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.