Each Day

Each day improves on the day before. My resolve regarding certain family members remains intact. Painful as it is, time spent with supportive friends and the close relationship I have with Karen reaffirms things for me.

I am looking forward to a couple of days away from here with Karen in Burlington, Vermont. We are going up there on a fellowship commitment with friends.

conservative2012.wordpress.com

The title (conservative2012.wordpress.com) refers to my new blog at wordpress.com — where I have decided to shift all of my political ranting to.  I shall leave this traditional blog for the general matters of my personal life and that of my family.  Please feel free to check it out and email any comments on posts to me: david.willis at live.com.  Love to hear from you!

Looking Good

Things are looking good for the 15th to close on our new 161 year old home!  The commitment letter arrived 2 days ago, insurance is being acquired, inspection remedy requests have been agreed to, lawyers contacted and things are looking good.  I was beginning to wonder if the day would ever arrive… perhaps I should save the jubilation until it does, but even I must admit it looks good.

Next comes the lengthy to-do list I must assemble…

A New Morning

It’s nice to sit here this morning and enjoy the sunshine as I write this blog post.  The morning sun is always my favorite.  As I look out on the backyard, I can see how much attention it needs and how little I care about it this spring, considering our desire to move from here into a new home this summer.  In preparation for that eventual move, I have not planted anything beyond the violas and pansies that I typically plant in April.  Fortunately, we have those to enjoy -as well as some hanging baskets recently purchased (easy to take with us).

Comcast has been threatening some digital “enhancements”  (the only “enhancements” they ever seem to do involve enhancing their bottom line at the expense of the customer) and have made good on their threat.  Some of the channels I used to get and enjoy are now gone.  I guess I can’t complain – I pay for limited basic cable and refuse to pay more to get commercial-driven television when I have access to a plethora of media on the Internet through services like Netflix, Hulu and various Web sites.  I do miss Fox News, though.  I was a regular viewer of O’Reilly and often Greta’s “On The Record.”  It’s probably good for me to get de-programmed!  Don’t get me wrong, I am not always in agreement with Bill O’Reilly, it’s just that I often enjoy the topics and some of the guests he has on.  I can easily live without viewing the likes of Karl Rove or Dick Morris all the time as they throw their perpetual 2 cents in on a wide range of topics.  How much Obama-bashing can one take?  Frankly, I also agree with some of their critics that Fox News tends to be seen as the media arm of the Republican party.  I may like a lot of Republicans and agree with them on some of their views, but I am not a Republican… nor is it likely that I ever would be.  Want to know what I am?  Read the “About the Author” portion of this blog where I explain it -somewhat.

In the meantime, the sun is out and I must go to work.  Harold Camping was wrong once again about the end of the world, so I’m glad I didn’t tell anybody off and burn any bridges!  Actually, there’s really nobody I would have told off, regardless of any change in circumstances — in that sense, I fell pretty lucky about the job I have and where I work.  Keep your fingers crossed for us on the house we’re trying for.

From a daily e-mail I receive…

Fact of the Day: personal names

The story of the use of personal names is sketchy. The origin of language itself, about 1.5 million years ago, also is believed to mark the use of first names to distinguish one man from his neighbor. The oldest surviving personal name is believed by archaeologists to be En-lil-ti, a word that appears on a Sumerian tablet dating c 3300 BC, found outside Baghdad in 1936. If, however, that was the name of a deity, then the true first person name is attributed to N’armer, the Father of Men, Egypt’s first pharaoh, c 3000 BC. The custom of family (surnames) names did not really arise until the 11th century in Europe. Prior to the 11th century a surname, if used at all, represented the name of a primitive clan or tribe. The science of names is called onomastics.

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Surviving Christmas!

Well it’s over. All the hype and build-up to the special day has come and gone. Stores argue over how bad it was and begin their winter clearance activities. The card manufacturers and florists set their sights on Valentine’s Day.

Me? I think about all the stuff I have to put away next weekend and the cost of it all! To say that’s all I think of in reference to Christmas would be far from the truth. It is a bittersweet time of year, missing people that have passed on, but also being able to share it with new life, such as my almost three year old grandson – to whom most things are a source of pure amazement.

Christmas Eve was really the crescendo of the holiday for me. Having had custody of our grandson for the previous 3 nights and all day Christmas Eve, both Karen and I were ready to call it a day! I had to drive to Mystic that evening to participate in the service (I sing in the Choir and we were doing several pieces that night).

When I looked out on the congregation (nice to see the Church so full), I saw my wife and her daughter Morgan sitting near the back and noted that the baby was still sound asleep in the pew. I was happy for Karen that her daughter came along and didn’t back out at the last minute (I suspected she would, but she didn’t). I know how much it meant to Karen to have her and the baby along. Prior to that, we had dinner with Morgan and her brother Luke, who did not go to Church (he made it quite clear that wasn’t going to happen – which is fine – to each his own).

Anyway, we were both exhausted by the end of that day and I was glad to see it pass into the history books. The next day Karen had to work, which is something she enjoys on Christmas because she likes cheering up the residents. Isn’t that really what it’s supposed to be about, anyway? I went to a local Alkathon in Groton and spent a few hours with friends, listening to speakers –and, eventually, even speaking myself. After concluding that part of the day with a nice turkey dinner for lunch, I returned home to do a little cleaning and finally enjoy some R & R. Karen came home around 3:30 as usual and we relaxed a bit before having a quiet dinner and going to our regular meeting. After that, a friend stopped by and we chatted until about 11:00 and then the day was done.

The day after Christmas, we went to see my brother and some of his family in Massachusetts that afternoon and went out to dinner at a German restaurant called the Student Prince in Springfield that we both really like. Early that day, a little power shopping took place and Karen got some nice bargains on clothing articles with a gift card I had given to her. Sunday was of a normal variety with the exception of taking in a movie that afternoon – we went to see Avatar in 3D! We loved it and both highly recommend it – especially if you can find a cinema that shows the 3D version.

Anyway, that ends the holiday weekend. What’s next? Ah yes, the New Years Eve celebration!

The Value of Social Networking

Not a week goes by that somebody does not invite me to join some sort of social networking thing on the Internet.  I’ve joined sites like MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and assorted other lesser-known places.

While I’m sure they all have their merits, I do not have the time or desire to try and keep up with all of them.  In fact, the primary site I do use (Facebook) can take way too much time if I allow it (which is why I no longer mess with silly things like “Farmville” and the like).

Even though I think that 95% of the stuff people do on Facebook borders on the ridiculous, there is an important value to maintaining my membership there – I keep up with friends I might otherwise lose track of.  Over the years, many people have moved away and this is one sure way to keep them ‘close to me’ that I didn’t have even a short time ago.  Sure, there’s always e-mail and cell phone plans that  allow you to call anywhere in the U.S. on the cheap, but the old adage “out of sight, out of mind” comes into play.  When I log in and see status updates for my friends, I am reminded of their importance to me and, once again, I am in touch with them – applauding their accomplishments, sharing a laugh and, at the very least, accompanying them in some virtual way through life’s journey.  By the way, virtual is as real as real can be –  Many tangible things come to fruition that are first born in the virtual world.

If you are really into the social-networking scene and stay busy with memberships on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I encourage you to try the Flock Browser, based on Firefox.  It does a really nice job of tying everything together and, like its open source father, it’s free.  I am actually writing this blog post with its built-in editor.

So while I am never likely to become a fan of Tide detergent on Facebook, or trade cows, pigs and apricot trees with people in “Famville,” I am nonetheless an eternal fan of my friends and appreciate this medium for staying connected.

By the way, no need to “follow” me on Twitter – I’m really not going anywhere all that interesting there!

Here endeth the blog post for today…

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Summer Update

Well, the time is fast-approaching when Karen and I will be getting married – looking forward to that.  Afterward, when we return from our honeymoon, we’re going to plan a big party and invite all of our friends.

On Saturday, August 8 there’s a memorial service for George at Old Mystic Baptist Church in Old Mystic, CT from 1-4 (service is followed by  a picnic).

Things are going well, all things considered.  Now, if the sun would shine more often…

The value of Writing

In a twelve step fellowship that I am fond of, there is an ongoing argument of whether or not the steps should be written or just discussed verbally with a sponsor or other individual. The Big Book clearly indicates the need for writing out the 4th step inventory to share with somebody in a 5th step, later to be used as a foundation for the 8th step. Putting that argument aside, the need for writing things down (to me) is clear. I am a big believer in journaling – for one thing, it helps me to see where my mind is at and also organizes my thoughts in some sort of cohesive manner. Its value cannot be overstated. For the past 4 years I have written entries in one or more blogs on the Internet (for those who don’t know what a blog is, it’s basically an online journal – the term is short for “weblog”). On occasion, somebody reads one of them and comments, but I don’t get the kind of traffic the Washington Post or NY Times gets, for sure! An occasional passerby might read and enjoy or benefit from something I offer online, but basically I do it more to get thoughts out of my head than for any other reason – it’s my JOURNAL. It helps me to get centered and focused on things that are truly important, and away from those that only seem important.

Aside from the mental and spiritual benefits that I derive from writing, I think it helps people who write a lot to read better and comprehend more. How can it not? The more exposure we have to words, the more familiar and comfortable we will become with them.

Have I written down something of value today?