Sunshine peaking through

Well, it's raining again, but at least I'm not sick.

Or less sick. That bug I got (whatever it was) lasted a full week. I haven't been that ill since 1999; even the H1N1 last January wasn't that bad. I don't think it was a flu, though, because I never got the typical soreness-headache I get from the flu.

Yesterday was the first day I came back to work (this being a hospital, they're a little anal about the whole "infectious diseases" thing), and I was exhausted by the afternoon. Today, not so bad. I still have a little bit of the sniffles, but I'm being careful with tissues and such as well as using hand sanitizer (which I usually abhor, but in this case I'm doing it for others, not myself).

It'll be raining this weekend, but oh well. I'll probably be sleeping.

... When I'm not working, anyway. I think I've mentioned my consulting gig; it's starting to get busy, which means the next few months are going to be pretty hectic for me. Oh well, they're paying me. Or, at least, they should be paying me - she's not quite late with the February payment, but if I don't have something by Saturday I'm going to send an email to check (she will be late by the 1st). I'm a bit axious for this check, because it's the last one that'll hit my statements before I start apartment hunting and, since it'll lower my debt-to-credit ratio, it'll improve my credit rating. Plus, you know, I owe quarterly taxes by the 15th.

Moving. Yeah. I'm starting to "look" online, getting narrower ideas of where I want to look and where I should (not "can", but "should") afford to live - and, luckily, the points that overlap between them. I think I can get a decent place in the $1400 range in a neighborhood I like; I've found a few places with everything I pretty much want for that.

The "downside", of course, is that I'm going to have someone living with me for the first few months. I promised a friend that I'd give him a rent-free place to stay for 6 months so he can try and rebuild his finances. So, I'm not quite going to have the free lifestyle I want, but it might actually be a good thing: this'll provide a bit of a mental buffer between old and new. We'll see how it works out. He's not going on the lease or anything, paying no rent, and bringing in no (or very limited) furniture, so there's no doubt about the fact that it's my place, not his. He's okay with this.

We'll see if we're still okay with it at month 3.

Spring has sprung

The west coast is drowning, and I'm sick.

Been a while since I've posted, but then, not much has happened. Well, not much locally.

I came down with some cold-from-hell late last week and still have it; the on-call nurse said I don't need to see the doctor unless I get a fever, nausea, or chills. So, I'm just working from home and being mostly miserable.

We had 6 inches of rain fall in 24 hours yesterday. Yeah, it broke all sorts of records. We're supposed to be getting showers on and off until Wednesday, when another storm hits. Since we were over the annual rainfall "budget" before this storm, we're going to be well over after the next one.

Finances continue apace; I've started looking at online listings to get an idea of what's realistic and what isn't. I've found a few properties in or around the area where I want to live that are almost perfect.

Straight on 'til morning

You know (or maybe you don't), an intrinsic part of my self-image is childhood. I don't mean I think of myself as a kid - even when I was a kid, I never had the chance to think of myself as one. Or, well, rarely, anyway.

Actually, maybe it's because I didn't have much of a chance to be young that I forever feel locked in time. I constantly wobble back and forth between adulthood and childhood, but I never really belong in either.

Today, I was an adult. You can't get much more "adult" than filing a 20-page tax return or opening retirement accounts. I have a few friends I hang out with regularly, and none of them can believe the sheer complexity of my financial planning - four IRAs, multiple jobs, juggling loans and credit cards and such to maximize dollars. To me, this should all be common-knowledge: maybe it's just because my mother's a CPA that I know how to manage credit and such, but to be honest, I don't think she and I have ever had an actualy conversation about it so I don't think that's it. Apparently, though, most people don't know the basics - like the notion that it may not be in your favor to pay off a low-interest debt, depending on what rate of return you could make on investments. It's just basic math, but I guess it's not obvious to others.

Yesterday, I bought a pack of mini-cupcakes from this store in Malibu called Crumbs. It's an actual cupcake store - it's pretty much all they do. I don't really know why; I don't necessarily like desserts. But after writing all the checks and putting stamps on all the envelopes, there was something freeing about being able to stop being an adult and munch on a little cupcake for a few minutes. The kid got to come out and play.

One friend mentioned that he felt like he had Peter Pan syndrome - he never wanted to grow up. I'm not sure how you'd classify the boy who grew up too fast but then spent the rest of his life slipping back into that child-like state once in a while. I just get the urge to buy one of those bubble-blowers and go sit in the park, or build sand castles on the beach, or even just stare at the sky and try to see shapes in the clouds.

I suppose it's handy to make enough money and be responsible enough most of the time that I can afford to be irresponsible or silly others. Maybe that's the key - that we have to grow up, but just enough to fool everyone.


(Okay, last one for the day. Think of this as making up for lost time.)

I tried to run from 'neath the clouds
but all I found was rain;
It wasn't until I drank the drops
I found the sun again.

I tried to shelter from the wind
but wound up tossed and blown;
Not until I rode the breeze
did I find the calm had grown.

I tried to hide away from cold
but ice was everywhere;
As soon as I played in the snow
I found the warmth in there.

I tried to turn from darkness
but no light would shine so far;
And then, one day, I faced the night
and finally saw a star.

... from the archives

(I wrote a while ago that I found some of my old notebooks. The following is from around 1997, and fits a little with the theme of the last post.)

It isn't quite a color,
not exactly a shade,
It's not a hue or brightness
or a contrast to be made,
It isnt' really mute although
it doesn't make a sound
A presence always felt
even if it's never found
It comes and goes at will
although it never really leaves
And I can't say that it's credible
though everyone believes
It's something less than nothing
meanwhile nothing less than all
And of the greatest magnitude
even when it is quite small.

Show me a man who has never loved, and I'll show you a man with few worries and fewer hopes. Our greatest scar and greatest inspiration is the broken heart, for only through giving ourselves away can we ever really have a chance to be whole.


... I'd gaze into the sky at night
And wish upon a satellite
So far away it twinkled bright
And played a star for me to see....

I just read a post by Justin where he talks about watching the stars with the boy he loved but could never have. It reminded me of that stanza, part of a larger poem I wrote years ago; most of the rest isn't very good, but those four lines have stuck with me for 20 years now. The only other line I remember, the last line, is: "A lilac bloomed, the star shined on."

You see, I wrote that poem the day I realized I was gay - I mean, the actual day, within hours, of realizing I was attracted to guys and what that meant. The lilac, therefore, was me - or at least that side of me. I didn't allow myself to be very emotional when I was a kid for a variety of reasons, so this whole concept of "attraction" was a big deal.

The star, though... I grew up in East L.A.; even after moving to the suburbs, the city lights were often bright enough that all you could see were the brightest of stars and satellites. I had to make do with what was available at the time.

I think we all wish on satellites ones in a while. We all allow ourselves to pretend (or at least hope) that someone or something is different than it actually is, even when we know better. We see the truth, know its essence, and still make the wish. We have to, if only for a while, pretend it's a star.

I don't see that as a bad thing. It's the basis of hope, of dreams, of aspirations. Yes, we can cause ourselves heartache and pain, but sometimes even that has its uses. And sometimes, once in a while, a satellite can play the part so well that no one need ever know it isn't really a star.