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Lost and found…. Thanksgiving thoughts

November 21, 2017

….you know that last few minutes right before we fall asleep when at times we feel something like a blanket starting to cover our brain and body, that feeling of total release and a fading of reality well thats when I have my most impressive ideas for blog postings. Take last night for instance with the muffled radio’s droning in the background and that feeling of sleep fast approaching something sparked in my mind and I had the outline for a perfect posting, but when I awoke this morning and now at my keyboard with coffee in hand nada, nothing, zilch, zero gone…. like a wisp of smoke in a gentle wind.

I have over the years come up with some of the best ideas for magazine articles and this blog right when I was falling asleep, and because I realize they are rarely there the next day I have at times left a pen and paper and even a digital recorder by my bed in hopes of capturing those elusive Pulitzer prize winning words. Though for some reason I have never been able to capture those thoughts either on paper or digitally, and last night was a prime example.

Either because of the anxiety I am under lately because of my quitting smoking or because of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday early this morning as I started to fall asleep my mind started to form the perfect holiday posting. Unlike most this one had a catchy title and full of solid thoughts to carry you to a great conclusion, but alas like many of those that proceeded it this morning the idea is still there but not the substance, so I guess I will have to just wing it and see if I can write a ‘nice’ holiday posting instead of the ‘Pulitzer’ quality one envisioned last night.

Carving the turkey Alaskan style

Thanksgiving to some is a time for family from far and wide to gather and spend time together to renew and refresh, distance challenged, relationships over a meal that is said to have been eaten by the early colonists of this nation. In some history books it is presented as a coming together of the early colonists and the native peoples of America sharing a meal. Reality or fantasy or a story with grains of truth we will never know for sure but still a wonderful concept.

Because of my 14 years of basically living alone in the wilderness it appears that I now have a problem dealing with groups of people, from department stores and supermarkets to family gatherings, so this holiday is one that I was not looking forward to because of this. However remembering the ultimate basis for having a meal with your loved ones I will squelch my uncomfortable-ness and share the true meaning of the holiday.

Though some loved ones can not be with us and
for most of the year many more of us may live our life
in different parts of this nation and world
on Thanksgiving
both family and friends
join together
and share with each other the bond of
friendship and love
that distance will not erase.

So from my family to yours…….

Happy Thanksgiving
to you my readers
who I consider part of my extended family.

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Walking in circles…. the journey against weight and addiction

November 16, 2017

….with the news lately filled with salacious content about the movie stars, movie moguls and politicians proclivity toward aberrant sexual tendencies I have decided to rise above the slime covered ‘yellow journalism’ and write briefly about my progress towards breaking the chains of my nicotine addiction and walking as a way to better health.

As I rounded the corner again the sun momentarily broke through the clouds, and that brief blast of sunshine momentarily raised my spirits. It seems to me that it has been cloudy for weeks even though it has probably only been a few days. Today was day nine of my journey to quit smoking and walking to loose weight but now as I looked out my window the sky was once again full of clouds mirroring my mood. No not angry or even sad, just feeling like my life is shrouded in fog and clouds.

It is funny because I have not only literally walked across Texas many years ago when I hitch-hiked across America, but I participated in a number of 26 mile forced marches down in Ft Hood when I was in the Army, and now I find myself as an old man doing multiple laps every day around my apartment complex. But as with most things in life this too has come to a stop, because of a simple pain in the leg.

Though my battle with nicotine is progressing well, with only a couple days when I smoked a few more cigarettes than my 50% goal, even now as I type sometimes I start reach out for another one. For years those butts were my constant companion, from the moment I woke till I was ready for bed, and when I was writing or editing a video I literally chain smoked so it isn’t any wonder that now as I write I feel something is missing….

I don’t know why it is but for me just when I am on a roll of doing something good for myself something happens to stop it? I have increased my steps/distance over the weeks to a mile a day and every day I am adding a bit more, which though nothing spectacular for most is, other than when in the Army or guiding a hunt it is really good for me. A few days ago I noticed my left calf tightening up almost to the point of being painful, but I stupidly thought I could work/walk through it. Now it is constant even when not walking and I have decided to stop walking for a few days to see if it passes and then resume my walking.

So for now I am still walking
a new fork in my life’s road
and with God’s help
it will make the path a little longer.

Veterans Day

November 10, 2017

On this Veterans day only five words need to be spoken

“THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE”

My father during World War Two

Terrorism in America…. just your neighbor going nuts

November 7, 2017

….no quaint little personal story to start this one off, today I offer only a splash of mental ice water to wake up those still believing that it is the firearms that are the problem not the people behind them. Though not done in the name of religious terrorism like we witnessed in: San Bernardino (14 killed 22 wounded), Orlando (49 killed 58 wounded) or New York where 8 people were run over by a supporter of isis…. right here outside of Dallas Texas 26 people were killed while at Sunday church service and another 20 taken to the hospital. Yes just like the mad man in Las Vegas who killed 52 and injured 527 people both attackers had semi-automatic weapons but if you truly believe it is the fault of the firearm then maybe you should leave this country because there are millions more firearms in the hands of American citizens.

Having 26 people murdered while attending church service is truly saddening to hear
but hearing our politicians once again call for new gun laws is also disturbing.

New gun laws would not have stopped the Las Vegas carnage
because the gunman bought his guns legally!

New gun laws would not have stopped those senseless murders
at a church here in Texas
because the gunman bought the guns legally!

Now in the case of the gunman here in Texas he should never have been able to buy any guns because as the Air force says they made a mistake! In 2012, while he was in the U.S. Air Force, he was court-martialed for assaulting his then-wife and stepson. He served a year in confinement at a Naval facility in California after a plea bargain, and under federal law his conviction disqualified him from legally possessing a firearm, yet the Air Force never notified federal authorities.

So once again it is not a matter of needing new gun laws but the enforcement of the ones already on the books. However I do agree we need some form of law placing the names of people diagnosed with mental disorders on the ‘no buy’ list, but I can not believe that one doesn’t exist already. I think it is more a matter of Psychiatrist’s and mental health workers concerned they will be sued if they notified the federal authorities.

……even if you are staunchly anti-gun (please) consider this, in the gunman’s vehicle were more weapons and ammunition and when he left that church he was on his way to kill more people because he had nothing to loose. If it wasn’t for an armed citizen living across from the church, who pursued and shot the gunman, the death toll may have been much higher.

You want to see an end to mass shootings

by disturbed individuals

then tell your representative before they enact more gun laws

you want un-balanced individuals

bared from owning firearms!

 

An Alaskan miracle…. maybe now its my turn?

November 2, 2017

….it was another Saturday in the far North of Alaska and my friend Rose and I were heading down the mountain to a neighbors home. During the summer months we regularly drove down to drink coffee and catch up on what happened over the past week, but this week it would be different. My neighbor Vicky who had been a smoker for many decades told us she has quit smoking! Now I know Vicky, like myself, has smoked since in our teens and to have stopped in what seemed to me to be just a week was akin to a miracle of Alaskan proportions.

Later over the coffee she told us she has been on a new drug called Chantix for a little over three weeks and has been gradually cutting back the number of cigarettes she smoked each day until just a few days previous she stopped completely. I was both amazed and interested in finding out about this miracle drug but when I spoke to my doctor later in Fairbanks he told me about the cost and side effects of depression and suicide and that gave me some concern. Facing the coming long dark winter I often found myself not suicidal but at times definitely depressed, so I put off trying the medication.

Now decades later coughing more and more each year I decided to once again ask my doctor what can he do to help me stop smoking. My doctor here in Texas suggested the same drug Chantix as being the best available to aid in quitting. However after doing some online research of Chantix user groups I found the same troubling comments referring to depression and suicide when you stopped taking the drug. Now those of you who have followed my blog on WordPress know, during my time as a guide in Alaska, I have danced with bears and faced off with ravenous wolf packs so it may surprise you that I am a bit intimidated about taking this drug.

I have set a starting date of November 6th but am very apprehensive about putting that first pill in my mouth. I know full well what a battle it was to overcome my addictions back in the 60’s and also know that I still feel depressed at the loss of my home in Alaska, so I wonder if it is the right time to take on a powerful drug like Chantix even if it does result in my not smoking any more. So I have decided to put this request for help out there.

If you or someone you know has taken Chantix
or even if you just have an opinion
please write to me
and help me make the right decision.

Absent but not gone…. like a Roomba mentally traveling in circles

October 29, 2017
by

…this morning the temperature here in Texas was in the low 40’s, reminding me of a nice spring day back in Alaska, as I once again sit at my keyboard and let my mind drift over possible topics for a posting, however much like a Roomba it just traveled in circles bumping into potential topics and then backing away from them. So do to of this lack of inspiration I will fall back on an old standby and just write brief thoughts about some of the myriad of subjects that my mind ‘bumped’ into.

The Roomba and my mind still banging into walls

JFK…. So now we have thousands of more documents relating to the assassination of President Kennedy, but not one iota closer to some new revelation on the murder. After glancing at the papers released and listening to a number of talk show’s I have come to wonder why those documents were ever classified. If anyone in the public sector thought that they would find anything revealing or a possibility that Oswald was part of a conspiracy and that there was someone else involved in the shooting then they probably live in one of those states that have legalized pot.

DNC & Clinton vs Trump…. After millions of tax dollars spent and almost a year of investigations into a Russian connection with President Trump and we still have absolutely no hard evidence and not the vaguest of charges have been brought against the President we are handed for free a verifiable link between the DNC, Hillary Clinton and the Russians. You have to wonder what all those millions of tax dollars were spent on.

Catalonia a new nation…. We have become used to the emergence of new territories or the change-over of the USSR from the former Soviet Republic to the Russia Federation or the many name changes for countries on the continent of Africa, but in Spain we are witness to the power of the people where in Northeastern Spain they voted to secede and create their own nation Catalonia. Yes I know many of you are saying so what that’s happening on the other side of the world and has nothing to do with me, well you may be wrong, because a large number of voters in California are gathering a petition to secede from the U.S.. Again I can hear some of you saying so what, there are many states where groups of people want to secede it will never get off the ground. Well from what I can see by the fact that Attorney General Xavier Becerra has granted representatives from CalExit the authorization to put a referendum about California seceding from the United States on the 2018 ballot, things are getting seruious. However those who want to leave our union might do well to watch what is happening over in Spain where the Madrid government sacked Catalonia’s president and dismissed its parliament, then again I wouldn’t mind seeing California’s drain on our tax dollars become a “personal” Calexit problem!

Democrat or republican the opposite side of the same coin…. Do you remember when the democratic’s were passing oboma-care and fellow congressman were told you have to pass the bill before you can read it? Well the coin was flipped with the majority now in republican hands but…… you guessed it today we learn that the new tax bill set to be released in days is shrouded in secrecy. Word is that this secrecy is because the powers to be do not want to be influenced by special interest groups, or would that be (special interest groups not financially supporting those writing the bill)? So once again politicians tell us they have to pass a bill before we see how it effects us!

Political correctness still running amok…. In keeping with the national fervor to label anything one disagrees with as not politically correct a historic Episcopal church in Virginia will remove a pair of plaques memorializing George Washington and Robert E Lee. This continual escalation of rampant political correctness is now reaching out to not only to historical figures from the civil war, but the founder’s of our nation. I have to wonder if it continues what will our nations history look like in a decade. Will our children be focusing on the fact that the men who created this nation also had slaves or that it is a nation which was built by flawed men on a framework of freedom and one which literally millions of people from other nations can only dream about.

My mental Roombaing aside
I have to ask
if this nation is so offensive to minorities
why are so many
leaving their own countries
and trying so hard to stay here?

Fire and Ice, changes in seasons…. not forgotten and sincerely missed

October 21, 2017

…sitting here at my keyboard this morning with my windows open in the 77 degree heat with my arms feeling clammy on the wooden desk do you think its wrong that my mind drifts back to the many October’s alone in the wilderness. I thought as the Texas summer fights changing to the cooler November weather I would write a short post about my remembrances of days gone by in my cabin in October.

Ice….as I put my coffee cup down on the counter the tendrils of steam still rose from its remains even though I had poured it a quarter hour ago. It was October here at my cabin and though ‘cool’ still not cold enough to have my heater on as long as I dressed warm. For 14 years now I have gone through this ritual of changing seasons and though it was in the single digits outside, with my warm flannel shirt on it was comfortable inside.

When I went outside to check my generator the crackling sound my footsteps made, on the way to the shed, came from walking on any standing water that was now frozen. My breath lingering in the air like the puffs from an old steam engine swirled then lingered behind me as I opened the shed door. Now that temperatures were nearing zero one of the seasonal changes in my daily activity was to bring the generator inside in the morning to warm it up for use later in the evening. As I walked back to the cabin I looked up at the sunlight streaming through the spruce and birch trees to see that the morning fog had frozen on their tips and every tree now appeared to be covered in diamonds glistening in that sunlight.

Fire….well maybe not quite the same fire as in August when it was in the high 90’s, but even as I sit here today in mid October with my windows open at 77 degrees my skin moist and having anything more than shorts and a T-shirt on would cause one to sweat. Unfortunately I can’t think of any poetic words to describe my current surroundings other than….safe. You ask why ‘safe’ and in that changing wonderland I described in the preceding paragraph I omitted one glaring downside to the changing seasons in my old Alaska…ice roads.

Over the years I have visited Texas around the Christmas holiday’s and a number of times it has snowed or rained here and the roads have frozen and produced ‘black ice’ conditions. Many people here like everywhere else do not automatically adjust their driving for potential patches of black ice and thus for a day or so we have a lot of accidents in the area. Now one would think people who live in Alaska and go through the changeover every year would be used to driving on roads of ice…not. Though not as many accidents as here in Texas we still have people forgetting that there is no way to stop when your tires are on a sheet of ice.

So though today my daughter in Alaska was greeted with a morning temperature of 12 degrees and patchy ice all over her town I do not have to worry about that ice till maybe December or January. But like many things in life after 20 years of living in what most would call an extremely cold climate I miss not sitting with the window open and sweating while I type.

Fire and Ice
Texas and Alaska
two different extremes
guess
which one I prefer