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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

window lily


window lily, originally uploaded by use2blost.

seems like its been forever since I saw the baby... got a surprise this afternoon.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Horseless Carriage


Horseless Carriage, originally uploaded by use2blost.
     Well, I've decided against afflicting the blogosphere with another self portrait. Day 6 nicotine free. OMG. THTKMA. (This has totally kicked my ass.) I have ventured out to the Atlanta Bread Company as an experiment. I have gone to a couple social things, small group and such with a 'leave whenever you want' attitude. I went to church this morning which was a first...an event with a beginning and an end, which I intended to endure for the duration. Without my crutch. I even had a conversation with Katie at church while she smoked a cigarette.
     The whole thing.
     I felt like my conversational skills were clumsy, and undiplomatic. It was hard to concentrate. I never forgot about her cigarette for even a second. (I remember talking to a titty dancer at a bachelor party...Patrick's.  It was like that. You never forget they're naked, not for a second.)
     I never forgot about Katie's cigarette, but every time I wanted to interrupt and ask her for one (twenty in all, at least.) I just sat there withdrawing, and taking no action. That worked out so well, I felt up to a test, so I have braved the real world, and came to ABC to begin my reentry into the fledgling decade. To reconnect  with a life of direction and purpose, to see what this day day holds for me, in my new freedom.
    

Update:Evidently this day does not hold long periods of concentration, or productivity. The balancing act of keeping the important nominally prioritized over the urgent brings to bear a feeling of pressure. I need to crank out a paper on Tartuffe. It doesn't have to be profound, it just has to be drafted, proofed, and submitted by Tuesday evening, and today is the window of opportunity. Pressure makes me want to smoke, and that makes me feel pressure. It's better than it was yesterday. Wish me luck. The Gaping Hole in my spirit is less visceral, more mental. The trial by fire is over, I look now to some lifestyle changes, like don't eat something just because it was motionless for a moment.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Byron Methodist


Byron Meth, originally uploaded by use2blost.
     A couple of weeks ago the world record largemouth bass was caught. The interesting thing to me is not the weights involved, but the locations. The old record holder was caught in south Georgia, within a couple hours of here. So this catches my interest, and surfing around trails.com, I notice a icon near Byron, over by my church. Trails says a neighboring church, Byron Methodist is built next to the largest blackjack oak in the world.
     Yup.
     Well I decide to ride to church early and swing by this tree, to get a shot of the hopefully spectacular sunrise over the largest blackjack oak in the world.
      In the world!
The Pastor, who took a break from his preparations and strolled outside, showed me the spot. There wasn't even a stump.
'Bout a year and a half ago, we had to take it down. It was a sad day. It dwarfed the church. It was dying.
     Dissapointed, I told him to get out of the weather (18 degrees F), walked to the van, and drove to Lifepoint

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Busy...and getting kinda fat. 4/365

     This is the SP from a couple days ago. I'm getting jowls. I did not overeat today. Much. I actually, to borrow a phrase from Arod, feel like I could get a pretty good write on...I'm thinking about profanity, what's okay, and what's not, and exactly what the hell is meant by the taking of someone's name in vain. But alas, the voice of wisdom calls from a tub of scalding, sudsy bathwater, saying to read up on the enlightenment before my analysis of Tartuffe. This is good advice. Who said the voices in your head have to be a bad thing? The smoking update: I shall have 72 hours nicotine free at nine in the morning. 72 is the magical number of physical detox, having to do with things like half-life, and metabolic rate, which are not blogworthy at this time. After seventy two  hours the physical addiction is supposedly broken, and it becomes a psychological from that point on. That's not what I feel at the moment, but I won't chase that rabbit. (It's psychological from the beginning.) I have noticed my pants get tighter in the last five days as I have tried to do this...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

So, I backslid.


Oops...I left the coffee pot on., originally uploaded by use2blost.
     Yesterday morning and had a cigarette. You can buy singles illegally from certain ethnically managed convenience stores, and (the going rate is .50 a stick.) I had to hook up. I immediately felt shame and remorse, and smoked the (Newport is the only flavor Mr. Patel does. He offered to do Marlboros once, but I declined. I didn't want to make things too attractive.) fag right down to the taste of filter. I cut the filters back on 'Ports anyway, to get more of the good stuff. Anyway, I now have once again detoxed for 36 or so hours.
     I can definitely say that breaking the 24 hour barrier ushers in a special increase in the suck factor. It's exponential. You could say it was SUCKQUARED. Truly. I am not fit company for humans.  I have made no attempt to encourage interaction, though I did drop by Debbie's for a minute or two at some point earlier. I could tell as soon as I was in an environment with other people, that my inner asshole lurked just beneath the surface.
     I split.
     The Craving is intense, and deep, it is accompanied for me, by feelings of anger, loneliness and hopelessness. They come in waves, usually three at a time lasting about three minutes a piece. I have killed a box of Pop-Tarts, and yearn for more, even though full. Coffee is an old dear friend, but detoxing from nicotine, by some cruel twist of fate effectively halves the ex-smokers caffeine tolerance, so my comfort food is denied me. Hopefully, another nights sleep will take some of this edge off.
     I hope this is it.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Freedom


Day two, originally uploaded by use2blost.
     Okay...that is a picture of yours truly... smoking a cigarette 25 something hours ago. He hasn't had one since. He's been here probably 10 times or better. He's a stubborn bastard when it comes to shakin' a bad habit.
     The first 72 hour period is the trial by fire. I have a little program I downloaded. It tells me how long I have been quit, how many cigs I have not  smoked, how much money I have saved, and chronicles the statistical increase in my life span. like this:
Chris - Free and Healing for One Day, 1 Hour and 30 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 2 Hours, by avoiding the use of 27 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $6.38.

     Kinda neat. It helps. This is a terribly lonely endeavor .

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Other Worlds Than These


Other Worlds Than These, originally uploaded by use2blost.
     The title is actually a quote from one of the old Dark Tower novels (Stephen King)...Jake spits it at Roland as our hero abandons his friend to fall to his death. Something along the lines of "Go on, then. There are other worlds than these..."
      There are other worlds than these both in a physical sense, and otherwise. IMHO, the spiritual world encompasses our own, this world that activates and stimulates our senses. In some geometry that my feeble math skills cannot analogize, this sphere ( the spiritual one, that is.) surrounds ours in every dimension. This means time, space, beyond the tesseract, even. This view holds no heresy that I know of, to religion or science. The nature or boundaries of this other world(s) are simply speculation, (for me) but as to existence, I have no doubts. Doubts become impossible in the face of memory. I have been spoken to from the distance half a dozen times, and have twice been present at the proper location in time and space to witness when the line of demarcation became blurry and indistinct, between this world and another. Twice I have come across a temporal/ physical point where the fabric of this reality was worn and frayed, like the denim on the knees of incredibly comfortable Levi's. A place  where the warp of reality has been abraded away, and the threadbare weft permits glimpses of  flesh beneath the surface. A place where I perceived stuff I will not post about today.
     Yeah, baby.
     Here be Dragons, demons, and things that go bump.
     The Light of the World is there as well. He is a reality that encompasses all worlds, in every conceivable dimension.
     Believe it.

The 365 pool on flickr is challenging. You are challenged (and not many succeed) to upload 1 self portrait a day, shot on that day. This is yesterdays.... shot at work, post processed in Elements, and Photo-bee. The early light on this jobsite, is interesting... and I am to busy to think, so this is an easier post than any of the theological musing that flit through my awareness, and slip away before I can consider them properly...The idea of taking a self portrait a day for a year arouses very mixed feelings in me. I may explore this in a later post.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hearing God


pipecutter, originally uploaded by use2blost.

Perhaps we do not hear the voice of God because we do not expect to hear it. Then again, perhaps we do not expect it because we know that we fully intend to run our lives on our own and have never seriously considered anything else.
Dallas Willard, Hearing God, p71.

     I read this after returning from the Tuesday  morning Men's Breakfast, where the host royally pissed me off. The man who has provided my breakfast on most Tuesdays for several years aroused my anger after announcing  that his political opinion and God's were in close parallel (yet again!). I should mention that I had resolved  to quit smoking the afternoon before, about five thirty (yet again!). I am grumpy, and unforgiving. Dallas's book is a reread for me. The last decade has had a kneeling effect on me...like a camel desperate for refreshment. I'm rereading some of my favorites, hoping for fresh insight. My life has seemed dry, in terms of God. I am sharply aware of character deficit, both my own, and society's. It has taken a conscious act of will to maintain my faith, though perhaps what tattered remnants* remain are a divine gift. Conventional Religianity in my neck of the woods, teaches that faith is a gift of God...and that pleasing God is impossible without faith. Hmmm. That sounds like a spiritual protection racket, but I digress.
     I am angry and desperate for a cigarette.
     I go to the store. I get cigarettes.
     Sin. Disobedience. Bondage. Right?
     I've been taught God does not speak to those wallowing in sin. There is that verse in Peter about hindered prayer, after all...
     In spite of this, I am seeking with a greater diligence then usual. (another issue here is the "All your heart" verse...our hearts are pretty screwed up, according to God, so doing anything good with all our hearts is pretty much impossible isn't it? we do things "with all our hearts" for brief shining periods, or (hopefully) briefer periods of depravity, not as an ongoing state of existence.)
     Anyway, I am looking for a tool and pause to read a snatch of theology... this is the drudgery of the attention deficit, a man diagnosed as a retard in childhood, as he shuffles about attempting to function, prior to seven in the morning. He is struggling with nicotine, depression, and a drastically reduced income during a time of life when he must concentrate as never before...My morning 'on task' quotient is less than mediocre today, I suspect.
     The tool I seek is an adjustable assembly of tiny rollers and a little blade, for cutting copper line neatly without crushing it. This is the kind of tool that painter/carpenter may purchase and not need again for years. I know I have one. I am also a little too broke, working a job I underbid, to throw away ten or twenty bucks on a new one. And, for about two years I have been actively angry/dissappointed with God. (Now that I think about it, thats kinda like being a bitchy bride.) This is getting better, but it's still there, so I am talking as I migrate from the kitchen junk drawer to the patio shed. I inform God that finding this tool would be a perfect miracle. Not death-defying enough to rob me of an opportunity for faith, but strong enough to give me a DAMN good reason to see his hand.
Cause I am never gonna find this pipecutter.
      I fix stuff for a living. At your house. When I show up, I am pulling a 10x6 trailer fulla tools, and I have two rooms and an outbuilding of assorted saws, wrenches, levers, rusty junk and odds an ends.
I know I'm not gonna find this six inch tool I've used 4 times in 30 years. Not before I have to show up for psychology at 11. I  am finding a lot of other stuff. In the bottom of a five gallon bucket, I find an ultra tiny crochet needle I got when I was learning make fishnet lingerie ( It's good to have me as a boyfriend). I am amazed. I go so far as to tell God :
This is what I'm talkin' about, Papa. If I prayed about this crochet hook and then found it...that would have been perfect! Why can't you show me where the pipecutter is?
At this point, it occurs to me I used the pipe cutter last summer...fixing my exterior faucet. Then I set it on rough shelving unit that leans against my brick under the kitchen window. Or did I? I have been chain smoking at this this point, and chain smoking after a period of abstinence produces extreme lightheadedness and can be quite disorienting.
     I stumble to the shelves. There is nothing. Okay. Thanks alot, God. (I am childish. When I am pleased, he is Papa, Father, or Lord. When I am disenchanted, he is God. Do y'all do that?)
Something else occurs to me. I gotta dog. Suzie is big, black, and not the brightest puppy in the litter.  
     Literally.
     These shelves are not attached, and frisbees get thrown back here. 55 lbs. of Black hairiness has been known to jostle things. She is a bull in a china shop.
     Proverbially.
     So I start to brush the leaves aside. I get down on my knees. This kneeling, and this brushing are conrete. The substance, if you will... of what I hope for. The evidence of what is not apparent. It's all about the pipecutter. Or is it? I find an old spray can, some bungee. A tiny precision flushcut saw...I should be spanked for leaving out here to rust. No pipecutter.
I give up. Thanks alot, God. As I raise from my kneeling position, I place my hand on the little bricked up well that ventilates my crawlspace. It has a piece of 1/4" wire mesh in a wood frame, to catch leaves and debris. My fingertips dislodge one more large leaf as I push myself to my feet. The pipecutter gleams in the early sunlight.
     Oh, Papa. was that you?

* "The Tattered Remnants" was Larry Underwood's old band in Stephen King's The Stand. They once opened for Zepplin. :)

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