Twelve Minutes at the Bar


Perfect. I’ll do my ten-minute write here, a place I haven’t visited in a while. The last time I imbibed here–my usual IPA per the bartender’s suggestion–I wrote a piece that my editor thought worthy of publishing. Perhaps inspiration will visit again. 

Swallowing quickly the two offered shot glass sampler selections, surprisingly I choose the Pale Ale. It’s smooth and hoppy, more like an IPA than the IPA the bartender had me try.

I have not been here–a place exactly five minutes walking distance from my house–because I drink beer here, always drink a happy hour beer here, and I have not wanted to anesthetize in beer-land for a couple months or so. But today feels like the day. There is nothing to hide from, just the spirit of the day I nod to in being here.

Tomorrow I will embark on a road trip up to the far up north, another soccer tournament. With three soccer 17-year olds and a commiserating partner in tow, I will head for Davis and watch the road blur by as I gaze out the window and ponder the big and small questions: What did Jack Kerouac do on the road when he wasn’t taking notes for his novel? How many almond trees are actually out there in endless rows? Will I have time to yoga? Will she play well? How did pioneers foot and horse all of this, leagues and leagues of open vistas, dirt, dust and brush?

My eyes welcome open spaces, too often closed in confined spaces of the classroom, bedroom, kitchen, grocery store and local restaurants for a bite. Change of scenery flips the creative thought channels. Floating. Not like a pc drags me through the cyber-sphere.

The ten minute timer went off, but so did my notification buzz for a text message. She got a haircut and lost ten pounds. She looks the same–memory mine. 

Seated at the after thought extension of the bar, maybe the disabled low table, the woman next to me, leaving half her appetizer over, declares to the server, “Close out.” I ignored her while I wrote this but meant to pay her a few words of invitation to conversate. Too late, as ever.  But I’m sure her life bends back way past this moment and my feeble speculations about her momentary needs, wants and reasons to be at this bar. Now I’ll just have to create her story without her.

Ten Minute Tech

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It’s new–all of it: this iPad, the keyboard and my unruffled attitude toward crap out of my control. I’ve spent far too long getting angry. I still dive in too deeply. My rage takes over in the car as if there is no driver–the brain–to put the brakes on, say, “Wait a minute here before you let the profanity spew and boiling temperature rise up and befoul the air.” So when I dropped my device, cracked its screen to smithereens, even broke the keyboard attached in one fell swoop, I became aware that the immediate response differed from the usual alarm, outrage and certain anger that trail out on the path to no one’s advantage.

No doubt I regretted the loss, felt the twinges of its absence. After all, I spend much of my writing life and relaxation on this little wonder of technology. Without it, I would have to re-arrange my life not just a little. Instead of writing wherever I find most comfortable–on my bed propped up with downy pillows, in a new-found coffee shop on the fly, on a browsing bench in a book store–the loss would require my having to sit at my desk at the pc. Not that I don’t already do that. I just like convenience, portability and options.

The iPad mini, most often tucked in my purse, afforded me a notebook to tap out my thoughts as they occurred. Only a writer finds necessity in something so expensive for that purpose. The truth is, however, I hardly write longhand any more. Typing allows my mind to race and my fingers to fly. Though the pen and paper still have their place (nothing like the texture of various writing instruments in hand gliding over paper), I depend on a keyboard for the lion’s share of my writing.

I had to. I buckled up, hunkered down, sucked it up and coughed up the bucks to buy a new Apple IPad Mini 32 gb and Logitech Bluetooth keyboard. What’s not new, decidedly, is my word choice. This ten minute ditty crawls with clichés. Situational irony–sort of. Writing in the new with the way too old and tired (ought to be retired).

Ten to the Power of Beasts Bridging Mountains


July 3rd, 2016
 
I awoke from a dream that made my heart ache in angst of powerful choices and inner strength. I was among a group traveling up a rock mountain, mythical looking in its impenetrable face and impossibility to scale. Our group had come to a standstill, unable to go up, back down or laterally without bridging an un-bridged chasm to the other side where life was brimming inside a sheltered cave, large enough for a bustling crowd inside of it, all looking over at us with a shake in their heads and minds at the fruitlessness of our efforts. They saw us as goners.

But one in our group, a man, I believe, took a running sprint at the opening to maybe jump it, a really, really long shot, but in mid-air morphed into a wolf-bear kind of creature that propelled itself across and on to the other side into the facing mountain cave city. The next member of the group did the same, but the third, an older man, or maybe he seemed older for his lack of confidence, did not look as powerful. His movements were marked by insecurity in taking his leap, and so, he did not change into the beast with powerful haunches to enable him to propel himself like the other two, and he fell…screaming all the way.
 
I was horrified hearing the screaming the whole way down, miles, it seemed. And the scream never underwent the Doppler effect, the fading as he fell away. The intensity and volume did not decrease, and I could not believe that he would scream like that the whole way. I was horrified and wondered morbidly why he did not pass out from fright, knowing his inevitable doom. Why cry out the whole way and not fold into the terror so as to allow it to knock him out? My stomach turned, and I waited for the next one to jump, a woman, and I was so hoping she would change into her spirit animal powerful enough to get her across, her bravery certain and life-saving. 
When I awoke on the edge of the bridge of this dream, half in and half out, I felt the nausea and screams. At the tip of consciousness, I hoped for the powerful woman arising. An arising to these feelings does not inspirit the day, already hacked from too little sleep and a glass of wine the night before.
 
Credit: dreamstime.com

Five Years Ago–Happy Revolutions


Facebook reminds me that I have a memory from five years ago, a picture of my then 12 year old daughter in braids and new-budding body and me, lean and less harried (the intervening five years ran roughshod over my face and spirit), walking a 4th of July 5k that is an annual staple of my town, that and the parade that follows. A rare photo in that my younger daughter awoke early to participate in this event with me. She has seen me run all of her life, even gone with me via stroller or bicycle. Running and soccer predominated over our home all of her life.

Except my daughter, a soccer player since a toddler following in her older sister’s footsteps, literally, has never enjoyed running. In fact, her particular style of soccer reveals a constant strategy to minimize sprints and chases. She outsmarts rather than outruns. So, this particular photo reveals the rare and typical: the two of us in an early morning race–walking. 

I remember this day vividly. She and I raced to the race, having awakened late. By the time we reached the starting line, the race had begun and we raced along in the throngs of sneakered early-morning celebrators. We ran our race before it began, a well-known mistake for one who had run dozens of prior races, short and long. Pacing. We had not paced ourselves, so the photo captures us walking at the three-quarters mark, me with serious intent and recovery written on my expression and she with discovery and rescue broadcast on hers. We were enjoying the moment of breath and notice, me ever deep inside myself and she with wonder of the street lined masses outside.

The friend who took the picture much to my surprise traveled in a group tour with me to the Costa Rican Carribbean rain forest jungle on a yoga retreat. We became waterfall hiking companions as well as yoga classmates on the trip and afterward at the health club we both attended. I did not know he had taken the picture until he posted it on my wall. That memory and all it blankets coupled with a coffee quiet morning foreshadows a lovely 4th. 

Happy, peaceful revolutions to you all.

Coffee-Time-Meditation: Ten For Today (Slow Write, Fast Thoughts)


Coffee with a friend results in too much coffee for the day, making my bones jitter. My usual monkey mind races through the chatter jungles even faster and wilder than usual, turning and grabbing each vine-thought as it drops in sight–rapid fire.  This compared to yesterday’s thirty-minute meditation miracle contrasts like peace and chaos. Amazing how days vary so much, even while seeming the same while we experience them.

The yoga center free meditation session, which I have been meaning to attend for months, turned out deeply pleasant, a nice piggy back to the quality quiet and sitting in the monastery meditation room just two days before. Quiet makes all the difference. And not just any quiet. The infinite soundless quiet, soaked in all the meditations breathed before in unspoken time, en-layers the ease of slipping under the mind. My home has too much rackety noise and pending obligation to set me free.

Finding the depth of solitude to get underneath the mind’s skin needs place and moment. A quest to find just that place piques ticklish wonder. Maybe what we here call the dungeon aka the sound-proof music room/man cave beckons me.

July 1st Ten Minutes of Life – Mad Dad

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July 1, 2016

I overhear my father speaking to my brother on the phone. He laughs as he reports that each time he sees a doctor, security is called. He thinks it’s funny. To me, it’s a reminder of the anger gene I inherited—which is not funny. Overcoming this trait—to anger easily and frequently—comprises my life work. And as I get older, my life’s work becomes more challenging.

My father’s doctors do not need security. My father’s doctors need to know that anger gets the best of him every so often, and he says foolish things, downright scary, violent words accompanied by mad gesticulations and facial expressions. Those who don’t know him well might fear. His last outburst was directed at the receptionist manning his doctor’s phones. She bore the brunt of his crazed-from-pain-and-impatience anger and threats spewed in demonic tones, I’m sure. I was not there.

But when the four police officers on my lawn caught my attention from inside the house, I found that they were cautious, though easily assuaged of their suspicions, that my father, who sat in front of them in a lawn chair in our front yard (detained), was relatively harmless. Neither of us owns a gun, after all.

My father had just ten minutes before told me that he lost patience and insinuated to the receptionist some veiled threat—this within days of the Orlando nightclub shooting. The doctor’s office receptionist and entire staff reacted seriously. When I heard it, I did not. I had heard these idle threats before and his relating them to me as if he had said them. Usually he admits that he felt like threatening out loud but did not. This time he admitted he said it, said something menacing.

No, I cannot say I was entirely surprised when I saw the cops in front of the house. Yes, he is a slouching, skinny 6 foot 3, 82 year old man, who looks older these days due to back pain, cancer surgery and infection recovery. And he rambles incoherently at times, particularly under duress, but he knows how to smooth things over too. The cops detected my exasperation and his beaten down pride, maybe even shame. Certainly embarrassment. So they let him go with a warning that next time…

A week later, his chuckling over the security guard called to his last doctor’s appointment reminds me of the cover up we end up having to do after we lose our cool—he and I both—to others and ourselves.

 

image: maddad/blogspot