Thursday, June 30, 2016

A New Tambourine

Hey there, Steve -

Per ________'s suggestion, I am looking to possibly buy a new tambourine.  I'm wondering if you have any fave ones that you could recommend.

I'm emailing you at the eleventh hour as, if I am going to buy it, I have to make this purchase today.  (Sorry for the late notice.)  Your input will be greatly appreciated.

Hi ____________!

As it happens, I know nothing about tambourines!  In fact, until today, I don't think I have ever typed the word. 

It does remind me, that once, during a long, solitary hike in the wintertime, in Iroquois County alongside Sugar Creek trying to track down a red fox from it's tracks, the word tambourine entered my mind for a moment.  Almost at the same time I slipped on some ice on the riverbank, left over from the river overflowing its banks in the late fall and freezing there.  I sometimes wonder if I experienced a small, insignificant stroke or perhaps was slightly dehydrated since the word, until today, has not since reentered my mind.  But I did not fall, which might have caused a bit of a problem, because I was miles from home, or miles away from anywhere for that matter, the river being flanked by hundreds of acres of dormant farm land.  At the time, I was interested in documenting the return of mammals, like beaver, to the county, and owls.  You see, the county was one of the subject counties which were written about in depressing detail by Rachel Carson in Silent Spring published in 1958, my birth year.  I was little when we moved there, just after the whole land was sprayed with DDT to halt the progress of some kind of invasive insect, and the resulting ecological unraveling formed part of my outdoor experience.  As a budding teen-aged naturalist, I noticed when the recovery started, and as an environmental science student in college I often wondered if anyone else noticed that Mother Nature was doing her best to restore the order so horribly disrupted.  Sadly, I no longer have any good reasons to return to witness the changes that must be occurring.  I wonder if anyone else has experienced seeing a red fox, contrasted against a brilliant white snowbank, as I did many years ago.  A red fox occupying an abandoned niche for the first time in decades and serving as a witness to the power of Mother Nature to correct the multitudes of insults we cause.  It gives me hope.

And I hope you get a nice new tambourine.


Monday, May 16, 2016

Red Beans and Rice

Whenever we want Cecil to visit, Karen makes Red Beans and Rice.  (See Creole-red-beans-kidney-and-rice) Cecil is one of my favorite people - we consider him a cousin - always fun to catch up with and full of interesting ideas to share - and Karen's cooking never fails to bring the fellow to the table.  Of course, Russ and Rob are like family, too, and so it was last weekend that we had a few lovely beers, (thanks Rob), a couple of Gin & Tonics and a Vermouth not to be believed (thanks Cecil).  Russ brought his always welcome humor and charm - which keeps the evening moving along lightly and easily.  Could not have had a better time.  Thanks to our historian, Rob, for the pics.

Thursday, May 5, 2016


Try to reach back, way back, to the first time that you felt free...

What can you remember?  Was the sun shining?  Was the wind in your face?  Were you feeling a mixture of joy and gleeful uncertainty?

I know exactly my moment.  The first time I felt free was on a bicycle.  You, too?  Well, now, that does not surprise.

At that tender age, still in single digits, reliant on the folks for food, shelter, and direction, try to recall that first time you decided to stray from the street in front of your place and explore.

You were free.  Sure, there were rules.  But as soon as you shoved off, you had to decide yourself whether to play by the rules or break them.  You were free to go as far as you dared.  Wherever you dared.  As fast as you dared.  And you had only yourself to depend on. 

I don't remember being afraid of getting lost, crashing, breaking down, or getting tired.  That stuff was not in play, not yet part of my experience.  So, I was free of care.  Carefree!  I could ride anywhere, anyhow, free of criticism, advice or input.  Free.  It makes me lightheaded to go back to that time.

There was just this great adventure.   And I could keep that experience, that feeling, at least until the streetlights came on and it was time to get on home.

Wouldn't it be awesome to recapture that feeling? Even for a little while?  What would it take?  What would you have to shed to get back to that time?  We carry a lot of baggage as adults.  Is it even possible to peel back the layers, the fears, the injuries, the responsibility?  It's a lot to consider and deal with.

Do you ever go back there?  Don't you wish you could?

For me, I can imagine the first feeling of freedom and sometimes it comes back with little effort.  Sometimes it happens when I am on a great adventure.  It's easy while on a bike.  Sun shining, wind in my hair, heart pumping. Sweat rolling, legs working.  Friends close by and sharing the same experience. In synchrony. Connected.

I want to keep that feeling, at least until the streetlights go on.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Time Spent

Time spent forging deeper connections with people, is time best spent.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Seeping and Sleeping - for BD

I feel joy welling up in me
As your song takes flight like smoky birds
Ascending into an inky sky to flee
Escaping snares fashioned with mere words

The thought of you in your overgrown place
Strumming and humming with your musical grace
Among weedy shadows and strange perfume
Makes me think of you like a midnight bloom

That opens only on the darkest nights
To spread misted scent from brackened heights
Or like an olivine oil seeping from the hills
Darkening all over which it spills

Weaving through creaky and ancient oak
Pooling in hollows like a heavy cloak
Here and now echoing in my dreams
Reverberating in my vision with glimmering beams

Night after night while the world is asleep
My other self wakens and wants to leap
From many a fond and unforgotten thought
To what lies beyond and what is sought

Saturday, January 9, 2016

A Lovely Vintage Dresser

In response to a flurry of emails from a person inquiring about dimensions of a dresser I had up for sale on Craigslist:

Dear Sir,

Referring to your correspondence regarding my lovely vintage dresser for sale on Craigslist, you quote the body of the "add" and ask (for the second time) "where are the dimensions?"  Well, I concede - you are correct.  There are no dimensions anywhere in the body of the advertisement (commonly shortened to "ad" not "add", which is a type of mathematical function).  However, your premise is flawed because the ad has other aspects, which you have apparently either not seen or refused to consider.  In fact, the ad includes multitudes of other fascinating and useful bits of information.

In pertinent part, for example, the dimensions to which I refer in my previous email appear in the box labeled "size/dimensions" that accompany the ad in the same fashion as the picture of the dresser in question - as an additional and easily accessed piece of information appearing on the same virtual page for viewing by the curious dresser-seeker.  The size/dimensions box appears on the right side of the ad, right below the box labeled "condition," which itself is right below a Google map showing a gross approximation of the location of the dresser-seller in question.  All of this exciting stuff is accessible with no special skills or computer hardware whatsoever.  

So, continuing on this path, the box reveals to even the most casual observer that the dimensions are 34x19x40.  Using the common convention of width, depth and height, you should conclude that the dresser is 34 inches wide, 19 inches deep and 40 inches high.  So, in fact, the information was where I said it was.

I apologize if this was difficult to find and sorry to have caused any confusion.  I hope the rest of your day is better.  I hope it is better than the day that I am having.  Helping other people read advertisements is exhausting.  Now, I need a nap.

I also hope that you can find a nice dresser to put things in.  Maybe other dresser-sellers will make your life easier by putting the dimensions in the body of the ad so you can find it more easily.  I won't be doing that because the form that I use to create ads, such as the one we are discussing, automatically invites the seller to add (not ad) the pertinent information and creates an advertisement with the box to display the information.  To me, one recitation of dimensions seems sufficient to get the job done.  Maybe I am wrong to think this way.  Perhaps my laziness will backfire when other dresser-sellers enjoy successful dresser sales and I sadly do not. But I prefer to do things once because I just hate wasting my time doing the same thing more times than seems necessary. Like answering emails from dresser seekers who cannot read advertisements.

In conclusion, I hope we have both learned something.  You should be better able to reads ads and I have learned not to try to sell you my dresser.  Since I will not be selling you mine, you will have to read at least one more ad before you find a dresser that suits your needs.  Good luck!
A humble dresser-seller


Email #1
could you give me dimensions of your dresser?

The dimensions are given in the ad.  Thanks.

Email #2:  

//This is a nice vintage wooden dresser bought by my grandparents and used in my home for a long time. It is sturdy and clean. Does have a nice vintage patina and look and has its share of character - which means it has scuffs, scratches and such. However, it serves it's purpose better than most of the new stuff. 3 deep drawers and two smaller ones.//

where are the dimensions in this add?


Monday, December 14, 2015

Steppin' Out

Apologies for the poor lighting.  Just wanted to show off a bit.  Karen and I on Saturday night, December 12th.  Going to dinner with members of the firm downtown Chicago.