Getting a grip – Graham via J. Michael Kelly

So Seafair is done. The sky is clear again. All the little city birds, and more range-y f-16s have departed. One winner stands alone. Graham Trucking’s driver J. Michael Kelly held his ground through the finals, and got her done.

I’m hearing complaints of a false start, and a watered down talent pool because of the Villwock and Shane kerfluffle on Saturday. I have to admit, I don’t care much about the complaints, since that’s a part of every great competition from NASCAR to World Cup. Even golf, tennis, and curling have oddball mix-ups that lead to questionable results. Maybe I just don’t like to dissect every last detail of events when my boat wins.

Regardless, the results are in, and life in my mom’s neighborhood will return to peace and tranquility once more. Was it last Thursday, that my Mom and I sat at Tutta Bella’s in the Columbia City neighborhood, eating delicious pistachio pizza and Napoli salad while the Graham boat was towed slowly up Rainier Avenue. I know for certain that was the moment that I picked my new favorite team.

The barricades and miles of fencing were in place, and the neighborhood was packed with the pre-event bustle. A moment before, I couldn’t decide if I was an Oberto fanboy for ol’ times sake, or if instead I’d be rooting for the boat that reminded me of my brother. And then she rolled by. And yesterday’s question faded from my lips, “O Miss Budweiser, where art thou now?”

I had a great time at a few little get-togethers, and am happy that the blue angels made their mark in our sky once more. The notable events were definitely meeting our neighbors for the first time, and realizing that one of their children won an award at my Lacrosse camp this Summer. Another nice shin-dig was this backyard party with a fire-pit, some breakdancing, and trips down to the water for late night swims. My favorite had to have been the secluded cheese and cracker porch-time with a few good friends, removed from but surrounded by grand spectacle.

There is no final thought, or morality in today’s post yet, and maybe there shouldn’t be. But for whatever reason, it’s sort of how I know my thoughts have come to a close. So here we are.

I love the blue angels. And I don’t care if it costs millions of dollars in gasoline and pollutes the airwaves and landscape when they come to town. For me, it’s a patriotic inspiration too valuable to pass up. The little boy in me screams with delight, and pretends he’s an ace for a day. I imagine all the youngsters out there thinking about what they want to be when they grow up, and I know they’ve seen a show of rare quality that took countless years of dedication to create. Well over 10,000 hours of giants standing on giants.

My position is definitely to take care of the Earth first, but in order to do that, I still believe we need to inspire the next generation to dream big, practice hard, and go for whatever sets a fire in their mind’s eye. The Blue Angels do it for me, as do space launches, fireworks, and bountiful food forests.

This idea might be forced in a little bit, but it is what’s on my mind. Take it or leave it; it’s meant for me, and, for you, only if you want it.

Peace & Love,

Signing Mom Up For Facebook

What’s the most difficult¬†job you’ve ever had? Ditch digging? Roofing? Bottom coating boats? Cutting out a brain tumor? Settling a nasty divorce hearing? Embalming bodies? Cleaning toilets at your frat house after a kegger, dude? Just kidding, they don’t clean their toilets ūüėȬ†, and that’s not a job; that’s doing a chore in¬†a shitty social club. =/}

Or maybe the most difficult job you’ve ever had was something that doesn’t even sound difficult. Maybe it was taste-testing chocolate bars or beer? Or perhaps, was it¬†catching fish? Or, crunching data? Or possibly, was it¬†watching movies? That was one of my least favorite jobs in my teens at Atom Films here in Seattle.

And maybe after several months, you¬†lost¬†your taste for the very thing you loved. :{ It sucks to get tired of what¬†we¬†love because, HEY,¬†we¬†once loved those things!¬†But¬†it¬†will happen, right? Don’t¬†lie.

Does that make you worry a little? Well, probably.¬†We’re just¬†human. And¬†at the end of the day, I say, “Play it again, Sam.” Cuz that’s just part of our¬†job sometimes. But,¬†we¬†gotta pop back up quick when we¬†get knocked down. Otherwise,¬†we¬†lose the game.

For most of us in the States, work is how we guarantee our daily food, water, and shelter, both for ourselves and for the people we love here.

So if I’m going to blog about awesome workers in Seattle, I feel I need to qualify my blog from the very start. Here it goes.

I’m calling my shots – trust me¬†–¬†my experience¬†isn’t unique¬†–¬†this is just my experience that I want to share – this is my Tardis – this is how I get to travel back in time, even if it’s only my life; AND FOR MY NERDS!!! At least I don’t create a paradox and blackhole us out of existence by doing this.

None of us here in the states are working as hard as some of the folks I met in Guatemala. In Guatemala, especially outside of the city, a job was a godsend. For many, to work was to have found the grace of a higher being. To speak English was nearly to guarantee finding work. Someone might¬†argue with me on this point. But this is what I saw. I wish I had taken more pictures, but many Mayans believe it steals their soul. And yet again, I digress, so let me truly digress. *Aside* Some of the best pictures I saw of working conditions in Guatemala were shown at the Spanish Embassy in Antigua, Guatemala. If anyone remembers the exhibit there, Jan. 2011, I’d love to hear from you. *Aside /*

There were families that walked into the market center of Antigua every day, except the days where their goods fetched better prices at another¬†market, I think it was Tuesdays &¬†Thursdays. Watching them, I saw truly hard work, and gained perspective. Let’s say the youngest worker helping carry items¬†was¬†6 years old, while the oldest appeared to be seventy or maybe older.¬†They all carried at least their weight in goods to the daily market from what I could tell. The slope¬†they traversed (up, and down, not side to side) to get to El Mercado¬†would¬†be the envy of any Washington¬†ski resort¬†in both pitch and length. The tools they carried and the wares they sold engulfed¬†them, and bent them at knee, back, wrist, and neck. It was clear they would get¬†injured eventually, disabled eventually, and at the same time, you knew there was¬†no vacation except maybe Sunday. How did I know? Because I would go buy fresh avocados or papayas from them at my¬†leisure, for little more expense than a one block walk and a silver dollar.

Or let me talk about¬†a specific¬†family, which was dear to us at our Hostel, La Terraza (The Terrace).¬†This was the local family of recyclers. The¬†matriarch¬†came by a couple times a week for our empties with her two young sons in tow.¬†Her one son, who was¬†seriously ill and physically disabled,¬†lay strapped to her chest as she worked. Her other son, probably nine¬†years old, helped her by carrying cement bags filled with¬†cans too, almost no bottles, because they¬†fetched a higher return and went¬†right back to the the beer companies in their delivery crates. At least¬†she still had a smile, and he still had a hand to fist bump, that is, if it wan’t already filled with bags of our garbage. Then we’d bump elbows. *aside* Paola, can you remember their names for me please? They deserve some credit, as do you for supplementing their hard work with some free baby food¬†and medicine. *aside /*

Digressing terribly, I will apologize for my knock earlier against fraternities because some people¬†join frats¬†to improve their chances to find¬†work that they love, which I think is honorable. I’ll continue this¬†apology¬†—¬†since I really did¬†detest¬†frat-life at Trinity College after just¬†one¬†semester¬†as an attendee not even as a brother– by saying, that some people do it to make friends, find housing, get connections and other reasons that I can’t fathom. And all of this helps them get closer to doing what they truly want to do. Having work we love, makes life¬†not feel like work at all.

I’m tempted to end this discordant post (did I really just apologize for frat-life after talking about how hard some Guatemalan’s have it). There’s something sick in my brain, but I admit it, unlike so many other people. And for this, I give love to all my friends, my mom, Dr. Tom Semper, the rest of my family too, and I’ll tell you the reason why I single out Mom & Tom.

Tom helped me understand the condition (don’t call it a disease), the medication options (a leetle scary but useful), and he gave me the clarity¬†of thought¬†to step back from¬†the emotional roller-coaster and find myself again.

However, Mom¬†has given me a safe location (her house), where I can be myself, get judged daily by smart people, and¬†still hold my head up. She’s taken very good care of me while I’ve tried to find a way back to a more productive life. ¬†And finally, she’s living proof that someone with a disease¬†(diabetes), can manage this condition (insulin & diet), and beat the fuckin odds. My mom was supposed to die before she turned 50. She celebrated her 65th birthday this year. Why I envy my mom’s disease, and loathe my condition, we could possibly cure diabetes, but people don’t seem to believe there’s a way to cure a condition like bipolarity. I hope they’re wrong for me, and right for her. So what do you do after you have a little cry? I listen to tunes I love, and I write down a quote¬†I’ve heard before.

So¬†tell me, “How do you¬†eat an elephant?” (pause1), (pause2), (pause3), “One bite at a time. And sometimes with a knife, fork, and napkin round your neck just for posterity.” ~Credit Chris Bromwell from The Yard for teaching me this expression.

~Listening to @Macklemore, “Ten Thousand¬†Hours”¬†via¬†Grooveshark