Into each life some rain must fall …

The first rain fell last night; the first rain of fall. The cold weather all week, in the morning hours, has kept me in bed til 6 or 7. The pounds are piling on. The chores, the writing, the AM walks around the block with the golden dogs, all are pushed to “tomorrow” every day. Winter is coming.

Group activities are in a lull. I’m spending more Sunday hours at home. There is no deck reading in the evening. The sun is already fading behind the trees; the shivers come out by 6. The fading light and whipping cold steal away the urge to sit, blow the pages to and fro. I reach for my joggers and sweaters instead of my shorts and tanks. I wear layers to work. Pants and shoes. The flip flops are hiding in the closet now. Autumn has come. In earnest.

I remember fondly the summer days. I remember pool parties and swamp cooler sweat. Ice chests full of beer. I remember it being too hot to sit on the deck for long. Too much light still coming through the window for an early sleep. The air conditioner blaring all night. I remember two weeks without air conditioning, and all the 100-degree days we endured through that. I’m recalling the anticipation of football coming back.

I think about the years, the seasons through each one. Each 13-week succession through 49 years of life. I love change. I’m the rare bird that loves when things are suddenly different than they were. My body doesn’t like the process of the change, though. The sleeping in, like I mentioned. The cracked skin, this year choosing the right-middle knuckle for that. The legs, they itch like crazy when the weather turns cold. I don’t know why; I’ve always suffered that. I move slower in the cold. We all do.

My wife says to me, “we can finally have a fire again!” She loves the ambiance of fire at the hearth. Our current abode has a fireplace that produces no heat, or too little to be of measure, so it is just for the ambiance. But the feeling of things is somehow just as important as the utility of things. Atmosphere matters.

My mood has been affected this year, by the fading light, the rising chill. I get so little time to do the things I love, these days, and the shortened days seem to want to steal away even those scarce moments. I’ll adapt. I’m a reasonable man, a critically-thinking human being, who understands this feeling is fleeting. Tom will return.

He will.

But one thing I learned a long time ago is that we cannot always be ourselves. Our best selves. Like the seasons, we change. Like the daylight, we ebb and flow. Sometimes we shine so long it feels like the day will never end. Sometimes our shine hides behind the gloom. It seems like night all day. It was one of those weeks where the shine was hid, for no reason other than a change in pattern. A change in season. A cold front on the horizon.

It is in these moments that I appreciate the complexity of life. Everything is fine. Perfect, as a matter of fact. Love is strong within my house. Work is lucrative and busy. My writing feels right. A bad president’s numbers are down. Even the Rams are winning games. The perfect autumn. A serendipitous fall.

So excuse my unusual entry. Forgive my lack of witty banter. I’m not in the mood for the light today. I am embracing the gloom. Enjoying the rain.

I feel a little down these days.

And I kinda like it. 😊

I had enchiladas (and some other things happened)

This week we had enchiladas.

That’s how a post starts sometimes when you stare at a blank piece of virtual paper long enough, wondering which of the myriad ideas coalescing in your mind are worthy of full expression. I’m not lacking in things I want to say; I’m lacking in ways I want to say them.

It is the last day of September in the year 2017. It’s just after 5 in the morning. The weatherman is calling for a partly cloudy day and a high of 86 degrees. That’s how we transition from summer to fall around here, with a thing that some folks call an Indian summer. Still a little hot, at times. No rain in the 10-day forecast. 70s and 80s. Nearly 90 some days.

None of that was really what was on my mind.

Puerto Rico lies in devastation from a wind they called Maria. The Republican health care bill, which helped no one but the filthy rich, is dead again. The Republican tax reform bill, which will help no one but the filthy rich, is up next. Some 200 players in the NFL had the nerve to kneel in respect to the national anthem, instead of standing in respect to the national anthem, because the leader of the free world decided to call them sons of bitches. Some people, mistaking a silent protest against a disingenuous president for a lack of respect for the American way, have decided not to watch football for a couple of weeks, in retaliation. Anger, fear and misery are rampant.

I finally finished Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens. It took me a while because, you know, life. It is, without a doubt, the best book I’ve ever read on the subject of humanity. And, really, all books are on the subject of humanity.

Unfortunately, the Sapiens regime on Earth has so far produced little that we can be proud of. We have mastered our surroundings, increased food production, built cities, established empires and created far-flung trade networks. But did we decrease the amount of suffering in the world? Time and again, massive increases in human power did not necessarily improve the well-being of individual Sapiens, and usually caused immense misery to other animals…

…we have advanced from canoes to galleys to steamships to spaceships – but nobody knows where we’re going.

If you haven’t read Harari yet, you should. I read it electronically then ordered it in hardcover for my bookshelf. I want to look at the spine all the time and be reminded how far mankind has come and how far we still have to go.

A friend of mine handed me a copy of Matt Taibbi’s Griftopia a few weeks back and that’s what I’m consuming next. Homo Deus, by Harari, will be up immediately after. In that, Harari tries to guess where we’re going. I have faith he’ll come closer than anyone else in figuring that out.

At this point in my entry I figured I’d have found a direction and quite a bit of focus, but this hasn’t been one of those entries. This one is about the weather, about books, humanity, kneeling, standing, devastation, health and taxes and death.

Those are all pretty important subjects, though, overall. So I guess this wasn’t a total loss.

My wife, whom I’ve mentioned before, can really cook. She has some real staples she likes to stick to, but she’s usually nailed anything she’s ever tried, when time and inspiration strikes her. I get tacos a lot, and spaghetti, and this amazing baked chicken and equally amazing sautéed chicken and vegetable dish from time to time. She makes an unforgettable Chile Colorado, from any meat you can imagine.

This week we had enchiladas.

That last part was an attempt to bring the whole thing full circle. I don’t know if it worked or not; I’m still kind of staring at a blank page wondering what I’ll write.

I’ll get back to you when I think of something.

Happy Saturday, to you all.

A Fond Farewell to the Summer of ’17

After the wettest rainy season these bones can ever remember, we saw the hottest summer north of the infernal pits. According to prominent meteorologists and god-fearing theologians, Redding experienced 72 100-plus degree days in the Summer of ’17 compared to Perdition’s 92. That means, honestly, there were only 20 days one could say Redding was better than Hell.

But still…

The Summer of ’17 was one to remember fondly. We added (and briefly lost) the Rogue One to the family. We experienced the unnamed Tom Being Tom dot com June writing project together. I started clocking the last 365 days until I leave my 40’s. I was invaded by turtles and skunks. The missus and I went half a month, and roughly 12 100-degree days, without an air conditioner. We invented Pool Church.

And that just covers some of June.

Most of July, for me, was about prepping for, experiencing, and recovering from the week in Vegas where I renewed my vow of love. I can’t believe, to this very moment, how many people came to experience that day, that week, with Mrs C and I. I love her eternally, and love each and every one of you who came to be there with us, for us. Not just a highlight of the summer, but truly one of the great highlights of my life. Thank you again, everyone, for being a part of that.

August gave us more heat, more pool church, more birthdays, more parties and BBQs, more beer, more pics of my feet, my deck, and my dogs. Oh yeah, and I achieved dream control and met a goat named Rooster.

But now it’s done. The Summer of ’17 is in the books, a part of our personal history. The mornings get colder, the nights come earlier, the leaves will fall, the rains will come. We will wear pants again. Bonfires will be a thing, spooky costumes will come out, we’ll see the first decorations of Christmas, smell that turkey in the oven. We’ll bundle up. Maybe see some snow.

I’ve said it before that I don’t have a particular favorite season. I love them all. Fall brings football, winter brings Christmas, spring brings thaw and summer brings heat. Much to love about them all. The best one is the one we are currently in, whatever time of year it is.

“There are just so many summers,” Don Henley sang, “and just so many springs,” and that is true. And only so many winters and only so many falls. I relish the coming of a new one now. Packed away are the tanks and shorts. Out come the thermals and hoods.

So let us bid a fond farewell to the Summer of ’17. And let us bring in the only autumn we will know this year. Raise that pumpkin spice with me, my friends, and cheer…for fall is here, at last.

Labor Day Weekend

My day went about as you’d expect.

I woke up early, poured coffee in some Bailey’s, and worked on my about page for an hour. No matter how many times I work on my about page I always look at it again and think there’s something wrong. I guess I’m about too many things to define in 400 words and 7 pictures. Oh well, tomorrow’s another day. Another attempt.

Maybe I’m undefinable?

About a half hour before church I realized I had promised the night before to take the mother-in-law to bingo. That meant I had to hit the shower, brush my teeth, get dressed, drop her off, fill the cooler with beer and ice, and arrive in 30 minutes. Wasn’t going to happen.

So, I texted everybody to tell them I’d be late. Then I popped a leftover McDonald’s burger in the microwave and took my sweet time.

Once I arrived, the next six hours were about keeping cool in the pool, drinking beer, discussing bleeding-heart liberal politics with my right-wing nut-job friend, laughing out loud, and gorging on snack foods. Is this a great country or what?

Around mid-afternoon Mrs C text me to ask if I was going to be much longer. She sleeps in on Sundays, as often and as long as she possibly can. I dutifully responded that I was at her disposal.

She ordered a coffee.

I hit the Starbucks on the corner around from the house and delivered her a venti soy caramel macchiato at precisely 140 degrees. I’m sure you’d do the same for your wife.

After the briefest of naps, I got up and played ball with the dog for a bit and then had a great idea for an edit to my about page. I implemented the edit then erased it. I’m really no good whatsoever at what I’m about.

Maybe I could ask my right-wing nut-job friend to write it for me?

At this moment in time I am writing a brief blog entry about absolutely nothing, sipping on another beer, listening to Ludo snore, and hearing the sound of the shower as Mrs C prepares for her day. It’s 4:30 in the afternoon.

After she runs some errands I’m going to put some meat on the grill and sit outside in 110-degree weather, throw the ball for my dog, and – in a plot twist you never saw coming – drink some beer.

I’m off work tomorrow. It’s Labor Day weekend.

My day went about as you’d expect.

Out of Sync

I don’t know if it’s complacency or exhaustion, but suddenly I’m hearing the alarm.

Let’s put that into perspective.

I’m not much of a sleeper. Not in the mornings. I generally wind down these days around 9 pm, and shut my eyes for the final time each day between 9:30 and 10:00. In the interim, of course, I take the dogs out one last time, take my eyes out of my head (I wear contacts), change into the most comfortable pair of old shorts I own, and lay down to read a book. The variance in time, at that point, is how long it takes that book to go from “can’t put down” to “falling on my face because I’m dozing.”

Seriously, I’ve bruised my nose before from this.

Continue reading “Out of Sync”

Dream Control

I had a little trouble sleeping the week before last. Off and on throughout my years on the planet I’ve faced the same. We all do. You wake up, use the facilities or grab a cup of water, let the dog out or something, then come back to bed ready for another 3 hours of sleep. Only you don’t sleep. You think, instead.

Over the years I’ve tried many things to stave off this condition. Meditation. Counting stars (sheep are boring). A mid-morning shot of Nyquil. I don’t recommend that last one, but somebody had to try, right? Some methods work, some methods don’t. Mostly, they don’t.

This particular night I remembered something I had done years ago, and it worked. I’ll see if I can describe it, before I tell you what happened next.

Continue reading “Dream Control”

Accidents Happen

I had a scary moment yesterday.

As I was leaving work, I was heading up Wyndham Lane towards Market Street, taking the back avenue towards home, as I always do. Some years ago I started going around the block to the street light on the corner to make my left turn. It simply seemed a safer route to go. It was not this day.

Continue reading “Accidents Happen”

Happy Birthday to Me

I won’t bore you with a bunch of birthday resolutions today, you’ve heard all the promises I’m going to make to myself along the way this month. You know how that goes. I won’t talk about the history of the birthday itself, as I thought I might, because how other people in other civilizations throughout history viewed birthdays is inconsequential. I don’t want to start my day inconsequential.

Today is my birthday and the 29th day of the unnamed TomBeingTom.com June writing project.

Continue reading “Happy Birthday to Me”

Incunabulum

I don’t have a ton of time this morning, so I’ll make this brief.

Yesterday, if you missed my entry, I wrote about starting a book. I intend to do that. I’ve spent some time brainstorming the ideas in this book, but the purpose and composition of Tom’s tome is still in the stage of infancy. I’m not quite to genesis yet. I’m pre-genesis. I googled “a word that means before the beginning” and came up with “incunabula.” I’m not sure that’s what I was looking for but it looks fun to say. So, I’m in the incunabulum stage of my book. Go with it.

After writing my blog I went to work. Work is a thing some of us do to earn money to pay our bills. I sell appliances at my workplace, which is a word that means the place where you go to work. I sold a half dozen appliances, which wasn’t quite enough for a Saturday. But it was a really hot Saturday. I just heard Johnny Carson’s audience asking me how hot it was.

“It was so hot today I saw a robin dipping his worm in Nestea.”

That’s an actual Johnny joke; I googled it, too. Sometimes I google nearly as much as I write.

But, it was so hot yesterday we had a big summer outdoor party cancelled and several little pool parties pop up instead. The temperature outside hit 113. Again. I went over to a friend’s place, broke a beer bottle walking in, dived into the pool with two noodles, and laughed my ass off for 5 hours while keeping cool.

I brought noodles because I don’t swim. Well, I can swim, just not well. And I cannot float for anything on my own. That kicking feet and moving arms thing we learn in swim class when we’re young just never took with me. If I have to get from point A to point B in the water I can kick my legs and rotate my arms and turn my head back and forth and probably make it. That’s good. But if I have to stop along the way, and the water is taller than about 6 feet, I’m dead. So I bring noodles. I only do it to keep me alive.

And being alive is my favorite part of life.

Today I’m returning to the same pool, in the same backyard, with the same people, and new supplies of unbroken beer. We have a volunteer to cook eggs and things. It’s church on the road. Maybe I’ll baptize folks since we have the pool and stuff.

In the meantime, I hope you get to spend your morning doing exactly the thing that you want. I hope you love being alive and you’re not too hot, or cold, or hungry, or in pain. I hope you have a job and a workplace, if you want one. I hope you’re about to start a book, or whatever is the equivalent of that in your life. I hope you’re happy.

If not, come down to the pool party and have some eggs and beer. I’ll baptize you. We’ll start again.

This could be your incunabulum. I could be your incunabulary.

Okay, I’ve destroyed enough human language for one day.

Have a great Sunday. 😉

For a Smile

Well, here we are, boys and girls, in the home stretch. Seven days from today I will have typed my last obligatory words and tombeingtom will return to its regularly scheduled format: whenever I please.

Not that I haven’t enjoyed these moments we’ve had together. I actually enjoy stretching for a topic each day, or simply freewriting a blank page for public consumption. I even enjoyed my shining moment yesterday, which was halfway cheating but still followed the letter of the original directive. Plus, it made some of you smile. If I can get someone to smile, every day, I’ve done my job.

Did you smile just then?

Okay, then, I will continue.

The wife and I have been busy getting the house ready for the return of the mother-in-law. Her room has been something of a storage unit since she’s been away, visiting sisters and such, and now we need to store our stuff someplace else. I want to build a storage unit in the backyard, but haven’t pulled that $549 trigger just yet. Money is so much easier to part with than to earn. Perhaps once I get my massive tax cut from the passage of the new health care bill I’ll use some of that windfall to purchase a shed.

Perhaps monkeys will fly out of my ass, too.

Smiling yet?

Last night, around 9 in the evening, I was ready for bed. I had put in a long day of yard chores and house organizing, and finished it up with beers and BBQ. I let the dogs out for a minute, after checking the perimeter for skunks. They did their business and went back inside. It was 103 degrees and the sun was setting behind the distant mountain peaks. I couldn’t help myself.

Realizing that 103 at 9 pm was rare, I decided to indulge in one last beer and a poignant moment alone on the deck. I’m glad I did. Everything in life makes sense when you can take a moment for yourself and indulge in the pleasures of a cold beverage, a big deck, a summer evening, and a beautiful view.

I don’t know what tomorrow brings. I don’t know what I’ll say in this space. What I do know is that I’m happy to be alive. I’m enjoying every magical moment of this thing called life. I hope you are, too.

And I hope, somehow, I made you smile.

Have a magical day, folks. 😊