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Today, Damien & I drove up to spend the day in Sedona. Best of all, I conquered a HUGE couple of fears today - I took a helicopter tour of the mountains and valleys with Damien. I am terrified of heights and also of flying. Today, I made that fear my concubine.

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You can see a preview of my book here:

I have posted 5 page scans.

My New Book

Dec. 8th, 2009 01:47 pm
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Before I began packing back in GA to move to AZ, I decided I was going to need a new project to keep me occupied in the interim, something that would keep me focused and creative. I've amassed a large collection of images and ephemera over the years and always thought I might one day turn them into a scrapbook or sorts but that's not exactly something I could make copies of and share with others. Being on the other side of the country now and still feeling a bit shellshocked has been weird at best but this new project I've been working on for the past 2-3 months has really helped me to transition into my new life out here without feeling too deep a sense of loss about home and everyone there.

I've been trying to keep this under wraps to be a surprise, but I fail miserably at that in part because I hate surprises and also I like the idea of something to look forward to more anyway. So here it is - I'm putting out a new art book. It's part love letter to friends and family (it's got a LOT of pictures in it), part blog posts (I've been doing this for a decade now, there were a lot of things that I felt should be shared), part coffee table art book (with some of the stuff I've done and posted here), and all full of my memories and big booming love.

If I'm lucky and can really hammer the rest of the pages out, I might be finished by early Spring. It will be less than 100 pages and sell for under US $40.00, and yes, you will be able to buy it online. I'm self publishing, so I'm not working under anyone's deadline. The title is "Back Door Boy In A Front Door World".

Click here for a preview.
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Spent the first half of the day in the kitchen making a new supply of chicken stock for the freezer and then toddled across the street to Trader Joe's for a quick shopping trip. I love their Maple Leaf cookies, and besides that I was having a few serious cravings - the kind that if you don't get sated then you're losing sleep and ending up really grumpy. Conveniently Damien only wanted leftovers from last night for his dinner tonight, so I get to indulge my cravings: sourdough bread, a wedge of room temperature blue cheese, a Granny Smith apple, and some herbed olive oil to dip my bread in.

Here are some new photo treatments, hope you enjoy!

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So for the past couple of days at least, between breaks from unpacking and the need to rest for a few moments, I've been learning how to fine tune my senses to my surroundings. For instance, there is a lot to take in here and my senses are on overload at the moment - and I'm trying to keep still and quiet when my urges want me to go out and run and explore - because there isn't energy sufficient yet to truly go out and play just now. I'm still recovering from the vast amounts of energy it has taken just to get here, and then the energy it has taken to get settled, which is an ongoing process and I'm certain will be for a while. I like keeping busy because it gives me a sense of purpose in the interim that I'm trying to get things figured out. When I slow down or stop I feel enormous pressure forced upon me from a thousand different angles, but it dissipates quickly enough when I remember to reassure myself that everything is okay and I have a beautiful life. It's all part of this drastic life change, and the learning curve for everything is perhaps the most drastic part.

The notion that I feel in many ways like a foreigner in a strange land is unsettling and for as much as I truly enjoy being here, I don't belong to this place yet as I do my beloved south land. At times the realization that I'm two thousand miles from home and everything that ever fit me seamlessly up until last week makes me stand completely still, trying to decide if I need to cry over the death of 'normal' to get some of it out of my system, or if I just need to take those moments and close my eyes, breathe deeply, and then exhale. I seem to be doing that a lot lately, both deliberately and inadvertently. I never know from one minute to the next if this one is a regular minute or a really big one and it is a bit confusing. I'll get it figured out eventually.

In the meantime, I'm relying on my senses. I didn't know as a child how soothing being outside to play can really be. Since I've been here I've relearned that going out under the open sky and walking down a new path that could lead me anywhere and it will all be brand new and different until it becomes familiar is a lot like going out to play used to be. I get to smell the fresh cut grass and the redolent sweetness of the two story tall white oleander just on the other side of my living room window or the citrus trees that seem to be growing everywhere. Here in the foothills of South Mountain there are trees everywhere, and being so close to the foot of the mountain there is a near constant cool and gentle breeze, so the air is never really still and each tree's leaves and branches play a different sound against all of that rushing air. I can hear and feel the crunch of tiny desert rocks groaning beneath my shoes when I stray off the sidewalk and closer to the mountain that shares a boundary with my neighborhood, they're brick red and purple and jagged. Perhaps to the ants they're mountains themselves, but to me they're only the brittle, broken bone fragments of the mountain I now live next door to. Perhaps they're an offering of sorts, I haven't decided yet. I have hours to do that. Always, the hours.

Yesterday on my walk through the neighborhood I stopped and touched the flesh of a giant saguaro cactus, the tall, mammoth, tree sized ones you think of when images of the desert southwest come to mind. I was walking past it and admiring how graceful it managed to stand on the roadside and it occurred to me that I had never really touched one before, so I did. I carefully ran my fingertips along the spines jutting out like two inch long needles, pushing against them at the point and letting them snap back into the airspace they claimed. I pressed my fingers gently where the ribs of the cactus' trunk meet and join, and was surprised to discover that it didn't feel as soft as I imagined it would. It felt rather like a ripe watermelon that yields to pressure and was just as smooth. It made me smile.

Already I miss the rain from back home, but I'm so glad it's not cold here.
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We are in Arizona now! We arrived after a grueling 2 day drive on Sunday the 22nd of November. Still in the process of unpacking, but there's no hurry to get it all done.

Expect updates to come slowly but surely as I get organized and have the time available - for now, here are a couple of videos I recorded today. Pictures to follow.

Our Neighborhood

Condo Tour
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Hi there - I'm Brad. This blog will serve to document what will perhaps be the biggest change of my life.

For almost 40 years I've lived along the Alabama/Georgia border. Now, with the love of my life at my side, I am about to move across the country and begin a new life in Arizona. This blog is a documentary of our journey out West, and the process of going from Good Ol' Boy to Desert Wanderer.

I'm doing this for two reasons: the sake of my own sanity, so that I can have a repository for pictures and stories; and for all of my people back home so that they can be a part of this journey and our new adventures.

To our families and friends who have become family, we love and adore you and will miss seeing you as much as we have, but it is a big sky we live under and it's time for us to experience more of life in a new place. We will be coming back home at least once a year, hopefully twice, and you will all have a place to lay your heads out in the Southwest when it's time for you to come and see us. Our home will always be as open to you there as it is here in Georgia.

Now back to packing up!
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