January 31, 2011

peaceable kingdom

my storied career

Recent developments in my job have convinced me that I need to accelerate my career switch by an order of magnitude. Something in the next week or two would be best, but a quick skills assessment reveals that I'm not particularly qualified to do anything. That's the downside of being a generalist; you're OK at a lot of things but not great at any of them.

Sigh. Well, barring turning back time a quarter century and majoring in mechanical engineering instead of Creative Writing and Chinese (yeah, I know), maybe I should reflect on what I like to do. The parachute thing:

1. I like hanging out with my wife and kids.
2. I like hanging out with my dogs.

Not much help so far.

3. I like taking pictures.
4. I like riding my bike.
5. I like hiking.

Yup. Still nothin'.

6. I like reading.
7. I like writing.

Mm-hmm. Go on.

8. I like having a sense of purpose, a mission.
9. I like helping people in need.

Not really seeing an office with fluorescents here. What I'm actually seeing is the volcano on the island of the Wauponi Woo.

I asked my brother if I and Ondine could come stay with him should I happen upon a job in Colorado. He said sure, but the temperature was minus one, and what about the rest of the clan? I told him they would wait till it warmed up a little. Then, in the interest of full disclosure, I mentioned that Ondine steals scones from the kitchen counter and that she digs a little and he said he thought she might be happier at my youngest sister's house 'cuz they already have dogs. :)

On the novel front, I don't think it's a novel after all. I think it's something different, and I need to let it become whatever it wants to become.

So, yeah, life's a-changin'.

January 30, 2011


From back when we first ventured forth from our cave out onto the savannah together.

January 26, 2011


I have a freakishly painful skin infection on my left pinky. It was fine yesterday, but then it started hurting enough to keep me up all night. It got progressively worse during the day, so in the early afternoon I bailed from work and had Amy come get me and take me to the doctor. The doctor scalpel'd it and took a culture and put me on some gnarly antibiotics.

I asked the doctor why I can't just get normal diseases once in a while. She said, "Ah, this is pretty normal." Hmmm. Don't ever let this happen to you &c.

UPDATE (later that evening): Sweet relief. A damp washcloth wrapped in a heating pad wrapped around my hand, the best fish tacos I've ever had, the company of a good-lookin' woman - and, wow, a late Christmas present that arrived in the mail today and took me back about 35 years...

Right on, good rehab.

whatcha reading, iv

...it is unnecessary to abandon meditation and the activities of the understanding. When, instead of coming through conduits, the water springs directly from its source, the understanding checks its activity, or rather the activity is checked for it when it finds it cannot understand what it desires, and thus it roams about all over the place, like a demented creature, and can settle down to nothing. The will is fixed so firmly...that this disturbed condition of the understanding causes it great distress; but it must not take any notice of this, for if it does so it will lose a great part of what it is enjoying; it must forget about it, and abandon itself into the arms of love...almost its whole work is to realize its unworthiness to receive such great good and to occupy itself in thanksgiving.

- The Interior Castle, St. Teresa of Avila

I'm going to have to read this book a few more times.

January 25, 2011

quantum entanglement over time

I sort of understand intuitively, not mathematically, how quantum entanglement (via dangerousmeta) could stretch across both time and space. But it does beg the question that if we do someday figure out how to use quantum entanglement to send a message to the future, why wouldn't future people (who by virtue of the event having already occurred will already know how to do it) be sending messages back through time to us? A couple options: a) We're already receiving those messages, and everything that's happening to us now is part of a greater plan (the end goals of which we do not know or understand), or b) the future knows better than to mess with the past (having once or twice tried, perhaps, and now it's really sorry) or c), we humans never quite figure out how to use quantum entanglement to send messages through time (which would mean that the pursuit of the answer to that question gets interrupted before the mystery is solved). I dunno. Voting is now open.

January 24, 2011

she's ba-ack

Bren rented a truck and helped Amy haul her stuff over today. This is the first thing I saw when I got home. For reals, man.

January 22, 2011

homemade greenhouse

An old six-by-six kennel, four shower curtain liners, fourteen feet of painter's drop cloth, four one-by-twos and a bunch of duct tape and zip ties.

January 21, 2011

ondine and fergus

Young, feisty, rambunctious Ondine is teaching blind, toothless, mellow old Fergus how to play tag. She jets around the backyard on rocket boosters and swoops past him in a blur. He follows the sound of her paws pounding past, but by the time he has taken just a few steps, she has already completed a full-speed backyard circuit and she's on her way back to swoop past in the opposite direction. He turns and trots a few steps after her, and she dashes by again, over and over. If he gets lost among the garden boxes, she circles around him until he turns and follows in the direction she wants him to go. It's fun to watch them figure out the game together.

January 15, 2011

one dark cold drizzly night

After twelve hours of waiting out the rain we were both stir crazy, but just after sunset the downpour eased to a steady drizzle. I leashed her and we went for a long walk. It's been a long time since I've gone for a long walk in a cold winter rain; it's good for the soul. And she's at her best when she's walking; she's light and easy on a loose leash. We have many hours and miles of trail together ahead.

In a dark corner of the park we came across a small herd of deer, a buck and four does, no more than fifteen yards away. We stopped but only for a moment. The buck centered himself between the two of us and his does and stomped his foot."Close enough," he seemed to say, so we kept walking.

All the fables teach that there's a downside to wishes granted. In our case, adopting a water nymph has resulted in a lot more mud in the house.

January 13, 2011

whatcha reading, iii

...before I had got thus far out of these my temptations, I did greatly long to see some ancient godly man's experience, who had writ some hundreds of years before I was born; for those who had writ in our days, I thought (but I desire them now to pardon me) that they had writ only that which others felt; or else had, through the strength of their wits and parts, studied to answer such objections as they perceived others were perplexed with, without going down themselves into the deep...Now I was pleased much that such an old book had fallen into my hand, the which when I had but a little way perused, I found my condition in his experience so largely and profoundly handled, as if his book had been written out of my heart.

- Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, John Bunyan

My thoughts exactly.

January 8, 2011

ash leaves too soon

The branches of our ashes with ball moss have new green leaves; the branches without it don't. Seems the moss is lying to the tree about the calendar. (Our first true artic blast is supposed to arrive in the next day or so. Bleah.)

January 7, 2011


whatcha reading, ii

"Ah, Madame Marmet, you will never know how true it is that the great works of the world were always achieved by madmen. Do you think, Madame Martin, that if Saint Francis of Assisi had been reasonable, he would have poured upon the earth, for the refreshment of peoples, the living water of charity and all the perfumes of love?"
"I do not know," replied Madame Martin, "but reasonable people have always seemed to me to be bores."

- The Red Lily, Anatole France

January 3, 2011

whatcha reading, i

A new feature for the new year, maybe. How about a favorite quote (or two) from each new book I read this year? I don't think I can do reviews.

Here's the first entry for 2011.

...when...we say, "Have mercy on me, a sinner," God secretly answers every petition with, "Child, your sins are forgiven." And...when we pray, we do not differ from the saints, the blessed, and the martyrs.

- The Way of a Pilgrim, Helen Bacovcin, trans.

I elided a little to find the jewel in the lotus, as it were.

January 2, 2011

January 1, 2011