Hibernation

Peaceful Eden_0052b
Sunday, the 22nd, Eden Park, Cincinnati. The road in was closed, so I hiked. About a foot of snow in spots.

Once again, I skipped a week. I didn’t intend to, it sort of just happened. I blame it on the time of year. Winter was ever my least favorite. The sledding is great, burying yourself in every blanket you own is nice and snuggly, and who doesn’t love a good mug of hot chocolate, but it’s still dark, it’s still cold, and everything is still dead or asleep. February is the longest month, although it’s over now. Soon, the clocks will be moved ahead an hour – one of my least-favorite days of the year – and green things will grow, bursting forth in the days that grow longer and longer, until a late April frost kills off some of them. Our winter wasn’t that bad, all things considered, until the past month or so. There were a few cold days, yes, but nothing serious. In the past two weeks, 22 Fahrenheit (aboot* -6 C for my Canadian friends) was balmy. It has been warmer in Alaska. Not happy about that. The snow was an added bonus. Last week, we got snowed on a few times. Nothing like they got in Boston; the city didn’t shut down, it just paused for a little bit. It happened three separate times, though, and it never got warm enough to melt the old stuff.

By Sunday, some areas had over a foot of accumulation. I’d shoveled on Friday evening, just so I could get to and from the house, and then it snowed pretty heavily Saturday. When I looked outside, I could see the indentation where the path I’d shoveled used to be. That kinda sucked. Sunday morning, I had somewhere to be. It had warmed up some, the sun popped out for a bit, so the top layer melted. Not much, just enough to refreeze and become a crunchy crust of snow, about an inch or so thick. With all the climbing over drifts and sinking into soft pockets of untouched snow, my right knee was bugging me, and it was supposed to rain and freeze, so I shoveled again, that I might have a clear path to my car. After breakfast, I went out to clean off my car and maneuvered it† out of my parking spot and onto the unplowed asphalt. I had to stop on the way and clean it again because there was still a mound of about, oh, 4 inches in the middle of my hood that I couldn’t quite reach. My extendable scraper finally crapped out after a decade or more of service. I managed, though, and further managed to get off the side street onto a main road that had been mostly cleared. It took a bit of skill, but by that point, I’d already had to deal with that a few times before earlier that week.

Exciting, right? Everyone wants to know all about the shoveling. I have a point, though. See, all that shoveling, and the extended effort cleaning off my car, that hurt me. It wasn’t really obvious until the next morning. I’d overdone it. My muscles were a little sore, but hardly crippling. My kidneys, on the other hand, were making me sick. I went to work Monday, tired, in a bit of pain, but getting on with it. I had things to do. By lunchtime, though, I was not in good shape. Got down to just over 2-and-a-half hours left in my regular shift, and I couldn’t. Dizzy, nauseous, hurting, I had to leave. If I hadn’t had such a short drive home, I think I would have left earlier, just so I could be sure I’d make it home. Considering how much effort it took to shovel and clean off my car, I was afraid that would happen, but there’s no one else here, and I had somewhere to be. I didn’t have time to wait for the kindness of someone else. Leaving the house on Monday had made it worse; by Tuesday morning, I was fine as long as I didn’t move. Just pain, thankfully, and it has faded significantly, enough that I was able to go back to work on Wednesday. I daresay when I left Monday, no one really had any idea anything was wrong. I tend to keep myself to myself. I don’t often make my private self public, just because no one’s particularly interested. No point saying something if no one is going to listen◊, is there? Felt miserable, but only if you knew me did I look it; someone passing on the street would have had no idea how much pain I was in. Just a reminder to be kind to others; you don’t always know what they’re dealing with. Not a doormat, kind. There IS a difference.

Eden Next_0168a
This. This is what I’m waiting for.

Anyway, it’s winter. My period of hibernation is almost ended. For the past few months, I have forced myself to leave the house – for work, to do laundry, to buy food/groceries, to go to church/choir rehearsal, and even a bit of gaming. Been about 20 years since I’ve done that with other people IRL; actually, also close to that since I MUD’d regularly, which got kind of ugly. February is finally over, spring is coming. A month before baseball’s season begins, a month before the magnolia’s bloom, two months before my birthday, heat and humidity rising, leaves erupting from dormant branches, flowers pushing through bare soil, birds nesting in trees, often giving any unfortunate car below a new paint job, and all the allergies that come with the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees…that’s a song. It’s before my time, but not before my parents’. It’s coming, spring is. It’s a time of possibility, hope, optimism, growth, discovering the new, building on or discarding the old – in case it wasn’t obvious, spring is my favorite time of year.

Well. Not to bring things down, but we lost a nerd icon yesterday – or at least, we heard about it yesterday. Leonard Nimoy. His final tweet – of course I followed him – has been retweeted about a quarter-of-a-million times as of this writing. Twitter was full of tributes from Trekkies in all walks of life – actors, astronauts, people on the street and the POTUS. The most touching, unsurprisingly, came from those with whom he worked, even briefly – Uncle George (Takei), William Shatner, Zachary Quinto, Patrick Stewart.

Tina Gill, photographer. I tried to find a site for her to link to.
Tina Gill, PR photographer.

Yes, he did at one point hate his role as Mr. Spock; like Robert Reed (The Brady Bunch), another talented actor with great range, he wound up typecast and had a lot to overcome, reminding people that his name was not Spock. He did embrace it eventually, though. Perhaps once he understood just how important that role was to millions of people in multiple generations, it swayed him a bit.

Star Trek influenced NASA. That’s not an overstatement, it did, and they’re proud to admit it. Who wouldn’t be? Another whose influence in my own life I underestimated, he left the world a better place than he found it. Thanks, Dad, Mom, for the love of Star Trek. Oh, I still prefer Star Wars, but I’d be a fool to not recognize the impact, understand the world Gene Roddenberry told us we could be, if we but made the effort.

One to beam up, Mr. Scott.

“Of my friend, I can only say this – of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most human…”

Dif tor heh smusma. Live long, and prosper.

_________________________

*Sorry. I couldn’t help myself. I tried to avoid it. For a good 2 or three seconds, maybe, but I did.

†Rear-wheel drive. Lightweight, high profile, tires that need to be replaced. In the 14 years I’ve had that car, both here and in Colorado, I’ve not gotten myself into a situation I couldn’t get out. Don’t get me wrong, I also didn’t seek to put myself into a situation I couldn’t get out, so there were times in Colorado where I took the vacation day. Not many, though. Less than one a year. Point is, in many cases, you don’t need 4WD – you need practice.

◊That’s INTP logic. Takes energy to participate in small talk – or conversation at all – and if no one is paying attention, then it’s energy wasted.

The Fifteenth

What, exactly, counts as sin? Is the color of my skin a sin? My genealogy? Used to be. Is coveting another’s things (including spouse) a sin? Surely we’ve all committed that one. Disrespecting our parents? Anyone who was with their parents from about 12 to 19 is guilty of that one.

Loving the wrong person? Well now…

There’s a song and a video, the song released as a single in 2013, and part of an album in 2014, recently featured on the Grammys and SNL.

The artist stated the song and video were a reaction to what he saw as the hypocrisy in the Catholic church he grew up with, in Ireland, as well as a comparison between love and death. The second concept might be a bit more difficult to see for some. The comments on the videos for this song have gotten into theological arguments, unsurprisingly. I’ve noticed a trend, condemning the extremists, conservatives, often religious, who are responsible for some of the more reprehensible acts in the name of religion. The solution, though, is not the one often proposed – Getting rid of religion will not get rid of the extremists, the ones who respond to dissent with anger, fear and violence; it will only give them a different name, and cause them to find a new rallying point. It’s also not all bad. A lot of good has been done in the name of religion. Is it required for a moral life? No, it isn’t. It can be a guide, but it’s not required. For me, personally, it is a way that a gauge my life, how I make my decisions, how I view the world. I believe in the Bible, as a book written by Man*, inspired by God. If it were the immutable word of God, then the translations would be accurate, the same, and we would all be able to understand them in the same way. There would be no questions, no concerns about comprehension; if these were the literal words of God, we would know. So I believe.

We don’t know; we are guessing. We have free will; we have the ability to think for ourselves, to reason, to conclude. We are capable of great kindness and great evil, humans. I don’t believe there is a devil causing these things. He’s a convenient scapegoat, though. To their credit, the people who believe the devil has made them behave badly recognize that they are behaving badly, that what they’ve done is wrong. Passing blame, however, is not helpful to anyone. Recognize that the being who pulled the trigger was not the Devil, but you, and don’t do it again. Atone, repent, go and sin no more.

Slight tangent, there; wouldn’t be my post if there weren’t.

As the ones in power, or with some degree of it, it’s easy to spot them, the conservative religious extremists. They’re the ones in the US, for instance, who say the country has lost its moral compass, who believe wholeheartedly they know what is best for everyone else, who say they want small government, but also want the things they don’t agree with legislated into oblivion, controlled by, well, the government. Basically, they just want the government to leave them alone and control everyone else. Strong feelings can lead to irrational behavior, and while it is not the sole province of religious extremists, they’re the ones getting the most press with it.

Worse is the issues that get all the focus are drawing attention from ones that really need addressing: There’s the fact that our government is bought and sold by corporations, that the minimum wage, which was intended to be a living wage, has not kept up with the cost of living, that most incomes, in fact, haven’t. The failing infrastructure that is underfunded, because it’s not “sexy,” the failing schools that they’re aching to privatize, the prisons they already have privatized, the environment we are destroying, and the ways that we can reduce that impact, all of these things are lost in issues that distract. Issues such as women’s health – which does include birth control and abortion (no, they’re not the same thing), and same-sex marriage, which impacts only those couples who wish to get married but can’t. Oklahoma passed a bill in their state House, recently, protecting clergy who didn’t want to marry same-sex couples. What this shows is a distinct lack of understanding how our government works. This was a completely unnecessary waste of time and tax dollars – clergy ALREADY cannot be forced to marry anyone they don’t want. If that were the case, churches would have to allow any denomination to marry, and they don’t.

There are days I’d like to just fire all the politicians and start over. Maybe rewrite the 1st amendment so that the press is required to report the actual facts, and can’t just make them up; that there is at least one incorruptible source of information about our country, our government, our cities, states, regions, rather than knowing that news organizations are not required by law to be honest, so long as they don’t commit slander or libel. Or, at least, have the first couple of lines tattooed on a few foreheads – Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof… Individual states are trying to do that, and while holding up the Constitution saying their rights are being violated, conveniently ignoring the parts they don’t like.

Another video of Take Me to Church, this one performed by a Ukrainian ballet dancer, Sergei Polunin. The bulge was a bit distracting at first – and I’ve known a lot of dancers – but you can ignore it after a while.

Valentine’s scripture:

2014-05-24 Intern Wedd_0068b Corinthians 13:1-13 (NIV)

13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Heading Home Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

_________________________

*Literal man; woman probably didn’t have much to do with it. At least, not the versions we have.

Care and Feeding

I woke up this morning and realized it had been two weeks since I last wrote. TWO WEEKS!!! That’s just unacceptable.

“Would a minute have mattered? No, probably not, although his young son appeared to have a very accurate internal clock. Possibly even 2 minutes would be okay. Three minutes, even. You could go to five minutes, perhaps. But that was just it. If you could go for five minutes, then you’d go to ten, then half an hour, a couple of hours…and not see your son all evening. So that was that. Six o’clock, prompt. Every day. Read to young Sam. No excuses. He’d promised himself that. No excuses. No excuses at all. Once you had a good excuse, you opened the door to bad excuses.” – Terry Pratchett, Thud 

A reminder of what I promised myself, and how that promise has gone by the wayside. The week of the 30th, I didn’t feel well, so I’ll let that one go; I’ve no idea why I didn’t write last weekend. The time got away from me, that much I do know. Beyond that, I’m not sure.

I’ve given this some thought while I wasn’t writing, usually at some time when I was supposed to be doing something else. Here we are in February, Black History Month in the US. I’ve written posts on famous and influential Black Americans throughout history, and how some of my own personal experiences relate. I don’t know that I plan to do that this time. My last post, oh so many days ago, already covered a very important event, the march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, and the recent movie dramatizing the events.

Personality - ShitINTPsSay 02I’m a bit tapped out, though. I have an interview on Monday for a job I really want, one that I think will not be so difficult to do. Not that it’s not challenging, but I don’t think it’ll be as mentally and emotionally exhausting for me as my current job is. Interviews terrify me. I know I can do the job, what I have trouble with is explaining to someone that I can do the job. Fortunately, one of my friends who also happens to be a manager who does interviews, offered to do a couple practice interviews, a process that usually doesn’t do much, but this time, I think it did. Still stressed about it, though.

I managed to pay some bills this morning, a bit proud of that, and I have plans to catch up on Downton Abbey and rewatch How to Get Away with Murder, to catch the bits I missed. It’s sunny outside right now, bright blue sky; I should probably plan to go out with my camera. Go where, and when, I don’t know, but I need to. I also need to find someplace I haven’t been. It’s still winter out there, although it’s been a bit mild; there are bushes outside my workplace that are already sprouting new branches.

I’d planned to go with a personality post, hence the title, but in the course of research, I’ve been reminded why I do my best to write these before 10 am. I’m hungry, I’m getting cranky (that’s right, I get hangry), and I’m cold. I need to remember a time when it was green and warm. So… green and warm it is.

11-mile Spinney 008a
11-Mile reservoir, Lake George, Colorado
Pikes Peak 080b
Real Women Don’t Need Guardrails. Pikes Peak, Colorado
Untitled
Mid-Spring Magnolia, Eden Park, Cincinnati, Ohio
Water Plus Boy
Defiant. Smale Park, Cincinnati, Ohio
08-18-2013 048a
Greet the Morning, Daytona Beach, Florida

*sigh* There, I feel much better. Until next week.