23 January 2010


Long. Ass. Day.  It's never a good idea to go without sleep, and I've done it a few too many times in the past month.  I worry it will catch up with me at some point!  But mostly I think it's mind over matter, so I don't worry too much about it.  It's a bit uncomfortable though.  It would be better if I didn't drink when I've not slept, this is certain.  Drinking under normal circumstances is almost certain death, let alone when I've been up since 3am and traveling all day.  The best sign I'm shot: complete lack of coherence in writing.  Or maybe I'm flattering myself and that's actually quite normal.

In any case.  I arrived in Fort Lauderdale today.  Everything appears to be going smoothly. 

And... for all that rambling build up, I really have nothing to say.

sailing (takes me away).

I leave for the airport in a matter of hours.  I arrive tomorrow in Fort Lauderdale, in time for a bit of decorating, the groom's dinner; then Sunday, the early morning preparations for my brother's wedding, then we set sail.  Overall I'm really excited for the trip, surprising considering I spend most of my time on boats and rigs for work.  Nonetheless, it will be fun to spend the time with my family, especially my niece.  There's an added bonus of being on a boat for my time off, and that's a sort of enforced relaxation.

I'm beginning to realize how compulsive and neurotic I am when I'm on the beach.  I actually discussed this with a coworker tonight, and it was validating to know that someone I deem so sensible and good with money has the same woeful predilection returning from offshore.  I don't know where the money goes, I don't know how it's possible to spend so much in such a short time; it's truly uncanny.  I guess it's because you're always starting over with buying groceries, or maybe it's so appalling because you go from not spending any money to spending so much.  And maybe it's not so much, it's more that you've gone for a month without doing any shopping and then suddenly you're faced with so many options and all the freedom of being able to go where you want.  Or something.  So, I got sort of zen about it.  Because I've worked in this industry for 2 years now, and trying to force myself to change hasn't helped, so I sort of just observed it, and let myself be ok with it.  The idea of suspending judgement.  I still want it to be different, but realize in this (as in all things!), I continue to bang my head against a solid wall, hoping magically to form a doorway. 

If I have some cosmic purpose in this life, it's this: to let go of what the will wants to force, and be open to what comes in.

11 January 2010


I'm making a quick experiment today, nothing terribly exciting, just adding a blog entry via email.

I arrived on board the Discoverer Clear Leader today, a TransOcean drill ship.  The ship is new, only having arrived in the Gulf a few months ago, I think.  I'm working with a few former Boa Sub C guys, which is good.  I like being around guys who know what it's like on my regular boat.  The accommodations are nice here, more importantly, the beds are very comfortable.  I left the hotel this morning to arrive for transportation around 2:15.  I had a little sleep on the ride to the heliport, and had slept a bit yesterday afternoon, but once again I find myself in that odd limbo of not knowing exactly how much I slept for the day, or for which day, for that matter.

It's terribly cold here at the moment, has been for the past several days.  I always get the same response when I say it's cold, that, being from MN, I must be used to lower temps.  The thing is though, I don't spend any time outside when it's cold out in Minnesota, and this is such a distinction!  I'm guessing with the windchill today, the temperature outside was in the 20s, and the winds were really strong.  Today, being Sunday, is the day for a fire drill.  So in these poopy conditions, I got to stand outside for the better part of an hour.  And steel-toe boots do nothing to keep the toes warm; when the drill was finally over, I clumsily hoofed it back inside with my frozen and numb tootsies.

The... void that comes over me upon returning to the Gulf has dissipated a little.  I suppose it's the initial anxiety that comes with the anticipation of going offshore.  I'm fine if I go from one hitch directly into the next, and I can spend weeks offshore on the Boa, but coming from home back to the Gulf is painful, kind of heartbreaking a little.  After a few days it quietens, just sort of goes back underground.  That it exists, this discontent, this anxiety, I'm starting to see as a good thing.  Of course there are all the melodramatic ideas of never being able to have a good life, or the fatalistic that one doesn't deserve this or that, but recently, I've started to think there's a lot to be learned from having lived this life, for however brief a time.

08 January 2010

shiny & new.

I came across a really good quote today, reading The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron.  I'd read bits of another book of hers, The Right to Write, but this other title was specifically recommended to me, and it seems to be her more seminal work.  I picked it up tonight and was struck by this within the first few pages:

And now either I can't find what I was looking for, or the quote that was so meaningful only a few hours ago isn't resounding in the same way.  Or maybe it was from another book I'm reading but cannot currently locate, which is entirely possible since I've got a stack of 8 books next to me.

Why do I have 8 books stacked next to me on the bed in a cheap hotel room?  Because I'm seeking a change, and guidance, in my life, always seems to come from books.  It's easy for your mind to get out of the way while reading.  Much less interference from a mind as overactive and chatty as mine tends to be.  A book that's good in this particular application is What Should I Do with My Life? by Po Bronson.  Basically a series of interviews, something of a modern-day Working (Studs Terkel), it's a great book to flip open when you're seeking a bit of insight.  The stories are short, but every one is the individual story of someone's choice of career, and no matter what story I flip to, there always seems to be some kernal of insight or inspiration just waiting there for me to discover.

I went back to work today, sort of.  I've been at the hotel since the night before last, but didn't work yesterday.  Last night, my ops guy called to let me know he'd found some work in the shop for me.  I went in today for about 3 hours, to help cut some tubing.  I spend the rest of the afternoon working on training modules.  I have tomorrow off, then back offshore Sunday morning. 

The question is how to make the transition.  I have a bit of the perfectionist streak in me, and it tells me not to go home because I don't have a home yet, or to wait until I have more money in the bank.  Experience tells me that I need to follow my heart.  Not foolishly, I want to have something lined up to go back to, but that I shouldn't wait until conditions are ideal, because they won't ever be ideal, or as ideal as I feel they should be to go back.  I think I spend more money working this job because it's always the feast of famine mentality.  Overcompensating for all the time I'm offshore, or trying to lessen the boredom of time on the beach, but not at home.  It feels too out of balance, I think is the biggest factor in wanting to move on.

I talked to a guy today at the shop, who always seems to be talking about how he wants to move on.  I realize that I'm also that guy, I'll talk this into the ground.  I get frustrated talking to this guy because he's like a broken record.  In fact, I get frustrated listening to him because I'm seeing my exact weakness in someone else.

07 January 2010

I will dare.

I started thinking about writing in my blog again, maybe because I'm on the verge of doing something again. The next big thing, or something like that. What if the next big thing is to go back to the exact place where I started? It's sort of novel, this idea, actually. Because somehow, in the past 3.5 years, *normalcy has become novel to me. Novel enough, in fact, that I crave it, that I covet it, that I maybe even dream about it.

So I started thinking about writing in my blog again, because that's what one does, these days, when one undertakes something of note. I started a blog when I moved to California. I continued writing in the blog when I moved away from California to Louisiana, and I continued writing in the blog, on a somewhat regular basis, beyond that first year, and even into my second year in Loozianne. At some point I acknowledged the futility of trying to maintain an online journal during a period when my online access was spotty at best, and restricted my writing to a private blog when I was able, but more commonly to the draft folder of my computer's email client.

But here I am again, writing a new entry in my blog. Not because my circumstances have changed, per se, but maybe because I'm willing them to. There's been an internal struggle raging within since the moment I set foot in Louisiana. It's followed a few different paths, but its serpentine course seems to lead to the one place I've spent the better part of the past 15 years trying to get away from... home.

Funny to think about, the idea of life as a river. I spent a semester abroad, studying in the south of France. My roommate, Katrin, was from Hamburg, Germany. After the semester concluded, I traveled a bit, including a quick sojourn to visit Katrin in her hometown. While I was there, we spent a night lounging on the couch, watching movies with her boyfriend. We had chosen a popular movie of the moment, Fargo. During the course of the conversation that followed the viewing, two facts became clear: first, that Minnesotans do actually have a very thick accent (Following the movie, Katrin asked if Minnesotans actually spoke as they had in the movie. I responded in the affirmative, though acknowledging the movie had gone a bit overboard. Katrin's relief was evident, and she explained that she'd thought, when the Minnesotans would respond "Oh, yah," that we had been making fun of the German accent); second, that it's not common knowledge that, to quote a favorite Indigo Girls song of my college days, "The Mississippi's mighty/ It starts in Minnesota/ At a place that you could walk across with 5 steps down."

And so the course of life leads me back to Minnesota, or at least, I'm willing it to. I've lived so many places, and worked so many jobs, but there really is something to the idea of home being where the heart is. For all the technology available, for all the ease of access to email/ phone/ video/ social networking, at the end of the day, it's so lovely, and sort of irreplaceable, to simply be in the physical presence of those you love.