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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

In Memory of Mark

I can't say I recall meeting Mark. Some people just flow naturally in and out of your life over the years. Mark was one of those people.

I can say that I remember so many moments with Mark, however.

We first met sometime during college through a friend of a friend. Like I said.. as years pass, things seem to become less linear and more momentous. I can say that over the first five years that I knew him, we had many adventures and many soulful conversations - sometimes during and after long, inebriated nights; sometimes on quiet Sunday mornings on a musty couch outside on his deck; and sometimes while just moving through the Ordinary of days.

What I remember most was feeling like I was his best friend when I was with him. Now, to be clear, I am not claiming to have been a "best friend" in Mark's life. He had many "better" friends who shared more of his life. We were "good" friends at times in the ebb and flow of life. We shared many "great" times together and with others in his peer circle, prior to him getting married. I am proud to say that I hired him on more than one occasion (or made sure he was hired) because he was a true friend. But, ultimately, that tide seperated us for longer and longer periods of time. Still, he had an Honesty about him that was immediately and eternally endearing.

I remember running through the cornfields outside of Lawrence, KS one night in college while Candlebox's "Far Behind" was blasting from his car - doors open and windows rolled down. We had spent the evening playing video games and drinking in an arcade / bar where a local band was playing (we all know his soul was full of music). After we closed that down, we decided to just go "experience" the cornfields of Kansas at 2am. I'm not sure I can explain why we did it, but we did. We just decided that we live in Kansas and neither of us really understood cornfields and that made sense at the time.

That was the first time he met Edra, who is now my wife, over a decade ago. It was just the three of us and it was Something I'll Never Forget - as running through the summer cornfields at in the light of the moon was just something pointless and beautiful and unforgettable - and it was Mark's idea.

I remember the first time I watched the Wizard of Oz to Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon - because Mark wanted to show me how cool it was. He had that kind of Enthusiasm.

I remember Mark talking for hours about the brilliance and genius of Kurt Cobain. He had that kind of Passion.

I also remember him telling me about how, soon, the KC Royals would be good again. That was almost ten years ago. He had that kind of Faith.

I remember him talking about his family's trips to Disneyworld when he was in his early twenties. At the time, I didn't understand how someone could still get excited about Mickey Mouse and Disney at 22 years old. But, years later, and after visiting myself just last month, I can understand what Mark saw. More exactly, it wasn't what he saw but how he saw it - through the eyes of a child. He had that kind of Innocence.

I remember talking to him about so many things. But, what is most remarkable, perhaps, about Mark was that not once did he ever really say anything negative about someone. Come to think of it, I can't recall anyone ever saying anything negative about Mark. Now, this isn't hyperbole for effect - Mark Holt was that kind of person. If you met him, you truly felt like had always known him and always would know him and there was just nothing about Mark that wasn't Endearing.

Over the years, things change. We drift apart. At times, we drifted back together for moments and talked as if a day hadn't passed. We always ended our talks by planning a get-together in the near future - for him to see Edra again or meet my children, which would have meant a lot to me - for the reasons I've already detailed. But, time passes and with Mark battling Hodgkins Disease over so many years, those plans have yet to come to fruition.

However, several times I've battled with the thought of why someone golden like Mark would have to endure so much while others pass easily through this life.

After searching my heart and much prayer, the only thing that comes to my heart and mind is that God has a very important plan for him; Having touched so many in This Life, it only makes sense that God would bring him home first - to shepherd in the souls of all those who, upon seeing him, would know they had found Heaven. Someday, when Those He Touched pass from This Place, Mark will be there to hug Us and welcome Us to the Next Place.

And so with that tiniest morsel of consolation, there is a universe of Reason and Hope. And in the end, all of those who Mark touched will honor him in a myriad of ways, publicly and privately. And in this new beginning, Mark has gifted us again with his undying ability to bring together all of those who love him.

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leafs a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Robert Frost, 1923

Sunday, September 18, 2005

On the road again

The eMotion Cafe took to the road again last week.

I flew out to the Reston / Herndon, VA area for three days of Systems Enablement and Roadmapping meetings. Admit it, those words make you hot, too.

I have to admit I wasn't looking forward to hopping on a big jet plane and flying out to Washington DC on September 11th (my departure date) to go talk about Systems Roadmapping in a dark conference room with Total Strangers, but as you all know by now, everything went fine.

Luckily, I was able to work with another guy there, James, and we got everything done in about 2 days while the other folks watched in Awe. Admit it, you like the confidence.

Anyways, that meant half a day working from the hotel room and then a few hours out in Washington DC.

Beyond almost getting arrested in front of the Capitol building by two young thugs in red tshirts and blue baseball caps on sideways - they were apparently representin' the local Parking Patrol - it was a solid time. Note to the Parking Patrol at the Capitol Building: You're Posers. But, that's another story for another time.

Got a chance to explore the city on foot, in car, and by cab - and get some dorky photos in various places throughout the city. Note to Self: post them when I get a chance. So... spent some time in the Georgetown area, drove down Diplomat / Embassy Road, walked around the White House, and then went out to dinner and french kissed some Bacardi Limon and Diet Cokes, lovingly, in Alexandria, VA. Special Thanks to James, from Accenture, who acted as my tour guide and kept me from fighting Injustice by smacking down some Parking Posers. Needless to say, I got most of my sleep on the plane ride back.

Moral of the story: Washington DC gets one big thumbs up. But, the Capitol Building Parking Posers need to get their thumbs out of their asses.

Friday, September 16, 2005

14 Minutes of Fame

So, I'm officially published.

No, not like my grad school paper on token economies as motivation systems in corporate workplaces. That one is sitting somewhere in the stacks at the University of Kansas.

No, this is different.

So, at first, it was supposed to be like a short interview for a few paragraphs with several other companies for a Technology / IT magazine. Then, it turns into a 4 page feature, standalone article - and part of the cover story - and a picture.. in the print edition.

Anyways, I got my 14 min of fame after putting in like 6 hours worth of interviews and research. :)

Oh, btw, you're gonna be bored off your ass unless you're like a techie geek / dork like me.

50 pts to whoever reads past the first paragraph.

Here it is in Sept 12 version of Infoworld. Click here for the article.

So, I guess, now you all will know how dorky I really am.


Friday, September 02, 2005

Ok. Ok. I'll Blog.

Trying to think of Things to Post that are irrelevent and meaningless, but slightly entertaining in the wake of Human Despair and Carnage that seems to be prevailing in our World. So, in honor of those Jungle Animals that are looting Best Buys in New Orleans while their Grandmothers, Nieces and Nephews are dying or lay trapped in the attic of their homes, I thought I'd post the last 5 CD's I've purchased from Best Buy - under non-catastrophic circumstances:

1. Damian Rice, O
2. Coldplay, X&Y
3. Scissor Sisters, Scissor Sisters
4. Joss Stone, Mind, Body, & Soul
5. Charlie & The Chocolate Factory

Ruler of a free People

So, I'm reading the Declaration of Independence today - a handy dandy pocket version. Don't ask why, but it made its way to me and I had time and I had interest and I ended up reading it cause I wanted to. Weird. Anyways, I stopped at the following section:

A Prince, whose Character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the Ruler of a free People.
The Declaration of Independence, 1776.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


Two fireflies flash just a few feet away
dancing and disappearing
in a summer light night symphony

As suddenly as one's gone
one's there and one's here
shining brightly just before
one sparkles far and one near

They must think nothing queer
of the other vanishing in midflight long
Both being choreographed on cue
as they each waltz to an evening cricket song

Yet together they blaze
intensely against the days
fading fast in a season
that returns to only pass them by

Two fireflies dance in the summer sky

Edmund Vazquez Fireflies © July 2005

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Lost Talents

Here is a sketch I drew back when I had the time, attention span, and focus to create such things. At some point, I need to reconnect with this. Until then, I'll share...


Steve Jobs: Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish

A professional colleague of mine recently emailed me and shared a speech that Steve Jobs (of Apple fame) gave to the 2005 graduates of Stanford University. I've reread this several times and I continue to marvel at the way Jobs so eloquently touches upon the synchronicities and serendipity in our lives, which will ultimately bring us exactly what we need to move forward during our most difficult times.

My mother always says "everything happens for a reason". Now, truth be told, that reliance on "faith" has pulled me through the darkest nights in my life - even though, I have to admit, Fear will try to talk you into giving up Faith.

Still, we have to believe that those ReasonsWhyEverythingHappens will ultimately reveal themselves if we continue to move forward in the direction of where we believe our Dreams to be.


This is the text of the Commencement address by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, delivered on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky – I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation - the Macintosh - a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me – I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I retuned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Cracked Sidewalk

how do you know it's time
to move beyond that line
we drew together on that cracked
sidewalk in our minds

how do you know it's time
to talk about what's not fine
seeing your footprints clearly
left far beyond that line

do we deny that you
weren't there
do we keep arguing what's fair
and then pretend that neither cares

there beyond that line
that's been crossed too many times
there's just this game that we define
each day to ease our minds
to make this pass as easy time
with rules that evolve
to the sublime
allowing neither to shine

because when left
with what's yours
and what's mine
on seperate sidewalks with no lines
without a hope to hold us true
I can't play this game

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Time of Death

Samuel Clyde passed from ThisPlace to the NextPlace at May 11, 2005 at 9:39pm. He was surrounded by four of us who watched him breathe his last breath. He was listening to Johnny Cash's CD: "My Mother's Hymn Book", as he often loved to do. He passed while listening to "In The Garden," his most favorite hymn.

The words he heard were these:

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses

And he walks with me
And he talks with me
And he tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

He speaks and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing

And he walks with me
And he talks with me
And he tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

I'd stay in the garden with Him
'Tho the night around me be falling
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling

And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

| Johnny Cash | "In the Garden" |

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

While The Rest of the World Sleeps

I have no story to tell today, either.

But, I can tell you that I flew home from Minneapolis today after my nephew's baptism at a Methodist Church on Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis. I'm not sure that that's all that entertaining or important, unlike today's Mother's Day sermon where the PastorPriestFather compared Desperate Housewives to Ruth in the bible. But, I digress. So, after the service

He's sewing now. The needle and thread are nowhere to be seen.

my brother had a GetTogetherEvent and he totally jacked up the hamburgers on the grill for the whole freakin family.

Question: how do you jack up hamburgers on a freakin gas grill?
Answer: Ask my brother.

He's riding a bike now, but the bikes hanging from the roof of the carport.

So, anyways, I'm trying to help my brother very politely by cutting open the hamburgers and showing him the raw insides that are still mushy and red and cold..but.. he knows better. And besides, I'm from Kansas (he won't admit it in his Diesel jeans and Kenneth Cole shirt, but he's from Kansas, too) and I don't live in a million dollar home in Edina, MN. What do I know?

But, when he thinks I'm not looking, he sneaks in and grabs the second batch of burgers and puts them back on the grill.

He's sleeping again now.

So, later, while everyone is gorging on some chef prepared $200 cake and some CrapAssFakeVanilla Healthy Choice ice cream, one of the guests on his NotWifeButMotherOfHisOnlyChild side of the "party" declares to the table that the hamburgers were "disgusting" and

He's reaching out and holding the hand of someone who isn't there.

everyone agrees that the hamburgers were raw and then I try to make light of the situation and avoid the awkward silence after I looked at her and she said "Oops, I didn't know anyone was listening", so I say "You know, I tried to tell him that they weren't cooked, but men don't like to be told two things: 1. how to cook a hamburger on a grill and 2. how to make love to a woman -because all men were born with those innate skills - much like women are born with ability to suck the life out of a man," but I digress. Ok, so I didn't say the "women were born with the innate ability to suck the life out of a man part", but I thought it. I admit it.

He's twisting the fleece blanket in his hands now.

So, anyways, why exactly do you pay like hundreds of dollars on a cake and then spend 3 dollars on a gallon of vanilla ice cream? I mean, at least get a gallon of RealVanillaHandmade ice cream from the little joint down the street for 10 bucks. I mean, for 7 more dollars, you complete the illusion that you live in a perfect little world and people won't remember that the cops were at your house earlier in the week breaking up a dispute over my 9 month old nephew because the NotWifeButMotherOfHisOnlyChild decided to go out till 4am and party up with some Coke and Weed and GodKnowsWhatElse and then try and breastfeed my nephew because She just lost her other child to the guy who founded your local Best Buy's Geek Squad, her ExHusband, who she talks about ceaselessly as the AssWhoRuinedHerLife because she can't shoulder

He's talking now. He says he's ok and doesn't want any water. And now he's mumbling again and slipping back into InBetween.

any blame for doing drugs cause she's rich and a model and addicts just don't look like that and the rehab was for the family.

Anyways, as soon as I touched down in KC from Minneapolis, I got a phone call. "Hours Left." So, I speed back to the airport, leaving my kids with my Grandparents (first time they've been away from my wife and I for more than an hour or two), race to Southwest Airlines and get my ticket and I'm back in Chicago in only a few hours and a couple hundred dollars. I secretly wish they accepted overpriced white baptism cake and cheap ice cream for payment. It cost the same amount. That's Irony in Economy. Anyways, I digress again...

The girls are back to watch over GrandDad. My short watch is over. I'm not sure that watching a 94 year old man slip out of this world is any kind of "watch", but call it what you will.

And here I am, now, with 3 others sitting in this tiny room, watching GrandDad drift between two worlds and watching him talk to people in both at 2am on a Tuesday while the rest of the world sleeps and life goes on.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


The eMotion Cafe has been busy lately. Between trips to Los Angeles, San Jose, Chicago, and Minneapolis, I've had little time to sip my IS2PWM (Iced Soy 2Pump White Mocha) and reflect on the people that wander in and out of this little joint.

I have come to realize, however, that those little metal chairs with the curved backs that are often found in coffee shops throughout the country are remarkably comfortable, compared to the wood, straight back chairs in this, my favorite, coffee shop. A relatively small and insignificant realization, I realize.

Anyways, today I walked in and ordered my drink after getting the usual "NORM!" response from the baristas, and while waiting I got a head's up from one of them.

Molly, my favorite barista, whispered to me: "Hope..Someones been looking for you. He's been in and out of here several times in the past few weeks. He's always asking for you and if we've seen you lately. We're not quite sure how to -"

She stopped cold and looked over my shoulder and there he was.

As I turned, I knew who it was, instinctively. Warm and welcoming, yet cold and forever distant. My eyes wanted to tear up and my stomach was knotted and yet I was strangely aware of little things like the coldness of the air conditioning vent over my head and the Jeff Buckley song wandering through the background via the eMotion cafe XM feed and the smell of coffee grounds in the planters. My senses were alive, so it had to be him.


"Long time, no see. How are you" I say.

So, it's instinct for me to try to warm up conversations with those that intimidate me. Death intimidates me.

Then, Death gets this sad look on his face and simply whispers "We need to talk. I've been looking for you."

This means one of two things.. as it's been years since we last talked. Death isn't one to make casual visits or engage in small talk just to pass the time. Something tells me he has a full plate most of the time.

So, as my IS2PWM is delivered up, Death wanders over to one of those wood straight back chairs, even though there are several of those plush, maroon wing chairs waiting for a warm body.

Molly, still speechless, handed me my drink and confirmed "That's him"

"No worries," I say to poor Molly, who's obviously shaken and hasn't seen much of him but thinks its best to just stay unknown to him for as long as possible. Some simple reassurance might help, I figure, so I offer up "Moll.. we talk every once in a while.. it's ok. Death isn't the bad guy everyone makes him out to be.. think of him as a tour guide or travel agent who simply arranges your vacations and trips to the Next Place." She's still a little shaken. I'd like to think she's worried about why he's here at all and if it's for me, so I leave her with this: "We, Death and I, have an agreement.. when the time's coming for me or for someone else, if I can help in any way he contacts me. That's all. Everything will be ok."

I guess in the end, that's the Truth. In the end, it always ends. Life goes on with or without you.

What is really remarkable to me is that more people don't Live each day they're given. Death may have arranged the flight, but the plane doesn't take off for hours, days, months, and years for most.

Maybe it's easier to wait for the inevitable. Maybe that's why I like to shop. All I know is that I'm gonna engage everything and everyone until it's my turn to go. I'm not sitting in any airport lobby if I don't have to. And if I do, I want an iPod, Media Player, Laptop, an IS2PWM, and lots of other gadgets to pass the time with. Hey, maybe that is why I like to shop. But, I digress.

So, in that split second while I'm thinking those thoughts, I'm already turned and heading to the table. I sit down and scoot my chair over to face him. Havin his job, he sincerely deserves that kind of respect and attention.

"I'm sorry, but I will be helping someone you know move on, soon," he tells me. "Your wife's GrandDad, he has lived a beautiful and full life. I have sat with him and talked to him and we have shared many stories of So Many Things Long Ago. I want you to know that I'll be taking him somewhere where there are many Others waiting for him. I want you to be able to reassure the Family that all will be ok, that Everything Will Be Ok."

It doesn't matter how many times, we talk. There's something about anything he says that creates this aching, black hole in a Person's stomach. A curse, it must be, to have all of your words spoken bring so much pain to People, regardless of the message you share.

"I understand" is about all could bring myself to say.

Death continued: "GrandDad is InBetween right now. He will be passing, very soon. I want you to know that even when you or The Family is with him, he has Family with him from TheOtherPlace with him, even now. Regardless of where he is, he's asked me to tell you to make sure that The Family knows that he is not Alone."

Perhaps, this explains the conversations he was having last week with empty chairs and him reaching out to hold a hand that wasn't there and the smiles as he looked next to him at an empty couch.

And then Death leaned over and whispered: "He also wanted me to tell you that he is not Afraid."

Now, I just left Chicago and said my "GoodBye" to my wife's GrandDad. This man of 94 years told me of many things over the past 8 years I have known him. GrandDad told me of how he was raised in a simple ranch in rural Kentucky in a home with a dirt floor and two horses and a garden and some hogs. He told me of his Father who was a minister and man of great faith. He even showed me, once, the trail he walked when he went to school, between harvests and winters. There are the bibles from his Father still on his night stand. There are the walls that surround his bed and couch and tv in the simple room he lives in, now, that are covered with pictures of a Long Life. Many of those pictured have passed. His wife passed decades ago. There are the stories of how he worked in a brick factory for a day (which was the best job in town) and passed out because of the heat and realized he'd be best off moving from Kentucky to Chicago to make his life as an Accountant. He built his entire house in Chicago with his wife with hand tools, none of them powered. Those tools sit beneath a layer of dust outside his room, still - some of them on his wall as trophies of Great Things Done in this life.

GrandDad raised my wife, who never knew her BiologicalFather, as his daughter in that very house he built with his own two hands. He was her Father at all those school events where "Parents are Invited". He was a man who hated confrontation and Fighting and was the rock that TheFamily clung to through divorces and deaths and breakups and failures. In all honesty, in eight years of knowing him, I've never heard him yell or get angry or speak an ill-word of anyone. He smiled a lot though and always went to the Grocery store on Tuesdays to shop. He liked one particular brand of Sauerkraut. This I remember after looking for it at several grocery stores, once, willingly and joyfully.

Most of all, he was my wife's rock. And he left her with these words, just hours ago: "You'll always be my little girl".

The words he left me with were simpler. He smiled his Smile and told me I was blessed with two miracles (Esa and Edison, our children and his Great Grandchildren). I told him I had 3 miracles (and I looked at my wife). And he smiled his Smile again, and he simply replied "I think you are 4". He told me to always "be safe". I told him I'd try to take care of them the way he would want. His eyes teared, and I had to pull away before I melted into him.

Yes, Death saw this, too. He's seen every goodbye a millions times over.

Ok. So I have to admit that in the quiet silence between Death and I, at that moment, with that memory in my mind, I was angry for the slightest second. But, then, I tried to think of Death's job. Imagine having to watch every person in this world die. Imagine having to watch every Mother, Father, Son, and Daughter all have to say goodbye to everyone they Love for Eternity. Imagine being at every Passing... forever, watching people leave ThisPlace without wanting to go or not knowing where they were going. One after another after another after another...

"Thank You" is all I could bring myself to say.

Death's eyes aren't cold. They're sad.

He simply stood up and turned to walk away. Then, he stopped, and he walked back to me and said: "You will all pass from ThisPlace to the NextPlace. I won't. This is my existence. Live your life. Love each other. But, more than anything, just know that Everything will be OK."

And with that he was gone. And the silence was gone. And the music crept back into the background and people started appearing.. moving from place to place. And I heard laughter and the sound of the coffee bean grinder. And I smelled the perfume of Sabrina as she walked past with her laptop, on her way to some appointment. And I looked up and saw Lane reading his newspaper and drinking his Double Espresso. And the world started back up again, the same as it was before I walked into the eMotion cafe.

And it hit me. Everything will be ok.

But, the world will need another Rock.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Hold 'Em

I'm discovering the joys of playing cards.

It's led to long nights playing Spades in There from my computer in the eMotion Cafe. I have to say that I'm a little bit addicted to playing the cards, online. I don't think it's for the winnings, cause there's nothing monetary involved. It may be more for the opportunities to get to know those sitting at the table and the chit-chat that seems to make the world a little less lonely and a little more friendly - even if it is simply bits and bytes that are rendered by some silicone data processing engine onto a couple liquid crystal displays.

In the real world, my family has played cards at the holiday get-togethers my whole life. My Grandpa was the "Father" of all these games, always requesting for the family to sit together - and play together. I never really played much in those games of old, I just have fond childhood memories of watching all my Aunts and Uncles and Grandpa and Grandma playing over some big antique table in a tiny little bungalow in Northeast KC. It seemed that that table took up half that house when the lace tablecloth and vase / pitcher of plastic flowers was lifted to reveal the real table, beneath.

I was always the least likely to "throw in" with the family. It was a rite-of-passage for the Grandchildren - to be able to sit at the table with the adults and play. Grandpa didn't really like the Grandkids playing. Maybe for that reason, I never felt comfortable playing. I watched as my cousins played - but, to me, there was something disrespectful about that. Besides, the game always had a different feel when the "younger" generation of high-school grandkids sat at the table and tried talking trash. The old-schoolers just didn't seem to sit well with it.

It wasn't that I didn't want to be at the table, because in some ways, I wish I would have had those chances to spend more time with my Grandpa before he passed. But, as a teenager, you dont't really consider that in being considerate, sometimes you miss opportunities.

Or, perhaps, I refrained from playing after watching the arguments that ensued as a child over silly little colored chips, some funny looking pieces of paper, and an antiqued table. Looking back, I realize now that the arguments weren't really about the cards, they were about things that had nothing to do with the cards. It was safer arguing about the cards in their hands and on the table - about those little pieces of paper with pictures of pretend Queens and Kings - than it was to bring up the real issues between each other.

Perhaps, it was a little of both that kept me from playing my cards, until now.

I can understand now, why playing cards was a family ritual that was so important to my Grandpa. In cards, there were rules. It seems that people can play together nicely when they all play by the same set of rules. Sometimes, it takes a few hands to teach the rules to new people that come to the table, as it did with the boyfriends and spouses of Grandpa's Six Sons and Daughters. Sometimes, people played differently. But, in the end, they learned to play those games by the same rules - as a family.

They played funny games like: "Follow The Bitch", "In Between" , "Five Card Stud", "Seven Card Stud - 2 Down, Three Up, 2 Down", "No Peek", "Trips Are Better", "Knock Knock", and others. They each had their favorites. They took turns dealing and the dealer always chose the game and everyone played. Some liked the complex games. Some liked the simple games. Some liked the games that drew big pots. Some liked the games that were quick and not as costly. But, in the end, it was all for pennies and nickels and quarters and simply about how each player liked to play.

I remember a few things about my Grandpa when we played, like:

1. He never cut the cards. He always tapped the cards as they were passed to him - and accepted the way the cards were already stacked.

2. Every adult in the family had to sit at the table and play together. You could rotate spots (usually with your spouse), but everyone "had" to play if they were in the family. There was no "sitting out".

3. He didn't like playing cards with the Grandchildren. He didn't like taking that money. But, he did. Maybe it was because he knew that they chose to sit at the table and take those risks and it wasn't fair to not deliver the consequences associated with that risk. But, in the end, he just loved us enough to look past his own "feelings" about the issue. Regardless, the man survived the trenches of World War 2 in Europe, so I'm sure that any such "feelings" had a perspective that we probably lack, nowadays, about 'What's Really Important."

4. He hated to play "In-Between".

Nowadays, on Fridays, a group of guys get together from work and play Texas Hold-Em. I don't know if you really know a person until you've played cards with them.

You meet some great personalities that are sometimes kept bottled up as we move through life packaged in marketing campaigns and promotional opportunities that reduce us to products that are consumed.

You learn about the risks people take. You learn about what excites a person. You learn about how tied people are to things like money or anything else that falls into their lap, like simple little chips. You learn about how people handle losing - and sometimes, more importantly, how they handle winning.

I'm not sure that any of this has a point, and I'm fine with that, but it all just reminds me about the Things We Hold Onto in our lives and the Games We Play.

But, the best part of the whole thing is that with cards, the only people that sit down at the table are people that are willing to play the game. If you can't handle losing something, then you don't sit at the table. But in the same breath, the best players understand that you have to be responsible with the people that are sitting at the table that are willing to throw it all in and ride the cards to wherever they take them. In cards, there's a winner and a loser, and there's always a lesson.

Regardless, it seems to come down to the way we let things go and the way we hold 'em. In that, the cards seem to have all the answers and hold all the wisdom. We just have to play them to learn what they hold.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Memories Found


Best news of the week: I was digging for a recharger cord and found an old filing folder. I looked inside and found almost all of my old writings and poems and pictures from 1987 - 1995 or so. Good Day, needless to say. This followed a phone call I got last week from Iomega where they informed me that all of the writings I had put into the computer (many times I modified the originals into newer versions as I input them over the past 15 years) and saved to a 100mb iomega mac disk were... "unrecoverable". Dang. That sucks. But, at least I found some of the stuff and the paper originals. Unfortunately, there were many other photos and things that I don't have backups for. But, that's what I get for accidently reformatting a MAC zip disk into a PC zip disk drive.

But, here's a picture of me back in 1990 when I was a summer camp counselor at Camp Buckskin. There's a blog entry on my friend Starbuck (Lennart) down below, who was a camp counselor with me at the time. This was taken after we had like a talent show and a couple of us guy counselors covered ourselves in green clay from the lake and pretended we were teenage mutant ninja turtles for the kids. So, clearly, after the show, we had to go shower. In the middle of the northwoods, the "shower" was this bathhouse kinda concrete building with like 7 showers all around and we'd all have to go shower together. lol. Funny stuff.

Man, I need to do that Body For Life thing and get back to this kinda shape. Damn. I'd do me back then.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Please Be Gentle: My Jayhawks Lost

Wow. So my beloved Kansas Jayhawk Basketball Team has lost to Bucknell in the very first round of the NCAA Tournament. This is the first time they lost a first round game since 1978, before most of the folks that know how to use a computer and blogs were even born. 21 straight years of not losing a NCAA Tournament first-round game.

I am in an unofficial, self-imposed, and undefined period of grieving.

So, please be aware that I'm emotionally vulnerable now (as all men who are married to a sports team are at the end of a season of much hope and catastrophic disappointment). And don't mock me, women of the world, cause we each have Things That Make Us Sad. So, I'm a guy... I like Kansas Basketball...and I'm clearly clinging by an emotional fingernail as I'm feeling guilty for liking my team and defending myself to some unknown person... so you see how this has affected me...I'm clearly an emotional mess and in need of some cuddling or spooning of some kind.

I'll need at least 30 minutes to recover from this great disappointment. But, at my age, a 30 minute refractory period isn't that bad.

So, for the next few days, please be gentle. At least now, maybe I'll give more attention to my beloved Blog. As followers of the eMotion Cafe, both of you know that I've been neglecting her. So you see how it goes. Season Ends and I become emotionally available.

Then again, there goes my tournament bracket.


Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Stress Management eMail

I received an email today from a co-worker that was sent to our internal team. Normally, I don't pimp out emails that I get that are touchy feely and such cause they almost always end up being a chain email. But, this one wasn't a chain email and I'd like to read it again later, so my Blog may be good place for it as I look back on things over time. And, perhaps, some random reader or a friend out there may enjoy it as well (and I'll save that person an email).

Here it is:

A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, "How heavy is this glass of water?" Answers called out ranged from 20g to 500g. The lecturer replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it."

"If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. "In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."

He continued, "And that's the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on." "As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden."

"So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work down. Don't carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow. Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let them down for a moment if you can." "Relax; pick them up later after you've rested. Life is short. Enjoy it!

And then he shared some ways of dealing with the burdens of life:

  • Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue.
  • Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.
  • Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
  • Drive carefully. It's not only cars that can be recalled by their maker.
  • If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.
  • If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
  • It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.
  • Never buy a car you can't push.
  • Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on.
  • Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
  • Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.
  • The second mouse gets the cheese.
  • When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
  • Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
  • You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.
  • Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.
  • We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.
  • A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Have an awesome day and know that someone has thought about you today..........I did.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Ohio Snow


in the shadows
the others cling
to the mothering

backlit by
some sunny orange blanket

beneath heaven
and quilted clouds

this way to that
here to there

we are

never more than grey
never knowing the way

we are

the last downy flakes
through the silence
after the storm
of a season

| Edmund Vazquez | Ohio Snow | © December 1995 |

My Ex-Blog

I was doing SO well with my beloved Blog.

It really was love at first sight. I had heard so much about her. And finally, I got up the nerve to go and meet her and things just clicked. I mean, in no time at all I'm totally opening up to her in ways that I had forgotten all about. And the more time I spent with her, the more I wanted to know about her. Giving my attention was so easy, it was natural. It was like she knew my every thought.

In a matter of days, I totally understood her. I knew how to push all her buttons and she didn't mind at all. It was like she accepted herself for who she was - and that's so rare. She was so special. She is special. I accept her for all her idiosyncracies. I mean, eating dinner with her was a treat. The conversation never faultered. The silences weren't uncomfortable in the least. She knew that I was just taking it all in and that I'd tell her more when the time was right. To be honest, I've showered her with attention.

So, after weeks of spending so many nights face to face with her, revealing my thoughts and secrets...after waking up so many mornings and running to her to see if she had something new for me in the early morning hours..I did it. I broke down. I professed my love for her.

The beginning of the end, indeed.

I had only meant to step away for a moment. Then, One Thing happened. Then Another. Then, I got distracted - so many calling out to me. I mean, when I stopped to think about it, I had neglected other Loves. They were jealous that I hadn't been around in a while - wondering where I had been spending my time. I didn't want them thinking that they weren't important, too. I am not totally insensitive as a man. I mean, I feel like I'm in touch with my feminine side. Sometimes, more than others. But in general, if I'm not playing cards or watching sports or on the computer or.. ok...well...if I'm shopping I'm totally in touch with my feminine side. I do like to shop. That's got to count for something, right? But, I digress. There I go again, straying...

Days later I realized I had left my poor blog all alone. I had abondoned her unintentionally. Those old, bad habits were reappearing.

I thought I had that licked, like a Tootsie Pop Lollipop. 432 licks to get to the center, by the way. And, it does take discipline not to bite right into the yummy chewy center.

Apparently, my soul still needs some self-actualization or evolution.

Apparently, I need to learn to respect my blog.

I thought my blog would just appreciate the time and attention I give her. I'm hoping she forgives me.

I'll do better next time.

I promise.

Oh yeah. Last thing. I should point out that these very facts were pointed out to me by an ex-girlfriend and longtime friend who tends to notice such things. She was quick to point out that I hadn't left ALL my old habits behind.

I was neglecting my blog.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Blogging Away

So...busy times at the eMotion Cafe. I'm hooked on Blogging. Officially. For years, I've paid for websites and used HTML to try and keep friends and family updated and record the daily events that shape me and my family.

All I have to say about HTML and hosting companies and WYSIWIGS and Javascript is that I spent more time learning those things than actually doing what I set out to do.

But, now, I can put all that to work and hack at PHP and CSS as I dive into the Blogging Oceans and swim towards Europe. I spent all weekend converting my old family HTML website over to a Blog, with a Word Press engine and some cool ass plugins. Since I already had a hosting plan, I just migrated all the photos and content over to a new format and I freakin dig it.

Once I get it all finished, maybe I'll post over to it. I'd still like to keep this going, though I may move eMotion Cafe to a seperate server or hosting environment.

Been kinda busy.

What has everyone else spent their whole weekend doing? Do tell...

Saturday, February 26, 2005


To those who may peruse these pages, I should note that a friend of mine has recently joined us - Lennart.


He and I go back many years, back to 1989 or 1990..when we met at Camp Buckskin, each as summer camp counselors. The way I recall it, we first met on a soccer field in the middle of Isabella, MN - not really known for much but moose, ticks, and national forest. But, right there in the middle of nowhere, there's a little camp of about 20 cabins and 4 main buildings and some fields.. where if you throw some t-shirts down in the corners of a perceived "square" you get a field of play. A few more t-shirts thrown down give you goal posts. And then, you add summer camp counselors - young adults from every corner of the globe - US, England, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Germany, Italy...and you end up getting a very nice game of global soccer in the most unexpected place.

So, all these folks descend in the middle of northern Minnesota each year to help behaviorally disturbed youth.. kids with lots of labels (ADD, ADHD, LD, Asperger's, etc.) that result in lots of meds (Ritalin, etc.) and lots of academic and behavioral issues that need attention. Well, for the summer, many of those underpriveleged "get" to visit this camp or are "sent" to this camp, depending on the situation.

Since it doesn't pay much to work with kids - and most teenagers getting ready to head out to college aren't really interested in going into the middle of the woods all summer for very little money - but a nice twin bunk with a wool blanket and cafeteria food and only one day off a week and nothing around to do on your days off but maybe go into that springing metropolis of Ely, MN and maybe eat at the Chocolate Moose or Dairy Queen and buy some new Tevas and do some laundry... well, you get the picture, but generally the Camp pulls in tons of foreign students to staff the camp as the camp hosts the students, pays for their airfare, and then gives a smaller salary to those attending to have spending money. Many came from overseas just to get to the US and then spent a few weeks before and after travelling the US and heading back home, having had an adventure mostly paid for.

Now, at that time, there was one telephone for the entire camp (including the hundreds of kids and staffers), there was NO tv, and there was NO radio. There weren't even newspapers really. You literally stepped outside of this world and back into the "real world" for a day a week over 2 months - if you call Ely, MN the "real" world.

So, the way I recall it, one day.. (back when I was 18), we were entertaining ourselves the days before the kids arrived as we had some free time between "training" sessions and we had a global game of soccer going. Now, 15 years ago, soccer wasn't much of a mainstream sport in the US, but I played in h.s. and played several national camps and was pretty freakin good. So, those games of soccer were pretty competitive as I remember. And there was me, dribbling and showing off through the field of play. And there was Lennart, playing goalie. And so there we were.. me and him.. and I shot a bullet straight on.. and he saved it.. and got the ball back, I dribbled through a few more people and rifled a shot to the lower right corner of the goal and he saved it again.. then I got the ball back and blasted a shot high, even though there weren't goalposts.. and the dude freakin lays out up about 4 feet off the ground and freakin deflects it out.

Dang. I had met the enemy and he was good. Really Good.

So, we talk and I find out he used to play in some Dutch league that was a youth national program or something and he comes out of goal and starts dribbling through most of my team and I take this personally. So, from then on out, it was my personal mission to stop this foreigner from beating me at anything on American soil. After all, I had to defend and honor my country and represent - even if it was just a game of soccer.

Now, it should be said that because I first saw him as the enemy on the field of play, and we were both so much alike in many ways - but different in so many ways, we really didn't get along when we first met. I was brash and cocky and arrogant and smart and all about women and my body. He was quiet, confident, intelligent, and the ladies loved this about him. He was sweet and sensitive and tall - like over 6' and pretty good looking for a Dutchman :) (no, I'm not gay)

So, after our little battle on the field, I'd say we respectfully avoided each other.

Then, my co-counselor decided he wasn't cut out to be a camp counselor with the kids.. I cant' recall the details, but he was some guy from Australia .. Quantos or something was his camp nickname (we all had them and they were given to us by vote from our peers before camp started every year). So, in comes Lennart.. "Starbuck" I think was his name.. given to him cause he resembled the guy from BattleStar Gallactica at the time (old school not that new series that sucks). He walks in the door and says "Hey, I'm your new co-counselor."

Dang. Dude. So I remember thinking for a second "this is gonna be a long, long summer". Knowing Starbuck, now, I'm sure he thought the same thing.. or maybe he didn't. He was always a better person that way.

So, over time, we found we had so much in common. And over more time, we realized we really complemented each other well with our kids - the 8 boys assigned to our cabin that we took care of. I was hard, he was soft. I was brash, he was quiet. I was opinionated, he was open. But, sometimes, it would reverse.. regardless, we fit very well as a team... and we did very well together.. and I learned much from him.

I learned that I was really more like him at heart, but had abandoned that part of myself years ago in high school because I wanted to survive and be popular and get the good looking girls and go to the cool parties and not have to worry about a ride to school each day. I didn't have much growing up, so I learned to get what I needed when I needed it.

Lennart reminded me of who I really wanted to be. He reminded me that I could do without and that the whole of the world was inside our heads and hearts, and not in Things.

So, needless to be said, we became best of friends. For years, I would refer to him as "My Best Friend In The World" as he literally lived in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Recently, actually as a result of 9/11, our friendship changed and has never, since, been quite the same. After 9/11, we engaged in a spirited and heated and heartfelt debate about the US and its roles in world affairs. I felt outraged and violated, as many Americans did. I'd say it was fair to say that he felt more detached about it and I interpreted his words and thoughts as indicating that he and the rest of the world felt like the US had it coming for being a bully in world affairs for so long.

Regardless, we lost a part of our friendship in world politics. At times, I abandoned our friendship because I felt like friendship should preceed political affiliations and sometimes I felt like I was being judged by what our President did or our troops were doing. And we fought, again, mightily - each with our own resolve, representing our own belief systems and cultures and propoganda.

In the end, however, we have educated each other, I believe, about the worlds we live in.. worlds we haven't shared in almost two decades. And we've agreed to disagree - but still be open to learning. And those two sentences seem trivial given the volumes of emails and words we've exchanged in anger and frustration with each other over the past few years. Most of all, through all our arguments, I think we each had our points and we were each right, to some degree, about our perspectives - considering where we each were in the world and what it looked like from where each of us were standing.. But, in the end, I believe that sharing our experiences brought us closer towards respecting each other's opinions and perspectives - something that we probably need to do a little more of as human beings.

But, we try to move on - remembering all that our friendship has brought us. And so I asked him to get a blog and read my blog, to stay in touch between emails that span weeks or months, sometimes. In a way, Blogging has reunited us, here, in the bits and bytes of some world of 0's and 1's on some imaginary network beyond our modems and routers.

So, welcome, Old Friend. I've missed you.

And perhaps, just maybe, as people move beyond physical and political boundaries in cyberspace, we will all have the opportunity to experience each other, globally, as very real people with common experiences, but different institutions that shape the way we see each other as a whole. Perhaps, when people become real to each other at an individual level, we'll refrain from generalizing and stereotyping people based on where they were born. Perhaps, when we all get to know each other by our real names, as Lennart and Ed, we'll forget the boundaries and distances between us and embrace each other as brothers, once again.


Monday, February 21, 2005



there is a willow I planted
in the backyard of the house I built
that someone else now lives in

each day on my way to work
I pass by and wonder if that willow
weeps as its branches reach
toward the ground I once walked

I wonder if that willow remembers
the day I picked her from the many
that were waiting to be planted
holding her to my chest
as we left the nursery
with her branches bound
her trunk wrapped in burlap

I placed her into the earth she thirsted
warming her roots with the warm Kansas clay
and cut away the twine
and watched her branches explode into the twilight sky
and shared a long drink together
after the late summer sun had set that day

before i walked away

I would watch through the window, still, some days
as she stood firm and willed her way
through winter ice
and then thawed and stretched towards the clouds
while wrapping herself in a green spring shawl
and then danced with the children
while swinging from her branches in the summer sun
growing stronger each season

so today she is a year older and a year wiser
and someone else lives in the house I built
as I moved on long ago to chase lakeside dreams
knowing that that willow would live long beyond me
but forever hold and shade that place
in the backyard of the first home I built

| Edmund Vazquez | The Willow | © February 2005 |


So I'm walking up the stairs in the eMotion Cafe today and I hear my six year-old daughter talking to my four year-old son.

I peak in and see them, both, drawing at the Little People Coloring Table. You see, we draw a lot in our family and tell stories with our pictures. In this moment, I'm very proud of both of them, sitting there and drawing on the paper - and not on themselves or each other.

When they're done, we'll look at the pictures together. We'll talk about them. We'll give them names. And then, I'll ask if I can put it into the computer. They'll say "Yes, Daddy!" and we'll go on with Whatever's Next.

I collect all their artwork and their homework and their pictures (so what if they're only in PreSchool and First Grade). I look through everything for The Good Stuff. I scan The Good Stuff into the computer; back them up on dvds, cds, and remote hard drives; and put them online - so they each have their own Online Art Gallery. I figure, Someday, it's these little things we do that (when I'm gone) will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that I love them and always have loved them with all my heart. It's a Very Important Thing - making sure that they know how much I love them, now and forever.

the day when the cat peed on the floor

As I walk into the Drawing Room, I see my daughter putting away some of the markers. She has her back to me - and doesn't see me or hear me come near.

And at that moment, my six year-old daughter looks at her little brother (who idolizes her) and says: "It was so much better before you came along, Edison. Before you came along, Mommy and Daddy and me used to play together all the time..Now, we don't do fun things together anymore because of you..."

She stopped mid-sentence as she looked up and saw me standing there.

I was absolutely stunned. My stomach dropped. My eyes swelled with tears. I couldn't yell. I couldn't get mad. All I could bring myself to say to her, slowly and quietly, was "How could you ever say something like that to your little brother - who loves you so much - no matter how mean you are to could you make something up like that? Why would you say something just to try and hurt him? I'm disappointed that you'd ever even think such thoughts about someone, anyone, but especially your brother. (long long long pause looking right into her eyes). Now, you tell him you're sorry, give him a hug, and tell him you love him...and I don't ever EVER want to hear you say something like that again. When you say mean things, people don't want to be your friends and in this life, your brother will be your best friend, because no matter what, he'll always love you and that's a rare thing"

(Ok, I know, I go on a bit and she's only 6, but we're responsible for teaching consequences as parents...and that's really how I talk to her)

This was the first time that my daughter brought me Sadness.

As a Father, I wonder where I've failed. I protect and I give - a dozen kisses and two-dozen "I love yous" every day. I spoil her with "Just Because I Love You" presents and trips to the store or Random Places together. But most importantly, I try to teach her to be a better person.


She apologized. She drew him a picture. She wrote him a note that said " My b (best buddy) is Edson I Love Hem". They played all day and all night like every day and every night. But, still I wonder, what else is said when I'm not around - in those moments when I'm not There to guide them.

Sadness is a world where we can give so much as parents - and, still, that love can fail to teach something so simple as how to love your brother.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

When I was One and Twenty - AE Houseman

I first memorized this poem when I was seventeen.. This is a picture of me in 1995 (when I was Five and Twenty) - still in my Houseman Phase.


| When I Was One and Twenty |

When I was one-and-twenty
I heard a wise man say,
'Give crowns and pounds and guineas
But not your heart away;
Give pearls away and rubies
But keep your fancy free.'
But I was one-and-twenty,
No use to talk to me.

When I was one-and-twenty
I heard him say again,
'The heart out of the bosom
Was never given in vain;
'Tis paid with sighs a plenty
And sold for endless rue.'
And I am two-and-twenty,
And oh, 'tis true, 'tis true.

| When I Was One and Twenty | A Shropshire Lad | 1896 | A.E. Houseman |

Saturday, February 19, 2005

A Noiseless Patient Spider - Walt Whitman

This was the second poem I memorized, when I was seventeen. More about that, later. Looking back, I understand why I connected with this poem then... as it really speaks to the need to connect with others in a meaningful way and the consumption that often occurs as a result of the connections we have with others. I probably understood the first part of that during that time. Looking back, I see other implications of the connections me make more clearly.

Anyways, I'll share:

| A Noiseless Patient Spider |

A noiseless patient spider,
I marked where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Marked how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launched forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be formed, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.

| A Noiseless Patient Spider | Leaves of Grass | 1900 | Walt Whitman |

Thursday, February 17, 2005

MOPD - Multiple Online Personality Disorder

I'm sitting at my table this afternoon, finishing up on an email to our Web Services program team congratulating them on integrating another customer, and an eMail pops into my Inbox.

Header: "Hey MyRealName"
Sender: ""
Name: "partofmyavatarname partofmyrealname"


Porn? Spam? Publisher's Clearinghouse Winning Notification? Ex That I Want to Hear from? Ex That I'm Afraid to Hear From?

Eenie. Meenie. Miny. Moe. Catch an internet idiot by his toe.

So, I reply:
"Don't know who this is. But, if I like you then please reply. If I don't like you then please go away. Thanks. I think."

A few moments later, I get a reply saying:
"Hey.. it's me AvatarNameRealNameNickName."

Now, the great mystery has been revealed. Which is a Good Thing. But, the Bad Thing is that this is the third time this has happened in like a month.

Which leads me to the question: At what point does a person merge their multiple online personalities?

Now, let's first recognize that some people have like two or three Instant Message (IM) names or accounts with the same IM service. Then, add to that the number of other IM names or accounts with other IM services. Then, add to that the number of eMail accounts a person has with a number of Email services - for both home and work and whateverelse. Then, add to that number the number of UserNames for online gaming and chat communities - for each one they have an account with. Finally, presumably, they have a real name that someone other than themself gave them in Life that they will generally answer to. Dude. That's a lot of names to remember someone by.

Then, lets recognize that these names are generally relative to the persona in that specific online area (considering who they'll be interacting with) that they generally wish to project and assume that people take on different personas based on what online community or service their "in" at that moment - across many moments in their online life.

So is this even good for the human psyche?

Is it healthy for us to be able to be anyone or anywhere at any time with no real consequences? I mean, in the online world, if someone gets mad at you, you can easily go into "hiding" or stealth mode, create a new screen name, put that person on "ignore", just click the little "x" on that window or client, or just don't log into that place anymore. No consequences. No understanding of the pain or reality your games play with others who might be approaching things more realistically or in just a different way.

In the real world, if a person causes another person pain, there's generally some kind of consequence. For example, if someone gets mad at you in the real world, they yell back. Things escalate. There's a real need... for survival and socialization purposes.. to understand how to defuse a situation. So, your behaviors change and you work your way out of the situation. If you threaten someone in the real world, it's the same deal - except maybe the police get involved and maybe you end up in some court system discussing the civil consequences of your actions and accepting whatever judgement is deemed appropriate by a group of your peers. If you hurt someone's feelings in the real world, they get this "hurt" look and they get quiet and they sometimes cry - and you have to look that person in the face again, either right there or later. If you fall in love in the real world, you end up making sacrifices and commitments and you end up working through the bad times and usually logging on to some online community to vent to some random stranger.. but I digress.

In the online world, the lack of consequences could lead to developing some unhealthy coping behaviors and patterns. I mean, the only defense mechanism you really need is your mouse and the ability to click on a little "x" somewhere. The only online Justice League is the Moderator or Some Guy Reviewing Logs & Transcripts (if someone complains loud enough). When you fall in love in the online world, you just log on a little more often and brush up on your sexy voice phone skills. In every case, there's no real commitment.

So, how can all this be healthy? How can living in many worlds under many guises with many names with many circles of friends with many expectations of "who you are", without any kind of personal contracts to honor, be good for the soul?

I have my thoughts.. but I'm open to answers. But, when you reply, could you reply with this format:

Real Name:
Yahoo Name:
AOL / AIM Name:
There Name:
SL Name:
TSO Name:
MSN Name:
Blogger Name:

I just need to cross-reference this information to know who I'm talking to. Thanks, in advance.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Songs That Should Never Be Remade

I'm only 34, but I'm now of the opinion that this current age of Music shall someday forever be known as the Karaoke Age in Popular Music.

In honor of this momentous realization, I have to give my personal list of "Songs That Should Never Be Allowed to Be Remade."

The following songs are, from now on, officially off-limits to any TeenAngst Bands (or Royal Philharmonic Orchestras for that matter), forever. No exceptions. None.

1. Another Brick In The Wall - Pink Floyd
2. Stairway to Heaven - Led Zeppelin
3. Sweet Home Alabama - Lynard Skynard
4. Every Breath You Take - The Police
5. Devil Went Down To Georgia - Charlie Daniels Band
6. Bad To The Bone - George Thorogood
7. Dreams - Fleetwood Mac
8. Hotel California - Eagles
9. Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton
10. Moondance - Van Morrison
11. Dreamweaver - Gary Wright
12. The Sound of Silence - Simon & Garfunkel
13. With or Without You - U2
14. Shooting Star - Bad Company
15. More Than a Feeling - Boston

Now, I'm not biased to just my generation of music. To be fair, I truly hope that the next generation will leave these sacred, new Jessica Simpson and American Idol Finalist songs well enough alone. You know that The Music Machine has hit rock bottom when someone remakes a remake of a remake. You know that a culture has lost its history when it consumes recycled material as new. Besides, no Jessica Simpson or American Idol Finalist song should EVER be remade.

Heed this wisdom, youthful warriors: Respect your elders, Leave Pink Floyd alone.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

On Love - Kahlil Gibran

I found this almost 17 years ago in my search for Love and what Love means. These are the words of a Lebanese man who died in 1931 and spoke of Love in a way that will never pass. On this Valentine's Day, I am reminded to share this.

On Love, from The Prophet:

Then said Almitra, "Speak to us of Love."
And he raised his head and looked upon the people, and there fell a stillness upon them. And with a great voice he said:

When love beckons to you follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.
All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.
But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.
When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart," but rather, I am in the heart of God."
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:

To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

| On Love | Kahlil Gibran | The Prophet |


Sunday morning in the eMotion Cafe. Sat down, popped up a browser and started surfing the All About Unimportant Things. I checked in on my Kansas Jayhawks on BAM. Knocked out Colorado yesterday. One Loss all year and they learned from it. That's Perfection.

Making my way to when I look up from my computer and see Regret standing there.

"Killing time again, I see" Regret says, smiling. "You know where this got you last time, right? So many people and so much time, but you're always in front of that computer. Do you see what Today is?"

"Yes" I replied. I know where he's taking this...

"So, Today is Another Anniversary of your Grandpa's Birthday," Regret says.

"Yes, I know Regret. We've had this discussion before. You know that we agree on this subject"

Then Regret replies, "Yes, but you know the value of Remembering, right? I mean, you knew I would be here. Not a day goes by that you don't remember the importance of The End. I know how much that Lesson has changed your Life. So, I'm here again this year to ask you why you're not going to the Mass To Remember Him and, instead, you're here drinking coffee in front of your computer."

I smiled, as it's best to embrace Regret because he has many Lessons To Teach. Personally, I think too many people avoid Regret and they end up making The Mistakes over and over again. So, long ago, we made Friends.

"Regret, I understand and was looking forward to seeing you today. That cup of black coffee right there has your name on it. Just the way you like it."

Regret sat down, sipped his coffee, and then asked the inevitable, "So, what have we learned about this?"

"Ok, Regret, I've thought on this much. You see, unlike Before His Death, I live every day with the understanding that They or I won't be here tomorrow. I really value what each person brings me and understand the temporality of this Existence, here with coffee and computers and such material things. And, to be clear, I'm not at his Mass today because I have an issue with having to go to some Church mass dedicated to his memory because I celebrate his life every day. I truly look at each moment as possibly the Last Moment. This brings great passion to my life, but Passion has its consequences. But, as you know, I fully embrace those consequences as its the Path I choose."

Regret stared into his coffee and said, "Yes, many don't understand that I exist to Teach and not Punish. The two are often confused, but I appreciate your friendship and this cup of coffee. So, you're not going because you don't like the idea of remembering just once? You want to remember every day?"

"Yes, silly, I know," I said. "But, you see, I spent so much time Indulging when I could have been spending that time with the people I know and love at one point in my Life. But, that has changed. And I don't want to ever go back to that and it seems like the idea of today's Mass is that it insinuates that we only remember once a year. I'm very uncomfortable with that and I'm not sure how to move past that."

I continued, "I remember all the times I was invited to Grandpa's house on Sundays. But at the time, I was a teenager and in college and instead of driving over and spending time with him, I was hung over. I was waking up with some woman I don't remember now. I was watching the Chiefs on tv. I was doing what was easy and fun, not what was Right. But I didn't know that then. It took his Death, and not having that Chance anymore to know what I was missing, then. I miss him. I wish that, having gotten older, I had had the chance to learn more about his life and what his life meant and heard the stories of how he lived after fighting in the World Wars and coming home and working in an auto plant and raising a great big family of seven kids. I wonder what he would say if he had met my children, his grandchildren. Yes, I miss him and wish I had spent my time wisely instead of foolishly. But, Regret, I feel that way everyday. Not just today."

Regret swirled his coffee and got these Sad eyes and eased my pain, as he often does.."Look, it's ok. Everything happens for a reason, son. You did what you thought was Right at the time. Beleive me, as I've stepped into the Other World, he knows that. He understand that. He lived that way once before. He'll tell you those stories some day After. And if there is an After, which there is, then don't you think he knows this and Forgives this as just being the nature of our lives? We live, we make mistakes, we learn, and we go on doing what we think is Right. You're too hard on yourself, son. He would never be this hard on you, knowing how you feel. In fact, I'm pretty sure that he'd be proud. Knowing that you live your life with the understanding of his passing would bring him Honor."

We sat quietly for a few moments. We drank our coffee.

"Thank you" I offered. "As always, you bring me Understanding."

We rose and the old man gave me a hug right there in the middle of the eMotion cafe. He thanked me for the cup of java, and told me he'd see me soon, and he left as quietly as he had arrived.

I popped open my laptop, took a deep breath, and started typing: "Sunday morning in the eMotion cafe...."

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Desiderata - Max Ehrmann

About 20 years ago, I ran across this. I've tried to make it part of my daily life, since. Sometimes, I find Life is secretly focusing on a line or two here and there. If I recognize it, Life generally starts throwing me something new. Most people have something.. some Value Statement they hold dearly. In the darkest moments of my life, these words have given me hope:


Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

| Max Ehrmann | Desiderata | Copyright 1952 |

Tuesday, February 08, 2005


I awoke deaf
From the roar of
Seeing only
Darkness move
Behind the window blinds
Quietly hiding
From the light outside
With only Her
And the blankets
That hide the nothing
Between us
We lie
She rests
My mistress
Sleeping now
In my Queen sized bed
With only a King
This time we share
Is no fairy tale seen
When the day begins
And this affair inevitably ends
When we awake
From this dream
To Another.

| Edmund Vazquez | 1st draft - 10.03.2004 | © 2004-2005 |

Monday, February 07, 2005


Ok, so Giving stops by my little table today. She sits down, exhausted, picks up my IS2PWM (iced, soy, 2 pump white mocha) hands it to me, looks me in the eyes and says, "I've been looking for you! I have something for you!"

She smiles and says that there is a Message she wants me to pass to Others. She said "No charge, no late fees, keep it as long as you want."

"How Blockbuster," I thought. But, she's always thinking of Others. I guess that's why I always look forward to seeing her. I guess that's a Reason for a lot of Things.

So, Giving has these kind eyes that warm your soul. When she looks at you, you know Something Good is coming. But, today, her look was different - she had this "It's Important" look - and when she gets that look in her eyes, I know I'm supposed to get my laptop into Word mode and start typing, again.

So, while I'm killing all the IMs (Instant Messages), the Barista Guy comes over and hands her a White Chocolate Raspberry Scone (Does she even eat?), a glass of Ice Water, and a Skinny White Mocha. "Nectar of the Gods" she whispers. For some reason, Barista Guy wouldn't take her money... Don't know what that's about, though. But, he seemed Very Happy not taking her money and that's not like Barista Guy Who Carries His Tip Jar With Him.

"Thank You, Dear," Giving offers Barista Guy, with a wink. Dang, she's got a Way with People.. Infectious.

Anyways, she sips the Nectar of the Gods, looks around, and in a really quite voice says, "Ok, the Holidays are gone. Another Season of Giving come and gone and, still, people just arent' getting it. "

"Huh?" She totally lost me.

"It's like this: It's all my fault. Year after year after year I look forward to the Season, I go to the Malls, I sacrifice my Saving For a Rainy Day Fund (she loves to shop with Willingly and Joyfully). I call up Excited and we go to all the Holiday Get Togethers."

Then, Giving gets this kinda Sad look on her face and continues, "So, on the Big Day of Giving, I sit and watch Disappointment run through the room, hugging all those People Getting Gifts. He gets them to do all these things, like making that 'Fake Like You Like It' look and then telling them to 'Say Something Vaguely Appreciative' when they open up their presents and see things like Boxer Shorts and Neck Ties and Cook Books"

Giving continued, "Year after Year I think, 'This is a fluke' and 'I'll help them do better next year' cause I'll Work Out Extra and Eat Healthy and then, I'll have more energy to offer up when helping others with the Giving of Gifts exercises. But, yesterday, it hit me."

"I've had this whole thing wrong for so long," She sighed. "This isn't a 'One Time' failure. All Year, on almost every occasion, this happens with someone. But, I don't notice it as much unless it happens on the Big Day of Giving right in front of me."

So, I'm not sure where she's taking this. So, I'm like "Giving, where you taking this?"

She offers up that smile and says, "You see, People can go to Band Camp and learn to play the tuba. People can go to Soccer Camp and learn how to do a bicycle kick. People can go to Boy Scout camp and learn to ... ok, so you get the picture. The Big Picture. You see, I haven't done a good job of sharing the only thing I'm really good at... Giving. "

"Not a worry in the world, dear", I tell her. You talk. I'll type. My time is your time. Because that's what We Friends do for each other at Times Like This.

So, Giving starts like this, "You know, when I think about The Right Way to give, it's so hard. Because really, there's no wrong way. There's just different ways, but some are right for some people and wrong for others. But, don't type any of that, cause I'm just thinking out loud"

"LOL" I type accidently.

"Ok, I think I got it," Giving continued "So, I want to make sure I provide the Basics.. the 5 Essentials to Giving. Now, make sure when you type this, that you type it in a way where people know that Giving Anything is usually better than Giving Nothing. Also, make sure they know that Giving Time and Attention Cost Nothing and that... ok, we'll figure out how to communicate that other stuff later, k?"

Dang, did it again - typed "LOL".

Then, Giving got kinda serious, "Ok, basically, there's 5 Energies that go into Giving," she says. "Legendary Gift Givers always do all 5 things.. and their Gifts have the most Energy."

Even, I know that Disappointment HATES Good Intentions and Energy when they show up together with Giving at the same place. But, that's Another Story for Another Time.

Giving continued, "If most people had Good Intentions and Good Energy, they'd do these things naturally - one of those quirky Laws of Nature that we don't like to think about. But these 5 Essential Things are so way easy they can become a Habit.. a Giving Habit..

First thing: Attend to People. When you're with someone, give them your Attention. Also, pay attention to what they give Attention to. In between every word they say and every glance they cast, they're giving Attention to something. Take note of what People naturally give their Attention to because that enables you to do the Second Thing: Realize a Gift Opportunity. You see, at some point, when you're giving Attention to someone else, you'll notice Someone wanting or needing something in particular. Lots of times, people drop hints about things they need, but would never give get for themself. It's sweet how many people secretly want things, but would never think it was important enough to get it for themself because they think it's more important to use that money or energy to get something to give to someone else."

"That's definately One of Those Little Things that Gives Me Hope," she commented.

Then, she continued with more focus, "So, when you realize that there's something someone wants or needs, you're able to do the Third Thing: Remember the Gift Opportunity. Jot it down, call yourself and leave a voicemail, send a text message, or tell someone else even - if you have to - because there's no rules to 'how' you remember. Either way, you see, it takes energy to not only Attend and Realize, but to not forget. Because if you forget, all that energy is lost. But, if you remember, then you can go out and do the Fourth Thing: Acquiring the Gift. This is generally The Fun Part and you know how people tend to skip straight to The Fun Part. You see, Disappointment loves it when you skip straight here, cause that means you aren't going to the party and giving with Good Intentions and Energy. And actually, it's totally bad energy to just acquire something and give it, cause you're just passing on material things and not Giving of Your Self - or Giving of Your Time and Your Attention. But, if you do all 5, then when you do the Fifth Thing: Delivering the Gift, you'll never, ever ever see Disappointment at that time. Just don't forget that how you deliver it can make it extra special. Lots of folks miss this part. They just grab the Target bag out of the closet and tie it and consider it wrapped. Ugh. Those are the biggest disasters.. when people just don't finish strong." Then, Giving, kinda giggled. "So many funny stories to tell, you know?"

"Oh my Gosh," Giving suddenly bursts out. "Holy Moly, I've so got to go. So many things to do and so little time to work with". She's kinda cute when she gets all flustered.

"So" Giving says, "you think you can type all that out and put that somewhere? You know I'm not one to ask for anything, but I really would like for people to get this and you're the best person for it cause you know how to use that Spider Web thingy and you have my email addy so you can just send me the linky dinky, cool? Of course, I have Something Special for you when you're done, cause I don't expect you to work for Free"

"Don't be silly" I said. She knows better. It's just the way some people work, I guess. But she always offers.

And off she went.

Giving, like she always does, always leaves me with such energy. There must be something to that. Cause my IS2PWM is empty and I'm not craving another. Hmm. That's weird. Food for Thought, I guess. No time, though, have to get this out for Giving, cause I know she'll appreciate it.