Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Note to Self

Sometimes you have to jump on opportunity. You can make every excuse you can possibly think of. And it will work. You can weave in and out of the truth for as long as YOU deem necessary. There isn't always some epic epiphany or catastrophic happening. The plot to your movie-life doesn't always culminate into some cinematic climax or rising action.
Sometimes you just ease your way into change, many times without even realizing.

Maybe you're given this clarity in your life so you can see the truth more clearly. Maybe you are supposed to act, shake things UP at a point when you are content. Put the clarity to good use. Contention only lasts so long.

Ok, I'm going to jump. Here I go. I'm going. Ok one more second. One more day of freestanding faith. One more day of not having to make decisions.
I see it, in front of me. I have to act this time. I can't pass it up again or I'll only be confronted once more at a later date.
See you on the other side.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


This photo literally took my breath away for a moment.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas

Christmas came and went.

And I barely caught it's warm breath against my foggy window.

But I had a few moments of clarity when I realized how many beautiful people I've been blessed with in my life.
My grandma sat taking in all the grandkids ripping apart their Christmas gifts, a wide toothy smile spread across her wise face. The laugh lines peaked at the corners of her grin and she looked at all of us with a genuine appreciation and love.
My grandpa walked around with a gentle smile and picked up the pieces of shredded wrapping paper.

On Christmas morning, I felt out of place. For the first time in as long as I can remember, it didn't feel like Christmas. The warm rain pattering against my windshield didn't help either as I drove my sister to church. I walked past a man offering passing families a "Merry Christmas!" and I didn't stop to acknowledge the kindness and joy of the man. I walked into the magnificence of Mother of God Church and didn't bother taking in all the beautiful decorations and floor to ceiling stained glass I had seen so many Christmas's before. The amazing chorus of voices and the full accompanying band did nothing for me. These things I had always taken a moment to appreciate and attribute to the beauty of Christmas.
I was not mad, I simply dwelled on this thought that it didn't feel like Christmas and I closed my eyes to all of the grace of Christmas.

The service proceeded like normal. Like every other Christmas service I'd been to here since I was a small child.
The homily came around.

The opening words were, "God does not reveal himself in fireworks, in grand phenomenons and epic occurrences. He comes to us in the form of a baby. Of a small child. That is how God makes himself known."

I was humbled. I didn't have some grand epiphany. I sat back and listened. I listened and I heard. And that was the most beautiful part of my Christmas.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My mind's racing

I wake up in a room of sleeping faces. They all pull the covers closer to their faces as I stare. I'm aware of the risk I'm taking, staring at someone's sleeping face. There is the chance they could wake up and we'd never look at each other the same again. But I'm drawn to that passive contention across their face. I'm fascinated by the slow rise and fall of their chest.

The snow lightly falls and my feet are picking up the leftovers. My bare hand holds a glass of orange juice. My hair hangs under my Alpaca hat, dampened by the wet snow. Bird narrates the morning commute to work and I let the music magnify the beauty of the falling snow.
Hoards of people walk paces behind me. I quickly glance and see dozens of faces and a murmur of voices. It's graduation day for winter semester grads.

Graduation day.

I've never been scared by the thought. I'm sure it will hit a little closer to home when I actually find myself waking up early in the morning to walk across a stage dressed as a wizard just to grab a piece of paper filled with scrawled calligraphy.

Last night, I heard God in the voice of a wild six year old as she whistle-toned to "Get Back" on Beatles Rockband. I heard audible love in her giggle from the other room.
It reset any doubts I ever had about life, love, and faith.
I hope you realize I never get tired of writing things like this. I hope it never stops. It's not a chore. It's a pleasure.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I love my wall much. Sometimes I just stand and stare at the infinite amount of city names and mountain peaks. Seriously, it's like the best thing to distract from writing papers. Because you don't feel bad doing it, because it's knowledge right? If I stand here 5 more minutes, I'll retain that much more geographic knowledge.
If I hadn't procrastinated on my paper, who knows how long it would have been before I learned that the Lualaba River is a tributary of the Congo River! Right?!

Why am I still awake? Sure, I don't have class tomorrow...but this is ridiculous.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Dear _________,

I'll admit, I feel kind of stupid writing this. But it felt necessary.

I was watching a video (putting off homework obviously) and found myself appreciating the way the music and video played off of each other. It created a beautiful portrait of emotion. And I was overcome with this appreciation for being alive. To think I was able to get that much gratification out of such a simple banal occurrence. I don't know how to explain it.

Life is so big and grandiose. Even the small intricacies are fascinating.

And at that moment in time, I just felt so small in this world. And it was a good feeling. I felt so powerless and so out of control. And it was freeing.
Freeing to know everything is in someone else's hands. Freeing to know that no matter where we find ourselves, we can get in touch with our humanity.

Open your heart ________.

There is SO much beauty in this world.

Please don't ever let yourself get too wrapped up in things to forget that.

Your Friend,

Monday, December 14, 2009


She holds the program with rigid hands
The wind dog-earing its ends
She is not reading the odds
Her eyes a glaze over the numbers

The white behind the words offers a solace
She lets the focus slip
Her eyes cloud with warm tears
The page now twisted by shaky unsteadiness
A single drop falls
Causing War Admirals numbers to run

The wind tousles her loose curls
And the spring warmth hovers against her ears
A heavy exhale is stuttered by a soft sob

The starter pistol sounds
She wipes the single tear complacent on her chin
Slowly, she lifts her head to the sun
Its rays beat upon her damp eye lids
The program is folded neatly and placed under arm
She regains her composure
The horses turn for the last leg
Their hooves pounding the soft earth

Saturday, December 12, 2009

7:48 AM

I was up before my alarm, my eyes half-open slits that focused on nothing in particular. I pulled the blankets closer to my chin and anxiously awaited the clamorous pulsing when the clock hits 8.

7:49 AM

I traced my eyes along the chipped walls of the room. The blackout curtain swayed a bit with the steady breeze from the window that would not close completely. The daylight crept through the ends it didn't quite cover, the light dancing on the ceiling. I watched the dance for quite some time, my mind blank, eyes flickering back and forth capturing the intricate designs of the shadows and the ballet of the sun rays. Thoughts detached from my dreamlike state suddenly passed through my mind at a slow but steady pace. Reality.
Something I wasn't prepared to face before the alarm sounded. I unwillingly gave my thoughts over to its seductive powers:
7:55 AM
How are you going to make thisworkout. You really need to startonthatproject. Howmuchlonger are you going to putitoff. Ifitsmeanttohappenitwillhappenthingswillworkoutyouonlyhavea
7:57 AM
I clamp my eyes closed and try to block the thoughts out...
7:58 AM



I throw the covers off and promptly turn the alarm off. I bring my hands to my face and push my fingers through my hair. Slumped forward, I sit, my mind a swirl of thoughts. The illumination slowly catches the furthest corner of my eye and look up to see a strobe of sun rays flickering against my curtain. The light flickers constantly, the ballet on my ceiling now replaced with a fast-paced mambo.
I jump out of bed and slowly pull the curtain away from the window. A burst of light blinds me momentarily and slowly a beautiful site comes into focus.

Hundreds of birds float past my window. The masses created an intricate filter for the sun to pass through. The light flickered against my unflinching eyes. The flow never ceased, there seemed to be an infinite amount of these birds. All thought was lost and I stood still. And suddenly they were gone. I was struck by the beauty of the moment. I opened the window and let the cold winter air touch my face. My body and mind were still and I was able to think clearly. I thanked God for the moment. Reassurance flooded my heart.

8:04 AM

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

He Needs Me

He Needs Me from Austin Dressman on Vimeo.


"Grandpa, what is your earliest memory?"

He takes a moment to consider the question.

"Afternoon naps in the summertime with the cool breeze blowing in the window..."

He answers with a smile.

And it was easy to close my eyes
finding myself at that window
The curtains floating against the constant summer breeze
The sound of Great Grandma playing the piano
"but only the black keys"

Saturday, December 5, 2009

"I'm bustin' baby...BUSTIN'"

Preface: Every so often, throughout the year, I get into a major Frank Sinatra kick. I listen to his whole discography on repeat. It happen like, maybe...4-5 times a year? And it lasts for about a week.

I always forget how beautiful Sinatra's "Stardust" is.

"And now the purple dusk of twilight time...steals across the meadows of my heart"

I don't care how corny it sounds out of context...when Frankie sings it with an accompanying orchestral swell, I have not a care in the world.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Overheard at Work.

-Part of an ongoing series-

There's this guy that I work with. His desk is around the corner. He's a nice enough guy, we say hi and talk for a few minutes when he passes my desk.
But he says some of the most obnoxious ignorant things...

Directed at the Palestinian guy: "It's stupid. Why can't the Shiite's and the "Sunny's" just give it a rest. They're really blowing things out of proportion."

Also heard earlier, "So wait. How do you say it? Ramadan? When was it? guys just like...don't eat? Like...don't you get hungry? When I get hungry, I eat."

I love Holiday Breaks

Thanksgiving Break from Austin Dressman on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dear Ms. Giaofrano

"IT Solutions Center, can I get your name and NKU ID?"

Dear Ms. Giaofrano,

When I picked up the phone today at work and heard your voice, I knew this would be a long call. You greeted me with a screeching "OH! Finally! A human voice!" and I knew your problem would not easily be resolved. I begrudgingly minimized the article I was reading before you called and listened to you mindlessly babble on about how computers are out to get you for the next 5 minutes.

Ms. Giaofrano, I want to help you with your problem once you stop talking.
Please, Ms. Giaofrano...
Ok? Now what seems to be the problem?

Uh huh.
Sure, I can help you with that once I just get the...
No Ms. Giaofrano, I do not have a "degree in computers".
Ms. Giaofrano, when you yell at your dogs, can you please take the receiver away from your mouth?

Joe, the guy at work with one arm,
What? I mean he openly talks about it, it's ok.
Ok, so Joe walks by pushing a cart with a huge load of printer paper, nearly touching the ceiling. He's trying to compensate for that arm. No, I'm not trying to be mean, I'm just stating the facts. I'm the omniscient narrator here, that's what he's thinking when he decides to push a cart with far too many boxes of paper.
Anyways, without thinking much about it, I notice out of the corner of my eye that the cart is wobbling quite a bit. Too much in fact. Because one of the 40 lb boxes falls off onto my head as he's passing.

After frantic apologies, Joe leaves with the cart, still wobbling along. I wince as I rub the back of my head. Ms. Giaofrano's high-pitched voice still ringing inside the walls of my brain.
She's still on the line. And she's still talking about how when she was at NKU for undergrad, it was much easier to register for classes. "No computers necessary. Just cawl the numba. Then they set ya up with what you want."
Ms. Giaofrano, what you need is to open the internet. It's that little blue icon on your desktop. No Ms. Giaofrano, its the desktop on your computer. Then go to the NKU homepage and click the register for classes link.
You haven't actually applied to NKU yet?

Ms. Giaofrano, listen. You're obviously going back to school at the ripe age of what? 55? 60? because that 20/20 special on the Recession "scared some sense in to ya". You're scared that the new manager at the florist is going to get rid of the old faces to replace them with all of the bright energetic college students out job-hunting.


I know you're scared Ms. Giaofrano, I'm kind of scared myself. This new era is daunting. It's as scary for me as it is for you. We both worry about getting lost among the sea of faces, of not expanding to our full potential. You worry about understanding computers, I worry about understanding age.
Ms. Giaofrano, how much do things change? Do you lose your childhood dreams with each new year? I don't want to grow to be jaded Ms. Giaofrano.
I know Joe made it this far. And look at him, he still find some way to try to compensate for that arm he doesn't have. I always ask him if he needs help, but he always says, "Ah, yeah, well you know I can probably get this. Thanks though!"
The next 5 minutes he spends half squatting, half walking, bent back trying to hold all of the files at once, beads of sweat forming at his temples.
As unnecessary as it is, I kinda admire that about him. He's always pushing himself like that. Taking unnecessary risks.
Hm, I never realized that before...

Oh no, I'm still here Ms. Giaofrano.
Has the software finished downloading yet?
Not yet? ah gotcha. Ok, we'll wait.

You know, I also know that you're scared about finding that certain someone. That nice man who used to come in to get flowers for when he visited his ill mother used to come in all the time, and you used to have the nicest chats with him.
But now he never comes in anymore.
I know, I'm worried myself. I can never seem to set my sights on the one that ends up working out. And in a weird way, it's comforting to know that this stuff isn't always resolved in our younger years. I'll have that many more years to gain wisdom from the different women I encounter. A patchwork of different encounters, faces I know on that level.
No Ms. Giaofrano, I'm not advocating sleeping around!
Ok well...
Yeah but...
You're right Ms. Giaofrano. I can't get too content in thinking that way or I'll never settle for just one.

It's done downloading?
Ah ok great, now click the "Finish" key.
No, that doesn't mean we're finished completely...
Well we...
I still have to have you...

Ms. Giaofrano, I think we'll be just fine.

I know you're scared Ms. Giaofrano, but computers aren't so hard once you get the hang of them.