Thursday, July 29, 2010

Life, Death & Nice-osity

one It seems to me that the events in our lives are like the components of an algebraic equation. Each of these essential components influences the balance of the equation. Each event pushes or pulls us, away or towards, some resolution. And like algebra, or music, or language, life presents obstacles and opportunities. Those niggling devils: integers and exponents, eighth notes and harmonies, adjectives and participles, romances and heartbreaks, all converge to vex us or enlighten us. Unlike algebraic equations, there are no “correct solutions” to life. And the answers aren’t revealed in the appendix at the back of the textbook. We don’t get to know the answers. John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” There are no other plans. Life is what happens, beware the distractions. They are but devils in your head.

two One of the bright sides of death is that it forces us to think about life. Our lives, the one's we love and the limited time we have...period. That is not a bad thing ~ It is just a wake-up. Like when you're at work and in the middle of a task and you catch yourself daydreaming. You shake yourself a bit and get back to the task. A death wakes us up to get back to the task of living. And it is a task. Believe me. Like the old saying, you gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet. We've been over this before. Death, loss, tragedy, accidents, disease, stubbed toes, flat tires, bad acid, dropped calls, bounced paychecks, broken hearts: are all reminders. Don't take anything for granted. Nothing is for sure. That means: for sure, you could end up with NOTHING. And you better be able to roll with that or your wheels may come off.

three Please be nice. Don't take your angst or frustration out on someone who didn't do anything mean to you. Everybody gets to have bad days and being mean is not going to make them any easier to live through. Treat other people like you would like to be treated.

I did not write all of this tonight and the party who did wishes to remain anonymous. 

He is pretty brilliant though.
copyright 2010 moemasters/TheAntFarmer

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Guest Blogger: Travis Bailey

one Be extremely selective of the company you keep. Be friendly to everyone but friends with less. It's not arrogant or stuck-up. Be nice to everyone but don't be pulled down by people you should never be hanging out with.

two Always wish everyone the best. The person that just messed up your food order, be polite and don't make it a big deal. The person who always has negative comments whenever you tell them something, wish them the best and smile and hope they find a more positive outlook. The person who just ran into your brand new car, don't be mad, be kind and ask them to lunch after its all sorted out. Don't let how others treat you be any influence on how you should treat others. Don't let people walk all over you, but beyond that, wish everyone the best, even ones that most people feel don't deserve it. No matter how impolite or mean or selfish a person is, remember that that is their problem, don't let it influence who you want to be, how you want to act.

three "Don't raise your voice. Improve your argument." - Desmond Tutu. Obviously, that's not my quote - but I feel the same. You'll never see me curse, yell, get angry... ever. It might be the Mennonite upbringing, I'm very logic driven, or how I was raised at home...or a combination of those.

I have not yet met Travis in person, but have grown to admire both him and his work. The picture below is his work, his art and what comes out of the end of his fingers. This is not a photograph and this is exactly what my friend Rachel (his wife) looks like. 

copyright 2010 moemasters/travisbailey

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Singing Chair Tippers & Spiders

one Sing out loud. Even if you can not carry a tune with handles - sing out from time to time. If you are an awful singer (which I'd imagine you are not) then keep it in the car or in the shower. Nobody else will hear you and it's all good. Sing, baby - Just sing. Sing out loud and sing it like you mean it.


two Don't tip back in your chair like that! Those legs are going to snap and you're gonna go down like a bag of cheap flour and you could break your neck and die like my third cousin once removed, Johnny Ray. He was only 14... had his whole life ahead of him....
OR: Your grandfather worked 19 weeks one year to buy those chairs from the Sears catalog and I'm not about to let you tear them up like that, and look what you're doing to that wall. Don't tip back in the chairs, please.

three Don't freak out about spiders - seriously, they are not that big of a deal. Cowboy up. On relatively rare occasions they may pose a threat to your well-being, but ... chill. Have you EVER known anyone to be bitten by a Brown Recluse while they were just sitting there watching?  
Huh uh, I so don't think so. 
Those vengeful weenies strike when people sleep. It will either happen or not. Be aware, and pay attention - and breathe through it - mind your movements. Imagine how freaked-out they are by your very size! When you freak, it makes them freak... just chill. 
Do look out for those jumping Wolf Spiders though, baby. Those guys are intense and without my glasses on, they look a lot like something I must get really close to and pick up. 

So totally not cool. 

Flying insects are an entirely different ballgame and they deserve their own space, we'll talk about them later.

copyright 2010 moemasters

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Guest Blogger: Marlo Hamrick



one There is always another option.  There will be times when you think you're stuck forever.  There will be times you think things are set and there is nothing that can change the course.  There is always another option.  There's always another choice. When you think your back is against the wall and the only way out is the one you see in front of you, you're only seeing part of the picture.  If you turn your head you'll see another way, or there will be a hole in the wall you can climb through or a ladder to the roof.  You aren't trapped.  You have another option.  And sometimes you need people you love to help you see what the other option is.  There will be another option.
two Make things.  Make music.  Make art.  Make waffles.  Make clothes. Just make: Something.  As humans, we have a need to complete something.  We like to feel accomplished.  Making things meets this need.  It is easier than getting a degree or climbing a mountain, though these accomplishments are good too.  Keeping your hands busy keeps you out of trouble, calms your mind, and keeps you from getting Alzheimer's.  Things you make will last longer than things you buy.  Supplies to make things are fairly cheap, especially if you factor in that you get to enjoy the making of the item, and then get to enjoy the item itself.  It doesn't matter what you make.  Make whatever makes your heart flutter.  But, make things.

three Pity City: There are no houses there, just hotels.  Sometimes things don't go right.  Sometimes things are lousy.  There are times to be sad and times to cry.  But, those times don't last.  You can't mope forever.  When things are lousy, you're allowed to go to Pity City.  There are parties there, but they're not much fun.  As we've seen: there are only hotels in Pity City.  You can't move there.  While you're there, you're allowed to wallow and sit in the feeling-bad-feeling.  Just remember the slogan of the town: "Pity City: A nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there!"

Marlo and my son, JT, went to school together at East High in the International Baccalaureate program. I got to meet her when she was still a baby and then many years later, I got to meet her dad as he rose quickly to the top of the Accordion Players Pool in Wichita, KS. The Hamrick family has brought much goodness to this world and I am honored to get to share some of that.


copyright 2010 moemasters/marlohamrick

Friday, July 16, 2010

Tight spots, kindness and do-overs.

first If you're not sure about something, but you're in a tight spot: Make it upI know, I know... this flies in the face of convention, but for real: IF, per chance, you were in a place where you needed to disarm a bomb to prevent a whole bunch of people from dying ... and they all were counting on you (and there were orphan babies, elderly nuns and rainbow colored unicorns) .... don't you think you would just do the very dang best you could and hope to God it worked out fine? Seriously. Just always defer to that instinct that tells you that you are not going to die. You can do this. Whatever "This" is - you can do it. See yourself doing this. Even if you've never done this before - You are smart. Do this. Have conviction and be passionate. Do it all the way or don't do it at all. I'm a big fan of "do it all the way...." 

Just for the record.

second Always be kinder than is necessary. I have told you all of this before, but please remember to stand up tall, make eye contact and do whatever the social circumstance dictates. If someone wants to shake hands then shake hands. If it's time for a Man-Hug or some funky shoulder-fist bump combination - then do that. Just be there all the way or don't be there at all. Seriously. I ask so little. Engage people and don't be all afraid, and be smart enough to not look for trouble. 

(Disclaimer: All of this advice does not apply outside the Midwest where people can be like feral cats and prey upon your kindness and naivete. It especially does not apply in Paris, London and New York.)

You have common sense - use it.

third You can always start over. For the most part, anyway. Tenacity and the ability to see it through (Whatever "It" is) are noble and imperative to a well-lived life, and, baby: Choose which mountain you want to die on. Some battles are just not going to be worth the energy spent to fight them. Always give it your best shot, always play through the pain and please learn early how to cut your losses. You need not hitch your wagon to sinking stars and you will always deserve more and better. Only move forward and up. 
Up, always up.
Don't make me tell you twice.

copyright 2010 moemasters

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Secrets, habits & stuff

uno Try to not have secrets. If anybody says, "Don't tell anybody this..." then that probably means it's not cool. Unless it's a surprise party, or PostSecret (or maybe if you're punking someone in a good way) - then ... well, that's totally cool. But, in general, if someone tells you not to tell anybody this - it is not a good thing. It is triple turbo-uncool if a grown-up tells you this and it makes you feel creepy. You'll know the creepy feeling when it hits, if you ever have to. It's there, you'll just feel it. If it gives you the eeby-jeebies, then tell another grown-up, don't hold it in.

dos Make your bed and put your stuff away where it belongs. Don't even ask me for all the reasons this is a good thing, just trust me. Doing these two things, and making them part of your every single day, will make you happier and less harried. Just make your bed every morning before you leave for the day and put your stuff away. It's not like I'm asking you to dig trenches. It would be nice if you could learn to do those "hospital corners" though....  
I'm just sayin' ...
tres Know that buying stuff and owning more and more stuff is never going to make you happier. You are sufficiently happy as you are, and buying and owning all that stuff is not going to fill whatever holes you may have in your soul. Get what you need, get some of what you like and then stop. Buy meals with your family or buy an adventure to the country, but stop buying stuff already. This is crazy.
Remember to buy American made when and where ever possible. Trust me ~ This matters.

copyright 2010 moemasters

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Going, hearing and getting small

one Never miss the opportunity to pee. You may not think you have to go, and you may really not have to go, but if you missed, like, the last opportunity and your day is scheduled up tight with stomping out fires or road-trips - you will be one sorry child if you know that you could have gone but didn't. Just try.
(Props to my friend Jody for reminding me of this)

two Pay attention to what you hear. Listen to people speak and get to know the sounds that surround you and their effect on your well-being. To that end: Get out of the city as often as you can. Parks can tide you over, but get all the way out of the city to a place where you don't even feel the city vibe. Then, listen to what you hear there.

three If you ever want to feel really small: Put on some gigantic clothes and shoes. Try and find something absurdly huge and wear it as an accessory. How ever it works out best for you, but it's a nice quick fix to the "Do these jeans make my butt look big" blues ... just find a pair of gigantic shoes or a nicely-pressed button-down-the-front crisp cotton shirt that is about 2 sizes too big. It never fails to make me feel small.

copyright 2010 moemasters

Monday, July 12, 2010

Laptops, pajamas and moments

pierwszy If you have a laptop that is being more than just a little warm to the touch, on the bottom - it's time to invest in some good Blue Ice packs. I would love to imagine a world where laptops don't overheat, but I don't see it on the immediate horizon. So, learn how to cool it down and not jack-up your laptop. Wrap some blue ice in a bandana or something, and place it under the machine where it feels the hottest. Those little fans, so far - for me, have been over-priced junk. But, again, maybe there in the future you guys have worked out the kinks. If not: Cool it down and keep it dry. Move it often and work by a good window fan.

drugi People don't really wear their pajamas out in public. I know you may have seen some people do it, but for real, baby. If you've got the energy to leave the house, you've got the energy to put on some clothes. I'd rather not see you in your PJs, out of your house, unless you are fleeing some kind of life-threatening disaster. When you are still a kid it's okay to wear them to the drive-in with your parents, but that's about it.

trzeci Squeeze the life out of every single moment. We are all only given so many of them and they are crazy-fragile. Seriously. Some are gonna rock, some are gonna rock less - but, be all up in it as much as you can. You never know when one of those magic moments is going to happen - it'd sure be a shame to miss it. We only get so many, y'know?
Engage. Be engaged. Be engaging. Ask questions.

copyright 2010 moemasters

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Lights, nails and smackers

egy Please turn off the lights behind you.
For real.
If you are leaving the room, the lights do not need to be on. And, why (on earth) would you even turn on lights when you've got a good south window? Pay attention to the tax you place on The Grid. Our grid, here in America in 2010, is seiously in need of repair and/or replacement.

Were it only that we weren't distracted by the bright and shiny things (like making enough money to feed our families and keep them under a roof) - we would be able to stare at this for what it is. We would then be able to build the resolve that will be necessary for us to get current and re-think the way we all find our power. Mind your consumption, baby.

Turn off the lights, for Pete's sake.

két  Boys: Learn to keep your hands well manicured. Seriously. There are few things as creepy as a guy with long fingernails. Ick. Uber-ick. Nail biters: STOP it! That is so unbecoming and you are MUCH bigger than whatever it is that is making you bite your nails. Pay attention to your hands - people see 'em.

három No body should ever hit you. IF somebody somehow slips by your extremely well-honed and smart spidey-sense instinct, and makes their way close enough to hit you: Call the police. For real. NO hitting. (Shaking, smacking, kicking, biting, scratching or shoving.)
Ever. No matter what.
Zero tolerance on this one, baby.

copyright 2010 moemasters

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Stuck faces, handshakes and kindness

innanzi tutto 
Your face, really, could get stuck like that. When you make an especially disagreeable face - it sticks with you. Seriously, just go somewhere that is thick with people and watch them. Look at the older ones - you can tell who is a malcontent and who is generally happy. My grandmother always told me this when I made my unhappy face, and she wasn't lying. It's not like I'm asking you to always keep a smile on your face, but watch the squenching up of your eyebrows and the depth of your frown. That stuff sticks after a while and you can never get rid of it.

in seguito
Hug people when you feel like it, but always shake a hand that is extended to you. There is no more sure-fire way to show your disdain for a person than to decline a handshake. Learn how to shake hands, make eye-contact and take the minute or two necessary to demonstrate your ability to be here now AND be here now nicely.

più recente
When someone says "Good Morning" to you (or good afternoon, or whatever) your job is to respond in kind. When you don't answer them or just stare at them and walk by ~ it makes them feel bad and probably, over time, will make them dislike you. (Okay, truth is: FOR sure they will not be one of your fans after about two of these.) It's rude. Don't pretend like you didn't hear it (when it's common knowledge that you can hear a whispered conversation from two rooms away, you've already blown your cover) and don't try to escape quickly and avoid eye-contact. If you're having a bad day, get over it or don't leave your home. There is no excuse for rudeness.

copyright 2010 moemasters

Monday, July 5, 2010

Youth and Beauty

primeiro Do not let your youth and beauty be wasted on you. Look at you! For real! You are fantastically beautiful (inside and out) and you're brave and strong and funny and smart. Never forget these things. Your youth is not measured by years and months, but by joy and curiosity. And, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, baby - your inner sunshine speaks volumes about who you are - never forget this. You are exactly as young as you want to be (or as old) and your beauty is far greater than you may ever know.

seguinte Empty the litter box before the house smells bad. I recommend this ONLY if you have a cat. If you don't have a cat, but you do have a litter box, well... that's just plain weird. Don't have litter boxes hanging around for no reason. If you have a cat who uses a litter box - don't expect the cat to deal with it. Seriously, that is simply not in their little cat contracts and they don't have thumbs. They would make an awful mess of it, anyways.
That aroma de gato can be a nasty slice of life that you may not notice, but I can guarantee that somebody else walking in your home will make note of.


pasado Always allow for the possibility that you may be wrong. About anything. About everything. There is just a chance you are not always right and the sooner you know this, the sooner you can avoid looking like an arrogant self-righteous weenie. You may think you know something or everything about something, but you probably don't, so exercise a little humility and learn to use the little governor in your head before you say things out loud.

copyright 2010 moemasters

Saturday, July 3, 2010

SUMMER SCHOOL! BooYA!

primer 
Do NOT marry anyone until you have seen how they treat people in the service industry. You really don't want to hook-up with anyone who treats waiters/waitresses poorly. For real. This matters. Do not hang with "finger snappers" or snots. If they have never waited tables or hosted or cooked or massaged anyone... and they don't know what it takes to make other people happy - give them a Get Out Of Jail Free card and let them go. Grab a taxi and run. If they snap their fingers and get snarky: Take what's behind Door Number Three instead of more time with them. Choose anything other than that. Do what you can to make sure they OVER-tip when warranted.

segon 
If you love someone, learn how to tickle their back. Or, learn how to do whatever it is that makes them make the "O" face. It's about a whole lot more than just that one thing. Spooning is a gateway hug and can amount to a whole lot more than you may think. You love someone? Learn what blows the wind up their skirt and get good at it. Then, spend the rest of your life perfecting it. Get good, and practice, practice, practice.
tercera 
Should you ever stay over-night at a friend's house: Leave a nice little sumptin sumptin behind. You can leave a "Thank You" card or you can Bedazzle their mailbox - it really doesn't matter all that much. Represent. Make sure you leave them something special to let them know how much you appreciate their hospitality. Memorize the serendipity of surprise. Everybody loves a good surprise. Seriously. SAY THANK YOU.
Don't make me turn this car around.
Share the love, baby.

copyright 2010 moemasters

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I love raindrops on roses and whatnot, but even more than that I totally dig finding dollars in clothes I haven't worn in ages, live music, social networking and search engine optimization, research, freecycle.com, homemade beer, home grown stuff, writing, talking, laughing, green movements, debate, dialog, dumpster diving, time travel, time-out chairs, psychology, meals that last for hours, pranks, astral projection, meaningful lives, the kindness of strangers, trains, trucks and tractors, cowboys, horses, deer, eagles, random occurrences, modern tragedies, small appliances, good socks and sturdy shoes, shiny objects, painting, playing stringed instruments and singing harmony, pulling perfect feather pillows out of the freezer on hot and humid Kansas summer nights, rodeos and county fairs, brokers, organics and authenticity, my kids, their kids and my huge extended family. I am a hugger and I probably laugh AND talk way too much.