This Is Me--2024 A to Z Theme

My A to Z Themes in the past have covered a range of topics and for 2024 the theme is a personal retrospective that I call "I Coulda Been" which is in reference to my job and career arc over my lifetime. I'll be looking at all sorts of occupations that I have done or could have done. Maybe you've done some of these too!

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Zamboni My World ( #AtoZChallenge )

#AtoZChallenge 2020 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter ZZounds!  Can it be the end of April already?   Another A to Z Challenge comes to a close and in the weirdest times that most of us have ever seen.  It's been rough at times yet the Big Zamboni keeps making the rounds to smooth things out...

  Zamboni My World

The Zamboni Story | Zamboni - Part 4

         A few miles down the road from where I live is Paramount CA which is home to Frank J. Zamboni and Company.  For over seventy years this company has produced the machine known as the Zamboni.  Those of you who are fans of ice hockey or other ice skating sports are likely familiar with the ice resurfacing machine known as the Zamboni, a machine with the function of smoothing off the surface of ice after it has become too rough to safely and effectively skate upon. 

          I doubt that there is any among you who has not had their share of rough spots in life that have caused you to stumble, maybe fall, and not be able to glide through like we do in better times.  Those are the times when we could use that "Life Zamboni" to make for smoother sailing and easier coping over those rough spots.

          There may not be a simple device that fixes everything for us.  It's mostly up to us and whatever support we can find around us.  I've been fortunate in my life.  The metaphorical Zamboni has often passed across the surface of my life to make things smoother again--to make my life easier to navigate.  Then as I've skated on, the ice of life gets choppy and rough again, requiring another pass of the Zamboni of Life.

          It is unlikely that my future will be free of new hardships and unexpected challenges and I will again need to Zamboni my world.  That is just the way things go in life:  One moment you are gliding along carefree and content until you hit that rough spot.  Time to call out the Zamboni and rest and reflect awhile while the surface of life gets smoothed out again ready for another round of smooth skating.

         What do you do when you see rough spots starting to threaten the peacefulness of your life?  Who or what do you depend on to help you through difficult times?   Do you tend to easily forget your past hardships when the road ahead appears to be trouble free?

And so ends another April of posting from A to Z.  Tomorrow (Thursday May 1st) I'll have another Battle of the Bands post so I'll hope you'll join me for that.  Also don't forget the upcoming Post-Challenge Survey as well as the A to Z Reflections all coming up in the next few days.  For more A to Z info please visit the A to Z Blog.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Youth of Old Age ( #AtoZChallenge )

     You've undoubtedly heard the expression about someone going through their second childhood.  Well if a second childhood would be as good as my first one then I say bring it on! 

#AtoZChallenge 2020 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter Y

Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age. - Victor Hugo

Youth of Old Age

         When I was in my teens and twenties, ages beyond thirty seemed kind of old to me and the age where I am now seemed downright ancient.  Yet, now, nearing seventy, I don't really feel much older than the twenty-something guy I once was. Apparently I look older than I think I do, but I've been looking at this mortal frame on a daily basis for seven decades and the daily changes have been imperceptible to me. 

          If fifty is "the youth of old age" then where am I now?  The middle age of old age?  Or perhaps if I live beyond 100 years then I might still be in my youth of old age.  My mind resists as my body often reminds me that I'm not a kid anymore.  Physically I seem to have all sorts of limitations, but mentally I might be any age I want to think I am. 

        Age is not only relative, but it is also in the eyes of the beholder.  I hear voices inside my head telling me that I'm still young and have many years left while from without I get the implications that I am a senior citizen--not like a senior in high school, but an old codger, an outdated relic of the past.  I don't feel old, but there are indications all about me that I am old.

       Well, dag-nab it, I ain't settlin' to be old any time soon unless it works to my advantage and in that case, okay, I'm old, now give me my damn senior citizen discount!

         What age would you consider to be old?   As you get older do you tend to leave certain dreams behind you?   Do you think you "act your age"? 

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

X-Acto Knife to My Life ( #AtoZChallenge )

Over the years, the more I accumulated, the more I got rid of.  Maybe it was the void of the things gone that would drive me to replace those things with even more than I had before.  I came into this world with no possessions and if I'm going to leave in the same way (not anytime soon I hope) then I'd better start getting rid of stuff.  Hmm--now to decide where to start...

#AtoZChallenge 2020 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter X   X-Acto Knife to My Life

        One of my favorite hobbies of my early teen years was building models from kits.  I tried all sorts of models--cars, planes, ships, monsters.  Among the tools I acquired for my pursuit was a set of X-Acto knives.  These were small bladed instruments used for trimming excess plastic from model pieces as well as whatever other trim work was needed.

        There's not much I usually do about it, but I constantly marvel at all the stuff I surround myself with.  That's old news for anyone who has read past posts of this blog, but possibly the same news for you as it is for me.  Many of us have so much stuff that maybe at times it would do us good to take an X-Acto Knife to our lives.

         Personally I'm not sure where to start.  And as always I'll put this chore aside for another day.

      Which of your belongings do you think likely hinder you more than help?   How long do you think you'd last as an itinerant wanderer with no possessions?   If you were going to pick a plastic model kit that best represented the essence of you, what would it be?  

Monday, April 27, 2020

What Will Happen ( #AtoZChallenge )

       We might know what we think might happen in our futures, but none of us can say for certain what will happen even if that future seems kind of certain.  What will happen is just what will happen. We're just along for the ride...

#AtoZChallenge 2020 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter W
 What Will Happen

         When I set out with my A to Z theme this year I had a somewhat vague concept that I would write about my life and where I see myself going in the years to come.  It was as good of a plan as any other I suppose, especially in these Pandemic Days.  Just meandering thoughts in a stream-of-consciousness approach seemed like a good way to go in 2020.

          The truth is that this is pretty much how I've been blogging for the past decade.  In fact, one might reasonably suggest that this is the way I've approached my whole life.  Every outcome in my life has been a surprise even though that outcome might have been precisely what was expected, whether by me or someone else, and most of my expectations were probably not well considered considering that how they turned out was often not at all like what I expected.

          Riffing in the stream-of-consciousness can be great fun for word play and it's my preferred style of communicating my thoughts, but I'm pretty sure that a solid sense of life planning might have made more sense for me in the long run.  I've often been one to get lost in my thoughts to the point that I've gotten diverted by many a side road along the way.  A more structured type of person might call someone like me unfocused.  Perhaps that's the danger of living a stream-of-conscious life--a continual barrage of shiny objects dazzle my view into a burst of astonishment and wonderment that keeps me in a mental whirl.

         What will happen in my future if I continue this path I've been on?   Maybe I'll just continue being me.  The child in me is still wide-eyed yet laden with the crustiness of lost loves, sad tales, and forgotten past things.  I hope I can continue to plod forward although my shoes have become worn and tied together with the strings of memories. 

         I don't really know what will happen in the years to come.  I'm looking for something good.  I'm hoping that something good is looking for me as well.

          Have your life plans mostly turned out as you expected?   To what extent do you actually plan your future?   Do you think your future looks promising or somewhat bleak?  

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Very Vexing ( #AtoZChallenge )

Viruses are frightening because they are essentially invisible to our view.  We might see the effects attributed to the virus, but most of us have to take the word of scientists or doctors as to what caused the devastation that we can observe.  I take it on faith that viruses exist because the experts say they do.  The longer I live, the more things come my way that vex me for which the experts have no absolute answers...

#AtoZChallenge 2020 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter V 
  Very Vexing

       Violence seems to be the norm in nature, but so can kindness and caring.  We hate and we love.  Sometimes we are indifferent.  What affects us adversely might be a cause of great concern to us.  In other cases we are greatly concerned about what we perceive affects us or might affect us someday.  Humans can be a mighty perplexing bunch. 

        Many of the problems humans face are more ideological than actual.  It might be that we have too much time on our hands, use our imagination too much and not for something fun or diversionary, but to scare up new bugaboos to worry us.  It is the conundrum of modern society.  If a real threat is not enough then why not conjure up imagined ones or hypothetical scenarios?

          What would it take for all humans to be happy?   In the United States and much of the rest of the world for that matter, we have it easy.  For most of us, the days of hunting for food or growing crops for survival is not even in our purview.  The food is just there when we need it.  Reasonably clean water is available by turning on a faucet. 

           So, what do we need to be happy?  A new political installation?  More money?  Television shows that might interest or entertain us more?  We have an abundance of so much in our lives and yet it never seems to be enough.

             Yes, it is vexing to me when I dwell upon it.  In my own life,  there are indeed more things I would like to have. But I can also find a relative contentment in what I do have--or at least I accept it for the most part.  And still the world around me cries out for more and still more.

            It's all very vexing in some ways, while in other ways the answers seem as clear as a church bell reverberating across the verdant spring landscape on a placid Sunday morning.  People are stirring, but are they really listening?

          What is the most vexing life question on your mind?   Why do you think there is so much dissonance in society?   What is your answer to finding true happiness and contentment?

Friday, April 24, 2020

Unlimited Mileage ( #AtoZChallenge )

Unlimited mileage is something I always look for if I rent a car because I like to be able to drive a lot. Rarely do I rent a car, but I prefer to drive my own so I can drive the heck out of it...

     Unlimited Mileage

          Unless I'm flying somewhere I rarely rent a vehicle and if I do rent then I don't want to be worrying about how many miles I put on that vehicle.  Of course, "unlimited mileage" really does have it's limits--usually time.  Only so far one can drive in an allotted amount of time. 

           When I was touring with a show back in the eighties I always traded in my vans before they reached 200,000 miles.  Since we averaged about 50,000 miles a year I wanted to be sure that I had a vehicle that was at optimal performance.  At the end of every three years or so I'd trade my van for a brand new one.  The company was paying all of my vehicle expenses as well as the vehicles themselves so it all worked to my favor.   Also the minimal repairs were good for the company expense as well.

           Unlimited mileage sounds nice, but it is also a bit of a misnomer.  Not only are we restricted by time, but also by wear and tear.  We often hear folks saying they wish they had their younger bodies.  It would be great I agree.  To have a body with "unlimited mileage"--to stay young, healthy, and unstoppable is a fantasy that I think most of us share.  Too bad it's not that way.

            Not in this world at least.  We can all expect that similar outcome, death, which will come in a variety of ways for the lot of us.  There's an end of the road in this life.  After that I'll be looking for unlimited mileage in my next journey.  I'm looking forward to that.

            How many miles do you typically put on your vehicle on a yearly basis?   What is the most miles you've ever put on a vehicle before getting a new one?   Would you like to live forever?

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Taking Chances ( #AtoZChallenge )

       Taking small chances has often been something that I have avoided, but big chances I've dived into without thinking much about it--not even checking to see if there was water in the pool...

       Taking Chances

      Time and again I have avoided small chances for fear of failure.  Thinking back to school dances, I would avoid asking a girl to dance for fear I would be rejected.  And most of the time you wouldn't find me at a dance anyway because I didn't even want to face the possibility that I might want to ask a girl to dance.  Besides, I was never much of a dancer--guess I didn't want to take the chance to learn to be at least passable at dancing.

       It's been the little things like that in my life that I have avoided because there seemed to be a risk of some kind involved.  Yet when it came to some of my biggest decisions like taking out on the road with a touring show or relocating two thousand miles to live in Los Angeles, I made my decision without much consideration of things like failure or disappointment.  I just did it because it seemed like something I wanted to do.

        Maybe I've fretted too much about the small choices--the things with mostly temporal effects and outcomes.  Perhaps it's part of being a dreamer with big dreams.  The minor dreams seemed to get in the way of where I wanted to go without any consideration on my behalf that those little dreams are just diversions along life's journey.

        These days I'm not overly concerned about taking chances because there aren't that many I have to face.  Other than the risks of getting out of bed in the morning or driving to the store or the daily stuff of life, most potential risks are things I might fantasize about while never having to face the reality of those thoughts. 

         Maybe it's time for taking real chances.  I could try to turn dreams to reality and failure be damned.  I'm getting too old to worry about failure.  All of my years of living so far should count toward something.  Surely I've learned a few things.

         Do you wanna dance?   Might as well get out on the floor and take a chance.

         Are you a risk taker?   What is your biggest deterrent to taking chances?--Fear of failure?  Success?  Facing ridicule?

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Science Is Speaking ( #AtoZChallenge )

Speak to me, o science, and let me know your wisdom of all ages.  I also want to hear what you sound like because I keep hearing people saying, "Listen to Science."  And for that matter who the heck is Science anyway?

  Science Is Speaking

       Among the more annoying statements that proponents on one particular side of topical debate offer is the imploration to listen to science.   This phrase annoys me to no end--especially if someone admonishes me to "listen to science".    Yes, some of my opinions have elicited this cliched response without actually engaging me as to how I came to my conclusions about a particular topic.

       The anthropomorphization of a field of study becomes an absurdity when you figure that the field of science does not always speak with one voice.  Science is made up of individual scientists with varying opinions, insights, ideologies, and agendas.  There should always be room for debate and discussion.  If someone doesn't agree with my view (without actually hearing what it is) then it might be more fruitful to figure out how we differ and how we are the same rather than chide me with the retort of "listen to science"!

          Just thought I'd toss that opinion out there.  Gee, seems like old times...


Battle of the Bands Results

         My previous Battle was a match between Buddy Miles and Zoo with their versions of "Memphis Train".   Though I was well aware of the name and reputation, I don't know much about the music of Buddy Miles, but I did like his version of the song.  However, having long been familiar with the Zoo recording and a fan of their style of psychedelia, my vote goes to Zoo.

        A few voters agreed with my choice, but the favorite in this Battle was Buddy Miles.  I guess the frantic psychedelia of Zoo was a bit much for some voters.

Final Vote Tally

Buddy Miles         9 votes

Zoo                       5 votes


Next Battle of the Bands on Friday May 1st

        Plenty of posting before that Battle so hope you'll keep coming to my A to Z posts so I won't feel so lonely in my corner of Blogland.   April is almost over--again!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Radical Changes vs Sleepy Porch Time ( #AtoZChallenge )

     Radicalism for me is more of a mental concept that I ponder occasionally and not so much of any participatory action.  I'd rather find myself relaxing on the porch than marching in some kind of protest line...


 Radical Changes vs Sleepy Porch Time

       Radical thoughts may cross my mind every now and then, but you will probably not catch me acting upon any of those thoughts.  Some change is okay with me as long as I have mostly instigated the change or that change serves me to an advantage.  Change often requires too much thinking, learning, and rearranging.  Let's face it:  I tend to be kind of lazy and don't like messing with change.

      Personal change that I am happy or intrigued about is something I can deal with.  Something like moving for example--that is, moving because I want to or the move provides a tremendous opportunity for me.  In those cases you can count me gone if that move is within my means or it's paid for by someone else.

       But here I am in my busy urban surroundings.  Millions of other human beings within a close radius from where I live.  There are plenty of opportunities to experience culture and ethnic diversity. Restaurants abound and in normal non-COVID times there is so much to do.  Nothing overly sleepy about urban Los Angeles (other than me, my wife, and others like us).   Even in the current pandemic setting there is a bustle of traffic and people out and about.  A continual stream of traffic seems to pass by my windows both day and night.  This city never seems sleepy, but anxious and edgy.  And these days worried and wary.

       If I close my eyes I might imagine lazing on the front porch of my home in some rural setting back east.  Oh, I have a front porch in my present home, but the view just ain't what I envision in my country mountain home in southwestern Virginia.  It's a dream for now.  Going there would be a radical change for me, but that sleepy porch time just might be worth it.

         Where do you dream of being?  Do you deal well with radical changes?   What was the biggest change that you had to adjust to in your life? 

Monday, April 20, 2020

Qualitative Life ( #AtoZChallenge )

Quality is an important component in determining worth.   If it's not good then why would I want to accept it?   That's how I would measure life:  Do my days have quality?

  Qualitative Life

        Quantity of life sounds pretty good to me--I want to live a long time if God is willing.  But quality outshines quantity for me.  Would I rather have 20 years of struggling to get by and dealing with health issues where living was mostly a chore or would I prefer five years of the best life imaginable?   I think I would opt for the latter, but even better would be the former quantity with an abundance of good times and continual new discoveries. 

         Life to me is worth living as long as I can enjoy it.   The will to live is a strong one for just about anyone.  Living however entails so much more than just breathing and the processes of other bodily functions.  Pain or discomfort is not fun--not for the average person at least.  If l can't enjoy or reasonably appreciate my life then what value does my life have.

          The will to live is powerful though.  A spark of hope resides in the infirm or unhealthy.  Maybe a cure will be found.  Maybe science will find a way to restore our diminished state to something more like how it was in a healthier youth.  When sick we want to get better.  Very few of us relish suffering.  We want life, but we want a good life.

         So that's what I'm shooting for--a good productive life.  I want to travel, spend time with those I love, and do things that I enjoy doing.  Quality for sure and quantity if that is what has been determined for me. 

         I look forward to the good life that is yet to come.  I hope there is much of that life waiting ahead for me.

       How long would you like to live?    Do you think of your life as a happy one?    What would you most like to have in order to improve the quality of your life?

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Playing Peoria ( #AtoZChallenge )

Peoria has become the standard to represent average America home-town U.S.A.  If you're accepted in Peoria then you've got a good chance of being widely accepted throughout the country.  So they say at least...

    Playing Peoria

       "Will it play in Peoria?"  has been a frequent question of vaudevillians and other American performers over the past hundred or so years.  After all Peoria is literally located in the middle of the United States and a resident of that city has long been considered representational of the typical American.  If a Peorian liked what you had to offer then you would likely be a hit wherever you played.  That was the theorized rumor at least.

        I don't know if that theory still holds true or really ever did, but the gist of it is what many marketers look for in ascertaining whether they've got a product that will sell.  Ideally, if I wrote a book for example, I would want whatever I have to offer to have a wide appeal.  Not that I'm in anything strictly for the money, but I do like the idea that I would be fairly compensated for my creative output.

          Over the years (and many years ago) I've played Peoria with the shows with which I've traveled.  I don't recall much of anything about the town other than the immense Caterpillar plant where heavy machinery and tractors are produced.  I seem to remember a river close to that plant.  But the town?  Alas I remember it not.

          I'm sure that it's a nice town, but most likely we didn't stay there or spend much time there.  We probably played our show and moved on to the next town after we were done with our performance there.  In fact I'd like to visit again someday--maybe even "play" it in some capacity.

          It's not so much that I want to be mainstream with commercial success, but financially it would be advantageous to me  To be widely accepted and appreciated would be nice.  If I made it back to the Peoria stage, whether that be literally or metaphorically, I'd rather get applause than have rotten vegetables thrown at me.  My guess is that I'm not too alone in this thinking.

          We all want to be loved to some degree or at least appreciated for the fruits of our labors.  If Peoria accepts me then maybe that will mean wider acceptance everywhere.  First I have to get to Peoria even if my Peoria is not in Illinois, but in my own mental estimation of whatever platform I used to deliver my goods. 

           If I can make it in "Peoria" then I am emboldened to keep on moving on to the next level. 

      What is your standard of success?   How would you most like to be remembered?   Have you ever been to Peoria?


Friday, April 17, 2020

Orders To Be Pulled ( #AtoZChallenge )

One of my primary considerations in making any important decision is order of importance--priority. My long range future does not have the extent of range now like it did in my younger days...

Orders To Be Pulled

      Out in my garage where many remnants of my past reside, is a letter tray that came from the now closed business that I used to manage in what now is many years ago.  Back in those working days, during the night as I slept, customer orders would print so that when I would arrive at work early in the morning before my employees arrived I would organize those orders in various ways to facilitate the pulling process to get all of them out the door before the end of that day.

       Orders would be arranged according to how quickly they needed to be shipped.  Our goal was to ship everything same day, but it was imperative to have all of the priority shipping packages ready before anything else.  Also I might cluster small orders so that a picker could pull several orders that were in the same section of the warehouse.  The bottom line was that I wanted to streamline every part of the customer order fulfillment process so that they would receive their product as expected and we would do an efficient job in doing so.

     This process can be applied to my life as well.  Prioritizing and making my daily life more efficient.  The things-to-do list that so many efficiency experts recommend is a practical solution for getting things done.  I still don't do this--not usually--but it would likely be a good thing for me to do.

      I've got plenty of open orders in my life that need to be addressed or that I'd like to take care of one day.  Looking at that "orders to be pulled" letter tray in my garage every day should be an inspiration to me, yet it is a topic of contemplation.  That's me to a tee.  Sometimes it's easier to think than it is to do.

        Open orders in my life are waiting to be addressed by me.  Maybe I should apply my work principles to my life to get those orders out the door.  

         What methods do you use to prioritize your life chores and dreams?   How many of your life duties do you delegate to others in order to allow you to be more efficient?   When you have too much to do how do you decide what things can be left on hold or just let go?


Thursday, April 16, 2020

New, Old, and Everything Else ( #AtoZChallenge )

New things are nice, old things can be quite comfortable, and everything else is what life and the world is all about...

           New, Old, and Everything Else

     Now and then I might buy myself something new, rarely in a spirit of frivolity, but because it was something that I needed.  My most recent purchase other than daily necessities (food mostly) was a couple of belts.  One of my old belts had snapped after years of buckling and another was well worn on its way to its own demise.  New belts were needed since my pants all seem to be getting looser.  Which brings me to the question of should I gain back more weight to accommodate all my old pants or buy new ones. 

       If I can keep losing weight then that would be a good thing.  Currently I'm about twenty pounds from my college weight of about 180 and reaching that would likely mean a new wardrobe of pants.  Fortunately I still have hanging in my closets some smaller waist pants from days past or that had belonged to my late brother.   Come to think of it I have a lot of clothes in my closets.  Sure they've been hanging there a long time, but they are in good condition. 

       As the years pass I keep thinking about all the stuff I need to wear out or just get rid of.  Sometimes I am drawn to the idea of getting new things, but then I talk myself out of getting something I really don't need--not yet at least.  But when I do decide to get what I want, will it be there? 

        My problem with getting sparkling shiny new things is that they usually get quickly out-dated or I find something even better later.  That is the point when I reflect the necessity of most of the life extras that I purchase.  Throughout our home there are books, CD's, DVD's, and many other media forms.  I've got plenty and rarely use most of it.  But it's not just me or my household.  It's undoubtedly people you know and also probably you as well.

         Most of us probably get new things when the fancy strikes us.  We keep old things longer than they continue to seem useful to us.  We might even buy old things just because they seem new to us until we have had them long enough that they seem old again.  And there is everything else--those things we keep for sentiment sake or just in case we need it someday.

        Sometimes I want everything while other times I wish it were all gone.  I sometimes dream of living in a bigger house with more places for my things of life--of my life.  Or I dream of a smaller abode with low maintenance and not enough room to keep more than what I need. Or just become a wayward wanderer with nothing but the clothes on my back.

         Nah, I'm getting too old for that.  Besides, when I stop to think, I realize that maybe sometimes I think too much.  My personal surroundings are probably just a reflection of what's in my head.  If my brain were a house it would probably be just like the house I live in filled with things new, old, and everything else.

        What have you been trying to get rid of?  Are you an impulse buyer?   Is there some particularly cool item that you purchased long ago but still enjoy?

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Memphis Train ( #BOTB #AtoZChallenge )

Middle of the month means we're halfway to the end of A to Z and time for another round of Battle of the Bands.   Hop on board the music train and have some musical fun...

#AtoZChallenge 2020 Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter M

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 each month on the 15th and on some there is also a Battle on the 1st of the month.  My blog is one of those with a second Battle excepting over these summer months.   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.

Buddy Miles   "Memphis Train"   (1970)

     Buddy Miles had a long music career playing with many legendary musicians such as Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana to name a couple.  He also released a number of solo albums.  His version of "Memphis Train" is very similar to the original by Rufus Thomas (click on the link to hear that original but please don't vote on it).  Check out Buddy Miles...

Zoo   "Memphis Train"  (1969)

        I discovered this rather obscure French jazz rock group in the early seventies when I found their album in a cut-out bin.  I still have the album in fact.  Their version of this song is more in the vein of psychedelic jazz rock reminiscent of Blood Sweat and Tears.  See how you do with this version...

Time to Vote!

         How about hopping on the music train!   Which song version do you prefer?   Hopefully you have an opinion of some kind.  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

 ‘Storms and Stardust’ 


'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 

Cherdo on the Flipside 

A I Love Music

Winner of this Battle Announced on Wednesday April 22

          Blogging the alphabet everyday continues on so I hope you'll drop in now and then for that, but by all means be sure to come back next Wednesday to see who came out on top in this Battle.  


Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Look at Tomorrow ( #AtoZChallenge )

Looking at yesterday I'm thankful for places I've been and people I have known, but as I look at today I feel a bit stalled though still having hope as I look at tomorrow...

     Look At Tomorrow

         Life could always be worse and fortunately for me I don't think it ever has been for me.  After all I'm still here so I guess that counts for something.  Writing a memoir is something I work on continually whether it be actually writing or just thinking about my life.  That life has been a good one as far as I'm concerned.

         Still I'm not going to be content to just relax from now on while resting on my laurels.  Life is nowhere near the end for me as far as I'm concerned.  My days on this Earth could end anytime, but this has always been the case.  No point on dwelling on an end of things as I know them.  Life goes on for me for many more years I hope. 

          Looking at tomorrow I see dreams fulfilled and new adventures discovered.  I might be slowed down as years pass, but that slowing down allows me to savor the journey if I wish.  There are still new places to visit and people to meet.  There are music, books, and art yet for me to discover.  Grandchildren to watch grow and my own children to see flourish in their own lives.

           Life is worth living so I want to take advantage of as much as I can.   In some hopefully distant tomorrow I'll have plenty of time to be dead.  For now though, I'm continuing to look toward tomorrow and smile at the riches it sends my way...

          Are you generally optimistic about the future?   Is your life better now than it was when you were a younger adult?    What big things do you still want to accomplish in your life?

Monday, April 13, 2020

Keeping My Pace ( #AtoZChallenge )

My life's like a race,
But I'm keeping my pace
So I don't grow weary.
Oh!  The crowd is cheering!

Keeping My Pace

           If running in a pack I can never keep up.  That's partly why I disliked phys ed when I was in school.  Whenever we had to run en masse marathon style I could never keep up, eventually falling behind into a walk or maybe sitting down for a spell.  I didn't realize until I was nearly fifty years old that I had gone through my life with a congenital heart defect which explained my inability to endure extended physical activity. 

         Over the years I would occasionally get seriously winded in a way that seemed like a cardiac event of some sort, but then after taking a rest I'd be recovered.  The times this would happen were when I was doing somewhat strenuous hiking or extreme physical labor.  Eventually I learned to know my limits and pace myself.

           Keeping my personal pace has always been important to me and as I grow older the importance becomes ever greater.  If I ever do any more hiking it will not involve overly precarious situations like scrambling up rocky mountainsides.  I used to do such things keeping my comfortable pace, but now I'd be afraid of falling.  Not that I fall that much, but the agility of younger days seems to be less apparent to my body.  My mind wants to do things, but my body knows better.

            In my future I can still imagine great things that I could do in those coming years.  Succumbing to some idea like getting old--and I mean doddering scarily old--is not in my plans.  Maybe I'm not so nimble as I once was, but in reality I was never all that nimble anyway.  Like when I went to take tap-dancing lessons when I was twenty-five.  The dance teacher kind of indicated that maybe dance wasn't my forte. 

            In some ways I've always been a bit of a klutz in a physical sense.  But I've also always gotten by in life and in most cases gotten by just fine.  And thus I will continue.  My next prize awaits me all aglow in the future.  I'm heading that way and keeping my pace.

         Do you stress yourself out trying to get things done?   What is the biggest thing that hinders you from achieving your goals?    How do you manage the pace of your life?


Saturday, April 11, 2020

Just Juggle ( #AtoZChallenge )

Sometimes I just juggle, not for practice to become better, but to momentarily take my mind off something or just to see if I can still do it.   I can...

Just Juggle

       Just a few years ago or so I put some juggling balls in my living room.  They remain there tucked among stacks of CD's and DVD's on a media shelf.  I figured they were better stored there than out in a plastic tub in the garage along with some of my other juggling gear.  At least if they were close at hand I'd be more apt to juggle now and then.

        Every now and then I'll pick them up to toss them around.  Juggling can have a therapeutic value of sorts, helping with concentration and focus or just allowing for a rhythmic lull akin to the beating of my heart.  And I suppose juggling might be good for the heart since it is a form of exercise.

         Then once again comes the metaphor--juggling as life.  We're always juggling elements of life.  Work, friends, family, country, God... 

          So much going on with us as we can juggle in so many patterns and variations.  At times it might seem a wonder that we can keep so many things going when we look back on that metaphorical juggling act somewhere in our past.  Other times we might drop everything, left in a scramble to pick it all back up.

        Maybe having been a juggler in a theatrically professional sense might have some bearing on my ability to have dealt with a lot of balls flying in the air of my life.  I get less flustered by the unexpected things that come my way as I get older.  Or maybe it's all just a matter of age and experience.  Others I have known had a lot worse things happen in their lives than I have and managed to get back on their feet.  Others didn't.

         It might just be that all of those who make it are all pretty good at metaphorical juggling.  And maybe a good many of those survivors happen to be able to actually juggle three balls.  For those of us who can, I say, "Just juggle". 

         What have we got to lose if we don't?   Maybe everything.

         Do you find yourself in an overwhelming juggling act in your life?  Can you actually juggle multiple objects?   What activity do you like to do when you need to calm yourself or get focused?

Friday, April 10, 2020

Imaginary Road Trip ( #AtoZChallenge )

  I stare at a map tracing my finger along the road--a road which I have traveled before. Now, that journey is in my mind, in the depths of imagination and memory.  In my dreams I travel roads of my memory; in my memory I dream of my travels.

Imaginary Road Trip

           Imaginary road trips make for some of the most economical of traveling experiences.  You don't have to worry about gas or wear and tear on a vehicle.  You never have to leave the comfort of your own home.  It's a lazy way to travel.  You don't get the same impact either.  But when it's what you have at the moment and enjoy putting your mind to work then imagination can take you wherever you want to go.

         Not only where but when as well.  The mind is the only real time travel device that I know of.  Slip inside and you can relive travels of your past.  Look at the map.  Do you remember that place?  Or that place?

        The road has been my addiction.  If I'm not on it, rolling down some expanse of roadway, I start to feel that lure--that attraction that draws me to travel.  Or to dream of travel.  Or to escape on an imaginary road trip.

        I'm not sure where that road might be going in the more immediate sense.  But I'm in this life for the long run.  Or at least the longest run that this life will let me have.

       In the meantime, it's up to me to make the most of the journey. 

        Do you ever take an imaginary road trip?  What stirs your thoughts to dreams of travel?   Do you keep photo albums or scrapbooks of past travel experiences?   

Thursday, April 9, 2020

High Roads ( #AtoZChallenge )

         High roads are pretty great  until you lose yourself in a sudden curve to tumble down the mountainside and pray that you'll survive.  Falling from grace is bound to happen now and then in ones life journey...

       Heck, say anything about roads and you've gotten my attention.  My dreams are often dreams about roads.  Thinking about roads can make me smile.   Those thoughts can send me into a reverie.

         But really it's mostly metaphorical, that is my perception of a concept of meaning of life.  I see my life as this continuing journey. Sure it might seem like a cliche, but it's what makes the most sense.  To me at least.

        Traveling down that metaphorical road means sometime you're going to get somewhere and then continue on to the next place, on and on.  When I can travel the highest road then I am at my best.  I am grateful for the many in my life who encouraged me or lifted me in some way.  I am saddened by others.  But then my thoughts swirl back into a sense that it's all just what it is and I am where I am as are we all.

         And in my mind I see passing road signs:

Hope can elevate the spirit.
  Help can raise morale.
  Hate can destroy everything...

        Then the journey continues on to my next post...

         Are you the kind of traveler who likes to take time to see the scenery?    Or do you just want to get to your destination quickly?    What trope might you use to describe your life story?

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Get Going ( #AtoZChallenge & #BOTB Results )

Great things can happen when we set our minds to the mission at hand and get going!  Bad things can happen as well, but who the heck sets out for that to happen.  We only fail if we have not tried and if we don't try we can never win...

Get Going

       Getting the momentum when you've gotten a good start is a matter of physics even when it's a metaphorical movement.  Starting can be difficult when motivation is not strong or we are overcome with the perceived obstacles that we think lie ahead.  Obstacles be damned!  If we're going to get anything done then we have to just jump in and do what needs to be done.

         I'm not advocating reckless behavior or making not well-thought out decisions, but once the pros and cons and the things that might stand in the way of success have been calculated and weighed out then we should take steps to move forward.  The first plan of any action is to get going.

         It's true that I've been a dreamer all my life, but often I've been a dreamer with no action or drive to accomplish what I've dreamed.  I probably need a good swift kick sometimes while at other times I just need the support that will help me reach my destination.

           Gotta get going!  You, me, and all of us.  Without a move we ain't going nowhere.

  Battle of the Band Results

          Though not an absolute disaster this Battle outcome was very lopsided with the majority in agreement with me that The Ramones are not the best rock and roll band around.  I'd probably never buy one of their albums and like most of the voters in this round I preferred the cleaner less raucous sound of Ola and the Janglers.

           Thank you to all who voted.  A to Z always gives my contests a boost in votes--especially when the Battle falls on the same day as opening day of A to Z plus another posting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group.  Perfect blogging storms can have a fruitful outcome.

Final Vote Tally

The Ramones                      6

Ola and the Janglers         18

Next Battle on Wednesday April 15th!

        Until then there are posts every day (except Sundays).  Stay with me for more A to Z posts.  I'm trying to keep them short for the most part both for your reading comfort and to accommodate my own laziness.  Now time to rest a while.

  What typically motivates you to act on a dream?   Do you think failure is mainly a result of faulty planning or adverse circumstances or something else?    Where would you like to go in the year to come?

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Future Is Now ( #AtoZChallenge )

Future is a destination.  It's a destination that once we've reached it, it's gone.  But then there is the future that lies after that, and after that, always coming toward us to only pass us by continually...

Future Is Now

       From now on my past is behind me, not to be forgotten, but to be celebrated when the time to do so is proper.  The future has always held a draw for me.  Maybe it's something to do with a will to survive.  I'm always interested to know what lies around the next corner, what I will find in the next mile.  The future calls to me.

       I'm listening...

       How big are your plans for the future?  Does your future seem bleak?    What is a big thing you expect or hope to find around some future corner? 

Monday, April 6, 2020

Eastward Focus ( #AtoZChallenge )

California seemed like a good idea to me once many years ago, but now my focus is again on the eastern United States.  I guess it's a matter of roots...

Eastward Focus

       Eventually I'd like to move back east.  Since I'm married it has to be either a mutual decision or a matter of me just going on my own.  The latter doesn't seem to be a particularly good idea since I do love my wife and her happiness is maybe more important than my own.

       I tend to find a contentment wherever I am.  This might be a matter of a transient state during childhood--we moved a few times from one extreme to another so that I've learned to adapt.  And there are a number of aspects in Los Angeles that appeal to me.

        Maybe I should have stated at the outset that I currently live in the Los Angeles area--have lived here for 29 years now.   Moving here was a choice that I made in what almost seems like another life.  At the time it seemed like the best thing that I could do, but years have passed and my situations have changed.  In this stage of my life now, living in a state like Virginia or Tennessee seems like a nice place to settle in for retirement.

         Nearly always, my thoughts, my focus is in the eastern part of the United States.  All of my kids are in New Jersey or Virginia.  Living back there would make it much easier to see them, my grandchildren, and other family and friends.  So I dream of being there, perhaps living in a house on a nice parcel of land, away from the bustle of the urban area like that in which I currently dwell. At my age I don't need a lot of things to do or places to shop.  Small town life would suit me just fine, but I don't know if my wife would like it.  Besides, she's got family here in California so that is her main draw.

        So here I am, not in so much of a dilemma, but in a state of longing for a dream that perhaps could be mine.  Maybe, one day, or maybe not.  The scales are balanced as far as weighing out benefits of either outcome.  I'll be okay here in L.A. as long as things remain pretty much as they have been in recent years. 

          Of course, nothing ever really stays the same.  Nor should it.  For now I'll deal with it.  I'll let tomorrow be a surprise.  Hopefully a pleasant one.

           Is there somewhere other than where you are now that you'd like to settle?   Do you prefer a city or a rural life?    For you, is the grass usually greener on the other side?



Saturday, April 4, 2020

Destination Somewhere ( #AtoZChallenge )

Don't know exactly where I'm going, but the destination is really a cumulative collection of destinations with each one leading to another...

Destination Somewhere

        When I started formulating my A to Z theme I tossed out something about future goals or maybe where I am now as opposed to where I want to be someday.   Sounds a bit pretentious perhaps for someone on the cusp of seventy years old.   Really?  Seventy?   That's a destination in itself, but I don't want to be stopping there.  If I had stopped anywhere in time maybe it would have been when I was thirty--or maybe ten.

         But it's not in my purview regarding this theme of future or goals or destinations.   My past is always with me somehow, but the future becomes questionable, even complicated.  How can we say what we are going to definitely do tomorrow let alone next year or ten years from now?   Most of us know that saying about the journey being better than getting to wherever you're going.  Or at least something to that effect.  That journey is the main thing.

          "Quo Vadis?" or "Where are you going?" is the famous question that Peter asked Jesus according to Christian tradition.  Likewise it is the question that I have often asked myself and continue to do so.   It's a logical question for any of us to ask ourselves whether it be in a practical short term sense or the more esoteric future sense.

           I am not afraid or concerned about my journey to come.   After all it's the similar travel decision that we all face even though it might entail never leaving home.  We are all going somewhere.  Where are you heading my dear reader?

          How much do you plan out your future with the absolute expectation that the outcome will be as you envisioned?   When have your past plans been sidetracked?   Where do you hope to find yourself in ten years?