Catching Up to A New Year

Thank goodness Phil has figured out a way to keep his finance posts on top of the page. Good advice and evidence there. Much better than some idiotic Motley Fool ad-link that brags about how one can make millions from $40–if they invest in the right stock, 100 years ago. This would be better placed under financial planing for children, on many levels.

Christmas is always hard for me and this year was no different. Because of elementary school in Minnesota in the mid 60’s I know the words to Christmas carols better than any other music. Yet, every year I have a harder time singing them along with the radio and this year I just stopped. The family of 18 assembled in Florida, had the big meal, and then my director-prodder-psych brother in law brought out a specially made song book and everyone was supposed to sing.

I couldn’t stomach it and retreated to the basement for a breathe of fresh air. But the house reverberated with the rising crescendos of religious carols, sometimes shouted and sang so out of tune as to become an episcopalian drinking ritual rather than a solemn, joyous affirmation. A relative in law came downstairs and said “so you don’t do carols?” “No.” There was some debate that I had been egregiously antisocial and was that further sign of declining sanity but luckily some came to my rescue and said people shouldn’t be forced to sing.

I had to remind me family that my spouse used to insist she have the freedom to not go to church as a child. She now misses the music. It is so comforting. Yep, so are my opiate pain pills that turn me into a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde play. Where the glow gives way to demanding desire.

Actually I wish I had the strength to not hold hands in prayer as the family wants. As I saw a friend do at another friend gathering where everyone held hands and prayed. He broke the chain and I didn’t even know he was secular.

No one came to me and supported me but I heard it through bits, snippets, and body language. I don’t know why it was a surprise. They have never done carols before and I have always refused to go to Christmas service when they used to do that. I have seen enough churches and holiday services by belonging to a family headed by a musician that I’m ready for something fresh that speaks to me.

This year I had not done any writing at all, to even Facebook or Twitter from the 25th on to see if it was the writing that dragged down the holidays. Was I reinforcing my negativity by writing about it or alleviating it? I really didn’t see any difference other than more time to do things.

This year was different than last in that I cooked near nothing where last year near every meal for a week was made by me. A happy task that kept me busy and less inclined to comment. This year I just kept a rosy glow afresh and said little. Perhaps it’s the antidepressants that seem to have a wavering effect, or I’m just getting old and hyperaware that I am still controversial.

I was sworn to not discuss diets and so only had a passing discussion against the Paleo diet with someone who finally has lost weight on a modified Atkins diet where the secret seems to not be the food though they say so but the new trick of always serving in portions no bigger than a cup. It’s been 15 years since her last diet success which was through walking then. One wonders if her weight loss isn’t accelerated by enduring the dying-process of a close friend this year.

I was also sworn to not discuss religion and politics. So there wasn’t much left. Even the brief respite in the beach surf was squelched by demanding that we not go out because it was red flag days and other children couldn’t attend so it wasn’t fair for any to be in the water. I was left to bounding about in an overheated swimming pool where my greatest entertainment was trying to dunk my son who is now much stronger than I.

Good times, mixed blessings, and a season of discontent.

And good timing. The horses have gotten loose.

>>> Well the horses are back in with a call to an early dinner. They circled the house and garden and then went where asked. They didn’t use paths but frolicked through the trees, each taking their own way like a a celebratory excursion. Now time to repair fence, start cold diesel tractors, move fresh hay for them, and finally go into winter mode.

Temperature warmer, nice to be outside, nice to working with the world at large.

Jim N




About Jim Newman

Jim Newman is a philosopher. When I was young I wondered what was the ultimate truth. How should I behave? What makes it all work? I was intensely curious to know what it all means. It was enlightening to realize there is no ultimate truth, but nevertheless sufficient and necessary turth, and that meaning was a meta analysis of living one’s life. In this sense my work has been living large. Living and experiencing life has made me learn many things. Building boats, motors, houses, electronics. Raising animals. Teaching. Writing. Photography. Drawing. Knitting. Sewing. Cooking. Music. Painting. Hiking. Aboriginal living skills. All material aspects of reality that seem irrelevant until you realize they allow you to experience more. My epiphany came when I read Christopher Hitchen’s “Letters to a Young Contrarian” and I felt vindicated in my many meals of sacred cow.
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