The SamuraiMarine

Thoughts, Philosophy, Life and Love

Month: October 2010

Instant Tea, just add…

Recently I became infected with Valley Fever for the second time in my life.  Valley Fever, for those of you that do not live in the San Joaquin valley, is also know by it’s less  aesthetically pleasing name of coccidioidomycosis.   Yes, if you are at a party, and you want to impress the people you are there with, say coccidioidomycosis a couple times might make you sound impressive, but that is about where it stops.  Especially when you explain what it is.

Getting back to the point.

The last time I contracted this illness was way back in 1977, During the Great Central Valley Dust Storm.  There is not too much I recall about the time, except that I came home, and after lunch I went to take a nap.  The next thing I know it was several weeks later (six to be exact) and I was hooked to an IV.

I was told later that each time you get Valley Fever, it is progressively worse than the time before.  So I lived most of my lift, to date, with a real fear of what could happen if I ever got it again.

At this point, I am thinking that three out of five of you are asking yourself…  What the heck does this have to do with the title of this post.  This is nothing like tea, instant or not.  But you would be wrong, you see, there is a connection to Tea and to the point I am meandering my way to, and that is that because I have contracted Valley Fever again, I am trying to live healthier.

Well… not JUST the Valley Fever… You might say that the little beastie growing in my wife’s tummy is also a major factor as well.  But together they make up the whole reason.

So… as I have been working on this, I have been drinking lots of water, to the tune of four or five small bottles of it a day, and one thing I have to say about water is that it is a boring drink.  It does not do anything to excite the taste buds or thrill the pallet.  People, at least many of the ones I know, do not see a glass of water and say… “Oooh, delicious!  A Glass of water!”

Quenching? Yes.  Life sustaing?  certainly! The best thing to drink when you are thirsty? Of course?  A tasty gourmet delicacy?  Hardly.  So I have starting trying this little things that my wife uses all the time.  They are little instant packets that you empty into a bottle of water and PRESTO… you have <Name your drink here>. You have a large variety to chose from, Peach, Raspberry, Lemonade, Fruit punch, Ginseng, etc…  this list goes on ad-nauseum.

There are certain flavors that I have tried that I was pretty sure from the start I would not like.  Flavors like, oh… anything that does not taste like simple, plain, ordinary, bland, Black iced tea with no sweetener in it.  The kind you get at almost any restaurant.  Everything else has too much “Froo Froo” to it.  But I am brave… so I tried the Peach.  After the first couple sips, I decided that the rest would be great for watering the plant in the office.  The plant later died… and it was plastic.

I ventured forth and tried a few more over the next few days, and just when I was getting to the point that I thought that plain water tasted pretter darned good, I found it.  Fruit Punch.  This was actually really good and reminded me of those simpler days of my childhood when you could buy the bottle of Hawaiian Punch mix that was in the jar, that think sweet liquid that you were supposed to only put one tablespoon into a glass of water, yet any kid that had access to would put two or five in and stir it up, then proceed on a three hour, sugar-induced rampage that usually involved torturing any adult within two miles with your insanity.

Yes… I had found my artificial nirvana.  I say artificial because this little packets are sugar free, so there is no sugar induced high that follows the drinking.  There is only that taste and the memories.

After all is said and done, I found three that I like and they would be Fruit Punch, Lemonade and Arizona Ginseng Tea.  The Ginseng tea took a little longer to get to like, but I do enjoy it and it certainly beats straight water any day of the week.  I am sure that as time goes on, I might find more that I like, so I will keep trying them as I see new ones come out.  Who knows, maybe these will eventually break my addiction to sodas.

One can dream.

Guiding Friends

When you think of your friends or the kind of friend you are to others, how do you see yourself?

Are you one of those passive friends that occasionally gets together on special occasions but rarely sees your pals otherwise?  Maybe you are lucky enough to be one of those people that has many friends and you go out with them all the time and see them often enough that they are almost family to you.

No matter how you are or how you see yourself, how we are with our friends says a lot about us.

I like to think of friendship, TRUE friendship, as a way to extend the boundaries of your family.  As we draw these people into our lives, earn their trust, and in turn, they, ours.  We get to a point where the relationship is almost indistinguishable from another family member.

This does not apply to all our friends.  I mean, we all know people that we consider friends, but we would not leave our children alone with them for too long, or hand them the keys to the house and the new DB9 and go on a three week vacation.  Then again there are people I know well that, if I had or could afford one, I would not give them the keys to a DB9… Sorry Grant and Jackie.

But through these relationships you build, you are not just getting something from them, but you are giving something as well.  Good friendships are a two-way road, you both get something out of them and you both give quite a bit too.  You are guiding each other through the relationship.

If the friendship is right, it can sometimes lead to more, as in the case of my wife and I.  We started off and casual friends that really saw nothing in one another, that turned into a close friendship where we shared the details of our lives and then, eventually, into love and marriage.  We both feel that our friendship is the basis that makes our marriage strong.

I cannot think of anything in life that is quite as important as friendship.  I also think that it is also taken for granted more and more these days.  In part because of things like Facebook, MySpace, and social networking as a whole.  People just do not meet in person anymore, they meet online.  Even when people live in the same town and only a few minutes from one another, they will meet online when they could go visit each other.

Unfortunately, I have started to fall into this process as well.  I have two good friends and a sister that live within five minutes drive from me, yet we see and speak to each other in person rarely, and really, this is just a sign of where we are all heading and might just be the reason we have as many problems in society as we do.

Maybe if we spent more time sitting with one another over a beer or coffee, there would be less problems in the world and we could all be friends guiding friends.

The voice of my father…

In the wake of learning that I am now a father, there has been a lot going through my mind these days. While many of these thoughts are the usual “New Father” things, there are many that are either introspective or retrospective. I have started thinking about MY childhood and how I was raised and the people that influenced my life the most.

It was during this process that I made a startling and sad discovery. I can no longer remember what my father’s voice sounds like.

It is not like we talked all the time. We, more or less, would have about one phone call a month and there were the occasional visits. We were not close, by any stretch of the imagination. There always seemed to be this wall of misunderstanding and inability to identify with one one another between us. So our conversations were relatively generic.

But there was always something calming about his voice. Even thought I never spoke to him about my problems or issues in life, there was something about the way he spoke to me that made things feel better.

When I think back to those conversations that we had, both the ones that really meant something and the ones that seemed pointless, I no longer hear his voice. In my mind’s process of playing back those conversations, I hear only my voice for both parts. I see his face, the face of when he was younger and healthy, not that of the man lying in the hospital, dying of cancer. I can remember the smell of his Aqua Velva aftershave and even the smell of cigarettes on his breath that were all just parts of who he was, but when I see him speak, it is in my voice. A process of the mind to fill in gaps with something you know.

It feels as though I have lost something. A crucial memory or artifact of my life, a key to my past and who I am. Unfortunately there are no ways to get this lost memory back. I have no recordings of my father speaking, there was no video tapes of him since that technology just was not available when he was still alive.

I spoke to someone else about this, and they told me that maybe it was my mind’s way of preparing me to be a father. Letting me know that it was time to say farewell to the overwhelming memories of loss of my father and begin the road of fatherhood myself.

If that is true, and if there is an afterlife, then I hope that somewhere my father is still watching me and is proud of what I have become and how I will help raise this child with my wife.

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