Day 49-SIP-Together We Stand, Divided We Fall

Throughout this day I have been getting ideas for what to write about and now that I am finally at the keyboard they are all gone, damned old age and dementia. When I opened the writer I realized that my titles with the number of days for the posts are out of sequence, and that is something to write about.

I first began this blog with a goal to promote the power of positive thinking. I finished my work career on a high note because I finally adopted positive thinking as a lifestyle. My life began as a negative human being. My parents were always saying no to my ideas, actions, or aspirations and it rubbed off.

Ungovernable: The Victorian Parent’s Guide to Raising Flawless Children, by Therese Oneill

My first positive move was to break away from my parent’s recommendation to be a barber, butcher, doctor, or lawyer. At least I considered the doctor route while recuperating from my polio, but before I left the hospital I had resigned that I was way too lazy to become a doctor. The prospect of eight years of school, internship, and residency convinced me not to even give it another thought. I chose to become an engineer. I didn’t even know what an engineer was, at least not one that didn’t drive a train, streetcar, or subway. Why? My older brother was in that curriculum and he liked it so I will also like it.

As a kid, I was always taking things apart and greasing wheels or making a push car to race with my friends. Making model airplanes was also a favorite hobby. I enrolled in the science program at a local Catholic High School, also against my parents wishes. There I began to learn what engineers do. Math, math, and more math, German, chemistry, physics were all new subjects to me. I was determined to succeed, but it was with great difficulty. When it came time to take the tests to determine what kind of career I would be good at, all I learned was that engineering was not it. I never learned what I should have headed for. I prevailed and to soften the blow with my parents and counselors when it came time to enroll in college I joined a curriculum that was liberal arts-engineering. The program required that I spend three years at the liberal arts college and then transfer to an approved engineering school for two years. After the fourth year I would receive a degree in Liberal Arts, and at the end of the fifth year I would receive a Bachelor of Science in Engineering.

I finally got the B.S.M.E. degree in 1961 and became an engineer with Danly Machine Company. How I came to Danly is another long story for this blog.

Throughout my early career I had some pretty critical bosses. If I had an idea that collided with his, or his superior’s direction it didn’t fly. In other words I had my parents all over again except at least now I was earning money while being told no. That negativity went on for at least fifteen years. Whenever someone came up with a great new idea I had been trained to see all the reasons why it wouldn’t work, and of course I could never make it work either. One day I was tutored while in a design review meeting with our CEO and his Chief Executive. The Ceo was famous for ideas, and I was only known for seeing the negative side first. Then, the Exec stepped in a looked me straight in the eye and very sternly said, “why don’t you look at what will make this idea work instead of what will make it not work?”

I left the meeting and on the way to my cubicle the giant idea light-bulb lit over my head. I got it!

Why am I bringing this up when this diary is mostly about COVID-19? I see President Trump using every principe of positive thinking in every decision he makes. He projects positivity, he sees the positive outcome, and he encourages others to see it with him. I have never heard him once give a reason why something cannot be done. I have heard him brainstorm out loud much to the chagrin of the press. They have a field picking apart his ideas and use them against him. I see his ideas and am reminded of working with my boss who had the very same habits.

The President never gives his team open ended directions. He gives them positive instructions to get a job done, and then directs them to get it done.

President Trump is wise enough to select people who are action oriented toward the achievement of goals. He lets them know what he sees as success and what his expectations are.

I see and hear positivity from this man everyday, and I know from my own experience that positivity works. Just imagine if we had a two party system that believed in the same philosophy. What great things would we accomplish in America? Instead we have a two party system that is adversarial, like two nations at war. What we should have are two parties that debate ideas about how to make America stronger, and better. If they worked this way the result is often a compromise that makes the country healthy and strong for all the people not just the people of one party. When we enter into congressional dialog today, we enter as lawyers do when they enter a court of law. Instead of solving a problem that makes things amenable to each side, we lock horns and fight to win. The outcome is one side wins, and the other loses; the result is a divided country.

We all know that there is nothing worse than division be it in family, at work or in government. Unison works, positivity works, I pray we finally put them together and Make America Great Again.

Day 21-Quarantine-Dependency

Five ways to beat the Corona Virus

Twenty-one days since I enter this life of near solitary confinement. I say near because I still get out and walk and when I do I see people. I rarely speak to them, but I do speak to friends on the phone. My biggest adventure was to break out the car yesterday for a quick trip to the drug store. I used the drive through for the very first tie in ten years. My prescription met the minimum requirements and I didn’t even have to pay this keeping my hands away form the tube. Once at home, I washed my hands according to the protocol.

My day was somewhat strange because I was extremely tired and decided the cure was to nap, I did. The nap didn’t really work well, but I forced myself to prepare a supper and after some wine I felt great. Could it be that I am hung-over most of the day? Could it be that my system requires a bit of alcohol to tune me up? Dependency would kill me for sure. The idea of needing something so badly that my body sends messages is scary.

While fighting the blahs I also forced myself to the shop to glue some pieces together and to begin the second of three main elements in my new creation. Oh my God! the last phrase of my sentence jumped to the paragraph above. Have this ever occurred to you? I am typing on a laptop with a touch pad, and if I touch or drag a finger over the pad while typing the text suddenly skips to another part of the page. Annoying to say the least.  Sometimes I will go on for entire sentence before I discover the I am typing in the middle of the first paragraph.

After I complete this post I will leave the confines of the house to the confines of my garden. I have one more area that needs a spring clean up. If I wait longer the new foliage will pop up through all the dead leaves and last year’s detritus. It doesn’t make for a pretty garden. Gardeners are funny that way, besides like colorful flowers and unusual horticultural matter planted in artistic beds they love neat and clean beds. That means not old rotting foliage, neatly tilled soil surrounding flowers, and healthy corona free plant matter. I wonder if the corona virus can attach itself to living plants the same as it does to humans? Wouldn’t that be a trip?

Later this evening I am attending my first ever Zoom board meeting. It is the first Tuesday of the month and that is the scheduled day for the Lions Club board of directors to meet. Zoom is an app and service that we download to our computers and then register for a meeting with a Zoom generated code. It allows those who register to conduct a conference call with the added pleasure of seeing the attendees by way of their cameras. It is a giant face time phone call. Anyway, this service will allow us to discuss how on earth we will serve the needs of our community while remaining socially distant.

The garden beckons me. It is 64 degrees F out, the warmest it has been this spring. I can’t waste the opportunity to feel some warmth after a long winter.

Boredom Yields Grief

A few days ago I completed a project that took me several months to execute. Begun in March of 2019, and then set aside in May of 2019 to spend time with my wife. I restarted again in January 2020 a full six months after Peggy died. During the time I worked on this animal, my life was never lonely. This week, I found myself with a couple of hours of free time that I didn’t know what to do with.  I missed going to my shop to cut and grind, sand, and finish wood pieces. I found myself getting lonely and wishing Peggy was still alive, what a terrible feeling. Not that I didn’t want her to be with me, but that I wanted her to be with me so badly.

To ward off the loneliness, I dressed for winter and took a long walk. Exercise helps ward off grief. My shoes are beginning to show signs of wear because I am walking so much. Somedays, I will walk several times. If I need a book, I’ll walk to the library, if my hair needs cutting, I’ll walk to the barber shop. If i am meeting friends for a drink I’ll walk to the bar. Today, I’ll walk to a noon meeting with my men’s group for lunch. (KETO for sure.)

Loneliness is an emotion that causes me to be depressed. Therefore, I must avoid it with a passion. Instead I find more powerful activities to fight depression. I pray when I walk, I watch movies that absorb, I read books with stories that engulf my mind, the last thing I will do is nothing, because then the mind begins feeding me bullshit about how tough I have it when the exact opposite is true. My blessings far out number my adversities, and I thank God for having blessed me so much.

Yesterday, a friend texted me with a link to a Lions event which is in September. I texted back that I have not been able to think that far in advance. Then immediately, I signed up for the event, a three day training session called the USA/Canada Leadership Forum held in Louisville, Kentucky this year. I thought, what the hell. there is nothing holding me back but me. I have looked at this event for three years always thinking that when I am free again I will go. I am going.

While on the Forum website I was reminded of a newer Lions educational program. One can earn a Bachelor’s, Master’s and a Phd in Lionism online from Lions University. I signed up for it while Peggy was still alive and I was President of my club, but put it aside. I clicked the button and completed the first of ten sessions required for my Bachelor’s Degree. I want to receive the degree at the forum in September. Why not? I can be a widower who sits and watches grass grow, or I can be a widower who attends Webinars to get a degree.

Activity, activity, activity, is the key to trudging through grief, along with writing about it.

 

Just When Do We Get Old?

Lately, I have felt like I’m out of gas. I’m slowing down, but then I saw these folks, and realize I am just getting lazy.

https://i1.wp.com/www.calebwilde.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/214.jpg

This Girl Is A Hoot

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I just completed reading Shoot Like A Girl, by Mary Jennings Hegar. I love stories about people who live their dreams. This is the second one that I have read, and they are similar.  What I admire most is that when a person really believes in something there is nothing on this planet that will prevent them from accomplishing their goal. Shoot Like A Girl is such a story. Mary Jennings or MJ as she refers to herself throughout the story saw herself as a pilot when she was eight years old. She never let go of that dream. She finally made it in her mid-twenties. In between, she prepared herself in every way she knew how. She had to be the best in school, she had to learn math and science, she had to prepare herself physically. She did that by being good at sports. Along the way she decided that one route to becoming a pilot was to join the Air Force. She learned to shoot and became an expert marksman. Later when she was in the service one of her instructors told her that girls can shoot very well. There is something about feminine physical stature that gives them balance, and the ability to breathe easily and relaxed. There are many women who are snipers.

During MJ’s course through the Air Force she experienced male discrimination. She not only fought against it, but demanded equality. The discrimination never ended, but by the end of her career she earned respect by her valor proving she could equal any male warrior.

The first few chapters of her story seem to be somewhat hum-drum, but as she progresses through the service her story becomes more exciting. When I read Space Man by Astronaut Mike Massimino I found his journey to be similar, always studying, always following orders, always picking himself up after disappointments, but never, never giving up.

MJ’s valorous actions as a pilot in Afghanistan cost her pain and discomfort, but she didn’t let it slow her down. She finally left her service job and took up the cause of women in the services. She successfully caused our government to rescind policy preventing women from fighting alongside men in shooting wars.

 

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