Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Life Mapping - Give it a Try

What do you get when you cross a recovering journalist with a cartographer? In my case, you get a guy who compulsively makes maps that are aimed at telling stories. Now in truth, I’m no cartographer. But I am a recovering journalist, a former radio reporter. I loved finding and telling stories and I loved all the electronic magic that occurs in a radio station.

Not long after I left the news business more than 20 years ago, I discovered that a single piece of paper can become a remarkable Life Map. I also found that for me the mapping process was life changing. Behind a microphone I could reach thousands of people, but with pen and paper--just a single piece of paper--I could reach the one person I most needed reach, myself.

A life map can take many forms, and here's a simple one that you can make from an ordinary piece of copy paper. Fold it in half four times and you'll have a grid of 16 rectangles. Label them as follows:

Here are three items on my map, one each from my childhood, teens and fifties. As you read my stories, I hope you'll think of your own, and if so, jot down a note or two in the appropriate box.

Childhood: My early interest in electricity was shocking to my parents. Before my 5th birthday, I somehow found a loose key in my hand as I stood on the damp cement floor in our basement. I was at eye level with an electrical outlet. I seen my parents put key in doors, why not try one in one of those two slots? So I put the key in and BOOM! Actually it wasn’t quite that dramatic. But apparently it did knock me to the ground. It even prompted my uncle to build what we called a plugger board. Real outlets, real cords and plugs. None of it connected to any electricity. Miraculously I made it through childhood and so did you. What story from your childhood belongs on your Life Map?

Teens: I worked as a ride operator at an amusement park. One of the rides I operated was motorboat tour around a small, man-made lake. I told a story story of the Lagoon Lake Monster while piloting the boat. One afternoon a rather large spider started crawling up the microphone. I focused more more and more at the spider and less and less where I was going when CRASH the boat hit the shore. Fortunately what really happened is that I looked up just in time to sharply steer the boat away from the shore. At the end of the ride my one of my passengers complimented me on the exciting adventure. I didn't tell him that wasn't in the script. What adventure from your teens belongs on your Life Map?

Fifties: One late afternoon just this past year, I was intrigued with winter sunset outside my office. I got this shot out the window. But I wanted a better shot without the light reflecting off the widow, so
ran up onto the roof with my smartphone in hand and no coat.

I took a ton shots even as my phone warned me several times of a low battery. When at last I was cold enough to return to my office, the roof door had blown shut and was locked. My phone was totaly dead my now I thought I'll be dead too if I'm up here all night. I waved my hands and yelled at a couple of pedestrians two stories below and fortunately they responded. My camera had the last laugh--not one of my roof shots turned out. What near disaster belongs on your Life Map?

All of these stories make me laugh. They all make me grateful that I’m alive. Thanks to Life Mapping I have a big less stress and greater gratitude for all the times of my life. So I invite you to give life mapping a try. Unlike my smartphone, there’s no battery to run down. Unlike a boat on a lake, there’s no shore to crash into. But like a four-year-old with a key in his hand, you just might discover something shocking. And wonderful.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

100 Words for a 100th Birthday

Wednesday, April 25, 2012 is our dad's 100th birthday. He married Adine in 1945. Daughter JoAnne arrived in 1948 and I showed up in 1954. In 1959 we moved into a home with a view on east bench of Bountiful. In 1963 dad died of cancer. We had nine wonderful years together. Mom died in 2010. I like to think they're together again. Meanwhile two more generations are on the scene. Grandsons Brandon Joseph Casey and Joseph Russell Finlinson carry on his good name. And he now has four great grandsons: Ethan and Ronan Casey, and Owen and Finn Hodgkinson.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Find a Grave, Revive a Blog

The older I get the more I appreciate obituaries and tributes to those who are no longer with us. A few months ago I re-discovered the Find a Grave website and was pleasantly surprised to find it contains photos and information on the following loved ones.
Since landing there a few times, I decided to join up, so I've now got a little bio there and posted a couple of pictures I had to Adine's entry and some text to Dee's. While aggregating Dee's stuff in the great condo sale prep, I found the URL, login and password to his Dee's Believe It blog from 2004-2005. It was nice to read some of Dee's strong opinions again and I took the liberty putting in a link to his photo and Find a Grave info.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Failed, then Tried Again

ARUP blood services asked me to donate platelets a few years ago. They hooked me up to their machine, my blood pressure dropped within a few minutes and the donation came to premature end. My donor file was marked, "Whole Blood Only." But last week, as someone was combing through some database searching for the ideal platelet donor, my file emerged as one of the good matches for a particular need. ARUP called and asked me to try again.  This afternoon I did. The whole process worked smoothy. I wonder if they'll remove that "Whole Blood Only" designation from my record.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

This Is Not Paul Gauguin's Tahiti

South Mountain Resort near Phoenix might 
stand-in for an island paradise, depending on your 
camera angle. I shot this on a business trip in 2007. 
I've never been to Tahiti but I certainly thought about it this morning as I listened to Susan Stamberg's NPR feature on the Paul Gauguin "Maker of Myth" exhibit of at the National Gallery.

A key element of the of the story is that the Tahitian imagery Gauguin conveyed in his paintings wasn't true to reality. "It's widely accepted that artists reinterpret reality, but the trouble is that Gauguin (1848-1903) insisted that his depictions of island life were true — factual representations of a serene, sensual, primitive place. The French tourist industry was something of a co-conspirator in this; it wanted tourists to travel to the Polynesian colonies," reports Stamberg.

Saturday, March 12, 2011