Posted tagged ‘blogging’

Both Sides Now

August 8, 2017

both sidesI am 73 years old. I have watched two generations of parents live their lives then slip away to whatever comes next. It seems to happen in one of several ways. The easiest way out seems to me to be what most people consider the most tragic … a sudden accident that snuffs out a life in its tracks.  Then there are the injuries and illnesses that gradually drain the life from those we know.  According to Tim McGraw’s Live Like You Were Dying, that can be a time to finally appreciate life and be the man (or woman) you were meant to be. Somehow, I suspect that doesn’t come easy. Then there are those that just getstranger old and slip away. Certainly that is sometimes just due to the aging of the body, but I have a theory why others just decide to let go and die. I think as we age, we look at the world that’s changed around us and don’t like what we see. We feel like a Stranger in a Strange Land (to shoplift the title of Robert A. Heinlein’s classic sci-fi novel). And at some point we just say, I’m ready for whatever’s next. It can’t be worse than this.
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(Not Quite) Instant Replay

September 8, 2016

wp-1473320738150.jpg Last night, I got a late start to the park to top off my walking for the day … and keep my Fitbit off my case.  Twilight was well underway as I handed the ranger my Regional Park pass.  I needed about 5000 steps to make my daily goal and may have been driving a teensy bit fast on the way to my usual parking place.  Heck, there was nobody around, or so I thought … but someone shouted, Slow Down!!!! in a four exclamation point tone of voice.  My Inner Curmudgeon, IC, always on the lookout for a confrontation, whispered, Did you hear that?  I pretended I didn’t.   I parked my car and was minding my own business, putting in my ear buds, when a gangly fellow in an orange tee skated up on roller blades. Check that.  Actually, his dog, a medium-sized retriever mix, was pulling him along. (more…)

The Office

April 12, 2016

office tooFor the first 33 years of my career as an engineer, I worked for what I like to call Big Industry … large defense-based corporations like Raytheon, Honeywell and Hughes Aircraft.   That portion of my career took place before the term tele-commute was invented, mainly because the technology of the time did not support working at home.  Consequently, I traveled each morning to an office which provided the assets I needed to do my job … computers so large they filled a room, and secretaries and typing pools and art departments.  Sometimes during my early years, my office was a cubicle, most often shared with another junior engineer.   As the years went by and I was promoted, my offices became nicer, evolving to shared offices instead of cubicles to a private office … occasionally even an office with a window, although it usually overlooked a parking lot.   My furniture got newer and eventually was made of real wood, not slime-green metal.   By the nineties I was content in my private wood-furnitured office and I probably would have been content to continue that way until retirement.  Fate and Big Industry had other plans.   Hughes Aircraft was purchased by Raytheon and decided to close the California facility.   Ironically, the work I was involved in was transferred to Portsmouth, RI, where I began my career many year earlier.  I even knew many of the senior engineers there. (more…)

Facebook, God and Politics

February 1, 2016

facebookI joined Facebook back in 2009 for two reasons.  As somewhat of a computer geek, I wanted to know what all the fuss was about.  And my wife, Muri, had been hearing things about our daughter, Amy, from her already-member friends.  I was tasked with seeing how it worked so I could show her.  Later on I would also add a page for Older Eyes, my alter ego and author of my blog, hoping to increase its readership.  In six years, I have accumulated 105 friends, which makes my alter ego feel inferior … he has only 38 likes. If you’d like to help him out, hop over to Older Eyes page, here, and like it. Most of my FB friends are family and real friends from here in Socal. There are a handful of people I’ve met blogging and a few friends from my high school days that I’ve reconnected with. Then there are some who I don’t know or how we ended up friends … a few even accepted friend requests from me that I don’t recall sending.  I suppose that’s fine.
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Monday Smiles – Airborne Edition

November 16, 2015

image I am flyng again.  At the moment, the interactive map on the video screen at my seat tells me I am over Juarez, New Mexico.  I am bound to the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, hoping to catch a tight connection to Huntville AL for a two day business meeting.   It looks like I land in one terminal and depart from another, so I may have some running through the airport to do.  Truth:  at my age, it will be fast walking, especially with my computer bag over my shoulder.   I’m on the aisle in the 13th row, not First Class but not the worst seat on the plane either.  Most of the passengers are reading or playing whatever on their assorted electronic devices, which is good … no loud talkers.   The only annoyance is the very large guy in front of me who keeps shifting  in his seat and pushing against the backrest so hard that he almost spills my Diet Coke.  Me?  I’m writing and listening to my jazz playlist in shuffle mode … Keiko Matsui Walls of Akendora, at the moment.   The Captain just said, We are beginning our descent into Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.  Please return to your seats and be sure your seatbelts are fastened, which means 40 more minutes in the air.   He says there are storms in the area so the descent could be bumpy.

I used to travel once or twice a month and I liked being in touch with my professional community.  I enjoyed working on teams addressing real technical problems and I enjoyed giving presentations on our work. image These days, the work is still interesting but I don’t need to be a shaker and a mover anymore.  It makes my bones rattle and my joints hurt.  But here I am at 34,000 feet, listening to the music I love, posting on my blog.  I’ll text Muri when I land and hook up with my colleagues for the flight to Huntsville.   We’ll finally get to see what our customer thinks of our work.  If I had my druthers, I would be at home.   As my wife Muri and I have grown older, we like to be in shouting distance of each other, not that we do much shouting.  We do occasionally text each other from or respective enclaves, hers the love seat in our bedroom and me in my recliner downstairs.  Yes, I’d rather be doing that.  But for a couple days I can pretend to move and shake like I used to.  I can even smile about it.  It is, after all, Monday.

Uncle Will – A Halloween Story

October 31, 2015

I wrote this story for a Halloween meme back in 2010.   As they say in the movies these days, it is Based on a True Story.  Of course I took a little artistic license.  You know what that is, right?   Lying to entertain. Enjoy if you dare.

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We’re going to see Uncle Will tomorrow. I hated those words. Uncle Will was my father’s uncle, a disabled veteran. He lived in one of the ramshackle brick residential buildings at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, which was about an hour’s drive from our house in East Haven. Visiting Uncle Will was worse than boring … it was creepy. His room was painted a pale institutional green but under the yellow light of the single incandescent bulb in the middle of the ceiling, it looked more like pea soup. The hallways smelled of hospital cooking, urine and disinfectant. His room added stale tobacco and an old man’s sweat to the mix. He’d be waiting for us in his wheelchair wearing khaki pants, scuffed military-issue shoes and an A-style undershirt, yellowed at the armpits. He’d force a smile when we walked in. Hi, Frank, he’d nod to my Dad. Hello, Florence, to my Mom. Who’s this big guy?, to me, every time, and I’d have to tell him, I’m Buddy. Frank’s son. As if he didn’t know. He’d extend a hand to shake, skeleton fingers covered with papery skin that I’d try to touch (more…)

Where, Indeed?

October 10, 2015

hallwayThis week I received a (very) short email from my friend, Barry.  Older Eyes, he said, where have you gone?  I’ve been wondering that myself.  I’d gotten used to him hanging around in the hallways of my mind, looking out through my older eyes for interesting things to write about.  In a way, he is the best part of me, another way of saying something I’ve often said … I’m best on paper.  I don’t know if that means that writing makes me a better person or that my writing skills make me sound better than I am.   But I like myself better when he’s around, so perhaps the point is moot.  Moot.  What an odd word. No?  Say it over and over a few times.  Moot.  Moot. Moot.  See? (more…)