Saturday, March 28, 2015

The value of hope

I have found that having hope is the driving force behind life. And that without hope, the road turns to despair. This become particularly important in helping those with long-term illnesses keep up the will to live.

Living, for all of us, has its challenges, but for one who faces each day with the prospect of pain, or the haze of drug-induced pain killers, and no end in sight except eventual death, well, that is far more challenging than everyday life for most of us. This is where something to hope for can help the person with a chronic illness cope.

If they have big plans for the future, something to look forward to, they can place their trust in that hope. If we who care of them take away that hope through our choices or actions, we cause them to drift down the road to despair. We need to be very careful when we make life decisions to include those who need hope the most, just to survive, to continue to have the will to keep fighting. If we don't think about the effect our decisions make have on our loved ones with chronic illnesses, then we can end up hurting them in ways we really didn't know we would.

The best solution then is to help them put their trust in God, but also to not take away their dreams. It's often a difficult and impossible conundrum, when we feel we must act a certain way, but that way seems to put their hope in jeopardy.

Life is a challenge, but people matter. Putting others above ones self is the most important. I'm a firm believer that once we do that, all things will eventually work out, even though it may take much longer than we thought. We can still treasure our own hopes and dreams in our hearts as we care for our loved ones.

Say good-bye to an icon...

Amidst the hoopla and the roaring crowds for the men's NCAA basketball tournament, nearly unnoticed by most of the folks gathered to cheer for their favorite teams, was the death of an icon of the sport of basketball. "Hot Rod" Hundley, most recently known for being the play by play announcer for the Utah Jazz for 35 years, died Friday at the age of 80.

Legendary, every Jazz fan remembers the "leapin' leaners" and the "frozen ropes" and the "yo yo'in at the top of the key"--descriptive lingo coined by the one and only Hundley. His husky, Texas-accented voice brought the games to life for thousands of fans. Who could ever forget "another gray hair on the head of Jerry Sloan" or "You gotta love it, baby"?

He lived and died with fortunes of  the team he worked for, his voice edged in emotion when they lost to MJ and the Chicago Bulls in two consecutive NBA finals, and his voice tingling with elation and excitement whenever the Jazz won a big game.

No Jazz fan will ever forget the simulcasts, before the Jazz got financially well-off enough to pay both a radio broadcaster and a television crew. Hot Rod handled both jobs efficiently and with aplomb.

As a broadcaster, he was missed when he hung it up. As a Utah Jazz icon, he will be missed by all who knew him. Guys like that, who really care, don't just fall from the sky. Folks like that, who live with passion, are the kind who make the world better, even if it's helping someone to enjoy a sport just a little bit more. They are filled with life and when they're gone, people notice. Good-bye, Hot Rod. You made my life just a little bit better by your exuberance.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Getting the garden ready

Yesterday on my day off, instead of going out and having fun, I did yard work. Yes, it's that time of year, and since I've sacrificed much of my time in the evenings to watching the NCAA basketball tournament, my time to actually do meaningful stuff is on my days off. Thankfully, March Madness doesn't last that long.

So Ann and I drove down to Riverton to IFA to pick up some blackberry plants. Just last week we had gone to the other IFA and they were out of them (they did have one left, which I bought). I made sure I called first. When I got there, they had a lot to choose from and I ended up purchasing two more blackberry plants, a boysenberry plant, and I was pleasantly surprised to find a huckleberry plant. I snagged that one right up, huckleberries being one of my favorite berries and all, though I'm thinking that I may not have success with it actually living. I remember quite a few years ago, Larry Sagers on the KSL Greenhouse program mentioned that it's very difficult to get huckleberry plants to actually grow in the home garden. Most of them are found in the wilds.

There's actually a place up near Bear Lake that has some huckleberries growing naturally. To the best of my knowledge, it's the closest place to my home that they are growing, and it's quite a drive, so if you don't time it right, you either find them still unripe, or you find that the bears have eaten all of them. If you really time it wrong, you find the bears still there.

I got those planted and also got the metal sheets for my raised beds cut. It actually wasn't as difficult as I imagined it to be--the saber saw worked well for the task. I'll still need to build the frames and fill them up with a combination of sandy loam and compost before they'll be ready for planting. Yeah, I'm thinking the cold season crops aren't going to happen this year.

The rest of the day I did just a few things, including moping because I hadn't actually taken the day off and done something fun.

Secretly though, I enjoyed getting those blackberry and that huckleberry plant in the ground. I'm looking forward to some good berries in a couple of years. And next week, I'm actually planning on getting out and hiking on my day off, so there's great things in store in the near future.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Humor for the day

This is about a year old, but I saw it for the first time today. Check out this link: Dad fills out questionaire for 11-month-old at daycare

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Monday, March 23, 2015

A time dilemma

I'm not good with adjusting to schedule changes. Saturday, my work schedule changed from starting at 7:30, to starting at 7:00. This may not seem like much, and over all, I like the idea of getting off work a half an hour earlier, but it puts me in a dilemma. The dilemma is when to write and when to get my exercise in. About a year ago, we changed from an 8:00 starting time to a 7:30 starting time, and I still haven't fully adjusted, and now, I have to adjust again. I do my best writing in the morning, mainly because there are too many distractions for me when it comes to writing in the evening. On the other hand, going to the gym after work is harder, because sometimes I work overtime and the need to get home outweighs staying until 6:00 at the gym to complete a workout.

My workout is generally completed in an hour, but there is drive time, and doing it after work puts me in the middle of rush hour traffic trying to get home. I'm thinking that I'm going to end up splitting my workout and running in the morning (I will have to anyway once it gets hot), and then doing my strength training after work. Running in the morning will still allow me to write for a while, so I think that may be the best possible solution. I'll need to be disciplined to do it, especially since I will need to get up at a consistent time, but that will be possible. The only thing I worry about is running in the dark. I haven't done that for years, and don't have the reflective gear for it. Of course, that can be easily purchased.

So there will be that, and I'll also try to get some cooperation around here with doing some writing at night. My computer just may have to be off-limits to the grandkids and others unless I'm watching a game or movie, or playing a board game with Ann. Of course, this time of year brings a number of things that take away time that could be used for writing—yard work that must be done, and of course the outdoorsy stuff that I always do and that nearly always takes precedence.

I'm glad my time dilemmas are only between things I want todo and not between things that I have to do.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

I'm feeling a bit sucky today

Some days, you just don't feel all that great. It can be a physical thing, or it can be something emotional or mental. Sometimes you can't even do anything about it. Like now. For me.

We all feel down sometimes. And we all need to know how to climb back up. I know. You've felt down before too. Maybe you're even feeling so now. So, now, how to climb back up. That's the million dollar question and there often aren't easy answers.

Here's my suggestion. Grab your life by the scruff of the neck and make it do what you want it to do. That's it. Be proactive. Don't wait. Do something. Maybe knocking yourself off dead-center is what you need to do in order to get out of the blues.

It's what I need. Or at least, part of what I need. The other part lies down the road, and only time will cure that part.

Until then, I (and you) need to make the best of what God has given us. We all do. It's those who can do so who end up living happy lives filled with great things. And that's what I want.

Cats are strange

Sometimes my cat Scout is frankly, a moron. First there are the times when she hops up, strides in front of the monitor, walks on the keyboard, and prevents me from interacting with websites. Pay attention to me, she seems to say, not that screen. It can be irritating and endearing at the same time.

The thing that takes the cake though is this morning. I just happened to be in the bathroom, urinating (Sorry for the graphic description. You can stop reading now if you want. But come on, we are all adults here.). Scout hopped up on the bathtub edge, then walked over onto the front part of the toilet, right underneath the stream, and stood there. What was I supposed to do with that situation?

You make the call...

It's great mailman weather

Spring is  here, and with it comes one of the best times of year for mail delivery. I should know--that's my job. There's nothing like being outside when the weather is nice, but not too hot. As an added bonus, I got to deliver an hour off of a walking route yesterday. Now driving around in a truck all day isn't bad in this kind of weather, but getting to do a walk in it is amazing. Walking all day kind of defeats the purpose of enjoying it, but just doing an hour? That I can handle. I used to walk all day delivering mail, up until five or six years ago. It kept me in great shape. The thing is, when I went to do the things I loved to do after walking all week, I didn't want to do them. Hiking doesn't sound fun after packing around mail for 27 miles in a typical week. I finally took advantage of my seniority and bid on a "mounted" route, which is basically another name for a driving route, and presto, my hikes became much more fun.

I never expected to be still delivering mail after this long. In August, I'll have worked for the USPS for 32 years. That's a long time. I'm not really a big fan of government jobs, in fact, I've supported legislation that would be detrimental to my own job, simply to cut down on governmental waste. I'm not a hypocrite when it comes to my ideals and how they apply to limited government. That being said, the need to put a roof over my family's collective heads, and food on our table kept me doing the job for longer than I'd planned. I'd always thought I could go back and finish my degree at the University of Utah, and never realized that there was some kind of statute of limitations on the courses I took. I actually went back to school for a few months to Salt Lake Community College, but again, the family needed my income more than I needed another job and I stopped attending. I learned a lot of math though, and some computer skills.

When all is said and done though, I have other options. I've got one novel completed (not a very good one), and another one that I've completed 58,000 words on. When I get that done, it may not make me rich, but it may help me to end my postal career a bit earlier than previously planned. I'm not counting on it, but I am going to try and finish it to see what will happen. Right now, it's a pretty awesome story line, with a lot of exciting scenes, although most of those scenes have kinks in them that need to be worked out. I'm estimating that it will be around 80,000 words long when completed.

The thing is, delivering mail has its perks. For one thing, the nice parts of the year and being outside. Another advantage to being outside is to not have to hang out with the managers. There are very few with whom I'd like to hang out--too much watching you--you know, the kind of feeling you get when the boss just walked into the room? I know that feeling from both sides, btw. "GG" was the last manager with whom I actually liked hanging out. So "GG", if somehow you're out there reading this, let it be known that you were a cool person to hang out with.

Okay. It's another spring day today, with temps in the low 70s. I think I'm going to wear my mailman shorts today.