Time--2017 A to Z Theme

My theme for the 2017 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is "Time". The posts will be more philosophical, contemplative, and even autobiographical than instructional. No time management tips planned, but you never know with A to Z.

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Same Time Next Year (#atozchallenge)

     When you no longer have to say "Let's do this again next year" and everybody concerned just expects something is going to happen at the same time, then a tradition has been established.  Keeping a tradition works unless everyone gets pissed off at each other and they stop doing it.  Well, that is with the exception of elections when everyone traditionally becomes pissed off at each other and they keep doing it anyway.

Same Time Next Year

       All societies seem to develop certain traditions whether they be based on times of religious significance, historical remembrance, or whatever it might be that a culture deems worth recognition and celebration.   Most of us welcome holidays as times for getting away from work or school and having an excuse to go someplace, to party, or to just stay home and relax.  And as though the societally accepted days of recognition were not enough, we and our families come up with our own additional special days.

         We tend to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and other noteworthy dates with parties, cards, gifts, dinners, or some kind of recognition.  There are annual communal gatherings to watch recurring events like the Super Bowl or the Oscar Awards.  If something's worth celebrating then it's more fun to do it with people whose company you enjoy.

        Now many of us can add the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge to the "same time next year" event schedule.  When I started that first Challenge in 2010 I didn't think about it becoming an annual event.  Then when I saw the level of interest and how many people wanted to do it again, same time next year was a natural response.  Now here we are seven years later doing the eighth annual Challenge.  I guess we can consider this Challenge as an annual blogging tradition!

        Are there any traditions that you have established with family or friends?  Do you enjoy attending family gatherings or other similar social events?    Are you already planning to come back same time next year for another Blogging from A to Z April Challenge?

Friday, April 21, 2017

Racing the Clock (#AtoZChallenge) (#BOTB winner)

Racing the clock can be exhilarating while you're at it, but I'd much rather take my time and enjoy the scenery as I stroll through life.

Racing the Clock

       The pace of life can go so fast that we often lose track of what is around us as we go forward.  We spend our lives stuck between yesterday and today, never completely sure of what lies ahead and often oblivious of the things we missed along the way.  The racer will focus on the prize that awaits at the finish line while often missing out on those gems that are passed by along the way to that final destination.  Clocks might stop, but time races on as we are swept forward.   In the race of life, the winner is not the one who reaches the end first with the fastest speed.

Battle of the Bands Results

        Speaking of races, my last Battle featuring the song "In Between Days" originally done by the Cure was a horse race from the starting gate.  Then in the final stretch, the Ben Folds version took the lead to leave Cementerio Club in the dust.

          My vote could go for either of these fine performances, but I'll cast mine along with the winning team.  The frantic pace of the Ben Folds version seems more appropriate for the racing theme I've presented in this post though a good case can be made that the version Cementario Club captures the spirit of the lyrics in a more appropriate way.  So it's Ben Folds for me in this Battle.

Final Vote Tally

Ben Folds                10 votes

Cementerio Club        6 votes

Next Battle of the Bands on Monday May 1st!

         We're in the final stretch of the 2017 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge so just a few more posts until I wrap up my series on the It's About Time theme.  I hope you stay with me until the end.   Then I definitely hope you'll join me for my next Battle of the Bands post when I'll have a song chosen especially in honor of the occasion of the end of another Challenge.

          Is your life more of a rat race or a pleasant stroll though the park?   How do you slow down to enjoy life better?   Do you enjoy it when you are faced with deadlines and a pressure to get things done?


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Quality Time (#AtoZChallenge)

         I spent some quality time with my television last night.  I don't think my television appreciated that time that I put in.  My wife didn't mind because she was devoting some of her own quality time to sleep.  She probably made the more constructive choice.

Quality Time

         For years I've heard the term "quality time."   It's one of those pop phrases that people throw out there to describe something they'd like to do and often think they do, but it's questionable as to what the term actually means.  My assessment is that it means different things for different people in relation to different things.  Sounds like a bit of a cop out I guess, but I'm sticking to it.

          Usually we think of quality time as having to do with our kids, family, or friends.  But in reality we should probably try to inject quality into all of the time we are given.  My goal should be to provide quality time to myself just as I would to a loved one.

           Our jobs, our passions, or whatever we pursue should consist of time that has as much quality as we can put into it.  After all, time that has no quality is essentially wasted time or useless time.  Or better still we might call it perfunctory time.

          I've never been particularly fond of the concept of killing time or just passing time for no reason or purpose.  And keep in mind that time spent reflecting or daydreaming is not time ill spent.  Those minutes or hours can be some of the best and most rewarding passages of time of all.  Quality time devoted to ourselves.

          We should look at our time with our loved ones as high quality time since those times are fleeting.  Our memories of those times should be filled with happiness.  But time itself is our most enduring friend--or in some cases enemy.  If I can befriend my enemy then my time can be filled with quality.

         What do you consider to be quality time?   Do you feel you often miss the quality and shoulder a burden of time?   Do you receive all of the quality time from others that you would like?



Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Punctuality (#AtoZChallenge)

       If I say I'm going to be somewhere at some specific time, I try my best to do exactly that.  It's what I expect from others as well.  I hate to wait so please don't be late!

Train, Dunmurry station – The 11.27 Bangor – P...
Train, Dunmurry station – The 11.27 Bangor – Portadown calling at Dunmurry station. Since the introduction of this new stock there has been a noticeable improvement in punctuality and fewer “we regret to announce” over the long-line public address. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


       I hate being late.  I don't like to wait for other people either,  If anything I prefer to be early if I'm going somewhere.  My wife seems to have that same inclination so we are usually of a single mindset when we go somewhere.  If we're running late then I tend to get nervous and start feeling anxiety.  I want to be on time because I don't want anyone waiting on me.

        That's the way I've always been.  My father too.  I guess I got that quality of punctuality instilled within me from my father's influence.  Yes, I call punctuality a quality because I consider it to be a courtesy to others and a sign of respect.  If I don't like to wait on somebody else that I'd expect that they don't want to be waiting on me.  If we're all on time then we're all happy, or at least that's the way I see it.

         But there's another thing.  Maybe this is my main reason and in a sense it might be somewhat self-serving or even a desire to be the one in control.  My father was like this too.  What I have found to be the case is that if I am the first one in a place then it's like I've marked that territory as mine.  If I'm early then I can scout things out to get a "lay of the land" so to speak, thus giving me a certain advantage in a sense.  Being the first one there means I can arrange things to my advantage.  I can usually watch as the other person arrives.  They are coming to me.

          As an example, when I went back to college at age 54, I always tried to be the first one in class.  For one thing I'd get my preferred seat in class.  But often, and this was probably also due to the fact that I was usually the oldest student, those coming into the class would often assume that I was the professor.  Even after they found out that I wasn't, as the class went on I was always seen in a sort of leadership role.

            Most of my working life I've usually either been in a management role or looked at as a candidate for management.   I tend to prefer a work situation in that way.  If I'm confident about a job then I'd prefer to be the person in charge.  I'd much rather be the guy giving orders then having to take them from somewhere else. One of reasons that I've been placed in higher positions is the sense of being capable of taking on responsibility.  Being punctual is a responsibility.  And a quality.

           My father would have liked that part of me.  Being punctual and responsible.  It was an example that he set for me and I kept up with it in my life.  It's the way I am and I wouldn't want it any other way.

            Are you usually a punctual person?    Why do you think that some people are habitually late?  Do you see punctuality as a quality in a person?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Often (#AtoZChallenge)

     Time spent without focus and reason can be time squandered, but even seemingly wasted time can provide opportunities if we keep our minds and eyes open.


Chinese Food in Minutes
Chinese Food in Minutes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
      Often I have missed openings and opportunities that have come my way.  Fear, doubt, or suspicion have sometimes been the culprits that have hindered me while at other times it's been a matter of my own stubbornness.   Or matters like inconvenience, lack of time, or a myriad of other things I could do instead.

      Years ago I would frequently pass by a small carry-out Chinese food establishment.  Something about it tempted my curiosity.  The restaurant was in a boxy building that had likely been built in the late fifties.  Often when I passed the place I'd find an excuse not to stop and put off going until later.  Over and over for over twenty years I passed that building to never once stop and order some carry-out.  It was always later.

        Then one Saturday I was driving down Lakewood Boulevard and noticed that Jack's Chinese Food was closed.   Shut down for good.  Now I would never be able to see what Jack's food was like. Now whenever I pass by that boxy building that housed Jack's for some fifty years, I pay a silent homage to a restaurant that I would never know.

        As I think further I remember other places like that.  Interesting stores that I'd often drive by while making a mental note to come back one day until eventually the store was gone out of business.  Local attractions that I never made time to visit until I moved from the area lamenting not seeing places I'd meant to see one day.  One day is here and then gone forever.

        Finally I sadly realize that there are some people that I know like that.  Old friends and acquaintances whom I never or rarely visit.  I often think of them.  I wonder if any of them think of me?

        For each door that opens to us there is a new opportunity offered.   Sometimes that opportunity is a door knock or a telephone call away. When you receive your call, will you answer?

         What place did you miss the opportunity to visit and now you cannot visit?   Do you keep in contact with many old friends?    What is something you used to do often, but now no longer or rarely do?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Never (#AtoZChallenge)

Never is a harsh word.
Never is much harsher than never again.  Adding the "again" sounds possibly hopeful.
Never is definitive, unyielding, uncompromising, and perhaps limiting and shortsighted.


        "Never" sounds non-negotiable.   And yet it is often used in a frivolous way in the same way we hear "always" and "everybody" being used.    When someone says "never" and they absolutely mean it it can mean an ending as well as a beginning.  

          If someone close says they are never going to see you again and it actually happens, the loss can be devastating.  A total separation from someone you care deeply about also means you have new options that must be considered and eventually addressed in order to move on.  Never doesn't have to be an end of hope or happiness.  Quite the contrary, the permanent separation from another might be a release to a freedom that had been previously unrecognized.  No matter what the case though, we must always make the best of the negative never.

         But, although never is classified as a negative word, it can have very positive implications.  When a smoker declares that they will never use tobacco again or an alcoholic promises that they will never drink again then that's usually a good thing.  Maybe bad for the suppliers of those products, but usually I think we can say that with all bad there can be some good just as with all good there can be some bad.

           Never can cover a lot of time.  As much time as forever.  The old adage "Never say never" makes a lot of sense in many ways.  If we're going to say "Never" then let it be a promise or at least intend it that way until the time comes to change our mind--if that time ever comes.

          When do you usually use the word 'never'?   Do you prefer to use 'never' as a promise or a threat?  When is a time when the declaration of 'never' proved true in your life?


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Mid month: In Between Days (#BOTB)(#atozchallenge)

        Here we are in the midst of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, halfway to the end, in between the days of the fourth month of 2017.  So far so good for me and a good many of you who are participating in this eighth Challenge.  A few I've seen fallen by the wayside which has been something we see typically happen every year.  But this Challenge is about stamina, commitment, and the sheer stubbornness of not giving up.  I've always been stubborn since I was a kid.  Sometimes that stubbornness has paid off for me.

Battle of the Bands

Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This event happens twice each month on the 1st and 15th.   The premise is simple:  Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it.  Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this post for more Battle action.

"In Between Days"

        Originally released in 1985 by The Cure (click link to hear that version, but please don't vote for it), "In Between Days" caught on quickly with fans worldwide.  Over the following decades the song has been performed by numerous other artists.  I first picked up on the music of The Cure in the mid-eighties and became a fan.  I'm sure there a some of you who don't care much for the group, but I hope you'll indulge me a bit for this Battle.  After all, this song just seemed kind of appropriate for my It's About Time theme that I've chosen for April A to Z.  See which of the following contenders you think does the better version of this song.

Ben Folds   "In Between Days"  (2003)

        Keeping close pace with the original release by The Cure, Folds adds a driving piano to the song arrangement.  The drumming emphasizes a sense of urgency suggested by the vocals.  This one should get you at least moving in your chair a bit.

Cementerio Club  "In Between Days"  (2004)

       Originally I had planned using the Spanish version of this song as performed by the Argentine group Man Ray, but then I figured that maybe it would be better if both versions were in English.  When I found this slowed down version of the song as performed en Inglés by Peruvian punk rock group Cementerio Club, I felt it was time to stop looking for other song versions.  Here is contender number two...

Time To Vote!

Between these choices do you have a preference?   Hopefully you have an opinion of some kind.  Which version do you like the best?   Do you prefer the frantic pace of Ben Folds or the slowed down tempo of Cementerio Club?  You don't have to know about music to have an opinion since it all comes down to your own personal taste.

        Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.

Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands



'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 

Winner of this Battle Announced Friday April 21st

       The A to Z Challenge will be wrapping up in a couple of weeks, but God willing and the creek don't rise I'm in it to win it.  Yeah, stubborn old me finishing A to Z and cranking out these Battle of the Bands posts.   Might as well have what fun one can find in life don't you think?  And I'm having fun.  Hope you are too.  Please come back for the winner announcement on Friday April 21st and if you have the time, stop in to read and comment on my daily posts till then.

          Are you a stubborn person?  Do you tend to quit early if the going is tough or persist even to the annoyance of others?   How quickly has your month been going?

Friday, April 14, 2017

Lifetime (#AtoZChallenge)

     A wife asks her husband, "What's a five letter word about time that begins with an "L"?

    Staring at the television the husband doesn't answer, so the wife asks, "Can you tell me?"

    Without looking up the husband says, "Later."

    The wife retorts, "Why can't you tell me now?"


        When I was about five I figured that my great grandmother--Maw Maw we called her--was about a hundred years old.   Looking at a genealogical book about my mother's family I see that at that time Maw Maw would have been more like in her mid eighties.  To a five year old she looked really old.  But so did my grandparents who would have been in their fifties which is younger than I am now.

        They--and I--have lived a decent span of a lifetime.  A person can do a lot in fifty years and more.  Then I think about friends and people I've known through the years who died in their twenties, thirties, or forties.  Those were usually bigger surprises unlike any of my old friends who might pass away now.  At some point in a lifetime the reality of the end coming ever more near is always on the horizon.  I'd like to think that my lifetime will be a long time.  It's been decently long so far, but it would be nice to stay alive and healthy for many many more years to come.

         In Psalms 90 it is said that a normal life span is seventy to eighty years.  Seems like there hasn't been much change a few thousand years later despite all the medical advances.  And is the quality of life any better now?  A person might live to their eighties and never seem to do that much in all that time.  Not if you put that life up against someone who died relatively young like Mozart, Beethoven, or Schubert who all put out voluminous outputs of great music.

       Some of us might imagine that we will merely fade away into the memories of the few we leave behind and then eventually become dusty stats in some courthouse record department.  Sounds glum until you think of the broader implications on the way your life may have touched others.  Every smile we give to another person, every encouraging word, helps to shape the world into a better place.  It would be nice to leave behind a great book or work of art after our lifetimes are over, but in a sense we have left even greater things.  Each of us has an influence that reaches out far beyond our own lives and even beyond our lifetimes.


As we grow older we tend to sense an urgency to get things done and time itself seems to speed faster. A lifetime is limited, but unfortunately we don't know exactly what those limitations are as we go forward.   Each day that comes is like a bonus after a while as we start wondering how many more remain.   Can we do everything we've wanted to in the lifetime we've been given?   Have you planned out the life you hope to live?   Or do you let life take you by surprise?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Knowing the Time (#AtoZChallenge)

         Intuition is by no means concrete knowledge, but it is an insight that many of us rely on to make life decisions.  A strong feeling about something can sure seem like the right thing and for many of us those feelings guide us through life with a good amount of success.

Knowing the Time

           There are some things we can say we know, while others we might think we know.   Time fits into the category of a guess if we don't have the tools of measurement like a clock or a watch.  Then there is the time that has no actual measurement such as time to leave or time to do whatever it is that needs to be done, but even then we might think we know and in the end be wrong about it.  In most cases though, after a lifetime of experience, we can usually develop a reasonable sense about those feelings we get about our surroundings and how they relate to time.

            Experience is the best teacher for those who pay close attention.  Politicians, business people, or investors all develop an understanding of how their worlds work and what to do when the time is right.  They know the time to act or when to show restraint.   They know the right time to buy, sell, or patiently wait for a better time to do what they see as an inevitability.  Now or later might be dependent on intuitions as much as data analysis.

           For each of us we've learned to recognize when the time becomes evident to us as being the right time.  If you're visiting someone or at a party you can pick up those signals that tell you it's time to leave--yawning, distraction, or something in the body language that is sending a message.  A tactic that I'll sometimes use with guests is that I'll start cleaning up the mess.  Usually that conveys a signal to any remaining guests that it's either time for them to leave or to pitch in and help me clean.  No rudeness is intended, but I just know the time is up for socializing.

            In a relationship we often know it's time to sever ties or at least start looking at whether there is mutual benefit in continuing.  When we pursue some venture in life whether a business, a hobby, or anything else that involves a personal investment and we are no longer finding a reward or benefit in our pursuit we might realize that it's time to move on to do something else.

            When knowing the time is not a question that is easily answered by looking at the clock or a calendar, then maybe that's the time to look closely at where we are, who we are with, and what we are doing.   Maybe our decision will be supported by facts or maybe only by feelings, but whatever we decide when we know the time is likely the right thing to do because we just "know".

             Is your intuition about knowing the time usually accurate?    What kind of signals do you send to others in order to give a hint that "it is time"?    When do you usually know it's time?

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Journal of Days (#AtoZChallenge)

         Have you ever thought about the possibility of losing your memory?   If you had kept a journal of the days of your life, now and then you could read it to remember things you had done in the past. I can recall things that have happened that at the time I believed I would remember the rest of my life and then later never think about it again.   There are people whom I figured would always be around and then they're gone and I forget so much of the good times I had with them.  Memory can be a great friend, but it can also be our biggest deceiver...

English: Private journal, Diary of Henriette D...
 Private journal, Diary of Henriette Dessaulles,
 1874, Ink on paper, 21 x 14 cm
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Journal of Days

       Time passes along with births, deaths, marriages, graduations, or this event or that event.  The world happens as histories are inscribed for future generations to learn and study-- or misremembered for the sake of societal deception until they are corrected by historians untainted by bias, if indeed those histories are ever made right.  Kingdoms may rise and fall, but time remains the constant--a stoic witness to all that passes in a never ending procession of minutes, hours, years, and centuries. Humankind may have discerned the devices for measuring the passage of time, but time itself outlives us all.

       Everything we do or think about has some relation to time.  Our lives are centered around time as time revolves all around us in the activities of the world outside of ourselves.   I used to keep a schedule book in which I recorded upcoming events.  Sometimes in the same book or a different record book I'd keep track of meals, gas, motels, and information about the working facilities where we performed the touring show that I managed in the eighties.

    Working on the road with a performance schedule, one takes careful note of time.  Typically, cast members would leave the motel by check-out, drive a few hours to the next town, have lunch, and then from about 4 until about 9:30 PM we'd set up and then perform our show before tearing it down and moving on.  My main tools were my watch, my road atlas, and my trip record book and my journal of days.

      Rarely did I get into detail then or in any other attempts to keep journals in my lifetime.  There were a few times when I would burst into an ambitious attempt to keep an actual daily journal.  The best journal--one that I kept while on a several week hitchhiking trip during the summer of 1971--that journal got stolen in 1981 when our van was broken into in the Holiday Inn parking lot across from the police station in Greeley, Colorado.  Lost some good stuff and that kind of dampered my applying much future effort into journaling.

         Now most of my days are the same.  Not much point in keeping a journal of my days as they pass by.   The closest I come to keeping that journal is my blogging.  Other kinds of writing would probably be good but I haven't been doing any of that.   Just blogging and I do enjoy that activity.

         Which brings me to the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.  This will be my journal of days in a sense over the month of April.   Each post will take me time to write as well as take the time of whoever might read it.  That writing will be part of my daily activity.  Hours will pass as will days.
If I were keeping a journal I could reread my life whenever I wanted to--maybe even some day if I needed to.  

          Do you keep a daily journal?    Have you ever found a journal of a relative or someone else?  Are you concerned that one day you might lose your memory and sense of who you are?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Idioms of Time (#AtoZChallenge)

          If we removed all references to time from our language, we'd have a lot less to say.   Books would certainly be shorter--and I probably couldn't use a term like "shorter" when referring to books.

Idioms of Time

        Till the cows come home, in a coon's age, or as old as the hills are idioms that are as old as Methuselah (oh, that's another one).  Humans have used colorful expressions to express long periods of time probably since the earliest development of language--probably before any precise measurements of time were developed. We can say "just a sec" or more descriptively use idioms such as blink of an eye or quick as a wink.

      Time idioms were particularly put in the spotlight of my thoughts recently when Fox news commentary host Bill O'Reilly lamented Sean Spicer's frequent use of the idiom "at the end of the day" in his White House press briefings. I usually don't pay much attention to such details, but by golly, the next day I watched the briefing and he said it, not once, but a couple of times.  Now my radar was on.  Since the mention by O'Reilly I can't count the times I've heard Spicer and so many others using "at the end of the day" to lead into a point they were making.

       Another such phrase is "Kick the can down the road."   This was pointed out to me when I heard a couple of guys jokingly using the term in regard to something they were discussing.  This was an idiom that I'd never noticed before until that overheard conversation, but ever since hearing those guys use the phrase, I've heard this said often in the media.

         What these and so many other idioms have in common is that they refer to time in one way or another.  If you're like me you likely just overlook the fact that these idioms are used because they are such an integral part of language.  Add to that the words relating to time such as adverbs:  Words like often, suddenly, quickly, slowly, or interminably.  Like them or not, adverbs quite often relate to time.

          Our world of speech, written word, and thought so often reflects some aspect of time whether in its passing, its having passed, or what is yet to come.   The terminology of technology and the physical world is measured with respect to time.  When we talk about motion, we consider speed in relation to what?  To time--miles per hour, feet per second, or light years.

          Even our current Blogging from A to Z April Challenge evokes concepts of time.  An event in the month of April that consists of 26 days of blogging as well as hours put into the planning and composing of our own posts and the reading of innumerable other posts by other bloggers.  Time consumed, time spent.  Time passes and we find ways to talk about it.

          When you think about how much of what we say, hear, and read has to do with time in one way or another, it can become somewhat overwhelming.  If you think about it too long--like all day and all night long or even twenty four seven it can be mind boggling.  Focusing on such things can become an obsession that you begin to notice forever and a day or until the end of time.  Or at least until the cows come home.

         Have you ever become fixated on certain language idiosyncrasies?   What time idioms do you feel are grossly overused?   Do you have a favorite idiom of time?

Monday, April 10, 2017

Hourly Wage (#AtoZChallenge)

        Working for an hourly wage can sometimes feel like slavery.  The question then becomes are you a slave to your work or a slave to the money?  

Hourly Wage

In case you don't get enough of the live assem...
In case you don't get enough of the live assembly line, they also show the same process on large tv screens on the walls. I'm not sure why; it seems a little redundant. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
          In my first hourly wage job, a summer only job in 1969, I was making $2.50 an hour.  That was almost a dollar more than minimum so I felt pretty good about that.  After a couple months of work I had enough money in the bank to cover three quarters at the University of Tennessee and still had a nice sum of cash for my extraneous expenditures.  A lot of that work was tough--hot dirty work around a large construction yard.  But I was a young guy in good health and even though I wasn't always thrilled about working there, the job didn't kill me and it gave me cash I otherwise wouldn't have had.  And the pay was better than what most--maybe all--of my friends were making.

         There was nepotism involved in that construction job.  My father was an upper echelon guy in the company and he arranged for me to work there.  If not for that I'd probably never gotten that job.  I worked there for a few summers until I decided that I wanted to find a job on my own.  My search was short.  The first employment ad that I answered was at a carnival supply warehouse.  When the manager saw that I was a college student he hired me on the spot and designated me "Assistant Manager" since I was obviously smart.  After all I was in college which to him made me intelligent.   He offered me the position at $1.75 an hour.  I snatched the offer partly because I didn't want to look anyplace else and I figured that was probably going to be the typical rate for someone with my limited resume experience.

         Since the company was dealing with carnivals, summertime offered ample opportunity for overtime work which meant my pay past forty hours increased to about $2.60 an hour.  It was not unusual for me to work an additional forty hours each week which meant that I'd accrue what were to me at the time some sizable paychecks.  Somehow there still seemed to be free time everyday so the extra work hours didn't matter to me that much.   That was the job that had the most influence on me to work as much as I could

        In the ensuing years after I left that job, other than a few incidental temporary jobs, I stopped working for an hourly wage and took salaried management positions instead.   Something I discovered about managerial positions--or at least the positions that I had--is that when you're in charge you can often put in far more hours than the people getting paid an hourly wage.  Depending on how busy I might be at any given time of the year, I might end up making less per hour than the hourly employees.  Not that I would have traded places with any of them since I like being the guy in charge and in slow times my work was much easier with the same pay as I always got.

        I guess what I'm pondering here is how much is an hour of our life worth?  An hour working for someone else for only the pure benefit of getting a paycheck.  I've been fortunate in that in even many of the hourly wage jobs that I've had I liked what I did.  In the managerial jobs I usually loved what I did.

       What it comes down to in the end is how much we like our jobs versus how much we're being paid.  I'd much rather work minimum wage for a job that I absolutely loved than work for some exorbitant hourly wage at a job that made me miserable and might eventually kill me if I stayed with it.  For the most part it's a matter of attitude whether or not a job makes us miserable.   So far I've never had that kind of job, but then maybe that's just me.

         Whether it be an hourly wage, a salary, a commission, or nothing at all, how we cope with giving up our time for a job is the most determining factor on whether it's all worth the effort expended.  I've known people with jobs I would love to have who seem absolutely miserable with their lot in life.  Maybe they would hate anything though--it's probably their attitude.  Then there are people who have jobs that I wouldn't want even for the best hourly wage and they seem fine with what they do.

          My pay preference is a salary over an hourly wage.  I'd rather just work for that week's pay than count down the hours and measure those hours with dollars.  More importantly is give me a job that I enjoy doing.  Or even better, pay me to do what I want to do with my own time.  But wait, that sounds like being self-employed.  That's not bad as long as everything is going good, but self-employment does not always have guarantees.  If I want guarantees then I guess it's back to an hourly wage and even then there are no guarantees.

          What's the best job you ever had?    Was the best job the one that paid the most?   Would you rather work for a salary or an hourly wage?

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Growing (#AtoZChallenge)

          Before you curse growing older, remember those senior discounts.  Now, as I'm growing older, those growing pains are starting to make sense.  I can't recall adolescence or childhood being physically painful in any way though adults used to talk about "growing pains".   All I know now is that as I grow older, I am growing more pained.  Not like constant pain or anything like that.  Not yet. But I mean a presence of lurking pains that can pop up unexpectedly.  It's not cool when that happens, but those senior discounts when you weren't even thinking about it--now that's pretty cool.

English: A 20-year-old cat that looks tired be...
 A 20-year-old cat that looks tired because of its advanced age.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

      Guess I'm still growing.   Maybe not growing up as much as being at a stable place in life until I start diminishing with old age.   There's no doubt that I've been growing older--that seems like it's been going on for years and yet I don't feel much older in my mind.  So much time seems to have passed since I was a kid, but there are still some kid thoughts in my head.  There are times when, if my aging body didn't give me away and I didn't have a mirror in which to see myself, I could swear I was about ten years old.  Those thoughts never last long as reality comes crashing in.

      Yes, I am growing older, but am I growing wise?  Sometimes I don't feel like I've learned much of anything in my life.  Sure, I know stuff, but is it stuff worth knowing.  Is it something akin to wisdom?  I guess I can say I'm somewhat wise.  With all the time that has passed in my life so far I think I can lay a claim to being some kind of wise.

       The days keep on coming at me like I'm in some kind of speed race hoping to win a silver cup and a kiss from a reigning beauty queen.  No such luck.  Instead I'm like the fabled tortoise forging onward at a steady pace.  The rapidity of time is only illusion, but as real to me as the hot concrete beneath my tired feet.  That's the big concern--growing tired.  Old is a state of mind and body.  Tired is a state of body and mind.

         Are you keeping up with the time?   Do you feel like time has taken a toll on you?    What does being wise mean to you?

Friday, April 7, 2017

Fridays (#AtoZChallenge) (#BOTB results)

          It's kind of handy when the letter "F" lands on a Friday and my April A to Z theme is Time. Friday's are definitely cool for most of us. Back when I was working it often didn't make that much of a difference to me because I often worked on weekends, so Friday was like just another day. I can understand why a lot of folks want to thank God or thank goodness it's Friday.

            As promised on my Battle of the Bands post last Saturday, here are the results in the battle between Jim Nabors and the Match singing versions of "The Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet"...

Battle of the Bands Results

         GomerPyle--er, I mean Jim Nabors's version of "A Time for Us" really grew on me as I kept listening to it.  Such sweet melodiousness to the music and singing.  However, my preference of  psychedelic leaning music makes me hone in on The Match.  I like those vocal harmony groups and the classical sounds of the instrumentation rounded the entire effect for me very nicely.  My vote goes to the version by The Match.

          This past battle was a wild one!  Great turn out voting, but it was also opening day of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.   This round of Battle stayed close right up to near the end when The Match took a lead and kept it.

Final Vote Tally:

Jim Nabors       22 votes

The Match        29 votes

Next Battle of the Bands Post on Saturday April 15th

         Smack dab in the middle of the month, between the days of the ongoing A to Z Challenge, comes another music Battle.   This Battle might be just the cure some of you will need from blog post fatigue.  There's still a lot of A to Z post ahead!  By the way, this paragraph contains clues as to the next song hit from the eighties.  Do you see what song I'll be using?

          What is your favorite day of the week?   Do you like to celebrate Fridays?  Do you mind working on weekends?  

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Eleventh Hour (#AtoZChallenge)

The Eleventh Hour Dilemma 

           I've always been a bit of a procrastinator.  There will be those times when I am industrious and forward thinking enough to get things done in advance, but typically those times have been more rare than not.  After all, why do something now if I can wait until later?

          Waiting can have its advantages.  Offhand I can't think of any advantages, but maybe I'll think of something later--if I don't get distracted and forget what I was supposed to think of.  Getting distracted has always been a problem for me.  In that respect I suppose I still have the mind of the child that I once was.  Once?  Maybe I'm still more of that child than some might think.  If I still had toys I might be sitting on the floor playing instead of sitting at my desk typing these words.

English: insight of tin toy museum Freinsheim/...
 insight of tin toy museum Freinsheim/Germany  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

          Now and then I'm tempted to buy some toys for myself.  And I don't mean shiny new gadgets to entertain the adult side of me, but I'm talking about toy cars and building sets and legions of tiny plastic people.  Real toys like children strew across floors.  Now that's what I call real world building and getting lost in ones imagination.

           But I restrain myself from buying those toys.  Besides, I need to watch my money and I certainly don't need more stuff cluttering my house.  Children's toys are not a practical option for me.  That's why I write, read, or watch movies.  Escape now is more passive than the activity of being a child.   My mind is my playground.

           Though I might frequently wait until the eleventh hour to do things that I've planned or things that necessity requires to be done, I try to do better when I can.  Or do better when I think about it, if I'm thinking about it at all.  Still, I tend to get distracted or just plain forget.  More often than I'd care to admit, I've waited until the eleventh hour.   Unfortunately as I near that unknown eleventh hour of my life, I hope that I'll improve those bad habits.  Maybe I'll wait to start improving next week. Or maybe next month.   Or maybe I'll buy some children's toys and sit on the floor and play.  I can think of worse things that could happen.

          Do you tend to procrastinate?   What are your favorite diversions when you just want to relax and escape from the real world?    How much more do you want to get done in your life before the clock strikes midnight?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Devoting Time (#IWSG) (#AtoZChallenge)

       Success depends partly on the time we are willing to devote to an endeavor.  Talent is important but if no effort is expended and no time invested then that talent will likely lie fallow.

 Join us on the first Wednesday of each month in Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group--a forum of writers who gather to talk about writing and the writer's life. For a complete list of participants visit Alex's Blog

Days to Decades

        Each day was an adventure and the days seemed to last for weeks.  Childhood was like that.  I had the time and the world was mine if was willing to take advantage of it.  But those days turned into decades as first my college years passed, then living to work and working to live life to the fullest. I had time to write, and often did, but there was no particular aim to it all.  Writing was mostly relegated to something of the nature of a hobby.

          Eventually life was mostly work and family. I was fortunate to be working jobs that I enjoyed doing and that allowed me to still be very involved with my kids.  Sometimes there was writing involved, but mostly that was when some nagging idea insisted that I write it down.  So I did.  I wrote in spiral composition books at night after the kids were in bed or during a spare moment at work.  When the compulsion subsided, my writing books were tucked away for some later use.

          Writing has always been in the background of my life--rarely taking center stage.  I probably spent more time thinking about what I might write someday than actually writing.   But sometimes I did write.   And now I need to continue to write.  I need to consider devoting more time to writing.  Thankfully I have blogging as one outlet and writing blog posts has been a bit of writing salvation to me.

          Days fly by quickly as what I had planned on writing today has been postponed until tomorrow. Or someday.  Yes, the days are flying by faster than I would have ever imagined when I was that kid with all the time in the world on his hands.  Then I could wait.  Now I'm not sure waiting is what I should be doing.  After all, the days are turning into decades and one day those decades will amount to a lifetime.  When I was a kid a lifetime was forever.   Now I know the truth.

           Are you fulfilling your writing dreams?   What is your current favorite way to release your inner creative self?   Do you devote time to writing as much as you'd like to?  

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Clocks and Calendars (#AtoZChallenge)

         As I cross out another day gone by on the calendar, I look at the clock on the wall.  Time will not stop--not yet.  It's like being on a train that never seems like it's going to reach its destination.  I decide it's better to enjoy the ride while that train is running because when I reach my station stop--well, that's the end of the line for me.

Clocks and Calendars

        Clocks and Calendars--they're in nearly every room of my house.  I am obsessed with date and time.  As a matter of fact, I've always kept close track of what time it was and what the date was.   But I suppose most of us are if we are functioning within some kind of framework of time.  It might be bad to show up to work on the wrong days.  Although if things were like they were at the last job I held, nearly every day was a work day except in slower times of the year.  And as the years went by, times got slower.  That's why they closed down my branch and put me out to pasture.

Clocks above the main entrance to Flinders Str...
Clocks above the main entrance to Flinders Street Station in Melbourne. The clocks show train departure times for various lines. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
        Even in retirement I'm still concerned with time and date because my wife still works.  If she didn't work we'd still keep track of the day of the week and the time of the day.  Most of us are likely creatures of time.  Television shows start at certain times on certain days so we keep track of that.  My mail seems to get delivered sometime after noon, but before five--I haven't pinpointed a more precise time than that.   I do know the mail doesn't come on Sunday.  Still I need to be aware when Sunday does come so we don't miss church.

         I probably look at the calendars several times a day which is probably weird because it's not like the day is suddenly going to change and I won't notice.  Sometimes if I take a midday nap (which I usually do) I might wake up and have to think about what day it is.  Sometimes I'll check the calendar as though that would really tell me.  Fortunately those moments of time disorientation are brief as my groggy mind awakens.

         In our house, clocks are even more visible than calendars.  Some rooms have as many as four clocks.  At least ones that are immediately obvious.  It seems like many appliances now have clocks built into them somewhere.  Some of those I could preset if I had a mind to--like my coffeemaker.  Freshly brewed coffee could be waiting for me in the morning if I so desired.  But I don't have a mind to prepare my coffee the night before.

           Each of our four land phone extensions has a clock.  I probably check those for the time as much as anything.  They must be set according to phone company time or something.  I never have to set those clocks and they change automatically when the time changes come.  Too bad all our clocks don't change like that.  Most of the clocks I have to go around and change manually.  Thank goodness those changes only come twice a year.  I'd rather there be no change.  That is, no change in time.

         Clocks and calendars keep track of my days and all that come in between days.  Perhaps I am like a slave to those measurement devices.  Time will likely always matter to me as long as live.  It's something that's built into modern people--even people in the past.  If there ever comes a day when time doesn't matter then I will assume that on that day life will no longer matter either.

          Time paces my days.  Days measured with clocks and calendars.

           Does your house have a lot of calendars and clocks?   Are you a clock watcher?   Do you have a favorite clock in your home?

Monday, April 3, 2017

Beginnings (#AtoZChallenge)

        Measurement requires a certain degree of accuracy.   Everything that is measurable has a beginning which in turn means it has an end.  If there were no beginning or end then it could not be measured and certainly not with any degree of accuracy.

In the Beginning...

         Time is an artificial construct that exists where there are constants.  Without the rotation of the Earth and its revolutionary course around the Sun, how could we measure time, know our ages, or discern historical reference.  Without an ability to gauge dimensional measurements such as distance or the existence of fixed points such as stars, time as we know it could not exist.  Time is order and not chaos.

         The ways we measure time are based on other factors outside of time.  The measure of our life is dependent on the time that has been set into place at some distant point in the past.  That point can be called "the beginning".   What was there before a beginning?   Chaos.  Or perhaps we can say the non-existence of thinking reasoning minds.   But then that becomes much like the proverbial tree falling in the forest where nobody is present.   Does that tree make a sound?   Does place without a reasoning being have time?

       Day one.  Year zero.  In the beginning...  That is when time begins.

       What do you think?  Does time exist if there is no one to measure it?    Does time serve any benefit to anything beyond the reasoning mind that is desirous to organize its world? 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

A Time for Us (#AtoZChallenge) (#BOTB)

       April 1st is a time for us bloggers and for all who enjoy reading blogs.  This date begins what has become the greatest blog challenge of them all:   The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge!  Let the 2017 Challenge begin!

Welcome Blogging Friends and Friends of Blogging!

      Here we are again at the start of another Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.  This will be the 8th year of the Challenge and still going strong.  For the month of April Tossing It Out will be joining hundreds of other blogs from around the world as we deliver 26 daily posts (except on Sundays aside from the last Sunday of this month) using the letters of the alphabet as our inspiration.  As many others will do, I have decided to blog with a theme in mind.  My posts for this Challenge month will explore time and the various aspects related to time.

      In my first April post I will be dealing with a song about time...

Battle of the Bands

Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This event happens twice each month on the 1st and 15th.   The premise is simple:  Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it.  Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this post for more Battle action.

"A Time for Us"

        This is the theme song from the popular 1968 film interpretation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.   Directed by Franco Zeffirelli, the film was one of the hits of 1968.  The instrumental score for the love theme from the film was composed by Nino Rota who also penned much of the music behind the films of Fellini--it is a hauntingly beautiful melody.  Either instrumentally or with vocals, there are numerous cover versions of this song.  I settled for two that I found particularly interesting in one way or another.  They certainly are a contrast.

Gomer Pyle   "A Time for Us"  (1980)

        Gomer Pyle of Mayberry shocked the hometown folks and the U.S. Marine Corps as well as the television audiences when he unleashed the dulcet tones of his baritone voice.  Go-o-lly, who'd have ever thunk it?  Gomer (actually actor/singer Jim Nabors from Sylacauga, Alabama) endeared himself to America with his portrayal of the goofy Mayberry gas station attendent on The Andy Griffith Show and later on his own show Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.  During his lengthy career, Nabors recorded a number of albums as well as appearing in many movies and television shows.  For our first Battle performance, Nabors presents a straight-forward rendering of "A Time for Us".

The Match  "A Time for Us"  (1969)

     If The Lettermen had dropped some acid before recording "A Time for Us", the result might have sounded like this next Battle contestant.  Bordering on psychedelia, this is one of those many strange vocal groups that appeared on the scene in the late sixties.  This arrangement of "A Time for Us" contains lush strings and some nice harmonies. Who are the singers?  That I could not find.   And that is about is much as I did find about this group other than they recorded this song.

A Time To Vote!

        I hope you have time to vote!   And hopefully you have an opinion of some kind.  Which version do you like the best?   Did Gomer meet his Match?  You don't have to know about music to have an opinion since it all comes down to your own personal taste.

        Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version you chose. Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around. And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.

Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:

 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands



'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Cherdo on the Flipside  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 

Winner Announced on Friday April 7th

         Excepting tomorrow (Sunday the 2nd) there will be posts every day this week.  Voting will be open until Thursday the 6th and the winner of this match will be announced on Friday the 7th.  I hope you can stop in to visit as many of my "Time" posts as you are able, but be sure to be back on Friday to see which song version was voted as the favorite.  Shazam!