Nothing much to update

.According to the countdown calendar on my “homepage” I have 35 days left before the first day of classes for the academic year, 2010-11. So the summer is slipping away again. But today the temperature started to go up and the sun, mercifully, is out.

Carol went to a conference, Creativity and Madness, in Santa Fe. She said it looked like a good place and her presentation at the conference–which included a recently choreographed dance–went very well. She had a bit of a problem adjusting to the altitude, 7000 feet, the first day.

Speaking of altitude, Brother Dave and Sister-in-Law Teresa got back last week from hiking the John Muir trail. Wow! 150 miles, I think they walked it in about 14 days. They were at altitudes of 11,000 feet or better. I followed them on Google Maps; they checked in each day with a GPS device and a little flag would appear on the Google Map at the point they checked in. Way to go guys. Looked alike awesome country, the word “awesome” being warranted in this case. Don’t think I will be hiking that trail any time soon. Though Teresa said they met a really gnarly 62 year old woman who was hiking the trail and also a seven year old girl. But I am a long way from 7 and not so gnarly either.

Brother Dan and I have been meeting every Sunday to play guitar a little by way of practice for recording sessions. We record again this week. We may or may not be making a CD. It’s not a “for sure” yet.

It’s not a “for sure” either than I will retire July 2011, but it is looking that way.

I missed officially acknowledging the second anniversary of Brother Steve’s move to Clinton. He appears to have had a brutally hot summer.

Brother Dan turned 50. Damn. That’s crazy.

I am still enduring the pangs of withdrawal though I think I am leveling out a bit.

June Gloom and Beyond

I have the weather for Clinton, SC (where Brother Steve lives), on my home page, so I am pretty sure that the high for any given day over the last four weeks has not dropped below 90. And usually it has been in the mid-90’s and sometimes higher. And all of Russia appears on fire, the result at least in part of an intense and prolonged heat wave. Meanwhile, here in Santa Barbara, or more exactly here in Goleta…where I live..next to Santa Barbara, we recorded, one day recently, according to a guy I overheard at the club, the lowest temperature in the mainland USA and appear to be having the coolest summer on record. The average temperature for August in SB is 79 degrees. But I don’t think we have hit seventy once this month and the high one day last week was 62.

I don’t know anything about possible deeper causes for this cooling trend, but we seem to be going through an extension of “June gloom.” June gloom occurs yearly and punctually, obviously, in June and seems to be the result of the “marine layer” that usually hovers offshore deciding to move onshore and park there for a while. This year it parked in late June and decided not to leave. So each morning I open the blinds to leaden skies.
gloom1.jpgBut that’s not the whole story. The forecast for later this week is “sunny” and that would be nice, but the temperatures as forecast remain unseasonably cool. Usually, each summer, for a month at least I can’t control the urge to start going barefoot and end hopping around on the hot pavement. This summer…zip…not once have I felt the barefoot urge.

I think possibly that the exact spot where we are located–about a mile and a half from the ocean–may well be cooler than for Santa Barbara proper. I know that when I head out to work out at about two in the afternoon, I have on my jean jacket, and that by the time I reach the work out place, a couple of miles further inland, I no longer need the jacket.

It’s strange is all. Certainly, far, far, far better than broiling in the heat, but still a little spooky–those leaden skies–they have gone on so long.

gloom2.jpgGoleta sky at eleven AM August 10

Klonipin: Withdrawal Cont’d 2

I have now…of this day…gone a full week without ingesting an iota of my morning dose of .25 milligrams of klonipin. I was hoping by this time to be feeling a bit more up. But so far no go. Indeed, I woke up Carol last night by talking or rather mumbling in my sleep. She said I was very restless, and today I feel it: restless.

But these meds penetrate every aspect of the mind/body self (up to and including one’s dreams). I was alarmed to learn, for example, that not only is the med fat soluble (meaning it will remain in my system for however long it takes to completely recycle the fat) but, how to say, it is also “bone soluble.” I don’t know what I was thinking. I guess I had assumed bone material was static and unchanging, but apparently it too goes though cycles of rebuilding and as part of that the med get also incorporated into bone. Lord knows how long it takes bone to recycle itself, or, even if, at my age, it is capable of a complete recycling and cleansing. So, who knows, it might remain in my system for my short “forever.”

But that is distant. More immediate is the way the med withdrawal influences mood. Well, I don’t know if it’s more exactly, more like the psychology of affect. Whatever I am feeling–depending on the time of day (I am especially paranoid at night)–becomes–I don’t know–amplified or taken up a notch. This is very subtle. It catches up with me before I am able to recognize it, or let’s say I am only able to recognize it when it becomes extreme. I read for example that the unemployment rate in some cities near the Bay Area is at 20% and without really noticing the process I become bleak, and anxious, and below that: afraid.

At these moments some times I am able to draw back and not infrequently into my mind pops a line from Hamlet that I paraphrase as follows “What is Hecuba to me or I to Hecuba.” Actually, remarking on how an actor appears to have gotten himself all worked up over the fictional character Hecuba, Hamlet says speaking of the actor, “What’s Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba/That he should weep for her…”


Klonipin: Withdrawal Cont’d

As noted in the previous entry, I have been engaged some time now in withdrawing from klonipin. I had no idea when I started that this would be a full time occupation. But that’s what it amounts to. I have not been able to do much of anything but feel miserable and try to accommodate myself to that. OK–it is as if–you are sick so act like it. Lie down and be quiet, because if I don’t do that I start feeling really miserable because I don’t have the energy or the concentration to do what I have set out to do, at least when it comes to brain work. So I end up compounding the biochemical misery with the psychological misery of feeling that I have failed to do what I set out to accomplish.

My old shrink used to talk about exercising loving empathy towards yourself, suggesting that since my parents were failures as parents I had to be my own parent and parent myself as it were. This is stupid and strictly impossible. Still lately I have talked to myself in my head saying such things as hey kid, it’s alright. You may think you are dying of cancer, but at this moment, at this very moment, you have no evidence of that. So it’s OK. Right. So you are feeling miserable. What can we do about that? What about a walk? Since brain work is not working. Or maybe go wash the car.

Yeah, go wash the car. I did that. Doing physical stuff does help. I washed the floor. I took out the garbage. Right in the middle of washing the car, I get this dark feeling–like what is the point of washing this damn car, exactly. I can’t answer that question. Better not to ask it.

And I exercise every day. But I am 64 years old. I can exercise only so long without completely wiping myself out. I used to exercise an hour a day. Now I am down to 30 minutes. Damn.

I have to say I feel lucky. If I had to work a nine to five job in an office doing brain work, I would be going nuts. Honestly, I don’t know how people doing that kind of work could ever get off a drug like klonipin. Because I couldn’t do it. Instead, being a teacher, I have the opportunity completely to ruin my summer by deciding to withdraw from a drug. So far I have taken good advantage of the opportunity and have pretty much shot this summer so far all to hell and back.

But, hey kid, chill out…