Saturday, August 14, 2010

Billy Budd

Just a brief recommendation: Billy Budd is a good book. In the book, the title character is described as having a certain personal grace, with strong overtones of innocence. I note gratefully that I have known people I would describe as having similar qualities. And similar to the story, I have known people who could not stand these qualities.

May I meet more Billy Budds.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

To Dream perchance to Sleep

Sleep. Macbeth doth murder sleep - or was it those Excedrin.

I believe I have lost any caffeine insensitivity I may have once had.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Not yet.

My wife asked me if I had done a certain task.

I told her, "Nope, not yet".

She responded, "I think I will put that on your tombstone".


Here's to earning another epitaph.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Tree House

A tree house it is!

We wanted something more for the kids to do outside. We decided on a tree house.

My son wanted a trapdoor, and the authority to keep his sisters out. (We agreed on the trapdoor).

My daughters, especially the youngest, wanted a slide. How about a fast one?

Grandma K had given us a cargo net.

My wife wanted the patio shelf/barrier/why-did-they-put-that-there-thing gone. Some of the wood could be reused.

Dad always needs another project.

And, of course, we already had the tree.

So, a few hours (plus a few hours more), and the consulting designers, chief helpers, and final arbiters get a chance to try it out. I think I see smiles.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Soccer Saturday

Today was a soccer Saturday. My son's game was first at 9:00. Then our daughter had two games, one right after the other. I get a kick watching my children play. By the end, my voice was hoarse. It is normal for me to be one of those cheering parents, but this year I have the added excuse of being the coach.

Important coaching words: To the goalie: "You can pick up the ball. Use your hands." To a forward: "No, we're going the other way".

I shared right in the joy of the team when they scored, especially my daughter's team's first goal -they had had a tough time last week, being on the less pleasant side of an 11 nothing game.

But of course for the the players the treat still appeared to be the highlight of the day!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Elaine Rocks!

Elaine Bradley rocks. As her cousin, I have known this for years. Now it is in wide release for the world to see.

She is currently in the band Neon Trees. If you are trying to find her in the band, and the fact that she is the only female has not helped you, please know she is the drummer. If you still can't find her, well, you haven't got a ha'penny.

The band's first album came out March 16, 2010. The single, Animal, has been getting play and has a music video. Watch them on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Tuesday, March 23rd.

CD: Habits, both CD and mp3's of the tracks at Amazon.
Vinyl: Can you believe it is also out in vinyl, Habits.
Single, Animal - Neon Trees - Animal - Single - Animal Free download!
Neon Trees - Habits (Bonus Track Version) Neon Trees - Habits (Bonus Track Version) choose any single or the whole album with bonus tracks.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Build as for years.

We have been doing some projects in our house for the past year. This follows the pattern we set in our previous homes. I suppose this stems from the need for improvements, which, at least at the first part of each project, is spurred on by the enjoyment of doing them.

In both our two previous homes, we felt we could be there for years. In this home, we fully plan to move away. And so, in deciding on projects to do here, we must judge what makes sense to do based on the fact we plan on leaving. One approach would be just to do the minimum that makes things livable. Yet, we still have done some substantial work - new bedrooms for our children, bathrooms, etc. on the list we have done, and have a list of more to do (a list that seems to grow by itself). We are tempering our approach (and keeping a budget), but are doing more than just the minimum.

I think a large part of this comes from wanting to make this a home now. We have made this feel like home, have made some changes that have function, and that make this space our own.

A thought from scripture stays in my mind: build as for years. To me, this has implications for making a good physical home now, to build in a way that lasts. Moreover, do everything in a way that would last, most importantly in relationships with people.

Well, hope that's not too much intro for saying my son and I finished his closet door tonight. He used his own screwdriver on the doorknob.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Holiday Trees

Driving through downtown tonight:

"Look, they finally took the Christmas tree down."

"Yes, they have to get that done so they can get ready for the next holiday, Washington's birthday. They put a tree up for that one too, a cherry tree. But that one comes down promptly. They chop it down that very day."


Thursday, February 4, 2010

It's cold out there today..It's cold out there every day.

The other day was Groundhog Day. If the day is notable to me, it is less for animal weather prediction than as a reminder of a movie I truly enjoy. Yes, the movie Groundhog Day. My wife even reminds me that we need to watch it that day, as it has become somewhat of a tradition.

This year found me falling asleep before it was complete. But even without a full viewing, just having the day come reminds me of many of the, shall I say, morals to be taken from this story. Because the film is thought provoking, above its humor, it bears repeated viewing (though I still laugh every time).

Among the points I find in it, are the pitfalls of self-centeredness, yet paradoxically the benefits of personal growth and development. The need to connect with, care for, and serve our neighbors. The folly of seeking happiness and contentment in chasing pleasure, being inauthentic and manipulative. The importance of bringing out the best in others, and being your best self. Blooming where you are planted.

I am starting to sound cliche, yet I don't want to extend into any lengthy analysis. I always enjoyed more the reading of books than the belabored, often postured and amateur, analysis of them in English class. Maybe it was just the manner of that setting (though it wasn't uniformly unpleasant), for I do love to talk about ideas and to discuss meaning. Regardless, I don't feel up to extended exposition on the movie right now - maybe later. I need to go to sleep so the clock-radio doesn't find me groggy tomorrow.

("What if there is no tomorrow? There wasn't one today.")

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ten Happy Things

I was invited to share ten things that make me happy. I am glad to do so. Indeed having so many things to be grateful for, how could I not? To keep the list flowing, I list them in no particular order, without the strain of even designating them a top ten; they are ten good things, and there are more.

  • The running, welcoming hug that I get when I come home and enter the door. Recently, it is most often daughter Maggie that greets me so joyfully. No matter what the day has contained prior to this, this moment feels so right.
  • Liberty and choice. I can choose for myself. When I need or want a change, it is mine to attempt.
  • Memory. I am glad for the continuity and meaning the past brings to my current moment, as well as for the occasions to just think back and remember good times.
  • That cool, clean glass of water when I am thirsty that just hits the right spot. It satisfies and refreshes. Nothing could make it any better.
  • Connection and conversation with another person. This grows even better with friendship.
  • Music. What a way to transport into emotion, especially when you can participate in it. The variety and subtleties of the energies and feelings in it make me feel more alive.
  • Faith. There is so much that could be said here. I will highlight the difference it makes to me to feel that God loves me, to know that whatever might be going on right now that it is going to be OK.
  • Laughter. Would it be like having to explain a joke, to explain why laughter and humor enhance happiness?
  • Work. There is something fulfilling about having something worth doing and trying to do it well.
  • Of course I must say my family!
That is ten for now. Good night.

Monday, January 4, 2010

How cold is cold.

The other day, I had a coworker tell me that once it is below 20 degrees, it all feels the same.

That is easy to say until you have to go out in negative weather! Things can get colder, and no matter what someone tells me, I say that I can tell the difference.

I still remember the night I had to change a flat tire at minus 40. The air was still and heavy. My breath formed its own clouds of frost. My fingers began to feel separate from my body other than the sting they gave me and my (diminished) ability to control them. My nose began to rebel against its job as air warmer and lung protector. My toes began to tell all the other parts to quit complaining since at least they were still getting some blood flow. I was grateful to get the job done and get on my way.

I am sure several points could be made out of the above, but for now, I will just quote this very practical one my wife recently emphasized, "Promise me we will get to live somewhere warm someday, or at least be Snowbirds."

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year, New Lists

I am not sure why, but while the new year season seems to bring numerous lists in the media of the year past, it makes me want to start lists for the new. Maybe it is because of thinking of all the things I did not keep track of the last year, I want to start new and keep better track.

This is particularly true of my days. I feel motivated to have a journal, to use my day planner, to set some goals. When I look back on the journals that I do have, January is the month with the most entries by far.

Well one list I do want to keep this year is a list of books read.

First entry: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby. This man suffered a stroke of some kind affecting his brain stem that left him without control of his body. (Reference locked-in syndrome). His means of communicating became by blinks of his left eye. By those means he was able to write a book.

In his last visit with his father before his stroke, he remembers giving him a shave. Now himself being the subject of being given shaves, he hopes that he was gentle with his father. He also reflects on how his over 90 year old father has his own "diving bell" of his apartment, due to stairs, frailty etc. His father cannot really come to visit him, so their most direct contact is the few words his father speaks over the phone.

His "butterfly" is how his mind can let him soar in memory and imagination.

I enjoyed this book, most especially how it served as a springboard for me to ponder. How happy I am to be able to give and receive hugs from my kids today!

Well, happy new year to all. Fill it with wonderful things.