Posted tagged ‘Life’

The Committee in My Head

September 18, 2016

entertainHave you ever heard someone speak of The Committee in My Head as a way of describing the assortment of thoughts that can seem to appear out of nowhere in your mind, especially in difficult situations?  As you’ve tried to reason your way though such a situation, have you been surprised by the unproductive and sometimes downright nasty  thoughts that turn up?  According to Barry Gordon in an article in Scientific American, We are aware of a tiny fraction of the thinking that goes on in our minds, and we can control only a tiny part of our conscious thoughts. The vast majority of our thinking efforts goes on subconsciously. Only one or two of these thoughts are likely to breach into consciousness at a time. And if that isn’t bad enough news for those of us who would like to be clear and rational thinkers, Harvard University psychologist Daniel Wegner says that vigilantly struggling not to think about something or someone forces part of your brain to be on guard for that thought. Holding it there, even subconsciously, keeps the thought alive, and sometimes it escapes out of the prison it’s being kept in and erupts into your active thoughts. This is mostly likely to happen when you’re under stress, mentally overwhelmed or just plain exhausted.   So, if we can’t control our thoughts … and trying can actually make doing so harder … what is an over-thinker to do? (more…)

Motown Memories

September 2, 2016

yearsI am an introspective sort of old guy.  Being old … seventy-two, to be specific … is an advantage for an introspective man, providing lots of life to introspect (no, it’s not a word … consider it senior literary license).   I am also a lucky man.   As I move inexorably into my seventies, I am, as they say, comfortable in my own skin.   No, I am not quite perfect … defects of character and irrational prejudices still haunt me … but for the most part, I manage not to act on them.   Mistakes?  Yes, Frank Sinatra, I’ve made a few but I’ve tried to learn from each of them and I think I am a better person for the effort.  Pardon me if I pat my own back and say I have an examined life, which, according to Socrates, makes life worth living.   These days, I find myself looking back over the years not in judgement but in curiosity, trying to understand what made me turn out as I am.  So let me ask you this.  Have you ever asked yourself, What was was the most significant year in determining who you are? (more…)

Dreams

March 24, 2016

dreamsRecently, my son-in-law, Lars, bought season tickets to his alma mater’s football season.   He told our daughter, Amy that it was a lifelong dream.  When my wife, Muri, found out, she asked me if I had dreams like that, adding that she’s never had lifelong dreams or made bucket lists.  I’ve been thinking about it ever since because, to my surprise, I don’t.  Oh, I’ve had plenty of things I want to try and things I want to see.  Even a few things I’d like to have, as materialistic as that sounds.  And if I kept score … which I don’t … I think I’m doing fairly well at trying, seeing and having things I want.  And I’ve always regarded bucket lists as rather theatrical, as much as I enjoyed the movie of the same name.
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Head. Feet. Together.

February 21, 2016

With visitors coming this week, this SatHome depoturday was a chore day.   I had a long list of things to do around the house and of errands I needed to run in order to be able to do those things around the house.  Chances are about 98% that on a chore day, a trip to our local Home Depot will be required.  Today, I needed flowers … assorted viola and some sweet alyssum … toviolet brighten up my flower pots in the yard.  I also picked up some kitchen cabinet polish.  The plan was to finish at Home Depot, take some boxes to our storage bin, then stop at Target to pick up some cat food before heading home to start on my chores.  Everything was on schedule until I loaded the plants into the trunk in the Home Depot lot and closed the lid.  Have you ever had one of those moments where your hand is in the process of closing the door and a voice in your head shouts KEYS!!! … but it’s too late to stop?  You hopefully look in your pocket but you know where they are.  In the trunk with the plants.  And the car doors are locked.  Shit. (more…)

Throwback Thursday – Following Instructions

January 14, 2016

I discovered this old post, originally posted in 2010, by accident as I was reviewing the similar posts WordPress inserted at the bottom of yesterday’s post, Yakkers.   It is the perfect combination of common sense and curmudgeon for a Throwback Thursday.

instructionsThis morning, waiting in the aisle of Southwest Flight 931 to choose my seat, I was talking with a man from San Antonio I’d met in the boarding area.   We were both experienced business travelers exchanging … as experienced business travelers do … stories of cities visited and flights endured.  The flight attendant, who appeared to be almost as old as I am … remember when they were all young and glamorous? …  probably not … was giving her full flight speech.   Ladies and gentlemen, this is a very full flight.  There is limited overhead space for carry-on luggage, so please place any  items such as computer bags, cameras, coats or hats under the seat in front of you. As she was finishing, the man in front of me stuffed his computer bag into a partially full bin and farther down the aisle, a woman was doing the same with her coat and purse.   My temporary traveling companion and I just looked at each other and laughed. (more…)

Throw Back Thursday – Schweater?

October 22, 2015

Thursday is now the day to repost my favorites from six years of posting here on Older Eyes – Bud’s Blog.  While I have always liked my philosophical posts best, readers prefer my humorous ones.  Go figure.  This one, originally posted in 2010, is appropriately about the sometimes peculiar communication between seniors whose hearing … and inclination to listen … are fading.

Next month we will be traveling to Virginia to attend the Bat Mitzvah of the grand daughter of two of our oldest friends, Rita and Barry.    While I have only one friend from my side of the family that predates our move to California in 1971, my wife has a number of friends from grammar school, making them friendships with more years under the bridge than we generally mention in public.    Rita and Barry used to live nearby in Irvine, California but the call of grandchildren in the Washington, D.C., area took them from us, something I understand completely.   We love them just as much as when they were here so we try to get together once or twice a year. (more…)

(Good) Morning

July 19, 2015

Do you see life as one stream of light interspersed with nights of dark or as one stream of darkness interspersed with days of light?  Though there will never be an answer, what we believe about the nature of life mattersMark Nepo in The Book of Awakening

I awoke this morning with a case of the case of the blues.  That is not totally uncommon … I have a dark side and it is fond of sneaking out as I sleep.   Thisbushy one was a little darker than usual.  I could feel the first chill breezes of a spiritual winter.   It doesn’t matter that nothing has changed since yesterday morning when I awoke, as my Mom used to say, Bright-Eyed and Bushy-Tailed.  It doesn’t matter that the gratitude list I wrote yesterday morning is just as valid today as it was then and that before the morning is over, I’ll write it again. (more…)

The Karma of Parenting

May 29, 2015

nana_papa This may sound like heresy, but being a father has not been an entirely fufilling experience for Older Eyes.  In my heart of hearts, I believe this is true for most parents but in our society, there is a tendency to speak of parenthood in hushed and reverent tones, perhaps so as not to scare off parents of the future.   Don’t get me wrong … there are parts of it I treasure and other parts that, though difficult, taught me valuable lessons I’d not have learned any other way.  But looking back, there are mistakes I made that I regret deeply while acknowledging that if given a do-over, I might just make a different mistake.  As my children have grown into adults, I have, rightly or wrongly, sometimes seen their poorer choices as reflections of the shortcomings of my fatherhood.  When our kids are kids, do we ever realize that they will remain our kids as adults … but that we will have even less control over them?

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Monday Smiles – Memorial Day 2015

May 25, 2015

This is has become my traditional Memorial Day Post.  I think it captures the spirit intended for the holiday.

I have traveled the political spectrum from fairly far left to fairly far right and back toward the middle in my seventy years.   But as I traveled that broad spectrum, I think I’ve always been a patriot in the sense that I love my country dearly and believe for any faults it may have, it is unique in the world.   When I was protesting the war and voting for George McGovern, I believed My Country Right or Wrong, but not America – Love It or Leave It or America, Fix It or &%$* It.  Every Memorial Day, I get to think back on my decision to seek a deferment from the draft based upon my employment in the defense industry, a decision that might lead some to question my claim of patriotism.   I won’t deny that my motivation wasn’t entirely selfless but I’d offer that some of the systems I helped develop for keeping track of Soviet submarines during the dark days of the Cold War contributed substantially to our National Defense.  Just watch The Hunt for Red October.  Still, sometimes I feel a little guilt that others served in my place.   At seventy, I simultaneously abhor the realities of war (brought to us in gruesome detail by modern media) and resign myself to its necessity in what is, more than ever, a dangerous world.   Some of our military excursions have been essential, others have turned out to be unwise.  Both fall at the feet of our leaders and those of us that elect them. (more…)

Being Happy

May 22, 2015

Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be

happy1Last night, the topic of our Thursday Night Men’s Meeting was slogans.   Twelve-step programs are big on slogans and there is a reason.   In a crisis, wisdom is easier to recall in a bumper-sticker sized bit than some sentence-long or page-long chunk.  As someone who’s always hated bumper stickers, I accept that particular bit of wisdom reluctantly and, by the way, usually cringe when the topic is announced.  When the topic is slogans, inevitably someone brings up the one at the top of the page, usually attributed to President Lincoln.  Last night, I beat them to the punch and brought it up myself, and in keeping with my contrarian, curmudgeonly nature, I dissected it. (more…)