Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

I’m Open

Open to learn. Open to love. Open to parent. Open to hope. Open to change. Open to passion. Open to care. Open to help.  Open to innovation. Open to failure. Open to success. Open to understand. Open to listen. Open to believe. Open to health. Open to teach. Open to laugh. Open to share. Open to be. Open to faith. Open to watch. Open to wait. Open to opinion. Open to freedom. Open to choice. Open to rights. Open to mistakes. Open to sarcasm. Open to improve. Open to acceptance. Open to kiss. Open to intimacy. Open to risk. Open to work. Open to play. Open to rest. Open to travel. Open to warmth. Open to give. Open to create. Open to act.

Open to live.



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It’s heeeeeeeeeere: 2009. Well almost here. It’ll be here when we’re all kissing our sweethearts on New Year’s Eve and falling into bed at 12:06 a.m.

I’m not a resolution guy.  Perhaps it’s because resolutions like, “I will exercise more,” only focus on the “do” in our lives and not on the “be.”  And the “do” we do is done for all the wrong reasons. We “do” something so we can “have” something so we can “be” something else. When we fail on the “do,” the wheels of the plan come off entirely.

So instead of resolving to do something, I’m focusing on being.  It starts with  finding the one area of life you want to positively change, then selecting a word to guide you through the year. Pick a word to remind you to live life on the “be” level.  Instead of “get fit” (do), perhaps you choose the word “health” and focus on making healthy choices the entire year.

My word? Bold.

Short back story: Through the past couple of decades, I got rutted in letting life happen to me. In that time many positive and wonderful things did happen. But I didn’t necessarily play a hand in carving the path with my own machete. No, the path was mostly pre-paved leading to a glass that was just three-quarters full when it should be brimming. My word “bold” will enable me to top off the glass each day – living life intentionally at work, in relationships, at home, in my desire to be fit and happy et al.  With this in the forefront, I’ll change behavior, live more purposefully and take myself out of life on the periphery.

I’ve already practiced using my word in recent weeks. It’s presented me with challenges and  anxious moments resulting in sleepless nights, like any shift in life presents. Being bold has risks, but it’s a step in a direction I must take. Plus, it’s exhilarating to hear my own voice when I say out loud the things that would have previously gone unsaid or take action on something I would have only thought (mightily) about.

I’ll kick bold into full throttle in January and post on my successes and failures during the year.

In the meantime, I’ve picked this John Mayer cover of “Bold as Love” by Jimi Hendrix as my theme song. We all need anthems in life.

Happy New Year. Make it a bold one.


Anger he smiles, towering in shiny metallic purple armour
Queen jealousy, envy waits behind him
Her fiery green gown sneers at the grassy ground

Blue are the life-giving waters taken for granted
They quietly understand
The once happy turquoise armies lay opposite, ready
But wonder why the fight is on

But they’re all, they’re bold as love, yeah
They’re all, they’re bold as love, love, love
They’re all, they’re bold as love
Just ask the axis

My red is so confident, he flashes trophies of war
And ribbons of euphoria
Orange is young, full of daring
But it, it’s very unsteady for the first go round

My yellow in this case is not so mellow
In fact I’m trying to say it’s frightened like me
And all these emotions of mine keep holding me from
Giving my life to a rainbow like you

But I’m, I’m bold, I’m bold as love, yeah
I’m bold, I’m bold as love, love, love
I’m bold, I’m bold as love
Just ask the axis

He knows, he knows, he knows
He knows everything

I’m, I’m bold, I’m bold as love, yeah
I’m bold, I’m bold as love, ohh
Been talkin’ to ya
I’m bold, I’m bold as love, yeah.

P.S.  Be sure to wait an extra second on New Year’s Eve before planting that first kiss. A leap second has been added to the clock by the U.S. Naval Observatory. This will be the 24th leap second added since 1972. Thanks U.S. Naval Observatory clock watchers.


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The Poem

I write. It’s a requisite in my career – but poetry writing, notsomuch.  I penned a Haiku back in 2005. That’s been the extent of my poetic efforts until recently. And the problem with suddenly sitting down and writing a poem – even a free-verse kinda poem – is that no matter how attentive you are to your writing, you have no idea if your resulting effort is garbage or glorious or somewhere in between.  What you do know, though, is that it’s yours and it very likely has meaning to one person on the planet. A for-one-person poem may be the most important kind of all. So, let’s hope I won’t wait another four years to wax poetic.

The Party

What’s the right recipe for a great holiday gathering? Friends (new and old) and food.  At least in the Midwest, food is the focal point of all memorable events – including Christmas holiday parties. While an abundance of people and free-flowing alcohol-based beverages can help a party along, we all need sustenance. Give me a shout out if I’m right, people. Chicken is cheap. Meatballs are perfect on the end of toothpicks. Even tofurkey kabobs can be festive and simple – and your guests will depart filled with more than just holiday spirit.


Tom at Hirshfield’s had all the right answers on Saturday. Unfortunately, he didn’t quite dial in the mix on the Carrington Beige color (the very one used at the infamous Fallon mansion) just right. A small gaffe. We recovered and the remainder of the weekend spent with spackle, brush and roller cruised along uneventfully (are we done yet?).  By the way, Hirshfield’s is a Minnesota-based company that still makes its paints locally.


I’ve written on patience previously on the blog. It’s a re-occuring thought, though, so here’s some added color on the subject.

As we age, adults tend to draw on more and more patience from within. It’s a maturity thing, I’m convinced. While the oldster driving 20 in a 35-mile-per-hour speed zone used to cause you to curse and lay on the horn, today it creates a slight smile for you know that one day you’ll be old and happy to drive s-l-0-w-l-y to get to the grocery store.  Everything is slower in old age as people operate in the mode of “the slower I go the further I prolong life and postpone death.”  Consider, especially during the last 10 days before Christmas, slowing down, drawing from all your patience and making someone else’s day matter more than your own.


There’s a phrase during Catholic mass churchgoers use to greet each other: Peace be with you. Maybe it’s used in other churches, too.  Since leaving the church three years ago, I’ve not spoken those words. And yet, suddenly, that very simple statement bounced into my head.  In all the flurry of news depicting muggings of innocent people who are going about their nomal lives, and shoes thrown at Presidents who visit foreign countries that U.S. troops are trying to liberate, and political scandals that inflict pain on an entire state, perhaps now more than ever it’s time to dust off the old “peace” phrase and say it with frequency. What harm could it do? Moreover, what good might it bring others if said at just the right moment – a moment when the mere concept of peace is the last thread of sanity left to hold on to in a world nearly void of any real meaning?

Peace be with you all.


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To Good Health

We fail to appreciate good physical health until it’s no longer our shadow.  Or, until we quit a habit like smoking and discover what a deep and true breath of fresh Minnesota air really tastes like. And yeah, it’s unbelievably fresh, with a hint of pine.

For the past several days, my take-it-for-granted good health found itself forced to the back burner of the stove top.  Somewhere, somehow, I picked up a cold germ. Then, promptly, stuck a finger in my eye or nose or mouth and made sure the blackened biohazard of a germ entered my bloodstream. The result: A standard head cold complete with stuffed sinuses one moment, followed by a water-spigot flow of nasal drainage, proceeded by deep chest coughing fits.  Repeat several times daily.

So with an octave-lower voice often filled with scratch and gravel, I do what others do when colds inflict their systems. Sleep. Dose on vitamin C. Drink fluids. Ingest soups for momentary clearings of the sinuses. And Advil. Blessed Advil. In a few days  I’ll be fine. In the meantime, Kleenex and a red nose are my life. By that description, I define a man only a mother could love.

Funny thing about head colds – they weaken both the body and the mind. My work day starts strong, but by 2 p.m. I’m mentally done and barely recall what I accomplished earlier in the day.  My idle time fills with pessimistic thoughts about the economy, my own skills, about relationships. Vivid Sudafed-induced dreams cause me to talk in my sleep. I know this because when a dream’s ending startles me awake, the cat is staring at me quizzically.

In sickness and in health we only get one body to carry us through to the end. And while it may be “just a cold,” a temporary inconvenience to blur a week of life, it’s a powerful reminder to be cognizant of the good days we receive and not take any of them for granted.


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Wordplay – Surfeit

It’s been months since I entered a Wordplay post. This one seems poignant given we’re a week out from the U.S. Thanksgiving.  If you want to see other Wordplays – just enter the word “wordplay” in the search bar at the top of the page.

Surfeit (pronounced sur-fit): to feed or supply to fullness or excess; satiate. 1. Overindulgence in food or drink.  2. An excessive amount

The smells of turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes and dinner rolls filled the air on Thanksgiving Day. But after the enormous dinner, you could cut the surfeited air with a knife.


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Summer People – by Brian Groh

I finished up the book, “Summer People” yesterday. It’s mediocre at best. But there was a great excerpt that I marked in the book because it is so fitting with the current photo at the top of my blog page…

Mystery whispered in the grass, played in the branches of trees overhead, was caught up and blown across the American line in clouds of dust at evening on the prairies…I can remember old fellows in my home town speaking feelingly of an evening spent on the big empty plains. It had taken the shrillness out of them. They had learned the trick of quiet….”

What an awesome quote eh? It’s from Sherwood Anderson and was published in Sierra magazine.


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As the Obama/Clinton chest thumping drags on (and on, and on), and the world continues to implode with natural disasters (i.e., Myanmar, at which last I read up to 100,000 could be dead or homeless), and man-made disasters (aka the mortgage crisis and the economy…stupid), I’m taking it upon myself to try to make a little sense out of all the sheer crazy going on around us on this planet.

Not that I’ll solve anything with my written thoughts placed on a blog among millions of blogs (there’s a post right there), but perhaps with my thoughts and suggestions the needle can start moving in our favor before we all suddenly find ourselves feeling compelled to make a weapons and ammo run at the local Wal-Mart. I’d say trying a few life changes designed to do more than scratch the surface is the better alternative if we ever hope to improve the current sitch.

Yep, there’s a lot of crazy going on in the world and while we can’t fix it all at once, my good sense tells me we can do little things that will help fix the crazy a piece at a time, starting with the junk residing in our own living rooms or back yards.

So, ala Morgan Spurlock and his show, “30 Days,” I plan to spend my next 30 days broaching potential solutions to 30 crazy matters happening in and around my little corner of the world.

Join me, won’t you?


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