Saturday, November 30, 2013

And, only I remain!



Sometimes, life throws you a curve ball.  It's not been an easy month mentally and emotionally for me.  Sure, life happens, but this month was just unsettling and unnerving.  It's a month to be thankful and appreciate the things we have in life.  I am thankful for having a home, living parents, a job, new friends, old friends and being able to get out of my shell to explore.  Just generalizing here, I've had a heavy weight on my shoulders this month.  I'm not going to detail what it is, I'll just say that I've already talked to a few of you about it.  I would just ask for your prayers.  If you are reading and would like to know the details, please feel free to e-mail me.  One of the other heavy weights I've had on my shoulders this month is something personal; the other weight I won't mention here.  Message me privately if you have a concern.  I’m hoping this blog series will help me and others going through adversity to see past the darkness that lies ahead with life.  I just hope that everything will work out.  Out of the frying pan and into the crucible of fire with its refining heat; there was I, and only I shall remain.

The Verve - Bittersweet Symphony [Lyrics]

"'Cause it's a bittersweet symphony, this life
Try to make ends meet
You're a slave to money then you die
I'll take you down the only road I've ever been down
You know the one that takes you to the places
where all the veins meet yeah,

No change, I can change
I can change, I can change
But I'm here in my mold
I am here in my mold
But I'm a million different people
from one day to the next
I can't change my mold
No, no, no, no, no

Well I never pray
But tonight I'm on my knees yeah
I need to hear some sounds that recognize the pain in me, yeah
I let the melody shine, let it cleanse my mind, I feel free now
But the airways are clean and there's nobody singing to me now

The personal issue I have is with "LOVE."  Sure, I know I have God's Love and my Parents' love over me; my problem has always been with unrequited love, not being loved back.  I've just turned 40 this past month and I'm still trying to find my soulmate.  I know I shouldn't let this bother me, but at times, I truly feel like a loser!  Do I set my standards too high?  I've heard every cliche in the book and I'm tired of the cliche responses to this.  At this point, I really don't see how I'll ever find her out there.  REALLY, I JUST DON'T anymore!  Sure, I've heard, ". . .don't look for her."  I'm just tired of it.  It runs deep and I just want to share my life with someone on a deep intimate.  It bothers me most times when my friends all have someone to share their life with and I'm just "going solo" or "being the third wheel" most times.  I've been a quiet person generally too, and never outspoken, so maybe I need to change that and be more outspoken.  I find it wiser most times to just "shut up" and listen.  I don't have much to offer her; I just don't know where or when.

• "Don't look for her."  Others look and find her almost instantly.
• "Don't look for her and she will find you."  How am I supposed to notice with my eyes closed then?
• "You're a nice person."  Others are egotistical assholes and find her.
• "It's not the right time."  Others have found her in matter of minutes.
• "First you must love yourself."  Plenty of people fall in love and have problems loving themselves.
• "You're a handsome guy."  Baboons find their mates.
• "Your standards are too high."  Do I want to cheat myself?  Be someone I'm not?
• "Be patient. In God's Time."  Ok, I guess I can't find an argument for this.

Do I exude bade pheromones?  It just bothers me most times what is wrong with me and why do I find such a hard time connecting on a deep level.  It bothers me.  Here's the grim part of this.  Lately, I've been thinking about death -- NO, not in a suicidal way!!!  No, I've been thinking about the afterlife this month and the LORD'S promise of Salvation.  I know.  Too dark and grim?  Well, unfortunately, it's bothered me some and we aren't here on the planet forever.  One day, life just ends!  Are we ready to move on?  Are we ready to meet The Maker of the Universe?  Have we asked Jesus to forgive our sins?  So, I guess the key here is time is running out and does it even matter if she is out there or not?  I'm getting older and slowly that ship is sailing.  One goal I've set for myself to continue on in High Definition is find a Home Church nearby.  Whether it's in Chicago or out in the 'Burbs.  With my apartment searches, I'm also going to include looking for a Home Church too.  I think it's important to start volunteering and getting involved in one.  To my prayer warriors out there, please hold me accountable to this and pray for me.  It's important to me that I should be bearing the "fruits of the Spirit."  Getting involved in a Church is the first step.  I've attended a few Churches and events out here in the 'Burbs like The Compass Church (Hobson Campus) in Naperville.  I've partaken in a few of the events there, like the PATH group and an Adult Ministry.

So, looking towards the end of the year and the start of a new one, I'm keeping the High Definition Resolution and hopefully expanding that Resolution with a Higher Quality.  I guess I've started my resolutions early this year.  Aside from the personal issue and the unspoken issue, I hope I can keep on keeping on!  For those reasons, I've deactivated Facebook again for now until some of this gloom can be turned into light.  To the top of the tower I climb, far above the world below, ascending towards the heavens, close to eternity, seeing the world which lies ahead and my future; there was I, and only I remain!


November 15 is my Chicago-versary!  After the fire blazed away, there were the ashes, the embers, a death, and then there was I; and only I remain!  Earlier this year, I visited Wisconsin after having left there 15 years earlier.  It was a reminder to me about what was left behind and what was ahead.  I visited the place where I believe time froze in my life and even moved backwards.  In January, I spent the weekend there and it is also where I came up with my New Year's High Definition Resolution.  Recalling my own writings and the importance of Towers, Prayer and Hope, [Text Removed: September 29, 2018]

"Standing on the VERY spot where I believed time stood still in my life, it was hard to hold back the tears, and I felt the rush of time move past me all at once.  The floodgates opened. It was a breathtaking moment to pause and reflect on my life and where it went from that point after November 15, 1996. That was the VERY spot where one chapter in my life finished, 15 years ago. And, the chapter that started after that point recently had its ending on October 13, 2011 (My 38th birthday).  November 15, 2011 marked the new Dawn, a date which I did not make an immediate connection to until I looked at the time stamp of my Wall Photo of the Sunrise.  So, standing there, it was a refreshing, tear-jerking moment." January 2013, "A Resolution in High Definition."

This was the entry I made that month.  Standing there as the flood of time rushed through me with its fears, tears, regrets, and teeth that devour; there was I, and only I remain!  I hope by now by reading this month's blog, one can see what the theme of it is.  "Only I remain."  Is it a theme of isolation?  Reclusiveness?  Being alone?  Not at all.  It's a theme amidst turmoil and adversity and coming out of it.  Also, if you paid attention to the title of last month's blogOctober 2013, "Out of the fire, and into the Embers," it's a spin-off from that.  I need to remember that this month with the other heavy weights I've encountered.  Reflecting on the changes in my life recently,  it’s helped me look back at them and about taking risks when all the choices were mercurial and didn't make sense.  One year, I chose not to make a change and make a stand; it was my failure!  Recently, I looked at that regret and took a blind chance, a mercurial risk.  Both those days were contrasts and happened on November 15.  Last September, I finally kicked myself to start having a new attitude with my life.  This past September, I finally closed several doors that were toxic to my life.  It was the Illinoid Attitude, the "bring it bitch lever."  With what I've already blogged here, and how I'm moving forward in a new direction, I'm not going to sulk away and hide; I'm going to keep trying and keep on keeping on with my life.  With the heavy weights I've encountered this month, not to be taken lightly (ha, pun intended), I need to enforce that "bring it bitch lever" and keep that Illinoid Attitude.  So, I've added subsets to my "High Definition Resolution" and I intend to perpetuate the High Def Resolution next year.  I'd like to keep it going full circle.  So the subsets I've added are these:

• Apartment Searches on Chicago's Northside (by April 2014)
• Home Church, Fruits of the Spirit and Volunteering (The Compass Church is in Naperville)
• Try new meetups and Single's groups (Kurt recommended 8at8)
• Stay on track with my career. (Continue a 5+ year career goal plan)
• About Face.  Get rid of Facebook entirely.  Currently I have it deactivated.
• Try a Gym membership  and light therapy for Psoriasis (weather's getting drier)
• Start a Bucket List (I've done a few things from the list like travelling).

Those are a few subsets I have attached to my High Definition Resolution.  When I made it this year, the Resolution only involved exploring my life and seeing over the horizon to new things.  I need to expand that to a higher resolution I think.  This needs to be both a Progressive and an Interlaced definition. Ha!  720i doesn't cut it here.  I need to step it up for next year to a 1080p and a 1080i, ha!

November 15

In 1996, I was living in Wisconsin.  I can recall that year and where my life was at.  I know that in 1995 I was living in Chicago (first go at it).  I eventually moved to E. Troy, Wisconsin in 1996, getting a job there which I thought was where I needed to be.  I do remember that Wisconsin did have its happy moments, but in September 1996, that all went to hell so to speak.  I got in a severe car accident and my life started going downhill from there.  Just after my 23rd birthday, I was miserable, even making myself sick because I was just overcome with such great failure.  I remember checking myself into a hospital in Elkhorn just due to the illnesses, knowing that it was my mental state causing them.  I knew that I needed to push on and make the best of it.  I knew that I had to stay on course with my life and stand strong.  No, instead, I planned to move back to Ohio in October.  Finding an apartment at Pinewood Apartments in Brunswick OH (1468 S. Carpenter Road), I abruptly ran away from all my problems and fears.  I remember the week of November 15 in Wisconsin.  I remember how Cleveland was bombarded with a heavy onset of Lake Effect Snow and it made news there in Wisconsin.  I remember telling the people there about "snow belts" and how I knew the West side would be fine.  I was determined though to get out my situation, run away from my problems and move back to Ohio.  I didn't care at that point anymore!

Everywhere - Fleetwood Mac
My running away Song!
It played on the way to Ohio,
driving through Chicago one last time!

After packing the U-Haul on the night of November 14, I knew that I wasn't doing the right thing by moving away, especially at the break of dawn on November 15 when I hopped into the U-Haul truck and finally drove off.  I knew I failed deep down.  On November 15, I took a picture (which has stayed with me through the years) and captured the moment on film with the sunrise over the Wisconsin horizon.  In the heading "Gone but not forgotten," you can see that picture I took inside another picture of a sunset.  I truly believed at that very moment, standing on the spot of the photograph that time froze in my life and even driving home through Chicago one last time, I knew that time had indeed frozen for me and began moving backwards.  With that last drive through Chicago, I even recall the song that struck a nerve for me.  "Everywhere" by Fleetwood Mac played and it burned into my soul that day, traveling back to Ohio.  I failed in my task to move on with my life.  I knew it, and Ohio was an escape from all that.  That's how I saw this!  I was there and I know exactly how I felt that day.

"Can you hear me calling
Out your name
You know that I'm falling
And I don't know what to say
I'll speak a little louder
I'll even shout
You know that I'm pround
And I can't get the words out
Oh I...I want to be with you everywhere
Oh I...I want to be with you everywhere."

The Sun sets on one chapter of my life on November 15, 1996.

In 2011, I lived in Brunswick OH.  I can recall that whole week of events as if it were yesterday!  That whole week was ominous and I remember how close I was to latching onto a new job, only to have it fail miserably on November 14.  It made my mood very dark and black and I remember I had suicidal thoughts.  I can go back to e-mails that day and remember as well.  November 11, I had a job interview that was my first one since being unemployed.   I was close to having the job and, as usual in my case, the job came down to TWO people.  That has happened a lot to me.  The IT Recruiter I met with a day earlier (Tony Pivowar) for this job was at Western Reserve Systems in Downtown Bedford OH.  There goes my eidetic detail I get at times.  I remember being positive during the Interview which was for an Active Directory Consultant, something truly I wanted and was up my alley.  I don't remember the length of the Contract but the job was in Strongsville near the mall.  That's where I had the Interview.

Like I said, I remember it as if it were yesterday, ha!  Well, the job wasn't for me.  Later, I was informed that Monday ". . .they picked the other guy."  It was there I just started to break down (even more so).  I consulted a friend about my suicidal thoughts and I was given some encouraging thoughts and reassurance in my dark time.  It just didn't cut it though, and only I would remain.  I was lost in my dark thoughts by now.  On the night of November 13, 2011, I had a very powerful and vivid dream about a vast Lake, towering Weeping Willow Trees, a Cliff and a powerful yet refreshing WIND!  I wrote it down, and I've always told myself with dreams like that.  "If I'm sitting on the edge of my bed for a long time after I wake thinking about it, I write it down."  This, I did.  Yes, I would later recall that dream as Chicago, but not at the time, and I have often thought about the meaning of the Cliff in my dream as well.  I was at the edge.  Do I fall off and drown?  Not in the dream, the Wind blew me back away from it!  People often have asked me what's up with the number 13 too.  The way I see this dream; it happened exactly ONE MONTH after I was fired from a job, so its timing and delivery was precise and exact and, besides, it wasn't until I wrote the dream down when I looked up the date.  Well, anyhow, having forgotten the dream in the course of the next few days, it was Tuesday, November 15 by now.  I am sitting at Hinckley Lake trying to enjoy a nice Autumn Day.  I'm sitting at the Boat House at a picnic bench looking for jobs with my IT Portfolio and my T-Mobile HTC MyTouch phone.  

The phone rings, and I answer the call.  The man was an IT Recruiter and he was the first Recruiter outside of Cleveland and Ohio for that matter to take notice of my resume and qualifications!  He introduced himself as David O'Boyle, and the way he started the call was like this.  "Hello, Eric.  My name is David O'Boyle from IJC Partners.  How would you feel about starting over with your career in Chicago?"  THAT is how the conversation started!  My soul leaped for joy and by the time he finished reading the job listing and details, my soul had sparked and ignited.  We spent a good part of the morning talking about a "new direction with my career and starting fresh."  It was unlike any talk I had with any IT Recruiter EVER!  It caught me.  I latched onto the job and mentally prepared myself for the choice.  Later that night, I simply entered "Chicago?" as my Facebook status update!

Time's up!

You would think after having an uplifting call like this would raise your spirits, right?  Not in my case, I broke down and fell to my knees that night in tears and agony.  It was the lowest I had ever sunk to in my life up until that point.  It hit me hard.  I cried out to God!  I was scared of this opportunity and this change, but I was also scared of what tomorrow would bring.  I felt like it was ALL OVER at that point and there was no way out, spiraling down the drain.  I was praying hard about this all night, well into the morning until finally, the solution presented itself to me.  I believe GOD quieted the turmoil in my soul and directed me to the picture I took of my last day in Wisconsin when I ran away from my problems and where I believe time froze in my life.  After being dumbfounded of the day of the event, having forgotten the date by now when I ran away (November 15, 1996), I heard my inner-thought say, "Remember that day 15 years ago? This is your do-over.  Don't botch it up this time."  That resounded in my soul.  November 15, 1996 was a day that was gone but not forgotten.  I stood in front of the picture for awhile and recalled that very day and remembered my failures, and the chance to do it over.  A couple days later (Nov 18), I would recall that dream I had Sunday morning (Nov 13) as being Chicago as well, and there the new attitude and change started in my life.  NYE 2011 before watching the ball drop for 2012, I exclaimed, "..dibs!  I called it!"  I don't think anyone in the room understood what I was referring to.  I knew!  I needed to get back HOME!  I worked with that recruiter for that one job way up until January 2012 and I visited Chicago again for the first time since living here in 1995.  No, I did not get the job in the end, but when I finally came to Chicago in January 2012 for job interviews, I truly "felt HOME for the first time!"  I believe it was one step, "daring to take a stand" and making up for the regret of failure I held onto so deeply for 15 years.

A new Dawn comes on November 15, 2011

This picture has symbolized my dream about Chicago on Nov 13 and I intend to actually get it framed sometime, lol!  Bear in mind, but there is no actual Willow Tree like this in front of Adler Planetarium where I took this photo.  I merged two photos: A picture of a Willow Tree blown in the wind (sort of) and the City skyline as seen from Adler.  I stretched the photo of the Willow Tree making it look like wind blowing through it.  Now, whether the road takes me on back to Wisconsin OR some other part of the world, I don't know right now.  I just know that Chicago is home and there is a reason I'm here.  I often believe that the purpose is greater than me.  I hope I find it!  It's the reason I set forth the New Year's High Definition Resolution!  Standing confidently up so high in a tower over a city so vast, daring to take a new stand with the warmth of the sun and its new hopes and dreams, there was I; And, only I remain.

Me in the Sears Tower
"Dare to take a Stand"
January 19, 2012

Something to think about for the future of our country

I've never been one with politics and I normally don't express my views on them, but my Mom and Dad mentioned something to me the last time I visited them that was an eye opener.  We may find another term of our current president.  Under normal conditions of our Constitution, it's not possible, but with the way our world is going, it could happen.  First, I don't know what your Faith is or what you believe, but please watch this...

..."oh, so, so sad."  I am not a big fan of our President but with things he's promised us, it made me think of this tribunal session of the United Nations, and the level of brainwashing we're being fed.  Now, the Video does not include the scene in which takes place after the meeting, where it shows a bewildered Buck telling Miss Durham (the woman asked to step back by Nicolae).  "Did you see that?  What just happened?"  He was referring to Nicolae shooting the two men.  Her reply being, "Oh you mean how Mr. Stonegal (the guy Nicolae was arguing with) pointed a gun at Nicolae, shot the guard and then himself.  So sad."  Her musings and grief were genuine and she TRULY believed that is what she saw.  It just amazes me but THAT level of brainwashing exists NOW in our own politics!  Just before the scene of this video, Buck asks Jesus to forgive his sins and only HE sees the truth of the incident and the truth of Nicolae Carpathia.  Only he saw Nicolae aim and shoot Stonegal and the Guard.  Everyone else had a veil over their eyes and were brainwashed by Nicolae. I mentioned that scene to my Mom and Dad.  They had seen the movie "Left Behind" too and agreed, relating that to our president.

A Year Later and I still ask myself...

...did I do the right thing?  I can't tell you how many times a week I still ask myself that question.  Did I do the right thing starting my life over in Chicago?  Did I do the right thing by moving here?  I know it defeats the theme of this month's blog, but the question plagues me often.  I still ask myself that a year later.  I guess I'm careful with my life and this month has been sort of a gloomy month for me.  Making new friends, meeting new people and getting out has never been easy for me, but I know I can do it.  Why?  I've accomplished that this year, but it's not over.  Going back to that LOVE thing.  Can I be hopeful of that or am I doomed like the Hulk to walk the planet alone?  Well, in spite of disappointment after disappointment with things in my life, it's not over yet.  There are new people to meet, new friends to make and new people to HELP!  With the onset of the Holiday Blahs that I get each year, it's hard to live my life when society expects you to live up to their commercialized interpretation of the Holidays.  I've been thinking a lot this month about how to overcome my Holiday Blahs illness and maybe I need to start looking at the holidays from a different perspective this year.  With my folks being out of town and not having anywhere to go for Christmas, perhaps it's time to try something different this year, instead of living up the commercialized and marketed version of the Holidays with the shopping, being with loved ones, etc.  Not everyone is fortunate to live like this.  So, again, thinking about the question "did I do the right thing?" I can only hope and just keep looking at it in High Definition.  So, keeping true with a hopeful outlook this year, hoping I did do the right thing, there was I, and only I remain.

"...And, we spend all our money,
Complain about the price,
Forgetting the reason,
the birth of the Christ.
...And Christ is forgotten again."

"Christmas is With Us Again"
Eden's Bridge
A Celtic Christmas 1997

Here is a Celtic Folk song about Christmas that I really enjoy each year.  It is by a Celtic folk group called "Eden's Bridge."  Pause a minute, close your eyes and listen to this tune!  Think again what the holidays (Christmas) are really about.  My savior came into a world in the humblest form, not with a wild fanfare, but in the lowliest way.  He came as a 'gift' in a baby in an Inn that was too crowded for Him.  He came as a child, so we could become as a child and receive Him as Savior.

Blog Update

I updated the Blog Keeping a Train of thought and keeping on Track.  I changed the name of the Cicero stop to Hollywood.  One reason I did this states the obvious.  Hollywood started in Chicago.  Next, Hollywood is one of the last train stops before crossing into Chicago, and with things going on in my life at that time, it just made more sense to have that train stop labelled as Hollywood instead.  I had not even thought about Chicago.  Albeit, Western Avenue is in Chicago, and I still had not moved in the direction about reconsidering Chicago and moving back there; it still fits to have Western Avenue in my "life mile markers" because at that time, things were moving in a direction that I was happy with [after the Hollywood stop].

"...And, only I shall remain."
Poem By: Eric Chatham

Out of the frying pan and into the crucible of fire with its refining heat,
its agonizing sting, its painful burn, melting away the rough edges,
The chaff and the impossible fray;
There was I, and only I shall remain.

And, after that fire blazed away, there were the ashes, the embers, a death,

The gripping choke of dark smoke;
And then there was I; and only I remain!

Standing there as the floodgates of time rushed through me with its fears,

bitter tears, tragic regrets, and its teeth that devour; there was I, and only I remain!

And, sitting there over a vast Lake on a cliff up so high

Amidst a grand forest of weeping willows;
"Do I fall and drown?  Do I spiral downward to my doom?"

"No. Watch the Willow Trees," the Wind speaks to me;

It blows through them and they stretch forth towards me,
Forcing me away from my terminal End;
"Now, listen to the Willows as they speak of our refreshing wind,
A breeze of a new hope and future to your ears," said the Wind;
"Listen close to their call, they whisper the name 'Chicago,'
And they remind you of your past. 'Remember of that Day long ago?
Look past it.  This now and here is your destined promise,' they tell of you.
'Do this well and to a victorious and expected End.'"
Flailing about their majestic branches of the Wind were their lively leaves,
threads of dreams and tomorrow, and they reached out to embrace me;
Then there was I; and, only I remain.

So, to the top of the tower of hope I climb, far above the world below,

Ascending towards the heavens, close to eternity, seeing the world
Which lies ahead and my future, beholding its glory;
There was I, and only I remain!

And so it became of me; standing confidently

Up so high on a tower over a City so vast,
Daring to take a new stand with the warmth of the sun
And its rays of new hopes and dreams,
There was only I; and, only I remain;
And, there I shall prevail!


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Fall is my favorite season!  'Nuff said, ha!

For the last week of October through November 1, I was in Cuyahoga Falls OH for work.  There I spent the week working on a DA project.  It was also nice to spend time with Mom and Dad that weekend.  Mom mentioned her excitement going on their Caribbean Cruise almost not wanting to go.  I said, "you BETTER go, lol."  She mentioned to me about staying at the house if I wanted for the week, and I could cat-sit.  We also caught up on the series, Sleepy Hollow, especially the one that aired on October 14 about the Lost Colony (CROATAN).  I missed that episode back home on that day.  Once again like last month, I published an "out-of-state" blog at Mom and Dad's, lol!  The work week was very busy and involved.  I checked into the Economy Inn on Graham Road (by OH-8), Stow OH.  Wow, what a nightmare!  Graham Road was completely ripped apart with road construction and the traffic was horrendous.  It was comparable to Chicago traffic.  It was TERRIBLE!  I tried only making right turns out of the Hotel towards OH-8.  Luckily, I only had to make a couple left turns to go to the Wal-Mart or the Giant Eagle, and later in the week when I went to Texas Roadhouse for dinner.  Actually, one of my friend's warned me about the Economy Inn, saying that it was dangerous as far as drug activity.  She said it was in the news recently, ha.  Luckily I was fine the whole week staying there.  I also had to look for my snow-brush in the trunk to scrape ice off my windshield one morning.

Economy Inn
Monday October 28, 2013 · 5:15 PM
“All checked in.”

Down in the Valley

The bank I was working at was the Valley Savings Bank in Downtown Cuyahoga Falls.  It was on Portage Trail near Old Town Circle.  The people at the bank were very friendly and the bank was festive for Halloween too, lol!  The Tellers even dressed up on Halloween.  I went as a Diebold Employee, hahahaha.  One Teller was "Miss Valley Savings Bank!"  She was dressed up like a Miss America contestant, hahaha.  The bank was located right Downtown of Cuyahoga Falls and, apparently as I was told by a few friend living nearby, there is a "Popcorn Factory" around the corner called Metropolis Popcorn.  Ha, I thought I was going mad the first few days because I kept smelling the Popcorn outside, lol!  I didn't stop there, but it was refreshing to smell the popcorn each day.

Valley savings bank
Tuesday October 29, 2013 · 9:16 AM

The work I did on the project was pretty straight forward and it was nice to work with a new SME on the project.  Actually, I was complimented on my thoroughness and organization.  It made me feel good.  "I have a system how I work, routines that have steps and organization," I said.  "I believe in good documentation and organized methods.  It helps the next person on the ATM if they go and work on it."  The SME understood and asked how long I was with Diebold.  She was surprised I was only with Diebold for one year.  For the duration of the week, I worked in the ATM Kiosk outside the bank, dubbing it "My Office this week," lol.  One friend mentioned if I were the one that slipped the money through the slot to the customers.  Ha!  I mentioned that the bathroom was out back too.

Continuing the work week was effective and I completed the work on Thursday evening.  After checking out of the hotel on Friday, I drove up to see Mom and Dad for awhile before finally driving home.  I was EXHAUSTED due to the sleepless hotel nights for the past two weeks and how I just missed my own pillow by this point.  I told Mom and Dad about my work week and asked them to pray for me.  Dad mentioned to me about staying at the house for the week of Christmas if I wanted since they'd be on the Caribbean Cruise.  I'm extremely excited for them doing this!  They're going to have a great time.  I also learned from Mom and Dad that my brother Wayne would be spending November in Thailand with Paxton!  Exciting!

Location AVS
Friday November 1, 2013 · 10:32 AM

At the Elkhart Rest Stop on the Indiana Toll Road, MP 91, I looked at traffic in Chicago.  This is usually the rest stop I stop at for gas.  I just wanted to get home, so so tired!  I looked at traffic in Chicago and determined which way would be quickest around "Friday rush hour traffic."  Yep, I-80 was a mess, so I picked the Chicago Skyway Bridge instead.  I could deal with rush hour traffic on the Stevenson.  I-80 is always awful!  After finally getting home and a 5.5 hour drive, changed a Venture Around event to postpone for another weekend.  I WAS EXTREMELY EXHAUSTED and just hit the sack when I got home.  Luckily I was able to change the Venture Around event, "Shootin' then Drinkin'" to the next weekend!  I slept late on Saturday.  It's just hard sleeping in hotels and for two weeks, I struggled with that.  Saturday, I got takeout from Chili's and just chilled at home!

Chicago Skyway
Friday November 1, 2013 · 3:17 PM

The New Google Maps is cool, but...

A Grim Week

For the first week of November, I worked out of the Schaumburg Office and its new location.  I also started getting ready for my next work trips in Monticello KY and Columbus OH.  I caught up on my work expenses and started my new work projects, which actually involves OJT with another Diebold co-worker.  The new projects are Teller Automation projects.  I also got a GPS unit installed in the Ford Fusion.  All Diebold Fleet Vehicles must have one.  It was the week I also went off Facebook for awhile.

Diebold Inc.
Monday November 4, 2013 · 9:19 AM

During the week, I signed up for Netflix finally and started adding shows to watch like "X-Files," "Star Trek: TNG," and some other movies I wanted to watch.  I also looked into Hulu too but didn't sign up yet.  With other news I got during the past week, I was just unnerved with things and not very forthcoming in conversations.  I reached out to a few people about my "weights" and just asked for prayer.  Oddly, keeping focus for the whole week and keeping productive, I got things caught up and ready for the next two weeks of work.  I'm noticing how DARK it is now at 4pm, just being reminded that Winter is coming.  Also, Minnesota got their first snowfall this week too.  When planning my new trips, I noticed that Google Maps changed their format, but if they could revert to a better version on mobile devices, I'd be extremely grateful.  The new version CHOKES ON ITSELF on my mobile device.  Later in the week, I locked my keys in the Honda.  Sitting there on my dash, my keys just snickered at me, exclaiming "Neener, neener."  LOL!  That's what it looked like they were saying.  I finally had the Police come out and help me get the keys out.  Another thing I considered in the week was trying a different Blog for blogging, like Wordpress.  Blogger gets too fussy when I edit things with the HTML editor.

Mocking Hills
Wednesday November 6, 2013 · 7:43 PM
“Locked keys in Honda. Keys on dash laughing, "Neener, neener." >.<”


Ed Debevic's
Saturday November 9, 2013 · 8:59 AM
“Getting ready to leave for shootin' then drinkin'”

On Saturday, November 9th, I got up early to go "shootin' and then drinkin.'"  I drove downtown and the roads were clear.  I parked over in the Northbridge Area at State and Grand.  Luckily, I left early, because the traffic downtown was busy early.  I debate whether I should take Lower Wacker up through to Dearborn.  I just don't know all the exits down there yet, so I just drove up State Street.   I arrived at the bus promptly at 9am, and got all checked in.  It was a full bus and I later learned that several other meetups were participating, like Chicago Girlfriends, and a couple other ones.  The group composed mainly of the Buckit meetup.  Buckit Items was a spin-off social group of LivingSocial Chicago.  It became a spin-off because the "adventure" part of LivingSocial Chicago ceased.  The Chicago branch of LivingSocial was the most loyal to the "adventure" and "bucket item" events, so Buckit Items is a spin-off for those Chicagoans that were still loyal to the adventure!  During the ride, Chicago Apartment Finders called me and asked if I were still interested looking at more apartments.  I told her sure, but I'd be away for two weeks and wouldn't be able to until I get home the week of Thanksgiving.

Michigan Welcome Center
Saturday November 9, 2013 · 11:25 AM

Point Blank Firing Range

Boarding the bus, I sat towards the front.  The bus was leaving Ed Debevic's (640 N. Wells Street).  I didn't see anyone I recognized from the Venture Around meetup.  Kurt and Sue weren't able to attend this one, so this was the first Venture Around meetup I did without them.  I did spot one person from the group that I recognized and I met up with her later after we deboarded the bus.  Point Blank Shooting Range was located in Michigan.  We made one Rest Stop at the border of Michigan.  I met with Jane and we talked about the event and how we were both looking forward to it.  We both had never fired any firearms before, so we were both a bit nervous about it.  I wanted to try it since I never had done it before.  Getting back on the bus, we finally arrived shortly to the firing range.  As we approached, we watched a Safety Video for the Shooting Range.

Point Blank Shooting Range
Saturday November 9, 2013 · 12:09 PM

The Shooting Range was in Benton Harbor MI, and we crossed over into EST, so we lost one hour.  Deboarding and Standing in line to enter the range, we were given our ammunition and if we ordered the John Wayne Package, we were given additional ammunition.  We were given our "Buckit Targets" as well.  The Safety Officer in charge read off a list of rules and safety tips.  He made sure we followed a couple safe gun tips at the range.

• Always treat the firearm with care like it's loaded.
• Point the gun downrange.  Always keep it pointed downrange.
• Only put your finger on the trigger if you are firing, otherwise keep it off the trigger.
• If you are unsure how to handle the firearm, make sure you have instruction of the safety officers on the range.

Since this was my first time with a firearm, I needed assistance.  I had the John Wayne package so I had additional ammunition. 50 shots 9mm Handgun, 5 shots AK-47 Rifle, and 18 shots with Revolver.  Entering the range, I started with the 9mm Handgun.  Having instruction for the first couple times, the Safety Officer there guided me how to load the magazine, cock the gun, safely hold the firearm and aim at the target.  I set the target for 9 feet away.  Use both hands for aiming the firearm, hold it out in front of you, and pull the trigger only when you are ready to fire.  By the first couple time loading and firing, I was hitting my target and actually had a few bull's eye tries.  Ha.  Being more confident with the aiming and firing, I was quickly catching on.  I'm glad the Range provided you with Ear Muff and Eye Wear.  It was loud and I was hit in the face with the shells a few times, hahaha!  Actually, you were not allowed to enter the range without those.

Next, I tried the AK-47.  This one was a little hard to aim.  The Safety Officer there told me not to squint, but I found it easier to do it that way and closing one eye.  I had 5 shots with that one; the first one I fired, I found that I had to aim lower because of the recoil from the rifle fire.  This one was trickier to get used to and after I looked at my target, I was able to see where I fired the rounds at.  All of them were way at the top of the target.

The last firearm I tried was the Revolver.  Ok, one, this one reminded me of cap guns when I was kid and two, "...if you want to know who killed Mr. Body, I did, in the Hall with the Revolver."  Ha!  For this firearm, it was similar to the 9mm.  Firing my rounds, I was interchanging between using the trigger and pulling the hammer back to fire.  I was hitting the target pretty easily just like the 9mm.

Not bad for a First Timer

After I was done, I met up with Jane again and we talked about our experience and showed our targets off, ha.  I was pretty happy with my target actually for a first time.  Jane and I walked around the store and looked at some of the firearms they were selling.  There was a large collection there and one gun we looked at was nearly $3000.00.  It was a golden gun.

After we ate a BBQ Lunch, the Buckit Event Organizers, Craig and Dale, told us that our Bus broke down and they were sending another one in its place.  So, we had a nice treat and got to see the Batmobile after lunch, hahaha.  It was a cold and brisk Autumn day, so I put my coat on.  After our "temporary" bus arrived, we drove down to Round Barn Winery in Baroda MI, not too far from the Range.

Round Barn Winery, Distillery & Brewery Estate
Saturday November 9, 2013 · 3:15 PM

There, we sampled both wines and beer.  It was fun to get out and enjoy a nice Autumn Day and enjoy the company meeting some new people.  After the event, we boarded a NEW bus and got back to Ed Debevic's at 6pm.  It's unbelievably DARK too early now!  Wow!  And, looking at some of these pictures of me, I think it's time to try a new diet and workout now. Ha.


63rd St. Laundry
Sunday November 10, 2013 · 4:07 PM
“Ballad of the unattainable washing machine.”

For the next couple weeks of November, I was travelling for work again.  This time I was working in Monticello KY and Columbus OH.  So, Sunday November 10 was devoted to doing bills and getting ready for the trip.  Having waited most of the day for a DANG washing machine at the apt. complex, I just went to a Landry mat instead.  I titled the check-in appropriately to the misfortune of getting a washing machine at the Complex again!  I was sitting most of the afternoon waiting for someone to remove their laundry at the Complex.  So, after doing bills, I drove over to 63rd Street Laundry.  This was my first time EVER at a laundry mat and it was rather pricy.  $3.75 for washing and $2.00 for drying.  Hey, I didn't lose any socks, so that's good.  I knew of the place on the corner of 63rd Street and Cass Avenue in Westmont; it's moments from the Metra Train Stop.  So, I spent an hour there; washing, drying and folding clothes.  I spent no more than an hour there and it was a shorter amount of time at the Complex between the washing and drying machines actually, so it worked.  On the way back, I gassed up the Ford for travelling on Monday.  I may consider going back to this laundry-mat because I was in and out of there very quickly.  I even had time to fold my clothes there!

Monticello KY

On Monday morning, I loaded up my Fleet Vehicle for travelling to Monticello KY, where I worked on a Teller Automation Project for a week.  Getting on the road around 12pm, the drive down to Kentucky was fairly easy, albeit being a 7hr 45min drive down.  Traffic wasn't that bad at all!  I drove through the Cold Front with the extreme weather behind it, so after passing through Indianapolis, I was in front of the Cold Front with Icy weather conditions.  My drive time was consistent and safe.  On the way down I-65, just past Indianapolis, I was getting hungry for the evening.  I remembered from the last time I travelled this way to Louisville that there was a Ponderosa Steakhouse on the way.  So, finding the exit at MP 29A (Scottsburg, Indiana), I stopped there for a bite to eat.  It brought back memories from working there long ago.  I didn't think they existed anymore, but it was a nice treat to order dinner there.  When I stood in line for my meal, they were extremely busy!  A Roman Holiday in full blast.  After ordering a T-Bone steak, I had to wait at least 10 minutes for a clean table.  The waitress came by, apologized for the wait, and cleared the table.  I told her that I understand and I see that you're busy.  I went to the Salad bar, got my salad and recognized some of the items from long ago when I worked at Ponderosa in Brunswick OH and Brook Park OH.  There was one place to get your salad, toppings, and chocolate pudding, lol.  Then there was the hot bar and the sundae bar.  It was nice to stop and eat there.  I told several friends that I ate there and they were just as surprised at me that they still existed.  I told them it must be an Indiana thing since Ponderosa started in Kokomo, Indiana.

City of Indianapolis
Monday November 11, 2013 · 4:07 PM

Ponderosa Steakhouse
Monday November 11, 2013 · 5:43 PM
“They still exist.”

After getting back on the road, it was unbelievably dark at this time.  I stopped for gas once at Exit 0, Clarksville, just before crossing the Ohio River into Louisville, Kentucky.  From there, I caught I-64 towards Lexington and I-75.  Finally getting the Mt. Vernon Exit, I couldn't believe how far back Monticello was from the Freeway.  Not just that, but it was at least another 45 minute drive "off the beaten trail" of the State.  There were no notable landmarks until I got to the Intersection of KY-90 and KY-1275.  There, on the corner, was the Bank I'd be working at for the week.  Turning down KY-1275 (Main Street) my GPS put me in the wrong spot --- at a McDonald's.  Stopping at a Gas Station, I had to ask for directions to the "Monti-CHELLO Motel," where I was staying for the week.  The gas station attendant looked at me dumbfoundedly, "where are you going?  I don't think we have that Motel here."  I insisted it was on this street, but it was TOO DARK to see, hahaha.  He asked me what place again.  I said, "Monti-CHELLO Motel."  Again, stumped, he said he wasn't aware of the place.  After a pause for a minute, he looked up at me again and said, "...oh, wait, do you mean 'Monti-SELLO Motel?'"  Ahhhh, ok.  I pronounced it wrong, lol.  He said to keep going towards the center of town.  Finally, after getting the pronunciation of the town right, I got to my destination at about 10pm.

Monticello, Kentucky
Monday November 11, 2013 · 10:19 PM

There was no Foursquare Check-in for the "Monticello Motel," so, I used the Town's check-in for this.  The hotel wasn't that impressive at all and it taught me a lesson about sticking with "name brand hotels" later.  It was very run down, but I was greeted with a very friendly hello from a local staying there.  He offered to help me unload my car, seeing that I was out of town, hahaha.  I told him that I was good.  A co-worker of mine was also travelling in from LA to work with me on the Teller Automation project.  She said she was running behind because her flight was cancelled at Chicago, due to the extreme weather passing through Illinois/Indiana.  The weather caught up to us in Kentucky that week and it was very cold for some of the week. Checking into the hotel, I got ready for the morning and planned on being at the site early to wait for my co-worker.  I was actually the Trainee for the week; Laura was my OJT-Trainer. For the entire week, I spent time OJT with my co-worker.  This was my first Teller Automation project, so I made sure I asked questions and took notes.  Laura and I worked directly with their IT guy that week and several third-party vendors to implement the solution.  We were implementing an ECR 228 Cash Recycler.  Our main focus was connecting it with the host and doing some training.  While we were there, we went "over the call of duty" and did some extra stuff which I really was glad to do and learn!  We were working at Citizens National Bank.  The name of this bank was the sound of nails on a chalkboard for me!   Grimacing eeeeeeeeeekkkkkkkk!  Why you ask?  There is no apostrophe in the name, denoting a possessive! It should be "CITIZENS' NATIONAL BANK!"  Ungh!  The name was an eyesore!  (>.<)

Citizens National Bank
Wednesday November 13, 2013 · 9:41 AM

When I saw the Foursquare check-in for the bank in the morning, I thought it was entered wrong into the check-in.  Later after looking at the bank's logo, I saw it the same way.  Ungh!  There should be an APOSTROPHE after that S there!  Also, by Tuesday morning, I could tell that I was starting to come down with some kind of sickness, reporting to work with chills, awful headache, sore throat/ears!  I felt like crap, but I still reported to work.  By Wednesday, it was really catching up with me with coughing and congestion!  Laura wasn't staying the whole week with me either, so I took down as much notes and information as I could to get the equipment setup properly.  Tuesday when we arrived on site, things were behind so the equipment was even shipped yet.  Not until late Wednesday did we start working on the equipment.  In the mean time, Laura did some teaching and I was able to ask questions beforehand.  This worked to my advantage in a way, so I had some information before diving into the setup process.  The bank was building a new bank right in front of the Kroger Market there too, so we had a chance to tour the new location.  The site we worked at was in the strip mall at the intersection of KY-90 and KY-1275, and I learned that the bank was moving to the new location very soon.

Guthrie's River House
Sunday November 17, 2013 · 5:33 PM
“45 minute drive to have an alcoholic beverage with a meal.”

After one of the nights working, Laura and I had dinner at the Ruby Tuesday in Somerset KY.  Originally we tried finding a good STEAK place to eat; we both wanted steak, lol, but it wasn't easy finding anything where we were at in the boonies.  We both had issues with our GPS out there, Yelp, and were going to the wrong spots and addresses that weren't even pointing to the right locations.  We both wanted to try Guthrie's River House before Ruby Tuesday, but we couldn't find it --- well, not until we both saw it somewhere else waaaayy down the road later, lol.  I ate there by myself later in the week.  Also, having difficulties with our GPS and navigation, we learned that the county where we had dinner just recently started serving alcohol and that most counties including Wayne County (where Monticello is seated) are "dry counties," meaning that they don't serve alcohol.  So, we both actually got carded that night, lol!  Later in the week, I drove back into Somerset (a 35 minute drive) to eat at Guthries River House on US-27, the place Laura and I wanted to try before.  The restaurant faces out towards the Cumberland River.  It was a very good meal!  I ate the Fettuccine Alfredo.  I also ate at the Black Stallion Steakhouse in Monticello one night.

November 15, 1996.
Remember that Day 15 years ago?
This is your do-over. Don't botch it up this time.
Dawn over Prairiewood. E. Troy WI.

Interesting to note while staying in Bourbon Country this week,
but the county (Wayne County) I'm in is considered "dry,"
meaning they don't serve alcohol.

Black Stallion
Saturday November 16, 2013 · 5:09 PM

During the week, I knew I had the flu, but I was still able to focus at work and keep on keeping on.  It was a long while since I last had been sick. I didn't have a way of measuring my temp, but I knew I had a fever because of the night sweats and the chills. Advil and NyQuil were my friends for the week.  I still had an appetite though which was a good sign.  I was working by myself on Thursday and Friday with the customer, and I completed the ECR setup successfully with the customer.  Another discovery I made during the week was that my Linux Server went kaput, so one night after work, I looked into purchasing a new Dell Tower Server to host VMWare ESXi 5.1 on it.  It was also my Chicago-versary Week too, so during the course of the week, I was reminded about the "mercurial risks I took to start over with my life."  Being sick, having a server crash at home and the mitigating challenges of the week kept that perspective for me.  It reminded me that I should never be complacent with comfort; change comes unexpectedly!

After completing my work on Friday, I stayed the weekend in Monticello to rest and recuperate, but also, looking at the logistics with my next job assignment the following the week, it was a good idea to stay there anyways.  The next week, I'd be in Columbus OH.  I planned the hotel reservation in KY perfectly.  I was in no mood to drive all the way home, then ALL THE WAY BACK to Columbus, so I'm glad I stayed the weekend in Monticello!  Staying the weekend in KY, I watched some shows and YouTube videos on my laptop and just rested.  Sunday was the day of the Tornadoes in Illinois too!  And, only I remain.

Monticello, Kentucky
Sunday November 17, 2013 · 8:19 PM
“Still fluish. I hope I feel better tomorrow when I drive up to Columbus. I also hope these storms pass through the night too.”

Columbus OH

City of Columbus
Monday November 18, 2013 · 3:14 PM

By Monday morning, I was feeling somewhat better, but still very congested and achy.  I packed up my room in KY and travelled up to Columbus OH.  It was a 4hr drive through Lexington and Cincinnati.  The drive was very smooth through Kentucky and Ohio.  When I finally arrived at the hotel, it was close to sunset.  The hotel I stayed at was south of Columbus, the Baymont Inn by Rickenbacker Airforce Base.  There was a whole lot of NOTHING nearby the hotel, lol, just sky and very loud jet planes!  The nearest place of activity was Grove City on the outskirts of Columbus.  The first night I was there, I captured a pretty amazing sunset on the way into Grove City for a meal at Chick-fil-A.

Rickenbacker AFB was off limits to the public.

Baymont Inn and Suites Columbus at Rickenbacker
Monday November 18, 2013 · 3:41 PM

The hotel room was very nice and cozy!  It made up for the Monticello Motel for sure!  The hotel offered free Wi-Fi and Broadband.  Verizon sucked horribly where I was at, AND my GPS was blocked too.  This was one of the only times on any of my business trip where I actually used the hotel's Wi-Fi service to setup my laptop.  Most times, I use the Verizon Mi-Fi Hotspot to connect to the Internet.  I think it was the Air Force Base next to the hotel that may've been jamming the GPS.  I could NOT get a fix on my GPS location while staying at the hotel; this made it more challenging to navigate to work each day, lol!  I had to pull over at some place outside the range of the Air Force Base to setup the navigation in my car!  Fortunately, I was ON TIME to each location in spite the GPS problems there.  Luckily, I had an idea beforehand which roads to take to places too.  I make it a point to RESEARCH the roads before I get to a location.

The Savings Bank - Main Branch
Wednesday November 20, 2013 · 8:36 AM

By Tuesday, I was feeling a whole lot better and more focused for work!  Once again, I was working OJT with another co-worker for the week at two branch locations south of Columbus.  The co-worker's name was Brian. We worked in Ashville and Circleville for The Savings Bank.  The bank was setting up its new location in Ashville, but Brian and I went to their Circleville location to meet with their IT dude.  For the week, Brian was an AWESOME trainer and I learned that he drove in from Des Moines IA.  I learned a great deal from Brian and we also talked about other work stuffs during the week too.  He was very thorough with the job, very friendly and patient.  During the week, he shared a lot of files with me which he said would help me with future TA jobs.  He had a lot of knowledge and insight with all aspects of the Systems Engineer role!  I was impressed and it was a pleasure working with him OJT at these two banks.  A few nights after work, we ate at the Texas Roadhouse in Grove City.  He laughed at me and where I chose my hotel location, saying that I should've stayed at the Drury Inn in Grove City where he was staying at, lol!  "There is NOTHING by you.  You'll learn how to plan your hotel reservations better by first looking at what's around it..."  He said.  Throughout the week, we worked with the customer at their Ashville location and we setup their 220 ECD and made sure they could access both Teller stations with the software.  We worked with the bank's IT dude too!  The IT Dude was very appreciative of our efforts, going above the call of duty for them!  It was a great pleasure working with this bank too!  Some of our other Diebold Family was onsite there too doing some work, so it was nice to meet some more of the family.

Texas Roadhouse
Tuesday November 19, 2013 · 7:03 PM
“Dinner with a co-worker.”

We finished up late Wednesday and I met Brian back at his hotel to do some more off-time training with him.  We met in the hotel's lounge that night and did some one-on-one training which I insisted upon earlier.  Also, we went through our upcoming projects and he insisted joining him on another project in January in Downtown Chicago, which I jumped on immediately with our Managers!  I am looking forward to that assignment now, lol!  The check-in made at the Drury Inn was a training session with Brian in the hotel's lobby and bar.  During the Training Session, Brian remarked on the way I said BOX and CASH.  "You talk through your nose.  Did you grow up in Wis-CAAAAAAN-sin?" He said.  Oookay, I don't know who to believe, lol, as to what I sound like.  We talked about our homes and even our accents, and, oddly, I told him that last month someone remarked on the way I said words.  I told him that I lived in Wisconsin for a year but don't remember accents there.  Another co-worker of ours does live there but Brian said the other co-worker sounded nothing like being from "Wis-CAAAAAN-sin," lol.  I remarked to him that he sounded no different than me, " we're both from Wis-CAAAAN-sin," hahaha.  He said words the same way.  After we finished the training session, we walked over to the Texas Roadhouse. . .again!  Hey, we both love the place and there aren't any in Chicago.

Drury Inn & Suites
Wednesday November 20, 2013 · 8:29 PM

Thursday morning, I packed up the hotel, since we had finished the TA implementation at The Savings Bank in Ashville.  I checked out of the hotel at 11am and the sun was out and shining brightly.  REFRESHING.  I drove home on I-70 and I-65.  By the time I made a quick stop in Indianapolis, the weather was getting really crummy!  The sun was gone and rain blazed away on the windshield.  After getting off I-865 onto I-65, there was a major accident just south of Lafayette and it held up traffic for nearly an hour between one lane being shut down and the GAPERS.  It was just awful sitting on the road, inching up the freeway!   After finally getting back up to speed, I looked at the time into Chicago.  Literally, for over an hour, the ETA on the Navigation hung at "2 hours, 3 minutes."  Ookay then, I knew it was due to the I-80 traffic south of Chicago, so I used an alternate route home.  At the time, I thought it was a good idea, but it turned out to be worse.  Instead of the usual I-80 west, I did US-30 west towards Schererville!  My mistake.  The traffic seemed worse!  Crossing over the border into Illinois was a little better that route but I just wanted to get home.  I even laughed, seeing the beginning of Illinois-83, the road I live by at home!  I was still a good hour away from home though!  Luckily, I had plenty of tunes on my Android to listen to on the way home!  Finally, getting onto the Tri-State Tollway, the traffic was moving again, that is until I got to the Stevenson and had to deal with the traffic snag between LaGrange Road and I-355 (>.<).  I finished my travels onto Kingery Hwy jammin' to this tune, heard earlier in the week on "Dancing with the Stars."

When Love Takes Over (Ft. Kelly Rowland)

Finally pulling up into my parking lot, everything was in place and not blown away from the tornado activity a week earlier.  My Honda was still parked safely in the lot.  I am glad I made it home safely considering how bad the traffic was past Indianapolis with the weather.  And, only I remain!

Mocking Hills
Thursday November 21, 2013 · 4:55 PM

When I finally arrived home, I quickly unpacked the car; it was raining pretty badly, and it was very dark out already.  I unloaded everything and just breathed a big sigh of RELIEF when I got into my apartment!  SSSssssiiiiiggghhhhh!!!!  For Friday and Mon-Wed of the next week, I just reported to the Diebold - Schaumburg office for work.

Diebold Inc.
Friday November 22, 2013 · 12:10 PM


1. Both my parents were born and raised around Cleveland, Ohio. I was raised in and around Cleveland, but I wasn't born there. My Dad served in the US Coast Guard and travelled to several places. I was born in Wilmington, North Carolina.

2. I'm not a huge fan of guns, but last weekend, I fired my first firearms: a 9mm Handgun, AK-47 Rifle and a Revolver. I enjoyed the experience so much and I'll probably do it again.

3. My family surname was once Cheetham; due to business and professional reasons (a Great Grandfather being an Accoutant; and Great Uncle being a banker) in the early 1900's, it was changed to Chatham.

4. My first very vivid memory as a 3 year old kid involved a great earthquake in Hawaii. I remember every detail of the incident; including my Mom putting me down for a nap, watching a neighbor's windmill fall down, the earth shaking, my Mom coming back in to get me, the holes in the road, etc.

5. I remember my first trip (ever) to Cleveland, Ohio in 1977. We were flying over Cleveland at night. My Mom pointed out the window and said to me, "Do you see that building? That's the Terminal Tower." I was 4. I remember the event perfectly.

6. When I have a dream about a death and wake up sickened, the dream usually comes to pass unbeknowingly in some form to someone close to me.

7. I hate snakes! Any mere thought of them or any program I watch on TV with snakes in them (like the "well of the souls scene" from Raiders of the Lost Ark), I put my feet up on the couch.

8. My family and Rich Trigg's family were good friends before we were born even before we knew about each other in Maple Heights. People come into your lives for a reason. This was one of those!

9. I am ambidextrous. Although my right hand is stronger than my left, I can write complete sentences with my left hand, but prefer my right. I cut paper with my left mainly; I cannot cut with my right hand, I catch a ball in my left; bat with my right; And, as I learned last weekend, I pull the trigger on a gun with my right.

10. My eyes are two different colors (both mainly brown), but if you look close, one is lighter colored than the other.

11. I've been told I'm an empathatic person; I take on one's emotions. There have been times where I've felt strangely and didn't know why until I learned from a close friend how they were feeling. Sometimes, these feelings have happened in a dream.

12. 12? Hmmm. Well, my family on my paternal-grandfather's side is traced all the way back to the Scottish Highlands and one of the clans that fought with Robert the Bruce, NOT William Wallace. On my paternal-grandmother's side, the name Shrive is traced back to the name Sherif (maybe Sharif) and an English Captain, John Sherif, aboard the Cygnet, a ship that fought against the Spanish Armada in 1588.

13. I've been told by several people that I resemble and sort of look like Dan Aykroyd (at a young age and an older age too).

14. I lived in Chicago the first time for 2 years in 1994, and never thought throughout the years that I'd return here.  Also, I didn't move to Wisconsin until 1996.

15. I originally wanted to pursue a career in Architecture when I was younger, and I took Mechanical Drawing and an Architecture class in High School.  What changed that?  I can't say for sure, but one hindrance was that I wasn't good with math.  RIP Mr. Raiff! A bad day with a terrible manager back in 2002 made me get serious with a career change.  I attended ITT Tech shortly thereafter, knowing what I wanted to do in life finally.

Maple Heights High School 1992
Mr. Raiff and me

16. I've always been a Dreamer and I've always had a big imagination.  In elementary school, I'd get in trouble for daydreaming or staring out the window! In fifth grade, I had my seat moved AWAY from the window because of the daydreaming, lol (Mr. Kessler for those that went to Stafford Elementary with me).  I remember not even noticing the teacher next to me, snapping his fingers in my ear.  I loved playing D&D when I was a kid and a lot of those adventures I came up survived in stories I would write about later, including the language, names, and even the adventure realm I used in the games.

17. Speaking of writing, I've always found this as a stress release and a relaxing hobby; er, typing I should say.  It is one reason I like to blog.  I also believe everyone born and raised in this counttry should have a good grasp in English grammar and syntax.  I despise lazy spelling or grammar in English writing/speaking people.  I also confess that I guess with commas most of the time, so no one is perfect.

18. Most people would think my favorite novel is Lord of the Rings, but they'd be very wrong.  Yes I have a certain affinity to the novels (and the movies), but Dune by Frank Herbert is my all time favorite novel!  It took a bad viewing of the 1984 movie to make me go back and actually READ the novel (and its sequels) which has notable differences.  I also enjoyed READING "Die unendliche Geschichte" (The Neverending Story) by Michael Ende too; nothing like the movie either!  If you've read the original novel, the green text is Fantastica and the red text is the real world.

19. I don't like the smell of new shoes or new cars (in fact find them disgusting), but I do love the scent of a new book!  For new books, I purposely will fan through the entire book up to my face first so that it wafts the "new book smell," lol!

20. I have tunnel vision when something breaks or goes wrong; nothing else matters.  I shut out everything around me to fix a problem.  I will get in a zone when I solve or troubleshoot a problem; I find it an annoyance when someone is watching over my shoulder or yammering in my ear on what to do or when it will be fixed.  If I need help, I'll ask for it.  One other thing about that. There was one place I worked at where I had someone do this; a Data Center should be for storing your servers and network devices, not for SCREAMING at the top of your lungs!  Yes, I resorted to that one day!

21. Sometimes (but not always) if I ride with someone else in their vehicle, I get very queasy.  It doesn't happen when I do the driving myself.  Speaking of driving, yes, I tend to drive over the speed limit, and if I'm in a challenging drive situtation (bad traffic, bad weather, etc), I will turn the radio all the way down or off to concentrate on the road.


Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful and appreciate the things you have been given in life.  Sometimes, calling a family member, an old friend and spending time with loved ones is what it's all about.  Whatever the time it is for you, being thankful should be a part of lives each day.  It's nice to devote one month of the year to be thankful and to remember others.  I usually celebrate Thanksgiving with my Mom and Dad, the only family I really seem to have anymore.  This year, I was reminded about what and who family truly are.  My family is my friends!  I love my Mom and Dad and my brothers very much, but this year, I stayed home and celebrated a tremendously, thankful and thriving Thanksgiving with friends.  It was a great time and a fun time, and I was SO glad I did.  It was a special time.  During the week, at home, I also worked on my Home Intranet site.

Meeting with friends for Thanksgiving

The week of Thanksgiving, I had both Thursday and Friday off, so it was nice.  I requested Friday off.  During the week, I was asked by my Dad if I were coming home to visit them.  I told him that I was going to celebrate Thanksgiving this year with new friends in Chicago.  He and Mom were fine with that and wished me a good time.  This was the second most major holiday that I had not celebrated with Mom and Dad.  The first one this year was Independence Day.  I was also informed that Mom and Dad would be out of town for Christmas and New Year's, so I hope (and think) I will be able to find plans to celebrate on those days here in Chicago too.  Dad and I talked for awhile and just about life and about happiness.  It was nice to talk to him.  I told him that the Orphan Thanksgiving I was going to had to do with people who did not have families to go to for the holidays.  It didn't mean visiting an orphan shelter.  It was a get-together for those people who had nowhere to go.  He understood.  Mom and Dad told me that they were also going to their usual "orphan Thanksgiving" too at Harry's Steakhouse.  I went to a few of these before too when living in Cleveland.  It was the same theme: friends getting together with no family to go to.  You know what?  Sometimes that's where it's all at.  Friends ARE my family!  I've learned in later years of my life that my friends are my family.  After my grandparents passed away on both sides of my family, I lost all meaning of our family.  It doesn't exist anymore.  My Mom, Dad, brothers and Mom's cats are the last of my real family.

Albany Park
Thursday November 28, 2013 · 4:29 PM
“Kurt and Sue's for Thanksgiving.”

On Thanksgiving, I went to Kurt and Sue's in Albany Park, Chicago.  Arriving around 4pm, I parked on the street and walked over to her place.  I brought food, wine and a chair to help out and contribute to the gathering.  It was very cold out and it just amazes me how sunset is nearly at 3:30pm now.  I was driving up the Tri-State Tollway and had to turn on my headlights.

Getting upstairs, I was greeted by Kurt, Sue, Viki and DatLy. . .and, HANK!  LOL.  Kurt greeted me at the door, and I said, "You know it's Thanksgiving when you can smell thyme, sage and rosemary when you walk up the stairs."  I unpacked my things for Sue and started meeting other new friends shortly.  It was a large turnout according to Sue.  I introduced myself to the new faces and conversed with some of the familiar faces.  Kurt, Sue and Dat all helped finished making the dinner.  Everyone else enjoyed wine, beer, cheese and crackers and good chat.  The new faces I met where Alissa, Keith and his wife, Melanie.  Natalie and Rhonda were also there too.  I also learned that they've all been to these "orphan Thanksgivings" before and I really was encouraged to hear that.  While we all gathered in the Dining Room, the main course was just about done, so we could begin eating.  That is the turkey of course.

When I saw Sue take the turkey out of the oven, I reacted.
"Hey Kurt, I hope you don't live next door to the Bumpusses?'"  Me.
"SONS O'BITCHES, BUMPUSSES," Viki in voice of Darren McGavin.

There was so much food!!!!  Everyone (yes, including me) brought a dish!  I bright the salad and cheese appetizer dish.  There was Green Bean Casserole, Raspberry Stuffing, Regular Dressing, Brusselsprout Casserole, Mexican Sweet Potato (which I really enjoyed, not being a fan of sweet potatoes), Salads, Water chestnuts wrapped in bacon, and much more.  There was a lot of alcohol and dessert as well. Kurt mixed this really good Pumpkin Spice drink for all of us with Pumpkin Spice Liqueur.  It was really good.  Hank even enjoyed a nice turkey dinner too, lol.  During dinner, we had an option to say what we were thankful for and some people shared their thankfulness.  I quietly thought about new friends, my Chicago-versary, and a new start in life.  After that, we all made a toast to Kurt and Sue for putting this together and for friendships!  I sat with Kurt, Rhonda and Natalie for dinner. Viki and I were joking mentioning Christmas Story lines throughout the evening, hahaha.  "No turkey! No turkey sandwiches! No turkey salad! No turkey gravy! Turkey Hash! Turkey a la King! Or gallons of turkey soup! Gone, ALL GONE!"  Everyone upstairs, get dressed, we are going OUT to eat.  We both agreed that we have to watch the next day, lol.

Kurt and Sue

After dinner, we helped clean up some then went into the Living room to play a card game called "Cards Against Humanity."  I had never played it before, but it was really fun.  The basis of the game is that you pick 10 cards with a phrase or name on it.  One person, the Judge, draws a black card with a sentence on it with blanks.  The object of the game is for each person to give one of their cards to the Judge to complete the sentence and fill in the blank.  Some of the phrases were hilarious, dirty, made no sense at all, or were just a "throw away card."  The Judge then awards the best sentence and that person wins the black card.  It was a fun game and I really got into it, even surprising a few people as well, hahaha.  Sue won in the end with a score of six, so she was awarded the Breitenbach Riesling Wine I brought, lol.  I learned about some new friends too and we talked about getting together on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve again.  I am strongly considering it.  I was invited and asked to join.  We also talked about Venture Around events too, even talking about our fun times this year.  Kurt mentioned some new ideas for the group too, new events in the new year.  I shared my phone number with new faces and just had a great evening doing something different for Thanksgiving, remembering my loved ones and new friends.  Everyone was friendly and we all socialized.  And, we cannot forget about HANK!  He had fun too, lol.  There was a lot of laughter, wine and good times.  I also vowed to add "Dr. Who" to my Netflix queue after asking, "what's a tardis?" during the game, lol.  Oops.

The gang about to play "Cards against Humanity."

Rhonda had turkey.
Hank wanted to share.

After the evening was over, I regathered my things, and was offered to take home some leftovers, which I did.  I bid farewell to everyone, giving hugs and kisses.  I thanked Kurt and Sue for hosting and told them I'd be interested in the New Year's Eve get-to-gether.  It was about 1am when I finally left for home.

<end body>


• Out Of the Erctionary

You know those weird words I come up with?  Well here are some of them and their definitions!  You saw them first HERE and they are mine!

Teledental - Adjective.  1. The state of being connected to a Bluetooth device.  Compare the adverb, Teledentally, describing how one is connected. 2. Teledental Electraphonitis, a rare condition when someone first buys a Bluetooth device, and learns how to use it.  3. an alotted time when driving in a car with a Bluetooth in one's ear; compare teledentristy.  Example:  "I'm driving through Indianapolis now but I'm teledental, so I can talk."  "I'm connected teledentally as I'm driving."  I first used these terms when I got my first Bluetooth in June 2012.  It scared the crap out of my Mom, thinking I had some horrible disease, lol. I noticed also that the term exists on the Internet, but I stand by that I came up with this word on my own!

Aboot - Adjective. 1. The state of a computer system being up and running or "booted up."  A system that has properly POSTed and booted is 'aboot.'  I came up with this word with my company name, "Systems Aboot."

Swinterneck (Swinterneck University) - Verb. 1.  To cheat and use the Internet to look up an answer. 2. To find the answers using a Search Engine on the Internet (to research).  Swinterneck University is a term given to someone whom always is on the Internet searching information randomly. Example: "I swinterneck for my research project on Google." "I attend Swinterneck University after work just to learn new things in our world." I first used this term in January 2012 when I'd do a Movie Quiz on my Facebook Page.

Snew - Noun. [der < abstract verb past tense "to snow"]. "Snow that comes in a hurry may be a flurry, but when snow comes very fast and doesn't last, it doesn't snow in a hurry, it snew because it came very fast, it didn't last and already happened in the past."  Example: "Did you see it snow?  I didn't even know.  It must've snewed then."  I can't remember when I first used this term.  It's been awhile

Window Wiper Stand-Off - Phrase.  I came up with this phrase when pulling my windshield wipers away from the windshield in the event of a snowfall, because I hate icy wipers.

Repratake - Verb.  [RE-pra-tāke], (der < "repair" and "take"), (repratook, past tense) 1. To fix and learn from a mistake that has been made. 2. To overcome great misfortune or loss.  3.  To perfect one's image.  4.  To abstain from repeating a mistake.  5.  To redeem a situation with no flaws.  Usage: "When I accidentally deleted those files on the server, I immediately repratook the situation and restored them from a backup." I first used this term in March 2012.

• Of being thankful

This year, I'm thankful for many things.  It's been a tremendous year.  I just cannot believe that this year is almost over.  Seriously, I look back and just wonder where the time has gone.  I'm most thankful for the new friends I've met this year.  It's been really a great year with that.  I am thankful that I still have some old friends in my life as well.  I'm thankful for having a job to go to each day.  Sometimes the travel isn't easy but I'm thankful that I can visit other parts of the country at the same time.

I'm thankful for having two wonderful, loving parents, and two loving brothers.  I'm thankful that I can visit them all, even though we all don't live in the same area.  I'm thankful that both parents are still together and living.  This year, I've learned quite a bit about people and I'm thankful for the few that have remained constant in my life and who understand me the most!

Through the years of time, with its lessons in life, fixing mistakes, its good times, its bad times, being thankful of everything God has given me; new friends, new family, new beginnings and a fresh start.  It took a great strength and courage to make it happen.  I am thankful that people can change, including me, a very phlegmatic, unchangeable, sluggish individual.  Then THERE WAS I; AND, ONLY I REMAIN!

Formerly "Pointless Observations."

• I still have April 27, 2012 marked on a couple Hosts for my Task Scheduling!  It's the day I shutdown everything when I moved to Chicago.

• The signage I use on all my software/hardware, Oakbrook 17-102,  has nothing to do with Oak Brook IL nearby.  It has to do with where I first setup my home network at Oakbrook Gardens in N. Royalton OH.  Oakbrook, bldg 17, apt 102.

• We have two more years before Mattel Hoverboards are available and the Chicago Cubs win a World Series.

Sears Roebuck started their Watch business in Minneapolis at railroad stops then in Chicago.  Sears and Roebuck company originally started with selling Watches.

• My brother Wayne has a boss named Eric Chatham and it's not me.  My Mom still gets a kick out of that one.  My boss' name is Kevin, and it's not my brother Kevin, ha!

• They have "dry" counties in the State made famous for Bourbon (Kentucky).

• My "Make A --- Wish They'd Just GO AWAY" list include: Kim Kardashian and her new whatever he is, Justin Bieber, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie. Those are the top candidates on the list.  To this day, I will not watch any movie or listen to any track with those people in them. These people just need to go away!

• In a month that pays homage to two great leaders in our country, there are weird similarities between Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy.  Read Snopes and Read here!

• November 12, 2013 marked the 58th Anniversary to the great "Hill Valley Lightning Storm."


• Tornadoes in Illinois on November 17

On Sunday, November 17, tornadoes ripped through Illinois and destroyed thousands in Washington IL and other funnel clouds were sighted in Coal City and other places in Illinois.

"November 21, 2013 (SPRINGFIELD, Ill.) (WLS) -- Federal and state officials were meeting in Washington, Ill., Thursday to start conducting preliminary assessments of the damage caused by a string of tornadoes that struck Sunday. Meanwhile, some students were heading back to school."

"November 22, 2013 (ABC7 Chicago WLS) -- GOOD NEWS: Darren Carlock and his daughter Emily Kathryn Carlock, were reunited with their cat "Lucky," this afternoon after they found him in the rubble of their home. He's been missing since the tornado touched down."

• JFK Anniversary and remembering a great President

I wasn't around at this time, but my Mom and Dad remember this tragic event and school was let out on that day early.

"LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas on Nov. 22, 1963. As the nation pauses to remember Kennedy's legacy on the 50th anniversary of his death, the rare video, archival photos and interactive elements presented here help tell the tale of the fateful day that would rock our country to its core."

• Anniversary of Gettysburg Address

"Tuesday, November 19, 2013, GETTYSBURG, Pa. -- In solemnity, thousands gathered at a central Pennsylvania battlefield park Tuesday to honor a speech given 150 years ago that President Abraham Lincoln predicted would not be long remembered."

• My Website was Down!

"November 12, 2013, Darien IL --  For a week, my website was down.  I moved configs back to IIS, until I can afford a new server.  I'm looking into a Dell PowerEdge T320 with iDRAC card, expandable with another NIC for iSCSI.  I already have a quote.  I intend to load ESXi 5.0 as well so I can start adding Virtual Machines.  This YouTube video was viral at a previous company I used to work for."


November 2: Aunt Linda
November 12: The Lovely, Yvette Rachelle! ♥
November 17: Natalie Hackler
November 20: Terry Reese

*If you're regularly reading and enjoy some of the things I blog, thank you.  Slowly moving away from Facebook, I will be sending out an e-mail update each month when I release a new blog, as opposed to making a status update.  If you'd like to be part of that list, let me know.  Send me an e-mail, and make a comment below.  Until next month, entitled "December 2013, An Immanency to Resolve," have a great Thanksgiving!  It's hard to believe this year is almost over...

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