Tried a new type of coffee. I might stop drinking it with cream. It tastes better. That might be the sugar talking.
At a full stop this morning on the way to work. No caboose, but I was hopeful.
Tried a new type of coffee. I might stop drinking it with cream. It tastes better. That might be the sugar talking.
It is tough to go on the road again after just coming back and leaving next week, too. The upside, is that I have a job. And it is going to be 60 degrees warmer. The downside, my wife is back home and here we are, separated by weather, miles, and my increased potential for deep vein thrombosis from living at 40,000 ft.
Added in a few snaps as I flew over the snow (over CO) to the rugged and ridgey terrain of the southwest (over NM).
I’m about done watching a series on murders in OK in the 1980s. The only firm facts are that two women were murdered. Nothing else is certain. They’re both deceased. They both died after horrific assaults. What proceeded after both murders was a circus, a round up of suspects - guys with questionable morality and past bad reputations for inflicting their bullshit upon the world. A lot of convictions using hair samples. Human. Dog. Doesn’t matter. Get your guy. 1980s-style.
While everyone’s lining up their evidence, setting the trial dates, the mother of one of the women is losing herself completely. Driving back roads downing beers all night after work, no doubt because closing her eyes for a little rest would bring every detail to life. Minds are cruel like that. If you give your mind the space, it will let anything you give time to have a full and vivid life.
It’s a lot and like a horror movie plot, I already googled the spoilers.
There’s beauty in the breakdown. Frou Frou does not lie.
I sat next to a lady in her 80s (a guess) on my flight from Sacramento to Seattle today. She had a rain bonnet in her outer purse pocket just like my grandma used to. She was dressed warmly and spent the flight looking out the window (maybe to distract herself from the two people across from us yelling their life stories to each other, one an older guy with a first Battalion hat and the other a lady with a floral cane).
I want to do a study. I want to talk to a lot of old people to find out how they have coped with their lives. I do not think it’s what stuff we all focus on. It’s the how-we-are-doing-the-stuff that should be the focus.
Old folks have great perspectives. They don’t have a lot of ego left to shove up your nose. They’re authentic and direct. They could best tell me how they have coped with tragedy, success, the routine of life, what they learned, what they did when everything around them was changing faster than they were able to keep up with...what was important at the end of it all. I think they have the answers. This curious mind wants to know.
She offered me gum. The older lady. She shifted her flowery neck pillow and handed me some gum. “Want some?”
Be kind and generous. First lesson of ancient wisdom.
I stopped in at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery tonight. Seattle has a lot of coffee and it’s the mothership for SBUX. A guy handed me a sample of bourbon barrel aged Guatemalan cold brew coffee. We are talking $9 for a medium size cup. Hold onto your wallets, folks, someone is showing her baby boomer parents’ age.
In other news, I was listening to Whitney and Mariah sing “When You Believe” - from the Prince of Egypt soundtrack.
Yeah, I drift onto the rumble-strip.
The best part of the song is at 3:45. God only knows how this ended up in the 4,963 songs on my phone.
Oh, and this short verse from Monday. I saw the ocean, briefly, along the PCH, and it sprang from the depths of my Poor Poetry Department:
The smell of humidity again!
My hair has extra height,
And I have two more hours of morning!
I’ve been on the fence about the open office and how the prevailing opinion among management people is just how big of a dumb fad the open office really was (/ is, as there are many of us who will be open-officing for as long as it takes for the ROI to take full effect from all the painting of the walls and deconstructing of the work spaces).
Lately, I’ve been working through the chatter, which can be maddening. A person needs a quiet space to concentrate. My friend – at another company - closes her door just to put her head down on her desk sometimes. Whoever said you had to be flying like bullets all day to be effective? I tried to indicate as much to my boss as he was discussing how to pass down working hours to the team. I think it’s ok to say that 8-5 is a standard day if people ever take a break, which they rarely do where I work. It’s really a 9 hour day with no break. And if you’re expecting people to arrive at 7 and leave at 545/6pm, I predict a full-on productivity mutiny. People take it back in their own way when you micromanage their time.
Do I want my projects up and off the ground quickly? Yes. That does not mean running the team into the ground to get to it. I would like these people I work with to have something else to give in the latter half of the year.
Why not just talk to the few people who are creating the need to address the matter in the first place? We agreed on that point.
We have new moms on the team, too, and nothing is more upsetting than passing your newborn kid off to some childcare provider, no matter how trusted they are. You’re looking at the course of the day wanting to be back with your child again. (that’s how I felt, but I also used to surprise my first childcare person with surprise visits in the middle of the day until I found her sound asleep in a house full of crying babies and then it was ON)
I’m still preparing to host that week-long get together in Arizona at the end of the month and I will not have much time between now and then to work on the materials, collaborate with the people who are co-hosting, and dial it all in to make the time productive and rewarding for those who are attending. I am of the mind that something is as rewarding as the effort each person puts into it, but I’ll give it my best try to make it palatable.
I have been reminding myself of the five-year-rule: will any of this matter in five years – a question I have asked myself for the last 2 decades of my life, on and off, when things are really difficult. It brings reality back into focus when considering just how ridiculous immediate concerns can be. Mostly, it’s just chatter, and needs to be dismissed.
An article on FRB’s (Fast Radio Bursts) caught my eye today. Either we are being contacted by a far-off force, or it’s an astrophysical cause like the leftovers of a supernova, which is when a star dies, or explodes creating a brightness that dissipates – it’s maybe the radio waves that dissipation generates that is the burst we are hearing.
It is so far away and it’s repeating nature is speculative, at best. It could be the attempts to give a repeating pattern from an intelligent life form looking for others out there. It could be the equipment malfunctioning.
If the universe is infinitely bigger than anything I can comprehend, it is possible to have a completely functioning set of life forms, the same or something I would not recognize, out there, on the other side of our solar system, so far away as the two cannot touch each other. But, one day, some gnarly scientist figures out a way to send a very long-distance signal, which is, intercepted after a near-forever period of human evolution, when we are finally able to receive such messages.
And this could well be a gripping sci-fi novel, and likely has been already.
I’ve been paying attention to the plot lines of movies and books a lot more lately. If you are a writer, then you write, and I’m following that rule down to the very page these days, and for me it includes self-awareness about how others are writing.
A giant amount of storylines are oriented around this one concept:
former state infused with trust >
betrayal of trust >
new state with
1) lesson learned or
2) lesson not learned or
3) no sense of whether or not lesson is important to the plot
Some stories just end, kind of meh-style.
I watched 3 Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri the other night. That just ended on a “this is how it is” note. Not too far from the truth in the aftermath of a crime.
If everything fit neatly into a categorized box, and if there were shelves and spaces for every box to live, it would not be the life we know now.
Life as we know it is full of messy details scattered everywhere. We are a collection of those details, our very own history, like it or not. It’s really the not-liking of our flaws or messiness that causes us the most grief. Creates the self-loathing. Old people will tell you to brush off the disappointments in life and be something right now. The right now, the present moment, you know where I’m going with this...
I was reading up on radical self-acceptance at the prompting of a friend who knows I have enough self-loathing for an entire nation of prairie dogs, who are an underserved population when it comes to self-loathing, I suspect. It is really something to look upon yourself as you are, not as we fight to make ourselves appear before the world.
Oh yes there is a difference, most of the time! I hear you though, we would like to think we are not overdoing it on our efforts to hide our weak spots.
I was getting my eyes checked last week, got new lenses so I can see better. The eye doctor told me my eyesight hasn’t been great from the start, and it will not get better. He said we work pretty hard to pretend we are not losing ground in some places of our lives, but that is the reality of it. I know, you’re thinking: that message to customers is so bad for business! To point out the reality of our degrading bodies (and minds, if we are being really truthful) is just way off the ranch for some customers – apparently he did not think I was one of them, or he says that to everyone.
Do you want to be lied to forever? Not me. More often than not, I will put it out there to myself, to others. It has had some disturbing effects over the years.
We all face the truthfulness of our circumstances as a human anyway, and denial just makes it more painful. That does not mean everyone wants a piece of my opinion. You included. I wish I could be different and I suppose with every breath, I am trying.
I am coming to terms with it all, this whole shooting match of being a person.
Maybe just a little bite a day at a time is best.
I was working away this morning when I heard a loud crash, which was accompanied by either a cloud of dust or smoke – it smelled like smoke, something plastic burning. It reminded me of the quickening of our lives. I remember feeling my son move on the inside of me at 3 weeks, it was what prompted me to check to see if I was pregnant. That, and smelling raw meat was suddenly unbearable.
It was a rare feeling, one I felt again this morning. A little closer to touching what our lifeblood is? A little taste of the distance between here and not here? Hard to describe.
I felt it one other time when I was running for my life in a pasture in England, a place behind our subdivision, a wild place with bunkers from WWII still evident here and there – bunkers I would never go into because all the druggies did H there.
No, we had only been playing together, us girls, running around pretending some game when we spotted him walking down from one of the old cotton mills. From far off, I remember thinking, pay attention to that and I did, and as he got closer it was clear he was intending to come into contact with us.
When he really made his intentions known, everyone split up. I ran as hard and as fast as I could. I put a big pond between the two of us and then slipped out of sight into a thicket. It was summer and the leaves hid me. (thank you, Mother Nature, goddesses)
I held my breath as he ran by, and the moment he did, I felt a strange feeling occur. It was as though I was coming into contact with something other-worldly. Prickly electricity. I took off toward home the moment he passed me, running in the opposite direction. I hate to be chased. Usually, if someone is chasing me, I would sooner stop and confront them than be caught up to. Not a great strategy. Except that day, I ran like hell. I found my friends. We exchanged breathlessness and terror, then we told our parents and got a snack. Life went on.
Favorite song below.
Shamelessly, I picked up Christmas dinner from Cracker Barrel. The only thing that bothers me about it is that they had a pretty bad rap there for a while about divesting gay people of their jobs, or the opportunity of a job. It kept me from their biscuits and gravy for a very long time. Today, with a touch of reassuring irony, the woman who served me up two big boxes and a couple of pies, was indeed of the sisterhood.
I cut 6" off the top of the tree this morning to move the coffee table from the center of the room and the tree beneath it. Once I light a fire on Tuesday, I do not need the tree smoking the house to the ground with a dozen people crammed around the table. It was something to get it off the ground; a serious mouth full of pine needles.
The grocery store was a zoo today. I went up to get some cheese and olives and some flowers for the table. A friend of mine once remarked how much flowers brighten up the day, and I tend to agree.
I think you and I both need a poem tonight. I paused for a bit after writing this and thumbed through some Emily Dickinson, but I have realized only now how little I like her poems. I have had that anthology a long time. I may give it away.
The Secret History, by Donna Tartt, (forgive me Father, for I have utilized Wikipedia) is ranked in my top 5 favorite books. Alma Rose is close to my #1 favorite. Of course, in my head all of these books all sit on the #1 favorite spot, elbowing each other for rank. I've read both books 3 or more times, and anything that can garner that much of my attention is most certainly tops.
So, I'm taking a passage out of it tonight for you to take away, out into the blackness of the night perfectly punctuated by the fullest of moons:
"To say that the dinner went badly would be an exaggeration, but it didn't go all that well, either. Though I didn't do anything stupid, exactly, or say anything that I shouldn't, I felt dejected and bilious, and I talked little and ate even less. Much of the talk centered around events to which I was not privy, and even Charles's kind parenthetical remarks of explanation did not help much to clarify it. Henry and Francis argued interminably about how far apart the soldiers in a Roman legion had stood: shoulder to shoulder (as Francis said) or (as Henry maintained) three or four feet apart. This led into an even longer argument - hard to follow and, to me, intensely boring - about whether Hesiod's primordial Chaos was simply empty space or chaos in the modern sense of the word. Camilla put on a Josephine Baker record; Bunny ate my lamb chop.
I left early. Both Francis and Henry offered to drive me home, which for some reason made me feel even worse. I told them I'd rather walk, thanks, and backed out of the apartment, smiling, practically delirious, my face burning under the collective gaze of cool, curious solicitude.
It wasn't far to school, only fifteen minutes, but it was getting cold and my head hurt and the whole evening had left me with a keen sense of inadequacy and failure which grew keener with every step. I moved relentlessly over the evening, back and forth, straining to remember exact words, telling inflections, any subtle insults or kindnesses I might've missed, and my mind - quite willingly - supplied various distortions.
When I got to my room it was silver and alien with moonlight, the window still open and the Parmenides open on the desk where I had left it; a half-drunk coffee from the snack bar stood beside it, cold in its styrofoam cup. The room was chilly but I didn't shut the window. Instead, I lay down on my bed, without taking off my shoes, without turning on the light.
As I lay on my side, staring at a pool of white moonlight on the wooden floor, a gust of wind blew the curtains out, long and pale as ghosts. As though an invisible hand were leafing through them, the pages of the Parmenides rippled back and forth..."
I just finished up some work looming over my head and now I am free until Jan 2, when I return to work. I will be in 3 other states by Jan 28th. Lately, I’ve been working through all this travel with my wife, and we are both satisfied that our jobs are demanding, but rewarding, and that a relationship is what you make of the time you have together. For now, the biggest thing on the agenda, besides packing the extended family into our modest house on Christmas Day, is making some cookies with royal icing, finishing gift wrapping, and dragging the family to Midnight Mass at Cathedral Basilica. I really want to take communion, but Catholics do it differently, and practice as I have, I cannot remember all the steps. I cross myself in the wrong order – what can I say, I was raised Pentecostal.
I’m sure this will be met with an array of huffs and puffs from our teenager. He fell asleep on me the last time we went to mass at 10pm, never mind midnight.
I was considering what to wear. I have been contemplating enlarging my skirt collection. We’ll see.
The Archdiocese sent out a letter in early December. I snapped it up before it went into the recycling bin. It contains a lot of information never seen on their letterhead before. Such as: I apologize to those who have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of the clergy. It goes on, for two whole pages. It’s well-written. Candid, too. I felt it came from the right place.
I grew up around pastors and churches. If it’s one thing those guys love, it’s the power they wield. Church is a big business, regardless of denomination. First, there are a lot of people under the command of the pastor. Secondly, those people represent two forms of capital – free human labor and financial revenue. When I was 10, the church I attended in the UK went through a split. That is, one portion of the church departed with the former pastor, who had been ousted in a kind of coup, by the remaining parishioners. The correlations of war are appropriate here. Character assassination, threats, general badmouthing, and definite back door strategies to overthrow were all employed.
The mega churches of this world represent an incredibly scaled up version of the smallish church I attended as a child. The stakes are far higher. The corruption is abundant anywhere power is in play. My favorite tactic is the super-anti-gay pastors who are later caught in same-sex acts. Where else but in plain sight is it best to hide?
Humans are seriously fucked up. We cannot find our asses with a flashlight, as the saying goes. Not one of us is exempt, either. It’s a learn from your mistakes kind of gig. Depends on how many goes at the mistake you’d like to take.
The laundry is calling. The Saturday nights I’ve been having this year are pretty epic. Before I go, let me say a bit more. Gripping, life-changing stuff!
My favorite thing to eat lately is whole milk Greek yogurt + KIND honey nut granola + fresh blueberries. If you let it sit together in the fridge for a while you will not chip a tooth on the granola.
I have arrived at the 9th book in the Tales of the City series, The Days of Anna Madrigal. To me, these 9 books represent Gay Americana, a kind of 101-historical experience – a read befitting everyone, but most definitely my rainbow people. I have enjoyed each chapter. I haven’t enjoyed a series of books like that since I read all of Outlander – a massive collection. Showtime is only just starting to unpeel the layers of that epic master many years after its debut in the Romance section, of all places. It unfolds into a historical thriller, in my opinion. While it’s steamy in spots, it is equally violent and true to each era. Go get some! I need something new to read.
My great Aunt called me today. She left a really long message. It’s why I did not pick up. I like to save her messages. She is 89, after all. If I had thought it through, I would have recorded my grandparents a lot.
I was at the candy store a few weeks back. A woman was chasing her kid around.
“Quila! Quila!!” she shouted, as the child ran around, literally a kid in a candy store. Suddenly, the mom was at her wits end. And then she let her have it: “TE-QUILA!! Get over here!!!”
I had to wait until December, but that takes the cake for my 2018 Name of the Year.
Me: ”don’t take it personally but I’m gonna tune you out...”
Doc: “ha ha”
Creating within the protective, mildly narcissistic/over-sharing shell; low-scale pressure, nothing to live up to except to frequently teleport into the open field of mind-space. I have turned off the comments section; if you're burning to talk with me, click the icon at the top of the page and send me an email.