Sunday, December 16, 2012

Skipping Christmas and a Mini High-School Reunion

I hate being sick. I've spent the last 6 days pretty much out of commission as I try to recover from a head-cold and assorted body aches. Whatever this bug is that I've picked up, it's left me with little energy to do much at all. After four days of being housebound, I convinced Tammy to go out with me Thursday night and walk around Mall of America. Yes, we made it back for one last time this year after commenting on my last post that we wouldn't. It was so nice to be doing something other than nothing. I thought I was doing better when I got up Saturday morning but a workout on my CompuTrainer told me otherwise. I wanted to pack it in after an hour but I finished. I'm not sure why.

In my time on the couch, I've played too many games of Ruzzle. My ranking is steadily climbing as I'm getting better by challenging random players from around the globe. It was the simple distraction I needed this week.

We had to cancel our bench time at Foci. I didn't want to be there spreading germs in addition to having no energy for being in front of a hot furnace. I stopped down anyway to pick up our work from last week. I had two vases that I was reasonably pleased with. I sat for a while and watched Steve and Craig work their magic with a bowl Steve was blowing. So beautiful the work they do. Someday.

Tammy asked me a few days ago what I thought about not sending out Christmas cards this year. Neither of us is feeling motivated to do the Christmas thing this holiday season the way we have every other year. Plus, we never came up with a theme and a photo of us for the card like we do every other year (last year's photo). I told her that I didn't mind not sending cards out as it pretty much dovetails with everything else I'm feeling (or not feeling) about the celebration this year. I think she may eventually cave on the idea of not sending out cards but we'll see. We do plan to go to my mom's for Christmas Eve after I get off work and spend some time with her. She's happy about that and looking forward to it. So are we.

The photo to the right is our simple Christmas tree. We usually have this one set it up in the basement but it's taking center-stage this year. That's all the Christmas decor you'll find inside our home.

I'm not sure where this apathy is coming from. Maybe it's my shifting feelings about the church and about organized religion in general. I have to laugh when I hear people talk about a war on Christmas as if they're defenders of some great celebration that God is happy about us observing in his honor. Actually, I think if he's paying any attention at all to the silliness we're going through down here as we celebrate this tradition, he's likely shaking his head in bewildered disapproval. It's just a hunch. So what are we really celebrating and how is the way we're doing it honoring Christ? Seriously. If we want to have a holiday where we give gifts to one another I have no problem with that. Having stopped for more than just a few minutes to ponder this I've come to the conclusion that this really ought to revert back to the pagan holiday it began as all those years ago and leave Christ out of it. I don't mean to offend anybody. It's my blog and it's where my feelings are at this time in my life.

I'm a bit of a loner these days, not really involving myself much with any particular crowd of people, preferring to do things with Tammy mostly. But back in the day from 9th grade until halfway through my junior year, I had some steady friends that I'd kick around with. We'd all sit together in the lunchroom and hang out with each other when we could after school and on weekends. And of course, throw in a couple of summers as well. Those friendships didn't end but they sort of fizzled out when Sandie and I broke up New Years Day, 1974 after having been together for more than a year and a half (which is a long time at that age). I sort of muddled my way through the remainder of my high school days doing my own thing, kind of the way I am today. But like I said, those friendships never died.

I recently got an email from Pam, one of the people in our circle of friends all those years ago. She'd stumbled onto my blog while researching something about our school. A reference I'd made in a blog post about Thomas Jefferson High School in Bloomington showed up in her search and she began to read. She soon realized that she knew the writer. She emailed me, happy to have found my contact info, she told me a little about what she'd been up to and said she'd like to get some of us together at her home. What a fun email from her that was to read. I was all-in!

And so we did, Friday night. It was such a nice time.

Pam met me at the door and welcomed me in. I had to smile. Her laugh and smile haven't changed in the least. She's the same sweet person and that comes through so clearly. She led me into the living room where everybody had gathered. Greg got up and met me when I walked into the room. I'd recognize Greg anywhere. He does not change! Yes, he's a little older but he's still Greg. You're not likely to find a more unassuming guy. Sandie was next to greet me. I'd last seen her at our 25-year reunion 12 years ago. It's always nice to see her. As I was giving Sandie a hug, a guy approached me and stuck out his hand. I figured it was Sandie's husband because I had absolutely no clue who else it could've been. And finally, there was Colleen—another person that I'd recognize instantly no matter how much time has passed. Colleen and Greg were high school sweethearts and have been together since. I go back the furthest with Sandie and Colleen.

I took a seat on the floor by the fireplace and we began to chat. What a nice time it was. After a few minutes, it finally dawned on me who the guy was that I didn't recognize. It was Gregg, aka Freddy! How I didn't recognize him I have no idea. Maybe it was because I was thinking he was living in Asia where I'd last heard he was. Anyway, once I heard him talking and laughing there was no mistaking who he was. And what an interesting story he has to tell. I'd like to have had so much more time talking with him. He describes himself as a Travel Painter. He's painting his way around the world. Rather than go into it here I'll give you a link to his biography online and his recently closed blog. I do hope he starts it up again someday.

We spent a few hours chatting and laughing with one another before the night ended much too quickly. I'm so grateful to Pam for bringing us together. I mentioned in an email to everyone when I got home last night that I'd love to see if we can get even more of us together at our house this summer for another mini-reunion. I know you can't tell from the photo but we're not getting any younger.   :-)

This is us—Greg, me, Sandie, Pam, Colleen and Gregg (camera shy behind Colleen)


Chris Menjou said...

Hey - Saw your post on the racermate site and thought I'd pop in (and give my unsolicited advice :) ) I skimmed your story, sounds like you had PEs and are riding inside.... They ever find the cause? I had 2X PEs, 09 and 10, I also ride the CT indoors during the week, but I've taken up outside riding again on the weekend with friends, and even racing triathlons. I know it's a personal decision, but just thought I'd throw out there that coumadin (even if lifetime) does not mean no outside riding (have two otehr friends that ride on thinners)
Take care
Chris Menjou

Chris Menjou said...

Sorry, meant to leave a way to contact me if you had any questions etc (and yes, it took some negotations with my wife about riding outside, and yes, I don't ride certain roads, or with certain people). I had the same concerns about never being able to ride again. I have had a few amazing rides on coumadin, including a ride up Haleakala last summer. cjmenjou AT gmail Dot com

Kevin Gilmore said...

Hi Chris,

Yeah, I sort of learned toward the end of summer that it's not at all uncommon for people on coumadin to continue riding. The Flight Surgeon with the FAA where I have to pass a yearly physical exam said that if I was his patient he would allow me to ride but to avoid racing and aggressive trail riding. It was my regular doctor and the discharging doctor at the hospital (where I stayed 3 nights) who told me not to ride outdoors.

After getting the CompuTrainer I was actually content to just follow my doctors' orders and do the full year of coumadin with no outdoor riding. The year expires in exactly 4 weeks so I'm almost there.

Yes, I'm very curious about your situation...your age...what is causing your PEs and your prognosis.

I'll find you on Gmail...thanks!