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Friday, September 30, 2005
The Circle of Life 
A beginning and an end are the bookends to every moment.

...........................

These last several days have personified the beginnings and ending of Life. Sure, I've been saying that for months, but with each day that approached my move to the new place, but with each new event came an old end. And not just in a figurative way.

A Happy Beginning
Say hello to Leilani, a 4 month old Silver Tabby, named "Heavenly Flower" because she is as sweet as one... with hazelnut eyes and a purr that's as deep as a heartbeat. She captured my heart when I saw her at the Cat Hotel just before my trip. I knew that if she was still there when I got back, she'd be coming home.

The biggest seller was that she got along so well with Teddy, who's been the King for the last 10 years. But he's so mellow, he greeted her with a sniff and a "hmmph, where's my food?"

She has her gentle ways, like Teddy, with the curiosity and rambunctiousness of a teenager. She's a welcome visitor on my path.

A Sad Ending
And at the same token, I said goodbye to Sonny just two days into the new place. He was older than Teddy, by a couple of years... and for a fish, that's amazing. He came as a Silver Nickel (not even big enough to be a Silver Dollar) and survived a heat wave that boiled his companions, he surfed through the Northridge Quake and outlasted his partner, Cher. Whereas Sonny was round, Cher was long and flowing. She was a Catfish that grew to nearly 10 inches and together they just looked like their namesakes. She also lived nearly 10 years, but eventually lost her battle with a nose infection that plastic surgery just wouldn't have helped.

And so Life goes on, reminding us about the preciousness of it all... how not to take for granted the old or the new moments... but rather move through them... and let them move you.

After all, Life is only a joyride, for those that enjoy the ride.


...........................

Sadly I can't find any digital pictures of Sonny or Cher... when I unpack my photos I'll look and come back to add them (if I can find them).


5:48 PM


Monday, September 26, 2005
The point... 
There comes a time and a place that helps propel us forward... it is called the Point of No Return.

................................

They say that Life is all about the little things... well I discovered that I own a lot of little things. Little things in little boxes... but not a little amount of little boxes... a lot of little boxes. Walls full. Hours and hours of up and down stairs full.

Somehow, over the ten years of my apartment I never seemed to get big stuff. I guess because it was just easier to carry the little stuff up the three story walkup. Even the big stuff I do own originally came in little boxes.

And I always thought I was someone to live large... hmmm, go figure.

The thing about moving lots of little boxes is that it never looks like you're actually making any progress. Up, down, up, down, hmmm, nothing.... up, down... I still don't see much difference.

Then you look back, with your truck full of little stuff and say, 'hey, it's all gone!' and it hits you... 'hey, it's really over.'

All these little boxes, like pieces to a puzzle, are going to be put together in another place. Will it look like the picture on the box? When it's all done, will I find a piece or two missing?

Yeah, it's over... and so is it beginning. Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.

It's very exciting... and a little bit frightening... and it's bigger than a bread box... even a whole truck load.


11:01 PM


Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Moving on, looking back... 
As you move forward, you decide what stays and what goes.

............................

As the day approaches for the move into my new home, the packing intensifies. So many memories to put into boxes; so much junk that should've been long gone long ago.

This must be the "later" I mentioned when I said I would deal with this stuff.

My apartment really isn't THAT small... it's just I've been living on half a landfill all this time.

Some things are easy to get rid of. If the name of it starts with "what-the-bleep-is-this?" the answer is usually "Trash" ... not Regift, not Ebay... Trash. Oh I know, next week someone will be selling something just like it on Cash in the Attic and end up with a new floor, but for now, I feel richer without it.

Then every once in a while, something gives you pause. Maybe it's a crumpled up Christmas card, or some tchotchke that pulls you out of the moment... and sends you flying back in time. Sometimes it makes you smile; sometimes it brings a tear to your eye... or maybe it's just the dust.

You learn a lot about yourself... what you choose to keep... and especially what you choose to let go. I started off with a plan to throw away one quarter of everything; donate another quarter; the third quarter goes in storage; and the rest will make a new home. Even though my numbers are a little bit off, the formula makes tossing and the giving a whole lot easier.

I've been here for a long time... a lot of "stuff" has gone on here over the years (hopefully repainting the walls will keep them from talking). But it's time to move on... I've had my fill.

It's time to put a lid on it and find out what adventures lie beyond the horizon (or at least, around the block).


11:42 PM


Thursday, September 15, 2005
Environmental Impact... 
Habits and Habitats form each other.

.........................

I just returned from my 'whirlwind' tour of the Northeast. Well, not exactly whirlwind, though every night was spent in a different state than the night before.

It was just so interesting to see different lifestyles within such a small period of time. They were each like little plays of how people and places seem to find each other... and affect one another in sometimes subtle, othertimes extreme, ways.

I was on a farm in Massachusetts. My cousin, who grew into the whole natural living lifestyle, gave up the urban cities to find herself, and her new husband. They don't live in such a small town that they can't go get a Dunkin Donut if they ever go off the wagon, but they lead a simple life. One that involves an awful lot more hard work than you can imagine. 'Simple' is by no means 'easy.'

I was in an old town in New Jersey. I spent a few days here and there with my parents, in a Revolutionary War Town in Northern NJ. So many wonderful colonial buildings, with a main street straight out of Oldtown, USA. It considers itself growing because Home Depot and Lowes have moved in. But it's still very sleepy and a lot of the kids look bored. It's a place to grow out of.

I was in downtown Philadelphia. One of my cousin's called it "Philthy" but she lives in New York, so I have no comment there. "Philly" is such an interesting mix... so much history dwarfed by glass buildings. It's struggling to be both worlds... and doesn't quite seem to have its image down. It felt like it was running two steps behind. It's not a trendsetting city, like New York, London or Paris and the people there don't seem to mind it all that much. I saw a few people who were trying to be 'something', but they didn't seem like they were trying all that hard. They were almost there, just two steps back.

Then I was in the Big Apple... that City that's determined to be normal, yet fights every day to be unique. It's as if everyone is obligated to be somebody special. So many people come here to make it, others stay just to prove they can't be broken. It's growing even more because it got kicked started after being kicked down four years ago. It's in-your-face, and I saw it on ever face I saw.

And now I'm back in Los Angeles... a dangerous city on its way into the ocean (according to all those other city-ites who won't come here). For me, it's home. Shakey ground and sunny skies come with the package.

But its interesting to take a look at the city with the same curious eyes I had this past week. LA is also one of those gotta-be-somebody cities... just more in-your-new-face sort of way. I just read that they're breaking ground for a revitalization project downtown. Very glitzy and glamorous of course. They wouldn't dare call it a mall. It's just a new city within a city, because we don't have time to organically grow our cities anymore. We can't just plant down a Starbucks and wait for the Gap to notice. We have to be pre-fabulous right from the opening bell.

It's alright. I have the choice of living somewhere else if I don't like it. Every square inch of this planet has its pluses and minuses. For some, they have to go in search of real gold; for others, just the glitter is enough.

The trick is in finding the best fit.


11:41 PM


Sunday, September 11, 2005
Footnotes... 
The moments of our lives have many footnotes.

.....................

As I sat in the warm sun, near the giant oak tree that my cousin was to be married under, I looked around at all the family, and friends of family, and their friends. I saw so many stories just underneath the surface.

A lot of these people have a long history together. They have a history long before their history together. Their parents (and in some cases grandparents) knew each other as children. Some of these people hadn't spoken in years, and yet everyone knew each other's business. It was the things that weren't said, that said the most.

And the people who weren't there... well, said more than the most of them combined. Oh, sure, there were excuses, but it was the REASONS that no one really wanted to talk about. I'd listen to the stories again and again... and smile with sympathy and understanding... and I'd know... like they'd know... and no one needed to say any more... besides how good the bagels were and how the coffee never did quite perk hot enough.

And I came there with my own footnotes. People hinted and talked with a familiarity that I did not create. They talked around a subject, perhaps afraid to breach... perhaps prying for more fodder to go back and tell the ones closer to them than I was.

We seem to like to talk ABOUT each other more than we like to talk TO each other. The questions weren't that deep... nor the answers very complete. I tried to break that wall... if only a little. "How are you doing?" wasn't about "fine, the cream cheese is delicious"... it was about everything that question entails. Seriously, how are YOU... you, there, with hopes and dreams, and disappointments, and footnotes... and HOW are you? Just what are you doing with those footnotes of yours? Are you fulfilling them... creating more? I really wanted to know.

The cream cheese was delicious... too bad the coffee was cold.


9:33 PM


Thursday, September 08, 2005
Going my way... 
Sometimes you have to take a different path in order to get back on track.

..........................

Well, folks, after tons of this-and-that, I'm off for a little bit of other-this and none-of-that.

My cousin is getting married on the East Coast... on a farm, out in the middle of nowhere; which is their little somewhere... so it's where I'm gonna be.

I'm turning it into a little roadtrip while I'm out there, to see the other stuff that the countryside has to offer. A week and a world away should do me just fine.

I won't be computerless, and will drop in from time-to-time... but if a Guru types in a forest and no one can read him, does he really make any notes?

We'll find out.


6:01 AM


Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Words of Wisdom for Hurricane Katrina 
Sometimes the only gifts we can give are our words...

...........................

Starting over isn't about endings, but new beginnings.

A clean canvas means we can paint any masterpiece we can dream.

Take pride in your survival, but don't become too proud to be helped.

A kite flies highest when the wind is strongest.

Take root where you are and you will grow.

You can blame or you can build... where do you want to be tomorrow?

You become Smart when you learn from your mistakes; Wise when you overcome them.

One breath... one moment... one caring heart... it makes a difference.

We are not as separate from Life, or each other, as we pretend to be.

It could be me tomorrow.

...........................

I'll add more as they come to me.

Care to add your own?


5:13 PM


Sunday, September 04, 2005
Be prepared... 
You can't always avoid bad things, but you can lessen their aftermath.

......................

Katrina is a reminder of how our lives can change in a blink of an eye; turning our world upside down. If you're safe right now (and I hope you are), this is a good time to take preventive steps to make sure you'll stay that way.

Have a safe home
Make sure you have enough water and canned food for at least three days, preferably a week or more. Have first aid supplies. Know your escape routes if possible. Learn more...

Don't forget your car
You may not be home when disaster strikes. Do you have water? Having some cans of nuts handy could save your life. Same with an emergency kit. Put together a car emergency kit now...

Have a communication plan
Family and friends get separated. It's a horrifying fact of emergencies. Everyone having cell phones is great, but as we've seen in Louisiana, power goes out, cell phone service is shut down. Although this may also not be possible, but make sure everyone has the number for a relative or friend who is far away (and hopefully out of danger themselves). If everyone can reach this person, then you have a liaison to at least know how everyone else is.

** If TV crews show up, briefly stand behind the reporter if you can... get yourself on camera... don't act like a doofus... just be there so you can be seen by outsiders **

Know survival techniques
There's a chance that you'll be on your own. Loved ones will be somewhere else, help will not be coming any time soon. Know what you need to stay alive. Lots of Links here...

Have Hope
One of the greatest tools you have is your own hope. If you have faith, now's a good time to renew it. But even if you're not a Believer is Higher Powers, it's still important to have Hope that you can survive. Believing that you will survive encourages you to do things necessary to stay alive. Losing Hope means losing it all... so never give up that light.


7:24 AM


Thursday, September 01, 2005
More than we know... 
We need each other, more than we know.

..................

A city on the edge... finally pushed over the edge by Nature's fury. I watch in desperate fascination at the images of destruction from Hurricane Katrina. My heart went out to those people when I first heard the news, and I've already sent in my donation, as well as my prayers.

I am amazed, and saddened by how an area of this so-called great country can turn into a seemingly lawless third world country overnight. It shows just how precarious we really are... and really not much different than our brethren on the other side of the world.

It's equally as amazing to see how the arm-chair commentators are so quick to blame the government and each other for this situation. I know that this disaster was forewarned, but do we ever really do anything until it's too late? And even if we did do something earlier, would that stop us from finding fault with each other?

And all this talk about racism as well. Is it there? I can hope not... but I can't be blinded by a naive desire for it to be gone.

What is the most shocking though are the snipers... people actually trying to hurt the people who are trying to help them. This I do not understand. It's certainly not about survival, or about picking up a TV out of a broken window... so what do they possibly have to gain from this destruction?

I recently wrote that it is the strength we display at our weakest moments that define our character. This storm has uncovered so much about us... as human beings, as a civilization, as individuals. Now is the perfect time to ask yourself two questions:

Who am I?

and

What am I going to do about it?


8:35 PM


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