If one considers the state of the world sometimes, it can make you either happy or sad. In the long run, it will likely make you sad. Between vaccine deniers and climate change deniers, the world is full of so much disinformation. I listened to a Doctor on the news two nights ago who said the following, right before they intubate a person because of Covid infections spread. The person begs to get the vaccine. The time for the vaccine is long before the infection. Sadly after you are infected, it is too late. The science here is pretty simple, not hard to understand.
I grew up in the house of scientists. My father was my hero (is my hero). My mother is my hero. They taught us to ask questions. They taught us to think, but they also taught us to respect. The reality of the world we are in, however, changed the concept of respect. Let me amend that; it didn’t change what respect means. It didn’t change how and who deserves respect. It just made it ok to step to one side. The politically correct people and the deniers now lined up on opposite sides. I worry that the value of both sides has already been lost.
That’s right, there is value on both sides and that seems to be lost. There is a need in our world to be politically sensitive. It is ok to identity how you wish as a human being. But the reality is history is important as well. I love the quote, “history was, we can’t change it. If it makes you angry, good – make sure it never happens again.” We have to balance remembering what was because there is that other quote that hangs over us as a society. “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” To those who would deny, however, we must accept the right of impact. People have the right to say; I wouldn’t say I like that. Years ago, a teacher said, “the middle isn’t comfortable; it is compromised.”
I started writing when I was in high school. Originally poetry. In that time, I’ve come over the years to learn that what I am trying to do is share my truth. The other day, I realized that there are people in this world, whose response to my truths is more important to me. I don’t just write for them, but when I write connects with them, it makes my day just a little bit brighter, just a little bit better for me. One of those people is my wife; I love it when she reads my pieces and tells me you’re crazy, for I love that or that’s so true. It matters to me when she reads my stuff and finds something in it of value for her. But there’s another person, one who read my earliest stuff, one who commented early on in my writing. One whose voice when that person says I like that. Or you’re spot on. Or I love it. And that is the person to whom I attribute my desire to write. I don’t know that I’ve ever told that person that I wrote, and I write often hoping that it will connect with her.
The first person who truly just said right to me was my mother. Not mind you that her praise when she loves one of my pieces rises above all others. Just that her voice has been the longest, her support has been the longest. The first major publication I had was simply a publication in the Herald telephone in Bloomington, Indiana, of a poem about mothers. It was about my mother, but as my mother would say to me afterward, it was about all mothers, and she loved that piece. It ended up being one of the three pieces picked for publication on Mother’s Day that year. And they called my mother and interviewed her. Perhaps the greatest gift I ever gave my mother—a piece of me to the person who always supported me as a writer. I don’t know that I’ve ever written down and told my mother that one of my truths was that she liked some of the things I wrote. I know I told my wife that her praise, but I don’t know that I ever told my mother.
Certainly, in the course of my life, I’ve had many influences to my right. But mom was my first—the person whom I often consider that I write for sometimes. I now often write for my wife to remind her of the many things she got available great influences on me. So today, I want to celebrate people who supported my mother once asked to see some of my poems one time. Many years ago. Unbeknownst to me, she had a purpose to the ask. She bound them into a book and presented that book to me. It is a treasure to this day, something that I relish and enjoy. Published book of my poems. Not that my poetry was earth-changing or earth-shattering, just that it was mine. I now published in a book. That is one of the biggest inspirations I ever had as a writer. Certainly, there have been times published in magazines where the validation of others was important. When I was working on one of my first books, my grandfather asked for a copy to read it. That certainly was encouragement, but the wellspring started with that book of poems my mother had back.
So, a huge thank you to all that read these posts.
But a special thank you to Mom, and my wife!
The funny thing about discrimination is that, to a degree, a lot of it is unconscious. The bias, we all suffer as human beings. It has to do with how we are raised and how we move through life. It’s why I am struggling right now. I read an interview with a US Congresswoman. I want to say that I believe everyone has a right to speak. I won’t dignify this person with their name. I will say, I have never been more disappointed in a US Government Official than I was yesterday. Government officials have their own bias, and that bias is represented by what they say and do.
I am all for that. I understand that we have to have two or more sides in a political system of give and take. But, when you talk about something (in this person’s case, it was the disinformation and misleading non-facts shard first that caused me heartburn. Six thousand deaths from the US Vaccine effort. That was the fact-free statement she made. At most, the actual number is one, possibly 2 out of nearly 180,000,000 doses given. So, not only is the fact not a fact, but it is also so out of place. Six hundred thousand more people have died directly from the virus to date in the US. When you play with numbers, you can’t hide.
I understand that facts are disruptive to this congressperson’s narrative. That is something that person will have to deal with at some point. But that only made me sad. There haven’t been 6000 deaths from the Vaccine. There have been more than 600000 deaths from the virus in the US. So, the reporter, being a good reporter, asked, “have you had the vaccine.” You see, if you decry something, you better not be part of the people that have had it. The congressperson answered a simple “that is a violation of HIPPA.” In that case, it is not; HIPPA would apply if a third-party medical provider were involved. IE, the congressperson’s doctor, was asked did this congressperson have the Vaccine.
But, the only answer to the question is you have had the Vaccine. If you’ve spent the last six months decrying that Vaccine is No, I have not.
A magician to create the illusion makes sure your eyes are locked on the wrong thing. It is, after all, the art of illusion. Magicians are very good at creating the illusion. Illusions are truly a deception. An attempt to push off from the view of what is or isn’t our goal to what the other person wants us to see. The “narrative” of truth, as was once said. The problem is the word truth. The truth is no always abject reality. The truth and I’ve talked about this before, can be nuanced. I read a great line about the truth yesterday; I don’t remember where and I will look for it today to cite the source in the future.
“The truth is an adult coloring book. Some color in the lines, and use the recommended colors. Some colors are inside the lines but use different colors than recommended. Some color outside the lines but use the recommended colors. Some colors outside the lines and use different colors than recommended. Some refuse to color at all.”
The truth is a fact-based view of situations. But that quote fits the world of today so well. The truth is nuanced, modified, and even distorted beyond recognition. The reality is, if you push for truth, then use the recommended colors. If you don’t like the facts representing the truth, you have to prove the facts wrong. I want to propose a new philosophy. A new way to look at this world we live in. I’ve been thinking about this concept for a long time. I haven’t shared it completely until today. I want to offer this as a gift. If you like it, feel free to use it. If you don’t, ignore it!
In the land of supposition, the person that tells the truth is ruler.
Let’s for a moment agree that the reality of truth is a fact. Let us then stop for a moment and accept this. There are credible and non-credible sources. When someone uses a credible source, the response to that should be either acceptance or the presentation OF FACTS FROM ANOTHER CREDIBLE SOURCE.
(pictures today continuing the ones I wasn’t able to share because they are too big, on Virily when I was posting there from Europe).
What a long, run-on opening sentence that was. The pictures are from our 2016 trip to Europe. We spent the first part of that trip on the Costa Cruise Line Viking Cruise. It was called the Viking cruise because you visited the lands where the Vikings began their many journeys of discovering (ok, pillaging really, but the journey of discovery sounds nicer)! We visited three cities in Norway, a city in Denmark and a city in Germany. It remains my all-time favorite family vacation. Although there are many other vacations on my favorite list, this one is just the top, in fairness!
One of my long-time readers asked me to post my ten all-time favorite vacations. I cannot limit the list to 10, but I will share that list today. These are my favorite vacations. Some are memories of long ago; some are more recent when we took the vacation.
- Europe 2016
- California in the 1970s (we did Universal Studios and Disneyland)
- Florida in the late 1970s (my little sister and I went to visit our grandparents and spent a whole day at Epcot)!
- Mexico City (I worked, but we spent the weekend there and had a blast)!
- Bangkok (visiting my parents with my family)
- Bangkok (visiting my parents on the way home from Malaysia)
- Mexico Nueva Puerta
- Florida Disney World and then the Disney Cruise!
- Paradise, Michigan, when I was a little kid
- Porcupine Mountain State park (UP of Michigan)
- 2nd cruise in the Caribbean (Grand Cayman, Grand Bahama, Cancun)
- Paris (again, I was working, my wife got to site see, then we had a great long weekend of fun)!
- Any trip to Cambridge Wisconsin
- Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
- Estes Park Colorado
I could keep going, and the list would change. There were many other vacations, trips to Chicago, trips to Detroit, and so on that we took over the years. As I said, the list evolves, Some of the vacations were with my mom and dad. Some of the vacations were with my wife and kids. The ones in bold were with my parents!
Yesterday was the hottest walk of the week for me. Plus, I was going to go 10 miles. Boy, that was one of those be careful walks. I came home drenched in sweat and spent the afternoon replenishing my water. It was a good walk; I did manage to finish my goal. I did have to stop twice, once to enjoy the shade for a moment—the second time to slow down. I don’t walk for a time as often, I do like to keep my pace consistent, but I don’t walk to a specific time goal. So, if you have to stop and relax for a moment, it is ok! I sat at the bus stop on the main road near our house.
It is important when it is that hot to take water with you. I didn’t, because I started my walk at 830 in the morning. I won’t make that mistake again. Back to carrying water on every walk! It’s funny, we have a tandem bike, and the first thing we installed was two water bottles. You always have to have water when you are working out, outdoors! Other than the oppressively hot, the other thing I noticed was that there were no other walkers out. Usually, there are 20 or more runners and roughly 50 or so walkers I meet on my new path. There were less than four runners and only six walkers my whole 10-mile walk.
In the late afternoon, we had one of those Thunderstorms blow in. The storm brought heavy wind, lots of noise, and roughly .33 inches of rain in around an hour. The rain was nice; it took the temp outside from 96 to 79 and left behind a cooler, less humid swamp! For the next few days, we get to enjoy an 80s summer. (Not 1980s, temperatures in the 80s, and lower humidity!) I’ve been doing a time-lapse video of yesterday’s weather for many years now. You can see yesterday’s storm roll in (you don’t see a lot of rain. It didn’t rain for a long time). A link to that is below!
Yesterday’s weather in time-lapse review
(pictures continue to be never shared pictures from Europe)!
I have been enjoying sharing vacation pictures from Europe that I couldn’t share on my old blog. That blog has a maximum picture size of 8 meg, and most of the pictures shot with my DSLR in Europe are 14 or more meg in size. Yes, I could resize them, but why? It is a lot of effort and something that takes time I don’t have, honestly. So, it is nice to share these for the first time. I have been reading and watching the flooding in Belgium, Holland, and Germany. Having been to all three countries throughout my travels, I have reached out to my many friends who live there.
The beauty of social media is that people can mark themselves safe. If they don’t do that, you can reach out and connect. My heart goes out to those suffering those 100-year floods. They are horrible, and hopefully, they get a few dry days so that the waters recede and they get a chance to return to some level of normalcy. I remembered many years ago; I was driving to Chicago. I had to get off the highway (I-65 North) because it was closed due to flooding. I took the detour and wandered country roads trying to avoid the congestion; I ended up running into a lake that used to be a road.
I did drive out a bit into the water; maybe the water was three possible 4 inches deep. I stopped and couldn’t tell the terrain, so I backed out and tried alternative routes. I was 3 hours late for the meeting. My boss at that time was mad at me for being late. I left that team as soon as I could. He was a horrible boss anyway. That flooding that day was nowhere near what they are experiencing in the three countries. So as I said, my heart goes out to those recovering from that event. When you play with the climate, in the end, the changes you generate are sadly always worse than expected.
The journey begins simply by taking the first step. But the reality is, the journey begins with our first breath. We launch our lives well; let’s be fair, those that give birth to us launch our lives. We are bound and dependent for a time—a far longer time than other animals in the wild. Most animals, young are born and quickly move to take care of themselves. Weeks, sometimes months, in a few cases maybe a couple of years. But not the 18, 20 years that a human child takes to develop and mature. As a parent, I am complaining or throwing shade, just that it takes a long time.
I know the world is so much different than when I was a kid. Many great things have happened (we’ve landed on the moon, we’ve put the scientific craft on Mars, we’ve even sent an object out of our solar system (well nearly). There have been and always are tragedies, and those are hard to forget. I won’t mention them because they truly are tragedies. They, simply put, are sad things that we carry with us. But, the road, as Robert Frost so eloquently said, sometimes forks. Sometimes the road, becomes two, three, or more paths that we can follow. Each of those paths is unique.
Yes, sometimes there is great value in following the path less traveled. Sometimes we have to where we are going fast. In that mode, the flat and clear trail allows us to move faster. But that the clearer trail allows for faster movement is a trap. Sometimes the shorter, more congested route is less time-consuming. Sometimes the shorter route is the better way to go. We, as humans, learn early in life from our parents. What road do we need to take? It is not, in the end, an easy question. It is why it takes humans 18, 20, 25 years to mature to the point that they are ready to choose.
Last night watching ABC Nightly News, there was a piece about the benefits of walking. I have included a link to a different article and a group, Americawalks! The interesting thing was that walking helps your brain and memory by supporting the white tissue in your brain. I like to walk every day (twice a day, in fact). I used to run many years ago, but the wear and tear on my knees were more than I could take. Walking and Running is an exercise that travels well. When I would get off a plane and get to my hotel, I would always take a walk wherever in the world I was.
So go for a walk it’s good for you!
Today’s wander pictures are more pictures of Europe I couldn’t share before (they are too large). On my pm walk yesterday I was thinking about travel. In particular, I was after yesterday’s all-time-favorite vacation post, I was thinking about places other than where I live that I had been to multiple times. I set the bar at three or more times. I also decided to throw out US cities; the reason for that is that there are many US cities that I have been to many more than three times each. That list wouldn’t be as much fun as cities outside the US that I have been to more than once!
- Lisbon Portugal
- Paris France
- Kuala Lompoc Malaysia
- Bangkok Thailand
- London England
- Dublin Ireland
- Amsterdam Holland
- Copenhagen Denmark
Asia and Europe. I’ve been to many other places but, most of those were times visits. The other interesting fact is that I have walked at least five miles or more in every single one of those cities. 4 of the cities were parts of a family vacation, which is interesting. Anyway, my multiple visit cities lists!
I know I did this recently, but I wanted to revisit the topic one more time. The topic is why I call this blog wander project. Honestly, it came out of the blast I had with twins in my daughter when we did their wonder Indiana projects many years ago. At the simple and easy explanation, I just had so much fun wandering Indiana that I decided Lord the heck I’d been in any more places in Indiana that’s a wonder. The other reason for the name is an homage to my parents because my parents started my wandering many years ago. I was talking to an online friend the other day. He talked about the fact that he’s moved maybe four times in the last 40 years. I moved four times before I was ten years old. Three times in Bloomington, Indiana, twice in Chicago, Illinois, and one from Chicago, Illinois to Bloomington, Indiana.
So the wander is a part of who I am. For many years I traveled extensively. I have been to the far corners of yours. I have met amazing people all over the world. I’ve also met people that I wish I had met. But that’s a different issue. Our life on this little blue marble is what it is. So today, now that I’ve read The why they wander, I thought I would share a little bit of my all-time favorite trip. To clarify, my all-time favorite trip is selected from more than 1 million miles flown, and if we count multiple airlines, I have flown well more than 1.5 million miles. So my favorite trip of all times me a while to come up with. I decided the best sense of fairness to discard all work trips. And the reason for that is that any time you’re out traveling the world alone for business, usually the best part of that trip is going home. I did see many wonderful things on many wonderful work trips, but I did decide I’m good to start work trips when picking my all-time favorite trip.
So that leaves family vacations. Now I can honestly say that my parents took us on several phenomenal vacations over the years. I suspect my top 20 or top 50 list for vacations would include several vacations my parents planned and took us on. We took several trips while living in Thailand that is easily in my top 10 of all time. My all-time favorite vacation, including my cracked ribs our trip to Europe. One of the things I promised my wife when we got married was to get her to Europe. She’s been twice. I also got her to Asia, but Asia was too hot for her. Going to Europe was an epic vacation. We spent time on the Costa cruise Viking cruise. We got to see Norway, Germany, and Denmark. My wife’s family is originally from Holland, and for part of our trip, we went to Holland and, in particular, Amsterdam and spent three days wandering that beautiful city. Finally, we returned to Copenhagen, where we spent our last few days in Europe Copenhagen enjoying that beautiful city. The pictures shared today with this blog are from Europe, but these are also pictures that have never been shared!