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g'Night Journal

Hi all - hope everyone is doing well - just to let you know, I've been sick the past week. It was incredibly mild and very manageable although every moment of every day I remembered every article and every tweet I've read over the past 20 months of doom scrolling, so, you know, that part was super not fun.

But I read, I drew, I actually worked most of the week, and I also spent time scrolling for images of dragons for a tattoo I'd like to get this spring. I look for this (and other images) from time to time and keep them for inspiration. The one below is the best one I found this week. 

Anyway, I am grateful that the vaccine and the booster made this this mild and I am grateful for a fiancee who was willing to dote on me.

Have a good night! 

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Quote of the Day #bobdylan, #freedom, #vaccination

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. 

Grrr. 

 

 

 


Radical Amazement @FreeWillAstro

Blog flowersI'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? 

 

Week of July 22nd, 2021

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

 


The Monday Evening

LighthouseblogGood evening and Happy Monday!

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. 

 

 


The Friday Jam #journal, #instagram, #newyorkcity



Sun graphicGood morning and happy Friday! If your week has been a bit of a chaotic mess like mine was, i wish for you that this weekend brings you peace. 

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)


MEMOrial Day Weekend #bacon, #covid, #covidpounds

BaconblogGood 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. :)

 

 


Spring in Riverside Park

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.

Blossoms


Love Thy Neighbor? #corona, @chadbruegman

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). 

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Good morning and Happy Wednesday! #texas, #twitterverse, #oneyearlater

This morning I am obsessing about my one year anniversary of the "two week" lockdown which I started on Tuesday, March 10, 2020. News that Texas and Mississippi are lifting restrictions despite a lag in vaccinations and the presence of variants certainly hasn't helped my mood at all.

But I also have to remember that even if it's not mandated, people are still allowed to wear masks to protect themselves (at least they can for now... is a 'no masks allowed' mandate coming?? in a country where people actually wanted to run down doctors and nurses for telling people to take care of their health, yeah, I expect that). I don't understand why politicians want to kill their constituents, but hey, this is why I'm an event planner/cartoonist and not a politician. Perhaps there is some secret agenda that makes this somehow a good thing. Ok I don't really believe that, of course.

The Twitterverse has reported that the state budget is dependent on sales tax and as long as sales are down, so is the budget. So it's just another version of "Let's kill grandma to get the economy moving because figuring out how to both keep people alive AND sorting out the economy is too much work and might interfere with my trip to Cancun". I should add here, that I really don't think that TX Gov Abbot is sitting at his desk cackling like my super villain Mighty Ant, but it's hard to make sense of it. I get that people are tired. I sure am. Who isn't? Naturally, if we had all just worn masks last March and April, this would be over by now. But God forbid anyone takes a minute to contribute to the common good. Sheesh. 

I used to wonder why people became hermits in cabins in the woods. I wonder no longer. 

Speaking of corona, my best pal recommended the site TurboVax as the place to find vaccinations in NYC. I've been on it this morning and constantly refreshing the page as though I am trying to get ComicCon or Star Wars tickets. At this point, the site is listing options in mid April for a location in Brooklyn open to Brooklyn residents only. So, I am becoming resigned to have to wait until May since it sounds like we all might be able to get vaccinated by then.

Why this wasn't rolled out at the end of 2020 is a mystery to me. I guess it's part of the death culture in this country - people would rather actually die than take a few precautions. But as a gay man who lived through AIDS and saw first hand how irresponsible people were with safer sex in the late 90s when I was producing fundraisers, I know first hand how defiant people can be about things that will actually keep them alive if it poses the slightest inconvenience. This should be a surprise, but, sadly, it isn't. Again - I understand fully why people cut themselves off from society. It's not that they hate other people, but it physically hurts to see so much stupidity. 

It's Wednesday, March 3, 2021 and in 6 days I will have been working from home for a year. Can you blame me for being crabby??

 


One Year Later - A Journal of 2 - 29 - 20 #homeimprovement, #panicbuying, #decision

Journal paint 1This is a blog post about direction. Last year at this time I was in the last phase of a home improvement project that had started the summer before - a massive re-painting of every room in our tiny upper west side apartment. You know, you don't really know how big a 300 square foot two bedroom apartment is until you have to paint it all - not just the walls, but the ceiling too. Mostly it's a matter of finding a place for the furniture to go and I have tons of books, that can be a bit of a challenge. 

This semi final phase was about painting the living room and after painting the bedroom a light blue and the middle room a light lavendar, I chose a sort of light green for the living room. However, once I started it, and had even purchased paint for it, I realized that it was not the direction to go in. 

So often, I think, we find ourselves somewhere in life - whether that be a job or a partner or well, whatever- and although it's not working for us, we continue because "we've already invested so much time in it". I understand that but it is a trap. If you have thoroughly examined something and it's just not working, better to ditch and start from scratch than continue to be miserable. Life is too short to stick with something that's making you miserable (I say this not to give anyone license to just quit something the moment it's not going perfectly, by the way, but as a way to give us all permission to make different choices when fixing it isn't working). 

So despite that I had painted nearly the entire living room wall, I decided to make a different decision even though I Journal paint 2had it in my head that I wanted to finish the project by my birthday which was, at this point, a week away. In fairly short order, I decided on a more neutral color and committed to it. I can safely say, a year later, that I am MUCH happier looking at the neutral color every day than I would have the green. I guess the working from home thing has been the true test of any household decision - if I can live with it day in and day out for a year, it was a good decision. 

Journal foodWe also started a sort of panic buying canned goods at this point. Now, we never got to the point where we were hauling and hoarding bags and bags and bags of food and toiletries, but we were mindful to buy a little bit extra every time we went to the store. But finding places to store the extra groceries has been one of the biggest challenges of a tiny apartment. We  eventually solved it by buying what we refer to as "covid boxes" - those long clear plastic boxes made for under the bed storage. At this writing, we have a bit of a panty stored up after we thought that the winter surge would be worse than last springs surge... we will be eating pasta for a long time to come! lol 

 


One Year Later - A Journal of 2 - 28 - 20 #viewfromwork, #manhattan, #cubicle

Journal feb 28

It was a Friday and I didn't know it at the time, but the world would start falling apart the next Monday. We had already been given guideance to include hand sanitizer at in-office meetings and, although it seemed like a little too little, we were taking whatever precautions we could. But I remember a looming dread. 

I working on a meeting for mid-March that would include international travelers, and, at this point, I was concerned about that but since only a couple had cancelled, I thought that maybe the threat wasn't as bad as it seemed. Like many of us, I was in a partial denial about this. 

It was on this day that I think I took my last photo of the view from my desk. Here's why this is important. You see, I've been a freelance event planner for most of my career and my current job offered something I'd never really had before - a desk with a view and a pretty spectacular view it was. On days when I just couldn't give anymore, I'd look at that view, and that would seem to make it all OK.

As a side note, in the last perm role (that probably should be "perm" since it seems nothing is permanent anymore) I sat at a table facing a wall for the first year or so. The second year, we moved to a new floor and I had a cubicle. The view was 'over there' (I did not move fast enough to get a cubicle near a window! lol) but I felt triumphant that I had a cubicle. Now, I realize that for life long cubicle junkies, a cubicle is not a big deal. But it is to me. 

The other piece of this is that we have in my company a concept called "hoteling" where you sign up to sit in a desk. To make it 'yours' you have to have sat there for a certain percentage of the bulk of several months. I had spent the first 7 months working there doing everything I could to hold on to that desk! I worked in two offices so yes I admit it, there would be days when I'd go to THIS desk, check in, and turn around and go to the other office. That's how bad I needed some stability. 

But, finally, I was awarded the desk as "mine". This happened in Januaryish, I think. So I didn't end up having much time in "my" desk then and I suppose that in the future I will either not actually go back at all or will have 'lost' this desk and will wander around. Although, really, who knows what the new office layout will even look like.  I'm mostly more concerned with the elevators. Walking up 37 flights of stairs every day isn't really an option. 

Anyway, it was a great great cubicle while I sat there and I'm glad that I snagged a lot of pictures. Perhaps I should make this photo into a wall-sized photo and pretend I'm still there! :)