Saturday, January 30, 2016

You are everything. I'll never forget this song.

What a fantastic group The Stylistics were. And this is one of a number of great songs they did. You Are Everything.

Friday, January 29, 2016

The state of the nation...and the Republican debates

The more I watch the debates, the more I realize that in many ways the same old promises to lower taxes, protect and defend America, and move away from the politics of the current administration are being made.
They are being made, but will they be kept? I haven't seen evidence that any of those on the GOP stage will actually be able to do what they promise. And if they can't, or don't intend to at all, our nation will be in a free fall.
The popularity of Trump proves not that there are a lot of stupid people out there, but that there are a lot of people who are very, very angry with the way Washington has handled things. I am one of them. Though I don't support Trump, my anger over the lies and corruption in our national leadership, is nearing the boiling point.
Where are the statesmen of yesteryear? Where are those who can lay out a strong vision for the future success of America? Where are those who have the will and ability to convey the need for moving the country back to sound, constitutional principles? Where are those who can turn the tide away from a nation floundering under the heavy burden of massive debt and the crushing demolition of unbridled political correctness? I'm sorry to say that I did not see that leader any where last night. And of course, the democratic side is a complete joke--an aging madman and an non-convicted potential felon. Clearly, anyone who would vote for Sanders or Clinton doesn't have the remotest ability to use reason.
I don't like to scream gloom and doom. I personally believe that we will find our way out of this morass in which we currently find ourselves. But if we don't do all in our power to hold those in high office accountable to us, the American people, then we are to blame for the disintegration of the finest and greatest nation to have ever existed.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Two great days of winter sports!

Part of my "stay-cation" involved actually getting out and doing something fun. One of the great things about living in Utah is how close I am to great things I can do in the outdoors. On Friday, I went skiing up at Solitude with my friend, Boyd Lythgoe, and his dad and brother. But before I left, I looked outside and saw this:
Gorgeous sunrise from my front porch.

Once skiing, the snow was great and we had a good time. I took one good spill, one in which I kind of spun around out of control, lost both skis, and banged my head on the snowy slope. I sat there for a minute afterward, making sure I knew what day it was. I thought at first that the only injury I got from that was a pulled muscle in my upper thigh, but later on, when I got back from snowshoeing on Saturday, my neck muscles on both sides of my windpipe, and my lower abdominal muscles were in a great deal of pain. I didn't do anything snowshoeing to hurt them, so it had to have been from the crash skiing the day before.
Sometimes the effects of injuries don't show up right away.
I was skiing on some used skis that I picked up at the thrift store last year, along with boots and poles. I was into the entire set for less than twenty bucks. I'd tried to get a ski shop to adjust the bindings properly for me, but the said that they were too old and there were liability issues on older bindings so they wouldn't do it. I found a video on youtube that showed me the basics. Apparently, I adjusted them properly because the skis came off when they needed to and didn't come off when they didn't have to. I had also tested them prior to hitting the slopes a couple of weeks ago (I never took a bad enough tumble that week for them to be tested).
Anyway, we did over twenty runs (I actually lost count at about five), and I didn't have any falls until the afternoon, which were products of tiring legs and waning light.
Two of the original four of us stayed until the lifts closed. Here are a few more pics:
My friend, Boyd Lythgoe (far right) and his dad and brother who went with us.

That's me coming down the slope.

On Saturday, I went snowshoeing up Big Cottonwood Canyon. We started at the Mill D Trailhead. It was fairly well packed down and we could've hiked it in our boots. We went in about 1.7 miles to where the trail forks. One side goes to Dog Lake, which is another .6 miles, and the other fork goes to Lake Desolation, another 1.9 miles. We decided to go off trail at this point to get some actual snowshoeing in, so we headed over to a powdery patch and ate lunch, then snowshoed through the powder for maybe 100 yards, and joined the packed trail headed back down. After a while we took off the snowshoes and just hiked. It was a great day to be out having a mountain adventure. Of course, it's rare that it's a bad day to be having such an adventure. It beats staying in doors nearly any time.

Yours truly cutting back to the trail.

From L to R: Boyd Lythgoe, Steve Nye, Darren Nye

The nearby peaks were beautiful

Boyd and the others checking out the view across the canyon

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens...great movie, great reason for going

Ann and I went and saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens finally yesterday. I kind of wanted to wait until the crowds died down (there were only maybe three others in the theater) to see it, and I had this vacation coming up in January, so that was the plan, and we carried it out. Somehow we managed not to hear any spoilers and so it was great. I'm thinking if we would've gone to one of the modern theaters with the vibrating seats and the 3-D experience, we might have encountered more fellow movie watchers. Instead, we went to the cheap theater, paid $3 per ticket, and got to see a good movie. We may not have been amongst the first to see and discuss this movie with our friends and family, but that's okay. We also didn't have to wait in long lines for tickets, stay up until midnight, or any of those other things that rabid fans normally do.
Patience usually pays off.

I really liked the movie. In fact, I got a bit misty-eyed during parts of it. Mostly, the Han and Leia scenes. As I was sitting there beside Ann and thought back our first date which had been to The Empire Strikes Back way back in 1980, I realized that we had grown old together with these people on the screen. I am rather sentimental at times.

I will go and see the other films as they come out. This one  was a reunion of sorts. A reunion with old characters, and with those of us who would remain young at heart, though we've aged along with them. The next ones will be just part of the series. Good movies, likely. Causing the same reaction in me? Not so much, I'm sure.

The Beatles had some great love songs

Here's one of my favorite love songs. The Beatles had some great ones. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Thoughts on leaving the house with the wrong keys

I got up early this morning, intent on writing an email, getting breakfast, and heading off to the gym. All part of my vacation week regimen, part of which was a vow to get a workout in every day. I got the first two done and headed out the door, only to find that I had the wrong keys in my pocket. You see, yesterday, in my carport cleaning activity, I had placed the keys to the shed in my pocket along with my car keys. Inadvertently, I had hung up the car keys on the hook and left my shed keys in my pocket. Then I had not gone out again last night, so the car keys remained where they hung, and the shed keys slept peacefully in my coat pocket.
That wouldn't have been much of a problem except for the fact that I had locked the door behind me on the way out. That wouldn't have been much of a problem either except for the fact that it was near 7:30 in the morning, very cold outside (it was 30 degrees, and good thing it wasn't last week when the temps hovered in the teens at night), my wife had just gotten back to sleep, and the rest were still downstairs. I would need to wake up Ann (my wife) in order to have her let me back in, which I definitely did not want to do, or I would have to wake up those who still slept in the basement.
After a few minutes of thinking it through and enjoying a nice sunrise in the process, I thought that I would call Justin, my son-in-law, who lives in the basement with my daughter Rebecca and their four kids. I got no answer when I called. I tried again. I walked around the house hoping that I'd somehow awoken them and that they would appear at the top of the stairs. I phoned again, this time leaving a voice mail. Nothing.
Fifteen minutes had gone by and I was getting colder. The beautiful colors of the sunrise were beginning to fade and I was contemplating getting a couple of sleeping bags out of the shed in order to stay warm. I still didn't want to wake up Ann.
By then I had decided that it was unlikely I would make it to the gym. I made the decision to go for a walk thinking to raise my body heat. It would be a short workout, but it would fulfill my requirement for a workout every day. The walk took about twenty minutes and by the time I made it back, Rebecca, Justin, and the kids who go to school were up and let me in. I was cold, and needed to warm up. Justin explained that his phone was turned off. Ann who woke up later told me that I could have woke her up to let me in.
It wasn't the first time I've locked myself, and I doubt it will be the last. I just chalked it up to life getting in the way of plans. I won't miss the strenuous workout all that much, and the morning was nice, even if it was brisk.

Life, Glen Frey, and the Eagles

A guy posted this on a Facebook page, about the Eagles Glen Frey who died yesterday,. I thought it was very good:

So, so sad! Way too young to die, 67 is not old but what we all have to realize is that you can die at 37 just as well as you can 67. It's not about getting old or your age, it's keeping your health strong and staying on top of it. That's all we can do. I beat Stage 9 cancer just a year and a half ago and it was a very fast moving rare aggressive cancer. Keeping positive, never be afraid, don't think about it or give it a second thought. Keep your spirit unbroken, be a warrior and say you won't beat me, and do all of the different treatments you have to do no matter how sick they make you and painful they are you have to make up your mind from the start and verbalize it out loud and say, "I will win, nothing is going to take me down, I'm not finished with my life here on this earth, my goals, dreams and what I intend to accomplish yet. I will not let anything stand in my way or leave this world until I'm ready and I'm done with what I set out to do." A strong mind and relentless spirit will carry you through the darkest of times. Always pay attention to changes in your body, listen to what it's trying to tell you if something doesn't feel right and hurry up and go get checked out. That is vital for survival! Fly with the angels Glenn, your music will live on here forever.

I'm committed to life. I'm committed to survival. We never know when it's our time to go, but one thing's for sure--we can fight the diseases that ravage us. We can eat right, work out, try to get enough sleep and drink enough water. We can laugh. We can grab life by the scruff of the neck and make it do what we want it to do, and if we can't quite get it done, we can have a great attitude about our efforts. What we can do is put our full effort into making our lives incredible and robust.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Stay-cation time

I'm on vacation, which isn't really all that exciting because we can't afford to go anywhere. On the other hand, I spending a lot more time sitting around in these than I normally do:

Now, I really should be getting a lot of stuff done that has been accumulating for me to do. Then again, I kind of feel like I deserve to take some time off and actually relax for a few days. I plan on working, and in fact, I worked a bit today. I got the one end of our carport cleaned out that was driving me crazy. We have this immense maple tree that straddles the property line in our parking strip--actually 2/3 of the base of the trunk is in the neighbor's yard, and the thing was planted well before we ever set foot in our current locale. This tree has been our bane ever since we moved in, because, unlike most trees, its leaves don't all come down at once and they tend to blow around corners and through our gate and into our backyard even. So, for several months after they begin falling, it's a keep up game as they swirl in and around everything we have stored in our carport, or rather, that our daughter and family who live with us have stored in our carport.
Anyway, I got that done today, until the next time the tree decides to bless us with it's bounteous goodness.

I think for the rest of my vacation I'll do some cleaning of the kitchen, bathrooms, and computer room, and then maybe by the end of the week, when I go skiing and snowshoeing, I'll feel good about the whole deal. Of course, I'd probably like the skiing and snowshoeing even if I got nothing else done at all.

Stay-cations aren't all that bad as long as you don't spend all your free time working. Plus, part of my time off, I'm planning future vacations when we will actually be able to do something besides work. And that's a big plus.

We all wish for an endless love

So, in my build up to Valentine's Day, there are a few songs  for which  I will be posting the youtube links. I was asking myself this morning, what makes love songs so popular? My answer is that love is a universal feeling. Nearly everyone has loved or been in love. Most of those have lost a love or gained one. Feelings of love touch us deep down inside. We all wish love could be endless.

Friday, January 15, 2016

More great music...

I am on a love song kick. I hope you don't mind. I like sharing what I believe are some of the world's greatest love songs. Here is one of the best, in my opinion--Herb Alpert's This Guy's in Love. I hope you like it.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

A beautiful sunset tonight!

I kept hoping all day for the sky to open up into blue and the sun to bathe the peaks in light. After all, we'd had a storm yesterday in the wee hours of the night and I thought that the inversion might lift for a moment. Finally, in the late afternoon, the sun won a brief battle and the Wasatch Mountains lit up. I only had my camera on my phone to take a couple of pics, and I was trying to get back to the office in my mail truck. Still, I found a good vantage point and snapped this shot.

After work, I needed to pick up a few things at the grocery store and came out just in time to see the sun going out in a blaze of glory.

So, after feeling a little disappointed that the light hadn't been what I'd wanted all day. in the end, it didn't disappoint. My phone camera leaves a lot to be desired, but I did the best I could with what I had at the time.

Over 50 and thinking of going back to school?

I am 56 and I was just doing a bit of preliminary research on the topic of going back to school. I've thought about it for a long time. There are several reasons why I haven't pursued it. Most have to do with my personal situation as a caregiver for my wife who has Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sjogren's Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and some other issues.
In the late seventies and early eighties, a stretch running from my late teens to early twenties, I attended the University of Utah. Part way through what was probably my junior "year" (like many people, I was taking a bit longer than four years to go through college while working full time to support my family), I got hired by the U.S. Postal Service. For me, accepting that job was a no-brainer. Since my high school graduation in '77, and my marriage in '80, I had  been working low-wage jobs with not a lot of upward mobility potential--at least not in careers that sounded interesting to me, and nothing imminent. At the time I accepted the job as a letter carrier, I had been working for Zion's Bank in Utah making three something an hour. I instantly jumped up to eight something an hour, so I was pumped. I was excited because that meant I could pay off my debts (including student loans and the medical expenses for our first child who had been born when we didn't have insurance), and that we would no longer have to live hand to mouth.
I thought then that I could go back to school later and finish my degree. However as often happens, life got in the way. My wife, Ann wanted to be a stay at home mom while the kids were young and I was supportive of that. But what that meant is that she wanted me to take my turn with the kids when I got off work--not go off to take classes and study at night. And, I needed to spend time with them. Dads are supposed to do that kind of thing and I wanted to be a good dad.
Still, I had it in the back of my mind that I would one day want to complete my schooling. Little did I know that there was some kind of limitation for how long those classes I had taken previously could be counted towards my degree. By the way, I can see why a class in genetics would go out of date, but a creative writing class or a Shakespear class? Give me a break! When I found out that I would have to take virtually everything over again, I really needed to think hard about why I should do it. I mean, college costs were sky-rocketing. Was it worth the burden of debt I would incur? I was then in my mid to late forties. I had hoped to be out of the Postal Service by forty.
Things became more challenging at home in 2007 when Ann was diagnosed with RA and Sjogrens. It became increasingly challenging for me to contemplate any kind of night time departures from home.
The thing is, most of that stuff can now be done online. Internet schooling is in full swing. So I began thinking about it again. I also did a preliminary search of financing college for people my age but found that nearly all of the opportunities to do so are for women:  Scholarship and Grant Money for Those Over 50 I found that there are ways to save money even for men, like getting a degree through Western Governor's University. Someone also mentioned to me about taking CLEP tests for each subject, which if passed will save thousands of dollars. The traditional student loan route is an option that I'm highly skeptical about doing this late in my life. Too much expense for too little return.
I'm still thinking about it. There are other options for educational experiences that will improve employability. It doesn't have to be a four-year university or even college per se. The magic of a college education doesn't thrill me any more as I see more and more leftist influence at the university level. There are other opportunities to learn skills that I can morph into employment when I finally leave the USPS. I just need to decide if I'm going to devote myself to making it financially as a writer, or take another path and pursue that. Until I make that choice, I will continue writing. It is after all, part of who I am.

Monday, January 04, 2016

Friday, January 01, 2016

Looking back, and looking ahead to 2016

For me personally, 2015 was a great year. It reached its peak in the last few days. I like it when years go like that, but that isn't always the case, and in my case, much of the way a year goes is based upon attitude. Did some bad things happen to me during the year? Of course they did. But I think that when it comes to survival and ultimately, victory, the attitude we take toward the challenges of life is what makes the difference. I no more believe I'm going to lose now, than I ever did. Coming off victorious sometimes requires tenacity and stubbornness greater than the brutality of the challenges. It requires sheer will at times. I remember once hearing that Olympic runner (winner of the 1984 Olympic marathon), and former world record holder in the marathon, Carlos Lopes looked at each marathon as one man against another. He would say (to paraphrase) that the other guy running next to him was just as tired as he was, and all he had to do was the keep running until the other guy gave out. That's how I view my challenges in life---keep on surviving until I leave the problems behind, whether the problems are people or events. With people, I actually don't try and leave them behind (unless they deserve it and only a few really bad people do), but strive to out-stubborn them. That is my way of winning. I will outlast those whose ammo is negativism. Period.

But 2015 ended, not with having to outlast anyone, but with a sense of great happiness. At the last, I celebrated with the rest at midnight, banging my sauce pan with a wooden spoon, ringing in the new year. And what a year that promises to be! It is never guaranteed, what kind of year will happen, but looking forward with a positive attitude, and taking setbacks with courage and faith, go a long way toward fulfilling the promise of the newness. 2016 might not end up in grand fashion like 2015 did, but it's starting out like a miracle. When you view it with those eyes, you see that whatever else happens, you can win in the end. And that, is a beautiful thought.