Showing posts from 2004

Let It Snow

And boy is it. Thankfully my elevation has been right at the snow line through this last series of Sierra storms, or we'd be completely stuck. We've had hours of rain, then hours of snow. It snowed a good eight or ten inches last night, still, and luckily the plow had come by once so I could shovel my wife's car out of the driveway and she made it to work (before dawn). She called a few minutes ago to tell me she was there; I feel better getting the call.

Because we live in a town where it snows occasionally during the winter, sometimes heavily, but work and go to church below snowline, we don't have snow tires on our subarus. (Without an all wheel or four wheel drive up here, forget it; I see those poor souls putting on chains on dangerous roadsides in heavy snows all the time and thank God we could afford new cars). We try to put good tires on and make sure they're pretty new when winter hits, but we don't have actual snow tires because they wear so qui…

A Brief Note

It's 2:00 in the morning, it's been snowing and blowing for hours. The power keeps popping in an out (literally; a blue flash from somewhere out there, a thump sound, and no power; a minute later, the same phenomena and the power returns; some kind of high voltage damage in the neighborhood lines). Since I could lose this post at any moment, I'll make it very short.

I'm not on the emotional holiday high of a few days ago, but I'm okay. We've spent the last two or three days inside mostly, going for snow walks, having snowball fights that are much too short by Mikey's standards. The next two days it's really supposed to snow. We'll see. We had a few days of rain first, unusual for this time of year, but the weather in the Sierra is forever tied to California and that town fights the fourth season all it can.

I don't know why I'm up. Partly to keep the wood stove hot so the living room won't be freezing if we do lose power for the…

Poem at Yule

Okay, this isn't actually a poem, and I again I find myself without time: we fed our dogs so much beef fat and bone left over from our roast, they've had the squirts for two days. All over my office carpet, mostly. Things like that take time to clean. I want to write about advent, but it will have to wait. Considering I attend a liturgical chuch, I guess this is only day two of the twelve anyway. I have until epiphany to reflect on the greatest of all holidays.

I will say a few things though. One, the last few days have been good for me. At times, very good. Nearly as good as I think mood can get. I am very grateful for that, for the lack of anxiety and obsession and depression and pain. I think it came from releasing so much energy over my father. I have much more work there to go, but I'll take the better days when I can. Sincere, heartfelt thanks to all who have prayed.

My mood began to lift about a week ago when I read Amanda's post about Handel's …


I sincerely appreciate the kind comments below. And those of you who I know pray. There a handful of damned cool people who support me here, and I'm truly grateful.

It really is funny: I began this wanting to write apologetic articles. And here I am, using the blog as a share resource, a strange, I want to say immaterial context for a support group, but one that helps me still.

And I will say, again, that while Sunday was even worse (and my mood slump started, of all things, with Favre's first interception) I got through it intact and Sunday night when S came home was actually good; today was also pretty good. I'm lifting weights again consistently, and that truly helps. Iron and steel. Nothing like it. I swear it changes my whole chemistry.

It's late and I want to go to bed, but a couple things first:

For what it's worth, my brother did get presents, at least as nice as the ones S and I got. How about that. And my dad is visiting them this week. Yet the…

Back to Friday

well, yesterday was also hard. My therapist had been to a conference and heard some psychiatrist say that ocd is not an anxiety disorder, though it's fueled by anxiety, etc.; the speaker said, 'it's a brain disorder, and is treated with the antipsychotic medication risperdal.' Fucking great. What does that mean? I did a little web research, and in fact sometimes that med is used to treat ocd in conjunction with the ssri's (you know, the ones with all the nice commercials) or sometimes alone. But an antipsychotic? No one knows why risperdal works for schizophrenia and bipolar mania (and I must thank God I don't have these disorders, especially the first) so of course no one knows why it helps ocd.

Of course, I know I'm not psychotic. I know that I never will be. But the idea of suffering hard-wired into my brain is quite terrifying; one of my great core fears, and one of the reasons I've had so much trouble feeling my hard feelings over the yea…

Sunday's Child

I must say, yesterday was mostly a good day; at times, it was a brilliant, best of the year day. Story of my life.

I had a hard Saturday. How hard? Well, listen to "Tourette's" on In Utero and you'll get an idea. The lift began driving home; I got so angry at my father, at ocd, at everything. A friend called me on my cell; I pulled over and just let it go, talked it out for ten intense minutes. He said, 'what do you need right now, feeling so intense?' And I thought of what my therapist says, 'you have to move it, move the feeling out.' So I talked, and did.

And then yesterday morning I was in church (I've missed the last two weeks though it's advent). Despite all my doubts, there is no way to deny the empirical value (sounds sterile, I know) of being in Christian community. Of hearing the gospel reading, of taking the body and blood in faith. For the altar rail is about the only place my doubt disappears, and I prayed briefly but …

Friday's Child

Another Friday, another sesssion in my therapist's office talking about my father and seeing B, my stepbro. Is she pushing me? It really doesn't feel that way. But it is very hard for me after those sessions, especially the first couple of days. Obsessions, depression, and in my better moments, hurt, anger, fear. My head is much above water compared to where it would have been a few years ago with all this dad contact going on. This is, after all, my core, or half of it. Still, it is harder than I thought it would be.

I finally worked out today, lifted and cardio. First time in probably three weeks. Second time in probably two months. It was great, but it far from fixed everything I'm feeling.

Came home, cranked up rob zombie and manson on napster. I need the angry music (I worked out to limp bizkit on the head set); I have to keep my anger in front of me or it will drive me into despair and deep, obsessive loops: either of these is a form of self-abuse. I&#…

A Twist in the Plot

I'm behind in my grading and haven't worked out in two weeks. Bad deal. I'm hoping to get my butt into the gym in the morning. On the positive: Mikey won his basketball game tonight. And something else....

I got a call Monday afternoon from my stepbrother, my stepmother's youngest son, a guy I used to hang out with (and get drunk with, on occasion) when we were teenagers and my dad had first married his mom. I haven't talked to him in almost 20 years. Probably not seen him in 15. It turns out he was in Sac. on business and thought of calling me. Considering that I'm slogging through so many issues with my father, and have been in contact with my dad for more than a year, it's astounding that I found myself back in contact with this guy.

So we had lunch Tues. It was a good, and for me, validating conversation. He sees the madness in my father and even in his mother, though he seems more loyal than I. He did put in the heavy pitch at the…

Doug the Tree

Oh guys, what a crappy afternoon. The Green Bay Packers, the only team in any sport I half follow, got killed in record kill-style. Brett Favre left the game. And the Christmas tree Mikey and I bought didn't work out. How can this be?

There are a dozen live tree lots where I live, at least. I like to cut the tree live because it lasts so long; green well to epiphany. Mike and I went out two days ago, had fun trapsing around a very small lot near our house. We beat the crowds (and you should see the lines of traffic heading back to Sacramento, trees atop) but had a hard time finding a tree. We ended up cutting the top half off a tree, unsure how big it really was.

When we brought it in today (at halftime, no less) it was huge. I mean huge. We have a peaked wood ceiling, and there was no way it would fit. So I started cutting. Off the bottom. Off the top. Ohmygod I'm starting to laugh now. Because by the the time we were done, what tree was left, the middle of the…

A Far, Far, Better Thing

Today was very hard. I saw my therapist, and it seems as though feelings I've held back about my father, the way I've felt around him and in response to things he has done, is flooding me; a new pain, yet an old pain. My life was so crazy for so many years...Estella, the girl after her, Robert and Keith, and above all my obsessions, shoving all other players from the stage of my mind. I believe this is called growth. It feels almost like madness. But I have been through worse, and I've been through this before as a child with no support whatsoever, and I survived. And I will survive this.

But I want more than just survival. I want closeness with my spouse, my son, as much inner peace and freedom from anxiety as I can find in this life. Clarity of purpose. The love of God. Is all this too much to ask?

I am not a Dickens fan per se. I've read a handful of the novels, Expectations, Bleak House, Hard Times, maybe another I don't recall, and now Tale of Two…

Who's Your Daddy?

I appreciate the kind comments to my post below; my bro read it, and told me when I saw him it was 100 percent accurate. Well, is that good or bad?

My trip to Long Beach was good, though mostly hard. I always get triggered, anxious and/or depressed, when I travel south, even though I never regret the trips, and so much good comes from them. I saw my little baby niece, only ten days old! I had the best talk I may have ever had with my brother, mostly about Dad. And I generally did cool stuff: went to Getty for the first time (saw Wesley Clark) at lunch and roaming the galleries; Huntington Library for the twentieth time probably; hit the Queen Mary, the Observation Bar, this little art deco bar in the front of the ship. Why the band was playing cheesy top 40 instead of jazz is beyond me.

And incidentally, you can go onto that ship for free at night, and no one is around. It's really very cool. I saw a couple who had brought taco bell up and was eating at a table on the s…

Roots 1.0

the causes of depression and anxiety, and for that matter ocd, are not definite. It depends who you ask. Most likely, there is a cluster of causes, and every individual is just that, an individual. But while there may be a genetic component, a chemical component, a behavioral and cognitive component, there is most certainly an emotional element. And upbringing, home environment, trauma and the resulting anxiety/hypersensitivity, these things are clear players in my own struggle.

Fact is, it's been a hard month and a half. The whole work/teaching online thing, while it has settled down now (and I have will be able to teach online at least two more years) completely triggered me. It felt all too like the insecurity and parental distance and disapproval I lived with my whole life. After having a couple of really good months, very hopeful months where I was not anxious or even obsessing, my symptoms crept back in as the work thing was unfolding. Now that I feel better about th…

Cheerios and Bananas

A while back I mentioned how S turned me on to cheerios and bananas. Today, by pure chance, I discovered the perfect addition: soy milk. I was out of regular milk, and went with the soy, and oh man. Cheerios, banana slices, and Silk soy milk is heaven my friends.

In other news: S got into grad school for psychology; she wants to be a therapist. They told her at interview they were only taking 50 percent of those interviewed, and this is at a CSU (the only place she could go because of where we live). And she got in. I knew she would; she is such a brilliant conversationalist, but you never know with those things. When we found out, we both cried.


San Fran

I've been working on my Schweitzer response, but it keeps getting longer and I'm unsatisfied with what I have. It is coming, though, for what it's worth.

But what I want to talk about now is THE CITY. Saturday when S and I woke up Mikey was out of town (an unusual combo; generally S works when he's gone) and she looked at me and said, 'san francisco.' And I said, 'yeah,' and we went.

It took about three hours from my house to Powell, a little over two driving to Walnut Creek (where I was born) and then the rest on BART, through the east bay, oakland, under the water, and then into San Fran proper.

Man, what a town.

The weather was warmer than we expected, but we caught a cab right away to the Legion of Honor, one of the fine arts museums. I have never been. It's far on the west side of the penninsula; you can see the water from the grounds. They have an impressive Rodin collection, and I saw paintings by Rembrandt (what a master) Picasso, Mon…

The Red and the Blue

I admit I haven't read Lakoff's book, Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think, but I heard his interview on npr and found his metaphor one of the most interesting political ideas I've heard. You can hear the complete interview at npr's website here. He's a professor at Berkeley, and that sonorous voice is a little dreamy, but his concepts, his metaphor of the family to understand the world-views of those on the left and the right, is ingenious.

Even if you don't buy his description, the questions posed at the beginning of the interview remain. Why do many on the right feel so strongly about gay marriage and abortion, but also often support the death penalty, the use of the american military abroad, and oppose many social programs which are designed to feed and educate?

And while I've never raised an infant, Lakoff's thesis reminds me of the Ezzos' On Becoming Babywise. The Ezzos have backed off their original, and rather inflexible,…

The Drive By Truckers and A Penny for the Old Guy

I know, those of you who have heard of this band or will now listen to them will think I've gone off the edge of some rural, barn-dotted horizon. But DBT really aren't country; they're dirt rock, if I can coin a phrase. And I recommend them.

I actually got their album, Decoration Day, free in the mail from Steph's BMG club. Free. I didn't play it until one day last summer when I was laying wood in the hallway and grabbed the nearest thing. This album has true poetry. If you have napster, check it out. Buy it if if you're feeling adventurous, and give it a a few spins before you write it off. A very different sensibility. A couple songs, like Gun in the Closet, remind me of moods I find in Robert Frost's poetry, but that's the only thing yankee about this album.

Like Social D., like New Bomb Turks or (the ex) Bikini Kill, DBT is an underrated but brilliant band. Next time Brittany's latest hit causes you to choke on bubble gum, try some DBT.…

The Day After

The election is over, you that know me know I am disappointed, both in Bush's victory and in my country. I realize that last is harsh, and I know some of you must have voted for Bush, the two friends we have up here our age are ardent supporters of Bush, but that's how I feel. History will speak in future decades and tell me whether I am right or wrong. God will speak to each of us, and that will be the only enforced final word.

Blessed are the peacemakers

I don't even want to go into why I dislike Bush's administration so much, or challenge the christian right that had so much to do with electing him. Or talk about Iraq. Or the evangelical view of homosexuality. The one bright side I see is I'll have another healthy tax return; hopefully I'll consider doing something with that money to alleviate the suffering of others. Probably I'll buy a laptop and furniture for my house. Certainly my stock market pittance is going up today.

So what do I want to t…

Halloween Epilogue

After reading Sheri's halloween post here and her Montana-loving post here I am humbled. She has taken to the new culture so quickly. I know I'd go into shock singing clementine with cowboys I knew I now lived with; I don't even have any snap-button shirts. I have a hard time where I am, in a little closet of mountain culture, less than an hour from a fairly large city, less than three hours from S.F., one of the greatest cities in the world.

Why? Why has the culture up here been hard for me, for us? I don't know, but it's something I want to think about. Sheri and Andy are doing so well under the Big Sky I have to look at my own attitudes, my own lack of faith, my own fear and anger. Not that I don't like the Sierras, but I've been here three and a half years and I still feel isolated. A couple we know, really the only couple our age we hang out with, had a halloween party two nights ago (S and I went as Kerry cheerleaders) and we ended up at a lit…


It's been a rough week. I'm so busy I haven't been reading other blogs, let alone posting to them, and there is so much crap going on at work right now...I know it will all work itself out in some sense, but I don't like the uncertainty. It's an issue of mine: I like my life to feel stable. But I'm tired, physically, emotionally, even spiritually. The strongest feelings about my job are gradually diminishing; I feel them less often and less intensely. But they're not gone. And my serenity is blown to snot. Things don't feel good, don't feel right. I don't feel close to S. This whole mess sucks. No matter what, they way I experience my job and my dept. have changed. I will have online classes fall 05 but probably not the next spring. And then I have to wait around for someone else to roll off rotation, three semesters probably, or try to add further sections. It makes me angry that the few of us who want to teach online are being rest…

Keith Green

I'm catching up on work now that the initial shock over the work stuff is over. And as I have napster, somehow I ended up listening to the old Keith Green albums. I saw Keith, just weeks or months before he died, at the Long Beach arena. I was 17 I think. And my brother, who was churched before I was, had one or two of the albums. My high school girlfriend, who sang in a catholic guitar mass, was a big fan.

And you know, his music, his lyrics, really are astounding. He had such intensity; he saw his faith in sermon on the mount terms. I like it. His constant calls to service of others are so impressive.

The fact that he died at 28 with two of his little children, leaving his wife, a baby, and an unborn baby behind, is incredible to me. He wasn't martyred; he just died in a stupid plane accident. If I remember right the pilot overloaded the plane. Keith wanted to take his kids on a plane ride and the plane was too crowded. Of course, only the pilot could have known t…

The Gods of Winter

The department vote was a complete failure; I wish I had waited until the next meeting. At least our chair is recommending a subcommittee meet to discuss rotation issues. It takes pressure off her and allows for discussion. Good. I did email and say I needed to speak to her; if I have no online next fall my schedule will need some adjusting and I'd like to be in on it.

But I am very sad. I feel like I've been through the worst of it (though if I end up driving five days a week, even the four I'm hoping for, there will be more to get through). I feel more serious than ever about tranferring campuses, but I won't know if the campus near me gets their English position for a few days at least, maybe a few weeks. And then it's like applying for a new job, almost. But maybe I've said this already.

S is undergoing her interview right now to get into the grad program in psych. I'm sure she's doing well, but she's very nervous.

And to top off my f…