Unhappy anniversary.


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An anniversary. Of sorts. Not a happy one. A cautionary tale, perhaps.

Once, uncharacteristically, I followed my heart instead of my head. In the words of William Rivers Pitt, I threw the parachute out of the plane and jumped after it. The impact was predictable, I guess, inevitable and devastating.

Even so, I doubt I’ll ever get to feel again what I felt during that one perfect, pre-impact moment.

“At the end of the day you should feel so lucky that someone can make you feel that way.” – Trace Cohen

“Tell your stories, you own them. If people wanted you to write nicely about them they would have treated you better.” – Anne Lamott

Ain’t this the damn truth.

Image from agirlinadarkworld.tumblr.com

Image from agirlinadarkworld.tumblr.com

Going back to stir the ghosts.

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The ghosts of things that never happened are worse than the ghosts of things that did. – L.M. Montgomery

Recently I revisited a place that a couple of years ago held great happiness for me, a sweet time and place, before circumstances turned bitter and sour. This is quite unlike me: I genuinely don’t know what possessed me to do so. I can’t recall what I thought it would accomplish. I sensed going in that nothing good would come out of this.

And I was right. I wished that I hadn’t. What was I thinking? Damn ghosts.

The past is never there when you try to go back. It exists, but only in memory. To pretend otherwise is to invite a mess. – Chris Cobbs

Don’t stir the ghosts without understanding that they will stir you right back.

Now I know what a ghost is. Unfinished business, that’s what.- Salman Rushdie


A happy part of my life ended this week.

Image from brickmower.blogspot.com

Image from brickmower.blogspot.com

“Celebrate endings, for they precede new beginnings.” ~Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Regular readers know that for the better part of nineteen years I have worked in multiple capacities at KBEK 95.5 FM, the radio station my sister owns here in East Central Minnesota. (Longer, actually. I was involved with the pre-broadcast planning for the station, for several years before that.) In fact, anyone who has had more than a five-minute conversation with me knows how much I’ve always loved radio, and how much I derive from being part of it. As I’ve mentioned many times, I’m never as happy as I am when I’m on-the-air.

Sadly, that chapter has ended. The station ended broadcast operations effective midnight, March 31st. Click here for more.



That Awkward Moment


Image from pensieve.typepad.com
Text from me

Low-hanging fruit.

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We have Mother Nature to thank for the expression “low-hanging fruit.” A fruit-bearing tree often contains some branches low enough for animals and humans to reach without much effort. The fruit contained on these lower branches may be not be as ripe or attractive as the fruit on higher limbs, but it is usually more abundant and easier to harvest. From this we get the popular expression, which generally means selecting the easiest targets with the least amount of effort. The picker understands how low the quality of the fruit can be and picks it anyway. – WiseGeek

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It surprises me when people settle for low-hanging fruit, let alone what’s already fallen and lying on the ground. Most people have some sort of taste or discernment or purpose, but surprisingly they accede to significantly less than they might acquire with a little more time and effort. Perhaps they don’t believe there’s anything better than what’s already within reach. Or they realize there’s something much better, but don’t believe they deserve it. Or they’re simply disinterested in quality and it’s just an interchangeable commodity to them, whatever it is.

Not long ago I re-discovered that low-hanging, easy-to-reach rewards are always a disappointment. They’re not good enough for me anymore: I’m going to do without them. The better stuff requires effort and risk, but it’s far superior to what’s within easy grasp.

Ain’t this the truth.

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Wisdom: Jim Butcher

photo of the author updated 2010

Jim Butcher
Image from goodreads

“Growing up is all about getting hurt. And then getting over it. You hurt. You recover. You move on. Odds are pretty good you’re just going to get hurt again. But each time, you learn something.

Each time, you come out of it a little stronger, and at some point you realize that there are more flavors of pain than coffee. There’s the little empty pain of leaving something behind – graduating, taking the next step forward, walking out of something familiar and safe into the unknown. There’s the big, whirling pain of life upending all of your plans and expectations. There’s the sharp little pains of failure, and the more obscure aches of successes that didn’t give you what you thought they would. There are the vicious, stabbing pains of hopes being torn up. The sweet little pains of finding others, giving them your love, and taking joy in the life they grow and learn. There’s the steady pain of empathy that you shrug off so you can stand beside a wounded friend and help them bear their burdens.

And if you’re very, very lucky, there are a very few blazing hot little pains you feel when you realized that you are standing in a moment of utter perfection, an instant of triumph, or happiness, or mirth which at the same time cannot possibly last – and yet will remain with you for life.

Everyone is down on pain, because they forget something important about it: Pain is for the living. Only the dead don’t feel it.

Pain is a part of life. Sometimes it’s a big part, and sometimes it isn’t, but either way, it’s a part of the big puzzle, the deep music, the great game. Pain does two things: It teaches you, tells you that you’re alive. Then it passes away and leaves you changed. It leaves you wiser, sometimes. Sometimes it leaves you stronger. Either way, pain leaves its mark, and everything important that will ever happen to you in life is going to involve it in one degree or another.” ― Jim Butcher, White Night

(Ties in quite well with this.)

Song of the night: “Age” by Jim Croce (1973)

Image from hermitthrushes.blogspot.com

It’s impossible to explain how much Jim Croce’s music meant to me and my friends in high school. Now everyone remembers his “wacky” songs like “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” and “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim,” or maybe the mushy ones like “Time In A Bottle” or “I’ll Have To Say I Love You In A Song.”  But in his less chart-friendly songs Jim sang about issues that sailed over my head as a seventeen-year-old, but stuck with me just the same. Forty years later these truths come home to roost, as a man looking back at lessons learned and bracing himself for another go-round. The meaning changed for me like other stuff I first read at the same time.

Jim was killed in a plane crash the week of my birthday in 1973. “Stunned” doesn’t go far enough to explain how we all felt.

I’ve often said that it’s lucky that Jim Croce burst on the scene when he did. If it were today, modern radio wouldn’t know where to play him. He’s too optimistic for alternative rock stations, too straightforward and sincere for adult contemporary, too smart for “new country.” He’d never get any airplay at all. So it’s good he came around when he did.

I’ve been up and down and around and round and back again
Been so many places I can’t remember where or when
And my only boss was the clock on the wall and my only friend
Never really was a friend at all

I’ve traded love for pennies
Sold my soul for less
Lost my ideals in that long tunnel of time
And I’ve turned inside out and around about and back and then
Found myself right back where I started again

Once I had myself a million, now I only got a dime
Difference don’t seem quite as bad today
With a nickel or a million I was searching all the time
For something that I’d never lost or left behind

I’ve traded love for pennies
Sold my soul for less
Lost my ideals in that long tunnel of time
And I’ve turned inside out and around about and back and then
Found myself right back where I started again

And now I’m in my second circle and I’m heading for the top
I learned a lot of things along the way
I’ll be careful while I’m climbing ’cause it hurts a lot to drop
When you’re down, nobody gives a damn anyway

I’ve traded love for pennies
Sold my soul for less
Lost my ideals in that long tunnel of time
And I’ve turned inside out and around about and back and then
Found myself right back where I started again