Thursday, May 31, 2012

Work Frustrations

I'm not entirely sure how I hijacked my own blog and started writing extensively about work.  Maybe work, to a degree, has hijacked me.  I had a frustrating day today, mainly due to the overall volume of work, but that was just the surface that irritated something deeper. 

I am not sure what the deeper thing is that has kept me irritated at work, that has made me so frustrated, that makes me sensitive to the irritations of it all.  I think I will spend some time this weekend thinking about that and meditating on it. In conversation today I characterized my work environment as being 90% good and 10% bad, and I realize that for a lot of people that would be paradise. But, for some reason, the 10% frustrates me so badly that I find myself climbing the walls. 

Today, my trigger point was that yesterday I had sent an email asking for clarification on a project I was working on - and today, when I read the response from my upper management - well, it completely muddled things up.  From there, I struggled with staying present and motivated. I was able to, through techniques I've learned and through focusing on one task at a time.  I even managed to work myself into a good mood, then I had an afternoon meeting that spun me back into frustration - talking about the thing that had frustrated me to start with. 

Yes, definitely something I am going to think about and meditate on over the weekend.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Patience, Grasshopper

“Patience, grasshopper,” said Maia. “Good things come to those who wait.”

“I always thought that was ‘Good things come to those who do the wave,’” said Simon. “No wonder I’ve been so confused all my life.”

-Cassandra Clare, “City of Glass”


Monday, May 28, 2012

BBQ Tri-Tip

It was a nice and relaxed weekend, wrapped up by an easy holiday Monday.  I started the day by sleeping in late. I woke up close to my normal time and then just stayed in bed for an extra hour to an hour and a half. I met Tony and Bob for breakfast at the Hickory Pit, then from there, drove up to Edgies and shot a couple of games of pool with Don. From there, I stopped at Don Edwards Park for a rambling walk, then headed back over to Bob's for an informal BBQ.

Above is a picture of my contribution, tri-tip steak.  I have a very simple and very tasty recipe if you want to give it a try.

-2 lbs. of Tri-Tip steak, well marbled.
-Coarse ground black pepper
-Garlic powder
-Kosher salt


-Take about five pounds of charcoal, stake in a starter or in a pyramid, soak with lighter fluid, and ignite.  You are going to let the charcoal burn all the fluid off.  While the charcoal is lighting, take three handfuls of mesquite (or your favorite hardwood) chips and put them in a pan of water to soak.

-Cover both sides of the tri-tip with kosher salt, garlic powder, and coarse ground black pepper. Very liberally coat it, you want it thick and completely covered.

-When the coals are ready, arrange them in a circle, with the center of the circle open and about the size of the tri-tip, so you can cook it with indirect heat.  The coals should be about 400 degrees.  If you hold your hand about four inches over the coals, you should only be able to hold it there for two or three seconds.  Then, scatter the soaked wood chips around the circle of coals.

-Place the tri-tip in the center, fat side up to start.  Quickly close the lid.  Now, go away for 20 minutes. Do not come back. Do not open the lid. Let it cook and smoke and cook and smoke.  At 20 minutes, open the top just long enough to reach in and flip the steak, then close it down for another twenty minutes.

-When the forty minutes have elapsed, you can check with a thermometer (the thinner part should be 140 plus and the thicker part about 130, this will give you medium on one end and medium-rare of the other). If you like your tri-tip rare, go 15 and 15.

-Take it off the grill, cover it in tinfoil, and let it set for ten minutes or so.  Then, cut to the size you like. It will serve four to six people.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Concentration - Thich Nhat Hanh

"When you contemplate the big, full sunrise, the more mindful and concentrated you are, the more the beauty of the sunrise is revealed to you. Suppose you are offered a cup of tea, very fragrant, very good tea. If you mind is distracted, you cannot really enjoy the tea. You have to be mindful of the tea, you have to be concentrated on it, so the tea can reveal its fragrance and wonder to you. That is why mindfulness and concentration are such sources of happiness. That's why a good practitioner knows how to create a moment of joy, a feeling of happiness, at any time of the day."

Saturday, May 26, 2012

So You Think You Can Dance

My guilty pleasure is "So You Think You Can Dance" and after a long hiatus, it is back.  Thursday was the first episode of the new season and I spent two hours this AM watching it on the DVR.  It amazes me that dance can move me to laughter, tears, and amazement. If you've never seen the show I highly recommend it.  The skill, the talent, and the artistry of the dancers is nothing short of astounding.

Today is the first day of the three day weekend and that was a good way to start the day.  My plan today is breakfast with friends, then off to see Men In Black 3. I don't know have any plans in the afternoon - I might kick out and play some pool, which I haven't done in a while due to the IPO boot, or I might just wander aimlessly through the afternoon. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, but it is very cool outside and it is not supposed to get up above the low 70's, so it is jacket weather.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Before

I was done by about 4:00 PM last night.  The week of starting early (around 5:00 AM) and diving right into work caught up with me.  I met Tony for pizza, but I was on the verge of napping through dinner.  The Tiramisu had some temporary restorative effects, enough for me to make it home, but it did not last much longer than that. I hit the bed about 7:00 PM, had a good conversation with T.R., then rallied just long enough to make sure all the windows were closed and the apartment locked up.

I woke up, the first time, at about 3:30 AM and then managed to cat nap until about 5:30 and then eased out of bed and into the day. I made it a point to linger through the morning, eat a leisurely breakfast, watch the morning news, and then commute into the office.  Except, I got into the office and realized I had left some notes I was working on yesterday at home.  I tried to work without them, but I realized I was covering ground that I had covered last night, so I repeated the commute in reverse.  I drove home, picked up the papers, then came back to the office, where I’ve actually had a more productive morning.

It is blissfully quiet here at the office. With the Memorial Day holiday right ahead of us, I am sure many people took the day off to extend the long weekend, and I am sure many others are going to work a short day.  Because of the hours I worked earlier in the week, I may join the ranks of the people who are short cycling the day and start the weekend a few hours early.  I am definitely looking forward to the three day weekend.

My trip back to visit family in SD is moving steadily toward me. I will fly back on the 15th of June for about 10 days.  In one of the weird things of timing, T.R. will be heading out for a two week work/vacation trip, so we’ll be traveling at the same time, but not together or to the same destinations.  We are both going to take advantage of it and probably drop off the grid for a while.

Dropping off the grid, disconnecting from the Matrix, is almost always a good thing because it gives our brain time to rest and relax.  We definitely live in an over stimulated world.  Last night, when I got home and before I tucked it in for an early night, I also disconnected from everything by spending the evening in silence.  That is always enjoyable and it always serves to remind me that I need to do that more often.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

One Very Long Sentence

Another quick day, woke early this morning, spent part of the morning writing risk assessment analysis, talked to T.R., commuted to the office, worked on the assessments some more...and...went to a meeting, went to a meeting, went to a meeting, went to lunch, then went to a meeting and went to a meeting and, uh, drove home and stopped at the market, then stopped for a pizza, then drove home, then wrote one very long sentence and landed right here, right now.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A Brisk Tuesday That Felt Like Monday

Another brisk day under the belt. I started the morning at 5:00 AM with a shower and breakfast, followed by a call with T.R. (back from her vacation), then off to the office.

I'd love to tell you that it was a highly productive day, but it was a solid meeting from 7:00 AM until 12:00 PM, which were moderately productive.  The afternoon was better and I managed to accomplish some things - reviewing some of the requirements under my sphere of influence and responding to a handful of O&M issues.

We had two systems outages today (two different parts of the system), but since I am only peripherally involved in line support now, my role in resolving them basically consisted of writing a pair of email, taking a phone call, and opening a vendor ticket.

Then, I skated out, commuted home, stopped at the bakery for some fresh cookies, then a simple dinner of a sandwich and some potatoes. The evening is starting gently and I am easing into it. I am not sure what my plan is, but I think I am going to do some work and do some writing and maybe watch something interesting off the DVR.  In short, I am going to try and do next to nothing.  I can be pretty good at that.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Off the IPO Boot

It was a brisk day here in California.  I started with a meeting at 6:00 AM and then had constant meetings through the day until I went to the podiatrist at 2:00 PM, then as soon as I got out of the appointment, I dialed in to another teleconference.

The high point of the day was the doctor telling me the foot looks good and discharging me, with a follow up in a couple of months.  I am officially off the IPO boot, which is great - now, I just have to remember how to walk without it!

After the last teleconference I stopped and met Tony at Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner and when we were getting ready to leave and I was getting out of the booth, I was very careful stepping out - at if I was getting onto the IPO boot. It is probably going to take me a couple of days to figure out how to walk again, but I am sure looking forward to it!

I think at some point in the coming weekend I am going to visit a museum just for the sheer pleasure of wandering. Maybe catch the light rail downtown and then walk over to the San Jose Museum of Art and spend some time looking at the exhibits, and then lunch.  Let's face it, I am truly looking forward to getting out and simply walking around.

Meanwhile, it is a beautiful evening here, the far horizon is tinted in shades of red and rose and I am preparing to slip into bed early and spend the night reading. I have another heavy meeting day tomorrow, with the first meeting at 7:00 AM, so I am planning on an early rise. 

Elsewhere, T.R. is still on her off the grid vacation and I am missing her (while envying her being off the grid, I plan a similar thing for my next vacation).  Wherever she is, I hope her night is gentle and graceful.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Borderline Black

I am sitting at the laundry watching the dryers spin around in a borderline mood. It has more to do with needing lunch than anything else. I am debating either chinese or sushi once I get clear of here. It has been a good day so far, all in all. Breakfast, some time wandering Barnes & Noble, a movie, and now laundry. Miraculously I made it out of Barnes & Noble without buying anything. As a book lover, that is a pretty rare event. Black mood aside, it has been a nice day.
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Sunday - With Girl In A Coma

A beautiful and quiet weekend. T.R. is at Grove Park and so I have eased through the days, reading, running incidental errands. Saturday was breakfast with friend, "The Avengers" (again, with a different set of friends - just as watchable), then lunch at Red Robin, then helping Don rearrange his furniture post-carper cleaning.  Saturday night was "Man on Fire" with Denzel Washington and Christopher Walken.

Today's plan is a mirror of yesterday - breakfast, maybe a movie (undecided as to which to see), then laundry. Probably lunch somewhere along the way.  Maybe a stop at the market, though I think I am pretty good.  Might do this, might do that, either way, going to try to just ease through the day, slow and steady.  T.R. should be back on the grid tonight, so I am looking forward to that.  Oh, and the soundtrack of the day on the iPod is going to be Girl In A Coma "Both Before I'm Gone".

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Merriam-Webster tells us that “hollow” means “an unfilled space”. This morning, as I was driving up Lawrence Expressway into the office, my monkey-mind was dancing merrily along.  It is unusual for it to kick in on a Thursday, especially when it is a Thursday-That-Is-My-Friday, but it was pretty active.  I tried using the technique I gleaned from “The Buddha Walks Into A Bar” – when you feel your mind racing, figuratively stop, step back, and take a couple of deep meditative breaths, then see if you can determine why your mind is racing. The Monkey Mind is grabbing hold of something – what is that something?


I was seizing upon my sense of frustration at work.  So, I explored that path a little further down the line.  For me, almost all of my frustration at work arises from two sources.  First, it arises from what I interpret as “hidden expectations”. Sometimes hidden expectations are deliberately hidden, as in bad actors on the corporate stage, but other times they are not intentionally hidden, but hidden but by failures in communication. With dedicated and focused communication, you can often clear of the miscommunications.


The “trigger event” for my Monkey Mind this morning was a request for a piece of data, which in itself is innocent enough.  However, the request came from my upper management, whom I do not trust, and in came in as a request-without-reason, which is a communication failure. Some members of my upper management are extremely poor communicators. The request was structured like this “tell me all of the A who have B”.  The thing that is frustrating with this member of upper management is they do not ask questions – they ask for specific data points and try to spin the answer to land where they want it to land by carefully crafting the question.  It’s pretty apparent.  As a dat analyst, answer shopping irritates me.  Yes, you can craft an answer by the way you ask a question, you can force the data to tell you certain things.  But, you are quite likely to end up being wrong in the big picture, because you didn’t let the data tell you what it wanted to tell you. 


As I predicted as my Monkey Mind wrestled with it through the morning, this member of upper management got the answer to the question, then followed up with another question (to try and craft the answer better), and then yet a third question, since the data was not giving them the answer they were looking for.  Professionally, to me, that is amatuer hour, and it frustrates me to work for amatuers.  When you craft a question in search of an answer, you are making the analysts unwilling co-conspirators in whatever political game you are playing.  Just find some courage and say “I am the boss, and I believe that we should do X, I realize the data does not appear to support it, but I willing to take the risk”.  Of course, that would require actual courage.


The second thing that raises my work frustration is “out of scope” questions – that is, questions that don’t have anything to do with the area of responsibility a person has.  Our organization designs and implements systems – we analyze data to support that design and that implementation.  We do not analyze data to support operational decisions – not that we cannot, but that is simply not why we were hired, not what we do.  In fact, the corporation has several other large groups that do exactly that – but, this member of upper management does not like to go to them because they cannot control them and craft the questions.  It is a frustrating and negative situation.


So, what does that have to do with the word hollow?  As I was driving into the office and my Monkey Mind was running through all of these things, and as I was using the technique to examine them, I got to thinking about work fulfillment.  In order to combat the wave of negativity that was coming with the Monkey Mind thoughts that were such a source of frustration, I turned my mind to positive thoughts – about the good things at work, so I didn’t spin myself into an entirely black mood.  Essentially I have a very good job – I have a great direct manager, I have peers that I both enjoy and respect, the work (when it is the work that I was actually hired to do) is enjoyable and fulfilling, and I am compensated well.  If you think of the work experience as a sphere, my sphere currently has an empty place in it.  That empty place is the place where I like, respect, and most importantly trust my upper management.  That part of the sphere is hollow.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dreams of Dreams of Showers

Not a bad Wednesday.  I woke up this morning from a dream of taking a shower - in the dream I was in the shower and I could here the alarm going off, so I stepped out of the shower to pad naked into the bedroom to turn the alarm off and woke up reaching for the alarm to turn it off.  It was a strange sensation, where dream and reality merged and were confusing.

A simple breakfast, a quick conversation with T.R., then I was off to the office for a three hour meeting to start the day.  It wasn't the most productive day - most of it was eaten by meetings and reading requirements.  I guess that building a knowledge base is productive, but I can't say that I usually think of it as being productive. Tomorrow should be a regular day and then Friday, which is my off-Friday, will have a four hour coordination meeting in the middle of the day, from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM.  I am hoping we don't eat the whole time period, but I suspect we will.

Meanwhile, tonight, I am settled in for a pleasant evening watch "The Green Lantern" on DVR.  Not a bad day, all in all.  Oh, I did feel compelled to mention dinner, because it was outstanding - slow cooked sweet and sour chicken, with green garden peas and mandarin oranges. Truly outstanding.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Drala - From The Buddha Walks Into A Bar

“When starting off on the path of meditation, it is helpful to create an environment that encourages the quality of wakefulness in our being. There is a Tibetan term, drala, which can be translated as “energy above aggression”. This energy is inherent in our being and in our surroundings. It is most present when we pay attention to what is going on around us. It is the energy we experience when we are not tuned in to our internal chatter and aggression, but instead tuned into our environment.

Take a moment and think about how you feel when you wake up in the morning and your room is a mess. You get up to stumble to the bathroom, and as you are avoiding a pile of clothes, you trip over your laptop, kicking it across the room. You’re already swearing at yourself, and you have only been awake for two minutes.

Now visualize waking up to a room that is spotless. You walk carefree to the bathroom, look at yourself in a clean mirror, and smile. Drala is the energy that is produced when you have taken care of the details of your life so that everything has a certain radiance to it.”

Lodro Rinzler “The Buddha Walks Into A Bar”


Monday, May 14, 2012

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

There were two names associated with this movie that absolutely insured I was going to see this movie. Judy Dench. Maggie Smith.  You could put the two of them in a television commercial and I would probably watch it over and over, so I was definitely in when it came to seeing "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel".  I was not disappointed.  The movie is very enjoyable - funny and touching, without a false performance in the lot of them.  I highly recommend it.

Tony and I went and saw it at CineArts theater at Santana Row in San Jose on Sunday morning.  We caught the early show, then grabbed lunch at The Flames across the street.  From there, I circled home and spent an easy afternoon, sliding into a graceful evening.

All in all, it was a good weekend.  Today was a typical Monday at work. I was in a pretty good mood until I got into the office and then I spun black pretty quickly.  A couple of things frustrated me - mainly a pair of pointless meetings.

I took a nice lunch and was able to refocus the day and pull a productive afternoon, including a complete review of the set of requirements that I am going to be working on for the next six months or so.  Tomorrow, I will make a second pass through them with a more critical eye and try and intellectually explore future minefields.

This evening was a pleasant evening with T.R. and I am closing the evening out watching Bones.  All in all, a good day.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Day and Dark Shadows

A simple morning, a nice breakfast at the Hickory Pit, Johnny Depp and Eva Green in Tim Burton's "Dark Shadows" (excellent movie by the way). A stop at Target for incidentals and some groceries. Then a stop at the clothing store for five pairs of pants (two cargo, three casual) and five shirts (business casual). Lunch at the Race Street Fish Market. Home for "Fringe" and now "Midnight in Paris". A short, simple and beautiful day.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Day Is Smooth

It is a pleasantly slow moving day here at work.  I’ve just taken a break from reading several dozen pages of project planning documents to eat some popcorn. I spend most of the morning catching up on my training and working my way through my email backlog. For there, I had a nice lunch at the Del Monte Café in downtown Sunnyvale. Hour-wise, I am well past my gate, so this afternoon is mostly going to be another hour of catch-up and then a one-on-one meeting with my manager. I am expecting both events to pass smoothly. 

I don’t have any plans for the weekend, outside of the ordinary, but I am interesting in catching the new Dark Shadows movie with Johnny Depp.  I am feeling pretty domestic this weekend, so I might keep it in close to home, just enjoy the passage of time on these beautiful spring days.  I may have to drift over to one of the many parks to enjoy the beautiful weekend weather or I might just curl up with a cup of iced coffee and a book and enjoy the quiet comfort of my patio.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Android Experience - A Dream

It was a mash up of a dream - in the dream I was some sort of investigator. I had come to very a remote place where they were having problems with their android - in the dream it was a town called Parmalee, in South Dakota.

They had an old android that was being replaced by a young android, and the old android was training the young android. The old android lived in a small house (what was called a "transitional") with almost no furnishings.

The old android had reported problems with the young android - specifically, each night the young android went to sleep, in the morning when it woke it had no memory of the events of the day before - it was a clean slate, as far as past experiences were concerned.

This was reported as a problem because the young android was not learning - but, I was trying to understand just why that was a problem. It meant that in every action, the young android was fresh and unburdened by the events of the prior day.

So prior experience, good or bad, did not influence the young android in its interactions with people - each interaction was fresh and new and based entirely on the immediate circumstance, not prior events and outcomes. It was, in the mornings analysis, a very cool dream.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Four Minute Update

I have four minutes before I am going to start walking down the street to grab a quick lunch, so I thought I would fire off a quick note.  I’ve made arrangements for my June trip back to South Dakota to visit family over Fathers Day and my mother’s birthday. I’ve made hotel arrangemetns in San Diego (at the Marriott on Coronado Island) for Comic Con weekend (five days, four nights) and I am jazzed about that trip.  I have a podiatrist appointment tomorrow and I am very much looking forward to coming off the IPO boot. I finished Christopher Moore’s Sacre Bleu and learned more about painters then I ever knew before. Next up, for fiction, I am going to read “Mocking Jay” and finish up the Hunger Games trilogy. I am nearly finished with Haruki Murakami’s “The Elephant Vanishes” and when I finish there, I plan on diving deeply into IQ84. The unexpected spiritual journey of 2012 continues. I contemplate many things.

Friday, May 4, 2012

A Day With The Animal Kingdom

Today was a simple and quiet day.  I got up at about my usual time, just shy of 6:00 AM, then had a simple cup and coffee and bowl of cereal. I spent the morning writing and reading, then met Tony for breakfast at Goodies II on Bascom Avenue for the most excellent Huevos Mexicana.

After breakfast I had to stop at the car wash. Yesterday evening I made the mistake of parking under a big tall tree - and was rewarded with a dedicated saturation bombing raid on my car by birds of unknown type but sizable scat.  After the car wash, I swung over and got a trim on the hair. From there, I ran a few incidental errands, then circled home for the afternoon.

I spent a quiet afternoon reading "The Buddha Walks Into A Bar" for a while and then watching an excellent film I had heard about but hadn't seen before, called "Animal Kingdom", about an the disintegration of an Australian crime family.  It was a wicked and well done film noir. I would highly recommend that.

From there, we popped over to my friend Bob's, where Brandy had cooked a coq au vin for a simple little dinner for Tony.  From there, I scooted home and have just now seated myself for an evening of Tumblr, StumpleUpon, and writing. Hopefully I will get a chance to spend some quality time with T.R. as well, which will round out the day nicely.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


There are times in life when we wait...

Looking Back

Looking back over the entries for the last couple of weeks, I noticed that it has been a while since I had written anything personal. I seemed to have been focused quite a bit on work.  Art is definitely imitating life there, since work has been my focus as we’ve gone through the transitional phase here at The Evil Corporation.  So, I thought I would take a few moments and make some personal updates, in no particular order.

No San Diego Comic Con 2012: The great tragedy of my summer.  Due to the high demand we were unable to get tickets to Comic Con San Diego this year.  It was definitely a bit of a heartbreaker, since that is usually the “Geek High Point” of my summer.  I do have the time off and I may still head down to San Diego on Comic Con weekend.  There are a lot of events that surround the convention that are not official events, but are still very fun, and of course, San Diego is a beautiful city. 

We Discover Haruki Murakami: T.R. made a brilliant discovery earlier this year that has colored the entire year, literature wise. She found and let me to the author Haruki Murakami, whose works I have quoted several times in the last couple of weeks.  He is a prolific and brilliant author and I am currently consuming two of his books at the same time – IQ84 and The Elephant Vanishes. Reading wise, this is shaping up to be the year of Murakami.

Adventures in an IPO Boot: I had a callus removed from my right foot a March and it healed up nicely.  When I went back for a follow-up, the podiatrist did not like the way it had healed, so he removed it again and put me back up on the IPO boot. I’ve been limping around on it for the last three weeks. On my last appointment, the removal site had completely healed, but he wanted me to stay off it for another week, to make sure it did not get irritated.  It has been an inconvenience that has influenced and shaped the last couple of weeks, since it takes my habit of pointless wandering and walking and puts it on the back burner, just as the spring is unfolding around us.

I Write:  I continue to write, working on my novel, though it seems to be continually transforming itself into something else. I would, at this point, call the act of creation a slippery one.

I Simplify: I am poised for another round of simplification, probably this weekend.  I’ve got more stuff that needs to go. It’s good stuff. It is interesting stuff. But, in the end, it is just stuff. I would say it is about five or six boxes worth, mostly odds and ends and knick-knacks.  I keep joking that I am going to end up living in my apartment, wearing a robe, with one blue bowl and my big screen TV.  I continue to enjoy the journey.

I Contemplate: I have been focused on contemplation.  I am reading a pretty good book right now, called “The Buddha Walks Into A Bar”, which is a basic and simple introduction to the concepts of Tibetan Buddhism, without all the religious overtones. I’ve learned some good things. I’ve also been listening to Tolle and Adyashanti. T.R. and I are both in a year of spiritual exploration and growth.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Haruki Murakami, After Dark

“You know what I think?” she says. “That people’s memories are maybe the fuel they burn to stay alive. Whether those memories have any actual importance or not, it doesn’t matter as far as the maintenance of life is concerned. They’re all just fuel. Advertising fillers in the newspaper, philosophy books, dirty pictures in a magazine, a bundle of ten-thousand-yen bills: when you feed ‘em to the fire, they’re all just paper. The fire isn’t thinking ‘Oh, this is Kant,’ or ‘Oh, this is the Yomiuri evening edition,’ or ‘Nice tits,’ while it burns. To the fire, they’re nothing but scraps of paper. It’s the exact same thing. Important memories, not-so-important memories, totally useless memories: there’s no distinction—they’re all just fuel.” —  Haruki Murakami, After Dark

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Need to Restart the Day

I find that the process of building stress begins as I prepare to come into work.  If that set of preparations go smoothly then the morning goes smoothly.  If that set of preparations is bumpy, then the morning tends to be bumpy.  Today was a bumpy morning. I tossed and turned before I fell asleep last night for no apparent reason.  During the night I dreamed of work, one of my least favorite things to dream of. I moved smoothly enough through the morning until I realized I had missed at 6:30 AM meeting.

When I gathered my stuff to get ready for the morning commute it was a process of fits and starts. One of those fits and starts is what I consider to be a primary tip off that that the morning is going to go awry.  I have a small table that most of the incidental things I carry land on at the end of the day. When the clutter on that table gets to me, that is the first tip off that I am about to slide into a cranky morning. So, what I need to figure out is how to intervene, right then and then, and reset the day.  A stop, pause, contemplate and release sort of process might work well.  From there, I tend to carry that nagging sense of frustration into the day, a frustration at small things that begins to color every experience during the rest of the day.  

It was amplified by a long commute.  I have a variety of routes available to me as I drive into work, about four major ones. Normally, I take Lawrence Expressway.  The close second is 280 to 87 to 237. I opted for 280 this morning and that was a very slow choice.  It took me a long time to get onto 280 and then the interstate itself moved at a very slow creep until I got off at Wolfe Road, about three miles from the place I got on.  That three miles took about forty minutes. 
So now I am in the office, I have a bit of a tension headache, and I am trying to get the day restarted.