I would be lying

I would be lying if I said I didn’t care.

If I said it didn’t hurt.

I would be lying if I pretended not to notice you there.

Lying to myself, because it is readily apparent to you

That I love you.

I don’t know how you know and how it’s hidden from me some days.

Each day begins with you; you’re on my mind and in my heart, so

I guess I know too that you love me.

Why would I be lying if I spoke roughly to you?

How would I be lying if I said some unkind word?

When would I be lying if I didn’t tell you each day how much you mean to me.

Let me not wait till you’ve gone to state my truth to you each waking hour.

Let me not lie to myself that I am without you.

Let me say how much you do each day for our family, our marriage, our home.

Let me not lie.

There is no time for it.

– Small town boy

Security or Balance?

I noticed, when going downstairs while using the handrail,

That I don’t cling to it for safety/security,

But I lean on the handrail,

For balance.

And, as always, I seek the metaphor for life, my life.

I think security/safety is important for a stable life, but

It is balance I seek for a meaningful life.

Balance is often thought of as a teeter totter between two members of a dichotomy:

Good/evil, fit/unfit, religious/atheist, etc.

But there are no dichotomies; there are three or more forces involved in each problem.

As a physics teacher, I believe in force vectors, in which the sum of each force AND their directions determines your movement.

Unattended, forces are exerted, causing movement.

And so what reaction to these forces do you perceive?

A. Nothing, I am blown by forces not of my making.

B. Resist the impinging forces by my own personal strength.

C. Seek balance, seek to balance forces with other forces that act in opposition or in replacement of forces arrayed to place stress in my life.

For me this balance comes in the form of meditation, jigsaw puzzles and bike rides.

Walks in the beach, turning off cable news, spiritual practices, walking with the dog etc. offer balance to my stressors.

Hugs, cuddling, touch, kisses, are powerful forces in this regard.

And so, instead moving according to forces I don’t control,

I sit quietly as the whirlwinds if life,

Not fighting,

Just leaning 

In a direction that

Gives me balance.

It is this balance that sustains me in the face of trauma,

Like death of a loved one, illness, surgery, motor accident, addiction, and so on and so on.

Balance, and God,

And my wife of forty five years.

Love is a great balancing agent.

I see others, people who don’t have balance,

And I can’t give them balance,

I can only be sure that I am balanced.

Can you see?

That I am balanced?

And not teetering?

Sometimes, sometimes, I teeter,

When I teeter I know what to do,

Seek balance, find equilibrium,

And go on to the next event.

– Small town boy

A little at a time

I do things a little at a time now.

I’m teaching my self piano, a little at a time, one half hour in the morning and one half hour in the afternoon.

I’m clearing grass from between the flagstones on the  patio, fifteen minutes each day.

I’m working on a jigsaw puzzle, a little at a time, fifteen minutes several times a day.

I’m meditating in  small amounts, morning and evening, praying too.

I can interact with my grandchildren at breakfast and after school in moments.

I call my wife at the beach once a day; or  I call from the beach.

I’m losing weight, a little at a time, fourteen pounds now, in a month and a half, by eating smaller portions.

I’m reading several books, a little at  a time with each, each awaiting more  time to finish them.

I’m writing these  blogs in  small doses, for both me and my readers. If they get too big, I edit them down or break  them  up.

But, I love you a lot, all the time, for ever. A little at a time doesn’t work for me. You are constantly  on my mind and in my heart. 

– Small town boy

“For precept must be on precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” Isaiah 28:10

The Ocean

God is like the ocean.

Powerful, beautiful, and dangerous.

S/He ebbs and flows with lunar cycles.

One can stand at the edge and watch or enter the surf and feel the power, straining against it.

In warmer climes, one can swim in the salty waters, until one is  out of their depth, but stll able to stay afloat, because of belief in the ability to float and swim.

There are boats on the water, large and small, some fishing the depths, some transporting cargo to unknown places.

There are animals near the shore, birds, crabs, sea lions, and sand shrimp, all occupying there own niche, all a part of the oceans ecology.

Am I part of God’s ecology?

In the depths, where I can not see, live giant whales, sharks, fish, octopi and squid, and so much more: diverse in nature but adapted to life in the sea, each having its own part to play, each a part of the food cycle.

Am I part of the spiritual food cycle? Whom do I prey (pray) upon, and who preys (prays) on me?

The sea has been here before me and will be here long after I’m gone.

As I stand here naked before it, arms upraised, willing myself to resonate with its roar, I await the day.

Resistance is futile, harmful, and not in keeping with why I was made, not in keeping with my basic, fundamental nature.

Being open and working with the forces present allow me to ride the crest of the wave, to receive the power offered, and to live with a force stronger than my own and feed as my soul requires.

Thank God for the ocean and it’s abundance.

The ocean is great and reaches far away past the horizon to where others stand by it and marvel at its grace, beauty and power, my brothers and sisters on this globe,

A planet, when seen from afar, is notable because it is blue,

Blue because of the ocean.

Let me sail forth today, find the spirit of God, and fish for the sustenance offered me.

Let me be with other sailors riding the wind and the waves, going together on life’s journey today.

Amen

– Small town boy

Listen

I may have mentioned that I have been advised to listen.

It is against my nature.

I don’t like to listen.

Being alone at the beach in stormy weather has allowed me to work on it.

Prayer as listening? I have even practiced what I used to teach, active listening.

But I hear nothing.

So I tried listening the same way I meditate.

Not bad, good meditation, but still no messages.

As you may also have noticed I am working on jigsaw puzzles.

And I found something.

If you get your mind to quiet, Other skills come to the fore.

Pattern recognition kicks in and instead of actively looking, I’m passively looking, and it works well. All of a sudden I recognize that piece for that place.

One of my heroes is Walt Longmire (by Craig Johnson).

When he goes on alert he soft focuses his eyes so as to make them motion sensors.

It’s like that.

There are other factors at work if I just be quiet and let them work.

I still haven’t heard anything, but I’m learning.

Shh, listen. Hear that?

– Small town boy 

Puzzeling

Do you do jigsaw puzzles?

My mother and her husband John always had one going in the screened-in porch at the rear of their house in Longmont. When they had time they would stop and put in a piece or two.

I’ve recently had the time and interest to pursue this hobby.

Actually, I would get them started and rely on one of my two daughters-in-law to finish them. Either Debra Due or Karis, depending who was at the beach house after I got tired if working on the puzzle.

How many pieces can you do? 500 or 1000, or more?

I try to limit my puzzling to 500 piece puzzles, else they never get done or put away.

I get free puzzles at Fitness Over Fifty, the gym where I work out, or at Goodwill, or last Christmas I won one at a white elephant  game at the dinner for Dial-a-Bus drivers.

Before Christmas I brought home a free 500 piece puzzle of a basket of fruit from FOF. My great grandchildren, Angel and Dashawn, helped me with that one. Their eyes are better than mine.

My wife gave me a 500 piece puzzle which I worked on at the beach on a card table so as not to take up eating space while working on the puzzle. It was of an old rusted out panel truck/flower garden that I did myself.

The anomole in this puzzle was an extra, duplicate, puzzle piece .

I know that crossword puzzles are supposed to help memory loss (or do they just makes you better at crosswords?) But as part of my senile dementia is lack of focus, or distraction, these jigsaw puzzles help me stay focused. (The irony here is that I raised two sons who were ADD and ADHD. Now I understand them better.)

I find that if I get up and walk away from the puzzle,  I can find that piece I’ve been looking for for the last five minutes is right under my nose.

So here I am a alone with some beach time after New Year’s day, and I choose a free 1000 piece puzzle with no daughter in law in sight. (Karis was in Denver working on her own 1000 piece puzzle of Doors!)

I struggled with my thousand piece puzzle.

Do you do edge pieces first?

The only way I could find them was to sort through small piles, moving them from box bottom to box top while putting only edge pieces on the card table. Then I could focus only on edge pieces and not try to turn them over at the start.

Focus.

I continued this procedure throughout puzzle assembly. Never having too many pieces out of the box.

The good thing about this big puzzle was that the picture on the front was quite helpful in locating the puzzle piece’s final location in the puzzle.

I say “final location” because sometimes I had to take pieces out that were in the wrong place, as shown by the inability to place a correct piece in a neighboring spot.

There were thirteen pieces missing from this puzzle, an additional small setback in the face of the 987 other pieces.

My friend Joanne tells me to make my own  pieces, but then she’s a quilter.

On to the next puzzle.

– Small Town Boy

Half Moon

5 a.m. Dark. The half moon is out next to Orion’s girdle.

At the beach, away from city lights, it all becomes.

I get my half-moon tan and do my half-moon dance in the half-moon light.

My daughter’s favorite place, a place of romance is Half-Moon Bay.

I do not regret the unfullness, but marvel that it can still do what it did when it was full.

Can I say the same?

At 75 am I half full, but still able?

Or am I overfilled, and reflecting His brilliance?

I see the half moon and realize it is still whole, but half obscured.

Am I half ibscured?

I love the moon and she loves me, even by half.

I see my half-moon shadow, still leaping and hopping,

Still worth the dance.

How I miss dancing; holding you in my arms; while the music croons.

So I will dance the night away in the arms of my half-moon,

Half-caste of universal love,

Half a life till it next recovers its fullness,

Again.

– Small town boy

Life Quilt, row 5, #1 – bicycling the Oregon Coast

So many stories, so little time.


My first time on the Oregon Coast (Hwy 101) was during the first Cycle Oregon in September, 1988, right in the midst of my dissertation. 


I remember the strong headwind we faced out of Mapleton on the way west to Florence. I remember learning to draft (riding closely behind the rear wheel of the rider in front of you for wind protection and cadence).  Each rider took the front for a spell and then the leader rotated back to the end of the line. BTW coastal winds generally flow from north to south. Smart cyclists take that into account and travel north to south as we did.

After Florence came Sea Lions Cave, North Bend, and nightfall in Coos Bay.

then Bandon, Port Orford and Gold Beach.

And last Brookings. 

Well, that was not actually my first ride along the Pacific coast. That ride occurred in about 1983 when my son John and his two friends Maureen and Leslie camped at Cape Lookout (see above) and then rode the Three Capes scenic route in two days.

It was then I first saw what would become our beachhouse in Terra Del Mar. When we returned from the trip a letter was waiting for me. Bike Gallery, where we had gotten parts in preparation for the ride, had drawn my name and I got a free Brookstone touring bike.

I would ride this road from Tierra del Mar to the top of Cape Lookout and back often as a training ride.  When I rode across Wisconsin, each day someone would say, “Wait til you get to THE hill!” None of the hills compared to this climb.  Initially with John and friends we had to walk our bikes over the top, both ways.

It was 100 miles from my home in Portland to the beach house in Tierra Del Mar, but there was a shortcut.With the advent of Max light Rail in the Portland Metro area it made riding to the beach much easier. By taking your bike onto the MAX train from Lloyd Center to Hillsboro you chop off 24 miles, urban miles, with hills, on a four lane highway.

Then by riding the backroad from Hillsboro to Forest Grove and Banks to US 6 which will follow the Lewis river you can climb 7 miles and go down 24 miles. The shoulder is nice and the traffic is not bad.  Jack rode with me after he got his new touring bike. Then it’s a short 20 miles to Tierra del Mar.

Side note: my great grandson found a giant spider in the house!


A western Hobo Spider, not toxic.

Life Quilt row 3,#1 – the Tillamook Air Museum

After the other blimp hangar burned down with the hay stored in it, the Tillamook Air Museum was founded to show Naval aircraft as it was a naval air station housing blimps during the second world war.


Please note the clever background fabric Joanne found.

for more information on the Tillamook Air Museum and the history of the WWII Blimp hangars: http://www.tillamookair.com/hangar-b/

Other buildings that were once pare of the naval air station now house businesses.  We got cabinets from Trask River Wood Works (made with computer aided design, cutting, drilling and manufacture.) and my friends from South Dakota found a microbrewery here that I didn’t even know about last summer that makes  fruity beers (DeGarde Brewing Company http://www.degardebrewing.com)

Additionally Betsy and I did a 6k Volksmarch next door at the Tillamook airport. We got a blimp pin to commemorate.

 So coming from the south on hwy 101, stop at the Tillamook Air Museum before you go on to the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum, the Blue Heron wine and cheese store and the Tillamook Creamery, all favorite tourist spots in Tillamook county.

– Small town boy

Life Quilt row 3,#1/2- Reach The Beach bike ride

My name is Jack, Jacquari formally.  I am Lloyd’s son.  He adopted me with two of my siblings in 1992.


That’s me on the right next to my brother, Teddy and my sister Ashley with her son Dashawn.  But I was older here than when this story takes place.


This memory is actually from three squares on the Life Quilt (Joanne, sorry about the stain) When I was 13 or 14 me, dad, and Teddy went on a long distance bike ride. Reach the Beach actually started at three different locations, depending on how many miles you wished to go.  We chose the starting point at Amity, OR 56 miles to the finish at Pacific City on the coast.

When we left Amity, Teddy and I were riding our BMX bikes and dad his touring bike.  He had our water and food and we had walkie talkies. So we left on the first leg to Sheridan, OR. What I didn’t know till later was that Teddy decided to quit the ride after a couple of miles and dad had to call mom and get her to pick him up. I didn’t know this because I was fixed on the ride, that is despite my ADD I was more focused on this ride than anything else in my life, ever! As an example of my distractiability and my willingness to put things off, I asked my English teacher at Da Vinci Middle School in Portland to give me an extra week for my paper on procrastination.

I quickly left dad behind, far enough behind that the walkie talkies didn’t connect us. I wasn’t thinking, I was just riding.  I rode right past the rest stop (with food) at Sheridan (11 miles) and kept going til I reached Grand Ronde (12 more miles) .

I saw mom for a sec and grabbed a bite and then. I was off. I told dad later that I could keep up with the others going up hill, but they got ahead of me going down hill. They (the other riders) nicknamed me “The Machine” I was to learn later when I finished. I also told dad later that I knew what he meant by the “wall” when you are so tired you can’t do the simplest task, so I just kept riding.

By the time I reached Pacific City (26 miles later) my reputation had preceded me and Cliff Bars, who were there giving bars to finishers, waited for me with a whole box!

My dad told me later, “Now we know you can finish what your start. But the path must be obvious and your motivation high.”

When we got home my dad bought me a bike with gears, a touring bike. Later we rode it on the Pioneer Century (PWTC ride starting in Canby, OR), and from our house in Portland to the beach house (96 miles).

(Thanks dad for writing this for me)

– Small Town Boy