Waking up these days

My morning routine starts on my phone. I know they say this is bad for you. People say that the smart phone is a brick sinking us to the bottom of the ocean or something. But not for me. 

“I even quit taking coffee,” Arafa said. Arafa is my ARC teammate in Sudan. “I prefer learning from the group and writing to them.” 

“Me, too,” I said. 

My morning starts on my phone looking at a Whatsapp group. “Good morning, Changemakers!” says an Aftab, ARC Intern in Pakistan. “Good morning,” replies Deborah, the HR Manager in Uganda. “Good morning dear ARC family,” greets Esperance, Livelihoods Manager in Rwanda. And on and on from all over the world, the voices of American Refugee Committee.

There is inevitably a photo. This morning it was photos and cheers for our teammate who’s dedication to Darfur has inspired her entire team. They presented her with a Humanitarian Award during their World Humanitarian Day celebration. “She was present in such a critical battle situation, but she was very strong facing all challenges to reach those who are in need,” said her Sudan teammate. “I’m very proud to work with her.”

Every morning, my ARC teammates are showing me what humanitarianism looks like, what a daily effort at changing the world looks like. Sometimes it looks like celebrations, sometimes it looks like friends sitting around a fire after a long day. Sometimes humanitarianism looks like one person sitting alone dreaming about new possibilities, and yes, sometimes, so many many times, it looks like a team that stays through war to do whatever they can, to look into the eyes of their neighbors and say, “I am here with you.”

This Whatsapp group started because our team in Minneapolis runs an annual idea competition for staff called The Changemakers Award. The Whatsapp group started as a way for people to ask questions, collaborate, and connect to other Changemakers. The competition is over, and still we connect. Still we are finding ways to share ideas, cheer each other on, and cultivate new connections beyond geography, culture and even language. 

Every day since the group has started I wake up delighted to check the group. Who’s talking? What new window are they sharing into their corner of the world? What will we learn from each other? 

These past few months my job has changed. My teammates have shown me what it’s like to be a team that spans oceans, that thrives on generosity and encouragement, that gives each of us a new look at a world filled with people trying to make it better. 

This is a great way to wake up.

Something you can do for Orlando

“I’m afraid.”
My friend texted me Sunday morning.

“I want to be full of anger, but honestly, I’m more afraid than anything. I hope all your peeps are ok. Sending you love.”

Then Instagram and Facebook and then the news and suddenly I was one of millions shocked, sad, confused and more scared than I had been before I fell asleep. The attack on the gay community of Pulse in Orlando was running through our country, making it’s way through us while we woke up.

Then a little guilt. I’m one of millions feeling shocked and sad and angry and afraid, but I am not one of the hundreds devastated. What can I do with my sadness, especially when it’s not my family or my friend, not my city or my community.

In times like times like these I think of the town of Kapoeta, South Sudan. On the airstrip in Kapoeta, rocks are just barely visible, poking up in mounds on the sides of streets, piles laid over bodies where they fell in a gun fight. Kids played mancala on a board dug from the ground, the rocks just visible next to them.


I’ve walked through communities like Kapoeta in so many parts of the world, talked with men and women who’s lives were ripped from them, and from them, I’ve learned what to do –

Make something.

The musical, Rent, changed my younger self, and every time something like this happens, I remember this line – “The opposite of war isn’t peace. It’s creation.”

Make something.

Peace is something you make. Peace is sometimes a march, a cry of thousands together. But most often, peace is you making it in the smallest ways in your own home, on your own street, in your office, in your school, in your grocery store, in your park or DMV or on the phone with your friend.

Peace is the mom who cheers at her daughters primary school graduation. Peace is the old man singing with his brothers to their favorite old tune. Peace is a woman who writes “Love is the one” in paint made from cow dung onto the walls of her home. Peace is a customer service rep who holds it together through screams. Peace is a hairdresser considering the face of a woman in her chair. Peace is putting a plant in your window. Peace is writing a letter home. Peace is reading a poem to your partner before bed. Peace is a smile at the cashier. Peace is cleaning the bathroom mirror. Peace is rubbing lotion into your dry hands. Peace is hugging someone you love.

You make peace, and you make it every day that you choose to do the best thing you can for the good of someone else, whether that someone else is yourself, your family, a stranger, your neighbor, the earth.


If you want to do something for the community of Pulse in Orlando and like me you’re so far away, make peace. Help the world lean into good by leaning in yourself. Do your best today, whatever that means, and do it in remembrance of those who can’t, those who wish they were making peace with you.

Create good. Make peace. Today, I’m doing it for Orlando.

The Kind of Person That Can See You


What is a best friend when you’re 31 years old? Is it your friend you see once a week to drink margaritas and gossip about work? Is the person who always says yes to every party invitation? Is it the friend that keeps inviting you even though you keep having to say no (Don’t give up on me, friend!)? Is it the one who visits once a year for a weekend of “You know, inside I feel like I’m still twenty-one but MY GOD THIS HANGOVER”?

I’m not sure what a best friend is, but, god, do I feel lucky to have these amazing people who take up so much room in my little heart. 

Two weekends ago my friend, Carla, flew up from Austin. We realized we’ve been friends for almost a decade. The end of this summer will mark ten years since I returned to Abilene from spending the summer in Guatemala. Luckily my closest group of friends at the time created a bible study and kept kicking me out of their house to pray. If they hadn’t provided me this holy ejection, I never would have walked next door to hang out with the girl one of them had started dating. 

Carla was baking and welcomed me in. I honestly don’t remember what we talked about, but I remember that it wasn’t long before we were sharing our stories, me sitting on her counter top and her whizzing around her flour and eggs and oven. I remember the smell of brownies that filled the whole kitchen and the yellow heat of the West Texas afternoon which fought it’s way into the window above the sink. I remember the feeling of discovering a new friend’s laugh. I remember after weeks of feeling like my friends didn’t want me around, Carla listened to me, laughing at my jokes, reflecting on what was happening with me, talking to me like I mattered.

It’s ten years later, and almost every time Carla and I are around each other feels like the first day in that Abilene kitchen. We talk. We laugh. We dig in to the tough parts of our lives, and we find a way to make each other feel safe, to feel the promise of the future, to keep each other afloat. And now we need no time at all to fall right back in to that place. You don’t know what a friend like that can feel like until you’ve held on tight to them for ten years. 

A ten year old friend can remind you what you’ve been through. Almost every time we’re together Carla and I bring up all the old stories, not just because we love them, but because they remind us of who we are, a collection of everything we’ve each been through. Every time I’m with Carla we talk about that night I ran down the beach on that Panamanian island, ripping off all my clothes and throwing myself at the moon before falling into the ocean. I remind her of the time we stayed up all night while she was so sick and chugging barium for a medical scan because so much was happening all at once in her body, and how she drank and drank and taught me how to hold it all together. She reminds me of the afternoon I came out to her. She always jokes because it was her birthday and somehow I made it all about me. But I remember her kindness, the space she made for me knowing she was the first friend I told. She let me have that night and helped me put my flag in the ground and claim that day as the first of a more honest living. 

Now we talk about our senior year of college, how it felt like the biggest year of our lives and how we look back and can’t even measure it in the distance.

I don’t know what a Best Friend is, but the best kind of friend can see you and help you see yourself. The best kind of friend doesn’t just show up, they show up looking for you, and when they see you, they let you know how magnificent it is that they found you again. 

Thanks for always finding me, Carla. 

Driving a taxi in Kolkata

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I imagine myself brave.

One of my enduring memories from India happened within minutes of arriving. 36 college students touched down, and together we left the airport. Joel, our guide and arranger of every detail, had taxis waiting for us.

I was giddy. I threw my suitcase into the trunk of this heavy metal, yellow car. I climbed in the back next to my sweaty travel mates. Joel gave us the name of the hotel, shouted it to the driver. We left.

My eyes were stretched wide. The smell, the hot breeze from the open windows. I was chattering with my friends. Lots of “Look!” and “Wow!”

I’d studied Bangla from a book before we left. I had flash cards. I asked the taxi driver his name. Apnar nam ki?

I was shocked by my own ability, like dipping your toe in a lake and feeling the cool, pleasant water overpowering your fear of what’s beyond the surface. I asked him if I could climb in the front seat using the words ‘Can I’ and gestures.

I asked him about his family. He asked me if I wanted to drive the cab.

I should have been terrified. Kolkata traffic is a wild helping of cars, motorcycles, buses, bicycles, pedestrians, tuk tuks, and rickshaws all making their own decisions, all deeply concerned about their own way out of the mess. I was instead overwhelmed by an opportunity and took the wheel.

Within an hour of landing in Kolkata I was driving a taxi.

There was no power steering. I swung wildly down a side street coming close to a sidewalk railing and then to an old woman selling fruit on the sidewalk. Neither budged. I  leaned and pulled on the wheel, swerving, my heart pounding, the excitement of this swirling new world slowly coming into focus the closer I come to running over pedestrians. I started mumbling, “I don’t know…about…this.” Suddenly our two lane road was filled with three cars all heading my direction and trying to pass each other. At that moment I gave up. I didn’t have the Bangla to tell him I was finished, so I settled for simply letting go of the wheel.

The driver laughed, grabbed the wheel and righted our veering car back into it’s lane.

As quickly as it came, my fear was gone, and I was back to delight. It is a wonderful thing when the adventure you imagined delivers it’s first great moments right when you get off the plane.

They recorded everything on their phones

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Charlie and I went to Thailand with a team from HAUS Salon to work with a team from ARC. You can see a round up of the entire trip here: http://www.haussalon.com/haus-arc

There were fifteen students, fifteen who never missed a moment of class, who stayed polite and attentive and engaged for 4 days of intense instruction on haircut gradation, hair color timing, proper hand positions and more and more.

They must have recorded at least 30 hours of instruction on their phones. That threw me. They never put their phones down. They recorded everything. They recorded new haircuts. They recorded Charlie talking about the steps of a proper hair service. They recorded shampoo demonstrations. They recorded hair curling and flat ironing. They passed their phones to their classmates when they couldn’t get the angle they wanted. They took photos of the finished cuts, the diagrams on the white board, the braids demonstrated on our translator, the correct hand position for holding sheers.

Where are they going to store all of this stuff? Without computers and hard drives where is this all going? And how will they watch it? Will they pull out their phones and scan videos before their next haircut?

They collected everything in these phones, determined to save it all. What will they do with it now?

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So much creation

I was at Art-A-Whirl this weekend and walked away thinking simply this: People can make really cool things.

People can make really cool things. #artawhirl #mpls #makemore

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There’s a universe in this paper weight. There are fireworks in Josie Lewis’s resin blocks.

#clay #plasticine #artresin #godseye #wip #petrifiedfireworks

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There’s a world of moth llamas and bears with typewriters in DC Ice’s paintings

"The Llama-Moth Miracle" ST PAUL ART CRAWL AZ Gallery, April 22-24

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We met honey bee warriors and grey haired ladies with giant looms. We biked through music venues with songwriters belting out over crowds and jewelers hammering out cuffs and rings people will carry with them for years.

What a world where so many people spend so much time dreaming up things that don’t exist and then making them exist. So much creation!

What I learned from my high school drum line director

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I just fell down a rabbit hole on my high school Drumline Director’s Facebook page. Jeffery Scott Dudley is leaving Belton High School after more than twenty years of teaching kids to play music. Right now he’s the Director of Bands at BHS, but when I met him in the summer of 1995, he was a teacher I’d never heard of who asked me at band tryouts to clap to the beat. I clapped; he smiled. He put me on his list of students who could keep rhythm, a kid with drumming potential.

I was 10. I felt discovered.

That summer day started eleven years of drumming with student groups from middle school to college. Today, more than twenty years later, I find myself reading his Facebook page and welling up with pride. This is a man who made hundreds of kids feel special and most of us were nerds and geeks.

“From 8th grade to Senior year, I don’t believe anyone has had such an impact on my life,” said a young soldier on Dudley’s Facebook profile. And then from a classmate of mine who is now a mom of a beautiful family: “This man didn’t make me feel like I should give up, even though I was the WORST trombone player at Belton High School, probably ever. I just wanted to have fun in band with my friends, and he let me own it. And boy did I have fun!! Thanks for making my best high school memories possible!”

I still walk around tapping out beats on the side of my legs. I can remember the rhythms of our best cadences. Give me a few days and four mallets, and I’m sure I could get through a four-mallet marimba piece, maybe Yellow After the Rain. But that’s not the best of what he taught me.

Dudley taught me that the only standards that matter are the ones you set for yourself. And those standards… those should be really damn high.

“Listen!” Dudley would yell at us during drumline practice. “Listen to each other!” We were shrimpy, motley kids from a little town on the side of I-35. We had drums strapped to our backs, fat drumsticks in our hands. We were tapping eighth notes for thirty minutes at a time. “Fortissimo!” Our drumsticks would sail high, our wrists back, TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP. “STOP!” He would interrupt us just a few beats in. Over and over and over he’d stop us if just one strike on the drum head fell off the beat. “Brent, you’re behind!” Thirteen of us– five snares, five bass, three tenors, all trying to play at once, all marking time with our feet on the sidewalk. “Stop! Brent, you are killing this for the whole group! Come on!” I remember feeling so lost. I couldn’t hear the beat. I couldn’t feel it. My feet were keeping time. My hands were moving. I couldn’t hear what Dudley was hearing. Suddenly our drum captain would be counting us in again, and we would be back at it. Eighth notes until we were precise, totally in sync. Eighth notes until we were a crisp clear unit, until suddenly we were artists making something no one expected kids to make.

I didn’t understand those moments. I would feel absolutely lost. Dudley wasn’t lost at all. He believed in an equation that it took me years to learn: practice, plus teamwork, plus more practice plus so much belief – put those things together and you can create things you never imagined. Dudley pushed us to practice, and he had enough belief for all of us.

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I loved percussion; I loved hitting things and hearing their sounds. I learned to love musicality, the softs and louds, the textures, the sum of every brass, wood, metal, and air-filled note. But Dudley took all of that and created an experience so much bigger. He changed my perception of myself, from confused 5th grader to high school bad ass.

Dudley wrote down the music from Stomp Out Loud. He watched the HBO film about music makers who drummed with trash, and he wrote out sheet music from what he heard. He started us on the piece with the brooms. We swept in time, slapped the broom heads on the ground, danced with each other. High school kids running around stage making broom music meant for stage-worthy professionals. After that it was poles and hammer handles. Then musical piece with just basketballs. After that it was other wild music – drumming in the dark with glowing sticks and then an ensemble piece meant to evoke a volcanic ritual that had us pounding log drums and chanting to the gods.

In the spring Dudley took us on tour. He got us out of class to go bang drums at elementary schools. He set up Friday night performances at what felt like the biggest show in town. In the fall, during football season we were kids apart. Before football game pep rallies we led the band in a march through our high school playing drum cadences that brought our peers out of their calculus and history and into the halls to dance. While the band made their way to their seats in the bleachers before the game, the drumline played cadences while the sky glowed orange and pink at sunset. And at halftime we played our contest season marching band performances. We flew around the football field, playing music and dancing in shapes and sounds that stunned our small town.

I was a closeted gay kid, a nerd, a middle school reject. And through music and performance, Dudley made me feel untouchable. Dudley created a program where a kid like me could feel discovered, where a kid like me could push myself to play great music and then later find play that music in front of crowds who were cheering for me. The kid who clapped to the beat in middle school never imagined that, but Dudley did. And he gave it to me. I never even had to ask.

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What I didn’t know as a middle school reject, I knew by the time I left high school – I can do more than I imagine. If I believe and show up to practice, I can make something so much bigger than anyone expected.

Seeing Dudley’s Facebook page today, I tapped into that feeling I had as a drumline senior playing cadences at football games, that feeling of being a creator, a leader, a teammate, someone capable of doing great things. Dudley, you made me feel that way. Turns out you still do. Thank you.

Scuba diving when you are terrified of scuba diving

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No one is supposed to be alive in the ocean. It’s like going to Mars.

 

You know how a fish looks on land after twenty minutes? Flip that and reverse it. The ocean is an alien world, and you are not a fish. The ocean is terrifying.

Last week we were in Grand Cayman scubadiving. I grew up in Central Texas. My family, we are People of the Plains. What is this ocean? Why am I in it? WHAT MONSTERS ARE UNDERNEATH?I had nightmares before I left about floating to the bottom and watching the glassy surface get farther and farther away.

I went to Grand Cayman with my husband, and we went scubadiving because I love him. He has dreamed of scubadiving his entire life. As a kid, he used to wear his mother’s dive suit and pretend he was exploring this sea. For his 30th birthday we both got certified to scuba dive, and he took to it so naturally, so beautifully at home, that I almost forgot I was also at the bottom of the sea attached to life support.

Let me tell you what scubadiving is like:

On the boat I prepare. I do my calming breaths. I empty my mind. I squirt a little baby shampoo on the inside of my goggles so they don’t fog up and render me blind in the sea. I squeeze into a wetsuit and put on flippers. I tie weights around my waist. Yes, this is something every scuba diver does. You literally tie heavy weights to your body so that that you can assure you sink to the ocean floor.

Thank god for Andrew, the Caymanian teenager who hoists the tank onto my back. “Looking good, man,” he says.  I waddle to the edge of the boat.

I sit and listen to the waves lapping at the sides. (IT’S LIKE THEY ARE TRYING TO REACH ME.) I scoot back until I feel unstable and put the regulator in my mouth. “This is the thing that keeps me alive,” I think. “This is where the air comes from.” The bit in my mouth is shaped like a sports mouthguard. I will have a headache later from how hard I clench it in my jaws.

“Go ahead,” Andrew yells. “See you at the bottom.”

I fall backward and suddenly the world I belong in becomes a swirl of water and bubbles, and I am breathing in short breaths because it is cold and I am so suddenly an astronaut in space. The universe is now mostly blue.

Below me is the ocean floor with shapes I can now see. The edges of rocks and even a few moving things are clear now. I start to feel ocean water on my nose. I hold my goggles with one had against my forehead and breath hard through my nose to feel bubbles shoot over the top of my lips until the water is gone. I will repeat this over and over, both when I feel water collecting and when I am overcome by the need to feel air in my nose again.

Pain in my ears. I swim up a little to pinch my nose and push air into my eardrums. Before scubadiving I didn’t know my mouth was connected to my ears. “If you can’t clear your ears, you can’t dive,” they told us in class.” One of my ears is particularly difficult. For a week before this trip I put drops in my ears to clear everything out. Now when I push air I hear a squeeeeeeeeeeek then the pain is gone. I can sink again.

I experience the first miracle of scubadiving while I sink – A person can fall eight stories and not die when they hit the bottom. I sink and sink, and the creatures get bigger. The fan corals wave. My friends and loved ones are already waiting for me, hovering above the ground. I keep clearing your ears and listening to the squeaking against your eardrum, the tiny protest. But then suddenly I am there 80 feet below the surfaces, hovering above the ground.

“Breathe,” I tell myself. I’m the only one who can give myself encouraging words now. “Never stop breathing. Never hold your breath. Holding your breath can kill you. And when you breath, you will remind yourself that everything is ok. Your breath becomes the only thing that keeps you truly calm.”

Yoga breathing is the best training for scubadiving. “Return to your breath,” is the mantra I tell myself with every kick and every glance into the unknown blue.

“Return to your breath,” is what I tell myself when the barracuda starts following us. And also, “Swim behind Andrew.”

The second miracle of scubadiving is the realization that if I am going to die, I should at least enjoy it. And suddenly the whole place is a Seussian wonderland. The coral trees and the coral fans and the coral tubes and the coral bushes all dance in the surges of ocean water that make the whole world an alien ballroom. The thousands of fish are swirling and wiggling and dancing in kaleidoscope clusters.

And I can fly! Swimming in the water is just like flying in the air. Suddenly I am trying things. I am twisting around, looking up at the surface so far away, twirling in water, zigzaging side to side. It’s all very slow, but I am flying.

That’s when I experienced the best miracle, the one I sank down here hoping for, the one that is better than I imagined. My husband is there. He is swimming with slow kicks, his hands folded beneath him. I watch him watch the ocean, frame this memory with the backdrop of deep blue and coral behind him, fish surrounding him, and he is weightless. I watch my husband fly through space.

By this time we are at the edge of The Wall, a coral cliffside that drops 3000 feet. Unlike land, I can fly myself out past the cliff’s edge and look down fathoms. When my husband flew past, I watched him. I imagined what he might be thinking, his tiny frame surrounded by nothing but the space of infinite water. His hands still folded, he swims back to me and holds up the sign for, “I love you.”

When we turn around, Andrew has found a lobster, and we all gather around to watch it swing it’s wild antennae at us.

We stay down for thirty minutes on dives like this. That’s the length of an episode of 30 Rock or Fresh Prince of Bel Air. For thirty minutes we fly. For thirty minutes we watch parrot fish chew hard corals and filefish dash into homes they built from seafloor debris. And on one dive a sea turtle swims up to me, and we turn circles around each other until he swims out past The Wall.

At the end of the dive, we have to come up slowly, one foot every two seconds. At fifteen feet we do a Safety Stop for three minutes. This is a measure to help breath out the nitrogen that we have breathed into our blood. If we come up too fast our blood might fizz and cause problems all over your body, problems like an aneurysm. So we hover.

This is my last miracle. I look around. My husband is there. My other diving friends are there, and we are all hovering. We are held there like planets. I look around and there is nothing but blue space to see and an ocean floor that I just ran my fingers through.

Hovering there, I am in between two worlds, and I remember how vast we are and how small. We are butterflies flapping our wings and spreading our pollen. We are planets with our own gravity. We are bubbles that fill up and float and make others giggle.

I can see into the goggle of my man who floats with me, and above all I remember that I scuba dive for love.

All my selfies – 2015

For the last three years I have taken the same selfie every day. The video here is every selfie from 2015. I started these videos because of a segment I was doing for Cities 97, and I haven’t stopped. A little reminder pops up from the Everyday App, and I stop what I’m doing and take a selfie.

It takes 45 seconds to see my year play out.

I must have been too hungover for a selfie on January 1 because the first selfie is me at work with my favorite cowl I’ve ever made (#knittingnerd). The third is in a club in New Orleans (#backatit).

I keep playing the video and pausing to see what happened last year. At 0:02 I am frowning having just surfaced alone and scared while scuba diving in the Caymans. I was panicking and swam by myself to the surface. I sat on the boat while everyone was 60 feet under. I took a selfie. #oceanterrorcantstopme

At 0:04 I am wrapped up in a blanket in our old apartment reading Writing Down the Bones and having creative dreams.

At 0:09 I am at a hotel in Uganda waiting for my ARC friends and laughing at a hand painted zebra statue serving an incredible side-eye. At 0:11 I am still in Uganda with gorillas behind my back. (The gorillas were better at side-eye)

At 0:19 I am in Congo at the site of a new clinic. I’m standing on top of a land cruiser for this selfie. The moms in the field are watching me. I’m scared of falling.

At 0:20 my husband and I have moved into our new house and the shower downstairs is AMAZING. We wouldn’t find out about the terrible leak in the floor for days.

At 0:21 I’m heading back to Congo on a boat with a dear friend who leans on my shoulder for this photo. His journey has taken him through war in Guinea to war in Sierra Leone to peace in East Africa where he’s helping change the world. I’m so lucky that our paths have crossed, that we’ve become friends, and that now he leans on my shoulder while we sail across Lake Kivu.

At 0:24 my mom is in Minneapolis for my wedding, and we’re at my favorite farmers market in Kingfield. This is one of my happiest places, walking around that tiny market picking out veggies with my mom.

At 0:32 I’m at Youtube Headquarters outside San Francisco. It’s part of a whirlwind visit with my work friend Angela. The two of us visit LinkedIn, Cliff Bar, Lucasfilms, the works… but Youtube is the only one where you can win socks from a claw machine.

At 0:37 I’m wearing a wig at HAUS Salon. When I put it on I look like a super haute Dana Carvey.

At 0:39 I’m at Petra where I take A MILLION selfies because I am flabbergasted. I mean, they carved an entire city out of moutnains. Makes my crafts look like baby’s first drawing.

At 0:44 I am on a plane about to suck down all the espresso because HOLIDAYS and I am so very tired.

At 0:45 I am home and full of glee.

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Where did you take your favorite selfie? I bet it was somewhere wonderful.

 

We have a hobo

There is a man storing his belongings behind our garage.

When we first investigated the hobo pile (currently behind the dangling ‘No Trespassing’ sign put up by the previous owner), there were shoes, a vacuum cleaner, a sleeping bag, a blazer, a computer monitor, a book of family photos, and smaller miscellany in the brush. The pile was there when we looked at the house the first time in February. When we bought the house in May, the collection hadn’t moved, shoes still askew, vacuum laying down with handle pointed due south.

We thought these things were abandoned, but we didn’t move them in case someone came back. It was the family photo album that really got us. There was a picture of children and parents around a table. Another of young boy holding up a fish. We left it all there thinking maybe he would be back and collect his things seeing that someone was living in the house now.

IMG_9301A few weeks ago there were new additions to the hobo pile. A bicycle with rusted out gears and chain. A few more blazers. A second sleeping bag. And things had been shuffled. Recently we’ve put up a fence, and I guess we thought that putting up that fence would send our friend the hint that now might be a good time to find another storage facility. Our hobo friend simply consolidated his belongings. The pile is now squat and high.

I’m conflicted. On the one hand, our friend hasn’t disturbed the peace. Other than footsteps in the snow and the occasional movement of blazers and sleeping bags, we would never know he’d been here. And it’s been 8 months now, and we’ve never seen him. (In fact, it could be HER hobo pile.)

On the other hand, we were thinking of building a chicken coop right there. #bourgeoisieproblems

But really, we want to have kids. And we’re not feeling great about our occasional hobo friend stopping by at random.

My current thought? Let’s buy him a great storage container, possibly with wheels, a gift certificate for some dry cleaning (would do wonders for the sleeping bags), and write him a very nice eviction notice. “Dear friend, It’s been great, but perhaps it’s time to roll on.”

My other current thought? Let’s invite him to dinner. We’ll take him for a slice at Lucé. Maybe he knows how to build a chicken coop.

Have you ever had such a guest? WHAT DO WE DO?