Saturday, July 21, 2007

the more the maui-er

photo | maui

you know what you hardly ever hear?

"you're going to maui? tsk, that's a shame. we went there a couple years ago, and we'll never go back. it was awful."

no, the reviews of maui are universally, insistently rapturous. "ohmigawd, you're going to maui i'm so jealous you're going to have a great time it's so beautiful and the weather and the sunsets and the water and are you taking the kids oh they'll love it come here and let me hug you."

i'm pretty sure the mauians slip a little something into every mainlander's poi, causing intensely euphoric flashbacks for years afterward.

and so it is with these immodest exhortations ringing in our ears (counterbalanced by our own chronically, cynically low expectations) that the physically exhausted and emotionally overwrought spaceneedl family departs on monday for maui.

the spaceneedls have never been to the hawaiian islands. mrs. spaceneedl visited honolulu on business many moons ago, but we'll arbitrarily not count that. how much fun can it be, after all, to visit a fabulous tropical destination without squabbling children vexing your every waking moment? no fun at all, obviously.

despite this, i've cobbled together a personal vacation itinerary so ambitious, so grandiose, so preposterously child-free that its dreamy perfection inevitably will be matched by heart-rending wailing and agita when mrs. spaceneedl gets wind of it...

scuba diving: two dives, two different days, four dives total. a night dive, while intriguing, would probably interfere with happy hour.
golf: one round (ea.) at two world-renowned maui courses, royal kaanapali and kapalua bay.
deep-sea fishing: half day, with the expectation of boating a tuna the size of a volkswagon.

by my count, that's five days out of seven during which the little spaceneedls are left with their mother, or to their own devices, likely ruining maui for everyone for at least a generation. and we haven't even begun to contemplate the enduring ruin administered by an irate and formidable mrs. spaceneedl.

now, ordinarily i'd avoid getting on the missus' bad side. when mama ain't happy, nobody's happy, yada yada. but i'm feeling the need, lately, to do something a little, oh-what's-the-word, unilateral.

something to balance the scales, if you will.

put another way, and to borrow a quote from one of the all-time great movies: "i think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part."

and i'm just the guy to do it.

if anyone needs me, i'll be at the driving range.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

my night

preparing dinner for two six year-old girls, a mariners game on in the background.

cook spaghetti noodles, drain, rinse, serve.

get up in your chair. eat your carrots. you may have water to drink.

mariners lead, 2-0.

what kind of door handles would i like downstairs? something that works, preferably. something that complements the cabinet door pulls.

can we have dessert when we're done? how many carrots did you eat?

ooh, we got invited to peter and lynne's wedding. can i see can i see can i see? when i'm done looking.

stop chewing on the table, rat-dog.

marinate tuna steak in soy, garlic and ginger. cook garlic black bean noodles. drain, rinse, wait. fire up grill.

no, you don't need more salt on those noodles.

one swing of the bat, mariners trail, 3-2. time for wine. bocce pinot grigio. it would go well with the tuna, if it were still around by then.

do we have any sesame seeds? why can't i find them? what the hell is cream of tartar? we have a lot of red pepper flakes. found the sesame seeds. best if used by: 6/02.

i'm full. put your plate in the sink.

tuna is done. the mariners trail 8-2. well the hell. buxom neighbor stops by to retrieve her daughter. dog pees in the entryway.

have a glass of wine? what a fabulous idea. children go berserk. running screaming. too loud. go downstairs to your room! out!

good wine. something french. cotes du rhone. mariners lose, 8-3.

sink full of dishes. leftovers in the fridge. too tired for a hot tub.


repeat, repeatedly.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

it's good not to be too predictable

i got an e-mail recently from, well, from someone who sends e-mail.

at its conclusion was a word i'd never seen:


i googled it, and came across a translation, among others, that i found unexpectedly pleasing...

to pay homage to the inner light in all living things.
i like the idea of namaste, even if i don't actually practice it. there are too many living things whose inner light is not, shall we say, top quality. think about how many people you know whose inner light is akin to neon in a pristine wilderness. or a black hole at the edge of a playground. which is better, garish, artificial inner light or no inner light at all?

you know things are bad when a hopeful, holistic discussion of inner light somehow leads to darkness.

attitude is a zero-sum equation. the more you know, the less blissful you're apt to be. put another way, "if you're not appalled, you're not paying attention." true enough, but a steady state of appall is exhausting.

if you pay attention to things that responsible people are supposed to pay attention to, it's easy to go to bed tired, wake up tired, and slog through the day tired. or maybe that's depression. and maybe the two are interchangeable. you got one, you got the other. and they conspire to wear you down.

until, one day, you stumble across something startling, something that gets your attention in a different way. something truly namaste.

and for awhile you think something else may be possible. you could do worse, you imagine, than to embrace the life force in others -- as opposed to choking it out of them. and shouldn't it be possible, perhaps, to nurture back to spiritual health those whose light is neither warm nor glowing? yes, it should be possible, you unilaterally conclude.

it follows, though, that you have to start with yourself.

to that end, there's another definition that bespeaks equipoise and harmony and perhaps even an interlude of, um, mutual affirmation...
The God/Goddess within me acknowledges the God/Goddess within you.
this use is an accessible combination of secular and spiritual and salubrious. it is, at once, high-minded and familiar. it's versatile as a pair of black jeans -- you can dress it up, you can dress it down. if you find yourself entwined in a particularly reverent moment, you can undress it entirely.

it's good to learn new things. it's refreshing, this deep into an unpredictable lifespan, to be pleasantly surprised by the unknown. what are the chances that a single word in a simple e-mail could be so compelling? perhaps we are witnessing something here that is larger than ourselves. something healing and restorative and transformative. or, you know, not.
The word "namaste" is often used as a closing notation in written communications similar to "sincerely," "best regards" or "love."
indeed, it is.

namaste, everyone. namaste.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

break out the butterfly nets

my wife is base jumping off the cliffs of insanity.

no, actually she's bungee jumping. again and again and again. boing boing boing.

meet the new dog, nothing like the old dogs. it has a breed, but i can't bear to say it, let alone type it out here. if you must know, it's a cross between two dogs i'd never acknowledge in public, let alone bring into my house.

it has a name, but i refuse to use it. for the next 15 years or so it'll be "your dog." as in, "your dog just peed on the rug."

and "your dog was attacked today by a bald eagle."

my wife made a unilateral decision, and i have to live with it for 15 years? are you kidding me? i make a unilateral decision about where to get take-out for dinner, and i'm a totalitarian. "we didn't want suchandsuch for dinner, we wanted pizza!"

yeah, well, i didn't want a long-haired rat in my house, either. get over it.

going forward, i've decided to make a lot more unilateral decisions. i'm going to do things i've deferred or declined, because i thought i was in an egalitarian relationship. for example, i'm going to...

hang on a minute, i'll think of something.

i'd say, "play golf" or "go scuba diving" or "go to the indoor climbing gym," but i really don't have the time to do those things any more.

i'd say, "buy a red convertible," but i don't really want a red convertible. i'd say, "get a tattoo," but i already have the latitude to do that. nothing gratifying there.


i make the decision to make unilateral decisions, and i can't think of anything to decide.

please help.