Monday, August 10, 2009

Simplicity is Accommodating for Many Good Reasons

This blog thing is getting the best of me. My business ventures have picked up. Consequently, my time for editing and posting has become more limited. As a friend of mine, Pete Toennies, has said in the past, "It's not a passion unless you sacrifice all other tasks to pursue what is your passion."

When i started this almost-a-blog, my intent was to pursue my writing at the cost of all other tasks, chase my dream, live my passion. It seems my renewed dedication to writing has been a catalyst for my other too-many pursuits. They have taken off, and i am obligated, for the sake of family and my personal financial security to pursue them, once again obviating my writing to a second tier priority.

The above sounds too goody two shoes to me. i have not been uncomfortable and i continue to do a lot of things i like to do, other limitations on my writing. For instance, i have taken on a lot of home projects, and enjoy physical work, a trait inherited from both of my parents. And in spite of my frustration at the game, i continue to play golf at least once and sometimes three times a week without needed training and practice. So it's not like i am slaving away.

It is a strange thing, this urge to write. i am no longer a seeker of fame or fortune (beyond my perception of needed security). i gave up the fame thing somewhere in my late twenties and shun it now. i often say i would like to be a writer in the vein of J.D. Salinger in terms of marketing my work, but without all the negative publicity -- such is not the reality in today's public relations, communication glut world. Yet i continue to want to write for others to read.

So i will make no false promises here again. i will post when i post (and i may learn to receive comments and respond). i will write what i want when i want and continue to make my "Lebanon Democrat" columns available here.

i hope you read and i hope you enjoy.

Take care,


Notes from the Southwest Corner:
Simplicity is Accommodating for Many Good Reasons

SAN DIEGO – One drawback to the Southwest corner is the climate requires outside water sources to support those who live here.

Out here, the 3 million people in the San Diego area require more water themselves and even more for the non-native plants we brought with us than exists locally.

To explain, when I was back home in May, it rained over ten inches in a week. Ten inches is about the annual rainfall in the Southwest corner. Even though plentiful rain (six inches) came this winter, we are facing drought conditions …again.

Conservation is being institutionalized again. The City of San Diego has even/odd lawn watering enforced. Bonita, our home, has thus far escaped mandatory limitations

But I am married to a water-saving zealot. Maureen spent over two wonderful years in Monterrey, CA before she met me – hmm, maybe that’s why they were wonderful.

While she was there, the Monterrey area suffered a historic drought. Maureen learned to cope. So when draught hit here around 1992, Maureen was ready.

If neighbors were watering lawns during in a rain shower, Maureen would stop her commute, ring the door bell and chastise the neighbor for being imprudent in water conservation. She had a mission.

She is on her mission again.

Help with the Dishes

In my effort to please her, I decided to help. My father and I have discussed the impracticality of cleaning dishes before placing them in the dishwasher. Recognizing the water-saving advantage and the opportunity to please my wife, I commenced washing our dishes by hand. It was a simple plan.

My plan has worked pretty well. Maureen is pleased I have come over from the dark side in water conservation. We are saving water, and I have confirmed hand washing the dishes does make sense. Of course, you have to have the time to do it.

At this time of my life, I don’t have the time. Potential business seems to be knocking on my door more frequently. Wife and daughter, the latter of which having moved back in for at least the summer, have numerous tasks only a husband or dad can tackle…or at least this is what I choose to believe. And to be honest, one to three rounds of golf a week does take out a chunk of my discretionary time.

Despite the time crunch, I have continued with the hand dishwashing. It has led me to a discovery: I get satisfaction from “doing the dishes.”

Cleaning up after a meal provides a sense of accomplishment. It is finite, and when the tasks are done, they are done.

Sibling Dishwashers

While scouring a pot or drying a glass, I recall the thousands of times my sister, brother, and I did the dishes looking out the window over the kitchen sink on Castle Heights Avenue. We didn’t seem to get much satisfaction then. It was more like a pitched battle to get it done fast and leave before one sibling berated another for not drying a dish well or leaving a food smudge on a pot. “Doing the dishes” was an obstacle.

Of course back then, there was no alternative. We could not pass them under the water spray (faucets were pretty much one-dimensional in the forties and fifties) and stack them on racks in the dishwasher. We were the dishwasher in our abode.

I have even taken to stowing the drying rack, just like we did back home. When I have completed my chore, I stop and admire a clean kitchen with no evidence of “doing the dishes” in view.

I have discovered simplicity. In my world in this age at my age, simplicity doesn’t come calling very often. Our world seems much more complex than when we grew up on the cusp of the technological explosion which gave us computers, push-button car windows, automatic transmissions, and of course, computers. We have more paperwork, more check-lists, more regulations, more rules for finance, health, even athletics.

Even our entertainment requires some basic technical expertise to turn on the television, cable, satellite, TIVO, DVD, sound system, etc.
But adamantly, I continue to “do the dishes” and feel pretty smug about it. It feels good.

In fact, I am seriously thinking about washing my truck myself next week.

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