the place that no one knows about

Of course, people do know about this tree house.

How else would they come for a visit?

So you build something on public land…and eventually it’s discovered and in danger of being removed….not because it’s ugly….or damaging to the environment….or encroaching on what someone else needs for a livelihood or because it blocks someone else’s “view”….just because….because it’s on public land and you just can’t build something….no matter how beautiful or magical….on land that you don’t own.

You can’t build a secret out in the woods and expect that someone else won’t want to remove it….just because “they can”….just because they “own”….or OWN.

(I’d be kind of perplexed and PO’d if someone built something….no matter how beautiful….and set up residence on land that I owned. I don’t know how I would respond to that….)

There’s something kind of scary and beautiful about being a pirate like that….putting up a hideaway cabin on land that is far from any roads….far from places that people usually go.

There’s something hopeful about building something beautiful that might be destroyed….just because….because no one expects to see something unexpectedly wonderful in woods that are for everyone….and no one.

That’s the kind of thing that kids build in someone else’s tree….and live out a dream where they have no right to be….except that they breathe… and the air surrounds them… and they are citizens of this air that we all share.

I could deal with having a cabin out in the woods….even woods that I didn’t have a deed to.

I could deal with a secret treehouse without a hint of a mortgage.

House pirate.

I could deal with feeling free.

“free” Donavon Frankenreiter

Nate’s Up



I get up so early.

Early, early, early….trying to carve out some quiet time….a time of self-reflection and caffeination….a time when I can sit and, for a moment, nothing is going on around me.

I’m hiding in my own house….silent as… a mouse…hiding….waiting for a sound and relieved when it’s just the noise of my own quiet breathing.

I’m a gatekeeper, too.

When I’m not up and holding my position as sentry outside our bedroom door, people can come in and wake us up.

If, for some reason, I’m still sleeping and enjoying a peaceful morning….and I haven’t assumed the “sentry” position yet, we can be surprised by some extra company.

The bed’s not so wide that we can handle a bunch of additional people.

It’s not restful to add to the mix.

It was so quiet for about 5 minutes this morning.


And, then…..I heard the slide of the barn doors I put up in the hall….and the padding of little feet in the darkness, and….Nate was in the room and on my lap and the day had begun.

The real day had begun and my quiet alone time evaporated and it was juice and Transformers and everything else we do to stay happy and out of Momma’s room.

Nate’s up.

I’ve done alone before.

I know how to be quiet….and alone.

I value quiet….I chase it now….gently, on bare feet in the darkness of morning, trying to avoid the squeaky tread on the stairs when I go down to the kitchen to make my coffee, never turning on a light because it might wake…..

I’ve been in places where no one would hear the tree falling in the lonely forest.

I’ve been so alone…..and I learned that “alone” is OK, too.

Nate’s up.

My quiet time is finished for the morning.

Five minutes in, my quiet time is gone.

I would not trade the chance to lose my quiet for all the tea in China.

Nate is up.

Quiet is sweet…but there are sweeter things in the world….noisy, early rising, Transformer toy blaring, sitting on my lap while I type….things people.

Good morning, Nate.

We’ll play this “Daddy’s up” game again tomorrow morning.

“quiet” Paul Simon






Twenty-one years ago, I stood waiting.

I stood waiting at the front of the church….waiting with 3 of my best friends and my father….waiting for my soon-to-be  wife….my friend.


And then, she was with me and we were repeating the vows we’d both memorized and the minister said, “I now pronounce….” and….we were married.

I don’t always do things “right”….but, occasionally, I do things “good”.

This was one of the best “good” things.

Somewhere, in those 21 years, we went from sitting together on top of a round bale, never talking about the future that might lay ahead, totally in the present, enjoying each other’s company….to chasing children around other bales…again, in the present….chasing.

It’s funny how much life twenty-one years can hold.

My cup runneth over.

“Twenty-one” is a good number.

I am thankful for each moment that brought us here together.

“all my life” David Wilcox




I get a lot of spam.

Email spam.

I get spammed in my emails…..spammed heavy….spammed hard.

I don’t know why.

I’ve never figured it out.

I’ll write them back….ask them not to contact me again….even send my name and address and bank information like they ask for in the hopes that it will appease them and they won’t bother me anymore….but they keep writing….and I keep asking them not to.

Spam is a pain.

The other day, I got a message with this heading…..”I CONTACTED YOU AFTER A SERIOUS THOUGHT”.

That was one message that deserved an answer!

“After a serious thought….”.

I don’t get many messages from people I know that have that much import behind them….but here was a complete stranger….in a foreign country…who was willing to reach out to me after experiencing a “serious thought” that concerned me.

That’s really kind of beautiful, if you think about it.

Someone who lives in a different culture…possibly of a different “race”, even (!)…..who is willing to contact me and help me achieve….something.

Here’s a snippet of the email….

Dear Friend.

After serious thoughts, my decision to contact you personally became
urgent, since I have no grudge against you, other than your Nigerian
partners. I happen to be the Deputy Governor of Central Bank of
Nigeria(CBN) in charge of Operations.

The line that sucked me in was, “….since I have no grudge against you, other than your Nigerian partners.”

I KNEW THAT NIGERIAN THING MIGHT COME BACK TO BITE ME IN THE A**….but this guy was willing to forgive even that!

He held no grudge.

Like I said before….I get a lot of spam.

Most of the messages seem like total scams….but there was something so benevolent about this one that I couldn’t help but respond….

Here’s some more of his message to me….I think you’ll see the honesty and humility that I saw after you read this….

Sometime ago, your partners approached me through a contact who works with
one of the ministries here with a request to assist them conclude a
transfer deal which required programming a transfer on your behalf.

What I gathered, is they wanted to use my position and office to
strategically transfer a sum; which has been supposedly dormant in the CBN
suspense account for quite a while. Our agreement was that I make this
happen and be rewarded with one hundred thousand initial advance payment
and another one hundred thousand when I finally release to your nominated
account. Having successfully programmed the transfer as agreed and your
name approved amongst the list of contractors/recipients/beneficiaries to
be paid for that period, the story changed and instead of standing by our
agreed arrangements, they employed an avoidance tactic and then resorted
to threats. Well, that prompted my decision to immediately delete the
transfer code, but released other payments as listed, excluding yours.

This resulted to several threatening calls which did not scare me though
and then they started making frantic efforts to bribing other officials to
get another approval to the transfer to you, but without success. I
however take 100 percent responsibility for the delay and obstructions,
because of their breach of agreement and trust. If you have doubts as to
this privileged information, then consider what has transpired through the
entire course of your claim process, they continue to ask you to pay one
charge or the other and at the end no results and they continue to tell
you to send another fee with yet no results. In very simple words, I can
only say that they are just wicked. Now if you want us to work
together,these are my conditions:

And….he goes on to tell me how I can get the money…and how he’ll only charge me 20% for helping me.


It’s pretty amazing that something like this can happen “out of the blue”.

Finally….a sincere spammer from Nigeria.

I waited so long.

spirit wrapper


One of my best friends sent me an article about “the end of race”.

The end of race.


I get so sick of all this race stuff.

If it’s not me noticing something, it’s me noticing somebody else noticing something, and then it gets me started noticing something….and then they start questioning why I’m noticing something….and then the race is off….and all we can see is that we’re really pretty different after all.

That stinks.

I don’t think we’re any different than the way we act….when we decide we’re pretty different.

In reality….”reality”….I wonder if we aren’t all just a bunch of “spirit wrappers”….angels in waiting….souls with different physical labels and “appearances”….molecules swimming through space at a rapid pace….

Maybe we’re just a collection of electrical impulses (in a body that helps us stand erect) that tell us to smile at each other every once in a while?

Spirit wrappers.

I don’t really know. It’s too easy to adopt this thought that with all the different “wrappers” out there, that we’re really the same stuff inside…..beyond all the regular inside stuff….the intestines….the bladder….the kidneys…..all the stuff inside.

We’re all the same.

There’s no power in “all the same”, though.

There’s no “identity” in “all the same”.

I’m proud to have some Norwegian ancestry.

That’s about as white as you get….pale and white.

I wish that I tanned better.

But put me up against a Swede….or somebody from Denmark….or….I don’t know all the countries with really white people….pale people…..and you couldn’t pick me out of a lineup.

I’m just another guy with a really pale skin wrapper.

In some neighborhoods, if I went in with my wimpy philosophical “guns” blazing, and talked about touchy feelgood thoughts like “spirit wrapper”, I’d be KILLED.


And that’s just the redneck neighborhoods around here.


See?….the labels.

The labels.

Nobody’s neck is red…..not really “red”.

I’m comfortable with the people who are comfortable with me.

Sometimes it takes awhile for us to get to know each other….and that’s not a “race” thing….but when we do, I hope that we’re comfortable with each other.

It makes it easy.

When’s this race stuff going to end?

Can’t we all just get along?

Our time on earth is so short…..we’re wasting it with all this wacky “race stuff”.

We’re wasting our short time here.

Here’s the good article my friend linked to…..

and here’s a good song….

“spirit wind” David Wilcox


you just don’t watch videos like this if you…

….if you don’t have to.

I think that you start out watching the ones that are specific to your vehicle (regular Cherokee)….and then the ones for the other Jeeps trickle in and you sit and watch them, too.

And it’s the same procedure for all of them.

I watch these YouTube videos like one of them is going to tell me how to get the angels to do the work for me.

I never see that video that tells me how to get the angels to do the work for me, though.

This video is one of the only ones that had a narrator who used the word “uff da” in his narration.

That’s a Norwegian word that you can use when something goes kind of wrong.

It’s a good word to know when you’re doing a job like this.

Something in the Jeep is making a “roaring” sound….so I thought that I’d start with this.

I thought that I’d start with the hubs….and then move on to u-joints….maybe replace the rear end….maybe get new tires….

What else? What else might be “roaring”? What else could I shotgun new parts at?

It might be smarter to have someone who really knows what they’re doing check the car out…..and give me an accurate diagnosis.

That might be a whole lot less time consuming than replacing everything and watching all the YouTube videos.

Watching all the YouTube videos……

It’s entertaining watching all these people do all the work.

They aren’t angels….but they’re entertaining.

I’m hungry.

We watched two movies yesterday.

The kids had their wisdom teeth out on Friday…so this weekend has been one for rest and recuperation.

It’s kind of nice when I can “piggyback” in on the “rest” stuff. I can rest along with everyone else and get away with being kind of lazy….for the sake of solidarity.

That works for me.

So it was a quiet day….with two movies to enjoy.


We ended up renting “Guardians of the Galaxy” (excellent) and this movie….”The 100 Foot Journey”.

They were pretty different choices.

I really liked “Guardians…” ….but I loved “The 100 Foot Journey”.

What a sensual movie.

Indian immigrants open a restaurant across the street from an established and popular French restaurant….and the resulting competition creates issues between the owner of the French restaurant and the Indian family.

The characters in this movie love food.

They love preparing it.

They love serving it.

Shopping for ingredients…..foraging for wild ingredients… the ingredients… was all so….and the word comes around again because my head is fuzzy and the caffeine hasn’t really kicked in yet and my vocabulary is limited and….awwwww….the word…..sensual.

So sensual.


Full of love.

Maybe that’s what I liked so much about this movie….it was so full of love.

This is one to watch a couple of times….at least.

Good food….good movies….good company.

What a pleasure.

Lasse Hallstrom….who directed “My Life as a Dog” and “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” was the director for this movie.

Thankyou, Mr. Hallstrom.

100 foot

Christmas Monkey

Nate said that I should do my blog post this morning about monkeys.

“And a little child shall lead them….”

I told him I’d do the post about monkeys….and I keep my promises.

Here’s a Christmas video featuring some snow monkeys.


What the heck?!

What do monkeys have to do with Christmas?

But, wait….what doesn’t have something to do with Christmas?

What wasn’t affected by the Christmas story?

We don’t think of monkeys very often when it comes to the Christmas story….but they have more to do with Christmas than a bunch of shoppers fighting it out on Black Friday.

Our Christmas isn’t only about the mad rush to satisfy some need to ….satisfy some need.

A monkey in the snow has more of the real spirit of Christmas than someone with a full shopping cart and an already maxed out credit card….frantically grabbing something that might make someone else happy for a while.

A monkey!!

I don’t know what a monkey thinks about….but I know what I think about….and a monkey couldn’t be any farther away from the real spirit of Christmas than I get sometimes.

A monkey has a better chance of knowing than I do….sometimes…..and I’M A MAN….WITH DOMINION….SMARTER THAN A MONKEY!!

I miss some things…..I do remember what Christmas and the miracle is all about….I just get caught up in all the distractions like everyone else seems to do.

Nate told me that this morning it was all about monkeys.

And having my blog post be all about monkeys seemed kind of crazy.

Christmas monkeys…..crazy Christmas monkeys.

That’s weird.

But not any weirder than what we’ve turned Christmas into.

Go, you little snow monkeys with your zenlike appreciation of a miracle, go….you’ve got it going on, little monkeys.

You’ve got it going on, Christmas monkeys.

out, out….darned toofs

wisdom teethThe two oldest kids had all of their wisdom teeth removed this morning.

“Removed” sounds so gentle…..more gentle than extracted….or even yanked out.

They were put to sleep when they had their teeth removed.

I was awake (twice) when I had mine yanked out.

I remember it as being “yanked out”….not “removed”.

It was brutal.

My kids must have had a better experience…or maybe they are just a lot tougher than I was.

They seem to be handling it better than I did.

I remember my two experiences (one side at Thanksgiving….the other side at Christmas vacation) as being pretty horrific.

It was a good way to spoil two of my vacations in one year….BUT AT LEAST I DIDN’T HAVE TO MISS ANY SCHOOL!!!   BLEH.

I’m surprised that it didn’t involve leaches.

I’m glad that things have improved since I had mine cut out of my skull.

My tough children….I’m glad that “the procedure” is over for them and the teeth are out.

I’m glad that they still don’t believe that some fairy is going to give them money for those teeth, too.

That would get expensive for some fairy to shell out dough when you get a bunch of teeth out at once.

Too expensive for my blood.



I got up really early this morning.

Earlier than usual.

Really early.

I had a dream about the pond over at the property that we bought.

All the water was gone.

Almost all the water….there was still some goo at the bottom.

Goo….and stumps….maybe a refrigerator or two….flies…lots of dead fish.

Lots of dead fish….and 4 dead grass carp.

Here’s a picture of us putting the grass carp in the pond…..


Unless the pond actually drained overnight….those fish are still in there….eating up all the weird algae and grass choking the pond out.

So….I didn’t wake up because I was scared.

I wasn’t scared that the pond was looking kind of dry.

I think that I was thoughtful….thought-full.

I was excited that the house was quiet.

Dreams are still weird.

The heater in the Jeep stopped working…just in time for the deep freeze to come. I better figure out what’s going on and get it fixed.

I need heat.

I need heat because it’s hard enough to deliver the mail without something that I don’t have to concentrate on to fill up the edges of my day with something pleasant….like warmth.

I need good tunes….and I need the comfort that heat provides.

I don’t ask for much….just some good tunes, wheels that don’t grind off because I let bad hubs go too long and too far……and some heat.

I’ve got to get that heat figured out.

And this pond thing, too.

I’ll have to stop over at the property and make sure there is still water in the hole.

What am I going to do about it if it’s empty, anyway?

Cry me a river? Or a pond?

I don’t think so.

My former teacher, Flo, posted this movie trailer on Facebook yesterday.

It looks right up my alley.

Big disasters on the movie screen are easier to take than dreams about dry ponds….

And that’s a good reason not to worry about what the car is or isn’t doing, too.

If you’re going to get swallowed up by the earth anyway, what’s the problem with a little wobble or a bad bearing?

If you’re going to be swallowed up, what would it hurt to not have heat for a cold season?