Watch out, it's the meat-eating robot

By way of an introduction, a story:
It was the first time I’d taken Jason into the backcountry to backpack. Certainly, it was an ambitious trek, some 38 miles in seven days and visits to several different lakes.
The backcountry does strange things to people (and yes, I’ve gotten him into some serious jams – without serious injury or harm).
For most, it is the absence of modern stimuli in the woods – television, traffic, work, the ebb and flow of a harried life – that really tweaks the mind.
Jason got a Christmas carol stuck in his head (I drew a blank at which one). It was like a CD got stuck on a constant one-song loop, repeating over and over again.
At camp that night, we were sitting on a couple of rocks, talking and cooking (I’m sure there was whiskey, too).
When Jason fell off his rock sideways, in a slow motion crumple that ended with him in a fetal position.
“Make it stop,” he said. “Make the pain stop. I can’t stand it.”
I laughed my ass off.
And so did he – until tears streamed down his face.
To look at Jason, a 28-year-old husband and father of two boys, you’d think “mild-mannered, small-town guy.”
He’s brilliant and humble, a talented musician (his mother likes to say he sings like an angel), a fantastic father and devoted husband – who is just bizarre enough to get along famously with the likes of me.
(We’ve know each other since I moved to California 10 years ago next month; he’s the one and only minor I have ever purchased adult beverages for, because I knew he’d be responsible with his under-age drinking).
Now inspired, he’s blogging.
I am positive it will be weird and wonderful and poignant and a place to stop by – daily.

I am rabbit

For the first few days of being back home, I think, “Hey, I could live here, be close to my dad, my siblings.”
Then I realized how seriously fucked those kinds of thoughts really are.
Especially when you’re trapped inside your dad’s home – because it is 9 degrees out (with a wind chill of –7 degrees) at 2 p.m. (that’s –13 degrees Celsius, with a wind chill of –22 degrees) – and there’s nothing to do but read, watch TV or blog.
But you can’t blog, because there is no stimuli to feed the brain.
So you end up with crap.
Which this post is turning out to be.
I freely admit, the highlight of my day, so far, has been running to Wal-Mart to pick up my dad’s prescription (yea, more Vicodin!), buy him a box of Fixodent for his dentures and pick up a package of bratwurst for Wednesday night’s dinner (a dad request).
Then, I took the Chrysler through the car wash.
I’m all a tingly now.
So, we here at Surface Tension are not above ripping off others to entertain.
Over at SkiGirl’s place in England, she writes that SkiChild is learning about the Chinese New Year (it’s Feb. 18).
They also discussed Chinese astrology (made up of 12 animal signs). Each animal (person) gets along better with certain other animals (people). SkiChild is a rabbit.
“Mum, I have to marry a pig or a dog.”
I am a rabbit as well.
I looked it up, and a rabbit’s best matches for everlasting love are goats and pigs (so that means women, if you were born in either 1967 or 1971 I’m interested – in six to eight months).
Astrology. Bunch of cockamamie bullshit, right?
It’s testicle-freezing weather out – so you do some research, and you find out that there’s some truth in what they say about your Chinese astrological sign (thanks to the folks at Astronomy.com):
“Timid and attractive, the Rabbits of the Chinese Zodiac tend to act more like bunnies, whether they like it or not! This Sign is extremely popular and has a wide circle of family and friends. Its compassionate nature leads it to be very protective of those it holds dear, but where romance is concerned, the Rabbit's sentimentality can lead it to idealize relationships. The sweet, sensitive Rabbit often ends up giving more of itself to a partner than is realistic or healthy. The good news is, when this Sign goes off-balance, the Rabbit's core group of friends and its stable home life help bring it back to center.
“The Rabbit is a rather delicate Sign that needs a solid base in order to thrive. Lacking close, supportive friends and family, the Rabbit might just break down in tears at the first sign of conflict. Emotional upsets in this Sign's life can even lead to physical illnesses. Rabbits dislike arguments and other conflict and will try anything to avoid a fight; this results in something of a pushover nature. Rabbits can also lapse into pessimism and may seem stuck in life - often to mask their insecure natures. Rabbits tend to move through life's lessons at their own, rather contemplative pace; it's a waste of time to become exasperated with this Sign's seeming disinterest in facing its problems and conquering them.
“With the right partner - meaning someone whose high principles won't allow it to take advantage of this sensitive, giving Sign - the Rabbit can make an incredibly loving and protective partner or family member. Rabbits love to entertain at home and always make sure their house is comfortable and tastefully-furnished. What Rabbits need most is a stronger sense of self-worth and the security that comes with it. Their discerning natures, coupled with some hard-won assertiveness, will help these happy creatures go far.”
I checked out certain family and friends, and their signs were telling as well. Spot-on, in most cases.
And you put a bit of credence in this stuff.
For love, what’s the absolute worst sign for me?
The rooster.
My soon-to-be ex-wife is a rooster.
(Note to self: Check with Chinese astrology before going back into the dating pool).

'It's the little differences'

As Vincent Vega said in “Pulp Fiction:” “It's the little differences. I mean they got the same shit over there that they got here, but it's just, just there it's a little different.”
It’s time to discuss the Runza sandwich.
And the Dorothy Lynch salad dressing.
Both wildly Midwestern entities.
OK, I know my 43 Things say “never eat fast food again, ever.” Runza Hut is a fast food place. Kinda-sorta.
A Runza (also called a bierock), is a yeast roll stuffed to the bajezus with hamburger meat, cabbage and onions and various spices.
It’s a German/Russian import (Germans and Russians being foolhardy enough – uh, I mean of strong character – to want to settle on the prairie) that is part of growing up a Nebraskan.
The first Runza restaurant opened in Lincoln in 1949. When I went to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (1981-1986), you could buy a Runza for $1.25 at the Cornhusker football games.
Today, a cheese Runza (my preferred way to eat it, it’s got a couple of slices of processed American Cheese tucked into the bread) will set you back $2.99.
It’s all worth it (even though the cabbage will give you the winds something fierce).
Just as crazy is Dorothy Lynch salad dressing. I think there’s a bottle in every refrigerator in Nebraska.
And I am not kidding.
There was a real Dorothy Lynch, who invented the “pseudo-French dressing” recipe for folks at the Legion Club in St. Paul, Nebraska in the 1940s. Dorothy sold the recipe in the 1960s, and the stuff is made by Tasty-Toppings in Columbus, Nebraska.
It’s like French dressing, but it’s not. It’s just good. You have to taste it to see.
And when the idea of a salad in the Midwest gets as daring as chopped iceberg lettuce with shredded carrots, you need a little goodness. You need a little orange-hued Dorothy Lynch, speckled with poppy seeds.
And yes, I have had Nebraska transplants in California ask if I’ll bring a couple of bottles back in my suitcase.
Yes, I will bring bottles back.

My 43 Things

I say I completed my 43 Things, but I never said what those 43 Things were; some are in play, some are in the planning stages, and some I try to accomplish every day.

And here they are:

  1. Weigh 199 pounds, with a healthy body fat percentage (target 11 percent), by Dec. 31, 2007
  2. Strive to become the fearless, happy person I was in my youth
  3. Write something every single day
  4. Stop biting my nails
  5. Find everlasting love
  6. Pray more
  7. Stop beating myself up mentally
  8. Sincerely thank all the people for being in my life
  9. Create a database of birthdays of my friends and family, and never miss one again
  10. Volunteer more
  11. Be assigned to cover the 2008 Summer Olympics
  12. Live in Italy for a year
  13. Read 12 books in 2007 outside my normal comfort level
  14. Visit Australia
  15. Build time into my life to do absolutely nothing
  16. Vacation in Bora Bora for a month
  17. Be independent of credit cards by 2010
  18. Learn Italian
  19. Organize my addresses into one handy file
  20. Buy an alternative pet (rat or aquarium)
  21. Take a yoga class
  22. Treat myself to an indulgence once a month
  23. Publish a piece of original fiction
  24. Live self-sufficiently (off-the-grid) for at least a month, but more like a year
  25. Create more things by my own hands
  26. Try snowboarding
  27. Make love covered head to toe in oil
  28. Trek in Nepal
  29. Get at least one more tattoo
  30. Enter and finish a mountain bike race
  31. Travel to all 50 States
  32. Learn how to write songs
  33. Write poetry and have it published
  34. Buy a new house and entertain, often
  35. Try "la Fée Verte" "the Green Fairy," or Absinthe
  36. Visit Poland, understand where my ancestors came from
  37. Do more with less
  38. Go on a road trip with no predetermined destination
  39. Never again eat fast food again
  40. Retrofit my Bridgestone MB-2 into a singlespeed mountain bike
  41. Be more vocal while making love
  42. Solo hike the John Muir Trail
  43. Continue to find the humor in life

12:34 p.m.

It is either a conscience effort by some deep-dwelling part of my brain, or just a continual, frighteningly weird, coincidence:
I always seem to look up a clock, a watch, the time on a computer, a bank sign – fuck, anything that tells time – at exactly 12:34 p.m.
This happens several times a week.
Enough that I have, on occasion, played these numbers in the lottery (without a big payoff, but I hit a few bucks now and again).
Does this happen to anyone else out there?
It happened most recently on Wednesday. I was driving back from running errands, when I looked at a bank time and temperature sign. It blinked 12:34 p.m. I looked at my watch (which links itself automatically to the atomic clock in Boulder four times a day) and it confirmed the time: 12:34 p.m.
(I have a thing about time; yes, SkiGirl it’s all part of being orderly and anal-retentive. I have my good traits, too.)
But being conscious of a certain point of time in a 24-hour period is just eerie.
So last night, during that soft portion of the day just before sleep (I like that line, but will retire it with this post), I pondered what 12:34 p.m. might mean in my life.
And I’ve come up with a plausible explanation.
It’s a good theory, anyway.
I was born at 12:29 p.m. on March 20, 1963; I think I became conscious – sentient, self-aware – at 12:34 p.m. (those five minutes from birth to sentience were spent kicking and screaming in some red-faced whirl of animalistic rage, as nurses wiped me off and suctioned out my mouth and nasal cavity).
My mother liked to tell the story of my birth; we shared an interesting bond, since she said I was the only child she had out of five without the use of heavy doses of pain medication.
She was aware.
I became aware.
Just like this:
“They put you in the bassinet and wheeled you up to me,” she said. “You had this serious look on your face and then you looked me up and down – like you were sizing me up – and you shut your eyes and went to sleep.
The time: 12:34 p.m.
I’m sure of it.

It's a caffinated world (and I'm just living in it)

My dad does not appreciate my coffee.
OK, it's a tad bit on the bold side.
I blame the Italians.
Already a coffee snob, I went to Italy, where they know coffee (according to historians: "Coffee was believed by some Christians to be the devil's drink. Pope Vincent III heard this and decided to taste it before he banished it. He enjoyed it so much he baptized it, saying 'coffee is so delicious it would be a pity to let the infidels have exclusive use of it.' ")
If I could (afford) it, I'd buy a real espresso machine.
And I'd start my day - every day - with real coffee.
As it is, I make my brew in the best coffee maker I can afford. The Hamilton Beach coffee reservoir.
Dad has an ancient Mr. Coffee.
"Jeez, this will grow hair on you balls," he said (and I had doused his cup with a lot of hot water).
Today I decided to go to Starbucks, and have the nice gals there fuck up an Americano for me (they did; I just don't know how you can fuck up espresso and hot water).
"You going out for coffee?" dad said.
"Yep."
"Use my cup in the car, get me a couple shots of Irish creme and fill the rest up with decaf," he said of the grocery store's deli coffee. "That'll be 50 cents."
Mine cost $2.78.
The horror, the horror.

Poetry corner

Yeah, I dabble in poetry. The interesting thing is, I never know when and where it's going to come out. I ended up writing most of this down in bed, in the soft part of the day just before sleep comes. I took a look in the morning, and fleshed it out.

It's called "The Kiss"

The small talk ends;
And the awkward silence begins
Collectively, chests heave with a sigh;
Grins on the verge of laughter
Clumsy teenagers again;
Anxious, confused, excited
An embrace that comes too quick;
Lips press
The kiss
Lips press, but smiles underneath;
Her eyes are open, and so are yours
Eyes locked, focus, but fantasy, too;
One kiss, another and another
Lips press, eyes locked;
The kiss ends
Two hearts skip;
Until the next
Kiss

Hokie-smokes!

I've hit 1,000 page views here at Surface Tension.
I thank you all - even the lurkers - for reading. I really do.
Throwing your life out in the open is weirdly therapeutic.
And me being me, I'm sure the vortex of my life will continue to spin on that outer edge of control and out-of-control.

Personality, tested

Global Personality Test Results
Stability (46%) medium which suggests you average somewhere in between being calm and resilient and being anxious and reactive.
Orderliness (73%) high which suggests you are overly organized, reliable, neat, and hard working at the expense too often of flexibility, efficiency, spontaneity, and fun.
Extraversion (73%) high which suggests you are overly talkative, outgoing, sociable and interacting at the expense too often of developing your own individual interests and internally based identity.
http://similarminds.com/global5.html">Take Free Global Personality Test
http://similarminds.com">personality tests by similarminds.com




Well, there you have it.

That big jet plane home

OK, I'm about to board a 737 for home. And dad. Denver doesn't have free WiFi, so I will see you on the flip-side.
Please, talk amongst yourselves during this brief interlude.
And yes, SkiGirl, I'll be working on my personality test.
And I will post it.
Because I can't post all about Wal-mart. That's just too depressing.

True tales of animal sex

I saw coyotes. Fucking.
Notice I didn’t say, “I saw some fucking coyotes.”
We actually saw them in the act.
Well, sorta.
My mates and I were hiking in Upper Bidwell Park (the ninth-largest municipal park in the United States; it is bigger than New York’s Central Park) when David saw the coyote across a draw.
“He doesn’t see us,” he said. “With the wind, he can’t smell us either.”
We watched for several minutes, but as we watched, something just seemed out of place. The coyote kept looking at us, it knew we were there. But it didn’t budge.
We moved on along the trail – and stopped.
“Hey, that’s two coyotes,” I said.
What’s more, they were standing butt-to-butt. Just looking at us.
“Holy shit, they’re stuck,” Tom said.
And that’s when they really saw us.
And started running in opposite directions, literally digging their paws into the lava-rock-strewn hillside.
Attached – wait for it….by the PENIS – together.
I fully expected an animated balloon to show up above the couple, with some like PING! or BOING! in it.
Finally, the pair separated – and took off in two different directions.
It left us to ponder – and grab out own doodles (and come up with appropriate double-sided dildo jokes almost immediately).
“Dude, that fucking had to hurt,” Jason said.
“Him or her?” David said.
“Both,” I said. “Ouch. Ouch, ouch ouch.”
Tom was writing a short travel piece for his newspaper on our hike (before the debauchery started at the bar started with football, wings and beer).
“How, exactly, are you going to add that to you piece?” I asked.
He was stumped.
We all were.
“I could live to be 100 and never see that again,” Tom said.
True, true.
It was most amazing – and witnessed by five people. It happened – and we saw it.
And we laughed. We’re still laughing today.
“Coyotes gets stuck fucking. You do not. You are better than the coyote.”

Pass the (non-sacramental) wine

It is with a deep sigh of relief – and a tip of a fine (ample) glass of Zinfandel – that I report that I did not swear in church.
I actually did quite well, considering.
Father asked if I had practiced the reading.
“Yeeeessssss,” I said.
“The long version?”
“Yeeeesssss.”
“OK, go with the long version then.”
Less words would have worked too, you know.
I enjoy public speaking. I really do. I have spoken to large groups and small; grownups and children. I gave the eulogy at both my mom’s rosary and at her funeral. And I got through that like a champ.
Why this was getting to me, I have no clue.
Everyone said I did great (maybe they were being nice; but I do have a great reading voice).
I did manage to bobble one word – propriety – which I read over as property. And that didn’t make much sense:
“…and our less presentable parts are treated with greater propriety, whereas our more presentable parts do not need this.”
So, OK, read that, and substitute property.
What gets me, however, is what I did (in a panic) before mass even started. I have been attending Catholic mass, off and on, for going on 44 years; I can recite the Lord’s Prayer without looking; I can recite the Liturgy of the Eucharist right along with the priest.
I couldn’t for the life of me remember what I was supposed to say after the reading. It wasn’t in the workbook.
So I looked it up on the Internets.
“The word of the Lord.”
Easy, right?
I just couldn't commit it to memory.
So I wrote it on the palm of my hand.
With a Sharpie.
It was in the big book on the alter.
And now until it wears off, “The word of the Lord” is tattooed on my palm.
In blue ink.
Oy Vey – and pass the Zin.

Snowball day from hell

Today has been like a little piece of ice that falls from a pine tree and hits a snowy slope and starts rolling downhill.
Into one gigantic fucking snowball from hell.
So I was trying to find a cheaper flight to Nebraska (because I didn’t book Friday night, the original flight went up $200 in six fucking hours) when an email comes into my inbox.
From my wife.
“Regarding our situation. I am planning on filing next week unless I hear differently from you. I want to be as open in our communication as possible. Please let me know if you have already moved forward or if you have other thoughts.”
My thought is, “Could you possibly have more piss-poor timing than this?”
So I emailed her back to say she needs to do what she needs to do – and that I’ll be back in town on Feb. 6. That my dad needs me - and that is my current focus.
But I can multi-task. I can do this. I make a call to the outfit that I took the small loan from to come up with the retainer on an attorney to see where the hell check is (it’s - bada-boom – in the mail).
“With the president’s death and Martin Luther King holiday, we show that it should get there on Monday or Tuesday,” the very nice lady said.
And I will be 1,600 miles away from my mailbox, my bank and my attorney.
So, my next step is to call and email my attorney to give her a head’s up on the divorce situation – and to beg her to take my case for the $500 that I can get to her right now, in however way she wants to get it.
I’m still waiting.
Then, I run into work to tie up about 20 loose ends. Which actually goes smoothly. Until I realize that the only thing I lack currently is a ride to the airport on Monday (yeah, I’m working on it).
On the way home, I run into a business associate of my wife’s, who feels it’s right and decent to tell me some shitty stuff she told him about the divorce situation. Like I needed that. But I thanked him for being honest (and seethed with red-hot emotion at her willingness to openly lie to me; I do deserve better than that).
It’s late afternoon, I’m not packed, I don’t have a ride to the airport and in two-and-a-half hours, I’ve got to deliver the second reading at mass. A reading that I’ve looked over, but didn’t get to practice Friday or Saturday.
With what has snowballed, I just know I’m going to cock up – and probably will drop an F-bomb on the audience.
It is one way to close this day out properly.
Don’t you think?

Walking the walk

I do it every day.
Every freakin’ day.
OK, gutter-minds. Not that.
I walk.
From the bed, to the bathroom, to the kitchen, to the driveway to pick up the paper, from the parking lot to my desk. I walk the dog at night, a trek of about four miles.
You get the picture.
We’ve all done it. Walk, that is.
But what if I said you could walk better, go faster, put no stress on your ailing knees or aching back, get an upper-body workout and burn a shitload of calories while you’re doing it?
Nonsense, you’d say. Walking isn’t running. It isn’t swimming. It’s walking. Something homo erectus started doing a million years ago – and homo sapiens just take for granted.
I’m talking about Nordic walking.
Walking with Nordic ski poles, only the poles don’t have baskets, but rubber tips to propel you along.
I was a skeptic, too. I’m doing a story on Nordic walking and everyone I talked to raved about the movement (which was developed in Finland in 1997 – and now 500,000 Fins participate).
“This year, 2007, is going to be a huge year for Nordic walking in the U.S.,” a coach and trainer told me. “Huge.”
“I was anti-walking,” a former marathoner – and now a Nordic walking coach - said. “Now, I’m a firm believer in walking.”
So, I asked to be taken on a spin.
And I am a convert.
My buddy, Don (the former marathoner), took me along a two-mile trail with a steep extension. He showed me how to properly use the poles (if you’ve ever have tried cross-country skiing, you have the basic technique) and we walked. Our posture was upright and we just motored along the trail. We were breathing heavy, but it didn’t feel like we were working any harder.
My shoulders, my arms, the quads in my legs burned for the rest of the day.
I’m hooked. I’m taking up Nordic walking.
The poles are not cheap. They range from $99.95 for an all-aluminum pair to $199.95 for the lightweight carbon pair (both come with baskets, so you can use them for Nordic skiing and snowshoeing).
But the health benefits are amazing.
Just by walking.
Nordic walking.

Bright Lights, Big City

In my current state of upheaval, persons closest to me – and who know all the gory details of my upended life - invariably ask:
“You’re leaving, aren’t you?”
Interesting question.
Especially in the afterglow of a weekend in the city.
I love cities.
The feel you get by walking around a city center – in Sacramento, it’s called The Grid – passing art galleries, bars, restaurants, shops – just places to hang out. The excitement you feel with so many choices; the idea that within just a few blocks, you could eat foods from Vietnam, Italy, Germany, India, Africa, the entire Mediterranean region, New American, Japanese, Chinese – whatever.
It’s all out there.
“There is so much live theater in this town, that we simply never get out and see it,” my friend told me on a stroll through The Grid. “It’s almost like there’s too much.”
To much live theater? Wow.
Then there’s all the gin joints in all the places that throw down with every mix of music you can imagine. Live music, not some crappy DJ playing last month’s shitty techno garbage.
Cities are exciting; they’re dangerous. Something always is going on.
It is tempting. And it’s not like I am without offers. Writers who know me have openly questioned why I still stick around.
“You realize you could go anywhere,” a buddy said a couple of weeks back. “I mean, man, you’re that talented.”
I appreciate those thoughts. I agree with them, too. I’ve been in Northern California for 10 years; the guy that hired me asked if I could give him a year before I went on to (bigger) things.
But I love it here. I truly do. I love the ability to walk on a trail at lunchtime – with the chance to see real wildlife, like bobcat or bald eagle – and not have to ever sit in a traffic jam (we can still get from point A to point B, most anywhere in the city, in 15 minutes).
The paper pays me a decent wage; nothing that I’m ever going to get rich on, but it’s fair. The company has sent me to the past two Winter Olympics, too (and in 2010, it’s up I-5 at Whistler).
But here’s the real upside: They pay me to hunt, hike and fish. And then write about it.
And people here are so responsive – both good and bad – to what I write. They send cards and letters, send emails, give me a call. Many tell me how much they appreciate having me here; how much of a difference I made; how I’m able to write in such a way that they’re right with me.
That’s powerful stuff.
Not that leaving hasn’t crossed my mind. The resume is dusted off, updated, printed. I cruise the journalism help wanted sites; I’ve put feelers out to people in the business that I might be interested in leaving. And that has my supervisors worried; concerned that there is nothing left to keep me here.
Except my heart. My heart is here.
But, boy, do I love cities.
Finding myself single in the city would be interesting (as opposed to being single again in Northern California, especially since I’ve not been single in six years and it would be awkward, I believe).
I’m not leaving.
Not just yet.
Maybe never (but I can never say never; I have a life goal to live in Italy for a year and it is going to happen).
The city lights glow from 147 miles away (Sacramento), from 192 miles (San Francisco).
That’s close enough. For now.

Emotional rescue

I’m having a hard time seeing the forest through the trees.
Or is that the trees through the forest?
Another session with my therapist on Monday left me emotionally beat-down, physically tired. Feeling pretty good, too.
But it seems like the only time I can feel my emotions – instead of just swallowing them whole – is in Chet’s office.
It happened again on Monday. Sweet release. Tears. Feelings of anger, rage, sadness, grief, remorse, joy. Yo-yo emotions. The roller-coaster of me.
I am angry. I am rage. I am sorrow.
I am joyous.
Sucks to be me.
Because my big, fat brain mucks everything up. I am a problem to solve (when there is no problem; there is no solution). I know this. I still push the emotions down, push them aside, and go on thinking it is the right thing to do.
I catch myself sighing at times. This is good. This means something is going on. I’m just having a hard time putting a finger on the emotion causing the sigh.
What I would like is a workbook, “Emotions for Dummies,” where I could do independent study. I read up on the James-Lange Theory of Emotion, The Cannon-Bard Theory of Emotion. Trying to glean meaning of me from scholars.
I try to pry open my brain for answers, without having to feel the emotions.
I seek knowledge to fix what ails my heart, my id, my ego (studying philosophy now).
Fat fucking chance of that.
I have to challenge my mind to let my emotions go.
It works sometimes (and this is why I end up on occasion in tears in my work bathroom – nothing to see here, move along, move along).
Mostly, it doesn’t work. And I meander through my days in complete confusion.
Trust me when I say over the last few years that I have come to know who I am. I know my faults, my foibles. I know that I have tried to be perfect – and I am flawed. I have accepted that, and am a better person for it.
But I rarely get to the place where I see the good of me. The guy that deserves true, reciprocal love. The guy who doesn’t have to be everything for everybody. The guy who can lean on people – because those people actually care and love me.
That happened on Monday, too. I shed tears of joy, because I am a good guy, one of the really good ones.
It lasted all of about five minutes. Because of where I am at in time. And I walk into the revolving door again, and don’t step out. I keep myself in gut-wrenching rotation.
At least it happened. The tears of joy.
And you have to build on that.

Raise a glass of Monkey Knife Fight Pale Ale

One hundred and fifty miles.
It might as well have been 15,000 miles.
I got out of town this past weekend, and headed south to Sacramento to watch football, drink too much and eat too much.
It was glorious.
Exactly what this boy needed.
My friends, Tom and Karen, are fantastic hosts, but first and foremost, they are fantastic friends. They didn’t ask about my situation – and did act all weird around me. It was nice.
We started Saturday with a hike through the Cosumnes River Preserve south of the city. We took in the three-mile river walk, where we get to see some fantastic birds, including a huge blue heron and a green egret, with its funky yellowish-green feet.
Then we started drinking. And eating. Like professionals.
“You up for the Rubicon?” Tom asked. “It’s pretty funky. Lots of characters.”
The Rubicon Brewery is on Capitol Avenue and has that Cheers feel to it. Everyone who walks through the door is a regular (besides, they’ve got really cool names for their beer; a featured brew was Monkey Knife Fight Pale Ale).
Tom and I quaffed two pitchers (!) of excellent IPA – and Karen ended up driving us home (but not before we stocked up on salty snacks and more beer at Safeway for the Eagles/Saints game).
A couple of Tom and Karen’s friends came over, and we just chilled and watched football. After that, we watched a couple of episodes of HBO's "Deadwood," where we played "cocksucker." Every time a character said "cocksucker," we had to drink (and if you've seen the show, you know we got pretty hammered).
We slept in – and I awoke in the couple’s sunroom to watch a silhouette of a tree filled with tiny finches. Just about that time, the couple’s dog, Lucy, came in to make sure I didn’t have anything to eat. Coffee and the Sacramento Bee came next, then a shower.
“Let’s do this, let’s get some breakfast,” Tom said.
So we headed back to the Rubicon for eggs, breakfast meats – and hard ciders (apple for Karen, pomegranate for Tom and I).
Then we walked 16 blocks over to Hanger 17, a really cool bar/restaurant for a couple of bloody Marys and the end of the Bears/Seahawks game. They call it an upscale dive bar. I’d have to agree. The bloody Marys were fantastic.
We walked back to the car and drove home to watch the featured matchup (for us) of the weekend:
Chargers vs. Patriots.
I was rooting for the Chargers; Karen, having grown up in Massachusetts, was solidly behind the Patriots. Tom “just wanted a good game.”
It was. Plates of cheese, sausage, olives and bread were put out. We still had beer left over from Saturday. We chilled. We cursed the Chargers. We tried to figure out how to console our good friend David, a loyal Chargers fan (and former team beat writer) who we knew would be very, very upset at the outcome (and left our football plans for this Sunday in limbo; we were thinking of meeting up in Chico for more football and suds).
After the game, I decided to get on the road and got back to Redding at a decent hour (even took Trin for a nice, long walk).
I feel refreshed. I feel like I can get through whatever comes this week, this month, this year.
I know I have friends who will be there and care for me, even when the going gets tough.
That feels pretty good.

At least Hannibal Lecter was an Epicurean

Meet my dog, Scully.
Doing her best impersonation of Dr. Hannibal Lecter of the Thomas Harris novels. The brilliant psychiatrist with a taste for human flesh.
If only I was so lucky.
She's wearing the nylon muzzle because she cannot go into the backyard without consuming Trinity's shit (much of the time as it's coming out of Trinity - gross).
I have cut Scully's food intake waaaaay down. She's fat. And she's retired. I take Trinity, when the weather's good, on a four-mile brisk walk every day.
Scully and I then meander around the block. Very slowly.
I mean, she's 11 years old and doesn't have that pup-like spark any longer, but for chrissakes.
Shit-eating is just wrong.
(It also makes her stinky; I now have mint breath spray that she hates, but gets, once a day).
So here's the problem. I don't always have the time to watch the dogs take a dump in the backyard (I poop-patrol every other day). Scully also doesn't like to "go" in front of people.
So I let them out to fend for themselves.
And go to the window - horrified - as Scully is busy munching down on Trin's poop.
I have yelled at her. I have smacked her nose with a rolled up newspaper. I have stuck my fingers down her throat.
For her, poop is like heroin - and she desperately needs a fix.
She doesn't care.
Must....eat....poop....
Hence, the nylon muzzle.
The first time I put it on her, she refused to leave the back step - and managed to get it off with her paw.
I tightened it, and sent her out in it every time she went out.
She slowly is getting used to it. You can tell it still pisses her off, though. She gets a treat after, so that has softened the resentment.
Sometimes, I get busy or distracted, and I forget to put the muzzle on.
And she'll eat poop (quckly, before I notice what she's doing).
So, it is my burden. One I accept. Take the time, put the muzzle on.
Because poop eating is gross (unless you're Chuck Berry, then it's a weird sexual thing, called a Cleveland Steamer).
If you can take one thing away from this that's good - and it's a stretch, believe me - I guess it would have to be that she doesn't feast on her own shit.
Eeeeewwwwwww.

Indulgences

I’ve completed my 43 Things.
Yeah, it’s a life-list, but there are options on it for Things that will be accomplished – and thus I can scratch one off, and add another.
Some Things are more ongoing.
Like building in time to my life to do absolutely nothing, stop beating myself up mentally.
Or indulgences.
One of my goals is to indulge myself once a month. Do something just for me.
Sometimes, that is going to be hard, as money is really tight. But every indulgence doesn’t have to cost-analysis summery attached to it.
Most, however, probably will.
I’m talking everything from the simple (a pound of fresh-roasted coffee, dinner out and a movie, a massage, a soak at Stewart Mineral Springs) to the no so simple (new Oakley Spike titanium sunglasses, a weekend in San Francisco, a new tattoo, buy a hot tub).
Something that says, “Hey, you’re fucking OK.”
I told my buddy Jason about it, and said I might want to get a tanning package.
“Dude, you’re the darkest guy I know,” he said.
“Yeah, my arms and my face, since I’m outside all the time,” I said.
Then I mentioned, casually, that he hadn’t seek my fish-belly-white backside.
“Yeah, there’s that.”
I’ve yet to indulge myself in January (and you can’t count last week’s trip to Stewart; Jason paid for my soak, since I drove). And I find that I’m in a quandary of what to do for myself (I don’t usually do a lot for myself anyway, so that’s why I’m having such a problem with this).
I’ve got a standing invite to go to Sacramento this weekend to hang out, watch football and drink beer; the hosts have assured me that the weekend is on them, except for gas (so that doesn’t really count, either).
I think I’m closing in on a massage.
I dunno.
Any suggestions?

An update on dad

Dad called, still a bit groggy from the surgery, to tell me he was OK.
"Everything, I guess, went pretty well," he said. "My vitals were perfect.
"But I can sure tell I had a skin graft. I can feel that."
The surgery lasted three hours. He'd not talked to a surgeon when he called, but an OR nurse who was there - and you can always trust nurses - said the surgery went according to plan.
"We'll just keep our fingers crossed," he said.
Indeed.

RachalRenae's million-dollar challenge

I suggested it, so I have to take RachelRenae’s challenge of coming up with a list of 10 things I’d do if I won a couple of million dollars.
Let’s see, if I went out today and bought a $1 ticket for Wednesday’s SuperLotto Plus drawing – and I won – I’d end up with about $2.5 million. After taxes.
I would:
  1. 1. Spend whatever resources and to try to save my marriage. Not buy it back, but spend the money to get us therapy. Settle all debt; take away the money troubles that can cause stress between husband and wife – and work, work, work toward a solution (my gut tells me there’s still a sliver of chance – and I must honor that).
  2. 2. Invest $1 million. Let my money work for me, not against me.
  3. 3. Build my dream house. And I’m not talking some ostentatious, 10,000-square-foot McManson. I’m talking something like 2,400-square-feet, on at least 10 acres, with views of both the Cascades and the Sierra Nevada mountains. Two-story, maybe a craftsman or a prairie-style, but something with character. Something with a huge kitchen that flowed right into a family room that flowed outdoors. And a little cabin on the property to boot, 900-square-feet of man-space, where I could write.
  4. 4. Take my entire family on vacation for 14 days. After the last 14 months – the most positively shitty on record for one family – I’d like to treat my dad, brother and sisters and their families to two weeks of first-class fun. My only requirement? That every day, we eat dinner as a family.
  5. 5. Create a travel fund. Like a revolving charge account, but one that invests the money so it’s always growing. I’d visit Italy again, take my dad to Poland, rent an RV and visit all 50 states, stay in a thatched-roof bungalow over the water on some atoll in French Polynesia and go any and everywhere my heart desires.
  6. 6. Make donations to Lance Armstrong’s LiveSTRONG foundation and also to our yet-as-opened new library. I think it takes a cancer survivor to know how to spend research funds; I also think it is important to better the community you live in. Giving to the library – so it stays open longer than the 20 hours a week currently – will make a huge difference.
  7. 7. Offer anyone in my family the chance to further their education. I think education is an extremely important part of being a good human being.
  8. 8. OK, totally selfish – I’d buy every piece of outdoor gear my heart desired. From sleeping bags and kayaks to mountain bikes and crag pants, I’d get it.
  9. 9. Selfish wish No. 2: A new Apple MacBook Pro, 17-inch laptop with every bell and whistle installed. And put money aside so I could update it every five years.
  10. 10. Work less, play more. Spend time with the people I love. I’d still work – I love writing – but I also would love the ability to be there for my family and friends.

I have seen the future - and it costs $599


With Steve Jobs announcement Tuesday at Macworld of the new iPhone by Apple, Inc., I know know what I must do. What I must have.
I must have the iPhone.
For $599 for the eight-gig model (or $499 for the four-gig model), I'll get my iPod; I'll get a snappy new cell phone (even if I have to switch to Cingular) and I get a pocket Web browser that runs on Mac OS X - and is fully Wi-Fi capable.
It is the future of cell phones - and computing.
Did I mention the iPod? All of my music on my phone?
One device - three applications.
I'm starting to save my pennies; The iPhone won't be on sale until June. Ain't technology cool?

Send pops some good vibes

My dad has osteomyelitis, an infection of the bone.
This is on top of the pressure sore that has been open on his ankle since October.
At 2 p.m. CST Wednesday, he’ll have another surgery.
Doctors will cut a muscle from his calf and wrap it around the damaged areas of his ankle, gather the skin up and put a skin graft over everything in hopes that he can walk out of the hospital on two feet – and go heal at home (maybe as early as next week, if the can get the infections knocked down).
“The doctor said I’m going to be sore for three or four days,” dad said. “From the skin graft. He said it would be like a road burn.”
The doctor also said that if the first surgery didn’t take, they could always take a muscle out of his butt –
“I told him no way,” dad said. “I’ve already spent four months in the hospital over this, and if it doesn’t work, they can just cut the goddamn leg off.”
Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
And whatever time zone you might find yourself when it’s 2 p.m. CST, I’d like to ask each and everyone who reads this to send good and positive thoughts toward Omaha, Nebraska and my dad.
He’ll hear you, I’m sure.

Harden the fuck up


Of course, I should just take "Chopper" Read's advice, take off my skirt, cancel my manicure and "harden the fuck up."

This is your brain on divorce

Disclaimer: One of the intricacies of being a writer – and writing – is state of mind. I wrote this in the afternoon during some introspection; certainly, after having friends over to watch the BCS title game, then having a steady stream of family and friends who called just to check on me, changed my frame of mind. I thought about not posting this. But that would not be right. Let’s just say this morning’s dry heaves were light and manageable. And I feel good.


It is the pre-dawn darkness that proves to be most problematic.
My brain awakens refreshed, which means it is charged and ready to go. I am, therefore I think.
And in the darkness, this is not so good.
I worry for the children, I stare at the ceiling and wonder what exactly they are thinking, how they are doing. What they see their mother doing and how they are to respond. Wondering if I’m even supposed to try and contact them, knowing that there’s always going to be that place we don’t – can’t – talk about.
I drift toward wondering what it’s like for my wife to wake up with another man in her life, in her bed, still wearing the wedding ring I designed especially for her.
I ponder the great rift of being truly alone in this house (and I’m pretty much a loner; but being surrounded by noise and confusion of a family for five years and I’m conditioned to miss, like the amputee who can still feel the itch on his big toe).
The snot builds up in my sinuses and my throat constricts. I blow my nose to no avail; the dry heaves start and I am again powerless over these feelings.
Which are not emotions (I don’t think; sometimes I get so confused). I need the emotions; the feelings are killing me.
The emotions – anger, fear, happiness, guilt, shame and sadness – come first, they always come first. It’s a body response, sure, but it’s not the dry heaves. It’s more like muscle tension, cold hands or losing track of one’s thoughts.
I try to feel the emotions, honestly. The feelings take over.
That’s why I’ve taken to trusting my gut.
I let the dogs out, and I curl up under the covers and empty my mind. Ten minutes go by, 15. I am OK.
And my day begins. The small plans, the organization, take over. I have things to do, places to be, people to meet. Forward motion.
Those who truly know me joke about things. We’re horrible – and most of the time, I say something so dark, so humorous, that the person looks stricken, until the smile spreads across their face.
But night comes, and all the planning and preparation and the stuff to do gets done. And there’s no one there to engage me. Darkness spreads. I try to exercise, I read, I listen to music. And my mind finally tires.
Sleep comes, it always does (and it’s been quite normal, thanyoueversomuch).
But there in the pre-dawn darkness, my mind awakens refreshed…

"And Scully got a snowmobile ride!"

Whoops.
That's my buddy Jason, putting on his snowshoes next to my truck. The truck that's high-centered in the snow, there (and is six feet from that cliff).
Who says life is boring?
Not at Surface Tension, where it's always a vortex of a life blender, and we're on frappe'.
So, what do you do when it's 8:30 a.m. on a Sunday, the road is a frozen bitch and your buddy is on a time line (and you're within miles of Stewart Mineral Springs? ) Well, you strap on the snowshoes, and you head for the hills.
The original plan was to drive (HA) to the Pacific Crest Trail trailhead for Deadfall Lakes and Mt. Eddy, then follow the PCT to the Deadfall Lakes Basin (Mt. Eddy is seven miles from the trailhead and a was a bit far for a day's snowshoe).
OK, so the snow was a bit deeper than expected.
We ended up hiking along U.S. Forest Service Road 17, an uphill climb toward the summit - and our original destination.
The girls, Trinity and Scully, were totally digging the day, and 11-year-old Scully acted like a pup, running and sticking her head into snow drifts.
Jason and I decided to set a 10:30 a.m. turn-around time, so he could get on the road and celebrate his brother's 21st birthday with the folks (let's just say here that big bro Jason took his little bro out for a drink or five at midnight and was feeling the four hours of sleep he did get).
Jason managed to pee on his water bottle. Twice (and this is why I carry a 100-liter Hydrapak).
First, he dropped it into the stream; the next time, he dropped it in the yellow slushie.
"Fuck, dude," he said. "Oh, man. I'll just rub some snow on it, that'll sterilize it."
Riiiiigghhhtt.
We ended up getting a look at where we wanted to go - and it was time to get the truck unstuck. I admit, I chanted a couple of prayers.
That's when the five snowmobilers showed up.
"That your rig stuck down there?" the lead rider asked.
(Stupid grin) "Yep."
"Want us to push you out?"
(Stupid grin) "Yep!"
"Hop on, we'll give you a ride down," he said. "We'll go slow enough for the dogs to follow."
Uhhhh, right. Scully, on losing sight of me, will lay down and wait anyone out. Which is exactly what she did.
The guys ended up getting their truck (while we waited for the dogs to show up) and pulled the 4Runner out. Jason went to turn the truck around, and I hopped aboard a snowmachine for a ride to fetch the girls (I'd just snowshoe back, so the guys could get on with their 100-mile ride).
That's when Ron, the oldest of the bunch, came roaring around the corner, Trin at his heels - and Scully riding on the seat behind the windshield like the Queen of Sheeba.
"She was a little nervous at first," Ron said. "But I think she liked it."
I tried to pay for some gas for the guys, but all they said was, "Help someone else out."
Isn't that the way life is supposed to work?
So, humbled and worked out, we headed down to Stewart for a soak. That's when we saw this amazing shot of Mt. Shasta:
Then it was on to Stewart.
Like trying to start/finish all of our group backpacking trips near the community of Etna - and the Etna Brewery - there's a certain logic in planning a snowshoe trek near Stewart. And when I say near, I mean, oh, 40 miles or so. There's nothing like a soak in an old clawfoot tub, then sitting and letting your mind wander in the huge, wood-fired sauna and then a plunge into icy Parks Creek.
Whaaaa?
Yep. the soak cycle is thus: Soak for 10 minutes, sit in the sauna until you can't take it anymore, then go immerse yourself in the creek (which was 37 degrees on Sunday).
And you do this last part nekked.
"You going to do it?" Jason asked.
"I'll do it if you do it," I said.
"I'm going to do it."
So we did it.
Jason is still searching for his testicles.



Get out

It's not all about doom, gloom and self-introspection here at Surface Tension.
Sometimes, I have a bit of fun, too.
Saturday was a day to get out in Northern California (as is the forecast for Sunday, too).
I started out with a mountain bike ride along the Sacramento River Rail Trail (yeah, it's easy, I'm a wuss, but I didn't feel like falling at 9 a.m.) It was an out-and-back to Motion Creek (about 10 miles):
After a hot shower and a beer, it was off to the Sacramento River Trail for a seven-mile hike with Trinity and my friend, Don. Of course, I left the camera in the truck.
But is was a beautiful day - and the trail was a lot less crowded than we'd thought (it was cold in the shade).
We were on the south side of the trail, when we thought we spied a couple of coyote getting a drink on a rock bar. We watched the pair move across the shallow water toward shore, when I realized that it was a pair of bobcat.
Did I mention that the camera was in the truck?
These were big cats, moving without a care at 3:30 in the afternoon.
And that is why I live here.

Be here now

Thigh-deep in the sheeat for a variety of reasons today and I’m strangely…
Upbeat.
I see the world for what it is – amazing.
I smile and chat with bank tellers, who ask how I’m doing, how I’m holding up. I share a funny story with the gal at the Post Office. We laugh that the last three people in line all bought one 39-cent stamp each (and waited in line, when they could have just used the vending machine). I smile, because I am happy. Others smile, too. It’s infectious.
I wrote a good column for Sunday, one that tells of adventure, but makes a point. I gave blood, and the nurse thanked me for all the pints I’ve given up over all these years (I hit some sort of milestone today – and they gave me ice cream).
The sun is shining and the weekend looks bright. Mountain biking, hiking, snowshoeing and gathering with friends are all probable (as is a soak at Stewart Mineral Springs, I mean, hey, hot water and a wood-fired sauna?)
“Deep Survival, Who Lives, Who Dies and Why” continues to absorb my thoughts. I finished the book at lunch. I’ll start it again at dinner.
It’s not a road atlas, but it has opened my mind to what my gut already knew – I am a survivor. That I will be OK on the other end of this. I have brought up many past survival feats, big and small, and am amazed at the clarity and purity of the comfort they bring. As my mind closes for sleep, I sigh the sigh of a man going somewhere wonderful.
I’ve begun to take small steps toward that goal. I organize, I plan.
It doesn’t mean everything will go to plan. It’s a divorce, and I have to trek a prickly path with another person wrought with raw emotions too. And maybe hurting. I don’t know, wouldn’t know. Don’t really care, either (infidelity + fear/anger/hurt = Icy focus).
I’ve also begin to retrace my steps to here. Not to kick myself even further, mind you. But to set up mental bookmarks for the future. I am philosophical on why this failed. I’ve got my ideas, she probably has hers.
You only get hear mine here (benefits of Surface Tension).
I was arrogant. I thought I had enough, what self-determination? Will? Fortitude? Essence?, to believe I could save someone. From whatever baggage they brought with them over the course of their life arc.
It worked for years. And then my mom died – and I lost my way for a time. I lost fortitude, will.
And the system failed.
Call it chaos theory or complexity theory, small slides are characteristic of all systems – whether it be death, business strain, strain of issues involving children – that all lead to that one, big catastrophic collapse.
“Large accidents,” Gonzales writes, “while rare, are normal. Efforts to prevent them will always fail.”
But I have not, will not, succumb to resignation. I accept what has happened, yes, but I look on this world with a model of what I want it to eventually look like – not the one I might wish for (although I do a good Walter Mitty with the daydreams).
Here’s what everyone needs to know: Be here now (pay attention and keep an up-to-date mental model).
I am here, now.

Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind

What a difference an hour of blubbering in front of one’s therapist can do to spray away the sticky mental spooge of a day spent in complete anxiety.
A dank, stanky place that’s like a cloak, heavy as a lead pants suit, where all you can do is sink into the darkness of your own deviant thoughts.
Today’s word is survival.
My psychiatrist (a good and wise man, who actually apologized for one potty-mouth comment; jeez, what he thinks of my colorful-as-a-sailor vernacular in the white-heat phosphorus of my emotions) was smart enough to stay out of the path of my train wreck, where I was able to truly feel several emotions that I tried in earnest to feel across this week of weeks in the spooge.
He gently scolded; he told me to ease up on myself (“You’ve been kicked enough, don’t you think? Stop kicking yourself.”)
He gave me homework.
A book.
“Deep Survival, Who Lives, Who Dies and Why,” by Laurence Gonzales. It weaves tales of backcountry survival with science – namely the way our brains work in everyday stressful situations. I got 108 pages into it yesterday and bought the last copy at Barnes & Noble so I could start highlighting passages (I don’t think he wanted his book back all underlined in fluorescent orange and yellow).
Gonzales works on the principal that there are people in the world who are “cool;” people who “…turned fear and anger into focus and ‘focus’ is just a metaphorical way of saying that they were able to concentrate their attention on the matter at hand (pp. 24).”
Concentrate on the matters at hand. Stop kicking myself. Focus (which sometimes is a misnomer; often, we need to look at the bigger picture to see that we’re about to get our hairy asses in a whole mess of trouble).
And that brings me to dad. He is a survivor; he’s one cool motherfucker. I’ve been witness to several acts of survival – being run over by a car just the most recent – that have always had me in awe of this relatively simple man.
Who can do extraordinary things whenever called upon.
The doctors all huddled today, and dad has decided to try and save his leg.
Surgeons drilled into an ankle bone last week, where they discovered the source of the infections. It was a bone damaged in the original accident on Sept. 6, and it had everything to do with all the crap that has happened since.
There’s also has the pressure would, which simply will not heal.
The process will include pulling a muscle from either the foot or the calf to cover the two wounds, then let the plastic surgeon come in and skin graft it.
The process has a 50-50 chance of success.
If it doesn't work, he'll still lose his leg below the knee in as soon as six weeks. They won’t fit him with a peg leg for another three to four weeks. He’ll lose even more freedom.
And he’s OK with it.
“I've lost Marcia, and this is just a leg,” he told me. “Big deal.”
And the cool reality settles in.
My troubles are a bit paler in comparison (and I must say here, my biggest fear in this life is losing an appendage; I cannot begin to wrap my head around what he’s had to go through these last four days).
Gonzales writes:
“The first rule is: Face reality. Good survivors aren’t immune to fear. They know what’s happening and it does ‘scare the shit out of’ them. It’s all a question of what you do next.”
Dad will either walk out of the hospital on the two feet he was born with, or he’ll roll out in a wheelchair with nearly half his leg missing (which begs the question – what do you do with it? Bury it in the family plot? Put it on ice? Send it to a taxidermist? Weird choices, to be sure).
And he’ll go on, either way.
Because he’s so fucking cool.
And he has a warped sense of humor, which I was somewhat surprised to learn how deep and wonderful it went.
Gonzales writes, “There is evidence that laughter can send chemical signals to actively inhibit the firing of nerves in the amygdala, thereby dampening fear. Laughter, then, can help to temper negative emotions.”
So I hold out hope for myself (another warped individual with a warped sense of humor).
That I, too, will come out on the other side - maybe not whole, but complete.
Face reality. Know that the path I’m on is one scary bitch of a roller-coaster ride. Process on where to go next.
Begin living my life. Begin loving again.
I start with a pretty good working knowledge of this man (who I love absolutely) and go from there. I hook it with (hopefully) inherited genetics and the mental bookmarks of my youth (“You were such a happy-go-lucky kid who jumped into everything feet-first,” my dad told me during another tough stretch in 1996. “And you didn’t just try things, you succeeded in everything you tried. I have always envied that about you.” Whoa.) and know that maybe, just maybe, there’s still a lot of coolness left in me.
It’ll start with being there for my dad. It’ll spread to being there for my friends and family.
It’ll continue with being there for myself – and relying on the kindness and love of family and friends to be there for me, too.
Cool, huh?

Anxious days

Today’s word is anxiety.
Anxiety is:
  • “a feeling of uneasiness, apprehension or impending danger - even when no real threat exists. The feeling may be accompanied by physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, palpitations, difficulty breathing, and sweating.”
  • “an uncomfortable emotional state in which one perceives danger, feels powerless and experiences tension in preparation for an expected danger. Physical symptoms include increased heart rate, irregular breathing, trembling, and sweating.”
  • “A feeling of apprehension, fear, nervousness, or dread accompanied by restlessness or tension.”
  • “When the word anxiety is used to discuss a group of mental illnesses (anxiety disorders), it refers to an unpleasant and overriding inner emotional tension that has not apparent identifiable cause. These disorders are severe enough to interfere with social or occupational functioning.”
Anxiety is the state of being truly fucked up.
I am so anxious, I rattle.
I know what to do, I just can’t do it.
Feel the feelings that are coming my way.
Coming from the breakup of my marriage and the infidelity of my wife (who shows absolutely no remorse).
Under the anxiety is a sea of numb.
I feel like I’m just going through the motions.
I need to talk to someone, my therapist, and begin to page through all the hurt and confusion. I need to get out of my head.
Because my head keeps trying to logically explain what’s happening.
It tried to solve the problem.
Where no problem exists.
Lord help me.
And pass the Xanax.