Free to a Good Home: Toby (Atlanta, GA area)

  

Each one of you is on my list of dear and loving humans who has a network of other like-minded brilliant souls. Please take a moment to share so we can find this guy what he deserves: A Loving Home! 
Toby is a 6 year old Chow mix with the temperament of a Golden Retriever. He’s at the perfect age of loving a light walk or two and then relaxing at home with his owner. He loves all humans and especially adores cuddles from little kiddies. He’s in great shape medically and can’t wait to be the star of your home! Please contact valeriakravchouk@gmail.com for more information.
 

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From Jimmy Page

  

I used to be a writer 

I used to have a lighter

All I know is both made fire 

Have you met a genuine liar? 

Corner seats at the table 

Excellent view, different angles

I played banjo, I played bass

Can’t remember the time or place 

Raised ceilings, best for sound 

Sticks in hand, you lost and found

In a house, deep in the woods 

8 track recalls, not that we could 

Photo black and white, never grey

Like your hair, if you had stayed 

The levee breaks, all that I know 

At night I hear, your steps so slow

Brother above, we’re here below

Food Fashion

 Everybody knows their place on any given trivia team. My place is WildCard. Any response provided by this player will be to a question requiring memory of commercial aired between 2-3 AM for one week in April 1997 advertising a product that has since  been discontinued. Probably. 
 

Behold a Lady

I write because I absolutely have to. I’m not sharpening my skills, because the foundation isn’t really there. I write because the tumbleweeds rolling upstairs need a medium. It lacks fluidity and the beautiful thing where people can start the story way over here and take you full circle on a lexicon rollercoaster all the way there, the last sentence like a bow on a beautiful present. That’s a nice package. What I gots for you is nonsense.

Tonight I sat on my porch for a little while. It’s best at this time of year because the trees are almost bare and the crisp wind sharpens the view of the Atlanta skyline. It’s a glimpse in time of a luxurious sweet nothing and it reminds me of someone.  It is someone I used to love, but it isn’t your typical first heartbreak tale. This one doesn’t involve a boy. It wasn’t a first crush. It was my best friend, and the only soul in the world I laid all my cards on the table for. She knew everything about me, encouraged me to be better and wiser and taught me to appreciate the simple moments. She was the kind of person who made a cup of tea together the most priceless thing you may experience this year. 

I met her in 9th grade. She was soft-spoken, a lover of Punk Rock and an avid activist for human rights in all avenues. When she talked, people listened. She had love for all humanity, and a voice of reason for human responsibility. She was my partner in crime and she was a second mother.

She was the first experience in being together and forgetting all the world around us. We had our own language and too many inside jokes to count. She taught me jazz, blues, punk rock, Elvis Castello, and The Clash. She amazed me with her art, humility being an underlying trait of such an angel on Earth. Her heritage and her soul made her a person wise beyond her years. What she had, no one could replicate because it was the wealth of her being. I’ve never met anyone as loving and simultaneously decisive apart from my mother. She was a perfectionist, and just to be in her presence was to know that she, and the world, expected more of you. I wanted to be, and became,  a better person just to remain in the top ranks of her friendship.

When I think of being better, of creating a sustainable lifestyle and pursuing happiness, I think of her. She made a simple red t-shirt a work of art because she wore it on her golden shoulders and unknowingly paired it with her stunning cheekbones and her timeless smile. Sharing a doughnut with her, or listening to a new record she picked up at a yardsale, was a moment when time stood still. She demanded respect and love and humanity, simply with her presence. In the words of my favorite poet, Mr. Andre 3000:

 

Sad, but one day our kids will have to visit museums
To see what a lady looks like
So if you find one, I beg you, hold her tight
If you spot one, good sir, treat her right

It’s only a heartbreak because she moved away, and we grew apart. But if I know one thing, I know we’ll be in the same boat, drifting down a slow river with lukewarm waters, sometime once more. I can’t wait to hear her lullaby voice. She will forever remain the one and only, Princess of the Dope and Dirty South.  

Bill Clinton: Part 1 

Working in finance, I use my fingers to keep count more often than my bosses would probably feel comfortable knowing. I use my fingers now to count the first of ten reasons Bill Clinton is on my personal list of admirable individuals. 

I primarily admire his endless fascination with knowledge when it comes to life and all life has to offer. More importantly his emphasis on knowing and understanding people. Individuals who make up our society, the chorus of various lives lived according to countless tangents and tiers of standards. In his book he mentions the mystical power of New Orleans and the endless love he has for this city. I had the opportunity to visit said paradise almost a year ago and I can say with certainty that I will be back as often as I am able for the rest of my life. The people of New Orleans paint the already breathtaking architecture and historical aura with more beauty than I’ve seen in my list of cities visited. Seeing as it was my first time there, I behaved as I would visiting any other city new to me. I paid my respects by way of greeting everyone I encountered, and each one was a lovely exchange. The first encounter was a with a mailman who took a few minutes away from his route to tell me about his favorite places in New Orleans…

I had an amazing time there and hope to return at least annually. Thanks Billy for rekindling my fire and desire for humanity.  

 

A Love Letter 

Throw away the phone,

And climb over the moon.

Falling leaves changing seasons,

It all happens so soon. 

To move and to shake, 

Is a most pleasant thing. 

Endless gifts from this world, 

Can you hear the birds sing? 

Come closer my darling, 

Sit on down, stay a while. 

It’s a most luxurious sight, 

Just to see your wild smile. 

Clocks, Chex, Hip Hop

  
I’ve never been one to become attached to inanimate objects. I’ve lost all jewelry my loved ones have given me. I unintentionally destroyed my birth certificate. Close to 20 broken, lost or damaged phones have been sacrificed over my lifetime. And for those that know me very well, my car needs tender love and care, to put it lightly. 

This clock has been near and dear to me for 16 years. It’s even been my sister’s and has come back around to me.  I can’t imagine it cost more than $10 at Target and the alarm now goes off an hour and change later than the desired set time (which is ironically in line with my rather relaxed views on time.) 

I will always remember my first night in America. Freshest in my mind is my surprise at the first sense of Atlanta humidity walking out of the airport. Literally and metaphorically, my body and soul began its gradual thaw, slowly melting away memories of bitter Russian winters and trying times. To this day, I treasure coming back from a summer trip and walking out of the airport to bask for a moment in that intoxicating, steamy Georgia air. 

On the ride home, I recall thinking my new city was really a forest because I’d never seen so many trees in a major metropolitan area. Were we going to our new house on a farm? (We were going to Brookhaven, but compared to our Russian high rise apartment in the heart of the city, it may as well have been a forest.) 

Upon arrival at the new digs, a beautiful white modern block house designed by a friend of my mother’s, I opened the bright red front door and naturally gravitated toward the kitchen first. My first meal was plain rice Chex with 2% milk and sliced bananas. It’s hard not to smile recalling that milk in a carton was a compelling concept at the time, Russian milk was sold in bags or bottles. You have to understand that any and everything I knew about America came from repeatedly watching Home Alone 1 and 2: milk in cartons, everyone lived in a big house, and you could use credit card imaginary money instead of fiat fun coupons to buy things like pizza. 

After exchanging a few words in broken English and Russian with my family, I ran upstairs to check out my new fun zone. I opened the first door on the right to find a beautiful light blue room with a bed covered in a flowery comforter, a blonde wood desk with three drawers, a matching chair and the clock in the photo above. 

I immediately started fiddling with the nobs to set the alarm. It seemed pointless because I couldn’t catch my breath, let alone sleep, knowing the next day would mark the next chapter of my life.

False, I fell asleep right away and woke up at 6 AM the next morning with the help of little blue. I ran downstairs, calculating that it would be hours before my parents woke up. After taking a casual stroll down the driveway to the mailbox for the newspaper, I turned on the TV and flipped the channels until I found something interesting. I landed on MTV as Eminem’s video, “The Way I Am” had just started. This was the beautiful beginning to my gorgeous journey through life in the beautiful, filthy, nasty, dirty south Princess: Atlanta. I’ve loved           hip hop/rap and despised boy bands/ John Mayer types ever since. 

A Lonely Soul (Fiction)

“He was going to make a lot of money.” 
                                 . . . 
I glanced at the girl sipping her coffee by the window. The girl was beautiful in the most natural sense. She was wearing a little blush on her modest cheekbones without a touch of any other makeup. A strand of her sandy blonde hair grazed her barely there eyelashes, she tucked it behind her ear to reveal bright blue eyes. She was lovely and curious, each movement and gesture pure in its innate grace. 

She looked at me and I felt my shy face become flush. I smiled and left her gaze looking down at my life’s necessities on the table in front of me: cigarettes, a pink lighter and a wallet with too many nooks and crannies for my minimalist nature. In the backpocket with a zipper, my keys hid among the pennies I was never sure what to do with. They fell out every once in a while and I liked to pretend they were leaving me for a better life. All the little Lincolns rolling away to start fresh and travel the world. 

For a long time I attempted to train my mind to think constructively. To refrain from needless self-analysis and spend more time pondering the details of life occurring around me. I failed most times, reverting from observing said details apart from my life and instead interpreting their fit in the grand scheme of my being. 

And so it goes, I couldn’t resist comparing myself to the beautiful stranger at the window table. She was everything I imagined to be perfect and everything I wanted to be as a woman. My blonde hair was a dark sunny shade, repeatedly treated with platinum strands. My face was always a sleepy work of art created in front of the mirror in my bedroom. The bronzer was too dark. The eyes lined to resemble Cleopatra and appease my mother’s constant reminders that heavy eye makeup was my best solution to an otherwise washed out face. My lips were stained with a light trace of raspberry lipstick sans lip liner. Following my mother’s advice that lip liner and other shades of lipstick  gave my mouth a strange shape.  

But the physical attributes weren’t the reason I felt a desire to be the blue eyed beauty. I craved the grace and self-assurance illuminating the air around her. She seemed at ease, approaching all life’s matters with a certainty one can only have when one is clear with respect to their desires and their nature. She seemed to me the epitome of the Ancient Greek aphorism “Know Thyself.” 

I was desperately searching for the same luxury. Simultaneously plagued by a nagging sense of instability and stagnation, I remained in search of the indefinite. . .