I was just going through some of my PowerPoint files, looking for one very specific file in which I’ve gathered many of the great, useful graphics (like this) Dion Hinchcliffe has created over the years. As I was searching I came across a program I put together for my mother’s funeral, which will have been eleven years ago this coming March 5.
My mother at about 18 years old. This is one of the pics I used for her funeral program
Maybe I’m just an emotional pushover, but the realization she’s been gone over a decade, that my father has been gone for over thirty years, and lots of people my age are dropping had me feeling pretty melancholy right now. I wept, but I’m not sure why. I don’t generally feel sorry for myself, but I think I was lamenting something we all go through; the loss of our childhood, our innocence, our loved ones.
Actually, the feeling is both bothersome and cathartic. I’ve always felt being in touch with one’s emotions — and giving vent to them on occasion — is both healthy and empowering, but I must confess to feeling a bit guilty expressing them in public like this. Nevertheless, it’s one of the reasons I have this blog. I’ll get over it.
I had one of those timeless moments this evening. I was on my way to pick up my vehicle, which needed some work due to a safety recall. The Honda dealership was kind enough to provide me with a creature comfort-laden Nissan Pathfinder, which I happily drove to work from the Enterprise office, and was to return to the Honda dealer, where I was headed, on the way home.
I had just exited California 118 (the Ronald Reagan freeway) at 1st Street in Simi, turning south to the dealership about a quarter mile away. As I was crossing over the freeway, the light was red and I was stopped at the apex of the arched overpass. The entire perimeter of the sky was filled with soft pink clouds, and there was a long golden streamer of cloud radiating eastward, driven by the last rays of the setting Sun. As I looked from west to east, the clouds and the edges of the sky faded from a bright to a soft pastel pink.
In the sky to the east hung an almost full Moon, its glow softened by a thin layer of clouds, and to the West a long, steady stream of vehicles moved steadily toward their destinations, their headlights forming a brilliant necklace of light. I wanted to take a picture, but a panorama would have taken time I didn’t think I had. I looked through hundreds of pink sunset pictures I googled, hoping to find something at least evocative, but nothing felt right, so I have nothing but my memory . . . and the experience.
The whole moment lasted about 10 seconds, but it was extraordinarily beautiful and felt timeless. It wasn’t all that different from some other similar experiences; after all, it was just a sunset, the Moon (yawn), and moderate freeway traffic, yet it felt eternal (for a moment :) ). Weird, huh?
Funny how one reacts at the news of the deaths of famous and beloved people. David Bowie was less than five months older than me. Natalie Cole about two and a half years younger.
I don’t think I’m overly obsessed (is that from the Department of Redundancy Department?) with death, but anyone who reads this blog knows I do think of it. I believe I’m driven to contemplate it by two major factors in my life: my father’s untimely death at a couple months shy of his 60th birthday, and; my becoming a first-time adoptive father at 55 and again at 59.
Since I’ve long passed the age at which the old man died, I believe the “sword” hanging over my head is related to my desire to be around long enough to get to know both my daughters when they’re adults. My oldest will be 15 this year and she’s not terribly interested in anything I have to say, and I’m anxiously awaiting the 12-year-old’s descent into madness.
Pile on top of that the numerous ways in which my body is aging, changing, and falling apart, and I hope to hang on for at least another decade before shedding this mortal coil and rejoining the great quantum field from whence we’ve all emerged. Also, the changes in technology and society that are taking place right now have me wishing I could live another hundred years or so — just to see what happens!
I’m well aware the ultimate trajectory of my existence is mostly out of my control . . . and I’m fine with that. I’m quite certain when it’s my time I’ll be ready if it takes a while and I’m aware of the end’s approach, or there won’t be any me to worry about it. I just don’t want my kids to lose their third father before their twentieth birthdays. They deserve better.
I was just reminded that I once left Rocketdyne, when it was a part of Rockwell international, because they wouldn’t approve a class I needed. The reason they gave was that it “wasn’t related to my job description.”
I dont know about others, but i suspect many people have similar experiences, where what they were actually doing had little to do with their title or job description.
It wasn’t a trivial thing, either, as I needed the class for a Master’s program I had started and my budget would not allow me to shoulder the burden of tuition I was led to believe would be covered by the company.
It also wasn’t the last time the same kind of thing happened. Knowing the ways of bureacracy, I fully expect it will happen again. I consider it evidence of a distinct inability to think on the part of certain people in large organizations.
Experimenting with some short form blogging.
I’m sitting in a conference room where I was supposed to meet with a couple finance people to go over our integrated master schedule. Nobody is here except me.
It’s kind of nice not having to deal with anybody, and I log onto my computer at my desk, but it’s just not the same and I’m bored.
Now I’ve moved into another conference room and it looks like I’m gonna be doing the same thing. At least I’m being taken out to lunch today, by one of the very people who’s supposed to be here right now. He will hear about this.
Haven’t had the time – or the inclination – to address it, but this past Tuesday marked my eight year anniversary as a blogger on WordPress. Since I had been blogging at The Cranky Curmudgeon on Blogger since July of 2004 prior to moving over here, I guess that means I’ve been blogging for over eleven and a half years.
While I’ve always attempted to be somewhat relevant, I’ve never even considered being commercial, which should be quite evident given the rank amateur effort I’ve stood up. I know WP tacks on advertisements to my blog, though that might have gone away now that I’ve purchased their premium pack. I never saw them, so I’m not sure if they’re still there or not.
At any rate, I begin my 70th orbit around the Sun a little later this year. I’m hopeful I’ve got at least another decade of blogging to do; maybe even some seriously focused writing as well. We’ll see how that goes.
Well, here it is Monday, January 4 and, after a week and a half of “vacation” it’s time to return to work. After nearly five years of retirement, which included a few different client engagements during that time, it became painfully obvious to me I need structure to really make the most of whatever it is I’m doing.
Returning to my “alma mater” – Rocketdyne – has been a blessing, though there are times (like this morning) when I don’t quite feel up to it. It’s given me the need to regiment myself and structured my time in a way I find useful and even enjoyable.
The holidays were, as always, reasonably enjoyable. Seeing and spending time with family is always special. Some of my cousins I only see once a year. However, returning to the routine that has lost me nearly 15 pounds in the last six months and strengthened my body and increased my stamina considerably, is a good thing.
OK – I’m done, cleaned up, presentable, lunch packed, and my new backpack is ready and rarin’ to go. I’m off. Here’s to a great year. Actually, I’ll be happy for a decent week.