Sunday, December 26, 2010

I'm always a bit sad the day after Christmas. Part of it's because my kids spend Christmas Day with me and for one solid day I get the gift of their presence without even so much as a hint of them needing to be somewhere else, and then...poof! it's over. It's a little sad, but I've gotten used to it.

The other part of the sadness comes in the knowing that the world will all but forget about Jesus for another whole year. I'm a firm believer in the concept that we are made in the image of God. And by that I mean, we are emotional beings and so, I must infer, is He. We are capable of a full range of feelings, and while ours have intertwined inside them humanity, they are a shadow of our Father. That being said, I can't help but wonder if Jesus himself is a bit sad on the day we call his birthday. After all, he is rarely even invited to the party, and when he is, he seems to be the 'oh yeah, by the way let's not forget about HIM' guest. Think about it. If it were your birthday and people had to mention a few times during the festivities, "let's not forget it's (insert your name here)'s birthday. Then to add to the lunacy they began exchanging gifts amongst themselves and gave you nothing. At that point I remember that God is not a human and does not get His feelings hurt over petty little things like that...He simply loves through it.

I guess if I were to be honest I would have to say that I am saddened that it takes ME but a few short hours or days to turn the spotlight away from Jesus and back at my own life's little details. I am sad that I don't hold the spotlight continuously on the Star of my life.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Destination: Texas

Last week I went to visit my daughter in Texas and promised myself that I would sort of debrief myself here it is.

It was, of course, wonderful to see my girl in person again after a three month absence. She was excited to see me when I got there, which was a thrill all in itself. Not that any of my kids do it on purpose, but I seem to be marginalized much of the time. At least, that's how it feels in me. When you're not the parent that they see everyday it stands to reason. It's not wonderful, but totally understandable.

We (myself, my daughter, her fiance and his mother--who is a widow) did a lot of fun things together. Not the least of which was, eating! The food in Texas is excellent and it usually comes with a dose of southern hospitality. The people are genuinely friendly and homey. I got to meet the fiance's grandparents who were as Texas as Texas gets. Very kind and polite and always smiling and they adore my daughter. It gave me great joy to know that my baby is going to be surrounded by family like that. And her fiance treats her very sweetly as well. When he was in our neck of the woods for a few weeks after his graduation I had my eye on him and it seemed like he was a bit tense and it showed in their interactions, but now that I've seen him in his own element my heart is much more at ease in the way he treats my baby. He really loves her.

One of the cooler things we did was to check out the venue of their wedding. It was nice to be included in the decision making process of that. They'll be getting married outside and then having their reception on the same property in a ballroom. If you have a daughter I would suggest you start saving money right now...holy moley weddings are expensive. I have decided, however, that this is the one time in life to be extravagant. It's not a vacation--I'll have more of those. It's not a vehicle--I'll have more of those. It's not even a house--I'll likely have a few of those in my lifetime. It's my daughter's wedding--it's only going to happen once! And, as they say in Texas, "Yehaw!"

One thing that struck me hard while I was there was the permanence of my daughter being far, far away. That hit me square between the eyes, and I must say, threw me for a bit of a loop. Since she left I had been looking forward to seeing her in a short while, but while I was there I realized that there might be times in our future where those whiles might become loooong whiles. She is not just visiting Texas as I was, it's possible that she might be there permanently. And, with that possibility came the thought that every time I see her will be an event. No more 'just stoppin' by to say hi dad' visits. No more 'want to meet up for dinner tonight?' possibilities. No more 'look out your window at that moon' phone calls. That is hard. Just another something that I'll have to get used to, I guess.

All in all, I can say that I have a peace about the direction my daughter's life is headed. Although it's a long way away, Texas is a nice destination.

Monday, November 08, 2010


At times I question myself as to why I have a blog. I'm not a writer and certainly my life is not very interesting. Those are not complaints, mind you, they are merely statements of fact. Writers are people who can wax on poetically and seemingly endlessly about miriad of things. I, on the other hand, can give you maybe--maybe a paragraph or two...on a good day. And good days, what are those? Are they not simply normal days into which you add your own spice? Or are they good because of my mood? Beacuse if that were the case I might have one good day in ten. Most mornings I wake up, roll out of bed and either inwardly or in my own sarcastic voice say, "hello again everyone, it's another day! So glad to see you.", or some variation of that. And of course, I'm saying it no one. It's a daily struggle, this thing we call life. Don't get me wrong, my life is not bad, in fact it can be pretty dang good. It just takes me several hours sometimes to get to that conclusion. I try my best to have a good attitude about being by myself, but sometimes it's like being alone on a see-saw. No matter how hard you push up you come flying back down.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

A Party In The Leaves

As I am prone to do, today I did a bit of thinking whilst raking leaves in (and out of) my yard. I'm not sure why it is, but I tend to do my best thinking while doing menial labor. Thank God for menial labor. No, seriously. Thank Him, I'll wait.

So today my thought tended toward politics. While I am not particularly fond of politics, generally, my youngest son is nuts about them. And, as a parent, I have found that it is difficult if not impossible not to be interested in what my kids are interested in. So, politics it is:

I wonder why there's a group called 'independents'. (Think about it!)

My guess is that it won't be long until someone in the press will mistakenly call it a party all it's own. (Not unlike what has already happened with the tea party's a movement based on the old Boston Tea Party, not a political party at all)

And if that truly is the case, I can also suppose that yet another press lackey will inadvertently (thanks to spell-check) call it 'the independence party'.

At which time a whole throng of idiots will want to join it because it sounds like something they think they believe in.

Which will then prove the statement-- "Independent thinkers are usually neither"--to be true.

But what do I know? I'm just a guy who rakes leaves in a thunderous wind under a tree whose branches are not yet bare :)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

So, yesterday was my birthday, and it's becoming obvious to me that I'm losing my senses.


I'm having a hard time hearing what God is saying.

I'm not able to clearly see reasons for things I do.

I can't feel as much as I used to, but what I DO feel well are aches and pains.

I used to anticipate tomorrow like the taste of something sweet but now everything has the taste of humus.

I do still have a keen sense of smell, however. In fact, today I can smell my attitude...and it stinks.

Life should not knock you senseless, do you think?

Sunday, September 05, 2010

For the longest little while I have been wanting to put down in words what I've been feeling. The problem is, what I've been feeling just keeps changing. As well it should, but that makes writing about it difficult. I'll not promise you anything, but this is today's best effort.

I wish I wasn't writing about things that grieve me so often. It makes it seem as though I am nothing but a griever, which is not true. But I think if I am honest I will say to you that since our divorce there has been an undertone of sadness that simply doesn't go away. Whether it should or shouldn't have gone this way isn't the point. The point is, it did. You don't grow up believing that someday you'll walk through your days with a thick scar in the middle of your heart. Sometimes it seems as though every emotion that escapes my heart rubs up against that scar just to remind me that even the most thorough healing leaves a scar.

When my daughter was eleven years old I told her that her mom and I were getting divorced. When the moving truck drove away from the house we once called home I sat in my pitch black garage and cried. I have no idea for how long. I knew there would be no more day-to-day daddying of my babies. Essentially, I was walking my girl down the aisle and into the arms of the world. Playing catch with my boys would be a scheduled event--if we could fit it in--instead of part of normalcy. Life just wouldn't be the same again. It was the beginning of the chapter of leaving.

At sixteen my daughter drove away from the place I now call home in her little blue Honda--affectionately named "the little blue tennis shoe". Once again there was a familiar sense growing inside of me that felt like that day of darkness in my old garage. Sometimes familiar is a nasty word. This was one of those times. As segmented as our time had become, I knew it was about to become even more so. I stood in the road and waved until I couldn't see the little blue tennis shoe anymore and while I didn't feel as though she was quite as stolen this time, I did feel angry at Time for only moving swiftly when it involved togetherness.

Two short years later she and her mom loaded up the mom-mobile with everything a girl could possibly need to live in a dorm three hundred miles away. Now there was more than an imagined distance between us. Together time would be rationed down to a day or two during the year, plus a few when she came home for Christmas. Rationing and segmenting were not words I had ever dreamed about. No, they were words selected and added by others to this chapter I never asked to be written. I was growing. She was growing. Together, we were growing...apart.

When she graduated a year ago in May, I was delighted to have some time to get to know her all over again and, who knows, maybe even grow close again. She moved back 'home' to live with her mom (and step dad) and brothers. I can't say as I blame her...the rent was free. The problem that posed however, was that once again I would have to 'invade her mom's space' just to be together in a somewhat normal setting. Either that, or she would have to come to my house, which she hadn't done regularly since getting her license to drive. When you're the spare parent you never stop wondering how it happened. The together time was sparse and sporadic. Oh, we had some wonderful, fun times for sure, but to say we gained a lot of ground would simply not be the truth.

Two weeks ago my baby girl drove away sitting next to her fiance on their way to live in Texas. The grieving of which I wrote earlier has reached new heights (perhaps depths is more accurate). I know that my grieving is mostly selfish, but some of it is not. Some of it is for my daughter's broken life. No matter how hard I try I can't help but feel something trying to tear open that wound on my heart. It's the end of the chapter of leaving.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Hi!...on coffee.

It's Saturday morning again and you know what that means, don't you? It means it's no longer Friday night and it's not yet Saturday afternoon, that's all. And for reasons I can't quite explain (nor do I really even know), I feel like writing in this here little blog of mine. So here goes....

It's a lovely little morning on my patch of earth. I'm on my third cup of coffee--and when I say 'on', I mean in a way that would imply that it is my drug of choice...because it IS!!-- Anyway, I mention that fact because this post may be as random as random can be. And what does that even mean?? It means that for the next few keyboard-clicking minutes I shall try to turn off the edit button in my brain so as to be my ridiculous self.

Did I mention that it's a bright and sunny morning? You may have assumed that, since I did say it was lovely, but one must never assume such things so early in the morning. Well, it's a bright and sunny morning and I've watered all my living, growing plants and I'm thinking about going out to tackle the lawn. (Isn't that a funny saying? "Tackle the lawn"....can you imagine me running and sliding and trying to actually tackle the lawn?) And, since I'm thinking about it, that should be enough, because, you know what they say, "it's the thought that counts". I used to tell my kids that I was thinking about buying them a car for their 16th Birthday, too.

Did you know that duct tape makes for a great hole patch for a pair of shorts? I have found that to be true...except on hot days. The non-sticky side of the tape tends to stick to your leg when it warms up. Just a little FYI, in case you were wondering.

My son and I were talking this week about how it is that a big part of our family's humor is in the creative use of language; twists of phrases, puns, sarcasm, etc. and it got me to thinking as to why that might be so. My earliest recollection of how it happened to me is this: I was reading a cheesy little joke book as a kid--and, if you must know, it wasn't really cheesy or I would have eaten it...if I liked cheese--but, I digress. The joke I remember went something like this--The teacher asked her class how they would punctuate the following sentence: 'There was a ten dollar bill lying on the sidewalk', to which Johnny raised his hand and replied, "I'd make a dash after it!!". For whatever reason that little (and, yes, cheesy) joke shook something loose in my brain about how words, when used just so, can take something mundane and normal and turn it into something funny. Sometimes I'm SO deep :)

Speaking of words, have you notice that a lot of what used to be verbs have become nouns, and vice versa? You can 'friend' someone now, for example. And to 'text' someone is now a possibility. But I guess it's not really a new phenomenon. We say that a piece of literature was 'penned' by so and so. (I'd like to meet this Mr. so and so...he's written some good stuff!) You can go for a 'walk', or go to a 'dance'. Am I overusing my apostrophe? I'm going to change the subject, you know, for the sake of my apostrophe.

I get to go hiking today with my son, my daughter and her fiance. Yes, I said fiance. (Actually, I typed it.) Next summer, at a yet-to-be-determined place on a yet-to-be-determined date, my little baby girl will become a woman with a different last name. A bride. A wife. Another man's baby. And I believe there will be two of me at that wedding. Yes, I will be beside myself. Outwardly I may be cool, calm and collected (and even that is suspect), but inwardly? Can you say puddles? Can you say pools? Can you say rivers...of tears? Not that I am sad that she is an adult who can and will make adult decisions, it's just that it will be hard to share her with yet another man who is not ME. But today, today I will enjoy with keen ears, her laughter; with keen eyes, her beauty; with soft and aching heart, her need to be more than my baby girl. I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Two Chairs

There are two chairs pointed west out on my back patio, perfectly poised to take in the sunset.

Yesterday my friend came over in the late afternoon while the sun was warming the summer bugs out of their hiding places. We sat in those chairs and talked about our lives; about being divorced men at our age and all the perplexity it causes on an almost daily basis. For both of us the most common thread of conversation came in the form of pain. Not only the physical aches and pains that come from being men with physical jobs, but also the emotional pain that comes from being men with children who seemingly don't need us, or worse yet, don't want us. It's disheartening. It's hard working day in and day out, chugging along diligently...toward what? More of the same?

I'm acutely aware that the whole purpose of raising a child is to grow them into an autonomous, self-sufficient, balanced individual who can thrive without me. But I also really LIKE my children. I have always hoped that one of their adult choices would be to consider me as their friend. I've been careful not to confuse them as children, however, into thinking that we were friends just yet. I am clearly their dad and I love them unconditionally. Oh sure, I make my share of mistakes, but I think they know they are loved. So why does it appear as though I may not get that which I crave--the friendship of my kids?

My parents had seven children and while my dad is no longer with us, I don't think my mom would count all seven of us as her friends. It's not because she wouldn't have chosen each one of us as a friend, I believe it's because some of us have chosen HER as a friend and some haven't. As hard as that was for me to write, I can't imagine how hard that must be for my mom. You see, while she will forever be my mom, she has also become my friend. Part of autonomy and self-sufficiency is the ability to pick your own friends; to put forth the effort into making a relationship work to it's fruition. It's quite possible that my children may not want to be my friends.

There are two chairs pointed west out on my back patio, perfectly poised to take in the sunset.

Tonight, I'll sit in one of them.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Just a Monday

Yesterday would have been my twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, but instead it was just a Monday. Which is not to say that I didn't think about it more than a few times during the day. In fact, the night before I had a really sweet dream about when we were still 'we'. The kids were all little and happy and nearby. There was laughter and playing and childhood all around me. It was the memory of that dream that had me tearing up several times during the day. You see, that dream exists in my soul whether it actually appears in dream form or not. It's as close as my shadow. And that has hindered my moving forward. What if I outrun my shadow? It's ridiculous that I'm still asking that question. I'll never know the answer if don't start walking.

Yesterday was just a Monday.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


When I get down
I want to give up

I don't look forward
To going back

Where everything
Means nothing

When I look within
What am I without

Don't want to be first
But will that last

The moon is full
But I am empty

My heart is heavy
In the bright light

The wait is not over
In the weight I'm under

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Season of Storms

Here in the Pacific Northwet we have a lot of storms in the springtime. We've had a particularly spectacular bunch of squalls move through these past few days. I love storms, mostly. I love to see them coming, I love to stand in the pouring rain and awe at the spectacle, I love to see the sun break back through and shine it's brilliant contrast against the dark clouds as they exit the scene. All these things I love in the realm of nature. Not so much in the realm of living. In the realm of living it seems like I never see them coming, the rain is pointy and sharp and rarely leaves me in awe, but rather, in pain. Nevertheless, I welcome the the coming contrast of sunshine on the exiting clouds. Henceforth, I shall consider the spectacle worthy of awe-me, standing in the brilliant shine with no clouds on the horizon.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I almost wrote a new entry tonight.

Wait...I just did.

Monday, March 08, 2010


I get tired of me.

Some days, from the time I leave work at 5:30-6 ish until I return to work at around 8 the next morning, I speak to no one except myself.

While arguing is nearly nonexistent, it's really not that much fun talking to myself.

I get tired of me.

I have the same thoughts over and over. Or at least, variations of the same thought themes over and over.

I go through my mental list of people I wouldn't mind talking to and I find some lame excuse not to call any of them. Usually it has something to do with not always wanting to initiate the conversation. I end up sitting in my chair, falling asleep shortly after a valiant attempt at reading.

I'm not very good company. Many a good fire goes to silent waste under my watchful eye.

I can't wait to get to work in the morning.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

A Canadian kid.

My nephew is pretty cool, huh? The city of Richmond, B. C. produced this welcome video to be shown at various venues during the opening of the Olympics in Vancouver starting this week.

I'm proud of that kid!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Punce aton a wime in a funtry car, car away.

That's the beginning of almost every story I tell in spoonerisms. What is a spoonerism, you ask? Well, I'm glad you asked:

1900, but perhaps as early as 1885, involuntary transposition of sounds in two or more words (cf. "a well-boiled icicle" for "a well-oiled bicycle;" "scoop of boy trouts" for "troop of Boy Scouts"), in allusion to the Rev. William A. Spooner (1844-1930), warden of New College, Oxford, who was famous for such mistakes.

I can tell you the whole Cinderella story in spoonerism without much trouble, but writing it takes a bit of explaining.

You see that first line up there? It, of course, would read 'Once upon a time in a country far, far away', but when I wrote it all spoonered-up it looked like this...'Ponce uton a wime in a fountry car, car away.' It's hard enough to read the way I wrote it at the top of this story, but had I not changed it to read phonetically it might not be readable at all. When I'm verbally telling the story I don't have to think at all, it just comes naturally. But I've come to realize that it takes some doing to get it from my head to the page. There are some rules to follow.

For instance, words that start with a vowel are usually just added to rather than switched. Example: Over hand would become Hover and. Alley cat would become Calley at, and so on.

Three word switches are tricky...sometimes. If its a title or a proper noun, let's say, it's not so hard. Three Little Pigs, for instance becomes Pee Thrittle Ligs. That's easy! You swap the first and last and then the middle and last. Piece of cake!! Did I say piece of cake?? I meant ciece of pake. See there? When the middle word is small or starts with a vowel or ties the other two words together it gets left alone. (In actuality, it's neither left nor alone) By the way, sometime I'll write the story of the Pee Thrittle Ligs. It's hilarious!!...especially the part where the wig wad bulf says, "I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll hoe your blouse down!"

So, by now you're probably wondering why oh why oh why is he telling me this stuff. Well, it's because it's Thursday night and my son (who is usually my entertainment) is at a basketball game and I got tired of navel gazing so I decided I'd try to write out the story of 'Rindercella'. (Sometimes, when a word has two distinct syllables that start with consonants you can swap within the word) Are you ready? I'll try to be as phonetically readable as possible....

Punce aton a wime in a funtry car, car away there live a geautiful birl named Rindercella. Now Rindercella was a mare fadin of quine fallity. She lived with her stean ole mep-stother and two sugly isters. They were sad bisters!! They were always telling Rindercella what to do. "Rindercella, flop the moors. Rindercella, bake the meds. Rindercella, thoo dis and thoo dat." Seems like Riundercella was always chooing dores. In the came suntry there live a pransom hince. Now the pransom hince was looking to met garried so he prent out a soclimation warr and fide inviting all the belligible achelorettes to his pig ballace where he was going to throw a bancy fall, hoping to lall in fove.

On the day of the bancy fall the two sugly isters and the stean ole mep-stother were being their usual sad belvs. They ordered Rindercella, "Drend my mess! Bo my sutton! Setch my foos!" Poor Rindercella was bo sizzy waiting on the sugly isters that she had toe nime to ready herself for the bancy fall. Did I mention they were sad bisters?? Rindercella stan up rairs crying as the mep-stother and her stugly ep-daughters hurried off to the bancy fall.

While Rindercella was crobbing and sying she nerd a hoise and looked up. "Oh Rindercella won't you durry, everything will be alright". Rindercella quickly wiped the ears from her ties and asked, "yoo are who?" "Why, I'm your Mary Fod Guther!" replied the woman "Now let's dret you gessed!" The woman maved her wagic mond and said, "boopity bopity bip" and Rindercella looked bore meautiful than any mare faiden ever had. She had on a glowing white fown and the ghost morgeous slass glippers anyone had sever een. Rindercella was jilled with foy! "Now it's off the pig ballace my garling dirl, but remember, at the moke of stridnight everything bill we as buzz wefore." And Rindercella was whisked off in elegant stagecoach pulled by steaudiful ballions.

When she arrived pat the alice, Rindercella was easily stost munning maiden of all. The pransom hince was bitten by her smeauty. When their meyes et they lell in fuv. The est of the revening they nanced the dight away...until suddenly, the strock cluck one, the strock cluck two and Rindercella remember what her Mary Fod Guther had said..."everything bill we as it buzz wefore". Rindercella made a dad mash across the flance door, she strew down the flairs fo sast that she slopped her dripper!! She had toe nime to bo gack to get it. Rindercella disappeared into nark dight just as her tairyfale turned rack into beality.

The dext nay, the pransome hince took the slass glipper throughout the suntrykide looking for priz hincess. It was a sliny glass tipper and he knew it would only fit one mare faiden. He hent from wouse to wouse trying on the slass glipper. And on each foot the sory was the fidn't dit. No matter how hard they would try they couldn't fake it mit. Finally the pransom hince and his soil lubjects were down to their hast louse...Rindercella's house. He tried it on the stean ole mep-stother and it fidn't dit. On the first sugly ister...and it fidn't dit. The second sugly't...dit! The sugly isters had rocked Rindercella in her loom, hoping that the flipper would glit them, but at the mary last vinute Rindercella came strying down the flairs just in time to catch the pransome hince. As he slid the slass glipper on her ferfect little put he looked in her eyes and they lell in fuv! And hived lappily ever hafter!!! E Thend

(the storal of the mory is this: if you go to a bancy fall at pig ballace and you want to lall in fuv with a pransome hince...fon't dorget to slop your dripper!!!)

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

I'm Jealous

If you know anything about me you know that I write a good deal about my kids and how I miss them. I tend to write when I am melancholy, and when I am missing my kids I tend to be that way. I'm not sure which condition causes which, but they seem to be in close proximity most times. But not so today; Today it was matter-of-fact missing.

Today a thought floated through that I hadn't noticed before. I wondered what normal would have looked like had our divorce never happened. Of course it's impossible to know, but wondering isn't such a bad thing, I guess.

What first triggered the wondering was a thought of my son--who is on his way back to school with his step-dad. He had mentioned to me last night as he was leaving that they might stop at the pass to snowboard/ski for awhile if the weather allowed. As I thought of him today I wondered if indeed they got the weather they were wanting...and I was jealous. By virtue of marrying their mother this man gets more time with my kids than I do. And that thought hyphenated into this one: he gets more time and has greater opportunity to impact than I do. It seems that in my heart I am in a competition for the hearts of my own children. It might not be true, but in the deep parts of me it sure feels like it is. Had we never gotten divorced, I wonder if I would have ever realized how badly I want my kids; How badly I want their hearts. Would I ever have been jealous of another spending time with them?

In the Bible it says that God is a jealous God. This always puzzled me as a kid. Why would he be jealous? He is obviously the Father of all, what or who could he be jealous of? I'm beginning to understand. I think God is jealous of the time we spend away from him. I think he's jealous of the way it was meant to be; of how good it could have been; of how it was before he felt like he was in competition for our hearts. I am made in the image of God. I am jealous, too.