Sunday, July 28, 2013


“It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.” ― Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

i was born in 1958. the world was quite different then. my world was different and the larger world i traveled in as well. and yet so many things seem quite similar. as i approach the middle point of my 5 decade walking through this life, i am swirling in an understanding that i enjoy my life on a completely different plateau than i did in the prior decades.

my 50's have afforded me an ease and a laissez-faire which i had not touched prior. i would imagine that without this shift of perspective i would still be lost in the land of high. but my years caused me to become weary, weary of judgement, weary of worry, weary of pretending. of course i still engage with all these things, but maturity has allowed me an exit strategy from caring about the unimportant. in other words- priorities in life have changed drastically.

i tip my hat to the relief i feel because of age. all the while i cringe just a little when i see the extra jowls, the enlarged pores, or the gray hairs. or when i am pushing twice as hard to drop an extra 20 lbs i have managed to acquire during a 9 month dark period from which i am gratefully emerging, there is a tranquility that replaces the panic and fear that used to pervade the background of my mind. instead, i drift towards letting go of worry about the inane and move in the direction of "i'll do what suits me" in direct opposition to the prior decades motto of "do i look good doing this?"

no doubt the crossing of the 55 line will be without pomp and circumstance. my celebrations have become quieter and rather introspective. the journey has at once slowed and sped up. the years go by more rapidly as i experience the nuances in life's revolving chapters-not merely the basics. the older i become, the more i understand how limited my knowledge really is. all this is quite fine as the real gift and the bonus for me is the peace of mind and the ability to rest that has appeared with ripening.

the workplace continues to undergo metamorphosis. my previous supervisor was laid off- i believe his team lead position has been dissolved and there will simply be one team. he hadn't seemed happy since new management moved in at the beginning of this year. i spoke with him briefly after he learned of this decision and tried to assure him that better days would be coming for him. sometimes my life has moved ahead of me and removed me from situations to make room for learning, growth, and fulfillment. i venture to guess that my entire workplace is in one of those patterns now.

i worked 2-16 hour days thursday and friday (between full-time and part time gigs) and have been pooped this weekend, really pooped. but i have caught up on sleep, had my house cleaned, finished laundry, shopped at sprouts, finished the criminal minds marathon, taken naps, and feel rested. it rained most of last night and there is a soft grey blanket of quiet tossed on top of our town. i love days like this- it reminds me of chicago.

also reminding me of chicago is a band of musicians known as durutti column- they weren't from chicago, but i loved them when i lived there. here's a brief paragraph or two from wikipedia..

The Durutti Column are an English post-punk band formed in 1978 in Manchester, England. The band is an ongoing project of guitarist (and occasional pianist) Vini Reilly who is often accompanied by drummer Bruce Mitchell and Keir Stewart (on bass, keyboards and harmonica).

Chris Ott summed up Vini Reilly in 2003: "Friend to Ian Curtis and New Order, a borderline New Age celebrity within European muso circles and the creative force behind much of Morrissey's Viva Hate, Vini Reilly has unleashed untold volumes of music over the last twenty-five years. Delving into modern classical composition with 1984's Without Mercy, his low-key reputation as an independent auteur was cemented with 1989's Vini Reilly, a masterpiece recorded in just twenty days' time after finishing Viva Hate with Morrissey and Stephen Street.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

no sleep till tom tom

the older i get, the more television i watch-this seems a reality i cannot escape. most of this is not memorable. but once in awhile there is a spark of something here or there that catches my eye. the most recent of these is tom wlaschiha whom i ran across on a new tv show called "crossing lines". the lips and eyes are moody, dreamy, and hard to forget. as i inquired more, i realize he has been around a while and has a healthy cinematic resume including another favorite of mine- game of thrones. upon further inspection- his resume expands- delightfully so- see here-

this post is juvenile. it is adolescent. it is asinine. and yet here it is. and i'm coveting it like a box of godivas or chocolate covered cherries. sweet, delicious, and over-rated. but as you might see, it is also a cultural norm- this admiration of the physical that overtakes us now and then. now must be a "then" for me. and i can't wait to see the film made about christopher isherwood for myself. it must also be adapted from the two novels known as " the berlin stories" as was the globally famous "cabaret". 

Friday, July 19, 2013

fragments of time

We've come too far to give up who we are
So let's raise the bar and our cups to the stars

She's up all night 'til the sun
I'm up all night to get some
She's up all night for good fun
I'm up all night to get lucky

the peer recovery support enclave we have begun at my workplace got its first bit of funding today. another clinic on campus that has been running in the black for the last couple of years got a small windfall from a grant we are both on and donated it to our peer program.

this is kind of exciting. it means that we have moved a step further in the direction of authenticity. there can be a bit of reimbursement for the volunteers, some incentives can be offered, and some modifications might be able to be made to the space carved out for the peer resource center.

when i heard this bit of news today, my heart lifted. a sense of progress and validation swirled around me like a scented candle when lit. sensory stimulation has not been a frequent visitor these last few years. working for a large organization has required me to stifle much of my creative urges and learn to develop patience and reserve.

i had lunch with a friend this week at tony's market. had a grilled salmon with mixed greens and vinaigrette. lunch was great, but even better was the chance to talk with him about his life and mine. his youngest son just started kindergarten and has been in trouble since day 3- it made my heart smile- big time.

i got to share with him the unravelling of another truth for me. last summer, my good friend and sponsor was diagnosed with stage iv liver cancer and passed on before the autumn. i hadn't understood what happened to me emotionally until these months later when my life shifted again and i was able to get some perspective. i now understand that i shut down pretty completely just like a storefront in the jewelry district at 5pm. the metal gate rolled down and locked out any chance of getting out or getting in. i became uber frustrated with an organization i was doing volunteer work with. i over-worked for awhile, over volunteered and then over reacted to bad policies and bad behavior and then resigned.i did this quietly and emotionless, but with my borderline-ish drama none-the-less. i became disenchanted with the team i had been situated with at my workplace and i transferred to another team. i didn't make an announcement nor did i communicate my decision to any of  that team. i spent about a grand on 3 holiday parties i helped throw which sent my finances into a turtle's crawl. all of these actions are a direct response to my own emotional distress.

the frustrating part of all this is the lack of insight i had while these scenarios were playing out. the only awareness to which i was connected was the fact that these actions seemed to temporarily make me feel better. i nursed my sadness by withdrawing and turning inward all the while overspending to fill an emptiness i was trying to stave off- just like the little dutch boy with his finger in the hole of a dyke.

luckily, my whole life turned with new leadership at my day gig. suddenly i was asked to participate and be creative in lieu of the dummying down i had been doing for a couple of years. this incentive has jump started my emotional life and as the dead skin of my depression has shaken loose, i have caught of glimpse of where i have just been and it is both elementary and convoluted.

these glimpses of how i really am in the world are truly a bi-product of my daily decisions to not use. to grow up. to walk free. and once in awhile- like this week- i am able to be in touch with this freedom-and i just can't get enough. i guess the more we change- the more we do stay the same.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Linda Ronstadt - You're No Good

linda ronstadt turned 67 this week. this caused me to remember just how much music of hers that has been integrated into my own life. going back to this tune takes me back a completely different time. Those minor chords will always be an integral part of my soundtrack....

Monday, July 15, 2013

Man In The Mirror

Each day, we're given many opportunities to open up or shut down. The most precious opportunity presents itself when we come to the place where we think we can't handle whatever is happening. It's too much. It's gone too far. We feel bad about ourselves. There's no way we can manipulate the situation to make ourselves come out looking good. No matter how hard we try, it just won't work. Basically, life has just nailed us.

It's as if you just looked at yourself in the mirror, and you saw a gorilla. The mirror's there; it's showing "you", and what you see looks bad. You try to angle the mirror so you will look a little better, but no matter what you do, you still look like a gorilla. That's being nailed by life, the place where you have no choice except to embrace what's happening or push it away.

Most of us do not take these situations as teachings. We automatically hate them. We run like crazy. We use all kinds of ways to escape — all addictions stem from this moment when we meet our edge and we just can't stand it. We feel we have to soften it, pad it with something, and we become addicted to whatever it is that seems to ease the pain. In fact, the rampant materialism that we see in the world stems from this moment. There are so many ways that have been dreamt up to entertain us away from the moment, soften its hard edge, deaden it, so we don't have to feel the full impact of the pain that arises when we cannot manipulate the situation to make us come out looking fine.... Pema Chodron

this could be seen as a lazy post. and maybe it is. none-the-less the irony of the lyrics of this song and cory's struggle are hard to let lay. my understanding is that he just got out of rehab in early june. he was working to some degree at taking a look at the man in the mirror. and that is not an easy task. i understand very closely how unaware he probably was of his mortality. no doubt he was too occupied running from his reflection. but i feel very blessed to have encountered some of his strengths. his voice had an effect on my sanity.

thank you.young cory... for living your own life- you made an impact and changed lives. maybe next time the road be more gentle on your soul,

Thursday, July 11, 2013

sometimes a closer look

“In a world where the dead are returning to life, 'trouble' loses much of its meaning. ... Land of the Dead.”
Dennis Hopper

i went to the 1st of 2 trainings on the DSM V which has just been released. it is such a controversial document. in  medical circles the dsm is known as the source of order in the crazy crazy world of mental health and substance use. yet from the eyes of many persons living with medical issues in these areas, the dsm represents the pigeon-holing of their individuality and reduction of a whole person into a diagnosis. the book and its implications are the source of many a controversy. for today's sake, since i work in a hospital environment it is necessary to use the content of the dsm to communicate with other providers, funders, overseers in a systematic and consistent manner. the dsm offers this type of solution.

although there is much to say about the dsm v versus the previous edition and about the dsm's in general, i won't go into that today. suffice it to say that i found the training enlightening and inclusive, as it allowed me some insight into the elusive mental health provider creature which was a rare treat. and honestly (and hopefully) the manner with which i write my notes will be changed as a result of these trainings.
i caught wind of the reality that change is sweeping our institution. every department is to be effected and it is said to be swift and succinct. i am unsettled by the information. not because it is unexpected, but because it is has moved closer to truth. it is a source of continued surprise that i live and work in a culture of change and yet i am just as affected by it in my own life as anyone else might be.

i went to dinner with friends a couple of months ago and saw a picture of myself posted on fb, this sighting caused a shudder to resonate within me as i was forced to wrestle with the largeness of my girth. i knew i had become big, but here was indisputable proof that the growth might be nuclear. i have been doing cardio again 3-4x week for about 5 weeks. there have been some improvements. i have set a goal of 20 lbs- i'm 8 down but have a ways to go. i haven't been at 240 or lower for a couple of years. the weird thing is that i have been depressed since last year and i didn't realize it. my sponsor of 7 years passed from stage 4 liver cancer in just a few months after his diagnosis. this loss led me directly  to feelings of disenchantment after volunteering for an organization last year as well as frustrated with working with a team that felt toxic and  stagnant, (i.e. one was on the internet for hours in the afternoon, one worked the nyt crossword puzzle daily-shouting out the clues hoping for an answer, and a third on personal calls for 1/2 hours on end)  that i numbed myself further. this was such an invisible and silent action that i didn't notice until my work shifted and i once again became truly engaged with what i was doing on a daily basis. so very relieved to be on the upside and very happy to be getting some endorphins flowing again, too.

i was thanked today at work for some efforts and for some changes i have been implementing. i was informed that thanking was the only way it was possible to show gratitude right now, but that it was hoped that this would change soon. gotta say that this felt really really good. especially when hearing the other information about changes.

about 3 years ago i found myself (as is par for the course for someone with bi-polar disorder) having spent my way into 22K debt over a summer. it was a good summer, but certainly not outstanding and more thank likely not worth several thousand and 3 years of way too high payments. but i am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. i have about 8 months left. i will be able to buy new clothes again, shop till i plop, travel a little, and maybe upgrade the kitchen and bath.

i am currently on the 2010 series of criminal minds. i am engaged, enthralled, and affected by the creepiness and the sadistic tales. and it's interesting how my favorite character shifts from year to year. right now i am loving dr. reid- the geek. i have always admired smart guys.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

summer soul session

“We cannot think of being acceptable to others until we have first proven acceptable to ourselves.” 
― Malcolm X

i am just returning from a short hiatus to park county. it was so good to get away. i flew out highway 285 with a coupla friends, got turned around on the gravel road needed to get to the cabin, and arrived about 10p, just as the twilight faded to starlight.
we stayed at the home of my dear friends just past fairplay. and although i say cabin it is really much bigger than that. it has 3 bedrooms, a game room, 2 baths and is on 15 acres. the only real drawback i can think of is that the water has a very odiferous and silty sulphur content which makes showers and tap water really a chore. there were deer, jackalopes, horses, cattle, hawks, and a multitude of other creatures great and small.
we spent the 4th at the salida indendence day festival. salida is a small bohemian art community nestled in farm country just south of buena vista colorado. salida has become one of my favorite tours to entertain friends and visitors. there are sweet galleries and vintage shop, cafes and organic food venues dolloped like fleurettes on a wedding cake. the oh-so small town american celebration was quaint, colloquial, and actually felt refreshing. there were festivities, rafts, paddleboats and canoes along the arkansas river which flows along a mountain shoulder. cherry ginger basil lemonade, kids on bikes and with balloons, vets, and pets on leashes all intermingled with the usual suspects to create a sense of patriotism and summer fun. and that fun permeated our adventure.

my friend tommie and i were taking a walk on the ranches on the evening of the 4th. its a gravel road and there were wildflowers everywhere- orange, purple, yellow and white. the ranch parcels are seated just north of 285 and are delineated into sections of 18-36 acres. as we meandered along the gravel road, we were yakking about some things we hadn't discussed much recently. she got married in november and although we have seen each other at birthdays and holidays, we haven't had the time or opportunity to just share our thoughts about what's been and what's next so we were taking this chance to fill this space.  tommie had stopped (as she often does) to make a point when we heard the distinctive lawn-mowerish hum of a dirt bike coming up from behind us on the path. we scooched over and the driver came to a complete stop to my direct left, parked his feet onto the gravel, turned off the engine, turned me and stuck out his hand saying "i'm john meyer" with sunglasses in place and a lonely spooky smile. i shook his hand and mentioned that we were friends of his neighbors which he followed with a smarmy and additionally chilling "i'm so glad you came. would you like to feed the llamas?" i looked to tommie hoping she would pass, but since she is an animal rights activist i didn't really have to wonder if her next words would include yes. as seemed to be his fairly greasy way, he offered us two options- to ride on the buggy or to walk to his property and meet him with the nutritional concoction he used for his 4 furry creatures. 
as we entered the meyers property, the llamas - especially the brown one became extremely territorial, coming to the edge of their fence to see just who the hell we were -even looking at us with a mistrustful and "go ahead- make my day" look in their eyes. we trekked beyond the llama pen  along a drive which curved around through the middle of two large aspen groves with an additional curve up to his house on the right. the 4 wheeler parked next to the house like it hadn't been running in days. there was a 5 ft.american flag hanging from the 2nd floor balcony, and a trailer and a fishing boat were parked up behind the driveway. it was very much like a scene from chainsaw massacre.. we knocked on the door twice and there was nary an answer. as we were now completely spooked, we headed back down the drive to get out to the main gravel road with a quick stop to chat quickly to the over alert llamas. we headed back to our cabin and had dinner which i made in the city and brought down- roasted salmon with cucumber dill, jicama confetti salad, quinoa and black bean salad, and a lemon frosted yellow cake (the last 2 purchased not made).  i have to admit here that i woke up several times that night with the worry of slasher dreams- probably a result of the "criminal minds" marathon i had been enjoying earlier in the week. the tales of john meyer began on the 4th of july. they have already been told several times, been embellished, tailored, quoted, and compared. it has been suggested that john is a relative of michael meyers.

the 36 hours in the high country seemed to add a few months to my life. i got back to denver with ready to have a couple more days away from work. the real estate on the front side of our units has become one of my therapy projects. i clipped and watered and mulched quite a bit last night when the heat of the sun had flown.