An 808 way of life


The Whole Foods Shift – Four Weeks Later.

If you asked me what ‘whole foods’ meant – roughly five weeks ago – I would have said, “a supermarket with some nifty prepared foods that cost more but are real tasty.” Today, I have an entirely different definition. Radically different. We’ve watched: Food Matters (2x), The Beautiful Truth (2x), Food, Inc, Forks over Knives (3x), and read a BUNCH of articles online – along with 12 or so books (cookbooks, etc.).

To save some time, here is my CliffsNotes version of what I learned: Everything we eat has an effect on our health. Our food determines the quality of our blood, which affects our cells, tissues, organs, and even our minds. When we eat healthy foods, we strengthen our bodies. When we eat foods without nutritional value, we weaken our bodies. Choosing foods that supply us with adequate vitamins and minerals is essential to our well-being. Whole foods are foods in their most complete state; they are unrefined and do not contain harmful chemicals and additives which damage our bodies. Incorporating whole foods into our daily diets enables our bodies to become strong and healthy. Once we are physically healthier, we can begin to live a more vibrant, full life.

Eating whole foods is challenging. I don’t mean in the physical eating sense, I mean in the gathering, preparing sense. Earth Fare, our current local version of Whole Foods, Inc., serves us well. It accelerated the process of finding organics and packaged products with fewer than five ingredients.

The other piece to the challenge … getting rid of the crap hiding in the pantry! You’ll find a photo below where some food items are spread out over a small table. Those items represented roughly 60% of what was in our pantry. Many of the items in the photo might seem healthy – but the labels tells a different story. If you laugh you’ve probably got the same issue in your pantry – or worse – you’ve talked yourself into believing your eating habits are nutritional.

I interact with more than 100 people per week and only one or two of them eat whole foods. I’ve not taken a poll, but I believe we’re probably the only ones eating a whole foods diet three meals per day. Every day.

The mental highway we’ve traveled over the past five week landed us in a good space. Again, it’s not vegan, vegetarian, Gerson, or raw foodism. It’s a blend that works for us. Dairy is now limited to organic cheese. Milk was replaced with almond milk. Beef with ahi. Chicken is organic – so is the turkey. Vegetables abound and are organic. Processed foods are avoided. Cereals are organically sprouted and oatmeal is steel cut. Sweeteners are now honey or nothing. It’s a change – for sure. Food tastes different – and the texture is different. Much like anything in life, the first encounters may not be 100% what you’d expect – but knowing it’s good for you enlivens the flavor and the experience.

I’m really proud of my wife. She’s gone the extra mile to learn and to help both of us adapt to this major life change. She’s also the chef who configures new dishes in hopes they “stick.” HA! Make no mistake, it’s a significant life change – and it will require attention, care and feeding (no pun intended). You could liken it to a relationship. Thankfully I’m sharing the journey with my sweetie — a whole foods chick. Bak-bak.


Count them carefully and often.

Yesterday is gone. Please give your attention to the flight attendant. “Ladies and gentlement, you are on Flight #1001 to Honolulu. Aloha.”

Now we know why so many people smoke. Doctor’s orders!

Hidden from view – shaded by palms – just a little slice of paradise.

We love sunsets in Hawai’i. One day we’ll have the pleasure of seeing them month after month!

Can we sit for a while? I need to rest from all the beach stress.

Using dehydrated water, make some Kool-aid.

The last book I read: “Why redheads are Jesus freaks.”

Four years, one hundred and three days ago I had dinner with the author of this book. Fictionally speaking of course. The dinner was nice – a tad bumpy – but ended with a hug and ‘friendly’ kiss. I wasn’t convinced then, but I am now, that redheads are Jesus freaks. I know, I’m about to marry one. Figuratively speaking of course.

Four years is just about the right amount of time to wait … to marry. When I met Amy I was given some advice from a cousin whom I call an aunt who said, “live at least one season of life with her (Amy) and then you’ll know.” I decided to live four years of four seasons. To make sure – that she is sure (HA!).  I once commented that if we’re still dating after four years will you be around … and her response, “probably not.” Then again, this is the same woman who would have turned and ran if I met her with a half-sleeve tat. Or, if upon meeting her kids that I would have suggested, much less encouraged, that we watch Dog the Bounty Hunter as a family unit (NOTE for the ‘other’ parents: it’s an educational show!).

Fast-forward the TIVO box. In March of this year I traveled to Moloka’i, Hawai’i for some recon work. I leveraged my spring break visit to Moloka’i as means for surveying the island as a possible wedding destination and/or honeymoon location. After my first full day on the island, I was convinced I would marry my Jesus freak on this island in the middle of the Pacific.

Upon my return home I mentally bookmarked the experience, but didn’t do anything. I mean, I thought about the idea and kicked it around in my head  – but that was all.

Ask yourself the question, why get married?

Over the past few months when mentioning the topic (of marriage) to friends and colleagues, most often I received a simple response – why? Typically the follow-up question is, “how many couples do you know who are truly happy.” Sure, we all know couples who appear to be happy, but which ones are faking it?

Marriage counselors and therapists often define “good relationships” as being “good” 50% of the time (together). Define “good” however you wish.  Recently I read somewhere that divorcees who do not remarry within two years of the “decree” are 87% less likely to marry again in their lifetime.

Ok then – why? If you know, tell me.

Honestly, these bits of interaction have been stumbling blocks to my thought process.

In late July I traveled to north Georgia for a speaking gig and had the opportunity to break bread with some colleagues within the professor ranks.  During the course of dinner each of us took time to share life stories. When it was my turn, I’m not sure what happened but I blurted out, “I’m getting married at Christmas in Hawai’i.” A hearty congratulatory round of cheers was followed with, “give us some details.”

I had a sketch but no details. I told the group that I hadn’t proposed, I didn’t have a ring and I wasn’t going to ask my girlfriend to marry me until we arrived on the island of Moloka’i. I basically said, “I’m going to propose on the first night and suggest that we marry while staying there.”

The responses immediately fell into two camps:

Camp A: Wow – that’s very romantic.
Camp B: Why?

The facial expressions were priceless. Half the group gave me the “you’re crazy” look backed with a dazed you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me-eye-roll.

Camp A (mostly women) smiled (beaming) as if to say, “we approve.”

The leader of the group basically said, “that gave me goose bumps. I’m going to call my husband when I get back to the room and tell him your story.”

Yeah, it gave me goose bumps too.  I felt like I got married at dinner and I hadn’t answered the “why” question.

Press pause on the TIVO box for a moment. Does someone contemplating marriage need to answer the “why” question?


You most certainly do.

If you do not answer the “why” question honestly, you will make a mistake. Trust me on this point. I didn’t answer the “why” question the first time (first marriage) and I made a huge mistake.

Push the TIVO button and zip over to September. In a meeting with my intern group I casually mentioned that I was getting married and the team responded with – “you’re engaged?” My response (literally), “was that a Camp A or Camp B question?” No one understood me so I blurted out, “I’m getting married in Hawai’i at Christmas on the beach – and no I don’t plan on asking her to marry me until we arrive.”

In unison – Camp B facial expressions.

Then the conversation unfolded:

“Have you bought a ring?”


“Why don’t you let her pick it out?”

“It wouldn’t be a surprise.”

“I’ve never heard of such a thing. What about your family and hers …”

“It’s not about them, it’s about us.”

“What if she says no (giggles)?”

“She would say yes today.”’

“Then why don’t you ask her and then get married there?”

Ahh, the “why” question!

My simple response, “because we’re already married – and the ceremony only affirms what we already know.” Then I fielded more Camp B responses. With Pandora’s box open, I had no choice but to cut it off.  I then asked the ladies to Google wedding dresses based on some wedding photos I found (beach weddings taken on Kaua’i and Moloka’i).

You guessed it. Major Camp B responses. You’re going to select her wedding dress?!?!?! The looks included a touch of WTF, BTW.

In order to keep this post somewhat readable I’ll summarize by saying this: the intern group was engaged as the official wedding planners after I shared the “why” (which I’ll do later in this post).

In the back of my head one thought emerged, “where’s my jet pack?”

Zip the remote and review the footage from October. On my birthday all the interns took me to lunch. A few of them went along just to meet my girlfriend and others to consume margaritas. I was there to celebrate another year of life. The wedding planners were there to ensure the dress size was correct, and to execute recon work related to style.

Late in October I focused on rings, event wedding planners and process. My checklist grew from a few simple to-dos to an all-out event list. Think about it. What does it take to execute a wedding? A location, a place to honeymoon, a minister or JOP, a license, music, a photographer, flowers, witness(es), Champagne, cake, etc. Seriously, the list is substantive. I could spend countless paragraphs sharing the details of event planner selection, dresses, rings, my clothes, the flower choices, photography stylists, etc. Just rest assured, all details were covered (except one, and I’ll get to that in a minute).

Zip the TIVO box to early December and the intern event planners review the actual dress, they survey the clothes I intend on wearing, the wedding planner’s flower selection, the beach/locational images, the actual rings (no one was allowed to wear it; they observed), the watch … and my ring. My ring? Well, yes …. I realized that on short notice Amy wouldn’t have a ring to give me, so I bought one for the occasion. The inscription reads, “Me Ke Aloha * Moloka’i * 12/24/10.” Me ke aloha translates to, with love.

Let’s focus on the “why” for a moment.

Why? Here’s why: Amy is the best friend I’ve ever had in my life. Really. She’s loving and kind – not in a motherly way but in a partnering way. She tolerates me and let’s me figure out that I’m wrong when I’m wrong.

Amy doesn’t yell at me. Ever. She doesn’t pick fights and rarely is miffed about anything.

She’s got my back (I’ve got hers too).

She’s very kewl.  How many girlfriends – or wives – or friends do you know that would get out of bed at midnight and drive to the airport to jumpstart your dead battery? I only know one person.

Amy doesn’t do drama, sagging hearts or deliver bullshit when she’s wrong. She doesn’t ever turn the tables.

Amy is ready to go with or without the makeup. No kidding. You can actually touch her hair when she’s gussied up.

She’s perfectly willing to get on the scooter and motorpace me in the rain. Truth.

Amy is smart and intelligent. When in doubt don’t Google it, ask Amy. As a financier, her numerical and statistical aptitude is surpassed only by her ginormous vocabulary, grammatical skills and knowledge, and her literary knowledge. Whew.

On the other hand, she understands what duct tape and a Leatherman make. A toolbox.

She is kind and loving with her children. Naturally it’s one of the reasons why they are such great kids (the other is that their dad is a good father).

Amy is mentally tough and resilient. When pressure mounts, she stays cool.

There is never any pressure to do, go, get or buy. In fact, we both can drive Benzes and certainly we can afford “the house” – but she and I both agree, why?

Amy tolerates me listening to Hawaiian music every day.  When I’m home that’s the music that we live our lives by … Aloha. The Hawaiian quilt she’s been working on for the past 18 months+ was started because I asked her to consider it.  Amy didn’t start with a pillowcase. Nope, she started with a king-sized quilt of Hawaiian breadfruit (the traditional starting point for Hawaiian women – otherwise knows as the beginning).

Every morning we hug and kiss – and she always says, “have a good day, I’ll call you later.” And she does exactly that. She reaches out. Amy actually makes the whole process of “relating” easy. It’s void of fussy interaction.  Amy sees the bright side of life and the glass is nearly full all the time.

She likes vintage Five-O, and even though she’s fair skinned (with red hair) she loves the beach, the hikes, the lava, and the Sandwich Islands as much as I do (this is our third trip and our fourth is planned for March of 2011).

Amy is everything I ever dreamed of in a mate. Our inner sanctum is our own. We respect that and each other. She doesn’t ever bandwagon when others kid me. In fact, she’s not too keen on people funning around to test our relationship.

I’m inspired being with her. My heart is lifted and my days (and nights) are brighter. When you add it up (Forrest Gump said it best): “we goes together like peas and carrots.”

Let’s answer why? Because I truly love Amy. Because I have her trust; she has mine.

Get this, I have the “relational license” to plan a secret wedding without her knowledge and know that she’ll say “yes.”  How many women do you know that would be thrilled? I know of only one – and I am moved by that woman.

So, if you’re not doing anything on Christmas Eve, we’ve got lots of room in our palace and on the beach. BTO.

PS – I forgot to share the one item I didn’t snag and ship in advance: a strapless bra. I looked in her storage area but didn’t find one. This is a significant oversight, but I believe we can procure such a garment in town later this week.

PSS – do not call her, she’ll reach out in due time. Remember, this is a surprise.

Sometimes our message hits home.

If you ask the average college student about their career aspirations, you’ll hear a range of answers. Some of which are expected. On a rare occasion you’ll obtain an answer that is refreshingly honest – along the lines of, “I don’t know!”

When I have the opportunity to stand up and share my personal chapter and verse, I cut through the fluff, the pomp and the circumstance. My story is usually brief, “I was kicked out of UTK and now, after 11 years teaching at a college level, I’m making a difference. And no, I’m not enrolled in a work release program.”

College students of my era weren’t blessed with outsider views. Academia was the only view we witnessed on a daily basis. My 1984 collegiate window was small, inwardly focused and while optimistic, it was clouded because the real-world was blocked.

Looking in the rear view mirror – thousands of miles later, 78 speeding tickets later, five agencies later, five cities later … I know my life would have evolved differently had someone taken the opportunity to share their story. Ergo the reason I do so today.

Would life be different? Would my career path have changed courses? What if?

Given the opportunity, I stand up and share the good, the bad  and the not-so-obvious. Had someone told me to define my “A Plan,” I would have chuckled because I didn’t have a “B Plan nor a C Plan.” I had a get-a-job-plan. Funny how life scares you into making decisions.

What I want to know is what I need to know now – that stems from I’m going to know when I’m 70.

Ha! Sometimes the message hits home.

SPF. A good thing. Even those days when all you need is 15.

New medicine for the second half of the year.

Ever wonder why there is so much T2 diabetes in America?

Alright already. Change up the vibe or say hello to my little friend.

The mower stopped. The AC needed a boost. I cut my hand.

Thank goodness it’s all toothpaste.

When we stop and think about things going wrong in our lives – and then consider the good we most certainly can appreciate the blessings we enjoy.

Most of us have shelter – and in many cases beyond just shelter. Yet, some folks will pine for the neighbors crib – or the crib of some MTV star of the day. Many folks (global warmers included) have a means of transportation but folks on average want what they don’t have – something that’s ‘better.’  IS there a better?

When we stop and count our blessings, our blessings multiply. When we maintain a state of gratitude, our blessings grow. When we give thanks – we increase the positive energy surrounding our earthly life. Positive energy attracts more positive blessings.

During those moments when the mower begins to blow white smoke (and eventually stops), and you realize you can’t mow the grass … what do you do? Worse – when you’ve got to deal with Sears repair – and then plan for someone else to cut the grass … what do you do? More over, you contemplate the purchase of a new riding mower (serious purchase) and realize it’s taking away from fun purchases … what do you do?

All of those events can contribute to – or derail your positive flow.

When the AC stops blowing cold vibes and needs a boost – you stop and wonder … ‘how did folks live without AC?’  Um. It’s a mind altering experience to consider life in the mode of basics.

Let’s say all of that happens within two hours – and then you cut your hand such that it really needs stitches but you elect to bandage it for the moment.

Can you stay in the state of appreciation grace? From experience, yes. It’s possible.

Mid-afternoon on Saturday I figured out something important. I’ll be ok if the grass is cut by a lawn service – and I’ll survive the purchase of new mower. When the AC gets boosted I’ll write the check and I’ll also admit that the unit needs replacing … someday, and my hand will heal.

I opened a frosty Avery Pale Ale about 6:30 … and for some reason it tasted much better than usual.

Wonder why?

Get personal.

Lazy people are always eager to be doing something.

“Creativity is a highfalutin word for the work I have to do between now and Tuesday.” Ray Kroc

A smile is a curve that sets everything straight. ~Phyllis Diller

If you have one eye on yesterday, and one eye on tomorrow, you’re going to be cockeyed today.

If it’s Thursday and you’re focused on Saturday then you won’t EVER notice the butterflies that were present today. And if you focus on Sunday while you are at work on Friday then you’ve just shortened your weekend by TWO days.

As Dale Carnegie once said: “Today is life – the only life you are sure of. Make the most of today.” I recently googled this quote and found the Paul Harvey ending … “Period. ‘Nuf said. What he said.”

“Grace is the absence of everything that indicates pain or difficulty, hesitation or incongruity.” William Hazlitt

It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference. ~Tom Brokaw

We acquire the strength we have overcome. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Happiness is where you find it.

Nearing 4Pm I realized the day had been the typical blur – and my mind raced ahead to the County Clerk’s office where a small, tiny decal awaited my check. The only ‘thing’ in my way was the distance between the office and the Clerk’s office just 18 miles away. The sun was shining – the birds chirping – the blue sky was clear – the clouds few and puffy white – the music a little sweeter – the inevitable Firerock Pale beckoning my tastebuds.

All was good.

Within five miles of the office the traffic slowed to a 5mph crawl. I knew something was up – but I had no idea how bad or what it was. The clock ticked away slowly at first and when the hand touched 4:15 I knew that the Clerk’s office would be closed if and when I arrived.

As I opened the sun roof of my car (I rarely do that) I felt the sun on my face, the wind in my hair and smelled the cigarette smoke from a man smoking in the car next to me. For an instance I thought, “how dare you ruin this moment” – but I continued to smile. Sure I was annoyed. But what could I do?

Stop for a moment.

Have you ever stepped up to the bathroom sink, reached for the toothpaste and squeezed the tube but nothing was left in it? At that moment you either threw it down in anger or shrugged your shoulders and brushed without the paste … or found another tube somewhere hidden under the sink.

No matter – it was what we decided that determined how we felt and in doing so it attracted more of what we felt.

Back to the drive home, I shrugged my shoulders and said aloud, “toothpaste.” I then laughed. I raced, mentally ahead in wonderment of what lay ahead at the dreaded intersection of Topside Road and Alcoa Highway. It’s notorious for accidents – and I’ve witnessed more than 10 at that location over the years.

Nearing the intersection I could see that we were being diverted onto Topside – and that seemed odd until I saw three fire trucks and countless police cruisers. THP had a video camera set up and was filming the extraction of ‘bodies’ from a car. A pickup truck was in the northbound lane – smashed and lifeless. Police were allowing northbound lane traffic to pass single file but nothing was going south.

As our single file lane neared the intersection I saw a black bag – then two. My heart sank deep and I realized the crash involved fatalities.

At that moment I was angry, annoyed, happy and a whole bunch of other things all at once. Angry that it happened (isn’t it time that we change the rules of road for that intersection!!!), annoyed that police were on the spot but are no where to be found (daily) when traffic is attempting to turn left onto Alcoa Highway, and happy … well sort of happy …. that I was alive.

The tiny decal for my car’s license plate isn’t that important after all.

What is important is that I appreciate each day as if it were my last.

In that moment I figured out why I’m so damn happy when I’m in Hawai’i. Why I’m so content when I visit – why I’m so eager to return again and again. Why? Because I noticed EVERYTHING and in doing so time slows down and I’m in the moment. I’m into life itself and I soak it up as if I have just a few days to live. I’m in the moment so vividly and clear that I soak up everything – including those things that typically annoy me. But when I’m there (in my paradise) I’m super-happy. Not because it’s Hawai’i, but because I’m living life.

As I turned the corner onto Topside I realized something very, very important: happiness is a state of mind. Either you’re in it. Or you’re not.

I’m in it.


If Paul Harvey were alive, he’d offer the rest of the story:

APRIL 9th, 2010

In a press release, Sgt. Bud Cooper said Jean Smith, 82, of Oak Ridge, and Clara Miller, 75, of Clinton, were killed in the two-vehicle crash.

At 2:50 p.m., Smith, who was driving a 2006 Toyota Camry, was attempting to turn left onto Alcoa Highway northbound from Topside Road when she failed to yield and pulled out in front of a Dodge Ram truck driven by Brandon L. Barnes, 23 of White Pine, Cooper said. Barnes hit the driver’s side door of the Camry.

According to the press release, Smith was killed instantly. Miller was taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center where she died as a result of injuries from the crash, Cooper said.

Cooper said Barnes was taken to Blount Memorial Hospital and is being treated for his injuries.

End homelessness in Knoxville.

What will it take to truly end homelessness?

No one seems to be sure of an answer. If it were approached the way in which our leaders approach war with other nations, I believe it would end much sooner.

The underlying question with that premise is would it end? I believe that homelessness is a component of human nature that can not and will not end. Ever.

How many of us, as children, wanted to run away from home because of some tragedy or other circumstance that we were experiencing? It could have been a grand parent passing away  – or that we landed ourselves into trouble by tracking the dog in the house. Whatever the case, running away seemed plausible. Naturally we had no where to go – we only had the urge to run. In the brief moments that we thought about the path, we eventually realized we would be displaced from our home. And then, in essence, homeless.

There are thousands of people in this world who are running from something. From themselves. From demons in their neighborhoods – from life itself. I believe that there are thousands more people living in temporary shelters that are equally homeless. Furthermore, there are thousands living in poverty-like conditions – right here in America – who might have a roof overhead, but it’s leaking, the rats consume much of the exposed food and the bugs and filth are pervasive.

“People who are homeless are not social inadequates. They are people without homes.” Sheila McKechnie

Back to the question: can we end homelessness? The answers — yes, no, maybe, possibly. It depends on the person.

Can we positively impact how homeless people are cared for and improve the community (wherever we live) at the same time? The answers — yes, yes, and yes.

When someone asks you to give of your time, money, resources, possessions or mental capacity to positively impact this ’cause’ just remember the answer to the question – ‘can we end homelessness’ – is dependent on you.

Tattoos by the numbers.

This is my 1,000th post on the PhotoMotoBlog.

More than 574,480 unique visitors have been to this site since its inception.

The weekly average the past four months has been in excess of 14,000 unique visitor per week.

My busiest day was February 17th, 2010 with 2,359 unique visitors.

Folks logging on my site originate from 37 different countries and the Hawaiian Islands.

Google is used to translate my site into 12 different languages.

I’ve logged more than 400 hours creating the site.

There are 2,535 images contained in this weblog.

Interestingly, it uses just a ½ MB of space.

The masthead has changed more than 100 times.

The posting rules have been broken once; that person didn’t break the rules again.

My blog site ‘encouraged’ management to create a ‘blog posting policy’ within my company.

This site has spun off into 22 other weblogs that I’ve created; the unique visitor totals for all sites is greater than 4,000,000.

I’ve been repeatedly asked to monetize several of my sites (no ads please).

The best part is that I really don’t care what anyone thinks about the content, the images nor the layout.

Somehow I’ve managed to connect with people whom I don’t know … for those folks …  mahalo nui loa!

Thank-you for logging onto my site.


Amidst jacko’s death, the Minuteman missile launch was missed by most. Except for Kim Jong-il, I’m pretty sure that North Korea heard the message.

US missileOn June 29th, just two days ago at the Vandenberg Air Force Base, the Air Force successfully launched an unarmed Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missile  from a California base, firing it to targets in the Pacific Ocean. Lt. Raymond Geoffroy (JEFF-rey) said the ICBM was launched from VAFB at 3:01 a.m. Monday. He said it carried three unarmed re-entry vehicles that hit their targets near the Kwajalein Atoll  in the Marshall Islands, some 4,200 miles away.

Get this: the Air Force said the launch was an operational test to check the weapon system’s reliability and accuracy. Test data will be used by United States Strategic Command planners and Department of Energy laboratories to ensure that if or when Kjil “pushes the button” that we are indeed ready to eliminate the target.


To learn more – link here: Minuteman

Sun or SPF – you decide.

shine or reflect

How old are you?

how oldjpg

Bacon in a bottle. Now that’s American!

bacon yum-yum

On Monday we rested after resting for three days. Whew.


Being authentic to yourself. A simple process of being real.

think-before-you-actThe universal need to be accepted by others can be a barrier that prevents us from being ourselves around them. When we fear that the people we encounter will perceive us as inept or unintelligent, we frequently try to flaunt our grasp of large words or clever witticisms or our professional expertise in an effort to convince them that we are smart and capable. The reasons for feeling this way can be many, and they can often stem from as far back as your childhood.

Yet overcompensating for this fear can have the opposite effect if others are driven away by what they see as an immodest attitude or sense that you are urgently trying to prove yourself. The simple desire to be judged smart by both new and old acquaintances can cause you to reject your true self and adopt an affected persona. But in trying so persistently to project an image of supreme intelligence or capability, you deny others the opportunity to become acquainted with the real and terrific individual you truly are.

The fear that others will perceive you as unintelligent can further influence your behavior, causing you to consciously avoid speaking your mind or asking questions. You may feel uncomfortable participating in activities if there is a chance that you won’t excel or taking part in discussions with others who may have more knowledge than you. In essence, you become ashamed of who you are and attempt to encase your identity in a veneer that others will find pleasing and impressive. It is, however, a common fear—one experienced by almost everyone at some point in life.

The simplest way to combat it is to make a personal commitment to being yourself in your home, your workplace, and among strangers. Ask yourself how you believe the individuals you encounter will react should you speak awkwardly, need clarification, or fail to be the best at some activity. By being yourself, you will discover that all people make mistakes and ask questions and that others will like and respect you because they recognize the goodness in your soul.

The fact that you are willing to be yourself, letting your many affirmative attributes express themselves naturally, will help you make a positive first impression on everyone you meet and earn the esteem of your family and friends. Your confidence and easygoing manner will say, “this is who I am and I am proud of the person I have become.”

Life is difficult enough. Sometimes we need to think like Nike.


We bagged a big ‘un this week.

dead-oneThe guys were out hunting this week and bagged the biggest squirrel yet. They bagged this big ‘un using rifles. It was certainly a better approach than the guy who torched his entire house trying to rid himself of the pests.



Ahu ke pilo.

me-kick-youThere are some people that have serious issues and take their issues out on others because they are angry. Usually it’s those people who somehow believe that “what goes around” will not come back around. LOL. Right. It’s coming, just don’t let the sledge hammer smack you too hard.

We all have ability. The difference is how we use it.

todaySurprisingly, it takes little time and effort to make a difference. During the day, in someone’s life, on the job, in the car, at the store, in the waiting room, at home, in your office, or even while you sleep. We all (as in everyone) have the ability. The real difference is how we use it.

Everyday take a moment to do one thing that helps another person.  Do it without the expectation of a return “thanks,” a wave, acknowledgement or even a smile. According to Nike, just do it. We all have the ability to change our world and our lives. When faced with the opportunity, use it. You’ll be glad you did.

Democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those would not.

thomas-jefferson-picture“It is incumbent on every
generation to pay its own
debts as it goes. A principle
which if acted on would
save one-half the
wars of the world.”

Thomas Jefferson

Serve those in need. Help those who suffer.


The first duty of a human being is to assume
the right functional relationship to society —
more briefly, to find your real job, and do it.

When Monday arrives on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, you know Friday will be CRAZY!

homercrazyLet’s face it, every week we have good days and days that seems out-of-control. On a rare occasion, the trappings of Monday carry over to Tuesday, then Wednesday and sometimes even Thursday.

This week started off well enough, but Monday seemed to wrangle the life out the word “smile.” It’s been one of those weeks. I used the phrase, “Monday-Monday-Monday!” A colleague said, “torro, torro, torro!”

The weekend is near, so let’s figure in a little time to celebrate. My only concern is that the weekend starts with Friday the 13th.

Ok then. Homer is gone to the big house. I’m going home for the day.

The short list: Aloha.


The cornerstone of effective presentations: the thesis statement.

thesis_funnelMuch of my teaching life centers around helping students improve their presentation skills, teaming skills and their overall ability to communicate in the “real word.” Amidst a range of skill levels, the basis for many discussions about communication (verbally or more formally in a presentation) centers on a singular topic – the thesis statement. Rather than belabor the complexities of writing a thesis I break it down into two steps. First, I deal with the basic question  — what are you seeking to communicate? With the answer it’s much easier to craft a strategy statement or thesis. The thesis statement explains “how” you accomplish step one. Not from the vantage point of the device (PowerPoint or whiteboard) but from a space where the “how” is easy to communicate and much easier to digest. Simplify, reduce and then amplify the message. I firmly believe I’m learning more from the class than the students!

Ok then. Thesis oneth.

Take the high road.

bunny-tattooAfter dealing with a person today who decided to bully me in a business setting, I elected to do the right thing and take the high road. Not because it was easier, but because it’s the right thing to do. I hope that at some point in the future I can look back on the situation and laugh.

I also learned an important lesson (or was reminded of a lesson I already know) and it’s simple: taking the high road is harder to do than it is to espouse. Taking the high road and putting yourself above those who enjoy arguing a point just to argue or attempt to argue a point with pointless examples of mindless crap is difficult at times.

Simply stated: “take the high road” because anything less is just adding fuel to the fire.

Photo moto photog of the day: “Cup of Quote.”


Re-cycle your TV in the ditch. Like this one just spotted on River Road.

tv-dunLike most electronics devices, a television can contain a number of elements that are potentially harmful to both people and the environment, making them poor residents for landfills. The various carcinogens and neurotoxins within them can potentially leach into the water system and into the air through burning, with deadly results. Not only do these oversized devices push landfills to their capacity, but many of their more valuable materials are wasted when they are not recycled. Materials such as glass, copper, and precious metals are sacrificed when an old television is relegated to a landfill. When you stop and think about it, discarding the old TV on River Road means you’re wasting money and junking up the neighborhood. To learn more, visit this site to recycle your crappy-crap TV. Garbage keepeth.

2009 Resolutions: just a few hours left. Be prepared.


Refrain from tampering with the cook.


Secret of the Holidays: the truth.


Countdown the rest of the day-after-Christmas-day. It’s just about dark-thirty.


Make each and every day count. Including today, the day-after-Christmas-day. Many folks were out shopping – looking for bargains or winter wearables for next season.

I thought about leaping ahead into next week, contemplating a “New Year’s celebration.” It was mighty easy … in fact, it was about as easy as … well … thinking about it.

I suggest that we remember today – Friday, December 26th – is a gift. We are not guaranteed a ‘next week’ nor the week after that one. For now let’s just remember that 2009 New Year’s resolutions and wonderment can wait … a few more days and we’ll be there thank-you very much.

Santa: he’s ready for an adult beverage.


Santa is due a break from the Holiday action. Really. He’s been taking care of bizness, holding down the toy-fort since way-back, and had his peps on the streets working since just after Halloween. Whew. That’s enough to say enough. Santa, this Bud’s for you.


Give up the board when the wave wants it. As in life, when the game changes, figure out the next best solution.


Deadlines are important reminders to track our progress.

Being authentic means you lead a lifestyle of strength and of choice. You either “do” or “do not,” there is no try.

Few people live an authentic life. Very few. I’m unclear at times if I’m living an authentic life. Uncertainty acts as a helper and keeps me honest. It forces me to check in with my inner self to ensure I’m doing my very best.

To live an authentic lifestyle requires re-thinking the importance of life itself. It was, and is, challenging to say the least. However, I do know that when you live an authentic life (even in short bursts), you are living in a way that resonates with your inner being. You avoid connecting yourself with destructive habits, relationships or lifestyles. You are in touch with your real self.

From minute to minute each day, you are the same “you” and people around you don’t guess who you are … they just know. At work, at play and at home you are the same person. Authentic “self” means possessing inner strength. It also means living a life void of manipulation, power plays, and hatred.

Being authentic means creating a path in front of you (and in your wake) that feels somewhat spiritual but wholly natural. Authenticity means you aren’t afraid of truth. It also means you deal with fear in a way that builds character and strengthens you rather than debilitating you. The path is hard to follow at times because life throws plenty of diversions to test us. In reality those tests are just ‘tests’ … little sign posts to guide us … if we elect to listen.

For the past year this blog site has acted as a compass of sorts – giving me some direction and enlightenment about authenticity. Sure, I’ve had plenty of moments (and days) where I was not authentic. But when those events occurred, I made course corrections to realign my thinking.

As I’ve aged I see more, but need glasses to read. I eat more, but weigh less. I ride further, but recover slower. As I’ve become more authentic, I realize how difficult it is to try. Frankly, being authentic is all about choice. It’s a choice to either do or not do. There is no “try.”

I shall doeth.

Complications with simple things. Here’s the answer.

Making dinner is really simple, but
we insist on making it complicated.


Look a little closer. Then back up and look again.

It’s not what you look at that
matters, it’s what you see.

Henry David Thoreau

When the world feels big, you’re there.

Life shrinks or expands in
proportion to one’s courage.

Anais Nin

While in the moment, enjoy the “now.”

But keep the map handy.

Survey the horizon and dream of what can be.

To accomplish great things,
we must dream as well as act.

Anatole France

Do. Go. Push. Try. Succeed. July 26th, 2008. Success.

“They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.

Tom Bodett

Thankfully I have the BGE to love – yeah. I’m a teacher and career-minded. I hope for something greater than East Tennessee. Much bigger. But this will remain home – – just need a second home at some point. Hope will be real – Aloha.