Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Letting Go

Laundry has been folded and put away and I'm enjoying an evening coffee. Possibly not the best of decisions as the caffeine has kept me up the last two nights, but oh well. I need my fix. And if anyone is keeping track of such things, I did NOT go to Starbucks; making a pot at home was sufficient for this evening.

This has been a productive week on many fronts. Restructuring things at the office is going according to plan and is being more or less well received by my employees (a few ruffled feathers, but as of yet no attempts on my life). Thesis reserach is going well and I've been domestically productive after work every night this week. Room by room the apartment is being cleaned and I've enacted a policy of "if I haven't used it in a year, out it goes." Lots of things are going away as I reduce my life at home to a more minimalist approach.

Perhaps the most surprising thing of all is how easily I've found it to give away books. I had amassed quite a collection of Civil War books (and military history in general) before losing interest in the subject seven or eight years ago. I haven't touched most of them in ages, so as they're no use to me, they're going to various co-workers and friends for whom such things are of interest. It's a good feeling to both make use of these things via donation and rid myself of the remnants of long-forgotten phase of my life.

Browsing and sorting my library over the last few weeks has been an insightful exercise in personal evolution. As I've always been a book buyer juxtaposed to a library patron, I have a tangible record at home that reflects profoundly on where I was intellectually, emotionally, and even spiritually at any given point in time.

Growing up in Tidewater and coming from an old Virginia family, having a keen interest in the Civil War was nothing short of an expectation for a native son. The older part of my library clearly reflects this. I don't regret the hours innumerable and money spent pursuing this interest. It was who I was at that time and it probably helped set the foundation for my longstanding avid interest in reading. I have many fond memories of those days.

But over time something happened.

Due in part to college and a maturing, questioning nature, a broader worldview developed as evidenced by a thematic shift in reading to world history, the social sciences, Buddhist philosophy, and natural history. The latter two topics have in recent years come to dominate both my available reading time and my library. It's been years since I've read something on the Civil War or even browsed the related shelves at Barnes and Noble and it has little meaning for me now other than simply being a part of our collective past and no more. Letting go of the past on levels both personal (that part of my library) and intellectual (a broader worldview) is such an important key to happiness in the present moment and a full life.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Sunday AM

A cloudy and humid Sunday morning in Norfolk. It looks like rain, but that's not in the forecast beyond the possibility of late afternoon and evening thunderstorms. I've long loved days like this: a dark and moody sky, the humidity, and an overall feeling of unpredictability in the air.

I am preparing to shake things up at the office over the next few weeks. One of my employees is clearly not working out so I'm going to make him go away this week once I get all the necessary documentation to human resouces. He's lazy, has significant problems with authority, and his attitude is as negative as a Bush campaign ad. He's young and this is his first real job, so he still has a lot of growing up to do. I've held counseling session with him, but to no avail. He simply won't listen. In my more sinister moments, I seriously consider buying him as a parting gift a box of disposable diapers.

Of course the additional advantage of terminating an employee is that everyone else will be incredibly productive little worker bees for a few months. There are two reasons for this. First, they know not when and if the axe will fall again. This is certainly the most irrational of the two, but such uncertainty in moderate doses can be a good thing. Second, bad attitudes can be infectious to the rest of the department so removal of the offending element can have positive results in morale and worker satisfaction.

Sith Happens

Summer 2005 Revenge of the Sith viewing count: 3.

Sunday, June 19, 2005


Despite the ingrained habit of walking over to Starbucks every morning for coffee, I decided to make a pot here at home. Of course I'm using Starbuck's beans so it's every bit as potent as what I get across the street, but I end up saving $2.01. While this may not be that signficant of an amount at one time, it does nonetheless add up over the weeks and months. If I were to buy two cups of coffee daily (which I ususally do) for a year, it would add up to be $1,467.30 annually.

Kinda frightening when you look at it that way. That's almost what I spent for the three-week Thailand trip including round trip air fare.

Moral of this story: Fewer trips across the street = more trips abroad.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Sunday AM

It's a beautiful Sunday morning and it looks like it's going to be another hot day. So I'll put the top down on the Jeep when I head out of here later on this morning. I have a few errands to run in Virginia Beach (and maybe even a stop at Barnes and Noble if I feel so inclined) before going over to a friend's house this afternoon.

My legs are very sore this morning thanks to a few hours of badminton at my sister's place yesterday evening. I've never played that game before as I've always thought it silly, but was I ever wrong. It was good fun and great exercise. Of course I had no clue as to the rules, which may or may not have contributed to the enjoyment of the game and the degree of running hither and thither like a wet hen. to get laundry going and take care of some domestic chores so I can be free the rest of the day. It's going to be a nice day out and I want to make the most of it.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Saturday Afternoon

Well it's been a busy day. I made the obligatory trek out to the parental abode this morning for a visit of a few hours. The last time I saw them was the 25th of March (yeah, I know..Im such a bad son), so it ws good to catch up. While out and about, I also swung by my sister's house to drop off a piece of luggage I borrowed for the Thailand trip that I had not yet returned. They're off to the Eastern Shore next weekend and were in need of additional luggage, though I'm not sure why since they are pretty well stocked with such travel necessities. Perhaps it was just an excuse to force the return of their luggage.

After making the necessary rounds I went off to do some clothes shopping and picked up a couple shirts and some more shorts. My friends would be so proud as I'm opting for things a little more colorful than the ususal drab earth-tones I have this tendency to buy.

And speaking of color (how's that for a segway), I noticed that I got a little more sun today than I was anticipating. It was so nice out that I put the top down on my Jeep before heading off this morning and as a result I have this nice reddish glow going on. This is OK though as the red will quickly fade to brown and I'll have a good summer tan going on (thanks to my Portugese ancestry...I tan very well).

This evening I'll be off to my sister's place for a small cook out. We'll be grilling salmon, shrimp, and other assorted seafood whilst partaking of alcoholic refreshments. Should be a good ending to an equally enjoyable day.

Catching Up

It's been quite some time since my last entry, so I thought I'd take a few moments this morning to catch up on the comings and goings of my life since last I posted. On the level of work and never-ending thesis research things continue to go as well as usual, though now that we're into the summer both have increased seeminly exponentially in terms of time required. This is not a bad thing, mind you, as I prefer to stay busy and productive.

Things have been much more interesting lately on the personal level. I've been single now two and a half month and have truly come to appreciate the freedom to come and go and do whatever I see best. Having the time to reflect, to focus a lilttle more on myself is certainly welcome and in many ways needed. While this may sound a little selfish, it's certainly is not. I'm equally content compromising and taking into account my partner's interests when in a relationship, but it's nice for a change having to answer only to myself.

Well...myself and my cats. They're as demanding as always, perhaps even moreso now since they don't have any competition for my attention. But competition they may soon have. **grin***

I've also paid greater atttention to diet and exercise over the last few months and the effors are certainly paying off. The old familiar angles of my face are reappearing, I'm regaining that tall, lanky appearance, and all of my clothes are getting too big. I went clothes shopping a few weeks back and was absolutely delighted to have to downgrade two pants sizes and one shirt size just to get the new things to fit. Recently I've hauled a lot of my old clothes out of storage and once again they fit, but as they're of the Abercrombie and Fitch (circa 1999) style, they're not particularly suited for 2005. Besides, at 33 I'm no longer in the A & F category and there are few things more depressing than someone too old trying to pull off a look geared for the younger crowd. Despite this fact, it's gratifiying to know that physically I'm almost where I need to be. I calculate that I have somewhere between ten more pound to loose and then I can reinvent my wardrobe. Of course as most of my friends know I have no sense of style, so their input will be most needed. But I have to be mindufl as styles that might work for them may not work for me.

So in the final analysis, I suppose the biggest event over the last few months is that I've regained a better sense of self and balance in my life. No longer are work and academics the all-consuming factors they once were. Certainly they are still important, but there are other aspects, equally important in their own way, that are needed for a happy, full life. It's so easy to get distracted with this or that at the expense of other equally valid components and while I've long recognized this in theory, the practical application has been dodgy at best.

Anyway...I'm off to shower and pay the parental units a visit this morning. Perhaps I'll post again later today if I have time.