Monday, March 31, 2014

Where I Sit

reached the end
of the day
the sun has burned
away the rain
everything has turned
golden again
a symphony of sparrows
singing on the
calling out to friends
and lovers
reached the end
of the day
the sun has burned
away the rain
everything has turned
golden again

A Quick Note, With Musical Notation

A dark and moody day.  Okay, the day is dark and I am moody.  That makes a little more sense.  We’ve got rain coming through intermittently for the week ahead so the sky is gray and overcast and quite beautiful.  It was raining heavy when I went out to lunch and raining very lightly when I came back to the office.  I liked it both ways.  Since California is looking at a hard drought year every drop counts.  However, it doesn’t really do anything to improve my day or my mood for the day.  My mood corresponds with the day, kind of dark, kind of rain tossed. (Since you can’t see the person writing let me just give you a quick visual - I am listening to my iPhone playlist and K.T. Tunstall’s “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” just came on , so suddenly, without warning, I was engaged in a furious session of chair dancing. It constantly amazes me how music has the power to instantly shift our mood.)

Work has been mostly ordinary for a Monday.  Given the rhythms here at the office, Monday is basically an endless meeting for me and today is par for the course - in a nine hour workday, I have seven hours of meetings.  Monday’s are rarely productive days.  Within that, Monday is an ordinary work day.  Though, fortunately, I did get a chance to get out and get some lunch.  I was going to meet my friend Don for lunch, but the timing simply wasn’t there.  He got hung up in some sort of meeting and by the time he was hung up I was already rolling…so I just kept rolling.  (The iPhone has just switched to another great song - “Language and the Kiss” by the Indigo Girls.) I popped out and got a bowl of chili and a grilled cheese sandwich - good comfort food for a rainy day.  I’ve got about ten minutes before I slide into my afternoon meetings, so I thought I would spend it here, writing a quick note.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Usual Sundays

My usual routine on Sunday mornings involves watching a handful of news analysis shows on a handful of channels.  I tend to like them more then the daily news since they give a little bit of more thoughtful analysis.  Some days the emphasis is on "a little bit". On those days I wonder if I should even bother.  Then, on other days, they give some great analysis and I am hooked again.  That Fareed Zakarias GPS - I am not a huge fan of Fareed himself, but he does put some excellent guests on. On some Sunday's it is a very good show - on other Sunday's it is a waste of time.

I had a great little conversation with TR last night, in which we talked about education and the amazing thing that is modern education. I now personally know several systems engineers, well trained, competent individuals, who earned their degrees online.  That is pretty impressive to me, considering I went through the traditional brick and mortar university process.

I've got an ordinary Sunday ahead of me.  I am going to meet Tony for breakfast and then we are considering going to see "Sabotage" movie with Arnold.  I am kind of ambivalent about it, but am willing to take the risk,  I just hope I don't have extreme movie regret!  (Not to say that my buddy Tony doesn't pick good movies...but sometimes....)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Lagertha in The Vikings

It is an outstanding season of Vikings this year.  The most recent episode, where Lagertha leaves her son behind and rides off with her shield maidens actually choked me up.  Outstanding work by Kathryn Winnick, the actress who portrays the character.  She can convey such complexity and turmoil in a single glance that it cannot help but to touch you. The character is so foreign to us and yet at the same time so connected to us.  A pretty amazing show all in all.

I slept pretty well last night.  I went to bed early to read for a while and then fell asleep.  I had a strange dream that woke me up in the middle of the night for an OCD moment.  I am not sure what all the dream was about, but I woke up and had to get out of bed and then remake the bed and then climb back in. It is also possible I was getting tangled in the sheets and had to straighten them out.  Either way, it was a strange moment.

We are supposed to have rain intermittently for the next week or so, starting today.  On my weather app it shows the little rain clouds all day, but the radar map puts most of the rainfall in the northern part of the bay for the moment. I hope we get a good rain, California can certainly use it as we slide into the spring and summer with a full blown drought underway. I'm looking forward to some more rain and a chance to open up the windows and let the scent of fresh rain fill the apartment.

My plan today is to meet Tony for breakfast at 8:30 and then meet Don and Tony at the Cupertino Square theatre to see "Noah".  Rotten Tomatoes has given it fairly high marks, so I am looking forward to it. If nothing else for the visual spectacle that comes from IMAX, since the plan is to see it on IMAX.  Other than that, I am going to continue my work around the apartment, cleaning, trashing, donating, and interweave it with watching episodes of "The Americans".  It looks like it is going to shape up to be a good weekend.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Work, Wind and Rain

I am winding down the day here at work, though it is still relatively early in California.  I started, as usual, just before the crack of dawn and it has been a quiet and productive day here at the office, which I thoroughly enjoyed. My work is usually such a madhouse that when it does quiet down it is very pleasant. I think one of the things companies should try to train their managers in is the art of quieting things down. Far too many managers seem to think that the more chaotic something is the more productive it is.  They cannot tell the difference between the sound of the wind and the fall of the rain.  The latter nurtures the very earth itself and the former simply buffets things about - at least in this metaphor.



Thursday, March 27, 2014

Within Your Heart Peace Is Possible

"You hold in your hand an invitation: to remember the transforming power of forgiveness and loving kindness. To remember that no matter where you are and what you face, within your heart peace is possible," Jack Kornfield

Another Ordinary Day

Once again, the time gap between my posts comes as a surprise to me.  Time appears to be moving past at a very good clip.  Today started a bit strangely - there was a water main break in Sunnyvale, California and it caused the company to shut the plant down, at least for the morning, while they repair the break - so there was a flurry of pre-dawn calls waving people off from going into the office.  There is an automated system that is keeping us notified of developments and they're hoping to have the plant re-opened about 10:00 AM today.  Of course, for my, by 10:00 AM I am deep in my Thursday meeting cycle, so I am not going into the office today.

Yesterday, I tried to take the day off, but it turned into a pretty frustrating day.  If I look at it from the positive side I managed to get about a third of what I wanted to do done, so there was some goodness in the day.  Otherwise, it was frustrating.  I had a training session mid-day, from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM, but there were communications and connectivity problems at the start of the session - the vendor conducting the training uses a technology that is not allowed inside our firewall, so it took about thirty minutes for us to get set up - and by then I was behind the curve in the fast moving class, so I dropped out.  We're just going to have to reschedule it.

It hit one of my frustration points - because I am a planner, I get very frustrated when other people don't plan well and I have to deal with the consequences of them not checking the details.  It is a personal frustration point - I realize that not everyone plans like I do, so it is not a burden that I place on other people - it is something within me that I am aware of.  One of those frustration points that I have learned to work around.

So, having intended to take the whole day off, I ended up working six hours - basically the entire day.  I did manage to get some of the things I wanted to do done - I got the living room all cleaned and straightened, I got the kitchen and dining room about halfway finished, and I cleaned out the front closet.  I still have a ways to go - I want to pack some stuff up for donation and I want to pack some other stuff off for the trash.

I had dinner with Tony over at Mama Mia's and he commented that I was pensive.  I am not sure if I was pensive or mostly just tired from the day. I think tired was closer to the truth.  After a great pizza and a slice of tiramisu, I headed home and spent a quiet evening watching television, with a wonderful little conversation with TR before I called it a night. I woke up twice during the night from strange dreams that seemed kind of work related, but I suspect they were more simple processing dreams.  I am looking forward to the rest of the day, working from home.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Pleasant and Ordinary Day

It is about 7:15 PM on Saturday night. It's been a good day. I slept well last night and had a pair of dreams.

One dream was an enjoyable dream – I dreamt that TR was riding around in a white convertible. The convertible was filled with her friends and they were all wearing vintage clothes. On waking the movie I immediately thought of was Mamma Mia, the dream had that Greek island feel, and the lightness of the move.

The second dream was about work. In that dream I had been sent to another building to perform a task, except once I got there I did not know where to go. No one else in the building seemed to know where I was supposed to go either. Normally dreams of being lost are anxiety dreams. However, this dream, did not have that feel. It just felt like par for the course. I am not sure what that says about my work or what that says about what my subconscious thinks of my work, where being lost is ordinary.

I started the day with a cup of coffee and a bowl of oatmeal. I was lingering into the morning watching programs off my DVR, drinking coffee, and listening to the gathering of the bird tribe on my patio, when TR called. We had a wonderful morning conversation which set me in just the right mood for the day.

We had a big crowd at the Hickory pit for breakfast. There were seven of us which made for a lively table conversation wise. There were animated conversations going on at both ends of the table. Those who were sitting in the bridge seats could simply lean left or lean right and in another conversation. After breakfast we took a walk through Fry's. Then the guys headed over to Bob's were their weekend game. I stopped by to visit for a while because I wanted to talk to Pierre and Helen. I am trying to lure them out to San Francisco for dim sum and a trip to the DeYoung. They are in, will talk some point this week to actually pick a date.

From there I swung by the market to pick up groceries and a few odds and ends. After that a stop at target to pick up a new phone. My old home phone has been on the fritz for a while. Plus, I wanted to get a phone that would let me either turn the ringer way down or turn it all the way off. For reasons known only to the universe with the old phone if you turn the ringer all the way down after a while it turns itself back up. I assumed that the phone was resetting itself at some point. It was frustrating me because the unexpected ringing in the evening was loud and disturbing. The new phone has a much more pleasant ring tone and the ability to turn the volume way down and to quiet the ringer with the push of a button. I like both of those features.

Then, I wandered home. I spent a quiet afternoon in the apartment watching television programs off my DVR, reading, and doing incidental things around the house. Dinner was a bowl of vegetable soup and a tall glass of water. The evening is quiet and gentle. I'm going to fool around with my new electronic toy for the next hour or so. All in all, another beautiful day in California.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Wow.  It is hard to believe the last time I wrote was Monday.  I guess that is a sign that this week pretty much flew by.  I worked some long days, nothing crushing, just long. Today is my Friday off, but I started the day with a meeting, working my way through a technical problem that has been vexing the teams for a month. We may have found the solution today, so one of the vendors is off to implement a fix and then we'll do another set of testing.

I have an objective this weekend, but I do not know if I am going to be able to achieve it. I want to get through the whole apartment for a fierce bout of spring cleaning. I am going to follow up with a trip to the donation center and a trip or two to the dumpster.  I also need to go through my closet and get some clothes set aside for donation, since it is also about that time of year.

Other than that, I am looking forward to the weekend. There are not any new movies out that I want to see, but I have several old movies on the DVR that I am looking forward to. I think I will watch them as I am cleaning. One of the things I have been running into, which is a side effect from working too many hours, is that when the evening comes along and I get home, basically, I am low energy and just want to ease into the evening.  I have been successful at that.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Easy Days Are Important

So, tonight, I started to come here to write an entry three times - and each time I got sidetracked by something in the apartment.  First, it was dishes. Then, it was my work phone.  Finally, it was my stack of email. Now, in this moment, I seem to have cleared all of the distractions.

It was a decent day for a Monday - I was basically in a meeting from 7:00 in the morning until 1:00 in the afternoon.  Then, I spent a little time working email.  A good day, made some good progress, and on the calendar tomorrow looks like a better day as well.

I really don't have much to say today, since it was an ordinary day.  I am going to settle into the evening, do some incidental things around the apartment, maybe take a hot bath, and then read myself to sleep.  Easy days are important, especially in this world where we spent so much time running as fast as we can.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

It was a nice day here in California. I slept in late (for me), about seven a.m., then plinked around the apartment before heading out to meet Tony from breakfast.  After breakfast we wandered up to the big Fry's (in Sunnyvale) and I came real close to buying an X-Box One.  I have one burning at my wallet, too put it lightly. I am trying to build my savings up to a certain threshold to make sure I have a nice reserve - I approach the number, I pass the number, then - I repeat the cycle.  I am trying to sit tight on my money so that I get over the threshold and reside there for a while.  All I need are a couple of weeks without large bills and I am good.

I spent most of the afternoon watching episodic TV off the DVR, which alternating reading from the iPad.  A light nap late in the afternoon, then a simple dinner about five pm wrapped up the day.  I logged on for work, did a couple of tasks, and then logged off.  Now, I am watching the last part of a truly classic movie that I captured on my DVR the other week - Wes Craven's "Swamp Thing", with the beautiful Adrienne Barbeau.  I have the fondest memories of the show when I was a kid.  I also have the fondest memories of Adrienne on All In The Family (along with most of the teenage boys of my age cohort).

I also took a nice hot bath this afternoon, after my nap.  It was awesome.  One of the things I wish you could do in an apartment is redecorate the bathroom.  I would change to a larger, deeper tub, even at the cost of floor space.  A tub more designed for leisurely bathing.  I have seen some bathrooms over the years and they are literally temples built to water - decadent but beautiful.  That is the sort of bathroom I want.

TR is traveling with friends, so I missed her this weekend, but she should be returning tomorrow, so that will be nice.  I am looking forward to that as well.  Speaking of which, I have couple of emails that I wanted to write this evening and perhaps I will do them as soon as the Swamp Thing wraps up.  So, with that in mind, let me call it a night with a great picture of the beautiful Adrienne Barbeau.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Slide Into The Evening

Well, judging from the lack of entries, I would say that it was a full week.  I logged five ten to twelve hour days in a row, so it was definitely full.  I made some progress at work on my projects and on my other responsibilities, so that was good.  I still have a ways to go, but that is to be expected.

Today was a pretty good day.  I stayed up late last night reading, but woke at about the normal time.  Breakfast at the Hickory Pit with Tony, then we drifted off and met Don to see "The Grand Budapest Hotel" by Wes Anderson at the CineArtes Theatre in Santana Row.  It was an excellent movie - whimsical, surreal, and funny.  I highly recommend it if you are into those sorts of films.

After the movie we have a nice lunch at Thea Mediterranean. I had a Greek Salad and a bowl of the soup of the day.  Excellent, as usual.  From there, we took a wandering walk through Santana Row, enjoying the scenery, enjoying the sun. Home afterwards for an easy nap, then up in the evening for a dinner of vegetable soup and an episode of Vikings.
I have to say that, all in all, it has been a nice day.  I am enjoying the slide into the evening.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

It Was A Better Day

Well, it was a better day than yesterday.  After the curves that got thrown at me yesterday, I headed into the office early this morning and spent the bulk of the morning preparing for my VP presentation.  Fortunately, I combine the two skill sets of knowing what I am talking about and being able to wing it - so the presentation went over very well, with the VP giving us a green light to go on to the next phase of the project - obsessive planning!  My favorite part.

I bowed out of the office early since I went in early (and since I spent most of last night tossing and turning), came home, ate a nice dinner.  Watched an episode of "The Good Wife", read a magazine, and now am planning to read Lang Leav's "Love and Misadventures" as the evening winds down.  It is a beautiful and sunny evening outside and I can hear the birds on the patio discussing their evening plans with some vigor. 

It may be one of those nights when it is actually a struggle to stay away until a late enough hour.  If that turns out to be the case, then I am going to run through the tub.  Meanwhile, I am waiting to talk to TR when she gets a window and reading a little poetry.

Monday, March 10, 2014

When Idiots Attack

Well, my Idiot Director came roaring out of hiding this week and is hurling herself into everything.  Just when I thought it was safe to go back into the water.  Basically, tomorrow, I have a meeting with my customers and team members regarding a project I am on.  However, a few minutes ago, after I had left for home at the end of the day, I got a call from my boss telling me I have to pull part of my presentation back tomorrow for fear that it might inflame my director, who is apparently on another passive-aggressive rampage. 

I am confident that everything I did was the right thing to do and that the quality of my work is professional as always, but suddenly a project that looked like it was going to move forward is going to grind to complete halt.  Once again, it is going to cost three times as much and take four times as long if she thrusts herself in the middle of it.  I wonder when the corporation is every going to take notice of her blatant incompetence.  Such is life when idiots attack.

Outside of that, I am in a fairly good mood today.  It was a non-productive work day, but that is typical of Monday's and my plan was to sit at home and work my way through my backlogged email. I may still do that, but I have to now add into it the process of redoing my presentation for tomorrow.  I may take a spot of time tonight to meditate, since that will pull me into a healthier place in regards to work stress.  I feel for my boss, who bears the brunt of my directors idiocy.

A Walking Exercise from Thich Nhat Hanh

Imagine we are astronauts who have crashed on the moon.  We look across the vastness of space and see the beautiful blue Earth. But we can’t get back because our ship is damaged. All we do is look at that brilliant blue beautiful orb in the black sky and dream of being home.
But suppose we managed to fix our ship, and landed back home.  How would we feel when we first set foot upon the Earth?  What would we observe and savor? How intensely would we experience the sights and smells, the flavors, the feeling of a gentle rain?
That’s how we should walk on the Earth which each step.
A Walking Exercise from Thich Nhat Hanh

Sunday, March 9, 2014


I have been eagerly anticipating the new Cosmos and it definitely did not disappoint!  I don't think I have been so excited to see a new television show in quite a while, certainly not the type of inner excitement that this show generated for me.  I loved the original Cosmos, it holds a near sacred place in the imagination of my youth.  So, I just hope that this one lives up to the other - and so far, I am pleased.

I also saw something fairly awesome today, and that was the IMAX 3D version of "300: Rise of an Empire" with the always amazing Eva Green.  It was definitely on par with the original 300.  The movie was owned by Eva Green, a very good performance.  I highly recommend it if you are inclined to see that type of movie. 

Outside of that, I had a pretty good day - it is the first day of daylight savings time, so it is nice to be sitting here and watching the slow fall of the sunset.  Beautiful.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

All In All An Easy Day

It was an easy day today, a deliberately easy day.  Work has been kind of hectic and stressful for the last couple of weeks, so, when the calendar was light today and there was kind of a natural lull I decided to take it easy through the day.  First, I slept in.  Then, on waking, I kind of drifted into the morning.  I headed into the office and worked easy through the day. I had five or six meetings, but I moved pretty smoothly through them. Then, about mid afternoon, I flexed out.  I celebrated Ash Wednesday, then headed home, make dinner, took a nap and a bath and then an easy evening with some quality time with TR, which brings me write into the minute, where I am watching the most recent episode of "True Detectives".  Once again, all and all, and easy day.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Waiting For The Night To Wind Down

"Lost, on a painted sky, where the clouds are hung for the poets eye..." Neal Diamond

That song is on the Jonathan Livingston Seagull soundtrack and I have no idea why it is floating around inside my mind tonight.  Perhaps because it is such a beautiful evening here in California.  Our rain storm seems to have passed through and the evening has been sunny and warm.  I am currently sitting in the living room watching an episode of "Castle" and inhaling the fresh air through the open patio door.

It was a long day at work.  Actually, yesterday was the long day - I worked about fifteen hours in total, a full day and then a full evening due to a technical glitch on one of the systems that I had to hand hold into the evening.  Fortunately the issue was resolved and it did not cascade into the next day.

I had a great conversation with TR and snuggled deep into bed. Unfortunately, I didn't sleep well - I tossed and turned, got up and paced about a couple of times, and then finally fell asleep and slept for about five hours.  The office was busy today, so the time passed quickly and I made some good headway and then tonight, I skated home into this beautiful evening and I am watching the clock make that slow sweep until nightfall.  I may have one of those evenings where I have to struggle to stay awake, least I go to sleep too early - but, I suspect I could go to sleep very easy.

I do hope to manage to stay awake for a while at least - long enough to watch this episode of Castle, then perhaps some time with TR, and finally a chance to curl up and read myself to sleep.  It seems strange, but I have already worked 23 hours in two days.  Whew, no wonder I am sitting here, tired and waiting for the night to wind down.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The List of the Day

It was a full day, but in a good way.  I woke early and dove right into the day.  An early breakfast at the Hickory Pit, then a day spent running errands and on a cleaning binge.  In short order, the day looked something like this:
1. Wake up, shower.
2. Pack laundry for the Laundromat.
3. Clean the kitchen.
4. Drive to the Hickory Pit for breakfast.
5. Hickory Pit to the LaunderLux for three loads of laundry.
6. Take the laundry home, fold it, put it away.
7. Clean the bathroom.
8. Notice that the spring doorstop on the front door is bent. Add it to the list.
9. Back out to Orchard Supply Hardware for the spring doorstop.
10. Pick up some emergency candles, a Contigo commuter mug on sale, a new ironing pad, and a silicon rest for the iron.
11. Stop at Trader Joe's for bread.
12. Stop at a furniture store due to a sale sign, unfortunately, the piece I want is not on sale.
13. Swing by to check on my friend Tyrone, haven't heard from him in a while. No one home.
14. Stop by to visit my friend Bob.
15. Meet Tony for lunch at Patxi's.
16. Take a walk through Sports Basement looking for a packable windbreaker.
17. Stop at Any Mountain on the same errand. No luck again.
18. Swing through Target and pick up coffee.
19. Stop at the organic market for vegetables.
20. Come home.

That brings me right into this moment.  It has been a busy day, but I am looking forward to settling in to watch the Oscar's pre-show and then the Oscar's themselves.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Easing Into The Night

A wonderful conversation with TR last night, a good night sleep, a gentle morning and the day has been very good. I woke at close to my normal time with a wicked calf cramp that jolted me out of bed.  A quick turn through the shower, a cup of hot coffee, a cup of yogurt as a snack, then I settled in and alternated through the morning with a follow up conversation with TR and reading the morning paper (something I do not do often enough). 

Then, I met Tony at the Hickory Pit for breakfast, after which we caught "Stalingrad" at AMC 14.  Lunch at Hawg's Seafood in Campbell, then a stop at Target for mixed shopping before I headed home.  A lazy afternoon watching the bird tribe at the feed on the balcony, watching a bit of DVR - specifically "Vikings" first episode of season 2, then some more reading, and now watching one of my guilty pleasure - "Ancient Aliens".  In short, it has been a nice day - easily spent - relaxing and satisfying,

I am not sure I had any deep thoughts today.  Oh, one or two might have skipped across the surface of my brain, but they were pleasantly easy, all in all.  I am looking forward to just easing into the night, perhaps with a bit more of DVR, perhaps switching over to an entire night reading.