Friday, November 27, 2009

Just Another Day

Wake at sunrise remembering the wonderful dinner and conversation with an old high school friend. Creative ideas still abound.

Morning nourishment and welcome the morning sun. No fog or dew this morning, just the leftover moisture from the stormy rain.

Fill the water bottle and strap on the gloves and helmet. Time for a ride.

The usual path, yet always something different. Little traffic and more parked cars. More people are staying at home today, making a long weekend. Press on and soon the trip is done and I'm home.

Take a breathe and read the old news in the paper with Mexican bread and water and wind. Yet the sun warms the leaves and the little birds beckon for their breakfast.

The final wall has to come down, filling a trash can with styrofoam and dust. Two wardrobes are dragged down the path to the disassembling area.

Now it is time to wait until next Monday when I can start refilling the trash.

And so another saga goes.

But yesterday, I reunited with an old artist buddy with a ton of ideas and energy. Hopefully we can keep the flow going, as seems to be difficult with thoughts and dreams unrealized.

And tomorrow? Perhaps a breakfast at a familiar pub with coffee and conversation and hopefully new contacts and not good byes.

So the darkness blows in the cold air and it is time to sleep and await the morning light and a new adventure.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Interesting excerpt from a book I recently read.
“Try to imagine what the opposite of loneliness is.

Think of it.
Everyone in the world loves you? What is that?

Realize you are in isolation.

Live it! Enjoy it!

Just be glad that there aren’t a bunch of people who want to use up your time. Because along with all the love and admiration that’s going to come from the people that would keep you from being lonely, there is the emotional freight you have to bear from people who are wasting your time, and you can’t get that back
So when you’re lonely and all by yourself, guess what you have?

You have all your own time.

That’s a gritty good fucking deal.

Something you couldn’t buy any place else.

And every time you’re out being sociable and having other people be “nice” to you so you don’t feel “lonely”, they are wasting your time.

What do you get for it?

Because after they’re done being nice to you they want something from you.

And they’ve already taken your time!

Loneliness… is not a bad deal. It’s a good deal.” Frank Zappa

Be creative in your time and you will not be lonely.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Rainy Day Feelings

The rain last night brought in my upstairs neighbors. They moved some furniture around just to let me know they were there and then got quiet at sunrise.

The rain continues and seems like it will stay the week, so the focus is for inside projects. That means, upstairs to roust the neighbors.

It is still warm enough to read the newspaper outside, with the cardinals and squirrels and a cup of coffee. Across the street a baby is held up to look out the storm door at the rain while whiffs of someone’s cooking drifts through the air.

There has been progress in my journey, but much more to do.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Living Alone

The trash has been emptied and refilled. The recycling carried away. The leaves moved to the curb and removed by plows and trucks and sweepers.

It amazes me the amount of personnel and material used to do these simple jobs.

Years ago, men with rakes piled the leaves and hoisted them into trucks. Before that we burned the leaves next to the side walks.

Today, there are plows and huge dinosaur trucks in processions moving the dead solar cells into a pile for delivery to another site, cleaning the concrete for the mobile machines.

And cops ticketing vehicles who couldn't (wouldn't) read the big green signs about the street cleaning, followed by rows of repro trucks picking up their $125 charges in a parade of forgetful wonderment.

Why do dinosaurs sound like heavy machinery? Did the T-Rex really sound like a trash truck?

And what is with the white city trucks full of black men in day glo yellow vest sitting on every corner? Are they ready to attack the leaves if they do not cooperate with the monster machines? These trucks sit at every corner, motors running, waiting.... My tax dollars at work.

So on my journey around the neighborhood observing all my tax money being used when the leaves could just rot and be washed away by the spring rains, I ponder a thought from last weekend's wonderful dinner with friends.

I caught myself saying "we" in discussions, about home and family and processes.... then I realized, I need to change that description to "I".

And life moves on. Two days of pulling nails and cutting wood and tomorrows adventure....move upstairs.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

As the day started, it was still gray outside, but not drippy.

Checking the yard for broken limbs, noticing the carpet of poplar leaves which the rain empted and feeding the overflow pond, the three days of nor' easterner seems to come through with minor problems (slight drip in the ceiling).

Still too wet for a ride, I dumped some more wood into the pit, then decided to walk.
The air had been washed clean and I saw little weather damage in the neighborhood.

Strolling up to the theater that shows artsy films and noticing the number of empty buildings, I moved to the hardware store.

"Can I help you?" the greeter asked when I entered the old grocery store transformed to aisles of screws and hammers.

"No, I'm just looking. I had to get out" I replied to her knowing smile.

As I wandered the neatly arranged store about 3 times the size of the original store in the VCU area that impressed me as a youth with the knowledge and array of correct information and parts.

Finding a few small project parts, I started my journey back home, yet the mist had started again.

More vacant stores beckoned me to the local oriental restaurant for a menu and check on delivery. The empty room gave the information without interrupting anyone, so I continued down Patterson.

A quick lunch of sandwich and water, reviewing the newspaper, and collecting the mail, I decided to pay the bills and walk to the post office.

I always shake when I write large checks, but I sealed the envelopes, locked the house, and started east.

The streets are covered in wet slush which will be interesting tomorrow on the marathon through the neighborhood.

Mailing the bills, I decided to wander down Carytown and check out the local guitar store. I was surprised at the few guitars and the high prices of the guitar amps (so close to Christmas), even with the owner talking about his portfolio going up 38%.

No prizes, so I wandered back home deciding what to do to relax tonight for the good work I had done today. Only one more wall to go, but I'll probably wait for next week for empty trash cans.

Five o'clock and only a light mist, so I ride for the first time in 3 days to the grocery store (along with everyone else).

The final list was sliced cheese, Gouda cheese, crackers, bread, and Williamsburg wine.

Sliding home in the dark, I will watch the end of week PBS shows, have a glass of wine, and rest for more moving tomorrow.

And not a bad Friday the 13th. Maybe it was the 4 pennies I picked up (and all the day have good luck).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Smelling Heat

Gray overcast and constant rain, today started slowly. A pot of mocha coffee fired up my drive to continue the reconstruction.

And by noon, there was much dust and wood and nails scattered about. So it was time to take a break.

Since there was constant dripping, I climbed into a poncho and decided to walk down to the Boulevard in the fall weather. The temperatures were not too cold, but the moisture dampened the stroll.

On paths that I've walked for years, the sidewalks were covered with leaves, suppose to be removed by the city Monday, but they didn't say which Monday.

Around puddles, observing the yellow and red trees give their last to the coming winter. A slower pace gives a chance to observe and hear and smell closer to the true nature of the day.

Up Grove Avenue past large row houses peppered with doctors offices. Apartments, duplexes, single family dwellings standing for years. Some have new coats of paint, or doorways, but there is no space for additions. Some old apartments were now for "lease" or for sale as condos, while others stood the trail of time giving care to one family after another.

Then, passing one of the houses raised up with the front door at eye level, I smelled heat. No, not a passing care or fuel smell, the smell of heat. It struck my senses against the moist air. A few more steps and it was gone and the wet rotting leaves splashing in the gutters came back to recreate the journey's atmosphere.

It was a strange sensation. I remember it on a cold day feeling the warmth, but there is a certain smell to it also.

Passing the museums I turned back deciding not to give too much chance of walking wet and cold.

The rest of the journey was uneventful, but that one quick sense change was worth the exercise adventure.

Put the wet clothes in the dryer and snuggle up with my sweats and a cup of green tea.

Tomorrow I will continue to tear down wood knowing I can wander again to cough out the wallboard dust and gather my breathe in the dampness.

And all those who pass in their sheltered mobile machines will miss this.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Little Feet

It was Wednesday, 61 years ago when I decided to come to lunch.

Must have been a cold winter that year, but I waited until after Halloween and before Thanksgiving to make my appearance.

It has been an interesting ride so far and maybe a few more to go.

Time for more ice cream and cake

Friday, November 6, 2009

What's with all the noise?

Fall is here and the leaves are turning golden or orange or red while falling to the ground in a crisp carpet.

This was the time to get out in the yard on Saturday and rake huge piles of these solar cells while your kids dove into the fall foliage and you talked to neighbors about the afternoon college football games. Raking leaves was a rite of passage to nature's care.

But now there are leaf blowers. Noisy machines that blow leaves (except for the wet ones) into piles and across the yard. Back and forth across the grass lawns, neighbors or in my neighborhood, landscapers or lawn maintenance workers don headphone sound protectors, strap on the plastic tubes with electric or gas motors and sweep the yards.

And because of the racket, the animals scurry away, the neighbors can not talk or sleep or concentrate, and the leaves just blow back.

But this is the new reality (yes, I even have one but I don't know where all the tubes are).

So have a NOISY fall and don't mind me as I pull the old metal pronged tool to pull the masses of decaying foliage to the curb for the city to vacuum next week. I may even feel it was a workout when I'm done.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Got up early and walked the two blocks to my elementary school to vote.

The sky was clear and air cool. No lines and a quick touch screen to vote for those who won't be elected. And half of the candidates had no opposition.

Who wants to run for city sheriff and run the jail overpopulated with guys in jumpsuits who you have to feed and contain.

And you are very Richmond if you walk by the young brunette woman in a business suit and skirt offering Republican information and offer to adjust opinion to the party of choice.

But to get a smile after all the process is to hear the Republican worker ask a new voter if she wanted more propaganda, and the responses was....

"I knew him when he was this high."

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday Morning

A rainy start of the first of November I start with a pot of chocolate mocha coffee, “Butterflies Away from Home” and the Sunday newspaper.

The headlines state the republicans lead in the polls (no surprise), while overseas the runoff election in Afghanistan may be for not if the runner up drops out. The grand opening of the Home Goods covers the promotion of $175 in coupons are falling out of the newspaper and the report that the Yankees won last night (but I saw the game and already know that).

The economy hits with a investigation of a small poor Virginia county known for it’s peanuts losing over 1,000 jobs in a paper mill and announcing public services at risk because of revenue declines, so don’t expect the libraries to stay open, the kid’s classrooms to get any smaller, or the firemen to show up if you have a fire.

But I read the paper from the back to the front so let’s pick up all those things that fall out of the paper and see what we have.

I first try to start the day with the comics. Why not start the days with a smile?
Prince Valiant is searching for his wife who has been swallowed inside the earth with the help of the hairy man he picked up in the algae sea (oh, it’s a long story) with Merlin’s glowing gems. Pardon my Planet, the new “hip” comic uses potty talk, and Peanuts is still in the paper though the artist has long since gone.

Zombies, drinking, war, and pills take up the other comics without any outstanding creative or artistic surprises.

“Parade” the Sunday Newspaper Magazine presents Sandra Bullock’s new film and How the Economy has made up poorer but richer in spirit.

Now on to the coupon with “Toys R Us” Christmas catalog with video games, plastic dolls, plastic guns, plastic autos, plastic electric guitars, and one page of science and thought provoking projects with a girl in a wheelchair looking though a telescope with a smile.

“JoAnn fabric and Craft Stores” ? Don’t know where that is and I don’t need anymore yarn. “Popeye's” ?? Nowhere close to me, so that is a waste of printing. Same with “Best Buy”, “Sears”, “Arhaus”, “Farmer’s Foods”, “Ollie’s Outlet”, “Dicks”, “Walgreen's”, “Kmart”, “Michael's”, “Rite Aid”…. well you get the point.

I don’t need anything at “CVS”, “Mattress Warehouse”, “Radio Shack”, “Target” or “Office Depot”. I don’t need a John Deere Holiday train, a glass snowman with a white Christmas scene in it, or $15,000 rebates in an assisted living apartments (yet).

Low rates for safe drivers? Is this directed marketing? They don’t know me very well.

The bundles of food coupons are all about chocolate, hair color, mail order pills and fancy checks. The grocery store, I attend everyday, has the same stuff they had yesterday and will have tomorrow. And I am so used to their weekly mailing, nothing moves me to go shopping for a snugglie or diet coke.

Now on to the meat of the product… the NEWS.

Starting with section J (remember I start at the back and move forward). Babies. Cute. Brides. Cute, but not for me.

“Travel”? Not today. “Arts and Entertainment” about a former Richmond high school graduate playing for the Chicago Symphony (yawn) and Warhol Polaroid display at W&M (double yawn). Tonight on television there is a makeover, race, mystery and baseball. I don’t need any advice (that’s my take, you may differ in that thought) or puzzles. A plus size model is happy to be a size 12 (the average size for the American female is 14). “Books and Authors” have WW II story reviewed by the old managing editor, and other page turners, but nothing catches my eye, accept the old rockers smiling from across the page promoting their upcoming show with bleached hair and wrinkles.

Speaking of music, which is the ultimate connection, a story of a stepfather and his children bonding over his massive CD collection and a photo of one of Jimi Hendrix’s stratacasters.

Now onto the “Classifieds” sections. Not looking for a car, house, or a job… so two sections are scanned, but not read or needed.

The “Commentary” (which used to be called the Editorial) gives the public forum called “Your 2 Cents” which tells you what it is worth, then the war(s) decision request, health reform, election night goose bumps (big night in newsrooms), education, traditional values, and a “Road to Revival through small business, government regulations, medical cost, and federalism.

“Moneywise” section continues with green research, virus software, taxes, and tightening your belt. The most interesting spot was tips for energizing your work environment by eliminate useless work practices, clearing e-mail, make meetings optional, and help other and ask for help (all great options if management accepts the empowerment of those who work in the trenches.)

“Sports” hasn’t changed much. Scores are typed in tiny type for the search of baseball, high school football, auto racing, ice hockey, golf, tennis, and rodeo? What about ping-pong and badminton? With two ads, one for guns and bullets, and one for a football package to the local university game next week, I still wonder how this 12-page section pays for itself?

The “Metro” section informs me that the “Home Goods” store is opening in Glen Allen (but I already knew that from the front page), an English baron who directed “The Avengers” and “Hawaii Five-O” is charged with larceny, a bunch of dead people I don’t know, Jahnke Road to be made safer with curbs, gutters and sidewalks, people walk for Lupus in the rain, kids dance to Thriller for Halloween, dogs get dressed up for Howl-A-Woof, and downtown Broad Street is the scene of two….TWO stabbings in one week (put that in your “Come On Downtown” pamphlets).

More election information, polls, economy news, opinions of a state county drift into poverty, an old mosque restored in Cairo (?), bomb in Pakistan, forth typhoon hits Philippines, no contract changes at Ford (keep quiet and keep your job), Ms. Clinton speaks to Muslins (who treat women well?), while the president hands out treats to kids at the White House, and six dead bodies found in Cleveland are the stories in the main news section of the Sunday paper sponsored by phones, gift cards, face lifts, holiday portraits, shoes, bankruptcy liquidation, medical information, mortgage cost, senior assisted living, cash for gold, auto insurance, teeth, feet, bunions adjustments, and tuxedos for the holidays.

So the rain is stopping and daylight saving times has given another hour (but two of the three radio controlled clocks haven’t caught on yet)

So it is time for football, feeding the yard, and snuggling down for some economic studies of the past few months and plans for the next projects.