Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Strange sensation

The television is on but in a different position.

Instead of upper left, it is behind me to the right.

The sound is still good, but in an unfamiliar place.

The computer screen remains the same but with more light than in the dank Mansland.

Then it happens.

Midnight has arrived and the realization that no one will come in and stop the writing or thought process or music or the volume.

Looking up at the time recorders and the manger scene, I realize that this is the space that only we create for ourselves.

No interruptions.

A simple table filled with a cup of pens and markers, staplers, tape, notebooks, envelopes… very foreign yet familiar.

I close my eyes and place my headphones on to listen to strange sounds and no one stops me.

Is this freedom or has the camera run out of film.

The trunk is in the house.

19 Ike and Ginger - Where's Blackie?

I joined my friends at a small bistro and they all laughed when I arrived.
My friend Jacque introduced me to the couple seated with him.

Pierre is an artist and musician and dancer. A slight roughly bearded young man in a corduroy jacket and long scarf.

Next to him was a lovely young dark haired girl with a special glow in her face and unforgiving black eyes.

“Renee, Pierre…. meet my friend Ike.”

I settled in to the small round table and a round of drinks were ordered. Jacque helped me because my elementary school French was lacking.

The carafe of white wine never seemed to empty and the glass was always full.

We laughed and shared stories in our broken understanding of what each of us was saying, but with the continuing glasses toasted to each other and our ideas, the dusk turned into late hours.

“Let us stop and rest now.” Jacque broke the laughter and we all agreed.
He led us to a quaint bread and breakfast and offered each of us rooms.

“Come back down in a few minutes for a nightcap.”

We all went into small comfortable rooms and changed into nightclothes.

I was settling onto a long wicker couch with a glass of cognac with Jacque and Pierre talking over by the fireplace when Renee entered the room.

She looked at the couple at the fireplace then walked over to the couch and sat.

I offered her a glass, which she accepted with a smile and a slight nod of her head, her dark hair draping her face against the strobe of the flame.

We did not speak, but watched the two men across the room laugh and slap each other with old tales.

I looked back at the little girl who had wrapped herself in an afghan and a quilt that were resting on the back of the couch.


I offered my arm and she slid close accepting my hug.
We sat silently, her head resting on my shoulder.

I refilled her glass and my own. She adjusted the cover and snuggled closer.

The fire had dimmed when my eyes opened and found the two men had left the room. I could feel something warm against my cheek. Reaching up I found a bare foot. Pushing my hand further, I felt a slim smooth ankle and leg.

As my head cleared in the smoky room my body moved up the length of the couch.
Renee lay next to me, eyes closed, wrapped in the quilt like a baby hugging a teddy bear.

I touched her cheek and she responded by pulling the antique fabric over me and pulling me close to her undraped body. My face moved to her neck and I could hear her breath. Then a warm and sweet kiss on the neck.


Ike reaches for his head tangling in the sheet and tried to sit up.


“OW! What the….”

“You need to be more careful where you sleep.” a quiet voice whispers.

Ike wipes his eyes and leans against his elbows in the cramp dark space. As the area starts to focus he feels the sway of the ocean beneath him.

“How long have you been up?”

“A while. It’s been fun watching you sleep.”

Ike peered at the black portholes with just the faint sent of light around the rim.

“You shouldn’t have dreams like that.”

“What time is it?”

“Does it matter?”

Ike struggled to free his legs and slowly stepped on the deck, carefully watching the hull above.

“Here.” Ginger held out a cup of steaming dark liquid.

Ike held it in two hands and took a sip. “Hot!”

“You are having a rough morning,” she giggled.

“What are you doing?”

“Going over these maps and this sweater.”

Just then light filled the space as Ginger turned up the oil lamp. Wrapped in the gray sweater she turned to Ike and said, “ I think we have to go back to that island.”

Ike staggered to the desk where Ginger had neatly arranged maps, pens, paper, rulers, compass, with sketches and drawings.

“What is all of this stuff?”

Then the Dusty Rose shifted in the ocean’s swell and Ike stumbled, spilling coffee.

“Hey buster, you almost got that on me,” Ginger spun holding tight the sweater as she slip her chair away from the bumpkin.

“Who’s steering this rig?

The room fell silent as the two stared at one another.

Ike grabbed his slicker stumbling toward the hole to the upper deck.

“I better check where we are,” he muttered as he climbed the teak stairway.

“You go on. I’ll tell you what I found later,” Ginger mumbled expressing her disappointment in Ike’s disinterest.

Disconnecting the lines from the wheel, Ike took hold of the Dusty Rose. Placing his half filled cup on the deck then looking up at the looming blackness sparkled with points of lights, Ike started to get his barrens. He viewed the horizon that was started to lighten with orange and yellow, then check the star placement using his watch as a compass. Pulling the wheel to the starboard, he rechecked his calculations. Feeling the bow turn into the waves and the ship smooth in it path, he grabbed his cup and consumed the cooling liquid with one gulp.

“Do you have any more of this coffee?” Ike beckoned below deck.

As if knowing beforehand what was requested or anticipating what would come next, Ginger rose from the bowels of the ship with two fresh cups of morning waking liquid.

“So where are we?” she asked placing the new cup next to Ike.

Ike continued to pull on the sheet, looking up at the sky and the luff of the sail, turning the wheel slightly, and looking off to the brightening horizon.

Ginger snuggled into her sweater, looked up at the sky then forward over the bow while sipping her hot black liquid.

“You have no idea do you?”

Ike picked up the cup and enjoyed the steam and aroma, squinting forward across the bow, swinging the wheel further starboard.

“We have about 3 hours before we get to our destination.”

“3 hours huh?” Ginger replied in disbelief.

The sun rose as the couple sat quietly watching the waves pick up intensity.

Suddenly Ginger broke the silence and started down below deck.

“I’m hungry, do you want anything?”

“Maybe another cup, but I’m fine.” Ike replied watching her disappear into the darkness as the sun lightened the deck and the sails. Though the sun was rising the temperature was dropping.

Ginger returned with another cup and a plate of fruit and cheese. Ike immediately reached for the cheese.

“I thought you were fine?” she asked resting next to him.

“Mummmm. Yes, I was but this looks too good. Thanks.”

Ginger pulled the sweater around her and cupped the white vessel close to her.
“I thought the sun would warm us up.”

“We are pretty far north. You can tell about the waves picking up.”

Ike reached his arm around Ginger pulled her close.

“That better?”

The sound of waves crashing on the rocky shore grew as a crescendo directing the crew to their next destination.

Moving Home

Today a young man who struggled for 3 hours for less than $200 put the bathroom floor in and he picked up the trash. Nice job for a quarter of what another contractor had estimated.

The next thing is to call the plumber to finish the installation and give another load to the Salvation Army.

So the rest of the day was grocery shopping, sweeping, moving boards, then resting and watching the news.

Now it’s time to move into the house.

Unplug the laptop and modem and plug them inside as the rain drips on the window.

I sleep inside, and now, the factors that entertain me, educate me, challenge me, the tools used for the daily message are now inside the abode.

It is a beginning of a new (yet familiar) adventure.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Last night I woke up around 3:00 a.m., as I do most nights. I lay in the dark and listened.

It was quiet. Very quiet. Spooky quiet.

None of the usual noise of cars, and lawnmowers, and leaf blowers, and voices on cell phones, and barking dogs and screaming children.

There wasn't even the rustle of the trees or the bird's chirping or even the night crickets.

It was just quiet and dark.

Not like library quiet. There you have the chair scraping on the marble floors or the carts rolling booking back to the stacks or the occasional sneeze followed by the stern stare of the librarian looking over her glasses.

It was just quiet. Not a sound.

Only the beat of the heart and the whistle of air breathing breaking the silence.

I'm not use to this. For 30 years there has been a constant noise in this house, but is quiet.

I'll get acquainted with this peaceful lack of sound and will cherish it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Amazing Strength

Still at it. Tearing down walls, pulling boards and wall board, avoiding 3" nails, and breathing the dust.

Today's project was to move the deck boards used for shelving outdoors and under a tarp for spring re-purposing.

So sliding the 20 foot board off the braces and sliding it down the wall onto the floor. Then the second one.

Huffing and puffing and weaving and swirling, I moved the board back and forth, up and down, trying not to break a window, figuring out a way to get this long piece of wood out the front door.

Unfortunately there was no way without taking down the wall.

2 x 4 wooden studs nailed to the ceiling, floor, and braced to each other. The wallboard peeled fairly easily and slid to the side, but the bracing would have to be cut.

Stud by stud was cut by a circular saw and piece by piece the wall came down.

Now a 4 foot high structure with wall board on each side, the boards could be raised and slid over the remaining structure which impeded entrance into the living room.

So after a breather and some refreshment, it was time to try and remove these salt treated deck boards from the living room.

Swivel and scrap and push over the remaining wall structure when.....

As I held the awkward bending wood, the four wall boards and 2 x 4 studs decided to relax on top of me.

Again, it was unexpected, but I could brace and hold all the weight.

Now holding a 20 foot board and bracing four wall boards, I decided to slid them to the floor.

With a bang!! they settled blowing up dust and I pushed the board out the front door.

After settling it on the walkway, I went back for the second 20 foot board, but of course it was under all the wall boards.

More lifting and shifting, and the remainders of the studs and wall board leaning up against the window next to the door and a 4" hole in the ceiling.

Tomorrow is taking down the bracing and filling the holes. Then on to the next room.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

My Dogs Are Barking!

So after being frustrated that the bathroom project will take longer than expected, today’s project was to get my home deed.

I called and confirmed the location by phone and decided on a gray dreary day, to walk downtown.

I hadn’t done a walk from 4500 West to 900 East in sometime, but it would be a good way to relax from the previous day’s frustration. Also, my back was acting up, so the walking would be a good way to relax it.

A quick bottle of water (probably should have had more) and a jell-o fruit cup, then apply a thin water resistant jacket for the long hike.

Oh yeah, I fed the fish first. Got to feed the critters.

Turning onto Patterson, I took a path that had been so familiar to me. The same trip I’d used going to college, traveling from my home to my apartment, the journey to friends and lovers, and two job locations.

The mist filled the air and covered the top of the WTVR tower, but the steady pace became a drum track to several songs. Walking will do that. It’s the beat for life.

Stop to retie my shoelace on the Boulevard. Sitting on the short wall next to the full service station where my family would refill and have oil changed, and thought about the former service station turned into a popular sport bar across the street.

Press on as the mist picked up. The Robin Inn’s board was clear. Didn’t know if the rain had washed it clean or the usual Chicken Farmer John special had changed and no one knew how to price it. Well the apartment across the street as been rented.

At intersections, I wait for all (that’s ALL) mobile machines to pass before I cross. Even with the light and the OK sign, I wonder about the lack of turning signals or the driver talking to a device or the thin air. Better safe than sorry. And I was proven right more than once.

At Lombardy, I turn from Park to Franklin. Not many students out, so I must be in-between classes. I do notice every building on campus now has a sign out front. And the gym looks the same, except for huge VCU letters on the brick façade. These fine stone houses covered in intricate details and black forged metal work look the same as when I would enter the glass doors to see in a former living room or parlor, desk with secretaries on a variety desk and sliding doors presenting professors offices with floor to ceiling bookcases and piles of paper scattered about.

And interesting sign states “Private Property. No Trespassing” on the Pace Peace Center welcoming students and anyone interested in “peace” to enter. Which one do you follow?

The pace on Belvidere is the same as when a friend and I would walk to work everyday.

Down past the motel turned to condos and the parking lot which used to be a stone apartment building where my final class thesis was formulated in the basement among mass quantities of beer and pot.

Up pass the apartment building where the Martin Agency started, a man jumped off the roof, and a wonder passionate girl who interested me to the Irish group “Them” lived.

The always-steady 5-star hotel Jefferson stands like a rock symbol of Richmond and across the street the top-of-the-tower restaurant with a similar phone number to my house and where a friend of mine lived after moving out from his family due to his roaming and drinking habits.

The up-dated Y.M.C.A. looks empty, but a few are wearing sweats and headbands in the exercise room in front of large windows. I still ponder about joining to use the pool, but it’s a long way to go just for a swim.

Pass the library and the Linden Row hotel draped in American flags. Row houses turned into a hotel? How swanky can that be?

A turn to Broad Street I view the construction that reminds me of the inside of my house. Cars and buses rumble over the torn up streets going under a remake. Pass the bus stop where I would depart for work. More parking lots dot the area, but they are far from full. The Hilton appears busy even with the old Miller and Rhoades sign still announcing itself to the passing traffic.

I finally reach my destination going into the glass doors and questioning the guards at the reception desk if the elevators went to room LL4. The guard next to the sign that stated “Have Your ID Ready” asked what I was looking for. I stated I had come to get the deed to my house. He quickly responded that they were no longer in the building and had moved to 400 East Cary Street. “400 East Cary Street?” I responded and he confirmed the directions.

Be a trusting or naïve soul, I took the instructions as gospel, turned and proceeded to Cary Street. Upon arrival, there was a parking lot and a Red Cross building. “Humm, I don’t think this is right.” So it was back to my original location on Clay Street.

I started to look for a basement entry when I realized it was the wrong building and the JM Courthouse was across the street. After being searched by metal detector and wand then figuring out the elevator button system, I found the LL4 room and the deed was quickly presented to me.

Ah, satisfaction, I folded the three page document and proceeded to the exit and onto a new adventure.

The mist had picked-up as had the wind. Walking patently down the “wrong side” of Broad, I passed the National Theater, which used to be one of the three movie theaters I would spend every Sunday afternoon watching horror, cowboy, WWII, and newsreels for hours. Across the street was a large stretch of empty grass where Thalhimers used to stand. The rest of the old Lowes Theater and part of the department store have formed the Center Stage performance art center, but it still looks vacant.

I smile as I pass one of the few still open businesses on this main stretch of downtown Richmond, a small thin space with window full of outlandish colors and fabrics of clothing. I remembered, as a youth going to these clothiers searching for wild clothes would not be found at any establishment in the West End. Polka dot shirts, fringe vest, striped pants (usually too short), flowered shirts and pants, and of course the Italian pointed “Beatle” boots. This is what local band members wore to look different and cool.

Then darting into the pawnshops to check out the inventory of musical instruments. No prizes, so onto the next one, then the next one, then across the street to a music store where a previous band use to practice in the empty third floor watching dancing in the street below. Upon entry I noticed a box that looked like a freezer in the grocery store with Fenders Telecasters and Stratocasters. “These must cost a lot” I thought. The two men inside were friendly but not helpful as I roamed through stacks of amps and checked the prices of the electric and acoustic instruments hanging on the walls. No bad prices, but still nothing that caught my eye. “Thank you for the memories.”

Trudging back toward VCU, I decide I’m getting tired and should stop and eat something. The little bowl of Jell-o fruit is not keeping up with me. Pass the old furniture building turned into fancy vacant restaurants, tattoo parlors, and a phone dealer in the old Welsh-Anderson paint building where I lived during my collage art years.

The “mist” was blowing harder, so at the VCU bookstore I decided to duck in and check out any finds. Wiping off my splashed glasses I wandered the rows of books and art supplies. Then off to perhaps find a new VCU ball cap, but didn’t like the designs, so it was a quick trip.

Back to Broad, trying to figure where to stop and eat. My feet are starting to feel the pounding of the cement, when I realized I had left my debit and credit card at home, so if I happen to wander into trouble, I could honestly say, “ I got no money.”

Of course, I did take my checkbook, so continually wiping off my glasses and passing an assortment of street people, I stopped in a back to get a few bucks to pay for lunch. As I wrote the check, the young manager came up and stated, “Our systems are down.” I looked at the Brinks guys who had entered the bank in front of me and was now flirting with the tellers and the guy behind me. The teller waved me forward and again, satisfaction.

More tattoo parlors, a reconditioned kitchen appliance store (but they were all washers and dryers), the gay club with the name fading off the side, the former book binding building turned into cubes and computers.

“Arbys”? No, I’ve already done that. “Lee’s Chicken”? I want to sit down and I don’t know if I want chicken. “Pizza Hut”? That might be good for dinner. “McDonalds?” Tempting, but not today. “Gus’s Sport’s Lounge?” That would be new and maybe….But again, not today. I would have stopped into “Julians” but it is no longer. So I look farther and decide to have breakfast at “McCleans”.

Turning right pass the leftover Subway sandwich drenched in the rain and waiting for the girl writing on a piece of paper and trying to beat the light, my journey continues. Taking a turn to the right pass the eastern influenced dance studio above a photo shop. I remembered walking up the tight dark stairway to a smoky dance floor with some old high school buddies. At the time, it was different to be on the dance floor instead of playing to the dancers.

The Triple-A pool parlor is still there as is the Broad St. Vet center where I spent so much money for the beginnings of the Critter Crewe. Byram’s Seafood and Steak house is an old Richmond landmark, but I’ve only been their once to watch a friend do stand-up comedy.

The pace has now become a trudge. The traffic became more complicated and the rain was blowing sideways, but a stopping spot was in sight, even though I had to go around another block to get there.

The parking lot didn’t look too busy, so I entered simple white brick building across the road from the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Finding a recently emptied booth I strip off the wet blue jacket and notice the second layer of grey fleece hooded sweatshirt was soaked.

I pull out the deed I had tried to protect against the elements and laid it next to the dripping jacket. With a quick wipe of the wooden table and the removal of former occupants plates, a hot cup of coffee was presented to warm me up. Requesting the “Biggest Breakfast” to the pleasant wait lady in t-shirt and jeans, I started to exam the precious paper I had spent such a long travel to acquire.

“THIS DEED OF BARGAIN AND SALE made this 24th day of August, 1979, by and between BLANCHE S. BYRDSONG, window, hereinafter designated Grantor, and CLIFFORD M. LEFTWICH, hereinafter designated Grantee. “

Three eggs over easy, toast with butter, fried potato cubes, link sausage, large orange juice and grits with butter was covered by pepper and slowly engulfed. A second cup of coffee and some people observation entertained me for a while to dry and regroup.

This was the first time I had been in this location alone. There was an interesting story on the “Today Show” this morning about a senator who decided to go to a lone Marshall Island to see if he could survive on his on. He did well swimming with sharks gathering crabs and spear fishing and sleep in a hammock to stay above the climbing rats. The most import part of the story was he said he could live by himself, but sharing the experience.

Leaving a couple of dollars for the delivery person, I slowly moved to a different pace back to the house reflected by the wet deed in my pocket. Up the long block on the acclaimed Monument Avenue occupied by only two monstrous homes and vast yards of formal gardens, I ponder the future and the fate it brings.

Grabbing two wheels and allowing the treasured prize of the day to dry out, I head to the grocery store to use their restrooms and accumulate yard treats for doves, cardinals, blue jays and all the scurrying critters. They went through all this cold and moisture too.

Settling down, bundling up in sweats and changing shoes, I watch the yard consume their treats as I did earlier.

And my dogs are barking from such a long travel and I will sleep well tonight.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Its Never Easy

Load out to Salvation Army, then he next day was to replace the toilet, sink and bathtub handles.

Simple. Right?

Well today before the plumber came by, I moved the pre-purchased toilet and sink closer to the bathroom. Then I realized with the hurry to pass the boxes of kitchen stuff to the pickup drivers yesterday, I forgot 3 boxes of books.

It must have been a sign.

A call came from the plumber that they were a head of schedule and could arrive in the raining morning.

Fine. Or not so much.

So the plumber arrives and I show him what needs to be done and he brings me an estimate. A bit higher than I thought, but it needs to be done. So I agree and he goes and gets his tools.

Next step check the pipes and take out the old sink and toilet. Right?

Not so fast. Removing the toilet reveals the sub flooring around the drain pipe is rotten.

So now, the old toilet and sink are out in the backyard and broken to pieces (Ah, that feels good), and there are holes in the wall and floor where they used to rest.

And to top it off, the plumber looked at the handles and pipe fixture to it, then looked through the little door to the shower connections.

Not so fast.

The piping fixture was missing a small plastic piece that stops the handle so that didn't work. Then he checked the connection pipe that runs up to the shower head and worried he may have to pull out the entire plaster wall to make the new connection.

It's never easy or cheap.

So he gave me a small portion bill and promised to have a contractor who can fix the flooring call me.

So no bathroom for awhile. I hope Kroger doesn't mind me bathing in their restroom.

My only cooping mechanism is to realize this is a ONE TIME expense.

Then it's off to the wonders of a new hot water heater and firing up the furnace after 20 years.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Interesting thought

In the "Non Sequitur" cartoon today there was an interesting statement.

"Stupid is a condition.
Ignorance is a choice."

Another story in the newspaper continues to discuss the 10 year battle over trying to update the technology in the state by outsourcing and the continuing struggle of keeping up with hardware and software without increasing the billion allotted to the task or meeting the deadlines. One director has been fired for suggesting holding payment until the outsource company meets preset goals and conditions of the contract.

And yet the state has hired consultants to suggest it take back the task of updating and installing technology and communication under the commonwealth authority and IT for an additional cost of $400 million in this already over budget down economy.

Is this process and the committees involved "stupid" or are we, a citizens and voters "ignorant" to think we will ever catch up?

Monday, October 12, 2009

My Bad

This morning I woke up to the sound of the trash trucks.

What? It is Monday, but it's Columbus Day!

I thought the city closed for Columbus Day, but there they were picking up my trash before I could get to the alley.

I did not plan that well. I had stacked piles of wood, a door, and flooring to cut up today because I was SURE the city didn't pick up trash on Columbus Day.

The banks are closed because it is Columbus Day.

The federal offices are closed because it is Columbus Day.

I figured the schools were closed when I saw a mother walking her children wearing down filled hooded parkas (while I'm wearing shorts), but I saw some of those yellow mobile carriers rolling around.

But it's Columbus Day.

So my calendar is pushed back a day for cutting wood and filling trash receptacles.

So a lesson learned. Not everyone closes for Columbus Day.

The day we all celebrate Columbus Ohio.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I've lost my identity

My state identification card has expired.

So does that mean I have no identity?

I still wake up, put on the same shoes, use the same passwords, recognized by the ATM, say "Hi!" to the same people, but do they know who I am.

Until my new card arrives in the mail, I will not have any source of legal identification.

Searching for a new identity.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Remember when these numbers were important?

In 1969 the United States government created a draft to increase the amount of bodies who could be shipped to the other side of the world to try and stop the ENEMY?

1 9/14
2 4/24
3 12/30
4 2/14
5 10/18
6 9/6
7 10/26
8 9/7
9 11/22
10 12/6
12 12/7
13 7/8
14 4/11
15 7/12
16 12/29
17 1/15
18 9/26
19 11/1
20 6/4
21 1/16
21 8/10
22 6/26
23 7/24
24 10/5
25 2/19
26 12/14
27 7/21
28 6/5
29 3/2
30 3/31
31 5/24
32 4/1
33 3/17
34 11/2
35 5/7
36 8/24
37 5/11
38 10/30
39 12/11
40 5/3
41 12/10
42 7/13
43 12/9
44 8/16
45 8/2
45 8/4
45 8/26
46 11/11
47 11/27
48 8/8
49 9/3
50 7/7
51 11/7
52 1/25
53 12/22
54 8/5
55 5/16
56 12/5
57 2/23
58 1/19
59 1/24
60 6/21
61 8/29
62 4/21
63 9/20
64 1/30
64 6/27
65 5/10
66 11/12
67 7/25
68 2/12
69 6/13
70 12/21
71 9/10
72 10/12
73 6/17
74 4/27
75 5/19
76 11/6
77 1/28
78 12/27
79 10/31
80 11/9
81 4/4
82 9/5
83 4/3
84 12/25
85 6/7
86 2/1
87 7/20
87 10/6
88 7/28
89 2/15
90 4/18
90 7/18
91 2/7
92 1/26
93 7/1
94 10/28
95 12/24
96 12/16
97 11/8
98 7/17
99 11/29
100 12/31
101 1/5
102 8/15
103 5/30
104 6/19
105 12/8
106 8/9
107 11/16
108 3/1
109 6/23
110 6/6
111 8/1
112 5/17
113 9/15
114 8/6
115 7/3
116 8/23
117 10/22
118 1/23
119 9/23
120 7/16
122 3/7
123 12/28
124 4/13
125 10/2
126 11/13
127 11/14
128 12/18
129 12/1
130 5/15
131 11/15
132 11/25
133 5/12
134 6/11
135 12/20
136 3/11
137 6/25
138 10/13
139 3/6
140 1/18
141 8/18
142 8/12
143 11/17
144 2/2
146 11/18
147 4/7
148 4/16
149 9/25
150 2/11
151 9/29
152 2/13
153 7/22
154 8/17
155 5/6
156 11/21
157 12/3
158 9/11
159 1/2
160 9/22
161 9/2
162 12/23
163 12/13
165 12/4
166 3/16
167 8/28
168 8/7
169 3/15
170 3/26
171 10/15
172 7/23
173 12/26
174 11/30
175 9/13
176 10/25
177 9/19
178 5/14
179 2/25
180 6/15
181 2/8
182 11/23
183 5/20
184 9/8
185 11/20
186 1/21
188 7/5
189 2/17
191 4/29
192 10/20
193 7/31
194 1/9
195 9/24
196 10/24
197 5/9
198 8/14
199 1/8
200 3/19
201 10/23
202 10/4
203 11/19
204 9/21
205 2/27
206 6/10
207 9/16
208 4/30
209 6/30
210 2/4
211 1/31
212 2/16
213 3/8
214 2/5
215 1/4
216 2/10
217 3/30
218 4/10
219 4/9
220 10/10
221 1/12
222 6/28
223 3/28
224 1/6
225 9/1
226 5/29
227 7/19
228 6/2
229 10/29
230 11/24
231 4/14
232 9/4
233 9/27
234 10/7
235 1/17
236 2/24
237 10/11
238 1/14
239 3/20
240 12/19
241 10/19
242 9/12
243 10/21
244 10/3
246 9/18
247 6/22
248 7/11
249 6/1
250 5/21
251 1/3
252 4/23
253 4/6
254 10/16
255 9/17
256 3/23
257 9/28
258 3/24
259 3/13
260 4/17
261 8/3
262 4/28
263 9/9
264 10/27
265 3/22
266 11/4
267 3/3
268 3/27
269 4/5
270 7/29
271 4/2
272 6/12
273 4/15
274 6/16
275 3/4
276 5/4
277 7/9
278 5/18
279 7/4
280 1/20
281 11/28
282 11/10
283 10/8
284 7/10
286 8/25
287 7/30
288 10/17
289 7/27
290 2/22
291 8/21
292 2/18
293 3/5
294 10/14
295 5/13
296 5/27
297 2/3
298 5/2
299 2/28
300 3/12
301 6/3
302 2/20
303 7/26
304 12/17
305 1/1
306 1/7
307 8/13
308 5/28
309 11/26
310 11/5
311 8/19
312 4/8
313 5/31
314 12/12
315 9/30
316 4/22
317 3/9
318 1/13
319 5/23
320 12/15
321 5/8
322 7/15
323 3/10
324 8/11
325 1/10
326 5/22
327 7/6
328 12/2
329 1/11
330 5/1
331 7/14
332 3/18
333 8/30
334 3/21
335 6/9
336 4/19
337 1/22
338 2/9
339 8/22
340 4/26
341 6/18
342 10/9
343 3/25
344 8/20
345 4/20
346 4/12
347 2/6
348 11/3
349 1/29
350 7/2
351 4/25
352 8/27
353 6/29
354 3/14
355 1/27
356 6/14
357 5/26
358 6/24
359 10/1
360 6/20
361 5/25
362 3/29
363 2/21
364 5/5
365 2/26
366 6/8

What about today and tomorrow?

Thoughts of the mid-week continue to follow.

The Army has clean another area. Now it's a decision of major kitchen appliances. Keep them or pass them on?

The wind picked up today. That's a 30 mph wind. It slows you down or speeds you up when you ride two wheels. And you cap needs to be put on backwards to keep from blowing away.
You 4-wheelers have no idea what I'm talking about.

While riding, without ear plugs or ipods, one gets to pass joggers, walkers, and neighbors standing in the street talking to one another. The other day I passed two young women standing next to their mobile machines and the discussion include the phrase, "So I told 'my staff' to ...". I thought about the description of employees or as we tried to make politically correct by call people who were hired and employed by a corporation as "associates". They were not "writers", or "journalist", or "photographers", or "editors", or even "artist"; though we did make some categories like "imagers" from the old "engravers" who created the metal plates, or "paginators" from the old text paste-up staff, but it did not change the value or self worth of each employee. No matter of the name, each felt like a "production worker".
And I never....NEVER....discussed the people who were under my charge as "my staff". Each had a personal name and skill to best utilize the completion of the daily task.

With some old school buddies and lunch I contemplated school and what it meant to me. I was surprised I was the only one of the three who started at the college and finished at the same place, while the others went off in different directions. I remembered my grades were bad, but it kept me out of the military and lucky to continue into playing until a true employment was necessary. I think about the schooling system with their huge yellow buses absorbing their charges to deliver to the absorption rooms of science, math, English, history, and, if lucky, the arts. Also the charges were fed and in this detention center, kept safe until the parents could live their employment and pick up their little people to deliver back to the family. And the school became the second family and taught social skills. Then I pass a woman (I assume a mother) and two small children sitting in front of a house in the neighborhood, reading and asking questions. Home schooling? Interesting in this day and age, and would it work?

Cyclist call climbing mountains as an "attack". Attacking hills prepares the rider to gather the resources to climb the grade with a push of muscle and pedal. I have found it much more enjoyable to attack the hills than coast down the other side.

Some people believe that when the body ceases to function, the mind continues to move on. No one can say for sure, but it is a question to ponder. Others believe that when the body stops, the "being", whatever you call it, turn into butterflies. I've been surrounded by butterflies this fall and pause everything I see one of these fragile creatures. So remember be kind to these angles.

So tomorrow, clean out the plastic pots, cuts down a wall, have lunch with my brother, call the Social Security to make sure the death notification is complete, and call a plumber about installing a new bathroom.

Another full day, in Just Another Life.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Better day

Things fell together today.

Pulled up wire cages buried in the dirt, trim some of the branches, fill a void in the walkway with pine needles, another donation to the Army, trim roses and vines, grocery shopping with 5% discount for being old, open the cedar trunk to find the adoption baby dress, trim some of the bamboo,health insurance with fruit and oatmeal and fish.

Not a lot, but better than yesterday.

Tomorrow, catch up on the Department of Motor Vehicles ID and lunch with old friends.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Some Days Just Don’t Work Out

Everyone has those days.

Mine started last Friday when the Salvation Army called about 4:00 p.m. and said they could not get a driver to pick up my donation and had to reschedule. After waiting all day, I reloaded the boxes back into the house and filled the space until Tuesday.

That took all the projects off for the weekend, so it was football and beer.

So my Monday was free, I decided to renew my almost expired Virginia identification badge and go to the hardware store to replace a drawer knob from a tool case.

Simple right?

Well after my morning ride and newspaper read, I saddled up and peddled for the Department of Motor Vehicles. Locking my two wheels on a bike rack out front, I climbed the steps, filled out the appropriate form, and sat with my number, patiently waiting my turn to get a photo.

I entertained myself with overhearing a young man trying to get a license after getting a ticket. It took several managers to detail the process the DMV goes through and could not change the rules for the growing impatient driver.

Then the call came out from one behind the desk. “If you are waiting for a renewed driver’s license or identification card, the computer software that processes those has gone down throughout the state. You can wait or come back later, but they can not be processed now.”

OK. I took my form and walked out. This project just wasn’t meant today.

So I walked my bike down Broad to Lowes to pay on my card and find some pulls for my drawer toolbox. Simple right? Not so much.

I looked at the wall of pulls and everything was too big. So I asked a smiling employee if there were other knobs and he directed me to another area, but they were still too big.

But I got 12 wooden knobs, with my glass doorknobs, and checked out.

As soon as I filled my bags I remembered I was also going to get some lights, so I returned to the store, found the lights, then checked out again.

Still wondering about the knobs, I decided to got to the next hardware store a block away and try again. I found some brass knobs that were similar at a price of $5.00 each. Then I found porcelain knobs and after some decision and searching found 12 of them.

Once home, I compared the knobs to the tool chest and was not satisfied with any of them.

So tonight, I sit without a renewed ID and missing one knob.

But tomorrow is another day.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Another Days Thoughts

Dogs barking as the sun sets.

continuing to bark.

and continue barking.

Full moon waits for the evening hours.

Water and fruit and a 10 mile ride, almost finished before it began.

The usual Saturday.

Young women parading their pride.

Sweaty jogger with a pain on her face. That doesn't look like fun.

Soccer players going to play in a car pool.

Young writer and mom going to the gym.

Stalking cats. Do see their prey, but they might just be playing a cat.

Concentration and calculations. Followed by a white vehicle and gauging the vehicle in front with wings open. Enough space for all to pass, since we will all meet at the same spot at the same time. But what if a body jumps out in the path?

I allow the white vehicle pass so I can ride another day.

Yard sales, quiet gray high school except for it's dragon, and couple playing tennis on the newly paved courts.

Water and old news in the paper.

Then a walk to the hardware store for expandable screws to hopefully hold a clothes hanger and a dish drainer. Pretty darn exciting stuff.

Football, beer, and a hamburger.

The sun burst forth as the afternoon presents the old college and art shop.

15% discount and a ride back home with new drawing board covers.

More football and rice and string beans.

The air is cooler and the body is tired, so the Sooners and Hurricanes will have to wait until tomorrow.

Good night.

Second Coming by Alice Cooper

I couldn't tell
if the bells were getting louder
the songs they ring I finally recognize

I only know
hell is getting hotter
the devil's getting smarter all the time

And it would be nice
to walk upon the water
to talk again to angels on my side

Time is getting closer
I read it on a poster
fanatical exposers
on corners prophecy

It would be nice
to walk upon the water
to talk again to angels at my side

I just come back
to show you all my words are golden
so have no gods before me
I'm the light

(or I’m a lie?)