Week 2 – Cramp #2

Electric Acid

The tasteless fluid ran down his throat.

Unsure of the speed of the substance, he sat down in a cozy chair.

His feet were flat on the floor. His eyes looked at the ceiling.

He turned up the stereo until he felt the musical beat throbbing in his chest.

“Don’t think,” he thought to himself. “Just be.”

After a few moments – or an hour, for all he knew – a great soaring bald eagle flapped into the room and ripped him from his body.

“Come,” the bird roared, “the ascendants are ready for you.”

And whoosh! He was completely out of his body, spreading wide, and flat like a giant piece of paper.

Out of his cramped body, he was rolling and swimming in the waves of the breeze, taking whatever form he needed to be.

The eagle stared into his eyes as they raced through the sky.

“For all your knowledge,” the eagle said, “you know nothing.”

Week 2 – Cramp #1

Gripping Sunrise

I laid in the exquisite silence of dawn. Birds chirped outside the open windows, and the newborn pink sky tilted towards another day.

I smiled as I remembered my dream:

My wife and I were sitting at an outside gelato café in Turin, Italy.

She was reading the local newspaper (which was weird, since she doesn’t understand Italian!), while I was mapping out our travels for the day.

Kids rode by on their bicycles, and elderly men and women walked down the street either on their way to – or from – the outdoor market.

The weather was perfect – mid 70s with just a slight breeze.

As I continued to replay my dream, I rolled onto my back.

I yawned, and streeeeeetttched…

And BAM!

The cramp twisted my calf into a tight pretzel knot.

My foot pointed grotesquely as I quickly rolled over to the edge of the bed.

I put my foot on the floor, and remembering what Auntie Aggie taught me, I slowly started to apply pressure, oh so slowly standing up.

The pain was the antithesis of the morning I was just having –

It consumed my thoughts, and ate holes into my Italian dream.

I gnashed my teeth and squirmed in discomfort.

I began to make deals with god and the devil.

In desperation, I began to rub, then punch my overly fatigued muscle.

A guttural groan escaped my throat.

The seconds became years…

When finally, the demon’s grip on my lower leg let loose and was allowed to relax once again!

I plopped back on the bed, looking out the window.

For a moment I tried to grasp that memory of Italy – a place I’d never been.

But like the cramp, the memory was gone.

The newborn pink sky had turned daylight blue, and it was time to face the day.

Week 1 – Cartoon #2

Cereal Killer

The morning chill crept in as I tossed back the covers.

Static electricity sparked from the sheets to my flannel pajamas,

But I had no time to notice –

My bare feet hit the cold, tiled floor, and I quickly jumped into my fuzzy slippers.

I opened the door, careful not to let it creak too loud.

Rubbing sleep from my eyes, I shuffled down the hallway –

Not realizing that I was setting myself up for another static zap!


I turned on the TV – ZAP!

Yet I was barely aware.

The TV tube flickered as I switched channels.

The Canadian national anthem played

There was a test pattern

And voila! There it was…


I shuffled into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator – ZAP!

And grabbed the milk, putting it on the table.

I pulled up a kitchen table chair, climbed up, and grabbed a bowl from the cabinet.


Leaving the chair, I padded to the pantry and found the box of sweet yummy Frankenberry cereal.


Back to the kitchen table, I dumped too much cereal into the bowl, little pellets of sugar bombs leaping from the bowl to the table.

Followed with too much milk poured from the plastic container.


I grabbed a spoon, and carefully made my way back to the living room – leaving a path of red #2 dyed oats.

Sitting on the floor, I mindlessly ate my breakfast.

It was Saturday morning in Michigan.

And cartoons were on!

Week 1 – Cartoon #1

Over the next few days or weeks, I’ll be posting the writings I’ve done since I started this project (see “Rededication”). In week one, the topic was “cartoon”. The goal I’ve set is to write something related to the word for the week. Sometimes, it will be obvious. Sometimes, mysterious. Always fresh! Hope you enjoy!

The Last Fight

The door opened with a BANG!

Startled, he JUMPED and hit his head on the too short ceiling fan.

SEEING STARS, he reached out to her, apologizing.

As she screamed, his hair actually moved as if BLOWN BY THE WIND.

She stormed out of the house, her legs churning so fast he could hardly SEE THEM.


He slumped against the wall, rubbing his head.

His eyes felt like little X’S. He felt dead to the world.

As he slid down into his torment of desperation, he felt a laugh ESCAPE HIS THROAT.

He had visions of being Wile E. Coyote in those old Bugs Bunny cartoons, chasing after Road Runner.

After all, he did feel like AN ANVIL FELL ON HIS HEAD…


With that crazy thought, he stood straight up.

He realized that this was a loop that played over and over and over, resetting itself every time they got back together.

Sure, she had BAGS OF MONEY

And her cat SYLVESTER was pretty cool…


But every time she left, he ran after her.

Not this time, he’d decided…

Instead, he calmly collected her things into a worn ACME box,

Intending to set them on the porch.


But in reality,

He threw Every. Single. One of them.

Out the fucking window!

Week 9 – Tuesday #2

Work Week Work Week

Work week, work week,

Turns into a blurred week.

The latter day Saturday

Keeps the wolves at bay.

Some day, Sunday,

Sad, sad fun day.


Dumb day, Monday,

Makes me want to run day.

One day, Tuesday,

Happy blues day.

When day Wednesday,

Camera lens day.

First day, Thursday,

Hangover blurs day.

High day, Friday,

Forever my day.


End of work week

Spin around and freak.

End of work week

Give me some peace.

Week 9 – Tuesday #1

The First Tuesday this Week

It wasn’t the best day of the week. I could hardly get out of bed.

My faith had left me, and my head spun – there were no simple answers and I was growing weary of looking for the wise ones who might know.

In all my reading and research, I had heard that this might happen. I was so deep in it, that I could no longer see the forest through the trees.

Knowing that I had to get to work was crushing my soul. Sure, I could take a vacation day, but I needed something more – I needed a spirit day to recharge myself from the inside out.

The clock was unforgiving, reminding me every 10 minutes that I was going to be later and later to work.

I popped a Xanax and threw off the covers. By the time I get out of the shower, I should be feeling much better… I took a swallow of the Diet Coke sitting at the side of my bed and checked my phone for – well, everyfreakingthing.

Yes, the warm rush of adrenaline. Or was it my blood pressure? I don’t know. But reading about the ills of the world definitely made me feel better – more superior, too, I suppose.

This was going to be the best Tuesday of the week, I’d decided. Time to get this sucker going!


Sometimes it’s tough to keep up with a blog. Inspiration isn’t always there, and in my case, I have a lot of pictures to go through to post for the Happy Talisman – which, at this point, has become very time consuming.

So I thought I’d try something different and alter the direction of this blog. For a couple of months now, I have been keeping up my writing chops up by randomly choosing a word each week, and creating two separate writings using that word.

I thought I would use this blog to do that from here on out. It won’t necessarily be focused on photos any longer, but rather a catch-all of stuff I’m doing.

Let’s see how that goes for a while, eh?

St. Mary Star of the Sea


In 2010, we spent Christmas in Florida. While there, we spent a couple of days in Key West. We not only did a lot of walking, but we also rented mopeds for one of the days. As a result, we were able to see a lot more of the island than usual.

This photo was taken at the Basilica of St. Mary Star of the Sea. I love the Christmas decorations that churches put up – there are a lot of reds, greens, angels, poinsettias, etc. But having been raised in the Midwest, it was almost impossible to get a shot like this – an open air church (sliding side doors opened wide), with gorgeous, colorful flowers, and the sun shining all around us.

This was definitely a Christmas to remember!



I have a lot of things in life that I am thankful for, and I try to make sure that I remind myself of this often.

This weeks’ picture was taken in February, 2011. This is our deck and grill,  the winter we decided to move to a warmer climate.

In July of 2011, we took a mid-summer vacation to Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, and fell in love. It was crazy hot, but it wasn’t enough to deter us from such a move. We decided on a five year plan that April, when it seemed that winter would never end.

Then, in 2013, we pulled the trigger, and uprooted our Michigan lives. We moved to lovely… Las Vegas?

We gave ourselves two years in Vegas, and decided it was time to come to our new home – Raleigh-Durham. We have now lived here for a year and a half, and we are really, really happy.

All things happen for a reason, and every once in a while, we need to remind ourselves of things we are thankful for. Yes, we love and miss our families, and yes, we are truly thankful for them. But I am also thankful for moments like the one in this picture – moments that send us blindly hurtling towards our future.

November 11


I grew up in times that were complicated for the American military. We were trying to forget Vietnam, and you only went into the service if you didn’t know what to do with yourself or if you were a screw-up.

After I had already started college, things began to change. The GI bill made the military appealing to those willing to sacrifice a few years in order to get money to go to school – this was a major reason why my brother went into the military. Thankfully, we were fortunate enough to not have to worry about him seeing battle duty. In the 80s, we weren’t at war, so it really was a different world.

Of course, since Operation Desert Storm in 1990, America – and its military – has not been the same. Coincidentally (?), the great guilt over treatment of Vietnam vets overflowed. Americans vowed never to treat our men and women in uniform the way we did in the early to mid-70s.

Being raised in the Midwest, I also had a cultural upbringing regarding the American civil war. It was just a standard history lesson, with no real impact on my life. I pretty much just knew names and dates, and the fact that the Midwest was part of the underground railroad.

Now that I live in the American South, the civil war becomes a little more real. Nearly everywhere I look, there’s a memorial of some sort to the confederate army.

This picture was taken in April, 2016, in Raleigh. Walking through the tombstones, it’s easy to realize how families and lives were ruined as a result of war. Battles are honored, as are the fallen – and the survivors, too.

I think it’s good to remember the major issues that create the world we live in today. The good, and the not-so-good. Most importantly, we need to learn from our mistakes and ensure we take steps to improve.

Godspeed to everyone who served in the military – regardless of when, why, or how.

Godspeed also to those who didn’t – regardless of when and why not.