Saturday, May 26, 2007

Birthday

“Bah! Lemme eat my breakfast.”

This is Beccano’s day. It’s not really his birthday, but it’s his birthday for us. On his real birthday, he will either be in Ireland or en route.

As he put it, “I’m not just a year older than a ‘stupid twelve-year-old’ anymore.” So today was about gathering family around him. And he raked in the loot. Former RM bought him a practice amp. There was a ninja outfit. Hmmm. A Radiohead DVD. And more.

“Watch out! He’s got an ax!”

I’m also loaning him my camera to take to Ireland. So my next few posts will have recycled pictures, if any. But Beccano has a good eye. I expect to see some fantastic shots of the Emerald Isle.

On other fronts: FRM moved out this week; enter RM2. She will only be here for a couple of weeks—sort of eases the shock of Suna and me having the house to ourselves.

TubaBoy Honored at Debate Banquet

TubaBoy and Suna a Few Days Earlier

OK. He was mentioned at the debate banquet as a “double threat.” That means he is in debate and band. The instructor praised TubaBoy’s attitude and drive.

And so what if every body on the debate team was mentioned?

I learned several things at the banquet:

  • Preparing for debate season is a lot like practicing an instrument. You have to work at it several hours every day if you want to master the skill.
  • The debate coach is a really good BBQ chef. The chicken was perfect!
  • TubaBoy needs a different role model for public speaking. Although the debate coach was natural and funny, he kept his hands folded in front of his chest, never hit a power neutral stance, and had way too many filler words.

Unfortunately, we forgot the camera (even though I put it were we would remember it—ha!).

Thursday, May 24, 2007

D I V O R C E

Tammy Wynette’s 1967 Album Cover

It’s official. I am divorced. X2B is now X2.

Somehow, it’s very anticlimactic after all of the melodrama getting here. I don’t feel like the song. I’m not depressed or angry, just relieved. I don’t know how X2 feels. She says she’s not angry anymore, but I haven’t wanted to find out. I’m tired of being a verbal punching bag.

Any way, she wasn’t there, not even her lawyer was there. Just my lawyer, the judge, and me. A few simple questions, the judge pounded his gavel, and it was done.

When X2 and I started out 25 years ago, I cast an I Ching. It said there would be a long relationship that ended with a lot of pain. I always thought that the pain would be mine and it would come after the relationship ended. I remember X2 was very angry when she found my I Ching journal, and I quit casting the coins until the relationship was nearly over. There was a lot of pain, but it is what ended the relationship not what came after.

So how do I feel? Sad. Happy. Relieved. Mostly I feel sick with a sinus thing. I went home after and slept for hours. I am going to bed early tonight.

And Suna? She’s sick too. RM has officially moved out. So our first night together without any interference from our prior lives, and we are both taking Niquil and trying to breath. What fun!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Farm Journal

Dad and I Share
a Humorous Moment
Photo by Suna

Today we went to see my dad as a family unit. Everyone seemed to like each other. The kids behaved very well indeed, and so did Dad.

We went out to eat lunch at Aunt Di’s. I had a Mexican plate that was so big, I’m taking half of it to work tomorrow for lunch. Unfortunately, both kids were sickly, and we had to leave early. They needed to rest, and I didn’t want to get Dad sick.

When I got home, I found that I had washed and dried my cell phone. Dad will like hearing about that. It’s one of his favorite tricks.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Blues Brothers Band Concert

Beccano Blues

Tonight, Beccano’s school band put on their Spring concert. The musicians all got to dress like famous musicians. I didn’t know there were so many people in the Blues Brothers.

The performance was really good, especially when you consider that the most advanced players were in eighth grade and had only been playing a couple of years. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a good shot of him playing. Being a percussionist, he was at the back of the band. Given the slope of the floor, I could see him really well when I was too far away to capture his image, and when I was close enough to get a good pic, I couldn’t get him in frame.

Sigh!

The band is offering a CD of all their concerts this year. I think Suna and I will get one.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Happiness

But I’m standing here now with my heart held out to you
You would’ve thought a miracle was all that got us through
Well baby all I know, all I know is I’m still standing
And this is love all it ever was and will be

Mary Chapin Carpenter

Suna and Me after “The Hike”
Photo by Greg

It’s fairly obvious that this is us: me looking like I just farted and Suna saying, “Yep, he did it.” But give me a break, I had just finished the longest walk I had been on in, well decades. But I lived. Suna was radiant. And we both felt wonderful the next few days.

So why am I still posting about the hike? I’m not really. I’m posting about being happy and being comfortable about it. It’s just that the most recent pictures I have of the two of us together are all from “the hike.”

Notice: I am even quoting song lyrics again. Happy ones, at that.

So, hey world! I’m feeling good again—physically and emotionally. I have a life again. I have a wonderful woman in my life. I have a decent job that is somewhat rewarding. I have everything I need. And I am happy.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Beccano’s Recital

Awesome Beccano

Tonight we went to see Beccano’s last middle school drum recital. There were a bunch of kinds, some of whom were really good. Two of the ones I enjoyed listening to most shocked me when they performed in the sixth grade ensemble.

Of course Beccano was the best. He played a solo on the tubular bells with the eighth grade ensemble and a solo solo on the snare drum. He played through both pieces without stopping restarting measures. Or if he did, he made it sound as if he didn’t.

Notice his serious look in the photo. That is one thing that struck me. None of the kids looked like they were having fun, and music is supposed to be fun. Maybe that comes later, as Suna said. Only one girl smiled when she played, and then only to laugh at a mistake. I smiled a lot, just listening and enjoying.

Butterfly

Funky ButterflyThis lovely butterfly posed for us during the hike on Saturday. Suna was most impressed by its “fake butterfly head” on the back of its wings. I loved the way the colors shimmered and changed as the sun hit them like an expensive automobile custom paint job.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Ink’s Lake Hike

The Aftermath

Because that’s the way my mind works, I’ll start at the end of the story. Here we are all (except for Lea, who took this picture) exhausted after a three-hour tour of Ink’s Lake State Park. Yes, another three-hour tour—actually closer to 3.5 hours, this time on foot. The younger folks were kind enough to slow down and wait for the old fart who took a lot of pictures as a good excuse to catch his breath. Suna did much better on the walking bit, in spite of getting a tad overheated.

Vista: It’s More Than a Buggy Operating System!

We frequently stopped to rest...er...take in the glorious panoramas of Central Texas in a rare hydrated Spring. All-in-all, we covered just over five miles in the mid-afternoon sun. Luckily, we carried plenty of water and sodas (we carried out all of our trash, thank you), and Greg fed us delicious close-out chocolate bars.

Cactus Flowers

The best thing about the hike was the flowers. Even the cacti got into the floral act.

There are more pictures than I can include here. Suna has posted and commented on more of them in her Flickr account.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Handyman

Installed Dishwasher

Well, here it is. Suna and I went to Home Depot today and found this beauty on closeout. It is a good match to the new fridge. Suna bought the dishwasher and I spent a few hours installing it.

“A few hours?” you might ask. A few hours. I’m not as fast at this kind of thing as I could be. X2B had me pretty much convinced that installing a dishwasher—perhaps even changing a lightbulb—was beyond my ability to do without direct supervision.

But Hah! Here is proof that I am not totally inept. There are no leaks, and I built the pigtail myself. Wire nuts are not the arcane science previously postulated.

My only complaint is that the installation manual had only a dozen complete sentences to describe pages and pages of text. It is a perfect example of taking simplification to the extreme. A few hints as to what the pictures meant would probably have trimmed 90 minutes off this job. Instead, there was a lot of getting to step 20 and realizing “Oh! So that’s what Step 15 was trying to say.” There is still cause to hire writers on English.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Báthory Dreams


Elizabeth Báthory
The Bloody Lady of Čachtice.

I don’t know what it is. First it was zombies at work. Last night it was Elizabeth Báthory running a theme park in southeast Houston. The dream was plotted like a bad horror movie.

I started out looking for auto parts in what I think was Spring, Texas as it was in the early 1980s. I found out that I could get the part I needed but only if I traveled across Houston at rush hour. Somehow, that involved walking through a multi-level mall, where I became unconscious.

Still in the dream, I came to in a dungeon-like setting. The view zoomed down a long hall of rickety wooden stairs and dirt walls. I remember thinking, “That is a really cheesy effect!” And then we were at the room at the end of the hall. There was a very pale woman taking a blood bath, and I knew immediately that it was Elizabeth Báthory.

So she was a real vampire after all. At least, in the dream she was immortal. She seemed to be absorbing the blood through her skin like a sponge. It would run off of her skin like water, leaving the skin the color of limestone, unblemished and unstained.

Then the scene changed again. I was in a set of review stands. There were hawkers selling Elizabeth Bathory products to the spectators. A bound young woman was brought out to the theater floor. She was forced to kneel in the dirt and beheaded over a bathtub. The spectators all thought it was part of the show. I seemed to be the only one in the dream who knew it was real.

I knew I had to escape. Or to help someone else escape. But EB’s minions were loyal. Violence ensued. Then the alarm.

For such a dream, there was no emotional involvement, not even the involvement I would get from watching a movie. Not even dread. Just plodding through the plot. The characters were all involved. Even when the dream was in first person, I was detached from it. Strange really.