NPM – 18 of 30

what do you make of a day
that begins deciding if
you’re well enough to
return to work

you do

your ten years of working
is celebrated with the
head honchos and others
who have also endured
for a decade

you eat mediocre pizza
and must recount how
you came to work there
then share a favorite story

because you are who you are
your voice almost breaks in
recalling this past portion of
your life in some pithy story

it’s not that you’re terribly emotional
about this position, it’s that you want
to do a good job, even at this awkward
task, and the responsibility of it
almost overwhelms you

you finish

listen to other stories, collect
your crystal award, and return
to your desk, where you have
been invited to be a featured poet
at a new reading

you accept

you leave early to attend
to a yearly exam, the walk
down the corridor seems
so long, you feel grateful
you only have to come here
once a year

you undress

you are glad that the
technician is nice, encouraging
(again with the need to
be praised for a good job!)
but it always works, you
feel like you nailed
the way you held your arm
so she could press your flesh
flat to check for abnormalities

you dress

an hour to get home
your neighborhood alive
with baseball & sunshine

you walk

and now here you are
baseball outside your door
work open in the
next computer window
reality game shows
a click away

but first this poem
this snapshot
this recounting
of a day

 

NPM – 7 of 30

day in the sun/a night in the night

there is nothing quite like
the feeling you have after
a lazy day in the sun

your face warm
your skin slightly salty
your hair maintains
a sun scent

you decide to take a walk
as evening comes
to shake off the haze
mix up the mindset

the people are drunk
from sun, baseball, libations
they’re mad with Friday
with no thought for
the end of the party

it’s all good

Just checking in to say that the shine on this place is still quite shiny.

Since I last wrote, I have taken many walks through the downtown neighborhoods. Last Friday night, I walked down to a bar at the Hard Rock Hotel where my friends were playing a free show. It took me 8 minutes to walk there. Their set started at 9 pm. I was unsure if I would walk home after they were done, unsure about walking downtown safely into the night (after 10 pm). I figured I could Uber home if needed. I didn’t need to worry. There were still many people out and about throughout downtown. I wasn’t worried at all.

The next morning I walked nearly 4 miles, and I remarked to myself that everything was just really f’in’ pleasant! I got my internet hooked up that day and proceeded to watch many movies, including Room, Spotlight, and a weird little thing called Paradise.

Then the next morning, I took another walk. A different path entirely, and it was also awesome. Later I had to return a book to the library near my former home. When I got back, I decided to go to the library that is literally down the block from my new home. It was such a beautiful day, and I just wasn’t ready to be done walking about.

I started toward the library. It’s seriously just around the corner from my building. One of the realities of where I now live is the fact that I am much more in the thick of the homeless population. It’s quite a strange dichotomy. There’s so much supposed wealth down here, yet there’s also the extreme poverty. It certainly weighs on my mind. I learned today that San Diego has the 4th largest homeless population in the U.S. I have several friends who are involved in homeless outreach. I have been unable to attend any of the events they’ve had thus far, but I am keeping an eye on ways to help. For the most part, I go about my business. However, on this particular day, as I am happily walking toward the library, I happen to notice someone up ahead of me who’s laying on the sidewalk next to a building. As I got closer, I noticed that he was pleasuring himself. That was not something I expected, as you can imagine! I stopped and turned around, deciding to take the long way around to the library.

I spent longer than I intended at the library, mostly because, like with most places, once you’re there, you have no idea what you want. But I picked out a couple books. From there, I went to Lolita’s, a favorite go-to spot, to get some lunch, then head home where more movies were watched.

This week has been busy as can be at work. But a couple different nights this week, after feeling tired from work, when I got home, I decided to go out for a walk. Not four miles, but just out for half an hour or so. The first walk this week, I took myself to a cupcake store because I knew I’d want something sweet later. It was just okay. Probably won’t make frequent that store.

Then tonight, I knew I had more work ahead of me. It had been a tough ride home (as an aside, the morning commute has so far been very easy, while the drive home has been rough. But I’ve found that I’m never as bothered as I was when I was in Rolando because I like where I live now so much more.) I got to my apartment and lay on the bed for a few minutes. There was a game tonight and things were hopping. I decided to get up and get out there, again, just for a quick 30 minutes. Again, I ended up taking new streets and found myself down at the Tin Fish, where a musician I know, Joe Rathburn, plays before every home game. He was very nice and stopped between songs to come over and chat with me. I stayed for a couple more songs, then merrily went on my way as folks were making their way into Petco. As I was walking, seeing the bars mostly full, and people out walking, I wondered what it would be like if the Padres were actually doing well!

I’m sad that there isn’t any baseball while Sandy is here. It really does bring a different level of activity, but I know we’ll still have a blast. She’ll be here next week!

 

November’s here

I realized that one of the reasons I have been so reluctant to write about my time in Spain is that it will seem like it’s really over. Does that make sense? I’ve enjoyed reading my sister’s and my mom’s posts about the trip, and I think of the time quite fondly. I just know that if I take the time to further explore my adventures over there, that I will feel sad. I understand that I’ve been home more than a month already, but yes, I still feel a bit sad not to be there.

Which brings me to another point I’ve been contemplating. A friend of mine who travels a lot shared something on Facebook (written by someone else) that basically said that vacations are a lie and that you should build a life that feels like a vacation. While I kind of understand what his (the original poster) idea was, I can’t really agree. There were a lot of comments on this original post, I would say pretty equally divided between disagreeing like I did and others who were like, ‘totally! vacations shouldn’t be an escape from your life!’ But that’s the thing. It’s not really an escape, it’s just a suspended time of experience that should enhance your life. There’s also the not paying bills part or feeling much responsibility part that is also a draw. Vacations are a finite time away from your everyday routines. There’s nothing wrong with that. I get the point that you should create a life for yourself that allows you pleasure, but let’s be honest, not everyday is Instagram-worthy. Know what I mean? Do you really want to see a photo of me doing laundry and remarking about how blessed I feel? Not gonna happen. I’m curious as to what you might think.

So we’ve reached November, NaBloPoMo. It’s my goal to write every day. And I’ll just tell you that there won’t be anything about Spain in this post. Not for the reasons mentioned about, but because it’s 10 pm, daylight savings time ended today, and I’ve been up (on a Sunday!) since 6 am.

I will tell you that the Kansas City Royals won the World Series tonight in New York against the Mets. They beat them 4 games to one. And the Mets were leading into the 9th inning tonight, but the Royals came back to tie it in the 9th, then they blew it open in extra innings and soundly beat them 7-2. Ouch. Goodnight, baseball. Until Spring Training!

I will also tell you that I visited my sister in SLC last weekend, and it was awesome! I arrived on Thursday, 10/22. We got some lunch at Noodles & Co, then we went shopping for my Halloween costume and had success! That night, we went to a pre-season Jazz game, and the bonus was we got to sit in her company’s suite. It was really nice, and the food was great! The Jazz won and it was a great evening.

On Friday, we had a Salt Lake City adventure! First we took Osi to the vet, then we stopped at her work for a little bit, then we headed into downtown where we walked all around! We started at City Creek which is a fairly new mall, and it is super nice! Then we walked over to Temple Square, saw Jesus in the sky (photo below), and heard one song played on the Tabernacle organ (the acoustics demo was the coolest part).

Jesus

This statue above is a bit odd. That’s a large statue and the surrounding walls are a mural of the universe. I don’t ‘get’ Mormonism and this really threw me more.

Anyway, after Temple Square, we went further into downtown and it was awesome! There are lots of old buildings and there’s a walking tour (we weren’t on it), but there are signboards in front of many of the buildings telling the history of the architecture and the people responsible for building. It was way cool. We made our way to Les Madeleines, a cute little cafe famous for this French pastry they make called Kouing Aman. They also serve sandwiches and coffee, etc. We ordered and sat outside, trying to evoke our Spanish days. The sandwiches we got (we both got the Paris) were fabulous. We shared a Kouing Aman (yum!). It was a very pleasant day! And it wasn’t even over! After that we continued our walk through downtown and got back to the car. The weather was also perfect, by the way. We went back to the house and we had dinner from Atlantis Burger. Then it was time for us to return to downtown to go on the Grimm Ghost Tour! I went on a San Diego ghost tour, and I was disappointed. Too cheesy and not enough chills. The SLC one was not as cheesy, the host pulled off the jokes and stuff much more easily. But I also didn’t know the history so I was interested and loved hearing the stories. We went to about 5 locations, including one where we’d been that afternoon, the City County Building. I really think it was one of my favorite buildings we saw. It reminded me of South Dakota for some reason. The ghost tour was cool. I’m glad we did it. They offer three routes. I’d be into taking a different one another time! That was a really full Friday. My step count was up there!

On Saturday, I’d agreed to walk with Sandy to her WW class. She said it was almost a 2-mile walk there. When she said it, I thought, it’ll be good for me! But not after walking close to 6 miles the previous day. I was hurting. I felt bad that I was such a wimp. I got to the coffee house where I’d wait for her and she went to her class. It was good to sit. When she was done, she got me and we walked back (very slowly). Man, I had overdone it the day before! We had been talking about going to the Red Butte Gardens later that day. When we got back, we called MT and met him at their Fixer Upper. I got to see everything he’s doing, and wow! it’s a lot of work! It’s truly amazing what’s he’s been able to do so far. He definitely has a vision and is working diligently toward it! Good luck! We went to lunch at Zupa’s. Their soup was good. After that, we dropped him back off and Sandy took me around to see the other houses they own. Then we had to decide if we were going to the Gardens. I told her that after the morning walk and the day before, I was pooped! I suggested we just hang at the house the rest of the day. She was down for that! Here’s what’s great about my sister (one of many things): it’s fun to hang with her no matter what we’re doing. Chilling on the couch, playing on our phones, watching TV, chatting, snacking and whatever else was still a fabulous time! We even paid T to bring us snacks! That night, T and MT went to see “Steve Jobs.” Sandy & I had Atlantis Burger again. We watched Utah football and several episodes of Ghost Adventures. Another great day!

On Sunday, we were kind of slow getting going, but then we were ready and decided to go to the early showing of “Steve Jobs.” Aaron Sorkin wrote it and I love his work. The movie was pretty good, character and dialogue-driven. After the movie, we got MT and had lunch at a Mexican place. The food was okay, not up to my SD standards 🙂 After lunch, we had a couple errands to run and then we headed up to the Brighton ski area to walk around the lake that’s up there. It took about an hour. It was cloudy all day with a just a bit of a nip in the air. Here’s the thing, lots of people had the same idea as us! It was crowded up there. But it was still really cool to be up in the mountains. We walked around the lake. I haven’t mentioned this before, but Sandy has been battling a cold/cough basically since we got back from Spain. The doctor told her it was a virus and there wasn’t much he could do for her. 😦 She had some bad coughing spurts, but she’s a gamer. We had passed a trail off the lake and we decided to try it out. We thought we’d find another lake, but that didn’t happen. It was still beautiful, and a lot more quiet than it was around the lake. When we got back to the lake, we decided to go around again. A lot of people had left by then. It was awesome, and definitely Instagram-worthy 🙂 For dinner that night, we ordered a pizza and watched TV. Another great day!

Monday morning, it was time for me to fly back to SD. So we reluctantly hugged and away I went. Super fun time! I went back to work that day when I got home. It was a pretty busy week altogether, and of course Friday was Halloween at work and then Saturday was actual Halloween. This year, I went as Lizzie-wan Kenobi. Not too bad, really:

LWK

Until next time!

settling in

I was so sad because I didn’t think I’d gotten any response to my last post, but then I realized I hadn’t updated my email address on my account! Thanks for commenting, Mom, Mia, and Sandy!

Last week, on Tuesday night, I went to Cafe Cabaret for the open poetry reading. It was fine. I’d by lying if I said it gives me the same charge it once did. I used the time to write in my journal (my last entry had been in December!) so that was good.

On Wednesday, my friend, Heather came over to see the new place and then we went to dinner. We went to a nearby sports bar place called Bridges. It was okay. I doubt I’ll go there very often. It took a long time for our food, and my sandwich was pretty forgettable. But it was great seeing her and catching up. We’ve started our own little 2-person book club. We’ve read two books so far (Eleanor & Park and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry). Now we’re reading The Valley of Amazement. We’re supposed to meet again before my trip (to Spain!).

On Thursday night, Han had a gig and we had gotten a Blue Apron order so I made all three meals that night. I was going to be gone for the weekend so I figured Han and D could eat them. It was kind of fun! The recipes were spiced meatballs with a squash salad, summer ratatouille with parmesan polenta, and a ginger-basil chicken with coconut rice.

On Friday, I was supposed to visit my friend, Cathy, but she was working on a deadline and had to postpone. I headed up to La Mirada around 7:30 pm. A cool thing happened on the way. I was listening to the Padres game on the radio. I haven’t kept up much this season, especially when the Pads didn’t live up to the pre-season hype. But on Friday, San Diego Padres history was made when Matt Kemp hit for the cycle! It was the first time ever for Kemp as a player and for San Diego as an organization. They remain the only team to not have a no-hitter, but that cycle was a long time coming! It was so exciting to hear it!

I got to the folks’ house, and we chatted some before I went to bed. On Saturday, I took my dad to dialysis. It was 90 degrees by 10 am. Han and I were texting, and he suggested we re-think the plan of me driving my parents down to SD on Sunday to see the house. It was HOT, and we have no real relief from it here aside from some ceiling fans, an AC in Han’s room, and one in the studio. We decided to put it off which is probably for the best. With it being their first visit to SD in quite a while, I want it to be a good one! Mom & I went to lunch at Red Robin after a couple failures (Carrino’s is closed forever and The Habit was too crowded). For dinner, Dad & I had Dickey’s Barbecue and Mom had a sandwich.

On Sunday, we didn’t do much of anything. Mom & I chatted about the trip, otherwise we just hung out. That evening, the San Diego Music Award nominations were announced and Han’s Acoustic Duo is nominated twice and the Super Group is also nominated twice, including for Album of the Year! Good times!

I had decided to stay the night in LM, and drive to work from there. So this morning, I was up at 4 am, and on the road by 5 am.

On the work front, two people in my department gave their notices today. Huge bummer and quite a blow to the workflow. It’s not good times at the company. Scary. Meanwhile, a good friend was back from his vacation on which his 13-month old dog ate poisonous mushrooms and passed away. Devastating. He’s obviously sad, as are his partner and her two daughters. He really loved that dog. So tragic.

Tonight, Han & I had Chinese food that was pretty good. We’re still discovering places to eat around here. It’s fun driving around the neighborhood and seeing what is around.

It’s time for me to get into planning mode for vacation. Oh, and still nothing from the previous landlord. This Friday is Day 21. Patience.

Juice Cleanse: Day 5 (almost done!)

I slept for about 12 hours. It was glorious. And when I woke up, I felt good. Han, too. It was a little later than I’d been used to having the first juice so I got up and had it right away. Han & I talked for a while, tried to think about how we want to move on from the cleanse: what we want to eat, etc. It will be hard. The lifestyle of a musician can be tough sometimes, but we’re going to try to be better about what we eat and try to start exercising. I have no idea if I lost weight on this cleanse. I imagine I did, but that wasn’t the point. I don’t feel cold today, and I feel good. I know that tomorrow and the next few days I have to slowly ease (hey, my word!) back into actual food, not food that’s been liquefied. I think I have a good idea of what I’ll eat. Han is going to try to juice during the day and have a reasonable dinner. He’s going to call Suja tomorrow to see what his options might be.

The day has been pretty good. I went to the grocery store. This afternoon I watched the Padres beat the Giants again. I had a couple moments of pure happiness with a breeze coming through the window, watching baseball, watching good & exciting baseball, it’s tough to beat that combination.

Han left for his gig, and I did a little bit of work. I did some laundry and just cleaned up the house a little bit. I just finished my last juice! I did it! 5 days!

This week will be good. Tomorrow night, I’m going out to dinner with co-workers and a vendor. I’ve already scoped the menu to see what kinds of salads they have. I plan to make dinner on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday night, I’ll drive up to my parents’ house where my sister and nephew will already have arrived to celebrate my dad’s 75th birthday! I’m looking forward to being up there.

today’s draft

Baseball High

sunshine on the field
batters warming up their swing
better days are rare