Thursday, May 28, 2015

Pour les oiseaux

So, as I've mentioned before, birds are sort of my lucky charm, harbingers of good, messengers of hope...

This dates back to when I was 18.  I saw a bluebird the morning of a big test and my senior prom.  Both went well.  And I didn't see bluebirds all that often, so in my malleable mind, I put two and two together.

Since that time, seeing bluebirds for me is a sign that something good is coming.  Whether that's fair or true or grounded in reality matters not.  Bluebirds of happiness are my thing.

Shortly after a tornado took the porch off the front of our mountain house, I was driving down to check it out, and I saw a red-winged blackbird, that made me think... everything is going to be OK.  I saw another one in Pennsylvania last year after Dad died, when I was in a bad place - and I remember thinking, OK, it's OK.  Remember that - we'll get back to it.

If you're a long term reader of my blog, you know my story about cedar waxwings and using birds in a superstitious pre-work ritual.  And if you're not a long time reader, I've helpfully linked them for you.

So, anyway...

I've had kind of a shit week in Bumscratch, OH.  Just a ton of hassle, and not a lot of juice for the squeeze.  Haven't slept all that well, and I'm just... off.  At some point, maybe I'll explain.

And today, I was driving from Bumscratch to Columbus.  Because although I wasn't going to get the last flight out, it makes more sense to me to wake up at 6AM and basically be at the airport for my 7AM flight, rather than stick around Bumscratch and get up at 4AM to make the drive to Columbus.  I'm smart like that.

 Anyway.  There is no really great way to get here from there - it's way, way off any path - beaten or unbeaten.  So I'm driving down this farm road and I start seeing all these red-winged blackbirds.  Now, it's a sign, sure.  But it's also simple biology - marshy area, lots of reedy plants - they were made for that environment!

Pssst - it's OK, it's going to be OK

But hey - I'll take it.

And then it gets weirder...

I park at my hotel, and I'm sitting there for a minute just kind of screwing around on my phone and I see something out of the corner of my eye land on the windshield.

One of these guys.

It's a mourning dove.  So think about that.  Dove for peace, mourning for... whatever.

There was a message that someone, something, somewhere needed me to know.  Not a clear message, but a message.  And I'll take what I can get.

Tomorrow, I get home.  And I'll be there for a few days, then back on the road again.

Next stop, Middleofnowhere, Washington.

And new birds.


Monday, May 25, 2015


So, I went to a wedding and a party this weekend.  I did a lot more than that, including drive 734 miles  - give or take a few.

I had a good time at the various shindigs, and I'm glad to be done with the bulk of driving that I'll have to do for the week.  I have a work trip tomorrow, and I'm flying.  Because there is no way in hell I'll drive from Nashville to Ohio.  Unless we're talking Cincinnati, and I'm not.

I'm tired.  We left Atlanta early today, and I came home and napped for four hours.  It make have been the best part of my weekend.

Matt's processing all the pictures and I'm quickly realizing that I don't like the way I look.  I'm not hideous, just heavy.  I've definitely been eating my feelings.  With butter.  And salt.

So, I either need to make peace with this look, and the fact that my joints hurt at the young age of 40... or I can do something.

Sigh.  I guess I need to do something.

Something other than a four hour nap.

Although, the nap was clutch and I stand by it.

This was the cake, by the way:

Strawberry, with buttercream icing.  Freak yeah!


Thursday, May 21, 2015

I assume his name was... Buck?

Occasionally, I read something on the interwebs that I feel compelled to share.

This is that something.

So, Charlotte Airport - US Airways gate.  That's my least favorite city, least favorite airline - and so that's a double whammy.

Anyway, there's a flight headed to Jamaica, and they announce it's overbooked, and apparently, that means that this one passenger in particular will not be getting on the flight.

And he loses it.  In a big, big way.

He strips naked.

According to the article, he's there in the terminal, in the altogether for about an hour.

AN HOUR.  Just standing around naked. 

Finally, security gets him out of there, but not before a number of people get cell pictures.

And I'm not going to lie, if I'd been there, I would have totally gotten pictures.

Obviously, I'd have cleaned that smudge off the center of my lens.

They determined that the passenger had stopped taking some meds and was having an episode. 

That aside, I think he's kind of amazing.  It's a clear message to the US Airways people, it's essentially non-violent.  We can clearly see he's not concealing a weapon.  He might be sporting wood, but realistically, that's harmless - unless it discharges, and then it's biological warfare, but still...

I think it's just beautiful.  And who among us hasn't gotten so frustrated with air travel that we wanted to send a special "fuck you" to the airline people?

This guy nailed it.  So, Buck, wherever you are, get back on your meds, take a deep breath and get thee to Jamaica.  Have a few Red Stripe and a nice dip in the Caribbean, and thanks.  From me to you.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Assorted Creams and Caramels

Confidential to the neighborhood kids:  Please stop doing stupid things in an attempt to use our yard as a cut-through.  I would hate to have to go have a talk with your mother, but I'm willing to put aside my innate hatred of confrontation if it means you not breaking your neck on my property.

I don't much care for Ohio, and and of itself, but Columbus has the benefit of being home to Schmidt's.  Home of the Half Pound Cream Puff.  I brought two of them to the office last week, and brought home sausage for us.  I beer braised it last night, and it was quite delicious.  That said, I should have done red cabbage - I prefer it to kraut.  But, the sausage?  Perfection.  I'm going back to the area in a week, but I probably won't encore it.  Nobody needs that much sausage.

To be equally fair, nobody needs that much Ohio.  My next two stops thereafter are Oklahoma and Washington. 

I'm starting to feel a little panicky because July 4th will be here in no time, and I have a lot to do between now and then.

See also: August 20th. My 10th Wedding Anniversary.

And I also need to start planning the Annual Family Baseball gathering...

And, and, and, and...

This weekend, a wedding.  And a party.

And then travel, and travel, and travel, and...

OK.  I'm fine.

Oh - here's something interesting - This American Life this week was titled "The Birds and the Bees" and covered all the difficult talks parents have with their kids.  Kamau Bell talked about discussing racism with his kids.  And the last segment was about a place in Salt Lake City where children can go to grieve:

They have a space called The Volcano - completely padded and filled with yoga balls where kids can get angry and throw things and just let it out.

I strongly, strongly recommend listening to the segment:

I now want to send these people a fat check.  So much of what they said about how kids grieve really resonated with me.  There was a girl, about nine years old, who talked about how she didn't feel like she could let her feelings out, and how it physically hurt.  The interviewer asked what she meant and I thought, "It's a pain in your throat."  And the little girl said the same thing.

Basically, I need to built my own Volcano.

Freaking brilliant.


Monday, May 18, 2015

I'm tough, dammit.

I'll start this by admitting - yes, I am cranky...

So a fair number of people I know and know of have been spending their weekend paying big money for people to torture them.

It's called Tough Mudder, and it's an endurance-y, extreme way to punish yourself in the name of fitness and adventure.

Basically, it's a ten mile run, with obstacles thrown in - things called the Arctic Enema, which requires you to plunge into freezing water, or Electroshock Therapy, that requires you to run through a bunch of dangling wires that shock you as you pass.  Some of these obstacles have you playing with fire.  FIRE.  Actual fucking fire.

Yes. This.

People actually pay money to do this.

I mean, I guess it's worth noting that I pay good money to dance to pop-hip/hop and afro-latin tunes.  Which doesn't burn me, shock me or shoot filthy ice water up my baby maker.  It's dumb, but it doesn't hurt, outside of the requisite soreness of shaken junk syndrome.

The tagline for this debacle is, "When's the last time you did something for the first time?"

I would say look at 2013 and 2014.  Those were my new and exciting years.  A "first" at every turn.

I don't need to crawl through mud, or scale walls, or worry about losing a toenail to get my heart rate elevated.

I'm constantly in new cities, meeting new people, driving new highways, facing new challenges.

My emotional landscape is completely overrun with obstacles:  grief, anger, fear, anger, sadness, anger, frustration, sadness... did I mention anger? 

Maybe I do need some challenges, physical challenges - but I'll be damned if I am going to jump through fire in the name of teamwork, brotherhood, fearlessness...

My life is plenty tough.  I'm not saying I don't need a ten mile walk, plenty of fresh air and blue skies.

But keep the rings of fire, mudslinging, shocks and climbing walls professional.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

One of those

I'm having a day where I just feel a little blue, a little under the weather.

The kind of day where I'd kind of like to crawl into a huge pan of macaroni and cheese and take a nap.

Clearly, a cheesy pasta  nap is not the answer.  It never is. 

You are getting sleepy.  And hungry...

I did some cleaning up around the house.  Piper and I are kicking it on the couch, and I need to get a few things done, because we have a wedding to attend next weekend.  And come to think of it, we  have a grad party this weekend.

I'm not feeling any of it. 

But I need shoes.  And I should buy a wedding present.  And a graduation card.

And a box of Velveeta shells and cheese...

Friday, May 8, 2015


Mother's Day is a lovely holiday.  I am happy to have the honor of celebrating Mom for all she has done.

But it's also a fraught holiday for:

Children of all ages who have lost a mother

Mothers who have lost a child

Children and mothers who don't get along

Women who didn't have kids but wanted them

Women who didn't have kids, didn't want them, but feel like they somehow failed at adulthood*

Women who had kids and didn't want them

Women who had kids, did want them and sometimes feel bad for wishing they hadn't had kids

Women who don't feel like good mothers

Children who didn't have a good mother

Children who don't feel like they were good to their mother

And so on...

What I'm saying is, be patient and kind.

And hang in there.

It's one day of the year, and we're all doing our best.


*I'm not saying I identify, but...

Thursday, May 7, 2015


About three years ago, I first heard the expression "butt hurt" - used to indicate hurt feelings, possibly to an unreasonable amount, or in a petulant way.

I'm feeling a little butt hurt at the moment.

I'm frustrated because I spent much of my week listening to customers.  And much of what they said wasn't good, and it made me question what I've spent the last eight years working on.  They're frustrated and disenfranchised and unhappy.  And you know what?  ME TOO!  But I can't tell them that (they know, but I can't tell them).  I took one of my favorite colleagues to dinner last night and we had a long talk about everything, and I felt a little better.

This morning, I came down to pack up my space and head home, and I found this:

The small card is actually a magnet - it's from our competitor, and someone decided to leave it next to my name take on my table.  I would have called it random, except that their table, across from mine had a bunch of them laid out in a row, with one missing.

Someone was sending me a message.  The universe?  A disgruntled customer?  My competitor?  Are they talking about the training I give?  The training that my company manufactures?  Both?

Maybe they thought it was funny.  Maybe they thought, given my love of the profane, and my love of training, I would enjoy displaying it somewhere.

No matter... I'm butt hurt.


I packed up my name tag, my new magnet, and I'm taking my hurt butt home.