Sunday, August 16, 2015

Every Day Makings

As I rode today, there seemed a small haze to the clear desert sky. My handle bar grips are sticky because they are worn out and the gum is coming off. I stick mainly to the "rivers and streams that I am used to." Occasionally, a side trail will tempt me, but I will feel that old tang, that old steady guiding compass that keeps me out of danger, and unfortunately very risk averse. Last week, I made a conscious effort to ride where I felt nervous to ride. By nervous to ride, I don't mean dangerous to ride, but something about the trail seems inconvenient, or that it might be difficult to get out of. It was fun and led to new trails and new experiences. Every decision was something that I found a little frightening in some small way. Here's the great thing about that, and I am just realizing it as I write this, I was a little tougher about almost everything this week. I attacked problems head on this week. No waiting for them to resolve, no waiting for them to get bigger. So, I turned a corner on a trail that I thought I knew and was immediately blasted by a cold breeze. That was strange considering how hot it is in my desert mountain home. Following the overgrown dirt road revealed an old mine shaft, and there was a wind coming from out of the Earth. It felt great and terrifying in a huge way. Like how an ant would feel looking up at a boot. The seasons change and the world keeps on turning and by the by everything comes to pass whether I like it or not. I have a son who is senior in high school in two days. I find that terrifying, and yet I know this could be one of the most exciting times in our lives. It's how I will choose to live it I suppose. As the new academic year begins, I find myself treating it more and more like a new year. The big apple has fallen and it's time to decide what I should seize from this world. My career has never been more solid. My ol' lady has started in on her career too. Our home is in better shape than ever, my family is healthy, happy, and religion free. I think that is about as solid as I have ever been. Oh...but the journey here! And don't make the mistake of thinking that we have in any way finished or reached the end. That would be ignoring the dull, never ending pain of burgeoning middle age.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011


I thought I could see clearly.

We thought the world was once a good natured beast that needed the tiniest training. We thought that most folks were good hearted. We all wanted to bring about good and great things. We all wanted the best that there is for our homes and our communities. I see now that we were small minded. We made the mistake of not counting on that innate little evil we all deny - self interest.

Everyone is in it for themselves.

I am not immune to this either. I thought that I was a selfless individual. Indeed, I thought quite highly of myself. I was good because I gave. I was good because I cared. I was good because I kept my list of good things my church told me would make me happy. I was good because of all the little things that I did and all the big things I didn’t do.

Here is where I was not so good.

I wasn’t in it for myself. I gave and wondered how my offering could be scorned so. I gave and gave, never thinking about what it was costing me. I never stopped & asked myself if it was good to give and like most things the answer was yes………and no.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

An Old Post That I Dared Not to Publish....

Some time ago, I wrote quite a few posts & never actually posted them here. I suppose there is a myriad of reasons I didn't. The foremost is that I battle depression. I have always looked at this problem as some sort of shameful, weak, element of who I am. I have been and am embarrassed by it. Yet, I feel somewhat safe here among the schooling masses and I recently, in the last year or so, made a concerted effort to deal with shame constructively. At any rate, this depression peaked so horribly for me that last summer I came apart. My personal life unraveled, indeed I was awash in a sea of betrayal and lies and my soul ended - bought and sold for a pittance. I was so very alone. And that part of me that always was, that background noise that I had learned to live with, that hum of machinery that we grow used to, could no longer be ignored. Waking to the icy inhale of a frozen February morning, I imploded in a way and had to rebuild who I thought I was and who I want to be. I am barely learning to understand myself & am barely learning, as a man in his mid- 30's, how to deal with life in a healthy manner. As I have somewhat alluded in my last post the reason why I write is changing as well. I admit freely that this blog (and almost any blog) exists to stroke the ego of the author. However, There have been unintended consequences & I have found writing to be surprisingly therapeutic......

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

It's been a while....a good, long while

What should I write after a year? That warm tug, that need to write, is easily ignored, but it never goes away entirely. I believe this must be because I solidify ideas by writing them. We learn our arguments from how/what we write. At any rate, here I am & I am already weary of qualifying this posting.
So, I never really stopped blogging or writing (by the way, I heard somewhere that using the word "so" is bad form, but I think the word has a great personality). In actuality, I've 7 or 8 different postings that sit upon parchment, waiting to be discarded or transcribed into digital infamy.
Why did I stop? I don't know fully. Facebook, that damnable rogue, had something to do with it. I can have incredible, thoroughgoing, conversation with Jokers far more eloquent and intelligent than I. One only needs to post a paragraph and rewarding pontification can go on for days. Yet, I still do not feel as complete as when I write a blog posting. In short, my ego needs more stroking than Facebook can provide. Also, my search for inner peace (and propensity to bitch) requires more than Facebook can give.
I am changing, as always. I am not the man I was my last posting, nor am I completely different. My responsibilities at work tripled during my second year, I now teach 6 separate preparations, and I was flying by the seat the ol' khakis. During my last summer, my very first summer as a teacher, I bit off so much more than I could chew. I ended up in a doctor's office (again) and asking him why I was feeling so crappy (again) and his answer was the same (again). Yes, I once more walked through my own customized dark night of the soul. Once more, I looked into the abyss. And I know that I will again. I curse this illness, and yet, it is me, and I know no other way.
I like writing, but I hate commitment. I am no Tolkien or Hemingway, nor am I trying to be. My purpose here is simply to express myself. I hope to post again, but I make no promises. A commitment will kill my expression.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Rudest Students

I've only been teaching for one year. Already I am convinced that teachers are the rudest of students. Every course I have attended with a group of teachers has been an exercise in frustration.

I'm serious! Being in a classroom with other teachers is like being in a room of stray cats. There are 15 distinct conversations going on at once, all while the teacher is teaching. And they're not quiet, whispered conversation, it is always full voice, or even done in a louder competitive voice. What happened to the concept of whispering? Does no one know this effective, simple skill for communicating quietly? I swear that I am the last person on Planet Earth that knows how to whisper? It must be a lost art - like moonshining.

Let me also let you in on a dark secret of the teaching profession; there are some really, really stupid teachers. Are you in shock and awe? Not most teachers, not even a lot of teachers, but enough. I have noticed that the stupidest teachers seem to have been educated sometime in the '80s. I know, I know, some of my best teaching friends were educated in the '80s. Just pretend that I am not talking about you. When I was a lad, I remember finding a teaching certification, as a prize, in a box of Lucky Charms. I think this must be how a lot of teachers became certified back then (that or they went to BYU).

Friday, March 27, 2009

Winter is gasping its last breath as I write this. The snow is flying. I could do without winter most of the time. I find winter to be a rude guest that tends to wear out its welcome. Still, I have a sneaking suspicion that I would miss it if it were gone…..just a little.

Welcome spring, my old friend. Welcome magical high desert nights with your punctured pinhole sky. I look forward to warm days, warm nights, migrating seagulls and your nemesis crickets. Welcome flowing desert creeks and mountain blue birds. I’ll be listening for you, wily ol’ coyote and your witch howl. The mountains and desert stillness will be painted with cactus and sage brush flowers. I can already imagine the sound of laughing children chasing lizards and begging to stay outside longer. I will sit beside a canyon and listen while the wind rushes through the pine and there I will feel my God. There and no where else. Blessed spring, blessed summer, blessed Mother Earth.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It is the best of times. It is the worst of times. If you’re like me, you are wondering what awaits us as a nation. Perhaps you ponder our future with a lot of fear and little hope. I find myself wondering and worrying so often these days that I can barely contain myself.

I worry about our world and our seemingly never ending quest to bring about our own extinction. I worry about our nation; we seem so hell bent on spending ourselves into third world squalor. I even worry about my friends in my church who seem so focused on the tiniest sins that they blind themselves to the gargantuan suffering in the world around them. Seriously, shouldn’t we be concerning ourselves with the bigger issues of our time, like starvation and calamity, instead of worrying about movie ratings and Victoria’s Secret posters? It is time to grow up as Christians. I think I’ll go into this further in a future post.

So what is a person to do, when the world around them seems to be falling apart?

I say that it is time to buck the system….just a little.

Here are some things I am going to do:

1. Eat a bowl of oatmeal every day. I cannot afford to go to the doctor; even though I have health insurance. Yup, I am for nationalized (socialized- the word doesn’t even scare me) health care and preventative medicine.
2. Go for a walk for 30 minutes a day, preferably in the desert. Again, I am a teacher; a visit to the doctors office can break me.
3. Repair my shtuff. Why buy new? Fixing is a dark art that brings healing. And screw this economy, it was built on sand.
4. Make my tiny house work for me. Again…screw this economy.
5. Build a rocket stove – I am going to cook stuff outside and that act alone will have a purifying effect on my well being. You know – a BBQ with meaning on a hand built stove, not the soulless contraption you bought to make your outdoor cooking “bigger and better.”
6. Do something illicit – I am tired of always toeing the line for a broken system devoid of meaning. Those of you in on this know what I am talking about.
7. Have recession parties. You bring the rice; I’ll have the ol’ lady cook some beans. Let’s jam out on some instruments and laugh and speak of deep things. It hardly costs anything and is more edifying than a night at Wal-mart.

What sorts of things are you doing to make life “real”