Fifty Things I’ve Learned In My First Fifty Years – #49

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As I mentioned in the first installment, these are in no particular order.  Some of these are hings I have learned about myself and some are kernels of wisdom that I wish to share.

I have learned that I am selfish and self centred. Oft times, to the extreme. Okay, not in the extreme any longer. There was a time, however when I felt the universe revolved around me, waited with anticipation on what I had to say and once said, took Greed Road Sign - 7 Deadly Sins Seriesit as gospel. Why wouldn’t it. I was, after all, me. I wanted what I wanted and other people that had the misfortune to get in my way were cajoled, pushed or forced to acquiesce to my demands. Never once did I think that my demands were unreasonable. It was, after, me. The very fact that it was me should be enough for you to understand.

Ruined friendships, marriages, families….

Excuse me a moment, I’m getting a text.

My lovely muse says it would have been nice to have someone with her while she shopped.

I agreed

She laughed

I told her the topic of the blog I am writing.

She, gets me. I’m blessed.

ratWhere was I? Oh right, all the ruined things. Sure, my selfishness meruined many things. Me…me me me…meeeeee. I wanted more of everything. My motto during those years was; Looks like more, feels like more, tastes like more and sounds like more. More!

What happened you ask? I have to say a profound spiritual experience. I found god. Egads man. Not THAT God. I found a power greater than myself. There is a God, and I’m not it. As I was saying, not THAT god. My God is mine and mine alone. I don’t push it on people and I’m still just selfish enough that I don’t want to share my god either. Get your own, there are plenty around.

Suffice it to say that I ‘m still selfish enough that I won’t be running around bombing shit in the name of my thus far nebular, undefinable God. Plus, I’m allergic to pain and dying and shit like that.

I’m still selfish but I am striving for humility. A work in progress, you might say.

A Clean Slate

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Not what you might think from the title. This seems like an assignment in self study. This particular post is about a room. This room, the room I am sitting in at this very moment. It was suggest that for January 13, I look at this room as if I am seeing it for the very first time.

From the room comes the psychedelic sounds of the classic album; ‘Wish You Were Here’ by Pink Floyd.

A set of french doors open and two steps down onto the carpeted floor bring me into a room with into a room approximately 15′x15′ with multi coloured walls of gold and burgundy. Four wall scones in each corner light the room with that fake fluorescent lighting given off by energy saving bulbs, too cool a light, I think to myself, too cool a light. There are two average windows facing south, one large picture window facing east and a large sliding glass door leading to the deck outside.

Standing just inside the doors, I see directly in front of me, next to the picture window, a paint coloured table with a large monitor, an Intuos tablet, a computer and the keyboard. On top of that computer are headphones, a video camera, and oddly out of place sits a harmonica. To the right of the table is an old leather lounge chair with it’s matching ottoman. A tear in the arm and nicks and scratches on the lacquered surfaces of the feet say, “I am a comfy and well used chair, do come and rest your weary bones, sit back and listen to the music while your mind wanders.” Next to the chair is a small round table with a laptop, an ashtray that needs emptying and an open pack of Lucky Strikes.

On the floor, propped up against the walls are canvasses and birch panels of all sizes. Finished and unfinished works of art gathering dust. Amongst the collection of art works also leaning against the wall is an easel. An easel, judging by the coating of dust on it, that seems not to have been used in some time. Next to that easel sits a tripod and a photographic studio light barn doors closed, waiting patiently to light the next model.

As I walk into the room I have to step over the sleeping Black Lab who goes by the name Santana. He stretches and opens red rimmed eyes to watch me warily. He doesn’t seem to take kindly to being disturbed from his stick chasing dreams. Quite frankly, \i don’t believe he likes being disturbed at all, dreams or not.

Turning more to the right and looking back I see a closed tall white cabinet. Atop the cabinet is a clear plastic bin containing paints and on top of that is a plastic palette and sitting atop that are two straw cowboy type hats, you know, the type that are worn by old hippies, sides curled up and the front bent way down to cover the eyes. As I turn to complete the 180 degrees, I see another tripod and another easel propped in the corner more plastic bins containing art supplies stuck in wire shelves. The bottom shelf contains books and magazines. The books range from ‘The Grateful Dead Family Album’ to ‘The Rolling Stones in Photos’ to ‘Blues Harmonica For Beginners’ to ‘Techniques For Pencil Sketching’ and then ‘Digital Camera’ magazine. On that floor are two unused canvasses awaiting the next masterpiece.

Continuing the 360 survey of the room shows me several small shelves containing knick knacks; a bottle filled with beads, a clay tile of Jerry Garcia, a small canvas of what can only be the owner of the space and his lovely muse and several candles. Just below that, on the floor, is what appears to be a basket filled with chew toys, a bucket of water and a dog dish.

With one final pirouette I turn and see, in the corner on the left side of the table is a file cabinet with a beat up old satchel type briefcase and several more canvasses tucked between the cabinet and the wall.

This rooms occupant can only be described as someone with a flair for the creative, both contemporary and traditional. Someone with eclectic tastes but definitely leaning toward the more down to earth hippyish psychedelic style. A man that may, it seems has many projects on the go at one time. One of those types that starts many and finishes few.

I can’t help but be drawn to that chair, I sit, put my feet up and lean back slightly just as the first notes of the classic song ‘Wish You Were Here’ lull me into a comfortable mindset.

My Life As A Book

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The question from the daily prompt booklet that I printed asked me; If my life were a book would I read it and if I did, It would have to be read from cover to cover.

An interesting question to which I would have to answer with a resounding NO!

book

Perhaps twenty five or thirty years ago I might have been tempted to read and perhaps edit the book, I have even tried forcing certain chapters to be the way I want them to be, with very little success. We, the collection of rabble I choose to call my brothers and sisters (I use the term rabble in the most endearing way) have a saying; If one wishes to make God/The Universe laugh, tell him/her/it your plans. We may always plan the event but we can never plan the outcome. I have learned, through many painful “growth spurts” to accept this as if it were one of the laws of physics. Having accepted this fact, I no longer worry and am free to enjoy the ride.

Let me tell you something about imagination, planning and the future.  I planned my future and it didn’t even come close to how I thought it might be. In fact, it has surpassed even my vivid and overactive imagination. I am an artist, I, therefore, have a pretty active imagination.

My “book” is already half read.

It would only serve, if I were to read the book, to draw me away from the present moment. Why on earth would I do that? Why would I give up being present to worry about something in the future? The very thought of knowing what the future holds, makes me just a bit queasy.

Whatever the future holds, it will hold and I am sure that the ending will be as happy as the beginning, the middle and the right now.not-the-end3

 

 

What’s The Fear?

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I printed it! Yes, I did. I printed the WordPress 365 Prompts. Will I use them all? Probably not. Will I use one today? Maybe.

If I were to use on today it would mean I have to face a fear. Who on earth likes to do that? Why would I write about being locked in a room with my worst fear? Why would I write about the fear that things would, at first go blurry for me, eventually cloud over, go grey and finally the awful black that I can only imagine.

Blindness is perhaps my greatest fear.blind-photogs-mexico-splash

I am a tactile person, however, it is the visual that draws me closer to the sense of touch. Without the initial visual, how would I know? Where would I go? What then, would I sense to draw me to the information I seek?

The other part of that fear is; How would I create? How would I use my camera? Would those ideas and images be stuck in my mind forever? Losing my sight would mean that would allow me to internally visualize the ideas and have them forever looping through my head.

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Image courtesy Hypebeast

THAT is a fear almost as bad as losing my sight. That fear of being unable to articulate my creative visions is equal to the fear of going blind. I remember a time when I was trying my hardest to recover from/deal with addiction and my counselor thought I might be suffering from depression. Medication, she said, could help me with that. Medication indeed! Hadn’t she seen “A Brilliant Mind”? Would she have me become a listless zombie incapable of a creative thought? I think not. But then, she was right. I do suffer from that particular malady and I do take medication for it but I still create. She assured me I need not create from a place of darkness or chaos any longer. I love that woman.

There you have it, I did use the WordPress Prompt and I have written about, not one, but two of my worst fears. They walk hand in hand.

Visual as well as internal blindness are my greatest fears.

The Rings

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It has come to my attention that, in my last post, Married On Isla Mujeres, I had neglected to tell the story of the rings. Many people who read that post said I left out one of the most romantic parts.

Apologies to my lovely muse for that.

The rings, you see, are a reflection of our tattoos. Yes, we have relationship tattoos. They are, as you can see in the accompanying photos; two astrological symbols intertwining and embracing the yin and yan symbol. On Kat’s shoulder, she comes first and on my shoulder, I come first. This signifies that each of us needs to take care of self first so that we have enough to give to the other and the yin and yan symbolizes the opposites we are to each other and our willingness to embrace and accept those parts of each other.

Some may question the wisdom of shared tattoos. That’s your prerogative. When Kat and I first discussed the idea we decided no names but something to symbolize the relationship and should we part ways, we would both have something good to take away. As adults, we realize that it serves no useful purpose to harbour resentment or ill will.

The rings are made with the tattoos but instead of our own symbols first, she had asked Darrel Hubbell of Darrel Hubbell Goldsmith to have her tattoo on my ring and mine on hers. He called it “Reflection of You.” Thank you Darrell, you did a fabulous job!

 

Married on Isla Mujeres

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Picture this;

A cold Saturday morning just before Christmas and all across the country, hell, continent, weather is wreaking havoc on travel. Not here we say to ourselves. No way, we are prepared, we are a northern community well versed in the trials and tribulations associated with winter air travel. That may be so, but many other places are not, and the flight we needed to catch on that early Saturday morning originated from one such locale. An email was sent to us saying the flight is cancelled and we are going to be on different flight. This news brought Kathy to tears, I mean heart wrenching tears. A flood of tears. The dogs were kenneled the house was all set to be looked after, business arrangements made and time off work taken. Still, the situation, in my mind, didn’t seem to warrant the flow of tears that streamed from my muses eyes. Or, perhaps it did. Perhaps there was something I was missing. Something big. Something I would never imagined. Something so well planned I never caught on. I was oblivious.

In fact, I almost missed my own wedding and I didn’t even know it.

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That’s right, I didn’t even know it.

How, you may be asking yourself does one go about nearly missing one’s own wedding without knowing it?

It goes like this; It started as a simple winter holiday, a Christmas in Isla Mujeres. A quiet, unassuming holiday. Or so I thought. Kathy had begun planning something in October. Planning a wedding, our wedding. Kathy got the rings made, she bought a dress, ordered my shirt and pants, contacted the wedding planner, contacted the hairdresser and the photographer, hired a guitarist, ran errands regarding said wedding and paid for it all without my knowing it. That is correct, without me having even the smallest inkling of what was going to take place.

As I said, I was oblivious.

I didn’t know she had it all the pertinent regalia packed in her suitcase. I didn’t know until the day we arrived (December 23).

This is how I found out;

I was happy to be on Isla Mujeres so I was heading straight to the Caribbean Sea for a dip. Oh how glorious to float about the salty water, wander back through the pool area and into the hotel. Barefoot and happy.

Kathy had caught me in the elevator as I was returning to the room and told me she had a surprise. Of course, being a red blooded male, my mind went straight to some sort of extra curricular activity that shall remain unspoken.

It was not, it was far more fantastic. There, spread all over the bed was sand, and written in small pebbles were those immortal words, “Will you marry me?”

“Of course!” I said. “Of course!”. “Good, because being 98% sure you’d say yes, I have it planned for Christmas day!” Kathy replied.

And that, my friends, is how I almost missed my own wedding without knowing it. One more delayed flight would have sent me over the edge and I would have grabbed the luggage gotten in the truck and went home. As it was, we were delayed twice from home, put on a different connecting flight from Vancouver to Toronto where the ice storm was just ending, landing with 5 minutes to catch the flight to Cancun. Luckily we got off one plane walked to the next gate and were the last to board the plane that took me and, unbeknownst to me at the time, my lovely bride to our destination, which is by no means final.

We have many roads to travel and many destinations to make.

Together

Heavier Than Air Machines

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We were not meant to fly. We, as humans, were not built to take to the skies and enjoy circling on an updraft, diving for a meal or skimming along the water at breakneck speeds.

Why do I state the obvious?

Because, today, Mother Nature reminded me of my aerial inadequacies. Mother Nature decided that I would not, in my man made shiny metal monstrosity, take wing. I was grounded. I am still grounded and will remain so until I get to the airport in around 30 hours from now. Mother Nature decided that she would make my muse cry. THAT, I can not abide. I am, however, powerless over Mother Nature. At least today.

airport-snowed-in-indiana-dec-2010Kathy and I were to fly to Cancun this day. We were to begin our long awaited holiday to Isla Mujeres, a small island off the Yucatan peninsula. Our first Christmas holiday. We will still go, just not today.

1125-deicing-plane-630z420You see, as I stated, we were not meant to fly. A storm that swept across this great land has caused travel chaos. SO much so that days after it had passed through here, we still felt the repercussions.  Our flight was delayed, meaning the next flight would not be made, meaning that the only option was YXS to YVR to YYZ and then on to CUN. Not only leaving a day and a half late but adding almost 6 hours flight time and lay over time to the entire deal.

 

I almost, ALMOST, wish I drank. I’m sure a bottle of Jack would help things along eh?

To add insult to injury, the hotel is not willing to reimburse us for the two evenings we are not there. I feel for the poor hotel manager when we get there. I’m sure Kathy will “discuss” some options. I’m just going to smile and look like I feel bad for him when I really don’t.

I am also hoping that someone will cover the cost of the two extra nights my Saydee and Santana had to stay in the kennel. It certainly would not be fair to them if I went and got them, only to bring them back a few days later. It’s not so much the money as it is the few days of unnecessary stress caused to my companions.

Look, I know some will say things like; “Dude it was the weather.”  “Aw, c,mon man get over it.” or “Don’t hate on someone because you didn’t get your way!”

Yes, right you are. These are circumstances beyond my control, I am still disappointed and would still like to see some compensation.

To those of you who say one of those things or something along that vein, Thank you and fuck off.

On the bright side. I get a dinner out and a movie with my lovely muse. Plus, if that heavier than air machine plummets 30,000 ft to the earth, I won’t be in it.

On Happiness

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I have been more introspective lately. Why? I don’t really know. Probably the time of the year. Seasons change and so do I or something like that. It seems, from time to time, that my psyche latches onto a concept and I let it whirl about in my melon until it exhausts itself. Does that constitute the title of Philosopher? It does if I say it does. You may now add philosopher to my many grandiose self imposed titles.

I have been musing on happiness and what I do to attain it or why I may not be feeling it.

I find myself wondering what makes me unhappy, why it does and what useful purpose it serves. Thus far, I can find no good reason to be unhappy. I can only find reasons to be joyful, to be grateful. I oft times forget this and my day may bring instances of anger and discontent. Actually, this may creep in the moment I stop thinking about the many things that bring me smiles.

Yes, smiles.

No, not the LOL Cat “isn’t that silly” smiles.

I mean the glow from the inside out, warm your soul kinda smiles. I am blessed to have those smiles quite often. I often ask myself; Why do I have these smiles? What have I done to deserve this happiness? Has Karma made a mistake? No, the universe does not make those mistakes and no, my creator does not give things to me and snatch them from my grasp as punishment for some small sin I may have committed. If that were the case, friends, I’d be fucked. According to many of the religious texts, I would be the antithesis to all that is pure and holy.

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courtesy of BrainyQuote.com

Fact is, I deserve to be happy. No matter what the circumstance, and I know this will sound all crazy, hippy, new age-ish, but I can find some small glimmer of sweetness in even the most bitter of situations. There are always opportunities to grow.

Always.

Another startling, to me, fact is that I have no solid reason to be unhappy. None. Why would I choose to be?

Photo A Day 365 Installment 3

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Ok friends, ready? Let’s play catch up.

I was away for a week, in Terrace BC. A beautiful place but eerie things were afoot. It happened one morning while I was there. There were….wait for it….noises, mysterious noises. Like a weird yowling. A Sasquatch mating call? An over exuberant elk? A train? You decide:

WTF indeed! My, being self absorbed and all, only concern was coffee. As my hotel was near the train tracks, I naturally assumed that cars were shunting or some other train type stuff. That appeared not to be the case. The noise was heard quite a ways away from the tracks. It was bittersweet to find out that it was not Jerry Garcia and Elvis arriving in the Mother ship.

I had to go to Terrace to work. The company sent me to cover some holidays to adjust a large format ink jet and train some staff on InDesign. Let’s call it a successful trip. Hotel bed and odd food aside.

I had a nice stay and got interesting Photo A Day shots, but I am happy to be home. The following gallery is from August 13th until August 30th

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Let me know what you think about the noise and the images.

Peace

 

Away From Home

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It is early. Way too early. I say that as an early riser. Even I find it way too early,  at least it was when I got up and decided to start writing this. Of course, coffee and certain morning rituals need addressing.

I am in Terrace British Columbia. I like Terrace, I just don’t like hotels and road food. Unless, of course , it is a hotel on a Greek island and the food is local and, and, well, you get the idea. Denny’s does not count as local, nor healthy, cuisine. In fact, I berate myself for eating there last night. It still tastes crappy, the service still sucks and the waitress still doesn’t grasp the concept of Cranberry and Soda water.

Cran and soda - it's not rocket science

Cran and soda – it’s not rocket science

her: would you like something to drink?

me: soda water and…..

her: (interrupting me) water..ok

me: no miss, let me finish. Soda water and cranberry juice

her: (insert some weird expression) mixed together?

me: (trying to maintain patience) yep

her: 50-50?

me: (smiling) yes, please

her: did you want the soda or the cranberry mixed in first?

me: (long pause…..because I must have had the, ‘WTF did you just ask me?’, look) you decide.

Oh woe is me.

*disclaimer: Let me start by saying this is not a slam against all Denny’s (just in case my friend Niki reads this). Slam? get it? Breakfast slam-Denny’s. Did you see what I just did there? I just snorted.

Peace

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