Now I honestly have no idea who Pliny the Elder is but I’m sure a quick search on Google or Wikipedia would answer that question.
Home, is where you are most comfortable, perhaps the happiest. It can be in your own home or somewhere else with a loved one. It’s where you feel content, no false front required or desired. Hopefully home is with those you love most, your family, a wife, your children or your grandchildren.
Home, where the cares of the world ease, where you can be at peace and problems outside your world evaporate. It’s a place to care, and be cared for, to love and be loved.
Home ….. is Home.
I also feel at home outside, in my yard. I can be in my garden or just sitting under the maple tree with a book, perhaps a beer at my side and thoughts of relaxation and calmness washing over me. Not a care, nor a concern, a oneness with life and nature ….. hold on, maybe that’s the beer talking. Better take it easy……
I call that place under the maple tree and surrounded by cedars my ‘Holy Place’, and I look forward to visiting it again soon, when the spring sun comes and the warmth takes the snow away. It will be one of my outside homes.
Another area I like to call home is sitting on the deck. It’s a place to catch the morning rays of sun and perhaps the cool breezes as they wash over the space. I’ll likely hear the wind chimes playing their rich tones, like so many church bells tolling their virtues. I’ll be reading there too, or perhaps posting to the blog, or journaling my morning pages. I’ll feel the peace, the warmth of the sun and the calmness.
I will be ok there, in any of those places I call home. I can recognize my fortune and acknowledge my gratitude. It’s good to be home.
Ever have one of those days where you seem to be just a little out of phase with the rest of humanity, where the best laid plans seem to go astray? A day where after breakfast you put the milk in the cupboard and the cereal in the fridge. I’m experiencing that today. It’s seems as if everything I touch, anything I do, falls just short of being ‘right’.
Today is a Dad’s day, a day where I take him out and we go to the doctor, optometrist, or in this case to the lab for blood work, and then we go out for lunch. I had planned to leave home a little early so that before I picked him up I could go to Walmart or one of the many electronics type stores to look for a phone case for my new iPhone 5 (and that’s a whole ‘nuther story).
Prior to leaving I was doing my morning pages, you know, that’s ‘writing’ in a book with paper pages and using a pen or pencil. These days I’m not sure how many people still do that…, but I was and before I completed one of my sentences part way through the exercise I became distracted. Well, not distracted at that time really, I put the journal down to check on something I was writing about and that’s when I got distracted. My wife had a question about her ‘new’ iPhone 4s (my hand-me down). There I went, off task, and so far today I’ve not made it back to the journal.
Well that put me behind schedule, not only did I not get to finish the sentence or entry in my journal I never made it away in time to go look at iPhone covers before picking Dad up.
So off on my way I went. I picked up Dad on time (amazingly) and we went to the lab. Fortunately the handicapped parking right in front of the lab was available so we slipped right in, and interestingly enough the lab wasn’t too busy so we waited no more than 5 – 10 minutes to get called. Seems like my day wasn’t a right-off after all, so far things were going well. Lunch was next .
Now that I’m recounting the days events it’s seems like maybe things weren’t so bad after all, lunch went well and Dad paid so life is good and things were looking up. We had a nice visit, he was feeling pretty good and I got him back to his home without further ado. It didn’t stay that way however, or didn’t feel like it anyway.
After dropping Dad off I hit the stores to look for my case, and if I learned anything during that exercise it’s that nothing is cheap, particularly quality iPhone cases. To get the case I wanted, an Otter Commuter, was going to cost between $44 – $50 bucks depending on the store. That’s in addition to any screen protector I bought. My stress was in a holding pattern. A quick look at Amazon (on my phone of course) made me realize that online is where I’ll get them, way cheaper.
As I think about that experience it dawns on me perhaps one of the reasons I feel so stressed and out of sorts is that I am so worried about dropping my phone, and have been ever since I picked it up. Perhaps that is the underlying cause, the reason for my ‘out of sorts’. Whatever the cause….. I feel how I feel and it continued through the day, that ‘skin don’t fit’ kinda feeling.
After arriving back at my home I had to turn around and go back out to run a couple more errands, one of which was to pick up quilt batting for my wife at the local fabric store. I’m afraid I scared the lady in the store, I feel like I went in there with a chip on my shoulder and although I don’t think it’s true I felt like I was surly and abrupt. Damn underwear starting to crawl again.
Next stop was an auto parts store to try and replace one of my malfunctioning wiper blades, that I paid $40 bucks for no less. I went in through the door and must’ve looked like I was ready for bear as the attendant approached my apprehensively and quickly passed me off the reps at the service counter. I suspect he wanted nothing to do with me, if he could see how I felt he was probably wise to defer me. The counterman listened somewhat sympathetically to my plight. I explained the driver’s side wiper leaves a streak in front of my eyes and when I just paid $40 bucks for 1 blade I had hoped it would last longer than 3 months. He murmured back “Well, I guess I could replace it”. Well, thank you very much. Perhaps he could see I was itching for a fight too.
So that sounds like another win doesn’t it? Hang on, not so soon.
Unfortunately when I went outside to swap the bad blade for the good I must’ve touched the fender of the car with my jacket. As I pulled back after installing the blade I noticed a nice brown smudge of dirt/mud on my nice clean black jacket. Argggh, %$”*”&#*, use your imagination to translate. Now I’m fussed and I’m dirty, and if you know me you know I don’t like to get dirty. Especially on tight underwear day.
All I can do is wipe the mud off my jacket and try to wipe my mood clean at the same time. I was relatively successful, nothing damaged and nobody hurt in the process, and proceeded to the next stop. Fill up with gas.
Things went relatively smoothly after that, although getting out of the car prior to filling I noticed yet another blotch of mud, this time on my pant leg. Will it never end I thought (how about wash the car dummy). I exited the car and holding it together somehow inserted my credit card into the gas pump. Perhaps I was too fast, perhaps too forceful, the pump would not accept my card. Another ARGGGH.
Take a deep breath, try again, success this time. The gassing up exercise completed with few casualties, only my spirit.
Home I went. But wait, I had to get my wife a Slurpee (Slushy). I don’t understand her penchant for ice cold ice based drinks on a cold winter day but hey, who am I to argue with the light of my life. She wants a Slurpee, a Slurpee she shall have.
Knowing that this stop would be part of my day I came prepared, I had her refillable Slurpee cup at hand. The Slurpee machine operated flawlessly and I proceeded to check out. It was when I went to pay that I was met with a surprise.
Now it’s not like I’ve never used the plastic refillable cup before but when I paid and found the tab higher than expected I gasped.
“Are you sure”, I asked? “How can it be that a Slurpy with a re-usable cup can be more expensive than if I’d used one of the disposable cups?”
“Well”, she said. You never told me it was YOU’RE cup”.
I guess she had me there. And mentioning to her that I ‘assumed’ she knew it was my cup did NOT help the situation. She only replied “when you assume you make an ass out of you and an ass out of me.” She sighed heavily, refunded my money and then charged me a more appropriate, smaller, amount. Personally I think her underwear didn’t fit either, or maybe it’s the moon.
With my chores pretty much completed I forged home, stewing all the while about how I was out of phase, how my skin didn’t fit, how my knickers were too tight, and in my mind plotting what I would write here. It’s a good thing an animal didn’t bolt or a car pull out in front of me, my attention was not all there. I was too busy thinking of what I’d say here.
I did arrive at my home safely though, I don’t think I maimed anyone in transit, at least as far as I know.
After backing into my driveway I did notice a couple beer cans laying on the snowbank in front of my hedge (not mine, I have enough decency to toss mine in the neighbours yard). Here I go again, I feel that familiar tugging sensation near my private parts.
Knowing it’d be futile to pick up the beer cans and carry all my acquisitions (quilt batting, Slurpy) and Dads’ medical history file (that I try to take every time I see him), along with my camera bag and sweater etc., I choose the smart avenue. Pick up the cans, drop them in the recycle, and make not 1 but 2 trips back and forth to the car for the rest of the stuff. That way I can be sure not to f*** up and either drop half the stuff or wipe my clothes OR the new quilt batting on the side of the muddy car. Mission accomplished, all goods arrived in the house unscathed.
Once inside I dropped everything (not literally) and quickly logged on to my WordPress account to quickly disgorge my thoughts into a post, to try and enlighten you to my day and what made it ‘special’. I hope I didn’t bore you too badly and you arrived, like I did at the end of my afternoon, with underclothes that fit. I know the constricting feelings were all just fleeting experiences, tomorrow will be another day and hopefully one where I am in alignment with the universe. Until that time, if your underwear doesn’t fit go without.
Well I’m at it again, I stopped again during my morning walk for a cup of Starbucks coffee, I’m ‘joe’ing again.
Whether this will become a regular stop of mine, part of my routine, is yet to be seen. I can say it’s a nice break but at $3 bucks a pop for a grande Americano I need to give it some serious thought. Being that I’m a man of leisure now, a retired person, it begs the question as to if this is where I should be spending my “hard” earned cash. I tell myself when I reach the Starbucks Gold status I’ll stop. After all isn’t that what all addicts say?
It also provides me some socialization which is another good thing for those of us that are aged and perhaps infirm. While I don’t really consider myself aged OR infirm I believe the socialization aspect applies equally to anyone who by their circumstances may not get out much.
That could apply to me, the not getting out much. I have many interests, perhaps too many as my ongoing challenge is to equally divide my time among them. Maybe not even equally, just apportioning “some” time to each. This is part of my ongoing effort to find balance.
One thing the morning walk (not the coffee) does give me is an opportunity to see what’s going around me, the beauty of nature and life’s goings on. I’ve commented on this before and it’s no less true now, we are surrounded by beauty and awesomeness. I am so grateful, perhaps I need to comment on what I’m grateful in my posts, much like I did in my “Morning pages”.
That’s another thing on my “list”, get back to writing in my journal. So many things, so little time. Help me please.
Although the title suggests a certain redundant thinking it actually captures exactly what I am thinking, I am Grateful….that I can be grateful.
Writing my morning pages this morning I finished by jotting down the things in my life I am grateful for. I do this frequently and where the items on the list are often the same it doesn’t minimize their value or importance to me. Things like “I’m grateful for my family, who love and support me”, or “I’m grateful for the affluence of my life, we have so much when others have so little”. Acknowledging this gratitude is integral to appreciating it, we take so much for granted in our lives that to think of the good things we have and to be aware of and appreciate them is to ensure they will remain. Perhaps Karma has a factor, perhaps it’s God or whatever spiritual power you believe in, perhaps it’s only a mind game, but whatever the reason gratitude is a force that has affects our lives.
Working through my moods, my ups and downs, is a frequent challenge. When I’m “up” life is good, nothing is bad and my glasses are rose colored. If I’m “down” then all I can see around me are the things in life that could be better. I’m seldom in such a poor state where everything is bad or I think my life sucks the big one but my energy is depleted and the things around me I should be enjoying are somehow greyed out, out of focus and difficult to see.
Call it depression, tag it with whatever label works best, but this cycle of moods can be debilitating and my heart goes out to those who suffer strongly from it. I am not so adversely affected but suffer at times I do, and my thinking about the good things in my life brings hope and light to my being. Being grateful recharges me, being grateful that I have the ability to be grateful inspires me. There is hope.
The rain has continued now for the past two days and while it brings much needed moisture to the grounds it dampens any enthusiasm for one to go outside (pun intended). I’m ok with it at this time though as it supports my choice to get something accomplished indoors, chores around the house being one option. It also supports me spending some time blogging, which is getting sadly neglected and in dire need of a boost.
I’ve managed to keep up my journal, the morning pages, and even though the weather is wet and cool I have stepped out of the house onto the deck to write. It is in the shelter of the house and is close enough to being outside at this time. I wrapped myself in a lap blanket and have persevered, relishing the freshness of the air and listening to the birds sing their spring songs. Our wind chimes play their tunes occasionally as well, and when the breeze picks up their rich notes bring a church-like quality to the atmosphere.
What I’ve been waiting for however is the opportunity to sit in the area of our front yard where I feel at most at peace, the spot I’ve recently christened my “Holy place”. The descriptor came to me days ago when I was sitting in my recliner looking longingly out the window at that area, thinking the time will soon come when I can be out there, when both the weather and temperature will support my visit. First, or best I should say, would be when my Adirondack chairs will be finished and placed in their special place under the boughs of the maple, where I can sit in the dappled shade and relish in the beauty of the moment. The fountain will be gurgling in the background and sweet fragrance of flowers will be in the air. The temperature will be perfect and my mind will temper it’s exuberance to take me into outside chores, there will be time a plenty for those.
In addition to the peacefulness of the area it’s a spot that provides me a glimpse of my toys, a truck or two, and the camping trailer that’s about to be used. It’s a comfortable area and I feel enclosed in it’s graces. It saves me, I am at peace in my Holy place.
I have been quite faithful in maintaining my journal, or morning pages, and most days quite look forward to it. Today was no exception, however the day started off at a pace faster than I first appreciated and I missed that first crucial step, relax and write.
Perhaps there are no “good excuses” but the tasks that took me off my schedule were dealing with some of Dad’s taxes, taking the car in for service, and then once I returned home just generally procrastinating and fussing about. I think my biggest mistake was having the 3 or more cups of coffee during all of the above. Caffeine and relaxing are not known to be synonymous, at least not in my book. How someone can go to a coffee shop, drink coffee and write is beyond me. Don’t get me wrong, you have all my admiration if you are able but the ability escapes me. If I stay away from the 2nd or 3rd cup of coffee perhaps, otherwise forget it.
What works better for me is where I am now, sitting on my deck listening to the subtle tune of wind chimes and gurgling water. The weather has turned for the better with the sun coming out and a mild breeze at my back. My yard is coming to life with buds on the Magnolia tree and the shrubbery greening up. Every so often the fragrance of spring wafts through the air and I feel so happy. Life is good, this is what retirement means to me.
I came out to the deck after the above described procrastinating and finally sat down to complete my morning pages, in the afternoon. My morning journal has been something quite helpful to me, beginning initially as a means to diarize my “feelin’s and emotions” and then later progressing to what it has now become, more a hardcover chat with myself. It’s where I can record anything and everything, no topics left unturned, but primarily just a method to let some of my thoughts out. It’s amazing how the process of writing down something, anything, can establish a flow of thought, of ideas, and feelings. It was these thoughts and feelings that I want to capture here, so here I am. I don’t want to neglect my paper pages but as I started to chat with myself in them I realized that here was where I wanted to be, not only on my deck but writing here on this blog. Why? Can’t say exactly, other than my hope is to inspire some thought within someone else, perhaps inspire them to step onto their deck or into their yard, and let the beauty of life surround them.
As you can likely discern I am in a relative good place right now, such has not always been the case. If you’ve read any of the other drivel on this site you can attest to that. It has been a journey, a trip through time, place, and mood. Much of it good, some of it not so. I don’t believe it’s over and should you choose to follow you will some day see the great reveal. You will know…..who I am. Not only the technical details of who I am, like name, address, and social insurance number, but who I am inside. The complex thing they call Dwayne. I often waver in my desire to come out of the blog closet, to post the address to this site on Facebook, or to Twitter my thoughts and provide a link back to this blog. Even my closest family is not aware (that I know) of this secret location of my darkest thoughts. If they do they have certainly not shared that knowledge with me. And that’s fine. When the time is right I will do that, it’s just not right yet.
In the meantime it’s just you and I. I’m not sure who “you” is but even if I’m writing to myself I’m opening up a channel in my existence to a higher power. Some say “God” and some say just creativity. Whatever it is I feel more alive, and somehow more at peace.
For some time now I’ve been maintaining a daily journal, mostly of just this’n that with no real topics or orientation. I’ve done it for a couple reasons, originally because my therapist suggested I do it to keep a record of how I feel on any given day and can then see improvement or changes over time. The second reason came about later after reading a book about writing, and how it’s important towrite regularly in order to keep the juices flowing (my words).
So while the act of writing is both therapeutic and motivational it can sometimes feel subversive, particularly if I’m doing it with others in the room. Why the hell is that? It seems to occur mostly when doing my morning journal, like somehow whatever I’m writing is wrong or perhaps speaking against whoever is in the room. Too weird. I suspect it is just an indication of a personal hang up, and one that I’ll beat down, you can count on that. I am getting better at writing at any time, and will continue to journal regardless of location. The only subversion that’s taking place is if I stop.
I’m going to try something new this morning, in fact at least a couple things. The first thing I’ve tried and just completed was writing my “Morning Pages” within 30 minutes of my getting up. Now for those of you who don’t know, morning pages are essentially a handwritten journal prepared every morning and topics include anything and everything under the sun. The goal is to just write, to open up your creative side.
It’s an idea proposed by a writer named Julia Cameron in a few of her books on writing. At any rate I typically only do it weekdays, once I get to work and have a few moments of solitude before my day starts. So I am trying to do it on the weekends now too, and I’ve been moderately successful. If I leave it too late however the day begins, and once my wife wakes up the activity in the house picks up, thus making it more challenging for me to focus. A topic for another day. So I brewed a cup of Joe and began.
Once my morning pages were completed my blog came next to mind. It also has been neglected of late, or perhaps not neglected but certainly not given the attention it deserves. So here I am. I’ve repositioned myself in my easy chair so I can see outside, my laptop at the ready and the ideas waiting to pour forth. Well, maybe not. Certainly the view outside is nice, it is inspiring, and the idea has the romanticism that I expected, but the inspiration for a topic is a little more elusive.
There are times when I imagine myself doing this routinely, sitting with a cup of coffee, drinking it and the taking in morning sun simultaneously. It’s cathartic I find, it does help me with some of my personal issues. I can express myself in a way that I have few other opportunities to do so. I’m not the most social person, nor can I talk to just anyone, but I can write and doing so frees me in a number of ways.
The day is gray, it seems the hint of spring we’ve seen a few days ago is now lost to us again. Living in this valley as we do I find the weather somewhat oppressive, we get more fog and cloud than many other areas and those conditions aggravate any Seasonal disorders that I may have. That poor mood may come out in my posts, and for that I apologize. Improving my moods and general emotional condition is partly what this blog is about.
At any rate I find myself rambling. Words pour forth that have no real meaning. Perhaps it’s too much coffee, maybe the writing moment has passed. I will sign off for now, bidding you adieu, and I’ll see you another day.