Living - and already savoring - the Adventures across the backroads of western Idaho and eastern Oregon!

30 November 2010


I’d like to leave you today with an excerpt of some ‘love and light’ shared by a true Warrior, Seeker and Guide in my life’s orbit – Mizz J. Ponder her words, ones that speak to me like spiritual guideposts:

“Appreciated your [blog] entry as I am seeking, learning and attempting to walk with empowerment and light today/everyday. I continue my studies of personal spiritual alchemy with a toss salad of Shamanism dressing and a side of hardy Native American traditions...(The Medicine Wheel and The Tree of Life are just two examples of my new teachings...fantastic fun) I am practicing good magic and finding my recipe (ingredients) to life. It's still a lot chunky. (I continue to add too much salt (thinking & tears) sometimes...)

I have a "hot date" with Buddha over Thanksgiving 2010 @
http://www.shambhalamountain.org/stupa.html. I am jazzed to participate in a 4-day spiritual retreat. Pure intentions of fine tuning my yoga stances, meditation methods, avoiding traditional programming and all people I know. Sinking into deeper authentic self...I continue to stumble through the path of purpose and my reasonable happy.“

29 November 2010

Critiques and Reality

My Blog: Great stuff or simply drive?l If mine are the latter then hopefully true friendship rises up to put a stop to the typing, sharing and madness, though the thoughts themselves of course will endlessly bounce around my Candyland Cranium of Convoluted Thoughts.

If you need a lunchtime adventure, a simple one at your PC, log into www.blogspot.com and browse blogs from around the world. You just click on the top-section link called Next Blog and that takes you randomly to another of many thousand blogs from around the world. I find the Portuguese and Brazilian ones to have particularly creative pix and graphics, though I cannot deduce their meaning. Yes, I could use BabelFish but like I said, “lunchtime.” Translation is too much work when I’m looking for salvation in bowl of low-everything soup (you know, the kind with mystery meat and not enough of that).

Speaking of babbling, you ever get into a crucial conversation, or even a light-hearted chat with someone you respect, and your tongue betrays you by stammering through things you know you know? I’ve had many a circular argument with my tongue, chewing it out for making me look foolish. Why can’t we have a backup internal BabelFish that engages when foot is headed toward mouth? My own worst moment was at the altar, when I combined stammering with drooling and spastic body motions – I bet Michele seriously considered running out the back door!

Reminds me of a Congressman or two or dozens … whoops, now the fingers are betraying me as well! Viva La Democracia!

24 November 2010

Frodo Lives!

Frodo is the protagonist in The Lords of the Rings saga. His vibrant spirit, indomitable perseverance and sheer zest for life (and several meals daily) ring true in my search for meaning. However...

What meaning to make of loves lost, those not sought and of love found? Does it all make you a better person? Is life really that simple? All my walks and wanderings haven’t given me any answers…. Maybe love is worthwhile for its own sake, I think, not for where it leads or gets you. Michele, the children, my extended family, dear friends and others along the path -- I hope I’ve added something to their lives?

What meaning to make of sought-after adventures, fascinating rabbit holes delved into, and those my spirit isn’t yet strong enough to pursue? Some ring true, a sunset or vista that never fades and always inspires in some corner of my mind. Some, like trips back to Montana, are vexing because the meaning might just be the transient experience, one that doesn’t necessarily mean anything permanent. Like Frodo, my adventures haven’t slowed but I still search for meaning in nature’s cathedral. That I could be like the famed man on the mountain in Led Zeppelin’s 4th album cover, striving for the all-knowing, the meaning to life that would be clear if only I reached the top…

23 November 2010

Mysteries amid Egoism

In a really light-hearted way, here are Today’s Pet Peeves:

· Fingernail polish: Just how do women know/feel/guess at what color works for them or for that enigmatic ‘ensemble’? Yes, Thank God I don’t have to be too concerned on this one…

· Senior moments. I just Do Not have time for forgetting. Especially when it’s ideas for today’s blog that just this morning were so vivid in my mind.

· Frames for portraits: Just who said they usually should be rectangular? Borrrr-ing!

· When your fingers forget how to type your name. Duh.

· The M-1 Abrams Tank having a jet engine (yes, a true fact): Why no racing stripes? Why not a blower that my BFF Lee would marvel at?

· My inability to give myself a good back rub.

· Words spelled alike that are spoken completely differently. Or words whose pronunciation makes no phonetic sense. (now I sound old and crabby, huh, Heather?)

· Why speeding drivers are tagged by the Revenuers (aka police) long before folks who insist on driving after dusk with NO headlights.

· The bus not pulling over at the riverside for a Spectacular Sunset – best one I’ve seen in six years in DC

· Chicken Pad Thai not being served in every American restaurant

· And, of course, women – certainly not a peeve but certainly a mystery through the years (said with a smile!)

Tell me what bugs you so I know whether I’m being too dorky or have a point in all of this…

22 November 2010

Did She Make You Cry?

What is it about sports teams that draw us back time after frustrating time? It’s not like even Manchester United can field an unstoppable team (but don’t tell them that). Winning is about focus and execution. When you lose, you pick up the pieces, become humanoid Legos and rebuild just a bit differently. And you tell yourself that the team could have won if just it did this or that. C’mon, that’s what Synder’s Redskin’s do. I mean, jsut one or two playoff games in a pathetic decade, but God bless those fans who keep on keeping on. Me, as a Bills fan, I live in perpetual hope that the team will gain one day soon the prestige that comes from regularly being a playoff contender. Maybe I show wear more bling and that will push them along better?

Today’s Pet Peeves, thankfully few since wild-and-crazy guys like me don’t have too many:

· Global Warming: Yeah, truly a peeve since I’d like to get a clearer yes-or-no read. No need for the movie 2012 to become reality, but how to deal with ecosystems obviously not working in our best interest regardless of the cause?

· The Word “Leftover”: It’s the 21st century and we can’t do any better than that? Some of those leftovers are better than the cafeteria swill they ladle up hot and fresh

· Night Lights – bring me back the darkness, the blank slate of introspection

· Night Frights – I’m glad I can’t remember my infrequent bad dreams because I know I don’t want any of my nocturnal boogeymen dropping by my desk

· ‘Over the Hills and Far Away’ shouldn’t be so. Bring them closer so that, like the intrepid hobbit I should be, I can go live those elusive dreamy adventures.

17 November 2010

Out on North Road

It’s good to leave the fru-fru of DC. I’m glad to put aside the gym visits, wondering about what healthy foods I should be eating, and the inevitable plotting-and-planning of suburban life. Ellen and Henry on-the-farm live life Large, in a rural place where the 21st century track of money and career ambitions pale. Yes, God is good and they’re Rich in Life. They live a type of self-sacrifice and moderation that nonetheless leads to fulfillment. I feel like the Grinch when I visit -- my heart swells to a size way beyond what it usually is!

My friend Karen also moves on in her life, supporting the dreams of a college freshman daughter, raising a talented and fascinating teenager, and being a worthy companion/neighbor to her dad. And she loves dogs! Today, I sit and smile at the little things from my trip to her slice of heaven, like homemade oatmeal, seeing the woods through her eyes, and reflecting on what a stroll in the forest can do for the psyche. All good stuff. I left northern PA too soon and my return will be too far off, I’m afraid – tomorrow would be good.

That I could sum up these lessons... I can’t, so reflection will just have to do…

16 November 2010

Country Comforts

(From Saturday, actually...)

I sit here in upstate NY, at Chez Hager, home/dairy farm of our matron of honor and best man. Though I needed to journey here alone this weekend, that’s OK. Guilt would ruin the experience and value of the 400-mile autumn odyssey. Here’s a shout-out to Michele and others would affirmed that just trying to be a part of the fabric of our friends’ lives is worthwhile in-and-of-itself. Part two of my trip is visiting Karen D – more to follow on that.

I like these walks on the ‘darker side.’ Darker in terms of family/friends with who may have more or less of what we have, materially speaking, and of course who live my mantra of Less Ambient Light makes life better. In this case, we four are remarkably on track to be equally prosperous despite our different life paths (stop laughing, Ellen!).

My November Walk in Darkness has been a satisfying two-day shared walk in their day-to-day routine. Walking into their doorway offers insights into breathing in, and hopefully emulating, the energies and passions of those dearest to me. As always, I leave enriched, empowered and enlightened.

10 November 2010

Songs of the Universe

What happens when we die? My last blog got me to thinking of soil and my possible future role in its replenishment. Hey, I take being part of the ecosystem real seriously! Being buried, though, isn’t on my dance card. On the lighter side, I think the old adage with gunslingers was to bury them eight feet under, the extra couple of feet since their victims all were at six feet and they wanted to make sure they could keep an eye on their backs. Have you heard that? HAH! I half-made it up but think that’s the gist of it. I beat Jon Bon Jovi would agree with me that’s how we social outlaws oughta act too!

Seriously now, where to put my ashes? [whew, thank God my mother is NOT on this distro] Into the fierce winds of some tall Western place called Deadwood Mountain? Into the now-sedate and safe UN-sanctuary waters of Bikini Atoll (site of many 1950’s nuclear tests)? Next to my dog Yowzer? Into Two Medicine Lake, Montana? Wait for Michele and go together? [her thinking – is that eternal romance? ]. Or simply be brave, like the heroine of this song excerpt?

Met a girl in a chair with wheels but no one else would see her.

Met a girl in a chair with wheels…

Everyone was so afraid to even look down on her,

so she just spread her little wings and flew away.

I’ll live this life until this life won’t let me live here anymore.

And I will walk, yes, I will walk with patience through that open door.

I have no fears – angels follow me wherever I may go.

I’ll live this life until this life won’t let me live here anymore.

~ Big ‘n Rich

Live this Life

09 November 2010

A Month of Sundays

Today’s Challenge: What would you do with a Month of Sundays, a set of days when the stores aren’t all open full hours with sales items? I mean, you’d have to get out and do something creative, the type of thing my old-school parents would call, “Go outside and find something to do!” Thanks, Mom, but what if I didn't come back? – bet you’d drop that suggestion!

Hmmm… I’d take a bike ride around a new forest and come home that night only if I got real hungry or cold. Take one of those day-tripper buses to NYC and just wander with a pocket full of loot, a guide to Manhattan/Brooklyn and, again, catch the night ride home only if I feel like it. How about a forever-overdue visit to a Bostonian friend, letting her steal the itinerary and show me what the old town means to her & her camera; I think her car’s name is Eddie, so I’d get his opinion too. I know - I’d fly to Paris, snag a Eurail pass and go to wherever I wish whenever I so feel like it. An Indie Film Festival! Be a carnie and live off funnel cake. Follow a bear around all day. Hire someone to spray-paint my car with a Led Zeppelin theme. Borrow an unfulfilled dream from Andrea’s brain.

Alternately, since I do happen to love my wife Michele and family … but the home shack, not so much … I’d become an unshaven and unkempt home urchin for a couple weeks. Repaint the whole place. Install a solar roof. Have a football marathon, watching all of a weekend’s NFL games back-to-endless-back. Drink coffee straight from the pot. Eat fattening rugala or turnovers every morning – and lick up the crumbs like a puppy. Sample all types of salami, sausages, cheeses and wines. Get back to home-brewing beer like I did back in the day. Keel over {painlessly?} from massive heart infarction caused by my new shamelessly gluttonous lifestyle & thus spend the rest of my Month watching my memorial service/internment into the earth…

08 November 2010

Putting Lipstick on a Pig

What, you never heard that one?! Actually, I’m not surprised; it’s an old fav of mine and I often hear folks haven’t gotten to enjoy it yet. It basically means you paint up the pig however you want, but it’s still a pig. I guess there are other delicious nuances that people like my writer friend Andrea could proffer? I used to apply the expression to many tasks at a former job when “going through the motions” was just too cheery an expression.

“C’est la Vie!” Coincidentally the title of the ELP song currently playing and fittingly another one that well fits today’s theme. That’s Life! If you reflect on it, that expression also sums up a universe of feelings. It also calls out my current re-reading of Crucial Conversations, in which the author points out our own reactions to external stimuli, such as a barbed comment or perceived slight, are feelings WE create in ourselves; the other person didn’t dial up that reaction, we did. I figure applying this expression might be better than some of the previous (usually volcanic & internal) reactions I’d have to an occasional off-key remark that rubbed me wrong. My academic fellowship introduced me to this superb book (aka required reading) and I know am re-reading it for deeper insight. Try that sometime with your fav’s – others I’ve done are Gulag Archipelago, 1984, Utopia & War and Peace. C’mon, let’s start an odd book club – tell me your favorite re-readings as an adult and I’ll pass that on anonymously!

05 November 2010

Is there a Band playing in my Head?

Man, let’s hope not! Maybe some of us listen to music simply because the band isn’t loud enough. Am I the only one who finds stillness captivating? I mean, I listen to music constantly as it shapes my mood, gives me ideas and inspiration, and propels me forward through the wonkiness of my day. Give me a briefcase and I’d look like some modern-day Einstein with little white iPod earphones as I trudge self-importantly from meeting to meeting.

If you’ve not sampled the stillness, give it a go on an autumn morning. Go somewhere where nature mutes the turning wheels and deadens the background chatter of the 21st century. I think it’s something special. Reminds me of Honda’s new billboard campaign, ‘Vanquility.’ I trek the back-40 in an Odyssey so can appreciate the humor of it all. I doubt Honda Sales Dept. does, though, since their product is superb and I have no reason yet to trade it in. Hmmm, if they built a 4x4 version with a roll cage, I could be convinced to be a Double Vanquility Family! I think I’d go Bubba and paint mine camo and slap on some Eat Bambi stickers for good measure. Else I’ll downgrade and go find a decent Pinto … drive down a country road in a camo Pinto, rifles hanging out the side … that would be a blast!

Which brings our story full-circle because the band playing in my head now pictures a Mad Max terrain, armored Pinto raging down the cracked pavement while Bon Jovi’s Just Older amping up in the background. Those wacked Mad Max producers had a great idea…

02 November 2010

An Obelisk

‘Promised Land Realty.’ Now, what’s that business’ name all about? Are we selling headstones and you’re the number one small business this month? I have an idea: sell bits of land that have things like obelisks on them so people have someplace to go in their free time. Can you imagine changing the paradigm of real estate to be Bits and Pieces, splitting up a parcel into section where you plant a garden, erect a play set for your kids, dig a little one-person pool or just grow the greenest grass ever imagined? Yeah, our world would look more like Alice in Wonderland but it never would be boring. Note to Arkansawyer Excursions, Inc.: I see a trip theme here, as folks odyssey about the country to gaze at mini-windmills, homages to loves lost long ago and to artwork that speaks to our souls.

“No longer, no more.” That should be a theme for some TV show, where you explore traditions, rituals and practices that once meant so much. Late night fare but I can only begin to imagine what some cultures revered once upon a time. Heck, who’d a thunk you’d have cargo cults in the south Pacific? That some people revere animals almost more than people? Reminds me of Cows, Pigs, Wars and Witches, a seminal anthropology book that I highly recommend you read.

I tire of my commuter bus surroundings and now adjourn into the vacuous depths of my really boring mind. Yawn. I think today’s task is to ponder the new phrases I should create to capture these feelings. Phrases because no silly single word can capture their intensity. They’re linked to thoughts and emotions, so the phrases will be weird, convoluted and probably need me to create a whole new planet for their existence. [I then should throw a cuppa Joe into this thought process and maybe I can grow up to be a Real Writer who earns Real Money!]

01 November 2010

Pigs on the Wing

I wanted today to talk lovingly about pets but since one of our cats, Leo, keeps on keeping me up at nights, I think I should have entitled this blog something more like Cats, The Other White Meat. Or maybe War Pigs in homage to the anti-war screed of Black Sabbath. (I know that makes little sense but work with me, people, work with me!!).

Leo the Boy Cat will get to live though I see a swirly in his future. What, you’re not familiar with this time-honored tradition? One where, at a disrupted 3 AM, you scoop up the loudly offending pet, hoof over to the toilet bowl, insert cat/push plunger, and rename him Mr. Clean? Great Results: the bowl is now sparkly and Mr. Happy then spends the day grooming the indignity away. And plots your demise…

Why aren’t snails pets? They don’t talk back. And they’re hits at a party when they tango with sea salt. I like Siamese Fighting Fish too, though I don’t like to spool them up by putting another one too closely. Never seemed nice. I mean, do you do that with cats? Politicians? City planners? Music critics? Network engineers? These things, folks, are solitary entities that Know All and, roam alone and are the centers of their own universes.