Thursday, June 30, 2016

Back In The Learning Again

So today I had one of those interviews that makes one scramble after the fact, thinking to see what one can do to move forward on it to get the job.  Good things about it:  It is a promotion, it is a greater area of responsibility, and it is local (which in my line of work do not come up too often).

One thing that moments like these do is make me realize that I have fallen behind in doing the study that I need to be doing.

If you are a long time reader of this blog, you know that I love to do a lot of very different activities.  I love generalization.  I love to know a great deal about a great many things.  But this falls down when I comes to what I do for living:  I scarcely have an interest in learning more except when it relates directly to what I do.

This contradicts one of my basic premises of course, that all knowledge is useful and can be related to almost any circumstance given enough thought about the matter.  You should think that I would have more interest in the larger issues that surround my income (and trust me, there are many avenues that I could explore).  But  I do not.

Why?  I do not wonder that it is somehow connected with the sense of distaste I have come to associate with my job, or rather with people associated with my job.  I do not mind so much what I do, but I often mind who I do it with - or rather, who I do it for.

Which is a bit short-sighted if you truly consider the matter - after all, people will come and go but the career field will remain.  I could have another 20-25 years easily doing what I am doing now.  So why am I not working to maximize those opportunities.

And so I picked up the texts again tonight.  There is no time like the present to begin working on the future.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Summer 2016 Garden Planted

So I got the rest of my garden in this weekend.

I have drastically (at least this year) cut back the among of space I am growing in.  This for two reasons.  The first is practicality:  With this space (the long strip in back behind the house) I can more easily manage it for weeds and care.  The second is financial:  I can easily water this strip (and with a little creative arrangement, catch my citrus trees as well) in one fell swoop instead of having to water multiple places.

What did I plant?  Beans.  Lots and lots of beans.  Some peppers (three kinds).  Okra. Corn (every year with the corn, even if I have not yet hit on the combination that will grow for me).  Some lettuce  some hot weather greens.  And Black Eyed Peas (which have already sprouted).

It is certainly not the biggest garden I have grown.  And (if pressed) I will confess I have limited anticipation of a truly successful harvest.  But this is an experimental garden in a number of ways.  The soil has been greatly overlain with the outcome of the rabbits cages (broken down wood pellets, hay, and rabbit poop) and I have more to add.  The area means that I can daily control for weeds and growth. It is exposed to direct sun for most of the growing day.  And the watering is as about as controlled as I can get it this point (barring an automatic sprinkler and drip sprinkler heads).

So I am hopeful, in nothing else perhaps that I am starting to work a little more towards a sustainable garden that I can manage.  If I can get to the starting point here, I can more intensely manage.

I hope, anyway.  If not, hope springs eternal.  And fall is not too far away.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

On Recent Economic Turmoil

I long ago gave up any pretensions to predicting anything.  I have been through my own set of "The Sky Is Falling" scenarios which have seldom manifested themselves in anything other than my mind.  As a result of this hard won experience, I have been less inclined to give my thoughts on any such matters (or really, much of anything at all any more), content to watch and listen and quietly nod as other opine.

And neither am I an economist.  I sat through Micro and Macro economics and to be honest, all I really learned is 1)  what elastic and inelastic are; and 2)  The the modern economy is a very fragile thing, a thousand connections built in such a way that potentially a failure in one are will ultimately break the entire mechanism.

As a result of all of this, I do not really understand the financial shenanigans that have erupted following the Brexit vote.  I do grasp the fact that markets do not like uncertainty and there is plenty of that right now, but the loss of value - around the world - escapes me.

But I do get the fact that there are connections and implications.  I do not necessarily understand what is causing this, but I do understand the results of it - and none of them work out well for us in the end.

More practically for myself, market turmoil means less products from my company are being sold.  If less products are being sold, that means that that eventually our revenue stream falls.  At best it means that we will have a minimal bonus or maybe no bonus at all; at worst it means that a number of  us will be looking for jobs in an environment where a lot of people will be.

All of sudden everything takes on a new cast.  At work, I begin to carefully watch the activities of those around me, looking for signs that decisions are being made or signs are being given off about cut backs (having been laid off once, I am especially sensitive to anything that looks like management is tightening its belt - and usually that includes lay offs); at home, I begin to question expenditures - including my own - in the context of "Do we really need it?, of looking more closely within to fill the time instead of to without.

It is not that I have a sense of immediate financial doom; I have long ago given up on that.  What I am left with is that rather omnipresent sense of dread that follows one around everywhere, the sense that we are constantly living on a precipice.

And that one day we - or at least I - will go over.

Monday, June 27, 2016

A Little Gomez Adams Monday

You know, we do not do humor a lot here at The FortyFive.  A friend of mine sent this to me and I greatly enjoyed it.  So instead of everything that is undoubtedly going on during a Monday, both the  usual items as well as the continued activities from the Brexit, enjoy this instead.  RIP, Raul Julia


Friday, June 24, 2016

Depth of Soul

There are veins that run within our souls,
veins that if we follow them lead to either
the very depths of thought
or the doors of despair.

It takes strength to go deep:
to look inside a soul and see the failures,
the weaknesses, to be reminded
of every single thing that has ever gone
wrong.

To ponder such things; to think on them.
To wrap our hands into them and weave them,
warp and woof,
into a useful tapestry of our lives.
This is the challenge of depth.

Any fool can look into the mirror of the soul,
sigh, and walk away.
But only a person of depth can look into such a mirror,
sigh - and then continue to stare until the blurry
becomes clear.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

On Depth

One thing that reflecting this week has brought to my attention is that I lack depth.

I lack of depth of knowledge - about my career, about my family, about my varying hobbies, even about God.

Oh, I have a great deal of knowledge, some of it rather detailed.  I study a lot of things.  I have a lot of experience.  But what I find is that I missing the depth that it would feel like such study and experience should bring.

Depth is frightening to me, of course.  Depth indicates that one is going to take a period of time - years, in most cases - to really come to understand a subject.  In some cases, it means sacrificing new information in exchange for concentrating on the things that are currently in one's life.

Perhaps make my Rule of Five started this process. For the first time in perhaps a long while - maybe ever - I have a road map of the sorts of things that I want to spend the rest of my life working on.  It is right there: the subject, and by extension the knowledge about the subject.

Take my career, for example.  I have done it over 18 years now.  But do I really know what I should know about it?  Or do I too often skate around the fringes, trying not to burden myself too much with knowing about something that I perceive as not being that relevant to my life?  (Except, of course, it pays for everything).

Depth is costly.  Depth means that investment - perhaps of money, most certainly of time - needs to made.  It is road of choices, of moving beyond the off ramps because the thing has not been pursued to its limit.

Rhetorical question:  What would it look like if I took the items on my Rule of Five and subjected them to a depth test, a listing of what I really needed to know to exhaust the issue, to become an expert?  Not for the sake of being recognized as such of course, but to truly come to a knowledge of these things?

I know the answer, of course.  Investment of time.  Investment of energy.  A willingness and a commitment to persevere until the knowledge is obtained, the expertise achieved.

Rhetorical question two:  And what would such a thing feel like, to truly know instead of knowing around the fringes?

Rhetorical question three;  If insane is defined as doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different outcome, why do I choose to pursue insanity?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Open Hand

Last night at Iai we did open hand.

Open hand is the equivalent in our art of karate (which, literally, means "Empty Hand") and is the extension of our art into the realm of hand to hand combat.  The belief of our Soke is that if one knows the sword, one will know all other weapons.

So last night was open hand.

Open hand is largely blocks and punches and falls and locks.  Lots of locks:  ankle locks,wrist locks, arm locks.  Falls and recoveries.  Up and down,

As you can imagine, I am a bit sore.

It is good.  I love the ebb and flow of open hand.  Frankly (and perhaps oddly), I love being taken down for the sheer sake of learning.  I especially love being hip thrown - there is something above being flipped over onto a mat that is just mesmerizing to me, even after so many years.

It is a mental challenge for me of course.  Prior to 2009 I had never really performed martial arts and so the concept of engaging someone in combat is always a little difficult for me.  I worry about injuring others unknowingly or accidentally.  But this is part of training as well, not just learning to trust others but to trust yourself and to learn control.

When this publishes, I will probably be creaking out of bed in the morning and muttering about sore muscles.

I foresee a great deal of stretching in my immediate future.

But life is very good.  Martial arts has made a very positive impact on my life.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Being Glad To Be Small

There are days like today when I am glad I am small.

I have the sense that the world is moving quickly to a conclusion that does not work out well for anyone.  There seem to be so many places where one small thing - one thing - need only go slightly wrong and I fear the world as we know it begins to ignite.

On days such as these it is a relief to be small and know the problems of the world are not mine to solve - or worry on.

Arguably it is a humble life - and probably will be for the rest of it, to be honest.  In mapping out my Rule of Five for my life, I realized that I have mapped out everything I pretty much want to work on for the next 30 years that is realistic for me to do.  Remarkably, most of them are doable right now, just where I live. We could stay here and I could still make most of them work.

Our needs, beyond living, are few.  My wants are few as well - I have the "bigger ticket" item like I suppose most of us do, but mine are within the realm of reaching with a little economy and patience.  Beyond those, there is not much to want - except more of the time to do them and less overhead to pay for.

In such days, to be big - to be noticeable - is to be responsible for things beyond one's control.  It is to be higher up on the radar of others, to be one of the first to be focused on instead of one of the last.

Maybe tomorrow will ignite.  I cannot fully know.  But now I - for perhaps the first time, or at least certainly for the first time in a while - get that where I am right now makes my life both possible and attainable.

That is not a bad place to be.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Rule of Five

In my constant attempts to 1) Simplify my life and 2) Work on the process of goal setting, I have realized that I am setting my own bar far too high - not with what I am capable of, but what I can actually capable of doing within a year, my typical time frame.

What I realized is that I need less, not more.  I have been working on constructs to help me with this, so I came up with The Rule of Five.

Five things.  Five Areas.  That is what I am capable of working on at one time.  Convenient, because 5 is also the number of fingers on my hand.  Look at my hand, remember the things (I am simple that way).

For example, the Five Areas of My Life where all my goals fall:  Faith, Family, Financial, Fitness, Future  (the letters matching are not required of course, but make a spiffy mnemonic device).  Within each of these areas are sub-tasks of course - but I now have a framework to look at anything I am currently doing, look at my hand, and say "Does this fit into one of these?  If not, why am I doing it?"

Or the Five Attitudes I need to practice:  Godliness, Humility, Kindness, Self Discipline, Commitment.

And so on.

I am sure this idea is not new to me, as I am (generally) going behind others reinventing the wheel.  But what this has done for me given me a framework to attach what I should be working on in a way that always sticks with me and does not require me to be grabbing for a planner or notebook to see what is next.

It is simple.  And I am man always in search of a little more simplicity.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Culling Of Facebook

So I am about done with Facebook. Finally.

This weekend finally pushed me over the edge - well really, this weekend and the political campaign in general to date.  

There is a perfectly legitimate reason of course - Facebook (and Twitter) have completely destroyed the ability to discuss an issue in a meaningful sense.  They have "dumbed down" the discourse of the day into - at its worst - 140 characters.  Hardly the sort of thing that makes for the society of ideas that we claim ourselves to be.  And rather amusing (in a dark sort of way) that easy connectivity has lead only to an inability to speak among ourselves.

But recent events have pushed it further - now, unless you specifically come out in favor of or against something, you are on the other side.  There is no more "neutral" ground to be held.  And frankly, the level of hate - yes, that is the word I used - has become unsustainable.

I suppose there are options, like significantly changing whom I see - but frankly that seems like a lot of work for not a lot of benefit.  Just easier  and more realistic to cut the cord all at once.

I will probably still keep it for a bit - oddly enough, for something that has only become a part of my life for the past 9 years I am surprised how difficult the concept is of quitting for me to warp my head around.  But already I am checking it much less than I was; very soon I suspect I will not check it at all.

It strikes me as a little odd that I consider life without the thought of seeing the so many I do every day.  But let us be honest - if 90% of the seeing is causing me more pain and anger than joy, is it really worth it just for that 10%.  

But the fact of the peace that comes over me when I think about it tells me it is probably the right thing to do.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Silence

Silence is a palpable thing for me.

I write to you in silence now - not just the silence of a lack of noise with everyone gone, but the silence of a house with limited activity.  The two are completely different - the first indicates merely a lack of vocal activity, the second a peace that infuses the atmosphere.

There are no electronics on right now except for mine, no light except the one that I write on.  I can hear the chirping of crickets outside and the hum of  something electric inside, with the occasional sound of traffic flowing by. The only sound beyond that here is the click-clack of my keyboard and the swoosh that my feet make when I move them on the carpet.

Were I in other rooms, I could tell you the sounds I would hear if I were there:  the quiet crunch crunch of the rabbits eating their hay or pellets, or the louder crack of the guinea pig eating his guinea pig chow (guinea pigs are louder than rabbit.  I never thought about that before).  In another room, the occasional rustle of the parakeet as she resettles on the perch or moves; from the garage, the occasional cry of the male quail, confused by the light from outside, thinking it morning at 11 PM.  Beyond that, perhaps the hum of the refrigerator.

And nothing else.

This is a version of true silence, the silence I hear differently at The Ranch when I walk and only the wind blows throw the trees.  I can hear things there I cannot hear anywhere else; perhaps the same is true on a lesser scale here in the midst of urbandom.

It is this silence, this peace, that I treasure more than anything else.  This is rest and refuge to me; this is the thing I desire so much.  In this peace I can do many things and still be at peace:  practice cuts, pull weights, write, garden, read, pluck strings, think thoughts.

At this silence is my core - the inexpressible part of me that flows out through activities, that thrives (ironically enough) within the lack of activity and sound around it.

The burdensome question:  how do I take this silence with me wherever I go so that I can do out there what I can do in here?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A Giant Hole

This Saturday I tried an exercise I cannot remember ever trying:  I completely stayed in.

No trips anywhere.  No talking to anyone.  Except for a quick check on Facebook to see where everyone was, no current events.  No shopping.  No spending money.  Just me alone in the house.

The silence was very revealing.

Oh, I did things.  Cleaned the house.  Mowed the lawn.  Changed the quail.  Completed harvesting my garlic.  Read.  Watched some low budget movies.  Practiced Iai.

And was taken by the huge silence in my soul.

Here it is, the perfect opportunity, the one so many people dream about.  A day completely available to do whatever you want.  Anything.  No requirements on what to do or having responsibilities to complete.  Just time available for the filling.

And yet, nothing seemed to satisfy.

This got me to think as I was into the evening.  Activity after activity was engaged in and then stopped, trailing off into "I am bored".  It was if I was trying to fill a hole that could not be filled by anything that I had available.

What hole?  A good question, as I was not aware of its existence.  But as I thought about it, it suddenly made sense.  This sort of activity is not unknown for me and often represents my modus operandi:  get involved in an activity, follow it for a while, and then stop.  As if I had total lost interest - or as if I was trying to fill something up and, realizing that such an activity would not work, moving to the next one.

I do not know that I have a name for this hole.  I have ideas, but no names.

But now I have something to think on.  After all, it is not often that a heretofore unknown gap exists in one's life, one that is suddenly revealed to hold so many other things in its orbit.

Monday, June 13, 2016

A Heartfelt Plea for Salvation

This is not the post that I originally wrote for today.  I wrote one, but felt compelled - I have no other word - to write another instead.

This weekend, at least fifty people died in Florida in two shootings, one in a nightclub (the majority) one a single shooting somewhere else - a young singer with a promising career gunned down.  (No, I am not going to discuss the whys and wherefores - that is for other sites and other discussions.)

My topic this morning is eternity.

I am willing to bet that every one of those people woke up on the morning of their death with not a thought in their mind that this day was going to be their last.  They more than likely got up and went about their day as they did every day, with perhaps (like so many) a thought of the coming week or coming summer on their mind.

For them, eternity came all too soon.

I am burdened as I write tonight by the real sense that world is becoming far more chaotic, far more destruction oriented, than it has ever been my in my lifetime.  Certainly some will say I am overreacting, that people have always said such things.  And (I must concede the point) they are true.

But for fifty people, chaos and destruction engulfed them in a horrible moment.

Eternity is closer than we think.  Seldom does one arise thinking "Today, tonight - perhaps at 7 PM - I will die".  Seldom do we dwell on the awesome thought of what is after this life - or if we do, we think of it in generic terms we learned long ago or our ideas of what it should be like.

I am a Christian.  I have (I hope) never made any claims otherwise or persuaded you who read and do not believe that I am either overly zealous or practice a false righteous. I am a flawed man - badly flawed - and have my own share of struggles and sins.

But I plead with you friends:  be saved.

The best description of the Gospel I ever heard or read was from a book by Ben Patterson called Waiting:  Finding Hope When God Remains Silent in which a friend of his, asked to explain the Gospel in 10 words or less said "We're all b_stards  but God loves us anyway."

Harsh language (for me at least) but I do not, in this one instance, apologize for it.  That is what a sinner is:   a terrible, terrible bearer of evil who simply cannot, ultimately, do enough good for their salvation.  We can try.  We can pretend that we can earn our way into God's good graces (after all, is that not how the rest of life works?) or even pretend that He accepts our best efforts.  But are sinners - dead, as it were, a corpse, unable to give ourselves (or anyone around us) life.

We cannot.  But we do not have to.

The second part of the sentence states the miracle:  but  God loved us anyway.  Loved us even though we as His creation rejected Him.  Loved us so much that He paid the price - the sinless sacrifice - that we could not pay for ourselves.

"For God so loved the world that He sent is only Son into the world that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved.  He who believes in Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe in him is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only Begotten Son of God."  John 3:  16-17

"Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles "Men and brothers, what shall we do?"  Then Peter said to them "Repent, every one of you, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." - Acts 2:37-38.

It is simple and yet so profound:  Repent - turn away from both the sins (and every one of us has them, not only the ones common to all but the ones we love best) and your hope that you can, by your good deeds, earn your salvation.  And believe - believe that Christ paid the price of your sins and that He is the Son Of God, The Lord and Saviour of the world.

I have no special knowledge, friends, and am hardly anything to bear such news.  I am a broken man, a coward that too often hides behind a passive silence, a man who constantly struggles against his own sin and so often fails.

But there is a Heaven and Hell, a fate that awaits all of us.  And Hell is not the picture of the fantasies that we have allowed ourselves to make it, merely a hot place where "Well, I'll at least be with all my buddies".  It is a place of unending - eternal - torment, a place that humanity was never originally designed to go.   (I would be remiss in the regard if I did not refer you to Jonathan Edwards sermon Sinners In The Hand Of An Angry God.)

My friends, you may think me simple in posting this, or over-reactionary.  You may think me a religious kook or a simpleton believing fairy tales.

Life goes quickly.  Even if you are young and feel that death and old age is a long way off, I can assure you that it is not.  Time flies faster than the fleetest bird, running quicker than the antelope with the cheetah pursuing.

And ultimately, as 50 people found out this weekend, death finds us all and finds most of us unexpectedly and most likely unprepared.  As I mentioned above, most of us do not rise from bed in the morning thinking that today will be our last day.

But today or 70 years hence, death will find us.  There is no safe space from it, nowhere we can go to outrun it or hide from it.  Eternity is closer for most of us than we think.

I pray you, friends, give heed to the eternal destination of your souls.  Tomorrow is vouchsafed for none.




Friday, June 10, 2016

Thursday, June 09, 2016

The Sound Of Rolling Dice

Change is in the air, darn it.

I cannot see it.  But I can feel it.

The feeling is washing over me more and more.  And there are real, practical outcomes of this.

For the first time in forever, I contradicted a superior in a meeting.  Laughed out loud at a suggestion they made which was 10 times more difficult and less relevant than the one that we had come to weeks before.  And when I mean out loud, I mean shockingly so.  There is no forward there now, only the establishing of hard won positions.

I have openly begun discussing the possibility of not being there much longer at my current place of employment.  I have begun - oh, how I have been down this road before - of beginning to look at the activities and things in my life, to begun to ask the question "Would I still do this?  How will I do this?"

There is nothing of course, nothing but the sense that a corner has been turned.  The dice are rolling, even if I cannot see where they end up from my view of the table.

But hearing the sound, I know they will eventually stop.

And I want to be ready to leap when they do.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

A Little Solitiude

So it turns out I have a little bit of a break.

The entire household has shipped out to The Happiest Place on Earth today, leaving me all alone for a week.

In a way this is always very odd to me.  One gets used to the hustle and bustle of a house filled with people, going about their business.  Now the house is strangely silent, the sounds of crickets and the neighbor's air conditioner all that fills the night.

People always ask "What are you going to do with yourself?"  After all, being alone theoretically offers one a great deal of possibilities.

Not really for me, though.  I am rather a homebody.  The quiet suits me.

I have reading planned of course, and the normal chores that I have around the house (the rabbits and guinea pig appreciate the attention).  Maybe a little gardening now that the weather has (hopefully) dried out.  Plenty of time to think of course, and maybe to do a little forward planning.  It feels, after all, as if we are on the cusp of change.

A little solitude is actually a welcome thing.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Monday, June 06, 2016

Back To It

So today is the first day back in the office after almost two weeks.

The two week period has been a natural break of sorts for me.  The change in the work environment has been so palpable, such a divide between before and after, that the break has created a closing chapter of sorts to seven years worth of work.

Our pastor this morning, in a sermon about work and living it out, made a point that we needed to make a point about work not owning us, owning our lives.  In that sense this break - away auditing to see other companies, practicing my sword art - has been a good and needed reminder and break that my work is not my life.  It cannot be, now:  my hands have been pried off of all that responsibility and roles and reduced to a (yet unknown) position.

Perhaps a relief.  I need no longer worry about (at least so long as I am here) the problems of office politics or greater strategies for getting ahead or even trying to make a better impression.  That is all removed from my power now.

Two courses now.  The first is to look for new opportunities.  The second is to look to those parts of my life that are beyond the eight hours a day and work on those.

It was a good seven year run.  I am looking forward to the next chapter.

Friday, June 03, 2016

On Tokais

Tokai is over.  

This is my fourth time training with Soke.  Every time I do it has seemed a little bit different.

The very first time I went it was within my first year of starting Iai. I was completely out of my element and was more concerned with not embarrassing myself than with anything else.

The second time I went it was two years later, and I went without my own sensei.  This time the concern was very much around representing my dojo well - and not being an embarrassment.

The third time was an additional two year later/ 5 years into my journey.  Here I actually did manage to embarrass myself (unintentionally of course, but still) and spent the greater part of Tokai desperately trying to not call any more attention to myself.

And now the fourth time is complete.

This time there was much less concern about embarrassing myself (other than the general sense of not sticking out as being so bad)  and much more concern about learning to do things the right way, about paying attention to what Soke was doing and then trying to replicate that.

We talked a great deal (more than I remember in past Tokai, but maybe I am just paying attention differently)  about the importance of our spirit when we practice, of the expressions we carry on our faces when we cut, of the spirit of Iai and its place in the larger place of things.

It was good.

I have a great deal to work on until the next time I see Soke again:  technique (always technique), expression, and spirit.  But I am coming to anticipate these visits rather than fear them - after all, it is becoming less about how I appear and more about how much I am learning.

This, I think, represents the progress that Iai truly means to teach.


Thursday, June 02, 2016

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Could Be, Who Knows

As I sit here and write at 2300 hours on Tuesday night, I am exhausted.  We finished Embu tonight, a public demonstration of Iai.  This is the end of the third day of the Tokai, the end of 14 hours of training.  My calves are sore and my right knee is starting to say unkind things to me.  By all rights, I should be asleep already.

And yet, my mind is racing and sleep seems to be the farthest thing from my mind.

I feel a great current moving underneath my life, as if things are shifting around me in ways I cannot see or understand.  It is that sense that an ending of something is approaching and the beginning of something else is at hand.

I cannot define this thing completely.  I cannot say what the nature of the changes are.  I can sense hints, like something moving in murky water which only the currents of the water speak to something being there.

I know that changes are occurring at work and maybe that is part of the feeling.  I know that being away for almost two weeks removes someone from the fray.  I know that when I eventually have to return to real life all that I previously faced will be there.

But circumstances are changing.  Or at least I feel they are changing.  Or maybe it is just that I am changing.

But, to quote West Side Story, "Could it be?  Yes it could.  Something's coming, something good.  If I can wait."

Here is to the change I can sense even if I cannot now see it.