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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tiny Vignettes... (200 words)

This is a list of some things I have seen in my travels that were lost and now found.  I am sharing them finally because I just relocated them buried in a folder on my flash drive.  As I read each one, I smiled as the instant snapshot popped into my head.  That is reason enough to share....a reminder of the importance of the little things in the crazy-busy world around us.  Life is full of vignettes and these are some which included me as an observer turned flash storyteller.  Enjoy.

A man who was not a teenager waiting at the busiest intersection in Farmington dancing and twirling his closed umbrella.  He wore no earbuds that I could see, but that umbrella had moves...

A pirate walking down a quiet city street in San Diego talking on his cell phone...

A student sitting cross-legged on the dusty floor texting with a worn copy of Mona Lisa Overdrive perched precariously on his knee...

A United States Marine Corps sticker proudly displayed on a silvery Turbo Fit...

A couple in their 70’s walking hand in hand...and they were the same height and the same shape... 

Remember to look, listen, live, and laugh.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Every day I struggle to accept the darkness of the world and to somehow make sense of the cruelties and craziness. It is a struggle to stay optimistic sometimes, in the light of such things.

But on some days – like this day – I am surrounded by family and friends, by good food and memories in the making. On days like this, it is easier to forget the sadness of the world – for I am face to face with the things which fill my life with joy and happiness. My family and my dear ones are what keep the madness at bay and I ‘m forever thankful that the only tears I shed today will be born from laughter and from the lingering sadness of missing my grandparents, my aunt. I can feel them with us at every turn, though.

And so…for you, and them, and me, and all, I write this:

The world is dark and dangerous,

The days are long and bleak,

And so my eyes stay close to home

For the Thursday of this week.

A day of thanks for all I have

Though I feel it every day

The rays of color in my life

That keep back shades of grey.

Friend and family lines are blurred

As we lay the table fair

And in these bustling moments,

I lay my soul to bare.

I love you if you’re reading this,

My life you’ve wreathed in light

May you find all that you’re looking for,

Be it here or gone from sight.

May each memory you have not made

And those of days now past,

Bring you peace and joy unbound

And love to everlast.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Practical Musings...

I probably shouldn't be writing this right now.  I'm at the point in the semester when I have so many things to do and I'm well aware of the fact that time is running out.  I did very little school work over the weekend.  I carry around the guilt of this like a good Catholic -- though I'm not one.  It's funny, I sometimes miss the days of working in an office.  My job now is one where there is never NOTHING to do.  There's always something I should be grading or commenting on or a class to be preparing for.  So, during those times when I take the time to address other parts of my life, I have guilt.  I really am married to my it's a good thing that I like it.  J. assuaged (or at least tried) my guilt by telling me that I will get it done, just like I always do.  I suspect he's right.

It doesn't help that I've been fighting a cold, had company over the weekend, two birthdays to arrange for, and we're still working on helping our new dog adjust.  All in all, my life is pretty busy and crazy.  And I don't even have kids.  I don't think I would have time for them.  But that's another post...and one that's been discussed elsewhere.

I sat down to this blog with no real idea of what I was going to write.  sometimes, that's all I've got.  Just give me a blank screen and a keyboard and see what happens.  I have to reach that 4-post mark somehow.  I think I'll make a list of things that I'm excited about and use that as a place to find energy in the next weeks.

I'm going camping with my parents and various other important people not once, but TWICE next summer.   Thanksgiving is only a few days away and I love this holiday of taking time to be thankful for family and friends and health.  More on that later this week, I expect.  I managed to make a small difference in the MMO I play -- something that will be fixed in March.  Nice to know that my attention to detail (which has much less pleasant names depending on who you're talking to).  The Cone of Power is alive and well -- and needs a blog about it soon.  I have great friends who still seem to be there, no matter how busy and prickly I might get.  I got to play Arkham Horror yesterday and we actually won.  My family is wonderful, as always.  My household is full of crazy happiness -- two dogs and two cats and a gerbil (not going to dwell on the one who left us this week).  My car should be fixed soon.  I have some great ideas for gifts for Christmas presents -- and some of my hardest shopping is done.  My Q-rosters are done.  I have an interesting schedule next semester with some fun classes in it.  The conference I helped organize went really well and the conversation was amazing.  My presentation seemed pretty good, too.

All in all, life is pretty good, despite bad days and weeks full of things that threaten to shake my tenuous hold on happiness, inner calm, and organized productivity.  Now, I just need to keep holding on and celebrating the good.  The bad can stuff it.  I have things to do.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Beautiful Strangers...

One day last week I was sitting at a table providing information to students who were looking for their advisers. It is early November and already our eyes are looking towards a new semester. Being early November, however, also meant that Veteran’s Day was near upon us. Across the lobby area where I was sitting, there was an easel with a poster propped on it about the annual event being held on campus in honor of that day. I don’t remember what was written on the poster, but I remember that the center of it boasted a waving American Flag. Several people stopped and read it in the hour I was there; one of these has stayed with me. He was a youngish looking student, hair cropped close to his head and a backpack slung over one shoulder. He stood there for several moments, clearly reading the poster and internally filing the details. Then he turned, as the others who had read the poster did, and he began to walk away. As he did, his hand reached out and touched the flag. He moved towards the nearby doorway slowly, his fingers trailing across the stars and stripes. The gesture was reverent, loving, gentle, and lingering. I wondered about his story, and filed the moment away to think about later, when the bustle of the world around me slowly faded into a quiet evening. The image has returned to me at random moments since, and knew that I wanted to write about it. What I did not know was what I would say. I wasn’t sure if I could capture this singularly beautiful moment in an otherwise typical day. I was not sure if I could convey it with the justice it deserves. It reminded me – and still does – of the tiny moments of profound beauty that are all around us, if we can but see them. I know that I must often miss them. But when I am observant enough or lucky enough, I catch one of these treasures and they give me hope for this world.

Hope that is found in a young man feeding bagel crumbs to a seagull, or another young man in a completely different place in his life paying tribute to a flag, an idea, a lost comrade, a friend, a memory, an experience.

I have no doubt that this student has served and perhaps still does. I know that I can never hope to understand what he went through – what any veteran has gone through. My father, my grandfathers, many of my in-laws, my friend, my great uncle, and the line goes on and on. We take this special day to thank them for their service and their sacrifice. We thank the men and women who gave more than we can ever really understand – regardless of how we may judge the systems that placed and continue to place them in harm’s way. We don’t limit our gratitude to this day; for we walk the mirrored black wall to see the names, we tread amongst monuments and marble, we wave flags and tie ribbons. But on this day, our hearts are too full and they surge around us – paying tribute, making amends, showing support and honor in any way we can.

So, thank you. Thank you for the moments of beauty born from fathomless suffering. Thank you for all you have given and still give. Thank you for being brave and strong and doing what needed to be done. Even when you felt afraid and weak and doubtful. Thank you for standing in a place I can never understand and being someone I can never really know because your experience is so alien to the peace and freedom I enjoy. You are my father, my grandfather, my brother-in-law, my friend. You are known to me and loved by me – but a part of you will always be a stranger. And for that, my gratitude knows no end.