26 August 2017 : Poems From Page 143

So if you’ve been paying any attention at all, you know I’ve got this thing for the number 143. Two years ago, I had this idea that I still think is super cool, which is to combine my attraction to the number 143, my interest in poetry, and the idea that many of us read books. I started promoting people submitting me to me poems they create by blacking out words on page 143 of books they loved or were reading. The end result is a poem.

Learn more here.

Just before leaving on vacation this summer, someone who has become an important friend, Mina Vafaeezadeh, who happens to be the roommate of Stephanie, Melinda’s and my niece, sent me what I call a “Page 143 Poem.” I’ve just now posted it to the blog I keep for that purpose, the first such submission in over two years. Maybe you will find inspiration in Mina finding inspiration in this concept. If you want to submit, all I ask is you send me three things:
– Your finished poem
– A picture of page 143 of your book with your poem highlighted and the other words blackened out.
– A short description that could include who you are, the importance of the book, what your poem means to you, what’s happening in the book at that time, or really anything that appeals to you.

For you folks in France who follow this blog, feel free to send me Page 143 Poems in French, too!

16 August 2017 : Hear Me Online This Saturday

I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve been been selected to be the featured guest this Saturday in an online global conference call hosted by a wonderful organization called ServiceSpace. As described on their website, “ServiceSpace leverages technology to encourage everyday people around the world to do small acts of service. Our aim is to ignite the fundamental generosity in ourselves and others, creating both inner and outer transformation.”

Perhaps you can see why I’m excited to be chosen!

ServiceSpace has a number of initiatives, the one with me, Awakin.org, designed to help people grow in self-awareness. As they say, “By changing ourselves, we change the world.” Awakin.org holds a weekly online conference call with an inspiring guest each Saturday at 9am PST (that’s 6pm for those of you in France).

Learn more about my topic here. You can RSVP to participate there, too.

14 August 2017 : The Reunion

Three big smiles!
So Melinda and I landed at SeaTac yesterday just before 2pm. Well, more accurately, the plane we were on landed. Our job was to stay seated with our seat belts fastened, our seats in their upright position, and our tray tables put away. Oh, we were also supposed to have our bags either in an overhead bin or under the seats in front of us. I’m pleased to say that we followed these instructions.

So the plane on which Melinda and I flew yesterday (is it accurate to say we flew? – we were in the air for almost 10 hours…) landed at SeaTac yesterday just before 2pm.

Mr. Casual is resting on his elbow in the car ride to get some dinner last night.
It took a bit of time to get off the plane, clear customs, get our bags, clear customs with our bags, and to walk to where Ella was waiting for us. Still, all these things considered, we got home at around 3pm. Kim, Bentsen’s caretaker for the last 3 1/2 weeks, arrived with Bentsen at 4. It was an exciting time.

Chloe came over to witness and be part of the reunion so all four of us were there when Kim brought him out of her car.He seemed to recognize being in our neighborhood first, and then quickly realized that his family was all there. Kim let him down and he ran to each of us, wagging his tail and jumping with excitement. We each held him in turn and he seemed to cry with delight. It was all very touching, to be sure. I have no photos or videos of this as we all wanted to experience it firsthand and not through a camera.

I’ve included a couple of photos here of a couple of things that took place soon after the reunion. As I hope you can see, we have a happy puppy, and four happy people.

12 August 2017 : Stephanie’s Triple X Birthday!

I do like Stephanie and she is a bit on the strange side. I mean she raises bees and lives with Mina!
So Melinda’s and my niece Stephanie turns 30 today. That’s the oldest she’s been yet (look it up!) and 10 years since her age ended in a zero (do the math!).

Oh, regarding the blog post title, the Roman Numeral for 30 is XXX which would suggest this age is for mature audiences only (as would my blog post title – we’ll see if it drives more traffic to my blog). Good thing you’re 30, Steph.

Okay, in honor of Stephanie’s birthday, while wandering around Amsterdam today I looked for things that made me think of her. Those that lent themselves to photographs, I snapped with my cellphone camera. I had some simple rules for this. One, all pictures had to be taken today. Two, I had to take them myself.

This was quite a fun thing to do. It was a gray, rainy day, unfortunately, so Melinda, Christine, Bernard and I scrapped our plans to rent a paddle boat in order to look at the city from the water. Being on foot likely helped me with getting these photos. For instance, could I find something like the place below while on the water??

Given Stephanie’s father’s distinct dislike of cheese, I was pleased to discover this place. I didn’t go in…

Before presenting the next photos, I need to provide some additional context. Most of my blog readers know that my immediate family (Melinda, Chloe, Ella and me) lived in Nantes, France for 13 months beginning in July, 2010. That’s what got me started blogging, in fact! Every day for those 13 months I wrote a post related to what we did that day. You can find that blog here.

Anyway, in November that year, my parents came to visit. We had a great time showing them around town, including visiting a variety of restaurants. One day, I got creative snapping a picture of my mom outside a restaurant called “Le Caribou.”

Yes, it’s a K and not a C, I know. But it’s still a little funny, right?
As you can see if you look at my blog post that day, I snapped the picture in a way that blocked out the o and u in caribou. Then I wrote a silly story designed to entertain her grandkids. It did. Stephanie still talks about this one (and another called “Frozen Granny”).

The whole point in telling you all of this is because I spotted a restaurant in Amsterdam that made me think of the restaurant in Nantes, the day I took my mom’s picture, and Stephanie’s appreciation of it. I did my best to replicate the Nantes photo as a selfie.

To wrap things up, you should familiarize yourself with Stephanie’s and my mutual interest in the number 143. Do so here. Having done that, you should appreciate this photo below, dedicated to my appreciation for Stephanie, especially so on her triple X birthday.

Steph, look what I found!

On the subject of 143, Stephanie’s roommate Mina is going to help me reintroduce this project I started two summers ago. Look for some new poems once I’m back and feel free to send me your submissions!

12 August 2017 : This Post is For My Father

First, Stephanie, I’ll have something for you later for your 30th birthday. For now, something more important. Beer!

Bernard arrived last night and the four of us went out for a drink. Guess who had beer and who had wine?

So, Al, this IPA was really good.
But it was the label that prompted the taking of these photos.

Click on the photos to enlarge them.