2003: Just Like Jesse James

It’s amazing to me that I’ve been keeping a journal in one form or another for ten years now. The first time I put pen to paper in something resembling a daily fashion was on December 31, 1993. My Dad had prompted me, had pointed out that in some Waltons Christmas special that John-Boy, who became a writer, kept a journal. I decided to start a journal on New Year’s that year and I’ve kept at it in some way, shape, or form for a decade now.

I never did get around to getting all of my paper journal entries onto this website. I’m almost there and I’ll get there next year. Still, it’s really cool to look over at the sidebar of this page and see that I can look back on ten years’ worth of New Year’s Eves and see what the hell I was doing.

Tonight we’ll spend the night at my parents’ house, all of us sick in one way or another, and we’ll have a quiet evening. It’s exactly what I need after the week I’ve been having. Just as last year, the evening out with JonMartin walking through Harvard Yard was exactly what I needed, this evening of hanging out and eating Chinese food is exactly what Doctor Cliche ordered.

So, for now, I’ll depart. No major projects to announce for this year, except that I hope to get through the next year alive. I’ve got a lot going on. I really do.

See you on the flipside.

The Difficult Kind

The anger and frustration that follows me home from work each day makes me crazy, brings crazy thoughts to my mind, and I not only scare my wife — I scare myself too. The line that kept entering my head tonight, the sentence I thought I’d start this entry with, was, “The seventeen year old version of me, the last version of me that I have any respect for at all, would hate what I’ve become.” For all the things that might be good in my life, all it takes is eight hours at that office to make me hate myself and everything I’ve become.

And I go to the gym to try and fix it and I work hard. In the process I hurt my knee and I get angry at my body for failing me. I push myself through thirty minutes of cardio because I won’t let the twinges of pain stop me. I will not be a weakling. By the end, I’m out of breath and frustrated that I didn’t make it to forty-five minutes. I look at all the fat that remains on my body and I say to myself, “There’s one more thing you’ve failed at.”

When I was ranting in my head, thinking about what I might write tonight, I thought about how the sixteen/seventeen year old version of myself dealt with his job. Sure, he didn’t like working at the grocery store but he left that frustration at the door when he went home for the day. He didn’t let it affect him as a person. Over time the pent-up frustration with the stupid people you’re forced to serve at the grocery store did come to affect me, but at the time…

So, is it a choice then? Bottle it all up and be miserable later or deal with it as it comes and be miserable all the time. People have tried to convince me not to bottle things up but maybe I would be better off that way. Maybe I would be better off if I just tucked all the anger away and let it kill me later on instead of letting it kill me right now.

I don’t know. All I know is that I need my situation to be different and I have no idea how to make it different.

No Sleep

I’m not getting any sleep. I know that I’ve reported this on other occasions. I probably shouldn’t waste any more time talking about it. Unfortunately, it’s affecting my whole day right now and I just have to vent. I go to bed at a decent hour. I get up early, or try to, but not too early. I am spending a decent amount of time trying to sleep. But I don’t sleep. I toss and I turn and then I toss and I turn some more. Sometimes that takes so much out of me that when I sit up in the middle of the night, thinking that it must be close to morning, I discover that only an hour or so has passed since I went to bed.

The tossing and turning tires me so much that two hours of time in bed wears me out. And yet, I still can’t fall to sleep after that. I end up tossing and turning some more. I can’t figure it out.

One thing that I’ve tried that I’ve had some limited success with is sleeping without a pillow. I figured, that’s basically what I’m doing when I fall asleep on the couch watching movies (the only time I seem able to get any sleep at all), so why not try. I’m even more comfortable, at least sometimes, when I take that pillow and rest it between my knees. I sleep sideways. I can’t sleep on my back or on my stomach. That doesn’t work at all.

It’s all very frustrating.

And when you have tons of reading to do and a job to do and you find yourself dozing off during the day while you’re trying to do those things, it really makes you angry.

So, I don’t know… do I need a new bed? Do I need to just sleep on the couch? Is there simply too much stress in my life? There are too many questions.


Stephanie and I have been watching too many of those home/self-improvement shows that seem to dominate the dial on numerous stations nowadays. Whether it’s Queer Eye, Trading Spaces, Clean Sweep or any of the others you’ve maybe seen or heard of, the stuff has simply infected our brains. Today I woke up determined to do something about the clutter of my closet. I had planned on buying some new clothes to replace a lot of the worn-out old ones that don’t fit me anymore but I had no space in my dresser or closet to do that.

So while Stephanie did the laundry, I went through each of my dresser drawers one by one and sorted out old t-shirts, pants, socks, and underwear that are no longer in circulation, so to speak. Some of it was going in the trash and some of it was going to Good Will. My drawers were willing to accept new couture. I was happy.

I tackled the closet next, which was more of a storage closet than a home for my clothes. I needed better hangers. That was my first observation. After that, I realized that we had to throw a bunch of shit out. Stephanie came home and we sorted through old audio tapes we were never going to listen to again. We threw those out. We organized all the wrapping paper and we moved boxes around. My closet, like the dresser, was now ready to accept my new wardrobe.

Of course, there was a little fashion show here and there to make sure that what I was keeping actually fit and what I was tossing made sense. I think Stef liked that part the best.

We went shopping after that and I picked up some new jeans, some new hangers, and some workout pants, because coming out of the gym in shorts was simply not working any more. I bought a couple of belts too, to help me with the older slacks I’ve kept that don’t quite fit perfectly anymore.

All in all, it was a productive day. I can’t complain. We finished the day watching Adaptation, though, and that was not really fun. Maybe it was because I was dozing off or maybe it was something else, but that movie was just way too out-there for me.

Patriots and Pictures

With my AFC East Champion T-shirt on, the one I got for Christmas just this past Thursday, I watched the Patriots roll over the Buffalo Bills by the same score the Bills trounced us with back on opening day. That was a very good way to spend my Saturday afternoon. My cold/flu was catching it’s second wind and I was not feeling so hot most of the day but to see my team win again was fabulous. There’s not much more to say about the day, but give me a second and I’ll try.

We also developed two rolls of film that have been hanging out forever. One of them was over a year old, film from one of the cameras I took with me on my hike across the beaches of Provincetown to visit the lighthouse near where an ancestor of mine drowned at sea. There was some other great stuff on there too, but I don’t remember it all.

The other roll of film was the final roll we took with my film camera before we retired it on Christmas morning. It had pictures as far back as the Bradford reunion on October 4 and though we didn’t get many of those, the ones we did get were good. When I get around to scanning them I’ll add them to my entry on that day.

Pictures and Patriots — that was my Saturday. I’m hoping that by the end of tomorrow the cold will be on its way out. It has lingered for far too long. I don’t want to go back to work feeling like this. Actually, I don’t want to go back at all after four days off, but I need the money and I haven’t won the lottery yet.