Happy Birthday Dear Editor.
First and foremost, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! Welcome to this side of the half century mark. Many more days to come for both of us older guys, and hopefully some of them even face to face together!
I have been in a funk about my life, and have not been doing much of anything. I had thought I had certainly thanked you for the books as my habit has been to always send some sort of acknowledgment the same day I receive them. The other thing that had me slightly confused was that I was sure you had received my letter yet you never made any comments, so I sort of assumed the letters were out there crossing in the mail.
I have lots of writing to do, and while you have not been getting much mail from me lately, no one else has either. I still have not gotten the Father's Day card done, and that is holding up the card that is eventually going to brighten up the confines of your mailbox soon.
I am still waiting for the date my parents promised to give me for their visit this month (June) and we are rapidly running out of June. I just received a copy of a letter my Dad sent to a bunch of people that remembered him on the anniversary of his ordination (number 50). The note on the back of the letter said that it was either the first or second letter I got they were not sure. And no mention of coming up to visit. Oh well.
The previously mentioned and blogged about "village idiot
" has been in the cube across from me for three weeks now. That is just another one of those issues that I keep thinking will be solved soon, but yet the solution is being delayed. The regular officer that works the day shift has now been out for five weeks. There has been no official word on where he is, and we have not had the same officer for more than two or three days at a time. I know that as soon as Lewis shows up he would either kick the guy out of the unit (not just on my say so but he really is a pain in the ass to others) or at least move him to the other side of the dorm. But each weekend and Monday that rolls around and Lewis does not show, causes more anguish.
He is constantly staring at me whenever I cough, and started in again
today telling me that he knows I am highly contagious, and responsible for all the ills in the unit!
He continues to state that since he has sinus troubles and has worked in a hospital he is more than qualified to know that my problem is not sinus related. The good news to me is that I think I am really on the mend. I have finished off three months of the nasal spray, and now I take one or two decongestants the nose clears up. Hope it stays this way for a while. I can almost taste my food again!
I have been on a two day sugar binge and it still does not help my "down in the dumps" feeling. Yesterday I not only ate a pint of Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream, but instead of my one a day chocolate, I had both a Hershey Bar and a bag of M&M's. (The ice cream was two days ago, not yesterday.) As I write this I am polishing off my second bag of M&M's for today.
The problem is that this means that toward the end of the current two week period, I will have no goodies to eat at all. That is the bitch about only being able to shop once every fourteen days! The other is that with the warmer and more humid weather my English muffins mold before I can eat them.
The carpenter job is going okay. I get some snide comments from one or two of the civilian staff. Yesterday one said, "What does he think he is doing, making furniture?" Well, yes I am! I am making paper towel racks. Why have all the proper power tools and cheap labor and not do a proper job?
50, That Old?
Who decided that fifty is old? Yes, by the time you are all reading this I will have successfully completed fifty years of living on the planet Earth.
They say you are as young as you feel and most inmates peg my age at less than 40!
Also might I remind all you readers that I have been doing this gated community living thing for over ten years now, and while my mind certainly suffers the most grueling punishment, I have to admit that in general the last ten years has not been all that bad in terms of putting "age" on this body of mine.
As I have mentioned to some people, if I were to place a personal ad, I would probably start it off with, "Well-rested fine male specimen..."
The other thing is that if you do not celebrate a birthday, did it really happen?
I love looking at the wedding announcements in the Style Section of the Sunday New York Times and noting of the ages of the grooms. While it is not a majority, there are still plenty of fifty year olds (and older) getting married. Some of them even have brides a decade (or two) younger.
Hope springs eternal. Although right now to be perfectly honest, the spring is not as springy as it should be. Alas...
While I am typing the draft of this post, my eclectic radio station is playing a version of "Making Whoopee" with Dr. John and Ricky Lee Jones
. Man I love that Big Band sound. But for the record, now is certainly not the time for me to be making whoopee!
When filling out my commissary sheet this week I decided to see what would happen if I switched to a different protein source for my evening meal. I have been using a can of tuna for lunch and octopus for dinner.
I am still struggling with the sinus problem although it is much better than it has been. The swelling of my sinuses comes and goes. I am using a steroid-based nasal spray, an allergy pill, and a decongestant pill. Sometimes the nose is clear, sometimes clogged, and sometimes somewhere in between. I have just finished a 21 day course of Levofloxacin and while a recent sinus X-ray showed some type of "clouding," the antibiotic has not seemed to make much of a difference.
My thought was what if it is the abundance of octopus in my diet that is causing the sinus congestion? Since the antibiotic did not seem to make much of a difference, I started wondering if this is more an allergic type of problem as opposed to an infection. I decided to buy five of the Calmars (squid).
Squid was recently listed in the New York Times as fish that you could eat on a daily basis as opposed to only once a week. Amazingly, octopus was not even on the list.
Tonight was day three of no octopus and day two of the cattle-fish, and the nose is still not all that different.
While I was-preparing tonight's dinner, angel hair pasta with calamrs, I was checking the ingredients and nutritional information, comparing the calmars against the octopus.
Both cans weigh 4 ounces net weight. The octopus is packed in Soya oil, and salt (2.50.mg.). The calmars is packed in Soya oil, tomato, onion, ink, spices and salt (250 mg.). The octopus and squid are from Spain. Ah, imported, nothing too good for us inmates.
The interesting part of this whole discourse is the difference in the nutritional values. The items that differ are:
Item Octopus Squid
Calories 100 142
Fat Calories 35 98
Total Fat 4 g. 10 g.
Sat. Fat 1 g. 2 g.
Trans Fat 0 g. 0.5 g
Cholest. 40 mg. 44 mg.
Protein 14 g. 11 g.
It would appear that the octopus is the "healthy" option. The above numbers are per serving, each can offering two servings. I use one can for each meal.
The octopus has higher protein and lower fats. Now if I can figure out if staying away from the octopus makes a difference in my sinuses. Such weighty issues I have to deal with.
It is now the Thursday before Father's Day, and I have still not completed the hand-crafted card for my dad. I did send him the following letter on Tuesday:
From: Creative Director, Custom Card Company
To: Father of Valued Customer
Re: Impending Arrival of Custom Crafted Father's Day Card
This is to confirm that an order has been received for a very special, unique, hand crafted Father's Day Card. This card is to include the fact that this is the fiftieth Father's Day you are celebrating. Having obtained such a momentous milestone, no ordinary card would be acceptable.
While we have prided ourselves in our consistent on-time delivery, recent economic realities have forced us to outsource some of our operations. At this very moment some previously impoverished person is hard at work completing this special order.
We hope you will understand this unavoidable delay and know we will expedite the shipping of your card as soon as it is complete. It should arrive at your home sometime in the not too distant future.
Let me personally add my own congratulations on your accomplishment.
Once more I do apologize for the delay and am personally keeping my eye on this very important order and will let no more time elapse than absolutely necessary.
I. M. Late, Creative Director
Excuse Number Two:
I have just been sitting around this wonderful paradise and have not been doing much productive work lately. I had better get my act together and do the things that need doing. I will send the card out in the next day or two but think that tonight, Tuesday, June 13, is the cutoff for sending out something that will arrive by Father's Day.
Dad, I love you. I am blessed to have you as my Dad and wish you many more years of being my DAD!!!!!
End of Letter
Honesty in blogging requires me to state that it is now Thursday evening, (the next day or two) and the card is still not in the mail.
Birthday Card Received On Time.
I did receive your birthday card on Friday. It was the only card that arrived on time! I got the card from Mom and Dad this past Tuesday.
I have just not been up to much writing. I misplaced my last letter to you, and I am pretty sure that none of the enclosed posts were included in that letter.
I will hopefully send you a longer letter this weekend as I have no big plans. Hope you enjoyed your Father's Day.
Not only is the Father's Day card way behind schedule, but there are a few pen pals that should be getting letters from me and they too are still to be typed.
Some blog posts were typed last week and sat in the memory waiting to be proofed and printed. At least that much got done tonight. I need to proof and print these posts and get them in the mail.
Hopefully I can crank back up the writing machine and provide some of the more insightful writing I am capable of.
Convicts and Inmates by Allen (Pop) Evans.
In the old days there were two kinds of people in prisons (now they are called "Correctional Facilities"). In the old days, you had the convict and the inmate. These are the rules of the old days --- and they still stand TODAY!
What is a convict...?
(1) Does his own time and let others do theirs.
(2) Minds his own business unless he is disrespected.
(3) Will not take unfair advantage of another convict
(4) Never lets another prisoner "ride his heat", he accepts full responsibility for his own actions.
(5) Never steals from another prisoner, because sneak-thieves are lower than snitches
(6) Never horseplays in the living area, remembering that others are trying to study or sleep. He goes and finds the person he wants instead of yelling for him and disturbing others. He never lets peers sway his way of thinking when he knows that he is doing the right thing.
(7) Treats and talks to everybody like he would want them to talk to and treat him.
(8) Stays away from people that he does not like, so that he will not be tempted to mistreat them.
What is an inmate...?
(1) Is a narrow-minded and immature individual that only fulfills his own "greeds and wants" at any given second.
(2) Never understands how one of his negative actions will affect the prison population.
P.S. I know that it is hard to be a man; but you could give it a try. You might become one.
End of Pop Evans' thoughts.
I have yet to meet a convict based on the above definitions.
Most of the inmates I have dealt with who claim they are convicts all seem to dance around (or right over) one or more of the points mentioned, and do so knowingly and always are ready with some lame justification as to why it was okay to "violate" the tenants of being a convict.
Me, I think prison would be a lot nicer place if we all adhered to the "Do it Anyway" principles I posted right before this one.
Well it is lights out time again, so I better get this in the mail so you all out there will eventually be able to read it.
Do It Anyway.
People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered:
Forgive them Anyway.
If you are kind, People may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives:
Be Kind Anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies:
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you:
Be Honest and Frank Anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight:
If you find Serenity and Happiness, they may be jealous:
Be Happy Anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow:
Do Good Anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough:
Give the world the Best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God:
It was Never between You and Them Anyway.
There is an older inmate that just moved into the cube next to mine yesterday. He has been incarcerated since 1988, and is serving a ten year to life sentence. Over the last ten years, he has been denied parole five times, once every two years.
He did not kill or cause physical harm to anyone. His case appears to be another one of those times one the law does not always operate just and fairly.
He started talking to me tonight about his case and first made sure I was not an atheist, and shared two envelopes he had received from a Christian pen pal. The contained some printed material and the above was printed on one of the small cards enclosed.
While I am certainly not perfect, I think I operate by the above guidelines and have certainly felt the adverse reactions Mother Teresa mentions. Contrast the above guidelines with the following post that defines the difference between an inmate and a convict.
How powerless I am.
It is now 8:20 PM and I just got finished drafting two posts. I am typing this letter direct and will hopefully have enough time to proof and print the posts before the 10:00 PM lights out cutoff.
I will then have to jump into the shower as I have not yet bathed today. Since my work usually finds me getting sweaty and covered in sawdust, I have been taking my showers after work and before getting under the covers as opposed to in the morning.
Generally my mood is pretty much as low as it can go at this point. Your letter was date stamped yesterday but I did not get it until today. While a few of your "Friday letters" have arrived on Tuesday, for the most part they do make it to me on Monday. Why this one failed to be given to me yesterday is a mystery, just another one of those things that remind me how powerless I am in terms of communicating with the outside world. While I have your latest letter, and you had my latest letter when you wrote, it is funny in a way that there is still a lag, as by now you have gotten the news, but yet it was on its way to you as you typed this latest letter.
I went to the store on Tuesday, and luckily I had managed to maintain a balance in my account. Although it has been getting a little lower each month, I still had just over $60.00 to spend for my bi-weekly food shopping. I use parmesan cheese on most of my meals. I sprinkle it on my pasta/tuna salad lunch, and use plenty of it on the pasta for my dinner. I have not yet tried it on the PB&J and think that would not really work out all that tasty.
For whatever reason, Dad did not send my monthly check on time again! Last month I called at the end of the month to see what was up since I had not heard from them in over four weeks. This past month I did get a food package, received 17 days ago, and one letter a few days later from Mom thanking me for her Mother's Day card. Then silence! I could call, and if there is nothing wrong, I will hear the apologies for the lack of letters and the delay in sending the money.
If something is wrong, i.e. death or serious injury there is not a damn thing I can do and truthfully, it would be way more than I can handle right now, so I am hoping that tomorrow a letter will arrive and all will be well! I will probably stretch the "tomorrow" at least through Friday's mail. Your letter was delayed two days. So maybe Dad's letter is taking a few days longer and he was a few days late to start with.
Mom had promised in her letter that the next letter from them would contain the date in June that they would be up to visit me. I am wondering if that is really worth it at this point. Yes, I am hitting the breaking point. Ten years is about the point where I am losing much hope of anything of a future. The situation is bigger than most of my coping skills except for burying my head in the sand.
I have pretty much spent most weekday afternoons reading the paper. Yesterday I spent over five hours reading the Sunday and Monday newspapers. This is a good use of my time to be sure but then once I absorb all the news that is fit to print, I have no place to dump it, process it, or discuss it.
I am not seeking a pity party, but am looking for solutions. If and when I find any I will be sure to let you know what if anything others can do to help. I realize the blog is a great place for me to blow off steam and put my opinions out there and once I sit at the typewriter I do feel better, and certainly writing to you and getting your letters is a very important part of me being able to hold on to what little forward motion I am able to accomplish. I am still hoping to figure out a way to be more introspective on the blog, but not at the risk of exposing too much personal information.
Have you read the Traveling Baseball story in the "PLAY" magazine from last Sunday's NY Times? Now that is way too obsessive for me. Imagine having your pitching arm destroyed even before you can shave as the article mentions! Life is a continuum and this article certainly shows people that are really pushing it way out there. Flying a pre-teen across the country for weekly games and practice. Give me a break. But it does point out that I feel what makes this supposedly such a great county, at the same time shows how stupid we can be, and the opportunities that are missed by others.
Did you read the article about "Wait, Wait don't tell me?" If they keep the dorm lights off and I stand against the outside wall of my cube, I can get the Vermont public radio station on Saturday mornings, and at 10:00 AM it is Car Talk, and at 11:00 it is "Wait, Wait." The bummer is that I have to head up to the chapel around 11:30 AM so I miss some of the latter. You should be able to download the pod cast of the show.
I was doing pretty good answering the current events questions of the show, except when the mentioned the birth of the Joulie-Pitt Baby. Not a top story covered in the NY Times I guess. Tuesday's paper did have a note in the Arts, Briefly section about them selling the rights to the baby pics and donating the proceeds to help African Children.
I am not sure if I can explain the lack of finishing the Killer Angels
. I have enjoyed the book as far as I have read, and certainly want to read it since it is one that you specifically sent, but there is just some mental block that makes me want to read something less realistic. Honestly, since I have a rather cynical view of our current administration and its war policy, when I read about the horrors of our own Civil War almost 150 years ago, you have to wonder if any of our current politicians understand our own history and the lessons we should learn from them.
There is a cool jazz band piece playing now. Boy I wish I had better choice of radio stations!
Did you happen to read
the NY Times op ed article last Thursday, "Of Love and Money" by David Brooks?
"The people who do well not only possess skills that can be measured on tests, they have self-discipline, which is twice as important as I.Q. in predicting academic achievement, according to a study by Angela Duckworth and Martin Seligman."
Yeah that makes sense. But again we are talking about things that can be measured in the first place.
The article goes on to say, "Kids learn from people they love. ... long-term relationships between love-hungry children and love-providing adults."
I know that even with my new, laid back approach to others, the intelligence factor is a ready source for 'good-natured' ribbing. I had made a comment a while back about being a member of the Marquis De Sade club, but not everyone takes the same view of my creative genius but now I certainly understand that better. One person's good natured ribbing is another's pain.
The other thing to think about is for some deep seated human condition, what was good enough for us as kids is not anywhere cool for our kids.
Why does each generation have different music? Are the Beatles any less musical? Why no more big band music? Yes some of it is practical. Maybe it costs too much to have large dance bands play every week? Technology changes and now we can loop all the old stuff and create "new" stuff. Yet some kids devote their entire childhood to classical music and attend Julliard classes on Saturdays.
One of the other things I wanted to mention that is also related to that op ed piece, is that when I typed that letter the other day, my fingers seemed to fly over the keys and the typos were certainly less than when I type my own stuff out directly. So maybe I do have to get more (some?) self-discipline?
Now do not for a minute think that both Dad and Mom never told me I could accomplish great things if I would just "apply" myself. What seems painfully obvious to a parent might be all Greek to a kid. It was to me. I could not easily make the connection that if I would conform to the directions I was being given by teachers and other adults around me, I would be a better student.
Damn, 9:50 and lights out in ten minutes.
Hope some of this makes a modicum of sense. Please feel free to poke holes, criticize, make fun of, or ask for clarification of any of this rambling. At least it took my mind off my misery for a few hours and that is a good thing.
Double damn, they just called the count. Will have just enough time to type the envelope after they take the count.
Now 8:30 PM and the sky is pouring rain down upon us. I am just out of the shower so maybe I will be able to not get all sticky for a few hours.
Did I mention that the inmate who was harassing me
has been moved to a single cube directly across from me? Yes, I get to lie in my bed and look across to his bunk. Our regular day shift officer has been out for two weeks, so hopefully he should be back by Friday and will move a whole bunch of people around and move this pain in the ass inmate
to another cube.
Today this cretin actually tried to talk to me like we are best friends. It turned out he thought I could be helpful in procuring some additional fans for our unit. Something they are no longer doing.
Another strange dynamic. We had a very obviously gay black guy move into our unit. He was in medical, where I ended up after work to have my hand looked at. Only antibiotic ointment and band-aids for me.
Well as we are walking back up the hill, he is talking to me and I do not realize at this point that he has moved into our unit. He is complaining about the harassment he has been getting. Apparently this is his first trip to prison. Me, I know that if I am seen talking to him I will get harassed too. Where I was before you could socialize with whoever you wanted to with little repercussions.
I would like to be able to talk to him and give him some of my prison wisdom, but for now I have enough trouble being seen walking back from choir practice with the director who is also outwardly gay, and luckily not in my unit.
The rain has subsided a bit. It was coming down in buckets. But at least it has cooled the dorm off a bit.
TV (stand) Repairman.
I was rushing to complete a re-installation of a television in one of the other units this afternoon and received no cooperation from any of the other workers. Not only that, but for some unknown reason the staff member who works in the tool room is stuck on being sure I have a difficult time getting the tools I need.
There is one inmate that actually does the distribution and logging of all tools, and unfortunately he has very little knowledge of hardware. We have over 128 bins with all kinds of bolts, lag bolts, washers etc, yet I can never get what I need. Today he gave me 1/4" carriage bolts with 3/8" nuts! Plus he can not tell the difference between a carriage bolt (rounded head) and hex head bolts.
The TV stand I had to fix, per the head civilian, had a piece of 1/2" flake board that was affixed to a metal wall mounted stand with sheet rock screws that were at least 2" long, and someone had tried to go into the side of the flake board, and also through the 1/2" board so that the screws were all sticking out from the board.
There are two adjustable "arms' that you can spread to insert the plywood shelf. I replaced the flake board with a 3/4" plywood board. I also opened up the TV (25") and drilled holes in the bottom of the case and used 4" bolts to fasten the TV to the plywood. The usual method is to use 2" sheet metal screws.
The screwing is done by using the good old battery operated drill with Phillips head bit and go up through the plywood into the TV. Yep, on occasion you get to drive the screws right through the circuit board.
Now it is extremely hot and muggy and I need to get all my tools and other hardware from an inmate that does not know his ass from his elbow, but thinks he does, and the job site is a good 200 yards away. And I am working on this wall stand that has hex head set screws that are all loose. Of course I need another tool to properly do the job.
It is pushing 2:00, andI am rushing to reinstall the TV so that the inmates will not have to survive the night with only one TV and as I drill through the bolt holes on the stand brackets into the plywood, I stab myself in the palm of my hand.
Let me go and try my shower again then come back and give you some more of my tales of woe.
It is going to be a long summer.
Received your letter today. Thanks.
I had thought we, and I mean the collective we of blog readers, had read my thoughts on the "too busy" things. We all have the same hours per day. I currently have a locker full of New York Times that I would love to read in greater detail but alas, I have other demands on my time. We all make choices on how we spend our days, and I guess some might look into my life and realize their life is better and then when they have lifted themselves up, well I get less.
7:30 PM and I was just going to take a shower but they are now cleaning the bathroom, so I am back to typing. It has been an interesting few days, and I am just managing to hang on to the little bits of emotional energy I have.
It turns out that my Thursday paper was mislabeled by the mail room and sent to the G dorm on Friday. I am in F dorm, literally right next door. But instead of figuring out who I was, it was sent back to the mail room and with the Monday holiday
, I ended up with five papers at Tuesday mail call.
I spent most of yesterday late afternoon and evening reading Thursday's paper and completing the crossword puzzle. There was quite a lot to read in Thursday's paper including the lengthy article on LOST
. It certainly does sound like a great TV show and I probably would like it but since it is not a regular show watched by lots on inmates, I would end up getting pissed off when I could not watch.
Even though I complain about only getting the one radio stations, it has been off the air since Saturday. So as I type this, not only am I hot, sweaty and in a pissed off mood, I get to listen to the "brothers
" playing their rap tapes since between the two big fans and floor buffer machines, the officer on the opposite side of the room can not hear the tape.
Ah, a thunder clap. Maybe it will rain. Even though we have lots of windows open it is still way too hot and humid. I am in my cotton shorts and T-shirt and am sweating just trying to type this letter. It is a little cooler in the night for sleeping but not much. While working I am sweating bullets. It is going to be a long summer.
Not Another Book Quote?
This one is from "The Prize Pulitzer" by Roxanne Pulitzer with Kathleen Maxa:
"I slowly began to see that perhaps my divorce had had a purpose -- it was a stepping-stone to understanding a much broader canvas. Spiritual truths cannot come until one is ready for them. I chose this path and this lesson, and now it is my responsibility to turn the negative into a positive, or at least put it on the road toward the positive. For truly, there is no negative experience, only a lack of understanding of the lesson involved. There is no failure except in no longer trying to make things better. The defeat comes from within."
You can try, but it is really not possible to separate out one action or part of your life and move forward. Life is a journey, and it will have its ups and downs.
Yes, I am in prison, I have been locked up behind bars in jail or prison for over ten years now. But despite that, and something that I sometimes I do not want to acknowledge I have grown and learned much about life and myself during this time.
One of my pen pals wrote me a letter recently and apologized for whining so much about her husband and what he had been up to lately. She then recapped some of the incredible experiences she had shared either with and or because of her husband and realized life is certainly made up of good times and bad times.
That is what I have learned. I would certainly not have been doing as much reading and writing had I not been incarcerated. I would not have had the six years of counseling with a psychologist, and would not have been able to correspond with some truly awesome people (you all know who you are!).
While it would certainly be nice to be able to have a little more control and options over my day to day existence, I have to deal with what I have in front of me now. It is not the best, but as they say it could be worse!
Not that that is the only way to look at life. But I do agree with Roxanne, (I wonder if she would mind me being on a first name basis with her?) it is all about the lessons we can and should learn and the incredible growth that we are capable of as long as there is breath in our bodies.
Thank you all for reading my ramblings, for checking in from time to time to see what I am up to. A special "thank you" to those of you that have taken the time to drop a comment. A very special thanks to those of you the have gone one step further and written to me directly.
And of course, no amount of praise and thanks would ever be enough for all the efforts of my Editor, without whom my journey would not have come as far as it has, and for that I am forever grateful.
And how did this sudden burst of posts start off? I guess it is because my carpentry projects are moving along, I was able to acknowledge I was doing more work than necessary and at the same time take ownership of the fact that it was for me that I was doing it, not so others would like me more. That might happen, but that is not within my control. The effort and extra work are being done for me!
And all of a sudden, now I was able to not only spend two plus hours reading Wednesday's New York Times, and complete the puzzle, I had enough emotional energy to pull out the typewriter, and do more typing than I have in the last few weeks.
For the lack of posts lately I do apologize, but know that if the blog is not updated for a few days it is because I am taking care of me and sometimes that in and of itself is a full time job! Assistance is accepted gratefully, apply within.
It is now 9:25 PM and I am about to print out the final copy of this last few paragraphs. This session was started around 6:00 PM. More to come soon (I hope).
The following is from "Call Me Crazy" by Anne Heche:
"I would purposefully forget my needs, my wants, my desires, and focus on theirs because I thought that's what love was I thought I would get love in return. But not being yourself only gets you away from love. Not being yourself never gets you the love you deserve, because you deserve to be loved for you, who you are, what you want and desire. Any form of love you receive when who you really are is not in the picture is not going to feel like love. In fact, it will feel like the opposite of love. It's going to feel like abuse. In fact, you are abusing yourself. You are giving yourself less than what you deserve, and that is abusive to yourself. You are responsible once you become an adult. It is your responsibility to recognize where you are in a relationship, and if it doesn’t feel good, you are right. If it feels weird, it is weird. But the other person in the relationship is not responsible. You are. I didn't know that then, I know that now. I would accept less and less, contort more and more for the next eight years of my life, until I figured out this pattern and started being me in the relationship."
This is another one of those times when I feel I truly understand what the writer is talking about because I have traveled along the same path. Now I do not think this passage means you get to be a real jerk in a relationship and you can chalk it up to you being you and your partner has to learn to live with it. No, but when you can truly understand, love and appreciate who you are, it is only then that you can begin to show love to another person.
I am more comfortable with me these days, I know there are parts of who I am that others can find annoying and I am open to sharing that upfront and asking them to let me know it I am being a little too much me. I do not change to fit what they want, but I am able to turn me down a bit, if (and that is a big if) the other person has something that I find worthy of being in a relationship with.
But I am first and foremost aware that any tweaking I do to make myself more likeable to the other person is always subject to review and if I am bending too far, I will reevaluate the relationship and see if there is still a healthy balance of give and take.
While prison is certainly not the best place to expose your feelings to others, the few people I have been willing to be open with have actually been able to joke with me, saying okay Pete, you are going over the top here, tone it down a bit and I am able to adjust, and everyone is more comfortable.
Carpentry, and I Did it My Way.
As part of my job responsibilities as the inmate carpenter, I am currently building two paper towel racks out of plywood. These are to hold the single sheet folded type paper towels and are a box about four inches by twelve inches and will hold about a twelve inch stack of towels. The simple method used in the past was to cut four pieces of plywood, make a big notch in the front piece about two inches wide and nail the box together with the edges of the plywood showing.
We have plenty of tools, including a router mounted on a portable table. For some reason, jig saw blades are not stored in our tool room and require a staff member to make a special trip to the front of the compound to pick up the blade. It has to be returned at the end of each day.
I redesigned the box so that I do not need the jig saw blade. In the process I decided to put 45° angles on all the edges of the plywood, and also make some half inch square molding to properly cover the exposed edges of the plywood.
One of the staff members asked me why I was bothering to do all the extra work, I could just slap the thing together and it would be good enough.
Time is really not a factor as far as my labor is concerned. I do have one or two projects that will be going in staff offices and should not just be slapped together. I need some practice; this is a small enough project to practice on, and the finished product certain looks much better.
Yeah, That's What I Need!
I came across the following sentence in "Beyond Recognition" by Ridly Pearson:"Boldt needed someone to nourish him, to draw out the genius, to stimulate."
This was the thought of a woman that worked with the leading male character. I thought yes, even if you are a genius, you still need another human being to help you realize your full potential.
That is a fact that I have certainly come to grips with as part of my journey while being incarcerated. Of course there is that sort of "Rats" feeling. Now that I better understand that I can not always go it alone, that one really does need others to help one have a rich and full life. Now that I am more open to allowing others to give me support and direction, I am locked away from anyone that really gives a damn about me as an individual.
But for the most part, as I have mentioned time and time again, being an "individual" in prison is usually a way to end up in trouble either with the staff or with the other inmates.
Newspaper Reading, Plan 1,001.
On the one hand what do you expect from someone with attention deficit disorder and a severe lack of perseverance? I am currently reading the paper the day it arrives and where applicable, doing the crossword puzzle at the same time.
I get the paper seven days a week, and only receive mail five days. That leaves me with two papers to read two days, usually Monday (Friday and Saturday) and Tuesday (Sunday and Monday). I am dedicating two to three hours each day to reading the paper, and solving the crossword. I have stopped collecting any articles for the time being since I have over one hundred awaiting my attention!
Yes, it is a lesson in letting go and not taking on more than I am able to accomplish. I still have over three weeks of papers in my locker that need to be read, but having slightly downgraded the scope of my reading, maybe I can realistically keep current and get rid of the old papers too.
I am still clipping out articles that might be of interest to my parents, and working on sending them out the same day I clip them.
I have realized that part of my problem was letting go.
I was (am?) tormented that I might miss something if I did not read each and every article from beginning to end. Then even if I read the whole paper, (Okay, I did not read every single article), I would become obsessive, clipping out articles for future reference.
Yes, once in a while it paid off. One time we received a new cast iron skillet and there was a discussion on how to properly season the pan. I knew I had saved an article on the benefits of cast iron cookware and knew the article included a "How to Care For" section. I was able to locate the article, which in itself is a minor miracle. Of course, if I was not so technically challenged, I would be able to go to the internet and use the New Times archives and reprint any article as needed.
I am able to recall the articles I clipped but I certainly do not remember each and every point the articles mention.
For now I have lightened the burden and am trying to enjoy the paper and so far for the last two weeks this plan is working. Based on my past track record, I will probably abandon this current schedule in another few weeks, and all of a sudden be shocked to find my locker contains a stack of over two weeks of newspapers that need to be read.
Well the "stick pins in the Prison Pete doll" crowd has been working overtime tonight.
Remember where you where 30 years ago around this time of the year? Specifically the 1st of June. It was on that day that the ex and I were married. Wow, thirty years.
You were at my wedding were you not? Were you one of the ushers? The photos of that infamous day are hopefully somewhere in my parent's abode. I took them all when the divorce happened. Pissed off the ex too.
The weird part today was the wonderful eclectic radio station here played our song, "IF" by Bread, (If a picture paints a thousand words...) not once but twice in a three hour period! Of all the thousands of songs they have to draw from, why the hell did they have to play that song twice in a few hours!
It is now 9:40 PM and I am still going to send my usual Thursday pen pal letters. I have not gotten any replies in a while.
The last time I wrote a bunch of letters without getting an answer was back when I was in the County Jail, and I was writing daily letters to Karen. Then one day I got about ten letters back as undeliverable and over then next few days, the other twenty or so letters all were returned to me.
I will see what happens this time.
I did actually get a letter written by my Mom on Tuesday, and the food Care package showed up on Monday. Mom was thanking me for my original Mother's Day Card.
Time to go.