Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's Your Call

Suppose it was a hot summer day, around, oh two o'clock in the afternoon and you decided to make a sandwich for lunch.

All the ingredients were there: buttermilk bread (could not find grain), yellow mustard, sliced faux turkey, processed almost Swiss cheese, Texas Pete, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and just for the adventure, a large tomato. Slice the big beefsteak (without losing any body parts) and place all the elements together on a paper towel.

Just as you are about to walk out the door to enjoy the feeding frenzy of the yard during their lunch period, the top of the sandwich slides off and lands face down on the floor.

What do you do?

1. Say some naughty language and chuck the whole thing into the trash?

2. Throw away the half of sandwich that splattered on the dusty floor, then eat the other half?

3. Pick up the escaped half, blow it off, then place it back to make a whole lunch again and move on?

Note: Remember this kitchen floor has not been cleaned in many years, but the dust and dirt is a accumulation of self.

It's Your Call?

Sunday, August 29, 2010


The oldest form of cooking is the open flame. Today we have taken it to an exquisite form of entertainment and prestige.

The ritual is to burn wood or charcoal until white hot, then place slabs of meat or poultry or fish on a grill and smoke until done. The act of turning the dinner over smoking flames has become a passage of manhood. Utensils, aprons and even hats have exclaimed the master of grilling dead animals over fire.

We don’t think of the slaughter of the meal going passively into the bins to be hung and carved. We would passionately object of this torture to another human, but to a helpless animal…well.

So the next time you grill masters are out burning flesh, remember the face that is not attached anymore. It’s been ground up and placed in your bacon.

Enjoy your meal.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


What makes us get up in the morning light and move on to new adventures?

Inspiration? Lure of challenges? Determination to accomplish repetitive chores? Anticipation of wonders?

Or is the incentive for money or fame? Then what?

Through much of life, we have outside influences that drive us.

But after all that is gone and the day holds the wonderment of having all the time necessary and all the means at hand to live your dreams, where to start.

For years, we excuse our fantasies with thousand of reasons we cannot reach for them.

Our fantasies deep down motivate us. These are what we wake up for. Not the cup of coffee, the glance at the television set or newspaper, the drive to the grocery store, the kids soccer game or the dinner party. We strive for the time to write the great novel, paint a watercolor in Paris, sail the clear waters of Key West or manuscript a symphony. Our hearts beat faster with thoughts of a warm smile or a far away whisper.

Dreams, perhaps never realized, are the drive in our engine.


A gang is defined as “a group of persons who work together or socialize regularly”. Sounds like a club or some community organization, but it is also defined as “a group of criminals or adolescent hoodlums”.

Oh! (Side note: I always wanted to put "adolescent hoodlum" down on a resume.)

But really defines the difference of say the “Hell’s Angels” and the “Kiwanis Club”?
Well the definition of groups of people joining together in a common belief or cause seems the same for both.

Both groups are proud of their gathering and wear badges celebrating their membership. They hold meetings and have group activities.

Then there is the degree of crime creeping into the “gang”.

When we are pre-teens, the group dynamic becomes important to us. Clubs, bands, teams are all gathering vehicles to meet and bond with new people. All of these “gangs” have their own requirements to join and in some cases, ceremonies to endure to become a member.

Religion and political beliefs can also form “gangs”. Strong feelings supported by like -minded individuals can move the “gang” to unreasonable and sometimes criminal behavior.

How about that Crusade “gang” who went to the Middle East to take back Jerusalem?

Sound familiar?

So as we define ourselves by what “gangs” we are associated with, we should practice some tolerance. Their “gang” may have different beliefs or a different take on life, but in a FREE democratically ruled country, everyone should be able to follow their own path.

And if you don’t like that idea…. Let’s rumble!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

For Your Comfort

Being comfortable is what we work for. Having food, shelter, safety, and clothing are our basic needs, but then we strive for comfort. Making our surroundings comfortable with relaxing places and familiar faces for entertaining ourselves in an aria of books and music and visual stimulation. Our sleeping areas are soft and warm. We stock our shelves with more food and clothing than we ever need but revel in the variety of choices. Feeling safe with security systems, insurance, and government patrols to protect our valuables brings us comfort. Working hard to earn enough money to provide ourselves with the comfort presented to us by retail business is a life’s goal and the American way. Of course being comfortable can make us soft and complacent.

But being uncomfortable is what drives us. If we are uncomfortable, like being in the rain without shelter, we take action. Our mind thinks of ways to become less uncomfortable. We create ideas and act upon them.

Parts of being comfortable means you know when you put your glasses down at night; they will be there in the morning. The familiar stays the same eliminating the need to add to the day’s complications.

For nearly three decades, that was not the case. Everyday was an adventure. Go to work in the morning and never know what was going to greet me at night. Some times the house was redecorated, or complete rooms moved around, or half the yard gone, or the entire house painted, or the kitchen thrown out, or all my clothes gone….. you get the idea. Life was in constant flux which kept it exciting and energized.

So as I move restore comfort to my new life, the glasses are in the same spot every morning, but sometimes living in comfort can be uncomfortable.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pleasure and Pain

Pleasure: A feeling of enjoyment or satisfaction
Pleasure is that wonderful feeling inside from a look, a touch, a word. The surroundings or community or self can cause pleasure. Pleasure is what makes us paint birds in the sky, write love sonnets, play like children, and find euphoria.

Pain: Physical or mental suffering or distress; an unpleasant sensation arising from injury or disease; a nuisance.
Pain brings us back to reality. There is emotional, physical, psychological pain of various degrees. Some overwhelming and some are dull constant pain. Pain brings us the blues, dark love poetry, and despair.
There are pills and potions that provide a temporary sense of pleasure, but there is a whole industry to ease the pain.

Old Doc Page, my family doctor, would just listen for a minute, reach in a drawer, and hand out a sample pill. “Take this and let me know if the pain does not go away.” And if it didn’t, Doc would give a shot. If that didn’t work, he’d cut it out.

The pleasure is fleeting, but sometimes the pain never goes away.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Quiet Observations

It has been quiet here for a couple of days. No hammering or machinery or people stomping all over plants and rattling ladders. Even the rain and cooler temperatures indicate the seasons are about to change.

My thoughts shift to the next projects. The list is getting shorter before the cold months, but it will require more construction and banging around the humble abode I call home.

After a dinner that almost killed me, I'm back on my feet, energized by the weather and moving on to outside projects that have been put off due to the heat. There is still a lot of trimming to do and gallons of paint to spread, but one thing at a time.

The daily rides have become routine, but it still helps to get outside in the outside, breathe deeply, press the body to move, and enjoy the surroundings.

Around the neighborhood, the painted streets bring road blockage and big trucks. The rain has made Leo very busy, yet some of the vacant "For Rent" property goes untouched. The usual people walk their pups and wheel around their offspring in a normal everyday ritual. More heating trucks appear next to the construction sites as the neighborhood prepares for fall.

The communications sense the mental preparation of a new school year, end of vacations, and fall cleaning. Wedding and baby pictures have been posted and viewed by all. Blogs have become a vacant pit of every opinion with little to say and even less to learn. Even the news shows, which are becoming more entertainment that hard fact finding, repeat stories too often.

The economy stays in the dump, but so far I'm lucky. Don't know how long I can make it last, but trying to keep an eye on the massive monthly expenses.

I guess it's just the hum drum of the end of summer.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Talk to the Animals

Going out this morning to take in the damp air and place flakes on the water, I said out loud, "Good Morning Guys" to the orange fin pack coming for breakfast. I started thinking of the few conversations I have with other humans, so I speak to the yard critters as they scamper around Puppywoods in their daily rituals.

"Hello Motor Scooters" I say to the black striped critters as they jet back and forth across the walkways, darting into holes only to return at the speed of light to pack their tiny cheeks with their daily meal.

"hello petie" I whisper to the gray yard monkeys as they criss-cross the yard and agilely crawl down the pine bark to the buffet laid out to them.

I enjoy their communication to each other, defining roles of who eats first or who is he most assertive. Much like the way people react, the Alpha role leads the way. While mostly speechless except when their is a threat, body language and expressions say volumes.

I go for days not speaking to any person, but every day I speak to the animals. "Hello Mr. Cardinal" as the mates arrive for a feeding, or "Blue Jay?"hearing the rustle under bushes.

And standing quietly on the path, I do not get a reply, only a stare back which makes me smile.

This is not an action I grew up with, but learned by listening.

I also talk to the television and I know they can't hear me.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Don't Matter Anyway

A fun weekend seeing folks I don't see ever so often. No big plans, just go with the flow. Some coming in from out of town and others just across the river, but renewing tails and ties that bind.

After a free musical lesson and showing off the wood boxes, we wandered down the ole retail trail and enjoyed the eye candy. There would be more before the night was over. Showing off the toy store where the owner died and the old theater. New paint on old buildings and the bustle of business before the big festival that will block my usual path. A burger in the 50's with cuteness in short cut off jeans and a punctuated face with a sweet smile.

Off to the string box store to view the wood and listen to the tone. Tons of old traveling memories flood the brain as we discuss the latest inductees. Talk to the professionals and they will offer a bargain too go to refuse. Hope it tunes out to be a reward and not a burden.

On past the wedding party to grab the ice and make the dash across the river, only to loose our way. But never no mind, we'll get their somehow. No to worry. A voice through the air leads us the crumbs to the path into the woods.

So many unknowns, but no fear. You are amongst friends. Dogs and children and familiar faces and those of the vague remembrance appear and disappear as the sun hides behind the tall trees and vanishes into the woods. Food and drink and laughter, but the best is never a harsh word. Some leave and some go as the churn of the bodies continue.

After a few moments with some family small talk, we open the case to reveal our rusty voices. The Beatles are always a favorite, but we mysteriously slip into the blues and if the time had been right, we would have stayed there until the first light.

Frank was right, "Music IS the best." It takes you back and throws you into new places, always an adventure with new discoveries every time you touch the strings.

The mind strains to remember the words, but the magic fingers lead the way out of thought moving to notes only they know. No recording was made, but smiles were.

The blond showed weariness of a long day, so we packed up the band and headed into the darkness as more of the crew moved toward the lighted balls. The master of ceremonies had produced another warm and friendly B.A.R.F.

At home again, I told tales of connections to the tired travels, then packing my bag, waved good bye. I've talked enough.

Refreshed by the cool weather and the community, sleep was not on the agenda. "Thank you" notes written not by pen on paper, but by fingers with callouses from steel against wood and explore some online music, finding another inspiration.

On reflection, no great conversation revealed or ideas changed, but comfort was enjoyed by many who came and some who didn't.

And for those who missed it, it don't matter anyway.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

On Being A Guy

The ladies can turn this off for they will not understand.

Now guys, do you remember college? For most of us it was the first time of being on our own. Left to our own devices, we had to feed ourselves, cloth ourselves, bath ourselves, find transportation to get from one point to another, and even create a social life.

The rules of the parents were far away and the rules of the college vague enough that they didn't matter. We were FREE to be GUYS!

This is the time you realize what being a GUY is all about. Eating leftover cold pizza for breakfast, wearing the same cloths for several days, not making up the bed, leaving dirty dishes in the sink (my college roommate would be proud), staying up to all hours of the night, drinking beer at 10 AM, listening to whatever music you want, and of course flirting with the ladies.

I seemed to have slipped back into that time. With all the construction, the dust and dirt and spider webs in the corners does not bother me. Planning color schemes and deciding curtains is a far away destination. Shifting between two or three t-shirts and not washing until they are all dirty has become the norm. Shaving only when guest come in from out of town and haircuts are obsolete.

One of the chores of the female persuasion is to change a guy. Smarten us guys up, so we are presentable as the man on her arm. Suits and ties for better employment, smelly lotions and jewelry, and soft music.

And us guys fall for all of that and go right along with it, not because we want to, buy we want the females to like us so they will put out. You guys know what I'm talking about.

Don't get me wrong. Being a GUY is not being a bum. Us guys have some smartness to us. How about the Bill Shakespeare. He could put some good word together and even made us laugh, but I'm not sure about those fluffy pants he wore. And Al Einstein, he was pretty good with numbers and had a bitching haircut.

But I think it is time to shed last weeks socks because my eyes are watering.