Wednesday, January 28, 2015

change in fishing

I am feeling a bit overwhelmed, although I am keeping up my exercise (I have fished in my new hip waders three times and though I got no fish, I enjoyed it a lot), keeping up with the house stuff, keeping up with my piano playing, and keeping up with my 4 classes. Once I get done with Emerson I think I will feel better. He is so all over the place that he is difficult to teach. I e-mailed Claire today and I hope to hear from her soon. I’m sure she is real busy with 4 classes and the move coming up.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

second week of classes about to start

It is Sunday evening and I had a lovely day hiking in the morning, then playing golf, riding my bike and then fishing the new by Greenhill apartments (no fish but my new hip waders are now fixed and not leaking). I also put all the insulation up in the crawl space, something I wasn’t looking forward to because of my bad knees, but it was hard but reasonable. I watched Duke win for Coach K’s 1000th victory and that was fun, a come from behind win over St. John’s. I have almost all my papers graded and most of my reading done so I should be in good shape for tomorrow as week two starts. Marina called and I left her a message to call me over the weekend but I haven’t heard from you. If she doesn’t call, that’s okay with me. It is going to be awhile before I get my AXA loan done, but that is just how it will have to go. It is better to take out a loan than to take out the money or I will be taxed pretty heavily. Cathy is feeling a little better but she still isn’t fine and that is a worry. I hope she feels better soon.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

almost classtime

It is almost time for classes to start and I think I am in pretty good shape. I have revised my outlines and rules to make them clearer and more detailed and I have changed over to the new assessment outcomes in 200. I had a lovely day, a fine walk, then some cleaning up at the cabin, then watching Duke beat up on Louisville, heading in to play golf (46 from the red), then a bike ride and a half hour nap. I am in my office now and I am still working on cleaning up my computer files and I have made some good progress. Amazingly, I have slept the last three nights in a row, and not eating anything after dinner may have contributed. My weight is still 218 but my goal by the end of January is 216 and I think that is possible. I haven’t heard from Gyorgyi but I assume she is still doing well. Cathy is still sick and I am worried about her. She has been to various doctors but no one can really find out what’s wrong. My finances aren’t very good but if I am careful for at least the next year, I should be okay.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

back in the hollow

I spent a good day in the hollow today, Tuesday, after returning from Wild Dunes yesterday because of the lousy weather. I woke with little energy but after a little work on the computer and a quick nap, I felt better and went for a hike to the orchard. On my return, I did my bike riding and my weights and yoga. I also played my piano and felt very good about that. I am not sure if I should continue piano or go back to my sax (for now my mouth still hurts from the bridge so it is no choice). Claire contacted me and I am going to have dinner with her tomorrow. I am including a couple of things I wrote recently. I don’t think I will send either out but they do reflect my mindset pretty well right now. Gloria called again and I hope to talk to her later. I haven’t heard from Gyorgyi so I assume she is too busy to get together. I did talk to Gloria yesterday but she seemed pretty distant, too bad for her. I had a very nice dinner with Claire at Bull and Bones and we both had a lot to share. We also went for a walk on the Tech campus and that was fun. Now we are all Charlie and the 12 are heroes, martyrs to the cause of freedom of expression. I honor their right to make fun of Mohammed, to satirize anything, Putin, Obama, Jews, Christians, you name it, it’s fair game. But I have no desire to make fun of Mohammed. Or Jews. Or Native Americans. Or African Americans. I think there was a time to make fun of feminists, pot smokers, and always white men. But with the increasingly difficult access to abortion (mainly pushed by white men), I’ll leave the feminists alone. And with the easing of the marijuana laws, pot smoking has lost its panache as serious material for satire. I think Obama is a smart man who cares about the American people but who makes a lot of bad decisions and is certainly no great leader. Putin is a thug particularly in the Ukraine but I don’t find that the basis for a lot of belly laughs. You can try to satirize Isis and Al Queda in Yemen but I don’t find a lot to chuckle at about those groups. Both groups are murderous zealots and they often recruit those who have lost their way. Is this the stuff for humor? So the question is, what is really left to make fun of that won’t cause someone to get upset. I have one friend that almost all my humor is directed at, mainly because she finds my material very entertaining and she knows I have the deepest respect for her. Outside of her, I have several friends with little sense of humor—or at least my kind of humor—or lives that involve too much suffering, never a great situation for poking fun at. I make fun of myself all the time, and that almost always gets laughs from my friends, although I still haven’t been very successful with using my cancer experience of six years ago. In my humorous essays for WVTF (sadly, that medium is much more limited right now) I have made fun of chocolate, concrete, the bird flu scare, giant pumpkin growers, bear fences and other fairly innocuous things. I like quirky things and usually no one’s feelings get hurt. Does that mean I lack courage and commitment like the fallen 12? I don’t think so. I have acted with some courage at points, several times helping women being harassed by men and on occasion rescuing people in trouble on rivers. And I do think I have commitment, witnessed by my 30 plus years as an environmental activist (with several arrests for my activities). It is just that many things seem off limits to me. I just don’t get making fun of the Prophet Mohammed (and I understand that it is more satirizing Muslim extremism that the Prophet himself). Bill Maher recently said that all religions are “stupid and dangerous,” and I understand that religious beliefs have provoked some of the worst wars and the worst behaviors. I don’t buy any of the organized ones—I do spent a lot of time in nature and I pray to a special white pine in my hollow—but I don’t have a problem with other people worshipping “God” in their own fashion. Perhaps Maher is right that “there are no great religions,” but I don’t want to make fun of those who get comfort from their religious beliefs. It is a tricky world that we now inhabit and I am not sure exactly how far freedom of expression should go. Do you remember love? All the intricate trappings, The bouquets and poems, The first kisses and the meeting of tongues, And the words, like fine weapons in a fray Both expected to win. The hurried removal of shirts and blouses, Shoes and pants and skirts, the smooth flesh, Mouths insistent and guided by a solitary candle, Capturing nipples and erections, The wet humming and the entrance, The pulsing thrusts, again and again, Moans and more movements And orgasm and ejaculation, And collapse and tender intertwined fingers And often awakening in the night For the needed more. But now there are only yellowed memories, For the cancer surgery did not emasculate completely but only diminished severely and now each thrust brought pain from the stitched scars within. And the rare climax was not so much a release But a cautious victory, still a man Or enough of a man to couple If your hands worked hard enough, Or you brought your mouth to bear. That was not love, I thought, Just obligation, and I thought of my betrayals And how my body was now sentencing me, And when you decided to leave I couldn’t hate you for it Since so much of the distance Was how far I pushed you away, And I sleep alone, Not actually expected, But a just situation, Not a prison, But close enough.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

wild dunes and reflection

My visit to Charleston started well and I got to Wild Dunes around 12:00, checked in the 513 in the Broadway Inn, got on my bike and rode for 50 minutes along the two golf courses and the various ponds and past the marina. After that I wasn’t feeling that tired so I went to play golf right away and the wind was pretty stiff but I played okay, shooting a 46 and a 49 (ending with two awful 7s, one on a short par 4 that I hit two poor shots on. After that I went for a nap and when I got up I walked out to the beach and was ready for the first playoff game between Baltimore and New England, which turned into a great game. After the first half I drove in to P.F. Chang’s for a dinner of Hot and Sour soup, steamed shrimp dumplings and a mix of broccoli and eggplant with no rice. After the game I walked around the shopping center, checked out the movie schedule at the Palmetto Grande, and bought a museum book to cut up for my poetry class. On my return I watched some of the second game (Seattle versus Carolina) but it wasn’t very good and I went out to sit by the pools and listen to the ocean and look at the very bright stars. I was helped by a star map to find Rigel and Betelgeuse, along with Sirius, and I spotted Auriga, the Pleiades, Taurus and Orion on my own. On returning I checked the weather for the next few days and found out the bad news that it was going to rain for the next three days and then it would rain again on the fifth day. No sun predicted until Friday, the day I planned to leave. I called the operator and she said that if I wanted I could leave tomorrow morning but to notify them by 10. I could not sleep with my weather worries so I had to take an over the counter sleeping pill which eventually worked. When I awoke at 8, the sky was overcast but no rain so I quickly made a cup of coffee and headed out for a 50 minute bike ride. When I got back, I dropped off to sleep for a few minutes, then decided to walk the beach until it was time to head into Charleston so I might get a bit of the town even if it did start raining. When I got in there was still no rain so I parked and walked for 40 minutes before stopping at the South End Brewery for a late lunch and the first football game, Dallas versus Green Bay, which I hope will be a great battle. The game is still in the first half, tied 7 to 7, and I am feeling pretty good about the weather which is clearing and partly sunny. I am glad I stayed and I will decide tomorrow morning if I want to leave. It would make sense to stay until Wednesday morning and play golf with Marv and Joyce. We’ll see how the weather holds out. Overall, my life is productive and comfortable, but I am dissatisfied at points. I am not doing much writing, and though the return to playing piano was rewarding, it isn’t the thing to bring me that much satisfaction. I will return to playing my sax now that my bridge in finally in. I have been out in the hollow for over three years and if my goal was rebirth then I haven’t come close to success. Still no visionary moments though I am very content with living in the hollow as long as I can. Perhaps after I retire volunteer work will help me feel better. I do give a lot to charities and I have been generous to many people so I guess that counts. I haven’t heard from Gloria even though I called her about 5 days ago. I think she is still recovering from the things I mentioned about her visit. I hope she comes to terms with my comments because she did act poorly at points.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Dental Nightmare but my Vacation still begins

I am finally on my vacation and sitting in the Barnes and Noble in Birkdale Village. I put my CRN numbers on my outlines and I think they are all done. I had a decent morning getting ready to head to the dentist at 12:10 and I got the batteries fully charged, the house in good shape and my truck loaded. It was 7 degrees when I first went out and that was more than unpleasant. Luckily, the windstorm last night didn’t knock down any trees and despite worrying about it, I slept through the night, the first time in many days. I did go to bed after midnight so that might have helped. When I got to the dentist, after stopping at Panera for coffee, it was a different story. I got there 15 minutes early after checking to see if I could come in earlier but was told that being early might not matter. It certainly didn’t matter and I had to wait 45 minutes past 12:10 before I got in. I talked to the receptionist, who was no help, and she told me to talk to the office manager, who was no help and when I said that after the two foulups (and I mentioned that this delay was going to force me into heavy traffic near Charlotte) something should be done to compensate me but she said all that is up to Dr. Schnecker. She thought I should talk to him but arguing with him would just delay me further so when I was finally called in, I was cold as ice and only spoke as needed. I finally left there around 1:45, at least 35 minutes later than I wanted and I drove straight to Huntersville with a one minute rest stop break. Luckily, there was no really bad traffic and I got to the Quality Inn in time to ride my bike for 45 minutes and then go eat an omelette (craving eggs all day after Panera had finished serving breakfast) with a side of fruit. Then it was back to the room for a nap and then off to the Northlake Mall for a 40 minute walk, then back to Huntersville and coffee and dessert at Barnes and Noble.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

About to head for Charleston

I am in my office after a decent day. I took a hike in the morning though it was about freezing, then I finished up attaching the water bottle holder to my bike, charged the batteries a little, did my yoga and weights, practiced some piano (my hands are remembering things) and then headed off to play golf. I almost gave up after three holes but I finished playing, shooting a 50 with a lousy last hole. I then went to eat some veggie stuff at Nagoya, then a long nap and my Lumosity training. I will try to walk at the mall at 8:00 unless Rob calls. He is supposed to meet with Fay and Noah and I hope that isn’t too unpleasant. I will try to do some stationary biking later tonight. My final bridge should be put in on Thursday and then it is off to Charlotte, Columbia, then Charleston for 10 days of needed warmth. I replaced all the pillows in my office, my truck and my house and bought allergy covers for them all. Some of those pillows were criminal. I did my finances again, and I should be able to retire in 5 or 6 semesters, but I have to be careful for the next few years, with no major gifts. I will have to dig into my 403B in February or March just to pay my bills. I do hope that I can stay in the hollow until I am 70. That would be pretty easy to handle financially.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Clyde's funeral

Today was the funeral of Clyde Sisson and I was very moved by the number of people who showed up and the tributes to him. He was brilliant, caring, generous, witty and unique. It was a privilege to meet him and spend some time with him. At the viewing there had to be close to a thousand people and at the service there were hundreds. His coffin, out of many kinds of wood, had a funeral box with a cover with photos of Clyde, the steam shovel, and the farms. It was very well done. The post-funeral reception filled the Johns Farm farmhouse and the food was very good. I am almost done with my outlines and rules and that will be a relief. I am also trying to get my remade bridge done either on Wednesday or after I return from Charleston. That will allow me to leave just when the really cold spell hits. I did write to Michael at NPS about Stakely not responding but I haven’t heard back. Today won’t be an outside day but I will get a walk in the mall in about an hour and then I hope to ride my stationary bike when I return home and also do my weights and yoga.