Monday, May 23, 2016

DAV Saturday

It was a busy day at DAV chapter 23 Saturday. The ongoing drama with the leadership took a turn that was unexpected to me when the national but the chapter in receivership. This strikes me is not an entirely bad idea, since has been amazingly bad management of the money and outright resistance to performing the mission of assisting veterans on the much in the leadership, but the reason for the receivership was apparently something entirely different: possible misuse of funds by Commander.

Now, I can't speak authoritatively on what went down because as a member of the auxillary I was required to leave the meeting before anyone said anything about it. I had joined the group in good faith thinking that I would be a full member, but in the small print of which I was not informed I actually have no rights at all. I would not recommend anyone join the auxiliary of the DAV for this reason; you are expected to contribute money and effort, but otherwise to stay silent. However, that is a matter for another time.

I stood outside in the rain - the meeting leaders didn't have the sense to recommend we go up into the chapel - with a member from another chapter name to Wayne and a veteran in distress. Wayne did a pretty good job of interviewing the other veteran as to the cause of his distress, and it was compelling. They went through a list of resources, and it appeared that he had tried them all but for various reasons they did not apply to resolve his issue. The time taken to explore all of those other options had brought in the event to the point at which he would become homeless in 2 hours if he could not come up with $600 to pay short-term housing. Let me emphasize that he had been exploring sources of health, and reportedly he would have a check coming at the end of the month that would resolve the long-term, or at least medium-term comma issue but needed temporary assistance to get through the next two weeks. I avoided getting involved mostly because Wayne was his doing and obviously great job of exploring the issue and trying Solutions. At an ordinary meaning of chapter, it was likely that the assistance would have been approved by the membership, although opposed by in the faction that rejects helping veterans, but that was not going to happen at this meeting because of the receivership crisis.

I tried not to get involved, I really did. Helping people in this situation can be expensive and I do have other responsibilities. There is always the chance that helping someone turns out futile in the long run. But on the other hand, here we were. The veteran had been exhaustively interviewed by Wayne and had apparently tried all the reasonable options. He had a plan for dealing with a situation if he could get past this crisis. I, myself, had the credit to borrow the money to solve the problem. I did not see that I really had a choice.

Wayne had to go deal with some stuff and while he was gone I talked with the veteran in distress. We agreed that I would lend him the money. We tried to execute the transaction over the phone, but the relevant Institution I would not do that, which frankly was pretty reasonable. Therefore we drove to the Shoreline Inn on Aurora, I checked with the manager and confirmed the situation, and paid the debt on my personal credit. I got one receipt, the veteran got the other. I then returned to the chapter house where the meeting was winding down. There was no time at which the veteran in distress could make his presentation, although he stayed to the end. I suppose I could have tried to raise the matter but, as above, I don't have any rights.

I have exchanged phone numbers and text message with the veteran. I have every confidence that when he gets on his feet he will repay the loan, however this may take quite a lot of time. I consider the money gone. I feel however that it would be worthwhile to ask the chapter what it would have done had it not been preoccupied by other business, and see if it will cover the debt. I'm not sure how to go about this, but I'll talk it over with some friends.

I really don't see what else I could have done under the situation. I have a lot of responsibilities, but I was presently able to resolve the situation and not only I but also Wayne had been through the complete list of alternatives.

I hope at least to have learned from the situation something valuable, but I don't know what it is.

I should not let this account of the day go past without mentioning the fun I had with "Uncle Mike". This is a veteran who runs a restaurant not far from Proletariat Pizza, who I had met briefly while working with Veterans and Friends of Puget Sound. The interaction hadn't gone well because we lost his paperwork, but I felt badly about it for years. He was very friendly on Saturday and when I apologized for the incident, he laughed; he was obviously way way beyond that, had ordered a clean file and put in the work needed to research his claim. If he had put down that burden, I was happy to as well. When we abruptly lost the services of the lunch cook, someone asked me to step in and I said, "Uncle Mike knows food!" Mike stepped in, took over, and got it done, for which I am grateful. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Happy Or Angry But Not Both

Driving to barre I heard on the radio a chef explaining a life-changing realization: he could be happy or he could be angry but he could not be both at once. This seems logical. I have much to be angry about but I don't enjoy being angry so I need to focus on what I feel happy about. I still feel angry at Kris' betrayal, and perhaps that feeling will never go away, but I feel basically happy about my life right now so I need to think about that more. At barre, one of the women spontaneously noted that I was looking much more trim than last year, and even said that someone had mentioned that to her. This is flattering and it's also true - two things to feel happy about, but best of all is the opportunity to talk with someone outside of my ordinary round. Thursday or Friday night I had a beer with Dan and we discussed our respective ex situations. Kris had tried to change me to what she wanted and it didn't work, so I'm better off without her. Even more, I could not change her to what I wanted, so I'm better off not settling for her. While I am lonely, I'm not going to change my basic nature and creative endeavors are more important to me than meaningless dinners or yet another walk in the sun. IF this means I'm missing out on something, I do regret that but then again: 4freeCLE! my appeals court wins! distributing books at VA! maybe even more success delegating WPTL! my new found albeit unconventional family! and my home - my basic exercise in creativity - and my dance - the one thing that reliably gives me joy. I would not give up more than a few of these for the perfect partner, because she would not be the perfect partner if I had to give most of them up. I can be angry about that or I can be happy about it. I think it's something to be happy about, because it gives me direction and my solitude meaning.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The importance of ignoring

Today I had a short class at wsba involving seminar technology. The class went well, but the most important thing is that while there, I treated Kris exactly like a front desk clerk, nothing more.
There was no time wasted with pleasantries or stories; I had my thing to do and the only contact I had with her was to ask which direction to go.
I can't avoid having residual feelings about someone I loved and to whom I was married for over 10 years. Occasionally sharing photos of the cats is harmless I suppose (and I positively although perhaps meanly enjoy sharing triumphs of which she has no part) but I have to face the fact that she is bad for me.
Just bad for me.
And therefore ignoring her is good for me.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

How To Get Flowers Without Making Your Wishes Known

She wanted cut flowers, and she did not want to say it; her husband was just supposed to know.
He had never thought much of cut flowers; to his way of thinking, they lasted a few days, and died, generating waste. He preferred live plants, and would take her to nurseries where she pointed at something and he bought whatever it was. But, really, she wanted cut flowers, maybe once a week, to put in a glass vase on a table in the kitchen or on the coffee table, like they did in classy homes.
She found someone to buy her flowers, a regular customer at her workplace. The flowers looked nice on her desk and she hadn't have to tell anyone what she wanted. Soon they were dating, very discreetly at lunchtime and on weekends when she told her husband she was going shopping for women's things. There were several years of this, and then she discovered he had a wife. He told her that it was o.k., his own wife was fine with an open marriage, but she knew that it was not right to be the other woman unless you ended up married, like her mother had done.
She broke it off. She was sad, really sad, and her husband noticed. He took her to  a nursery where they spent a lot of money on plants that he still has today, and still enjoys. Eventually she divorced him and she never had to tell him about the cut flowers.
She died alone. At her funeral there were lots of cut flowers, huge sprays in her favorite colors, which goes to show the lengths it takes to get what you want if you aren't willing to say anything about it.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Jimmy: The First Friend

From preschool to 2nd grade I played with a boy down the street named Jimmy. We built a rocket launching station next to the Bernard and Marie's cow pond, where out space probes could splash down, solemnly pondering the advantages of solid vs. liquid fuel in the rocket we would build and the adequacy of a pot lid as a radar dish.
He had cooler toys and I was embarrassed when as a teenager his mother brought home a lamp from the lingerie section of the store at which she worked. It was a section of a female body wearing leopard-print briefs and lit from within, and image that convinced me this was a family of wealth although in retrospect the fact that they were a four member family in a two bedroom house would suggest otherwise.
We gradually parted ways when I went off to school. We briefly reconnected over the internet, but he was a rabid Reaganite and soon unfriended me.

Katy Bourne and Microstories

Katy Bourne and Paul the Bassist
It turns out that one of the people I've rumba'd with for a couple of years is a jazz singer and writer who just released a book. I don't talk much at the Y so I know very little of these people I've hung around with for years, but last Thursday it was announced that she was doing a reading - with a bass player - at the Treehouse Lounge in West Seattle. I stopped by, had a cider and a good time.
Her format is the microshortstory - a paragraph or two, that's it - published story by story on the web, and now collected as Weirdo Simpatico: Little Stories for Short Attention Spans. I enjoyed it, and it may inspire me to try the same.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Pergola Raising!

Saturday was the Pergola Raising Party at Marsha and Wendy's. This was a whole lotta fun, basically a day of jointly solving a puzzle and at the end, a nice enhancement for parties! There were about half-a-dozen neighborhood families at work, and it was a fun chance to hang out with something to work on other than just parting. I got thinking about that when Sunday I met someone at the Olympic Sculpture Garden. I had been feeling that I should put myself out there and date or something, it's a normal thing to do and Tinder makes is absurdly easy to meet someone. And the person was nice enough. But I felt zero connection because her interests, beyond work, were amusement and relaxation - she proposed kayaking or something at Alki, which is a nice normal thing to do, and for which I have zero interest. I want to spend my weekends accomplishing something in addition to amusing myself - thus I be amused. Kris was like that, quite a lot, and I never really talked it over with her. I appreciate that there are some, maybe most, people for home the use of their free time is chiefly to amuse and to divert, but I am bored by that, and would much rather be creative in some way. And at this point I can be honest about it, and not waste anyone's time trying to learn to enjoy being on the water or whatever. That's just the way it is. I like my Sunday work with books at the VA and then going to Pegasus bookstore and chatting, and that's both fine and my choice. This I learned from the pleasure of pergola raising!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Focus For Fun And Profit

If I wrote only about my successes I would have fun, but my other things are also important. I have a lot of interests and a lot of problem prioritizing it. I may justly be criticized for a lack of focus in general. When I focus on a particular subject or project, I am extraordinarily productive and usually successful, but I have never applied that as a general strategy to life - I have no idea how. Often this is just an amusing thing, and if it means my lifestyle is more humble than that of many of my peers, well, at least it's the natural outcome of decisions I have made. A lot of their toys of success are illusion anyway. However my lack of focus has on occasion cost me a lot of money unnecessarily. There was the plane ticket incident, and now there is the Appeal Billing incident. After the first Appeal that I won, it took about a year to get the check because The Other Side simply forgot to mail it - or something. So I got it into my head that I had quite a while to submit my billing. Wrong-o! The rules are clear about having 30 days to apply, and I clean missed it. Partly that was because I'm busy doing other stuff but mostly it's simply because I failed to focus on the task at hand. I submitted the bill anyway, with a clear admission of error and asking for consideration, but I won't count on getting paid. Sometimes you just face the consequences. The lesson is obvious. One distractor is computer games. I love turn-based strategy, and I have spent an appreciable fraction of my life on them. Now that they are available on phones, I can distract myself at any moment, which is o.k. during genuine waste time but deadly during potentially productive time. Why do I game more and garden less? That's easy - I tell myself I'll play just one more turn and then go garden - but these games are cleverly set up to encourage the "just one more turn" response to which I must frankly admit I am vulnerable. Therefore I have to set up a rule: gaming only on the bus - so that I can devote my actual time to other things, like actually living life. And billing!

Monday, April 18, 2016

3rd Appeal Win!

My goodness. I just learned that I won my third appeal. That makes me 3-for-3, so I can call myself an "Appellate Lawyer" for reals. Disclaimer: I don't do many; I make my living doing something very different. My clients had very meritorious cases. The opposition seems used to beating up on people who don't have lawyers. That said: 3-for-3. I need to thank my WNEC/LAW professors properly some day. I used that jurisprudence stuff and the bit about how to structure an argument a whole lot.

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