Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Was It Just Me?

...Or did anyone else notice that our representatives and senators in Washington don't look like the village in which you live? A bunch of aging white guys?!!

That doesn't look like where I live. Where were the African-Americans? The Hispanics? The women? The Native Americans? I did spot one Asian male, but everyone else of any sort of melting-pot diversity seemed to be there as trophy guests.

I love listening to and observing politics. I formed my entire day and evening around this televised address to the nation. I timed my dinner, drink and snack around sitting glued to my good fortune of having my landlords away and access to their television.

In his short one-hour speech, it was notable to me that Mr. Bush took time out to demonize my personal love of another person. He stated that a strong defense of traditional marriage was essential to the fabric of our society. As if whom I choose to love and live with will undermine his control of this world.

Usually I find Mr. Bush's formal speeches somewhat stirring, a change from his bumbling and whining impromptu talk. Tonight, however, I found nothing worth the popcorn that I popped and the anticipation that I looked forward throughout the day. Bland, flat and completely without vision.

From my observance, he said nothing that will outlast tomorrow's news. No real vision or details of anything noteworthy.

Even though I disagree on most issues, as is apparent by my viewpoints expressed in this blog, I was disheartened that he displayed that he is more than a lame duck. He is already fricasseed.

Like his trumpetted accomplishment of reducing the budget--that was created during his administration's oversight--his words rang very hollow.

Jobs created? How many were lost? Why during this supposed heyday of tax credits am I literally having decide between paying for healthcare and actual food on my table?

As for the democratic response by Governor Kane? Yawn. I'm going to bed. I'll be up tomorrow to defeat this dictator of ideals that don't reflect me and my reality of daily living.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

But Thanks for Asking

I went to the poker night last evening and had a great time. Despite my curiousity about what it meant to be playing without money, it turned out to only mean that we played with stacks of chips.

However, my previous blog posting caused me to chuckle when I heard one lady exclaim to her boyfriend, "My stacks are just fine!"

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Relaxing Saturday

This morning, I spent an hour and a half raking leaves in the yard. It's very pleasant, sunny-and-jacket weather, but a considerable breeze made herding the leaves into one pile a challenge.

I'm listening to R. Crumb and the Cheap Suit Serenaders croon their old timey ballads. I like the style of banjo picking that they do and Crumb has a decent voice, believe it or not. If you are like me and saw the movie "Crumb," then your memory of him, besides his fabulous drawing ability, is mostly of how truly strange his family life has been. I forgot the part about his band. That's his sketch above of them playing; Crumb is on the right.

Later today, I"ll curl up to read some of the books on my reading list. Then I'm off this evening to meet some friends of Odette and play money-less poker. I don't know exactly what that means, but I'm going to wear extra layers of clothing just in case!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Parable


From my current reading list (see sidebar for titles):
    A monk was being chased by a tiger. To escape, the monk lowered himself over a cliff on a long vine. Below, however, another tiger appeared. As he dangled between two deaths, several mice began chewing through the vine just above the monk's reach.

    Just then, the monk noticed a wild strawberry plant growing on the side of the cliff. He plucked a strawberry and placed in in his mouth. As the vine broke, carrying the monk to his death, he gave 100% of his attention to the taste and texture of the berry in his mouth. By maintaining his focus on the strawberry, he avoided letting his attention wonder onto the sensation of fangs and claws ripping into his body.
    (p. 12, Extreme Spirituality)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Little More, Little Less

I sold about 45+ CDs today. They are gone from my life, yet not. The music lives on in my soul, and the money makes possible some reheated posole tonight for health.

I'm noticing again the beauty of food. I was in a grocery store today with a friend, Melissa. She offered to buy some food, but I resisted. Whether through deprived ego or through infinite wisdom, with my stomach growling loudly, I noticed again the simple beauty of color and smell. It was easy to be satiated by the simple color and smells, something which a full stasis precludes. Like when the absence of relentless rain dries my soul and intensifies my appreciation, I could more precisely enjoy the presence of the nutrients of health raining down...even without purchasing or physically tasting the surplus of food surrounding me.

Nice. To once again be aware of the truth surrounding me.

P.S. My friend and commenteer, John, has a great posting for viewing Brokeback Mountain. Good stuff.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Rain, Rain

...stay with me just this one night....

Today, before my 4th paid client, it started to snow ever so lightly. The flakes were gentle and soft, bringing much need moisture to the dry southwestern desert. It was beautiful and I took a moment to just watch the wonder of it all through my office window.

Now, at home as I watched a DVD episode of the X-Files, I pause the screen to listen more intently to the even patter of a light rain on the roof. Moisture. Water. Life.

Two days ago, as I sat outside basking in the sun, the chickens joined me at my feet to pick at the dry soil. It was nothing but dirt, sand and a few pebbles to my eyes. But to the chickens and their discerning eyes, it was a veritable feast. They skillfully picked nutrition out of the brown soil. Amazing. When you think about it, the ability to peck out those minute grains of food from among dead soil is really quite something.

In Seattle, it recently rained for 27 days straight, for a total of 13.22 inches of rain. No doubt dulled by the wet into not seeing the miracle of life, folks living there saw nothing more than I saw in the dirt. But to the discerning eye and mind, the rain was full of life-giving potential.

Just now, I stepped outside to hear more fully the grace of water falling from the sky, feeding the earth. And I was thankful. Thankful that after 3 months of no precipitation, that at last Albuquerque was being nourished, that rain was again falling from the sky. I wonder how many other moments in my life are missed by not noticing what is vital, of importance and so joyfully needed in my life.

As the posole cooks on the stove, I am filled with a great sense of thankfulness.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Building Work

This is the reception area for my office. I had 3 paying clients last week and have 3 more scheduled for this week. Hooray!

That covers this month's office rent, health insurance and car payment. Now I only have home rent, car insurance, telephone bill (home & office) and 3 credit card payments to go for this month. Oh, yes, and food. Fortunately, my friend Odette treated me to another dinner yesterday. More importantly, she's getting me out of my little hermit bubble.

Here are two photos of my office. One is, obviously, my desk; the other is where my clients sit during their sessions.

It is slow work to build my own business. I expect to mainly work from referrals and that takes time. Until then, I have long days of getting paperwork in order, figuring out how to do taxes, calculating how to increase business and the general wondering if I'm at all doing this right.

Today, after unsuccessfully scouring Craigslist.com for temp & part-time jobs (i.e. cash), I'm going to head into the office for a self-hypnosis session. This keeps me in practice and the stress level down. I'll work some more on budgeting, sell some used CDs for cash and return home this eveing to continue my pleasure reading (see reading list in column to the right of these postings). I'm also continuing to renew my spiritual disciplines of ritual and meditation, noting the importance and health that mindfullness, self-awareness and my faith hold for me.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

After the Dream

Aroused by the dream, I slipped on some clothes and stepped out into the brisk night. It was 4:30 AM and the stars twinkled brightly. A waning moon shone down softly from a sky void of any cover with which to hold in remains of the previous day’s heat. A slight and gentle breeze prickled and awakened my flesh.

I looked to where my tent would have been pitched in the side yard had it been 15 years earlier, where I would be sleeping was I again the stranger encamped in a stranger’s yard. Memories returned of countless such nights, bringing an all-too-familiar longing that has been my daily companion since that journey.

And comfort came with it, too. The comfort of knowing that I was home. The sweet familiarity of this place: its running water—hot and cold, the books and music at my disposal, its protective shelter where, whenever I choose, I can pour a hot cup of tea and settle into a chair to enjoy the passing time.

I shivered. I had to use the bathroom and it felt good to not have to do battle with myself from inside a warm sleeping bag: Do I get up now, dig around for clothes, unzip the tent and go find a private tree where I can squat while freezing in the night? Or can I hold out until the sun is up and the air is slightly warmer?

Instead, I went back inside. I relieved myself, appreciating again the wonder of modern convenience. Then I stripped and slipped under the warm covers of my bed.

My bed.

Near the end of my walking odyssey, I had had a realization that the real and more difficult challenge--certainly harder than walking across the country--was to experience daily life as an adventure. That the ordinary is unknown.

I smiled to myself, not knowing what the next day held.

And I gently and easily drifted back to sleep.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Ordinary Life Can Be The Hardest

Last night I dreamt I that I was encamped in a small grassy and wooded corner at the edge of a grocery store parking lot and a small town’s park. It was sometime after my walk across the country and now. I was just setting up camp in the early dark.

A local guy approached me and asked if I wanted to explore the town with him. I bit off a piece of chocolate and we walked into the night, down the road and past the town’s historical building. Since the small museum was closed at this time of night, my companion asked if I wouldn’t mind browsing a couple of sporting goods stores that he knew were open in town. It was all new to me, so I said that I’d enjoy seeing any of it.

“That’d be great,” I said, meaning it. Then the words came out just right, the way they do only in dreams.

“There is no feeling in the world quite like losing yourself,” I mused. “Being in a town whose name I don’t yet know, not knowing what is ahead or to either side, only knowing what is already past. Each footfall transforming the unknown into the seen, heard and experienced Now.”

“The exhilaration can be addictive,” I admitted.

He nodded. “Kinda fun, eh?” he asked, understating the truth of the matter like so many do who have not had this particular addiction.

“Yeah,” I replied. “Just lying down in a bed each night is a self-discipline.”

Friday, January 20, 2006

Who Are You?

I realized last night after a phone call from a friend who'd had his appendix removed, that I rely a lot on this blog to stay in touch. I'm not very good at telephone calls. I don't send letters that often. I'm more of a live-in-the-moment kind of guy.

This means that if it's not in front of me at the moment (like being online now with this blog, for example), it takes awhile for me to get in touch. Not a great trait; but mine for the moment. And it's really only a one-way communication...unless you take a moment to comment.

So I thought it would be interesting to know who "you" are. Just click the comment link and state your first name and where you live. That'll get us started in staying better in touch.

OTHER NOTES:
  • The poll at the top of this blog is not an advertisement. It's something I created for fun. I may change the poll from time to time, so take a moment to view it and participate. I usually design it so that you can vote once per day. So far, it looks like tattoos are the in thing for 2006.

  • What do you think should be my number 10 posting in the column to the right? I plan to tally comments and re-list the top ten posts at the end of this month.

  • Lastly, thanks for reading. It really does encourage me to stay in touch, even if only by blogging a little bit of my life.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Separated at Birth?

Since I did not post during Christmas, I thought I could still squeak this one in. Stumbled across the image of Ratzinger and thought to myself, "Now where have I seen him before?"

Monday, January 16, 2006

Burn, Baby, Burn

This morning, as I sip an espresso in my home office and work on money revenue, I am burning those previously mentioned 50 CDs onto my hard drive. My friend Odette wisely suggested that this might make the purge more palatable. She's right.

Odette also--super-graciously--purchased blank CDs for me to use to keep them in my collection and treated me to a real dinner, with leftovers going to my fridge. After having lost 5 lbs. last week from lack of food, this was an exceptionally welcomed gesture of friendship!

I saw my first paying clients yesterday. This is a relief. I did a group session for them and scheduled 3 individual follow-up sessions with them. This week also holds for me a session with a client with whom I did a trade for an eye examination and new glasses. And I will be leading a free introduction to hypnosis workshop on Friday evening. I hope that the workshop fills up and that those in attendance schedule individual sessions.

It is an upward, but not impossible, curve to get my clientele and referrals built up. I am so certain that this is the right thing for me to be doing, that I can wait out the natural building-of-my-business time. For money to pay the bills in the meantime (besides selling CDs), I've signed up to participate in a political focus group this Thursday ($75) and have applied to be one of those blue-haired, retired food samplers you see at Costco and Sam clubs. I don't know whether or not they supply the hair dye.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Today is the Sabbath

So I thought it appropriate to post another reason why God Hates Shrimp.
“MINEOLA, N.Y. -- The family of a suburban New York man claims he wrenched his neck, and later died because of it, after ducking to avoid a shrimp tossed by a hibachi chef.”

Click Here to read the article.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

There’s Something About That Man I Don’t Like

I took family photos out of my office this week. Because my two godsons and two nephews had given me their photographs for Christmas this year, my family pictures were suddenly predominantly those of little boys. If I were married, this wouldn’t matter; because I’m gay, that’s an issue.

David Sedaris got it right when describing an instance where he was in an elevator with two strangers. One was a 10 year old boy and the other was a straight man his own age. The other man felt free to pat the boy on the head and ask if he had any girlfriends. Sedaris, on the other hand, knew that he couldn’t do that. He was in New Hampshire, is gay, and all the little boy would have to do is say that Sedaris had touched him or asked him if he liked girls and folks would have connected their own dots.

In a climate where being gay is equated with being a pedophile (just look at the Catholic Church scandal for one example), I can’t afford the luxury of photos of loved ones in my office.

Sadly, it’s stuff like this that awakens me at 3 AM with anger and sadness.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Buddy, Can You Spare a Quarter?

After paying bills and checking my so-called budget yesterday, I’m eyeing olives differently.

In Boston I had grown accustomed to seeing any olive as just a martini-in-waiting. Here in Albuquerque I’m learning that, if I quarter them, olives can also be a satisfying 4-course meal. Not something you’d invite guests over to share with by candlelight maybe, but a substantial lunch for one nonetheless when compared to a plateful of tempting ice cubes. No matter how artfully one arranges the cubes.

I’m even learning to break dry spaghetti strands in half--even quarters for that matter--to stretch a package into significantly more meals. Meanwhile, I pulled 50 CDs from my collection to sell at a local used CD store. (I recklessly imprinted CD liner notes in my early days of collecting music, or there could be more.) I’ll do another pull next week and try to be more brutal on myself in letting go. But if you’ve ever stayed up listening to one of my late-night/early-morning musical tours, you know that 50 is a fantastic start for me.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Loss

The first loss is sad. It is the moving of these sacred stones of the Petroglyph Nat'l Monument I mentioned in yesterday's post. Although the highway is being cut down from a 6-laner to a 4-lane (at first only 2 in use), the petroglyphs have already been relocated. I guess today's Disneyfied culture prefers to see its history by purchasing a ticket and cueing up through endless lines to see something encased in glass.

The second loss is funny:
TOKYO (Reuters) - Firemen in a small Japanese town were left red-faced after a party to mark the end of a fire awareness promotional event ended in a blaze that badly damaged their station. (Click here for brief article.)

P.S. I made today's posting at Missymussy. Check out her blog.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Change of Habit

Anonymous's comment about being gay and away from the big city (see comment in previous post) got me to thinking about my life here in ABQ. A good life, quiet and unassuming. Easy to fall into sleepy patterns of lazy self-destructiveness. The past week and a half were a good example of that. (Is a good example of a bad thing really just a big bad example? But I digress.)

Too much wine and late night browsing of cheap Web sites plus sleeping in late is one way to avoid facing the solitude, but such a rut is not healthy. So I awoke this morning and decided that I had to rearrange my daily habits. I headed straight out the door for a walk in the Bosque. The air was crisp and the sun warming. I spotted a flock of Sandhill cranes picking out their morning breakfast in a meadow, some Canadian geese (to be honest, I don't really know their nationality and none of them presented me with a visa to prove it) and a coyote lurking along the edge of the woods hoping to pick out its own breakfast from among the cranes.

Further along the stroll, I stopped to see the progress being made at a construction site. It wasn't hard for me to decide which setting that I preferred. I'm not sure why human's have such a drive to make a mark on the environment. We are worse than beavers, you know.

Even now as of this writing, the Petroglyph National Monument on the west mesa of Albuquerque is being dissected by a major highway and some of the ancient petroglyphs are being moved. I think that this is the first time major development has been allowed in a supposedly protected and designated national monument area. You would think that there is no where else in this vast New Mexican desert to build unimaginative housing.

From all appearances, the politicians and developers figure it's no big deal since it is Native American land. Imagine someone proposing to move one of the big white heads of Mt. Rushmore in order to put a highway through to build some look-alike housing above them.

I returned home and fixed somed blue corn pancakes, drizzled them with carob molasses and watched the construction going on in my own back yard. They are repairing the drain system out back by the ditch. Since the work is directly behind me at this point, my house shakes every 3-5 minutes as they dig and insert metal retainer walls. So far nothing has fallen off of my shelves, but I can literally see items jostle and inch towards the edge. One would think that the noise itself would stimulate me to get out before they begin their work every day at 7 AM.

The new morning burst of activity seemed to get my day headed off in the right direction. After this post, I will spend time mailing advertising for a hypnosis introduction workshop I have scheduled for the 20th. I plan to go to the office and do a self-hypnosis practice session, water the plants and research more clinical hypnotherapy techniques. I will work some on my budget, pay bills and do some tax filing. Might visit a friend before returning home. Will meditate before retiring to bed with a cup of hot tea and a good book. (I'm reading Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris right now.) Lights out a decent time, and I plan to start tomorrow morning off in the same right way.

Then again, too much of anything can be a bad habit.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Aha!

I thought that the world had gone silent, my new computer gone dead or, at the very least, that my eyes were pitifully failing me. Instead, just as I suspected, there are folks out there who...now this will be hard to believe, I know...better be sitting down when you read this: There are folks reading this blog without posting comments. GASP!!!

But true. In fact, I just heard from two different people in the last 24 hours that they check out this site daily...without posting. The horror!

So this post is an exercise in facing your fears. It's time to come out of that cyber closet and post a note.

Okay now. The first step is admitting that you have a problem. Just face your computer screen and say aloud, "Hello. My name is ______ and I have a phobia of posting comments to Wynote."

Done that? Good.

Now the rest of you reading, welcome that person. Go ahead. I'm waiting....

See how easy that was? Doesn't that feel great to have that confession off of your chest? You can now freely post comments with abandon!

And if you still have some traces of hesitation, you can always schedule an appointment with me.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Quiet in the Office

Last week was strange. After having Matthias stay with me for Christmas and then spending the following holiday week with a housefull of 8 adults and 4 children (ages 5-11), the return to my hermit-like existence was a little unsettling. Nice, but took some getting used to again. I basically stayed home all week and quietly puttered around the room noticing the silence.

Finally, on Friday, I did get my laundry done and went into the office. My only paying customer cancelled before she came in. Her van broke down and the money she had saved for our sessions ($500) had to be used for the repairs. Another potential client backed out from a follow-up call. That didn't surprise me; this person had only called because a friend had given my brochure to her and told her she should call. Good clients need more self-motivation than that. The good sign, however, was that people are picking up the brochure from the office door and giving them to their friends.

I spent the rest of the day Friday distributing promotional flyers with my business card that target people trying to keep their New Year's Resolution. Put up ten around town and hope to get a response from them. Also, a insert goes out in a direct advertising mailing up on Nob Hill this week, the first of 6 monthlies. Hope to get a response from that, too.

Friday night, enjoyed an Epiphany party. At least 50+ folks in a house all decked out for the 12th and final day of celebrating Christmas. Us crazy Christian types!

Checked out the state fair grounds flea market on Saturday as part of scouting out potential sites to promote hypnosis. Don't think that it's a great spot to do that. Afterwards, went to see the movie mentioned in a previous post below. It made me long again for the wilderness living.

Will spend part of today mailing out invitations to a third, free introductory workshop. Then I will turn my attention again to a dwindling budget. Have to count the strands of spaghetti left in the cupboard.... !

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Zeitgeist

The search is over.

"Zeitgeist" was the word missing from my winter break conversations. Thanks to all who tried various other possibilities. "Weltansicht" and "Verstandnis ver Welt" were both close, but not the one from my memory of late-night college talks.

At last, I can sleep at night.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Pass the Whiskey

Just saw the movie, "Brokeback Mountain." Which is more sad: the movie, or the fact that I had to see it alone? Go Ang Lee.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

How I Spent My Holiday Break

Among a trip to the Jemez Springs hot springs (for a soak, wrap and massage), an evening strolling among the mariachis and luminarias of Santa Fe, attending the Acoma Indian Pueblo Christmas dances, horseback riding in VA, crawling through a hay maze, pleasant morning walks, seeing King Kong, exchanging gifts, and lots of enjoyable conversation with family and friends, I managed also to create this porcelain clown in an craft class that I attended with my nieces, sisters-in-law and mother. Yeah, I was the only guy. But it was a lot fun and I think he turned out pretty well!

Monday, January 02, 2006

This Year I'm Exercising


Well, at least exercising caution. One can never be too safe.

(For you history buffs: click on this interesting LA Times article. It has nothing to do with signs. However, I guess it could be viewed as remotely related to the virtues of exercising caution.)

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Wild & Crazy Times

Oh, the raucous merriment of New Year's: blowout parties, flowing alcohol and silly stunts designed to add chaos to the festivities. Fortunately, my Mother had warned my guest that we were a crazy crowd and to expect anything:
  • We fried fish.
  • We sipped sodas.
  • We played cards.
  • We watched a movie.
  • We called it a night.
I doubt that he expected that. It was really fun, but my guest and I got a chuckle out of Mother's impression of what craziness looks like. Next year, I may try the wearing-the-lampshade routine, but I'll make sure she takes her heart medicine first!

To mark the beginning of a New Year, we shot off some fireworks: bottle rockets that zip up 20-30 feet into the air and then twinkle for a second or two. Now that kind of craziness is illegal in Virginia. Any firework that goes up into the air is illegal.

Earlier in the evening, we were blasting away with rifle and shotgun at clay skeet thrown to the sky. That's permitted by law. Bullets for the .22 theoretically can travel for a mile and a half, if not impeded.

I'm glad that the fireworks are illegal; it gave me more time to dodge incoming bullets from the neighbors who were also legally celebrating.