Mid-September journaling

Currently in the process of getting ready for a date. We’re headed out to a nice dinner and then a movie and whatever else that follows. Showered, shaved, plucked, dressed, and now have my hair up in hot rollers, letting them set. Debating whether I have time to swing over to the salon to get a pedicure and manicure as well. Overdue on that right about now.

Should be a decent night out on the town with a friend I already know well and get along with. Nice transition from what else I’ve been up to lately, arguing with some other dude not worth my time and energy since he’s intent on behaving like an asshole for no clear reason and without provocation. Done with that one. He can kick rocks. Beyond that, just out meeting new friends and acquaintances while enjoying life single once again. Still getting along with my former companion, which is always a blessing.

The latest audiobook I’ve been listening to while out working and driving is The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself by theoretical physicist Sean Carroll. Very interesting thus far, about eight chapters into it.

Following are songs that have been on the mind a great deal lately.

“Eminence Front” by The Who:

“Limo Wreck” by Soundgarden:

“You’re All I Need” by Method Man ft. Mary J. Blige:

Still needing to pay my taxes which were put on extension back in the spring. Gotta get on that soon. Probably finally going to be fined this year for holding out on accepting Obamacare, or so they keep threatening.

What else? Generally trying to remain out of major trouble, aiming to keep the drama at reasonable levels, and building my money reserves back up a bit. Not up to too much lately beyond working and mingling. The summer’s fast winding down and cooler weather is already arriving up this way. Not wishing to rush into winter though, but the climate here is notoriously chaotic and unpredictable.

Time to take out the rollers and finish getting ready.

Late summer easiness

Chillin’ and relaxing as much as time permits these days. Enjoying afternoons lazing in a private, backyard pool working on my tan (something I haven’t had the luxury of doing in many years). Got some nice color right about now, stark tan lines. Listening to the birds in the trees on the perimeter, marveling at the enigma of the “blue gold” I’ve been fortunate enough to be granted time and access to float around in, soaking up the sun’s rays while watching the clouds drift by. Reflecting on the tunes playing inside my mind, skin scented with coconut oil, enjoying the tranquility of lounging alone in the great outdoors.

My birthday’s right around the corner. About to officially become middle-aged. And I’m good with that.

Working as needed, like always, including the new side gig that requires even more driving around. Exploring a Pantera album loaned to me by my former companion. Getting along with him better as well since we’ve given each other more space.

Tried dating a new guy for a couple weeks there — more like hanging out and hooking up really. But we proved incompatible right from go, not to mention I’m allergic to something in his home. Perhaps his cologne? Don’t know but finally had to throw in the towel since itchy eyes in the late-night hours aren’t sexy. But he was fun to spend time with for a minute, so long as we weren’t drinking too much rum and cokes. It has been said before and it is confirmed once again: I can argue with anyone about anything. Amazing how trifling some arguments wind up being between some of us. Won’t even elaborate on how dumb. Serves me right for giving higher priority to sex appeal in my male suitors than intellectual curiosity. But I do adore muscular eye candy…

Nice to feel my sexuality revived a bit, to know that I haven’t lost my mojo but merely misplaced it for a spell there.

Still working out regularly and have dropped a few pounds since returning from my Mississippi trip in early June. Aiming to hit it harder in coming weeks in preparation for a friend visiting Labor Day weekend. Very much looking forward to seeing him again.

Not been home much lately and hence haven’t been writing on here or elsewhere online. Been enjoying the nightlife, observing the wheels go ’round and ’round…

Pondering like always. Listened to a good audiobook recently and am now re-listening to it again: The Confidence Gap by Russ Harris. Interesting info and ideas that tie into so much else I’ve been reading this year pertaining to mindfulness and taking action and clarifying one’s values. Today I downloaded the audiobook Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind by Yuval Noah Harari and should be starting it soon.

Can’t complain these days. All is going pretty well. Building my income back up, taking time to pamper myself so as to enjoy my femininity once again, exploring social opportunities, sharing meals with friends, tuning out useless political jabbering, taking walks with a new female friend some days after gym class, just letting life roll without trying too hard to force it in any particular direction right now. Taking care of business and leaving the rest to fall wherever it may. Moving from living in my head to living in my body, bit by bit, so far as I am able.

What else? A good friend is making us dinner this evening. On the menu: bruschetta made with tomatoes from another friend’s garden and chicken cacciatore made with ingredients from his own garden. Looking forward to it. He’s a good cook. Another new pal has offered up his swimming pool for late-night skinny-dipping but so far it has been too cool in the evening to stay in for more than a few minutes. Would be nice if another heat wave struck before fall sets in, just for that reason.

Not much else to report on at present. Currently tending to laundry while waiting for the time to roll around to head back out to work. Tonight’s plans are set. Tomorrow remains up in the air. Tuesday evening is girl’s night out at the coffee shop to play cards. Learned a new dice game at my local watering hole last night. And on and on this lazy late summer ambles to a close…

I’ll leave off with a song that’s been playing in my mind a great deal in recent weeks, “Love Reign O’er Me” by The Who:

Am still alive and kickin’

Made it to Mississippi last Tuesday. So, been here a week now, staying at my Grandma’s place. Still feeling a bit funky, but that’s to be expected. Despite the privation of bars for nearly an hour around this town, I’m still able to purchase beer at gas stations to haul back to the homestead, so no, I am not yet a fully sober being. Though I wait until late before partaking. Hung out with my cousin a few days back and we hit the barscene in his city, which was fun. Just not certain where I’m trying to go with all of this yet. Becoming a teetotaler holds zero appeal to me, to be honest. BUT, I have deprived myself entirely of the herb while here, so there’s that. Which is probably beneficial.

On the way down I decided to stop at a motel/bar in a town called Marston, MO. Usually drive the approx. 13-14 hours straight on, but that looked like a good resting spot. And it was. If you’re a cigarette smoker and dive-bar drinker who can appreciate (or at least tolerate) kitschy Americana, it’s the kind of joint you might like.

And since being here I’ve completed Stephen King’s book Desperation, published in 1996, and enjoyed it. Has a lot of religious undertones (and overtones) to it, but still, I took it as sci-fi fantasy in its own right. Aside from listening to his audiobook On Writing in recent weeks, that is the first novel by him I’ve chosen to endure since my teenage years in the ’90s. Really engaging book. Great read. Just happened across it and became totally engrossed in it. Started it on Wednesday and completed it on Sunday (and probably would’ve finished it on Saturday had I not gone and hung out that evening with my cousin).

Been reading a bunch. Currently working through Aldous Huxley’s The Perennial Philosophy, on loan from that same cousin. Not sure what to say about it so far. Honestly, it’s not really up my alley (in terms of its incredible dryness, having read better books exploring the same subject matter), but he really liked it so I’m giving it a chance. Would prefer to read Joseph Campbell and others when in the mood for delving into spirituality. Huxley’s writing style here doesn’t make for easy reading, familiar as I already am with the Tao de Ching and various elements of Buddhist (and obviously Christian) thought. Will complete it before saying much else.

Also been listening to C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters on audiobook in my car, courtesy of my buddy before I started out on this trek.

Next print book in queue to be read is The Confederacy of Dunces, also on loan from my cousin.

Began working out again three days ago at a local gym, focusing on both cardio and weights for a couple days, just cardio tonight. Nice place. Not cheap, but at least I can pay as I go month-to-month and pro-rated. Clean facility with enough machines to suit my interests.

Haven’t discovered any fresh boiled peanuts so far in this town that are worth a damn. Unfortunate. Not cool. Gonna have to wait until I can travel an hour away to locate some better ones, which hopefully will be Friday since Grandma desires to head to a big city to look for home furnishings. She doesn’t drive, so that’s what I do when I’m around — drive her to and fro.

What else? Obviously haven’t taken any time to write thus far. No excuse for that other than still decompressing currently.

Nice weather down this way so far. Bugs are out though. As are the snakes, one of which Grandma killed a few days ago. Turned out to be non-poisonous. Bummer there.

But the sun has turned the landscape golden and green here this spring. Very beautiful time to visit Mississippi. Been spending hours each day sitting out on the porch barefoot and reading. Good for the soul.

Been talking to my former companion on the phone each night, and so far he’s remained very respectful and kind toward me. Hopefully he feels the same way vice versa. We’re still chiseling away at our former constraints and trying to figure out how to move ahead as friends, trying to drop the bs we’ve been mired in for over 3 years now. It’s not an easy transition, to say the least. One big reason for why I am here and will remain here until June. Gotta sever certain emotional ties enough for us both to move on, which we both know and accept. Strangely difficult to do. Perhaps this represents codependency at its extreme. I don’t know. But we both care and aren’t trying to hurt one another any further. I personally need to work on becoming stronger—mentally, physically, emotionally, and perhaps also spiritually—because that can only help in resolving this matter between us. Plus, it will prove good for me overall. And him, by extension. If we can not undo my progress this time around.

So the nuttiness continues to an extent, yet appears to be being actively curbed. Good for us/me. Radical change is sometimes needed in this life…

What else? Got an idea for the next tattoo I decide to get. Only have 2 small ones thus far, both marking chapters in my life, the first representing my young marriage to my ex-husband, the second representing my entry into sex work thereafter. The next being something to do with infinity, ultimate timelessness, but also pertaining to my Grandparents in a way. Saw the picture frame that now contains their wedding rings and thought about a very simple (and cheap) design that seems right for demarcating the next chapter in my journey. Not certain where I’d like to place it yet. Perhaps the back of my neck/nape. No clue when I’ll eventually decide to get this done.

Trying to figure and sort a lot of shit out right now. Won’t pretend otherwise. Came to be in a lot of pain up in my latest chosen city in the Midwest and just couldn’t break out of the funk for some reason. Tried and failed repeatedly. Got to feeling so unnerved, so desperately seeking, that I finally just had to up and leave for an extended spell. Not that city’s fault — just something going on inside me in recent years. Needed time away and am so fortunate to be granted it. That’s a real blessing. My best guyfriend is a saint in his own right for helping me out as he does. This puts pressure on me to not let others down, but…he knows already that I am a feral cat of sorts and a wanderer, so hopefully his expectations aren’t too high to begin with. Just needing to stick with the program on some level and to find the ways in which I am capable of contributing in a more meaningful way, one of which I am aware of and think about on the hour, every hour. Just a question of honing my skills. And time will tell. Praying I possess enough talent and develop enough discipline to pull that one off over time. Thankfully he believes in me, as do a few others, and I’d really like to not let them down in the end. Though, I can’t help but remain shocked that some people see something in me that I waver on seeing within myself. And that’s exactly why I need to grow and expand and figure this shit out to the best of my ability. Prefer to leave this planet without regrets someday.

Early April 2016 update

Ordered a couple new audiobooks on Audible last night: On Writing by Stephen King and The 50th Law by Robert Greene and rap artist 50 Cent.

Began King’s book today and am so far enjoying it. Been a long time since I’ve read anything from Stephen King, having become worn out on his novels back in the mid-’90s. Believe the last one from him I read was Gerald’s Game. But Stephen King’s writings made a strong impression on me during my youth, beginning with reading Cujo when I was 8, that being the longest book from any author I had managed to read up until that point. Scared the living shit out of me for years.  lol  Read a few other titles from him and watched several of his movies over the years. He’s one wordy dude and I got to wishing they wouldn’t pay him according to word count. But his On Writing is different, a bit lighter than his usual fare (for obvious reasons), and actually rather humorous thus far. The man’s an experienced writer, no denying that, so I’m interested to learn more about how he approaches the craft.

The second title mentioned up above, The 50th Law, appealed to me after watching several interviews on youtube of Robert Greene where he discussed his time spent with 50 Cent. Sounded interesting, though I’m not much of a fan of 50 Cent’s music. Used to listen to it some, but haven’t kept up with it over time. Have previously listened to the audio versions of Robert Greene’s books Mastery and The Art of Seduction. He just came back across my radar recently so I’ve decided to give this latest book by him a listen in coming days.

About two weeks away from heading down South. Continue reading

Radical shifts sometimes need to happen

As is usually the case, got a lot on my mind tonight. And all day. And all year. And on back. Such is the norm…

Been researching new employment ideas for going forward. Feeling the burn-out in my current self-employment venture after 8 years — seems every 7 or so years I require a radical shift in my line of work so as to keep life interesting. Not planning on letting completely go of what I do currently anytime soon, just trimming it down to the regulars I work best with and whose requests can accommodate my future schedule changes. Learned a lot from working with animals and have been blessed to be granted the opportunity to go that route for as long as I did. Continue reading

Thanksgiving week update and reading material

Might as well hop back on here to record a few of the titles of books I’ve been taking up time with lately.

First off, earlier in the month I listened to the audio format of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. What I found most interesting about that book was actually the biographical information about Aurelius in the epilogue. Beyond that, I found his version of stoicism quite foreign and unrealistic for imitation by someone with my personality type. Still, it was interesting to listen to.

Next up was a bit of an oddity that came my way by recommendation on James Altucher’s newsletter: Neil Strauss’ The Truth. Yep, that’s the same Neil Strauss who authored the popular PUA (pick-up artist) book The Game and several others along the same vein. Having not read any of his former material and not knowing anything about the man, this actually proved to be a very interesting audiobook to follow along with in which he describes his journey after cheating on a woman he actually loved and who loved him. Struck me as quite relevant to my own situation, which I continue to struggle with and try to come to terms with. Delving into the details herein will be a separate topic for another time.

Then I switched gears entirely after by chance coming back across the sermons of the Christian minister Joyce Meyer, having originally ran across her sermons on television during my teen years, then leaving her behind for many years during my 20s since her teachings came to feel too superficial. Her notion of that which we like to refer to as “God” and her brand of Christianity isn’t something I am able to accept in full, as to be expected from this long-time skeptical agnostic, but recently I realized I’ll look anywhere for answers and ideas that might prove fruitful, even if I must separate a bunch of chaff from the wheat in the process. So, I’ve listened to a number of her sermons over the last couple of weeks and then decided to download a couple of her audiobooks on Audible. The first I listened to is titled The Mind Connection and is read by Joyce. That one had a good bit of insight and I intend to listen to it again in the not-so-distant future. Her attention to the importance of self-control is what really draws me to her teachings currently, and, as stated already, I will take up time with information from any source if it can bear worthwhile fruit, regardless of religious undertones.

The second audiobook from Joyce Meyer that I listened to recently is titled The Battlefield of the Mind. That one I was less impressed with, partly because I couldn’t stand the voice of the narrator, partly because it focused on scriptures I’d already listened to her cover in several sermons and was sufficiently familiar with (though I’ve heard other interpretations, particularly those pertaining to the Israelites wandering in the desert, that I found more thought-provoking and deep). While I agree that there is a war on for our minds, my conception of what she refers to as “the devil” isn’t an external entity but rather an intrinsic part of us. Maybe I’ve studied too much on the teachings of the psychoanalyst Erich Fromm to turn back to accepting the clear-cut Christian dichotomy of “good vs. evil,” but I remain perplexed in this arena and unsatisfied with what most modern-day religious people (especially evangelicals) have to say on the matter. We are indeed fallible and ignorant beings capable (theoretically, at least) of transcending our condition throughout our lifetimes to some extent in service of what we consider a higher moral order, but how to go about that is the troubling question. Believing blindly in a Big Daddy in the sky does not resonate with me and hasn’t for nearly 20 years, much as I wish that weren’t the case since life would be so much easier otherwise.

I grew up listening to preachers that my Grandma watched on television every morning and am familiar with how they tend to put across and frame information and ideas, but it’s just too simplistic and black-and-white to do me much good. The realm of uncertainty is where I reside, and telling me that a critical, analytical mind should be eradicated is nearly the same as telling me not to exist. Such demands create more internal strife than they resolve. I feel at my core and have for many years that our conception of that which we call God must evolve and grow and graduate to the next level if it is to remain relevant, so this is why I remain open to listening to religious preachers occasionally while also keeping an open mind toward other means of understanding this life, melding together what at first might not even seem to be related in any way to see if perhaps they aren’t pointing in their own ways toward a similar overarching phenomenon.

All I have are a bunch of questions at this juncture, no answers.

Backing up a little bit, I forgot to mention another audiobook I listened to earlier in the month titled The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge by Matt Ridley. Wasn’t impressed and didn’t complete it as of yet, having listened to about 2/3-3/4 of the book by now and returning to it in moments of boredom. This one proved especially irritating because it’s yet another snarky atheistic account no different from so many that have come before. If the author would simply focus on the subject matter at hand instead of inserting his condescension, I might’ve gotten more out of the book. But, as it stands, this book served as another example of why I typically avoid reading material from devout atheists with a chip on their shoulders. They wind up being no better than the very creationists they waste so much time trying to refute, providing childish examples and snide comments that don’t help illuminate much at all. Much as I wish that crowd would get beyond their fixation with feuding over what most of us out here understand to be historical errors in religious doctrines (which should be expected from people of those times, way back before the scientific revolution came into being, their comprehension of matters being far more localized and incapable of expanding much until new information came to light), over the years I’ve had to accept that these atheists must enjoy this trifling mud-slinging and egoistic competitions and likely will never adjust their thinking and move forward. So I moved on. Tired of wasting my time listening to the same thing again and again and again with no new insight provided (or worse, with the same unfounded claims put forth that can’t be granted the certainty they’re argued as having — or worse still, accompanied by political and social attitudes deemed to be “progressive” that aren’t treated skeptically in their own right).

Now, today I’ve returned to listening to the audio format of Richard Feyman’s The Pleasure of Finding Things Out, a compilation of his speeches and interviews over the years. This one is truly interesting for a variety of reasons, particularly in how comfortable Feyman was with accepting uncertainty in most areas of life. And I like how he was willing to critique the realms of sociology, psychology and education for their use of scientific methods and then claiming to be full-on scientific as a result, referring to their errors here as “psuedo-scientific.” Very much in agreement with him there that scientific integrity is eroding about as quickly as it came into being, and that will likely have major consequences in going forward, especially when students aren’t being taught to discern but rather to find ways to confirm that which their universities or corporate employers prefer and may profit from. Scary situation arising there, no doubt. And I’ve enjoyed listening to his stories about his father and how he introduced Richard to exploring life curiously and broadly, just as he was able to pass along to at least one of his own children.

The only print book I am currently reading at this time is Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, and I am really loving it thus far. Engaging and enjoyable reading material that I look forward to sitting down and reading a few pages of when time permits. It’s about those who’ve become successful and how merit alone isn’t the only variable that matters.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to lately. Time to finish up my laundry and play a game online before having dinner, jumping in the shower, and then heading back out to work this evening. Winter holidays are my busiest work periods. As a general update I could mention that I have kept the weight off, having lost 40 lbs. since April through exercising. And I had my hair cut to shoulder’s length a week or two back. And my former companion and I are still trying to figure out how to get along and consistently enjoy one another’s company without one or both of us going mad in the process. He did cook us a nice Thanksgiving meal last Sunday, knowing that I rarely have time to enjoy Thanksgiving on the actual holiday. That was very nice of him, all else aside. Been drinking less (by-and-large anyway) and still do not drink in my home anymore, not since spring. A friend purchased a fancy vaporizer for me as an early Christmas gift, so hopefully one of these days I’ll get the gumption to make the transition from smoking cigarettes to using it instead. For my health’s sake, after this summer officially having smoked for a full 20 years. What else? Needing to replace my computer one of these days and accept that XP Pro has unfortunately become an operating system of the past. Pondering on a volunteer opportunity today that seemed to call out to me when I learned of it from the public television channel this morning. Oh, and today is my Grandma’s birthday. She turned 75 years old. I am very grateful and thankful to have her in my life.

Update for late July

Well, four days and counting without drinking alcohol. Actually stepped into the bar today and ordered a soda. Part of me craves beer obviously but a larger part of me loathes who I become after so many. Bummer that is. Wish I could keep it moderate and social, but my track record has proven otherwise.

So anyway, I’ve been hanging out with a new galpal I met about 3 months ago. She recently underwent a surgery so I’ve been helping her out some and hanging around in the evenings to play card and board games with her and a couple of her buddies. That’s been nice. Actually invited me over to her son’s house today and got surprised to learn some saleslady was there pitching cleaning products while toddlers were screaming all the while. I only came for the tacos. Had to duck out early and take her home since that scene was nuts. Never do I ever wish to be trapped in a room with toddlers yelping and hollering. Just not my bag, especially not this week.

Mowed the lawn again for my best guyfriend on Tuesday and had dinner with him and his mother. They’re always welcoming toward me, which I deeply appreciate.

Been busy with work this week, mornings, days, and nights. Not that I’m complaining. I welcome the business to distract me from all else. Been doing my best to stay in the moment so much as I’m able and to enjoy my routine once again.

The last few nights I’ve been taking Lunesta to help me sleep, which has worked out well this go-round. Have to knock myself out since I’m such a night owl yet need to turn that around for the most part. Never succeeded at changing my sleeping habits in any permanent fashion before, so I’m not holding my breath this time either. But for now it’s been necessary to catch me up on the sleep I’ve been so deprived of in recent weeks.

For the first time since I began my boot camp training class at the gym I missed a session, that being on Tuesday as well. Tuesday was a very bad day. Perhaps one of the worst I’ve had in recent times aside from a few months back. And it was the day I decided to stop drinking. Won’t even go into how I felt that day or where my mind was. But anyway, got back to the gym the next day and intend to carry on like usual. Need to and want to. Meeting with my trainer tomorrow to do some weight-lifting.

Arranged to meet with a client lady I’ve known for a few years for coffee tomorrow afternoon. She’s been wanting to hang out since last year but I kept putting her off. Never felt well. Finally do. So we set it up and I’m looking forward to hearing what’s been going on with her. Sounds like she had some serious health problems not too long ago.

Been interesting spending more time with women in recent months. That’s not my norm, just where I happened to gravitate. And I’ll take it since the ones I’ve been meeting and visiting with have been supportive and helpful.

What else? Have some new business opportunities lined up for next week. All should go well there like it usually does. Could use more money and have plenty of time on my hands to fill these days.

Thinking about going for a walk here in a minute with my headphones on. Looks like it may rain. So be it. I don’t mind. Just wanting to stay in motion as much as possible. Got a lot of energy to work through these days.