My hope for bringing Rosie, the five and a half year-old Chihuahua mix, into my home has been dashed. Here’s the essence of an email message I received when I got home from an interesting day yesterday: Your adoption application has been approved. We were asked to help place her in a home after her owner passed away, but her owner’s family found a home for her already.

I’ve been approved, but Rosie won’t be coming to live with me. Such is life. I’ll keep my eyes open for a Rosie doppelgänger or other suitable dog that wants a companion like me and vice versa.


I scrambled yesterday to take a friend to an earlier-than-expected medical procedure (full anesthesia, so he requires a driver), only to learn on arrival at the clinic that the appointment was not actually scheduled for two more days. Calendars sometimes confuse me, too; I have arrived for appointments hours late, have missed them altogether, and have shown up a day or two early. My friend did not need to compensate me for the mix-up, but he did, anyway, buying me breakfast at a little diner-style place near the racetrack. Over breakfast, I learned that we share similar tastes in television series and film. He mentioned several series that I have added to my watch list and I mentioned several Scandinavian films and series he found interesting. He has seen some of the Scandinavian films I have enjoyed, including one of my favorites, Occupied. He also is a fan of Fauda. I suggested he consider Borderliner, Borderland, Dicte, and a few more. He suggested we might want to consider attempting to organize sharing session groups in our church, in which people could offer suggestions about films and series and provide a brief synopsis. I like the idea! Depending on how coherent he is when he comes out of the procedure tomorrow, we may further discuss the concept.

From breakfast, we went by my house (because, though I had taken my trash bags to the garage, I had forgotten to take them to the street), then to his house, where he showed me the view from his deck. His place is located on a golf course with a beautiful, large water feature visible from several large glass doors and windows. The walls of his house are adorned with the artwork of his partner, a very nice woman who also is a member of my church.

We then took advantage of the fact that we both had unexpected free time by going to the church to install an additional memorial plaque listing all the church members who have died in the recent past. My wife’s name was among those engraved on the new granite plaque.

I left my car at his house so we could take his shiny black sports car for a spin. After our work at the church was done, he offered to let me drive the car, a six-speed Honda S2000, back to his house. With the top down, it was great fun driving down a pine-tree-lined winding road with little traffic. Except for the fact that I had a hell of a time getting in and out of the car, due to its configuration (and mine), it was an enormously thrilling activity. On the way to the church, he showed me what the car could do when it hits 5600 RPM; when it reached that point, it felt like a jet-engine propelled the car forward, pinning me to the seat. If I drove the car with any frequency, it’s probable I would be ticketed regularly. What a blast to ride in that low-to-the-ground powerhouse!


Speaking of Scandinavian television series, as I was, here’s a description of a one-season (from 2018) Danish series (Warrior) I began to watch last night:

A war veteran plagued by guilt over his final mission teams up with his best friend’s widow to infiltrate a dangerous Copenhagen biker gang.

The main character is played by Dar Salim, a Danish actor (who was born in Baghdad, Iraq) who has played in several Scandinavian (and other) series I’ve watched during the last couple of years, including two of my favorites, Dicte and Borgen. He’s a prolific actor, but I’ve not seen him in many other of his series and films. I was surprised to learn he was in Game of Thrones, but I’ve not watched that series, so have no personal knowledge of it. With a single episode of Warrior under my belt, I cannot yet say whether I like it. Unfortunately, I’m leaning toward thinking the series did not need to be made.

I bounce between partially-watched films and series, which contributes to my frequent confusion over their plots. Regardless of how interesting they may be, I sometimes temporarily tire of the pace or the story line, so I move on to something else for a bit. When I return, though, I’ve watched two or three snippets of other entertainment; I contribute to my own confusion. It doesn’t help that I frequently abandon the television all together, opting instead to read or write or listen to music. As a consequence of my intellectual and emotional dances, I get lost and confused. I don’t think it’s old age that does that to me; it has happened my entire life, a symptom, perhaps, of undiagnosed ADHD.


My interstate beer buddies and good friends—one of whom just sent me a superb sampling of IPAs from Maine and Massachusetts—contacted me yesterday with a suggestion that we arrange another video-conference between the three of us in the near future. After a bit of calendar coordination, we settled on a date and time. Odds are great that beer will be one of the subjects of discussion. I miss sitting with the two of them at the now-defunct Addison (TX) Flying Saucer, drinking and discussing beer and talking about life and politics and our respective wives and our futures. All three of us have moved away from D/FW, leaving the “Metroplex” to wallow in its own unrestrained greed.


This blog has turned into a diary or a journal or a repository of the stories of the daily dullness of my life. I never intended that to happen. It was supposed to be a repository of cutting edge fiction vignettes, personal intellectual explorations, and a collection of essays (and their brethren) that would eventually reveal the way my mind works. I may soon archive everything I’ve posted on this blog and start over with another blog that fits the original vision. I might seed the new one with content from this one that fits the intended framework; I could have a fairly sizeable blog just by doing that. At least the new version probably would be considerably more consistent and cohesive. We shall see. Maybe I’ll do it, maybe I won’t. Time is the only thing that will tell, because intentions often lie.


Some evenings are so damn hard. Part of the difficulty is the simple fact that I must accept the fact that my wife is gone forever. But part of the difficulty is that I continue to refuse to accept it; I cannot accept that she is gone, though I know she is. Much of the difficulty is purely selfish. Every day and every night, I feel an intense need to share little things with someone close to me. Telephone calls and texts are inadequate. Videos are better, but they, too, seem insufficiently intimate. It’s not that I want a “pal” to be able to talk to. I want a close companion. I want someone in the same house with me. I am sure a dog can serve as a companion in some ways, but dogs can’t engage in meaningful conversation. I can talk to friends, but eventually they insist on leaving; going back to their houses and/or their spouses. I haven’t asked any of them to stay the night so we could talk into the wee hours, but I suspect if I did I could accurately predict their reactions. Maybe I imagine things; maybe my self-disparaging attitudes are speaking to me through a mysterious ventriloquist controlled by my own subconscious. Hmm. This is getting strange.


This morning, I will join some other guys in the church parking lot for our weekly gathering, then will return home to spend more time sorting through paperwork. Filing taxes is an unpleasant thought on my mind, but I think it’s better to just tackle the beast now than to put it off until the last possible moment. Maybe it’s best that I did not get Rosie, in that after I get some of this paperwork out of the way I will do some day trips (or overnight trips) probably unsuited to (or difficult with) dog ownership.


I’m not planning to commit suicide, but if I were I would not mention it to Alexa. Ask her a question about suicide and she will suggest calling a national hotline and will even supply the toll-free phone number to call. I haven’t checked to see what she might say in response to questions about drug or sex addiction, alcohol abuse, or chest pain. It occurs to me that Alexa could collect all the questions she is asked about physical or emotional distress and dilemmas and produce an oral “column” called Ask Alexa, using the questions she is asked and the responses she gives as content.


No breakfast yet this morning. I may not have breakfast. I may stick with coffee and water. And if I can do that, I should be able to do the same for lunch. And dinner. Stick to that routine long enough and I’ll lose a lot of weight, fast. Yes, fast. Fasting is the solution. It was right there in front of me all along.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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