Sunday, December 24, 2006

'Twas The Night Before...

Here's an interesting poem I heard today loosely based on "The Night Before Christmas". It is called "The Night Before Jesus Came"...I hope it stirs something in you.

'Twas the night before Jesus came and all through the house
Not a creature was praying, not one in the house.
Their Bibles were lain on the shelf without care
In hopes that Jesus would not come there.

The children were dressing to crawl into bed,
Not once ever kneeling or bowing a head.
And Mom in rocker with baby on her lap
Was watching the Late Show while I took a nap.

When out of the East there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash!

When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But angels proclaining that Jesus was here.
With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray
I knew in a moment this must be The Day!

The light of His face made me cover my head
It was Jesus! returning just like He had said.
And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth
I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.

In the Book of life which He held in His hand
Was written the name of every saved man.
He spoke not a word as He searched for my name;
When He said "It's not here" my head hung in shame.

The people whose names had been written with love
He gathered to take to His Father above.
With those who were ready He rose without a sound
While all the rest were left standing around.

I fell to my knees, but it was too late;
I had waited too long and this sealed my fate.
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight'
Oh, if only I had been ready tonight.

In the words of this poem the meaning is clear'
The coming of Jesus is drawing near.
There's only one life and when comes the last call
We'll find that the Bible was true after all!

We were'nt ready the first time He came, do you suppose we'll be ready next time?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Birthday Brother

I am the youngest of seven kids. Always have been :) Which means I have at least seven birthdays to remember, but if you know me at all you know that I have a great memory for things that most people forget. If only I could switch that so I could remember important things, well then, I'd be set. Set in what? I dunno. Ah, but I digress.

Today is my brother's birthday. The brother that is just two years older than I. The brother that I, as a kid, thought hated me. The one that was my most bitter rival in all things brotherly. The one who, if he caught me riding his bike would chase me down, grab that bike by the sissy bar (remember those?...If you don't, don't ask) and walk me to a dead stop and tip me off of said bike only to ride it home and park it in the garage. The brother that always seemed to get lost in the shuffle. I mean, even his birthday always played second fiddle to Christmas (not to mention the fact that if falls on the shortest day of the year), but he never complained. Never!...Still doesn't. When we were young I thought he would break me in half, and he easily could have, given the fact that he outweighed, out-muscled, out-almosteverythingelsed me, but he never hurt me terribly. And now that I have two boys of my own with roughly the same age distance between them, I'm beginning to understand that he pummeled me because that's what brothers do, not out of hate or malice. It helped to make me who I am today. And who I am today is his little brother that is grateful and full of admiration and respect for a the man that my brother is.

Happy Birthday Will! (I'd shake your hand but I know you could still snap it off in a heartbeat if you wanted to :)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Away Is Where I've Been

Well it's been a while hasn't it? Yeah, I've been away, both figuratively and literally.

I had two weeks of vacation in November which I spent in California and Kauai. The first week it was just me visiting friends and family in Ca. and the second week my kids and I spent in Hawaii. That seems like eons ago. There was sunshine and laughter and fun and being together...all of which are very close to the top of the list of my all time favorite things. The time spent with my kids was starting to feel like finally we were reconnecting a bit. I was loving it and feeling really encouraged. But as quickly as it began, it ended. Since I dropped them off at their mom's on Nov. 26, I have not seen my daughter (she's back at school), I've seen my 15 year old for ONE half hour, and my 13 year old I've seen for one full day all tolled.

This living from the heart takes it's toll. I could sit here and tell you that I'm used to it; That, over the cousre of the past 8 1/2 years I've learned to deal with it; That, oh sure it hurts, but I've grown a callous on that part of my soul and I'll be just fine; That if I've found that busyness and having clear life goals and continuing towards those has been a source of healing; But those would all be lies. The fact is, that just this morning I stopped just before I left my house, there in the entryway where the pictures of my three babies hang, and kissed my index finger and touched a picture of their faces and tried hard not to cry because, today?... That's the extent of our interaction. That hurts my heart.

So. If I'm going to continue living with this heart, I'm going to let it show a little instead of hiding and quit trying so hard to 'just get over it'. I know many, many people with bruises on their heart that I want as my friends so I'm going to give them my broken heart so we at least have that in common.

What about you? Where have you been hiding?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

It Hardly Seems Possible...

...13 years ago today I became a father for third time. I say it like that because each experience of becoming a father is completely different. I don't like to say I became a father again, or simply that we had another child. As if any of it is remotely the same. Each child is an original experience. Their birth. Their baby-ness. What they do to my insides. How we navigate in, around, and through each other. I love each of my kids uniquely.

Today, however, I get to celebrate the birth of my youngest. Holy Cow! How did he turn 13 when I'm still 25?? How did he become smarter than me? Why do I have to ask him how he thinks I should vote on I-933? When did tickling become passe and girls become okay? Ah well, these are the unanswerable questions that life hands me by the bucket full. The funny thing is, my son seems to have been blessed(?) with the same ability to ask questions and I love it!

The other day we were stopped at a stoplight and there were three kids approximately his age, kind of oddly dressed, that were acting typically teenage-y, that caught his eye. He said nothing, just observed. Maybe 10 minutes later as we were still driving, he asks, "Dad, the plural of cactus is cacti, right?" "Yeah", I reply. "And the plural of alumnus is alumni, right?" "Yeah" ...long pause. Then he says, "Well I can only surmise then, that those dudes at that last corner would be a group of dufi." How hilarious is that!?? It was then that I reached over and tousled his hair and soaked in another moment. I love being his dad!

Happy Birthday to him!

And a great day to the rest of you :)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Book Titles by R.B. Trary

Remember as a kid, those cheesy book titles followed by their extra cheesy authors? You know...

...Yellow River by I.P. Freely

Under The Bleachers by Semour Butz, etc.?

Well, today I thought of a few, more up to date versions...

-The Press Is Always Right by Condy Cending

-No First Names by Anderson Cooper

-Where Have All The Soldiers Gone? by Tupac Tharebags

-There Were No Weapons by Reed Mylips

-It Comes Back Around by Boomer Ang

-Hiding In The White House by Juneau Wariam

-What Did You Step In? by Ishmael Sinnear

-Tracking Bin Laden by Chase N. Araynbo

-I Am Not A Snob by Art C. Fahrtse

-This Time We'll Get Him by Terry Gozagen

-Whistles In My Head by Wendy Windblows

-He's Still President by Wyatt Neverwerks

-Hillary's Last Dance by Ben Thayer and Don That

-Mission Accomplished by Ugatta B. Kidden

-You're Gorgeous George! by Wendell Ites-Gowowt

...I'm sure you guys can think of some more. Come on! This'll be fun :)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

My Own Fog

It was foggy today. It was a lingering, heavy fog. The forecast said it might blow off, it might not. It seems as though that same fog has infiltrated my heart of late. I don't know how to explain it really, but it's a heavy, lingering fog. It's a funny thing, fog. Each particle of mist, in and of itself is hardly discernible, but when they gang up and hold hands you can scarcely see your hand in front of your face.

Well, the particles have slowly been sneaking into my life, seemingly undetected, certainly not invited or properly addressed and they seem intent on making it hard to see anything clearly. And they're succeeding.

Not one day goes by where this sentence doesn't come into play at some point: "If I had loved well I wouldn't be here right now." Now, I realize that any good relationship is all about give and take...Simultaneously. So did I give too much? Did I take too little? Did I take too much? These questions haunt me. Will I ever get a definitive answer? No. But my empty house silently screams to me, "Why does it matter? The fact is, you failed." I have no answer. And a particle sneaks in.

I love my kids with all of my heart. If I had more heart I'd give them that too. My 15 year old son has a beautiful heart buried in confusion and anger. He has been the source of more frustration in my life than I thought was possible. We misunderstand each other gravely. Nothing hurts like being misunderstood by someone you love. My intentions for him are filled with a deep love reserved for my children, yet through his eyes I look like the devil's brother. Nothing I do or say seems to matter. The fog thickens.

I'm alone. Duh. That's why I'm spilling pathetic, forlorn words out into the internet. As pathetic as it sounds, I'm downright lonely sometimes. I walk around here singing schmaltzy songs that make me laugh. Songs about candy corn and Snickers and in the background a lonely candle flickers (see. I told you they were schmaltzy!) . You see, I realize that I'm nothin' extraordinary. If anything, I'm extraordinarily ordinary, but I have a heart to give away. I firmly believe that a heart can't be won...It must be given. I want to sing schmaltzy songs and laugh and dance and hold hands and enjoy being myself with someone while we give our hearts away to each other. But I'm still afraid of failing; of misunderstanding; of being misunderstood; of not getting through. I'm paralyzed in the fog.

The fog is thick. Tomorrow's forecast says it might blow off, it might not.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Life out the door

I used to wonder as a kid, what my dad saw and thought and did during a day at work. Maybe someday my kids will wonder the same thing, so I take my camera with me sometimes to chronicle the what I saw part of my day. These last few weeks we've been blessed with some enormously beautiful days. Here's a sampling of what I get to look at out the open door of my truck.

Isn't it perrrrty?

Maybe even...artistic?

Saturday, September 30, 2006


About a year ago, two of my three brothers and I took a 2 and 1/2 week vacation to the East coast. Originally we had planned to visit our 'mother land'--The Netherlands--however, when fuel prices started their way up the escalator we decided to try something different. Something we had never done before. All of us are very fond of driving and road trips but the thought of driving all the way out to the friggin' other side of the country was a bit much. So, instead we found some last minute deals to D.C. which we thought would be a nice place to start a road trip.

We had a few 'must see' spots picked out like, Gettysburgh, Cooperstown, New York City, and of course, upstate New York to view the foliage. Other than that we had no real itinerary. We're all pretty good at wingin' it.

The original plan had us renting a Jeep. (Jeeps are manly ya know ;) Well, original plans rarely come to fruition do they? All that was left when we stepped into the rental pickup point was...a minivan!! Yeah, also quite manly. As it turned out though, it was great. Although it was never a point we had to prove, it seems that it's not illegal to drive with both sliding doors open. Even on the freeway! Anyway, as luck would have it, or more specifically, as it is when you're the youngest sibling, I got the back seat most of the time which was really fine with me since I was also in possession of a New York Atlas and Gazetteer. Yay. I love maps. So as we're bookin' along the backroads of nowhere, I shouted out from the back seat, "Herkimer!" To which, both of my brothers slowly turned their heads in my direction and and said, "What??!!" Maybe that was a question that they regret to this day. "Herkimer! (which is the name of a small town we had just passed.) Doesn't that sound like something New Yawkahs would say? I mean, c'mon! Hukimah. Her-kimer flattop, Her-kimer gooovin' up slowly..." I could sing the whole thing here for ya but, you know. Or not. Ah, but I digress. So even now, a year later, when I want to let one of my brothers know I'm thinking about them I'll either text the word or leave it on their voicemail--'Herkimer!"

By the way, if you're really bored you might want to read more. The trip was a first for us in many ways, not the least of which was our first foray into blogging. Here it is

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

a leaf

The wind which had coursed through my veins for the past few weeks finally got the best of me. Try as I might, with all my might, I could hold on no longer. So let go I did and had I but known what a ride I was in for, I'd have done so much sooner. On the wind I spun and twirled and danced with delight to a destination unknown. And in the midst of my dizzying fall, me in all my color, I glanced back to see the others left hanging. Green. With envy.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Friday, September 15, 2006

Sometimes I think too much

Sometimes I feel too little

Sometimes I'm tired

Sometimes I'm tired of being tired

Sometimes I hide away

Sometimes I let my mind wander

Sometimes I think of you

Sometimes I cry

Sometimes I'm melancholy

Sometimes I'm just plain cheesy

Sometimes I'm full of longing

Sometimes I'm content

Sometimes my heart is singing

Sometimes it just hurts

Sometimes you think you know me

Sometimes I wish you did

Sometimes I crave solitude

Sometimes I am lonely

Sometimes I understand you

Sometimes I'm confused

Sometimes I'm inspired

Sometimes I am paralyzed

Sometimes I am all of these all in one today.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Summer and what it looks like when it's winding down....

 my little world.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Post In Which I Feebly Try To Describe The Indescribable

I have this friend, her name is Steph.

I don't even know if I can begin to do justice to even a portion of what she means to me, but I'm going to give it a fair shake right here and now, because she has inspired me to.

She doesn't know it, but this morning as I was reading (a practice she has unwittingly thrust me into) I looked over at my nightstand and there, perched atop a stack of books that, before I knew her, would simply not have been there, I eyed a little blue booklet. It's a booklet she gave me once when I came to visit her. It's beautiful. You know what's beautiful about it? It is completely handmade by her. She made the paper. She bound it with silky blue ribbon. She attached a handmade ornament on the front. She then filled it with some of her favorite quotes by people like Shakespeare, Thoreau, Frost and even Dave Barry. All of them handwritten in, I might add, beautiful sweeping cursive penmanship the likes I've never seen. I'm not exaggerating when I say it's an absolute keepsake! And you know what makes it a keepsake? It's what moved me this morning when I saw it, to hold it in my hands and read it through twice and be warmed by this thought: It's a piece of her. She put thought and effort into every last detail of it. Right down to the fact that she left the last few pages empty so that I might finish it with my favorite quotes. That's just how she is. She cares well.

Have I mentioned that she's funny? Or smart? Or pretty? Or real? Or compassionate? Or witty? Or more wonderfully different than anybody that I know?? Well then, let me mention that NOW! This woman has a perspective that is...well, indescribable. One of my favorite things she has ever said about herself to me is this, "I rarely have a bad hour, much less a bad day." And I've found it to be absolutely true. This one thing about her has, more than almost any other thing, been my saving grace. It's not that I never have a bad hour or a bad day anymore, but somehow when I'm getting down, I think of her and I can't help but smile (if not laugh) with delight, and it pulls me out of almost certain doldrums. She is the smile of God!...with attitude. It's not a benign, or slapped-on smile either. It is as real as her soul because that's where it comes from. There's nothing fake about it. Even without knowing it at times, she has this way of finding something good about a person and accentuating it. She would probably deny that, but that's because she has a tendency not to see herself the way I do. I guess that's only fair because I have the same tendency when it comes to how she sees me. She builds me up when life tries to tear me down. Did I mention that she's amazing?

I would be remiss if I didn't say that she loves her God with all her heart and coming in at a close second are her two spectacular girls. There's nothing more precious than the way she calls them 'baby'. Nothing.(I love them both and they are darlings.) I've been lucky enough to witness both of her first loves first hand. One of my favorite pictures of her is planted at that spot in my heart where I hide things that I treasure. Suffice it to say that I've seen parts of her soul...And I am in awe. I cherish and treasure (CAT;) her more than mere words can describe.

However, there is one thing that I simply hate and it is this: She lives so damn far away!! I'm a communicative kind of a guy (just ask her how many ridiculous text messages she gets every stinkin' day!!) and there's something that emails and texts and even phone calls can't deliver. I think a good friendship deserves that one thing: presence. I hope to experience it again soon.

Very soon.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Just...A Little

My youngest son is 12 years old. In many ways he's a lot like most 12 year old boys. He loves baseball (Gee, I bet you didn't see that one coming!), he's the catcher because "I'm in on every single play." He loves soccer, he gets queasy at the thought of girls, and he could eat pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

In many ways he very, very different from most 12 year old boys. He's a voracious reader. I'm talkin' serious here. I got him the full set of The Chronicles of Narnia for Christmas (767 pages), he had it read in 3 days. And if that's not crazy enough, he LOVES to read history books. I mean history text books. He knows more about what's going on in the world than almost anyone I know. Last year his sister headed of to college at Washington State and one night late in the fall we got a phone call from her. She asked to speak to her brother (who was 11 at the time) to ask him the name of a particular General in a battle in the Civil War. His quote to her was: "You need to pay better attention! Everybody knows it was General such and such !" He had read her entire senior History text book the year prior-just for fun-he says.

He also loves politics. Sometimes when I have to leave him home while I run quickly to the store I'll let him watch TV to wile away the time. Invariably, when I get home I can see him flipping back and forth between CNN and Fox News. He loves the stuff! He can tell you all 9 of the Justices on the Supreme Court and who they were appointed by. He can tell you who voted which way on many major trials and who was the swing vote and on and on. Justice is in his soul. He and I argue vehemently on many political issues. I sometimes play the devil's advocate just to see if he's thought out his position. He's a bright boy. While other boys are playing X-Box or Gamecube, he's thinking about whether the U.N. is a viable entity. Seriously.

Not long ago he amazed even me when were driving down the road. He was looking out the window, seemingly counting clouds rush by, when he astonished me with this: "Dad, did you know that the fifth amendment basically says you can remain silent as to not incriminate yourself, and the fifth commandment basically says you should always tell the truth. Right? Well don't you think it would be better if more people, instead of invoking the fifth amendment (yes, this is how he speaks), knew they had to invoke the fifth commandment? (long silence)...Ironic, don't you think?"

He aspires to be a judge someday. Pretty cool don't you think?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Full Circle

I'm lucky enough to have a job where I get to ride around, both doors open, wind in my hair, gawking and imagining and generally being curious about many things. I get to be a moving part in a mostly fixed world. Houses, roads, ocean, sky all fixed in their positions and me, wandering through, fixing my gaze on the other movements.

Today I saw a little boy in a red baseball cap, riding his bike with his baseball glove slid onto his handlebars. I couldn't help but wonder where he was headed. What would happen when he got there? How would he remember today? I imagined the rest of his day and thought, Ahh, now that's the life!

Then I saw two men, probably in their late 50's early 60's, driving in a beat-up old Chevy truck. Fishing poles jutting out over the edge. Rubber boots and tackle boxes lined up neatly under the cab window. I found myself wanting to know where their fishing hole would be today. What a great day to go fishing! I pictured a few spots I would choose if I were them. I wondered if the fishing was really the point today. I thought to myself, Ahh, now that's the life!

Later I saw a man and his son in an enclosed tractor out in a field, pulling a 5 bottom rollover plow. The dad was standing next to his son, who was driving. It seemed he was pointing at gauges and controls and explaining to his boy what each gauge indicated and what the levers were for. A father and a son. A teacher and a pupil. What a sweet relationship that might be, I thought. And once again my loudest thought cried out, Ahh, now that's the life!

Still later, I saw man and a woman that must have been 80 years old, if a day. They were shuffling slowly down a quiet street. Hand in hand. Stopping more than starting. Every flower seemed to spark a new conversation. I couldn't help but stop and take it all in. I was curious about their pace. Were they going slow because they wanted to or because they had to, I wondered. Does pace even matter when you're holding hands? Wouldn't it be nice not to care, I asked myself. And then I answered, Ahh, now that's the life!

and suddenly I could feel a pair of eyes behind me. It was a little boy on a bike, it could've been me. He was staring at me with his eyes glazed over and mouth agape in wonder as if to say, 'I wonder what his day is like. Driving around with his doors wide open, wind in his hair and generally getting to be curious about life.' I thought to myself, Ahh, now THIS is the life!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Are You Ready...

...Okay. Here goes. For the past three mornings I've come here to try to articulate things that are going on inside, but I just couldn't get them from down here (pointing at chest), to up here (pointing to space between ears).

Sadness is a part of life. It just is. Just like learning to hate brussel sprouts as a kid, is. Happiness is also a part of life. I 'm sure of it. In the same way as having to listen to your mom say, "They're good for you! Now eat them!", is.


My previous post (since deleted) essentially said--I'm sad. It was a simple statement of fact. I could have just as easily said that I hate brussel sprouts, but then all three of you would have finally been convinced of that suspicion you've had all along--this guy has totally lost it! But really I haven't. Let me explain it.

The first part of my sad state has to do with my daughter heading back to school. It seems like just a few weeks ago that she came home for the summer. I had so looked forward to summer so we could reconnect and spend some time together--just to be. Well, she got a good job that kept her quite busy and, of course, she has a pile of friends that filled in the waking hours between. Suffice it to say we didn't spend much time together at all, and the times we did get were either hurried or one of us seemed preoccupied, and now she's all the way across the state at school.

Secondly, yet more prominently, there was Sam. Sam is a friend of mine that is dying of cancer. He has been a friend of mine for the past four years. Another mutual friend of ours, Mark, had a great idea. An idea spurred by a comment from his mom at a funeral last year. She slid up next to Mark and whispered, "Isn't it funny how many people will take a day off to go to someone's funeral but how few of the same people would take a half hour to visit when the man was still alive?" It struck a chord with Mark. He decided not to let our friend Sam go without knowing who he impacted and how. He threw a party for Sam and even put an ad in the local paper telling any and all who cared that Sam was not doing well and could stand a little encouragement. Well, the party was a huge success. There were cakes that said, 'We Love You Sam", there were balloons, there were cards to sign and all tolled there were probably around 200 people there. Each one armed with a hug or a handshake or a kiss. While Sam's body is becoming frail and his outward strength diminished, his spirit is bouyed and his eyes shone like the sun.

So, in essence, I was sad that I was sad. There is SO much to be glad about. I have a beautiful-beyond-belief daughter, and I have friends that let me be significant to them and they actually kind of like me.

Now I'm happy.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

I walked out this morning and I wrote down this song...

I write songs. In my mind, not on paper. Little cheesy, schmaltzy, strange ones. No really. I have this propensity for making up really dumb songs about anything and everything that might be going on in my mind at any given moment. They're not particularly good, mostly, since I can't read or write a lick of music. Actually, they're more than likely, terrible. Did I mention that they're schmaltzy. I think I did. Anyway, I find it to be a therapeutic way to release things out of my head and heart. Oh, and then I sing them. To myself.

For instance, tonight as I was leaving my ex-wife's house after dropping off my boys, I started singing a song I'll call "If You Only Knew". I sing a different variation of it almost every time I drive away. "Whether heading east or west it matters not to me, a road that winds the least is best because it brings you straight to me..." or something like, "Even when the sky is clear my heart's a deeper blue, whenever I turn from here and drive away from you..." or, "In the windshield I love the distance, when I see you waiting in it. In the mirror I hate the distance, when I see you fading in it." I don't know that I'll ever sing these songs in front of another person (just writing them here is difficult) but, I do want my kids to know that this is a part of who I am. I mean, I'm all grown up and doing fine and I'm not a walking basket case, but there are parts of every day that make me miss them. So at the behest of several of my friends and family members I'm going to start journaling these things. Here are my questions to you: If and when you journal, how do you do it? Who are you addressing? What is your goal? (ie: future reference, creative release, mental excercise, etc.) If you don't journal, why not?

You know me. Simply curious. Or should that be...curiously simple?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Just Me...that's all

When I started this blog I wasn't really sure why I did it other than to prove to myself that there was actually something going on in this fogged up head of mine. I don't know what you come here to read or to see, but today you're going to a little peek behind the curtain. More than just my mind, a piece of my heart. Here goes.

There's one thing I desperately, desperately want from this life. Well, they're actually two, but I'd have to put them side by side because one is completely empty without the other. To be fully known, and to be fully loved.

I use the word 'desperately' not in the sense that I would do anything to attain this want, but because it seems to be at the root of everything I do. I'm like a walking resume. Visible to all. I've got to have my shit together. If I do certain things, if I seem a certain way, if I am likable, if I'm successful, if I'm confident, or capable, or good at something, then maybe, just maybe, someone will notice. And if they notice, there's an outside chance that I'll be interesting enough that they may want to know me. And if they start to know me, who knows, maybe they'll start to love me... And that's where the dilemma begins for me. You see, the line that follows 'if they start to know me' never reads 'maybe they'll start to love me'. No. That line always reads 'if they start to know me, really know me, they'll never love me. Because I can't have both. If they love me it's only because they don't fully know me. If they know me, how can they love me?' I tend not to trust what people see in me. What do they see that I don't? What don't they see that I so clearly see?

So the curtain goes up and the little man behind it begins to find new ways to blow the smoke and project my voice and to construct new mirrors so I'll seem larger than I will ever be. I don't want you to see the scars and the broken dreams and the tears and the scared little boy whose heart aches to be loved. I want you to be confident that I've got my shit together, that I can handle it, that I'm capable and full of answers and strong and successful because after all, that's what everyone's looking for. But really... Sometimes all I really want is a hand to hold and for someone to whisper this in my ear-"I know who you are...AND I love you because of it."

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Let's Jump In!

Last week my son and I went to this creek to hike and and explore and generally just be boys. When we first reached the creek we noticed this manmade 'bridge' to a safe spot in the middle, so we carefully inched our way across, being very careful not to get wet. The water was cold after all. Cold enough to take your breath away at first. As we meandered our way up toward the waterfall at the head of this creek, we found that it was going to be impossible to navigate our way up and stay completely dry. Not that we didn't try. We would stand at a crossing point and point out ways we could possibly make it. "If we step on that little gray rock and then stretch across to that ugly dark one...." "No, no, dad. See that one just barely under the water? Step there then jump to that log and then across to that ugly dark one..." Well, it wasn't long before we abandoned our efforts to stay dry. And when I say abandoned, I mean reckless abandon. Before long we were pushing each other off rocks and finding ourselves completely submerged in freezing cold creek water. And you know what? We got a few bumps and scrapes from the rocks, but after a while the water wasn't that cold. Really. We soaked it in.

I showed my son this picture a couple of days later. He laughed and said, "Look at how careful I'm being! Remember at the beginning how much work we put into not getting wet?! That's ridiculous, the getting wet was the funnest part!" It's funny, I think, how many times I need to re-learn this life lesson for myself. How much effort I put forth into not getting wet. Not having my breath stolen from me. Wanting to stay in control. The rocks are sharp, I don't want to get hurt. The water's cold and harsh, but you know what? After a while you not only get used to it, it's refreshing. I'm jumping back in with reckless abandon, because the getting wet is truly the funnest part.

Friday, July 07, 2006


Well, it's been a while hasn't it? Yep. I know.


I promise.

Friday, June 23, 2006

I Forget

Every perfect now and then I get to feel like a child while being an adult. It takes some forgetting to get there, but you can make it happen. Forgetting that your age has nothing to do with how much child is left in you. Forgetting that what others think of you has nothing to do with who you really are. That only God knows who you really are. Or maybe it takes remembering. Remembering to stop and lay in the grass and watch clouds change into a hundred different animals in a matter of minutes, just for you. Oh, and the way the grass makes you itch and how much you don't care that it does. For that matter, you don't much care about anything but that very moment. You are lost in your imagination and there's no guilt or anguish for as far as you can see. Just blue sky, clouds and you.

When did we forget? Is is safer not to savor? Maybe I'm just childish, but I'm going to savor this day, this life.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Little Boy Thoughts

There's a lot of little boy in me, still. I recognized him this morning at church through the fuzziness that tears make when they hang there on the edge of my eye. I was missing my dad. He took us kids to church for the first sixteen or so years of our lives. Never mind that he did it religiously, he did it faithfully. I saw how much my lack of respect for this faithfulness hurt him sometimes. It made me sad.

What I wouldn't give to have him put his arm around me and let me know that I'm doing okay. This father thing is the hardest thing I've ever done. I would put my arm around him and tell him that he did well by me. With the perspective I've gained since being a dad myself, I would tell him how much I admire him now.

The little boy in me will never stop missing him. I have my dad's eyes, and right now they're full of tears.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Somewhere Between

One of my goals in life is to find balance. I know it seems like a rather vague goal. I mean, how does one measure balance? (Just ask that one-legged waitress at IHOP!) Seriously though. Notice. There in the parenthesis is something semi-laughable followed by 'seriously though'. Balance. I have to admit, though, that it's rarely that simple.

On any given day you can find me somewhere between galavant and mosey. Between ecstatic and depressed. Between pensive and thoughtless. Between Iraq and a hard place. (See! There I go again!) Between holding back tears and knee slapping. Between prayer and cursing. Between poetic and idiotic. Between careful and wreckless. Between selfless and self-absorbed. Between real and wannabe. Between useful tool and and useless fool. Between here and there. So, what's my point?? I find myself sliding around on these continuums sometimes at a pace that makes me dizzy. Can that be? Does balance make you dizzy? I don't know, I'm just curious.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

A Day Just Like Any Other

If you know me at all, you know that I have a thing for words. A turn of phrase. A pun. A spoonerism. You name it, it's up here in this echo chamber I affectionately call my brain. Granted, it's not always the most calculated or well thought out mechanism in the world. Sometimes I just spew words without thinking that the person hearing them doesn't necessarily have the same thought patterns as me. It can be embarrassing. For instance, today I went into the coffee shop I go to everyday. I mean, EVERY day. So, of course, I figure these people know me pretty well, right? Well, actually I did it without thinking. I walked up to the girl behind the display case full of cookies, muffins and other assorted pastries and said, "I'll have one of those big dickersnoodles." Loud enough so that every soul in the place could hear it plainly. Seriously. I don't know if I've ever seen a brighter red face in my whole life. Oh, and the girl's face was red too!

It's been fairly nice and warm these days so I've been driving with both of my doors open. Feels good! Today as I returned back to my truck after a short conversation with a customer, there were two swallows sitting on the steering wheel. Now, I don't speak swallow fluently, but here's what I heard. Swallow 1: "So this is what it looks like...I bet it's cool being able to drive." Swallow 2: "Yeah! Wouldn't it be great?! I mean, no wind to fight, no getting wet, no cats to contend with? S1:"Can you imagine just pushing that pedal thingy down there and moving without effort? Look! There's a worm! We could squish worms!! S2:What do you suppose the pilot of this...whatever it is, dreams about while he's driving? Uh oh! Here he comes...I'll meet ya on the wire!" ...
...I jumped back into my seat and wondered what it would be like to fly.

The island I deliver on has oodles (there's a scientific word for ya!) of deer. Not just oodles, mind you, but oodles AND oodles! Which is kind of weird now that I think about it. How did all these deer get here? Late night bridge crossings and clandestine rendevous? Anyway! People here are very much into gardening. Not simply vegetable gardens either. I'm talking full-fledged (is there such a thing as half-fledged?) exotic flower gardens. Nothing spells the end to an exotic flower garden like an oodle or so of deer. Especially the famished-after-all-that-latenight-clandestining-deer. So, every effort is made to keep those pesky deer out. Last week I met up with one such effort. It's called a motion sensitive sprinkler! Don't read it again, I'll write it again...motion sensitive sprinkler! I happened upon it at the most inopportune time. Yep. I had a 75 pound package in my arms which, as luck would have it, blocked most of my vision. So there I am, happily making my way toward the front door when suddenly...pfffffft!!! I am mistaken as a deer by the friggin' idiotic moron sprinkler. I had no idea what was happening! Something was angry and I was getting wet! I couldn't see a thing. I dropped the package right there and bolted for the truck! No way I'm hanging around to get peed on by a...who the heck knows what??!!

If it weren't for all those packages my job would be nothing but fun and games :)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Today was a typical springtime day in the Pacific Northwet. Rain squall. Wind. Another rain squall. Then suddenly, brilliant, piercing sunshine that had been patiently waiting it's turn to show off...and that was just the first five minutes of the day. I loved it! I used to think that fall was my favorite season, but on days like today I've decided not to decide. The fall has it's gale force winds and dancing leaves and thunderheads. The spring has it's zephyr winds and bursting buds and winsomeness as counterparts, but spring carries with it one thing fall doesn't. Promise. The dark days of autumn are a precursor to the even darker days of winter, and around here that means: dismal. Ahh, but spring! Spring taps you on the shoulder and says, "You thought today was something? Wait 'til tomorrow!" That sounds good to me.

And, like the weather, my mind was busy if not equally unpredictable today.

I drove by the house where my friend Chuck used to live. It was about a year ago that Chuck decided his life wasn't worth living anymore. He parked his truck around the back side of the shed, hooked up a hose to the exhaust pipe and ran it into the cab of the truck and started it up. He was a seemingly happy man. Loved his wife and kids and grandkids. There were no outside indications that he was distraught, but I can't help but think he must have been. The last time I talked to him he was his usual, jovial self. I didn't know it was the last time I would talk to him. You rarely do. It made me wonder who I saw for the last time today, and do they feel promise?

My friend Mikey has a new, artificial femur (not that he ever had an old, artificial one...) If you've read my blog before, you'll probably remember Mikey. About a month or so ago he found out that the chemotherapy treatments he'd endured did absolutely nothing to decrease or even stagnate the growth of a cancerous tumor in his knee so he had to go in and have surgery. They removed the tumor, most of his knee, and 80 percent of his femur. He lost a lot of weight and is looking very pale but, that's to be expected, they said. He is using crutches to get around and is already back to working in the kitchen at the new cafe. I got to talk to him for a few minutes today. I made him laugh...that made me smile.

The last few mornings as I threw the covers off and planted my feet on the floor, I found myself singing a line from a Jackson Browne song that goes, "...I get up and do it again, amen." because sometimes the repetition of my life is a little bit tiring. But, today as I was thinking, I realized that had I not done this thing that I do day in and day out, I wouldn't have even known Chuck. At least not that well. And although it was sad, there would be no missing him today. I wouldn't know Mikey well enough to pray for (and ask for prayer for) him. We wouldn't have shared that laugh today. So, tomorrow, when my feet hit the floor, I'll change my tune slightly and I'll sing, "thank you, I get to get up and do it again, amen."

I promise.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Injustice Of It

When I was a kid, one of our Saturday chores was pulling weeds. I hated it! While it's still not my favorite pastime, I know it needs to be done or soon my house will simply be known as ' the one behind the dandelions'. I remember back in those childhood days quite often saying, "that's not fair, why should I have to pull weeds?" To which my dad would reply, "nobody said life was fair." I'm not sure if it was his favorite saying or just a kneejerk response. I suppose with seven kids all clamoring and questioning the inequities of life, you've got to come up with a mantra and stick with it. But I digress in a forward manner (hmm, maybe that's the technical way to say "Back To The Future!? :) As I was pulling weeds I thought back on my week and some of the substance of it that struck me in one way or another, and my dad's words rang true in my ears once again.

A friend of mine pulled me into her office, with an expression that can only be described as -- beaming! "Check this out!", she said, pointing to her computer monitor in delight. She'd told me a couple of weeks ago that she and her husband were having a baby, so I sort of knew what to expect. It was an ultrasound picture of a baby. "Now check this out!" , she said. To me it looked like the very same picture, but remember, I'm a guy. "Twins!!" , she shouted. She was so excited and I was very happy for them, having known them since they moved here as newlyweds not long forward to a few hours later. A different friend of mine was informed that she was never going to be able to have children. Never. Zero percent chance, according to her doctor. She's in her early 30's, not married, and a complete natural with kids by all accounts.
There are no words of condolence that can fill a hole so deep in despair. Words are empty and they echo in the cavern of hollow feelings. My God, how can this be fair? How can a woman who is more fit than others, seemingly, be made to suffer like this? Unfair!

Last night after my softball game, my nephew invited me to celebrate his 19th birthday with him and his family at home with cake and ice cream. This is my nephew that has been semi-attached at the hip to my daughter since birth. They're 3 weeks apart. Of course, I went. During the course of the evening, my daughter made her way over to her step-dad. The man my ex-wife married a year ago. She sidled up next to him, put her arm around him and remained there for the next ten minutes while I ate cake and ice cream. He's a good man. He loves her mom and her brothers. She should love him. That's how she is--she loves people and she's easy to love. But still. I couldn't help but feel the sting. Was he there when she was born? Did he rock her to sleep? Did he ever cry with her? Does he know the names of her dolls? Does he pace the floors at night when she's out later than normal? What right does he have to that arm around his shoulder? What right?! That's so unfair!

Open your dictionary to the word 'average'. There you'll see a picture of me. Blue eyes, a little too much gray at the temples, too much nose, a few wrinkles. Nothing fancy. Oh sure, there are a few things I can do that might be slightly above average (just don't ask me what they are), but those are certainly offset by the things that I do that are below average. Which lands me where I took off...average. I don't mind being average most of the time. It's a pretty cool gig, actually. You don't get your picture in the paper. Cops don't pull you over and ask you for your autograph. You wait in line at Applebee's unaccosted. Nobody even cares that you're the King of Average. Life is grand in averageland...except for this: The King of The Universe died instead of me. He didn't do anything wrong. It was me. He pretended to be, he agreed to be criminal, so I wouldn't have to die. He didn't fight, or kick, or squirm. He did that for me. There has never been a more atrocious injustice, a more unfair act committed than this, ever. And I don't balk. I don't shake my head in disbelief. I act as if it was owed me. If I can live with this injustice, then I certainly can live with all the others. After all..."nobody said life was fair."

Friday, May 05, 2006

What's In A Moment?

I've heard it said that life is nothing more than millions of moments strung together. Some more significant than others. I believe that there is something significant in every moment if you pay close enough attention.

Today as I ate my lunch at the edge of the sound, with my feet sticking out in the wind, I pondered on some of my most recent happenings and picked out a few that made me smile.

Here they are:

A week ago my oldest brother got married in a small, intimate and charming ceremony at my sister's house. There were maybe 40 people there all tolled and 30 of those were members of our extended family. Siblings and their spouses and some of their kids and my mom. Both my brother and his new wife each have a daughter. They-the daughters- were each responsible for the lighting of one single candle which represented themselves as part of the union of their parents' lives. While everyone's eyes were focused on them, I looked past them to the tears welling and the lips quivering on my brother and his bride. There, suddenly, was a moment. The two of them simultaneously acknowledging the forever-ness of their new found love and wrapping their girls up tightly in it.

My son is 12 years old and plays little league baseball. He mostly plays catcher and LOVES it! From his roost behind homeplate he can see everything that happens on the field and is accutely aware of what needs to happen next. He would have it no other way. He is the field general and his personality suits the position to a Tee. Well, before the season began, his coach pulled him aside and told him he wanted him to pitch a little this year. He was not happy. "Dad" he said, "all you get to do is throw the ball and let people hit it. How fun is that?!" I told him if the coach wanted him to pitch, then he needed to pitch. So we've been practicing in the back yard. I pitched when I was his age so I feel like I can at least be a little helpful. He's actually very accurate and skilled, although he can't get much speed on the ball. So. Thursday night his team is ahead by 10 or so runs and the coach puts him in in the 5th inning. The first batter to face him is a boy he considers one of his best friends. First pitch...smacked into center field for a double. Next batter. Second pitch...right down the middle...smacked to right for a single. All this time, I'm nervously pacing back and forth behind the backstop, saying nothing. He got the next two batters to ground out (one of them a spectacular grab by my son--I might add!) and it's down to the potential last out. First pitch...strike one! Second pitch...swing and a miss! And then, suddenly there was a moment. My boy looks at me, gives me a little smirk, fidgets with the ball in his glove, and fires! It's a curveball that misses the plate by 6 inches but the batter swings and strikes out. As he walked triumphantly off the mound, my son looked at me and shrugged his shoulders as if to say--what did you expect??

Today I got a simple text message from my daughter that said, 'Happy Cinco de Mayo padre!" If that's not a moment then I don't know....

Tonight my middle son decided to stay at his mom's so he could be there when his sister gets home from college. It will be in the middle of the night, but he'll be on pins and needles waiting for her. As I was pulling down the driveway to leave, he came back to the truck and leaned on my open window and quitely said, "Good luck at your game tonight, dad." A huge moment for me.

Life does happen a moment a time. I'm finally learning how to pay close attention.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Blue Cars, Blue Songs

Today as I was driving, I saw a 1970 Duster driving down the road and it jarred loose some nostalgia I had hidden in the layers.

You see, I once owned a '70 Duster-back in the day. I'd love to tell you that it was my first car, because then I could be spared the embarrassment of telling you what my first car actually was. My first car was actually a 'boat'! And when I say boat, I mean it was the quintessential car-that-could've-doubled-as-a boat. A 1964 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88. Oh baby! Burgundy exterior. White interior. Forty-two feet long. Four doors. Bench seats. AM Radio.(Is that drool I see dangling from your lower lip?...I thought not.) The only slightly redeeming value of it was, it was SO ugly that birds wouldn't even waste their time crapping on it. I mean, you know you've got a cool car when you can hear the birds flying over saying "whoa whoa whoa, not yet! If I can just hold it for another second or two..." Which brings me back to my first REAL car...the Duster. Now that was a car! Medium blue with a black interior. Four on the floor and wickedly fast. But, my favorite part was perched there in the dash. Yeah. A Craig eight-track tape player connected to four coax speakers that cranked out the best music the 70's had to offer. Aerosmith, The Eagles, Boston, Chicago, The Little River Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ELO, Bread, Fleetwood Mac, The Cars, The Doobie Brothers, Earth Wind and Fire, Kansas, Elton John, Billy Joel, Olivia Newton-John, John Denver, Steely Dan, Loggins and Messina, just to mention a few. And, at the time, ALL of these artists were just hitting their stride. They were not the oldies-they were just HOT! But my all-time favorite tape was James Taylor's Greatest Hits.

To this day, "Something In The Way She Moves" ranks right up there as one of my favorite songs. I thought James (he and I have been on a first name basis ever since, ever since I can remember) wrote that song just for me. For me to sing to my as of yet to be found beloved. Is that cheesy or what? Oh well, sometimes the truth reeks of cheese. Although I look back on those days fondly now, at the time they were lonely. I was a painfully shy kid in those days so I had few friends. Usually it was just me, James, and the Duster. Ole James never seemed to mind me singing along to his beautifully simple songs. If I messed up the syncopation here or there, or if I couldn't finish the line because of the sadness in my throat, he'd just oblige and keep on singing. I could always click the track selector button four times and join him the next time around. I dreamed that someday I'd find someone to 'look my way or call my name'. I dreamed of those 'Berkshires (that) seemed dreamlike on account of that frosting', I wanted to be that 'young cowboy'. I wanted to 'take to the highway', I was 'down and troubled and needed a helping hand', I pleaded 'don't let me be lonely tonight'. But I was okay because, no matter what, my friend James was there singing this to me: 'winter, spring, summer or fall, all you got to do is call and I'll be there, yes I will, you got a friend.' That's all I needed to know.

Isn't it strange how something like a car passing by can affect my thoughts like that? Does this ever happen to you?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Night Is Young And So Is She

My daughter turned 19 years old today.

I'm not going to sit here and lament how old that makes me feel. You all know how old I am, and so do I. On the inside I'm still somewhere between 12 and 25.

Still. There's no need to lament. After all, I've been blessed to know what it means to be a father, and even better than that, to be a dad to three completely wonderful children. It's an immeasurable privilege that I thank God for.

There's something magical about a little girl, though. Or maybe it's hypnotic. Whatever the case may be, it drew me in from the very start and I don't suppose I'll know the end of it on this earth. She is the first person I've ever known since day one. Being the youngest in my family, I never had a younger sibling so this, in and of itself, was amazing to me. But being her dad is still amazing to me. Oh the things you can learn from a girl!
I learned how to sing soft lullabys. I learned how to rock us to sleep. I learned how to kiss a new way. I learned what it means to protect. I learned how to walk slowly, watching for big cracks in the sidewalk. I learned how to talk to a teddy bear. I learned how to listen to one too. I learned the warm feeling of girl tears on my cheek. I learned how to wave goodbye. I learned how to blow a kiss. I learned how to twirl arm in arm. I learned to kneel down while picking dandelions. I learned how to giggle. I learned to tell good bedtime stories. I learned how to be tickled. I learned how to sing into my hairbrush. I learned the good flavors of lip balm. I learned to love the sound of deep sleep. I learned that ears make great handles on shoulder rides. I learned that dreaming is the best part of living. I learned that "I'm sorry" needs to be real. I learned that "I love you" is best said softly and lived loudly. I learned that words can break your heart. I learned that patty cake is more complicated than baseball. I learned that girls can be studs too. I learned that I will never be done learning about my girl. I learned that being "dad" is the greatest honor I will ever have.

If I can grow up to be like her, I'll be happy.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Good Friday

Do tulips have eyeballs? Because if they do, they'd be up to them in rain today. Maybe they should get together --all of them-- and use their two lips and simultaneously look up to the heavens and yell "Close. The. Sky. Already!"

Life can be ridiculous. No. Really. It CAN be. I read it this morning in the book of Judas. Yeah, the one on the back of the Enquirer. Yep. It takes a little bit of getting used to those hokey 3D glasses but, eventually, you can do it. Anyway, right there in Judas 4:14 (which is weird cuz that's today's date...) it says, and I quote: "F" and then some really unrecognizable ripped parchment thing that looks like this:z/,mva'if and then: "o"......see? What it's saying is really quite simple. If you turn the script upside down and fold the left corner over your right index finger like so, it still says the same thing. "F"...."o". Yep. That's right! Judas was the first disciple with Tourette's syndrome. Which is clearly proof that life CAN be ridiculous, like I said.

Did you know that in Canada a lot of people get today off for Good Friday? Do you suppose they even know what that means? I mean, Canada is notorious for having at least one 'holiday' (even though that's what Canadians call a vacation) a month. If the Queen has bad gas they take a holiday. Seriously. Evidently she's got a thing for gassy foods because every other week there's a new holiday proclaimed. I mean, the day after Christmas is 'Boxing Day'. Picture that for a minute. A bunch of Canadians standing around punching each other. Wait!...isn't that called 'hockey'?

Well, this has to rank up there with one of my most useless posts ever, maybe it's because it's Friday. Or not.

Have a good Good Friday and a really really good good Easter! :)

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A Colorful Day

I had a fun day today. I got to be with my son and go hiking and driving and taking pictures. He's so much fun to be around! And I am so blessed. Isn't it cool?

Friday, March 31, 2006

No Kidding?

On the eve of April Fool's Day I'm going to try to fool you. The following is a list of things about me and my life. Some of them true some of them not. See if you can pick out the ones that are NOT.

I bat lefthanded.

I throw righthanded.

I've proposed to two different women.

They both said "Yes".

I've been married only once.

My brother once threw out the first pitch at a Los Angeles Dodger game.

I've stood shoulder to shoulder with Sandy Koufax.

I once braided my wife's hair on a TV

I have auditioned for a Hollywood movie.

I have travelled 60-plus miles an hour in a car--backwards.

When my parents arrived at LAX from the Netherlands they and the eight people with them had a total of $12 to their names.

I can remember the license plate number of the car we drove when I was 6 years old.

I have called 16 different houses 'home'.

I still have my tonsils.

I can say "I love you" in four languages.

My dad never saw me get a basehit.

I've never been in a fistfight.

Being able to fly a plane has long been one of my dreams.

I've asked a Maybelleine model to dinner.

She said "Yes".

I weighed 89 pounds when I was freshman in high school.

I weighed 115 pounds when I graduated from high school.

Lobster is one thing I've never eaten.

I cry easily.

My favorite number is 7.

If I die at an age half-way between that of my dad at his death and my grampa at his, I will die when I'm 77.

My oldest brother is 7 years older than me.

In my 12 years of education (pre-college)I attended 7 different schools.

I graduated from high school in '77.

I was 17.

I am the 7th child born in my family.

I hate math.

My nose was broken by a friend of mine who was teaching me how to box.

I love words.

I sometimes think in spoonerisms.

At my core I am very shy and insecure.

My kids have been to more countries than I have.

I've attended three different colleges.

If requested, I can and have eaten live insects.

225 pounds is the most I've ever bench pressed.

I didn't attend my own high school graduation.

My first day of college I was 17 years old.

Once, I sang in a duet in front of my church.

I wouldn't think twice about driving to California for the weekend.

Okay. That should give you something to think about. Let's see how well you know me. See if you can guess what's NOT true and tell me. I'll give you a clue...NAH! I hate giving clues.

(Pete, you guess last:)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Have you ever wondered what heaven is like? I mean, what will it really be like? Streets of gold, ya think? Pearly gates, ya think? Peter was pretty high up there (no pun intended) as far the saints go, why should he get the stinking check-in desk job? Come on!
Some people get more jewels in their crown than others? A caste system in Heaven??

What about dogs? I personally don't love dogs, so...what? I check in to the non K9 section? My kids love dogs, so now what?

What language will we speak? My dad always told us as kids it would be Frisian, the language we spoke at home.

What about all that singing? What if you HATE singing? I know for a fact that that's the very reason a lot of men won't go to church. All that singing. Why can't we shoot hoops during that part of the service? Or just listen to the Eagles "Learn to be Still"?

Me? I'm going looking for my dad when I get there. He'll probably be arguing doctrine with Paul or some other former ruffian he could associate with. Maybe we could go swingin' on heaven's monkey bars and swing so high when we let go we'd smack into the stars. Or go make ice cream out of the milky way and gobble it down in the shade of the moon. Or maybe, just maybe, he's finally got time to play a little catch. We could even have a little pick-up game. You know, Adam at first, Eve at second, Zacchaeus at short, 3rd John at third, a thief out in left, God in center, and everybody else in right. Oh and let's not forget catcher. Peter, James, Andrew or John could ALL catch! Jesus would pitch of course. Wouldn't that be fun? You'd always get a perfect strike.

I have no idea what to think when it comes to heaven. I mean, we are so small-minded compared to God. We think we have a clue what opulence is and that it will likely be that...opulent. A child in a third world country thinks eating everyday is heaven!

We can't even imagine what this ball we live on will be like in five years, how can we possibly pretend to know what the God of the universe has up his sleeve? We're limited to a finite mind and it's feeble capabilities. We're not able to fathom how completely unfathomable heaven will be. It's fun to think about though. And sobering. Makes me wonder why I do the idiotic things I do. Why I get so bent and behave so childishly about so many things that ultimately don't matter as much as I think they do. What matters most is my relationship to God and my relationship to YOU. Let's work on healing those, shall we?

I'm ready.


My heart is heavy
here in the mire
much too heavy
to lift

My mind and myself
join to conspire
to let ourselves go

Crystal blue
and a constant
lapping sound

You and me
and a quiet
laughing sound

The wind is the song
and we are the dancers
we frolic along
with no need for answers
for the wind is the song
and we are the dancers

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Sometimes a follow-up entry is just necessary, don't you think? I mean, I could just leave you hanging. Let you draw your own conclusions. But if you know me at all, you know how much I despise silence when overt communication seems to clearly be the better option. So. Here's what happened Friday night when Jessica and I went out to dinner...

...I let her be her and she let me be me. There were no weird, pre-concocted questions. There were no forced issues. There was just a young woman and her proud dad having dinner together, enjoying each other's company, conversation, and laughter. We had a great time!

I'm learning what it means to be her friend while still being her dad. It sounds weird to me, so I don't mind if it does to you too. A part of me wants to protect her forever from anything that would cause her an ounce of pain. Believe me, it's a BIG part of me, but another part of me wants her to prosper and grow and gain strength and success and stand tall in the world. I know intellectually that pain is part of the growth process, so my desire for her growth seems like the antithesis of my wish to protect her. The reality is this: pain and protection from pain both have, as their finished product, growth. So, where does that leave me? It leaves me no choice but to admit that I'm going to struggle with this. And that 'this' is my struggle, not hers. I'm going to keep engaging her. I'm going to bumble along down this road some more. Sometimes I won't get it right and I know that, but I'm done doing only the things I get right! In the end, Jessica will forge her own way in this world and she will know that her dad loves her.

By the way, the name of the restaurant where we had dinner was: SEEDS

Sunday, March 19, 2006

It's Springy!

What. You thought I was going to debrief you on the "Briefly..." entry? Come on. Good things come to those that wait.

In the mean time, check out these pictures. Most of them were taken from the seat of my truck...while rolling. (Notice: I said 'rolling' not driving, since driving implies that I was in control of the vehicle at the time.)

Flowers are growing so fast you can almost hear them...listen. Hear that? That's what flowers sound like when they're growing. Really.

(Those are flower beds built into the bumper on the blue truck)

Friday, March 17, 2006


...tonight I'm taking my daughter out to a nice dinner. We haven't had a 'real' conversation in awhile so I'm excited.

Here's your chance to give your input. Knowing what you know about me and about her, what ONE question must be asked before the night ends? It needn't neccessarily be a deep, serious question. I'm just curious.

Some of you have daughters. Some of you are daughters. Some of you fit into both categories. So...think about it and let me know!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


A sampling of bits and pieces of my thoughts and views of today:

It's hard to take big strides when you're always putting your best foot forward. Every once in a while you've got to let them see that ugly foot.

Sobbing is kind of like a heart massage. Very painful at first, but when the pain dissipates you know it's done some good. The pain needs a way of escape. Let it out.

I think churches should install one of those old time bells-you know the kind gas stations used to have-only it should be laid across the street on which the church sits, and the bell should be right in the sanctuary, that way those sitting there 'growing their faith' could hear how many people are driving by on their way to hell.

Animals have done pretty doggone well without technology. I mean, birds still actually have to fly from point A to point B just like they did in the garden of Eden. Cows don't have any anti-fly mechanisms, just a good old fashioned tail. Dogs still chase cats. Cats still eat mice. No one has concocted a way of telling them that it might not be politically correct and yet animaldom seems to be doing alright, compared to us humans.

Eating tacos in a house full of laughing children is better than any four star restaurant anywhere, anytime. Hands down!!

There's much too much animosity between the sexes. Let's just get over ourselves shall we? My intent is to understand, not to claw your eyes out.

Big, white, puffy clouds is where I want to live. (As long as it's warm:)

Sunday, March 12, 2006

On the other side of pain

I learned a little truth from my middle son this weekend. He taught me a lesson in bravery. We (Jess, he and I) were waiting for our order at Outback friday night when suddenly he started to get noticeably fidgety sitting across from me in the booth. He looked up at me and said "Dad, can we step outside a minute?" This is the same boy that has scarcely said two words in a row to me in a year. "Of course!" I said. We stepped out into the cold air. He nodded toward my truck as if to say 'let's go sit'. We did. At which point he spilled a bucket of words and thoughts and tears so vulnerable that I wept right along side him. The essence of what he said was that he was saddened by his own confusion about being a divorced son. He was sad. He was torn. He was real. He was more honest than any person has been to me in SO long that my tears were every bit as much in his honor as for his grief. I have been fretting and pulling my hair out about our relationship for what seems like years. Always wondering what more I could do. Finally, when I've stopped 'doing', the ice seems to be breaking.

He is teaching me to keep moving in a forward motion to the other side of pain and to say what's true, even if the outcome seems dubious. I want to be like him.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Bridge over the river...Why?

It's a beeeautiful day in the neighborhood! So today I took a little drive to take some pictures and as I was driving I had several thoughts. No, seriously, at least TWO thoughts. But they were both in Chinese and I don't speak or read Chinese so I have no idea what they were-or who sent them for that matter, but I do greatly appreciate them.

Do you ever brush your teeth and then go get a cup of coffee? Me neither, that would be stupid. Speaking of coffee, this blog is powered by my two favorite words... CAFF and EINE!...and possibly the giddiness that sunshine produces in our Vitamin B starved slice of the planet.

My 12 year-old son has to write a fictional narrative for school (duh! No he's writing it to get his pilot's license.)He named his main character, BillyBob Chang II (as in, the second). Okay, if that doesn't crack you up then maybe you've been sniffin' too many bus fumes. So far BillyBob has two sons named...Billy and Bob! (As long as the third child's name isn't 'The')

My 14 year-old made the JV soccer team at his high school. As a freshman!! And he hasn't played a lick of soccer in 3 years! No, it has nothing to do with the fact that his initials are JV.
I could get a personalized license plate that reads 'JV team' or 'Always JV' which of course assumes 'Never Varsity' should never assume anything. I've come to learn many things in my life and, well, as of yet, I haven't learned any of the things I came to learn.

Something that makes me want to say "YE" and then "HAW" is the fact that my Jessica's coming home next week for spring break. Today I sent her an official invite to have dinner with me while she's home...I'm hoping she says 'yes'. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, and boy is it ever hard to type wif yer fingers crost.

A bird just smacked into my picture window in my living room. What makes a bird think he can fly right through your house? As if! Do I drive right through a birds' nest? I may have to plead the fifth on that one. I thought it was a hay bale perched on the branch to tell you the truth. I mean, horse flys eat hay don't they?

Oh, and by the way, I figured out how to post the picture, finally! Even though you can't tell by looking at it, the bridge in the picture is a railroad bridge. The tracks discontinue at each end of the bridge, they go nowhere. Hence the title.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

If I had a penny...

...I'd toss it in the wishing well and wish I were your wishing well. So I could softly listen to words inside your dreams and watch your eyes glisten in the silence of the schemes. So that I'd feel your hopefulness and the yearnings of your heart. . . so that I could know how to love you.

If only I had a penny.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

NOT just another day!

I just call him Mikey, though I'm sure he prefers Mike. He was 6 years old when I first started delivering packages to his mom's coffee shop/video store. Always a very friendly boy, he never hesitated yelling "hi John!" every time I walked in. We just hit it off. He was a happy little guy and seemed to look up to me as if my uniform meant I was someone official.
I remember when he first got his license, he pulled up in front of the shop, jumped out and left the truck running. (It's a small town, remember) Of course, I couldn't let an opportunity like this slip through my fingers so I jumped in and drove it around the back of the building and hid in the bushes to watch his face as he ran out to find his truck gone! The fact that my truck was parked nearby was a dead giveaway to Mike. He knew immediately it was me. "Joooohn! I know it was you, you can come out now" and of course, I couldn't contain my laughter anyway so he came over and slugged me in the shoulder the way a guy does when he knows he's been had.
Well it wasn't six months later I'm guessing that I was the one being 'had'. I had delivered the usual Tuesday videos and coffee beans and had a few minutes to burn so I decided to have a cup of coffee. I stayed a little longer than I should have, and when I tore out the front door to dive into my guessed it, it was gone! I wasn't sure who the culprit was at first, since I've been known to mess with more people than just Mikey. But just like me, Mikey wasn't one to contain his laugh well either. It was my turn to take a whack at his shoulder.
One day last summer I was driving down Main street in my little brown cruiser when a motorcycle veers toward me, flashing it's lights and honking it's horn. I couldn't tell who it was since the rider was wearing a helmet so I veered right back and flashed my lights and honked my horn...just because I can! When I looked in my mirror I saw the bike pull a quick U-turn and jumped in right behind me and the rider started waving wildly for me to pull over. Remember now, this is a one horse town and I know full-well that there's no money in the budget for a motorcycle cop, so I kept going. Finally, the biker had had enough. He pulled around me, slowed to a snail's pace and pulled me over. Off jumps this big dude. It was Mikey. He wanted to show me his new bike. He knows I have a bike too and wanted me to be the first one to see his new toy. Even though he's now a big 23 year-old man, with me he's still Mikey.
I saw Mikey for the first time today since he was diagnosed with bone cancer a couple of months ago. He was on crutches. The bone in his leg is seventy percent eaten through by cancer. I grabbed him by the shoulder and hugged him and told him I was praying for him. His mom was standing next to him and when her eyes caught mine, I lost it. I suddenly had a deep jolt of pain run through me...I suddenly realized how rich I truly am.

When I crawled back into my truck with tears in my eyes, my phone made that music it makes when I have a text message. It said "Hi dad! I LOVE YOU-have a great day!" -Jess

What a day.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Not that it matters, but I've been gone on vacation to Southern California and Maui for the past 10 days. I've met some fun and interesting people in these few days. I hung out and laughed hilariously with my family. I swallowed a ball of wasabi. I risked. I got to know my brother just a little bit better. I kissed my mom on Valentine's Day. I delivered overdue gifts. I read a book- cover to cover. I buried my feet in the sand. I acted like I was 8 again. I sighed. I took a bjillion pictures. I asked God "why?" I witnessed beauty in many different ways. And yet, when I walked in the door just now I felt so very alone. I love being with people. I'm struck by the thought of how many times I've had this thought. Alone sucks. What I wouldn't do to share half my sheets and the rest of my life with love... And now I'm tired. At least I think I am because right at this very second I wanna cry. I know that I'm not supposed to-I'm a guy. Is there such a thing as holy discontentment?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Seahawks, Seagulls, Whatever!

If you know me at all, you know that I have a propensity for all-over-the-map, strange, and unusual thoughts at times. The following is a brief (thankfully) synopsis of thoughts I thought today.
  • If I were a bird, there's no way I'd ever get hit by a car...a plane maybe, but a car?? No way!
  • The MVP of today's Super Bowl in my humble opinion-the referees.
  • There's just NOTHING that comes close to the awesome feeling it is to be called 'Daddy'
  • Technology is great, but sometimes it's just a reminder of how far 'far' really is.
  • You really have to love Starbuck's coffee to sit outside and drink their coffee when it's 35 degrees...or maybe you really are addicted to smoking.
  • The FedEx commercial cracked me up!
  • Eagles are just like seagulls. Except for the spelling...and the size...and the way they look...and the bald head thing, but other than that they're exactly alike!
  • Next year 'the 12th man' will probably be the last guy through the turnstiles at Qwest Field.
  • It takes a really hot fire and a lot of pounding on the anvil to make a good, useful tool.
  • I love the sound of the word bliss!
  • "That ball did NOT cross the plane!!"
  • Sometimes I need to quit trying long enough just to 'be'.
  • The thing that we have in common is that we're good at screwing up.
  • Shit, tomorrow morning we work legs and shoulders again.
  • I'm lucky to have a brother and a great friend in the same person.
  • Will the kids even notice if I 'lose' the cat?
  • Friendship is much more enjoyable than counseling.
  • Only four more days, then I'm outta here...YES!!
  • It's late and I'm beginning to bore me.
It was a Super Sunday wasn't it? Next year I'm betting on the refs!!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Six Questions

I 'borrowed' this from another blog...
  1. Why did you get out of bed this morning? I knew that in order to get 'buff' you actually have to work out, not just dream about it.
  2. What was your first thought? Yeah, but it's only 5 friggin' 12 in the morning!
  3. What were the first 5 things you did? 'Used the facilities', made my lunch, threw a load of laundry in the washer, fed the cat, went to workout.
  4. If you could choose to do anything with your day, what would it be? I'd hang out with my kids...just to be with them.
  5. If you could choose anything to be today, what would you be? I would choose to be me.
  6. What did you do today for someone else? I prayed for every person I saw that I thought looked sad, or lonely, or afraid. And also for a friend who is still very young who found out he has bone cancer today. I sent text messages to my kids and my friend.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

A Warm Day

Having grown up in Southern California, I sometimes find myself lamenting long, gray days. Today was no different, at first.

The sky was it's usual January shade of charcoal. The wind was pruning the trees of it's weaker members and I was wishing I were under that California sun and watching the white whispy clouds do their Sunday dance. I called my good friend Steph who lives under that sun in California and talked for awhile and, sure enough, the sun was out and the clouds were white. When I hung up the phone I realized that the real warmth shared had more to do with relationship and laughter and depth and love than the condition of the sky. I smiled.

I decided today was going to be a good day.

My boys and I came home from church, started a fire in the woodstove, got out 'Monopoly' and sat around the kitchen table and laughed, argued, and played like the 3 boys that we are. Every once in awhile one of us would make a mad dash outside, braving the elements, to get another chunk of wood for the fire. We made dinner together. We ate and talked and laughed some more. The fire never went out. While watching 'The Princess Bride' I looked over and noticed my 14 year old hardly able to contain himself in laughter. I realized that the warmth we shared had more to do with relationship and laughter and depth and love than the condition of the fire. I'm still smiling.

The warmth of 'together' is more powerful than the warmth of weather...always.

Thanks Steph!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

I wonder

This past week I went snowboarding with my youngest son and a couple of my friends. My friends are skiers and my son and I, boarders. (du-u-de!) When we got to the mountain they went their way and we went ours. Since my son is relatively new at this 'sport', we decided to stay on some of the less challenging runs and take it slow. Every trip back up the slope on the lift, my son, who is twelve, would offer up a different question. "Dad, what would happen if my board fell?, Dad, if you saw somebody bif it hard into that tree down there would you jump off the lift to help him?, Dad, does the lift actually slow down between poles or does it just seem like it because it gets so quiet? Dad, if we're up so high why don't the stars feel any closer?" ...great questions from a mind that never quits wondering. It got me to thinking. Thinking about this thing we call 'wonder'.

All of my life, or at least the part that my mind lets me remember, I've had a sort of wanderlust. A want to go. A want to see the world. To see what other people live like. To hear the wind through different trees. To see waves roll in on a foreign shore. To realize that laughter sounds the same in any language. What I didn't realize until that night with my boy, was that it was fueled by the same thing that fuels his questions. Wonderlust. From silly things like why we call one thing tunafish and yet we don't call another chickenbird, to slightly more profound things like what does it really mean to love? I love to wonder. It never gets old because there's rarely a definitive answer to most 'I wonder' questions. Wonder produces more wonder. Life is short and I may never afford to wander like I want to, but I know for certain that I'll never afford not to wonder. Do you think it's possible? Hmmm, I wonder!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Ya don't say!

Here are a few things I won't be saying anytime soon...

-"Oh how I love it when it rains 27 straight days!"

-"Yum! I'll have another bowl of that pigeon gumbo."

-"Duh officer! Just cuz I can speak English doesn't mean I can read it!"

-"I sure wish I was old and crusty."

-"Hello Postmaster? Yeah, can you put a stop to that B. Gates character? He's sending me checks in the mail completely unsolicited."

-"I pay far too little in taxes! Isn't there something we can do??"

-"Are you sure doc? Grab another glove and check again. You never know about that dang prostate!"

-"Hey kids! Grab your sleeping bags, we're getting in line. 'Rocky 16' is hittin' the theater tomorrow."

-"Not me, I've always been a Seahawks fan!"

-"Yeah, it's a travesty. I don't know how those professional athletes can make both ends meet."

-"What do mean, you don't take green stamps anymore!?"

-"I totally agree with President."


-"Oh sweetie, I think your nose ring gives you character, I think you should get another one."

-"If it weren't for my readers I'd have gone totally insane."

...and since I can't think of a fitting ending let me say one more thing you'll never, ever hear me say again "Toodles!"

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Confessions of a delivery man

While most of you know (at least those two or three of you that actually read this blog) I deliver packages for a living, you don't neccesarily know the details and intricacies of the job. I mean, how could you? It's a big, bad world out there in deliveryville, let me tell ya.

Every once in awhile when one of us poor delivery-type souls is going to be out later than the bartenders, we get help from another driver that feels momentarily sympathetic, or maybe we know something about said driver that we shouldn't, (sorta like black mail, or in this case, brown parcel). Well, last night was one of those nights. My friend Matt called me and said "where you at? I'm coming to help you." So, I told him and he found me and hopped on my truck to be my runner.
Now, when you get help from a driver it's a rare occurrence, so you take the opportunity to share your wealth of useful knowledge while you can. "This guy get's Victoria Secret packages every other week, and he lives alone!" or "These people just bought this house, cash on the spot...Californicaters!" or "There's a dog at this next place but he's never bitten me" and then when Matt's almost to the porch I yell "sickem' Satan! sickem boy!!" Fun times.

Anyway, Matt and I got to swapping stories about the funny things like, what we do to keep our jobs interesting, and some of the embarrassing things we've done. Here are a sampling of just mine and Matt's.

-last winter it was about 20 degrees out and it was late at night so I tried to gingerly tiptoe up the steps at the side of this house. When I got there I knelt down to lay the package at the door, just outside the dogdoor, when suddenly and frenetically out jumped a little 'kick dog'! Scared the pee outta me!!! Well, lucky for me, the package I was about to deliver was just a skosh larger than peewee-the-kick-dog's door....Yep! That's right you little son of a bitch (hey, c'mon you know it's true!), looks like your sleepin' outside tonight!!
-just a couple of weeks ago, as Matt would tell it, he was out after dark (duh!) and it was damp and dewy weather. He launched himself up a set of deck stairs that counted maybe five or six feet high, dropped the package, knocked the requisite 7 times and turned and ran. Well, he lost his footing on the first step and snowballed, elbows and legs a flailing, all the way to the ground. By this time a small boy had come to answer the door, heard the ruckus, and ran to see what could make such a clatter. He darted back to the house yelling "Mommy, I think we caught Santa Claus!!!!"
-almost always I make my deliveries out of the passenger side door. It's what we're trained to do and quite frankly, just makes the most sense since there's nothing impeding your progress, like a seat. I'm not sure why, maybe because I was tired, I don't know, but the other night I decided to slither over my seat and out the driver side door and circle around the front of my truck. Not a big deal. I ran the package maybe a hundred yards to the house and the same hundred back. Now, here's an important side note: it's completely and utterly pitch black dark. Yeah. That dark. I'm running back toward the passenger side of my truck like I always do, which means full-speed ahead, can you see where this is headed? I couldn't either. I leaped up toward the inside step of the truck, only to abruptly remember....I hadn't opened the door. I was like a big brown fly splattered on the side of my truck. OUCH!!
-there's a woman on my route that's a QVC junkie. I mean, 2 or 3 packages a DAY! (and that's since her New Year's resolution to 'quit this nasty habit') I really don't get it. She lives in a trailer at the end of the world's worst driveway. Or, it might just be the best driveway. I swear it's been scientifically engineered so that when you're concentrating on missing that 3 foot deep pothole on the left, you snag your mirror on the tree on the right. And if you veer slightly toward the middle you're fighting salmon swimming up the stream running down the center!! No really! I think I once spotted Robert Redford here during the filming of ' a river runs through it'. I digress. About a month ago she received a rare package( rare in the fact that it wasn't from QVC) from Barnes and Noble. As I handed her the package I said, "here's that book you ordered on how to stop your shopping compulsion." She's down to one package a day.
Who says work can't be fun??

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

If I could, I'd tell you... thoughts get into my head. difficult it is to portray an emotion in words.
...why there's a heaven at all.
...why some things are only funny once.
...that tomorrow's going to be alright.
...that I have no idea what pain is.
...why coffee smells so much better than it tastes.
...what you're thinking.
...I've given my heart away completely.
...there's something green on your front tooth.
...that I've actually heard God speak. to erase the mistakes you've made.
...why I'm still up at this ungodly hour. much I miss those three little j's.
...what I know for sure about love.
...why you never see birds crash.
...there's an easier way than God's way.
...I've never failed you.
...why I was so blessed as to be born in this country. much I love my friends
...why we complicate things so terribly much...

...but, I can't, so maybe you can help me.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

So here we go!

As promised, here's the skinny. The ball fell, the calendar changed, and the cows finally came home. I don't think I'm any kind of prophet, but yesterday I mentioned the word 'rednecks', and wouldn't you know it, the hotel where we stayed was full of them. True to life, dyed in the flannel, "I got more teeth than you do" truckloads of them.

One of the reasons we really wanted to go to a hotel was to swim in the pool and sit in the jacuzzi. You know, things we can't do everyday. So we made our merry way down to the pool only to find that the whole Hatfield clan had beat us to the punch. Thing is, the pool was evidently too dang cold, so some of the boys went back up to them there rooms and got their garbage pails and commenced to bailing all that warm water out the jacuzzi into the big pool. Great idea Clem!! Only problem is, when that there jacuzzi starts to empty some sort of new fangled sensor must've kicked to high gear and started pumping new, colder water into the jacuzzi and wouldn't shut off. It wasn't long until both pools were overflowing with freezing cold water. But shucks, the Hatfields didn't even notice. See, they were too busy chuckin' frozen-water-soaked nerf balls at anything that moved. Even us city folk. We eventually just played along, figuring telling them to stop would have been as easy as hitting one of them in the tooth with a nerf ball. Let's just say there weren't a lot of toothy grins.

After that we decided to go back to our room to play games and watch all the festivities on TV for awhile. That didn't last long so we went to the lobby to ask, in typical tourist fashion, "what's there to do in this podunk town?" At which point we were oh so pleasantly pointed to the rack of 3 million pamphlets that had nothing to do with anything remotely possible to do at eight o'clock on New Year's eve. So we went to see 'Chronicles of Narnia'...again. We made it back just in time to watch the Hatfields circling the 3rd floor walkway banging on pots and pans! It was wacko!

Great start to 'just another year'.