Thursday, December 24

Merr E-Christmas

I dedicate tonight's gift idea to procrastinators. As much as I empathize, we are down to the wire. We haven’t the time to ship a summer sausage or mail a card. Stores will close in a few hours—if they haven’t already—eliminating the possibility of personally delivering a gift. But do not fear. We have the tools to keep the cloaked, fat man's horns under his Santa hat this year.

Until recently, sending identical greeting cards to the 20 or 30 individuals on our list was considered proper Christmas etiquette. The task was tedious. Fortunately, the “green” movement, greater procrastination, fewer days until Christmas, and the “digitize me” generation sabotaged tradition. The electronic greeting card became a worthy adversary. Like their paper ancestors, e-cards address all types of sentiments: Thank You, Miss You, Happy Anniversary or Birthday, Congratulations, Deepest Sympathy, Get Well, and, of course, Happy Holidays.

Having sent or received a lame e-card may require you to reboot your perspective. They’ve come a long way. The Web sites below offer e-cards that broaden the envelope set by the first stream.

Check out this pop-up card, complete with audio, on Smilebox. You can embed photos of the family, too.

Blue Mountain livens up their e-cards with animation. Choose from a variety of holiday sub-categories.

Looking for something more interactive? Grab a free computer game on Funmunch. Help Santa and his hung-over reindeer make up for lost time in Late Santa; or turn Santa into a Mario Brothers type character and battle frozen tundra in Xmas Grandpa.

Even though we are t-minus three hours 'til Christmas, the timeliness of an e-card, unlike its paper predecessor, is graded on "send" time—not arrival date.

Monday, December 21

Gifting Personal Certificates

Remember the IOU and its convenience during childhood? The vague “I owe ya!” was dragged around like a favorite toy, thus absent integrity by the time Christmas arrived. Issuing an IOU before debt incurred, however, created new meaning and fresh excuses. It became shorthand for "I thought of the perfect gift for you this morning only to find out that stores are closed on Christmas;" and "I don’t have the money now, but perhaps when you are ready to redeem this Caribbean vacation, I will." The world was ours—to give.

No one (my mother included) expected a tropical getaway from a 13-year-old. We've grown in our sophistication right along with those notes of intent. Be realistic. Share a talent or provide a service for those on your gift list. Let's say you're a skilled photographer; offer to take photos of someone’s family, their baby, their pet, garden or house. If computers are your gig, offer to install a new program, add a memory chip, or set up a home computer. Perhaps you like to cook or bake; give a voucher for a three-course meal or pies—one each month throughout the coming year. Gift a massage, a foot rub, babysitting, house-sitting, dog walking, a knit hat or scarf, a few driving lessons, write poem or letter, compile a music CD, create a photo album, or design a business card for the appropriate someone on your list. Be creative.

Take pride in your promises. In time, the reverberations of a verbal invitation will die. The tangibility of a certificate or voucher, on the other hand, will last. Besides, it gives the recipient something to open. Enclose it in a festive envelope with a card—or by itself. Then follow through. You may have to encourage them, periodically, to redeem your offer.

A traditional piece of torn construction paper will carry the message of your voucher; however, we talked about sophistication. If creating a gift certificate is not one of your talents, look to one of several Web sites that offer free templates. Here are three sites to get you started:

Christmas and Hanukkah themes
winter and holiday themes
any occasion

Download. Modify. Print. Gift! The best part is that your loved ones still have something to look forward to ... like the inevitable calm that comes when the relatives leave.

Saturday, December 19

Gifting Solitude ... Harder Than It Looks

Because I would like it for myself, the gift of solitude is one of my favorites. Deep down, when we are willing to admit it, isn’t it more fun to give the gifts we'd like to get? Take Aunt Jude and her holiday sweaters, for instance. You know the kind: an intoxicating sum of red weave splaying silhouettes of either holly or reindeer across the chest. She gives them because she digs them—she owns several herself—and knows which stores discount large quantities.

Solitude, on the other hand, rarely makes the gift list. The idea sounds absurd to anyone maintaining relations with more than two persons. We don’t sit around thinking: Wow! the holidays are here … who shall I leave alone. Nor do we expect to get any time to ourselves before, say, January 7th (that allots a week for cleanup and regrouping). But that's precisely what makes solitude so precious this time of year. Leaving a special someone alone might be the best gift they receive.

For quality assurance, I decided to test the gift of solitude on our cat. The task would have been easy were it a matter of ignoring the feline at my convenience—like usual. But I had to tweak my approach. You see, to truly “gift” solitude, you must remain sensitive to the receiver’s needs and—as soft as their fur may be—honor the times they’d rather have to themselves. If you pay attention, it's apparent when those around you need a break. Believe me, it saves innumerable scratch marks.

Too bad Aunt Jude doesn’t like solitude ... or cats.

**Go to Psychology Today to see the article of origin and its seven remaining suggestions.

Thursday, December 17

A Thank-you Goes a Long Way

To appear strong and unemotional, I blamed my active tear ducts on the cayenne wafting from the kitchen's stove top. In reality, I erupted in a paroxysm of gratitude and sadness while reading sentiments already sent to our troops overseas. I’ve wanted to send cards for quite some time but never have. The logistics always sabotaged my efforts: to what address do I send them, will they be there when (and if) the mail arrives, having cards on hand or remembering to buy some. Thanks to a program sponsored by Xerox, sending greetings to deployed military personnel has never been easier. It only takes a minute. And it’s free.

Log on to “Let’s Say Thanks” (or click the widget at the bottom of this page) to create your free postcard. Choose from dozens of designs featuring patriotic and hometown scenes drawn by children. Pair the picture with a pre-written thank-you message, or compose your own. Done! You can, however, send as many as you wish.

Xerox prints the postcards in batches to enclose in care packages arranged and shipped by their partner, Give2ToTheTroops. Though a postcard may not thoroughly express your appreciation for the men and women that protect our freedom, it is better than nothing. Just read what the troops have to say about it.

Thank YOU, Xerox, for eliminating excuses.

Tuesday, December 15

On the Tenth Day 'til Christmas ...

Today’s gifting experience turned into a test of determination. Baking is not my forte. And because it is not my forte, I lack the necessary equipment to mass produce anything other than scrambled eggs. But I can’t gift scrambled eggs; they don’t package well. Instead, I set out to make my first batch of Christmas cookies—ever. Like I said, I don’t bake.

I especially can't/don't make the intricate Norwegian cookies my maternal family raised me on. Besides, my target recipients might enjoy a cookie that makes them smile. I guarantee that once I decorate a simple sugar cookie with frosting and sprinkles—and maybe a few Red Hots for emphasis—the result will be laughable. And edible, I hope.

The undertaking might have remained inexpensive had my kitchen contained a few basic items like a rolling pin, cookie cutters, two cookie sheets, food coloring, sprinkles, and vanilla extract. Additional costs include the gasoline required for my sweetie to make three separate trips to the store for items I forgot. As it was, we took turns mixing the batter with an inadequate wooden spoon.

For a healthier treat, try this cranberry pistachio biscotti recipe. Using whole wheat instead of all-purpose flour lets you get away with accidentally overcooking them a bit. No one will ever know—by sight or taste. I can attest.

The sugar cookies will undergo makeovers tomorrow in preparation for delivery to several of our city’s homeless. The biscotti? Well, we'll see how many make it out the door.

Sunday, December 13

12 Days of Christmas ... Sort of

Sometime in my twenties, I stopped participating in the commercialized madness also known as Christmas. Removing oneself from the Hallmark conveyor belt may sound like an easy way out. But it is not. As is true with expired eggnog, the guilt associated with boycotting the system slowly deteriorates your endoskeleton. Holiday parties and their designated Santas destroy empty-handed contentment. You don’t even have to unwrap the shiny box they perched in your lap to know what it contains: one hundred invitations to scold yourself: “Your ass so cheap, a stiff wind would rub its image right off.”

I never wanted to be a Scrooge. But as my tactics began to fail, it just happened. Excluding myself from the gift exchange doesn't work when no one else honors it. Being a two-time recipient of a gift I've regifted makes me feel all the more inferior. So, instead of avoiding the season entirely, why not celebrate the true spirit of Christmas? Besides, the invaluable gifts don't cost a cent. Try giving without spending, they say. Give of yourself, your time, your expertise.

If you are feeling financially overwhelmed this year, I challenge you to join me in giving—or creating a gift to give later—without spending, every day until Christmas. We’ll call it the “12 days of Christmas” (technically, the twelve days don't begin until the 25th, but that seems a little late for our intent).

The only guidelines are to gift thoughtfully and spend frugally—if at all. The gift should be something you think the receiver would appreciate like a voucher for a massage, babysitting, dog walking, cooking a homemade dinner, cookies, volunteering, or writing a personal letter. You can get more ideas from pros on the Web. Cami Walker has made giving her business. She has some great ideas on her Web site .

As I partake in the 12 Days of Christmas, I will share some of the gift ideas I wrap up. Today, for example, I answered one Bow Wow trivia question in exchange for kibbles. You don’t even have to answer correctly. For every answer, gifts 10 kibbles to an animal shelter to help feed homeless dogs and cats. You can also send a Freekibble e-card to friends and family to help increase the kibble count.

Please share your own gift ideas and/or progress—should you choose to accept the challenge.

Tuesday, November 17

Takin' It One Stroke at a Time

Who would have guessed that such a forgetful, little blue fish would be so memorable? Anyone who's seen Pixar’s Finding Nemo, will likely remember Dora. I certainly do. Dora’s voice, rather Ellen DeGeneres’s, will frequently pop into my head singing “just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim.” Dora often visits when I'm struggling with something, like wrestling octopi or running.

I am not an endurance athlete and strongly believe that long distance runners are crazy. My theory was confirmed when I began qualifying six mile runs as “short.” For me, that’s just plain lunacy. Not so much the act of running those miles—anymore—but the fact that I consider them easily doable. On longer runs, however, my lunges, hamstrings, right ankle and left arch beg me to question my sanity. Just what the hell … do you think you are doing?

I will tell you the same thing I told each of my aching body parts. Repetitive foot strikes expose answers to existential questions that former methods of exertion hadn't. Perhaps hefting a 25 pound dumbbell overhead with a sweaty palm and trembling triceps limited my awareness to the physical danger at hand, so to speak. In contrast, a runner’s cadence has trance-like qualities provided one can dismiss muscle soreness, garb related irritants, and sometimes pain. When confidence wanes, Dora’s mantra motivates me: “Just keep swimming.”

Running distances greater than 10 miles is as much a mental game as a physical test. Perhaps the number ten’s association with "decade" implies the time it will take me to run it, or the years off my life in doing so. It could be ten’s relation to Jim Zorn, a former quarterback for the Seahawks of whom I had a crush and couldn’t wait to turn 10 so I’d match the number on his jersey. That, of course, was long ago and reminds me how much my body has depreciated. Perhaps the mental torment comes simply from the fact that every mile past 10 feels twice as long.

It was during one of these brutal runs that I realized the universal application of Dora’s philosophy. Yes, the road before us may rise rapidly but the intensity of the challenge will subside. The terrain will level, the gusting headwind will lessen, and our body’s ability to convert oxygen will return. This is true for almost anything. If we continue moving, things change and likely improve. It is stagnation that ruins us.

By kicking one foot out in front of the other, again and again, I have accomplished distances that, as a whole, would intimidate and prevent me from ever lacing up my shoes. I’ve learned to trick myself and divide scary tasks into segments like an orange. After all, we wouldn’t try to eat the orange whole. We’d peel it and break it into manageable sections. Why not apply the same concept elsewhere.

I am confident that I can run a mile, write a paragraph, talk to one client, or swim a lap. By surviving one challenge, I am encouraged to tackle more. Who knows … maybe someday all my forgettable triumphs will produce something memorable. If nothing else, I can look back and see how far I’ve swam.

Thanks Dora.

Wednesday, November 11

Test Your Awareness

I first saw this video in psychology class last spring. You might want to enable the volume on your device.

Perhaps we need to take greater care in choosing what we zero in on.
... Good thing we rid ourselves of those distracting splinters last month.

Wednesday, October 21

More Than a Flesh Wound

Remember getting that awful splinter when you were a kid? It hurt like hell but damn the devil who wanted to extract it. We’ve all had at least one unassuming shard slide beneath the skin—and puncture our soul, its intrusion barely obscured by the rice-paper like transparency of a few layers of skin. Wood derivative or metal, it didn’t matter. Nor did size correspond to pain potential. Some splinters were large enough to use as kindling; others could not be seen by the naked eye. The small ones, come to find out, were more detrimental than their larger counterparts, kind of like scorpions and rattlesnakes,

Unfortunately, getting a splinter was often the result of a good deed, like helping your parents spread bark or cut fire wood or hurriedly scaling the tree-house ladder to hide your friend’s wine coolers. So in a way, moral responsibility equaled punishment—not an encouraging correlation.

Details about size and source aside, intrusions demand attention. Our bodies will likely respond before we are aware. Increased adrenaline, inhibited digestion, increased heart and respiratory rates are just a few potential reactions. Because the autonomic nervous system operates largely beyond our awareness, these “splinters” interrupt our body’s homeostasis more than we know. The longer the corruption, the greater the damage. As kids, we don’t care about this. Instead, we believe—with every cell in our body—that removing a splinter will be far more traumatic than leaving it.

It’s not that our 6-year-old intellect does not want that “stupid thing” gone; we are afraid of what will accompany the removal. Will it hurt more than when it went in? Will it bleed—forever? Will the finger fall off? When air contacts the remaining poison, will it explode? Creative freedom gives license to such preposterous outcomes.

Instead of outgrowing unwarranted fears, however, they compound. The splinters mutate into concepts, belief systems, and notions. They become so imbedded they can no longer be seen—there is nothing for the tweezers to grab hold of. These gigantic monsters create more imbalance, pain, and fear than the worst childhood splinter. And yet, we don’t want them removed. We project the gravity of their absence. “What will happen to my identity? My financial security? How will this change affect my relationships?

We get accustomed to tolerating that which does not serve us. But if you leave a foreign object in long enough, it becomes part of you and therefore impossible to extract. In remembering that particularly painful splinter as a child, we can also recall a sense of relief once we—finally—rid ourselves of it. Experience has taught us that removing a splinter, no matter how gigantic, is never as scary as the scenarios our imagination creates.

I encourage you to grab hold a set of tweezers this week and extract something that no longer serves you. You won’t believe you waited this long.

Friday, September 4

Unable to Let Go No Matter What Color You Turn

Fall is my favorite time of year. Depending on where you find yourself this season, nature may provide undeniable displays of transformation. The vegetation found in the Pacific Northwest, for example, will soon become an attractive kaleidoscope of autumn colors. But beautiful horizons are not solely responsible for my excitement. For me, fall represents a chance to regroup, to transform. It provides an opportunity to shed the actions that no longer serve us. Just as an amber leaf of a deciduous tree finds freedom in the slightest breeze, we too can let go of expiring attachments.

Sadly, however, humans do not detach as effortlessly as plant life does. It certainly is not in my nature to shed things or concepts once useful. I grasp lifeless formulas in hopes of resuscitating the success they once bestowed. Misguided energy gnarls my trunk and my limbs bare only the midribs or skeletons of former leaves. I embody the spooky tree that frightened me as a kid.

As fire season winds down, the number of days on the ground steadily grows as does my disgust with my chosen profession. Though going home signifies unemployment, it offers a reprieve from the monotony. Unemployment presents an opportunity to commit myself to what excites me: writing.

Last winter I started a non-fiction book, took a few college classes, attended a writing conference, completed an internship with a regional magazine, and maintained a blog. When I wasn’t chasing the paycheck the year prior, I submitted articles and a story destined for a children’s picture book. My heart is here and yet it frightens me to let go of my laurels.

Think of the energy we expend in trying to retain something that wants to fall away. What if we, instead, directed that energy toward the next phase of life and let the fallen leaves decay and nourish our roots? Wouldn't we then thrive with more strength and beauty than before?

Friday, August 21

Ascending—and Descending—the Career Ladder

Just yesterday, I was complaining—as I often do—about the Chutes and Ladders like advancement in aviation, at least for pilots. By the time you climb to the top of one ladder, an unfortunate roll of the die or twist of fate funnels you down a chute so fast it tests the integrity of your pants. (Old Navy jeans will melt like a plastic plate on a gas grill.) After all the flight training and lingering student loans, a mere slip on a couple of ladder rungs—rather than transgressing to airplane washer—would be appreciated.

While enjoying a fixed state of pilot employment, however, the smell of melting denim brought to mind aviation's career slide. Other aromas bring about fonder memories, like my association with the smell of cotton candy and stepping in elephant poop. But that’s not my point. It seems aviation is not the only profession with dramatic career peaks and valleys. Even prior recognition or sucess, writing has them too.

For months I have wanted to spruce up the blog and turn it into a real Web site. You can imagine my delight, then, when I united my two-year-old dot-com address with a hosting site. Anybody who is anyone has a dot-com. Having to type blogspot in the address makes people wash the stain of amateur from their fingertips (so they tell me). Besides, you get a ton of cool features with WordPress like searchable tags, categorized articles, and social media links.

My excitement over the new Web site, however, ended shortly after uploading a WordPress template that—in finding and selecting—took years off my life. In trying to change something as simple as font, I slid down the steepest chute and into a burning inferno. And no, the combustion of my pants (damn Old Navy) did not spark the fire. It was burning, of immeasurable magnitude, before I got there, like the pit of despair or Hell.

WordPress provides a new dimension. Gone are the days of user-friendly Blogger templates, familiar ground, and acceptable presentation. There, I wield my computer illiteracy and close my eyes when trying to conquer code. Perhaps I should have taken my counselor's advice in high school and became a computer programmer after all. I bet techies only bump their chins on the ladder when their foot slips during ascent.

Monday, August 10

Pigeon Latin

I know. The span between posts is somewhat lengthy and not at all what I promised two and a half months ago. But my excuse is valid. It takes time to dispense retardant: to save grass, sagebrush, and pine from igniting in an advancing, wind driven inferno. Hey, somebody has to do it. Four days ago, however, Mother Nature took over—as she always does—and, after 24 hours of rain, saturated us with negativity.

Amidst our construction of a life raft, The Arc of 2010, a lone pigeon arrived like a diverted airliner.

I refer to it as a “he” only by assumption. It could be a female for all I know. The deal with pigeons is that the casual observer cannot decipher its sex—with or without picking it up. Yeah, so what, you say. Pigeons are just winged rats: feathered nuisances. But I—which is true for most pilots—have an exaggerated appreciation for birds, even pigeons. Regardless its sex (please appreciate, men, the teeth marks on my tongue from omitting men-and-directions jokes), this pigeon was horribly lost.


In the four seasons I have worked out of this airbase I have never seen a pigeon. Nor have I seen one wandering around the few blocks that constitute town. I might as well have witnessed a baby croc scampering across a relatively cool tarmac found here in the Pacific Northwest.

My concern for the pigeon heightened when he hobbled over grass tufts toward me. If I had fallen over, stiff like a tree, I would have squashed him. That's how close he came. The pigeon sat his plump body on the grass. His eyelids became heavy; blinks grew long. As I finished my cell phone conversation, the pigeon piped in with his own language. His call was barely audible but I could see the feathers along his throat ripple. What was he saying?

He wasn't scraggly like one imagines a displaced animal. His robustness demonstrated health, an ankle bracelet signified that he held someone's (private or agency) interest. And he was fairly tame. My friend, also a pilot, tried to catch him later that day. “He’ll let you get pretty close,” I said. Through that exercise we discovered, at least, that the pigeon could fly.

Day after day, I find him somewhere on the asphalt that makes up the ramp, a target for the disadvantages I have imposed upon him. He looks so lonely, out of place, lost, vulnerable. Despite my failed attempts to feed him whole-wheat bagel crumbs and Aquafina bottled water, he seems to be doing quite well.

The pigeon, I realized today, represents me. I am all too familiar with loneliness, vulnerability, and discomfort with my surroundings and in my own skin. Instead of trying to drown anxieties with bread crumbs, fluids, and obssesive exercise, perhaps the answers can be found in the simplicity of observing. Just be. The goddamn pigeon can do it.

The band The White Stripes have a song loosely based on a squirrel. In their and the pigeon's honor … “Be like the pigeon, girl. Be like the pigeon.”

Sunday, June 28


I recently watched the final episode of Prison Break. It is the only television show that has captured my interest for four years, not that that means anything when you can rent the DVDs and watch an entire season in a matter of days—without commercial interruptions. But convenience has its price. The show lost its edge after the first season when back-to-back viewing exposed plot redundancy—making me almost want a commercial break. It’s not their fault, the writers; they blew their load as soon as their butt cheeks hit the sheets, excited and eager to impress. I just wanted something else to look forward to, especially having knowledge of their potential. In the final hour, they resurrected the excitement of the first season when things were fresh, unpredictable, and thought provoking.

For a solid week, I thought about my four year relationship with Prison Break, and about the theme of the final hurrah: things are not as they seem.

If you’ve ever read the book Illusions by Richard Bach, or watched What the Bleep: Down the Rabbit Hole, or have any experience around or as a magician, you are familiar with this concept. Numerous circumstances in my own life have proven that things are not always as they seem. Situations rarely manifest the outcome I expected or sought. In the pursuit of one treasure, another unexpected gem turns up.

A two-week rafting trip in Alaska, for instance, serves as a significant example. I embarked on that particular trip to get chummy with Art Wolfe, a famous wildlife photographer. He offered me an internship that I dropped shortly after we returned to Seattle. The trip’s actual geode was a ride to the riverhead in a small twin engine aircraft, an experience that prompted my aviation career.

Even now, in the midst of acting out a profession that took years to acquire, I wonder if it really is the point. Perhaps the career merely ignited a system of placement, like a string of events that saves you from reaching the scene of an accident at the time of impact. Perhaps the real treasure has yet to be discovered. Just maybe, at age 36, this isn’t the end … but the beginning of something wonderfully fulfilling.

Please join the conversation in the comments section below by sharing a situation(s) in your life that has gifted unexpected treasure.

Sunday, June 21

This Aint My First Rodeo

“It’s the girls’ version of steer wrestling,” my friend offered after seeing the look on my face.

Having grown up a city girl in Seattle, I missed the whole—livestock—rodeo thing. Even as an adult my knowledge of saddles, steers, Wrangler jeans, and Texas bling, is pretty much nil. Within the past few years, however, thanks to a few country friends and the many Podunk towns my occupation has dropped me into, I have, at least, been to one.

“Poor little guy is no better than a sitting duck,” I pointed out during the goat tying event. Goat tying, if you don’t know, is basically baiting a rope with a goat. A kid is tethered to a stake in the middle of the arena with a rope no longer than 10 feet long. On top of that, the goat is held facing its opposition as horse and girl head full speed toward it. The handler releases the goat to let it squirm about before the rider jumps off her horse, runs to the goat, slams it on its back, ties all four legs together, throws her hands in the air to indicate that the clock can be stopped, and steps away. The goat must remain in this awkward, subservient position for six seconds. If it gets up … no points are awarded.

“Where’s the sport in that?” I asked, a question that would only receive a chuckle. But I honestly expected an answer. I know, each of us thought the other equally absurd: I with my sensitivity to animal welfare, and he with his right to slaughter cattle and hunt. Granted, goat tying is not a “match to the death” like bull fighting. They even swap out ducks, I mean goats, every third competitor. But perhaps the fresh meat satisfies sportsmanship more so than humanity. At least let the little guys make a run for it, for God’s sake.

It’s not as though I want to change the “sport.” Shoot (country explicative)! I don’t understand baseball either. But I sympathized with the goats, maybe because, a lot of the time, I feel hog tied too. By the time I wiggle out of one jam or knot, life has another headed straight for me. It’s just the way it is, a fact that emphasizes the importance of attitude and temperament. We can either lay down and assume defeat, or struggle to get back up again—repeatedly.

I want to be the goat that earns the name of “little bastard” and is the target of cowgirl vengeance. I want to get up despite the odds, piss off those opposed and inspire the disadvantaged ... in less than six seconds, of course.

Friday, June 5

Welcome to the Smorgasbord

In high school, I remember feeling anxious and abnormal for not knowing what I wanted to become. Ideas were plentiful; but that was precisely the problem. I wanted to be an attorney (oh, to be naive again), and a police officer, an astrophysicist, and a writer/photographer for National Geographic. I wanted to fly fighter jets and race cars and ... well, I'll spare you the thousand occupations that excited me.

One might think this handicap a temporary dilemma. But it was--and is--not. Sure, I pursued pilot certifications and followed my dream of flying airtankers, but that was an exception. The tanker goal came with complimentary blinders that I donned like a parade horse, and a carrot that I followed intently. Once I finally reached the carrot, famished, I found it bitter. (No doubt having spoiled due to the length of the journey.) Within the disappointment, however, exists a sweet motivation to taste other successes.

Writing is the one thing that allows exploration of eclectic interests, or so I thought. The more I plunge into this passion for the written word, the more people I find that discredit the notion. They say that a writer should have niche, that what they provide follow some sort of contrived theme, especially a blog. But I barely have the attention span to match my socks each morning. How can I focus an entire communication platform onto one subject?

Despite the advice of blogger professionals and Chocolate Dynamite's slim readership, I'd like to honor eclectics by exploring a variety of topics, relying on style to hold it all together. Think of it as a dinner party, where you are invited to move about and participate in conversations ranging from 41mm racing carburetors to killing house plants.

In the mean time, check out this race car powered by--like me--chocolate!

Wednesday, May 20

Gone so Long

Gasp! Spit. Hack ... Cough.

As I regain composure to resurrect the blog, I can't help but feel guilty about my--its--hiatus. I know, "nobody reads it anyway." I tell myself that too in a desperate attempt to rationalize my behavior. And I have rehearsed that very excuse since Christmas, when no one bucked up to deliver, at least, one gift idea. "It's because nobody reads it," I say, "not because they don't love you."

My absence was not a total waste, however. I buried my head in mounds of class credits, classes pertaining to writing mostly--how to, who's done it, and what works. I found it pretty, and somewhat mesmerizing ... no, wait ... that was the low fuel light during the Beech 18 scene in Madagascar 2. (One of my all-time favorite cartoon scenes!)

Not having cared for school during my teens, I find my obsession with current grade point humorous. I have to say, though, that education is beneficial, even if it's not exactly what you wanted to learn. For example, I didn't need to know that I caused permanent cell damage from my earlier days involving extracurricular activities. It does explain some things though. But I feel better having learned something this winter besides how many days it rained in Arkansas--during fire season.

There's more to come, my friends, and sooner than another six months.