August 26, 2012
Caught Up, ME Newsletter, Vol. 5, Issue 35
The solar porch light flares on with a definitive soft click, startling me from my book pages. 8:30 pm and… sigh... the sun is setting. Pool days are fading, too. It’s inevitable, I know. Soon, I’ll be back to running music and myself on the elliptical every day instead of just on those days weather prohibits even an early evening swim. I suppose, given that fall is looming and winter is coming, it seems like I may have wasted some precious sun-time this weekend moving haphazard boxes filled with undecided fate, miscellaneous ownerships and unfinished projects out of sight. I do plan on plowing through those piles of lost-time reminders this winter; same as I did last winter with mild half-success. With winter not that far off, why did I choose this weekend? Without warning, a surprisingly significant and stunning easy answer arrives.
Two years is an awfully long time to dally over organization. My newly acquired extra drawers and storage space aren’t meant to accommodate some of my long-time failures. Crafts I’ve meant to create, writing I’ve meant to transcribe, collections I’ve meant to log. I’m searching for a sense of order. I want to fill the empty spaces with intelligent plotting, assignment, not with irrational random. So, instead, it all gets dragged away. And although hiding my chaos in closets merely projects an image of order, it helps relieve the stress and avoid being further weighed down by piles of visual self-let-downs. That is mighty medicinal.
I know, of course, I’m only hiding my imperfections from others; not myself. Temporarily out of sight, but not so much out of mind. I am holding to the new subscription of this belief: project the image you want to become, and you will. I want to become caught up with and caught up in my own life again.
August 21, 2012
Leap Step, ME Newsletter, Vol. 5, Issue 34
I recently took a step in the right direction, reworking my resume in response to a potential career change. Or, what could be more accurately described as a career revival. Initially daunting, the end reward was empowering. It’s difficult to blow your own horn with just the right amount confidence and humility. Like playing the sax, breathing cyclically, giving and taking for balance and sound, the abbreviated outline of where I’ve been, what I’ve accomplished, what I’ve learned swelled into achievement. It forced me into a more positive self-light, and temporarily back in power. Temporary because I quickly developed very mixed feelings about whether or not I was ready to leap from my semi-secure situation to a familiar but still foreign one.
I’ve mulled it over and come to an uneasy realization; a step in the right direction is not a leap of faith.
There is a difference between two, and the results will not be the same.
A step of faith moves you closer.
A leap requires jumping off.
Steps are good. Short stepping walks us to a better vantage point; one with a better view. We can more easily see where it is GOD wants us to go. If we’re moving toward it, we have to be feeling it requires our presence. And if we’re moving toward it, it must mean that we want to go there as well. There is a limit, though. Too many timid shuffles will only lead us to a precarious edge. Jumping from there without real momentum, means we’re relying on GOD to carry us lazily to the goal.
No, that won’t work. To get where HE wants us to go, we need to commit, take a running start, and then keep running as we hit the air. HE wants us to get there. HE wants us to reach our goals, because they are OUR combined goals. We can’t expect, and should not demand, continual push, pull, or carry. It takes recognition of our soul’s longing, a firm desire in our heart, and oomph to lift us off the ground. It also takes courage. We have to believe GOD’s encouraging wind-breath will be behind us, and then we have to have faith it’s strong enough to land us gently near the mark.
Anyway, all that resume work and rework and project detail lead me nowhere... except to another disappointment. So maybe that is what obstacles in our paths are designed to do: draw us back from the edge and set us up for a running start. Even so, it is extremely rare to land on that perfect line. We might fall short. We might surpass it. How do we figure out if we made it or not? We don’t. All that is required in life is this: one forward, two back, step, step, leap, retreat, and fly again.
August 13, 2012
Spence, ME Newsletter, Vol. 5, Issue 33
I should have rolled myself back out of bed at 3AM when all those brilliant thoughts were running through my just-spent-six-hours-at-a-biker-bar, very late but night-clear head. My thoughts were exactly as I would have liked to written them. I repeatedly re-recited excited paragraphs as I drifted off, so certain in my brilliance that I wouldn’t forget. Yeah, I should know better. It happens every time, but I’ll give it my re-creative best shot now.
I think what impressed me most about Spence is that they are an abnormally normal bunch of good guys, with a great deal of talent. Polite, friendly, interested in their fans, perpetually circulating, unfailingly accessible, and willing to give their all to a less than all-there crowd after giving their attention to the two opening and opening bands before them. While Coldville and Redstone Riot are still cutting teeth, Spence are using theirs to smile widely at the people in front of them, and the people behind them.
Used to be, door sales were the only reimbursement process for self-funded bands. Even with the adoption of t-shirt sales, it used to be hard to break even, but with individual personal backing by very real individuals, monetarily and through social media marketing, Spence is holding it together. They’re also putting it out there with fan-funded recording. And while each individual fan is not carrying the bulk of artistic costs alone, they are all heavily emotionally invested. They show up, willingly pay door fees, purchase merchandise and revel in a real bit of ownership. The “I helped make this happen” mentality is a major ROI for all parties.
Used to be, the music industry considered themselves the ultimate coaches to the single-minded players – musicians with the muscle but not the marketing. Talent is everywhere. Real all-around, every facet of a band’s life creative talent is an elusive creature. Tweaking talent like this would be a pleasure, but I’m pretty sure these guys are gonna make it without all us jaded eyes poking holes in the good-guys good-show bubble they float from town to town in. Throwing pitch sticks in smoothly self-operating drive chains serves no purpose. Much like the trailer they pull behind them, Spence’ve got this thing in tow. All we have to do is follow.
August 07, 2012
Bedtime Story, ME Newsletter, Vol. 5, Issue 32
Getting back into the full swing of therapy is like riding one of those old-fashioned rope-hung tires. I just keep coming back to where I am. Not always from the same direction, but always with a different spin.
“It Is What It Is” – I hate that defeatist saying. Just because I cannot do something myself does not mean I have to settle for the mediocre performance of others’. Especially, if I am paying for it. Having just been through yet another birthday, I have to face. I’m old and don’t have enough helpful hands in my life to live the IKEA way anymore. My last IKEA assembly went mostly fine, until I had to track down a neighbor to help secure it to the wall. So that’s how I ended up at a real furniture store.
Before I go further pay close attention as I state clearly: there will be no more harassment regarding the no-bed situation. Cease and desist because: yes, I have one. Yes, I’m trying to sleep on it, but have so far have had to limit myself to experimenting on evenings when a good night’s sleep isn’t required. Miss Fred loves it and Harley Blu finds it an excellent spring-board, especially at 3:00 AM. I find it cute and aggravating.
I purchased a cute, playfully oriented white children’s suite on clearance and a full size mattress. I also took the rational adult route, and paid $92.00 for delivery and assembly. A polite delivery man calls to let me know they are running ahead of schedule and would be to me before my appointment time. Ahead of schedule is practically unheard of, right? So, I do a little mental jig and decide this endeavor could go smoothly and be well worth the relatively minimal fee.
Soon enough, they arrive and the furniture flurry begins. I have time to inspect each piece as it is placed in planned spots in the bedroom. When the assembly begins, I retreat the kitchen to make some iced tea. It’s a hot day, and it’s the polite thing to do. The sounds of soft grunts and electric screw drivers go on for a while. At one point, I hear one of the two-man crew, exclaim, “Ow!” There’s a moment of silence and then the work continues. Suddenly, they’re done. One of the men gathers up a huge arm of garbage and disappears. I never see him again. The other accepts an iced tea and asks me to sign the delivery papers. Before, I do any signing, I check the finished work. Like most rainbow-hued bubbles my happiness one are my fragile, and unfortunately short lived.
I notice a few joints that are not flush: 1/4 inch gaps are not acceptable. Because of the gaps, the platform boards are not flush, and therefore not butted-up to or supporting each other. And because of the gaps, the frame is 1.5” larger than the mattress. When I explain all that, I am told, with a shrug, “It is what it is – quick assembly furniture and pieces are not always cut perfect, but you can call the service center and they’ll send a tech out to see what can be done. Oh, and by the way you are missing a few end-screw caps.” He says they’ll mail them to me. I write down all my complaints about the bed assembly on the paperwork. The deliveryman doesn’t seem too happy about that, but I point out that it is exactly what the furniture sales person told me to do if there were any issues. I suppose I should have suspected problems were probable when she also told me about her mom’s experience with damaged furniture and how she was able to have things fixed pretty quickly. Guess I missed that warning sign.
I continue my inspection of the other three coordinating pieces. I don’t believe I am an unreasonable person. I don’t expect special treatment, but I do expect intelligent treatment. Yes, I know its white furniture, but I also know that there shouldn’t be glops of glue seeping out or greasy finger prints or oily smudges left behind. I expected at least a service-oriented wipe down.
What I didn’t expect is that both idiots felt it wasn’t necessary to wipe the blood off the furniture. Yes, that’s right – there is blood which is really wrong - on the dresser, on one of the side tables and under the mattress. I know I sound incredulous when I bite out, “Really? Is that blood?” I don’t so much drop the papers as let them drift after a brisk release and then stiffly stalk off in search of cleaning supplies and some deep cleansing breaths.
When I return, I very directly offer my solutions to the antsy gentleman, and say, “Try this. If that blood doesn’t come out you’re taking all this furniture back with you.” He looks surprised and I think he might protest, but for some reason changes his mind. Maybe it’s because one minute I was a nice iced-tea offering customer and the next minute I swung straight into an infuriated one. Maybe it's because he just saw “The Avengers,”” and was afraid I’d go full-swing into Hulk mode. Maybe it was because I was staring him down and pushing the rag and sponge into his hands and was afraid I'd take a swing at him the moment they left mine. While he is working on all of the places I've pointed out, I look for more blood. Luckily, for both of us, I don’t find any. I also don’t find myself inclined to tip as much as I was previously considering.
If my life was a sitcom, I’d find it funny. But it isn’t. I manage to laugh, but it’s not because I’m amused. My therapist spends a good deal of time laughing at the way I present my problems to him. He says it’s great that I can keep my sense of humor. I explain, that it only seems that way because the irony of retrospect rears up and with little or no reverence finds its way transformed through my finger-tips into the comedy of errors that are my storied world. Trust me, while this outrageousness is occurring I am not laughing. I’m usually not even smiling. But if I can find a way to share the stupidity, convey a lesson and make it stick with a smile, I think I’m doing ok.