Wednesday, February 25, 2009


This will be hard to believe, but.... I have a friend. His name is Jaime, but I (for the past 15 years) call him Mowgli. (Yaknow - the dude from Jungle Book?) We worked as a team on a few really cool projects. A mall renovation, the first "green" building in southeastern Pennsylvania & a few others. He's a terrific Project Manager. I'm a year or two older & several inches taller, but he has more gray hair (probably from working with a risk-taking stubborn mule like me so often). Sometimes I call him Desi 'cause of his slight accent (assent) & his tendency to screw up American slang with things like "you're trying to pull the sheep over my eyes". My kids are grown. He has one adult daughter that now teaches disadvantaged kids in Philly (she graduated from the University of Miami with lots of honors) & three littluns at home. He moved to South Carolina a few years ago & transferred to North Carolina last spring. So what's the big deal?

We both started (late bloomers) doing something creative in our semi-old age. I began writing a coupla years ago, just before he took on painting. The wave picture is the third painting that he's shown me & frankly, I'm impressed. I'd better get another book done just to keep pace, but his story is still better....

Here's the cool part. Jaime was raised in Peru, which is why I figure he wore banana leaves as a kid & therefore named him Mowgli as a vertically challenged adult. His family was ridiculously wealthy, owned a huge 'estancia' & employed several locals. A military government took control of the country when he was a teenager & confiscated everything. Jaime & his parents had to flee the country with virtually nothing. They ended up in New York living with relatives, where his dad died of a heart attack (at a very young age). Now Mowgli, I mean Jaime, didn't speak any English, just Spanish & German. He taught himself the language (except for proper slang & expressions apparently) by watching the news on TV. After finishing high school he worked his way through college..... & the rest is too long to write about here.

So he emailed me yesterday (& recounted some of his real life story) & I'm gonna paste most of it below, picking up with his reply to my question "how long's this artsy stuff's been goin' on Mogli?". You will note HIS reference to banana leaves.

Since before last year Holidays I decided to try painting to see what I could do. I am truly just an amateur having fun...I am honored that some people seem to like what I do.

All I know is that it is a lot harder "to move forward if you have one eye looking back..."(kinda funny mental picture, eh?) I also, know that your health and spirit are the most important things on this family once had a very "high standard of living" and it got taken away by the military government,so we had to start over with just a "banana leaf for cover" and learn a new language and a new culture here in the US. If I can do it anyone grandpa used to say "adelante y rabo tieso" literal translation: "forward with a stiff butt"(i.e. more appropriate "grin and bear it").

Life is Good, my brother.


The guy just has a great outlook on life. By the way, after transferring to NC .... his projects were all put on hold - so he's been job hunting since November. Hopefully things will turn around soon & maybe we can team up again.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Blob of A Blog?

Part of the original movie 'The Blob' starring newbie actor Steve McQueen was filmed in my old hometown of Downingtown (affectionately called D'Town) Pennsylvania. The diner, where the climactic scene was shot, is still there with the sign out front that proclaims "Home Of The Blob". Doesn't make the food sound particularly appetizing to someone unfamiliar with the history of the joint. "Hey - gimme a 'blob' of mashed potatoes willya...." Steve McQueen turned in a pathetic first time performance, but he improved &, eventually, became an icon. Proof, I suppose, that there's hope out there for everyone with the determination & guts to pursue their dreams.

I've been trying to figure out the purpose of blobbing... I mean blogging. There are some blogs that are very instructional. Others provoke debate, sometimes even nasty arguments. Some are just plain entertaining.

So.... I've been thinkin', maybe too much, about the whole thing. Is it worth it to maintain a blog, Facebook, MySpace, etc.? I know I've sold some books through JaxPop & FaceBook & I've made some cool friends, but....maybe I'm just polluting cyberspace with this drivel.

There's nothing instructional on my blog. I'm not qualified as a writing 'coach' or book promotion wizard. I don't get into politics (though I have strong opinions). There's nothing particularly interesting about me as an individual - I'm just an average Joe, I mean, average JaxPop. My posts aren't enlightening, inspiring, entertaining or provacotive.

What direction should I take? Pull the plug & put my energy into something new? Tie it in more with the book & the characters? Keep doing what I've been doing?

Anyone have any ideas or suggestions.... heck..... even questions? Hey y'all - I'm all ears (even though I still can't hear out of 'em.)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Outdoor Antibiotics

Okay - so it hasn't been a well kept secret that I've been battling some kind of flu & respiratory thing for several weeks. Now Deb has it. We're a great combination these days - She can't talk & I can't hear. I was joking with my ghost-hunter friend Mary from Indianapolis (on Facebook), that Deb starts every sentence now with "HUH?" - just to get it outta the way. So what's the worst part of a month-long misery? Take out of the equation the fact that I am the world's worst patient. Baby I can whine like a toddler. Forget the writing. No way to concentrate. I've tried & just get crankier. Homelife? We take turns - whoever feels better at a given time does what needs to be done. We haven't accomplished anything beyond routine chores or shopping. No appetites.

I think our biggest frustration is just feeling house-bound. I've been going to work, which may be one reason for this condition to be prolonged, so I get a break in some sense. The problem is, we both enjoy the outdoors - any activity outdoors. The beach, downtown St Augustine, the water, the parks, the lighthouse - that's what we do. Deb takes pictures & I get ideas. Her pictures are always better than my ideas.

So, a couple of weeks ago, when I was only slightly miserable, we went to Blue Springs to check out some water logged BEASTIES. It was a good morning. Hope we have some more of these soon before I go loony.

Here's a 'herd' of manatees. There were almost 200 when we were there. They were trying to stay in the warm spring water (72 degrees). Below 60 - for any prolonged amount of time & they die.

Coming up for a breath of fresh air. I forget how to breathe through my nose.

Wonder why these things were also called mermaids???

A hawk blending in with the surroundings

My favorite pic - A great Blue Heron (we have paintings of these birds)

Okay - that's enough. I'm feelin' cranky again.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Rugrat Wisdom

Our oldest son Michael sent us a video of our granddaughter Isabel "reading" - She's 3 & doesn't actually read. She knows the story well enough that she goes page by page pretending to read the words. The jist of the story was - someone was getting married & she wanted to be the flower girl. Too bad I can't include the video. Bossy lil' thing that she is - Belly announced, as she finished, that "you can clap now" followed 5 seconds later by "Okay - that's enough". End of video.

Here's a bit of rugrat 'wisdom' - Someone sent this to me. I didn't write or collect any of it.

My young grandson called the other day to wish me Happy Birthday.......he asked me how old I was, and I told him, '52.' He was quiet for a moment, and then asked, 'Did you start at 1?'

After putting her grandchildren to bed, a grandmother changed into old slacks and a droopy blouse and proceeded to wash her hair. As she heard the children getting more and more rambunctious, her patience grew thin. Finally, she threw a towel around her head and stormed into their room, putting them back to bed with stern warnings. As she left the room, she heard the three-year-old say with a trembling voice, 'Who was THAT?'

A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter what her own childhood was like: 'We used to skate outside on a pond; I had a swing made from a tire that hung from a tree in our front yard; we rode our pony; we picked wild raspberries in the woods.' The little girl was wide-eyed, taking this all in. At last she said, 'I sure wish I'd gotten to know you sooner!'

A little girl was diligently pounding away on her grandfather's computer. She told him she was writing a story. 'What's it about?' he asked. 'I don't know,' she replied. 'I can't read.

I didn't know if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I decided to test her. I would point out something and ask what color it was. She would tell me and was always correct. It was fun for me, so I continued. At last she headed for the door, saying, 'Grandma, I think you should try to figure out some of these yourself!'

When my grandson and I entered our vacation cabin, we kept the lights off until we were inside to keep from attracting pesky insects. Still, a few fireflies followed us in. Noticing them before I did, he whispered, 'It's no use Grandpa. Now the mosquitoes are coming after us with flashlights.'

When my grandson asked me how old I was, I teasingly replied, 'I'm not sure.' 'Look in your underwear, Grandpa,' he advised. 'Mine says I'm four to six.'

Children's Logic: 'Give me a sentence about a public servant,' said a teacher. The small boy wrote: 'The fireman came down the ladder pregnant. 'The teacher took the lad aside to correct him. 'Don't you know what pregnant means?' she asked. 'Sure,' said the young boy confidently. 'It means carrying a child.'

A nursery school teacher was delivering a station wagon full of kids home one day when a fire truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front seat of the truck was a Dalmatian dog. The children started discussing the dog's duties.' 'They use him to keep crowds back,' said one child. 'No,' said another. 'He's just for good luck.' A third child brought the argument to a close. 'They use the dogs,' she said firmly, 'to find the fire hydrants'.