Travels

Posted in Uncategorized on June 4, 2018 by me

Last year I had 5 weeks worth of PTO, so I took my first really long road trip in awhile.  And because I had a nice motorcycle, I did it on the scoot.  Because I hadn’t ever done a ten day long trip before, I obsessed about it, buying all sorts of gears and working my way up to it with 2 and 3 day rides before.  The trip didn’t really work out like it was supposed to, because my Dad ended up having a small operation so I ended up sticking around the Arizona/New Mexico/Utah area instead of going from Texas to Cali like I’d originally planned.

This year I’m doing the full-time college student thing, and am on somewhat of a budget.  A friend is getting promoted in New Orleans on an upcoming Friday, and I’m supposed to be in Alabama for a 3 day class I paid for the next week.  I did the math, and it’s a little less expensive to ride my motorcycle out to New Orleans, putz around for the weekend, then get myself to Alabama for the next week than it is for me to fly out, rent a car, fly back, then fly out again the next week and rent a car again.  So it’s going to be another (at least) ten day trip.

What I like about this one, is that I ended up riding so much last year, that it’s just routine.  Even after my ten day trip, I snuck in several other 3 and 4 day trips.  The bike feels like an extension of me.  I’ve been traveling so much (not just riding), that I’m back in the routine of being able to throw a bag together in just a couple of minutes and head out the door.  So this year’s trip is pretty much a non-event.  The biggest problem with it is trying to decide how to come home.  I could come through St Louis and KC, or I could stay south and go through OK and Arkansas, see places I haven’t really been before.  I’m shooting for going south and exploring new territories, but I’ve got more old friends and family if I go north.  It’s a great problem to have, deciding which route to take on a fun-ride.

 

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Basic Vet

Posted in books, life, society, veteran with tags , , , on March 25, 2018 by me

The last couple of years, I’ve been trying to be less and less of a “basic vet”.  I’ve tried to stop wearing so many vet t-shirts, gotten luggage that didn’t look like military bags, etc.  Probably the biggest places I’ve fallen down on are my beard, my haircut and my KIA bracelet.  I’ve been out of the military for 7 years now, while it’s always going to be a part of me, it IS in the past.

As I’ve been compiling submissions for the book, I’ve been approaching strangers to see if they’ve got any stories or photos that they’d submit, or know anybody who would.  I say I’ve been approaching strangers, but it’s not just a blind approach.  There’s usually “signs” that someone is a vet.  And when I see those signs, and have my business cards with me, and the time, and it doesn’t seem TOO creepy, I talk to them.

Usually, it’s gone pretty well.  The signs are usually pretty easy to spot.  The haircut, the Oakley subdued sunglasses, or ESS or Wiley X if they’re old enough.  Combat boots.  Or the right kind of cowboy boots.  The tactical bag with patches on it.  The beard, which is different from the hipster beard in a way that’s hard to explain.  The ball caps, the different brand of t-shirts.  POW/KIA bracelets.  Dog tags of course.

It’s been funny lately though.  Every once in awhile I bump into guys who have the look, the swagger.  But when I approach, it turns out they were never in.  They’ve just appropriated the look.  And I don’t know what to say after that.  I don’t care about stolen valor.  I’m not trying to call them out or embarrass them.  They do that on their own. It’s kind of weird to think about though. That someone might want to be like us.

status report

Posted in friends, health, life, love, relationships with tags , , , , on February 28, 2018 by me

life’s interesting.  i mentioned getting laid off a couple of weeks ago.  i started to apply for jobs right away, but after i had a little time to wrap my head around things, i’ve started to wonder if that’s really what i want to do or not.  i’ve got g.i. bill money waiting to be used.  i’ve been trying to decide whether or not to go back to school full time.  if i took a year off, i could finish an MA in Design Management from SCAD.  a) that’d pretty much accomplish a life goal and b) it’d probably let me do a career pivot.  i was thinking about going to the school anyway, but was a little intimidated by the number of years, 2-3 if i didn’t go full time.  that’s just a lot of opportunity for something to go wrong, for me to get frustrated or distracted, and it wouldn’t be my full time job, my number one priority.

i’ve been through this cycle of getting downsized before.  and i’m done with it.  although i’m scared of being 45 and out of work for a year, i’ll have a good excuse for it.  and i won’t be completely out of the market.  i’ll do some contract work over the year, and i’ll be working with the longboard company, doing some marketing, board design and some social media sales stuff.  that could help with the transition to the new career.

so i’m in limbo right now.  waiting to see if i got accepted.  hopefully i’ll find out in the next week or so.  if i don’t, don’t get accepted that is, i’ll continue with the interviews.  i’ve already had a couple, this is one of the few times i’ve been glad for the slow hiring process in colorado.

i decided to stop dating over the holidays, i didn’t want any false feelings generated by the holidays to create issues.  in the back of my mind i was going to start again after valentine’s day, but then i started having seizures.  i figured that was a sign from the universe or God to chill a little while longer.  after valentine’s day, i thought about starting again, and then i got laid off.  i thought with school, it’d be good stay single for a year, maybe again, the universe was conspiring to keep me single, maybe i need to work on myself a little while longer.

this past weekend i ran in the cupid’s undie run here in town.  that was really out of my comfort zone.  not just because it was so damned cold here that weekend.  wandering around downtown in a crowd of people in only my ranger panties (look it up.  really, really short shorts that soldiers wear) was a little weird.  i’m not a young stud anymore.  but it was funny.  i bumped into a female friend and she gave me a hug.  then there were photos together.  and drinks.  and bumping into other half naked women while we were jostling for position at the starting line.  it was weird, but just the sensation of the warmth of casual female touch was heightened by the cold and made me miss it more.

that sounds a little dramatic, like i’ve been wandering lost in the desert for years, devoid of any human contact.  i’m around people, i’ve met new people, i’ve hung out with friends, hugged them, etc.  it’s just funny, how there’s a period where you become really aware of things while you’re getting used to things changing.

 

 

Funny story…

Posted in health, life, meditation with tags , , , , on February 7, 2018 by me

The church I sometimes go to has a prayer session the first Tuesday of every month.  Even if you’re not super religious, it’s just got a great vibe.  A group of people come together in a darkened, candlelit room, great music playing, someone gets up in between songs and says “hey, for the next song or two, we’re going to pray for xxx” and then it’s peaceful.  There’s just an energy about people coming together in relative silence like that, concentrating on the same thing.  In the middle of a chaotic week, it’s a nice, positive refuge.

Last night I went.  For the last ten minutes or so of the hour, they suggested if people came together, that they take that time to get together and prayer together for each other’s needs.  There was a woman a couple of seats over, so I scootched over and asked if she had any intentions she’d like me to pray for.  She told me what was troubling her and asked if she could do the same.  I said “You know, life is going pretty good for me right now.  So what I’d really like you to pray for is humility.  That I realize that I didn’t get to this spot on my own and so that I don’t take it for granted.”  And I told her that I might be judgemental, so I’d like to remember that good times pass, and bad times come around again, and to not be judgemental, that I realize that will be me in a bad place sometime.

Then I went home, went to work today, and got fired.

Goals

Posted in friends, health, life, meditation, relationships, society with tags , , , , , on February 6, 2018 by me

A friend of mine went through a rough break-up several years ago.  He started to read various self-help books to improve himself and heal.  One of the things that was mentioned was the importance of having goals and writing them down.  They really focused on the “Law of Attraction”, which really isn’t a law at all.  He was skeptical, but wanted to be open-minded, and he was trying to distract himself from the break-up, so he did it.  And kind of forgot about it.  So several months later, at the end of the year, he was surprised to find out that he’d completed all of his goals for the year.  So he wrote some new, tougher ones for the new year, and at the end of year, found out that he’d completed all of those as well.  And did the same thing last year.

We have a weekly beer night, so we were talking about the meditation classes and goals and when I went in for a meditation, I saw a flier for a goal setting, meditation seminar.  I figured it was a sign and signed us both up on the spot.  I don’t really believe in the “Law of Attraction”, but I do believe that several things happen when you actually write down your goals.  And when you talk about them with others.  I think there’s a sense of accountability there, once you see them on paper.  If you make a “mood board”, or something to remind you of them, and put it someplace that you see daily, it keeps your goals top-of-mind.  And I think writing them burns them into your sub-consciousness, which makes you more alert of opportunities that pop up during the year.

A couple of funny things have happened since that seminar.  I’ve been more productive in the first 5 weeks of 2018 on a personal level than I probably was in the entirety of 2017.  I’ve talked about my goals to a couple of friends, put them into Trello, and acted on them.  I spent 6 months in 2017 talking about publishing a book but didn’t do much towards it.  This year I’ve started a FB page and a website for it, and have started soliciting submissions and already received my first 2.  I’ve completed my application for a new MA program.  I paid off my Jeep and several credit cards.  Started a marketing campaign for a company run by friends that I volunteer with.  And things are still happening.

The one thing that’s interesting is working on my house.  For some reason, I just can’t finish my basement.  It’s crazy, I need to do it, but there’s some block.  I don’t know if it’s just a hatred of housework or what.

I’ve got a guy that I might’ve considered on the border between a friend and an acquaintance.  I don’t remember how the conversation started, but we started talking about goals.  He asked for me to send him my goal sheet.  Because we aren’t super close, I felt a little goofy about sending it over at first.  But I figured in for a penny, in for a pound.  So I was surprised when he hit me up a couple days later and asked what I was doing to accomplish my goals that week.  And he kept prodding me.  Every week.  Sending me a music video “Anything it takes” one week.  I was surprised and appreciative of his dedication.  There were a couple of moments where I was irritated, like he was nagging me, but that passed quickly.

Here’s hoping I can keep the momentum up.  I took the holidays off from dating, that extra time has helped.  But I’ve got to figure out how to balance things, that’s a part of life.

Shook

Posted in health, life, society with tags , , , on January 25, 2018 by me

A friend and I have had a standing Wednesday get together since the meditation class late last yer.  It was in a neighborhood that’s kind of in between both of us.  The downtown Denver area is probably closer, but it’s a pain to park, expensive and a lot of the joints down there are loud and crowded and meat markets.  The place we go to is a little hotspot in a residential area.  A little closer to him, but the bars and restaurants aren’t as packed, parking is easier, etc.

So last night I went down to meet him and had to park at a meter about a block away.  There’s an alley between where I normally park and the bar we meet at.  After a couple hours, I was walking back to move my car before I got a ticket.  As I was walking through the alleyway, I saw someone wrapped in a moving quilt pulling cardboard boxes out of a dumpster.  By the time I got closer he was building his shelter for the night.  I startled him as I was walking by, so I said “Good evening!”  He said “Good evening sir.” to me.  He didn’t approach me, didn’t ask me for money.  I could see he was really young not much older than my son and he was shivering, trying to hold the moving blanket wrapped around him with one hand and layer the cardboard to make a pallet with the other.

I stopped and asked if he’d had dinner.  He said he hadn’t, so I told him to meet me back at the bar and I’d buy him pizza.  I got to my car and pulled it into a spot in the bar’s parking spot that had finally opened up and met him.  The bar’s got a walk-up window where you can order pizza til late night, so we walked around to it.  I had a spare fleece beanie in my jeep and gave it to him.  I ordered him enough pizza for the night and hopefully some for breakfast and maybe lunch the next day and some bottles of water.  He was still shivering, so before I walked back into the bar, I took my coat off to give it to him and he argued with me.  He indicated the blanket and said he didn’t need it.

There were some bar stools outside, so I put my coat on one and told him to give it to one of his friends if he didn’t want it, that I wasn’t going to take it with me.  He said “I don’t have any friends.”  So I said, “Look, you’re freezing and it’s going to get colder tonight.  Take the coat.  Put you feet in it, use it for another blanket, whatever.  I’m not taking it back.”  And he just started bawling.

I’m not comfortable with people crying in front of me to begin with.  But the fact that he was such a polite kid, and hadn’t asked for anything, and was so close to my son’s age really shook me.  I haven’t been able to get the sight of him crying out of my head all day today.  Last year, I didn’t understand when a homeless guy on the street asked me for my stocking cap, and walked away from him.  Once it clicked in my head what he asked in my head, I felt so guilty that I didn’t give it to him.  I was just a couple blocks from my car, I could’ve given him anything I was wearing.  I’ve carried that guilt around with me, and have been looking for opportunities to not pass up the opportunity to help people in the future.  But I wasn’t expecting that last night.  And I’m not sure that I fully understand all the reasons why it shook me so much.

Full Disclosure

Posted in family, life, love, parenting, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on January 17, 2018 by me

In my last post I mentioned punishing my son by not paying some fees.  In hindsight, that was the right decision for me, and I’d do it again.  However, I didn’t do it as cleanly and emotion-free as I’d like.  When he called/texted, I’d just gotten off a plane from a weekend away, seeing a friend retire.  It was late, I was tired and I was really irritated that he put me in the position of having to be the bad guy.  He knew he wasn’t supposed to wait until the last minute to ask for large sums of money, and he knew he hadn’t been living up to his obligations and yet was asking for more money.  And that was a topic that we’d fought over a lot that summer.  And yet he was asking.  As a parent, there’s the part of me that wants to spoil him rotten and give him everything he asks for.  And feels guilty when I can’t, either because I believe it’s the wrong thing to do, or because I can’t afford to.  And because of all the guilt and irritation I lashed out.  I’ve apologized to him since, but I’m still not proud of it.