Wednesday, December 16, 2009

December Update!

Well golly, I sure haven't been posting much, have I? For the benefit of those who may still care, and for my own sake in focusing my thoughts, let me summarize events in my life since ...

Four Months Ago

On August 22 I wrote my last real update in this blog. You can read it if you like!

Three Months Ago

E and I are still married, though separated for over a year, and in September we celebrated our 30 year wedding anniversary. We drove to Yosemite National Park and spent a night at the Ahwahnee Hotel. This was the first time we had slept in the same room since our separation and it wasn't all that weird. We had separate beds.

All in all it was a very pleasant trip. To a large extent we each did our own thing and I found that we accomodated each other well. I took a lot of pictures and had a great time. It definitely drew us closer. I am still not feeling the romantic spark, the desire to climb into bed with her, the passion of a perfect kiss. But I do enjoy her company and affection.

A week later I moved out of the Campbell apartment where I had been living since E and I separated, and into a San Jose condo that we own. It's better financially, but otherwise the benefits are mixed.

Two Months Ago

I sent Tigs a couple of CDs for her birthday in October. She sent me a short thank you note and it meant a lot to me.

I suppose I've gotten over my near-obession with Tigs. I don't check her blog 10 times a day anymore -- now it's more like every other week. This seems healthier and I feel good about it.


But there is a problem: I don't know how to describe what's taken the place of these feelings. A sort of numb resignation perhaps? It's not pretty.

One Month Ago

Our beautiful, but ruinously expensive remodeling project was almost entirely wrapped by November, and I spent a lot more time at the house helping to unpack and move back into the all-new downstairs. I really do love what we've done to the house. It is unique, quirky even, and represents a lot of thought by both E and myself to create an ideal livable space. Only I don't live there.

But now that I live only a mile away, I do go over there a lot more to hang out.

The Month Ahead

In about a week my youngest son is coming home from college. He's in the middle of his second year, but he won't be going back. He wants to get a job and live in Santa Cruz (can't blame him) and go to school over there. I worry about him. He does drugs.

Just after Christmas, my younger daughter is getting married. I like her fiancee a lot, but still can hardly believe she's old enough to marry. Meanwhile she's dropped out of college and her life seems to have come to standstill in every other respect. I just hope she finds happiness.

A week later, my older daughter is planning to separate from her husband of three years and either move home or move in with me. Sigh.

The Year Ahead

E and I are still doing counseling every week. It's helped us in a variety of ways, not just with each other but also as individuals. But I have no idea where it will lead. I love E and after 30 years our investment in each other is enormous. So many little shared jokes and stories.

And yet I am very much concerned that if we get back together I'll always feel that I took the easy path.

A year ago, when I'd only been separated a few months, I began seeing some other women. But when Tigs called me out on it I decided that I cannot be pursuing those relationships at the same time I claim to be serious about couples counseling with E -- it will be better if I resolve my marriage first.

And yet now, a year later, I have to admit that I wonder if that's true. I wonder if my perspective would be more healthy if I was getting laid.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mr. Blue Sky

For reasons entirely unknown, the 1977 ELO song Mister Blue Sky popped into my head this evening and simply wouldn't leave. I soon found myself downloading the original Electric Light Orchestra album "Out Of The Blue" from EMusic and as I write this sentence have now listened to the song eight times in succession. It's 5 minutes long, so it's been playing for 40 minutes. And we're on number nine ...

Go ahead, play the song while I continue.



"Hey you! ... welcome to the human race!"

Besides being a classic piece of disco-era art-rock from the only band after The Beatles to seriously explore certain musical directions, the lyrics to this song have always intrigued me. There's a message of hope and celebration after an age of darkness. A personal darkness in which one has been shut away from the light, away even from the joys of human fellowship.

"Today's the day we've waited for"

Yes, the sun is shining, the blue sky is warming every spirit and the folk are playing in the former "streets of pity". It's a springtime of the spirit. But each day comes to an end, and ...

"Soon Comes Mister Night"

"... Creepin' over. Now his hand is on your shoulder." Are our spirits doomed to rise and fall with the day and night? Certainly not. As humans we are capable of greater freedom, and so the message of hope and renewal continues:

Never mind I'll remember you this
I'll remember you this way
Sure it's simplistic. It's "just a rock song" isn't it? But if and when we feel the oppression of many days of rain, we could do worse than remember our days with Mr. (or Ms.) Blue Sky.

Mr. Blue Sky

Sun is shinin' in the sky
There ain't a cloud in sight
It's stopped rainin' ev'rybody's in the lane (or maybe "in their play")
And don't you know
It's a beautiful new day hey,hey

Runnin' down the avenue
See how the sun shines brightly in the city
On the streets where once was pity
Mister blue sky is living here today hey, hey

Mister blue sky please tell us why
You had to hide away for so long
Where did we go wrong?

Hey you with the pretty face
Welcome to the human race
A celebration, mister blue sky's up there waitin'
And today is the day we've waited for

Hey there mister blue
We're so pleased to be with you
Look around see what you do
Ev'rybody smiles at you

Mister blue sky
Mister blue sky
Mister blue sky

Mister blue, you did it right
But soon comes mister night creepin' over
Now his hand is on your shoulder
Never mind I'll remember you this
I'll remember you this way

Mister blue sky please tell us why
You had to hide away for so long
Where did we go wrong?

Hey there mister blue
We're so pleased to be with you
Look around see what you do
Ev'rybody smiles at you
Ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba
Ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba

By the way, for those readers who have not already followed the Wikipedia link for the song title, Mr. Blue Sky is in fact the fourth movement of the 4-song "Concerto For A Rainy Day" (I think "song cycle" seems more apt) that comprised Side 3 of the original "Out of the Blue" LP set. Composer Jeff Lynne was inspired by a break in weeks of rainy weather.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Banks of the Deep End

It was just last year -- July 9, 2008 -- when one of my favorite bands, Gov't Mule, appeared here in San Jose for the first of a two night stand with Bob Weir and Ratdog. I attended both nights and made a decent recording of the gig, but later downloaded the "official" Gov't Mule recording from their web site. It's not only better, it would normally save me a good deal of time. However I decided to download the lossless FLAC files, which require some special tools. Only this week finally got around to burning CDs from them and compressing them for use with my iPod.

So here I am, listening to it again, and up comes Banks of the Deep End. The song begins with the same chords as classic Ohio by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, which I still sometimes play with my friends, and so it always catches my attention. But much as I like Ohio, the fact is that Deep End, written in 2001, is a much better song both musically and lyrically. I was listening to it carefully this evening.

I'm not going to comment on the lyrics right now, but I've included them below. Meanwhile enjoy the song!




The Banks Of The Deep End

Music and Lyrics: Warren Haynes, Mike Gordon, Joe Linitz

On the banks of the deep end
Where your soul is your best friend
Searching for a reason to go astray
Wild dreams turn to nightmares
Silver clouds turn to golden stairs
And everything that you used to know is slipping away

Here, I've got my puzzle piece
Only got it for a short-term lease
No time for asking, no going back to get hurt
I take a little from the mixture
Try to fit it into the picture
Got a place where you're standing, dig your shoes into the dirt

Trying hard to get back, running on the stones
Put you on my shoulders, we can be the only one
See the world's still spinning round, getting dizzy when we look

There's a reason to be home, there's a feeling when you smile
But it feels like it might take over, this feeling deep inside
And there's a distance down the line, far away from the station
We can leave it all behind on a rolling creation

Sit away from the window and lock the door
Can't you learn from the last time and the time before
See the world's still spinning round, getting dizzy when we look

Got to leave town
To see the yellow flowers bloom
Sun going down
It's gonna be rising soon

On the banks of the deep end
Twisted as the river bend
Searching for a reason to go astray

You couldn't hire twenty five men to do what the man could do
Just the sound of his walking could split the whole damn town in two
Into the night full of shadows, he still walks when the thunder rolls
This river ain't shallow, reminds us that the bell still tolls

Bears in the kitchen, tigers on TV
The singer's pretending that this song's for me
See the world's still spinning round, getting dizzy when we look

You took a wrong turn down by the waterline
I heard they had to drag you off the sand
Find a dune and the wind will miss you
Hold on to a piece of dry land
Got to hold on to a piece of dry land
Got to hold on to a piece of dry land

On the banks of the deep end
Where I lost my best friend
Searching for a reason
To go astray

Lyrics from Alex Allan's Lyric Site.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Crystal Ship

You know how lyrics from an old song will sometimes pop into your head and get stuck? Well bits and pieces of The Doors' Crystal Ship were going through my head all this morning.

The Crystal Ship is a song from The Doors' eponymous first album, released in January 1967. I was in 8th grade, 13 years old, and as Top 40 AM radio began to fill the airwaves with Light My Fire (from the same album), some friends and I started a garage band.

We eventually covered a lot of rock artists but none more than The Doors -- of the 11 tracks on this album, we regularly performed 9 of them, including Crystal Ship, Light My Fire and The End.

Crystal Ship is not my favorite Doors song -- I don't even like all the lyrics. But with their haunting arrangement and delivery, a few lines have always moved me.

"The Days Are Bright, And Filled With Pain"

Ouch. But that's how I've been feeling recently. Caught in the bright, harsh light of reality. The pain of slowly losing hope, of plodding through the days, of seeing my own shortcomings a little too clearly, and not liking myself as much as I used to.

"Enclose Me In Your Gentle Rain"

And I can feel peace begin to wrap me. To be "enclosed" like this is to be protected and perhaps transformed, like a caterpillar enclosed in its cocoon. The gentle rain is neither cold nor pelting, but it is both cleansing and refreshing. It softens the brightness, relieves the pain.

"Before You Slip Into Unconsciousness / I'd Like to Have Another Kiss"

I've always imagined this as referring to the sweetness of my lover drifting off to sleep beside me. But in recent years it touches my own fear of slipping into a kind of sexual unconsciousness, where the only choices are between bad sex and no sex. And before I go, I would indeed like another kiss, "Another flashing chance at bliss."

Enjoy the song.




The Crystal Ship
John Densmore/The Doors/Robbie Krieger/Ray Manzarek/Jim Morrison

Before you slip into unconsciousness
I'd like to have another kiss
Another flashing chance at bliss
Another kiss, another kiss

The days are bright and filled with pain
Enclose me in your gentle rain
The time you ran was too insane
We'll meet again, we'll meet again

Oh tell me where your freedom lies
The streets are fields that never die
Deliver me from reasons why
You'd rather cry, I'd rather fly

The crystal ship is being filled
A thousand girls, a thousand thrills
A million ways to spend your time
When we get back, I'll drop a line

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Afterimage


Early last week, quite unexpectedly, I received a copy of Afterimage by Helen Humphreys in the mail. It's a glorious book -- I reveled in it and have since written about it at some length elsewhere.

I'm mentioning it here because this is the only place where I can acknowledge something: it had to be from Tigs. And I love that she knew I would love it, would find it spectacularly meaningful. I love that she cared enough to send it.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Life Is Good!

As the saying goes, "It sure beats the alternative."

My last post was three full months ago, which is a new record silence since I started "Apollo's Fire". But lots has been going on.

I'm not sure how many human readers I have left, but I'm sure there are a few RSS readers still patiently checking for updates. So for the benefit of those faithful servers checking the feeds I thought I'd briefly bring things up to date.

Three Months Ago

My wife E and I have a timeshare week in early May. This is the first time it's come up since we've been separated and we decided to split the week. It's only about an hour from home. On the day that we "crossed" in mid-week we agreed to hang out and have dinner.

This event was one of the "bridges to cross" that I had set myself. I wondered how it would be. The setting has always been a romantic one for both of us. Would there be flutterings of renewed desire?

Well, there weren't. And this affected me a lot -- it was a marker, in my mind, pointing me further down the path toward dissolution of our marriage. The few days I had to myself were pleasant and reflective, and by the end of the week I decided to send a short note to Tiggy.

Tigs and I had had no direct communication since November and hadn't seen each other since last July. At some point I may tell the full story of our exchange, but here's the executive summary: she was glad to hear from me, but also hurt because I was stirring her emotions with nothing substantive to offer.

She even drew me a picture: me sitting in a boat with E while I baited a hook and dangled it over the side into the water. Tigs was a golden fish swimming below, with old hooks stuck in her mouth. I cried.

I really do like Tigs -- she speaks the truth to me in ways that touch my soul like no one else. It's not usually pleasant, but it's almost always helpful. I think we both made heroic efforts to communicate, and she really did get through to me. As painful as it was for both of us, a week's round of email was sobering. In the absence of real contact it had been too easy for me, and perhaps her as well, to maintain an imaginary relationship.

Anyway, the main effect on me was to finally break the near-obsession that had been ruling my life. In some ways it was as if the enchantment had been lifted. But it left me empty and more confused than ever.

Two Months Ago

Last year E and I had bought a prepaid trip to Hawaii that needed to be used by the summer of 2009. We had gone ahead and made plans to travel together, even though neither one of us was sure how it would go. I think we both thought that it would be either the last hurrah, or a new beginning.

The trip was in early June. We even stayed in separate rooms, but other than that we did everything together just as we've done on vacations for 30 years. And we both had fun. It was nice -- not hugely romantic, but very, very comfortable.

Afterward, we both wondered where we should go from here. E made it clear that she didn't want to settle for a "brother-sister" platonic marriage. I didn't want that either, but with Tigs out of my thoughts, I found myself in even less of a hurry to dissolve the marriage. The practical, financial consequences of divorce have been weighing heavily on me.

One Month Ago

Well, nothing in particular happened a month ago, but I wanted to keep the timeline moving.

Some of you will remember that I have a major remodeling project going on at the house this year. Major as in "completely gutting the downstairs, building a new kitchen, powder room and entryway." No, I'm not doing it myself, we have a contractor. So what's been happening over the past month or so is that E and I are spending a lot of time together as we get closer to wrapping up this project: we get along well, we enjoy each other's company, and we need each other.

At the same time, we are beginning to talk more seriously about our individual needs. Neither one of us wants to try to "go back" -- we know we can only go forward. And we still don't know if we can offer each other everything we want in marriage. But neither is there any hurry to rip things apart.

Next Month

In a month my lease is up at the apartment where I've been living since last August. I thought a lot about moving home, especially to save money. But neither E nor I are ready for that step. And due to some unusual circumstances, it turns out that I can move into some rental property that we own.

So I'll be settling into a comfortable condo in an arrangement that is much more stable and could conceivably be permanent. And it's only a mile from the house.

It's a good arrangement under the circumstances, and I have every reason to be hopeful about where it leads. But I'd be less than honest not to admit that most days now I just feel tired. And when I look in the mirror I see some old guy I barely recognize.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

"I find out what I really want by seeing what I do."


Photo © 2009 Apollo Unchained

"I find out what I really want by seeing what I do. That's what we all do, if we're honest about it. We have our feelings, we make our decisions, but in the end we look back on our lives and see how sometimes we ignored our feelings, while most of our decisions were actually rationalizations because we had already decided in our secret hearts before we ever recognized it consciously."

-- Andrew Wiggins, a.k.a. "Ender", in Children of the Mind by Orson Scott Card (p.57)

Friday, May 22, 2009

My Life Today - "Boogie On The Bayou"

Today's post is another bit of local ephemera ...

Last weekend (May 16 and 17) the pleasant Silicon Valley town of Campbell hosted its annual "Boogie on the Bayou", a sort of super-sized edition of the weekly Farmer's Market (minus the fresh produce).

All four blocks of downtown Campbell Avenue are closed for the weekend, plus the side streets along each block. The streets thus freed from vehicular use are filled with rows of vendor stalls hawking everything from jewelry and art to "flameless candles".

But what's all this about a "bayou"?  The nearby Los Gatos Creek is certainly no bayou.  Nevertheless, this event is imbued with a decidedly "N'Awlins" (yes that's how it was spelled) motif.  It's entirely unclear what reason Campbell has for hosting any sort of Cajun-themed event, but the weather's fine and who needs a reason for a party?  With or without Mardi Gras beads.

Bands play on two separate stages while the local Accordion Society provides a third performance area. This is unpretentious local fun, and nobody takes the New Orleans theme too seriously.





In contrast, the very same weekend, just 30 minutes away in Santa Cruz is the much cooler River Arts Festival, complete with its Kinetic Art Parade!  Santa Cruz is already way hipper than Silicon Valley, and the Kinetic Art Parade has got to be crazier than Campbell's alligator burgers and Mardi Gras masks.

One day I will visit the River Arts Festival and perhaps even ride in the Kinetic Art Parade. But no matter how hip I feel, I don't think it could feel any more like home.

Campbell -- The Orchard City!

All photos © 2009 Apollo Unchained

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Metamorphosis

The lovely and talented Ms. Inconspicuous has announced her pending departure from the shores of blogdom -- a virtual metamorphosis.

The end of Seduction of Infidelity will leave a hole in many an RSS feed, including mine.  For whatever reason, I don't actually lust for Ms. I, despite her obvious charms.  Nor do I seek to emulate her path.  Of course I'm attracted, but am currently more involved in my own story.  But I love her wit, her talented writing, her clever photographs, even the visceral sex-filled tension as she narrates a rendezvous -- I will miss all this.

I will miss the collection of readers who congregate at Seduction of Infidelity.  Whether it's discovering a poem by T. S. Eliot or a piano work by Philip Glass, these are things I've found there, even just today.

And I have another reason to miss her blog: Apollo's Fire gets more referrals from Seduction of Infidelity than any other single source. Yes, it's true. Fully 17% of my traffic comes directly from Ms. I's blog!


Fare well Ms. I. Keep making your own luck. Be safe and be well.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ceramics

I recently wrote this as a letter to a friend, and remarked to her that it reads more like a blog post than a personal letter.  I decided to roll with it rather than fight it, but as I apologized for the less personal tone I realized that it's a writing style I've unconsciously adopted.  Fellow bloggers, how many of you find yourselves writing letters and memos as if they were blog posts?



A few months ago (January or February) I started taking a ceramics class with E.  Many people are surprised to hear that this was my idea, not hers.  I took ceramics in high school for half a semester and loved it; she took ceramics in college.  Since before we were married we talked about doing ceramics together.  But then I was busy for so many years, as was she.  No ceramics.

A few months into our counseling sessions we started looking for things we could do together and this is what I picked.

There is a wonderful ceramics workshop in the San Jose area, operated for nearly 40 years from a woman's large private home.  We had known about this for a long time -- ten years or more -- but it just never seemed to fit our schedules and priorities.  Now we made the time for it.

I really enjoy working with the clay on the wheel, it gives me an even greater thrill now than it did as a high school senior.  The facilities and the quality of instruction are much better for one thing.  And I enjoy doing this with E -- we're about equal in our abilities and we're both learning a lot.

This class was a big step for me in many ways. It reminded me what it was like to be a beginner again, to learn a new skill almost from scratch. It's a way of taking time for something for the sole purpose of doing it. And most importantly it has been a way of testing my heart toward E.

I wondered if we'd fall in love again over the potters wheels.  We didn't.  But we did learn a new respect for each other.  And I hope, in the long term, that will serve us as well.

Yes, these are some of my pots.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

"First of May"

I was reading a new (for me) blog called Pervocracy today and it featured a link to this great song called "First of May" by Jonathan Coulton. I just had to share it ...

Monday, May 4, 2009

So cute ...

I wrote this near the end of March, and then decided not to post it. I've changed my mind.



Recently Tigs has been posting a succession of new pictures of herself on her blog profile. They're all cute, but the latest is so adorable, I just want to dance around it and make offerings.  Sigh.



Sunday, May 3, 2009

My Life Today - Carmel Week

Just south of Monterey, at the gateway to Big Sur on California's central coast, a few miles past the quiet town of Carmel, perched on a hillside overlooking the Pacific, is a quiet but elegant hotel where my wife and I own a timeshare week.

Our acquaintance with this spot goes back more than 25 years, when we used to live nearby. We've always loved coming here and it's only 70 miles from home. A few years ago we learned that the hotel was being converted to timeshares, and it just made sense for us.

This is our week.

Now anyone who has more than glanced at this blog knows that E and I are separated. We get along well enough and, through counseling, have been learning to communicate better. But we didn't want to spend a week together in the same room, so we split the time between us.

E came down for the first part of the week, along with her girlfriend GF1. Wednesday was the day of transition and we had planned to spend some time together. GF1 left in the morning, I came down in the afternoon, and we had 5 or 6 hours together. We drove down Highway 1 to visit some of our other favorite spots -- it was quite pleasant and we both enjoyed it.

But there are romantic memories associated with these places and it became uncomfortable a few times as E was struck by how our lives have changed in the past year or two. And at the end of the day, I know she wanted to stay. It would have taken only a word from me. But that word would have meant that I had decided to stay together, not just for the night.

And I felt no urge, no impetus to give her that word.

So this was a test of sorts, as I knew it would be. What are my feelings for E? Yes I love her, and will continue to demonstrate that in a variety of ways. But where are the signs of falling back in love with her? Absent so far. I wondered if they would stir, here in this place of special memories. And many feelings did stir: she is still, I think, my best friend. We have shared so much over thirty years -- I especially love the private jokes and stories. Many a marriage has been built on less.

But I want more.

There will be another "test" in a month or so and I'll write about it in due course. Perhaps it will be inconclusive. But even a whole sequence of inconclusive tests have their own message. At some point I'll just have to get off the fence and choose.

Post Script

Some of you who have followed my story have observed that it seems like I've already chosen. And you have a good point: if nine months of separation and counseling hasn't put our marriage back together, then I don't know what will. So why not start the divorce? Here are some reasons ... (1) I want to give our marriage every chance I can think of, (2) I want E to have time to adjust, (3) as a practical matter, I want to complete our home remodeling project. Maybe that seems silly, but I think it would too hard on E to have the house torn up while we're starting divorce proceedings. I have to admit there's also (4) my own fear of the unknown, but that's not a "reason".


Update: I've posted more of the flower shots on Picasa.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Disappointment and Peace

I just know that many of you, dear readers, have been wondering what was the outcome of my "Hope and Fear" post a month ago.  Well, the title of this one should give you a hint ...

That's right, no contact of any sort from Tiggy.  Disappointment. Sad face.  

But that's also ok -- I'm used to our non-contact regime.  And even though it's frustrating for me in so many ways, I have come to understand her need for this.  And I can even appreciate that it's helpful for me -- it helps me focus on my relationship with E, and on the central decision I have to make: will we stay married?  Seeing Tigs would complicate things and confuse me.

And I still miss her every day.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My Life Today - Campbell Farmer's Market


Like most Silicon Valley towns, it wasn't so many years ago that Campbell was known for its orchards and ag businesses. Now it is part of the high tech urban landscape that fills our lush valley from one end to the other, but it has not forgotten its roots. One way in which Campbell is adapting old ways for today, and projecting them into the future is the Campbell Farmer's Market.


Every Sunday morning Campbell closes four or five blocks of the main street in its downtown area and turns it into an open air bazaar. The emphasis is on fresh produce, but there are also plenty of local artists, craftsmen, musicians and more. On a beautiful Spring day it draws quite a crowd.






It costs you nothing but a few minutes to walk through the Farmer's Market, but the rewards are great.   

My Life Today - The Breakfast Bagel

In "Not a Problem to be Solved" I mentioned my recent habit of going for a walk in the morning and stop afterwards at my favorite coffee house. They make wonderful breakfast bagels. Here's one of my favorite garlic bagels and I thought I'd share it with you.



Yum!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Doubt Your Doubts, Not the Love

A friend of mine wrote this recently.

Doubt your doubts, not the love. 
Instead of getting lost in the relationship, why not take a moment to find your self. 
Find yourself laughing, enjoying, being in love, deeply in love, starting from the center of your being and spiraling outwards from your core...

I've read it a few times now, and on each occasion I seem to find more meaning and with it more challenge.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Hope and Fear: "A Certain Someone"

I have been generally content with the place where my last blog post left me.  In fact I cancelled two other posts I had scheduled for the following days -- they would simply have been taking up space.  I prefer to post things that provide a glimpse into where I'm at Right Now, and these were not saying anything I really wanted to say at that point in time.  No, I've been content just to "be", even in the midst of all the doings of my busy daily life. 

I've also been just a little distracted since I read last week on Tiggy's blog that she was considering contacting "a certain someone."  Now I could be wrong, but I don't think she was talking about her tax advisor.  It could be some new prospective lover.  Or it could be me.

I keep checking my inbox.  Nothing. The mailbox at my apartment broke this week, and the Post Office is holding our mail. So I went to the P.O to get it. Nothing.

My thoughts and feelings in response seem somewhat confused, my reaction ambiguous.  So I've tried to step back and examine myself.  Here's what I've come up with ...

Hope

I do hope she contacts me.  I'll admit it: I would like it very much. 
  • I hope we can communicate better.
  • I hope that we can see each other.
  • I hope we can actually be friends.
  • I even hope we might be lovers again.

Fear


But I'm also afraid.  
  • Afraid of what exactly we will say to each other. 
  • Afraid it is too soon to break the cocoon of our self-imposed healing isolation, disrupting the metamorphosis of our relationship into some kind of butterfly.
  • Afraid that the magic will be gone.
  • Afraid that she really does have a new lover.
Remember the old Carly Simon song, You're So Vain?

"You're so vain, you probably think this song is about you"?

I have wondered if it isn't pure vanity for me to imagine that Tiggy's "certain someone" could be me.  This possibility bothered me for a while, but now I think it's just a smokescreen for narcissistic false modesty.  Hey, I accept that it could be anyone else: a new flame, an old lover, a relative, a friend or even the taxman.  But I do have a shot at this myself.

And when something good seems to be a possibility, haven't we all been told, "Don't get your hopes up."  But why not?  Why shouldn't we "get our hopes up"?  I would rather feel the hope -- and, it may be, the disappointment too -- than live in a grey void where only certainties are admitted into our feelings.  So yeah, get it up!  Those hopes I mean.

Now what about all those fears?  Hope seems to attract a lot of little fears, running around like so many cockroaches in the kitchen.  In this case, the fears mostly arise from the mystery that has arisen between us: we have unfinished business and it attracts those bugs like leaving the honey out on the counter.  But turn on the lights, and the bugs will scatter.  Put away the food and they won't come back.

Tigs, you're the peanut butter for my honey, the bread for my jam, the wine for my cheese.  So when you're ready, let's clear the table and talk.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Not A Problem To Be Solved



The Los Gatos Creek is bursting with flowers at this time of year, including the beloved California Poppies. Today's weather was perfect: the blue sky, and warm sun transformed a just-slightly-brisk 66 degrees F (19C) into springtime air that was like being kissed continually.

Like most days recently, this morning I went for a long walk, ending up at my favourite coffee house. Besides the coffee, I enjoyed a very pleasant conversation there with my "best acquaintance", and subsequently enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the Campbell Farmer's Market.

And while heading back to my apartment, I noticed that I was happy. In particular, I was not worried about the future of my marriage.

The moment seemed so rare that I had to explore it, even while smiling and singing happy, silly songs to myself. What about Tigs? Was I still thinking about her? Well yes. I found that I still missed her, hoped to see her again and, it's true, can't see myself with another woman until this all gets settled. But in this moment it was not a source of anxiety, fear or worry. I was just happy to be who I was, where I was, at this very moment.

What about you, dear reader, can you be happy right now despite all the problems in your life.

I had an insight years ago that I often need to remind myself of: life is not a problem to be solved.

Friday, March 27, 2009

"I See Your Tears"

Here is part of another song I came up with this Thursday morning during my walk.  I was trying to really imagine what it would be like to finally make the decision to divorce E.

Verse 1

I see your tears I know
there's only one thing I can do.
And that's to make it clear
that I must say goodbye to you.

When the words are spoken
and the papers have been drawn,
You know our lives aren't over
and the family will go on.

To tell myself "It doesn't mean that much"
is nothing but a lie.
I don't need to deceive myself
in order to get by.

Chorus
Sign on the dotted line.

And step into a future
full of uncertain time.

The days and nights together
are already at an end.
So now let's make it legal
and move on.

And here's just a fragment of another verse:
...
I'll take the unknown future
with the trials that it brings.
Step out into adventure
and stretch my wings.

No, it's not a pretty picture is it?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

It Was a Little Awkward When ...

It was a little awkward when the pharmacy called my house and left a message with my wife that they had received insurance approval for the renewal of my Viagra prescription. E and I have been separated for 8 months ...

I'm not sure what she believes. The fact is that I'm not seeing anybody else, nor do I plan to do so until we resolve the future of our marriage. But I do want to lay in a reasonable stockpile ...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ewwww! (#2)





Breaking up with E
Is like a long, slow, painful,
Bowel movement (ick!)

Where the damn'd turd is
Bigger than me.  Or maybe
I am the big turd?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Courtship

For any readers just joining us, my wife E and I have been separated for 8 months. In an effort get myself off the fence and toward a decision about our future, I've been trying to plumb the depths of my feelings for her. One way is to review how I once felt, so this is another post celebrating memories.  See also Wedding Day.

Courtship

That first cold night it wasn't clear
Which of the girls that I should woo.
All three were right, and each so near
All three were pearls but I chose you.

And yet it took me several weeks
To hear your voice upon the phone.
Guess you were spooked by my technique
Or tacky choice of men's cologne?

But finally, when we stood in line
For tickets to see "Superman"
It didn't seem like any time!
It eased through my attention span.

I'd meet you at your job at Sears
We'd take our lunches to the creek
Collecting rocks for souvenirs
A "rocky start", or so to speak.

Just two months later, we agree,
While risking what we didn't dare
I asked if you would marry me
In the back seat of your Corvair.

The church a big part of our life,
The Spirit and the Bible True.
Our pastors and the elder's wife
Asking, "What would Jesus do?"

So when the day at last arrived
To fill the largest church in town
You knew that I was circumcised
But never heard of "going down."

Apollo Unchained -- March 2009

Yes, it's true. E and I had wonderful long make-out sessions, and even fooled around a bit, but did not have sex until our wedding night.

Image Credits:
http://imagecache2.allposters.com/images/ROS/EG181.jpg

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Wedding Day

Prologue

Kyra is one of my favorite bloggers, and it made a big impression on me last year when she wrote a very moving piece about the blissful times when she and her husband first fell in love.

Besides being a lovely, sexy story, beautifully written, I was a little surprised that she could revisit those days when their love was fresh and yet still come back to squarely face the serious issues in their marriage today.  As I said, it made a big impression on me and I told myself then that I should try to write seriously about my wife E.

But until now in "Apollo's Fire" I have not said much about E on a personal level. As I look at my current list of tags, the most frequent are "Tiggy" and "Marriage": I've talked a lot about Tigs and a lot about the precarious state of my marriage but not so much about E herself. 

My main life goal at present is to make a choice: will E and I divorce or not? And before I opt for divorce I want to try every path that might rekindle my feelings for her. And then if they don't reignite, we can at least celebrate the feelings we've had. Our wedding day is a good place to start.

Wedding Day

I stood in rented elegance
By the altar
At the cross

Six men helped me hold my stance
Not to falter
At the cost

On my right six ladies fair
Bridal sisters
Satin clothes

Fresh cut flowers in their hair
To assist her
"Plight her troth."

Down the aisle a sea of faces
Great and small they
Came to see

Here to bless us by their graces
Here to weigh
Eternity

Sunlight streamed through glasses stained
By the colors
Of the saints

This day for which we all had strained
Fathers, mothers,
None did faint.

And time for me stood still
In that slow, careful moment
When the oak door stood aside
And down the aisle
one hundred yards
Of faces
Turned
To look at you.

I saw.
Your face shone,
Standing graced on father's arm.
Did the wind blow
Gently through your veil?
Or did an angel sigh?


My weakened knees began to bend,
Beauty more than
I could bear.

And so I leaned upon my friend.
He, my best man,
Gave me care.

And so the wedding march began
Heaven guiding,
Down to me.

Down the aisle to take my hand.
You came gliding
Setting free.

I remember oh so clearly
All your beauty,
charm and grace.

Even how I loved you dearly
Love I could see
in your face.

Back in nineteen seventy-nine
No one faltered,
No one lost.

Our lives since have been intertwined
By the altar
At the cross.

Apollo Unchained -- March 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

"I Wish I Was There For You"

On my morning walks lately I've been trying to capture whatever fragments of poetry or song that I come up with.  Lately I have been listening to a lot of Al Green and it's been putting me in more of a soul/R&B frame of mind than usual.  So here's what I came up with this morning.

There's just one verse.  Think R&B ballad, tempo around 78.

I wish I was there for you,
But you don't want me around.
I wish I could help you through,
But you don't need me now.

I could hold you in my arms
For at least an hour or two each day.
I could take your hand and tell you
All the things I want to say.

But now those days are over
And only God knows when
I'm ever gonna be with you
(Be with you) Again.

Apollo Unchained -- March 20 2009

I know, Rev. Al it's not ...

By the way, here are some of my favorite Al Green songs:
  • Take Me To The River (1974)
  • Love and Happiness (1972)
  • Here I Am (1973)
He does plenty of other great songs but these are three favorites which he wrote or co-wrote. Besides his own creativity and outstanding performances, the 1970s Hi Records tracks feature tight arrangements that totally kick ass. The horn stabs on "Here I Am" drive me nuts.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

On St. Paddy's Day ...


I'm not Irish.  I'm not Catholic.  And I'm not in favor of terrorist national liberation movements.

But I'm off to my local Irish pub, wearing a green shirt, on this St. Patrick's Day.  Is it the height of hypocrisy?

No!  It's because my apartment is boring, even with my new Al Green collection playing.

Even Tigs is blogging from her current favorite watering hole, bless her sweet heart.

So before I go, here's a tidbit from Wikipedia ...

Did you know?  According to legend, St. Patrick used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pre-Christian Irish.

This does not surprise me.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Doors of Imagination: An Update

I started this series on Doors over a year ago. Imagining various scenarios helped me to begin thinking seriously about changing my life situation. 

In real life my pace of change has been remarkably slow. I'm not sure that's bad, but I do think it's time for an update.

Our Story So Far

Cock Robin and the laundress Ms. Tiggy Winkle become lovers after she cleans his pocket handkin.  Their time together is glorious, but after a few months Ms. Winkle realizes that married birds are not for her.  She goes her way, sadly but with conviction.

Cock Robin, pining for Tiggy, becomes acutely aware of his desire to leave the sweet and unsuspecting Mrs. Cock Robin to fly south with another bird.  Not being one for rash action, he does nothing.  Yet his passive-aggressive side steps in, increasing the emotional distance between Mrs. Robin and him as he leaves increasingly explicit hints that all is not well in the Robin love nest.

Mrs Cock Robin is confused by the changes in her big bird. And when she stumbles across a bill for $4.53 to the veterinarian for services that appear to be for a vasectomy she becomes suspicious.

Even while Robin lingers on the fence, the situation he has created begins to move of its own accord.  One night, as he comes to bed in the wee hours, Mrs Robin, wakeful, turns and asks, "Have you been unfaithful?"  Stunned only momentarily, he silently gives thanks and seizes this opportunity for truth.   "Yes."

The details of what happens next are told elsewhere but, in short, Cock Robin is soon out of the comfy familial nest, living by himself on the bare branch of an oak tree near the Los Gatos Creek.

Door Zero: The Mother of All Doors

Cock Robin awakes with a headache, his eyes blurred.  Was it the gin?  Or was it the wine?  Or just not enough sleep.  He squints to see the clock.  The iPod is playing his wake-up call, and he gives thanks for Steve Jobs.

Robin fluffs his feathers and hops out onto the adjacent trail, thankful once again to find a nest in such a convenient place.  When he first settled here he would run the trail, flying down its pathways.  But this year's cold winter kept him indoors too long -- now he walks, rebuilding the strength and flexibility in his knees and calves. 

He feels acutely the loss of his home, his wife, so many of his friends, and so much of the life he had constructed.  But Robin's only thought is of moving forward.  Maybe too slowly and too carefully, but forward nonetheless.  It's a hopeful determination.  Grim sometimes and not attractive, but he knows there is no choice but to see it through.

Returning to the apartment, he folds his wings and steps through the door.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Tribes

She and I of different tribes,
Differ by the truth subscribed.

Hers to Aphrodite pray.
Mine? Apollo! All the way!

Her tribe, brightly feathered, dance
gay Paeans to the goddess fair.

Mine just get a cash advance
and Idolize a billionaire.

Hers, in secret glade they kneel
to Ancient rituals recall.

Mine, in towers of glass and steel
Define "truth" Once and For All.

and While in wisdom spirits grow
by Making charts and casting cards

We get by on what we know
and Send our rockets to the stars.

From polished sands
To tree-filled lands
Our peoples vie!
They misapply
the lessons of ten thousand years:
A witch is just an engineer.

Apollo Unchained, March 2009


http://karenswhimsy.com/american-indian-tribes.shtm

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Season of Change Comes to Apollo's Fire

A new season of change has come to my life, and "Apollo's Fire" is not exempt.

Regular readers will notice something of a new look: the fonts are a little larger and more readable.  The layout is brighter, and more cheerful I think.  I've updated the blog description. And you may notice that the blogroll is gone.

"What, no Blogroll?"

The blogosphere includes many interesting blogs about marital infidelity and they cover a wide range of opinions and attitudes.  "Apollo's Fire" was, of course, born in the midst of my own extra-marital love affair and I found it very helpful to read what others had to say on the subject.  And yet I was surprised when someone characterized this blog as representing my "adventures in adultery". The implication seemed to be that I was embarking on a lifestyle of deception and multiple partners.

But I had never intended it that way, not in the sense of recording multiple liaisons or reveling in a long-term deception of my wife, E. But I can see how it gave this impression. My own actions could be interpreted in this light, and my blogroll contained a long list of role models doing exactly that.

And yet my favorite bloggers are simply those who write well, think clearly and creatively, have a sense of humor, are concerned about moral issues but who, like me, have found their marriage so unfulfilling sexually that they have decided to take action (or fantasize) and do something about it.  With someone else. But I don't think this was sufficiently clear from the blogroll.

So removing the blogroll is part of repositioning "Apollo's Fire". I'm not trying to sanitize the blog, or rewrite history. But I do want "Apollo's Fire" to better represent who I am right now.

So who is this Apollo?

I'm a married guy who is no longer in love with his wife. We've been separated nearly 8 months, and we have been seeing a counselor together throughout that time. At first I wondered if I would have a "come to Jesus" moment and fall back in love with E. But it hasn't happened so far. Neither the bolt of lightning. So it's time to stop holding my breath.

Sometimes change does come by itself. Sometimes it comes riding by and we simply jump up behind the saddle. But other times we have to go out hunting for it, seize it, and make it happen.

That's where I'm at right now and I want to focus on it. I never considered "Apollo's Fire" an "adultery blog", it has always been blog about personal change. Well, ok, it was about sex too. But right now it's time to concentrate on change.

And what about our Blog Community?

I'll still be around and I'll still be reading your excellent blogs. Not as much as last year perhaps, but as much as practicalities allow.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Moving Furniture

Construction begins today (Monday) on our remodeling project.

I got home to my apartment Sunday night exhausted from packing and moving furniture.  Some of the heavier pieces I did by myself at the end of the day -- E was gone to dinner with "the girls".  Kids C and D were off in their own eccentric orbits.

But it gave me pleasure to perform these solitary tasks.  

The grandfather clock that belonged to my great-grandfather is over 200 years old, made around the same time as the American Revolution.  In my youth it stood resolute, stern and untouchable in my parent's house.  Now, with my own hands, I open the case, remove the pendulum and unhook the weights.  Pull the case away from the wall to open the back, carefully slide the top case forward and gently lower it to the floor.  The delicate clock mechanism is now fully revealed atop the main case.  Slide it forward and off.

The main case is still almost as tall as I am.  Gripping it in a gentle bear hug I lift it onto a dolly and wheel it to the garage door.  Then another bear hug -- down the two steps and over to the place by the wall where it should remain during construction.

The TV was heavier and more difficult -- it's going upstairs and I can only lift one end at a time.  I slide it off the stand and onto the dolly.  Three feet later it's off the dolly, up one step, and sliding across the smooth floor to the stairs.  And then, step by step, carefully lifting and pushing, up the carpeted stairs until I reach the top.

It's slow, but I am patient.  I've learned that a man can accomplish amazing, unthinkable things by just beginning and taking step after step after step, no matter how small.  Soon the massive stand follows the TV up the stairs.  It gives me pleasure, peace, and a sense of empowerment to do these things alone.  It may be slow, but the job is done.

Finally I'm looking around the empty downstairs of my house, where I no longer live, appreciating the metaphor.  My house is being emptied and rebuilt.  In the process we've found a lot of dust and cobwebs, places we should have cleaned a long time ago.  But it was easier to let things stay as they were.  Now the time for change has come.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Change is on ...

In January I mentioned that, even though we're separated, it's very important to me to complete a home remodeling project I've started with my wife E.  Well, construction starts tomorrow (Monday).  It's taken a lot to get here and there's a lot more to go, but it's been a valuable process in many ways.

  • E has really stepped up and taken on responsibilities that previously she would have left to me.  This makes me feel a lot better about her ability to function independently if we divorce.
  • Despite our separation and my pulling away from her emotionally, I think the fact that I'm still heavily engaged in this project has reassured her to some extent (and the kids too) I'm not going to completely abandon her.
  • In order to prepare for the remodeling there's been a lot of sorting, packing, and throwing away, especially of my own stuff and accumulated memorabilia. This would have to be done eventually as part of a permanent separation or divorce, so doing it all in the context of something much less emotional ("remodeling") has actually been a relief. 
  • There have been many lessons in sorting through nearly 30 years of accumulated stuff.  Here's a thing that at first I found painful: cards from E where she tells me how much she loves me.  She writes beautifully -- if anything would rekindle our marriage this would be it -- and yet.  I love her too, and yet I still feel, very strongly, the need to move on from our relationship.
Of all the things on my "new years" plans for 2009, the one item I'm really failing at is "Tiggy: I can't continue obsessing over her."  Well a big part of each day is still spent thinking of her and missing her.  A new feature, which I'm not pleased with, is that recently my confidence has been faltering.  It's the whole "I don't know what she sees in me" thing.  I know these are not constructive, helpful thoughts --  I blame the weather.

Tigs, you so rock.  "There's times it seems so clear, times the fog is dense."  Thank you for always speaking truth.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

After Long Silence ...

I dislike introspective posts, but I need to get this off my chest. And I know some of you have been wondering ...

There are two main reasons why I haven't been blogging lately.

The simplest reason is that I had made a conscious decision to put more of my energy into work. I'm a software engineer and am fortunate to have a job I like. But as I said in January, looking over the past year, I have been slacking. The odd thing about my job is that the more you do, the more there is to do, so I've really been sucked into the vortex.

The second reason is that, back at the end of November, a really bad thing happened through my blogging: I hurt the person that I least wanted to hurt. No, I'm not talking about my wife E. Yes, I mean Tigs. Some of you know part of the story because I sought your advice at the time. I'm not going to hash over the details, but the situation was very painful for both of us and I still feel awful about hurting her. Anyway, there were several results, one of which was that I just didn't feel like blogging anymore.

Going forward, I do expect to return to making more regular posts. For now, here are a few quick updates on my situation.

  • I renewed my apartment lease until October.  Even E recognizes that we're not getting back together any time soon.
  • We're continuing counseling.   I know I haven't kept up the detailed reports, so just to summarize, our emphasis is not on fixing our marriage but on improving communication.  I, in particular, really need to work on acquiring a "voice" -- I wouldn't say I'm a timid person, but in certain situations it is very difficult for me to speak up for myself.
  • It may not surprise any of you, but three out my four kids are now seeing counselors too (their ages range from about 20 to about 27).
By the way, After Long Silence is a very good sci-fi book by one of my favorite authors, Sherri L. Tepper.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ewwww!

This isn't exactly the sophisticated, philosophical update I've been writing in my head ...

I'm still living alone, away from my wife E. And have been successful -- so far -- in my resolution not to date while I resolve the future of my marriage. But this lack of a social life has finally, this lonesome Valentine's weekend, driven me to seek solace in porn. Porn!

I don't have a TV, but just use my laptop.

And can you guess what comes next?

Ewww!   Cum on the keyboard!

Surprised, disgusted, but I couldn't stop laughing. Gives a whole meaning to popping off the keys...

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year 2009

January 2, 2009

The Year In Review


2008 was a year of turmoil for me personally.  As it began, I was continuing and deepening my affair with "Tiggy".   She broke things off a few months later, realizing that she did not want a relationship with a married man, but continued to occupy a central place in my thoughts for the rest of the year.

In July, I admitted to my wife that I had been involved with another woman.  We separated, and I've been living in my own apartment since the end of August.  We are seeing a counselor every week, which has been very helpful in understanding each other and defusing tensions.

Meanwhile we continued with some major home improvements, and are planning a huge remodeling project to begin in February.

Early in the year, my oldest daughter's husband was in a near-fatal traffic accident and spent several months living with us while he recuperated.  The accident has added to the stress in their young marriage.

My oldest son announced his serious relationship with another man, who happens to be about my age, has the same name as me, and sort of resembles me.

My second daughter is struggling in her third year in college, and had to drop out for a quarter.

My youngest son has started his first year in college.

The stock market suffered its worst year since 1931.

I broke with my church and abandoned my Christian faith.

Meanwhile, my work, which is very important to me, has suffered with all these distractions...

The Year Ahead


On January 1, second daughter and her boyfriend announced their engagement!  They do not intend to get married until some time after she graduates.  He graduates this year and -- as an Army ROTC participant -- will immediately go on active duty as a US Army officer.

I have a lot of work left to do in prepping for our remodeling project: final plans, ordering appliances and some special doors, permits.  And paying for it all at a time when the value of my investments has plummeted.

I want to refinance our house and some rental property we own to take advantage of lower rates.

We are considering buying a place for me to live instead of renting.  Possibly this could be done jointly with oldest daughter and her husband.   If we could eliminate both rentals, plus the rentals of several storage units, it would be a big savings.

My marriage: I can't pretend to understand these things, but I'm not seeing any rebound in my desire to live with my wife.  I hear of some couples who continue to live together and even have sex while they are going through a divorce.  But I just feel no desire for her, and I think it's reciprocal at this point.  Sure, it would be most "convenient" if we could fall back in love with each other, but it's not happening.   Unless there's a change, we need to start seriously exploring a divorce.

Dating: No more dating until the future of our marriage is settled.

Work: I have a great job and I could be a lot more effective at it. This year I'm putting myself back into it and stepping up to the leadership responsibilities I'm capable of.  If successful, I will seek a promotion in the second half of the year.  If I find myself blocked in my current organization I will transfer into a different one.  No more coasting along.

Tiggy: I can't continue obsessing over her, it's not healthy for either one of us, though this doesn't mean I'm going to start resenting her.  For starters, I'm already cutting way back on reading her blog.  Mentally I'm letting go, releasing her.   And I'm allowing myself to smile, to feel fondness and affection as I do so, without clinging to any hope of a future together.

What else?  

Giving up my wife and my church has ended my social life.  If I'm not going to date, then I need to find some other activities. 
  • I was playing bass in several music groups associated with the church -- I will look for a band or two to join.
  • I enjoy hiking, biking and running.  I will find groups to do these with.

Finally, I'm not looking to pick up any new religion, but I do want to pursue non-religious spiritual practice of some kind.