drives on my income and given that I almost live in the woods, gardens don't survive but oh boy do the weeds. Digging them would be a full time job, and most of them that grow here produce flowers. Queen Anne's Lace, Black Eyed Susans, Buttercups, Wild Sunflowers, Touch-Me-Nots, Forget-me-nots and of course goldenrod and ragweed.

Strangely, the Forget-me-nots are growing on the lawn where Bashful is buried. They are the only wildflower growing here that is a color other than yellow or white. Both the touch-me-nots and forget-me-nots were a new addition this year. I imagine the birds bring the seeds and weeds will take root in any conditions where other things won't.

I tend to admire those weeds from a distance. While they may be attractive they hide a multitude of things that aren't. They share space with poison ivy, provide a resting place for deer ticks that carry Lyme Disease and draw hornets and wasps in large numbers. Good and evil. Light and dark. Positive and negative. Birth and death.

Some people focus on the negative and they spend much of their time destroying the positive to eradicate the negative. Others make the choice to recognize that both exist and choose a path that honors the positive while accepting the negative. There are those that see no positive at all. While they may be beautiful in their own way, they are, after all, weeds.

On the day of my 64th birthday I was standing in the green grass under a gorgeous blue sky admiring what remained of the beauty. The goldenrod and ragweed are enjoying their last hurrah. The wild sunflowers have begun to bow their heads to the coming of cold weather. The trees above them have begun their preparation for the long sleep ahead. The inevitable touches of gold and orange have begun.

There is nothing ahead that has not gone before. No positive can exist without negative. No light without dark in which to shine. No good without evil against which we can measure. No life without death.

Friday, September 13, 2013

When Tomorrow Doesn't Come

According to the sheriff's department spokesman "the driver somehow left the highway and slammed into several trees". The accident happened shortly after noon on Wednesday, on a main highway in the county with no weather related hazards to contend with. The driver is no longer with us, he was one of Hubby's friends.

They worked together, back in the day, at a local septic pumping and excavating business. Jimmy moved on to another excavating business when their employer began to have health problems. If it had tires or tracks on it, Jimmy knew how to handle it. He saw the handwriting on the wall and did what he had to do to support his growing family. He was a hard working man with a big heart and a bigger voice.

Hubby said he'd gained a lot of weight in the last 8 years or so. I hadn't seen him for awhile. He wasn't the kind to come and visit because we have a cat and Jimmy HATED cats. Hubby would run into him at the local coffee shops or now and again while shopping for job materials. He'd call once in a blue moon, but our lives are different now that we had all gotten older. It takes too much energy to engage in rowdy fun anymore.

Some of the best times I ever had happened at a country tavern he tried running. The problem was it was waaaay out in the country and New York State DWI laws tended to interfere with the patrons ability to enjoy themselves fully so that endeavor didn't work well for him. He had kept his job with the excavating company. Sometimes jobs like that pay well, but the hours are part time at best. He felt he could do both and had he managed a place in the city where folks could walk instead of drive he just might have had himself a successful business, you never know about things like that. You never know about anything when it comes to life and living.

Whether he died as a result of his injuries, or as a result of a heart attack or other catastrophic event that might have caused the accident, I don't know. All I do know is life is short and can end unexpectedly. Cherish those you love all the day long because you never know if you have a tomorrow.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Football! Pfui! It's Hazardous To My Health

I logged in to Blogger this morning, and realized that I had created a post that made it too easy to identify a client. I can't do that, it's against federal law. When I do rant about client families, I usually don't choose to do it when our local paper is covering the issue. This time my feelings about the people involved overruled  my sense of caution. Fortunately while I realize the evidence is still somewhere on the internet, we have a delete button that makes it harder for people to stumble across the remains.

And speaking of delete buttons, is there one I can use on football?

My grandson is playing football this year.


My puny little nerdy grandson has turned into a jock! How'd that happen?

Every time he gets tackled I hold my breath until he stands back up again.

Every time he gets tackled I want to run out on the field and make sure he's OK.

This is living proof you can't be too careful who your kids hang around with. Teenagers are far too often influenced more by their peers than they are their parents. There have been absolutely 0 football players in this family on either side. Until now. And I have a grandson who looks like he weighs next to nothing soaking wet, running around with a football under the Friday Night Lights. Please, pinch me, I'm having a nightmare I need to wake up.

Coach said playing football builds character. He's enough of a character without having the wind knocked out of him every few minutes during a game. I swear he's going to break his neck, or wind up brain damaged. Wait! He WANTED to play football. OMG HE'S BRAIN DAMAGED ALL READY.

He thinks I'm crazy because I'm worrying about him. He said he'd tell the opposing team members who are about to tackle him that they need to "stop or his Grandma will getcha". Somehow that doesn't make me feel any better. He also says I have to behave myself and not embarrass him. I guess I can manage that...MAYBE! Heh!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Stress? What Stress?

More years ago than I care to count my brother-in-law deemed me unfit to be taken anywhere in public. He did it because I entered a church bathroom, slipped on the floor, fell on my ass and swore. I wasn't the least bit quiet about it and he was in the men's room next door. By the time I got back to the gathering of mourners, they were all having a laugh at my expense.

See? I have this habit of getting myself into situations. In life, unlike the internet, I am usually given the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately, I have had way more experience with life than I have with the internet and I tend to assume that everyone is essentially fair about misunderstandings because in life most people are. I keep forgetting that life and the internet bear very little resemblance to each other.

Someone that was a Twitter friend said something to Kurt Eichenwald, an editor from the magazine Vanity Fair. He immediately responded in an extremely condescending manner and in the 3rd person which is a little...well...crazy, frankly. She began to apologize and tried to explain that she meant her statement as agreement with his and not an insult towards him. He never responded and when I checked his feed I saw that he'd apparently logged off since there was nothing else said.

I had reached my 30 minute time frame so I logged out and then an hour later logged back in. That was my first mistake. My second mistake was when I attempted to be fair about what had occurred. In order to do that I had to remind my friend her tweet wasn't clear and he is bothered by many, many trolls. I honestly thought that he'd see her apology when he came back and try to clear the air with her. It also never occurred to me that she would feel I was calling her a troll. Hindsight is always 20/20. Too bad we don't have the same foresight.

Another friend began to defend her against what was perceived as an attack by me on her. That wasn't my intent and I still didn't understand what I'd done. I did see that I wasn't getting anywhere so I made a comment about an apology from Mr Eichenwald and dropped the subject. Which was too late. It was too late the minute I set words on screen to ask for fairness. I knew he'd been dealing with trolls and with his wife's breast cancer diagnosis, I just thought he was overreacting to something based upon his personal experiences, real life problems tend to creep into our internet whether we want them to or not.

Of course, I was wrong about Mr. Eichenwald making any attempt at clearing the air with her. Even if he has her blocked and is unable to read her apology, enough other people have brought it to his attention and he hasn't answered them either.

The upshot of this entire situation is that I now have probably lost a couple or more of friends that had value to me over someone that turns out to be undeserving of my respect. Maybe my doctor was right about limiting my exposure to the internet in order to help me control my blood pressure? I certainly haven't had too much luck with it being me.

Since I apparently can't be taken anywhere on the internet as well as in public, I am going to work very hard to achieve that 30 minute time frame the doctor said I should limit myself to. The less trouble I get into, the less stress I'll feel and the lower my blood pressure will go.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

If Life Is A Highway, I Took A Wrong Turn

Now that Dave has moved back in, Precious Kitteh is becoming a wham, bam, thank you ma'am cat. He comes for a visit about the time I open a can of cat food for Butterscotch and wants his share, of course. He wolfs it down like the cad he is and then scoots for the door to be let out. I don't have to let him in since he's not ours by his own choice, but, I'd rather know he's getting something to eat. Dave isn't bright enough to open the door and call to him to come in and Precious isn't loud enough to be heard when he wants to come in. We have the alarm system he triggers by being on the deck so we know he's out there. Dave doesn't believe he needs one.

Neighbor Ed took Dave up to the church food pantry because they also give free pet food to those who can't afford to buy it. We know Dave has food for him, but aren't sure Precious can get into the home to eat any of it. Haven't seen Dave for a few days to ask him. Don't think he'd tell me the truth anyways. Also, letting Precious inside my home gives me the opportunity to put the flea/tick treatment on him when it's due. I'm damn sure Dave wouldn't do that.

The only one of us truly happy with this situation is Butterscotch. He doesn't have to share his home with any other furbearing critter and he's quite joyful about that. It surprises me that he'll let him in to eat without a fuss, but once the belly is full it's get the heck outta my house dammit! He's a big bully and when he puffs up he's pretty impressive. Even I will pause when he does that. He has claws. He knows how to use them.

The situation with Precious Kitteh is one of the reasons I'm experiencing stress again these days. It's most likely the least of the reasons with worry about income and bill paying number 1 on the list. It's affecting my blood pressure again and the doctor has ordered me to do something productive to control it. I can't do anything about the income right now but I can control how much of the rest of those stressful events affect me.

I have totally quit watching cable news to any extent, but I'm still exposed to the bad news via social media like Twitter and blogging. Almost anywhere you go on the internet there are people fighting about everything or people spewing such stupidity you wonder where they keep their brains.

Doc suggested I limit internet time to half an hour a day. I should correct that and say she strongly suggested (think ordered) that I limit it. I understand and agree with her solution, problem is, I don't seem to be able to stick to it. I get involved in conversations and the next thing you know, my 30 minutes have come and gone 2 or 3 times. I have no will power when it comes to some things. I've tried the timer solution and sometimes don't even hear it ding. I blame Hubby for that. I've acquired the ability to tune him out so I don't kill him and unfortunately can now tune out almost everything I don't want to hear. The problem is on the internet, you don't hear anything you see it.

Not only do I have selective hearing loss I also have selective understanding. I'm positive she meant 30 minutes a day but my selective switch heard 30 minutes a session. On work days that's not much of a problem. It's the other 3 days, Saturday through Monday when I'm not working that I can fit in quite a few of those 30 minute sessions. Don't know what I'm going to be able to do about that. I do know I have to try something before Hubby carries out his threat to put the laptop on the roof and take the ladder with him to work. I may have selective hearing, but trust me, I heard that!