Surviving

Feeling the warmth of the sun on a cloudy day. A glimpse into a blind billy goat's unique, ever changing perspectives.

2016 01 20 Amazing Memories January 20, 2016

There are certain things that I will never remember, and there are certain things that I will never forget. There are those things that are etched so vividly in my mind, and there are those things that I seem to only remember bits and pieces of.

I started a list a couple years ago of things that I’ll never forget. The document has turned into several pages of things that I recall. One of them was what we in my childhood neighborhood called, the 4:30 whistle. A factory down town rang out every afternoon at 4:30 with the end of shift whistle. No matter where you were, you knew what time it was, right then, and right there. Right on time, every day, just like old faithful.

I mentioned this to my sister a few months back, and for some reason, she doesn’t remember anything about the 4:30 whistle. No recollection, no memory, nothing at all. I couldn’t believe this, and at first thought she was pulling my leg. I mean, how could she not remember this most prominent staple in our childhood? Surely she had to have been joking, but she insisted that she wasn’t.

It’s funny how our minds gather and process information, events, moments in our lives. From the most important moments, to those instances that don’t really have any bearing on anything, there’s no telling what our minds are going to do with it all.

I’ve had certain things pointed out to me by my sister that I can’t remember at all. What was important to her, might not have been to me, and vice, versa. How do we distinguish what’s important, and what’s forgettable? How does our marvelously amazing brain pick and choose where information goes, how to store it, how to label it, how to recall it?

I often think that I’m at that point in my life where if I haven’t thought of something when I was younger, I never will. I feel that if I haven’t recalled it up till now, it’s forgotten forever. I think that there’s a good chance I will never recall, recollect, remember something from my past that I haven’t remembered up until now.

Gone forever, in the cobwebs of time? How would we know? How would we tell?

There’s no better feeling than when you recollect something from your childhood. The sights, the sounds, the feelings deep inside, the smells, all of it, bundled up into one neat little package, just for you.

No one can remember things quite like we can. Our own slivers of the past, saved to savor, stored to adore, categorized within our brains to catapult us into our very own stories of the past, built for especially us.

Things that have happened since 2010 seem to take different roads. Some of the memories seem like they happened a lifetime ago, while other morsels of memory seem like just a moment ago. Has six years gone by so fast, or is it just another mind trick along a magician’s timeline of information?

I remember when I was a little kid. I remember thinking that I would never be as old as those older people I saw, especially the really, really old ones.

And here I am, nearly as old as those who I thought of as really old. What happened to the time? Don’t you think that with all the years, all the people, all the events and special times, each adding more and more data into our memories, where to put all that information?

It probably would have been great if I could have invested in a brain upgrade with a larger hard drive and more ram. Virtual memory with a quad core processor.

What would have been convenient has conveniently turned into something else, and it’s all mine.

Thanks again for stopping by. If you can remember something new today, grab hold of it and try to remember those unique feelings that went along with those amazing moments of your past.

Stay warm and healthy out there.

dp

 

2016 01 05 One Scoop, or Two? January 15, 2016

I went out and shoveled the driveway a couple days ago. I didn’t do it because I wanted to. I mean, who in their right mind would ever want to shovel a driveway, right? Thank God the frozen white stuff was the light and fluffy kind, for I really didn’t want to have to over exert myself, although I could use it.

I’m getting soft in my semi old age. In fact, I’m probably in the poorest shape of my life. I don’t really understand why, I mean, I get my proper nourishment every day. Ok, ok, I admit it. Some days I don’t have my recommended daily allowance of milk chocolate, but I more than make up for it the next day, or the day after, ok?

Tell you the truth, I had a hell of a time shoveling. It felt like a taste of those old panic attacks I used to get a few years ago. Maybe not quite as strong, but along the same lines. You see, as I have said a few times these past few months, my vision is nearing the end of its existence. I can’t see what I used to, and what I used to see just plain sucked. I guess I had grown complacent that the limited vision I had since 2010 would be with me for eternity. It wasn’t much to work with, but oh how I worked it. A landmark here, a door frame there, a shiny line of chrome, topped off with my two favorite trees on either side of my driveway, and I was all set to go and get some for myself.

As I slowly and deliberately pushed my snow scoop back and forth down the driveway Wednesday morning, I was faced with a deep, dark blackness that I neither welcomed, nor found any hope of being able to use. It was midnight at 10 o’clock in the morning. My two favorite trees were gone, my shrubs in front of the porch had disappeared, my garage door had vanished, the blue spruce that pointed me towards the East had up and walked away, and I was standing there, waiting for a car to go by, so that I might regain my orientation.

I find myself these days leaning and reaching as I make my way around the inside of my house. I am constantly searching for counter tops, chairs, door jams, doors, and anything that lends a hand with getting from one room to another. My wife keeps telling me I need to use my cane around the house, and I keep telling her that I will never use a cane around the inside of my house. I guess the sniveling little brat of a goat is hanging on to a sense of dignity that perhaps even I don’t understand.

No matter what it is, or called, or referred to, it’s what’s in front of me, and as I go after it, over and over again, you might say that I’m preparing for battle against a foe that will never get the better of me.

At least that’s how I approach it on most days.

My wife, God bless her, is putting up with an oil tanker full of crap that no one should ever have to endure. She has been my anchor these past six years. Hell, she’s been my anchor since 1980, and as I have said before, I owe her my life, and then some.

She has chosen to stay with me, for sicker, for poorer, for goat be in debt up to his goat caboose.

As I was saying, as I made my way down the drive with my snow scoop in my hands doing what snow scoops normally tend to do, the familiar shards of slighted sight were nowhere to be seen. I can’t imagine how the driveway looked after I finished, I mean the edges must have been as if a demolition derby wreaked havoc on the linear edges of the perfectly manicured attempt at snow removal.

As I stood there, leaning on my scoop, I listened for the oncoming traffic up and down our road. At one point, I stood there for what seemed like a goat day, until a lone car came slowly down the ridge. I was trying to gain some orientational clues as to how close I was to the road.

Is orientational a word?

As the car rolled by, I pulled out my talking calculator, my T square, my daylight savings sun dial, my bag of chocolate chips and equated that I was still 20 feet or so from the end of the drive, so, on I scooped, back and forth, South to North, and as I finally broke through the packed snow at the end of my mission, I smiled deep inside, for once again I had found a way to get it done.

I swung the scoop out in front of me, trying to find the mail box, and after several pitiful attempts, “Clang!” there it was, the steel pole of the newspaper box. Five feet further south, and there was the mail box, in all its frozen glory, waiting for me to pluck its prize, and pluck the prize I did.

With a smile, a sigh of relief and a feeling of accomplishment, I headed East up the drive, and realized I now had to try and find the front porch door again.

Orientation’s not just a job, it’s an adventure.
If you can see what you’re doing, please take the time to try and remember what it is that you see.

Have a great day, and thanks for stopping by Surviving.

dp

 

2016 01 05 And a Happy New Year to Ya! January 5, 2016

And a Very Happy New Year to Ya!

Don’t look now, but we’re five days into the brand new year. We’re nearly a whole week away from 2015, and there’s no turning back. It’s all for one, and one for all. It’s onward and upward. It’s about time I end with these pointless parodies of the perceptive goat.

Perceptive? Me?

Do you ever wonder how we make it to our pillows every night with so much going on around us that we aren’t aware of? There are many days when I feel so uninformed that I want to just go ahead and act as ignorant as I feel.

Side Note: I could tell you what my wife thinks, but I’ll just leave that to your imaginations.

I try to keep abreast of what’s going on, but to tell you the truth, there are a lot of things going on that I’d rather not have a clue about. Which Hollywood starlet is going out with the latest big screen heart throb is all well and wonderful, but it really has no bearing on my life, and well, do I really look like I should care?

I was never a politically minded person, that is, until my dad told me I should read the US Constitution.

And so, I did.

Most days I wish I never had, as this twisting waterspout of political mayhem seems to be getting closer and closer to the precipice of sanity.

Excuse me, as I’m running out of breath, and for good reason. It’s tiring to try and keep pace. It’s exhausting to catch up, and it’s taxing to try and stay ahead.

Every time I turn on the news, there’s more and more stuff that has escaped my inquisitive mind. The price of crude oil, the five day forecast, the score of last night’s game, it just doesn’t ever stop. As the earth spins around one more time, the endless stream of multimedia comes hurdling at us at blinding speed, without warning, without caring, without worrying what adverse effect it may have on us.

Inconsiderate, self centered, egotistical bundle of current events. Didn’t anyone ever teach this stuff manners? Go to your room, with no supper! Stand in the corner, right now! Have a seat on this stool right here so we can all stare at your insufficient state of consideration for the rest of us!

Seriously though, as much as I dislike catching up on the less than good things that go on in the world, I’m getting so used to plugging into my avenues of news that if I go a couple days without catching up, I tend to worry that I may have missed the news of the millennium. I might have not noticed the next greatest thing since sliced bread. I might have walked right past the deal of the century. I might have, may have, could have, should have, but probably didn’t.

I guess it’s all a matter of personal perception and individual preference on what I consider, what we consider as important.

I recently listened to a recording of a woman who called into a morning radio show. She talked about how she had run into three deer with her vehicle on a stretch of interstate near her home in the past couple months. She asked the radio personalities if they thought it would be a good thing if the state moved the deer crossing signs, so the deer would cross somewhere else. She thought that a better solution would be to put the signs on a road that has a lower speed limit, like a school zone. She thought it was inconsiderate of the deer to want the deer crossing on an interstate, where people were driving really, really fast.

I instantly felt fairly confident that I was a little more informed than she was.

I’m also glad that we don’t have such inconsiderate deer here in Maine.

Have a great day, and go get yourself some more information, that is, if you want to.

dp

 

2015 12 29 Gearing Up and Winding Down December 29, 2015

And here we are, gearing up for New Years, or are we winding down from Christmas? Six of one, and here’s your half dozen.

Looking back, I find that the year that was 2015 was a blinding blur. So much went on as we spun around the sun that it’s hard to believe we could stuff it all inside 365 glorious days on this big blue spinning marble we call home.

And here we are, T-Minus three days and counting. Or is it just two?

I haven’t written as much this past year or so, and I’m blaming it on too much school work. Actually though, I’m pretty sure that isn’t the whole reason. I lack a lot of ambition that I had a couple years ago. I know it’s probably due to my health, but that just seems like I’m making up an excuse for my laziness. I have been writing quite a bit for school assignments, but compared to a few years ago, I’m not writing anywhere near what I was. I have though been picking up my guitars more as of late, and even played a little personal rendition of a Christmas song at our last Sunday night’s writers meeting back on the 20th of December. I was a little nervous, but strummed my way through it. I even sang like only a goat can. I did up a version of Silent Night for the other members of my writer’s group, and actually had a good time doing it. I’d put it on YouTube, but I’m afraid with so many views, it might completely crash the internet

Hahahaha! grin.

I’m still listening to mp3 Christmas movies on my iTouch, and will until New Years day. It’s become a yearly ritual for me, and when you add in a few holiday music albums into the mix, how can a goat go wrong? I actually listened to quite a few movies this season without description. No narrator telling you what’s going on. Just your good old imagination filling in the empty slots of movie stuff. I find that if I’m able to get into the movie after five minutes, I’ll stay with it, even though it isn’t described. The first movie I ever listened to with description on my iTouch was War Horse back in spring 2014. I became instantly addicted to the format and fell back in love with movies. It’s fair to say that I painstakingly fell away from watching movies after 2010, except for a few that I watched with my wife.

By the way, she is a fabulous movie narrator, but with the excessive pausing and playing with the remote control, she could burn through a fresh pair of AA batteries in a couple weeks.

I think she misses not describing movies and other shows to me, but although I hate to say it, having a scripted movie narrator tell you what’s going on is a huge difference.

One thing I really seem to enjoy is being able to listen to a described movie that I previously watched back when my eyes worked. It’s actually almost like watching the movie for the first time, especially when it’s narrated by someone from Great Britain. They use so many different terms for describing things that it’s rather enjoyable to the point of being almost like a learning experience from across the pond.

And here we are again, this 29th day of December, 2015. Where on earth did the time go? How do the days move around us so fast? Didn’t the geese just come back north a few weeks ago, or was that those same gooses I just heard heading their tail feathers back south? I’m sure they got it right, no matter what we think, right?

As we head towards 2016, I’m reminded that I’m just about ¼ the way towards my associate’s degree, which means that I’m closing in on a 2032 graduation date. Give or take a decade or two. Grin
It’s a good thing I’m in no hurry. I’ll try to beat my grandson, as he makes his way towards his high school diploma.

He’s turning 10 this April.

I better get my goat hooves moving, ay?

I hope you all had a marvelous Christmas and that the spirit of the season flickered its flame deep within your hearts. I’d also like to wish you all the best as we slide on into 2016. May this New Year give you every opportunity to grab hold of something good, whether it’s something you work towards, or an amazing surprise that just happens to fall into your lap. With a little effort, it usually works out, and with a lot of effort, there’s just no telling what can happen.

Thanks for stopping by my blog this past year. I appreciate all your comments and look forward to piling on even more goaticious tales of Surviving.

Take care and God bless you all.

dp

 

2015 12 23 Christmas Poetry: Dear Santa December 23, 2015

Dear Santa

Dear Santa, can you hear me
? Am I talking loud enough
Can you hear me from your home up north
Through all the trees and stuff

I’d really like for you to know
How good I’ve been this year
If you could see how good I’ve been
I’m sure that you would cheer

When Mom asks me to clean my room
I sweep and clean all day
I usually pick up all my toys
And put my clothes away

When I watch my little brother
And play outside with him
We smile and laugh and hug a lot
Until Mom says, “Come in”

I always try to tell the truth
But some times it’s really rough
Mom and Dad, they always know
And that makes it really tough

I’ve always tried to brush my teeth
Each day for all these years
I scrub my face, and wash my hands
And clean behind my ears

I seem to do pretty well at school
I read and write ok
I get along with all the kids
At recess when we play

And then, of course, there’s supper time
I always clean my plate
Except when we have squash and stuff
That I really, really hate

I hug and kiss my mom and dad
At the end of every day
I bless the kids, and thank the Lord
When mamma helps me pray

There’s one more thing that you should know
I’m sorry, but it’s true
I love my family most of all
Even more than I love you

I really truly love you though
And hope you understand
As you steer your reindeer through the night
And fly throughout the land

So Santa, if you should make it
To my house, I hope you’ll see
The cookies and the glass of milk
On the table, by the tree

I love you Santa

 

2015 12 19 Seasonal Finale December 19, 2015

It’s finals week in school, and I just submitted my research papers for my two online classes. I have learned a lot this semester, and am very happy it’s winding down. It doesn’t seem like that long ago I was looking at week 2 work, wondering how on earth I was ever going to maneuver my way to week 15. Man, what a blur it’s been!

As usual, Blackboard gave me a lot of struggle, but with the help of an amazing tutor named Nick, I worked through, learned what I needed to know and studied my caboose off. I had a hard time with the reading in my music class, as I have a difficult time retaining what I read. I did figure out though some good techniques for taking notes while I read, which seemed to help me with retaining tons of information. It’s funny just how lazy my brain has become over the years. Now I’m not saying that my mush melon was ever anxious to get to work. Nope. No way. But with a little coaxing this fall, it finally started kicking in and getting done what I needed it to do.

And here I am, a few hours past submitting the finished work.

I still can’t believe I’m taking college classes. It just doesn’t seem real sometimes. I mean, me? College? Me? You must have mistaken me for some other ridge goat.

On the other hand, it has been me. Little old me. No one else but me. And I’m here to tell you that for all those times when I was staring at a truck load of homework, thinking, “What was I thinking?”, for all those times I didn’t have a clue, or understand the work, for all those times I sat listening to my screen reader as it read this foreign language of learning to me, for all those times I bowed down to my keypad and shook my head, it has all been worth it, for it’s been a frigging huge step in the right direction, and with all that’s been going on in my life these past few months, I guess some inner strength showed up. Strength that I didn’t even know was there, or paid any attention to. I just did what was in front of me, and now, I’m looking towards the spring semester already, approaching the starting blocks, again, Before I know it, I’ll be anticipating the starting gun to, you guessed it, scare the crap outta me!

It’s Christmas time once again, and I have so much to be thankful for. I have the irreplaceable memories of a lifetime mentor, the smiling voice of a grand son, the wicked strong hugs of my only son and the caring touch of a loving wife at my side. I have been afforded a ton of inspiration, a ton of friendships, a half ton of chocolate, a roof over my head that doesn’t leak, a family that I would gladly give my right arm for, and a God that gives me the strength to keep moving forward each and every day.

For all of these, I am thankful, and I am blessed.

I just listened to the finale of my favorite singing competition show last night, and my favorite singer won. I just simply love good music, great singers and the ability to listen to all of it. I also have a couple Christmas movies cued up on my iTouch to listen to tonight. I think I’ll start it off with one of my favorite seasonal movies, The Family Stone. I’ll save Miracle on 34th Street for tomorrow night. It’s the older version of the two.

I do love my Christmas movies, and my holiday music. Can’t get in the holiday spirit without them, right?

So many things remind me of Christmas. The bells of the season, the energetic voice of a child, Silent Night being sung on the radio, and the ever present, spine tingling magic that flows through the world as we celebrate the birth of the Lord. With a flurry of spirited magic, I can’t help but think back to my childhood when all of that magic came swirling in on a bright eyed little boy. Scouring the Christmas Eve night for Santa’s sleigh, watching the tinsel dance along the colored lights of our Christmas tree, feeling the energy grab hold of an innocent heart, it all seemed almost too wonderful to be true, but oh how true it was.
I am a thankful, blessed and fortunate man. I’d also like to wish you all the very best this Christmas, and hope that your ticket into the New Year is filled with those special memories that stick to your ribs all through your 365.

Thanks for stopping by and God bless you all.

dp

 

2015 12 14 It Ain’t Easy Being Green December 14, 2015

It’s not easy being green, or blue, or lavender, or blind. It’s not the norm, the average, the trendy, or politically correct to not be able to see. It’s abnormal, variational, unusual and unconventional to be lightless, sightless, non visual or blind as a bat. Fact is, there isn’t much about it that I particularly care for.

A member of an email list I belong to offered their resolute opinion that even though I lost my vision rather rapidly, I should have been more prepared for the unexpected, that with my lack of preparation, I fell into a deep well along with those that didn’t take responsibility for their own lives, that I didn’t adequately take the steps to make sure that if I did lose my vision, that I’d be ready to take on a visual world with a mobility cane, a good concept of the Braille language and an abacus to figure out how much money I was spending while grocery shopping.

Huh?

I’m afraid no matter how I might have anticipated the hardships that life can throw at you, I would have been nowhere near as prepared as this person thought I should have been. Granted I wouldn’t be any further behind where I am right now, but chances are, I wouldn’t have been any further ahead either.

Oh ya, did I tell you? This person has been blind since birth, which in my eyes makes a huge difference. I’m wondering how they could have gauged where I, or those like me should be, I mean there’s got to be a huge difference on how you live your life when you’re born blind, compared to if you lose vision later in life, and suddenly to boot.

Ok, ok, ok, I’m starting to feel sorry for myself, and that’s my worst enemy. Self pity might feel comfortable at times, but he ain’t no friend of mine. He doesn’t do anything positive or constructive; he doesn’t listen to inspiration or cause admiration. He doesn’t lend a hand, except for reaching out to grab hold of an undeserving hand out, and he’ll never show you the right way to go, only the easiest route with the less obstruction possible. I guess “He”, could easily be, me. Fact is, he looks just like me on any number of days, because it doesn’t take me long to start feeling sorry for myself. A couple wrong turns, a jammed finger, a busted toe, a misplaced item, or one of those, “Now where did I leave it this time?” moments of pure non-clarity.

I can’t see much any more. A little sliver of light, a dull shimmer where a bright glimmer used to be, a darker than usual version of what dark looked like just a few months ago, and here I am, a blind billy goat on a mission to find a new way to live.

I’m sort of wanting to tell my wife that I’m sorry. I want to tell her that sometimes I know how hard I need to work at this blind thing. I want to tell her how much I love her for putting up with me, in all my cane sweeping glory. I want to say, thank you, and I couldn’t be as blind as I am without your guidance, support and love.

I also would like to say something to the person who thinks I dropped the ball. I’d like to let her know that outside of her own life, she has no idea on how to be me. She has no clue what it takes to live my life day to day. She has no clue, and therefore, although she might find this hard to believe, she is clueless.

I know what I need to do, and some days I’m able to do it better than other days. As long as I never forget what it takes, and what it’s taken, then things should work themselves out.

If they don’t, there’s always more chocolate.

Thanks for dropping by my blog, and as we head towards Christmas, take a second to look around you. The way that it is, exactly as it is right now will never, ever happen again.

Goat Be Gone.

 

 
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