Zoom-Zoom alongside Zen

I haven’t posted anything in the “Life Weirdness” category for a while. But several episodes that happened to me recently make me want to come back and revisit some of these ideas.

Things with Whomever are going exceedingly well. This is the best possible relationship I could have hoped for or envisioned. And the reason why it works so well is that we are communicating extremely deeply, extremely thoroughly, about all major topics.

One of them being our relative energy levels. In fact, she gets the credit for the title of this piece. The meat of it is —

She’s not retired yet, and in fact just started a new assignment with her company, where she’s expecting to stay through at least the end of 2023. There’s a lot of new jargon, a totally new set of colleagues, and the politics of her new clients to figure out. As an additional complication, it’s only about 30-40% remote (here) and 60% on-site – a 4-hour’s flight from here. Further, she just moved into her (new to her as a personal residence) townhouse nearby; all her life’s possessions – all six tons of them (literally!) – have been delivered. Now, whenever she’s in town, she’s trying hard to unpack all of it, put it away, decide on the arrangement and use of all this stuff. She’s a busy woman!

Just being around, trying to help can exhaust me, psychologically if not physically.

Remember, I’ve already been (effectively) retired for about four and a half years. I’ve gotten used to doing all the cliché things retirees do – sleep in, schedule things whenever you want, take a nap in the afternoon if that’s what you like. Stay up late, too, if that’s what you like. (We agree that I need more sleep than Whomever does, but I’m not even certain she’s getting her true functional minimum, much less me.)

But one of the things I find attractive, nay intoxicating, about her is her vast energy level.

And one of the things she finds most appealing about me is (as she puts it) my “zen” – my “chill”, my ability to ‘be in the moment’. My long-term but sporadic study of various things esoteric, my intermittent practice of some very non-traditional religious rituals, my ability to meditate, even my current martial arts study – all of these contribute to my ability –
   To get my head outside of the relentless progression of linear, unidirectional chronological time. And into the timeless moment of … whatever it is – a perfectly executed parry and riposte in a martial arts movement; a perfectly tuned and timed phrase sounded with your fellow musicians; the transcendence of achieving meditative unity with the Godhead, however briefly; or the oneness of the most awesome, most blissful lovemaking.

I know Whomever can do it too, and has done it – but I think it’s harder for her, has occurred less often for her.

So how do we reconcile this difference? She lifts me up, she ‘gives me spoons’ – but she can wear me out. She says that I give her a place of calm and strength to rest in. (I suspect I sometimes rankle her with my not keeping up, not seeming to bring aaaaaallll my enthusiasm.) Neither one wants the other to change, but we must somehow bridge this experiential gap between us.

At the instant I post this, we are many states apart. She will be back home in less than a week, for about 17 days. As much as we want to be in each other’s arms and domiciles during that brief time together, we mutually decided that we will have to spend a significant amount of that first week apart, dealing with family holidays and other previously scheduled important activities. It will actually be better for both of us if she deals with the chaos of her place by herself, with her intensely-focused ‘Zoom Zoom’ as she makes it into the nest she desires. Then, after all the holiday rushing around is through, she will be able to come to Toledo for a generous helping of ‘Zen’. (Or maybe her place will be sufficiently comfortable for the time being by then, that we can ‘engage chill mode’ there as well as here.)

We’ve also planned a couple of deliberate changes to our daily pace when we’re together, to see if we can end up in better equilibrium. It’s all fluid, experimental, and as all things between us, subject to Talking It Out where and when necessary.

Do many relationships founder on this issue, consciously or unconsciously? Or never get to a ‘serious enough’ level to make this an obvious problem? Learning about your and your potential partner’s pace through life is just one of the many small but vital details that should be taught in the curriculum of Learning To Love Well.

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One and Twenty Years

Again, it is the anniversary of that awful day.

I don’t have much to add to my thoughts of last year, except this –


The call to national unity that both featured speakers made then is more urgent now. Yet that unity is farther away.

I don’t know how to fix this. I’m certain no single individual can fix this, and I despair that anyone, or any small group, can even figure out what the fix is.

I do know, that by showing light and love in my personal life, in my day-to-day interactions with everyone, as best as I can – this is the bit I can contribute to build unity, to help heal our Nation and world.

Not conformity. Not bland sameness. Not the suppression of differing opinions, of different paths through the vibrant diversity and restless ferment that is the soul of our American Experiment. But a unity of hope for, and love of, our shared country – a unity of desire to make ourselves and our nation the best possible for each and every one of us.


Next weekend is the 21st International Festival, put on by one of the largest mosques here in the Toledo area. One week after that tragedy, a community that found itself under scrutiny for ‘guilt by association’, regarded with distrust and fear by the larger community they were contained within, bravely and deliberately put on an event to showcase the diversity of their members, their union through a religion, and their allegiance to America. A living example of that motto –

E Pluribus, Unum.

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Vernal Equinox 2022 C.E.

Today is the Vernal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere – that date when the length of the daylight and nighttime are most nearly equal. (I would call this ‘the folk understanding’. If I wanted to get geekier, I could give you the astronomer’s definition, blathering about the ecliptic and the inclination of the rotational axis of the Earth, and whatnot – but what one can observe in the immediate world around them comes down to the lengths of the days and the nights.) From now until Midsummer’s Day in June, the days will keep growing longer, until we get to that longest day. Thereafter, to the Autumnal Equinox in September, the days will grow shorter until on that date they will balance again; then the nights will be longer than the days, up to Midwinter’s Day in late December, when we have that longest, darkest night. Thereafter, the cycle repeats, and once again the days will start getting longer.

This is the ‘astronomical first day of Spring’. If you look around my neighborhood closely, you can see various plants pushing their first green shoots out of the ground. Early birds like snowdrops and jonquils will actually send up flowers soon. (My SiL near Cleveland just told me her jonquils are already up!) And real ‘early birds’ will start migrating back to the area. (I have seen many robins around, but they cheat a bit – not all of them migrate. 😉 ) I will be seeing swarms of insects soon; all the riot of life that greets us each Spring will soon be upon us, with chirps and peeps and the yowling of tomcats ‘looking for their kitty’ in the warm dark.

The ancient, endless cycle repeats; the eternal promise of the awakening of the land from its cold winter slumber is fulfilled. Soon gardens and farms will be planted; soon will come spring lambs, foals, chicks, and all other manner of newborns.

I have been very lucky (some would say “blessed”); there has also been quite a bit of rebirth and renewal in my own life. I still have hard and uncertain times ahead of me, but I also know that I have times ahead of great joy, satisfaction in well-earned accomplishments, and the fulfillment of some long-dormant dreams. I don’t dread the former; I eagerly welcome the latter.

Happy Ostara, everyone!

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The Gift and The Box

I kinda got into a pissing match with my brother over on FB. I regret that tremendously.

Our issue, at least from my perspective, is that the what I wanted to say got all entangled in the how I said it. The ‘what’ was the truth in my heart; the ‘how’ was the part I botched so badly.

I think he and I will be able to resolve our conflict. (I’ve tried reaching out to him; Waiting Is). And what I am going to have to be painstaking about, when we speak again, is to carefully separate the Gift (the what I want to say) and the Box I deliver it in (the how I say it – my tone, my choice of words, my body language if we communicate with a tool that gives video, or if we manage to get into the same physical space).

Make sure the box doesn’t detract from the gift. And make sure the gift is worthy of the box you put it in.

Edited to Add: – I was finally was able to talk with my brother over the phone this afternoon. He isn’t hurt or mad, and we agree that I didn’t put as much care into the Box as to the Gift I was trying to give him. All good – and more fuel in my fire to get better.

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More Modeling and the “motte and bailey” of Four-Letter Words (sfw – mostly)

Izzat love what I feel when you’re in my arms
Make me die before I’d do you harm
When you’re lost I will lead you home
If you’re cold, you know I’ll keep you warm

Am I wrong?

Or izzat love when I dream there is no one else
In the end, who’s your friend? Just myself
Izzat love to forget my pride
To conceal how it feels deep inside

Am I wrong?
Or izzat love?
Izzat love? Izzat love? Izzat love?
Izzat love?
Izzat love? Izzat love? Izzat love?

Izzat love to forgive all those things you’ve done
If you go still you know I’m the one
Only love, love alone can survive
Deep inside I believe it’s alive

Am I wrong?
Am I wrong?
Am I wrong?

Or izzat love?
Izzat love? Izzat love? Izzat love?
Izzat love?
Izzat love? Izzat love? Izzat love?
Izzat love?
Izzat love? Izzat love? Izzat love?

– Todd Rungren, “Izzat Love?

Once I get the bit into my teeth about something, especially something emotionally laden, I often have a hard time giving it up. And the theorizing I’ve been doing about my little emotional model is a prime example.

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On achieving rokkyu aikidoka

Friends try killing me.
We bow and smile. New gold gleams –
Mount Fuji beckons.

posed image of "Dynamic Sphere" aikido text and yellow obi (belt)

Edited to Add – My very good friend and fellow martial artist Eric Raymond pointed out a syllabic mistake I had made in my first line, and had also proposed a wonderful correct alternative, which I trust he will not be offended if I decline. Domo arigato!

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I’ve had a pretty crappy year.

Separated from my wife (two days before our anniversary!) and getting divorced. Had my heart fractured if not broken at least one other time.

Had to move twice, and I know that my current residence is not good for more than a year.

In financial trouble with the IRS and state.

And of course, looking at the dismal state of our Nation and the world.


And it’s a pretty crappy day. Typical for northern Ohio late in November – rainy, cold, grey, dismal. I’m in my apartment by myself. I won’t be going out to a feast today, nor will anybody be coming by.



And yet….
And Yet….

I have the love and support of friends and family. (I actually do get to see my mother and siblings tomorrow, and we’ll feast then, so my previous lament rings a bit hollow.) I can and will have as great a feast, either here or with them tomorrow, as we would all like.

I have my health, enough wealth to get by now, and essentially unlimited ability to earn more (several ways!) as I want and need. I’m getting stronger, more agile, and more coordinated through my aikido, and I’m intensively trying to improve my mind and heart as well.

I am living free in the greatest nation in the world.

For all this – and for even more things unmentioned – I am profoundly thankful. For exactly where I am right now, and where I intend to get to in the very near future.

Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving Day 2021, Everyone!

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Cleaning up some stuff

Today I published an essay that I’ve had hanging around for a while. Would appreciate any feedback, especially from subject matter experts in the field (either pros or people who’ve “been there, done that”).

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I saw this memory today on Facebook, reposted by a good friend:


And the Spirit of the Wolf howled in my psychic ears, crying “Tell Shadow’s story!

Here it is. I am cooking some cured pork shoulder for my dinner this evening, and I will be sure to set out a generous portion for her shade. (You’ll get the reference.)

Hail, Shadow Middenheap, queen amongst dogs!

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Not “Someday”, Today

And maybe someday we’ll figure all this out

Try to put an end to all our doubt

Try to find a way to make things better now that

Maybe someday we’ll live our lives out loud

We’ll be better off somehow, someday

Rob Thomas, “Someday

(listen to the music, but skip the video – it’s pretty sappy…..)

In the last couple of days I “figured all this out”. Not really. But I did decide to “live my life out loud”.

I’m going to say a few things here, about myself and my beliefs, to clarify my position on some current social issues, and on the direction I see that our nation is headed. I do not want anyone to misunderstand my position, even if I hadn’t articulated it very well yet. I’m not doing this for shock value. I just think it’s becoming time where everyone now has to figure out where they stand, and to be able to describe it to yourself – and to the world – well enough to figure out which side of the lines now being drawn you stand on.
Here I Stand.

Please read this very carefully. All generalizations were precisely chosen; you may want to consider if or how you fit into any of them. I also make precise use of quantifiers, like “none”, “any”, “some”, “most”, etc.


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