An 808 way of life

Laugh

Image

Friday’s filled with fun and a little happiness from the Bunny.

happy-bunny01


Butter up.


Our neighbor’s dog is available for house parties. His fangs are worse than his bite.


Signs of our times.


How you like me now?


Happy happy.

Edit


Silly is as silly does. A kid-like lifestyle helps dreams come true.


Jojo’s cuz is at Mardi Gras. Pics just in.


V-day was fun. My wife and I felt like kids. We gave simple gifts, toasted another great meal and laughed some.


Random sightings from the world around me: FOUR


Relaxing around the house with family. Dayna, Alex, Mom and Courtney. BDAY 2011.


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?

Yes.

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?”

“No.”

“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.


COSD FullAccess, Boston – 2010: education, technology, and career pursuit.


A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you’ve been taking. ~Earl Wilson


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


Tattoos gone wrong. When you ink your foot, make sure it’s your good foot.


Little Gasparilla: happy girls – now that’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout.


New medicine for the second half of the year.


Friday. And then everyone laughed. Well, not the grump in the far, far away land of grumpville.

The more the vibe is negative, the more life is negative. Really. It works that way. When someone continues with the stink eye routine they are only attracting more negative into their life. Call it karma or whatever. I continue to believe the older I grow the more I enjoy working along side people who are into making relationships work rather than hinging the day on a shortlist. It’s Friday, time to laugh and celebrate the gratitude of today. Peace.





Kim Jong-il and Al Gore: on the same page and certainly on the same rage.

Little did I know that May 14th, the day after the College of Communication graduation ceremony, Kim Jong-il’s cousin from Tennessee did the unthinkable – he spoke at the University of Tennessee 2010 Graduation (general college graduation). I’m so thankful Gore did not speak during the College of Communications graduation. Can you imagine?

I met Al Gore some 27 years ago when he spoke during Friday morning assembly about ‘success in the real world.’ The prep school I attended was noted for Friday visitors – and Gore took the opportunity to stray from his topic. He was supposed to share his views of success in a business. Instead, he shared his views of success in a politics. If you call his VPdom a success then the words he imparted in April 1980 were brilliant. Trust me – the senior class was ready to bomb him with paper wads.

For all of the students at UTK who witnessed Gore’s babble, please know that the real-world is ready for your talent and dreams. As you pass Gore in the success lane, just know that he takes people like him to give the rest of us the much needed clarity of purpose to truly make a difference in this world.

Want to know more or learn more? Read the comments here.

Or, watch the video here.



Spicey chicken goes MIA.


Advertising gone wrong. Lack of funds is usually a lack of “d” and “s” (dollars and sense).


Chicken blahdity-blah-blah.


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


The soul never thinks without a mental picture.


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


Most folks are about as happy as they make up their mind to be.

Arriving in Baton Rouge was interesting – it felt like I fast forwarded a month because the grass was really green, the trees were green and the flowers were in full bloom. Laine told me that it was a wonderful place to live – and showed me the downtown district pointing out the new buildings, historical markers and much more than I can actually remember. I felt a little bit like a kid looking at something I hadn’t seen before: a city that felt vibrant, clean and popping with new along side the history.

Before we set out for Boutin’s, we toured the entire Hilton Baton Rouge – Captiol Center courtesy of Laine’s sister, Tina. Imagine – a private tour of a top 10 Hilton in America and an Historic Hotel of America.

From Huey P. Long to John F. Kennedy, the hotel has been the home to American Presidents, glamorous celebrities and generations of weddings. We had the opportunity to walk through the Huey Long suite ($800/night) and it was spectacular.


It’s decorated like a 1940’s/50’s room with furniture that is period-specific but new. I sat on the sofa that President Obama sat on when he rented (ha) the suite. Few guests are ever allowed in the Tunnel area – but I did. The property is beyond spotless – beyond tidy. It’s a clear step above any of the Ritz Carlton’s I’ve enjoyed (and the total is 12 thus far). This felt more European and elegant – but certainly Southern and hospitable. My room overlooked the mighty Mississippi – and again – “wow” is what I can serve up.


Laine suggested that we eat at Boutin’s – and she was kind enough to give me the guided tour via LSU … again, ‘wow’ was my response. LSU’s campus is beautiful and spacious – and full of LARGE oak trees. The journey there presented another opportunity to learn more about Baton Rouge and its history. Suffice it to say, by the time we landed at Boutin’s, we were both hungry.

If you visit Baton Rouge I highly suggest Boutin’s. Why? If you love food – you’ll waddle out of this place. The “yellow” sauce that was atop Laine’s dinner could be added to anything (including beets) and you’d gobble it down. The food was killa. Mr. Boutin (who Laine knows personally) came by our table and chatted a bit – in the nicest Cajun accent  – then he was gone to meet and greet folks around his place. Before we left he took us out to the 2-acre pond and we fed the turtles, brim and bass. The water-action was more like piranha! Oh – I totally forgot to mention the bread pudding we enjoyed for dessert. There was no room in the tum-tum but I managed to woof down more than half of the tastiest slice of heaven on a plate I’ve had in a long time.

When I returned to the Hilton, there was a movie (The Ledge) in production (shooting night scenes) and so I ventured down to check out the action. The new thriller has a straightforward plotline: a man stands on the ledge of a high-rise building insisting that he must jump by noon while a police officer tries to talk him down and control the situation.

But something tells me that there will be more to film than just this simple story. Several actors that you might know are in the cast … Charlie Hunnam will play the man on the ledge while Terrence Howard will play the police officer. Liv Tyler and Patrick Wilson are in it as well as Ugly Betty’s Christopher Gorham who will play Hunnam’s roommate.

At one point while standing on the 3rd floor pool/deck area (talking to a grip working the main spot light), he got a little call via his earpiece/walkie-talkie thing. The guy on the other end said, “who’s the guy?” The young man next to me (who had introduced himself to me as Phil) said, “he’s David – he’s cool.” Then about thirty seconds later I said, “tell ’em that I’m Kevin Bacon’s brother.” At which point he did and the entire cast/crew looked up … AND waved at me.

Some day/night, huh?

As I hit the bed I thought about my entire day of getting to Baton Rouge – then the tour, dinner and movie.

Some day/night, huh!

Reflecting for a bit I realized that for more than a month I was really intent on making my meeting with LTPA a successful one. Turning off the lights, I drifted off to a very deep sleep.

Somewhere around dark-thirty I woke up …. and started returning office emails so I could then focus on my meeting!

My mind was clearly on our project and the delivery of useful information.

About 9:50 I ventured down to the meeting room …. and set up. At 10:30 we started …. what I experienced with the group was much more than anticipated. It was a collaborative meeting – unlike most huddle sessions where someone is jockeying for position. No one postured, no one weighed in ‘too’ much – and at the end of the day I felt more energized than when I started.

Question: How can I bottle that one?

Ok then, without digging into work too much let’s just say that LTPA has the right combination of creativity, positive energy and the southern graces that only the “foreign country” of Louisiana can offer. To quote a famous war hero, “I shall return!”

Wrapping up the day we said farewell and I headed to the airport.

I’m going back to Louisiana – soon. The food is better, the fish are bigger, the stories are more real and bigger, the southern charm is sweeter and the way you feel is most aligned with home.

Adyeu.



Spring is being held back by snow dudes who are on strike!


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.

Aloha


Snow and ice storm: January 29th, 2010.

There was an air of nothing-ness as the alarm clock rang out 5:55AM.

Near my bed I could hear the rain pelting the window and the wind howling just enough to create a bit more urgency in my first weather check.

Have you ever noticed how the color blue and pink look scary on the Weather Channel? Ever notice how they repeat the same horrific stories of people being stuck over and over and over again?

What played out in my head wasn’t smile inducing and it certainly wasn’t warming either. Not that I have anything against Monroe, Louisiana. I don’t. However, I’d rather be at home stuck with my stuff rather than in a hotel room several hundred miles away from what I call, “my slice of the world.” All the while I kept moving  – doing my “get ready thing” … packing and thinking. Maybe it would be ‘all good.’

I started to work at 6:15AM answering emails, putting out fires that erupted at the office and kept moving. For a brief moment I envisioned a private plane taking me home – and of course that vanished with a bit of laughter. The Weather Channel played the same drama: “Oklahoma is basically out of commission and the storm is rolling through Arkansas towards Tennessee.”

“Oh boy” was my thought.

Somewhere around 9:30 I went downstairs and one of the staffers from Monroe Tourism, “Georgie,” picked me up to carry me to the Monroe Regional Airport. She told me that flights were being canceled everywhere. “Oh boy” was my thought, yet again. She kindly gave me her business card and told me to call her if I got stuck and needed a ride BACK to the hotel. Whew – that was comforting – and comforting in a totally different way. Georgie told me it would be Ok – she said, “just go inside, you’ll figure it out.”

“What did that mean?” I even said those words out loud.

Then I grabbed my bags and crunched over to shield myself from the pouring rain. I kept moving — walking toward the terminal.

The picture inside isn’t one I want to revisit anytime in the near future. Let’s just say there were lots of grumbly people and even more frowns on the part of airline staffers. No one seemed happy. The three plasma screens in the terminal were stationed strategically so that all three could be viewed from anywhere in the room. Ironically the Weather Channel was playing the same drama from earlier in the morning.

There was no digital reader board – all flight changes were made by hand (analog style). After a few flights were marked “delayed or cancelled,” the airport workers gave up … they stopped updating them altogether. Memphis International announced it was basically shutting down – grounding every flight. Some flights that originated out west were being diverted elsewhere. Again, my mind wasn’t full of the thoughts I prefer.

I did what I normally don’t do. I remained calm.

Rather than act out, I was polite and I smiled. Rather than thumb through a book, I went to work dealing with emails and tackling the things that I would be doing in-office. The terminal had free wifi and so I hammered on the Macbook. Every so often I checked the weather online as a means for calculating the right approach of getting home. My best guess was a Sunday arrival – possibly 6 or 7PM. Worst case I knew Monday was doable because it wasn’t a Holiday. Seriously, Memphis (where I was to stop over) wasn’t moving and Atlanta didn’t like the chain reaction. Therefore, flights were being seriously delayed or cancelled from their end.

I visited the Delta counter again (for the sixth time) and by then I knew everyone’s name. “Cookie” was sharing her lemon cookies with me and Abbye was talking about her weekend plans. The guys were laughing about the weather and the boat show over at the Monroe Civic Center. I switched my flights to Memphis for the second time and opted for an “attempted” 8:46AM departure … knowing it wasn’t possible but at least I would be in Tennessee.

As I kept working (doing agency work), I would tap into MEM’s website for any updates about flight movement. Finally I got the notation that even if Memphis began to move again, there were a lot of people there who were much more unhappy than those at the Monroe airport. At that point I opted to switch my plans back to an Atlanta connection.

When the NWA agent (Clint) pulled my boarding pass for the 5:20PM flight, he said (with a wry grin) that I would land in Knoxville at 11:05PM —  and that would be the case if Knoxville wasn’t de-icing the runway. Alas, I was finally stuck. I accepted my fate and mentally headed toward Atlanta. My choice.

The greasy diner in the airport was open so I strolled in for lunch. The concept of healthy choice isn’t an option there – so I did something different: I ordered the double cheeseburger with double cheese. No fries, just a side salad. At one point the waitress asked me if I wanted more water and I said, “if it’s not frozen.” She didn’t laugh and I didn’t either.

Neither of us was willing to accept the Weather Channel’s message: “Nasty winter storm punishing the South.” D-R-A-M-A.

Three bites into the burger someone called out, “Mr. Avery – Mr. Avery, pack up that lunch, we’ve got a plane to put you on.” Huh? My mind was still back at the words, “Mr. Avery” (after all, that sounds like something said for my father not me). Abbye offered up a “don’t get too excited, we’re not sure if the plane is going to take off but I think we can get you on it if it does.” Then I asked – “where is it going??” She said, and this is very interesting, “Knoxville.”

“WHAT???!!!!” At that point I thought it was a joke. I then looked into her eyes with a laser bead to discern her real intent. She was in fact telling me the truth.

Can you imagine? I’m sitting in Monroe, Louisiana eating a greasy burger, contemplating hotel life for two more days, mulling over flight delays, cancellations and diverted routes all around me … but sitting on the tarmac is a fueled, ready-to-go CRJ. I did not hesitate to give my best UT Volunteer yell. Literally.

Everyone must have thought I was either drunk or crazy … or both. My face beamed so bright I wanted to hug everyone around me. Gathering my computer and food and bags I hurried to the security area … following Abbye as if we were going to get on that plane without the typical protocol. I neared TSA and my mind did a big “ooops.” I did not have a boarding pass for that plane – and my heart sank. I yelled out and Abbye returned to say to the TSA agent that the boarding pass I had was good for the flight (there were actually two passes). At which point everyone in the waiting area got up thinking they could board as well. When the TSA agent delivered a stern, “you’re not on this flight” command, their faces sank.

I kept smiling – hoping that I would get on that plane.

I could see the plane through the glass – – parked in the rain … cold air blowing …. turbines turning … exhausts spewing. I knew the plane was ‘for real’ at that point.

Two ladies were also attempting to get a ticket for the same plane. However, Knoxville wasn’t their final destination. The younger woman asked me about Knoxville and its proximity to Louisville. I told her it wasn’t an easy drive … it was easier to go to Nashville and drive up 65. She didn’t hear me. Her response was, “I’ve got to get home – my dad’s 70th birthday is tomorrow and I want to be there to celebrate it with him.”  “Wow, that’s kewl,” was my response.

I noticed the other woman — as she stood away from everyone. Her eyes were drawn deeply and she looked like she had been crying. My summation … early 50’s and nicely dressed, she was a working career type. As she approached the ticket agent, she asked very quietly about the flight and wanted to make sure she could get on it. The two women began figuring out, once they arrived in Knoxville, if they could split the cost of a rental car and drive onward north. There was a bunch of flutter back and forth and I finally asked, “who is getting on that plane?”

The response from the ticket agent was … “you three.”

I thought the word (loudly in my head): “WHAT???!!!!” “Huh? ..,” I said. “Yes, you’re going to Knoxville aren’t you,” Abbye said. “Sure … ” That was all I could muster.

Then the other woman approached the counter. Her face was more drawn than before – so I asked, “are you ok?” She began to cry – telling me that her father was dying and she had to get to Evansville, Indiana. I comforted her by patting her back and all I could say was – “it’s going to be Ok. We’ll get there and you’ll see him.”

So there we were – the three of us. One was headed to Louisville for her father’s 70 birthday. The other, sadly, was going to Evansville, Indiana because her father was dying. I was headed home to my space for what? I stopped to think about my dad for a moment.

Just the day prior I had made a post on this website about a fishing trip that we took together many years ago — after I graduated from high school – I thought about that as well. It felt pretty good. Again.

We (three) almost at the same time asked the one question that none of us really wanted to ask. We didn’t want to ask the question because we were fearful of the response: CANCELED. Abbye piped up and said, “you can get on the plane after we go get the crew.”  This seemed ethereal and I just couldn’t believe what was happening. I wanted to enjoy the excitement, but the thought of cancellation kept me from getting to boiled over about it.

Then the crew appeared — and said, “let’s go.”

Truthfully, this felt like we were on the private side of the airport about to board our own jet. Just think – a CRJ is parked on the tarmac, there are two pilots, one attendant and three passengers. Some gig, huh?

After offering up our boarding passes, we walked out in the rain and boarded. Me with my over sized bag in hand as if I were privileged or something. The stewardess told me to plant it in an empty aisle (ha) and I did. Each of us took our seats and the stewardess said buckle up. We did. The door closed and she said, “we’re ready for take off.”

Instantly the plane began to move. Yessur. We went through the safety procedures and moved to runway #1. The captain asked if we were good to go (over the loudspeaker) and we said (in unison), “yes.” I’m sure he couldn’t hear us, but the plane moved down the runway like it was light as feather. I guess it was light – not many passengers and very little baggage.

Lifting into the clouds I pulled out my iPod and dialed up a favorite Hawaiian mele.

Now the truth: earlier in the day I imagined for an instant (yes, I did) the ability to get on a plane and leave Monroe even though the rest of the terminal wasn’t going anywhere. Guess what? I recapped most my journey on the plane and completed the remainder of this post –  in my office – in Knoxville – with a cold beer nearby. The best part — I arrived home 40 minutes before the original scheduled time. At 4:20. Go figure.

When I finally unpacked and unloaded the bags, I decided to check the flight status of my original plan via Memphis, AND the flight via Atlanta. Both were canceled. Interesting huh.

There are a lot of people who touch our lives everyday. We touch others. I was reminded of many important life-lessons today: Be patient. Don’t be afraid to ask for miracles. Be kind to those in need. Smile when you’re happy. Stay focused when you’re working. Be smart about decisions affecting your future. And when in doubt, order a cold beer to celebrate all of the above.

I’m now going to take an official break and enjoy the snow … from my toasty den underneath the chuck roast blankee.

For those folks who are stranded and feeling lost right now or in the future, have faith it will work out in the end.

Peace.


“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and cannot remain silent.” Victor Hugo


There’s one good thing about snow, it makes your lawn look as nice as your neighbor’s.


Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. ~Berthold Auerbach


A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition


Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast. ~William Shakespeare


Anne Frank: How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.

anne frank, happy


Little Gasparilla, Florida: the trees are alive!

tree decoration, Little Gasparilla


Ha ‘u ka waha i ka makani!

cover-it


The right attitude: smile when it hurts most.

psiinen1


NEW, UPDATED and ready to pop: Hello Kitty was SUPERSIZED.

hello_kitty_popcorn_machine


Hello Kitty, poppity-pop-pop.

popcorn-vendingHello Kitty Popcorn Maker: assembly required, parental supervision suggested, takes dollar bills but isn’t for sale. Unlike the home version, this is not a toy. It makes 3 quarts of fresh, delicious popcorn at the shake of four bucks. Comes with a built-in butter well and is the size of a soda machine. Available at fine stores everywhere.

Pop-oneth.


Afraid of the cold weather? Don’t be chicken!

chickens_in_hell1Several chickens decided they were “over it” and left us late Thursday evening. The greeting they received early this morning was a lovely wake up call. Ha. For the rest of us here in Maryville, it’s 7 and feels like minus 2! A warming trend is expected today – all the way to 24. Whoa.

At 5:30 a.m. it was minus 10 in Cleveland, minus 6 in Detroit and minus 11 in Chicago. Right now it’s cold. Meanwhile in the middle of the Pacific it’s 74 in Kona. Ahhhh.

Onward … in western upstate New York, meteorologist Dave Sage said areas near Lake Erie were getting “hit pretty hard” by snow Friday morning. Some areas were getting up to 2 inches per hour. The National Weather Service predicted the subzero temperatures would persist into the weekend. Wind chill warnings were in effect over much of five states advising the cold and strong winds could lead to hypothermia, frost bite and death.

“When you have these cold temperatures, it doesn’t take very long for skin to freeze,” National Weather Service meteorologist Rod Donavon said. Iowa City hospitals had treated three people for cold-related injuries by midday Thursday, said University of Iowa Hospitals spokesman Tom Moore. Overnight temperatures there reached minus 24 degrees. Even more burr-burr. ADVICE: bundle up, wear layers, and drink plenty of fluids during the day so you can consume multiple rum toddies this evening. March oneth.


Frozen bunny. Yes, it’s cold outside.

so_cold


Smile when you’re not laughing.

Laughter is an instant vacation.

~Milton Berle