Sunday, January 11, 2009


I took this picture in a portrait mode, trimmed it and just didn't hit 'rotate 90 degrees clockwise.' [Ed. Note: Have you ever noticed that FFP always orients the camera so that photos have to be rotated counter-clockwise? LB: Yes, Yin and Yang and all that. If a photo is taken portrait-style on one of our cameras, there is a marker about who took it. Assuming, you know, we didn't hand the camera to someone else.]

It's disorienting not to rotate a photo before presenting it, isn't it?

I have a 'day off' today. Which means there is nothing on the calendar. FFP has a cold or allergies so he might not feel like a walk or a movie which sound like good ideas to me. I can go to the gym, read the papers, drink coffee (wait, already been doing the last two). There are a few chores I probably should do. (FFP already started doing some laundry. He also removed the recycling from the condo yesterday and did some dishes.)

Not having anything scheduled is delicious and yet disorienting. Too many choices!

I guess that's why working is sometimes the best thing for the attention-deficit wracked mind. When I worked, I would often have a confusing set of goals and ideas rattling around in my head. Things I needed to do for work and for my own life would seem like a wave about the swamp me. I often felt, when my rear end hit my chair and I logged on to work mail and incident reports for my products, an incredible easing of my mind. There was my 'to do' list: answer these mails, work on these problems and questions and then pull up the real 'to do' list and work on designs and code and reviews I'd noted there. There were meetings scheduled to get through or embrace (in the case of the rare ones that moved things forward). People came in and asked for assistance or pointed out some flaw in my thinking. It was structured and it was a relief.

I can achieve this same scattered peace in retirement by forcing myself to go through a routine of some chore. Clean the bathroom. Go through the various accounts and verify balances and update my bookkeeping and spreadsheet system. But nothing really comes close to the feeling of having a job and getting the butt in the chair to start a day. Especially a Monday when I took Sunday off. Because Sundays, especially Sunday nights, were sometimes agonizing. Even if I worked on work or other things I needed to do but especially if I relaxed and read the Sunday papers and watched TV, I felt like a jockey on a horse at a race in one of those narrow cages waiting for the gate to open and the race to be on.

All my time now is in Sunday night mode, waiting for the starting gun. I have appointments, sure, but nothing like putting in a work day. And like those waning hours of the weekend I find myself bouncing from activity to activity. Like today, which happens to be Sunday.

I got up a little before eight. I think I would have slept longer, but I wanted to call my dad and see if he'd located a ride to church. Because while I wouldn't go with him I would have gone to take him if he wanted. I was getting the best sleep of the night right then. But I felt OK after getting up. FFP had fired up the coffee machine, gotten the papers in (they are right in the hallway here, that's so cool) and was telling me about an article in the Statesman about arts organizations I should read. I made my call to Dad. (He found someone who lives near by to give him a ride and says this morning that he plans to live to be 102 which is an adjustment from the 112 he asserted the other morning). I pushed a picture to Austin, Texas Daily Photo. I edited a picture for this blog and started thinking about what to write. I read the article FFP suggested and on a trip to the kitchen for more coffee I thought of eating a banana. There were two apples in the fruit bowl. I decided to make tuna salad and started boiling eggs, chopped the apples opened some tuna, found mayo and relish. The eggs are in the final (sit for fifteen minutes after water boils) phase of my egg boiling technique. The rest is mixed and in the frig, ready for the eggs to be chopped and added and the result refrigerated again to chill.

Well, I wandered off to finish the tuna salad. I rued the fact that I didn't have an onion so I could pep it up with a little finely chopped onion. I did eat a banana (my breakfast). It's chilling in the frig for later snacking. I looked at some newspaper articles, poked around the puzzle page in The New York Times Magazine. (The 'standard' crossword looks hard today.) I read something about the CIA.

And so it goes. Left to my own devices, I'm a little erratic and random and, at best, productive but slightly disoriented.

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