RIOTS, REALLY?

How does destroying property and stealing (looting) help anyone? Milwaukee is just another example of angry people using any excuse to act out. An armed suspect was shot by a police officer. Both men were black. This was not a case of racial profiling. Yet white people are being drug from their cars and beaten.

I’m tired of hearing “Black Lives Matter” or “All Lives Matter”. Simply Respect All Lives! Stealing something doesn’t bring about justice. Burning businesses doesn’t bring about justice. More peoples lives are disrupted by this ignorance than the issue they are supposedly protesting.

As a Human, I just don’t get it. One bad guy gets shot and RIOTS breakout. A soldier gets killed overseas trying to keep us safe and NOTHING. Way to go America. Don’t volunteer for the military. Don’t help police solve crimes. Destroy the livelihoods our your fellow Americans. Go ahead, steal that TV (or whatever else you want), after all you deserve it because you chose to be part of a rioting mob.

Don’t bother being nice to one another. Don’t work hard and save for things you desire. Wait for the next opportunity to riot and just go on a steal one get it for free shopping spree. And while you’re at it, go ahead and bash the skulls of anyone that doesn’t look like you.If you succeed there will be no legitimate businesses left and no one left to produce the things you desire. You’ll WIN! NOTHING LEFT TO STEAL. NO ONE LEFT TO HATE, EXCEPT EVERYONE JUST LIKE YOU!

Truth or Facade

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How important is what others think of us? How far do people go to be liked? Is fitting in important? Does being alone really mean being lonely?

I’m not a philosopher, but I have been witness to many a peculiar human act. As a species we truly seek the company of others. Sometimes we wear a proverbial mask that portrays  us similar to those around us, even if on our own we would not act the same. Sit and observe a group of teenagers at a mall if you don’t believe me.

I have seen people get haircuts, etc to blend in. Get tattoos because others did. Buy a certain brand or type of clothing. Why do we do this? I don’t need to look like, act like, or dress like someone else to love myself. Yet at times I feel I have done just that.As if I needed their approval to be okay. I AM OKAY! Just the way I am.

Not everyone wants to grow a portion of their own food. I do. Not everyone wants to spend solitary moments in nature. I do. Not everyone wants to continually learn new things. I do do.

Do I want to fit into society? Of course I do. But at what cost? I don’t want to quit being me just to be accepted by someone else. As Popeye said, “I yam what I yam, and that’s all what I yam.”

I am not perfect. I have flaws. But I can look in the mirror and respect the man I see. I served my country. I give an honest day’s work. My life is not a facade. I am a simple man leading a simple life.

If GOD provides me another chance at romance I’ll give it a try.But until then I’d rather be alone and happy than be in a relationship where I sacrifice my happiness for that of someone else.

Enough rambling for one night. But it feels good to finally write again.

Dog Days of Fall

Its November. The weather here is stuck in Summer mode. Matching or breaking previously set record highs. Almost daily thunderstorms. Yard work really is a chore, either too hot or too wet. A/C runs continually, tea won’t stay cold, mop the floor just to drag in a fresh coat of mud. Did I mention its November?

On the bright side I don’t have to manually water the garden each night. Plants that normally would be difficult in November are thriving. Weeds are also thriving, but that’s okay. Into every-life some rain must fall. Flowers on the Okra plants hint of upcoming stews. Bright green Kale glistens in the morning dew. Trimmings from an overgrown Rosemary bush are hanging inside just for the aroma, I could never use it all for cooking or garnish.

Rainy nights make for great sleep. Tomorrow it will be back to work, but this week is split by Veteran’s Day, so there will be a brief respite. I actually enjoy my job most of the time and although there is always a wrinkle in our plans we seem to find a way to work through it.

Not sure what the future holds. Today, I plan to sit on the couch with my dog and enjoy the moment. The weather will change in due time. Did I mention its November?

A Glance Back

My Family Years Ago

This morning I read a post by Bare Naked in Public. I hope she doesn’t mind my reference to her blog. She always seems to be speaking directly to me, although I know that is not her intention. I would like to suggest you check out her blog and judge for yourself. After reading her post I felt inclined to reflect on my past.

The picture above was taken back in the early 80’s. My mother, on the left, was a single woman raising 3 children with no help from their father. My beautiful sister, on the right, now has 2 gorgeous daughters of her own and recently she was blessed with twin granddaughters. My brother, on the right, has a daughter entering college and a son in high-school that loves sports. I, on the left, have a son that is currently working as a chef at a local restaurant.

Back when this picture was taken I was in high-school. I didn’t think I was poor. I didn’t think working was a burden. I attended school and then went to work at my uncle’s crab shop in the afternoon. It all just seemed normal to me.Many of my friends didn’t have jobs and therefore had more time for other activities. At the time I was slightly jealous, now, I’m glad that I had the life I had. I don’t take things for granted. I have what I have because of the effort I extend and because others that truly love me have been there to support me along the way.

I have made many mistakes on life’s highway. As a husband I failed twice. As a father I made many wrong choices. I can’t change the past. I can only try to make each day worth remembering for the right reasons. My family loves me even knowing my faults. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all accepted each other as is.

Once upon a time, my mother, brother, sister and I all shared one bed at my grandparent’s home. Now, we are all separated by time and space. I wouldn’t trade a single day of my past for a day enjoyed by royalty. I don’t live a life of luxury, but I have what money can’t buy, LOVE!

A Gentle Reminder

KIMG0044Recently, during a very stressful day at work, I went outside to clear my head. Amid the acres of asphalt, parked cars and people shuffling around, I saw a small rabbit. It was nibbling on grass in one of the islands. Watching the rabbit moving from island to island as if it didn’t have a care in the world, made me think about all the beauty nature shows us every day. Even here in a parking lot GOD again gave me a reminder that there is much more to life than most of us participate in.

I used to find time for canoeing, hiking, visiting parks and science centers. Lately I have let my job consume so much of my time I forget to find time for me. Even this brief instance with the rabbit left me yearning to reconnect with nature. This Labor day weekend I’m committing to find time to enjoy the great outdoors.

I want so badly to resume my sustainable lifestyle. All of my batteries need to be replaced. That is an expense I currently can’t afford. Slowly I plan to replace them one at a time. My solar panels are doing their job, but without good batteries their generated energy is useless.

My garden has more weeds than edible plants. Fixing that issue is a great place to start. It isn’t expensive. I’ll get my hands dirty. I’ll get some much needed exercise. I’ll return my yard to a condition my neighbors can enjoy looking at.

Inspired by a brief encounter with a rabbit, I realized how many things I love that I’m not doing. I need to get back to who I was and not let my job get in my way. I will stop bringing my work home with me. GOD gave me talents and a love for nature. I will combine my gifts and moving forward live for me. Trying to be all things for others might make them happy, but I find little satisfaction in doing menial tasks just because I’m good at it. I like serving others, but all choices we make include an opportunity cost. Doing “A” means not doing “B”. I am learning to say no. Not because I don’t want to help others, rather that I deserve time for myself.

I am blessed. May GOD smile upon you and your life be filled with love. My gentle reminder from GOD got me to reexamine what I was doing, and more importantly why I was doing it. Putting yourself last is realistically unhealthy, both physically and emotionally. Take time for you, or you will never find true happiness. It took me 49 years to figure this out. It’s the little things in life that matter. Make the most of what you have. Hug your children, Chase your dreams. There is only one YOU. And only YOU can control your choices. I choose to live for me, mistakes and bad judgements are bound to occur. So be it. I refuse to be a pawn in others game of life.

This is my outlet to vent. If I’m the only one who ever reads it, I’m happy with that. If others read it and find even one thing they like  I will feel good knowing that even though I created this just for me, perhaps like minded people can work together to create a sustainable lifestyle that doesn’t destroy the beauty nature gives us everyday.

Good night and GOD BLESS.

Good to be King or Lonely at the Top

Today I was awakened by my work cell phone at 6:30 am, 5 hours before the start of my temporary shift. The call was to notify me that 2 of my normal 7 am to 3:30 pm workers would not be in today. After only 4 hours of sleep, my sleep pattern is still in sync with my normal 3:30 to Midnight shift, I had to react and react quickly. I contacted my 2 part time workers and offered them an opportunity to work some additional hours to provide shift coverage. Thankfully, they both accepted my offer and I was able to go back to bed until 9 am.

I arrived at work to find that there were multiple complaints earlier this morning. This meant that in my absence, after my temporary exit time of 8 pm, the night crew I normally supervise chose to take shortcuts and not provide the level of service I expect from them. Most of my crew did everything they are required to do. A small portion did not. Performing maintenance on a 220,000 square foot building needs to be conducted on a tight schedule and I found myself behind because a few workers took advantage of my trust. Of course, they made excuses for not completing their work, but I didn’t fall off the Turnip Truck yesterday. Without supervision these workers simply chose not to perform their assigned duties. End result being I was pressured to correct the discrepancies. This led to workers on the day shift being angry at the night shift workers. I had to act as a referee between the workers.

There were many other issues that made my day unpleasant. My physical therapy session went badly. Several new projects were dumped in my lap with expected completion dates, yet lacking any funding. Several pieces of equipment were reported as broken. Due to all the distractions I was not able to conduct interviews to hire additional staff.

In the past a day like this would have led to me drinking myself into a stupor. Self destruction as a means to escape. However, tonight when I got home my neighbor had a flat tire and asked if I could help. I quickly forgot about all the problems I was dealing with at work and proceeded to offer my tools and knowledge for his cause. In a relatively short period of time I had repaired his tire, forgotten my frustrations, and felt a sense of accomplishment. He offered to pay me and I refused any money. I believe neighbors should help neighbors. God will reward those who do his bidding.

So to summarize this particular piece, being a supervisor in a federal government organization can be as challenging as any position as I have faced in civilian life after leaving the military 25 years ago as a disabled veteran. Although I still consider myself an addict, I believe that my faith in GOD and willingness to help others will help me maintain a purposeful life.

If you have read this, I thank you. Although I hope that people will read my blog I use this as a way to put my feelings in print. By putting this out I am able to stress less about my daily life. By reading others blogs I feel a sense of connection of our human condition.

Rarely I feel good when as a supervisor I am told we as a team exceeded the expectations of the people we serve. At those times it feels good to be king. At other times when things go badly, which is 90%, it is lonely at the top. This is the hand I have been dealt. I can only control my own actions and influence only those willing to be led. My future is what I make of it. GOD is GREAT. My son and my dog love me even on bad days.

Where I find PEACE

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FGCU Campus waterway

Most of my life I’ve been here in SW Florida. I’ve never been too far from water. I grew up in a family of commercial fishermen. I was taught to respect our environment. Now, as a not so young man, I find that Nature nurtures. When I’ve had a bad day, or hell a bad week, I find Peace just observing GOD’s creation.

Something as simple as feeding the squirrels in my back yard can somehow ease my stress. Putting the canoe into the water just after daybreak, smelling the fresh air, feeling the light breeze,  being alone with my thoughts can temporarily transport me out of the everyday hustle and bustle. Picking a fresh tomato, cuke, or pepper from my small garden provides a satisfaction that couldn’t be matched by purchasing a bushel of each at the market.

There have been times I’ve cussed the rain, complained its too hot, bitched about mosquitoes, but I always return to Happiness when I accept that I’m just one small part of a very grand design. Without the rain, crops don’t grow. Without the sunshine, nothing on earth would survive. As for mosquitoes, they’re food for bats and other creatures.

I can’t paint one perfect picture of nature with my mere words. Many talented writers have come before me giving us wonderful works describing their experiences. Photojournalist have given us pictures of nature in almost every possible situation. For me, one minute spent in Nature, is worth a hundred seeing it through an others eyes.

Next time you’re feeling blue try visiting a local park or conservatory. I’m thankful for the protection my home provides from the elements, but those elements are what make Earth the only viable location for human life.

HAVE A BLESSED DAY!