Let's say we're all bees. Each and every one of us is buzzing about-
buzz buzz buzz.
The honey that we make is our lives. Experience has taught me two things...


...and LIFE is only as yummy as you make it!

Are YOU a Killer Bee?

bee my guest?

bee my guest?
Howdy Beezers! I'm excited to share something new with you... Over the upcoming months, most of the content you'll be seeing here will be from special guest contibutors! This is sure to add a new texture to this thing we've been weaving over the years. I know that many of my readers (yes, you!) are writers, artists, musicians and filmmakers. PLEASE feel free to contact me if there's something you'd like to contribute! I'd be most honored to pollinate... send me a note: m.mckinley@rocketmail.com

please be seated

June 10, 2013

Musical Treat Of The Week

Feeling this...

Moving & Shaking

It would seem that there's allot of transition going on...

In 8 hours I'll be boarding a west-bound plane for Los Angeles. I'll hang out with my niece Saralynn for a couple of days and try like hell to remember what it was like to live there, so many, many moons ago. Oh, and have corned beef and rugelach from Canters on Fairfax! Why I can hardly switch planes at LAX without procuring some Jewish bakery! Then I'll scoot up the coast to see the rest of my family for a brief visit. Watch my brother and his band play a couple of gigs in San Luis Obispo, meet a couple of great-nieces and nephews for the first time, and pig out on Santa Maria Style BBQ, grilled up in my honor by my Grill Master brother, Gordon. I haven't been to the "birthland" in 3 years, and I'm craving lingucia!

But this journey west is about more than reminiscing, rugelach, and bar-b-cue.
On the last day we'll be packing up a 17' Hertz moving tuck, which I'll be driving back to Milwaukee, my sister tailing me in her convertible. Yes, Sister Mary is taking a huge leap of faith, and shaking it up big time by leaving the Central Coast to pursue a new life in the Midwest. This will be the first time I've had a blood relative in my radius in two decades and I swear, I'm really looking forward to it! I'm sure at some point I'll be sharing TMI regarding the sharing of bathrooms and household chores... Until Kerry moves out at the end of Summer, there will be 3 adults, 3 households, 3 cats, and a dog under this one, wee roof. Have mercy.

But wait, there's more. I will have no sooner returned from this 4-Day road trip adventure and unloaded said sister and her possessions into my house, when it will be time to pack up RESIDENCE on North Avenue and move it to its shiny new location at 612 North Broadway, downtown Milwaukee. Well, it doesen't look so shiny yet...but it will!

So you see between moving Mary and moving the shop...and a super exciting / top secret new project with Cassandra (that we will be filming in July), Michael may not have much time for blogging. However before this slice of cyberspace wraps itself up at the end of the year, I still have some wonderful and exciting things planned to share with you yet. You'll just have to be patient, I'm dancing as fast as I can! In the menatime I have to get my suitcase packed. What am I still doing up?!

See you soon. I promise.

P.S. With my fancy-schmancy new phone (birthday present from Cassandra) I'll be attempting a travelouge on Facebook to document my cross-country adventure, so look for real time updates there! Unless of course you aren't my friend on Facebook. Why aren't you my friend on Facebook?

The Day Job

I used to go on about my day job...

And then the flavor of this blog changed.  Of course since then, so has the name of the business... and very shortly our location too! We've had allot of exciting press this past month because of our designing of the living room at the 2013 Wisconsin Breast Cancer Showhouse. The room was photographed for The Journal-Sentinel, The Business Journal, and M Magazine. Kerry was interviewed by Kathy Mykleby for a special segment on Channel 12's 10 'O Clock News and as a Showhouse Design Committee member, he made a special guest appearance on Channel 4's The Morning Blend! You can watch it HERE.

But the most exciting bit by far was being able to spend an hour of airtime with my girl Cassandra, on Real Milwaukee! On one of his last "local business visits" before departing the show, Tony Clark came and turned Residence on it's ear. You can watch 3 of the 5 segments below. They're short and sweet!

May 19, 2013

Miracle Makers

For those of you who didn't know it, Cassandra McShepard began her career in broadcast media on the radio, and in the very beginning, it was co-hosting a show with motivational dynamo  Silver Rae Fox. Fast forward a decade. For a few months now (On the first Monday of every month) Cassandra has been guesting on Silver Rae's blog-talk radio show FOXOLOGY. Their discussions are always uplifting. enlightening, and very empowering. Why haven't I shared one here, with YOU?! I don't know, but here you go. It's bound to leave you "feeling good from your head to your shoes...". Perfect Sunday listening. It's a starr- ah, with an extra rr-ah.

Listen to internet radio with FOXOLOGY with Silver Rae Fox on BlogTalkRadio

May 11, 2013

Musical Treat Of The Week

Perfect for today...thanks Dolly. You always deliver.

Quote, Unquote #24 : The Successful Mother

Your responsibility as a parent is not as great as you might imagine. You need not supply the world with the next conqueror of disease or major motion- By picture star. If your child simply grows up to be someone who does not use the word collectible as a noun, you can consider yourself an unqualified success. – By Fran Lebowitz

What Would WE Do Without Them?

May 10, 2013

I'm Still Swimming

Originally posted May 8th, 2010

The world spins. Babies are born, and people become parents everyday. Certainly some are more capable and prepared than others. In my mind, it's a responsibility so great, I can hardly fathom it. Yet between the two of them, my brother and sister managed to raise 9 bright, conscientious, big-hearted, and beautiful additions to the human race. Kudos guys, really. My Father used to say that children should come with instruction manuals. I can only imagine how helpful that would be, since every model is unique, and seemingly requires a different maintenance schedule. Real parenting is not for wussies!

Tomorrow is Mother's Day, so naturally my own mother is on my mind...

My mother was a real firecracker. She had a fiery temper and the patience of a gnat. Those close to her knew she was also tender at heart, and wounded easily. Towards the end of her life she agonized  more than a bit over having not been a perfect parent. I'm assuming that unless you're June Cleaver, this is a natural part of the maternal process. Whenever she would bring the subject up, I would remind her that we all turned out functional, if not fine. You see it was imperative to my folks that we not only be fed and clothed, but be kind and upright citizens. Those basic life-shaping principles seemed to be missing in many of the people I knew. I told her so.

Of course children don't just need adequate shelter and guidance, they need love. Lots of it.

I was 6 the day I learned how to swim. I'd been wading around in the shallow end for some time when Mom decided I needed to let go of the sides of the pool. Horizontal on water for the first time, she placed one hand on my belly, and her other on the small of my back. I was completely freaked out, and just knew I was going to drown. She said "Don't worry, I've got you." I craned my little head around to see her face, and I'll never forget that broad Cheshire smile, and look of love in her eyes as she repeated herself- "Don't worry, I've got you." She had my back, literally. Knowing that someone has your back when you venture into the scary and unknown can make a world of difference. My body relaxed, and I learned how to swim.

That's my favorite memory of her, and perhaps my finest, ever.

Whenever I feel discouraged I try review the criteria she set for my "success". I'm a good person. Check. I try always to treat others as I wish to be treated. Check. I love big and unconditionally. Check. And I'm still swimming Mom, so you needn't worry.

You did good Junie, you did good.
I'm so very grateful for our time together.
Love always, Mockie

May 5, 2013

Musical Treat Of The Week

I'm in a Dresden State of Mind....

AMANDA PALMER: The Art of Asking

Don't make people pay for music, says Amanda Palmer. Let them. In this passionate talk that begins with her days as a street performer (drop a dollar in the hat for the Eight-Foot Bride!), she examines the new relationship between artist and fan. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE TED Talks? I do. And the Dresden Dolls too...

Permission Granted

For the past few years Cassandra has been threatening me with a gift subscription to her favorite magazine, Science of Mind. This past Christmas I finally got one, and I absolutely love it. She knew I would. Aside from the excellent and enlightening articles on the broad scope of spirituality (which are thankfully about as long as my attention span these days) there's a 'daily reading', which I've come to appreciate greatly as a jump start to each morning. Perfectly paired with a pot of java, of course.

I was raised hearing a mantra that both my Mother and her Father used frequently. "If you're going to do something, do it the right way or don't bother at all." This philosophy cuts like a double edge sword. On the one hand I, with much pride and integrity, approach everything in my life with a "give it my best" attitude. On the other, I've spent a good deal of my life under some serious pressure to achieve perfection in my constant myriad of creative endeavors. Unlearning the notion that there's only one right way to do everything has been no small fete. And while I possess an inner drive that continues to propel me forward no matter what, I can see how that kind of rigid thinking could prevent a person from following their dreams. Has the pressure to NOT SCREW IT UP paralyzed you from even attempting to actualize your visions? Pursue your desires?

 As an artist of many mediums, I've had to learn to trust my process...and that has taught me that there is almost always more than one 'right way' to do anything. Which may (and frequently does) result in more than one outcome or result. Allowing that outcome or result to be what it is (or isn't) and knowing that it is indeed EXACTLY what it's supposed to be, might be the most liberating thing you can do. From attempting what appears to be a complicated recipe to starting your own business. If you don't keep moving forward, you get stuck where you are. I've been hyper-aware of that lately...

The following excerpt from the magazine was one of my recent morning readings, and some excellent food for thought on this Sunday morning...for me, and for you. Namaste.


In 1945, the great writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was arrested by the Soviets for criticizing Joseph Stalin in a letter to a friend. In a special labor camp in Ekibastuz, Kazakhtan, he wrote his epic poem Prussian Nights. He had no pen or paper and was not allowed to write. Each day, he would compose a few lines, carve them into a bar of soap, and recite them over and over until they were committed to memory. Each evening in his daily shower, he would use the bar of soap and wash away his writing. After years of captivity, he had written the entire book, committed it to memory, and watched it be washed away every evening.

When we have something that needs to be expressed, we will find an outlet for it's expression. There will never be a more perfecct time than right now, never a more perfect place than right here, and never anyone more perfect than you to express what needs to be expressed.

So many of us have a challenge writing down what's bubbling up for us, even when we have a pen and paper and permission to write. What if we give ourselves permission to write down- or draw, or sing or dance- what is alive for us in this moment, and understand that we can always make changes? What would happen if we were to honor the process rather than the demand the perfection?

May 2, 2013

It's A Mystery

...that doesn't need solving. And now you know.

Shine It On!

via Richard Laeton

People Pleasing

Some of us betray ourselves by the need to seek approval from others. We don’t feel worthy of love on our own merits, so we morph ourselves – our precious lives – to conform to others’ expectations instead. We find ourselves in jobs and relationships that are a clear mismatch out of our need to be accepted. We abandon our happiness to keep the peace.

Do you want your light to shine? Stand in your own truth. Fess up to what you want, and risk the disapproval of those around you. Keep it simple, and stay close to what fires you up. You may not please everyone, but you can’t imagine how the possibilities for your life will open up once you decide to align yourself with the truth.
Victim Mentality

If we blame others for our problems, we are denying ourselves the clarity and groundedness that are rightfully ours. While we are stuck in a grudge or waiting for others to change, we passively let the moments of our lives tick away. “Poor me” just doesn’t cut it if we want to shine.

Instead of torturing yourself with endless stories of what should or shouldn’t have happened, use your most precious resource, your attention, to explore those places inside yourself that you have been avoiding. Be supremely kind as you open to painful feelings. Make the decision to take responsibility for your well being. Do this work no matter what it takes, and you will be surprised at how much positive energy is revealed as the mask of victimhood falls away.

Maybe you have convinced yourself that you are not good enough. Whatever form self-judgment takes, it keeps us boxed in and limited. Every time our inner light tries to glow, our minds react like a sledgehammer, with harsh thoughts that inhibit us from moving forward. How can we possibly express ourselves fully when we are shot down every step of the way by our own minds?

The inner critic is a jumble of thoughts that are propelled by fear. Learn to identify the fear, then look beneath it to discover your natural resilience, every time. Find the courage to let your whole self shine.

Some of us live in a state of lack. We think we need what we don’t have – a relationship, a quality, a life circumstance – and we spend our time looking outward for fulfillment. This is an “if only” life, and it ignores the treasures that are already here.

Take an honest look at this very moment. If you stop buying into stories that run in your mind, is there anything missing? The universe is so abundant, giving us exactly what we need. When we realize the peace that comes from wanting what we are given, we surrender our ideas of lack, making space for our natural selves to shine.

When we recognize how we hold ourselves back, we have stepped onto the path that takes us back to ourselves. No matter how you feel in this moment, your inner light is shining. Pull away the veils, and let your whole self light up the world.

Hailing from Long Beach, New York, Richard (Richie) Laeton is a freelance photographer, illustrator, and graphic arteest. Currently residing in sunny Mill Valley, CA,  he's a practitioner of Siddha Yoga, and contributes his remarkable preservation and sex-appeal to a raw diet and the occasional glass of fermented grape. You can catch more of his artistic wonderment by visiting Richard Laeton Fine Art, or follow him on Facebook. He posts the best stuff.   

Quote, Unquote #23: Martha's Moves

"Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion."  -MARTHA GRAHAM

April 23, 2013

The Killer Bee Club: RICH HARRIS

Introducing The Poetry Man...
Hey, my name is Rich, and I understand that you will now have the opportunity to view one of my poems on Youtube so please, make yourself nice and comfy and I hope you enjoy it. I've been writing little poems and odes for many years. I also love to write short stories. Basically, because I have a puerile mind... a lot of the things I write can be a very light hearted, and if they make you giggle and smile, then I'm happy with that. 

I live in London (in Soho), and I work full time for London Underground which is quite cool. In my free time I love skating, drinking beer, eating cake and sleeping. Not necessarily in that order. I'd also quite like a boyfriend because life can be a little lonely. But it does mean I have more beer and cake to myself, so not all bad I guess.

My true passion does lie in writing, however silly my poems and stories may be. If I can spend more time writing and producing them, I'm certain the world would be a better place. Please check out my YouTube channel, if you like it please subscribe and tell your buddies as I will be adding a new poem every week. I'd also love to hear your comments and thoughts! 

Now, stop reading this and click PLAY!

To visit (and subscribe to!) Rich's YouTube Channel click HERE

Buzz Out!

Buzz Out!