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Friday, August 4, 2017

Thoughts on Memories (my own)

Sitting here listening to Alexa ('s voice activated personal "assistant") playing one hit wonders.  I remember all of these songs from when they were hits.  Mostly in the sixties and seventies.

It is well known all kinds of sensory input can trigger memories.  Sights, sounds, smells all can evoke pictures and feelings from the past.  Even things we had completely forgotten.  Perhaps not even then recalling exactly what but just a vague feeling of "being there" before.

I suppose it might be just a function of my childhood so many of the songs I listen to bring up memories which are, mostly, less than pleasant.  Probably, also a reflection of me, I always cared more for the words (lyrics) than the music.  I did enjoy them both but if I loved the words I'd learn to love the music.  If the music was good but I did not like the words I just forgot those songs.

So, what's on the menu for today.  Sixties mostly.  Songs I've mostly forgotten bringing up feelings and memories I've also mostly forgotten.  I can get lost in this music and not realize how much time is passing as I am stuck inside my mind reliving the memories these song evoke.  Heck, a (very) few of them are actually pleasant.

Think I'll put links to some songs from then on Perhaps they might even be around by the time anyone sees this.

Lots have songs they consider to be "anthem" songs.  Songs one relates to more than others for various reasons.  I guess I have many but one common theme of them all would be, I think, somewhat of sadness and loneliness.  Perhaps that is true of all of us.

"Behind Blue Eyes" by The Who.

The next one is by Kris Kristoffersen as a tribute to his friend Janis Joplin.  I  love this song.  Played it for my parents one day.  My mother did not understand it all but, much to my surprise, my dad seemed to "get it".

Epitaph(Black and Blue) Kris Kristoffersen.

Enough for one day.  Memories (and not very good ones) are creeping in.  :)

Monday, July 24, 2017

I Remember Dr.Timothy Leary

I wonder how many do?  He was a "minister" back in the 60s who was a leader in the experimentation with LSD.  He is the one who coined the phrase, "Turn on, Tune in, Drop out".

But it is not his connection to the drug scene of the '60s and 70s' I recall him for.  It was some of his other quotes about life.

I recall, after he was diagnosed with cancer, he said (paraphrased) he was not afraid of dying.  He was eager to see what came next.

When I was younger I thought that statement was incomprehensible.  How could anyone NOT fear death?   Thoughts of a young man, I guess.  When we are young we feel immortal and fear death because we are so afraid of what might come next.

As we grow older, death becomes much less frightening.  Those who have a definite sentence of death from disease can either sit around and bitch, "why me?".  Or they can see death as just another step in their existence and embrace it.  

I suppose that is Mother Nature's way of preparing us for the inevitable.  I can't say for certain what is the reason only as I get older (and sicker) I find death no longer holds any terrors for me.

I  have no fears of standing up on my own two feet and facing any judgement which may (or may not) come.  I've done the best I could with the things I was given.  Some of it was good.  Some of it was bad.  Most of it was pretty indifferent.

Probably not much different than most people if they told the truth.  Seems lots of folks live life doing just what they want and when the Reaper is walking up the sidewalk about to ring the doorbell, they suddenly "get religion".  I wonder if they believe in "god" why they think he/she/it is that stupid?  

I don't believe in "just in case" religion.  If your beliefs are good enough to live by they should be good enough to die by.  I know it is coming.  I  don't know if it could be tonight or years from now.  It does not particularly matter.  Does not even matter.  I am ready.  Whenever.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Odds and Ends on an (Almost) Rainy Day

I was writing a grocery list and thought about needing small note pads as I'm a "scribbler" and need something to scribble on working or playing.  All of a sudden I was "hit" with the smell and feel of opening that three-ring binder filled with new notebook paper on the first day of school.  Elementary school as we did not have Middle Schools and it assuredly was not the way I felt in High School.

I know aromas can trigger dormant memories but this was not an aroma.  It was just a random thought.  I suppose it is quite normal but that mental "smell" made me think of how badly I wasted my childhood.

My childhood was not what anyone would call ideal and my fondest dream was getting to be old enough to get away from my parents.  I expect that is pretty common among kids and, mostly they outgrow it.  I never did.  I never got away from them then and, I suspect, I have not completely gotten away from them now.  Their hands reach out to my mind, my memories, my sanity from beyond the grave.

It is wonderful how sights, sounds and smells can bring back vivid memories of the past.  Seems even idle thoughts can do the same.

Those kind of moments take one back to some distant place and time as though it were yesterday.  Plants "what if" seeds in ground which has lain fallow for many years.  I know there is no going back but I cannot help longing at times for what might have been.

But that is neither here not there as the past is only real in our memories and, sometimes, not even then.

But, this just brings me to the thoughts I am having today.  I go to a psychiatrist every 30 - 60 days.  One of the questions she always ask is if I have thoughts of "hurting" myself or others.  I always laugh at her and tell her, "If I were to kill myself you can be sure I'd do it in the least painful possible".  Sometimes I hate euphemisms.

While having no thoughts or plans to do away (another euphemism) with myself I find a growing indifference to whether I wake up the next morning when I go to sleep at night.  I told her a couple of visits ago that while I had no thoughts of suicide, should I go to bed knowing I would not wake up the next morning, I would still get a good night's sleep.  Well, as long as it lasted.

Kind of like Dr. Timothy Leary I am finding I'm curious about what lies ahead.  Is it "something" or is it "nothing"? Only one way I know to find out.

Although, it reminds me of an old song, "Everybody wants to go to Heaven but nobody wants to die".  Seems to me there are an awful lot of people who don't really believe in Heaven though they would never admit it.  If Heaven is a real place and completely wonderful, why does everyone cling to life like a drowning man clutching at straws?

On the other hand, if one ever expects humanity to make sense, one is in for a sure disappointment.  We humans are strange creatures.  If I were god I'd send another flood to cleanse the planet and would not provide any Noah.    But, that is just me.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Listening to Watermelon Wine

A song by Tom T. Hall who came from a place in Kentucky
where I came from.  As you might guess it includes watermelon wine.

I've always enjoyed listening to this song.  But, recently, I've been listening to it in a different state of mind.  Used to be it was just a good song to listen to.  I'm now at an age where the whole song has changed for me.

They called Tom T. the "Story Teller".  He was definitely not the typical country singer/songwriter.  His songs are really just stories put to music.  I highly recommend going back through the years of his music.  Or just keep listening to the link as it goes through a play list.

I don't know if I can explain the change.  It is assuredly not the song which has changed so it must be me.   Seems to me it must be age and health.

My body and mind are going south at an ever increasing pace.  I've already stopped driving except when I absolutely have to.  I have a growing inability to focus on anything.

That includes work.  I've made more serious and dumb mistakes in the past year than in the 26 which preceded it.  I have been trying to work until I am 66.  That is a little under three years.  I don't think I'm going to make it.

Truthfully, I don't understand why they haven't gotten rid of me before now.  The way things are going I think it is now a race between retirement and dismissal.

I'm always exhausted even after a long night's sleep.  Been this way for about two years with occasional stretches of lucidity.

I don't show it much before around 2:00 to 3:00 in the afternoon.  I owe a lot to my team lead who is also a real friend.  I think she has be somewhat protecting me.  But, even she admitted to me she had noticed the changes.  Letting things slip, forgetting things.  Not complicated things, just normal every day things I've done for years.

Maybe that is why the meaning of this old song's change was due to age an infirmity.  I more and more relate to that "old, gray, black gentleman" and less and less to the song writer.

My wife has noticed a lot of changes as well.  She would as she spends the most time with me.  Does not matter when it is, work, games, reading the news I tend to just spend a lot of time just sitting here in my home office chair rocking.  No idea about anything.  Mind mostly in a semi unaware state.

I do know about 18 months ago I had a massive amount of work hit me at once and I was the only one who could do it.  Multiple 70+ hour weeks.  Weekends were just markings on the calendar.  My MD suggested I retire if I could or at least cut back my hours.

No way I could do either.  Just the nature of my job and the expensives of living.  I really don't think I ever fully recovered from that state of exhaustion.

I don't know it that is even possible.  I do know for months and months I have been getting out of bed in the mornings just as tired (or more) as I was when I went to sleep.

I really can't do anything which requires physical effort.  Not because I'm particularly weak or anything.  I just get over heated so easily and when that happens I get completely nauseated.  And, it doesn't take much  to get me overheated.  I have a difficult time just walking through the grocery store for normal weekly shopping.  And to even survive it I have to take nausea medication before I go.

And, even with the nausea it will just hit out of the blue.  A couple of weeks ago I was taking the garbage container to the road, not a very long trip.  I had just finished a bottle of cold water and I was vomiting it back up at about every step.

Truthfully, I expect to be in a "home" withing just a few years.  Whether it is a "nursing" home or one  of the "funeral" types remains to be seen.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Just Some Random Thoughts on Reaching Sixty-Three

I reached age 63 back in early December of 2016.  I don't really do birthdays.  Guess that is something which lingers from my childhood.  Never had any holidays.  Never had Christmas or Birthday anything at all.  Really, that is neither her nor there.  Holidays mean nothing at all to me.  Neither do birthday.  To me, holidays are just one day I don't have to work.   That is present enough.

But what got me to thinking in was which resulted in this post is a very dear friend of mine whom I went to school with at Mayo.  Her mother is on dialysis and lat time they discovered a blood clot in her leg which was not operable due to infection.  Her Mom had her leg amputated up to the hip.

Reminds me of both my wife and my aunt.  My aunt was a diabetic many years ago when the disease was much less understood.  I can't recall how old I was when she had to have her foot amputate and then passed away less than a month later.  But, I can still see in my mind those dark, scaled legs she walked on.  I have hopes for a better result for my friend's Mom.

It has gotten me to remember those older than me, the same age and even those younger than me who have died.

There is a photo on Face Book of a class in the old Richardson, Ky school.  Back in the days when there were still one room schools.It popped  up as history in my Face Book feed.  I sat looking at them to see how  many I recognized then started counting all of them who were dead.  Not the most uplifting exercise I suppose.

So many in my own age group, older and even younger are gone now.  Tends to make one wonder about the chances we are born into.  Those chances will influence our lives from beginning to end.  That along with peer pressure and many other factors.  Still, it occurs to me, every time you have a child you have just created a human being doomed to die.  From a child's first breath it is just a downhill roller coaster to the great darkness beyond.

Way too many at such a "young" age.  But, our family has some seriously bad genetics.   While I do love my children and grandchildren I can't help from feeling guilty in passing genes so prone to both physical and mental problems along to another generation or two.  Guess when we are young and still think we are immortal we just don't think about such things.

My psychiatrist always asks me if I have feelings of wanting to hurt myself or others.  I always laugh at her and tell her if I intend to kill myself it will be in the least painful manner possible.  I can't see why anyone would want to hurt themselves.  After all, the great source of suicidal thoughts is pain.  Mental, emotional or physical people who don't have a great degree of pain don't want to exit this world before they have to.

Suicide is such a permanent solution to problems which are more then likely temporary.  However, I can see when things are permanent with no possibility of getting better how one would do anything to stop the pain.  Cancer which cannot be helped leaving one in such pain their life is constant agony.  I can definitely see suicide for them as, not a tragedy (the disease was the tragedy) but a relief from hell on earth.

Oh well, so much for today's morbid thoughts.  Just so sad so many people who played so large a part in my life have passed on and I'm still here.  Roll of the dice or some purpose?  Interesting thing to think about.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


Today I awoke to sunshine, bird song and green all over
Today I awoke to the present, the future and the past
Today is all I'll ever have
The past is gone
The future is a dream
Today is all that is real

Today I remember many yesterdays
Today I dream of many tomorrows
Today is all that is real
The past is immutable
The future only a possibility
We must all live in today

Today I woke to a fleeting moment in time
Today life whirls past me at supersonic speed
Today is fleeting
It fades into yesterday
If opens into tomorrow
I must cherish today yet let it go

Fears (Especially my own)

Fears.  We all have them.  Even those who like to pretend they fear nothing.  Some fears are very rational.  Rational fears are a good thing.  They help keep us alive long enough to reproduce and that is all Mommy Nature really cares about.  But, all of us I think, also have some irrational fears.  Well, irrational to others I guess but our fears are always rational to ourselves.

I've wondered where and how these irrational fears begin.  I'll speak of four of my own fears and the contradictions they engender.  I have guesses where they originate but would not say I'm sure where they come from.

Also, I seem to have a love/hate relationship with three of them.  The fourth would be a hate/hate relationship.

The first is death by  hanging.  I don't think we have had a legal hanging in this country for decades so the only hanging I would have to fear would be suicide or lynching.  Being Caucasian I really don't see myself in danger of lynching.  And, if you ever hear of me committing suicide by hanging myself, go to the police because it was definitely murder.

My next great fear is death by drowning and is the first of my love/hate fears.  I have fear of drowning to an unnatural degree yet also have a tremendous love of water in large quantities.  I love creeks, rivers, lakes and oceans and find the most peace I have in my life being close to them.  I enve enjoy being in them as long as the water is no more than waist deep.

The third is heights.  Another love/hate fear.  I love high places.  I love standing near the edge of a high precipice looking out over the lands revealed below.  At the same time I'm deathly afraid of falling from that high place.

Fourth is tightly enclosed places.  Claustrophobia. I love small places.  I find comfort in small rooms etc.  But, I also am requesting cremation as I just can't stand the idea of being buried underground in such a small space as a coffin for eternity.  Or, eternity til some future archaeologist digs me up to see what kind of kinky stuff people from our age buried with their dead.

Where do these fears originate?  I could understand it had I experienced any traumatic events relating to any of these fears but I have not.   I have  not nearly hanged myself, drowned, been trapped in a small place or fallen from a high place.  These fears are just in my mind.  Or, perhaps, at a deeper level in my being.

This brings me to my own theory of the origin of irrational fears.  Reincarnation.  While most people who know me well  might describe me as an atheist I am far from that.  I definitely believe in a higher power who created our universe and set our physical laws in place.  I also believe in progress of species through evolution.  Neither alone can explain, to me, all the things present in our universe now and in our universe's history.

I also believe in the existence of  a "soul".  It has been demonstrated by scientific testing on terminally ill patients (beds placed on a large scale) that at the moment of death the weight of our body decreases by a very small amount.  Something had to leave the mortal clay at that time.  What else could it be?

Some people seem to be able to recall some small or even large portions of a past existence.  A lot of these claims are pure hokum but a very few stand up to scientific scrutiny and are not easily explained away.

Transmigration of the souls is not a new or even uncommon idea.  Not just the eastern religions but a large sect of Judaism believe in that.  In fact several parts of the Old Testament make much more sense if you replace the word generation with incarnation.

So, how does this explain my, and maybe your, irrational fears?  Lingering memories from a past life or lives.  Genetic memory.  Our bodies remember things our minds are not privy to. So, I do have some guesses about past lives in relationship to my fears.

For drowning while loving the sea I must have been a sailor who  drowned in the ocean on a voyage.
The rest of them I don't know but must have been some relationship to my past lives.  Maybe some kind of outlaw for hanging.  Small enclosures and high places... I don't know.  Just conjecture might be a mountain climber who died on a climb for high places.  Small enclosures I have  no idea.  But, I do wonder, what irrational fear will this live give my next incarnation.