Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sundays I Write Letters

TN01

Dear Readers,

You will notice that this edition of Sundays I Write Letters is a bit different. It's because this will be my last post until I get settled in my new location. "Where is this location?" you may ask. Good question, because I don't know myself. See, I have finished school and I'm in the middle of a job search. I also have to be out of my apartment by the end of the month. This means I'm going to make like Jewel Kilcher and live in my car.

Not really. I'm going to head off on the road and see where it takes me. I have a couple of leads, but nothing's set in stone.

I'm excited and a bit nervous about my road trip--I'm not going to tell any stories. But, it should make for some good posts once I get settled and have regular Internet access.

So, dear readers, until that time, take care.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik

Saturday, October 27, 2007

New York City!

I've been absent from The ATL the last couple of days because I took a quick trip north to New York City for a portfolio review. Thank goodness my sister and her family live in the area because not only did I get to see them (I haven't seen them since February), but they didn't charge for room and board.

My first impression of the city: exactly what I thought it was going to be. Traveling around, all I could think was, "This is just like the movies." Well, duh. A lot of movies are filmed in NYC. Here's how the visit went down:

I flew in on Wednesday night. Because my flight was delayed an hour and the actual flight time was longer than expected, I got in mighty late. So basically, KBezzie and Chunky picked me up at the airport, we drove home, and went to bed.

Thursday we woke up, saw Dr. Mad Scientist off to work, and hit the Big Apple to figure out where I needed to be on Friday.

This is me in front of said place striking a pose.

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Then, we hit up Strand Books. It's pretty much a humongous used/new bookstore. I bought a book because it was only a couple of bucks and, as you can see from my last post, I just finished a book and needed something new. They had the coolest tote bags there. I'm a sucker for bags, but when you're on a budget, $10 is too much.

From there, we met up with Dr. Mad Scientist and got lunch from one of his favorite lunch spots. We had gyros all around. Mmmm...I wolfed that thing down along with the delicious seasoned fries. Dr. Mad Scientist showed me some good views.

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We left the city before rush hour because we all were tired from walking and we had some freakin' Hamburger Helper to make and eat for dinner, and, more importantly, some pumpkins to carve. On the way back, I bought some postcards and a little souvenir. KBezzie took some subway shots.

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Now, let me tell you a little something about the Bezzie Family Pumpkin Carving Tradition: they carve pumpkins every year, without fail. And, they each get their own pumpkin, even Chunky. Now, in my lifetime, I've only carved one pumpkin prior to this time. It didn't turn out too great and I did it with great difficulty. So, I was a little intimidated especially when KBezzie informed me over the phone that we were going to carve pumpkins while I was there and that they had bought me my own pumpkin. I was even more intimidated when on Wednesday night after getting to their home, Chunky immediately showed me which pumpkin was mine.

You should have seen Dr. Mad Scientist speedily carve his pumpkin into a jolly jack. KBezzie expertly sculpted her gourd into an evil face to rival Dr. Mad Scientist's. Chunky schooled me on my scoopin' skills. After I had mine carved, he informed me I still had a bunch of guts and scooped it clean.

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I think I did okay. Here are the pumpkins. From left to right: Dr. Mad Scientist, Chunky, KBezzie, and mine.

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There's a story behind mine. See the scar on the pumpkin? Well, this Jack was stabbed in the eye. The knife went so deep, it hit the part of the brain that controls the left side of his face, making him unable to smile completely. True story.

Friday, I went to the portfolio review and met up with the Bezzies afterwards. Despite having my 1/2 ton portfolio and feeling tired (and thus cranky), I still wanted to go into Times Square. I knew that even though I wasn't feeling 100%, I'd regret this chance. It was well worth it. Times Square is freakin' busy and bright!

We went to Toys 'R Us where we scoped the Legos. I saw Godzilla on the Empire State Building. Yess! I love oversized hairy creatures.

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Then, we went to the M&M store. There I saw the Statue of Liberty. And, I got another smooshed penny. This one has a frazzled M&M character on it and it says "Times Square." There were four designs to choose from. As soon as I saw this one, I said, "That's the one I want because that's how I feel!" I gave Chunky 51 cents so he could get a smooshed penny, too.

NYC03

From Times Square, we went to a Chinese restaurant and had a delicious dinner. It was soooooo nice to rest my portfolio and my weary legs. The food was good and KBezzie raved about the vegetables. Then, we headed home and took a couple final train pictures.

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See that huge tote in the background? That's my portfolio. Both shoulders and hips are bruised from carrying that heavy thing around. It was worth it, though.

Saturday, we woke up early and went to Chunky's favorite restaurant, IHOP, for breakfast. Mmmmhmmmm...it was delicious. After breakfast, the Bezzies dropped me off at the airport and I flew back to The ATL to a half-packed apartment.

And that was my New York City adventure.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

PS. Thank you to KBezzie for providing the photos. See, my camera doesn't like working much anymore so I had to rely on her to document the trip.
Book Review: Heart in the Wild: A Journey of Self-Discovery with Animals of the Wilderness
by Susan Chernak McElroy

heartinwild

I'll start with a quote from the introduction:

"Few of us are courageous enough to welcome endings, to explore them with the focus and attention they deserve. Rather, we celebrate endings simply as beginnings and brush aside the necessary grief work and reflection endings ask of us. Abrupt endings that seem forces upon us ... bring a wave of numbness on their heels, making it easier to avoid looking them close in the face. But to avoid engagement with our endings is to block our ears to a voice that has much to offer us, even as we turn our faces too eagerly toward a new beginning. What have we ended? What have we lost? What has this ending cost our hearts, our lives, our hope in life?

"If facing endings takes a brave soul, far braver yet is the person who can sit faithfully between an ending and a new beginning and not try with everything in his or her power to hurry the uncomfortable disengagement process along."

You wouldn't believe how comforting it was to read this passage at this point in my life. I just finished grad school and I am now soon to be moving to parts unknown and in the middle of a job search. Granted, my "ending" isn't as drastic as the cancer or house fire Susan Chernak McElroy writes about, but I feel like I have come to some kind of ending. I've known that the discomfort is expected, but I feel better about it as this book touches on the fact that endings, with all their discomfort, hold meanings and shouldn't necessarily be rushed or avoided.

Along with that nugget of wisdom, the book is about relating to nature. While Susan Chernak McElroy may seem "kooky" at times with her relations with wild animals, I say, whatever makes your boat float. I didn't buy into all of the nature spirituality discussed in the book, but there was a lot of good points. One being that there is one life, a Native American belief. And, since I just read The Sand County Almanac, I see the similarity between the "one life" belief and Aldo Leopold's belief that all living creatures are interdependent. It seems everyone is on the same page, whether they explain it in more scientific or spiritual terms.

If you're like me and love nature and readin' about it, pick this one up.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Last Day

Today was my last day at work. At my previous job I learned the art of redaction. So, to protect the innocent, I've used those skills on this letter.

resignationletter

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Monday, October 22, 2007

Week #42

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Probably my last scan for quite some time.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sundays I Write Letters

RE: WEEK #41
Dear Mom,
I apologize. When I say “candy” I mean “geedunks.” And I did get real candy (geedunks), but not for myself.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: WHAT’S ON MY MIND
Dear Mom,
The money I received for my belongings wasn’t a whole lot. I priced them to move, because in the long run, not having those material objects is worth a whole lot more than a couple of dollars.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik

Saturday, October 20, 2007

What's On My Mind: A List (accompanied by doodles)

onmymind03

1. I sold my cube shelves.

2. I sold my futon.

3. Everything is on the floor.

4. And, I'm sleeping on a half-inflated air matress (and using my sleeping bag because I packed up all of my bedding).

5. Literally my hair. I got my hair cut at NANI SALON. It was way more expensive than I thought it was going to be, but I got a free hand massage and their shampoo chairs were massaging chairs. I probably didn't tip all that I should have, so this is my real tip: if you're in Atlanta, need a good haircut, and want to feel a little pampered, go. They just moved to Atlantic Station, which is much hipper than their old location.

6. Pack-pack-packing.

7. Graduation. The ceremony was last night. And, then I had my martini.

8. Jumpers. On Tuesday night there was a jumper on the crane that's just up the street from me. A portion of Peachtree (the portion the connects with my street) was closed. Here's what I'm thankful for: the guy did not jump and there's a back way to get to my apartment--otherwise I would have been stranded until 1am when he finally came down.

9. I really don't know why I drew a picture of the United States (minus Hawaii and Alaska).

10. Oil change, tire balancing and alignment, gettin' rid of some corrosion on my battery, and paying $385 for it all. That's right, folks, the only reason I had time to draw this "On My Mind" is because I took my car in for an oil change in anticipation of my road trip and ended up driving away with $385 less. Oh well, I'd rather do preventative maintenence like this and not have it sneak up on me.

11. This will probably be the last "On My Mind" for quite some time because I'm going to have way too much on my mind. Rest assured, though, I'll post something before I hit the road.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Week #41

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Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sundays I Write Letters

RE: WEEK #40
Dear Mom,
“Dinnerish” is what I eat for dinner. Rarely do I know what I would like to eat for dinner for the week until I get to the grocery store and something strikes me. This is the same for snacks. So, if you see “snackish” in the future, please understand that it means “something for a snack.”

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: WHAT’S ON MY MIND
Dear Mom,
I always knew you were a literary genius. Geez—“forest” and “pining” in the same sentence! I can’t beat that! Although I would like to go back to Alaska for a visit, I don’t think it will be for awhile.

Thank you for thinking my phone is drawn well.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear KBezzie,
Of course I ripped off that luggage tag idea from you. I started using it in college. Who else has good cheap ideas?

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: BOOK REVIEW
Dear KBezzie,
I, for one, do not want my bubble popped. Especially by someone with dirty fingers. Although bubbles are comfortable, beyond-the-bubble adventures are too much fun for discomfort to discourage.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Birdie,
Thank you for quoting The Old Man. His wisdom is very relevant to this topic.

I am going to write down “Living on the Edge” in my planner so I can remember it the next time I’m looking for a book to read. Perhaps the page that I write it on will be featured in the “Planner Scan” series.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
I don’t mind if people recommend books. Just as long as they aren’t crappy books.

I do believe my deep caring for the Earth was fostered by you. Oh! How many times did we walk around to do our errands and pick up and recycle aluminum cans we found along the way? Thank you.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Book Review: A Sand County Almanac (with essays on conservation from Round River) by Aldo Leopold

sandcountyalmanac

The first part of this book was a month-by-month account of nature. Ah! It described the little things that happen in each month that you may not notice if you're not looking. Reading it, I questioned if I was paying attention (and hoped that I was). I think I am. But I'm not good at remembering what month it happened in. I know that this spring, when we had a cold snap, the crickets and cicadas were quiet for a long time after it had warmed back up. Also, this spring, I had to be wary of silk worms hanging from trees and telephone wires on my walk. I noticed the first few fallen leaves and thought to myself that it felt too early.

I can't say that I remember too much from the second part of the book. There was a lot of information and not the most interesting writing. I learned a new perspective of how land is treated. At least once, my belief that if people appreciated the wilderness and land, then being "green" wouldn't be a trendy bandwagon, just a lifestyle, was validated. The book made me realize just how disconnected our lifestyles are from the land and Earth. And I wonder if my life would feel easier if I "got back to nature."

This is definitely required reading for a natural education.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What's On My Mind: A List (accompanied by doodles)

onmymind02

1. I need to decide what to keep (B) and what to give away (A)--or sell if I can.

2. There are a lot of phone calls I have to make. (And phones are hard to draw.)

3. I should probably be packing.

4. I've cheated on Project 25 somewhat regularly. I need straighten up and eat right.

5. I wonder what road I'm going to take.

6. After I post this, I'm going to make some homemade luggage tags: cardboard+packaging tape+pipe cleaners=that's my suitcase, buster.

7. I didn't illustrate it, but I feel like writin' a story with a keyboard in Microsoft Word, like I used to.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Week #40

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Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Sundays I Write Letters

RE: WEEK #39
Dear Mom,
I hope that the post after this one pleased you.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: WHAT’S ON MY MIND
Dear Birdie,
I’m glad that you like my dream clouds. And, if you were to see my real self, you wouldn’t think it’s pretty cute. I need a haircut like nothin’ else.

I AM flying north. Please see KBezzie’s comment.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear KBezzie,
Thank you. I sure wish my trip was to True North. But, alas, I’ll take what I can get.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
Damn, you’re demanding. First, you demand doodles and I give you doodles. Then you demand dreams. Sheesh!

I think you need to do more than simply inform Daddy. These boxes will either be delivered directly to the house, or, you’ll have to pick them up at the post office. Do you guys still have that collapsible hand truck? Because you’re gonna need it. I’ll let you know when I mail them.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Ty,
Thank you and thank you.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: AN EXCELLENT MAIL DAY
Dear KBezzie,
So, it’s not just a clever name?

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Ty,
I don’t know if I’ve ever received a good coupon in the mail…well, there was the coupon for a free sandwich from Firehouse Subs. I redeemed the coupon and never went back.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: ANOTHER EXCELLENT MAIL DAY
Dear KBezzie,
…because by the time they arrive here, I won’t be?

Sincerely,
T. Budnik



RE: CALL FOR MIX CDS
Dear KBezzie,
Your music selections will be missed.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear NikBudnik,
Yessss. I know I could count on you.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear Mom,
John Denver, Ricky Skaggs, and Bette Midler don’t strike me as road trip music, but I’ll take what I can get.

Sincerely,
T. Budnik


Dear NikBudnik,
You’re right about no room for poo in my car, but more in a physical sense. I’m at the very beginning stages of a mass liquidation. Do you know anyone who needs 16 cubes?

Sincerely,
T. Budnik

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Call for Mix CDs
You all know that my days in this location are numbered. If you didn't, you know now. A departure date has not been set, but there will be a departure. My departure will more than likely involve hours driving, if not days. So, I'm calling for mix CDs. I asked for them right before I departed Alaska for Atlanta, and those CDs will always be the soundtrack of that road trip.

If you have the tunes and the time, send me a mix. In return, I'll give you my never-ending gratitude and I'll return the favor if you've got a road trip planned. (And, if you don't know my mailing address, email me at tbudnik05-at-hotmail-dot-com.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Friday, October 05, 2007

Another Excellent Mail Day

Holy moo cows! I got another postcard in the mail today.

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This one came from my younger sister, who went to Seattle back in August. No, the postal service isn't that slow. She just sent it really, really late.

Yessssss. Good mail two days in a row.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Thursday, October 04, 2007

An Excellent Mail Day
You know me, I love getting mail. Not just any mail, though. I only want the good stuff--postcards and real letters--no bills or junk.

Today I got this:

yellowstone

My good college friend made a stop at Yellowstone. She's always wanted to go and I remember her talking about it at length. Waaaahooo for her! And, waaaahooo for good mail!

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

What's On My Mind: A List (accompanied by doodles)

onmymind

1. How annoyed are the 'rents going to be once they realize it's just not my credit card bill they'll be receiving, but 3-4 boxes FULL of heavy, heavy books?

2. I have no clue where I'm going. Or what I'm doing, really.

3. I need a haircut and I need to find a cheap place. My Vidal Sassoon student hasn't called me in about 6 months. I'm not really up for another bob anyway.

4. Money.

5. Do you think I can get anyone to buy my microwave and vacuum right before I leave?

6. Three weeks until my Quick Trip North.

7. I had a bajillion dreams last night. You name it, I dreamt it.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Week #39

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Trust me, I was a whole lot busier than this spread leads you to believe. Too busy to go back and doodle.

Enjoy!
T. Budnik