Sunday, July 31, 2011

the boys are back after a long week away with their grandparents. i'll take their squabbling over silence any day.

Saturday, July 30, 2011


It is hard to be troubled when you are cool and weightless and nearly in silence.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Today it was my birthday. My lady bought balloons, and leis, and we went to the aquarium and watched jellyfish undulating in purple lights, and an ancient sea turtle pressed his face up against the glass to look at me and say "39, you call that old?" We had take-out Vietnamese food and my favorite dessert, ice cream "log" cake, and my mom got me something special.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

my lady took me out for steak tonight and i am in meat heaven.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tattoo Improvement Project

As I explained, my grandmother used to take me to the Metropolitan Museum where I'd spend hours staring at the Egyptian artifacts. So when I found myself sober on my 21st birthday, and decided to get a tattoo instead of getting drunk, I chose an Ankh. I drew it on a piece of paper and the tattoo artist* reproduced it.

I like bats and spooks and gothic ornamentation, hence the adornments. Now, I want to do something with it. I'm open to anything. 

Because of the size, shape and color of the tattoo, enhancing or redoing it is a real puzzle. I hope a tattoo artist will be interested in this challenge. I'm giving him or her free creative rights. Meanwhile, here are some scraps of things I pulled together just for background.

The Art of Voodoo

It's cartoony and morbid and it mixes together religious iconography from different traditions. Maybe some of the ornamentation, or the mosaic texture of those handmade banners, would fit. The first one is my favorite. It reminds me of a Tim Burton illustration.


Tim Burton is my favorite illustrator. His stuff looks like the inside of my head when I was growing up.

I love the patterns in this second one. Could some tattered loops of cloth and deathly squiggles surround my original, crude design?

Adding a background

I've always loved the pattern behind this traditional Virgin of Guadalupe.
Like voodoo, in fact, this particular legend superimposes Mary over some traditional pagan beliefs. I believe the spirit is supposed to have appeared on what turns out to be an ancient, Pre-Christian ritual ground. Check this out, too. More voodoo:

Make it a band?

Adding wings, or a band, or something to bring the image around my arm was an idea. I don't necessarily like these particular images, but I was looking for ideas.


This dude has a similar tattoo. It looks like his is filled in with some kind of pattern. Too bad I didn't think of that.

(Also, another piece of background, I am studying to be an acupuncturist and I'm generally very into anything Chinese or Buddhist. I didn't include any related pictures above).

...Ideas? My birthday is next week. E has promised me a new tattoo every year for life.

*This was back on Long Island where I grew up. I was nervous, so I talked a lot, and the artist didn't say anything back. Finally he apologized and told me his, "best friend got killed in a motorcycle accident last night, and [he was] really pissed off about it," he said, as he pressed a hot bloody needle into my tender skin. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Meredith saw me using the "I heart Chad" keychain and said she wanted it back. But Merry, I said, you gave it to me as a present. But I was just joking! She said.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lost in the weeds.

the last thing i want to do is write right now but i feel i should document the stupidity of this day.

this morning when i left to go run i couldn't find my keys so i grabbed the spare (the one on the sandal-shaped keychain Merry gave me last year which says "I heart Chad"). when i got in the car, i saw i'd left the keys sitting on the floor with the door unlocked all night. the car wasn't stolen. that was a freebie. it got broken into only two weeks ago.

i drove to the nature center and when i got there, tucked my spare key under the passenger seat. i thought, "i better remember to take that out of there. it would suck locking my only spare in the car." i started running.

i have three or four places i hide my keys when i run. in a hollow stump, the crotch of a tree, under a log, are a few of my habitual places. today i decided to try a new place. i always get suspicious that other morning walkers and runners are watching to see where I hide them. so i rotate. like the changing passwords on a bank vault. because everybody wants my filthy toyota scion with the rear latch hanging off the back and the banged up hubcaps.

i jogged into the picnic area, around to the left of the garbage can, and put them down next to my sunglasses, both slightly covered by some brush.

i had a good run.

when i got back i couldn't find my keys. at first i didn't panic, i'm used to this after all. (i won't bother to link to it because i'm tired but i wrote another post recently about getting lost in a parking garage(s)). but after a few minutes the panic did begin. elizabeth's brother and sister-in-law were back at the house with the kids, and i said i'd be back by 7:45. it was now 8. 

the kids have a summer camp they've been going to while i have to work and i was supposed to take them there at 8. then go to school for a two-hour class. then drive to my job, where i was supposed to be at 1. because i have a very hands-on type of manager with high expectations, because i'm part time and my hours are scrutinized, and also because i feel like i've been fucking up a lot lately, which i seem to instigate simply by breathing, i was panicking about having to call in sick because i lost my fucking keys.

i'm ripping up the brush, pulling out dead limbs and dragging my nails in the dirt. the keys should be right here. or here. or maybe it was here.

i start my version of weeping. i fall on my knees. please, please, where are my keys? in between the keening groans of a hollowed out fool of a man i note that this was a stupid rhyme. finally i realize i just have to give up. i debate running home, but that would take me 15 minutes and only if i ran very fast. i try calling elizabeth four times to see if she has her brother's cell #. she doesn't pick up, but i know she doesn't have the number anyway.

i saw a nice older man and asked him with some shame if he would give me a ride. he did. very nice man. turns out he walks there every morning. named mike. 

stephanie, elizabeth's sister-in-law, drove me back to the nature trail and spent 20 minutes with me poking around in the brush. she was so thorough and careful and concerned about it. i owe her. another jogger stopped over and tried to help.

finally i said we should give up again. stephanie drove me home, then drove me and the kids to their camp. i walked two blocks to a coffee shop and worked for two hours. in between i called the car dealership and a locksmith. both didn't seem like great options for time or $. (i wanted the car for tomorrow. i'm taking the day to hang out with the kids). finally i called my ex. could she take ambrose to soccer tonight? i lost my keys. turns out, she still had a set.

so i have keys and everything worked out. i had to skip my class, which i hate to do, but it let me get three more hours' work done which means more $. more importantly it means i've taken one level out of the huge, unwieldy to-do list of work tasks stacking up in my head. the height of which has been keeping me up at night with churning guts.

my arms hurt. they are covered with scratches. oh yeah, on the bus ride home i saw a clown arguing with a street preacher downtown.

broken windows, lost keys, i keep chanting this zen koan to myself: what's good and what's bad? what's good and what's bad? what's good and what's bad? the answer is everything.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

at least there's this

i was trashing our local art museum, but it does have this

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

i want my moma

other cities try to have museums but usually end up with shit like this

Monday, July 18, 2011

big debate tonight over whether you'd choose only salty, or only sweet, for the rest of your life, if the devil put a gun to your head and made you pick one. easier choice for her (salty) than for me. life without either is a living hell indeed. which is why i choose peanut butter sundae topping. it is truly the middle way.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

jesus MIGHT be returning

there were about 10 people in church clothes carrying signs and waving them at cars from the side of Nicollet Avenue; a cop car drove alongside slowly with its lights on; but the signs were all in Spanish and the only word I could make out was "jesus." could've said anything, like "jesus it's hot today," because it was. hot as hell.

Friday, July 15, 2011

here are some good things about my new job:

it is part-time
it is only four months long
it is performed in exchange for some money
some of the work may be done from home
taxes are taken out, which is painful, but it stops me from spending it all
there are some nice people there
it's good to work with people after being solo for a few years
there are opportunities for me to help innovate new things, there's an audience for ideas
it's fun taking the bus
it's incredibly motherfucking busy, so the time goes fast
because of that you feel, if not useful, at least not use-less
it will help me take criticism better, a weak point of mine, because i doubt i can avoid it there
someday soon i will meet someone else who has a stressful job, and i will get it
it's going to push me to practice the techniques I've been playing around for years, techniques to stay balanced and calm, because this environment is what they're for.

listing these things first, and leaving others out, is part of a lifelong struggle to start with the positives.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

a bodhisattva is a soul that has achieved enlightenment. it doesn't have to come back and slog around in the mud of human suffering anymore, but it decides to return anyway. stupid decision for such a wise being.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"Out the window with the window!"
-Gregory Corso

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Horrible Bosses was funny if you're wondering.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Tonight watched butch cassidy with my sundance kid

Friday, July 08, 2011

I've been clean/sober since 2000 AD. I plan to be so for ever, although it really is a one-day-a-time sort of venture. That said, just once in a while, it would be nice if someone allowed me to completely wipe out my mind on a Friday evening. I'm so tired of my own thoughts.

Running the trail each morning, stopping to do some martial arts on the footbridge over the lake (if nobody's looking), seeing a blue heron, seeing mother ducks with their kids, being surprised by a deer or a turtle laying eggs on the path, breathing and moving, this all helps. In fact, besides from evenings, when I get to be with my lady and the kids, this is the most real time of my day.

Then I have to leave and spend the day in what feels like a completely anxious and unnatural state, stuck in a cubicle or in front of a hot machine typing. I started wondering a while ago what other kind of work I could do. Work that feels real and relevant and useful, to occupy the middle of the day not with pushing pieces of paper around on a desk until I am done. That's why I went back to school for something like acupuncture.

I'm meeting today with somebody who might have a lead. Possibly doing Tui Na treatments in a space at a medical office. I hope it works out. Lately I am having such a hard time with my current job. Constant anxiety over getting fired, and constant anxiety about how little I am making after taxes are taking out (I'm beginning to identify with the Republicans). I'm just being honest: mental agony.

So back to the other thought, I'm hoping to whack my mind out in a safe way for a couple of hours this weekend, as well as take a long, fucking, run. I'd run away, but I do have some good things to return to, things worth sticking around for.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Today: Let's just let it slip quietly away without comment.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

So I'm getting my window fixed, no problems with the insurance company. I hate when people say "it's all good" but it basically is.

All except for the stolen GPS. Remember this whimsical little tale about two TomTom's who fall in love? Several people on Facebook unwittingly wrote a sequel in response to my bitching about the theft. They suggested maybe the stolen GPS would lead the thief in the wrong direction, or to another bad neighborhood, or even to the police.

People are funny. They make up for all the assholes who steal things.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011


Couple weeks ago I called my insurance agent. I never talk to him but once every couple years; I called this time to have him cancel auto-payments from my checking account. They keep coming out at bad times and I saw a bad time coming. It was too late so I had to put a stop payment in through my bank.

The next day I drove into a highway barrier and smashed my windshield. No other damage to me or the car, don't worry. But I was a bit nervous having cancelled the insurance payment and then suddenly having an accident. It was fine, they fixed it.

Then this afternoon I get off the bus and walk a block to the place I leave my car during the day. Busy street, a lot of foot traffic, I'm sure a lot of cops. And yet somebody smashed the passenger window and stole my GPS. And this time the insurance company is going to be suspicious. Is this guy breaking his own windows?

I dont know if I should tell them. Anyway, what the fuck, right? Two windows two weeks?

Monday, July 04, 2011

What are we going to do today? We're without kids until sometime later. The gun range is open, adventure golf at the mall of america is only $8. There's a July 4 special at the underwater aquarium and the zoo is a possibility. tonight we're going to our town fireworks display which is always really good. the boys will be back; sitting there in the buggy dark watching the lights burst and fall has always been a tradition that seems to fuse the family around the simplicity of basic human wonder. we'll see...

Sunday, July 03, 2011

we went to see this movie for the second time tonight. i really wish there were longer clips available.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Today we went to a neighborhood carnival, played mini golf, grilled hot dogs and then shot off some fireworks. You should see Merry's mini golfing style.

Friday, July 01, 2011

The kids are away this weekend with their mother. I keep thinking something's missing and when I realize it's them, for a second I can't quite catch my breath. It's been a couple years now but it still feels new, the microfamily of three we have become on our own. We helped each other through it, and sometimes, I just want those goofy bastards all to myself.