Living Out Loud
"We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us."
E.M Forster
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When the Writing Was Easy

Easy Writing vs. Hard Writing The easiest writing I've ever done was on my 156 day honeymoon in 2013. My wife and I got married on Day One of an Appalachian Trail thru hike and I kept a blog of the entire trip, thumb typed every night while lying in a sleeping bag in our tent or in one of the shelters built along the length of the 2,189-mile trail which stretches through the Appalachian Mountains from Maine to Georgia. The writing was easy because I had all day to craft every entry in my mind as my feet navigated up...

Supporting Something New

I'm pretty sure he has no idea, but Robb Knight is one of the main motivators that got me to take the plunge into blogging and participating in the whole IndieWeb scene. Late last year, I'd started to read a few blogs on RSS after opening NetNewsWire for the first time in years. Several of the writers from blogs I followed were participating in the Duel of the Defaults, listing their default apps for everything from email to grocery shopping. I read the lists with interest, discovered a few new tools and decided I really, really wanted to participate. Robb...

Not a Natural

I realize that I talk about my grandchildren a lot (partially because I have a lot of them - 13) I never intended to be a caricature, the old man with white hair who goes on and on and I probably haven't reached that stage yet, but I need to be careful. Every dance recital, rugby game, horse show and graduation give me something to share with the world. I look back at the kind of father I was, and I wish I'd been a better one. I wasn't a natural at it. I got frustrated too easily and I...

Musical Memories

So why do I connect with music at such a physical, emotional and spiritual level? Hell, I don’t know why. But I know that I do. Music brings back moods, smells and feelings. Some songs give me a rush. Others make me all sappy and sentimental. And others make me want to help start the revolution. Here are eight of my musical memories. Feel free to add yours.   1. I was in kindergarten when the Beatles released Let It Be. My Mom put it on the record player and let it play over and over and over. I got...

The Southern Problem

Where I Fit In I'm in the oldest cohort of Generation X. Born in 1965 in the south (North Carolina), I was in the first generation to attend integrated schools for a full twelve years. My parents grew up and were educated in the Jim Crow era. I've lived my entire life in the states of the old confederacy, yet somehow managed to end up on the progressive side of the political spectrum. As a white male with no higher education but with military service and work experience in manufacturing in my background, I'm very much an anomaly.  The Bad...

About Street Photography

When I am on the street with my camera I feel relaxed only when I sit down and have a cup of coffee and don't try to take any pictures. The rest of the time I'm borderline miserable. The decision to take a shot of a stranger usually has to be made in an incredible short amount of time. I ask myself and then answer question after question: 1) What do I see? 2) How do I frame it? 3) Am I in the right position? 4) There are a lot more questions but I'll skip to the last one...

All in on Tech

I like to look for ways that I can use tech for than just entertainment and productivity. I start and end my day sitting at my keyboard making the beginning and final touches on my daily journal entry. I recently wrote of the mental health benefits of making a daily gratitude list. I try to be methodical in my important relationships, especially those with my three kids - all independent adults and parents themselves. They live as close as two hours away and as far as Fairbanks, Alaska. I use an iOS shortcut called Check on My Peeps to automatically...

Getting Dirty

When did people start having an aversion to getting dirty? With indoor plumbing being a modern convenience, it stands to reason that modern society is the cleanest on record. Back in the days when I used to watch nnetwork TV, I seem remember a veritable plethora of commercials for shampoo, soap, bathroom cleaners, Softscrub ad nauseum. Most grocery stores have entire aisles devoted to nothing but cleaning supplies. Why, Wal Mart even has a section devoted to organizers for cleaning supplies. I shake my head in amazement when people apologize for being dirty as they always do. How many...

The Gratitude Habit

Part of my daily routine is to record three things in my daily journal entry for which I'm grateful. I've been doing it for a long time. I try not to be too repetitive, so I'm always on the lookout for things to identify and add to my list. It helps to ask myself that question multiple times a day. I found a good parking spot? Boom! Grateful. My clothes fit particularly comfortably today? Boom! Grateful. A text from one of my grown kids, a tasty lunch at a familiar restaurant, a good report at the dentist - I'm...

Not All Boomers

Let me preface this by admitting that things are complicated. I missed being a boomer myself by a mere 52 days, so I'm sure I share a few traits with that generation just as other older Gen X folks do. I also love my Dad despite his faults, as he loves me despite mine. We have good visits from time to time where he shows me new YouTube videos (his favorite pass time) he's discovered recently. The visit I describe below was not one of those good ones, however. My Dad (age 77) contacted me (age 59) last week and...

Prison Time

I was a correctional officer in a medium custody prison in NC from 1986-1993. I went into the military after high school. I had an infantry military occupational specialty and didn't learn many skills applicable in the civilian world. Immediately after leaving the service, I went to work at a prison. My older, very left-wing self recoils at the the thought of participating in the systemic racism that has been part of our criminal justice system throughout history, but my 21-year old self needed a job to provide for a wife and two kids that had some benefits.  While working...

Wonder Woman

I've been calling my wife Wonder Woman for so long that people who've never met her call her that too. She gets that name because she's a miraculously fit endurance athlete (and 13X grandmother). I long ago lost count of the number of marathons she's run or the number of 100-mile bike rides she's completed. When we met (at a cycling event I organized), I too had my endurance bona fides. Our honeymoon was a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail. We covered 2,189 miles in 156 days. That was eleven years ago. In the interim, I've had two total...

Ode to Zorba's

At the end of the street where I've lived for thirty years stands an unassuming blue building housing Zorba's Gyro on a Spit, a restaurant I've frequented for even longer. Tommy Frangakis emigrated from Greece in 1958 and settled in Fayetteville in 1961. He established Zorba's Gyro in 1974, and it has remained a family affair ever since. His son John has assisted at Zorba's for most of his life and has been a permanent fixture since 1996. Greeks own numerous eateries in our mid-sized southern town, including Italian and soul food establishments. Unlike diners open 24/7, Zorba's opens at...