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    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeSep 21st 2018
    I've been surprised too. In the 50s when I grew up, the east end included about two thirds of the island and was rural. It was classified semirural when I was in college, and then suburban. When I left the area in the mid 70s the traffic was awful trying to get to work. But it seems like people stopped moving out there and went to NJ, Westchester county, and Conn. It is still quite rural on the east end. But now the east end would only include about one third to one half of the Island. Still farms, although the Long Island Duck farms are long gone. Now there are quite a few wineries on the north shore and north fork.
    A friend of mine helped engineer some of the traffic improvements, although the LIE is still the world's longest parking lot. When I go back it is easier getting around my old neighborhoods than when I left. I am tempted to move back there. But it is more expensive than California, which is stunning to contemplate.
    • CommentAuthorpaulc
    • CommentTimeSep 22nd 2018
    Yes, Long Island is very expensive. I have a few people I grew up with who still live there, my friends and family have moved away. Northern NJ is popular as is Westchester county in NY (my brother lives there and not cheap). I hear that the potatoe farms are also gone. I’ve been there twice in the past 5 years, and yes, lots of traffic.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeSep 22nd 2018
    Interesting you mention the potatoes. My grandfather was Quaker. He drove a horse drawn cart of seed potatoes three days from Pennsylvania to Long Island. Would have been before the depression I think. Our potatoes rivaled Idaho spuds.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeOct 1st 2018
    If I was a religious person I would see my road as a miracle and if I was a goal orientated person I would see myself as an achiever and if I was full of myself I would see this as my due and since I am none of those things, I see myself as a person on whom fortune has smiled (in this one thing).

    I honor my mom and dad by remembering them not as a shrine but as human beings and so, sympathetically and empathetically and critically, but always connected by the same foibles of living our lives. I honor my wife in the same way where her ashes are not a shrine but are her ashes put somewhere nice with things she liked around them.

    I could pull books out from parts of this road. Dialogues With Dianne might be one of those or more accurately, as Mary recently said in our phone call, an essay of the times I spoke to and wrestled with her memory. These days it would seem as strange to talk to her pictures as it would to talk to my parents. Besides, I have a direct line and if something contextual comes up I might think "that's true mom" or "remember that Dianne?" without the imagery of anyone hearing - just the connections together in spirit. In that same way I keep an eye on my widow friend who doesn't have enough and will be working past 65 to keep body and soul together. I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't let her suffer and once in a while when I think of Scott I nod that I will contribute to her welfare. She will need a new car soon and I won't wait with my will where she's just five years younger than me.

    "Keep up the good work" I said to Dianne just a few weeks ago where I hate going to the dentist but it's overdue that I start restoring my teeth and I remembered that that sweet kid brought me a dental plan where I can spend up to $2500 a year on dental care which is entirely her effort. I made money too but blew a tire in some ways like pensions and benefits. I learned a life lesson from all this though which was that money is useless when living through hard times. I don't say that to people like my widow friend because they would never believe that anyway. She clings to the idea that if she was rich she could be happy and she's welcome to believe that.

    What I learned is that if you're alright then you're rich and I would never have learned that the way I have without paying the price we both did. I told that story once which I made up but surely isn't original of the beggar being rich while the rich man was deprived by exactly the same simple meal. That stuck and like so many things in life, I never know what thoughts will be wind passing and what thoughts will change what I am.

    I thought that life had short changed me and that it was cruel to me and what I didn't know was that my service wasn't about me but was about her and about us and that eventually I would both see that and understand it - and when I did and only then would the burdens of self deceit fall.

    I hereby promise to never make fun of Bill Shakethespear again and instead just answer his rhetorical question that it is a far, far better thing to have loved and have lost than never to have loved at all.

    It's a rainy, cold day covered in dark clouds this fine autumn day. Just a few weeks from now all these green trees will turn bright colours and fall down. That's the way of all things just as this summer was. The world has not changed but I have because it wasn't enough to go through all that or even to finally heal from it or even to understand it, but to embrace the chance I have to believe in living again and embrace the hurts that always come with that having come all the way around the earth and arrived exactly where I started - being me and for the first time in my life appreciating that for what that is. The baggage car has been emptied for some time which suspicious searches have confirmed for some time and just like that beggar in my story - it has nothing to do with the meal and everything to do with the appreciation.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeOct 1st 2018
    Wolf, I am especially glad to read this. Something you said a week or so ago had me worried that some stuff had filled up that baggage cart again. Embracing the chance to believe in living again sounds much better.

    DURING the journey I kept asking myself why, oh why, did I ever agree to get married??? I had never planned to get married. Marriage totally disrupted my life plan. For awhile it had been ok, but to end with Alzheimers.... I cry when I hear my nieces have become engaged -- and not happy tears. But I know, just like when I married a man 11 years older, they wouldnt listen to the risks. I am still battling tsunamis of grief, but, in between waves, there are glimpses that it is a far, far better thing to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Putting pictures of us smiling together is helping to find those memories.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2018
    Bonnie, that's exactly why I check (suspicious searches). Behaviour isn't like plumbing and yet it's exactly like plumbing. Until it stops leaking it isn't fixed and unless you check you don't know. It's not like plumbing in the sense that plumbing is pipes and joints and solder and air traps and water levels and so on, while behaviour is feelings and reactions and fixations and fears and so on. Put in plumbing right and it should work. Put your behaviour ideas in right and you find out you're just talking.

    I hear the life plan thing but swiss watches are over rated because the watch is wonderfully precise beyond any real applications in life where the dancing elephants in the china shops and the toe curling moments and the long ways we carry the luggage without using anything inside, couldn't care less about the precision of the tick-tick-tick.

    There is no right way. There is only being you. I know people who are so emotional they feel your emotions more than you do. I know people who are so reserved or detached their speech is a study in safe avoidance. I know people who's idea of themselves is so outlandishly unrealistic, their gymnastics over and around unwanted evidence is breathtaking to watch. I know people so kind and giving you want to protect them from themselves. I know people so wildly funny that to listen to them take almost anything anywhere makes my stomach hurt from laughing. They're all just variations on a theme which is being human on the same surfboard through time everybody else, including the entire universe, is on.

    It's no good telling your nieces not to do what you do but to do what you say. Marriage disrupts everybody's life plan even when they never had one and the main reason there are any nieces around to warn against is because people do take the risks and do get married and even (shudder) have children which don't just disrupt but turn you into a parent (shudder). Some people live to be parents and can't wait to have children. The swiss watches of life plans don't work there either.

    There is only one thing that has always worked in my life and works now which is to genuinely try to be myself where every other fact bar none is wide open. I've seen and done things from the gross to the sublime including designing the posters for a Santana concert living in San Francisco, having a threesome with the Faulkner twins, being the CIO of a multi billion dollar company, saving people from certain death, and having a deep and full relationship with my wife (who had her own peccadillos to tell). That list of wonderous things is as long as my arm and I've most recently added flipping the finger to this trip. There and back again my behind - I was there, and now I'm here which isn't a there because it's exactly the same chair in exactly the same place; but, it's later except people don't think like that. Well. Some.

    You've just very recently come through very serious life events you couldn't possibly have absorbed yet which simply has to mean more bouncing off walls. I'm sorry about that but consider giving your own physiology a break and consider taking up origami or bonzai trees to pass the time while it catches up. Or deny any of that is real and charge ahead. Like I said (sort of), there are many types but there is only one you.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2018 edited
    Bouncing off walls and variations on a theme and pecadillos!

    I am off to the golf course. More fun than bonzai trees. Besides, if I touch a plant, it WILL die.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2018
    Went to play golf. It was not such a great idea to check in here before golf. Don't really need to have my head in alzheimers world when trying to concentrate. Still, played reasonably well. Was surprised when I caught up to two guys in front of me they just drive right by and didn't invite me to join up. I think because one guy didn't hit his driver very far past the women's tees. So I had to dilly dally and practice extra shots. Not a bad thing overall, but am tired.

    It is much cooler all of a sudden. We got a tiny bit of rain here. The groundskeepers are doing all kinds of work to get the course back in shape after a difficult couple of summers. They asked the boss what happened to my husband. He was afraid to ask, but I ran into him out on the course and complimented them on their work. Lots of people don't even notice the groundskeepers, but we always were friendly. When I was learning they helped me find my ball. They always wave and say hello. Made me feel good because I think it has been about a year since we were playing together and the groundskeepers still recognize me. :)
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTime7 days ago
    My sister and I talk regularly about everything which is a shock to both of us but I've been telling her she has to allow time to settle in now that the 'grands' are becoming teenagers at the same time her husband is home full time. It's like taking a city person camping where every mosquito is a threat until they get used to the idea that they're everywhere and you just kill the one's biting or you're a whirling dervish all weekend.

    It's so easy when it's not us looking at ourselves from the inside, living every moment individually like living every mosquito personally. I can understand that and write about it, but I can't change the difference between telling the guy to calm down and being the guy who's hopping around frustrated out of his skin that mosquitos are endless and no one is going to drive them home now so they're stuck in this nightmare called camping.

    Because we talk regularly about everything I can hear my sister's frustrations and struggles even when we're not talking about that. In this one way at least, we've traded places where this must have been her experience talking to me two years ago when I was the whirling dervish, fish out of water, struggling soul.

    Patience under fire under duress. Not an easy thing to give to someone who's flailing around in the water, wide-eyed and horrified. That's two things I've learned from the separation from my own flailing. I can see how things overcome us whatever the topic, and I can empathize with that struggle.

    I compared struggles before but always defensively and (I'm sure) wide-eyed and horrified. Like the person who's wife died of cancer in just a few months and who remarried within the year telling me I'm not getting on with my life two years ago - why are they even breathing and how dare they and set him back up so I can kick him again. And now? He's just him largely again because I'm just me enough again.

    The truth is I now have a deep and well earned insight into experiences that overcome us, what that's like to go into, to be in, and to come out of. The separation I referred to above is the growing fields of unperturbed time between now and when the last stragglers of that hoard extinguished.

    I've come to better understand the picture book cut-outs that form the realityscapes of most people as not just being as valid as mine (which I've always believed), but being as deeply expressive of themselves and as worthy of compassion and support as anything I might come up with.

    Which is why when my sister is quick to point out how my struggles are so much worse than anything she faces, I genuinely argue back that her hardships are just as genuine and real as mine. I wouldn't call it a joy to be able to be like this but I would say it's one of the numerous things I've come to appreciate seeing, having survived and come out of my own hell hole - that I didn't just survive; I came away with important things.

    I don't think you need a structured religion to have spiritualism; in fact, I think religions are different approaches to the spiritualism that's already pervasive in life. I believe that spiritualism is part of the connection between the way we see the world and our own feelings, where feelings are a fundamental part of being alive.

    In the end perhaps the state is after the mosquito nightmare or the non-swimmer panic nightmare or my sister's world upside down or any experience that overwhelms us, to check and be able to answer "I'm ok" which is vague but a pretty good thing to believe whoever we are and whatever we're going through.

    When you stop to think about it 'the journey somewhere else' was never about anywhere else - it was about a journey to where you feel ok. What that means is something only you know - or at least, could know.