Sep 01 2016
Wow, 40 years old. So crazy.
At the beginning of the year I was looking forward to turning 40. Things weren’t exactly where I wanted them to be, but I had a plan on how to improve things. Then my world fell apart and everything changed. I wasn’t sure how I felt about turning 40 anymore. At the beginning of August, I was kind of dreading the end of the month. I was facing 40 and a probable “antiversary” (where while I’m still technically married…there is no celebration of my marriage day) alone. I fell into a bit of a depression…the events of the year finally catching up to me. If I’m completely honest, that fog of depression is still there…but I’m working on focusing on the good things that happen each day. Inspired by a couple other friends, I have a little running project going on Instagram, where I post a daily (mostly) list of good things. For the most part, each day there are at least a few good things I can identify and remind myself that things aren’t all that bad.
As the days to my 40th counted down, I decided to let this be a new beginning. 39 was probably the toughest year of my life. Just about everything that could be turned upside down was. This year around the sun will be better than the last. I’m working hard on those goals I had at the beginning of the year. Things are already getting better in many of those areas.
Thanks again to my family and friends that came over to celebrate my birthday with me. It was a huge thing for me to be able to spend an afternoon with all of you and really feel the love you have all given me.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/forty/
Aug 16 2016
In another great post from Brain Pickings, Maria Popova muses about friendship and the commodification of the word friend:
I often puzzle over the nature, structure, and function of friendship in human life — a function I have found to be indispensable to my own spiritual survival and, I suspect, to that of most human beings. But during a recent interview on Think Again, I found myself concerned with the commodification of the word “friend” in our culture. We call “friends” peers we barely know beyond the shallow roots of the professional connection, we mistake mere mutual admiration for friendship, we name-drop as “friends” acquaintances associating with whom we feel reflects favorably on us in the eyes of others, thus rendering true friendship vacant of Emerson’s exacting definition. We have perpetrated a corrosion of meaning by overusing the word and overextending its connotation, compressing into an imperceptible difference the vast existential expanse between mere acquaintanceship and friendship in the proper Aristotelian sense.
In countering this conflation, I was reminded of philosopher Amelie Rorty’s fantastic 1976 taxonomy of the levels of personhood and wondered what a similar taxonomy of interpersonhood might look like. I envisioned a conception of friendship as concentric circles of human connection, intimacy, and emotional truthfulness, each larger circle a necessary but insufficient condition for the smaller circle it embraces.“I live my life in widening circles,” Rilke wrote.
Read the whole post here: https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/08/16/friendship/
Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/on-friendship/
Aug 15 2016
Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/morning-song/
Jul 18 2016
My sister, who has been living in Hungary, was able to move up her flight moving back to the states a week and arrived to PDX on Friday night. Since one of my parents had to come up from Eugene to pick her up from the airport, I decided to head down with them and catch a Bolt Bus home on Sunday. Despite getting back to Eugene right around midnight, the whole family went over to sit with Grandpa for a little bit.
Each day we went over for a little bit and basically just watched him sleep.
I went with an old friend on Sunday morning (who knew him well), and then once more by myself right before I had to head down to the bus stop to go home. As I left, I kissed his forehead and told him I loved him one last time.
Overnight, he passed away peacefully in his sleep. His journey on this crazy planet complete.
I’m going to miss you grandpa.
I’m happy he got to meet both of my sisters children before he passed away. Someday I hope to tell my own children stories about him.
This is one of the last pictures of him, from the weekend James was born:
I love you grandpa.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/grandpa-mike-final-part/
Jul 15 2016
For most of my college years, I lived in the mother in-law suite at my Grandparents house. During that time, I acquired a dog from a co-worker. Bruno was approx 2 yrs old when I got him (but his age wasn’t really known). My grandparents had huge back yard with plenty of room for him to run (and run and run and run). Inside the house…he was pretty good at following basic instructions, but when he was outside it was like all hearing disappeared. He was a mix of Walker Hound and Black Lab (at least).
When I moved up to Portland in 2004, Bruno stayed at my grandparents house. He was happier there than he would have been able to be anywhere I would have been able to live at the time. He truly became my grandparents dog though the time one of them fell (either in the bathroom or outside…my memory is failing me at the moment) and the other was either outside or in the house. Bruno went and found the other of them to get their attention and lead them to the other.
Bruno lived a long time. I got him sometime in 2000 and he finally had to be put down just last year (or maybe late 2014…dates seem to be failing me at the moment). As much of a pain in the ass Bruno could be at times. I’m glad he was able to be a companion to my grandparents for a while. I know he loved being there with him.
Love you Grandpa.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/grandpa-mike-part-3/
Jul 14 2016
My grandpa was released from the hospital yesterday and while he recovered from the surgery and the initial reasons he was hospitalized, he’s having problems eating. Per his wishes (and after consulting with the doctors), there isn’t really much that can be done for that as he’s not a good candidate for further surgery that would help him take in food easier. Basically he’s now in care to manage pain and be comfortable. But most likely it’s just a matter of time. He’s 92, he’s lived a long good life. Was at home until going into the hospital on the 3rd. He’s outlived his wife by 9.5 years (so far). Not to shabby, especially for a family where the men don’t typically make it into their 90s.
I’m going to miss him though. He has been a huge part of my life growing up and who I’ve become. I’m not really ready to see him go (selfishly).
I love you Grandpa.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/grandpa-mike-part-2/
Jul 14 2016
For Lost Friends
As twilight makes a rainbow robe
From the concealed colors of day
In order for time to stay alive
Within the dark weight of night,
May we lose no one we love
From the shelter of our hearts.
When we love another heart
And allow it to love us,
We journey deep below time
Into that eternal weave
Where nothing unravels.
May we have the grace to see
Despite the hurt of rupture,
The searing of anger,
And the empty disappointment,
that whoever we have loved,
Such love can never quench.
Though a door may have closed,
Closed between us,
May we be able to view
Our lost friends with eyes
Wise with calming grace;
Forgive them the damage
We were left to inherit;
Free ourselves from the chains
Of forlorn resentment;
Bring warmth again to
Where the heart has frozen
In order that beyond the walls
Of our cherished hurt
And chosen distance
We may be able to
Celebrate the gifts they brought,
Learn and grow from the pain,
And prosper into difference,
Wishing them the peace
Where spirit can summon
Beauty from wounded space.
– John O’Donohue (from To Bless the Space Between Us)
Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/for-lost-friends/
Jul 11 2016
New track from Irish singer James Vincent McMorrow that I’m digging:
Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/rising-water/
Jul 06 2016
My Grandpa is in the hospital from the result of a fall in the middle of last week. From what my dad has told me, they expect everything to be ok and for him to recover fully. But he is also 92 and had to have surgery to relieve pressure on his brain yesterday. He’s my last grandparent left, and I was close to him growing up (spent summers at my grandparents house when we lived in Florence, and then I lived in the mother in-law suite at their house while I was in college). Please send any good thoughts/prayers his way.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/grandpa-mike/
Jul 05 2016
The narratives we create based on our perspectives are interesting. How two people can view the same thing in very different ways. My divorce is one of those things. When we did couples counseling last summer and fall, I took a hard look at things I had done our relationship and tried to work on improving those things. As I look back on how I did in making those improvements, I know I didn’t fully succeed. It was hard knowing what was working and what was not working, because our communication wasn’t as good as it could have been or needed to be (and this is on both of us). Stagnant communication was a large part of why we stopped couples counseling in the fall (as we weren’t really communicating about anything serious even in that environment).
The narrative that I’ve seen from A is largely based on the fight we had the night she left. She does mention some of the things that I’ve pointed out in earlier posts where I failed in our marriage, but there is a lot of weight put on that one evening. Even then our perspective of that evening is quite different from each other. Personally, the weight put on that evening seems a bit disingenuous to me, as at least by appearances and actions, she had already decided to leave the marriage. Again, this is only my perspective on the subject, because I don’t feel like I got the completely honest story from her in the weeks leading up to her leaving. That fight doesn’t happen if she’s more honest with me in those preceding weeks (even if it had just been “I don’t want to be married anymore,” a question I had asked a version of a few weeks before). The words said that night didn’t break something that was fixable, it was already broken beyond repair (and yes A, if you ever do read this…I said words that night that came from a place of hurt and anger, and there is no excuse for that. I do take responsibility for those words and I don’t actually think they are true.)
I am in complete agreement though that the marriage needed to end. That it was over when she left the house on April 26th. There was most definitely no going back at that point (even if I wasn’t ready to admit that at the time). Our relationship had become something that was unhealthy for both of us. I could easily list off a bunch of perceived wrongs, but that really isn’t the point. It’s not going to do me any good to focus on things that are in the past. While I’d like to see some acknowledgement of her role in our marriage ending as part of her narrative, I know that’s something I’m not likely to see. Unfortunately the foundation we built our marriage on wasn’t a stable one and when the earth shook, the marriage couldn’t hold up to the shaking.
I wish things could have ended more amicably. That we could have actually had a discussion about how we could have parted ways in a way where there wouldn’t be the animosity that seems to be there now. That we could have processed our divorce paperwork and division of assets without having to spend a bunch of money to have attorneys do that for us. But this is what the circumstances of that last evening seem to have left us with. One lawyer talking to another lawyer, each talking to us, all the while billing us an hourly rate.
Thankfully, there isn’t any real difficult issues in our divorce case. The lawyers will put together a proposal and we’ll sign it and it’ll get submitted to the court. Once that happens, it’ll be 2-3 weeks and a judge will sign the paperwork and we’ll be officially divorced. It could even happen before we get to what would have been our 3 year anniversary.
With that a new perspective on the past eight years of my life will formed. Who I am will have changed.
I have a plan for the next few years, much of which was already planned before divorce became the reality.
I’m applying for new jobs (with better salaries)…and figuring out things that really excite me vocationally and hopefully finding myself in a position that meets both of those things.
I’ve got a plan to aggressively pay off my consumer debt that I allowed myself to fall into again. I was debt free (with the exception of student loans), when I moved back to Portland in 2012. Making better financial decisions and aggressively attacking the debt was something I dedicated myself to at the beginning of this year. At the time, I had different reasons driving that than I do know (wanting to relieve some of the financial stress on our marriage, getting ready to be in a better place to have kids, etc). Actually I suppose those reasons are still pretty similar to post-divorce goals as well. I want to be less financially stressed, so when I do have an opportunity to have a family again I won’t have to worry as much about the finances of it.
I’m working on continuing to nurture and improve my relationships (both personal and professional). My friends have been such a great source of support the past few months and I’ve tried to make sure they know how much I appreciate and cherish those friendships. I’ve been able to grow closer to my family again. I’ve seen a nephew in his first hour of life. I’ve formed new friendships with some amazing people. I’ve very much lucked into a great set of housemates, neighbors, and landlords.
I already feel healthier than I have since last summer. My stomach has settled down and I’ve lost some weight. My sleep schedule has returned to normal as well in the past month (after a few months of not sleeping well).
The future is wide open and it looks good!
Permanent link to this article: https://www.rhinoblues.com/thoughts/2016/perspective/