Saturday, March 25, 2017

Saturday Slides By

Friday was my day off at work. It was a completely slack day. I slept close to a total of 12 hours Thursday night into Friday. After being up for a while and writing the last entry here on my blog I went back to sleep and slept another six hours, waking up at about 830 in the morning. I can't remember the last time I slept that much. I must've needed it.

I had three dreams, all of them traveling dreams, one of them a film noir train traveling dream with grand hotels in the middle of America. I think it was influenced by her film noir dream that TR had during the week and shared with me.

Today was a good day, Saturday that is, and it flowed relatively smooth and productively. I slept in a bit, waking up at about 7:30 AM, and then picked up Tyrone for breakfast. Bob wasn't feeling up for breakfast since he had chemo earlier in the week. After breakfast Tyrone and I went over to enterprise rental car and he pick the car up to last him for the coming week while his motorcycle is in the repair shop.

From there I ran a couple of small errands – stopped at the auto supply store and picked up some Rain-X, stopped at the drugstore and picked up some essentials, swing over to LensCrafters and order a new pair of sunglasses, then ducked into target and picked up some eyeglass cleaning stuff. After that I headed home for some lunch. I tried to take a quick nap but wasn't successful, probably because I got enough sleep in the last two days that I didn't need the nap.

So, I swung over to visit Bob for a while and spent about an hour with him watching bits and pieces of movies as this is habit to joke among multiple movies on TV. Oni kept us company but was it a testy mood. She did not want to get petted, but she insisted on laying right next to me. She wanted company but only on her terms which is always a cats prerogative. Afterword I swung home and settled in to watch some stuff off the DVR – Elementary, Last Man Standing, and Dr. Ken. Dinner was pizza.

Then I ordered an enjoyable movie on demand – Jane Got A Gun, with Natalie Portman. I think Natalie Portman is a great actress so I usually catch her movies when they're in the theater, but I don't know if this one got a release or if I just missed it. Either way I like the movie, it's an understated western with the big climatic gun battle and a satisfying resolution at the end. I'd recommend it if you like Natalie Portman or westerns or both.

Since and I've been sitting here moving DVDs from their cases into a binder. I don't have many DVDs left and the ones I had were mostly in a black case. It's my intention to dissemble the black case and throw it away. It's a display case I've had for a long time, that I inherited when an old roommate got married. It's a nice display case but it's a little damaged - so it's future is a sledgehammer in the dumpster, all in my quest to minimize, minimize, minimize.

Amusingly, in my collection of movies, about a good 20 of them have never been opened. I was going to sit here and open them but it dawns on me that I might as well just throw them away since I obviously didn't watch him in the first place. On that note I'm going to finish off that task and then call it a night. Until tomorrow!

Friday, March 24, 2017

One O'clock

It's one o'clock and I'm up watching an episode of Modern Family. I was a bit mentally exhausted at the end of a rich four days of work and so I crawled into bed at a little after 6:00 PM and zonked out. Zonked out being the technical term for falling straight into a deep sleep. I slept for a good six hours straight and woke up a short while ago.

It's kind of a beautiful night out there, cool and quiet. It's been a long time since I've been awake at this hour. Strange the cycles we fall into. Of course, like most people my cycle is very traditional, driven by the requirements of the working world. It's easy to forget what it is like to be free of the artificial cycle of the industrial world.

Work continues at a high cycle and I've got a couple of small projects on the edge of slipping and I've spent the last two weeks running a pilot project that's very time consuming. Work itself is full of many small cycles and when they don't line up there is a lot of turmoil. I'm wrapped in that turmoil right now. I'd like to be free of it. I'd like to move through days without constantly losing the present to concerns of the future.

Deep thoughts for the middle of the night, but that's what the deep night is best for. I'm going to head back to bed here shortly, read a bit, and then fall back to sleep. It should be a good three days off, even though I will choose to throw some more hours at work.



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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Logan and The Tome of Bill

I'm feeling kind of fenced in today. Though it was a good day I feel like I ran through it. Just a little too much to do and not quite enough time, both on the personal level and in all the things that orbit around me. All I know is to dig in and dig out. I'm feeling more relaxed here in the evening as I get ready to call it a night, but the day itself carried a little to much stress. I'm glad to shake it off. Hopefully I'll get a good nights sleep and wake up with a new perspective.

Stress aside it was a fairly good day. I woke early and had a decent breakfast with Tyrone. Bob wasn't up to getting out today, so I'll circle around and take him to see Logan at some future date. Speaking of which I saw Logan today. Great little action movie. X-23 has been a favorite character of mine for quite a while and I thought they did a good job of bringing her to life on the big screen. I'd definitely recommend the movie.

On that rather short note I'll call in a night and curl up with the novel I've been reading - The Last Coven (Tome of Bill #8) by Rick Gualtieri. The whole Tome of Bill series is an entertaining set of humorous urban fantasy books. That's another thing I'd recommend today if you like funny urban fantasy. I'll write more about the series at another time. For tonight, I'll just curl up and enjoy it.


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Saturday, March 18, 2017

The End Is Important In All Things

The title of this entry is the last line spoken in one of my favorite movies. I wrapped up the day with a double header of movies - one old, one new. First, I watched "Blood Father" with Mel Gibson. Then, I watched "Ghost Dog" with Forrest Whitaker. An excellent little pair for a pleasant Saturday.

I started the day with breakfast with Tyrone, the stopped to stock up on cleaning supplies at the store. From there I spent an hour or so at Bob's watching King (the one with Adrian Brody and Jack Black). Afterwards a quick cheeseburger for lunch, then a post lunch walk. From there, a nap, then making dinner of macaroni and cheese (very tasty if I say so myself). Then my little movie double header.
A very nice and relaxing little day. The plan for tomorrow is to see Logan with Bob and Tyrone and do my best to be fully present in the day.

The Hagakure plays a significant role in the movie Ghost Dog. It is one of those simple and profound books that has the potential to alter your world view if you're in the right place for its lessons to move you. I know it has been a constant companion of mine since it wandered across my path many years ago. I'd hit recommend it if you're looking for something to read.

On that note, I'm going to wrap up the day and slip into bed with the book I'm reading right now. Hopefully I'll read myself off into a good nights sleep.

Remember - the end is important in all things.


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The Song of the Wild Geese

I managed to get a good nights sleep last night. That helped improve my mood greatly. This morning is kind of gray and cool and we got two more waves of rain moving through next week – but spring is coming! The wild geese have been flying overhead in the morning. It is always a beautiful sight.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do today. I'll meet Tyrone for breakfast here shortly, and then after that I'm inclined to take a chance on a movie of some sort. We are supposed to go see Logan tomorrow – by we I mean Bob and Tyrone and I - so that's off the list of potential's for today. But I'm sure there's quite a few other movies out there that I haven't even seen yet.

I've got ample small things around the house to do if I elect to just have a quiet day at home. On the other hand, after all the hours I've been working, I am half tempted to go out and just wonderful a while. I haven't done a museum walk for quite a while now. Specifically I was thinking about going up to the Triton in Santa Clara.

Well, we will see what the day has in store. Let me finish up this cup of coffee, and I'm gonna head out and put some gas in the car, and pick up Tyrone for breakfast. The rest of it I'll just take as it comes.

Friday, March 17, 2017

On Friday, I Shake It Off

Well, that was a pair of days.  Work is very chaotic and high volume at this point and it is taking a toll.  The last pair of evenings I did get some time to relax and unwind, but as of this morning it wasn't enough. I had a sleepless night with an interruption that made me very cranky.  When my alarm woke me this morning I had to hit the snooze button and get some more sleep.  It helped, but not a lot.

Additionally, I've had some entertaining interruptions the last two days layered on top of the work load.  My friend Tyrone had his new motorcycle stolen from in front of his apartment three days ago (on Wednesday).  Fortunately the police recovered it a few blocks away - because the thieves who stole it crashed it and was trying to fix it on the side of the road. 

As they were trying to fix it, they broke into a car on the side of the street to see if they could get some tools.  The owners of the car heard the commotion and called the police.  The thieves got away, but not before the daughter of the homeowner shot some video of them.  Now, most likely, they won't be caught - but the odds are good the police will be able to pull a case together if they can identify the suspects.

So, I've given Tyrone a ride home from work the last two days since he is without transportation.  I'll probably pick him up again today, but next week he's going to have figure out another solution.  It's about a two hour trip to pick him up and take him home and then make it back to my home and that is a big chunk of the day.  My plan today is to browbeat into spending some money and renting a car.

I often joke with people that MY life is pretty straightforward and drama free.  What stress and drama I have tends to come from the stress and drama in the people around me spilling over into my world. I'm a pretty resilient person and I see my friends sometimes struggle with rolling with the punches of life.

Here is the way I look at it in a nutshell.  Life is a rough and tumble game. You're going to get knocked down. You're going to get battered.  You're going to pick up some bruises and scars along the way.  The trick is to understand that it's not personal. It's just life.  Shake it off and get back into the game.

So, with that little pep talk for myself, today I am going to shake it up and get back in the game.

Simon and Garfunkel - The Boxer

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Like The Dude, I Abide

The chaos was not quite as bad today. I did have some periods of time where I got some actual work done. That's always a good feeling. If I had one principal complain about the high work rhythm it's that there never seems to be an end or a sense of completion. It is like fighting the ocean, there is always another wave coming.

Our wave crested on Monday. They announced that our current director would be leaving at the end of the month and we were being moved into an already existing organization. Continuity matters when it comes to organizational effectiveness. I have to say, honestly, that I've never had good continuity at the upper leadership levels since I have been with the evil corporation for 19 years. The average director seems to last maybe a year and a half. Oddly enough the director that lasted the longest was pretty horrible, both as a professional and as a person. Maybe that's what it takes to survive the Game of Thrones in corporate America.

I keep my head down and I keep working and I move in the shadows. Damn, I sound like some kind of corporate ninja. The sad thing is that from my point of view the director we just lost was actually one of the better ones. She knew the business, she knew the functions, and she seem to be a decent human being. Now, I know nothing about the new director, he's relatively new so I have my fingers crossed that he's at least as good. We'll find out!

One advantage I have is that I'm already across the threshold for early retirement. So, to a degree, I could care less what happens. If things turn bad I just move on and start the next chapter of my life. It's a very good position to being. Knowing where the escape hatch is and having my parachute on lessons the stress significantly. It does not make it vantage, I think the working world will always carry a layer of stress with it, but it makes the impact less because I have options.

So the sun keeps rising, the moon keeps falling, the tides come and go, and in the land of flying monkeys, like The Dude I abide.

Monday, March 13, 2017

A Spot of Tea

Chaos Tea would be a good name for a band.

It is a little after 7 o'clock in the evening here in California. The workday was as chaotic as I expected. I had a solid block of meetings from 8:00 AM until 1:30 PM. That is always brutal on a Monday because everyone tries to hit the deck running and email are flying all over.

I made it through the day and tomorrow's calendar is fairly clear, so I've blocked out some time for what I called Project 125. It's the number of backlogged email I want to try and get through.

I wrapped work around 5:00 PM then popped out for a bite to eat at a local dinner. It was tasty and quite which is exactly what I was looking for. After dinner I circled back home, restocked my tea box, and made myself a nice cup of Harrowgate of London Orange & Lemon tea to savor as the sun sets on a beautiful evening.

My mind is kind of exhausted from all the mental gymnastics of the day so my energy is running a bit low. Savoring a cup of tea has restorative powers, even more so when it's coupled with the poetry of Mary Oliver (which I always get confused with the music of Jane Olivor).

So, with a cup of good tea and a good book of poetry I wish you, dear reader, all of the good things in life - and tomorrow is another day!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Strange Days

These have been strange days.

If I had to sum it up in a nutshell - over the last year or so I've lost a lot of focus. Between the work overload and assorted bits of chaos in my personal life I became cluttered. I've been working this year to regain some of the clarity I've lost. My motivation has been low. When all it seems you're trying to do is move sand dunes you tend to get tired of shoveling sand.

This weekend was pretty good, though I moved through it under the shadow of work. The weather in this part of California was stunningly beautiful and a welcome relief from the long wet winter. It was nice just wandering around in the sun.

I met up with Tyrone at the Hickory Pit, then swung over to visit Bob for a while. It was a nice visit, all things considered. Brandy swung by my place during the day and dropped of several servings of chicken tortilla soup from her restaurant. After that I ran a few errands and then met Rick for lunch down at an Asian Fusion place. I had a miso glazed piece of sea bass that was truly outstanding.

From there I swung home and spent a lazy few hours watching a movie (Killing Me Softly) and then The Simpsons. My inner clock is still off due to the switch to daylight savings time today.

I'm not looking forward to work tomorrow because the chaos level is going to be pretty high. But, it will be a good day otherwise and I'll get a chance to work on my detachment from expectations and cognitive focus on attaining key steps in a wide variety of projects.

It's weird because I know all kinds of tricks and techniques for controlling workflow, detaching from expectations, and attaining clarity - I'm just struggling to implement them.

On that note I'm going to call it a night and curl up with a book to read myself to sleep.


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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

At Years End

It's been a long and strange year.

I worked way too much. We had what amounted to being the perfect storm at work. We had three major projects, all on tight timelines, all with hard deadlines, all driven by external forces. I had the lead role on one of the projects and a key secondary role on another. Between the two of them but they ate much of the year.  The level of work stress was nearly unbearable. But, here it is the end of the year, the last of the projects is coming to a close, and it looks like I'm going to make it.

That workload had cascading affects into my personal life. One of the things that lives in the nature of what I do, project management, is that a lot of it is intellectual work. You spend a lot of time thinking about what is going on. You cannot turn off that level of thought, that depth, that complexity. Even when you're not working your brain keeps working. Sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously.

That is where the cascade begins. You start to shave off the corners of your life one tiny sliver at a time. You skip dinner here. You skip coffee there. You miss first this get together of your friends and then that one. Before you know it you're so show map resembles a small town more than an urban Metropolis. That's where I found myself about three quarters into the year. It wasn't a pleasant place to be.

Now, I'm in eternal optimist and I'm basically a happy person. Neither one of those core traits changes. Even through the tough times I'm a happy optimist. But that level of readjustment in social contacts does have its impacts and I felt them.

In addition to them this year had several other key social hits that took a toll. I won't enumerate them here mostly because of my rule about taking other peoples business onto the street. Don't do it.

So I'm kind of stumbling out of the year in a state of borderline exhaustion. But that optimist in me is looking forward to the coming year. Perfect storms only happen rarely so work wise the coming year should be far more graceful. I've spent the last week contemplating what different actions I'm going to take next year and I've got a good rough sketch of what I need to do. Wish me luck.

May all beings know happiness and be free from suffering.

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