Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dirt, High Roads and Bitten Nails

üks Don't bite your nails. It's ugly and a sure fire sign of some kind-of Pandora's box weakness. People see your hands as much as they see your smile. Tend to that. Never forget that you are brave and funny and smart and strong. If I saw your hands, I would think that.

kaks Play fair and stay on the High Road. Even if it would be way more satisfying to play on that low road and throw bodies under the  bus, don't do it. You can talk about doing it to whomever you feel close enough to, but don't do it. Nobody likes a tattle-tale. For real. No. Body.

kolm Plant stuff in the dirt whenever you can. Be on grass and sand and rocks and in forests and caves ... Get out in it. You need to get outside and play. Go. Play.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cast Iron, Milk and Bad Ideas

üks If you find yourself in a position to need to clean up after a meal cooked in cast iron cook ware: Do NOT wash it. I think you can use water, but for sure you can't use soap. I've just found it best to not mess with other people's cast iron. I did some research on this, and I'd be more than happy to tell you everything I learned, but for sure: Do not mess with cast iron pans that are not yours. And, for sure - if you never remember one other thing, remember this: Don't put them in the dishwasher. Ever.
kaks Please don't put the milk jug back in the fridge with just one swig of milk. That could be about 10 times more uncool than just drinking the last of the milk. Thank you.
kolm If you've got something bothering you, like deep deep down inside, and you think that you can quiet it with drugs or booze or shopping or running - you can't. I can only tell you for sure from what I've seen - they all only make things much worse. 
I sure wished you could know how much I mean this. These comforts are slippery and insidious and they only serve to prolong and compound the pain. So, just don't do this.
This one is important enough to make it onto a short Top Ten list.

Friday, April 23, 2010

north stars, swearing and porn.

një  Learn Right from Left.
Learn North, South, East and West.  Learn how to look up at the sky and figure out where (in God's good name) you might be. It's not like you didn't leave a trail of bread crumbs to help. Look up. Look around. Where are you at, for real? If you know where the North Star is, and where the sun rises from, you should be fine. I always knew where Orion the Hunter was too, just for good Winter measure.
dy  Don't disrespect me that way. Seriously. You weren't raised to use that kind of language around me. I honestly don't care what kind of street-cred you get from the lemmings you run with. I am old and wise, just don't be talking all ghetto on me.
tre  Boys will always look at porn. I'm sorry. I didn't know how to tell you, all delicately and all, but - for real. It's the way they are built. It's not like it's their fault. It just happens. The best thing you can do is teach them to surf sensibly. It doesn't mean that they don't like you or that you're not cute. If you Google it, you'll see.
But, don't be all indignant about any part of this. 
You been schooled.

copyright 2010 thesethreethings

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Bullies and Manners

หนึ่ง  Say "Please" and "Thank you" as often as possible. 
สอง Pick up after yourself. Either put things back to the way they were or leave them better than they were when you found them. This skill alone could make you a local hero. Seriously. Don't leave your stuff strewn all over and don't leave a mess in the kitchen.
สาม Learn how to walk that fine line between letting yourself get bullied into taking it like a man and knowing when you need to tell somebody that you're getting beat up. Lean away from whining and being a tattletale and into making it right. You are not going to get to be nice to everyone all the time. I think it may help to know this early-on.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Love Letters and Lemons

jeden Learn how to craft a good Love Letter. Learn how to do the short ones that you hide in the fridge and the long ones that you put under a pillow before you have to leave town for an over-night business trip. Put a little time and thought into it. Do not cut corners on this one, you'd be surprised what people will carry in their pockets for years.
dvě lemons will do a whole bunch of stuff. Try to always have lemons in your house. 
tři Sleep under the stars from time to time. It's just good for you. Get away from the lights of the city and build a lair, curl up and fall asleep thinking about how infinite the universe is. This allows for a perspective that you won't be able to gain otherwise.

Monday, April 19, 2010


ONE EXPAND AND CONTRACT. Breathe in and breathe out. Contract your muscles and then stop that. Bend and stretch. I would research this if I were you. There's a lot to be said for testing limitations and holding your breath. Hold it. Hold it. Exhale. Think about it. Then breathe in as much as you can. Reach out to the very ends of your fingertips and feel it all.
TWO Don't interrupt. Bite your tongue. Pretend like you've got about eight seconds to make your point and you are holding something that allows your voice to be heard. You can keep talking after 8 seconds, but you might not be heard.
Be good to your mother.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

1 Laugh as much as possible. Find what makes you laugh and use that to your advantage whenever you can. As much as worry will age you, laughter will make you younger.
2 Eat what you are given and don't complain about it. Unless, of course you paid for it and it was swill. But, you need to learn to eat what everybody is eating just as soon as you can. You shouldn't really need concessions.
3 Make yourself useful. Be handy and pay attention to what's happening around you. Don't just stand there and stare, dive in. Lend a hand whenever possible. Ignorance is no defense on this. Learn how to be a very lovely (and helpful) assistant.

Now, go. Outside. It's gorgeous out there.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Determination and Self-Survival

ONE Make sure to make time for yourself. No matter what is going on and how over-booked you are - carve out a little respite. It doesn't really matter what you do with that time, just do it for yourself. You really are no good to anybody else when your well has run dry.
TWO Calvin Coolidge said this so well, I'm not even going to paraphrase: "Press on: Nothing can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."
If something is important to you - Press on.
Make it so or die trying  
(to varying degrees, I'm not, like, trying to push you towards some kind of life-changing cataclysmic stand or anything.)
But, stick with it and see it to completion (unless there will be casualties as a direct result of your determination. Choose your battles.)
THREE Stand up straight, sit well and mind your posture. You really only do get one shot at this life and that body you're sitting in right now is going to have to last you a good long time. Take care of it, be mindful. The way you carry yourself says a lot more about you than you would think. You are not the kind of person who would slump.
Stretch for the stars and be tall.
That's your job.
copyright 2010 thesethreethings

Thursday, April 15, 2010

words and images

EINS. Go to The Library. Learn how to use it and where to find things. Not enough good can be said about the power of a collection of great words and music and art. Libraries are awesome and they smell like no other place on earth - they all smell the same. Give yourself plenty of time to kill. I'm serious here. You need this.

ZWEI. Blow up your TV. Okay, well you don't have to blow it all the way up, just hold it in the same esteem you would rat poison or maybe a loaded gun in the house. Be careful with it. Watch what you let yourself see. Some images and ideas can never be scrubbed off your brain.
My most recent round of TV research has proven that it's just getting worse. Be very careful about how you use this medium. If you ever have babies, don't let them watch commercials. They're better off playing outside anyway.
This is not to say that there aren't some stellar productions out there, just be careful with your brain.
DREI.  Learn to write in your own voice and still respect the rules. There are lots and lots of rules, some of them are steadfast and should never be broken, others are more fluid. But, at least give yourself the benefit of knowing these rules.
It's impossible to break a rule that you don't know exists.
Then, make yourself write well.
Write often.
Write on receipts and at restaurants.
Keep a journal and learn how to hold a pen.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Learn how to give a good massage and learn how to receive one. Don't make me get all detailed on you. Hands and feet and heads can be amazingly fine places to find stress relief. Don't be scairt.
Just trust me.
Research it first, learn about anatomy and physiology and Chinese medicine. Know your body - that vehicle really should be well taken care of, it's going to take you so many places for such a long time.
Go a whole day, every so often, using no electronics (TVs, phones, computers, game things, iPods.) Instead, try going on an adventure somewhere and getting lost. Try just sitting by the river for a couple hours. Just try different things until you find one that makes you feel all quiet inside. Get all peaceful with it.
Don't salt your food before you taste it because it is impolite. You weren't raised by a pack of wolves. The cook worked long and hard to bring you that meal, and it's a sure sign of disrespect to season the food without tasting it first. It's fine to salt it after you try it, but at least take a bite first.
Now go. Play.
You should be outside.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ne te quaesiveris extra

Read Emerson's Essay on Self Reliance more than one time in your life. The first time through it may be hard, but by the third time you'll find all kinds of amazingly sound advice.
Learn your history. Learn music history, art history, global history and the history of the civilized world. You don't have to love it while you're learning it, but someday you'll be glad you did.
Hearing and reading things does not make them true. Learn how to do your research. Learn about Boolean searches and Dialog and Ink and Google Scholar. Always remember that any Public Record is searchable and you'll be surprised at how much of our lives are Public Record. Just learn to do your research; it’ll make your life easier. I promise. There really is no excuse for not knowing. 

Monday, April 12, 2010


If you can NOT worry, I think I would do that. It has come highly recommended to me for many years, this whole “Don’t Worry” thing. Do not worry about it. Don't worry about anything. Nothing good will come of it and it will age you well beyond your years. Some well-placed worry is inevitable, but for the most part: Wasted calories. Don't do it.
If it feels like you’re doing all the giving and none of the receiving – you probably are. You need to talk about it fast and work it out or stop it.
Don’t be a Zealot. Be open to the possibility of other truths. I can’t think of anything shy of defending your offspring that would call for the extreme stands I see humans taking these days. 
Every single person has an opinion and it’s your job to process those. Some of them will be integrated into who you are and others will not. But, by being exposed to them, you get to find out what you don't like.  It’s not your job to share your beliefs with anybody, all you have to do is live. 
It can be really cool to start finding out that you don’t agree with everything and everyone.
copyright 2010 thesethreethings

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Same in Any language

It is not only entirely possible, but probable that you will deal with a broken heart. Your heart will be broke and you will break somebody else's heart. It's inevitable and very few things in life suck so much.
It's not like it happens every day, or anything. But, know that and play nicely.
Be really really freakin careful when it comes to hearts. Keep yours safe and use it well. It's all a high-wire act.
Balance and moderation. Just don't be afraid to test the limits. 
Be in it all the way or don't be in it at all.
Expect to get the wind knocked out of you from time to time and know it's way so very much worth the ride.
ALWAYS over-tip your servers. The hardest part of the work-force gets paid very little hourly to serve you well. You're job is to tip well in return. Be nice to them and get all engaged with it. Leave some bank behind. Tip your trash men at Christmas, tip the guy behind the counter who gave you bites of that Lebanese food and wouldn't charge you. Tip. Tip well, don't embarrass anybody that way.
Expect the unexpected. By this I mean, who would have known that every single cliché and colloquialism you have ever heard is completely rooted in truth? Who saw that coming?
It's probably got a name like Common Sense or something. But, just don't get all locked into thinking you know everything until you've heard every single one of these known to civilized man. They are for real.
(Somehow I slept through this class in school and have been Cliche Challenged since youth. It hasn't worked out that well for me.)
But, you will never guess how your story ends up. Seriously. Maximize your hope and minimize your expectations.
And never waiver on the important stuff.
copyright 2010 thesethreethings

Then These Three.

If you say you're going to do something then do it. Don't make promises that you can't deliver on. Be on time and never make excuses. There's not a lot of wiggle room on this one. Use your powers for good, Baby.
Get out of the country. Burn your own calories and resources to make it happen, chart a course. Get a passport and know where it is at all times. Learn how to speak enough of another language to get around a foreign town using nothing but public transport. Let yourself get scared and hungry. Spend weeks watching the way other people work, live and think. Don't do any of this till you're old enough to drive.
Drink up every moment that you are given with people in places that blow the wind up your skirt. Never rush a meal that doesn't have to be rushed. Laugh and hug till it hurts. Practice spontaneity as much as you possibly can and leave room for some planning. Not the other way around. Even if it's really hard, live in the moment.

Copyright 2010 TheseThreeThings

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Just These Three More.

ONE Be mindful of your personal energy. I know it’s freaking nearly impossible to always think happy thoughts, but for real. This is way important. Don’t speak ill of people, don’t wish bad things for them.
Do the best you can every day and know that every other person is too.
Smile, make eye contact and have a solid handshake. I don’t care if you are a girl. Just trust me on this one. Keep your chin up and your hair out of your eyes.
If I didn’t care I wouldn’t say anything.
For real.
I am old. I would listen to me.
Dance and sing into your wooden mixing spoons, spatulas and wire whips. Dance like Fred Astaire. Cut loose in the kitchen (I’d recommend “I Want You Back” by the Jackson Five turned about as loud as you like it.) Do this often. Dance and sing as much as you can.
I think this kind of reckless abandon may be the source of life, but I haven't found any solid research to support this notion. I would do it anyways, just in case.

Be smart and meaningful.
For real.
Stay current on what’s happening around you. Know who we are at war with and where that is. Know all the capitals and states in America. Know as much about as many religions as you can possibly hold. We are mammals built on hope. 
Know who your people in Washington are. Buy local (art, food, beverages, music) and support that economy. Pay attention to how your politics impact the world you share with others. Just pay attention and be responsible.
Know how all the highways are laid out. Know Russian pianists and a good Geek. Never underestimate the power of a good Geek.
If you know nothing of sports, you should know and love someone who does. It's all about the hope.

Copyright 2010 TheseThreeThings

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Just These Three. Unless There's More.

I've had enough time thinking and too many hours listening, so I'm not going to make you listen to me tell you this stuff. If I have loved you, or were going to love you – I would want you to come armed with this.
I'm all about making the most of our time together.
I'm not going to waste it listening to me talk.
Know these three things today:
Perhaps this above all else: You are funny and brave and strong and smart. Your beauty shines from within and will always enter a room right before you. Your mother and father are like this too. This is an asset that you have gained simply by being born. Never think less. Have a back bone about it. Don’t sell yourself short or compromise your integrity.
Not everybody gets this Super-Power, guard it and use it wisely. Never take it for granted and be sure to notice it occasionally, as it gets better with age.
Everybody and every (little) thang has a job to do. The bats have to eat mosquitoes day after day, bears probably keep the wolf population in check (or some other equally important deal) and every person you meet is going to have survived some harsh and heinous stuff.
They’re doing the best they can, day after day. They never put their pants on in the morning and go, “y’know... I think I’ll crush some souls today.”
Life happens. We are evolved humans. We all have limitations and thumbs. It’s a crazy old world out here and those are the givens.
Cope. Don’t yell and scream and stomp your feet and get all litigious and indignant about the injustice of it all. Almost nobody who hurts you MEANT to hurt you. It’s just life. For real. Get all the way over it. We all have a job to do. Breathe. Relax. It really is all good.
If you’re doing your job right, there will come days when you are so heart-broke and sick and crippled by the weight of life you will wish you were done. You will lay down and look up at the heavens and beg the only God you ever believed in, to spare you....
Suck it up.
There will come days that pass into weeks where you are so blissed-out you will forget to eat. You will have crazy, uncontrollable cartoon tears of joy and you will laugh so hard it hurts for days. If you are doing your job right - there will be more bliss than sorrow.
More good rug burns, less broken noses.
It really IS all good. It balances out. 
Do what you’re here to do and do it with passion. If you pay attention, you’ll know what you’re here for long before you know that you’re old enough to even know it. 
Just trust your instincts. 
If you’re supposed to be something that you think you’re not – figure it out and turn it around. Life is too short.

Some family is choice and some is blood.
We will always be related.
COPYRIGHT APRIL 2010: TheseThreeThings


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I love raindrops on roses and whatnot, but even more than that I totally dig finding dollars in clothes I haven't worn in ages, live music, social networking and search engine optimization, research,, homemade beer, home grown stuff, writing, talking, laughing, green movements, debate, dialog, dumpster diving, time travel, time-out chairs, psychology, meals that last for hours, pranks, astral projection, meaningful lives, the kindness of strangers, trains, trucks and tractors, cowboys, horses, deer, eagles, random occurrences, modern tragedies, small appliances, good socks and sturdy shoes, shiny objects, painting, playing stringed instruments and singing harmony, pulling perfect feather pillows out of the freezer on hot and humid Kansas summer nights, rodeos and county fairs, brokers, organics and authenticity, my kids, their kids and my huge extended family. I am a hugger and I probably laugh AND talk way too much.