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

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Salsa at Mexicali Grill

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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.



Monday, September 16, 2013

Simple and Strong

As I go through life I find there are times when I need an inspirational mantra.  It has to be a small phrase and it has to be something that is simple and clear, so it can be repeated to myself during times of stress and trouble. 


Sometimes, like now, it is an aspirational phrase, a phrase that reflects my goal, the state that I want to be in, the place I want to reach.  Over the weekend, as I was contemplating various things, a great little mantra for the fall of 2013 came to mind.  It is an aspirational one, it is reflective of an inner and outer state that I would like to achieve.


That mantra is “Simple and Strong”.  It has the simplicity and purity that a good mantra possesses.  I’ve written in on the white board at work and I am keeping in close in my mind as I move through the day. It is reflective of how I feel on my best days and a reminder that it is the state of being that I want to aspire to. Simple and strong.



Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Lazy Sunday With The White Queen

A lazy weekend of slow moving days, late summer unfolding at its finest. On Saturday I went out and saw "The Family", with Robert DeNiro and Michelle Pfieffer.  It was an enjoyable film, the best I have seen in a while, directed by Luc Besson.

I would definitely recommend it if you're looking for a simple and enjoyable film. Diana Agron does a very good job as well.  She is quite the actress and I suspect we are going to hear more for her as the years go by.  I get the feeling that she has yet to find her full stride or the perfect role.

Last night was a quiet evening at home, a wonderful conversation with TR, and a good night sleep.  I started reading Neil Gaiman's "The Ocean At The End Of The Lane".  It is pretty good so far. I am a fan of Gaiman of course and this seems to be one of his good ones.  I am looking forward to reading it.

Today, I had a bit of an internal debate on whether or not I should spend the afternoon reading or watching "The White Queen" off the DVR, from Starz.  I have five episodes on the DVR and I am planning on working my way through them all today now that I've started it. So far, it is also pretty good.

Just from watching "The White Queen" I find it so very hard to even imagine what it was like to live in those days.  We here, in this century, are so accustomed to the rule of law, as imperfect as it is. Imagining living in a world where might made everything right.

I had a great exchange of texts with TR in the afternoon - touching and poignant. I often find myself simply saying this - life is an amazing thing.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Rod's List: 10 Really Good Classic Sci-Fi and Fantasy Novels

A conversation this afternoon led me to quickly compile this list.

You might find something here that you like or that might introduce you to a classic author with a wide catalog you might enjoy.  Your library will have most, if not all, of these books.

All of the books that landed on this list are classic Sci Fi or Fantasy (written in the 1960’s and 1970’s) and helped shape me as a reader when I stumbled over them in our small Catholic school library, which had a surprisingly complete collection of classic science fiction:

"The Dragon and the George"  Gordon R. Dickson (first in series)
This book is in Rod’s permanent collection, it is a classic fantasy about a knight and a dragon - told from the dragon’s point of view.

"Dorsai"  Gordon R. Dickson (first in a series)
I could not mention Gordon R. Dickson without mentioning Dorsai, the first book in the Childe Cycle.  Excellent story telling.

"Jack of Shadows" Roger Zelazny
Brilliant fantasy story with a great central character.  Zelazny is a prolific master.

"Hammers Slammers" David Drake
A classic of military Science Fiction, think Tom Clancy meets James Cameron, with tanks.

"Nine Princes in Amber" Roger Zalezny (first in a series)
This was among the first epic fantasy series I ever read, a multi-book collection.

"Arthur Rex" Thomas Berger (a retelling of the Arthurian cycle by the author of "Little Big Man".)
This is a gritty, funny, and irreverent take on King Arthur (I’ve read every book Thomas Berger has written).

"Callahan's Crosstime Saloon" Spider Robinson (first in series)
This is the one I spoke of.  In Robinson’s catalogue, he has, I think, 11 Callahan novels or collections.

"Deathbird Stories" Harlan Ellison (short story collection)
This collection is considered the seminal Ellison collection (though I personally prefer “The Beast That Shouted Love At The Heart of the World”, some of the stories from that collection landed in this one.

"Glory Road" Robert A. Heinlein
I’ve read everything Heinlein has every written, including his juveniles, his essays, and his short-story collections.  Glory Road is one of his fantasy novels that was hugely popular with my brothers and my friends growing up, mainly for the pure adventure of it.  I re-read it every now and then from pure enjoyment.

"The Forever War" Joe Haldeman
This is probably one of the most brilliant anti-war war novels ever written (along with its companion “The Forever Peace”).  This is a novel I revisit periodically as well.

And last, a personal favorite:

"Time Enough For Love" Robert A. Heinlein
Though at the time (the sixties and seventies) Heinlein’s quintessential novel “Stranger in a Strange Land” was far more popular, this novel had a far more profound impact on me and served to, in many ways, shape me as a young man and even later, as an adult.  Critics love it or hate it.  Some consider it Heinlein’s masterpiece and others consider it a rambling mess.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tiny Instruments of Minor Oppression

The universe is full of tiny instruments of minor oppression.  Cops and traffic tickets are one of them.  I am not anti-cop or anti-traffic tickets.  As an ex-cop I wrote plenty of them.  They are a necessary instrument to impose on people the importance of being conscious of the law and of safety.  So, it is with a sort of wry appreciation that I wanted to tell you this amusing little story.
On Monday, my friend Don and I went up to Mountain View to get lunch.  

As we wove our way back and forth across the street trying to find a restaurant that was open at 11:00 AM, we talked about pedestrian right of way.  In California of course, a pedestrian in the crosswalk has the right of way. Vehicles are expected to yield that right of way.  It was an interesting little sub-conversation that was folded in among other lunch time conversations.

After lunch, we go back to the car, get in, and start the journey back to the office.  Don is driving.  We back out of the parking slot and he starts to inch his way forward, through the somewhat congested intersection.  We are chatting, but I don’t remember what we are chatting about - just conversation.  I am looking to the right at the store fronts as we go by, trying to see what other sort of restaurants are available there in downtown Mountain View.

Don passes very close to a pair of pedestrians on the left hand side, crossing the street toward him.  I actually don’t see them, since I am looking to the right.  I do hear the shout.  I look up, and think it was some guy yelling at Don because Don was a little too close to him.  It is.

Unfortunately for Don “the guy” is a uniformed police officer.  He is yelling for Don to stop.  Don does of course.  The cop approaches and directs Don to pull into a parking lot, where he proceeds to issue him a traffic ticket for “Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian”.  Don is polite, admits his error - but the cop writes the ticket anyway.  

While we are sitting there waiting for him to run the check on license and registration and write out the actual citation, I tell Don that, when I was a cop, we joked their was an imaginary status, called Section 13(c) “Pissing Me Off In Public”. A violation of Section 13(c) would definitely gaurantee you got the ticket.

Combine that with the drive on the part of so many small towns to raise revenue via parking and traffic offenses and there you have it..the tiny instruments of minor oppression.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Fall Approaches

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Monday, September 9, 2013

The Day Unexpected

The Day Unexpected

I woke up early this morning and spent the first hour or so laying there and reading from Django Wexler’s “The Thousand Names”.  I followed that leisurely start with a hot cup of coffee and a bowl of Special K. I tossed a few text back and forth with T.R. before finally starting the inevitable morning commute.  My monkey-mind, much beloved and terribly exasperating, started chattering and jumping around.  I used a few counter-measures to hold it at bay.  I took a different route to work.  I focused on going with the flow.  I stopped to gas up the SUV.  When I arrived at the office, I visualized being armored and I repeated a simple mantra - “Stay tight. Stay focused.”  I started the day weaving through all of the steps necessary for a project go-live.  I reviewed documents. I reviewed checklists. I updated the cut-over plan.  I moved smoothly into the first meeting of the day and…

The day unexpected appeared.

The project I have been working on, the project that was scheduled to go live later this week is suddenly on hold. Technically, we are ready to go.  The portion of the project I am responsible for is sitting in the box, ready to be deployed. The customer is not ready to go.  The customer feels they did not communicate well enough or deeply enough to their core constituency.  They need to plan their portion of the roll-out again.  All of the pressure that was inside of me, that was building to completion at the end of the week, is gone. Poof.  We’re on hold for future direction.  In my experience, most programs that get this close to completion and the stop…they are done.  They are not revivable.  This one might make it.  They seem convinced they are heading in the right direction and it is more a problem of execution than a problem of concept.  They may be right. I give them about a fifty-fifty shot at salvaging their work.

Sunday, September 8, 2013


It was a beautiful morning here today.  I woke at about six thirty a.m., just as dawn was breaking.  We are in the middle of a minor heat wave with temperatures into the low nineties - hot, but not unpleasant. I slept well last night. Yesterday was a n easy day.

I met Ty and Tony at Goodies II for breakfast (our normal roost, the Hickory Pit) had several large parties occupying the tables, so we moved to Goodies II where there was more room. After breakfast we stopped for a walk through at Fry's Electronics.  I am contemplating getting a new printer, but right now I kind of want to take some time and let my cash accounts build back up.  From there, I ran a couple of errands and then came home.

At home, it was a lazy afternoon.  I spent it alternating between laundry and watching "Falling Skies" on TNT.  I like the show, but, for a variety of reasons, I did not watch it live during the last series.  I managed to capture them all on DVR and that consumed, pleasantly, the day. (I am actually sitting here on Sunday morning watching the final episode, only because sleep overtook me.)  I truly enjoy the show.

So, let me then shift over to the topic of the title: "Wounds"

I started thinking about wounds (of the psychological kind) last weekend. I found myself thinking about it as I lay in bed this morning.  Specifically, I was thinking about those self inflicted wounds that arise from how we choose to react to events.  Those times we choose to take insult, those times we choose to be upset, those times we choose to fight the flow of the what is. I often wonder why we do that.  I often wonder why I do it.

There is a real art to accepting "the world as it is". It is the constant struggle of expectations, but there is more than that. Sometimes we are wounded by life - we make choices and the results of those choices are not pleasant.  There is always a tremendous pressure to take the path of least resistance. To stop fighting for what you believe is right, to stop striving, to just go along and get along.

But it's not worth it.  We are better off to make what we feel are the right choices and, if they do not work out as we plan, to bear our wounds stoically.  It is not easy of course, but then whatever led us to believe was easy?

Is it better to view life as a constant struggle, a constant battle?  Or is there some other way we should view it?  We dream of peace, but peace is hard earned in life.  It requires focus, concentration, and discipline. 

So, I guess the sum of my thoughts this morning is that we should not wound ourselves - but we should also not be afraid of being wounded as we go through life. Do not take the path of least resistance.  Do not surrender.  Rest if you need to.  Recover when you need to.  But rise back up, get back into the game, and strive for the things that matter to you.  You have everything to win and nothing to lose.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday's Winding Down

Today was my off Friday but I ended up working six hours or so preparing for project go live scheduled for next week.  I am looking forward to it and from everything I can tell it is going to go pretty smoothly.  We"ll have all the data staged and the release itself is significant process wise, but not major from a technical standpoint.

I had a rough week. Wednesday was my melt-down day.  It was a stressful day anyway, right out of the chute, and then in the late afternoon my manager called and put some additional pressure on my to do a couple of tasks that lead to a heated discussion about the time pressure I was under.  Here, I will insert my semi-standard rant about bad leadership and get on with it.  We're understaffed and overworked and the stress levels continue to be high.

I do have the weekend off though, so I am going to go out and do something different, just to remind myself that there is something else to write about besides work.  I haven't decided what I am going to do, but I am looking forward to it.  I thought about just taking a nice long hike, something with a semi-serious distance, so I can see if I can beat my personal best on my pedometer (which is about seven and a half miles).  That sounds like a worthy goal.

Muffins in Sunlight

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

My Monkey Mind Chimes In

I was very cranky when I woke up this morning. I slept well enough, but my monkey mind was spinning about work almost immediately upon waking.  It got a pretty solid grip and me and just did not want to let go, complaining about all of the small injustices and incompetences that have plagued us for the last several years, then layering on top of it the general sense of pointlessness that has been a hallmark of that time as well.

For me, the last several years truly emphasize the importance of good senior leadership. We’ve been like a rudderless ship without it. We’re supposed to be notified of our reorganization sometime this month. I hope it is sooner rather then later and I hope it is in a good direction.  I am not sure how much longer I am willing or able to endure the incompetence. Today was a very rough day in that aspect.  As I drove in my brain kept repeatedly telling me “Don’t do it! Turn around! Go home! Don’t make that turn! Drive right on by! Don’t open the door! Turn around and walk out.”  It was a pretty constant chatter until I reached my seat.

The chatter has let up  a little, but it was rough on that commute.  We’ll see how the day goes. Hopefully, it will shape up and I’ll be able to pull something productive out of the day. Then again, maybe it will be a wasted day. (That was my monkey mind, chiming in with it’s two cents right there.)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Just A Tuesday

It is a short week here at the office. We had the holiday on Monday and then, due to the nuances of scheduling, I am off on Friday. I think I can handle a three day work week!  Additionally, because it is a light week, it is quiet here.  Whenever a holiday falls in a week it reduces the cost of taking the entire week off.  For example, if I were to have taken the week off, I would have only had to spend three vacation days to have nine days off.  That is a pretty good cost benefit ratio.  I am sure, for many of my coworkers, they make that very same calculation - and for those of us who remain in the office to work, we get the added benefit of a quiet week.

I feel rested today but I actually didn’t sleep well last night. It was a fitful night.  I think I must have been up and down about half a dozen times before I finally woke up.  It was like I could not fall all the way into the deep sleep cycle. I dreamed, but I don’t really remember what I dreamed about.  For the last week or so the theme of my dreams has been the toppling of a corrupt regime.  Probably influenced by a wide variety of inputs - the Game of Thrones here at work, the BBC show “Copper”, and the dawn to dusk coverage of the events in Syria.

As I sit here on a “listen only” teleconference, I am realizing that I am actually pretty clear headed and in a good mood today and I am not really sure why.  I danced with the monkey mind a bit this morning on the drive into work, but what able to set it aside.  Driving, commuting, traffic - these are all stressful things some days. 

Today, as I was driving up Lawrence Expressway toward the office, I found myself stuck behind a school bus.  I felt my temper starting to rise up - but I recognized it as an opportunity to break the pattern of the monkey mind.  I took a deep breath and deliberately slowed down and simply followed the bus at the speed the bus was moving.  I flowed.  It is always nice to flow.  It disrupted my monkey mind and allowed me a rather pleasant experience on the commute.

I noticed this morning that I need to devote a bit of time to housecleaning. I seem to have picked up most that a usual amount of dust, which I am going to blame on the heat of the last couple of days and the fact that, each night, I slept with the windows wide open and the fans blowing. 

Writing that little segment there also reminded me of something I need to take care of in regards to the apartment.  I was moving some furniture the other day and as I turned I caught the thermostat with the edge of the piece of furniture.  Unfortunately, there was a little bit of mass and velocity involved in the turn and the thermostat exploded into multiple small plastic pieces.  So, I need to report that to the apartment management complex so they can get the repairs schedule.  I may have just bought a new thermostat, and if that is the case, well, that is the case.  It was an accident and it was my fault, so that makes me responsible for it.

I have a light meeting schedule all week, which is amazing.  I am going to take advantage of it by trying to get some of the stuff in my backlog cleared out.  I would love to get it down to zero.  I am not sure if I am actually going to make it that far, but I am going to give it a try.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Another Nice Sunday

Okay, I sat down to write tonight and I started off with a good laugh.  I noticed that, on the previous entry, I called it a "Relazing" day. I think I was inventing a word there. It does, in a way, describe the day however.  Today was a similar day, with a little bit more mood.

It was a gray morning, cool, humid and typical of a late summer. I lingered in bed for an extra hour or so, until about six thirty AM, then woke up and started the day.  I was kind of moody when I started the day, I was thinking about old wounds and scar tissue.  I didn't really dwell on it but it was spinning around in the back of my mind through most of the morning.  I made a note to myself to write a longer entry on the topic of "Wounds".

Then, when I was driving over to meet Tony for breakfast, I heard an old song by Phil Collins - "In The Air Tonight".  I don't know why, but I was listening to the lyrics in the song and it seemed to kind of dovetail with my thoughts on wounds.  It wasn't a black morning, but it verged on it.  Fortunately, breakfast was a good (a waffle, sausage and two eggs over easy).

Tony and I then swung back to my place and watched the last two episodes of Dexter, which were enjoyable.  Then a quick lunch and I headed over to Target to pick up some groceries and some odds and ends to prepare for the week ahead. 

I followed that up with a nap and a book, then a long hot bath.  Once out of the bath I made a pot of sausage and vegetable soup from scratch.  It was pretty good - it is a recipe I have been working on for a while.  It is not quite where I want it to be, so I think next time I am going to try a different sausage.  It was a little too sweet this time around.

Then I watched an episode of History Detectives and that brings me right into the now, in the present moment. I tried calling out to the ranch tonight but there wasn't any answer.  I suspect they were sitting outside on the porch in the waning sunlight, the typical habit on a South Dakota evening. I am mirroring it here, except I am sitting in the living room with the air conditioner on, since it is still a little muggy out there.

Tomorrow starts a three day work week, which I am looking forward to. I've still got a tall pile of stuff stacked up in front of me, but I made some fair headway last week and I am hoping to make some more fair headway this week and next..  This evening though, I am just going to ease into the evening, watch the clock tick the hours off, and concentrate on just being.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Simple and Relaxing Day

It has been a good weekend. Saturday, I met Tony for breakfast in Fremont at the Classic Diner and then spent the day at the Highland Games.  I took my camera with me but due to a smudge on the lens, at first pass, I didn't get anything particularly good. I am going to take a run through them again tonight to see if there is something that can be salvaged, some portion of picture outside of the smudge.  I got home about six p.m., had dinner, watched a spot of television and was in bed, asleep, by eight p.m. or so.

This morning I lingered in bed for a while, had a short conversation with TR, then started the day with a long shower and breakfast at the Hickory Pit.  For there, I went to see the movie "The Grandmaster" which was a visually rich film. I enjoyed it, but I suspect it is not for everyone.  If you are in to martial arts movies though, or if you are in to spectacular cinematography, then I would definitely recommend the movie. Under those circumstances I would even go so far as to recommend buying the movie when it becomes available.  I know that I am going to add it to my collection.

After that I headed over to the car wash, then home.  At home, I watched an episode of "The Bridge", then took a short nap, followed by a hot shower and a pizza order for dinner.  Next, I spent the last two hours watching an amusing older movie - "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang" with Robert Downey, Jr., Val Kilmer, and Michelle Monaghan.  That is another one of those movies that, if you have never seen it, I would definitely recommend it.  In a short period of time I am going to move over in front of TV and watch the latest episode of Copper live.

I guess, to sum all that up, it has been a great and relaxing day where I really didn't do anything.  I need more days like that.  Days of simpleness and relaxation.  Maybe I will manage to pull another one together tomorrow.