Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Newspapers are like restaurants

Before newspapers started printing, news was passed by word-of-mouth.

Families would get messages from extended family members or close neighbors. Children brought home news told to them from unrelated children in school.

The other gathering spot was the church. To guarantee the families would attend, there were dinners. Families would cook and bring dishes which the entire congregation could dine. This also was a great location to share news.

Restaurants, taverns, delis, bistros, bars.... whatever the name, became an extension of the church social. They also became a location to dine in comfort and share news with friends.

Restaurants were varied and though the menus were similar, each had it's own individual personality. Some focused on ethic spices, some became havens for like minded people (which would later become private clubs), some were family oriented while others tended to the single crowd.

Once a comfortable setting was found, a restaurant became part of the family. The menu was familiar reading with all the essentials and a bit of flair and flavor. The preparation was the right portion and the delivery warm and welcoming.

Thought the food could be prepared at home, it was special to got to the restaurant, having a meal prepared and served, but there was a cost.

And for years, the same restaurant became a required dinning experience. The menu would slightly vary, but the management would save the old favorites and explain the changes were keeping up with the times.

But the times were changing.

Fast food, prepared quickly and cheaply to keep up with the fast paced activities of the modern family cut into the restaurant's clientele.

Then came delivery. Now the family could order from a restaurant menu's items prepared and delivered to the comfort of their own home.

Today restaurants are dropping, even with daily specials, extended menus, big screen televisions, and live music.

or perhaps the palette has changed.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Every day, usually as the sun breaks the horizon, the mind wakes from a night of sleep.

It’s that time when the dreams fade into a new day.

Even keeping the eyes closed doesn’t refute the fact that the body has moved from still to knowing

The ears become aware of the sounds of the awaking. Birds call to a mate in short phrases, awaiting to hear a similar response.

The wind picks up right before the sun rises. It is the coldest moment of the night turning to day.

Next door the dogs nails tap a frantic dance across the deck chasing the shadows of the night.

Lights begin to break the dark silence and the city stirs.

This is also the time when the mix of dreams and reality blend bringing new ideas for the morning.

The deference between what is reality and what is the fog from the night drifts as the clock down the hall metronomes the time.

Throw back and covers, swing the legs out, and step on the floor with back straight. Stand up quickly and start to stretch the tendons pulled tense from yesterdays dreams.

Waking every morning brings a new adventure.

And thought I’m not sure, but at this time in life, it beats the alternative.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Going to the store

After a gray rainy morning deflating a few warm sunny days, there was a break in the clouds which I clutched at to venture into the dampness.

Preparing myself at the end of the alley after scaring the yard bunny, I checked the sky and the wind, the clouds and started my breathing exercise, stretching my still damp gloves and adjusting my mirror.

The air felt like a winter air, rather than the warm almost spring sent, so instead of my usual route, I proceeded to the store under rain drops and stopping for guys in trucks blocking my path to talk to one-another then wander off in different directions with the sound of monster leaf movers in the background.

I attacked a hill before the metal dinosaurs could grab me and mailed my statement for the Media General board selection.

Reaching the bike rack, I noticed the number of slow, old people venturing in a similar direction. Once inside I realized the notice on the weather that a chill factor was approaching was the same as a snow alert.

I had my list of fish food, bird seed, bread, sandwich meat, mustard ( a struggle due to a slow restocking and people who look at the variety of mustard as if they were purchasing an automobile), and BEER.

But my best intentions were derailed by the pace of the shoppers around me.

I get frustrated with people who park their carts and stare at cereal boxes or cans of beans or washing detergent or frozen dinners as if they are best sellers. These "shoppers" are not examining the ingredients or health values. They are reading each can as a billboard for a food product.

This would be an interesting study for an advertising marketer, but for a guy who wants to come in, get his stuff, and get out.... these folks just get in my way.

So, since it was going to be a cold wet day, and the other humanoid who wandered the aisles made a half hour trip into an eternity, I started picking up "comfort food". Chicken wings dipped in barbecue sauce and potato wedges dipped in cheese and bacon. Just shoot me now.

The cold wind on the ride home did not calm me down, but packing in all the food I didn't want or need did.

And I got a call from a repair man who should have called yesterday. Whoopee.

So I will be stuffed in bed tonight, a cold night, like a winter night, thinking of what new expense I'll have to pay to get back to normal.

But what is normal?


The past two days I have been working in the kitchen and instead of playing a CD or without sound at all, I decided to listen to FM radio.

The dusty old AM/FM clock radio I used to use to wake me up years ago, came out from the findings and was placed on the refrigerator to become the fifth clock.

A tinny sound come from the plastic box and with some twirling of the nob, a few stations were loud enough to listen too.

Country/ western (which sounds more like Pop or Rock), the hip-hop mess, talk (blah-blah-blah) radio, and soft rock.

I decided on soft rock and for the past two days have spent two hours listening to this mush while surfing Facebook and 4 different email accounts (no, I don't know why).

But I can only stand so much of Journey, Kansas, or even Elton John (although the song "Tiny Dancer" gave me pause).

The sound has stuck to the bottom of my shoes as I walk outside into the rain and sounds of the leaves blowing in the spring turn winter again breeze.

I think I prefer the sounds of silence.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Alley Cruising

In my neighborhood, a spring, then summer ritual, is to watch pickup trucks cruise the alleys.

I think it is a sport, this alley cruising.

One man's trash is another man's treasure.

So we put out things not needed or wanted anymore and the scavengers show up and remove the treasures before the city waste crew can remove it.

To me it is a donation to an unknown family, all for free.

The items may be repaired or sold or broken down and used for parts.

Inspirations for invention can used from what is scrap for others.

Televisions, refrigerators, stoves, and furniture have been placed in the alley.

The next day they disappear.

I'm satisfied with the results since I wanted it removed anyway.

Some see these people as rats stealing scraps, but I see them as opportunist who realized a great deal and with a little effort and exploration, can find treasures.

Monday, March 22, 2010

What's Up Doc?


“Hey Bob! How are you?”
He doesn't really want to know how Bob is.

“Hi Tom. OK, I guess. I’ve had some pains in my back.”
Why tell Tom about health problems. Of course, it is one of the three things we discuss with people when we really don't want to share ideas and get into deep meaningful dialogue. Health, weather, family. Don't go to politics or religion.

“Ow! My father had back pains.”
Why does Bob need to know about Tom's father's back problems. Is it association or familiarity?

“Yeah? I have probably been working too hard.”
Ah, the sympathy vote. Poor Bob. Does that also gives sympathy to Tom's father?

“He was very uncomfortable and could hardly walk.”
Nope. Tom's response takes the rug out from that direction. Tom may be on the defensive. Maybe his father didn't work as hard as Bob?

“I didn’t want to go to the doctor, so it will probably loosen up.”
There you go Bob. Change the subject and give yourself a self diagnosis and prescription for relief.
“My dad took Dealdersel. Three pills a day.”
Now Dr. Tom is prescribing a solution for Bob's pain.

Bob acknowledges he has heard of the medicine, or is it some weird name and he wants more information.
“I don’t think it helped him. He died three days later.”
Not a real good endorsement from Tom, but it does end the reference to his father.
“Oh, sorry to hear that.”
Bob's not sorry. He didn't even know Tom's dad. He may have been a child molester. He's just getting out of the conversation.

“Yeah, he was in great agony. Really was suffering. Guess it was all better that he went that way.”
Tom seems to be glad his child molester dad was gone.

“Ah, yeah, I’m going to get another drink, be right back. Can I get you anything?”
Bob's ducking out. This conversation is getting too weird, but he is polite.

“Yeah, I’ll have another double.”
Tom slugs down his drink and waves an empty glass at the departing Bob with a sloppy smile.

“Hey Tom, was that Bob?”
Enter Mary from stage right, patiently waiting for the right instance to interrupt the conversation.

“Hi Mary. Yes, that’s Bob. Gone off to numb his pain.”
What a nice introduction. Is Tom describing Bob in his brief yet pontifical remark.

“He doesn’t look so good, do you think?”
Dr. Mary is now making her diagnosis from a quick physical.

“Probably killing his liver. You know Bob.”
Tom reinforces his serializing thus reinforcing his diagnosis and creating a history.

“Yeah (hee hee). He seems to be walking funny.”
Mary agrees though she does not know Bob that well or any previous problems. It is the appropriate thing to do to agree without knowing, but she changes back to her observations of physical descriptions.

“I think he has disablisous. My dad had that.”
Dr. Tom strikes again with family history to support his impressive statement.

“Wow! That sounds bad.”
Good old Mary. Agreeing again. I bet she gets a lot of dates.
“Yeah, killed him. Oh here comes Bob.”
Tom dissolves his doctor role after realizing he has totally dominated the conversation.

“Hi Mary, how have you been?”
Bob hands Tom his drink that he has paid for and really doesn't care about how Mary is.

“Hi Bob. Haven’t seen you in a long time. You look great.”
Mary lies to his face. If Bob can read body language, he will know and lose more respect for her.

Some time later….
Is she ready for this?

“Hi Mary! Hi Tom!”
She at least remembers their names.

“Have you seen Bob recently?”
Yikes. Dr. Mary gets right to the gossip.

“Bob? No I haven’t seen him in a couple of weeks.”
Sally is not committing to anything until she knows where this conversation is going.

“He’s not doing so good.”
Dr. Tom jumps in.

“I think he killing his liver.”
Dr. Mary concurs.

“That’s a shame.”
Sally limps concern.

“And I think he’s got dedorages. Probably got it from that sleazy Chinese girl he’s been seeing.”
Dr. Tim shows his knowledge of medical terms and his jealousy of Bob's friends.

“Wow? Really??”
Sally perked up as the gossip got juicy.

“He probably has slobiaties also. I hear that is going around with those folks.”
Dr. Mary, not wanting to be left out, adds her medical terminology and bigotry.

“That’s terrible.”
Sally has no idea what they are talking about, and probably doesn't know Bob very well and wonders why they are talking about him.

“Let’s go get a drink and I’ll tell you all about it.”
Dr. Tom, take a look in the mirror.

“OK as long as we don’t wind up like last time.”
Sally gets a lot of dates too.

“Hee hee.”
What does Tom know about Sally? What will happen after some pure speculative gossip lubricated with liquor? Will Tom score the ultimate male fantasy or will they all get sad and go home to empty beds.

And when did we all become doctors?

I’m a Nimrod

Today I was doing some inside chores while the spring rain cleared the air.

I decided to change the blankets on the bed to a flowered lightweight cover. Then it hit me.

This is a task I have not done for 30 years.

I guess I have been too busy or exhausted or too distracted to worry about the little things that make a house a home.

Pushing a vacuum, washing the dishes, changing the sheets are chores all new to me.

The past year I’ve washed clothes and then put them back on. The dishes are down to a cup and a plate, but most meals are heated in the microwave in the cup. The bed doesn’t need to be made up, just fold the covers over and it will sit until the evening.

This atmosphere reminds me of the college day’s apartment. The bed isn’t on the floor but the attitude of cleaning and decorating is not at the top of my to-do list.

As I ride through the neighborhood after the rain cleared, I ponder what I have been doing for the past three decades.

How did the dishes get washed, the clothes changed, the windows cleaned, the lawn watered, the curtains hung, the rugs vacuumed, the shoes polished, the food cooked?

Then it hit me.

I’m a Nimrod!

I’m a hunter, gatherer, and provider for others.

But do I know how to care for myself?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Who is that guy?

As I sat on my bike this spring morning, looking at the clear blue sky preparing for my ride, I waited for a mobile machine to past.

The driver looked at me, with some form of recognition, she smiled and waved. I smiled and waved back and began to wonder.

What do they know about this guy?

Who is that guy who rides through the neighborhood everyday, black helmet over his long hair, blue windbreaker waving in the breeze, this old white bearded guy who peddles by without a sound?

Why should they wave at a cyclist? We don't cause no harm to their children or property, we don't make a lot of noise, and we don't take up much space. In fact, we probably represent "green" to them in their petrol machines.

But do they know this guy who passes by in a flash?

They could look at the profile on Facebook for what school he attended or where he worked or even his age, but does that tell much about him?

Do they know he is left handed?

Do they know he will enjoy the company of rabbits in the yard in complete silent for hours?

Do they know he knows where they went to school? Do they know he knows what cars they drive? Do they know when they redecorate or landscape?

Do they know he appreciates inappropriate signs of affection? When couples suddenly pause and kiss each other in public. When couples walk down the street hand-in-hand.
When a glance of an eye brings a smile.

Perhaps he knows more about them than they know of him.

He knows that couples walk the empty village on Sundays with their dogs. Guys will walk baby strollers giving their wives a bit of quiet time in the morning. He watches women on the ground enjoy the dirt. He watches the children riding their first bikes with pink helmets followed closely by attending mothers. He watches couples walking together in the street enjoying the warm weather and the blooming flowers of the neighborhood.

Still they don't know his name, or his reason for riding through their environment, but without a threatening feeling, they will smile and wave at a familiar face and I will respond with the same.

So now I will stop, park my bike, take off my helmet, grab a bottle of water and walk into the yard to enjoy the spring day.

but I leave empty handed.

Friday, March 19, 2010


There is something in all of us that we can not share with anyone else.

The dark little secrets that only one knows. We keep this information to ourselves and secure into our deepest mode what hides there.

It may be a mystery to ourselves, but we can not divulge this information.

Will you admit your darkest secrets to yourself?

If you tell someone else, then they are no longer secrets.

Do you think you don't have secrets?

Do you share your email? What about your friends on FaceBook?

I have an old army footlocker under lock and key. Within it I hold the secrets of previous moments that mean so much to me that I have carried them throughout my life, but have never shared with anyone.

We will all carry our secrets until the end.

Do you want to know a secret?

Night Ride

I haven't taken a night ride in a long while, so to end the winter, I decided tonight was the night.

The house on the corner was having a party, probably for the same reason, warm weather and sunshine. Perhaps it was just a good reason to drink beer.

The darkness hides many secrets that the daylight presents, but the path is the same so I should be able to find my way.

Strobe lights flashing, dividing the shadows as a guiding light, the trees bare arms glow in the street lights. There is a sliver hangnail of a moon as a plane lights the sky.

Only a few mobile machines join me on the sandy streets, tops down and no signals, but I am patient and familiar with the lack of curiosity of distracted drivers.

I mail my census glowing in the feathered buds of the trees at the mall glowing in the streetlights.

I return, unscathed by the night, rewarded by liquid and peanut butter cookies for my fine achievement today of taking the last structure down from the upstairs area.

I walk through the rain of the birch tree announcing spring by weeping away winter.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Understanding the Conversation

Bright blue sky, warm sunshine. Perfect day for a ride.

Dressed lightly with just a wind breaker to protect from the slight breeze, I avoid the potholes and sand on my routine journey.

As I notice several yard maintenance and home improvement parked with men in dirty t-shirts and baggy blue jeans discussing their plans, instructing their workers, or commenting on the mother in dark glasses pushing a stroller by, I listen to their words.

I do not understand the conversation. The words make no sense to me. Perhaps a different dialect or a foreign tongue, I can not understand a word or phrase of their conversation.

This happens several times on my ride and I wonder if there is anyone talking in a language I can understand.

Last night celebrating the holiday of beer consumption, the room was so noisy talking inches from one another was impossible to comprehend. Our mouths moved, when not slurping the sudsy potion in plastic cups, then we nodded like we understood what the other face had said. We yelled at one another to no avail and laughed when we thought it was appropriate.

Maybe there are times in life where you don't understand the conversation, due to lack of listening skills, ill-fated misconceptions, or waning attention spans.

At the end of my morning venture, a group of art students sat in the grass outside. Their instructor was walking among the groups of two or three talking loud enough for the spread out group of about two dozen to hear his voice. I paused to take a water break and listen. I don't remember going outside in high school art class, but we just drew on the cave walls back then.

The instructor was telling one young man to look at the entire tree, branches and trunk. "Fill the entire sheet of paper" he continued walking to the next group.

A small cluster of students were close to the fence, laughing and giggling in the sunshine. They looked happy to be outside, but not interesting in learning art. They were teenagers, surrounded by friends, with a little free time in the sun.

I understood their conversation without hearing a single word.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Restless Night

As many of us do, there are rituals to sleeping.

Check the doors, turn off the lights, do the toiletries, and don't forget to brush your teeth. Put on your night cloths, put away your day clothes, and slid under the covers.

And we drift into the unconscious state of rest for the body and mind.

Sometimes the mind wants to unburden the thoughts of the day in dreams.

I normally wake about 5 AM to wonder down the hall and hear the newspaper hit the door. And normally it is easy to turn over and go back to sleep.

But this is the times dreams come out.

Yesterday was a cool, wet day with little sunshine and few moments of motivation, but sleep came early enough.

The first dream was of me working in the backroom. It felt comfortable and familiar. I had spent some time there during the day playing music and organizing art files. Looking back it had been somewhat fruitful.

Then I heard some footsteps.

This house is very quiet and with little insulation, so noise inside and outside echo.

I stopped working and listened. It had sounded like someone was walking up the steps. I turned to the backdoor window and did not see any shadows. I paused. It hadn't really sounded that close, so I thought it may be someone at the front door. I started to work again, but the thought would not leave my mind. What was that sound?

I decided to get up and walk to the living room to listen. I did not see any movement on the front porch, but it is very dark without a street light. I moved to the front door to peer out the security peep hole when....


The door flew open in my face, not hitting me but making me jump back.


I jumped up in bed, eyes wide open.

I caught my breathe as I wrestled with the covers.

I stopped the struggle, started breathing, wiped my eyes in the dark and listened.

"Had there been a big noise that woke me up?" I thought.

Then I listened more intently for any noise.

"Was the door smashed open? Do I go into the other room and check? Maybe it was a car back fire? Maybe a tree branch fell?"

After a walk around the house and all seemed in order, I climbed back into bed, turned over and went back to sleep.

Now I was at a party. An outdoor party, in the summer, in an alley. All gray and dusty, this seemed familiar from a previous dream about a gritty, dirty inner city feeling.

As usual I was searching for something, but it felt comfortable to be with these street people. They were drinking, talking in soft voices, playing checkers on a card table with kids running about. All like a big family.

I woke from that wondering what was next. It was still dark outside. The bird clock's hour alarm must have been six o'clock because it sounded close to a time I hear it everyday.

I wasn't ready to go back to dreamland, but I wasn't ready to awake. I listened for the birds, but there was no sound. No rain, no wind, no footsteps; just quiet.

Dozing off for what seems a minute, I awoke to the sound of a truck's door slam. I opened my eyes and sunlight appeared. I smiled.

The restless night was over and Leo is already starting to work the neighbor's lawn.

Life was back to normal.

But what will tonight's dreams bring?

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Who are we talking to?

It seems everyone is on his or her phones, but whom are they talking to.

It seems the human spirit needs to speak (or we wouldn't have create language. Rough gestures don't make sense anymore now that we can describe our surroundings, dreams, wishes and feelings.

But do we need to do this all the time?

The phone companies think so, so they promote an atmosphere where everyone must be connected with everyone else, all the time.

And if the spoken word isn't enough, there is texting, email, social networks, and even cameras to keep each other entertained.

Do we have a need to call each other every so often, to make sure we are not forgotten or just to hear another voice?

Have we become speed dial numbers and email addresses? Should this be our description on driver licenses? When the government wants its taxes, should they call NeverLand132@dingdongbell.net?

My phone isn't that smart and I turn it off every night.

Been fun talking to you.

Couples on Facebook

It amuses me to read couples talking to one another on social networking sites like Facebook.

One will make a statement as a status and the other sends a comment, then the first responds to the comment, and it continues.

I can rationalize this behavior if they are miles apart and they want everyone to watch them chat. Of course that is what emails and chats are for. Why do these couples want to expose their conversations to the world?

Realizing today's need to stay connected through mass technology, I wonder about people's communication skills.

Are they in the same building? Are they in the same room? I've heard tales of this happening.

Do we want the impersonal and remote tapping on keyboards to the vocalization of ideas and thoughts?

Tap tap tap"Hi! I'm in the kitchen, looking for something to eat."
Tap tap tap "Look the refrigerator for some leftover meatloaf."
Tap tap tap "Are you hungry?" 8^p
Tap tap tap "LOL"
Tap tap tap "What?"
Tap tap tap "Do these pants make me look FAT?"
Tap tap tap "Skype me and I'll let you know. Oh, look, chocolate cake!!"
Tap tap tap "I'll send you an email. I'm sitting on the scanner."

And then……

…. A voice in the room

…… echos through the headphones.


Don't try to out "James Brown" James Brown.

The other night I was watching an old 1964 black and white television presentation called "The T.A.M.I. Show" and noticed during the James Brown segment (which is very hot) an interesting occurrence.

James Brown's backup singers, three guys in matching suits, singing the fills to the leaders song. As James Brown stepped back in line with the three and started to dance, the backups mirrored his moves.

They were in complete unison, all but one. The second from the left started adding twirls and swivels the others did not. His actions did not match the leader and quickly fell back in line with the others.

I don't know who this guy was or if he had a job after this show. He may have been a great choreographer, but when you are a backup, you stay a backup.

Now James Brown was out front for a reason, and he showed why he was the leader. The quick moves by the backup did not compare with the energy and sensation James Brown gave the audience.

I also noticed the band member playing to the exact tempo and when not play, waiting for their turn. There was no jamming or experimentation or variance from the theme of the show.

That is what the "backup" group does for the star of the show.

In another segment, I watch the band as the camera cuts between cuts. Here is a trombone player, probably union, playing off a sheet of music. Dressed in a suit with hair neatly combed, he played his part then stood still. He did not look at the camera. He did not attempt to put in his own notes. He waited for his next cue to add his pre-planned part to the performance. He did not get the spotlight or the applause or the accolades from fans that the star got, but he was part of the presentation.
I performed and never wanted to be the "star" (or so I rationalize to my limited ability), but as a musician, I could not justify to myself to go out every night and play the same notes in the same order.

The reasons for live music or art is the variations that take place in each performance. Sometimes it doesn't work, but sometimes, when everyone "clicks" together, it is memorable to the audience and the performers.

But don't try to do James Brown. There was only one and no one could out "James Brown" James Brown.


There was a day when we would write to each other. Pen and paper, scratching out thoughts and wishes for another to view.

Students and proper families were taught the vocabulary and form of writing a letter for every occasion. Time was spent practicing penmanship or choosing the proper paper stock. Wax stamps were created to give a regal personal touch. The effort to write on paper, then put into an envelope, and walk to a mail box was the only way to communicate with someone far away.

Sometimes these letters were expressing well wishes to one who has been married, or given birth, or has had an illness.

Letters were written to keep in touch with family, often-describing children accomplishments, elder's health, and employment accolades.

Waiting a reply to a letter was ever so long for lovers, sending their deepest feelings on scented paper, many times writing wishes that were never expressed face-to-face.

Writing a letter was an art form, so quickly lost with the immediacy of technology.

But even today, who is not excited with getting a written letter? Someone took the time to sit down, put pen to paper and write down a communication to another. And without the immediate response, as in a conversation, the writer can only imagine how the reader will accept the message.

There was always reading "between-the-lines" of hidden meanings.

Burning letters was a way to break off relationships.

Through the years, the paper will yellow and the ink fade, but one of the most cherished findings are those rumpled papers stored in between the pages of a dusty book, tenderly placed there for safe keeping.

I just passed some of these to another family member to pass to his children. They are from my mother who was traveling as a singer in a big band. She was writing a reply, trying to comfort her mother over the news that her son, my mother's brother, was missing in action in World War II.

In my keepsake trunk, I have some letters wrapped in a young girl's hair ribbon. They have traveled with me over time and distance. There is nothing special about the words on the pages sent by a lady so far away and long ago, but at the time, those words were dipped in honey and each sentenced was savored.

So if you find them, you can read them, but you'll never know the letter I wrote that preceded it. Perhaps that is why I keep them.


A natural periodic state of rest marked by the suspension of consciousness.

Our fail shells need to have these periods of sleep to regenerate and renew the spirit.

We relate time with sleeping. When it is light, we awake and carry out our daily chores and when it is dark, we rest.

We assign entire rooms for this activity. We dress for this activity. We lavish ourselves with sweet scents, soft pillows, smooth sheets, and plush covers. We give comfort to each other or hold tight objects of affection for our safe passage into darkness.

But sleeping also brings us dreams. Some say dreams are our subconscious relating our daily activity and sorting the people and experiences into the minds filing system.

Others believe dreams are the mind's recognition of places and feelings we do not or can not observe while awake.

So what are nightmares?

The other night, I awoke while it was dark. I could tell it was late in the morning and I should not be ready to arise, so I did what I normally do, turned over, fluffed the pillows and shut my eyes, fully expecting to go back to sleep.

I didn't. I tossed and turn a few more times, then after realizing I had been in this state of flux for an hour, decided to get up.

I got dressed, put on my glasses and walked into the empty dark living room. What was I going to do at this hour when I am usually drooling on my pillow and kicking the covers on the floor?

I got a bottle of water and a book, sat down in a comfortable chair and began to read.
It seemed so easy. I was not bothering anyone else. I was rested and focused on my book. I didn't even get startled when the newspaper hit the door.

Yet I was in someone else's time.

After a while, I put down the empty bottle, placed the book on the sofa, and returned to the bedroom. Closing my eyes, I went quickly back to sleep.

The next morning, the sun arose and I awoke. Redressing, starting the coffee, gathering the newspaper and other morning routines seemed normal, but last night I had been in another world.

The mind moves at a terrific pace energizing thoughts that make the body follow. The mind will demand the body function until it can not continue. I have slept in a chair too many times from pure exhaustion only to awake after a few hours to new and more startling and fascinating ideas.

If you think you do not get enough sleep, what do you do in your waking hours to take the rest time? If you get too much sleep, will a dreary effort satisfy the need for exploration of new adventures?

I'm going to take a nap.

Saturday, March 13, 2010



It begins with a blessing
and it ends with a curse;
Making life easy,
by making it worse;
My mask is my Master,
The trumpeter weeps,
But his voice is so weak
As he speaks from his sleep, saying
Why, why, why, why are we sleeping!

People are watching,
people who stare;
waiting for something
that's already there.
Tomorrow I'll find it ,
The trumpeter screams,
And remembers he's hungry
And drowns in his dreams, saying
Why, why, why, why are we sleeping!

My head is a nightclub
With glasses and wine;
The customers dancing
Or just making time;
While David is cursing
The customers scream!
Now everyone’s shouting,
"Get out of my dreams!"
('Once I Awakened' section from 'Dr Dream)

Once I awakened, my eyes filled with tears
I had been sleeping for thousands of years
Dreaming a life full of problems and sadness
Endlessly turning in spirals of madness
Where the wind blows
That's where it goes
It follows the song
Like its dream.... singing

So it begins with a blessing
and it ends with a curse;
Making life easy,
by making it worse;
Just turn to your partner and say
How does it seem? He'll look at you and say
Get out of my dream
Why why why are we sleeping

Kevin Ayers 1967.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Before I go to bed I check the locks on the front and back doors. Habit?

One of the first things I did to this house last year was to get dead bolt locks. Why?

Am I keeping the world out or keeping myself in?

I've lived her 30 years with 60-year old locks and have never had any problems.

Even had auto theives roaming the yard, but never felt any fear of them entering the house.

No one wanders into my abode and plays with my stuff unless invited.

And my stuff does not wander out.

So why do I need all these locks.

Is it to keep the outside world from viewing my stuff?

The stuff that is our comfort.

The stuff we surround ourselves in to give us a feeling of home.

But when it rains, like tonight, or snows or is dark or scary, we are trapped inside with our stuff.

Does this comfort us, like a soft pillow or warm blanket?

Knowing your stuff is where you left it and is easily attainable by reaching for it, gives one comfort.

Similar to marriage.

And when we go outside, we leave our stuff behind.

Are we less comfortable to be in the wild open spaces without our stuff?

We might even feel free without the burden of our stuff hanging around.

When a loved one departs and you have to go through "their stuff", do you wonder why there is so much "stuff"?

When you do your spring cleaning (yes, it's that time again) and go through the garage and clean out some "stuff", does it make you feel better?

And when you come home to the familiar, does it give you comfort that your "stuff" is still where it is suppose to be.

Don't forget to lock your doors.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

News of the Day

March 11, 2010

The stock market is up. Don't understand what great news made the stock rise.

Today Kansas City decided to close half of their schools next year. Is smaller better? If the population is not using the buildings, then save the cash. And other school districts?

There is talk of putting "black boxes" in cars, like airplanes, to suggest what is wrong when cars crash. Isn't that a little late? "Where are the regulators?" the question is asked.

Is NHTSA a good sign of the government? A regulation agency with it's hands in the pockets of the regulated. And the good news is that deaths from automobiles is down but the bad news is that more unemployed are not driving to work.

Greece is broke and is traveling around the world with it's hand out. Spain is following next, then Ireland, Iceland.... the list goes on and on. Spending more than it's has. Sound familiar? Get your tin cup ready Uncle Sam.

A 6'5" 250 lb. football player died from asbestos? Maybe, or just old age and being on "Little House on the Prairie" .

Living is good, or at least the paycheck is more, in Northern Virginia. Maybe I need to move?

Rain is coming. A big storm, the weather guys say. Two inches of rain expected in town. If it was snow it would add up to 60". No thanks, had enough of that.

Women are caretakers, even in commercials.

Olympic skiers promote fizzy water for hangovers (wish I had some).

And guys are portrayed as duds, but there are more black versions.

A school is requiring 150 hours of community services from their students. Learning Compassion 101.

Good night Bryan, even though you will be on "30 Rock" you hambone.

Waiting for the Rain


Been a strange kind of day. Tired but not a good tired. I’m more exhausted than tired. A good night sleep might get me back into the spirit, but now it’s time to wait for the rain.
This has been a wandering semi-productive day. Put up a shower curtain, after drilling too many holes, fill the pond, feed the yard, shorten my money ride, which started in the afternoon, to stop at the store for mothballs and coat bags to put winter away. Even put up smiling face seed holders and a rocking horse on the back door. Changed the wreath on the front door to also welcome spring and put away winter.
But I do not have enough energy to think through the motions.
Listing to some old recordings to inspire a collaboration of writing with a friend, I look at the cases of wooden boxes with strings. I’ve got to crack them open to get my fingers back now that the weather has thawed.
In my haze, I gather the mail of the sheriff and local congressman asking me to join their club and send money. More trash and the thought of why would their marketing people have my address?
I hear through the headphones old friends gone by. My hands oiled the wooden bodies and stretch the metal. In the background the football game plays. A audio capture of “Mansland”.
Looking out the window from the house, there is a different perspective of the yard. Closed in to little areas and sheltered off from the world outside, even “Mansland” the view reveals more than I can write.
Going over a list of things to do seem redundant and almost frivolous in the big scheme of things. When the day’s accomplishment is put up a shower curtain, it doesn’t seem like such a big deal.
Watching the yard move is much more entertaining and rewarding, but the real world demands the mundane acts of paying the bills, washing the clothes, raking the yard, taking a bath, and waking up.
Tomorrow I will regain my energy and refocus on my goals and not be startled by the play list coming through my headphones that I’ve removed to turn on the television for the nightly news.
Get some sleep and await the rain.