Posts Tagged ‘life’

I’m too old for this

January 6, 2017

Alright, I’m a hockey fan, been following the Wings since 1987. Since getting married, getting kids, etc., time to watch games has kind of tightened a bit over the years. I fit in games when I can, occasionally watching them later. With the Wings in the Western Conference for so long I was sort of accustomed to late games, as the Wings swung out west playing games in Colorado, Dallas, Arizona, Alberta, California, etc. It was something you lived with.

I’m not accustomed to it any more.

Making it worse is that the Wings have had a lousy year, most games seeming uninspired drubbings. Last night they actually showed up to play and it was entertaining. The game also started at 103o.

I made it through two and a half periods. The Wings were up 4-0 at that point, it seemed pretty in hand, and I was dead to the world at that point. So I went to bed.

And then I was up again at 6 this morning to get The Boy ready for school. Then Little Girl was up. Then my day was off and running.

I was not running to keep up. I felt like hell, felt like hell for most of the day, probably looked like it. Still, I managed to get the meals on the table, kept the kids from seriously harming themselves or eachother and I think I did a decent job of things.

But I can’t do this any more. I just can’t do the physical turn around of a few hours sleep and trying to be functional. All day I felt miserable. I was constantly snacking on junk foods and feeling like crap because it was junk food. Now it’s 11pm, I’m feeling drained, a little sick, been sucking on a zinc cough drop. It feels like I’ve been trying to desperately mend holes and throw patches over worn out patches all day.

Days like today make me realize the real cost of adulthood is just the cold hard reality of getting older, and having to accommodate for that.

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small things help

January 4, 2017

My wife has been telling me that we need to start making menus for our dinners, so that we could focus our grocery buying and have some idea what we’re doing when we go grocery shopping.

And she was right. I’ve started making a menu for the first two weeks of the new year. I’ve had to go grocery shopping once and it was instantly easier. I didn’t need much, but I knew what I needed. It was great. The trip was shorter than normal, it was more direct, it was less of a hassle. It was nice.

But that hasn’t been the biggest positive of the menu here in the first week of having some clue what I’m cooking for dinner every night. Not even close. What has been the biggest positive?

No stress.

It’s funny how stressful it can be just trying to figure out what I’m cooking for supper.The time spent looking through the kitchen cabinets, looking through the refrigerator, getting the ingredients together, etc. On the best days it was a minor stress. On the worst days it was a torture that dragged me down into a pit that sucked away my time and motivations. I hated and loathed it, which made me want to do it even less.

Which, of course, didn’t help. It just meant that I started looking later, trying to throw something together in short order to make sure there was something on the table that night. What should have been a simple act was coming to blow up my days.

Tonight, I am making butternut squash ravioli from butternut squash leftover from the butternut squash and black bean tacos that we had for dinner last night. A premade ball of pasta is sitting in the fridge waiting to be rolled out and put through the pasta maker. Dinner is not going to be overly easy or lacking in stress, but it’s a manageable stress, a planned stress. I know what’s happening and I’m ready for it. It’s an entirely different beast.

It’s a small thing, but it adds up. It removes a little bit of stress, frees up a little bit of time, offers a little bit of structure to the world. It helps. Small things can add up. Small things can lead to bigger things.

Just not into this right now

July 5, 2012

Ever since the kid has gotten out of school, my routine has been a bit messed up – not that my routine was all that hot to begin with. So this has slipped. I have five or six books piled up on my computer right now, waiting for something to be written about them. I have a handful of links to stories that I wanted to talk about saved away in my bookmarks. I have stuff to throw up here for conversation. But I’m just not doing it.

And now the kid is off to his “dad’s.” So I should have some free time. Except I’m not sleeping worth a lick because the weather has turned awful. I can’t sleep at all when it gets too hot and the meager air conditioner we have fights like all hell to keep the dining room marginally comfortable. Whenever I get too comfortable at my computer, I start drifting off and end up pseudo-sleeping once in awhile.and the wife and I are looking for a house. Last saturday we saw 12 of them. It destroyed me. Felt like crap all evening and the next day. This Saturday, we’re heading out again. It’s funny but all of the houses need work, few have much land, and all of them (imo) are overpriced. I can’t believe the condition of some of the homes we’ve looked at and how people just let them go to rot.

Okay, I think that’s it for the complaining for now. With the kid at away for a week and a half, I’m hoping to get into a bit of a routine that I’ll also be able to keep up once the kid gets back. I hope this blog can be updated more often, and that I can return to being moderately productive. Unless we buy a house, of course. Then I’ll be busy packing, dealing with loans, papers, unpacknig and lord knows what else. Yay. But that’s where I’ve been lately.

Oh, and work just started up again. Teaching just one class this semester.  Looking forward to a paycheck again.

The Drama of the Every Day

January 16, 2011

My girlfriend has often lamented how much of modern “serious” fiction” leans on the crutch of drugs to create tension and to build a “real” character. To paraphrase our many hit and run conversations on it, it seems as if everyone everywhere is inserting as many substances as humanly possible into their bodies and acting like the world’s biggest assholes because of it and, often, the change the character goes through is becoming slightly less of an asshole at the end of the work as they wean themselves off whatever drugs they were on.

What I think the real problem is, is that this is lacking in reality. Are there people with drug problems? Sure. But not everyone, while everyone does have a bit of drama in their lives from the simple act of their living. But this is rarely touched on. It seems as if the common dramas of our every day life just aren’t important enough for people to write about today.

This is getting brought up because of something our kid did this morning while we were walking out to the car. He didn’t do anything wrong, he didn’t misbehave. In fact, he did something I guarantee all of us would do. He saw money on the ground. He picked it up. And then those three fateful words:

“It’s a fifty!”

Now, the immediate reaction is, “great!” My immediate reaction was, “oh crap, what now?” And this is why:

Fifty bucks is a lot of money to most people. It’s certainly a lot of money to us, where it would help buy groceries for two weeks (or buy one helluva lego set if the kid takes it to ToysRUs). I feel bad for whoever lost it. I want to find who it is and give it back. But this simply isn’t going to happen. It’s not going to get claimed anywhere, and wherever we turn it in at is more likely to just keep it than not.

So the kid found fifty bucks outside, but I feel horrible for just keeping it but we’ll probably end up doing just that. Meanwhile, whoever lost that fifty bucks might now be fifty bucks short on rent or unable to buy groceries this week.

The drama of every day life.

You might want an emerald…

September 16, 2010

but if you dig up an onyx, you just have to go with it.

Thinking a bit about writing today. I don’t want to say that I’ve hit a wall, because I’m still reading through a second draft and jotting down notes, I’m still working on the research for another project, I finished one poem and wrote another, I have continued reading (and putting off grading and at least one review to write and some cleanup on a previous review…) but my enthusiasm for what I’m currently re-writing (well, editing/re-reading right now) has ebbed a bit.

It’s not entirely what I had expected, or wanted, it to be. Part of it comes from a sheer lack of skill when I first started putting the whole thing together. Part of it was from lack of preparation. But mostly I think it was from not entirely knowing what the hell I was doing.

This isn’t to say that I think it is bad. It is readable. It gets the pages turned. But it also feels a little light, it lacks a certain critical weight. And this saddens me a bit because I think there was space in there for that. It had some soil that was fertile enough to sprout some insightful/clever/whatever things. But I just didn’t get it tilled enough or I didn’t water it enough or maybe I just didn’t spread enough shit on it.

So it doesn’t appear that I have pulled from the earth of creativity the precious stone that I had envisioned. But I did pull something out, and it’s shiny, it’s nice, and I still like it. And I am trying to make it the best whatever it is that I can.

The Passion by Jeanette Winterson – Review

April 23, 2010

Last night I watched an episode of Homicide: Life on the Streets where Bayliss and Pemberton are investigating a death related to erotic asphyxiation, Lewis and Crosetti have a case revolving around a man who shot another man over a pen at the library and where Munch is troubled by Bolander’s happiness while dating a woman half his age. In its own way, it is very similar to Winterson’s The Passion.

With The Passion we are given two lead characters around whom many other characters orbit, Henri and  Villanelle. Henri  is a young Frenchman who joins Napoleon’s army and becomes the personal server of Napoleon’s meals, always chicken. His friends are Domino and Patrick; Domino who believes only in the moment, the future and past holding no power or meaning. Patrick is a former priest with one normal eye and one eye that has the ability to see perfectly for miles. His other encounter of note is with the Cook who is a drunk and is essentially removed from the Grand Armee for not doing his job, something he holds a life long grudge against Henri for.

Villanelle is a boatman’s daughter, a definition that, despite her father being deceased and her mother re-married to a baker, has a continuing significance throughout the story. Her orbit includes a woman with whom she has an affair with and who steals Villanelle’s heart  as well as a husband who sells her to one of Napoleon’s generals and a man who wagers his life against a stranger’s and is sentenced to death by dismemberment, beginning with his hands which are delivered to the bar some time later, displayed in a box, and holding a roulette ball in severed hand and a domino in another.

Throughout the novel we are given different versions of differing passions that drive th existences of the varying characters. Napoleon seems to have this passion for indulgence. Beyond his attempting to take over the world and throwing his soldiers into meat grinders to win whatever battle he was facing he would also eat chickens whole and would attempt to re-shape whatever places he conquered to fit some image of his own design. It is what could be described as a very stereotypical male passion for dominance and control, a passion that ends in failure as Napoleon is ultimately defeated.

in a similar vein, though on a smaller scale, is the cook who we come to find has a similar passion for possession and control. And whoever challenges this passion finds themselves, as Henri does, to be on his eternal bad side. Though, like Napoleon, the cook ultimately meets with failure, also.

Henri’s friends, Domino and Patrick have very different, personal and less infringing passions. Domino’s is to simply live in the moment, regardless of what or where it is. His life motto can be summed up with a simple “Live for Now.” Patrick, meanwhile, seems to just want a drink, some eye candy and someone to tell his stories to. The lack of power or “fire” in either man makes it hard to label either as having passions, and it’s likely notable that both die in the novel before either of the central characters. But their lack of passion along with their relatively quick demises and, comparatively, painless lives could eventually be seen as a positive in relation to the pain of the passion misdirected of Henri.

Henri loves Napoleon the way a little boy loves an older brother or uncle who always seems to do the Big Amazingly Cool Thing That You Yourself Couldn’t Imagine Doing. Then he falls in love with Villanelle, a love that’s not returned in the same manner and which ultimately destroys Henri.

The only character who makes it through the novel relatively whole is Villanelle. She loses her heart for a moment, but she lives and gets it back. She ends the novel raising her child. It becomes clear that Winterson is saying something about the healthy and unhealthy embraces of passion in life, and it also appears to be saying something very anti-masculine. Napoleon’s passion brings him to ruin. The cook’s passion eventually kills him. the lack of passion in Henri’s friends lead to meaningless, un-connected lives. The man in the casino loses his hands (and, we assume, his life) because of a misdirected passion for a thrilling bet. And Henri finds himself committed and slipping into derangement because of a passion that isn’t reciprocated but which he can not let go of, despite repeated opportunities to do so.

Villanelle, meanwhile, lives a good life. Even in misery, she seems capable of finding a certain contentment and while she guards her passions, she also embraces them and allows them into her life. Her “healthiest” love affair happens to be with another woman who is left alone for long periods of time by her husband who is constantly searching for rare maps, books and whatever else and, last we are informed, has disappeared in search of The Holy Grail – what could be interpreted as a fool’s quest and destined to never be seen again or to also end in failure.  Villanelle’s mother is also a relatively happy, stable woman. She has a husband she loves, she has her passions yet she also displays the ability to work through life in a practical manner.

The only man in the entire novel who seems to be happy is Villanelle’s step father who is a baker. The man being a baker does not seem like a coincidence. While the term “chef” does carry certain connotations of a big fat guy in white slaving away at food over a hot stove (or fire, another masculine image having to do with power), a baker is different. It seems more feminine, having to do with sweet goods and breads and cakes and cookies. When someone mentions a bakery, you think of some women working in a shop churning out wedding cakes. And when a man is doing this job, you often hear him referred to as a pastry chef, not a baker. This connection to what could be considered a feminine profession, or at least field, almost has to have a connection with the stepfather’s happiness.

All of which brings me back to this episode of Homicide. The asphyxiation case is a passion uncontrolled. Someone is introduced to a situation that they are not accustomed to and, which we discover, can not handle. A woman dies. In a library, a mentally disturbed man wants a pen that another man doesn’t want to give him, so the mentally disturbed man shoots the guy and leaves but without the pen, because stealing the pen would be wrong. It’s a uncontrolled passion for pens similar to the passion Napoleon had for controlling the world, domination, feeding and fulfilling the passion at any cost. Then there is Bolander just looking for love and finding a woman who reciprocates and who, literally on a violin and a cello, make music together.  A passion that is both reciprocated and healthy. Like Villanelle. Like The stepfather and her mother.

Which makes me wonder if this idea that women are in some way more innately able to incorporate a healthy dose of passion into their lives than men is a greater concept of western culture. Has the symbol of a woman as “mother” or as “nurturer” become something we easily associate with passion. With love. While men are ugly and violent and need help in this area. It is something we see in the common refrain of “if only a woman was president” when someone is lamenting the state of society, usually in relation to some ongoing military conflict, as if the passion of power overwhelms a man and that a woman would be more able to direct this passion in a positive direction.

As a final note, thinking about the television series Homicide, they often dealt with passion misdirected or misapplied. A child is murdered, it was usually by someone having a sexual lust for the child, a perverted passion.  A gang member is killed, drugs are involved, it’s another passion misdirected towards an addiction or towards power or towards money, which is really the same thing as power. This is something I’m not sure any other cop show has truly looked at on television. Most are procedurals that supply a base motive and focus more on detectives moving from Point A to Point B where we cheer for the good guys and against the bad guys. The “bad guys” are almost universally depicted as clearly bad, there is no moral ambiguity, there is a clear lack of humanity while “the good guys” stand as the guardians of humanity, sorting out the impurities as they crop up. Homicide was more daring than that. Like Winterson’s The Passion, it looked at the world through a wider lens. While either may be just as biased in their questions, they are more complicated in their answers.

It’s Jan. 2nd, do you know where your word processor is?

January 2, 2010

We spent nearly two whole weeks back in michigan. Partly because of family, partly because I had to sit in a  dentist chair for two hours as he hacked a large chunk of tooth out of my mouth so that a crown could fit on it. in that time, I didn’t accomplish much of anything. I didn’t write. I didn’t read (much). I spent a lot of time going from house to house, visiting different family and friends, and then collapsing on the bed so that I could get a bit of rest before doing it all over again the following day.

Now that we’re back in Cleveland, the kid’s on the last couple of days of his christmas vacation and trying to fight off a cold. His asthma makes it twice as difficult and he has to be hooked up to a nebulizer – a machine that turns a liquid medicine into a vapor he breaths through a little mask with fish eyes painted on it. When he first got it, I think the whole fish aspect of the mask made it slightly more endurable for himbut I’m not sure he cares at all about it any more and is back to seeing it as something he must simply endure.

The weather is, well, snowy. Not all out twelve inches of hell snow but snow enough. A little yesterday, a little today and we have a few inches on the ground. While I know the odds are in our favor that neither of us will be in an auto accident, I still hate seeing either of us have to go out in the stuff and the g/f’s journey to Akron once a week this semester has gradually bugged me more and more.

And I’m having second thoughts about going back to school. Not so much about myself, I’m fairly certain I want to, but whether we could actually make it work schedule wise. She’d have classes, I’d have classes, and in the middle we’d have a six year old. 

In the mean time I’m still trying to get my own writing done and find some sort of work. Fun.

Where Are The Reviews?

December 2, 2009

for awhile small book reviews were the bread and butter of this blog. I’ve read a lot in my life, I still read a lot (see: unemployed), and I’ve found that I remember the books better if I just sit down and write a little review about them that I also hope other people find mildly helpful in deciding if they want to give the book a shot, too.

So where have they went?

Honestly, I just haven’t had time to write them up. For being what they are, they are still time consuming little buggers. From finding/inserting the links/pics to the simple act of writing the things, they take up a bit of time. And it’s time I haven’t had. Every other weekend (sometimes it feels like quite a bit more than that) I’m heading to Michigan. There’s the g/f. There’s the kid. There’s the job hunt (soon to become MFA program application fill-out time). There’s the day to day running of the apartment that has fallen to me by default of me being the unemployed one. Plus there is the writing of my own that I constantly put off and constantly berate myself for not getting done.

Also, the technology/publishing stuff I’ve been posting lately is stuff I find really interesting. Launching an on-line lit mag is something that I’ve kicked around for literally five years now and will likely never get around to actually doing. Meanwhile, I’ve also nurtured a hankering for tablet PCs and wouldn’t mind the ability to simply download a new novel once in awhile. And I’m interested in what can be done with the novel and programming language, despite not having a bloody clue about programming language myself. It’s a charge I find myself interested in leading but find myself woefully without a horse to charge with.

But I do hope to start getting some more reviews up again. In the meantime, I’ll try to keep posting what I post.

all that I see are stars

June 12, 2009

Going for a walk in the yard tonight, it is something that I have done for the past fifteen years of my life, give or take a few years. We have around three acres with duel rows of pine trees along the boundary of most of it. On two sides it borders roads – one paved, one gravel – and is bordered on the third by a field. The yard is a triangle, though I’m not sure what kind.

I take these walks and the night is usually pretty quiet. The wind blows. Trees rub and mutter against each other. The occasional cars goes by, its engine and the rumble of its tires against the pavement building, peaking, receding.

Overhead, far enough out in the yard, you’re effectively walking in shadow and the stars decide they can move from the safety of their depths and wink from the reaches of their existence.

Ten years ago I looked at the stars differently. They were beacons of the possible. I would look at the stars and think of speeches made by Kennedy’s in the 60s. The night sky was a reflection of a belief that life held limitless possibilities.

Walking around the yard tonight, I appreciate the beauty more. The feel of the breeze, cool, slipping across my face like lingering hands of a teen love. The smell of the pines of the grass and of the night air itself which just feels cleaner and smoother than the air of the day. Underfoot, the grass gives and is damp with the beginnings of the morning dew.

But the sky now feels like what might have been.

I had once dreamed of actually seeing the moon, setting foot on it. Maybe even seeing mars. I know now that neither will happen for me.

I dreamed of wealth, something I am also certain will not happen and which I’m also not entirely certain I would be able to handle anyway.

I dreamed that the world would just make sense at some point. That life would make sense.

Now it is more confusing than it was then and I see less point to it. Now it might be worse because I’m not longer riding the emotional highs of puberty so that even though I thought life was shit for long stretches of time, I was also too deliriously high on it to accept it.

Now whatever depressions I slip into I never dip too low but I also never rise too high. Life is.And I haven’t made myself okay with this yet.

Still, I love the stars. I love the night air in the country. I love just going for a quiet walk alone. In the end, maybe that’s the real essence of life. Finding what yuo like and love and being happy with that.

a collection of thoughts and musings

May 23, 2009

I read today where more colleges in the US are looking at establishing three year BA programs. I like the idea and wish it had been around when I started college far too many years ago and, at the same time, I know there re professors in various humanities divisions howling over this and how we’re producing workers rather than people. Which I think is awfully insulting to the people but whatever. Where a few of these possible programs fail, though, are where a few mentioned the necessity of taking summer classes to finish in three years. Well, no shit. I’m betting you could finish most 4 year degrees early if you took summer classes as well as the traditional fall/winter.  But I’m all for shorter time frames for degrees.

Speaking of degrees and colleges and the cost inherent with attending them, I am wondering where my bailout will be.  Credit card companies were “taking advantage”of people being reckless with their cards. Fine. Help’em out, pass some legislation, keep people from being raped by credit card companies (and more about this in a bit). But what about everyone who has gone to college in the past 20 years and been hit with tuition payments increasing at far greater rates than inflation? I think it would be just as fair to say that people are being taken advantage of by the education system within the framework of a society where the value of a college degree is arguably vastly overstated. So a bunch of us take out crazy amounts in loans to get these degrees because we’re told we will need them and the colleges/universities take our money and keep charging us more…well, where’s our legislation to get this crap in order? If we’re going to start righting wrongs here, what about us who tried to better ourselves and got raped by loan companies/colleges? Even if I don’t get any help, at least cap tuition hikes or something. This shit is insane.

And back on the credit card front, fine, pass this legislation, whatever. But don’t turn around and fuck over those of us who do play by the rules. Since the CC companies can’t royally screw over people who don’t pay on time or at all, the talk is that they are just going to screw all of us with rate hikes and annual fees. I make sure to always pay something on my credit card bill. I make sure I am never late. I don’t need to get screwed because Joe Fuck Up wrote enough letters to his vote whore representatives. 

This pisses me off because I accept that there are some things I just don’t have right now and am unlikely to have in the near future. Things like health insurance.  But instead of finding a way for someone like me to feel okay going to a doctor without worrying about going into even MORE debt that I can’t handle, they pass this crap that will likely just fuck me. thanks. Thanks a lot.

The only thing that consistently brings a smile to my day are women. I bitch about my g/f a lot but I love women. Whether it’s just a cheap look, a quick flirtation, a good laugh or a few moments talking about the misery of existence,women consistently make my day worth living. Granted, most of the time it falls into the cheap look category but still, it’s something.  The damndest thing is that it’s not even a consistently sexual thing any more, not like it used to be when I was a bit younger. Now I’m just as likely to just be amazed by some woman’s youth and strength and beauty and can’t imagine her being in my filthy mits at all.

and, in all honesty, I probably wouldn’t know what to do if given the opportunity with the majority of these women who melt me from afar. It’s better to just look and think about it. From a distance they can remain gods. up close they would be just like everybody else.

onward and upward.