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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Post # 100 --- Time for a Change


Ahhh, the timepiece has escaped! What would we do if we had no sense of future time? Just here, today and the immediate present?

I guess I assumed that back in 2006, it wouldn't have taken me nearly 4 years to reach entry #100 on my blog. With such limited fanfare and no major book signings in the works, I guess some might call this a failure. :)
Alas, I am proud of this personal reflection page. It offers me a chance to gaze back upon some of my more captivating moments over the last few years and try to collect a little balance and wisdom. If nothing else, hey at least I took the time to collect & write about my thoughts 100 times!!! :D

In all seriousness, I am consistently torn with the way that my life is unfolding. At times, I feel united with the path & the calming sense of true spiritually that it brings. At other moments, I feel alone & afraid of what lies ahead, not knowing if I had done enough with my life to justify calling it worthy. Have I truly lived, or will I just die, William Wallace?

All I know is that life keeps moving you forward, like a never-ending, always methodical conveyor belt, it slowly pushes us all along. Where we choose to look, pause briefly, or simply shift paths is entirely up to us. I am not sure why I have been enamored with timepieces and their restoration lately. I think it brings me back to a historical era where time was simply valued and nothing came easy nor without dedicated & focused hard work.

Perhaps, by allowing the blessings of the past & their lessons guide me, I can learn more about myself. I will continue to post, to share my random, illogical & simply personal expressions, if nothing help me sort through the drama of the day, the pursuits of folly & to enrich my soul.

Thanks for being a part of this strange journey.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Value of Time

Elgin 1872 - Nikon D2Xs - 50mm f/1.2 

As we gathered around the tree and delegated our Christmas gifts this year, there was one gift of mine that stood out.
Another hobby of mine has been the study of horology or watchmaking. It is a seemingly simple yet surprising delicate art that echos us back to more historical times when the value of time was appreciated. This year as a gift I received and repaired a 1872 Elgin pocketwatch. Pocket watches are my favorite since they are much larger and easier to work on than a standard wristwatch and offer a more enhanced dramatic flair, at least in my apprentice opinion!

There is something warm, moving and actually palpable about a pocketwatch that moves me...that tick, tick, tick, metallic in sound, but perfect in beat, mirroring a delicate heartbeat of history. Every wind brings me back to wonders of the events that might have been portrayed in the 1870s as this watch was carried and appreciated by souls unknown.

Alas, the gift opening continues until the unremarkable and finally realization that all of the gifts have been opened. No more surprises this year, a silent tally in your head of your presents, a last covert scan around the tree, a gentle glance to read the last tag for the lonely gift for a guest not present, shucks! yes, it is truly the end.

All of the childish grumbling ends and you realize quickly, The gifts are gone!

All in good fun, we tread forward as adults, as parents to get the responsible trash bag together, gather up the discarded and torn wrapping paper, bows & holiday-colored ribbon. We stuff in all inside, stack up all of the gifts in neat sorted piles and then move onward towards the rest of our Christmas day.

I hope to learn more about keeping time with my life this year. Making time for others, giving time to those in need and appreciating all of the time that I might have left.

It is your time --- so make it count.
Happy Holidays,
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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Night!


Oh glorious night. Lets us all give thanks. Behold Jesus is born this day.
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Merry Christmas


Amazingly another year has passed. Last year, Christmas was spent in a rustic cabin in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
This year, my kids are down to visit and the days for childhood wonder is fading, albeit slowly enough not to be sorrowful, at least not today. I cannot believe that time continues to march forward without any real concern nor
appreciation for itself, it simply is. Time cannot be influenced by mankind, it simply gives us a beginning and an end. What we make of it, lies somewhere in between I would imagine. ;)

I certainly have not achieved all of my idealistical goals for 2009, but sometimes just surviving another year and holding fast to the blessings of each day is enough. I do feel marginially wiser and stronger.

I learned a lot about Andy in 2009. I learned a lot about what makes me tick and honestly I feel better than I have in years. My desire, my need to continue to appreciate the beautiful experiences that life has to teach each day has certainly enchanted my soul in a new light for 2010.

I wish you all a blessed Christmas and 2010.
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Sunday, December 6, 2009

New Orleans Saints 12-0!!!!! WOW!


It is officially an amazing season. The greatest comeback game ever for the Saints! 33-30 in OT! 12 N.O. --- HO HO HO!
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Link to the 12&0 loyal commercial video!!!

Friday, December 4, 2009

My favorite passage....

If you look to others for fulfillment,
you will never truly be fulfilled.
If your happiness depends on money,
you will never be happy with yourself.

Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you.

This has been my favorite passage for nearly my entire life.
I believe it simply encompasses some of the more trying aspects of my own maturity.
To be consistently judged, compared, ridiculed & scared into a false identity of who you are, definitely changes someone. To have to weigh & value your own self-worth on the illogical if not psychopathic whims of a parent is quite painful.

To continually have the fortitude to search out the truth about your own shrouded spiritual identity, your own life journey is certainly refreshing, if not painfully exhausting at times. I found myself losing sight of the importance of this many times in the past. I found myself choosing not to believe in the magic of the moment, the belief that my life had abandoned its certain course & the stark realization that I was truly alone...going through the robotic motions, completing the steps of the expected ritual dance.

Many times in my life I have faced these same crossroads, sometimes prepared to dance with the devil & sometimes just afraid to look ahead, wishing somehow that this painful trip into analyzing my very soul would be my last. If you don't have a gift you cannot miss it, if you don't know how strong your body, spirit & passion can be, you don't judge yourself for not being yourself. If you don't take the time to look deeply into life & relish in the spiritual gifts of each moment & savor the magic then you don't remember how peaceful that feels.

By feeling & knowing all of this, you are held spiritually to a higher standard, at least onto yourself. You can no longer look down at that dusty fiddle and convince yourself that you never could play, that you were never in a better place.

To be content in the present, to see all things for what they are & to embrace the fabric of your own live each day, not perfectly nor idealistically, but with an open mind & open soul, ready to receive your own spiritual daily bread, is a great step forward. It is a gift back to yourself, the new set of footprints on your path...a chance to finally chose to live in the magic of each moment, the peace of the present.

There is nothing lacking...

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Don't Think I Don't Think About It.

Heard this song by Darius Rucker, whom I have always admired as a true artist and real person since his Hootie days. Darius Rucker's First Opry Visit

It is so very strange how this is so true, not just with relationships, but with decisions about your life, your career, your path. Choices we make help shape the path we live & you can never tell how one small decision may lead your life in an entirely new direction. As I have said before, looking back is hard not to do but something that I consider completely healthy as it allows you to survey your life, review your path. Looking back down the hill from where you have walked, struggled and nearly lost your way....only to continue to climb, continue to soar.

Regrets? They don't help anyone...defined as "an intelligent or emotional dislike for personal past acts and behaviors"

Life moves us onward......let it go, smile & love all things.


As I drove home from the airport yesterday morning....I saw 5 brown pelicans soaring just inches above the crystal calm expansive lake in the midst of a glorious sunrise. Two sets flew in pair tandem, coupled together in serene peace & almost mystical rhythm flying on what appeared to be upon an invisible plane of glass on the actual surface of the water. Flapping their wings only briefly, then gliding beautifully for nearly 10 seconds across the surface without brushing the water.

Next I observed a lonely pelican flying, flapping his wings with the same intention, the same purpose, but just in solitude. It made me reflect upon the meaning of this and why this bird was flying alone. I was reminded of the times that I have been alone and the sadness, yet solemn peace that those events had brought to my life. It was through the lonely times that I learned more about my own path, my own flight through life....just inches above desperation at times, just moments without shadows, without light.

It made me lose focus on the schedule of the day, and just appreciate my blessings, my path & my life. It made me realize the significance of the simple joys of living and appreciating each moment. Nature has so much to teach us and to guide us if only we are open to the message.

Keep to the simple, live in the moment. Love all things.

Keep Soaring.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Nothing like it...simple, pure & tasty. My feeling is this --- if people want cranberry sauce, you owe it to yourself to deliver something else besides a jiggly can molded bit of cranberry to the table. There are lots of recipes, so I won't bore you with the details...just good honey, good OJ & cranberry juice and then cooked down the fresh cranberries. Let cool slightly then place in a ring or decorative mold.

Enjoy the clean, mature taste of fresh cranberry sauce....minus the canned jelly rings. :)


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Time with my Son

As I quietly laid beside my son and held him as he drifted to sleep, my mind was anything but rested. Thoughts of overwhelming guilt coupled with an unsettling, but genuine happiness were emerging simultaneously. How could this be? As I contemplated the moments that I have missed with my son, the days & nights that I am not able to be by his side, I took a quiet solace in this calm present. As if on cue with my thoughts, my son, who I figured had been asleep, reached over and started gently stroking & outlining my face with his little fingers as if to regain a lost shape of a memory of a dad that he occasionally loses sight for far too long.

The moment was amazingly refreshing & still painfully sad at the same time. However, to appreciate the event, I decided to place my feelings of guilt & sorrow on hold & just be still in the moment. Without remorse, without fear, requiring no absolution, requiring no further elaborate explanations, it was a blessing of just simply loving & holding your child. And for that moment, like most found while living completely in the present, it was everything.

How can I be continually blessed & loved in spite of the choices that I have made, the distance that I have allowed to be placed between us, the feelings of guilt that I carry hidden with me throughout my days?

I have no answers for the unconditional love of a child. It is a blessed gift that I appreciate with every bit of my soul. I possess a sincere hope that one day I will be able to truly be the father that I want to be, present not only in dark shadows & fleeting glimpses, but as a cornerstone to their lives, a true rock of balance & strength that they can lean & stand upon as they continue to mature.

I continue to appreciate the simple gifts of life and hold fast to my beliefs that I will continue to live in the present, the only moments that truly matter, the only moments worth living.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Agility Dog Jumps - Easy & Cheap!


Had a thought to get Sonoma (border collie) back into her agility training at home. Looked around on the Internet and found quality jumps in the range of $50-60 each plus $15 shipping. Wow. I know I wanted quality, stability and long-lasting
construction, but $70 for a PVC jump toy? Went down to Lowe's and bought a load of 1" PVC, bunch of T's, endcaps & cement --- this couldn't be that hard.

I had the whole design going in my head. I wanted to start off with a set of fixed height jumps. (These are easily converted with a set of jump cups to adjustable jumps) So, I used a handheld PVC cutter, Sharpie and a measuring level, and I quickly built my first jump. I didn't cement anything yet in order to make proper design adjustments.


Calculating the retail cost, each jump used the following:

(8) - 1" PVC T's
(6) - 1" PVC Endcaps
(3) - 48" 1" PVC
(4) - 4" 1" PVC
(4) - 12" 1" PVC
(2) - 20" 1" PVC
(2) - 8/12/16/18" 1" lengths (depending on height you want)
(1) - 7 pieces of various colored Electrical tape.

Total cost -
PVC T's - $4.24
PVC END - $2.40
PVC PIPE - $3.60 (3 x 9' length of 1" pipe per jump - approx $1.20 each pipe)
ELEC TAPE - $0.26 (amount used prorated)

Grand Total - $10.50

Much nicer than most jumps I have seen being sold, and so much cheaper to boot!
I built 4 of them and boy, it was a smashing success! She did incredible on them.
Video to follow soon! :) Go SONOMA!!! :)

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Finally Done


All I can say is WOW! Months of planning, preparation & configuration all came down to our large Datacenter migration project this past weekend. Overall, it was an amazing success and absolute tribute to the highly skilled, motivated and dedicated personnel we have working across all teams within our IT Dept. The arduous preparation could not blunt the brutal 36+ hour straight shift we had to pull to get the Datacenter where it needed to be after the arrival of trucks on Friday evening. Trying to work, think & make sound decisions in a hectic environment that hovered continuously around 55F was not an easy nor enviable task.

GPS Track from ATL to Montgomery, AL (Spot GPS on Truck)

So finally after nearly a year of site planning, construction & execution...the Datacenter is in production & another chapter of challenging tasks has been written. Cheers

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Photo Album

I uploaded a few of my 15,000 shots to a new photo album that I am trying out with Google/Picasa - I am still working on my own website design ( and I hope to have it finished and updated soon.

Nothing grand, but if you want to check it out ---

Click here

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Reading List --- Technical Books (O'Reilly Nutshell)

For all my geeky friends....
Email me for a link to the series of all O'Reilly technical books for your perusal.

Seeing the path for what it is...

Note to self:

Look up, look down. I am high in the mountains, I am low in the valley. I am sad, happy, indifferent & excited. What I have failed to understand until my dream last night is that the path is what it is, it is rocky at times, it is plain smooth, it is comfortable and even comforting, but none of that matters.

The path is the all of its variations.

Don't wince, whine nor wonder about the emotions you feel at any particular time.
Learn to be balanced all of the time. Learn to live with inner joy & quiet strength.
Anger, fear, violence... are just as impressive as happiness, rebirth & safety.

Why? Because it always changes, it constantly changes. Nothing remains the same.
Just as darkness always comes each evening, The sun also rises each morning.

So each moment is nothing but transient.
Be calm, be present in all things.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Good Days!

I feel good --- broke free of my melancholy moments of late and decided to go out this morning and help a friend in need. Friend of mine had to install a new liner in his pool and what else to do on a Sunday morning when the temperature is like 100F? After raking sand smooth, putting in a soft fabric, then the heavy vinyl liner, we worked on the new PVC piping for the drain & clean-out valves. All in all a pretty successful day and it was so hot, when filling the pool we checked it about 3-4" to smooth out some wrinkles, the water temperature was actually 106F!

It is nice to break away and help someone...simply for the sake of making someone's life a little easier, perhaps a little better. Plus it makes them feel that they owe you something down the road..... LOL, J/K. Good to have great friends and feel better for getting out there and helping.

Need to get back with volunteer work again, I miss all of that work I did after some difficult times in 2005 after my divorce, the ending of an painful relationship, and certainly after Katrina. It enriches your soul to give without reservation, to serve others is the ultimate calling of duty & love.

Anyone else need a pool liner installed? ;)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Empty Path....

I saw one of my sisters pass by the other day in her car as I was leaving my subdivision, and I waved. Time stopped briefly. In the midst of that simple gesture, I quickly felt that things have changed and time had taken its course on our relationship. Time has its way of teaching you both the importance of each passing moment as well as revealing the growth or subsequent decay of your relationships. Moments from the years of laughter, fun, anger, sadness, joy & sorrow that I recalled sharing with my sister entered into my head in a blazing rush.

I chalked it all up to another failed relationship, another loving sibling partnership that had been tarnished beyond recognition. Perhaps by my own hands or the influence of others, I cannot keep track of the difference that it makes anymore --- determining whose fault it might have been, whose hands are still stained, who said what, when, & how those words might justify the feeling of exile. How those words could even matter, how those words reveal the true fragility of our relationship in the first place.

These days I feel emptier than usual. Both at work, home and on my journey. I am cognizant that each step is not going to lead you to a beautiful mountain overlook, nor a calming rustling stream, some sections on your journey are just going to be walking over mundane flat land without a tree of shade, a rock of shelter, nor a valley of serenity. I go through the motions, the emotions of trying so hard to keep myself positive, motivated and passionate even in spite of the raging judgment, condemnation & solitude that I feel from those at work and elsewhere in my life.

I plan on going out today and doing some backpacking, or geocaching & just finding something in nature, the only true constant source of balance in my life, to bring me back. Bring me back to something more peaceful, more renewed, more richly rewarded. Each step with purpose of overcoming those who have let you down, learning to be a better person, to forgive those who have lost sight of the simplicity of life, lost sight of the magic of being alive for one more day.

It is easy to get discouraged with life at times, to feel that you are undervalued and perhaps giving too much of yourself is the root of your own failure, the rationale for the depth of the pain that you feel. But it part of my soul, part of my essence to always care, always carry the passion for the activities that I participate in. Always love and miss those who are both here and not present in my life anymore.

For now, I just continue to walk this journey....seeking out its purpose.
I apologize for the solemn nature of this post, but it is how I feel this morning.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


After a stressful and critical week of work, this weekend was exactly what I needed.
Got all 3 vehicles hand-washed & waxed early about 7am on Saturday. Went to a nice local health food deli and grabbed a super healthy & delicious lunch, then headed to the park with Sonoma. Picked up some local seafood and prepared an amazing lunch on Sunday of fresh 10oz. pan-seared black drum filets with garlic & lemon-dill cream sauce & steamed asparagus with sliced almonds. Also had a fresh pan-seared garlic shrimp appetizer that was tasty! Wow, that lunch was great! :)

Ran some errands, went to Wal-Mart --- got the usual $200 of groceries & splurged for some Breyers reduced fat chocolate ice cream.... ;)

Yummy. I feel healthy, refreshed & relaxed --- time for another tour of duty at the
wonderful world of work. Perhaps, there will be better days..... :D

Keep smiling.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My review of Mountain Springs Cabins - Ponca Arkansas

I wanted to post my own personal review of Mountain Springs Cabins near Ponca, Arkansas for a few weeks now, so here it goes... I hope that my summary will provide some much needed insight and experience for those considering staying in this area of the country.

Here is the link to the cabin Mountain Springs Cabins

Date of Stay: June 13-19th, 2009

I. Reservation Policy (A) --- The reservation policy was really simple. Just emailed the address on the website and checked the dates for availability. I received a friendly & informative response within a couple days, then called back with my CC, solidified the deal and paid 1/2 now, the rest due at the time of the stay. Fair enough, simple and easy process.

II. Arrival/Directions (B+) --- Easy to find. Very good directions, even easier than what you think by reading the arrival notes sent after reservations are made. The owners live at the entrance to the "cabin road" at the top of the hill and were friendly and informative. I paid the remaining balance and drove onward to the cabin.

III. Cabin - First Impressions (B) --- The cabin was a nice basic A-frame log-cabin structure facing east-to-west with a large porch on 2-sides offering great hill-top Ozark views and wonderful breezes in the evening. The interior was quaint and overly "countrified" for my taste, but still adequate. Only one bedroom with a door and one bathroom --- the loft had space for open sleeping with 2 beds and a futon.

IV. Cabin - Usage/Comfort --- (D)

We visited during mid June and by this time it was already pretty hot and the single central AC in the living area on the first floor simply was not adequate for proper cooling. Adding insult to injury is that you could not leave it on HIGH-COOL, since it would freeze-up and stop working completely. We slept a few nights wondering why we were paying to have sheets stick to our body, but we got over it. The loft area is worse off as cold air does not rise and all of the thermal heat built up during the day, just stays in the loft and it is quite warm most of the time. Great for winter, bad for summer. The TV is extremely small and only located in the living room but it did have a DVD player and actually had several family movies for all to share.

The kitchen in the cabin is poorly designed as there is almost no counter or pantry storage space. The tiny electric hotplate "stove" is not exactly what is required to feed a family over an entire week of meals. Basic pots and pans are included, but no garbage disposal for some reason. In addition, the single bathroom is not a plus, but it was again adequate for the job.

Another mishap is that the loft area staircase is extremely steep and the fan at the top of the stairs almost nearly chopped my head off --- I am 6'3" --- but wow, not the safest design that I have ever seen. Might be worth checking this out if I was the owner. :)

Saving grace...
The one truly amazing part of the cabin was the green binder. It held a tremendous collection of personal stories, journeys to nearby towns, restaurant menus and lots of very interesting information. Really nice and helpful.

V - Cabin - Outside (C)

The view from the porch on the cabin is really nice, but the advertised property "trails" are just areas of high grass that are just slightly cut lower than the rest of the area. Uncut might be 12-18" high and the trails were about 4-6" high! The area needs to be cut completely and kept short. I just pictured more of the land would have be cleared to offer up a better view of the sunsets.

We backpacked & rockclimbed extensively during our trip to the Ozarks in a multitude of areas and not once did we gather as many ticks as we did in each 10-20 minute walk around the "trails" --- It was ridiculous. Each trek out around this property, we each got about 10 ticks each in less than 10 minutes!

Just cut it low and keep it cut low, this isn't a rain forest, this is a cabin. Keep the property clean cut and lose the "trails" --- not only less snakes and ticks, but maybe people will actually enjoy the walks across the land and have more room for a proper view.

To reach the property, you had to enter/exit through a shared driveway that went right through the owners backyard. The owners were nice and friendly, but you never quite shook the impression that they were close-by and perhaps that made it feel more like you were staying at someone's home and less that you were on your vacation. Some people might like that, but I like to come and go on my own without having to stop and discuss my agenda for the day.

VI - Cabin - Overall Summary (C-)

The cabin is nice & clean, but really needs some updating and better use of space for the kitchen and bedrooms. Central AC is needed with large open duct in the loft area. The kitchen needs better appliances and more counter space and a pantry cabinet. Get rid of the excess standing, sitting and growling bears & the multitude of "You are in the country" --- "Welcome to the Woods" decor and other accessories that rob the cabin of most usable space for actually storing essentially and food needed for the stay.

The owners clearly need to do one least a couple times a year.
LIVE IN THE CABIN FOR A WEEK. Not just during the fall or winter, but stay during June or heaven-forbid, July or August & STAY THERE --- try to sleep while enjoying the paltry AC, sleep in the actual beds and try to prepare and cook actual meals in that kitchen.

Overall, a nice place with really kind owners, but just not my cup of tea. This cabin is central to really nice towns such as Harrison, Boxley, Ponca and Osage ---- but not the best stay for my hard-earned dollar. If I am paying for basic occupancy with little or no air-conditioning, we will just camp out next time and avoid the issues & expectations completely.

I must say that I completely enjoyed this area and we will return to soak up more of the wonderful Ozarks. However, we will certainly stay somewhere else next time, if nothing else than to see something new and explore another part of this wonderful world. It just didn't "match" our picture of what it would be like when we made our reservations, and while it may have been better in the winter, it really didn't matter.... OH, YEAH.... Forget cell coverage. I had phones from 3 networks and none of them worked reliably at all. Not a big thing since we wanted to escape it all, but just wanted to share for full disclosure.

The Ozarks were truly spectacular and we loved our trip, but the cabin was simply not the STAR that we thought it might be.

All the best,

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Hyloft Ceiling Storage


Ask me how difficult it is to install a ceiling mount storage system by yourself?
LOL. Keep 2 things handy ----- an oversized carpenter square and a truck load of patience.......
This HYLOFT HEAVY DUTY storage system will hold over 500lbs and store up to 27 storage boxes.
Right now, the left side is storing some of my model airplane gear and the rest is just stuff that was on the ground. It looks smaller in the photo, this system is actually 6' wide and 4' deep. Check out more of these solutions from Hyloft at their site: HYLOFT STORAGE

Nice system, good price, just bring your A-game with carpentry skills & a loud radio to cover your swearing from the noisy neighbors.... ;) LOL.

Fun, fun....
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Katey & the Buffalo River


Just a nice picture of my beautiful daughter, Katey in the Buffalo River. (June 2009)
What a glorious place, water was cold. Was a truly wonderful trip --- lots of good memories. :)
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Friday, July 10, 2009


I know that I have preached the ever-present reality of change and its desire to simply fulfill itself, but I now get to face another chapter. My daughter has decided (apparently this evening) to move back home to live with her mom, this was unexpected since I sit here staring at a 1-way ticket with the date of July 27th, 2009. She was supposed to attend school again this year with me and move back for high school in 2010.

I feel like that I have let her down, maybe I was too demanding and had too much structure, or maybe I just worked too much and didn't spend enough time with her this past year. I just want her to be happy and truly successful, so I am OK with the change, as much as I don't really understand it.

It hits hard, bringing up feelings of loss that I didn't know were still there...stemming directly from the last time that I had to deal with my daughter leaving when I got divorced and she moved 900 miles away...leaving me alone and empty.

I feel that same feeling tonight, but I know I want her to be happy. I know change is a normal part of life, part of nature, part of the journey.....but I guess it is not always easy to understand.

I love my children deeply. I hope that I can continue to be the father I want to be.

Good night for now, I cannot speak anymore about this.....

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tired ---- Overvaluing work?

Sitting here, I am still growing tired of the everyday stress, expectations and unyielding demands of my work. I try to maintain the presence of my jovial & passionate spirit, but slowly...quietly...I am losing my grasp on the reality of my sanity & the corporate executive metrics that measure my personal worth.

Spending more time at work than anywhere else, it does impact must impact you to some degree. Feeling overworked and undervalued has become common-place and accepted, but I guess I have always strived to break that mold by always striving and acheiving more than expected, even in spite of the expectations.

That bar that has been so feverishly raised over the last several years is now honing itself to become my nemesis of destruction, my razor-sharp measuring stick...the essence of my professional value. I am better than what I have allowed myself to become, better than what I have been judged and given more of myself than most all for the altruistic team goal of progress & success.

I assume over time when you are criticized, critiqued, judged, undervalued and essentially just unappreciated, it gets to you every once in a while. It is part of working for a corporation and really caring passionately about who you are and what you do. It still stings for a while, but I guess it is just the Queen bee reminding you that even as bright and educated as you think you are, you are still just another worker bee..... in their hive, so get back to work. :)

I strive each day to do the right thing, to care about what I do and how my actions contribute to the overall team success. I have given up and lost more than most in their lives simply by always overvaluing work...been through bad marriages, 2 children, multiple homes, jobs, numerous relationships and many other events that I simply had to lose somewhere along the way. I should blame myself for caring too much, but I cannot stop who I am...

I am not unique in this, but some people really leave their lives at work when they leave. I don't know who they are, but I need to find a way to balance my life and not lose sight that this is just a job, just a method of trading my time for money, a way to contribute passionately to the success of someone else's business and bottom line.

I am not complaining, rather I am eternally thankful for my position within this great company --- I just need more balance. I need to accept the role that I perform and not attach my own personal self-value to the impressions, nor approvals of my superiors.

I am still maturing in this, but life is more than work...more than what people may do, say or think about, keep buzzing around & keep smiling. :D


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Angry Progress....

Looking back at recent moments, I believe that a change has been in order.
Sometimes, you have to get angry or at least focused with great fortitude and passion in order to make significant progress. Meditation, reflection, Zen quotes & happy thoughts might make you satiated for the moment, but it doesn't work all of the time. Sometimes you need a hardcore, bold change in order to free yourself from doldrums of the grind wheel. Sometimes you just need to push yourself, recapture your toughness and just get out there and DO SOMETHING.

Got back in the gym lately and feel much better. Been more direct with people without apology nor reservation. Take out your aggressions while you are still young enough to not regret your mistakes, your indecisiveness & your plans for the future.

It is sometimes hard in this weak & overly catered society, but you have to find ways to just be yourself and never lose sight of your inner spirit & strength.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Eden Falls - Arkansas 2009


Eden Falls (Lost Valley - Ponca, AR) 6/16/09

Today we hiked up to Eden Falls and Cave area near Ponca, AR inside of Lost Valley National Park.
Really nice day, paths were wet after rains this morning, but that left plenty of water in the falls
to make our hike worthwhile! Beautiful place.
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Dogs --- The moment

As our border collie, Sonoma jumps around the rustic Ozark cabin it makes me realize something rather is all about what you make of each moment. This dog just rode over 800 miles staying in 2 different hotels along the way, then arrived at a isolated cabin high in the Ozarks and immediately adapted to each and every phase along the way, without question, complaint nor concern. Dogs are just simple like that --- happily following their human family and pack wherever the winds of change or the fields of fun may lead.

How many people do you know would just hop into a truck & ride aimlessly for 2 days without once knowing or asking about where they were headed, what the weather might be like, what activities would they do upon arrival nor when if ever they would be returning back home...

But, I guess home is where your family is.....not a particular city nor street, but just a boulevard of unconditional love & partnership. It must be part of the amazing loyalty, dedication and adoration that dogs have for their family, a true sense of "I would follow you to the ends of the Earth" friendship.

If only we could all learn the simple lessons of living & loving in the moment, this whole world would benefit. :)


Monday, May 25, 2009

At the lake......


Went down to the lake again today inside of my favorite park, Fontainebleau State Park in Mandeville, LA.
I visit this park at least twice a week due to its wide-open splendor, mixture of nature trails, beach area,
mature live oak landscapes, geocaching and camping. There is nothing like the simple goodness of nature.
(Especially during a long 3-day weekend....)

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Time after Time.....

Live Oak Landscape 5/18/08 Mandeville, LA

Another 24480 minutes of my life has elapsed since my last blog update (17 days) ---

I have been feeling well and preparing for my daughter's summer break and the visit of my son in the next 3 weeks. We are heading for a trip to Arkansas in mid-June to just take a break and experience a different pace for a week. It will be a celebration of sorts, an after party for my kids and their school year & just a time to realize how important time away from the office is for me. :)

My daughter made the A-honor roll & National Jr. Honor Society for this year. She also made the broadcast/television team at school for next year, (1 of 10 people out of over 250 applicants), and I truly believe that broadcast journalism is something that she would excel for her career. She is smart, beautiful and mostly importantly enjoys to write and "be on camera" --- so what do you know, she may end up on National Geographic's Wild Kingdom (which currently could be filmed in her bedroom) --- :D

I am proud of my children. I still cannot believe that I am getting older each year and not sure how much wiser I am becoming. It is a interesting cycle of life to become older, but until something better comes along, it is where I am right now. ;)
Not much else going in my life to report of any significance, good or bad --- so I presume that is a good thing overall. :D

I am thankful, I am happy & Life is good.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Coming home to roost!


The two Canada Geese from the shots taken and posted in my 5/08 blog are back, this time with 2 goslings in tow.
The circle of life, the beauty of nature...the comfort of home. Long live the goose! LOL.... :)
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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Rooting Around....


Ran into this little hog while out Geocaching with Nick just last week.
Didn't particularly want us around with a piglet nearby, and it made that very clear. :)
All in all, we survived and didn't even end up with any nice ham or bacon.

So, I guess the hog is still happy too.... :P
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Monday, April 13, 2009

Nothing Constant but Change...


All things change. All things come to an end and all things can bring us closer to sadness or happiness.
That is the problem with being able to feel, being trapped by your emotions. We all believe that one day, somehow, someway we will be happier. We need to develop the peace in our walk that puts us at peace regardless of our external events that transpire in our lives. I recall reading that success was as dangerous as failure --- I believe that it is entirely true. If we rely on anything inside of our own lives to bring us happiness, to fulfill our purpose, to make us believe that the world is perfect, then we are not believing in our faith nor in our walk.

We all enjoy labelling and marking every event in our lives with an emotion, with a feeling, with a powerful meaningful word. Sometimes, it is truly best to have no labels, no fear, no emotion...just trust and peace.

The tree does not cry when its leaves fall, nor would the river grow in joy when its banks rise with the rains, it is simply life and death, growth and decay, abundance & poverty, it cannot change...and we cannot affect the natural tides of change...the natural ups and downs of life.

Let it go, and just live.

Today, I trade in my car for something else...a change, a chance to just live life. I am guilty of building inanimate relationships with objects, a childhood sense of imaginary friendship & anthropomorphism. I have learned a lot about myself in the last 35 years, and I know the greatest freedom is simply living without regrets, living without fear, living with peace --- in spite of the reality nor the pressures of the moment.

I only regret not learning this earlier in my life, not realizing the pure pleasures of the present.

Some more carefully chosen words:

Success is as dangerous as failure.
Hope is as hollow as fear.

What does it mean that success is as dangerous as failure?
Whether you go up the ladder or down it,
your position is shaky.
When you stand with your two feet on the ground,
you will always keep your balance.

What does it mean that hope is as hollow as fear?
Hope and fear are both phantoms
that arise from thinking of the self.
When we don't see the self as self,
what do we have to fear?

See the world as your self.
Have faith in the way things are.
Love the world as your self;
then you can care for all things.
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Saturday, April 4, 2009

King Nick


Nick - 4/4/09 (Click on pic for large photo)

Nick wanted to be part of my blog story. Here is Nick today lifting a 20' pine branch over his head.
He had to struggle with this one and he is quite proud of his amazing strength. ;)

(simple joys!)


What a nice day. :)
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Checking in....


Sugar Snap Beans - 2 weeks old

Well, 11 of my 12 Sugar Snap pea seeds germinated - 91.666% :)
These little guys are about 2 weeks old today and are ready to be transplanted to my bamboo trellis.

Picked up my son this weekend...Here is a recent pic of Katey (13) and Nick (6)

Katey & Nick - 2009

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

What a day....Planting and Planters...

Well, decided to go shopping for more flowers, mulch, soil & fun....(pretty much in that order... LOL) --- :)

Found an amazing Drake Elm and thought, "This would look awesome in the yard, good price, 20 gallons, let's get it." Got my trusty old simple, wooden handle shovel and went to digging. I say that because as I was checking out later in the day, I spied a truly amazing looking shovel --- it had a titanium spade, with diamond steel plating, heavy-duty frame and even a reinforced fiberglass handle. It looked mighty impressive, but a hole is a hole and at the end of the day, it doesn't dig itself.... :)

Dug the 3 wide by 4ft deep hole and set the tree in place. Being top heavy and large, I needed to go pickup some stakes, rubber hose and wire for a proper support system.

Here is a pic of our new Drake Elm tree:

Drake Elm - Planted 3/28/09

And if that wasn't enough, I decided to grab about 12 cedar fence boards and some 2x2 wood and build a nice vegetable garden planter. Nothing that my nice Dewalt compound miter saw & drill sets cannot handle! A few rust-proof deck screws & some pre-drill holes to avoid wood splits and we are done. This project properly took me about an hour at least. I had to pre-drill all of the cedar and double them up. (We don't have available rot-resistant natural wood like large cedar planks, or redwood here and I don't want to eat from pressure-treated wood boxes) --- Kinda defeats the purpose of growing healthy...spinach with a side of cyanide and arsenic....YUMMY! ;)

Pic of the Cedar planter box: (5'x3')

Cedar Planter - Built 3/28/09

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Veggie Time!


What is that you ask in those orange plastic seed containers?

Ahhh, nothing but the finest Sugar Snap pea seeds that a quarter will buy.

Germinating, growing and producing organic goodness.


Your handmade bamboo trellis awaits your arrival into proper seedlings!
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