Posts Tagged ‘patterns’

Patterns of Force

27 July 2012

Dear J-

Well, it’s with visible relief that I note that Kearny Mesa in San Diego is named not after Dennis Kearney (although what kind of delicious irony would that be)  but Stephen Kearny instead, a general in the Mexican-American War.one of the things that I was never concerned about growing up was the origin of various place names; I’d ride by places like Hangman Creek and Qualchan Golf Course without a thought to what those names meant. There’s all kinds of dubious history out there that soon becomes tradition and therefore involate, unbreakable; this is why I think any smartphone needs to have a wikipedia client installed.
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Some time later is the date we seem to live in; we tut and cluck at the mistakes of the past and yet going forward we can’t convince anyone that we’re any better than we were, that we haven’t learned anything. The fascination that I have with history is seeing the patterns of the past echoed in our today, almost as if there is some genetic plan for the human race, our wars and hates predetermined, some long thread of fate spinning away and guiding us into these same paths over and over again.

And yet history itself is a kind of cheat; no one ever thinks to write down what they’re doing, only what they’ve done and there’s no end to the hyperbole that can flow from your own pen; I know I’ve been guilty of it which is why I scrupulously downplay everything in my resume in an effort to avoid that, swinging perhaps too far to modesty (which itself sounds especially immodest, sorry). Are we busy closing the gaps in our experience or learning that there’s an infinite land of possibilities ahead, driving us somewhat crazy with the sheer potential of everything? We only have two eyes, and it’s hard to be mindful of the past, looking for the future, and cautious of the present all at once.

Mike

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Pattern Dance

22 August 2010

Dear J-

figgy has a sleep schedule which must be maintained at all costs:  generally speaking, bed by ten and up around eight or so with the added bonus of a multi-hour mid-day nap.  Were I smart enough to remember the lessons of three years ago, I’d have napped when she naps in order to ensure unbroken rest.  Nowadays, of course, we just take stuff like that for granted, like not having her in diapers when she’s awake.

Any breakdowns in the schedule used to guarantee an interrupted night for us, but like everything else, we’ve all learned to be flexible lately.  Me, running on fumes at this point of the night; her, going strong despite expending roughly four times the energy (that’s my best guess, as her philosophy has been why walk when you could run, or whisper when exclamation points say it better).  Nap time is magic, man.

It’s funny, the difference between review class and assigned homework.  Once I think I’ve got a concept down well enough from class along comes the homework set where an entirely different set of principles and equations get emphasized (the first few problems I have to figure out how the author likes to see things, but after that the questions become easier, as there are only a few equations per chapter that get drilled over and over again).  Likewise figgy:  at first glance, she’s got a million things and activities, but there are crystalline patterns and favorite objects; it all makes sense with time.  Habits emerge, rituals observed.

Mike

Pattern Problem

21 December 2009

Dear J-

People like to point out that there’s been an upswing in vampire television shows and movies now that we have a Democratic president: fear and fascination with some undead rapacious being, sucking the very life from their victims. On the other hand, the corresponding Republican monster is the zombie: unthinking and unblinking in its quest to eat your brains. I can’t imagine what would happen if the Libertarians took over — perhaps it would be some werewolf, a lone rogue.

I certainly feel like a zombie today; what with figgy trying to transition into a vampire (a two hour nap at daycare?) and the consequent lack of quality sleep at night we’re both dragging in ways I can’t remember since she was a newborn, outraged at being asleep for more than, say, an hour at a stretch. Trust me, it’s too easy to take sleep for granted; it was everything I could take to restrain myself from finding some dusty, forgotten corner of the warehouse and making a nest out of cardboard boxes and bubble wrap.

I suppose it doesn’t get much better, though; if she’s not sleeping it’s a sure sign that she’s sick, so that’s an extra worry to pile on top. And later, as she grows up and becomes more independent, there’s going to be a million other worries to go along with a closed door or late curfew. The truth is that I’m not getting any better at this — patience snaps shut more readily and we fail to keep moving forward as we vowed, holding instead in an odd stasis of urban legends and midwives’ tales revolving around the same tired problems and patterns.

Mike

Home Patterns

14 June 2009

Dear J-

I seem to fall into these old patterns by habit; I question how valid the thoughts are as I’ve only known my parents in this house for I think four or five visits, but it feels a little like humming around between high school and college, the way we eat (and eat and eat) from the moment I get up until the kisses goodnight. I will leave it at that except that I’m making it a point to eat as much fiber as possible while here — one purpose of which is to keep full to fend off the proffered snacks.

My brother is a foodie, recognizing styles and obscure dishes and welcoming new tastes into his life; I got a bit of a taste of that tonight when we were trying for a light dinner after the family gathering for lunch (these things seem to turn into multi-hour buffets featuring multiple mains and desserts) and, while eating, we were trying to figure out the next few meals. Not only did he recognize the family tendency to fixate on eating, he pointed out how we seem to plan our days around where we eat and make it a point to go for dishes not easily found in our home towns.

Finally I spent part of the night in the company of three children — two, six, and eight. It’s a nice stage to be around; they’re not obscurely embarrassed to be seen with adult relatives, nor so little to be imprintless blobs. All three had their own interests; the eldest and youngest were arrested by blocks (the building and destroying of various structures, from army base to jail to zoo made for a loud and somewhat hazardous site, this immensely successful), while the middle one solicited dishes for a menu she put together for me. We spent the rest if the night on the couch laughing at Ben Stiller in Night at the Museum. I was tucked between two fellow souls — my brother’s kids — wondering if life could get any better than this.

Mike

Kid Menu 0015 -sm