The Craftsman--in part

Monday, December 29, 2008

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I remember my first time (ok, ok, only) time in a cave. Before that morning, I never could have imagined being unable to see my hand in front of my face. The cave was absolutely devoid of light. What would light be to someone who had never seen it? Pain? Revelation? Magic?

The fire builder approaches the clearing,
Though, really, he has never left.
The trees bow their boughs;
The ground holds its soil;
The sky stirs its wind;
and the builder gathers twigs.

He selects the ones that are ready,
Dry and primed to ignite.
He picks them and piles them,
Dark though it is,
And works toward a workable light.

Nothing is clear in the darkness,
Not even the stars pierce their sky.
Fuzzy dark corners muffle
Even the sounds and the smells.

The builder measures the breeze
and shelters the wood with his chest
Crouching, he gathers his tools
wisps of thin smoke, curls of the thicker,
A spark, a glow, a collection of embers.
Then, light.

hmmm... to bed.
Sleepy, not sleepy, Squash Pie (do NOT (!!) try that one...heh)

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Well, Isn't that Special :)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

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Dana Carvey cracks me up. Check out his HBO Special: Squatting Monkeys Tell no Lies. :o) Haah.larious.

So, one thing I know: celebrations are what you make them. If you don't bring the confetti, sparkling candles, Trans-Siberian Orchestra Mix, Santa hats, and orange zested sweet potatoes to the party -- who will?

Two: If you (*I*) can't be with family for the holidays, there are plenty of kids in hospitals and older folks in homes who could use a hug and a smile as much as family-scattered you (*moi*).

Three: There's something really cool about holiday traditions. I don't have too many, so I'm going to build my own. Next year, I'm going to some type of holiday concert, adding an ornament to my animal ornament collection, visiting some lonely elderly folks, and hosting a chill "get in the spirit" party before the madness hits in December. :) I really need to sit down and watch The Christmas Story from start to finish. ;)

Plans. Grinch B. Gone. Joy. Saturday Night.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

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What the heck is "ministry" anyway?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

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I drove a different route to a different church this morning. It was the usual city thoroughfare: Starbucks collections, gas stations, restaurants and bead shops in strip malls. As I was speeding to keep up with my buddy's green Honda in front of me ;p , I caught a slow, bold, blur.

A man was pacing in the parking lot of a shop with a "We Buy Gold" sign. His car was the only one in the lot. He wore a white hoodie and paced around his car with a desperate determination--as if eager for the shopkeeper to arrive. I wondered if his kids would be waiting for bowed bicycles on Christmas morning. I wondered what gold he'd be offering for cash. I wondered if he was hungry. I wondered how my life would be different in his shoes. I wondered how many life twists it would take for me to be the one in the white hoodie, pacing desperately outside the Gold Exchange, waiting for a miracle.

Then, church. We sang the Hallelujah Chorus and talked about how Jesus was rejected by his homefolks. We passed the plate, signed the attendance sheet, hugged some necks, and went to lunch. A lovely lady in our small group paid for lunch and I put a $10 on the table as a tip. I was thinking about my homey in white, and wondering how the server was getting by. I'm not rolling in cash, but I had it to give-- and I wanted the server to have it. Another at the table picked up the cash, proffered it like dirt, and said, "What is t h i s?" as if there had been some serious blunder that should be corrected immediately.

Excuse me? Excuse me? I believe in the body of believers. I support the church. I also believe that CHURCH is PEOPLE, in action, showing a supernatural love for others. If I had thrown that bill in the special offering for the building fund, would you have scoffed then? Need we don our "I heart steeples" matching t-shirts and fuel up our church buses to call our contributions to the world worthy? Must our love come through the vehicle of a non-profit-org's planning to be effective?? No. Should I have to explain to you what my motivations were for spending that money? Heck No. Someday, when I meet the Lord, his name will be Jehovah, not *your name*.

Sometimes, I really don't like church people.

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Cycling is a little Funny

Saturday, December 20, 2008

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I went to a cycling class the other night and it kicked by butt. It was probably the best workout I've had in a year. It was also pretty fun to find myself warped into The World of Bicyclists. I should've worn my "I'm a Newbie" t-shirt. Nah, I sure didn't need a t-shirt.

10. I forgot my biker spandex.

9. I was kicking it with run-o-de-mill Adidas.

8. I was the one reluctant to leave "the saddle".

7. I was the one nursing numb buns. Do bicyclists work up a tolerance for that?

6. I was the one distracted by all the sculpted Man Leg. I guess I know what to do to get my legs in shape.

5. I was the one bopping more to the Motely Crue than the rhythm of the bikers on the simulation screen in front of us.

4. I was the one sitting almost upright. How do they ride hugging the bar like that?

3. I only vaguely know about Critical Mass.

2. I don't even have a bike right now.

1. I was the one knocking myself out with my knees and the pedals when I'd try to slow down. Easy, Wheels...Eaaaaasy.

Good Times. Thanks, bicyclists, for graciously welcoming me into your simulated workout world. I'll be back. fo sho.

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Finter and Wautum

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

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Concert at Center Stage on 14th--awesome, small, small venue.

Thank you, Mrs. F. for the much needed duds for walking in the woods. Heels don't cut it.

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Three-Thirty in the Mawnin

Saturday, December 13, 2008

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Yes, it is.

Odd how Americans are so protective of privacy, but will live in apartments with thin floors and carry on like banshees. I feel like I should be baking "congratulations!" muffins for the folks upstairs. eh... I think it's time for a shack in the woods. Thoreau?

In wildness is the preservation of the world.

I say beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a wearer of new clothes.
In honor of dark, sleepiness, and good squeezes... A story of a pet bird.

The bird was George De Havilland Grace
Only Grandma knew it

To his friends he was Skippy
and skip he would
Across tables
Down hallways
Over history homework

But Grand knew birds should sing and fly
It bothered her when Skippy would twirtle on by
***Aaaw..rhyming IS better...I'll rewrite this later.***
So, she set out to teach him to bird.

She waved one arm to the left and one on the right
Skippy flapped each of his wings
He looked pretty cheerful and tried to follow
But Grand's waves were tricky
and soon, Skip was skipping

The next day, Grandma began singing lessons
She sang Shenandoah one note at a time
This time, Skippy didn't even try
He stood on the counter, quiet and still

One giant tear slipped from Grandma's eye
In all my nine years, I'd never seen Grandma cry
Skippy looked worried and somewhat contrite
He fluffed up his dander and stood up tall
... And let out the first note of Shenandoah

Only it lingered and cracked like no note scaled
It pierced and it scraped the peaceful, calm air
Pain hit my ears and I closed my eyes
Then, another sound blocked out Skip's cries

Grandma was cackling, laughing out loud
Gripping her sides and kneeling on the ground
Rolling and shaking with giant delight
She said, "Oh, my dear--that bird is a fright."

She patted Skippy on the head,
then winked and skipped down the hallway to bed.

Oooooooooook, this needs work.......back to bed.backtobed.

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

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Our life always expresses the result of our dominant thoughts.

If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating, as possibility!

It belongs to the imperfection of everything human that man can only attain his desire by passing through its opposite.

Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.

I divide my time as follows: half the time I sleep, the other half I dream. I never dream when I sleep, for that would be a pity, for sleeping is the highest accomplishment of genius.

“Do you not know that there comes a midnight hour when every one has to throw off his mask? Do you believe that life will always let itself be mocked? Do you think you can slip away a little before midnight in order to avoid this? Or are you not terrified by it? I have seen men in real life who so long deceived others that at last their true nature could not reveal itself;... In every man there is something which to a certain degree prevents him from becoming perfectly transparent to himself; and this may be the case in so high a degree, he may be so inexplicably woven into relationships of life which extend far beyond himself that he almost cannot reveal himself. But he who cannot reveal himself cannot love, and he who cannot love is the most unhappy man of all.”
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California Roots

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

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Bob's grandmother was a storyteller and his father, his first mystery. The man was one of the Texas-born Joneses who went south during the Depression to find work and never quite made it home.

Bob's mother was a jokester and a lovely, but hardy woman. After Jones left, she married WC, a man 20-years her senior.

More later. I can't stay awakeeeee...... ;)

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Ahab's Big Trip

Sunday, November 23, 2008

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From II Chronicles 18 and Andy Stanley's Morning Talk
**much artistic license taken, thank you ;)

Wealth and dignity were Jehoshaphat's reputation,
and so he became the Great King's relation.
Ahab, the Evil, was Jezebel's honey
and known for his love of cult worship and money.

One year, Jeho treked down to the in-laws,
The feast Ahab ordered led cigars and great guffaws.
He spoke of intentions to capture a crossroads
and requested adherence to "Thee Brothers Fight Code".

"Jeho, if this strategic hamlet I attack,
Can I count on you to watcheth my back?"
Jeho replied, "We're family; don't ask,
But let's seek the Lord in planning this task."

Ahab called prophets and prophets arrived,
They swarmed as 400 bees honey a hive,
"Yes, King" and "Surely, God will deliver",
"We have asked and the gods have given the answer."

Jehoshaphat ordered a word from Jehovah,
"God's blessing's horsd'ouvre is victry's aroma."
"Are there prophets of 'I am' remaining?"
"I've heard so much Baal talk, my ears are straining."

"There's one dude I know; His name is Michiah",
"He'll turn Sunny Optimist into a cry'a",
"He brings down a party before he says, 'hi'",
Around here, we call him, 'that baddest news guy'

Jeho was determined to speak with this mac,
Ahab sent a messenger to bring the man back,
Ahab loved parties and hosted unending,
The prophets knew exactly whose gold they were spending.

So they yelled, "Go and fight! You'll win and we'll cheer!"
Be a sport before leaving and pour me a beer?
Mic heard the party and the messenger whispered,
"Agree with the masses or your buttocks they'll blister."

I'm not with these sugarlips, I speak for the Lord,
Parties don't thrill me, He has my reward.
"Ahab, your sheep will be lost in the hills.
They'll have no one to lead when their shepherd's blood spills"

Zed, a bold prophet knocked Mic in the face,
"Truth broke its lease when it moved from MY place.
Perhaps you can tell me which way it went?!"
Mac spoke, "The Judge will soon settle the rent."

Ahab was sobered and could hardly stammer,
"Send this prophet of God to live in the slamma!
Release him when I feast in my bed, and
feed Mic naught but water and bread!"

"You'll never return, but perhaps I've misheard,
If Ahab goes, he's dead--People, mark my words!",
So, they threw Mic in prison and locked the door,
and Jeho and Ahab gal'loped to War.

Ahab began thinking while the posse's en route,
Of the possible wisdom of the Ol' Fashioned Coot,
He suggested to Jeho a change of costume,
That would highlight J's glory (and prevent his own doom).

"I'll wear the garb of a common enlisted,
If you'll act as leader, please stand in your bro's stead."
The good king of Aram, the rich little foe,
Ordered no man as target but Israel's king KO'ed.

The chariot cabbies spied Jeho and thought they'd won,
They unsheathed swords on Judah's High Son,
But Jeho knew God and requested more life,
And Aram's boys knew he was no place to focus their strife.

Meanwhile, a young man while practicing aim,
Faced to the clouds and arrowed in game,
The unmanaged arrow flew straight to the seam
of Ahab's shabby armor--and took down the king.

Counsel is treasure and worth a long wait,
Its purpose to save and not to elate,
Rush and end paying a price you'll not afford,
When seeking yourself and ignoring the Lord.


I'd never heard that one til today. :)

Rushing, Impulsive, More Ahabish than Jehoshaphatish, Slowing Down Slowly
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Peter Pan Passed

Saturday, November 22, 2008

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Fantasy is fun
To brandish a sword,
To befriend pirates,
Inch across planked boards

Nothing beats
To have royal blood,
To sling noon's twin guns.

To advise great kings
To lasso the bandits,
To outwit the Brain
and wear his best spandex.
To digest bear poison
and skip home for lunch,
To stop the meteor
with a casual hunch.
To scale stacked windows,
To drive polished cars,
To win all the races,
To bend prison bars.

Fantasy is fun,
Sweat and blood showered
Rapunzel the Sweet
In her cold tower.

Fantasy is fun,
But sometimes it's not
To be on your own;
It's not as you thought.

The plank is a scrap from Dad's latest build;
The cape is a blanket with holes and yarn pills.
The sword is a stick you grabbed from the yard;
Doorknobs won't steer home, though you turn them real hard.

Peter Pan Passed
Rapunzel's split ends
Tarnished her beauty
We call them "pretend"
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Mister Smith

Monday, November 17, 2008

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Mr. Smith sagged. His eyelids drooped, lazily hanging over the pools that collected near his pale eyes. His jowls laureled his chest as if marking the victory of having outlived. He was an old veteran whose new uniform was a single pair of overalls and a faded flannel shirt.

Mr. Smith’s house paid homage to the man himself by slumping along with him. A tiny folding stool sat on a tiny rotting porch—and I passed the scene everyday on my walk from the white house on Maupin to Pike and the college campus. First, the ochre stucco, then the smell of woodstove, and finally, the slouching man with a few-toothed smile and a trucker’s cap greeted me with a slow wave.

We would chat, Mr. Smith and I. I was fishing for stories and starving for wisdom. Mr. Smith was merely using the porch, his solitary venue for meeting new friends, to its maximum potential.

He spoke of the back surgery that would make it possible for him to be married again. I wondered if this young woman (who had a new name each time we talked) would show up as I stood on the edge of the grass so Mr. Smith could introduce me. He warned me about “dirty truckers” as he listened to their conversations on his radio during the times he wasn’t parked on the porch. He talked to me about his supply of canned ham. Finally, he talked to me about his time in the military and his mom. He scratched out her recipe for “Coffee Can Bread”, which he still ate with canned ham salad for nearly every meal, and gave it to me as a gift one day.

I still have that recipe tucked away somewhere and I think of Mr. Smith and our meandering conversations when I read it. I think of all the other misters and misses who sit on their porches in silence, waiting for someone to walk by and see them. I wonder how many of us will set up our own small stools on worn and weathered porches someday and peek down the street, hoping for a slow stroller who might have a minute to gab.

I should have asked his name.
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Okies, stand up!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

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On behalf of those born (ehem) or raised in Oklahoma, I object. Thanks, Susi, for the link. ;)

Not all Okies sport mullets!

Oklahoma Foxies

Carrie Underwood

Garth Brooks (when the thunder rolls, indeed)

Woodie Guthrie (anyone who can honk a horn like that is h.o.t.)

James Garner

Geronimo (Apache warriors have "smokin" in the job description. Tomohawk? Check. Battle hair? Check.

Mickey Mantle (Take me out to the ball game...)

Brad Pitt

Jim Thorpe
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Monday, November 3, 2008

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walmart insanity

Thursday, October 30, 2008

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Tonight, I spoke with my first WalMart manager. In fact, I spoke with my first manager ever (on the customer side, that is). Tonight, I almost smeared blue vest across Wally's yellow smileys. I almost lost it.

You know you're at the end of your rope when a bulldozing punk at WalMart makes you cry (After I got to my car, thank you). Sometimes, you just have to stand up for yourself--whether it creates a fistfight situation or not.

It's official. I'm taking a day off next week.

Sometimes, when I have days like this, I look to my journals to remember how good the Lord has been and how alive He is... even in the face of my anger, the sludge in the world, and the sense of entitlement that hangs in the air.

So, here's November, three years ago:

His is a beauty that messes with me. It's the blues in the sky that breeze a calm I can't reject. It's the rhythm of a song that stirs me up--so my stomach is in my toes and my toes in my stomach. It's so personal sometimes that I wonder if He put calves in a field just so He could tell me about them. It's so original that rhinos have single horns and tree branches rustle in late fall. It's so consuming that without it, I would be hollow.


Lord, show me your beauty again. I want to surrender again.


** Pretty cool--I was thinking about sunsets after posting this and some of the photos I've taken over the years. They've always represented redemption and forgiveness to me. The pic below fell out of my journal (Thanks, Lord :) ) , so I took a snapshot.

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What a weekend!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

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Maybe it's time for some macaroni pizza

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

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So, today was the kind of day I actually looked at a stoplight and wondered: Is red the one that means stop? It was the kind of day when I probably would have forgotten how to spell "and" if I could have.

I was driving home the usual way when I passed a usual corner stoplight. Only today, a 17-year-old guy wearing all black stood on the corner. He was wearing an iPod and playing air guitar with the Cici's Pizza "Come and Get it, Bertha!" sign like it was Jimi's Les Paul. There's a certain camaraderie at stoplights--like the "we're in this together", "traffic sucks", "isn't this the longest light ever?" kind and I couldn't help but wonder if the other drivers were about to cough up an intestine as I was...laughing with this crazy Jimi on the corner. Only a few of them seemed to be paying attention.

Their loss. That kid has a real genius for advertising. Going where no pizza suit has gone before... I hope he's there tomorrow. :)

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

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You'll know it's Fall when . . .

Saturday, October 4, 2008

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Sleepy Times

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

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First, T.I. is a poet. I can dig him.

Second, brocolli is amazing. It really doesn't get enough credit.

Third, thank goodness Rihanna can yodel. Risky business, that yodeling.

Fourth, roller coasters really do take practice. Ralfing is a real danger. Give me a break.

Fifth, one should never watch "Nanny 911" and expect to have children or keep belts intact.

Sixth, waking up every two hours at night doesn't lead to a refreshing day. How can one really lose something one never had? Boys are wack-o (and pretty cool). The sun must set... every night .... or so they say.

Carumba. Carumba. Carumba.

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Paul Newman

Saturday, September 27, 2008

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There will never be another Cool Hand Luke. RIP.
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Sunday, September 21, 2008

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Old Time, in whose banks we deposit our notes
Is a miser who always wants guineas for groats;
He keeps all his customers still in arrears
By lending them minutes and charging them years.
~Oliver Wendell Holmes
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The Girls

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

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Sometimes, it's nice just hangin with the girls.

"Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose.” Tennessee Williams
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Saturday, September 6, 2008

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September 4, 2008

Dear Gram,

You wrote that you first moved to Rapid City during the Indian Summer of 1954 to work as a clerk-stenographer at Ellsworth AFB. You met Grandpa your very first night in town.

You didn't tell me this, but according to Gramps, you were window shopping at a jewlery store with Mary Mudge. ALC, a young man with a passion for good rocks (stellar, geological or otherwise), paused to check out a woman with such good taste.

Two summers later, the two of you married. I wish I had asked you about the specifics--what was it about GP that drew you? Knowing you preferred Toby Keith over Frank Sinatra, I will venture a guess that he said something about iolite in that deepwater bass of his and you were Intrigued. Gramps might say the draw was magnetic--like a strong positive and negative helpless to resist their ionic attraction. However it began, you built and refined a relationship that lasted over 50-years.

You moved to New York, Jersey, El Paso, South Dakota, Germany, Spokane, El Paso again, California, Nevada ... and finally, back to South Dakota. Rapid City was, you said, not too far from GP's Nebraska stomping grounds.

It's hard to believe there won't be any more letters. I guess when the Lord's trumpet sounds, we won't need typewriters. Somehow, I needed to write one more time.

Thank you for being a strong woman with real opinions. Thank you for raising my mom--who is a favorite of mine. :) Thank you for taking care of GP and your boys. Thank you for writing me back and establishing the "birthday dress" tradition.

Gram, I don't feel quite ready to let you go--but neither of us is in charge and the more grey hair I find, the more I realize it's better that way.

Until we meet again...

Love. Love. Love.

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Dear Gram

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

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30 October 2002

Dear A.J.:

Brrrr, it is cold! We had snow nearly all day yesterday and the temperature plummeted from a comfortable 40 something to below freezing. The snow was light, but the wind had to blow, too. We had planned to go to Ellsworth, but decided it would be wise to wait for a better day.

Only 6 days and it will be over. The longest and nearly the meanest pre-election campaign I can remember. I've known for months which candidates I would vote for and the bitterness is only "politics as usual". It just seems the badmouthing starts earlier each time. Most of the voters are intelligent and know who is telling the truth and who isn't. Or at least I think they are.

It's hard to believe you are 21 already. Where does the time go? I can't remember anything special about my 21st birthday. I was in the Air Force and probably no one knew but me. I was a pretty young 21, too. Didn't "grow up" for several more years. Probably some time after your mother was born. It is supposed to happen at 21. So many adult privileges start then, but I believe i all depends on the individual. I suppose my best time was in my early 40s. My family was growing up, I still was healthy and vigorous, and the future was looking brighter for us all. Not perfect, but greatly improved.

Sunday morning about 11:00, Gramps and I went to Uncle Sam's Casino as we've been doing for several weeks. They serve pretty good breakfasts for very little money and afterwards Gramps goes home to watch football and I stay there to play Keno. As we were sitting down, I looked toward another table and saw a lady whom I was positive was someone I knew. You grandfather urged me to go talk to er, but I hesitated until I could see she and her party were ready to leave. Took all my courage, but I got up and confronted her. She did not recognize me at all until I told her who I am. She was Mary Mudge, my roommate at Northern in Aberdeen when we were both 23. After that year in college, I ran into her again in Rapid City and we shared an apartment until I was married. The last time I had seen her was when your mom and Doug were little. That's more than 40 years ago. Anyway, I had been keeping an eye out for her since we moved back to Rapid 7 years ago. I had an address and phone number, but Iwas afraid to call for fear she had died or divorced. She and her husband, David Hardy, have 4 sons who, of course, are grown. They were leaving shortly to spend the witner somewhere in Mexico as they do each winter. Time has taken its toll on all 4 of us, but it is really a thrill to have actually found her and to know she is happy and well. We'll get together after they get back here.

Gramps and Scotty went out right after breakfast and cleaned the walks and driveway free of snow. No walk for Scotty as his feet get too cold and his toenails bleed. Wish there were a way to explain it to him, but we just have to endure is unhappy eyes.

I guess I'll fix beef stew for dinner tonight. Last night we had baked ham and sweet potatoes. Strange how much easier it was to cook when I had 5 others to please. Now, I could do without it, as you remember.

So, congratulations on your one and only 21st birthday. Keep happy and "May the wind always be at your back"--to partially quote an old Irish blessing.


Gram, Gramps, and Scotty

26 August 2008

Dear Gram,

I love you. I absolutely love you.


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Searching for a Master Whittler

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

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I would like to apprentice with someone who has mastered the art of balance--balancing work, friends, family, and laundry. Call me. Immediately.

Por Favor and S'il vous plait.

Living on the Tilt,

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Hugs, Squeezes, and General Lovin

Saturday, August 2, 2008

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Sometimes there is absolutely nothing as good as a tremendous hug. A tax-free, warm and cozy, staying right here, just-cuz-I-like-you, "it's storming out, but I don't care", "there's nothing more important to do for the next 20-minutes", "We've been hugging so long it's almost awkward" hug hug hug.

Let's have a little more of those in the world, please. I think it would be a much better place. So, starting now--let's see some more of that. And throw in a side of kisses.

That's a billion squeezes with a side of kisses.
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Code Talker by Joseph Bruchac is suh.weet

Sunday, July 27, 2008

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It's a book subtitled: the Navajo Marines of World War Two. You can find it in the "Teen Reads" section of your local bookstore. It's an entire world I haven't explored enough. After the heinous way "white man" treated Native Americans following the arrival of boatloads from the East, THIS is what the National Tribal Council wrote in response to the possibility of war in 1940--

Whereas, the Navajo Tribal Council and the 50,000 people we represent, cannot fail to recognize the crisis now facing the world in the threat of foreign invasion and destruction of the great liberties and benefits which we enjoy on the reservation, and

Whereas, it has become common practice to attempt national destruction through sowing the seeds of treachery among minority groups such as ours, and

Whereas, we hereby serve notice that any un-American movement among our people will be resented and dealt with severely, and

Now, therefore, we resolve that the Navajo Indians stand ready as they did in 1918, to aid and defend our government, and its institution against all subversion and armed conflict and pledge our loyalty to the system which recognizes minory rights and a way of life that has placed us among the greatest people of our race.

Wow. And the Navajo became some of the fiercest fighters in WWII. Hooyah. Cheers to those of you who remember the old ways. Cheers to forgiveness. What a powerful thing.

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Peter O'Neill

Friday, July 11, 2008

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This is a painting I saw while walking by Peter O'Neill's gallery in Charleston. What an amazing artist! This painting makes me want to tango. Immediately. Forever. :)

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The Peach--- Reflecting on Two Years

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

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Man, it is hard to believe I've been in Atlanta almost TWO years. Someone told me it takes three years to become an "honorary peach." I'm not sure the native
ATL-ians I know would agree, but who can really be the final authority on Peach-hood?

I'm finding that sometimes when every doorknob you turn is locked, it's because you're meant to climb through the window and discover something new. What am I talking about? Well, Atlanta is an example of that for me.

About two years ago, I was in a pretty grey place. A friend I considered a life mentor passed away and the church family that played a major role in shaping my ideas crumbled. Everything that I thought was true became questionable. I decided to move to Colorado and go to grad school---only to discover at the last minute that the financial aid I counted on was unavailable. So, I moved to Texas to spend time with my folks and organize my thoughts. In Texas, I felt like I was hitting a wall everywhere. I had interviews with middle schools, Central Market (an AWESOME TX type version of Whole Foods), applied at clothing stores, went out and met people, tried different churches, hung out with my folks... nothing was coming easy. Every doorknob I turned was locked. Then, I met a stranger from Atlanta and started researching. I applied for a few jobs and immediately had an opportunity to interview. I packed up my car and decided to give it a go. I "climbed through the window." Had things been easier in Texas, I might not have ever come to Georgia and my entire life would be different.

Wilbur and Orville Wright learned mechanics in their printing and bicycle shops. What if they never felt a push/desperation to explore aeronautics? Einstein once couldn't find a teaching job and went to work in the patent office--during which time he also worked on many of his most famous projects. Steven Speilberg dropped out of middle school only to become the highest earning director of all time. Mr. Honda was a jobless, homemade scooter maker until his friend's requests for scooters inspired him to start his own company. Paul Newman pursued acting after an injury ended a blooming football career. Sometimes, the things that we see, in the moment, as c r a z y, impulsive, disappointing detours --- become the things that absolutely reshape our life contribution. Sometimes, the "right" way to come home isn't through the obvious door, it's through the window.

Mark Twain once said, "Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered - either by themselves or by others." Maybe discovery happens for those who let go of their own plans and follow their hearts.

Looking for the window. Going to s l e e p. Call me, Mom.


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The Last Huzzah!

Monday, July 7, 2008

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Finally, we took Ed Grimball's Walking Tour of Charleston! I was so excited and Mr. Grimball was such a shining example of Charleston's hospitality. It was a really good tour and gave me a new respect for those who work hard to preserve history instead of allowing corporations to bully-doze national treasures. Man, there were flower boxes EVERYWHERE! Any city with a beach and a profusion of flower boxes is the diggity.
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More Charleston

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Here's our day on the beach. Of course, it was packed. There was a volleyball tournament going on, the water was warm ... and no, Dad, I didn't have to wrestle any crocs. :) What a gorgeous day! Later that night, we had dinner and walked around downtown.
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Love ya, Charlie!! See you soon.

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Here's a portrait of the trip to Charleston. What a dang good time in an awesome city!

The festival at Patriot's Point. The USS Yorktown was called "The Fighting Lady" during World War II. It was pretty cool to celebrate the Fourth in a town brimming with sailors and street dancers! Wooohooo!
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Independence Day MIX TAPE (ok..."playlist")

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

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Five hours in the car with friends warrants a festive audio environment. Here's what I've created for our trip (I'm so excited!) I know...there are a lot of tracks. I couldn't chose. I moved them around a little...but here's the list.

1. The Star Spangled Banner/ Blues Travelers
2. Fortunate Son/ CCR
3. Summer Nights/ Lil Rob
4. Back Where I Come From/ Kenny Chesney
5. In the Summertime/ Shaggy
6. Living in America/ James Brown
7. This Land is Your Land/ Everclear
8. Independence Day/ Martina McBride
9. Sweat/ Inner Circle
10. The Star Spangled Banner/ Muri Ben-Ari
11. Brown Eyed Girl/ Van Morrison
12. Sweet Southern Comfort/ Buddy Jewel
13. Mission Temple Fireworks Stand/ Paul Thorn
14. American Car/ Mike Doughty
15. Route 66 / Chuck Berry
16. Firecracker/ Josh Turner
17. Starry Eyed Surprise / Oakenfold
18. Summertime / Old Men on the Block ;)
19. Summer Breeze / Jason Mraz
20. Sitting on the Dock of the Bay / Otis Redding
21. This Land is Your Land / Little Feat
22. Car Song / Woody Guthrie
23. Firecracker / Ryan Adams
24. You are the Generation That... / Johnny Boy
25. Celebration Guns / Stars
26. A Jamaican in New York / Shinehead
27. We're an American Band / Grand Funk Railroad
28. Days of America / BlackHawk
29. Stars and Stripes Forever / Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
30. The Star Spangled Banner (Live) / Hendrix

Ok, time to get PACKED!

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Dear Future President

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

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The other day, a camera crew from a nearby megaorganization stopped by the corner coffee shop where I spend time. They requested thoughts for the future president. I was ashamed to say I had nothing to say. So, I thought about it a little, and here you have it:

June 25, 2008

Dear Future President,

I'm reluctant to write because I know so little about political machines and the extreme, far-flying wings of the Parties. On the other hand, if I may be frank, I'm also encouraged to write because of that same ignorance. As a native US'er, I'm naive enough to believe that the kind of difference Jimmy Stewart made as Mr. Smith is more than just a fantasy. That were we to strip off the layers of propoganda and confetti, we might find something pure remaining in a naked Washington.

A friend of mine is a recruiter for the US Air Force. Often, potential recruits strut into his office confident that the Air Force has something to offer them. Fewer contact my friend with a true attitude of service--what can they bring to the country's table? Essentially, you have been recruited as commander-in-chief, the faceplate of America. Aside from all the resume buzz words, what are you offering?

The media has blitzed the "change" message into the ground. But words are cheap and depreciating quickly these days. I'll keep this short.

1. Are you strong enough to be silent instead of making promises you're not sure you can keep? Is honesty a priority for you? How will you follow through on promises Uncle Sam has already made (Social Security, National Debt)?

2. Terror, Terrorism, and Evil Axises have existed forever. Historically, violence spawns violence. How did our efforts leave Vietnam? Native Americans? Japan? On the other hand, how has a policy of peace had an impact in an utterly ravaged Rwanda? In that country, the word "change" really means something.

3. When you have to make tough decisions, what is your foundation? Ultimately, to whom do you feel most responsible for the job you do?

Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. I recognize the privelege of having the opportunity to address the leader of my country (even indirectly). Thank you for donating years of your life to public service.


Atlanta, GA
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Sunday, June 22, 2008

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Surfer Crossing

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

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Heh. Kelly took this is Hawaii. I think the GDOT should design a special crossing sign for Buckhead crosswalks. hrm.
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Sunday, June 8, 2008

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I spent some time at Pensacola Beach a few days ago. It's amazing to me how the same God who designed oceans that can tsunami entire nations into n o t h i n g engineered brilliant, beautiful little shells. I love that.


The rip tides are hidden, erratic pulls
That drag while you're kicking and yank 'til you're full
of plankton and brine, watery salt.
Lungs that can't take it fill and then halt.

The Maker is violent, dangerous, loud;
He lifts up the rulers and cuts down the proud.
Like soldiers, the tides march in and retreat
In time with His magnetic metronome beat.

The shore sand is soft, yielding, unmeasured--
A hiding place both for lost junk and treasures.
It forms hills and valleys at the whim of the wind,
settled only 'til the sea claims it again.

The Lord is a gentle, strategic unknown
Who buries great gifts in the sands of His own.
Like time, the breeze stirs up and reveals
The depths of a love that knows, values, and heals.


Honey, it's HOT! ;) Anyone for a sweaty game of frisbee?

near frozen juices. iced grande vanilla lattes. AC.

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The Schwank Life

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

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Tonight, I went to an event at a house in a very nice neighborhood. There was no trash or dirty water or bugs in the ditches....The gutters were filled with tennis balls. Hmmm... ;)
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What I'm looking forward to this SUMMER

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growing my first tomatoes (!)
Seeing my neice on her birthday
A short trip to Florida
Reading a few books
Working more at my "fun" job
Organizing my desk at home
The pool
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Brake Jobs and Public Transit

Sunday, May 4, 2008

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In a shop, the average cost is about 600 smackies.

carb spray-- for cleaning the oil residue off the new rotors $1.70
new rotor (per wheel)-- $35
wheel cleaner-- while I'm down there, I might as well clean those beasts $5.00
brake pads-- $25 (per wheel)-- ceramic pads would be nice, but the benefits are mainly cosmetic.

Maybe the folks at the auto parts store will lend me these things and I won't have to buy them.

1.5 ton jack-- $25
4-way/lug wrench-- $10


OOOOOOooooooooook. My Dad has a lot of sense. Yes, it would be fine for me to do my own brakes if I had done them a few times under the supervision of an expert. (Videos from expertvillage probably don't count ;) ) I DO owe it to my fellow motorists to make sure my brakes are in good working order. Bad brakes are not like a bad paint job. Yes, Atlanta traffic is HARD on breaks. Yes, the cost of commuting is one I will not be paying in the future. Yes, I owe it to MYSELF to be sure it's a sound job.

Here's my beef. It seems like there are a few professions: medical, law, auto, etc. in which there is a secret body of knowledge that the general public doesn't know. Because of this, professionals can charge outrageous amounts of money for being experts in their fields. Why can't an expert apple tree trimmer get paid as much for his expertise? Why can't an expert stained glass muralist get paid as much for her expertise? Why can't an expert teacher get paid as much for his expertise? Uh huh, I said it.

I guess it reflects our values as a society. We value or lives, living those lives out of jail, and our independence (which...unfortunately in the ATL area, requires a personal set of wheels).

Meineke? UGH. UGH.

What a gorgeous day!

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Compromise, ne pas?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

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I was watching an episode of Felicity the other with my roommate. The show follows its namesake from high school through college. Felicity is a dramatic, sheltered, California pre-med major who winds up in New York in pursuit of a high school crush. So, in the episode I was watching... Felicity and Ben have been a couple for a few weeks. It is everything she thought she wanted. Only, Felicity reaches a sort of catharsis when she realizes she has had to compromise a lot of the foundational parts of herself to be with this guy. When they break up in the episode, she says:

The truth is, I can't be with you like this. I mean, I know I said that I could, but I can't. I just can't compromise myself like that. I'm an emotional person. I feel things and I need to be able to get upset and talk about how I'm feeling. That's who I am. I can't change it. I don't want to. And the thing is--you knew that. You knew it and you still pursued me; because you want something--you're just not strong enough to have it. Which, in a way, makes you a coward. And the saddest part is that one day, you're going to wake up and realize what you missed and it's going to be too late.

It's so easy when you really want something to hang on to the wanting harder than you hang onto yourself. The more often I say "yes" to that cowardly voice, the easier it gets.

And now for the fun part. Some pics--

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