Curse You, Blinking Cursor!

•July 13, 2010 • 1 Comment

This blinking cursor is maddening. There it goes again…and again.   It taunts me with a message of “blink” = “blank.”  “Don’t you dare call me ‘blank!’ Just give me a second.”  I demand.  “I’ve given you ten blinks, you blank.” It reminds me.  “Ugh.” 

So goes the battle between the blinking cursor and myself.  The motivation to write becomes about my desire to defeat the cursor rather than to create.

I must grow comfortable with this cursor.  I must grow comfortable with pause.  I must grow aware of the meaning I ascribe to pause and its associated markers (i.e. the blinking cursor).

I am not “blank.”  I fear that when my audience (we all have an audience) sees pause, their perception is of me being “blank.” The product of responding to this fear is shoddy creation.  Even God himself took 6 days.  He spread it out, and He is all knowing.  What a complex I have.

Be thoughtful.  Be paced.  Be intentional.  Let what I create be representative of those characteristics rather than fear.

The cursor is pregnant.  Take it easy on the cursor.


Black Diamond

•July 8, 2010 • 1 Comment

 Black Diamond

 My headlamp is dying

The faint light flickers on my Father’s Day gift

An unopened journal with a picture of my son and daughter on the cover

They are lying on my bed with all four eyes looking directly into mine

Stop staring at me

Don’t look away


Their eyes are intolerable

Before they showed up I was pretty good at distracting myself

Busy at not looking at me

Now I have so much needing to be addressed

I wish this headlamp would die already

I keep pushing the “on” button to exhaust its battery


I wonder what they are seeing

I know what I imagine them seeing

Thankfully my wife is out

I can at least be left alone with my countenance

Not really

This and That

•July 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Is it this or is it that?

I find myself asking this question a lot lately.  Often the focus of attention or identified “issue” is in fact a trail marker.  The “this” points to a “that.”  Needless to say the trail is frequently lost.

Merriam-Webster offers an important distinction between the two pronouns “this” and “that.” According to M-W (, “this” refers to a “person, thing, or idea that is present or near in place,” and “that” refers to a “person, thing, or idea indicated, mentioned, or understood from the situation.”  It is a simple yet uncomfortable distinction.  The “this” points to a “that.” “That” is what is indicated, mentioned, or understood from “this.” 

In a recent blog I referenced the feeling of not having reached the summit of Mount Washington.  I blamed it on the weather.  “If only this storm didn’t show up I would have sat on Mount Washington.”  The summit of Mount Washington can be achieved in the wind and rain.  The luxury of blaming “this storm” for me not having achieved the summit moves the responsibility outside of myself.  The cold, hard truth is that I lost track of the trail markers because I was on a trail that was closed at the time of the hike due to snow.  I ignored the advice of the rangers.  The “that” is, I ignored advice.  I thought myself better than, or more hike-savvy than the general public.  I hiked down disappointed.

To continue to affix attention to the “this” is at the expense of the “that.”  Without the “that” many a summit will be sacrificed.


•June 25, 2010 • 4 Comments

I had my first pedicure on Tuesday night, and I liked it.  Mid-pedicure I mentioned to the guy tending to my feet that, “I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to like this.”  He got a good laugh out of that, as did the gentleman attending to my wife’s feet.  I also apologized to him having to attend to me and not my wife.  He offered a smile and a look as if to say, “Just relax brother.”  I felt the look was genuine, but at the same time I’m also aware that there is an unspoken “tip-reality.”

Over the years my wife and our close friend would return to our home after their pedicure night, raving about the feelings of refreshment and relaxation, and I could no longer tolerate being an outsider. 

So, in I walk to their favorite local location, quickly drawn to the sight of a raised gallery of women who appear to be transcending space and time.  They are lost in relaxation.  Okay, not completely lost, because they quickly notice an intruder – me.  In my mind run two competing thoughts: (1) What am I doing here? I’m not supposed to be here.  (2) Hello ladies.  The secret is out.  I too will transcend space and time. 

If only I had a diabolical laugh.

Situated in a chair with built in shiatsu massage capabilities, feet soaking in a hot tub made just for them, coffee in hand, and engaged in conversation with my wife, I realized I have so much to learn from women. 

I may have lost my male readers at this point, but it’s a risk I am willing to take.

I gave myself permission to be pampered.

Guys are not conditioned to entertain the idea of being pampered or appreciate the concept of self-care.  To relax, we often go to a sporting event – frequently with the motivation to either become intoxicated, binge eat, or yell at anyone on the field or in the stands – sometimes all of the above. 

Straight up, everyone needs to know what a kneaded massage to the arch of your foot feels like.  It borders on watching the sunset at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  There is no part of our body under such duress than our feet, and there likely is no part of our body under such neglect.  Our feet are our primary means of transportation, and they are neglected.  This seems symbolic.

I left smelling like mint, my feet sliding all over my sandals from the lotion, and embarked upon the remaining portion of the date planned with my wife.  We sat with our dinner at a spot overlooking the ocean with an unspoken sense of serenity, and it permeated our conversation and interpersonal space.

Serenity does not permeate my day, and I imagine that it is due to having not yet developed the discipline of giving myself permission to be pampered. 

I’m a guy.  I just can’t do that.

That’s not true. I just don’t do that.  And I need to do that.

“I have a phobia of wolves.”-The Fantastic Mr. Fox.

•June 22, 2010 • 1 Comment

I have a phobia of health.  A healthy lifestyle is anxiety inducing.  It is unfamiliar and rife with images of manic middle age gym teachers, who in my opinion would have benefited from, at minimum, a chamomile tea to start their day.  I digress.  I crave health – physical, emotional, and spiritual health.  I know to experience health in these areas involves the combination of an admission of pathology and a movement toward the unfamiliar.  The unfamiliar at times feels unsustainable, and that feeling can be intolerable to an individual who also has a phobia of failing. 

If I don’t admit my pathology and move toward the unfamiliar (health), I leave that challenge to my children.  That is unacceptable.  Recently I was talking with a 6th grade student who read through my most recent blog post, “You Are What You Eat.”  I asked him, “If you had the time in the morning to make a breakfast of your choice what would it be?”  Without hesitation he began to describe a fruit smoothie.  My heart sank in that moment.  Here I thought I was the teacher, and a 6th grader is schooling me.  To him a healthy and nutritious breakfast is familiar.  And not only is health and nutrition familiar, but given the opportunity to have anything he desires he chose health and nutrition.  This not my default setting.  I’m working on an upgrade of myself, but currently version 29 does not have health and nutrition as my default setting.  Version 30 will though. 

More and more I notice the power of moving toward my fears, toward the unfamiliar.  Without this movement I limit myself.  Without this movement I am also leaving a legacy of unnecessary struggle. 

I have grown to enjoy running and recently shared a run with both my son and sister.  My son is 2 ½ years old.  As he was running side-by-side with me up a local hill he looked over and said, “Dad pump your arms.”  I looked over and smiled.  Schooled again and it’s never felt so good.

You Are What You Eat.

•June 15, 2010 • 4 Comments

Weekday Breakfast Menu: (In order of consumption)

–         Banana

–         Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Clif Bar

–         16 oz. Coffee

To know me is to know what I consume.  I believe it is equally important to also share the order of my consumption. 

The Banana.  Although a delightful fruit, it carries with it the same feelings of those notorious vegetables on my dinner plate.  I attempt to slow down and enjoy the banana, but it takes a conscious effort.  It stands in the way of what I truly am after.  The banana is a healthy decision.  It is a fruit recommended by nutritionists to aid in the recovery that is associated with physical exercise.  I would hope to communicate that health and recovery are priorities, but they are not THE priority.

The Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Clif Bar.  THE priority.  Pleasure will not be a casualty of my objective of having a health conscious, no preparation required breakfast.  If there is an absence of pleasure associated with health it will not be sustained.  This I know about myself.  Now the crunch part is of particular interest to me.  This is the part that tends to be both unacknowledged and unattended to.  Within myself is a drive to destroy – a drive to “crunch” a powerless object.  I crave power.  The main course of my breakfast is pleasure and power.  I have neatly packaged these drives amidst a relatively health-conscious breakfast.

The Coffee.  This is my socially acceptable addiction.  A part of me knows the pace I keep is not natural.  If it were I wouldn’t require a stimulant.  I daily quiet the part of myself that knows it needs quiet and rest with my 16 oz. coffee.  My coffee mug is also a glorified baby bottle.  “I need my coffee” equals “I need my bottle.”  I need to feel safe and soothed. I crave comfort.  It’s also important to know that I take my coffee black.  I believe in authenticity.  It is important to know the difference between a Starbuck’s Yukon Blend and Folgers Dark Roast.  There is a difference!

The appetizer: Health and Recovery.  The main course: Pleasure and Power.  The Beverage: Comfort and Authenticity.

What is your breakfast menu?  What is it saying about you?

“Sunny with an occassional passing summitter.”

•June 9, 2010 • 2 Comments

“Are you guys on your way back down from the summit?” “How was the view from the summit today?”  If one more dry hiker on a full night’s rest asked me either of those questions I was going to ask them “If they would like to kick my dog too?”

My brother, close friend, and I began our Mount Washington ascent with a 4am wake up call.  The intention behind the early start was to beat the forecasted afternoon rain and thunderstorms that were to consume the remainder of the day.  The first rain drop fell at 4:30am.  The last drop of rain fell while we were standing at the base of Tuckerman’ s Ravine.  Incidently that was the time of our decision, atop said ravine, to turn around due to intensifying weather and increasingly dangerous trail conditions. 

Isn’t life like that?  Five hours of hiking in a downpour with 40mph of wind (weather that was supposed to arrive in the afternoon), fighting for each yard of trail, and the moment you turn around and surrender the summit you get clear skies and sun.  And instead of “an occassional passing shower,” you are tortured with “an occasional passing summitter.”

Bully for you.

Someone tell James that I’m stocked up on perseverance and would appreciate a summit.