In and out of the fog

I’m not even sure of the context anymore, but a group of us were standing when my boss said something along the lines of wondering during my first six months of the job if I had any nerves because I was so calm.

Those six months had long passed, and I’m pretty sure it was a compliment — that I kept my cool even while moving to a different office after a promotion and having to learn everything that went along with it.

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Time to face the music

Wow … that was bad.

I knew being defending champion of The Captain’s Quiz was tough, but going from first to last … that’s … suboptimal.

Well, I’m told a few people want to talk to me, so I’ll put a smile on my face and try to get this over with. At least Suzi will be there.

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The change is coming

During the summer, the grass on my lawn got almost ankle-high.

It wasn’t exactly laziness — OK, maybe a little laziness — but more that when it wasn’t raining, it was hot for weeks on end and I didn’t want to mow early in the morning when it was cool because I worried about disturbing my neighbors.

Eventually, I did it after my neighbors across the street had a wedding at their house and I was worried the guests would think we were the neighborhood slobs.

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The Captain’s Quiz 4: Under Your Bed

Have you ever looked at a group of people and realized that all of them want something you have?

Because that’s what I’m doing right now, and what they want is the crown I’m carrying … a crown I won during Paul’s last Captain’s Quiz.

And now that Paul has called us back for another round, they all want to take their shots at me.

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Time to get moving

Oh, hello, maker of loud noises to make me get out of bed.

I remember you.

A friend recently told me a story about hitting snooze on her alarm multiple times and then dilly-dallying so long that she was late for something. I asked her, if she was going to sleep longer, why she didn’t just set her alarm a half-hour later.

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The week gone by — Oct. 24

I had an epiphany at the same time I usually have them — as I was starting to wake up in the morning.

I won’t go into details for reasons that will be obvious by the time you get to the end of this sentence, but for the past two months, I’ve been working in an after-school program.

Friday was my last day before I start my new job, and the epiphany had to do with the interactions and behaviors I’ve seen during that time.

There were probably all sorts of other factors involved that I’ll never know about, but it started to feel like so much of what the students were doing was about trying to find their place, to see where they fit.

But it wasn’t just the students trying to figure it out.

It was me.

Where was my place? How did I relate? What helped me in relation to everyone else, and what hurt?

I think I figured out some of it, but not all of it, and it felt like I was making my biggest gains just as I was leaving.

The good news, is that the last week went fine — minus me getting almost violently angry at an adult who wasn’t even part of the program — but I still had some unexpected angst before it started.

“Yesterday, I felt a little out of sorts all day until ‘Succession’ came on, but that wasn’t until 9 p.m.

Could it possibly have been the Sunday dread, with the standard worrying about a new job as the cherry on top … a full week early?”

Tomorrow, I start the new job, although it’s going to be a mix or working and training. It’s a management position and has a title to go along with it, and I have some fledgling ideas, but I’ll still have to find my place.

To some degree, I think we all have to, and it never ends.

What I wrote

During some of that last-week angst, I actually got a recommendation for something good on social media. (However, River informs us that I’m not the only one getting crazy ads.)

“Thank you, YouTube, and if you want to share any more videos of two of my favorite singers performing together, please feel free.”

Is everyone’s body conditioned to only sleep a certain amount, or is it just me?

“Between 6 and 7 1/2 hours of sleep is normally enough for me — and I get that’s a lot for some people, especially if there are babies in the house — but on the rare occasions I try to sleep longer, I can’t.”

I remember the first time my phone went black for seemingly no reason. I may have been slightly concerned.

“Panic Brain said, ‘WHAT IF THE PHONE IS DEAD? HOW WILL I GET TEXTS WITH CAR EMOJIS (because I hate emojis, and my wife sends them to goof on me)? WHAT IF SOMEONE WANTS TO CALL ME? (My parents are about the only ones who do, on Sunday nights.) HOW DO I FOLLOW TWITTER? (Really, that’s what you’re worried about?) WHAT IF I HAVE TO BUY A NEW PHONE? (Ummm … get a new one. Fortunately, I could afford it if I had to.)’”

We got vaccinated to keep ourselves safe, and to help keep others safe, but that wasn’t the only reason.

“Because of the vaccine, we saw ‘No Time To Die’ in the theater.

We went to the basketball game.

I went to ballgames, including one with my brother at the new ballpark in Worcester.”

It’s right before Halloween, so let’s celebrate with … Christmas movies?

“Yes, yes … we’re still in the middle of Decorative Gourd Season, but we’ll put that aside for now.”

What Suzi wrote

Yes, my better half has also put some writing into the world, but hers is in a book!

Coincidentally, the writer of a piece that appeared a few days later could have used the perspective of someone who literally wrote (a chapter in) the book on this very topic.

Here … have some kittens

Awwww …

We have been watching this video way too much.

Of course, the kittens wouldn’t line up properly, because as Emily reminds us, they’re not much for doing what we want them to.

“It’s his third day with me, and I’ve seen him only twice. He was lurking under a chair; he was strolling past me, long past midnight at the computer.

He seems to have eaten once.”

Stuff I read

Savannah had COVID. Fortunately, she was vaccinated, is feeling better and recently tested negative. But it still beat her up physically and mentally.

“First things first, I was embarrassed. I don’t think I can adequately express exactly how defeated I felt to have gotten COVID. This late in the game? When fully vaccinated? As a person who very rarely leaves their house (outside of softball season, of course)? I had an endless pit in my stomach, sad and frustrated and confused and worried. But mostly, embarrassed for not being more careful, for going to a softball game when I wasn’t aware I was exposed, for being overconfident, for becoming complacent too soon.

After that initial embarrassment and in the earlier days, I took care of myself without asking for any kind of help. If I needed meds, I went to find them myself. If I was feeling sad, I kept it to myself, really isolating and retreating into a mix of complicated feelings. I felt a little alone in this, and like it was an uphill battle I was facing on my own. It was hard and scary.”

Like most relationships, Giggles’ relationship with her faith has had its ups and downs.

“I feel like I’ve been making a lot of life choices based around how I think they will be seen within the Christian community that I have grown up in, but sometimes those choices don’t really line up with who I feel like I am as a person, and then I feel like I’m a bad Christian because I’m not following the rules set out for women that were written in a time where women were often sold and traded. Or even rules that line up with basic Christian teachings of love and grace.”

Becky went to her first hockey game.

“It had been 587 days since the last Thunderbirds game as the team opted out of the 2020-21 season due to COVID. I think that added to the excitement of opening night, and I definitely felt that in the arena. I was even getting excited about it, and I don’t know half of the rules of the game. I think that’s something special about sports: it can bring people together and make you feel like you’re a part of something bigger than yourself.”

Claudia made a new friend at a Paul McCartney concert.

“Fast forward to 11 years later, and Dude (and his now wife) are my friends. We DID keep in touch and get together with our families every now and then, forever bonded over that incredible night.

By the way, I still call him ‘Dude.’”

A leaf landed on Bruce’s window sill. So he took a picture of it.

“My balcony faces a heavily wooded area, so the views are nil, and it’s not until late afternoon when the sun’s rays creep into view. When fall shows up, however, I have a kaleidoscope of colors to enjoy. I pull up a chair and enjoy my coffee with a beautiful landscape.”

Renata has been feeling an o-word lately … and by that I mean “optimism.”

“For the past several months, Dan’s work schedule has been varied. He has Fridays completely off and only works on-site for half of the day most days of the week. Even though he’s home a lot of the time, I still didn’t see him much while working full time. Now that I don’t have a job, I get to spend more time with him! In fact, I’ve decided to take Fridays off from the job hunt so I can spend 3-day weekends with him. Last Friday, we went apple picking, and it was so lovely!”

When he’s not telling tales both real and fictitious about life in Maine, Austin writes for a local TV show. His work won an award.

“Being a writer is often quite the challenge, but that only makes the rewards that much more enjoyable.

Never give up on your dream, Modern Philosophers. You never know when there might be a knock on your door that confirms that continuing the chase was well worth it!”

To Jeff, mid-70s in October is not “crisp.” In Louisiana, where he lives, it is.

“Weather conditions appear absolute when charted for history, but our perceptions are conditioned by experience. I reacted yesterday with the certainty rooted in dozens of northern autumns. My experience didn’t fit the place.

We humans do that, don’t we? Conditioned by our experiences among people like us, we expect others to think like us. To act as we would. And to believe with us.”

According to Pepper, Yellowstone National Park is the largest active supervolcano in North America … which has its pluses and minuses.

“The good news is, it probably won’t erupt again during our lifetimes, and when it does erupt, it will reverse global warming. The bad news is, when it does erupt again, all life as we know it on North America will be destroyed. Geez.”

Graham is impressed with his class.

“It was just their approach that struck me; their diligence and their keenness, dare I say it for fear of cursing myself and finding that we come back after half term and they’ve turned into monsters, a real desire for knowledge.”

Lindsay’s daughter is a teenager, with all that goes along with it.

“She doesn’t think I’m funny anymore. We now have irritating eye rolling instead of infectious giggling. I’m embarrassing more than amusing. If she does laugh, it’s at me, not with me. …

… She still comes into my room every evening to tell me she she loves me to the moon. Invariably I’m asleep before her nowadays, but she will insist on waking me up so I can reply ‘and back.’”

Christina is grateful for her sons.

“When I question myself or feel guilty for some of my decisions, all I need to do is look at my boys and I am immediately reminded of the wonderful men they have become and are becoming. And that is what brings a smile to my face. My boys are what makes me smile.”

Pea Green shares her answer to a question about three good things that came out of lockdown.

All the hard things we’ve gone through have given us other opportunities too. No rushing around to swimming and rugby? Well, we discovered new local treasures to visit.

No trips to attractions 20 miles away? Well, we savoured our local woods as the seasons changes and enjoyed watching the spring and summer blossom with weekly arrivals of leaves and flowers.

No summer holiday to France? Well, a wonderful two weeks with our parents making up for missed visits.”

Vee … had some questions.

“Do you ever stop and think? Do you ever stop thinking? Do you ever speak before you think? Do you prefer to think before you speak? Do you ever prefer to not speak at all? Do you ever stop to notice the body language you present? Do you ever realize just how much of a role body language plays in communication, and then, following that thought down a rabbit hole, continue with thinking about how blind people always seem to be a better judge of character than people with sight?”

Fran thinks her guide to traveling in Amsterdam is useless, but she piqued my interest in bitterballen.

“I had no idea what Bitterballen were when I ordered them, but according to Wikipedia they are made by making a very thick stew thickened with roux and beef stock and generously loaded with meat, refrigerating the stew until it firms, and then rolling the thick mixture into balls which then get breaded and fried. They usually come with a mustard sauce. Eight was a challenge.”

Meet Safida, Rosie’s new dog.

“She came from Afghanistan back in April and is a nervous wreck around humans. Her behavior actually reminded us of Kaya when we first got her. Kaya wouldn’t go into certain rooms, downstairs, or cuddle us. Safida is worse than that in the sense that everything makes her jump, but better in the sense that she LOVES dogs.”

Rick is starting to get annoyed by corporate life.

“The polished corporate speak that sounds more like a robot than a human. The people who ask questions they already know the answers to just to gain, ‘visibility,’ with those who will determine their future. And I can’t forget the dozens of twenty-somethings who descend upon our company and join the leadership program. While a smart, driven, and diverse group of people, they all look the same to me.”

When Thomas’ mother wanted to give him momentos of his school days, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to keep them.

“I don’t really need any of that stuff. I’m not hanging onto anything, as if I’m going to reminisce about the good old days at school and want to make friends again with all the people in the picture. I mean, they all went their ways and I went mine. Some of them live locally to me and I see them every now and then, whereas I’m sure some have travelled the world or hey, some might not even be with us anymore.

But also, as much as I don’t need it, I think it can act as a positive reinforcement method too. For example, I have been really considering whether I want to ditch blogging as a hobby, but then I saw a message from my year 6 teacher in one of my reports who said she knew I had a talent for writing and to ‘keep it up.’”

There was an armed robbery in Ally’s neighborhood. In an unrelated story, our local police log had an item about a call concerning a turtle in the road.

The turtle was gone by the time police arrived.

Think about that for a moment.

“The police haven’t found his car and the men who stole it. As of today this remains an open case. My guess is it’ll never be solved, but will become part of the folklore of this large subdivision of 800+ homes.”

Jen remembers checking in on her little sister’s first day of kindergarten.

“I saw her sitting across from another kid playing a puzzle together with her teacher close by. In that moment, I remember feeling relieved, smiling to myself, and then skipping off to class. I didn’t know what empathy was then, but I know that was the first time I remember feeling what I now know is the emotion of empathy.”

Bex was scheduled to have her wisdom teeth removed, and there wasn’t much chance of anyone calming her nerves.

“There really is nothing that can be said to make me feel any less anxious about this surgery. I’ve come to terms with the medical necessity of having them removed and my will to power through is the only thing driving me forward at this point.”

Tweets I liked

If you don’t bring outfits for every possible eventuality, is it really packing?

She does have a way with sunrises and sunsets!

It’s time … it’s time … it’s Christmas time?

Do you enjoy spending the early morning hours with “Golden Girls,” “Frasier” and “Reba”?

If so, you’ll have to get your insomnia-induced fix somewhere else, because IT’S COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS SEASON ON HALLMARK CHANNEL MFERS!!!!

Yes, yes … we’re still in the middle of Decorative Gourd Season, but we’ll put that aside for now.

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Because of the vaccine

I finally saw “No Time To Die.”

Suzi and I went to the local theater with the plush, reclining seats, and since it was a matinee — we arrived just as the previews were starting — I enjoyed a pizza for lunch before the movie began.

I’m a huge fan of James Bond movies, and I enjoyed this one. Without spoiling the ending, I will say that it left me curious about what direction the franchise will take when the next movie comes out in another couple years or so.

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