Monday’s Theme Music

Today’s music is “In My Blood” by Shawn Mendes. It was released this year, 2018.

I’d been thinking about the work left in my series, Incomplete States, just to finish the beta edition, and then the revisions and editing left to take it to publication. I was also thinking that it has a strong chance of being read by few to no people. With all that to do, and other writing projects and life opportunities in limbo while I’m working on it, I thought, why not give up? Give up writing this series, and write something simpler and smaller. Why, in fact, write at all, with the odds so heavy against me?

Then the lyrics from “In My Blood” streamed in.

Help me, it’s like the walls are caving in
Sometimes I feel like giving up
No medicine is strong enough
Someone help me
I’m crawling in my skin
Sometimes I feel like giving up
But I just can’t

It isn’t in my blood
It isn’t in my blood

h/t to

Researching the song, I discovered that Mendes had written it in response to his struggles with anxiety disorder. Once again, as often happens, I became revitalized by reading of others who struggled and succeeded. If they made it, so can I.

So, thank you, Shawn Mendes.



Afloofium (catfinition) – fur, leaves, grass, mulch, and other similar material deposited by cats and other house pets going in and out of the house.

In use: “He’d run the robot sweeper first thing in the morning, but an hour later, a fresh layer of afloofium marked the felines’ comings and goings.”


With our AQI drifting between unhealthy and hazardous in southern Oregon because of smoke from wildfires, masks are the new norm. The N95 is the most popular and the lowest level of protection that should be used if you’re outdoors.

Ashland Fire Department-chart (2)
Purple is very unhealthy and red is unhealthy. Green is good. Nice to see the air quality is improving today. We’ve not been in the yellow since 4 A.M. on July 28th.

While the masks help us stay healthy, I’ve encountered drawbacks, like it’s harder to exchange greetings and smiles as you encounter others. You can’t sip a beverage or eat anything with the mask on, and the mask makes my nostrils itch. With temperatures rising and smoky sunshine, sweat sheathes my face. The combination of breathing through a tight mask and being hot and sweating also recalls my twenty years in the military and the times when we wore our NBC gear. Ah, good times!

But, besides staying healthier, I’ve found wearing the mask protects my beard and mustache from the sun. Without the sun’s influence, my beard and mustache grows in darker and stays darker.

The darker beard and mustache don’t make me look younger, however. There’s a few other things that need to be overcome to rejuvenate my appearance. The mask, though, hiding my nose, mouth, chin, and most of my cheeks, does help with that.

Stay healthy, everyone.

The School Dream

I dreamed I was an adult, taking a college class. A long and full class, with probably sixty students, all ages, sexes, and races were in the class. I was probably in the top twenty of the oldest students.

The teacher was Billy Sheets. Tall, slender, and middle-aged, Sheets had dark green hair and purple eye shadow. He usually wore a white Oxford shirt. He’s not a teacher I had in my life, but he introduced himself as Billy Sheets.

Class was informal. We had a half-ring of desks. That wasn’t enough to accommodate everyone, so we also had rings of pillows to sit on. In retrospect, it reminded me of a few writing workshops I attended.

The subject here, though, was sociology. While presentations were made, and I attended them, I seemed to spend a lot of time going in and out of class, and looking for a place to sit. Four memorable points emerged from this pattern.

I was walking up the steps to go in. Wooden, and painted brown, the steps were old and worn. Another guy started up the steps as the same time as me, but then stepped aside to let me go first. He wore a denim jacket, and I knew from seeing him earlier that he rode a motorcycle.

After I went up, I turned and thanked him. When I did, I saw his key fly from his hand, land on the steps and slide across into a crack. I heard it clink when it landed.

I told him that his key had gone into a crack and that I heard it land. Smiling, he said, “That’s alright, I’m not worried.”

His answer baffled me. What was he going to do? How was he going to get his key back?

Still thinking about it, I entered the classroom. I found a presentation by outsiders in progress. I was surprised because I was apparently late, and I didn’t know about this presentation. As I sought somewhere to sit, I discovered that coffee was spilled on anything. Several inches of standing coffee was on one section of the soaked red carpet. More coffee was spilled across the desk tops and soaked the chairs. The pillows were wet with coffee.

I asked, “What happened? Was there a coffee explosion?” Nobody answered me. Just as I settled in coffee free space, the presentation ended and everyone began going out on break.

I tried talking to others and the presentations, and got an idea of what I missed. (I don’t remember any of the details.) Then I went on break.

When I returned, we’d been moved to another room. It was a darker room, and more crowded. It was also the final class. Others were turning in projects and papers. I was horrified because I knew I didn’t have either to turn in. Frantic, I tried remembering if I’d already completed it and turned it in, but I couldn’t recall. I thought that if one was due, I was doomed to fall because I had nothing. I took some hope in that all my presentations had been highly scored, and I did well on the tests.

As the room became emptier, I approached Mr. Sheets and waited to speak with him. When he turned his attention to me, he greeted me with a smile. I explained that I didn’t have anything to turn in and apologized for not being sure if I was supposed to turn something in. I felt embarrassed.

But he said, “No, you weren’t assigned anything, Michael. You were a wonderful student and did a great job.” He shook my hand.

The class was over. Everyone began dispersing. I went out to a parking garage. A flowery cover was on one car. I thought it could be mine, but I was uncertain. Pulling the cover off the car’s back end, I opened a rear door and slid inside. I knew immediately that it wasn’t my car, as hundreds of medals and earrings were hung from squares on the ceiling. I couldn’t discern a pattern to it, and it baffled me why someone would do that. The car was otherwise immaculate and in excellent condition, with a plush interior.

I was confused about why I thought it could have been my car. My car was a different brand, color, and body style. With chagrin, I slipped back out. As I did, I saw the cover move at the front of the car. I realized a man was sleeping there, and as I realized that, a man lifted the over and sat up, revealing himself as Vietnamese. Neither of us spoke. I closed the back door and pulled the cover back down over the car. He laid back down and pulled the cover over himself.

Returning to the inside of the education center, I ran into my little sister, Gina, by the exit. A man my height, slender with very white skin and short white hair, and wearing flowery shirt, was standing with her. Putting a hand on my shoulder, he spoke to me in a very soft voice about things he’d like done. Now, weirdly, I told him that those were things that the command post would normally do.

We engaged in a longer conversation. I began to think he was the new commander and that I should be speaking to him with greater respect, because I was being very casual and flippant with him.

We finished speaking. He squeezed my shoulder and departed. I asked my sister, “Who is that guy?”

Gina said, “I have no idea. I’ve never seen him before.”

The dream ended.

There were many more details to this dream. I abridged things in the interest of time and space.

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