A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.


Lao Tzu

Thrive 01

I was driving home tonight pondering the notion, or I should say, pondering the realization that I have not written towards the NaJoWriMo in three days. If I do not write today then it will be four days. And right now I am sitting at 16,100 words. So, what would it be like if I decided to write 4,900 words tonight? I mean, it doesn’t have to be Shakespearean, or even Dostoyevskyian . . .  just little old me, rambling around in my brain. Could I do it? Well, I’ve just surpassed the 100 word mark, and then some and if I just keep typing my little old fingers out across this keyboard, sooner or later I will have written 4,900 words. I should say that I do have other tasks that I am trying to accomplish tonight and I am coming to this rather late in the game as I just got home at a bit past 8 PM tonight because we had a board meeting tonight at work and I had to go to it. The good news is another audit season is officially over!!  Kudos to my fabulous controller for doing a fantastic job again this year. There were only three errors if you will, and two of them were on me but it was related to the new capital campaign and the GAAP standards around capital campaigns have changed in recent years so while I can plead mea culpa I would also say that there are so many law changes these days that it is hard to keep up with everything. Damn that Obama – I just know that this is all his fault somehow. First he wants to take away my guns and now he’s changed all of the obscure accounting principles just so that little old me doesn’t look good in front of a board.

I think it is a government conspiracy. Speaking of conspiracies, did I mention that I watched Revenge of the Creature [from the Black Lagoon] last night? No? Why, whatever is the matter with me?  Well, I did watch Revenge of the Creature (1955) and it was a cool movie. It is the first time I have ever watched that movie. It was different from what I expected. I have to admit that the original “Creature from the Black Lagoon” is definitely a better movie. I like how it all takes place in the “Black Lagoo”, echoing shades of Humphrey Bogart’s “African Queen”. No, in Revenge. . .  they capture the creature (the “Gill” man) and bring him to a 1950’s version of Seaworld in Florida. Well, the predictable happens – he escapes and terrorizes the country-side. Although this creature dude is no country bumpkin. Pretty early on in the movie he fixes his attention on budding 1950s woman scientist, Helen Dobson (ably played by Lori Nelson) and so once he escapes he proceeds to follow her as she travels up river with her new beau, Prof. Clete Ferguson (played by John Agar). I was telling someone today that it was interesting to just watch all the social mores evident within the movie. One interesting piece that I saw for myself was a kind of nightclub scene where all the men were in suits and ties – in the summer, in Florida. The actors did keep acknowledging how hot it was.

So, cool movie! And then today at work I received an 8-DVD set called, The Universal Monsters. The set, all on blu-ray, includes: Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Mummy (1932), The Invisible Man (1933), The Bride of Frankenstein (1935), The Wolf Man (1941), The Phantom of the Opera (1943) and The Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954). It came with this cool booklet and an oversized postcard of a movie poster of each movie. Totally awesome Halloween fare!! I can’t wait to start watching them. But first, of course, I have to write 4,900 words. Exactly! Not a word more, and not a word less. And right now, well, it depends on where you actually count right now, but right now I am quickly heading to seven hundred words so only 4,200 more words to go.

Let’s see – my Sunday night class is like killer. This is no Artist’s Way group. I am struggling in this one as it seems to be pushing all of my buttons. Man, just when I think I’m a bit on the mend, something comes along to show me that I’ve still got a long way to go. So the class / workshop / therapy session (whatever you want to call it because honestly I’m not quite sure what it is) is just really tough for me. And I will confess that I had an inkling of sorts that this was going to be the case. My mantra thus far, four weeks into this, is, “In for a penny, in for a pound”. Meaning, basically, that I’m not going to give up, even though I would really just as soon stop going. But I can be one persistent mother-fucker and I signed up for this thing – called it mental / emotional boot-camp and dammit, it’s not going to break me. So the whole thing, apparently focuses around something called IFS (Internal Family System). I had never heard it before I took the Artist’s Way course last year and it only came up in there because the person who was facilitating that course happens to be a therapist and this is basically the modality that she works with. I probably shouldn’t even give a layperson’s version of it because it is rather new to me and we have not really been formally taught what it’s about. What I can see is that on some level it breaks us down into, well, parts, or, there are parts, and then there is a self, or a You, that is the real deal, while all these parts are something less than you. See, I can’t really explain this at all. And quite honestly, I really don’t think I like the concept of it at all. In fact, it is safe to say that I am quite resistant to it which is probably part of my problem with the whole thing. In fact, in our last two classes I have simply shut down by the end of each class and refused (at least internally) to participate any further. My guess – probably not an effective counseling protocol for me. Here’s what I don’t like about it. I have spent countless hours over the past year and a half focused fairly intently on meditation which to me entails integration of mind, body, spirit, emotions into one awareness. This IFS system seems to me to go in the opposite direction, fostering an awareness of disparate parts that are controlling our emotional lives – not a happy circumstance for me to consider.

Over the past year and a half, through meditation, I have felt much calmer, my deep grief has eased, I have felt patient, connected and spiritual. I honestly don’t want to rock that boat. And not for anything, but this feels a little bit like induced schizophrenia. You know, back in the 70s, there was a reason why I didn’t get into all the chemical drugs that were floating around in those days. I hated to give up control of my mind. Even when I drank, I never drank to the point of losing control, or blacking out for that matter. In any event, when it came to drinking, I had a bit of a built in safety valve. . .  my stomach, or perhaps my lack of tolerance to alcohol. I would get sick, puke to use the colloquial, and once that happened, I was done drinking for the night (and usually for the next week or month as I would have a “come-to-God” moment and swear off ever drinking again, until the next time I drank). But the truth is, I was never a big drinker. It just wasn’t my thing. What I really liked were books. Well, at least back then anyhow. And music too. I mean, I still like books, and I still buy a lot of books, but man, my reading of them has gone way down. I was talking with someone about that the other day. The reality of it is that I just don’t have the time to read like I used to. Well, that and I have a lot of competing demands for my time, not the least of which is a pretty intense job.

Should I talk about my job? Man, I could write a book or more on that alone. Kind of top secret info there though. Or at least, let’s put it this way – for right now, I still value my job so the less said, the better. And the truth is, my journals have never been about my job. In fact, my whole life has never been about my job. My job has really always been a means to an end and that end is to make sufficient monies to pursue those interests that really have meaning for me. And maybe this is a good realization for me because I often struggle with this notion of not being passionate about my job – like, I have never been passionate about any of the jobs I have ever had. And now, perhaps, in this meandering diatribe, I have stumbled upon the reason. . .  and that is that it is not, nor has it ever been, about the job. It’s more about generating sufficient monies in order to do the things I really want to do. And that’s the other aspect about this too. I am rather indifferent to money. Which is not to say that I don’t appreciate having it, and having it in abundant supply at that. But it doesn’t drive me. I am not focused on creating abundance merely for the sake of having abundance. I like having money for what it enables me to do and more and more, as I hit that point where I have more money than I need (at least, immediately need), I look for ways to do things for people with it. But it is subtle mostly, not blatant. But it is intentional. And my preference is always that it be as direct as possible. And it comes to me that I have already written about this recently. That’s why I really don’t like donating to the big charities like UNICEF, Red Cross and all the other ones. The effect is nil. A lot is spent on marketing and executive salaries, and the effect, if any, is marginal and rather indirect. No, I want my meager contributions to the general welfare to have direct and meaningful impact. Not that I need to be known in the process. As often as not, my work is done quietly and without recognition. But I know, and it feels good to my soul and to my spirit and that’s what is important to me.

Dude, you still have 3,035 words to go – can you do it?  I really don’t know, but if I keep writing then in a few minutes I will be able to say that in the first hour of this Herculean task I will have written 2,000 words, as the MS Word crow flies. . .  or counts, as the case may be. So, what else, what else?

Will Geri Littlejohn please send me my flute now? Like, I am a patient dude, and I know she runs around doing all sorts of stuff, but it’s been like two months and still no flute in sight. I’m about to chalk that up to another artist support initiative but man, she really does create cool flutes and I would really, really, love to have that flute in my little flutie hands!  Yay! 2003 words accomplished!

Meanwhile, in the background my coffee is nearly done brewing and my towels are tumbling around in the dryer. Oh. . . the two ton capacity dumpster that I ordered arrived as scheduled and on time last Friday. In fact, I was just getting ready to leave the house for work when the driver showed up. That was actually pretty good timing as I got to show him exactly where I wanted the dumpster. And he put it exactly where I wanted it. So then, after meditation and the Super Foods workshop on Saturday I came home and spent the afternoon cleaning out the garage. Now I confess, I’d had some serious doubts about whether I’d be able to fill a two ton capacity dumpster but boy, that thing did fill up pretty quickly. Of course, that’s not to say that it is full yet, but I certainly made a good start with it. At the same time, I have to confess that it started to take an emotional toll on me although maybe not so much on Saturday when I was mostly working in the garage. There really was a lot of stuff to get rid of in the garage. Towards the end of Saturday I started to do a little work in the basement, but only a little bit. But on Sunday, when I really focused on the basement, that’s when the emotions started to come into play. The empty boxes and card board boxes were easy enough to throw away although in truth there was even some emotional pain with that as the card board boxes (empty ones) were boxes that Laureen and I had collected in order to pack up our house, in order to get ready to move. We did in fact eventually pack up over half of our house, and over half of our house remains packed up in boxes. But then we fell stagnant on the project although in hindsight now I can say it was probably related to Laureen’s dwindling energy and increasing feelings of illness which one could say may have all been a part of the as-then undiagnosed tumor that was slowly taking over her liver.

Who can say?

All I know is that after working really hard for a year to get ready to sell the house, we kind of fell flat on all of it. Although now I do recall that there were two other aspects to why we didn’t keep going and follow through on our intention to sell our house. We did look for houses pretty intently and one problem was we simply couldn’t find a house that we both liked enough to make the leap. And secondly, Laureen and I were of different opinions as to how best to proceed. I wanted to focus on selling our house first, and then deal with having to buy another one, while Laureen wanted to find a house to buy first, put in an offer, and then sell our house. I don’t think we ever really got around that difference of opinion and in the end, I guess it was maybe a good thing, or possibly not. Laureen never really liked the idea of living in Upton. I’d like to say that in the end, this house did become our home, but I can’t say that she ever really felt like it was her “Home”. Still, in the end, she died here and I hope that she felt comfortable and that it was okay for her. In fact, it was one of the first things she said, although she said it in an open-ended way, subject to interpretation, when I spoke with the medium, Patrick Mathews, last year. It was all okay. That is what she said. And by that, I took her to mean that the way everything happened was okay, that it was the way it was meant to happen.

I don’t know that this was a big question in my mind when I wanted to speak with her. Honestly, it was more like I just wanted to know that she was still somewhere out there in the Universe. And I’d like to think that I got my answer. At the least, I can say that in that moment when I was talking with Patrick Mathews and he was relaying the information that he said was being presented to him by Laureen, I believed it was Laureen. There were so many things that he couldn’t have known, just small things (ah, Laureen always said that the small things are the big things, echoing my favorite line from the Brandon Lee movie, The Crow), that I really was convinced and remain so today, that Laureen did come through. In fact, in one moment in which she truly sounded excited, she said, “it’s me!” Like, she didn’t lose anything of herself in the transition from physical life to whatever you call life on the other side. And I completely understood the intent in her message – I am still me! How exciting is that to know! That when we transition, we do not lose ourselves. Somehow I suspect we become “bigger than” but we are still who we are too. Maybe it is that energy that I tap into with my desire to help other people because Laureen very clearly said that his was her intention with me (and others) – that she was still around and that while she could “take it easy” if she wished, she planned to be around and “get me into trouble” as she put it, while laughing about it. But she did get serious when she said there will be someone in my life again. That I will know love again. She said it would be different, but that it would be there for me.

I’d like to believe that I remain open for that. In fact, I think it is pretty safe to say that I do remain open. I show some people parts of me (no IFS reference intended) to give them a hint, or a taste, of what they would get if they decided they might like to pursue a relationship with me. But I do it not with the intent of initiating a relationship (ok, well, at least not always with that intent) but simply because it is the truth of who I am. And if someone wants to have that kind of loving, open, easy-going relationship, then I’m game, as long as it is the right person and that we have some common ground upon which we can build a relationship. And all of this reminds me that I am supposed to write a description for Match.com. My therapist kept pushing this one on me. So one night I finally relented and signed up for Match.com but I haven’t yet written the bio description. Honestly, like what the hell do you say in them anyhow? Everyone writes the same stuff . . .  like to walk on beaches, like sports, like football, want to dance, you must be skinny, athletic, look a little bit like Some handsome actor dude (fill in the name yourself since none come to mind at the moment) and on and on. . .  Like dude, okay, well, dudette I suppose, yeah, ok, I like to walk on a beach, sometimes, but it doesn’t really happen a lot. What really happens? Oh, well I do like to hang out in coffee shops, at least for a little while, so I can suck down some Joe (coffee) and write in my morning pages which have been languishing for untold months now (I do like a half a page here, and a half a page there) honestly, it gets to the point where I read people’s blurbs about themselves and I burst out laughing. Like, really? Seriously? And what is it with the 55-year old women who look like they are 55 going on 70. Like what the hell is that? Man, some people truly age faster than others and I don’t know why that is. I think I might be one of the lucky ones if dad’s appearance is any forecast of things to come. His face in particular is rather smooth. Now I will grant, he was a work-a-holic for most of his life so, as a result, he did not get a lot of sun so it is possible that some of this smoothness of skin (for lack of a better way of saying it) is the result of not being over-exposed to sun. I’d like to think I actually look pretty good for being 56 years old. Now if I could just drop like forty pounds I’d be like a God. A veritable God I tell you!  Yes, that is the caffeine from the coffee going to my head.

Dude, you are getting close. You have 1,410 words to go. You can do it! (says Rob Schneider from the crowd in my favorite scene from Adam Sandler’s movie, The Water Boy. Well, okay, that’s really not my favorite scene, but it is probably the most memorable line for me from that movie. If I said it in Rob Schneider’s voice, Laureen would know exactly who I was imitating, poor imitation skills notwithstanding. That was part of what was so cool with Laureen, over time it was like we developed our own little secret language fill of all sorts of odds ‘n ends that if one of us said something, the other would know immediately what we were talking about, or referencing. Of course, she was always making fun of me, but always in a gentle, loving teasing way and so I never minded at all. We loved to laugh with each other. I can remember nights when we’d be sitting together on the couch and she’d start to attack me all because of that John Travolta movie where he kills someone by hitting them in the throat (Broken Arrow maybe?) and I said to her – “see, the throat shot is the kill shot” so she’d always go for my throat and I’d have to protect myself and we’d both be laughing so hard and man was she strong – she was no slouch, that’s for sure. Like I mean, physically strong. Not really someone you would want to mess with. Ah, those were the days. I loved her so much. I still do. I always will. Sometime I talk to her in bed as I am getting ready to fall asleep. That was one of the things she asked me to do when I talked to her through Patrick Mathews. She asked me to talk to her, just as though she were sitting in the chair right next to me. And I do that sometimes, or even in my car, but I am most likely to talk to her as I am resting in bed, preparing for sleep. Man, I can remember how every night we’d say good night and then we’d hold hands as we fell asleep. I always slept to the left of her so my right hand would find her left hand and we’d hold hands and fall asleep just like that. How I miss that.

Tonight is Monday. I state the obvious. I am also rounding the bend and coming on to homeplate here. Only one thousand more words to go. Dude, you rock it! Yeah, I know. Hey, is that a part talking? We don’t want no stinken’ parts in this town. Just the truth, the Whole truth, and nothing but the truth, okay? Well, my fingers are hanging in there so far too. I knew I could do it. It doesn’t look like I will finish in two hours though. . . maybe about two and a half hours. Oh . . . and speaking of real estate (well, I wasn’t really, but I’m changing gears again, at least momentarily), I pulled up Zillow today and was checking out homes in Eldorado down in New Mexico. I couldn’t find the house that Emily had showed me last April. I am kind of torn a bit with what to do, especially if I do have to move, which I suspect is going to be the case. I hope to find out a little more this coming Thursday when I go to the little town meeting that they are having here in town. Actually, it’s not so much a town meeting as a meeting for people who will be affected by the proposed major road reconstruction project slated for 2019. That gives me three years to get the heck out of dodge and that is why I have a two ton dumpster sitting in my driveway. It is quite possible that I may put my house on the market as early as next Spring which means that I have a hell of a lot of work to do between now and then to get my house ready to sell. I have to admit, I shouldn’t even stop to analyze this one. The second I saw the notice from the town I knew I have to sell my house. It’s really that simple. And what a pain in the ass. But if I do have to sell my house, it does beg that question, “what does that look like and where do you want to end up when all is said and done? And one of the places that I keep coming back to is New Mexico and more specifically the Santa Fe area of New Mexico.

So I’m not entirely sure what that all looks like yet. But I do know one thing, I love the architectural style of the houses out there and I particularly like the idea of having a separate studio / in-law apartment – whatever, that I can set up as a studio, or, if there is more than one room, then a studio and possibly a library too. Wouldn’t that really be so awesome to have like a real library? Like my mom was really onto something there when she converted the garage  of our family house (i.e., the house we all grew up in) into a library for herself. I must say, she did a pretty nice job with that. So I was on Zillow today to see if one specific house that I’d seen when I was down in Santa Fe was still on the market but I didn’t have any luck finding it. That said, I did see a few nice properties with some potential. I would have to say that if I were to seriously entertain the notion of moving to Santa Fe, or its suburbs, then I would most certainly need to make another trip down there to see how it feels to me. I can say that when I flew into the airport in Santa Fe last April, one of my first impressions as I was driving along Airport Road, out of the airport, in my rental car was that I felt like I was home and that feeling actually surprised me in the sense that I wasn’t expecting it. But the truth of it all is that it’s one thing to fly in and hang out for a week or two and drink coffee and write in my journal in a coffee shop, but what would it really look like if I were to move down there. Outside of Rick and Judy, I really don’t know anyone. I mean, like I’ve met a few people but could I really just up and move? Well, if I look at the people whom I hang out with now, ah, like 16 months ago I didn’t know any of them. It is only through doing what I do, and just being me, that I have met these people and they have become my friends. So while on the one hand I often doubt my ability to meet new people the fact is, I do it all the time. I have to admit, I’m a rather strange bird at times.

So I really feel like I need to may be return to Santa Fe once more, sometime in the coming year. I will admit there is one other area that I could possibly see myself living in, or near and that would be Rockport. I can’t say whether I would eventually get tired of being up there, but I do feel like I could live up there. I suppose in either case, whether it be Rockport, or Santa Fe, or some as yet unknown location, the prospects for finding a job would have to be taken into account because unless I hit the lottery bigtime (which reminds me, you will never hit the lottery if you don’t play and that doesn’t mean buy a bazillion lottery tickets, but at least play once in a while and who knows – you might actually win!)

That said, I do feel like I would need to be doing something with my time. Of course, if money were not a concern, or if I really had a lot of money, maybe I could follow one of my dreams, like owning a coffee shop, or a bookstore, or a new age type store – or a coffee-book-crystal-healing store. Yeah, that’s the ticket!

Last thoughts: It was a worthwhile exercise to stretch for 4,900 words tonight. Honestly I have a lot of other things I could have worked on tonight but I wanted to see if I had it within me to write a fairly lengthy journal entry. Apparently I do. The nice thing is that this didn’t turn out to be complete gibberish.

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