Thursday, June 17, 2010

My 2010 Vacation: Day 2

I woke up at around 3am on Friday morning. Only about 3 and a half hours until I had to get up for my all-day conference with Brian Weiss, the psychiatrist who stumbled upon what was apparently a patient's past life more than 20 years ago. I went back to bed hoping I could get some quality sleep and did. I stepped into the shower at around 7 and moaned with pleasure and not because I was touching myself. I felt like I hadn't taken a shower in many days, so it really hit the spot. Before leaving the hotel room, I had a couple small snacks to tide me over until lunch; a small can of Low Sodium V8 and a Cherry Nutri-Grain bar. I also put the Do Not Disturb sign on the door though this hotel's version simply said "Tranquility", a nice touch, I thought.

I headed downstairs to the registration area. Once I received my materials, I got in line for the Weiss seminar. I met people over the weekend who didn't care where they sat, but, by God, I was gonna do all I could to get seats as close to these authors as possible. I worked on USA Today's crossword puzzle as I waited in line. We were let in around 8:30 and I scrambled to the front finding a seat in the very first row and just off to the left. When Brian came out to speak, the lights were so dim that a woman in the front row said, later in the day, that she was having problems listening as she couldn't really see his face. She must've been a visual learner. To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, here's a pic of the lady who introduced Weiss:

Weiss explained that morning how he was very scientifically grounded all those years ago as a psychiatrist, but was thrown for a loop with a female patient. You see, she had a number of phobias, not least being a fear of drowning. Weiss sought to get to the source of this fear through regression hypnotism. He kept going further back in time until the woman was about 2 or 3, but still couldn't find a reason for the fears. It was quite by accident that one afternoon, he asked her to go to the source of those fears and it was then that she described what appeared to be a past lifetime. She wound up going through several of these lives and after a time, was healed of her neurosis. He did similar work with other patients and has regressed thousands. He's even regressed patients into future lives, something that boggles the mind.

We ended the morning by doing a regression session. I wasn't able to get anything, but this was no surprise as it takes an unquiet mind to typically do so. It took Weiss three months before he was able to have his own experience. We broke for lunch just after noon and I headed for a small ballroom where a "light buffet" (if that isn't an oxymoron, I don't know what is) was being served. Turned off by the paucity of food, though I prefer light lunches, anyway, I opted to go back to the hotel room where I had a Weight Watchers chocolate cookie and decided I was going to eat at the Subway at the mall once the all-day ended at 4. I also said goodbye to my beloved as she was going to be picked up by her brother-in-law in a matter of moments.

As I walked back to where Weiss' workshop was happening, I noticed a lady outside trying to light a cigarette. It was extremely windy out and she was having trouble doing so. I laughed aloud as I saw this. Then, instead of continuing on my way, I went back to watch the resolution. She tried lighting it again, no dice. I'm thinking, "Lady, have you ever heard of God giving one a sign?" She finally got up and put herself into a corner next to the door and had "success" at last. With a smile on my face, I returned to the workshop.

During the afternoon, we exchanged items with the person next to us in order that we might be able to see things based on the object's energy. I gave my mobile device to a college girl while she gave me a necklace to hold. I didn't really get anything nor did she. She did mention seeing a bow tie, something I wore on my wedding day, of course. Others in the room did pick vibes up, however. Of more note were how some of the lights behind Weiss would go off and on from time to time, at one point, in particular, when the origin of God was being discussed. The light man said he had nothing to do with it, that he was mostly away from the light board when these things were occurring. It didn't happen at all for the rest of the weekend.

Weiss opened the room up for questions later and someone asked about dogs having past lives. Weiss said they definitely have souls as they are frequently mentioned in people's descriptions of heaven. He added that he didn't know if dogs evolved up or down. I laughed out loud as my Pomeranian evolving to a human would be a step down in my mind, what with the unconditional love and happiness I believe she's experiencing as a canine.

Once 4pm arrived, Weiss signed his books.

I had a paperback of his first book that I had him sign. I couldn't really think of anything to say to him, so just said, "Thanks".

I then left the hotel and walked three blocks to the mall. Once at the food court, I ordered a six-inch chicken breast sub. This would be one of the only times during the weekend that I would see children; for some reason, parents don't like spending $500 for their kids to advance spiritually.

As I headed back to the hotel, I noticed their revolving door and opted to do something I like to do for fun on such occasions. Instead of just pushing the door half a revolution to get in, I swung it to go in, then kept pushing till I was outside again, and then one more time to get back in. No one seemed to notice it this time, but that's life.

After taking a rejuvenating bath in the early evening, I headed back downstairs to get in line for Marianne Williamson. As opposed to Weiss' pre-conference seminar which consisted of a little over a hundred people, Williamson' talk would go out to over a thousand. I'd seen her speak two years before, so it wasn't as big a priority to get close seats.

As I waited in line, instead of keeping to myself, I decided to speak to others near me. There was an older lady behind me who I looked at and said, "You ready for the weekend?" Those five words would end up introducing me to three women who I wound up spending much of the rest of the weekend with. They became instant friends and the four of us sat together as Marianne spoke.

Williamson had some good stuff, but wasn't quite as interesting as Weiss as her talk was more informational, not so much experiential. I had to chuckle near the end when she led the group in a prayer for the oil spill. I'm of the mind that all is for the highest good, so don't typically pray for things to go a certain way. As far as I'm concerned, the greater the damage, the more likely that they'll be a change in how we treat the environment. Once concluded, I headed up to get my book signed and merely said, "Thank you" as Williamson signed my "Return to Love" book, the first spiritual work I read back in the early 90's.

It was now time to hit another restaurant I'd never been to: White Castle. Just as I was inspired to go to Popeye's because of a movie, the same held for White Castle because of the "Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle" film. I was on top of the world as I entered the restaurant. I went up to the cashier and said, "It's my first time here. What do you recommend?" She said that they're known for their burgers, so I ordered a combo which consisted of 4 sliders, a fry, and a pop.

As my meal was being prepared, I asked the cashier if she'd seen the Harold & Kumar movie and mentioned that they were making Part III a Christmas movie and in 3-D. I said that it was gonna be "off the hook". Just then, I looked over and saw a black man eating his meal and giving me a bit of a look. Is it a faux pas to say "off the hook" if you're white?

I took my meal to a table and damn, those sliders were quite addicting. So much so that I was tempted to eat all four, but willed myself to stop at three. Here's a pic I took of myself while at the restaurant:

As I drove back to the hotel listening to Tori Amos, all was well.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My 2010 Vacation: Day 1

A week ago today, me and my old lady headed down to Chicago to take separate vacations. I would be staying 4 nights in a fancy hotel while attending a conference called Celebrate Your Life while my beloved would be spending quality time with her only sibling. We left around 10am in my compact Hyundai Elantra. I'd picked out two dozen CD's the day before to pass the time; it's a six hour drive to Chi-town.

As we left MedCity, I wished that there was something more comfortable that I could rest my head against. *insert joke* It took me a minute or two before I realized that there were two pillows in the back; I always bring my own when going out of town. I grabbed the feather one and placed it behind my neck. Ahh, yes. This would do nicely.

It was a brilliant sunny day as we left Minnesota and entered Wisconsin. Wisconsin is quite an interesting name for a state if you think about it. It has both the words "con" and "sin" in it. I hope this is merely a coincidence.

A couple hours later, my wife said she'd like to stop for a quick bite, so we found a Subway. She initially wanted McDonalds, but I shot her down saying that she could have some junk food that evening. My wife had a six-inch and then took a breather. We were now more than halfway to our destination.

I'd told myself over the past few days that I wanted this vacation to last. None of this crap about how the vacation had flown by. Many times for me, the first day or two will go by nice and slow, then will pick up steam (kinda like what older people say their experience of life is in general).

We headed back to the car and continued on. Knowing that Illinois is a toll state, we'd gotten several dollars worth of change to give to the toll attendants as we steadily made our way into the Land of Lincoln.

Some of the stops have actual people manning them, others have a little container that you throw your money in. A number of years ago, there was a toll booth attendant stationed at her post and I actually threw the money at her. I quickly said I was sorry, that I was so used to doing this on prior occasions that I couldn't stop my arm from making the familiar motion.

We'd been warned that there was some significant road construction taking place in Illinois and finally hit it mid-afternoon. There were moments when we weren't moving at all, but I took it in stride. The first seminar wasn't taking place until the following morning.

We arrived at our destination, the Westin hotel, at around 5pm. We checked in and by that time, were ready for some non-healthy food. One of the joys of going to Illinois this time was trying out some restaurants that I'd never been to. The one I was most looking forward to checking out was Popeye's. Ever since I saw Adam Sandler's "Little Nicky" in 2000, in which he said that Popeye's was "fucking awesome", I'd wanted to experience its pleasures.

Before entering the eatery, I went to a trash can to throw out an empty bottle when I noticed the weekend paper in there. Always up for getting new reading material, I dug it out and went in to place my order. We each ended up ordering a two piece with corn on the cob. I'd been told the week before that Popeye's chicken was better than KFC's, but had difficulty believing it. Well, turns out they were right. The skin was heavenly and I'd not had corn in quite some time, perhaps because it looks the same going out as coming in.

Before heading back to the hotel, we stopped at the local mall where my girl got a frappucino from Caribou Coffee. Once back in our fifth floor room, I began unpacking and took a bath while reading the latest book I'd checked out from the library, "Kick Me". Thirty minutes later, I put my robe on and headed to the bed. *edited for content* We went to bed after that. I hoped I'd be able to get enough sleep to not be tired the next day. There are few things worse than spending mucho money on an experience and not being able to enjoy it.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

A Peculiar Occurence

I returned from my yearly vacation to Chicago the night before last and have much to say about it, but until I do, let me share an interesting thing that happened just before I left town.

Last Wednesday afternoon, I went downstairs to change the cat box and noticed a bunch of ants near it. I can't stand killing any kind of creatures; Today, in fact, there was a moth in the house. As is typical for me in such situations, I grabbed a paper towel and gently wrapped it around the moth before letting it fly out the deck door. Unfortunately, I couldn't see any practical way to do this for the number of ants I was seeing downstairs. So, with a heavy heart, I smushed them.

A little bit later, and I'm not saying the two events are connected, I felt some pain in my chest. I laid down for a bit and, after some time, it passed. That evening, I went out to eat with my girl and a couple friends. As we waited for our food, my beloved asked what the red marks were on my neck. I said they were probably from shaving. She said, "I don't think so". I forgot about it and enjoyed my meal once it came.

Later, as I began to pack various sundries for our trip, I glanced at the mirror and noticed what my love had saw earlier. There were three red marks, each several inches long, on the side of my neck:

In addition, there were two or three similar marks on my upper chest. I wondered if they could have come from the cat or dog, but the cat doesn't have any claws and the dog being able to leave long marks like that without me knowing just doesn't make any sense. So what could it have been? Were the marks and the chest pain related? I certainly upset somebody. There's no question about that.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

How I Spend My Days

The day before yesterday, I was walking around the lake with a couple friends and noticed a gal and two guys coming our way; the boys were carrying fishing poles. I thought of a good line and as they passed, said, "You guys got big poles". One laughed, the other said, "Thanks" and the woman said, "I think they're compensating for something".

Yesterday, I went to Great Clips for a haircut. As I waited for one of the "stylists" to come up to the front to take my name, I noticed a small whiteboard and marker next to the cash register. While the other girls were busy giving haircuts (one said someone would be with me in a moment), I wrote "All Haircuts $7.99" (their regular price is $13.00). The lady who came up a minute later told me it'd be about a 20 minute wait. She didn't notice the whiteboard. Ten minutes later, another woman was checking a guy out and saw what I'd done. She laughed and said, "Yeah, right" as she scribbled it out.

Today, I purchased gas from the local convenience store. The bloke who checked me out was very distinguished-looking and appeared to be in his 60's. He was also really polite, the kind who would go above and beyond for his customer. As he took my check, I asked, "Are you the CEO?" He said, "No" and I replied, "Oh, I thought this might be one of those undercover things".