Friday, August 10, 2018

a new manifesto

when did my world and my thoughts become smaller? when did i replace deep conversations with gossip and snark? did the internet do this to me? was it all the cynical (but oh-so-amusing) gifs? is it my true nature? i don't think so. most decidedly it is not me. i love to think and discuss and share things that make me think and discuss. how did that stop? when did it stop? when was it taken over by pettiness and yes, small-minded nastiness? that's not who i am and more importantly, not what i want. i want to be open and share ideas and not have hidden agendas or look for them or assume they're there and drive myself crazy looking for them. i want to go through life expecting the best of others, not being bogged down by suspicions and doubt. i want to share ideas and have my ideas made better by those with whom i share. i want to laugh and joke lightheartedly. i want to make awesome things together with awesome people. i want to be inspired by those around me. i want them to push me to be better, more creative and funnier. i want to tread paths i haven't tread before. see new things, experience new things, look with openness and curiosity upon the world. to meet everyone i encounter with a light heart and curiosity. i want to skip through my days again, loving what i do and spending time with people who matter to me and give me energy. i want to be in touch with myself, bodily and spiritually. i want to open my heart and my mind. i want to be grateful and express it. i want to appreciate those around me who make me laugh and think and sing and who lighten my heart. and my heart will be lightened if i'm open and curious. i want to live and laugh and love. and feel light and buoyant and prosperous and generous of spirit. and i want to radiate all of that. i feel the glow from within already now...

Thursday, August 09, 2018

what if the water is fine?

my most recurring dream scenario over many, many years is of falling into dirty, brackish water that i fear greatly until i'm in it and discover it's not as bad as it looks. every time, i can swim, or touch bottom, or it's much more shallow than it appears and not nearly as muddy as it seems it will be and i don't get stuck and tangled up in those plants. it hit me today from something a colleague said, that we choose our path, balancing precariously on the edge of that nasty-looking water, worrying about falling in or we give ourselves over and jump in and see what it's really like. and there's a very good chance that it's not as bad as it appears. and maybe we make it worse ourselves, for ourselves, by imagining how bad it will be. and trying to make cynical, sarcastic jokes about it. and maybe we should stop that and look for the good. because there is a lot of good. and maybe, just maybe, it will all be ok if we just relax and be grateful and positive and give ourselves over instead of resisting with cynical sarcasm. and by we, i mean me. and it may not be easy, but i'm going to try. just maybe that water is fine.

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linguistic delight - book reviews from prison.

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why mall of america doesn't die.

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please, dear odin, let him run.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

road trip :: brobergs take the south 2018 :: part 2 :: school bus graveyard

alongside a georgia highway, we were looking for a stand to buy peaches when we came across an amazing sight - a line of graffiti-clad old school buses.

it was part of an auto mechanic shop and we went up and asked if we could have a look. a rather crotchety man with a heavy southern drawl directed us back out to the highway and a path you could take to walk up along the row. he very sternly warned that we shouldn't try to go beyond the row of buses or climb on them in any way. we assured him we wouldn't.

it would have been impossible to do so anyway, as they're very well blocked-off in between. there are multiple warnings to stay off, so it's not the most welcoming place.

there are some cool old cars up on top as well - i suppose to add discouragement for climbing them.

i don't know the story of it, as i think it's primarily a working mechanic & junk yard and only incidentally a bus graveyard, but it seems like proper graffiti artists were involved in painting the buses. at least some of them.

the starkest warning was one about snakes. i'll admit that worked on me and i didn't want to get too close to the buses.

it's quite a large area and it would have been cool if they'd had an observation tower you could climb up to get a better view.

i couldn't help but include this shot of this really cute guy i saw there. gotta love that scruffy beard.

Friday, August 03, 2018

road trip :: brobergs take the south 2018 :: part 1

we had a family road trip in the southern united states this summer. we visited 6 states none of us had ever been in before - tennessee, alabama, mississippi, louisiana, florida and south carolina.  the others hadn't been in georgia before, but i had. and technically, i flew through miami in 1988, but that doesn't really count as being in the state. this time, we visited beaches and the state capital, so it must count. i expected to have heavy exposure to trumpanzees, but we didn't actually speak to a single one. that surprised me quite a bit, but then i saw this piece in the nytimes - it seems we followed that blue route through the south, perhaps guided by some subliminal survival instinct. or maybe we just didn't really talk to enough people along the gulf coast. but we also ran into a surprising amount who vocally volunteered their embarrassment at the mangled apricot hellbeast.

a quick list of impressions/lessons/thoughts:

~ two weeks was just the right amount of time, even tho' we did have our occasional flagging moments. at the end, i was both longing to go home and wishing we still had a few more days and that's exactly how it should be.

~ cheesecake for lunch is awesome in the moment, but come late afternoon, proves not to be such a good idea.

~ way-finding and map-reading were the biggest challenges, even in this day and age of ubiquitous gps. we didn't have a phone plan where we could roam, so we were constantly looking for wifi to help us do our route planning. in the morning, we would plan our route in google maps while on wifi and then the gps does actually follow where you are, but if you deviate from the route you planned while on wifi, the google maps app doesn't handle it well. also, husband was horrible at being the navigator if i was driving, which is weird, because he spent 18 years in the military and is otherwise good at maps. everyone stayed happier if i did the map-reading and husband did the driving. tho' even then there were a couple of kerfluffles. lesson was that maybe we should just know where we are in a general sorta way. and we did buy a big atlas of the united states. it helped out on the highways and byways, but not as much within cities.

~ several of the best things we found were quite random -  a cooling creek/waterfall (mardis mill falls) on a hot alabama day, windsor ruins off the natchez trace, which we found by talking to an older couple at another point of interest along the way, and the space museum just over the louisiana-mississippi border on the way towards biloxi.

~ we actually stuck to our budget and we didn't really deny ourselves much to do so.

~ since we were five more or less adults, we needed two hotel rooms, so we were looking for rooms on the budget end, since we were mostly looking for a good night's sleep and not a place to hang out. plus, we wanted to save our money for great coffee, fun experiences and shopping in goodwill! after a few days of disappointment in the mid-range ($65-$80/night) hotels, we looked to airbnb, and we felt much, much happier. there, we found quirky places with personality, a bit more luxury and charming hardwood floors, still in our price range. if you haven't tried it, i'd be very grateful if you used this link when you do.

~ you should stay off the interstates and get onto smaller highways and byways. we did some of this, but undoubtedly not enough. when you do hit the small highways and byways, make sure you have a full tank of gas, as gas stations can be surprisingly few and far between. we stopped at one in a small town in mississippi where it was clear we were the only white people who had passed through in a long time. that made for some amusing conversations while we waited to use the bathroom.

~ shopping at goodwill is awesome and our child is a wizard at finding the best stuff there, no matter the location. probably the best one we visited (and we tried to visit as many as we could) was the first one, south of atlanta. maybe our eyes were freshest, but i think it also had the best selection. i got an awesome t-shirt that says, "sorry i'm late, i didn't want to come." that makes me laugh.

~ there seems to be a disturbing trend in the states - one of which i was previously only peripherally aware - from barbara ehrenreichs' amazing nickle and dimed book, but never imagined i would actually encounter (which sounds more arrogant than i mean it to). when we were staying at the lower-priced hotels, it seemed like many of the other patrons were folks who seemed to be living with what they euphemistically call housing insecurity. it appeared that the hotels were full of people who probably had work, but not enough money for the deposit on an apartment, so they were forced to live on a weekly or even day-to-day basis in these hotels. i was waiting to ask for a wifi sign-in and i witnessed two young women paying their rent, peeling the fee off a roll of one dollar bills (perhaps from waitressing tips). initially, they gave the clerk, who was behind thick bullet-proof glass, since it was nearly dark, less and he said, "no, it's $63." the second girl reached down her cleavage and got a roll of her own bills out and peeled off the remainder, saying, "there goes my fun money," and rolling her eyes. i felt a little bit shocked. others stood in their doorways, smoking or chatting on the phone, obviously very at home in the hotel. it made me aware of a stark reality in my home country. and also acutely aware of my own privilege.

and on that note, i'll sign off for now. more about the trip, with actual photos, tomorrow. i'm still sorting through all of them.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

entering holiday mode

the bags aren't packed, i have a few edits to do, a brief or two, a couple of emails and a few posts to schedule, but my mind is already sliding into holiday mode. i got home around 7:30, went straight to the garden, picked zucchini, onions and one of those weird cauliflower-broccoli hybrids that seems to have happened in one of the brassica beds. i turned the zucchini in egg and bread crumbs, adding sesame seeds for a bit more healthiness and taste. i stir-fried the onions and caulicoli (i just made that name up) and flash fried a couple of pork chops. it was delicious. husband and i chatted and watched a few episodes of wyatt cenac's problem areas (comedy has turned to smart in these days of the otherwise dumbing down of the world, and it gives me a glimmer of hope). we had a g&t and we got ambitious about harvesting mirabellas, black currants and red currants before we leave.  there's also a mountain of laundry to do and the child to pick up from her week at roskilde festival (there were moments when she almost gave up, but she hung in there). but here, right now, this evening, i'm shifting...gearing down, packing in my mind, thinking about which minifigures to take and what sort of photo or audio project to give myself for the trip. i'm pondering what clothes to pack, which bags to take, what book for the plane (clearly my friend richard's halleluja canyon). do i need art supplies? a new notebook? plenty of batteries for the zoom? and how will i get along without the kittens? they'll be cared for by friends, who will stop by to feed and water them. they'll be fine. but i'll miss them. but i'm looking forward to places i've never been...birmingham, mississippi, new orleans, the gulf coast. orlando. it's going to be an awesome trip. but first, some time in the garden and a bit of hanging out with the kittens.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

out of focus colors

as we close in on the summer holiday, i'm feeling a bit fuzzy to say the least. it's been a long haul, these past months. it's really hard when a job you dearly love turns sour, but it so often happens in a time of growth and disruption. i love both growth, disruption and also change, but it's been a bit ridiculous of late. when the wrong people are brought in and the good people leave and the company culture changes radically, it creates change that's not good or productive. i'm ready for a holiday. and happily, we are getting on a plane next week. it also helped that i went to an intimate and utterly blissful yin yoga class today. my mind quieted down and i saw a veritable rainbow of colors during some of the long poses. it centered me and put me, at least momentarily, in touch with my body. this color thing is really interesting. i've had flashes of synesthesia over the years, but it's really started to show itself in new ways during my recent bodywork sessions. i need to learn what the colors mean, even if it's only what they mean for me...i saw everything from rich, bright, vibrant red - it's never just one uniform color, there are nuances - to salmon to yellow and orange to green and teal to the most velvety indigo. my sense of it is that it's when i'm in touch with emotions, or more like touching them, as i wouldn't say i could articulate them. i've read some pieces about colors associated with the chakras and perhaps there's also something of that in it, when one or another is activated, but it feels more connected to some kind of emotional bedrock inside me. one which i've been probably out of touch with for far too long. if i ever was in touch with it. but i have hope, with the appearance of all these colors when i'm doing bodywork or yoga, that i can get in touch, maybe also at other times. maybe it's just a reminder that i need to live a more colorful life. but first...vacation.