Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hanging Gardens of Babylon III

"Repurposing" is my word du jour when it comes to my little patio gardening attempts. I was mad impressed with my thoughtful conversion of some dry-rotted storage containers into planters, and am eternally optimistic in thinking that despite everything I've planted in them has died immediatelyfailed to thrive, they're going to give life to my started-too-late-and-unlikely-to-bear-fruit tomatoes. It's for this reason, too, I'm really excited it's farmer's market season. What we fail to produce here at the farm we can easily obtain just a stone's throw across the river. I MIGHT even add some air to the tires of mi bicicleta and ride over Saturday morning.

I also added an outdoor shade since my southwest-facing patio (complete with authentically redneck DirecTV satellite) gets all scorched and, in keeping with my redneckiness, stapled some screen to the railing. This way we get as much light as possible, but we attempt to keep the temps down a few degrees. Will it work? Only time, tomatoes, and fresh basil will tell. I am committed, however. And I will not stop until something - I don't even care what - grows and flourishes "in the garden." I am not dooming the lantana - a plant which supposedly is indestructible, although mine is looking puny - just yet. If anything, cactus is always an option!

Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My Gracious Drawing Room

I'm not even going to lie to you. I have worked REALLY hard over the past week to finalize my "residential overhaul." To some this may seem minor, but to me it's kind of a big deal. Like Edina Monsoon, I can't just live in anything. I'm very sensitive to my surroundings. So adding my STOTT PILATES spring wall required a fairly significant shift of furniture and reassignment of functionality to rooms/spaces within my crib. What this also means, I've decided, is that my upstairs neighbor will probably be really happy not to hear my drill for the next year.

My super-fantabulous cousin had custom bookshelves installed in her barndominium and, thankfully, I inherited her others. This led me to conceptualize how they'd fit in my space, and what I would need to do to accommodate the spring wall and my computer desk. I am happy to say I've purchased absolutely no new furniture: everything has been repurposed. That feels good. In actuality, a smaller bookcase I had is now serving beautifully as a storage system for dumb bells, medicine ball, and other exercise peripherals in my "studio." And even though my white club chair is dingy beyond repair (I paid a fortune to have it reupholstered years ago, pre-dog), I thought the slipcover that doesn't fit could get packed away for good. It's just Maddie's chair anyway, and life is too short to not have a little dog dirt here and there.

My takeaway from all of this is that life edits, like everything else, require constant administration and tweaking, and long-term planning. I am not finished yet, but I do know where I'm going (or hoping to go) and that's a good feeling.


Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Triumphant Return?

I didn't understand the concept of the "micro-blog" when, as a professional communicator, it was introduced to me about 4 years back. "What is that, like the Daisy Dukes version of blogging?" I asked. "What could you possibly accomplish in an expression containing less than 200 characters?" Turns out, you can get quite a bit done as my a.) Facebook profile indicates and b.) my lagging blog entries support.

But let's face it, there's a time and a place for a quickie, and a time and a place for your Barry White bomchickabowwow. If we apply this comparison to communication we can see there is relevance - and requirement - to elaboration and detail. In fact, messages have always existed within a range: maybe they're short and to the point, or maybe they're conceptual and require more support. The only thing new is the medium through which they're filtered.

What I find is that if the balance shifts too much to one end of the range, the deficit is nearly immediately apparent in my mental state. Too much micro-short-get-it-done messaging and I become frenetic. Too much elaborative detail that fails to express purpose and I become impatient or bored. What matters most to me is that I'm able to accomplish the things to which I am held accountable - both personally and professionally - while having time to absorb and process new information in my quest for lifelong learning.

Over the past month, my commitments and self-imposed scales have required a great deal of attention. It's hard to believe it's nearly June and I'm still invested in my self-improvement/personal organization project. I have given myself permission to spend the entire year of 2010 working on this "life edit" because it's important to me. I want it to be an adaptive behavior, so I have better systems in place for managing scenarios to which I'm cyclically exposed.

At the same time, I am actively evolving and unwilling to yield learning opportunities that keep me both humble and interested and which I feel bring value to both my own personal repertoire as well as the physical and mental well being of others. (Insert big Ooey-Gooey Zen Sigh here.)

What does that mean, in simple terms? (Here's where we get to demonstrate message diversity.)

  • I planted some more tomatoes this year.
  • I sat for my full Level 1 STOTT PILATES certification examination last weekend.
  • I finally figured out how to make my wireless modem work with my laptop and suddenly my living arrangements have changed dynamically (for the better!).
Let's see if the pendulum swing to a wee bit more depth of content and reduced "life speed" will last. I am hoping it will be with me for the summer, as while I don't want to rest on my laurels, I do want to give myself a break. Life is too short for implosion.
Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Hipstamatic

The tragically hip should always have an even more tragically hip underling to advise them of all things, well, hip. I am blessed to have a cadre of such hipsters through which I have learned of a most fantastic iPhone app called Hipstamatic. Hipstamatic is, quite honestly, the sort of dichotomy for which I live: it's a digital photo application with lenses and films that make your pictures look vintage. Brilliant!

As we scorch forward into a world of HD and augmented reality, I find a certain comfort being reminded of "the way things used to be." I'm pretty sure this is the first step to declaring yourself old but honestly, I don't even care anymore. Our culture of instant gratification leaves so much to be desired. Gone is the opportunity to wait and anticipate - like getting a roll of film processed and having 2 weeks to recall the images you shot, the way it felt, looked, smelled and hoping you'd captured it exactly that way. Normally I didn't, but the process of that recognition brought with it more value than the product itself.

When I was a boy my parents and aunt/uncles would take us to a campground nearby in Mississippi to spend a big chunk of the summer. My mother and her sister kept us fed and clean 3 times each day, but otherwise we would swim, water-ski, master the Pac-Man game in the small pavilion, etc., while they had a chance to recline, read, and relax. It was a pretty good deal across the board. It was what they did, as well, as they were growing up.

Yesterday, on Mother's Day, events sequenced in such a way that I was the only sibling with our mother. My 14 year-old niece found out on Thursday of last week her golf team had qualified for the Alabama State Championships which sent my sister's faction into a tailspin since they're competing today and tomorrow and, as such, they left for Huntsville yesterday morning. My little brother works a 4-day on/off work shift and was "on" so it just left me and the 'rents. We contemplated a seafood lunch on the causeway but after breakfast my mom decided she'd like to visit the campground to see its recent renovations. A cloudless sky and breezy upper-70's were the perfect backdrop for a picture perfect day. But the actions - and interactions - were what made it even better. We grabbed an ice chest, ran through a Subway for sandwiches, and a half-hour later we were beneath the shade of an oak tree on the edge of the lake, recalling fondly the times we'd spent there.

My mom pointed to an area and told a story I'd never heard, of how she and my dad and grandparents had camped one night in a tent when she was pregnant with my sister. That would've been 41 years ago, and I was immediately mesmerized by the thought of them there: what they said, how they looked, what they did. I saw myself at 10 years-old with 2 water skis tied together, my mom on the shore cheering me on as I popped right up and experienced gliding over water for the first time.

At the end of the picnic my parents had secured a spot for their camper for the entire month of June, which will be spent doing pretty much the same things but this time it will be my nieces and nephew who will begin the cycle and, of course, I can't wait to be there with them to share in the excitement.

Although it isn't the summer of 1968 (I wasn't even alive then!) I loved taking a picture of my parents that make it seem like it could've been. It captures not only a moment, or an era, but more special to me it captures a life.

Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Hanging Gardens of Bablyon II

The hanging coconut fiber baskets, despite chronic watering, served as nothing more than the Fred Flinstone version of a microwave oven last summer and rendered the petunias wilted and chewy by July 1. This year we're trying something new: Hanging Butterfly Gardens of Babylon. Basket lantana is specifically developed not to spread, and the plant itself is very heat and drought tolerant. Plus, butterflies love it. Score!

Debbie at Barton Nursery gave me a tip and I'm trying it this year: line the coconut fiber with a plastic bag (poke a few holes in the bottom), then fill with potting soil. This creates a moisture barrier and prevents the fiber baskets from sucking the life out of the soil and, as such the plant.

You know you like 7th grade science class with Robby as much as I do. Admit it. 

Disclaimer: If you're reading this as a Note on Facebook, it's because my blog - located at www.robbyjohnson.com - feeds directly into my Facebook account. Majikal, right? Point being, if I link a YouTube video or other graphics it may not show up. For your fully-integrated Robby Johnson user experience, visit www.robbyjohnson.com. Let the beat hit 'em, y'all!