Saturday, October 30, 2010

the orange and black

Everyone's been wearing my school colors, and I have to keep reminding myself that they mean something else altogether to most people.

I don't know why I don't care for Halloween. I always blamed it on growing up in southern California, especially when I lived in New Jersey. Man those east coast people go crazy for Halloween. All that decorating and witchy glee, you would think there were many pagans in Halloween. Don't get me started on how the principal dropped dime on me to the most conservative Christian parent when I wanted to read a book to the students about Dia de los Muertos... yeah.

Anyway, I just don't like attention enough to want to dress up as anything. Besides, I have enough trouble just being myself most days to want to take any time to pretend to be anyone else.

Then again I saw a women with orange and black witchy-poo leggings and thought ... those are really cute. And she seemed like a super unassuming person dressed otherwise relatively conservatively, just from the knees down she could be the bad witch under the house (different colors though, I think making this witch a cousin from the east). I wondered if I would ever have the nerve to wear something like that.

Recalls the days of the stars on the nose at the stationary story...but that really is a completely different story and my drafts are, you will just have to make up a story on your own.

Friday, October 29, 2010

any moment now

...inspiration might hit me...
Really, I could use a lightening bolt ... maybe, even of the kind I used to give my little brother and sister.
Anything, really, would be helpful...

And another thing....
just kidding not even inspired to do that much...

this is taking forever, but slowly... a draft is emerging

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I will readily admit that 16 is oh so close to 12 in so many ways... so I cringe to think that I am about to not only claim 16 year old emotions, I am going to say that I have, this week, been actively seeking a 16 year old outlet for the expression of emotions.

I guess I would actually have to go beyond that admission... I have been wishing to just have the cares of a 16 year old as well.

With all the deadlines and the stack of books to read for my research projectS and all the regular work and personal work I wish I were doing not to mention the training runs that I haven't done ... I just would like to get off the merry go round for a minute ... ok for a day or even a weekend.

16 ... and parsing the less than 15 words the fireman said to me the other day ... it could take longer than a weekend.

And that's all you get for now, until I finish a funding proposal or two and at least an outline for each of my papers. Oh and that darned IRB. YUCK.

Hope he says a few more words by then so I can go back to a 16 year old obsessing frame of mind for you in a few months.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Train Wrecks, Vultures and The Band ... Part 2

Fast forward a couple of weeks and all hell begins to break loose.

T decides that I should trade up my groupie status for something more friendly and intimate.

I declined ... okay, somewhat reluctantly, but I declined. And I was forced to realize that the idea I had of him as a good guy might be more tarnished than I wanted to admit. I backed away slowly hoping that I hadn't ruined my ability to still be a groupie, but not wanting in any way to be a part of that drama. What can I say? I really never thought it would go that way...

Still, there was F and his perfect relationship with S who had changed his life, right?

Well... since then, T "lost" his phone, disappeared from fb and seems to have quit The Band. [I think it is a whole other post ... the lost phones and the agreement to disable the fb page leading up to quitting The Band... but hopefully you can connect the dots. For now, I hope T and his wife are able to figure something out for their sake and the sake of their children -- whatever is best for them all.]

F and S are no more.

F is drinking at gigs and reporting he's got the blues while the vultures circle.

It would appear they were there all along, but I didn't know enough about F's past to recognize them.

They swoop in with drinks.

You would think that just that fact would clearly identify them as vultures to F.

I have no idea what is going on with him inside.

I can't really even speculate. Perhaps it is more like I don't want to. I continue to watch from behind my hands, peeking through only occasionally.

I can only say for sure that the music doesn't sound the same anymore. Perhaps it is just the changing of the seasons... too soon to tell, but that crazy, cold wind seemed to be howling something I couldn't recognize.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

on a completely other note...

I watched "Taking Chance" the other day ... and bawled my eyes out. [You can learn more about the movie if you haven't heard of it here.]

I guess now I know, when I need a good cry, I should watch a movie about coming to grips with losing our youth to a senseless war.

I guess another piece that was truly moving was to see how much we love our service people even when we disagree with the war, we still love our troops.

In that spirit, I want to honor of all of those fallen in war. Here's is one more to remember, Ronnie who we lost on 10/23. Here is the link, but I don't know how long it will last, so I am going to post the full text as well:
An Alta Loma High School graduate serving as an Army combat engineer in the Middle East died Saturday.

Spc. Ronnie J. Pallares was killed in Andar district, Ghazni, Afghanistan when insurgents attacked his unit using a roadside bomb, according to a Department of Defense news release. He was assigned to the 27th Engineer Battalion, Fort Bragg, N.C.

This was Pallares' first deployment, officials said.

"He was exceptionally friendly and extroverted; just the kind of guy that earns valued friends wherever he goes," said Capt. Jeffery Donaldson, his company commander, in a written statement. "In a closely-knit combat unit like ours, Specialist Pallares was a friend to everyone, executing his own tasks with well-trained proficiency."

Donaldson went on to say Pallares was loved by his family, friends and leaders.

"I've literally never seen a group so happy to promote someone as when his platoon put the rank on his chest. Everybody was looking forward to witnessing the incredible potential of Ronnie Pallares - a fact that makes his early passing so much more painful," Donaldson said.

Pallares enlisted in the Army immediately after graduating high school in 2008. He served as a combat engineer during route clearance operations, officials said.

During his service, Pallares received the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal,

Combat Action Badge and Parachutist Badge, according to the news release.

In honor of Pallares' service, flags at the capitol building in Sacramento were flown at half-staff Monday.

"Serving in the armed forces is a noble calling that Specialist Ronnie Pallares bravely answered. He faced danger to defend our freedoms and we honor his courage and commitment to our country. AS they mourn this tragic loss of a young life, Maria (Shriver) and I offer our deepest condolences to Ronnie's family, friends and fellow soldiers," Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a written statement.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Train Wrecks, Vultures and The Band

You know when you are watching something or someone on a collision course with destiny? It is like watching a train wreck. You can see it, you can wave your hands or sound an alarm, but you can't really do anything to stop it.

I guess I felt that way about The Band all summer long. I was having such a good time watching them, hanging out with them, dancing to their music. I was in love with the "love" that was such a part of the lead singer's (F) persona. Truly, the first time I saw The Band, he introduced his lady (S) as his wife and said that she had changed his life. Well, I don't know whether I believed it at that point, but it was still an important statement -- clearly it made an impression.

If we are going to be really honest, I didn't think he was all that, I was far more interested in the bass player (T) to really care what or who F thought changed his life. But, still, it was sweet. And, in retrospect, I see that he was making a particular statement since women usually love the lead singer. He was stating, clearly and loudly, that he was partnered and that partner was more than just an obligation. She was sweet, too, as I would come to know her more, it was evident. She along with another girlfriend (M) traveled some with the band from gig to gig. Though S was more likely to be missing than the ever present M. Let's just say that M never took to me.

Fast forward to the end of the summer, when I finally got the courage to talk to T. Truthfully, I shouldn't have been talking to him at all, since I already had figured out that he was married. But, I figured he would never be interested in me, so it was just "practice," harmless practice. When he asked me to friend him on fb, I thought he was just promoting the band. I was self-described as a groupie, so what was the harm?

The fascination with The Band was bound up in all of these pieces: great music, interesting characters, local kids make good, fun venues, compelling life stories. And at the time, I didn't even know the half of it. Making "friends" with T opened a different window on The Band. T seemed to think that I was interested in F since I did talk to F with no problems. Why don't guys ever get that? If it's easy to talk to the guy then we probably aren't that interested. F was not about practice he was more about ethnographic observation. But, T's faulty assumption led him to tell me any number of stories about F. These stories were designed to discredit F. But, I just took them as more data points.

I had already heard stories about F's crazy ways from folks who knew him back in high school. I already knew he had a propensity for drink. The night T was telling me stories, F himself had already told me he was not drinking because he was "trying to be good." In that same conversation, F divulged that it was S who didn't want him to drink. He quickly caught himself ... but as far as he could go was that he wanted to be good, for S. I tucked this data into my hopper and thought idly that it was never good when someone stopped drinking for someone else.

A friend who is having her own struggles with drink was with me that night. As I heard F carefully pick out the pieces of his story and rearrange them in front of me, I felt like I had accidentally fallen into the middle of an AA meeting. I worried, though, that this was as close to a meeting that F ever got. Worried because I knew that this was a train wreck I was watching -- previously from far away and just then from a lot closer.

It was a busy night. Just ten or fifteen minutes later, T was telling me stories about F pre-S. He would not show up for a gig, and they would find F outside wasted amongst the bushes. This was a different F. "You gotta understand, there was no S last year." It wasn't only F who believed that S was the one keeping F on the straight and narrow. It wasn't only me who was believing that this was unsustainable. T didn't put it that way exactly. It was just the wistful way he talked about the now as though it wasn't quite as real as that past had been. Here they were, second CD release just behind them, gigs two or three nights a week, and adoring crowds, or at least one very enthusiastic groupie amid some committed fans.

...this is getting super long ... so it will have to be continued, here's a view from the train, you can't see the other one coming down the track just yet...

Friday, October 22, 2010


That's a heavy way to start a post, no?

Yesterday, I found out that an old friend who is married to another old friend has decided to live his truth. And living that truth will mean pain, and divorce and new life and a lot of soul searching. At every turn, life will be new for all of them (there is a little boy's life who will also be impacted).

I am a little late to the game ... in part because I have been so frenzied of late that I haven't been opening all my email. The perils of over-committing? Honestly, it seems like all I do is work, so how can I be so over-committed?

Well... sometimes you just need to get things out there, so this was one of those for me.

The word DIVORCE caught my eye ... somehow that wound just doesn't heal. Not to say that I walk around in pain about the divorce. It's not like that at all ... it's just that I think I might always be sensitive about it. Like when I see the married man at the sbucks who is always checking out the other women (even when his wife is right there at his side), or when I hear the woman talking about the separation and feel the pain she is trying to hide.

[***as a side note, seriously, do they not think that at some point their wives will read the text messages? -- I am reminded of the need to write that other post that has been haunting me. I'll get there...]

For as much as I am pained for the loss of this marriage, I am heart-happy for the living of the truth. I can only imagine the pain that will come for the ex-wife as she moves one from this ... the doubts, recriminations, hindsight, etc that always comes with divorce will have an extra layer of torture.

And, in some way, for the other friend, the one who will become the woman who was always inside of his male body, well, there will be euphoria for living truthfully, but there will be a fair amount of wondering why all that came before had to be. S/he is already troubling through this.

How do you avoid the looking back? I suppose if I had done a better job learning the tenets of meditation I would not have to ask that question. That looking back, that constant re-examining of past deeds, the recrimination, that is what most often causes pain. That is self-inflicted torture.

I am sure that the reaching out was done at the suggestion of the therapist. But it heartens me... on many levels.

I remember the isolation I was living in before I decided to get the divorce. It probably didn't have to be that lonely. In fact, I as I am flooded with feeling-memories, I see that one friend who held my hand over the long year it took me to make the decision. Even though we let that "friendship" go places that ultimately have left it in disrepair, I will always be grateful for his tender love through those very painful months. It is so hard to see a friend hurting and not tell them what to do ... to just be there. Once I made a decision, it was ok to let in all the others who would not have held their tongues. And that community, some I had not seen in years, were the greatest support anyone could ask for because making the decision does produce that euphoria. Thank the universe, because the onslaught of emotions is brutal. [Turns out there really was a lot to get out...hell of a trigger that one.]

I don't know how I got to be included in D/M's community. On the one hand, it initially felt like pressure. Lately, I feel like I have so few resources to share. On the other hand, it made me feel like maybe I am not the ogre I make myself out to be in my head. I wonder, though, as we were never really that close before why I got included in the circle. Was it because he imagines from my fb posts that I will get it and not judge? What does s/he know or remember about me from those old days that says I am one who should be included in the fray? Was it really for my other friend because she will need support? I sent them both fb messages of support ... but I have not heard back from the wife who I suspect is more worried about judgment and recriminations than she lets on. I just wanted her to know that when she has a need, there is one more person out here beyond the circle with whom she has to be all the time who will listen and love her no matter what she needs to say. This is the hardest part.

That trip to Tahoe and that tiny hike with the new camera has provided me with many opportunities to illustrate my blog.

This one seems particularly apt. Life is like this ... a lot: running along through the rocks, beautiful, dangerous, requiring you stay on your toes.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


The children, that is the undergraduates who live in my apartment building, are trying at times. But, for the most part, they are harmless.

Yes it bugs me when the cigarette smokes wafts in through my open window, but I could close the window. Besides, I sort of enjoy seeing the girl who always looks like she had a hard night -- crazy black hair all over the place, disheveled look that I imagine is somewhat practiced -- no matter what time of the day I see her hunched over on the porch smoking. I enjoy making up stories about her.

They are festive, too, decorating for Halloween ... somehow even though they cycle through, Halloween seems to be the holiday they most enjoy and they DECORATE! It is almost like living in suburban hell except I know it is the children doing it!

There are more trying times, though, like when they decided to have fireworks shows on the porch every evening for a week.

The last time they did it, last time because I stepped in and let them know it was time to stop ... I merely stepped outside, looked at them (of course with the teacher look), and said, "seriously? are we really going to have a fireworks show again tonight?"

That was enough. They were quickly all pointing fingers at each other. I didn't care ... and gave them a look that said as much. No more words were needed. They figured out that they needed to cut it out. And they did. Or they went to someone else's neighborhood to do the show. Fine with me.

But now, some new children, have installed a ramp in our primary parking area. Right in the middle of it to be exact. SERIOUSLY?! I thought it might go away ... it showed up Saturday sometime between when we returned from the casino and when I took my dad to the bank. We both looked at it incredulously ... and my parents kept asking me, as though I would know, when they were going to move it.

The answer is still, "I don't know," because it is four days later and it is still there. I was sure the traffic enforcement would ticket it .. I guess they can't ... it doesn't have a license plate. But at least I thought they would leave a note telling whomever it belonged to get it the hell out of there.

But, no, instead, I returned home yesterday to see one of the children practicing on it ... with my car parked behind it. A police car rolled by slowly, but not in order to be intimidating, rather they were checking out the child's technique on the skateboard and RAMP.

I kept thinking, "will it be covered if that child skateboards himself onto my car?" Or will it be equivalent to me hitting a defenseless deer in New Jersey? Just another road hazard that I am responsible for avoiding??

Don't really have time to bother with it myself, so I won't be dropping dime, but maybe I should take some photos of it... that might scare them into believing that I am documenting it for some nefarious reason.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


I put my parents on the train that will take them home. I was afraid I would start crying as I said goodbye to them. True, they drove me a little crazy for the past 17 days, but don't they always do that? It's part of their charm and why I love them so much.

To be fully truthful, the tears, had they come, would have been as much for the tremendous pressure and out-of-control I feel about the amount of work I have to do as it would have been for the missing them.

Lately, every time I part from them, I worry what will happen before I see them again. It is truly wasted emotion as I should just appreciate my time with them more while I am with them than worry about what none of us can control. But, as imperfect beings, we often waste our energy on futile efforts to control the world around us.

When I go home tonight, I will be both relieved to have a little time and space to myself, and I will miss them terribly. Not being able to hear them breathe (or snore or chat into the night) from the other room will be hard.

It is both heartening and daunting to watch them together. My dad still treats my mom like a fragile flower despite how much frustration she showers on him. My mom still thinks he is the strongest, most capable man even if she notices how 77 years have slowed him.

Love that endures is a precious thing that I hope I will get to experience some day.

I am ever thankful for the example they have given us our entire lives.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pain and Punishment

This could have been aptly titled "overheard on the patio" but it was not just that.

She was talking on the phone as I settled in. Perhaps that is why I overheard the conversation in the first place. I can't remember now, but it must have been the content that made me really listen in.

Although it might have been the quality of her voice. There was so much pain busting out of the tightly woven frustration, bother and anger.

Maybe it was that. I know anger is just the easiest way to hide pain.

But it was not hidden from me.

It's the first overnight alone.

I didn't want them to have to go to a strange house.

His father

Long disquisition on how he was never a good father before. Why try now? He's (one of her sons) old enough to say he doesn't want to stay. I won't make him go.

Long explanation about why his new place was inappropriate. He should have just gotten an apt not rented a two bedroom house.

Long story about having to go to the house while he (maybe they) was there.

None of my clothes fit me. I have three bags full of clothes that don't fit me. I lost 31 pounds.

Back to long story... Four glasses of wine and she was tipsy. 31 pounds. Need all new clothes.

When they... They'll get a dog. (I could not bring myself to even listen closely to this. So much pain right there below the surface.)

She (later the one who will not be named) ...but the woman on the patio encouraged her friend on the phone to get on fb and look for pictures.

She's 5'9, blonde. She's big. 14-16. She's 35. She's younger, remember...newer...

Her divorce is already final...

(Friend must have tried to divert attention.) Now she's talking about the younger son and his jogathon.

(Right back to the break up...not sure she is really calling it divorce in her own mind.) The dishwasher, the car, dividing assets, money.

Her phone is dying. And then it does. And she leaves.

While she was talking I glanced over. She is still wearing her wedding ring. She is reading a book about children and divorce.

She has decided it is about the kids. She will wrap herself up in motherhood and hold on tight. There is so much righteous anger to hold her there-blameless victim of cruel, bad father/husband/cheat.

She will punish him by fighting with him about the children, by making him the bad father to him, to his kids, to his family, to the world.

I am sure her friends are gently encouraging her not to hold on to this anger. To move on. They don't understand. It is not about this at all.

I don't know her. I am not even moved by her really. But I recognize the pain, viscerally.

I want to reach over and touch her. I want to tell her that she is entitled to all her emotions: rage, sadness, bitterness, humiliation, frustration, feat, self-doubt.

I want to hug her and tell her that she doesn't have to be brave all the time, but she can be if it makes her feel better.

I want to offer to be there and not judge and listen and feel her.

But I don't know her. I just know how it feels.

So I send her some silent metta and hold back my own tears.

I can be brave today too even though I feel powerless.

Location:Historic U.S. 66,Albuquerque,United States

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mild Musings

How has googling changed the way we interact with information? For the better? And for the worse?

No time to properly blog. But I have a few other ideas rumbling around my head.

So, are the firefighters running drills down central? Are they just getting a bunch of crank calls? I an so confused. The past three days the go flying down the street, sometimes gear already on, and the five minutes later no siren, returning to base.

Don't get me wrong, the eye candy is appreciated. I just want to know what is going on!

Location:Historic U.S. 66,Albuquerque,United States

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

I know

the crazy thoughts
that are running
through my head
are not the truth.

it is just the tired
make that exhausted
soul reaching out
begging for sleep
and time
to think and process

time ... will it ever
come back?

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

unsolicited text messages...

I think I am pretty careful who I give out my number to ... afterall, I don't want unsolicited calls or texts. Every once in a while, however, some odd text message comes through ... usually selling something or other for which I have no need or desire.

I don't bother to ask to be taken off the list because it is more trouble than it is worth.

But the other day, I started getting text messages from some number here in Albuquerque. Whoever this is has my number, and is texting... first it said "wats up" I didn't answer but not because I was avoiding the text. I didn't have my phone on me and a few minutes later, there was another text "hello."

So, I actually found those two texts on the phone. It was 10:30ish in the morning ... no idea who would be texting me. I ignored them.

Then a few days later I got some weird text with music and pictures ... it was obviously forwarded on to me and probably a slew of other people. Again I ignored it.

I was, however, mistaken to think that they would just go away.

Another one last night ... again forwarded.

I replied this time asking unknown person to stop forwarding me messages.

The reply?


weird shit ... no idea who that might be.

Monday, October 04, 2010

a treat?

I am sitting here wondering ... have I been good? That is because maybe I am being treated to the entire fire station contingent at sbucks. Perhaps not ... because they are all sitting outside and I am sitting inside, so less gawking opportunities. On the other hand, I do need to get to work.

I am thanking the universe for at least bringing them in and parading them around a bit while I took this little break from reading and writing and fulfilling other commitments.

How did I get roped into doing so many things other than my school work ... oh yeah, and I need to get on those fellowship applications! AH...and work for dollars... can't forget that...and the turtle needs fish. This list in unending, so I will peek again at the firefighters and get back to the to do list.
this picture has nothing to do with the post, but since we were at the Pueblo today, I didn't bother to take my camera ... so I am without photos from the place we were ... Santa Fe is the closest I can get.

Sunday, October 03, 2010


Since my fall and the utter exhaustion after comps, the docs and the physical therapist suggested I take a break from running.

On the one hand it is a bit of a relief since I am feeling more energetic. And I assume I am also healing.

On the other hand I am scheduled to run the half marathon in Malibu in november. So the practice is necessary.

I got back to it last Saturday, almost three weeks after the 10k in Santa Fe. The first day back is always fabulous. Your body is so excited to get right out there. I have gotten three runs in seven days, and only the first one was really good. But my time has not worsened - just have to get the mileage back up in a hurry.

Two threes and a 4.5. Got to get back to six and get up to eight as quickly as possible. While entertaining my parents, working for cash and getting my reading and writing done. Oh yeah applying for funding too.