Monday, June 23, 2014

Lost On The Way To Work

I am always fascinated by the territory of dreams.  This weekend was no excuse.  I had a dream about trying to get into my office and in the dream I was having to make my way through all kinds of construction sites and detours, some of which were incorrect.  Once again, it is an apt metaphor for the working environment.  I've said that one of the more significant challenges at work is that no one really seems to know who is responsible for what.  It is something I am hoping we manage to overcome in the next year. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

I Am Not Climbing Mount Everest

I had a strange dream last night.  I dreamed that I was preparing for a trip to climb Mount Everest. Let me state, for the record, that I have no intention of ever trying to climb Mount Everest.  Inside of the dream I was on a shopping trip to a mountaineering type store and I was in the process of picking up the equipment, specifically the survival equipment, that would be required for a successful ascent of that majestic mountain.  I woke up and my immediate thought was – uh, no.  I am not climbing Mount Everest.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Weekend of Napping

It has been a weekend of the napping. I napped for four hours on Friday and I followed it up with a two hour nap on Saturday. It remains to see what sort of napping I’m going to get out of Sunday. I think that a lack of solid sleep and intermittent work stress kept me from getting solid sleep through the week. Fortunately it was a quiet weekend, with nothing planned, and I was able to take advantage of that overwhelming desire to nap.

I slept well both nights, Friday and Saturday, deeply and peacefully. So I think I should be going into the new week well rested. This morning, Sunday morning, has been productive. I woke up early, with a desire to attend the first mass, so I did. After that it was breakfast with Tyrone at the Hickory pit, then a trip to the Laundromat in Campbell. Not a lot of laundry, three light loads, enough to make the trip worthwhile.
While I was watching the machines spin around I called my stepdad Bill and wished him a happy Father’s Day. From there I need to stop at big lots to look at patio furniture. So far, they are the ones who are the closest to having what I’m looking for. I’m looking for a couch at least 6 feet long the patio. I want something that I can comfortably lay down on. They have a nice one for about $400. It looks to me like the price on most of them, on most of the ones I’m looking for, is pretty consistent across the board. It just dawns on me, sitting here, that there may be something at one of the secondhand stores that meets my need. I may have to take a run to their.
After that I stopped at target to pick up some incidental things including a small birdbath for the patio. Nothing fancy, a ceramic vessel that looks like an oversized juice squeezer. It should work well. Right now there is a small coterie of birds on the patio chirping merrily away as they munch on the black oil sunflower. These birds are the larger brown sparrows and they are quite a talkative lot. There are a couple in the birdfeeder and a couple more on the patio floor. One of the interesting things about the brown sparrows is they definitely have their own internal pecking order. I think one of the fascinating things about watching the birds at the feeder is to watch their social order, is to watch how they are organized, how to go about the process of eating and socializing. With the brown sparrows there is always a bit of jostling as if no one is quite satisfied with the social order. The Red Capped Sparrows on the other hand seem content with their social order. The doves are the most fearless of the birds. If I come home and open the patio they will, at most, move from the feeder to the rail. Then they will sit there on the rail and look at me as if they are waiting for me to make the next move. If they ultimately decide to take flight it is grudgingly. The sparrows, in general, will eat and take off. The doves will eat, then find a comfortable perch, and linger for a while. Sometimes even go to sleep, which is very cool.
My plan for the immediate future is that I’m going to meet Rick and Tony for lunch over at the Sonoma chicken coop in Campbell California. I may change my mind upon arrival but right now I’m looking forward to their chicken Cobb salad. It is very good. After that I want to go out and catch a movie. I am in the mood for light fare so I want to see either 22 Jump Street or Angelina Jolie in Maleficent. Either of them looks like they would be very entertaining. After that, maybe a light dinner, then home for the evening. I have a spot of work that I may do this evening. A couple of email I want to get out. So I’m going to wrap this up and publish it online. I’ve been very negligent in my writing over the last couple of months it feels. No real reason, just the way it has failed to flow. It’s not that I’m not writing it’s just that I have been not inclined to share it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Half Life of Time

I often have a hard time deciding where to start. I think that is why, so often, I immediately segue into work. Work is an easy place to start. So, let’s skip the easy place today and start someplace else.

I just finished a wonderful bath. It was hot and filled with some sort of lavender scented bath milk. Lately, when I bathe I’ve been setting a timer beside the bathtub. It serves two purposes. First, it makes sure I don’t stay in the bath too long. Second, it makes sure that I stay in the bath long enough.

Time is a pretty amazing thing. I am often dazzled by the thousand different rules that seem to govern the passage of time. I can also be mesmerized thinking about the past and the future and the present and their complex relationship.

I periodically tell my friends that lately perhaps for the last couple of years, I have been semi-obsessed with lost time. Lost time is that time between events when you are not doing anything but you are also not not doing anything. It is time spent in sort of a half-life. I think I spend way too much time there. Those times when you are not fully present but you are also not not present. The half-life of time.

Monday, June 2, 2014

A Child of the Long Summer Twilight

Today was the first day back to the office after my vacation. I kept having to field the question “how was your vacation”? The question itself left me kind of ambivalent. A trip to South Dakota is time off from work but it isn’t what I would consider to be a vacation. To me a vacation is going someplace very nice and spending a large amount of time doing nothing or doing only those things you want to do. A trip to South Dakota is, well, a bit different.

When I go back to South Dakota the day begins, usually, with an early morning departure – around 6 AM or 7 AM. There are no direct flights into South Dakota from California so my choice is to go, generally, either through Denver Colorado or through Salt Lake City Utah. Inevitably, there is a layover at either airport of anywhere from an hour to four hours before the connecting flight into Rapid City South Dakota.

Once I am in Rapid City I either rent a car, or have someone pick me up, or borrow a car and drive about three hours to the ranch, or now, to Winner South Dakota. Depending on the length of that layover, and the weather, it can be either one very long day or two days to get home. The same rhythm applies on the return trip.

Then, I find myself in the bosom of my family. Now, make no mistake, I love them all dearly but… there is always a but… family can always be challenging. There is always some drama to navigate. There is always some ongoing crisis within which I can either intervene or avoid. For me it is an extraordinary event to go there. For them it is me arriving in the midst of their ordinary days. I have stepped out of my ordinary days, but they have not stepped out of theirs.

Adding to the mixture warring siblings, aging parents, a sick nephew, and the usual internal family politics and you have a great visit but not a vacation. This one was no exception. They’re much more working vacations. But, in spite of that, I enjoyed the trip. I love my family, all their faults included, just as they love me with all my faults included. And it is always great to set foot in the land that gave me birth both physically and psychologically.

I am a child of the Great Plains. I am a child of an endless horizon. I am a child of a long summer twilight. The journey from that place to this place marks the course of my life. That place contains within it numerous essential landmarks and milestones, memories tied to the land of my birth. It’s a great journey whenever I go home because many of those memories are flat out wonderful. So, at the end of the day, I am glad I am a child of that long summer twilight.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Glad To Be Home

It's always good to come home after traveling.  There is a great comfort in slipping into your own bed and sleeping on your own pillow.  This return was no different.  I was gone for the last ten days or so on a trip to South Dakota to visit family.  It passed fairly quickly and it went fairly smoothly and I am glad to be home.