Time Is A Bitch

top of mt hood oregon Time Is A Bitch
Flip through the pages here and I am sure you’ll find something about the rules for life and something about how the lesson is repeated until you get it.

When and if you find it don’t tell me or try to explain how I am missing the point or give any sort of explanation for current circumstances that suggest I am responsible for all that is going on now because you’ll wake up in a hospital bed and I won’t feel like I did anything wrong.

That is ‘cuz I feel like I have a good handle for what is going on and how I got here. Hell, I know I bear some responsibility for this moment in time but the majority of the moments that led here weren’t because of me, they were in spite of me.

You don’t know how long it took for me to be able to say that and to not focus on trying to figure out what I did wrong. That is because it is part of the learning process and journey I set out upon some ten or more years ago.

I didn’t know it or recognize it then but I can see it now.

Dude I Am Getting Divorced

I wrote about that moment over here but it took place before then. Mark told me they were through and I chose not to write about it for a long while because it didn’t need to be shared.

But the moment came and it fit in a post about how life can be different than what you expected and how sometimes you find yourself up against it and wonder how you’ll get through.

I remember when he told me he was done with marriage and through with women. He said he had enough and that he was done dealing with crazy. I told him that I understood why and that I wouldn’t be surprised if one day he decided he was willing to give it a shot.

Some months late he told me he felt like a kid in a candy shop. “Brother, there are a lot of very nice single moms out there who understand my situation and have no interest in a relationship. But unlike our school days they don’t hide their interest in sex. You find out pretty quickly you are or you aren’t going to get ‘lucky’ and you enjoy the time.”

Eventually the kid in the candy store discovered he had favorites and the man who wasn’t going to ever get married got a girlfriend again and then another and another.

“I don’t know that I’ll ever get married again but I like dating one person. I am not a fan of dating several women at the same time, it is too hard and you never feel like you get to know any of them.”

I smiled.

“I think this one is going to be around for a very long time. You’d be an idiot to let her go.”

He laughed and said yes. It is almost two years since they started dating and he cracks me up because his energy is so light he is floating.

The Words Fall As They May

I flip through the pages and see what post capture my eye. Sometimes when I revisit the past I am pleasantly surprised by what I read and sometimes I am disappointed because it feels like I haven’t made enough progress.

Disappointment is better than being embarrassed and that happens sometimes too. Posts that have no rhythm or flow with awkward phrasing and words that are inappropriately placed make me wonder if I should delete what I see.

Clean up the messes and clear out the clutter echoes in my mind but part of me wonders if I am smarter to keep them around because it offers insight into where I once was and serves as a benchmark I can use to measure the progress I have made as a writer.

Not embarrassed by these but not sure how I feel about them. Parts and pieces make me smile and I see a thread I can use to do more and make more of what is there.

I think about the life lessons I have learned so far and wonder about those to come. I have a pretty good idea about some of them, expectations that stuff that has been waiting in the wings isn’t going to wait much longer.

Most of the time I take it all as it comes but every now and then I grow extra frustrated and wonder if there is a more effective way to handle all that is going on now.

Things could be a lot better and they could be a lot  worse.

A dear friend says he is worried about me and I say I am too, I might lose all of my hair. He tells me I am serious and I say don’t worry because if I jumped off of a cliff wings would sprout on the way down.

There is no easy way out nor am I truly interested in on. I have come too far not to go the distance.

He tells me to hang on and to remember time is a bitch.

I thank him for his concern and he asks if there is anything he can do to help.

I tell him I want three things:

  1. Fifteen million dollars.
  2. To never write a bad post again.

He asks what number three is and I say it is just for me. I don’t mention I have someone in mind I would share it with but that is only under certain conditions,

He tells me he can’t help with one or two and I say not to worry, time is a bitch but I can handle her/him/it.

It is part of why I focus on being A Man Of Faith and remember I may be slow but I usually figure it all out.

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A Man Of Faith

lonely A Man Of Faith

I am listening to Leonard Bernstein conduct Rodeo (Four Dance Episodes): Hoe-Down. Allegro with my eyes closed and my head tilted back. Won’t be long before Bernstein and company move into Fanfare For The Common Man and I let the music drive my thoughts.

Sometimes the best way for me to write is to shut off active thought and let the feelings that come with these moments wash over me and then take quill and pen to place them upon the page.

Today we are focused upon becoming a Man of Faith.

That is not a religious reference nor am I inclined to dedicate any space today to that line of thought. Maybe it is because I am mentally exhausted and emotionally drained or maybe it is just because I don’t see anything that interests me there…today.

Instead I am focused on reminding myself that sometimes I need to be a bigger believer in myself. It is sort of funny because those who know me are unlikely to describe me as anything less than confident and some might even say arrogant.

But we all have moments where we feel like we have fallen short of the mark we have set for ourselves.

A Man Of Faith

That picture above reminds me of days past when I was on the swim team and felt like I could swim forever. Hours of training combined with a desire to prove myself to me pushed me to test my limits.

There were days when I would hit the beach and swim through the waves straight out into the sea and not stop until the land looked far away.

Moments in the gym when I would look at stacks of weight and wonder if today was the day when I would curl and bench my weight. Wonder if today was the day when I could lift the side of the building up and create my own exit.

The silly thing is I always believed I could, all I needed was to find an appropriate grip for my hands.

But it wasn’t just the physical world that I looked at. I looked at school projects, class assignments and philosophy and believed there was nothing beyond my ability.

All I needed was time to focus upon whatever it was and I would figure it out.

Somewhere along the line life, circumstances and experiences took some of the fire out of my belly. Somewhere along the way I began to question whether I was overreaching and thought perhaps youthful naivete made me think more was possible than reality could provide.

Friends and family died from terminal illnesses. People divorced. Hearts were broken more than once and a harder edge than had ever existed became a part of me.

The Shiva Call

Last night I made a Shiva call. I went to visit a friend who buried his father last week and after the service was done we sat down and talked about life.

He and I had been very close in college but life intervened and he moved far away and so we lost touch. But last night as we sat there talking we shared memories and laughed.

I listened as he told me stories about his father and when he asked what was going on in my life I gave him an abridged but very honest answer. I told him about the challenges of middle school and said I wondered if I was giving my son good advice.

When I said it was easier when we were kids he laughed and said it was because we didn’t fear making mistakes the way parents do and something clicked inside my head.

Suddenly the forges inside my belly fired back up and I started thinking about who I was, who I am and who I intend on becoming.

I felt a mix of gratitude and embarrassment because in the midst of his grief he gave me a bigger gift than he knew. Maybe it was intentional, maybe it was coincidence but it gave me a momentary lift and that was enough.

Enough to remind me that sometimes we need to be people of faith in ourselves and our abilities.

I have a perfect record of overcoming every bad day I have had and while I can’t say I have never failed or fallen I have always gotten back up.

Look hard at the picture and you’ll see me swimming in the distance. Might even see me wrestling with a squid or fighting a great white shark. Feel sorry for those creatures, because Old Jack Steiner doesn’t ever quit.

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A Disruption In The Rhythm Of Life

witchhouse A Disruption In The Rhythm Of Life
The Spadena House, also known as The Witch’s House, is a storybook house in Beverly Hills, California. Located on the corner of Walden Drive and Carmelita Shot by Lori Branham

Long ago in the days when I was part of a wolf pack and not a lone wolf I used to pass the house above. ‘D’ lived around the corner and when we would hang out I would pass by and sometimes wonder who lived in a house like that.

Back in those days I had other ideas about what life would be like when I was all growed up and none of them looked like they do now. Not even close which shows me how naive I was about some things and how much I have grown in others.

It never would have occurred to that guy to ask if you were living your dreams because he was certain he was on the verge of doing all that he had once imagined he would do. I wonder if that kid would have been more resilient at bouncing back from some things or if he had enjoyed too much comfort to just move on after some of the other crap.

Hard to say and not particularly important but old Jack is a curious man and he’ll wander down a pace or two just to see if he get a gander at what lies yonder.

Dude would have laughed at some of the content in You Shouldn’t Blog About Sex On Halloween and The 69 Scary Reasons Halloween Should Be Banned. But it wouldn’t have taken him long to roll his eyes and wonder why I just didn’t shake of this disruption.

Texas wasn’t quite right without those kids and LA wasn’t quite the same without Texas. It was disconcerting and I wondered if it was just nerves or if I would drive back and discover that the gut was truly unhappy.

And then I got here and confirmed that nothing feels quite right.

I am on a seesaw and it is irritating the fuck out of me.

Yeah, I sometimes swear in my posts. When The Rhythm of Life Is Disturbed

I guess that is part of the difference between me and him is I have learned sometimes you can’t just shake loose of some things. Sometimes there are moments that last a minute and minutes that last a lifetime because of things that are outside your control.

What is kind of funny to me is that he and I would look at the video below and nod because I am sure he would get it as much I do now. But that moment would probably be prefaced by his wondering how I didn’t figure it all out between then and now.

A Disruption In The Rhythm Of Life

This moment in time is part of a disruption in the rhythm of life. It is a moment where I would like to have my own Spock to talk to, someone who was certain about the path to take and the choice to make.

I might not make that choice or take that path but we could and would debate it.

But the thing about disruptions is they don’t always provide those opportunities and now I replay these words again.

Spock: Captain, I cannot allow you to do this!
Bones: Jim, you’re not actually going after this guy, are you?
James T. Kirk: I have no idea what I’m supposed to do! I only know what I *can* do!
Star Trek Into Darkness
I did what I thought I was supposed to do and it led me to this place where I no longer can see what that is supposed to be. I don’t know what do to do any more, I only know what I can do.
Part of me finds that a bit frightening but most of me revels in the excitement because I sense possibility and opportunity. I know what I can do, but I don’t know yet what I will do.
It makes for interesting times.

What Would Happen If You Got What You Wanted?

mystery and imagination What Would Happen If You Got What You Wanted?
This shot would be perfect for some of the fiction I write and I probably should save it for that but it also fits the post you are reading now.

It is a post based upon what if, as what if you got all you dreamed of what would life look like then?

That photo is supposed to have sort of a mix of mystery and magic, like you walked down that alley and the world changes.

What Would Happen If You Got What You Wanted?

Sometimes I ask my kids to think about the question and to answer it because it is useful for teaching moments. But it is not limited to working with them to think about what cause and effect. Not limited to trying to help them see how what we do now can affect the future.

It is useful for adults to think about what it is we want. I don’t know about you but I have a lot of different dreams and I am actively working on turning some of them into reality.

Dreams are important to me, they are part of what motivates me to keep going. But sometimes I like to do a reality check and think about what my dreams are and ask which of them are relegated to improbable and which are impossible.

There is a place or space between impossible and improbable that is important to me as well because it is the center spot called possible.  The realm of possible is always exciting to me because those dreams are things that I see as being accessible and achievable. They require work, time and effort but they aren’t dependent on luck.

I look at things that are dependent upon luck as being contingent upon effort and desire. Effort and desire leads to success and the improbable dreams are built upon small victories that lead to large ones.

One of the reasons I ask what would happen if you got what you wanted is it helps me to identify what I want as well as what I need. Flip through the pages here and you’ll see it is a regular theme.

Might be because I have been immersed in change for a while, might be for a variety of other reasons. What I know for certain is my heart hurts and my soul aches because the path I was on was wrong for me.

Took a bit of time to sort out and accept but once I did it became clear I needed to figure out the answers to want and need.

Why?

If you don’t know what you want or need you can’t actively work on obtaining them. Once you identify them you place yourself in a position in which you can create a road map that leads to them.

One of the other reasons why I like to ask the question is as we grow people change and so do some of our dreams so it makes sense to think about it from time to time and figure out where things are at.

What Happens If You Get What You Want?

It is an obvious question. What happens if you get what you want? What happens if you figure out what you want and what you need and manage to get those things?

Someone call the Shmata Queen and remind her I know things and that among those is I am a practical dreamer.

My first focus is on getting what I need and the second is on getting what I want. I don’t expect to get it all in one fell swoop and as I said people change over time.

I am not going to limit myself solely to what I want now. I want to write several books. In the future I may want to write screenplays for the movies or maybe for Broadway.

I don’t know and I don’t have to know all that I may want. I just have to ask the question and determine if I am willing to go after whatever it is my heart desires.

A practical dreamer breaks things into pieces and then goes from there.

What about you? Do you know what you want?

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The 69 Scary Reasons Halloween Should Be Banned

halloween pumpkins The 69 Scary Reasons Halloween Should Be Banned
Frank Sinatra is singing about luck being a lady tonight and I am thinking it has been a while since Vegas enjoyed the pleasure of my company.

Back in the day it was a four five hour ride from college and the boys and I went more than a few times. That was in the good old days before going to college made me feel old and it cost $50 bucks for a night at Caesar’s Palace.

That was long before that desert town was overwhelmed by corporate interests, adults who used it as their version of Disneyland and the tourist agencies started promoting the what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas line.

We didn’t need to be told to keep our mouths shut about the things we did there then because we knew better. Some of those tales would fall into the scary stories you tell on a Halloween night to friends who ooh and ah and wonder how you made it back without harm.

It was during those years that my almost 90 year-old aunt her 100 year-old boyfriend lived off the strip and complained about the tourists who would come screw up their card games.

She was four foot nothing, feisty and fearless. If you pissed her off she had no problem telling you that you were a fool and I of course loved nothing more than teasing her.

“You learned some bad habits from that grandfather of yours.”

“Yeah, I sure did, didn’t I.”

“Don’t bad mouth your grandfather, my little brother is a wonderful man.”

Sometimes I miss those conversations. She and the boyfriend went for a drive one night and some other driver took them out, luck wasn’t much of a lady that night.

The 69 Scary Reasons Halloween Should Be Banned

Wandered through a grocery store picking up some odds and ends and heard some lady tell her friend that guy “Obama better do something so more people don’t get  ‘the Ebola.'”

Listened in as the guy checking out the cantaloupes told them “Obama ought to focus on teaching the gun nuts in Texas to keep their weapons in their pants and not bring them to school” and wondered where the hell he is getting his news.

Almost told them both to be very worried because come Friday night All Hallow’s Eve will be here and gun nuts from Texas will be roaming our streets, while crazy people from cleveland set fire to our rivers and fools from D.C. open the borders and invite people with ‘the Ebola’ to come roam through the streets infecting people.

Then with a big flourish I’d finish by telling them I had 69 scary reasons that Halloween should be banned. Might even add a maniacal laugh and then draw my shirt across my face like it was a cape and slowly walk away.

My big hope there would be for some brave soul to ask me to list all 69 scary reasons and that they would be willing to stand and listen as I came up with them.

I don’t have 69 scary reasons why Halloween should be banned but if I wanted to I could come up with them. I could blog about Jack Steiner the dad blogger from Los Angeles and Fort Worth who tried keyword stuffing his post on Halloween not because he expected it to work but because he could.

Intermission

  • Come Monday- Jimmy Buffet
  • Come Live With Me- Ray Charles
  • Tougher Than The Rest- Bruce Springsteen
  • Revolution 1- The Beatles
  • She Sells Sanctuary- The Cult

There is a girl in the other room calling my name now. She says “Daddy, I am bored” and expects me to come running. I tell her to go read a book and I’ll find her shortly.

She asks me how long shortly is and I tell her it is shorter than forever and sooner than later.

“Daddy, I want a straight answer.”

“Ok, get a ruler or my level and figure it out.”

She mutters something under her breath and I give her a look that freezes her in place.

“You know I am only kidding daddy.”

“I don’t know what you said but I am not kidding about that. I love you and I will spend time with you but I need a few minutes to clear my head and you need to finish reading that book for school.”

She nods her head and skips out of the room. I love that skip, it is pure joy and a sign she is happy.

One day she’ll be too busy living her life to want to spend time with me and I’ll miss these moments but those days have yet to come and she really does have to read for school.

In a few moments this post will come to its conclusion and I’ll grab a book or magazine and read next to her. When she asks me what I was writing about I’ll tell her it was 69 scary reasons to ban Halloween she’ll yell at me and say it should never be banned.

I’ll laugh and hug her and a few minutes later if the stories I am reading don’t grab me I’ll think about that one time in Vegas and smile.

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