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Monthly Archives: February 2019

Having finished Person of Interest some weeks back, we finally decided to try our next series on a friend’s recommendation – the detective mystery Castle.

It’s a Nathan Fillion vehicle where he’s still playing Captain Mal Reynolds – sure, now he’s a wealthy, respected and popular Mal Reynolds, but he’s still just Mal Reynold.

And it smells like chicken wings.

chickenwings

I took this picture last night, while we paused the show to get our supper ready. And the funny thing was that the kitchen smelled like chicken wings, and this was the subtitle in that scene from the show.

We watch things with subtitles. We like it because sometimes one can miss dialogue due to noise, or accents, or a quiet speaker (or maybe just because we’re old and can’t hear well).  I can remember a time when I found subtitles distracting; or, at least, I have a memory of such a problem, but I can’t remember when I shifted over.

This practice used to irritate my eldest son, Floyd (or David, depending on usage) and he gave us grief about it when he was over at our home in Phoenix watching movies.

Now Floyd watches movies with subtitles.

Our young friend Grant, local here in Whitefish, really thought it was strange that we watched movies with subtitles. Grant now watches movies with subtitles.

Our Netflix and Amazon Video accounts default to the use of subtitles – and if we crank something up and we don’t see them, then we jump back to the menu to find out what happened. It’s a practice that became a habit and has now become a dependency – movies that we own on DVD that don’t have subtitles give us pause, and sometimes we won’t bother to watch if they don’t.

Funny how things like that sneak up on a fellow – something that seems a non-issue, or even a bother, can become a convenience, and then become a necessity.

Watched any standard-definition TV shows lately? It’s amazing just how awful they look 🙂 I had a friend in Park City who had an HD TV as early as 2001 or so, while we didn’t make the switch until about 2006. Until we changed, I couldn’t see any reason to do so – once we changed, I couldn’t stand to see the old stuff.

I used to hate running on treadmills – I couldn’t stand them. I seemed to get tired on treadmills quicker and couldn’t run as fast or far.

Then I spent a winter in Vermont.

By the next year, when we moved to Utah, I ordered a top-end treadmill to put in my basement; I couldn’t imagine going back out in the Wasatch Mountain winter and trying to run, in that weather, on those surfaces.

Then I found that I could control my pace better on a treadmill than I could on the roads, and that a treadmill allowed ME to decide where the hills were, and how steep. Now I rarely run on the roads, at all.

My email signature carries this quote –

“The lust for comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house a
guest, and then becomes a host, and then a master.” — Khalil Gibran

It’s a reflection of just how quickly we can become used to things that before seemed to be unnecessary, and then became normal, and then became addictions.

There’s a quote out there, somewhere – I’ve lost it, and I can’t find it, even with Google. But I’m sure that it exists, because I can’t come up with anything that wise on my own. It’s something along the lines of “Human beings have a certain dreadful adaptability”. We can get used to anything – and can become dependent on it.

Once upon a time, I had a cot in a barracks room (and could sleep on an M-1 Abrams main battle tank) I could dig a hole and poop in it, and I didn’t have a car.

Now I’ve “progressed” to the point where I can’t sleep without my Marriot mattress,  quilt, and bedside fan; we have more bathrooms than bedrooms, and my current vehicle actually cost more than my first house.

When I was newly sober, I read a Grapevine insert that said something along the lines of “The real test of a man’s wealth isn’t what he has, but what he can do without”. Apparently, I can’t do without much.

Including chicken wings.

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Some time back, I pointed out that during my Tuesday morning VO2Max workouts, I “Ride Like an Egyptian” – that Bangles song is right at 102 RPM, which gives me the cadence that I usually want.

But this morning, it was “Cadence of Choice” –

cadenceofchoice

I’m not at my best these days, so I decided to mix things up a little bit, and instead of loading up “Walk Like an Egyptian” on repeat, I went with “Weapon of Choice”, by Fatboy Slim.

You may be familiar with this song and not even know it; some years back, they posted a video for it, with Christopher Walken doing interpretive dance. (All by itself, that’s mind boggling. But he seems, to my untutored eye, to be pretty dang good).

“Weapon of Choice” tends to go a little slower – around 99 RPM, with a little variation. But I’m not doing well right now, so I thought it might help to have a different song, or a different cadence.

It didn’t 😦 In fact, I wound up reducing the intensity of the ride – something that I only do reluctantly.

I’m not sure what’s going on with me – I’m operating at reduced volume and intensity across my whole life. I’m gloopy, tired, uninspired – worn out, beat, and in defeat. Something is wrong with me.

I’m wondering if it’s the med change; last July, I started taking Adderall for my ADHD. It helped, there’s no question about that – but the longer I took it, the less help I seemed to get from it; and the worse the side effects were.

One side effect is me grinding my teeth; that’s no fun. Wears a fellow out. Causes jaw pain. AND – I’ve got many thousands of dollars of crowns that I’ve really worn down, and that unevenly. That’s the obvious problem.

The much less obvious – but perhaps more damaging, in the short term – side effect seems to be this – my heart rate stayed high all day.

That means that I was never really resting – which probably means that I was not recovering from my workouts as well as I would have liked. And I may have worn myself right down.

That’s one theory – the other theory is that I’ve just gotten older, yet again, in a hurry, just like early 2013, when I suddenly, but dramatically, slowed down in my running by 2-3 minutes per mile. Right now, I prefer the “Adderall has worn me out but I’ll be okay real soon now” theory.

I’ve dialed back my core work by about 25%, and I’m jogging slower than I’ve ever gone in my life, hoping that my body will recover without me having to lose what little fitness I still have. I admit, I am afraid to stop entirely – because that’s what I did in 2013, and it never came back.

But next week, I’m probably going back up to 102 RPM, since 99 didn’t help anything.

Here’s 207 Vista Drive, as viewed from Google Earth:

207GoogleEarth

That’s it, where the yellow pushpin is.

It doesn’t look like that right now, of course – it’s considerably whiter. And right now, it has some wooden stakes sticking up out of the snow – not the official “dig here” stakes, but the “this is where the house is going to be” stakes, so that the HOA can approve our plans.

As I’ve mentioned before, I can see this lot from the back yard of our condo right now. A few days ago, I was out throwing the ball for Juneau, and looked up at this lot, and thought “Yeah, that’s where I’m gonna die – right there.” That’s sort of the plan, here – to build a place and die there (assuming that I don’t wind up at A Place for Mom).

As I’ve also mentioned before, I’m not at complete peace with this whole idea – yes, I’m the one who said that we should perhaps build instead of buy, after almost buying a home in Columbia Falls. And I even thought that it might be “an adventure” (although I am more Hobbit than Elf, and while adventures make great stories, they can be very uncomfortable while they are under way).

Now, let’s be clear – this is merely the latest “place where I’m going to die”. When we bought the first condo in Purgatory- the one bedroom we called the “Love Grotto” – we thought that that would be our retirement home.

But living in a 750 square foot one bedroom turned out to be a bit confining, for Ethel’s taste. So then we bought the second Purg place – the three bedroom we named “The Money Pit” – and we thought THAT would be the place that we’d die. We spent a lot of money turning it into exactly what we wanted it to be.

However, Ethel then decided that 9000 feet in the San Juan Mountains is NOT where she wanted to be old, so it fell out of favor.

And then we left Arizona for Park City, and owing a condo in PC and two condos in Purgatory seemed a mite redundant – so we sold the one bedroom first, and then – against my better judgement and wishes – we sold the big one as well. So we’re not going to die there, either.

I thought we’d retire in Park City, but there were problems there (having to do with Ethel’s job, mostly) – that, and other issues, sent us to Bozeman, where I thought I’d be dying at 12 Red Rock Court. But, alas, things caused us to think that maybe that wouldn’t be the place to grow old and die. So we came to Whitefish.

Now, when we moved into 526 Silverleaf, we were SURE that we’d be retiring here. When we closed on this condo, we set it up for a four-year payment – four years being the span of time until I could start collecting Social Security. We set EVERYTHING up for this to be the very last place that we were going to buy.

Until we decided that we weren’t done, and had to keep going. To the house that we’re building now.

Now, to tell the truth, it seems that Ethel has been the instigator of these moves at least as often as – and to the same extent as – I myself. But, still, I’m starting to wonder if I’m not the problem.

I’ve already written up a discussion of the possibility that I am actually addicting to moving. But there may be another, darker side to this.

The other day, when I looked up at the lot, and thought “Yep, that’s where I’m gonna die”, I felt Mexico stir again way down in my psyche – particularly Todos Santo, which is my favorite hammock location.

And right about then, a thought crossed the front of my mind, and I just managed to snag it before it scurried back into the dark catacombs where many of my motives live.

What if I’m always moving in order to avoid ever being at the place where I’m gonna die?

That’s the sort of stupid non-sequitor that peoples’ subconsciouses come up with – the sort of thing that runs one’s life without ever being examined in the light of day. It’s just sneaky enough, and subtle enough, to become operative at a level just below awareness – strong enough to drive the generation of other ideas while never revealing itself.

So maybe I’m always ready to go to the NEXT place, to avoid dying at the current place where I’ve already said that “yep, right there – that’s where I’m gonna die”.

So I told Ethel about this revelation. And Ethel, being a “Moonstruck” fan, said the only thing that she could possibly say in that context –

Cosmo, I just want you to know that, no matter what you do, you’re still gonna die.”

She should have changed it to “…no matter where you live…” 🙂

 

 

 

Looks like tomorrow is going to be a powder day, just like last Wednesday –

Storm

That’s me, on lower Hollywood during dawn patrol. (photo courtesy of Walt Chauner).

It is, of course, fun skiing in these conditions. However, I’m just a little surprised that we are here. I keep being surprised by it, actually.

If you’ve read these diary entries, then you know that last May, Ethel decided that she would rather stay in Whitefish than move to Cozumel or Cabo. That was after two ski seasons that she spent on the couch, due to broken bones; she was still convinced that this is where she wanted to live, and ski.

This year, she may have 15 days on boards – I’m sure she hasn’t made it to 20.

We’re now getting ready to build – we signed the construction loan papers on Wednesday. Our dig date was set for March 1, but it’s pretty apparent now that that’s not going to happen – February has been much colder, and much snowier, than January or December.

So it’s been below zero, it’s been very windy – windy enough to close the mountain for at least a few weekend days, which is when we would do most of our skiing – and the house that we were planning on building is at least six months behind what we expected.

So why are we still here?

Ethel HATES the cold. Up here in the loft, where it’s at least 70 F all day long, she wears long sleeve shirts, sweaters, and little half-fingered gloves because she’s cold all the time. She takes hot baths at lunchtime to warm back up.

And she LOVES sunshine. You can go weeks at a time here in Whitefish without seeing the sun, unless you catch an inversion up on the mountain. She loved living in Cochise County and in the Sonoran Desert. Not just overcast – for many days in a row, it snowed at least a little bit here in town. Day after day – no snow storm; just really cold and an inch or two of snow and windy.

So here we are, in the Great White North, with frigid temperatures, high winds and overcast skies – missing ski days because of cold and/or high winds – and about to spend a lot of money to STAY here.

I often park my truck and walk back to the condo in the cold wind, looking around – to me, it’s beautiful, but I’m also aware that it’s not comfortable. I realized when I first moved out West – you can have grandeur, or you can have comfort. Don’t ever count on having both at the same time.

But I’ll be walking back to the condo (my truck won’t fit into the garage – one of the drivers for building a house) with my Mad Bomber hat pulled down and my collar turned up, ducking into the wind, and I’ll suddenly get puzzled by it again – why is she here? Why would she want to stay here, when there’s so much about it that doesn’t suit her?

I just responded to an email from a friend with the Al-Anon injunction, “don’t try to make sense out of nonsense”. If your mate is crazy, then just understand that she’s crazy – if you get to understanding the crazy, then that means that you went crazy too.

But Ethel doesn’t seem crazy. She seems well-balanced and rational in many things – other than the fact that she’s building a house in Whitefish, in the winter.

Sometimes, the best that I can do is just shake my head, and resign myself to it; I assume that, at some point, she’ll rouse herself and say “What am I doing here?” – and, at that point, we’ll sell the house that we’ve just built, and head for the tropics.

I just wish that we could cut out the in-betweens 🙂

 

Now this is a Montana photograph – a box of 9mm ammo and a magazine and loader laying on top of a Unity “Daily Word” –

dailyammo

The reason for this tableau is that we have a three story condo, and sometimes things pile up at the bottom of the stairs to go up to the loft. The upside-down coffee cups to the lower right are part of that “when somebody goes up, take this with you” pile.

Now, I’m just spitballin’ here, but  I’m pretty sure that the folks at Unity didn’t design their daily meditation book to be an ammo dump.  They might take it amiss.

But that’s okay, as it looks like we’re going to Hell anyway.

This is Thursday, and on Thursdays during ski season, we go to church at noon. It’s a short service – no music, just the New Testament and Gospel readings, and it never takes long for five or six folks to take communion.

But today Ethel and I both had stuff going on at work at noon, and so we didn’t make it. Now, I’m not sure as to the particulars, but – given my poor understanding of theology, it’s entirely possible that someday, Ethel and I will be standing outside the Pearly Gates, and St. Peter might be saying, “Now, let’s see – you folks were doing pretty well right up until February 21, 2019 – but – what’s this here?”

We were already not at our best; we’d been up since around 3 AM anyway. Ethel woke up at 3 and just laid there; I woke up at 3:20 and did what old men do when they wake up at 3:20.

I climbed back into bed and snuggled back down. I’d slept 6 hours straight, but that’s still early to get up. I tried to go back to sleep.

But, 15 minutes later, when I realized that I was trying to remember the name of the Air Force general that launched the strike in _Dr Strangelove_, I knew I was up for good.

(Yes, the general’s name was Jack Ripper. I thought that that was it, and then I wondered how in the world we would have let that pass without comment. I’ve seen that movie 5-10 times in the last 55 years, and somehow never noticed that little tidbit).

So not only were we grumpy today from lack of sleep,  but we also missed church.

Might be a long afterlife.

 

Okay, looks like I have a resentment.

(N.B. – yes, a “pet peeve” is a resentment:
noun
noun: peeve; plural noun: peeve :

a cause of annoyance.
“my peeve is people treating me like a moron”)

Definitions

When somebody is repeating their point, and then somebody else refutes them, and the first person says “Yeah, well, that’s just SEMANTICS…” — I don’t want to kick them in the head.

But, if somebody else kicked them in the head, I might think that they had it coming. It wasn’t like their head was really working, anyway.

noun
noun: semantics

the meaning of a word, phrase, sentence, or text.

When you utter a word, then it has a meaning – there’s no other reason to use a word. You might as well grunt.

So to use a word and to then say that the meaning HAS NO MEANING is basically saying “I am grunting, and you should admit that my grunting is correct, and your assembly of words with meanings is wrong.”

I strongly suspect that what they REALLY mean by saying that meaning doesn’t matter is to say “I think that I know what I mean, and you should all pretend that you understand what I think that I know that I mean, and admit that it’s correct, just because I’m me”.

This is also followed by the implication that the fact that the person who doesn’t know what they are saying is somehow elevated, or superior, BECAUSE THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT – and that those folks who are more careful and intentional in their speech should be ashamed of themselves.

Now, of course, the question becomes – how do I get around this resentment?

I’ll start by operating on the assumption that I’m projecting – that since I’m seeing smug, self-righteous stupidity, I must be SUFFERING from smug, self-righteous stupidity.

I see them being smugly dismissive of my thinking, so I must be doing the same thing.

Think I’ll share this post with my sponsor, and then ask to have it removed 🙂

 

This morning at the gym, I was listening to Gin Blossoms Radio on Pandora while doing my core and resistance work.

After listening to 29,  I heard Robin popped in with this recorded message (quote approximate):

Hi, this is Robin Wilson of the Gin Blossoms. We’ll be touring, performing our New Miserable Experience Live show, coming soon to a city near you!

I didn’t have to check – I already knew that he was lying 🙂

NMELive.jpg

The closest “city near [me]” is Chicago – 1370 miles, straight line.

Now, apart from the strangeness of the Blossoms – a band out of Tempe, AZ – not playing any venues west of San Antonio, the fact is that up here in Whitefish, MT, we are about as far from anywhere as you can get without getting closer to somewhere else.

We knew that when we moved here – in fact, I’m sure that the attributes that go along with being that remote are many of the attributes that brought us here. No crime, no pollution, no traffic, no crowds, friendly people – all of this is caused by (or helped by) being out on the frontier.

The fact that there’s no Interstate, and that the airport is small, will help to keep the Flathead Valley from growing; we spent 15 months in Bozeman, and that was enough of watching what happens when a small town gets on the top of the “Best Places to Live” lists.

But Living on the Edge has its costs – for one thing, “you can’t get there from here”. Unless one is going to Salt Lake, Minneapolis or Seattle, there are very few direct flights out of Kalispell. We moved to Montana with well over 200,000 miles in our American Airlines account – we wound up giving most of them to charity, as American only had seasonal flights to Bozeman, and none to FCA when we moved here (I believe that they are about to start summer flights up here, but too late – already gave the miles away).

And “you can’t get here from there” – when we moved to Montana from Utah, we had all of our possessions in a PODS container, as we had been staging our Park City condo, so we kept is mostly empty until we closed – and then found out that PODS wouldn’t deliver to Montana, so that cost us some time and money.

Montana has, I believe, finally crossed the 1M population mark – at least in estimates – but it’s the fourth largest state, so it’s still pretty empty. Heck, Montana doesn’t even border a state that has a metro area with a million people. We’re all by ourselves out here.

Which is, as I said, okay with us – but the Gin Blossoms won’t be playing here any time soon 🙂