Hell of a Guy
You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life - Albert Camus

Friday, June 29, 2007

“Conversations with God”...


I am really digging this book, big time.  I feel as though this one was written for me.  I feel much the same about this book as I did going through the Millennium Workshops in Dallas (http://www.millennium3education.com), in that the workshops were very much meant for me to attend at that particular time in my life.  This book comes to me at a time when I truly needed to get in touch spiritually, to have some questions of my own answered.  My questions were many of the same offered by Mr. Walsh to God, and way to many to list in this blog.

Much to my surprise I found my God (The God of All Things) in the middle of the Millennium program.  It was serendipity, I might add.  As a borderline atheist and a flirting agnostic, I had no intention of looking for a God in a program about discovering who I really am and why I do (hopefully “did”) dumb shit (you get to blame your mother).  But fortunately for me, somewhere along the line I was hit right in the face with the fact a God does exist and this God is “all things,” and that I am a son of God (a son, not the Son) and therefore, a part of God. 

My heart was immediately put to rest.  I was overcome with emotion at this realization, but with reservations.  “Conversations with God” by Neal Donald Walsh is removing these reservations.  You have to read this book.

As I was reading last night (page 215 and 216), I read a passage wherein God is telling Neal, “Good, use me.”
“Do what it takes. 
Each of you has your own construction.  Each of you has understood Me – created Me – in your own way.
To some of you I am a man.  To some of you I am a woman. To some, I am both.  To some I am neither.
To some of you I am pure energy.  To some, the ultimate feeling, which you call love.  And some of you have no idea what I am.  You simply know that I AM.
And so it is.
I Am.
I am the wind which rustles your hair.  I am the sun which warms your body.  I am the rain which dances on your face.  I am the smell of flowers in the air, and I am the flowers which send their fragrance upward.  I am the air which carries the fragrance.
I am the beginning of your first thought.  I am the end of your last.  I am the idea which sparked your most brilliant moment.  I am the glory of its fulfillment.  I am the feeling which fueled the most loving thing you ever did.  I am the part of you which yearns for that feeling again and again.
Whatever works for you, whatever makes it happen – whatever ritual, ceremony, demonstration, mediation, thought, song, word, or action it takes for you to “reconnect” – do this.
Do this in remembrance of Me.”

I read this and the same intense feeling overcame me as the day of my epiphany two and half years ago: A lasting peacefulness, a lasting happiness.  I lived for over forty of my sixty-three years in search of a God I could understand and love.  Now I have one.

This blog will not become a pulpit or a place for pontification or proselytizing, but this I just had to share.

And that is all I have to say about that…

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Thinking of Food


Last week I spent of couple of days working with one of my reps up in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.  I found Minnesota to be an extraordinarily beautiful part of the country – very green and rolling, but, still, somewhat flatter than I like.  My man shared a fair amount of the countryside with me as we made sales calls around the outskirts of Minneapolis.  I have only been to Minnesota one other time in my life and that was in January 2006, and it was a little on the chilly side.  This time the weather cooperated fully by providing me very pleasant sunny, rain-free days to roam around the farm-country outside of the city and wonder who the hell had time to count all those lakes in the state. 

I can’t say I ate very well while I was there, though.  Most of the meals consumed were of the junk variety, more by choice than by chance.  Breakfast at the Hilton Garden, in my book, is nothing more than “tide-me-over-to-lunch” fare.  Lunch, on the other hand, allowed us numerous choices.  Mexican (Tex-Mex) at Don Pablo’s one day – okay but not gourmet or really Mexican, and the second day, because we were under a little pressure to get to an appointment, we dined in an Applebee’s, with Spinach Dip and tortilla chips being my choice.  It was quick and easy and really not too bad as far as spinach dips go, but obviously not healthy.  Dinners consisted of rather weak ale and a mediocre pizza (two nights in a row).

I do know where I have had and can get some really great food.  I started thinking about this as I finished my sumptuous breakfast at the Hilton Garden my last morning in Minnesota (my omelet looked like something one would purchase at the Waffle House on the cheap).  So here is my list, or a least a start to it.  It is not necessarily in any particular order and some of these places may not be in business any longer.

1. Lot 12 Public House in Berkeley Springs, WV, my current favorite.  This one is open and hopefully The Nancy and I will be there one day this week.  If you are in BS, this one is a must.  Damian and Betsy Heath, the proprietors are the best.  Damian is as talented as any chef in New York City.  Check it out at their website http://www.lot12.com for directions and reservation number.  Sit at the bar and enjoy good drinks, good food and great company – maybe The Nancy and me. 
2. The Plaza Restaurant in Rome, New York, 229 E Dominick St, (315) 336-9961.  This is a place my Ex and I used to order pizza back in the mid 60’s when I was Airman Dave.  It is (okay, “was”) the best pizza I have ever had.  What else would you expect in Rome?  I was last there in 1992, my first trip back since 1967, and the pizza had not changed at all.  In fact, the owner told me he actually had folks from around the country (most likely former Air Force hacks like me) having him send pizzas to them.  He partially cooks them and sends them frozen and packed with dry ice.  I checked the internet and The Plaza is still there going strong.
3. Aupaka Terrace, Kauai Marriott, Hawaii.  I sincerely hope this one has not changed.  I was there in 1989.  This restaurant left a lasting memory.  It isn’t a Benihana style hibachi grill.  This is an authentic Japanese restaurant and the food was incredible.  Check it out next time you jaunt over to Hawaii.  My Ex will wonder how the hell I remembered the name of this place.
4. While in Hawaii, you must go to Moose McGillycuddy’s, Lahaina, Maui.  The Nancy and I have several breakfasts there in October, 2000.  Moose’s is a chain, but the food is consistently good at all its restaurants.  We ate at one in San Diego a couple of years and it was as good as Maui’s.  Breakfast is best, especially the juices (The Nancy’s Bloody Mary’s and my Sierra Nevada Pale Ales on tap), considering the five-hour time difference from here to there. 
5. Carmine’s at 200 W. 44th Street, New York.  One of the best Italian restaurants I have ever had the pleasure to dine.  Food and service is just wonderful.  Go early and get seated fairly quickly; go later and wait an hour.  Prepare to eat big, succulent dishes and plan to share with friend or friends.  It’s a fun place.
6. Café Cimino in Sutton, WV.  The Nancy and I ate there just once, but it was wonderful experience and we often talk about going back.  http://www.cafecimino.com
7. CJ Maggie’s in Buchanan, WV is part of a small chain located in college towns around West Virginia and Kentucky.  It was a date place for The Nancy and me for a number of years before we were married.  Many fond memories were born at CJ’s.  It is American fare, sandwiches and such, but, nonetheless, good stuff. 

I think if I had enough time I could really reel off about a list of hundred places where I over indulged, but really enjoyed the food; Trinkus Manor in Utica New York – from the 1960’s, Fuddruckers of years ago at the Woodlands in Houston, Texas (haven’t had the pleasure since I quit eating animal flesh in 1995), The Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York – home of, well, you know, and Alioto’s on the wharf in San Francisco is a place I want to share with The Nancy, and the list could go on and on.

We are only limited by the restraints we put on ourselves, when it comes to food.  I made a decision a long time ago to eat abstemiously and healthily, but a few years ago I fell into a habit of quick, easy meals without the health aspect entering into what I put in my body.  I find these days, and I know this has to change, I eat solely for pleasure.  I have discovered it is easier to purchase larger clothing than to lose weight.  My mother used to say we should “eat to live, not live to eat.”  I think I am into the latter these days.  If fact, it is damn near lunchtime and I am already wondering what unhealthy, super fattening, succulent repast I am going to shovel into my mouth in copious quantity.  Ummmmm!

And that is all I have to say about that…   

Monday, June 25, 2007

“Conversations with God” by Neal Donald Walsch


I have been reading this book for last few days.  It is slow going because I continually go back and reread paragraphs and sentences.  Not sure if you have ever heard of this one, but for someone like me who has been on a life long search for a God I can get my arms around, this guy explains it best.  I could never understand why I should fear God; why God could condone the deaths of innocent people - especially children.  I resented God for what he put my mother through. Now with this fresh look at God and his plan for all of us…I get it.

Looking for something to read?  Check it out, or go to this website: http://www.cwg.org .

And that is all I have to say about that…for now!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Just Another Football Fan?  I don’t think so.


There is a cemetery here in Beautiful Downtown Berkeley Springs, WV (aka Town of Bath), population 711, that is on the same road as the place we board The Dog when The Nancy and I travel.  Something I saw in the cemetery about a month ago has stuck with me and I want to share it with all of you, being the sentimental slob that I am.  It doesn’t take a lot to place me in an emotional state these days and what I am about to share took all of about a second and half to impact me.

The Nancy and I had been out of town.  Stella (hence and forever will be referred to as “The Dog”) was enjoying some time in a two-foot by four-foot cell, or cage, or doggie jail for a couple of nights.  The Nancy and I were returning from Grafton, WV and our yearly pilgrimage to the locally famous Memorial Day Parade.  After we picked up The Dog, I made the decision to take a shortcut through the cemetery – it cuts off about a quarter mile or so, and with this huge time savings, and the chunk of wear and tear I would save on the company vehicle I drive, I decided the shortcut was efficacious, even though there are signs warning against through traffic use of the roadway.  Actually my savings may have been entirely in my head: the road through the cemetery is in a serpentine fashion and my shortcut is most likely a “longcut.”  About three quarters of the way through the cemetery we came across a poignant scene I could never have fathomed had I not seen it firsthand.  Just off the pathway was a grave adorned with a rather large Washington Redskin’s banner.  It was situated just to the left of the grave and was fluttering in a slight breeze.  Apparently the person buried there was an ardent football and Redskin fan and his/her (most likely a “his”) family celebrated this fact and placed a banner there to signify it.  The banner was a nice touch and one that I had never come across in a cemetery before, but it is not what really got me going.

There were about six people around the grave.  Some were standing; some were actually sitting in lawn chairs.  There was a charcoal grill throwing smoke into the clear sky, and a couple of the guys were drinking brewskis (Bud Light – not really beer).  These folks were having a tailgate party at the gravesite of a departed loved one.  How cool is that?

I don’t know about you, but this one struck me hard.  A family so loved this guy, they were celebrating some special occasion and included this person who was still held as a viable member of the family.  Even as I write this I heart is in my throat.  Wow!  This family – and I suppose it was this guy’s family – held this loved one so dearly, they gathered at the grave for a tailgate party.  I love it!   

The Nancy and I have written our wills to reflect our desire to be cremated.  I want my ashes to be scattered somewhere, the site totally unimportant, but I cannot help to think how great it would be if at some point my family and friends might return to that site and throw a party, even if for no other reason than just to have a party, perhaps celebrate me and have a good time.  I won’t need to be invited; I’ll already be there.

And that is all I have to say about that…

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