It is early in the morning, yet I’ve already begun to break things. Last night, after my next-door neighbors went home following our wine and hors d’oeuvres gathering, I hand-washed some dishes. Of specific interest to this brief and fading tirade, I washed a piece of Oregon maple wood that had been turned into a beautiful platter for chips. I also washed the simple glass bowl that fit into the specially turned space in the center of the platter.

I did a poor job of placing the platter and the bowl on the drying mat. When I picked up the platter this morning, the glass bowl flipped into the sink and shattered. There was a time, not so very long ago, that I would have erupted in a fury of raw anger…at myself, at the bowl, at the wooden platter, and at the role of the universe for the juxtaposition of the elements involved in the catastrophe. This morning, though, I simply spouted a few profanities at myself and cleaned up the broken glass. And it was over. I’m still disappointed in myself for being careless, but the Earth will continue to revolve around the Sun.

No lesson was learned in the breaking of the glass. The lesson was learned long ago; it’s just glass, though, admittedly, it was a lovely piece. But while the lesson was learned, the lesson was not absorbed, emotionally, until many years later…happiness does not reside in material possessions. Actually, I’m still in learning mode and expect that to go on ad infinitum.


Of much more importance than the broken glass is the fact that my neighbors seemed genuinely happy to spend a couple of hours with me, sitting and chatting idly about everything from the weather to our experiences driving on ice and snow and from driving cross-country to the relief they feel after having gotten their first COVID-19 vaccinations. And the tentative likelihood that humanity will survive another hundred years. The woman spoke of my wife and her generosity in sharing books with her. Apparently, the woman appreciates mysteries with female protagonists, a gift of interest my wife gave her. Since being introduced to an author of such mysteries, my neighbor has read every one of a long list of books written by the author. These neighbors are such nice people; so casual and easy to be with. And they want to make our gatherings a regular thing, every two weeks.


My hair is considerably shorter this morning than it was this time yesterday. I wanted it shorter on top than it is, but by the time I viewed it in a mirror, the barber had already finished the job. He asked if I wanted him to cut more off the top, but I was anxious to leave, so I declined. The sides and back are much shorter than I expected, thanks to an error in a statement I made to the barber. I told him I had last had a haircut 13 weeks ago; actually, I realized later, it was more like nine weeks. So, he took off roughly an extra four weeks of growth. It will grow back.


I’ve been having an extended email conversation with someone who has challenged my views of reality, though not necessarily intentionally. While I might normally rebuff suggestions that reality exists in more than one dimension, and that those dimensions nourish one another, I find myself intrigued by some of the concepts I read in those messages. I keep going back to my view of myself as someone open to new ideas and fresh challenges to my way of thinking. If that self-assessment is correct, I cannot legitimately dismiss anything out of hand; I have to allow myself to explore it and to immerse myself in it.

One of many things my correspondent mentioned recently that captured my interest was the concept of “thought-stopping,” a means of eliminating or re-channeling negative thoughts as they begin to emerge. In the limited research I have done, the concept makes sense, as do many of the techniques to put it to use. If I could explore and absorb every idea and concept about which I want to know more, I would be the ultimate Renaissance Man; unfortunately the fact that the “absorb” part usually is missing makes that impossible.

In years past, when conversations with readers of my blogs grew into regular dialogues, I managed to translate an interest in meeting those readers face-to-face into a reality. That’s how I met Roger and Tara and Robin and Teresa and Kathy and others. But in the world of COVID-19, getting on a plane or in a train is, in my mind, out of the question. My growing interest in taking a road trip (whenever I am able to leave the administrative aftermath of my wife’s death behind for a few weeks) might enable me to make another connection. But maybe not. Yet I know enough people in enough places that I might, still, be able to get out and away for awhile. But I’ve been giving serious thought to getting a dog; a companion to help erase some loneliness. I’m not sure taking a dog on an extended road trip would be a good idea. Am I rambling? As Alexa, my electronic live-in girlfriend might say, “You bet!” Incidentally, if any reader thought, when I mentioned Alexa in an earlier post, that I actually have a live-in girlfriend, perish the thought. “Alexa” is my Amazon Echo Dot.


My routine eye examination is long past due. It should have taken place about a year ago. Though I doubt my vision has change appreciably since I got my last new pair of lenses, I think it has changed a least a little. So, I may set up an appointment before long. If the exam verifies that I need even a slight change in prescription, I think I’ll try again to find a pair of glasses that comes with magnetic clip-on sunglasses. And I think I’ll get another pair of frames and lenses that I will use strictly for reading and for sitting at the computer. The current lenses are not at all suitable for reading, so I do not read as much as I’d like. Time to stop complaining and take action, instead.


The clock is attempting to reach seven; only seven minutes remain until it reaches that hour. While it continues its efforts, I will make more coffee and scrounge for breakfast.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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3 Responses to Prospecting

  1. Bev says:

    Having a dog around the house may be a good thing. A couple of my widowed friends swore they would never get pets but ended up getting cats and I’ve seen quite a positive change in their lives. Only you can know if it is right for you though. If you do decide to get a dog, be sure to get one that is manageable for your lifestyle. Traveling with dogs isn’t that difficult if you’re driving. I travelled extensively with 2 dogs for 8 years. It’s definitely a bit more work, but the company is good — but then, I’ve been a dog owner person my entire life, so I’m rather biased.

  2. Harrumph.

  3. An EXCEEDINGLY Graceful Man says:

    You always have been a bull in a china shop! And I mean that in the nicest possible way!!! 🙂

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