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Sunday, March 23, 2003

It's a day-to-day thing now, hour-to-hour really, what the military calls a fluid situation. Making definite plans is a wasted exercise. I'm going to do this, but I should be doing that. I was going to a movie this afternoon, until I stayed up half the night watching live battles on CNN.

That's how it is these days. I want to watch less news, but I never know how difficult that's going to be. I don't want to miss anything important, but I don't want to be hanging on every reporter's ninth repetition of what's already happened, or an anchor's latest speculation on what might be next. That way lies paralysis, and the end of any possibility of keeping to a plan.

Even staying up so late didn't mean I'd be able to sleep in. Sleeping in on a weekend morning is the one thing I plan for from Monday to Friday, when sleep is so elusive. But eight o'clock came and I was wide awake. I couldn't move fast enough to do anything but make some coffee and fall into the sofa, but I definitely wasn't sleeping.

With TiVo, it's almost too easy to slip back and forth between live coverage and the recording of last night's Law & Order reruns. That's how it can take three hours to watch a one-hour show, even if you fast-forward through the commercials. Once I realized I wasn't getting much out of either the news or the cop show, I turned them both off.

It hadn't been in the plan to do any work today, but I opened up Excel and prepared to get ahead on this week's spreadsheets. That was this morning. Tonight I still have nothing but an open blank worksheet, but I'll have all week to work on the reports that need to be done. That's the plan, anyway.

I pretty much gave up on everything else and decided to take the day off, but late in the afternoon, after watching White Oleander again (this time with the commentary track), I went outside and started pulling up more weeds. For once, I had an idea of what I wanted to do. Not quite a plan, but that would have been foolish anyway. I'm not a real gardener, so I don't even know how to make plans.

But there's one overgrown slope at the back of the garden that I'd like to clear of all other growth and plant something with a little color, like wildflowers. I don't know if it'll work, but the first step is to get the weeds out. Alas, I'm not in good enough physical shape to last very long at a time, but I did put in two brief sessions, and I got the clearing started.

Whether this will turn into a reality is probably not a good bet. For now, the plan is to work for awhile every day after I can get away from the computer. Now that the days are longer, I can find time around four or five in the afternoon, if I make the effort. That effort would require a better diet and exercise plan, but we all know how successful I've been keeping those lately.

I should make some kind of commitment to myself, but that would mean sticking to a plan. In these uncertain days, my time isn't free to be committed ahead of time. I do almost everything on the fly lately.


White clouds in a hazy sky.

Have you ever tried to pull weeds with a hawk screaming at you from a branch of the oak tree a few feet away? I know this isn't its home tree, because the nest is atop the eucalyptus at the far end of the driveway. I've never had it stay that close for that long, but with a voice like that it doesn't have to be in the yard to be heard. How can a bird sound so insistent and so melancholy at the same time?

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Tonight's Oscar show was pretty classy, and we have Steve Martin to thank for a lot of that. I had tears in my eyes a few times - when Paul Simon sang, when Catherine Zeta-Jones accepted her award from Sean Connery, and when Conrad L. Hall, who died in January, won for his cinematography on one of my favorite films of the year, Road to Perdition. I'm so happy that movie won at least one award.

The highlight was the heartfelt, moving (and obviously improvised) speech by Adrien Brody. I was hoping for Jack to win so he could talk, but he was mugging in the front row, so it was okay. The best picture winner was a foregone conclusion, or so I thought until it didn't win for its screenplay and direction. I'll bet they were sweating it out there at the end.

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Rest and Recuperation?
"I can't write about sleeping because I never, ever remember my dreams. I don't even remember remembering them."

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