Surviving

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

2017 09 01 Hi Maintenance September 1, 2017

Hello September. And that’s it. That’s all I got for you. Oh ya. I see you sitting there, all fat and sassy, but all I really feel like saying to you is, you got some nerve! Who do you think you are? Hmm? You think you can just stroll in and shove August to the side? Do you know how rude that is? Did your mother teach you any manners?

Oh ya, that’s right. Your mother is Mother Nature, and I keep forgetting she doesn’t need an excuse to do anything. I think she raised her 12 little high maintenance months the same way that Father Time raised her, or were they cousins or something?

Anyway, it is the start of fall, and today it sure does feel like fall. A low pressure system blew out to sea overnight, and man is the chill blowing in from the west. Safe to say, Fall is only three weeks away, although Summer is trying to fool us.

Yes, it’s me again, and yes, it’s been some time since my last blog post, and yes, I am sorry, but I haven’t felt like doing much writing these past few weeks. I better get my butt in gear, because next week is the start of the fall semester at school, and there’ll be plenty of writing to do. I’m taking two communications classes this fall, and between talking and writing, there’ll be plenty of communicatin’ going on.

Ok then. I hope you’re all doing well, and that you’ve had a great summer.

Take care, and God bless the lot of ya’s.

dp

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2016 10 16 October Morn October 16, 2016

Is this really October the 16th? Is summer but a fleeting memory of warmer smiles? Was that a flock of Canada geese I heard fly overhead the other day? Did I really have to scrape the windshield yesterday morning?

Holy crap! It’s autumn!

It’s been a while since my last entry, and I apologize for that. I have been busy with school, and when I tell you that this semester has been one challenge after another, well, please believe me. I also ask you to believe me when I say that with each challenge, there have been hidden treasures of opportunity that I have found, worked through and learned from. A kaleidoscope of higher learning, higher education, higher, um, stuff that I have managed to gather and collect and carefully place along the shelf of life. My life. Don’t ask, because I’m not giving any of it away. I might be persuaded to lend you some, but I will be wanting it back.

Should we expect the return of something that we pay forward? I think not, but don’t let that stop you from keeping on paying it forward. Things come to us unannounced and cleverly disguised, so don’t ever think that if you keep on paying it forward, you’re holding bin will run empty, because it won’t, it doesn’t and it never will.

Man am I getting swayed by brainwaves.

Here I am, there you are, and here we go. My son and grandson are coming over today. We’re heading to the coast, to Belfast, our favorite place in the world, or at least Maine. There’s a little hole in the wall Chinese take out place that we love to visit. My taste buds are frolicking with my mind already just thinking about it.

I went to the white cane and guide dog walk in Augusta yesterday. Bill Green was there from the famed Channel 6 show, and overall, the day was filled with smiles and laughter and canes and paws. My sixth event in as many years, and I’m already looking forward to year 7. I’d like to thank Debbie’s mom, Kay, who assisted me around the two block walk. I’d gladly follow you anywhere kiddo, and thank you very much for the wonderful conversation on a beautiful October morning.

Well, that’s about it. I’ll try to check in more frequently, but we’ll see what happens.

I thank you all again for stopping by, and I also hope the rest of October brings you tons of wonderful autumn memories that will keep you warm through the winter months.

Take care, and God bless the lot of ya’s.

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 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 11 21 No Matter Where You Go November 21, 2015

No matter where you go, there you are, so pay attention, ok?

I always have loved that saying. It’s true, you know? Wherever you go, there’s a pretty good chance that you just arrived there too. Grin

With all the things swirling around us, piling up at our feet or tugging on our shirt sleeve, chances are that they’re surrounded by life, in its simplest form, in all its amazing glory, in every obscure shape and size imaginable. There it is, in your face, and don’t look now, but it’s happening 24 / 7, without you ever having to ask for it, expect it or understand it.

It’s alright if you are one of those folks who don’t understand it, because I’m one of them too. I’m kind of used to it, which doesn’t mean I like not understanding, but more importantly it announces my ability to recognize my own areas of insufficient knowledge.

Boy, that takes up a lot of room. Area I mean.

I just read a couple chapters from one of my college text books, and within those sixty or so pages, I was amazed just how much I didn’t know about the subject, which was music. I was amazed that after living my whole life, listening to music throughout, so much information could just escape my wandering mind. I mean, its music for God’s sake! Music! One of my most cherished things on the planet!

Out of the classes I’m taking this semester, I’m having a harder time with this music class. I know, I know, right? You’d think that with all the music I’ve listened to over the course of my lifetime, I’d have a better understanding of it all. I suppose that even though those tingles I get up my spine when a song plays that I really like, I’d be able to remember and know more about it.

And, I don’t, so there.

No matter where I go, there I am, but that doesn’t mean I’m always paying attention. It doesn’t mean any of us are really paying attention. Not that we shouldn’t or anything, but with so much time and so much information about so many things to take in and retain, how on earth could we?

55 year old uninformed goat coming atcha, like it or not. That’s what I feel like sometimes. Uninformed. Not misinformed, although I can be easily persuaded some days.

What the hell am I writing about now? Do I even know? Did I veer away from some atmospheric script or something? Should I know what’s around the next corner? Am I supposed to try and teach someone something right about now? Did I just learn a lesson? Did you? Have you already stopped reading this post? Can you even read?

I didn’t know where this writing would take me when I started it, and I still don’t. Hopefully when I reach the end, I’ll be aware of it and stop writing.

I was talking to my college technology accessibility tutor at school a couple days ago, and when I told him that I had posted three hundred or so entries on my blog, he told me that I should have them grouped into a book and published. I thought about it for a few moments, but realized that it would be like Captain Kangaroo having a dump truck full of ping pong balls dumped onto his head. Little white balls of hither and thither, bouncing to and fro, with no direction in mind, just a reactionary moment among friends who don’t have a clue where they’re going either.

Hey, wait a minute.

So, it’s like, umm, no matter where they go, there they are, right?

 

2015 09 13 Accessibility, And Then Some September 13, 2015

Accessibility, and Then Some

I love digital technology. Always have, always will. Probably the first taste of it I can remember is sitting in the bowling alley with my little brother Scott, playing a duck shooting game that completely hypnotized me. You see, you could sit all the way across the bowling alley with a gun controller in your hand, point at a screen on the other side of the alley, and point and shoot the little plastic gun to nail those little duckies flying across the screen. Digital technology at its finest.

This was around 1972 or so, and from there, the innovations came charging at us with a fervor that has never looked back.

From television, to cruise control, cell phones, video games, refrigerators, washers, dryers, baby monitors, pool pumps, LED lighting, hospital monitoring equipment, wheelchairs, Bluetooth headphones, answering machines, and so on and on and on, the new gadgets just keep coming and coming, right? It seems as soon as you purchase that new computer, or smart television, then get it home and out of the box, there’s a newer version waiting to take its place. Cheaper, better, faster, stronger, smarter and so on it goes. Gotta have it, have always needed it, been waiting for it, just bought it, waiting for them to deliver it, wondering why I bought it. I’ve been there. Read the book, saw the movie and bought the t-shirt.

Did I say I love digital technology? Did I ever tell you that I couldn’t have picked a better time to lose my vision? Do you know that the advancements in assistive technology these past five years has totally amazed me? It’s true, you know?

I am blessed beyond belief at the incredible stuff that’s available to lend help to those who can’t see, and it’s only getting started. Now, don’t get me wrong. Assistive technology isn’t always a bowl full of chocolate ice cream, peanut butter cups and hot fudge. Oh no sir it surely isn’t. Assistive technology can give you a helping hand, but it can sometimes smack you upside the head, rending you completely flustered and totally annoyed. I’ve tasted both sides of the story, and I much prefer the tasty chocolate side myself, but there’s no avoiding the unpopular other side, as I have found out this past week.

I am finished with week one of my fall semester at community college. I am taking two online courses, which means that I am totally relying on digital technology to be able to get at and do my course work. I have been up against it from the get go, and have learned probably more in one week than any other week since I saw the color purple for the last time. I love the challenge, but this kind of challenge can quickly let the air out of your balloon. Good thing I have my handy dandy personal life support pump only a few feet away in the form of Mrs. Dunster’s chocolate sugared donuts in the fridge.

Thank you and may I have another please?

I came, I saw, figuratively speaking, I dove in, I jumped out, I ran to the help desk, I asked for help, I received an amazing array of assistance, I ran back to the pool, I jumped back in head first, I jumped back out and shook off, I stepped back and thought for a moment, I again asked for help, I figured and pondered and worried and growled and scratched my head and then I dove back in.

Week one is finished and as the dust settles down I can dig my heels in and ready myself for week 2.

Do goats really growl?

 

2015 07 20 One Down, Fifty Something To Go July 20, 2015

Well I did it. One down and fifty something to go.

A couple days ago I finished up with my first online class at KVCC, and I’m here to tell you that although Blackboard was a nightmare, I did it. Grin

Back last April and early May, I was having fits. I never thought I would be able to figure out the Blackboard program. It just seemed so cumbersome to learn, and as the weeks winded down towards the first day of class, things started falling into place. A lot of hard work and determination ended up making the difference. My wife giving me rides to campus for some pre course tutoring didn’t hurt either. She never gets enough credit for how she has helped me these past few years, and hopefully if I can pull my head out of my butt for a while, I can appropriately show her my appreciation.

Well, there I was this past May, heading into week one of the course which was Sociology 101. I really didn’t know what to expect, but I felt as prepared as I could. The work load wasn’t that bad, some reading, some writing, some more reading and writing, and voila! Course complete!

I only had a couple incidents of incorrect posts and disappearing assignments, but the work load wasn’t as overwhelming as I had first anticipated. There was a ton of writing, but me and writing seem to get along fairly well. I sit down, I start to type and before I know it, three or four pages are staring back at me. Piece of cake. Piece of crumb cake.

So here I am, taking a break for a week or two, and then it’s time to gear up and head towards two more online classes for this fall. I already have one of my text books ready to go on my Learning Ally ap, but I have to get some help for the second book, which is available on a different platform that I’ve never used before. One more thing to learn.

I’m going to be taking English 101 and, get this, The History of Rock and Roll. Yup. You heard it right. As much as I love music, this is one class that feels like it fell down from the musical part of the heavens. Makes me wonder if all of heaven is under the influence of music. I suppose it depends on the person, right?

I’d like to thank my tutor and mentor at the college. His name is Nick, and he really has made the difference with being able to learn and work through some difficult items, like the Blackboard.

Thanks Nick.

Oh ya, I’ve been asked to be part of a mentor program for first year students this fall. I was humbled beyond belief when I was asked, and with much honor, I accepted the position. I’m not sure how much mentoring I’ll be able to do, but if I can pass along a little piece of what has been given to me then I’ll be one extremely humbled and happy goat.

I hope your summers are going well. The muggy weather is here for a couple days, but overall it hasn’t been that bad.

Thanks for stopping by, and please take care, or else!

dp