Monday, July 11, 2005

A Little Chocolate for the Soul

I’ve always liked chocolate. I eat Cadbury bars, Hershey Kisses, M & M’s, Chunky’s and, most recently, chocolate covered raisins and also a chunk of a big old piece of milk chocolate from Trader Joe’s. The other evening I had a mug of hot chocolate – white chocolate whipped to a froth. Chocolate fondue’s are good, too, though I haven’t had them in a while.

This evening I was waiting for the guys in my old men’s group to call. They were meeting for the first time, I think, since I moved up. The plan was to call me when they were all together so remotely I could raise a glass and toast us all, once again. Unfortunately, no one called. Out of sight out of mind, I guess.

In the latter part of June I journeyed out to Sturbridge, MA. to attend a birthday party. The occasion was the birthday of my ex-brother in law’s brother, John. Also present was Susan, my sister Judy’s daughter, and Susan’s husband, Michael, and their little boy, Noah. I got to meet a bunch of my ex-in laws, most of whom I haven’t seen in, oh, 30 years or more. It was a pleasant day, good food, nice company and comfortable surroundings. I’m glad they invited me to come for the party.

Over the 4th of July weekend I went over to Newton for the fireworks. It was a really nice display. Dixie was spread out on the grass in front of us, lying peacefully. Just after the first firework shot off and made a large boom, she was suddenly in my lap, shaking like a leaf in the wind. She ended up, throughout the whole display, quivering and quaking in my lap, her head burrowed under my arm. Then, as soon as it was all over, she got down, shook herself off and looked around as if to say – “What, me worry? I’m cool. Everything’s fine here. No problem.”

This past weekend Julie and I went to the Esplanade to almost watch Johnny Rivers perform. It was a free concert, part of a series put on by a local radio station. The opening act was Beatlejuice. They were late starting due to a rain storm that came rolling through. The sky then cleared and everyone settled back down on the grass to wait for Johnny Rivers to start. We looked up at the sky and saw a big, black front moving down the Charles River toward us and so we decided to forego Johnny. Others apparently felt the same and we joined a smattering of people who started moving toward their cars, or at least toward better protective cover. On our way out of Boston the sky opened up; we were glad we didn’t stay and listen to Johnny sing Summer Rain in the summer rain.

I just got finished reading a book that I want to pass along to everyone. It’s entitled “Life of Pi,” by Yann Martel. A wonderful book, it has you saying, “huh,” as in “I didn’t know that,” a whole bunch of times throughout. At its most literal, it’s a work of fiction about a 16 year old kid who survives a ship sinking and spends months at sea in a life boat. It’s hard to put down. And, at the end, you find you don’t want it to end. I may have to read it again just to read it again. It is a book not to miss.

Over the past few weeks up here it’s gotten up into the 90’s, temperature – wise. And to think that one of the reasons I moved up here was to get away from Baltimore’s heat and humidity. Well, it’s no different up here. Hazy, hot and humid would describe some of the days. Two weeks ago it was in the low 90’s for a week. Then, it rained and went down into the 50’s for a week and now, this week, it’s back up to the low 90’s. If I’d’ve known it was going to be this hot…well, I still would’ve moved. Most people up here, especially the locals, can’t take the heat since it’s cold, really cold, most of the year. They can’t take the heat when it comes because they’re not used to it being hot for any length of time. When I moved up in February, between snow storms, people bitched about the snow, but not about the cold. I just realized that. Nevertheless, when it gets to be summer up here it gets hot. The difference is the heat doesn’t last long. I don’t know yet if there’re Indian summers up here. I guess I’ll find out in a couple months.

One thing I noticed is that there are a lot of spray pools up here for the little kids. I’ve seen two so far, one in the park across the street from where I live and another in the park where I let Dixie run. Both are set up with permanent sprayers that spray water in different directions that kids run through, in and under. No wading or swimming. And, it’s not for teens, it’s for the little kids. Can’t drown in a spray park. Falling will cause you to scrape yourself up on the concrete, but you can’t drown.

My work with the Virtual Gateway continues. Actually it just started. I’ve completed 2 training sessions and have 13 more to do before July’s over. Actually 14 if you count the overview I may do for the DMR area liaison people. At first they didn’t want to have anything to do with learning anything about Virtual Gateway. Now that it’s here and happening they want to jump on the bandwagon. And the beat goes on.

So what does all this have to do with chocolate? Chocolate’s the aphrodisiac of the soul. Sometimes I need a lift. I felt a little maudlin tonight. A little calm in the eye of the storm you might say. I do 2 training sessions tomorrow, 2 the next day, one on Thursday and then 2 on Friday. Then, the following week, the pattern pretty much repeats. The only break I’ll have this whole month will be on Monday, the 25th. Work, work, work. So, a little chocolate for the soul. It does wonders.


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