Positive Attitude.

Image courtesy of SatinTights.com

For the month of June I have really been trying hard to have a positive attitude across all facets of my life. Work has thrown some curve balls. Home has been hectic as we plan our move to Chicago and with getting the house ready for sale. The state of the Republic is shaky at best with a complete circus of incompetence in the Oval Office, but I like to think that we will survive all of this.

I had to unfollow quite a few political commentators that I had been following on Twitter. The relentless barrage of retweets, tweets, speculation and downright lies as they pertain to the Trump administration finally overwhelmed me to the point that I just couldn’t take it anymore. Once I made that adjustment to my Twitter feed I was able to be more positive about the world in general. I don’t know if it’s a case of ignorance is bliss or just weeding out excessive noise, but whatever it is it has me headed in the right direction.

The other night I spewed out a bunch of tweets about Democrats and Republicans and the lack of competency across the board but then I calmed down and found my positive center again. Counting to five before reacting will help change bad habits. And it seems to be working.

Being the dork that I am I often ask myself, “what would a superhero, unable to change into their super self, do in this situation.” I then reach for glasses that I’m not wearing and ponder this for a moment, count to five and try to remain calm. It’s a tough habit to break, especially when there’s a lot of snark within earshot. Being snarky can be fun but it’s rarely productive. It’s not a positive contribution to help quell the noise, it’s just a way of letting of steam. Someone, maybe it was Maya Angelou, said, “people might not remember what you say but they’ll always remember how you made them feel.”

I want people to feel happy around me. I want to be a light in the darkness (very pale Irish skin notwithstanding).

So when the going gets tough I might find myself a perch from which to observe and I’ll smile in a mischievous way and then try to bring some good into the situation. My goal is to be a shining example of how to be a positive force in the world. This 30 day challenge should go on for many years to come.

Fascination. 

All my life I’ve had two recurring dreams about my demise. One of these dreams involves being struck by lightning as I stand on the porch or patio of an as-of-yet unknown home. 

Yet I go and chase storms every chance I get, loving every minute of it. In fact, we are now back home, I’m standing on the porch while the sky is streaked with the Lightning of an incoming storm. 

Life is too short to live without risk. 

Father’s Day.

My dad and I flew together in this airplane in 2001. Our “old school” photos have already been moved to Chicago, or else I’d be sharing some snaps from that first flight together in his Acrosport II. I do have a couple of shots taken on an old flip phone in 2005.

A couple of days ago I complained on Facebook about the litany of Father’s Day ads being shoved in my direction via email, social media, etc. You’d think with all the information they glean from my online activities, companies would be smart enough to figure out that I have no reason to buy a Father’s Day gift in 2017.

My dad passed on in 2011, nearly six years ago, but Father’s Day can be a little bit of a bummer. This year I’m choosing to focus on the countless great memories I have of my dad.

But I still miss him.

Stevie!

I noticed this video on Facebook earlier today and I can’t agree more with Stevie Nicks on this. Honestly, I could be better at being present in the moment. Stevie makes some valid points.

Mindset.

This picture of me was taken just shy of the turn of the century. Earl snapped this photo; we were sitting on the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland, Ohio.

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This photo sits on our dresser in the area that acts as Earl’s nightstand. I glance at it from time to time when I’m getting ready for the day. This morning I was selecting today’s pair of underwear and thought back to life at the time this photo was taken.

If you think about it, it’s rather startling as to how much as changed in our lives with the great leaps of technology. This photo was taken back in the days when we relied on our film cameras. We’d fill up a roll of film with memories and take the film to be developed. There was much excitement when we picked up our pictures and looked at the results. Memories were relived. The ability to snap a photo, see the results and share the snapshot with the world, all within the span of five seconds, has kind of made the exercise a little less special to me. When I was out on my Jeep ride yesterday, some of the photos of the solar farm were taken with my trusty Canon digital camera. I didn’t see the results until I transferred the photos from the camera to my MacBook. This added a minute bit of anticipation as to how the photos really turned out. It was a moment of excitement.

I look at myself in this photo and try to remember where my head was at this time. I was very excited about technology. I wasn’t too plugged into politics; Bill Clinton was president at the time and I knew that there was a lot of shenanigans going on with the whole Lewinsky thing and that the Republicans were getting much crankier than I remembered them being when growing up. I watched CNN once in a great while. I read the news on various sites through our dial-up connections. It would be a couple of years before I wrote my first blog entry. 

My biggest takeaway from my musings was that I was much less encumbered by the weight of the world. I still felt the need to right injustice in the world but the world didn’t weigh so heavy on my mind all the time. I’m trying to decide if this is a result of tuning into the constant stream of noise on social media/24 hour news/etc or if I’m just growing old and I’m just following the natural path of an American male in his quest to keep those damn kids off his lawn.

I’m making an attempt to not add noise to the chaos online as my 30 day personal growth challenge for the month of June. If I have something to say, I want it to be a positive contribution to the world. I don’t want fame, I don’t want ad revenue, I don’t want notoriety and I certainly don’t want to base my self-worth or value on the number of likes or comments or responses I get to a contribution. 

As I come up on the last year of my 40s, while it’s natural that I’m going be older, I want to consciously be wiser without all the baggage of today’s chaos attached to it. I think that could be the best positive change I can make in my life today. 

And honestly, I wouldn’t mind bringing Henleys back into my wardrobe again.

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Purrfect.

This is Rexie. I’ve never met Rexie in person, but he seems like a good sort and he’s famous on the Internet. Looking at pictures of Rexie today kept me fairly grounded.

Tonight Earl and I also visited the local PetSmart store just to see the cats looking for a home. There were a few there and they seemed content. It was nap time for many.

My day was a whirlwind: the progress on the condo in Chicago came to a screeching halt due to some issues on the seller’s behalf and we were notified that there is going to be some budget belt-tightening at work. These two nuggets of news hit within a half hour of each other.

So I looked at a picture or two of Rexie and pictures of cats that have shared their lives with us over the years.

Purrfect.

Little Things.

Well this made my night.

Earl and I thoroughly enjoyed the latest episode of “Madam Secretary”, entitled “The Seventh Floor”. The tempo of this episode was different than previous episodes in that the focus was on Secretary McCord (Téa Leoni) and her staff. There was a great deal of character development of the staff and the entire episode had a “The West Wing” feel to it. The show has always done well with character development but the focus has been on the McCord family. Nothing wrong with that, but it was awesome to see the fleshing out of the supporting characters in Secretary McCord’s office.

This show is worth watching. It’s intelligent, it’s thoughtful and it “feels like real life”. If you haven’t seen “Madam Secretary” yet, please look it up on your favorite streaming service. It’s well worth it.

Oh, and I freely admit that I have a little straight crush on Téa Leoni.