Friday, February 28, 2014

Heavy Rainfall Sounding On The Roof

Heavy rainfall sounding on the roof
drumming the ancient songs, summoning
other rain storms, other places, other nights
And I awake with the song of the wanderer
Thrumming in my chest, in my imagination
Here, Now, Here, Now, Here, Now, Here
I pull myself back across the universe to
This moment as I toss the covers aside and
Roll over to sit on the edge of the bed
Watching the quarter moon on the horizon
Above the distant mountains, shrouded in the
Heavy rainfall sounding on the roof

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Any Day - Today

It was a good day at the office.  Busy, long, but productive.  I made some real headway and I am looking forward to making some more headway tomorrow.  This is my five work day week and I'll suffer a bit tomorrow - I think I was close to having worked 48 hours in four days, so tomorrow's three meetings is about all they are going to get out of me by the end of the day.  I had a meeting with one of the system engineers who pushed a little hard to do some expectation setting, since I thing we were off track with each other.   I always hate doing that - basically the baseball equivalent of brushing a batter back, but there are times it has to be done.

Our company has a group that provides into technology services and they are, essentially, a captive vendor that we have to use for most projects.  The problem is, like all captive vendors, they have no financial incentives to provide good customer service.  As a result, they can be pushy and arrogant.  That is not necessarily a reflection of the individuals - but rather a reflection of the culture that has grown up there. Meetings with them can be tough because they tend to be all about what they want, not what the customer wants.  Since I sit close to the customer (metaphorically), I have, over the years, been forced to give them a brush back a time or two or more.  I always dislike doing it - but I have learned that if I don't do it, I will get eaten alive.  But, even with that, it was a good day.

On the personal level I had a wonderful email from TR yesterday and enjoyed writing back to her today.  Her journey continues and I love and support her on it, though are days when my heart yearns. I am home now, for the evening, settling in with the plan to watch a spot of TV, then do some reading into the night.  I was watching Craig Ferguson tonight as I ate dinner and the actress Alice Eve referenced a truly great George Harrison song - Any Road.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

When The Rain Falls

It is a beautiful afternoon here in California.  As you may know, if you watch the news or the weather channel, we are sliding into a pretty wicked drought here.  Fortunately, right now, we've got a very nice Pacific rain storm pouring down upon us.  It won't be enough to break the drought, but every inch of rain is going to help and they are predicting that we are going to get an inch or more out of this one and there is another right behind it carrying the same promise.

I've been working a lot this week - a pair of 12 hour days in row and then 10 hours today, with the possibility of another 2 hours this evening.  I am going to meet Tony for dinner at Denny's down the street, mostly to see how his world is treating him as he enters what is potentially the end of days for his employment with the City of San Jose.  I've been working on my big project and I bulled my way through a big hurdle this week, moving the customers that much closer to a concept of operations, which is the document that cascades into all the other documents.

I had a rough day yesterday, just a lot of stress in the chaos of work, unintentionally aggravated by one of my co-workers who seems to have developed a real affinity for bureaucracy and one of the things that can get under my skin pretty quick is our pointless love of paperwork.  It led to a testy exchange - and I carried that into the evening.  I was thinking about it as I feel asleep, so I tossed and turned off and on for about two hours, which means I was up late.  I did come to a solution, at least one that will satisfy me, and so I am going to address that tomorrow.

Then, in the evening, I got a wonderful email from TR, which I absolutely devoured.  Following that, I called my folks in Winner and talked with them for over an hour.  Well, mostly they talked and I listened.  It was a pleasant conversation, but I have to say - that whole growing old thing is not for the faint of heart.  When I finally climbed into bed I read for a while and then slipped into a pattern of reading, trying to sleep, reading, trying to sleep until eventually I fell off.  Morning came a little too soon and that is what carried me into the day.  But, tonight, outside, the rain is falling and it is beautiful

Monday, February 24, 2014

Two Semi-Random Thoughts

Will the sun eventually turn the eastern sky the color of need? Will want eventually wash clean the streets of desire?

In this life always be honest. When you are tempted by the lie reject it. Being honest will not be easy. But, being honest will be good for your soul.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Days to Kill in The Kingdom of Heaven

A nice day, all in all.  I woke early, spend an hour or so reading Flipboard, then went out and met Tony for breakfast.  From there, we went to Barnes and Noble - I picked up a Jack Kornfield book and a book on art.  After that, we saw "Three Days to Kill" with Kevin Costner.  It was an enjoyable movie, based on a story by Luc Besson.  Then, from there, I came home, had an apple salad for lunch, took a nap, and then spend the evening alternately reading and then watching Ridley Scott's "The Kingdom of Heaven" with Orlando Bloom and Eva Green.  I guess this was a weekend for movie.  I enjoyed it and I am looking forward to the week to come.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Frozen & Black Sails

As I sit here waiting for the arrival of pizza, watching "Black Sails" off the DVR, I thought I would take a few minutes to write.  I really wanted to like Black Sails, but I am afraid it has to land somewhere in the middle - too much talking, not enough action.  It might deliver in the end, but right now, it is on the bubble for me, at least as far as the shows I regularly watch.

Now, on the plus side, I went out today and saw "Frozen" over at Cupertino Square AMC.  I have to say that is was truly excellent.  It seems a little slow to me starting out, like it could not quite find its feet.  Once they found it though it was an outstanding piece of work - the animation was amazing, the story was filled with interesting twists, and the songs were clever and funny and well executed.  Definitely an excellent addition to the Disney canon.

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Quick Step of a Week

Okay, it is a quiet Friday evening and, after dishes and taking the trash out, I am kicked back and watching an episode of Ancient Aliens, one of my guilty pleasures.  Let me catch you up real quick on the things that have been going on.  On the personal side of the house TR is on her journey yet, so I am missing her and enjoying each chance to talk when it occurs.  The folks are doing well in the assisted living community in Winner, SD.  Siblings are doing okay.  Most of my friends are continuing their journey there, so all is pretty much status quo.  At work we rolled out phase one of the project I am working on and we got some much needed direction in terms of future developments in the project and the O&M support model.  The launch was amusing but mostly smooth.  Now, we start work on the second phase this coming week.  In short, a brisk and busy week without a lot of opportunities to write - most of the free time I had went to work, to the process of getting the project launched.  I am looking forward to a solid night of sleep tonight without having to worry about the work project - largely because no one should be working over the weekend.  Tomorrow, I am planning on making it a long, slow and easy day.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Mostly Incoherent

It has been a busy week here.  The project I am working on passed one of the first key milestones today, so running up to it involved an early start on each day.  Monday and Tuesday I started at about four in the morning and then, last night, I slept a solid twelve hours again.  I am a little tired tonight, now that I am home, but I am going to fight off sleep by watching a couple of episodes of Ancient Aliens and do some writing.  I think maybe a hot bath might be in order as well.  Then, time to start a new novel (I finished my Doc Holliday biography) as I settle into bed.  And, oh, a couple of family calls tonight.  Right now, I am mentally fried, so I may have more coherent thoughts tomorrow.


It was a beautiful morning
A light fog and through the fog
A full moon, pale and white, glowing
As dawn approached the fog fell
A sheer dressing gown slipping
From the maiden moon and in the east
Over the mountains came the heralds of dawn
Dressed in bands of gold and blue
To sweep back the night and tear
The last tendrils of fog from that
Glorious moon, to strip it naked
For the hot embrace of the sun

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Waiting For Pizza

It's a lazy Sunday here in California.  I am sitting in the living room, watching Justified, and waiting for the arrival of pizza and hot wings.  It was one of those lazy that, for me at least, seem to be too few and too far between.  Of course I realize that a lot of it has to do with choice.  Today, I made the choice to be lazy.  I may be even more lazy before the day is out, but that is going to be pretty hard too do.

I've spent most of the day reading my Doc Holliday biography and just soaking up the sun.  I've got all the windows and blinds wide open, letting that glorious light in.  I think that, because of the light, I am in a particular good mood.  I did try and go out for lunch, but I only got as far as contemplating it before I was ordering the pizza.  Days like this are gentle, simple and beautiful.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Mysterious Balances

It was good day.  Sometimes, I think that is enough of an entry, but alas, I can be long winded. It was my work Friday, so I woke up, texted TR (who is traveling), then splashed through the shower.  A simple breakfast of oatmeal, toast and coffee, then into the office.  I spent most of the day reading email that I was behind on and getting my mind around the next big phase of the project I am working on. It is going to be a fun challenge. 

Oh, and last night...well. I got home, I made dinner, I ate dinner, I nearly fell asleep in my chair - so I got up and hit the bed about five thirty p.m. to see if a short nape would take the edge off.  I napped until about eight, woke up just long enough to turn the lights off and make sure the apartment was locked up, and then went straight back to sleep. I slept through until about 1:30 a.m., when I woke, read a bit in the new biography of Doc Holliday, and then promptly went back to sleep.  All told I slept about eleven hours.  I blame it on the fact that twice this week I was working by four a.m..  I think that all simply caught up with me.

So, let me throw another curve ball and go back to work. I had my performance review and merit increase discussion - it went well and I think both were a better reflection of the quality of my work then the last couple of years, so that was a relief.  I was all ready to do some serious battle with, but it turned out to be necessary. The only difficult part of the review was fairly simple too.  My boss thinks (correctly) that I am too helpful to other groups and often end up spending time solving problems that really are not mine to solve (not in my portfolio).  I agree and I am working on getting better at resisting the temptation a problem brings for me.

It has been a quite week. I've been missing TR and I am looking forward to her return next week.  That has been the only melancholy part of my week.  Life is a strange adventure and it is filled with all kinds of mysterious balances. I may have to explore that thought a little later.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Stay Simple, Stay Focused

Well, I woke up last night at 3:41 a.m. and was basically finished sleeping.  I'd fallen asleep at about 8:30 p.m. last evening, so all in all I did get a solid seven hours of uninterrupted sleep.  I started the day by reading a bit in a new biography of the famous gunfighter Doc Holliday, then splashed through the shower.  Breakfast with Special K and black coffee while I watched an episode of Brooklyn Ninety Nine which had me laughing.  Laughter is always a good way to start the day.  Now, I'm starting the process of getting ready for work and I'm watching the news and the weather channel and I am very glad that I am not on the east coast! I joke that whenever I think about leaving California all I have to do is spend a little bit of time watching the weather channel.

I am getting myself psyched up for a day at work.  I have the day pretty much cut out for me. I've got a mostly open morning schedule with my first meeting at 10:00 a.m.. From there, it is pretty much a solid meeting through the rest of the day, with an exception for lunch (an hour). I'll have to keep lunch in close and simple. I've got plenty of work that I need to do, so I am hoping I can get in and get focused right out of the chute today.  That doesn't always happen.

It is nice to be sliding into the end of the week, but I still have quite a few meetings and quite a bit of work ahead of me. I think I will just try my best to keep it simple and focused.  That is a challenge that I seem to find as a theme running through my life lately.  Stay simple, stay focused.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

So, I Was Thinking...

It is always better to be honest, with others and with yourself.  As you go through life you will come under tremendous pressure to be less than honest.  This pressure will range everywhere from the very simple and subtle to the large and complex.  I have this to say - it is always better to be honest than dishonest, even in the simplest things and especially with yourself.  You may feel, at times, compelled to be dishonest with others.  There are often very good reasons.  But, that is a line you should never cross with yourself.

The week is passing by - my thoughts, as above, are turned toward honesty and karma.  I've had an interesting week at work and work has spilled over pretty deeply into my personal life, sucking most of it up for the last couple of days.  I am working a big project at work and I found myself in the unusual position that the whole project is much larger than they (the team driving the change) are aware.  I don't think they have really though it through well.  It involves the implementation of a disruptive technology - which is always fun and risky - but, in this case, I don't think they have realized just how disruptive the potential is.  And with disruption comes risk.  And we are a very risk averse organization (rightfully so).

Last week, I was trying to drill home to my management the size and scope of the project they were undertaking and to a degree, I don't think they were really listening.  I kicked up enough of a storm that we ended up having a meeting about it on Tuesday, and in that meeting I swear I could literally hear peoples eyes popping open - most importantly, I think it was an eye opener for the key management people.  We've got a lot of work ahead of it, but I think we are moving into the point where we are getting the visibility we need.  And when I say we've got a lot of work ahead of us, I mean I have a lot of work ahead of  me.  But, I really like the technology, so it is going to be fun.

On the personal side, TR is on a personal trip with family, so I am missing her and looking forward to her return. My friend Tony is still playing the Game of Thrones at work and is doing a very good Ned Stark imitation. "In the Game of Thrones, you win or you die." - Cersei Lannister.  I hope he comes through it okay.  My nephew Tom has battled through another set of health issues, so he is in my thoughts and prayers.  The folks (Mom and Bill) are doing well in the Golden Prairie Manor in Winner, moving through that wonderful South Dakota winter where 18 degrees is a warm day.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Subtleties Inside The Silence

Silence is not always silence. Or perhaps there are subtleties inside the silence that transform them. I think both statements might be true. I love to write. I don't even need to write for other people, I am, at times, completely happy writing for myself. It is a deep and abiding love of the written word that dwells inside of me. I would say that I was born in silence. I would say in the silence I heard a voice. That voice told me a story. I've been telling those stories ever since. There are stories I have never told. There are reasons for that. Some of them are too personal to tell. They are the echoes of events that should not be sullied by the voice. They are best in the silence of memory. There are other stories I have never told because they do not belong to me. Some of those stories I would love to tell because they are great stories and perhaps, someday, I can. There are yet other stories, the contents of which, possess the ability to hurt, the ability to bring about unintended consequences. Those stories are best handled very, very delicately. Then there are stories I cannot tell you because they were confided in me either in secrecy, with explicit wish for privacy. Both of which I understand. Stories are amazing things. I am fortunate to be able to tell a few.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

What A Piece of Work Is Man

I've been moody the last two days. I suspect work stress and the weather are, in equal parts, involved.  Neither Friday or Saturday were productive days. Both of them involved long naps.  It may be that is just what I needed to try and recharge my batteries which we partly exhausted by the business travel. I do feel a little better as I slide into the evening here.

I watched the opening ceremonies for the Sochi Olympic Games - very impressive, very beautiful and, for me at least, very moving.  The Russian people have a deep and rich history that, if you are a fan of history, you can easily get lost in it.  The heights they have achieved and the tragedies they have suffered bear witness to the full sweep of humanity (and inhumanity).  I'm already enjoying the games this year.  I am not terribly impressed with NBC's coverage, but so far, for the most part, I can ignore the preening.

I didn't do much today.  I had breakfast with Bob and Tony, then stopped by Bob's house to visit for a while, then went wandering.  I made a short stop at the Barnes & Noble on Stevens Creek and San Tomas Expressway but I was only there for twenty minutes so I didn't pick anything up.  There is no way that I can make that kind of decision in a book store in that short of time.  There are way too many tempting things!

From there, I headed up to Outback Steakhouse at the Great Mall and had lunch with Don, then took a walk through that vast Temple of Mammon.  Afterwards, I came home and laid down and took a longish nap.  I didn't really get to sleep, but I did rest and zone for a while.  Dinner was a bowl of cream of chicken soup while I watched the last of the Olympic ceremony.  Now, I have settled in to watch a couple of episodes of America Unearthed, one of my favorite guilty pleasures.

TR is on travel, so I have missed her, even though she has only be gone for two days.  We human beings are amazing things.  We contain within us Walt Whitman's multitude, which is pretty amazing.  We are creatures of such complexity and yet at the same time we are also creatures of simplicity.  What did Shakespeare say..."Oh, what a piece of work is Man...".

A Hundred Gray Moods

A slow and rainy day of incidental errands and random wandering rich with the scent of a Pacific rain, a world painted in a hundred gray moods.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Been A While

It has been a while since I've written anything for here.  It has been a busy couple of weeks and I've mostly simply been focused elsewhere.  I started to write an entry this morning, but I didn't like the overall tone that it was taking, so I decided to set it aside and try again tonight.  Things have been going pretty well, just busy as all get out. It's been kind of stressful at work - we are in a state of high chaos, which is really nothing new, but it has been wearing on me.

On the personal side, I am doing pretty good - I am hoping to settle into February for a quiet and easy month with a lot of restful time spent at home.  Today has been a good example.  I had breakfast with Tony at Goodies and then we went out to see Monuments Men, which I liked.  Then, lunch at Chevy's.  After lunch I took a long and meandering walk through Westgate, just to stretch my legs.  From there, home to watch the Olympics from the DVR.  Right now, I am sitting here watching the hours sweep by and waiting for the opening ceremonies in less than an hour now.

So, I really don't have much to say tonight, it has been a while and it is good to be back.  I am tempted to take a  nice hot bath before the Olympics starts, but that might put me straight to sleep.  Thursday was an unusually stressful day at the office - the chaos was just getting to me, so I came home and I was basically exhausted.  I had a nice conversation with TR and then I headed for bed.  I was asleep by six thirty or so - and I slept all the way through until about five a.m. the next morning.  All in all about 11 hours of sleep.   Today was, consequently, a low and slow day.