Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Instant Grits and finally some humor....

How many times can you sit in some dark corner by yourself as a 92%er and ignore the rest of the folks that fill those pubs and eating establishments - someone should publish a book on the etiquette that you are supposed to follow, but who really cares. Spring comes and goes, and so do those folks that you sit next to on a cold bar stool sipping your chicken soup, and trying to remember why that book that was supposed to save your soul never really worked...

You, as well as I, know that we cannot count snowflakes and that is the beauty of being a 92%er - I really do not know how much longer I can stick out the road - or how long the road will have me - but I do know that sometimes being on the asphalt wonderland and the airport dreamworld is a great thing - I know I have obligations (i.e. I will get to instant grits...just bear with me) and have responsibilities and actually I am supposed to be a stalwart of company policy - but you know what - I am on the road for a reason - I support a family in a great way, and my wanderlust is filled with the faces of naive young travellers who wander and run, and I seek the solace of a clean box and the steady hum of a cheap room air conditioner....

I cannot really capture what I am trying to say tonight. The beer was too cold at the Channel Marker, and the company, well there was none - but one out of two is never bad, and a few beers after a run up a tall hill never got anyone in trouble.

So the instant grits - here we go with some humour - I will try what I can -

Top Ten Things not to do in Seattle when you are from the South:

1. Never ask a Seattle person for "unsweet tea" this creates a foreign look that is somewhere between "I just ate a cat" and "You mean I could be your sister" - they always ask if you want your unsweet tea hot - obviously you should just ask for tea.

2. Running in Seattle presents unique challenges - everyone you encounter on the street (other than those running) has spent way to much time at drinking Tully's Coffee - and so has their dog - just be prepared to kick the dog, and keep running -

3. You can never hide from a bad joke or a heroin addict - I have seen at least 14 Kurt Cobains roaming the streets in Seattle - and the odd thing is that they all are helping Elvis and Ray Charles pump gas.

4. Never throw your shoes out of a moving car - especially when they are still on your feet.

5. Las Vegas may be the land of dreams - but let me tell you, if you want to really feel like things could not get any worse, try running Main Street in Edmonds, and having to play a game I like to call "Dodge the Cane carrying Old Person" and keep your pace and patience...

6. Never scream "Land Ho" on the Kingston Ferry - they do get a little pissed about that part...

7. After ten o'clock in Seattle, there are a huge number of things to do - but they are all in Las Vegas.

8. Beauty comes in small packages on this side of the world - that's why Jack in the Box sells a shitpot of single burgers.

9. It does rain alot - no matter what my previous posts say, I was probably drinking or dodging old folks in Seattle.

10. If you ask someone for instant grits in Seattle - you get a mixture of hominy and oatmeal that really does not do a piece of hot bacon and a runny fried egg justice. They serve this Charles Dickens like gruel that you are supposed to choke down with a glass of tea (hot or cold) and then ask you how your grits were - well frankly, don't suffer this - just tell them the grits are crap, and have a handful of their fresh salmon flavored cranberries.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Jewish Doctors, Rodeos, and Lovers...

The run this morning was fantastic - it is about 50 degrees here, and clear - and when the cars are not fouling the downtown air, you can actually smell the coffee roasting at the Maxwell House plant, and the wind off the river has a cleansing effect...

Friday night we had one of those long nights, where the red wine tastes better, the food is delicious and the music is just loud enough to make you think about what they are saying. I started to head home, but my dad lives downtown in an old Victorian they bought for $17,000 (plus the cost of the tear down lien) and rebuilt about ten years ago. I love the house, the kitchen always has a biscuit or a cold soda, the wine rack is full of choices, and the leather chairs are always comfortable, and at any time of day, seem to be occupied by a strange collection of folks that gravitate downtown (and to Carol's kitchen) for a hot cup of coffee, and some relaxed conversation. I always feel closer to those that I miss when I sit in that house next to my dad...

Friday night was no exception - it was midnight, and I called, and of course, he was awake- this time (and for the next three months) - Dr. Leffler is staying with them - now if there was a perfect image of the Jewish doctor - he is it, a happy wise man who was both my dad's doctor and my doctor as a little boy - now, he is just a wonderful friend, and when you talk with him, you can tell he is genuinely concerned about you, and holds nothing against you. He did say I needed to work through some of my michigas, but hey, who knows any old jewish doc who does not say that...

Anyway - my dad gave me a photograph, an amazing old photo - here it is....

It speaks for itself - the strong arms, the determination in jawline, the horse struggling against his legs- it makes me proud to see him fight - and let's me know where I came from....

I guess even more importantly, it touched me in a strange way - it brought back images of eyes that I can't be too sure of their color, and hair fine and spun soft, and a face that was inviting and welcoming, but had some sense of longing to it that I could not really place, but I knew it was there. That's the great thing about pictures - and words - I remember a person like that, and now am working to see it again, but it is touching and wonderful to look into a memory, and know that those days never left - in my dad's somewhat older and more frail body now, I know that the strength he shows on that bronco is still there, and that the fight burns on. He is never going to be thrown, and I feel the same way - my pictures certainly are not of rodeo or cowboys - they are different images - but they still bring back the same feelings of times when I felt I belonged in that place, and of people who were meant to be there with me....

Until next time - have a wonderful Sunday...(I think I am going to listen to old Johnny Cash albums, and see what Sunday Morning Coming Down feels like this morning...)


Running the Bridges...

In downtown Jacksonville, there are five bridges that traverse the St. Johns River, all of them somewhat landmarks in town, and all of them lit at night surrounding the skyline with blue light. My favorite bridge has to be the Main Street Bridge - you can still walk over this old drawbridge, and stand in the middle and watch the river churn down below (it spans the river at one of it's narrowest points, and standing in the center it is almost as if the bridge itself is moving).

I am by no means a speed demon, I think my body was built for more sedentary things, like eating and drinking, but at the same time, I love to run and I love to feel the pain that starts somewhere in my fingertips, and by the end has consumed just about every part of my body, I don't recover as quickly as I used to, and for me, there is nothing better than that feeling in the mornings of tight crampy muscles that don't want to do anything but rest. My dad always used to say "Pain is weakness leaving your body" - and that is the truth - pain is the process of tempering for me, and there are reasons for it.

Sunday mornings always give me the opportunity to run the bridges in peace. Downtown is empty, there are no cars or business folks milling about, just the church crowd heading downtown to go impress their friends at the old town churches. The wind is even calmer, and the river sounds are lighter and easier - it is just not as hectic. It is my church - I sacrifice as I run to the top of the spires, I take a deep breath, and I praise the day as the downhill side of those bridges encourages me to run faster -

I know that later today, I have to pack my bags for another trip to Seattle, and before, I never really looked forward to packing, but now, I am ready for this trip - it is supposed to snow, and just the thought of seeing that city in the snow is a cheery feeling. I know that I will probably not be able to feel the way I do right now forever - and I know that at the end of all of this, there is probably a major let down - but it is sort of like running the bridges, I want to run uphill and feel the burning legs, and I want to fly downhill and feel the wind. I know that one day I will wake up and the pain will be there - but I will go back to my dad's advice "Pain is weakness leaving your body".

We all have to travel at times, and we all have to run at times, and we all have to look forward to things - most importantly, we all have to realize that right now is all there is - granted we can plan and think, but right now is all we really know - and I will run and not worry about the pain.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Barber Shops and Psychiatry...

There was no real need for me to get a haircut today. I thought it was the perfect length, and really, I can just use more hair gel to hold down the curls that pop up in the back on really humid days - but the Barber Shop is a place that I wanted to be this morning -

That's what's good about coming home - even though you know that there are things out there that need to be handled and need to be taken care of, you still miss the common things that made life enjoyable.

My barber is a pretty big guy, and his barber shop has been in the basement of 200 W Forsyth Street in Jacksonville for somewhere around 30 years - it seems he knows everybody in Jacksonville, and always has a good joke, a friendly handshake, and a sharp straight razor. His wit is dry and practical, I guess after years of listening to business men talk about their endeavors and problems, he has sharpened his scissors on the stones his clients carry around with them. The best part is that he is a true psychiatrist for a large number of us - he listens and has no fear of saying where on the dumbass meter you sit. The drugs he prescribes are the smells and sounds of a barber shop, the sweet smell of the hot shaving lather, the rhythmic tin sound of the scissors, and the detail he pays as he works his craft. His shop is a true barber shop - you will not find any picture books of hairstyles, but you do know that there is a recent copy of Playboy laying around on the top shelf, and he keeps those out of reach of the kids - the more tame reading of Sports and Fish, and Wildlife, and Consumer Digest are proudly displayed on the table. Every so often, I walk by, and he is sitting waiting for his next appointment (you don't need one, but they are highly recommended), and seeing him sit there, you kind of want to just go in and get a shave or a haircut, just to experience the barber shop again...

So - now let's get to the heavier stuff. (I know anyone who is reading this is saying "Hell Yeah - let's challenge our souls now) - I have lost some of my wittiness in these posts - so I need to probably add some to not lose one of the two or three readers that actually look at this - I read an interesting quote today in (of all things) a Daily Motivational book - "Love without deeds does not really exist, just as talent not demonstrated in creative ways does not exist. Both must be expressed or they are just a myth."

That is a damn good quote - how do we express love? I think my barber loves what he does because I can see and feel that he is genuinely concerned by the way his product looks and feels - but in life, how do we get through the day by expressing both our talent and love to those around us? All of the mechanisms that we build up to make ourselves the image we want to be are terrible defenses - and we do it in our relationships everyday. Frankly, I have lost the desire to build up those defenses, I am happy (whether on the road or at home) being brutally honest about the things around me - but I guess I should share what I think is the best way to love -

1. Listen - Keeping my mouth shut is tough - I wear a size eleven shoe, and have conveniently enough room to fit a size 12. Hearing someones voice and exercising the listening skills are wonderful - even when what the other person is saying may be painful or even stupid - just listening to their concerns or even their experiences seems to express love. I know when I am being genuinely listed too, and I suspect that I am not the only one. I love to listen - you can hear a persons life in their inflections, and you can paint a wonderful picture with their words.

2. Enthusiasm - Hell, all of 92%ers run short on enthusiasm sometimes - but even if you fake it, it's not too hard to eventually be enthusiastic. People who know me will tell you I am pretty excited all of the time - that is more a function of my mental issues, but hell, at least my love for life rubs off! I want to see those folks I am visiting, I want to do different things - hell, I am even happy to fold laundry sometimes - just the thought of being enthusiastic about the next step in any situation is good.

3. Touch - There is nothing (in our sterile work environment) that goes further than the offer of a handshake, or a hand on someones shoulder as a sign of affirmation that you are happy they are there, and you enjoy seeing them. In our personal lives, I know that when my son touches my face, or my daughter gives me that short wet good night kiss, or when my dad just hugs me - that I can feel their love - there is nothing sexual, dirty, or perverse about it - it is what we need to feel - together and loved.

Those are the three big ones - I notice everyday that you can have nothing in common with a person, but if you listen, are happy, and can reaffirm with just a genuine grasp that they feel needed and loved - and that, no matter where you are, makes all of the difference in the world.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Kingston Ferry....

I am not really sure why the image of the Kingston Ferry sticks in my mind, but for some reason, I just keep picturing myself standing on the deck leaning against the railing of that green and white ship, the mountains in the distance, and the evening sun lighting the sky in pinks and blues.

That would be a wonderful place to hold on to someone, to just stand there and feel the breeze and just watch as the waves of the sound beat against the hull.

It's great place - I can only imagine the number of folks who think of it as just a boat to get home, but everytime I hear the horn sound, I have that image in my mind.

It's been there since October, and some strange sense tells me that I need to take the ferry, and just look out over the water - and just ride the waves and be there.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Finding Jesus during lunches with Dad...

Last night the most amazing thunder storm rolled through in the middle of the night - the perfect Florida storm, cool wind pushing rain drops downward against the screen on the porch, lightening in the distance illuminating the outlines of the trees against a strobe light sky. I sat out back in my bathrobe (probably to the dismay of my older neighbors) and just watched and listened to that storm - good stuff. Not to mention the vodka cranberry was making things even better.

I called my Dad last night - he is really my best friend, and probably the only one I have ever trusted to really talk to about just about anything - his word is gold - even though he can be a pretty cranky prick at times. Anyway, anyone who has spent a few minutes reading my streams of consciousness on this blog knows that I need a confidant to express some of the deeper seeded crap that they instilled upon me when I was a little kid. I made a date with him today to just see him and each lunch and talk over some of things that were wearing me out - and making me feel like a million bucks - you see, I know that man has been there, and he is not afraid to tell anyone that going some places is tough - but going anywhere is always worth it. About four years ago, he was in a pretty horrible accident - dirt truck ran over his minivan (sounds pretty funny) - basically it brought a sense of mortality to a man that was always alive and kicking - he went through several surgeries, and almost died from that "MRSA" hospital staph infection - and spent another year in the hospital with a knee that looked like Phyllis Diller without her wig....none the less, he grew up in a Catholic Orphanage in New Orleans and then the Boys Ranch outside of San Antonio - after that he got a little patriotic and went to Vietnam (twice - because cleaning dead bodies out of aircraft for one year just was not enough for him - did I mention I come from a long line of slow learners?) My Papa (grandfather) was an alcoholic cab driver in the Big Easy (I never knew him when he drank) and my real grandmother died of tuberculosis when my dad was five. My Papa died in a home in St. Bernard, about a mile from the trailer he lived in with his second wife - a former waitress at Howard Johnson's on the Quarter. He died insane - and I can still remember the calls he would make to me (he thought I was his other son, Ronnie) - he would call and ask me to get some money to him so he could pay the doctors off so they would let him out the hospital....that was tough - but he was a neat man - he was allergic to cat hair, but this pitiful little kitten came over the levee one day, and he just had to feed and care for it - so he would shave the cat bald every week - but that damn cat loved him, and would sit on his shoulder like a pirates parrot.

Needless to say, I did not mean to go into a family history - I could probably go into the other side of the family, but I suspect there are fewer branches... (I do live in the South).

The discussion at lunch today was terribly serious, the Whataburger shack filled with all sorts of folks - those construction workers just cooling off, the business people escaping their cubicle fields - your average collection of taxpayers and friends grabbing a bite. Of course, I went into the diatribe about everything that is going on right now, and just looked at him for a response - and he just sat and thought for about thirty seconds - and he said, "Son, I love you. You have options and choices and talents that I never had, but, you need to cool your jets and think this through." (He paused and took a sip of his coffee), "You are running on instinct - your family, your friends, your passions - they are on your autopilot - and you know what - that is where they should be - we all run out of answers, and you need to pray about it." Now that's where I really started to lose it - pray about it? What the hell kind of help is that - my dad is deeply spiritual - and so am I - but what the hell am I supposed to pray for - right now, I don't need answers - I am not seeking the truth - in fact, I wish people would lie to me a little bit more, I could use some friendly patronizing - in fact, just smile and nod and that way I know I am getting screwed, and can at least relax and enjoy it.

Needless to say, I pretty much shut down until he said one thing to me - "You are my son, and I want you to be able to find peace and passion - no matter where you find it, and no matter what you do, you will always be my son. Just remember that being stupid forces you to be tough - and love is what it is - we don't choose it, it chooses us." Now that we were off the subject of God and Jesus - it was good -

It was an exhausting lunch - but it was a good lunch. Just to sit with my dad, listen to him talk, challenge me, push me, and then finally just hug me and tell me he loved me was what I needed today. He knows that I am probably going to screw up, but he also wants me to know that there is always a place for me to go.

So - throwing caution to the wind, I have made some decisions - like I said, I am not looking for salvation, I don't want to be saved, I just want to feel what I need to feel - and you know what, that simple spiritual truth is undeniable - and I don't want to deny the truths that I feel right now. So I did not find Jesus, but I did get some sense of faith, that no matter how deep things go, things happen, and if there is a God, then there must be a reason for it - other than a cruel prank on some middle aged ass - and if it is the devil - well, the devil be damned, I am just not in a place to say no to him either.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Virginia Boy and First Times..

Kentucky in the winter can be an empty place - the wind is cold, the horse farms are dreary with their castle like structures looming on the horizon, and the blue grass carries more of a hazy gray coat. The sun fills the sky, but the crisp air reminds you that things are going to be dreary for a little while longer, and even the folks I passed on my run tonight stayed huddled under their heavy coats with those thousand mile stares in a southerly direction.

As I ran tonight, I had a picture in my mind, one that has always been there as long as I can remember - it has changed from time to time, but the beauty that was there was a permanent - once you see, touch, taste, feel or experience something beautiful, it stays embedded in your head, and when you see it again, it sends a signal to you to let go, and just feel for a while. I had every intention of heading over to Malone's for probably one too many beers, and just sitting and thinking - but for some reason, the thought of sitting in another bar having a cold beer and thinking that there are other places I would rather be just did not excite me tonight. (There are places I would rather be, but I am happy that I am in Kentucky - it has been quite a while since I have ventured to the northernmost southern state, and folks here are friendly).

Last night, I had a dream that I had not been able to have in a long time - I have had this recurring vision for about twenty years - the first time I had it was when I was a sixteen year old kid in Virginia, probably growing up too fast, like my nine year old, and probably still a little out of touch with the rest of the world (and not really caring about it). I can remember the first morning I awoke after this dream, and the world was different, it was changed, and I wanted to see that place and visit as much as possible - it comes without any notice, and I don't really know what triggers it, except to say that when it does come, I wake up as young as I was on that first morning -

Here - I will share it with anyone who cares to read it -

Southern Yellow pine has a sharp smell, somewhere between fresh paint and damp earth, and pine needles under your feet are better than any carpet ever made. The morning dampness is still draping the ground, and I walk through this short stand of trees, following sunlight that breaks it way through the forest and reflects off of the green bows of the pines as they sway in a gentle, but warm breeze. The sunlight always brings up the image of little red riding hood, and the crumbs in the forest, it breaks through the trees, and each sparkle on the damp ground reminds me of where it is I am supposed to be.

It's a casual walk - not really looking for anything, but coming out of that forest, I see the house in the middle of the field - just a simple cracker box house, in a wide open field of auburn gold grass that moves in unison as the breeze blows across. It is off in the distance, but that ochre stained building seems to draw me in. The walk across the field is slow, just moving towards the house, watching the pine trees lining the field move, feeling the field grass brush my legs, and knowing that the house is a good place, a quiet place.

As I get closer I can see that this place has not been visited in a while, the paint shows the age of a hot Virginia sun, white bleached wood peeks through where chips have fallen - there is a simple four pane window covered with screen and a door that at one time was black, but is gray from the elements. Pushing open that door, and I feel this in my dream, all I see is an old cast iron bed - and that is all that is there - no pictures, no clothes, no people, just an old bed.

The best part about the dream is the bed - the smell of fresh white sheets, starched and bleached, fills my nostrils as I lay down and just feel the sweat bead on my forehead and stare out that little screened window - and I sleep.

It all comes to an end, without fail, with me walking past an old man, and he always says in a slow cordial drawl, "I am glad you came back here today...."

Rereading this - it does not seem like much of a dream, but if I could give to you just one moment of the peace and completeness that I feel when I lay in that old bed, it is amazing what the mind can do....

Someone mentioned first times to me a few days ago - and I think I need to stop looking at things as first times - in all reality, everything is a first time - I mean the routine is consistent, but the act itself is the first time, and it should feel that way - perhaps that is the entire problem with things - I always hoped there would be more, but maybe I hoped there would be different - not necessarily more - I guessed as life moved on, things would change, and everything, somehow was going to work itself out as long as I worked hard enough, and studied, and paid taxes, and visited my folks at Christmas, and went to church, and wore the right suit and tie. But really, what it comes down to for me, and where I am at right now is a simple place. I don't need more of anything, in fact I need less of everything - it would be better if I did not have to intellectualize everything, and just make the simple fact known, that it is good and wonderful, and I want another first time. The same holds true for those things that I don't want to be a part of - it is not worth the next first time, and I am going to burn my energy somewhere else. There is a first time for everything, but I guess what I am trying to say is that capturing and keeping that first time and holding that feeling every time is what makes life complete and makes every day new.

I have written too much tonight, and kind of rambled - but it is quiet and cold, and I have really enjoyed the company.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Preachers, Prostitutes, and Paradox

Those big discussions that come up at the worst hour always seem to motivate me, but last night, the discussion between my wife and I was terribly honest - and I found myself scrolling through channels of garbage on television, trying to find a distraction -

Sunday morning television is the greatest paradox ever witnessed by our modern age - at 2:00 AM you can (within a small flip of the wrist) go from some beer swilling college freshman sorority girl lathering herself in bubbles instantly to a preacher who is actually named after money offering up a green prayer cloth for free, as long as you remember that the gates of heaven are made of gold, and that someone has to pay for that to be communicated....both are soft porn, and in some sadistic way, each group of folks is being taken advantage of, and to some degree, ridiculed.

92% of the time, (much less lately), the airline steward, the guy at the hotel desk, the room service waiter, and numerous other folks who are paid to be happy for me - are my best friends. They are what I see and talk to everyday, and what I come home to most nights. Home is an awkward place - my children are always happy to see me, and I am always happy to see them - but over the past several years, my wife and I have become two different people - what happens to us when we are away? Does some magical fairy come in and allow us to become confident and strong in our personal strengths, but loosen our ties with those that, at one point in time, were our greatest encouragers and loves? I know the droll existence of each is difficult, and that is not what I am asking - or whining about - I am merely posing the question - Does the preacher, the sorority girl, the lonely wife or husband, really know what they are doing - what is the drive?

I am somewhat in the midst of that crisis right now - we are going through the "passion" discussions, and the lack thereof - what do we want for ourselves? Are we being completely honest that it is enjoyable for us - and that we gather strength from one another - or is it just like everything else in our lives - a play date, a business proposal, a merger, a dinner with friends....routines that continue to play over and over again. I can say that I love my wife, what I cannot say is why that love has changed into something almost sterile and politically correct, and feels more like an agreement to support each other in our actions, but stop short of enjoying what life has to offer together - or even pretend to enjoy the same things (with the exception to chocolate chip ice cream and children's activities)

Although my blog has been active lately, it has not been prolific - but the more I look honestly at those 2:00 AM shows, and see what those folks are selling, it makes me ask myself, what bill of goods am I hawking on the street, and what am I buying - right now, I really don't know - but the best thing is that I really have no passion for religion, and drunken sorority girls don't really do it for me either - but there is passion and somewhere between this side of the world, and the other places I visit, I will run into it from time to time.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The sounds of life....

The more time I spend at home, the more time I have to sit and focus on the cadence of life that beats around our heads all of the time - there are millions of sounds that we hear, and all of them (even the typing I am doing on this keyboard) is to some sort of pattern, to some sound, to some hidden song.

For all of us to spend as much time away as we do, it is always nice to hear a familiar sound - or see a similar rythm - yes, see a pattern - like the eyes that blink and bring you back to the crystal lake in upstate New York - cold, refreshing, and exhilarating, and for some reason someone's blink struck a simple chord that was able to pull you back into that first plunge into that cold water - and you felt just as alive as you did when your head came above water, and the warm air balanced the beautiful clear.

I think of thousands of sounds, and we hear them all the time - I find comfort in the drone of a dragonfly, the awkward flapping takes to me a more innocent time of sitting on a creek in Virginia laying on my back and just doing nothing except waiting - for what, who knows, but it was almost as if just waiting was hardest part - at that age, I was not sure what I was waiting on, and now, we don't really have to wait for much - but that irridescent song of the dragonfly sparks that memory..and somehow makes longing seem part of the plan.

The instant gratification of my ipod makes it a hell of alot easier - a picture may paint a thousand words, but a song for me creates a thousand images - sometimes it is selfish, to sit back in my wonderland, but at the same time, the feelings I get (whether on a plane 3,000 miles from home or sitting next to my son) when I hear Brandi Carlisle's Turpentine is the same - it locks to a moment in time, and pulls me to a good place.

Some folks don't like to be reminded, I like to remember - taking the good with the bad, the love with the longing, and beauty with the less than perfect - and I savor the fact that a simple sound can take me there, and bring to my mind those beautiful pictures that were, at one time or another, a real thing in front of me -

I am turning my ipod back on, and going to finish one or two more glasses of red wine before it is time for me to go light a fire on the patio and see what sounds the wind is playing tonight and see where their song takes me...

Thursday, January 17, 2008


I do not write much poetry anymore - probably because it really is not that good - but the colder and darker it gets outside, it seems I am a little more engaged -

Here goes the first one in a long while -

Given the chance to drift away,
If only for a night,
To feel a touch of cold snowflakes
If only for a night.

Taking the chance to walk away,
Slowly through the night,
To feel a kiss – full warm caress
Slowly through the night.

Stealing the dreams of yesterday,
In the dark of night,
To hold a love and brand the heart,
In the dark of night.

Looking toward the hope of tomorrow,
In the bright sunlight,
To have a head filled with dreams,
In the bright sunlight.

The Krispy Kreme Allegory....

This is kind of an odd post for me - but I was feeling unusually creative today, and decided that watching my children enjoy the gifts that I bought them at Christmas (as an effort to overcompensate for my lack of family attendance) - I realized that there was a story out there....

We all know how wonderful krispy kreme doughnuts are - from the first time you walked into the white and green tiled wonderland, you knew that good things happened there and you knew that those edibles that rolled off of the clearly visible factory line offered good things...very good things. You waited in anticipation to see if your parents were going to let you have the one with the chocolate, or the one with the sprinkles, or the one with the fruit inside - you just knew it was a good thing that you wanted to have.

So they obliged and you were afforded the opportunity to enjoy that creation - sweet, warm, and comforting, those little pastries were nothing more than sheer pleasure.

Now, as I grow older, I wonder what the right approach was - I know that Krispy Kreme doughnuts should carry a surgeon general's warning, and that as beautiful as they are, each one poses a threat to my pant size and my ability to keep it in check....

I guess what I am alluding to is simply this - when you find something wonderful, what is the best part - the desire, or the deed? I think it is a combination of both - without actions, none of us accomplish anything, we just have to be able to deal with the consequences - the doughnuts lead to extra work out time, or less dinner - but to trade that doughnut for a cup of oatmeal is never worth it - no matter how hard the work.

In some seemingly short summary, I had the Krispy Kreme, and now, I just wanted another for lunch - and breakfast tomorrow is going to be as excellent as it was the first time I was able to sit down and enjoy that wonderful treat. That's the way life should be - take the risks, just be prepared to do the work to get through the consequences - and enjoy the warm, delicious things that come your way.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Falling Up....

I spend an inordinate amount of time reading - the news is boring, television is boring, and the other habits that I have developed on the road have created enough regret to load a small U-Haul and boat trailer....

I sometimes wonder what all of those confident, successful folks who write those wonderful business books really do - I mean really - do they sit down at their word processor, query the internet for fancy quotes or catch phrases, and then go about parsing cliches to publish for $39.95 (any seasoned traveller will tell you to go to the Read and Return bookstores - it is like a savings account for the road warriors...)

The epiphany that hit me this week was a tough one, being on the road 92% of the time does strange things to families, friends, and those around you. It gets easier to merge your real life from your road life, and unless you keep those things grounded - one of them takes over. (Guess which one usually rules for those of us who have yet to write or heed the advice of those self help books)...

Personal and Professional lives are odd beasts - I am so much involved with both, that it is getting harder to separate the two - right now, the struggle for me seems to be making the decisions - which life is more important - because merging the two has created the situation that one of them has to give. I made an ass out of myself and ended up walking home at two o' clock in the morning with nothing to show for my behavior except a pocketful of receipts and a pissed off co-worker - but it was a good thing to have happen. Why? It was a gut shot of reality and brought the things back in perspective that I have left to drift for the past three or four years...

I love my work - but at the end of the day, if I stop going, does it really matter? I am confident that I give 100%, but if I hold a conference call versus a week long pep rally - who cares? The bartenders at the hotels all love me - but really, do they give a crap if I spend another night in their fine establishments with the other folks lamenting, laughing, and lying? Does sacrificing my personal beliefs and becoming a pushy lush for the sake of making another dollar really do the good things and reflect upon those people who I care for in a positive way?

This was a crappy post - granted, but I needed to get it out there - what about the rest of you - what do you think?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Only 365 Shopping Days Until Christmas…

Thank God the holidays are finally over, and those of us who are used to spending the majority of their time in airports (obviously making the decision to spend the extra dollar and large size the beers…) and we can get back to the comfort of our empty hotel rooms, on demand movies, and small bags of free peanuts. Travel during the holidays certainly takes a small amount of patience, as every person who has not watched the news since 9/11 tries to get on board an airplane with a chainsaw, a gallon of two-cycle gas, and a large screen television (whaddya mean I can’t carry this on, it is a flat screen….).

The best part about the holidays is that the 92% traveler gets the opportunity to get back to what they work for, and then realize very quickly that the folks who have to stay home 92% of the time have it much worse than we do. I was amazed at the level of the following in my home:

Milk Consumption – Children seem to have a never ending thirst to drink at least one gallon of milk per day. As an adult, all I can think of is endless hours battling lactose intolerance, but those little 3 foot tall machines require a constant supply of the stuff. I have a small yard, but I am wondering if they have miniature cows that I can raise (and if the neighborhood association will allow it)
Laundry – As a traveler, I have learned that you can wash anything with a little hotel shampoo and a sink. This is not the case for those at home. If a speck of dust (apparently) hits a piece of clothing, it instantly must go into the mountain of laundry that builds up in about three hours. I spent more time separating darks from permanent press than I did watching my kids open gifts. (I also received severe tongue lashings when the temperature of the water, the cycle setting, among other things that you are apparently supposed to do when using washing machines) It was good to get back to the hotel where my workout clothes were cleaned with a bar of “facial soap” after brushing my teeth.
Dirty Dishes – Those new fangled sinks that the 92% homemakers want (those that have the seemingly endless bottom) are nothing more than an excuse to parlay the movement of dirty dishes into the dishwasher. They are also scientifically designed so that you can fill the sink – and then you can almost get all of those dishes into the dishwasher – try it sometime. If you have three or four hundred milk glasses strewn about the kitchen, they will all fit in those sinks – but you will only be able to get 296 of them into the dishwasher.
Appointments – My longing for the road grew with every appointment at gymnastics, play dates, boy scouts, girl scouts, Future Farmers of America, Doctors appointments, manicures, tennis lessons, soccer tryouts, and finally basket weaving 101. I began to understand why my wife’s minivan automatic door broke after two months – the damn thing wore itself out.

With all that being said, I have to honestly admit (as much as I hate the holidays) that it was nice to be home for a little while, enjoy a sandwich on the couch, see friends and relatives, and pass out naked in my own backyard (versus passing out naked in a backyard somewhere in Seattle).

Until next blog –