Monthly Archives: April 2015

Yesterday was Bring Your Idiot to Workday.


Lucy came with me to the office. Workday allows this, once a little bit of paperwork is done. That’s why it doesn’t say ‘Bring your Dog to Work Day”, but “Bring your dog to Workday” – it’s any day. One has to sign up in Outlook so that no more than six dogs come on a given day.

She was quite well behaved; last week, we started working with her on “down” and “stay”. She did very well; the entire day she stayed where she was told, and didn’t make a sound. She got a lot of petting from folks who aren’t discriminating in their affections (which fits, because Lucy isn’t very discriminating either) and she probably got more exercise than a normal day.

Workday provides us with snacks, and yesterday afternoon I took Lucy with me to the kitchen; while we were in there, a co-worker nodded at the dog and said that Workday should start providing doggie treats.

I said “Don’t push it!” We’ve already got it made. Ridiculously so.

“Scoobies” in this context means Milk Bones, which in the Puckett household are “scooby snacks”. “Scoobies” in the larger sense, of course, refers to Giles, Willow and Xander (plus Anya, Oz and even Tara in the short term (as it happens, we’re going through Buffy again; this time, it was Ethel who seemed to need the comfort. Maybe it’s been the stress of putting the house on the market and getting ready to move again)).

Lucy was at work because the house was still on the market, and both of us needed to be in the office, and Ethel’s dogsitter couldn’t keep her, and it was too warm to leave her in the car. Today the house is off the market – we’re under contract. This means that we’ll be leaving Park City and moving…somewhere. We aren’t sure yet; we have an offer in on a townhome in Taylorsville that we expect will be accepted, but “expect” is one of the words in the English Language that acts as a low-impact intelligence test; when I use it, it means that I’m being stupid.

(Other intelligence-test words are “should” and “bad” used as a noun – as in “my bad”)

We aren’t going to Bozeman, and that’s something that is still working its way through my system – since it’s happening, then it’s God’s Will, and since it’s God’s Will, it must be a good thing. But sometimes it takes a while for me to adjust to His Will, and this may be one of those times – and that may be because of the “inconsistent reward” behaviorist-psychology aspect of the whole deal. The whole “yes, you can go – no, you can’t – yes, you can – no, wait, maybe – no, you can’t – let us get back to you”  business doesn’t allow one to simply close the door on something and accept that the door is closed. And it seems to me that when my selfishness has attached itself to something, the door has to be really closed before I can adjust. Heck, her boss could suddenly decide today to say “yes you can go” and then we’d just, well, GO.

So I’m still adjusting to that (I can tell by the way I phrased the last paragraph – sometimes, I don’t know what’s going on in my insides until I see it written down outside). We also had a lot of different homes that we were looking at in the Salt Lake Valley, but when we found the Taylorsville townhome on Saturday, we immediately agreed that that was the one.  We made an offer, but there were contingencies that the sellers didn’t like, and they let the offer expire (turns out that the owner was traveling and couldn’t connect with his realtor anyway).

When we went under contract, we sent ’em another offer without the contingencies, and as I said above, we “expect” that to be accepted. But it might not be – I can see that place going into a bidding war.

If we don’t buy that place, then we’ve got several other contenders; one showed up yesterday that is almost as nice as the house we sold in New River two years ago (minus the views and the negative-edge pool) and is still within our budget. I don’t expect that one to last, either.

Uncertainties. So much of my life right now feels like Shrodinger’s Cat – I don’t know whether it’s dead or alive until the box gets opened. I’m assuming that God knows, since He always has – but He never tells me. I just get to find out – when the box gets opened.

Who knows? We might still wind up in Bozeman….

Here’s a photo of our other Ray Swanson print, “Arizona Matriarch” (click to embiggen):


It’s a very good print – it’s done with some process such that it retains the brush strokes in such a way that it looks like the original, as though the brush strokes are 3D. It’s probably my favorite print. When I’m laying on the couch facing north, this is what I see.

But she is not happy – about anything. And she is not hiding her feelings, either.

No doubt there are folks who are sure that she’s unhappy about some great issue – the spread of the white man across the plains, the treatment of her people, the inflated prices she has to pay for Navajo rugs, or somesuch. I tend to think of such folks – in my own head, quietly – as “socialists”; this doesn’t refer to any economic system, but rather I’m using “-ist” in its more generic sense, like “materialist”, “extremist”, “atheist” – meaning a school of thought that sees everything from a given issue.

There are folks out there who really believe that social issues are the cause of all of our woes, and that if we could “fix” society then we would fix humanity. Of course, most of them disagree on just exactly how society should be fixed (or even what sort of “fixed” humanity we hope to wind up with as a result) but they do agree that “society” is the problem.

The nice thing about this type of thinking, of course, is that it means that it’s not my fault – my life and problems are actually somebody else’s fault. Not only that, but the problems that have been caused can’t really be solved, because they are so big and complex – so, there’s nothing that can be done. So it’s not my fault, and I am left with no responsibility to fix it.

Of course, as always, it goes back to what they told me in Texas, thirty years ago – “if I’m not the problem, then there is no solution”. My problems are mine, generated by me. There aren’t any exceptions to this. N.B. – this does not imply (directly) that my CIRCUMSTANCES are necessarily self-generated – I’d be glad to discuss that some other time 🙂 – but my problems are not my circumstances. Problems are internal, circumstances are external.

I used to think that I looked outside and saw the world, and then looked inside and generated my feelings about it. I have since learned that I actually look inside and see my feelings, and then I look at the world and try to figure out what to blame for them. I then have to filter out everything that is good, and true, and beautiful, and find the negative things that I need to blame for my bad feelings. Then I can sit in my crap and have somebody to blame for it.

When I am self-aware – i.e. “aware that self is my problem” – then I see that I’m just telling myself stories about the world, making them up, and only picking out the things that I see that support my stories, that serve as evidence. Then I’m free to ask Him for “another way to look at this”.

When I look at the Matriarch, sometimes I think that she is carrying some vast weight of unhappiness that was brought about by evil people outside of her control – and that means that I’m buying into that sort of thinking. And sometimes it looks like she’s unhappy with me, and I start thinking I’d better straighten up.

When I’m spiritually fit, then I figure that maybe she’s just tired- or maybe she’s just looking into the sun, and it’s causing her to squint? Or maybe, even, she is where I get so many times – to that place where she realizes that she’s causing her own unhappiness, and she’s just a little tired of herself; that place of perfect discomfort that comes just before being relieved of the bondage of self, for just a little while.

Or maybe she’s constipated. Government cheese will do that to you.

Here’s a photo of our framed copy of the Ray Swanson print, Medicine Man:


The first time my eldest son saw this on our wall in New River, he said “Why do you have a picture of a homeless guy on your wall?”

We have two Swanson prints framed – this one, and Arizona Matriarch.Right after we moved into the house in New River, another house in the neighborhood was having a moving sale, and she was selling some pretty cool stuff – we got both of these prints, plus a big yellow plate (that stayed on our kitchen counter for the next five years, in a holder). There may have been other items; I can’t recall.

I have no link for the Arizona Matriarch print; in fact, I can’t find a single image of it anywhere. It seems that the Swanson folks are very, very proud of Ray’s prints, and they don’t let the images just get out there on the Internet for anybody to see.

In fact, if you clicked the Medicine Man link, above, you saw that the only place you can buy this print, it’s $1295 – that’s right. Thirteen hundred dollars for a PICTURE of a painting. And that’s not framed. (no, we didn’t pay that – maybe a tenth of that, framed).

I had no idea that we’d made such a find; I’m wondering if Floyd knows that the picture of the homeless guy was worth enough to keep him in a nice hotel for a while.

…who, me? I’ve been doing way too much. I’ve been training, and we’ve been packing the house and getting it staged, and finally got it listed this last weekend. I spent last week in California at a class, and the weekend in St George at our tri club’s Ironcamp. I’m exhausted – and I’m now paying the price with a pretty bad cold, that has me laid up and stupid.

In fact, this cold is so bad, that I spent a considerable portion of the afternoon just laying on my couch, listening to R. Carlos Nakai Radio on Pandora (Indian flute and drum music) and looking at Arizona Matriarch – and Medicine Man.

It’s two weeks and three days until IM St George. This last weekend, I exorcised my demon by swimming over a mile in the Sand Hollow Reservoir, in water even colder than it was last year when I squealed like a girl. I’m now sure that I can do that – unless, of course, it’s too windy. Or there’s a forest fire. Or somesuch.

But just being able to do the swim isn’t enough, and I’m in much worse physical shape in terms of biking and running than I was last year. And this cold is not helping matters.

I need a Medicine Man.