Vacation Disorientation Happens

“I came, I saw, it … VACATION … conquered (me).”  Drastic?  Exaggeration?  Maybe.  Maybe, not.

Vacation Disorientation !!!!

“24-Hour Decompression Theory”:  it takes a minimum of 24 hours to “decompress” from the hectic life-schedule, when on a vacation / a time of rest.   Here is a hypothetical scenario, camping for two nights up in the wilderness.

Off work by 4pm.  Pack up, leave, stop off at the store, and get to where I want to go. I set up camp.  I cook over the fire.  I enjoy my exceptional culinary entrée and side dishes (pork and beans, BBQ potato chips).  I clean up the aftermath of the Chef’s fiasco.  And now, for the piece de resistance (py-es’ duh rey-zee-stahns).  I sit on a stump, roast a few marshmallows, sip either hot drink or cold drink.  This … is what the joy of camping is all about.  I star-gaze, stare into the campfire, ponder the meanings of life.  I am immensely thankful for the priceless balm of the wilderness quiet.   After a couple of hours it is time to retire into the tent, and burrow into the GSB (Great Sleeping Bag).  Now throughout everything that has happened, I am a little rattled, a somewhat tense, getting to the site in time (rushed) and getting the tent up, the fire started, food cooked … So, the peace has not, yet, kicked in.  But the process is happening.  By dinner time the next day (about 24 hours after the camping expedition had begun), a serious decompression kicks in.

Currently, winding down my vacation with family in Michigan; flying back on Monday morning.  The main focus has been on our kiddos, as it should be.  After I flew in a week ago, into Saginaw, life took off like a bat out of jello.  And it really hasn’t stopped.  At some point in the night hours, we parents slip into the slumber zone.  Mornings, the wakeup reality-jolt happens way too early.  And that is the other experience: “Vacation Disorientation”.  We camped near Lake Michigan, Interlocken National Park;  and on the second night we had thunder that rocked the world.  Lightening bolts terrorized everyone in the state of Michigan, and points beyond.  And we woke up the next morning, everything in our tent soaked.   The decompression has taken a bit longer than 24 hours.  I feel like it kicked in about two days ago.  One of the coolest places in Michigan is Mackinac Island, where there are no motorized vehicles on this island.  Except for winter when the ice builds up for snow mobiles, there is only one way to get to the island: a ferry.  There are plenty of horse-drawn carriages, and plenty of bicycles.  I didn’t have a decent picture of the horse drawn carriages, so I found one on Aaron Peterson’s website.  My goal is, by the time I get home on Monday, to be 100% decompressed, just in time for me to go back to work.






A “Rest” Encounter:

During a recent couple of days of life on the planet, I encountered something that changed my thinking; an encounter with rest.  I’m a man who has spent very little time in the hospital.  The first time was when I was born, and I remember very little about it.

Since then there have been three hospital incidents: an eighth-grade surgery on a toe; a false alarm for a heart attack, 2000; and then this week’s incident, a lower right abdomen surgery.  This was a “routine surgery”, one that would happen in about an hour, with another hour in “post-op”, followed by my departure for home – – – to the Other Side of the Trees.  The surgery was a success, with no hiccups / complications.  In the post-op stage of the game, however, I was not getting enough oxygen.  The moment  I drifted off into a bit of sleep, the alarm in the machine (attached to a little white sensor clipped to my finger) sounded off, indicating I was not getting enough oxygen.    For the next four hours, a nurse monitored the percentage of oxygen I was inhaling.  Every three minutes, the nurse’s kind but concerned, voice startled me out of sleep: “Breathe, T, breathe.  You have to breathe.”  I breathed the best I could for a couple of minutes, drifted off. and startled again out of my sleep, being told to breathe.  This went on for about four hours. When I entered a sleep mode, even to a shallow degree, it showed that I was hardly breathing at all.  The medical staff then came to a conclusion that I would stay overnight at their non-resort hospital.  Then came the”blur” …


of being rolled on a gurney to a room somewhere in the hospital maze, mysteriously moved from gurney to bed, and connected to this machine and that machine. There were some gadgets, like the one that makes the bed go upwards, and downwards, a TV remote (which I never turned on until four in the morning because I could not sleep), a pad with a series of buttons including a call to the nurses’ club (I rarely used).  What I have walked away with, from this experience, is that even in those small stretches of pain (because I couldn’t reach the nurse to bring me the periodic PRN med for  the post-surgery pain), there was a continual enigma of rest.  

Enigma of Rest

Confined to a bed, fairly far from home; no chores to resolve, no kids to track with, no logistical / problem-solving discussions with my wife.  There were no visitors other than quick appearances from nurses and care attendants (one visitor came a couple of hours prior to discharge)  Boredom darted in and out.  But a stronger flow of peace … a most different peace … resonated in the room, in my heart and soul.  Anxiety showed up once or twice, quickly faded, unexplainably.  This encounter of rest was an excellent example of ambivalence: (my paraphrased definition) the existence of two mutually exclusive emotions / thoughts at the same time.  I experienced disruption because of my limited movement and control; I experienced rest, placed in a situation where I drifted in and out of sleep, and accomplished virtually nothing.  Actual rest can happen, even when it is not pleasant.  And to think that the catalyst for all this was my lack of breathing.  Do I get so busy, in life, that I forget to breathe?

Do I Ask Too Much From DOG?

Dog, we get along fairly well.  I feed her; I give her water; I rub behind her ears and her back.  I allow her to come to town with us.  She deeply appreciates getting away. Really, I don’t think I ask for too much.  I’ve told her: “Stay off the couch.”  Sometimes, she pretends to be asleep; pretends not to hear. 

photo (14)

So, I remind her: “Stay off the couch.”

photo (15)

Again: STAY  … OFF … THE … Couch.  This time, she hears me.

Do I ask too much from Dog?

Hiding Writers, Reading

‘Revisiting some (old) lyrics, and a theme, previously posted, perused in one of the blogospheres (I don’t know how many there are) … A different direction emerged while the muse came by.  Two fellas, met up in 1953, the elementary school-scene in Queens (N.Y.) became famous in their school play, Alice in Wonderland.  One was the White Rabbit (Paul Simon) and the other was the Cheshire Cat (Art Garfunkel).  Actually, they did not get famous from their work in the theater, doing Alice in Wonderland.  They continued to be bro’s through junior high school and high school.  Simon and Garfunkel, their junior year, emerged as “Tom and Jerry” playing some good music.  Seriously?  Yes.  Someone in the recording studio brought up the “Tom and Jerry” thing … and it faded quickly.  “Simon and Garfunkle” was the balm, apparently.  Eventually, after “The Sound of Silence” which put them on the map, they put together this song, “I Am A Rock”, with the lyrics … here:

” … Gazing from my window to the streets below /
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow. / I am a rock, / I am an island.
I’ve built walls / A fortress deep and mighty … “

I really love these lyrics, for quite a few reasons.  One of my favorite writing quotes goes like this:  “My wife doesn’t understand that when I am staring out the window, I’m actually working.”  I agree.  Productive? Maybe not, but … still … working.  Because a writer is always watching, observing, taking it all in, appreciating (some) details, editing others.  A writer would take time to ” … gaze from (his / her) window to the streets below, taking notice of the freshly fallen silent shroud of snow …”  And a writer is also aware of how easy it would be to become “a rock … an island”, with “walls, a fortress …”  Such imagery.

” … friendship causes pain. / It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain …”

I believe that some writers struggle with friendship more than others.  I actually acknowledge my envy of individuals who don’t seem to struggle at all, ever, with friendships.  They seem to be sufficiently charismatic, cool, and people love to be around these individuals.  Friendships are sometimes hard, and I do think that such struggles contribute to a writer’s persistence in writing, and reading.   And that is why these lyrics, here, resonate for me.  And … a question emerges that I pass your way: would you say, on some level, that you “hide” with books? With poetry? And do you have your armor that you protect  yourself with?  

“I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.”

What is a bit weird is that I really find … asylum … with the spy novels (Thor, Ludlum, etc.) sometimes the Western novels (Johnstone, Lamour), and sometimes the good old mystery-“Who Dunnit”s (Charles Todd, Castle, Craig Johnson).  And there is that great line from Shadowlands (movie): “We read to know … we are not alone.”

So, yeah … I was just curious if you guys “hide” … from time to time … in your books, your poetry, your armor.


We Remember, Eh? What Valentines is Made Up Of …

That woman,  there … with the long white dress, the cross sewn into the train … she has my heart, and it will always be that way.  Those on both sides of the aisle show a glow, reflecting the beauty of  this bride, an elegant one.  Her countenance has a fragrance that reminds me of the Don Juan Rose.

She and I both remember, and reflect on from time to time, the trip to the airport, a few days before Christmas of 1994.  I had met her in October.  We went out a few times in November.  And in December, we both needed to fly out of Denver … and somehow our flights went out on the same day (different planes, different destinations).  So I had a good friend drive us both to DIA.  We followed the creed of Christmas travelers: arrive early; thus, the pre-flight java before one of us flew south, and the other flew north.  Less than six months later, we had a wedding.

A safe place.  A commitment to live well with each other, and to love well with each other, and to look ahead, for the big things, with each other.  Life is  harsh, and we fight for each other.  And we when we don’t see eye to eye, we fight with honor, with respect.  We parent together.  We rest from the storms, and we heal from the wounds, our stories have redemption.  For my amazing wife, Happy Valentines Day, my love.  I have had a place in my heart for folks who are in marriages that aren’t working.  So difficult, as they don’t always know whether to stay or to go.  A million dollar question for some is “Can this marriage be healed?”  And in some cases, the only right answer is get out of the marriage.  All of this is so difficult.  I hope the best for all.  We all need peace; we all need hope; we all need to be safe; and we all need to be loved well.


Winter Happening, Just Outside

This was meant to go out a couple of days ago, but a case of “brain-freeze” got the best of me.  I recently emerged from the hellish cerebral blizzard.

Ice hanging out

4.6 (degrees) … farenheit … below the ZERO mark.  I’m low on mercury.  Snow blower earlier in the day, to get out.  With 4.6 degrees riding below the big zero, my thoughts froze up; for a moment I had no idea where I was.  Then, from somewhere toward the back wall of my brain, I heard a distant motor of the snow blower.  The sound became louder, gradually, and louder, and louder.  Then the heat from the handles mixed with the rude awakening of my rotors hitting a rock brought me back to some level of winterized coherency. 

Tree Green

I love Winter, and I hate Winter; and I love Winter.  I like Winter, at times.  At other times I don’t like it.  Outside with audacious, sharp, wind, there is some measure of invigoration: AWAKEN O SLEEPER !  Tree green, accentuated with snow; long, long icycles hanging on for dear life from the edges of the roof.  Ambivalence is strong when mercury is low, snow is deep.  Maybe it is more about this season in particular.

T Standing
T Standing

Tree green and snow

There has been loss, and everyone experiences loss at one time or another.  In some cases  loss is more of a bite.  This compilation, psychologically vicious.  I am moving, constantly moving, into the next step, into the next bend.  But I don’t think I am moving fast enough.  Healing is happening, some days.  Other days, its all frozen up, as if I had stopped moving in sub-zero temperature, and I stand in the cold, for what seems like years but may be only ten to fifteen minutes, and just listen.  I don’t know what I am listening for: maybe an answer; maybe a question that will get me closer to an answer; maybe for an idea that will bring some thaw, that will get me moving again, past the cold, the isolation, the pain of knowing that things didn’t turn out the way I had hoped.

The good news, for ALL of us, is that we still hope, even if some things don’t turn out the way we wanted.  Why wouldn’t we?

“BE GOOD” … OK, With Or Without Authenticity?

“Who are you?  Who? Who?” from the band “The Who”.  By the way: who are you, and who am I?

This excellent piece, below, came from a site

take me as i am quotes: Take Me As I Am Quotes ~ Daily Inspiration

Once I have established who I am, a question comes from within, at times:

“Am I good enough?”  If my level of “good” defines who I am, then I’m up-creek without a laptop, without coffee, and without a paddle. “Being good” can be truly ambiguous.

Am I good?  Or am I good?

Yes, No.

Houston, we have a problem

Things are not always as clear as they seem.  I can be “good” and still have some issues.  “Challenges”, “opportunities”, and mistakes can come up; and I can still be “good”.   The wheels may be falling off; the car may need a transmission; my friend may be ticked off at me … but I can still be good. 

Plenty of examples, but one of my favorites is with Apollo 13.   Image to the left is from the link

Jim Lovell: “Houston, we’ve had a problem.”
CAPCOM 1: “This is Houston. Say again, please.”
Jim Lovell: “Houston, we have a problem.”

Astronauts Swigert, Lovell and Haise were definitely going for it, which is what we do, right?  When “a problem” emerged, things were ugly.  But, the mission wasn’t just the responsibility of those three wild men.  Other men, in Houston, were for them.    A photo of the Gold Team in Mission Control     Authenticity, in the midst of our struggle to be “good”, means being willing to have mistakes.  Authenticity means having some good folks you can walk with through this jaded, conflicted, addicted world … friends who are for you. 

“Things are not as bad as they seem.  Things are far more serious than what they appear.” Anonymous

keep-calm-and-tell-houston-we-have-a-problemI believe the human mind, the human soul, the human condition, can drive one to be so preoccupied with “being good”, which connects with being accepted, that we communicate this: “Tell me what to do, and I’ll do it so I can ‘be good’ …” One issue with that approach to acceptance and identity, is that one’s inner peace may be contingent on someone else’s decision: “Are you good enough?  Are you performing the way I want you to perform?  Are you meeting MY needs?”

I actually believe that some individuals don’t care about inner peace.  For me, inner peace has great value.  If I have a problem, I will keep calm.  I will tell Houston that I have a problem.  I will deal with it.  And I can still be good in the process.

Christmas!! How’s the fog?

“Christmas lights should help with the fog, pending on how bright the lights are … how thick the fog is.”

“Christmas Fog Consultant”.  That would be cool.  People would say “Oh.  That is good to know …”  or ask, “WOW!  Are you … like … a Christmas Fog Consultant?”  And With a poker face, I nod, and say “Yes, I am.  Now, please stand back.”  I experienced Christmas Fog for the first time on  Christmas of 1993:  Antarctica Ross Ice Shelf – Willy Field, a cold, windy, desolate, and somewhat isolated place.  December 01 emerged, out of the white.  Antarcticans began to think about Christmas.  Memories showed up  (like non-scary apparitions) of earlier Christmases with parents, brothers, their families; and other festivities you find in cities across the North American continent.

Christmas Fog thickened up due to numbness, to push back emotions of sadness and anger.  I was 10,000 miles away from home, at the bottom of the world, living at a field camp out where the planes flew in.  But the group I was “top-notch”.  We all made it through our Antarctic Christmas together.                      

(My first month in Antarctica I stayed in a canvas and wooden “Jamesway” Hut”, which is pictured below. Photograph from

I found a VHS movie – – – Holiday Inn, starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire.  I ended up checking this movie out countless times right before Christmas, right after Christmas, and periodically for the rest of my “tour” on “the ice”.

Holiday Inn (1942) PosterIt was, and is, a great movie.  But it probably perpetuated my numbness, getting me to think of being somewhere else besides a windy, cold, desolate, flat, boring field camp.  Having said that Antarctica was good.  But I don’t think I need to do it again.

My hope for you is that you will be able to see clearly through the fog, whatever fog it may be: materialism, cynicism, loneliness, missing loved ones, illness, transitional stress.  At Christmas time, the Christmas Fog is always near.  Keeping a good focus on what is important, and what is good, can be difficult at times, depending on … how thick the fog is, and how bright the lights are.  Peace.  T

The Boy

*This post is written as a way of encouraging parents of special needs kiddos.  My (life) experience has more to do with mood disorders and neurological issues.


is watched over by angels, and I do not have the energy or the intellect or the salesmanship to convince you of this.  Its something that I just know.  Some parents might relate to this mystery.

And God …

gives the boy favor.  In my imagination I can see the Wild Man upstairs, the same One who created the whole deal, smiling when He sees the boy laugh, or when He sees the boy do something that is beautiful.  In that same imagination I can the Wild Man upstairs become pensive, and almost weep, when He sees the pain of the boy … and when He sees the pain of the parents.

There is a guy, Gary Numan, who said:

Gary Numan I have a condition called Aspergers Quote

The above image is from


The Awakened Heart, by Gerald May, speaks of “Entering the Emptiness”.  I was reminded of the Desert when I read this chapter.  I thought of the Desert Fathers, those interesting sojourners who left town for the Scetes Desert in Egypt around 3 AD.  After laying the book down next to the reading chair, one of my understandings of The Awakened Heart and “Entering the Emptiness” was May’s focus: becoming awakened from numbness and captivity from “attachment” to items / areas / relationships (and etc.).

Leaving one realm for another, with the goal of positive / authentic / significant change in mind could be seen as (my words) leaving one emptiness (stuckness in the here and now) for another emptiness (the freedom that awaits).  Paradox, possibly?  The latter emptiness is where one finds an “awakened heart”; freedom, a redemptive shift in one’s journey, one’s story.

My intent is to return to shorter posts, so I will wrap this up.  The word “awakened” showed up this morning, “post-wake-up” mode.  After pushing through the barrier of making coffee, I searched out the prehistoric laptop, because I was compelled to write about the reality of being  “Awakened”.   What does this look like, for me to be awakened?  What does it look like for you to be awakened?  The threats of numbness, and negative attachment are relentless.  I hope to keep the idea of being awakened in the front of my mind.  I hope you find success with this endeavor, as I try to do the same.