Category Archives: Personal

Little Stars And Sunday Morning

The black cat was back this morning, though I didn’t realize it until I saw TWO black cats down the landing – one of them being my cat Güino. Luckily, the old scruffy and long-haired black cat was friendly. It sat and meowed at Güino, somehow knowing that he was the equivalent to the Gump of cats. The scruffy black cat had on an ornate collar and looked well-fed. I don’t know why it recently started coming up to the landing to lay and watch the activity below. It’s no bird hunter. If Danny DeVito were a cat, this would be him. I walked down and had a conversation with both cats before picking up Güino and cradling him. The black cat was being social; my cat was fussing and pissy because he wasn’t ready to leave his new would-be friend.

The morning was hot, even at 3 a.m. But the breeze was brisk and lovely.

Yesterday, I went to the new discount store in the old Toys Я Us building. The prices change depending on the day. It was fun sorting through the messy bins. Most of the things are of course overpriced. There’s a section where you can buy a $50 mystery box, too. The store will do well at first, given that it’s new. For me, anything of interest I found tended to make me want to find it on Amazon (where most of the stock originates) and buy it there. The best find was a red frilly unitard-looking article of clothing! Can you imagine me wearing that? Yes, you can. I apologize in advance for the mental image.

Someone left me an ornate surprise/offering on my doorstep last night. He or she scattered a handful of decorative stars around the door, too, an added flourish that made me laugh. Yes, that’s one of those eyeballs that floats in the liquid inside a clear orb. There’s also a cat silhouette pin and two crosses on beads. It almost looks as if the person gifting me the little plate of surprises left an offering to my fairy/sprite Larkma, who presumably still uses the fairy door in the picture. It’s almost certainly a female who left me the surprise; my logic isn’t necessarily solid though because something like this is exactly what I might do and according to my birth certificate, I’m allegedly male. My inability to listen when it’s in my best interest is all the proof I really need, though.

A friend posted a picture and tribute of someone she loved who passed away a few years ago. I went into the rabbit hole of using my research skills to find her footprints in life. She lived one month short of 100 years. Though I never knew her, I imagined the tapestry of her life through the years. Millions of stories. Can you imagine how many she had in one hundred years?

In the last few days, even though my powerful laptop isn’t supported for Windows 11, I did the workaround and installed it anyway. (It’s ridiculous that an I-7 processor and 16GB of RAM might not be enough.) I keep my important stuff backed up locally and in the cloud, so the worst-case scenario was going to be a pain in the ass reverting if it didn’t work. I’m not afraid to try anything, a lesson I learned from a friend named Jason years ago. I’m still aghast at how many people don’t scan and keep their precious photos safe, whether they are on their phones or in albums that human eyes never adore. My main computer is named “backupeverything” as a constant reminder that if you’re not vigilant, you will lose everything at some point. It’s inevitable, like snagging your pocket or sleeve on a drawer when you shut it.

Ann Landers said this: “If you want your children to listen, try talking softly to someone else.”

I’d add a corollary I wrote: “If you want people to talk about you, do anything interesting or different – or be happy.”

Love, X
.

Rebuilt Desk

I rescued a desk that was broken. I disassembled it and brought the side supports home. (Although the idea of a broken desk strapped to the top of my little bitty car amuses me.)

I got a great quality top and lightly sanded it, then put a clear coat on it… instead of an outlandish color. The stripped down version is amazingly minimalist. The large x on both ends is all the flair it needs. I somehow resisted painting the side supports too. As a non-recovered paint addict, this was very tough for me.
.

Walk

I’m out walking and exploring a foreign neighborhood. It started from an unplanned walk, one I would never experience inside my little world of the apartment. I’m certainly not killing time. Time can’t be killed, only experienced or passively ignored. It’s racing past. No matter how much you think you know about how fleeting life is, there is an undeniable recognition of it when you get older. Your spirit wants a bite of all of it, but the creature comforts in our residences and the magnetic pull of routine keep us in place.

I was able to pet a friendly duck, one who waddled up to me unexpectedly in a place I would not have expected to see it. I stopped and exchanged pleasantries with an older man in a wheelchair, his faithful little dog and companion begging me for attention. I of course kneeled down and hugged and petted him. The older man laughed in delight. I saw rabbits and birds galore. At one place in a small meadow, the proper word for which is glen, the multitude of birds chirping and singing drowned out the traffic.

When I started, I was surrounded by commerce and restaurants and diners outside drinking and talking loudly. The same occurred upon my return. They too are enjoying the world outside of their homes. It’s nice to see that covid didn’t eradicate our social nature. People are supposed to be surrounded by people. So much of the toxicity in our own heads is the result of our not practicing this truth.

I hope each of you had a lemon moment this afternoon.

Whether you did or not, I am reminded why it’s not wise to take a really long walk wearing flip-flop sandals. I would do it again though.

Love, X

Ugly Men

As I entered the inconvenience store, I noted that the line was long. I couldn’t help but notice that the two older gentlemen in front of me were mocking the cashier. He supported orange hair, along with eyebrows and mustache to match. He also had a purple heart died in the back. The level of scorn spewing from the two guys made me cringe. When it was my turn to pay, I enthusiastically complimented him on his hair and apologized on behalf of all the assholes like the two gentlemen who preceded me. Their ugliness on display far exceeds any perceived ridiculousness on the part of the happy cashier.

X
.

A Time For Sundays

I commented on my sister’s social media. Ecclesiastes is my favorite book of the Christian bible. I still have the hand-written copy a friend’s daughter transcribed for me a few years ago. I asked my friend Mike to tell his daughter I’d pay her to do it; instead, he paid her. I like to think the beauty of some of the passages stuck with her as she sat and patiently copied the words onto the pages of the special journal in which she noted them. I’m lucky to have it after it temporarily escaped from me last year. I’m not much into possessions but this one hits most of the notes for something worth keeping. Having said that, I know that one day I will again find someone who needs the words and I’ll gift it to him or her. It’s likely the recipient won’t know the story behind it. I’ve had my eye out, waiting. Somehow, I know I’ll find the right person one day. Given that the person who transcribed it for me will probably be a well-known author one day, it will undoubtedly become priceless – and then I’ll regret it. It’s odd to me that I know several people who would be phenomenal authors.

I’m not into religious dogma at all. So much of it is transparently created by men with foolish purposes. But it is foolish to skip over wisdom where you can find it. Anything that makes me think and be introspective is always welcome.

If such things interest you, look for “Time Of Our Lives” by Paul van Dyk. He’s a German DJ and musician. This song evokes the message of Ecclesiastes and yet also infects your head with a catchy melody.

“Light is sweet,
and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.
However many years anyone may live,
let them enjoy them all.
But let them remember the days of darkness,
for there will be many.
Everything to come is meaningless.”

Regardless of ‘who’ wrote it, people still argue whether the book Ecclesiastes is optimistic or pessimistic. I like that. Modern people who pay attention to their inner voices and the world struggle with the same themes all these centuries later.

It isn’t that life is meaningless. But if you don’t feel purposeful, it gets that way quickly. And if you don’t find pleasure in the simple moments between the Kodak moments, you are definitely doing life wrong. ‘

Sister Monica Joan, from Call The Midwife: “If there’s one thing the religious life has taught me, it’s that it’s impossible to love too much. What’s needed is taken up, and what’s not needed hangs around somewhere, looking for a home”

Who is that in the picture, you ask? That’s a possible genetic outcome for me, if the road had forked in that direction. AI algorithms are becoming amazing. It’s strange that the person in the picture doesn’t exist. She looks familiar. 🙂

Love, X
.

FitBit Bingo Whining

Fitbit challenge notes…Not the most interesting post in the world, but an annoyance with Fitbit watch challenges…

I’m 55 and once weighed 100 lb more. I compete in challenges with people who are 30-plus years younger than me.

The Get Fit Bingo challenges aren’t fair. My goal numbers are always two to three times higher than the other participants. They shouldn’t use the word “bingo.” In that game, everyone draws from the same numbers. The game does not know who to participants are, nor does it make some cards harder than others.

I finally got confirmation through screenshots that my numbers were two to four times higher than everyone else’s. That’s okay, except they assign a winner. If I walk 150,000 steps, do 400 zone minutes and 500 flights of stairs, and the alleged winner does 1/3 of that, are they really the winner?

I compare it to playing genius-level trivial pursuit while the other participants are playing “who is smarter than a 5th grader.” If they are going to declare a winner, we should be competing on a level playing field.

What’s interesting are the arguments some people use to justify the disparity. They use my level of activity as a reason, saying some people are overweight or don’t walk as much. That’s exactly the point, isn’t it? I don’t get a handicap for being the oldest of all the competitors- and that’s usually the first reason given for such things. That is why we have age categories for so many sports. The varying groups don’t compete with each other.

With Get Fit Bingo, we are allegedly competing against one another for the trophy.

Other justifications given are that I am taking the word “Bingo” too literally. Fit Bit can use another word if they’d like. The rules of Bingo use a clearly set group of numbers. The arrangement might be random, but the numbers themselves are constant. Some people don’t get cards with fewer numbers on them. Everyone is playing the same numbers.

Each participant can choose his or her level of activity. If we are all running a race, each of us runs the same mile. And with other sports, each of us is treated as an equal participant.

That’s why I won’t do Get Fit Bingo challenges anymore.

People were already reluctant to compete with me due to my zeal and dedication in trying to make them earn their wins.

We’re all supposed to be running the same race.

I attached a screenshot. In that example, I am required to walk 97,600 steps and walk 43.3 miles. The other participant? He or she is only required to walk 49,000 steps and complete 18.4 miles.

Whoever finishes first “wins.” How is that a win? We’re not competing evenly.

Spin Away

Can you tell the difference between the ordinary and the epic?

I was walking a little after 1 a.m. this morning, the surprising warmth of Tuesday morning propelling me. I walked the loop and made my way to College Avenue. The busy road was desolate and lit, no cars, no people. Just me looking at its urban beauty. Though you won’t understand it unless you’ve experienced the weird joy of seeing the world at such an hour, I felt like I walked on air.

When I walked back, I made the slow curve by Miller Street. As I neared a small Nissan, I realized that someone was laying on the hood. I was already upon him, less than two feet away. “Hey, good morning,” he said, his voice deep. “Yes, same to you.” I wanted to ask him why he was laying on the hood, under the shadows of the trees overhead and handing above the street and car. Maybe he was enjoying the solitude. Maybe he was banished from the house. Maybes – a lot of them accumulating in my mind.

At the corner, there were a dozen memorial day-themed little spinners scattered by the sidewalk. I picked one up and brought it home. I disassembled it and painted its two circles in different vibrant colors. As I painted, I watched a neighbor load her vehicles as part of her move to a different apartment. She has her own issues, her teenage boy the cause of the move. I wanted to tell her that moving wasn’t going to fix the problem. People take their problems with them, even to shiny new places.

Later today, after the hectic post-holiday workday is finished, I will assemble the spinner and put it on the balcony. Though it will have been only twelve hours, it will seem as if I found it five minutes before. The unseen wind will power it until the plastic wears out and breaks.

.

More Projects Finished

I finished the child’s rocking chair project. It was a very old one that had been in use for a long time. I put new screws in it and shaved down some of the dowels, glued them, and then sanded until I was sick of it. Instead of crazy color, I used lacquer black. Because I decided to give it to a neighbor’s little boy, I painted his name on the back. I surprised the dad with it this morning. I love the idea that it’s an old chair, sat on by hundreds of children. Then discarded and rescued. Everyone needs a rocking chair. (Except maybe for those with hemorrhoids and skittish cats. Probably includes people with cats with hemorrhoids, too.)

On the new section of the fence facing Gregg, I painted a series of sizes and colors of hexagon tiles and made a spiral pattern with them. The picture is not great because it is hotter than a demon’s right buttcheek out there and the sun blinded me as I snapped a photo. I made a pattern to make each spiral exact. After starting, I did what I usually do and decided that I like asymmetrical much better and opted to wing it and let them harden regardless of spacing and orientation. Having finished it, I would like to say it didn’t take much time to do. It did, however. Now the passersby have another design to stare at as they whiz by on their way to whatever and wherever.

Love, X
.

Sunday Notes From The Early Hours

I stopped and stood next to the pond near the golf course. In front of me, a huge turtle, one with a 24″ diameter, soaked up the intermittent sun. Beyond the pond, two golfers were stopped on their golf cart. They both jumped off. The first one spent a few seconds pantomiming the swing of an experienced golfer. He then took his swing. The ball bounced about a foot in front of him and died. I couldn’t help it. I burst out laughing. How the golfer heard my guffaw above the sound of the fountain in the center of the pond is a mystery. He angrily turned toward me and shouted, “F—- off!” I laughed even harder. His partner burst out laughing as well. I couldn’t help myself. I shouted back, “You can’t even hit a little ball in front of you so I’m not worried about you trying to hit me, either!” At this point, his partner doubled over with his hands on his knees, laughing, even as the foiled golfer went through a series of angry faces. I waved goodbye. I took a look back at the chalk work I’d completed in a long stretch across the sidewalk. I’d written a hilarious truth there, in large, scrawling letters. I wanted to add, “Pick another sport,” but I laughed instead.

I discovered again why I shouldn’t cut my own hair. (Or anyone else’s, for that matter.) As careful as I thought I had been, the back of my head looks like I engaged in a wrestling match with a wolverine. I kind of like it.

I was outside painting by 1:30 this morning. My neighbors love the smell of paint at all hours. It combines well with the aroma of marijuana. I should market a scent with both infused into the spray. It’s interesting to observe the activity that normally goes unobserved at that hour. Yesterday morning I watched as a sedan pulled up to the dumpster and miraculously removed an insane number of pieces of furniture from the interior and dumped them illegally. Later, I went out armed with tools and deconstructed all the pieces, and threw them in the dumpster. I couldn’t believe all of it somehow emerged from that mid-size car. About 3 a.m. this morning, a vehicle ran the red light across the street and stopped before accidentally driving into the vacant lot that is currently under construction. Whoever was driving sat there for at least fifteen seconds. I assume they were unclenching their buttcheeks, given they were probably drunk and definitely inattentive. At 4:27, I came back up the stairs, returning from the fence where I’d installed a dozen more tiles. A large rat ran from the corner, along the railing, past my feet, and then took the stairs like a track athlete. I was going to give him a hug but he seemed to be dreadfully afraid of me. Why he ran toward and around me is a mystery.

Luckily, Güino wasn’t outside or he would have lost his mind trying to give that rat a hug. He doesn’t know any better. He’s happy, though. He just finished drinking some horrid cat food juice when I snapped this picture.

I leave my long kitchen window uncovered. I don’t worry about break-ins. I think the dozens of heavy rocks on my landing provide ample means for entry if they’re interested enough. I do have decoy keys hanging right by the door. It tickles me to imagine some would-be intruder standing there trying the keys in plain sight. I’m hoping the LED lights I leave oscillating confuse both neighbors and drivers along Gregg.

It’s been windy this morning and in the low-70s. You might not believe how great it feels out there!

Love, X
.

A Face To Surprise

I finally broached the new section of fence that runs parallel to the street. It was installed to conceal the beautiful dumpster here at the apartments. I wish it weren’t there so that everyone could easily see my massive fence project. In my opinion, the juxtaposition of the dumpster and my art project don’t contradict each other at all. Art and color should be in places that otherwise would be unadorned.

It’s hard for me to remember what it looked like before my arrival. It is all transitory of course. Everything and everyone is. But we can’t let that recognition stop us from brightening whatever surrounds us.

The pictograph in blue is a version of a smiling face that once was part of my legal signature, back when I had just one name. I have so many stories about those days! It tickles me to think of all the drivers and passersby who will see it and suddenly realize that a face is looking back at them.

Love, X
.