Thursday, December 31, 2015

Resolutions? Sure, we'll try it

     Don't usually do New Year's resolutions, but because I haven't posted a blog piece in three weeks and I need to write today, let's give it a shot.
     Looking back at last year's Dec. 31 post, I did a review of our year in 2014 -- and it (the blog, not the year) went on and on. I intend to keep this one much shorter. Don't want to bore you (again).
      So I am resolving the following ...
      -- Work on being nice, or kind, to people. Take out the harshness. I'm much better in this area, but patience -- especially when we're driving in this often bizarre Fort Worth-Dallas area traffic -- can be lacking.
      -- Forgiveness. Goes with being kinder. I forgive the young woman who sharply told me I was walking on "private property" during one of my Thursday "church route" (as I like to call it). When I told her I was not trying to do any harm, she said again harshly, "It's private property." I took out that phase of that route; haven't been back.
       -- Relish all the phone calls, Facebook posts and pictures, Facetime sessions and visits from the kids and especially the grandkids. They are so beautiful and so interesting, so curious and inventive. This is an easy resolution; this is the top priority in our lives.
      --  Maybe more than one trip to East Tennessee a year. But, gosh, that road gets longer all the time. That's a l-o-n-g drive, and flying is not only costly, it is a hassle. Even the driving trip to see the two oldest grandsons is now 10-15 minutes longer.
      -- Keep vacuuming and Swiftering regularly in the apartment. Beatrice and I work on this together; the place needs it. Stuff spreads, and our cats have hair that sheds.
      -- Listen better, more closely. I resolve not to walk out of the room while Bea is talking ... even when she's rambling (just kidding). Don't mean to be rude, but that's how it appears. However, I'm trying to convince Bea that when I am loading up the washing machine and the water is running, I can't hear you.
       -- Less computer time. Trying to improve here. There's the half hour in the morning to catch up on the news and e-mail and Facebook, but sometimes that's an hour-and-a-half. And at night, when Bea is watching the Dallas Mavericks play (and I can't stand the stress), the computer is my outlet.
       -- On the other hand, keep writing. I have been doing the blog for almost four years now, and I aimed to write two or three blog pieces a week. But several months ago, I decided I would only write when I felt like it, when I had something that a few people might want to read.
        -- Keep reading. I am proud of this -- I am about to finish my 26th book this year. (That's 11 sports-related books, eight for the book club, four on historical political issues.) That's in addition to daily Internet reading (hello, ESPN), and weekly Sports Illustrated issues (when I can find them).
        -- Selected television viewing. We don't do a lot other than Charlie Rose and Stephen Colbert, the 5 p.m. WFAA newscast, the NBC Nightly News and the PBS NewsHour. Then there's Washington Week on Friday nights with Gwen Ifill, and our favorite, Sunday Morning on CBS, and then Face the Nation. Only a few series, such as Hawaii 5-0 and Major Crimes and -- one more time -- Downton Abbey. Bea is missing Person of Interest.     
         -- Keep exercising. Yes, there's my daily walk -- still -- of 45 minutes to (yikes) two hours if the weather is really good. More importantly now, we go to the Downtown YMCA in Fort Worth for yoga or stretching classes 3-4 times a week. Like the work; like the company.
          -- Eat more wisely. Big area of need for me. I snack far too much, eat too many sweets, eat portions that are too large, eat too late at night. I need to lower my cholesterol/triglycerides levels before my yearly physical because I don't want to have the discussion with my friendly doctor that includes the word "statins."
          -- Same vein: With exercise and better eating habits, I want to lose the extra 5-10 pounds I need to, and to trim my waist. But, as I was reminded when I read my last 2014 blog on Dec. 31, I said the same thing last year. Oops.
          -- Honor the friends we have lost -- either by word, e-mail or on Facebook. Paying respect, having remembrances ... it's important to me.
          -- Continue to write or post stories or comments about Shreveport-Bossier and North Louisiana. I don't live there anymore -- truthfully, don't really want to -- and our visits are less frequent, but we have so many friends and so many ties there. And I feel that I owe those people and that community because for 30 years that was home and where my professional career (which I mostly loved) began.
          -- Watch less football. Seriously. Bea is totally anti-football, and I'm getting there. I cannot watch less NFL because I have watched no games this fall.
          She deplores the violence; I am sick of the off-the-field and some on-the-field crap, especially in the NFL. I do read about the league some, but I don't want to read about or watch any interview involving Jerry Jones, Dez Bryant, Greg Hardy, Cam Newton, Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, Odell Beckham, etc., etc., etc. (Let's make a hero of O.J. Simpson.).
         But even the showboating and trash talking are too much in college football. And, yes, the LSU kids are part of that; they were much too chippy and a little too arrogant the other night against Texas Tech.
          -- I don't intend to watch another LSU football game until at least September. Don't know about you, but I found the 2015 Tigers very difficult to watch. Don't want to get into the coaching thing, but this was a team that gave every opponent some hope. I don't expect a rout every week, but I do wish for more efficiency.
          -- I watched more college football than I probably should have this fall, and I don't intend to do that again next fall. Not likely to keep this resolution, though.
          -- I will watch the Dallas Mavericks because I like the team (but not as much as Bea likes them) and because Dirk Nowitzki is an all-time great player, plus he's as funny and as humble and genuine as any superstar could be. Rick Carlisle is, in our opinion, as good as Gregg Popovich as an NBA coach.
          -- I'd love to watch more baseball on TV. But not in person because games take far too long now. Too many strikeouts, too many one-batter relievers. I watched a lot of Houston Astros games last season because they were a fun team.
           One of my resolutions, though, is to watch more of the New York Yankees, although it is hard for me because my expectations of them are so high. When you've won 40 pennants and 27 World Series, you expect them to win -- always. That's not realistic, is it?
           -- I resolve to take American politics with a level head. There is so much harshness, so much bitterness, so much criticism out there; I don't think it solves anything.
           There is a guy out there who reminds us every day that he has all the answers -- never mind facts or realism -- and who thinks everyone is more stupid than him. If you like him, fine. I think he's a deterrent, someone playing on people's fears. The political process will play out as it usually does and we will get what we deserve.
            But the harshness is destructive. That's my opinion. And here is what I resolved a couple of months ago -- on Facebook, I am "unfollowing" anyone who posts what I consider a derogatory remark or cartoon or story ... and especially those who fall into "name calling."
            I try not to challenge anyone online or tell them what I think, or what they should think. But I don't want to see it, and I imagine my "unfollow" list will grow in the next few months. What I decide won't hurt anyone, and we're still friends. But not on political matters.
            -- Mostly, I resolve to believe that peace is possible -- in this country, in the world. Wish I could erase prejudice toward others in any fashion, but all I can do is resolve that for myself. Back to where I started; it takes kindness and understanding and (if possible) trust; name-calling and the lust to use guns and bombs, to "put boots on the ground," don't work for me.
            So I wish you and yours personal peace and a Happy New Year. I resolve to have another great year.

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