backwards t-shirt

james dean t-shirt

Oh….I overslept.

I overslept by a lot….like an hour and a half.

I’m late….the clock and the battery-powered measurer on my wrist tell me that I am behind the place I should be.

I am wrong, somehow.

But it’s really not so different than any other morning…it just means that instead of 45 minutes to write the blog, I have 15 minutes to write the blog.

I get up before everyone else and often dress in the dark….or start dressing in the dark…to try and insure that everyone else stays asleep and it remains quiet in the house.

As long as I know that everyone is safe….and sleeping peacefully….it’s really wonderful to have it quiet in the house.

I love that. It’s not quiet very often, otherwise.

Anyway, I dress in the dark.

This morning, I put my black t-shirt on backwards.

In the darkness, I could feel that it wasn’t right.

It felt “off”.

So I pulled my arms out and spun the t-shirt on my body, put my arms back through….and I was good to go.

I still had to put on my pants….but the t-shirt part of the operation was covered.

That got me thinking….and if I’d been thinking, I would have turned on a little light so that I could see the label, maybe….but what I was thinking is that here you have a piece of clothing that doesn’t have an identifying pocket or any graphics or other way to tell what the “front” is….it pretty much looks the same from the front as it does from the back.

If you put it on….and didn’t know what “right” felt like…you could go your whole life wearing this thing and never know what it felt like to have the t-shirt turned the right way.

If you dress in the dark all the time, you might miss a label that would have clued you in to the “correct” way to wear something as simple as a double-sided t-shirt.

I guess that what I was thinking is that sometimes, until you’re in it, you don’t know that something’s wrong until you know that you better pull back for a second and spin that t-shirt around….until it feels right and you recognize it.

What the heck….15 minutes isn’t long enough.

You can’t write and edit and do all the other necessary things in 15 minutes.

You don’t even have time to spin the t-shirt if something feels wrong.

I’m glad that I know that a wrong t-shirt isn’t forever.

Spin that sucker.

the new apocalypse


It must be a sign of the new apocalypse when I get set to start writing another morning’s worth of blog and I realize that I have no new spam from a French pornographer in my comments… offers to buy cheap rolexes….no comments like “you have much information that helps me in making better my life! Thankyou for writing with such indepth knowledge!!” (sic)

There wasn’t a single bit of spam this morning.

Now, it could be that all the spammers were raptured and I was left behind to write this blog…but I kind of doubt it.

What purpose would it serve to leave me behind to write this blog?

That’s an unrealistic hypothesis.

I don’t know why I have no spam.

I curse it when it’s the only comments that I get….I curse it.

No….I delete it without cursing.

What would be the point of cursing?

I read it….just in case some weirdo is making an actual comment that only sounds like spam because of the misspellings and weird grammar.

Any actual comment that makes me think that I’m the “best” and to “keep writing” is one I wouldn’t want to delete.

Freaking tricky spammers.

Isaac and I went over to the new property and burned some stuff last night that I’d cut down….trying to get the property cleared up.

We had a big pile of logs that we doused (with water) before we left….going to have to go back tonight and finish the job.

I just realized that it’s a sad thing that I actually know how to spell “apocalypse”.

That’s kind of sad.

Now, I did sit in front of our console stereo when I was a little kid, listening to phonics records and saying “ppppppppppp” and “ttttttttttttt” and “phuhhh” and “puhhhhhh” and weird things like that….just so I could learn to read.

I paid my dues….I should know how to spell.

And I do know how….for the most part.

But “apocalypse” is kind of a different word.

The only way I’d know how to spell that one is if I’d given it some thought.

Why’d I ever give that word a second glance?

What did that ever do for me?

Thinking about “apocalypse”……pshawwwwwwwww…..or “puhhhhhhhh”.

So, I’ll go back and burn tonight…try and finish up the job….and I’ll probably have some more entertaining spam in my comments section tomorrow.

I can’t take the lack of irritation as a sign of the end times.

Sometimes bad things don’t happen for no reason.

building my hope

Washington Dc reflection

We went to Washington DC for a quick family vacation last week.

That’s a beautiful place….at least the places we let ourselves see.

I suppose that there are some rough areas in the city….but we just went to the museums and the mall.

Not the shopping mall…the big grassy mall.

The big “mall” with all the people.

Now, usually I don’t really like being in big crowds.

I don’t like to be crowded too much…or stand in line for a long time.

But these crowds were interesting.

We sat on a bench by the walking path that surrounds the mall, and I told Jenny, “I think that I heard 5 different languages in the 5 minutes we’ve been sitting here.”

There were so many different people from so many different countries.

It’s amazing that so many people are interested in our country.

It made me more interested in my country to see all the interest from other people from other places.

Some of the places that we tried to go weren’t really “kid friendly”, so we poked our heads in and then decided quickly that it wasn’t a good idea….and left after a quick look around.

It wasn’t worth the discomfort of trying to patiently look at all the great paintings in the National Gallery when little guy….and that’s no typo, just a name to protect the guilty….when “little guy” was pitching a fit about the boring museum.

But I got a good enough look around to realize how peaceful it made me feel to see how much importance people were willing to put into making something beautiful.

These buildings….the galleries and museums, the arboretum, etc…..were really beautiful.

They were really beautiful on a deep, deep level, too.

The materials used and the architecture….everything about them was really pleasant.

I guess that pleasant is a good word.

It was pleasing to me….it brought me pleasure.

It was uplifting for me to be able to see these buildings and the artwork in them.

It was a hopeful sign that people wanted to pay attention to something that was beautiful.

The “makers”….and the “appreciators”….making the world more pleasant.

That’s a good thing.

I guess that wherever you go you can appreciate efforts to make something better….from the really nice tinted concrete floor at the Travelers Rest Wal-Mart to a new countertop at a random McDonalds, there’s room to notice something that’s functional and considered….and I guess “beautiful” in its own way….and appreciate it.

These museums in Washington DC went a little farther than a new countertop, though.

Sometimes I think about how much there is in the world to see.

There are a lot of places and things in the world that are beautiful.

I don’t want my world to shrink in on us.

A trip like that…and the chance to see the beauty collected in a bunch of rooms in an amazing building, even if it’s only a quick glance before a childishly volcanic eruption changes the mood, gives me something to think about until the next time we can “expand our horizons.”

It builds hope.


Zoe took the picture….

back to the palace of highest learning


We dropped our daughter off at school yesterday.

Of course, when it’s only a 45 minute drive up the road, it’s not as traumatic as if we put her on a boat to China.

But anyplace “out of the house” is “somewhere else”….so we’re missing her a little.

You get used to your children being around.

That’s good.

We pulled up in the parking lot of the school….and she was almost instantly surrounded by friends.

That’s a gratifying thing for a parent to see.

You want to know that your children are going to be able to hang around with people they enjoy.

It’s good to see that they have a life that’s separate from us.

That’s part of “leaving the nest”, you know?

Sparrow is in the next room, getting her diaper changed… and yelling.

She has a diaper with little skulls on it that she always picks out of the stack.

I don’t know why she gravitates towards that one.

She’s asked about a good tattoo….but Jenny and I think that she’s too young for that.

For now, a diaper with some skulls will have to be as far as she takes the “baby rebel” thing.

So we’re catching the parenting thing from both sides….little and totally dependent ones….and older ones who are spreading their wings and seeing how it feels to fly.

That should keep us busy for a while.

Like that Chinese proverb says…. I wonder which of us prayed for interesting times?

I go back to work tomorrow after two weeks off.

I wonder if I’ll remember how to open the mailboxes?

Zoe’s back at school.

That was a pretty seamless transition….it’s getting easier to drop her off.

Who knows what will happen next?

“Wildflower” Skylark

This is a great song….but except for the part about being a “free and gentle flower”, well….no trauma here. Zoe’s a little flower….

Photo by Zoe Rorvig

He’s Not Norwegian

I’m Norwegian.

I thought that I’d write something about Norway this morning.

I’ve never been to Norway…and I don’t speak the language.

I don’t know why I can even claim to be Norwegian.

It’s an accident of birth that I can claim that….but I’m proud that I can.

So….I was going to write about Norway….and all of a sudden, here I am….writing about a great song that Colin Hay performed and wrote.

I found a version of “Norwegian Wood” that he did….and listened to it….and decided not to include it in the blog.

But I found this one instead.

I love this song.

Now, of course, he’s kind of ….what’s the word? Ribald? Does that work? He’s kind of “naughty” in the introduction to the song.

He uses the “F” word pretty often….but he uses it with a Scottish accent so I guess he can pull it off.

It sounds softer with a Scottish accent somehow.

If the name “Colin Hay” sounds familiar….or the voice sounds familiar…he was in a band called “Men Without Hats” that had a couple of hits in the 1980′s.

So….like I said earlier….this is a great song.

I love this song.

And the guy isn’t even Norwegian.

Here’s another one by Colin Hay….I don’t know if I’ll ever have another reason to share any of his music….

anger over loss


Robin Williams died while we were on vacation.

What the heck.

Sometimes, you take for granted the people who have been around forever.

It’s been a long time since I first laughed at Mork.

I had a long time to settle into the idea that Robin Williams was going to be around for a while….and I stopped paying close attention to his existence.

What’s strange to me is how many people are using his death to politicize….or philosophize…or even GET ANGRY OVER (with each other, mostly….some funny/strange comments floating around out there) his passing.

Here’s the real issue:  This guy….this funny, manic, driven by “whatever demons birth comedy” guy…this guy who always seemed to be “on”, no matter the situation….had something that made him so sad and hopeless that he ended “being”.

It wasn’t heroic or anything….it was just something that he must have considered for a while….or maybe not, maybe it was just a quick decision, I don’t know….anyway, he ended this part of his life and left behind the people and parts of his life that he loved.

It wasn’t a political statement….

It wasn’t caused by something that should be debated without end….

We can’t sit here….breathing, and for the most part, at least, approaching happiness….and pass judgement on what makes anyone decide that the best option for fixing the problem is to just stop….just stop “being”.

Now, it turns out that he had the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease going on.

Illness isn’t a license to kill yourself…but what is? And who needs a license anyway?

We live…and hope for something good to fill us up a little….get all of us over whatever speed bumps we come up against….give us enough hope to realize that it’s all changing every second…that nothing sad can be completely “forever”.

There’s hope that we ignore when depression fuels our sadness so completely.

Most of the anger that I mentioned earlier doesn’t even seem to be directed Robin Williams’ way.

Most of it seems to be anger over differences we all seem to have over the “spiritual consequences” of suicide…or the political environment and how it contributes to suicide (!)….or any weird personal side issues that can refocus and distract our attention from the sad issue at hand.

I think that sometimes we just like to hear ourselves talk.

Robin Williams was a funny, funny man.

He was sad…probably about a number of things….and the manic desperation….the comedy….the working out the problems using the swirling tornado of thought that seemed to be always with him…was the way of coping with the sadness that we never could look behind.

We couldn’t get beyond who we saw in front of us….making us laugh.

We needed him to be what we thought he was.

I hope he had some people in his life who he didn’t have to be funny with.


come on, lucky seven….baby needs new shoes


Jenny and I were in a small town in Georgia before we had children, and we asked a lady passing by if there were any thrift shops in town.

This lady looked at us curiously for a second, and then said “You mean where the poor people shop?”

“Where the poor people shop….”

I guess that maybe that used to be how it all worked.

Now I see all these people with their smart phones out….scanning bar codes and querying the internet….making sure that an opportunity to profit off the “used to be cheap” stuff at thrift stores doesn’t pass them by.

Smart phones at the thrift store.

That gets me a little P.O.’d.

You don’t even have to have any “head knowledge” about what might be worth something…you just have to know how to “google” stuff.

That killed thrift storing to some degree.

The people working at the thrift stores have to price the merchandise up because some dealer might pay a little more for something that they’re going to profit off of….and it would be a shame for the store to not share in some of those profits.

The people who were going to buy it to use it….well, they’re just going to have to pay a little more thanks to the smartphone wielding dealers.

All these new “middlemen” out there are killing the big deal scores we used to find so easily.

I shouldn’t complain….we still get some great deals….and they usually come when we’re looking for something that we actually need.

What do you call that? Divine Providence?

A “look at the birds of the field” kind of situation….

It’s just different now.

We’re so “connected”…and so solitary… with our devices shining a weak blue light on our faces as we each sit in our separate areas “together”….updating our Facebook pages and checking our Twitter feeds.

I blame the Walkmen.

Remember Walkmen? With the analog cassettes? Remember how weird it was to see all the people with headphones on….listening to their own music in their own little worlds?

I blame the Walkmen for the beginnings of all that separateness….and I guess that before that it was the transistor radio held up to a walking man’s ear….and long before that it was the little movie where the cards would flip down if you put a penny in the machine.

Remember those card flippers? What were they called? I’ll have to Google it quick….A “MUTOSCOPE”….THAT WEIRD! I didn’t know what they were called!

I blame the mutoscope for our alienation.

Nah….can’t blame the mutoscope.

And I can’t be mad at all the people scanning with their smart phones.

That’s just the way it is now.

If you’ve got it….scan it.

“Analog Man” Joe Walsh

never fall down

You know….it’s not the falling down that’s so damaging.

If you’re moving, you’re falling.

We throw ourselves….we catch ourselves….when we’re walking, we’re always falling down.

I think that it’s the “never getting up” part that kills.


That’s pretty darn dramatic.

I guess that, as lightly as I’d like to take it all, LIFE is pretty darn dramatic.

Stuff happens.

Stuff happens and we choose to be imagine that we are “damaged” forever….pack it all up in a suitcase with a tow rope and drag it behind us for all perpetuity….or get up and start moving again.

Getting up and staying up is hard.

That’s pretty darn profound.

Ahhhhhh…..we all carry our bindle full of sadness around with us….everybody has something that they carry…some just know seem to figure out how to pack light.

Some don’t hoard that sadness like other people do.

Enough of that “sadness” talk…I’m bringing me down.

I guess that what I’m thinking is that the falling down part is inevitable….we fall down.

I know that….we fall….every one of us.

But it’s the getting up….the getting up part….that’s the mark of a quality fortunate person.

What the heck?….getting up is just a reflex action.

It’s just what we do…(try to do)…we want to get up before anyone else notices that we’ve fallen down.

It’s not some noble pursuit to try and bounce back up.

When you get down to it, I guess that all you can do is what this video suggests….

That’s all you can do….


A short PS….8/14.   I wrote a bunch of posts before we went on vacation. This post was one of them. While we were on vacation, Robin Williams committed suicide and then a day later, this scheduled post made its way on to the blog. The bad timing was unintentional and regrettable. I don’t understand getting over depression….sadness can follow you for a long time….retreat and reappear without notice or explanation. It’s not something to take lightly….but I wish that I could….”take it lightly”. Given the timing of the events, this post sounds kind of smug and silly…even (what’s the word when someone is a ‘know-it-all’? Maybe….) arrogant….but that wasn’t the intent. Sometimes, it’s easy to type out something at 5 in the morning that I think no one will read….and say things that aren’t really considered very completely. I do still like the part about “getting up”, though….I know that it’s possible. Things don’t have to follow us forever…there is peace to be found…..I know that. Robin Williams was a manic genius….so quick and so funny. The dark side of “manic” is a hard thing. It’s hard to meet people’s expectations all the time. I will miss him.

there’s a shark

People tell me that there’s sharks in the water.


I’ve got enough to worry about without thinking that some big shark is going to get me if I go into the water.

I guess that’s why we went to Washington DC for our vacation.

There are no sharks in Washington DC.

Check out this video….

I don’t know where it was filmed…but I think it proves a point.

These freaking sharks are relentless.

They will not quit until they track and chase you down….even jump up on the beach to grab you and pull you back into the water.

And the thing about this video that really bothers me is that the cameraman did nothing to try and help save this woman’s life.

He just stood back and filmed it all.

He should be thrown in JAIL for doing that.

He’s the real villain in all of this.

The shark was just doing what sharks do.

You can’t blame the shark.

I don’t want to go into the water….who knows what’s down there?


some baling wire and chewing gum will fix it


vw bus 1972

I know how to fix things a little better now than I did when I was in my 20′s.

When I was in my early 20′s, I had a 1972 Volkswagen Bus that was kind of a piece of….

It had some issues.

One of the issues that it had was the driver.

There were a lot of things that were wrong with that bus that were easy to fix.

There were a lot of problems that I should have known were easy to fix….but at the time, I just let them go and tried to get creative with pieces of wire and rope.

I think that at one point, I had to drive barefoot because the accelerator pedal had come loose from the floor and I had to grip its edge with my toes to get it to move in the right direction.

I might have propped it up with a piece of two by four at some other point.

I’d work at figuring out all sorts of weird “fixes”….everything except fixing it right.

It contributed to the hilarity of driving the bus when the faulty headlight switch went out every bump that we hit driving on curvy mountain roads.

It was hilarious when the accelerator cable came loose again from the attachment to the carburetor at the back of the bus.

It was funny when you had to carry an ice scraper to scrape the inside of the windshield when you drove it on a really cold day….when you had to step out of the bus to warm up.

That was funny.

It was a pain in the rear when things didn’t work right because I didn’t know how to fix it….and was too reluctant to just ask somebody who knew how to repair simple problems.

It’s a character building thing to have something like that to work on.

Now, I know that anything can be fixed.

I know that most things can be made better…that you can get it close to “right” if you figure out how.

Back then, it was all a learning experience.

It takes a long time sometimes to figure things out, though.

Problems build character….or turn you into a character.

That was one funky van.

I kind of miss it….and all its problems.