Ends & Beginnings

Life is full of ends and beginnings.  In the past seven days since my last blog post, I’ve experienced the ups and downs and the comings and goings of ordinary existence.

One end this week:  my fostering of Fritzie (fka Frodo), who has gone off to live in his “furever” home with a lovely couple who will spoil him and treat him like the little prince he was born to be.  I don’t know what his former life was like; the horrible condition he was in when Linda from Posh Pets found him at Manhattan ACC would lead me to believe that he wasn’t well cared for, but his gentle demeanor was clear evidence to me that, at least at some point in his brief life, he had been loved.  Now that Fritz is gone, I probably won’t take on any more fosters for a while.  It’s not because fostering is a painful process; rather, it is a joyful one, because I know my foster fur babies are going to great new homes, where they can be the center of attention and affection.

Which brings me to a beginning:  I am moving into a high-rise apartment right on the Long Beach Boardwalk next week while my house is getting elevated, a process that could take anywhere from six months to a year.  I had no choice but to take the apartment on a year’s lease, although it wouldn’t surprise me if it turns out that I have to stay there for the whole year anyway.  Who knows what my contractor will find when he raises this weird little Lego house, with its additions and done-on-a-dime renovations over the years since its first incarnation as a one-room beach bungalow back in the 1920s.

The coming months promise to be stressful, but as soon as I get settled into the new apartment, I will at least have an eye of calm in the potential shitstorm.  The only problem with my new abode is that the management company doesn’t know the full extent of my menagerie, so at least the first few weeks may involve some stealth on my part, which I am most assuredly NOT looking forward to.  What I am looking forward to is being literally an elevator ride and a few steps from the beach.  And this apartment also has a lovely little terrace that faces north, where on a clear day I can see across Reynolds Channel all the way to the middle of Long Island and off in the west I can see the skyscrapers of NYC, especially at night.  It will be interesting to get a different perspective from what I’ve become used to in the 12 years I’ve lived in my house in the West End of Long Beach.  True, I won’t have to familiarize myself with a whole new town, but I will be in an entirely different neighborhood.  The West End of Long Beach, with its narrow streets and restaurants in walking distance and robust night life,  is considerably different than  “over East”, as my daughter calls it, which is mostly residential homes and high rises, a bus or bike ride from any shops or eateries.  It’ll be a change of scenery to look forward to, in any event, and it’s a chance to start a whole new set of (hopefully better) habits.  I plan to start a boardwalk-walking regimen right away.

Another end this week?  Well, the Rangers’ 2015-16 season, and maybe even their playoff hopes for the foreseeable future, seeing as they’ve traded away so many prospects in the hopes of winning in the present.  Over the past few years they’ve gotten tantalizingly close but not close enough, and now the win-it-all window has most likely closed.  Sadly, they went out with a whimper, throttled by the high-powered Penguins in only five games.  If I’m being honest, they were actually a tough team to watch most of this season, failing to display the necessary killer instinct, giving up late goals and squandering valuable points.  Perhaps this core group has one more push in them, but they’re going to need some serious evaluation at the team level and soul-searching on an individual basis.  They were even bad at being bad, unable to lose quite enough at the end of the season so that they would fall into the first wild card spot and face the Florida Panthers instead of the Penguins.  The latter squad is on fire right now and may give the Washington Capitals, who have been a juggernaut all season (and my prohibitive favorite to FINALLY win the Cup this year), a serious run for their money.

I’m a little worried about two things:  First, will Coach Vigneault get axed?  It did seem as if he lost the room in the end.  And second, is Henrik Lundqvist, one of the world’s elite goaltenders, done?  As Henrik goes, so go the Rangers.  Henrik looked literally crushed on the bench after being pulled in the last game, and later in the locker room afterwards.  I often wondered if something was wrong with him, especially during this series but really throughout the latter weeks of the season.  How far the mighty King has fallen!  It used to be that he could do no wrong, but might his head have gotten too big?  Did he have to be brought back down to earth?  He’s usually such a cool customer, perfect in every way, but I detected on more than one occasion a pissiness this season, throwing up his arms in aggravation at his teammates or a lack of referee’s call.  My chiropractor, a fellow Ranger fan, said he lost all respect for Henrik one night when the team gave up a late goal (as was their wont), losing him a shutout, and you could read in the King’s body language his petty exasperation over the slight.

Speaking of losing one’s head, one last joyous, highly anticipated beginning this week:  GAME OF THRONES IS FINALLY BACK!!  During the past couple of months I have been reading and watching everything I could find on the Internet about the coming season, and now it has arrived!!  At the end of the premiere episode last night, I was almost angry at the fact that I’d have to wait A WHOLE OTHER WEEK before I could watch it again!  Fortunately, there’s a new post-show show on HBO called “After the Thrones” featuring two writers, Andy Greenwald and Chris Ryan, who used to do a similar video blog (or vidcast or whatever you call a podcast with video) under the late, lamented Grantland banner, to break down and discuss every aspect of each episode.  I am glad that they’ve been given a wider platform because I really enjoy their devoted and yet irreverent analyses.

GOT show runners David Benioff and D.B.Weiss have stated publicly that, after this Season 6, there is really only material for another 13 or so episodes, which they will probably split into two separate seasons (7 and 8), but then IT WILL BE OVER!!  THE END!!  I don’t know what I’ll do without it!  Of course by then I’ll hopefully have another volume of George R.R. Martin’s epic tome to get through.  I actually just finished Book Five, A Dance with Dragons, last week, just in time for the start of the new season.

There are certainly things I WANT to end – my current employment situation, for example, and this whole house-raising process – but there are others that I wish could go on forever (like Game of Thrones!).  I think that’s why I liked school so much:  Even though every year ended in May or June, come September, it would start all over again, with the promise of new and potentially wonderful experiences and bits of knowledge to be gleaned over the coming months.  There aren’t too many things like that anymore when you’re a non-teacher adult and, to be honest, I miss it.  Beginnings, middles and ends – but on some rare and wonderful occasions, we get to start all over again.

Lots of things that happen in our lifetimes may LOOK linear, but many more aspects of human life are cycles:  There is an end, yes, but it’s really just the beginning of something new.  I have no insight about this from a theological perspective.  To me, being born is THE BEGINNING, and when we die, as far as I know, that is THE END.  But I like to think that the end of one’s life on this plane will just be the start of some new life elsewhere.  And of course, at a very minimum, my physical body will return to the earth as ash and bone packed with nutrients for some future creation.

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