sketchface

a letter i just sent to my mayor and the head of our bureau of transportation

I love my town.

Hello, my beloved elected and appointed leaders!

This is a little long winded but it has a point and I hope it'll make you feel good about yourselves and your work.

I'm a transportation wonk and a full-time cyclist--I ride to work, I ride for transportation, I ride for fun, I took the Portland transportation class at PSU, and I'm an organizer of much bike fun in Portland and in particular the world naked bike ride Portland edition. Thank you for enhancing all of the things I love to do on my bike! You -- yes, you two specifically -- make my life so incredibly great that I bought my first house in Portland after waffling for 12 years in other cities across America that I tried living in. And I love paying my property taxes, and leaf removal fees, and income taxes, and vote for bonds to improve our city--because your leadership so totally jives with my way of thinking. You truly are representing my interests, 100% of the time. You are spending my money wisely. You rock!

And you've done it again. I'm a daily bike commuter over the Broadway bridge from my home in Nopo to downtown, at least one and sometimes two round trips in a day. Whenever the sidewalk is being repaired, I stop taking the Broadway bridge, since the two-way traffic on the sidewalk is dangerous. So, I detour to the Steel, lose 5-10 minutes of my life, and thank the powers that be (and the powers that have been) for having options.

Your arrangement of a first-class treatment of detoured cyclists on the bridge means a lot to me--not just the time saved, which in reality only adds up to maybe a couple of hours during this repair cycle. But that you thought about it, worked with the BTA and Trimet, and made a precedent-setting, politically tough call to defend the safety of the meek in exchange for the inconvenience of the majority...yeah. This is a great example of why I love you and this town.

Sam, I'm going to miss you a lot when you go (and I look forward to seeing what you do next. You'll have a staunch supporter in any forum). Tom, I hope the new mayor keeps you around. You guys deepen my love for Portland and make my life better. Please know that your hard work is *extremely* appreciated.

With love,

me
sketchface

this isn't supposed to happen to me

my leg swelled up last week after a sore day followed by an intense bike race (in which i still placed last, but had fun. it was the first race for that bike and i am having it reconfigured to be more functional in the next race. but that's beside the point.)

it hasn't unswelled since. magn0lia, masseuse & chiropractor extraordinaire, came over and gave me delivery kinesio-taping service, just as professional as any i ever received from algol_galaxia back in the day, and this helped reduce a fairly significant amount of pain..but the tightness and swelling, i just kept expecting to go away. and it didn't, and it didn't, and i was having trouble walking normally, but it felt ok on the bike as long as i went easy, and i was trying to ignore it, and then magn0lia came by a *second* time and told me in no uncertain terms to go to the doctor, tomorrow, because blood clots might be involved and those things are potentially fatal.

tomorrow turned into two days but I went yesterday and the doctor said "well, it could be a clot, but you're young and have no reason to have one" (provocations typically include: being sedentary, taking a long car or plane trip, medical trauma like a deep cut or surgery, or being trapped in a cast), plus i seemed to get better when i was warmed up from exercising. So he referred me over for a blood test to just make sure i wasn't having a clot.

the tests, i was informed, are 100% accurate if they report a negative. but the false positives are possible and even likely, so all it could tell me is i don't have a clot, which is referred to in the lingo as DVT, Deep Veinous Thrombosis (that's my darkwave my bloody valentine cover band name, by the way). anyway, the test takes overnight to happen, so i get a call this morning, "well, you're not negative. come back in and we'll look with some technology. we can fit you in...in the middle of the afternoon and no other time. but it's essential! come in today!" ok...

so i make a shambles of my afternoon and shamble over to the doctor (ok, i rode my bike, because that's what i do. i shambled to my bike though. recall that i've got an endearing limp...) and i get two sexy nurses, one of whom is a nurse in training, and the other of whom is a sonographer (sez her name tag). they tell me to strip, then daintily put a towel over my junk, and proceed to give my leg an hour-long sonogram from the crotch on down. i've only ever seen a sonogram once, when i was 5, and got to go with mom to look at lil sis kim still in the womb. technology, as far as i can tell, hasn't changed much. she lubed me up, rubbed me with a wand on a cable attached to a screen, and scrutinized something i couldn't see the whole time. her poker face was impeccable and all i was told was that "these things are code red, stat, so we'll have someone read it while you wait." i know these people know when they see a thing--x-ray techs have given away my broken bones before a doc even gets the x-ray more than once. but she was unreadable.

so i dress back up, go wait in a chair too uncomfortable to sleep in in a cell phone dead zone until she comes back out and says the doctor will see me now. this sonographer, her eyes are flat, i can't read 'em at all. i'm still feeling upbeat because there's no way a healthy dude like me would get an unprovoked clot, and chances are it was just a false positive. but the doc marches straight in and says "bummer, man, you gotta clot." he explains briefly that it's unexpected, it's good i came in quickly, and that my chances of getting a pulmonary embolism were really low now that i'd be getting treatment. By the way, that's the potentially fatal clot-consequence, where the clot decides the leg is so last week and moves up to the lungs and effectively suffocates you by blocking the blood from getting to some or all of the lungs. so that sucks, but hey, i'm already on the road to recovery, so whew, right?

i try to stay upbeat as they shuffle me over to the entire wing of the clinic called the "coagulation unit". apparently a fuckton of people take these medications, so many so that the nurse has clearly done this spiel a thousand times as she explains that i'm gonna spend the next 2 weeks injecting my own belly with this one anticoagulant, and then the next 3-6 months taking this other one orally. oh, and while i'm at it, i can't drink, or anyway if i do, i'll probably bleed to death from scratching a mosquito bite, because my blood is gonna be thin as a supermodel from the 90's and won't want to stop bleeding short of cauterization. but hey, at least i'll knock some weight off in the process, probably, since not drinking all summer is likely to help with my first-time-ever over-200# scale visit. sigh.

the good news: i don't have to change my lifestyle, as long as my lifestyle isn't based around taking advil (or drinking), or eating highly variable amounts of green veggies (broccoli, spinach, brussels sprouts). it's not that I can't eat those, it's that I have to eat the same amount every week. and knowing me, that means "none", since i'm terrible at keeping the house stocked with veg or really remembering to eat anything in particular when i'm out. and i get to keep exercising "as much as is comfortable". right now, the leg is so swollen, it's not comfortable to walk, run, bounce, or bike hard. but i can bike gently for now, and according to kdaisy721 who just went through this, i'll be unswelled shortly, like in a week or two.

in the meantime, i gotta go to the doctor a lot and try not to be such a klutz. thank goodness i have awesome insurance--it paid for $854.99 worth of medicine today. fuck our healthcare system, but thank goodness my employer believes in taking care of its team.

give me a hug if you see me. i could use one. now for dinner (and presumably hugs) with a randomly-visiting decibel.
sketchface

i keep meaning to write...

I have some great examples in my life, with jupiterjuniper leading the charge, but I just don't keep up the way I mean to. And sure, you might argue, forgive yourself for not shouting into a dying breeze that is the death of a once-vibrant community, but actually, this (like everything, at the bottom of it), is about me, not you. I should write, often, for myself. And hey, you guys would get the benefit most of the time, since I don't have a lot of private thoughts (more's the pity, might say several of the folks who long ago stopped listening to whatever self-involved drivel I was spitting out at the time).

But hey, hi, I miss you and I thought xmas night as the family sleeps softly and I'm kinda bored out of my skull would be a good time to write, and also probably go for a walk but I can't really take you along in a useful way, it being dark and me being a poor photo/video-grapher even in the light with good equipment, which I donut possess.

Let's instead review some of my blessings, there's a thing you could enjoy being along for, perhaps?

My family is excellent. My christmas gifts received were generous and thoughtful (yay art, nifty & silly things, and a whole lotta spendin' money); my gifts given, well received. My life is great. I don't know if I've said anything around here but I am loving working for New Relic, whom I've been with for 2 months now and I am still in love and I'm sure everyone who has already heard this is tired of hearing about how excellent my job is, but...man! Come work with us, if you're a developer or designer? Here's a link to our job listings just in case you're maybe looking for work and are awesome. And most of you are pretty awesome =)

I've taken up climbing, I've already skied more times than last year and have a fair amount more lined up, and I'm biking a fair amount despite the winter. I've had luck with the ladies enough that I don't think of dark_knightly unhealthily often and my self-esteem is nearly rebuilt (so much faster than it was after the algol_galaxia debacle, and I wasn't even in love with her). I'm enjoying my visit to Texas, basking in memories and friends with another week to go. I'll be spending more time in San Francisco over the next few months for work, but am gonna make some time for personal as well and enjoy faux-living in the city--i'll get a bike that fits me and my style to tool around on, hang out with my half-dozen friends (and several dozen awesome cow-orkers), and yay!

I didn't drink for 45 days straight and I didn't miss it much (except when I was at the bar). I'm still a lush at heart, but I no longer worry about my alcoholism. I haven't even been drunk very many times since I started drinking again--which is actually a pretty stark contrast to where I was before I stopped, so maybe it would forever be a good idea to take some time off in the winter to regulate and examine and clear the old head.

I spent almost 2 months bike camping this year. That was quite excellent. Maybe I'll get to do that again sometime, though not this year. I rode over 10,000 miles all told. I feel great!

Things I didn't get around to doing this year that I meant to:

writing more.

meditating more.

exercising quite enough.

But hey, I forgive me. What are you forgiving yourself for, as this year ends? I'm moving forward in a swoosh of positive and hope you have some of that too.

Maybe I'll do a year in review post later on. But for now, happy day, be well, and hugs!
sketchface

happiness is

...really enjoying my job! 7 days in and i like *everyone* that i work with and they are all at least as smart as me. i like our software more and more. i'm becoming useful more quickly than i expected. i'm getting positive feedback.

...successful (repeat scheduled!) first dates that are ended with a hug instead of sex or a kiss

...playing rock band with many friends for 5 hours on sunday evening

...meredith_mccraw visiting in less than 48 hours to go see tmbg!

...a warm cat

...reading way more than usual

...getting enough sleep, and settling into an almost-daily meditation routine

...doing ok without the booze. 8 days, a long rockband session & trips to several bars without falling or jumping off the wagon

...one last bike race for the year next weekend. yeehaw mud!
sketchface

the quickening

it's almost 12am when it'll be october 31st and my life will change.

nothing to do with halloween, really. just some things going down tomorrow:


  1. i start a new job at this pretty cool company called new relic. we make software to profile your web app. it's awesome software. i wish i'd had it at several of my previous jobs (nike, respond2). the company is full of brilliant, practical people. they call themselves a startup but have 75 employees and are thoroughly profitable and their revenue is growing far faster than their employee count. they pay well and insist on a 40-hours-like life/work balance. i have been promised that this will be the hardest job i've ever had--i will be engaged fully. i don't think i've ever had a job that really did that to me before. there were periods at most jobs, but it was never sustained. i am ready to try that; this will be a trial by fire of sinking or swimming, wherein i'll figure out whether i can stay in tech for awhile or whether i really need to find another career. in the meantime i plan to put some money in the bank so that i can do whatever i need to do if i do have to escape. but right now, i'm actually kinda excited about joining a cool team, with 2 bosses i like, at a company with a kick ass product that i am not embarassed to sell (see nike, respond2) and am even a little proud of.

  2. i stop drinking tomorrow, the plan being to dry out for a couple months. as [Bad username: mhat's] lady alexis pointed out, it is not a proof of not-being-an-alcoholic to be able to stop, for AA shows that alcoholics can stop. it's the moderation that's a problem, and well, i'm not addressing that for now. but i do wanna see what drying out feels like. and dawningday points out that two months feels different than one month--that is, the clarity changes for at least that long. we'll see a) if i make it that far and b) if i agree. there are already potentials for cheating--rockband night next week (hopefully) and thanksgiving...but, we'll see.

  3. i start writing a novel tomorrow. it's time for NaNoWriMo again. i'm ready, this year. not that i've prepared more, but i have an idea and a desire to do this thing.

  4. i feel better by the day about myself as someone who can be romantically involved. i'm dating again, though i haven't found ms. right yet...and i am still totally damaged goods as risa pointed out to me, but i *feel* less damaged by the day. so that seems positive =)


in strange other news, after being a paid subscriber forever and ever (and buying several other people paid accounts), i finally let my LJ account lapse. i think i've given them enough money for the time being. glad there's still a free mode..

hope you're well!
molotov flowers

(no subject)

don't stop believing, says journey. how is that song the only song that's ever made me sob, sobbing out loud for maybe the second time in ever in my life? well, it's about a girl.

she sang that song and did it better than me. i still judge myself based on how i think she feels about me. and lately she's acting like i don't exist, which makes me feel the same way about myself. and then i think that if i hadn't fucking rocked the boat, if i'd just stayed miserable and heartbroken, well, maybe it'd be less bad than being even more miserable and heartbroken now. i didn't sob, before. i just whined.

i was sad before, and frustrated. but now i'm uncertain and worried that i'll never be able to judge myself on my own merits.

the last time i sobbed i had just asked her to move out of my home. which she pretty much took as "please leave my life". funny how something so bad for me is the thing that touched me most deeply in this world. fortunate that i've never lost anyone closer to me, and i'm lucky - there are several.

wish i understood human emotion. or maybe it's better that i don't.

i'll probably delete this in the morning.

the morning response: i won't delete it, i'll just explain it from a different emotional place. it's good to recognize and remember, even the embarassing moments.

i was feeling pretty emo last night. true feelings that i've been wrestling with, but it's not a constant thing--i usually feel pretty good about myself. i do still miss the relationship i poured the most energy in my life into--and by that i mean that i miss the good friendship that was actually usually functional under the dysfunctional romantic relationship. and who knows, she might just still be taking healing time, and she'll act like a friend again, someday. i haven't given up, i just start to grow weary of being the only one trying, months down the road.

though i do sometimes judge myself based on my (probably wrong) perception of what she seems to think about me, i usually judge myself based on what's happening in the moment--the people i AM interacting with. the joy i still facilitate, the change in the world i still effect, the adventures i still enjoy.

so don't worry--rejoice that somewhere in that relationship, i got a real gift--i got feelings back which i'd repressed/buried for 18 years, and with them came some sadness, but more capacity for joy, too. and i know that's good, even when i'm crying hard.

thanks for your support. now, it's boardgame and brunch time!
sketchface

daily updates

so i've been writing in this community effwritersblock every day this month. the fragment the other day was from it. today is about the world naked bike ride that i helped organize. i probably won't bother reposting anything else in here unless i'm pretty moved by it but if you want more of my writing, there you go.
molotov flowers

a fragment

we met at a sleepy party in a friend's immaculate house only a few doors down the street from my own. she showed up late with the host's boyfriend, apologizing for being driven to the party. i jokingly apologized for walking and got a dirty look. but she was too tired to hold a grudge that night, and as she took a ride home from the last person to depart, i dragged myself home too, drained from staying past the limits of my social tendencies to bask in her laugh.

i made the boyfriend pass on a note from me to her, his co-worker. how i'd enjoyed meeting her and wanted to see more of her. she wrote a laughing reply to the note via email and told me she knew who i was. how? she was ran the campus directory and had done some poking. she was interested! i felt the butterflies...they blossomed into something kind of intense and beautiful. but fleeting. we were momentarily great, then good, then awesome, then terrible, then trying to repair, then giving up.

she taught me some incredible life lessons. put her actions where my words were: you can do anything you really try to. she turned me from a recreational cyclist into a biker, a thing to identify as and live and breathe. she taught me how to ride, how to fix my ride, how to fix my body when it broke, how to do it with style and finesse. some of the most valuable applied lessons anyone had ever taught me about living my own life--and she taught entirely by example. and i worshipped her for that.

when we separated, it was an explosion. she'd already absorbed much of my circle of friends and wasn't ready to let go of some people i loved--my best friend, my sister. i had to agree to be not-not friends, a concept i couldn't understand, but the communication was so far broken that i couldn't even figure out how to ask her to explain, really, and so apparently there was to be no more talking. no more eye contact. just an awkward separation and her running out of the room when i came into the party second.

then she taught me another thing, as i rehashed events over and over, in my head, to my 20 closest friends and some distant ones. as i tried to figure out where i'd gone wrong--i'd never in my life lost a friend other than to death, not an ex, not anyone i'd cared about, especially not so deeply, for so many months. i was distraught and grasping, gasping, hoping that she'd make time, take effort, to tell me how i'd failed. how to prevent future tragedy.

and on new year's eve, as i told the story (for at least the 30th time) of her and me to a new friend, met in person but friendship created over 2000 miles of internet, she called me. talking to tinyfroglet, asking what to do? how could i talk to her when it always ended in tears? i needed to! but i didn't trust talking. or words. they'd caused the explosion, implosion, and built the moat. she didn't understand. i didn't understand. and tinyfroglet told me not to answer the call. and R texted and said there was no other chance. and tinyfroglet told me, it is NOT YOUR FAULT, IT IS HERS.

and that was a good lesson to learn. sorry to the other 29+ of you i couldn't take that news from. you all helped break down that wall and make me well again.

she's still crazy and i don't care and it's great. and when i think of her i get a little misty eyed--i still want to say thank you for the huge positive change in my life. but that wouldn't work. doesn't, when i try it. i miss her. and, eqaully, i miss the me who believed that every friendship was salvageable.
i love

big sky country

i feel kinda like the last 1.3 years have been a big vacation--i haven't been working regularly (but i have regularly been working irregularly!) for money, and so i've had a lot of time to recharge. strangely, though, a lot of my time was still spent working--working for a few consulting clients that kept me afloat (alongside my mostly-depleted-now savings), volunteering (the PDX world naked bike ride and barcamp portland organizing roles took up about 2 full-time months of my life, put together, and of course i have been volunteering for other stuff like osbridge, the BTA, shift, and whatever else wandered across my plate), and working through a lot of my remaining mental issues with the breakup with shads. so now i'm interviewing for real, salaried, 9-5 jobs. i took the written test to become a portland firefighter and passed--now it's on to the lug-a-hose-up-the-stairs test in a couple months, and then interviews for that. my mind is back on my financial future--something completely boring to me, but my finances are approaching the point where i have to think about it lest the potential for failure become worrisome.

so i'm in montana, taking a vacation from my life! i'd promised my friend heather i'd come visit her in missoula, montana, and i hadn't been in big sky country since july 2007. this trip had been in vague planning for months, since there were a few people who wanted to see heather and a few others who wanted to see montana, but in the end, it was just myself and aaron, whom i didn't know very well, but was assured was a nice fellow. he made a great travelling companion, just as easy to get along with as me! (says me =)).

this entry is feeling pretty uninspired, so let me get onto the good parts so i can at least post it, have written something that i can share with you guys, howbout?

1) train trip into glacier was mostly dark. but the parts that weren't were rather pretty: the gorge out further east than i'd seen it before (only travelled thru it past the dalles in my moving truck, at night, 4 years ago on my way to town). glacier, which was entirely after dawn. and some of eastern montana. we slept a little. cuddled some (i heart cuddles! boy cuddles, rare and elusive, were great and probably disconcerting to the bible group we shared the train with). ate our food, drank our drink. got to know eachother.

2) we arrived in east glacier, deboarded, assembled bikes and bags, ate disappointing huckleberry cobbler, shopped at overpriced tiny grocery where 2 days food cost the same as 1 blah meal including aforementioned cobbler, and then biked. we biked to st mary's. and i recognized it! the same route that alex, shawn, eric, and i did alone during the texas 4000 back in '07. it was neat to revisit! only this time i made it up the hill without much trouble (at a slower pace, loaded with camping gear). and i didn't bomb down so entirely out of control, fearless and immortal, as i had in '07. but that was fine, good even, probably. the first day in this blog-batch is essentially the ride we did.

3) we camped with a bunch of other hiker/biker types at st mary's. and that was good. huckleberry milkshake was better. sleep was epically long--probably 12 hours.

4) we rode over going-to-the-sun road. it was tall, it took us awhile, and we had a blast doing it. we had beer at the top, because goldang it, i had carried it all the way up there, and nobody told us not to. revisited a hike from that same '07 trip up top; there was way less snow--we were a month and a half later in the season!

5) we camped in the yard of aaron's friend sarah in west glacier and met her many housemates, their many guests, and had a great evening. even though sarah was not, in fact, home.

6) we hiked 13 miles on the highline trail, with a rather ridiculous elevation profile, for our "rest day". we saw glaciers! which are on a limited engagement, scheduled to disappear by 2020 entirely from the park. so seeing 3 was excellent. even that one we had to slog several hundred feet straight up to soak in. but there were backrubs, to go with the glacier. so that was ok. we came home to finally find sarah arrived, and she smelled worse than us (probably--i didn't inhale, honest!) since she was 10 days out on a hike and just returned. instead of showering, we went skinny dipping in lake mcdonald under the milky way, saw meteors, talked about life change, and made merry. we slept well.

7) i set off early, due west and south, to get to missoula the next day. my legs were exhausted from hard-ride followed by hard-hike. i still made it about 75 miles before calling in reinforcements--heather came and picked me up, closer to her than to me, but not by much. no way was i pulling a 140mi day on those legs. and there was much rejoicing as she pulled up and we caught up and drove south through a very pretty reservation, and some towns we'd seen in '07 (hi, arlee! you gave us free ice but no free water, as i recall.)

8) missoula has been great. slept in a lot. read a lot. biked a fair bit. spent most of a day at the adventure cycling association for heather's last day of work, and chatted with a bunch of touring cyclists and employees. drank beer. saw the clips of faith thing from new belgium that i somehow missed in portland but which followed me all the way to montana. drank great beer (no, fat tire isn't great. but i had 8 other tasty ones, most of which i'd never even heard of--new belgium brews a lot that they don't otherwise distribute..)

9) ate more great food, drank great beer, rode great bikes, talked life change, in general enjoyed visiting with heather. yeah. this is vacation!

10) tomorrow is further tour du missoula, including more drinking, eating, shopping, laughing, and carrying on, before i have to head north to whitefish to catch a train on monday night.

...and return to my life, which is getting more normal by the day--two interviews in the next week. might be working in as few as 2 weeks. might have to cut back on all that volunteerism. might not get to go on many more trips until the xmas migration back to texas. c'est la vie. it's been good, real good, and i believe i've done it right.

thanks for reading. dunno if i'll post much more, here. i don't...feel it, anymore, somehow. send me a thoughtful emailed question, and you'll probably do better for getting something juicy out of me, these days. my letters will be more interesting than my memoirs =)

peace.
sketchface

so this is how it ends

...feels more like a whimper than a bang. strangely reminiscent of the last time i disengaged from being in love, in...wow, 1999 or 2000 with shaynabelle. trying to apply the lessons i learned there--stuff like:

  • continued sexual fantasies do not help with falling out of love (a shame, since the two ladies i've been deeply in love with were extremely sexually attractive to me and were hard to permanently withdraw from the spank bank)
  • sometimes you really do need more space/time than you want to, to nurture the remaining friendship
  • new interests take it very poorly when you confess that you are honestly not over the old interest yet. which is a fair way to feel, but i think many people aren't honest about it and they get credit for just keeping quiet while i lose points for being an open book.
  • she might be hurting, a little, too.


there were fireworks, the good kind and the bad kind, in the during of our relationship and its end. but as her time in the house wound down, she retreated due to the should-have-been-expected miscommunication, which we managed to convince me tearfully was all my fault. i still think it was, but i *feel* like it wasn't. she's such a great debater. i need to take a remedial debate class. and hire someone to walk around with me taking mental notes back to which i would refer during debate, since my mental notepad is completely fucking unreliable.

or i could start dating people that are active communicators. so, you know, we solve problems before they are big problems. that might not be a bad idea and might be something that could *actually* happen in *this* reality =)

so when she finally left, it was just "goodbye, good luck, and i hope we can still be friends". and i cried a little.

thank goodness kdaisy721 is here just now. she helps, as always, quite a lot really. and all of my friends. you guys are great, too. thanks for your ongoing support! i'm already in better shape than i would have expected, and remembering more about the disengagement with shay and how i repeatedly fucked that up (but thank you so much, shay, for being the wonderfully forgiving person you are and still being such a close friend despite my ridonkulous behavior back then!) and trying to disconnect those mental pathways and behavior patterns. and succeeding some. and failing some. and life will go on.

just now, i am going to pick up a mattress to improve the pillow room. yesterday i worked with a group who are living my dream (doing bike tours for a living), which, hey, i would love to be doing too and yay for a first step down that path (thanks, tinyfroglet, for the brainstorm/encouragement that got me there!). i am finalizing plans to paint my entire house (insides) this summer with a new friend (platonic) who is incredibly much "my kind of person", to turn it into a space i love, rather than a community i love in a space i just kinda like. and, pedalpalooza! 5 days out! omg! my life, she is so great. and i believe i shall return to the unequivocal love of life soon enough. so yay!