Sunday, June 30, 2013

Scarcely A Ripple

Okay, let's start over.  Sometimes when I go to write an entry here, I get midway through it and I realize it doesn't make a lot of sense or it doesn't serve any purpose.  At that point, I'll often stop myself and start over.

As we go through our lives and listen to our own self-talk, we can become aware of the things that are going on in our minds. Sometimes I find that I have amazingly negative self-talk. I was telling T.R. the other day that sometimes, in the morning, if I happen to struggle to get my contact lens in, I can find myself swearing at the contact lens.  That is pretty pointless behavior.  They are inanimate pieces of plastic.  It's not like they are plotting again me overnight, lying in the case, and the right one says to the left one "Okay, no matter what he does tomorrow, you cling to his finger as tightly as you can, we'll see how many different profanities we can get him to swear!".

So much of our difficulties in life come from those times when our expectations don't line up with the world that unfolds.  We expect the contact lens to go in easily.  They don't.  We swear. Insert pretty much any subject you want in the place of contact lens.  When that happens to me, I need to pull myself carefully into the moment and realign my expectations with the world that unfolds.  That is not always an easy thing to do.  So, today, as I move through the day, I am going to try and be authentically in the moment and not let my expectations get away from me.

It's move of a question of making sure my expectations line up with the world that unfolds - taking those small adjusting movements that pull the world as I want it into alignment with the world that is. The world that is simply is. It is not going to adjust to meet me.  It is simply going to be what it is.  The adjustment has to happen on my part.  So, I think that will be the theme of my day - adjustment - adjust and see if the worlds will line up and I can move through them with scarcely a ripple.  Wish me luck.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Movie Recommendation Imagine Me & You

Today was another low key, simple, and pleasant day.  In about the middle of the day, once the heat had risen and I had slipped inside to bask in the air conditioner, I watched the movie above on the DVR.  I am a fan of both Piper Peraboo and Lena Headey, so when I saw the two of them in a movie together, well, I hit record and there it was.  It is a good little movie, sweet, romantic, and amusing. Definitely worth the watch.

Most of the rest of the day was ordinary.  We are in the early part of a heat wave that is supposed to run through Thursday, so it is going to be nice and slow days of keeping a low profile and avoiding the heading.  I actually just went through the house with the intention of opening it up and letting the evening breeze flow through - but we're not yet there.  The sun set a few minutes ago and the temperature is still hovering around eighty, so I closed the patio doors and fired the AC back up.  I will open everything up when I slip into bed today.

For now, I am watching an episode of Sinbad off the DVR and then I am going to catch the next episode tonight, when it airs at nine. It has been an enjoyable series so far. Of course, as a child, I was a huge fan of Sinbad, originally based on the early movies, then the tales themselves.  I think Sinbad is such a cool character and I think the SyFy series definitely manages to capture what I consider to tbe the spirit of the character.


Friday, June 28, 2013

It was a most excellent Friday.

A few of the high points.

Breakfast at Goodies II on Bascom Avenue.

A couple of productive meetings, even though I had the day off.

A wonderful evening spent web surfing and conversing with T.R..

Then, in the slow hours of the evening...a classic...Kevin Costner's Waterworld.

Yes, a most excellent Friday.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Little Bit Bare

It was a full out run through the day here at the office, trying to play some catch up for the time I lost to the forces of chaos a little earlier in the week.  I was actually kind of successful, managing to knock ten items off the task list, so that was a good feeling.  There was also a nice break in the day, in the middle, when we stopped for a baby shower for one of the analysts which was a good and simple celebration of our humanity.
I think I am going to stop for a park walk in the way home tonight, if the weather permits.  It has been raining, very lightly, off and on this week, so it is muggy outside right now.  When I went out a little earlier, the humidity was on the borderline of making it an uncomfortable day.  If it is uncomfortable, then I might have to seek another option when I leave the office.  I may stop and shoot an hour or so of practice pool, just to unwind a bit before heading home. I suppose that I could also do a quick walk through the market to pick up some incidental odds and ends.  I haven’t been doing very much cooking for the last couple of weeks, so I noticed last night that my cupboard was getting a little bit bare.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Tables and chairs outside Thea Mediterranean at Santana Row, just prior to lunch on a lazy Sunday.

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The remains of Chicken Parmesan from Pasta Pomodoro at Santana Row.  Yummy.

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Monday, June 24, 2013

One Work Challenge - Interruptions

One of the work challenges I always find myself facing at work is the constant stream of interruptions – and my reaction to that constant stream. To break that flow I need to break one of the two parts.  I need to either break the incoming stream (by turning my IM’s and email off) or break the responding stream (perhaps by placing the items in a folder and only responding to them at a set period of time during the day).  Perhaps I can break the stream by doing both of the above.  Let me give it a try tomorrow.

Coffee Thoughts

I thought I would take a different approach to the morning here today.  One of the things I am aware of, and quite possibly one of the things that has been influencing the "mood" that I've spoken of several times, is that currently I feel like I am stuck pretty deep in the groove of habit. I think I need to break out of that. Habit carries a certain weight and that weight can influence the flow of the day. Along with that, I think there is a certain dissatisfaction with the slate of habits that I have in front of me and I need to get those habits shuffled around.

One of the largest habits that most of us have is work - the ritual and routine of going into work, the tasks that we do while we are at work, the flow of the day.  In my working world, I think that groove is carved a little deeper then some, in part do to our practice of standing meetings. There are two or three meetings that I run into every single day, every day of the week. That limits the flexibility that I have as I go through the day, as they are anchor points that the rest of the day has to flow around.

So, starting today, I am going to see if I can just make some small changes in trajectory as I go through the day - in part to see if I can land someplace different at the end of the day.  Not just someplace physically different, but some place psychologically different as well. 

The biggest challenge though is going to be altering my working world enough to make a difference. The weight of work is pretty heavy.  Sometimes I wonder if it is too heavy. (However, I then usually just look at my paycheck, compare it to people around me and go - uh, no, it is not.)  Actually at work, I wonder sometimes what it is that makes the day so difficult for me sometimes.  I generally have it easy in this world and I need to remember that more.  Which isn't to say my work is perfect - there are times when I work for idiots in a highly chaotic environment. There are also times when I am one of the idiots.

Well, whoever you are and wherever you are, I wish you a pleasant day.  And remember - "May all beings know happiness and be free from suffering."  I suddenly flashed on Jimmy Durante - "Good morning Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are!"

Sunday, June 23, 2013

I See Much Ado About Nothing

I saw Joss Whedon's "Much Ado About Nothing" today and I have to say - that was a truly enjoyable movie, excellent cast, great chemistry, and thoroughly enjoyable.  If you like Shakespeare or Joss Whedon or both, then by all means make it a date to see that movie.

Other than that, it was a pretty ordinary day.  The weather was gray and cool, which was nice.  I woke up about sunrise, packed up my laundry and headed out.  The first stop was the Hickory Pit for breakfast and the second stop was the laundromat for a period of time in spent in the land of Zen laundry.  The third stop was home to fold my laundry and put it away.  The fourth stop, the movie at CineArts theater on Santana Row. The fifth stop was lunch at Pasta Pomodora.  Then Best Buy, where I picked up the complete Battlestar on Blu-Ray on a great sale.  Then, a stop at CVS for incidentals. One more at the bank.  Then, the market.  Finally, home and a call home to the ranch.  Finally, I'm settling in for dinner and a bit of TV watching.  All in all, a good day.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Heart of World War Z

The high point of the day was Brad Pitt's "World War Z".  I say it that way to separate it from Max Brooks "World War Z" since the only thing the two really share in common is a title and a zombie apocalypse.  The movie has it's share of sins and problems - but, in the end, they pull it off, basically due to the charisma of Brad Pitt and Daniella Kertesz. Daniella, who plays an Israeli soldier named Segen, is the heart and soul of the film.  She brings a toughness and humanity to her role that is, to me at least, the emotional heart of the movie.  I'd actually recommend seeing it, though I had my doubts going into it.  I was pleasantly surprised.  A good movie after all, and though I was not expecting it, I think Daniella's portrayal of Segen was Oscar worthy.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Contented Being Tonight

A pair of home made chili dogs for dinner, a spot of reading, a long hot bath and a fresh shave.  I feel remarkably human in the aftermath.  I've settled in to watch an episode of Ghost Hunters and I think I might do a spot of letter writing while I am sitting here.  It was a pretty good day at work and I made headway, which is always an important part of the day.  I'm actually looking forward tomorrow, though, granted, that has a lot more to do with it being Friday then work itself.  I don't have a lot to say tonight, more or less, I am a contented being tonight.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Sing To Me

“Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns driven time and again off course, one he had plundered the hallowed heights of Troy.” Homer, The Odyssey (Robert Fagles translation, 1996)

I slept close to eleven hours last night.  I got home at about the ordinary time, had a simple enough dinner, watched the most recent episode of Defiance off the DVR and then decided to take a thirty minute nap.  It was a beautiful cool evening, so I curled into bed, listened to the street noises and drifted off.  When my timer woke me up, I reset it for another thirty minutes because it was so cozy sleeping.  Then, when it went off the second time, I…turned it off and went back to sleep.  It was about six p.m. and I slept straight through until about 2:00 a.m., where I woke briefly and then drifted back to sleep, finally waking up about five a.m..  It was very nice.
Today, my work is mostly meetings - a solid block of meetings from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m, for a total of six hours.  I’ve already got two meetings knocked off and I am in the third now.  The third is an informational presentation - in this third meeting, I helped to prepare the meeting materials, so I am just on the call as a question and answer resource.  I have some things that I hope to accomplish in the afternoon, but I am also planning on heading home fairly early today, since I started at 6:00 a.m.
Right now, I am going to head over to the conference room and spend the next half hour listening to the meeting and walking in small circles.  In thirty minutes, I will be able to get in about a mile or so, in small concentric circles. Move, move. Move.
I saw the quote from the Odyssey while I was at San Jose Museum of Art over the weekend and it was stuck in my head, so I thought I would share it here, since the process of sharing information can often release it.

The Door

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Our Urban God

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Slippery

I’ve got a fairly light schedule again today here at the office, so I am looking forward to a productive day.  I am still working my way through my backlog of smaller tasks and I am anticipating making some more headway today.  I am probably going to drop down off of IM and email so I can work undisturbed for periods of time. It’s hard to say what kind of mood I am in today.  I definitely had a moody weekend and that moodiness is lingering just under the surface. I’ll try not to succumb to it as I go through the day.
One of the interesting things I’ve observed in the first part of the year is, for a wide variety of reasons, I was holding on very tightly last year. This year has been more of an exercise in letting go, metaphorically. I’ve caught myself, a couple of times, walking down the hallway with my hands clenched tightly into fists, entirely subconsciously.  When I would do that, I would carefully release my hands, but I am not sure I’ve managed to get to the root cause of it.  Though, in part, it has been because I’ve been avoiding doing some hard inner work.
I need a day or a weekend pair of days to sit and stare at the wall, to do some meditation and self-examination. I can see where I want to be, but I cannot seem to move there.  I am encountering good old resistance.  In this case, it is not taking the form of direct resistance, but it is taking the form of slipperiness. (I am actually surprised slipperiness is a real word). I keep finding ways to slide away from the goal. I approach it and then just slip to the side.  It is kind of interesting to watch actually. It is like my psyche knows that if it were to throw up some direct resistance I could quickly overcome it, but as long as it dodges, slips aside, I am not quite at the point where I am willing to pursue it into the corners.  The monkey mind is pretty tricky.

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Quiet Night At Home

I'm home for the evening and I happen to be watching a very good movie with Woody Harrelson called "The Walker".  It is a solid little drama about politics and character.  I'd highly recommend it. A masterful performance by Mr. Harrelson, with a great supporting cast. I am not sure how this movie slipped by me when it was in theatrical release.

It was a mostly productive day at work.  Actually, it was pretty good for a Monday when I stop to think about it. Through the strangeness of the universe I only had one meeting today.  That does not happen very often, so I took advantage of it by working through my backlog of tasks.

One of the things that happens in the project world is your dance card fills up with many small tasks you never have time to work, so it seems like you're constantly running behind. This week I am going to try and get most of them cleared off my plate.  I am not sure how successful I am going to be, but it is going to be worth the try.

Siren - Amy Lam

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San Jose Museum of Art

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Try Not To Get The Two Tangled Up

It's an easy start to my Friday morning.  It is my day off, so I have the very bare bones of a plan for today.  I am going to meet Tony for breakfast over at Goodies II, then I may circle back home and do some internal cleaning.  I've been feeling an urge to clean my apartment, so today may be that day.  My living room carpet needs to be vacuumed, so I may tackle that today. I may also slip out and catch a movie and practice a spot of pool.  I feel like I am no more than a few hours away from a real breakthrough in my pool game.

Last night, as I lay asleep, I dreamed I was in a tropical forest, near a river, in a village and there was a tremendous rainstorm with the threat of a flood.  The water was pouring down the steep hills in powerful rivulets and the people of the town were trying to find their way to safer ground.  There was a sense of urgency, but not panic. One of the villagers had a jeep that got stuck in the mud on a hillside and he had to abandon it.  As we were walking along the bank of the river, the jeep went floating by.

I woke with the certainty that the jeep was a metaphor for work. It seems like we always have this flood of work coming at us, threatening to overwhelm us.  The movement toward safety is what I need to be careful that I always do, I need to keep my stress guards up.  I think it is probably true with any job, but there are times when your work threatens to swallow you whole and the job itself gains a significance or an importance that it should not have.  In those moments you have to take a deep breath, step back and realize that it is your life that matters, not your job.  Try not to get the two tangled up.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Half of This, Half of the Other

I thought I would take a few minutes here in the evening and try to deliberately slow things down a bit.  It was a busy day at work - pretty much the constant weave in and out of meetings, with a bit of productivity in the late afternoon, followed by an irritating schedule meeting.

One of the things I struggle with under our current management has been their remarkable ability to create schedules that are only distantly related to reality, then get all worked up when reality does not coincide with the schedule.  I've got two projects running right now, both on an aggressive schedule, that I am trying to bring into place as quickly as I can.  I was assigned to both projects about two weeks ago, as were most of the people on the project teams.

Management wrote out the schedule with no input and no buy in from the teams who actually have to implement them.  As a result, both projects are completely stalled, as the resources are all trying to come up to speed.  I did manage to get both of them moving in the right direction this week - but only by basically ignoring the schedule.

So, today, I go into a meeting and management keeps asking "did you meet this milestone" and "when is this going to be done" and I kept responding with things like "no, there are no resources to do that" and "no, this item is out of sequence" and "no, these two items are tied together for no apparent reason other than they use the same word in the title".  It was a challenging and uncomfortable meeting.  Management really, really wanted to check the boxes off and I am not inclined to check the boxes off for the sake of checking the boxes off.  We skated along the lines of being a very testy set of exchanges.

The thing is, neither of this projects should have reached this particular impasse.  They are not difficult projects technically or functionally. It is just that, in our top down management style, almost everyone seems to be afraid to make any decisions and no one seems able to say no.  As a guy who can both make decisions and say "No", it often puts me in a very uncomfortable place. 

But, in the plus side, I actually expect both problems to go live on schedule - even on the aggressive schedule because, again, they are not that complicated.  One is implementing a mature piece of technology, and the other is making a set of clearly defined changes in a web application.

Elsewhere in Corporate Land, the Game of Thrones continues.  We are in the midst of a big reorganization that is seeing some alterations in the positions of the Powers-That-Be.  I am hoping that, during the course of this, my Director gets removed.  Either removed from our sphere entirely, or removed from her management position.  The level of stress and chaos she causes has taken a big toll of the people who work for her.  There are a host of other problems that land directly back on her doorstep. Her sheer incompetence astounds me - and reflects poorly on the people above her.

You might ask "Well Rod, why do you stay there?".  It is a question that I have asked myself more than once and I do have a set of answers.  First, in spite of my complaining, there are really only four things that irk me at work, and of those four, my Directors incompetence is the one that makes the working world a very difficult place, not only for myself but for other people as well. 

I also don't like our performance review system (which is undergoing another major revamping this year as they try to figure out how to stop alienating their employees), I don't like our raises of late (which I blame pretty squarely on a poor performance management system, an incompetent Director, and the tightening contractor environment), and our facility (which is old and ugly, but which has been sold, so assuming we get to keep our jobs, we will move into a different building either at the end of this year or the beginning of next).  I like my work cohort, I like my immediate manager, I like many, many of customers, and I thoroughly enjoy the work I do.  I am compensated well and the benefits package is good.

So, like many things, work is half of this and half of the other.

The Chief Beauty About Time

“The chief beauty about time is that you cannot waste it in advance.  The next year, the next day, the next hour are lying ready for you, as perfect, as unspoiled, as if you had never wasted or misapplied a single moment in all your life.  You can turn over a new leaf every hour if you choose.” - Arnold Bennett

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I Finished Leviathan Wakes

I finished reading "Leviathan Wakes" and I would definitely recommend it if you are a science fiction fan.  I am going to read the next book in the series - "Caliban's War".  Between here and there though I am reading "Many Lives, Many Masters" and a biography of Julius Caesar.

It was a beautiful evening.  I worked a full day at the office, then stopped at Santa Clara Billiards to shoot some practice games on the way home.  I am recovering my mojo when it comes to pool.  I am almost completely recovered from changing up my game - I would guess another five hours or so of practice will get me there.  I am running at a pretty consist .62 in straight pool.  My current goal is to drive that up to .75.

This week has been relatively pleasant.  T.R. is off to Kure Island with her friends for a week or so. My parents are both home at the ranch and doing well enough, with my nephew Tom in the mix.  Work has been busy but relatively sane.  I lost some time this week trouble shooting a bug that a code change introduced in a vendor product, but they found the root cause today, so it is now just a matter of cleaning up the damage and moving forward.

I lost a spot of time on one of my projects, but I am making up for it later here in the week.  The time spent trouble-shooting had to come out of somewhere and unfortunately, it came out of project time.  That is an equation that upper management fails to grasp.

I am looking forward to the three day weekend.  My plan is, on Saturday, I am going to the San Jose Museum of Art to see an Annie Leibowitz exhibit and then probably grab some lunch downtown.  Part of my renewal of  membership in the museum was a coupon that is worth 10.00 off at 17 different restaurants and cafes.  I think that I will see if I can go to all of them this year.  That might be a worthwhile little eating adventure.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Fierce Little Mind Dance

When I woke up this morning my monkey mind was sitting there, waiting to pounce.  I woke up at 4:00 AM sharp and was lying there in bed, sliding into the morning when in rapid succession my mind through up first one set of negative thoughts, then another, and another.  Each of them was work related, but they each were nothing I could do anything about at 4:00 AM.  Then, to complicate the dance of the monkey mind, when I tried to let each issue rise up naturally, so it could be considered, I mentally jumped to another subject.  It was a pretty fierce little mind dance to start the day.

I got up and meditated for a while, there in the morning darkness, until my mind settled a bit.  Then, I padded around the dark apartment for a while, just stretching and being “present”, settling into the feel of my body as I walked.  After I stilled a bit, I opened the patio door and stepped out onto the patio.  I stood there for a couple of minutes and let the cool morning air totally embrace me.  Somewhere in the distance a single bird was singing, softly. 

Then, back into the apartment, into a hot shower.  I came out of the shower, wrapped myself in a towel, and then stood there in front of the mirror, shaving.  I’ve switched over to shaving with a classic safety razor and, after some practice, I am getting pretty good at it.  There is peace in the zen ritual of classic shaving - the hot towel, the shaving brush and lather, the smooth slide of the razor.

So, showered and shaved and in somewhat better condition, mentally. I started the day. Breakfast was a bowl of Special K and a cup of coffee.  The commute in was smooth.  In work my monkey mind continued it’s dance for a while, so I hit it with another 10 minutes of classic zen mediation, sitting and staring at the wall, sliding back into the moment.

I’ve started the weaving dance of meetings and teleconferences, so I am hoping to stay better centered in the moment as I go through the day. I’ve got a fairly full slate of meetings this morning, but a more settled afternoon.  Lets see if I can make it through this without the continuation of the fierce little mind dance.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Sunday's Sunburst

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A Slightly Different Day

Habit is a strange thing.  We adopt habits over time to smooth the edges off of the routine of daily life. We adopt them to make the process of the day simpler, to develop expertise in something, and to make the decision tree of the day simpler.  But, once the pattern of habits burns in, should we ever want to change those habits, we have a struggle ahead of us. They are strong patterns, reinforced over time, and it takes a tremendous amount of motivation and energy to break free of them.  I think it would be interesting to study and read up on habits.  I may make that a short term learning task.  They are on my mind this morning as I move through a windy and quiet morning, having slightly altered two habits and basked in the slightly a different world. What I would like to do is try and carry that slightly different day into the working world.  On of the things I find myself in a struggle with at work are the habits - the routines of many years and the energy it takes to try and break free of them.  Perhaps I should enter the day with the mantra of "Do Something Different".

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Map of the Day

Today was a good day here.  I woke to the sound of a crow, outside my window, calling loudly into the pre-dawn.  Knowing how smart crows are, I have not doubt that he flew by, saw me sleeping there, and thought he would amuse himself by startling me awake.  He was quite successful!

I rolled out, made a cup of coffee and a bowl of Special K and settled down in front of the TV where I ended up watching "Hildalgo" on cable.  That is a truly enjoyable movie.  When the movie wrapped, I headed over to the Hickory Pit and met Tony for breakfast.  From there, I ran a couple of errands and then reached out to my friend Don to see if he wanted to shoot some pool.

He did, and we headed up to the California Billiards Club - where it turned out they were having some sort of corporate event and the entire place was packed.  So, we switched directions and headed over to Edgies.  We played five games and Don won four of the five.  The changed I have made in my game are starting to settle in. Though I lost four games, I never lost by more than a shot or two.  The changes in style and the additional practice are paying off.  I am starting to zero back in.  I predict that, after another five or six hours of practice, I will be back to the level I was before and then I will begin to advance beyond that.

(While I was waiting at California Billiards, TR called to tell me a very amusing story that I won't repeat here, but I did want to bookmark in in my online journal here so I would remember it.)

After we shot pool, we went over to the Outback at the Great Mall and met Tony for lunch.  It was a good lunch - I opted for the rib-eye steak and the loaded backed potato.  After dinner we took a walk through the great mall, then I headed home for a quiet evening and nice little goodnight conversation with TR.   Tonight, my plan is to read into the evening and alternate with watching episodes of Continuum, Warehouse 13, and perhaps Longmire.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Quietly Overwhelming

Today is one of those days that has, so far, been quietly overwhelming.   My mother has landed back in the hospital as they are attempting to get a better balance on her pain medications and hopefully, help in the transition into an assisted living environment. So, this morning, I called and spoke with my sister for a while, and we went over the details, options, feelings, philosophies and emotions. One of the challenges that I find with my family is there seems to be solid opposition to discussing things rationally before they happen.  Consequently, I often find myself having to go through the associated emotional ride, again, that I had already been on. Combine that with my natural urge to cut to the chase on most things and those extended conversations can be a vexation.

At work today the day is small intervals between a solid line of meetings.  This is one of those intervals.  It will settle out a bit in the afternoon, but by that time I expect to be totally fried, mentally.  Today is one of those days where what I am doing is simply trying to open my mind and let all the information flow into it.  I figure that I will sort it all out later, once it is in place! 

Fortunately, given the high meeting schedule I decided to work virtually today, so I am sitting in my home office, bathed in natural light, window open for fresh air, birds and street sounds outside, and just an overall,  comfortable, modern environment.  I do sometimes wonder how much of my struggles at work over the last couple of years is the result of working in a physical environment that is simply not good - old, dingy, poorly maintained, monochrome, and no sunlight. Maintaining a good mood in that environment is difficult at best.  So, let just call the day quietly overwhelms, meditate a bit, and then slide back into the fray.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Ordinary Days, On Confidence and Muses

I am planning on working from home tomorrow - I have 10 one hour meetings scheduled in a nine hour day, so there isn't any point in going into the office.  I can sit on the telephone from here just as easily - and I can wear my sweats.  So, tomorrow is going to be a day of teleconferences and email and incidental odds and ends that I can squeeze in between the meetings.

Today however was a good day.  Had a great conversation last night for about two and a half hours, then slept fitfully through the night, but was mostly rested by the time I headed into the office in the morning. The morning was meetings, a quick lunch (Los Gatos Chipotle Alfredo Pasta at Hobbee's) the back to the office for a productive afternoon working the reporting that I am going to take over for one of my co-workers while she is on maternity leave.

Then, home in the evening, a sandwich, a quick trip to the pharmacy, another great conversation, then a second conversation with my step-father  He and my mother are moving aggressively, with the assistance of their doctor, trying to get into the assisted living facility.  It is hard, as a son, to sit aside and not rush in and try and fix everything, but it remains their life, to live as they choose, as long as they want. I can offer my best advice, but in the end, until they can no longer make those choices, the choices belong to them.  "We must allow everyone the dignity of their own journey.", to use my favorite John-Roger quote.

Somewhere, in the last couple of years, I lost a part of myself.  I think I might have shaved if off due to stress and attachment.  It has only been in the last couple of months, as a result of quite a bit of wall staring meditation, that i have regained it.  Now, I just need to figure out how to describe it. I think, tonight, I would describe it as a certain self-confidence.  I don't know where it went, I don't know how I lost it, but it seems to have come back - so I assume it was always there and I just lost sight of it.

My great conversations within the last two days have been with TR and I've loved every moment of them.  She is an extraordinary lady in many ways - and, in her own words, mere in others.  It is that combination that makes here such an enthralling muse.  A person should have a muse in this world.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Peace, Serenity, Tranquility

It’s been an interesting morning here at work, at least for me. I can never tell if the things that interest me interest other people or not - that is always guess work for the most part. I slept fairly well last night, though it took me a while to drop off, once I dropped off I slept the night through. I am not sure what had me tossing and turning, it was as if something agitated me but I didn’t know what that agitation was.  I did have a spot of agitation a few hours before I laid myself down to sleep,  so I guess it is possible that I carried that to the threshold of sleep.  The agitation point was not enough to carry it into today though, so I won’t go into the details here.
I had a bowl of Special K for breakfast, chased by a cup of black coffee.  The commute in was pretty smooth and I spent most of it listening to NPR’s ongoing coverage of the IRS scandal.  I really only have one general opinion there - power corrupts, so I am never surprised when people in power use their power for corrupt ends.  Perhaps it is tragic that my expectation immediately lands there, but I think it based on simple observation over the period of time.  One of the things that astounds me about the whole story and that I hope the press ferrets down, is that when interviewed by the IRS IG, the agents who were doing the targeting refused to say who directed them to do it. That is pretty amazing to me and yet another sign of the extend of the corruption of power.  I don’t really have a lot of faith that the press is going to chase it down either, largely because I think much of the press is also corrupt.
I arrived in the office and bounced through a few email, then blocked off some time on my calendar for a couple of things that I needed to accomplish today.  The first of them (a set of regression tests) is complete and I am going into the second of them immediately after hitting the send button on this email, some practice reporting running and analysis so I can learn a monthly task that I will be taking over from one of my co-workers while she is out on maternity leave.  I am going to have to run through it a couple of times to get it down pat, but I basically have all the month of June to practice, since she won’t be leaving until July.
So, in between tasks I walked over to our conference area, spun a chair around, started my timer and sat down facing the wall for a period of meditation.  My monkey mind locked onto the end of my relationship with T.R. and spun that around for a while.  Then, it jumped over and locked on my low opinion of my leadership.  Then, it leaped over and jumped on my challenges in dealing with projects that are moving without a defined process. Finally, without warning, it let go of those objects of attachment and I fell into the soft and quiet rhythm of breathing.  When I do this type of meditation at work, I always set my timer so I remember to pull out and return to the working day.  I usually set it for ten minutes - that is long enough to allow me to reach a state of calmness and reside there for a while before returning.  When I am successful at this type of meditation, the monkey mind spins for a bit and then drops away.  Today, it spun for what felt like two or three minutes, then I took a deep breath or two and…the timer went off.  I was still and calm and rested.  That was awesome. Lately I’ve been meditating on three words, in sequence, trying to capture the feeling - peace, serenity, tranquilty.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

It Was Easy Going

It was a pleasant spring day today. I didn't sleep well last night, I woke up off and on through the night, mostly due to street noise, since I was sleeping with the windows open.  In spite of this, I had a pretty smooth and relatively serene day.  I went to breakfast early (a vegetarian eggs Benedict), then did a couple of loads of laundry at the laundromat.  At 11:20 AM I went to CineArtes down at Santana Row and saw "Now You See Me", then grabbed lunch at Pasta Pomodoro - tortellini soup and baked manicotti. A short walk down to Best Buy, then off to Lenscrafters to get my sunglasses fixed (lost screw), then home where I hung out with Tony and watched the remake of Total Recall and then the latest episode of Game of Thrones.  I think tonight I am going to spend some time reading Leviathan Wakes.  In short, it was an easy going Sunday.