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 divided...by 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:

Rules

  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

Guilty?


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 www.newcatolgue.com. (See sidebar for hotlink.)

Off to NYC tomorrow for some clarity.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Why Wynote

SHORT ANSWER
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.")

LONG ANSWER
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.)

THE JOY OF BEING A WORK IN PROGRESS
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").

FOOTNOTE ON THE SITE TITLE
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.