Back to the Beginning

Life appears to be a cycle, at least to me.  Endlessly repeating coincidences and events that lead you right back to where you may have been years before.  For me, it seems to revolve around the name Anne.  My mother’s middle name is Anne, I’ve had several girlfriends who were either named Anne or Angie, or had the middle name Anne, and my wife’s name is Anne.  And now I’m heading back to work in my home town.

Home has always been somewhat of a variable term with me.  My parents moved a lot when I was growing up.  In fact, I never lived anywhere longer than 5 or 6 years until I dropped out of college.  My parents moved at least 6 times after I left home, though they finally seemed to settle down after while.  I don’t know if it was mostly my Dad or my mom, I think they were both in professions (ministry and pharmacy) where there weren’t that many jobs in their chosen fields in the small towns they preferred to live in.  In that respect, I’m somewhat fortunate, in that there are several places to find IT work within an hour and a half drive of the town I’ve lived in for the last 14 years.

I never thought I would live anywhere for 14 years.  My life hasn’t always been stable enough to support that kind of locational longevity. Instead it’s been a collection of  3 or 4 year stays, before moving on to another job, another life, another opportunity.  I wonder sometimes if this is why I finally ended up doing contracting, working on a project for a few months before moving on to another assignment.  It may be I have some kind of aversion to commitment, but I think it has more to do with getting bored easily, not an unwillingness to sticking with something.  After all, I will have been married to my wife fourteen years this year.  I think I’ve also not really found something that fit my predilections.  The job I accepted will very much be a good fit, as it’s with a small department where everyone does everything rather than just one thing at a time.




I’m losing my mind

Ever have one of those experiences that lead you to believe you are absolutely losing it?  Here’s what happened to me.  I’m very fond of listening to music at work.  Being ADD, it really helps me concentrate and stay focused.  It’s not so much a matter of even really listening with any intent, just that I’m able to ignore any other stimuli that might get me off on another tangent, or cosine as the case may be.

My favorite album right now is called Piramida by Efterkleng.  If you really like music that takes you places, this is an excellent choice.  I originally heard about it on NPR.  It is ethereal, mysterious and melodic.     I really enjoy it.  It’s one of my favorite albums from the last year or so, and I’ve been listening to it for a good long while.  However, I could have done without thinking I was losing my mind.

I work in a satellite office for the company I’m consulting to right now.  Often times, there is no one there, other than an engineering intern from the university.  I kept hearing someone say “Are we going?” and a voice responding “Yeah.” Except because of the earbuds I wear at work, it sounded like the voices were coming from the cubicle next to me.  Except no one was there.  It took me a while to figure out that it was happening during this one song.  Which was a relief, because I really thought I was losing my mind, auditory hallucinations and all.

It’s funny what we think is real when we’re not really paying attention.  George Takei recently posted something on Facebook that said the following:

Keeping the image of how our life should be often distracts us from being able to accept and embrace what life is.  Admittedly, it is nice to be able to escape to what life could be, as long as we don’t let ourselves fall into the trap of becoming angry and frustrated that life isn’t that way already.  Acceptance is something I often struggle with because I think “It shouldn’t be that way, it should be this way!” Railing against things you have no control over is essentially mental masturbation only without the payoff at the end, just endless wanking over missed opportunities and nursed grudges and injuries.

I’ve been an aspiring Buddhist for a long time (don’t have the discipline) but I think the idea that coming to terms with and gaining control over one’s own desires has a great deal to be said for it.  It’s not that you are detached, but that by becoming detached from your own ego, your own desires, you free yourself to attach your self to the rest of the world at a deeper, more fundamental level that you could have ever hoped for.

Despite being an agnostic for the most part (I define that as thinking finite creatures trying to define the infinite are incredibly narcissistic.)  I do think Jesus had it right.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and in fact, go one step further, do unto others as they’d like you to do unto them.

Yes, I am rambling but it’s my blog.  If you want coherency, go somewhre else, you won’t find it here.

Paving Stones of Good Intention

1960 Chevrolet Corvair

I had every intention of writing something here everyday when I started this over 2 weeks ago, but life and inertia have a way of getting in the way.  Between a project that’s 2 months past due (an artificial deadline that was meaningless in it’s impossibility) and looming unemployment at the end of said project (money ran out, and I’m a contractor), other urgent priorities have been taking the place of time spent writing.

The project was one that appeared disarmingly simple to begin with, a white expanse of pristine spreadsheets, only to reveal a hull rending disaster of requirements once the project started.  I was hoping to be the King of the World, but instead ended up going down with the ship.

I take that back. Despite the overlong delivery process, the end users are much happier with what I built and I think management will like the reports as well.  I think the problem is that they just wanted it yesterday rather than a few days from now. Thankfully I’m almost done.

I think there are an awful lot of things that look simple and then turn out to be just horrific, just as there are many things that look horrific and turn out to be rather simple.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of looking past whatever it is that you see immediately and trying to look for other things that aren’t readily apparent.

That applies to a 50 year old body as well, or I should say a 51 year old body, as I have now passed another year of existence and must either celebrate having made it this far, or bemoan my existence, which I prefer not to do.  I feel like a 1962 Corvair that is still unsafe at any speed and whose engine needs a complete overhaul.  However the owner simply keeps changing the oil and calling it good.  I backfire, I burn oil, and my undercarriage is rusting out, mostly my knees.  I suspect I”ll need knee replacement surgery eventually, but I think I can last a while longer.

I went to the doctor last week to see the diabetes specialist.  I’m not diabetic yet, but I’m edging into it, and am starting to have some of the symptoms typically associated with it.  Diabetes is a lot like global warming, it sneaks up on you.  You know you should do something about it, but it’s just easier to deny it and keep doing the same bad things you have always done.  Now I’m starting to suffer the consequences.

Thursday my blood work came back and I apparently have a vitamin D deficiency, so they have me on 2000 mg of Vitamin D every day until I get back into the normal range.  This probably explains why I’ve been tired, and hurting all the time for the last year or so.  I also have a low testosterone level, which means the boys ain’t working quite so well.  Although being 180 pounds overweight, and not exercising at all (because I hurt and because I’m always tired) are both prime contributors.  I’m a little apprehensive about going on hormone replacement therapy, so I’m inclined to try changing some habits first.

So I’m going to try like hell to get back to writing every day again.  I have a short story on my Alphawriter Neo that I’m working on, and I think if I just sit down and write for 20 minutes, I can get 500 words down without killing myself.

Now to just do it.

how did it get to this point?

I’d like to think that my life is the result of a number of conscious purposeful choices I’ve made, but I think, like most people it’s really been a series of happy and unfortunate accidents that I was only able to see the patterns in after looking back and considering them further.  I suspect the reason I didn’t see any patterns during the time and as things were happening was because I wasn’t paying particularly close attention.  That seems to be a pattern in my life irregardless, not paying attention. Unfortunately my mind tends to wander, which probably explains why I’ve been writing, but haven’t posted anything until just now.

Having a wandering mind is a good thing I guess if you want to be a creative writer, which I do.  I should clarify that I used to think being a writer used to mean someone who got paid. Now I realize it’s just someone who writes. My wife who is a professional writer, in other words a journalist, has taught me that the important thing isn’t to write perfectly it’s just to write. Editing should be a separate process, so that’s what I’m doing,

I do write and think about writing daily, though I don’t always get it written at the keyboard until it’s had time to percolate for a while.  But that’s getting away from what I had originally wanted to write about in this particular post.

Back to purposeful and accidental choices.  As Eddie Izzard once famously said, there is a very thin line between being a visionary and looking like a dickhead.  In my case, unfortunately, I seem to have mostly managed to be on the right side of that spectrum:

Being a Visionary | Looking Like a Dickhead

This is me there   >     ^

It’s not the effect that I was looking for, but due to my own unreasoning hubris at times, it’s what I’ve managed to accomplish.  I think most of the time, we’re lucky that nobody really sees the vast number of times we end up looking silly or foolish, but we are saved from that by our having the good sense to fail in private, rather than out in public.  I seem to have public embarrassing failure down to an art form.

Which I think I might be able to handle, if I could just do stupid things and forget about them, but they seem to have found little memory crannies to hide in, only to jump out when I’m under stress or feeling depressed.  “You think you feel bad now, wait til I remind you of that time that you said something really stupid this one time that no one remembers but you.  On the other hand, someone must remember since I can count on one hand the number of friends I’ve had for more than a year or two.  I think I must be a nice guy until you get to know me or something.  But I’m really not trying to have a pity party.  For one thing I’ve never every found that to be all that useful, since feeling sorry for yourself is just a way to avoid taking responsibility for the actions that put you in the situation in the first place.

I have a couple more posts I’ve started that I need to finish, so I’ll leave it at that.

In which our hero contemplates his own bad self.

Flat Coated Retriever

Flat Coated Retriever (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is something innately useful in acknowledging one’s own fundamental fecklessness.  However, in my case, it has merely made me suspicious that somewhere my good twin is living the life I should have had.  This is the version of me who managed to make it to school the day they taught home repair, money management, and any number of other life skills I’ve managed to avoid acquiring in 50 years of living.   This is the person who doesn’t suffer from crippling depression intermixed with momentary bouts of unreasonable hubris.  I’ve never been diagnosed as bi-polar, but I sometimes wonder if that isn’t the problem.

My wife, who is either blind or loves me very much, insists that I can be that person, provided I don’t spend all my time dwelling on how I’m not.  This blog is part of that quest.  Frankly, I don’t care if anyone reads this.  It’s mostly for my own entertainment, and to develop a writing habit.  The goal right now is 20 entries of 500 words or more by April 30th, 2013.  My stretch goal is one every day.

So what am I going to write 500 words about every day?  I may as well start with myself and my family.

I’m 50,  6’2″ 393 pounds, how I got to that deplorable state later on, when I get the courage to face it myself.  I’m married to the most patient, lovely, and generally forgiving person I could have ever hoped to find.  She’s my second (or as she prefers to be called, my FINAL wife). She has a remarkable ability to look at me and see my other self when all I can see when I look in the mirror is the picture of Dorian Gray, only with less unspeakable evil and more gray hair and belly fat. I’m very happy with her, and in all honesty I am sure she’s the reason I’m able to get out of bed most mornings.

I got married the first time to someone who pretty much lacked most of those qualities.  Unfortunately, I didn’t discover that until after we’d been married for a couple of years.  She on the other hand, didn’t discover that I had a remarkable streak of sadism (nothing severe, just prone to unfunny pranks) and severe anger management issues.  Three more years and two kids later, she had enough, and left.  I have to admit I was pretty angry for a good long while, but it certainly taught me a lot of things about myself, mostly that I had the capability to be a tremendous asshole.  It’s hard coming to that conclusion and finally accept that your still not insignificant other had perfectly good reasons not to want to spend her life being miserable and you were the primary cause of her misery.

I have two sons with my first wife.  One is 24 and one is 22.  I won’t talk about them other than my issues with my not insubstantial difficulties in being a long distance father for most of their lives.  My second wife and I have one child together, who is 11.   He is the beneficiary, like most third or fourth children, of the lessons I learned from the first two.  He is very much my son,  which has its good and bad points.  Mostly good.  He’s very bright, and very funny, an A student and I am very proud of him.

I also have two furkids, Toby and Buster.  Both were adopted from pet shelters.  Buster is a Lhasa Apso cross who if he could talk, would generally say one word: “What?” as he is under the mistaken assumption that he is second in command to the alpha, my wife.  He is prone to barking orders, “Food! Water! Walk!”  Of course being a small dog, he has developed the capability of doing this in a high pitched piercing voice that drives itself directly to the center of your brain like an ice pick.  Toby is a bit more laid back, being a flat coated retriever, a breed which seems to have a single primary characteristic shared with most other retrievers, a heavy tail that is a metronome of happiness and destruction, depending on where it is applied.  He also has managed to acquire in his 9 or 10 years what we call furnace breath.  He is prone to waiting until I am sitting bare-legged in my favorite chair, putting his head in my lap and breathing heavily with anticipation that I might let him out.  Other than that, he is a major doofus, who is frequently, as my mom says “All one wiggle.”  His wiggletude has become markedly reduced as he gets older, since napping has become a primary form of recreation.

Speaking of naps, now’s time for mine. More later.