One reason is weather. We have transitioned out of the 4-months of hell that hits East Texas on the last day of May each year and then doesn’t leave until the first of October. During that window, no matter how you walk (slow, fast, clinging to shade, crawling, or whatever) you’re still going to work up a sweat getting the mail.
But with the temps here in the mid 70’s this week, going to the mailbox is a real joy.
And one of the other reasons is we never know who is going to send us what.
The first pleasant surprise was a book that arrived in the mail…and it sounds like my kind of title: The Ice Cream Lover’s Diet. Which you can read more about over at the book’s website which is (coincidentally) www.icecreamloversdiet.com.
The book – the true life adventure of Katja Gwynn – tells how she managed to lose 70-pounds(!!!) on a diet consisting of ice cream.
But not just any ice cream. There’s a way to do ice cream which will free you from pounds – and there’s a way not.
Her husband, Stephen, a regular reader, is helping on the next phase of their project which is setting up the manufacturing of the ice cream mix so people can munch on something fresh and good while they are shedding points.
I wanted to mention it as something to put on the list as a late stocking stuffer, or as a personal workbook for January since eating at home (and saving money by not going out) will likely be on everyone’s agenda in the next few months, if not weeks.
The next envelope came from John, a fellow ham (VE2) who’s in Champlain, NY..thank you.
Then came the “annual Christmas letter” from my life-long pal up in Gig Harbor. He and the Mrs. may be playing real estate roulette in 2016 and if they do, it will weigh on our decision where to live.
In the meantime, I was honored that they included a picture of my buddy, his son and his son’s wife standing in front of the Beechcrate. You may recall his son was up at Wichita Falls and we flew from here to thar during his last visit. The son’s now driving C-17s around the Pacific Rim for Uncle’s Air Force. Although that means living in Alaska for the kids, it is closer to the North Pole which seems to me would be useful this time of year.
Panama and his Lady/Intended sent us a card.
And there was a beaut from the Landry’s as well.
Three interest-free credit card offers and a couple of local ad flyers rounded out the mail run. When you live the monastic life of the Order of Profits, and spend long stretches praying before the Arc of the Spreadsheets, the walk to the mail[box holds all the excitement of a Klondike Gold Strike..
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Now the problem comes out: What do WE do about cards in return?
I never seem to do Christmas cards well. A few times I’ve sent out Christmas in July cards. These begin with a not: “Hi (so-and-so) I have not been able to sleep for six-months trying to find a suitable card to return since your magnificent piece of art….” blah, blah, blah…
I suppose there are a couple of reasons for it…not the least of which was when I was young, my late father would take an annual Christmas picture. He would develop it in our darkroom – yes, that’s where the 2 1/4X 3 1/4 Speed Graphic came from.
The old Seattle Art Supply used to be one of the few places where you could buy sheet film for the S/G portrait camera. We’d walk there – it was just above Chinatown. And it was one of the few places that had pre-printed “Season’s Greetings” on one side of the card with emulsion on the other.
In fact, the earliest card I could find was when only my older sister and I were around. The younger sister hadn’t been born yet. Note that I was referred to as “Bud” which we will get to in our Time Anchor discussion presently.
The family has always had a penchant for planning and our parent’s goal was to have three kids, each pretty close to 2.5 years apart. I know there was a reason for that, but I can’t seem to remember what. Part of thre American Dream which we used to have? The family was into planning. Maniacally so, at least in my DNA’s case.
Many of the Christmas Picture sessions were not particularly enjoyable for the models (us kids). I would pull a sisters hair, the photographer would have us doing complicated poses (one year it was threading popcorn for the tree which used to be done) and sometimes it was too dark, too cold, trying to snow, or whatever. People did love the cards, though.
Still, going back through the few I have left, it’s nice to see that was a tradition for a while.
Lots of people have seasonal media addictions. Take my buddy up in Gig Harbor, WA. His Christmas letters tell a good swath of his life story…though I have to admit I haven’t saved them.
Haven’t needed to…if there’s something missing, or I can’t remember a detail about this or that, I just pick up the phone….
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“Ure point to this insane ramble?”
Well, therein lies the great ponder of this morning: Do you have any seasonal “media or remembrance things” that you do? Is there a family recording, video, picture? And what about going forward?
I like the fact that the old-time photographs are still around, easily scanned, and fun to look at.
But as I look at my pending photo, video, and audio archiving project for Christmas weekend, I have to wonder “Gee, is the work we put into preserving old memories (family, events, yada, yada) really all worth it?”
Part of the personal archiving is setting up a “cloud” here so our kids can access and see back into family history. Is that a good thing, though?
Physical photos are something the heirs (and whoever comes next) can thumb through, make a few jokes about the old way we used to dress, but in modern times we can laugh and joke about the way people act.
The problem with digital is that once something is confined to a digital archive, are today’s self-absorbed people EVER going to be inclined to load up videos and be entertained?
It seems not.
A friend of mine out in California (Vince) set up a web site a few years back – and it was all about helping people put their personal highlights and history into a heritage archive. I just left him a voicemail, but last time I talked with him, it hadn’t really taken off.
The price point was low…FREE – and everything about the site was fast and slick…it consolidated audio, video, scanned pictures and a lot more.
But people stayed away in droves. So what was it? Why wasn’t this a hugely successful project?
Got a theory: Maybe it has to do with something we’ve been kicking around on the Peoplenomics side.
What IF there has been a great migration – almost like a digital rapture – and we’re all going to find one-another some day only via connections on electronic social platforms?
What happens to personal history, then?
Should I be skipping my digital archiving project and be busily coding a media-laden avatar to wonder around Facebook or through the inner realms of Second Life? If there are other Ure’s they might find this avatar. A kind of digital interactive tombstone, perhaps. With legs.
Even then, how would the aged avatar concept work? Sure, the avatar would be loaded (with a digital backpack, or some-such). And in that backpack would be the riches of family history.
But what would the algo be to set the avatar loose and wandering? And how would recognition work? What would be the spell or key to open the digital locker?
Hmmm…for that matter, isn’t that where life is going, anyway? I mean into digital domains? We are just building another level to the Tree of Life – a New Root Directory for souls to occupy now that the physical layer is getting a bit too crowded, to put it gently…
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All of which works around to the First Point: My confessional that I am not a big “Christmas carder.” While I love to get them, they really have changed over time. The “snapshot” or card has been replaced with “Christmas Posts” on FB and such.
Pictures and video are so pervasive that their value seems to be dropping, too. Which is why extremism recruiting and jack-ass videos do well; the novelty factor.
There’s an up-side to this. For if you look very closely, there’s a new civilization arising. It’s surrounded by digital walls and as the People of the Old Ways pass – the Ancients who remember life without a microwave, no TV, let along color, let alone 1080, let alone 4K — well, it hit me as suddenly obvious yet hidden in plain sight this week.
I happened to be rereading one of Mary Summer Rain’s books and it struck me that just as the American Indians were shoved off their traditional lands onto reservations, so too, we ancient “People of the Old Ways” are being shoved off our traditional homelands, just as First Peoples of America were.
The main difference is that instead of calling the place where they go “reservations” – People of the Old Ways will be rounded up and marched to Senior Housing and Nursing Homes.
Or, we will live alone in the Wild. Where in solitude and circumspection we can see the great young herd searching for fresh, new, digital grasslands.
It’s a “spirit migration’ in a sense.
Woo: A Word About Time Anchors
Just a thought, triggered by that Christmas card above.
My dad used to call me “Bud.”
The first thought out of bed this morning was “Bud! That’s it! That is why some people age as different speeds than OTHERS! Their NAMES!”
It was a weird thought, I will grant you that, but check it out:
Elaine and I essentially got “carded” on our last casino trip over the “senior discount.” Now, both of us are well past the Social Security full retirement age. Yet we both look considerably younger.
In Elaine’s case, it no doubt related to being a serious work-out junkie. A full night’s sleep, moderation in all things, and a ton of exercise. But that doesn’t explain my case… I am not a chronic exercise person. Active? Oh, I suppose, so.
But might there be something else at work, here?
Then it hit me: NAMES.
Is it possible that because both of us as have had a series of names (or identities) that we have somehow cheated aging a bit?
In Elaine’s case, she has had a total of three last names in her life and has seriously lived in three places and has short-term lived in dozens. The longer-term residences were Phoenix, Tacoma, and a stint in the military. But the names likely figure into it, too. With each marriage was a name.
In my own case, when young I was “Bud.” That was followed by a period which I was “Sport.” In school everyone knew me as “Alex” and in broadcasting it was George Garrett, and then George Ure (which is what the birth cert says). Lived multiple places, too.
Is it possible that part of the aging process is being stuck with a name or location? And does our name or location somehow anchor us to a starting point in time from which we age?
Don’t laugh just yet. There is a medical reason why this might actually have some basis in fact.
A great deal of aging has to do with stress. And modern life is one great big “ball of stress.” It is axiomatic that stress kills.
So, how do you eliminate stress? By changing your mental attitude toward situations.
And what would an easy way be to “trick the mind” into thinking you’re “Not THAT person who had just been through five years or 10 years of stress?” Changer your name. Change your location and build a new persona.
Now you can detach from past stress because that happened to “another person” and maybe in another place.
What this means is that anything bad or stressful that happened in an earlier “named period” could be held distant from your (revised) core being. Oh, sure, lots of things happened to the radio persona George Garrett, but they are now terribly distant from and not “attached to my core being.”
Thus, any stress that accompanied that life experience (stress of the kind that builds into cancer and heart attacks) was “checked at the door” when the George persona came back to the fore but in a new location and a new profession and way of being.
Then there is the matter of self-talk. That’s the conversation that goes on inside your head between the two halves of your brain. The internal dialog part. Do you refer to yourself by a name (in your head), or would if help you live longer to develop a non-named way of “being” internally?
I almost never think of myself as a “George.” Instead my mind is more like “nameless wanderer” who (as a cowboy) is riding around in a bag and skin and bones which has been labeled as a “George.” One of thousands upon thousands of Georges.
This particular “George” body is very well-defined. He has a first, second, and last name. He’s got an address, a Social, an EIN, and he is numerified by licenses, degrees, certificates, and more.
Each of these is like a strand of a spider’s web. Your numbers and name are a tether. Yet the core of your being is ageless.
It’s just we have been socialized not to thing that way and consequentially, don’t live to that standard; we don’t live in awareness of that. Instead, we are “the name” and associated numbers. But in the core? We are all riders and this is a big rodeo. Instead of an 8-second ride, I’m going for 90- years.
Is it possible that the names we put on along the way may have something to do with how long the ride goes?
No, I haven’t seen anything in medicine about this, nor studies, either.
It’s more an inkling at this point…but it seems to be worth a little bit of thinking, at least now and then.
How is it we age? And can we bring our learned skills along in time, without brining the baggage from those parts of the trip?
Let me know what you come up with…I’m still working on the problem.
Years ago a lady friend of mine has a sign in her home: “We’re all the same age on the Inside.”
I’ve come to appreciate that’s not quite accurate: It really should read:
“We’re all ageless on the inside.”
At a social organization level that brings a huge problem with it: Specifically: If we are all ageless on the inside, then we are all immortals. And if this is the case, do we treat every other human we meet as a fellow-immortal?
No. Because we are trapped in an illusion that provides cover for every ill-behavior of mankind.
We name things or label them, or attach numbers. Artificially distancing ourselves from fellow immortals. And in the process throwing down time anchors that age us by way of resulting stress.
I’ve always suspected that people who listen to “oldies radio” were somehow “stuck in the past” and would likely die before me. Not with any evidence. But I surf “new music” and aggressively look for “new things” and try “new foods” because it seems to be closer to the edge of the eternal now.
People are like ships with three anchors out in a storm: One is to the past, one is to the future, and one is to the Now.
The art of good Lifesmanship is to slip the Past anchor and haul in a bit on the Future anchor. I figure Death stalks those who aren’t stalking their Future.
If you are a doctor with aging patients, or a medical professional looking for something to study, the correlation between internal dialog/self-talk/ and names with life expectancy (p0lus how many locations someone has lived) might be quite revealing. Beyond what simple DNA and family histories would project.
Have it on my desk by next Tuesday.
Write when you break-even,