Monday, February 28, 2005
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
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 |
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.
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 him...how 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 |
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
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
Header: "Hey MyRealName"
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:
AOL / AIM Name:
I just need to cross-reference this information to know who I'm talking to. Thanks, in advance.
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
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, 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.
Making my way to Espn.com 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
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.
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.
Strive to be happy.
| Max Ehrmann | Desiderata | Copyright 1952 |
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
From the roar of
Behind the window blinds
From the light outside
With only Her
And the blankets
That hide the nothing
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
| Edmund Vazquez | 1st draft - 10.03.2004 | © 2004-2005 |
Monday, February 07, 2005
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.
Sunday, February 06, 2005
I found this little quiz thing on another Blog and thought I should take it. It was either that or watching The Ultimate Most Fantastic Superest Bowl Game Ever That Happens Every Year.
I also took the liberty of adding a few questions and linking out where It Made Sense At The Time, as it seems you should Give if you Take. I'm not sure if there's an etiquette involved with finding and sharing quizzes. I'm sure there's a Smart person out there that can let me know. I bookmarked the site, so I could reference it later if needed.
If I were a month, I would be: October
If I were a day of the week, I would be: Friday
If I were a time of day, I would be: 11:11pm
If I were a planet, I would be: Earth
If I were a sea animal, I would be: AquaMan
If I were a direction, I would be: North
If I were a piece of furniture, I would be: a Stickley
If I were a sin, I would be: Gluttony
If I were a liquid, I would be: a Raindrop
If I were a body of water, I would be: a Lake
If I were a stone, I would be: a Rolling Stone
If I were a tree, I would be: a Sugar Maple or Saucer Magnolia
If I were a bird, I would be: a Loon
If I were a flower/plant, I would be: a Lotus Flower
If I were a kind of weather, I would be: a Thunderstorm
If I were a musical instrument, I would be: Anything You'd Put to Your Lips
If I were an animal, I would be: a Bear
If I were a color, I would be: Sky Blue
If I were an emotion, I would be: Deja Vu
If I were a vegetable, I would be: a Cucumber
If I were a sound, I would be: Silence
If I were an element, I would be: Water
If I were a car, I would be: a Volvo XC90
If I were a song, I would be: Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley
If I were a movie, I would be directed by: Quentin Tarantino
If I were a book, I would be written by: Richard Bach
If I were a food, I would be: Pesto
If I were a place, I would be: a Cabin in the BWCA
If I were a material, I would be: Suede or Velvet
If I were a taste, I would be: Honey
If I were a scent, I would be: Autumn Leaves Burning
If I were a word, I would be: Inconceivable
If I were an object, I would be: a Pillow
If I were a body part, I would be: The Neck
If I were a facial expression, I would be: a Smile
If I were a subject in school, I would be: Lunch Break
If I were a dog, I would be: a Husky
If I were a cat, I would be: I don't do the Cat thing.
If I were a number, I would be: Pi
Saturday, February 05, 2005
Now, I see her come in Now & Then. She has many faces. C.S Lewis knew her when she looked differently, ages ago. Timeless and Everywhere. Sometimes, she's a brunette. Sometimes, she's a redhead. But, there's always something beneath the mask she wears.. something that shines through and it's unmistakeably her.
You see, it's more than what we see. It's something inside. It's the way she smiles when she talks to you. It's the way she looks right into your soul and reveals her innermost weakness, trusting that it's safe with you. It's the way that when she talks to you, you feel like you're the only person in the world at that very moment and everything else falls quietly away as you're drawn into the skies above, in her eyes.
She's not Perfect by any means. I've seen her, they look alike and are often confused, but Perfect is another story, entirely. Anyways, Beauty will tell you of the mistakes she's made. She'll tell you of the dreams she awoke to this morning, forgetting and remembering. She'll tell you her Regrets - of the Sad Things and Happy Things without ever blaming or being blamed. She's Lost and Found at the same time and wouldn't know it because she never thinks of Such Things. Most of all, she owns her life and all that it has brought her.
Today, she stopped near me and whispered: "Eleanor Roosevelt once told me that 'The giving of love is an education in itself.' " I smiled and remembered our conversation on the Importance of Giving Willingly and Joyfully and offered back: "Eleanor once told me that 'It's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.' " She understood and No More needed to be said. We would surely continue our conversation at another time. She had places to be and Beauty just doesn't do well when she feels tied down.
Now, we all looked up from our laptops and books and conversations of Such Things and noticed her today. But so many times, the entrance isn't so grand. Most of the time I've seen her here, she's tucked in some corner with Faith and Innocence, smiling and nodding at the stories they've told and offering understanding in the quiet pauses where Things Seem Lost. She knows us all, it seems, in her own way. After spending time with her, she's part of me. Just the thought of her brings me a Smile.
Anyways, just wanted to share that Beauty is out there. Sometimes I forget. I'm going to try and remember each day to look around and find her and say hello. I'm going to make time to get to know her more. I'm going to be patient when she's with another. Today is the day that I make that commitment to see Beauty everywhere - and let her see me.
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Its a Mad World where so many things get Lost.