Friday, February 29, 2008

When Things Turn Left

This weekend I was planning to fly to New Mexico to visit family. The plan did not come to fruition.  It was a tightly laid plan, a quick turnaround trip, coordinating arrival times at a certain destination with multiple family members.  When the airlines cancelled the flight out and could not rebook in an acceptable window I decided to cancel the entire trip.  As rebooked, what had been planned as a four day visit turned into a one day visit, with long flights on the onbound leg.  Oddly enough, this has happened to me multiple times trying to get down into the Southwest.

I was frustrated of course, especially since the same scenario has unravelled like this before.  So, I spent most of Thursday in a state of borderline frustration and then spent most of today resting, sleeping, reading, and listening to music.  I must have needed the sleep because, generally, I am not that still for that long of a period of time.

It is evening now, I just got back from dinner, wandered around in the early night for a while, and decided to write a little bit.  Perhaps the reason for the cancelled flights was the universe telling me I needed to rest and recuperate more than I needed to fly.  Perhaps there was no reason.  Either way, I enjoyed the day, and I am enjoying the evening, and that is enough.  That is the self that is revealed when the plans called for a right turn, and we ended up with a left turn.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Heroes & Friends

You can dedicate your life
To breaking down the walls
To ringing the alarm
And screaming down the halls
You can stand in judgement of the meaning in the end
That we are all just Heroes and friends. - Melissa Etheridge


I was listening to this CD today as I drove to and from work - for whatever reasons there are this particular verse has stuck with me all day.  It has been playing in the back of my mind.  I really don't have any particular insight related to it.  It simply is.  Perhaps I am just too tired to tease the meaning from it.  Perhaps I am just content to let it stand on its own.  Whatever the reason, it is resonating inside of me.  Sometimes there is a reason. Sometimes things just are.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Leaving Carolina

Leaving Carolina
-February 19, 2008
 San Jose, California

I've packed a bag
It's laying by the door
I stayed as long as I could
I couldn't do any more

You can hear my heartbeat
Hear it stutter as it breaks
Your words are the right ones
But your heart only takes

I'm leaving Carolina
It's time to slip away
I'm leaving Carolina
I can't stay

I'm lying here beside you
Your body pressed to mine
You kissed me goodnight
With your lips of bitter wine

You've told me that you love me
Your eyes tell me your lying
You've told me a hundred times
But I am through with crying

I'm leaving Carolina
It's time to slip away
I'm leaving Carolina
I can't stay

You're honey sweet to me
and I'm in love with you
You tell me you're constant
and you tell me that you're true

So soft and gentle are your lies
They've spun me time again
Like the soft silk of a spider
Like the wash of gentle rain

I'm leaving Carolina
It's time to slip away
I'm leaving Carolina
I can't stay

I'm leaving Carolina
It's time to slip away
I'm leaving Carolina
I can't stay...


The Song of the Subtle Knot

The Song of the Subtle Knot

I dreamt last night
of strands of silk
black and white
that were tied in a subtle knot
pressed into flesh
I tossed and turned
in the dream of the subtle knot
and woke with that
sense of loss
that arises not from sadness
but from that moment
when we are spent
and all that binds us
to the waking world
is the song of the subtle knot

-San Jose, CA


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Fever Dreams

It is a beautiful evening here in California.  The temperature in the low sixties, the sun is just setting, the sky is very blue, and I am drinking a large chocolate shake.  I love the simple pleasures in life.

On Sunday, about four in the afternoon, I pulled into the parking lot of Las Palmas Mercado y Carnecia on Saratoga Avenue to pick up some incidentals.  I needed a pork shoulder for a pot of beans I was planning on running through the slow cooker, I wanted some flan for desert, and I have long been partial to Mexican sodas (particularly Jarritos Mandarin Orange).  As I came out of the store I sat for a moment in the parking lot basking in the setting sun and listening to the radio.  It was then that I noticed I just felt...sort of...sort of.  It was the first symptom of the flu.

By seven that evening the flu had me - my stomach was churning, my neck and head ached, and I was starting to run a slight fever.  It was a forty eight hour bug.  It was virulent enough that I did not get more than an hour or two of straight sleep until early Tuesday morning.  I tossed and turned in and out of the flu fever.  Sometimes I was chilled, sometimes I was drenched in sweat.  I lost my appetite completely.  All food and drink became bland and tasteless, simply calories for the flu to burn off its its course through my system.

Two things that happened during that particular bug stand out in my mind.  First, Sunday night, my nephew Tom had taken over cooking dinner and in the process he attempted unsuccessfully to send the peelings of several potatoes down the garbage disposal.  There is a problem with fresh potato peels in a garbage disposal.  The disposal basically shreds them into small chunks and, you guessed it, those small chunks clogged the drain. The disposal in my apartment drains through a series of small holes in the outer rim of the disposal and those holes became completely jammed.  My nephew siphoned out what he could with a long handled spoon and then I pitched in.  I flipped the breaker and put my hand down into the disposal and in small pinches spent a half hour pulling out tiny pieces of potato.  We were not able to completely clear the drain, but we were able to clear it enough that the water slowly drained out through the potato chunks.  That was good enough for me as the fever settled in.

The second thing happened sometimeMonday night or early Tuesday morning.  I was tossing in a fever dream, drenched in sweat, when I half imagined and half dreamed that I was naked, curled up in a white styrofoam container, my sweat drenched skin sticking to the stryofoam.  In the dream I was in an egg cartoon, in one of the individual egg holders.  I knew that, as soon as someone picked up the egg cartoon and shook it and I stopped sticking to the walls of stryofoam that the fever would have broken.  I knew that the egg carton was in a paper sack, inside a larger canvas grocery bag, so as long as the shaker was relatively careful there wasn't really any risk of them breaking any of the eggs, or me, with gentle shaking.  I had confidence that the shaker knew what they were doing and would not try to force the issue by shaking the egg carton to violently.  That confidence enabled me to drift in and out of a fevered sleep, even as I knew I was dreaming I was in an egg carton.

A few hours later that particular fever peaked and let go and I woke up long enough to run through a hot shower, change the sheets, and change into a dry set of pajamas.  While showering I noticed a peculiar wound on my hand.  There were two patches of skin - each about an eighth of an inch square - missing on the outside of my right little finger*, and the outside of my right index finger.  It truly puzzled me for a while, until after I got out of the shower and sat down with a big glass of orange juice and I realized that I had basically worn or torn the skin off when I forced my hand into the throat of the disposal unit in the kitchen sink and then twisted my hand back and forth as I caught tiny pinches of minced potato.  The rubber seal of the disposal had basically given me the equivalent of an eraser burn along the outside of my hand where the fingers meet the knuckles.  Or the skin stuck to the sides of the egg cartoon.  I am not sure which really happened.

Fever dreams are just cool, though the fever part of them generally isn't.

Eventually, about a day later, the remaining bits of potato soaked through and became soft enough that a plunger was able to push them through the disposal into the drain.

*I often refer to the little finger on my right hand as my mutant finger.  (Anyone remember the old science fiction TV show V?)  When I was in my later teens, I spent the better part of a year with a broken little finger.  I broke it three times in a row (each before it ever truly healed) over the course of successive months.  The first time I broke it was an accident where it got caught between a pipe wrench and a concrete wall when I was busting open the trap on a drain.  I threw all my weight into it, expecting serious resistence and it gave instantly, slamming my hand and snapping my finger.  My brother set it right there and taped it up with plumbing tape.  My Dad took a look at it and told me if it bothered me let him know and he would take me down to IHS (Indian Health Services).  Plumbing tape was fine with me.  About two months later, being a dominate right hander, I landed a wicked right cross on T.L.'s head in a general melee in the back stairwell at high school.  It had absolutely no effect on T.L., but sent me to my knees as this time I managed to break it and twist it way back.  Mad Max and Hawk took me down to the janitors room where Tommy Hawk straightened it out, taped it back up, and gave us a bucket of ice for me to soak it in.  He also gave us some free soda.  A few months later, in EXACTLY the same place in the back stairwell I threw another right cross and broke it again. I am pretty sure I hit the bannister of the stairwell. It eventually healed and I learned to tape it to the finger next to it if I even thought there was a chance I needed to throw a right cross.  It never healed right though and to this day is twisted in a sort of half rotation (and I type with nine fingers because of it).  It is almost unnoticeable because the natural position a person carries their hand in is slightly curled.  It is only when I straighten my hand out that it is noticeable.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Why Write An Online Journal?

Why Write An Online Journal?

I've been considering writing an online journal for a little over a year now.  I haven't quite found the time to start so it always remained as one of those things that I contemplated but never started. These are the reasons why I have decided to start now.

New Years Resolution:

One of my New Years Resolution is to dedicate a set amount of time per week to the simple act of reflection.  To sit in the silence and just...think...about things.  About the events that happened during the week.  About the emotions that rose and fell.  About the things I saw and did and failed to do. 

An Instrument of Clarity:

I have always turned to journalling as an instrument of clarity.  The process of writing helps me to order my thoughts, to sort through the hurly burly of my imagination, to wade through all of the powerful sensations the course through us at a given time.

An Old Influence:

Back in my early days in the web I had stumbled upon a web site, constructed by a teacher in Southern California, who wrote about - well, pretty much everything that moved through his days.   It was a strong influence in my abiding love for the power of the world wide web, the power to peer into other peoples lives and so to experience things beyond ourselves, to glimspe the inner processes of other individuals.  This was back before the explosion of blogging and though there are several blogs that I routinely read, I still think fondly of long days I spent reading that website.  I hope that, in reading this, there is someone who realizes that the web does not have to be relentlessly snide and shallow, that all we need to do, as individuals, is reach inside of ourselves and exposes ourselves slightly.

A Desire To Write:

Finally, I love to write - as I mentioned above I love the process of writing, I love the sweep of a well told story.  Writing is like any other skill - if you do not use it, it slips away.  I write extensively for work - mostly technical documentation and business cases and complex analyses.  I love the work, I love the writing, but it is not the same as writing journal entries, or poetry, or short stories.  I hope to share some of those through this venue.

So, if you have clicked on that link and are now reading this journal - thanks.  I hope you find something here you enjoy.

-San Jose, CA