One of my fondest memories of growing up in rural Wisconsin is of sitting in a lawn chair on the deck in back of our house at night watching the August meteor showers in the wee hours of the morning. I don't remember my parents saying anything about this even though I think I started doing this when I was pretty young. Nor did they say anything when I'd invariably fall asleep after maybe a half hour and wake up in the even wee-er hours of the morning and make my way into the house and into bed.
The night sky is grand and glorious and having an unobstructed view was amazing. You know, they say that young people never appreciate these things while they have them, but I did. I knew how awesome it was to get to see the stars as I did any night I wanted to.
Since leaving my home town, I've always lived in cities so my view of the stars has been obstructed for decades. Although, about 15 years ago I was in PTown doing my one man show and stayed at a place with a roofdeck. I was able to see the meteor shower again. I remember how much of a thrill it was to see the show once more.
These days, the Mister and I are looking at relocating to a smaller, less busy community. We know that outside of the Big City, we'll face some obstacles that we don't now usually encounter - mostly political differences and the potential for people being vocal about their problems with a gay male couple.
But, there are upsides and seeing the stars every night without the glare of street lights and the obstruction of skyscrapers is definitely one of them.
Good morning and happy Thursday!
We've been on vacation for the past week; it's always helpful to get off the block and out of the city for a few days. We took Amtrak to Pennsylvania to see some sights, visit familiar places, and see family. Most people were wearing masks on the train although some were not. I was kind of confused how the conductors didn't enforce the Federal law requiring wearing masks on the trains / in the stations, but I should not be surprised, I suppose. Once we arrived at our destination, most people weren't wearing masks but, also, no one admonished us for continuing to wear them indoors. So there's that, at least.
Meanwhile, I can report that about mid-June, I achieved a high level of burn out and mental exhaustion. Fun. I thought that a few days in a cabin in the Catskills and a few days in our favorite part of Pennsylvania would be more restorative than they were. I mean, they were relaxing and a lot of fun, but I'm only feeling marginally better. It's a little scary to feel like this burn out is permanent. I'm not sure how to handle that.
I had much more to say about this but it all sounded bitchy and sad so I deleted it. Probably not helping me to put all of that 'out there' into the world; there's enough ugliness out there and I don't need or want to add to it just to make a point/ get likes.
I wish you a happy Thursday and if you're feeling burnt out like I am, put your thoughts in the comments section about how YOU are dealing with it!
Good afternoon and happy Tuesday!
Today I am reminded of a Bob Dylan quote - "A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom."
Seems lately that Americans have forgotten that. We want 'freedom' but don't understand the responsibility of freedom.
You are not free to spread a deadly virus, for example.
Get vaccinated so that we can finally be done with Covid. The longer you persist in your selfishness, the longer we will have to endure this.
On Thursday, July 22nd I will acknowledge the 500th day since I started working from home; something that was supposed to last about four to six weeks. At the time, I was like 'wow, that's a long time'... to that memory, I say HAHAHAHAHAHAAHAAHAHAHAHAHA! if only it had only been that long. Had everyone cooperated, we could have been done by last summer. But nope, people are morons.
I've been following Rob Brezny's Free Will Astrology column for years... literally decades. I'm such a fan of his website that I check it for the nuggets of wisdom he routinely posts... below is today's nugget. I posted because it resonates for me at this time in my life/in our history. I don't know about you, but I am having a hard time getting up in the morning. It's not just work. It's not just NYC. It's not just a momentary break from the comic strip. It's not just my weight loss/getting back in shape regimen. It's not just a hundred other things. It's kind of sort of everything all swirled together in a big heaping portion of Yuck Pudding.
But it's worth striving for - to see the glory, the amazing, the joy is a much better way to live. And yet, how does one do that in our time?
To Live in Radical Amazement
"Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement . . . get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible. Never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed."
- Abraham Joshua Heschel, Jewish theologian and civil rights activist
So I've been exercising a lot as a way to work off some stress but also because I'm pudgy and want to shape up. I don't really care about losing weight per se, just about getting in shape that leans more towards inverted triangle rather than a chocolate donut. (mmmm donuts).
I joined a local gym and have been walking a LOT. This past Saturday I walked from my nabe at W. 102/Broadway all the way up to the George Washington Bridge. That was 5 miles. I then walked back down Broadway stopping to pick up a cab at W. 145th as I was late for a gym appointment. I ended up trekking nearly 8 miles.
Anyway, the Bridge has a special significance for me and here's why -
About 15 years ago or so I would routinely ride my bike during the middle of the day up to the George Washington Bridge and back. I'd sometimes take a sandwich and have a bite at the little red lighthouse situated underneath the Bridge. It kind of became A Thing That I Did.
But during this time of my life, I was really searching for myself and I wondered how I'd ever make the transition from a life I'd led (one which was quite lovely but had become impractical for a variety of reasons) to the sort of life that I wanted to have. And as I sat there and reflected, it occurred to me, this many years later, that the things I still strive and dream of (a syndicated comic strip, a home) seem as unattainable to me now as my current life did to me then. But, as a true lighthouse should, this gives me some hope.
I hope that you have a nice place that you can go that's a kind of touchstone for you.
I was able to escape from my own frenzy long enough to take a very restorative walk in Riverside Park yesterday. I turned up the tunes, took pics (posted them to the Instagram - andrewaltenburgmemo ), and continued towards my goal of getting back in shape.
Yes, if you walk the Park these days, you may see a super pale, slightly chubby middle aged man walking around at a fast pace without his shirt on. That's me. I'm trying to get back in shape (I've been struggling with the belly for over five years now, Covid just sort of made it worse) and, because I'm a redhead (or, well, used to be!) my skin is super pale and I'm determined to try to get at least a little color this summer - if I get out into the sun on a daily basis, I just might approach "human" color by Labor Day. :)
Last week/weekend I managed to find time to take three walks which together totaled about 20 miles. They were glorious. This weekend I'm aiming to walk from my apartment to the George Washington Bridge. That's quite a hike but do-able, I think. I'll find out. Will let you know if I made it.
Meanwhile, I found it funny that Andrew Guiliani chose to make some sort of weird ranting speech from a parking lot about his dad being suspended yesterday. Geez. That family really has a thing for making major announcements from the strangest places. In this case, the broken taillight doesn't seem to have fallen far from the rusted oil leaking car. :) It's hard to take this guy seriously. and he's running for Governor? OKaaayy. What's next? A press conference from the back of a 711? Geez, guy have some dignity!
Have a fabulous weekend!
(The sun graphic is something I found on a friend's wall on the Facebook - I really love this style and may take time to learn to create my own sun graphic in the future)
Good morning and happy weekend! I'm never quite sure whether to say "Happy" Memorial Day weekend since it is, by it's very name, a somber occasion (ie remembering our fallen soldiers) but, well, we live in a world where the reason for this season has become more or less lost (see also: Christmas).
Anyway, we're starting the weekend with bacon. Well, it's turkey bacon. I'm tempted to say, like Monica says in a FRIENDS alternate universe episode about light mayonnaise "it's not real!", but it's actually really good and it'll do as we are trying to shed covid pounds.
OK, so our covid pounds started a couple years before covid but shhh we are blaming it on 15 months of quarantine and anxiety eating over last year's election and, well, the looming threat of death. The Mister is a GREAT cook and we love our sweets.
But both of us are taking regular walks and trying to eat more fruit/veggies and less chocolate.
I have been walking around the neighborhood and Riverside Park every mid-day for the past couple weeks trying to up my cardio.
I've also been walking shirtless in a hope that 'this year' is the year that I get some color. I'm never really tan, but I'm definitely whiter/paler than normal and omg I am aiming for 'human' skin color this year.
And yes, the other day a couple people pointed and snickered and yes I'm sure that as a 57 year old super pale and chubby human being, I looked ridiculous. I have been working out with some free weights and cables over the past few months but not as consistent as I would like. But perhaps if I keep it all up for the next three months, by Labor Day, I may see some positive changes. And yes, I am that vain to try. I'm not going to go that easily into that good night!
Have a great weekend all and more MEMOs coming soon. :)
Riverside Park is my go-to place normally but has been an essential destination over the past year. Spring has sprung a little later this year than usual, but, like everything else, even the seasons are teaching patience. Photo by Andrew Altenburg, 2021.
I posted this last spring/summer and, yes, actually received criticism from a couple of childhood friends on the Facebook who completely missed the point of the meme and, instead, chose to use it as an excuse to criticize New York's handling of the pandemic - and it was done in such a way that made it sound as though I'm supposed to be personally responsible for everything that goes on in the state in which I live. I had had it with the primary person who made a choice to do this and so, I did, yes, unfortunately, unfriend him. And while not a close friend by any definition, I'd known this person since first grade.
Over the past year it's been difficult (to say the least) to see people that I've known my whole life call Corona a hoax and, out of their fear of getting sick and dying, deny the reality of what we went/are still going through.
I used to have that same thought that all of us do about our fellow human beings - that, in a pinch, we'd all pull together. Well, the pinch happened and only some of us pulled together. The rest, a sizeable amount by any count, chose to do things like try to run down doctors and nurses (the video of this still haunts me - how are people really this cruel?) and cough on people who asked them to wear a mask .... so, no in a pinch we didn't all pull together. And if that doesn't depress you, I don't know what will.
I'd like to have a happy wrap up to this thought, but I don't. But what I will say is this: for those of you who follow the teaching of Jesus, loving your neighbor is a pretty important part of his message - and if you were one of those over the last year that lashed out at others, coughed on them, tried to run them down, etc... how is that loving your neighbor? (spoiler: it's not).