I want to thank the people who are in my life.  I know most people will never read this and I will leave out people and I realize Thanksgiving has passed but it is never too late to do this.  All these people take the “extra step” and I do not want to take any of them for granted.

First the medical team

(1) Dr. Hume for your kindness and helpfulness

(2) Dr. Cornelius for your patience

(3) Dr. Blake for her thoroughness

(4) Dr. Mital for your ability to listen

Then,  P & R and Bob and his team who takes care of our cars and keeps them running smoothly, I thank you for your honesty and competence and for standing up to your work even when it costs you and most of all for always giving me the time of day when I have a question about my vehicle

For both of my sisters Fran and Marilyn who are always there when I need them

For Tony for your support:  you know who you are

For Sara, who I have known for over fifteen years and is one of the reasons I still write for her encouragement never abated

For the audience at the local coffeehouse who laughed at my material encouraging me to continue to find the humorous in everyday situations

For Elizabeth Yon wherever you are and the years you spent moderating our writing group

My two kids who years ago I thought I never would have but they came and have blessed me immeasurably

All the many people who God put in my life including those from my small church who have blessed me with their presence

To Sonya who welcomes everyone at the local post office and gives me one more reason why I want to stay in my small town and Perry county

And most of all for my wife who inspires me and still makes me laugh after all these years and came into my life when I was not looking, who thinks she is better than me at Scrabble (she did lose the first ten games she played against me).  As an editor she has no equal.  My website and blog would never have come into being if it was not for her (she is the webmaster).  I “pop” out my bed each morning because of her.  And she bakes a pretty “mean” apple pie.  She gives me a reason to cook.  And that is no small thing.  And after six years she still wants to sleep in our bed.  I call her “serendipity” although she can really be stubborn (for that matter so can I); nevertheless, I thank the Lord every day for her.  I did nothing to deserve her.

It is always easier to want less, to be satisfied with what you have.  There is a reason ‘Thou shall not covet.’ is one of the ten commandments.  There is no end to wanting.  There is always one more thing around the corner–one more gadget, one more whatever.  There is peace in being satisfied with your current possessions.  There is no end to wanting more.  It has to stop somewhere.  Now is a good time as any.  And approaching each day with thanksgiving is a good start.

Everyone has something they have to live with.  Sometimes that something is more apparent:  obvious illnesses and handicaps.  Most of the times that something is invisible.  Although if you spend any length of time with that person you usually find out what the difficulties are they are going through.

Some people act as if their unique set of problems is the worst thing in the whole world.  The grass is always greener elsewhere.  Actually our attempts to solve our personal problems is what makes our life interesting.

It is so easy to magnify our problems–distort them.  It is so freeing to find out other people also have problems that appear to have no solutions and also have unresolved conflict.

It is so important not to isolate yourself because when you do your problems always appear larger than they actually are.  Your problems shrink when you share them with trusted friends.

And theirs do likewise when they trust you and share theirs.  Every one has something to live with.  And life is not always fair although that is another subject.  And ‘No man is an island,’ in John Donne’s words.

When death is knocking at your door, money fades in importance.  It is so easy to delude ourselves:  that your time on this earth is forever.  But when the realization comes it is running out (often due to illness or old age) your money (and possessions) are no longer that important.

All of a sudden other things come to the forefront:  your relationship with loved ones, maybe your legacy also.  Your possessions which maybe you spent a lifetime accumulating do not matter that much.

Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft and the richest person in the whole world, realized that; when he founded with his wife what is today’s largest private foundation pouring in it more and more of his energy and resources (billions of dollars) in that endeavor.

In my case, I can not take my journals, books and music I spent a lifetime collecting with me when I go.  I have to figure out what is truly important in my life.  I do not want to waste time.

Often when someone faces his/her deathbed and realizes the way they spent their time really does not matter.  Your impending death shifts your priorities and also forces you to reexamine your value system.

Too many people die alone because they did not invest time in others.  Did not Jesus say, “When you lose your life, you find it”.  I think that is a paraphrase.

When you are in the dusk of your life, you find out the most valuable commodity you possess is time.  All the money in the world can not buy you one more minute on earth.

That realization forces you to examine your life carefully.  It is never too late to make a change although it is easy to regret the time you lost in fruitless endeavors.  You can never turn back the clock but there is always today.

Music Is Mathematics

Author: siggy

Music is mathematics.  A beautiful piece of music is composed of empty spaces and notes of various intensity and pitch and somehow they all fit together and become a composition.  I can not tell you how to get it there but I can tell you when it works.

I can tell you when I string together on a cassette, let us say forty minutes of music, composed, maybe, of thirteen songs, it somehow fits together.  It is done intuitively and is based on forty years of listening ten of thousands of hours (???).

An anthology of music I put together that way contains the “best” of what is out there and fits together.  Ultimately taste in the quality of music is a gift.  Music is mathematics and my experience in listening enables me to separate the mediocre from the very good and also know what music blends together.

The best songs from the “Stones” and “The Beatles” to name two familiar groups hold up well because the musicianship is impeccable and holds up well to repeated listening.  The composers had a superb ear and the ability to get it “right”.  Music is always mathematics.

For a long time there were two forms of education I was undergoing:  one, my formal education and the other, the education I was receiving on my own.

All during my schooling I continued to read what I wanted to, whatever came across my path, whatever interested me.  As far back as I can remember I had a library card to the local library and made many trips there.  At home we always had plenty of reading material–magazines and books everywhere.

I did do my school work and received good grades but I had no illusion:  my independent reading was far more important and really my true education.

Yes, it is true some people get educated despite themselves but I always found the time to read whatever came across me and whatever interested me.  I felt most of the time I just went through the motions in most subjects in school.

There were some subjects that interested me particularly in school like Latin and mathematics and biology.  And maybe, I put forth extra effort there.

If the truth be known I was far more interested in participating in gym and in high school playing for the tennis team.  In fact, I was excited that in high school we had gym every day.

I felt these sports instilled an attitude to never give up until the game is over, which was no small lesson to learn which stood me well later in life.

I no longer go to school but I still read widely and for pleasure.  The literal translation of the word “education” comes from the Latin “educare” which means to lead.  Education means “to lead toward”.  It is a process, not an end point, not a degree.  It is an unending journey.  And I am still on it.

I don’t feel compelled to read a book in any particular order.  Of course, that is easier to do with non-fiction.  You certainly can’t do that with a novel and know what is going on.

It is very rarely I read a book sequentially.  For that to happen I have to be riveted by the subject content and writing.  I can count on my one hand how many books I have read that way recently.

Usually I skip around a book and read it in quick bursts.  For someone to feel they have to read a book every time page by page in order is a trap:  after awhile you don’t want to read any more.  It is too much like work.

I do not feel that compunction.  There are really no rules to the way you read.  You make your own.  And you can break them any time.

Your life crystallizes when the end is near.  Let me say, no one knows when his/her end comes.  We continue to keep the illusion our life is forever.  It certainly is an illusion.

Everyone knows the only thing certain is death and taxes to use a cliche.  Yet we act as if that truth is false.

My declining health put this truth in sharper focus again.  I do not want to waste time, which is my most precious resource although there are times I squander it.

I realize the more I can do His will, the more I can fulfill my calling the less regret I have.  I certainly can not tell you what your calling is.  Or what your tiny voice is commanding you to do.

First you have to allow open spaces in your life.  And then you can listen to the tiny voice only you can hear.  And life is full of others who are eager to tell us what to do including our loved ones.

No one knows how much time they have on this earth.  That is a great mystery.  Sometimes when you are ill you think you have an idea how long you have here but you really do not know.

What I do know is the more I listen to that tiny voice nudging me the less anxiety I experience in my own life.  And I am concerned less when that time will come.  Peace of mind usually accompanies doing His will.

I have to face each day prayerfully and allow for those empty spaces so I can listen to that tiny voice only I can hear.

And the more I obey it the more peace of mind I have.  And I thank God for each new dawn I face.  It does not really matter as long as I am doing His will.

Coco is my other pup.  I call her that despite the fact she turned two in the past July.  She is the second pup we kept when our retriever had her litter of seven.  She is a long haired black female dog.  Coco loves what we call “crunchies”–crackers, chips anything like that.  If she hears you munching away she immediately “plops” herself right in front of you hoping you relent and share some of your snacks with her.

She is a very gentle self assured affectionate dog.  There are some others things about her:  when she looks at me cockeyed with her absolutely adorable fluffy ears I just want to “melt”.  To say she has captured my heart is an understatement.  If we had not named her mother “Sweetie” already she would have probably gotten that name.  That pretty much sums her up.

Relax, you do not have to do it alone!  The whole weight of the world is not on your shoulders.  That is not the way the universe is designed.

Every person has responsibilities and you have to do your part, whatever it is but no one is totally independent.

It is all relative.  Each person is dependent on the other.  The whole world is interdependent on each other for supplying each others’ needs.  You need people to maintain your electricity, your road.

You need farmers to raise your crops, some of which ends up in your local supermarket.  The material for your cell phone had to come from somewhere.  There has to be towers built to transfer the signal.  And that is just the start.  Are you getting the idea?

And some of the people are so disconnected with this.  I had a customer complain once because there were flecks of dirt on her bunch of celery.  Like it was revolutionary for a person to discoverer that food is usually grown in dirt.

We take so many things for granted.  The person who thinks he/she is independent of others is nursing an illusion.  You depend on others for all kinds of services.

There is an upside to this:  you do not have to do it alone.  And that realization can be freeing.  Just do the part you are called to.  Others will do their part in the scheme of things.  And you can relax as a result.

All I could do was ride out it out–my depression that is.  I knew why.  My wife reminded me it was a bad time.  The “holidays” were coming up.  That was always a hard time for me.

The holidays reminded me, particularly, I was separated from my kids.  It reminded me of my divorce.  I was always glad when Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year were over.

There are such high expectations during the Christmas season.  I could never meet them.  I was, also, afraid of disappointing people around me.

Of course, this year I had health concerns and was trying to figure out what control I could exert in that area.  My depression was an accumulation of many things–a lot of which was not in my control.

I was not going to do any thing rash.  I was just going to ride it out.  I know most of the depression would lift when the new year came.  That was comforting to know.  And that was all I needed to know.  My depression would end.

Let me introduce you one of my pets:  “Atilla The Hun” or “Tilla” for short.  He is a sixty plus pound black dog who just turned two.  His father “Pax” is a rottweiler mix and his mother “Sweetie” is a golden retriever and both live with us.

He is the reason we built our 100 foot long fence over a foot higher.  He could jump the previous one–not the biggest dog we have (we have four) but he is lean and muscular with a barrel chest and the only dog of ours who could perform that feat.

The state dog warden once paid us a visit.  It seems “Tilla” escaped and “terrorized” the local neighbor’s dog (and I use that word “terrorized” really loosely).  The two dogs simply barked loudly at each other.

He does have a timid nature although loving.  When my son comes over, he usually runs in the other direction.  And my son is good with dogs.

There are two other things he does that are unique:  he locks himself in the bathroom when he wants attention and the other is when he is anxious to go out he twirls rapidly in almost perfect circles.

He is the only dog who knows how to let himself out the front door.  We usually keep the screen door locked now.

He is the most aggressive of our four dogs.  If you put out four tidbits in front of them, he usually gets three of them.

He used to think he was still a puppy and snuggles onto my wife’s lap while she is sitting on her Lazy Boy all sixty-six pounds of him.

I started giving him an occasional walk for he was the only dog put on a chain (before we made the fence higher this summer).  Remember he could jump the fence.  I felt sorry for him.

Every time he hears the rattle of the chain he appears right in front of me.  Usually in five seconds or less.

He has become my dog and often sleeps with me on the bed.  There are probably more stories I could tell about him but this is a good start.