A Good Time

The wife and I spent an extended weekend near Branson, MO with my best friend and his wife.  It was a good time in spite of the monsoon that took place Thursday night through late Saturday.  While not my home town, I was Home for the few days we were there.

I grew up going there almost every year until I was 16.  Then after that, not as frequently, but still going every few years or so until about 10 years ago.  Wow, I had not been there for almost 10 years.  I’m so happy I went back.  Great memories were created there, and more were added.

We stayed in a small cabin/house at my long-time choice place to stay while there, Cottage Resort.  It’s on Indian Point of Tablerock Lake.  It’s been there for well over 50 years (my parents were already staying there annually the year I was born).  I love that place. The cabins aren’t much, but they are clean and maintained.  They have 2 bedrooms, and recent upgrades include a 2nd bathroom and a screened-in porch.  The porch was a fantastic addition.  We sat outside a lot even during the thunderstorms on Friday.

We got to do a little fishing.  We didn’t catch much, but we all caught at least a couple of fish.  Just sitting on the lake shore and enjoying the area, though, was more than enough.  The Ozark Mountains are – in my opinion – hands down, the most underrated place to see in the U.S.  If I could get all my life ducks in a row, I would very happily live somewhere around there.

We went to Silver Dollar City.  It was fun… and expensive.  The place has changed some over the near half-century I’ve been going, but there are things that have not changed, either.  I’ll just say that some things are better if they don’t change.  SDC is a cool place to see.  The craftsmen are the highlight for me.  But it’s a theme park and there’s plenty to do and see for adults and kids.  It’s very family friendly.  Again, I have been there many, many times over the 40+ years I’ve existed on this planet, and with the exception of a very few bad experiences with crowds, I’ve always enjoyed going there.

Best of all, though, was the company I kept over the weekend.  When I’m hanging with my best buddy, it’s always a great time.  We stayed in on Friday and played games and talked.  I would argue that it was likely the best part of the whole extended weekend for me.  We just… had a good time.  I can’t wait until the next thing like that comes along.  I will also make sure that one of those things will be returning to Cottage Resort on Tablerock Lake…

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Moving into ’17

The holidays were good to me.  I got to visit family and hang out with my best friend.  I had a lot of fun.  And again, there was minimal drama like at Thanksgiving.  I can say that I am as grateful for that as the rest.  It was a very enjoyable break.

I’ve gotten some laughs from the many 2016 memes citing how fu€kt up 2016 was.  I mean what can you do but laugh… or go stark raving mad like much of society does over some of the stupidest shit.  I find myself shaking my head more and more often…

Don’t get me wrong.  2016 had some negative events like the deaths of some well-known folks.  I guess I’m at the age where the ones dying are people with whom I have some sort of connection.  These were people that were known and popular in my time.  I suppose that will be the case more and more as I get older.  Still, even though it was a shame to lose some of these folks (pretty good artists and actors), I will accept that it was their time.  Maybe their passing will incite some positive changes in our world.

Then there was the election here in the U.S. of A.  What a freakin’ circus.  And I am still trying to comprehend the level of shitheadedness (I made this one up <grin>) that people have shown over this fiasco.  I’m not here to get political.  I just want to point out the complete lack of maturity and abundance of stupidity that surfaced during the campaign and election.

My only thoughts on Trump being president are: 1. I expect some changes. 2. I hope some of those changes are for the better.  Putting that guy in office is definitely a curve-ball.  I am considering this another one of those 2016 winds of change.

So, 2017 is here.  It sure ain’t like the Back to the Future movies described (that was 2015, by the way).  We don’t have hover cars and controlled weather.  I haven’t seen a Mr. Fusion on a shelf at Target.  I do sometimes think, though, if the world was less focused on money and beating each other over the head for our differences, and more focused on advancing technology and solving problems like pollution, hunger and diseases, we might actually have stuff like that by now – or, at least, be much closer.  Maybe all the 2016 craziness will be a catalyst for bigger better things in ’17.

Happy New Year?

New Groove Thing

Shit’s changing…

I start a new job tomorrow.

In 2 weeks I take my daughter to college.

Yep… shit’s changing 😉

So, I guess I need to pull head from ass and get to work on a new groove thing.

For your listening pleasure.

I guess it’s going to be a new routine around here.  I will have a longer trip to work; something I will definitely have to get used to after spending the last to years with a 4-mile commute.  Tough, huh?  I don’t think the getting up early part will be an issue, since I already do that.  But the coming home later thing will definitely be different.  I am a bit nervous about the unknown with a major change in scenery, but I’m looking forward to it, too.  Every time I think about the choice I made to leave where I was at, I start drawing the same conclusion with the given information.  It was time to go.  Among other things, I should have been promoted to lab manager, but the boss didn’t see fit to make the position and ultimately create a better setup for hardware development.  I don’t know that I was the ideal guy for such a job, but I was the one ready to take it on and make the lab a more productive place for the company.  Oh well…

Then the other routine change… my daughter is going away to school.  Yeah, I’ve mentioned this before, but bear with me.  It’s a major change in my life.  And since this is my blog… <evil grin>  well… you get the point.  But yeah, it’s a major change for my wife and me.  I’m certain I’ll miss her some, but I’m also looking forward to being… I don’t know… without a kid again?  Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t trade the life I’ve had with my family for anything.  It was a good “decision” to have my kid. But…  The wife and I had a lot of fun back then before raising a child.  I don’t know if it will be too different from the current situation with a daughter that’s on the verge of being an adult, but I expect there will be some changes.  We’ll see.

I’ve got a lot of adjustment coming I think.  Wish me luck.

Before I go.  One more from Satch… you’re welcome.

Distractions and Thoughts

Well, once again, it’s been a while since I posted.  I apologize to those that actually give a shit.  As for the rest of you… meh.  I’ll apologize to you when you decide to care that I’m posting.  How’s that?

I’ve let myself slip into a routine that involves coming home and gaming most every night lately.  I have really been enjoying gaming with my best friend and the rest of that group.  It really has been a good time.  I suppose another reason for this, though, is the fact that it is a distraction from day-to-day life.  There are some big changes on the horizon for my family and me.  So, it’s just been a preference of mine to come home, eat some dinner with my family, then plop down in my rig and play some games with friends.  That way I can take my mind off what’s coming.

The first big change is my daughter heading off to college.  While it’s been my wife and daughter doing most of the prepping for this, it has definitely been on my mind.  I’ve been paying attention even when I’m not directly involved in the preparation.  I’m the one looking over shoulders and trying to figure out how all this is going to make it to the college, making sure the vehicles -especially the one going with my daughter – are in working order and thinking about how to make all this happen in as simple, safe and sane of a manner as possible.  I just want to make sure that her move into a dorm room is as painless as possible, so that she can settle in and focus on dealing with college.

The other big distraction is the fact that somewhere in the midst of all this, I decided to change jobs.  I was contacted by a colleague that left where I’m currently working a while back, and he offered to put me in touch with his boss who happened to be looking for a engineering technician.  As someone who makes it a point to never pass up the possibility of bettering my situation in life, I decided to go for an interview.  The interview led me to an offer for something that appears to be a better opportunity for me.  That, of course, prompted me to start the process of accepting the offer, thus going through the hiring process and then giving notice to the place where I’m working now.  I have no problem admitting that I have been dealing with some angst over this whole process which, by the way, is not quite over.  I don’t start the new job until the first of next month.  Needless to say, I’m nervous about this change.  It’s a different industry and a little bit different employment situation than anything else I’ve dealt with over the years.

The decision to change jobs was not  easy, but I have come to the realization that my situation where I am is not what it could be.  So, I decided to take a chance on this new thing.  I’m hoping for the best.  Wish me luck?

I haven’t even been racing.  I definitely needed a break from it, but it has not been easy for me to get back into it.  I’m not sure why, either.  Part of it is being busy and distracted by everything I mentioned.  I guess I feel it takes a level of focus and commitment that I didn’t feel like I could and/or want to give… until just the past couple of days 🙂

Today, I kind of insinuated myself into spotting for one of my fellow iRacers and his teammate for an endurance race.  Clark, I apologize if I pushed myself into the situation without permission, but I had a lot of fun up to the point I got called away.  Thanks for letting me hang out and “help”.  Since that, I’ve done some practicing.  I guess in spite of being distracted and nervous about life events, the “dust” is settling enough for me to want back into the race 😉

To my buddy and gaming group: I may not be gaming with you guys as much.  I hope you’re okay with that.  I miss my hobby, and I think it’s time to get going on it again.  I still plan on trying to be around for Survival Sunday and a couple nights or so a week.

Now for Mind the Shadows…

I haven’t lost interest.  But I have gotten a little lazy with all this other shit on my mind.  I need to put some time into that, too.  It may be fewer and further between for reasons, but I definitely want to continue the story.

With my daughter leaving, I want to make sure I’m around for my wife.  She is far more sentimental about my daughter going off to college than I am.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’ll miss her, too, and I am concerned with making sure this college thing goes as well as possible, but I’m a bit more… forward-thinking?  I am the type of person that looks forward to the “next part of life”, if you will.  I would not change having my daughter and raising her for the world.  It has been awesome.  But I won’t lie and say that I am not looking forward to being an “empty nester”, either.  It will be nice not having to plan my daily life around what’s going on with my daughter in grade school.  I enjoyed it all for sure, and I’ll even miss it some. But like I said, I’m looking forward to not having to make sure something my wife and/or I want to do isn’t interfering with some school event.  I’m looking forward to seeing my daughter become her own person and take charge of her own life, and I’m looking forward to having the freedom that gives me.  I guess I’m just always a little curious to see what happens next…

Well, enough for now.  I’ll try not to let it be so long again before I’m jabbering about life shtuff again.

Proudly Back on the ‘Air’…

Yes, I’ve neglected making blog posts.  Yes, I’ve not been working on Mind the Shadows.  There has been many good things going on in my daily life that have been a distraction… at the least.  I guess I will offer that as an excuse, if you choose to view it as such.

The most major thing going on for me was my daughter’s end of high school/senior activities and then finally graduating high school yesterday.  I have been significantly distracted by all that has entailed.  I have been internally processing what all that means for sure.  The biggest part of my “distraction”, though, has been making sure I was there for my wife and kid and to help where I could in general.  My wife was very busy staying on top of all that has gone on as my daughter closed out all the “last” high school events and getting ready for our celebration of the graduation both physically and emotionally.  The physical part has been draining for sure, but the realization of having your offspring make that first true rite of passage into adulthood adds tons of thoughts and feelings on top of the stress of getting ready for guests and preparing a party.  This started a few weeks ago with an honors banquet (top 10% of her class) and then a final orchestra concert and more.  It’s been a busy few weeks 🙂

I am very proud of my daughter.  She still has much to learn about “real life”, but she kicked ass in school.  Her hard work paid off in the form of acceptance to the college of her choice for an education in something she wants to learn for a career.  That is no small feat.  Yep, I am very proud of her.

I’m a little less sentimental about these things, I guess, in some ways.  I’ve always been a person that lives, learns and experiences things on a day-to-day basis as best I know how.  When certain “chapters” come to a close, however, I am also a person who while glad to have had the experiences, is also ready for the next thing.  I don’t miss the past in the same way some folks do.  I like to reminisce for sure, and my memories are important to me.  But I don’t spend a lot of time moping about because things aren’t the same anymore.  While I might stress about change on some levels, I tend to reconcile myself as quickly as I can and end up looking forward to what’s next.

Make no mistake, though, that I have been deeply thinking about all this graduation stuff and am very happy how it has all played out.  I mean I reproduced and helped raise a kid… and we all survived without jail time, unwanted pregnancy and any delinquency in general.  In fact, my daughter has turned out damn good.  That definitely counts for a helluva lot to me.  My wife and daughter are most of my world, not to mention the best parts.  When my daughter goes off to college in a couple of months, I will likely miss her a little, but I’m also looking forward to the next chapter in my life, whatever, than might entail.

So, when I’ve had time for myself, I’ve let myself relax by playing games online with my best friend.  It has been a very welcome escape lately.  It has allowed me time to think, but still have some fun.  It has helped with that reconciliation thing.  I’d say that I am emerging on the other side of this roller coaster in a very good place.

Good job, kid… good job.

 

Wandering…

So, a couple things are on the brain…

First,  I have a family member that has been in a bad way for a bit now.  I’ve mentioned this before in another post.  Anyway, the family decided that this person needs more help than they can readily give to keep this person safe.  My family is getting older… and fewer.  This person simply has lost the ability to function safely while alone.  I was Home when the family had to perform one of the “rescues”, if you will.  It was pretty obvious to me that a bit more vigilance is needed.  So, this person is now in assisted living.  I know the place since I had a great aunt in there.  I personally think this was a good idea.  I’m hoping for the best, too.  The situation now allows for a bit of… healing for this person, or at the very least, a chance to enjoy the good times without having to suffer when shit just ain’t working.

It’s a different thing for me.  This person is one of the aunts/uncles.  This is a person that most of my memories involve someone that, while not necessarily perfect, was with it and capable and an active member of the family… a “not as old” member of the family (kid’s perspective, heh).  The grandparents and great aunts/uncles are a generation removed, and while I was close to all of them – closer in some cases,  I guess there’s an unconscious understanding that those family members are older; thus, their time with the family is more limited, and things like going into homes is… expected?  I hope I’m being clear, though I’m not sure.  I guess this person having to go into a retirement facility ‘hits a little closer to home’.  It has made me stop and think about some things for sure.

On to the other thing… maybe related on some levels?

I’ve been “wandering around” in my spare time.  I’ve had evenings after work where I’m just not sure what to do with myself.  Y’all know that I do the iRacing thing as a hobby.  I love it… but… I have not been involved in racing lately.  In fact, I’ve missed some significant races over the past few weeks.  It’s like I haven’t had the time I need to be ready and meet the requirements, and/or I just don’t want to spend the time.  It’s been truly both scenarios, too.  Obviously, real-life obligations have to take precedence over my virtual racing career, and I’ve had a few things to do in the evenings.  So, some of the time I spend is simply not there.

The other part, though – not wanting to spend the time, is the part that has me perplexed.  I guess I’ve been feeling a bit burnt out on iRacing.  I’m not sure why, but I have certainly been easily distracted by other things.  Part of the distraction is the feeling of being a little burnt out.  The other part, is the fact that I’ve had the opportunity to spend more time online with my best friend playing games and “hanging out”.  I’ve been having a lot of fun with that.  Since he’s not an iRacer, spending time with him is time NOT spending time on iRacing.  That is something I’ve been… okay??? with.

As silly as this may sound, it really is a dilemma for me.  I like to race.  I like a lot of the guys I race with.  I consider most of them friends.  I just have felt more compelled to hang out with my buddy of nearly 30 years.  Yeah, I’ve been friends with Matt for almost 30 years now… wow.  Maybe this thing with my one family member going into assisted living has got me more aware of the limits on time I have with my family and best friend.  So, I have definitely been more willing to give up time for iRacing lately, in favor of time hanging with Matt.

I hope the iRacing friends that read this understand.  I’m not gone for good, and I’m not mad at you guys.  I just have not gotten that wound up about either of the leagues over the past few weeks.  I’ve screwed myself out of racing in one league by not meeting minimum practice requirements.  And the Texas League on Thursday nights has been neglected because by that time of the week, I’m just not feeling it.  I don’t know.

My final distraction is Mind the Shadows.  I have been making some effort on the next chapters.  That effort, though, is not yielding fruit… yet.  I have been feeling compelled to write, but I have deleted and re-written a lot lately.  And I’m STILL not sure if I’m happy with it.  Anybody that writes will get it.  It’s been… frustrating.

Anyway, that’s enough bitching.  I promise to try and be more entertaining in future posts.  I just felt like I needed to one, make a post, and two, let folks know that follow this where my head has been.

Thanks for listening…

Spring Break?

So, I had a bittersweet visit Home earlier this week.  It had to be a shorter than normal trip since I just don’t have the vacation days to cover all that requires some of that time this year.  I’d rather spend the entire week, so I can pay a visit to more folks, but it is what it is…

I say bittersweet because not everything was great.  I have a family member that is not doing great and likely needs more help than the family can give.  Age and loss have brought about some rough conditions both mentally and physically.  It’s probably time to find a place in an assisted living facility, but I don’t think this decision is going to be made without a struggle.  This has not been easy for my family.  All I can do is hope for the best.

That is definitely a bitter part of my visits Home.  That and the fact that my family is getting… smaller… with the passing of the more recent years.  I am painfully aware that time on this rock is limited for us all.  I have a great family, and it sucks to see them… go.  So, I make the most of the time I have there to visit them and my best friend.  I am increasingly aware of a pending time when there might not be any of those folks left to make a trip Home to visit.  That might sound a bit morbid, but it’s reality.  The best I can do is get up there and spend some time with them and enjoy their company.  That’s the sweet part…  Spend time at Home is always good.