While I throw away all this old stuff, I should be acquiring some new because I do actually need to wear clothes.

Instead, I am comparing string trimmers for the yard and stuff like Roombas and their Cylon-like, independent lawn-maintenance cousin.

I really need to take better care of my yard. Considering tearing down the toolshed and building some kind of fenced-in garden or greenhouse or something. I am just not a born gardener and don’t like plants (that is, to care for plants). It’s all lovely when I am not the one pulling the weeds.

the rising voice of discontent


At a loss. I have written before about loving an addict. Or someone who clearly reaches a stage at which he is no longer fully in control of what he is doing. The first reaction is always hurt because his first action is to lash out and take a swipe. It’s textbook self-hatred seeping out but nevertheless taking its toll on unintended targets.

My next reaction: self-preservation and anger. By this point, though, he has moved to the next stage of his oblivion. Self-pity festooned with self-destruction. Empty promises strung like burned-out Christmas lights on a dying tree.

Watching this play out, I don’t understand what I should do, if anything. I talk to his family, and they have been through this before. They kind of have to be part of it. Maybe they could practice some of this ill-advised “tough love” but what should I do?

It’s a rough question and for my own sake I should just do nothing. Wash my hands of the whole thing.

I question, even if only academically, how to give someone like this the “community” he apparently lacks when he is demanding, insufferable, compulsively lying. As I wrote when I originally posed the question, “Of course I’m all for discoveries that help us better understand the nature of addiction but would also appreciate knowing on an individual level: if addicts lack connections and relationships and a sense of community and connectivity – and that partially explains what they are doing – how can an individual help? How does an individual, the non-addict in the addict’s life, cope? Every study in the world, every book in the world that explains what addiction is does not change the day-to-day challenges of living with, loving or trusting an addict.”

shedding layers part four


My next discard is a boring, ugly dress. I will chuck it at the weekend. It has come to symbolize a lot of things, including moments of tremendous self-hate. It has come to remind me of many times I would rather forget. I never liked it in the first place but almost as if woven into the fabric, it’s just a sad rag clinging to who I don’t want to be. It’s going.

Shedding layers part three: Everyone’s gone app shit


I have not decided yet what item I will cast aside today. I know I will throw out a broken interval timer. I bought a new (identical) one online… but in the absence of the replacement, I found an app that works fine. Not sure why I didn’t think of that before. It must be generational and habitual.

I am not “too old” to think “app first” but am kind of on the cusp of that group of people that doesn’t look for apps or look to technology to solve inconveniences unless they have some connection to technology. That is, people who work in tech or who have a deep personal interest in it. I am a bit of both, but because I had to be dragged kicking and screaming into it back when the 1990s dawned, it still isn’t always my first inclination or response in some situations. Of the people my age or older (with whom I am acquainted, anyway) who have no professional or personal interest in tech, most are pretty lost; many would not understand if I were to tell them, “There’s an app for that.” They would more likely roll their eyes but nevertheless sheepishly-though-defiantly say something defensive like, “God… everyone’s gone app shit!”

Habit-wise, I am still in the habit of finding gadgets. While I very rapidly moved online to do anything and everything that could save time, help me avoid too many trips to stores and offices and help me locate the exact things I want from all over the world (you know, do all the stuff that the internet enables), some things don’t pop into my head immediately. Even though something basic like an interval timer should spring instantly to mind as something with multiple app options available, I clung to a little doodad thing because I already had it. But if I carry my doodad device AND my phone everywhere anyway, does it make sense to carry so much stuff around to perform ALL the tasks I need? No. I will keep the new timer around in case, heaven forbid, I go out and my phone runs out of juice. (I admit to believing heartily in redundancy, even where it’s not absolutely essential. I spent a couple of years working in an air traffic control center, where talk about redundancy was constant. And you’d want it to be, wouldn’t you?)

Shedding layers and moving forward also means adopting new habits, thinking in new ways. Improving even on things that already work well. Streamlining, simplifying. Whatever you want to call it.