Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Social Network..

I search for a new theme as the decade of the "Aughts" ends
Something that will help me navigate Life's twists and bends
We have an innate predilection
To find our connection
So as Mr. Rogers said, "Will you be one of my friends?"

It's been over 100 days since the last post but it's not due to lack of activity. In honor of Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's founder, TIME's Person of the Year, and subject of the recent movie "The Social Network", I figured this entry would explore the conjecture, conjunction and camaraderie of the last 3 1/2 months.

When we last left the hero of the latter-day Homerian tale ( which seems to combine elements of both The Odyssey and The Simpsons), I was poised to reconnect with my Stanford friends at my 35th reunion. From the time I touched down until I left, I was able to pick up conversations from where we left off weather my last contact was 35 days or 35 years - it was nice to not have to "tell my story" as people welcomed me back. There should be a different word to describe relationships that seem unaffected by time or distance - in any event, the weekend was restorative as we got to hang out on campus, watch Stanford win a game in the downsized upgraded stadium with Scott's son Garrett playing in the band, and get a campus tour with Marta, Mark & Greta's oldest daughter. I got to hang out with Ann, Amy, Diane, Dori, Greta, Jay, Kevin, Mary, Scott, Teri and Vince with the backdrop of the SF Giant's push toward the World Series (all were happy except Kevin, our die-hard Philly fan), and came home refreshed and rejuvenated.

Throughout the Fall, I continued my "Mystery Date with Mike" with a variety of concerts, lectured, movies, dinners, and discussions that all served to get me out of the condo and engaged with others. One of my projects was to install a fireplace and rearrange the living room, so with Wayne's efforts, a fireplace mantle and suspended flatscreen TV provide a comfortable place for "fireside chats " with myself. This made it important to find a balance between too much "me"time and over scheduling myself.

I got to attend Lightfoot and Basia concerts as well as Mark's Acoustic Guitar Summit with Roy & Sherryl, Judy and the girls, and Brenda & Wayne, meet with our Environmental Book Club, hear Bill Bryson, sit on the Board for "Dorothy's Dream", continue our search for the best Portland burger with Ted, Rick & Frank, see "The Christmas Story" twice, hear the Portland Gospel Choir, watch "Charles Browns Mid- Life Crisis" and then attend Sean's Reeble Jar performance at Mt. Tabor later that same night, watch the "Big Game" with Greta at the Buffalo Gap, and watch the Civil War and BCS at Mary Pat's. TM had brought Mary Pat and Donna to Dianna's Memorial, so the 4 of us have had a few chances to get together which has been fun. I hosted the an Orange Bowl viewing on New Years Night and served Orange Chicken and rice (Orange Bowls) and in honor of Stanford's opponent Virginia Tech, dessert was creampuffs. Stanford prevailed 40-12 to cap a 12-1 season.

In the midst of all of this, Evan was able to make it home from New Orleans for a week so I had a great time just sitting with him for a "Sit Down Young Stranger" moment. We watched a Netflix movie "Hurricane on the Bayou" which Evan narrated since he knew many of the locations and people. Evan used his time here to relax and recharge so I think he had a good visit. Evan is getting some good PR for his work, but I only find out by Googling him..

I attended the usual Christmas Eve Soup Supper, this time hosted by Loren & Veneta and attended the candlelight service at NTCSL in Lake Oswego and went home to greet Christmas morning alone for the first time in 58 opportunities. Another one of those odd new experiences I need to assimilate. To ring in the New Year, I went to Ted & Meg's and was encouraged to bring a Top Ten List for the departing 2010. I picked Top 10 Smartphone apps since I had been coming up to speed with my new Samsung Captivate, and it seemed like a good 21st century theme. My items covered the ability of the phone to decipher songs, identify objects, make location specific suggestions for travel and entertainment through GPS, browse the internet, read e-mail, read books, watch TV, listen to music, put you to sleep and wake you up , and most amazingly, make phone calls.

As the new year began I continued my pattern of activity like hanging out at the Farmers Market, but at the end of the month recognized the importance of valuing each day as I attended Memorial services for Ginger & Jeff on consecutive days. Mary flew up to do the service for Ginger, her long time friend and assistant, on Jan 22nd but that previous Monday, Jeff never woke up, so Dani asked Mary to do that memorial. Both services told of great love stories as both couples met in college and had wonderful lives together. Through a slide show and music, I learned a lot about two amazing people who left far too soon...

Ended the month with A Blazer game with Loren. a root canal and a couple of rounds of golf as I come out of hiberation. I enjoyed at least one of these activities..

I've redoubled my effort to say "yes: to more things that life is offering and one of those things which may be questioned as the year progresses is a week long golf romp through Alabama at the end of March with Larry. The plan is 216 holes of golf in a week - 12 rounds in 6 days along the Robert Trent Jones Trail . Larry will be attending the Masters the following week, so he figures this will get him in the mood. By my calculations this will be between 500-600 full swings for me, not counting putts, chips, and practice swings. This will require a level of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual stamina that I haven't been on a first name basis with this century so there is work ahead of me. I also intend to attend the New Orleans Jazzfest with Evan & Sean at the end of April so I have another event for which to look forward. Our 40th Medford High School reunion is coming up in August and e-mails are already passing back and forth between attendees.

2011 arrives with infinite possibilities and I continue my search. Because of my experiences of the last last seven months, I have new friends who have shown up and old friends who have seamlessly reconnected. I look forward to exploring and strengthening those friendships in the coming months.