Food, Inc. is a 2008 American documentary film directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Robert Kenner.The film examines corporate farming in the United States, concluding that agribusiness produces food that is unhealthy, in a way that is environmentally harmful and abusive of both animals and employees. The film is narrated by Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser.
This film caused me to re-think most every meal I consumed from 1980 to present. Beef and poultry as we know it (today) are NOT healthy. Period. Food, Inc. tells the true story behind poultry and beef production. Chickens raised in a grow-out houses (injected with ?, and fed questionable grain) are not a healthy food choice. Beef production is horrifically bad and processed beef scares me. Shock and awe worked. Food, Inc. arrested our attention and we heard the message. Yes, we heard the message, and we decided to take action.
Twenty minutes ago my wife cleared the pantry of processed foods, and cleared out almost half of what was stored in the refrigerator. The remaining items contain 5 ingredients or less.
Ok then. We’re not vegan but we’re eating vegan dishes. We’re not vegetarians but we’re eating vegetarian dishes. We’re not whole food Nazis either but we’re eating whole foods as if we live on a farm (from the early 1900’s before chemical companies took over the food industry). We switched to organic poultry, seiten, and ahi (wild caught), and organic turkey breast.
In summary, sourcing truly healthy foods is challenging. This type of transformation means we are reading labels, and taking time to research questionable ingredients. It also means we’ll review scientific data behind food claims, all of which are interesting. We believe we’re on a better path forward. Let’s hope so. More so than ever, we believe you are what you eat.
The phrase, “don’t look back” gives the brain a tangled command — a command the brain ignores. The brain hears “look back” because the word “don’t” is an unclear directive. The brain hears, “look back” in an effort to gain clarity. When waves roll, a forward-facing view generates an opportunity for much better outcomes. The simple truth of being positive, even in moments of stress or confusion, helps create a brighter lens. Even when you’re held under water for a two wave set, give your mind the freedom it needs to bring about a favorable outcome. Relax. It does a body good.
When I look around my home, it’s filled with lots of photos of my family. If the house is on fire, this photo is coming with me. Of all the images I possess, this one photo is very important.
The folks in this photo showed me love, affection, and kindness as youngster. Some of the very best memories of my childhood are connected with them. The three women from left to right – Granny, Momma Sue and Aunt Lucy were so loving and gracious. God bless them all.
Far left – I believe that was Uncle Dee. I didn’t know him. The man to his right is my great grandfather – or Little Daddy, and the lady next to him is Laura Talley (his wife) or Granny. When I think of the house behind them – on Homewood Road in Memphis – well, that was THE place for my summers.
Granny was super laid back. I would sit in her lap for hours – listening to her read the Bible. The fact is, she read the Bible cover to cover at least three times. Need I say more? Next to Granny are two of her children, Sue Avery, or Momma Sue, and Lucy Dupwe, or Aunt Lucy.
Momma Sue was the bomb. She drove a Chevy, had a garden, flew balsa gilders with my sister and me … usually late into the evening during summer. Momma Sue taught me how to fish and gave me the nudge to be creative. I miss her.
Next to her is Aunt Lucy. She was equally as fun. Look at that smile. What do you see? I see a woman who knew how to live. Look at those glasses! I spent a lot of summers at Aunt Lucy and Uncle Floyd’s house. Jonesboro was far away but there was a milk shake stop along the road that had peppermint shakes. What ever happened to that place?
Gosh those are fond memories. Aunt Lucy was like a grandmother to me. I know a lot of people will miss her. Thankfully I am a better person in life because of her love and kindness. I’m one of those people who will miss her.
What else can I say? They all look happy except for Uncle Dee (the man on the far left). He seems to be saying, “take the damn photo and let’s go!”
Peace be with you Aunt Lucy.
Find some bamboo. Cut the bamboo. Knot the pieces together. Done.
We raced for Caroline today.
We kicked ass.
It was a good day.
Emily, Alex and I won the relay division (and that’s kewl). More than 1,400 people were competing today. Overall, our time placed us 60th out of 518 in the Olympic length triathlon. My individual cycling time (for a 40K) was 1:01:34 – which was 21st out of the 518 (ranking me 21st behind twenty guys under thirty years of age – all of which are pro athletes). Yep, we brought our “A” game.
Enjoy the images. I can assure you, EVERYONE enjoyed this REV3 even. Ride oneth.
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.
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.
Ha! Sometimes the message hits home.
When we look at the cards we’re dealt – in life – or on a daily basis, we make a choice as to the reaction or action we take based on the situation at hand. Believe it or not, there are those around us who hope the reaction is a painful one … in a small, or possibly a significant way. Rather than building and extending rapport, they seek to tear down any hint of a foundation of rapport.
When this happens, it leaves us feeling diminished and angry, because here’s what they’re passively expressing: “I don’t regard you as capable of resolving this issue with me,” or “I’m uncomfortable sharing my real feelings with you,” or “You and your feelings don’t matter here,” and “It’s easier (on me) to forfeit this connection and disappear, than to muster the courage I need to repair it.” I’m not sure if this is any consolation, but they’re showing you how they were treated and abandoned growing up, and unresolved childhood issues are always repeated in adulthood.
Yes, people do want to hurt others and they seek out opportunities to negatively affect their success in life. They seek to negatively impact the lives of folks they dislike or those that are in their way. Throw in an avoidance mindset (for conflict resolution) and you have a very nasty gathering.
For many people, the thought of conflict-resolution is a road block to deeper relationships that provide more enjoyment and satisfaction in life. However, the average person typically doesn’t accept the fact that they share in the problem. People who avoid such situations tend to strengthen the conflict and block true progress.
Some psychologists suggest that passive-aggressive behavior is an outcropping of childhood trauma and stressful parental relationships. I’m no psychologist, but I agree. Avoidance behavior is one of the defenses that’s associated with narcissism. Narcissistic individuals lack authentic ego strength, and this core deficit makes it nearly impossible for them to acknowledge their flaws or failings. They may be quick to point out your shortcomings, but confronting their own invokes intolerable levels of shame and self-loathing.
People will tell you who they are and I firmly suggest you believe them. When someones says, “I’m just not a good person,” LISTEN.
Surely it was a great day of packing, doing, going, eating, swimming, laughing, eating, swimming, snacking, whining, driving, cleaning, popping, drinking, eating and resting. Not in that order. The sun was bright, the weather was perfect and the whole concept of enjoying a day off – with NO rain – was wonderful!
Well, let’s just say it included SPF30, bug spray and rest. We all were in agreement with “more of that please.” I dig that a lot (I think everyone did). The fireworks were great – and it was mostly safe … except for the contusion with my left eye.
None the less, I love the 4th of July as it’s a day of celebration. I want a repeat visit very soon.
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.
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.
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.
Snow and ice of the last few days necessitated the closing the Foothills Parkway. Rather than dig out the fendered bike, I put the portable fender on the Klein and rode the under-construction segment of the Parkway. No one was out – no cars parked at the entrance and the lack of noise was nice. Sleet and snow fell during most of the ride up — and back from the bridge. My feet got wet and so did my hands so the trip back to the car wasn’t pleasant. Needless to say, it was a lot better than being stuck in Memphis — so I laughed and enjoyed the pain. I captured a few images via my Pentax because the light changed so dramatically during my ride – enjoy.
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.
I scanned this photo of my dad, me and a fishing friend. This photo was taken on Toledo Bend back in 1980. We look pretty sunburned don’t we? Ha. It was the last day of our seven day trip.
The largemouth bass you see were caught on both sides of Toledo Bend … Texas and Louisiana. For those that don’t know, Toledo Bend Reservoir is the largest man made body of water in the south and the fifth largest in surface acres in the United States, with water normally covering an area of about 200,000 acres. Needless to say, it offers unreal (and countless) fishing opportunities.
I clearly remember the size of these hogs … the excitement in the boat as they were landed … and the way it felt to cast a line knowing something was going to take the bait. Look at the size — the largest was 11lbs! This photo was a fun way to step back in time, and for me it sums up what I call a “lifetime experience.” Thanks to my dad for making it so.
This year I elected to enjoy myself rather than get caught up in cameraville. I held back and snapped very few images. I spent my time catching up, laughing and enjoying the food, drink and festivities. This year’s celebration in Jonesboro was terrific. My family was in good spirits and in good health.My girl went along with me – and that made the whole trip even better. Herein are a few of the images that I captured. Gobble.
“No man or woman is an island. To exist just for yourself is meaningless. You can achieve the most satisfaction when you feel related to some greater purpose in life, something greater than yourself.”
Missy Moo’s b-day was – well – today. And here is the pictorial of our activities. Grilled, spiced chicken, fruity drinks, bacon wrapped artichoke hearts, asparagus, cheese toast, salad, etc. Great company and the birthday girl eatin’ her key lime cheese cake (that she co-made with mom). Yummmmm. Good times for everyone including me, LGE, Sponge Bob Square Pants and Hello Kitty. Oh – and slicky-slick. Now “I’m nine. Next year I’m in the double digits. Soon thereafter I need a blue Z06 Vette with pink stripes.”
That can be arranged. Yes. Rock oneth.
2009 STS Marketing College: professor night out and the aftermath of ‘clubbin’ local Dahlonega-style.
Our trip to Little Gasparilla was FUN! Sunshine every day and no rain. Every night we enjoyed a beautiful sunset followed by an even better dinner. The food brigade was well-organized in advance. We enjoyed Ahi, Mahi-Mahi, scallops wrapped in bacon, steaks and more steaks. Every evening we made fruity drinks without rum so everyone could enjoy the evening’s toast. MG learned to boogie board, hunt for teeth and she refined the “official” shell judging scale.
Our last evening (Saturday) was met with a cloudy sunset, but with a strong westerly breeze the buggahs were well inland. Speaking of buggahs, we figured out a slick technique to avoid mosquitoes and the “no seeum’s.” Wash off downstairs with the hose and move quickly upstairs to the drying area. It worked each and every time. The no seeum’s didn’t penetrate the screened-in porch so we ate outside every evening under the fans. Although it was warm, the twirling breeze felt nice.
We gamed, scrabbled, monoplized, and carded. We even watched Dog – more than once.
I can guarantee there will be a repeat in 2010. Although we’re still in Florida, we can say Aloha.
Pictured herein is my collection of “finds” for the week while on Little Gasparilla Island. It totals more than 400 shark teeth – all fossilized and several larges pieces of bone – also fossilized. The real question came up related to how a tooth becomes a fossil. Here is the short answer – a tooth become a fossil when it is buried in sediment (or other material) soon after being lost from a shark’s mouth. The sediment precludes oxygen and harmful bacteria from reaching the tooth and destroying it. The general fossilization process varies greatly depending on the exact situation. In general it takes approximately 10,000 years for a tooth to become a true fossil.
As you can see in the shark tooth circle, the colors are varied. In other words, not all of the teeth are black or gray. Actually the color of a tooth is determined solely by the color of sediment in which it is buried while fossilizing. The tooth absorbs minerals from the surrounding sediment. As the minerals replace the natural structure of the tooth, the tooth becomes the same general color as the sediment. Although some people believe a tooth’s color indicates age – the experts say that color is not an effective indicator of the age of a tooth. The most common color for shark teeth is a black root with a grayish crown. Different colors are more uncommon and significantly increase the value of a tooth.
The best shark tooth hunting spots are located in Florida — in the Venice Beach area all the way down to Little Gasparilla Island. The teeth pictured herein are from the Miocene-Pliocene Epochs (approximately 24.5 million to 2 million years ago). During this time period oceans sporadically covered many parts of what is now the Southeastern United States. NOTE: The Carcharocles megalodon shark thrived during the Miocene-Pliocene period, and was the largest shark to ever swim the ocean. Reaching an overall maximum length of approximately 60 feet, this shark was three times the size of the modern Great White (Carcharodon carcharias) shark. And that my friends is the rest of the story.
Oh. Pictured below is not a find that I made. Rather, it shows the enormous size of the teeth that can be found in the waters off shore while diving. The 6.57″ size of this tooth puts the 60′ shark into perspective. Whew!
The residents of Little Gasparilla (part time mind you) all agree that bug spray is highly necessary if you’re near vegetation, foliage (specifically bushes) and certainly near stagnate water. I’ve been landed upon all of 8 times thus far this week, but I’ve been super careful in my travels. More specifically I’ve been “moving” around enough to thwart most of the nasty buggahs.
Earlier today we traveled to the north end of Little Gasparilla and while we enjoyed the trip our golf car died on us! Oops. I elected not to plug in last night so we were light on go-juice. Me and Ames pushed the 800lb car – along with Mary Grace (our driver) to the nearest battery (pronounced “bat-tree”) station: Pirate Cove Golf Cars. Mr. Smiley greeted us and offered a plug in but wasn’t anywhere to be seen when we needed to push it up hill to plug in. Oh well. At least he allowed us to charge for an hour … just enough to get us back to the south side and our beach front area.
During our plug-in time we walked to the north tip of Gasparilla. Well, not a tip but a Florida state park that bridges the gap between Little Gasparilla and Palm Island. We found a bunch of sharks teeth, drank a few bottles of water, jumped in the water to rinse off and basically had a little adventure. It was more fun than any of us expected. HA!
Turkey burgers are grilling, the beer is cold, the company is “no ka heke” and I’m ready for another sunset photo expetiditon. Aloha.
Little Gasparilla is one of three islands that are “chained” or linked through saltwater low lands. The other two connecting islands are Don Pedro and Palm Island. Little Gaspirilla lies furthest south of the chain and borders Gasparilla Pass. Don Pedro is in the middle, with Palm Island furthest north and bordering on Stump Pass.
At the turn of the century, the islands and adjacent mainland was owned by the Vanderbilt family. Three decades ago, sea currents and storms closed the passes that separated the three islands. Since the closing of those passes, the islands became linked providing an avid walker with over seven miles of beach.
There is no bridge connecting to the mainland, and access to the island is only by boat. Since all the docks on Little Gasparilla are privately owned, only homeowners or invited guests occupy the island. Development is slow on the “bridgeless” barrier islands because people truly appreciate the seclusion and detachment from the mainland. It’s a guaranteed method of controlling the traffic, the masses and the unwanted “retail” nature that has engulfed many of Florida’s coastal cities.
Little Gasaprilla, an “old Florida” atmosphere that is unique in today’s “hurry up” world. Relax oneth.
What’s up with relationships these days. Is it the same? What is changing? What’s new? What is repeated?
For better or for worse, our romantic relationships are not always as straightforward as we would like them to be. From time to time, our intimate relationships can become complicated and complex – full of contradictions and inconsistencies. When it comes to love and marriage, people expect a spouse to be completely honest. But, at the same time, everyone values their sense of freedom and privacy. So while romantic partners typically want to please each other, at other times, couples experience competing goals which can make telling the truth more difficult. I suspect that the “total” truth is not plausible in this world … and that sucks. People find a bi-jillion reasons why they cannot tell the truth – and usually blame the other person for not being able to do so. My mind utters two responses concurrently: BLEH and WTF! In reality, building trust in relationships seems to be last on the list.
What is first? I doubt that building trust is first. Just when I thought trust and respect were important in my current dating relationship I found out the opposite. I learned several lessons this week but one stands out clearly and strongly: when the truth is hard to find with simple, “innocent” events, interactions or experiences, then telling truth will be much harder to uncover with significant events, interactions or experiences.
For now, I think I’ll continue doing what I’ve been doing: telling the bald face truth. I sleep much better at night.
Life is life. Failures are 100% life. The suggestion of the week is to keep your focus on the journey of life – the process we call in the moment.
Failures are as much a part of life as successes – but it is failure that most people fear the most. The fact is, failures are a necessary part that each of us must endure to be able to learn “how to” succeed. Failures help us create a path leading toward our personal and unique definition of success.
The goal of success takes a path that journeys through the territory of failure. Oh boy. Some wise men say, “keep failing till you can fail no more.” I view success like an onion: the outer shell is covered with failure and the center (the sweet spot) is what I call success.
Ergo the suggestion to keep pealing off failures till you get what you want.
“I don’t want to earn
my living; I want to live.”
Surprisingly, 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.
1. Reduce, refine and streamline – things and relationships: On this front I’m doing better. My MO in January was to cut the waste, the clutter and processes of daily life – and specifically the weekends. I’m enjoying more time to paint, draw and take photos.
2. When in doubt remove excess. Refer to rule #1: I referred to rule #1 a lot when making decisions in January. It served me well.
3. Be budget-minded each month; plan it and work the plan: I converted my budget plan to an online book which was a huge step toward e-billpay, Quickbooks and such. I conserved at every level. Rather than purchase an easel (even at the discounted rates online), I bought one that was used and saved a lot of money.
4. “Make due.” Good enough is good enough: Each time I was about to make a purchase, I ‘future cast’ the ‘thing’ and asked myself was it going to be useful one year from now. In almost every instance the answer was “no” – and I didn’t make the purchase. The only exception, I bought a discount book at Books-a-Million for $9.97 and wished I searched online for an e-copy.
5. Plan ahead – enjoy the moment: Yes, the month had some surprises at work and several long days. But (!) I did plan ahead and enjoyed three weekends where I hung out with the BGE, painted, drew – and relaxed. Really.
6. Take ALL vacation days … every last one: None taken but I did enjoy some time for relaxing.
7. When purchasing find a deal, and keep a tote board: As noted earlier, I saved a bundle on the easel, even more on some books that I wanted as reference tools, and my savings for the month was just over $200 – not including the things I didn’t purchase.
8. Save more, and SELL what’s not needed nor used: I made a HUGE list of things that are going bye-bye. When I settle into the month of February I’m getting rid of some biggies (car, bikes, etc.) and a few things just in the way. My goal is to eliminate what I don’t absolutely use or need.
9. Travel a lot … for vacation: We made plans for a trip on Spring Break — to Florida. Yeah. And we’re tentatively going to Hawai’i in early Summer. Even more Yeah.
10. Remember family. Go visit them: I didn’t visit anyone in January, but I did talk with several family members (more than usual) and communicated by email more than usual as well. February has a travel-trip to Nashville in it somewhere.
OK then. February is under way.
As you grow older, you’ll find
the only things you regret
are the things you didn’t do.
Rather than pull the HK out and “snap,” it might be a good idea to “deal with” people who are difficult. I’m not talking about business associates talking about a tough topic, I’m talking about people who are difficult. A good first step in coping with a difficult person is to understand the behavior. I’ve learned over the years that difficult people are generally unhappy, insecure, and have low self-esteem. Not always, but often.
At some point early in life the typical “difficult person” learned to get their needs met in maladaptive ways – like being the bully. In addition, I’ve learned that different types of difficult people have one common desire: they want to be loved and accepted. Unfortunately, they learned inappropriate methods and ways to garner love and acceptance.
Although hostile at first, the true non-difficult person responds to effective communication and rational reasoning (more often than not). On the other hand, the difficult person is usually relentless in their pursuit to beat you – and win.
The bottom line is this – coping with difficult people is never easy and can be frustrating. One truth stands out related to difficult people: everyone has trouble dealing with difficult people – even difficult people dealing with other difficult people (LOL!). In the heat of the moment it is possible to deal with difficult people effectively. The key is to remain confident in your abilities and coping skills. Do not engage in an argument with the person as it is a no-win proposition. In fact, the only way for you to win is to elect not to play.
And if all else fails, the HK is to ready rumble.
1. Reduce, refine and streamline – things and relationships.
2. When in doubt remove excess. Refer to rule #1.
3. Be budget-minded each month; plan it and work the plan.
4. “Make due.” Good enough is good enough.
5. Plan ahead – enjoy the moment.
6. Take ALL vacation days … every last one.
7. When purchasing find a deal, and keep a tote board.
8. Save more, and SELL what’s not needed nor used.
9. Travel a lot … for vacation.
10. Remember family. Go visit them.
2008 has been interesting. Yes, the entire year.
From J1 to D31, it’s been a trip. So many things, events, people and places stand out in my mind … many of which are fluffed up and/or buried in my weblog. My favorite moment this year was … well … gosh there are so many … finding one is pretty difficult.
Or should I say narrowing it to one would be (and is) difficult.
With that thought in mind, I’ve learned a lot this year and grown up a little. Funny how we tend to look in the rearview mirror and wince at our errors, misgivings, and all the yucko moments we either created or egged on. Why those stand out I’ll never know?! Can I get a WTF?!
Okay then. If I were to narrow the ‘best of the best’ this past year I know that I’d forget some thing, someone or sweet sunset – so I won’t. Suffice it to say, all 366 days (it was a leap year) were a blessing.
The year has been a mixed bag of everything. It’s had healthy doses of smiles, laughter, travel, exhiliration, lost accounts, joy, ‘shout-outs’, 100-milers, sunsets, Aloha’s, shutter snaps, flat tires, business trips, tears, firecrackers, simple lunches, cold-winter rides, summer-time death marches, flops in the sand, fallen trees, and certainly tense moments at home … along with good times too.
As crazy as it sounds, I’ve grown closer to myself, become more confident in my gut feelings, and certainly affirmed that no one is going to take care of me better than me.
We must do that ourselves.
Alas, it’s New Year’s eve – and I’m blogging. What does that tell you? I suspsect that when we turn the calendar over to J1 the process and more than likely the results will be much the same. I hope my reactions will be slower and more comfortable. After all, it’s how we react and/or ‘deal with it all’ which makes our daily lives (and thus a year) a true blessing.
Enough for now.
Starting J1 this weblog will convert itself into a true photoblog. I’ve toyed with my craft long enough. The daily adventure begins J1.
Many people look forward
to the New Year for a
new start on old habits.
Make 2009 different.
Kick the habit.
Rock into shape.
Love your loved ones.
Drink a little.
Live a little.
Smell the coffee.
Gulp the sunshine.
Splash in the pool.
Pop the 4th.
Say hello to Fall.
Pretend to notice Christmas ads.
Start over again.
If you’re lucky.
Best make the 1st your best day.
There is work that is work and there is play that is play; there is play that is work and work that is play. And in only one of these lies happiness.
While storing some crappy-crap-crap today, I found my “current” Hot Wheels collection on a shelf behind some books. Yeah!
Modern day mind you, but ceratinly kewl and ‘hot.’
As you may know, Hot Wheels are die-cast model vehicles manufactured by Mattel and were introduced on September 7, 1968. I was about to turn six when these cars rolled onto the showrooms of a toystore near my home in Memphis, Tennessee. For my birthday I was given several cars — which has fueled my love of cars to this day.
Originally the cars and trucks were manufactured to approximately 1:64 scale and designed to be used on associated Hot Wheels track sets. I had two tracks with all the accessories – including the ‘redliner’ track with lots of turns and running footage. It was a blast to send those cars around the track at lightening speed! I’m still a HUGE fan.
The collection of my youth, long gone, was well over 100 cars (many of which were Matchbox cars, not Hot Wheels). However, I did own the sweet 16 originals. Yes, like many kids my age that was typical. By 1970 (I was 8), the Hot Wheels series introduced a 1:43 scale ‘Gran Toros’ which I thought were stupid and not at all “Hot Wheels.” Umm. While there were 16 models in the first year of introduction, today there are roughly 10,000 different models of Hot Wheels Cars. Yes, I’m still a fan. Hot Wheels ride oneth.
What is Christmas without all the wonderful scents and warmth of Christmas goodies? The mixture herein helps us discover a wonderful treat that you can make and share with friends and family. There are two methods: a) is from scratch using the ingredients listed below, or b) buy save some time and purchase Weigel’s eggnog, then add rum to taste. I prefer the Weigel’s method because it’s ‘cold separated’ – meaning it is smoother and more flavorful than traditional eggnog. Mele Kalikimaka.
3 pints Heavy Cream
1 cup Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 cup Bourbon Whiskey
1 cup Cognac
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1. Reduce, refine and streamline.
2. When in doubt remove excess.
3. Be budget-minded each month.
4. “Make due.”
5. Plan ahead.
6. Take ALL vacation days.
7. When purchasing find a deal.
8. Save more.
9. Travel a lot, but only for the sake of vacationing.
10. Take bank Holidays off.
“If you want to kill any idea
in the world, get a committee
working on it.”
Charles F. Kettering
“I have a great diet.
You’re allowed to eat anything
you want, but you must
eat it with naked fat people.”
The play was the basis for the 1938 Academy Award winning film directed by Frank Capra. The film cast included several notable stars of the era including James Stewart, Jean Arthur, and Lionel Barrymore. The extended core cast included Edward Arnold, Spring Byington, Ann Miller, Dub Taylor, Charles Lane, Mischa Auer, Eddie ‘Rochester’ Anderson, and the uncredited Arthur Murray.
This comedy is one of Capra’s best films — and certaily it’s unappreciated. Barrymore is outstanding as the patriarch of the eccentric Vanderhof clan showing his range, playing the polar opposite of the evil Mr. Potter in “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Barrymore, who is on crutches throughout the movie, is a man who has dropped out of the rat race and whose only goal in life is happiness – his and that of everyone around him. Arthur never seems to get her due when great actresses are discussed, but she certainly deserves to be mentioned along with the greats. Edward Arnold is excellent as a humorless, money hungry businessman who tries to buy the Vanderhof’s home for his latest business venture. The cast of free spirits who live in, or regularly visit the Vanderhof home make the movie. Poppins, Kolenkhov, Penny and the rest are a hilarious bunch who create a continuous cacophony of joy that greets any visitor to the Vanderhof home. In typical Capra style, things hit rock bottom for the Vanderhof clan before a warm, uplifting end that places a warm smile on your face.
The moral of the story is this: you can’t take it with you. The end.
Floyd Dupwe, Sr., 97, of Jonesboro, died Friday at his home. As a native and life-long resident of Jonesboro, he was instrumental in building several schools in the community. For all of his adult life – and most of his younger years – Floyd Dupwe, Sr. worked with his hands and the earth … if it were organic he loved it. He was a Field Supervisor for Bertig Cotton Company in Paragould for many years and then he later worked as a cotton grader for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Floyd was a vegetable gardener for most of his life and was noted in the community for his tomato’s.
Floyd was a member of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church where he was active in the Knights of Columbus. He was preceded in death by 2 brothers, 1 sister and a daughter-in-law: Kathleen Dupwe. Survivors include his wife of 72 years, Mary Lucy Evans Dupwe, married November 8, 1936. Yes, for 72 years … think about that for a moment.
He is also survived by his daughter and son-in-law: Martha and Mickey Stafford of Jonesboro; 2 Sons and daughter-in-law: Floyd Dupwe, Jr., and Warren and Mila Dupwe, all of Jonesboro; 4 Grandchildren: Sherrie Mitchell, Doug Dupwe, Russell Dupwe and Brian Stafford and his wife, Jenine; and 2 Great Grandchildren: Meagan Mitchell and Cody Dupwe.
My earliest years around Uncle Floyd were highly memorable. Particularly because visits to Jonesboro (from Memphis) were a summer time tradition. My grandmother and great grandmother would pack up the car and then we (including my sister) would take a vacation. Heck, we (my sister and I) were already on vacation because we’re enjoying three months (!) with Momma Sue and Granny. So traveling to Jonesboro for a week (usually in July) was considered a vacation within a vacation. If you know what that is then you’ve lived a good life.
The trip to Jonesboro from Memphis was a slower excursion than it is today. Back in the 60’s, the road was just a two-lane country route from the outskirts of Memphis (West Memphis Arkansas) all the way to Jonesboro. It was lined with small towns, flooded potholes, plenty of ‘parking lot stops’ for slowing moving farm implements and traffic in general. Mid way we usually stopped for a bio break – and for a sweet treat at the “milk shake shack.” I have no idea what the real name of the milk shake shack was, but the peppermint shakes served there were AWESOME.
When we visited Aunt Lucy and Uncle Floyd, we’d spend a whole week with them. Uncle Floyd always wanted to show us his garden and give us a tour of the fields. I thought he was kewl guy because he had a tractor and would haul us around behind it. It felt dangerous and exciting, but in fact it wasn’t. When we visited Aunt Lucy and Uncle Floyd, watermelon and ice-cream made the short list of foods we consumed (these were indeed on the short list of our personal, primary food groups). We’d certainly eat lots of home grown veggies, but the fresh fruits and homemade ice-cream that topped off huge meals were particularly enjoyable.
During our stay, we’d fish nearby ponds, play games at night and ‘just visit.’ There was lots of joy, happiness and love among family. Every person in the Dupwe family, although they are my cousins, were addressed as either aunts or uncles. To this day I still address them with an aunt or uncle preface.
Trips to Jonesboro, Arkansas (as a kid and now as an adult) stand out as some of best memories, and best vacations, of my life.
I’m blessed to have known Floyd Dupwe, Sr., Uncle Floyd, and he will be missed.
Let’s just say that each year I look forward to “making an opportunity” with which I stay at a Ritz Carlton somewhere in the world. This year I’ve enjoyed two. Yeah. No big deal really … I’m certain there are other RC aficionado’s who enjoy an RC experience (once or multiple times per year). The sights and sounds of an RC experience are worthy of sharing, like today’s images captured at the Ritz Carlton Lodge in Greensboro, Georgia. A super-nice setting and wonderful lodging experience. Ritz oneth.
Earlier this week someone asked me about “living in the moment” and what that meant. I responded by saying it’s not something that you think about, it’s something that you experience. It’s active – it’s participative – and it’s all about the moment of now, and now, and now – and so on.
Living in the future is desperate attempt to improve happiness now, and truly is self-defeating. Living the future is more than talking about vacation plans, for example, it’s attempting to “live” the vacation prior to its start. People who live in the future offer up things like – – “now that we have a place to stay on our vacation, it’s more real for me.” BLEH!
Because our minds are full of the “past,” we automatically draw from our mentally database and use the data as an input tool to project assumptive thoughts and feelings into the future without true awareness nor the realization of its impact. For most people, living in the future and dreaming are exactly the same. I’ve heard people use those phrases interchangeably as if the meanings are identical. However, those active, mental directives are vastly different.
Living in the future is a method by which we avoid living in the now. We avoid life’s present moments because we’re much more interested in what’s to come. Rather than enjoy the song on the XM radio station “now,” we’re much more interested in taking a mental leap in our mind’s eye to some future event that feels better. Living in the future is a fast-forward mental leap into an event that is more exciting, glamorous, gilded, mystic or otherwise “better” than what’s happening around us at that exact moment. People who live in the future are afraid that what they have “in the now” is somehow less than acceptable and certainly not what others are doing, living nor enjoying.
Sadly it’s also symptomatic of people who view material things as definitive marks of happiness … as if material possessions are creators of happiness. These are the same folks who suggest that if you don’t like “now” then mentally conjure up “the next best thought” (which means tomorrow’s movie, next week’s lunch date, the vacation next year, etc.). On contrary, that philosophy and mental guidepost serves us better when we’re dealing with life’s troubles for extended periods of time and are seeking a safe haven. During extended periods of mental anxiety, “what’s the next best thought” serves as a timeout for minds and bodies. But, it’s not an excuse to leap into next week. When we do we’ve escaped the “now” and what it might be teaching us. It is not the next best mental technique to actively enjoy life in the moment.
So – how is dreaming and living the future different? Simply this: living in the future is a feeble attempt to improve life ‘in the moment’ – it’s escapism. Dreaming is pondering the “what if” without regard for its actuality. It’s aspirational yet abstract. The net-net: it’s visionary, not “itinerary.”
To live is so startling it leaves
little time for anything else.
Our lives are like a candle in the wind.