If you come up with some kind of wacky idea….and then say, “That’s my plan”….there may be some people in your life who will say, “welllllll….that sounds a little more like a DREAM….that doesn’t sound like a plan. You need to be a little more realistic than that. Now….what’s the real plan?”
I realized yesterday that one of my really strong talents is the ability to plan to plan.
I can get a good one together….get all my ducks in a row….line everything up….and plan like a manic planning monkey.
I can do that if I ever get over the hump of getting to the actual planning stage.
My intentions are good….I can plan to plan with the best of them. Continue reading
Every morning….every morning….every morning….every morning….the same.
I get up quietly….early, to enjoy some quiet time by myself….and go downstairs to have some juice and vitamins and to make some coffee.
Every morning, I hope that the squeaky tread at the top of the stairs won’t wake up Nate.
I hope this every single morning. Continue reading
There is a sign on the half and half carton that says “Grade A”.
There’s also a sign that the cream comes from cows who weren’t influenced to increase production through the use of pharmaceutical intervention.
These cows that made the stuff that makes my coffee tasty weren’t on the “juice”.
I’d get huge if I drank the milk from the steroid cows. Continue reading
It’s middle school, and we’re getting ready to square dance.
The sunlight is moving through the old windows on the other side of the gym, moving through the dust in the air, landing on the burnished floor, landing on my feet.
I can see Ruthie sitting by herself on the other side of the gym….sitting towards the top of the bleachers.
We are in the seventh grade.
The boys are grouped like a bunch of shy and scared young cattle….trying to avoid this.
We don’t want to dance.
The coach comes over to us and tells us, “You better get over there and pick a partner…or you’re all going to be running laps.”
I start moving.
Ruthie is still sitting by herself…waiting.
Ruthie is not the prettiest girl in the school.
There is nothing flashy about Ruthie.
She doesn’t try to attract any attention.
I don’t know Ruthie….but I think that she’s nice….nice in a peaceful way.
When the coach tells us that we all better motorvate and find someone to dance with….I move towards Ruthie.
I climb the bleachers to where she is sitting, and I ask her if she’d like to dance.
Now, this is the part that I always remember…and that shames me a little and makes me regret another thoughtless and unintentionally cruel thing that I’ve done.
Ruthie looked up at me like she was grateful or something….happy….pleased to be noticed.
She looked at me like I was a nice guy.
She looked pleased to finally be “picked”.
That was when I said, “Coach said that if we didn’t pick someone, we’d be running laps…”
I said that….and Ruthie’s face fell a little and I think that she understood what the “real score” was.
I think I must have been a bit embarassed….a little bit shy….to have to add that.
I still don’t know why I had to say that.
We danced….and I’m sure that Ruthie thought that I’d only picked her because I had to.
Ruthie was a nice girl….sitting there in the dusty ray of light.
Why did I have to ruin another nice moment?
I guess that when I get up late…and don’t have time to write a blog in the morning…the “go to” topic later in the day is going to have to be funny monkeys.
What else is going to rouse me after a hard day of delivering joy to all the mail recipients on my mail route?
“My mail route”?! I just realized I’m like a boring and too consistent Santa Clause! Maybe if I just came around once a year, the people would be more excited to see me?
I don’t want to limit these monkeys and say anything like “this is the funniest monkey video ever”.
I have faith that the monkeys will continue to come up with funnier stunts for us to film.
I have faith in these monkeys….these funny, funny monkeys.
There is nothing funnier than a naughty monkey chasing a bunch of Indian people.
I hear a lot about things going “viral” these days.
Now, I do hear about the epidemics out there….that’s pretty serious.
This isn’t what I’m thinking about this morning, though.
What I’m thinking about is when something becomes popular on the internet….and then it’s popularity quickly grows as more and more people start talking about it and checking it out…and then more people start checking it out….and then….
The thing becomes “viral”.
I don’t know how you do that.
Usually, it’s something like a swimming cat that everybody has to see.
Swimming cat videos usually explode in popularity. Continue reading
I saw a little girl in a commercial ask her smartphone if dogs dream.
Google told her….or maybe it was Siri….or the Microsoft equivalent…or maybe it was one of the new phones with the TrinityG network….and God told her….that, yes, dogs dream….about the same things we dream about.
I wondered about that…but as an adult was always a little shy about asking the question.
So….thanks, little girl in the commercial.
DOGS DREAM!! LIKE I DO!!! WHEN THEIR LEG SHAKES AT NIGHT….WHEN THEIR EYES ARE CLOSED AND THEIR EYELIDS ARE TWITCHING….IT’S FOR THE SAME REASON THAT MY LEG IS TWITCHING!!
How cool is that?
Watching that commercial, I realized that knowledge is kind of irrelevant.
It’s not “what you know” anymore, it’s “what you know how to ask”.
It’s knowing how to ask the question right.
And, if you don’t ask the right question, or don’t ask the right question correctly/right, and you don’t get the answer that you were looking for, all you have to do is ask another question and the internet lets you go off on another tangent….looking, looking, looking…until you get close to something that supports what you already believed was correct.
That’s pretty amazing that we can do that now.
I can do it sitting at home…you can do it at Denny’s on your smartphone.
You can do it at Denny’s on your smartphone while your children try to get your attention so that they can ask you a question the “old-fashioned” way.
You can do it all day on your smart phone while all the other people at your table are doing it all day on their smartphone, too….and you’ll never have to talk to or acknowledge each other.
You have your smartphone.
Maybe you’re all looking up….or asking Siri….”Why am I so lonely now?! Why do I feel so isolated?”
At least you can lean across the table and say, “What did you get?! What did Siri tell you when you asked the question about being isolated and lonely?”
You can always compare notes about how lonely you are.
When you really feel lonely, you can ask someone else about feeling lonely.
There are a million people who are probably dying to weigh in on isolation in the isolation chat rooms.
I guess that we all need some interaction…and not interaction with the friendly robot voice in our phones, either…even if that seems to be the voice of choice when I see a group of people at an adjoining table with their faces bathed in the cellphone glow.
Maybe the cellphones do get us over that hump of “nobody understands”, though.
Nobody understands my grief.
Nobody understands my loneliness.
Nobody understands what I’m going through.
Nobody understands my isolation.
No one has ever gone through what I’m going through.
At least now we can say, “Well….at least Siri understands.”
I’ll bet that’s what all those groups of lonely people are doing at Denny’s….making sure that Siri is still on their solitary sides.
Either that… or checking their Facebook status.
It’s good to know what your friends are up to.
“I am a Rock” Simon and Garfunkel
When I write this blog in the morning, sometimes, before I’ve had any of my coffee, I sit and stare at the screen for a while.
Up in the title section, there is a cursor that blinks and waits….blinking and waiting…..blinking and waiting….and I stare at it some mornings….blinking and waiting for something to write about to come migrating through my brain so I can grab it for a while and put something down that might make some sense to me.
It blinks and waits.
I could watch it all day, and it wouldn’t grow tired of blinking and waiting.
I get the feeling that the little cursor that taunts me so has more endurance than I do.
I’m like a pudgy John Henry….”before I’ll let that cursor bring me down, I’m gonna die with that keyboard in my hands, oh LAWD….”
Nah….it’s nothing dire….no big challenge to my manhood…
It’s just a cursor.
I was thinking about writing before I started using the computer to do it.
I didn’t have a piece of paper with a blinking cursor.
The blank page was quiet and patient.
The hardest part was sharpening the pencil.
Now, there is a cursor that blinks no matter what I do. I can’t type fast enough to beat this cursor to the finish line.
This cursor is never satisfied.
We had our new property bush hogged yesterday.
My neighbor brought his tractor over and did it….broke the shaft on the bush hog with a little bit of mowing left to go, so he finished the job with his riding mower.
It looks great.
Funny how mowing down all the tall grass and volunteer trees can improve a place fast.
It looks great….and the cursor is still blinking….waiting.
The thing about it blinking and taunting me is that I understand that there is never a shortage of things to write about.
While I breathe, there is something to write about.
That’s an easy part of the deal.
It’s not hard to observe….it’s hard to really pay attention, but it’s not hard to just “see”.
This was the first morning I ever really gave that blinking cursor a second thought, though.
I’d never paid it any attention before this morning…never thought of it as a challenge.
I suppose that what we pay attention to is the thing that sets our world in motion….or brings it to a screaming halt.
Like those old cartoons with the sweet angel on one shoulder and the little red devil on the other….both of them whispering in our ear at the same time…it matters what we pay attention to.
There is a pond that is partially on our property that needs some work.
It’s full of vegetation….algae or something….green, gelatinous bloom that makes the water unclear.
Maybe “full” is a little strong…it has some vegetation growing in it.
I can see the fish when they swim out from underneath the green stuff….so I know that they’re in there.
I can see these fish swimming.
If my ideas would just get out from under my fears and misconceptions, I could see them better.
I know they’re in there.
Dang cursor…..blink on….I don’t care.
I need a grass carp or two.
There’s nothing that’s linear.
At least in my life, there’s not much that seems to travel in a straight path.
I set out on an adventure….take the first step…and then just kind of meander in a curving line towards what I hope will be a good place.
I guess I’m jealous of the breakdown that other people seem to talk about….the forceful velocity of a trip well planned….the journey with only the end in mind.
But, you know….maybe it’s the meandering that makes the adventure?
A simple trip isn’t an adventure until something unexpected happens.
A trip isn’t an adventure until you’re not sure exactly what you’re doing….but press on anyway, jumping down into the void and hoping that there’s a place to climb back up somewhere farther down the trail.
“Linear history of adventure”? Pshawwwwwwww.
Of course, it bodes well for the mental health of the people you’re traveling with to give some kind of indication that you know what you’re doing.
You have to appear to have a plan….you have to be able to mask your twisted little trail some….or people would be going crazy around you.
That’s not a good thing.
I guess that you have to build a really strong and predictable frame to put the kooky adventure picture into as you’re painting it.
We get away as a family for some adventures as often as we can.
Jenny does a good job of planning.
I try to plan…but it’s usually just taking care of the vehicle and remembering my toothbrush.
She’s a better planner than I am.
The things that I remember the most about a well planned trip are the random bits of weirdness that we encounter in-between the planned parts….the Indian motel that had decent reviews ( “NO REFUNDS!! YOU BOOKED ONLINE!!! NO REFUNDS!!”)….the strange meals….the odd tourist traps that also had a restroom that we needed….what? There’s more…I’m sure there’s more.
Every trip has some kind of weird element….no matter how well layed out the itinerary is.
It’s the weirdness that makes it the adventure.
But here’s another meandering thought: What if you get so used to the weirdness that it becomes commonplace and kind of boring?
What if everyday, you wake up in a different place….some exotic locale….some mornings with a camel drooling on your forehead, some mornings with the tide threatening to take you out to sea, some mornings with….something else that’s kind of strange happening to you….and you experience these random bits of strangeness so consistently that it all becomes kind of routine and boring to you?
What if you look back and the meandering curvy trail looks kind of focused and straight if you can see it from the right altitude?
What if it wasn’t as strange as you thought it was?
All the history….you don’t plan a history….not completely, at least.
You plot a destination and hope that the wind is cooperating…you aim and let the arrow loose.
The history builds itself….little by little….chunks of time that only make any sense from a thousand miles….or days…. away.
And there isn’t much that feels very linear while you’re walking down a curving road.
All I can ever plan is the first step, anyway…who knows what will happen after that?
“Building a Mystery” Sarah McLachlan