Dinner with Klimt

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I attended a painting class / dinner buffet last evening where after three hours some 20 students produced most of a completed piece inspired by 20th century artist Gustav Klimt. I always find such experiences a great use of time because they not only instill appreciation for the original artist but expand and enrich the skills and possibilities of each participant. The only thing that I find a bit confusing is why I am usually the only guy who attends theses kind of events. Van Gogh, Michelangelo, Monet, Pollack, Klimt, all dudes. Have men just become detached from self-expression in the 21st century, or are they too filled with false bravado to risk their precious macho image on canvas? Drop the swag guys and pick up a brush! Life is waiting.

Moose Magic

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I attended a park picnic last Saturday evening where I met a Field Biologist who was studying moose populations in Montana as directed by the state. According to data, there has been a very mysterious crash in the female population of moose the last few years and he and a partner were investigating as to why.

Imagine my surprise to come across this young female (pictured) feeding near a small pond the very next day! We pulled over to watch as she scoured the vegetation beneath the water surface very industriously; raising her head every so often, a river pouring off her snout, to check on us. It was one of those magic moments only nature can provide. I can’t imagine losing this majestic species. What a thrill.

Red, White, and Screwed?

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I’ve observed this fellow around town (pictured) over the past few years waving American flags in bitter snow storms, driving rain, and hot, muggy afternoons as cars streamed by causing his flags to flap as he sat smiling.  It was just this past week I finally found myself by his small selling station and took the opportunity to chat.

He was sitting outside my bank fanning himself with his hat as I made a withdrawal and spontaneously decided to walk over and buy a flag. I didn’t ask, but I’m pretty sure he’s a vet, and I think there might be a few additional challenges for him outside of working on the street. It was clear from the start he’s extremely patriotic and very proud to be paying all his daily living expenses in spite of being homeless. The hats he sells are negotiated at a lower rate from local thrift shops, and he orders the flags himself in three sizes to fit his mobile cart he rolls all over town. He’s happy to place a small paperback he’s written about his life into your hands for $12, which to date, has sold some 250 copies. He’s slyly negotiated spots near local cash registers and will give you his pitch right there if you’ll stay long enough to listen. He explained he’s been homeless for several years now, ever since rent increases shot up some 400-500% the last five years making a steady place almost impossible. He also avoids local shelters because meth heads have a knack for stealing while you sleep he explains, and also possess the unnerving habit of behaving erratically during waking hours.

So I asked myself, can we really write Allen off as some sort of loser just because he’s homeless and needs a hand every once in a while to make ends meet? What happened to that sense of human decency we were taught as kids as Congress prepares to cut Meals on Wheels and school lunch programs for tax cuts?

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Wheelchair Athletes Roll Big Time

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I spent my Saturday helping organize and run my first Wheelchair basketball tournament supporting a local non-profit. The tournament involved two high school teams (12 teams total) playing for the first time with several of their players having physical disabilities.  By the end of the day I left with a new respect and level of amazement for the incredible athleticism displayed by these young kids. They had total control over their chairs, as if they were an extension of their bodies as they shot and rebounded at high speeds across the gym floor. They were pulling off Pete Marovich behind the back passes and first rate blocks and steals that would have impressed Michael Jordan. This kind of event always reminds me to be careful about judging people different from ourselves and the level of ability they possess in overcoming adversity. There are whole worlds of experience out there most of us rarely see.

 

Have an epic nice day.

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Funny thing. When I got my Northern Lights coffee at the coffee shop this morning, the barista had written, “Have an awesome day!” on the side with a smiley face. It made me think about the original “Have a nice day” yellow grinning t-shirt from the 1970’s and why we were satisfied to have just a nice day back then versus our need today for an awesome day. Has there been nice day inflation or are we determined to package our positive experiences more powerfully now we are surrounded as a culture by daily shootings, terrorist attacks, and other potential threats. Makes me wonder.

Memory Pull

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It had been over a year since we’d visited the Alameda Hot Springs Retreat in Montana, but that didn’t stop our dog Barley from digging in like a tractor and pulling me to the room we stayed in previously right after I hooked him up to the leash. I continue to respect our animals abilities for memory and emotion as I move forward in this life and spend more time with them.

Native Dawn

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Wonderful to get up for a walk at 6:30 a.m. and catch a scene like the one above as your dog sniffs the ground at your feet. There is nothing like a good dose of fresh air and silence when you’ve been over rushing in life.

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