What I Did on my Day 15 Vacation

Get vaccinated. Get boosted. We’re all in this together. And remember, it’s not just about YOU.

I’ll be back again tomorrow with something less provocative, and more entertaining. Maybe a story about wearing wide fit, machine-washable Skechers in the snow like a New York transplant from Southern California, or how I still have to binge 6 more episodes of The Walking Dead before the Sunday night Series Finale, or maybe even my favorite recipe for sea food chowder.

Talk to you then.

Tomorrow is a Day Called Tuesday

No, actually, I DON’T know what day it is. 

I mean, I know where to look to know what day it is, right in front of me, from the laptop, upon which I am presently banging keys.  But for perspective, take a look at the photo at the top of this post.  Do that now, I’ll wait…

…did you look?  Good.  That’s my ACTUAL, actual 3-D desk calendar.  And, as you just saw, it’s currently telling us that my desk is living the day of October 27th, for the 19th Groundhog Day in a row.

Now I’m not saying that any day and date isn’t a bigger challenge to keep straight for either of us, particularly in the post-2020 world.  Remembering that this is 2022, and that the world took a two-year hiatus, only made it easier for those of us who already had a hard time centering the fact that high school graduation was not a little over 20 years ago, but actually a little over 40, and that Buffy the Vampire Slayer ended almost TWENTY YEARS AGO!!!

Read that again.  The air date of the series finale of BtVS was on the 20th of May, in the Year of our Lord, 2003.

Not helping any of that, I believe, is that blogging daily, for 30 consecutive days, has robbed a lot of us of the small perspectives that come from still being able to appreciate abstract concepts, like eating, or the day known as Tuesday.  Even high concept ideas, like the existence of weekends, get lost when we’re grinding out content on every day that ends in Y.  And from what I understand, there are some desk calendars that remind us of this, EVERY DAY.

Okay, I know how analog that sounds.

And with that confession, I’m going to reset my 3-D desk calendar, and remember that tomorrow is just a day known as Tuesday.  But now, it’s time for the question.  How are you doing with the smushing together of your days into weeks, and weeks into a month of sharing your words… in blog posts, in comments, in every form of support, including reading other blogs?  Are you doing okay?  Feeling a little out of it?  Or, maybe you’re feeling a lot out of it?

Think about it.  I’d like to hear.

And I’ll see you tomorrow.

In a Morning of Social Indifference

“I didn’t have a feeling about it, one way or the other, enough to click ‘like’ on it.”

My Morning Journal 11/13/22

I’m asking today’s question at the beginning for a change. 

Do you ever read a friend’s post, and simply skip over the anymore-mostly-obligatory click on some sort of throw-away affirmation of what they were saying?  I don’t mean a well-thought-out comment; I mean just a thumbs-up.  Not even a heart, or the heart’s weak sauce cousin the heart hug.  Not the shock face, or the single tear face, or even the orange constipated face, but just an OG, pre-2016, barely a nod in the middle of a real-life conversation, thumbs up?

Okay, tell me if you’ve ever done this.

You’re dutifully doom-scrolling through your morning social media feed when, not because of some algorithm-busting presets, but just because this is where they come up in your seemingly random news feed, you see a post by a friend.  Not a friend in internet name only, but, regardless of how you acquired them, online or in real life, an actual friend.  And you read what it was they felt compelled to say, and you feel no corresponding compel to say… anything.  More than that, you not only feel no “amen” or “atta-person”, no long-form affirmation or adjunct thought, not even a lean in the direction of a fucking emoji.

You just scroll on by.

So have you ever asked yourself, “Why?”  I did, this morning.  I scribbled a couple of paragraphs about it, and what I got was the philosophical equivalent of the OG, blue thumbs up emoji, or every Joey Tribbiani reply at the end of a Chandler Bing soliloquy. What I got was,

“I got nuthin’.”

I feel like Camus would be proud.

But more than the nuthin’ was a deeply philosophical something, that upon further review, I realized was the affect of every November spent blogging on the daily, and from which I have never NOT felt so much THIS SOMETHING that I couldn’t blog again, except in rare instances, for a whole ‘nother year, or in my present November, it’s been two years.

That something I feel is… empty.

Empty.  Not burnt out, not disinterested, not inferior, just empty.  But, in the short time it took for me to recognize empty for what it was, I also experienced what empty has always done for my writing.  Empty has always freed my writing to not be so caught up in every other thought that I can’t experience creative thoughts of my own.  So for now, I’m going to run with it.  This post came from empty.  A seed for a poem that will be written soon also came from the very same empty. 

I am creating from empty.

Although, and tell me if this is not something you maybe experience, too, that empty in the long-term really sucks.  Like bleak, gray skies, sunset at just after 4 o’clock in the afternoon, SUCKS, and no one should have to handle too much of it, because anything that touches the void so fully needs to be gotten away from just as soon as it can be, for your own good, and the good of everyone else your social media profile calls, friend.

So I’ll be here, touching the void like palming a basketball, for another 18 days after this.  And then I’ll be done for a while, immersing myself in whatever is the equivalent of most other people’s requests to “send cat pictures”. 

But please don’t send me cat pictures.

And I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

Opening up a Can of Worms

Day 12, and I’m free associating wildly at the thought of writing another post.  Except I know, because I told myself so in my morning journal, that I cannot write what I really want to write.  Because in so doing, I’d be opening up a can of worms so big that I… maybe I can explain by asking you a question.

“Do you tell everyone EVERYthing about you when you talk?”

Well, do you?

Yeah, me either.  That would be the conversational equivalent of waking up on any Saturday morning in the fall, and driving down Middle Country Road to the Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove, where I might park my car next to the Dick’s Sporting Goods, and then I, in a moment of inspiration, might leave my clothes in the car, then walk myself across the promenade, and right into a line at the food court.  Believe me when I tell you that this would be frowned upon by the locals, and likely get me handcuffed by one of Suffolktucky’s finest. 

The point being, while I have over the years become a much freer spirit than I was while growing up in Southern California, I am not so free as to allow my whole self to be shown in public without all the appropriate societal filters securely in place.

So why would I let all that hang out in a blog post?

And if you haven’t already closed the lid on your laptop or swiped the screen on your handheld device, let me go one step further by asking, if I won’t write like that on my blog, do you think it would be any easier to do that in a book? 

I mean, you would’ve had to figure there’d be more reasons why I haven’t written a book in almost 5 years than just being out of ideas.  In fact, that might have been the problem.  It’s that I’m NOT out of ideas, I just don’t have the willingness to parade my whole, naked self in front of readers, some of whom I still care enough about to not use as a prop in a thinly-veiled story about me.

By the way, for all the blog posts I’ve read, not in just the last 11 days, but over all the years I’ve been writing and reading posts, I have always, in one way or another, appreciated everyone’s honesty, even if I’ve often had to, metaphorically, cover my eyes at some of the juicy parts.  Contrary to the belief of some, I still get flushed above the beard line when I read things that had to be hard for writers to write, but even harder for the people they’ve written about, to read.

On THIS subject, Anne Lamott wasn’t totally wrong, but neither was she totally right.

So here I am, stuck in the middle of a day 12 conundrum, and a conundrum that will probably last for the rest of my writing life. Because while some people have it coming, in some cases, I have it coming more, and the bus I could easily throw some under, could just as easily be coming for me.

And here’s today’s question, “Is there something holding you back from writing the ‘whole truth’ about something?”  You know, conscience, legal considerations, friends or family you’re still speaking to.  Kick that around in your head, and get back to me with your answer. 

Preferably, with all of the appropriate societal filters securely in place.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Shit: Once Loved

“Growth is crazy.  You really just wake up one day and be uninterested in shit you once loved.”

Author Unfortunately Unknown

Sadly, there was no source given for this Instagram quote. 

If I had it to give, I would. 

One note before I get rolling.  A few “comment thread professionals” said a quote like this was a sign of depression.  Okay, but it could just as easily be a sign of growth.  We don’t always throw a parade on the day when we finally move past something that gave us years of grief.  More often, because we’re just trying to get from one morning to the next, we don’t even mark it on the calendar, or spend a paragraph on it in our journals.  It just exists, as a non-pain, or a non-thought, until circumstance brings it back to the front burner of our consciousness.  It feels good in the sense of not feeling bad, and in most moments, that is more than good enough. 

But when we realize it, I mean really realize it, in our heads, our hearts, our guts, we should take a look at the calendar and circle the date.  We should open up our phones and tap the icon that opens to today’s date and smash the + button, then give it a title, and then, set it on repeat-every year, and please, for the love of God, remember to tenderly, and deliberately, press the add button.

This is your parade now.  Let’s make it an annual occurrence.

Also, I’m drawn to the idea in the quote that, “Growth is crazy.”  Because that, it surely is.  Growth, while often steady, is decidedly non-linear, therefore unpredictable, therefore… in the vernacular of the previous century… “crazy”.  Maybe I’m drawn to the phrase because I, too, have become, in my golden years, a little unpredictable, as well.  Over the last few years in particular, my mind has come to wrap itself around the idea that, while stable is good, predictability, not so much.  I, more times than I have the space on this page to recount, have woken up to a morning of stability, only to realize, between coffee and the end of the day’s journal, that I had, mysteriously and without warning, become disinterested in shit (I) once loved.  Categories have included, but are not limited to… TV shows, living arrangements, even human beings.  And with each being a very specific and individual instance, going in-depth at this moment just isn’t going to happen. 

But knowing that there are still 19 more days left for National Blog Posting month, it would not surprise me if some of those things, labeled “Shit: Once Loved”, might creep their way into the conversation we are continuing to have.

I’d even say you should count on it.

Okay then, think about this for a moment, then tell me, when was there a something that you, some morning in your past, just up and discovered you were no longer tethered to?  I know mine.  I would genuinely wish to know yours.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Seasonal Election Disorder

I’m lost, I’m numb, and I’ve drifted off to sleep at least twice since Wednesday, while trying to write blog posts, on deadline, over the last 48 hours. 

And you know why.

For God’s sake, NO, I did not switch to DECAF in the middle of National Blog Posting Month!  It’s like you people don’t even know who I am, anymore!

Nope, it’s not a lack of caffeine, or… for the most part… a lack of sleep.  What’s been lacking in my life since my head hit the pillow, and I closed my eyes to the gentle voice of Steve Kornacki softly ringing in my ears late, late on Election Night, is…


I had kicked around the idea of how not having to see Dr. Oz buying crudité in a Pennsylvania grocery he didn’t even know the name of, might bring some kind of exhale to my life, but what I wasn’t expecting was how I no longer gave a shit when the next 5 minute commercial break on my free streaming of Mystery Science Theater 3,000 reruns, or the Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions didn’t involve my diving for the remote and pounding the mute button before I leave the room in a fugue state, where I come out of it covered in Cheetos dust.

Now I’m falling asleep in my comfy writer’s recliner after my third cup of morning coffee, lulled by commercials about class-action lawsuits, and medications that make you sicker than the diseases they cure.

Of course, if I lived in the State of Georgia, I’d be actively looking forward to commercials trying to convince me that Herschel Walker was an FBI agent, in his off-hours between undiagnosed NFL concussions.

Damn, okay, I just dozed off again.  Sorry, Georgia.  Maybe you can catch a nap after December 6th.

And now, for you.  What ubiquitous stressor do you recognize as “seasonal”?  Do you suffer from allergies?  Seasonal Affective Disorder?  Mid-term Election Anxiety?  Maybe even National Blog Posting Month?  Tell me. 

I really want to know.

Yard Signs

In all honesty, I don’t think we saw it ending this way.  I mean, it was subtle.  Imperceptible, if you didn’t know what you were looking for. 

Most folks didn’t know.

Their loss.  I don’t know which I would’ve preferred, if I’d been given the choice between seeing it, and not.  And it wasn’t like any of us had a lot of time to prepare our exit strategy, as with the Flood of Noah, or Y2K.

It started with the yard signs.

And before you scratch your head, or set this historical record aside, yeah, I know that yard signs weren’t new.  Not in 2015, yard signs weren’t new.  But it wasn’t even what the yard signs said.  It was what they implied.  So now, years after the yard signs implied that maybe we, as a long-incorporated landmass, were thoroughly and eternally fucked, this is what we’re left with.  Writing from our basements.  On typewriters that should be in museums, if museums still existed.

A little backstory, or maybe just a long story, short.

I had a friend, who I used to take walks with in their neighborhood.  A nice neighborhood with all kinds of nice people.  But in the yard of one of those people, was a sign.  One of those signs.  Now, at that point in human history, the world knew who those signs were about, but not everyone knew what those signs would turn us into.  My friend only knew that the sign made them afraid of that neighbor, which was very unlike my friend.  One day shortly after, my friend and I talked about the sign, and about why the sign made their nice neighbor now seem scary.  Then, we talked about the message of the sign.  My friend said that the candidate the sign represented, didn’t scare them, it was the neighbor with the nice lawn, displaying the yard sign, who truly scared them.  

And while the two of us didn’t seem to see eye-to-eye on what exactly was the scariest of the scary, the neighbor or the sign, I came away with a thought that has stayed with me all the way from then, till now. 

“You’re not voting for a candidate, you’re voting against their followers”.

The next year, those followers got their wish, and their candidate won.  Then a few years later, as was the way of things when there were so many lawn signs, on so many lawns, came the push-back, from the people about whom those scary lawn signs referred.  And like a pendulum, another push, and before another generation could push one more time, lawn signs were no more, and people didn’t care what the lawn signs would have said anyway, because after the tanks rolled over their lawns, they were busy with more important things, like food and shelter, and just not dying.




It’s been years since the last of the yard signs, but they say there’s a new election on the horizon, and with it, new yard signs have started popping up in the old neighborhood.  Just a few so far, on the lawns of the nicest houses.  And if you ask the neighbors whose houses don’t have lawn signs why they don’t, well, none of them cares.  That’s because nobody is even sure what the new signs even say. Now they’re printed in Cyrillic.  Because English isn’t allowed these days, only Russian.  And still, nobody knows if it was bots on social media, or President Musk, or a hundred different maybe answers why.  They say I’ll be moved to a reeducation center in a few days, I assume so that, soon, like the old days, I’ll be able to read all the yard signs again.

33×34, Men’s Large, Size 12

“You won’t always be able to meditate or journal you’re way out of every difficult situation in life.  Sometimes you will experience things that are hard, and no matter how many tools and exercises you do to manage your pain, grief is grief and it is hard to sit in it.”

Minaa B., LMSW

Remember yesterday when I alluded to having written in a personal journal since the summer of ’17?  In case you missed it, I’ll wait…


…okay, I’m done waiting.  You can read it after you’re finished here.  Today’s scribble is kind of the other side of that post.  Today is for saying that sometimes, there just aren’t enough pages in a journal, or hours in a day to write in it, until you experience “better”, if “better” even comes at all.  I’m quoting the words of a PhD in today’s intro to let you know that writing till your hand cramps is not always the way out of whatever you find yourself in.  No recommendations will follow at the end of this post, but I trust that you, or someone you trust, can find those resources, should you wish to.  What I am saying, in just these few words, is, healing takes time. 

Sometimes, lots of time.

Mine took almost three years.

One size doesn’t fit all, though if you’re considering something for Christmas or my birthday, the specifications are 33×34, men’s large, size 12, thank you in advance.  And one size definitely does not fit all when it comes to matters of the heart, or the head.  Often, the one size that does not fit all comes in the form of a NEXT.  Whatever it was that you lost, or somehow lost you, we are being present-day-cultured to replace that loss, as soon as fucking possible.  We are led, and often coerced, to believe, that, “To get over someone is to get under someone”.  Or, “When you’ve been left, swipe right”.  People charging blind into the unknown, just because they were blindsided, or as Mike Tyson actually said,

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face”.

Yes, actually said, when a reporter asked him how he would handle the strategy of his upcoming opponent, Evander Holyfield. 

Humorous side-note, Tyson lost to Evander Holyfield.

Tyson had a plan for someone’s plan.  Holyfield had a plan for Tyson’s plan.  Holyfield waited five years to show Tyson what a plan could really be, if you actually had one.

Now real life is NOT boxing.  Well, real life is not REAL boxing.  One day, you can ask me all about real life as it is summarized in the creative words and fictional worlds of writer/directors Sylvester Stallone and Ryan Coogler, but not here and not now.  Now is when I say that reacting, when you ought to be healing, should not come highly recommended.  And that, while time, by itself, heals no wounds, maybe time is the one thing that your healing needs most.

So I’m gonna ask, was there ever a time when you know you should have taken more time?  We’ve all got our answers.  I’d love to hear yours.

That’s the end of week one.  See you tomorrow.

Aware, Better, Fun

“Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.”

Ray Bradbury

“Well, that’s the guy I see in the mirror, every day.  Some days, I just avoid making eye contact with him.   These journal entries are the closest I ever come to talking it out with him.  These entries have done me good, no doubt.  But they haven’t made me better, just more aware.  I guess awareness is important, but I believe change is better.”

Personal Journal – November 6, 2022

I began writing a journal in the summer of 2017.  I had tried several times before this attempt, always failing, always falling short of my goal to put my thoughts on paper.  The first time was in 1993, after my wife and I had lost our first-born son.  The last time was after I began an emotional spiral because of… yeah, um… because of something I still don’t talk about here.  Anyway, the point is, after almost 25 years, I finally started, and dutifully continued, along a path towards my own awareness.  Now if that path only had a sign along the way that read,

“BETTER: Next Exit”.

I would take it, and probably write all about it.

But in the meantime, as Bradbury said, my intuition knows, and I finally got myself out of its way, at least in my personal journal.  Now if I could just get out of the way of what I know to write, everywhere else.  I hadn’t written a legit blog post in almost two years.  After writing two books for publication, I haven’t written one of those in almost five years.

So this month, I decided to use the time, 30 days in November, and the place, NanoPoblano, to work on finally getting all the way out of the way, because truthfully, until a couple of weeks ago, I had given up on the idea of ever blogging again, let alone doing it for 30 straight days. 

And I had absolutely given up on it ever being fun.

But, guess who’s been having fun?

Now, I know this is only Day 6, and some days have already been less fun than others, but for the first time in the 7 chances I’ve had to write through November, some I’ve finished, some I haven’t, and some I haven’t even tried, this is the only time I can write honestly saying, this has been fun.  Maybe the sign I should have been looking for all along was the one that read,

“FUN: Next Exit”.

And now that I have you here, tell me, in the almost one week that you and I have been blogging in November, have you been having fun?  And don’t feel bad if your answer is a resounding, ALL CAPS “NO”.  I don’t think I ever really had fun doing this until now.  But if you are having fun, let me know why.  And if you’re not, tell me that, too.  Because I believe that awareness comes before better, and it damn well comes before fun.

I’ll be reading you.

See you tomorrow.