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First a fast look back at last week. Goals ACCOMPLISHED strengthen my determination to accomplish MORE, and I’m off to a good start. 2019. day 1, I did something I can’t remember doing for– I don’t know; say — 20 or more years: I cleaned the interior of my car, took lots of receipts discarded envelopes from bills paid locally, a few magazines I’d purchased but not taken into the house. By the way, my “car” is actually a Blue Dodge Caravan with the rear seats removed to I can transport large boxes. I refer to it as my “car” because it’s easier this way.

A few days later, I picked up my 35mm camera from Creve Coer Camera where I had taken it last March to have the dust inside camera and 300 mm telephoto lens removed. Since moving my AeroKnow Museum out of the building at Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport (which is probably the heartbreak of my LIFE) I’ve used a smaller, digital point’n’shoot camera to snap what few pics I’ve taken since last July. I expect I will never take another picture with the BIG Canon Eos 20D, but paying for the cleaning, not making them continue to wonder if they’d ever see me again, THAT was important to me: putting a ribbon on the long-neglected transaction.

Over the weekend, I signed up with the photo storage enterprise FLICKR PRO. I’ll be able to share pictures with friends and the public at large without asking you to join anything like Facebook. That was a positive though so far I’ve posted just a few pictures.. . . . . I was invited to play some of the songs I’ve written and recite some oi my poems and poems written by the internationally acclaimed early 20th century poet Vachel Lindsay at a “pop-up art show at the meeting-room-equipped Joe Gallina’s Pizza restaurant in lyrical downtown Springfield. These events allow invited local visual artists to display and sell their talent. Some of the time, people attending actually STOPPED their chatting to listen to me, Generally, I don’t like to provide “background music” while bystanders provide my “background noise,” but it was a friendly evening. Met some talented local artists and made some new friends. . . had a terrific time!

Sunday I purchased 25 storage boxes needed to “store” a small portion of the TON of aviation history resources I brought “home” last summer when I vacated my museum enterprise from the airport. I’ll better explain all this in the weeks ahead.

I have resolved to significantly improve my outlook by altering how I live. Way one is my vow to stop drinking wine at home. Drinking gallon jugs of Carlo Rossi Burgundy (about $15 per gallon) wasted my time. Since last July I have felt so SAD about my fate, I have wanted to spend as much of my life sleeping. If there were a pill I could buy to knock myself OUT four hours at a time and then, after awakening at 10 or 11 and working on the aviation thing until 2 or 3 am and returning to sleep for another four or five hours, I would have taken that pill during the second half of 2018. My wine regimen was (for my budget) more expensive than it should have been. But it was essential for the preservation of a toe-hold on sanity. It took about a week to empty a jug. Despite working four days a week and engaging poetry and music with local acquaintances, the rest of my hours have been ghostly quiet and solitary, even when engaging social pursuits, being nice to everyone and connecting with no one. I have survived NINE days with no Carlo and have doggedly determined to make progress at home, making the inside look as neat as the inside of my car. I’ve determined that to facilitate slumber, for the first time in my LIFE, I have started to take “sleep aids” pills from the medications aisle at my favorite grocery store. As long as they do. I will stay with this routine..

. . . . . . . . Live long . . . and proper.

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First Night Springfield is an annual festival of entertainment and arts in lyrical downtown Springfield every December 31 that runs from 5 pm and, for most of its duration, concluded with a big midnight fireworks display between the Illinois State Capitol Building on the west and the rest of downtown on the east. For the past few years, the BOOM BOOM has BOOMED starting at 8 pm. I’ve been a featured entertainer (songwriter/folksinger) and participated as part of larger presentations of poetry several times. This year I looked forward to being one of several poets sharing poems they’d written about art work downtown applied to the exposed brick walls of buildings in the heart of the city.

I committed to writing a new poem about the re-created painting originally produced by Springfield poet Vachel Lindsay to accompany a poem he wrote about the construction of the new Panama Canal, slated to be completed in 1914. At the moment I promise to write a new poem or song, I begin THINK about my approach, gather facts for introducing it to the audience and usually pen to paper the day before I share it. This technique is like using live ammunition when training infantry to fight. It CONCENTRATES FOCUS. I had been directed by the emcee of the event that there would be no time to introduce my poem. “No extemporaneous remarks,” I was told. I was “cool” with that. They knew what they wanted, and I was happy to be permitted to be a part of the program.

My approach came to me at an informal planning conversation. I knew I wanted to write about the image on the building’s north wall. My poem would be about the VISUAL ART; not just a parroting of Vachel’s verse. BUT I would include Vachel’s poem in the course of describing the visual image! My concept was approved by consensus of the participants . . . two weeks before I planted my keister at my “ohm” (home) computer and wrote it.

Here is my final draft of my First Night poem . . . . .

Of Dawning Destinies
by Job Conger written December 31, 2018

Where the hemispheres of north streets
meet south streets on Washington
in lyrical downtown Springfield . . .
a few doors north on Fifth Street,
the world’s west hemisphere meets the east
in Vachel Lindsay’s painting.
Here, two cultures embrace
in his vision of the wedding of the rose and lotus.

In 1912, the completion of the
Panama Canal approached.
The first ship would transit
the modern world wonder of 1914.
Vachel’s eloquence, in imagery and hue
is shared today on a building’s north wall,
a testament in brick and mortar metaphor
as ageless icons intertwine.

Vachel’s portrait in rhyme
harmonized with the painting.
He wrote:
==========
“Flags of the Pacific
And the Atlantic meet.
Captain calls to captain,
Fleet makes cheer with fleet.
Above the drowned edges,
A wind of wooing blows.
The red rose woos the lotus.
The lotus woos the rose.

“The lotus conquered Egypt
The rose was loved in Rome.
Great India crowned the lotus
(Britain, the rose’s home.)
Old China crowned the lotus.
They crowned it in Japan.
But Christendom adored the rose
Ere Christendom began.

“The lotus speaks of slumber.
The rose is as a dart.
The lotus is Nirvana.
The rose is Mary’s heart.
The rose is deathless, restless,
The splendor of our pain.
The flush and fire of labor
That holds, not all in vain. . .

“The genius of the lotus
Shall heal earth’s too-much fret.
The rose in blinding glory
Shall waken Asia yet.
Hail to their loves, ye peoples!
Behold, a world-wind blows
That aids the ivory lotus
To wed the red, red rose!”

Behold these final moments
of 2018 as wayfarers remember
and savor the joys
of that distant yester time!

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I’m TRYING TO remember how to add a few pictures to this post. After I figure out how, I will return to this post and add them . . . .

Live long and proper.




Let the Goo Times Roll

A few days ago I promised to more frequently post on Honey & Quinine, and now that the first day of 2019 has passed, I’m making good on that promise. Resuming today was intentional early into the late daze of 2018.  I had received a “kick in the head” from Whimsy the Fate (WTF if you like) but didn’t want to sully your last days of 18 with the laments of my last days of that year. During those weeks I also considered walking away from  this blog and my AeroKnow Museum as well. A few readers have encouraged me to resume, and so I have.

I am a social being. I’m also okay with being solo now and then but I’m not okay with going solo so much! Every person I know today is an acquaintance. This depresses the bejeebers out of me.  I wish I had two or  three friends I could call or email once or twice every few months to meet for coffee or lunch, not for anyone to buy my lunch;  I’d gladly buy my own. I have some close acquaintances whom I “interface with” a few times a month, but they are “arms’ length” people. Most of the time, I successfully maintain my persona with them. Sometimes the real Job Conger oozes out of  cracks in my persona, and sometimes a close acquaintance becomes a stranger, or at best a distant acquaintance. I haven’t been in lust, or better, in love with a woman since about 1986, and I really miss being in love! My reluctance to share friendly patter in the understated direction of “amore” with women I find attractive is easy to understand: I have: little money and no future. I’m not mad about this. As I sing in a song I wrote  but seldom sing, “Together forever hopes,, duets in the sun, I had my chances, and I blew every one.” 

As you may know from reading my Honey & Quinine posts in 2018 — and if note here’s the nutshell — Last May I  evicted the  tenants living in the upstairs of my duplex  I live downstairs. and they left tons of their possessions a HUGE utilities bill and  significantly damaged their part of the house. I’ve lost rental income since summer of 2017 and I’ve been paying a little at a time to return the upstairs to rentable condition 

Income from my part time employer and monthly Social Security income was not enough for me to maintain insurance for home and car.  The Hanover Insurance Company dropped me.  Troxell Insurance found another insurance company to provide house and car coverage at a better rate:  Auto Insurers Co.  Everything is insured now.  About a month ago, Troxell informed me that the new company had inspected the outside of my house and soon after sent me what I consider my death warrant:  The  foundation of the house is damaged. I have until July to have the  house jacked up and a new foundation put in underneath.

That’s all for now. Next post is “only a day away.”

Live long and proper.

As I Was Saying . . .

2018 has been the challenge of my life thanks to the upstairs former friends I evicted after a year and a half of their not paying rent and utilities and significantly damaging the place. The place will not be in rentable condition until next April or May. It’s a long story.  Due to re-designing the roads leading into the local airport and drastically changing the building where I’d been developing my aviation museum . . . I had to move out, which in my case required me to re-focus my operation there and dispose of thousands of pounds of former resources — as in delivering them to dumpsters. What I saved is crammed, as though with a shoehorn, into my quarters at my duplex.
On the positive, I still have my part-time employer, and I’m in good physical shape. Mentally, it’s a different story. I was visiting a counselor at the local county health center, and that helped.
I will update Honey @ Quinine after the new year begins.

The gradual evolution to a more sophisticated life form continues following a viscerally typical night last night, my second night in my bed after sleeping a few months in the La Zee Boy recliner in the living room, recuperating from the broken ribs “opportunity.” The FriDAY had been  a challenge. I arrived home wanting to “chill.” At my house that means drinking Carlo Rossi Burgundy until I surrender to an early evening nap in a darkening living room (as the sun goes down), listening to NPR turned down so I can barely hear it and don’t have to listen to the words. Usually I’m asleep before 8, awaken around 11 or 12,  have dinner and read or piddle around with the Internet until getting sleepy and returning to recliner-borne slumber that lasts until 6:30 am, when I arise to beat . . . and meet . . . the new day.
Friday night, on my bed, it took me forever to fall asleep, even with significant help from Mr. Rossi. The mattress was too hard (I wasn’t used to the bed again), I couldn’t find a good spot, despite the comfortable temperature.  I finally gave up, Engaged Carlo some more, sought departure from consciousness in the recliner with NPR on — just PERFECTLY low . . .  and was asleep in a few mins. Good news: I slept very well and arose with a clear head and heart.

After checking the email and Facebook I decided to have a CONVENTIONAL  Saturday: no obsessing with my aviation passion, no picking up around the house, doing what purely neutral (no lingering regret, no longing for  what I don’t have) CONVENTIONALITY  would lead me to do.

On the way to my car (a Dodge Caravan actually, but “car” make the point) I pulled some overgrown grass  from the crack between walk and first step at the base of my front porch (good deed for the day DONE) rolled down the passenger side window (which I can’t do when belted in and driving) saddled up in the left seat and headed west. First stop: Office Depot for some tape and ink for the office printer. I felt confident and CONVENTIONAL. Not even the slow drivers, which seem as magnets to my front bumper, bothered me.  People — perfect strangers — smiled at me and I smiled back.  I knew I needed to buy some vegetation killer for the unwanted overgrowth living rent-free in cracks in my driveway, I was slightly annoyed to be so far away from the closest hardware store. My eyes wandered as I was about to turn right onto a main street and was delighted to see the building once occupied by a garden-variety K-Mart-ish store was now a huge new Farm and Family store. So I drove across the street instead of across town and bought a small “dose.” I also wandered around inside. Spacious! Gracious! Some state fairs could have fit into the store. I felt incredibly CONVENTIONAL during the visit:  people doing their thing,  smiling. The checkout was a breeze. More smiles, convivial banter between  perfect strangers at the register and a few others who seemed to sense kinship with another human being which I sensed I resembled during the interfacing.

Finally  a fast stop at my fave supermarket Hy-Vee for a few items; three prepared salads (dinner for today, Sunday and Monday) instant tea mix and coffee, nothing fancy. I’ll never see “fancy” again, and that’s okay.

The weeks between my most recent Honey & Quinine post and this one have  been challenging — former delinquent renters — with my PERMISSION (one way to look at it) — are  still driving me NUTS. I believe that they will be the death of me, and that will be okay. On Facebook last week I learned something about the value of forgiving. I’ll explain more in a future  Hon & Qui. I paid the first of two installments of my real estate taxes yesterday.  I wasn’t sure it would happen until it DID – another miracle.  A friend from the aviation community GAVE me a window air conditioner that is perfect for my  home office where my bed is also. Installed it two days ago, works like charm, and today it’s not even running because things have cooled down wonderfully.

. . . . Thanks for reading this post.

Live long . . . . . and proper.

 

Resolution Sunday

When I approach the decision to act instead of worry, I always delay anticipated action until I complete a necessary priority first. Last week I knew I  should act to begin focused clean up of my vacated upstairs residence the day after posting my then-most-recent thoughts here at H&Q . . .  but I didn’t. An inner voice (animated devil with a pitchfork whispering “Go ahead, take the apple. Nobody will notice.”) told me to delay the cleanup until I had returned from a trip with friends to a model contest and “swap meet” near Rockford. I listened to that voice.  My week was sweltering and dreary, especially when I was home after working for employer, fraught with its occasional dark, disturbing doubts about “tomorrow” yet bouyed, made less ominous , thanks to comments shared by H&Q readers.

The trip was time well spent but an endurance challenge. I was ready for bed when I walked into the living room. Getting to sleep in the recliner was easy, and I slept well. At 7 am, I awoke with no lingering yawns, calm and ready to ACT. And so I did, sans anxiety, sans rush, quietly thankful for a focused mind. The big deal at home in addition to the aftermath upstairs, was the lingering clutter of aviation resources brought home from my airport museum which was a “going thing” for just short of eight years. My unproductive outlook had allowed this clutter to continue for most of two months. I focused, resolutely, and accomplished a lot, even took a lunch break of crunch peanut butter from a table knife, iced tea and a pensive half hour considering that was next. It was too hot to work upstairs, so for the next six hours, maintaining a proper outlook with frequent cups of coffee, I de-cluttered and arranged in the basement. I filled one big Waste Management wheeled trash bin with basement and household waste. then at 7:30 turned my undivided to the wasteland  left behind by former friends/ne/theiving bottom feeders. Two more green trash bins were filled to the brim with a miniscule part of what they left. Since I had discontinued electricity had been disconnected in my effort to convincing them to VACATE, my last hour up there was in near-total darkness, and I was fine with that. I called it “a day,” locked the door, at 9:35 and changed into a clean shirt for dinner (actually, to wear to dinner): a fine Hy-Vee chef salad and lots of iced tea, topped off with a few hits of Carlo Rossi Burgundy as a reward. By 11:00 I was asleep.

Today, at 5:45 I wheeled the three garbage bins to street curbs edge for the near-6;00 pickup  which occurred on time,  I’m satisfied  with how things went this weekend. It will be easier to continue this nutty circumstance with one successful Sunday behind me.
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Live long . . . . . . . and proper.

I’ve been seeing a counselor  at the health center for the past year; not the kind of thing I am proud to admit because it helps prove what a loser I am. At first it was once a month, and these days it’s once a week. I acquiesced to my nurse practitioner’s regular suggestions that I connect with the counselor at the Center because that position seemed less a concession to failure than a first step toward climbing out of my pit of woe.  But as steps out of the pit have proven nominally worthwhile, the unstable firmament of earth beneath my feet has collapsed, and I am further from sunlight of resolution than I’ve been in months.

The short outlook is this. My failure to recover payment of most =f the last YEAR’s rent and utilities payments from my former long time friend Kevin Pantig (not quite his actual Name) is ruining me emotionally and financially. I had him evicted through the courts, but that eviction only absented him and his wife Sande from the upstairs of my duplex. They left most of their worldly possessions behind. The courts say I can dispose of it all as I chose. I  conrol access to it. I can have it take away in a large dumpster and be legal. Trouble is: I cannot afford to rent a dumpster for this. And even if I could I cannot afford to have the duplex repaired from the damages they have done to it. THOUSANDS of dollars worth of damages they have caused and promises to repair damages inflicted by former residents Ask and No.5 Hamilton (not quite their real names) who stole materials of mine from the residence and porch) before they departed!
Consciousness has lost its appeal to me. In recent months, I have often sought an end to my anxiety by drinking wine until falling asleep. In recent weeks I have begun to take over-the-counter “sleep aids,” and they are helping too. Sometimes I just take two or three doses of the sleep aids when I don’t buy wine. I IMAGINE that no one has ever died from overdoses of over-the-counter sleep aids, so I expect I will be taking more pills than wine in the weeks ahead.  I do not expect a happy outcome of the consequences of what I have allowed to happen.  I also don’t expect to continue explaining my descent. One or two more posts are PROBABLY all you’ll read, and probably all before then end of July.

Yes, I will continue to see my counselor . As I write this in my very warm home office (no air conditioning, but fans are running; it’s tolerable) at 6:00 on Sunday,  I’m going to turn in early. Take three or four swallows of Carlo Rossi, Burgundy, swallow three sleep aid pills (triple dose) and try to absent myself from the despair of my life.

Good night.

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Live long . . . . . . . and proper.