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

20 December 2010

Iruka Akatsuki

(Japanese for ‘Dolphin Dawn’)

Bliss Redefined: At a sunny 9 AM, savoring hot coffee on the condo’s deck overlooking the Atlantic ocean astride Cape Fear's Topsail Island.

Culinary Euphoria: Arranging the homemade apple cake and Kirsch Stollen (a German loaf-shaped cake containing dried cherries, other fruits/nuts, and covered with powdered sugar) alongside the great breakfast burritos Michele made this morning.

Familial Smiles: Watching my US Navy medical corpsman playing Playstation’s Trauma Center, a really wacky Japanese take on One Life to Live. It combines soap opera, a Catholic nun, putting broken bones back into a patient puzzle-style, and the whole family giggling our loony butts off.

Youkou (Sunshine): All we get today in the Wilmington NC area. Made all the more invigorating by the mesmerizing sparkle of the waters where all stress melts away and thoughts ebb into a fascination over the water’s clarity and the tricks of the tail along the horizon – just what do I see or think I see?

Splish-splash: As the dozen dolphins karroom along the waves – or astoundingly, within them – as they near the shoreline. I hope you too have seen a morning spectacle like this one, where the dolphins squirt parallel to the shoreline inside the aquamarine clarity of the wave. Unforgettable.

Images I’ll never forget and we’re only on Morning Two of our six-day jaunt…

17 December 2010

On a Grey Horizon

He suddenly awoke, aware of a raw silence he never had known. Spinning around, he saw the sleeping sack was empty, bereft of strength, love and life. She was gone, passing in the night into a place where he wasn’t ready to go. The bitter cold journey and its impossible struggles across the gauntlet of the mountains had proved too much for her, powerful though as her spirit was.

“And is,” he thought, as he lay beside her in a long last embrace. She’d still be at his shoulder, though, and he slid into a dreamless darkness knowing the dawn would appear too soon. What would be on the horizon when he awoke alone? And why press on – and to where?

Those are my thoughts after watching the sad beginning to the TV movie The Road. To love, to share, to swim those turbulent water s of life and then to have one partner make an almost noble choice to walk alone for the greater good of the young son. Rare to have a TV movie make an impact on me. Though the movie 2012’s mammoth destruction of the world was a whole lotta fun in a warped kind of way …

I also am reading a remarkable book, written by a biologist, about creation versus evolution. Fascinating that evolution, in its raw form, can lead one to argue that morality has no basis in nature; that idea’s potentially disastrous effect on human society and its negation of morality is obvious. Not something I can blog about since topics like intelligent design, creationism and punctuated equilibrium are stuff others are much more qualified than me to inquire into. Let me know if this is up your alley and I’ll send you the Amazon.com link to that book.

So, folks, our thought for the day might be one of love. What a corny short word for the cornerstone of our existence. Just four letters and yet universes of possibilities…

15 December 2010

A Kid’s Drawing

Ben to Mom: Jump to the sky even if you don’t get to it. You are still special.

14 December 2010

Bootlegging your Way through Life

Have you ever wondered about how your values and beliefs were shaped, why you keep them and why you discard others – maybe without even realizing it? Raising the third of three children, I see more clearly now the pitfalls lying in wait for our kids and unfortunately think media is a growing problem. It’s too easy to blame everything on its pervasive saturation since there’s so much good out too (Discovery & History Channels come to mind), but parenting in competition with the tube is a heckuva challenge when it’s more interesting than me, never tells the child what’s ‘real,’ and comes in so many forms that it mesmerizes them no matter the time of day.

So, you ask, what does this have to do with the subject line? Easy. Remember last week when I talked about kids getting kicked out the door to go find something to do? It turns out those unsought adventures and unstructured playtime were our own reality, an active one we somehow shaped. It brought on new ideas, gave us crazy ideas and at least for me usually was interesting. Even if I didn’t know it at the time.

By ‘bootlegging,’ I mean being a passive player in the game of life and letting others drive your emotions and feelings. You mimic them. You grow up fully entertained and don’t understand that intrinsic value of being your own emoticon. TV lulls even a smart (but over-worked) adult into parking the tougher-to-handle feelings so that we can ‘unwind and relax,’ oblivious to the need to deal with those emotions in a timely way. You then act off of other stimuli, ones contrived -- for a profit motive - to make you feel happy or sad. Or things like a football game – if they win, you’re supposed to walk away all pumped up and proud. But, I ask you, is that real? Or is it bootlegging someone else’s Feelings Package for yourself?

13 December 2010

Through the Lens of your Looking Glasses

Let's have fun this morning and list what y’all recently sent me as your own pet peeves. Cracks me up…

1. A.L.

· When a guy's fingernails are longer that a woman's(LOL)...it's sad that this is number one!

· When you can hear a person's saga/soap oprah dilemna on the metro/bus...and you're clearly not right behind them.

· When someone has their IPOD soooo loud that you're actually jamming to the music (well if its' a song you like GREAT! BUT if it's anythng else forget it)

2. My Czarina

· Driving: why do they ticket the car doing a bit more than the speed limit, but not the car doing less than the limit in the left lane who blocks all flow of traffic?

· Word choice: when words are misused so much that everyone begins to believe the new use is the correct use.

· Those imponderables that still eat up mental space: cough vs though vs through vs sought????

· Why is the peter principle such a law of nature?

3. D.H.

· People who jump the queue--obviously they're so much more entitled than the rest of us

4. Mrs. Arkansawyer

· I don't get the "muscle car" thing...or the "mullets" their drivers seem so fond of...

· 8 foot blow-up anythings to decorate your yard for any given holiday...I don't care how cute they are, if they become useless, what on earth do you do with them? How many landfills have been closed due to lack of space from holiday blow-up decorations?

· Stupid questions...especially my own.

· Saying the wrong word because the synapse misfires, then being corrected by my overly-gleeful 16 year old, who then tells me I'm too young for senior moments.

· Body piercings...beyond earrings for an excuse to wear pretty stones, why bother?

· And to give you a clue, nail polish is to women what auto paint is to men. And pictures frames are rectangular because the photos and canvases are...find me an oddly shaped canvas and I’ll paint you something you can't frame in a rectangle...

· And if you can convince bus drivers to stop for sunsets, I might take up public transportation.

5. The Liz-ster

· MEN... As a complicated woman (which is a repetitive phrase), I just refuse to believe that you guys really are that simple. How can it be so??

10 December 2010

A Casualious Pigtails kind of Day

Bring me Fridays full of casual wear and cheer,

Cafeterias with free beer!

Banish the ties, makeup and perfumes,

Leaving us honest strangers in the Power Town.

Sharing deadlines, gripes and budget season stories

While frittering away the sunshine.

Bring us another OMB document,

Letting us dance the Budget Fantastic into the night.

Fridays are for casual clothes and lunches out,

Unshaven, unkempt and uncaring.

Squidgy around the edges are we wonky peoples,

So shred the boredom and smile your way

Into a weekend of whatever makes you tick.

Man, that was weird and pretty lame. How do folks write poetry? Probably off-the-cuff since, for me, thinking about it always messes me up as you can see. Can you do better ? The gauntlet has be laid and challenge issued…

08 December 2010

Finding your Own Way Home

Explorers’ stories, like Sir Shackleton’s 1914-17 Antarctic Expedition (the Imperial-Antarctic Expedition), fascinate me. The enigmatic mystery of exploring became part of my psyche early on when, like the other boys, I’d spend time rustling river monsters and storming the heights out of the stream (aka crayfish and climbing the hillsides) (OK, I’m a simpleton, what did you expect, heady prose?!).

Eddies and rapids were the stuff adventures were made of. Spool forward to adulthood and I guess the terms ‘wanderlust’ or even ‘mid-life crisis’ make more sense. I’m not too vain to think the mirror lies and I’m not this side of 40 & a foot in the dirt. I’ve not been afflicted by the latter, I think/hope, and anyone knowing TMM knows I’m foot-loose; the only certainty over time isn’t state-of-residence nor career but instead knowing in whose bed I’m supposed to be sleeping (that’s a softball easy one)!

Editorial pause here as TMM’s attention shifts to the mental pygmy’s decisional ineptitude (aka dim-bulb bus driver whose lane choices suck and whose braking skills would impress a waterboarder). While I’m diverted, tell me -- is there a correlation between poor driving and poor football teams in the District? I do not suffer fools gladly, nor wack jobs in over-powered CUVs.

12% laptop battery power left – now I’m worried, a modern day adventurer whose rudder has broken and I’m adrift near Xanadu. Tough life, being a wonk whose day terrors are the loss of Internet connectivity and the horrific traffic that occurs when the pavement gets damp!

03 December 2010

They’ve ripped away my Memories

It was a cloudy day as he looked out the window.

“No, [blink, blink] it’s a sunny day outside my window.”

“He? I? OMG, who am I, where am I and what does my daddy do?!”

I’ve wondered, among the strewn musings in the dead-ends of my mind, about how it would feel to awaken to find you have no past. A classic Hollywood foil for a good reason. Your preconceptions would be altered and no life experiences would help. What would happen on my daily commute? Would I forget it's bad taste to drool while talking?

I’d laugh at the bus stop, watching folks whiz by and thinking how silly that is – duh, I have someone to drive me for free! I’d see billboards advertising things that I bet I’d think are foolish … and laugh. I wouldn’t know about the bus’ social conventions that promote silence and darkness in the AM; instead, I’d get bored and loudly break out into song, “54 geeky people on the bus, 54 wonky people. Lay one off, reorganize another away, 52 silly people on the bus…

The unflattering downside would be that I’d be even less likely to care about haircuts (yeah, Corinna, roll ur eyes at that sight!) and I’d see no problem with bringing my McHighCaloric breakfast meal onto the bus. I mean, isn’t this all about me? I have no memory of past events, faux pas nor strictures on my behavior, so wouldn't the universe be revolving around just me?!

Bottom line is that I’d laugh a whole lot as the vagaries of daily life try to overwhelm me. OK, I’m now going to pretend I have no memories and act like Chris Elliott in Cabin Boy, thinking the world is mine. Welcome to my wacky ride!

02 December 2010

A Maelstrom of Thoughts

‘Reflections in the mirror, in the sparkling pitter-patter of a water-streaked window’

Reflections prompt deeper thoughts on a week like this when one’s turntable of daily minutia gets whacked. Introspection is a good problem-solver unless you’re overwhelmed and bereft of the Quiet Voice that guides you. Of course, now you think I’m nuttier than rat poop in a pistachio factory…

Sail away into your own make-believe mirage a moment or two or ten, like I did last night while watching The Road. Interjection by the editor: “Sometimes I could sit for days and gaze through sleepless dreams.” (a head-spinningly amazing lyric by Styx) You think it’s all OK, getting up daily to make lunch, hope onto the bus and tumble into your nice office chair. Then a movie like this one hits, one that says you’ll never survive some apocalypse unless you know where you’ve been, what dreams and fierceness drive you. The man and his son trudging along the Atlantic coast, a solitary duo after the mom gave herself up to a calculating despair and gave up her son to the nurturing love of the husband. Deep, man, deep.

My own thoughts don’t often venture into that kind of gloomy wasteland, which is why my vision might seem puerile and shallow. Too much depth of feeling and judgment and I’d end up a driven man, like Hemingway with his cats out in the Florida Keys. Introspection is best when you can mull over the next boulder in your way. I figure we often aren’t daily heroes, just folks strong enough to jump one puddle at a time. Time to light up my next flaring insight (or blog entry) while the rainy filter is there to give me some depth and ideas.