Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Reorganizational Chaos

So one of the most chaotic and disruptive thing any company can do is a reorganization.  I am always surprised by the fact that companies do not understand this.

In my experience and those I know, reorganizations tend to happen in one of two ways.  In the first version, the reorganization is lightning quick.  Everyone shows up and suddenly you are reporting to someone else.  Maybe you know who it is.  Maybe you do not.  And in some cases, the person to whom you are now reporting may know precisely nothing about what it is you actually do.

In the other version, the reorganization is pretty much an open secret.  Everyone knows it is coming, yet for some reason it is delayed  or held back, sometimes for days or weeks.  Not everyone may know where they are going and so a certain concern permeates the air as individuals wait, knowing that something is coming but not know what it will be.

In either of these versions, the results are the same:  Chaos.  Concern.  Often there is no clear reason for why the reorganization is occurring - in some extreme cases, it is announced but the full details of it are not so people know that something is changing even as they have no idea what it is.

People like communication.  They like to understand.  They like to know what is coming - maybe they cannot change it, but at least they can prepare for it.  And people certainly do not like the instability or lack of concern that is demonstrated when these sorts of things occur.  They begin to worry -first about the company's stability, and then most certainly about their own futures.

Why is it then that companies never seem to understand this?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Picking Cabers

One of the surprisingly great things about Highland Athletics is simply what you can learn about yourself in the course of throwing things.

Yesterday, for example, I managed to get three perfect picks on the challenge caber.  I do not believe I have ever had three legitimate picks on any caber that in which I got it to the point of throwing, even if I failed to have a full turn.  In the course of these picks everything went right:  the caber was balanced, I got low, and I scooped it from the bottom.  All of this with an actual crowd cheering for me.

The focus is what surprised me:  that in the midst of sun, cheering, and my general concerns about lifting the caber in the first place (the event I struggle the most with) I was able to start the first part of the process.

I have a great deal of work still to do, of course, such as overcoming that initial moment of realizing that I have picked the caber and what the heck do I do next and remembering the timing of the caber (you have to pull it sooner than you think you do).  But if I look back to three years ago when I first threw a caber at this venue - my very first games - and see the improvement over time - I can be nothing but amazed at my generally un-athletic self.  I can see improvement.  And it is measurable.

And I remind myself once again that I can do far more than I think I am capable of - if only I can focus.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Morning

So I should already be at work this morning.

I should have already been up, showered, and rushing around to get out the door.  I should - right now - probably be sitting in traffic, cursing my commute and hoping that it will go more quickly.

I am not, of course.

After helping with Nighean Gheal's  band last night and being informed that I had no child drop-off responsibilities this morning, I decided that I was not really in that much of a hurry after all.

So instead I got up at the unheard of hour of 0645 on a work day.  I read.  I did my calisthenics.  I drank coffee and fed the animals.  Right now the sun is crossing my fingers as it rises over my typing - something I almost never experience.

I am relaxed - so relaxed I can contemplate the fact that I really should be doing something else yet feeling no particular drive to do it.  In fact, my stress level is almost nil for the same amount of sleep which, were it yesterday, made me a stress ball.

Work calls, of course.  The e-mails are there.  The questions are there.  And over the horizon, the larger questions of life are looming.

That is okay.  For one morning, I can simply take a little time and be, instead of be doing.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Doing the Basics Well

Along with commitment, I was reminded that I need to focus on doing the basics well.  This is hard for me - much hard than one might think.

Why?  It is not for the reason that you might think, that somehow the basics are too difficult (they are not) or too hard (again, they are not).  It is because I get easily bored and I look to more knowledge as the way to be admired and be great, rather than doing the basics well.

1) Bored:  I get bored easily.  Or maybe said differently, I have a short attention span.  Either way, I have problems focusing on the same sort of thing week after week or year after year.  I lose interest because I have done the same thing over and over and over (and often times, it seems like I am not getting any better at all).  My solution is to continue to want to learn new things rather than truly mastering the basics well.

2)  More knowledge:  I want to be acknowledged and recognized.  Badly.  So badly that I think that quickly moving forward to more visible appearances and presentations (through greater knowledge) is the key.  I often tend to skim over the stuff that is difficult (or boring, see item 1) rather than work to really dig down and get that right.  Why?  Because somewhere I have come to believe (and maybe in the business world it is presented this way)  that this is the way to move forward in life.  Which works - up to the point that you are actually called upon to us the basic knowledge only to discover that it is really not there.

It was a needed reminder (iaijutsu is good for all kinds of life lessons) that my focus needs to be on the basics:  knowing them, doing them well, being able to show them to others.  It may mean that in fact the "greater knowledge" is never achieved - but I need to realize that such a thing is not the ultimate value of the learning.  It is in doing something well, knowing it fully, and being able to execute it completely - even if it is basic - that the true basis for success is found.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Asking for Signs

Sometimes you have to ask, you know.

Not for the subtle or minor signs, the sort of thing that kind of dissipates into the night with a sigh.  No, sometimes you have to ask for a big sign - a large one, as big as the fleece that Gideon used before God.

Why?  Because you do not want to mess anything up.  You truly want to make the best sorts of decisions.  And sometimes those decisions have consequences.

So you ask.  You summon up your courage and ask "God, I need a sign.  I need a definitive one.  I need something that will truly guide me in the right decision to go."

And then you wait - believing, not just hoping, that such a sign will make itself apparent.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." - James 1:5

Monday, September 22, 2014

Chores and Life's Destiny

I have always had a problem with the things that I am supposed to do.

I would guess (if you asked me) that this comes from a time and place where I somehow believed that I was something special and that I was destined to do great things.  Real life intervenes, of course:  one sometimes has to take the job one has to take, and then comes items and marriage and children, etc.  Suddenly those things that you were "destined" to do have been replaced by a series of things that need your attention.

You fight this, of course, find reasons for it not to be so.  You start begrudging your responsibilities your time, especially if they keep you away from the important stuff.  You find ways to minimize the time and energy you have to spend on such things, always looking for a little bit more of "your time".  Even the things that really should matter in your life become less important as they are overrun by the vision in your mind of the things you are supposed to be doing.

And then something happens.

The car breaks down.  Your fence falls over.  A pet falls sick.  And suddenly you realize that all the things you should have been paying attention to, those hours of maintenance and the dreaded "chores", have come back to haunt you.  Because while you were off trying to re-demonstrate to yourself how important the things you were destined to work were, the inevitability of life happened.

It is a change of mind to get back there, the sort of change of mind that once upon a time you remember being taught as a child:  chores first, then fun.  The problem is that you got the idea of chores mixed up with a life destiny - when in fact most of us do not have the overriding life destiny that we think we do other than the simple act of living ethically and responsibly in a world that desperately needs the example.

The solution, thankfully, is not as hard as it might seem even if it as boring as it sounds:  chores first, then fun.

Sure, it might not sound as exciting or even as interesting as doing that life's destiny that you thought you had - and it might even mean you do not do most of the things you thought were destined to do on a regular basis.  But it does do at least one thing: it allows you to sleep at night knowing the important things, the things you are responsible for, did not go undone.

And that may allow you to sleep best of all.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Mis-taught Learning

Mis-taught learning is the the worst of all.

I like knowledge - in fact, I may quality as a collector of knowledge.  I love knowledge - but I love to be able to apply the knowledge in ways that benefit myself and others.  And in this sort of world, the worst thing of all is knowledge which is presented as useful and productive but is presented in such a way that it is not applicable at all.

The knowledge may be wonderful.  The examples may be useful.  But they way the knowledge is presented is such that it is not at all relevant - or will be relevant - to the sorts of work one is doing.

It leaves a bad taste in one's mouth - not just for presentation of the material, but for the very material itself.  That leaves the sort of taste in one's mouth that one finds disappointing, especially if one had high hopes for the knowledge and the application of it. Given a long enough run, it creates issues for the very nature of the knowledge itself.

I wonder (on a higher level) if this is a problem with much of learning as well - not just that it is taught poorly but that it is taught in such a way that the relevance of the material is not presented as something which is valuable but rather something which must be suffered through.

Latin is useful.  Chemistry is useful.  But only if it is presented in such a way that individuals can make the connection of the value (and trust me, the value of knowledge goes far beyond coding and the ability to play games) with life as it actually is.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hating Crossroads

I hate crossroads.

I hate crossroads because one has to commit. One  has to make a decision and go with it.

And I am terrible at making decisions.

Well, maybe terrible at making decisions.  Maybe a better word is terrible at committing.

Why?  Because commitment means choosing one thing above another thing - even if the thing you choose is wrong.  Which is sort of odd, because if you ask me of decisions I have made which I regret, the list is probably a great deal less than what I would consider it to be.  But even in those decisions, I suppose there is seldom I feeling I have that I really committed.

My sensei reminds me of this constantly.  It happened again last night - practicing ukimi (rolls)  he said "You have to commit.  If you do not commit, you find yourself rolling off to the side instead of rolling straight."  Iaijutsu is a great deal about commitment - when you put your hand to the hilt, you are committing to drawing.  Putting your hand up and pulling it away makes you less of a threat and in fact brings into question whether you will use your sword at all.

"What is the symbolic meaning of drawing the sword quickly?  When you have made a decision, act immediately without hesitation."  How many times have I repeated these words to myself in the car driving to work in the morning - and yet how seldom it seems I am willing to do them.

Here is the reality, of course:  crossroads come.  And in that decision of three roads (less the one you have come on, of course)  a definite commitment not to follow one become s a passive decision to follow whichever one becomes most convenient.  Hardly a way to get to a destination - or live a life.

When, coming to a crossroads, choose.

Commit.  And see what happens next.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Cleaning a Garden

I am terrible about cleaning up gardens.

I struggle with the idea of removing plants before they have completely died.  It is as if I feel this psychic connection with the plants in my garden.  They have survived the initial planting.  They have survived the rains of summer and the crazy  heat.  And so I hold on to them until the very last, dry leaf falls to the ground or it gets far past the season.

In point of fact, gardens are to be managed just like any other resource, especially if you want to get the most benefit out of them. True gardeners are regularly swapping plants in and out as soon as they have completed their prime production season or if they are simply not working out  in terms of production.  When the garden is a matter of survival, it significantly changes the view of it and how it should be managed.  It is no longer a hobby but something which needs to be carefully monitored and the waste removed from the system.

And then in a moment of shock, I realized that my life is no different.

I tend to keep things - hobbies, relationships, even just simply things - long past the date of their usefulness.  They integrate themselves into my life of course, and then they feel like they have always been there and need to be there - in fact, to remove them sometimes feels like a betrayal.  But the reality, much like my garden, it that they simply do not serve the purpose they were originally brought in for.  In fact, they may become so overgrown that they bury the opportunity for anything new to take bloom as they choke out the attention and resources that could be deployed to them.

I am better than I was, of course.  I am more likely than not to remove things, possibly before the end of the season.  But I have yet to truly reach the point where I am viewing it as a battlefield and my plants as soldiers, needing deployment (and perhaps removal) to help my reach my ultimate tactical goal.

Would that I could bring the same level of management to other parts of my life.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

September Winter

Moisture from the sky?
Cool winds and clouds?  Has winter
come in September?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Thanks Bruce

So it turns out Bruce Lee was my height.

This is actually pretty significant.  No-one ever confused him with being less than a top-notch athlete, yet his stature was no more significant than mine.

He worked for it of course (as I am finding out).  Worked very hard for it.  Became a fanatic about exercise and nutrition and training.  But that still means that such a thing is achievable, if only one will spend the time and energy to do it.

I also found a quote of his, a quote which I like very much and may move to the pantheon of quotes that I try to live my life by:

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” 

I sometimes wilt in the face of my friends - not so much that they ever say anything (because of course being gallant and kind-hearted they never would) - but that simple fact is that I am far removed from their levels of athletic ability.

But Bruce gives me hope - not that I will ever reach his level or that of my friends, but simply that even for someone with my height, much more is possible than I can imagine if I will only pay the price.

There are no limits.  There are only plateaus.

Thanks Bruce.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Midnight and Snowball

Black, white, and dry brown:Rabbits hop through the twilight,
yin and yang and heat.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Post audit days are mostly days of recovery.

That strikes some people as sort of amusing or even as something which does not seem possible - after all, is it not true that during audits all you really do is sit there, pull documents, and answer questions?  That is true of course - but the reality is hardly apparent to the eye that does not know better.

To be in an audit is to constantly be in a state of preparedness.  It is to constantly be trying to out think the auditor, to be ready for every potential outcome of the question they are asking, to listen to them in silence or perhaps when my head is nodding while in my mind I am racing ahead to find the solution to what they say, to avoid the potential observation or nonconformity.  And above all, to live in constant dread of finding the chink in the armor, the one thing that had been missed during preparation, the one failure that will bring the observation or nonconformity.

It is exhausting beyond all measure.

When it is done, one almost just collapses into one's chair.  One collects the various documents that were brought out for the audit and piles them up for filing or disposal later - doing it the day of is simply beyond the realm of rational thought.

And then comes the next day.  Today.

My aspirations are low indeed:  file and assess documents, close out the audit from our books, perhaps catch up on the work that I needed to do but did not because of the audit.  That might be all.  I cannot fully describe the feeling that body has now:  drained, tired, a little slow.  The thought of initiating an actual new project sounds so remote from where I am that I can scarcely must the energy for the thought.

Most people would never think that just sitting there could be so mentally exhausting.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Trying to Complete

I have a tendency to try and complete things.

This, one could argue, is a good characteristic to have.  We want to finish things.  We should want to bring things to completeness - in a real sense, success is merely continuing to bring things to a completed state.

But what happens if you are trying to complete things that no longer matter?

I wonder how much of my life is dominated by this, trying to complete projects or relationships that have traveled into my past.Things are that are no longer relevant.  Relationships that no longer have the context.  Projects that no longer have the impact or even the necessity. And yet there I am, toiling away with the bits of my free time, trying to make them complete.

Gardening is a good counter weight to this - in gardening, once something is ripe there is a limited time to act.  Waiting to do something only leads to rotten fruits and vegetables - all of the best intentions cannot make up for the fact that time and bacteria are also on a schedule as well, and that if you do not act, they will.

The unfortunate fact is that this is true for everything else in our lives as well.

Why does this matter?  Because if we choose to continue to complete that which has passed its time, we find ourselves trapped in a past doing the irrelevant for no purpose.  Things change, things move forward - but our eyes and hearts and minds are constantly looking in the rear view mirror, seeking simply to finish that which we have started.

Sometimes, it is really okay to simply let go and say "I am not going to complete this - because now there is no reason to."

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

A Gentle MIsconstruing of Purpose

I wonder if I have misconstrued my purpose.

I thought I had worked it out in my mind:  I was an encourager.  I was there to help lift other people up to succeed at whatever it was they were trying to do.  I was there to be a helper - perhaps in my my mind, a loyal servant, eager to do what I could - listen, assist, service, raise up - to help.

But I have been questioning that.

I suppose the error might be on my own part.  This was a role that I appointed for myself.  There was no sense that this was "God-Given", except that I was trying to find such a role after the things I thought were those roles - first ministry, then leadership in the Church - were demonstrated to be ideas that I had in my own mind.  I had tried to craft a meaningful mission statement as well  - "To Write for Impact, To Preserve for the Future, To Lead for Change, To Glorify God".  but that really did not seem to work out either:   my writing for change truly seems limited to this blog and inspirational quotes I post, the preservation for the future - The Ranch - has become impossible to contemplate when I am so far away, my leadership attempts have never really worked out the way I hoped (I always envisioned the strong, noble leader - instead I am the first among equals who does get things done but not in a strong, noble way), and only God truly knows if I qualify in glorifying Him.

Which leads me here:  what happens when you realize you purpose may have been not what you thought it was?

I am judging by results, and my results seem to be haphazard at best.  The reality I perceive is those I thought I was providing this to have moved on from it - or maybe they have simply got what they needed and carried on, which I suppose would be a justification that it was the right thing.  In either event, I find myself at a painful crossroads:  the purpose I thought I had seemingly done with no direction of where to go next.

It might sound like I am am angry or bitter.  I am not.  Confused is a more appropriate assessment, maybe a little hurt in the confusion.  If this is success of a purpose, I would have thought that would have felt, well, more accomplished - instead I am just sort of aimlessly floating in space, grasping at something (once again) which I thought was "it" but turns out at best to be just another step.

Where  do I go from here?  I have no real guidance.  I feel as if I have run out of ideas, leaving myself in a great heath of featureless heather and small bushes with no landmarks, no path leading to the next step.  I would love to say a time of meditation and consideration is here - but even within that thought, life rolls on.

But I can only turn my face towards the future. One thing I have learned, at great pain to myself:  once you realize that a purpose has passed, you must let it go.  One can never resurrect the dead, no matter how good and hopeful the intentions are.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Upon Finding A Closed Door

Closing doors can be the most confusing things of all.

It is not the typical "closed door" that confuses me.  These are pretty straightforward - one moves in a straight line until one finds the door that is closed, hopefully  by merely testing it but sometimes by running flat into it and breaking one's nose.  Closed door, will not budge - off to try another door, another direction.

Instead, the ones that are confusing are the partially closed doors.

These are the ones that either one gets part of the way through and sudden one realizes one cannot squeeze through it or - even worse - the ones that start moving closed as one is trying to get through it.  These are the toughest and most confusing of all, because the initial instinct is to try to get through the door more quickly only to find out the door is closing as fast as you are trying to force your way in.

In either case you find yourself outside of the door, perhaps holding to everything that you had planned to take in through the door with you.  It is as if you planning to move into an apartment - perhaps were even in the process of moving in - only to find out that no move was going to happen and you are left standing in a pile of your possessions.

You stop and take inventory, of course.  Did I misread the door?  No, it was quite open when you first started to go through.  Did I not move quickly enough?  Well possibly - but then again, sometimes moving too quickly just slams you into the door that has shut more quickly than you could get in.  Or perhaps I should have simply pushed harder on the door and made it yield to my will - but in reality this hardly ever works as well as it seems to be a good idea as broken doors become useless, letting all kinds of things in - or out.

No, the reality is simply this (as painful and humiliating as it sounds):  after jiggling and perhaps testing to discern that the door is truly closed and not merely stuck, there is nothing left for it but to begin the process of picking up your things and moving to another door.

Because there is little more foolish and unfortunate than continuing to bang on the door that has obviously been closed and locked - and miss seeing the open door that is right next to it.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Dreams of Glue, Cell Phone, and Plastic Parts - Follow Up

Yesterday we tried to go through my dream of earlier this week.  My counselor introduced me to something call dreammoods.com, which is a dictionary of images in dreams and what they might me.

A couple of highlights from the dream and their possible meanings:

"Key:  To see a key in your dream symbolizes opportunities, access, control, secrets, freedom, knowledge or responsibilities. You may be locking away your own inner feelings and emotions. Or you are unlocking the answer to some problem....To dream that you lose your keys signify fears of losing control of yourself or losing your position or status in life. It may also indicate unexpected changes, frustrations, and unpleasant adventures. The dream could be analogous to lost or missed opportunities. If you give your key away, then it suggests that you have given up control of some situation or responsibility. "

"Bus:  To dream that you are waiting for a bus indicates a temporary setback in achieving your personal goals. If you miss the bus, then it indicates that an aspect of your life is out of control. You need to slow down and map out a new plan."

"Telephone:  To see or hear a telephone in your dream signifies a message from your subconscious or some sort of telepathic communication. You may be forced to confront issues which you have been avoiding. Alternatively, the telephone represents your communication and relationship with others."

"Sign - To see a sign in your dream indicates that you need help.  You need some direction and guidance in your life. Pay attention to what the sign says and what it is pointing you to do. Perhaps the dream is highlighting "a sign of the times".

I am usual not one for dream interpretation, but these items - along with general feelings that I awoke with from the dream - made for interesting thoughts as we walked through things.

Key - The key was not directly involved in the dream except as something I was trying to spell out but could not, and questioned why I was not using actual letters to build it.  Is it a form of the key missing, something lost or control given up?

Bus - Pretty much missed the bus in the dream.  Is there an aspect of my life that is out of control?

Telephone -  Again, not directly involved in the dream except as a tool for someone else.  Is it that I am always trying to communicate for others and not myself, or that I was avoiding an issue that I need to deal with?

Sign - Road signs bent over, arrows facing towards the ground.  Have I lost direction or that my directions all simply seem to be in one direction - down?

I suppose that if you look at the general tone of things - lack of control, out of control, lack of ability to communicate or lack of communication, and loss or lack of direction, you seem to come up with a few central themes:  loss of control of where I am going and what I am doing and how I am communicating.  It would seem to support the general sense I have right now in my life of being trapped by events and circumstances with little ability to chose.

And my feelings when I woke up?  Songbird said it far more wisely than I could have:  "Seems like your subconscious is saying you let personal interests distract you so that you will deliberately 'miss the bus'...the activities you did were redundant and slow, something you chose to do out of a perception of personal necessity, which caused you to miss the important bus".

Something to mull over, at any rate.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Pride in Work?

As I was pushing through my pile of things to do at work, I had one of those occasional moments of questioning exactly what I was doing.

I spent the whole day more less attending to different tasks - e-mails, follow ups, setting meetings, preparing for upcoming visits, catching up.  At the end of the day I looked to my desk and my in-box and found that just by viewing those two metrics, you would be hard pressed to tell that I accomplished anything at all at work.

I think this is one of the more frustrating aspects of what I do:  it is very hard to point to something and say "Behold what I have done". The fact is that most of this hardly exists except as a electrons and physical sheets of paper that are moved, reviewed, signed and filed in a vacuum that seldom if ever see the light of day.

There is no "finish line"; no point at which the building is complete or the book is finished or the artwork completed.  Seldom, too, is there the ability to go back later and be able to point out to anyone what you have accomplished.  The accomplishments dwell mostly in the mind and on hard drives and in paper files that exist only to be filed away and destroyed at some later date.

We are taught that we should take pride in our work - but when your work is essential invisible, inaudible, and transient, it becomes very difficult indeed.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

A Slight Malaise of the Soul

I have been suffering from a slight malaise of the soul over the last few days.

I cannot truly define it greater than that.  It is not fully a physical sickness - although I have been feeling run down.  It is not fully mental - although I have found myself distracted.  And it is not fully spiritual - although my soul seems leaden down by things I cannot fully explain.

It is a restlessness of sorts, a wandering sense of not being connected to anything or anyone even as I find myself surrounded by people and things to do.  It lowers my energy to the point that I do not feel like doing anything at all,  even as it steals my interest in doing anything at all. I feel trapped yet I do not want to go anywhere, alone in the midst of people, forgotten even though it is quite clear I am not, and fallen even though I am not aware I was taken down.

I do not like feeling this way because I cannot tie it to a particular event or action.  That makes it much easier, of course - after all, if I can find something to tie it to I can easily go back, look at what is going on, and then come to some kind of resolution or at least figure my way out of the situation.  That has been denied me right now as I seem to have nothing to figure out - only this vague sense of something being wrong, something which I am unable to identify to fix.

Every look inside turns awry; every attempt to name the thing falls into silence; every attempt to cheer myself only leads to hollow laughter in my own head.

I do not know this thing, and by thereby not knowing it I cannot understand it.  And by not understanding it, I cannot fix or repair it.  All I can seem to do, like a bull in a snowstorm, is set my face towards the wind and hope that I can outlast it.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Dream of Glue, Cell Phone, and Plastic Parts

One of the most vivid dreams I have had in a while, certainly the first one in a while I can remember.

I was at company meeting which for some reason had to occur over a weekend.  There were a number of people there I recognized - not the whole company, but enough of senior management.  The person in charge, from our legal department, was going through a presentation.  The point of it was that a project we had been working on - a project that had failed - still had to be closed out.  The meeting was to cover the list of things that needed to be written or completed to make that happen.

At that, the meeting broke up and we were walking down a residential street with door opening onto the street.  I stopped to tie my shoe at one and kicked the door frame.  It looked to me like I might have cracked it but I could not be sure.  Suddenly the door opens and the resident, an older fellow, looks out.  I had apparently accidentally knocked the door.  We briefly talk - and I say nothing about the door frame.  Maybe it was that way, I reason to myself.

We walk farther, and then I am caught by another man and his wife.  Can I make a cell phone call for them, they ask?  Certainly - but it is not a cell phone call.  Apparently they need me to take a picture - but they need me to make a picture in order to take it.  I see  a bus in the distance with all of the people from work on it, ready to go.  It will only take a few minutes, I say to myself.  So I start forming letters on a jacket they have given me with glue and small plastic things.

It is taking a long time.  My letters are not perfect, I have to ask them at least once what the phone number needs to be - all the time I can see the bus there, waiting.  I run out of letters and space, and am trying to spell the word "key" and failing.  I have the thought of why did I not just use plastic letters instead of trying to spell things out, but keep trying.  The bus is still waiting.  Finally they bring me more things to work with and I lay the jacket down - on a red Mustang cover, like the one I used to have to finish.  As I am working on it, I hear a group of people coming up.  Some of them start arguing with the people next to where we are about something I cannot understand while others are prompting me to "hurry up, hurry up, we need to go".  "Wait"  I say, "I'm almost done".  I lay the jacket out and take the picture - only to turn and see that they have driven off.

The last thing I remember is the couple thanking me and the next thing I know it is dark and I am at a place with bent over sign poles, waiting for another bus.  "Why are you here?"  the couple who I called for asks me.  "Because I missed the bus" I reply.

And then I woke up.

Monday, September 01, 2014


The quail have come.

Technically these are a birthday present for Nighean Dhonn; she has some at her school and decided she wanted some of her own.  However, they coincide with my own goal of greater independence at any level.

They are a mix:  4 Texas A&M Coturnix quil and 2 Straight Coturnix Quail.  They are somewhere between 3 and 4 weeks old at this stage:  old enough to be away from the brooder but not fully feathered out yet.  From everything that I read, they reach the beginnings of maturity and egg laying starting at 6 weeks.

I am excited.  We cannot keep chickens where we currently live but quail should be small enough to escape the notice and annoyance of everyone:  they are quiet, they are small, and their caging can be low to the ground.

I still have a few things to work out, like ultimate living arrangements (I have an idea, but I need to get some cover going) so they are ensconced in a cardboard box where we can hear them talking to each other.

This is going to be good - and fun.

Welcome Quail!