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life

OMG the hamster escaped!

A hamster is jailed in their cage.

I had a pet hamster growing up. Put them into those balls and they will run for hours, exploring the house. Also a dog and a cat. Our family was bad at names. We had a dog named Tippy because of the white tip at the end of her tail. And Grey the cat. You guessed it. Grey’s mother was named Fluffy. Shall I go on?

To a hamster, the caged life must be great. All the food you want, an exercise wheel. You sleep. You eat. You drink. You poop. Plenty to do, provided you like to live behind bars everyday of your life. That is if your hamster is caged in the modern rodent cages that one can purchase from a local pet shop. Or from Pet Smart at the mall. Both of my kids have had lots of pets over the years. It started with Guinea Pigs.

I had just separated and moved into a three bedroom apartment. The kids called me one day crying. Their Montessori needed to re-home two Guinea Pigs from a student who had them but as she got older, developed allergies. My lease didn’t allow pets but I said that I would ask the landlord. Oddly enough, he didn’t have a problem with Guinea Pigs. I guess it was because they live in a cage. So the kids got the two Guinea pigs, renamed them Super Guinea and Brownie. I don’t remember what their original names were. Over the next three years, they were the only two pets in our new home. Then over time…

Along came several goldfish and then tropical fish. We still have three goldfish that my son won at a street carnival two years ago. They share the tank with a five year old tropical fish and get along just fine…

And the seven or so parakeets. They had great bird names…

And the lizards. We loved to watch them eat live crickets…

And two dogs over the six years that we have called the place home. The dogs arrived after I bought the place from my landlord. Abby died after two years and after a year, we had to get Jewel. Both were pound puppies…Jewel is currently lying on the back of the sofa over my left shoulder as I write this.

The kids got very creative with Pet names over the years. How else can you get Ruby from a horse that is actually named Think of Chocolate?

Ruby the horse has her own place about 5 miles from our house. If she could, I am sure that my daughter would love to have her living in the back yard.

Over the years, these pets taught my kids about the circle of life. How to take care of something that cannot take care of itself. All things live, until they die. The backyard has become a pet cemetery of sorts. Nondescript graves, a nondescript funeral. Flushing the goldfish down the toilet is not how we send a family pet like whitie the goldfish into the ever after. If the mean guy who lives two houses down wants to report that to the homeowners association, I don’t care.

This morning I went into my son’s room to check on Johnnie, my son’s pet hamster. He has had Johnnie for almost two years now. Gave him fresh food and checked the cage. It was empty! There was no Johnnie. He escaped.

Johnnie the hamster. Not his real picture. Could not find one but this is what we are going to put on his wanted sign.

The last time that I saw Johnnie was a couple of days ago. I went to my son’s room to check on him. He was fine but needed water. I refilled his water container. Pretty sure he was there when I replaced the water bottle. Checked today, provided him food and there was no hamster. No sign as to how he got out. My son swears that he was there yesterday. What to do now?

My daughter had a hamster several years ago. He managed to escape from his cage. This kids like to hold them and play with them. Hamster fell out of her hands and ran off. Took us about 24 hours to recapture him in my daughter’s closet. Hope to do the same with Johnnie.

But he is missing. So I checked the internet on how to recover a lost hamster. I set his cage in the middle of my son’s room with the door open. Hopefully he will get hungry, or thirsty, spy the cage and craw inside. Visit for awhile and hopefully I can trap him.

The trap in my son’s room…hopefully Johnnie will get home sick!

Came across many interesting articles about hamsters, and other animals. Found a particularly interesting article entitled “Do Hamsters like music” at https://hutchandcage.com/do-hamsters-like-music/. From the article, the hamsters are like my kids. They love classical music. The article says that all animals like classical music. Of late I have been listening to Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring and Fanfare for the Common Man. Jewel isn’t too keen on it. Mozart or Beethoven? The article didn’t specify….Hamsters get stressed out to Metal or Rock music. The article suggests that music can be beneficial to hamsters. Too bad my children cannot benefit from listening to Pearl Jam (or RUSH; but they are OK with the Beatles and REM).

So if the cage trick does not work, I guess that I will resort to music.

Think I need to rethink the whole concept of getting chickens and rabbits and goats for the kids at the stables. Son wants a snake. I told him he can get a snake when he has his own place. Daughter would like lots of farmland so that she can take in any and every animal that does not have a home.

Categories
life

Magazines

Many things that defined my growing up, college, graduate school, and the present, have changed with the creation of and continued expansion of the internet. Over the years, it has changed much of how I learn, watch movies, read, get the news, purchased things, my daily routines in life. It has had a significant change of how our society has evolved. Some of it has NOT been for the better in my opinion.

One of the many things that is debatable in this electronic age is the loss of magazines. The loss of books. The loss of privacy, of oratory and the spoken word. The converse may also be true. The internet allows me to share my thoughts. Put into words what I am thinking. The ability for it to be shared with anyone and everyone. This post is the manifestation of that.

Growing up, grade schools and high schools often raised money for student activities by selling magazines. I think Publisher’s Clearinghouse still offers annual contests for millions of dollars! In graduate school, much time I spent in the library reading chemistry journals. As a serious professional (a chemistry nerd), much money was also spent subscribing to the various ACS (American Chemical Society) and getting their journals delivered monthly. Now all of these can be obtained by paying for an electronic subscription. For the record, I think I stopped receiving those journals about 5 years after graduate school. It is still much easier to go to the library. They took up too much space in a one bedroom apartment. Moving many boxes of dead weight was a hassle. I don’t even think I saved the copies of the published issues where I actually published my original research articles. Alas, I can look them up on-line.

When I travel for work, if I don’t have a book to carry along, I will stop at the magazine store at the airport to pick up one for the trip. Of late, that has been either a sailing magazine or woodworking. Thinking about the next 50 years.

However, I still get magazines delivered to my home. When I got serious about making money and investing, I had to have every magazine out there. From BusinessWeek to MONEY to SmartMoney to Kiplinger’s to Cooking Light, Real Simple, even Men’s Health and Playboy. Over the years, I had several magazines delivered. Yes they take up space. I saved them before recycling them. Slowly, over the years, many of these magazines have migrated to an all electronic format. MONEY has been that way for about 18 months now. Note to son – sorry, but I got rid of the Playboy subscription and magazines before I met your mom. Replaced it for Coastal Living for a few years. I get a periodic e-mail reminder of what’s new in MONEY. I guess they make money by online advertising. It still has the same format.

Somehow, it just doesn’t fill all of my necessary sensory needs. With Kiplinger’s, which I still get sent to my house monthly, I have the feel. I can feel the paper, smell the paper, look at the pictures, read the articles. I can roll it up if I have to hit the dog, or the kids, or myself. I can recycle it. I can take it to work and leave it at the lunch table for others to read. I can even take it to the bathroom to read it. Every month, it comes to my mailbox and every month, I read it. Cover to cover. Takes maybe two days, cover to cover. I have it. I own it.

I used to get the Wall Street Journal every day, the same way. The stacks of paper would pile up. You still can, but several years ago I opted for the electronic version only. I think that the electronic version is quickly becoming overpriced at $38.99 a month. I find that the quality of the presentation is less, more typos, errors. It no longer prints the daily stock quotes as near as I can tell. They have a web site for that. The same article can appear electronically in different versions for several days. Corrections are easy, updates to articles are easy. But it is convenient. During the COVID19 situation, I wished that I still had the paper copy, especially on those days when toilet paper was in short supply. But I read it every morning on my iPad.

Garden & Gun April/May 2020.

The inspiration for this post was that I received and finished, my April/May 2020 issue of Garden & Guns about a week ago. I have found it to be the best printed magazine out there today. I know that I have June/July on my table to read next. I read it cover to cover, all the time. Why would a 59 year old man born and raised in the Northeast, who lives in the Southwest, enjoy a magazine about the South? It has great articles, photography, recipes. The advertisements make me think of places to add to my bucket list if I ever want to get away from New Mexico, even for a few days. Articles about guns, horses, dogs, the culture, music, cooking, cities, towns, decorating. This month features include Saving the South. Articles about 30 heroes, from musicians to chefs, farmers, cowboys, conversationalists, and others who are making the south a better place. I find it has something new, enlightening, enjoyable to read. A new recipe to try when I feel the need to practice some at home Chemistry.

The website https:gardenandgun.com has the June/July issue already up for your viewing pleasure. I cannot wait to sit and read it from cover to cover. To feel the paper. To gaze at the pictures and to contemplate the mouthwatering recipes. For Memorial Day (yesterday), they posted on Instagram a picture from Arlington National Cemetery (see above). Many other magazines follow this same format. They have an on-line presence, linked with their subscriptions. In my opinion some just do it better than others.

Yes I can get the copy electronically, sent to my iPad. It loses its meaning to me in some ways. So as long as I can continue to get the printed copy, I feel added pleasure. I can hold it, get a paper cut, enjoy the turning of every page.

Categories
life

People

I started writing this post several months ago. Put it on the back burner as I got tied up with other things. Distractions, work, my ongoing frustration and funk. Fascination about the third President of the United States. The unabomber and Henry David Thoreau. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Pearl Jam and Bob Dylan.

Now I come back to it during the COVID19 stay-at-home situation. I actually spent the morning in my office. TRUE. I went to work. I have been able to go there over the whole stay-at-home ordeal, if only for a few hours. Quite deserted, but on occasion, I would see colleagues that I work with. Face-to-face is so much better than over the telephone. It certainly is better with my kids. It is certainly better with people.

I will probably never understand people. I know that I may not be the easiest person to talk to. I am an introvert. I have no problem doing things on my own, exploring, hiking, going to the movies or museums. I do not do well in terms of making small talk, either in groups, or one-on-one. I tend to keep to myself. My communication skills are not polished. I deal with it and at different times I have tried to improve upon those skills. But I can still “um” right up there with the best of them. I hope to improve my writing skills through this blog.

Don’t get me wrong. On most days I don’t hate people. Well OK, on some days I might. On other days there are people who I will never like. So does my personality type influence people that I interact with, whether it is my coworkers or my friends? Are the people with whom I met over the years friends or acquaintances? Or are we like ships that pass in the night, forgotten or a desire never to meet again?

An article in Inc. ( https://www.inc.com/amy-morin/psychologists-say-there-are-5-personality-types-heres-how-to-tell-which-one-you-.html ) tells us that there are five personality types according to psychologists. One’s personality influences everything from the friends we choose to the candidates we vote for. Many people never really spend much time thinking about personality traits. I’m guessing that includes me. Understanding my personality can give me insight into my strengths and weaknesses, and that it can also help me gain insight into how others see me. Does it also help me understand others? Is this why some people are dog lovers and others are cat lovers, and there are others who like all animals. I’m in the dog-lover (and horse-lover) camp. OK son, I also like Johnnie the hamster.

At this point, I would venture off and talk about how this article ties into this posting. But as I researched the personality types, I found different types have been qualified and quantified. One article talks about four different types. Another talks about eight. Another has three, then there are seven, eleven, and twenty. Do I hear nine, fifteen, thirty-one?

This article from Northwestern suggests that there are four ( https://www.haaretz.com/science-and-health/there-are-only-four-types-of-people-psychologists-say-based-on-new-data-1.6489904 ). The four are: average, reserved, self-centered and role model. Another article ( https://www.today.com/health/personality-types-average-self-centered-role-model-or-reserved-t137902 ) quoted the same Northwestern study and provided more detail that the groupings make more sense. This article was altogether confusing because it went back-and-forth between personality types and personality traits. People fall into one of the four types based on how they rank on the big five personality traits: openness, agreeableness, extra version, neuroticism and contentiousness. Understanding how high or low someone ranks on each of the traits can be useful and predict things about people, such as their risk of mental illness or likelihood of divorcing.

In the end I suspect that a person’s personality is comprised of a great many types of traits. Each and every one is unique. One’s personality is comprised of a mixture of traits. Some are more pronounced than others, some are more endearing than others. I’m not a psychologist and I have already said that I do not understand people.

My spin in writing this post was going to suggest that there were only two types of people. There are people who like people regardless of their personality. The other are the people who only like themselves. Are these types, or traits? The workplace is full of different people, different personalities, different traits. How can I say this, and yet argue that there are only two types of people? Let me continue.

The genesis of the “only two types of people” was reinforced when I was walking the dog. I was thinking about the types and traits of people. Don’t you get up at 5am on a Saturday and then read obscure articles about the traits of people? Of course this was some months ago, but it is as true today as it was then. Jewel and I were about 3 miles into our walk near the East Gate dog park. I spied a former coworker, who I have known for 29 years. We worked together for about four years when I first arrived at Los Alamos. Now the lab is a big place, and we went our separate ways in terms of career, working on different projects in different parts of the laboratory. We followed different pathways, and over the years we would cross paths again at different times, albeit the interactions were very limited.

Anyway, I was walking Jewel, came across my coworker who was there with her dog. I said “hello” and she replied “hello”. I then ventured to ask “how was it going”, to which there was no reply, other than “I need to get my dog to the park to play”. No “take care”, “nice dog”, “how are you doing?”. That was it. Like two ships passing in the night.

Over the years, I have met and encountered many people. I find that I enjoy those encounters. As is often the case, people come and go. Whether those contacts continue over time is often guided by whether I liked them, or whether I felt used by them. Time causes people to drift apart. Time also allows one to to think, to reflect, to determine if it was a genuine positive experience, or was it mutual admiration, working towards a common goal, or just one of being used. It is also possible that time doesn’t leave people with the opportunity to catch up, to talk, to laugh.

In the case of the individual with whom I passed walking the dog, I immediately jumped to that type definition. I was the one who was being used. I have seen this individual use many people over the years to advance her career. We all characterize this person the same way. Those who have been able to get away have gone on to be successful. I think that I am in that category. Those who did not get away suffered, eventually leaving into obscurity. Clearly, in my opinion, this individual is self centered.

Now as the months have gone by since I started this post, I have read and reread the words that I put down. I have changed some of the sentences, added some qualifiers about today compared to several months ago to put things into context. My opinion of how I characterized the encounter has not changed, filtered through the passage of time. Still think that there are only two types of people. Weather hasn’t changed my feelings, my environment has changed since the COVID19 but that hasn’t altered my thinking about the types of people.

Categories
life

End of the year 2019

Twice this week I had the intention of writing several posts since I have been off for about a week now. Historically, the lab closes between Christmas and New Year’s, so the week is one without work and vacation is taken to compensate my lack of salary. Aside from the normal days that I was required to take off (paid as in vacation or unpaid as in leave without pay), an additional day of vacation gets me two weeks off. Not a bad deal if one plans accordingly.

So here I sit New Years Eve 2019 (6am December 31 to be exact) and contemplate the good, the bad, and the ugly of 2019 and ponder what 2020 may have in store for me.

See the source image
Yes, I borrowed this image from the internet. Source: https://the2020deadline.twinsystems.com/
Adequate image of the road I am still taking.

Work was rather stressful for me this year. More so than in past years. Still doing the same thing, but management sucks. They don’t have a clue about what they need to do to get things done. Spend too much time planning, developing schedules, tracking costs and performance. I literally sit in several hour-long meetings each week tracking where we were, where we are going. Why did this take twice as long? Why was this not completed on Tuesday? We need more resources? We cannot process x until y and z is finished, but z will take new work procedures and set us back weeks. Team BLAH BLAH BLAH failed to do this task last month, they had 6 months to complete it. This list of excuses goes on and on. The accomplishments become fewer. Over the past 40 days of planned work, I think we actually managed to be productive for 8 of those days. More difficult these days to pull rabbits out of my hat…they usually are pulled from my ass! Requirements not met, equipment not available, resources pulled for higher priority tasks, so and so called in sick. I find myself enjoying it less and less. YES, I actually still enjoy my job and even though the bull shit has increased exponentially, I still get some satisfaction when even the smallest task is accomplished. More often than not, I now just put in my time, get stuff done and just collect the paycheck. That said, it is clear that the return from investment continues to decrease. One puts in more time and gets less and less done. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT I AM WORKING 60, 70, OR EVEN 80 HOURS A WEEK, like I did when I was younger. It means that it takes two, three, four times as long to get things done. In scheduling, I call that the pi factor. If the task duration is 1 day, I multiply the duration by pi (3.14159). Such a nerd I can be at times. And even that creates a “success-oriented schedule” that usually fails. Funk and frustration redux…

An anniversary of sorts happened before the holiday’s. I celebrated my 29th anniversary working at the lab. I guess that you can say that over my 58 years, I have lived in this area of the country (New Mexico) the most. Pennsylvania comes in second, living 18 years near Lewistown, PA. Happy Anniversary.

With that milestone comes the obvious. What are my plans for the future? Should I retire? Can I retire? When will I retire? Do I have enough money saved in order to retire? What does it mean to retire? Where do I see myself over the next 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? 50 years? Where will I live? Will I just make that change and go do something totally different.

By many analyses, I am expected to live at least another 20 years, which would mean that I would live until I am 78. Advances in medicine and such could tack on another 5 years. Of course all of this depends on how health I am currently. Have I taken care of myself? Are their things in my family history or how I currently live that could adjust that? Hell, I could die in a car crash tomorrow and never see my 59th birthday. I don’t exercise enough? I don’t drink enough red wine? I am considered obese yet managed to lose and keep off 15 pounds this year. My blood pressure is under control with medication, but my doctor thinks I need to look at my sleep habits. No thanks. I have survived 40 years sleeping on average 4 hours a night. And yes, I have read that 7 is the preferred number of hours of sleep required to be healthy. The whole concept of life expectancy, health and actuarial tables is interesting, yet at the same time somewhat morbid. Given all of that, I have planned to lived until I am 92. That is another 34 years, minimum.

Maybe I should write a “year in review” post. What did I accomplish in the past year? What did I write about during the course of this year but need to update? Did I ever finish reading “Atlas Shrugged”? Well that is an easy one to answer. My copy has 1168 pages and I am on page 90. So NO, I have not finished the book that I have started to read thrice before. I seem to stop reading at about 120 pages and so, the copy that I purchased in the summer of 2011 has some wear and tear, but remains unfinished. Should I make this a New Year’s resolution for 2020? I do need to spend more time reading.

I am never very good in the resolutions. Every year it is the same. Eat better, exercise more, spend less. Stop and smell the roses. Reduce the clutter in my house. Am I still in the rut that has plagued me and that I have written about in the past? Is my frustration and funk continuing into 2020? If I had my magic 8 ball, what would it say? “All signs point to yes”? There is another thing to contemplate. How is my mental health and how does that interact with life expectancy. Stress is not a good thing. What can I do to reduce or relieve my stress?

I am a single (divorced) white male with a dog. I have read that that divorce and male are bad in terms of life expectancy, but having a dog is good. I take dog for walk, and so I get some exercise. Jewel likes her walks and gets upset when we don’t go for a walk each and every day. That too is good, except for it being 6:30 in the morning and single digits outside like today. Snow on the ground. It is cold, there is some wind, and I have been stuck in the house for the past few days, screaming at the TV about bad officiating in several football games. OHIO STATE WAS ROBBED by bad officiating in their game.

Staying inside has other bad effects. I eat too much, don’t get enough exercise, and BAM! Put on a few pounds. Eat, drink and be merry. Get an exercise bike and set it in the living room. Read, watch TV and exercise at the same time. Unfortunately I eat too much because I try my hand at cooking. It is the only Chemistry that I perform these days. One of the posts that I had contemplated over the past week was on cooking, complete with before and after photo’s. Last night I made sausage, fennel and pasta. Over the years I have diverged

See the source image
Looks what I made last night, except I did not have any grated cheese to finish it off. Yes, I borrowed this picture as well, from https://www.finecooking.com/recipe/penne-with-sausage-fennel-and-pecorino. The recipe is close to what I use, except for the quantity of ingredients.

somewhat from the recipe. I add my own proportions of the ingredients. Equal amounts of fennel and onion. More than what is typically called for in the recipe, but not too much. Typically one fennel bulb (large) and one medium white onion. I love to cook with onions. Diced tomato instead of tomato paste. It was good, and with control, I have enough to last for several meals for myself. The kids don’t care for it. Even though it is made with love, it takes time. Processed food is easier to prepare. One can Kraft Mac and Cheese between commercials. But processed foods I read are not good for you. BTW, Mac and Cheese is good with Hatch Green Chile (and so are cheesy grits). Have not added green chile to this recipe yet. Red pepper works fine to add heat.

I could probably go on and on. But I will end it here. Let’s say good bye to 2019 and hello to 2020. No resolutions agreed upon, or posted, written down, placed on Facebook. Just try and live every day to its fullest. Hoping that tomorrow is better than yesterday.

Categories
life

It has been over a month

It has been about six weeks since my last post. I started writing several posts but never finished them. They are drafted and sit. Unfinished, they will probably get wrapped up in future writings. The last one that I drafted was about taking the kids out for trick or treat on Halloween night. Daughter went dressed as a squirrel, son as Michael Meyers. We did the usual route which is around their mothers neighborhood. They took their usual haul of candy. If previous years our any gauge, eating candy will grow old after a few days and it will sit, get hard and then be thrown away. I get all of the Almond Joy’s because it’s my favorite. This year, as in years past, two houses had treats for the adults. Scotch at one place and rye whiskey at the other. That was the most alcohol that I consumed in weeks.

Weather is getting chilly here in New Mexico. This year I finally bought a new winter coat after a few years. My previous coat was a ski jacket that I bought about 25 years ago. This was for the very cold days, when it gets in the teens or lower. I had a couple other coats for most of my winter years. The ski jacket wore quite well, but the zipper would break after a few years. Send it back to the company (Columbia) and they would fix it. After about four returns, they didn’t fix it. They just sent me a new coat. Cool. Then the zipper breakage would continue. I would send it back and they would fix it. I point out the zipper because I have quite a collection of fairly new coats that the only problem is a broken zipper. Two coats from Patagonia, a North Face jacket, and a few others.

I considered it a conspiracy: one of planned obsolescence. The zippers would break and I would be forced to get a new coat. Need to find a place to get the zippers fixed, or learn myself. As it is, some of the coats probably no longer fit. It’s always the zipper. Never a tear, or hole, or ripped seam. It’s always the zipper.

Now I have observed that my pants have a planned obsolescence in another way. All my Lee jeans would rip in the same place…the crotch would rip at the seam. For Wrangler jeans, I first loose a belt loop. It is typically the one on the back left above the pocket. I guess from trying to pull my pants up. In all cases, all of my jeans would shrink and be too tight to fit.

Work has been hectic of late. Nothing positive to note there. Just going through the motions. Another day in paradise. Management is a joke. Thinking of late about retirement. Some of my coworkers have cut the cord, others are like me. Thinking about it. Some have dates in mind. I do not. Still trying to define a post retirement plan. Clearly still in a funk.

Well I will try to get back on track and post more often. Enough rambling for the night. Thanks to all of the folks who serve.

Categories
life

Frustration and a funk…continued

It has been almost two weeks since my last post. I am still in a funk. I am still frustrated. Whether it is at work, at home, or talking to the kids, this blasé feeling continues.

I find myself thinking a lot about it. Why am I frustrated? What is causing my funk? It could be caused by a great many things in my life. I look around at the insanity that there is in the country, in the world. I look inward and wonder about my own sanity. What is it?

Sometimes writing helps, but the fog bank that covers my mind is fairly significant. Writing reports at work is long stretches of sitting at the computer staring at the monitor. I try talking to my kids, to my coworkers, my friends. I cannot put my finger on the problem. What is the problem? Should I be concerned?

I remember one morning about seven years ago feeling like this for quite sometime. Going through some heavy things, divorce and all of that. I was pissed. I was getting screwed. I was confused. What did I do wrong? Long sleepless nights. Well that one day, I think I got up and thought I would go to work early…too early. Could not sleep. Drove to my office and thought this was all bullshit! Turned the car around and went for a drive. Drove from Los Alamos to Telluride. That is over 300 miles on some fairly scenic roads. Driving the back roads of Colorado, snow on the peaks, green forests. Managed to get to the New Sheridan Hotel in time for lunch. It was a beautiful day.

Walked in to the bar and ordered a beer. That was it. Had a cold beer.

Finished the beer and walked out of the hotel. It wasn’t even a fancy beer. But it was cold and quenched my thirst. I was relaxed. The first time in a long time. It was a beautiful day. Took a deep breath, got back in the car and drove home. Forgot about everything that was bothering me. They say that driving can do that. Not sure if it was the serenity of the countryside, the carefree attitude of just blowing off work, the stress in my life, the fresh air. I love Telluride and wish that I could live there all year round.

Anyway, I returned to my reality and realized that I blew off work, blew off picking up the kids, blew off the world around me. All of those stressors suddenly came back. People were out looking for me. My phone had literally hundreds of text messages. I had turned the damn thing off before the trip. The police were out looking for me. I didn’t call into work so there was the whole fitness for duty matter. I was relaxed and at peace. I did nothing wrong, was in complete control of my faculties. I felt great. I actually chuckled at the whole thing. The first really humorous thing that made me laugh in a long while.

Yes people were concerned. But I felt great.

Maybe it is time to take another road trip.

Categories
life

Stimulating conversation

Often when I am home alone because the kids are with their mother, I find myself talking either to myself, or to the dog. I wonder what that means?

Naturally I performed a Google search on “talking to myself or the dog”. Top of the list was an April 2019 article “Your-new-self-care-talk-to-yourself-the-way-you-talk-to-a-pet” by Haley Goldberg.

https://advice.shinetext.com/articles/your-new-self-care-talk-to-yourself-the-way-you-talk-to-a-pet/

Haley concluded that she was far nicer to her dog than to herself and thus we should talk to ourself like we talk to our pet. Haley’s Instagram page show lots of pictures with her rescued dogs. They look good and I am glad that she rescued them.

I can relate because I consider myself my own worst enemy. I don’t think that I can really talk to myself like the way I talk to Jewel. Somehow “no biting Steve, kisses” really will help me. My conversations are more about “well that’s a fine mess you got yourself in; how are you going to get out of it”? Or “ what shall I make for dinner”? Jewel’s kibble isn’t for me. For me, talking to myself helps me to analyze and to solve the problem that I am talking to myself about.

The next article in the search was a 2015 article entitled “What’s really going on when you talk to your pet” suggests that dogs can understand

http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/whats-really-going-on-when-you-talk-to-your-pet

the emotions we are conveying from the tone of our voice. I can relate to that because Jewel can certainly tell when she is in trouble from the tone of my voice. So can my kids. So can my coworkers. One’s tone can convey positive and heartwarming thoughts. Conversely, anger and frustration can also be conveyed by the tone of one’s voice. The words can make it worse. And for the record, when I talk t o myself, I too can here the tone differences and how they convey emotion.

The third item in the search was a 2013 article from Psychology Today entitled “Is it crazy to talk to your dog”. It too talked about intonations

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/play-in-mind/201304/is-it-crazy-talk-your-dog

and the responses of the dog.

The Atlantic had a 2017 article entitled “Why Do Humans Talk to Animals If They Can’t Understand?” This article suggested that the tendency to converse with dogs, cats, and hamsters ultimately says more about people than it does about their pets. I now have to admit that I also talk t9 the horse, and sons hampster Jonny. Neither one ever talks back.

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/08/talking-to-pets/537225/

In addition, conversations with our pets are not one-sided. They give as much as they take. This is true because when I talk to Jewel, her tale wags. When she chases her tail and I ask her if she got it, or if I hold her tale, she will chase it some more.

OK so I think we have concluded that it is ok to talk to our pets, but what about ourselves? Well, I think that is also ok, and answering ourselves is also ok. After all, or at least in my case, I can really have some questioning conversation with myself about myself. And after all, who is best to tell me about me than me.

So here I am downstairs writing this posting. My past few posts never saw the light of day. They remain draft and need work. The kids are upstairs, presumably playing computer games. Jewel is here keeping me company. And I am talking to myself as I write this. In that context, I am sounding out my sentences so I don’t really think that it consititutes talking to myself.

The Google search also produced several article feeling with the subject about talking to yourself. In general, it doesn’t appear that talking to yourself puts you into a weekly visit to a therapist. I’m sure that psychologists have debated this topic for a long time. It looks like they have concluded every that it is ok, provided it is in moderation. In general, anything and everything in moderation is fine. Two articles, one in the New York Times and the other on CNN conveyed the importance of talking to yourself. There, all is well in the world.

At any rate, I hope this article stimulates you as it did me. I had fun writing it.

Categories
life

Away from home

I rushed to the airport this morning trying to get back home at a decent time to see my kids tonight. I had it all planned in advance. I had to get back when I planned. Sadly, I now find myself sitting at the airport, waiting six hours for my rebooked flight. If all goes well, instead of getting home by dinner, I am home by midnight. It’s not just my time or plans ruined. It cost my employer money because of added time for parking, meals, and since my flight gets into New Mexico after 9pm and then it’s two hours by car, I can actually stay in a hotel an extra night.

Really, you don’t have a spare plane that can reposition and get me on time? Maintenance really takes that long and you cannot shuffle flights so that I could get home sooner? It’s me so yes dammit I will be selfish. I have your app yet the technology that should of alerted me to these problems did not. It was experiencing its own technical problems so you said. Had I been alerted, I could have kept the rental car for awhile longer, returned to my meeting, or at least have enjoyed a nice restaurant away from the airport. Instead, I am here, writing about you.

Where I work, some call travel a perk. Others call it an unnecessary evil that comes with our jobs. I hate travel. Others love travel. My desire is to win the lottery with enough money so that I can travel on a private plane. You rebooked me and now I have a crappy seat. The other day I posted on my Facebook page photos at your hub, where you claimed to be making improvements with upgrades. I presume you think that these will make our travel experience better?

I think not. How is a reduced sitting area in the terminal improve our travel experience? How are places to line up based upon boarding improve my experience? You have already reduced our legroom. Perhaps you should redo the seats in the terminal to mirror the lack of space we will have when we can actually get on a plane.

When I checked in my luggage, I thanked the attendant for ruining her plans. It’s not her fault and I told her that. She agreed. Unfortunately she is the face that you put in front of me. She listened, I complained. I thanked her and we went our separate ways. Now my checked luggage is setting there, unlocked because the government searches it in the name of security. Odds are that it will NOT make it to my final destination. This is the voice of experience talking because I have been down this road before.

As I sit at the airport, I see the clouds rolling in. Yep, I am certain that I will experience additional delays this afternoon because of weather. My weather app tells me that there is a 70% chance of afternoon Thunderstorms by 4pm. Just about the boarding time for my flight from Augusta to Atlanta.

Hopefully I’ll get home based upon my revised itinerary. I’ll let you know. At least I’ll have my questionnaire that I will be sent by e-mail asking me about my experience. NOT!

Categories
life

Tired

It’s about a quarter past nine as I sit and write this. Trying to write something every day. Kinda like Chemistry in graduate school. Equally important that I ran one experiment a day. Whether it was the necessary synthesis for starting materials, kinetics of chemical reactions, spectroscopic evaluations, or even modeling on the computer, I felt it necessary to do one reaction a day. So it is true with this new adventure. Just took son back to his mothers place; talked to daughter earlier as she is at Goose Downs working and riding in preparation for this weekends event.

I have been awake now for about 18 hours. A typical day. Never get much sleep on the weekdays. Three to five hours is the norm. Eight is sleeping in on the weekend. I usually start the day between 3 and 4 am. Hot tea or coffee, read, shower, take the dog for a walk. This morning we walked a little longer than normal and managed to come across 4 deer feeding in the yards around the place where we live. Got to work by 5:45 am. Usual day in terms of status and schedule meeting. Addressed questions about some equipment, worked with the quality assurance engineers on a new certificate of analysis for product specifications. Meeting on implementation of some new process monitoring to make us more efficient.

Left work after 4 pm to pick up son from summer camp. He didn’t want to go but I think he is actually have fun. It is tiring him out, a good thing. Cooked dinner, had to get dog food at the grocery store. Dropped him off at his mothers. Strangely, I too find myself very tired, having eye trouble. Looking at the dog who picks her head up from the sofa at the sound of the hospital lifeflight helicopter flying overhead.

That about does it it for me. It is hot this evening, not much of a breeze. Will make sleeping difficult. Until tomorrow.

Categories
life

My story, or is it?

As I think about subjects to write about, I have been thinking about a pathway to guide me through the summer months. I started this blog based on a conversation at work with a coworker, during one of our morning “coffee cabels”. They often deal with work issues, but this one morning, the discussion focused on retirement, what to do after retirement, whether to retire and return part time, or under contract to another company. The work stuff focuses on what is working, what is not working, our management, solving this or that technical problem. Sometimes the conversation triggers thoughts about almost anything. I try to make a mental note about those things; ideas for a future blog post.

The pathway was my thought about the fact that my topics ramble on in terms of subject. While some themes have emerged, I think it will take some time to improve my skills, improve my subjects, and how the fit together. As an example, lots of my posts speak about my kids. I love them, but I don’t think they read my blog. I’ll keep trying.

Now in my third week, I have been exposed to many fellow bloggers in the past few weeks. I find their stories and subjects equally interesting. Some deal with writing, animals, art, a variety of topics. Some readings that I have exposed myself to suggest writing about one or more of my hobbies. I have some future plans in this area and will lay those out over the next few months. I have lots of interests, but they all clearly are not hobbies. Book reviews, movie reviews are all fair game, but I fail to see how writing about those subjects will separate this blog from others. A book review about my reading might appear. I bet you all are interested in how far I have gotten in Atlas Shrugged (7 pages). Fishing, hunting, hiking and camping are also fair game. I won’t write about sports or skiing, although an occasional shout out to my teams is permitted. Similarly, food and alcohol are things that I enjoy, but I am neither a cook, critic or a connoisseur. Lots of blogs on history and politics but I don’t want to alienate half of the audience who would disagree with my political views. But then again, I would not be true to myself if I didn’t write about these things.

Some of these topics go to the heart of why I started this blog. It’s obvious that writing and communication are important in my job, with my friends and coworkers. It’s all around us. It’s also under assault (in my opinion). Just spend some time on Facebook. Read the comments to any article. Whether you agree or disagree, there is someone who has an opinion, or will tell you why your opinion is wrong, bad, stupid, or just embark on a characterization of you in detail in comparison to a part of the human anatomy. It doesn’t matter if your male or female. That is what is wrong with Facebook. But it gets worse as they try to have “community standards” that they impose. The imposition stifles free speech and communication of diverse subjects. We cannot have a debate, which is what is destroying our country, or democracy. That is a strength of social media, and for that Twitter might be better ( I am not on Twitter, but really, the limited character size constrains us). It is why we cannot compromise, we cannot move forward together. It’s sad that this has been the turn of our country since the 70’s by my recollections. But here we are. This blog isn’t going to fix those issues, but I will at least be able to express. Myself. And I hope that you will respond in kind and join me in these conversations. I’ll keep trying. I won’t be right all of the time, or most of the time, but I need to express myself.