Thursday, March 31, 2005

Delayed Muscle Soreness is Great!!

On the way to the YMCA last night we decided to tour a brand new gym that recently opened which is closer to our house.

Holy shit!!

This is the largest, most well-equipped gym I have ever seen in my life!!

We were absolutely dumb-founded....





It is cavernous for one thing...(You could easily fit twelve or more gyms into it -- providing they are the size of the one we currently train in -- it's fucking HUGE!!) they have got to have every piece of fitness equipment that has ever been made in that place... every single weight machine... EVERYthing!!!

There are SO many ways that you can injure yourself in that place, you are BOUND to like one of them!!

Plus... (There is a plus!!) they offer all sorts of fitness classes (they are included with your membership), and they have a juice bar (though I'm not particularly interested in the juice bar... they still have it though, whether I'm interested or not!)

We talked about it, and have decided to switch gyms. I'm psyched!!

I outgrew a lot of the machines at the YMCA, and since I don't have a partner my size to train with, I have been leery of doing a lot of the exercises I would like to be doing with free-weights and nobody there to spot. At the YMCA, I'm one of the bigger guys... at this new place, I will be a pencil-necked geek...

I don't even know what some of those machines are for!!

On top of everything, they have three tiers of eliptical trainers, treadmills, cycles, recumbent cycles, stair climbers, and other things... and (get this) each one has its own television/music system.. just bring your own headphones.

How friggin' cool is that!!

I can't wait to start training over there... !!!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Mugwump Woodpecker

This morning, as I was about to get into my vehicle and head to work, I was startled by a series of sounds that caused me to take pause and look around. First, I heard a rapid knocking sound, which was followed by a cacaphony of shrieks, squawks, screeches, and howls! My first thought was something along the lines of, "What the Fuck was that!?!?"

I searched around until I found the source of the noise, which was now in its third iteration, and spied one of these guys....


Woodpecker Posted by Hello

... a Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) on a chimney two houses down from where I live. Basically, he would try to peck on the bricks, (which was met with varying degrees of success... mostly varying from unsuccessful downwards towards abysmal failure) and would then fluff up his plumage in absolute frustration and begin to squawk and screech in frustration. He would then move to another side of the chimney and try again with similar results. After sampling all four sides of the chimney, he flew to the chimney of the next house and began all over again.


Well... the bricks on this chimney were apparently no softer or any more satisfying than on the first house, because he was becoming absolutely furious (this is something to see... listen to me on this).

As for me... well, I was transfixed... I had never seen anything like this in my life. I basically stood there with my mouth hanging open, looking exceedingly dignified and attractive, I'm sure... and simply watched.

After clattering away on all four sides of the chimney in succession, off he flew to the next house, and so on down the block!

I have to say that I was amazed by this behavior... he bypassed at least 30 trees during the time that I watched him. I mean... what the f u u u c k is that??!!

Don't they teach woodpeckers to tell the difference between chimneys and trees in Woodpecker school or whatever?? I mean... it seems somewhat important to know what the hell a tree is if you are a woodpecker... at least it seems like a relatively important point to me!

I concede that a chimney is somewhat simlar to a tree... of course, most trees have a few sticky out bits and such... and I would think that one could tell right from the start that bricks feel somewhat different to one's beak than wood does.

Okay.. LOOK!

If you happen to be a woodpecker, you need to know the difference. So, I have decided to lend a hand. Now pay attention.


This is a CHIMNEY...

A Chimney (NOT a Tree) Posted by Hello


and THIS is a chimney...

Also a Chimney (... and therefore, also not a Tree!) Posted by Hello

Now this is the important part... This is a T-R-E-E. A TREE!   (Remember!?!)


Aha! A Tree!! Posted by Hello


Trees put the WOOD in WOODpecker. Ever heard of a BRICKpecker??

What is this world coming to?!?!  (Snort!)

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Bicycle Canibalization..

Last Thursday night we out to dinner with a couple from Peru and their son, Fabrizio. My wife works in the same building as the husband, Johnny (Juan), and a week or two ago she saw him walking in the cold and offered him a ride.

He doesn't speak much english, but my wife has a degree in spanish and so they are able to communicate well.

As it turns out, he has no vehicle, and has to walk to and from work each day, regardless of the weather, as well as to shop, do laundry, go to the post office, or whatever else needs to be done.... all on foot. Everywhere. Every day.

His wife and child speak no english whatsoever.

They are incredibly nice people, and we had a nice time with them when we went out to dinner. At the end of the evening, Johnny insisted on paying the tab for everybody's dinner. We know that he can't possibly be making enough money to be able to afford this... but he still insisted. We could only get him to agree to allow us to pay the tab the next time we went out to dinner together.

After we dropped them off at their house, Elysia and I were discussing the evening, and discussing Johnny and his family. It bothered me that they were in a new country, didn't speak the language all that well, and to top it off, had no form of transportation whatsoever. I know that he cannot afford to obtain and maintain a motor vehicle... I suspect he cannot afford to put gas in a motor vehicle at this point... so I wondered out loud whether we could come up with a bicycle for him to ride to and from work. Elysia thought that this was a fantastic idea, and we began to put out feelers.

One of the guys that I work with agreed to give us two mountain bikes that he no longer uses, and Elysia's Dad gave us a woman's English racer, and a cable and lock with two keys to lock the bikes up with.

We picked the bikes up on Saturday, and worked on them on Sunday, canibalizing one mountain bike to get the other one fixed and serviceable.

Once we had two working bicycles, we loaded them in the truck and headed over to Johnny's house.

When we arrived, we unloaded the bikes and wheeled them over to the front door. Elysia knocked on the door, and presented Johnny and his wife Theresa with the bicycles when they answered. They were thrilled!! These bikes weren't brand new, they weren't perfect, but they are an option for getting around. At least now Johnny can save an hour or two a day that can be spent with his family.

Johnny kissed and hugged Elysia, and I got a hug, too.

Having lived in many foreign countries, I know what it is to at least have a friend there... it can make a world of difference. Hopefully, he realizes that if they ever had an emergency, or ran into difficulties, they could call us, and we would be there to help. We're all in this together, after all...

In any case, they were happy.... and that made us happy!

That's something to be thankful for.

Monday, March 28, 2005

100 Things about me...

I...

1. am of Scottish, Irish, Welsh & Rroma ancestry.

2. love pasta!

3. speak read and write passable Korean, and can write over 1000 Chinese characters.

4. speak (barely) passable gaeilge (gaelic), but my reading comprehension is much better than my spoken/listening.

5. was raised mostly by my grandparents.

6. play the bagpipes.

7. love to cook.

8. talk too much.

9. think way too much.

10. could stand to lose a few pounds.

11. love spicy food.

12. like to sit quietly in the dark, and just about everybody finds this mildly disturbing and scolds me for it.

13. carry at least one book everywhere I go.

14. miss my grandparents.

15. served in the U.S. Air Force.

16. served in the U.S. Army.

17. have nine tattoos (and want more!)

18. periodically wake up a little while after falling asleep in an extreme state of sexual arousal and wake my wife up so that I can jump her bones.

19. can mime almost any accent well enough to fool native speakers.

20. have jumped out of airplanes approximately 1000+ times.

21. have realized that almost everybody underestimates me in some way or another.

22. don't think my mom wanted me.

23. often know what will happen next or what someone will say next before it actually happens or is said.

24. rescue stuffed animals that people have lost or tossed because I feel bad for them and this embarrasses me sort of...

25. love the sea and often seek it out for solace when things aren't right for me.

26. sort my M&Ms out by color before I eat them (if time and place allow).

27. eat my food items one at a time. (I have gotten ribbed about this by numerous people, but still do it)

28. love to walk.

29. like to listen to foreign languages that I do not understand just to put the sound of it in my ears.

30. love to learn.

31. suffer from baker's anxiety whenever I bake anything.

32. am grateful to my wife because she has taught me to be a better person in many, many ways.

33. am sometimes afraid that my wife will grow tired of or bored with me and leave.

34. regret quitting guitar lessons when I was six years old.

35. have been stabbed and shot (superficially in the hand).

36. once let a friend down, and still regret it terribly.

37. love to celebrate holidays, even holidays that I make up on the spot in order to celebrate them.

38. don't think that anybody is below the sightline.

39. am proud of my son.

40. regret not having the capability to do more (financially and materially) for my wife... though I have been steadily working on it and improving, I am not even in the ballpark, unfortunately.

41. once came very close to taking ordination vows to become a zen buddhist monk, but decided at the last minute that it wasn't my true path.

42. am almost always thirsty.

43. love sex.

44. seldom feel as though I truly 'fit in'.

45. love history.

46. put A-1 sauce on my eggs.

47. have no sense of the passage of time.

48. strongly resist complying with what I consider to be nonsensical rules.

49. LOVE kissing my girl.

50. find old graveyards beautiful and peaceful. I am comfortable in the presence of the dead.

51. observe people very, very closely, and can often learn more about their thoughts and feelings than they would ever believe possible.

52. cannot understand why so many people want to shut out knowledge about anything that they don't already know about.

53. was thought to have a learning disability as a child, but was tested and found to have an extremely high IQ. So far this hasn't prevented me from doing some incredibly stupid things.

54. am a very playful person and like to joke around quite a bit.

55. am an extremely spritually oriented person.

56. can adapt to just about any situation.

57. slam a book shut loudly when I finish it.

58. announce to whoever is present that "THIS IS MY WEDDING SONG!" whenever 'Amazed' by Lonestar plays. (I doubt that anyone cares but me... but I still do it).

59. feel guilty for not training regularly (in martial arts/boxing/etc.).

60. feel guilty for not practicing regularly on the bagpipes.

61. am a loner.

62. love museums.

63. am a part-time bartender, and proud of it because my grandfather was a bartender.

64. am equally proud of my family's Jamaican heritage (my mom's side came to the U.S. from Europe via Jamaica. They originally were transported there after the battle of Culloden, and came to the U.S. in the 1930's).

65. am an artist.

66. love to write.

67. am interested in any and all religions, but don't subscribe to any particular one.

68. have been to the north pole.

69. have been under the sea in a submarine.

70. have crossed the equator.

71. have been in jungles, deserts, swamps, mountains, and just about every terrain that exists.

72. am proficient with almost any personal weapon that exists, but don't ever want to use one against any living thing.

73. was accepted into the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus Clown College as a teenager, but didn't attend (my mom put the squash on it).

74. was accepted into the Merchant Marine Academy at Piny Point Maryland and didn't attend (my mom put the squash on that too).

75. am a school-trained man tracker.

76. have earned black belt ranks or equivelant in Kodokan Judo, Hakko-Ryu Jujutsu (took and passed the test, but wasn't awarded rank as the association didn't award menkyo-kaiden (teaching license) or dan rank to children, and my sensei (my dad) passed away before I was old enough, Wing-Chun gung fu, Illustrisimo Arnis De Mano, Do Hap Sool, Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan (Soo Bahk Do), Matsubayashi Ryu, and Kempo.

77. am completely at home in the water and can swim, snorkel and scuba dive, and love to do so!

78. suck at most sports.

79. love my wife's family.

80. am proud of my Rrom (gypsy) heritage, but don't know much about it.

81. love butterflies.

82. enjoy walking in the rain.

83. would rather structure my work around my life, than my life around my work.

84. always name our Christmas Trees.

85. feel guilty when I take the Christmas Tree out to the curb after the season is over and mentally apologize to it and thank it. (I know... I'm a sap)

86. once owned horses and miss them (though I couldn't afford them and wouldn't have time to care for them properly).

87. love to sit in our garden on spring and summer mornings and drink a cup of tea.

88. am often overwhelmed by the beauty in the world.

89. learned, after 12 years of police work, that it not the right vocation for my spirit.

90. am grateful for all of the wonderful things in my life.

91. have a facility for learning languages.

92. am allergic to sweet potatoes.

93. have slept in a monsoon rain on the side of a runway at San Juan Airport, Puerto Rico with commercial and military aircraft taking off and landing a scant few feet away from me. (It was one of the best naps I ever took!)

94. believe that the most important things are the times I spend and the memories that I make with those that I love.

95. measure my worth by who loves me, and by how deep that love is.

96. feel proud to be a member of a very exclusive club -- my marriage.

97. am amazed by how beautiful my wife is. It hurts my chest to look at her - I can't breathe sometimes...

98. don't think there is anything that I cannot accomplish, given the proper motivation and resources.

99. love trees..

100. believe that every creature is a person, and that they think, and feel, and should be treated so..... even if they don't display those thoughts and feelings the same way that I may, and even if the thoughts and feelings that they have are completely different than my own.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

I Refuse to Chase My Tail....

This time of the year is very slow for the industry where I work. Very few customers, very little activity, and not a hell of a lot to do.

It is a ten hour day where I work, with no place for me to even sit down on most days, that's Monday through Friday. I work two Saturday's a month for six hours.

In the past few months everything has been cleaned, rearranged, alphabetized, sorted, organized, scrubbed, dusted, ... in short, there isn't a hell of a lot that has to be done. It's done. DONE.

Each day there's a little cleaning, which, by the way is not what I was hired for, but, I work there, so I want it to be at least somewhat clean.... so I clean. I clean the windows, sweep the floor, make sure the garbage doesn't become a science project, and try to keep the dust layer down to no thicker than one inch.

Some days are longer, slower, and more brutal than others...

Yesterday I had been writing notes to myself in Korean. No special reason, other than perhaps they remain at least marginally privat that way, since there are no korean speakers at my workplace.

At one point, The Nose approached and informed me that I cannot be writing in 'Chinese', and that 'I shouldn't let anybody see that'.

(What!?)

He then told me to 'get on the end of a broom and sweep the floor' (I was hired as an administrative assistant/inside sales guy). I didn't comment (externally... in my head I had a lot to say...), and I swept the floor, made a fresh pot of coffee, cleaned the coffee station, and went back to my work station. About an hour later, I was once again writing something in Korean. I felt The Nose's presence behind me, but didn't think anything of it. When I realized that he hadn't moved at all for almost a minute, I turned around to see what he was up to. Well, apparently, he had actually snuck up on me and was standing there watching me write in korean... as though I was a second grade student who was caught playing with his toys instead of copying the problems on the board.

He reiterated that I couldn't be writing in Chinese, and I said, "It isn't chinese, its korean, and what damned difference does it make what language I'm writing in?? You obviously can't read it, so you don't know whether I'm writing something work related or not.. how is this a concern of yours??"

His reply was that it didn't make a difference what it was, and that I couldn't write in languages other than english. He said that I had to keep myself busy (I was actually writing myself a to-do list of things that I wanted to do so that I wouldn't die of boredom... in case you are wondering, yes, work-related things) and 'stay productive'.

I told him that I was being productive, and asked what the issue was. My work gets done, and done correctly.

He said that I had to 'look busy'.

I said that I was not going to do busy-work for the sake of appearances. I refuse to sweep the same piece of clean floor for hours just so that I look like I'm doing something. I get paid to use my brain to do my job, and that is precisely what I was doing.

I told him that if he wanted me to stop writing in other languages, that was fine, I would do that. I said that I hadn't realized that there were two sets of rules; one for me, and one for everyone else. (they read newspapers, talk about fishing, sports, fantasy sports, snowmobiling, etc.,... often letting clients hold on the phone until they give up and hang up the phone). I told him that I thought it sucked, but that if that is what he wanted, fine... I would do that.

I then went into the computerized customer list and created a spreadsheet of every customer who is behind in payments. I broke it down in 0-30 days, 31-60 days, 61-90 days, and over 90 days. Then I totalled it up for each category. Since he is the one who is responsible for doing collections, I presented it to him and asked him whether I should hold a copy for the owner (his boss) or whether I should mail it out. (there were hundreds of thousands of dollars of uncollected revenue.. in short, proof that somebody wasn't doing their job). He blanched, but said that it was great and thanked me for doing that.

People who live in glass houses should not throw rocks...

I am off for another day of fun and adventure at work.

Mindfulness is the key.....

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

What's with that??

I have been taking notice of something that is somewhat puzzling to me... I have noticed that a great number of the clients that I deal with on a day to day basis are exceedingly arrogant. I'm not sure why, but I have some theories. Mostly that small people want to feel big, and scared people want to make people think that they are in charge.

I have noticed that the more social rules these people break, the more arrogant they act; i.e., if they park facing the wrong way, they will absolutely disregard a whole slew of other boundaries as well.

When they are arrogant toward me, I simply smile and compliment them, or I just don't address it at all.

I'm not particularly bent out of shape over the whole arrogance thing, I just dont really understand what benefit it derives in the long run... it would seem that people would simply avoid you, or work around you if you insist on showing your ass all the time.

Elysia came home and gave me a present. She ordered this T-Shirt on line for me at T-Shirt Hell



My Present... Posted by Hello



One last thing... For those of you who do not have east asian font support or a global or korean IME on your computers; It has occurred to me that my hangul typing will appear as a series of strange characters (much like myself, I suppose...). It's supposed to be hangul, but, if you don't speak korean, I don't suppose it much matters to you in any case.... just wanted to clear the mix-up. I will refrain from typing any further korean unless the mood takes me (it is my blog, after all... I can do whatever I want!!)

I'm off for a walk with the girl...

Solitude

Today is one of those days when I would prefer to simply sit in my garden, or walk down to the sea and watch the water, or perhaps go to the arboretum and contemplate trees.

Since I cannot do this, I will instead go to work, but find solitude within my own mind.

I'm tired this morning. I could use another hour or two of sleep, I think.

I am very slightly sore and tight from the gym... plesantly so. Tommorrow I will most likely be miserable with delayed muscle soreness, so I will enjoy today!

Monday, March 21, 2005

Back to the Beginning

Finally... I am recovered from the surgery, recovered from the upper respiratory crud, and Elysia and I made it back to the gym tonight. It was a real ball-buster, not having worked hard in so long. I did my cardio, lifted some weights, and felt every minute of it, but its great to be back in the swing of things.

I am looking forward to the routine of sweating, and feeling my body strengthen, and become more flexible and (hopefully) leaner.

Diet is a big part, so we are back on a portion control and intake control footing, with Sunday as a free day.

I'm Starting out at 245lbs, 6 feet tall. I don't actually care about the weight, but I want to muscle up and get the fat off. If I gain weight in so doing, that's fine. I just need to tighten things up quite a bit.

I love this feeling of being pleasantly sore and tired.

I was very calm and mindful today. I had no sense at all of the passage of time. Since it was a gray day here on Long Island, the light didn't much change at all, so it seemed like 6AM all day long.

안영히계십시요!

Cinnamon Honey Butter

Yesterday (Sunday) was even better than Saturday, if possible! I woke up early and blogged for a while until Elysia woke on her own, then I crawled back under the covers to snuggle with her for awhile... which quickly turned to something else!

While she blogged away, I made a pot of coffee and some cinnamon honey butter and sliced up the last of the irish soda-bread (Friday night was corned beef and cabbage... we had some clansman over for dinner and had a great time. That's C-lan vs. K-lan by the way. We used to have themed dinners every Friday night and we had a blast, but everyone's schedule changed, and now they are too few and far between). Back to Sunday morning; I spooned the still warm cinnamon honey butter over the soda bread, and we had that with hot coffee - it was delicious!!

I sat and read while Elysia did computer stuff, and we listened to Sunday Baroque on NPR. It was very relaxing.

We headed out in the afternoon to a movie (Ring 2), then to dinner at a little Indian restaurant that we passed all the time, but had never tried. The food was great, and we ate until we couldn't breathe. Chiken Tiki Masala, Lamb Spinach, Spicy Vegetables, BBQ Chicken pieces, Basmati Rice, and salad with a spicy green dressing. It was delicious!

We came home and watched two more episodes of 24 (first season), and headed up to bed.

Now that the surgury is healed up and we are both more or less better from the upper respiratory thing that we had suffered from for so friggin long, we will be going back to the gym today. Yay!

Elysia is doing her Yoga right now.

We are both looking forward to getting back into the swing of things... we have both put on some weight, and that needs to go.

As for me, I know that the first week or two will suck, but I love the feeling of working hard, getting stronger, watching the pounds drop off, and watching the plates stack up on the bar as I get stronger. I'm pretty psyched!!

I better get my ass to work or I'll be something else!!

Slán go fóill

Way to go, Cassa!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

안영 하십니까?

Yesterday was a great day! We started out our day by making love... can't beat that for a great start!

We showered up, got dressed, and went out into the garden to feed Jack (the outside cat who adopted us five years ago and has taken up residence in the garden) and hang out with him for a while.

Elysia's mom gave us a new stove as a Yule present, and that arrived while we were traipsing about in the garden. It's beautiful!! We are both looking forward to cooking some amazing meals on it!

When the stove was being delivered, my mom called with some sad news; her best friend passed away during surgery. She had known this woman longer than she knew her own parents (you quick folks would have already worked out that these would be my grandparents, and that it's pretty hard to know someone longer than you know your own parents, but there it is.... they passed on, time kept moving along... they have been friends for a very long time...). I feel bad for her... It also forces me to consider her mortality, and my own. I guess that's the secret beauty of it, though.. by having been given the gift of knowing that we will one day pass on from this place, we are given the option to make the best of each moment that we do have. Lord and Lady... thank you for the reminder.

I read Just Cassa's Blog for quite some time (I am on October 2004) and her stories made me feel a number of different emotions; I laughed a great deal, some of her entries made me very happy, her poems to her son who passed on made me cry (yes... 6ft and 240 lbs of snivelling bear... very attractive..), some of the entries regarding her relationship with her husband made me look at myself, and at my own marriage.

When she described the things were when the marriage was strong, it so reminded me of my own marriage.

It scares me to think that something so good, and so strong, with so much love and trust can simply end. In my heart, I know that impermanence is the rule, and that every thing that I will ever experience in my life is transitory.. but, still... to read how things were, I would never have thought that all that has happened between them would have worked out the way it has.

When I read about the things that Mr. Man (her husband) has done, it frustrates the shit out of me, makes me sad, makes me angry, and mostly, forces me to look deeply into myself to search for any trace of what he has become in myself. I don't want that. I don't want anything to ever hurt my marriage. Mostly, I don't ever want Elysia to feel the way he has made Cassa feel when he has hurt her, frightened her, or neglected her.

My heart and my intellect tell me that in order for things to have been so good for them, he has to be a good man. To have loved and been loved so thoroughly, there have got to have been some wonderful qualities in him. To have wanted to be a police officer, he must have wanted to help people, and to do some good.. make a difference in some way. But something happened.

Since nothing that Cassa has wrote ever described a defining moment that changed everything in an instant, whatever happened had to have been slow and insidious. They never saw it creeping up on them until it had already affected them and had done a great deal of damage. This is frightening. How do you fight something that you can't see, can't hear, and can't touch??

I am hoping that it would be something that you could feel, at least on some level.

This made me turn my attention inside, to examine myself, my feelings, my thoughts... I mulled over everything that I could remember concerning my own marriage, as far back as I could go, tracing each step until now.... Each and every time I had ever been cross, stubborn, inconsiderate or selfish, angry, resentful, jealous, neglectful, or what-have-you.. no matter how small or seemingly small jumped out at me as a glaring, inexcusable action on my part.

I felt ashamed.

I went and found Elysia... (she was sitting outside playing with Jack), and told her what I had been thinking about, and held her and asked her what, if anything, I could do that would make her day better... She wanted to trim some of the overhanging branches on a few of the trees in our garden to allow more sunlight to reach the ground when the flowers start popping their heads out in a few weeks.... so that's what we did! We trimmed and cut and worked and breathed the air and teased one another, and chased jack away from anything that could hurt him and laughed and just had a wonderful time!! Afterwards, we stood and meditated under the pines... (Jack too!), then we cleaned up and headed out for a marvelous dinner of Sushi!

When we got home, I downloaded a Korean IME for the computer so that I can type in 한 글 (韓 契)-- Hangul! (Korean). It's pretty cool!

We watched a DVD (24 season one -- yes, we are just a little out of touch on this one...) then headed up and crashed out for a good night's sleep.

Today is a gray day... sort of dreary and cold. It's a great day for snuggling and old movies!

I don't know what the day will bring, but I'm glad that I'm alive, and here, with her, and the kitties, and that we are both healthy and happy and in love.

So... I have been thinking of Cassa and her situation, and hoping that it works out well for her in the long run... I try to picture all of the folks that populate her world, Trojan Guy, Jeep Guy, Mountain Man, Mr. Man, Latin Guy, and Lethe... I am comforted by the fact that she has such a great friend in Lethe. I think it will all work out for her... I think she will be okay.

It occurs to me that I have somehow found a new community here... all of you. I know more about many of my fellow bloggers than I know about my neighbors... I have been drawn into your lives, and it forces me to examine my own. I laugh with you, cry with you, wonder at some of your thoughts, get frustrated, puzzled, sometimes worried... but I look forward each day to reading the next installment of whatever you have to share with me.

So... I just want to say thanks to all of you... you have made my life a little bit richer by sharing your thoughts, your feelings, and your lives with me.

Thanx guys

Friday, March 18, 2005

Have Some More!

Bear on the left, Mike on the right, and Ku Hong-Gyu in the air!



Tang Soo Do - Korea.  Spring of 1986.  Bear is on the left, Michael on the right,
and Ku Hong-Gyu is center, in the air!



When I was living in Korea, I was a student of Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Gwan (Soo Bahk Do), which is a Korean form of Karate-Do. My instructor's name was Ku Hong-Gyu. Mr. Ku was a wonderful man. He had a kind, gentle soul, and a quick warm sense of humor. I imagine that his calmness and wit were in great part owing to his years of Son (Zen) training.

After I had been there for some time, it eventually became clear that Michael (my friend and training partner) and I were at that time the two highest ranking foreign Tang Soo Do students in the Korea at that time. This didn't amount to very much, except for the fact that the Korean people seemed to love having 'Yang-Nomes' (Foreign Idiots) sitting on the rank testing boards in the various martial arts dojangs (Do= Way, Jang= Hall, Building) throughout the country, and we would often be asked to attend the rank test as judges and officials.

We actually had little or no say or power while doing this, but we basically would be expected to watch attentively, nod and smile when it was appropriate, and hand out the certificates and belts to the recently promoted students during the ceremony.

The fact that we were Americans was apparently enough to make everybody suitably happy (things have apparently changed in Korea quite a bit since then, from what I hear and read) It was somewhat interesting sitting on the testing boards.

Korean students are very conscientious, and take their training very seriously. I suspect that they wanted to make a good impression on us foreigners as well.

Although we enjoyed doing this (sitting on the testing boards), after some time, we both began to dread it; the days were very long, and, to be honest, were fairly tedious, since we watched group after group doing exactly the same things over and over. With very few exceptions, they were just about flawless. It was much harder than one would expect to remain attentive throughout the day, and to appear as fresh and as interested with the last group as we did with the first. After all, they were testing for a higher rank, they were most likely nervous, and the least we could do is to pay attention and be interested in thier efforts.

Despite our best efforts to feel differently about it, we both began to wish that we hadn't gotten involved at all, but couldn't refuse without seeming rude and losing a great deal of face both for ouselves, and for our instructor, Mr. Ku, who we both loved. So, when they asked us, we went. As happily as possible. The upside is that we met a great number of wonderful people, fantastic martial artists, and were able to see a side of korea that most foreigners never see. It was worth it. It was a one million-two million situation. Wouldn't take a million dollars for it... wouldn't do it again for two million!!

So, each weekend, for a number of months, we would be at one dojang or another, sitting on the testing board.

One the way to one promotional exam, Michael inadvertently backed his vehicle through the wall of a Korean house. The resulting hole was approximately five or six feet wide, and just about as high.

We could see an old woman sitting inside watching television. She didn't seem particularly upset at the interruption.

Micheal began sweating bullets, expecting at any moment to be arrested and incarcerated or attacked by an angry crowd.

As we stood there, looking like jerks in our white Tang Soo Do uniforms (we had changed at one Dojang, and were on our way to another at the time... the problem arose when Micheal had taken a wrong turn and attempted to make a three point turn while driving a vehicle with a manual transmission on a relatively steep hill) a Korean man, who turned out to be the owner of the house, slowly made his way through the growing crowd of onlookers and surveyed the damage to his house. He asked Michael what had happened, in Korean... which only got him a blank, somewhat panicked look in return since Micheal didn't speak a word of Korean. Michael shook his head helplessly, and looked at me with such an expression of terror and panic in his eyes that I took pity on him and stepped forward to translate for him. I explained, as politely as I could, what had happened, and he stood there... scratching his head, and staring at the new garage door we had so considerately installed in the side of his house.

Just about that time, a vehicle pulled up (apparently, they had finally realized that we were no longer following them, and had turned around and retraced their route in order to find us.. luckily for us!), and Mr. Ku, along with about four other senior Tang Soo Do instructors got out, immediately intuiting what had happened (I personally think the gaping hole in the house and Michael's car protruding from it may have tipped them off slightly). They entered into a somewhat convoluted discussion with the owner of the house and with a number of bystander who had apparently decided, at that time, to be especially helpful and offer their own insights regarding the situation. On and on they talked, argued, yelled, and debated, replete with pointing, pulling of clothes, waving of arms, and much hissing and snorting. Neither Micheal nor I at this time could postulate where any of this was going, but we felt that it was most likely not someplace either of us hoped to go....

Suddenly, Mr. Ku informed the owner of the house that we were in fact high ranking foreign ambassadors who were on their way to sit on a promotional testing board at the local Tang Soo Do Dojang, and that it would be very embarassing if we were to be detained much longer and arrived late or missed the promotion test entirely.
The onlookers all agreed that this would be a very unfortunate occurrence, and one of them, who was, apparently, a builder, agreed to repair the damage, using whatever he could salvage from the wreckage, and whatever else he had on hand. (He thought that he most likely had everything that was needed). Once this course of action was voted on by everyone present, and found to be acceptable, two little old Halmonis (Grandmothers), with faces like little brown wrinkled apples, presented Mike and I each with a string bag full of fruit, and we all piled back into our respective vehicles amidst much smiling, waving, and bowing, and were on our way.

After the promotion exam was concluded we were both invited to Mr. Ku's house for a visit. We were all seated on the floor around a low table. On the table was a bowl of hardboiled eggs; all types of eggs, chicken, goose, duck, quail, and numerous other eggs that I couldn't identify. There was also a mylar bag containing a thick soy milk. Mr. Ku served each of us a portion, and with a huge smile, set to and began eating his portion of eggs, and drinking his glass of soy milk.

I tasted the eggs, which were slightly different than I was used to, but edible, and then I tasted the soy milk product... or whatever it was. It was absolutely vile. It had the consistency of thick liquified latex rubber, and tasted like linoleum, furniture polish, kaopectate, and sour milk. With a twist of lemon. It was really bad.

Michael took one taste, made a disgusted face, and turned to me (I was the default translator, as Mr. Ku spoke no english, and Mike spoke no korean), saying, in his usual diplomatic fashion, "This is disgusting. I can't drink this shit. It's going to make me puke. I hate it. And I hate eggs."

I was horrified, and hissed at him in reply, "You HAVE to eat it! If we don't eat what they have offered, we will insult the hell out of them. They'll lose face. Just choke it down!!"

He replied, "No! I'm not eating it. It's horrible. Tell him to give us something else."

If possible, I was even more horrifed at his lack of sensitivity than I was originally! I said, "I'm am NOT going to tell him any such thing!!" Then, feeling thouroughly self-satisfied and spiteful I stubbornly folded my arms and continued, "If you want to tell him something, tell him your damned-self!"

He stared at me for a few seconds. His blue scotsman's eyes blazing at me. Then, finding some peace within himself over the situation, he said, "Fine. I will!"

I said, "Go ahead!"

To my shock and dismay, Micheal turned to Mr. Ku, who was by now obviously interested in the exchange that had taken place between us, and said, with a combination of very slow english, broken korean, and pantomime, "Mr. Ku [indicating the food, and making a smelly-disgusted face, then pointing to himself], I don't like this food. American people and Korean people.... different. I'm sorry." He finished this with a fairly acceptable bow.

I held my breath.

Mr. Ku looked from Mike, to me, to the food, and back to Micheal. He rubbed his nose, looking puzzled for a few seconds, then, understanding apparently striking all at once, broke into a huge grin, nodding vigorously, he policed up the glass and plate from in front of Michael, asked me in korean if I also hated the food and drink and politely waited for my reply, glass and bowl in hand.

I glanced angrily at Michael for a second. He simply stared back at me stubbornly, obviously feeling that he was the cat's ass. I considered slapping his mouth for him, remembered that Mr. Ku was still waiting for me to answer him, and, gathering my somewhat disjointed thoughts, I quickly muttered something about how much I enjoyed everything, and that it was just fine, and thank you very much.

Mr. Ku stared at me for a second or two, his face unreadable, then he said, "Very well, then why don't you finish Mr. Micheal's portion as well, since you enjoy it so much?". I got a huge Mr. Ku smile. A plateful of various eggs of indeterminate origin, and a full glass of soy-glop. Great.

Mr. Ku was on his feet, out the door, and back in two minutes with a large bowl of fruit. He put a plate in front of Mike, a plate in front of himself, and proceeded to cut up the fruit and divide it between Michael and himself. I reached for a piece of melon, but Mr. Ku moved the plate out of my reach and reminded me that I had two whole bowls of eggs and two large glasses of sludge to drink. I looked at Mike who gave me a decidedly grinch-like grin, and I returned the courtesy with a glare that should have burned the hairs out of his nostrils. He remained placid and unperturbed by my animosity, and, conversely, seemed very satisfied with my awkward predicament.

I don't remember much about the remainder of that evening, other than my continued struggle to gag down as much of the eggs and soy milk as I could stand.

The following weekend, when we arrived at Mr. Ku's house, there was a huge spread of delicious looking korean food for everyone... except me. In my place was a large bowl of assorted eggs, (hardboiled), and a quart-sized mylar bag of my very favorite; soy milk. Joy. I was fucked. I managed to eat and drink most of it, while everyone else was forced to eat delicious korean food. Micheal ribbed me unmercilessly the entire night, and finally, while we were on the way home, asked me why I didn't just explain to Mr. Ku that I didn't like the eggs and soy milk, and would prefer something else. I protested that I couldn't possibly do that now, that Mr. Ku would be insulted, etc., etc. Mike, looking very smug, said, "Suit Yourself", and split off to head to his apartment. I felt mildly nauseated, and slowly walked home.. feeling thouroughly miserable.

When the weekend came, it was the same drill, only worse, if that's possible!! There was a huge (HUGE!) bowl of eggs... perhaps two dozen, and a gallon sized mylar bag of soymilk in a friggin' box!! Everyone else had their choice of all sorts of food to choose from.

Mr. Ku, with his face almost split in two by his smile, indicated the eggs and soy milk, and said, "Since we know you love this so much, we got this especially for you!" He looked very proud of himself.

I looked from his face, to his wife's face, over to Mike, down at the mountain of eggs and soy slop that I just knew I couldn't finish.... (I suspected that the first taste would make me puke if I tried to eat or drink any of it), back to Mr. Ku (His smile got even bigger.. he looked like he was attempting to turn his head inside out), back at the soy milk and eggs, and down at my hands which were nervously fidgeting in my lap. I looked at the rest of the food spread out at the table, and finally back at Mr. Ku. Happily, his smile had returned to the normal blinding one and was much less disturbing than the rictus grin of a few moments ago... I felt my throat get tight and my face get hot with shame, and I managed to explain that in truth, I didn't like either the eggs or the soy milk, and that I was very sorry for lying, and that I had only been trying not to hurt his feelings, and that I would much rather eat some of that!! (Miserably indicating the spread of food laid out on the table). I was absolutely mortified, and I just knew that Mr. Ku was going to be crushed by this revelation, and that he would be terribly disappointed by my duplicity.

Instead, he leaned back against the wall behind him, and laughed. Smiling, he asked, "Why didn't you just explain that to begin with?? I could tell that you hated that stuff all along! It would have been so much easier in the long run..."

I stared at him in numbed, shocked silence for a few moments... stole a glance at Mike, who no business understanding what was going on, but did anyway.... and sputtered, "You.... .... Knew?!"

"Of course!" Mr. Ku replied, gleefully.

"But... why.... ... ??" I began..

Mr. Ku suddenly looked very calm, and very kind. With a small trace of a smile on his face, he begain, in a soft voice, "The only reason I would offer food to you is because I want you to feel welcome, and to be happy and content. It doesn't matter to me what food, it only matters that you enjoy it. If you had explained to me, as Mr. Michael did, that you didn't care for this type of food or drink, I would have offered you something else."

I considered this for a few moments, then, poking at what I thought was an obvious hole in his logic, said, "But if you knew I didn't like it, why didn't you offer me something different??"

He smiled then, and said, "Well, you went out of your way to let me know that you couldn't trust me to be understanding, or to accept you as you are. You held on to these beliefs with such tenacity, I simply couldn't bring myself to upset you by disrupting your perception of reality. I thought it would be better to let you learn in your own way. Would you like a little more soy milk?"

The laughter lasted until very, very late that night.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The First Time...

The first time I saw her was in the auditorium of the former Junior High School that our Department was using as the police academy. The rows of seats were curved, and I was sitting on the left side of the room. There were over 240 academy students in that room, but when I looked across the room, all I saw was her. She was absolutely beautiful. Her hair was pulled back into a french braid, with a black bow at the nape of her neck. She has such a long, graceful neck. I was transfixed by her... I could hear my heart beating in my ears.

One of the instructors began calling out our last names, in alphabetical order, and ordered each group to follow an instructor to a different classroom. My group was sent to the school cafeteria.
When I arrived there, I took a seat at one of the tables. She came walking in to the room a few minutes later, and sat at the other end of my table. As she passed by me, I could smell her scent. It made me dizzy... she smelled wonderful.

When she sat down, I couldn't help but notice her wrists.. so delicate and beautiful. (Her WRISTS!!?! God... I knew I was in some deep trouble.....). She had the biggest clearest eyes in the world... the color of whisky in amber.... soft, kissable lips... perfect lips.... and a smile that could light up the world.

I tried to never let on how I felt... but I would always catch myself staring at her.

Apparently, one of the instructors noticed me staring at her as well, because the first day of defensive tactics, he picked me and her to fight and wrestle on a gym mat in front of the entire class.

  • I am nuts about her.
  • She is the most beautiful woman I had ever seen.
  • She is in a pair of nylon, satiny gym shorts and t-shirt.
  • I am in a pair of nylon, satiny gym shorts and t-shirt.
  • They expect me to roll around with her on a mat in front of everybody.
  • NOT!
My big strategy was to put her on the ground, on her face, and keep her there, immobile, until somebody said that time was up. I did that, but didn't know that she was claustrophobic. When they called time, she sprung to her feet like a cat and charged at me swinging, angry tears in her eyes.

So much for a great first impression.

At least I escaped the indignity of a very public bump in the pants.....

... that has to count for something.

We ended up becoming fast friends during our time at the academy. It never became more than that, and I just enjoyed spending time with her, laughing with her, and just being friends.

I would watch her when she was studying, or taking tests... the little tendrils of hair that hung down at the nape of her neck just about drove me out of my mind.... I so wanted to kiss that beautiful neck... put my arms around her and hold her forever... but the timing and the climate just wasn't right. So... I kept my distance. Slowly, though... I began falling very much in love with her.

On the last day at the academy, I took a photograph that was taken during training, in which she was practicing emergency medical skills on a mannequin. I kept that photo and looked at it daily for many years to come....

We had plenty of laughs during those six months, some of which I will write about in future posts.

That was our beginning.

After the academy, we went our own ways... I only spent one day with her after that, and saw her one other time... she was directing traffic, and I was in the back seat of somebody else's car.
We were only three or four feet away from each other, but it may as well have been a hundred miles....

The next time I went to the precinct where she worked and asked about her, they told me that she had quit the job, and moved away. I was devastated. I drove out to her house on my next day off, and strangers answered the door. I searched the phone book, asked around in her old neighborhood, and finally resorted to writing letters to her with no address to mail them to.

I used to put them into bottles, and toss them into the sea... or put them into baloons and have them filled with helium... which I would release into the sky.

Nine years passed... she had some relationships, and so did I, before fate brought us back together again.... but....

That's another story.....

Back on Track

I am somewhat relieved that the whole court thing is past and that it worked out well. I still have a great deal of money to come up with if I ever want to completely get past this thing, but at least I am now able to keep up with the current obligation.

I am actually looking forward to going to work. I suppose the other choice helped me to appreciate the mundane a little better.

I trust that the general stress level in the household can settle down a little bit now. We have both been going through it since the holidays. Its time we are able to relax and just be.

I am so looking forward to the nicer weather. I want to be able to sit in the garden and drink a cup of tea and just be.

Speaking of which; If I don't get my ass to work, I'm going to just be in a jam.

So, I am happy to be here and to have this issue off my back.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Walking the Gauntlet

Through raging storm winds
I walk calmly and untouched
at peace with myself

Today my serenity and mindfulness were put to a test.

I have been involved in a legal matter for some years now in which I felt I was treated unfairly and unjustly. The result of this matter was a financial obligation being placed upon me that was improper and not in accordance with the legal document or, for that matter, the law upon which the authority to enforce it was based. My opinion was formed upon the basis of a particular legal document, a signed agreement, specifically, from which all of the other actions eventually emanated.

I have done my best to meet this obligation even though I felt that the situation was not fair to me, but, have been thus far unable to meet the obligation which has resulted in an overwhelming amount of arrears being compiled and charged against me. This situation has been very trying and difficult for me to say the least.

I have tried unsuccessfully to have this situation addressed and put right many times, but no one would hear my voice.

My response was to accept it as something that I would have to deal with and to prepare myself for the eventuality that the situation would change in some way, or at least offer an opportunity for me to have my say and perhaps convince someone somewhere of the truth.

Recently, I received a summons to court so that I could be 'dealt with' in accordance with the law, as a result of my inability to meet this financial obligation. To me, this translated to a jail sentence of some indeterminate period of time... perhaps six months.

I was convinced that I would not be returning home today. I knew that the court had the authority to remand me to serve a sentence that would not serve any good purpose that I could see, (quite the opposite, in fact, as I would not be able to work during the period of a jail sentence, and thusly, would be unable to earn money in order to make payments...), but, having set many precedents by sentencing other people who have found themselves in the same unfortunate situation, I had resigned myself to the fact that I would be following that path. In short, I was convinced that I was going to jail today.

I was not particularly upset by this. I didn't see much that I could do to change it, and I was content that I had done my level best to meet my obligations.

I gathered together all of the documentation that I had compiled over the years, organized it, and put it into accessible form so that I could find the relevent facts and figures if the need arose.

From my first moment of awakening this morning, I have been practicing mindfulness, and have been controlling my breathing. I felt very calm, very serene. Very much at the center, and at one with myself, and with everything else. I know that it sounds trite, but, this is how I felt (and feel).

The petitioner arrived at the courthouse with a male friend. I would say a boyfriend perhaps. I had no feelings at all about this. I noticed that he had decided to try to intimidate me by staring at me for long periods of time. I have never found the act of someone looking at me intimidating under any circumstances, nor did I find it particularly intimidating today. There was no emotional content on my part, and I didn't see the wisdom in creating a scene or in sowing any seeds of conflict with this individual. I did feel that he had a need to feel superior in some way, so I simply averted my eyes and gifted him with what he apparently needed. I read a collection of Haiku and waited to be called. He got what he wanted, and I got what I wanted, so nobody had to lose anything. It was the best course of action, I think.

The court officer eventually called me and instructed me that I could either arrive at some agreement that would be acceptable to the petitioner, or that we would be forced to 'go and see the judge', the implication being (my inference, I'm not actually sure...) that if we did so, I would not be leaving on my own as a free person. I told him that I felt the best course of action would probably be to go and see the judge. (Since I have honestly been doing my very best, there was simply no other course of action left to me.... my best is my best. It is either acceptable, or it isn't. I wasn't left with much of a choice in the matter). When you have honestly given everything that there is to give, there simply isn't anything left with which to negotiate. There are only so many slices of the pie.

When I entered the courtroom this morning, I was told by the judge why I was there; specifically that the court had been asked to take action against me to enforce a previously issued judgment and order which obligated me to pay a specified amount of money to the petitioner and the obligation was read aloud to me. The court officer stationed himself directly behind my chair, arms folded. I expect that he felt he would be escorting me away following the proceedings. I certainly felt so...

When the judge stopped speaking, I quietly informed him that the obligation, as he had stated it, was not entirely correct. He stared at me for a few moments, apparently caught off-guard by my statement, and asked me what my basis was for such a claim.

I referenced the appropriate legal documents, pages and line item numbers, and reminded the court that all of the orders, judgements, decisions, and actions based their authority upon the transcript that I was referencing. I wasn't arrogant or forceful in stating any of this. Quite the opposite. In fact, I didn't actually believe that anything I had to say would be paid attention to, much less acted upon. This has basically been the state of affairs from the very start of this entire situation.

Apparently, the clerk who drafted the initial order of judgement missed a pertinent line which would have changed the meaning of the entire order. Nobody ever apparently compared the order to the original transcript, nor, to my surprise, did anyone ever read any of the countless letters that I sent containing copies of this document which challenged the order with which I was being compelled to comply.

After a few moments of frantic flurrying about, hard looks, muttered excuses, recriminations, denials, panic, and furious rifling through of papers and documents, etc., the judge ordered that the situation be resolved, the arrears recalculated, and the order re-issued to reflect the proper obligation. I was told that a representative would sit down with me and redraft the order immediately, following which, I was free to leave.

This was done remarkably fast and without much difficulty. This is somewhat surprising after the seeming impossibility of the past few years....

I am now only responsible for a financial obligation that is rightly and truly my responsibility.

I remained mindful and serene throughout the entire day.

Now I am finally in a position where I can work hard to reverse the financial damage that has been incurred, and to possibly ameliorate this situation entirely over time. This was not a realistic expectation until this moment.

I had been overwhelmed for quite some time. Continuously striving and trying to bring about change, but always unsuccessfully. Many tears were shed, many angry words uttered. Every one of my friends and family who were made aware of this situation had become frustrated and angry (sometimes, inexplicably, at me!) over this. Apparently, everyone has a belief that if you simply state the truth and show some proof, everything can be fixed as good as new. They were right about the situation, just a little off about the timing.

What I have learned is that my striving and my determination to succeed got me noplace. It actually served as an impediment to my success. The simple act of letting go, and of emptying myself of the desire to bring about change is what finally allowed me the presence of mind to find a course of action that ultimately did bring about change, and truth, and justice.

When I finally was able to let go of my desire to bring about change, I have been gently reminded of the impermanence that is the natural state of everything!

It amazes me how the universe operates so elegently, and so beautifully.

I don't feel particularly triumphant or happy, and I don't feel sad or frustrated... I am just still, and centered, and quietly flowing along my own path. This isn't really penetrating or touching me in any way. I am mildly pleased that it has been set right, but if it hadn't, I would have been just as content. None of it really matters to me in the long run.

So. There is no test. There is no victory.

There is only me.


Sunday, March 13, 2005

I Sound Like a Zen Textbook (Yikes)

After re-reading yesterday's post, I sort of think that I sounded like a textbook on Zen or something... which more or less sucks...(not that a book on Zen sucks, I mean that I didn't sound as though I was writing my own original words... I sounded like I was parroting something that I had read in a book on Zen... I wasn't, but it sounded that way... which is the part that sucks) the problem is, that I can't seem to find a way to articulate this feeling without sounding that way... so, I will leave it as it stands.

In any case, whatever I have experienced, (and I have to admit that I have no idea what, if anything, it is/was) I experienced it, and it has improved my general sense of well-being and my outlook. It has also improved my relationships with other beings, human, animal, insect, bird... what have you.

I don't know precisely what brought me from there to here, but I am happy for it, and feel compelled to deepen whatever understanding I have gained.

I am not particularly sure how to go about doing that... but when a way presents itself, I will most likely follow it.

In the meantime, I am going out to have breakfast with my beautiful wife.

Incidentally, I received the results of the lab test, and I am now officially 'fishie-free' - we took it for a test drive just this morning, and everything worked out fantastically well!! I am now an Elysia playground. All juice, and no seeds!!

I'm off like a prom dress...

Saturday, March 12, 2005

A Small Bit of Enlightenment Perhaps...

Although I am not a practitioner of Zen, I am beginning to suspect that I may have experienced what they (Zen practitioners) call 'Kensho'.

I had been trying to deal with a paradoxical problem over a period of a couple of months (I am referring to the H & G situation from earlier posts) which, to me, was like having swallowed a red hot ball of iron; I couldn't swallow it, and I couldn't spit it out.

There was no actual answer to some of the questions that I had regarding my own nature and I began to experience a mental crisis of rather large proportions (to me, at least... it affected my sleep, my eating habits, my personality, and just about everything else...) with no rational way of reaching an answer through intellectual means.

On a particularly difficult evening for me, I decided to go for a walk during a snowstorm. I walked down to the water, and stood in the swirling snow gazing out over the water at a flock of birds apparently feeding on a run of fish. It struck me as an odd, actually weird, thing at first.. that they would be feeding like that during a snow storm... then it occurred to me that they were simply following their nature.... at that moment, I felt as though I had suddenly woken up from a dream, or stepped out of a fog. Everything... Everything suddenly felt clear(er) to me.. not just the situation that had been on my mind... but everything.

It seemed laughable to me that I would go through every day with the knowledge that I will certainly get old, suffer from ill-health, and die... nobody gets out of here alive... we will all die, and probably sooner than any of us expects.... and that this situation that I was suffering over had become such a huge obstacle in my path...

I realized that it was the nature of human beings to change... and that everyone that is beloved to me will change.... and that I cannot do anything to avoid that... I cannot escape the fact that every human relationship in which I become involved will experience change....

I have to accept that relationships will change. Change is natural, and affects everything. Everything changes. Everything is temporary and transient. A chair is not a chair. There is no inherent 'chairness' to a chair. If you look backwards in time, you cannot see where in the tree the chair will come from... if you look forward in time, you cannot see that the dust that the wood has rotted away to become was once a chair... and if you look at a chair in the present moment... through successive levels of magnification, if that were possible, you would not be able to see where the chair ended, and the person sitting on it began.... the molecules and atoms that comprised the chair would appear as solar systems, with vast amounts of space between them... everything moving and changing.... I have to accept that nothing is as it seems, or seemed to me...

It is my nature as a human being to grow old and to suffer from ill-health, and to die.
I cannot escape old age, ill-health, and death.
I have to accept that I will one day become old, will most probably suffer from health ailments of some type, and, I have to accept that one day I will die.

It is my nature as a human being to selfishly crave the things that I desire, and to try to avoid the things that cause me pain. It is a childish nature to desire so much physical and emotional comfort and to avoid the less comfortable experiences...
I accept that there are both joyful and painful experiences in life, I cannot escape that reality.

I feel less inclined now to differentiate between things or to label them as inherently 'good' or 'bad'.. they are simply what they are, as I am simply what I am. That, I think is the key. I was so arrogant and sure of my knowledge of how things were and what Elysia thought, felt, and was... but actually, I only saw what I saw through a cloud of my own deluded opinions and faulty perceptions.

Knowledge is delusion, ignorance is illusion... Now I neither know or don't know... I just am.

What exists between us is what exists between us... Love, certainly... friendship, absolutely... and it only exists in the present moment. The past no longer exists, and the future is only a concept... and a delusional concept at that. The only truth that exists is in the now. That is not to say that there is no past and that you cannot learn from it... but the past can only exist in the present moment as it lives within us. I am not saying that you cannot plan for the future... but you can only plan in present moment, and you can only affect the future in the present moment.

We had a discussion last night about how much honesty is necessary in a marriage or in a relationship. How much honesty was required? How much do you really need to know about your partner? To what degree can honesty improve or damage a relationship?? How much does it really matter??

We talked this over at length. We questioned how much honesty we could really handle, and whether or not we could accept this degree of honesty and not become judgemental of the other person. We discussed the difference between 'privacy' and 'secretiveness' or 'dishonesty'.

We didn't really come up with any hard and fast answers about this. I had to say that I honestly didn't know how much honesty I could handle, because I have no way of knowing what that means.

Elysia asked if I really wanted to know her. If I could really love her. If I could handle the real her.

I thought about this and I know that I would very much like to think that I am the type of person who would be understanding and accepting of anything about her at all. I think that I am that type of person. I don't think that there is anything that I could learn about her that would change my feelings about her or my opinion of her, short of being told that she never actually loved me and that she only married me for some other reason... which I know is not the case.

That is not to say that whatever she decided to tell me would not be upsetting or a burden to me, if it were something that had caused her great pain, great shame, or something of that nature. It would be upsetting, and it would be painful and, honestly, a burden that I would have to carry until I was able to allow it to dissolve and move past it. However, I think that the understanding that would be gained through looking deeply into her would bring us ultimately closer together, and would make the trust that we share all that much stronger. I have no idea if there is even any sort of thing such as this that even exists... this is all hypothetical.

We have decided that for us, at least, a marathon 'gak-session' of forced-tit-for-tat-honesty is neither necessary, or productive. We basically agreed that if and when a topic becomes relevant in some way, and if and when the divulgence of that topic would be positive or needful, then we will deal with it at that time. If it is a difficult situation, then we will have to deal with it as we do with any other difficult situation, together. If it is not so difficult, then, we deal with it in whatever manner seems appropriate at the time. The point being that honesty for honesty's sake may not be something that is required, that everything has a context and should be addressed and dealt with within that context, and that the situation at hand generally dictates what should be discussed and revealed at that time. We both agreed that we would trust one-another's judgement in this arena, and that if and when any of us has something to say, the other will listen well, and accept what is said without being judgemental or defensive, to the greatest extent that that is possible.

I asked her whether she felt that this whole episode had damaged our relationship/marriage, or whether she felt that it had made us stronger. She said that she felt that we had reached a 'New Level' in our marriage. One where we have let some comfortable but possibly unrealistic beliefs slip away, but where we have engaged a more honest reality and have learned about one another, and, apparently, not found one another wanting in any way. We took off the masks, and still both loved what we saw underneath. I think we have moved to a new level as well.

I think that we all have episodes or incidents in our past that are difficult, burdensome, shameful, painful, what-have-you... In most cases, we would probably prefer not to discuss them or to even think of them.... I also believe that if we do not deal with them that they in some way become a part of our stored consciousness, and that we will suffer as a result of them being there.... I also think that we will cause those around us to suffer as well on some level. (To Wit: My reaction to H & G was most likely caused by unresolved issues that were present in my own stored concsiousness... things that were painful to me, shameful to me, things that made me feel powerless and small and weak... things that had never been confronted and nurtured and allowed to dissolve... things that returned in full force when a similar or seemingly similar ((whether accurately perceived or not)) situation presented itself.)

These things that reside in our stored consciousness, whatever they may be, engender feelings within us... anger, shame, sadness, despair, jealousy, whatever... we have been taught to judge these feelings and to label them as 'Bad'. As a result, we hide them, try to ignore them, deny them, and push them away... but they don't go away.

Its like a baby crying, say, in the bedroom. If nobody comes to take care of the baby, it will not simply fix the situation on its own and go away... it will continue to cry.

If the mother comes and picks the baby up and treats it gently, the baby will feel nurtured, and may stop crying. Of course the mother is not only holding the baby lovingly, she is looking to see what may be the cause of the baby's distress so that she can take some action. This act of looking deeply, of trying to determine the cause of the baby's suffering, and the action of relieving that suffering is an act of love, compassion, and kindness. If the mother is angry, or resentful of the baby's crying, the baby will sense this and become even more upset. Moreover, this will be hurtful to the baby, and that hurt will be placed into the baby's stored consciousness.... and a cycle of pain and suffering develops or continues.

These feelings and issues within our stored conscioussness or psyches are very much like the baby. If we ignore them, or treat them with anger, disdain, indifference, or resentment.. they become more insistent, more strident in their cries. If, however, we learn to water the seeds of happiness within ourselves through looking deeply inward and addressing these feelings and issues and treating them with gentle loving compassion and kindness... they settle down and the pain is diminished and eventually allowed to dissolve. In some cases we may discern the cause of the pain and be driven to take some action to address that. In other cases, the simple act of looking deeply and acknowledging the feelings or issues is all that is required to resolve them.

The way that I have found to do this is through practicing mindfulness in my daily life. I try to remain in the moment, and to greet both happy, joyful feelings as well as painful, 'bad' feelings as old friends. It is though I am a physician who has to see and treat both beautiful healthy people as well as people who have been suffering and who have long-standing illnesses or dreadful injuries.... You have to see them all, and you have to treat them all. As a physician, this is your calling... well, I am the physician of my own soul, of my own mind, and of my own heart. I try not to dwell on the things that are painful, or to hold on to the things that are good.... I simply acknowledge them and experience them in the present moment, and remain still at the center.... I enjoy the solitude, the serenity, the presence of now....

I smile at myself... I'm alive... I'm here... I'm vibrant....!!

I breathe in, I breathe out, I eat when I'm hungry, I drink when I'm thirsty, I pee when I have to, I make love to my wife when the feeling takes us, and I live.

For now, at least, this seems to be the proper path for me... I am no longer preoccupied with what may have happened, how it may have happened and why, what she may be thinking or desiring, or whether she loves me or not.... none of it matters at all.

She is here because she wants to be. She will be here as long as she chooses to be. I don't want her to stay a moment longer.

She loves me. I love her. Isn't that something?!!

Friday, March 11, 2005

Girlwatching

Our windchimes arrived yesterday. They sound magnificent!! We need more windchimes around here...

I cooked up a dinner of beef and broccoli with ginger and lemon, and we had that with the leftover chinese food from the night before. We watched "The Door in the Floor" with Jeff Bridges and Kim Basinger, then discussed it for quite some time. The discussion slid over into a discussion about other people's blogs; What we liked what we didn't, what purpose a blog served for us, whether or not some blogs in particular are true, mostly true, complete bullshit, or whatever. It was nice just sitting and talking with her. Elysia cleaned up the kitchen and did the dishes, and we continued talking the entire time.

We headed up, made love (we almost always get there together... its soooo nice..) and dropped off to sleep. I woke up in the middle of the night to pee, and when I came back to bed, I laid there and watched Elysia sleep for a while. She is so beautiful that she makes my chest ache when I look at her. She has the softest skin in existence, and I was so compelled to touch her, but I didn't want to disturb her sleep.... she looks like an angel when she is asleep. I wonder what dreams she was having?? I just wanted to bundle her into my arms and hold her close... Instead, I just watched her, listened to her breathe, and was happy.... At some point, I drifted off to sleep too.....

We have a wonderful thing between us, Elysia and I. Its a gift. I know how lucky I am to have it, and I know that a marriage, and a love, is something that constantly has to be worked for and nurtured. I want this marriage to last for the rest of my life, and beyond, if that is possible. I want it to strengthen and grow. I pray that I will have the wisdom to be able to determine what the best course of action is, when there is one, and when nothing is required.

Our wedding song is "Amazed" by Lone Star.

I still am.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Still Water, Reflecting Full Moon...

Today was a day of exceptional mindfulness, serenity, calm, and looking deeply inward. I am learning quite a bit about myself and what is going on inside of my mind and my heart. I have come to terms, to a great extent with many of the feelings that I have been experiencing over the past couple of months. I am letting them flow onward and allowing my peace of mind to return. I think it is having a noticable effect on me.

The folks at work noticed something different about me today, though I don't think they were able to put their finger on it precisely... some commented on my being somehow different, and said that I seemed very calm and happy. I think one or two people were mildly disconcerted by my seemingly changed demeanor, though I don't completely understand why that would be. I think I am nicer than before. I am definitely more peaceful.

It was the first day, in a great while, that I have been able to remain in the present moment for the majority of the day, as opposed to being trapped either in the past or in the future. I felt solid, like a mountain. I am happier, I think, but don't feel a need to communicate that happiness other than by a smile when it seems appropriate. While things are happening all around me, I remain still at the center of things, and, to some degree, untouched by most of it.

I do feel quite different, actually. More awake, more here, more in the moment... I am much more in touch with what is around me, of me, within me.... the sky, the trees, the earth that I am standing on... I feel connected to everything.

It seems that I have been granted much more space by everyone... as though there is a boundary there that others instinctively recognize and respect. Its effortless...

I have been eating much less food, which is good. I have apparently been eating for other reasons than hunger, which is understandable, in hindsight (at times I was eating nothing at all for days at a time... either extreme is unhealthy).

I just enjoy breathing... it has been a very good day so far.

Tonight Elysia and I will have some time to be close, snuggle, and spend some time together.

Which is a good place for me to be off to.....

Take Out, Eat In

When Elysia got home from work last night, she gave me a card and present. The card basically said that whatever happens, wherever we go, whatever we do... I only ever need look beside me, and she will always be right there by my side. She's great!! After the gift giving (she gave me a great book), we snarked out to a local Chinese food restaurant and ordered some take out, picked up a few movies from the video store, and breeped on home to watch movies and eat some chow. Since we were both woefully behind on watching TV, neither of us had ever seen '24', and after hearing everyone raving about it, we decided that we wanted to see it from the beginning, so we got season 1 on DVD and watched the first four episodes back-to-back. It was great!!

We headed up for the night, and Elysia took some time to blog and catch up on some reading on some of her favorite blogs. I just caught up on some reading, but I fell asleep.

I was awakened by warm soft full round wonderful breasts in my face. I have decided that this is just about one of my favorite ways to be woken up. (She has two or three others that are just as wonderful!). Not only was I awake as a result, but I was very much up!! What followed was just about the most fantastic, caramelly, delicious lovemaking that I have ever experienced. That woman just about turned me inside out!

I have this sort of odd (as if this is the only odd thing about me.. yikes) thing; I will fall asleep, sleep for maybe 10 or 20 minutes, and wake up insanely horny... I mean animal grunting "where-do-you-think-you're-going?-you-had-better-get-the-hell-over-
here-because-you-are-getting-fucked-right-now" horny. I'm not sure where it comes from. I don't know if its good or bad. I know its a little weird, but... so am I. In any case, last night was sort of like that. When she woke me up, I was very much ready to go... it was FANTASTIC.

Has anybody else ever experienced this sleep for 10-20 minutes and wake up extremely horny phenomenon, or am I the only one?? (I have no way of knowing...)

I am a very passionate man in the calmest of times... when I wake up like that, Elysia is in for it!!

Today is also a very calm day... (I wonder why!), Elysia just popped in for a hug and a kiss... all deliciously naked and soft and warm and wonderful, then she headed back in for a little more snooze time. (Now I wish I had time to follow her in there... grrrrrrwl)

We feel like 'Us' again. It felt sort of stilted or one-step-removed, or something... for a little while. Now I feel as though we are stronger than before. I am grateful for that. The love I share with her is the treasure of my life... I only ever want to see it get stronger and better.
I feel a little ashamed that I reacted the way I did to the whole G thing. I should have been stronger in my mind, and in my heart, and let her have her space. I also feel that I am intelligent and intuitive (extremely intuitive...creepy intuitive) enough that I wouldn't have reacted that way unless I felt there was a reason... so I suppose it worked out the very best way that it could have under the circumstances.

I am still glowing inside from my baby's lovemaking. There is nothing like being made love to by a gorgeous knockout of a woman.... a strong, lusty, beautiful woman who loves you, and whose kisses melt your heart and make you ache for her.

I'm just about the luckiest man who ever lived, I think....

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Mindfulness

It has been a serene and quiet day for the most part. I finally received the lab request from the Doc's office via fax, so I left work, retrieved a sterile specimen cup from the lab, went home, spent a little while obtaining a specimen, and dropped it off at the lab. Very slightly awkward, but not as big of a deal as I imagined it would be. They say that I should get the results of the analysis by the beginning of next week at the latest. Then, lookout Elysia!!

I spent the day working on remaining 'mindful' and in the present moment. I can already feel the familiar sense of calm serenity descending over me. I like this feeling... its like an old friend. I can't help but wonder when, how, and why I ever drifted away from this practice. It makes my body smile.

I want to make this a short entry, as I have been a blog-hog over the past days, and Elysia hasnt' had a chance to get in any good computer time.

The world is incredibly beautful today... everything is so here and now!

Tumbleweeds and Crickets

There is a blanket of fresh new snow all over everything outside this morning. The sun is just coming up. Its beautiful!

I can tell by the weather that work is going to be as dead as it was yesterday. How do you look as though you are doing something constructive when you aren't?? Everything has been organized, sorted, cleaned, moved, dusted, alphabetized, and scrubbed nine times over.... The place looks like we are prepared for surgery...

The Old Man brought in a radio, but the Nose keeps switching it off. He has a psyche thing about radios; apparently there used to be an elderly gent who worked there (he has since passed away, and get this - his ashes are in an urn on a shelf at the office!) who had a thing about music in the workplace. So, in deference to him, The Nose prohibits us from listening to the radio. Sometimes we sing to him to annoy him. Other times we just grumble to ourselves.

Usually it isn't really such an issue, but on these brutally long, dead, boring days... a little music would go a very long way towards preserving everybody's sanity.

I shouldn't complain, because I have a job, and I'm getting paid - whether I'm working my ass off, or whether I'm simply there... and, in truth, I'm not really complaining all that much.
It lets me get inside of my own head and be alone with my thoughts, which I like.

I spoke with a nurse from the Doc's office yesterday on the telephone. I gave her the phone number to the lab up here, and she was supposed to contact the lab, find out what they needed from her, and then get back to me. I got a voice mail from her after hours that didn't really tell me much at all. So I guess I'll give her a call today. I so just want to get this damned thing over with.

Off to work....

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

I Love to Kiss Her....

She has the most fantastic kisses in the entire world. I absolutely love kissing her. Her lips are perfect. Soft and beautiful and indescribably kissable. I love the taste of her kisses.. the feel of her breath on me... the smell of her hair.

I love the warmth of and the scent of her breasts when I bury my face in them... running my hands down the center of her back... the curve of her lower back has to be the sexiest spot on the entire earth.... the silky whisper of her hair on my hands and forearms...

I love to kiss her... her mouth was made for me to kiss...

I love that woman.

Afternoon Snow

Today, work was completely dead. I spent the day alternately:

  • Contemplating my feet
  • Drawing pictures on the computer using 'paint'
  • Making paper airplanes and throwing them at coworkers
  • Launching rubberbands at coworkers
  • Feeding the seagulls
  • Fantasizing about sex
  • Surreptitiously reading
  • Making and drinking insane quantities of coffee
  • Trying (unsuccessfully) to ignore a drunk customer who wanted to explain god-knows-what to me (this really sucked)
  • Fantasizing about sex
  • Meditating
  • Watching the snow
  • Composing Haiku
  • Fantasizing about sex (Hey... I love sex!)
  • Trying to get the Doc's office in NC to send a prescription for the post-vasectomy semen analysis test that is required
  • Trying not to look as though I was doing any of the above
  • Wandering about aimlessly
  • Fantasizing about still more sex
Finally, the workday somehow ended and I was off like a prom dress and headed for home.

Neither of us are feeling all that up to snuff, so I think its going to be a quiet night of not much activity.

I drew a picture of a brushstroked circle in black on a celadon-green background. On the right hand side I wrote a Korean proverb, then signed my name in Hanja and drew in a few red 'dojangs' or chops. The circle is the last of a series of temple paintings called the ox paintings. It symbolizes the completion of a spiritual journey... returning to the beginning, but having been fundamentally changed by the process... completeness.... sort of in a 'Cleansing of the Shire' Frodo, Sam, Merry & Pippin returning to the Shire to find that their experience has irrevokably changed them sort of way...

The Fly asked me 'What the fuck is that?!' in his usual kind and diplomatic fashion. I asked him if he really wanted an answer, or if he was just wanting to be a ball-buster. He said that he really wanted an answer, so I answered him. He stared at me for a few seconds, thinking god knows what, then went away. I wonder why he feels that anything that someone else knows that he doesn't know somehow diminishes him? I can't really see much into his heart...

The snow is beautiful. I love the way it transforms everything into such a completely different world. If I weren't feeling like sludge, I would go out and walk down to the water and just think. Probably not a good idea.

I hope the Doc's office and the Lab get their act together so that I can wank into a cup and get it bloody-well over with. I hate having this indignity hanging over my head.

Today has been a very zen day...

Early Morning Rain...

I had a wonderful night's sleep... curled up with Elysia. I love the way she smells.. the way she feels; so warm, and soft..

Its a cold, gray, dreary day outside. I can hear the rain pattering against the windows every so often. In its own way, its a beautiful day.

The house is silent, except for the smallest sound of Elysia sleeping. I so wish I could crawl back into bed with her and sleep a few more hours.

Last night, Elysia wasn't feeling well at all. I rubbed her feet, scritchled her back, mugged her head, and brought her drinks. I made pasta and sauce with sausages, and we ate like hogs!
We headed up sort of early since we both haven't been feeling all that great for a while now. Sleep was definitely a needed commodity.

The official count is now down to zero (She took care of all the details... lucky me!). Now I just have to wait for the doc to send the prescription for the post-vasectomy semen analysis, and then I can get that bloody thing over and done with. Naturally, I am hoping that they wont find any fishies, which will mean that everything worked out the way it was supposed to.

I am feeling very calm and serene today. It would be nice to be able to have the day off and to be able to go to the arboretum and just stroll about and watch the rain and the trees, but, alas, it isn't in the cards.... so I am off to work.

It isn't as bad there as it was at first. I thought I was going to eventually end up crushing the Fly's head like a walnut, but he has backed off considerably. He has even let a sense of humor show through a time or two. I still don't know how to take him, so I just let everything flow past me. In any case, he doesn't make any decisions regarding my salary, my continued employment, or, actually, in just about anything regarding me... although he can think of miserable things for me to do. I laugh in the face of this because each time he has tried that, I did such a fantastic job that he stopped it altogether. Apparently, he cannot stand to hear anyone else get kudos for anything. A dark wind blows through that man's heart. I wonder what happened to him?? I sort of feel sorry for him in a perverse sort of way, which is why I don't go back at him when he makes his nast digging comments and whatnot. I guess I can see a hurt in there, and I don't feel right exposing it. I have decided to give him plenty of room, mind my business, do my job, and see where it goes.

I am becoming addicted to some of your blogs out there... I find that I am disappointed when there isn't a new post for me to read. I'm a strange duck....

I guess I should get my ass moving and get to work...

It sort of sucks to be forced to spend so much time away from someone you love in order to get money. I wish I could find a way to make a decent living that didn't necessitate my being away from her so much. Of course, she may very well need the time away from me to retain that last vestige of sanity, so maybe I shouldn't wish so much!!

Slán go fóill

Monday, March 07, 2005

Just a Day

Today was a typical Monday. Apparently, I will never be getting over this friggin' upper respiratory infection, or whatever it is... I'm just about tired of coughing my brains out.

Poor Elysia is getting sick again... she feels like total crap.

I more or less just cruised through the day today... it was a very peaceful, mindful, zenlike day for me.

I decided to update my photo in my profile. Now you can see Bear's face.. I no longer have the beard, but, that's still me!!

I am going to make this post short today... I am off to pamper a sick Elysia.

After reading over my long ranting post of a few days ago... it occurs to me that it may appear that I was being extremely judgemental, particularly with regard to WithLonging's situation as outlined on her blog. If so, I apologize. I would like to say that her situation hits so close to home regarding my own fears that I am apparently not able to view it with total equanimity, and instead project my own fears and feelings onto it.

I am not a judgemental person generally, and don't like it when others are judgemental of me.

If I came off the wrong way, I hope that it will be taken in the vein in which it was meant. No maliciousness or nastiness was meant.

I think I am unable at this point to stop from trying to convince the entire female world that if they are involved with a guy (who, in my mind would be as loving, kind, handsome, and generous as me, of course... it's my hypothetical situation, and we are always the star of our own movie...), that they should love him exclusively, extensively, fiercely, and everlastingly... (because all of the females, in my hypothetical situation would be my gorgeous, wonderful Elysia.. and that is what I want, so I am beating it into everybody like a big, knuckledragging lout...).

The reality is, my wife does love me... more than anything. I love her the same way, and everybody else's business is their own. It is wrong of me to foist my own views and opinions on anybody. I know this, but sometimes I am not so good at controlling my mouth (fingers?).

So. If I sounded like a big ass, and hurt anybody's feelings. Please forgive me??

My brain has been in turmoil for the past couple of months... I'm still trying to regain my equilibrium, I guess....

Things are looking up, but, it was a ride....

That's it. That's all.

Feel free to take it to email if I still am in need of flaming.