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.