End of July

Met the new complex manager on Friday morning. They were doing routine spraying for bugs. I had problems with bed bugs a couple years ago. Had to get rid of a lot of my furniture. Had the carpet taken out and replaced with vinyl flooring. But the carpet had needed replaced for a few years anyway. A lot of places in the US have bed bug problems for at least the last several years. I heard that even five star hotels had some issues. But haven’t had problems with bugs since before the pandemic started.

It’s been a cooler than usual July, at least in my hometown. We’ve avoided the droughts and heat waves that hit most of the western states. It’s been hazy for the last couple days, probably from the forest fires.

Keeping in contact with friends. My friend in Denver is looking to buy some land. She sometimes gets discouraged when places she could afford are quickly sold. I guess I really have no desire to be a property owner. I like my apartment, my hometown, and I don’t have to shovel snow or mow grass. That and I like that I can get same day delivery for groceries. And I can get anything within reason from amazon within three days. My town is a few hour drive from any major metroplex, so we don’t have same day delivery. My best friend from college will have to report back to school in a few weeks. Hard to believe he’s been a teacher for almost twenty years now.

Found that I am eating less than I usually do. This has been going on for several months. Most days I usually eat only twice a day, with lunch always being my biggest meal. I think I am losing weight again. Most of my clothes are getting baggy. But I’ve always preferred looser fitting clothing. Tight shirts and pants just don’t look good on me.

Preseason football practice started a few days ago. I’ll be watching football games on Saturdays again in only four weeks. And the college kids will be returning before long. My town always comes back to life in mid August when the college returns for fall session. When I still owned a car, I often went to college events and festivals. Used to go to a few football and volleyball games on campus too. Ten years ago, my favorite hangout was an internet cafe near the college campus. I miss that place.

Got back into reading physical books again. Currently working on a Michio Kaku book and a geopolitics book about what the world will look like once the pandemic passes. Been watching more movies too. Saw Minority Report, Aeon Flux, Jupiter Ascending, and The Mask of Zorro within the last week. Thinking about watching some epic classics next week. I’m thinking either The Ten Commandments or Gandhi.

I can tell the days are getting shorter. Probably only another six weeks of really hot weather. Spring is usually my favorite time of year. But I do like fall for football, baseball playoffs, and now soccer. I try to watch whenever the US national teams play now that I have a niece and nephew who are good soccer players. My nephew plans on trying out for his high school soccer team when school starts up.

Summer is starting to wind down. I weathered it alright for the most part. Looking forward to cooler weather again.

Disasters and Mental Illness

Staying closer to home again lately. The cases of covid are increasing again. It’s only a matter of time before it hits my hometown again. With the bad heat waves the western part of the country has experienced, we have had more rain the normal. It too is only a matter of time before the heat waves hit my hometown. We don’t have the water shortages that places like California and Arizona have. But I think if my state gets that level of drought, a new Dust Bowl will result.

Being prepared for disasters is extremely important. If wildfires, freak blizzards, and chronic flooding can’t convince some people, nothing will. Growing up in a rural farming community over an hour’s drive away from the nearest Wal Mart and Home Depot, it was necessary to have enough supplies to be able to fend for ourselves for at least a few days in the event of a bad blizzard or flooding. Growing up around farmers, I personally know several farmers who have lost entire corn crops to hail storms and floods.

When the covid disaster relief payments came, I made a point of buying extra food, over the counter medications, and clothing. I also bought a new computer. My old one was starting to die and I was afraid prices were going to go up with the shortage on microchips. And prices are going up. I certainly pay more for food than I did even two years ago. Clothing prices have increased. And gas prices are on the rise. When the Colonial pipeline in the southern states was shut down by hackers, I remember thinking if I was an Uber driver in Atlanta who had a Tesla, I’d probably have more work than I could handle. As it is, I no longer have a car. Sold it two years ago. But, since I can get anything within reason delivered to my apartment and I don’t road trip anymore, it made little sense to keep a car. If I really need to go anywhere, I can hire an Uber driver or sweet talk one of my neighbors into giving me a ride and offer gas money in return.

In addition to natural disasters, many people are more on edge than usual. A friend of a friend had a gun pulled on her a few days ago. My friend in Denver said she’s dealing with far more rude and angry customers than even a few years ago. My brother and his family moved out of their suburb and bought a place with a large lot just outside of the city right before housing prices skyrocketed. I have two friends in Omaha, both college educated, working two jobs each barely just scraping by. Gone are the days when a father could support a family of six kids with a factory job. Lots of people are hurting. And we are turning on each other instead of working together to solve problems.

Our science, tech, medicine, etc. are what’s keeping us afloat. Other institutions, namely politics, haven’t kept up with the changes in tech and world affairs. I can’t imagine how much worse covid would be if we still didn’t have vaccinations or work from home options. People who were saying this covid isn’t as bad as Spanish Flu was 100 years ago may have to back track those words. They certainly would if not for the efforts of scientists, doctors, nurses, farm workers, grocery store workers, delivery drivers, truck drivers, merchant marine sailors, etc.

June 18 2021

Been sleeping a lot more the last few days. I was feeling quite rough yesterday. Had to reschedule my cleaning lady. I didn’t want to risk having a break down around her or anyone else. I think the older I have gotten, the better I have become at isolating and staying away from people if I think there could be problems. I’ve had maybe three bad breakdowns since March 2020. My worst was shortly after the new year. But, the breakdowns don’t last as long as they did years ago. I also think they are less frequent. I don’t know if the illness is less severe in my early 40s than in my mid 20s or if I’ve just gotten better at managing the problems.

Been real hot this week. We came close to breaking records at least two days this week. I also saw on the news that the EU is opening back up to American travelers. Maybe I should buy a couple shares of airline stocks and see what happens. Most people I know are already vaccinated. I got mine in early May. Didn’t have any side effects. I’ve been watching some of the Euro 2020 soccer tournament the last couple days. They’re usually on in the mornings and early afternoon here in the US. I’m planning on seeing the England vs Scotland match this afternoon. ESPN covers those games. It’s good to see some people in the stands at sports events again.

My birthday was a few days ago. Mom and Dad came to visit. I got a few pairs of pants for gifts. As a kid, I was never excited about getting clothes unless it was something like a Nebraska Huskers football jersey. I doubt my 15 year old self would have imagined getting excited over new clothing as a birthday gift.

Fathers’ Day is this Sunday. I’m not sure what my dad has planned other than Sunday church services. He’s enjoying his retirement. Keeps himself occupied by working on model train sets, going to the grandkids’ soccer games, ham radio, etc. He’s in his early 70s and still has a pilot’s license.

June 7 2021

It’s been a quiet and uneventful few days since I last wrote. Been sleeping more the last few days. I spent a couple days slightly sick, mostly stomach issues. I think I might have had a case of not properly cooking one of my meals or just caught a slight sickness from one of my neighbors or a delivery man. But I’m feeling normal now.

My birthday is next week. I’ll be 41 years old. Other than chronic leg and back pain that doesn’t allow me to stand more than a few minutes at a time, I’m enjoying my 40s. I do have a few gray hairs on my face. It’s one of the reasons I shave more often now after spending most of my 30s with beards. Being clean shaven and not having really short hair does make me look less threatening to my neighbors and friends.

Been lazy about weight lifting the last few weeks. I want to get back on top of that again. Weight lifting is probably my favorite exercise, especially since I can do it while I’m sitting down and watching tv. When I was in grade school, my parents used to help me with my weekly spelling tests during tv commercials on school nights. It was rapid fire as we tried to get through all the words on the weekly list within the 4 minutes of commercials. I guess I’ve always been doing some kind of physical or mental drill while watching tv. Yes, I lift weights while watching Star Trek reruns. Get both my jock and nerd fix at the same time.

That’s about all I have going on right now. The weather has gotten real hot after a cooler and damper than usual spring. It’s a good change up. I love the variety in seasons living in a place like Nebraska has to offer.

Emerging From Self Imposed Quarantine

It’s been quite awhile since I last wrote. Updates are in order. Got my covid vaccine two weeks ago. So I’m more comfortable hosting guests in my apartment. My neighbor drops in usually every afternoon and we chat each other up. Found out a few of our tenants might have to leave from getting behind on rent. I’m glad that’s one thing I never did no matter how financially stressed I became. Granted, living in adjustable rate low income housing is a bonus.

I’m still mentally stable. I usually go to bed at 11pm and usually wake up for good at sunrise. Been watching alot of science and tech talks on youtube the last few weeks. I have gone easy on the audiobooks for the last couple weeks. I do read alot of articles online from many different sources. The information to be well informed is out there even if I have to spend some time looking for it.

Diet wise, I usually eat only twice a day. My biggest meal is always lunch. I found if I eat a protein rich lunch at 11am, I’m usually good to go until having a smaller meal at 5pm. I almost never eat sugar or carb rich food. Sugar can make me feel lethargic and irritable. As much as I love coffee, I limit myself to only one cup per day. Too much caffeine can make me irritable and short tempered. The only time I eat fast food is when I have family as guests. Fast food no longer agrees with me. It just makes me sluggish and gives me upset stomach. But stomach problems run in my family. My grandma had Chron’s Disease and both my mom and one of my aunts have stomach problems.

I don’t spend much time on facebook these days besides socializing with close friends and a couple cousins. It’s best if I don’t just scroll all evening. I think more people are learning to balance it as opposed to a few years ago.

I leave my windows open all the time unless we’re getting heavy rain or wind. I still wake up kind of chilly in the morning. But it is good sleep weather.

Cold Weather, Dreams, Decline of Social Media, and Regrets

Been damp and chilly the last few days. I enjoy this kind of weather. People think I’m strange for having my windows open on days like this. But, I’m a warm blooded mammal, not a lizard. I don’t need it be sunny and dry all the time. Besides, I have blankets, can make hot coffee, and turn on the furnace if it gets too cold. I’ve always been more sensitive to heat than cold anyway. Even the seasonal aspects of my mental illness are worse in the summers than winters and springs.

Staying close to home most days. My cleaning lady had to have foot surgery several weeks ago. She said she should be able to work again as soon as next week. I’ll be glad to see her again. My neighbors have helped out some this spring but it just isn’t the same.

Started sleeping less. I’m usually asleep by 11pm most nights and up for good by 6am. I sometimes nap in the afternoons. Been having lots of dreams lately. Fortunately they aren’t scary, they’re just vivid and make no sense. One dream I had was about a world famous conspiracy theorist living next door to the church I attended as a kid. And a few friends and I would go visit him after church services. Make whatever you will of this one. Another strange dream I recently had was about my old college opening a satellite campus next door to the building where my dad had his dental office. Can’t figure that one out either.

I’m growing more disappointed with social media lately. It hasn’t been any fun for years now. But now it’s practically a ghost town. I don’t use it for anything other than keeping in contact with my best friend and a couple cousins. I don’t even get much traffic to this blog via social media anymore. Thankful I don’t own any Facebook or Twitter stock. I just don’t see much activity on there anymore, certainly not like ten years ago. I’m going to have to find some other means to promote my blog.

I’m generally content overall. Even the long periods of alone time don’t bother me. I’d rather be alone than deal with toxic and rude people every day. Socializing is no longer worth it, at least not in person. I guess the older I have gotten, the fewer social contacts I have. But the ones I do have are far more meaningful than they were when I was 21. I enjoy being 40 more than I ever did my teens and twenties. The only thing I miss from my youth is how easy mobility was in those days. Sadly my physical health got sacrificed for my mental stability. Biggest mistake I ever made. Yet, I don’t know how I could have done it much different. I understand why mentally ill people typically have shorter life spans than those who aren’t mentally ill.

Thought on Marriage, Social Relationships, and Life’s Callings

I love being 40 years old. I enjoy that I no longer feel pressure to get married or have kids. I never could stand going to family gatherings and my old high school for home football games and have people asking me when I was going to start a family. People think I’m a liar for saying this, but I decided I wasn’t getting married when I was 18 and a senior in high school. For one, I saw that most married people I knew argued and fought all the time and about the pettiest crap. I still remember when I was 16 and my parents started arguing at the dinner table and I had just had it. I had a rough day at school already and I had a few hours worth of homework ahead of me that night already. I got up to just walk away, and they both shouted at me to sit down. Then they just went back to their argument like I wasn’t there. Sometimes when they argued, I’d yell at both of them just because I had enough. And my family was mild compared to most of my friends and extended family. Two of my high school friends and three sets of my cousins parents’ went through divorces in my youth. Seeing that scared me real bad. And I always heard this crap about how “you just gotta pick the right girl” or “love is all you need” or “love is forever” or “there is someone for everyone.” But I knew even in my teens I hated drama and fighting. I’d often hear that fighting makes relationships stronger and then I’d get punished for hitting my older brother or the neighbor kids. I always got mixed messages like that. I still do, though more through social media than my immediate family and friends. I love that I am no longer pressured to get married or have kids. It’s a pity almost no one respected my desire to stay unmarried twenty years ago.

I love that I can cut toxic people out of my life and not feel guilty at all about it. I may have fewer friends at age 40 than I did at age 22, but all of the friends I have are amazing. My best friend from college and I have never had a shouting match. Sure we’ve been irritated with each other many times but have never shouted at each other or ghosted each other. I’ve cut lots of people out of my life after we changed as people and after I figured out we weren’t good for each other. I’ve had to cut people out of my life that had been friends for years because we no longer shared the same values. I’ve even cut out family members. I find few things as irritating as going to family gatherings and hearing that one older relative rant on and on about the “damn kids” or that second cousin go on about politics or how much of an idiot his boss is. I don’t put up with toxic and rude people anymore. I would rather spend the rest of my life alone and in my apartment than socialize with toxic people. Anymore, most people I know are toxic. I refuse to put up with it. I don’t have to at this point in my life. And I don’t feel a shred of guilt for not socializing with people like that.

I love that I can do pretty much what I want for money, at least as long as I’m not breaking any laws. When I was a kid I was constantly asked what I wanted to do for a living. Originally I wanted to go into science research. I wasn’t really concerned with making lots of money. I enjoy what money can do as much as anyone, but it isn’t the primary focus of my existence. Another truth about me that most people think is a lie is that I decided I wanted to go to college when I was eight years old. The idea of being around well read people and getting to study things I wanted to sounded like winning the lottery in my eight year old mind. I always loved learning and reading. I didn’t have to be forced to read. Hell, I had to be forced to socialize with classmates. Mom and Dad were scared I’d never develop social skills if I just read books and made up stories in my back yard all day every day. Yet I still had a good social life in college, far better than what I had in grade school and high school. I’ve been accused of being anti social my entire life, but especially when I was a kid. The thing is I can talk with others all night about things like history, philosophy, economics, literature, science, and tech. But I can’t stand to talk about things like politics, the weather, sports, gossip, and school rumors. These things don’t interest me. Never have. Yet I was condemned for being anti social for not enjoying things like ballgames, county fairs, watching cable news, discussing politics, or the weather. I’ve never been anti social, I just have different interests than most people I’ve ever known. I’m thankful that the internet allows me to connect with people who have similar interests. I have more in common with people from my tech and futurist groups that I will never meet than I do my neighbors and most of my family. The internet is a godsend for the black sheep and small town eccentrics. It’s a pity I don’t have a couple hard core scholars or retired engineers living near me. In short, I love being a free lance independent scholar. Sure I will never get rich off my knowledge. Yet as long as I can pay my rent on time, keep food in the pantry, clothes in my wardrobe, keep my daily medications current, and keep the internet paid up, I don’t need much else. While I’m not convinced on the idea of previous lives or reincarnation, maybe I would have been wise to become a monk had I lived in medieval England. Maybe I could have been cured of mental illness and gone on to write parts of the Encyopedia Galatica if I lived in Asimov’s Foundation universe thousands of years in the future. I’ll never know. Being a scholar is like crime: It doesn’t pay and can land you in prison if you’re not careful. But, damn, I don’t know any other way to live my life.

Adjusting To Spring

It is starting to look and feel like spring again. Saw my first lightning of the season on Easter Sunday. The trees outside my window starting leafing this morning. Been watching lots of baseball the last few days. And I put some of my winter clothes away.

I’m still listening to audiobooks on youtube, mostly history and economics these last few days. Listening to some old radio shows too. Listened to a few episodes of The Shadow from the late 1930s. Been sleeping a lot lately. I usually go to bed around 10pm and wake up for good around 5am. Mentally I feel pretty stable. I usually do better on days I avoid aimless social media use and news casts. Have had only one major breakdown since last fall. Late summers are usually my toughest time of year.

Still taking it all one day at a time. At this point I’ve adapted to spending most of my time alone. I no longer feel guilty for not wanting to socialize with toxic and rude people. I’m glad I can keep myself good company. Alone time doesn’t bother me anymore. Sometimes it’s when I have my happiest and most peaceful moments.

April 5 2021

Easter was yesterday. I grilled some bratwursts and made some spicy chicken even though I didn’t host friends or family. Talked to my parents and an old friend last night. Been watching some baseball over the weekend. Sent in my rent check this morning and spent part of the morning in my complex’s library. I try to get out and social in person with people other than my immediate neighbors every few days. I’m starting to get more mobile again. My back doesn’t hurt bad as often even though I still sometimes get short of breath. Probably from sitting and sleeping too much during the last year. Most of the elderly I know have already had their vaccines. My parents attended Easter service yesterday morning.

I’ve been having my windows open more often. It’s good to be getting more fresh air and hear the sounds of the neighborhood around me. My complex is next door to the Post Office, so there are mail trucks coming and going all the time. My nephews and niece thought it was so cool that Uncle Zach had that sight outside of his living room window. I also have a few trees so I get to see birds a great deal, except during the winter. I have some pigeons that like to roost in the drainage gutter above my apartment. I get to see them fly in and fly off several times a day. It’s pretty cool. My hometown likes the fact they have pigeons, especially in the old downtown. Even the bird droppings don’t bother people. The town just hires a few kids to clean up after the birds, especially in the spring and summer.

Even though football is my favorite sport to watch on tv, spring has always been a favorite time of year for me. When I was still quite mobile, I used to go to the park a couple times a week just to people watch and smell the flowers. One of the parks I visited had several cottonwood trees. When the wind blew hard, it would blow the cotton fuzz off the trees to the point it would look like snow in early summer. Even as a kid I usually got my best grades in the spring time.

We’ve had warmer than usual weather the last few days but not much for rain. Hopefully get some over the next couple days. I always did enjoy the smell of falling rain mixed in with soil. I am glad winter is over. But in Nebraska we can usually expect an early spring ice storm or two before it warms up for good. Spring is one of my favorite times of year. I live in a college town so the town goes kind of quiet from mid May until mid August.

March 22 2021

Another winter has passed. The weather is starting to warm and the spring rains are beginning. Corn planting will be starting in my home state in a few weeks. The days are certainly longer now. Easter will be first Sunday in April. And I’m beginning to adjust to the end of winter.

My parents visited over the weekend. My brother gave me a PlayStation 5 for Christmas. It is amazing. I have a couple games for it now. I have Madden NFL 21 and a first person game similar to Skyrim. The graphics and game play on both are mind boggling. Thank you Josh (my brother). I really appreciate the gaming console. I will get lots of joy out of it. Certainly a far cry from the 8 bit Mario Brothers games I played back in the late 80s. I don’t have any VR games but my nephew has a VR headset. My dad played a flight simulator game on it and said it’s quite realistic to a real plane (he’s a licensed pilot).

Been having more aches and pains lately. I’ve been lazy about taking pain pills and lifting weights the last few weeks. I’m starting back on those today.

Mentally I’m feeling stable. Exterminator is supposed to be spraying all the apartments sometime this week and maintenance will be replacing filters on my furnace soon. It’s good to see that routine maintenance will be resuming. The pandemic really changed a lot of things for everyone. Seeing my parents over the weekend made me realize how starved I was for in person human contact. I have essentially kept my in person socializing to a minimum for a year. Last I heard over one hundred million vaccines have been given in my country since Christmas. As sad as it is that my country didn’t handle the pandemic well, maybe we can turn things around with the vaccine programs.