December 31, 2009

Calling all followers!

This is my last post. Yup, my very last. I will no longer be posting after today. No more posts for the rest of the year. My next post will be next year. In 2010. Fortunately, next year starts tomorrow, at least that's what the calendar says. So I guess that means you'll be able to see my next post pretty quickly. And now that I have your attention, I would like to request a favor. If this post appeared on your blogger dashboard, and you were able to click on it and arrive safely here in my blog, please leave me a comment with simply the word "Yes" in it. If not, let me know in perhaps a few details how you arrived here to read this. I am curious after I changed my URL, or "blog address", to see if everyone can still come and see me in the normal fashion. Now, with that out of the way, my last post of the year.......

New Year?

New Year's Day, comes once every year, the first day of the "new" year. The start of yet another day, another month, and yes, another year. But what about the day after that? Or the day after that? Can it not be said that that day too, is the anniversary of another year? The same day appeared last year on the calendar, in the same place, as did the Earth itself appear in the same spot in it's orbit one year earlier. What about July 2nd? It's the first day of the second half of the year, why is that day not celebrated as the grand and glorious halfway point?

My point is this. Every single day of our lives, or of the life of this little blue ball on which we reside can be thought of, from a certain point of view, as a "new year". Think of it like this. How many of us were actually born on January 1st? A percentage of the population to be sure, but for the rest of us, our own personal "new year" starts at a much later date on the calendar. Can it then not be said, again, from a certain point of view, that EVERY day on the calendar is New Year's day? It's the beginning of a new year in a sense for many people, and as I said, each new day is in fact the same day the earth itself was in the same position in space the year before. Well taking into account leap year, and deviations in orbital speed, ok, well, I'll  leave that one to the guys with a degree in orbital mechanics. What I'm really talking about here is the perception of "new" beginnings.

New Year's Day is the day everyone looks to as the beginning, when in fact if we stop and think, every day, every hour, every minute, and yes every second is the beginning of something for someone. Right now, on this, the last day of the calendar year, a small percentage of the population is celebrating their birthday. So for them, it's a new year. Some are getting married today, the beginning of their new lives together. There are probably people starting a new job today, for some of which may turn out to be a lifelong career. Still others are starting the process of obtaining a college education, which will lead to a degree. Every day of the year, someone is starting new. Next year, on this same day, they can look back and say, yup, this is the day it all started.

For me this thought process started with of all things, as one might expect, a glance at a calendar. Not your hang on the wall through that little hole calendar, but one of those fancy cover up your desk varieties that gives you the number of days that have passed in the year, next to how many days are left. Of course I got curious, and decided to look at my birthday, to see what "number" day I was born on. To my surprise, I found that it said my birthday was day 184, and that there were 183 days left in the year. Yes folks, that's how i discovered that July 2nd is the first day of the second half of the year, or it was that year at least. But it got me thinking. Did anyone know? Did anyone care? Why should January 1st and December 31st get all the glory? Or hell, why not break it down into quarters, and bring April and October to the party? Of course this is all pretty ridiculous, and would really get out of hand in a hurry, but my thoughts began to center on why the need at all to celebrate a "new" year? Clearly many days can be considered for the beginning. I mean why not make April 1st the first day of the year?

Now of course if you are a pagan, like me, you are saying, wait, hang on, I celebrate MY new year on Samhain. Not at all a day on the Gregorian calendar that coincides with the start of a "block" of the year, and not even close to the supposed "starting" point. But how many of us really do see it as our "new" year? This is my first year as a pagan, so please don't kill me if I am wrong, but it seems to me, just from reading posts here on blogger, that many pagans still actually celebrate the new year on January 1st. Granted it makes sense to do so, as it IS a new calendar year, and should be celebrated as such, but the gist of what I'm trying to say is more along the lines of not picking a day to celebrate, but to see every day as the start of a new year.

All in all it boils down to this. Let's celebrate the new year every day of the year, find something new to start, something new to accomplish, someone new to meet. Because someone like you, like me, is today considering this day, not tomorrow, as the start of a new year. And maybe we should too.

December 28, 2009

A vent

First things first, I can not believe it's been over a week since I posted anything. The holiday is partially to blame, being busy and all, like everyone is around such times. But there were other reasons, and in this post, I intend to explain myself.

Christmas these last two years has been especially tough for me personally.  I was laid off from my job at the end of November last year, so as you can imagine there was not money to buy presents for my children. Thankfully, both of the schools that my children attend, the middle and elementary, helped us and provided presents for them to open on Christmas day. So they did have presents, last year, and this year. I should be happy, and on one hand I am, but on the other hand it just makes me feel like crap. I'm their father, it should be ME giving them gifts, ME providing a good Christmas, not their SCHOOL!

It's not like I haven't tried. I AM looking for a job. Have been now for over a year, ever since I was first unemployed. There just seems to be no jobs, or none that my resume seems to make me qualified for. On one end, I am underqualified, not enough experience, no certifications, too many gaps in employment. On the other hand, I am overqualified, I have an associate's degree, I am 38 years old, and have a job history on my resume that says "He really doesn't WANT to work at Mickey D's, plus, we'd have to pay him too much."

So, what do I do? Put a gun to someone's head, and force them to give me a job? If you asked my wife, the shrew that she is and has become, that's exactly what I need to do. You know, because of course, since I've been without a job so long, that makes me a bum, a no good loser who will never again have gainful employment. Mind you I don't believe for one second that I am a bum, or a loser, but in the eyes of a spouse, it kinda DOES make you look like one being out of a job so long.

Something else related to that has been bugging the shit out of me too. The laws in this state require you to live apart from your spouse for a year before they will grant a divorce. A reasonable law, makes sense, I mean if you really want a divorce, you probably don't want to live with that person anymore. But, without a job, I have no income, no way to pay rent somewhere else, let alone to pay for the divorce itself. Each day that goes by, still living with her, means that year of time away gets longer, and longer. I could have been almost done with that year, had I found a job already. DONE! But no. No job, no new place, no new life. I have mentally let go of everything, and started on my new path. Ok, great. Now, to find a way to physically make it happen. I can tell you this. It certainly doesn't look like it will happen anytime soon.

Well, there it is. My venting is done. I don't spend too much time going on about "oh woe is me" these days, as it is generally counterproductive, but even the greatest warrior has to sometimes vent his frustrations. Things may change tomorrow, or next week, or next month, who knows? It will happen at the right time, when preparation meets opportunity. So for now, my friends, thank you for listening, and I hope everyone has a joyous and prosperous New Year. Love and light, and brightest blessings to all of you!

The Stag Warrior

December 20, 2009

A Note

I thought I would take a minute and talk about my transformation from Rayden Darklighter to The Stag Warrior.

As you all know, since I have mentioned it on more than a few occasions, I only recently became a pagan. Of course the longer I say that, the less recent it gets. It's been 9 months now, hardly recent. But anyhow, when I first became a pagan, like many, I just HAD to have a "cool" craft name. Now mind you at the time I didn't see it that way, just that I was getting a new name to symbolize my entrance into this new exclusive club of those who work magic. As you can see I had a lot to learn.

Since that time, I have done more and more soul searching, learning about myself, and the things I needed to do to become "me". Before that I was all ego and selfishness. I still have tons to learn, and in my current situation, without the ability to practice as I would like, I will remain a "newbie" on some things for longer than most. I have learned that the person I am is not just a gushy bag of emotion, but a person who has a lot to offer the world at large. I do not give in to my bouts of extreme emotion, I keep them under control, and channel that energy in a productive direction. There is a purpose for me being here, one being my understanding of the human condition. It allows me to really comprehend the intricacies of what it is we are all here doing, as spiritual or energy life forms having a human experience. Every person has a journey they are on, their own personal journey through this life, to learn whatever lessons each chose for themselves while still on the spiritual plane. It is this journey, this condition, that I am now more aware of than ever before in my life.

In my life. Hmpf. Something that means only this form, this existence. As Rayden, I took a lot of time bitching and griping about the others, the people around me on their own journey, and how what they were doing "made" me into what I was. My patron god, Cernunnos, the epitome of warriors, would have none of that. It took me a while, but once I started really listening to the signs around me, I realized that it was not a warrior's way to act as I had been. Warriors get up and do the job they are required and choose to do, without fear, and without excuses. They know the risks, they know the dangers, but they go and do. Even to the point of laying down their own lives so that others may live. So, my name became The Stag Warrior. I chose to leave my prior existence behind, and forge for myself a new path, one not influenced by fears and indecision. I chose to have the courage to accept myself in this body with its advantages and limitations, and to work through the lessons I chose for myself as a spirit, to be a warrior spirit, with the heart of the stag.

This journey has just begun. Along the way there will be obstacles, some of which I have already conquered. There are many that are still in front of me. One step at a time I will take them on, because they are mine to conquer, to overcome, to process through. Mine alone, for this is my journey. Others will walk with me, others will help and guide me, but ultimately, only I can make it to the end. I will then revert back to the spirit that I am, having finally accomplished what I set out to do, in this, my human experience. This time around.

To that end, the first obstacle I must overcome, past my mental state that I touched on in my last post, is to remove myself physically from the situation at hand. It is necessary to do so in order to "move on", but in more mundane terms it is required by the state in which I reside of one who wants a divorce from their spouse to live apart from that spouse for a period of one year. Therefore, I am making plans to do just that. I have neither the capital nor any resources to accomplish this at the present moment, but there are options available to me that I am working on to gain what I need.

In closing, I would like to wish everyone a most blessed Yule, and may you and yours be safe and happy.

December 18, 2009

Chapter 2: Obstacles

The path lay before the Stag Warrior, long and windy, stretching into the distance. Mountains were clearly visible, valleys between, surely these would need to be traversed. Thick forests of thorny bristles lined both sides of the path, boulders of various sizes blocked the way. There was a thought in his mind, one he battled to suppress. This path, this journey ahead, it was a little daunting, this would be the hardest thing he ever did. Taking the first step those few days ago now seemed the easy part. 

Just then, he felt something pulling at his leg, causing him to lose his balance and fall roughly on the dusty ground. Seems he had been dragging something along behind him, and he had come to the end of whatever the "something" was. Of course the "something" turned out to be the rope that he now "found" attached to his ankle. He knew this rope well. It was tied at the other end back where he started, joined to a substance, an object he had been dragging along with him for years. It was big, and heavy, and he had been tethered to it for so long he tended to forget the rope was there. Now, as he wanted, no, needed, to continue on this path, with no turning back, he began to work the knot of the rope, desperately wanting to be free. It was a thick rope however, hewn of the best hemp, and the knot would not loosen.

Searching in his weathered and beaten and now very dusty pack, he dug out a hatchet, short, but sharp, with the handle worn and brittle on the end, some of the wood having been lost from years of use and abuse. Placing the rope on top of a stone, he began to hack at it, one thread at a time, shearing it off. Years of weighing him down, slowing him down were going to come to end come hell or high water. Millimeter by millimeter, swing after swing, he began to cut himself free. Shreds began to fall. Some collected at his feet, others were caught up in the short gusts of wind that blew, to be carried off, never to be seen again.

Finally, after what seemed an eternity, and after countless blows, the rope was severed. He sat for a moment, taking a deep breath. It was done. The last vestiges of what he was, what he had been, were now away, gone, no longer to plague him. What was left now was the knot, and only the knot. He would remember, but not be hampered on his journey.

He smiled. He got up, dusted himself off, and set out again. Toward the boulders, toward the forest of bristles, and the valleys, and mountains. This would not be so bad after all.

December 15, 2009

Chapter 1: The First Step

The Stag Warrior stirred, the morning sun hitting his sleeping form as he lay on the rocky ground, his pack under his head as a pillow. The rays crept up his body till they reached his face, to his eyes, and at that he awoke, squinting. The day had arrived. Time for his journey to begin.

He had been waiting for this day, he had just not known it before. All his life he had been prepared for it, been taught what he needed to learn to survive. All the trials, the tests, all to culminate in this moment. The day he set out on his own. The day he cut all the ties, all the burdens, and left to forge his own way. His spirit guides, his totem animal, the stag, to walk with him, his thoughts one with their energy.

Many years he had been with others. Never having his own path, never creating his own destiny. It had become a comfort of sorts, to walk the path of the others, to have the security, to know that someone would always be there to bail him out, to save him from the difficulties the journey brought forth. Always, allowing others to control the direction his path would take.

But this journey, this morning, would be only his own. Oh, there will still be others with him, but this time, only he to determine his destiny. He got up, aware now of the chaos around him, its presence constant, so as to be idle background noise, the troubles of everyday life like a sandstorm beating his face, but only to the point he blinked a bit. Then he gazed out, out there, to the unknown. The path was waiting for him, he only need to take the first step. Leave everything else behind, take that first step to a different path than the others.

The doubts swirl in his mind like the sandstorm around him. Where will he go? What will he do? What obstacles lay ahead? In his mind's eye he brushes all the doubts and fears aside, and then...........

He takes that step.

December 12, 2009

New look, new title, new name

No, it's ok folks, you haven't stumbled into the wrong blog, it's still me, the former Rayden Darklighter, and this is the former Rayden's Rants.

I decided to change my whole blog, the layout, the title, my button, and most importantly, my name. I have entered a new chapter in my life, actually the way I see it my life has just begun. My blog will continue as it has been, as a place for me to write down my thoughts and opinions as I journey down my path, the path of the Stag Warrior. No longer will I refer to myself as Rayden Darklighter in these posts, as that part of my life is behind me. I am the Stag Warrior, on a new journey through life, ready to embark on a new chapter, a new fork in the road if you will.

I welcome you to join me as I chronicle the Journey of the Stag Warrior.

December 10, 2009

A Yule survey

Well it's been a few days since I posted, but Bella over at Memoirs of a Crazy Witch tagged me with this Yule survey, so I'm posting early, well early for me. lol 

This one looks like fun.

1. Have you started Yule shopping yet? No, but usually I would have, this year we don't have any extra money, we'll see what happens.

2. Tell me about one of your special holiday traditions? When I was a kid, my parents had this ceramic Nativity set that on every Christmas Eve, we would put the baby Jesus in the manger and sing Christmas carols. Now, since this year Yule is new to me, I will be looking for new traditions to start.

3. When do you put up your tree? Well, I seem to recollect as a kid we did it soon after Thanksgiving, but my wife's family has done it for years on or the weekend of her birthday (Dec 5), so that's when we do it now.

4. Are you a Black Friday Shopper? I've only been out in the early morning shopping on Black Friday once, and for the life of me I can't remember exactly why, but I do know it had little or nothing to do with any sale. I do remember being morbidly entertained at all the people scurrying about making purchases on things that would be on "sale" again in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Funny how no one ever thinks of that. Like that "sale" price is the rock bottom price they will sell that item at before Christmas finally arrives.

5. Do you travel at Yule or stay at home? I can't remember the last time I traveled at ANY holiday.

6. What is your funniest Yule memory? I would have to say the night I found out there was no Santa Claus. Not funny? Oh, well, to me it was. I was asleep like a good little boy on Christmas Eve, about 5 years old, when I woke up just in time to hear my father ask my mother "Are you gonna get the presents?" Talk about fortuitous timing. To this day I remember it as the luckiest moment of my life, when I verified what I had suspected for quite some time in my short life.

7. What is your favorite Yule movie of all times? I'd have to go with "Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer" followed by "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas". Oh, and don't forget "Frosty the Snowman".

8. Do you do any Yule baking and what's your favorite treat? Baking? Um, well, I did make a pie once, which did turn out to be edible. I love pie, especially pumpkin. But the one I really love is Edwards brand Hershey chocolate creme pie, oh the chocolatey goodness of that baby.....

9. Fake or real tree? Fake, although growing up we did have a real tree or two. I wouldn't dream of having a real one now, because the tree usually doesn't make it to January.

10. What day does the actual panic set in to get it all done? Panic? I don't panic, things just don't happen fast enough, lol. Actually, I usually have everything figured out at least a day or two before, so there isn't a "panic".

11. Are you still wrapping presents on Yule Eve? Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

12. What is your favorite family fun time at Yule? When everyone is opening presents and you can't see the floor for the wrapping paper, and you can't hear yourself think for the squeals of delight.............

13. What Yule craft do you like best? I used to love stringing popcorn, but with this crew, it's a disaster of monumental proportions, so I haven't suggested it this year, yet.......

14. Yule music? Yes or No, and if yes, what is your favorite song? There's this CD I have, called the Porter Music Box Sound of Christmas, it's beautiful, lots of everyone's favorite carols, played on a large music box that sounds more like bells, I play it incessantly this time of year, reminds me of what I heard as a kid.

15. Do you plan to finish all your shopping? Why yes I do, and thanks for asking, if I ever get it started.

Well, there you have it. Since Yule is a new holiday for me this year, and as I am still currently in the closet, it will probably be next year before any traditions emerge, but for now, I must find the 5 other blogs I must tag. I apologize in advance if you have already been tagged.

And heeeere they are:

Good Mourning, Glory
Deep Inside My Broom Closet
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
Lost In Astral Space
rambling of a newbie pagan

December 6, 2009

My day, some randomness

I'm here again, late at night, with no one else in the house awake, listening to music, and contemplating my day. Spent time with the kids today, got the tree up and decorated, all in all a good day.

I would be lying if I said that the impending holiday hasn't got me just a tick depressed without a job, and the income to buy them presents. I know it's not all about presents, but to a kid, that's ALL it's about. "What am I gonna GET?" When I was a kid, that's all I thought about leading up to the big day. My kids are no different, and it bothers me that I won't be able to go out and buy them stuff to put under the tree. But I know they will be provided for, and will not be wanting for things to unwrap, but still.

I've been thinking a lot about running an ad in craiglist for laptop repair, and I'm working on a pricelist to be better prepared for questions any potential clients may have. I want to undercut the local competition, which won't be hard for some of the prices these businesses charge, but reading some of the ads already on craigslist, it may be harder than I thought. But I am confident that if I put a good enough ad together, I should be able to drum up some business, and more importantly, some income in the next few months.

It's been refreshingly cold here lately, I'm really having fun with the temperatures dropping, summer is just way too hot. I hope it snows soon, I think it's the most beautiful thing, fresh snow on the ground undisturbed.

I've got a couple of random rants here for ya, gimme some feedback on these if you want, I'm seriously curious about this stuff.........

When you go down the highway, and you see a sign that says "Speed checked by detection devices", are you supposed to think they are using a radar gun, as opposed to, say, the naked eye? "Yep, that there car sure looked like it was goin fast, reckon we should pull him over Officer Bob!" Just saying, isn't it a given that the speed of our cars is checked with SOME sort of detection device? I mean why do they have to spell it out?

Another disturbing, or perhaps pleasant (depending on who you talk to) trend that I've seen recently is filmakers making trailers for their films which are different than the actual film. In other words, the scenes in the trailer differ from the scenes in the film, or worse, don't appear in the film at all! Am I the only one that thinks this is annoying? I mean I get all hyped up for weeks before a movie comes out, and expect to see what I saw in the trailer when I go see the movie, and then nothing! I understand the need to keep moviegoers in suspense, but honestly! And the worst part is, a lot of the time the trailer is funnier than the movie! What's up with that?

Ok enough of that, it's late, and I need to go to bed, talk to you soon!

December 3, 2009

Another day, some more thoughts

It's times like these, late at night, or early in the morning, however you choose to look at it, that I have time to contemplate and reflect on the events of my life as it is at the moment. Sometimes I'm happy about it, sometimes concerned, other times I'm pretty well apathetic. Never seems to be the same from day to day. Whatever the way, these are the times, when everyone else is asleep, that I really feel like I can think things through, without any outside interference, so this is the ideal time for me to write.

I had something I was going to talk about, something about what happened today, but it seems trivial at the moment to me. I don't even remember now what it was. I had a pretty interesting day, starting with getting up earlier than I normally do the take the children to school, something the shrew does much more often than I do. It was different today in that I wasn't in a grumpy mood, as lack of sleep often will bring forth, I was pretty nice for a change. But that wasn't it. There was something else, something that happened. Oh yeah, now I remember. It was the cops showing up at the front door asking about if someone had dialed 911 by accident. I was the only one home at the time, and I said no, since no one had, and then they asked me if there was a female home, as if I had been abusing her or something, they seemed very accusatory. But right then they called the dispatcher, or whatever it is they have, and found out the number that had been called from was from across the street, and they left. Still rattled my chain a little, because I hate even the thought of someone even thinking that I might even remotely be a wife beater. But anyway, such is life sometimes, they were only doing their job, and I applaud the fact that they take the time to check thoroughly to make sure each call is in fact legitimate.

After that happened the rest of the afternoon was pretty routine in picking up the kids from school and getting them to do their homework, etc, until later on, when I had walked away from my computer for a bit, and then when I came back, I was greeted with a surprise. According to my antivirus program, I had somehow contracted a trojan virus while I was away, and it wanted to know what I wanted to do about it. Now being the experienced computer technician I am, it didn't take me long to realize that it wasn't in fact a trojan, but a case of mistaken identity by my antivirus program. A friend of mine was experiencing the same issues I had at the exact same time, so I suspected a fault in the antivirus' virus definition database file, which had been recently automatically updated. To make a long story short, it turned out to be two different virus programs fighting each other, so I uninstalled one of them, and now everything is ok. Anyhow, other than that, today has been pretty routine.

There are a few other things I want to mention. First I want to say thank you to those of you who left comments on my last post, your empathetic and sympathetic words mean a lot. Having said that, however, I would like to point out that much of my situation at this moment is of my own doing, and while there are things I cannot control, there is a lot that I can control, and I only need to get off my duff and do something about it. Sure I have days, like everyone else, when I just feel down and depressed, and feel like I'm in a hole I just can't climb out of, but most of the time, I choose to not let it get to me, to be happy. Feeling sorry for myself in my opinion is simply counterproductive. The way I usually describe it is that I made this bed, and now I have to lay in it. I was the one who gave the shrew the impression (in the beginning) that I was at her beck and call, and now she expects it to be the case, so in some ways, I can't blame her for how she feels, or how she treats me, I basically conditioned her to be that way. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't feel like a "victim". It's mostly my fault I am in this predicament, so while I very much appreciate the sympathy everyone has shown me, I don't feel I am deserving of it. There are other people's situations I have read about here in blogland wherein they truly have been or are the "victim" so to speak, and I personally know several people that right now are feeling emotional pain caused by no fault of theirs. One in particular who knows who they are will understand when I say I am sorry you are going through this, and I sincerely hope I can be of some help, or comfort, if you will allow me to be. You will always have my ear, and my heart goes out to you.

I hope this post finds everyone well, and I hope to chat with you again tomorrow.

December 2, 2009

My next post

It's been a few days since I posted, but mostly just because I haven't been online as much as I'd like these days. I went on that trip to get my brother-in-law's car, which was for the most part uneventful. It was the first time in a very long time that the wife and I slept in a bed together, and away from the kids. Naturally, our instincts kicked in, and we did the deed. No, that was me, doing all the work while she laid there. All about her, how she wants it. I got my orgasm, if you can call it that, and she got hers, but I didn't even get to go in. TMI, I know, sorry, but it's just the way things happen for me with her. I can't say really that I mind all that much, as she decided a couple of years ago to let someone else do that for the better part of two years. It's part of the reason I haven't wanted to do anything with her. It's also one of the main reasons why I don't want to continue being married to her. So it is what it is. Every so often she is useful for sex, but most of the time I don't want to have anything to do with her. She is unreasonable and completely incapable of compromise, so I'm done with it.

Keep in mind this is not intended as a bitch session, these are just the facts. I've already gone through all the emotional crap someone does in a situation like this, I'm just biding my time until the money is available for me to move out. I still haven't gotten a job, but as I posted last week, I intend to start my own laptop repair business, and say screw working for someone else. It's all talk till I actually do it, and it seems I'm pretty good at just talking about stuff. So enough about that.

I've been feeling very unemotional lately, and I like it. The only emotion that I DO seem to have in abundance is anger. Mostly in having to deal with the shrew. Still not right, but the only time I feel anything now seems like when I am angry. The rest of the time I am just fairly even keeled, which is a welcome change from what I was before. I don't let much of anything bother me, but the shrew knows just how to push the right buttons, or should I say I allow her to. I don't have excuses, it is something I still need to learn to control. I'm working on trying to find the balance, logic to emotion, and so far, I've been to both ends of the spectrum, eventually I'll find the middle ground; in my personal opinion, I'm closer to it now than I've ever been.

Anyway, that's a little of what's going on with me right now, not a whole lot really. Life hasn't changed much in recent months, just the way I look at it has. Gone are the days when I would spend an entire post whining or bitching about how bad things are, or who I'm going to blame for what's happening to me. I'm pleased with the way my thought process is progressing, I'm glad I'm finally grasping the concept of HAVING emotions without necessarily BEING emotional. There's a post coming about that, I'm sure I will lay that one out whenever I feel the need to purge again. Until then I hope everyone has a great day, and I'll talk to you soon.

November 27, 2009

If you would please.......

Some of you are probably up already as I write this, at 230 in the morning, getting ready to attack the stores for "Black Friday". I have not yet gone to sleep, as is my normal routine. So if you are going, please be careful, there are always lunatics that will stop at NOTHING to get that gift they just HAVE to have.

I'm going on a little trip later on today, going down to my brother-in-law's house to pick up his car and bring it back home to keep for him while he goes on his fourth deployment to Iraq for a year. I would appreciate everyone keeping him in their thoughts, and maybe offering up a prayer for his safety. The shrew and I will continue to take care of his son and daughter for him while he is gone. They have been with us for several years, ever since his LAST deployment. He has only visited them sporadically in the year and a half or so since he returned from that one, and has not taken them home with him. So they will not really miss him any more than usual, but this means he will really HAVE a reason for not showing up to visit, or for not coming to get them and take them home. I am praying he will return safe and sound, and decide when he gets back that he wants to take them. While I agree with him in some respects that the environment they are in with us may be "better", I firmly believe children should be with their own parents. I understand it would be difficult for him being a single dad, as his ex-wife has no parental rights(hence why the kids are with us), but it's not like he is the only single dad in the Army. There are others, probably in his own unit, and I'm sure if he decided to accept his responsibility as a father, I believe he would find there would be people able to help him and provide support. His daughter, who will turn 5 a few weeks, has for some time now decided she is going to call the wife and I "Mommy and Daddy". Not when he is around fortunately, but I find that disturbing. What else does she have to go on though? We have provided all of the care for her for the greater part of her life. All I'm saying is, a person cannot be considered a parent in a child's eye when they only visit 2 or 3 times a year, and only call on the phone sporadically at best. I'm sure most of you know by now that I have 3 daughters of my own, and I just can't see myself going as long as he does(on purpose) not seeing or talking with his children. They are missing out on so much already not having their own mother around, it's just so unfair to them. Please let him return safe........

The other person who needs your thoughts and prayers is his mother, my mother-in-law. If something were to happen to him, I believe she would literally go insane. As a father, I understand the fear of losing one's child, but I don't have the fear she does, as mine are not yet grown, and are obviously NOT in the military. While she and I don't always get along, and she's a real pain in the ass a lot of the time, I truly love her like she was my own mother; hell, she's done loads more to help me whenever she could, which is more than I can say for my own mother. 

So if you would pray to whatever god you believe in for my brother-in-law's safety, his children, and for my mother-in-law's sanity, I would be forever grateful. Thank you.

November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving, and some NOT so random rants

I CANNOT believe it is 1 in the morning already! Feels much much earlier.

I want to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving, and hope everyone has a great time with their family.

I got outside today, and cut up some wood for the grill/smoker, which we used to smoke one of the turkeys we are having, and also a ham. I used a saw at first, but there is just something about swinging an axe, so I got the double headed one out we have and went to town. I can't explain the feeling I get using an axe, it's like something natural, like I was meant to do it. Maybe I was a woodsman in a former life.

Anyway, thought I'd bring ya'll a couple of not so random rants for the holiday, and here they are.

I am a big fan of stuffing, and true to it's name, you stuff the turkey with it. But dressing? What do you "dress" with it?

What about cranberry "sauce"? You eat it all by itself, so how does that make it a sauce?

The President "pardoned" a turkey, and he gets a trip to Disney World to live in a petting zoo. Unbeknowst  to everyone, the turkey is thinking: "Get my head lopped off and end it quickly, or send me to a theme park to get manhandled by 5 year olds for the rest of my days; hmmm, let me see....................The union is sooooooo gonna hear from my lawyer!"

One last thing....

The consistency of pumpkin pie and cheesecake are almost identical, so why do we call one pie and the other cake? Is it because cheese pie just doesn't have the same ring to it? Try it, say it out loud both ways.

November 24, 2009

The call, or the pull

I've been getting a call lately, a pull if you will. I feel like there's a job in my very near future. I've put in the applications, but it's not that. No one has called, no pun intended. No, the "call" I am getting is the feeling like it's time I started my own business, one doing what I love the most, fixing laptops. I can potentially make a crapload of money with that, once I build up a clientele.

I will still need to have a regular job until that happens, but I think eventually that is going to be the only job I will have. I know I'm just talking sheer speculation here, but it's just this feeling I have. It could end up totally different than that of course.

My posts lately have been very unRaydenlike. They are that way by design. I feel different. As is inevitable in life, changes happen. I can't tell you why, and to me, it's a good change. There has always been too much unbridled emotion in my life, too much fear, being afraid of how I am received. Rest assured, at my core, I am still the same person, but those feelings no longer rule my life, I am not nearly as afraid.

I started this blog with the intention of "bringing the house down" in one aspect, and to chronicle my development mentally, emotionally, and spiritually in another. One part of me wanted this blog to be entertaining, or interesting, so much so that people would be on the edge of their seats waiting for the next post. That is one of the major changes that have occurred in the time I have written here. I no longer have much of a concern for writing something that I think people will go "gaga" over. Now I feel better just writing what I think on any given day, interesting, fascinating, dull and boring, whatever. I am fortunate at this point to say that there are 43 people who at the very least have a passing interest in what I have to say, and for that, I would like to say that I'm grateful. It helps to know that someone is listening.

The other part of why I started this blog is the one that intrigues me the most however. I started writing down my thoughts here in late July, and now it is late November. It hasn't been a cut and dry "step by step" process, but there has definitely been change. I'm happy about it, I have a clearer sense of self; for this has really been a journey of self discovery, one that is still ongoing. A learning process if you will. I love to learn.

I made a decision. I decided to write what I thought, not so much what I feel. This is the result. Oh, the feelings are still there, but I threw a tarp over them and bungee corded it down real tight, to keep them a little more in control. There are more changes in the air, but you know, there is ALWAYS change in the air. That's not profound, or dramatic, it's just a fact. Sure, I can "feel" if there is a major change coming, but in all actuality, the feeling is there all the time. So it's not something I should see as profound, at least not EVERY time. Or maybe I should focus on the change itself, not the fact that there is a "big spooky change coming!" Whoooooooo!

It's funny how life is so much better, and yet nothing in my mundane world has changed at all. Attitude is everything. I still post about my feelings, but not always the bad ones. Tomorrow is another day, the first day of the rest of my life, so I'm going to make it a good one.

Talk to you tomorrow!

November 21, 2009

How is everyone tonight?

Hello blog world, how are you tonight? Good? Great!

To those of you who are sick, I hope you feel better soon, seems there are many colds and flu bugs running around.

I just decided to write tonight as I am just about to watch a movie and then retire myself. Night at the Museum 2, I've watched about an hour of it already, and it's been a good one so far.

I've had a lot going on in my mind lately, not much in the real world. I've been really up and down emotionally, but I have again learned something about myself. I'd like to say it's been nice to have this blog to write things down in, to let them out to the world as it were, whatever world this is.

Seems like there's a lot of buzz about Oprah ending her show, and is it 2011 I hear? Does anyone else NOT care about this? Did everyone think she was going to do it forever or something? Just my opinion.

Kids are selfish brats. Only a kid makes a birthday card for their grandmother and cries because they don't get to use the same stuff the other kids do, I mean really, grandma isn't going to love it any less just because it doesn't look like all the others' stuff. It occurred to me that kids don't make cards for birthdays and other holidays for the grownups to tell them they love them, instead, it's yet another opportunity to grab the attention, a way to make themselves feel "special" somehow. I had to tell the kid that his self worth does not hinge on foamy sticky backed letters. Grandma will love him anyhow. Jeez. He did get to use them of course, but still, the lesson is there. How selfish are we as humans to allow ourselves to get upset over something that is supposed to be a completely selfless act? I know I shouldn't expect a kid to understand that, but I mean, why not? Maybe if we learned as kids that our self worth has nothing to do with what others think, but it is in ourselves, we would not grow up to be selfish, needy, and spineless adults. I'm one that knows from experience, my whole life until very recently was just like this, and 98% of it was because of feeling inadequate, I was so worried about what others thought of me. I let others determine my self worth.

Well enough of that, I'll get off my soapbox now. Hell what's a soapbox anyway? Why can't I just say I'm done preaching and that be good enough? Interesting isn't it? I said that because it's what I thought people would want to read. But it's not about that. So, done preaching, end of story.

This is something. I went to the kitchen to make something to eat just a minute ago, and while I was doing that, I went out to the den to check out the Star Trek Enterprise rerun on tv, then came back to the kitchen. I heard a noise coming from the bathroom (it's adjacent to the kitchen)that sounded like the shower running. I decided to go see who in the world is taking a shower at 2 in the morning, and to my surprise, the cold water line going to the sink had turned into a geyser! I caught it before it made a major mess, but what if I hadn't gone to make something to eat, and had gone to bed instead? Holy moley! It may have been hours before anyone noticed, and what a mess that would have been. That's just amazing to me. The timing could not have been better. I got the valve turned off, and will deal with fixing it tomorrow, but wow, that was just cool.

I'm going to turn on that movie now, and then go to bed, but when I have something else to say I'll be back.

November 20, 2009

The post that almost wasn't

I almost didn't do this post.

Every time I post, it's about my feelings. Even a post I do that I swear up and down won't be about feelings, it will always end up being about them anyway.

I just don't want to do it. I have been mulling over my feelings for 3 days now, and I've come to no conclusions. I saw my brothers yesterday, they stopped to drop off some of my stuff. To make a long story short, they were traveling out west to take my parent's stuff from one house to another, and since they had some of my stuff from when I was a kid, they stopped by here to drop it off. Well they would have had their rental truck not broken down an hour down the road. So we (meaning myself, the shrew, and the kids) went to go meet them while the truck was being repaired. I got 8 boxes of stuff.

Well I got home too late last night to really look through it all, so I did most of the looking through today. As you can imagine it was quite a stroll down memory lane. High school yearbooks, pictures from grade school, every scrap of art I ever did, oh and that drum I mentioned a few posts back, the one from the '76 fourth of July parade. That was quite a thing to behold, still in excellent condition, and now it is in my possession, amazing, after 33 years. There were some things I had forgotten about, like two marionettes I played with as a child, a battery powered boat, and assorted odds and ends like my baseball glove, and some books and magazines.

The things that brought back the most memories by far were the 3 yearbooks, well 4 if you count the one from basic training for the Navy. Two of the books were from the high school I graduated from, and the other was from the Christian school I went to in the 4th and 5th grades. 1989, 1988, and 1981. I saw pictures of those I saw in classes every day, most of whom I had forgotten, but it all came flooding back just leafing through those books for the first time in 20 years. Then, I started reading the "autographs". There was a recurring theme. "You are a good friend." "You are the nicest guy." "You are so sweet, don't ever change, and don't be so down on yourself". Oh and my personal favorite, "Good luck with all the girls". See, I was a bit of a nerd in school, always the teacher's pet, getting the A's and B's, but had no luck with women. You might say I had no clue how to land a date. Not that my mother would have let me go on one, but at least I was making the attempt at procuring a girlfriend. And I liked EVERY girl it seemed. When one would shoot me down, I would just move along to the next one that struck my fancy, or more likely the one who showed even the slightest bit of interest in me. Ridiculous behavior, deplorable, and a little psychotic, if I do say so myself, it's a wonder ANY of the girls ever talked to me.

But I digress. It made me realize that when it came to women, I tended to be a little obsessive, and possessive; if there was a girl I thought I could "acquire", she was all I thought about, and for all intents and purposes, she was MINE. I was jealous of ANYONE who talked to her, or showed any interest in her. I'm sad to say that this thought process did carry over into my adult life, but only through seeing it with those adult eyes and looking back at the fool I was was I able to see that it was something I have done all my life.

The thing is, now I have a completely different idea as to what "love" is, and not just as in the differences from a child to an adult, but a really different way to approach how I feel the emotion. What I felt before, what I thought was love, was nothing more than infatuation, even lust. Not to mention the dire need I had for love and affection from the opposite sex to feel "complete", to feel "validated". I'm not going to go into it right now, I just don't have the words for it. Suffice it to say I have felt love, real love, and it's nothing like what I thought before, or what I ever thought it could be.

I don't want to talk about feelings. Logic has it's place, alongside the emotions. The memories I re-lived today and just my state of mind in the last few days, maybe a week or so, has me thinking I'm ready to move on. I have never felt before like I do now.

I guess I know now that I can let go. Yes it will be sad, I will be upset, I may even cry. But I can let it go. This isn't one of those 'I'm losing everything I ever loved, holy crap what am I gonna do' feelings. It's a sense of nothing lasts forever, and change is inevitable. Those that love me still will, and those that don't probably never did, but regardless of what others feel, it's about how I feel about myself that really counts. I no longer have a desperate need to be loved, for I have embraced who and what I am, and that alone gives me the thought process to let things go.

There is no need for the excessive flood of emotion. The obsessions and out of control way I dealt with my feelings was wrong, and if I had not seen it before, I do now. If I had one way to describe it, the words would read something like "man discovers inner adult, and puts him in charge, and puts the child to bed." That's really been the thought process for so long, one that has been very juvenile. I don't even think I had a clue what that was up until recently. I have had an epiphany or two along the way, and maybe this is one too, but either way, as I think about it more and more, ( a counterproductive operation in itself) I sense a change taking place, something profound yet so simple.

And that's what brings me back to the post that almost wasn't. I didn't really want to post about my feelings, but I just need to purge them from time to time, and so this was what happened. I've always been dramatic in my writing, and a little preachy, always wanting to make a point, give everyone that "bang" that hits 'em right between the eyes. Sorry about that folks. Sometimes you just want to read something because you want to read about someone, not get a "moral to the story" every single time. I actually had the audacity to say I know how everyone feels, that we are all the same. Oh we ARE the same all right. We know whether we want to read something that is self righteous, or go to the next blog with something more entertaining. Now that's not to say I'm putting what I wrote before in the garbage heap, it's what I felt like writing that day. I just read my own stuff later sometimes and say "what the heck was I thinking?"; "but you know, it's pretty good for that day". Cause I change every day, little things, details, I learn new things that change me.

So here I am, just writing. The weather has been good, a little rain here and there, the temperatures dropping a bit, but it's been good. My brothers seemed to be in good spirits, and the stuff they brought was amazing. The older I get it seems we look less and less alike. The kids had fun spending time with them, however brief it was, after all, one of them had not even met my youngest brother. The last time I saw him was 10 years ago, before she was born. So I was happy they finally met face to face.

I guess I should end this now, it's getting late/early. 7 o'clock comes pretty early.

November 16, 2009

Another song

This is another song by the group Shinedown I came across called "Call Me". The lyrics are pretty close to how I feel in my current situation, which many of you know about. If not, read some of my earlier posts about the "shrew". There are some parts that are not at all how I feel about that, but they do apply to how I felt at other times in my life, oddly enough. This song has so much more meaning than just the lyrics, I mean without the music or the presentation as it is, it doesn't pack the same punch. Every time I hear it I just about cry. That's saying something too, as even in private I am not emotionally moved to tears very often. Anyone surprised to hear me say that?

Wrap me in a bolt of lightning
Send me on my way still smiling
Maybe that's the way I should go,
Straight into the mouth of the unknown
I left the spare key on the table
Never really thought I'd be able to say
I merely visit on the weekends
I lost my whole life and a dear friend

I've said it so many times
I would change my ways
No, nevermind
God knows I've tried

Call me a sinner, call me a saint
Tell me it's over I'll still love you the same
Call me your favorite, call me the worst
Tell me it's over I don't want you to hurt
It's all that I can say. So, I'll be on my way

I finally put it all together,
But nothing really lasts forever
I had to make a choice that was not mine,
I had to say goodbye for the last time
I kept my whole life in suitcase,
Never really stayed in one place
Maybe that's the way it should be,
You know I live my life like a gypsy

I've said it so many times
I would change my ways
No, nevermind
God knows I've tried

Call me a sinner, call me a saint
Tell me it's over I'll still love you the same
Call me your favorite, call me the worst
Tell me it's over I don't want you to hurt
It's all that I can say. So, I'll be on my way

I'll always keep you inside, you healed my
Heart and my life... And you know I try.

Call me a sinner, call me a saint
Tell me it's over I'll still love you the same
Call me your favorite, call me the worst
Tell me it's over I don't want you to hurt
It's all that I can say. So, I'll be on my way
So, I'll be on my way
So, I'll be on my way

November 15, 2009

I don't know

Tonight I feel like I am moving through the middle of the transition of this change that's taking place, you know, the one a lot of people have been feeling lately. The energy of the universe is constantly changing, but at this particular moment, it seems to be a bigger change than "normal".

Right now it feels like the eye of the storm. Nothing really changing, or just subtlety so, but the knowledge that the "rest" of the big shift is on the horizon is very prevalent.

I'm really getting upset about not having a job. Frustrated is probably a better word. Now I don't want to go off on some "oh woe is me" tangent, as that would just do nothing but put everyone in a bad mood, and be counterproductive for me, but I just wanted to put that out there. I just need to try harder, and I'm sure it will happen. At least that's what the cards say. The cards never lie, so for me, I know there is a job in my near future, and I'll be sure to give you all the excruciating details when it happens.

There's not much going on in my mundane world at all right now, other than the usual hustle and bustle of having five kids in the house. I've had a lot of time to think, which in and of itself has been an amazing thing. I've been noticing an increase in my awareness. The "vibes" in a room, the emotional state of someone I'm around, I don't know how to explain it, but it feels like I can "hear" everything. I told you in my last post about a song I found for raising incredible amounts of energy. I have noticed as I have practiced doing it knowing what I was actually doing, it feels different. I have always had my "power" songs, ever since I was a teen. I have always felt that shiver down my spine while listening to one, but now, it's my whole body. I can feel it in my hands, I can really feel the energy, it's an awesome feeling, and so humbling at the same time. It's a feeling of knowing I have been given a gift, and I am honored and privileged to pass it along to others who might need it. I want to heal others, and I want to take negative energy they have and turn it into positive. I hope that no one reading this thinks I'm bat shit crazy now, because this is real. I feel like I was born to be an energy "processing plant", intuitively sensing it, and moving it where it needs to go. That's what a channeler is, right? I plan to meditate on this, and see what the universe has to say about it.

I've also really tried to dive right into my studies on the tarot, trouble is, I haven't got a deck. So I am improvising for the moment with a regular deck of playing cards, and we seem to be getting along well. It's like they understand, and are doing the best they can, just as I am. It is my understanding that it was meant to happen for me this way, to help me to better understand that it's not so much the cards' magic, but my own magickal energy and intuition that is what I'm utilizing. The human condition has always been something I've felt I had a sort of intuition about, somehow I just "know" how things are going to progress, how people feel. I feel like it's a "coming home" of sorts that I started learning about the tarot, like it was what I was meant to do. Not sure where that comes from, but it's a strong feeling I have.

Wait I can't be a channeler AND a tarot card reader can I?

I don't know.

Any ideas anyone?

November 14, 2009

A Song

I came across a song I hadn't heard in a long time last night, and the lyrics are just incredible to me. The song is called "Burning Bright" by the group Shinedown. It's songs like this that I use if I want to raise a lot of energy, and the reference to the light and dark, it's just "me".

This is the best "vid" I could find on Youtube, most are of live performances and have very poor sound quality.

I feel like there is no need for conversation
Some questions are better left without a reason
And I would rather reveal myself than my situation
Now and then I consider, my hesitation

The more the light shines through me
I pretend to close my eyes
The more the dark consumes me
I pretend I'm burning, burning bright

I wonder if the things I did were just to be different
To spare myself of the constant shame of my existence
And I would surely redeem myself in my desperation
Here and now I'll express, my situation

The more the light shines through me
I pretend to close my eyes
The more the dark consumes me
I pretend I'm burning bright

The more the light shines through me
I pretend to close my eyes
The more the dark consumes me
I pretend I'm burning

There's nothing ever wrong but nothing's ever right
Such a cruel contradiction
I know I cross the lines its not easy to define
I'm born to indecision
There's always something new some path I'm supposed to choose
With no particular rhyme or reason

The more the light shines through me
I pretend to close my eyes
The more the dark consumes me
I pretend I'm burning bright
The more the light shines through me
I pretend to close my eyes
The more the dark consumes me
I pretend I'm burning

I feel like there is no need for conversation

November 12, 2009

Veteran's Day

I went to my kid's elementary school yesterday for the veteran's day lunch. We vets get to eat with our kid. Nothing special. We could do that any day. I mean yeah, if you get there at the right time there may be a class that's singing or something, but for the most part it's just a time for the vet to sit and eat lunch with their child or grandchild. 

Every year since my kids started at this school I have done this. Every year. I did serve in Desert Storm in the Navy, so I am in fact a veteran, but for me, it's so anticlimactic. You've heard the saying "If you like your freedom, thank a vet". Well I can tell you with all assuredness that you have very little to thank ME for in having your freedom. I was a lowly peon on a lowly ship that did very little in the cause for freedom. It was our job to escort ships, look for mines, and generally just be a military presence in the Persian Gulf in case the bad guys decided to start anything with a merchant vessel. However, if someone DID start something, we were only armed with a pitiful 3 inch gun, so the damage we could dish out would in fact be less than spectacular if we hit anything at all. We had a missile launcher, but even at that time the missiles we carried were quickly becoming obsolete, and were rarely used. Besides, with the boats the Iraqi forces were using, and yes I said boats, a missile would be ineffective. Well actually if it hit one it would be major overkill, but as they were not designed for such small targets I doubt they would have even come close. The gun too, therefore, would be overkill at best. The Navy designates any craft longer than 100 feet as a ship, and anything shorter as a boat. Most of the stuff the Iraqis were using probably didn't reach 50 feet, at least the stuff I saw. So the best weapons we had at our disposal were a couple of 50 caliber machine guns and a 25 mm cannon. Makes one feel REALLY safe, lemme tell you. That's what happens when you take a ship originally designed to be a Coast Guard vessel and turn it into a fairly decent antisubmarine warfare platform. It sucks as a surface combatant. Got great sonar, some torpedo tubes, and the ability to launch a helicopter with a torpedo attached, but little else in the way of weaponry or armor. Oh yeah, the hull was only about a half an inch thick. Great armor. So someone explain to me why we needed to "escort" the Iowa class battleship Wisconsin (BB-64) with its 16 inch thick armor? Oh yeah, I forgot, they had really crappy sonar, and couldn't have found a mine unless they hit it first. Not the greatest way to minesweep.

This was the ship I was stationed on, the USS McInerney (FFG-8) The missile launcher is up there in the front, the gun is up on the uppermost deck about in the middle.

This is a pic of the gun firing, this one is on the USS Boone (FFG-28).

This is a pic of the missile launcher firing a missile, this one is onboard the USS George Philip (FFG-12). Well was, she's been decommissioned.

This is the battleship Wisconsin (BB-64). I have no idea what the contraption is on the front there, but you can see the massive guns these ships were armed with.

This is a photo of both classes of ships next to each other so you can see the tremendous difference in size. The ships are the USS Halyburton (FFG-40) and the USS Iowa (BB-61). The FFG's, or Fast Frigate Guided Missile, are 450 feet long, whereas the battleship is almost 890 feet.

So anyhow, we were out there doing our duty for God and Country, and you know what my job was? To keep the diesel generators wiped down, watch and make sure all the guages read where they were supposed to, and keep a watch on all the other "auxiliary" equipment to make sure it was running properly. Now on a Navy ship, "auxiliary" equipment pretty much means everything that isn't the main engines. With the exception of the waste treatment equipment. Thankless job for the poor bastards that had to deal with that. Sewage, yeeesh. Anyway, for me this meant that I had to assist in monitoring the air conditioning equipment, refrigeration equipment, air compressors (both low and high pressure), the hydraulic steering gear and fin stabilizers (needed as the ship was not designed to be on the open ocean originally, see above), and my personal favorite, the desalinization plants. Making fresh water was a neverending task while underway. It got used up in a hurry, and we could never seem to keep up with the demand. I was the guy that stood that watch on occasion, but for the most part, I was standing watch on everything else. And that's my point, folks, to me, it was just me doing my job. The ship required a lot of equipment to keep running, and it was my job along with about 30 other guys to make sure the ship was supplied with electricity and water, no small task, but like I said, to me, and a lot of the other guys, it was just a job we did each and every day, just like everyone back home.

I don't think the soldiers on the front lines in the myriad of wars in the history of the United States could say that it was "just a job". These guys were and are in the line of fire, really in danger. I never once got shot at, never once felt like I could die at any moment. Well there were the mines, I mean yeah, we could have hit one, and because I was working in engineering, I would probably been the first one to "buy it", so I guess I was in danger, but that was such an "IF". For soldiers on the front lines, it's more of a "when" in my opinion. For me, veterans are people who put themselves in harms way to bring freedom to those who don't have it, get shot at and killed doing their "job".

So I am a "veteran", but I'm thanking the soldiers today and every day for giving me MY freedom.

Oh and one last photo, to show you the amazing firepower of a battleship compared to a frigate. This is just ONE of the guns firing!

*all pics courtesy of*

Post coming

Just a note to say I am working on a post I had hoped to be finished before now, involving veteran's day.

I have a lot to say on that, and I am including pictures, but it is taking longer than I'd hoped to finish.

I apologize and hope everyone will enjoy it when it IS complete.

Oh and look for Random Rants again soon.

Have a great day everyone! Brightest blessings and love and light to you all!


November 10, 2009

The post of a lifetime, my lifetime

I've had this post rolling around in my head for quite some time now, and I hope I can get it all down.

My last post was just the beginning rantings on how I see the world and the people in it, and I'd like to thank Jupiter for mentioning it in her last post, and for helping to inspire this one. I'd also like to thank Bella for her constructive criticism and her constant support. You both have my gratitude and love.

The thing is folks, I WAS really scared to even broach the subject, because in a lot of ways I don't think everyone feels like me. It has been brought to my attention lately through some pretty heated arguments with family members that I had a pretty fouled up childhood. The way I view life and people is very possibly different than that of most of you. And then again, maybe, just maybe, it's pretty much the same.

My parents were very devout Christians, still are, especially my mother. Any conversation we have will inevitably come back to something to do with God and what he says I ought to be doing. My entire childhood was based on the idea that "God's" way was the only way, and that anything else was straight from the devil. She even called me the "antichrist" one time because of something I did, or maybe it was because of the attitude I had with her, I don't know, but anyway, that was the general "vibe" of things.

Now I don't want this to turn into a whinefest of how bad my childhood was for me, but I need to explain and tell this stuff just so you can understand my thought process.

Many, and I do mean many, of my childhood memories are of the "bad" things that happened to me. I remember some of the good, but the greater majority of the stuff I remember really vividly were times I would call traumatic for me. Not your death and destruction kind of trauma, just the kinds of things that scare the pants off of you when you are a kid. Fear, yeah, that's it. That was a recurring theme for me growing up. My parents seemed to have a knack for making me be afraid of them, and of life in general.

Here's the breakdown:

Approx. 3 years old, after coming home from day care with the lady that lived behind us: I had had breakfast at home, and had then gone to her house and eaten again. My mother found out about this, and became furious with me, saying something about "she's going to think I don't feed you, don't you ever do that again!" I was 3! How the hell was I supposed to know that eating food I was offered was wrong?

5 years old, 4th of July parade, 1976, the Bicentennial year(yeah I know, I'm so dating myself): I was dressed in colonial garb, carrying a drum, beating on it as my parents dragged a homemade float that looked like a birthday cake behind them. We had saved toilet paper roll tubes for months before that so they could be used as "candles" on the float. I had wandered too far ahead of them pulling this float, and my mom yelled out my first AND middle name to me in this blood curdling scream I had never heard from her before. I got so scared I ran back to her quickly so as to not bear too much of the brunt of whatever wrath she was to bestow upon me for doing something so terrible as to get too far ahead. I knew by this point that when she used my middle name I was in deep doo doo. And speaking of doo doo..........

Again, 5 years old, after a trip to Kmart in which I didn't make it to the bathroom in time and did a number 2 in my pants: I am placed in the shower with my underwear still on while my mother berates me as she has been doing the whole way home from Kmart, and then she proceeds to take the soiled undergarments off of me and rubs them in my face. Yes, folks, disgusting, and traumatic as hell to this already scared kid, and to this day she denies she did it. This is the incident that when I have discussed my childhood with others I have been told I was abused, mentally if nothing else. But as a child, what did I know about abuse? To me this was mom's normal behavior. Needless to say I still have issues with knowing where the bathrooms are in Kmart.

These are just the first 3 of many other occasions in my childhood that I remember being scared of my parents, especially my mother. My dad wasn't much better. There was this one time I got kicked from behind into a cupboard full of pots and pans because of something I did, don't remember what it was, but that one at least I find to be a little funny. At any rate, as you have probably already surmised, I was brought up in a VERY strict environment, but not only that, I was expected to be the brainiac among my siblings, as I had shown a certain skill with academics.

I guess at this point I should back up and mention that I have an older sister and two younger brothers. Now of course to my mother this meant that for me being the eldest son that I had responsibilities according to the bible to be better, more prepared, the one that ultimately will inherit the job of patriarch of the family (and to get the lion's share of the inheritance too mind you, don't know yet how that's going to work out). So when I was tested at a young age to be placed in the "gifted" classes at school, and I "failed" the maturity part of the test, and was not placed with the gifted kids, it meant of course that I was a complete failure and I had made her and dad look like they had not raised me right. You tell me what 5 or 6 year old boy is "mature". Anyhow, from that day onward, for the duration of my schooling up to and including high school, I was still expected to achieve straight A's in all of my classes, regardless of the subject matter. As far as I knew, the test results had shown me to have a superior intellect to my peers, and I was expected to use it. But what to my surprise happens when I DO use my "gift", and get the A, and the other children don't, and I act proud of myself, even a little arrogant? I again get in trouble. And the real kicker? Those test results showed me to be above average, sure, but not exceedingly so. And not a whisper on there about any "maturity" testing. I know, as I have finally seen the actual results. Just got the paper about it a few weeks ago from my parents as they were cleaning out some stuff and they thought I might like to have it along with a bunch of other paperwork from that time period (report cards and the like). Imagine learning 33 years later that you are not in fact a genius, but only mildly advanced. Well I take that back, I have taken IQ tests since that time and found that it was in the 145-150 range, so I DID know, but that was just the icing on the proverbial cake.

Anyway, so there I am, at the young age of 6, already with self esteem issues. I'm damned if i do, and damned if I don't. You want me to do these things, but it's wrong of me to be proud of myself. Every little move I make is somehow a problem. My mom berated me and hounded me constantly for how I ate, how I talked, even for how I breathed on one occasion. What was I supposed to think? I still had no clue that this behavior from a parent might be considered abuse. I was afraid to be around her and dad, but mostly her. I didn't want to move, was too scared to do anything, for fear of her coming down on me. And what made matters worse was that as "biblical" as she was, she believed that dad was the head of the household, and therefore the responsibility to administer discipline fell to him. So if I got in trouble for something, it meant hearing it from her, the lectures for two hours, and then waiting fearfully for dad to come home and hear it from him and to get the subsequent spanking. I can't tell you how many hours as a child I spent just sitting in fear waiting for dad to come home knowing how mad he'd be, and how bad the spanking would hurt.

As you can see, fear was a very big part of life for me, and to make matters worse, I was taught by my parents to be afraid of everything and everybody in the "world" as well. Oh they were evil, from the devil, God forbid we eat or speak or play with the heathens that plagued the planet. If they did not go to church, or the activity was not church related, I wasn't going to be present. I guess that's why I missed out on Boy Scouts, or sports. Mom said football was too violent, so that was a no go, heck the only sports they watched on tv was the Olympics when they came around. Of course I had no "natural" athletic talent either, so what was the point in me even trying? Couldn't swing a bat, or kick a ball, practicing and doing it with my peers would not have improved my skill at all. Another thing was clothes. Just because Jimmy wears this, doesn't mean that I should too. Cool? I don't need to look "cool". God says we should be in the world, but not "of" it. Oh and don't forget, you might step on something and hurt your foot, so you have to wear shoes at ALL times, even at home, indoors. And music? Only classical, not a whisper of another tune except for maybe Neil Diamond. They apparently had "their" song by him, so on occasion that record would go on the turntable. The radio however was always and only tuned to the local public radio/classical music station for us to listen to during dinner. I missed out on SO many things growing up because of their very completely narrowminded view of what was acceptable for their children to be exposed to.

Now I ask you, had you been me, and were already deathly afraid to even move around your parents, do you think it would have entered your mind to try to sneak out and do the things you really wanted to do? Oh sure, I thought about it, but I was just to paralyzed by the fear of what would happen to me if caught that I simply did nothing, and took whatever they dished out.

What I am getting at in all of this is that most of you did not have a childhood like this, but you did have one, and did a lot of the same things I did, and felt a lot of the same way I did too, right? No? Okay, so I was "sheltered" as a child. Does that mean that now I don't have any idea of what goes on? Of what  people are like? Quite the contrary. I spent the greater part of my childhood observing, unable to participate. Watching others while they did what I wanted so badly to do, and observed as they succeeded or failed, and how they reacted to it. And when my father wasn't angry at me for something, he was doing a bang up job of teaching me stuff about how he saw people, and what he thought life was about. He is and was to me a good judge of character, he had a job that required him to be one. The president of the local chapter of the union in the chemical plant. AFL-CIO or something. He was the guy that had to get the management of the company and the representatives of the members of the union to sit down and agree on plans of action to deal with grievances from folks on either side. He was an kind of arbiter. Of course he was also one of those union members, a common worker in the plant, so it was in his best interest to make things work. So I did find out a thing or two about how people settle arguments, how to use logic instead of worrying about how you feel about something, and how to determine that this guy or that guy is lying through his teeth, he has no intention of doing what he says. I gained a lot of knowledge on basic human emotions, and how people deal with them, especially in a perceived "volatile" environment.

Oh and we did go camping as a family every summer, so I was taught how to fish and build a fire and basically live without technology (well most of it anyway). And we went to all the historical monuments and tourist attractions up and down the east coast it seemed and went to Niagara Falls, so I did get out and "see the world" in some respects. Sheltered, yes, maybe, but there were lots of places I went, and things I saw and did that the other kids surely didn't see or do, not all of them at least.

It has been 20 years since I left home, but of course the memories are still there, and the upbringing I had has shaped me into what I am today. I have lived another lifetime since then, and probably learned double what I did in that time. My ideas about how people in general will behave under certain circumstances has not changed very much, but has been augmented by 20 more years of life experience.

All this talking and I still haven't said what I meant to say in the beginning. I believe that each of us is the same, we all have the same basic emotions and the same desires for our lives. What is different is which of those emotions we have decided to make as the core of who we are. Even someone who appears to be unemotional has in fact decided to be apathetic, which IS an emotion. Mine for most of my life was fear. Now it's more love than anything else, but until very recently I was even fearful about that. Either way, in reading blogs, or observing and listening to people as I go through life, I find myself more and more realizing that I am not that much different than everyone else, except in the way I have chosen to take my experiences and incorporate them into my interactions with others. My feelings are much the same. So before I judge someone for showing a feeling I think is "wrong" for a situation, I'm going to sit back and think if I were them, with their life, would I not do the same? My reactions internally say I feel one feeling, but I've been taught to show something else. Or maybe I've been taught to show exactly the emotion I feel, and to show it to the extreme. Feelings are never wrong or right, they are what we are, and we are just a product of our experiences. My experiences might be different, but my feelings are the same, and I think I might just feel the same way as you.