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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Oh the Sights: Going and Seeing...More!



Even when I was a kid, I loved driving. Sometimes you just want to get in your car and drive. Drive down roads you never take, go directions you havent been, just strike out Accident Shots without a plan. Since I am given to impulsive adventure, I keep a camera in my vehicle for anything interesting that might happen. Typically I enjoy the landscape and the beauty of nature along a drive. However; one really odd thing comes to mind, I ALWAYS try to get a snapshot of wrecks. Wrecks constitute two points of reality, two forms of matter "attemptying" to occupy the same space at the same time. Not gonna happen. Invaribly, someone gets hurt or worse due to someone's carelessness and/or just pure mishap.


Driving Adventures
Driving I-24 is a wreck-lovers paradise. 10 miles in any direction is certain to please. I realize how sadistic this may sound but keep in mind, I am glad its them and not me...no really! But everybody gets their turn at the wheel of pain and I'm ok with that. I was on 840 when I saw a angry wildfire devouring the side of the interstate. Fascinating: the fire looked like rushing water charging up the sides of the trees. Wrecks now days always result with someone pacing around on a cell phone. Remember when nothing happened until the police showed up. Now you can practically settle the claim before the lights ever go blue.

odd sights
What is this? Who uses it for what and how?



I have seen and photographed many wrecks. Occassionally I encounter something so ODD that I have to get a shot of that too...something I have no idea what I am looking at. I saw this car towing it presumably headed to New York, or at least that was the liscence plate. It was another I-24 east event. I still dont know what it is or what it might be used for. I am sure you can think of some really good captions. However; if you DO know what this is, please share!

Strange habits for normal people. Cameras are everywhere now; especially where you never even considered. Technology is booming and being "tiny" matters. Meanwhile, watch out for strange people driving on a cell phone, taking pictures, doing anything else while listening to the radio.




Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hector's Wedding

It was a joyous occassion full of nervous excitement. Its fascinating to watch two people merge into one...sorta like a swirl icecream machine blending lives, families, beliefs, hopes, dreams and futures into one treat. I met Hector's brother in the bathroom and after striking up a conversation, I was soon recounting the events of our meeting and how critical that has been to my success. In short, he's kinda responsible for me being back in church, married and happy. Well of course the brother couldnt believe such an unbelieveable story. He drags me out to his father to tell the story again. "You gotta hear this!" he exclaimed. My wifey was already greeting the father; so I tell the whole story again. Great families with miraculous promise that have already survived great odds. Tremendous! Below are a few shots from the spectacular wedding made only less spectacular by an even less spectacular photographer.









Its all grand!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Tomb Raider!!!




I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have no idea if there is ground , bridge, or air beyond it. Its been a long two weeks for me and it has been capped off by a coming funneral. One of my uncle's passed last night. My father his brother left me a voicemail with the news. I couldnt help but wonder what he was wondering. Is he wondering who will be the next one? Is he just sad at the loss? Does he fear the future coming? Is he excited about the unknown; but perceived known?

Long life is a blessing. Every blessing comes with a slight curse. In long life, one must watch others pass by the roadside. If one falls, the others must keep walking. I have noticed many times that the world keeps going. I have respect for the dead. When the funneral passes, I feel obligated to stop and give honor in letting those grieving pass. Their headlights are typically on...isnt that slightly interesting too. It's much like birth — for one moment in time the world acknowledges your existence, celebrating that reality. Of course not everyone stops. In fact this ball of lucky mud keeps spinning in space until it own funneral. It really wont be halted by us ... or will it?
By nature we little gods are such wierd little beings afraid that what we don't know, knows us....





The light speaks of itself going into the darkness and being unknown that all may know.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Blossoms of Inspiration




There is a beautiful release that comes just from writing...just letting it flow. This can easily be complicated by expectations, schedules and anticipations. For me, it works best when I dont plan and just start typing. But I would have to confess, a daily blog can be a bit of a challenge day after day. That is part of the magic — trying to keep it simple and honest, an emptying of only oneself and nothing more.



Inspiration comes as easy as the next breath. Of course that for me is "if" I dont read the previous blog or comments and try to "one up" or "do better" than the previous blog. That robs something from the process for me. Take now, as I see the words form, I am still wondering if this blog will be relevant or even good...I dont know and that's OK I've decided in advance. The magic is in the journey; the destination nev er changes. Hmmm...theres a thought to reflect on for later, maybe now.



ANYWAY, I couldnt help but notice how much warmth is coming from the suns rays this morning...like a big fuzzy hug. I had a great time at church last nite with an inspiring message. That keeps it interesting for me; to be challenged with good information that actually makes sense too with practicals.



I am enjoying this day surrounded by all my gadgets and friends. Its just so nice! The soft swish of my fishtank and the beams of glittering light washing across my keyboard/desk remind me of the great design that reality is so fitted around. Its nice to think that we are more than just lint.





I received this email from a friend who has a great dog she needs to pass along to a good family...
Hey All ~
 
I need your help.  As you know I have the 4 dogs.  Recently there has been a lot of tension that has developed between 2 of them (Ruga and Charlie).   Ruga (my smallest) has decided that he needed to show his dominance around the house and has started picking fights with Charlie.   
 
I have come to the conclusion that I need to find a home for Charlie. I took him in about 2 1/2 years ago when he showed up at my house on a cold January night.  You can tell that he has been abused, but he is the sweetest, most lovable dog and he does not have an ounce of aggression in him.  He is wonderful in the house......half the time I have to go looking for him because he has found a corner to lay in.   He is an older dog -- the vet is guessing 8-9 years old.  He looks like he is a mix breed of a German Shepherd/Yellow Lab/Beagle.  And he weighs about 55-60 pounds.  He has had all of his shots and up on his heart-worm medicine but he is not neutered.  He would make the perfect farm/house dog.  Everyone has suggested taking him to a no-kill shelter, but he is an old dog that I am certain will not adopt out.  The thought of him living in a crate would kill me.
 
If I can't find him a home....my only other choice is to take him to the vet and put him down.  I am pleading with each of you, if you know of anyone that would be interested in taking him please let me know.  I am attaching some pictures of him.
 
I really appreciate all of your help.....email: zozobean@comcast.net




Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Flying Colors

monarch butterfly

Lately I have been followed by dragonflies and recently monarch butterflies. Sometimes things mean something and other times, we just want them to. Aren't we always looking for ways to explain who, what, how, where and when the future is coming to us and by what means. That quest is as old as time.

As a student and mayor of Nerdville, I collected and studied these from a very young age. It is magic — this transformation from crawling to flying. Maybe that is what makes the series Heros so interesting to we nerds...the possibility that ordinary me could become extraordinary...that my presence might have a significance beyond time and measure. Yada yada yada...ok...nevermind.


So this is a few things I found out about butterflies.
Butterfly/Caterpillar's Wisdom Includes:
* The power of the whirlwind
* Reincarnation
* Transformation
* Transmutation
* Magick



Others believe other things.



Monday, September 17, 2007

A Free Slave Again





Freedom can be a beautiful thing. Like all beautiful things, ugly lurks just beyond the first glimpse. I was just remembering the first time I had gone away to college. It was the first time I had been away from the stern patterns and paths set before me in stone by my parents. There was no question in those days about what was and wasnt acceptable. There were no grey areas on "acceptable behavior" or "expectations" concerning life, the future and daily habit.


I remember shaving for the first time. It was an odd sensation from the vantage of having watched my father do it many times, realizing that soon, I too, would be old. I remember my mother teaching me how to iron and do laundry. It was when I did my first load/ironing, that I too would be independent -- the man and the woman of my household metaphoricly speaking. All these realizations are great and probably necessary. But shortly after/before all these — there's a bump in the night; there's something else that becomes horrifyingly obvious!


I am alone! I can DECIDE to NOT go to class. I don't have to do anything I don't want to. I can stay up past midnight. I can sleep in during the week. I am the boss of me now! That startling freedom so easily becomes the jailer. Not to mention, there are truck loads of people urging you along "their" directions..."live free," "be yourself," "be like me," "who cares," etc. It doesn't take long for new habits to replace old forced ones. The fight for self ensues. It would seem that everything before now would become a casualty of war.


Soon the reflection in the mirror would speak first and I would be answering to it. I remember the confusion and wonder of identity vs new identity. I remember the struggle of trying to get all my new monsters back into the little box when going home for the summer or on occassion I would get a visit. Oh how smooth one could make the surface look for just a few brief moments. Suffication, one might describe it as...but soon all this "judgement" would be gone and we/I could be my new me again. They wouldnt understand...besides that was then; this is now. The mind always finds a way to justify "less...;" less commitment, less belief, less responsibility, less fault.


It was years later that I discovered that the old me was the real and stronger me. I was already myself. The things I had learned growing up were the real truths about the world and the people in it...including myself. College seemed a vacation of social education moreso than books; besides, my thind grade teacher had put me way ahead on the lessons of the future. I am reminded of an Indigo Girls lyric from the song Jonas and Ezekial that goes:
"...when i was young
my people taught me well
give back what you take
or you'll go to hell
it's not the devil's land you know
it's not that kind
every devil i meet becomes a friend of mine
every devil i meet is an angel in disguise
jonas and ezekial hear me now
steady now don't come out
i'm not ready for the dead to show its face
whose turn is it anyway?...." more...


I said all that to say this: Some of the old folks were right. Good does win over evil. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Be a good person. Work hard. Be honest. Mean what you say and say what you mean. Keep your word; people won't forget that. Some things are better than gold.

I found this line in a great blog:
"We often become dependent on what are free to do.
Therefore we become un-free.


Don't we always think that in the absence of authority, we can be free; but isnt the opposite really true.




Friday, September 14, 2007

Friday Fixin's and such....




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RECIPE: SPICY CORN BAKE

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INGREDIENTS:
1/4 lb. Bacon, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 C. Onion, diced
1/3 C. Celery, diced
1/3 C. Green Bell Pepper, diced
1 stick, Butter (1/4 lb.), plus 2 Tbsp. melted,
1/4 C. Milk
1 can (13.5 oz. ) Cream Style Corn
1 can (13.5 oz. ) Whole Kernel Corn
2 Tbsp. Jalapenos, chopped fine
2 Tbsp. Pimentos, chopped fine
1 tsp. Salt
1 Tbsp. Sugar
2 C. Corn Bread Muffins, Crumbled

DIRECTIONS:
In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Add onion, celery and bell pepper and saute 2 minutes over
low heat; set aside. In medium-size pan, melt 1/4 pound butter; add milk, corn, jalapenos, pimentos, salt and sugar;
heat over low heat. Add bacon-vegetable mixture and 1 C. corn bread crumbs to corn mixture. Heat well, stirring frequently.
Transfer to an 8-inch-square-by-11/2-inch pan. Moisten remaining corn bread crumbs with remaining margarine and
sprinkle on top of corn mixture. Bake at 350 degrees until crumbs are light brown

Yield: 8 Servings




CORN ON THE COB...HOW TO COOK IT?


Boiling: Length of cooking time depends on the freshness
of the corn. If the corn is young, fresh and tender (picked
that morning), remove the husks and cook for 2 minutes
maximum in rapidly boiling unsalted water (salt makes the
kernels tough) and forget the sugar, the corn is sweet enough.
If the corn is a bit older or has been refrigerated, boil it
for 4 minutes.

Microwave: Best for cooking only one or two ears of corn.
Cook with husks off at the highest setting (one ear for 2
minutes, two ears for 5). Rub ears with butter or olive oil
before cooking, if desired.

Roasting on the grill: Husks on or off, there's really no
need to soak the ears or remove the silks (they'll come off
with the husk). Place on hot grill. If husks are on, let
them char a bit to impart a wonderfully smoky flavor to the
corn and grill six to eight minutes. Or remove husks for
beautiful color and taste (the heat caramelizes the sugar
in the corn) and grill for 3 minutes.

Roasting in the oven: Set temperature to 450 degrees and roast
six to eight minutes with husk on. If you desire seasoning,
first pull back the husk, rub with flavored butter or olive
oil and pull the husks back over the tops. more...

ENJOY!
(P.S. get plenty of toothpics...!)



Thursday, September 13, 2007

Tangled Freedom



Today is an easy Thursday. We were out yesterday due to office painting. It was all worth it. It can be a bit terrifying to disconnect a perfectly working system. But hey, that's why you hire professionals! In spite of it all, it still seems like a long week. I had a great day Wednesday and looking forward to an even better Thursday nite. For sure, it's gym nite —— Hit it hard and Hurt it bad; make it GROW! I am still on target for 20lbs by December. Hopefully that includes a well cut 20.

Nonetheless, it was a great day. After a long workout and cooking dinner at 9pm; we played Wii all nite and rushed to the office the next morning knowing the sooner it started, the sooner it would end. Then comes the weekend. It promises to be a great weekend.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Back to the Beginning...

Happy Birthday!

It is with each passing year, we celebrate our beginning, our origin, our birth...that magic moment that we were released from the water to the air; from the warm into the cold, from expectation into reality. Such is the stuff of many great stories. I cannot pretend to know or understand the mysteries of birth or the female body or even conception; but since you are reading and I am writing; we WON our race. It's September 10th and I hope my father is celebrating his 61st birthday well. Funny thing about birthdays...they signify the beginning; but always leave you thinking about the end.


Anyway, It's fascinating some of the time to watch people age. You compare your past memories against what you see before you and your mind fills in the blanks. I am sure its like the hope a young couple has when they first behold their new bundle of joy and look into the future waiting for its life to fill in the blanks. One thing I notice for sure; the older we get, the more like children we become. A little of the magic comes back into our lives. We begin to relish mystery and surprise again; hope for the impossible and reach for the attainable. There's alot of directions this blog could take; especially since the one typing is sitting in a chair in the middle of nowhere, drifting where time and distance from reality are immeasureable. Remember when you used to think; someday I will be 20, 30, 40 or whatever age.


Now its exactly the same except: I wish I was 20, 30, 40 or whatever. At 40, I am not sure there is anywhere else I would rather be...which sounds funny even to me; nontheless true. Since I cannot write what must be going through his mind; I substitute with my own reflections and observations. Ironicly, as people get older; they tend to communicate a lot more about ANYTHING. I can remember a time that 10 words in a sentence might happen on holidays or right after I did something bad and some memorable punishment was forthcoming. NOW, its like a faucet without the spicket. Timeout! Whoa! Way too much information. I didn't aks for that! Uhh...I need to go. (just keepin' it real!)


It's all been enwisening to watch and experience aging. My wife said somthing once (sorry honey, just an expression...) that rings true during a conversation with her father, "It's ok that you suffer from old age — it helps me prepare by learning from your example...who else is going to teach me..." I am sure I am butchering her conversation; but the jest of it is that those before us prepare our understanding of what is to come. It's easy to look and see where and how the wrinkles form, the grey hairs, the hairline or lack of, the softening of the body etc. Afterall, you've seen very few musclular babies! We return the way we came in. I comprehend that is all its ugly realities and that's ok (or at least it might as well be).


Anyway, like children, our faces light up when we receive the gifts we REALLY wanted or see some old friend we truely have missed or just get mystified by the simple pleasure of living; even just watching fireflies across grassy fields at dusk. I saw his eyes light up at the mention of a 4-wheeler (not that "I think" he needs one or that it is the safest of presents); but it certainly frames up the Christmas list (or later) if "the Lord be willin' and the creek dont rise." (southern colloquialism) Life is short and precious; live it to the fullest. Every birthday is a tremendous blessing and another chance to smile and pass it on so someone else can too!


Oops, Ma, No Wheels!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Friday Fixin's and ALL that!






What a beautiful Nashville Friday!


Well its Friday and its been a smooth, steady week. The morning commute consisted of a sunrise worthy of pulling over and taking a picture; but I didnt. The temperature has been enuf to consider skipping the rest of this day; but I didnt. Instead I am plugging away at some projects and taking time to reflect and be thankful. It's gonna be a great weekend. Aside from working out, eating, Wii-ing, shooting pool, churching, visiting friends and neighbors; our friend Hector Belardo is getting married!
Slight history: I worked out at the same gym as Hector for years and he kept on inviting me to his church; which I politely declined and easily dismissed...besides, that was the last thing I was in the market for. I grew up in churches and was sick of the mess, division, confusion, unanswered questions, etc. Ironicly, my younger brother got married before me and our youngest brother passed out at the wedding and had to be rushed to the hospital. Long-story-short; his NURSE turns out to be Hector — the last of my expectations! This guy is a Puerto Rican tank and shredded like cheddar cheese...it was the last thing I expected. After watching how well he took care of little brother; I knew I owed him....so I tried his "church." However; he was right; I LOVED this one. It was different. I lost count of the different kinds of people surrounding me. Perhaps this was home. 5 years later, I am happily married and still attending. Thanks Hector.


Anyway, we ran into him again after going to visit a sick church member and found out about his wedding. We are so happy for him and his bride. He is a tremendous person. We wish you the best of joy in this time of celebration and life-altering union. You will always live in my legends of great individuals. And on to the "fixin's!"





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RECIPE: PENNE PASTA WITH PORTOBELLO & CHEESE

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INGREDIENTS:
2 tablespoons Chopped onion
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon Olive oil
1 cup portobello mushrooms sliced
1 cup Canned Italian tomatoes, chopped & reserve liquid
5 small black olives, sliced in half
1/8 teaspoon Crushed red pepper
2 cup Cooked penne pasta
3 teaspoons fresh grated parmesan cheese
Fresh basil leaves for garnish

DIRECTIONS:
In a 3 quart microwavable casserole, combine onion, garlic
and oil and stir to coat. Microwave on high (100%) for 1
minute. Add mushrooms and tomatoes with reserved liquid and
stir to combine. Cover and microwave on high for 7 minutes,
stirring once every 3 minutes. Add olives and pepper and stir
thoroughly. To serve, in serving bowl arrange pasta; top with
mushroom-tomato mixture and toss to combine. Sprinkle with
cheese and garnish with basil.


homemade caramel popcorn

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RECIPE: BIG BATCH OF HOMEMADE CARAMEL CORN

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INGREDIENTS:
1 cup butter
2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
6 quarts popped, unflavored popcorn
2 cups unsalted peanuts or mixed nuts

DIRECTIONS:
Melt butter; stir in brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt.
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring;
5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in baking soda and vanilla.
Gradually pour over popped corn, mixing well. Turn into 2
large cookie sheets and bake in a 250 degree oven for 1
hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool
completely. Break apart and enjoy.

Yield: 5 quarts of delicious sweet caramel corn to eat and share!




Well, that wraps up another Friday Fixins'! May your weekend be filled each other and love for your brothermen/women. May your weekend be only the beginning of a spectacular week. Be safe, be happy, be full.

Fridays are perfect for golfing...at least a Wii bit



Electronic Swing Groover II - Golf Coach And AnalyzerElectronic Swing Groover II - Golf Coach And Analyzer Clear Pine Finish. Extra long to support the special mattresses supplied by many colleges. The perfect size and cost for a college dorm room. These loft beds have a clearance of 52 inches under the bed. This item is the loft bed frame only mattress and chair not included.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Descension Into Flight






Today's thoughts are weighted; completely opposite the numerous monarch butterflies and dragonflies I have been surrounded by this week. Fascinating to watch and behold, they spark something childish inside — the power to marvel and believe; to dream; to fantasize about maybes. Adult life is typically different from that. All those things get chased away or caged in the back of your mind with a sheet wrapped thickly around. What does any of the mean? I don't know except I know that you know like you know that I know. We all do. It is the stuff of boogymans and tales of the world we live in. It is the reality of the human monsters that terrorize our innocence and humanity and safety.


Perhaps it is necessary to be human to be monsters. Animals only do what they must; we (people) choose. Choice is a terrible and delicious fruit capable of giving you diarreah....the only question is what will the scent be; not if there will be one. Again, I know you know that I know that you know what that means. We comprehend that as adults. How we got from butterflies and dragonflies to here — hungh? Simple...we catch butterflies and dragonflies and put them into glass jars so we can posess what we cannot do ourselves....hoping that we might learn the magic of their abilities. Such is the rumor of life's pursuit.....



...but maybe we just hope that somewhere between catapillar and butterfly, we won't remain bugs....





Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Here's to a Wiiderful Weekend



I had an excellent fantastic weekend. It was jam-packed with all the best parts of life. PLUS; it was an extra day longer than a regular weekend. ...and yet, one more day wouldn't have been contested. Friday afternoon began with rendevousing with my wifey at home and heading to our favorite mexican restaurant, Las Palmas. I hesitate to mention it for my own selfish reasons of keeping it a best kept secret so the lines aren't so long. Great food and good friends. Speaking of which, our usual suspects in crime are out of commission due to illness. Hopefully everyone is up to par soon. Best wishes. Nonetheless, we opted to skip shooting pool since it was kinda late and the later you go, the more chance of encountering "second hand smoke." We went to Hollywood Video instead and rented movies, got groceries and headed home.

Saturday morning came early and we were ready! By eight, we were off to the gym to pay our dues for the well used night before. That's our routine. We eat, we workout. Even better, I met my brother Chris and his son Christopher there; so I got in a workout with my brother too! We had a good one! I miss our workouts together. Miraculously we have ended up at the same gym again and living in proximity of each other. We would be babysitting later that night with Christopher. My sister-in-law is an aspiring country music singer and craftess. In order to prepare for such an event; we went Wii shopping after getting in our blood, sweat and tears. You MUST pay the piper. Besides, somehow I intend to add 20lbs by Christmas and possibly — well at least a 3-pack. Of course, after 4 stores, we found Wii. It's been well worth the time, effort and the money!




We had a great cookout on Labor Day! We had loads of hamburgers, hotdogs, bratworsts, and cheese wiennies! That obviously was the meat. Then there was potato salad, baked beans, tomatoes, cheese, pickles, cheesecake, and some other veggies. My sister Michelle, real estate queen and adopted sister, Roshunda, AKA Tiny came over as well as my neighbors. We ate, laughed and wii-ed all afternoon. It was a geat time. It now dawns on me that we have not a single picture...but it will be a long time before any of it can be forgotten. Needless-to-say, it was all big fun!









My Kung Fu is strongggg