There and back again…

There and back again…

I wish I’d just come back from an adventure! The truth is I’ve kept myself a little busy with work and other obligations…as well as some mismanagement of my time. There’s always room for improvement. For the first time, today, I genuinely felt like we’ve come out of the pandemic (I know it’s still out there). I went to a concert at my beloved Walt Disney Concert Hall, and masks were finally optional. Disney Hall and LA Opera may have been the last two places on Earth requiring masking while indoors. I am truly thankful for the protection masks have afforded me these past two and a half years, but I was ready to move on. It felt wonderful to finally be able to be inside Disney Hall without a mask. The last time I was at an indoor performance sans mask was in early 2020. Shortly after that concert…well, the whole world knows the rest. It was a wonderful experience, not just because of the mask but because of today’s program. I’ll leave that for another post.


Music on my mind.

I’m supposed to be going to an informal recital later this month, so I’m thinking about learning a new piece of music to play on the piano. I need to make the time and practice like I used to.

The versions of ourselves that stay with others

The versions of ourselves that stay with others

I read in a book once that when a person in your life passes away, a part of you passes away as well because the person you were with them ceases to exist. There is no one left to remember you in that particular way. People don’t have to pass away for this to happen. It happens when an old friend drifts away or even the fleeting encounters we have with strangers. I can think of two examples.

One is an amazing friend I stopped seeing after he moved far away. It was always platonic between us, and I joked that if I ever became president, I would have to marry him or shut him up some other way because no one has as much dirt on me as he. I’d get a text from him on Thursday nights to see if I wanted to go to a gay bear/leather bar with him. Thursdays being my concert days, I would text back that I would call him as soon as the concert was over. And there I went after a Thursday night at the opera or the symphony to go to a bar together and stay out way past midnight. We’d look for restaurants that would still be open after the bars closed. After a performance, rushing home to get ready for the bars no longer crosses my mind. I can’t imagine staying out past midnight. That part of me ceased to exist once Kevin left. I remember I cried when my dear friend told me he would be moving to another city.

The other is the best friend I’ve ever had. We tried so many restaurants together, raced together, and traveled to different cities chasing the next marathon. She would sneak in whoppers into the movies because she knew they were my favorite. She put up with my overly smiley self whenever I ordered the wine pairings at practically every new restaurant we tried. There are so many things I am grateful to her for, but we had a falling out where the distance grew slowly until things became irreparable. This one still hurts when I think back on the memories. That part of me, too is long gone, but I will always be grateful for her friendship and for who I was with her.

So with strangers, I treasure the anonymity and the clean slate. All that matters is the present moment. You can strike up a conversation with someone at a performance. You can marvel over the same painting. Next, you’re making small talk as if you will see this person again tomorrow and forget that the time on your impromptu friendship is slipping away. When the time finally expires, you say goodbye and go your separate ways. I don’t say anything further, but in my mind, I thank them for introducing me to a part of myself I had not yet met.


Haven’t started exercising yet

We’ve been having a heatwave these last few days so it feels awful to be outside. Hopefully I can jump on the stationary bike Wednesday evening and go for a quick walk early Thursday morning. Productivity-wise I’ve been improving a little bit, but not to the level I know I can be.

Starting a journal to keep me focused.

Starting a journal to keep me focused.

I was driving in to work this morning and there was quite a spectacle in the skies. A rare summer storm complete with lightning and thunder. I’m used to seeing lightning and then waiting for the thunder to reach me a few seconds later. Today, however I taken aback when I saw this bright lightning flash followed almost immediately by a power thunderclap. It even shook my rearview mirror.

The traffic was slowing down more than usual, so I figured most people were getting distracted with the incoming thunderstorm. I decided to take the express lanes, but then regretted it because in a way I wanted to spend more time out on the road to enjoy the drama unfolding in the sky.

In other news, I strongly suspect that I’m immune to COVID-19. I’ve been able to dodge the virus so far, and in the past two weeks I’ve spent time in the car with no masks with a coworker who later tested positive that same day and I spent two full days working in the same room unmasked with another worker that also tested positive. I’ve had zero symptoms and continue to test negative. I’m not going to take any chances, but I really think I’m one of the lucky ones.

Speaking of work, I’ve been a bit distracted lately and haven’t been as productive. Many years ago, I reached out to a therapist to see if they could help with my lack of focus. I thought I had ADD. Sometimes I still think I do. They

want to prescribe any medication and instead recommended some strategies for coping with distraction. One was journaling and I remember following that advice and writing on here occassinally. So let me give it another try and write without any purpose other than to get me focused again.

In one of my many moments of distraction earlier today, I finally ordered my Hollywood Bowl tickets for the summer. I don’t know why I waited this long–I guess procrastination is a symptom of distraction/lack of attention. Tomorrow I plan on taking some time to put all of the concert dates into my calendar. Should I but a new planner that starts in July? This way I won’t split the LA Phil and LA Opera between two calendar years.

Other things I did at work that were distracting were watching a few YouTube videos and chitchatting with coworkers. The latter can actually be productive in moderation.

Enough about work. Did you know I’ve also been distracted at home? Yup. My office at home is and epic mess and I could quite frankly being doing more chores at home. I used to keep a routine schedule of chores to do at home before. How did I drop the ball? I feel a little more compelled to organize my office after watching a documentary on YouTube about a loneliness crisis in Japan. One part of the documentary talkeld about an elderly man who died alone in his very disorganized apartment. There were some major health issues that prevented him from cleaning and organizing, so I’m reserving any judgment there. What did get me thinking, however, was when one of the men cleaning the apartment afterward said how you can see the entire room was crying out for help, but no one every came.

I think my office is calling for help, and I need to address it so that the energy of the room becomes more positive and inviting.

The evening turned gorgeous as the sun was setting behind the mountains. It seemed a little strange to see the sun setting behind the mountains and not the ocean, but we just barely passed the summer solstice and these mountains here oriented east to west.

Once the sun set, the clouds in the east started doing their thing again with frequest lightning and thunder. It seemed as if something evil was brewing in the east.

The rest of the evening was spent watching the latest episode (series finale) of Obi-Wan and then some YouTube videos on the Polestar 2. I ordered one a couple of weeks ago, but I’m having second thoughts about spending so much on a car seeing that a recession is most likely on the horizon. It wasn’t until later that I thought about writing as a sort of therapy to get me focused again.

New writing toy

New writing toy

A few weeks ago I bought myself an HP Chromebook X2. It was a total impulse buy, but it was love at first sight. I went into BestBuy to shop for an ergonomic mouse and I ended up walking out with this little computer instead.

I walked along the aisles with the computers on display as I usually do, and I saw among the Chromebook this beautiful device that looked very much like a Microsoft Surface. I thought $300 dollars was a fair price for this tablet and I asked the sales associate how much the cover and keyboard were. When he told me it was included along with a stylus, I was completely sold.

I usually spend a really long time making a purchasing decision, but after a few weeks with it, I don’t regret it one bit. The screen is 11 inches, great resolution, love the keyboard, and fits in my manbag. Becuase it’s so portable, I’ve been carrying it around with me everywhere and it has been great for watching videos or playing games when I’m charging my car.

A Friday with me.

A Friday with me.

Third runner up: the lady sitting in her car in the parking lot of the opthalmologist where my dad had another appointment. I was helping my dad in and the lady was sitting inside her ugly old SUV. I bumped my elbow on one of her windows and she got upset and saidy “you hit my car.” I rolled my eyes and told her it was only my elbow on her window. She then started getting out of her car again saying “you hit my car.” I couldn’t help myself. I held my hand out showing her my palm and told her, “I don’t have time for you right now” and got in my car and left. I’ll admit it was probably a dick move, but I had a very tight schedule and just did not have the patience for someone being overly dramatic.

I find I get more easily irritated by people lately. There were a few fine examples of this today.

First runner up: the lab technician that that asked me to wait outside while we waited for my dad to be called in. I stood outside the door thinking of sarcastic responses I could use in case they gave me any attitude. They ended up being really nice and learned that they were extra busy today because their other location was closed. Thank goodness I didn’t make any sarcastic remarks.

Second runner up: the man staring at me in the waiting room. I usually try to look elsewhere and not pay an attention, but finally I had had enough and stared into his eyes and did not break my gaze. He then gave a slight nod and I moved on. Maybe he didn’t mean anything anything by it, but don’t some people realize how awkward it is to stare at someone withough smiling or acknowleding the other person.

We were to meetup for dinner halfway between work and home and wait out traffic. Always one to take advantage of free charging, I looked for nearby places where I could plug in my car. I was shocked when I hit the jackpot and found some free chargers at a train station. They had 64 chargers and they were ALL free to use! We plugged both cars in (alternating), and had hotpot at HaiDiLao.

All in all, it was a good ending to what had started out as a busy Friday with me leaving home around 6:30am. Sometimes I feel like I’m more busy than I’d like to be, and at other times I feel like I could be doing more with my spare time. There are two personal projects I’m looking to take on, so I’ll need to better manage my time if I’m to succeed.