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.

Monday, September 07, 2020

Time passes (the gardener of Eden)

The summer came and went; it's Labor Day and we're still on the collective treadmill.  While others have let this situation overtake them in a negative emotional direction, I haven't (and I'm very proud to say that).  I've used the time wisely - went for medical examinations, tried to clear out my internal and external closets and allowed things to just be.  To let nature run its course, along with the realities of the pandemic.

It's been a time of changes, both for the good and the sad - just the dissolution of a long-time friendship that I don't understand exactly how it became undone.  When emails, texts and messages go unanswered and you find out surreptitiously via social media that this close, completely trusted friend has moved away and doesn't let you know, it gives you pause.  But as I get older, I don't spend too much time contemplating it - I just let it go.  It's all you can do.  Say goodbye and wish them the best.

There's still more good things to look forward to - that's what I prefer to focus and concentrate on.  As should we all.

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Riding the waves to somewhere...

6 months since COVID-19 began crippling the world (and life in general); 5 months since I began working at home.  I still feel good, physically - and I've taken some wise steps to make sure that I remain healthy.  I scheduled two medical appointments next week - dentist and gastroenterologist.  It's two years since my last teeth cleaning, so I'm overdue.  And at 55, I'm late with having a consultation for a colonoscopy.  So that's finally on the docket.  Later on, I'll schedule a proper physical because that's another one that's gotten away for me - like 15 years.  Although everything is at a standstill, I feel the need to reshape certain elements in/of my life - and going to doctors for the sake of remaining in good physical health is paramount.  I already have my yearly appointment with my eye doctor set for next month - it's a matter of checking off necessities from the list.

Part of these changes do - sadly - include another cleaning out of the emotional closet.  The jettisoning of a very long-term relationship (albeit, a friendship) is always a painful, taxing, difficult process.  But when you clearly see that the end is coming - and in essence, has arrived - you should do the rational thing and just let go.  It makes me sad, but I watched the slow decline.  I tried to save it and my efforts were for naught, so okay - I did my best.  I'm not a martyr here; I don't feel any recriminations; I'm not angry, just disappointed.  When the communication becomes a one-way street, it's pointless.  But that's part of the cycle.  I walk away with my head held high and with appreciation for the years.

At the same time, little things are the seeds of joy planted.  I have a scheduled day off from work next week to spend at the beach - giving me a long weekend.  I have some new books and albums to digest and devour...  this is a good time for refreshment/reset/rejuvenation.  And once the gyms finally reopen, I'm going to be there, daily, if possible.  I also want to give myself a spa day in October; it's a little costly but it's a worthwhile investment.

As I've said on many occasions, I'm using this period as something to be treasured; lessons well-learned and filled with positivity. 

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Sigh and not explode

Another glorious Sunday - waking up after a (thankfully) solid night's sleep with sun pouring in.  Feed the cats and enjoy breakfast in the calm and quiet.  An ice-cold glass of orange juice; a chocolate chip muffin; a fresh banana and deliciously strong coffee is all I needed to set the tone for the day.  A quick and easy grocery shop; an iced blueberry coffee before heading home and all is golden.  I even dozed off for a little while.

Days like today are all I want; they're all I need.  Now when I watch the news, I don't let it affect me.  I see Twitter or Facebook and I don't care.  My orbit is what I'm about.  I feel good; I'm still healthy and I feel sharper; clear-headed and able to parse out my thoughts in an even-more rational fashion than before.

Ever onward, y'know...