Monday, May 23, 2016

Retirement Sucks!



Ah, beautiful retirement, when you can go to bed when you want and get up when you want; no more marching to someone else’s beat!

Total freedom; except that after forty years of training, my eyes pop open at 6 am every morning whether I want them to or not.

The worst thing about retirement is that you are old!

When I wake up, my back feels like it has slowly twisted into a pretzel overnight. I stagger to the bathroom to start my day.  Thirty minutes of yoga and stretching and I’m barely feeling human again.  After a leisurely breakfast, I’m ready to face the day.

Great, but what am I going to do?

The second worst thing about retirement is that you have lost the reason you got up every morning for the last forty plus years!

No more deadlines, no more e-mails, no more text messages, no more advising, no more personal decisions to make, no more orders to give, and no more timelines to meet.

No nothing!

Every fifteen minutes I feel a void when I check my phone and there is no new e-mails; there is no more life altering advice to give out.

No more prepping for class.  No more mapping the future of the department.  No more collaborating with colleagues over the future of our students.

No nothing!

What’s an old professor to do?

In the immortal words of Tommy Shaw from the group Styx, “I got nothing to do and all day to do it.”

Retirement really sucks!

…..

I wake up on my second day of retirement and the world seems full of possibility.  The sun is shining and I’m ready to take on the world!

All of a sudden, I have that energy that I get every time I start a new job.  I’m a little scared, but really excited.

I attack my morning exercise with a new purpose.  I need my body to function at peak performance (peak performance for an old guy that is) so that I can get the most out of retirement.
All sorts of new possibilities present themselves to me.

I remember listening to a tape from Wayne Dwyer where he talked about a hundred year old man who planted a tree and couldn’t wait to watch it grow.  I remember Wayne saying he wouldn’t be outdone; he went out and planted a Redwood!

I’m not ready to be so courageous.  I’ll start small by rototilling my garden.  Even though I don’t have the greatest love of vegetables, I do love the enjoyment my family and friends get out of the various types of squash I will grow.  I see many batches of spaghetti sauce in my future!

By mid-afternoon I’m a little weary, but not quite ready to enter the nap-taking season of my life.  I pull a random book out of my library and enjoy the act of reading for enjoyment.  I don’t have to preview text books, study or prep courses anymore.

It’s not too long later that I open my eyes and think about what my wife and I want for dinner.

Life is pretty good!

I wonder what the third day of retirement will bring.

I got an e-mail from Tom Topolski, a college roommate, saying, "remember, no matter what your day was like in retirement, tomorrow is Saturday!"

I hope you liked this blog; if you did, I know you will love my Campus Romance Kindle books.  Start with Hating God, then Ignoring God and finish with Loving God (coming soon)!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Am I Saved?



I don’t know about you, but I struggle with sin every day!

Does this mean that I’m not saved?

I’m definitely not the only person who every thought this.  It was such a big topic in the early church that the Apostle John wrote his Tests of Assurance in First John.  Here are the three tests:


  • ·        Doctrinal 2:18-27, 4:1-6.  You must not deny Christ.
  • ·        Moral 2:3-6, 3:4-10.  You must keep the commandments.
  • ·        Social 2:7-11, 3:11-18, 4:7-21.  You must love your brothers.

To me, “Loving your Brother”, is probably the hardest of these tests.  It is so hard to love the jerk next door.  Can you imagine having to love the drunk driver that killed a member of your family?  The best I can say is that I am not perfect, but am on my journey to accomplish this ideal.

Keeping the Ten Commandments is not easy.  I’m pretty good at not stealing or murdering, but I could use some help in not coveting.  I just have to accept that Jesus was the only perfect person and that I will always be struggling to emulate Him.

How many times does someone ask you, right out of the blue, do you believe in God?  I must admit that I have been asked this question or one just like it when I least expected it and sometimes I stumbled to come up with the right answer.


 



I have often thought that if it is so hard for me to answer that question in a socially awkward situation, how hard was it for Rachel Joy Scott to answer that question at Columbine knowing that she was basically writing her own death sentence by not denying Christ.  She was the first person to go to sleep at that school and I am sure that she woke up in heaven.

I can only pray that I will have the courage to answer that same way if every faced with that horrible situation!

I find comfort that the Apostle John took the time to address the subject of my salvation.  I’m definitely not perfect, but I am saved!

I hope you liked this blog; if you did, I know you will love my Campus Romance Kindle books.  Start with Hating God, then Ignoring God and finish with Loving God (coming soon)!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Coward - an American Hero

Desmond T. Doss, because of his religious beliefs, refused to carry a weapon when he enlisted into the Army during World War II.  In basic training other enlistees taunted him ruthlessly, threw their boots at him and called him a coward.  The army made him a stretcher carrier.


MEDAL OF HONOR

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Medical Detachment, 307th Infantry, 77th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Urasoe Mura, Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, 29 April-21 May 1945. Entered service at: Lynchburg, Va. Birth: Lynchburg, Va. G.O. No.: 97, 1 November 1945.
Citation: He was a company aid man when the 1st Battalion assaulted a jagged escarpment 400 feet high. As our troops gained the summit, a heavy concentration of artillery, mortar and machinegun fire crashed into them, inflicting approximately 75 casualties and driving the others back. Pfc. Doss refused to seek cover and remained in the fire-swept area with the many stricken, carrying them 1 by 1 to the edge of the escarpment and there lowering them on a rope-supported litter down the face of a cliff to friendly hands. On 2 May, he exposed himself to heavy rifle and mortar fire in rescuing a wounded man 200 yards forward of the lines on the same escarpment; and 2 days later he treated 4 men who had been cut down while assaulting a strongly defended cave, advancing through a shower of grenades to within 8 yards of enemy forces in a cave's mouth, where he dressed his comrades' wounds before making 4 separate trips under fire to evacuate them to safety. On 5 May, he unhesitatingly braved enemy shelling and small arms fire to assist an artillery officer. He applied bandages, moved his patient to a spot that offered protection from small arms fire and, while artillery and mortar shells fell close by, painstakingly administered plasma. Later that day, when an American was severely wounded by fire from a cave, Pfc. Doss crawled to him where he had fallen 25 feet from the enemy position, rendered aid, and carried him 100 yards to safety while continually exposed to enemy fire. On 21 May, in a night attack on high ground near Shuri, he remained in exposed territory while the rest of his company took cover, fearlessly risking the chance that he would be mistaken for an infiltrating Japanese and giving aid to the injured until he was himself seriously wounded in the legs by the explosion of a grenade. Rather than call another aid man from cover, he cared for his own injuries and waited 5 hours before litter bearers reached him and started carrying him to cover. The trio was caught in an enemy tank attack and Pfc. Doss, seeing a more critically wounded man nearby, crawled off the litter; and directed the bearers to give their first attention to the other man. Awaiting the litter bearers' return, he was again struck, this time suffering a compound fracture of 1 arm. With magnificent fortitude he bound a rifle stock to his shattered arm as a splint and then crawled 300 yards over rough terrain to the aid station. Through his outstanding bravery and unflinching determination in the face of desperately dangerous conditions Pfc. Doss saved the lives of many soldiers. His name became a symbol throughout the 77th Infantry Division for outstanding gallantry far above and beyond the call of duty.
When President Harry S Truman presented The Congressional Medal of Honor to Desmond Doss he said, " I’m proud of you, you really deserve this. I consider this a greater honor than being president."

The above post came from my book Conquer the Losing Attitude of Job Hunters.

I hope you liked this blog; if you did, I know you will love my Campus Romance Kindle books.  Start with Hating God, then Ignoring God and finish with Loving God (coming soon)!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

And When I Die



Going to a concert when you are Social Security age is way different than going to a concert before you were of legal age to drink! Way different!

My wife and I just went to a Blood Sweat and Tears concert and I must admit that the crowd was a little more subdued than they would have been forty years ago; a lot more subdued and a lot grayer.

I didn’t know what to expect? Would the band members come out on stage with their walkers?

In fact, BS&T has been performing since 1967 and has been replacing band members all along.  The oldest member of the group we saw had been with the group for thirty years and didn’t really join the group until their string of hits and Grammies had ended.

One of the newest members of the group was Bo Bice; the runner-up finalist in the 2005 American Idol contest to Carrie Underwood. Bo brought his special gold album winning talent to the group which made for a great night. The new drummer was way better than in the original group.  It was a great night of blues, jazz and rock and roll!

There was more gray hair in the audience the night I went then at an ARRP barbeque. Not only were we older, but I think we were wiser then when we heard BS&T in the sixties.

How one perceives the lyrics to a song certainly varies by ones age. I can remember hearing BS&T songs in the seventies and thinking how radical and thought provoking they were; not so much anymore!

The BS&T classic “And When I Die” didn’t seem so threatening when I was twenty ; a little more now.  After the concert in the car on the way home, my wife and I both commented on how that song had a totally different meaning for us in the mellow years of our life!

When you are young, it might be okay to think about death as wanting to “go naturally”, but as I am now older, I want more assurances than just knowing that “there will be one child born, in our world, to carry on.” Still, I don’t “wanna go by the devil” or “wanna gby demon” or “wanna go by Satan” just like when I was when I was twenty, but because I lived a full life I know there is a Hell and I pray that I go to Heaven.


I also know that the only way to guarantee that you go to heaven is in giving your life to Jesus Christ!

I hope you liked this blog; if you did, I know you will love my Campus Romance Kindle books.  Start with Hating God, then Ignoring God and finish with Loving God (coming soon)!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Please Forgive Me Meryl Streep


I didn’t start out hating Meryl Streep!

I don’t know Meryl Streep other than through her movies. I have never met her and probably never will. I’m sure she has never heard of me and could care less how I feel about her.

But…

I feel I owe her an apology.

You see, Meryl Streep is too damn good an actress.

It all began in 1979 when I was young, watching her in the movie Kramer vs. Kramer.  This was an amazing movie with a great cast: Dustin Hoffman, Jane Alexander, Howard Duff and of course Meryl Streep.  Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep won Oscars for their roles and the movie won three others including Best Picture.

Herein lies the problem; Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman were just so good at their jobs that I ended up associating their characters in this movie with them.  I could never see Hoffman and Streep in another movie for the rest of my life without thinking Kramer and Kramer.

Being a young guy, I totally bonded with Dustin Hoffman’s role in this movie as he struggled to take care of his son after his wife abandoned him.  I winced as he lost his job and had to find another lesser job fast as his wife had come back by now and was suing to get custody back.

Now that I am older and hopefully wiser, I realize that forces that work between a man and a woman in marriage are very complex and when you throw a child into the mix it complicates the situation even more.  Now, I think I could watch a story like Kramer vs. Kramer and hopefully see both sides of the situation. In fact, I am an author that writes about just these types of complex situations.

At twenty six, like many people my age, I saw the world as black and white and I saw red as the court awarded custody to the Meryl Streep mother.  I was so righteously enraged that I watched the rest of the movie through a crimson haze.

I was so mad at the Meryl Streep character in that movie that for many years I refused to watch any movie with Meryl Streep in it as no matter what part she was playing, it reminded me of her character in Kramer vs. Kramer.  My loss, as Meryl Streep is a magnificent actress.

Fast forward thirty years and I’m discussing that horrible movie with my daughter and she decides she wants to watch it.  As a good father, I agree to watch it with her.

An amazing thing happens!

Watching the movie through older and wiser eyes I’m not so enraged at the court decision in the movie and I actually am able to absorb the final scenes.  To my horror, I realize that at the end of the movie, the Meryl Streep character sees how much the Dustin Hoffman character loves the little boy and changes her mind and lets him keep the child.

For all the horrible thoughts I have had towards Meryl Streep over the years I sincerely apologize.

It’s a happy ending though, as I got to catch up on thirty years of great Meryl Streep cinema!

I hope you liked this blog; if you did, I know you will love my Campus Romance Kindle books.  Start with Hating God, then Ignoring God and finish with Loving God (coming soon)!





Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Before Cell Phones



Do you remember what it was like before cell phones?  I’m not talking about not being able to post your latest adventures on Instagram, I’m talking about not being able to call someone.

This is a story before cell phones and before electronic ignition for that matter.

It was 1975 and I was leaving the northeast in my almost new Opel Manta on my way to Mississippi where I was going to enter pilot training at Columbus AFB. When you traveled back then, it was always good to have a lot of cash on hand as finding an ATM was almost impossible; Of course, fifty bucks was a lot of money back then.  I could fill the tank of my Manta fifteen times with fifty bucks.

I was cruising at seventy mph down the highway somewhere in Appalachia when all of a sudden my engine shut off.  No problem; I depressed the clutch and coasted a mile to the next exit.  It was one of those long winding off-ramps, but I was not worried as I still had enough speed to cruise the final two miles to the end of the off-ramp.

I then encountered something I never imagined in my life that I would ever find at the T-intersection at the bottom of a major highway off-ramp; a dirt road!  Not a dirt road with a gas station, but a dirt road with nothing in sight in either direction.  

In my short life up to this point, I had never exited a highway and not found a city of 100,000 people or more.  I was a little stumped, but hey, I was a brand new college graduate and I should be able to figure something out, so I pulled my car over to the side of the dirt road and got out.

I opened the hood and tried willing the engine to start to no avail.  I was getting a little anxious as it hadn’t been too many years before that I had seen the movie Deliverance and the phrase “squeal like a pig” kept running through my mind.

What was I going to do?  I had just about decide to walk the two miles back up the off-ramp to the highway and hope to thumb to the nearest civilization when I spotted two young boys, about sixteen years old,  walking my way.

I should say that I saw Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn walking my way; bib overhauls with no shirts, no shoes, straw hats and of course, bamboo fishing poles.  Was I dreaming?

I saw a problem right away when we started trying to communicate.  These boys had such thick Appalachian mountain accents that I only understood one word out of three. Eventually, I got my tool kit of my trunk and got a screw driver out for them relying almost entirely on sign language.

Evidently, the points in my carburetor had closed and with a little fiddling, they were able to get the engine running again.  I was so happy to be able to get out of there that I would have promised them my first born child, but they refused any attempt I made for compensation; they probably got enough enjoyment over the years telling the story of the Yankee who didn’t know one end of a screw driver from the other.

I thanked them again, waved goodbye headed back to the highway where I made my way to Mississippi where I learned many more life lessons south of the Mason Dixon line.

Sure would have been nice to have had a cell phone back then, but then I probably would have been out of service!

I hope you liked this blog; if you did, I know you will love my Campus Romance Kindle books.  Start with Hating God, then Ignoring God and finish with Loving God (coming soon)!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Sally the Wonder Dog



Some dog breeds are smarter than others; some dog breeds just think they are smarter!

Dumb dogs are easier to take care of than smart dogs.  When you leave a dumb dog home alone, the dog just lies down and waits for their people to get back.  When you leave a smart dog home alone, the dog looks around to see what kind of trouble it can get into like, “Gee, I wonder what that table would look like with three legs.”

I have a friend who has a Newfoundland dog named Martha. They left her alone this past Christmas and she decided to eat the gingerbread house that had taken the kids six hours to build. They found gingerbread crumbs on every bed in the house; Martha had had a great time. After eating the spicy housing material, Martha was thirsty and cleaned out her water bowl and both toilets.

Guess what?

Martha decided she needed to relieve herself all over the house. Knowing that she was already in deep trouble, I think Martha said, “What the heck?” and went into the diaper pail and deposited a soiled diaper in every room of the house.

Talk about being in the dog house - Martha is in so much trouble!

Give me a dumb dog every time.

We had a Cocker Spaniel named Sally.  Cockers are a notoriously dumb breed.  Sally lived up to her forefathers quite well except for several flashes of brilliance.

For one thing, she was an infamous escape artist and once she got out she was really hard to corral.  We would let her out into the most impenetrable back yards you ever saw and she would find a way out.

Once she was out, she was awfully hard to catch.  We had to resort to trickery!  You see, Sally loved to ride in cars almost more than anything else.  So, when she got out, rather than trying to catch or call her which would do no good, we simple drove the car around and opened the door and yelled, “Sally, want to go for a ride?”

Worked every time!

We had just moved into a new neighborhood of duplexes that was only about five percent full.  One of our cats hadn’t been home for a couple of days and we were sure that a fisher cat had got ton her.  My parents were visiting from Florida and we had just sat down for dinner when Sally scratched on the front door to be let in.  My wife volunteered me to go let her in and I gladly opened the front door.

Instead of coming in, Sally started backing up like Lassie.  Instead of saying, “What is it girl?” like Timmy would have said, I said, “Do you want to come in or not?”  I closed the door and went back to eat.

When Sally scratched at the door again, my wife gave me one of those looks.  I said, “She doesn’t want to come in.”  My wife got up and went to let Sally in.

The next thing I know, my wife is following Sally across an empty field to an empty duplex.  Someone had broken the basement window and out cat had decided to jump through.  The problem was that she couldn’t jump back up the six feet to the broken window; there she was, sitting upstairs in the picture window wondering why we didn’t unlock the front door and let her out.

I was wondering the same thing myself.

Eventually, I lowered myself through the broken window down into the basement and went upstairs to let our lost cat out. But, I wasn’t the hero.

Sally the Wonder dog had saved the day.
I remember crying the day she died; I still miss her so much.


I hope you liked this blog; if you did, I know you will love my Campus Romance Kindle books.  Start with Hating God, then Ignoring God and finish with Loving God (coming soon)!