Monday, May 30, 2005

South Park Me

A few years ago I was encouraged to draw a picture of myself using Paint. I was actually impressed by what I drew considering I'm not one who can usually draw a stick man and someone be able to figure out what it's supposed to be. Unfortunately, I can't find that file to share but I can share the picture of me that I designed at The South Park Studio. Go make yourself, you bastard!
*if you don't watch South Park, you'll take offense to being called a bastard--get over it! **Thanks to Dave for the link!

Friday, May 27, 2005

Kudos to Sarah

It's hard to believe that my high school best friends and I graduated more than 20 years ago. Last week time really hit home when I received a graduation announcement from Sarah, the daughter of one of my high school best friends. Like Monica, Jo Anna and I, she will be graduating from New Albany High School and like me, she'll be headed off to college in the fall. I can still remember the thoughtful gift basket Jo Anna, Sarah's mother, gave me as a going away present: a laundry basket full of practical items I'd need in dorm life. Jo Anna and I splintered off in totally opposite directions during our early years into adulthood but the ties were never severed. She and I are still very close friends despite the 800 miles separating us and I'm just as proud of her daughter as she is.

I've watched Sarah grow up and blossom into a beautiful young woman with intelligence and talent. It is her intelligence and talent that will lead her to Ball State University, Dave Letterman's alma mater, and coincidentally, one of the schools I considered back in 1984. Sarah was accepted to other schools, including Boston University, but she was particularly drawn to BSU's art program. Sarah's most prominent talent is in art and that is what she has chosen to pursue. When she was 15 years old, she was commissioned to paint this mural by a homeowner. It is the wall lining their backyard.

Kudos and best of luck to Sarah!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Crying is Funny

I found this link on Andrea's site. It made me reflect... have I ever cried while eating? I'm sure that I have and it may have even been while eating ice cream if you can believe that. How can something so joyful be experienced with tears??

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Update on Ian

Just spoke with my brother and am happy to report that Ian is resting peacefully in his private room post-op. The surgery lasted three hours and went perfectly well. The surgeon used a human valve to replace the pig's valve used when Ian was 3 months old. Apparently, there is less chance for rejection in comparison to using a synthetic valve. At 2pm New Mexico time, Ian was groggy from the morphine drip and was expected to be off the ventilator shortly. He's expected to recover enough by Sunday to recoup at home for a month before returning to normal activities.

I can't find the words to express the relief of knowing Ian's surgery went well. When I talked with my brother a couple nights prior, his fear was tangible. That made matters harder to handle because my brother is so low key, pragmatic and detached from emotion. Not being a parent myself means I can only imagine his emotional state. I know that fear when a parent is the one in danger and I'm sure the feelings are just as strong or stronger when a child is involved.

Thank you to all who offered support in private and by contacting me. It means much and I appreciate it.

Positive Thoughts Appreciated

My 15-year-old nephew Ian is undergoing pulmonary heart valve replacement surgery on Wednesday, May 25. This open-heart procedure was done on him as a newborn and it was always known he'd need this surgery again later in life. My brother said Ian made the decision to have the surgery as soon as school ended for the year so he's taken part in the planning. The decision was based on his need to improve his quality of life and I'm so very proud of him for understanding the risks and rewards of such a decision. Surgery will be performed in Albuquerque by a surgeon who has a positive success rate with this operation. He is very confident that all will go well. I believe more support can't be a bad thing so if you would, send some posi-vibes, prayers, thoughts to my brave nephew for a successful surgery and recovery.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Extra Postage Required

It's true, I've got it bad for mail. It's an addiction, this thing I have for mail. Since I can remember, I've always loved all things postal and personal correspondence in particular. When I was 12 years old I had 21 foreign pen-pals. In fact, I'm still in touch with two of them. I met Kerstin from Sweden when she came to stay with me for 10 days. That trip was a Christmas gift from her husband. He knew Kerstin and I grew up together through the mail and wanted us to meet. I now write with her daughter but mostly electronically.

Brice and other friends are astounded by the mail I receive from strangers on a daily basis. "It's the pen-pal thing," I say. I love that I have a shiny indention on the middle finger of my right hand. I hand write letters nearly every day and seldom is it just one letter in a day's time. Most people will say they don't have anything exciting to share in a letter. All they have is work and their life at home. I say bullocks! What people see and experience in a day is bound to be different than me. We all appreciate a story yet we are quick to discredit ourselves and our own stories. We all have opinions, questions, fears, accomplishments, people in our lives, places we visit and moments of reflection. I enjoy taking a closer look at myself and what is around me and sharing that with someone else. I understand what it is like to be a recipient of someone's story and I know that what I have to say is just as valuable. I've made very close friends through my efforts as a pen-pal and there's no greater reward than that. All it took was a piece of paper, a few words, a little time, an envelope and a stamp. Pretty simple when you think about it.

Sense of Self

When you are content to be simply yourself and don't compare or compete,
everybody will respect you. :::Lao-Tzu:::

It's odd that we must be reminded of our beautiful individuality as we age. How quickly we've forgotten the freedom that resided in us as children. I admire children who have no qualms about wearing cowboy boots with their shorts and a tiara when they go to the grocery with their mother. Or the child who is eager to draw and paint an image they see on their mind's canvas, who says there aren't yellow horses? I know that spirit of individuality and self-expression didn't quickly disappear; it was a slow process over time. I know the absence of that spirit can cause more harm than good, moreso than any judgment by a peer or even a stranger. It takes courage and resilience to truly be the person who feels comfortable and at-home within their own skin. I just hope that I can gain that comfort in less time than it took to release the spirit that once stirred within me. Some say she's still there, I'm starting to believe them.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Happy Birthday to Me!

We turn not older with years, but newer every day. - Emily Dickinson

I feel joyful today and can't believe I'm 39. I just can't believe it. Now I'm to open my gifts that I've been so good about leaving alone. That's the 9-year-old in me. Jeremy gave me a gift last night that I was told to open, so without hesitation, I did. He knew I was planning on going to the gym and he wanted me to open the gift before I left, he said it was something to take with me. He was right... my gift was a MP3 player and I dig it! Very thoughtful and very appreciated. It was quick and easy to load some tunes so I went to get sweaty with bootie-shakin' music strapped to my arm.
Rio Forge 256, larger than actual size

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Bad Monkey My Bum!

Dave at ROCKS! I came home today to find THIS on my doorstep! Yes, I was the winnah of this wonderful prize pack from the Blogography Blogiversary! But wait! There's more! I was also a winner of Dave's cool BAD MONKEY tshirt! What a blast! You can bet your bum I'll be there for bash #3 next April.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Bridges of Utah

While on a two-week motorcycle road trip last year through the southwest, I found Utah to be the state that wow'ed me the most. The colors and textures of the rocks and vegetation, the vast openness and the resounding silence was haunting, yet soothing. Elevational changes from low mesas to snowy peaks made riding in Utah extremely pleasurable.

Riding is so very different than cruising through such an area in a car. I become one with the elements and my surroundings. There's no roof overhead, no doors or windows to limit my sensual perception of the road beneath me, the rock wall beside me, the wind blowing by me. To ride in the lowlands is to feel like I've really reached the bottom of the earth's surface, I can't possibly go any lower without a shovel. To ride in a valley and look up to the natural wall barriers is to feel consumed in Mother Nature's hug... I feel nothing but the terrain wrapped around me. To rise above a low valley into hills and mountains is to feel the burdens of life being lifted from my shoulders. The air changes, I am enveloped in a crispness that refreshes me and makes me want to ride higher and higher until all I can see is what I left behind. There's a cleansing involved when I ride hundreds then thousands of feet above sea level. It's addictive and once I've risen I don't want to come down. It's the ultimate in a natural high. Living in Florida has taught me to appreciate hills and mountains more. Riding at higher elevations offers an enlightenment each and every time I am there.

Glen River Canyon Bridge, April 2004.

Natural Bridge, Bryce Canyon, April 2004.

What the Bleep Do We Know?

I finally saw this movie which is part documentary, part fantastic voyage. The first half of the film is scientific and I can't believe my eyes didn't glaze over at the first mention of Quantum Physics. I managed to hang in there because I knew there was a message to be received, to be considered, to retain and revisit. The timeliness of seeing this film is coincidental with current events in my life and so it had personal value. No matter where you are in life, what your beliefs are, it's an interesting film to see and to discuss. View it with an open mind, this can't be watched unless you are one who can really accept the realm of possibility.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Feeling Thankful

We must be willing to get rid of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
--Joseph Campbell
I love that I am embarking on yet more change in my life; change that I firmly believe will promote growth and set me on a path towards a more fulfilling life. My days improve thanks to the moments that fill them. I have much to be happy about and many people to love and say "thanks so much" to... I am fortunate to not be alone in life. In those moments when I lurk in the shadows, I am reminded of the light that beams from the fabulous people I cherish and call FRIEND. I look forward to continued friendship in the life that I am creating for myself and in the life that is waiting for me.

Test of Patience, Attempt # 286

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Let it be known that today may be the first time I have ever practiced patience when it involves opening a birthday box. The package from Leah arrived more than a week before my birthday and Neil tells me the rules say one must open gifts on the day of the birthday. Well, he didn't say that exactly but he did confirm that yes, it is the rule to wait, so for once in a long while, I'm following the rules. Patience is a virtue that I have yet to attain in life... this is definitely a test to see how I'm progressing towards that goal. Leah, you are a cruel, cruel girl.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Guest Artist

It's been a few months since I've done anything creative, unless doodling on an envelope counts. I enjoy sharing art on here and am therefore including art today from a guest: Aspen. She created this watercolor last night. I'm hoping to gain instruction from Aspen. She is 6 years old and lives in NC.
Horse, May 9, 2005

Friday, May 06, 2005

The Smoke-Filled Van of Weed

I'm at my desk writing correspondence, the snail mail kind, listening to David Bowie's "Young Americans". My mind instantly drifted back to a smoke-filled van of weed in the mid 70s.

I was a young kid, grade school aged, hanging out with my sister who was twelve years older than me. Hanging around her was torture at times, especially on those afternoons when we'd drive over to Louisville to see her friends Val and TJ. I'm sure she felt the same way, possibly with more intensity. I was a real straight-laced kid so hangin' out with the burnouts was as bad as hanging out with Bennie, the zombie next door. He was the old guy who was shell-shocked from "the war". I'd sometimes find myself hanging out at Mrs. Klingerman's just to have someone to talk to who wasn't under the influence of something. She was a seamstress and I did actually enjoy hearing her tell stories from the old days. Even as a child I've had a respect for senior citizens even though that Bennie freaked me out a bit.

The fact was, I had nothing to gain from hanging out with any of the people my sister hung out with other than to learn from example: DO NOT GROW UP TO BE LIKE THEM. I'd have been perfectly content to be at home in the sanctuary that was my bedroom. Me, my dog, my cat, my books, my correspondence. I didn't have anything to gain from going with my sister. It still amazes me to this day that my mom suggested I was on drugs one time. She was clueless. I was as straight as they come, until I discovered this package store in Louisville and the delights of cherry vodka.

I suppose I should thank my sister for those days because I didn't grow up to be like them. I haven't got a complaint about weed, I've enjoyed it at time or.... The fact is, I saw what an extreme of anything can do to people. I was surrounded by it in my young life and it helped set the path that I chose to traverse. My sister is still struggling as she was back then. I'm glad to be out of the funky van and the haze that was her life at that time.

Where's George?

I thought most people were already aware of, but I was mistaken. I recently told a friend about one of my dollar bills only to discover he'd never heard of this money tracking website. What made my dollar bill worthy of discussion? Last week I got change back on a purchase and noticed the hand-printed message of "" on the front of the paper currency. Strangely enough, it looked a lot like my writing. I tucked the bill aside so I could update the site since it was clearly a registered bill. Sure enough, that bill was initially registered in March by me. Like most money, when it is spent, it is forgotten. ;) It found its way back to me in 51 days and I'd never have known that if I'd not registered it on the site. I clearly have too much time on my hands to even give a shit. Another wonderful time-consumer is Geocaching which is where I found my first wheresgeorge bill.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

It's Been a Week Since My Last....

Yeah, I've been a bit lazy on the blogging thing. It's been a week since my last post and life has been rather uneventful. Still, it is life, MY life and I find enjoyment in my days, even in the quiet moments of solitude. In a nutshell, here are a few of the pieces and parts that captured my attention:
  • My friend M went out on a blind date, a breakfast date, which I thought was very novel. I'm keen to things that are a little out of the norm. Dinner and a movie, as much as I enjoy them, are a bit monotonous. Her date lastest from 9am until 4pm, that's quite a breakfast! She is in a bit of a quandry over this fella because she's not physically attracted to him. She is heartbroken over it because everything else fell perfectly into place. On one hand, we, and I'll include all of us in this big o' pot, know we shouldn't judge on appearances. But as in all of nature, we pair with those who please us visually, so we can't fight the animal within us. One of her concerns is body hair. Some women find that dee-lish on a hunkahunkaburnin'love, but M is not one. Can't say that I blame her there. Another concern is discolored teeth. There are easy-to-use and affordable methods to remedy such a condition. People, look in the mirror. It's not a matter of vanity... or is it?
  • I had a wonderful conversation with my father and got the skinny on the latest happenings of Ward. I've written of Ward before, the town that I say has a population of 20, 15 are my people. That's not too far from the truth. It's not a town I'd particularly want to call home due to its still thriving prejudiced roots in the Old South, but I have a love for it and its people, my people, all the same. The biggest news to hit Ward in a long time is one of my aunts left an uncle, age 81. Good job on that, if you ask me. How they've stayed together is beyond anyone's comprehension. Knowing that she left with only a note of an "I'm leaving" made it entertaining. He had to call the FBI to find out where she was since no one in her family would fess up any knowledge of her whereabouts. That's HUGE excitement for this sleepy little town, believe you me. The hardest part for my tight-ass uncle is the IRS refund he can't cash since my aunt isn't there to sign it. He's probably one of the most wealthy men in the county and not being able to cash that check is like burning in hell to him. Good riddance you prejudiced, sexist pig... and good luck to my aunt.
  • From time to time, I take an inventory of the people in my life. I think it is important for us to review relationships that may or may not be healthy for us. We should want to include people who promote growth within us. People who inspire, encourage, love and care for us. Also, people we can inspire, encourage, love and care for to a degree that it doesn't completely drain our essence. Some people do have the ability to suck the life out of us without providing any nourishment in return. It's not easy to let go of people we care for, it's a difficult battle feeling like you're giving up on someone. But there comes a time when we must say, "enough is enough" and move ahead. I've thoroughly come to terms with one such relationship. I've flushed it from my system and feel purified in doing so.

  • What day couldn't be good when you give blood? I am trying to stay on the 8-week donation cycle and I tell ya, it does a mind and body good to know you're doing something that could actually help save a life. I absolutely love the donation center I go to... the folks working there are the perfect people to be there, they make the whole experience a real delight. The treats afterwards are just an added bonus.
  • A master gardener, I'm not, but I do enjoy flowers. Their colorful appearance and aroma delight my senses. I was most delighted to see the Scottish Blue Rose bloom this week. This poor bush (if one can even call it that) has been so neglected yet it produces aromatic blooms year after year. It was on my property when I bought this house in 1994, so it's really got a will to live. It inspired me this week and I, in turn, need to treat it with some nutrients as a thank you.

  • If I do nothing else over the weekend ahead, I must pot these container plants! I've had them for over two weeks and although I've nurtured them with the correct amount of sunlight and plenty of H2o, they are in need of larger pots. They're doing so very well and are so very patient as they await their new homes. This weekend, I PROMISE, this weekend you'll have new homes at the front steps.