Friday, May 23, 2008


I'm not the greatest with my 5 senses...

I don't have impeccable hearing, at least so I've been told. I'm quite near-sighted; my contacts are -3.50 and it seems that this is a stronger prescription than most have. I am the last to smell something, if at all.

Preferring Introversion and iNtuition only make me less aware of my senses. Since I'm more often oriented toward what's in my mind that what's around me because I prefer "I", I am less attune to my physical environment. Meg told me one time that she liked some of the household decor items that were for sale at Ralphs, and I had no idea what she was talking about. She said the items are always sitting at the front of the store so you're facing them when you're at the register. I looked next time I was there and was floored; I'd never noticed them. And because I prefer iNtuition over Sensing, I use and rely on my senses much less than some others. Mary always notices if a floor is slanted or if there is a gassy smell or if you can hear the waves crashing at a property; I have to feel, smell, or listen a second or third time.

But the past couple weeks I've been trying to focus on fully Sensing my environment. Tonight is our last night in our house. I'm all about beautiful surroundings, more than most I know. But I don't always stop to take in the physicalness of it. For a couple weeks I have been careful to pause on my way from the car to the door, inhaling the fragrant air and salty smell of our hill by the Mesa. I've made time to just sit and stare out at the view from my window, taking in every light and tree and rooftop and hill I can see from our perch. I've walked outside at night and paused, to feel the particular mixture of ocean breeze, Santa Ana winds, and clean clear air that stirs up around our Crestline.

It is instinctive to me, and probably to most, to intentionally take in our surroundings as we leave something for the last time. I did that before I graduated from Westmont. I didn't really get to do it before we left our beloved house on the west side that caught fire a year ago, and I felt the lack of closure, as we hurriedly packed our things among the muck and soot. For me (and again, likely many others) it is also instinctive to focus my senses on any new environment that I am entering for a significant time. Like a cat circling around someone, taking them in, adjusting to the sight and sound of someone, before it allows itself to be pet.

I haven't yet spent a night at the studio, but I've been visiting there for a few days now, slowly moving things in. When I get out of the car I do a 180, to fully take in the Riviera view. I walk slowly along the landscaped stepping stones, memorizing their placement to prepare for future late dark nights. I've run my hands along the bathroom tile, feeling their freshly cleaned coolness. I pause as I lock the door to leave, trying my best to take in the scent of the hundreds of roses planted all around. This is my new home, and I want my senses to know it.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

98 and 3/4 percent

I graduated from college on May 8, 2004.

It's been four years since then. I've thought about this for a couple months now, how I'm "graduating from having graduated." For so long years were measured in fours (especially since my middle school was 5-8th grade). Class of '96, then Class of '00, then Class of '04... I don't feel like this is some major milestone or anything, but it is noteworthy to me and has prompted me to think about all I've done and experienced and how I've grown since then.

An aunt and uncle gave me a copy of Dr. Seuss' book "Oh the Places You'll Go" when I graduated from high school. I thought it was cute then. But now I think it gains more significance with every year more of experience one has. Here's most of it...I think its a worthy read.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look ‘em over with care.
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.
And you may not find any
you’ll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you’ll head straight out of town.
It’s opener there
in the wide open air.
Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen,
don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.

You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.
You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t
Because, sometimes, you won’t.
I’m sorry to say so
but, sadly, it’s true
and hang-ups
can happen to you.
You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on...
And the chances are, then,
that you’ll be in a Slump.
And when you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place…
…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape
all that waiting and staying.
You’ll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.
With banner flip-flapping,
once more you’ll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!
Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won...

But I’m afraid that some times
you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win
’cause you’ll play against you.
All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you’ll be quite a lot...

But on you will go
though the weather be foul
On you will go
though your enemies prowl
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl
On and on you will hike
and I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!