Thursday, October 27, 2011


Maybe it's better. Or maybe I'm getting used to the flames.

Or, perhaps, it's just the fact that I've given up and recognize that, no matter how much effort I put forth, it's just too late now.

A glass of bourbon, filled to the brim, would help this situation.

Just Bad

One day after my post about watching Buddha on PBS. One day after thinking I may finally have achieved some semblance of balance in my ability to deal with the world. Just one day.

In that one day, I've devolved into the lowest level ever. I have been a bastard these last 18 hours or so. Feeling badly about my behavior and my inability to be even remotely civil is insufficient.

I suppose that insufficiency is why I couldn't sleep. I've been up since 1:00 am. It's now more than two hours later and I am very tired, but don't want to sleep. I want to rewind the last 18 hours and remake them into something better, something less painful for the people around me. Especially my wife, who doesn't deserve what she's been listening to from me.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


It's interesting. I walked in the door this evening after a bitch of a day, long hours and lots of stress, to find The Buddha on PBS. I've watched it before, but never the full program...still haven't.
I say it's interesting because I was in the mood to complain, curse, and generally be snarly. But I got caught up in The Buddha instead. My snarly, cursing self could not coexist with that program. So I cooled a bit.

Was it my recognition that my anger and upset are useless in the face of reality? Was it that I understood the teaching that anger is the less attractive face of compassion? Was it that I was ashamed to be so obviously self-centered and self-pitying that I simply had to chill?

Don't know. Don't care. I am in another mood, and that's good. I'm trying to find the beauty in this moment. And I've found amazement and beauty in looking at my hands and saying to myself: "They are amazing. How could such things come to be?"

It's not conceit or self-love that brings that out, either.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Neighborly Neighbors

I would like to be more neighborly. You know, helpful, available, and friendly. I would like the same of my neighbors. And so when a neighbor calls out to me as I walk out to my mailbox to check the day's mail, I gladly approach him in the hope of engaging in a neighborly conversation. I am a slow learner.

Generally speaking, when that neighborly conversation takes place my hopes and expectations are dashed. Instead of a pleasant conversation about something that matters, it usually degrades into a gripe session about my inability to control the acorns that fall from my tree and an implied question: "What are you going to do about that tree?" Or an attempt to rally me to the cause of forcing another neighbor to move a van that has been parked in a driveway for "too long." Not long ago, it was an attempt to have me join a petition to block plans to bring east-west light rail trains through my neighborhood. To be fair, that last one was not an attempt to completely block the plan; it was an attempt to shield the neighborhood from the riff-raff and noise that surely would come from the route as planned.

Yesterday, my next-door neighbor flagged me down as I approached my mailbox, once again I allowed myself to be hopeful. This time, it paid off. Not in spades, mind you, but the conversation did not degrade into a platform for complaints. He told me he had put out traps within the last few days to catch "something" that had been bothering him. I didn't get details of the bother, but it was "something." He caught two possums. He called animal control to come get them, which they did. While they were here, my neighbor mentioned to them that he had seen a coyote and watched it cross the street from my yard to a neighbor's driveway, where it sat and stared at him for a few moments before wandering off behind the across-the-street neighbor's house. And he told them he'd heard there have been sightings of bobcats in the area.

These things, these sightings of wild animals, concerned him. He has a litter of several small children so I can understand his concern...a little. But he keeps the beasts inside his home for the most part and does not let them wander the neighborhood, so I doubt he has anything to worry about. What impressed me was the fact that he called animal control services instead of bludgeoning the possums to death. I like that in a person.

Back to being neighborly. My wife has an idea she plans to pursue after her retirement in a few weeks. It may help establish a more neighborly connection with our neighbors. Her idea is to have a "happy hour" every Friday afternoon when we're in town, to which she will invite neighbors and friends. All they need to bring is themselves and, if they wish, some snacks to share. She will make happy hour drinks. Each week will be something different. One week she might make mojitos, the next it might be sloe gin fizzes, the next it could be just a glass of white wine. She has a vague idea of "theming" the events so the drinks coordinate with the season or the nearest holiday or something like that.

I hope it works. I hope our neighbors come out and we develop some good, neighborly relationships.

If we discover that none of our neighbors drink alcohol on religious grounds, we're moving!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ethiopian: The Real Deal

The taxi driver who took me from DFW airport to my house is from Ethiopia. He moved to the States about 15 years ago. He's married. He has been back to Ethiopia within the last year. He returns periodically to visit family. He's from the western part of the country, from place called (I believe...I didn't write it down) Jima.

All of this information came after I asked him where he was from, originally, and after I then proceeded to tell him how much I love gored-gored and kitfo and zilzil tibs and awaze spices get the idea, I went on and one.

We spoke about his favorite Ethiopian restaurant in the Dallas area, Ghion. I've not been there, but on his recommendation I will.

I asked him about a dish I saw served and eaten as another Ethiopian restaurant where my wife and I have eaten a few times, Lalibela. I described the dish as a huge chunk of raw meat that was placed in the middle of a table where four men sat. Each man was given a HUGE knife and they proceeded to slice off big slabs of the beef and dip it into sauces of some kind and eat it. It looked like it was just up my alley, since I truly love raw beef.

He knew instantly what I was describing. He said it was something called tire siga. It is simply a chunk of very good beef from which pieces are sliced off, picked up in a piece of torn injera, and dipped in a spicy berbere sauce (though I swear my taxi driver said "dada," but I may have it's berbere. From what I've read online, the traditional tire siga is camel meat, which is a bit hard to come by here, and it's also dipped in lemon juice in addition to berbere. I may have to go to Ethiopia to find the real thing.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Today, the day before I leave for my final major client event in advance of shutting my company's doors (well, not entirely, but that's another story), I walked almost 10 miles before 8:00 am.

Actually, it was 9.73 miles, a record for me, shattering the record I sent yesterday at 7.62 miles. It's unusual for me to have sufficient energy to go for a very long walk two days in a row. Not to mention the oddity of being physically capable...generally, a very long walk leaves my legs very sore and my joints angry and unwilling to flex much. After today's walk, they (my muscles and joints) are expressing their outrage at my brazen attempts to get them to do my bidding.

Acchh. It will get better.

Tomorrow, Monday, I am off to Atlanta for several days of board meetings, educational sessions, social events, and deeply serious conversations about "the transition." That is, the transition to new management. This particular client has hired what appears to be a very, very capable company that's much larger than mine, has much more advanced technology, and is quite probably far more capable than I of moving the client's agenda ahead. It's a little depressing to think all I needed was more money to hire more capable people and I, too, could be more advanced. Well, all I needed was more money and more gumption.

Water under the bridge now, though. I am anxious to get the contracts DONE so I can then dispose of furniture and equipment, clean out the offices, set up new phone service (the business will continue to operate, albeit mostly on a virtual basis), etc. And THEN, the fun begins!

ROAD TRIPS! Where shall I go first? I don't know. Probably a few short jaunts inside Texas, first, then a few longer ones to nearby states. But soon, very soon, I expect to see a LOT of this country, and possible some others. I've fallen in love with a tiny snippet of information about a place in British Columbia called Smithers. I do not have a good reason. I just found information about it and liked it. Maybe the Spring will find me there. Or in Boston. Or Portland. Or Seattle. Or San Diego. Or San Francisco. Or Lenexa, Kansas. Or Marysville, TN. You get the picture, yes?

Thursday, October 13, 2011


In just 18 days, I'll have no more clients. No more income. No more responsibility for trying to herd cats. There is no doubt I will miss certain elements of it. The cat-herding is not one I'll miss, though.

But I'm getting a little nervous. I don't know exactly what about, but something is making me nervous. Maybe that no income thing.

So what? I've created a business before from nothing. If I had to do it, I could do it again.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


How is it that we, the collective "we," think we have wisdom to share? We reach a milestone birthday or a milestone event and we seem to decide that simple chronological marker imparts wisdom. Why is that?

It's my position that wisdom does not accompany time nor experience. Wisdom accompanies the proper interpretation of experience. And even then the interpretation must be made in the proper context of life experience. In the end, it's quite subjective and not likely to be reproducible in the real world. So we all live our lives, using an unreliable model as our guide, a model that is transformed by experience and circumstance.

We all live a lie of one kind or another.

And that, my friend, makes me cry. And I can't stop.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Yesterday's news, and today's, was the death of Steven Jobs. The majority of what I read today about his death was in tribute to the man and his legacy, but there were a few people who either despised him for some reason or were annoyed that his death upset their expectations of what they'd find in traditional and social media. The latter group of people are, in my view, truly selfish and bathed in deep self-appreciation; the death of an icon does NOT, in their view, merit interrupting their routine. I have absolutely nothing but disdain for such attitudes.

I read a transcript, and viewed a video, of Jobs' 2005 commencement address at Stanford. It was low-key, understated, and brilliant. It made me think about my life. Steve Jobs was a brilliant and very observant man.