Sunday, September 26, 2010


I swear this has been the first time I have seen a good soaking in weeks. Saturation. A thorough cleansing of the palate and soul. Such little entities of water create such a rush in a usually leisurely pace. The energy of the world slows down, and our speed to reach point A to point B increases all because of...rain.

When was the last time I simply stood in the rain? It has been awhile.

I feel as though I have reached my saturation point. Words splash out as my thoughts speed by, unchecked, due to an overflow of rushing emotion. My wipers of warrior calm are not enough to contain the scattered flood. And so? I just breathe...

I wrote a letter to my 'adopted' daughter in the Philippines. She is 7, and her name is Abbie. Her photo hangs on my fridge along with the letter she sent to me. I don't suppose I can afford the dollars per month, but it is a truly fulfilling sensation to know that my decision to stop for five minutes on the sidewalk in Seattle is now impacting another person half-way around the world. No, I don't want children right now - I have no desire for one actually - but the need to give back and be a global citizen is becoming more and more apparent. What have you done for the rest of the world lately? I don't think that everyone should adopt a child from a third-world country, but what if you made a conscious decision to do one thing for your community that was outside of your comfort zone?

Music for right now.

November by Max Richter

Smile by Olive

Saturday, September 11, 2010

When you don't know

At 26 I should know. I should know who the one is. I should know I am doing the right thing. I should know where I am headed.

But, sometimes life flips the coin and suddenly you ask yourself, "Is this it?"

I know what I geek out on. I know what interests me - and I feel like I took the easy route down the job path. I could have taken the engineering courses in college, but I took the tech/ind arts path and then went into education. I don't really think that those who can't do teach. I know and work with some amazing teachers who are giving 100% of themselves everyday at their job. Changing lives, and growing the new generation of society. I love my job. I love the light bulb. But lately I am just wondering...

I would rather be building. Designing. Drawing. Inventing. Taking apart. Fixing. Using my brain and my hands for more than lessons plans, grading, and recording conduct cuts for children who cannot behave.

So I am looking at options. I would love to work in the alternative energy field - wind or solar specifically. I would love to get up and go to work with adults, putting knowledge to work for the good of the world. Calculate and create. Test, evaluate, and manufacture. I regret my decision to not take more challenging classes, or higher level math. I wish that I could put on my job application to a wind turbine company in Colorado that I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering and I would be the best pick for their CAD Engineer job opening. All my experience will not really add up to much against someone who has taken statics and structures, physics, and calculus 3. Sigh...

So options? Hmmm...I could go back to school? That would be interesting. I would want to apply for a Masters program, but I don't have the prerequisites. I could just 'take classes' until I had what I needed. Or, I could see if they would take me as a Master's student, and then take a shit ton of undergrad classes until I was caught up. Which would make everything take so much longer but might be the best option. I could be a research assistant, or teach classes to be able to be in school full time.

Bottom line? Something has to change. Seven lanes of traffic. 45 minute commute. Thirteen year olds that think they can talk to me with impatience. Grading worksheets that involve sentences like "Trains are good because they helped people move stuff and stuff". I am ready for some difficult brain work. I am ready to be hands on. I am ready to solve problems and work on a team of people that are working towards a similar goal. I am still on the path of 'world change' but I think that it might be a different one than education.

Other thoughts? Peace Corps. I have been thinking about re-applying. A few things hold me back, such as financial obligations, and my family - but the fact that it keeps floating to the forefront of my mind so often makes me think it might be a viable option in a year or so.

I have changed my life so often for other people. I moved to Atlanta for my friends. I went to Berea for my family. I went to App for the scholarship and the fact it was still close to home. When does life stop being about other people and about what the hell I want? I feel so old, yet I know I am so young. My entire life stretches out in front of me...what do I want to do?

IKEA This!!!!

I am completely addicted to the IKEA Hacker blog.

What better way to feed my nerdy design techie side than read about people who bought bad ass furniture from Sweden and then made it EVEN BETTER!!??

I can't imagine. Check it out and follow it. Be happy.

IKEA Hacker Blog

Friday, September 10, 2010

Into the Wild: 2010

In the tradition of writing posts about my adventures, I have titled my latest camping trip in the cheesiest manner possible. I don't suppose a canoeing trip that entails 3 coolers of beer as truly wild - but I like to think I was shirking the responsibilities usually associated with hygiene, food prep, and sleeping arrangements enough to feel as though I had stepped into a wild place.

After a calm Friday evening of packing, testing the tent in the kitchen, and a little grocery shopping the real adventure began around 6am on Saturday. We hit the road by 7:30ish and took 70 through the mountains. Although we were all a little grouchy and tired the caffeine and excitement kept us awake and singing through the 4 hour drive. Switching pilots about 3/4 of the way through helped too =) Michelle and I busied ourselves with stories about dancing and taking silly pictures.

Now that we were in the middle of bumblefuck Colorado, we were ready to go. We were shuttled up to a launch point of our choice, loaded up the gear and jumped into the canoes. Literally. The current was much stronger than we anticipated, there was a huge incline at the edge, and another camper had his huge freaking raft/boat tied up at the launch. So instead of calmly wading into the water it was more of a "jump in and try not to tip the canoe as it slams up against the raft". We succeeded in taking in about 5 gallons in our first three minutes. I have no idea how Michelle and David managed to stay dry. One quick stop with a dump fixed it quickly, and no gear was ruined.

One a communication sys
tem was set up we were good to go. Nothing like getting in a canoe with another person to learn your true nature - and theirs. I think Vinnie and I have enough Type A in us to not want to put up with any crap, so we worked it out after the first exciting "surprise you are are now paddling through rapids-around-a-curve" stretch. The only time we had to get out of the canoe in the first 13 miles was a stretch that was so low it was just pebbles and small rocks on the left of an island. It was either drag the loaded canoe for 5 minutes, or go over class 2 rapids. We decided on keeping our gear above the water and all in the boat. Good call. Wish I had some good water shoes. Keens or Chaco's?

The rest of day one was spent with our feet up, pa
ddles in when needed, and soaking in the views.

Left: View from the co-pilot seat.

Right: Michelle and David keeping it real in the other canoe.

Fun things we saw along the way: Big Horned Sheep, an old bridge, ducks, and other campers.

Pic is super blurry but it's not like I took a $1000 camera on the canoe.

I just dig old bridges and buildings.

The campsite was found about an hour before dark. We set up the tents as the sun was setting, and then commenced the cooking and fire-making. Tons of driftwood lined the river so we had a great blaze in no time. Dinner was bratwurst, baked potatoes, fruit, and roasted marshmallows. The sunset was not much to scream about since it was behind a cliff wall, but after the sun disappeared, the beautiful outline as dusk set in was very satisfying. I spent a lot of time just looking around me in awe.

The sunrise was very peaceful and clear. I had forgotten that sleeping outside makes waking up very easy. Cue inspirational music and scripture verses floating across the screen.

Breakfast w
as eggs, bacon, bread/toast, avocado, fruit, and roasted marshmallows. I mean, we brought so many why waste them? A quick dip in the river was very, ahem, refreshing, and then I brushed my teeth with some Jim Beam. Feel the burn. I can't say that it was good for the breath, but my teeth felt pretty darn smooth. After packing up and frolicing around for a bit we took off for the second day - only 13 more miles to go. The launch went smoothly and it was much less intimidating that day 1.

There were certainly more rapids during the second leg, but they were all right away. The rest was just smooth sailing. Michelle and David spent a great deal of time laying down in their canoe, with it floating sideways. I think it was very representative of their chill personalities. Vinnie and I kept our canoe going the 'right' way most of the time. Taking turns at steering or watching for rapids we got into some deep conversations and a few arguments. Always a good time. Mostly though our excitement over being on the water was over, and we just were quiet, soaking in the landscape and beauty that surrounded us.

Describing it will never do it justice. Nor will the 100 pictures that I took. Just take my word for it. It was like I was in a different country. Different world. The colors were so vivid they almost hurt. The silence was so calming. Only wind, water, and a few bugs were all we could hear.

So, why did I do this? So many people have looked at me with complete surprise when I tell them I flew to Colorado to go camping. Why not? My life is open to
whatever I decide I want to do. Options are endless. Adventure is optional. Living is not. I think that I am ready to be spontaneous as well as dependable. I am ready for the comfort of home, and to answer the call of the open road. I am so happy to have figured out what makes me happy - I only hope that for all of my friends.

You know what else makes me happy? My new Patagonia Refugio 28L day pack. Sigh....