Friday, December 23, 2005

At Work

A testimonial and some photos of me hard at work:

As part of my training at the Hypnotherapy Academy of America (click for more images and details of this process), I guided Nate to numb his hand while in a hypnotic trance in order to learn to control his own pain. Dr. Sapien, Director of Emergency Pediatric Medicine at UNM Hosptial, inserted and lifted a needle through Nate's hand without him feeling any pain. Nate even opened his eyes to see the needle during the process. He was also able to stop the bleeding with his mind once the needle was removed.

Nate's response?
    "The experience with the needle made me realize that pain is a choice and one that I never have to make again."
-Nate Daly, New York

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Letterman and NM Love Connection

I bet you never thought the "Land of Enchantment" meant this:
David Letterman's Telepathic Control. (Click to read article.)

Meanwhile, I was fixing dinner last evening. The package had "Cooking Instructions." They read:
    "Cook before eating."
Good thing I had instructions.

Monday, December 19, 2005


It's officially fall/winter for me when the crows descend as they do each year here on Los Arboles. My porch is covered with remnants of pecans; the crows love to pick them from nearby trees and then sit noisily cracking them open on the branches above my house. Some days it sounds like light rain falling on the rooftop. (photo: thil0020)

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Chili Relleno

This is what I had for lunch today. Only mine was in a sandwich.

Friday, December 16, 2005

This is Our Leader?

NEW YORK - "The National Security Agency has eavesdropped, without warrants, on as many 500 people inside the United States at any given time since 2002, The New York Times reported Friday. That year, following the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush authorized the NSA to monitor the international phone calls and international e-mails of hundreds — perhaps thousands — of people inside the United States, the Times reported."

For a so-called faith-based president, this guy sure has a twisted sense of the Golden Rule. He wants to torture people (but has fortunately conceded to John McCain not to). He tosses Geneva Convention rules to the wind. Does he want our soldiers tortured? Perhaps he enjoys Bible passages more along the line of an eye for an eye.

And now this spying on private citizens without warrant. Where is he leading us? The scary thing is that this report won't surprise any American. It is the kind of behavior we have been conditioned to expect from this "leader" of the "free" world.

---Think twice about adding a comment to this post....It is likely that you and I will be investigated for questioning Bush.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Due to ethical codes of confidentiality, the following exclamations of success in the hypnotherapy sessions I've conducted may lose some of their punch:
  • Wow! That really _______."
  • "I never realized _______ before!"
  • "Dennis, that was the most intense _______!"

Monday, December 12, 2005

Crazy Churchspeak

Here's another blooper, this one live from yesterday's service. A lady was reading the gospel about "blessed is the womb that bore you and the breast that nursed you." Her version?
  • "Blessed is the womb that bore you and the beast that nursed you."
For a moment, as she read, I thought my mind had a done a time warp and we were back reading some passage from Revelation. Then I just cracked up!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Capitalism Rethunk

I visited my friend Jill's blog today and read that she had purchased about 20 pounds of books. I love the concept of buying books by the pound. We had a garment shop in Cambridge, MA, that priced garments by how much they weighed.

Maybe the whole capitalist system would be enhanced by pricing things in a completely different way. Like:
  • the price of an orange would depend upon the density of its hue;
  • the price of gas would be based on how long you occupied your spot at the pump;
  • state and federal taxes would be levied in inverse proportion to the amount of time you volunteered in local and national politics.
Well, I'm off now to Santa Fe to see the film about Walmart. (I got the window replaced, so I won't freeze during the drive up.)

Friday, December 09, 2005

Long, But Not So Good, Day

Went out to the driveway to go to work today and discovered the driver's side window had been smashed in and the cover to the CD/Radio player had been removed. The whole unit could not be taken, so the only one getting anything out of the effort was me. I got a couple hundred bucks to replace, a day of missing work and all of the insurance, repairs and police calls. And I'm out the use of my car for a few days while it all gets done.

It also gives me more time to do battle with the field mouse trying to enter my house this afternoon through the heating unit.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Long, But Good, Day

Just checking in to keep you informed of my comings and goings.

Today I saw 4 clients (that's 6 hours) and then went to a community town hall meeting of a religious alliance for inclusion (of the GLBT population). Over 200 people attended and included two state senators, the House majority leader and the president of Albuquerque City Council. The Lt. Governor also sent a letter of support. She had planned to be there, but was acting Governor for the day...and the Round House (how we refer to our state house here) had flooded. She was overseeing cleanup.

How New Mexico.

(An arial view of the Round House) ----->

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

More Funny Americanese

Speaking of church, I found listed in our Sunday bulletin this definition for an upcoming live nativity scene on Christmas Eve:
    "Christmas Eve Tableau (tableau: a stage scene in which costumed actors neither speak or move)"
Is it really acting when someone neither speaks nor moves?

Sunday, December 04, 2005


I just checked out our church Web site and found that it is really good. Usually "church" and good Web sites are mutually exclusive. Check it out: For a taste of how local tradition flavors the services, read the sermon from Hallowe'en/Day of the Dead/All Saints Day/All Souls Day.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

It's Everywhere

I have discovered what may be considered to be our national phrase:
    "Well, that's [insert your choice of state name here] weather for you."
People everywhere, in every part of the country, seem to think that weather in their locale is uniquely unpredictable.

Talking with folks back in Indiana who were describing November tornadoes that hit that state, they said, "That's Indiana weather for you," meaning its unpredictability. Friends on the east coast, when talking about the weather, often remark, "Well that's New England weather for you."

Even here in Albuquerque, New Mexico--where we have a yearly average of over 310 days of sunshine and only 8.88 inches of rain--I heard the phrase just this week. The sunny morning had given way to overcast skies. "Well, that's New Mexico weather for you," my companion remarked.

You may also choose to use the popular alternate phrase:
    "If you don't like the weather here, just wait 15 minutes."
However you choose to express it, be sure to make it sound as if you think you are being highly original and as if the person you are saying it to will be duly impressed at how unusually unique the weather is your part of the country.

And speaking of weather phraseology, has anyone ever discovered the meaning of this one:
    "Looks like we are going to get some weather soon"?
That's like saying, "At least you have your health," without specifying whether you mean good health or bad health. All weather is weather, just like all health is health--good or bad. There isn't a lack of weather when the sky is blue and the sun is shining.

Well, that's all for the English lesson for today. I just found it amusing.

Monday, November 28, 2005


...they are all safely in bed now. But we'll get to that in a moment. For now, this is a short essay on "What I Did for My Thanksgiving Break." Yeah. You guessed it. It does include thankfulness that they are all safely in bed....

While most people enjoy big gatherings of family and friends around a big turkey dinner for Thanksgiving, I had agreed to housesit alone in the quiet east mountains (eastern side of the Albuquerque Sandia range). For company, I had two horses, two dogs and two cats. And I was ready with my stuffed "Tofurky" (vegetarian tofu that tastes much like turkey to my meatless tastebuds), some potatoes, onions and carrots. I was ready for a peaceful, tranquil retreat and to calmly give thanks for the year's bounty.

The house was very nice and had a spectacular view of the desert looking eastward. Juniper, some scattered cacti lingering in bloom, crows flying low enough to hear the w-h-o-o-s-h w-h-o-o-s-h of their wings, no neighbors in sight. Ahhh. It was even warm enough on Thanksgiving Day that I enjoyed a late November sun bathing session, sans clothing.

In the evening, with a full stomach and all the animals cared for, I stepped outside to view the glittering starlit sky. That's when tranquility turned to tension. Quickly.

Merlin, one of the horses had escaped his stall and was out feeding freely in the unfenced yard. To my dismay, I discovered that, yes, I had latched the stall, but I had not clipped it properly. Now Merlin was out roaming with no halter and was spirited at that!!! A moment of panic.

Fortunately, I was able to lure him back inside the stall with the promise of food. This time (and every time afterwards, for that matter), I double, then triple checked the latch.

Relieved, I went back inside the house to resume my Thanksgiving relaxation. Instead, I discovered that now one of the cats was missing! He had not returned from his afternoon promenade outside.

A glance again at the note left on the table by the owners offered no assurance.

"PLEASE do not let cats outside before sunrise or after sunset. The coyotes will eat them!"

It was after sunset.

I could hear coyotes yipping and howling in the not-so-far distance. I don't speak coyote, but I'm pretty certain that among the yips and howls that I heard at least one pining, "What about my Thanksgiving dinner? What will you feed me?" Quickly I decided that, in order to protect the cat, I would let the dogs out. Maybe they could scare away the coyotes. Strands of "I Know an Old Lady" began singing in my head. This was unappreciated, but sadly seemed to fit the unfolding circumstances.

Three uneasy hours later--the cat did return. Whew!

One of the dogs did not. Aagghhhh!

Even eating Tofurky, I still seemed doomed to sacrifice some animal this Thanksgiving holiday. I prayed that the owners might still have some spirit of thanks to give to me for housesitting. Oh sure they would return to a home minus one of their animals. But, hey, five out of six isn't that bad, is it? Eighty-three percent survival is still something to give thanks for, right? Right?

Finally--at 3 AM--the dog did return home. Without coyote teeth marks, thank you very much.

All in all, another typical Thanksgiving for me. What'd you do?

(BTW...two days later, snow covered the ground and the wind whipped through the juniper in gusts up to 35 miles an hour.)

Monday, November 21, 2005


In preparing my lecture for tomorrow's class, I reflected on calling my business a "practice." Why would anyone want to pay me if I'm still just practicing. Don't they want me to already be good at what I'm doing?!

Then I thought of all of the medical doctors and their "practices." Kind of scares me.

I'd hire a lawyer to sue the MDs for charging me to practice on my time, but then lawyers are just practicing, too.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

First Class is Full

I'm teaching a free introductory session on hypnosis this Tuesday evening. Seats in the room are completely reserved (15+).

Guess I should go prepare a lecture.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

I Need a Digital Camera

Otherwise I can't really show you what I'm doing (like a photo of my new office) and will have to keep using downloaded comic images.

BTW, I'm enjoying my new lifestyle; spent the day soaking in a jacuzzi thinking about business!

Friday, November 18, 2005

I Thought You Should Know

Next Thursday is Thanksgiving Day.

Someone asked me two days ago what my plans were for Thanksgiving. I replied that I hadn't decided yet, but would figure something out in a couple of weeks when the time was closer.

That's when I was welcomed back to the reality of everyone else's calendar.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Open for Business

"I Do Feel Better" is the title of this Sam Brown image and that's the phrase I'm listening for from clients.

Business cards are printed. Invitations have been sent out for a hypnosis introductory class I will teach next Tuesday. Now I am writing a brief brochure about services offered.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Day One

Today is my first "official" day as a business. Since the office furniture is arriving today and it's unethical to hypnotize people into indentured work, this first day will be spent the same as my previous ones at home: i.e. assembling, assembling, assembling.

And paying bills.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Oh, That Crazy American English

I was at the city treasurer's office this week to get my business license. There was an elderly hispanic woman next to me getting her license for the babysitting she does at home.

Clerk: "So you are working out of your home, correct?"
Woman: "No. I'm working in my home."

Each time the clerk referenced the work she was doing out of her home, the elderly lady would say, "No. I'm working in my home."

It reminded me of Abu (from The Simpsons) after a huge tank explosion. He exclaims, "Inflammable means flammable?! What a country!"

Thursday, November 10, 2005

What's a Guy to Do?

    Return to store for forgotten items.
    Return incorrect items to store.
    Shop some more.

    Repeat above. Often.

My first week back has been spent setting up my home administrative office. I'll repeat the scenario next Mondy when I move into the office where I will see clients. It is located next to UNM Hospital at 819 Vassar Drive, SE.

(Thanks, Odette, for leaving the message about an office possibility.)

Saturday, November 05, 2005

School's Out

And I'm certifiably back. Slowly turning on my telephone, getting computer access back and generally reconnecting to the world. Thanks for all of the encouragement over the past summer and fall months. You were appreciated and missed.

I'll be updating this site with much more frequency now (and also my alter ego site).

Oh, and by the way. You may now address me as:
Dennis R. Plummer, C.Ht.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

I'm Still Posting

I'm not really going crazy, but the studying has been intense. (And I like the above image by Sam Brown.) You may have noticed lately the infrequency of posts to this blog.

I'm still in Santa Fe. Still attending the Hypnotherapy Academy of America.

My typical weekday is attending class from 9-7, with before and after hours that sometimes stretch the day from 6 AM- 11 PM.

Weekends are devoted to reading, study, review, practice and documentation for full certification. I will be testing (a written and a practical) this Friday to earn official certification as a hypnotherapist. Then, with some more work, class time, etc., I will be able to add "clinical" to that title.

In class, we continue to see powerful demonstrations. Equally as interesting is our own work with clients (both student and non-student). What a gift to be able to participate in people's breakthroughs and achievements of their goals! My own personal breakthroughs (from sessions with me as the client) have alone been worth the time and energy.

I'm moving ahead simultaneously with the work needed to establish my own practice. This involves getting an office, beginning to schedule clients, hiring an accountant, etc. My wish list is available upon request!!

Thanks to everyone who has sent mail to me c/o of the school during this time. Your encouragement has been great and I really appreciate it.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Sleep Deep.

As of yesterday, I'm a hypnotist. Next level master hypnotist. Then hypnotherapist and clinical hypnotherapist. I will test and certify for the master level and final level.

In the meantime, I am practicing with classmates and have been hypnotized over a dozen times in the last two weeks and am hypnotizing others as well. It is really cool!

Off to go read (lots of that these days) and I have to document three inductions before Monday.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Wow. Simply Wow.

I am totally and completely enthused by my hypnotherapy training that began this week!! There are 38 students in the class, of all ages and from all over the world (Mexico, New Zealand, England, Spain, Hungary) and from all over the US (Florida, Utah, Ohio, California, Illinois, Georgia...). The school--The Hypnotherapy Academy of America--is renowned for its excellence and I am very pleased to have found it and to be a part of the education. They are fantastic teachers.

The process of self-transformation alone is worth the cost. I had expected some personal change, of course, but the depth of this work is blowing me away. Plus I am learning the practical skills necessary for my own future career. I can't wait to sit with you and share this new knowledge and firsthand experience!

Some of the things I'd enjoy talking with you about include:
  • A breakthrough in my ongoing internal debate of free-will vs. determinism.

  • How one of our students had the brucitis in her shoulder healed as we watched a video of a post-op hypnotherapy session.

  • The really amazing and fun inductions I learned this week.

  • Some of the intense individual and group catharsis experienced throughout this week.

  • The confirmation of my faith and many things I've held to be true, but have never really acted upon.... Jesus turned water into wine, etc., and then said that we'd do even greater things. Hmmm. When's the last time that I turned water into wine, let alone something even greater?

  • The cool timing of my reading a Bob Dylan quote: "The picture you have in your own mind of what you're about will come true."

  • Theoretical models of how and why hypnosis works.

  • Very real examples of how I can help you through hypnosis.... In fact, I'd love to take you through an experience of the hypnotic trance for yourself!

There is so much more, but that's all for now.

If it will arrive before November, you can send a postcard or letter to me:
Dennis Plummer
c/o: Hypnotherapy Academy of America
509 Camino de los Marquez, Suite 1
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Do You Know the Way

to Santa Fe? (I hope you sung that. I know the song says "San Jose," but that wouldn't make sense here now would it?)

I'm leaving for my crash certification course in clinical hypnotherapy. I don't know what kind of access, if any, I'll have to computers during that time. But I will be taking copious notes and making lots of observations to post here ASAP.

Hope to hear from you via comments on this site!

Friday, September 16, 2005

What to Buy?

I received a calendar advertisement in the mail today. I'm not sure if I want to buy "Hot Buns", "Under the Uniform", or "Pope John Paul II".

Maybe I'll combine my purchase to get "Hot Buns: Pope John Paul II Under the Uniform."

Or maybe not.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

1,000 Pound Pig

Yep. I saw it.

What I found interesting was that it was housed right next to a big bar-b-que pit.

I wonder what that is like, smelling your future so nearby?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Went to the doctor yesterday for my annual physical.

Came home to transcribe more of the Borden interviews. Borden's recorded advice of the day?

"The doctors today, they's a-skinning you alive. And then they charge ye to fix the skinning."

Monday, September 12, 2005


I tried to post a photo of myself to my profile, but can't figure out how to do it. It won't let me simply upload like images in the posts. Anyone out there know what I should do?

Friday, September 09, 2005

Play Week

Besides working on the Borden stories (mentioned in my previous post), I'm enjoying a visit from my Aunt Linda and Uncle Harry. They arrived two days ago and I'm using their visit to see all of my favorite haunts in town before I hunker down in studies in Santa Fe on the 19th.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Getting Burned

Today I spent my time adjusting to life alone (after living two months with Susan, Howard and 17-month-old Jude, plus their black labrador, Gracie, and cat, Elvis). Quiet.

The time alone is surprisingly a challenge. I tend to go into auto-sluggard mode. Today that meant a dip in the pool, nude sunbathing (the landlords are gone) and, after tanning my own hide, going to a local grocer to bask in the aroma of roasting chilis. It is one of my favorite, among many, southwestern traditions. I only wish that I could add scratch-n-sniff to your monitor!

I'm attempting to use these 13 days to focus on getting some long-overdue writing done. This particular project is 16 hours of recorded story-telling by Borden, one of the late, great Highlander storytellers of North Carolina. I was privileged to know Borden and even lived a couple of summers in a nearby (20-minute walk) cabin that, like Borden's, had no running water and used a wood stove for cooking. He died few years ago, and after acting as minister and eulogist for his funeral, I think that his stories will probably trump my own walk across America for getting into print first. Although some progress is being made, I find myself simply letting the tape role and envisioning long afternoons at Borden's home, listening to history unfold.

If anyone has Smithsonian connections, I honestly think that these recordings--edited and upgraded in quality--are heirloom material. If I get the money to get my own Web connection, digital camera and the like, I will add some sound bites for you to hear. For now, my small and limited pile o' cash is going towards paying off debt, my upcoming hypnotherapist certification...and, of course, roasted New Mexican chili.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

In the Same Boat...

For reflections on Hurricane Katrina, please visit my alter ego site, Attack Chicken.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Travel Report

For image, see post below and add a thousand bug splats to the shine on the car's finish.

  • $2.99 – price of gas in Springfield, MO
  • "Do Not Drive Into Smoke" –signs posted throughout OK. Okay…. You’re driving. Along a turnpike. There’s smoke. Now what is it you are supposed to do?
  • Oklahoma City – first reception of an all Spanish radio broadcast. You gotta love the tuba and accordian duets.
  • $2.93 – price of gas in Oklahoma City
  • 5 miles west of Oklahoma City – sighting of first armadillo road kill
  • OK Turnpike restroom – sighting of two stars of a boy band. I have no idea which one. (You do a google search on "boy band" images and you'll see why I couldn't precisely locate one of them.) How did I know they were a boy band? My car would fit 10x into their extravagant chauffeured bus. And they were too young to be a man band.
  • 4 – the number of Louisiana license plates seen heading west
  • Custer City, OK – Cherokee Restaurant and home of the “Collectible Porcelain Dolls”. Yeah, well. Can’t anything be collected, thus making it a collectible?
  • $3.04 – price of gas in Amarillo, TX (88 octane)
  • 51.5 miles – distance west of Amarillo when radio reception was reduced to only one station
  • 7 miles more – distance traveled before losing all radio reception
  • NM state line –first sighting of a NM license plate. I kid you not; it was simultaneous with the state line. Spooky. Do New Mexicans exist outside of New Mexico?
  • $3.09 – price of gas in Albuquerque, NM (86 octane)

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Go West

I'm on the road again.
Gas is $3.19 per gallon (87 octane) in Springfield, IL.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Selma Bluebird Days

Returned home to Indiana one more time before departing the midwest. Visited my grandmother, who is in the hospital after a fall in her home. She broke the coffee table, but no bones.

As in my visit before (see "Country Roads" post), I had a wonderful chance encounter with an old high school friend. This time, instead of the theatre, it was in the emergency room where my friend was awaiting her husband's recovery from a bee sting. They say it's a small world. I guess it gets even smaller in a small town.

Other high school friends were enjoying the annual Selma Bluebird Days festival, which has grown considerably since I was living there. Twent-one years after graduation, it was fun to be with people "who knew me when" and to learn about all of their comings and goings, who is in jail, who is out, who is now teaching our kids (and their kids!) and other interesting facts. My aunt and uncle won their divisions in a 5K run, with my uncle also winning the eldest participant award at age 71.

I will finish consulting on Wednesday and plan to drive back to NM on Thursday and Friday. Time to dry out from the midwestern humidity. I'll return just in time to catch the fall aroma of roasting chilis. Nice.

Monday, August 22, 2005

In the Land of the Living

What better way to kick off a visit with my broter and sister-in-law, Dustin and Rebecca, than to tour the Museum of Funeral Customs? That's right. We couldn't think of any, either. After viewing various elements of how to bury the dead, I opted to pass on buying a chocolate coffin complete with removable lid and a little chocolate body inside, although I do know now the difference between a coffin and a casket (shape). I did add New Orleans jazz funeral music to my CD collection. (The museum has a great Web site; click on the hotlink in this paragraph to see it.)

Dustin and Rebecca were here for Friday and Saturday and we filled the time as completely as was possible. On Friday, they visited the Abraham Lincoln Museum while I finished my work week. Afterwards, we met and visited the Lincoln tomb, followed by a leisurely cook out at home.

We began Saturday by eating a local traditional breakfast horseshoe: toast, (optional) meat choice, eggs, cheese or gravy and hash browns all stacked up on top of one another. We digested this while viewing the dead.

Then it was off to tour the Dana-Thomas House, a stellar example of Frank Lloyd Wright's genius. When one of the kids on the tour asked our tour guide for what the basekment safe had been used, I ominously whispered, "Dead bodies." Too bad I didn't have one of the chocolate coffins to give the kid.

To balance our morbid-leaning agenda, we checked out both new and old state capitol buildings, ate a great middle eastern vegetarian smorgasboard and ventured off for five hours of the Illinois State Fair. This included an elephant show; the high school national rodeo competition; deep fried pickles; a drop from the Mega Drop ride; reggae; viewing the 400 lb. butter cow (see photo above...yeah, that's all butter, even a butterfly that you can't see); and a departure heralded by fireworks. Although late, we also stopped to walk by Lincoln's old Springfield residence on our way home.

I'm in my final week and a half of working for The Autism Program, then it's back home to Albuquerque.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Can I Get This In Yellow?

I volunteered today to sit the desk at Springfield's Prairie Art Alliance at the Hoogland Center for the Arts. It's a very nice gallery with loads of artwork, everything from fine furniture to hand-crafted vases, from paper collage to watercolor.

One customer came in and summed everything up with one word: cute.

"What a cute place!" she exclaimed. "Such cute stuff." She said it more than once. If I'd been counting, I'd probably given up after a dozen or so.

"Oh, that's so cute. Such cute space. There are so many cute things here to buy for a cute gift."

Moral: artists everywhere beware. All of your hard hours of creative labor and subtly precise execution of ideas will be judged somewhere by a lady with a bouffant hairdo as to whether it is cute or not.

That, and whether or not it matches the sofa in the living room.

Monday, August 15, 2005

When We Were Six

I never liked the book much as a kid (I did like Winnie the Pooh), but this weekend was all about things age 6. I visited my godson, Emil, in his hometown of Winnetka, a northern suburb of Chicago. Together we:

  • Played whiffle ball;
  • Explored his new elementary (a really cool structure built designed by Finnish architect, Eliel Saarinen, although 6 year olds don't really care);
  • Played whiffle ball;
  • Rode bikes to the public library;
  • Played whiffle ball;
  • Read Cam Jensen and A-Z mysteries;
  • Played whiffle ball;
  • Watched "Escape to Witch Mountain" (my choice);
  • Played whiffle ball;
  • Went to see the new Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (so that's why Willie is so weird); and
  • Played whiffle ball.

On the adult side of things, I got to eat my favorite Chicago pizza (Giordano's deep dish) and went to a game at Wrigley Stadium where the Cubs beat the Cardinals 5-4. All this and I got to see Ken and Kathryn, my good friends from way back in our college days (20 years, in case you are trying to do the math). Ken is associate priest at the Church of the Holy Comforter.

The heat wave finally broke. Even now, back here in Springfield, the summer days are in more pleasant.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Remember Back When We Were Small?

Had some interesting correspondence with a friend this week. He is straight and was discussing feelings that I might have for him. One of my responses was a surprise to me in how easily it flowed and how good it felt to let it flow. I had that satisfying feeling that you get when you have the opportunity to express yourself accurately.

I offer it here as a a small step in honesty and self-revelation.

"Yes, I realize that you are straight and that there is not the possibility of our becoming a couple in a physical sense. Ours is a deep--yet platonic--friendship, and we enjoy its depth and even its occasional intensity. But this does not mean that we will further it along the same ways that you or I would pursue a life partner.

"Simultaneously, I do admit to always having a bit of hope and emotion around that being otherwise. Because there is such a spectrum of connection among all people--and because I don't fit too well into conventional boxes--I don't want to force others into acting according to preconceived formulas either. So I accept that there are limitations in our friendship which do not lessen its meaningfulness nor its continued growth. And there are connections we have, both physical and emotional, that do not imply a sexual connection. There is a playful balance in sharing qualities we both desire our life partners to have and not projecting onto the other that he is the life partner.

"In short, I recognize that some dreams and desires are of the heart and worth pursuing through confusion and discomfort to resolution and comfort, while others are merely light-hearted, fanciful creations of the moment which dissipate like chaff in the wind. Those I hold concerning you and me 'encompassing physical, sexual aspects of our selves' [a quote from his e-mail] I believe to be belonging to the latter; the dreams and desires of friendship I consider worthy of the former pursuit.

"My trying to dissect what relationships mean is a bit tormenting and also a bit pleasant. It is an emotion I encounter most distinctly with straight, male friends who are comfortable with considerable depth in their relationships, both with straight and gay men. The depth blurs old distinctions I once relied upon for my clarity. Questions arise. For example, Is it okay for (straight) men to hold hands? Can the two men still do so if there is a deep emotion attached to the action? What is that emotion allowed to be...deep friendship love...deep other love? What does it mean to feel deeply connected to your friends? Can good friends live together as housemates? Can they still do so if they care deeply for one another? What does it mean for two persons who care very deeply for one another to live together? Can one only kiss someone as a friend when you don't have deeper feelings for that person? What about hugs? What about massage? Does all of the defining get you anywhere? How do I distinguish differences in the meaning of what is physical comfort, like hugs, naps, holding or massage and what is sexual fulfillment? If sexual fulfillment is at times merely physical release and the holding of someone a much deeper connection, then which is permissable among friends?

"Which is more sexual, or more truly platonic, and which is more safe? To be lighlty engaged in a friendship, more buddy-to-buddy like and just hanging out, but also having sex? Or to not be physically involved, yet deeply connected on emotional and spiritual levels? And what about the in-between friendships where there is a lot of touch involved, and there is a deep emotional connection, but no intercourse?

"I had two friends in Boston who were intimately close to each other, one straight and one gay. They wrestled with these questions, too. I think the dynamic of straight-gay male friendship raises issues in unique ways that are not encountered through other friendships.

"Because I just viewed the Oliver Stone movie Alexander and have been thinking about old Rome, I wonder if all of this is not unlike the presumed male-male relationships that were more common and accepted back then. The best sex I've had (and the most often) has been with a straight friend of mine and yet there was never any sense that we might somehow be getting together as a couple. We just enjoyed the closeness of our skin to skin and had fun exploring and being playful together. There have been more than one such friendships. And I have been closer emotionally to some women. At times the deeper the emotion is, the more the connection actually feels physical. Where does it all leave me?

"With you, our relationship feels less physically sexual and yet deeper emotionally. It feels to me to be a true and very deep friendship. I had set out in this e-mail to give you a quick and clear response, letting you know that I appreciate your message and that I don't confuse your love or my love with something that would lead to sex. I want to assure you that you don't have to be guarded and that we can continue to enjoy our deep connection, even physical touch in its various forms, without my expecting it to be sex or the relationship to become that of a life partner. I continue to look elsewhere for that fulfillment in a man with whom I can run down the road in the rain. And, while I look, I will still enjoy running hand in hand with you and others without expecting those friendships and the love shared in them to be more than they are.

"I have rambled on long enough to have surely answered all the secrets of love. Unfortunately, I have managed only to scrape at the surface of my own lack of understanding.

"As for us, you and me, I feel as close to you as ever. I hope to always feel that depth and to always share a freedom with you that is unique to our friendship. I do recognize that I have occasional and fleeting fantasies that do not match yours. I enjoy the confusion which this gives me--and I trust that I will always remain able to let go those confusions, to embrace reality. I am content to accept exactly what you have to offer without pressuring it, either intentionally or with my imagination, to become something else. In that I find joy and love."

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Always Room for That

I'm at work right now calling resource providers to verify services and contact information. The last call was a sweet, elderly woman at a site where they offer craft programs.

I told her that I am converting our directory to a grid format this year so she may notice information changes that need to be made the following year.

"I understand ya, honey. Always improving. That's what I was doing just now when you called me."
    A lady.
    Sitting at her desk.
I love that image!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Likin' It Or not

I stand corrected. The midwest does have everything to offer. Just yesterday the Chicago chapter of the American Bryological and Lichenological Society offered a "Lichen Hike" through the Lincoln Memorial Garden (1/2 a mile from this home). They touted over two dozen lichens in the garden.

Unfortunately, my floppy straw garden hat and seersucker suite were at the cleaners. I felt it highly inappropriate to attend in any less stunning attire.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Still Reading

My sister-in-law gave me a book sent to me by her father titled Many Lives, Many Masters by Dr. Brian L. Weiss. I just finished it. Dr. Weiss is a well-credentialed psychologist (Yale, Columbia University, Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Miami) who experienced--and believed in the validity of--the past-life regressions of a patient.

I don't have much belief in past-lives. I question original orignation and why everyone originates with debts to pay. But I also wonder what I'll do if I encounter this in my practice. Fortunately, natal and pre-life regression are both electives in the course I'll be taking in the fall. It will take some time for me to discover my niche.

I did finish reading Transformational Therapy by Gil Boyne and Hypnotherapy by Danny Elman, both required reading for my certification as a clinical hypnotherapist. The Handbook of Brief Psychotherapy by Hypnoanalysis, authored by Dr. John Scott, Sr., is a selection of my own. I have about 50 pages to go in it. And then about $300 more worth of textbook reading. Thanks to Sharon of California for paying for my textbooks!!

No doubt there will be more to say about all of this reading and hypnosis as time progesses, linearly. And maybe you'll share a question or experience or two.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Rise and...?

My alarm sounded at 5:45 this morning and I spent the next hour and a half dozing in and out of dreams (one of my favorite hobbies). Got up to watch the lightning and see the rain that is finally breaking our heat wave. Jude (17 months old) and I played with his cars and read a book. Now I'm drinking some coffee and posting this message.

Basically, it's all procrastination.

Time to get dressed and go to work.
The image to the right is The Autism Program's logo. They are the organization where I am currently working. I'm making good progress with the directory of resources.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Land of Lincoln

My parents came from Indiana to visit me in Springfield for the weekend. We spent Saturday visiting a Route 66 memorabilia gas station (Shea's), touring the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum (did not go to the Library), the old state capital building and the only home that Lincoln owned. On Sunday, we rounded out the Lincoln experience by visiting the tomb where his remains lie.

It's amazing to me that Ronald Reagen topped out Discovery's and AOL's list of greatest American citizens. Among conservative bloggers Abraham Lincoln only ranks 4th. I was especially impressed by the statistic that over 1 million people died during the American Civil War.

The Lincoln sites are definitely worth visiting when you get the chance to go to Illinois.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

About Time

Since I'm using this blog partly as a way to stay connected with folks and to keep them current on my life (and since some of you don't even know who I am), I figured that it's time to give a quick timeline of what I've been doing.

  • Born in 1966.
  • Did some smuggling in Romania and Czechoslovakia.
  • Graduated from college with a B.A. in psychology.
  • Went for a walk. It took 3 years.
  • Did some writing.
  • Taught in the public school system.
  • Was a monk. Then wasn't.
  • Worked on bishop's staff in MA.
  • Sold some cookies on road shows in NY, NJ and CT.
  • Was assistant director of a Montessori school (NM).
  • Did sales in a NM independent bookstore.
  • NOW: consulting for The Autism Program (IL).
  • NEXT: will certify as a clinical hypnotherapist in November.

And today I took care of the cat puke.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Once More, With Gusto

Yesterday I awoke at 6 AM, got out of bed at 7 and was at work by 8. I worked a full 9-hour day, came home and ate dinner while watching a movie. I failed to clean up the cat puke on the carpet. I was in bed by 10.

Today I'll probably do the same. Or perhaps throw in working from home for part of the day to really shake things up. Don't know if I'll get to the cat puke.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Country Roads

On Friday, I drove the lanes of highway to visit my hometown of Selma, IN. An aria of Handel’s played on the radio (it was the anniversary of the composer’s death). The evening sun streamed slanted, golden rays from the west and set ablaze the tasseled walls of green corn. Roadside vegetable stands, small country diners and quaint signs advertising vacation bible schools were bathed in golden orange and hints of red.

It was a perfect "filmmaker’s magic lantern hour" that ushered in a flood of childhood memories with eddies of new understanding, a mixture of my old and new self.

  • OLD: I once felt that trees had been planted with a premeditative purpose of breaking the monotony of endless cornfields.
  • NEW: I recognize them to be the vast remnant of a forested Midwest denuded by a great scooping out of rectangles for use as fields and yards. Houses stand as exposed to the elements as do those in New Mexico. Only here, cacti are substituted by a few remaining oaks near the house, and corn or soy bean fields replace the desert sand. The great quiet and peacefulness that engulfs the surroundings is an effect of the carpet-like presence of grass everywhere.
  • OLD: BurmaShave signs along the way preached: Gun Tyrants. Love Gun Control. Unarmed Victims. Are Their Goal.
  • NEW: I regretted not having a shotgun with me to blast away of couple of the signs.

As is typical when you go with the flow of things, my sudden decision for a home visit, timed with various gas stops and a dinner break along the way, synchronized an unexpected reunion. Driving through a neighboring town, I decided on the spur of the moment to drop by a local civic theatre. The flashing marquee proclaimed opening night of "Into the Woods." It was two minutes before curtain and I couldn’t resist peaking inside this establishment now run by Darrin, an old high school friend of mine. He and I had once set our personal record of attending and watching over 50 plays, musicals and movies in one week.

As I entered the theatre, Darrin himself walked into the lobby to shut the theatre doors. "I haven’t seen you in two and a half years! Hey, want to see a show?" Ticket price saved: $18. Memories rekindled: priceless.

At home, my family packed our one day together full with four hours of golf (my third time attempting this sport), an afternoon climbing six-story trees and sawing out the ill effects of a vicious winter ice storm, cruising in Dad’s camaro, loads of laughter and our customary night of playing cards.

Now is the point at which I must resist editing this post. My spidey-writer’s senses are tingling with the possibilities of weaving together the Handel music, allusions to my former and present self, more reflection on current beliefs encountering the old self and some kind of modern music on my return to Illinois to represent the transformation. I’ll just stop writing, strip down to my saree and mix a cool negroni for myself. (Thanks to the Hecklinger brothers for the recipe.)

Friday, July 22, 2005

It Ain't Pretty

Youth turf wars are pretty brutal here in the Land of Lincoln. A feature in this week's State Register-Journal (the city newspaper) detailed an ongoing rivalry between youth fiercely which of the two local shaved-ice stands they choose to patronize!

“It’s your basic gang war,” [...said one recent high school graduate.] “Pretty soon the streets are going to be stained with cherry syrup.”

Sno Biz and Ice Deli are the two stands offering flavored ice for the summer. You'd think that colorized sugar syrup over ice doesn't taste that different from place to place. And you'd be right. The newspaper did a blind taste test and even the kids couldn't tell the difference.

"I was shocked and confused," said one 18-year old girl after choosing her competitor's ice.

Still, youth are fiercely loyal. One 19-year old boy, a Sno Biz fan, daily drives by the Ice Deli cheering "Sno Biz" to the idignation of Ice Deli patrons.

Ahhhh...the simplicity of the midwest.

[Source: Kellie Bramlet, The State Journal-Register. Click for full article.]

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Just Close Your Eyes

Today at work I noticed a sign intended for children using specialized play equipment. Because it is misplaced, away from the equipment and alone on the wall, it strikes me as hilarious. It reads:


  1. First hold hands
  2. Then jump

Fortunately, there are no lemmings at my place of work.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Where I'm Not

After a great week in NYC, I returned last night to Springfield, Illinois. I'm here for July and August as a consultant to The Autism Project.

However, I'm keeping my wonderful casita in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Here's a view of it from the front. I'm thinking of adding a couch on the porch to go for the white trash look.

Sunday, July 17, 2005


Attended a fantastic wedding this past Saturday in NYC of two good friends, Doug and Kyle (l-r in photo). Since marriage for two men isn't legal there, does that make me guilty of aiding and abetting?

It was a fantastic ceremony and celebration, an Episcopal service held in the Angel Orensanz Foundation. The foundation is an old church/temple renovated for such occasions and also used as an arts center. The festivities were most remarkable for the diversity represented, if not the groung-breaking same-sex occasion. At least 200 hundred folks from all over the world were present and the dance floor featured a rainbow of races, mothers and fathers, religion, nieces and nephews, sexual orientation, social class, friends, aunts and uncles, etc. How refreshing to see straight men cut in on a dance only to choose the man for a dance! Pretty cool. In fact, the (straight-and-married-with-children) brother of one of the grooms slow danced with his brother's husband.

I knew that it was going to be a good music night for me when the pre-processional mix included Bob Dylan. We danced between every course of the meal, which in my humble opinion works tons better than having an "eat" session followed by a "dance" session. It moves the flow of the evening along...and you get to eat a lot more without feeling full. The dance mix was a wild selection from the 80s. As Doug said, "We wanted the 80s because we knew that would make everyone silly." We were.

I've not been at such a holy event where--believe it or not--love was actually present and everyone beamed the joy clearly present at being with one another. As the priest said, "Love and the energetic joy of what is happening here today is simply oozing out of us all."

...Oh yeah. The groom-and-groom dance was to a song by The Magnetic Fields, one of my musical favorites. I forget the song title, but maybe someone who was there can help me out.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Go Figure

Spent the evening trying to decipher photo images of aforementioned friend. Finished? Unfinished? You can decide for yourself at (See sidebar for hotlink.)

Off to NYC tomorrow for some clarity.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Why Wynote

It is an acronym of the last letters of the words: Who, What, When, Where, How and Why.
(Rearranged, but then more memorable than "Otnewy.")

I wanted to start journaling again and was trying to decide what format. The sort of decision that is really procrastination in faint disguise. Should I buy a leather-bound journal and use a world traveler approach, or opt for napkins and write something more beatnik? Should I post summations of epic events for the benefit of future generations, or just use this to vent emotions? Should I write in first person or third person? Use past or present tense? Prose or poetry? Should? I? even? write?

I have the unfortunate fortune of being a published writer (just a couple of small newspapers) and you wouldn't believe the number of self-correction buttons I have floating around inside of me just waiting to be pushed. Add an evangelical childhood to that and the number goes astronimical. I need to edit! (If we ever hit a dry spell in this blog...we? I? Do I assume a reader collaboration in writing this?...unpacking those previous two sentences will get us through the dry spell.)

I was mulling those thoughts over and browsing the blog of a friend of mine, when the proverbial light went on:
  • A) His stuff isn't complete.
  • B) I like his work.
  • C) My work doesn't have to be complete either!

That's right. Basic Reporting 101 could guide my steps in renewed journaling. Just answer Who, What, When, Where, How and (sometimes) Why. No worries about editing or word-perfect presentation or consistency. To use another acronym: K.I.S.S. ("Keep It Simple, Stupid").

Acronyms typically use first letters. But rearranging the end letters of Who-What-When-Where-How-Why also present the question of "Why write (...or, Why note) this blog?" Plus,it is easy to remember. Read it out loud yourself, "Wy Note?" You'll find that you can easily remember it--and this site--too. Yeeha.