Clockwise Around the Alps: Innsbruck to Chamonix

Passing through five countries in quick succession caused me to notice differences & similarities between cultures I might not have been aware of otherwise. I can’t say I have a favorite. I was most charmed by the set of nonverbal noises and gestures that are unique to each language. It seemed to me that this is where the culture and the individual meet.

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I awoke with the sensation of someone gently peeling back my nose with all their fingers. I felt a little vulnerable. I thought it might be my housemate playing a trick on me, but that didn’t make any sense. I opened my eyes and no one was there.

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Danielle’s Guacamole

“I don’t ever measure… OK…

2 avocados
1 small onion chopped
4 roasted anaheim chilies chopped (fresh is always better)
1/2 jalapeno chopped to taste for spiciness
1/2 lime’s juice
salt & pepper to taste

I use my hands to mix them all together… that’s just how my grandmother taught me. Enjoy! Sorry that’s how I do my salsa too, no recipe! Oye vey!”

The Queen of Guacamole
Cheech:         “Have you smelled her onion?”
Chong:           “No – but I’ve seen her avocados. Holy camoly!
Hey, have you tasted her lime?”
Cheech:         “Oh yeah! The thought of it makes me drool!
She is one hot jalapeno!”
Chong:           “She is the queen of guacamole!”

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Navid Attar

Sunny, Monty, Navid 4.30.99

Sunny, Monty, Navid 4.30.99

Navid Attar 5/25/62 – 4/27/10

I knew Navid from Club International. We were both regulars way back. He came to my parties, I went to his. He was mostly quiet, but he didn’t hold back laughing at a good story or joke. He struck me as remarkably chivalrous. He was refined and respectful of people in general, but especially respectful of women. In social situations, he always seemed to keep one eye cocked toward helping anyone who needed assistance – whether it was finding the bathroom or finding a cup after the last plastic cup had been exhausted. And because he drove a pickup, he was always helping people move.

Upon returning from a trip to India in 2004, I presented a slide show of my adventure to a group of friends. Navid was so moved by my images, he asked if I would put together a CD for him of the mountain vistas I photographed. I was touched that he asked. I put it on my to-do list.

I started a new job and soon became absorbed in new responsibilities. An overwhelming relationship came and went. That CD project got buried on my desk at home. I ran across it several times and put it back on top of the pile, but I never got around to it.

Years went by. Navid and I fell out of touch. Then I bumped into him a year ago and was alarmed to see him in poor health. He was a whisper of the hiker I had previously known. But we didn’t visit long enough to get into what was going on with him. I thought of that CD again. It would be fun to surprise him after he had forgotten all about it.

A couple months ago I received an email announcing he was fighting cancer. My first thought was – I better hurry up with that CD! He might really find some solace in those images.

A few weeks went by and I was shocked to receive another email announcing his death. Wow. I had no idea. Opportunity lost.

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“The human body was made for healing.” Brian Duby 12/29/09

“I am talking to you, I turn away, I turn back and you are gone. How do you do that? It’s like a superhero.” Susan Cerf 10/31/09

“Things are happening. My life is emotional. And then there is work.” John Magryta 9/30/09

“There have been times when I was ripped-off, lost my passport, having a hard time. In those moments I wanted to be ‘home’ so bad – a hot shower, sleeping with my cat, a cheese burger on the grill. But, looking back, I am totally glad I had that experience. ‘Home’ is a myth. If you can take care of yourself, make new friends, you will be alright.” Judd Beck 7/20/09

“My picture of the process is, that we keep peeling away the layers, growing sweeter as we get closer to the center.” Brian Duby 5/7/09

“I want to be half of that old couple, holding hands, holding each other up.” Lara Fors 4/18/09

“Raising kids is like having big pets.” & (in the same conversation) “Anyone who has kids is involved in a polyamorous relationship.” Elizabeth Thielman 4/9/09

“We are always chipping away at the armor.” Brian Duby 4/6/09

“You want more than you got – which is a very good place to leave something so rich.” Susan Cerf 3/14/09

“Her way, my way – it isn’t that anyone is right or wrong, good or bad. It just gets a little tricky.” Chris Browne 2/27/09

“The energy we put into things not only changes the future, it changes the past; it changes the story. We are time travelers in our own lifetime.” Dwight Stone 1/7/09

“I want to save myself for someone with whom I can have a real, right here, right now, relationship.” Shannon McCall 2/5/09

“If you were doing all you could be doing to promote your spiritual growth, you wouldn’t be getting anything else done.” Brian Duby 1/5/09

“Your body loves you so much, that it stores undigested trauma until you are able to receive the gift of it. Catharsis is not enough. You must make a connection in order to release it.” Anastacia Metcalf 1/16/08

“Fortune cookies are just about the only type of guidance I got as a kid.” Ashanti Shakti 11/4/07

“If you ever feel it crumbling, in any shape or form, just show up and kiss me. Okay?” Ashanti Shakti 10/12/07

“Peace, fear, it’s a fine line.” (referring to raising kids) Michael Marcheschi 10/5/07

“Slow down! That which you are seeking is also seeking you. Give it a chance to catch you. slow down.” Paula Byrne 8/22/07

“If there’s food involved, I’m gonna eat it. And when I think I shouldn’t, I know I’m going to put it in my mouth.” Laurie Meyer 8/21/07

“Endure nothing.” Paula Byrne 7/29/07

“If you’re not going to try new things, you might as well live in a mall.” Ted Louie 7/6/07

“True love just exists. Only the expression of it changes. We can choose to be in intimate physical relationship, best friends or no contact; just holding each other in our hearts. But the love still exists.” Susan Cerf McCullock 5/30/07

“I think of my heart as a hearth upon which my relationship with G is a roaring fire. And on the mantle are hung the photos of past loves. I honor them.” Jack Thompson 5/29/07

“It is rarely someone’s opinion that bothers me. I don’t care so much about having a disagreement. I am most often hurt by a person’s tone or manner — when I feel I am being disrespected or unappreciated.” Randy Hudson 5/28/07

“The only time people aren’t right is when they think someone else is wrong.” Laurie Meyer 5/22/07

“Beauty and energy! Take at least an hour for yourself each day: half an hour in the morning to prepare for the day, half an hour at night to relax.” Mai D. Tran 2/28/07

“I grew up in a family of eight – you didn’t get your choice.” Mel Parks 2/11/07

“You want it quiet? Date a cat.” Jim Munson 12/19/06

Paul said, “I think I would like to get to know you in teaspoonfuls.”
Laurie Meyer replied, “But my smallest measure is a half cup!” 12/6/06

“The mind is a tool. It is not where you are supposed to live!” Jessie Diamond 10/15/06

“Drive fast. Take chances.” John Osgood 9/14/06

“If I won the lottery, well, besides the 24 hour on-call masseuse, I’d build fireworks that go five miles high. We’re talkin’ liquid fuel propelled! I’d also like to have bumper cars set up in my house. My needs are few.” Bambu 7/14/06

“Why do bad things happen to good people? Well, only the good people can carry it!” Susan Trombetta 7/11/06

“If you can’t find it on the internet, your next step is to call the library. Call your local library!” Joan Johnson 4/12/06

“Tell, don’t ask.” Ronald Krol 4/5/06

“I always carry a couple kinds of glitter. The work I do requires it.” Albert Kaufman 2/5/06

“I believe that within every human being is a beautiful voice. If it isn’t presenting itself, then they are simply getting in the way.” LeaAnne DenBeste 2/4/06

“I have to go to work early in the morning because Waterloo will be waiting for me again. And, although everything is going wrong, if Blucher is coming up instead of Grouchy, unlike Napoleon, I must win.” Georges Loffler 1/13/06

“Sense of direction is just not one of my talents. It’s okay now. I just fill my car with more gas.” Susan Cerf McCullock 12/3/05

“Now Brazil is different. They have laundromats. They are a civilized country.” Done Devine 10/14/05

“When I was a smoker I had no self control — I smoked three packs a day. I filtered the air through cigarettes.” Monty Metawa 10/12/05

“Horatio helped me to be a better me.” Susan Cerf McCullock 9/5/05

“If you don’t Poop, you can’t see God.” Susan Cerf McCullock 7/13/05

“Have fun, stay busy.”Terri Kester 6/24/05

“If the smell [of an egg] meets you as you crack it open, you shouldn’t eat it.” Veronica Todd 3/26/05

“The highest form of control is surrender.” Jessie Diamond 2/27/05

“It is not the conclusions but the struggles getting to them that is important to share.” Monty Metawa 2/9/05

“Be honest to yourself, you can still lie to everybody else.” Dhanya Haremboure 11/29/04

“Girls are just not meant to play football and that’s the end of that.” Jeanna Parks 11/25/04

“Travel is good in anticipation and great in retrospect.” Virgil Cater 11/18/04

“Wear corduroy; they make better napkins.” Katy Jo Lynch, M.D. 9/6/04

What do you do if a woman is faking an orgasm? “Slow down.” Michelle Morgan 7/1/704

“All I want is a little tail.” Susan Brown 5/23/04

“There is no ‘there’ to get to.” Anna Marti 4/14/04

“I think that is how a marriage survives; creating false dependencies. Without those you never develop the necessary sense of need.” Nicole Wells 2/27/04

“I am an extremely relationship-oriented introvert.” Annaliese Moyer 12/2/03

“Hippies are, like, happy homeless people — right?” Dillon Stringer 11/19/03

“One gets out of practice talking to someone who actually listens.” John Stringer 11/4/03

“Life is lived in the modicum.” Horatio 10/27/03

“I can `pay’ for experience yet I cannot `buy’ it.” Horatio 8/25/03

“Everything in life is shit. And what isn’t shit is urine.” Oksana Raymond 4/03

“We’ll have to keep in touch — I’ll invite you to my next wedding.” Kim Usher Schwabauer 11/12/02

“I was hurt and crying so, you know, I just had to be angry with someone.” Jean Herrington 8/4/02

“Children are a blight on society.” Steve Slomkowski 8/2/02

“I figure I’ve lived so long, I’m going to die of something.” Carolyn Jung 7/13/02

“You don’t need to be a graduate of philosophy to understand it and make it work for you.” Kelliann Amico 12/16/01

“Everything important is penultimate; in order to reach the ultimate, one must go through, experience the penultimate.” Horatio 12/12/01

“I don’t know Paul, I can’t seem to get serious with anyone — I can’t get serious unless I’m drunk.” Kan Chen 11/14/01

“Yeah, I can’t get serious unless I’m drunk either. I’m not serious right now, but I’ll be damn serious in a couple hours.” John Fisher 11/14/01

“I walk by the mirror and sometimes the person I see, does not look like the person I feel I am.” Carolyn Jung 10/01

“Never order something with too many syllables. The more syllables there are, the more disappointed you are likely to be.” Sally Scott 9/7/01

“I don’t like — I hate — I don’t DO Christmas!” Horatio 8/24/01

“If I had known what marriage was like, I would have married four times over by now! I thought marriage was this long thing. I discovered it is actually a very deep thing.” Ela Zavrat 7/11/01

“Please God, no shit fairies today.” Ronald Slomkowski 7/7/97

(Referring to our beloved Vat and Tonsure Restaurant) “You can’t complain about the service because there isn’t any.” Margaret Jennings

“Oh, did I tell you, I have short-man syndrome — I’m short and I’m not a man.” Natalie Brandt

“Nothing parties like a rental.” Randy Hudson

“Everything is for sale except the wife and kids.” Mark Kronquist

“I would like to believe I have it in me to club an animal to death.” C.S.

“How much money do you have?” Michael Keeline

“It was stupendous, great, good, fine, okay.” Steve Slomkowski

“Things are always happening in indigestible amounts.” Ela Zavrat

“The best defense against being robbed is to cultivate unpopular tastes.” Paul Parks, Sr.

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Temple Fragments

Knowing the future is like listening to a song that you know.  Even though you know what’s coming up, you still have to wait for it to arrive before you can do anything with it, before you can interact with it.

I saw myself walking along a beach littered with various size little balls made of black diamond. They were light enough to float on the water and had many exotic designs, like Christmas tree ornaments. They were fragments of temples made by a former civilization.

I pictured myself sitting cross-legged in meditation so long that I became stone.  I was worn smooth around the edges. I was one of many stone Buddhas dotting the hills, glowing orange in the Sunset. 

We have so little time.  Dance while the song is playing.  Build.  Jog.  Sleep later.

I am a spirit renting space in this body.  It is a cooperation.

I pictured myself asking many women what it is like to be a woman.  This made for many beautiful interactions. Their responses were completely outside my expectations.

He says, “It is up to you. Are you going to vibrate with the masters or your addictions?”

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Love Feast

I pictured being able to ask the universe questions about anything. I wondered, “What do I really want to know about?” I answered myself, “How about getting to know myself better?” I suddenly pictured Beetle Juice standing up with a sign that read “You win!”  Knowing my self better opens the path for getting to know other people in a deeper way.

I envisioned growing old with A- and how I would take care of her in her old age.  I would love her in her decrepitude, always seeing in her the girl I first met.

I imagined there were only days before a comet hit and obliterated earth.  I considered all the things that wouldn’t matter in that event.

I saw myself laying on the ground eviscerated. A person was squatting beside me handing my heart to someone I couldn’t see. People were pulling pieces from my chest like you would pull apart a cooked chicken. I felt fine about it. It was a love feast.

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Grand Family

I thought about my neck injury. I went back to that point in time to some degree. I had this strange thought that maybe I knew it was going to happen and I chose to do it anyway. That seemed true for some reason. (When I was four, I suffered a neck injury. Mom says I had this rocking horse on springs that I rocked on furiously. One day the front springs broke and I was tossed on my head.     She wondered why I wouldn’t stop crying. I had damaged several vertebrae.)

I was possessed by the term “use me”. I thought about how he says we must use this experience to get somewhere. We are not just going along for a ride. I heard the term as something we all tell each other. I saw it as something that has no negative connotations. It is a natural way of being. I pictured us all in a square dance; doing the move called “right and left grand family” – where we all move through the circle in opposite directions by holding each other’s hands and pulling ourselves along. We are all using each other to pull ourselves along yet we are all moving and going forward.

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