Not sure what to title this post . . .

I'm awake - maybe not for long - maybe for a while - I can never tell on these nights. There is something about long phone calls that seem short, fleeting, leaving me longing for the next. How can I tell you what it is like, to hear and be heard.

I can't - and yet I suspect that some of you understand all to well. I suspect that some are smiling and nodding, some even laughing - I am too.

I want to smile and nod and laugh for as long as I can. I can't think, and can't stop thinking. Time to drive, and listen to music, and drive and drive and drive. Time to go get a bagel and sit out looking over Lewiston and muse.

No thinking, just musing, just glowing.

My chest fills and my heart pounds - I'm restless - I pace - I try to sit and read, but after reading the same page 8 times I give up.

Have you ever listened to a piece of music and had the hairs on your arm stands up, and felt that weird shiver that travels up and down your back when you get hit by a cold draft? Have you ever found your pace when running?

Have you?

Do you know the days?

Do you find yourself seeing things that you never saw?

Seeing them everywhere? And wondering how you missed them?

Have you felt that strange breed of excitement, which steals your stomach and gives you strength and courage in return?

Do you know that of which I speak?

Have you lost reason?

Have you found reason?

How is it that I have not heard this story before?

Have I just not been listening?

I've seen it dimly - I've seen it in the eyes of my friends, in seen it in their smiles, and heard it in their laughs - and I think something was lost on me - there was a quality and depth that I missed.


Early Morning Hymns

Early morning hymns

Dawn flows over the hills and the day begins.

Early morning emails bring new questions and exciting ideals.

Every day is filled with choices, some large, some small.

What is my plan for today, what is my plan for my life?

Where am I going and why?

What are my dreams?

I don’t imagine large enough – I don’t dream grand enough – I sit and shrink my dreams under the guise of being practical, of being responsible,of being level headed.

And so I tone down what I want in life – fearing that if I can’t have the huge big dreams – I’ll just change my dreams into something smaller that is attainable. I’ll settle.

I remember reading about a great war horse, strong and proud. He manages to run away and in his freedom finds it almost impossible to do the feats that he did before. With no one standing over him pushing him on - he settles for less. It takes fear of death to spur him on.

I don’t always settle – in fact I’m most content when I haven’t. I know that there exists this harder path, a path that is harder now, a path that leads not to easier things but harder and better things. Why do I shy from these better, harder things? These gems?? They are the things I prize. The things I have sweated for, worked for, prayed and waited for. Why do I settle? Why do I give up? It hurts sometimes; it hurts a lot of times, the striving, the pressing on. But I know what’s best – and so often I avoid it, so often I let myself forget, and so often I find myself relearning the same lessons over and over again.

Why do I change my sights – why do I settle and in settling turn my striving into loosing?

What are my dreams?

When did I stop dreaming?

Why does this question still haunt me?

I can list off thousands of things I want to do, last night and the night before I did just that, yesterday at work while processing all the parcels the City has annexed in the last 125 years I did just that. And the list is long, and deep, and full. All the skills I would like to have, places I would like to see, foods I would like to eat, the languages I want to speak, the instruments I would like to play. But they were not dreams, not dreams in the sense that any one of them, or even a large set of them would some how fill a void in me that I really want to be filled. What is the purpose of our dreams, how do they change as we change?

Hmmmmmm . . . . .


Cold Lunch Breaks

I have never been so ready for winter to be done - over - gone - finished - the yeast of spring is fermenting in my veins.


In Awesome Wonder

This morning was cold, cold and beautiful. I did greet the rosy-fingered dawn – that child of the morning. The landscape was all white and pink with burnt oranges and deep dark blues. I sat by my window looking out, looking at the day starting, all still and quite, all fresh and new. And I just enjoyed it, just took it in, it was not made for me, it would have been there had I still been asleep, it would have been there if I was to busy to see it. So much of life’s pleasures are this way. Ours for the taking if we would just take them, ours for the having if we would just come to them – enjoy them on their terms and not on ours. Enjoying what we have, and seeing it for what it really is. Sometimes it is hard to see – it’s weird, when looking thru the lens I see things differently. I lose something in that lens, I don’t know if it is awe, or respect or just what it is. So sometimes when I find beauty, when I see it, when it makes me breath deep, when it takes my eyes off of me, when I just want time to stop so I can see all of the sky at once – I leave the camera at my side. Not because I’m afraid I’ll destroying the moment, not because I don’t feel that I can do the scene justice – and here’s were it gets hard to explain – there is no because – I just don’t think to take a picture. It’s not always this way, sometimes I’ll hit the brakes and pull over and stand on the side of the road for 20 minutes taking shots, sometimes I stay up late and take long exposures of the night sky – and sometimes - sometimes I’m there, and the shot is there, and my camera is there, and that is enough.

It’s not something really deep or transcendental or hand waving or whatever. No – just that sometimes life is best enjoyed for what it is right now. The pains and trials of right now, the humors and smiles of right now, today is today. It is what you have, it is where you are. Humor and beauty surround me – so often I miss them. The world is a beautiful and marvelous place, beautiful and marvelous and terrible and wonderful. It is all of these things regardless of me – the sun rises and sets, the rain falls in the desert where there is no man. God is that artist who needs no audience, He creates for His good pleasure, to please Himself.

O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works Thy hands have made.
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.



What to write tonight . . .

Tonight finds me - finds me in a reflective mood, I see my friends interact, I see and hear their smiles and laughs. Seeing them as they are, alive, vibrant, life is this time. I feel at times like I'm able to see the present as a memory almost. The now almost seems like a movie, or something that I'm separate from. A part of me holds back and just observes - even as I interact, laugh and smile. There is this part that just sits back and soaks it in. Stepping back from life, and seeing how blessed you are, seeing and appreciating what you've been given, where you are at. And it happens - this disconnect - it happens all the time. When I'm going for a walk to think, when I'm taking pictures, when I'm driving in Seattle, when I'm eating birthday pie. When I watch dishes being done, when I play settlers, or wait for studs to be put on.

I don't know how other people process life, how they wrestle with decisions, and form their views, I talk a lot. I used to talk mostly to myself, long walks and long car rides. Loud music, and hours on the road. These days I still talk, I still ask myself questions, but friends have entered into what used to be a very private process - friends now ask hard questions too, the questions I never see. Letting people in was easy, letting them explore is hard. Friendship is living life together. Together is not traveling the same way, together is not one dragging the other. Friendships are better and tougher than I thought. Do I love my friends? What does it mean to lay your life down for your friends. Is that the guy who jumps on the grenade? Is it more than that? Is there more than that? What would more than that be?

What is laying down my life?

I don't know where I was going with that - I think I'm running a fever - so if this seems disjointed please smile to yourself and nod with a knowing understanding.

I'm sure dear reader that you never do silly things like start a blog with no clear idea or purpose. Letting your fingers wander the far reaches of your empty mind. Turning over the rocks to see what crawls out.

It it kinda fun to do

dang I think the meds are kicking in


Running with the bulls

Lets say you wanted to run with the bulls – you spend sometime getting ready – rolling the idea around in your head. Thinking about it – prepping for the adventure – as the day and moment approaches anticipation builds. Part of you thinks “I can still back out now” – you press on plowing thru and smiling even more because you going to do this. You do the hardest part so far - you show up in the street – ready to run, you think you hear the bulls stamping and snorting behind the gate – your muscles tense – your breath quickens – your jaw sets.

You are doing this – you are going to run with the bulls!

This is so crazy! People DIE! horrible deaths – gored and broken – why Why WHY! You can still duck into that door, you can still call this off –

NO! We’re doing this!! Stay the course!! Stay the course!!! You in this now – no going back!

Cracking your knuckles – you prepare for the gate to open – you are wound like a steel trap, nervous, excited, worried, your stomach is churning, your nostrils flare, and your eyes narrow. The gate slides back – “Wait for it … ” you whisper to no one in particular, steady now, not until you see the whites of their eyes. And as the gate slides back, as you wait for the rumble of hooves, for the sights and sounds to fill you with a wonderful terror, in this moment as you wait – you notice just how still and quite it is. Your standing in an empty deserted street and you realize that you’ve arrived an hour early!!!

Feeling silly, relieved, and mildly annoyed (with yourself - not the bulls – they had no idea that you would be early) you head back to the office – planning to put lunch off by an hour. The next hour is spent pulling little pins out of the wall – mindless labor which provides the time so desperately needed for your mind to readjust to the change in plans. You had managed to build up the head of steam you needed to run with the bulls, you were all set, your body was wet with honest sweat at the very idea, and when you need it, when your strength did not fail you, you found it was all for naught.

Oh well . . . what man has done, man can do. And the bulls are only a half an hour away now. . .

The minutes tick by, the pins come up off the map, and slowly the accidents that have accumulated over the past year are transformed from pinheads to pencil marks. The hour of the bulls is upon you . . . this time you find it a weird mix of harder and easier to walk out and meet them. You stiffen the sinews and summon up the blood, and exchange fair nature for. . . well maybe you keep your fair nature – you don’t want to overdo this, and get gored by and angry bull. You leave the accident map and go out into the hallway to sign-out for lunch, to sign out and run with the bulls. And as you uncap the marker, as you raise it to the white board, as you start forming dull black letters on the shiny white surface. Your elbow is caught and you are drug - kicking and screaming into an hour-long meeting, where solid waste digesters, street repairs and storm water management will be disused in extensive detail.

After what seems like hours you emerge – “white and shaken – like a dry martini” the bulls have run today – they have run without you.

Lesson learned?

Tomorrow call ahead and schedule a running.


Just a glimpse

There are days when I get a glimpse of the man I'd like to be. Of men that make me proud, proud of who they are, of what they do, of the effect they have had in the lives of the people around them. Forgive me if I'm repeating myself when I tell these stories - if I have ever told you a story in person than I've probably told it to you more than once. There are two men that stick in my memory - men I've never met - men I've never seen. I don't know their names, I don't know them. They could be total losers - but somehow I don't think so. I would like to shake their hands, look them in the eye and tell them thank you - thank you for being the man that you are. You have been an overheard example, an unseen inspiration.

The first story starts in a doctor's office - I'm waiting to be called back, I've exhausted all the reading material within reach, and now am pretending to read an Better Homes and Gardens issue dealing with sun rooms and drapes - I never see these magazines anywhere else only in waiting rooms. I'm pretending to read because the conversation of the nurses is much more interesting than window treatments. It seems that someones son is away at college, classes are tough, but is making friends. She is asked if he's still dating so and so. "Yes" she replies - "just like his father - a one woman man"

Just like his father - a one woman man. Nothing huge, nothing large, just a quiet compliment. And that is when I knew that I wanted to be that sort of man. I am proud of him - this one woman man - of both of them - father and son. These one woman men. It has kind of stuck with me these last few years.

I've since met lots of men that have and do inspire me in this vein. Last night as I read a strangers blog I caught another glimpse of the man I'd like to be someday - again I do not know this man, I do not know his daughter. I've never met either of them, and I'm proud of them both.

I don't pretend to know any of the parties involved here - all I can say is that their examples - the fathers, and mothers - the sons and daughters - have spilled out of their lives into mine.

Thank You. You inspire and encourage more than you know.

My mad attempt at a 10 min blog entry

~Reposted at Caleb's request~

Ok - it's 7:39 - got to leave by 7:49

Nothing is more convicting than seeing your sin reflected in the life of someone you care about - when the speck in their eye causes you to become aware of the splintered 2x4 in your own. It makes you stop - it makes you slow down - and suddenly your spirit changes.

Where am I stopping my ears and not listening to God?

I can talk - I can reason - I can listen - I can't change a friends heart.

And I'm not sure that I'm even supposed to - I know that I cannot do nothing - that would be easiest, easiest for now, less painful now, more fun now - but to say nothing, to do nothing - would to be nothing. Less than a friend, less than a brother, I can't ignore the people I care about as much as I would like to avoid hard conversations that I can't see going anywhere.

Father - I'm seeing that I need You more every day.
I need Your grace, Your wisdom, Your heart for those around me.
I'm working Father - point me in the right direction - guide my steps, my words, my thoughts and my actions.


Running to catch the Bus and other methods of self-diagnosis

I've given advice on when and when not to eat questionable poultry in this blog - today I share what can be gleaned from a simple 100 yard dash.

Lets say you are at work and you are feeling ill - queasy - unsound. First ask yourself "Is this unusual?" If you find the answer to your query is in the positive than proceed with the course of action prescribed below - if it is the negative than Stop really - you have bigger problems to work out.

You are probably are wondering if you caught some virulent strain of west side crud or if the spinach dip you had last night on the drive over is the source of your abdominal discomfiture.

And while running won't answer this question - it will answer another one - one you may not have even been asking. . .

But not right away.

No the running to catch the bus feels great - you're faster than you remembered - you've lost weight - this is easier than you remember - why don't you do more of this?

You've reached the bus and just saved yourself a mile walk up hill, sitting down you realize that that the contents of you stomach are no longer content to sit idly by - you've stirred them up, moreover whatever is happening is happening quicker than you would like - thankfully there are only two stops left. Pulling the cord you stand - waiting - waiting - waiting for the doors to open - you exit the bus very controlled. . . nothing sudden, or abrupt - you've heading for the door - so close - you can see the stairs - steady now - steady -

Dizziness - we're tossing in dizziness now too?!?!?! Stay on target - STAY ON TARGET!

Abort! ABORT!! ABORT!!!

Scrub the mission - he's crashed in the shrubs.

Don't run to catch the bus if you are feeling ill - queasy - unsound.

(Trust me on this one . . .)

I'll heading to bed - probably for the remainder of the day - lots of liquids for now - later I might post some pictures from this weekend - but no promises - I'll be sleeping like as not.


Woke up at 9:30 this evening feeling better - not tons - better but better.

We'll see how what the morrow brings - I have a meeting at 6:30 - hopefully I'll be up for that. . .

Spent sometime in Seattle, Bremerton, Auburn and Seabeck this weekend - Had a blast! Pullman was almost flooding when I left, upon my return I found that it had not.


Kind of a still day today

It was weird sitting at someone else's desk for the a good portion of the day on Monday . . . at a desk that was not mine – the seat was all wrong, my knees were bumping into unfamiliar cabinets. The office sounds were all foreign too, gone was the flickering buzz of ballasts in the lights overhead, gone was the noise of traffic outside, gone was my music - all replaced with footsteps, swinging doors, and the beeps of incoming faxes. I sat at the front desk and worked on odd jobs, packing up Christmas decorations, answering phone calls and taking down names of people worried about when their street will be plowed

Odd day – everything was changed up and all turned around – my groove was somewhere, somewhere I was not. I think it was on the couch at home, drinking my tea, reading my books, wrapped up in my huge down comforter.

I was not tired – I was not bored – I just wanted to feel more productive.


Sunday night I slept in a snow cave - carved into the side of a huge hillside drift, half a mile from my back door. It was warmer than I thought it would be inside, warmer and more fun - something about being in the snow and being warm, being comfortable was enjoyable, more enjoyable then I thought it would be. Leaving in the morning was not hard work - it snowed about 10" during the night and Alan had to bust thru a foot and a half to get out - then our trail had to be reforged - four feet had drifted in during the night across that trail - and it was colder much colder outside - sometime during the night a couple mountain ranges grew up under the cover of darkness, making the hike back - interesting, I set off a couple of snow slides - which made things - as long as you did not slide down with the snow.


The desk was not mine – the hand crèmes, the lotions, the house plants – the pictures and pencils’ were not mine. I always feel big when I sit at this desk.


And as odd as that may sound I don’t often feel my size, or any size for that matter. I rarely feel large, I don’t notice till I try to squeeze my bulk under a car, or get my hand into a jar. And it’s funny how a 6’5” 292lb guy can go thru life forgetting the difference, not appreciating the difference, totally oblivious to the fact that he is different.
I had a friend tell me that shopping at WinCo was so much faster with me because people got out or my way. I laughted thinking nothing of it at first - but the next time I was shopping I started looking for this behavior - and I was shocked! People were - and I also realized why I had not noticed before - people were getting out of my way halfway down the isle - by the time I was within 6 or 7 cart lenghts they were well out of the way and a path was clear. People pulling off to the side, or waiting for me to pass, or backing up and going down a fresh isle - I've tested this letting other - smaller friends captin the cart, and it's true - people get out of my way, not theirs. I've tried to figure out why this is - do I just expect them to move and they do? Am I giving off some vibe that I don't know of??? All I know is that sometimes it's funny being big.

But then there are the less funny times - times when you realize that you are big and large and foreboding. The days that you feel like a brute for just existing, days when small children cry - when you see abject terror in their young eyes, days when you see worry and fear on the face's of old women who keep looking over their shoulders, trying not to look scared.

You learn how to smile just right, how to look sheepish, how to chuckle - you learn when you just need to leave, to cross the street, or walk faster so they are following behind you. You learn how to carry your shoulders, to take you hands out of your pockets. You get used to startling people, people coming around corners, people who notice you all of the sudden with a start - their body going stiff and doing a small little half jump. Sometimes it makes you laugh, sometimes you do your best to ignore it. Somewhere you turn something off, and you learn not to let it in - not to let it bother you.

But you notice.

and it’s nobody’s fault, it’s just the way it is.

Not all kids cry, not all old ladies are fearful - and those are the ones that really make your day - the ones who see you, who see you and smile, see you and laugh - both friends and strangers.


Road Trip!!!

Where: Oregon Coast
Why: Visit three of the Northwest's Brewery's
Who: Deschutes, Rouge, and Full Sail

Rouge - Black and White
In the hallway at the Rouge Brewery in Newport Oregon - fun place, very low key, and very good beer. The most interesting tour we had, they were short staffed that day so a brewer took us around rather than the usual bartender. So we got an off the cuff, impromptu presentation from one of the four guys that actually brew the stuff. Very cool.

A very steep ravine - signs were posted warning dog owners about dogs jumping to their deaths here. The yellow warning sign was only slightly disturbing.

Multnomah Falls
If you look closely at the image you'll be able to see an odd effect - its not photoshopped - its the spray from the falls, landing on my lens and making things difficult

Oregon Coast at Night
Karl was the first to try spinning the Bull Kelp, then I gave it a spin - way harder than I thought it would have been to get 35+ feet of seaweed to spin overhead

So cold - so very cold - if you look close you can see my Chaco tan from a few years back

I imagine that this is what it looks like on the way to Superman's fortress of solitude - dark - cold - the waters below a blur.

It was very cold
This was actually more complicated than we thought it would be. I set the camera on continuous mode and managed to take 100+ shots - I'm sparing you and only posting two.

Sandy Beaches - Cold Sandy Beaches
Somewhere there exist a picture of me taking this shot - on bended knees - back end in the air, oblivious to the world around me.

Twilight + 8 Seconds
Another shot from the beach, or rather just in off the beach - it's amazing what time delay can do.

Attempted Heel Clicks

Waiting for the Photographer to be Done!
It can be tough traveling with a guy that stops and looks at tree trunks.

Tree in Bend, Oregon

Bored in car shot #584
After spending way to long in the car, we started to try all sorts of shots, played with time delays, and played with painting with light. I had a small pocket torch, and we were able to past the time trying to get shots just right.

Bored in car shot #522
Keeping the camera steady took a tripod plus the cooperation of the driver

Bored in car shot #504
I love this shot - its a long shot, with very little shake, and what you see is the light of a semi on my face as well as it's brake and container lights as it passes by.