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Pen & Ink Drawing by Justyn Tyler Jaymes.
  Other artwork available in the
Image Gallery. 

Please use the Contact Me section of this site if you would like to comment on any of my thoughts below.  Thank you.


I was driving along East Market Street the other day and was surprised by a beautiful new building - the University Park YMCA.  This location opened in 2011 and what a gem to add to the downtown area.  Doug Kohl, President/CEO at Akron Area YMCA, was kind enough to give me a tour, and the inside staff and facilities are as impressive as the outside architecture.  If you work downtown or live in the area, check out this new "Y."


Speaking of new facilities (see paragraph above), January/February has me helping out at Kent State University in a stage makeup class.  I attended Kent's theatre program back in the mid-nineties.   The new Roe Green Center for the School of Theatre and Dance is very impressive.  The faculty has always been talented and nurturing, and now the facilities match their abilities, creating a wonderful environment for students.  If you know of anyone considering studying theatre, s/he needs to schedule a campus visit to KSU.


This seasons arrive and often beckon us outside.  Should you find yourself in a mood some weekday to take a walk, go to Front Street in Cuyahoga Falls and enjoy the Falls' riverfront walk.  However, do not miss dropping in on a hidden gem on Front Street - the Cuyahoga Valley Art Center.  It has an Artitst's Cafe Gallery where you can sit and chat and enjoy the displayed artwork.  You can also see the regular gallery which changes throughout the year.  And, if you feel like you want to bring out the artist inside you, thay offer a variety of classes.


I bought this house about ten years ago and closed a month earlier than expected. From the beginning, it has looked like the Green Acres TV show in which the decorator has arrived before the remodeling was done. I keep waiting for Alf and Ralph to step out of a closet and surprise me. To begin with, the former owner had wallpapered everything, including ceilings. If you did not move fast, you got wallpapered. I am surprised that I have not peeled off a piece of wallpaper and found her cat. (Although they like to sleep, my applause to cats for knowing when to get out of Dodge.) The past year was spent focusing on a remodel of the "backroom." It is almost complete, and I will be posting pics in the Image Gallery soon.  (see Image Gallery )  At this time, I am putting a new medicine cabinet and light in the on-suite bath. I discovered last night that there was no electrical box behind the old cabinet/light - just a wire coming out of the wall. I guess the building inspector did not know what was behind mirror number one - or, no inspection was ever done. Please note: If you are buying a home, have an inspection done. Over the years, I have seen much worse such as newspaper used as insulation, duct tape for every thing, and plumbing with no shut off valves.


This morning the garbage trucks highly offended my personal Director of Homeland Security and 10 pounds of attitude - Charmin, my cockapoo.  (see
Image Gallery ) Now, his only threat to others is that he could overcome them with extreme cuteness, but he thinks his bark is a valid part of protecting our home. I have learned to call my emotions "my inner cockapoo." Something happens and I feel stressed out or annoyed or impatient, but those feelings should not control my actions. They are not me; they are simply my inner alarm system. So, like I do with Charmin, I go and look and do a reality check, and perhaps say, "That's just someone jogging in the park. Everything is OK." And, I try to do that with my emotions: "That's just someone being more focused on her/himself. You do it as well. People are humans and you know by now that life is life and often not 'fair.' Everything is OK." Emotions are wonderful alarm systems, but they are not who is in charge and like my cockapoo, they are pointing out a potential danger that needs to be coupled with a review of reality. It is not easy when caught up in emotions - I know - that's why I have friends that sometimes have to even tell me, "It's just a TV show." I will spend my life trying to train my inner cockapoo.


If you watch TV with commercials these days, you might now first ask yourself this question about New Year/Any Time of Year Resolutions: Can I accomplish this resolution by taking a drug? Our pharmaceutical people have been working overtime to answer this one for us. But be careful of the side effects – some pills seem to cause people the need to sit in large cast iron bathtubs in wide-open landscapes. Your local law enforcement folks might frown on such escapades.
If no drug is available or you choose another direction, then state the resolution as clearly as possible. As we all know, this is the easy part. The "I'm gonna...." list could go on forever. Just pick your top one or two for the first several months.  You do not want to attempt all the resolutions from day one. Also, you might want to match resolutions to events in the upcoming year like save this one for summer: "I'm gonna look into anger management prior to the fall election season and all the mud-slinging commercials and robo-calls."
OK, now is where you need to go and sit quietly with a tablet or computer and brainstorm or Google ideas and create a plan for your resolution. You would not say, "I’m gonna build a house," and then just show up at the empty lot daily and see if it happens. Nor can you set a resolution goal and just show up each day and see if you reach it. You need a plan. Oh, and yes that is work. (Does the pill idea maybe sound a little better at this time?) However, thanks to the abundance of books and on-line resources, lots of people have forged these goals ahead of us and created plans that we can follow and adapt. This turns our resolutions into yesolutions. (Forgive me – I could not resist.)
If you have a resolution or two in mind, spend this week creating, finding, or adapting a plan. Then, follow the plan and look forward to success. Unless you do find a pill, much of success is showing up and doing it even if you are terrible at it at first. If you have to be a success the moment you start something, you should know that is not realistic for the vast majority of us. If you visit my image gallery (Image Gallery ), you might like some of my artwork, but I did not pop out of the womb an artist. That skill has been honed over my lifetime, and if I practiced it more often, it would be even better; we all have to pick and choose how we spend our time depending on what we want. I have and still do draw some terrible stuff. I just have learned to accept that all those "failures” are just practice one day for more successes. So, let's pick a resolution or two, get a plan in place to reach our resolution(s), and then get out there and start setting some time aside for practicing (failing often until we build our skills), knowing that successes will follow if we hang in there and more abundant successes the more we practice


A friend wrote and asked where he might get low-cost medical assistance for him and his partner. My three suggestions were:

Open M 330-434-0110
Summit County Public Health 330-923-4891
Violet's Cupboard 330-375-2159 (HIV specific assistance)

Additional assistance is available by dialling 2-1-1 in Summit County or 330-376-6660.


Some of you might recognize the subject line as from a song from back in the earth-shoe-wearing days.  Oh, wait! Those days are back.
I do not know if I advocate hugging a tree. I mean, its bark might be worst than its bite. (Do you suddenly want to snap a limb off a tree and wallop me?)
But, there are times when life gets a little stressful and my favorite thing is to take a walk and look at the mature trees around me. I realize that they have been around much longer than me and my little stress is much smaller in detail than I realize. Those trees were there before I showed up and probably will be there long after I am gone. This moment will pass.


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