Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
Email Format
Close

Archive

Archive for April, 2014

Photo: Succulent at SoCal Spring Garden Show 2014 via #instagram

April 30th, 2014 Comments off
Categories: Garden, Photos-Photography Tags:

Age can magnify both our best and worst traits – End of the Day for April 30, 2014 – End of the Day for May 2, 2014

April 30th, 2014 Comments off

End of the day Logo

As I get older, I have noticed something that is happening both to me and those around me. While we all have certain inherent traits and behaviors that stay with us throughout our lives, it seems that all of these traits can get magnified — or distilled, if you will — by time. More importantly, these happens to both our our best traits and our worse ones. As we get older we can tend to move towards extremes in our behavior. Now that I have noticed this, I don’t really like it. I have always prided myself on at least attempting some balance in my life, but I can feel myself being pulled further and further to the extremes in my nature. Of course, noticing something — paying attention to it — is the best way to decide if and how you might want to change, so I guess that is a good first step.

For me, I know that one bad trait that is being more and more prominent is my desire to sequester myself away from people and life in general. Well, not really people, per se, but it it more like to trying to avoid the complications and conflicts of life. While I feel healthier than I have in years physically, mentally – in specific situations — I can feel very, very tired. I have always hated dealing with billing mistakes and other company errors, difference of opinions with friends and neighbors and anything unpleasant that can use up my mental and emotional energy. Perhaps it is because of my empathetic nature, but becoming involved in a disagreement, no matter how small can trigger visceral, physical changes in my body. Where others might be invigorated by the discussion, I am used up, agitated and even physically ill. As you might imagine, this can often cause me to try and avoid such situations, no matter how innocuous they might seem. I simply don’t feel I have the energy to engage in the interaction and so avoid it.

Window to the Soul

Photo: Premasagar Rose via Flickr, under Creative Commons License

Seeing this magnification/distillation effect in yourself can be troubling, but seeing it others — especially those close to you – can be troubling as well. We all like to the think the best of those around us, but I know I have started to see the effects in others my age, too. Low-level paranoia seems to be ubiquitous in many people of all ages these days, but especially those in middle age. Everything is trying to kill them. Everyone is trying to screw them over. Everything they hear is probably a lie. Now, I certainly won’t deny that there are things that are dangerous, people who are evil and lots of lies out there, but I refuse to believe that it is anything but the minority of my life. Still, mainstream media today is quite to point out a lot of what/might/could happen rather than what IS happening. This leads to low-level paranoia for everyone. You wouldn’t feel paranoid if everything they read or saw made them believe that 99% of what they heard and saw was a lie.

For me, I can’t live that way. That is why, many years ago, I stopped reading mainstream newspapers and watching local news. I can follow the happenings of the world online as needed and also disconnect, as needed. I know that a ferry capsized in South Korea — and even some of the specifics — but I need not dedicate my life to ingesting every tidbit produced by news sources. I used to do that, but I found it gave me no solace, no detailed information, no better understanding. All it gave me was nervousness, paranoia, and depression — 3 things I certainly don’t need in my life.

Unfortunately, this has meant that there are certain people I can no longer interact with on a regular basis. There behaviors have swung so far out of balance that I don’t feel I can have a normal conversation with them anymore. At some point the conversion always derails into the latest conspiracy theory, political rhetoric or outright, blatant fear of living. Again, I know enough about myself that if I want to try to keep my own life in balance, there are certain places, events and people I need to avoid our of shear self-preservation. I know I am going to try and be better about swinging to the ends of my emotional spectrum in the coming months and I hope others will see the need, too. I often wonder what we could really accomplish if we could find somewhere in the middle to meet — and hopefully — solve some of the problems we are facing.

Previously on End of the Day:

Categories: End-of-the-Day, Writing Tags:

…and the heat arrives! – End of the Day for April 29. 2014

April 29th, 2014 Comments off

End of the day Logo

I wrote yesterday about the winds and today the heat joined them in force. Thankfully with our new windows in the back of house, it looks like we can hold the initial temperature for almost the entire day without having to resort to air conditioning. The internal and external temperatures have just equalizes, so I have opened all the windows and placed a fan to draw in some of the cooler wire of the garden. I’ll try to cool the house off overnight as much as possible in order to save on air conditioning tomorrow. We’ll eventually have to resort to using it, though. A prolonged string of high heat means we can’t cool the house down enough overnight and so have to do it mechanically.

It is never our goal got suffer with the heat, though. Since I work from home, it is important that I am at least comfortable enough to do my work and keep the computers from overheating. The goal is to reduce the costs involved as much as possible. This is goos for our pocketbook, but also good for everyone, as we put less load on the power gird and do our bit to curb a bit of the pollution used to generate it.

Uh...about that thermometer ...

These hot days are the least favorite of the year for me. I know that many others are very, very happy that summer has arrived in Southern California, but I don’t do well in the heat. I think I was built for more temperate climes. I am already looking forward to the June Gloom that arrives each year, giving us hazy, grey mornings that sometimes don’t clear until late afternoon. These are the days in mid-summer when I can still work in the garden, if I wish. Otherwise, I have to carefully plan to work under shade of wait until the sun falls low enough to let me work in peace while still providing another hour or so of light.

We never know how many 90+ days we are going to get each Summer, but I always wish for just a few or, several days with a break in-between to cool off and catch up. We shall see what the next few months bring. Based on my past 28 years here, I am expecting a lot of heat, though. Thankfully, I also have my plans in order to face the heat while staying as cool as possible.

Previously on End of the Day:

Photo: San Fernando Valley Evening via #instagram

April 29th, 2014 Comments off

Photo: Purple Orchid from the Southern California Spring Garden Show 2014 via #instagram

April 29th, 2014 Comments off
Categories: Garden, Photos-Photography Tags:

A windy day and night – End of the Day for April 28, 2014

April 28th, 2014 Comments off

End of the day Logo

It has been a hot and windy day here in Van Nuys. Not quite a full-on Santa Ana condition, but similar. The temperature rose into the 90’s and the trees swayed wildly, bumping to the house on occasion. I took it as an opportunity, as I often do, to air out the house. Windows were opened throughout and let the wind bluster about inside. It was only around 9pm that it started to get cool enough that I decided to close them. It probably won’t get that cold tonight, but probably cooler than I would want it for sleeping.

Windswept tree - Photo-A-Day Nov 20, 2006

Wind-shaped pine tree

I don’t quite know why, but I have always love windy days. Sure, in the Winter it can get too cold to be enjoyable, but the buffeting of the wind on warmer days is always a treat. Maybe it is the wild chaotic movement of the trees and plants. I think it is similar to waterfalls, rivers and ocean waves in that regard. There is something about the unpredictable nature of it all that intrigues and captivates the human mind. I would watch the trees sway for hours and listen to the rush of the wind through the leaves.

Of course, warm winds here in Southern California can bring the scourge of wildfire, too, so my nose is constantly tuned to the acrid, sour-smelling smell of burning chaparral. Living here in the middle of the San Fernando Valley I don’t have much worry of actually facing a wildfire, but they have burned in the hills around us year after year. From here you can see and smell the smoke and sometimes even see the flames, especially at night. Fire has always been a part of this land since it was created, but human habitation provides more sources of ignition and also more damage to life and property when it does occur. I would love to live in the hills, but I know that I would have to be able to lose all the contents of my home to wildfire without much concern. That state of mind is difficult to find, though, so I remain here in the significantly less picturesque, but much safer from fire valley floor.

Weathermap windy

Wind bars on the Wundermap weather map

The wind is supposed to bang around most of tonight and tomorrow. It sometimes keeps us awake, but the windows in the older part of the house block most of the sound. We awake to the scattered and drifted leaves, small limbs dropped from the trees and the occasional piece of litter that has blown into the yard. The sky, though, is typically bright and clear and deep blue — most of the polluting haze blown away, at least for a short time.

For now, I sit and listen as the wind goes bump in the night and imagine what it might be carrying where on its travel.

Previously on End of the Day:

Categories: End-of-the-Day, Writing Tags:

Photo: Garden mask and Japanese Maples | A Gardener’s Notebook via Instagram

April 28th, 2014 Comments off

Photo: Garden mask and Japanese Maples | A Gardener’s Notebook via Instagram

April 28th, 2014 Comments off

What I’m Reading…Mary Colter: Builder Upon the Red Earth (Grand Canyon Association)

April 28th, 2014 Comments off

Mary Colter: Builder Upon the Red Earth (Grand Canyon Association)

I have always been fascinated with the various buildings at the Grand Canyon and now I know much more about their designer, Mary Colter. If you have ever visited the Canyon, you cannot help but see her work as it spans the park from Hopi Tower at Desert View on the east side to Hermit’s Rest on the west. Colter also created many other buildings throughout the Southwest for the Harvey Company.

What you may not know – End of the Day for April 27, 2014

April 27th, 2014 Comments off

End of the day Logo

Even if you have known me for a while – either in person or online – there might still be a few things you don’t know about me. While I have been in LA for 28 years, I had another 22 years back in New London, Ohio and. Bowling Green, Ohio. New London is a town of about 2000 people and most of my family still live in that area. It is a quintessential small town with struggling downtown, hard working folks and quiet back road — some that are still paved in gravel to this day. This might explain why I have a relative antipathy to the big city, even though I have lived here for many years.

Newlondonohio map

While I lived in “town” and not on a farm, I spent many, many hours on the farms that surrounded the town. I drove tractors like this John Deere Model 60 or Allis Chalmers tractor and even large combines, the size of big rig trucks. I carted grain to the local elevator to sell, riding in the wagon of soybeans, corn or what for the fun of it. I baled hay and stuffed iit nto the hay lofts, choking on the dust and chaff on some of the hottest days of the year.

Jd60 Allis chalmers

In school, I was a B student for the most part. I sang in the chorus, played trombone in the band and acted and sang in high school and community theater productions including Guys and Dolls, Oklahoma, South Pacific and more. This led to my continuing as a theater major in college and graduating with that degree.

It was at college, in. Bowling Green, where I had access to computers for the first time and discovered my aptitude for technology and helping others use it. I lived for 9 months in Cleveland prior to my wedding, doing a series of of jobs like working at a television and appliance store and working in the Box Office of the Playhouse Square Foundation. That led to years of technology work once I moved to LA in 1986, after my new wife and I left Ohio the day after our wedding. This June marks 28 years in Los Angeles, as well as 28 years of marriage. 

Is there anything here you didn’t already know? Hopefully you now know me a little bit better.

We all have our unique stories and sometimes it is worth rereading these stories with older – and perhaps more wizened– eyes. You never know exactly what you might see there that you hadn’t seen before.

Previously on End of the Day:

Categories: End-of-the-Day, Writing Tags:
Google+