Weekend Coffee Share: A Good Time Was Had By All

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’m fairly exhausted because I spent Friday night and all day yesterday helping my brother move back to Mississippi from Louisiana. It was nothing like my own moving fiasco in June. It went smoothly but it still required me to spend a night away from home and a whole day doing physical labor.

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My brother, our dad, and I hit the road around 6 on Friday evening for one of the southernmost points in Louisiana. Since we had to go through NOLA to get there, we picked up the Little Jedi on the way. He spend the night with us and helped us load the truck yesterday. I don’t get to hang out with LJ as much as I’d like to, so it was good to have a few hours with him. He’s quite a good Spanish-speaker and I am not, so we got up to some linguistic antics Friday night.

Packing and unloading the truck wasn’t bad, as I judge these things. It took three hours to load and an hour-and-a-half to unload. The drive was pretty scary, though. My brother reserved the smallest panel truck U-Haul rents for the move, but when he went to pick it up, the only trucks they had available were the 1500-cubic-foot behemoths, so we had to come home in one of those.

I’m talking about truck that’s rated for 20,000 pounds and has a 30-foot-long cargo bay. Just to give you a frame of reference, the usable space on an 18-wheel flatbed is only 42 feet long. Needless to say, bringing that thing through the middle of New Orleans with its six lane traffic and curvy bridges was interesting, but we made it without incident.

And I’d tell you I am looking forward to October. I’m hoping I finally get to have a good month where everything runs smoothly and I have the time to get my blogging back on track. This last summer was the most difficult one I’ve had in years, and September was a little better, but still not great — that’s one reason I’ve been off the blogs so much lately. But maybe things are settling down. I certainly hope so.

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Then I’d have to finish my coffee and run, because one of my grandson’s goldfish died this weekend, and I have to get ready for the funeral. And if the weather holds tonight, we might just get to see a lunar eclipse with a full moon at perigee. That hasn’t happened in almost 30 years, and won’t happen again until 2033, I am told. So as much as we need the rain that’s moving in tonight, I hope it holds off long enough for us to see this eclipse. Either way, we’re busting out the telescope at moonrise and looking at some craters.

Happy Sunday! Don’t forget to add your coffee post to the linkup at Part Time Monster and share it with #WeekendCoffeeShare on Twitter.

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Weekend Coffee Share: Hooray, September!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’m glad it’s Labor Day weekend, because I really need the break. August was a marginally better month than June and July — at least there were no car accidents and no one died — but it wasn’t the greatest. I’ll not rehash the whole lousy summer, but I do hope September is the month things finally get better.

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And I’d tell you I’m so far behind on my blogging, I don’t even know what to do next. Finding enough time to blog is always an issue for me in the late summer and early fall, but it’s been worse than usual this year. The family’s needing a lot of time and the commute I took on when we moved in June just makes things different.

The drive is only 45 minutes door-to-door, but most of it is busy interstate driving, so it doesn’t have much decompression value. I don’t have much time before work to do internet stuff, as I have for most of the time I’ve been blogging. And when I get home it’s either homework time or dinner time. So, most nights, I’m not sitting down to the computer until well after 8 pm, and I’ve had to adjust my bedtime because I have to be up at least two hours before work time.

This is a serious lifestyle change. Up until June, my office was 15 minutes away, whether I walked or drove. It was just as fast to walk as to drive because the driving time was all about finding parking. So, most days I walked, and the 15-minute walk WAS good for decompression.

For most of the time I’ve been blogging, I’ve been able to maintain the productivity to blog mostly every day because I’ve been able to squeeze in an hour before work and/or an hour after, and when I needed to catch up, I could always stay up too late to get stuff done and catch up on my sleep the next night. Those two easy-to-come-by hours have simply evaporated. I’m dealing with a serious crunch here, and I don’t know an easy solution.coffee

I know most bloggers work day jobs and lots of people have busy schedules.  I’m certainly not claiming to be unique or looking for sympathy here. I’m just perplexed by a problem I’ve not had to deal with up to this point. I managed so well for so long, and I don’t want to lose the progress I’ve just spent the last two years making. But I’m not sure at this point that this is going to get better once things settle down toward the end of the month. I’m afraid it’s here to stay, which means that if I want to keep blogging at the pace I’m accustomed to, I’m going to need to figure out something to let go in order to free up the time.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you September is off to a pretty good start for me. In fact if it weren’t for the problem of not knowing how I’m going to recover my blogging time, it would be off to a better start than any month I’ve had since April. I gave most of the day yesterday to my grandson. My wife and stepdaughter have been sick (there’s a nasty virus going around), so they slept in. I made the boy breakfast and then we goofed around for an hour or so. I’d intended to give him some time early in the day and then get to work, but we ended up taking most of the day.

He wanted me to show him how to make paper snowflakes by cutting and folding paper. Our first attempt produced two strips of paper with three identical holes each. The holes were perfectly positioned to turn them into masks, so we each colored one with crayons, added string, and took photos of one another in the cool homemade masks.

weekendcoffeeshareI posted about the snowflake thing on Facebook, and my friend Rose, who’s blogged here on more than one occasion, found me a snowflake tutorial. It took me a few tries to get the folding just right, but it worked, and we spent a couple of hours making snowflakes. The grandson is thinking he wants to make a bunch of them and glitter them up to use as Christmas decorations.

Aside from that, I was up and down, in and out of the house most of the day with him, and before bedtime, he ended up showing me how to play a video game because he wants me to X-Box with him. It was an all around good day, but I never found an hour or two to sit down and do any actual blogging — the internet time yesterday was all 15-minute sessions in which I either scanned comment threads for a few minutes or did quick Facebook posts.

He’s out with another of his grandfathers today — that’s a regular Sunday thing — and everyone else is in bed, so I’m going to see how far along I can get with the blogging between now and 3 p.m. today.

Have a great Labor Day if you’re in the U.S., and a fantastic week if you aren’t.

Don’t forget to add your coffee post to the linkup at Part Time Monster, and share it with #WeekendCoffeeShare on Twitter.

Thanks for Tuesday, and Have a Link!

Thanks to everyone who joined in the self-promotion thread on Tuesday.

I’d intended to do a roundup with a few of the links from the thread today, but we received so many links, and I’ve had such a crazy week, I’ve not had time to really do them justice. There’s tons of good stuff on that thread, so if you’re looking for blogs to read, it’s a great place to start.

Rest assured, I’ll take the time to visit them all and at some point, I’ll do a roundup of some sort. In the meantime, Give Thoughts by Mello-Ello a look. It’s a fabulous blog!

Happy Thursday!

Weekend Music: In Which I Have An Epiphany

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I went looking for the weekend music last night. Found this. It brought tears to my eyes. So, even though I’ve posted other versions of it here in the past, the audio quality isn’t so good, he talks way too long before he starts the song, and I am posting too many country videos lately, I’m going with it.

This one is entirely more than the sum of its parts.

This song was written almost 30 years ago, maybe longer, and Robert Earl Keen, as far as I know, is still playing it.

I first heard it in a bar in Hattiesburg Mississippi, being played by this guy. He left for the Southwest as I was finishing up my graduate degree, years ago now. The last thing he said to me was “Gene’O, use the headphones.” He said it through a microphone that he was also singing through as I left the bar. And I understand why he said that. Advice to a newbie who was trying to learn to play an electric guitar, is what it was. This happened at a place called the Keg and Barrel, just so you know.

Steve has “left the building,” as we say in these parts, and I did not know it when the song brought tears to my eyes. I found out because I went looking for his website to do him a good turn on account of that memory and the kindness he gave me back in those days.

Steve had a sweet dog. Her name was Edie.

He was good about playing requests. He knew Randy Newman front and back, and that’s no mean feat, since Randy is a pianist and Steve was a guitarist. He introduced me to a lot of music I’d never heard before. I’m grateful to have known him, even if only casually, and for a short time. I have one of his CDs, and I treasure it

“Feelin’ Good Again” a song about hope, and renewed friendships, and joy. It’s a story of a man who’s been absent from his favorite bar for a long time. He goes there. He recognizes everyone and I think they recognize him. He decides to buy a round. Realizes he didn’t cash his paycheck before he came to town. But then, miraculously, he finds enough money in his pocket to actually buy the round, and a REALLY SPECIAL PERSON appears on the scene.

It’s a beautiful story, but life doesn’t work that way.

Except when it does. Life does actually work that way sometimes. Not very often, but now and then. I’ve experienced life working in that beautiful way more than once in my short life.

“Feelin’ Good Again” is surely a song about joy, hope, and possibilities.

But it’s also about memory. And loss. It might even be an ode to wishful thinking. That’s the epiphany I had, when I stumbled upon this video and it brought tears to my eyes. It’s such a happy song, this is easy to miss. It is is about loss as much as anything else.

Despite the brightness of the chord progressions, the friendliness of the lyrics, and the comfort of the story, this is a sad song.