Thursday, January 31, 2008

I’m Down

I always thought Edwards was the right man for the job, in spite of the expensive hair cuts. He did let Dave Letterman mess up his hair one night.
Photo Source: Transition Governance
I’m down—I’m really down
I’m down—down on the ground
I’m down—I’m really down
How can you laugh when you know I’m down?
—[The Beatles]

OK. Maybe it’s not as bad as all that. But yesterday, my main man withdrew from the race for President. John Edwards will have to wait a few more years before he assumes the nation’s highest office, if he ever does.

This changes my strategy for the primary. For the second time in my life, I may have to vote in the Republican primary. Why? Mitt Romney scares me to death. He is as ruthless as Bush and wants to incorporate right-wing Christian values to bridge Church and State, but he is smart. While I don’t think Romney cares about the country any more than Bush, he is smart enough to try to appear as if he has people in his heart. If elected, Romney will have no qualms about continuing Bush’s pogrom to rape the Constitution, establish a police state, suppress free speech, and destroy the middle class.

I would much prefer that John McCain were the Republican candidate. He was willing to risk his life to serve this country, and he has shown a common sense approach to government since he has been in the Senate. Romney has attacked McCain’s “conservative credentials” because he has been willing to work with Democrats to get things done.

So why not vote in the Democratic primary? I don’t care which of the two remainders wins. Either of them will do, even if one will as divisive as the current President.

Their strengths and weaknesses cancel each other out. There doesn’t seem to be much overlap in their skills. They would make a great President if we could smash them together. But, as David Gurgen, once pointed out, the Democratic Party tends to eat its candidates alive. I don’t see having both names on the ticket in November. They may not even be speaking to each other after the convention.

It looks to be an interesting year in politics, but I’m not sure I like living in interesting times. Can’t we all just get along? Ah, well. Maybe Edwards can run for VP again.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Narcissus

I am a daffodil.
Photo Source: What Flower Are You?
Don’t need no audience ’round me I’m fond of my own company
Who wants the birds and the bees when I’ve always got me up my sleeve?
Who said that no man’s an island surrounded by nothing but sea?
I tell you he’s wrong and misguided; I stand here surrounded by me
—Lol Mason and Max Thomas

Suna’s blog on Monday linked to a quiz to determine which type of flower fits an individual’s personality. I am apparently a daffodil, which is apparently a narcissus, according to Wikipedia. The American Daffodil Society agrees.

Here is what the quiz author has to say:

You have a sunny disposition and are normally one of the first to show up for the party. You don’t need too much attention from the host once you get there as you are more than capable of making yourself seen and heard.

Boy, did she get that one wrong! I prefer to show up after a party has started and slip in unnoticed. Unless I know the people there, I tend to be a wallflower. If I do know somebody, I tend to stick to them and avoid strangers (unless I am introduced—read, “foisted off”—on them). Otherwise, I will sit quietly until I can find an excuse to leave, then bolt for the door like a mouse in a cat house…uh, a house full of cats, that is.

I think I would go with the etymological derivation of narcissus. In Greek mythology, Narcissus was a beautiful youth who became so obsessed with his own reflection that he fell into a pond and drowned. (TubaBoy, are you reading this?) His corpse became a beautiful flower.

While I do not believe that I am beautiful or even that good looking, I have been known to be arrogant and protective of my own self-interest. I was really fond of the City Boy song, “Narcissus.” And some of my more unkind critics have called me a Narcissist. I don’t buy it. Maybe I do prefer to be a daffodil.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Born under a Bad Sign

Now this is an interesting store. Wonder what they do with all those tires. Hmmm…rubber!
Born under a bad sign
Been down since I began to crawl
If it wasn’t for bad luck
I wouldn’t have no luck at all

I saw an interesting sign on the back of a truck. It said, “Now Hiring.”

“So what makes this sign so interesting?“ you might ask. After all, lots of truck have similar signs. You can’t hard pass a big truck without seeing a similar sign. So what is unique about this one? It was the only writing on the truck. Apparently, you were supposed to follow the truck to wherever it was going and ask about a job.

It reminds me of a truck stop that I used to pass on the south side of I-10 in Van Horn. It was a grimy little truck stop, with a small café and convenience store. On three sides of the building, a sign said, “Diesel * Fried Chicken.” But if you were heading east, the sign said, “Diesel Fried Chicken.” Ummmmm. Yummy!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Country Roads

When you’re driving in Texas, it really can seem like the road goes on forever.
Country roads, take me home
To the place I belong
—John Denver

After an embarrassing time in church yesterday—due to having different tasks on two songs that I couldn't distinguish by name—Suna, Beccano, and I went for a drive in the country. Although, the time could have been spent more productively, we all had a good time driving and listening to Radiohead and Pete Townshend.

My major discovery was that Parmer Lane now extends north to at least TX 3405, possibly to TX 254. (I didn’t take good notes because I was driving. None of the online map tools show this extension yet, probably because I isn’t technically finished.) Suna already knew this from a wool-buying expedition with Jody. Unfortunately, the name changes at some point from Parmer to Ronald W. Reagan Blvd. Sigh. Republicans!

Grateful Monday

Last Friday, Suna gave my blog a You Make My Day award. I put off responding to this so that I could have it be my Grateful Monday today. Thank you, Suna. You make my day, too. That's what I’m grateful for today. All the myriad different ways you make my day.

Thanks, too, to everyone whose blogs I read. Apparently, one of the obligations that goes with the award is to pass it on to 10 other bloggers who also make your day. Sigh! I don't think I read 10 blogs. But here goes—My blog winners in no specific order, except (of course) that Suna comes first:

    Yes! Suna Knits
    Of course this isn’t the blog that really makes may day—at least not usually. But it is Suna’s most public blog and the only one I’ll link to from here.
    Saranda’s World
    This is Saranda’s personal blog. It tracks her family life, and I really enjoy the pictures she posts. The picture flowers from her back yard was one of the most stunning I have ever seen.
    Hand In Hand with Sam
    Sam shares her family and life in the far north country—at least from a Native Texan’s view it is extremely far north. I always love the Friday Feast, which Suna also blogs, and the pictures.
    The Wonderful World of Stephanie
    I have just started following this blog, so I really don’t know what to say. I have enjoyed her travel journal as she explores Italy.

It turns out that everything else in my Bloglines queue is either inactive or a news feed.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Burnin’ Sky

When the sky already has so many beautiful colors, why would you want to change it?
The sky is burnin’
I believe my soul’s on fire
You are,I’m learning,
The key to my desire
—Paul Rodgers

So I worked from home all day today and got everything done.

I had lunch with Eh?—one of my former managers at ALE. It was pleasant, and we caught up on the last couple of months over a nice Chinese buffet. Her sister is being sent to China for a couple of months, but that isn’t why we chose Chinese. She knows of an opening in the technical support side of the not-record-company where she works.

After work Suna, Beccano, and I went out to eat. TubaBoy was at a debate thing, so the rest of us could eat Chinese food without whining. Notice that is two Chinese meals in one day, showing how deprived I have been feeling. We ate at the China Wall, a favorite of mine for a long time. The tables and booths are comfortable. The atmosphere is quiet and respectful. But most important: the food is great.

One of tonight’s specials was Basil Chicken. Not only do I believe that basil is the perfect spice, I like chicken. Adding to the flavor, a couple of jalapeño peppers were sliced across the width to preserve the seeds. I could have eaten this dish until I popped. Suna had the Lemongrass Chicken, which is served with broiled onions—delicious. Beccano had Beef in Oyster Sauce, which is served on a hot plate and finished at the table.

Friday’s Feast

Appetizer: How many times per day do you usually laugh?
As much as possible. I don’t count. I love jokes (even if I have heard some variant of them already). Spontaneous quips are delightful. As the Reader’s Digest column says, “Laughter Is the Best Medicine.” Laughter is good for your respiration, circulation, and heart—not to mention your psychological health.
But I don’t care for so called humor that is based on somebody being proud of their stupidity. One liners on this premise when the person recovers and makes a good, intelligent joke later are OK. But so much of today’s humor is like the “Ow! My Balls” bit in Idiocrasy, predictable, intollerant, and plain stupid. Characteristics the entertainment industry seems to confuse with humor.
Soup: What do your sunglasses look like?
I don’t think I currently own a pair of sunglasses—other than the darkened visor of my helmet. I tend to lose them or break them. And I am too cheap to have a second pair of prescription glasses made1, which would involve constantly changing between the two any way.
Salad: You win a free trip to anywhere on your continent, but you have to travel by train. Where do you go?
Nowhere. I have always wanted to take the AmTrack to San Diego and then up the west coast to Vancouver. From there I would like to take the TransCanada to the east coast where I could pick up AmTrack again. Take it down the east coast and across the south back to where I started. The whole trip would take about three weeks.
Main Course: Name one thing you consider a great quality about living in your town/city.
Tolerance—at least when compared to the rest of the country. I know that the Southwest is supposed to have that rugged frontier spirit of “Let ’em do what they want on their own property.” But there are very few Texans left, and those who remain have become woefully bigoted Republicans. Maybe they always were (even when Texas was a Democratic state), but we were spread out thin enough not to get in each other’s hair, except in the towns and cities.
Dessert: If the sky could be another color, what color do you think would look best?
I like blue. Not that I am sticking with the status quo; Blue is one of my favorite colors. Besides, I wouldn’t want to change the chemical structure of the atmosphere enough to change the color of the sky. We probably wouldn’t enjoy that very long.

1 Suna and others may point out that I do own more than one pair of prescription glasses, but neither of them is tinted. This situation came about because I lost my first pair. About three months after I had the second pair made (which was a while after I lost the first pair), I found the lost pair hanging in a redbud tree in the backyard. Since the last place anybody remembered me having them was in a different town, their arrival in the backyard remains a mystery.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Back in the High Life

Damage to the lungs from pneumonia can take a while to heal.
Photo Source: eCureMe.com
We’ll be back in the high life again
All the doors I closed one time will open up again
Well be back in the high life again
All the eyes that watched us once will smile and take us in
—[Steve Winwood]

I went to choir practice tonight for the first time since I got sick. I haven’t had much in the way of wind, and my pitch has been flaky at best. But I was bound and determined to sing tonight.

All went pretty well. We quickly went through “The Tramp on the Street,” an old folky based on the Bible story of Lazarus (or Laz’rus, as it is spelled in the libretto. It is a fairly easy three chord song to sing, and we breezed through it.

Then we picked up the other song for Sunday—“Poor Man Lazrus.” This one tells the story of &rldquo;Lazrus” and Divies, the rich man tormented in hell while Lazarus reveled in heaven. This is a fairly difficult song to sight read, especially when you are a bad at reading music as I am. And I was the only tenor! The director had a high school alto sing with me. I was grateful for the support. I would never have picked out the part without her help. Unfortunately, we went over it again and again and again—until my lungs gave out.

I got to where I couldn’t breathe any more. My top part of my lungs were on fire. I had to bolt outside into the cold raid to have a coughing fit. I stayed there for a while, letting the cold, damp air soothe my inflamed lungs.

When I went back inside, what little pitch I had left me. All night long I had been fighting a weirdness in my vocal cords. Notes that should have felt high didn’t, but lower notes did. I couldn’t sing the lovely Mendelssohn piece we are doing later this year. (Why are classical pieces so much easier to sing than “popular” ones?)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Love is a Sweater

Everyone who sees my new sweater has to touch it. I don’t blame them. I love the way it feels.
Photo (and sweater) by Suna

Thanks to Saranda, I started an account on LibraryThing. LibraryThing lets you catalog and review the books in your collection, or simply those you have read. You have the option of keeping your reviews private, sharing them with various degrees of restriction on who can access them.

I have always been a cataloger, but I never built an index of my library for some reason. I like being able to access my obsession from anywhere I happen to be.

Grateful Monday

I missed Grateful Monday last week. So it’s a good thing that I have two things to be grateful for today. Now I can catch up on my gratefulness.

  • On the home front:
  • Suna made me a wonderful sweater. It is so soft and warm and comfy. She finished the bulk of it on Thursday night. On Friday we bought five lovely buttons, only to find out that it had six button holes. So on Saturday, we bought five more of the blue-brown buttons that tie the sweater’s colors together so well. I wore it to work today, just to show it off. Thank you for the wonderful sweater, Suna.

  • On the job front:
  • No really exciting news here, but the news Friday was good enough. When I took this contract, I was told that the funding would run out at the end of the fiscal year. That’s either this Friday or next. Now I had subsequently been told that they would probably extend the contract, but I haven’t heard anything definite about that yet.

    So what’s the good news?, you’re probably thinking. Well, I had a brief conversation with my boss last Thursday. He told me that they really have enough funding to keep me working through the end of next month. We will have another conversation in mid February to let me know if he can justify (and, more importantly, get approval for) extending my contract for the duration of my eligibility. So it’s not a secure job, but it’s not the worst possibility, either.

    I am grateful for any reprieve—no matter how fleeting.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Sometimes Bad Is Bad

I was so thrilled. OK I was still pretty sick, too. Photo by: Suna
Across the street, a neon sign
“All you can eat for a dollar ninety nine
Our soul stew is the baddest in the land”
But one dollar’s worth was all that I could stand
—Huey Lewis

I have made it through a full week at work now. For the last two days, I have felt pretty good, even though I finished the antibiotics and have cut back on the decongestants and cough syrup. Maybe I am finally over this thing. Man, it sucked.

I am still running behind on all of my personal writing and reading, but I am starting to catch up. I thought I would take this opportunity to note that I have joined Library Thing—an online community about books. I am starting to list the books I have read and write a short review of each of them. If I work at it diligently, I may have the job finished by the time I die.

Suna posted earlier this week about TubaBoy’s birthday, so I won’t go into too much detail here. We went to a local chain, Z Tejas Southwestern Grill, another company that thinks web visitors all want to see a prolonged, annoying flash intro rather than content.

If you like nouveau cuisine in a loud environment, this is the place for you. They try some weird experiments, but—on the whole—the food was good. The tables were comfortable and the lighting was intimate. There was something about the vaguely coleslaw-like food product that accompanied my mushroom enchiladas, and the ambient noise left my ears ringing. But the most important factor was that both kids seemed to like the place and their food. I can’t remember that happening before.

Friday’s Feast

Appetizer: What is your favorite beverage?
Like Suna, I must list more than one:
  • Water
  • Pepsi One
  • Jack on the rocks
  • Sangria wine
Soup: Name three things that are on your computer desk, either at home or at work.
I don’t really have a computer desk where I am comfortable working for long at home, and my desk at work is very Spartan because I am a short-term contractor there. At home, I mostly work with a portable in my lap. So I will list three things that I see from the couch:
  1. The TV
  2. The street outside, lined with front lawns and trees.
  3. The media collection
Salad: On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being highest), how honest do you think you are?
8. I am not nearly as honest as I aspire to be, especially with myself. I do value honesty and I try to be honest, even when it is not in my immediate (or long-term) self interest. But actually putting my ideals into practice remains a challenge sometimes.
Main Course: If you could change the name of one city in the world, what would you rename it and why?
I never really thought about it. I get kinda irritated when they change the names of cities. It brings about that whole Prince thing. You know—the city formerly known as Stalingrad, which was formerly known as St. Petersburg.
Dessert: What stresses you out? What calms you down?
  • Stressors: Not being able to do what I want or as well as I think I should.
  • Destressors: Downtime with family and friends. Sleep, when I’m not too stressed to sleep.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Check’s in the Mail

I’m still behind on everything and getting behinder as I go. Makes me feel like I am the Post Office or something.
Image Source: Fairfield County, SC
I know you want what’s on my mind
I know you like what’s on my mind
I know it eats you up inside
I know ya know ya know ya know
—Weird Al

My friend Captain Flatulence sent me this meme in email form. I’m posting it here. Consider yourself tagged, gentle readers.

Email Meme

  1. What time is it?
  2. 07:23
  3. What are you most afraid of?
  4. Financial ruin. I mentioned this in last Friday’s post, “Pneumonia.”
  5. Where were you born?
  6. Freeport, Texas. The hospital where I was born became an orphanage sometime after they tried to poison me by giving me drugs that induced massive projectile vomiting to help me recover from having my tonsils out. Then they put a really nice kid in my room. Unfortunately, he had been hospitalized with a severe case of the flu. Good thing that hospital went out of business. I don’t know if the building is still standing.
  7. What is your natural hair color?
  8. Light brown, becoming more streaked with silver as I age
  9. Have you traveled?
  10. Yes.
  11. Love someone so much it made you cry?
  12. Yes.
  13. Been in a car accident?
  14. Yes.
  15. BMW or Mercedes Benz?
  16. Jaguar
  17. Favorite day of the week?
  18. Today.
  19. Favorite restaurant?
  20. Favorite flower?
  21. Roses, any color
  22. Favorite sport to watch?
  23. Football. There is another sport to watch?
  24. What color is your bedroom carpet?
  25. Green
  26. Favorite ice cream?
  27. Cookies ’n’ Cream
  28. Disney or Warner Brothers?
  29. Pixar, so I guess that means Disney.
  30. Favorite fast food restaurant?
  31. Chipotle. I like their food enough to forgive them for such a useless web site.
  32. How many times you failed your driver’s test?
  33. Never. Not for any class or endorsement, but I wouldn’t want to take the hazmat endorsement again right now.
  34. Before this one, from whom did you get your last e-mail?
  35. Spam
  36. What do you do most often when you are bored?
  37. Sleep.
  38. Bedtime?
  39. Earlier than is possible.
  40. Who will respond to this meme the quickest?
  41. Suna
  42. Who is the person least likely to respond?
  43. Beccano or Trackgrease
  44. Who is the person you are most curious to see their answers?
  45. These questions are pretty lame.
  46. What means the most to you?
  47. Love, family
  48. Favorite TV shows?
    • Bones
    • New Yankee Workshop
    • Sunday Night Football (sigh)
    • Dark Shadows
  49. Dating males or females?
  50. Long-term relationship with a SWF.
  51. Tall or short?
  52. Me? Or my sweetie?
  53. How many pets do you have?
  54. Five
  55. Above or below 29?
  56. Above
  57. What would you like to accomplish/do before you die?
  58. Live—forever, if possible.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Pneumonia

Pneumonia. It sounds like it could be a small fishing nation or a part of South America. It's not nearly so fun. I went back to the doctor today to learn that a secondary pneumonic infection has settled into my left lung. It explains why the fever is back with a vengeance and why I am suddenly so weak again.

The drugs are good. They keep me mostly knocked out. [I am posting this after the fact, but I mostly wrote it at the time—explains the disorganization and ramble, huh? No really? My normal style? Oh.]

Friday’s Feast

Appetizer: What is your middle name? Would you change any of your names if you could? If so, what would you like to be called?
I have two middle names: Lee and Anton. I think that having four names has always given me enough name flexibility that I never felt the need to change them. All four have a tradition of sorts. I sometimes write under a pseudonym, but that is primarily a marketing tool. A writer’s name is a brand. I publish nonfiction under my legal name; for fiction, I use my initials.
Soup: If you were a fashion designer, which fabrics, colors, and styles would you probably use the most?
Cottons and other natural fabrics. Whites, blacks, and primary colors. Simple designs, peasant shirts and the like.
Salad: What is your least favorite chore, and why?
Sorting socks. It is simply tedious. There are too many minute variations, too many ways to get it wrong. The socks never pair up 100%, so there are always leftovers, stragglers cluttering up the clean clothes or falling back unused into the laundry.
Main Course: What is something that really frightens you, and can you trace it back to an event in your life?
Financial ruin. I have never experienced it first-hand. When I was young and came close, my parents and circumstances softened the landing. Now days, I realize I am working without a net. What is new is that I am worried about not having a net. Before there was always time to recover.
Dessert: Where are you sitting right now? Name 3 things you can see at this moment.
I am in the bedroom, propped up on a bolster so that I can breathe. Three things that I can see:
  1. My sickly reflection in the mirror
  2. The top of the oak tree outside the bedroom window
  3. Socks waiting patiently to be sorted

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Winter Cold

One minute you freeze, the next you roast. That’s what makes a fever so miserable.
It is foolish for you—take heed of it—to rise from quilt and feather bead; there is much ice on every ford; that is why I say, “Cold!”

I have spent the last few days contemplating how quickly our world view can collapse around us. I was taking down the Christmas decorations Saturday when I noticed a tickle in my bronchial tubes. Later that evening I went to the grocery store and found myself really concentrating on just getting the little bit of shopping done that I had to so that I could go home. I’ve already blogged about what happened when I got home, so I won’t bother you with a rerun.

By Sunday morning, my world view had collapsed to the interior of the house. Getting up and down the stairs was a real effort. By Sunday evening, my world consisted of part of the bed and the bathroom. My fever peaked around 104 that night, which is really something when you consider that my typical body temperature is 98 even.

Monday was almost a total loss. I would wake up, go to the bathroom, drink another 16 ounces of water, and go back to bed. This pattern repeated almost hourly. I don’t get sick days in my job, so I had to work as much as I could through this period. Luckily, my boss is willing to let me work from home. Even with a fever that hovered around 100 degrees, I was able to get in almost four hours work between naps.

Tuesday was a repeat, but with a lower fever and longer periods of consciousness. I managed another six hours work, and my world expanded to include the media room. The stairs were still a struggle, but I managed them a couple of times.

Sometime in the night, my fever broke. I woke up this morning pooled in sweat, but my skin no longer felt like stale cheese to me. I even went back to the office and had some meetings today. Everybody wisely kept their distance, even the one who I think brought the virus into the office. The drive in was a challenge as my reflexes were not what I am accustomed to, but I lived and so did everybody else on the road. Nobody even told me I was number one, so it must not have been as bad as it felt from my perspective.

Grateful Monday on Wednesday

So that brings me to this week’s Grateful Monday. Even though it really is Wednesday, it is my Monday. I am so grateful that even though I have often been called sickly, I have learned that all I have to do is take care of myself and my body will heal. One day, there will be something from which I cannot recover. But that is not today, and I will not admit it when it happens. For that I am truly grateful.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Remembering Tantrums

Tantrums are never pretty.
Photo Souce (and an article on applied behaviorism): DaddyDaze
I hugged her hoping
she’d return from fish or flame
to “presentable.”
She rippled, rigid,
slack, delivering waves from
some dim horizon
too far away to
believe. What trickle raised
those torrents? I ran
along the breakers.
Always be calm, I was told—
but anger gushed
new tongues and—locked—we
fit like enemies.

All kinds of goings on today. The primary accomplishment was taking down the Christmas tree and the accompanying decorations. Beccano felt good enough to help me carry the tree corpse outside.

Something in the air has been dragging me down for the past couple of days. Today, it gave me that achy-all-over feeling and moved into my lungs.

Neither Suna nor I felt much like cooking, so I made a trek to the purveyor of goods to pick up a few things we need—mainly something we could eat with minimal preparation.

When I returned, TubaBoy asked for pudding. I had bought apple sauce as a healthier alternative, but this displeased him immensely. Note: Suna and I are still unloading and putting away the groceries at this point. TubaBoy whined for pudding again. I told him he could make some of the instant pudding we already had. “I don’t know how.” I basically told him to learn. That set him off on a tantrum that, had it progressed any further, would have had him jumping up-and-down, crying, and holding is breath—not a pretty site, especially in someone within a year of franchise. Luckily, he stalked off to his room.

I see this as a bullying behavior, and nothing makes me madder than a bully—especially when someone tires to bully Suna. Protestations of, “Take care of me because I am incompetent,” rank a close second. I don&rsuo;t think I can take the high ground on the first condition yet—I am probably as overprotective of Suna as she is of the kids, and that is not necessarily a good thing (or a bad one). To the second point, a 17-year-old of either gender should have a working knowledge of kitchen technology. Lacking it, I see only a few options when he moves out with the limited income of a philosophy major:

  • Learning the hard way in an uncontrolled environment
  • Falling into a hasty relationship with someone who is willing to take care of him
  • Moving back home
  • Starvation—he does not have much reserve to draw on
To his credit, TubaBoy did apologize later of his own volition. He claimed that it was not his intention to bully. Again, there are two take-aways from this for him:
  • “I’m sorry,” while necessary to start the healing process, is not a panacea that immediately restores the previous condition. Negative emotions, once roused, take time to dissipate.
  • Other people cannot know your intent. They can only judge on behavior and effect. When something bad happens to someone, the first question that investigators ask is always, “Who benefits?”

With the benefit of time and distance, I tend to agree that TubaBoy did not intend to bully. He did not understand that he was engaging in bullying behaviors. He was simply employing a previously-successful acquired, unconscious manipulative strategy. When overloaded with inputs, Suna tends to acquiesce to reestablish harmony and buy herself some time to think. Under these conditions, I have learned the hard way to dig my heels in to keep from over committing and promising things I cannot do or might not think would be proper when given time to process all of the information. None of these strategies is right or can work in all situations.

Of course, this tantrum was nothing compared to some I have seen—even some thrown by people much older than TubaBoy. There was never any chance of this one escalating into physical violence. Except for the physical pain that any disruption of harmony causes Suna, I would have been willing to let it play out without further investment. Conflict is an inevitable part of the human condition. How we deal with conflict is part of what defines us.

So, what lessons should I learn from this encounter? I don’t know; I’m still working on that. I am learning how to fit in to this still-new environment. On the whole, Suna has done a great job raising her kids, and I certainly do not want to do anything that would compromise or detract from that. GOK that I have made too many mistakes of my own to feel superior to anyone else or seriously criticize any strategy that works.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Workin’ for a Livin’

Professional sculptor at Sandcastle Days, 2002
Workin’ for a livin’, livin’ and workin’
I’m taking what they giving ’cause I’m working for a livin’
—Huey Lewis[?]

Well I’m back in the swing of things at ALE. Projects with unreasonable deadlines and expectations, are the norm, and I was handed one this morning. I will get something done by the deadline, and they will deem it wonderful. That’s the magic of ALE. It also seems to be a tenet of project management everywhere.

Suna’s job hunt is progressing nicely. She had two interviews yesterday and three today. I don’t know how she manages to keep everything straight when both kids had all four wisdom teeth out yesterday to boot.

Needless to say, it has been a frantic time around ye old casa. Nobody slept much last night. I tend to get really grumpy when things interfere with my sleep—I have always needed my nightly eight—but I survived. I don’t think I broke anything.

Friday’s Feast

Appetizer When was the last time you received a surprise in the mail, and what was it?
I don't remember every having received a surprise in the mail. Usually, I only get things I have ordered. Maybe a Christmas card? That would be surprising because I don't send them out.
Soup If you could have a summer and/or winter home, where would you want it to be?
  • Summer: Some place like North Carolina where the summers seem to be pretty mild.
  • Winter: South Padre Island where it seldom freezes and you can swim all year
Salad Pick one: pineapple, orange, banana, apple, cherry.
Banana
Main Course Describe the nicest piece of clothing that you own.
The nicest piece of clothing I currently own is a camel hair sport jacked that Suna helped me pick out to wear to a funeral last year. The nicest piece of clothing I will soon own is a sweater that Suna is knitting for me.
Dessert If you could forget one whole day from your life, which day would you choose to wipe from your memory?
I forget.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Part of the Plan

We lost Dan Fogelberg to prostate cancer on 16 December.
Photo by: Henry Diltz
I have these moments all steady and strong
I’m feeling so holy and humble
The next thing I know I’m all worried and weak
And I feel myself starting to crumble
—Dan Fogelberg

I know that doesn’t seem like an uplifting way to start a post about a party, but New Year’s is all about mortality and rebirth—isn’t it?

So—we went to a New Year’s Eve party at the church president's house. CP is a very nice woman from Maine, and this bash is one of her annual events. We showed up late, and I was ready to leave about an hour later. I’m really not one for this kind of thing. Growing up, I was always in the band. So I am much more comfortable with some degree of control when in a crowded environment. Noise just adds to the out-of-control feeling.

But Suna was having a good time catching up with people she had not seen in a while. I had fun eating too much and drinking the non-alcoholic punch. We kept deciding to stay just a little longer, and it eventually ended up being midnight.

Everybody liked my New Year’s resolution. It sets a really low expectation, and nobody can really stay mad at me if I don’t keep it.

  • Not to die this year

So you see: it’s all part of the plan.