The End

And so another year comes to an end. I have to admit, it was a decent year. A lot of change and turmoil, but nothing I could not adapt to. Most of the family made it through the year as healthy and as sound as they were before the year started. Of course, calling my family sound is stretching it. A lot of the issues that the family had were caused by incidents the year prior. Fucking Hurricane Sandy.

We did suffer a loss. My Aunt Arleen passed away this summer. I remember staying at her place up in Maine, and I swear her house was haunted. I also have fond memories of visiting her in Arizona. She will be missed.

Speaking of Maine, I learned that I hate Maine. In fact, if Puerto Rico wants to become a state, I say we give Maine to Canada, and not change our flags.

The fighting among the cats seems to have picked up this year, but they are still alive and annoying. And they are still as fat as ever. They are on a “diet” that is a high protein diet. As the Vet called it, a Catkins diet. Hopefully, in the coming year, the two women of this house can go home. I may miss them, but Loki (the actual owner of the house) will be very happy to be the only cat here.

I didn’t SCUBA dive or go skiing at all this year. And my kayaking trips were down, I think I only went 3 times, and that makes me sad. Next year I must go more often. What’s the point of having all the equipment and the license if one never uses it.

I did make some great friendships down here in MD, and I hope that those friendships continue into the New Year. And of course, I still have great friends in NJ, who are all doing well.

I started seeing someone. She hates the MINI and likes Batman. So she obviously has good taste. What she sees in me is anyone’s guess.

And of course, much wine was consumed.

It was a pretty good year.

Away

I went home for the holidays, and when I say home, I mean my parents rental property in Seaside Park. Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, my childhood home is unlivable and it hasn’t even been torn down yet. And as for Seaside being home, it doesn’t really feel the same anymore. There is so much construction and roadwork that it just didn’t feel like home. The boardwalk, after being washed away and rebuilt, burnt down. There was nothing left. I did enjoy my stay, but it just wasn’t the same.

While I was up in NJ, my sister came to Maryland and took care of the cats for me. Apparently all went well as all the cats were alive and the house was still standing when I got home. My sister did text me that Loki must have missed me as he fell asleep near my shoes. Loki never sleeps there, so I guess she was right. And honestly, I missed that fat pain in the ass as well. I missed the other two as well, but Loki is my bud.

And as much as I liked staying at my parents place, it’s just not the same as sleeping in one’s own bed. And the really scary part is that I now consider Maryland home now. I’ve lived here for over three years now, and as much as I miss NJ, MD is home now. Maybe Loki living here made that happen.

I do miss my family, and I enjoyed my stay with them, but there is no place like my own bed.

Wait a Second

I am fantastic at second guessing myself. In every aspect of my life, I question choices I make. This probably ties into my insecurities, but it seems that the more confident I think I am, the more likely I will second-guess myself. I know that sounds backwards, but it does seem that that is how my brain functions.

I could be taking a test, and I know I know the answer, but I question the answer I put down. At work, I have been working the same contract for years. When a question comes up about the contract, I have to double check with a coworker even though I may have answered the same question a week earlier. Even choices I make in my personal life, I may feel like it was the correct choice at the moment, but when I reflect upon it further, I question it.

The problem with the second-guessing in my personal life is that I begin to dwell on whatever choices I made. And the dwelling on those choices leads me to consider other options I could have made, and then it leads me to a sadness that I can’t describe.

Would this choice have been better? Did I make a mistake doing that? What would have happened if I made this choice instead? I dwell and dwell, and get caught up in thinking about a lot of nothing. And it’s not that it’s nothing, it’s that there is nothing I can do about it. I am stuck in the now, like everyone except Doctor Who. I am stuck in the now, but my mind is stuck in the past.

And the sadness, it’s just sad. I do move on, I do find happiness again, at least until I begin to dwell on something again.

Brain Death

A few years ago, congress decided to step in on the rights to pull one’s plug. And now, there are at least two more women who are “brain dead.” I’m sure that if I were ever diagnosed as “brain dead,” no one would actually notice. But if I am ever diagnosed, and there is no good chance that I was to recover, I want the plug pulled.

I am currently the back up on at least one living will. And I know the pressure of being placed in that position. Someone’s life is in your hands, and you have to make a judgment call. Will they recover? Will their life be worth living? These are questions that you must consider. And it’s a lot of pressure being left in charge with a loved one’s life.

Now, my sister would probably have no issues pulling the plug, provided she was well compensated. And since I know what the person who asked me to do this wants, I would pull the plug. It would hurt, and I would feel regret, but I would do it since it is her wish.

And, I hope that if I were ever in the situation where I am “brain dead” people would consider my wishes, and let me go.

Short Ride

After spending some time with friends at a hobby store, I decided to take the scenic right home. I took Rt 88 to Rt 35, and decided to take the island tour home. It’s been over a year, one would hope that the roads would be fixed. You would hope that all the construction would be completed. But alas, much like my parents house, nothing much was done.

I had to take detours to parts of towns I didn’t even know existed. Route 35 was a complete mess. In Lavallette, I had to take the worst slalom ever designed my man. For a few blocks you would be in what is left of the right lane, then you would switch to the left lane for a few blocks. And the roads were rough. It was like driving on speed bumps ever few feet. And in Seaside, as well as other towns, you were actually directed down the wrong way of one-way roads.

And one does not need to put up a “Danger Boardwalk Closed” sign when there is no boardwalk. It is a shame that after rebuilding the rides after Sandy, that the rides had to burn down. The people of seaside have had a rough year; maybe this new year will bring better luck.

And maybe, after more than a year, my parents will be able to move home and take their two cats with them.

Christmas Dinner

I just got done eating a wonderful Christmas with my family and I can confirm that we are one crazy family. We are a fun crazy, but crazy all the same. Even when you consider what we were talking about, conversations that probably shouldn’t happen at a Christmas dinner. I mean, we talked politics, about family, covered what is new with all of us. You know, the usual.

We also discussed death. Apparently, death is a sensitive subject with some families, but not with ours. For example, it was discussed that since my sister is the youngest, she shall become the keeper of the urns. What does that mean? Well, my Grandfather and Grandmother’s ashes are currently in my Aunt’s house.  The fact that they are still there, and in fact died there, seems to creep her boyfriend out. We all find it funny; of course, those ashes aren’t at my house. Yet. So, when my mother and father die, and when my aunt dies, those urns will have to go somewhere.

We also talked about our wills. Seemed like a good line of conversation. We talked about how our family keeps wills to prevent people from getting money, not to make sure that family members are taken care of. We block members of our family.

Now, tonight, I am writing a short blog. I am writing a short blog mostly because I am full, but also because I may not be done eating.

And the Tall shall be Short

I had some friends down from NJ this past weekend, hanging out, playing warhammer, hitting the bar, and just having a ton of fun. Well, one of the friends that came down is much taller than me, as opposed to the other one who is just taller than me. I introduced the both of them to my local gaming friends. We had a blast, but one of the funniest comments the taller of the two made was “I’m not used to being short.” The taller NJ friend is 6 foot tall, and of my friends at the game store, he was the third or fourth shortest. I don’t need to say it, but I will anyway, I was the shortest. No surprise there. But I realized, and this was not a new realization, I need shorter friends. Almost everyone there was at least 8 inches taller than me, and some of my friends are a foot taller or more.

I usually make fun of my height, or lack there of. But around them, I think they affect the weather patterns around me.

And on top of that, I know I have a habit of saying something stupid, but I really topped myself this weekend. A few of us were talking about painted vs. unpainted models, and right next to an African American, I didn’t say painted, I said “colored.” I will give the guy credit, he laughed and said “Man, why do you have to bring race into it?” And, we laughed it all off, but still, that was pretty damn stupid. I guess it’s a good thing these people, these friends of mine, know I didn’t mean anything by it, and that I can be a bit of a jack ass.

And now, a note to my friend from NJ, welcome to my world of being short.

Slow Day at Work

One would think, that with this being Christmas week, and tomorrow being the eve, and the fact that half the government took today off to burn their use or lose leave, that today would have been a slow day. Well, one would be wrong for thinking that. It was busy; actually, to be more accurate, it was really busy. I swear that my customers wanted to squeeze two weeks worth of work into two days, but that is assuming that tomorrow is going to be just as busy.

Now, part of it is my own fault. When you threaten that you are going to close projects because they are unfunded, you do tend to start a panic with the contractors and the government agencies that rely on their work. So, a lot of the customers calling today was about how to get me funds and why I am threatening to close the projects. So, as I said, some of it was self-inflicted. However, some of it was brought on by outside forces. Meetings being moved up moved task due dates up. I had to rush to create a briefing chart for my boss a day early because his meeting was moved up to tomorrow. Who has meetings on Christmas Eve? Since other analysts are out their customers call me, making even more work.

And, since I mentioned unfunded projects, I have to say this. When I am threatening to shut down a project, and a temporary budget (or CRA) was passed in October, please do not send a message saying to the government project leader  “Thank you for getting money to Brian so quickly.” You’ve had some funding for months now, almost three months. Three months is not quick, even in the government. And why should it take me threatening your project for you to send me funds? This currently unfunded project has been on the contract for a few years now, so they know they are going to have to fund it. This is not something new! Three months, and now I look l mean because I had to threaten you.

Right to Speak

Apparently, people are surprised that when you give a redneck a vehicle to express his views he is likely to say something stupid. That’s like being surprised when a Tea Party member opens his mouth and says something that anyone with a brain would never say. No one should be surprised, it should have been expected. Of course, I am talking about the star of “Duck Dynasty” comparing homosexuality to bestiality. I highly doubt that the people of A&E were dumb enough to not see this coming. The man is a very conservative redneck. How could they not see this coming? However, that being said, I cannot join the ranks and call for his head. The man expressed his views, and that is his constitutional right. Even though the man has views that I do not agree with, he has every right to express them. And I have every right to call him a jackass.

Now, having said that, I also agree with A&E’s right to fire the man. Yes, the man has the constitutional right to express his idea, but A&E has every right to fire someone for expressing views counter to his or her standards. Don’t get me wrong, I know A&E is doing this to save face, but since A&E is a business, they have every right to fire someone. Consider this, do I have the right to say you cannot swear in my house? Of course I do, and I would be setting one heck of a double standard as I swear here all the time. But, just like I don’t agree with what the star said, I also don’t agree with A&E’s firing of him, but it’s not my business to run.

If you really want to solve the issue, how about we attack the problem at the source? You want to solve the problem. How about we take away the man’s popularity? Stop watching the show. If no one watched the show, he wouldn’t have been asked to give the interview, and his statements wouldn’t have been so public.

After all, things I say don’t make CNN news.

And now for something completely the same

Jeffreytharp.com

Cards

I don’t send Christmas cards. It’s not because I am an atheist, after all, I could send holiday cards. I have, in the past, found cards that are non-religious, but very festive. I get a few cards each year, and I actually am very grateful that my friends and family send me cards. I don’t send cards in return, but I am grateful that I do receive them. I do have a couple of issues with holiday cards though.

How long do I have to leave my cards on display? Can I throw them out right away? Do I have to leave them up till my birthday? Is there a standard time frame where I have to leave them up? This is what runs through my mind. Holiday cards seem to cause more stress for me than they are worth, and I apologize to my friends who already sent me cards. Which, by the way, are already on display for all my cats to see. So, to those who have sent me cards, thank you, and sorry for not sending one in return.

And while on the subject of holiday cards, I am tired of hearing people say “Keep the Christ in Christmas.” I hate to tell you, but the Jews, Muslims, and even the Pagans celebrate something this time of year. Yes, the Pagans celebrated the winter solstice long before Christmas existed. In fact, this time frame was choses to coincide with the celebrations already in place by the Catholic Church. And if you really want to keep Christmas spiritual, how about we consider how commercialized it has become over the years. When I am seeing trees up in BJ’s in September, we have other issues.

And to you people who are offended by me saying “Happy Holidays” and want me to say Merry Christmas, I have one thing to say, thanks for assuming that I am Christian. I am offended by your existence, so we are even.

You saying Merry Christmas to me won’t offend me, but lets acknowledge that no everyone in the world has the same beliefs as you.

So to everyone that reads this, all nine of you, Merry Winter Solstice.