Monday, October 27, 2014

The Night Before I Travel

Today was my last day at work for this week.  Starting tomorrow I am heading out cross-country for a drive back to SD.  The Jeep is packed except for the handful of high value items that I will carry out tomorrow morning. There wasn't enough time to do everything at work, so I am leaving with some stuff undone, but I am anticipating that I will be able to get some work done as soon as I arrive back in South Dakota.

I should get them some time Wednesday night, get a good night sleep, then I am going to do a quick turnaround and take my mom up to the orthopedic surgery center in Sioux Falls for shoulder surgery on Friday. We'll end up staying there for two days and then head back to Winner. For there I'll camp out at the ranch and work virtually.  I am looking forward to it, though I am sure I am going to miss California, especially the weather!

So, the plan tonight is to simply unwind and then start the trip tomorrow.  It is about fifteen hundred miles so it will take somewhere between twenty and twenty four hours of road time to get there.  I've made the trip a dozen times or more over the years so it should be pretty routine.  The advantage of car travel is that you're able to carry enough stuff that, in the event it is not normal you'll have enough tools and equipment to deal with anything that might arise.

So, wish me luck!  I will probably have more of an opportunity to write while I am in South Dakota with those nice quiet evenings at the ranch.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Fury of John Wick

Well, it has been a bit of time since I made an entry - I actually had a good reason - my personal laptop got infected by a wicked little piece of malware and I finally got it cleared out this afternoon.  It is nice to have my laptop back. 

I've got a pair of good movies that I wanted to mention - Fury and John Wick - both of them are excellent action adventure movies.  Money well spent as far as I am concerned, I would recommend both of them.

Other than that, it has been just the ordinary stuff of life - a wee bit of chaos, but nothing major. Work is moving along briskly and my personal life has its own adventures and misadventures.  I am going into a heavy cycle of travel, so I'll be working virtually for most of the month of November, combined with some personal travel back to South Dakota. I'll write some more about the details later.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Flame of Thought and Love - Abbé-Jules Montchanin

"Let us keep alive the flame of thought and love: they are one and the same flame. Let us communicate to those around us the desire to understand and to give (and also to receive). -Abbé-Jules Montchanin

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Settling In To Watch SHIELD

Another brisk day at work. It passed very quickly and was moderately productive. Okay, moderately productive might be a bit of an over-statement, but it was productive enough.  The day ended on an up note, with a pleasant one-on-one with my manager and then a nice hot bowl of chili. It's a bit after five thirty now and I'm settling in for a relaxing evening watching miscellaneous programs off the DVR.  I am starting the evening with SHIELD.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Most Likely An Early Night

Today passed quickly, but not necessarily productively.  I spent several hours this morning with the trailing edge of our outage from yesterday - service was restored about 8:00 AM. From there, I spent the next hour or so responding to email related to the outage.  Time passed quickly, but it wasn't particularly productive.  A meeting, lunch, a few more hours of email catch up and the day was over.

I came home and met Tony for dinner (a simple grilled cheese sandwich for me), and then circles home where I am settling in for an easy night.  No working for me, the plan is to just relax, write, read and watch something off the DVR.  Then, most likely, an early night.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Keeping An Even Flow

Today was a good day. The meeting schedule at work was pretty relaxed.  I was able to make some headway on a couple of projects, though not as much as I would like too. The afternoon was chewed up by a system outage (that is still ongoing, so I expect to run into in the morning when I get up again).

I got home about 4:00 PM and had some fried chicken and coleslaw, which was tasty, a near perfect fall evening dinner.  Then, it was back online to work a little more, and finally I settled in with a spot of mindless television, which lasted a short while. The TV turned off I picked up a book and I've spent the evening reading.

I'm planning on going to bed in about a half an hour, curling up with another book - "SPQR: The Cataline Conspiracy". I've been enjoying the series (this is the second book) and I am looking forward to the books that follow.

Since I took my six days of vacation back in July - six days where I stayed home and did nothing except spend a lot of time reflecting, I've been handling the work stress a little better - focus on getting one thing done at a time, beginning to end, then go to the next thing. I've also done a better job at keeping things in perspective (I don't have to look very far for that - it is a challenging time of life for a couple of my friends).

TR is traveling, so our contact has been stolen phone calls and texting, she is having a good time, and then will settle in to work starting tomorrow. I am looking forward to her return, though it will be a couple of weeks.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Simple and Ordinary Weekend

I've been intending to write all weekend, but the intention never turned to action. I've had a good but lazy weekend all in all, following a busy work week. This coming week should be busy as well, but I am kind of looking forward to it.

I saw the new "Dracula" movie this weekend and I would recommend it.  It is very entertaining and, uniquely for the genre, it has a lot of subtleties wrapped into the story, combined with solid acting, all wrapped inside a visually rich package.  Unexpectedly good!

Other than that, I have been kind of engrossed in the SPQR series of novels.  I am on the second one now and enjoying the read.  I've always had a thing for Rome, so any novel, any well written novel, set in Rome can definitely hold my attention.

Beyond that, consider the previous week to have been a simple and ordinary weekend.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Night After An Eclipse

Today was a nice day.  I worked from home and managed to get to the bottom of my email stack for the first time in nearly a month or more.  That should allow me to cleanly pivot to the project related tasks that I am behind on. We're doing a production role out tonight and I was expecting to be notified earlier for some validations, but I haven't heard anything yet.  I suspect something was forgotten or not done correctly, but since my instructions were to wait for the notification - well, I am going to wait for the notification.  I will probably work from home tomorrow as well, just because today was so productive.

On the personal side of life I am sliding into a quiet evening, watching a spot of TV as I get ready to call it a night. I am still reading through SPQR, which I am enjoying.  I'm about two thirds of the way through the book and I am pretty sure I've already figured out who did it, but it is still an enjoyable tale.  The weather was a bit on the warm side, but it is cooling down nicely now.  It actually got cold enough last night for the furnace to kick on in the small hours of the morning.  I am hoping tonight is much the same.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Life Is Made Of Simple Things

It's a little bit past sundown, just inside the twilight hour, and it is a beautiful night outside. I've got the windows wide open and the fan blowing.  The heat of the last couple of days has broken and today was quite pleasant, weather wise.  Warm enough, but not too hot. I had a good day at work, just not as productive as I would have liked. The evening has been relaxed - I watched an episode of Castle and I am about to start another.  I am a big fan of that show.  Dinner was a bowl of potato soup and two slices of pumpkin bread.  I followed it up with a phone call to my step-dad and then a text exchange with TR, who is in NYC on a business/pleasure trip with her posse. After the episode of Castle, I am going to curl up early and read SPQR until I fall asleep.  Life is made of simple things. Tonight, life is good.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday with the Skeleton Twins

We've gone through a pair of hot days here in California with temps in the mid-nineties. One good thing about the heat at this time of year is that it drops precipitously off when the sun goes down. We lose about 10 degrees an hour, sometimes more, for the first two hours. That is nice because it means the evenings are cool enough to sleep comfortably.

I had a decent day today - met Tyrone for breakfast early, went over and got my car washed, then stopped at the hardware store and the bird store for some odds and ends, including food for the bird tribe that I so enjoy when they are on the patio. After that I came home and spent a lazy afternoon relaxing, unwinding and dodging the heat. 

Oops, I almost forgot that in the middle of it I saw an entertaining movie - The Skeleton Twins.  It was an interesting study on relationships, well acted and enjoyable.  I am going to watch a bit of TV tonight and then curl up with the latest novel I've started - SPQR (a detective story set in ancient Rome).  I had to abandon "The Clockwork Dagger" - it just bogged down badly in the middle.  I may pick it up again later, perhaps when I am in a different mood.

Three Hits

Will you trade your love for glory? That's a barter for a blind man.
Three hits to the heart son,
and then it's poetry in motion.

Three Hits, Indigo Girls

Friday, October 3, 2014

Some Thoughts on Complexities

I spent some time today thinking about the various complexities that enter our lives.  It takes a certain discipline and a certain will to learn to ignore them.  Most complexities are imaginary.  They are the result of our minds creating associations between things where those associations really don't exist.  Oh, there is cause and effect - the causal chain is simply how the world works.  But, sometimes we assume a cause and effect and where there really isn't one.  This is illusion in action.  One of the things we can do to attain a greater state of awareness of what is real and what is not real is to simply pay attention to the causal chain, really pay attention to it.  If we focus and meditate on the causal chain, if we walk through the parts of the chain, if we consider the relationships and the sequence, we can often pierce the veil of illusion. Life is not entirely a cluster of random events, but it is very close to that. Our mind loves complexities - we can perceive them, we can understand them, we can even embrace them - but we need to be careful of the illusion.  We need to be careful of the times when we create our illusory complexities and then act as if they are real.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Tiny Fingers of Uncertainty

It has been a succession of beautiful fall days, especially in the morning and in the evenings. I love this time of year – I love the warm days and cool nights, which are perfect for lingering and relaxing. September passed very quickly, life in general was just generically busy – busy at work, busy in my personal life.  Nothing particularly dramatic is either place – just the stuff of life.  That steady flow is a good place to be in.  It has been a while since I’ve found myself locked in combat with the monkey mind, so that has been enjoyable as well.  I’ve been reading a lot of fiction in the evenings and weekends. I’ve tamped down my movie going habit and have only been going to movies that I want to go to and that look to be interesting or good.  The two do not necessarily go hand in hand.  It is nice to be in a place where that monkey mind is not constantly picking at me with the tiny fingers of uncertainty.