Heading out to “Putter” …

My wife and I like to “putter” around on weekends and holidays … some call it window shopping, others call it simply messing around. For us, it’s always been “puttering.

Today is Memorial Day so we’re heading out to “Putter” …

We’ve been together a long time and I can already pretty well predict the course of our day … here is a brief synopsis of a day spent “puttering”.

“What time you want to leave?”

“I dunno … ten or so?”

“Okay just let me know when you’re ready.”

“Where do you want to go?”

“I dunno, where do you want to go?”

“I asked you first … ”

“How about TJ Maxx and Marshall’s?”

“Okay … can we run by Barnes & Noble?”

“Sure … what about lunch? You gonna be hungry?

“Not too hungry now, but maybe later.”

“Okay, where you want to eat?”

“I dunno … where you thinking?’

“I asked you first … ”

“Okay, how about Macaroni Grill?”

“Aren’t you tired of Italian?”

“Yeah, a little … what else you got in mind?

“I dunno … let me think about it.”

“Okay … while you think, I’m going to try some of these clothes on.  They’re on sale.”

“Well, I guess I’ll find a seat at the front of the store.  Come find me when you’re done.”

“You bought all that?!? I thought we were just “puttering” today.

“It was on a big sale.  I saved a ton of money.”

“So, where you want to eat?”

“I dunno … maybe we should just go home and order Chinese.”

“Okay … if that’s what you want, that’s fine with me.”

“What you want to order?”

“I dunno … let me think about it a while.”

“Okay.  While you’re thinking, I’ll ………………..” .    (well, you get the picture)

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Don’t Borrow Trouble …

Like I do so frequently, I’m busy borrowing trouble again.

Knowing full well that it’s counter productive and self-defeating, I continue to worry excessively about what might happen. Worst case scenarios about things I’m helpless to change one way or the other constantly plague my thoughts. Every effort I make to avoid this destructive habit falls short.

My wife tells me not to borrow trouble. She tells me that worrying about things over which you have no control is fruitless.

She’s right of course.

To be mindful of what’s happening now and to live in the moment is the goal.

I’m working on it.

Guess I just need to work a little harder …

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The Aspiring Singer/Songwriter Is At It Again …

This is my latest original song … it’s about leaving behind your hassles and burdens and taking the highway to happiness … it’s an optimistic song about making positive changes in your life, while acknowledging that no situation is ever going to be perfect  … reflecting the way I feel right now!  I hope you like it … 🙂

“A New Release” … by Judson Hair (copyright 2013)

The highway that he travels every morning

before the sun has shed a single ray

From Apex into Raleigh right down One & 64

gets longer and longer every day

 Racing to the job

With that frenzied highway mob

makes each mile an adventure they all share

 With coffee in his veins

one pill to cut the pain

another pill to help him not to care

 The work that he has waiting when he gets there

created his existence for today

it brings him in each morning and sends him home at night

but mostly makes him want to get away

 He knows that one day soon

come April, May, or June

the hassles and the burdens will all cease

He’ll start another life

a different kind of strife

something that provides  a new release

 The highway that he travels every morning

before the sun has shed a single ray

From Apex into Raleigh right down One & 64

gets longer and longer every day

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I Want to Love Snow Again!!

As a child growing up in the Carolinas, I loved the snow!  Or at least I loved the prospect of snow.  It never really snowed all that much and when it did, it was the occasion for great celebration.

Winter in the South can be disconcerting. One day it may be 70 degrees and the next it might plummet into the teens. You really never know what to expect. Most of the time, things settle in at around 40 degrees or so … not really “Winter” by the standards of a great many people, but it’s what we get here.

Growing up, I dreamed of a huge snowfall.  Snow so deep that it drifted up over the window sills, completely blanketing the rooftops and thickly frosting the trees.  Of course it never happened the way I dreamed it.  We actually got a good snow every couple of years … but 6-8 inches or so was a big one!

In my innocence, I thought it was just a matter of time before that really, really huge one came along, not fully understanding the long odds against conditions ever coming together to produce the type of snowfall that I saw in my dreams … The type of snow that people from other parts of the country took for granted … and many who lived there actually seemed to dread.

That’s what is attractive about the South to a great many people who live elsewhere  … the opportunity to enjoy a temperate climate instead of the bitter cold. People move here from places to the North in order to escape Winter.  I was always the opposite.  I wanted to live in a place where it snowed … and snowed a LOT!

Sadly, as I got older my fascination with snow slowly subsided.  As an adult, I found that even a slight coating of snow and ice made driving dangerous and getting to work difficult.  Unlike school in my childhood days, work didn’t close down at the slightest hint of frozen precipitation and I had to be there regardless of any desire I might have to stay home.

For most of my life since childhood, circumstances have caused me to dread snow, just like those Yankees who migrate down here for job opportunities or retirement.  Now, I’ve become like them.  I watch the weather forecast closely when snow is predicted, knowing the complications it will cause not only for me getting to work, but for the productive and efficient operation of the work that I do when I get there.

This all stinks!!

I want to love snow again … I want to relish the thought of being socked in for a day or two while the world slows to a standstill.  I want to sit by the fire with a cup of coffee and gaze out the window as the flakes fall for hours and the accumulation grows.  I want to listen to the glorious muffled silence that envelops the neighborhood, enabling me to hear the joyous shouts of kids having a snowball fight or speeding down the hill on a sled blocks away.

I don’t necessarily want to BE that young again … I just want to FEEL that way.

Is that too much to ask?

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Making Memories

Did you ever try to create a memory?

It’s tough to do …

When I was a teen and my siblings were younger, our family took an extended camping trip across the country for 8 weeks. We didn’t know it at the time, but it would be the defining period of our lives … it would be a topic of fond remembrance and nostalgic conversation from then on.

We’d created a memory … without knowing we were doing it and without really trying.

Now, Betty and I want to do something similar.

We’re busy trying to pull together a big family trip for ourselves and our three grown children.

We just want to take a 7-day cruise together … not 8 weeks, but just 7-days in the Caribbean … with nothing to do but relax and enjoy the scenery, the weather, and each other’s companionship.

Sounds wonderful, right?  But, it just hasn’t been as simple as we’d hoped.

The plan was to pick a date that suited everyone, book the cruise, fly down and get on the boat.

Well, so far, finding a date that works for everybody has been a struggle.  For various reasons, none of the kids can find a time, at the same time.

Of course the periods when everyone has a substantial amount of time off … like Thanksgiving or Christmas/New Years is the time when flights and cruises are the most expensive and travel is the most hectic.

I have visions of the harrowing situations in the “Home Alone” movies when I think about trying to plan something over a major holiday, never mind the added expense.

We do want to create a memory, but we want it to be a happy one, not one filled with frustration and anxiety.

Of course, the obvious has slowly begun to dawn on us.  Memories aren’t created, they just happen.  You cannot make them happen and trying too hard inevitably leads to disappointment.

We’re not going to give up on doing something significant together as a family … maybe it will still be the cruise … maybe something else.

But, if it happens, it will have come about in its own time and at its own pace.  And when it happens, it will be something we will all remember fondly from that point onward.

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When Autumn Leaves …

Do you love the Autumn?

I do.  It’s by far my favorite time of year!

When the stifling Southern  Summer finally gives way to that first sign of cooler weather each Fall, I always welcome it with a sigh of relief.  I celebrate the first morning when I wake up to find that the heat and humidity have given way to a crisp, dry coolness that just makes you want to leave the house and do something outdoors!

While I get a similar kick every April and May, my allergies usually flare up in the Spring, so October and November are the time of year when I am physically the most comfortable.

This is my favorite season … while it lasts.

Unfortunately, it never lasts long enough.  Soon the leaves have gone from the trees and cold weather sets in.

All too quickly, Fall turns into Winter.

Days become too short and the nights too long.

I once loved the Winter, but I don’t really like it much anymore … even though the weather we have in North Carolina never really qualifies as severe, it’s just not a time I enjoy very much.  It’s just as likely to be gray, damp and drab as it is to be brisk and cold.  It seldom snows, but when it does, it causes huge headaches for me and most working adults.

So, for right now I’m concentrating on stretching my Fall as long as I can.  I’m soaking up the best of the current season and enjoying the moment for all it’s worth.

I’m always a bit sad when Autumn leaves …

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“1969: A Song for Betty”



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A Sad Statistic Grows by One More …

On Sunday, September 16th, at age 87, my Dad became part of a rapidly growing statistic.

He passed away sixty-seven years after completing his service in the US Army Air Corps during World War II.

We are losing our World War II veterans at an estimated rate of 740 per day! Nationally, 270,200 World War II veterans are projected to die this year …

Very soon … much sooner than any of would like, there will be a news story recognizing someone, somewhere as the last living WWII veteran. 

This very real eventuality is something that seemed beyond comprehension as I grew up among and looked up to millions of men who had served and returned home, getting their educations on the GI Bill; marrying, starting families, and having the children that would form the beginnings of my own Baby Boom generation.

Now it’s a cold hard fact that is slapping us in the face at the rate of 740 times each and every day.  The rate has grown alarmingly for the past few years and while I took notice of it and understood my Dad’s susceptibility to the trend, it was always something down the road … something important, but for the moment … impersonal.

On September 16th it became personal.

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Good Vibrations …

Okay … so my Saturday night at open-mic went well!

The place was absolutely packed. I played a 4-song set and was able to nail all of them! It’s a pleasure when you do well and you sort of know it. It doesn’t always happen that way, but last night was great!

My comfort level continues to grow, but even though playing for a crowd is becoming second nature to me, there are still challenges …

One issue with playing open-mics in coffeehouses and bars is that other things are going on and not everybody is there to listen to your music.  The extraneous noise from clinking glasses, espresso machines, and the general chatter of patrons competing for sonic space in the room, while understandable, can be a bit disconcerting.

Another is the fact that at open-mic you don’t really have any time to get comfortable during your rapid fire race toward those proverbial 15 minutes of fame…

You get 4 songs and that’s it.  Not much room for error and there are no do-overs.

So, you get up there and you give it your best shot and most of the time your reward is nothing more than polite applause, but on rare occasion, you find that you made a greater connection and your performance elicits a more enthusiastic reaction.

When that happens you get the very briefest taste of what it is that makes performing so intoxicating.  You put yourself on the line to do something you enjoy doing, and other people sincerely appreciate it!

Only occasionally does it happen for the open-mic crowd, but when it does, its the stuff that keeps you coming back for more.

I got a little bit this past Saturday … and it felt good.

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Feeling Pretty Good …

My plans for a laid back Saturday morning are off to a promising start.

After a week of late nights and early rising, I finally had a chance to catch a few extra hours of sack time and I jumped on it.

Feeling refreshed and mentally, if not yet physically energetic, I’m sipping strong black coffee and preparing myself for tonight when I will take on the excitement and challenge of performing at another open-mic in front of family, friends, and dozens of strangers.

Over the past year, singing and playing in public have become almost second nature to me.  This is something that I could never have imagined earlier in my life when low self-esteem coupled with intense stage fright kept me from ever seriously considering doing what I secretly had a strong desire to do.

Now I casually shoo my butterflies aside, pick up my guitar, and stride up to the microphone with a degree of confidence I never would have thought was in me.  And it’s a nice, empowering sort of feeling, to know that you’ve conquered your fear and begun to realize your dreams.

When I started my blog, I described myself as a late bloomer and an aspiring writer.

I’ve now added the word musician to my late blooming aspirations.

While blooming late, I am indeed a writer and I am a musician too … just as I aspired to be.

How much I’m able to accomplish remains to be seen, but on this lazy, low stress Saturday morning, I’m feeling pretty good.

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