Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Year Ends

I've reached the end of the year and I am going to slide out with a great movie - "Casablanca".  During a normal year this last week is a reflective week for me - a week in which I consider the year that went before and the year to come. However, the visit from my brother and my niece disrupted my year end routine. (That is not necessarily a bad thing.)  Consequently, I am just now entering into the routine of self-examination and will doubtlessly spend tomorrow doing that examination.  My plan tonight is dinner at Pierre and Helen's - good food, good company, good conversation.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Day After Christmas

I closed out the day with a great little conversation with TR.  It was an excellent capstone on an otherwise beautiful day.  I started the day by sleeping late - I slept until 7:30 AM, which, for me, is late. There was no particular reason for it, other than, well, it felt like the right thing. I may have to do it again tomorrow. 

After I woke up I had a bowl of cereal, a cup of coffee, some wheat toast with jam and I eased into the day with the continuation of my Castle Christmas.  I alternated between watching items off the DVR and cleaning the house. I met Don for lunch at Outback at 12:30, up at the Great Mall, then spent an hour or so walking around the Temple of Mammon and people watching.

From there, I wandered home, stopping for a long walk at the San Tomas Aquino Park, then winding my way home.  Here at home, I took a short nap, then settled in to watch some more DVR, including a couple of Christmas specials. It was right in here that I have that great conversation with TR.  Which brings me right into this moment, here, now - where I am going to watch a little more DVR and then call it a night.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Castle Christmas

Merry Christmas.

It was a good day here, one that I enjoyed.  First, to start the day, I slept in.  Actually, I woke up about the normal time I wake up, but I stayed comfortably in bed.  Then, I was up, a bowl of cereal, a cup of coffee, and off to Christmas Mass.  After Mass I came home and slipped into a long, hot, soaking bath.  After the bath I settled down to was "Castle" on the DVR.  I decided that I was going to have a "Castle Christmas" and I've been pretty successful.

About noon I popped out and met Tony for lunch (soup and a quesadilla), and then we went and saw the new Keanu Reeves movie "47 Ronin".  It was an enjoyable movie and I am actually going to try and see it again.  Unfortunately we saw it in an overcrowded theater, one of the reasons I tend to avoid opening weekend and holiday weekends, and there were a lot of distractions going on around me.

Dinner was burgers and then Tony and I settled in and watched more episodes of "Castle".  It was a great day, all in all.  So, as I approach the end of the day let me just wish anyone who happens to read this a very Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Simple Christmas Eve

I am settled in for quiet Christmas Eve. I officially started the evening a while ago with a wonderful conversation with TR, who is settled in around the tree with her family watching classic Christmas movies. I followed up with a call to a nephew and a call to my parents. Now, my plan is simple, I'm going to settle in and enjoy a quiet serene evening. I think for tomorrow, Christmas Day, I am going to have a Castle Christmas. I have 11 episodes of the television show Castle on DVR. That will make for a very simple, easy and relaxed Christmas Day.

The run-up to Christmas has been kind of interesting.  Interesting has multiple connotations of course  and I'm using it with all those multiple connotations.  Some of the things I can't really talk about,  mainly from respect for the individuals to whom they belong, but they still fill my days.  Lt me tell you about one of them that I can talk about.

About the middle of last week my friend Tyrone  crashed his motorcycle  on Highway 85.   He was driving along and the woman in front of him  stopped without warning,  he slammed on the brakes and laid his bike down.  As far as motorcycle accidents go it wasn't too bad.  He did a couple thousand dollars of damages to his bike and he managed to smash his foot between the foot peg in the fairing.  Most importantly he walked away, well in his case limped away.  he was caught without transportation so I gave him a ride to work Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.  He was lucky.

So that event both entertained me and occupied me for the last couple of days.  Combined with work  that made the last couple of days pass quickly.  That makes me ready for the holiday.  I am looking forward to a couple very relaxed days.  On Friday my brother and his step-daughter are coming out for a three day visit. The plan is to do the tourist thing up in San Francisco.  It should be a lot of fun I haven't up to San Francisco in a while. I haven't seen my brother in a while, so that should be a lot of fun as well.

On that note, I am going to call it a night and take a long, soaking bath - that seems like a good way to slide even deeper into this beautiful Christmas eve.  For all those whom I never mention by name, and to all those strangers I simply do not know - enjoy the evening.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Two Brisk Days

Well, a brisk weekend all in all.  Saturday was pretty straightforward - breakfast at the Hickory Pit, then over to Cupertino Square to see "American Hustle", an outstanding movie.  From there, lunch at TGIF, then off to the park for a two mile plus walk on a beautiful afternoon.  Home for the evening, a call with TR, an early night curled in bed and a phone call from my friend Tyrone.

Seems that Tyrone laid his bike down on the freeway last week, catching his foot under the bike, bruising it badly - fortunately, it looks like no breakage.  He actually rode the bike for a couple of days and then put it in the shop for repairs - and the parts were late.  He was seeking a ride up to Foster City to go to his second job on Sunday.  I obliged and I will also take him up to work tomorrow as well - he's hoping he gets his bike out of the shop tomorrow, if the parts have arrived.

So, today was running Tyrone up to Foster City, then breakfast at the Classic Diner in Fremont with Tony, then home to watch a spot of TV and take a nap, then back up to Foster City, then home once more.  Whew. Upon returning home I discovered that my lights strung on the patio had given up the ghost.  Parts of the string were out for no apparent reason.  So, a quick dash out to OSH for a new string of lights (this time I went for the blue icicles), then home and restring them all.  Exchanged some text with TR, then a call with Brandy, and now, in the waning moments of the night, going to call my nephew.  Tomorrow is going to be a brisk day as well.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

When Time and Timing Go Awry

I’ve been thinking about Sunday, when I was swirled up around questions of time and timing.  As I was taking a morning walk, I came to the conclusion that part of my problem (and part of the solution) is that I don’t intervene when I see things going awry.  On Sunday, I had choices and the ability to make those choices - and yet I didn’t - I let those choices be made for me.  Consequently I had a very cranky day.  I need to make the choice to intervene when I see things going awry with time and timing.
 
 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Lunch at La Paloma

A productive and enjoyable day is winding to an end with a bit of DVR before I crawl into bed and curl up with a book.  Had a great conversation with TR, which was the capstone on a nice day. 

I had a lot of meetings at work, but they were actually mostly productive - which is rare, but great when it happens. In the middle of that productive day we had a nice Christmas luncheon at La Paloma on El Camino Real in Santa Clara. 



Dinner was an excellent salad. 

I am looking forward to a good night of sleep. I seem to have gotten over the cranky inducing day I had on Sunday, where I swirled around and around over issues of time and timing. 

I think, in the coming year, one of the things I need to focus on is being more authentically present.  It is not easy but it is worth the struggle that it takes.  The year seems to be ending well and I am looking forward to the new year, even though it is a couple of weeks out.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

In Which I Struggle With Time

It is rare that I edit an entire entry.  But, every now and then, I write something that, on reflection, I am simply not satisfied with.  When that happens, I take advantage of the ability to delete or edit that entry.  This entry was originally about my struggles with time - but my thoughts around those struggles were not complete, so I decided to declare a do over and hit the delete button. 

Let me simply start out by saying today, I struggled with time. There are days when I get harried. Basically, what happens, is that my expectation of the timing of the day does not line up with the actual timing of the day and it frustrates me.  It is one of my major stress triggers, at home and at work. Consequently, inside of me, I feel a great urge to get better control of my timing as I go through the day.

In order to do this I need to simplify, I need to de-clutter the days.  I think I am approaching a time for another wave of simplification, perhaps a semi-drastic wave of simplification.  I need to get things trimmed down to what matters to me, and then let myself focus on what matters.

Now, those three paragraphs are next to nothing like what I originally wrote, but they are closer in spirit to what I was trying to say, minus the pointless complaining and vaguely talking around the subject.  I like this entry better, it is tighter, it gets to the point, and it is a good starting point for the further conversations around time.

Popping over onto a completely different subject - I saw and enjoyed "The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug" today.  I would recommend it - a solid addition to The Hobbit series of movies.  Then, in the evening, I've watched two episodes of "Almost Human" from the DVR, which I enjoy immensely as well.

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Very Nice and Easy Day

It's been a long time since I had an easy day like today.  I slept fairly well last night, waking at about my normal time (around five a.m.).  I stayed in bed, reading "White Fire", until close to seven a.m..  Then, I took a shower, shaved, made a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee and started the day.  I spent the entire day relaxed, easy going, centered and whole. I watched a handful of sitcom's and other shows off the DVR.  I had a work meeting scheduled for 12:30 p,m,, but, ultimately, it was cancelled.  I had a lunch of homemade chicken and rice soup, with grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches. Then, I curled back up on the bed with my novel and spent the entire afternoon reading and napping, napping and reading. About four I rolled out, exchanged texts with T.R. (who was going out for the evening), and then met Tony at Chevy's in Westgate for dinner.  From there, I went over to the Hallmark store across Prospect for a walk-through. I didn't pick anything up, but there were a couple of things that caught my eye, so I might swing back there tomorrow and pick them up.  From there, I took a leisurely walk, then came home.  At home, I settled into my easy chair and watched an episode of Elementary and now, an episode of Ancient Aliens.  It was an amazingly low key and easy day.  I haven't have a day like this in a long time.  It was very nice.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Open The Window And Let The Monkeys Out

Let's start the day with a dream. I went to sleep early last night, around 8:00 PM, and slept fairly soundly through the night.  I woke up this morning from a dream. In the dream TR and I were sharing a house somewhere.  In the garage was a classic wooden speed boat, a beautiful piece of work.  I was in the garage and I could smell something shorting out, so I was investigating and discovered that some of the wires in the boat were shorting out because the ignition was turned on.  Apparently, it had been turned on by the monkey that lived in the garage.  It was a little monkey, maybe slightly larger then a spider monkey, so I don't know what the actual breed was. I turned the ignition off and pulled the burning wires.  The monkey got very upset at me, ran madly around the garage, and then found a way out and took off.  Of course, I instantly knew that I was in a dream - TR has a no wild animals in the house rule, so I knew, even as I was in the midst of the dream, that there was no way she would have a monkey in the garage.  Now, when I have a strange dream like that I really wonder - what the heck is my subconscious trying to tell me?  Open the window and let the monkeys out?  That would actually be a good, strange, thing to put on a t-shirt.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Such A Simple Sunday

I had a very simple Sunday.  I started the day with a shower and a cup of coffee, then a small raft of family calls.  From there, I went and met Tony over at the Hickory Pit, then on to AMC 14 to see Judi Dench's new movie "Philomena".  An excellent and heartfelt drama that deals with some very complicated subjects with humor, grace, and compassion.  I would highly recommend it.

Once the movie was finished I came home and settled into an afternoon of laundry. A lot of laundry.  Because of my work and travel schedule over November, I had stacked up a lot of laundry. I did it at the apartment complex, which means I did it in a set of two - three sets for a total of six loads.  I'll usually head out to the laundry, but as cool/cold as it was today, I was contented to do it hear at the apartment.

I still have another two loads to do, but they are less important things and they'll wait until one of the week nights, or perhaps next weekend.  It's a four day work week ahead of me, so I am looking forward to it. Things at work were pretty reasonable last week, so I am hoping they will be reasonable again this week.  The business rhythm usually slows down during the month of December, which is always nice.

I spoke to the folks out on the ranch tonight - they are poised to try and move into the apartment complex in town tomorrow.  They wanted to make the move last week, but that wicked ice storm that moved through the Midwest kept the temperatures down at a very cold level and they just held off.  One of the things I learned growing up in winter country was you can't fight the weather.  The weather is what the weather is and the best way to deal with it is to just hunker down and let it run its course.

This evening, my laundry done, I had pizza for dinner and then got my Christmas tree set up. I set it up near one of the patio windows so that when I turn it on, it can be seen from outside.  During the week I will get the rest of my decorations out and set up, including the lights on the balcony. A few of the apartments already have their lights up and running, so it looks like Christmas outside.  That is always pretty nice.  I sure love this time of year.

After keeping TR up late the last couple of nights, tonight she went to sleep early (after The Amazing Race finale), so we didn't get a chance to talk.  I will look forward to talking to her tomorrow. Tonight, I am going to curl up with the book I have been reading and crawl into bed early.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

This Day In The Zen Cold

It has been a nice day.  I slept very well last night, then woke and dove into the day by starting the process of cleaning the bathroom.  I would clean, watch some DVR, clean, listen to some music, clean...and well, you get the picture.

I chased that with breakfast at the Hickory Pit (a waffle and eggs), with Bob and Tony.  From there, we headed over to AMC 14 and saw "Into The Furnace" with Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson and Zoe Saldana.  It was an excellent little tale of dissolution, murder, and revenge.  I would recommend it.

From there, Bob and I ran a couple of errands (medical supply store, Home Depot, Target and the Post Office).  Then, I dropped him off and headed over to Orchard Supply Hardware to pick something up that I couldn't find at Home Depot.  I stopped for a bleu cheese burger on the way home and then spent a quiet evening watching the DVR and cleaning.

I was definitely in a zen mood while I was cleaning and embracing my inner OCD.  I think I am going to do some more cleaning in the bathroom in the morning as well.  That is one of the things about OCD - once you start cleaning you have a tough time stopping.  It is never quite clean enough!  You think - just one more go over...

My plan tonight is pretty simple.  I am hoping to talk with TR before too long (she is having a movie night there), and then I am going to watch a bit more off my DVR.  I have a tall stack of laundry to do tomorrow, so that is going to have to fit into the plan somewhere.  Other than that, the plan is to have an easy morning and repeat the breakfast and movie cycle, except with a comedy.

Later tonight I am going to curl up and read myself to sleep.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Invictus - RIP Nelson Mandela

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.

~ Invictus, by William Ernest Henley.

 

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Return

It was my intention, while on vacation, to continue to write every day.  That intention was not realized.  As I traveled I found that I had slipped into a very “in the moment” approach to the whole vacation.  I cannot say I was authentically present in each moment, but I can say that I tried to not let myself be distracted by external things. During the course of the vacation I logged on once to send an email to TR.  (I also used my email on my iPhone to email text out, since there is still no cell phone connectivity at the ranch.

All in all it was a good trip.  The traveling portion of it, on both ends, was very smooth.  I travelled as light as I could - one change of clothes and incidental toiletries in Maximus, plus my iPhone and Kindle Fire HD table as my only electronics.  I will have to say that it worked well and I am sure the whole process of traveling light contributed to the ease of traveling. (I’ve now got a full weeks worth of clothes at the ranch, so that makes the traveling light more convenient.)

The stay at the ranch was nice, if busy.  I spent each day there, with the exception of Thanksgiving day, running errands with my folks.  They are full steam ahead on moving into the assisted living apartment complex in Winner, SD - the Golden Prairie Manor.  It is a nice facility and one of the errands was a visit there to complete some paperwork.  Most of the other errands were medical related.  The folks were getting vaccinations and copies of records compiled, sent, and reviewed. I think they have one outstanding medical errand left, which I believe they are running today - they need to go get general physicals from their doctor.  From there on out, it is just a question of moving in, which they seem to have lined up.

As smooth as the whole vacation went, it was very nice to get back to California.  The weather on Sunday was simply beautiful and I spent most of the day out wandering from place to place, doing all the assorted errands that I needed to do to start the month of December.  I had breakfast at the Hickory Pit, then stopped and got the Saturn detailed, then went on a rambling park walk at San Tomas Aquino River Park, then off to Cupertino Square to see “Homefront” with Jason Stratham, James Franco and Winona Ryder - an very little good little action movie by the way. Then a stop to get new work shirts (ten of them, with ten older ones destined either to be donated or to hit the trash bin), then a stop at the market to stock up on groceries - followed by a return to trip to the market since I forgot the most important thing - coffee! Then, home for a quiet evening, a great little call with TR, and finally “The Walking Dead”, which closed with an awesome episode.

All of which brings me here, to work, on Monday morning.  I am hammering my way through the email that stacked up while I was on vacation.  The good news is that they should be wrapped up in by later today.  The load wasn’t too bad, in part because it was a short week, but it was actually nice to come back to 100 or so email.

 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Vacation - Day One

Today was the first day of my vacation.  It went pretty smoothly.  I met Tony, Bob, Brandy, Jobn, Cyrus and Tony at the Hickory Pit for breakfast.  Following breakfast Tony, Bob and I went to see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire over at AMC 14.  A very enjoyable movie.  From there, I ran Bob home, them met Tony for pizza at Patxi's.  After Patxi's, I swung by Westgate and picked up a small duffle bag (Eagle Creek) - I've been meaning to get one for a while and today and the forthcoming trip seemed like a perfect excuse.  Then home, an easy evening, settled in and watching sitcoms off the DVR and now the latest episode of the Agents of SHIELD. My plan is to get a good night sleep and then just go as easy as I can through the day tomorrow.  Tomorrow is a traveling day and I am hoping it is going to go very smoothly.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Planning A Light Trip

I have three things left that I am trying to accomplish prior to leaving on vacation.  I started the day with four, but I managed to get one off my plate a little bit earlier in the day.  Each of them represents between three and four hours of work, so it will be interesting to see if I make it or not.  Of course, if I don’t make it nothing happens. Since next week is the Thanksgiving week, traditionally, by the rhythm of the business, we will accomplish nothing during that week since most of leadership will simply be gone.  Since we are in a top down environment right now that means everything will come to a grinding halt.  It will all patiently wait for me to return from vacation.

Speaking of vacation, I am looking forward to the trip, though it is going to be a relatively fast turnaround one.  That is fine - I spent two weeks in South Dakota earlier this year, so a far week at the holiday season will be enough of a visit for me.  I am sure my parents will wish that I was there longer - but in reality, from many prior visits, four or five days is about the proper length of time.  Much longer and you start to run out of things to talk about.  I am going to travel as lightly as I can, just to see if I can.  My intention is to travel only with Maximus, my backpack - a change of clothes, a small toilet kit, and I should be good.

 

 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

It's Already Thursday

It;s already Wednesday.  Two more days and then I start my Thanksgiving vacation.  I am looking forward to it. I'll be going to SD for the week to spend the holiday with family.  I hope the weather is good!  Fall in SD is usually not too bad, but they've already had one brutal snow storm - I hope it is a clean trip.

Work has been mostly busy but not productive.  We're way understaffed right now due to travel and vacations, so the first part of the week, the last three days, for me, have been nothing but putting fires out. I am hoping I'll be able to get a few tasks done tomorrow and Friday, but, honestly, my hopes are not high. This is a week or fire fighting, then off for a week and then, well, I guess I get to start all over when I come back.



Sunday, November 17, 2013

Breakfast with a Red Headed Sparrow

It is a beautiful morning here in California.  I slept well last night, woke in the magical hour before dawn and watched the sunrise.  A hot shower, then coffee and pumpkin bread on the patio, savoring this fall morning. I was joined by a red headed sparrow who dropped down into the black oil sunflower seeds and seemed to be enjoying himself very much.  I fired off a few texts, then settled in to watch the morning news shows. I've got a simple day ahead of me.  My plan is to meet Rick and Tony at the Cheesecake Factory at noon for lunch, and I am sure I'll take a nice ambling walk through the Temple of Mammon afterwards.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Sum of A Thursday Morning

Okay, it has been a couple of days since I have taken the time to write anything. Lately, during the work-week especially, I’ve felt hard pressed for time.  I’ve started to write, but they were turning into work venting, so I stopped and set it aside for a while.  I thought I would take a few minutes this morning as my day starts and I get ready to slide into the flow of Thursday meetings to write an entry.  This is going to ramble a bit, but that is okay, I am in sort of a rambling mood.

Work continues in the throes of chaos, bad management, and reorganization.  I’ve heard a few hopeful rumors, but so far, that has been about it.  It is starting to develop a sort of “Ground Hog Day” feeling.  I spend some time over the weekend doing some dedicated thinking to the problem and I think that, in the end, I need to simply fight my way out of the corner.  I am going to take advantage of the opportunity to push for organizational and process change to try and get some relief.  I started the process this week with two pushes and I’ve already received one polite brushback.  I generally don’t respond to polite brushbacks, especially when I have the right of it.

Personal life has been going fairly well.  Health is good, latest eye exam with imagery came out exceptionally well and actually made my day. As a Type II diabetic the potential for eye problems exists.  So I routinely visit an opthamologist for detailed examination, the theory being that diabetic retinapathy is treatable if it is caught early enough. 

At my my recent visit, a week or so ago, the doctor told me that I could safely fall back to a 2 year rotation on the visits, since my eyes were actually better then they were when I first came to him in 2009.  We looked through the scans and that was pretty cool.  I felt like high-fiving myself at the end of the exam.

My friends are dealing with a wide variety of personal challenges and turmoil, but that is sort of the nature of the beast.  As a cohort we are in an interesting time I think, on the threshhold of feeling our age and moving into the next phase. It is kind of interesting to see how all of my friends are dealing with aging.  Denial seems to be a favorite tactic.

My folks are actually in the process of applying for an apartment in town, which is definitely the move they need to make in my opinion.  They need to get closer to the wide variety of services and service providers that town offers. The whole process is going to have a few bumps, but that is to be expected.  There is a lot of self questioning that goes on as they go through the process and I try not to let that keep me up at night.

All in all, that is pretty much the sum of a Thursday morning.  Time to turn my focus back to work and see what I can accomplish.  Thursday is usually one of my meeting heavy days, so I am going to get a couple of hours of good work during the morning, and then settle in for the long slide through the meetings.

 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Very Zen Weekend

It has been a good weekend.  It's moving at a nice and easy pace, yet at the same time it has been fairly productive. I had a wonderful three hour conversation with TR last night where we managed to cover, at one level or another, every subject in the book.  I love those conversations.

I slept deeply last night and dreamed, but it was a night full of ordinary dreams.  I woke up early this morning, rested and energized, and basically dove into the day.  Breakfast was simple and I chased it was some needed housecleaning, then I was off to the laundry.  The laundromat I usual go to has changed hands and the change is for the better - the place is nice, neat, clean and has an attendant now, which is outstanding. 

While the laundry was spinning in circles, I took a nice wandering walk around the neighborhood and enjoyed the sights and scents of fall.  Laundry done I came home and folded it.  I love the scent of fresh laundry.  From there, I kicked back and watched "On The Road", an excellent little movie.


 Because I dove straight into the day, it is only the early part of the afternoon and I have accomplished quite a bit.  That should allow me to enjoy the rest of the day, simply and purely.  It has been a very zen weekend.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Gift of Dreams

Let me start with the beginning.  Last night when I slept, I dreamed.  The subconscious is a wonderful place, it does all sorts of amazing things, and one of the things it does very well, at least in my case, in fuel my dreams.  Last night, it decided to fuel up my stress/anxiety dreams and then add a twist. I had a set of anxiety dreams that were three parts bad and one part good.

Part One:  I dream I am at a restaurant trying to get a sandwich for lunch and they keep messing up my order.  The first time,, they bring me the wrong sandwich.  I send it back.  The second time, they bring me the wrong sandwich.  I send it back.  The third time they bring me a sandwich - and I can't even say that it is the wrong sandwich because it looks like it has been stepped on.  I completely lose my temper, starting swearing and yelling and throw the sandwich into the kitchen.  They kick me out.

Part Two:  Fuming mad, I go outside to discover someone has stolen my car.  (In the dream, it wasn't my current car, but rather the old Cadillac I loved so much.)  I rant and rave about that.  Frustrated, I walk over to El Camino Real to catch the bus home.

Part Three:  The bus shows up.  Only it isn't a VTA bus, it is a bus like you would see in third world country, an old, beat up, multicolored school bus.  It is crammed full of people.  People inside.  People on top. People outside.  There is no room for me.  The second bus, same story.  This third bus...same story.  Angry and frustrated I start the walk home.

Part Four:  It is about a six mile walk home.  When I get within the last mile I turn down a street that will shave some of the distance off.  I get almost to the end of the street and it is all cut off by a ten foot tall chain link fence topped with razor wire.  I seethe. I turn around to retrace my steps.  In one of the nearby buildings, a man waves me over. I walk over, expecting it to be a security guard about to tell me to get off their property. Instead, he holds the door open and says "We've been waiting for you.  Your suite is ready." He escorts me to the elevator.  I am puzzled, but heck, it is a dream so I go with it.  I ride the elevator up.  The door opens into a luxurious suite with a giant jacuzzi tub.  A room service cart covered in delicacies waits nearby. And there, in the jacuzzi tub - the beautiful actress Milla Jovovich!



The subconscious is an amazing place. It took me through a journey of my stress - and then provided me with stress release!  LOL - outside of the sheer amusement factor of the dream, it was essentially a map of my stress and then a reminder of what I needed to do to recover from it - so the plan this weekend is a nice and relaxing weekend. I won't get the spa with Milla, but I do get the idea.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Fast and Relatively...

I made it to the end of the day without a meltdown so I am going to put it in the win column. I've stopped for Swedish pancakes on the way home and that may, ultimately, have been the deciding factor. The work day was fast and relatively brutal and I'm glad it's over!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Just a Pause

Let me pause here for a moment at work and write a little something.  It is a beautiful day outside today.  The sun is bright, the sky is very blue, and it’s a wee bit cold out there. I am just back from a brisk walk around the building. I had intended to go for a longer walk, but it is a little bit brisker then I expected! I do love this time of year though - the cool and crisp weather that is slowly burned away by the sun, so it is balmy in the afternoon and cool to cold in the night.

Work has been its usual immensely chaotic self. I spent all day yesterday chasing a data anomaly in circles and I still haven’t managed to close the loop on it, though I can now at least clearly see the conditions under which it is occurring.  This is just an aside, but I have watched the ACA website debacle with amusement - being partially in that world, I can relate to the challenges they’re facing and trying to work their way through.  I can point to the whole thing on TV and say - “see, that is what I do for a living”, and then add “and about that chaotic too”.

I finally finished reading “The Name of the Wind” last night and I enjoyed it.  It was an interesting story, though I would say that, mid-way through the book it seemed to bog down, as if the story was trapped in a circle where the characters where telling you about things that were happening/going to happen - but it wasn’t really engaging.  It did pick up by the end and I am going to give the sequel a try.  Hopefully the writer will get a little better at pacing.

Then, I started a non-fiction book that interested me - “Conquest: Montezuma, Cortes, and the Fall of Old Mexico”.  Probably because I had just finished watching “The Fountain”, which includes a sub-story about a Spanish Conquistador, I thought it might be interesting to see what sort of non-fiction books there were out there about the subject.  I think it has been a while since I’ve read any pure non-fiction.  I am looking forward to it.

Okay, as for today at the office, I have two simple goals - first, I want to make an entire sweep through my email to clean it out and update it.  Given the chaos of the last couple of days/week, it is a wee bit out of control.  Then, the second thing I want to do is take the time to write some peer performance reviews in our system. Then, if that doesn’t exhaust me, I need to write my own reviews.  (I’ve never liked the process of writing your own reviews - that is, to me, just stupid. I am actually not a fan of performance review systems at all - I think they all fall woefully short of what they are trying to do.)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Fountain and Reading Into The Evening

It's about three thirty PM on a pleasant, if gray, day.  The sun never really broke through, so there has always been that sense of impending fall through the day.  It is kind of nice.  I know I have said it before, but fall is my favorite time of year. I'll probably write that a few dozen more times before the season slides into winter.

I drove up to Fremont and had breakfast with Ty and Tony this morning, then ran a few errands with Tony before I turned back south and headed home.  Once back in San Jose, I took my car for a wash down on Prospect, then headed across the street to Westgate to run a couple of errands.  I stopped at Storables and picked up a pair of wire mesh baskets for the closet. After that I went for a rambling walk and people watching session around the shopping center, culminating in lunch at Sushi Boat.

From there, it was home for a short name, then I've been watching "The Fountain" on Blu Ray.  It's an excellent movies if you've never seen it.  (I guess it would still be an excellent movie if you had seen it too.)  It's about life and immortality and love and all kinds of big themes, with Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz as the lead characters. It's kind of a trip, but in a good way.  It's also very visually rich and has an outstanding score.



I had a good text session with TR this morning and she's deep in my thoughts right now. I think one of the hard limitations we have to eventually confront and deal with in life is just how limited we are when it comes to helping other people carry their burdens.  Physical burdens we can help with, but all the other burdens the best we can do is love and support.

I called the ranch this afternoon, just before I started "The Foundation".  Things were going well enough (which is good enough when it comes to aging parents.)  They seemed to be in relatively good spirits.  They went into town earlier in the week and took a look at an apartment and then decided that they would fill out the paperwork to see if they could get in.  It will be an adjustment for them, but it will be an adjustment for the better.  Being in town they will be able to attain services much easier then out on the ranch, especially in the event of an emergency.  So, I have my fingers crossed that they follow through.

Okay, so, for now, I am going to settle in and take a long hot bath, then probably read my way into the evening.

I Watched My Father The Hero

I woke up this morning at 5:30 AM and it felt...right.  My natural body clock wakes me about an hour before sunrise. As we've slid into fall, with sunrise slipping back, waking up at 5:00 or 5:30 AM seemed like I was waking up too early.  So, this morning, when I woke up naturally about an hour before sunrise, it felt perfect.

I had a fairly good day yesterday.  Met the guys for breakfast at the Hickory Pit, then swung by Fry's for a walk through, then out running errands for a couple of hours.  I met Don for lunch at Outback, then swung back home and settled in for a lazy afternoon of watching TV and pizza.  I watched "Shout at the Devil", an old Lee Marvin and Roger Moore movie, set in Africa in WWI.

Then, after a brisk walk through the neighborhood, I settled in and watched one of my favorite movies - the light and delightful comedy "My Father, The Hero" with Gerard Depardieu and Katherine Heigl. It is an American remake of a French film and, personally, I think it is one of the rare cases where the America remake is actually better then the French original, though the original is a good movie as well, I think the America version is lighter and gets the degree of froth just right.



Then, I curled up and read some more in "The Name of the Wind". I am almost to the end, maybe twenty pages away, and I just couldn't make it before I turned off the light and went to sleep.  I fell pretty cleanly to sleep and then, as I mention about, I woke pretty crisply this morning.  I've already eaten breakfast and I am working my way through my morning cup of coffee.

I'm not sure what I am going to do today, but I do feel like getting out and about and doing some wandering in the sun.  This time of year is my favorite time - I love the warm days and cool nights, I love the scents in the air, I love the way fall feels on my skin.  It is a beautiful time of year.

Friday, November 1, 2013

I See Ender's Game


I thoroughly enjoyed Ender;s Game.  I saw it this afternoon over at Century 22, between a rambling park walk and a visit to the Apple Store.  I am an Orson Scott Card fan, I think the guy is a great story teller, and I am also a fan of the Ender;s series of books (my personal favorite is "Ender's Shadow", about Bean), so I was slightly nervous when I went to see the film.  There were so many ways they could have gone wrong.  Let me put my opinion like this - if you think of the novel as a pot of coffee then the movie is a cup of espresso.  It condensed and captures the themes and moral dilemma's of the book in the succinct format of film.  I followed the movie with another errand, then a nap, followed by a slice of pizza at Mama Mia's, then home again. T.R, is out tonight, so I am settled in front of the television.  I watched an episode of Elementary and now I am watching Guy Ritchie's "Snatch", a great little movie.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Decisions As I Go

I've reached the end of a fairly nice day and I thought I would take a few minutes and write.  I can see by my entry count that October has been a pretty slim month for entries here in my blog.  I am going to blame my excessive work habits for most of that.

T.R. and I have dropped back to email communications for a while, so I am having to adjust to that, especially here in the evening, when I enjoyed talking to her so much.  But, given all that she has had on her plate over the last couple of years, I fully understand and support any decision she makes.

I am still reading through "The Name of Wind" and I should finish up in a night or two.  I might even curl up into bed a little early and push the rest of the way through the book tonight. I'll make that decision as I go.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Time to Savor the Time

Weather-wise, it's a beautiful California evening.  I had a simple dinner of sliders with bleu cheese and a salad, chased by a small piece of chocolate cake, an indulgence.  I've got an episode of "The Blacklist" off the DVR running and my plan tonight is to split my time between personal things and working some back logged email. I've got a three day weekend coming up and I am actually hoping to take all three days off.

It's been a long time since I haven't worked on the weekend - either hours of actual keyboard time or hours of thinking and planning around work. I definitely feel like my work has become a big intrusion on my personal life and I am not really sure how to work my way around and out of it.  Today was a classic example - I am behind the eight ball on various project related things and yet my own management keeps assigning me additional things and telling me "this is a high priority - do this right away" - and I am sure on the flip-side of the day they'll then want to know why I didn't finish my other projects.  It is a challenging environment, that is for sure

I would like to find my way out of this particular wilderness, but I am not sure how.  My upper management (whom I hold in low regard) asked for feedback on how to resolve some of these issues and I took the time to write up my suggestions.  At the end of the day, they halfway implemented one of them.  The reason, I think, is because it is not a problem they experience, they doubt the reality of it.

Well, let me return to this beautiful California evening and settle in to enjoy my television show.  Time to savor the time.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Brilliant But Bleak

Saturday was spent with my friend Tony as he bought a new car. I was the designated chauffeur, which meant I spent most of the day sitting around, people watching, sports watching, and drinking car dealership free coffee (which happened to be Starbucks for the most part). Tony eventually settled on a new Ford C-Max Hybrid.  It is kind of a cool car.  Not necessarily the car I would have chosen, but we are different people. Tony liked it, but like most people he was crashing into a little buyers remorse today.  We'll see how that goes.

Sunday I met Tony and Ty in Fremont for breakfast at the Classic Diner, then Tony and I caught "The Counselor", the latest Ridley Scott film, written by Cormac McCarthy.  Outstanding film.  Typical McCarthy in tone and subject and masterfully directed by Ridley Scott.  I would recommend it if you are a fan of both, otherwise beware that it is a rather bleak film. Brilliant, but bleak.

From there, I came home and loaded up the laundry - five loads worth.  I headed down to the laundromat in Campbell, loaded the big machines up, and spent the afternoon doing laundry and reading SciFi magazine, with a brief stop at the sporting goods store (they did not have what I was looking for) and then Nob Hill for a grocery run.

Home, folded and hung laundry, a simple dinner of a big green salad, an episode of Elementary, a call to the ranch, then an episode of The Walking Dead. I exchanged some text with TR, who had a long day and remained tightly in my heart and my thoughts through the day.  Life sometimes gives us long days.  I know I have had my share, so I can relate. I often wish I had the ability to bring peace to other people - but it is beyond my ability.  All I can do is love and be compassionate.

I'm going to wrap the evening up with another episode of Elementary (I've got two more on the DVR), then perhaps some reading in "The Name of the Wind", and maybe a spot of prayer or meditation, or perhaps both.  Tomorrow is another day at office where I get to pick up that particular set of burdens.  But, for tonight, I am going to leave it laying right there.

I think I fought off a low grade cold or flu over the last week because I was low energy during the day and then flat out sleepy at night.  I went to bed early multiple times through the week.  But, tonight, I feel pretty good - my energy level is about where I would expect it to be at this time in the evening, in this time of the year.  That is kind of a good feeling.  I am curious to see if the energy level runs constant through the week.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Dreams Inside Boxes

Whew.  What a week.  I sure didn’t manage to accomplish much, though I did a lot of work.  I was mostly fried from the long hours of last week, so I entered this week in a state of near exhaustion.  I could feel it in the evenings.  Monday night I slept extra hours.  Tuesday night I didn’t sleep because work had me totally stressed out.  Wednesday night I slept extra hours.  Thursday night I tossed and turned in a strange dream about boxes that was probably work related, though not necessarily.

The metaphor of boxes extends across life. Basically, in the dream, I was in a sort of post-traumatic stress condition where I was experiencing life in boxes.  Each aspect of my life had its own box and was moving independently of the other boxes.  Movement among the boxes was very sharp and distinct - inside one box, then inside the next box, then the next.  When inside each box the perception of the other boxes was that they were not real. Because they were unreal what was happening inside of them did not affect me in the box that I was currently residing in.  It was a strange and vivid dream.  I woke from it about 2:00 AM and the feeling of being in a world of boxes persisted until I fell back asleep, then I slide through a normal dream until my alarm clock woke me.

I think the boxes are an apt metaphor for my life at this point. Not intentionally, I believe in a holistic approach to life, but I think that the sheer volume of stuff has led me to compartmentalize a wide variety of things to keep them from spilling over. But, in the act of compartmentalization the core itself becomes fragmented.  You are trying to protect the core but instead you end up breaking it into pieces.  That is how I feel right now - I feel fragmentary.  I need to take the steps necessary to pull everything back together and be a more integrated whole again.

I’m not quite sure how to get there from here. Because I have been moving so fast I’m really feeling the need to just have a quiet weekend and spend some time thinking and meditating.  I haven’t been able to pull that off for a while.  Sometimes I enter the weekend with the best of intentions, but then, by the time the weekend is over I haven’t really accomplished anything.  I get the feeling that if I just got a couple of more days of good sleep I would catch up and feel more centered, but I am not sure if that is true.  Oh, I could definitely use a couple of more days of good sleep, but I am not sure it would affect the fragmentation.  Though I would certainly be less sleepy.

With the coming weekend I am going to try and sleep deeply and make a little headway against this particular challenge. I do realize that one of the things I have to do is stop wasting my time doing the things that are not giving me any rewards. I often feel like I spend way too much time waiting to do things and waiting for things to happen and I really need to just get moving and keep moving according to my schedule, not according to other peoples schedule.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Chevy's Tortilla Chip

Chevy's Salsa

Huevos Mexicanos

I Vent

What a week. I was actually going to write something for the blog last night, but couldn’t.  I opened it and sat there and stared at it for a while, then closed it.  I worked 58 hours last week and paid for it this weekend.  Monday I was burnt out and under the weather. I had to call off sick from work and then spent the entire day sleeping with a head cold. I came into work yesterday, managed to sort through all the stuff that had stacked up from Monday, and then went home last night and couldn’t sleep because one of the work related things was stuck in my mind.  I have got to filter through it and decide what my response is going to be.

Work is tough, again, the fall out of incompetent management.  We are running as fast as we can in all different directions, with no one in control.  There are days when I literally don’t know what I am supposed to be doing because I’ve been pushed and pulled in so many directions.  One of the things that I’ve been struggling with lately is our daily customer service load.  We are split between two primary tasks - task one is our project work and task two is our customer service work. 

Our management simply fails to understand the degree to which the customer service work - one customer at a time, one issue at a time - eats into the hours.  Last week, when I was filling in for my boss and worked the 58 hours almost all of it was customer service work, answering specific inquiries and responding to specific issues.  The end result is I am, once again, very far behind in my project work - and still not caught up on all the customer issues that came in.  I am purely and simply burnt out.  I am taking protective measures this week - I am only working my scheduled hours and I am not going to work at all during the weekend.  I may need to continue that into next week in an attempt to get some semblance of normalcy back.  It is rough to be this burnt out and one of the worst parts is, due to our crisis in leadership, there is no way out that I can see.  It is terribly frustrating!

 

 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Self-Inflicted Illusion

It’s been a brisk week. My boss has been on vacation so I have been filling in for her and, since some other team members were also on reduced scheduled, I’ve caught a lot of incident traffic coming across my desk.  It has made the time pass quickly, but it has also been kind of chaotic and stressful.  I’ve got one task that is haunting me because a.) I don’t know how to do it and b.) it’s overdue.  I am hoping that I will get an opportunity today and tomorrow to get spend some serious time looking at the issue.  I get the feeling that once it clicks I’ll be able to complete it quickly, but that could that could just be a self-inflicted illusion.  So, in a near collision state with a self-inflicted illusion, let me return to the working world.

 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Good News on a Monday

So I see I managed to drop a couple of pictures out here during the last week, but that was about it.  It was a busy period of time, that is for sure.  I entered Monday after the weekend with the feeling that I had enjoyed the weekend, but I certainly had not achieved anything.  That is not entire true, but that is the feeling.  So, let me catch you up on what has been going on.

Let’s start with the biggest news first.  I do not have to relocate to South Dakota.  After examinations, x-rays, and consultations with a hip surgeon it was decided that my step-father did not need hip surgery after all.  The root cause of his intermittent pain and “hitch” in his hip was tendon based, so they are going to go down the path of cortisone shots (for the pain) and physical therapy (for the hip). 

That was good news for both of us. He doesn’t have to go through the hip surgery and I don’t have to go back to SD for an extended period of time - at least not now.  Of course, with aging parents, that is subject to change at any given moment, but the longer the inevitable day is delayed (the longer they stay functionally independent), the better prepared I will be, both psychologically and financially, for that day.  All in all though, that was good news on that front.

I had a nice weekend and saw a pair of movies.  Let’s just say they were very different movies.  I saw Tom Hanks in “Captain Phillips” and I saw Danny Trejo in “Machette Kills”.  Inside of their genres they were both very enjoyable. I am sure I did other recreational related things during the weekend, but I feel as if the days passed to quickly and I never got the chance to relax as deeply as I would have liked.  Not that it was a bad weekend - just not the weekend I particularly needed or wanted.  I have to accept that some of that is directly related to the choices I make, so there is no blame to be assigned.

I did upgrade to the iPhone 5C and, finally, in the face of the inevitable tide of history, abandon my beloved Blackberry.  I was a huge fan of the Blackberry devices and platform, but the writing is clearly on the wall.  The King is Dead.  Long live the King. The iPhone 5C is pretty nice and there were a lot of misadventures wrapped into actually getting it, mostly involving store clerks for whom the smallest complexity was show stopper. 

But, eventually, I found a store where the sales person knew what they were doing and I was able to get into the phone.  I’ve done a partial set-up, put my key contacts in place, but I still have a lot of information that I need to move off the Blackberry on onto the iPhone.  I’ve had bad luck with the automated processes that the cell phone vendors use, so it is something I prefer to do myself.  That will be my evening entertainment for the next couple of days I think.

 

 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Pure Honey



Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Dreams of Steel



Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Today My Meditation Skills Will Get A Work Out

I think I need some stress free time.  As usual it seems that the world is spinning around me though I am in a relatively stable place.  I guess it is invoking a sense of vertigo which is probably combined with a sense of helplessness from being unable to influence that spin.  The end result is a tight stomach and a very active monkey mind.  Today is no exception.  The monkey mind started on waking and walked right into the shower with me, then sort of hung around and poked at me through breakfast.

I always wonder why I let it get inside of me and bother me like that?  These are things that I have minimal influence over. About all I can do is extend a helping hand and even then that can only have an influence if someone reaches out and accepts the hand.  Otherwise, I am left spinning with my hands extended, wanting to help but unable.  From there, I continue to spin until my stress levels get very high.

I find myself almost continually writing about my stress here.  I guess at some point this became my stress journal.  That is not necessarily a bad thing because usually, like now, writing about my stress allows me to process it and move through it more smoothly without bottling it up and feeling the pressure build inside of me.  Still, between the work and non-work stress I’m banging off the walls pretty hard.

Here as the office the main stressor is generally the fact that we remain overbooked for work.  The classic dilemma of too much work and not enough hands.  Add on top of that the lack of process discipline from the top down and it sometimes feels to me like it’s a recipe for disaster of one form or another.  We seem to be unable to influence the decisions that are made that influence our daily lives.  That is not just a perception, but rather what happens when you find yourself in a top down micro-managed world. I keep expecting those above us to wake up at some point and realize how much damage they’re doing to the company, but I don’t see it.  I think they are managing to hide the self-inflicted damage inside the outer turmoil in our working environment.

Then, in the off work stress the main thing that is in front of me is my pending relocation to South Dakota for an extended period to help care for my step-father following his hip surgery.  He has a meeting today to get images taken and then a meeting tomorrow with the surgeon, from which point they are going to schedule the surgery.  Oddly enough that is also a stress point.  There is a possibility that the actual surgery itself is tomorrow - I don’t think so - but it is possible.  This possibility exists because they scheduled the appointment and no one though to ask details about what was going to happen in each appointment.

I’ll survive all the stress of course.  It mainly is what it is and since there is little that I can do to influence it, it’s definitely an exercise in zen detachment.  I sometimes seem to come up short in that exercise, but I suppose that is the learning cycle.  Today is going to be another exercise in detachment or attempted detachment. I am sure that I am going to have to put my meditation skills to good work today!

 

Monday, October 7, 2013

A Day On A Pendulum

Well, I am sliding into the last hour of a fairly typical working Monday and I thought I would pause for a few minutes and send a quick entry off.  The day was the usual Chaos-On-A-Monday that we know so well, combined with the semi-usual Rod-Has-Slammed-Into-The-Wall-Monday.  In short, an ordinary day.

I read a good quote this morning that I shared with my team members and I thought I would share it here as well.

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is mere tenacity. The fears are paper tigers.” - Amelia Earhart

I thought that was an interesting quote and since I am locked in battle with a few of my own paper tigers. I’m really engaged in an internal wrestling match with the challenge of aging parents and the potential impacts on my life.  I find myself swinging back in forth wildly, like a pendulum gone mad.  One day I am in this position, the next day I am in another position and then on the third days - well - who knows where the heck I’ve landed. 

Sometimes that pendulum is even swinging at a much faster pace, an hourly pace, a minute by minute pace.  I am trying to decide what the right thing to do is, but I am also trying to figure out, I think, who defines what the right thing is.  It’s never easy.  There are a lot of inner complexities involved.

Then I simply remind myself - trust the universe, stay true to yourself, and everything will work out well.  I wonder sometimes is I am too attached to my current job, too attached to my current life - even though, at times, I find both that job and that life to be less then what I would like to have.  In all cases I know that it is about the decisions I make, but that doesn’t make those decisions any easier to make, nor does it make the answers to those questions any clearer.

So there I sit today, on the pendulum, swinging back and forth.

 

 

 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Three Days and Ready

I am now ready to relocate to SD on three days notice.  It will take a day to prep, close, and pack. It will take two days to drive there.  So, as far as semi-rapid deployments go, I am set.  Since I am going to drive I can travel heavy and the heaviest item in my plan is my workstation - a bracket, two monitors, keyboard, mouse, computer, power supply.  Other than that I will travel light.

I've been making the psychological adjustment necessary for the journey and I've got myself in the right space for it as well.  The main thing I find myself struggling with is reacting to scenarios that have yet to become real.  That is always a recipe for stress. I am as flexible and prepared as I can be for the immediate known future is going to present.  Life always unfolds unexpectedly.

Outside of that, it has been a pretty good weekend.  I went out and saw the new movie, "Gravity". I highly recommend it.  A great performance by Sandra Bullock and some stunning visuals. Definitely see it on a big screen and definitely see it in 3D.  I am looking forward to some of the movies that are slated for fall release, LOL, though if I am in South Dakota it may be a while before I finally get to  see them.


 My evening has been a simple fish dinner and two episodes of the new show "The Black List" with James Spader.  I definitely like it.  Spader is an excellent answer and I love to watch him work.  I also have to admit I have a thing for characters like Spader's and to see an actor like Spader in that role is just excellent.



The Fountain



Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Old Game of Catch Up

It's been a while since I've had a window to write.  Since learning about my step-fathers impending hip surgery, I've been prepping my apartment here in California for an extended period away. I've been giving everything a hard scrub, mop and vacuum, and straightening things and putting them away.  When I travel, when I get home, I like to come back to a clean and neat place so I can relax.

Bill had an appointment today, but it was for an exam and MRI's.  He'll go in and meet the next Thursday and they'll decide on a schedule date from there. So, I have essentially another week to get my ducks in a row and that will be fine because, truth be told, I don't have that many ducks. Getting ready is pretty simple.  I will be traveling light when I go.

The last two days at work have been very brisk, but very brisk with small things - a lot of which I've knocked off, but a lot of which are still stacked up.  I hope to make some good headway tomorrow and then, once again, I am going to have to carry some work into the weekend.  It can be frustrating if I let it get to me.

This morning I was distracted, mostly thinking about Bill, and I realized midway into the morning that I was not authentically present, so I stopped, meditated for a while, and then pulled myself into the moment.  From there I was able to make a very productive day out of it.



At home this evening I had a nice dinner, then cleaned the kitchen and washed all the counters down.  I still need to mop the kitchen floor, but I think I will do that tomorrow or Friday.  I followed it up with some texts with TR and then some phone calls with my family.  Now, I've settled in and I am watching "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." on the DVR.  It is Joss Whedon and of course I am completely in the tank for Joss.  (Incidentally, it has one of the actresses I think is immensely talented and vastly underrated - Ming Na.)  So that pretty much brings me up to the moment.  I am going to decide whether or not I should go to be early tonight or perhaps do a little work related email after the show is over.



I am reading a pretty good book - "The Name of the Wind", which is the first book of "The Kingkiller Chronicles".  Based on what I have read so far, I would definitely recommend it if you're a fan of fantasy. The author is Patrick Rothfuss.


Starting A Reflective Day

Just a quick morning entry as I am getting ready to go to work.  Today is the day that I expect to here from my step-father on the scheduling for his hip surgery.  Based on that, I will make my plans accordingly.  My gut is tight and my inner stress level is pretty high. I am going to try to keep a tight focus and move as smoothly through the day as I can. I'll try my best to be authentically present through the day.  My thoughts are also on T.R. who has carried a lot through the last years.  It is going to be a reflective day.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Always A Struggle

I am struggling today here at the office.  Right now, the main thing I am struggling with is a prevasive desire to simply take a long nap.  Looking at the clock, I’ve still got a ways to go, so I figured a bit of time writing and then a bit of time walking might help me fend off the sleep demons for a while.  I started work at a little after 4:00 AM this morning, prepping for a teleconference with a customer in the early morning hours.  That means here, now, with 1:00 PM approaching I have been at it for close to an eight hours.  I managed to squeeze a lunch break in there, so I should hit a solid eight at around 2:00 PM.  Then I am going to scoot home and take that much needed nap.

Work was chaotic this morning. I have mostly been wrapped up in a customer support incident with a long chain of causality resulting in an error condition. I’ve chased the bug through the system and now know where it resides.  Part of my start of near exhaustion stems from the continual struggle of convincing people where the bug lays. I often wonder if other companies struggle as much as we do with our technical support issues.  The challenge we often face is finding someone to take ownership of the issue - there is a real tendency to skate if off and send a ticket to some other group, whether it belongs to that group or not.  It is that rush to close tickets, not actually solve problems.  Personnally, it irritates me because all of the energy that much be expended to try and get the issue in front of the right people and then, convince them to act upon that ownership.  Always a struggle.  Always a struggle.

 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Life Tends To Unfold Rather Quickly

Life tends to unfold rather quickly.  My step-father (at 77) may be going in for a hip replacement in the near future. The Doctor will be doing the assessment and, if the determination is “go”, the scheduling sometime next week.  That means I will be relocating to South Dakota for an indefinite period while he recovers.  It could be short, it could be long, it could be very long.  There are a lot of things up for decision.

So, in the last several days, I’ve been surveying my apartment with an inventory eye, trying to figure what I am going to take and what I am not going to take.  Fortunately, over the last couple of years, I’ve been simplifying.  I have stuff in my apartment, but the vast majority of it is simply that…stuff. In all truth, I can get most of my valued possessions into two or three suitcases and a couple of boxes. I could get my stuff that actually have monetary value into a single box.

There are things I would like to take, but very few things that I have to take.  Actually, with the exception of a few keepsakes, most of it I could simply walk away from.  I am working on a “must take” list over the next couple of days, and the remainder of the stuff will be divided between donate and trash.  One of the areas I am wrestling back and forth with is what to do with my apartment.  I can keep it of course, but I am not sure if that makes any financial sense.  There is a cost associated with the apartment and with the open ended nature of the relocation, it may be that the cost rapidly becomes prohibitive.  That is an area I need to work on in terms of planning.

If the relocation is short (two or three months) it makes sense to keep the apartment.  If the relocation is long, it doesn’t make any sense to keep the apartment.  If I accept that the relocation is long term, then I will make one set of decisions, which will have one set of financial repercussions.  If I approach it as short term, then that is another set of decisions.  If I approach it as indefinite (which is the most likely scenario), then that is another set of decisions.

I look at my “life” here in California and though there are many things that I love, most of them are transitory enjoyments at best. Oddly enough, the two most important things to me are both things in which physical location is a lesser concern - my job and T.R.. I would definitely miss my California friends, but that is transitory as well. As we’ve aged people have changed and they are no longer as socially outgoing as they once were and, with few exceptions, most of the social engagements I drive.  The others are content to stay at home, watch TV or play video games.  (LOL - that is the curse of getting older for our generation.)

What is within me is, of course, compact and transportable.  Though I intend to try and switch to a virtual telecommuting relationship with my job, even that is, frankly, portable.  I realize that I could be laid off at any moment based on the whim of a re-organization.  Such are the fortunes of unemployment.  So, I am going to spend some time this weekend building my walk-away list and starting the process of having two key discussions in preparation - the discussion about going virtual at my job and the discussion about breaking my lease at the apartment complex.  Quite frankly I am not thrilled about doing either one, but life changes and we roll with it.

 

 

Monday, September 23, 2013

How Do We Start The Day

With the arrival of fall I find myself sleeping later into the morning.  My natural sleeping rhythm is to wake up about an hour before sunrise.  I am sure that was driven into me growing up and the ranch.  Personally, I like the rhythm.  That time, the hour before the sun breaks the eastern horizon, is a great time.  It is still and quiet.  It is a perfect time for reflection.  It is a perfect time to linger over a cup of hot coffee and watch the day unfold.  It is a perfect time to decide who you are.

I started this morning with the usual waking routine.  A hot shower, a cup of coffee, a bowl of cereal (today happened to be Special K) and a time of quiet reflection and meditation.  Then, I flipped on the TV, fired up the DVR, and watched the series finale of “Dexter”.  I am not going to give any spoilers here (the web is already full of them), but I am going to simple say - want an incredible show.  I’ve been a Dexter fan since I read “Darkly Dreaming Dexter” years ago. That was one incredible show.  I am going to miss it.

In the shadow of the “Dexter” finale, I drove in to the office.  The commute was pretty normal and I watched my mind wander.  It kind of amazes me in the morning commute how much time my mind can spend thinking about things that have nothing to do with me, that I can only marginally affect, and that, all in all, I really should not spend that much time on, much less that much time worrying on them.

But, this morning, it did lead me to think about the “thought-action” connection.  Sometimes the subconcious rising things up so that we can take action on them.  Not just think about them, but act upon them.  Then, the reason that the mind keeps returning to them is because we haven’t taken action on them.  The mind pulls them back into the forefront when it has some quiet time.  When that happens maybe we should pay a little more attention and perhaps craft a plan of action.

There is a challenging aspect to this line of thought though. Sometimes, what my mind seems to rise up with are things where the core action, the core decisions, are not mine to make.  Where I can think about them, where I can craft imaginative solutions, where I can make solid recommendations - but, in the end, I can’t take the core action, I can’t make the core decision.  Those are difficult circumstances and in those difficult circumstances I wonder what the mind is trying to reveal by repeatedly returning to those instances.

I don’t have any answers this morning except one that is repeatedly presented to me in life. If you need to change your circumstances YOU must change your circumstances. This applies to me as well as anyone else out there.  You have to make the decisions.  You have to take the core actions.  Otherwise, nothing will change.  Or it will change, but you will not have any ability to influence the change.

 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Prisoners Is A Good Movie

It has been an enjoyable weekend and I am wrapping it up tonight watching the Emmy Awards, which is always pleasurable. I saw a very good movie today, which has left me in sort of a post-good-movie bliss state.  The movie was the new Jake Gyllenhall, Trevor Howard, and Hugh Jackman, with Maria Bello and Alfie Woodard - Prisoners. As you would expect with a cast like that, it was a very good movie.  I highly recommend it and it has been a while since I've said that.

Let's see what else happened this weekend.  I had a day on Thursday - I had this mood where I was just tired of doing the same old, same old each day and came to the conclusion that I really need to make a conscious effort to change things up.  So, that was sort of my theme through the weekend.  I decided that I would do the things I enjoyed (like breakfast at the Hickory Pit, like a good movie) but that I wouldn't do the things that were not satisfying to me.  As a result, I had an enjoyable weekend.

Changing deeply engrained habits is often very difficult. It is going to require an almost constant level of effort, but that may be what I need as I move forward into the fall.  If I had to define and describe my overall mood lately it has been a sense that I am not living life to the its full capacity - that I am stuck in a deep and comfortable rut.

It is actually kind of a good feeling.  I really haven't felt like this for a while.  It is a sense that I am in a position to seek further self-exploration.  I kind of like it.

Meanwhile, TR is traveling for work, so it will be a sweet touch and go through  the week. So, it is with her in my thoughts that I am going to call it a night here and settle in to some serious Emmy watching.


Friday, September 20, 2013

The Stuff of Life



Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Salsa at Mexicali Grill



Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone.

I Am Sure It Made Sense At The Time

I am struggling to get going this morning.  I slept well last night. I woke rested and had a pretty ordinary morning. Here at the office I’ve managed to make it through my email and voicemail and start getting the day sorted out for the work I need to do, but I am struggling there. I need to just line things up and get moving, but for reasons known only to the universe that seems pretty difficult today.  Maybe I need to take a walk or something to get some creative and productive juices flowing.

I was reading Gaiman’s new novel again last night and I dreamed in visuals from the book.  That is pretty impressive. I think that it’s a sign of a good writer when the story they are telling you is able to get inside of you, to move around in both your conscious and subconscious, when the writer has the ability to make you think about it when you are awake and dream about it when you are asleep. Gaiman is definitely one of those writers.

I was doing a physical inventory in my apartment last night and, once again, I have come to the conclusion that I have way too much stuff.  It is weird - I cut the stuff out, I drastically reduce it, I only keep the stuff that I think I am going to use and a handful of things that are significant to me and then, at the end of a couple of months, that remaining stuff becomes, once again, too much stuff.  I keep joking that eventually I am going to end up in a place where I have next to nothing left; just me, my bathrobe, a blue bowl and my big screen TV.  Because, let’s face it, my TV is going to be the last thing to go!

It does tend to be the peripheral things that I want to get rid of; too much of this, too many of that, this thing that is scarcely used, that thing that seems to just take up space.  All of them seem to develop a weight of their own and then that weight gets heavier and heavier.  Then, when I donate the stuff or throw it away I just feel lighter again. I’ve only got a limited amount of stuff in my closet - I am down to 12 boxes.  But, once again, here is the simple truth - I have been in maybe one or two of the boxes in the last couple of months.  I need to review them and get rid of them once again.  Ideally, I shouldn’t even look in them - I should just get rid of them.  But, I do realize that there may be something in those boxes that I intended to keep for a reason.  Though, right here, right now, I can’t really think of what that reason is.  I am sure it made sense at the time.

 

 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My Mind Rambles

Okay, I thought I would take a pause in an otherwise busy day and write an entry here.  This work week has gone pretty smoothly and pretty quickly, with more strangeness then pressure.  If feels like our entire organization has kind of paused and is trying to decide what it is going to do.  I think we’re all sitting and waiting for the re-organization announcements that are supposed to come out in the next couple of weeks.  I know that I am pretty close to being on pins and needles.  Our VP has a meeting scheduled for next Thursday and I know that I am certainly eager in my anticipation.  I am hoping for relief from the madness and a chance to move into a new era.

Other than that though, it has been a good week.  I spent most of the week catching up on Starz “The White Queen” by watching six episodes more or less back to back.  It is pretty good television and another feather in the cap for Starz, in my opinion.  I am also completely caught up on the totally awesome “Ray Donovan”, a truly outstanding show.  Each episode seems to top the previous one for pure brass balls. “Ray Donovan” is great television.  The fall season is starting up so I’m hoping that something will separate itself from the pack and became the stand out show of the fall.

On the reading front I am moving steadily through Neil Gaiman’s “The Ocean At The End Of The Lane”.  So far, the story itself feels a bit slight, but we’ll see where it goes. Neil is an amazing writer though.  There is a great sequence in the book about a young boy who has an other worldly entity inside of him, having entered through a small hole in his foot and one of the characters removes the entity by basically pulling it back out through the small hole.  It is a shiver inducing set of passages and a great example of what the author is capable of through the power of prose.

Things are relatively stable on the family front, but that is the way the world seems to be swaying right now.  Things are good, things are good, things are good…and then they are not.  I find myself frequently contemplating the logistics of relocating to home to assist my parents through their twilight years and tore over whether it is necessary at this point and all the “cost” factors (in the sense of economics and utility, with financially being only a small part of it).

I am hoping that the direction we are heading in after our re-organization is going to give me some clarity in making a decision there. Right now, I just have too many empty data points that factor in.  I honestly wish that I had more support from my family in making the decision and envisioning what the structure and consequences of the decision are going to be - what support I can count on (or not count on) from my siblings, etc.,  All of these things are data points I could use.  I probably need to sit down and matrix or flow chart the whole thing and consider the implications in a more formal manner.

My big fear, I guess, is that the personal cost to me will be too high and have a strong negative impact on me.  Yet, at the same time, when I look at the equation I realize that some of the things I am filtering into the equation are imaginary numbers on my part.  I am giving too much weight to conditions and circumstances that are not really relevant, nor do they possess the value that I am trying to ascribe to them.  I do need to sit down and get it all flow charted out and considered carefully.  I suspect I am reluctant to do that because I am afraid of the direction it is going to push me in.  The calculation from this spring is not the calculation from this fall and it will not be the calculation from the winter.  Of course, it never is.

For me, on a personal level, it would certainly be a re-rolling of the life dice. I am not sure if that would be a good thing or a bad thing.  There are definitely times when we want to re-roll the dice.  The question I guess is, in part, if this is one of those times and if the dice are going to land in a place where I want them to land.  I can definitely see some advantages in pulling up stakes and relocating to South Dakota for a period of years, but I can see the cost of it pretty clearly as well. So, for me, there is a question on whether or not I should try for a hybrid solution.  Well, I am obviously not going to decide here and now, but I do think I will lay the conversation out here, since the whole process of writing lets me work my way through things.