Category Archives: Uncategorized

For Rodney, Just One More “The Promise” by Tracy Chapman

 

If you wait for me
Then I’ll come for you
Although I’ve travelled far
I always hold a place for you in my heart

If you think of me
If you miss me
Once in a while
Then I’ll return to you
I’ll return and fill that space in your heart

Remembering your touch
Your kiss, your warm embrace
I’ll find my way back to you
If you be waiting

If you dream of me
Like I dream of you
In a place that’s warm and dark
In a place where I can feel the beating of your heart

Remembering your touch
Your kiss, your warm embrace
I’ll find my way back to you
If you be waiting

Oh I’ve longed for you
And I have desire
To see your face, your smile
To be with you wherever you are

Remembering your touch
Your kiss, your warm embrace
I’ll find my way back to you
Please say you’ll be waiting

Together again
It would feel so good to be
In your arms
Where all my journeys end

If you can make a promise
If its one that you can keep
I vow to come for you
If you wait for me

And Say you hold
A place for me
In your heart
A place for me in your heart
A place for me in your heart
A place for me in your heart

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Incommunicado: My Love for Joseph (Rodney) Evans

In 1992 I had the distinct honor of meeting and becoming friends with Joseph Rodney Evans. I’m not sure how we met, I know we met through mutual friends but what I didn’t realize was how much of a friend he would become to me.

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Evans. JoRod Evans.

Before I go on, I want to apologize to my dear Rodney, to Editor Man as I called him my senior year of high school: I apologize for the copious amounts of typos, incorrect grammar usage, and incorrect placement of punctuation. I never did learn how to do that right, sorry, Bud. To the rest of you, I apologize for the random quirk that will no doubt pop up in this post. Rodney would understand even if you don’t.

As we entered our Senior year at good old Enterprise High School, I went in with such a lack of confidence hidden under an easy laugh and stupid jokes. So much had changed for me between the end of my junior year and the beginning of my senior year; a lot of emotions and things that I was unable to process at the time. I’m not sure now, at 39, I’m any more equipped.

Rodney, as I knew him, became my best friend, my confidant, my Dear Abby, my big brother, my little brother, the guy who would go to extreme lengths to make me laugh. Being a ridiculously silly 17-/18-year-old girl I loved him “like a brother” (yes, go ahead and say that in a high-pitched Valley Girl voice). I didn’t fully realize just what an amazing person he was and how much he loved me, as he loved all his friends, until I was much, much older.

And so our senior year he listened patiently to all my boy angst, all my body angst, ALL my angst and ALWAYS had a really stupid joke at the ready to help me laugh; and beautiful words to remind me of my self-worth. I know I’m not the only one who benefited from his pure friendship. The people he called “friend” probably didn’t realize the extent of what that meant to him. We were not only his friends, but his second family.

What I know now that I wish I could make my 18-year-old self understand is just how precious that friendship was. What I didn’t know then, and probably something I continue to try to learn to this day, is the meaning of friendship. He knew what friendship was; true, pure friendship. He was totally unafraid to express his love for his friends. It was us – we were afraid of accepting his unconditional love. How stupid could we have been? Here was a REAL friend saying, “Hey guys, I LOVE you! You guys are amazing people! You guys are awesome!” and we were like, “Dude, ssshhh!” Stupid!

But I can hear Rodney now. He would say I should stop beating myself up; that yes, I was being stupid but did I learn from it? Okay then let’s keep going. Don’t forget I love you!

When I left for college he gave me a journal, “The Soul Sister’s Guide to Life After High School Or Rodney’s Reminders Or Towanda’s Fact Book Or Friends Always: Words from Editor Man”. The book is filled with his wisdom, his love, his really awful jokes, a book of him to take with me to school so I wouldn’t be afraid or lonely. This journal was the most beautiful gift I had been given. I might have thrown away all the letters and notes from those days but that journal is still with me.

Today I found out that my friend, my “Soul Brother” died. I knew I had to find that book. I walked in the door and said, “God, I need that book.” And there it was sitting on top of a box. I knew I had to find it because the messages in it, while written to me, was written about all of us, everyone he called a friend. There’s a tiny section that I’m not going to share because it’s, well, just between Rodney and I (I can hear him giggling). However, the rest of the book is not just about me. It’s written to all of us and I want to share that with you. I’ll post scans of the book, but for now I’ll leave you with this prayer he wrote:

Lord, You said that whoever asks for something in your name or where two or more shall agree, it will be done. Each night I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior, that you guide and protect my friends throughout their lives. Lord, keep them company, and allow them to know the joy of love. And this I ask in your name, Amen.

Rodney, thank you. You were very greatly loved, even if I couldn’t show you. You will always make the Friendship part of my heart glow. Thank you for giving me the gift of being your friend. Forgive me for not being a better friend to you. But most of all, thank you for teaching me the meaning of friendship. I hope that I can do you justice, Sensei. I will be your Grasshopper until the end of time.

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Coy

Coy

Coy – unfinished

Morning Phone Calls – Or Why I Hate People in General

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I hate people.

Picture from 23 Undeniable Signs that You are an Assistant (http://www.buzzfeed.com/mackenziekruvant/23-undeniable-signs-youre-an-assistant). I also fit the bill for numbers 2, 3, 7, 12 and 17. However, #5 should be rewritten, at least for me, “They have anxiety every time I leave my desk” which is why I fit #8 so perfectly and why today’s phone call transcript fits the picture to the left. In general, I do hate people.

My morning work phone call…
Me: Good morning. Thank you for calling the Center for Leadership and Service, Multicultural and Diversity Affairs and Off Campus Life, this is Wendi.

Caller: OH MY GOD! I’m trying to reach the Off Campus Life and I get this.

Me (keeping that smile in my voice): Yes, ma’am, I answer the phone for three offices including Off Campus Life may I –

Caller: OH MY GOD I can’t believe I cannot get the Off Campus Life.

Me (smile fading, but hanging in there): Ma’am you have reached Off Campus Life, may I  transfer you?

Caller: Yes, yes, I need to speak to the Off Campus Life! (I transfer her. They are out of their office doing preview tabling for incoming freshmen so it goes to voice mail.)

Phone Rings

Me: Good morning. Thank you for calling –

Same Woman: OH MY GOD I am trying to reach the Off Campus Life and I keep getting you.

Me (smile clinging to my voice for dear life): Yes, ma’am, I am the secretary, I answer the phone for –

Caller: Why is it I keep getting you when I am trying to reach the Off Campus Life?!

Me: Ma’am, you have reached Off Campus Life. The staff is out of the office right now they are at –

Caller: No, I am trying to speak to the people! All I am getting right now are the machines, the machines and no people. You need to let me speak to the people who know how to help me because my daughter is trying to come to school and needs to have a place to live and we need to talk to the Off Campus Life.

Me (forget the smile now): Ma’am, I am trying to help you. The Off Campus Life staff are at Freshman Preview helping other new students find housing. If you would let me –

Caller tries to interrupt but I plow on ahead

Me: As I was saying, if you would let me transfer you to their voicemail, they will return your phone call as soon as they come back to the office.

Caller: Yes, I need the people who know what they are talking about to help me.

Me (smile totally gone right now): Yes, ma’am and they will help you but you have to let me transfer you to their voicemail so they know that they need to call you and help you. They are not in the office right now but they will be here today in an hour or so and they WILL call you back but ONLY if you let me transfer you to their voicemail. Okay?!

Caller (smugly): Yes, do this transfer to the voicemail and they will call me back because I need housing for my daughter…

Me: I’m transferring now…(click transfer button, dial extension, hang up) Bitch.

 

Kat Meets Her Tribe

I’m pretty certain that Greyhounds aren’t from this planet. They don’t look like other dogs. They’re coats aren’t the usual dog coat. They can fly (when they run there are times when all four feet are off the ground so that’s technically flying…).

943076_10151478630951938_1486435553_nThere were these strange times when all the dogs just stood around. Sort of like the picture to the left, minus the butt-sniffing. I wondered to Mike if now that there were numbers the greyhounds could contact the mothership. Its kind of how it looked. They just stand there and stare around. Okay, yes, they’re site hounds but, come on. That much staring at nothing? Either the park was filled with ghosts or they were contacting the mothership. I stand by this.

The fun part for me was asking everybody else, “Does you dog do ____________ (fill in the blank)?” Kat is my first dog, but I’ve been around dogs a lot. Some of the things she does I’ve never seen other dogs do, such as the standing and staring into space thing. It was the first time any of us met each other, most likely the first time our dogs met each other – maybe they raced together or something but who knows. Maybe one or two of them are related by sires or mothers.

Greys are such great dogs. Kat has such an amazing personality. She’s all kinds of Diva when she wants to be. Other times she’s all tomboy romping through the bushes and yanking on her leash because she knows that breakfast awaits her. Then she’s all snuggle bear and wants nothing more than to lay on the floor and have us spoon her or brush her or talk to her. All I know is that we’re pretty lucky to have her. Yes, I complain about having to get up at the butt-crack of dawn sometimes but she’s such a good puppy.

That was the other thing about the greys we met. All of them were so good. There was not one in the bunch that was aggressive or 996771_10151478630446938_1483581039_nmisbehaving. There were some that were shy and the other greys seemed to pick up on that, respectfully walk around and sniff bits. But no one barked or showed teeth. It was just all play, staring, or laying in the dirt the whole time. These really are good, gentle dogs. We did laugh that we all have seen them have these spurts of pure craziness but on the whole, these are some really good dogs who really want to be with people and other dogs.

Hello, Universe, I Wish to Move to Savannah

Yesterday was Wishcasting Wednesdays with Jamie Ridler. I used to follow her Wednesday wishcasting prompts for awhile. Then with school and such I just fell away from the practice, including the practice of blogging.

I decided to start back up again today even though today is Thursday and the prompt was for Wednesday, but I figured it would be okay to do it anyway. One of the fun things about Wishcasting Wednesdays is that I can read what other people wish for and then wish that wish for them too. One of the wishes put out there really got to me.

Amanda of Unfolding Creatively wrote her wish to be out of the South East and in Boulder Colorado. She was traveling and fell in love with Boulder. I know exactly how that feels. I so want to be in Savannah. Its like a need. I need to live there.

37530_412784536937_5119907_nThere is nothing I don’t love about Savannah. Okay, maybe the heat. But seriously, I can deal with that when I’m being fed with so much beauty, architecture, culture, history, and celebration of all those things every day.

I want to live downtown in the historic district in one of the town homes/row houses. A nice private, walled in courtyard and garden would be fantastic. But living in a beautiful old  brick home within walking distance to all the squares where  I could just sit and read a book or draw or paint or whatever. Take the dog and walk around.

Savannah gives me energy like no other place I’ve ever been in my life. My entire life. Being an army brat I moved around a lot until 1987 when we pretty much settled into our last post. But I never fit in there. Never. Now that the base is closed to civilians (unless you’re going to the museum) I can’t even go back to the one home I had longer than a couple of years. So there is no hometown for me.

Home right now is Gainesville but I’m not happy here. I’m uncomfortable here. I’ve done it and I’m over it. There is little to nothing new for me; and there won’t ever be unless I’m a college student. New things pop up for the college students all the time but not for us “old folks” (and by that I mean anyone who is not an undergrad or grad student at the university). The jobs are few and far between. So even changing a career for me doesn’t offer much. Secretary to secretary, admin assistant to clerical assistant. Yes, school should change that but I’m in a town where I’ll be fighting with much younger, much hipper kids for the few creative arts jobs available.

Not that that wouldn’t be an issue in Savannah, but there always seems to be somebody doing something new for everybody there. Age is limitless there. Here it is very much 18-23 focused. The rest of us are just here to babysit.

I want beauty. I want to live surrounded by it. I want to be in the midst of history and culture. I want squares and brick and green. I love all the green. In Florida, yes, I’m mostly allergic to Florida’s green, but when we go to Savannah I don’t seem to have the same allergy issues.

Everything is different there. I feel more creative. I feel happy. I feel that everything is right within my soul.

So God, universe, higher beings, please, please find a way for me to live in Savannah. For me to set roots in the ground and call it home. Thank you.

Wishcasting Wednesday: What Space Do You Wish to Create?

I’m a day late with Wishcasting Wednesdays but it just couldn’t be helped. I used to love doing these writing prompts back when I had a bit more time and my own office. Now I’m in such a public space that it’s a bit weird to write in my public blog while at work. Oh how I miss having my own office.

Not that I want to keep working in corporate world. I want to be a full time artist. That’s my big wish.
This is not what I want:

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Or this:

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My little secretary/receptionist desk shoved in a corner with no room, little to no storage, under a bank of fluorescent lights. I hate being out in the open. I hate not having some privacy. I’m pretty sensitive so everybody who walks in the door who has a heavy presence, be it positive or negative really affects me.

This is what I want:

Light, air, NO CARPETING!, color, a huge magnetic white board, one section of wall that is mid-tone gray where I can make up my mood boards. The room has to be mine and mine alone. No husband. No pets. Just mine.

a31b58b827925652cc3cacda366d0fafIt doesn’t have to be new.  I love old buildings and exposed brick, but I want it attached to my home. Or on my property – no separate studios for me. I want to work when I want to work, and not have to worry about parking or bad guys downtown.

I want my place to be funky with an ever changing style. Cluttered but creatively cluttered. Right now my “craft room/office” is boxes and clothing all over the place.

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I need space. I am in school for graphic design. I have a monitor I hook up to my laptop, a tablet I haven’t used since I bought it because there is no place for it. A scanner that I have been carting around from cluttered room to living room and back again. A gigantic printer that is also being carted around.

But I also make jewelry and paint and draw and photograph my jewelry so I need areas for those things as well.

I walk into my room now and feel immediately claustrophobic. Clothes everywhere. Boxes everywhere. Trash in bags that need to be taken out that I always forget about. It’s like a room that would inspire an episode of Hoarders. I hate going in there much less trying to be creative in there.

It makes me sad. I want a happy place to go. I want it organized and fabulous. I want to work in there and spend time in there but right now I feel so overwhelmed that I hate going in there. I do nothing to make it work. We’ve tried but it just makes more boxes and more trash. I wish I could hire someone to come in and just do it for me. I wish I could say, “Fold those clothes and take them all to Goodwill, take those boxes too. You there, take out the trash.”

But I just stand  there in the space I made to stand in to get dressed in the morning and I look around and think, no I can’t do this today. I’ll do it tomorrow. Tomorrow comes and it remains the same. And the next day, and the next.

A camera, a camera for my, um, other camera

Yes, I already have a camera. Yes, it has the same processor as the Canon Mark 6. I know this. However, when someone offers to give you another camera, or at least the chance to win another camera, who am I to say no?

I have been dreaming of a 5D Mark III Canon DSLR. Why? Because I hear tell that it’s predecessor, the Mark II, was the most fantastic camera around so the expectations for the 5D Mark III are quite high. People love this camera. And I’m all about the love.

Big thanks to the SnapKnot wedding photography directory for offering this great camera giveaway!

 

Six right livelihood guidelines

Consume mindfully.

  • Eat with awareness and gratitude.
  • Pause before buying and see if breathing is enough.
  • Pay attention to the effects of media you consume.

Pause. Breathe. Listen.

  • When you feel compelled to speak in a meeting or conversation, pause.
  • Breathe before entering your home, pleace of work, or school.
  • Listen to the people you encounter. They are buddhas.

Practice gratitude.

  • Notice what you have
  • Be equally grateful for opportunities and challenges.
  • Share joy, not negativity.

Cultivate compassion and loving kindness.

  • Notice where help is needed and be quick to help
  • Consider others’ perspectives deeply.
  • Work for peace at many levels.

Discover wisdom

  • Cultivate “don’t know” mind (= curiosity).
  • Find connections between Buddhist teachings and your life.
  • Be open to what arises in every moment.

Accept constant change.

From: http://www.ling.upenn.edu/~beatrice/buddhist-practice/six-guidelines.html

I’m a Bad, Bad Girl

On Saturday night Mike and I went to dinner to one of our favorite local eateries. It’s a pretty cool joint, locally owned, local ingredients, great chef, not just some guys hired off the street to fry up some fries. It’s not swanky or posh, but maybe a bit hipster, but I forgive them for that. The food is delicious.

I had run next door to a consignment shop when I saw a pair of purple Converse from the window. I snatched them up and returned to the restaurant to find Mike seated at a table for four behind a family of five. As soon as I sat down I knew it our dining experience was going to entertaining at least.

The range of kids at the table seemed to go from 4-years to 14-years. All girls. Mom and dad seemed to be in their 40s, so not really the kind of folks I’d expected to be saying things like, “I want you to pay special attention. This is an important lesson.” I usually hear that coming from my younger peers, not people my own age or older.

What bothered me about that family and about other families like this is that everything is a lesson. A former boss made everything her child did into a life-lesson. In our college town we see a lot of this life-lesson parenting when we’re out and about. Parents with one baby slung tightly to the mother as if to imitate the safety of the womb (albeit, those things do look comfortable and every baby I’ve seen in one of those slings is always fast asleep). Dad is usually wearing his skinny jeans and his thick black rimmed glasses, holding the hand of one child and effectively ignoring it at the same time, and mom is hipster verging on hippy verging on Yuppie. Style is what style does, so more power to ’em.

It bothers me so much when the life-lessons distract me from having a meal with my husband. Maybe there should be different sections in restaurants for those with kids and without, with life-lessons and without. As soon as I sat down I heard the father say to one of the girls, “Now, girls, you’re talking in too loud a voice. When we’re in a restaurant we speak quietly in low voices.”

Okay, that’s not such a bad life-lesson to learn for kids. I hate that kid who is screaming and then the mom screams back and pretty soon I realize I’ve made the fatal mistake of walking into McDonald’s.

From there on out it was very “hushed” tones, although they were loud enough that we could clearly hear everything they were saying and constant demands for the children to be even more quiet. By the time I heard, “Now I want you to pay attention. It is important that you always use a straw when you drink at a restaurant” I realized that I could not just sit there, I had to rebel!

Whenever I’m faced with people like this I immediately feel this need to do the exact opposite of what they are trying to teach their children. The first time I realized I did this was when I lived in Pennsylvania and my cousin’s then 11-year-old daughter wanted to wear some danglely earrings. Nothing too long, just a little lady bug dangling from the post of the earring, very innocent and cute for an 11-year-old. When Little Cousin was told she could not, Little Cousin deftly pointed out that I wore not only dangling earrings but I also had three piercings in one ear. At which Mother Cousin said, “Wendi is a good girl but she’s done a very bad thing (piercing my ear multiple times)”. Since then its been my goal, nay, my life’s passion to alert kids every where that you DO NOT have to put a straw in your glass at a restaurant and that that is certainly NOT a very important life-lesson!

Whenever I get a text on my phone my alert is the cute little girl from “Despicable Me” shouting, “SHE’S SO FLUFFY!!! I’M GONNA DIE!!!!” My rebel self turned my ringer on (I always turn it off in the restaurant) and up full volume. Then I started texting Mike so he would have to text me back. (I can’t embed videos for some reason but here’s the link to Agnes exclaiming what we always exclaim to our own Fluffy Jane.)

The first time “SHE’S SO FLUFFY!” screamed out of my phone the family table grew quiet until the middle child said, “Who was that? What voice was that? Where did it come from?!” When no one answered her questions, she asked louder. I know, I’m horrible. The dad, of course had to tell her that in a restaurant we keep our voices low. I kind of snickered. When “SHE’S SO FLUFFY!” went out a second time it was ignored. Huh.

The rest of the time I tried very hard not to swear, at least not in my regular volume voice, just in case, and drank from my glass directly and chewed ice. Mike had a bit of a chuckle himself because we did not put away our iPad once dinner was served. In fact, we kept on playing Carcassone (which is the reason I did my best not to swear at him, he was beating the shit out of me!) It just seems like we hear life-lessons everywhere we go and I wonder if the kids are ever allowed to just be kids. I understand that parents need to discipline their kids, and I’m all for that. After working three years at Wal-Mart I know what undisciplined is – parents and kids alike! But does everything have to be a life-lesson? Cant’ you just go out for dinner? Does the newborn (this was at another restaurant) really understand that if you tell him that you will take him outside if he gurgles and makes newborn baby noises one more time that it’s not a good thing? (That one was so ridiculous. The dad kept saying, “Do you need me to take you outside? Do you want me to take you outside?” while the baby’s unfocused newborn eyes looked around as he gurgled and acted like a newborn baby should.)

I don’t know why I do this. Maybe because my parents were pretty strict while I was growing up or something along those lines. The line I heard over and over as a kid was, “what would the neighbors think?!” To which I always wanted to respond, “Well if you don’t say anything they won’t know thus they can’t think about it”. I think I might have said that once but totally under my breath. There’s only so much wrath an only child can get away with. (I love you, mom.)