Author Archive

Vietnam: Going Back Again

June 26, 2018

Blogger’s Block (Back to Vietnam)

Just as a segue, a few words about my creative process. Aside from my lame excuses, my procrastinating, or whatever else might be preventing me from sitting down and working on my blog, I’ll just call it “blogger’s block”, similar to writer’s block. You’ve seen it in the movies, the famous writer (not that I’m famous) sitting at his writing desk, coffee and cigarettes on the desk (not that I smoke or recommend smoking, although I do drink coffee). His waste basket, full to the brim with crumpled sheets of paper, is nearby. He stares at the sheet of paper in his typewriter, a chapter name at the top of the page, and a line or two of text, or possibly just an incomplete sentence. OK, “typewriter”, that’s an older movie, maybe he’s sitting at his laptop keyboard staring at the screen. At any rate he’s not happy.

My writing lapses aren’t usually that dramatic, but I do have them. Thank you, Tom (my gym friend) for kick-starting me by praising my work. Be patient, I’ll take us back to Vietnam in a few minutes, honest – this one is dedicated to you.

Options, Options, and More Options

How about this, I’ll include you in my thinking/decision process, kind of as my virtual writing assistant, helping me decide the content for the next installment of my Vietnam blog. OK, OK, agreed, kind of a not-so-subtle way to get people to comment on my blog.

I have a 36-page double-spaced draft that I wrote nine years after my return from Vietnam. I used an IBM Selectric typewriter, and the draft is on the original paper. Many authors still use typewriters, and some like John Le Carre’ (The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, etc.) write out their manuscripts in longhand. His wife types and edits his manuscripts, which I think is very cool. Anyway, my thought was to just go through my entire 12-month Vietnam tour and select highlights, like the one in my last post, “A Dark and Stormy Night” . As I have already done, I am using some of the text from my nearly 40-year-old draft, for example, the Preface that follows is from “Vietnam Ten Years Ago – A Sailor Remembers”.

“The following narrative is the product of my memories and feelings about a personal experience and the desire to share the experience with others – a retrospective look at something which happened ten years ago. Since that time, it has rattled around in my head, I have discussed it with others, and I have written about it.
The memories of my year spent in Vietnam have not been naggingly painful or filled with nightmarish, melodramatic flashbacks (as others have experienced). In fact, some of what happened was quite pleasant. There are other memories I would rather forget.
Occasionally, I use real names in the narrative, because I remember some of them. However, I have no intentions of misrepresenting actual events or offending any of the real people involved. (Bernie Blazek, October 1979)”

More Options

Keep reading, Tom, we’re getting there.

So, the previous option would be to take my original draft and present it as a blog. Probably not the best choice, presenting over 10,000 words in my blog. Choosing “highlights”, as I’ve been doing, I think is better.

I also thought about getting “political” by addressing the question, “Are wars bad?” I’ve seen the Ken Burns TV series about the Vietnam War, and I was there for a year, but I think that question is beyond the scope of this blog. I will mention just one thing, a snippet from the Michael Berry Radio broadcast from Houston, Texas. You can Google him if you like. On June 6 this year, he dedicated a good part of his show to D-Day veterans, many of whom died in Normandy, France.

Berry talked about an 18-year-old who was drafted. One of the things struck home, about the young man, whose whole life was ahead of him, a girl friend, a future family. He didn’t enlist, but when he was drafted, he went willingly. He never came back. Say what you want about Michael Berry’s political views, but I think he called this one correctly.

OK, one more snippet about a bumper sticker (I may be misquoting it, but you’ll get the idea) that I saw in my neighborhood. “Except for overcoming communism, fascism, Nazism, and slavery, wars have not accomplished a thing.”

I guess one more option would be a musical/pictorial blog, kind of like I’ve done with other topics. By the way, I have to guide you down the music trivia path, just for a moment. If you read the first Vietnam installment I did, I included a song titled In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. You should read this Tampa Tribune piece about the song . . . veeerrry interesting!

OK, Tom, I’m running out of gas on this installment and need to go have dinner. Please feel free to comment and/or make a suggestion (or anyone). ‘Backatcha’ with more later.

The music and pictures are either symbolic or just for entertainment.

Canned Heat: Can’t Find My Way Home
Huey Lewis and the News: The Power of Love
Canned Heat: Let’s Work Together
Don Henley: Dirty Laundry
Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young: Helplessly Hoping
Supertramp: Take the Long Road Home

 

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Travel Blog: California, May 2018

May 16, 2018

We’re on the Road Again

It’s been a while since we traveled south to SoCal to visit our relatives and friends. We drove this time instead of flying, lots of miles, lots of things to see.

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The drive down was fine, lots of gas stops because we decided to drive the Tacoma instead of the Prius, but we just wanted to take the truck on a long trip to check it out. My wife did the night driving (I hate driving at night), so we were in Red Bluff before it was my turn to drive. Most of the really scenic parts of the drive (southern Oregon, Shasta Lake, etc.) were done, so it was time to set the cruise control and enjoy the ride. We like audio books and were listening to a Harlen Coben novel, No Second Chance. The miles rolled on, and before we knew it we were driving up the Grapevine in southern California. A sky full of dark clouds and some brief rain were a surprise coming in, but the following days were very nice, sunny, and not too warm.

We Arrived OK

We arrived too early to check in so we had lunch with our sister-in-law, Mex food of course, at a placed where we had eaten before called Cocina in Santa Clarita. One of our  brother-in-laws joined us and our nephew and his friend. I got to try a new local craft beer that was good, which was a bonus.

Off to the hotel, we got our stuff unloaded and up to our suite. We upgraded to a bigger two-room suite this trip, very nice, on an outside corner of the hotel. We highly recommend Embassy Suites, nice amenities, including a full breakfast every morning. We’ve stayed there so many times, kind of feels like a second home. Later that first day we went over to JJ’s in Santa Clarita, one of our favorite spots, for dinner and drinks and to say hi to some folks we hadn’t seen in over a year.

The Rest of the Story

I’ll give you a quick recap of the rest of our time in SoCal and let the pictures tell you more.

Enjoying the sunny weather, relaxing at the hotel, some time in the pool and the hot tub. Bernie did some gym time, nothing major mainly just stretching and some PT for my knee. Bernie also got in two very nice runs (and didn’t get lost) on the streets around the hotel and on the trails. They have a great trail system for getting out and enjoying the  outdoors. Some of the other places (besides JJ’s) where we ate were Chi Chis (Italian), Chilis, and Mimis, a great soup and sandwich restaurant. The beach pictures were taken in Santa Monica, where we had a mother’s day breakfast for our sister-in-law at Shutters, another very cool place to eat in SoCal. It was great fun to get together with our relatives and friends that we hadn’t seen in over a year.

We’re back on the road tomorrow to go home. More pictures to come.

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What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? (continued)

May 10, 2018

First, the Backstory

Actually the backstory, which happened almost 50 years ago, continues in this post. I invite you to start the Vietnam blog from the beginning, or you can just pick it up from here. I think the following eight-minute video tells the story pretty well of my year in Vietnam.

Vietnam: 1969-1970

Just a Brief Aside

Is dwelling or living in the past a bad thing? Probably, but revisiting the past is not the same thing. Look at all the people doing their genealogies these days, using Ancestry.com and other sites. How about revisiting events like wars? If the act of revisiting connects people and draws them closer together, that’s a good thing, right? I’m pretty outgoing, perhaps because of my Texas upbringing, and I’m able to start a conversation with a total stranger. If that person is wearing a Vietnam Vet cap, it’s a sure thing that we will have a conversation.

Blogger’s Note:  I should mention that a friend of mine at the gym, who said he really liked my blog and my writing, encouraged me to continue my Vietnam story.

John Kerry Served Where?

If you read my recent travel blog, you know I was in Texas recently visiting relatives. On our way down to visit some high school friends in a little town in southeast Texas, my younger sister and I were talking about stuff. We got on the subject of the Vietnam war. I always wondered about John Kerry’s military service – was he really a Swift Boat commander in Vietnam? You may remember the brouhaha about that when Kerry was running for president (2004). Anyway, as she drove, I googled him and guess what, he did serve in that capacity. And, amazingly, he and I served about the same time, and I’m pretty sure my ship supported his Swift Boat unit, Coastal Division 11. As I was reading the Wikipedia text, I saw An Thoi mentioned. An Thoi was the village near where my ship was anchored at the beginning of my tour – there are several photos in the video. The Coastal Division 11 crews used the APL-21 as a temporary base to clean up after a two-week patrol. How cool is that, a future famous person may have been on my ship while I was in Vietnam.

See my links about John Kerry at the end of this blog.

A Dark and Stormy Night

It was a dark and stormy night, the rain fell in sheets, making it hard to see even a few feet . . . the opening of a Gothic novel, no just my segue to one very exciting incident that happened over there.

Blogger’s Note:  The following text is verbatim from a very old version (1979) of this story, just now seeing the light of day.

“But we were getting underway with our renovated libidos, sated after our long liberty in Cat Lo and Vung Tau, so we were not overly concerned with the war. The APL’s agreement with the tug, understandably for its crew members safety but unfortunately not for ours, was that the tow line would be cut if we got hit going upriver. As a precaution, we would traverse the 20 miles on the Mekong River in relative darkness, late at night. Our destination, Dong Tam, was to be my last duty station in Vietnam – in the jargon, I was “short”, with about two months remaining in-country. Just my luck, things were beginning to heat up near the end of my tour.

I was one of the watch standers on duty that night. We were nearing Dong Tam when four rounds of artillery, B-40’s, B-50’s, or something bigger hit the water near our starboard side.

General quarters, general quarters – this is not a drill, I repeat, this is not a drill.”

Back to the 21st century, I’ll summarize the rest of what happened.

I slammed a magazine into my M-16 and crouched behind a bulkhead, the adrenaline was flowing now. Some of the officers hit the deck, prompting one of our chief petty officers, who was standing on the forecastle of the ship in full view of anybody watching. He was a noted juicer (pretty juiced in that moment), waving his coffee cup (probably filled with bourbon) and gesturing and cursing loudly at the crew members flat on the deck. Thinking back, it was almost comical.

We stayed at General Quarters about four hours and nothing else happened. There was even some conjecture about the rounds having been fired by “friendlies”, mistaking us for the enemy.

That’s it for now, until someone inspires me again to continue these memories of that very interesting year in my life.

Wikipedia text about Kerry:
John Kerry military service controversy
Military career of John Kerry
Quotes:
“Your words are my food, your breath my wine. You are everything to me.” Sarah Bernhardt
On “War”, take your pick.

Travel Blog: Texas, April 2018

April 18, 2018
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I’m Back!

Willy Nelson: On the Road Again

Going Back for a Visit – Day 1, April 18

Late start leaving the house (my fault), but got to the airport in time thanks to my wife’s skillful driving. Going back to visit relatives in Texas.

People along the Way

Met Micah, young man going back to Hawaii to resume college and visit his parents who live there. We had a long conversation as we waited to board our flights. We talked about occupations, photography, and family, that kind of stuff. He told me he was a business management major, but wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to do. I told him what I did and that I changed majors three times before I settled on what I liked. I suggested that he allow himself the time to choose what he really liked doing. His flight was announced, and we said our goodbyes.

Stream of Consciousness (my impressions)

Walking into the warm airport terminal from the chilly Portland morning air . . . noisy, people struggling with their cumbersome bags (I need a wheeled bag), checking departure status, people corralling their kids . . . going through security, empty my pockets, take off my shoes, raise my arms in the scanner, put it all back together . . . had lots of time and was hungry, ordered a big breakfast, ate only part of it, nice smells of coffee and food . . . walking to the gate, observing people, people with their devices, talking, almost got my camera out but left it in the bag . . . thirsty, refilled my water bottle, almost time to board, noticed a young couple with two kids, one very young, thinking to myself that group will be in the row behind me with their screaming kid (didn’t happen).

More later.

Antonio Vivaldi: The Four Seasons (Spring)

Going Back for a Visit – Day 2, April 19

Besides the wonderful sunshine, what else can I say about my Thursday in Texas? It was great! I did a long walk with my sister who lives in a small town near Austin. We walked along a creek near her house, exploring. After that, I did a nice run into town (also exploring) along the Brazos River, stopping along the way to talk to people, pet friendly dogs, and take pictures, which I included in my slide show. The town has many historic homes. To top off the day, my sister and her son and I had dinner and drinks in town at one of the popular eateries along the river and watched a beautiful sunset. It was a darn good day.

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Stevie  Wonder: You Are the Sunshine of My Life

Going Back for a Visit – Days 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, April 20-24

The musical introduction for this post was selected mainly because the sun has been amazing on this trip, warm and sunny all day, almost every day.

Friday we went into Austin to spend some with my oldest sister. She was in the process of unpacking and settling in to her new abode, an apartment complex in northwest Austin. It’s a great place with nice stonework and a nature preserve right there, with deer roaming in the woods. I included some pictures.

Saturday was another busy day, another sister and I traveling to our old hometown, Liberty. We had Mexican food with some of our friends that we hadn’t seen in quite a while. It’s fun to go back and see people you grew up with. We drove around the town to see what had changed in our old stompin’ grounds, quite a bit, but also some things that looked familiar like the house we lived in, back in that other century, still standing. Then back on the road to travel to my other sister and her husband’s home in the countryside not terribly far from Austin – they call it Sky Farm.

Sunday was our “sibling gathering” there at Sky Farm. Lots of things going, moving bee hives, relatives arriving with their kids and with food, taking the tour of the property that has a lake, but the most fun was sorting through and talking about our family pictures going back to our great grandparents.

Monday and Tuesday back in Austin to stay over at my sister’s new place. I got in a great run in the nature preserve and nearby neighborhoods.

Back to Portland tomorrow, it has been a great trip. Enjoy the slide show.

The Monkees: Last Train to Clarksville

 

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The X-Files: 2018 (Part II)

April 17, 2018

 

Building All is Love: “Where the Wild Things Are” (movie soundtrack)
“The human voice can never reach the distance that is covered by the still, small voice of conscience.” Mahatma Gandhi

A Frame of Reference

Thinking about John 8:32 that I quoted in Part I – OK, admittedly I’ve taken a single verse from the Bible out of context, but I’m just trying to establish a frame of reference. The verse does make sense, right? Obviously, the misinformation, the subterfuge, the biased media reports, and, in my opinion, the indifference of the general public in wanting or caring about the truth have not served to establish an environment of trust in the good ole USA. When you go to the doctor, you want the truth, right – doc, what is the prognosis? I’ve had some very good doctors who were straight shooters and gave me good advice.

Does It Matter?

OK, you may ask, what’s the X-files connection? As Mr. They said in Part I, Does It Matter?” Hopefully, the issues I bring up and the points I try to make will help you connect the dots.

Imprimis Potpourri

Blogger’s Note: I give full editorial credit to the authors of the articles.

I’ll be including snippets from several Imprimis articles. Obviously, feel free to read each of the articles in their entirety, but as I said before, it’s thought-provoking but not light reading.

You Are Not Generation Z (Patrick L. Sajak, Host Wheel of Fortune)

Remember, this is an address to a graduating class in Texas in 2017.

“In short, I’m not sure there’s much need to inspire a group like this. So let me suggest  a pitfall to avoid going forward, a pitfall not only for this year’s graduating class, but for everyone in every corner of American society today. It has altered the way we talk to one another and perceive one another. It has perverted the notion of free speech and poisoned the academic environment. It has turned the American political system on its head, creating a situation where opposing views are not only unwelcome, they are deemed to be signs of evil intent. It has pitted friend against friend and has caused rifts within families. I’m talking about identity politics, the attempt to divide Americans and set us against each other. The attempt to classify and categorize us by all sorts of measurements and standards. To a great degree, those who are making these attempts are succeeding. And their efforts are changing our country in fundamental ways.” You really should read all of this one, especially on page 7, right column.

Next Up?

I’ve decided to continue the Imprimis material in a future blog.

I’ll be including:

  • Are We Free to Discuss America’s Problems by Amy L. Wax.
  • A More American Conservatism by Larry P. Arnn.
  • Immigration in the National Interest by Tom Cotton.
  • The 2016 Election and the Demise of Journalistic Standards by Michael Goodwin.

 

 

 

The X-Files: 2018 (Part I)

March 23, 2018
Vitamin String Quartet:  The Vitamin String Quartet Tribute to the Who – Tommy

 

What’s Up, Rufous Blog? (Blog of the Week: March 23, 2018)

What happened to the Rufous blog you may have asked – actually I did do a post on February 23, my birthday – but my so-called “blog of the week” has been more of a “blog of the month”. OK, multi-tasking doesn’t always work (some experts say that “single-tasking” is actually more efficient). Multi-tasking only works if you don’t forget to do the higher priority items on your list, which in my case is blogging.

Blogger’s note:  The following quote is not totally  in context with my topic, but it struck a chord with me so I wanted to include it.
Quote from Life in Oregon, February-March 2018:
“Think about how the conversation in America, in Oregon, would change if each of us assumed the best of the person who disagrees with us. Together, let’s think about and interact with people on the other side of the issues as if they are potential allies, not enemies.” (ORTL president Harmony Daws, January 14, 2018, Oregon Right to Life annual Roe v. Wade Memorial and March in Portland, Oregon)

Politics or TV?

Did I tell you about John le Carre’, who writes his books out in longhand, then gives the manuscripts to his wife who types and edits them. He’s 86 and just published a new novel. A would-be writer could get inspired by David Cornwell (his real name). I also write out my content longhand in my bright green composition book before transferring it to the blog. Always, I’ll have several blog ideas going, like something political (always a challenge to be “correct”) or like today I have a blog about TV. Maybe I’ll include some “politics” too in this blog (spoiler alert).  :}

The X-Files – The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat

I was never a big fan in the past, but the new season 11 caught my attention, in particular episode 4, which I found very interesting on many levels. If you’ve watched it, you may have noticed that the stars (in my opinion), David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, have aged fairly well. OK, enough small talk, here’s my rehash of episode 4. Kudos to the producer and writer, Chris Carter, Darin Morgan, staff writers Brad Follmer and Benjamin Van Allen, and (wait for it) David Duchovny. Episode 4 has some humorous moments, maybe satirical/tongue-in-cheek is a better description, compared to the paranormal or whatever you normally expect from X-files – like a more recent episode with the drones spying on and pursuing Fox and Scully.

OK, having mentioned the producer and writers I think I’m OK legally in quoting the dialog (yes, I paused the TV and wrote it down). If you’re a fan and missed it, you should watch episode 4.

As Long as the Truth Gets Out

Continuing . . . take this scene, about 44 minutes into the episode, Mulder and another character named “Mr. They” are in this wonderful sculpture garden with all these statues. Mulder is having a conversation with Mr. They.

Mulder:  “As long as the truth gets out.”

Mr. They:  “They don’t really care if the truth gets out because the public no longer knows what’s meant by the truth.”

Mulder:  “What do you mean?”

Mr. They:  “Well, I mean, no one can tell the difference anymore between what’s real and what’s fake.”

Oh, ouch, OK, is anyone picking up on the political angle here? I have no idea what Chris Carter and his staff of creative people were trying to accomplish with episode 4, but it’s kind of fun to speculate, eh.

Mulder:  “There’s still an objective truth, an objective reality.”

(Transition to main story line)

Mr. They:  “So what? I mean, you take this Mandela effect.”

Mr. They (quotes George Orwell):  “He who controls the past controls the future.” (More quotes later)

Mr. They:  “Well, believe what you want to believe, that’s what everybody does now anyway.” (Slight break in the dialog)

Mr. They:  “All you really need is a laptop.”

Mulder:  So that’s what this has been all about, the spread of online disinformation.”

Mr. They:  “Maybe?”

Mr. They:  “You know, our current president said something truly profound.” He said, “Nobody knows for sure.”

Mulder:  “What was he referring to?”

Mr. They:  “Does it matter?”

The previous scene lasts only about two minutes and ends with a great shot of Mulder standing in front of a statue with its arms outstretched, as if to say, what’s going on.

The scene shifts to a parking garage, with Mulder and Scully talking to another character, Reggie, who says, “We found the truth that’s out there.”

Rather than risk spoiling the rest of the episode, I highly recommend you watch episode 4 just to see the ending.

The Red Mustang

The next scene shows Mulder, Scully, and Reggie driving down the road in a red Mustang convertible and then the final scene . . .

Tip: Google “x-files season 11” to get more reviews and analysis.
Definition/primer on innuendo:
  • Veiled or equivocal reflection on character or reputation.
  • The use of such allusions resorting to innuendo.
Example:
His reputation has been damaged by innuendo.

One or Two (or Three) More Quotes

Voltaire: “To hold a pen is to be at war.”
Voltaire:  “What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other’s folly – that is the first law of nature.”
Read more at:  Voltaire Quotes.
John 8:32:  “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (NIV Bible)
Next Up:  “The X-Files 2018 (Part II)”. Just a hint, expect some content based on my favorite Imprimis readings. No surprise there. Feel free to peruse the Imprimis issues.
Definition of “Imprimis”:  In the first place used to introduce a list of items or consideration.
Antonio Vivaldi:  The Four Seasons, Summer (Presto)

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To Do or Not to Do: Birthday Blog, 2018

February 23, 2018

My birthday blog for last year is here. I have a new birthday today.

I’ll start with some music – it’s Winter – and some quotes to set the tone for this piece which could go anywhere, hang on . . .

Takako Nishizaki: Very Best of Vivaldi, “Four Seasons, Winter (Largo)”

This BrainyQuote’s page has a wealth of quotes that relate either directly or in some weird, tangential way to this birthday blog. I started reading some of the quotes after doing the search on Shakespeare’s famous quote, “To be or not to be, that is the question,” which is the hook for the rest of this creative dissertation. I’ll explain more in a minute. Check out Jean-Luc Godard’s quote, “To be or not to be. That’s not really a question.” All you ex-English majors, like me, and grammarians should get a chuckle out of it. And check out Chuck Palahniuk, wow, some powerful, some witty, some head-scratcher quotes. By the way, his birthday is February 21, two days before mine. I should find him on Facebook and wish him a belated Happy Birthday. I’m not sure I can compete with the wisdom in some of the quotes, but as I get back on track here, maybe some of it will make sense to you. Nobody has quoted me yet.

To Do or Not to Do

Many weeks ago I got the idea for this blog. I started a draft on paper – I do that a lot as do many famous writers. Not that I’m famous, but John Le Carre’ is famous and well-published. I was just listening to his latest novel today, A Legacy of Spies. I watched a 60 Minutes interview with him several weeks ago. He lives in England in a remote place called Land’s End and has a separate little house where he writes his books in longhand. His wife types and edits his manuscripts. I thought that his lifestyle was extremely cool. His real name, which he prefers, is David Cornwell. Here he is in Wikipedia if you’re interested.

Back on Track

If you look at the “intro” parts of this blog, Looking for a Rufous, you may have picked up on the whole Rufous thing. Looking for things in life that really, really provide meaning and fulfillment, rather than just “living.” Also, there’s a great quote in Me and My Blog, probably my favorite quote, that says it all in my opinion. Of course, like someone said, if you already know the answer, don’t ask the question. Maybe you’ve figured it out already. Power to you, go for it, I’m perfectly fine with not perpetuating the search for meaning.

Takako Nishizaki: Very Best of Vivaldi, “Four Seasons, Spring (Allegro)”

An Average Day

Early morning sun (unusual for us in our Oregon winter) coming through the living room window, the dogs horsing around, listening to a Chicago song, “Wake Up Sunshine”, feeling good, an upbeat start to my day. I hope your day started on an upbeat note. But not every day starts that way, some days are more of a struggle. More caffeine, doesn’t help. Does that sound familiar? Such is life, eh, ups and downs, it’s normal. But what about the “baseline” parts of your life, the ongoing efforts that help you transcend the temporary mood swings and dark days? Is your baseline OK?

Tom Robbins: “To be or not to be isn’t the question. The question is, how to prolong being.”

I look at the best-selling authors, the scientists who discover cures for diseases, the athletes who strive to do their best, the volunteers who stack sandbags to stop the flood waters, and the others who strive to do things beyond themselves – I look at them in awe, admiring what they do. I’m not saying that being average is bad or that winning second place is not something to be proud of. You were there, that’s what counts.

N. Tonchev, Montana Chamber Orchestra: “Four Seasons, Summer (Presto)”

Parting Words on Starting this New Year (for me)

  • For this year, my plan is to try to stay healthy. If you’re active doing stuff, that’s a great place to start.
  • Do new things like meditation, early in the day. Even if it’s only 5 minutes, just relax, clear your thoughts, and focus on your breathing.
  • Journal, listen to music, watch the birds, cook dinner, talk to your kids or your friends or your dog (you’d be surprised how good a listener a dog can be).
  • Get involved, open up your mind and figure things out by relying on good, solid information. Segue to the Imprimis site, check it out, pick an area that interests you. I love the latest one, Are We Free to Discuss America’s Real Problems?.

More to come in the next blog.

N. Tonchev, Montana Chamber Orchestra: “Four Seasons, Autumn (Adagio-molto)”

Always Pictures

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Is It 2018 Yet?

January 29, 2018

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Joe Cocker: Feelin’ Alright

Is It 2018 Yet?

OK, it’s a dumb question on this fifth week of the year, but I’ll just segue into my blog notes written about five weeks ago. Did I mention that one of my New Year’s resolutions was NOT to procrastinate? Life in the fast lane, commitments and distractions, a tooth ache, babysitting grandkids, gym workouts, running, etc., you get the drift, I’ve got millions of excuses for not doing my blog. So, pretend like this is five weeks ago and keep reading.

Stepping Back, Just a Bit

What needs to be said at this very “early” juncture in 2018? Did YOU make resolutions for 2018? My gym friends and I, in our locker-room conversations (as we complain that the gym always seems overly crowded early in the New Year), talk about people who make “fitness resolutions” and show up at the gym for a few weeks. Then, mysteriously, you don’t see them anymore.

Myself, I’m as regular as the sunrise, three times a week I’m in the gym. It keeps me fit, it relaxes me, and it’s important to me, being fit I mean. I tell people that I’m inspired by my Dad (God bless him), who was younger than me when he died because he did not stay fit.

My advice to you is to “do stuff”, turn off the big eye and get off the couch. You don’t have to be as dedicated as I am (swimming, running, Nautilus machines, etc.), but do something to keep yourself healthy. I also tell people that being fit is not automatic. Your body will appreciate it if you make the effort to stay fit.

The Who: Sparks, Tommy

 

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Blog of the Week: December 24, 2017

December 25, 2017

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A Christmas Eve Blog

What can I say, on this Christmas Eve, 2017, to edify and perhaps entertain you. First, I’ll update you on my week in wintry Oregon, then move on to the “edifying” part.

The Recap for the Week

Did I say “wintry”? Which reminds me, I hate it when she’s right all the time (well, most of the time). My spouse called it (before the weatherman) at least two weeks ago, “The conditions are right, and we’ll have snow by Christmas.” And we did, on Christmas Eve.

And the rest of the week . . . Christmas preparations, some indoor golf on Tuesday, a couple of short runs for me in the cold, visits from the grandkids, and the wife came down with a cold. So, some plusses and some minuses for this past week.

The Edifying Part

It’s late, so I’ll wrap it up with some thoughts and affirmations from my Daily Word readings (see my note below). It’s good to slow down, to stop, and to reflect. I’ll include the accompanying Bible reference in parentheses for each of these daily affirmations. Look them up if you like.

Note: You can go to dailyword.com to get a copy if you’re interested.
Coldplay: God Put a Smile on Your Face
  • Joy: I expand my joy as I share my blessings with others. (Isaiah 55:12)
  • Healing: I am an ever-renewing expression of Infinite Life. (Luke 9:2)
  • Giving: I freely express my giving heart. (2 Corinthians 9:7)
  • Receiving: I prepare to receive as I give without an expectation of return. (Luke 8:15)
  • Strength: In stillness, I renew my strength. (1 Chronicles 16:11)
  • Celebrate: I celebrate the glory of God with all that I am and in everything that I do! (1 Corinthians 10:31)
  • Silent Night: I find peace and love in the Silence. (Isaiah 30:15)
  • Christmas Eve: I am ready to give birth to new expressions of Spirit as I release limitations. (Luke 2:14)
  • Christmas: I welcome the rebirth of Christmas spirit into my heart today. (Luke 1:14)

Blog of the Week: December 17, 2017

December 18, 2017
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Dad & Son

What’s the Hook?

For the answer, go back to my Crystal City, Part I blog to refresh your memory about journalism. Basically, rather than start out with some of the more routine things that happened this past week, I wanted to start with my morning meditation thoughts from this morning, which I thought were well-worth passing along, although the thoughts didn’t actually happen last week. Doesn’t matter really, try to be flexible. :}

As part of my morning routine, as I mentioned last week, I try to spend some time reading – I read different things, always the Bible, and some other things, just to get my day started on the right foot (or the left). Often, I’ll just open my Bible at a random location. This morning was in the book of Psalms, Psalm 15 to be exact. I recommend reading the Bible even if you aren’t “religious” (whatever that means), partly because of the way it was written, especially the Psalms, which are poems, songs of praise, or thankfulness verses, and they show a wide variety of emotions and feelings. My Bible is the New International Version. I quote part of Psalm 15, just a bit to get you started, then you can read all of it, it’s only five verses long.

Psalm 15 (part of it)

Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?

He whose life is blameless and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from his heart
and has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbor no wrong
and casts no slur on his fellowman,
who despises a vile man
but honors those who fear the Lord,
who keeps his oath
even when it hurts,
who lends his money
without usury
and does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

He who does these things
will never be shaken.

Actually, I got carried away, that’s all of Psalm 5.

Journal Recap

Just a few high points from my journal for the past week, that’s all.

My son-in-law came over to help install a new kitchen faucet after the other one stopped working. Actually, I don’t claim to have mechanical abilities sufficient for such a task, so I watched, and he installed the faucet. It would have taken me three times as long. Water is an amazing commodity in our daily lives, try washing your dishes in the shower.

My wife and I played golf at Killarney Golf Course. It was chilly, but dry, and the greens were as hard as a rock from the cold weather we’ve had. She won (again). We’ve recently started playing golf at a place called Top Golf, which is undercover and has food and drink, not a regular golf course, but still a lot of fun and at least it’s dry and warm.

Lots of soup and salads this week, fortunately I’m married to a creative cook, who creates wonderful soups that are especially good during the cold months. Otherwise, I did my usual routine going to the gym and running, but less distance this time of year. On Saturday we did a sleepover at my daughter’s house so she and her hubby could have a weekend night at the beach while we stayed with the kids. Lots of walks in their new neighborhood, with and without the dogs, just exploring to find the best places to go.

Closing in on Christmas, so maybe my next BOTW will be about Christmas. Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas in advance.

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Mt. Hood, Oregon

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Sunriver, Oregon

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Estacada, Oregon


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