Yay It’s Friday!

Friday night pics for you. That’s all really. I forced myself to stop work at 5pm for the day. Been busy working on various websites and social media sites for my design business. If you know someone who needs an extraordinary retail designer, call me 😉 I’m not proud.

First photo, the PBS interview of the wife went well. It was a neat experience. Hopefully they liked it enough, or didn’t lose the tape, that it’ll air sometime in April or May. She did really well and I’m super proud of her. I know it’s a big weight off of her back.

Producer and cameraman shoot some post interview shots. Daisy tears apart an ottoman.

Producer and cameraman shoot some post interview shots. Daisy tears apart an ottoman off camera.

Second photo: I awoke this morning and the wife said “Check out the cool mouse, or mole, tunnels in front yard snow.”

I looked outside. There are little mouse trails everywhere. I shuddered to think of all the rodents living in the yard….in my garage….my car…my house?

“Yeah, cool. Makes me want to live in an apartment downtown.”

Winter rodent trails under snow.

Winter rodent trails under snow.

Last but not least I’ll leave you with a sexy Mr. Goo pic to carry you through the weekend. Cheers peeps.

Hey ladies.  *winks

Hey ladies.

Paper Airplane

Alright today was supposed to be a good day.

The last few days (months) have been extremely depressing. Out of curiosity yesterday I figured out that I’m bringing in at the sub-poverty level for the last two months. I need to rally quick. While I laid in bed Dixon woke me up early today at 5:30am. He must figure I need to put in more hours. He and I snuggled for about an hour. If you have high blood pressure, stress, or thoughts of jumping off the top of your contemporary farm-house, get a cat. I even used him as a pillow and rested my head gently on him, just listening to him purr. He couldn’t have come into my life at a better time. While we laid there I came up with a couple new ideas to help focus my work. My plan today was to revamp the website and then reach out to a couple of entities that are part of my latest master plan. By 6:30am I was on the freeway to manic-ville. If all went as planned I’d be done revamping by lunchtime and on the phone or sending emails by one o’clock.

I printed out all the pages and started marking them up. I even went in the dining room to be with the family; after all I spend enough time in my 4×8 micro-office. I looked out at the softly falling snow. It danced in unseen air currents. Up and down. I love the snow out here. I told the wife I wanted to somehow live out here forever. It was nice.

Well the problem with working from home though is there is a steady stream of interruptions. If I have actual projects to work on it doesn’t seem to be a bother, but on ambiguous “try to get new work days” it’s impossible for me to concentrate. Today spiraled out of control quickly. Our little guy (the older of the two little guys) was making paper airplanes, which was pretty nice. Folded triangular-shaped sheets of paper with orange marker lines on ’em. Then we remembered we had a book that taught you about airplanes and has like twenty planes you can make yourself from their die cut templates in the back. So of course he wanted to make one of those. I wanted to say “no“, that I was working, but visions of society frowning down upon me made me think otherwise. Plus my own guilt. Here’s the truth, when you work a normal 8-5 you get to ignore your family during that time 5 days a week. You come home, feel guilty so you play with your kids, acknowledge your wife, blah, blah, blah. You get to leave work at that place. You get to leave your boss, co-workers, all the insanity behind and focus on family. Well, I live in this primordial goo of work-life balance. Technically I need to think about / do work 24/7. We’re at the point where I need to turn something around quick or we’re putting a for sale sign in the yard, packing cats, bees and everything in between. The last thing I need to do is build a paper airplane with my kid. So what did I do?

I built a paper airplane with my kid. And mentally it gut-shot my entire day.

It wouldn’t have been bad if the stupid paper airplane book was designed by anyone with half a brain [Ed. note: way too harsh and unfair assessment but I was fired up]. These things (the paper airplanes in the book) are super cool and detailed, but everything has to be glued together with Elmer’s glue and the glue tabs are like microscopic. Obviously designed by someone who NEVER had to put one together on the fly while your kid watches. You need to be an old retired guy with all day to make one of these. And of course our little guy picked out the most difficult s you can imagine, a P-38 Lightning. About five minutes in, with a little blond kid breathing down my neck I recruited the wife to help with glue drying duty.

Paper airplane book. Actually it's an awesome book, I would have loved to have this when I was a kid....back then I had time to be patient and creative.

Paper airplane book. Actually it’s an awesome book, I would have loved to have this when I was a kid….back then I had time to be patient and creative.

Suffice to say, that by time I made it to the last few steps everyone quietly watched as I poured Elmer’s over the entire thing and jabbed strips of tape on it to go together. I’m surprised I didn’t bite through my tongue. I’ve mastered the art of the angry look, as have my kids – it really cuts down on the amount of yelling we all have to do. Fortunately my angry look carries the day; second only to when the wife has to deploy here angry look, in which case we’re all screwed. Anyway, after seeing my angry look, my son took to whispering requests to his mom out of fear that I’d hear him and flip out. Oh I was going to finish the damn plane if it was the last thing I did. The wife gets a gold star for her patience as my maturity went right on down past five years old and out the window.

Here's the finished plane. None of the fuselage pieces fit inside the others so I just started pour glue and taping the damn thing. My boy added the motor and wiring later; for "more power dad".

Here’s the finished plane. None of the fuselage pieces fit inside the others so I just started pour glue and taping the damn thing. My boy added the motor and wiring later; for “more power dad”.

That was it. Enough was enough. Mentally and emotionally I was shot. Making a paper airplane for your kid shouldn’t end with you mad at the world. I took the rest of the morning off and ran to get some art glue for the wife, along with lunch and gas for the car. I did burn outs in a RAV4, which isn’t even technically possible. I needed…need to get out of the house one way or another. Or barricade my studio door. I’m contemplating getting an office or storefront somewhere just so I have a place to go for work. Maybe I’ll erect an office separate from the main house….”honey, where’s joe’s number?”. I’ll be the only mental patient with a therapist and an architect.

During lunch my son was still avoiding eye contact and would whisper any requests by way of his mom. He was having a hell of a fun time flying his now dry, and improved by way of a motor and wires, airplane though. By time I got back to work and the wife got back to her work upstairs there was finally some peace and quiet. I was able to work on my business’ Pinterest board, which need populating. Tonight I can rework the website, as well as send out my inquiries that are sure to make me uber rich. Top secret 😉

As I worked this afternoon my son came and stood outside my office in the hallway. I could see him out of the corner of my eye. “Yes?” I would ask, with only a slightly angry look. He’d whisper something that I couldn’t hear. As an aside, It sounds awful if you’re not a parent, but I had instilled a certain degree of fear / respect in a kid that otherwise orders us around like we’re his servants on an hourly basis. No worries, he’d be back to typical 5-year-old state soon enough but for now he was asking politely. Oh, also, notice that the interruptions never stop. I don’t have the answer to unlocking that gem just yet; short of the aforementioned moving out bit. But I digress.

So I helped out on a couple occasions, responding to his whispering inquiries. Once to put ‘Tigger’ back on the DVD player and once to get put Gatorade in a glass. After all you can’t watch ‘Tigger’ without a drink in your hand, right?

I was pleased with my work progress on my Pinterest boards when I saw my wife and son in the hallway. She was off to go spray mount her artwork. As she went to the basement he came over and of course…

…whispering, he says: “I’m going to help mom. I’m going to make art for PBS Kids.”

“What?” I didnt understand at first then I got it.

“So she’ll have some art when PBS Kids comes.”

Ahh, got it.” I said with a smile.

Well if that doesn’t bring a tear to your eye, and make you want to off yourself at the same time. See, my wife is working hard to get some of her art done, both for a client and because PBS is coming later this week to tape here doing her art for one of their programs.

I just had to write about my day after that little gem of a moment. Yes, I know, today is pissed away, but I can (will) work late tonight. I just wanted to capture it before I forgot the details I suppose. As I write I can hear him upstairs in her studio, coloring and cutting; making god knows what. He says she can hang it on the magnet rail up there in his mom’s studio so the cameras can see it: so “she’ll have some art to show them” in his words. I’m not sure where he got PBS ‘Kids‘ from but I suppose in his world, that what ‘PBS’ is (PBS Kids are basically the only television programs the boys are allowed to watch in our house other than the crap the wife and I watch). I’m not sure he realizes she’s showing them her art, which there is plenty of all over the place here.

The wife got a big smile and tear out of the story, as did I, when I told her.

Look guys, here’s the deal: life isn’t always fair. You work hard, you work smart and things don’t always work out the way they should, and on schedule. No amount of pleasantries or cliches make any of it better. I think those just make the person saying them feel better. Unless you’ve gone through it yourself you don’t really know. I didn’t know. And if you think I, and my scenario, are an anomaly you’d be mistaken. I do know that I will figure it out. As for this place it’s nice out here but it’s not the end of the world either way. Maybe it’s like dating a super-model: you always figure it’s way out of your league and it’ll end at some point. For the record, I’ve never even met a super-model.

Life is an extremely dynamic environment, changing constantly, often with little notice. I guess you’re supposed to keep everything to yourself; fake it til you make it. God forbid anyone get uncomfortable because you share feelings, emotions and experiences that aren’t scripted. Well I’m not a robot and I’m certainly too old to play “pretend“. I’ve never been one to play to the masses or adhere to the norms, (as hard as that may be to believe based on the nerfy life I’ve trailed behind me to date). I don’t think a life that is all “ups” makes us very well rounded and experienced. I’m being fairly realistic, and I can say the stresses are profound.

Writing is an awesome way to think things through, release them, and rework them all over again. It’s not for everyone. I’m wired too tightly, differently to dwell on it in person. I’d rather go for a walk on the nature trail with you, looking at trees in the snow, than be a bore.  In a way the last year has been a pretty cool experience.


The wife busy working in her studio on her latest piece.

The wife busy working in her studio on her latest piece.

Mother Nature Hates Me…Winter Edition

Alright, things are starting to melt around here, or at least not snow that much anymore. My biggest, unforeseen gripe of late winter turns out to be the large amount of snow that we’ve gotten. I love snow. I love to walk in it, play in it. Even used to ski in the stuff. But in one singular regard, the snow has been a nasty enemy to our little piece of paradise out here in the backwoods of Ohio. And I kick myself for not thinking about it before. In my defense though, we didn’t have this much snow and ice last year, our first winter here.

See the problem is all the snow builds up on our truly phenomenally kick ass steel roof. Then the sun comes out and melts it. And it all slides down. Luckily we have snow rails up there to keep the snow and ice from constantly raining down on unsuspecting civilians below. But the reality is the snow builds up on the rails and then it does come down in huge avalanches of snow and ice at times. So you learn to keep an eye and ear open when going out to the car. It’s not an issue at all if you’re a person.

But if you’re a plant, you’ve got nowhere to run to.

Sadly Mother Nature, by way of roof snow and ice has had a field day massacring our poor little plants that we’ve spent hundreds of dollars and countless hours planting and taking care of. And what the snow isn’t pummeling, I fear the rodents are nibbling on during our super cold winter. The tea plants look like they’re taking the brunt of winter nibbling by rabbits or mice. As for snow, I watched first hand as a pile of snowy ice made a direct hit on an oak leaf hydrangea outside the dining room. There were branches everywhere. Fortunately the wife said she thinks hydrangea grow back from the bottom up every year anyway. What doesn’t grow back from the ground up is the choke berry bush outside my studio window. I was in my office and heard that avalanche land square on top of the poor bush, severing several branches at their base.

here you can see the snow rails on the garage

here you can see the snow rails on the garage

This hydrangea sort of exploded when ice and snow fell on it. Other plants were more lucky. We saw one that missed a fatal ice ball by about six inches.

This hydrangea sort of exploded when ice and snow fell on it. Other plants were more lucky. We saw one that missed a fatal ice ball by about six inches.

Our poor choke berry bush just got hammered by an avalanche of snow. I'll have to do some drastic cutting back this spring.

Our poor choke berry bush just got hammered by an avalanche of snow. I’ll have to do some drastic cutting back this spring.

It's depressing looking out at the orchard in late February. Just a bland mess. I hope Spring comes and our little trees blossom. I'm not sure how optimistic I am anymore.

It’s depressing looking out at the orchard in late February. Just a bland mess. I hope Spring comes and our little trees blossom. I’m not sure how optimistic I am anymore.

It’s so sad to watch. Maybe next year I can invent some sort of devise to protect these bushes. Had I know I would have planted them in slightly different locations; many I planted right at the drip edge of the roof, perfectly lined up for consistent mass destruction from January through February.

Now though, like waiting to see if the bees are alive, all I can do is wait and see what Mother Nature does in the spring. Like anything I suppose, only the strong survive. If our little bush friends were meant to be, then I suppose they’ll have little leaves on them come April or May. If not then we’ll learn from it I guess.

Speaking of bees, Christine ordered two more packages of Italian bees for this Spring. Our philosophy is that our bees probably didn’t make it and we’ve got the equipment for two hives. If our bees did survive it’s not a huge deal to make another stand, and another set of boxes doesn’t cost that much. What does cost more are the bees themselves. I think she said they are now up over $100 a package, vs. like $80 -$90 last year. We placed our order early because we’re hearing there is a shortage of bees this year. As an aside, unless we as a society can start figuring out how to save honey bees, I suspect it’s only going to get worse. I suppose the average Joe will get worried when there are no bees and food prices sky-rocket. Between that and the various droughts this country is experiencing, mundane set backs like snow falling off the roof will be the least worry any of us will have.

How has your winter been going? Are you hopeful for Spring? Do you think your plants and animals fared well? 

Water Supply From The Sky

[Writer’s note: this is an article I wrote last year but was never published. I wanted to share it with my loyal readers. I hope you enjoy. Rainwater harvesting is fascinating and can be utilized anywhere there is precipitation i.e. everywhere on the planet.]

Living with the convenience of “city” water for over thirty years I was a bit apprehensive when my wife and I bought a little piece of rural paradise upon which to build our new family home. As far as I knew there was only one option for our water supply: a well, drilled deep into the ground pulling up water from the earth. As far as I knew a well meant smelly, slimy, water and iron stained plumbing fixtures. I was not looking forward to a lifetime of well water, but the land was so nice I was willing to sacrifice.

We soon discovered that the area of our new land was not a great place to get a reliable water supply from the earth.  So we had to find another source. The only other real option was to get a cistern, which is a large waterproof vault that holds water. Cisterns have been providing safe drinking water to humans for thousands of years. I immediately liked the idea because it meant no sulfur smelling water or toilet rings.

There are three ways to fill a cistern. We could pay a water hauling company to truck in water. Another option is to use the cistern in tandem with a well, the idea being that the cistern would keep ample water available from even a slow producing replenishment well. Lastly the cistern can be filled with free harvested rainwater from the sky. We wanted our new home to be as environmentally sustainable as possible so we decided to go with harvesting.

With the collection decision made, I needed to do some research.  Foremost I needed to know how much water we’d use and therefore need to collect. The U.S. EPA website estimates about 300 gallons per day per family[1] (109,500 gallons per year). Our goal was to solely rely on rainwater as our supply. If we hit a drought (in the heat of summer or the freeze of winter) we could have water trucked in. We selected a 10,000-gallon underground cistern, which meant we could go a month without refilling it. A low level light comes on at 2,500.

I found the Texas Manual on Rainwater Harvesting[2] online and it is filled with a wealth of information. The manual estimates that one can expect to collect 0.62 gallons per square foot of collection surface, per inch of rainfall. The efficiency of the system is about 75% because some water will be lost in the collection process.[3] So for our example, we have about 4,000 sq. feet of roof to collect water from. Our average precipitation (in nearby Akron, Ohio) is around 40 inches per year[4]…. (4,000 x 40 x 0.62) x 0.75 = 74,400 gallons per year we’ll collect. That’s far from the amount we need but that didn’t deter us from our goal of water independence. Our system cost $14,000 installed.

When collecting rainwater for home use, one has to consider the entire system from raindrop to faucet.  The biggest question mark during the design phase was the roof material. Aesthetically we wanted a metal roof, but weren’t sure if we could afford one. Would asphalt shingles be safe for our water supply? The Texas manual recommends metal roofs, sold under the Galvalume trade name for example, are the best for collecting rainwater for potable use. Potable water should not be collected from wood or asphalt roofs as chemicals can leach from them material into the water. Clay and concrete tiles are okay, but there rough porous surface means a less efficient system.[5] Ultimately we stretched the budget and went with the metal roof.

The collection process is fairly straightforward. As rain hits the roof it flows to the gutters, which have a screen on them to keep large debris out. Water is then directed by downspouts and pipes to roof washers located atop the underground cistern. The washers contain mesh and fabric filters to screen out any large contaminants before the water is deposited into the cistern.  As needed the water is pumped from the cistern into the house where it passes through chlorine and pressure tanks. Lastly the water flows through a 1-micron cartridge filter system to take the chlorine out as well as a final step in the purification process.  The filter’s cost about $30 and we change them six times per year.


To minimize water usage we installed plumbing fixtures that use less water. Outside we irrigate the gardens using water collected from a rain barrel. Landscaping with native plants that don’t require supplemental watering helps also. Last year our area saw 33 inches of precipitation through November[6], which is well below average. That being said, our low water light never came on once since we’ve been here. Smaller (and larger) cisterns are available, but we’ve been very happy with the size of our tank.

It was amazing to take my first shower in the new house and realize that the water that was raining around me had fallen from the sky earlier that day. We’ve been very pleased with the system overall and recommend anyone interested in a self-sustaining alternative, look into rainwater harvesting. It’s a viable water source wherever you live.


Rainwater harvesting mechanics inside the home include chlorine and pressure tanks, a changeable cartridge filter and low level indicator light.

Rainwater harvesting mechanics inside the home include chlorine and pressure tanks, a changeable cartridge filter and low level indicator light.

On the outside, a rainwater-harvesting house looks like any other except for the exposed cistern lid and roof washers. In this example they are hidden amongst the landscaping in the foreground.

On the outside, a rainwater-harvesting house looks like any other except for the exposed cistern lid and roof washers. In this example they are hidden amongst the landscaping in the foreground.

[2] Texas Manual on Rainwater Harvesting, Texas Water Development Board, Third Edition 2005, http://www.twdb.state.tx.us/publications/reports/rainwaterharvestingmanual_3rdedition.pdf

[3] Texas Manual on Rainwater Harvesting, pp29-30

[4] The Weather Channel website www.weather.com

[5] Texas Manual on Rainwater Harvesting, p6

[6] National Weather Service Forecast Office, Cleveland, OH, http://www.nws.noaa.gov/climate/xmacis.php?wfo=cle

Garden Sage

I took the weekend off from work to try and get some things done around the house. Saturday I finally grabbed the gallon of ‘Garden Sage’ colored paint from beneath my studio table and set out to paint our other son’s bedroom. The color is off of our Sherwin Williams / HGTV ‘Global Spice’ palette.  Garden Sage’ SW 7736 is a great neutral greenish color. We are huge fans of the color “sage”. We selected for our carpet throughout the second floor in this house, as well as our last house. Using the color on the walls of the bedroom makes for a really warm, soothing feel.

SW 7736 Garden Sage walls in the bedroom.

SW 7736 Garden Sage walls in the bedroom.

The sage walls go nicely with the sage carpet upstairs. Very warm, earthy and natural.

The sage walls go nicely with the sage carpet upstairs. Very warm, earthy and natural.

We’ve now used ten (10) colors off the ‘Global Spice‘ palette in our home. Each one is a knockout and in concert with each other it makes for a natural, visually warm, interesting yet calming experience.

Today I finally took a look at our Aprilaire 5000 Whole-House Electronic Air Cleaner. The little indicator on top has been flashing for a while, begging me to clean the unit inside. The  wife guided me through the maintenance directions she received quite a while ago from the HVAC guy. I guess life gets busy and we forget we have to take care of stuff. I opened the unit up and a few feathers fell out. I have no idea. I pulled out the filter core and it looks like there are about three main elements – 1) a expanded metal screen which was dusty, 2) super thin wires I’m not sure what they are for, but two were broken and all were dusty, and 3) a big fan fold filter which was filthy. Well I messed around with the whole ordeal, and the wife meticulously washed the metal screen, but other than that I’m not sure….I can order a new filter media thingy but you know what, realistically an HVAC guy should come out her and check to make sure the entire system is looking and working good. Also two of the thin wires are broke and I have no idea how those get fixed (or even what they do, other than they should be cleaned monthly).

The Aprilaire Model 5000 Whole House Electronic Air Cleaner opened up.

The Aprilaire Model 5000 Whole House Electronic Air Cleaner opened up.

The back side of the air cleaner.

The back side of the air cleaner.

Point is all this stuff requires maintenance that is nearly impossible for me to remember to do. We need to keep a calendar or something. Quite frankly my head isn’t anywhere near where it needs to be to do “normal” house stuff. I worry about where our next meal is going to come from, so doing mundane home maintenance and chores is the last thing I care about.

But with this weekend being my self imposed chance to do some chores, I set the air cleaner project back on the “to do” list and instead I did one other easy one: I cleaned the  Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV). It’s a fairly simple chore; not sure when I did it last. You just unplug it, open it up, pull out two mesh screens and clean those. Then you pull out the diamond shaped filter out and vacuum that. I also vacuumed all the cavities inside the unit to get rid of spider webs and debris. Once the screens are dry, everything goes back together. It’s about a 15 minute job. Oh, for reference you’re supposed to spray some goo on the metal screens (and clean them every 6 months) but I am goo-less; will have to get some and spray it on at a later date.

Aprilaire Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) with the cover off. Core filter on left, intakes on the right.

Aprilaire Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) with the cover off. Core filter on left, intakes on the right.

That’s about it for this weekend. It was nice to get away from the computer and work and do stuff “normal” people do, again. Painting the bedroom was relatively relaxing and meditative. In a complex world, mundane tasks are king. Our son likes the color of his new room and hopefully it will be better for him compared to stark white walls. Now that his room is painted, I can only think of 2-3 rooms that need painting. I have one un-colored gallon that we bought on sale a while ago, so technically I can paint one of those rooms for “free”. We just need to pick a room and a color. Each room left is small so one gallon outta do it.


My Latest Painting

I finished my latest painting and sent in my application for the local abstract art exhibition coming up next month. It’s 3′ x 3′ and I’m happy with how it turned out. The stripe paintings are fun to do because I don’t know what they will look like until the last pass is complete.

Stripes No. 6 acrylic on canvas 36" x 36" Chris Weigand, 2014

Stripes No. 6
acrylic on canvas
36″ x 36″
Chris Weigand, 2014

I won’t know if my piece got in for a few weeks. I hope so; tired of always being the bridesmaid to the wife. 🙂

We’re always looking for people who like art, so visit us at http://www.littlegreycatstudio.com

If you like, please share, share, share with your peeps.


Muster The Courage

[This is essentially a rough draft, once again I find myself late in the hour on an unplanned soapbox – luckily there are only like twenty of you who read this stuff. (*author waves to Mom, Aunt Pat and the other Pat). I’ll edit it over the weekend.]

Excuse me for being late to the party but I recently signed up for Twitter. It’s essentially the latest addiction that is destined to destroy my existence, and apparently millions of others. If you’re not one of those millions, basically everyone types out, in under 140 characters, what’s on their mind. After a week of being on there, as far as I can everyone falls into one of these categories: comedians, aspiring to be rich, rich, famous, housewives, single guys living at home, drunks, sex addicts, or people trying to save the world. I’ll let you decide which categories I fall into. Apparently half of the people I follow are strippers or lonely housewives. That’s not really the point.

But what I do find interesting is the social awareness aspect of Twitter. A social or environmental tragedy can be happening someplace and instantly information can be sent across the world, like a building wave – people sharing with people. Up until last week I didn’t know anything about the plight of cetaceans in Japan and our country. I elaborated on this topic (and others like it) here and here previously. The examples of slaughtering dolphins and keeping large multi-ton swimming mammals in captivity are things that have been going on for many years. While I can’t fault their origins, we as human societies have grown and evolved to the point where what we did a few centuries, decades, even years ago may not necessarily be appropriate in this day and age. It’s a fact of life. I’m not being political or a bleeding heart tree-hugger. I’m being a human being, who thinks, reflects, has compassion and solves problems. It’s how I’m wired, both genetically and through my upbringing.

The beauty of modern advancements in technology, Twitter in this example, is that when we as humans socially evolve and determine it’s time for a change – that change coupled with our technology advancements means we can more readily communicate the need for change. Before computers, tv’s, phones, etc. it would be virtually impossible for the average person to learn about what was really going on half way around the world. Now we can’t avoid it really.

This new reality really complicates things for us. We’re busy as it is. We’re struggling to pay bills, raise kids, achieve goals, and maybe eek out a second or two to relax. But if we know about an injustice in this world, what does it mean when we turn a blind eye? What is so important in our busy modern lives that our humanity has to take a back seat? Humans have a long history of righting wrongs; from chasing guys stealing purses to sacrificing sons and daughters to stop mad men from taking over the world.

Now we find ourselves with the power of instant information and communication that technology has afforded us. We can no longer claim to not know what is going on. That luxury dies with every passing day.

We do know.

But what are we doing about it?

Seemingly all we can do is turn a blind eye, moving further away from our humanity. Despite being universally busy, we still carve out time to debate, criticize, undermine and ignore. What does it mean when we know it’s happening and we don’t do anything about it? Does that make us complicit in some way? I’m not a moral attorney, social judge and certainly not a religious scholar. All I know is we adhere to, or at least should adhere to, some fundamental, universal moral roadmap that defines what it means to be a human being. Maybe it was ingrained into you by a higher power or it’s in your genes. It doesn’t matter where it comes from, it is there. It’s what makes each of us human. It’s deeper then the time you cheated on your algebra test in 10th grade, or you called your boss a ‘incompetent prick’ behind his back. If that’s what you’re worried about then go to confession or whatever the equivalent of that is to you. It is not written in a book. It is not proprietary to race or creed. You won’t find it on the internet, tv or you’re Thursday-night-group gathering. What I am talking about is our humanity; how we should fundamentally treat the world that we, for such an excruciatingly brief amount of time, live in. We need to instill in ourselves, our children, the strength to stand up and say “I will not be complicit.”

We need to muster the courage borne inside of each of us to be compassionate humans.

If there isn’t time to be human, then time has no purpose. If we can’t be humane then we are nothing.

Studio Cleaning Day

Yesterday and today we, and by “we” I mean my wife, cleaned up her studio and the upstairs hallway. I just hauled stuff down into the basement. Both areas look fantastic! Makes me realize I need to clean up my studio and office.

I’ve been busy finishing my painting for the upcoming exhibition I want to apply to. I am happy with the painting but it’s not as dark and depressing as I would have liked.

Here are today’s pics:

The wife's studio is decluttered; looking good.

The wife’s studio is decluttered; looking good.

Room to breathe.

Room to breathe.

The new, yet to be titled, stripe painting I just created. It's 3'x3'. You like? Call me ;)

The new, yet to be titled, stripe painting I just created. It’s 3’x3′. You like? Call me 😉

It snowed a pretty snow all day today.

It snowed a pretty snow all day today.

The hallway is decluttered and we hung up three more pieces of art.

The hallway is decluttered and we hung up three more pieces of art.

Mr. Goo and his squishy ball. He loves his pet squishy ball; carries around everywhere he goes.

Mr. Goo and his squishy ball. He loves his pet squishy ball; carries around everywhere he goes.

My guy lounging on the office steps, a tail wag away from his squishy ball.

My guy lounging on the office steps, a tail wag away from his squishy ball.

Yay! The hallway is declutters (for now at least).

Yay! The hallway is declutters (for now at least).

A Day (In The Life)

7:25am (EST) – My alarm clock wakes me up by licking my nose repeatedly.

8:05am – Roll out of bed, brush teeth, contacts in….”Bathe?….Meh“. Put on painting clothes: torn jeans and a denim long sleeve shirt.

8:12am – Stagger into dining room. Get hug (had to ask for one).

8:12:35am“Oh crap we forgot to do Kindergarten assessment appointment for James.” wife says. Look at notes and inform wife that assessment is on 28th. First disaster of the day averted.

8:22am – Fire up computer, check email. Answer work question. Turn on iTunes to listen to the song that’s running through my head since I woke up. Delete a bunch of useless emails. Start checking Facebook, eBay, Twitter, LinkeIn and WordPress. Spend five minutes looking at cool ads someone posted on FB. Start writing witty blog entry for today…

8:38am – Wife makes me coffee 🙂

8:39am – “Are these sticks too long for the marshmallows?” wife asks. “No, just cut them in half.” I respond. Day’s second disaster averted. Continue rambling through internet.

8:45am – Wife interrupts me for 4th time this morning to inform me about random email coming my way. Business partner texts asking if I want to go for a beer tonight. Hello Thursday. Book ends in place, time to fill in the bits in between.

8:55am – kid asks where one particular matchbox car is. I look perplexed and go through yesterday’s mail instead.

8:59am – Finally, start painting really cool abstract painting in my studio.

10:03am – Finish first coat of paint on painting. Check emails, respond to blog comment. Hop in Rabbit to goto Library to post price tags on my art and decorate wife’s art display cases. Forgot to do this two weeks ago when I set the art up. Exhibition runs through end of month, so hey it’s not like I completely missed it.

10:12am – Drop off paper and cardboard for recycling. Planet saved for another day.

10:22am – Wife texts me that I forgot the paper and knife blades I was going to use to decorate her art display at the library. “Son of a….” U-turn and go back to house.

10:38am – Pick up decorations at the estate and head back towards library.

10:59am – Arrive at library, post up price tags, business cards and decorate display cased. Looks good.

11:21am – Park in Sherwin Williams parking lot. I need tape for my artwork, but not before wasting five minutes of my life looking at Twitter in the car. I “follow” various people, presumably aged anywhere from late teens to into their 60’s. One may or may not be a female adult film star.

11:58am – Get home and make myself lunch, a ham and salami sandwich with provolone and kale; Grey Poupon for a little Thursday lunch spicy goodness. Sit down and turn on Magnum P. I. If that isn’t one of the best 80’s shows, I’ll eat this keyboard. Tom Sellek kicks ass.

12:12pm – Lunch break is over. I DVR the rest of Magnum; I’ll find out later if the lady on the yacht really is his dead wife. My money says she is NOT his wife and Magnum goes back, depressed, to that short old guy with the accent. I spend the next fifteen minutes checking emails, and writing.

12:28pm – Start working on final prototype specs for a Jeep windshield bracket. No one wants to hire me to do product design so I’ve started my own company. God helps those who help themselves. I’ll be a millionaire before I’m 45…..or living in a cardboard box mumbling to myself. Either way I’m sure Dixon will still be waking me up at 6am.

12:39pm – Yell at kids to go in the family room and play for the seventieth time. I really need an office that is about 1,462 miles from my current residence.

1:30pm – Take a break after fixing a “circles drawn in the wrong place” mistake. Oh the trials of being a tortured designer. You couldn’t handle it. Twitter kills eight more minutes of my life. And I respond to a blog comment. Listening to the Lumineers and Avett Brothers for the hundred-fifty-thousandth time; thinking of blowing my brains out. Get up and get a toothpick from the kitchen instead.

1:40pm – Back to work.

1:43pm – Wife comes home, we get side tracked with Kindergarten acceptance letter (for kid, not wife). By the way, who would have thought Kindergarten selection would be so stressful. But my thought it I’m going to “set it and forget it” – also the first nine years of school is the most impressionable. You’re only in college for four years and by then the world pretty much knows if you’re an ass or not by then.

2:34pm – Agent calls and we discuss insurance for new offroad accessory business. I’m getting good at explaining our business plan and needs. Even I’m starting to be convinced. Scary.

2:58pm – My 5-year-old kid shows me a speaker that he’s making from a bowl, duct tape and wires. It’s not done but it looks like it’ll work to me. I pat him on the head and secretly think about how more advanced he is than I was at that age. In fact he’s more advanced than I am at forty. He should be fixing my “circles drawn in the wrong place” mistake. I go make coffee and eat a Valentine’s Day marshmallow snack the wife is making for school tomorrow.

3:18pm – Back to work. (I pinky swear this time.)

3:36pm – Send specs off to company president for approval. Switch gears and start looking at children’s book adventure.

4:07pm – I’m down with illustrating and helping to write some kid’s books. What’s the worst that can happen. I’ve already twisted my two kids view of the world. Why not a few more. Google “how to make a book”.

4:20pm – Pinterest kidnaps ten minutes of my life. Checking eBay, I’ve got three bids on my taxidermy shark jaws: up to $7.49

5:25pm – Done with dinner, a brilliant roast / stew thing of some sort the wife made in the crock pot. She’s quite the cook, and she takes care of the kids so win-win. I finished watching ‘Magnum P. I.’ Turns out the lady WAS his wife from Vietnam but then it ended with “to be continued” which is catastrophic when you’re watching a show from 1981 on some random channel. I had DVR’d it so I have no idea when the continuation is airing. Satan works in mysterious ways. Wife and kids goto Lego night. I plan on getting some more work done.

5:44pm – Parents-in-law call and need help. Hop in Rabbit. Brrr.

7:30pm – Done helping in-laws. Head to tavern to have a few brews with close friends I haven’t seen in ages. It is good to visit friends. In the war zone that is life, friends are absolute. Or is it beer that is absolute?

11:00pm – Get home and read that a fellow bloggers (that I don’t actually know them, just read their blog) had to put their beloved 2-1/2 year old cat to sleep. Puss, the cat I’m writing of, looks like the spitting image of my best furry friend Dixon. Dixon welcomes me home as I sit at my computer by hopping on my lap. Here I have this fuzzy little companion, and out there some family is sad because they lost their little guy.

11:35pm – I goto bed but not without reflecting on the day. Just another day. A Thursday. Tomorrow is a Friday. I take my contacts out and brush my teeth. Did I win or lose today? I don’t know. I know the day was extraordinary. If we look closely enough, they all are really. If you let it get the best of you it’ll break you. But if you operate like a robot it’ll break you harder down the road. Of this I am sure. We start out here, and we end there. No way around it. And in between is a lot of wonder, awe, hope, desperation, tragedy and love. Embrace it. Be willing to not always play by the rules or norms that handcuff us and lead to regret. What’s the worst that can happen? So I take Mr. Goo under my arm and retire for the night. Tomorrow is another day. The first of all the rest. And with a little luck we’ll all be headed towards where we want to go.