Saturday, March 12, 2011

Questions and Whalan Love

I felt like I should put a picture here -- so here is one I took when I was on Mars
I'm not sure what happened. I woke up this morning and discovered that it was time to post. I did that last week and the week before, but failed to avail myself of the posting opportunity. I often said that I post because it serves as a vehicle for the enjoyment of writing rather than as an obligation. The last two weeks confirms that notion. I didn't feel like writing, so I didn't. Now I am beginning to feel the tiniest bit stress about it. So here I am de-stressing and as soon as I can figure out something to write about I will let you know.

I have to mentally reconcile this. I think back to the inanity of some of the things I said as a parent to my kids. I always spouted nonsense like, "You know, homework can be fun and an adventure -- exploring all kinds of stuff you didn't know." When that didn't work I would resort to, "You will do your homework now, and enjoy it!" That is where I am now. "I will write my blog now, and enjoy it!" There -- everything is now reconciled.

It doesn't explain why I haven't read blogs though. That one is tougher and requires descending into the depths of my psyche and when I do I discover a conundrum of absurdity. If I don't blog I don't deserve to read blogs. Is that really true? Maybe I am simply setting myself up for a reward. If I blog now, I will be able to read other blogs. That sounds a bit saner -- so I'm going with it.

So now I will address those questions jbchicoine dumped on me a few weeks ago.

If you have pets, do you see them as animals, or are they members of the family?

It is interesting that you ask that. (It's not really. It is what one says when they are stalling for time trying to think of something to say.) Hutch, our black Labrador, is big and very polite and gets his feelings hurt easily. He is more of an observer than a doer and always wants to join in the conversation. Many times when a repair person comes over to fix something and is standing there explaining what needs to be done, he will start putting his two cents in by crooning over and over. Once when the cable guy was on his knees unscrewing something in the wall, Hutch pranced over and stuck his head under the guy's arm to see what was going on as if to ask, "Whatcha doing?"

Buddy, our big mongrel (sort of a cross between a shepherd, a lab, and a beagle), is more of a stubborn guy. If he doesn't like his food, he will tip his bowl over. That is better than what he used to do. He used to dump his food and then take his bowl and hide it. We figured we would solve that problem by using a heavier bowl. But then he would just shove it around until it was hidden. He won in the end. We finally found a dog food that he liked. He loves the Dog Park more than anything in the world -- it is his Disney World, especially if there are mud puddles. He knows that if I don't go to work it is the weekend. He will come and stand in front of me staring into my eyes asking, "We going to the Dog Park today?" He will not move until I give him an answer. If I say, "Not today", he will wander off and sulk. If I say, "Yes", he will take off running and dancing and tell Hutch and Hutch will run and dance too.

We have learned that we cannot say "Dog Park" out loud, or "Go" or "Going" or "Library" or a myriad of other things. So we have learned to talk in code (such as "departing") and sometimes spell things out. But now those dogs are getting good at spelling. Oh, did I tell you? They are adopted dogs and are part of the family. 

If you have a dream come true, what would it be?

This is hard since I am pretty much living my dream -- except for the having to work part. And the paying bills part. I think I would like to have a mountain cabin somewhere, beside a stream (where Marilyn could fish), where it snows sometime, and I can get to know all of the animals in the area. I don't think I would want to live there -- but just spend a few weeks there a year to rejuvenate and think and read and write and just wander around. Yeah, that is a fine dream.

What is the one thing most hated by you?

The lack of kindness that I see so much of.

What would you do with a billion dollars?

No one would know I had a billion dollars. My life style wouldn't change, except for buying that cabin in the mountains. I would share my wealth, first with family....but a little bit at a time just to pull them over the humps. I wouldn't look for causes in the world, but I would look for small needs to fulfill -- a high school band or orchestra that needs instruments or helping a woman that has dedicated her life to feeding the local homeless out of her own kitchen or maybe repairing a sewage system for a struggling little town. Little, meaningful things. Anonymously.

What helps pull you out of a bad mood?

The only thing that can cure a bad mood is myself. An attitude change. The acknowledgment that I am not supposed to be in control of everything and that I have a lot of good things around me.

Which is more blessed, loving someone or being loved by someone?

Ya' can't receive it unless you give it. And you maintain it by working hard to please who you love, and they work hard to please you.

What is your bedtime routine?

Since I get up at 4:30 in the morning, I am the first to go to bed in the evening. When Buddy thinks it is my bedtime, he will jump onto the bed and wait for me. After turning on the wall light sconces behind the bed and turning off the lamps and finding my library book and my glasses that always hide from me and pulling out the clothes I am going to wear the next day -- I have to do this since I am definitely color blind early in the morning (too many times I have worn brown slacks that I could have sworn were blue) -- I finally plop onto the bed. I reach over and grab a dog treat from the bowl on the bedside table and pitch it to Buddy, and then settle down to read for about thirty minutes. Sometime in there Hutch will amble up beside the bed and tell me, "You gave Buddy a treat so I need one too", so I give him one too. I double check that the alarm is set, flip off the lights, and sleep with Buddy beside me. When Marilyn comes to bed, Buddy tends to cuddle next to her.

If you are currently in a relationship, how did you meet your partner?

I've written exhaustively about this. We met online shortly after both of us were divorced.

If you could watch a creative person in the act of a creative process, who would it be?

This would probably be very boring. We tend to think that an artist just whips out a painting in fourteen seconds flat -- when in fact it can take days or weeks. We forget that making a movie is very technical and laborious and detail-oriented and probably very boring. How does one get excited about watching someone write? I think I would rather watch the transformation that occurs when someone gets an idea, a little spark, and maybe they pace around, then start babbling and gesturing and grow more animated moment by moment when the idea blossoms and they run to grab a piece of paper or a chalk board to scribble and sketch and they forget to eat.....then come back months later to see what happened to this idea.

What kind of books do you read?

I am a moody reader. If I am in the mood, something out of the norm. I might read a science fiction book. If I am in the mood for intrigue, I'll grab a spy thriller. If I am starving for thoughtful ideas, I might grab some essays written by David Brooks. Sometimes I am looking for lighthearted stupidity or delight in silliness or uniqueness and I will read about the parade in Whalan, Minnesota which...

Okay -- I need to talk about this. There was a fellow in Whalan that wanted to increase the sales of his products in a store on the main street of the town of 64 people. So he suggested a parade. That way the spectators would shop at his store. He presented his idea of a parade, and it was pointed out that one single band in the parade would be longer that the actual town. But everyone was still intrigued by the idea. So innovative thinking crept in. Why don't they have a standstill parade and let the spectators march around the parade? It sounded pretty stupid....but why not? So they put out the word that they were going to have a Standstill Parade. Well, bands from nearby communities thought...well, we wouldn't have to march and get tired, so why not? Then Fire Departments from other towns thought this was so silly that they thought, why not? Then groups from other towns figured they could make floats. The whole idea was so absurd that everyone wanted to join in. Then people began to wonder....maybe we should go see this Standstill Parade. So when the time was a little confusing. The parade participants weren't really sure....are we really supposed to stand still? And the spectators kept wondering, do we just stand here and watch a parade not moving or what? But finally everyone caught on....the bands played, the firetrucks and police cars blared their sirens and local beauty queens on floats waved....and they even had the oldest person in town leading the parade, by standing there with his walker. The Cub Scout honor guard did the town proud by....standing there proudly. The spectators finally figured out that they could get a better view of what was going on by walking around, and sometimes walking through the parade. It was so successful that everyone figured this is so stupid we should do it every year. And now we have the annual attraction at Whalan that people travel far and wide to participate in.

Standstill Parade

If you are from Whalan, I love you.

Did I get off subject? Oh well, I just read -- lots of stuff.

Can I stop and finish the rest of the questions later? It sure seems like I've written a lot. It's funny -- once I start writing I stumble on something that really interests me....a bit too late.

Now on to reading other blogs.


  1. Oh how I love reading your blog :) It's worth the wait every time! I love the link about how you and Marilyn came together and your descriptions and pics of your dogs (pets have such great personalities!!). One thing that is speedily climbing rank on my bucket list is to meet all my wonderful blogging friends like you! Thanks for always stopping by my site, I truly love hearing your take on the things I write :) Have a great rest of your weekend!

  2. I knew you would come up with something unconventional! You do digressions better than anyone I have ever read! This was so worth the wait, though I have to say, I've really been missing you, both here and around town. I was about to post your face on the side of a milk carton!

  3. Yay! You're here! You've been missed. And I loved reading all the answers to the very interesting questions.

    It is funny how in order for inspiration to come you must sit down and write.

  4. Great post. Fun to read. You shared so much in avery compact way.
    Hope you'llmanage your early rise routine now that clocks move ahead again
    Thanks for supporting Robert. :)

  5. Pleased to meet you here, Jerry. I'm here via Robert and Kleinstemotte. I know what you mean by the clash between the freedom to blog and what can sometimes feel like an obligation.

    Usually, I find writing into a blank space can fill the space pretty quickly, as you demonstrate so well here with this lively trip through certain aspects of your rich and full life.

    I like that you met your partner online. I like that the online world can become real sometimes, too. Though not all the time.

  6. For someone who claims you have nothing to write about, this was such an excellent an entertaining post;)
    I enjoyed reading all the answers, but mostly I enjoyed reading about your dogs and their personalities.;) The tipping and hiding of the bowl is truly hilarious.;) What a character.;)

  7. Hi Jerry,
    I found you thru Adrielle. She is enjoyed by LadyCat, my wife, and I both. I see my wife is one of your followers. I enjoyed reading your answers to the questions. I think its great that you would enjoy helping a band or orchestra with the purchase of instruments. btw, you and I are both 65. Where have the years gone! :)

  8. Glad to finally find out (definitively) what your reading tastes are.

    You're a generous man...I'd use a billion for semi-selfish/semi-generous things like a medieval jousting school for teenagers, a fund for Martian exploration, the revival of Cheesy Taco flavored Pizza Rolls, and so on.

  9. P.S. I think you've described the creative process perfectly, with a delightful lack of satire. And Buddy's habits with his food bowl are rather...endearing.

  10. Ok, now i gotta give all this money back,,, i have been collecting ransom money,, i was sure aliens had kidnapped you and were going to demand payment,,,,

  11. what a cool parade ... or standstill ... or whatever it is. I may need to go visit it sometime :)

    and as usual, it's always a pleasure reading you ;0)

  12. Great Idea! so glad it all worked out.
    We need something similar, to bring the community together,XXXXXXXX

  13. Looky what you did! You wrote a stand-up post, and all these people are marching around you. Horns tooting.

  14. Oh, to see a roadmap of your brain...!

  15. Exactly what I needed during my lunch break at my desk. My blood pressure surely dropped as I read how you seamlessly blended your heart-warming responses to a reader's questionnaire, with a delightful post about the standstill parade. Both threads were somehow reassuring, after my earlier look at the world news. Much appreciated.

  16. Aww, what gorgeous pups! Can't believe you get up at 4:30am- hope your work pays ya extra for the effort.
    C xx

  17. Hi Jerry...I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED what you wrote about Buddy and Hutch! You should write a book about what animals think. I know it has been done before, but you could make it so much fun!

    I agree, discipline to write every day is a challenge. Combine it with an anal personality like mine, and I can literally drive myself crazy.

    I need to remember to "take a break" and enjoy the out of doors, spend some quality time with my husband, and go visit the grand kids and my daughters more often. I forget to eat, drink, and blink when I am writing and visiting blogs.

  18. You seem to be very comfortable in your own skin and life. It also sounds like those pooches have found themselves a good home!