I have a lot going on in my life right now.
Maybe not a lot outwardly, but a lot is going on inside this funky head of mine. It’s hard to turn off the logic loops sometimes. It’s hard to live in the now and not be so obsessed with what is to come (or, indeed, what regrets I have of the past). It’s a problem.
The subject of meditation comes up a lot these days. At work, at home. While not a spiritual person, it is always something I have been attracted to, though have always been afraid this cynicism is what would ultimately prevent me from achieving such ‘enlightenment’. A colleague of mine suggested reading the work of Jonathan Kabat-Zinn’s bestseller Wherever You Go, There You Are (not to be confused with this).
I bought the audio book (as I believe meditation books could just as easily be read or listened to), for better or for worse and started listening to it yesterday. I also had my first ‘go’ at meditating yesterday (though frankly, not in that order… I bought the book after i tried doing it).
What did I find? Well the meditating part is rough (though i am told it gets easier)… We spend our lives intellectualizing everything. It then becomes such a challenge to simply exist, to be aware of your surroundings, acutely focussed on something, probably breathing, but not be thinking about the process.
The audio-book: Well, I sort of love it. Mostly because Kabat Zinn, Professor Emeritus at UMASS, explains meditation practice from an entirely pragmatic viewpoint. He isn’t selling you religion. He isn’t selling you Eastern spiritual enlightenment. He is very simply talking about what we need to do to achieve, as he refers to it, “mindful living”.
Anyways, I am all about this. It might be a long road ahead, but for the moment at least, I got my walking shoes on.
How long ago was that trip to Walmart? A long time ago… In the mean time I have only watched ONE of those westerns from the pack of 100. So 99 Westerns to go.
Whats been happening? Well a bunch- probably too much to fit into a blog post. I won’t bore you with life moments that have happened over the last weeks (months?), but rather just jump right back in where we are.
I lived in the UK for a long time… It’s my second home, really. And truthfully for the whole time that I lived there in recent years, the Olympics always seemed like something very very far in the distance… and now it’s finished! I am finding myself something in a state of withdrawal… as it is after every Olympics, I feel like a drug addict deprived of their fix. I miss synchronised diving or horsey dancing the most.
Anyways, what a wonderful job they did over there on the other side of the Atlantic… not least of all the overhaul of the Royal Families public image… I imagine it is only a matter of time before Buckingham Palace PR has Queenie tweeting and hashtagging like the rest of us… her quick smart wit is too good to not be in the Twitterverse.
And so with this, we experience the passing of the seasons. The Depot Theatre, the workplace of my beloved is in full swing, and in point of fact, we are coming close to the end of the season here in the bucolic wilds of Westport on Lake Champlain. Its sort of crazy who we are already at this point.
And with the coming of the autumnal breezes, comes the promise of some kind of employment for me! Exciting stuff…
Without getting too emotional/sentimental in this blog (it is free to the public, after all) it has been something of a hard slog, this Summer. There have been moments of bleakness and some very serious contemplative naval gazing has certainly occurred. But as the Summer comes to its natural end, as we feel the impending coolness of the Winter breeze, I can only feel that Opportunity’s door is being left ajar, that I might wedge my foot in, and there is comfort and solace in that potential…
In truth, the courage of the Olympians has played a part in my turn around. A good narrative gets me every time and the trials of the Olympiad is such a hot bed of retribution themes.
As always, let me preface this entry to my online diary (blog, if you will) with the sincere apology for absence. Holy crap, keeping a blog takes time… not only that, but I find myself struggling (at times) to find something to talk to you all about.
This blog started as a means of recounting observations about the shift to rural life, though I would say that statistically speaking there have been more baseball posts (2) than any other specific theme.
In an effort to avoid baseball metaphor (something I naturally sway towards) I have found myself creatively barren when it comes to blog posts… that is, until the trip to Wallmart.
As of last week, 33 years of my life had gone by without entering a Wallmart. This, certainly at first, was not a statement against large conglomerates and box stores, but rather that I had lived, for most of my young-adult and adult life outside of the United States of America. Even when I did life in the confines of the USA, it was in New York City. Thusly, there was no real opportunity to go to such a box store even if I had the burning craving to do so.
After a time, (and the acquisition of a moralist credo in my 20s) the mentality had been that if I had made it this far, why not just see this through: no Wallmart for me. Easy. 33 years, no Wallmart… done. I would sooner flush my money down the toilet than give it to those bastards.
And then I got lethargic.
Last week, while on a mission for the Depot Theatre, my travelling partner mentioned that he needed to pop into a Wallmart in Ticonderoga to pick up some supplies.
What do I do? Do I sit in the car and wait for him to do his shopping? I certainly entertained the idea. 33 years is a long streak to break on a whim. Do I go against all my political scruples and venture into the Evil Empire?
Then I remembered that I don’t really care that much. I went in. I broke the proverbial seal.
It was a pretty underwhelming experience, actually (as though you are surprised). It’s basically like a crappy version of Target. Lots of overweight people in spandex clothing wandering around looking at auto-parts.
I was looking forward to the descriptions of the super box stores. Picking up a gun… or something equally inappropriate for a department store. But no.. it was just kind of lame.
I did buy something though. For the pithy sum of $17.96 I was torn (see photo) between a box of 100 sci-fi films and a box of 100 westerns. Ultimately I went with the westerns citing the distinct lack of Tom Servo/Crow commentary as something of a deal breaker for shitty sci-fi.
Ive watched one of these films (terrible). I will write something to the nature of the progression of the mediocre western in a coming blog post… I have some thoughts.
Anyway, what can we learn from this experience? Apathy always wins. When placed in a situation where I am forced to stand up for beliefs or pick up a box of 100 westerns… I went with the movies…
I think that speaks volumes to my (lack of) moral fiber…
the jimbo journal: R.I.P. Sally -
My boy Buckner’s ode to the Ephron lady:
There’s a lot that can be said about the work of Nora Ephron. Many will agree that it followed the fairly typical Hollywood trajectory of incredible beginnings, falling predictably into a slow decline away from relevance and general palatability and into projects not quite suitable for reference…
You may have heard the news… or maybe you haven’t:
After 50 years of drought, after 8,020 games, the New York Metropolitans have finally pitched a no-hitter baseball game. It’s a big deal. It’s a really big deal.
I was not there, though I was fortunate enough to be home and watching. By the end of the game I was in tears, literally… The symbolic impact of last night’s baseball game is tremendous and as a result I (as I am sure most of Mets fandom as well) was absolutely emotionally exhausted.
A few points come to mind with regards to the implications of this game. Let me take them in turn:
First, the nature of baseball is such that there is time for pause and reflection throughout the game. Players are not fighting against the clock, instead following each pitch they (and we, as observers) are able to take a step back and really revel in the strategy and narrative of every play. Those who are not interested in Baseball would consider this to be ‘boring’, though the reality is that this is the element of the game that gives Baseball the drama and gravitas that makes the game so compelling. Throughout the the final innings of the game my heart was literally in my mouth. 50 years of waiting are all in the balance with this pitcher finishing the job he started. I know how I felt… I cannot even begin to think about the pressure he felt. Such composure!
Another thought, I have been pondering is the nature of being a Mets fan. As of last night, there has been a huge paradigm shift: The Mets fan revels in the bad luck of the team. Self deprecation is such an integral part of the Mets Fan persona that there is now certainly a feeling of “now what?”. Now we are like the rest of the teams: middle of the road. If i reflect on the idea, the truth of the matter is I liked my team not having a no hitter… it’s what made us unique.
I mean, who am I kidding? I am thrilled about what happened, but there is definitely a part of me that feels a sense of loss now that the team has finally made that achievement.
That aside, let’s talk about Johan Santana: the Mets pitcher who has come back from a years injury hiatus told that he would never pitch to the level that he once was accustomed to. He was a great pitcher who is now in the twilight of his career. The fact that he is pitching well at all is nothing short of a miracle… and then he pulls this off.
Last night, the sheer guts and follow through of Santana has taught us all something extremely valuable: that with the will to achieve, anything is possible. When the odds are stacked against you, with a will, a drive and a commitment to a goal, the human spirit is capable of almost anything.
Tears were streaming from my eyes last night because Johan Santana reminded me that anything is possible.
Thank you, Johan.
So it has taken a little more time than I would have liked, but the home brew setup has finally been adapted so that I can, once again, make beer! Huzzah.
One of the aspects of home brewing which has certainly kept me interested, and indeed urges me to continually expand my knowledge base, is the fact that for every season there is a different variety of beer. The Stouts and Porters of the Winter make way for the Saisons and Wheat beers of the Spring and Summer seasons.
Once again, the theme of cycles and change is so essential to Home Brewing.
This weekend I tried my hand at a French Saison: a beer originally made for farmers working in the fields, though now available to all…
Unlike the experience of hom brewing in a small cramped New York City apartment, new ‘kit’ has had to be acquired to allow for a slight change in work flow. The largest of these is I am now responsible for the grinding of my own grain. Word of note: I still have work in this area.
At any rate, the first brew seemed to go according to plan and in about 6 weeks we will be able to reap the rewards of what we have sown (in a manner of speaking).
The climate is changing up here, everyone. The township of Westport is waking from its Winter slumber.
More pictures of transitions spaces coming soon.
I realised I hadn’t posted any photos after I had promised I would. So here you go: a photo! This is the theatre that Angel works at. It is also still an operative train station… pretty neat. There’s a bunch of characters that come through this place on a daily basis.
Perhaps I’ll profile some of them… In fact, I will. So there is something to look forward to.
More photos to come… i haven’t really had the time to take out the ol’ girl and find things to document. There is plenty to photograph here so I imagine it won’t be long now. I am particularly excited about shooting some footage of the demolition derby a little later in the Summer… because that happens here.
Whole new world, people.
But yes, as mentioned before, its super busy up here… there is ALWAYS something going on. As we sat on the porch the other day, it dawned on me that I wouldn’t have a free night this week for all the social engagements around the place.
Tonight there is a lecture at the local library about Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Go figure. If I am honest, it’s not one of my favorites… but who’s passing up a free lecture in Wadhams Township?
Not me, that’s for sure.
It’s already been a little while since my last blog post. The reasoning behind this is that I am resisting the urge to repeat myself on matters.
When you’re making a blog talking about the development of a life in the country there seem to be a limited number of topics: arriving, interaction with locals, odd findings, comparisons between city living and country living. All of these, to some extent , tread the same ground… so I am, to say the least, trepidous when it comes to matters of relaying information.
So, with that said: what has happened since our paths last crossed? So much, dear friends, so much.
In the country, in a community that is essentially a summer resort, it has been something of a difficult chore to find a house that 1. is available to rent year round and 2. if it is, in fact, available for rental, is also suitable for the cold, cold Winter months when Westport, for the most part, rests its weary head in anticipation for the next Summer season.
It gets cold up here. That’s what I am saying to you.
With this in mind, today we met with our potential new landlords! We have found a house that we would like to rent! Two weeks in and it seems as though we have found something that suits our needs. A spacious homestead that is walking distance from the Depot Theatre as well as the town centre. Great!
All the houses up here have names… if you would like to submit a potential name for the new place, you may do so via the tumblr.
We are renting a property that is still on the market for sale. So while I wish our land lords luck in their day to day business, for the moment, I am crossing my fingers that no one is interested in this property for years and years.
That said, as we sat with our new landlords talking through the details in the empty house this morning, a frantic lady walked in. She inquired, “Is this house still for sale?”
“Yes”, they replied.
“Well”, she said, “we’re definitely gonna be making an offer… in fact, we were hoping to soon.”
As Angel and I sat there gob-smacked, a dialogue occurred where this lady was basically macking on our BRAND NEW HOME right in front of our very noses. Nothing eventuated and ultimately she left… but it was a clear reminder to us that nothing is necessarily secure.
Is this Country Charm? Surely not, I thought to myself.
True enough, I have spoken with many a local since and they believe that the lady was rude and acting out of turn. There’s some solace in that, I suppose, though the threat still lingers.
Pressing on, pressing on… cause what else can you do?
Tonight it board game night!… I am meeting up with the board game group in Plattsburgh NY. Meeting up with a bunch of peeps I have never met before and playing games… could be great. Could also be a disaster… let’s hope everyone wore deodorant today!
The thought for the day is that when you love in an urban setting, there are a wealth of people who will naturally partake in the same interests as you. You, one hopes, have the ability to find people with share interests AND shared sensibilities. My feeling in rural areas is that there is less of a choice as far as creating connections with people with shared interests. You get what you get.
I would say that I will gel with everyone… providing they don’t annoy me. Let’s hope no one chews gum loudly, smacks their lips, talks to nasally, eats with their mouth open, is openly right wing, is a bossy know-it-all (stop, i know you’re thinking it), hugs too much, talks to closely, is a bad winner, is a bad loser, is too keen, isn’t keen enough ooooor doesn’t maintain a respectable level of personal hygiene.
Other than that, I’m sure we’ll be the best of friends.
**** Just to update: they were all lovely people :)