Devised Theater: A Venn Diagram

Devised Theater: A Venn Diagram
This diagram was created by the co-producing artistic directors of Rude Mechs to depict the complexity of creating and crediting collaboratively devised work for theatrical performance.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

This I Believe #4

Same as last week, please post your essay here before class on Tuesday. Please also remember to bring a printed copy of your essay to class and be prepared to read it aloud.


  1. I had a professor once who talked about the intimacy of q-tips, their subtle sexuality, how they’re “plunged into orifices”. And maybe it’s that association that makes Jeanne Quinn’s “Perfect Lover” so captivating.

    I made two acorn squash last year in ceramics. One was just okay and the other was very beautiful. The second was larger, heavier, difficult for me to pick up and hold in front of my face for very long while sitting down. I hollowed it out, carefully, but not too much. There were deep creases to separate each section, and I was afraid of making those sections too thin. My second, more realistic, more perfect squash exploded in the kiln.

    The intimacy of q-tips is comparable to that of the relationship I had with my squash. Messy, short lived, ending with trash.

    I’m afraid of q-tips. I don’t even know what they’re actually supposed to be used for. That scene in Girls where Lena Dunham ends up in the hospital because of a q-tip is burned into my mind. It could happen so easily, so quickly.

    I believe in taking arbitrary care of my ears. Of making myself believe that I’m doing what’s best for my body. Some days it’s near impossible to get out of bed. And I can’t remember the last time I went on a run. But I can probably guarantee I cleaned my ears out.

    Or maybe I clogged them up even more. I guess I can’t really say.

    1. I love how your reflection weaves together seeming disparate themes (they ARE in fact disparate) into a beautiful statement about ear hygiene. Love it!

  2. Step one, remember where you parked your car. After you figure that out, the rest should come easily. But often, it comes too easily. I love driving. I love the monotony of a long car ride where you can listen to your favorite playlist or catch up on all of the podcasts you’ve been meaning to listen to. Step two, unlock your car. Even short car rides can be soothing. It’s your own personal space and you are in charge of the radio. Step three, get in, turn on the car, and buckle up. I always feel so accomplished when I back out of a tough parking spot in a busy parking lot. Step four, put your car in reverse and back out of your spot. To be fair, my car has back-up sensors. So it’s fairly easy for me to back out and have no worries about running into anything that could be behind me. Step five, put the car in drive and get out of that parking lot.
    After a long day of doing things, the anticipation to arrive home and be free is overwhelming. The traffic can be stressful, but you know that you’re just a few minutes away from home. Step six, pull into your driveway, put your car in park, and unbuckle. The steps seem pretty easy to follow and almost everybody follows them almost everyday. But what happens if you miss a step...or do a step out of order?
    It was the last semester of my senior year of highschool and I had been driving for a little over a year by this point. I had been driving to school all semester, blindly following the steps it takes to get home in a car. For some reason, I forgot to buckle before I pulled out of the parking lot so I did it while driving 40 mph on the way to my house. Without thinking, I grabbed the gear shift and put my car in park...all the while I’m still moving along at 40mph. Somewhere along the way I got lost in the routine of driving and blindly let my mind lead me to what I thought came right after buckling--changing gears. My car made an awful noise and lurched violently but I quickly put it back in drive and everything was fine. I still follow the same basic steps and I still love driving--but with a little more attention. I believe that getting lost in the monotony of driving is important, but we should never get too lost.

    1. I didn't anticipate your ending! Love this reflection--your enjoyment of your routines in driving comes through powerfully.

  3. As I sit here, staring blankly at my computer screen, I have realized that I am not getting tired of thinking. It’s almost as if thinking required no energy—at least not in my mind—and I can sit here and think some more about something I believe in until I find out that I believe in thinking. I imagine, if I had to ever describe what my thoughts look like, that they are like a little road inside my head. Forks, turns, dead ends, and endless highways. My thoughts go this way and that; two minutes I can be organizing a to-do list in my brain and before I know it, I’m wondering about the origin of the sun.
    The other day I was sitting in my room, contemplating the possibilities of time travel, when I realized that it was 2:45 am and I had to go work on a project the next day at some time in the morning. I remember clearly where I started my “thinking journey.” It was about what my Myers-Briggs personality had. I took the test on that website—16personalities or whatever—and I got INFJ. I started reading and halfway through the endless information about the kind of person I am, I found myself dreaming about something else so I had to go back and re-read about half of the page. The part that I re-read told me about how I am a “very creative person; a creative thinker” and I’m like okay thanks, you probably said that about the other ten personalities. However, I do believe that I have tons of ideas; some are great and innovative, while others… Are not as helpful. I didn’t even finish all profiles for the INFJ personality when I moved onto reading about my zodiac sign, because I thought ‘how does one relate to the other and make the person I currently am?’ I read about some famous people who share the Gemini star sign—Johnny Depp, Nicole Kidman, Donald Trump, Cillian Murphy, etc.—and then started thinking that I should finish watching a TV show that I started recently. So I did; I opened a new tab on my computer and searched for the series. As I thought and thought while the page loaded, I ended up staring at a seam on the couch, stuck in deep thought, buried within the idea of time travel. “Dude, what if I could go to the future and meet myself? Or just go to the future and see if Trump wins or not… If he does then I can go back to the past and pack my things ‘cuz I’m out. Is it even physically possible to transport our molecules in time and space, though? What if some of our particles get lost or something… I’d have no arm.” And the thoughts get sillier and sillier. I’m impressed at how much I can remember, even though there’s a lot I cannot recall. I thought of where my phone was;
    what day did I have to go to work again?;
    there’s a new, darker black called vanta-black;
    I’m hungry;
    *song tune*;
    I’m tired;
    crap it’s 2:45.

    1. A masterfully orchestrated reflection on thinking...which nearly gets us lost in your rich & convoluted thoughts...well done, Annelisa!

  4. They always say there are two types of people in this world; beach people and mountain people. Growing up I always loved my family vacations to the beach. Even in college I have gone on a beach trip every year and always have a great time. However the more I think about it the more I realize I do not enjoy the itchy sand and physically being in the ocean freaks me out. While I do love the relaxing sound of the waves crashing and the warm sun beating down, I have come to realize my heart truly belongs in the mountains. I have always enjoyed the mountains since I did grow up going to summer camp on a mountain. However not until this past summer did I realize how much joy I receive from being in the mountains. I spent last summer in Dubois, Wyoming home of the Absaroka Mountain Range which is part of the Rocky Mountain chain, nearly an hour from Grand Teton National Park. When my plane was grazing over the Grand Tetons and I thought we may be crashing I instantly thought to myself, “Well if I die at least I’m dying in the mountains.” While luckily my plane did not crash, and I landed safely in the Jackson Hole airport, I stepped off the plane thinking how lucky I was. Taking a minute to actually appreciate my surroundings I felt as though I was in a dream. The Tetons and the crystal clear sky looked like a painting and I had to pinch myself to know it was real life. Later that day the dream continued as I saw where I was actually living for the summer. The views of the Absarokas and the surrounding area where I lived last summer were nothing short of the painting like image I viewed the first time I saw the Tetons. After two months riding horses daily throughout the mountains I found my favorite spot. This spot is one of the highest ridges on the property where I worked. At this very spot I had a 360 degree view for miles, absolute peace, and an escape from reality. This I believe in mountains, for me they are much more than a large formation of rock, sand, or clay.

  5. Once when I was five I tried to a do back flip off a diving board. It didn’t go so well for me since I split my chin wide open, broke six teeth, and to this day have a big scar. I had been making attempts at a flip for nearly an hour, taking turns with my friend but my attempts always ended up just being a pencil dive. I started to get frustrated with my failures and as any wise five year old would do, I decided that I should try doing it backwards. I didn’t clear the end of the diving board and came down with a jaw shattering, teeth crunching smack. My mom hit the water before I did. She knew before my face even hit the board that something was going to go badly wrong. After she pulled me out of the pool the lifeguard asked her how she’d gotten to me so fast and she said it was her “mom sense”. Eighteen stitches, six fillings, and a lot of tears later I was all fixed up but things could have gone differently if my mom hadn’t been so quick to come to my rescue. My mom always seemed to know which friends were fake and which were genuine, when I was telling her a story instead of the truth, and when I needed some alone time rather than for her to comfort me. Now that I’m an adult her “mom sense” works in different ways. She always calls me just as I was thinking of how much I wish she were here and she always know when to send more hot cocoa mix. Her “mom sense” has grown as I have and while sometimes it was annoying not to be able to get away with much as a kid I’ve always been thankful for this soul deep connection with my mom because I know not everyone experiences that type of bond. I believe in mom sense.

  6. I believe in Sundays. While it is a time for catching up on homework, laying about in underwear and sleeping until dinner time, it reminds me of a long-ago ritual in a small yellow house on an avenue called Virginia.
    My father would shuffle through the newspaper and fuss occasionally at me for trying to skip ahead through his material. Nothing ever truly interested me except for the comics. Comics like Opus, Pearls before Swine, and Dennis the Menace (which I found kind of lame, even back then) introduced me to different animation styles and would later influence my love of graphic novels.
    On Sundays, we would come from Christ United Methodist Church and my mother would make me a sandwich with chips on the side. I would settle into one of the more cozy chairs in the living room and watch TV with my father. My father, my brother and I all spending time together was a time that I relished. It was just before my father would go join my mother for a nap and my brother and I would be left to our own devices.
    Then around four or five o’clock, the four of us would pile into the black Expedition and we would drive thirty minutes to Oldham County, Kentucky to see my grandparents. They lived on a steep hill and I could have sworn that if you stood at the top of it and looked below, you could see at least three properties beyond. My papa and I would run up and down the hill before—sometimes after—dinner. I would gather fossils and trace the remnants of a life I had not known.
    To me, these Sundays are now fossilized in my memory. I may not recall them with great clarity, but the bits and pieces come together in my head. Whether or not, my grandparents still own this property or my parents are still together, I believe in Sundays.

    1. Such a lyrical reflection on family and Sundays...

  7. Early mornings. Long days. Late Nights. These ordnances of time all have something in common for us lowly college students: impossibility. How in the world are we supposed to get EVERYTHING completed on time, sleep, and be able to binge watch Netflix? Well… okay, maybe not the Netflix thing as much (or we just won’t mention it… that seems a bit more logical right now). Anyways, the one answer to the guiding question is CAFFEINE, which is found in coffees, cokes, energy drinks, and other miscellaneous products sold in stores.
    Personally, I am not a fan of drinking coffee. I actually love the smell, but believe that it tastes like a pile of dirt (which I only know after having been thrown from horses and making the saying “bite the dust” become literal). So, I revert towards other sources of caffeine in order to remain awake. Being a biochemist, I would rather talk about the structure of good-ole C8H10N4O2 . Unfortunately, I had an entire project regarding caffeine contents, of which I had to consume an ungodly amount of caffeine in order to finish the experimental write-up and analytical results.
    At this point, procrastination has definitely seemed to get the best of me (and my fellow classmates…. Let’s be honest here). What would college be without procrastination and caffeine? Well, for starters, it wouldn’t be college. Now, after four years of mastering the art of procrastination (and learning how it is NOT worth it….), senioritis steps in to take a chokehold. I have decided to call it the doctoral graduation majoring in procrastination. This level is the highest of the high, and requires the completion by a college student by their senior status in order to become eligible. The outcome is not only working better under time crunches and pressure, but also having caffeine become part of your blood (maybe not literally--- but we should check this on the chemistry hall! Sounds like another project to me!!!!)
    Anyways, while I actually have not really procrastinated this semester (shocking actually…), I have learned and graduated from the beautiful art form with the help of the amazing chemical compound commonly known as caffeine. I have learned how it works on a molecular level, and have learned to love it on an extrinsic and more macroscopic level. As a result, I believe (and LOVE) in caffeine.

    1. I do as well! (And I really like your fun reflection!)

  8. I haul myself onto her back, assuming she will—like a rock—grant me a moment of rest, a moment to stop without instantly sinking and sucking water into desperate lungs. With me sitting upon her back, she becomes a rock. She sinks. I sink with her.

    In the 1920s children with no access to water lay across the backs of other children lying face-down on concrete pads in the schoolyard. Where I hoped my mother would perform like a rock, the children at the bottom of these schoolyard stacks were taught to perform like water. They wiggled and twisted beneath classmates paddling with all their might to keep afloat in the imaginary pools.

    With no access to real-world problems and conversations, we teach students to practice on dry land.

    In 1915, with access to water but without much confidence, fathers taught children to swim by dangling them from short ropes fixed to sturdy poles. Walking back and forth at the edge of a dock, fathers towed their children through the water as we drag chum when fishing for sharks.

    With access to real-world problems and conversations, we tether students to ourselves and drag them like chum until they prove to be swift swimmers.

    Studying the art of swimming with Frank Eugen Dalton, the 1913 author of Swimming Scientifically Taught, students would practice—in real water—complicated strokes like the Catherine Wheel and the Pendulum before mastering the Monte Cristo Sack Trick. The Monte Cristo involved tying the student swimmer into a canvas sack with 5 bricks and throwing the sack, student and all, into an 8-foot-deep pool. Skilled swimmers would survive.

    I believe that tied into a sack and tossed into the deep water of reality, students too would survive.


    Because you may need to see the photos click here. I do not make this stuff up.

  9. I believe in body language and eye contact. When I first came to America, I could barely speak English. I figured out that body language and eye contact will help me to understand others and help others understand me better. When I first start learning English sophomore year in high school, my English teacher always used a lot of body language. For example when he explains what is an “explosion”, he will make the sound and use his arms to act that there is an explosion, and look at me in the eyes to make sure I understand it.
    I always look at others’ eyes to make sure if that person understands me or not. Making eye contact is a big part of the communication. If the person’s eyes are full of confusion, I will know that that individual does not know what I am talking about at all.
    I realize that most of time when I am talking, I always have some hand gestures to explain what I am talking about. Especially when I am giving a presentation to others or learning another language like Spanish, I use a lot of body language. The more I want to explain something, the more body language I will use when I am talking. Sometimes, people have no idea what I just said, but with using my body language, somehow others will comprehend it better.
    When my English gets better, I will still use a lot of body language and eye contact because I believe body language and eye contact are keys of communication.

  10. I believe it is not that difficult to tip a server the appropriate amount of money for their services. This is a very simple action that does not require a tremendous amount of thought or consideration. As a server, I see people constantly leave less than the suggested amount of 15-20 percent of the cost of their meal, and I just don’t understand it.
    I work at a rather small restaurant, and in this establishment, my jobs are 1)to seat customers at a table, 2) bring them their drinks, 3)take their orders, 4)bring them their appetizers 5) bring them their food, 6)provide them with their bill(s), 7)swipe their credit cards/ bring them change, and 8) clean off their tables. This is not a difficult job. I do not have to work incredibly hard to perform these tasks, but it is still my job and I do it to make money. Some people do not respect the work done by servers, and they prove their position on this matter by being bad customers, and also coming up short with the tip. For example, one day during lunch, two men entered the restaurant. I greeted them and offered them a table. They ignored my request to sit at this table, and chose a different one. I ignored their rudeness and took their order. The two of them ordered around 60 dollars’ worth of food. “Ok” I thought “at least I can expect a decent tip out of them”. So they ate, and I filled up their drinks, and did my job to the best of my ability, until they left the restaurant. Approaching their table, I realized they left me a 2 dollar tip, when the minimum tip should have been 9. I am sure that these customers will be back, and I will probably have to serve them. This is a tough pill to swallow when you make your money solely from tips. I make a very small hourly wage that is just enough to cover tax expenses, so essentially tips are the singular source of income. This is how it works in the restaurant business.
    So no matter what restaurant you go to, or when you order in, if you have a server or delivery person, give them the tip they need. I am not a rich person, but when I go out to eat, I tip at least 20 percent, because I respect people in the line of work and I know how it is to be treated like a joke. It is not a good feeling to get shorted or stiffed, and nobody should be subjected to that.

  11. I believe food is like a glue.

    Foods glue memories down. Not concrete memories; the ones of watermelon and strawberry lemonade and sun that you might have made up but probably didn’t. The way flavored pretzels somehow taste like the beach to me and I feel like I remember them on our tongues, when we snuck out and fleetingly skinny dipped in the ocean. Whenever someone tells me to go to a “happy place” I think of dropping currents in a bucket with Cam, eating a few as we go, birds singing all around us.

    Food makes you trust people. Strangers at a potluck aren’t strangers: they made the mashed potatoes or the salad or the mac n’ cheese. You feel like you know them, because they chose to come and they cook and they eat just like you. And now you’re sitting at a table with them for as long as it takes to eat; it won’t be in silence. You can see the effect of food in the caf the first weeks of school, people bonding over how bad the food is even if we all know it’s infinitely better than what we were fed in high school.

    Food glues me to people I feel like I’ll never lose because really, it’s a lot easier to lose people than it is to keep them. All the “floor picnics” and the “pomegranate parties” and the punched in card for High on Art and Coffee keep these people in my life before I start to notice we’re drifting. Maybe it’s the multitasking that makes it so easy to fit in. Everyone has to eat, right? What better way to glue ourselves to one another?

    1. Love the idea of food as glue (even if, at first, it's not very appetizing :))!

  12. I believe that it’s difficult to know what will help someone.

    A disheveled, distressed-looking woman walked into the place where I work at 8:45am. We hadn’t officially opened yet, but I like to keep the doors open as long as I’m there. I asked if there was anything I could help her with, and listened quietly as she began to tell me of her troubles. She expressed utter helplessness at being turned down at every corner. She had been thoroughly demeaned and abused by those she sought help from and didn’t know what she was going to do.

    She reminded me of my mom.

    “You look like a normal person” she said. “Please help me...”

    Retrospectively, her stories might not have gone together exactly right.

    I didn’t have cash, so I locked the doors to my workplace and walked with her to an ATM. She stepped away to give me some privacy, but came back when I asked how much she needed. I hadn’t felt uncomfortable at all until this point, when she told me she needed $70, but $100 would be better. It was, after all, a long way to Indiana. She hadn’t mentioned that earlier.

    I tried to accept that I was probably being lied to, but my heart fell. I said okay. I can do $70. She said okay. I tried to think if there was anything I could do to get out of the situation. But I had paused too long. She came over and started pressing the buttons on the ATM for me. I hit rock-bottom.

    I thought I probably shouldn’t hand her all of it when it came out. But I did anyway.

    She said her name was Kristen too. “God sent you to me” she said. She hugged me. “I’ll bring you $40 at lunch time.” I said okay.

    I wanted to cry afterward. I wanted to tell someone, but I didn’t want to be admonished for “not knowing better.” I didn’t want to be told that someone who’s in debt has no business giving away their money. I didn’t want to hear that I was stupid for feeling bad for her. I didn’t want to hear that she had lied to me, and I had believed her.

    I waited for her to come back.

  13. I believe in the ability to change my mind whenever I want. I used to forget that this was an option. I would make up reasons why these things were happening to me, and why I couldn’t change them. I’d force myself into class loads that I couldn’t handle. I took on jobs just because if I said no, I would feel too guilty for not helping people when I had the chance. Over a year ago now, I said I would be with someone for a long time because I thought I could help them. I thought I could make them better. I could make them normal.

    I knew I could never talk about the bruises or the fear that I would have when we were alone. It was easier to not change my mind, to just let things happen as they were happening. It was easier to just be quiet and tell stories about how everything was ok, and how great I felt and how safe I felt and how happy I was. It was easy to act it out when I was told how I should feel and what I should say.

    I was talking to Kristen Frost in the cafeteria when I realized I could say no. And I could change my mind. I could actually make decisions for myself and I knew I had the right to feel safe. I didn’t need anyone's approval, and I didn’t care if anyone believed me. I didn’t need to tell anyone the bad stuff, I just needed to end it for myself. I believe in changing my mind.

    1. *sound of chorus of snaps*

    2. I love you, Teddy.

    3. So glad Kristen is in your life (in mine too)

  14. I believe that second chances and forgiveness are synonymous with love. I very strongly believe that true love is freedom, and one cannot have freedom without anticipating forgiveness. There are moments in our lives where it is incredibly hard to quantify emotion or thought—moments that demand numerous revisiting to sufficiently grasp whatever insight was entrenched in that memory. For me, that’s sort of what love is like.
    It’s generally a paradoxical, fluid, and iridescent type thing. Yet, I have noticed that genuine love is always present with freedom—and that’s a really scary idea to accept because it entails being vulnerable. I knew from a young age that love was simply accepting certain things as they were, not as I wanted, nor as I expected them to be. I would chant my mantra of, “it is what it is,” whenever I encountered one of these moments of love. I realised that these emotions were tandem couples (vulnerability, freedom, love) when I would think about at my relationship with my mother.
    She was a single mom who worked ALL THE TIME, so that she could provide for me. I was usually pretty bummed about being left alone, and that caused me to naturally grow up somewhat detached from her. As I got older, I found that my mom had always shown me love, just in ways that I didn’t recognize. I believe that her love would unpack new dimensions to love that would later teach me how to care for others, summon my patience, greet acceptance, and most importantly, she taught me how to look for love when it’s offered in a mysterious way. I believe that those lessons have made me the person I am today, and they have permanently changed the way I view the world.

  15. On the morning of our departure, my mother drinks a single, small cup of coffee. At first, I am surprised. My mother has been an inveterate coffee lover for years, consuming at least 3 cups at a time. Then I remember a habit she’s held onto from Communist times: she stops drinking liquids 5 hours before any trip longer than 40 minutes for fear she may have to go to the bathroom. My mother’s fear is sustained by a country with few public restrooms.

    I remember the time I returned home to find out Dunkin Donuts had made it to Bulgaria. During another trip, I discovered free bathroom privileges for anyone already patronizing a bar that offered a bathroom. Breath-taking developments.

    On my trip, many years later, we stumble upon an old-style public toilet: a hole in the ground above which one squats. My son easily navigates this unfamiliar setting. I explain to him and my daughter where to place their feet (on the two rusted “imprints” of feet on each side of the hole), which way to face (towards the door, not the wall), that there is nothing to flush, and no soap for hand-washing either. My mother delights in this mid-journey peeing option.

    In an effort to not pee on her clothes while squatting over a small hole, my daughter takes off her shorts and underwear. She arranges both on the floor next to her; she is oblivious to the layer of moist dirt covering every inch of this squatting establishment. While I scold her for a decision that could have made sense in America, I recall MacDonald’s ever-available bathrooms. I offer private thanks for the people who clean them.

    After we each visit the hole, we resume our journey. On this day, I believe in MacDonald’s: serving fast food and clean bathrooms.

  16. I believe in the number 17. This is not just a random number, but one that holds significance to my family as it is quite reoccurring. The reason being is that my mom, my older sister, my little niece, and me are all 17 years apart. Weird right? My mom and dad got married when they were 17 and had my older sister. That must’ve freaked them out because they did not have me until 17 years later, when my older sister was in high school. Once my older sister had graduated college, she wanted to start a family but biologically could not. She and her husband ended up adopting 4 children from all over the world. However, when I was 17 my sister found out she was pregnant. It really is strange to think that my mom had my sister at a young age, then technically my sister could’ve been my mom, and I could’ve been Ellie, my niece’s mom. We all have a special bond from this number. We all resemble each other; some people even get my mom and sister confused. We all have each other’s mannerisms as well. 17 is more than just years. It represents when we entered each others lives. It was a blessing that my mom and dad had my sister so young, and are still happily married to this day. It was a blessing that me and my little sister were born after years of my parents debating on whether to have more children (she doesn’t fit the 17 year club). It was a blessing that my niece was born after my sister had tried for years to biologically have a child. I love my not so typical family, and wouldn’t trade them for the world. Now I’m wondering, who’s next?

    1. What an incredible story, Elizabeth!

  17. Summertime. Sophomore year of high school. I was the youngest on a Toby Tour bus on the winding roads of Tennessee where I was reading "Great Expectations." Standard Dickens affair; the book was about as dry as Death Valley. I had to make this book somewhat interesting otherwise "Great Expectations" would just be a sleeping aid in my life. Turns out all of my answers where in a gas station when I found a travel size pouch of Lipton bagged tea. I figure I should emulate the Brits and drink teas as if I were in Dickens' world [Side note: Sometimes it is better to not emulate the stories you read, such as trying to catch an STD if you are reading about STDs. I feel obliged to mention this ever since a certain snarky individual teased me about it.]

    I didn't realize it then but that became the origin of my love for beverages. I eventually graduated from Lipton to loose leaf tea where I would spend my mornings in class boiling water while Mrs. Taylor went through roll call. I don't know how the hell I was able to get through with that; I guess people thought I was just being 'Devin", take that as you will.

    In my later years I have learned how to brew some Chemex and as of 1/28/2016 I have been able to [unrestrictedly] learn about beer and cocktail making techniques. I don't believe one beverage is better than another; each one has a niche. You have Waffle House coffee for late nights, American Adjunct Lagers during BBQ's, Bell’s Hopslam for that special occasion since it comes once a year [having one right now!]. Honestly, as cliche as it is, I think the people you share any beverage with is the most important factor. You can make a fine cup of coffee for yourself but that same cup of coffee can become a "damn fine" cup of coffee if you brew it for the sake of hospitality and company. Although I have recently shunned the leaf and bean for hops and malt, I still do believe all 3 are important to me for they comfort they create and the company that comes along with them.

  18. (I thought this was posted yesterday, but it did not, here it is)

    I believe that my family has a history of cardiac issues. Actually, I know this my fathers father, yet I don’t feel any connection to him died two years before I was born, he was 58. He had a series of heart failures, three heart surgeries as well, he was a smoker, no one talks about it but possibly an alcoholic from what I can garner. I know he was a hard man, but extremely warm, he loved his family endlessly like my father does today. Today just a few minutes ago I saw a picture of my great-uncle, I’ve never seen a picture of him before, a giant young man, he looks like grizzled version of my grandmother during her younger years. He died before I was born, cardiac arrest. My mother’s side is clean of heart issues, at least relatively so, cancer seems to be the main cause of death, or just relative old age. The fear of a heart attack, not for myself, but my father persists in my mind, he will be 56 this year, he still works long weeks hauling plywood, building room additions and various other carpentry work, he’s supposed to have a crew now, he’s not supposed to be on roofs or crawling under houses, that should my job or someone else. But he does it all the same, he has his trade he’s too old to go back, he loves how healthy he is, but he can’t move his hand anymore, he grips a hammer and that is the extent. After millions of nails I can’t imagine what my hand would be like. His hands are coarse from wood and callused from wear. But I can only think about his heart. I believe that he is extremely healthy because that’s what I want, but also he’s really healthy there aren’t a lot of nights together that we don’t walk and talk. He always comes out to play basketball with us; I don’t have any other friends who fathers come to out for ball games. But it’s a fear, it’s illogical, but I have immense love for my father, I’ll constantly fear the worst but I’ll always look for the best.

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