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Amazing Photos

I was perusing the flickr pages early this morning, like 6ish or so, and stumbled across the photos of a guy who calls himself crack jackson jr.  If you get a chance, go check out his images.  His perspective and his eye for the shot are pretty incredible.

Essays

Kid In Disguise

Sometimes, believe it or not, I revert back to being a kid. Or at least, I have kid moments. I’m no longer embarrassed by them because, you know, they just happen. Probably, I think, for everyone. My latest, which occurred last night, was by far one of the most hilarious I’ve had.

Here’s the story…

I picked Karen up from the airport last night, she flew in from her latest business trip, and then we met my brother, Kevin, for dinner at Pastini. Dinner was lovely, and tasty. Thanks Kev for the lovely company and for picking up the tab, you are a scholar and a gentleman. The meal passed without incident and afterward we walked our separate ways to our respective vehicles. Ours was parked right in front of the restaurant, but Kev had to walk a couple of blocks down to his. We took off…

Karen and I got to a red light a ways down the road and a car pulled up next to us, but a bit behind us. We thought it was Kev, even though we couldn’t really see the driver, because the car looked very much like his. The light turned green and we moseyed on, moving along the highway out to our house. It was nighttime and so was dark outside. It was then that I got the idea…

I tell Karen that we should pull up next to “Kevin” and make a face and flip him off or something. Karen says, yeah, but we should use the English bird instead of the American one (Martin was kind enough to fill us in on the particulars of the English version last time he and Mary visited). I agree and say, OK, I’ll pull up next to him, turn on the light in the car, and then we’ll do it. So… we do. We pull up next to him, I turn on the overhead light, and we each make silly faces and hold up the sign. Only, it wasn’t Kev. Karen says, in the middle of us doing this… “OH MY GOD, it’s not Kevin. It’s some other guy, with a big mustache. It could be Kev, if he was wearing a fake mustache, but I don’t think he just put on a mustache while he was driving because he knew we’d be idiots and pull a stunt like this.” So, I turn off the light and then proceed to swerve a bit as I laugh so hard I cry, and cry, and laugh. Karen is slumped down in the passenger seat as far as she can be, and trust me, it’s far… she’s small. She tells me she’s embarrassed and that I shouldn’t pull up next to the guy. She keeps saying, let him get ahead of us, or stay ahead of him. The whole time laughing and laughing, it was so damn funny.

Finally, we got to another light that was red, and “Kevin”, who isn’t Kevin, was sitting at the light in the other lane. Karen says to me, OH NO, it’s HIM… and she shrinks back down in her seat again. Luckily we didn’t have to come face to face with him again as the light changed just as we were pulling up and he sped on ahead.

The thing that made this so very funny was that I’d asked her, after she said it wasn’t Kevin, what his reaction was to the whole thing… about the look on his face. She said he had leaned over toward his driver’s side window with a very quizzical expression, as if he was trying to figure out what the heck was going on and who we were. I kept thinking… wow… to be him must have been strange and funny. Can you imagine? Looking over to see the light go on in the car passing you and two perfectly grown up women acting like goofy kids. I can only imagine the stories he’s telling today.

Ah well… it was funny. So funny that I’m sore today from laughing so hard. So funny that when mom called right after it happened and Karen and I were still laughing, she wondered what the heck was going on and Don, who was with her and in the background, wondered what we’d been smoking. He could hear us laughing. My thought about that? We are, sadly or probably not so sadly, just like this naturally. It was so funny that now, writing about it, I’m laughing again. Picturing what I imagine to be “Kevin’s” expression.

Life is a series of large and small adventures. In the grand scheme of things, this was a small one. But for us, and for the imagined “Kevin”, it’s one that will last a long long time, providing, I’m sure, many chuckles and moments of head shaking. Especially from “Kevin” who is, I’m sure, saying to himself, “who were those two ladies who were acting like total kids.” To which I would sheepishly raise my hand and say… it was I. I’m the kid, the kid in a grown person’s body… a kid in disguise.

Words Written

A Cup O’ Joe

I was enjoying my almost daily tasty cup of chai this morning, purchased today at Starbucks, and as I was sipping I read the “The Way I See It” quote #247 on the back of my cup, which was this…

Why in moments of crisis do we ask God for strength and help? As cognitive beings, why would we ask something that may well be a figment of our imaginations for guidance? Why not search inside ourselves for the power to overcome? After all, we are strong enough to cause most of the catastrophes we need to endure.” – Bill Scheel, Starbucks customer from London, Ontario. He describes himself as a “modern day nobody”.

After reading this quote I actually got online a bit later and went to the Starbucks “The Way I See It” section of their webpage. While there I found some really good quotes. I’m going to include a couple of those here. If you’re into this sort of thing and interested in reading more, click the link above. You might not always agree with what you read, but that’s the beauty of words, and opinions, they carry personal meaning, are almost always subject to personal interpretation, and they can spark fantastic conversations.

The Way I See It #31

Risk-taking, trust, and serendipity are key ingredients of joy. Without risk, nothing new ever happens. Without trust, fear creeps in. Without serendipity, there are no surprises. —Rita Golden Gelman Author of Tales of a Female Nomad. She has had no permanent address since 1986.

The Way I See It #233

I used to think that going to the jungle made my life an adventure. However, after years of unusual work in exotic places, I realize that it is not how far off I go, or how deep into the forest I walk that gives my life meaning. I see that living life fully is what makes life – anyone’s life, no matter where they do or do not go – an adventure. —Maria Fadiman Geographer, ethnobotanist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer.

The Way I See It #280

You can learn a lot more from listening than you can from talking. Find someone with whom you don’t agree in the slightest and ask them to explain themselves at length. Then take a seat, shut your mouth, and don’t argue back. It’s physically impossible to listen with your mouth open. —John Moe Radio host and author of Conservatize Me.

The Way I See It #270

Taste is subjective. Taste is democratic. Taste is powerful. Taste – the combination of texture, aroma, temperature, aesthetic and environment – is also a window into someone else’s life or culture. Be confident in your taste, but remain curious and expose yourself to new tastes. Allow your taste to constantly evolve and grow – while keeping and cherishing the memories that taste creates. —Marcus Samuelsson Chef, co-owner of Restaurant Aquavit and author of The Soul of a New Cuisine.

And, lastly, my favorite of the groups I read today. This guy’s description, which I included here in part of the interview Starbucks did with him, of loving unconditionally and paying love forward, is completely inspiring.

The Way I See It #27

Do not kiss your children so they will kiss you back but so they will kiss their children, and their children’s children. —Noah benShea Poet, philosopher and author of Jacob the Baker, Jacob’s Journey and Remember This My Children.

And part of the interview (the rest can be found at the Starbucks website by clicking on the link above) with Noah benShea…

Noah, what was the spark behind this particular quote? Is there a story or event that inspired it? And why did you think it would be particularly suitable for a Starbucks cup?

For five years I wrote a weekly essay for The New York Times Regional Syndicate (and continue to do so on my website, http://www.noahswindow.com.) When my daughter was graduating from university and my son from high school, I stopped to think about all the notes I had left them while they were growing up: Don’t forget to clean up, wash up, pick up, etc. Then it struck me, what if I didn’t think I was coming home, what could happen in any post-9/11 New York minute, what then would I want my kids to remember if I wasn’t around? And I wrote an essay and now a book entitled Remember This My Children.

In that process, it struck me that most of life is a series of reciprocal trade agreements: I give you this. You give me that. Teaching and parenting are the only exception. A teacher or parent gives, and what they get is the unparalleled experience of giving without expectation – the soul-gratifying experience of planting a tree from which you will never pluck the fruit.

I wrote the line trying to touch this idea. This is what I want my children to know. I want them to know that life, in any venue, at its best is an opportunity to pay love forward.

And when the folks at Starbucks told me the title of their program was “The Way I See It,” I thought to myself, bottom line, that’s how I see it. Whether in the schoolroom, the living room, the bedroom, or the boardroom, loving forward is life’s most noble adventure. Love is a ladder; it allows us to climb out of ourselves.