A Lingering Cold Reduces Motivation

The Christmas When Everyone Got Sick

Christmas Painting

My creative wife painted this seasonal wall hanging celebrating the birth of the Christ child

I remember having been sick with colds or flu more than once during my elementary school years.  And I remember also feeling miserable around the holidays due to unbridled overeating and natural tendency to run to fat, anyway.  This year, I got to revisit these early experiences, with, however, some significant improvements.  This year, my wife, son, and I drove to her family’s home in a distant, Midwestern state to our north, where we spent about a week with her parents, her sister (with husband and young child), and her brother (with wife and three children).  Pretty much everyone in the house was sick (or had just recently been sick) with a cold or flu symptoms the entire time we were there.  Heck, just about 20 minutes before we were scheduled to leave our Stepford home for our drive north on the Saturday before Christmas, my son while playing in the backyard with a neighbor’s granddaughter, tripped over a tree root and struck the tree’s trunk with his right forehead.  The ER doctor said he was neurologically intact and the X-rays indicated no damage to the boy’s noggin, but we had a long drive and arrived late at our hotel.  At the farm, my wife had a cold, my son had a cold and cough predating the blow to the head and ran a fever every day we were there.  I didn’t run a fever, but had a miserable cough and cold.

My creative son, with a little help, made this Christmas decoration.  I hung it on the hall-tree because I couldn't figure out how to get it to stay on the Christmas tree.

My creative son, with a little help, made this Christmas decoration. I hung it on the hall-tree because I couldn’t figure out how to get it to stay on the Christmas tree.

The other thing that tripped me out about Christmas is that I got almost every extravagant thing on my Christmas list and felt deeply ashamed for having asked for and received so many gifts.  Although physically and mentally I felt like crap, as described above, I was struck by the sure knowledge that I am no longer nine years-old, and when there’s something I need or want/need, I can buy it.  That’s what I did with the new car I got and the GPS unit I bought, as well.  Next year, I don’t think I will ask for anything, or not nearly as much.

December 2012 Post

Hey,

I’ve been busy since the disastrous national election, and, really, even before then.  Like most Americans who believe the U.S. Constitution remains in force and provides, along with the Bill of Rights, the only valid model of governance for the United States of America, I will continue to work to ensure that the U.S. remains a free republic, those holding high elected and politically appointed office who wish to transform this nation into something that’s a cross between Zimbabwe and socialist European kleptocracies notwithstanding.

Job Change

Back in the fall of this year I changed jobs.  The hapless, incompetent, and mercurial flunky who’d been placed in supervisory role at former place of work, after more than a year in that position, failed to develop any competence of her own or any understanding of the work done by those whose work she was supposedly hired to supervise.  I was no longer willing for my good work to lend credibility to that fool’s failed tenure as a manager.  Every other person employed in the facility, by virtue of their competence, willingness to work, ability to function as a team member, was and is that supervisor’s superior.  I interviewed for and obtained a job closer to the house (that’ll save about $1,000/year in unreimbursable gasoline expenditure) that registered as a promotion and resulted in a raise in pay.  The fact that the agency for which I now work seems to foster a positive orientation to reality, value competence, and manifest a little common good will was, in sum, the real reason I took the job, but the savings and raise comprise an additional happy providence.

Christov’s Three Criteria

Over the past couple of years, I’ve developed three simple criteria for quickly evaluating other people in the workplace.  The core concepts are not original with me and I owe much to the reading I’ve done over the past few years on human development and various approaches to mental health counseling.  They are as follows, and are assessed in the order presented because those that follow are dependent upon those that precede them:

  1. Is the person oriented to reality?
  2. Does the person exhibit competence to perform whatever he or she purports to be about?
  3. Does the person exhibit basic good will toward others?

The second and third, competence and good will, do not always follow the first, orientation to reality, but I don’t think they can exist without it.  Furthermore, competence is something that one develops over time, frequently after the person has taken more than one wrong turn – for instance attempting to study a subject for which he or she has no real aptitude and in the face of resultant failure in that endeavor, choosing a more suitable field of study.  Here, it is the orientation to reality that overbalances sentiment and allows the person to discern the proper path by apprising him or her that the present course will lead to no good end.  The man, woman, or child who is oriented to reality (in children, this is something developed over time intellectually and experientially by means of observation, consequence, and [ideally] good parenting) and who is developing or has developed a variety of competencies is capable of recognizing reality-orientation and competence in others and, having gained so much thereby himself, also wishes (or becomes hypothetically capable of wishing and aiding) others well and may assist them in that pursuit.

As an experiment, use these criteria to assess the people in your workplace and social environment.  Self interest (which includes the well-being of your children) may dictate that you distance yourself from those who do not meet this simple standard.

Weight Gain

Since September, I’ve put on about five pounds of belly and buttock flab.  My goal for the month of December was to lose five pounds by Christmas, but I only managed to shed about half that.  I’d been bicycling less frequently than during the lead-up to that 50-miler my friend Adrian and I rode in early September.  I’ve had a wretched cold for about the past two or three weeks (off and on, but worst during the past few days) that has kept me off the bike.  Cold winter Tennessee air makes the snot run like water out of my nose when I ride, anyway, and since I’ve added a pound of snot in my sinus cavities during this illness to my five pounds of body fat, the prospect of all that running out my nose and down my face and cycling togs during moderately intense exercise activity is not a happy one.

Probably my one New Year’s resolution is to exercise more and return to Weight Watchers eating habits.

Root Beer Barrel Candy

Weight Watchers allows one point for one ounce of hard candy.  I did bestir myself sufficiently during our family Christmas visit to the Midwest to drive with my brother-in-law to Farmland, Indiana, where I bought three pounds of root beer barrel candy to keep at the office.  While at the Farmland General Store, I sampled horehound candy, which I found not entirely unlike root beer candy, but had a slightly bitter aftertaste.  I would have bought some, but I was already emotionally, if that is the right word, committed to buying the candy for which I’d come in search.  The only other place I’ve found root beer candy in bulk is Gatlinburg, Tennessee, but I’d rather drive to Farmland, Indiana, than Gatlinburg, Tennessee, any day.

The Old Year

The new year, 2013, is upon us.  Who really believed space aliens would come and fetch away their devotees, or that the stone age Mayans would accurately predict when the great creation’s winding would come undone and release cataclysmic geological, climatological, and spiritual forces rending the fabric of all we know?  Honestly, that’s just silly.

So here we are.  Today, our congregation will hold its last worship services for the year.   We don’t have what 19th Century literature seems to indicate was called a Watch Night Service, where the congregation meets around midnight on New Year’s Eve to confess and repent of sins of the old year and to pray for guidance and good providence for the new.  Sounds like a good idea, though.

A New Old Car

In November I found and in December I bought a new used car – an early model Volvo all-wheel drive Cross Country station wagon with only 106,000 original miles on the drive-train.  My justification is that AWD will be useful to me in my new employment, the purchase price was well within my budget, and I like a station wagon.  After much debate with myself, I’ve decided I cannot justify holding on to Thursday, my 1997 Volvo 850 five-speed sedan, for the next 12 years in order to give it my son when he will be learning to drive.  I’ve offered the car for sale to one of my brothers for his oldest boy, who will be heading to college next fall, but my brother reckons the sedan’s mileage, a mere 205,000, is too high.  So, if you know someone interested in an extremely reliable manual transmission Volvo sedan, get in touch with me.  I have all service records for the car since 2005 and the timing belt and other service is all current.