Sunday, August 21, 2016

my frozen

I listen to a lot of Sports Talk Radio.  Among the most common themes of fans is to call in and debate who the top five or ten all time players are in a given sport.  In baseball, Babe Ruth universally comes out on top.  Then there are the Willie Mays vs Mickey Mantle camps and Hank Aaron vs Ted Williams followers.

In basketball there is more debate right from the start.  Jordan or LeBron?  Wilt Chamberlain or Bill Russell?
And sometimes we look at our own lives and try to pick the best days of our lives.  Sometimes I think it’s redundant…superfluous perhaps.  You know…’my wedding day’…’the birth of my daughter/son’.

I’ve been fortunate to have some completely wonderful days.  I suppose I could go to many days and nights at the beach when young.  Many zany college moments.  My first kiss.  First time I was waved home.
And they are all up there…definitely near the top. 

More in the forefront of my mind though are some seemingly simple days.  Vying for number one is a day in high school when I used my God given speed to catch up with a ball and snare a game winning touchdown while simultaneously tip toeing both feet in bounds.

And though I think I’ve spoken about it before in this forum, seeing the joy in my daughter’s eyes when she finally completed a lap around the block as I followed behind her, without touching her bicycle seat, is a top five moment for sure.

Recently I took a week off to head down to Ocean City, Maryland with my 13-year old son.  It is a very simple destination.  It’s not Hawaii, Paris or the Amalfi Coast.
What I felt though…for me…is that it is not where I am that matters.  It’s where I am in life.

Fav bud has grown into a place that balances maturity and kid at heart almost in complete harmony.  I’m good at trying to hang there.  We played the arcades, the go karts, hydro-biked around the bay, chilled on boogie boards, watched crazy cop shows, Animal Planet and of course scored at Pok√©mon Go.  We found a great rib place, a great pizza place (with live music), cool sunglasses, tee shirts and had many laughs…especially when I was wiped out at the bottom of the tri-level ramp on the go kart track.
Obviously I am a small cog in the wheel of all these tied together lives and all the lives that swirl around me.  I can’t even comprehend holding back maybe becoming a grandfather, or seeing my daughter achieve her boldest dreams, or my son experience using his talents to the max.  And I dare not tempt the Gods that I would be capable of picking a moment in time to surrender as number one or that I know better the Rhythm of Life and Love.

Knowing all this though…and grateful that I can still wake up and push through a very humid 5 mile run…shaded by the tall oaks along the Cathedrals and large homes that surround me…I would be tempted to pick now.
As I surely cannot predict the future I don’t know if my life will get better or worse….I might be in Babe Ruth territory without knowing it though…and it’s all a very simple life…and I just thought to say…maybe.

© 2016 Christopher’s Views

Sunday, February 14, 2016

power of life or love?

When your own driveway or garage is not in the home-sweet-home deal that you shook hands on in NY, parking after midnight involves a long walk from the curb.  Last night mine was 3 blocks. 

Layers, a long coat, scarf, hat and gloves kept all but my face and ears bearably warm for the 1000 feet of pacing to my front door in 100-year-old record breaking cold temps.  I kept my head down to keep the strong winds from offering a free ride to my cap and flagging me with a 15-yard penalty.  My left hand pinched the outer lapels of my coat tightly together and my right hand, gloved and all, doubled up in the right pocket for extra warmth.

On the way I thought about the birds, the cats, the squirrels and raccoons that I knew were silently huddled up somewhere nearby, living in the elements and without radiators or hot water.  I wanted to spin and tip my cap to them, but I was too tucked in to allow for any alteration.  I steadfastly approached my foyer as if it were Nirvana.  And once inside, I voiced many words of thanks even though there was no one else there to listen.

Daybreak continued with shivering mercury and on my way to visit my mother I passed by two unique trees that have also been a marvel to me…but for months already.
I have not found it common to spot large bee nests anywhere in NY.  Yet six blocks from each other and over the same stretch of road, two large bee nests cling to limbs, survive minus 20-degree wind chills and blizzards in matter of fact, business as usual fashion, less than 2 miles from my paradise.  Beyond cap tipping, I would have to classify their designers as world class architects.

Upon my destination, the background info is that my mother is 93 and in failing physical and mental health.  She doesn’t eat much, doesn’t sleep much and doesn’t move much.  But she can still make me laugh. She has a very dry sense of comedy and pokes fun at her surroundings, circumstances and thoughts of death.  She asked me to remind her how my father died.  I told her that Dad had a golf ball size tumor right next to his carotid artery and he was 91.  Her dead pan reply was, ‘oh yeah right…I thought he was going to lick that’.
My mother obviously expects survival through hardship, where as I tend to marvel at it.

On this famous 14th day of February I wonder about the power that keeps us all moving through our hardships and toward our Promised land.

I wish I knew what it is that powers the birds, the cats, the squirrels and raccoons.  Surely that would be a power to harness.
For me, love among others and love of life are the motivators.  Hoping for some more special days.  Like days that allowed for letting go of my daughter’s bicycle seat and seeing her ride for the first time.  Or days allowing to see my son blow out his candles and appear happier and more content than I.
And power to the days when we can reach out our hand and someone else grabs it in love. 

Happy Valentine’s Day to all.
 
 
© 2016 Christopher’s Views

Saturday, January 23, 2016

blizzardry

On my way home from work late Thursday night I stopped at the local supermarket, bread and bananas were already wiped clean from the store shelves.  During my 3pm coffee stop at 7 Eleven on Friday I miraculously came across the one last Pepperidge Farm Cinnamon loaf that fav bud likes (see bottom right in fridge).  Combine that accomplishment with 3 half gallon containers of milk to ward off any throwback reminder to the powdered milk my mother served during the famous 1969 milk trucks can’t deliver through unplowed streets crisis and I feel whole.
 
At 6pm yesterday, as I was readying to leave my office, the forecast was for 12 to 18 inches of snow for much of the NYC area.  Feeding my no food left behind anxiety I made another stop to the supermarket as my distress level increases if I have to ration my fruit and cereal portions.

Around noon today as the blizzard conditions began to kick up a notch I walked the ¼ mile to Stop and Shop.  This time I had a craving for liverwurst and blueberry pie—plus I validated my trek by picking up a large jug of the calcium chloride blend of Ice Melt.  Stumbling over snow mounds on the way back caused me to cross paths with a genuine rain, snow, sleet or hail postal carrier.  I was very impressed.  He was very soggy and it made me think about how low tech it is to be delivering mail in 2016.

High tech doesn’t always mean wonderful though.  As I shook the snow off my NY Jets hat and placed my boots by the front door, the TV that I left on featured a team of meteorologists explaining all the snow bands that would now drop 30 inches of winter white across much of the area.  I love how they never talk about what their predictions were less than 24 hours ago.  Instead they contort their bodies over the radar screen and wrap hands counter clockwise over Manhattan detailing how the storm pivots back westerly to keep it from moving away and thus steadily pounds the region with precipitation. 
 
All has not been lost though.  I’ve kept myself occupied with catching up on laundry, fixing the hanging lamp I accidentally damaged a few days ago, and I completed a Swiffer tour of my place and then vacuumed. 

With all this extra time afforded by Mother Nature and the travel ban on our roads I tested my brain to see if I could remember the password to the dashboard of my once in a blue moon post upon a blog page.

Certainly there is much to reflect on: movies, books, sports, politics.

I saw The Big Short.  I enjoyed it mostly for the attempt at a quasi-documentary/drama style of presentation.  In the end though the story is pretty simple.  A small group of opportunists masquerading as prognosticators kept themselves afloat in the shark infested waters surrounding Wall Street during the run up to the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis.  The opportunists won big (Powerball type big).  Lehman Brothers filed bankruptcy.  Bear Stearns melted down into the hands of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. in whiplash time.  And the U.S. Government came to the rescue so that only a large minority of people had to walk away from their homes or file for loan modification plans.

Star Wars was different for me.  Fav bud and his friend loved it…5 star like.  I thought it was an okay trip down memory lane…not much else.  I did enjoy seeing the Millennium Falcon fly again.

I’m rooting for the Broncos over the Patriots and the Cardinals over the Panthers.  I don’t think either one of my teams will win though and my bigger than powdered milk fear is that Tom Brady and the Patriots will win it all again on Super Bowl Sunday.

Global warming is not the biggest threat to the world.  The apex of dysfunction in American politics and the dismal field of 2016 Presidential candidate hopefuls is scarier to me.  If Michael Bloomberg, billionaire philanthropist and former Mayor of NYC, decides to run as an Independent I will cast my vote for him.  I’m not sure who he would take more votes away from whether it be Trump, Sanders or Clinton but I would have to vote my conscious for who I think would be the best person to step up.

Tomorrow will be dedicated to shovels, sleds and downhill runs.

Stay safe and warm.  Peace.

…..And just realizing I’ve had 101 blue moons.

© 2016 Christopher’s Views 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

‘Pope Day’ NYC

For the past few months of summer I have been wearing thin socks to work each day to help keep my feet cool inside the sturdy black shoes I choose to wear unchanging on hot summer days.  On this second day of autumn I went with the thicker cushioned socks even though I knew the temps would make it into the 80s. 

St Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC is at 50th St and 5th Ave.  I had a morning business meeting at 44th St and 5th Ave.  Penn Station is at 34th St and 8th Ave.  I figured correctly that the fastest above ground mode of transportation once exiting the train tracks would be the sidewalk.  And so I walked. 

Seemingly, every active police officer was on duty today.  Every intersection had two cops.  Every sidewalk had two cops.  Subway entrances--two cops.  Open areas, two cops and three national guards.  Dunkin Donuts—Sergeant.  Starbucks—Captain.  Black Escalades abound.

And a bit different was the mood of the city.  People walked rather slowly.  I was more concerned about being relaxed in my pace than being late.  It was day one of ‘Pope Day’.  Why worry…just be…on this fair weather Papal visit day.

My meeting was over by mid lunchtime and I had a 1:38 train to catch.  Throngs of other New Yorkers were making their way for an early exit as well-not wanting to get stuck in traffic hell-hopefully the Pontiff would understand.

Settling in after some Chinese take-out I watched the whole Vespers ceremony live on TV from the comfort of my futon.

As you all know from my writings I am not religious, though I am spiritual. 

I admired the ease and comfortable personality of Pope Francis.  I ignored the obvious that most of the readers were literate but couldn’t read aloud---no flavor or emotion in their spoken words.  I liked the apologies by His Excellency.  I had no particular issue with his homily.  I had no feeling that it would do much to cure the world’s ills either. 

I enjoyed the music.  My attention wasn’t diverted as the Pope spoke in Spanish and the overlay was English, as I understand very little Spanish.

There are only a couple of days each year when the masses act in accord and peacefully.  Christmas and Thanksgiving are among those days.

‘Pope Day’, when it’s Pope Francis (Francis of the people day), is a day when the masses rest, and like Christmas—people think before doing.

I like when large crowds of people can get together in peace. 

I look forward to my run tomorrow morning.  I will pass by my local Cathedral and pray, even though I don’t belong.

I will feel that the world is sometimes as it is supposed to be and I’ll wipe the tears from my eyes.


© 2015 Christopher’s Views 
 

 
 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

everyday wonder


Generally not a sky watcher, though making an exception tonight.

Over lunch yesterday a friend and I were discussing how some things in life are just flat out complicated, like calculus, taxes and figure skate scoring.

Much of our existence though falls into the 'simple, not easy' category.

Birth, parenting, love.  Goodbyes, diets, exercise.

Tonight's sky made me think there exists a third category.  Simple, complicated and wondrous. How else could I describe a big bang, producing more stars than imaginable, more light than can ever be seen, more synchronization than calculable, beginnings and endings in perfect harmony...and supporting all life along the way.


(C) 2015 Christopher's Views 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Looking ahead…and all around

The only deviation in my diet the past couple of days has been about how much butter I spread on my toast at each replicated meal…the Gatorade and tea remain unchangeable.

Perhaps I picked up a bug at the petting zoo, in the overly tepid hotel swimming pool, or from the Porta Potty (glad I uploaded the gross snow pic instead?) at the base of the tubing park visited last weekend with fav bud.
Of course…there is always the random chance of shaking the wrong hand.

And so, as I dream of jelly, and I attempt to erase memories of ‘sloppy’ the pig and a pool full of people that probably used the unkempt johns just before making their grand splash, I challenge myself to delete reminders of the winter hardships as well.
The shovel remains in my CR-V, but my back is feeling better.  The pot holes still multiply, but I’ve only had one flat tire.  I have enough shoe polish and stain lifter left to keep the corrosive rock salt at bay.

I moved from hating scarves to making one my friend. 
I learned how to bond with my son under 5 layers of clothing.

Then forced indoors, I gleefully smoked the fav 12 year old at an arcade racing game and was equally delighted when he handily brought me down playing chess on the rebound.
Yes, the winter was daunting.  Too long.  Too difficult.  Too cold.  Too windy.  Too immobilizing.

As March approaches, I will be hoping for a speedy transition of seasons.  And I know I won’t be alone in wishing for early cherry blossoms.

Before whispering into any night skies though, I need to make sure that I don’t delete the reminder about how challenges at our doorstep can sometimes beat a path to beauty in our own backyards.


© 2015 Christopher’s Views
And as Leonard Nimoy would add, “live long and prosper”.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

the calendar’s hullabaloo

Sunday, January 4th 2015, and firmly positioned on the testing grounds for New Year’s resolutions.  This morning’s rain and fog in New York convinced me to head to the treadmills at the gym instead of the hills at the park.  I was a bit surprised that the attendance there was sparse.  Usually it is difficult to get both a locker and my first choice of apparatus in January with all the newly inspired members revving up their regimens and commitments.

But today I got my customary locker and had pick of the best machines.  The faces around me were all regular’s…like a typical weekend morning.

I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.  For the good, I am not a fan of big crowds.  For the bad, maybe it means a lot of folks are at the pharmacy getting flu medicines filled. 

It’s not my thing to make a New Year’s resolution, but I do like the typical vows that I hear.  Promises to eat healthy, exercise, lose weight, quit smoking, join a book club, join a writing group, write a play, write a book, learn to dance, learn to swim, take up yoga, run a marathon, pray, meditate, go back to school, change careers, ask for a raise, clear out clutter, pay off debt, reduce stress, work on anger, slow down, start dating, skydive and take a vacation.
I’m sure there are some people who make New Year’s resolutions and successfully see them through to fulfillment.  They are probably the people who possess strong will power.
But most of the time when I hear people tell me of their success stories for changes in their lives it does not involve the calendar and most commonly involves the power of positive thinking, putting faith in God, or 'letting go and letting God', visualizing the future or writing down goals.
Resolutions aside, I try to move about my life as best I can with positive thoughts and faith.  Where faith is concerned I do not have an unwavering faith that God will always bring forth what I desire or that I will avoid pain and suffering.  It is more along the lines that I have faith I will be able to find comfort and happiness wherever I wind up. 
Mainly though, the New Year reminds me of the tricky parallel between life and time.  And that while there is often plenty of time for us to achieve our aspirations in life, time can likewise move us by in the click of a finger. 
I have a friend who recites mantras to me almost daily.  One of her favorites is ‘stay in your lane’.  She repeatedly texts and says the phrase as if honking and gesturing at me from behind.  For me, it is a reminder not to get sidetracked by others anger, regret, jealousy, judgment, hate or other malice.
Staying in my lane doesn’t mean I cannot stop, pause or even change directions. 
It just means that the path I choose ought to be plied with happiness, love, friendship and opportunity.

Otherwise, I am just on a bumpy ride with no idea when time is up. 

© 2015 Christopher’s Views