Saturday, January 09, 2021

The beginning is the end is the beginning...

Only nine days into the year everyone was waiting for and nothing has changed for the better - not even slightly.  All hell broke loose on Wednesday in Washington D.C.; intolerable acts committed against this country (in the very thwarted name of "freedom") - now retribution from the opposing side is just pouring more gasoline on the fires, still burning...  New York City may head into another lockdown period - and for who knows how long - since the mayor is criminally incompetent (and only interested in his virtue-signaling) and the governor only cares when it garners him accolades.  

People are still acting as irrational and as insane, frankly, as they have for the better part of five, six years.  And yet, all I hear (or see, on the hideous social media platforms) are platitudes and being dictated to.  About what I should think; how I should feel; who I should vote for - and the cliched, tiresome buzzwords like "empathy" are empty and have no place in my lexicon or purview.

At least I did manage to live long enough to reach my 56th birthday.  Nothing special, especially since it's not a "milestone" birthday.  But at least I'm still here, which must count for something positive.  There are many people in worse conditions. 

I'll stick to counting my blessings and remain an autonomous entity - let the keyboard warriors continue their own imminent downfall.

A happy new year?  We have yet to see.  Patience is still a virtue.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Letting go

Today is the last day of 2020 and it doesn't mean anything, except the transitional day between the end of one year and the start of another.  

Two days ago, we had to say goodbye to Paisley.  We brought her home when she was a week old.  Her eyes hadn't opened yet; her ears hadn't popped.  She was a perfect, newborn kitten, in need of love and care.  She grew into a beautiful, happy, healthy and hilarious cat.  She had a huge personality, considering she had been a runt; she was funny, sweet, incredibly loving and very outspoken.  She gave you a piece of her mind and you had to listen.  I never met a cat that vocal - as if she had you engaged in conversation.

We knew time was getting shorter for her; over the last two years, she'd slowed down and gotten thinner.  And at 3 a.m. on Tuesday morning, her body gave out.  The pain is in knowing I had to wait until 6:30, after calling the emergency 24-hour vet line, to take her to the doctor to say the last farewell.  That was very hard; knowing she was suffering, terrified and confused.

Coming home and knowing she's not there to greet me; seeing her now-empty water bowl and food dish on the counter still makes me cry.  And Roxy and Bailey know something isn't right.  But they're giving us all the love they have because they understand someone isn't here.

I'm heartbroken.  I loved Paisley.  She was my baby.  And she will always be just that.

Thursday, December 03, 2020

Who knows?

It's now December; I started this blog in December, 2004 - 16 years ago.  I can remember the "why" of starting it and how much I enjoyed it, especially with the frequency of writing on a daily basis for the first few years.  If I didn't enjoy it, I wouldn't still be here doing this!

But this year has been a true mindfuck - partially for me; mostly for the world in reality.  We're still at home with no real end in sight as to when things can resume "normalcy".  I'm still working from home, only going in to the office twice a week.  I don't go out, except to grocery shop, etc. on weekends; the restaurants that had re-opened for minimal seating that we'd gone to are now closed again for only pick-up or delivery - other businesses are closing down permanently.  My favorite restaurant of all-time, Otto, has gone.  Because of this backward scenario, with new numbers of COVID-19 (allegedly) going up, I can't drive to New Jersey to see a dear friend for lunch.  There are police waiting for when you cross the bridges in/out of Staten Island to make sure you haven't been exposed.  It's insane.  

In New York, having the governor and mayor tell the citizens "you can't have your family together" for Thanksgiving was unacceptable and appalling; having them egg people on to "report your neighbors" is un-American.  The news media is aiding-and-abetting in not reporting facts or scientific numbers - all they do is help the mayor ramp up fear with mis-information.

The thing is, with all that, I've found myself calmer and more focused than I have in I can't remember when.  I don't need stimuli; I'm not in need of human contact; I can save money by not going to concerts or extraneous things.  I like the peace and quiet; I like the solitude.  My current schedule has given me balance.

December is also the time when 7 years ago, my beloved cat, Midnight, died.  I was devastated.  But we wasted no time and immediately adopted my precious Roxy.  Now, my baby, Paisley is 17-plus years old.  Time is growing shorter and I know this.  I'm not sure how much longer she'll be here, but I'm savoring every moment and letting her know how much she's been loved her whole life.  We brought her home when she was 1 week old and she's been my baby ever since.  I remember that day as well; I was so worried, having this newborn kitten...  I'm trying my best to prepare for the inevitable, but I hope it'll be later, rather than sooner.

Yes, who knows where the time goes?

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Zero hour

Yes, Election Day is finally here.  I was up and out the door to vote at 7:20 this morning.  It took less than 10 minutes, considering my polling place was surprisingly disorganized, which it usually isn't.  But it's done and that's all there is to say about it.  I did what any rational American citizen would do and voted.  I don't need a congratulatory pat on the back; it's my responsibility as a citizen.  

Made this a day of getting things done - and one of my least favorite things to do, albeit annually, is taking the car for inspection.  And that took less than 10 minutes as well!  So I managed to tie up several small loose ends, which feels very good; I feel accomplished, as I hate it when anything small is hanging overhead.

Whatever happens, when the counting is over, I sincerely hope that people will keep their heads.  It's an election; it doesn't need to become a rebellion.  Just because you don't like the way a vote may turn out, it doesn't mean you have the right to destroy someone else's property; burn their livelihood to the ground and physically harm others.  I would love to see "nothing" happen after the winner is announced.  

Let all hope.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Wash away #2

A week of rain; the last two days have been particularly harsh and miserable.  Normally, it would probably affect a person's mood, but I've felt focused and driven - albeit physically tired, due to erratic sleep - and that's a good feeling.  Awake and working by 7 a.m. (at the least!); my health seems to be on a positive tract and the one thing I've been acutely aware of is to NOT allow myself to be sucked into the vortex of lunacy that's swept through almost everyone in this last week before the Presidential elections.  This madness/childishness/sheer idiocy is worse than the actual medical pandemic.  

My take is simple:  I'm going to my polling place on Tuesday morning to vote, as I've done every year since 1984, when I was 18 and finally able to.  That's it.  I take my responsibility as a voter seriously; however, I am not a sloganeer or jingoist; I no longer share my political views with anyone because they may not be the same as someone else's and I prefer to show respect for an opposing view - and I say that even if someone I don't agree with tries to push their agenda on me.  I allow people to say their piece, as they have a right to.  I may not share that view, but it's their right and I accept it.  The whole point being that if it's a constructive dialogue, I'm happy to listen.  I know there is a LOT of concern on what may happen afterward (I hope it's just projection and not hinting) by either side and that is troubling, but let's get to the post-election, first, before calling the charge for riots, etc.

In this time of working from home, I've found that it's been one of the best experiences of my professional life - I go to the office, once or twice a week for the basics - there's such a good balance now.  I get my work done from home without interruption and it can be done correctly and expeditiously because there are no distractions; I don't have to commute daily, which has a number of benefits there and overall, I feel like this has helped bring my stress levels to a low, which I am aware of and thankful for.  And even in this time when things have gone horribly awry, there are some minor "victories" - the normalcy of going to my regular barber (for the first time since February) and getting a great haircut and beard trim; having my preferred lunch place near the office open for business again, etc.

On the down side, I am terribly saddened that two of my long-time haunts are gone/going away.  I've gone to Astor Place Hair since 1980, on and off, and they're closing after 75 years.  And my all-time favorite restaurant, Otto, has closed without fanfare.  I will always treasure the many wonderful nights; amazing food, great drinks and perfect company - the best atmosphere I can think of in a long, long time and it's another melancholic addition to my memories - but memories that will make me smile, if I revisit them.

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

October and kingdoms rise...

It's been, thus far, a deliciously mild autumn - jackets are optional; the air isn't quite chilly, the trees haven't been stripped of leaves, etc. yet.  A strange time, however - still; we're all in this purgatory and, it seems, certain politicians are trying to instill a new wave of panic and fear that this pandemic is rising again.  I'm not falling prey to any of it - I continue to conduct my life the same way I have, since this began:  wear a mask; keep a safe distance from others, always practice common-sense hygiene (shocking how so few people understand this concept!) and don't go out, if it isn't necessary.  I already had my flu shot a few weeks ago (haven't missed one since 1996); I take my daily regimen of vitamins and supplements and try to maintain a calm and balanced life.  This isn't so difficult, but media loves to make mountains out of molehills.

Nonetheless, it's a quiet time, which I treasure.  The joy of going out the other night to a wonderful, delicious dinner at a nice restaurant indoors for the first time since March (to celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary) was a huge moment - low key, but perfect and an evening of pure joy.  Been reading a lot more again; picked up my guitar again and at last report from my colonoscopy follow up, I've lost 18 pounds, which is a thrill, frankly.

So in wrapping this entry up, I was just alerted to the very sad news that Eddie Van Halen has died at age 65.  I was immediately catapulted back to the summer of '83, when we had just graduated from high school.  We spent many nights, driving around in my friend Darren's car, blasting Van Halen's Diver Down album and it's a memory I treasure.  I saw Van Halen in July, '81, at Madison Square Garden with Judas Priest as the opening band - they were one of the few heavy rock bands I really liked (being a "punk" rocker didn't allow or accept such transgressions...).  To this day, I still love those original Van Halen albums, from the debut through to 1984, and this is just another one of those ugly reminders of how brief our own stars shine.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

September song #4 (the turnaround)

All of a sudden, we've gone from swelter and heavy humidity to cool, almost jacket weather in the blink of an eye.  Although we were smart and got our flu shots this past Saturday (a month earlier than usual), I hope this change doesn't make me sick.  I'm being cautious, especially since we're still in an unsafe state due to COVID-19.  

The likeliness of us going back to work full-time in the office isn't happening now until January, it seems.  If I'm being honest, I'm fine with that; actually happy.  I like the balance I've been able to find of working from home and going in to pick up checks and mail, etc. twice a week or so.  I've been able to save money in not having to get a MetroCard for the subway, buying lunch and, frankly, not having to go into the city if it isn't necessary.  I like the peace and quiet; I'm not someone who needs stimuli to keep me sustained.  Throughout this period, I've tried to make this as positive an experience as I could and it's worked.  We're safe, healthy, working and doing what needs to be done to avoid contracting the coronavirus.

I know people are tired of staying indoors; certainly, businesses need to be allowed to reopen and some sense of normalcy needs to return.  But if you're able to do what we've done, patience and calm will help navigate the ship into safe harbor.