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

April 13, 2013

Musical Treat Of The Week

On Easter Stacey told me to check out a singer named Janiva Magness...and man oh man am I glad I did!
Can't. Get. Enough. Enjoy!

Hometown Pride

Attention Beezers!
Film producer Jack Turner and other local filmmakers are capturing the best of Milwaukee on film. They need your help. Show them the Milwaukee you love through a video, photo or written work.
Come on Milwaukee, it's time to shine on!

For more info, visit  http://www.dearmke.com/

Here's a  GORGEOUS preview....

April 12, 2013


Originally published February 12th, 2012

I recently received a message on Facebook from a lovely girl that I went to middle school with. I hadn't thought of her in years, but who could ever forget a girl named Wakana? As I recall, she was one of the brightest girls in my class. The 4.0 type. Anyway, she wasn't looking to rekindle a friendship that never quite existed, but she had obviously checked out my profile page. You know that little niche where you can find a persons religious views? Mine states that I am a Pantheist, and she was curious to know what that meant. I was happy to explain...

I've always been uncomfortable with "my way or the highway". With absolutes, with black and white. I'm a designer, and an artist. I have a deep understanding of grey! I have been baptized no less than 3 times, in 3 orders of Christian faith-  yet I no longer consider myself a Christian. My spiritual journey so far has been largely personal, mostly introspective, and in the last 5 years very important to me. Along this journey I came to an understanding for myself  that there's more than one way to get there. More than one path.

When I was growing up Mother told me to never speak of religion or politics in an "uncertain" crowd unless I was prepared to debate. As an adult I ask "Why is this? The answer is simple. Its because both are so closely attached to the ego. Make no mistake, the ego's position is ALWAYS to be right. We're instructed from the very beginning to be the most intelligent, the most studied and to always have the right answer. After all if you aren't right, then you're wrong! If only we could dissolve our egos.

I'm so sick of hearing people drone on about how religion is the root of all evil, and how it was the basis for almost every war the world has seen. While that may be true, Holy wars are not started by Gods or religions. They are started by men. By our fathers, our grandfathers, our brothers, our friends. God, Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad- don't drag them into it. They aren't the problem. WE are. Of course admitting that requires the taking on of personal responsibility. Its so much easier to blame a God that doesn't really exist, cultures we don't understand, or organized religion for the woes of the world than to take that responsibility for this royal mess we've created.

Two of my favorite people on this planet are Atheists, and they are raising their children as Atheists. There is much love between us and they respect my position to "believe", and I respect theirs to not. Unfortunately I have found most Atheists to be just as judgmental and smug in their non belief as the conservatives of any organized religion. Believers are simpletons, sheep. My spirituality is frivolous and negated by the intelligence of science.We "drank the kool-aid", subscribing to ideologies of religions created to control the masses and give them moral compasses.

Sorry Sam Harris, but that kind of generalization has nothing to do with me. Or my journey.

One of the most asinine things I've heard anyone say on the matter is "Science has proven there is no God." Don't be ridiculous. Science is amazing, but it cannot prove there is no God. Regardless of your religious (or non-religious) views, have you ever asked yourself why Science is so bent on disproving God? Stephen Hawking is a brilliant mind, perhaps one of the greatest the world has ever known. He has famously been quoted saying that "There is no heaven, its a fairy story." Perhaps he's right and the story we've been sold is just a fairytale. Can he prove there's no God? No spiritual realm beyond what we can see, hear and touch? Um, no.

Because I believe we're all spiritual beings, I fear a world where faith is not accepted just as much as one where the ideology and belief systems of any one man's religion is the mandate for all. There will never be a shoe that fits all feet.

For the record I do not believe that God is a old white guy with a long white beard, floating through the heavens on a cloud casting profound judgements upon his wayward children way down here on earth. Is God a man? A woman? I seriously doubt either. A collective force, perhaps. I do believe in both creation and evolution. And I do believe there's a point and purpose to this magical and glorious life we've been given. Most religious leaders will insist that all you need to know is written within the pages of their doctrines.  If we knew it all, would there be a point to the journey?

Because of the separatism and persecution that man's religion has liberally showered upon the world, so many, including my LGBT brothers and sisters have turned their back on their spiritual selves. And why wouldn't they? Who needs all that judgement?! However if I ponder this for too long, it makes my heart heavy. Not because I fear for their immortal souls mind you. For the truth as I know it, is that God is not outside ourselves but indwelling...and has absolutely nothing to do with man's religion. Therefore our souls could never be "up for grabs". Its just that they're likely missing out on such a beautiful and extraordinary layer to their human experience. A layer that for me, just keeps getting deeper and richer the more I explore and embrace it.

I think my personal position is best explained in this lovely quote by the Persian poet Hafiz~

"I have learned so much from God that I can no longer call myself a Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist, or a Jew. The Truth has shared so much of Itself with me that I can no longer call myself a man, a woman, an angel, or even pure soul. Love has befriended Hafiz so completely it has turned to ash and freed me of every concept and image my mind has ever known." -Hafiz

For something a little better articulated and bit more "textbook" about Pantheism.....
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Life is a DJ, you are the music. Let's dance.

March 20, 2013

Building Bridges

The Judds once wrote a song called "Love Can Build A Bridge".
If you gather enough workers, I believe it can...

March 16, 2013

Sweet Corn

Thank you for pollinating, Reverend Yolanda!

" There was a farmer who was the premier corn grower in his community. His corn was always sweeter and better than anyone else's, and it always won the blue ribbon at the county fair. At the end of the growing season, he would take his seed corn, the corn that would be sown the following season, and gave a large portion of it to all the farmers in the area. 'Why do you do that?' someone asked him. 'Don't you want to keep the best corn for yourself?' 'I do it for myself,' replied the farmer. 'My corn will be cross-pollinated by bees and wind from the other fields, and if they have inferior corn, mine will soon become inferior as well."

... the world is so interconnected that whatever we do for someone else we are also doing for ourselves. No action can be taken in isolation, because everything we do ripples out and has some kind of effect.

- M.J. Ryan, The Giving Heart

February 17, 2013

"Quote, Unquote" #22: Walk Like A Man

"Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism, or in the darkness of destructive selfishness." -Martin Luther King, Jr.

Chasing Rainbows

The Banana Dance.
That's all I knew about the brilliant Josephine Baker...

From the slums of St.Louis to the toast of Paris, this force of nature and trailblazing female pioneer would become a decorated war hero, and was at one time the wealthiest black woman in the world. Josephine refused to play segregated venues, and so believed in a place where people of all cultures could live together, that she adopted 12 orphaned children from around the world, and dubbed them "The Rainbow Tribe". We could use more people like you today, dear Josephine...

I caught a fascinating documentary on her extraordinary life on PBS the other night, part of their ongoing series celebrating Black History Month. I searched everywhere for an embeddable version to share here but couldn't find one...so here's another. Different, but just as good. Take yourself on a fascinating history lesson.

Musical Treat Of The Week

The Return of The Fabulous Ms. Martha Wash!

The diva who got her big break singing back up for the late, great Sylvester in the 70's, is back with her first full length solo disc in 20 years. And not a moment too soon. A departure from her dance floor roots as one half of The Weather Girls, and later the voice of Black Box, the new album "Something Good" is a cohesive song cycle reflecting personal transformation. It's not just good, it's an uplifting tour de force. Her daring cover of Areosmith's Dream On? Not to be missed. Available at amazon.com now. Here's a sneak peek...

Anonymous Extraodinairies

The Killer Bee Club: NATALIE WARNE

Born in an underserved part of downtown Chicago, Natalie and her five siblings survived on her mother's humble teacher salary, moving from city to city to find work. No stranger to adversity, Natalie was determined to make something great out of her life. At 17 she saw the documentary Invisible Children: The Rough Cut; a film exposing Africa's longest running war. Compelled by this story, she applied to be a volunteer or "roadie" for Invisible Children, using her voice to help end this war. She quickly stood out among the other interns, and was quickly given responsibility to help lead Invisible Children's largest project to date; an event in 100 cities worldwide called "The Rescue." Through her determination, tens of thousands of people came out to the event, sleeping in the streets for up to six days in order to raise the profile of this war.

Her efforts paid off when Oprah Winfrey invited Invisible Children, and Natalie, onto her show to add her voice to the numbers. The event was then highlighted on Larry King Live, CNN, and countless other news outlets. Natalie has natural charisma, astounding leadership qualities, and is now working in Los Angeles as a film editor, to continue to share stories of injustices. This young lady is a Killer Bee if I've ever seen one. Another excellent TED Talk.

February 10, 2013

You've Got Mail

I love a good romance, and I love the animated shorts from Storycorps.
Rachel Salazar, you obviously weren't foolish at all.

The StoryCorps Video Channel

My Funny Valentine

Not unless they're on ice, baby.

What I'm about to reveal may perplex, even shock you. An admission so potentially astonishing, they could possibly revoke my Gay Card...but here it goes: 6-pack abs creep me out. Not just a little, but a lot. I will presume to be the minority here, as men and women the world over covet the prayerfully taut abdominal region for it's purported aphrodisiac qualities.

Please don't misunderstand. I have absolutely no qualms with muscles. They're quite nice when proportionate (and don't look like they were squeezed through the compression chamber of a spritz maker). Why just the other day I ran into Jon Hamm at the gym, squeezed his left bicep, and told him to keep up the good work. In my own quest for better health and fitness, I've been trying to eat better and workout regularly too- with mixed results. But there's something about the ripped chisel of a 6-pack that reminds me of the reptilian underbelly of an alligator; and who wants to cuddle up (or wrestle, even) with that?

The Curse of St. Valentine

I swear Cupid and I were separated at birth. The subject of love in all its forms continues to fascinate. After 4+ years of blogging you'd think I would have covered it all by now. Not nearly.

I had a mildly confrontational conversation with a dear friend recently, who accused me of busying myself with, well, being busy. Are you ready? To avoid being in a relationship. Seriously. I was like "Hello, are you new here?' I've spent the better part of the last 25 years in relationships, or chasing relationships. Right now I'm chasing dreams. Growing me.

Of course her position was that of most coupled folk. There's always an underlying sense of tragedy, pity even, for those left behind in the dust of their friend's "Just Married" tin can trail. She seemed deeply concerned that I'd let someone great slip through my fingers and miss out on the chance to be as happy as her! I have to admit in all fairness, she is pretty damn happy. Apparently I can't have sex and chew gum at the same time. At this age and stage I realize this truth about myself, and so I've been on a relationship hiatus, if you will.

While it's true that a healthy relationship shouldn't be work per se, anything truly worth growing deserves nurturing. I couldn't even figure out how to schedule a badly needed haircut last week. How could I possibly invest in a budding romance? So you see, I'm not avoiding- I'm respecting. Yet, I'm a lover of love and always will be. The day will arrive (and so will he) and I'll be back in the game. Just not until it's time to play.

Since it's Valentines Day this week, I'll permit myself a moment of fantasy... So what special quality will my future Dream Lover possess? The thing that sets him apart, and lures me out of romantic retirement, and back into love? It won't be a taut tummy, but a sharp sense of humor. Who needs a 6 pack? In the long run, someone who can make you laugh (and relishes in doing so) is worth more than an entire Prada steamer trunk of alligator abs. Isn't that right baby? Yes, as soon as there's a hole in my schedule large enough for a Maine elopement, I'm marrying Zach Galifianakis. You heard it here first.

Musical Treat Of The Week

February 9, 2013

"Quote, Unquote" #21: Gilda Gleans

"I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme. Some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity."

- Gilda Radner

The Rose

I've been looking for the origin/author of this story but have been unable to trace the source. It was shared frequently on Facebook this week, but it wasn't until Scott Luedtke shared it that I actually stopped to read. It's the kind of story I love to pollinate ...

The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned round to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being.

She said, "Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I'm eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?"

I laughed and enthusiastically responded, "Of course you may!" and she gave me a giant squeeze.

"Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?" I asked.

She jokingly replied, "I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids..."

"No seriously," I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

"I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm getting one!" she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake.We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months, we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this "time machine" as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium.

As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, "I'm sorry I'm so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I'll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell  you what I know."

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, "We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day.

You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die.
We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it!There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up.

If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old.

If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.

Anybody can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets. The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets."

She concluded her speech by courageously singing "The Rose."
She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives.

At the year's end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago. One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.

Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it's never too late to be all you can possibly be .When you finish reading this, please send this peaceful word of advice to your friends and family, they'll really enjoy it!

These words have been passed along in loving memory of ROSE.


We make a Living by what we get, We make a Life by what we give.

January 8, 2013

Musical Treat Of The Week

"Quote, Unquote" #20: Super-Size Me

Hey, Mr. DJ!

I was so touched by the story of this incredibly bright and resourceful young man, one Kelvin Doe, that I had to share it with you here. This kid is spinning more than tunes.... Fair warning. It may leave you with an overwhelming sense of HOPE.

January 6, 2013

Where Are YOU From?

by Cherrie Hanson


What prompts us to ask this question? An accent? Unusual features? A manner of dress?
Maybe we ask because we hope to have things in common…it’s a small world after all.

Personal biographies are of great interest to me, but I don’t always ask. Why?
What is the dark side of the question, “Where are you from?” The possible humiliation of not recognizing subtle features of larger groups such as the Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, and South Asians can intimidate us into silence. Or worse, innocent inquiry might cause the “stranger” to feel judged or unwelcome. I once asked a gorgeous man where he was from – I needed to know exactly where his kind of beauty came from. His response was, “I am Palestinian, not Pakistani.” Obviously, he’d been judged and misjudged before.

Another man, one of my dearest friends, initially claimed he was an Italian Jew named Zachariah. The first time we went out to eat, the restaurant was full of people he knew. The language was Arabic, the clothing was Middle Eastern. Hmm…probably not Jewish? His fib was embarrassing and funny, but it pointed to his need to hide who he was. Afraid I would see him in a bad way, fear conditioned him to avoid the truth thus avoiding the pain of rejection. If you have ever witnessed the cruelty of prejudice, multiply that by a few times every day, and you would know the agony of its victims, although you wouldn’t have to overcome its crushing spirit. Maybe you have already experienced being a “stranger in a strange land” then you know what I'm talking about.

Our trusting connection eventually allowed me to ask, “What’s the deal with Middle Eastern men collecting wives?” and if that’s true, “How many wives do you have or intend to have?” He told me, “The Koran does allow a man to marry up to four women, but this option can be vetoed by the current wife.” There has to be a good reason to add another mate to the mix, for example, a woman who is better at cooking, child-bearing, or has some benefit to add to the family. If there are multiple wives, the Koran also states each wife must be treated equally at all levels. Zachariah insists that would be very difficult. Currently, multiple-wife-setups are infrequent and rare. Who can afford children AND wives these days? He knows two men, about 70 years of age, with multiple spouses who are living in the old country, and fading into history….

In time, my extraordinary friend and I swapped personal philosophies and spiritual beliefs, discovering we were more alike than different. We compared our holidays, gift giving rituals, and relatives - same bullshit. He had Mohammed and The Koran, and I grew up with Jesus and The Bible. We lost our fathers to cancer. We loved sharing food with good friends. We agreed the perfect cure for most anything was a hug from someone who cares. My friendship with "Zachariah", a Muslim from Palestine, is a joyous, fulfilling, educational gift I gave myself when I embraced the opportunity to have friends of any race, creed or culture.

Ma’a as-salaama!

Cherrie Hanson eats books for breakfast and snacks on documentaries.
She's a photographer and filmmaker. A gifted cosmetologist and guru of healthy lifestyle to many. But perhaps the grandest plume in her feathery chapeau is that of Guardian of The Spheres of Light. If you haven't seen them for yourself, Cherrie's luminous globes are not to be missed!

Not So Random...

We make choices everyday to spread our sunshine, or not. Love, friendship, and kindness are not to be carefully measured- but doled out freely. If you remove your ego from the giving of these gifts, then you can never run out. Don't be stingy!

Buzz Out!

Buzz Out!