John's CDT
Friday, October 15, 2004
 
It's Time to Close the Windows
10/15/04

I'm enjoying Iowa. Fall is here. The temperatures feel all over the place, but have been dropping. The rain's now a cold rain. The trees are turning, falling, coloring the landscape with unimaginable yellows and reds. It's surreal for this California boy to walk across fallen crimson leaves. The boundaries between sidewalk and lawns, between walkways and brown flower beds is indefinite in a visually relieving way. The leaves make it feel more like nature and less like urban. The color makes it feel more like fantasy and less like real life.
Then a car zooms by.
--
I've been filling my days doing what needs to be done, trying to not spend money. I'm carrying Tom's UI ID to have the advantages of being a student, like checking out DVDs from the library. I have access to the campus wireless internet access on my laptop. I set up my 'office' on most days. My table in the student union has a view of a bridge over the Iowa River. I'm in a secluded, very quiet dining room. It's heaven.

Spending time with Tom has been lovely. I'm aware that he's very busy with school. So, I've become his housfrau, cooking meals for us, doing some of the cleanning and laundry, and generally doing chores that take time, like grocery shopping. I'm doing it so that he can spend that time with me hanging out, not keeping house. It's nice to have the time to do it.

Friday, October 08, 2004
 
This is not My Grandmother's Iowa
10/08/04

I saw RUFUS WAINWRIGHT in concert tonight!! I stumbled across a flier announcing his show, and couldn't believe it.
He was in concert at Royce Hall the night I was leaving LA to begin my CDT prep final stages. He was performing in Berkeley the night I drove my car down to Monterey to park it for the trip. Again, no time.
I had been just missing him, so it was great to catch him here. He told the audience that he just got back from England where he finished Want Two, which should be out next month. Yipee.
We snuck back stage, but got kicked out before we could say hi.
There were a few technical sound problems with the show, but I enjoyed it. He alternated between piano and guitar wearing leather jeans and a gingham shirt with a shiny broach.

It's been raining in Iowa City, but it's a warm rain. I'm enjoying being in a college environment and visiting with Tommy. Tom's friend Steve arrived today.
Yesterday, while trying to figure out how to get on one of the UI wireless networks, I paused, opened a book of Rumi's writing and found these words from a poem called A Great Wagon. They'd speaken to me in the past, and I felt more today.

"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn't make any sense.
*
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don't go back to sleep.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004
 
Denver to Iowa City
10/05/04

I had an early morning to get to Denver International via public transportation in time for my flight. I didn't have a moment to spare. The first bus pulled up as I was walking toward the stop. The bus to the airport seemed to take a long time to get there. I was chosen for a special security screening, which took a long time. The flight was already boarded when I got on.
I'm glad everything went smoothly, but it was a little tight for my comfort.

Oh, and my checked luggage was selected to be X-rayed, so I had an extra step there.
I checked my laptop, which is in a padded laptop shipping container. I knew it was a mistake, but didn't know the reason until I saw it on the belt at baggage check. The Transportation Security Agency cut through the side and bottom of the box to inspect it, then just wrapped it up in tape. Nothing was lost or damaged, except the box. It pissed me off though.
My hour and a half of hitching at Des Moines airport (while waiting for the local bus) was fruitless, so I caught the bus to as close as it got to the Greyhound station and walked the rest of the way. I had too much stuff to be able to absorb much about Des Moines. I spent a few hours at the Greyhound station, making calls and doing email.
The bus ride is a blur, other than the front of the not-crowded bus sounded like a 1910 London Tuberculosis clinic, the back sounded like a quiet day-care center, and the young man across the aisle kept on telling the person on the other end of his cell phone that he was 18 and going to take care of himself. He was on his way to Chicago and didn’t need anyone’s help.
The landscape was full of tan, dry corn with an occasional harvester mowing it down.
My maternal grandmother was born in Iowa, but I don't even know where. That's as close to Iowa as I can get tonight.
From the Iowa City Greyhound depot, I walked seven or so blocks to Tommy's house. He's got a performance or rehearsal tonight, so I grabbed pizza for dinner. Pagliai's has been here for a long time. It's the type of place that is loath to change, but is very clean, popular, and well-run. It has black Naugahyde booth seating and shiny stainless steel pizza ovens.

Monday, October 04, 2004
 
Downtime in Denver
09/28/04-10/04/04

We took the dogs for a walk through the National Forest near the condo. The labs got in the water every chance they could. They knew the routine and would run ahead to the next pond. Lots of fun.
We made our way to Denver in the afternoon and Linda's house there.
I am very comfortable here.
I went into the Gill Foundation with Linda one morning. She works with them. They have been a steady supporter of Outright Radio, which I work with. I met with our grant officers and the new CEO, Rodger McFarlane, a gay past Eco-Challenge and Ironman winner.

Linda's been great to hang around with. I cooked a couple of nights, and each night we've enjoyed sittting down to dinner to talk. I've also joined her on some of her evening dog walks.
I have the days to myself, and the dogs keep me company.
Linda and I went to see Sky Captian on Friday. Once I got enough of the look, I'd had enough of the movie.
I've had a few tinges about leaving the trail, especially when the weather's nice in Denver. It has rained here too, which means snow on the trail, and I'm happy to have no part of that on-going challenge.
Support from family & friends has been great. My mother's relieved that I'm off the trail and others are looking forward to seeing me.
I've decided to take the time that I would have been on the trail and do some budget travel.
I'm using some miles to fly to Des Moines, Iowa, then getting to Iowa City where I'll visit Tommy, who's getting his MFA in Choreography. I really enjoyed visitors when I was in grad school.
Then, I'll get to Chicago where I'll get to see Johnny Thunder who's getting an advanced degree (MS? PhD?) in Sociology. From there, I fly to Philadelphia to visit my brother, his sort-of ex, and my cousin.
In early November, I fly to LA, where I'll do some computer consulting.
I need to get from LA to Monterey in mid-November. If anyone can offer a ride, let me know. I pick up my car to begin a Bay Area visit, including Napa for Thanksgiving. Tucson is my final destination.


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