Monday, May 31, 2010


So much I want to do. So, so, so much. So tired of being gimpy. Gym bag packed for tomorrow. Not sure at what point in the day I'll be able to escape to the workout room at the office, but I will. There are some fires eating through my desk and I need to achieve progress on some major projects for work, but I need to get a lot achieved for me, too.

Here goes nuthin'...


A Grateful Nation

For all those who served and died in defense of this nation, be at peace.

(My parents' gravesites, Rock Island Arsenal National Cemetery)

For all who served and struggled and gave,


And for all those who serve today,


Thank you.

(And thanks to my sister Betsi for these photos -
and to her daughter Maddie for the idea of going out to honor her grandparents.)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Words from a notebook

My home is scattered with notebooks and sketchbooks. Some are still blank, waiting to be filled. Others are dotted - or clotted - with half-baked ideas and images. Projects abandoned, ideas scribbled, threads lost. But when I reopen one of these used books, I often find rough, but fundamentally good concepts and wonder why I ditched them. Once in a while, I just find lines of hurried text and I can't remember where I was when I wrote them. And sometimes, I can't quite read my own handwriting. Meanings get muddled and changed.

I just opened a small, fat, green notebook, looking for blank pages to jot down some expectations I have about my health and what exercise I'm doing daily. Turning through page after page of conference call doodles and car accident information (far too much of that!) I came to an empty page at last.

Facing that first empty page were these words:

I can't see the face of the guy across from me - hidden by mirror - but he has the sexiest voice and good shoes.

But, on my initial squinty reading of my crabbed writing, I thought it read "he has the secret voice and good shoes."

And I sat here, trying to remember this moment, and wondered, just what was this secret voice? How did he use it? Will I ever hear it again?

Then, I squinted, and saw my mistake. Ah! Sexiest voice and good shoes. Got it.

But it was less mysterious. Less interesting.

I like my erroneous read better. I like the thought of a man with a secret voice. One only I could hear. There's some strange power there.

I'd like to hear it again.

Must have been a helluva pair of shoes, too.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Just a thought for the day

I haven't shared many quotes with you here at the Church of the Big Sky, but this one's really good. I saw it on a friend's Facebook page, and the message is pretty meaningful to me these days.

"There's a trick to the Graceful Exit. It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, a relationship is over -- and to let go. It means leaving what's over without denying its validity or its past importance in our lives. It involves a sense of future, a belief that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving on rather than out." –Ellen Goodman

I've learned a lot about letting go in the past couple of years. Often, it's not an easy process, but I hope to eventually master the Graceful Exit. I think about this a lot and spend a little time each day reflecting on change. Where there is conflict and misunderstanding that I cannot resolve, I engage on a campaign of actively wishing people well and hoping for them to find a happy path. It doesn't always work, but I'm trying. I can only hope that people wish the same for me. I have no control over that though. I can only hope that others move on, too, and find wonderful ways to fill the potholes left behind on the path.

How do you achieve balance and handle difficult change and endings in your life? I'm genuinely curious about what works for you and gives you peace and closure.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

{{insert big grin here}}

Just a Note to the Makers of Lost

Dear Writer and Producer Types @ Lost:

I know it's too late to ask you, since, like, the die is cast and time travel doesn't exist and all that, but...

Please don't kill off Hurley tonight. Please?

That would really be bad. Really, really bad.

Thank you,


P.S. I think y'all missed the boat with a sure-fire product tie-in opportunity. From my ramblings back in 2006:

"I can't help but wonder if the cast & crew of "Lost" has developed a taste for SPAM during their time in Hawaii... You know, maybe instead of mac and cheese, the Lost folk should have found a pallet of SPAM tins in last night's episode. Then, SPAM could have had a great promotional tie-in: limited edition "Lost" SPAM. Collect each character's special tin! I want my Hurley SPAM tin!! (This is one of those moments when I wish I had mad Photoshoppin' skillz...)

'Hey, I got two Lockes! Trade you a Locke for a Hurley.'

SPAM: the official potted meat of ABC TV."


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Working on it...

It seems like it's getting harder and harder to find good blocks of time to blog these days. Work is very busy, and I'm trying to spend less time on my butt in front of the keyboard when I'm not at the office. I'm doing fly lady-style cleaning today. Zones and fifteen minute increments of focused activity. This is easier on the cranky spine, bad knee, and all the rest of that junk, but sometimes hard for an inveterate procrasinator used to cramming work into splintering 100-yard dashes.

I have a list of twelve items to achieve today, and that's before even going out to run quick errands. So, here I am, briefly in front of the keyboard before moving on to dusting bookshelves and getting a load of dishes started. Five minutes to write, fifteen to tidy.

So, what's new, eh?

My June/July issue of Smithsonian Air & Space magazine arrived this week, and, before I even got inside the apartment I flipped to the back to see the "In the Next Issue" page. And, lo and behold, there it was - a blurb about my article! Hooray!! So, now, it's very real. I've had a couple of questions to answer for the "top edit" this week (when the article goes through review/edit by folks at the top of the magazine edit cycle) and those were easy to handle, I'm glad to say. For two of the three questions, I even had footnoted references. One question was the result of my foolishness, putting an anecdote into a paragraph where the timing of the event became nebulous. I offered a mea culpa and a clarification on where and when the story took place, and so far, no more queries. I get to see a layout of the piece in a couple of weeks. Most excellent!

I have some ideas in mind for radio commentary, if I can find some time when I'm feeling the muse giving me a scalp massage. So far, she has been elusive. But I hope to pin that wench down soon. I also need to finish the first draft of my "livin' in Moscow" book, which I had to set aside when the back put me through torture last autumn. So many pages fluttering around, so little mental discipline to finish it all. (Grumble.)

I hope all you usual suspects are happy, healthy, and doing well. And I'm sorry I've fallen off the blog-reading wagon of late. That requires a muse of its own. Maybe the Olivia Newton-John rollerskating muse from "Xanadu."


Muse or no muse, I'll slap some Ben-Gay on my back and aim to make the rounds of the regular suspects soon, as well as add more of my own words here on the screen. No promises, but a good faith effort to try.

A final thought that will have meaning only to folks I know through the Thomas Dolby world. After fourteen years of providing a link to fans of Mr. Dolby - and keeping his most loyal followers in the know - the Alloy fan mailing list is closing down. I've been the owner of the list since 2006, and I've tried to keep it alive. But, with the official website, a new official announcement list, and new music on the horizon (including a new EP being mixed in LA as I type!), Alloy has reached the end of its path. After consultation with Thomas, we determined that it was time for me to close it down. Most folks have been understanding, and, while many are sad to see it go, it's time.

I just want to say thank you to Thomas for his support and encouragement (and music!) and to all the members of the list for having been part of this community for so long. To all of the Alloy folks: be well, find the path that makes you happy, and I hope to see you out on the Flat Earth Society!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

To all the mothers I know, I wish you a day surrounded by love and appreciation for all you do. I respect, admire, and envy you. Peace and love to you all on this - and every - day.

Mom at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas, 1943.