Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy New Year

Now that the end of the world is a wash— I can wish everyone a Happy New Year…

Given that this next year is an odd numbered year, I never know if I will have a fruitful year or not. I tend to think of even years as being more productive and lucky, but if you think about it a lot of odd years are just as productive.

I look ahead and have not made any plans, nor have I made any resolutions. All in all I feel a bit lazy and want to blame it on the end of the world hype. Anybody else in the same boat, or am I the only one who forgot to make resolutions?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cap'n Cup-hand here

"Aarrr" "Ayeee"

Today is International Talk Like A Pirate Day. I never knew about this event until recently, so I may not be as great at it as others, but it does remind me of how "Captain Cup-Hand" came into being.

Ever since college I have typically had a large plastic cup that I always filled between classes. Sometime in the early 90's I got in the habit of cramming the cup on my hand as I went to the drinking fountain to fill up. Someone noticed and asked me if I was part pirate, to which I quickly replied "Ayeee, Capt'n Cup-Hand here" and proceeded to talk like a pirate whenever I went to refill my cup.

I have always known a smattering of sign-language, and in order to be fair to the deaf community I take the international signs for the letters R and I and use them. In order for them to "sound" appropriate for pirate-speak, I typically hold the letter firmly and shake my hand in the process ("RRRRRRR…", "IIIIIII…").

Feel free to join in the fray (ayeee) and talk like a pirate today.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Writer's Workshop: Watch Your Step at the Wishing Well

In honor of Mamma Kat's Writer's Workshop I have decided to tackle prompt #1:

Recycle a favorite post from July of any year that you have been blogging.

Since it's summer, here is a post from July of 2010 for your reading pleasure:

I just recently finished the book Watch Your Step at the Wishing Well by Lisa Hudon. This is one of those easy reads that you can easily go through while on the beach or poolside. I highly recommend adding this to your summer reading list.

The story is almost like a fairytale in how an average everyday girl from the Midwest named Nicolle Bocelli falls in love with a rock star named Gary LaForge. And much like Cinderella, just when you think our heroine is living the life of bliss— true reality sets in like the clock striking midnight as this fairytale life of hers becomes complicated with drama and intrigue. And just when you think you have everything figured out, an additional twist is added which keeps you in the story and keeps you reading further. Not only does the story line keep you interested, the scenery the author uses keeps you interested as well.

I must admit that growing up in the same home town as the author there is a lot of imagery about the heroine's home town that I can identify with— but I also believe that the settings are quite believable and paint an interesting picture that assists in the character development. The contrast between the home towns of both Nicolle and Gary complement each ones character and assist in showing where they both come from as well as showing why their personalities are the way they are.

I rather like the way in which Gary interjects from time to time with his own telling of the story. It is almost as if Nicolle sat down after the fact and was writing her adventure when Gary decides he needs to give "his" side of things.

And just as everything in the story seemed to come together and reach a dramatic climax, it quickly ended. Everything was neatly put in its place and a calm sense of normalcy returned. But this sense of a heroic and dramatic ending leaves the reader wanting more. There are a lot of unanswered questions… but I'll leave that to the author to answer when the sequel is released.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Monday, July 16, 2012

25 Things

This past week I discovered a Meme that I wrote back in 2010. Little did I realize a lot of it I also wrote about in my posts. So… if you want to know a bit more about me, here are 25 things about Me:

  1. I believe I have a unique personal philosophy. I only wish I could share it with more people.
  2. I am the only person in my immediate family who is left handed. Strangely, I play all sports except pool right handed. I also taught myself to use chopsticks with my right hand.
  3. I am usually shy around strangers. I have forced myself to try and be more sociable, but tend to fall back to being a loner when I am stressed.
  4. I have never lived outside of Illinois. Excluding moving into the dorms for college, I have only moved three times.
  5. Sometimes I wonder how many people I have influenced in my life, and how big that sphere of influence is. I tend to think that many people are more out of sight, out of mind and forget about you when you are not around. But I also am pleasantly surprised when people remember me fondly.
  6. At last count I have over 60 nick-names. One I picked up in high school was Groucho— anybody remember why?
  7. I love to cook, but never considered myself to be a great chef. I admire those people who can make something out of the odds and ends that you have around the kitchen. I also admire those people who know how things taste and can make great combinations of flavors.
  8. I have discovered that I do not just listen to music. I found that I listen to music many different ways at once: As a musician, as an educator, as a singer, and as a sound engineer.
  9. Exacto knives and I do not get along. I once cut the tip of my finger off with one. I sliced my knuckle another time just removing the blade.
  10. When I was in first grade I wanted to be a plumber when I grew up (I really don't know why). When I started high school I wanted to be an electronic engineer, then a historian, then a music teacher. Now I am glad I found a job that I like and I can feel that I am productive doing it.
  11. I share a birthday with John Lennon and my grandson. I also dated someone who was born on my birthday— no I didn't date John, or my grandson (though sometimes I do date myself).
  12. I love to give, but sometimes I hesitate because I don't know if what I am giving will be well received.
  13. I am not a world traveler— in fact I have never left this country. I would like to go someplace far away like Australia, or Japan.
  14. I used to say that I don't want to be famous, but rather well known in my field. Sometimes I think that I would rather have people know me well, than have many people know of me.
  15. I noticed that I have many different laughs. When I am really laughing hard, I laugh so hard that nothing comes out.
  16. I am so glad that I met my wife. I know that I would be lonely without her.
  17. I am proud to know that I have a family who loves me. Even though the children are not my biological offspring and I met them when they were teens, they still love me all the same.
  18. I find that I am a conservative who lives in a liberal city and state. Perhaps that is why I avoid politics in conversations.
  19. Even though I have been a Congregationalist and a Methodist, I tend to think that my spiritual beliefs are more Zen in nature.
  20. I love all the seasons for different reasons, but I tend to like Fall and Spring more than Winter and Summer.
  21. I jump into Lake Michigan on New Year's Day.
  22. I am glad that I have friends. Sometimes I tend to forget that I have them, so forgive me if I don't say how much I appreciate your friendship enough.
  23. Even though I live in a big city like Chicago, I am glad that I am close enough to be able to go to the beach and also go to the woods depending upon my mood.
  24. I am surprised how long it originally took for me to come up with these 25 things.
  25. I know that everybody is multifaceted. So often we think we know somebody well, only to discover that there is something about them we never knew. I hope that I gave you a bit more about the "me-ness" of Me.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Master T

The elementary school in our neighborhood has an art fair. One of the highlights of the fair is the T-shirt auction where you bid on T-shirts that the students paint based upon the masters. The proceeds go towards funding for the Art department.

Last year I won the bid on a T-shirt based on a Lichtenstein painting:

This year I paid $75 for another Lichtenstein painting:

This by no means was the highest paid for a T-shirt. There was one during this year's fair that fetched $120. My Step daughter holds the record for the highest bid at $260. It was a Surrat painting in pointillist style which probably explains why it fetched such a high price.

Unfortunately, the art teacher who started the fair over 20 years ago is retiring this year. We may not ever see another art fair, but we did enjoy supporting the arts by buying T-shirts. We like to wear them all the time, and even wear them the Art Institute which gets a lot of people asking if we bought it in the gift shop.

Second Blooming

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Writer's Workshop: I'm not the one

In honor of Mamma Kat's Writer's Workshop I have decided to tackle prompt #3:

Write a poem that about a time you felt betrayed.

This is not written for any particular time, but it seems to portray the feeling that one gets when they feel that they have been betrayed by the one they love:

Without my love my body weeps

within my soul my heart sleeps

Awakened again by cold pain

my body shivers without restrain

I hold my head still to hear a sound

but I only discover there's no one around

I've found my place, I've won no race

I only wish they'd see my space

So who's to say I can't go on

my love is gone… I'm not the one


I particularly like the way I tie the end of one line logically with the next. I'm really proud of this technique— so much so that I use this technique in many of my future poems as well.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

By the rockets red fade

For those unfamiliar with the redundant profoundness that today's calendar date signifies— today is July 4th. Of course, those who live in the United States know that today is a national holiday that people like to celebrate by watching fireworks.

If you live in a city which bans the possession of fireworks by average citizens, you may be fortunate enough to witness an illegal display held by a rabble-rousing neighbor. Or you could make the trek to a nearby suburb to see an authorized fireworks display. In either case, you typically see the fireworks going off in the sky.

A few years back my wife and I went out to California to visit her Sister in LA, then proceeded north by train to San Francisco to spend the remainder of our vacation. We made the decision to go down to the Wharf in the afternoon, then wait around and see the fireworks in the evening since they were supposed to be held there.

Of course, by the time the fireworks were supposed to start, a fog rolled into the bay which made it impossible to see the fireworks going off. We could hear them going off, and we saw glowing blobs where they should be, but no spectacular displays whatsoever. All the same, we didn't want to force our way out of the crowd so we stayed and did our best "Oo's" and "Ah's" every time we saw a blob in the sky. Thank goodness that we didn't have to pay for the fireworks or we would probably want our money back.

What about you… have you ever gone to fireworks that were a big disappointment? Any awesome fireworks experiences you want to share.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tip of my Finger

My apologies for putting The Tip of my Fingers song in your head:

When I was working as an archivist, one of my duties was to cut custom labels for the backup tapes we used. We typically printed out the labels onto a single sheet, then trimmed them to fit with an Exacto blade. Whenever I hold a straightedge, I typically span the edge with my thumb and forefinger of my right hand to hold it steady— then trim with my left.

My forefinger must have shifted enough on the straightedge to cause the tip of my finger to protrude just enough… the next thing I knew my right forefinger hurt and a bead of blood was soon forming. Quickly putting my finger in my mouth so that it didn't bleed all over the table, I picked up the tip and proceeded to look for a bandaid.

I must have looked pretty ridiculous with my finger in my mouth wandering around asking people where I could find a band-aid. Not getting a straight answer, I proceeded to go into the washroom to at least try and clean the wound. I was getting pretty desperate by this time since I could not stop the finger from bleeding and didn't want to use masking tape and toilet paper to cover the wound only to have it bleed all over the place.

I wound up putting my finger under cold water and pressing the tip back on until it stopped bleeding. Worked pretty good too. Then I dabbed the tip of the finger with toilet paper and then wrapped it in tape (I would worry about a proper bandaid later).

Fortunately the only problem I had with the finger was the fact that I was the Choir Director at church and had to use my right hand to conduct with that evening. I don't think that waving a hand around that just had the tip of its forefinger cut off the morning before was not going to throb and hurt— but I worked through the pain and got through the rehearsal without a hitch.

Even though I lost the tip of my finger, I did manage to reattach it and looking at it today you can hardly tell that I cut it off.

Second Blooming

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Taste the Music

My apologies to Skittles lovers, as this does not relate to tasting the rainbow in anyway.

I realized early on that I listened to music on many levels. What I have found is that over the years the number of levels has increased. Not to say that all of these levels are achieved with every song I listen to— but I can listen to music and have more than one way of perceiving what I listen to simultaneously:

I, like nearly everybody who listens to music, enjoys the music I listen to. It may seem like this is obvious— but sometimes the other ways of listening to music tend to drown out the good feeling I get when I hear a great song.
There are several different kinds of analysis, but I typically focus on music theory and practice. I listen for the different chordal structures used; the phrases and how they are executed; melodies and counter melodies
I am not a choreographer, but I do like a song that makes you want to get up and dance. I also enjoy trying to interpret the way the song rises and falls and how that moves me both physically and emotionally. There is so much here that it probably deserves a separate post entirely.
Usually this goes hand in hand with music analysis. I try to figure out how the song is structured and how I would write the music so others can perform it.
Since I have a degree as a sound engineer, I tend to listen to music using a technically acoustical approach. I ask myself how that particular sound is reproduced— or even how the engineers who recorded the song may have set up the microphones in order to capture that sound. I listen for the balance and the layering involved. I listen to see if they used compression and determine how best to make the sound translate to mono. etc. etc.…
Being an educator means that you are looking for ways of teaching something. Since I have a degree in Music Education, I look for ways of teaching the song. This ranges from how do I pick apart the melody to teach it to somebody, to even how do I teach the diction to the singer so that they pronounce it appropriately.
I tend to gravitate towards songs that have interesting lyrics. I enjoy interpreting the lyrics and what they mean to me. I also enjoy good wordplay and creative diction which makes singing it quite a challenge.

I'm sure that there are others, but these are the ones that seem most prominent. What about you… in what ways do you listen to music?

Second Blooming

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Easy commute my foot

I have always said that every trip is an adventure no matter how short/long simple/complex it is. I sometimes find that the shorter the trip is supposed to take— the greater of an adventure it becomes when that trip is somehow delayed. This week, Prodigal Magazine is featuring travel stories, and I thought I would contribute a story about my commute home that occurred four weeks ago:

One of the nice things that I discovered about my new office is its location. It is about two blocks from the Metra station and a half block from the Green line station for the CTA El. I take the Metra since the station is about 4 blocks closer to my house than the CTA, and I can more easily predict when the next train departs the station.

A few weeks back I got into Ogilvie station downtown only to find that all of the northbound trains indicated that they were delayed. Thinking that this was probably just a switching problem at the station, I decided to wait it out.

After about 30 minutes of waiting I overheard someone say that the trains were delayed because a train struck a passenger around the Ravesnswood stop. I decided that I wouldn't wait any longer and take the CTA instead.

I called my wife telling her that I was planning on taking the Green line east to the Red line, then take the Red line north and would call her when I got to the Morris stop. I then hung up and proceeded over to the Green line station. Right at the time I was on the platform digging in my coat pockets to get change for the CTA fare, my phone rang again. My wife told me that there was a fire near the tracks and that all northbound trains were stopped.

I proceeded to get off of the platform to get away from the noise of the train so I could offer some other possibilities. I suggested that I get on the Northwest line since that train was not effected by the delay and get off at Dee Road, but she didn't want to drive all the way out there just to pick me up. I then said that I would take the Green line west to Western Avenue and would call her before I took the Western bus north.

I put as much change on the transit card as I could, then proceeded up the handicap ramp towards the westbound platform— but halfway up the ramp realized that the Green line does not stop at Western Avenue. I turned around and headed towards the eastbound platform. I knew that the Blue line did connect with Western Avenue, so I would take the Green line east to the Blue line, then take the Blue line west and get off at Western Avenue.

The Green line was not very crowded and I was hopeful that the Blue line would be the same— but I was wrong. I don't know if you ever see the pictures of Japanese commuters getting packed into the trains— this was very similar. Thankfully everybody was in the same boat (so to speak) and was very polite about being packed like sardines the whole time.

I decided to call my wife to let her know that the 49B bus route that normally stops near our house probably does not go this far south and that I would have to take the 49 bus first, then transfer over to a 49B bus. I did see a bus arrive about 5 minutes later, but this bus was packed full. The driver opened the door and yelled that there was a bus right behind, shut the door and pulled away. True to his word, there was another bus about 5 minutes behind that one.

This one looked just as crowded as the one that pulled away, but I got on anyway. I don't know wat was worse, having the lady with a stroller who wouldn't move, or the handicap man with his oxygen tanks in the middle of the aisle that made this more unpleasant than the Blue line fiasco. As we went further and further north, the passengers shifted so that I could get out of the roadblock at the front of the bus and could actually hold on in order not to fall on those seated.

Just as we are approaching Lawrence Avenue and the Brown line station to where I would be departing the 49 bus… but what should my tired eyes should appear— but flashing lights and fire engines near the tracks. Could it get any worse… would I ever get home???? Thankfully it was just a fire that wasn't effecting the northbound busses.

I waited a good 20 minutes for the 49B bus to come from the north and turn around at the Brown line station. I got on and made my way to the rear door and stood there so I could easily get off— only to be told by the driver that everybody has to pack it up better, and wound up sitting at the very rear of the bus. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to depart the train and would have to push my way past a dozen or so passengers just to get to the rear door— but the further north we went the lighter the number of passengers in my way became. I slipped out at Peterson and walked the rest of the way home.

By the time I got home I looked at the clock which said 8:30. Three hours late isn't too bad considering…

Monday, June 25, 2012

Standing still while the world moves around you

I got my business cards today. One would think "It's about time", but I figured I would wait until the new office was settled. I wouldn't want what happened the last time when I got new business cards:

At a previous job I was told that I would be getting new business cards after we moved so that I could have the new address and phone number on the card. Interestingly, about a month later the mailing address of the building I was in was changed to accommodate an access road which was promoted to a street.

About two months after that, the building I was in had an addition added to it. Rather than using the same room numbering that existed for the addition, it was decided that the entire building would be renumbered. Mind you, I have not moved in anyway, but now my business cards are grossly outdated.

Fortunately/unfortunately we moved from that building and we got new business cards to match. I guess you could say I got my revenge because a month after we moved, I changed departments and had to get a whole new batch of cards.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Spining Tags

This weeks Spin Cycle is on Wordle. I wanted to have a spinning tag bundle, but found that implementing it into a post is a bit more challenging than I thought. So… without further adieu, here is my Wordle based on my Personal Philosophy tag:

Second Blooming

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Spin on Friends

This week's Spin Cycle is on Friends. I thought I would wax philosophical and re-post a theory of mine on Friendship Types:

I have found that there are three basic types of friendships that you can have— Acquaintances, Buddy-Buddy, and Close. At first I thought that these were levels of friendships that an individual achieves in a relationship with somebody, but I have changed the definition to be more role based instead. One thing that I know about these types is that you will always have more of one type than another. I have listed these in the order of popularity (which type you have more of)— and will give a brief description of each.

These are the type of friends that know you and you know them. You typically have a lot of these types because there does not need to be any real commitment outside of recognition. These can range from the commuter you sit next to on the train— to the person you used to sit next to in English class.
These are the type of friends that you go out with. They are your "buds" and there are typically less of these than acquaintances. These range from the workers you go out to drinks with— to the couple you have over for dinner.
These are the type of friends that know you very intimately. You typically do not have very many of these types of friends (if at all). Some labels for this type of friend include soul mate, partner, confidant, best friend.

I believe that there are times that all of us participate in these roles with others and that they are not necessarily reserved to happen all the time. I have known acquaintances that have acted (even if briefly) as close friends— even though I hardly knew them. It is good to know what kinds of friends you have, and appreciate the fact that you can have them.

What about you… Do you find that you have more of one type of friend than another? Do you have other labels that you use to describe the types of friends you have? Do you feel that you need to achieve each of the friendship types in order to progress in a relationship with someone?

Second Blooming

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Intersting Interest

If you know me well enough you should know that I tend to take on challenges for Lent, or as New Year's resolutions. Not only that, but I also phrase the challenge in such a way as to make it easy to explain to others. To give you an understanding of one of my challenges, see Inclusive Resolutions.

For a few years now, there is a resolution that I've been wanting to make: "In order to be interesting, be interested". I have found that in conversation if you ask more questions than explanations, you tend to have a more fruitful conversation. I find those people who pose an interest in me interesting— so I figured if I am interested in others, then I too will be interesting. The challenge is to not come off as fake— to not just go through the motions to fulfill the requirement. I know if I am to be successful, I need to truly be interested in them— not just sound like I am. People are fascinating— and discovering who they are is a thrill in itself.

One particular person who I think is a good example of an interesting interested person is David Letterman. The thing I admire about him is that he has an interviewing style that makes the person he is interviewing feel at ease. He shows an interest in the person he is interviewing and makes them feel important. I hope that I can be able to incorporate some of his techniques as my own.

What about you— do you feel that in order to be interesting, you need to be interested in others? Do you think that being interested in others is important?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Spin Cycle: ASCII Love

This week's Spin Cycle topic is Love. Since I tend to talk about Love a lot, I thought I would show you Love instead…

When I first wrote this poem I was completely unaware of ASCII Art. The original is on a piece of graph paper with numbers next to the letters to indicate how many spaces to use when typing out the poem. I really love the fact that it spells out the word LOVE.

Love is a magical word
It can take any broken heart and make amend

It's a good word anyone can use
to be a good friend.

   ItC   anT
    a   keAny
       Br   ok
       en   He
       ar   tA n
        dMak  eI
         tMe  n
             I    t's
             a   Go
             odWo   r
                 anU  se
                ToB e  AG
                 oo    d


Second Blooming

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

RTT: What the???

Sometimes randomness works it's magic and makes getting an anonymous comment something that makes no sense whatsoever. Perhaps I should style my writing like this comment— especially if it is intended to attract readers:

Shortly since full of sadness and anger roar seemed, supercilious glimpse hair Wong-fat, Shi arrangement. Wolves instantly noiseless along, the particular wicked mood a Device Lengsen's raging out and about entirely force a man intended to get rid of!

Fast seeing that turbo hand techinque, that supercilious seem wolf Huang cannot quit, yet Barbara is actually certainly correct to discover:

That is definitely complete with early, bluish ambiance of the knife, as being a handheld control so that they can a new towering giant Yue. That huge elephant-like Molang needy confrontation, nonetheless have a tremor. The knock back granted living in addition to demise, giant elephant-like Molang death, sadness, lose heart, death!

Piece nights refining this infuriating, the particular energy I do not know on the geometry. Knight category Molang, set affordable his lifetime hit, just like ants to be able to wring outstretched such as instantly deplete. Effects are generally entry-day peremptory hit, motion picture will be split a part.

"? "

Xiang big waved the hands, ensnared that nuclei on the ovum soldier school. This individual noticed the particular malefic state of mind raging baby wolves, confront wicked guffaw. That instant, his continue as being a disect generally, will be complete with warfare fighting will certainly break the vault of abode!

To be a improved gentleman, object days to weeks following your baptism in the wicked, become belligerent upward. Even he himself didn't learn, the dark seedling started in order to germinate in his / her heart!

"To that pleasure of battle! ".

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I am not grammatically perfect

This week's Spin Cycle is on Things I hate. I think that Hate is a much too harsh of a term— but Irritate, or Pet Peeve is probably more appropriate it for me.

I tend to write from the hip. If someone was to critique my writing in order to make it more clear to the reader, that is OK. But to pick apart my writing because you think you are a better writer than I and will prove it by showing my mistakes, I have to take heed. Sure— I may choose the wrong word, or even use improper punctuation; but I also feel that writing needs its occasional strays from the straight and narrow path of grammatical perfection.

I feel that if all writing were grammatically correct, all writing would be the same and the writing would not have any flavor or appeal. I do not say this because my writing is never grammatically correct and I am being spiteful— but rather that any time you make anything formulaic, it loses its soul. The writing becomes more mechanical and less personal, and much like Latin becomes a dead language.

Second Blooming

Monday, April 30, 2012


If you've never seen this cartoon, may I suggest you see it first before I begin:

I find there are many ways of looking at perspective— but being able to look at both the small details and the big picture is quite a challenge…

Oh everything comes in its own special size
I guess it can be measured by where you put your eyes
It looks big when you're close
And it looks smaller back a bit
That's about the size of it.

Funny how we seem to be trapped in our own little world. We tend to see only ourselves and never look around to see what may be out there. We're too afraid to look at the vastness of things…

Oh the big becomes the little
When you see it back a bit
The huge becomes the dinky
Which is just the opposite
Of the larger that gets smaller
It never seems to fit
That's about the size of it.

But knowing that everything has perspective helps one to measure up (or down)— and put you on the correct plane in order to see how everything sees through their eyes…

That's about the size
It's where you put your eyes
That's about the size of it.

Where do you fit in with perspective? Do you find it difficult to "see" what others see? Are you able to see both the big picture and the small details— at the same time?

1, 2, 3 Excerpts from the song "That's about the Size" by Bud Luckey ©1971 Sesame Street Inc

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Complementary Compliment

This week's Spin Cycle is on Compliments— which may make you wonder about the title of my post.

I used to get the terms complement and compliment confused with one another. Believe it or not, they are supposedly pronounced the same as well (ˈkämpləmənt). After some pondering, I came to realize that both are interconnected. So that you will not be confused as I was, I will describe both, then will show how this is true in my relationship with my wife.

Complement (Lah)
When one person complements another person, they fill in those gaps that the other person is missing. I am often reminded of the phrase from the movie Jerry Maguire "You complete me". So often there are pieces of our personality that we are lacking that the other brings out. They say that opposites attract— and being able to complement one another makes the combination of the two stronger than the individuals themselves.
My wife and I are quite different from one another. Where I am typically outgoing, she tends to be a bit shy. When we are together she has more bravery and feels less timid about meeting new people. My wife tends to see the deails in things, whereas I usually see the big picture. When I am stuck trying to see something, she is able to put my views into perspective. I truly enjoy being recognized as a couple rather than two individuals. So often when we are together we tend to bounce ideas off of one another and make an interesting cohesive pair that many people enjoy being with.
Compliment (Lid)
When one compliments someone they tend to say something that makes the other person feel good about themselves. This is not straight flattery because "flattery gets you nowhere". So often we find our partner in need of a little ego boost. Giving a compliment to them helps them to overcome those challenges they face and lets them know that they are on the right track.
Whenever I notice that my wife seems down, I try to compliment her and show her that she need not worry too much about whatever is bothering her. Likewise, whenever I am frustrated about something, she will compliment me and show that my frustration is not worth getting worked up over.

The ability to compliment one another helps build the relationship by showing support for the other person. This support complements both by filling in the gaps— thus completing the relationship into a more holistic whole.

Second Blooming

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Looking for a way

I look for a way to free my soul
from the time that has put me in a hole

A hole of chores that slow me down
'til I'm put at rest with no white gown

I wear the clothes that shut me in
and tie me up so I can't begin

My heart begins to weep again
as I look across my plain

I only wish I could leave this trap
and find the map to make me whole


Looking back on this poem it seems to sum up those days where the tediousness of life seem to trap you in. I was amazed by my usage of the word "plain" in the second line of the fourth stanza. Being spelling challenged— I originally meant to use the word plane (intended to refer to a field or plane), and mistakenly wrote it down as plain. Interestingly, this mis-choice of word gives it a better meaning when I look it over today.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Birth of a Blog

This week's spin cycle is on Births. Since I am not a parent, I don't have any memorable birthing moments— neither do I remember my own birth (sadly my first memory is giving up my pacifier). So, instead I will post on the birth of my blog. I always find it interesting to know how someone's blog came to be. I remember others doing this type of post and was inspired to do so as well. The following is a post that I wrote in May of 2009— a week before my one year Blogiversary:

Birth of a Blog 01: Seeds of Change

I have always had some sort of personal philosophy. I found it to be rather unique and quite profound and felt that I should write a book. However, my writing is typically short and never of any great length. I felt that I should at least write everything down so that when the time came I can sit down with an editor and flesh out my book. I find that I have so many ideas and never have the writing skills necessary to put it in writing.

Since I was already a letter writer— I tried my hand at writing people and thinking that those letters would be the way that I could get these ideas put on paper. The problem with this method is that letters typically use some sort of correspondence and you tend to write a lot of little things and never focus on any one topic. I longed for those types of correspondences you hear about where two people write to each other for years— however I never knew anybody who was a letter writer even when I used e-mail and they didn't have to worry about finding a stamp.

I learned about blogs at an informal demonstration at work several years back. At the time I felt that it was a good educational tool that enables participants to engage in discussions about a given topic— but never thought that I would be using it myself.

Sometime last year I was pondering getting my own Web site so that I could demonstrate some of my Web development skills and be able to reference it in a resume. After viewing some co-worker's sites to see how they set up a Web site, I noticed that some of them had a blog associated with them. If anything I wanted to have some content to my Web site— so I figured I would start out by blogging a few things then later transfer those pages over to my site when I finally bought a domain.

I found it difficult to find a domain using my name without being excessively long and difficult to remember because "chrisjohnson" as well as "christopherjohnson" were already taken. I figured I would try shortening it to be easier to remember and chose my first two initials and the first three letters of my last name— thus Ca-Joh was born.

If you are interested in "The rest of the story", you can read my other posts as well:

Second Blooming

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Love is like

Love is like a flickering candle
just one breath is all it can handle

Steady streams of air keep it going
for love is always ever flowing

So find the love and you will know
just how to grow in life's big gamble


Love is like a plant
give it the proper nourishment and it grows

But stop feeding it
and it will die and fade away


Friday, March 23, 2012

Spining down to Green G

This week's Spin Cycle is on Car trips. I had a story about a car trip I took in college, but didn't get round to writing it… so I decided to spin up an old post instead:

Green G
Green G

Last weekend we went on our annual camping trip to O'Connell's Campground out in Amboy Illinois. My wife has been going there for at least 28 years– as I have only been going for the past 12. One would think that getting there should be a "no brainer" by now… but perhaps it is the fact that everything is changing all the time that makes getting there half the fun.

I always say "every trip is an adventure", and this one is no exception. It always seems that someone winds up getting lost when we go out there, and this year it was our turn. Much like the year when Matt missed 88 and wound up on 290 going into downtown, and Tiffany missed 39 and didn't realize that she missed it until nearly in Iowa– we missed 294.

While in the left hand lane on 90 heading for the exit onto 294, we saw the sign for the toll. Of course there was plaza construction going on to add new I-pass lanes to "ease congestion", so everything was unfamiliar to us. Blame it on my being an honest citizen– but I was so focused on getting in the manual lanes to make sure we could pay the toll properly, I proceeded to cross about 4 lanes to get there. I still don't know if the exit was before or after the toll, but we didn't suspect that we missed the exit until we saw Ikea. By the time we finally realized we missed the exit, we had to figure out how to turn around.

Being in the left hand lane to make the 294 exit, we had to ease over to the right. I missed one exit arguing about things and searching desperately for the change purse to pay the exit toll… but we finally exited on Barrington Road and pulled over at the Hilton Garden Inn to get our bearings. We were still hunting for the change purse when we pulled over and thought we had better call… but now we couldn't find the cell phone either. We had to pull out all the bags from the car and empty them to search the car and bags for both the change purse and the cell phone– both of which we knew was in the car when we left.

After finding our misplaced items, we got a call from Matt wondering where we were. We explained our situation, but still needed to verify that we can get back on 90, and if they wanted to still wait for us at the O'hare oasis. They said they didn't mind waiting, so we decided to park over by the gift-shop to ask for directions and take a bathroom break. We wondered why some passers-by were laughing at us until we noticed that two of our bags were still on the roof of the car.

Nobody was available in the gift shop to ask, and it appeared that there wasn't a bathroom in site. Luckily a few people came through what I thought was a back room to the gift shop… so I told Sara that the bathroom was probably through there, and she could go while I waited for the sales person to become available.

Sara came back and looked lost, so I figured I would accompany her and maybe ask someone in the restaurant instead. We went through the door, up a few stairs, and was at the bar for the restaurant. The bartender also appeared busy, so we went to the right, down a few stairs and looked around for a bathroom– nothing. We saw a small door and went through that and looked around and finally saw the bathrooms. "This reminds me of one of those nightmares", Sara told me "where you get further and further away from where you want to go." This seemed even more evident when we tried to leave the parking lot and could not go out the way we got in– but rather had to go to a frontage road and exit that way.

We finally met up with the rest of the caravan at the oasis and grabbed a bite to eat before we all left to head out on 88. We all made it on to 88, but got tied up in more construction which started at the toll and continued through past 30. It must have taken us an hour to go through the toll, which normally would only take about five minutes to go through. There were only three manual lanes, which narrowed down to one after the toll before merging with the automatic lanes.

After the construction it was all smooth sailing the rest of the way. It did rain a bit while we were traveling, but stopped long before we got to the campsite and had to set up our tents. We were originally glad that we left early… at least early as compared to other years. But, after adding up all the delays– with our being lost, as well as the construction on 88– we actually made it to the campsite just after the cutoff for early check in at 4:00. This meant that we did not have to pay the extra fee for checking in early… something we would have had to do if we were not delayed.

So, even though we all seemed to have an adventure getting to our campsite at Green G, the rest of the weekend was picture perfect.

Second Blooming

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


There is a breach to reach
but the door is on the floor

So we have to bend to lend
the hand that cannot impeach


Monday, February 13, 2012

"Short" Spin

This week's topic for The Spin Cycle is Most Embarrassing Moment. Not that I wasn't embarrassed during this moment— but it reminded me of the time I got "caught with my pants down"…

Me as Judge Wilson— who couldn't trust a guy like that.

I was playing Judge Wilson in the musical 1776 and was getting fitted for my costume during one of the rehearsals. I was trying on the pants I would wear in another room when I heard that my scene was coming up. I must admit, I have been comfortable wearing boxers on stage since I played Tony in West Side Story— so going on without pants was not a bother. I didn't want to miss my entrance— so I skipped putting my pants on and went straight into the rehearsal room wearing my thick red and white striped boxers.

Being that the show was a comedy, I tried my best to stay in character and not crack up. This was especially difficult since I saw the rest of the cast who was not in the scene trying not to laugh as well. But the real kicker was when the person who played Ben Franklin shouted out "Hey Martha… I have a great idea for a flag" to which the entire room broke out in laughter and the scene had to stop.

Ever since that time, whenever I wore those boxers I had to giggle a bit.

Second Blooming

Friday, February 10, 2012

I need a little push

I have been trying to get back on the bike and start writing more in my blog. I know that before my hiatus I had a lot of ideas that I was working on, so it isn't that I don't have anything to say. I still have ideas— but lack the motivation to put what is stuck in my head down on paper (or on the screen).

Here is a list of topics that I have been pondering as of late:

  • Ancient Spirit/
  • Being interesting by posing interest/
  • Climatology and ranges of things/
  • Conceptual Learning/
  • Follow-up/
  • Friendship Card/
  • Giving credit where credit is due/
  • Initiative/
  • Initiator vs wall-flower/
  • Inter vs Intra/
  • Intrapersonal Relationships/
  • Motion and Position/
  • Social Evolution/
  • Spiritual Callousness and Suppleness/
  • State of Equilibrium/
  • The ones we love and the ones who love us/
  • The Up, Down, Out, To, and For of looking/
  • Things take time to do/
  • Waves and synchronization/
  • Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How we ARE/

If any of these topics sound interesting, let me know and that way I will feel more obligated to oblige. Since I sometimes speak simplistically and without courteous clarity, if anything seems confusing, feel fee to ask and I will explain.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Is there anybody out there?

My apologies for putting the Pink Floyd song in your head…

I have noticed that a lot of the people who used to follow my blog no longer write on their own blogs. I am curious how many people still read. I know this seems selfish, but if you can let me know you are here by commenting, I'll appreciate it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

2012 Chili Fest

During the month of January, I tend to want something warm to eat to keep me from freezing to death. One of my favorite dishes to make is chili.

If you like chili, the Ravenswood Fellowship United Methodist Church will be hosting their annual chili fest. There will be several different versions featured including: mild and hot chili with meat— and even a vegetarian chili (for those who can't or won't eat meat). A while back I posted my recipe on how to make Kick-Butt Chili. I am planning on making this version of chili as one of the hot versions offered. But what makes this festival worth attending is "all the fixin's". What do you like on your chili??? We have corn chips, popcorn, rice, macaroni, different hot sauces (if the Kick-Butt Chili doesn't kick your butt enough), and much much more.

I am including the information on how to get there if you want to attend:

Sunday, January 28, 2012
3:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Children 10 and under $5.00

Ravenswood Fellowship United Methodist Church
4511 N. Hermitage Ave.
Chicago, IL

I look forward to seeing you there.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dream Spinner

My apologies for putting the song Dream Weaver in your head…

The torch (or the washing machine) has been passed over to Gretchen over at Second Blooming. This week's topic is Dreams, so I figured I would make your head spin with some thoughts I have on the subject.

Rather than give an in depth look at dreams and try and give some scientific explanation that would wind up putting you asleep, I will highlight on a few concepts and let you give your opinion.

Dreams and Déjà vu
Many times I wake up and note to myself what an odd dream I had. Then, many months (or even years) later, I experience that dream and get that feeling that this has happened before. This experience has led me to believe that perhaps we travel through time in our dreams in order to "see" our future made real. Whenever I begin at a new location— a new school, a new job, a new home, etc., it doesn't take long before I have a Déjà vu moment. Whenever I have that moment, I believe I have "arrived" at that location. My subconscious mind has therefore accepted my surroundings, and I have "caught up" with my dream self.
Flying dreams
I know a lot of people that have dreams that they are flying. The kind of flying dream I have is more of a type of jumping like astronauts do when they are on the moon. I tend to hover over the ground and move very very fast. Another type of flying I do is go down stairs extremely fast. Think of yourself touching every step as you glide down each flight of stairs in less than a second. Brrroom, Brrroom.

To see more dreams… go visit the spin cycle by clicking on the icon below:

Second Blooming

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Look what I got for Christmas

Whenever my wife gives gifts, she likes to give a gift that means something to the person receiving the gift. I must admit that she sometimes outdoes herself and comes up with some clever gifts.

Two years ago, I opened up my gift and look what I found…

Inside the box was a certificate of authenticity:

To those that cannot read the text here is what it says:

2009 Toy hall of fame winner!
The Original STICK
All natural
100% Organic
Rules of play

  1. Play!
  2. Make up your own rules

Caution Aviso Flammable!
Do not use near heat or open flame.
Do not use as a flotation device.
Not for use by children under 2. Use caution around pets and children.
Allergy information: Contents have been processed in a plant that may contain tree nuts.
Do not ingest.
Does not require batteries.
Burns, dents, flaws, and flubs are considered natural and add to the beauty and individuality of the piece.
For external use only
Do not put in eye. In case of accidental insertion, consult a physician.
Unlawful use may result in injury or death

Limited offer
Also included— 2007's Toy hall of fame winner:
Cardboard box
From the makers of "Log"

This summer my wife and I were craving orange push-up pops. You know— it's like having orange sherbert in a tube. Of course, nobody anywhere had them (they only seemed to have rainbow— how sad is that). So, we thought "we can always make them from scratch". Just get a toilet paper tube and fill it with orange sherbert. Then you get the left over disks that you have from the egg dying kits and stick that in the bottom and attach a coffee stirrer into it and there you have it.

Fast forward to Christmas morning…

Wife: Here you go (Placing the present in my hand)
Me: What is it— ooh that's cold
Wife: Just open it…

And what to my wondrous eyes should appear…

but a tube with orange sherbert in it:

Have a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.

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