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Sketches

Sketches, social commentary

Unexpected gifts from my homeless friends

July 12, 2017
perceptions towards homelessness

I’ve been sitting on this sketch for a few weeks now, waiting for the right time to share it with you. Paul, one of the two authors at Two Voices One Transmission asked me to create a sketch based on descriptions of several characters in this blog post. His interactions with his “favorite neighbors,” who were either homeless, or on the discarded fringes of society, resonated with me. I don’t know how well I responded to the challenge, but I certainly enjoyed creating these sketches. This also provided an opportunity to reflect on my evolving perspective towards homeless friends.

Last week I wrote about life lessons I learned while hiking the Appalachian Trail. (If you’d like to read it, you can visit here.) I spoke at length about the hardships (and perks) of living as a homeless hiker. But the thing is, I wasn’t really “homeless.” If things became too difficult, I knew my patient wife would be waiting with open arms. There were only a handful of nights (out of 166) that I struggled to find a place to sleep at night. I lost an unhealthy amount of weight, but access to food was rarely the issue. And while the typical long-distance hiker looks (and smells) like a feral creature, there was no shortage of “hiker-friendly” towns and homes that welcomed us, some even celebrated the fact that we were walking the woods for a really long time.

My homeless friends don’t have the luxury of a support system. No friends and family back home to send encouragement or care packages. They don’t have credit cards in their pack that they can pull out when the urge to dip into town for a hot meal and a shower becomes overwhelming. Rather than being celebrated for enduring a challenging existence, the homeless often face ostracism and attacks. A life like this doesn’t strike me as fun, or inspirational. And it certainly isn’t glorious.

But this isn’t always a recipe for despair.

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Sketches

I wanna believe in magic again

June 3, 2017
believe magic again

Do you remember knowing that green was your favorite color because it’s what made the grass grow?

Do you remember when the 3-eyed, orange-fanged monster lurking under your bed was real (and smelly), waiting to pounce as soon as your toes touched the floor?

Do you remember how powerful and brave Dad was when he banished these beasts with a chanted command: “Go away, Go away! Nobody here wants to play!”

Do you remember when coloring outside the lines just meant you had more space to fill with brilliant colors?

 

Do you remember when ANYTHING was possible if you tried hard enough (especially if Dad was there to help during the hard parts)?

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Photos, Travel

Hiking in Venice?

May 24, 2017
Hiking in Venice

I suspect that when you think of hiking, you imagine mountaintop vistas, strenuous climbs, and solitude. There should be trees and dirt and sweaty armpits. Probably bugs, but hopefully a few glimpses of more endearing wildlife.

hiking view

Moment from a typical hike

 

Venice is an unlikely place to find any of these things. Sealevel is nearly always within arm’s reach. The biggest (outdoor) elevation changes occur at the peaks of bridges. No dirt. (Although we did wrap-up our hike with a stroll through a secret garden.)

hiking in Venice

The high (outdoor) point in our hike. Shown is the Rialta Bridge spanning the Grand canal. At its peak, we climbed almost 8 whole meters. And I only had to stop once to catch my breath!

Instead, our flint-tiled hiking path lead us through narrow alleys bordered by ancient buildings, past ornate palaces, mansions, and Byzantine cathedrals. A cool, steady breeze and leisurely pace suppressed our armpit’s urge to do what they do, even if we don’t want them to.

 

With all these differences in mind, the hiker in me wasn’t thrilled by the prospect of several days spent wandering through another major city. I wanted to experience all the things that hiking promises: inspiring scenery, exercise for my body, and my mind (minus the torture treadmill), and a chance to rediscover the inner peace that is so hard to find in a busy big-city life. Unlikely we’d find any of this on a tiny, man-made island that hosts millions of people every year.

 

Venice, you sneaky little city, you’ve been holding out on us.

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(almost) funny, Sketches

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday- now with bonus words

March 15, 2017
The colors of Joy

Happy Hump Day y’all. You doing anything special to celebrate?

Some of you are stuck filing TPS reports; or studying for the GRE, LSAT, MCAT or whatever acronymated entrance exam you need to ace to get into grad school; the busiest of you are feeding, shuttling, counseling and cleaning a herd of crazed animals that happen to share your last name.

Then there’s us. Bleary-eyed from an all-nighter spent staring deeply into our laptops, hoping for a meaningful connection with our muse. PJ’s and teeth in need of serious scrubbing. We, we merry band of bloggers, we know how to usher in the mid-week festivities. Might I suggest a soothing after-breakfast nap to go with that morning breath? Go on… you’ve earned it.

But before you nod off, I had an epiphany a few weeks ago that I’m ready to share. Don’t worry, it’s not so exciting that it will make falling asleep any more difficult. And I’ll need a few sentences to setup, so you have plenty of warning before the big reveal.

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Sketches

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Leading Ladies

March 8, 2017
The Incurable Dreamer

Happy International Women’s Day!

 

Google tells me Leading Ladies are the ones that claim prominent roles in movies or plays. Leading Ladies is also a poorly reviewed Ken Ludwig play about two men who pretend to be women to claim an inheritance from an ailing Amish Aunt. (Pretty sure this is the “A” alliteration string to beat for the week).

Google got it wrong.

Leading Ladies aren’t just actresses or men pretending to be women. They’re women like my wife Monica, and my “sora mea din alt domn” (sister from another mister). These two women are my compass when the best way forward is unclear. Despite leading busy and productive lives, they rarely roll their eyes when I try to add to an already bizarre bucket list. Instead, they play along as much as reason will allow, even when it means supporting an increasingly demanding blogging “hobby.”

Disclaimer: I’m not saying this because I’m hoping to pick our next vacation destination (although a climb up Mt Kilimanjaro would be the perfect way to wind down after walking the Camino de Santiago if anyone’s curious).

 

Monica

Meet Monica. If you’re wondering what I did to deserve a wife this amazing, you wouldn’t be alone.

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