Some thoughts…

As if it hasn’t been said enough “Time flies while you’re having fun”, or something like that. And time has flown.

I believe it’s a function of aging, that time flies. I read somewhere that the perception of time passing faster as we age is due to the lack of originality in our lives. And by originality I mean that there are seldom any new experiences in our lives as time goes on. As a rule we continue to do the same things month over month and year after year and so our perception of time flattens, it compresses and it becomes more difficult to differentiate one year over another. Time becomes all the same and in doing so it ‘flies’.

So, this theory being correct it would only stand to reason that one way to slow time down would be to do different things, to have new experiences, to make each week, month, and year different. Not a new theory but important nonetheless.

Now I don’t profess to have all the answers but it’s clear I have opinions, lots of them. Perhaps too many.

Life has been generally good to me over the last number of months. Being that it’s so long since I’ve updated this site I may repeat myself in what I say here so I will apologize in advance.

My health, both emotional and physical, has been good. Aside from the usual colds and one episode with the flu I am doing well. I have gone back on the meds  with my Doctor’s blessing and only at a half dose (10 mg Citalopram). I feel much better. Prior to that (about Dec.) I was once again back-sliding and feeling depressed. I had little motivation, was easily angered and frustrated, my emotions were all over the place and I just plain felt emotionally shitty.

I’ve tried to explain it away saying it was the weather or some other such excuse but the facts and history just don’t support that. I just have to accept it and resolve myself to the possibility that I may have to use meds to support my habit, that of feeling well.

The positive in the whole thing is that after my Doctor’s visit he suggested I start off with a lower dosage than before. This was a newer Doctor mind you, an international Doctor in training in my clinic, but he was/is very interested in my health and his suggestion had merit. As such I gave it a shot and haven’t really looked back.

This was done in concert with a new counselor as well. I began seeing her just before my first appointment with the Doctor and as time has gone on I’ve appreciated her more and more.

Her name is Elly. I decided to try her instead of going back for a 3rd time with Gloria. Elly is going for her Masters in Counselling and is doing her practicum in that clinic. So far I like her a lot, she is open and approachable, has fresh ideas and a perception that is refreshing.

She is a proponent of Art Therapy and has offered me the option of trying it. Art therapy sounded/sounds strange and while I am generally resistant to change I thought I owed it to myself to try something different. It was different for sure and some aspects of it were not comfortable for me. As an example she asked me to draw something, anything, on a paper covered table. All manner of pencils, felt pens, crayons, and paint were available to me, in all colours, so the options of media were essentially unlimited. It was all up to me as to what I chose to draw, and how to draw it. Once complete she asked how I ‘felt’ about the drawing, both in topic and substance.

The next session she again asked me if I wished to draw and this time she suggested I draw a Mandala. She gave me a 10″ circle of paper to draw on and again I could choose any media. In this context I must clarify that what she was asking me to draw was not a Mandala by it’s true definition. There was no religious significance to the drawing, more what she was asking was for me to draw a free form design on the circle of paper. Again, once the drawing was complete we chatted about the how and why of the sketch, and how I felt.

Part II

Because I seem to be long winded, and due to the fact my welcome wore out at Bagel’s and Brew (not really) I’ve had to complete this post the next day. I started writing Monday morning and here we are Tuesday, same coffee shop but different table, completing the saga.

At any rate my drawing experience was/is very interesting with it reinforcing some things I probably already knew about myself. In my first sketches, particularly the Mandala format I strived to be organized, symmetrical, accurate and somewhat precise. When I created a new drawing being more carefree, unorganized, non-symmetrical, in a word MESSY, I felt more free, more relaxed. In short it felt good.

That feeling was one that I was, and am, trying to replicate. I asked Elly if perhaps that was a state that I could develop through writing or photography. If I could bring my artistic and feeling side (less structured and rigid) more to the forefront by focussing on my artistic side, more right brained activities. She wasn’t sure but suggested I try by using my photography in an ‘out of the box’ fashion, taking photos in ways and of things that I normally might not. In fact she suggested this just before we went to Hawaii. I’ve tried and would have to say it’s not as easy to accomplish as I thought it might.

Some of the appropriate photos, and any drawings I completed while there were brought to my next session where we discussed my goal and any progress I made. Again, this was more difficult than I first thought.

So to be blunt one of the purposes of going to counselling was to get the stick out of my ass. This wasn’t necessarily the original reason, nor the only reason, but in talking with here I’ve come to realize that it was one of my personality traits that I desired to change. In effect I want to loosen up and have more fun, be more relaxed about things on a day to day basis.

This has been a long and likely boring post however it has also been done as an effort to begin writing again. I have been journalling fairly consistently but that method has become repetitive it was time to mix it up. Elly has suggested if I do journal that rather than the wordiness of it that I should use only descriptor words about how I feel at the time, no structured sentences. I would still like to sketch and may incorporate that as well.

So, ‘nuf said, Too much perhaps. See you on the flip side.

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Grand Central Station

It’s like Central Station here. I came for a coffee and some quiet but so far only the java has been found.

My car is in for repair, or rather my wife’s car, and to kill some time I walked to our local plaza to spend the hour or so the repair should take. I had a couple errands to run as well but my goal was to find a subdued atmosphere to sit and ponder life, and my role in it. I chose here, a coffee shop called ‘Common Grounds’.

I certainly don’t begrudge them the business, it’s good for them, and us in the long run. It’s just a bit too active for my taste (today). It makes my pondering, and writing, and more pondering a bit more challenging.

Oh well I got this far, Grand Central Station or not.

The Day Began as Many Others

The day began as many others. I awoke, dressed, made my coffee, and tried a yogurt for breakfast instead of my usual cereal or toast. Nothing unusual there. In fact little that has happened since then has been what you might call ‘unusual’, unless you lump the point that I did not take my morning walk, nor did I stop for a coffee at my usual haunt.

In fact I’m not sure what prompted the title “The Day Began….” other than it sounded like the lead in sentence you might see in a trashy novel. I’m not writing that novel though and while some may think of my posts as trashy I’m kinda fond of them. Most of them anyway.

Today is my birthday, and although that could fall into the ‘unusual’ category it’s only because birthdays in themselves are not ‘usual’. By definition usual means:

– occurring or encountered or experienced or observed frequently or in accordance with regular practice or procedure

Thus birthdays are not necessarily ‘usual’, at least in my mind, because they don’t occur frequently. That being said after 57 of them maybe they’ve occurred too frequently.

One thing did happen that was not in the norm. I got a phone call at 6:30 am telling me my Dad was in a great deal of pain and had to be taken to the hospital. This after I just checked him out of the hospital on Thursday where he was due to a similar incident. Not the call I really wanted.

After that I also g0t a call from my daughter, wishing me well and putting me on speaker so I could hear my grandson speak. He’s not saying actual words yet, or not many of them, but he can chat up a storm. And the emphasis he put’s into it is priceless. Things that warm cockles of the heart….

So while the day began as many others it is winding down to be somewhat different. We are getting set to go camping and my wife is taking me out to dinner. Now THAT is unusual. She doesn’t prefer to go out and this is a sign that she’s doing something for me. Aren’t birthday’s grand?

I Love Mornings

I love this time of day, the cool mornings where all is fresh and the ground is oft covered with dew. I venture forth for my walk and while the last week I have been taking a shorter route I still drop in for my morning joe.

I hesitated this morning however. It’s not that I didn’t want a fix, cuz I did, more so that I’m try to consider my costs. Being on a fixed income I should question that $3 a day for coffee. That’s if I only have but one. And truth be known I had coffee at home before I left.

This AM I stopped at Common Grounds, one of our few ‘real’ coffee shops. Not that Starbucks or Tim Hortons are not real, they just aren’t of the mom’n pop variety. I had my usual Americano, double-shot.

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I think I actually prefer Common Grounds. The coffee is more flavourful, certainly has more crema. You get it in a real mug too, and even though it seems to cool faster it’s also more like really having coffee. Know what I mean?

Well my joe is done, time to move on. My morning walk will take me along a nice, quiet, picturesque route. Perhaps a couple photos are in my future.

Back to the Normal

Today is the first day back to whatever we call ‘normal’, at least our normal. Our Easter guests have returned home and the house is finally quiet after 4 days.

It is also the first day my wife has returned to work, after an absence of about 5 months. And, as a result, it is the first day I will be left to my own devices and alone in the house for the day.

I have chosen to begin the adventure with a walk, my wife dropped me off a ways from home and I will walk back. Of course one of the first stops will be Starbucks for a morning cup of joe. I deferred my normal coffee at home and thought coffee’ing’ out would be a nice way to begin my day.

The sun was up when I began my stroll but not too far over the horizon. Far enough though to cast some shadows and create some interest in the texture of the land. I like this time of day and you’ve likely heard me say that before.

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As my wife’s cousin once said:

“It’s a good life we lead, isn’t it”

Yes Emory, it is. And it also feels great to be back to the normal.

Here I Sit, There I Sat

The mall is not really where I want to be. We left the kidlets, our daughter and family, and began the drive home when my wife determined she needed something she could only get at the mall. My future flashed before me, I knew where my day was headed, certainly my morning.

I shouldn’t begrudge her the mall visit I guess. We didn’t really have an opportunity to do any shopping as this was a short visit to essentially get some ‘Madden time’ and do a little babysitting so our daughter Ayron, and son-in-law Stefan, could get out and have a quiet day sans Madden. I guess what annoyed me was I purposely tried to get us on the road early so we do all of our 3 1/2 hour drive in the daylight.  Leaving Kelowna around noon or later could seriously impact that desire.

All that said I spent some time in Chapters while I waited for her, browsing the shelves and perusing books I liked, heck even wanted to buy.  I considered hitting Starbucks, and getting a coffee or Americano, but since I already had a couple cups of  joe at Ayron’s I chose to forgo the treat.

I primarily scanned books on WordPress, and in those I specifically peaked at sections on child themes and self hosted blogs.  If I understand it correctly a “child theme” is like a sub-theme of your blogs primary theme. More research needed obviously. I have this real yearning to get more involved in web development and that kind of thing lately.

I came away from the book store empty handed though. I couldn’t, I can’t, justify spending the $25 or $30 on a book I’m really only interested in 2 or 3 chapters of. Especially if the book is already 2 or 3 years old.  That 2 or 3 years is a lifetime in computer related stuff. So empty handed I left, to sit on a mall bench awaiting my queen. If nothing else I could start this post, while I sat.

The Big “C” Caffeine

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I’m getting anxious again, it’s not overwhelming but uncomfortable nonetheless.  It’s manageable.  At worst it’s quite a disconcerting feeling, and for those that have real anxiety attacks I can imagine it must be a horrible experience. Mine is more a result, or contributed by, the big “C”.  That would be Coffee with too much Caffeine.

I’ve had these pangs of stress before, see “Coffee, With a Capital C” for some historical perspective, but needless to say my problem is largely self inflicted (I think).  It surprised me today though because I limited myself to just one cup with breakfast.  Now mind you that one cup was made with my stove-top expresso maker so the resulting brew is pretty high test, premium as opposed to regular octane.  And I haven’t used decaf for a while either which would have helped.  It was a delicious cup though, aromatic and full bodied, stimulating on multiple levels.

I think this occasional hyperness is also just part of my nature, and whether it’s just an emotional intensity that’s exacerbated by the big C, or my perceived ADD, or just that I’m just a bit f***ed up, I can’t say for sure.  I do know it’s annoying at best and sometimes a little debilatating.  The situation is complicated because I have soooo many things I want to do, and many of them I try to do at the same time.  Well not really at the SAME time, but during the same time period, such that I seldom ever get any of them completed to my satisfaction.

That should be another clue too, that these tasks are not done to my satisfaction.  I am a bit of a perfectionist and if I’m not happy with something I may abandon it before I get it completed to my standards.  Pisses my wife off for sure.  I thought retirement would help me this, and I still do actually, it’s just a matter of getting my sea legs.  Or so I keep telling myself.

At this point in time some of my ongoing projects are (in no particular order): getting gardens/yard put to bed, welding projects for myself and friends, prepping my project truck (getting it and parts truck into or beside the garage), photography in general, blogging, exercise, webpage improvements, relaxation, etc. etc..  Doesn’t sound too bad does it?

So here I’m going to kill two birds with one stone.  I’m posting a photo, which I’d like to do more frequently, and getting one post out  at the same time.  I’ve not edited the shot as that would only complicate my life further at this time.  I’m trying to get a handle on my interests and time spent on them after-all.  Editing and photo enhancement etc. is certainly on my list, just not today.

I took this shot on the way to Nelson one recent morning when I was taking my wife’s car into the shop.  One of the roads to Nelson passes along the Kootenay Canal, which is where I got the pic.  I thought it looked pretty cool in the morning light, with the mist off the water and some early fall colours.

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Kootenay Canal with morning fog

In addition to taking many more shots now (about 1500 since Aug) I have also endeavored to catalogue not only the new pictures but those I’ve taken over the years.  To that end I acquired LightRoom 4.2 and a bunch  of my time (read that as days) has been eaten up with the learning curve for that software.  Throw in the creation of a web gallery and trying to bring up my own website and you may get a sense of what’s leading to my stress.

When I look at it in the big picture though I realize how fortunate I am to even be able to have these ‘problems’ and while I do whine about things now and then I really am a happy person.  It’s just that I have your ear, and you have to listen, don’t you?

As always, any comments or insights are truly appreciated.  Big ‘C’ over and out.

Have I found my Calling? Barista Extraordinaire

Well isn’t this interesting. Stopped at Starbucks again this morning for my first fix of ‘Joe’ and was met with a lengthy line.  That’s not the interesting part (but if you think it is then that’s cool).

A Starbucks barista.
A Starbucks barista. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I got to the head of the line I noticed they had another trainee working (also not the interesting part).  However, in chatting up the Barista I tell him maybe I should apply, seeing as I’ve seen so many trainees behind the counter lately.  He tells me to put my name in (that was the interesting part).  Me, a Barista?   Hmmmmm.  And no it’s not me in the photo.  I’m a tad…….more mature.

Further discussion with him told me that part time was available, about 10 hours a week.  I suspect the hours wouldn’t have a lot of flexibility to them though, that likely you’d be bounced all over the place and perhaps wouldn’t have a lot of notice.  If that’s the case it would mean an impact on my ‘Manny duties’, if they ever came about.  Click on the link if your not sure what a Manny is.

Now I don’t think I’m particularly interested, or am I?  I guess part of it is that my ego felt stroked and that’s always a good feeling.  Whether he was serious or not I can’t say, but when I was leaving he did say “I look forward to seeing your application on-line”.  I just don’t know if I want to work, at least not yet.  After all I retired so I wouldn’t have to.

I think he was just teasing me, what do you think?

“Joe”ing Again….

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Well I’m at it again, I stopped again during my morning walk for a cup of Starbucks coffee, I’m ‘joe’ing again.

Whether this will become a regular stop of mine, part of my routine, is yet to be seen.  I can say it’s a nice break but at $3 bucks a pop for a grande Americano I need to give it some serious thought.  Being that I’m a man of leisure now, a retired person, it begs the question as to if this is where I should be spending my “hard” earned cash.  I tell myself when I reach the Starbucks Gold status I’ll stop.  After all isn’t that what all addicts say?

It also provides me some socialization which is another good thing for those of us that are aged and perhaps infirm.  While I don’t really consider myself aged OR infirm I believe the socialization aspect applies equally to anyone who by their circumstances may not get out much.

That could apply to me, the not getting out much.  I have many interests, perhaps too many as my ongoing challenge is to equally divide my time among them.  Maybe not even equally, just apportioning “some” time to each.  This is part of my ongoing effort to find balance.

20121018-125055.jpgOne thing the morning walk (not the coffee) does give me is an opportunity to see what’s going around me, the beauty of nature and life’s goings on.  I’ve commented on this before and it’s no less true now, we are surrounded by beauty and awesomeness.  I am so grateful, perhaps I need to comment on what I’m grateful in my posts, much like I did in my “Morning pages”.

That’s another thing on my “list”, get back to writing in my journal.  So many things, so little time.  Help me please.

Morning Joe

20121017-084225.jpgNow here’s some blatant advertising, a quick shot of a double shot.  Americano that is.

I am part way through my morning walk and thought today perhaps a little coffee break was in order.

Now this is where I become more than a little perturbed. Prior to writing this particular paragraph I had another paragraph, or two, composed (doing so on my phone) and when I went to save/upload the words of wisdom the upload failed and all my work was lost. I’m taking that as a sign, quit while you’re ahead.  Never fear though cuz I’ll be back.