Posts Tagged ‘work-life balance’

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a man in possession of an upcoming vacation, must be in need of a week’s worth of chaos.

I don’t know why this happens, but it does. I’ve got a week’s vacation scheduled, I remind folks at work that it’s coming, I give ample warning about tasks A and B that must be completed before I can do task C, and then, as if it’s all a big surprise, everything crashes down in the last week—pandemonium, panic, hair-on-fire memos from management asking why task C is “suddenly” at risk—and I’ve got to pull a rabbit out of . . . somewhere . . . to ensure that we do meet our deadlines.

Toss into that week the unending cyclone of Fire and Fury. North Korea. Gaza. Iran. Pruitt. Cohen. Mueller. Net neutrality. Tax code reform. Immigrants. Amazon vs. Seattle. Trump vs. everyone. Even effing volcanoes.

Mix thoroughly, sprinkle it all with a layer of pollen the proportions of which have been absolutely biblical, bake at 350°F for an hour, and serve warm with a generous side of agita. Pairs well with angostura, over-brewed coffee, and tannic reds.

Every. Damned. Time.

Luckily, my irises, after extensive negotiations, have decided to bloom.

And I love my irises.

I grow the beardless, or Dutch, type of iris. They remind me of the Douglas irises of my youth, old friends well-met while hiking the back-country trails in the Point Reyes National Seashore, tramping through the hinterlands, munching on miner’s lettuce and sourgrass, breathing in the mixture of coniferous humus and salt-sea air like a tonic. Not normally one for flowers without fragrance, I make an exception for these happy flowers. In their deep, saturated colors and elegantly curved tricorns I find serenity.

I was upset by their unexpected (and inexplicable) delay. The mild winter? The effects of a changing climate? I don’t know. What I do know is that the blooms of late March/early April, those upthrusting spears surrounded by a spray of thin tapered leaves, they went on strike in February and did not come back to work until this week, when they all decided to show their colors and burst into static fireworks of cool purples trimmed with heady gold.

I never cut my irises for bouquets. I leave them where I love them, in the garden. When they get sad, I pinch them off to encourage a second bloom, and I sometimes trim the bent, broken, or yellowing leaves, but mostly I leave them alone and simply enjoy the fortnight of their display.

Perhaps they knew of my upcoming week of vacation and, knowing the week prior would be a hell, held off until now to help me go the distance without committing murder or career suicide (or both).

Regardless the cause, I’m glad they’re here this week. I need ’em.


Read Full Post »

Somewhere between the publication of FC:IV and the writing of FC:V, I got sidetracked. It was a lot of things, really, but one thing, primarily: I met my mortality.

When I was young, like many melodramatic youths, I expected to die young. At the age of 32, to be precise. Who knows why that age and not, say, 34, became locked in my mind like some sort of Logan’s Run sell-by date, but it did. When the age of 32 came and went without so much as a blip on the death-o-meter, it wasn’t a surprise; by that time, I’d realized how silly the conceit was.

Then Death came by for a little visit. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Yesterday, I went to Paris.

Put bluntly, yesterday was a crappy, crappy day. It wasn’t a tragic day, thankfully, but it was a crappy day, and one that means major changes ahead. And last night I was in that dangerous “fret zone,” where everything in my mind was whirling around the troubles, playing If Then Else with my future, and getting uncomfortably close to the death-spiral that would pull me down into depression.

Consciously, I retreated. It’s a mechanism I’ve learned, and it’s kept me from tumbling down into the dark many times. I retreated from the problem, tucked myself into a safe trench, and filled my forebrain with a fond memory while my subconscious wrassled with the problem.

And thus, Paris.


Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: