Not In Me

Thanks to Phaedra, I woke about 3:45 this morning…well, it wasn’t entirely Phaedra’s doing. Whistling from my BiPap mask caused me to awaken, but Phaedra took advantage of the situation by stepping on my head. I was ready to get up, anyway. In pre-Phaedra days, I would have gotten up and stealthily gone about my morning routine. But nowadays I must be conscious of her presence. Even when she allows me the solitude I seek, I remain aware that she could appear at the French doors to my study at any moment, staring at me through the glass panes and yowling to be admitted. In days gone by, the doors would have been open. No more. Because she might come in and take up residence on my desk, on top of my keyboard.

I think Phaedra is cute. She is, by and large, a pleasant presence. But she can be an intruder, as well. She can and does infringe on my relationship with the wee hours of the morning. Perhaps I will get used to sharing my solitude with a cat. I can only hope.


Three Spanish-language series we have watched/are watching recently have at least one thing in common: Jose Coronado. And two of them have another commonality: Luis Zahera. Unauthorized Living (original title: Vivir sin permiso), Wrong Side of the Tracks (original title: Entrevías), and The Snow Girl (original title: La chica de nieve) quickly captured our interest, from the moment we began watching them. The two actors I mentioned, Coronado and Zahera, are ideal for the roles they play, though their roles are quite different between the series. If anyone who reads this post has watched any or all of the series, I would be interested to learn of others’ reactions to them.


Some mornings—and this is one of them—I have a very strong desire for a breakfast that includes sausage patties laced with fiery spices, hash browns, and baked tomatoes. Two of the three are acceptable; the hash browns, not so much. Unfortunately, even if I accept that hash browns are off the menu, because I have no sausage in the house I cannot accommodate my desires. I could bake a Compari tomato or two, but even that would not fulfill my wishes. Baked tomatoes should use big, juicy slicing tomatoes. The bottom line is that my strong desire will have to wither over time, unfulfilled. Damn it. I may go out today and buy sausage and slicing tomatoes so I can accommodate at least some of my gluttonous lust tomorrow.  The reason I am so hungry this morning is that I did not have dinner last night. I did not have dinner because I had a big, inappropriate lunch yesterday: a restaurant meal of alambre.


It is a fantasy. An imaginary existence. Something unlikely, but attractive in an odd sort of way. I dream about a scenario in which I take a long road trip; a journey to clear my head and sort out the confusion that has been building for ten years or more. What do I want to be when I grow up? Really. What vocation would I choose if I had it to do over again? That doesn’t matter anymore. What matters is this trip. This long, wandering, drifting search. I find myself several miles from Elkhart, Kansas, at the end of a gravel road. The house is old but well-kept. Set in the middle of forty acres, the house once was a farm house. But time has taken its toll on the farm; it hasn’t been used to grow crops in several years. Yet it did, once. And it was prolific. Everything planted there grew. Vegetables of every stripe and variety. And it could happen again. I see it, in my mind’s eye. Suddenly, I make a decision: I will buy this place. And I do. One hundred and ninety-four thousand, seven hundred dollars. It’s a steal. I pay cash for the place. And I move in. A year passes. The place is surrounded by lush plants. More tomatoes than I could ever count. Lettuce. Broccoli. All sorts of herbs. Squash. More squash. And more and more vegetables. I never really thought I would become “Farmer John,” but it has happened. My Kubota tractor is a trustworthy companion. I get it up and running every day just before sunrise. Quite the success. But I left something behind. I forgot to mention I might not return right away. Ach! Damn! I’ll never be forgiven. And then I realize; it’s just a fantasy. I do not own a tractor.


I picked up my completed tax returns yesterday. Before I left the preparer’s office, I noticed a mistake: the IRS was instructed to send my tax refund to a bank where I no longer do business. That was easily fixed while I was in the office (the routing number was correct, but the bank name was not).  When I got home, on closer inspection I discovered the account number to which the refund should be deposited was incorrect. I had noted both corrections (with yellow highlighter) on materials I had supplied to the preparer when I submitted materials for completing the return. The lesson I learned, quite by accident: double check the work of tax preparers. Paid professionals make mistakes. We might wish they didn’t, but they do.


Daybreak is about two hours away. For some reason, I cannot seem to summon creativity this morning. So, a few minutes before 5:30, I will stop trying to write anything of consequence. It’s just not in me for the moment.

About John Swinburn

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