Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Time Travel

On Memorial day, I got to travel through space and time!!!
Zoom back to the past and then onto the future.

Two weeks prior, I entered a drawing for a 6 pass ticket for the intrepid Air and Space Museum.
Last Wednesday when I was researching some jobs and checking email, I heard the reference librarian leave a message for the winner of the tickets to the Intrepid. Wondering if it was me, I asked. She said no. I quickly forgot about it.
When I was home 24 hours later, I received a phone call stating that I was the lucky winner of these tickets.

I have a tendency to win these things from the time I won an on air $1,008 on WEBE108 for being the 8th caller, to circuses and other fascinating prizes. When I called my mom to tell her the great news, she says that usually happens for me.

I quickly got onto it and called my long time friend from University days and told her of the good news and if she wanted to go with her family. I got a quick yes and at the end of the day, the party of 6 was booked.

Getting started that morning took a little while since there was a nasty thunder and lightning storm. A few minutes before I left to catch the train, my friend called and said " Better wait a few hours before the storm passes. Watched weather channel for a bit and then when the storm calmed down and houses stopped shaking, we rendevouzed our ways towards the train to meet up in Greenwich and then onto Grand Central. I was instructed to catch the first carriage and then my friends could meet me there. As the train pulled up to the track, it was moving way too fast. What I did was hop into the middle carriage and then called my friends and said, "I am in the middle carriage." At Greenwich, my friend Phil hopped onto the next carriage and found me and I walked back one. Even with the carriage reference going back to the reference of England.

When we got to the Intrepid, the line was quite long. When I asked where do the library patrons go to go through the line, we
were whisked through the VIP line and were able to flow right through;thus, not getting stuck in that wonderful heat and humidity.
The Intrepid was massive when looking up at it from the street level and the command deck was positioned directly on top of the boat. It was painted in green and grey paint and had a big white 7 on the boat. From the upper deck, we could see the skyline of New York City well and down by the water was the British Concorde at the dock. A big narrow red and white plane parked in its parking place neatly. Looking almost like how Captain Sully parked his plane onto the same Hudson River that the Concorde was sitting next to.

We saw many old planes that were in the hanger of the Intrepid and they were painted in bright blues, yellows, whites and reds and black. There were several long planes with wide wings and a small cockpit window. Some of them looked very similar to the ones that I saw in a Stratford Air show of the Corsairs a few years back. But these were on the deck of the USS Intrepid, the same deck that saw much of the fighting during the Pacific Theatre of World WarII.
We lined up in front of several screens and there was a film with some footage from Kamakaze days. The red sirens went off and the alarms rang too with the announcement of all hands on deck. Also, there was smoke that filled the deck as if the actual fight was going on. Soldiers who used to be on the boat spoke of the great effort some of the 69 men made who died while serving our country.
Being fleet week, there was another large aircraft carrier parked at the next dock of the Intrepid. At first when I heard fleet week, I thought it was going to be windjammer type boats sailing along the Hudson River. But no, it was the BIG War boats.

We saw one of the 95 year old men sitting in his wheel chair in a bright yellow t=shirt that served on the blue plane. He posed for our photographs and talked a little bit of the experience. His arms were narrow but well worn from his years of service and his enthusiasm beamed forth for what he had done with the service to our country. Especially on Memorial day to see that and to see all the men and women walking proudly around the city Streets with their heads held high in their uniforms. As the song by James Greenwood comes true, "I am proud to be an American for I know I am free!"

Looking at the missiles and the boating gear from this era inspired me and made me thankful on Memorial Day for the sacrifices that our men and women in our Armed Force made for our country to be free.

Later on, we were whisked away to Mars. On a space shuttle onto the Red Planet for dinner. Several times during the day, the special dinner was hinted. When I heard we were taking a shuttle , I was wondering was this going to be like they do it in the movies or not with special ships to restaurants. We got to the Mars 2112 building and it looked ordinary on the outside.
When we arrived, we had our own private trip to the Red Planet in our shuttle with the announcing and descriptions of the trip. When we arrived to the Planet Mars and the doors to our shuttle were opened, we were greeted by the Martians and commanders of the Planet.

We were seated at a big round table and we ate our meal nestled in a red grotto. The seats were silver and red. Several of the space aliens were walking around and shook our hands as they greeted us without words. My friends daughter, Willow, loved it and bounced around and bonded with CutePie. Cutepie alternated with sadness and great joy when hand gestures covering her face or bouncing them outward towards Willow in a hug. The huge webbed hands were soft and smooth to shake. Very welcoming of us and also a little reticent also. But they get many intergalactic visitors each and every day.
It was a joy to see life during this time travel from a 6 year old's perspective. It is good practice for when I visit my niece in Minnesota as she graduates from elementary school at the age of 12. There is so much wonder with the youth and to capture it only for 1/2 day is so precious. And for the first time meeting her as well.

As I was seated at the round table, I pulled out my cell phone and called my mom like I did when I was at Yankee Stadium once. I told Mom I am on Mars for dinner. She did not quite know what to make of it. I had to explain later on in the evening what I meant for my humor is not always great-even in the reality of the moment!!!

Mars 2112 was covered in Red Rock and there were screens showing vast expanses of wasteland of green and blue hazy atmospheres and beautiful orange and yellow sunsets and sunrises. There was music on Mars and it sounded a lot like the music here on earth. Yet, our aliens could not lip synch the music somehow.

At the end of the journey, we went through the land of the red rock and passed a sign saying, welcome back to earth. Not as exciting as the arrival in our space ship. But returning to earth was good as I have much to do. A quick way to go to Mars while still being grounded on earth but somehow transported by the imagination into the future while being in the present moment.

A definite fun way to spend the day traveling back to the time of war and then forward to the future. Seeing how life was lived and also how life could be lived in the 22nd century. Imagine how our citizens of the world would have felt back in 1945 if we told them what is happening now.

A good way to view life of going from one part of the world to the next-always in anticipation of what is in store for us.

For I am definitely proud to be an American for I know I am free. For the red blood and sacrifice of our soldiers even at this very moment. Willing to fight for us earthlings and aliens as well.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sailing out of the doldrums of life.

It has been a while since I have written this piece. Taking up the keyboard and moving the words of life for others to hear, ponder, and listen to.
I spoke to John, a friend of mine, and he mentioned how we need to look at the moving parts of thought and argument. We also need to look at how life is constructed and built. Especially when sometimes the puzzle pieces of our lives get tossed out of the box and mixed up with the pieces of many others on one big pile.

That is where passion comes in when we take the uniqueness that each of us has been given and infused with the creativity, we can find and enhance how those pieces will end up. The original 1,000 pieces won't be in that box minted in 2010 minted with the brand of company X. But those pieces of our lives will influence many other folk in our society.

Imagine what an impact we can have if we take some creativity that we have and move some of these pieces around and create great pieces of art. Art that emerges with our mind and our souls on the front of a page.

I am not a huge fan of the moving piece of not being at the desk at Pepe's but I have seen a world bigger than I ever thought possible. A world that is filled with wonderful people that so many corporations are missing out on. A world that I am dying to help and a world that I hope I will get to know real well in the coming months. Of igniting a big firestorm of talent in the region so that people will feel good at themselves.

To look on the top of the tapestry and not being stuck under it. To see the fine needlepoint and pattern that emerges.
Tangles do exist underneath but there is great beauty when viewed from above~~~~

Be blessed until next time.. For more inspiration, stay tuned and glued to your seats~~~

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Finding the Puzzle pieces

To my fellow toastmasters and friends, here is a snapshot of my life seen through the lens of my work, faith and love of the coast of Maine.

The constant rhythm of footsteps from out of the house to the curb of the bus and then on through several curbs and greetings. A constant pattern of day to day. From dances of umbrellas and jackets.

I awoke one of those mornings. I headed out the door with my bag fully organized and ready to tackle various unresolved pieces to the puzzle of my work with Karen, my interim boss. I went about that morning with my ordinary routine of going to the warehouse for the customer returns and opening up my red and yellow lipton tea bag and pouring the heated water and the sugar packets into it. I began to process the dozen credits and laid them on their backs to print them shortly thereafter.

Suddenly I was summoned into my boss's office to be handed the news that my 20 years were over on that bright June Monday morning on the eve of my 47th birthday. I only had ten minutes to retrieve what I regarded as important and say my final farewells from a distance and place the piles of organized work back on my desk never to see them again.
Then I was ushered back home in a yellow New Haven Cab only a mere 3 hours from when I departed my apartment to take the 3 bus commute to work.

That moment has taken me on quite a journey that I am beginning to appreciate. At first, the reaction to this new journey is how could this have happened to me after so many years of faithful service.

I lost the box of my 500 piece puzzle that I was fairly close to solving. For the picture was becoming a little clearer. I was getting used to solving those pieces and had begun to develop a rythymn in doing so. So I rode in reverse in the cab with the taste of the tepid tea in my mouth and the memories and views becoming distant in the rearview mirror of my time at Schrier and Bunzl.

These were somehow the puzzle pieces that guided my life. Pieces that came unglued when I was called into the inner sanctum of control that morning to receive the brusque news. News that wounded me and made it very hard to take the next steps for quite a while. For that mission was aborted and a new one was to begin immediately.

But as I look back over the past 10 months , I see a new view emerging from the rearview window as the hand of God has been in the middle of it. I have gained the equivalent of two decks of cards of contact information that I can begin to unfold and deal forth to myself and others at different times of life. These are not like the gin cards that my dad and I played throughout life. They are a snapshot of the history of my new networking contacts .

For it has been a challenge to maintain a sense of order in this open classroom of life. In which the boundaries of the 60 hours of my routine being yanked out from under me. Yet very frustrating and perplexing at times. As I began to discuss the following Sunday morning at church with Mary, she told me to regard this as a trial retirement and I am regarding this as a well-earned sabbatical that I longed to have. Being able to sleep and wake at whatever schedule I desire and then the times I focus intently on the search itself. But the day trips that I have gone on to meet the new network of contacts have been deeply rewarding.

Besides my work, I am defined by how God sees me. For this came into clearer focus when I was a student at Fairfield University and began to learn how the world of faith intersected one's life in a personal sense. Many times were spent this first year of college sitting in the mess hall and sometimes I had lengthy discussions with my friend Jim Greenwood that I outlined key points discussed on a 3x4 inch white medicine packet. Somewhat scribbly but it kept me focused as I assimilated key elements of faith into my mind. For I continued to learn how this puzzle piece of faith would impact my life and then about two years later I became immersed in the waters and the life of my church as a member and went on journeys through the snow, sun and rain on retreats. In the woods and on rivers throughout Connecticut and Massachussetts. Then fast forwarding to that of today where I am on the third class at my local seminary finding that a very rewarding experience-providing a secondary purpose to this sabbatical.

Another important puzzle piece in my life is that of my having challenges in my life through my handicaps. For others have defined me through them. For I had missing the connections in 1/4 of my brain that had to be rewired and connected in different ways. Moving through the early years in a puzzle mode. Learning how language is built upon the building blocks of phonetic sound and pictures. Yet, the beauty of my growing up through this lens is that I appreciate the value and honor of love and extend it to others as a result. And learning how to take those first crawls and steps and leaps throughout life.

A final element of the puzzle of life is my love for Maine in that holds all of my life together. It is the one place to where I can be renewed after a long period of drought and a place where I can see and sense and hear the gulls of nature coo and sing to one another=melding into the occassional cry of a crow. An orchestra that God has created with the movement of the bows of their flight and sound. I fondly remember how the gulls can flap frantically and then settle down with a whoosh onto the rocks. Something to be listened to carefully, a movement within that orchestra of Heaven.
It has been those times on the rocks of the Pemaquid coast or the Shepscot Bay or the Portland Harbor that bring back fond memories -of traveling through the tidal pools and crevices of rocks. Of seeing the surf crash against the shore and the repetitive motion of the tides washing up and over the beach and shore.

Thus, I am thankful for the opportunity to share with you how I have been shaped by the love of my work, the love of my God and the love of the nautical world of Maine. Now as I continue to meld the new puzzle picture into my life to make it once again a new cohesive whole. But being better prepared to rework it if the pieces become reversed once again.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Enduring the race marked before US

Getting a roll out of bed this morning was rather difficult with the news of the capture and killing of OSama. Good that it happened in that he will not be a threat to our world. But there are the systems which he has developed and the innate character of evil that is always present in the world. There have been varied discussions on all of the networks on whether it was fine to celebrate his capture and death. And then there is the sentiment given by others that it was a life that is lost and should be mourned. I am in the middle of the two views. It would have been nice to throw a big victory party but there have been so many lives lost on the battlefield since the blue day on Sept. 11,2001. But the beauty of our nation and the world is the sacrifices that have been made in the daily pursuit of evil.

But the key to life is to remember how we are to encourage one another and to view positive movies and concerts to lift our spirits up.
For as a Christian song states,
"For we fall down and then get up. For we fall down and then get up. For we fall down and then get up."
For I look at the cross, Lord, on your journeys through the stations of the cross. FOr you fell down and needed help along the way.
I recalled how you ask me to deny myself, pick up my cross and follow you. Help me and my fellow friends understand what kind of cross you are asking me to follow in love.

It is time for us to get up and keep on moving forward. For as the Apostle Paul states in Ephesians, "No love can separate us from the love of Jesus." So thankful for you, Lord, for loving us unconditionally in the process of what has been going on in the world of today!!