On the other side of anxiety, things look a lot different. And I hate to simplify things too much (and cross my fingers--with all my might--hoping that it's not all just wishful thinking), but I do feel like the answer was so very simple. In the past several months, I have found myself happier than I have ever imagined and in the middle of an enthusiastic project. I really have imagined the silliest of dreams, including speeches of great importance, but I never imagined myself as an artist. Like a real, honest to goodness artist. Hm. I've loved art my entire life, but anything I can do, someone else can do much better. Well, that was the nagging thought. Yet, very unexpectedly, I find myself in a place that feels very close to (inhale) there. My only goal is a selfish one, to maintain my current state of happiness at all costs. In the meantime, I wish to share the best of myself with as many people as possible. "Into the Mountains" is my first collection, still in the works but exceedingng my own expectations. My brain is constantly fluttering, and for once, the aftershocks are positive. Where it will be seen first is still unknown, but I do believe it is the best I have to offer--thus far. It is also my first self-motivated project of my own voice, and for that reason, maybe the first of any importance at all. xoxo

Well, my Mythos takes on strange turns as a rule of law. The dream world of Rancho Nuevo is where I most often find myself when I sleep. There I receive messages from my subconscious, which seems to have this Cassandra-like knowledge of things to come and enjoys presenting it with the flair of the trickster-hero, which has become my guise these days. The trickster-hero, you see, tends to like looking at people's static and accepted norms of reality and then shattering them, and my trickster-hero persona likes to target me.

In the world of Rancho Nuevo, in my dreams, I have been for some time a wanderer. I go from place to place and am sent out of each place. There is no place in this world where I can stay, everywhere I go I am granted no quarter. The red riders pursue me from the river that divides the first kingdom from the third kingdom. They drive me out towards the third kingdom where I am told I have not yet atoned. From there I am driven out to the wastelands where I am told, "A Jack cannot remain in the wastelands for long," even though the bartender at the Blackjack Saloon, in the heart of the wastelands, is himself a Jack. Eh, he's the Jack of the wastelands, I'm the Jack of the third kingdom. It is a long story.

For months I have told them, "I am treading water, I am in limbo, and I have no move at this time other than the wait. The third queen has presented herself, but I am now unable to do anything."

Dreams persist, showing me awake in a bed watching her as she sleeps, and a voice tells me, for months now, "When you find yourself watching her sleep you will know the time has come to act."

Not bloody well likely, I tell myself when I awaken from these dreams. We are talking about a woman who is in the same building I am in for twenty minutes each morning, at a time when my shift ends and hers begins and we have no real reason to see each other or speak. Where we once made the most of that brief amount of time we now avoid each other, she because she's trying to reconcile her marriage and me because I must respect that. The chances that I would find myself watching her sleep are impossible to even consider as we have no kind of intimate relationship to speak of. We no longer have any kind of relationship at all, at least not in the tangible sense.

"When you find yourself watching her sleep you will know the time has come to act." The dreams come with more frequency and become more insistent. This has happened before and I know what it means. Once upon a time I was told when I found the first queen the sky would turn to gold. I found her working as a waitress at a restaurant on Golden Sky Lane. Trickster-hero hard at work.

Fine. I'm more than happy to go about my business, enjoying my days and my nights, doing what I do and being at peace with life.

This morning a friend asked me for a piece of gum. I was out, but he was really wanting a stick and I'm not in the habit of letting my illustrious co-workers down. I had to go out to my locker in the break room and get a fresh pack.

"Well," I said to myself, "Isn't that something."

The third queen had gotten to work early and she was sleeping with her head down on the table in the break room. And as I quietly obtained a pack of gum from my locker I wasn't sure whether to punch something or laugh. I stood there, for a moment in time that will last for eternity, and watched her. Part of me hoped she wasn't actually sleeping, but she was.

Damned trickster shattered my peace of mind again. I think I need a beer.

As I used to do, I keep these as time-stamped logs for future reference.

On broken hearts and broken laptops


"Let people...be satisfied with their food, and pleased with their clothing, and content with their homes..."
      - Tao Te Ching 80 (Red Pine's translation).


Many people have asked for an update on Tessie's guardianship trial, and so here it is. The judge issued a "proposed statement of decision" on 1st August, denying my petition for guardianship and granting legal and physical custody to her biological father. Our trial team pointed out to me that this was a proposed decision, that we had fifteen days in which to lodge objections to elements taken into consideration, and that there would be a thirty-day period for negotiations about logistics of transferring Tess to Port Townsend should the decision go that way.

A few days afterward, her father indicated that he was coming to take her back to his home. Tess has always been very clear on not wanting to be away from Davis, and she indicated to me that she would decline to go. Soon afterward, I received a phone call from the Yolo County Child Abduction Unit stating that I had to arrange for her transfer into his custody. After I explained the legal situation as I had been advised, and pointed out that Tess would be hard to convince, her father came down, and to cut a long and unpleasant story short, she was taken ten days ago on the Saturday afternoon by the local Police and the Child Abduction Unit, and placed in her father's custody.

We had a meeting with the judge yesterday, and she justified her support of Tessie's removal by pointing out that once I was no longer her legal guardian, her father had the right to full custody. <rant> Being a step-parent, I have no rights at all under law, and I have to recognise the legality of the court order, whilst internally railing against the refusal of the legal system to acknowledge my seven years of being an effective and beloved parent. </rant>

She is now living with him in Port Townsend, and whilst she is extremely sad and upset by both the decision and the traumatic removal from Davis, she is showing some signs of starting to settle. She and her father have been to look at a local high school that offers a program similar to the one she was due to attend in Davis, and from what I hear it's a good learning environment.

She calls me every day, and I am still encouraging her to show the same courage and strength in settling down there as she did when resisting the move. To give you an idea of this young woman's nature, she stood and argued her case with several police officers, and her father, on the Friday night before she was forced to go. When I asked her, and told her to pack some bags to head out, she resisted me as well. She has a powerful will and strong spirit, and whilst I know that it will be a tough time for her, I sincerely believe (and hope) that she will settle and thrive. After all, as I told her the night after Christine died, she is carrying her mother's torch in the world, and boy howdy, does it show. She's an astonishing young woman, and I admire her and love her to bits.

I miss Tess enormously, I miss Christine too. The house seems empty, and whilst I am very sad and worried, I carry on, as one must. Tess has told me to look after myself; she's as worried about me as I am about her. I'm doing my best. I walk every day, swim occasionally and am returning to the fold of the local Zen Buddhist group to sit zazen with them. It will be a long and rocky road for us all, but I know that we will come through, hopefully stronger for the experience.

 

In other news, I have gone from one-and-a-half laptops and an iPad to half a laptop and the 'Pad. I say half, because the working machine's screen is broken and I have hooked it up to an external monitor. We don't have much luck with laptops in this house - Tessie's was the first to go, following an accident with the screen. Christine's mainboard broke and it doesn't boot, and mine suffered an ultimately fatal disease of the hinge and has now joined the Doorstop Club. I'm waiting for this one to break so that I can finally justify the purchase of a new machine.

I count my blessings, thankful for over seven years with two of the greatest women I ever met, grateful for wonderful memories, Tessie's love and the joy and support I have from a loving community. Two loving communities, rather - because the noders have given as much encouragement and fillip as everyone in the Real World™. Thank you all for your love, prayers and lit candles. They help.

Let just say you’re at a company party gettin' down and jiggy wit it, okay? All of sudden you have an alcoholic beverage in your sweaty palms just begging to be swallowed. You think, “Why not, even the boss is enjoying a few.” The first disappears without thought and the following drinks disappear just as quickly. Now the party is over and everyone is climbing into their cars and heading home where they arrive unharmed to their waiting families. Do you think the people that drank at that party and then drove home under the influence should be fired, or should it be because they drank a small amount of alcohol at work?

Now, the next time you submit your urine for analysis remember marijuana is safer than alcohol yet this private company has every right to let go anyone they choose even when their actions don’t even interact with the companies safe work place policy for consuming a plant. Even though they not only condone, they support the violation of other laws specifically, Driving while Impaired. Also, ask yourself, would I work for a place that forces a breathalyzer screening that effectively prevents drinking every night except for Friday night and only if it is moderate and I am not scheduled to work for the following two days? Ask yourself, if nicotine becomes a substance reviewed in urinalysis would I fight diligently for the access to this freedom? Would I speak up if bringing caffeinated beverages to work were not allowed? Are any of these scenarios starting to sound like a violation of privacy, or does it sound a lot like a form of slavery where a company tries to oppress the people through their perverted control over our way of life?

Now imagine your co-worker lost their job earlier in the week because of a failed a piss test, not because of consuming marijuana or other drugs while at work, but because of something they consumed nearly a month ago on their own free time. The thing of the matter is, marijuana is the only drug, actually, that a drug test screening is effective because all other drugs are water soluble and are flushed from the body in less than 48 hours. While a metabolized form of the chemical found in marijuana, Tetrahydrocannabinol, can linger for a few months at a time. So the question that begs to be answered is, who is easier to catch in this war on drugs, the chronic crack feign or the infrequent pothead.

It's a bit of a mixed bag, here.

On the one hand, I'm still outside NYC, still pursuing the flying, and still Learning the Ways of the Gun.

On the other hand, I have realized over the past three or four days that I can feel myself tipping back down the slope and sliding out of the light.

I had a discussion about it with a well-meaning but not very comprehending friend. I was asked, in disbelief, "Wait…you're telling me that you spent yesterday driving your 42 year old classic convertible to the airport, flying an airplane for 1.5 hours, and then driving said classic convertible 2.5 hours north through the state of Vermont on a sunny day, and you're depressed?"

Um…

Yes, actually. That's the problem - depression has nothing to do with 'how awesome your life looks to other people' or even 'how awesome your life looks to you, in the abstract.' It can poison anything. It means that things that would otherwise be awesome may merely serve to keep your head above water, to make you feel 'meh, maybe I won't kill myself today.' It might mean that rather than sitting in a corner weeping, you actually do go drive, and fly, and so forth, but you do it feeling strangely neutral - sort of dead inside.

And thus has my August turned.

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