I drove to Huntington today to help out a little bit with Strawberry Pie Week… and, I made it here in 4.5 hours, and that’s cooking with grease… usually it’s a five hour drive. I didn’t speed like crazy, just set it on cruise at 79, and got some help from the lack of traffic. It’s good to get that sort of time on the road by oneself… it’s a modern, moving, meditation. Anyways, I arrived, and began slicing the strawberry pies. My lunch at the counter was a fantastic fried fish sandwich, extra tarter, extra pickles… no pie. Then, it was back to cutting pies, and after a decent bit, my wrist, pointer finger, and thumb were showing wear and tear. I tried my left hand, and it worked, but not well. I watched all day as the waitstaff cut up and made fun of a most hectic back to back shift. The art studio work really lacks for coworker engagement, and it has struck me hard at this point in my life that I am desiring more work community. Over the last two decades, I have spent an enormous amount of time alone, and I have needed and loved it… I am in a different phase now. Of course, I still demand my quota of hours without others, but I want to share life with fellow humans. I’ll be working on that.
By the end of the day today, at Jim’s, we had sold about three hundred and eighty strawberry pies… by the slice only. I had likely cut two hundred and fifty of them… at least, according to my right hand. It’s an honor to be able to help this family institution. I’ll do it again tomorrow.
Sometimes, lately, I feel like I am sitting at the dining room table, waiting to eat. I know that the meal is going to be delicious, because I am also in the kitchen cooking it.
I’ve been cooking a long time. I don’t really know when I’ll be finished, or when I can begin.
You know the feeling.
It could be the morning, lying in bed, considering the day ahead. It could be a dinner date with a friend who you’re just not up to spending two hours with, because it’s been a long week, or the last time you got together they wore you out. Or, you’ve got to make dinner, and none of the foods elicit anything.
Well, I’m feeling a bit of that for this blog right now. It’s Mothers’ (the use of apostrophe here could be tricky… could be used as singular possessive), Day… I’m extremely hip to giving ALL the props to my mom, my wife, and all the moms, because they deserve so many praises. But, I’m not charged with the energy to produce such a post, and I’m not willing to get down on myself. It was a lovely day of celebrating my wife… and all of the mom’s in her family. I made a coffee cake for the first time last night, and I could eat it to the point of getting sick if I had a bit less self control. I’m tired from insulating the garage yesterday, and a lot of cooking over the last twenty-four hours. Tomorrow is going to be a full day, and then I head to Huntington, WV for two days to help at Jim’s for Strawberry Pie Week.
Anyways, Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms!
There, on the inside-
The missing piece, Deep and Still.
Healing the dis-ease.
We have a small renovation project going on at our house, and the last two days have proved to be the type of days that simply stretch the limits of tolerance. We are inching down progress lane, but the limping two steps forward, one step back shuffle has got me exhausted tonight. I’ll be insulating the space on Saturday, and I hope to be as competent as I imagine I am in regards to this task. Once this is done, we can get it drywalled, and that will push it a bit more quickly down the lane, and maybe the project will require less subcontractors after that. It’s exciting to watch it come together, as we have been considering this for about five years. Anyways, the beard was removed tonight, and I’ll turn a corner with the visual transition… there is a weird beard psychology that I’d imagine someone has written about. Ciao.
Tonight, I celebrated my birthday with carryout pizza while watching my oldest daughter play soccer. We had reservations for dinner at a delicious Indian restaurant, but this game got scheduled as a make up for a rained out game, and we shifted the party. It could have been easy to feel some disappointment, especially after three situations today that taxed my capacity to deal with emotional, “confrontational” experiences. I had to adult hard when I kinda wanted to stroll easy through a birthday without any attention given away to others mistakes. Anyways, joy prevailed throughout the day, as I walked confidently through the fires before putting them out. I felt forty-seven… no more room for wasting time, beating around the bush, etc. Deal with it head on, sourcing joy and deep roots to bloom into any experience, even if it’s unpretty. Happy Birthday? What about Joyful? Happy is too contingent upon external situations, and that’s just dangerous. I am looking forward to this year. It might be time to shave the beard.
One the eve of my birth day, my wife asked me how the year was being 46…
This photo of the current situation at the old Greer Stadium in the Wedgewood/Houston neighborhood is a good symbol for what my last year was like. I tore apart much of the built structures within myself, and left them in scrap piles. I surveyed the site for the rebuild, and I have a solid set of plans for the project that is already underway. Forty-seven feels like it’s going to be enjoyed.
Today, I celebrated nineteen years of sobriety. It’s a very long story, and like many alcoholics/drug addicts, it might make a quality memoir or movie. Lots of drama, comedy, highs and lows, lies, cons, and redemption. One day, I hope to have the attention span and writing skills needed to put a relatively comprehensive story together. Self-centeredness is at the core of the addicts behavior… this would help if I ever choose to write such a memoir. Anyways, my gratitude is immense for all of the forces that brought about the shift in my heart and mind nineteen years ago. The actual day that I stopped was the day that I contracted Rocky Mountain Spotted Tick Fever… I was a mess (I’m saving the detailed story for later). The Fever helped me make a decision to neither drink nor smoke week for a day or two, and then, I had my follow up meeting after recently having completed DUI school. I was physically spent when I met with the counselors to answer a bevy of questions about my past… drug use, family, emotional, etc. I was probably much more honest than most folks they get at that stage. I wasn’t in any mood to hide from anything, I didn’t have the energy to make shit up. My bottom came up to meet me with the physical symptoms of the Fever, and that opened the door to my Spirit to start the climb out of the hole it had been in for quite some time. Coping mechanisms come in so many forms, and I still have my favorites that I use, but I am grateful that I surrendered drugs and alcohol. I think that I recently saw that May is Mental Health Awareness month (not sure I buy into that sort of marketing), and that’s a lot of what sobriety is to me. Our realities hinge on our thinking, usually… even our feelings seem to go through our thought filters. So, the health of our mental state is of utmost importance. I’ll keep doing this thing, one day at a time. If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with addiction in any form, please know that there is lots of help available (I am happy to be of service). Help is not for those that need it, it is for those that want it.
To be continued…
Tonight, my mom received a James Beard Foundation Award, as the family restaurant, Jim’s Steak & Spaghetti House, was honored with an America’s Classic Award. I cried for twenty minutes, probably. I’m not really yet in a space where I can elaborate on this, as it’s overwhelming when I think of my grandfather’s humble beginnings, his dreams and hard work, and my mom’s carrying of that torch the last twenty years. I am grateful beyond measure to be a part of this bloodline, and I am inspired by the commitment to service that is such a part of this family’s legacy.
(This comes at a time when I have been less than ok with the sense of self-centeredness with my career in the visual art world… Changes will be made.)
We still get the Tennessean seven days a week. I think that we are likely some of the youngest people with such a subscription. We have certainly thought about cancelling it for years, but our girls’ enjoyment of it makes ending this long run of paper news much more difficult than expected. There is valuable value in the slow news. There is magic in flipping the pages while eating breakfast… or skimming mediocre articles over dinner. It usually stays on the dining room table, and does a sort of paper gymnastics over its’ brief lifetime there… folded, separated and rearranged. There is a certain nostalgia with it for sure, and I guess that we cling to it as a vestige of a time long gone, when a more manageable amount of information was streaming through us all. Today, my wife mentioned the idea of cancelling the paper… it makes plenty of sense to do so. It is not cheap, for what it is, but this photo, and the enjoyment of the experience watching my kids’ digest it slowly is priceless.