Monday, August 29, 2011

My Brain Is Exploding

Too many ideas and issues are duking it out and none are dominating.  I need to purge them all and start anew.  So, this is my morning pages written in the afternoon before hemorrhaging. Does this tie make my neck look fat?  Of all the females who have been sweet on me (okay there haven’t  been that many) none of them have told me they were attracted to my neck.  I can clean up pretty good when I have to, but neckerchief adornment?  There are plenty of cultures, continents and centuries to blame for this symbolic ritual attempting to signify title or wealth. The first thing the paramedics are going to do when they find me comatose on the ground is loosen it to clear the air passage.  How many widget sales can be directly identified because the salesperson wore a piece of knotted cloth around their neck?  That must be one fancy widget you’re selling.  Good grief.
What a weird combination of words.  I am not certain where the phrase may have begun, but I do know it was popularized by Charlie Brown.  They were words my father used instead of swearing and if I’m not mistaken there is a town in Idaho by the same name.  Even so, I don’t know what good grief is.  It seems such an oxymoron.  What can possibly be good about grief?  The grief I know is horrible.  There is nothing good about it. 
Yes, I’m sure this rambling will turn out splotchy, just like the deck I stained again this weekend.  It looks like a patchwork quilt made of wood.  Have I lost my touch or is everything I do supposed to turn to crap?  Now the car is in the shop.  I had to jump the other one to get it down there.  I may have to jump off the two-foot deck if it’s the transmission.  I don’t have a few extra grand laying around because I was sent to pasture before my time.  Now I have a new routine of repeating stories and calling my children by the other’s name just like my parents did to me.  And I probably repeat the same stories over and over to them too.  And what’s unconventional about getting married on April Fool’s Day?  I love summer, my foot suntan is coming along nicely.  Are there just leaders, lifters, loafers and leeches in this life?  I am sure I have been all four at one time or another.  I really need to paint the window trim before the monsoons come.  Wonder how I can mess that project up.  Maybe I’ll fall off the ladder, I really don’t want to wear shoes.  And I should do the chimney trim, but man it is so steep and there could be a windstorm up there on a calm day on the ground.  My whiskers keep growing back and I should trim my nails.  Since I’m on the west coast, I don’t care what time my show comes on in the east.
Okay, the cranial pressure is subsiding for now.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


               It is what we all want to be.  We want to be significant in every aspect of this life.  When we come to the realization of how insignificant we are, it begs cause to pause.  It can be overwhelmingly depressing to understand how teeny, tiny our part plays in the whole scheme of things.  I remember as a kid laying in the summer alfalfa field next to my house gazing at the sky clear blue.  In school, I learned the world is really old and many have come and gone long before me.  We are raised being told how special we are and the truth is, we are.  But, so is everyone else.  Nobody is the same.  The reality is we are each but one speck in the universe.  Yet, we can be a powerful influence in our own micro-world.
I used to be a vital part of my company.  Employees, customers and suppliers all came to me for answers.  I was important and significant.  Having gone to many trade shows in the U.S., I had no idea what I was getting into when I went to one in Germany.  It was ten times the size of any I had attended before.  Walking the miles of show floor,  I had the reality check of how minute I was in the bigger scheme of things.  Even so, I was able to land customers on four new continents.  Back home in the office, I was super significant.  It meant job security, pay raises and promotions for my employees.
Who knew I could help grow such a beautiful garden of daughters.  I adopted two helpless Korean babies twenty-odd years ago.  What a challenge, what a joy.  It didn’t change the whole world, but it changed theirs and mine forever.  In the history of the world, no one will remember my short little life and contributions, but I made a small difference.
If you’re going to make an impact, it might as well be to improve something or someone.  I have to laugh at myself because I take so seriously my pithy little blog.  Many thanks to all who read it, I hope in some way it makes you smile or think or even dream.  I am alright being that distant star in the sky that flickers sporadically that some kid in a field will ponder one summer night eons from now.  In the big picture, we are little more than overgrown gnats. But in each of our little universes, we can be a powerfully positive being.  Hug the ones and the things you love.  There is a place in this existence to be significant.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


               The puzzle of life has more pieces than any you can buy at the store.  It’s been a strange week and it’s only Wednesday.  The eighth full moon of the year smiled at me last Friday.  Since then, the sun has made an appearance most every day and the forecast is for more of the same.  Summer arrived in Seattle in the middle of August this year.  It got me motivated and I have been busy prepping my deck the last couple days so I can re-stain it.   
               Today, I stripped the old stain away.  That gunky stuff is slippery when wet, especially barefoot.  In the raw deck boards, I recognized claw scratches left behind by my old yellow lab buddy, Parker.  He’d dig in and jump off the deck to retrieve a ball.  I miss that guy;  he suffered a couple summers ago through record high temperatures.  But, he is somehow in a strange way still connected to me.  His autograph is etched in my deck.
               Last night I got an email from a mom of one of my former exchange students.  She’s coming to my town this weekend.  I visited her when I was in Sweden maybe fifteen years ago.  We hosted many exchange students over the years, some for a few weeks, others for a year.  Quite a few have come back to visit.  Some have returned more than once and brought their siblings and children here too.  I still stay connected with some of them.  This will be the first mom to visit.  Her daughter lives in London with her husband and young son.  I was just chatting with her online after the riots there to make sure she was alright.  I am really excited that the mother of my exchange student daughter wants to visit me.  It’s somewhat surprising who you stay connected with and who fades away. 
               Family friends for twenty-five years dropped off their two one-pound Yorkies for us to dog sit until Sunday.  My thirteen pound monster of a dog, whose neutered, thinks he’s Romeo.  Four hours later, they called a truce and formed a pack.  Fifteen pounds of trouble roam my backyard on twelve legs.  They are now a herd united, organized and connected.  I’m never going to get my deck re-stained with these trouble makers.  As much as I tried, fist pounding puzzle pieces didn’t work on the kitchen table.  I love how we all interconnect somehow anyway.   

Sunday, August 14, 2011

My Legacy

Did I touch hearts or crush dreams
Sell my soul or ignite another spirit
Nurture or kill
Instill confidence and courage
Or promote fear
Create smiles or cause tears
Was I selfish or selfless

Did I lend a hand up or a backhand
Encourage or discourage
Share or succumb to greed
Build or destroy
Give love or incite hate

Did I make things better or worse
Here on sweet Mother Earth
And treat all things in it with respect and dignity
Conceited or humble
Deceitful or honest
How do I want people to remember me

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Talent And Genius

               I was recently challenged to write about the “talent-genius canvas” and I take challenges seriously.  Since no employer has recognized any such traits in me as I have looked for work the last five years, I have time to contemplate and write.  So, what the heck do I know about either subject?  Not much apparently because here I go, just dumb enough to make an attempt and smart enough to know this subject matter required some research on my part.
The dictionary says that talent is a special, natural ability or aptitude, a capacity for achievement.  We seem to learn what our talents are from others.  Encouragement and positive reinforcement move us to hone those skills.  For me, it’s easier to recognize another’s talent than my own.  Many have accused me over the years of being a good writer, but I am the last to realize it.  When I go back and read some of my old poems and notes, I am unsure I even wrote them because some of them are pretty great.  At the time, I wasn’t so sure.         
So what if I’m not the best at it?  I will never get better if I don’t practice.  As Bernard Meltzer so wisely observed, “The woods would be a very silent place if no birds sang except those who sang best.”  Whoever was best last year may not make the grade next year.  That’s why the games keep being played.  Some of the reasons I started this blog was to make my voice heard if I felt I could improve the silence and sharpen my writing abilities.  “No one respects a talent that is concealed” are wise words from Desiderius Erasmus.  It is what you do with your talent that counts.
Genius is a different beast.  A genius has an exceptional natural capacity of intellect, especially as shown in creative and original work in science, art, music, etc.  The genius has another set of challenges.  Encouragement is unnecessary and people are less apt to recognize it at the time.  As Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “ The world is always ready to receive talent with open arms.  Very often it does not know what to do with genius.”  Looking at the world through different lenses, they are often far ahead of their time.  Since the majority of us have no such gift, we perceive geniuses to be odd characters because we fail to see the almost childlike brilliance they possess.  We can see someone hit a homerun, but can’t conceptualize the game the genius plays, let alone the magnificence.  Misunderstood, too many leave us tragically before their time.  Others are chastised as freaks of nature.  The lucky geniuses live long enough for the rest of the population to catch up to their vision.
I have had the rare treat to be with two extremely talented people that I also consider geniuses.  Although I was with them, they were in a completely different zone as they communicated.  It was an amazing experience.  They were on a plane I will never achieve.  As much as I appreciate natural talent and super intelligence, I always root the ones who have less, but work their tails off to be the best they can be in their given field.  Sometimes they even win.            

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hope And Chains

Dear Mr. President,

               You are a good man and you and I had high aspirations when you entered the White House.  But, your predecessor never took out the trash.  The Oval Office was scattered with an imploding economy and two inherited wars.  All three branches of the federal government have failed the common citizen.  Instead of hope and change, many people in this country are in a ball and chain.  When I say people, I mean humans, not corporations who are allowed by the disgusting Supreme Court to buy elections.  Real change in the health care system turned into a compromised, mangled goulash that probably won’t serve the people or solve anything.  It cost you control in Congress last election and I am appalled by the recent debt limit war.    
               It’s time for real change.  You got bin Laden, now bring every last soldier home immediately.  Far as I know, you can do that without Congressional approval, so do it!  Shoving our broken democracy down the rest of the world does nothing, but create more enemies.  That alone would save this nation buckets of money and blood.   Massively cut the defense budget.  Why do we spend more on war tools than every other country in the world combined?  That is insanity.  If we are claiming to be a peaceful nation, then let’s start walking the walk and build tools of peace and harmony.  Talking heads and sound bytes aren’t cutting it anymore.  What exactly are we defending, the freedom of the wealthy and big business to control the peasants?  Freedom?  I can’t even sell my house in these economic times and find work elsewhere.  The cost of living rises and standard of living declines for the everyday Joes. 
               Before it’s too late, let’s save our people before we try to convert the rest of the world. If we do it right here, the rest of the world will follow.  Invest some of the defense budget cuts to create meaningful employment.  There are plenty of people who would love to contribute to the greater good and their fair share to tax coffers.  I said “fair” share.  We both know big money is running this government.  If you want to promote hope, then call out the large the corporations and rich and make them pay their fair share back to the people.  If the Supreme Court says they can spend whatever they want on political campaigns, then make them paying citizens too.  I suppose corporations can write-off campaign contributions as legitimate expenses of doing business.  Give me a break. 
Do not compromise on your true convictions.  Forget about getting re-elected, serve the common citizen while you are in office.  That would be real change for you and everyone in Congress. That’s what you all were elected to do.  Quit pussy footing around.  Get tough, change for change sake is a waste of time.  Before another foreclosure, another job is lost overseas, another soldier dies, get something done for the American people, the human kind!  Be the locksmith to free us little people from the ball and chain.          

Monday, August 8, 2011


               I have been accused more than once of being a little down on myself.  Life has made it a challenge to smile while being back stabbed, robbed and hoodwinked.  There seems to be pattern in my existence of these things and seasoned with a healthy dose of rejection.  I see what’s going on around me and know others have experienced much worse.  I have also seen total jerks stomp on people to climb the mountain.  So here’s the deal.  I know I am not the best at anything, but pretty good at a few things.  I know I don’t want to squish others to get ahead and I know I suck at self-promotion.  Being my hardest critic makes it difficult to graciously receive compliments, even though I am so appreciative of them.  Everybody loves to be loved.
               The only thing I can do is be the best possible me.  There are no second chances and nobody else wants the job.  So I have to fill my body, mind and spirit with good things like wholesome food, positive thoughts and take the blinders off to feel the harmonious vibrations in the universe.  There is big money in controlling the seed supply and relatively quietly that is who is trying to do it.  Worse than that, they have been genetically altering crops and seafood.  Every strip mall seems to have some fast food, junk food joint.  It’s no wonder people are obese.  We have all become guinea pigs.  There is nothing as sweet and delicious as fresh vegetables out of your own garden. 
               Just like the body, the mind is a garbage in-garbage out entity.  Negativity feeds on itself, but positivity does too.  When we feed our mental computer with the depressing evening news, brought to you by Advil, you are bound to get a headache.  So seldom do they report the good stuff and even when they do, it is usually after some tragedy.  It brings to mind a recent local story.  A child turned nine on June 11th.  Her birthday wish was to raise $300 to help provide clean drinking water to kids in Africa.  She succeeded to acquire $220 of it when she was an innocent victim of a thirteen car-truck pile up on the freeway that took her life.  The media paid no attention to her birthday wish until she was gone.  Then it was all over the story and her inspiration has raised close to three quarter of a million dollars, many in the form of nine dollars donations to mark her age.  I find this story so beautifully sad.  This little girl wanted to make a positive difference in the lives of others, but was only celebrated and publicized after her she died.  Why does the media only latch onto a positive story after tragedy strikes?  The point is it makes a difference what you allow your mind to be exposed to.
               Despite all my shortcomings, I am a good person.  I want to contribute to the greater good.  I need to channel the good vibrations that are everywhere.  Listen, really open up and listen.  Spend some quiet time daily and meditate.  Feed myself good thoughts and stop degrading me.  Let go of negativity and just let the goodness flow into my spirit.  Peace of mind, body and spirit.  Love me, love you, love all life and the earth that provides it.             

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Parent Talk

Dear Mom and Dad,

               How nice of you both to float by in the clouds together.  We really need to talk.  You’d be proud of me voting for a half-white guy for President and he won!  Sorry to report that the good old boys still run the roost.  I know when you were down here I went a little overboard with your ultra-liberal beliefs and became a rebellious, law breaking youth.  But, you taught me how special I was and implied that life was fair.  Well, I have learned I am as unique as one blade of grass on the football field, one grain of sand at the beach or one drop of water in the ocean.  I also have learned that life isn’t close to being fair.  Why did you try to hide the crap that was bound to land on me?
               But, that’s not what I want to talk about right now.  You had such high hopes for me, so I need to come clean with what’s been going on down here.  I hope you are both settled up there in the convergent zone because this is big news.  As much as you were hoping I would turn out different, I am not gay.  I like girls.  I hear you saying “Good grief, where did we go wrong?”  Maybe you can quit using the term “good grief” now because there is no good in grief.  I have more to get off my chest while you are here.  I met a girl and I like her and she’s white, like us.  I am sorry to disappoint you, but inter-racial grandbabies may not be seeded by me into this grand melting pot experiment called America.  By the way,  I have been having nightmares imagining you two doing the same things she does to me. 
So there it is, I am out of the closet.  I had to clear the air.  Go ahead and rain on my parade if you want, that’s what clouds do.  But, I feel the wind kicking up again, so you better hurry up.  Hope you float by again real soon.       

Monday, August 1, 2011

Some Things I Like

               Jambalaya, justice and bare feet.  Watching ants scurry, macadamias and a warm shower.  Babies, baseball, butterflies and a fridge full of cold beer.  A helping hand and compassion.  A gentle breeze under severe clear skies where the temperature is seventy-five.  A child’s laugh and an octogenarian saying it like it is.  Peace and calm, togetherness.  A warm blanket.  Love and music and peas straight out of the pod.  Watching children learn and grow.  Kisses and hugs.  Appreciation, a checkbook with more money than the stack of unpaid bills.  True friends.  And I like variety and sharing.  I like looking at pretty girls and pants that fit around the waist and growing whiskers and giving my ties away.  I like honesty.  I like the full moon, cars that start and guitars.  Giving smiles, clean water and intelligence.  Positive attitudes, understanding and roasting marshmallows. 
               I like affection, praise, love and acceptance that flows in both directions.  I like ideas and do-gooders and chocolate.  Sleep, knowledge and stargazing.  Floating on the river, cashews and hummingbirds.  I like being able to trust someone and enlightenment and filet mignon medium.  Grandparents, cherries off the tree and parties.  The female form, fresh air, vacation.  I like promotions and pay raises and listening and learning.  I like writing and teaching and helping.  
               I like good health, friendship and wonderment.  I like givers, being loved back and sometimes peeing outside.  Homemade pie crust, cooperation and happy surprises.  I like kindness and intimacy and laughter.  I like tolerance, mayo and butter free meals and Dr. Seuss.  I like who my children have become, my dog and caramel.  Inspiration, projects done and tomorrow.  I like playing by the rules, alone time and silliness.  Inclusion, winning and the spirit of Christmas that sadly lasts far too short.  I like peace, seriousness and happy mail.  Staying at home, problem free and purple. 
               I like my toothpaste tube squeezed from the bottom, grapefruit with a kiss of salt and flirting.  I like different, physical stimulation and clean underwear.  I like fairness and cranberries with turkey dinner.  I like celebrating, being creative and just being crazy.  There are so many things that I like and I’m sure I’ve left plenty out.  Sometimes, I even like me.