Changes Afoot

Hello all…

I’m going to jump right in… I’ve been restless with the blog.  Not sure how I’ve felt about it for a while now.  Do I get rid of it?  Keep going?  Change platforms?  Change the look?  Change?  Stop?  Change?  It’s a sort of weird mantra.  This annoying question.

I created a page at three other sites hoping to freshen things up, to give it a new feel, a new look, but not lose the content.  I failed three times.  The sites didn’t work like I wanted, the content wouldn’t transfer easily, or would, but then didn’t work when I followed the procedure.  A bunch of glitches.  A bunch of minor frustration, because let’s face it blogging isn’t rocket science or something that will change the world in any way.

In the end, I did what I’ve done in the past.  I started playing around here at WordPress with themes and style.  I trimmed some stuff here and there around the blog.  Extraneous crap, to be honest.  I mean, is anyone really looking at that stuff anyway?  And even deeper, is anyone really even reading this blog?  I’ve been blogging for 15 years.  Yep, you heard that right, 15.  I started at LiveJournal, moved to Blogger, and then came over to WordPress where I’ve been for ages.

Anyway… I wax on.  I ended up, once again, staying here because the content is all here.  I didn’t want to lose any of it.  But, I pruned and simplified.

It’s not for anyone else anyway, it’s for me.  And I couldn’t get rid of it.  I couldn’t get rid of those long-ago essays about my grandma and life and other deaths in my life, I couldn’t get rid of all the photos and travel posts and reviews, couldn’t get rid of my journey when I was sick, or of the myriad of little posts of poetry and art and the other quirky and strange stuff that sometimes catches my attention.

I’ve been in a social media trimming phase over the last several months.  I got rid of a bunch of sites I never used but was a part of.  I’m down to the big ones – Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  I never tweet.  I will probably be getting rid of that as well.  Who knows.  It’s the same process we took with our finances at home – going over everything to see what works, what doesn’t and needs to go.  It’s a good process.  A spring cleaning of sorts.  It’s liberating.

So here I am.  Same old blog, same hosting site, but a new look, a new feel, a new “me”.  We’ll see how it goes.

 

 

 

The Times They are a Changin’

I have, for months and months, and maybe even longer, been thinking about changing the title of this blog.  Which, if you read the description of how I originally came up with the title for the blog, you may think is ironic.  Thinking thinking thinking, mulling mulling mulling.  It goes something like that.  But, life moves, and so do we.  Change can be scary, but also really good.

I need to make it fresh, to enliven it.  Or maybe I need this as an excuse to enliven myself.  Either way, I’ve been thinking about other titles for a long time.  Nothing seemed to fit, until recently, when I came across a quote, it’s actually on my inspirations page of this blog, and was suddenly, another irony, inspired.

The quote, “With an eye made quiet by the power of harmony, and the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things.” ~ William Wordsworth

This means a lot to me.  I have this little mantra, or life philosophy, or whatever you want to call it, made up of four words.  Kindness, joy, hope, love.  The quote by Wordsworth incorporates all of those things.  It is hopeful, speaks to kindest and love, and references joy.

It’s my goal in life to see into things.  Not just look at, look past, look forward to, but to see.  I want to notice life, pay attention, soak it up.  I think my love of the arts and nature and people comes from this place.  My hopeful nature and smiles for people I know and don’t know also come from this place.  I feel like I’ve always known what was really important in life.  I’ve been lucky in that.  Some of the circumstances through my life to this point have just sort of put an exclamation point on it, but I’ve always known.

And the truth is, this is going to sound familiar to anyone who has read anything I’ve ever written here, that the only things that matter in life are the people we love and who love us and the experiences we have with them.  Period.  The end.  Drop the mike.

So, in that vein, taking the focus off of my head, and what’s inside it (speaking to the current title of the blog), I thought I’d change to something that speaks to all of it, the inner and outer worlds.  Something that inspires hope and connection.

Something like, The Life of Things.  “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me, and I’m feelin’ good.”

I believe, since I’m not changing the URL, that your subscriptions and follows will all still work.  Here’s hoping that’s true.

 

 

The Images Are Coming

10543652_10153128637040802_8391498658141029699_nFor several years now I’ve authored more than one blog.  There’s Tam’s Think Tank, where I post everything from movie reviews to essays about life to music I find interesting, the work blog, TJ Parker Photography, and a blog called image-ination, where I’ve done several 365 photography projects over the years.  Keeping the Think Tank and image-ination separate seemed important for a long time, but I’ve streamlined things in my life, simplifying, consolidating. It seems like a natural progression for me to also streamline things in my online life.

In that vein I’ll be closing up shop over at image-ination and migrating all posts over to Tam’s Think Tank so that none of that content will be lost.  I’ll also be creating a new page over here so I can include content about my 365 journey.  It’s my hope the experience I created at image-ination won’t be lost.  I don’t think it will be.  And in fact, I feel like the experience at Tam’s Think Tank, which has gone on for 10 years now, will be enhanced and enriched by this change and the addition of the image-ination content.

For those of you who have followed image-ination and been interested in the images I’ve posted there, I thank you for your interest and your occasional comments on the work.  If you’ve decided to hop on over here and follow the Think Tank, welcome!  I will continue posting images I find interesting, and knowing me, I’m sure I will once again do another 365 at some point.  It was a lovely journey over at image-ination.  I’m looking forward to new and continued adventures over here at the Think Tank!

A Look Back

 

I just realized that it’s the beginning of October.  I started blogging the beginning of October 2005.  Yes folks… I’ve been at this a long long time.  Sometimes I haven’t been the most consistent, going days or even a couple of weeks without a word, and truthfully this is the third blogging platform I’ve used.  Started with Livejournal, then Blogger, and finally WordPress, where I found a permanent home.  Luckily each time I moved platforms I was able to import my old blog posts to this blog you’re reading right now which, thankfully, has it all.  Start to finish.  Pretty cool.  It’s been quite a journey since 2005.

As I re-read these first two entries I had to smile, and be a little sad.  The first entry was after a visit to Karen’s parents place in San Jose.  I had been there before, but not many times at that point so I was still getting to know all of them and they me.  Charles, our nephew, was only 16.  He’s in grad school now at Columbia in NY studying film.  I was smiling reading my entry as I described him as a kid who is passionate about film.  I guess that part stuck.  The second entry was written the morning after my grandmother passed away.  It’s been 8 years and I still cried when I read it.  She was an amazing woman and I see her still in my Mom, my aunts, and in myself.  I’m so proud to be her granddaughter and proud to be a part of the family.

So here they are, the first couple of entries written October 3 and 4, 2005.  I can’t believe I’m still doing this, and still loving it.  Thanks to everyone who’s been reading these little missives of mine since the beginning and stuck with me and also thanks to everyone who’s decided to stop by during that time and especially to those new readers who drop in from time to time, sometimes deciding to stay.  I appreciate you all more than I can say.

I love this blogging thing… a way to express, to write, to share, to throw some of my thoughts out into the world in a real concrete kind of way.  I’ve loved it from the beginning and still do.  Here’s to the next 8 or 16 or 50 years blogging.  I’ll probably still be here.

 

Tuesday, October 4th, 2005
12:10 pm
A life… Beautiful
My grandmother passed away early this morning. I got the call from my mom some time around 6:30, though now it’s hard to remember just when. I drove to work, not really remembering the drive, and have found myself sitting here, not able to concentrate on whatever task it is I’ve had at hand. And that much, I’m sure, is to be expected. I’m working today because, I think, if I didn’t, I’d just be sitting at home, restless… thinking. Instead, I sit here… restless, interrupted at times by a phone call or email I have to answer, and thinking. 

I saw my grandmother three weeks ago. Frail…yes. Tired… absolutely. Full of life… always. She was an amazing woman. Had an amazing life. I walked around my grandparents house three weeks ago in wonder. Slowly passing by photographs of a positively amazing history… awe struck. Phenomenal. 64 years with my grandfather. 64 years of love, of life. A life so rich, so beautiful, that wandering around looking at the record of it, I could feel it’s texture. There were books and drawings, copies of marriage licenses, and picture after picture of a life so full it spilled from those photographs out into the living room, where the miracle of that life sat manifest… in children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. The legacy that’s been left is not just that these people all exist because of her, but that they are all, every last one of them, stellar. Magnificent. They are the best people I know. Intelligent, kind, loving, curious, full of laughter, accepting, driven, artistic, educated, musical, good to the core people. There is never judgment, never an unkind word, ever. They rejoice with each other, celebrate each other, comfort each other… all of them. All the time. There is never a criticism, even a hint of should or shouldn’t… always, in the truest sense of the word, there for each other. My grandparents had seven children, who themselves had 19 children, who themselves have starting bringing many more into the fold. And in the bunch of us, there is not one who is not, in his or her own way, an outstanding human being. All of this, for me, started with my grandparents… the people that they were… are… have been to us. Those two people created the beautiful tapestry that is our family. Those two people created something rare. And we, who are lucky enough to be part of it, know it. It is not, and has never been, taken for granted.

There was a lot of laughter that weekend, three weeks ago, as there always is with this family. My grandmother, central to the scene, as she has always been, involved in it all. I thought to myself, sitting with them that day, what an honor it was, and is, to be a part of it. The luck of my draw. I often wonder how it happened, that I ended up a part of this history, a link in this beautiful chain. I am thankful, every day, for my fortune. I am grateful every day, for the honor of it. And from now, until the end of my days, I will be celebrating my grandmother’s life, as she would’ve wanted me to… by living my life in the best way I can. With joy, love, peace, and happiness, amidst the family… that she made.

Monday, October 3rd, 2005
1:37 pm
Three days in San Jose
Just got home from hanging with the in laws. It was a good trip. Karen’s parents seem to have accepted me, and better yet, they really like me. I think it’s nice for her. All the years of not really being able to be herself, and now she can just be. They are obviously happy she is happy, which is really the important thing anyway. We didn’t do much while we were there, other than hang around chatting, but that was nice. Every time I’m with them I like them more. 

We did go to a movie one night with her sister, Cathy, and her nephew, Charles. I really like that kid. He’s 16 and sort of quirky, and it’s that great kind of quirky. He’s smart, has a great off beat sense of humor, and he doesn’t feel the need to conform to what’s hip. He’s a kid who absolutely loves movies. Old and new, it doesn’t matter. Plus, he knows about them… technique, directors, cast, etc. He’s passionate about it, and that, in anyone, is very attractive. We saw the movie Serenity. Good movie even if you’ve never seen the tv show. There were a lot of people there who obviously had not just watched the tv show, but have gotten into it so much they dress the part. There are clubs for browncoats. Who knew. Not I, but it was pretty entertaining watching them. It was premiere weekend for this particular film and since there’s such a huge cult following, which I also was unaware of, there was a line, the people in costume as I mentioned before, and pre-show trivia complete with prizes for those who knew obscure tidbits about the characters, etc. Needless to say, I didn’t win anything. I did, however, come home with a key chain, thanks to Cathy’s quick grab of a flying key chain after the trivia was over.

Karen’s parents made a full on turkey dinner Saturday night. I guess they figure that they don’t get their kids together very often and since all three were there, it was a time to celebrate. I got the honor of being the forker. When Karen’s dad carves the turkey a person stands there and forks the carved turkey onto the platter. I was told that not everyone gets to be a forker so I was touched he asked me. Standing there, forks at the ready, I felt the pressure to perform and live up to my new post and title. He said I did well, so I might, if I’m lucky, be asked to fork again.

Today I’m lucky enough to be able to hang at home. Relax after traveling. Karen, busy as she is, had to go in to work today. A perk of my job is getting to take off quite a bit of time. I’m fortunate enough to earn comp time on top of my accrued vacation time, so that helps. I slept in today. What a luxury. Sitting here sipping on green tea, still wearing pajamas that I know I won’t change out of, looking outside at the forest and the rain, I think it’s time to head in and see what movie I can find to watch. It’s Monday, and I’m home. How lucky am I?

 

To Blog Or Not To Blog

I guess there is no question…

Facelift

Every once in awhile I get a hankering to mix things up here at the Think Tank. Today I changed the blog theme I use. I like this one. I realize some people have more of a problem with the white writing on the black background, but I’m going to test it out for a time. Have no fear, if I’m not a total fan I won’t leave it this way. I’ll change it again. And to be honest, I will probably change it again at some point again in the future. That’s what happens to a blogger who gets restless.

100,154

Wow….  I just realized I’ve passed the 100,000 hits mark on my blog.  Amazing….  Thanks for reading and for continuing to come back.  Much love…

Boxes to Fill and It’s Raining Outside

I’m sitting here at the computer not doing what I’m supposed to be doing, but then… exactly what am I supposed to be doing? Packing. Yes, I should be packing. Books into tubs to take, kitchen glasses, plates, etc. Those are my tasks. I need to get to them. Yet, I blog, I surf, I go into the ol’ flickr account and organize photos. I’m avoiding the packing. Five weeks to go. Five weeks on Thursday. Not many weekends left until the big Uhaul leaves the town of Scappoose and heads east toward our new home in Urbana, IL.

I’m excited for the future… for the change, the adventure, the new life moments created with our grandson and the kids, the pups, and each other. I’m very excited about all of that. I’m excited about living in and decorating a new house, about planting new flowers, about riding our bikes and walking around a new town. I’m excited for the friends we will make and the times we will have.

It’s just that I don’t want to pack… not right now. Not right now I don’t. It’s raining outside and dreary on this not so sunny Oregon summer day. The dogs are asleep on their beds here in the office. My honey is working away… hard and with purpose. In command of her job and what she does so well. I’m listening to her type and talk on the phone and be in charge. It’s impressive. Weston snores occasionally and the little girlie changes positions every now and then. They look up at us hopefully every so often thinking maybe if I look at you and then at my ball and then at you again I will get you to play with me. Will you? I say to them… later babies. I promise. And we will.

It’s a Tuesday…

Posts Coming

We got into Urbana last night after a LONG day of driving with enough time to find a branch of our Illinois bank and make a deposit, give Kev a mini driving tour of the cities, and have a cup of custard at the Custard Cup. No time left to upload photos and blog about yesterday’s journey. I promise to do it tonight from our room in Chicago… Including a post about events today.

We said goodbye to the bean this morning… Leaving it and it’s contents in the good hands of Charlie and Jennie. Jennie was kind enough to give us a ride back into town to the train station so we could check in, and then to the Kopi cafe for a nice sit down cup of coffee. That place is a keeper and we had a really nice chat with Jennie. She then went the extra mile and brought us back to the train station where she was finally rid of us. What a great lady. Really like her.

So here we are… Waiting for the train and the next part of our adventure!

A Little Construction Is Needed

I was looking over my blog yesterday, and today a bit I must say, and noticed that some things have not been updated in over a year.  Music preferences, books I’ve read or am reading, and such and so forth.  Admittedly I’ve been a tad busy over the last several months, but now… well now I think it’s time to do a little blog construction.  I will go over the little sections on the side and update them for your viewing and exploring pleasure.  Or not.  Look if you will, don’t if you must not.  Either way, I’ll feel that I at the very least gave it a little spit polish.  A little shine.

I’ve already added a link on the side, in it’s own section, called poem flow.  If you click that link it will take you to a new page where a poem will flow in front of your eyes.  It will be a new poem every day.  Kinda cool actually.  So keep your eyes peeled (a nasty sounding expression if there ever was one).  There may be other fun additions as I tidy up.

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 24,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 5 fully loaded ships.

In 2010, there were 181 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 1984 posts. There were 13 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 3mb. That’s about a picture per month.

The busiest day of the year was January 7th with 213 views. The most popular post that day was 50 Movies of The Future… And Some Sequels.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were networkedblogs.com, en.wordpress.com, mail.yahoo.com, facebook.com, and search.aol.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for movies that will make you cry, wedding script, stow, blade runner, and gaudi buildings.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

50 Movies of The Future… And Some Sequels November 2009
3 comments

2

13 Films That Will Make You Cry August 2009
4 comments

3

A Script For A Wedding January 2010
6 comments

4

10 Cheesy Movies I Love… and two bonus features August 2008
4 comments

5

Pass and Stow February 2008

Yes, Another Blog

And yes, I know I already have two going.  This and image-ination.  I know a person can get too blog heavy.  It’s a sad fact.  But there’s a reason for this madness.  And here it is…

This blog is about my life.  Photos, stuff I like, things I’m thinking about, what we’re doing, etc.  A hodge podge if you will.  Everything and the kitchen sink.  Messy, but I like it that way.  The Think Tank will always be here, at least right now I feel that’s the case.  I’ll always have something to say and besides, it’s a great way for people who don’t live near us, and even some who do, to keep tabs on what we’re up to.  I’m not always the most prolific, but am going to try and consciously keep this bad boy pretty active, up and running, especially after I leave my current job.   The second blog,  image-ination, is all about photography for me.  A way to make me stay connected to that.  That blog will probably end up being attached to the new website I’ll have when this photography thing really gets off the ground and running.  At least, that’s what I’m sort of envisioning right now.

So the new blog… Karen and I were talking about my changing careers mid stream.  Doing something totally different and new, something I’ve always wanted to do, and what’s that’s like.  There are so many emotions wrapped up in this decision.  Excitement, sadness about leaving where I am, apprehension about trying to make the new gig work, elation that I’m getting to do this at all, etc.  Loads of new and different feelings hitting me multiple times a day.  It’s also interesting from a sociological place.  What’s this do to someone, what’s it look like, how does navigating this whole scenario play out.  We thought it would be interesting to have a blog dedicated to that journey, to this new experience.

Hence… Door Number 2.  Because, after all, I’m opening a new door.  I wonder what’s behind it?  I wonder where it will lead?  The only way to find out is to walk through.  The new blog is going to be the story of this new chapter in my life.  How it feels, what it looks like, the reality of it.  Should be interesting.  I, for one, can’t wait to see what happens.

Speaking Of The Wedding

I just realized I’ve been so caught up in everything, and also I just finished uploading the 909 photographs I took at the wedding which was a long ass process, I haven’t posted anything about the wedding. This fact is more than lame… it’s inexcusable.  So, without further ado…. I will post about the wedding this weekend and catch all ya’all up to date.  It was one of the top three experiences of my life.  The first two being meeting Karen and our own wedding.   Just an incredible time in Chicago.  Keep your eyes peeled and your ears ready… those posts are coming to a screen near you shortly.

And Thus Ends The Onslaught

I am now pretty much done with the barrage of posts related to our lives in the last month or so.  I will be going back and tagging, assigning to categories, and setting up some links within the posts if anyone is interested in learning a bit more about some of the things I wrote about.  If not… ignore the links.  For now I’m caught up.  Current if you will.  I hope to keep that up, to keep current.  It’s easier for me and easier for all ya’all (how was that Charlie?) as well.  Cheers on a Wednesday night everyone.  It’s October 28… Tam… Out.

An Inundation of Posts

I’m to page 36, working my way backwards to one, of my Flickr pages. I started at 57 yesterday. Don’t worry I won’t be posting everything. Just stuff I think people will find interesting. And, of course, just stuff I find interesting. :-). Man, I really need to do a better job of keeping up with our lives. This has gotten WAY out of hand. Hang in there with me, it’s going to be a semi long and sometimes bumpy ride.

Place Keeper Post 101

Yes folks… we are back from camping, back from Maggie’s birthday party, and there has been progress on the addition.  Progress as in the sheet rock is almost done and the windows are supposed to come today.  After that… paint.  After that… tile.  After that… finishing plumbing and electrical.  After that… or during all of that… finishing trim.  Then… ta da…. bathroom complete.  I will, I promise, post some in the next day or two.  Loads going on today so it might end up being tomorrow.  Took a couple of decent shots over in Central Oregon so I’ll get those up, plus some interesting anecdotes about the trip.   Until then… have a great day out there ya’all!

Growing Blogs

Sounds a bit like if you don’t watch out my blog will attack… like a weird jungle plant or a seemingly docile pet.  Fear not.  Really it’s the WordPress Growing Blogs report and today the Think Tank is at #23 on the list.  Not bad.  Think of all the blogs in all the wordpress stratosphere and there’s my little ol’ blog.  #23 on the growing list.  I don’t know who’s reading me, besides my family and friends, but… I like it.  And most humbly… thanks.

Testing The Twitter Link

This is sort of a non-post post.  Which suddenly just made me think of post toasties.  Wasn’t that a cereal once?  Or possibly still?  But, I digress.  Here’s the deal.  Most of you who know me know I’m a bonafide geek.  Very nerdy, in a cool flip flops and t-shirts tokenhippygirl kinda way.  I love all things gadget.  All things geeky electronic.  All things techie.  This probably stems from my early exposure to the original Star Trek series, among other sci-fi/fantasy greats like Land of the Giants, Godzilla movies, and the Six Million Dollar Man/Bionic Woman series on TV.  So when this whole social networking thing started I was in.  First… I blog.  Then… I Facebook.  Then… I Tweet.  Now… I integrate these things into one tokenhippygirl network that will some day <insert evil laugh here> take over the world.  Uh… was that my outside voice?  I think it might have been.  Now, though I don’t know if I’ve done it correctly, when I blog a snippet of that blog will appear on my Twitter feed with a link back to my blog.  Circular dude.  Very circular.  I love this.  I also am totally in love with Twitter right now.  At first I was like… OK, how is this cool.  But seriously… it’s cool, to this geeky girl anyway, because I can pick people to “follow” and when I do they start to appear in my stream.  How is this cool you ask?  Well let me tell you… it’s cool because I have decided to follow things/people like The New York Times, Rachel Maddow, Neil Gaiman, Time Magazine, Ann Curry, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Mraz, etc.  It’s cool because when one of them posts something, I see it.  Which means that I’m getting great live streaming news action snippets all in one place.  I can scroll through and if any one particular thing looks interesting, and there’s a link attached to it that will whisk me away to the main story page, I can then get whisked away to the main story page and read the meat of what’s there.  Great for a person who likes to get her info from many different sources.  Great for a girl who’s interested in many different things.  I’m following news agencies, family, writers, actors, friends, sports people, magazines, etc.  And now I don’t have to “run around” to various different sites.  I just go there, and I get what Anderson Cooper has to say, or Air America Media.  It’s awesome.  L-O-V-E it.  Not what I thought I’d ever use it for, and totally what I’m ending up using it for.  It’s a real tweet for anyone like me, get it… tweet… bah ha ha ha!!… OK, I’m better now… Anyway… it’s a treat for any geeky jeans and shorts wearin’ corny curious soul of a person like me.  Check it out.  What can I say… it’s cool.

Driving

Driving back from the outback with Liz and blogging from the iPhone. Tricky eh?

Sadness By The Dashboard Light

Not to sound like Meatloaf or anything, but I was just opening up my wordpress dashboard… kind of the control room for all things blog… and noticed the stats graph.  To be pun-ish and intend it, it’s a very graphic description of how many viewers I haven’t had today.  bah ha ha ha!  Makes me laugh really.  I go in, to tweak or post, or fiddle with my blog and every time I hit the dashboard I see it, right there in front of me.  It’s either the thrill of victory or the agony of da feet.  Today… da feet.  But hey, I don’t do this for the groupies anyway (that was a bit of an inside joke stolen from my buddy Ted, who I used to work with, who always said… I’m in this for the groupies).  If you knew, you’d laugh.  I think I’m feelin’ a little punchy today.  Must be the damn snow!

A Photo Blog

OK readers… I’ve gone and done something some of you will consider wacky. What is this crazy thing you ask? Simply… I’ve created another blog.

The reason I’ve gone and done this crazy thing is because I wanted to try something. I wanted to see if I could post a new photograph every day for a year, starting January 1, 2008. A sort of photographic record of a year in my life.  I thought, he… this will be interesting to do, fun to look back on, and it will force me to get into the habit of taking my camera everywhere I go.  In order to make it simple, keep it it’s own entity, I decided this little project needed a place of it’s own. Hence the creation of the new blog.

Every day, for a year, I’ll be posting a new picture. I’ve actually started posting already, one yesterday and one today, just using photos I’ve already taken, stuff I really like. There won’t be much commentary, if any, just a photograph. No special subject matter constraints either, so one never knows what one might see there (other than definitely no nudity or anything profane). Go and check it out… the site is called image-ination. Just click the link and you’ll be there. I’ve also put a link to it under the LiFe section on the right of this blog.

As I said… check it out and let me know what you think. I’ll start posting the new pictures January 1.  And remember… there’s a picture waiting to be taken everywhere you look.

510

Somehow I missed the fact that I passed by 500th post without mentioning it, or really, without even noticing it.  Seems I’ve been at this so long now it just wasn’t something on my radar.  So, in honor of passing the milestone I will just say… wow.  Who would’ve thought I’d still be at this two years later.  Amazing.   Yeah me.  I’m throwing confetti at myself… ow… damn… got some in my eye.  Bummer.

By Popular Demand

You’ve spoken, and I’ve heard you.  I had a few requests to change the template I was using for my blog.  I had a dark background, as most of you who read regularly probably were aware.   It seems the dark background was tough for some to read, so… by popular demand, I’ve changed it.  At least, this is what it is today.  I could change again, but if I do I promise I’ll keep the background white.

Playing Around With The Blog

Lately I’ve been trying on new looks for the blog.  WordPress has several templates to choose from and me, being me, had to check out a few.  If you’ve visited a couple of times you’ve probably seen some of them.  The most recent is my favorite I think.  I know some people don’t like the darker blogs as much, but I love how my pictures look against the darker background.  I have to apologize to Penny though, check out the previous post, as with this template her part in the word play is a bit dark.  I tried to correct that obvious faux pas, to no avail.  You can still read it, with a little effort and hopefully not too much eye strain.  If I can fix it I will.  Otherwise, I think, at least for the time being or until I get restless again with the look of things, I’ll be keeping this template.  Hope ya’all like it, or at least that you keep reading.  Cheers.

The Great Migration – Revisited

 

The Great Migration
Published November 17th, 2005 Essays 1 Comment Edit

The think tank has moved. I did, however, bring over my little missives from the previous site. Stay tuned….

Saturday, November 12th, 2005
8:46 am
Back to Busy-ness

I am amused and feeling a sense of happy contentment. It’s Friday night, and we have no plans. I think to myself… what a luxury. We seem to be busy all the time. And I want to know, when did that happen? When did busy become the way of life? I’m scratching my head here.

Everyone is rushing. Have to get to the next meeting, the next phone call, the next dinner, the next movie, the next chore around the house. We have calendars on desks, in phones, on computers, in hand held devices. And most of those, well the electronic ones anyway, have alarms. Not only do we constantly have to write everything down, we have to audibly remind ourselves that we wrote it down.

I know, sitting here right now, there are things I should, or could, or am supposed to be doing. I can walk around my house and see all of the things left undone. If I think on it hard enough I also conjure up all the stuff not done outside, but it’s raining, so I have an excuse. Sadly, not only do the tasks around here plague me, but the piles of paperwork and files on my desk start to creep into my consciousness. They do, if I let them. I must fight it!

I want to be a kid again. Or, better yet, be me, now, but with the magic secret super power I had as a kid… that strange and mysterious ability to forget absolutely everything, except what I was doing at the moment. To ignore anything, including the sounds of mom calling from the house, even when she used all three of my names, and that meant business. But, I didn’t hear it, at least not right away. And when I did, finally, she’d probably used the dreaded three name technique to gain attention one, two, or even three times. I was in my own world, master of my own fate. In charge, completely, of my destiny. I heard nothing. I saw nothing. I did nothing, except what I was doing, right then, at the moment.

At the moment, that’s the key.

Now as an adult, I am distracted. I’m watching a movie, or reading a book, or having a conversation… and suddenly, without intent or warning, the voice starts… my evil little inner twin, the task master. It begins to knock on my consciousness, slowly at first, little pictures or a word floating into “view” inside my head. It lets me know, I am not alone. It is always, except when I’m sleeping, with me. Even in sleep I think it’s there, it’s just probably sleeping too. But when I’m awake, it’s awake. It says things like… trash… or maybe… phone call. It doesn’t have to speak loudly, or even report its message fully. It just has to whisper, like wind slightly rustling the leaves. It pushes me, gently. Starting the swirl of thoughts in my brain…. Can you believe what that kid said today? Oops, I forgot to make that call. Where was that file? The look on that parents face was so sad. I need to remember that number when I go up to court. The car is so dirty. What’s for lunch? The lawn should’ve been mowed before it started raining. That shop door needs a new gasket… And so it goes… the list. Before I know it, three scenes of a movie have gone by and I’m thinking, what the hell just happened? Damn, I have to rewind.

Our lives, as adults, are busy. There are appointments and weddings, shopping to do, calls to make, bills to pay, papers to finish, and lawns to mow. There are friends and family to spend time with, work to be done. It is a never ending constant parade of to dos, should dos, must dos. From the moment we wake until the moment we sleep, which sometimes does not come easily thanks to all the thinking, we are bombarded with it. And I, for one, think it’s time we left all the busy-ness behind and got back to the business of being kidlike again. The business of living now, seizing, as they say, the day. Letting everything else melt away… until finally, surprised because it snuck up on us, we get that elusive feeling of peace. Finally, if not briefly, satisfied with our lives, our homes, and ultimately, ourselves… inner voices quieted, a pervasive feeling of giddy awe ensuing, we do face the day, freer than we were. Amused, contented, and still. Think of it, a world of happy contented people. Looking at and living in the moment. Our world would quiet, and we… well… we might, finally, get to see an entire movie… without thinking about a thousand other things, and then having to rewind.

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2005
6:48 pm
How to Accessorize

Lately, I feel like an accessory. Or, more to the point, I feel like in being gay, I’m a sort of accessory. Ten years ago, we weren’t, the gay I mean, even talked about, except, of course, in a negative light. Now we are everywhere. Flip the channel on the television and you’ll find us… on talk shows, sitcoms, the food network, and many of those home-decorating shows. We are the best friend, the funny neighbor, and the hip buddy with the excellent fashion sense. We are politically savvy, and not just where gay marriage is concerned. We know and are passionate about environmental causes, finding the cure for various kinds of cancer, keeping arts programs in schools, and education.

The marketing people, whoever they are, have figured this out. Because not only are we everywhere, we are also spending money. We are, generally, successful. Marketing firms know this. They have found a new and vital segment of the population. Sneaking into visual and print media are more and more ads with gay couples, or inferring gayness, in some way. They are trying to tap our market. And us… we’re easy. All a marketing firm has to do is acknowledge us and we’re theirs. Say to the heavens that we exist and are just as normal as every other person or couple, and we are with you, ready to do almost anything, support almost anything, buy almost anything.

Not to say we’re cheap, no… just hungry for simple recognition. A simple acknowledgement that we, just like all those straight people and couples out there, are the same. We love our families, our friends, and our partners. We want homes, jobs that provide a decent salary and some good benefits, peace in our lives. We want to raise families and contribute to society. We are passionate, creative, driven, smart, loving, playful, generous, deep souls… just like all of you. We breathe the same, feel the same, and love the same. We are no threat. We have no plans to take over the world. There is not a covert gay conspiracy, as some would suggest, lingering just under the surface of our wish to be “just like everyone else”. We are not recruiting. There is no secret phone line we must call every week to report the numbers we have scored for our team to determine if we’ve met our quota. No… we are, as much as anyone else, boringly normal.

And the media, as I’ve already toyed with earlier, is aware of this. They know we are here, and yes, we are queer. All of this new acknowledgement and media attention has lent itself to a mysterious phenomenon. Not just as portrayed on television and in movies, but maybe partially because of how we are portrayed on television and in movies, we are actually, in some circles, cool. We are hip, or at least, to know us is hip. Want to be thought of as “in”… mention you have a gay friend, roommate, old college buddy you always knew was gay. Want to be happenin‘… say casually, while relaying what you did last night, that you went to dinner with your gay friend and their partner. It’s social clout you can spend, it is. Think it isn’t so? Think being “in” with the gay doesn’t get you anywhere? Think again. Having a gay friend, relative, and/or a close acquaintance, can get you a long way up the hip and happening ladder. Say you watch Ellen or Will and Grace regularly, that you listen to Melissa Etheridge, the Indigo Girls, or Elton John… let on that you have heard of, or better yet have been to, a gay club or two and you, my friend, are in “the club”. That group of trendy, with it people, who are cultured, savvy, urban, and living on the cutting edge. Know how to accessorize, and the world is not only your oyster… it’s harvested, cooked, and prepared just the way you like it.

Let me explain. Need decorating tips, help with your wardrobe, a new recipe to try on your arriving company from out of town? Ask your male gay friends. They can help. They know which tie to wear with what shirt. And for that matter, they know which shoes to wear with what skirt. They can whip up a soufflé while simultaneously deciding what couch position provides the best feng shui. Need to know how to build a shop out back, tune your Harley, or what football team is ahead in their division, ask your female gay friends. They will be able to knock out a room remodel while quoting the prices of the best and most effective hiking boots sold at REI.

They key here is, according to our ever-present media, you have to know what you need and then know which gay person can be most helpful to your cause. Shoes? Harley? Plants for the sunroom? The starting line up for the San Diego Chargers? Choose wisely, and the gay can help. In fact, it’s best to have a bevy of gay people in your life. You never know when one will come in handy. If nothing else, you’ll be hip in non-gay circles and in with the newly trendy gay crowd. You’ll have an in. You will no longer be the back woods, unintelligent, uninformed, sad excuse for the regular person you once were. You will be, tah dah, friend of the gay. With the right gay friend, you’ll be a well rounded person. Lead a life that’s more vivid, more interesting, more colorful. No longer afraid to shop, to ride a Harley, to better arrange your furniture. No longer in the dark about what goes into a crème brule, or how many players are actually on a baseball team. You will be better equipped to deal with anything life throws at you. You will have constant comic relief. You will be politically correct, and yet somewhat controversial. All because you, my friend, know how to accessorize.

Tuesday, October 18th, 2005
12:07 pm
Chin Up

I have this problem. Some wouldn’t think about it in that light, but to me, it’s a problem. I am a bit overweight. And on the surface, that would seem, to most people, to be the problem. But, it’s not. The real issue for me is, with my inner eye, I see myself as thin. It’s true. On the inside, I’m thin and in shape, just as I was 20 years ago at the height of my most in shape period. I can’t seem to realize that I’m not the same smallish, athletic, physically fit person I was then. Because inside, I feel like I am that person. Consequently, I don’t seem to be able to get motivated to work out. Which, at the center of it, is the thing.

It’s a conundrum of sorts. I “know”, some place within myself, that I am overweight. I “know” that the best thing to do is to eat better, work out, drink lots of water. Yadda yadda yadda. I know all of this. And yet, my thin inner me protests. It tells me I am already in shape, I’m already healthy. Why do I need to spend all of that time on the stationary bike, lifting weights, doing strength building exercises? Why do I need to choose the salad sans dressing over the burger with fries? A thin person doesn’t need to worry about all of that. And me… I’m thin. I know it. Thin.

Then it happens. The wake up call. I see a picture of myself and BAM! I can’t avoid it. There they are, staring me in the face. The chins. And, there’s not just one of them, as there should be and is on a thin person, there are two of them. Worse yet, as I hold back the gasp, sometimes there are three… if the angle is not quite right or my head is down. I know it’s me, I see the picture… yes, it’s me. I’m appalled. I’m shocked. I’m horrified. The visual image doesn’t match my inner picture of myself. Where’s the thin me? And who, someone tell me, is this girl with the chins? I can’t get my mind around it. But there it is, in the picture I’m holding in my hand.

If only I could hang on to that image of myself. Keep in touch with the shock of seeing the chins. Spoken of so often now that I almost feel the need to capitalize them as a signal of their “enormous” importance. If only I knew how to translate all of the visual horror into a change of self image. But no, I can’t. I’m horrified one minute, holding the picture, and feeling like the ol’ thin me the next after I put it down. Strange, but true.

I know what needs to happen. I know what I need to correct this terrible disparity. What I need is a brain exchange. A thought swap of sorts. I need to find a thin person who thinks they are too fat and switch mind sets with them. That, it seems, is the answer to my problem. Because just as I know my problem of perceived thinness is getting in my way of weight loss success, I know there are thin people out there whose thoughts of fatness are hindering their struggle to maintain and gain weight. If, somehow, we could switch patterns of thinking, we might, and probably could, both find success. Me as an overweight girl on the path to a thinner me, and them as a person who is too thin on the road to a fuller bodied them. We would both be much healthier. I think it could work.

I know, in the grand scheme of things, there are more important issues to worry about in the world. I know that the state of my reduced me self image should not be compared to world peace, hunger, war, incongruities in the fight for equal rights. And yet one small victory here is big for me. It would mean a reduction in my number of chins. I would see myself as I am now, and act. Which, if one looks at it, is a cause for celebration. Because finally, I might find myself with an inner thin self image that matches the truth of what is. And isn’t that what we are all looking for? An inner truth matching our projection of ourselves into the outer world. Just think… if we had a world where people could truly be themselves, whatever that would mean, what a beautiful world it would be. Self images, far and wide, improved… inner and outer. The thin inner me would rejoice at that. No more inner conflict. No more thinking I’m thin only to find, alas, I am not. No more shock in seeing pictures of myself. I can start… I can… it would just take a strong conversation with myself, again… and a chin up… or two.

Tuesday, October 11th, 2005
12:14 pm
Pie and Coffee

Here it is, Tuesday, I’m back at work. How to describe the weekend? I find myself at a loss in this area because I’m emotionally pulled in so many directions. But here I sit, alone in my office during lunch, about to give it a try anyway, as torn as I am.

I guess the first thing that comes to mind is beautiful. And it was. The celebration of my grandmother’s life, held on Saturday, October 8, at noon, was simply beautiful. Not just the setting, though it was, and not just the people, though they were as well. No, it was the spirit of it. The mood. There we were, a large room full of people, all thinking and feeling so deeply about her. All honoring her. And honestly, there was joy in it. Sadness, to be sure, but also a feeling of joy and connection. She would’ve loved her day. Children and grandchildren getting up to talk about her, their voices all filled with so much love and respect. Music… sung and played, food… including, of course, chocolate, a slide show… with music, and people laughing about this thing or that thing they remembered her doing or saying. So much love, and so present in the room, the sense of a life so well lived. And I guess, thinking about it sitting here, that’s the thing. She lived her life well. And we, those lucky enough to be related to her, to be present because of her, learned that from her. We have learned how to live our lives well. The whole event so well organized by her children, the slide show so well done by her son. Her husband, our father and grandfather, so well looked after by his children, his grandchildren. So much compassion, so much respect. And there it is… the truth of the matter, and the truth of a life like hers. Even that day, with her physically gone from us, we were more connected because of her. The family bond strengthening… feeling her arms wrapped around the collection of us, hugging us tightly together. As if she was saying to us, I’m still here, holding you all. We all felt it. As we held each other, as we cried, and even as we laughed. I feel it still. I don’t think it will ever go away. Her power so strong, her influence so rich, her love so great.

We spent the rest of that day together, those that could, and the better part of the next. And then Sunday night we went to watch my uncle play music. She would’ve loved that as well. People enjoying his music, some food, some wine or beer or whatever, and again, being together.

Karen and I left for home after Tom was done making music, and half way there, tired from driving so late, we stopped… for pie and coffee. I thought it was fitting, and I know grandma was smiling. She herself a fan of stopping during early morning hours for pie and coffee, getting a break from driving during long road trips, children asleep in the car. I thought to myself, as afterward we got back in the car and continued the drive home, grandma was there with us. And I know that she’s here with me now. As she will always be… during stops for pie and coffee, during those transcendent moments listening to a great piece of music, during a hug, a call, a laugh, the reading of an email from family. She is there. And that, as it always will, gives me a great sense of comfort… and joy.

Tuesday, October 4th, 2005
12:10 pm
A life… Beautiful

My grandmother passed away early this morning. I got the call from my mom some time around 6:30, though now it’s hard to remember just when. I drove to work, not really remembering the drive, and have found myself sitting here, not able to concentrate on whatever task it is I’ve had at hand. And that much, I’m sure, is to be expected. I’m working today because, I think, if I didn’t, I’d just be sitting at home, restless… thinking. Instead, I sit here… restless, interrupted at times by a phone call or email I have to answer, and thinking.

I saw my grandmother three weeks ago. Frail…yes. Tired… absolutely. Full of life… always. She was an amazing woman. Had an amazing life. I walked around my grandparents house three weeks ago in wonder. Slowly passing by photographs of a positively amazing history… awe struck. Phenomenal. 64 years with my grandfather. 64 years of love, of life. A life so rich, so beautiful, that wandering around looking at the record of it, I could feel it’s texture. There were books and drawings, copies of marriage licenses, and picture after picture of a life so full it spilled from those photographs out into the living room, where the miracle of that life sat manifest… in children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. The legacy that’s been left is not just that these people all exist because of her, but that they are all, every last one of them, stellar. Magnificent. They are the best people I know. Intelligent, kind, loving, curious, full of laughter, accepting, driven, artistic, educated, musical, good to the core people. There is never judgment, never an unkind word, ever. They rejoice with each other, celebrate each other, comfort each other… all of them. All the time. There is never a criticism, even a hint of should or shouldn’t… always, in the truest sense of the word, there for each other. My grandparents had seven children, who themselves had 19 children, who themselves have starting bringing many more into the fold. And in the bunch of us, there is not one who is not, in his or her own way, an outstanding human being. All of this, for me, started with my grandparents… the people that they were… are… have been to us. Those two people created the beautiful tapestry that is our family. Those two people created something rare. And we, who are lucky enough to be part of it, know it. It is not, and has never been, taken for granted.

There was a lot of laughter that weekend, three weeks ago, as there always is with this family. My grandmother, central to the scene, as she has always been, involved in it all. I thought to myself, sitting with them that day, what an honor it was, and is, to be a part of it. The luck of my draw. I often wonder how it happened, that I ended up a part of this history, a link in this beautiful chain. I am thankful, every day, for my fortune. I am grateful every day, for the honor of it. And from now, until the end of my days, I will be celebrating my grandmother’s life, as she would’ve wanted me to… by living my life in the best way I can. With joy, love, peace, and happiness, amidst the family… that she made.

Monday, October 3rd, 2005
1:37 pm
Three days in San Jose

Just got home from hanging with the in laws. It was a good trip. Karen’s parents seem to have accepted me, and better yet, they really like me. I think it’s nice for her. All the years of not really being able to be herself, and now she can just be. They are obviously happy she is happy, which is really the important thing anyway. We didn’t do much while we were there, other than hang around chatting, but that was nice. Every time I’m with them I like them more.

We did go to a movie one night with her sister, Cathy, and her nephew, Charles. I really like that kid. He’s 16 and sort of quirky, and it’s that great kind of quirky. He’s smart, has a great off beat sense of humor, and he doesn’t feel the need to conform to what’s hip. He’s a kid who absolutely loves movies. Old and new, it doesn’t matter. Plus, he knows about them… technique, directors, cast, etc. He’s passionate about it, and that, in anyone, is very attractive. We saw the movie Serenity. Good movie even if you’ve never seen the tv show. There were a lot of people there who obviously had not just watched the tv show, but have gotten into it so much they dress the part. There are clubs for browncoats. Who knew. Not I, but it was pretty entertaining watching them. It was premiere weekend for this particular film and since there’s such a huge cult following, which I also was unaware of, there was a line, the people in costume as I mentioned before, and pre-show trivia complete with prizes for those who knew obscure tidbits about the characters, etc. Needless to say, I didn’t win anything. I did, however, come home with a key chain, thanks to Cathy’s quick grab of a flying key chain after the trivia was over.

Karen’s parents made a full on turkey dinner Saturday night. I guess they figure that they don’t get their kids together very often and since all three were there, it was a time to celebrate. I got the honor of being the forker. When Karen’s dad carves the turkey a person stands there and forks the carved turkey onto the platter. I was told that not everyone gets to be a forker so I was touched he asked me. Standing there, forks at the ready, I felt the pressure to perform and live up to my new post and title. He said I did well, so I might, if I’m lucky, be asked to fork again.

Today I’m lucky enough to be able to hang at home. Relax after traveling. Karen, busy as she is, had to go in to work today. A perk of my job is getting to take off quite a bit of time. I’m fortunate enough to earn comp time on top of my accrued vacation time, so that helps. I slept in today. What a luxury. Sitting here sipping on green tea, still wearing pajamas that I know I won’t change out of, looking outside at the forest and the rain, I think it’s time to head in and see what movie I can find to watch. It’s Monday, and I’m home. How lucky am I?

What ya’all had to say to this point….

(Anonymous) 2 weeks ago
Jeeze Girl…I gotta take issue with your latest epistle. Your’e one of my best friends and there is absolutely nothing “with it” or “cool” about me…I’m the old frumpy grumpy guy; the token old fart. Therefore your whole primise is ruined. Sorry about that, but then it’s not the first thing I have ravaged or despoiled. ted

(Anonymous) 2 weeks ago
I’m so proud to have a gay friend. Makes me kinda cool. You go girl. But hey the white socks/w black pants have got to go!!!!!

(Anonymous) 2 weeks ago
chins

If ones knows TOKENHIPPYGIRL they also know that chins don’t matter. sm

(Anonymous) 3 weeks ago
Tam, you have a way with words that keeps me cracking up…You are very talented, and this note would be fabulous in some magazine somewhere…When are we going to get you published???

(Anonymous) 5 weeks ago
Pie & Coffee

Tam
Thanks for this. I came here to read, once again, the previous piece you wrote (and to send it on to Aunt Elizabeth) and find you have been spinning your magic again. I love these things you write and I know everyone else does too. Thanks again. Love, Syd