Monday, January 30, 2012

In the Eyes of the Beholder

I recognize that I have a problem with hearing - an affliction that impacts a lot of us as we age. That may be a subject for another blog down the road.

I thought, when I had cataracts removed from my eyes a few years ago, that all would be well with my sight. For the most part, that is true - for someone who had terrible vision for years it was a near miracle after that surgery - close to 20/20 sight without glasses now. I can even see well enough on a clear, sunny day, to drive without glasses.

But I have a hunch we all have vision problems in other ways.

Like the time in Michigan when we were having a wild thunderstorm. I looked out the condo window to watch the storm and across the way I saw something strange. We had experienced a near lightning strike and as the rain poured down I saw what seemed to be a power line on fire. The red or yellow light flickered and flared just like a flame and, as a committed 'good citizen', I called the fire department. It wasn't long before the fire engines arrived and we got a call from the firemen asking if we could pinpoint where the fire was. In the meantime someone from the fire department came to the condo office and asked about the  reliability of the person who made the call. The manager assured them that we were reasonably sane, but about the same time I came to the realization that what it actually was was power lines moving past a yellowish street light. I rushed down stairs, feeling like a fool, and told the firemen there that I was mistaken and that it wasn't a cable on fire after all.  I think they laughed and left shaking their heads about that crazy old guy who was seeing things.  I won't say who it was that insisted I call the fire department but I will say that it was a cooperative effort.

Then we moved to Indianapolis and found we had a nice view out our window toward the west.
Perfect for watching sunsets. But for months I have been mystified by the appearance of some kind of a building in the distance. I thought at first it was a part of the Raytheon factory some distance west.
However, in the many times we drive past that plant I could not find anything looking like the "building" off in the distance from our window. Then last week it finally dawned on me: It wasn't a building after all. It was a large sign (or signs) on I -465 just past the rehab center to our west. Like the title above, I was fooled by what seemed to be something altogether different.

I apologize for the picture - it's not a problem with my eyes. Instead, the camera must have focused on the spots on the window. That's another story in itself but for now I'm trying to focus more clearly on the real stuff - not mirages.

Friday, January 27, 2012


Strange things happen around our house.  Not ghosts as such - but mysterious noises and stuff hung  on door handles.

Last night we heard a rattling at the door - perhaps like someone trying to slip a key in the lock and trying to open the door. At first I thought it was something on TV but we were watching a debate and who would be rattling during a debate. Maybe someone trying to get at anyone who would watch CNN for something political. Then I got up and looked out the little view window in the door to see if anyone was there. No one in sight -- maybe it WAS a ghost.

This morning I opened the door to get the morning paper and there it (or was it they?) was hanging on the door. The picture of the door above is what I found - a lovely string of pearls for Joyce and beads with an Air Force medallion for me.

We haven't figure out where they came from - nor have we figured out who the donor might be.. Maybe someone was giving a gift to give me some positive thoughts after my facial chemo was at it's worst. Or maybe someone has decided to celebrate an early Mardi Gras.

Well, guess I'll go check the mail and see if anyone has beads to flaunt. Meanwhile, thanks to our mystery  visitor - we appreciate the gift.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Politics oops, I said that word!

Usually, around our house, and even on the Internet, discussions about politics are a no-no -- and I  respect other thoughts than mine. But I have a problem with today's politics in general.

My problem lies in what our leaders and candidates really are thinking of in their beliefs. I'm old-fashioned in a lot of ways -
and I am reminded of this more often than I like, but I don't want to apologize for how I think about our country. For instance, I look back at Harry Truman and realize that, though he may have made mistakes, he held fast in his beliefs and never 'passed the buck', instead he was decisive and history reminds us that he was right more often than wrong. I look back in history to Theodore Roosevelt, a president I have admired for a long time. With Theodore Roosevelt, the needs of the nation and the morality and accountability of leadership was paramount in his leadership.

I know there are a lot of people who do not like and maybe detest Bill O'Reilly and Glen Beck, but the two books above (by them) have motivated and excited my thoughts about 'old-time-politics - something somewhat lacking in today's political world. I know, there are those in my family who are apt to say to me, 'the world is different,' and I must agree. But I think that we need to reconsider who we are as Americans, and what we expect as Americans. Just like the question of what to believe in the church: should the church change to conform with society or should the church hold fast to its traditional beliefs and try to lead society to a strong and consistent belief in the presence and power of God.

Both Washington and Lincoln lived in dreadful times but each of them, in many ways, stood fast in their priorities. Neither of them deviated from their belief in God's power, and belief in the United States Constitution. Each of them sacrificed much for the sake of our freedom and national potential.  In many ways today's focus is on self aggrandizement, and secular and personal things. Even Franklin D. Roosevelt did not prioritize a give-away government - he came up with programs like the CCC and WPA that put people on a payroll. Yes, their salaries came from the government - but people did not live on handouts - there was dignity in earning what they got.  Look at the legacies those programs offered us, and those results continue to this day.

I am sure that the books above may not appeal to everyone. But the fact of the matter is, we all need to deeply and sensitively consider what made our country great and what our national priorities are today. What sacrifices do we make that might parallel the sacrifices of Washington and Lincoln and the people of their times? Washington was not perfect (he admitted that) and surely I'm not - but Washington and Lincoln, in terrible times,
placed trust in God and did the best they could to mold a strong nation. And I've tried to do what I could in my lifetime.

Finally, the books must be good - they have been on the New York Times non-fiction best-seller list for quite some time. Beck and O'Reilly must have done something right - and I appreciate
their efforts. The big question is: 'Who among our leadership today offers the same commitment to what America stands for'?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Procrastination 2012


Did you ever have a time when you knew you had something to do but just didn't have the initiative to do anything about it? You know, the old proverb, 'Don't do today what you can put off to next week?'

Like saying, I'll make make my New Year's resolutions someday.
Someday may be tomorrow, but then, again, it might not be until next December -- after all the political campaigning is over.

I guess I've been guilty of the doldrums since Christmas - a post-holiday letdown. Not quite depression but a lack of motivation for much of anything. I've done a lot of reading - Christmas brought a lot of new books and a really great DVD about religion in America - one of those six-episode specials from PBS. And the everpresent no-no -- candy, candy, and nuts surrounded by chocolate. Like I said, maybe it's just letdown after the busy times at Thanksgiving to Christmas.

Or maybe it's that we're beginning to experience a bit of winter for the first time this year. Or is it the first time since  the end of summer? The skies are grey, there's been a lot of rain, and now a bit of snow and frigid weather.

Or, maybe it's just that I miss all the family - our children and grandchildren (and a great grandchild or three or four). I see other families coming together in family reunions and our family is scattered from coast to coast. The only way to experience family is through picture albums or videos, and memories. And those go way back in some cases, To my brother and his wife, or to my mom and dad who are long gone now. And to Joyce's family - and to a flock of friends we have known over the years.

But I also can walk into the bedroom and see the picture I have included above. Then I can look at each picture and say, 'Thanks for each and every memory' and wonder what memories we'll collect in the next 12 months.

Have great year yourself and keep in mind that every day that goes by it's a day closer to  spring - and one day less of political campaigning.