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Perfect Timing

Well, hello friends new and established! I’ve been off the radar for a minute, so my apologies to everyone who has been wondering what ever became of me.

I would like to kick off my blog with something awesome and profound. Matt Banner @ On Blast Blog suggests polishing the opening post and starting strong. Somewhere in his 40 tips for blogging is a quote about it never being the perfect time for anything.

However, there’s something to be said for mission accomplishment. I have been trying to find 30 min just to sign up but between driving for Uber, launching a business with my girlfriend, and chasing after two 6 year old terrors, it has evaded me. One key to getting shit done is being opportunistic with time, and right now is the perfect time to stare at my phone since life just gave me a great big slap on the sciatic nerve! Ugh, what incredible pain to suffer. I’ve never experienced anything like this before, but the last 7 hours has been relentlessly awful. Really, though, I don’t know which is worse-the actual pain or the frustration of being so incapacitated that I have to be dragged to the bathroom!

Well, considering the pen is mightier than the sword and I can’t even lift my head without agonizing pain, it is indeed the perfect time to get blogs up and other screen time efforts underway. I have a project I hope to post on IndieGoGo and events to line out for vending. I will be posting updates on all of my efforts here as well as my own ramblings. 

So, pretty as my first blog may or may not be, here it is!

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I have a lot of good stuff to fill my blog posts with, so I can roll with the ocean scene for a first. I was 18 years old on a cross country road trip when I first saw the Atlantic. Since then, I could hardly imagine living more than a couple hours from an ocean. Feeling small, so miniscule while gazing at the vastness is curiously enlightening. Few things in this world can ground you in the moment like that. Except a child’s love 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Collecting Thoughts

Conquering the Chaos

“I just feel like my mind is racing through thoughts and I’m not in the driver’s seat.” my girlfriend tells me.

“My mind is like lightning. One brilliant flash and it’s gone.” I tell her. 

She worries about her craziness and I try to comfort her in saying we are all a little crazy in some way. I suppose the trick is to figure out what flavor of crazy you are and try to learn from others how to live with it. 

It is in thinking about the furious pace of thoughts that led me to realize something else has been missing entirely from my life. Furthermore, it closely coincides with the point in time that my finances first turned south. In the Corps, we were issued a small notebook, olive green of course, that we kept tucked into a pocket or in the small of the back. We called it a smack book for motivational purposes. These days, I manage to keep myself together in a clipboard and spiral notebook or two. 

In a time of my life when I was single, I felt I was operating at max capacity all the time. Physically and mentally, I pushed myself to my limits. I had much more space than I needed, so an extra bedroom became my office. What I really wanted was a full sized whiteboard, but I didn’t have a way to really accommodate one. Instead, I bought a can of whiteboard paint, and painted each closet door top to bottom. 

Oh, the memories of that ‘whiteboard’! Many, many drunken attempts at deriving fluid dynamics equations or balancing chemical reactions. Tutoring. Strategizing. Motivating. Budgeting. Dreaming. All of that and more happened on those doors. It captured those fleeting, golden ideas. It reminded me of problems I have already addressed and no longer need to store in my already overloaded brain. It reminded me of my priorities and plans as I went through the week. It was an anchor for my very actively wandering mind and helped immeasurably with my productivity. 

It is high time we get a giant whiteboard again, I say. Once again, I have no idea where to accommodate one, but it is needed. We already found we can barely function without the whiteboard calendar, so I don’t know fully why I wouldn’t have gone for at least another small one. 

I am not a big fan of the paint though. It is a two part resin and doesn’t actually apply like paint. I believe a foam brush is the only way to get the coat even enough to effectively write and erase, but I wouldn’t mess with it unless you consider yourself handy. 

It’s something to start with. 😁

Defining the Problem

The diagnosis is evading the professional help

It’s noon on Father’s Day and somewhere a father is likely on his 3rd drink of the day. He is probably wondering what happened to cause the severance, though in searching through bottles doesn’t understand how he perpetuates his own problems. 

I have been treated to the first use of the bathroom this morning, breakfast, nookie, and we are trying to wrangle the kids out the door for superheroes day. Amidst fussing and griping, Kim suggests we bail on our plans and just take them to the park. My patience is thin and besides that, I’m in a horrible funk. 

So, what the funk? Being broke. Putting off work while bills pile up. Mostly, that I struggle so hard and come every holiday lately, I’m too broke to really do anything. Now, I’m thrifty and young kids are still pretty amazed by just about anything. It’s not that there’s nothing to do in a city for free. It’s that a journey to the children’s museum shouldn’t be a damn Survivor style expedition. It’s that as I watch my household diverge stealthily into chaos, I see a ubiquitous pattern and the realization that this is why we can’t do nice things. 

I want to yell at the child to stop ruining every special occasion with her attitude. I instead have to reinforce her mother’s threat because she clearly didn’t listen to it from the source. I’m already tired. I’m tired of all the bickering. It wasn’t a large amount of it, but it did get every last one of us upset. 

About the time the children have shoes on and are ready to go, Kim has to make a second coffee. I try not to look at the clock with dismay, but it’s coming up hot onto 1pm and half the day is already gone. 

Kim had asked me what I wanted to do. I didn’t have a socially acceptable answer. If I had any money for gas, I would have taken my son for a day to ourselves. I wish now that we would have. I wonder still how that request would have been received. Probably not well. 

I’m in this funk, and my mind drifts again to that drunk asshole that’s probably giving my sister or some hapless stranger a drunken ear full. In this situation, he would have been gone nearly before sunrise. Fishing, drinking, driving aimlessly, or whatever his fancy. I don’t remember him doing much as a family. I want to be alone. I get it. The family thing gets to a guy sometimes. Especially a guy that’s well enough alone. 

At some point in the day, Kim said something optimistic about next year’s father’s day. Really? I had all of $6 to blow at Goodwill when my son’s birthday came around. I was broke for Mother’s Day. I’ll be even more broke and bracing for trying to dodge another 72 hour notice, or worse, for my birthday. It’s well over halfway through June, and not a single bill has been paid aside from phone bills. Thank god for Boost and their $35 flat rate. 

Why? Why is this happening? I see things all over the place contributing to our downfall. If I pick at these things, it seems like I’m being a jerk. If I don’t, they keep tripping us up. Even things that have been addressed keep happening. 

Kim tells me she’s sick of living like this. So am I. What the funk am I supposed to do? How do we go from planning and failing to meet our needs to planning and finding success? It’s not that our plans are faulty. Simply that when push comes to shove, everybody would rather jump ship than see them through. 

I miss being the kind of broke I was as a single guy. You know the kind? The kind of broke that comes from having paid all your bills and having nothing left. I don’t know how to pick my family up to that kind of broke, and every holiday that comes around reminds me of how hopelessly broke and still on the verge of homelessness we are. 

We have been grasping for all the intervention and social help we can. It’s run out and we are still no closer to floating. What can I do? All I have left is to keep a record of all our failures and point them out, which usually comes to explosive outcomes from opposing sides of a finger.

I got nothin’. Any ideas out there? 

Artist’s Eye

So, I’m gluing together this counter top and thought I’d share a bit. ☺

Choosing pieces to go together. I cut down a pretty healthy stack of lumber to produce all these pieces, so I have to pick and choose the ones that best fit my idea of what this should look like. 

No, that’s not it. 

Better. 

Okay, I’m satisfied. Time to glue. 

Ugh! One board oriented wrong and somehow I made it too short. All that time and energy, only to make it wrong. 😣

Okay, so I just passed time practicing on a, uh, coffee table? Sure, I’ll just make this one into a table. 

Take 2. Action!

Alright, making sure it’s the right size this time.

Some marks might help me keep it straight!

So far, so good. 

Whew! Finally got it all glued up the way I wanted it. Now the question to answer is do I screw around with the hand plane or buy a bit and fire up the CNC inside my storage unit like I’m not supposed to do and plane it the quick and awesome way? Hmm, decisions. 😈

Adapting

It’s not for everyone

I’ve been wanting to blog all weekend, but it’s hard to figure out what to say. 

Summer is officially here, signaling the beginning of construction season. Apparently it’s in full force and Craigslist is overflowing with ads for help. I was doing a little gig for a guy who told me that workers are going for as much as $30 an hour. I laughed as I told him that I might consider going back into it for that wage, though I don’t figure myself being worth quite that much. 

Well, I dug into storage and put by proverbial tool belt back on. I’m being obstinate here and refusing to take on a j-o-b. So, I guess that makes me a contractor now? Shit, I haven’t even updated my business license and here I am getting ready to write a contract for my second project. Yeah, what the hell happened to the first? The floodgates are open, and I already feel like I’m drinking from a fire hose. 

I would be over the moon right now, if not for the state of my city. In case it’s not national news (I go out of my way to ignore it) the issue is that yesterday my city became the epicenter of FEDERALLY CONDONED RACISM. I don’t have the time or energy to dig up facts or quotes, but I just have to say that some days humanity makes me sick. 

Yesterday, some white supremacists decided to have a little get together. I hid in my sanctuary, earmuffs and saws happily muting any sound of it that might penetrate the shop. I had to deal with the leftovers on my drive home, and that was already more than enough. 

First off, I have to be grateful for the fact that we are a state. Our own state, with its own government that can have its own say even when some fuckhead is in charge of the federation. I’m grateful that the people leading my city stand on the firm ground of acceptance and inclusion while said fuckhead opens doors to criminal behavior.

I really don’t want to know how bad it was or wasn’t yesterday. This morning, my girlfriend watched in horror as some helpless soul took his life in front of the train. Someone in my city was so distraught, in such a dark place, so absolutely tortured by these events as to take their own life. I saw a squad car and ambulance while out driving today. I hope it wasn’t a repeat of the morning, but I can hardly shove the thought out of my mind. 

I’m speculating, sure. Maybe the victim had a bad breakup, was messed up on meth, or had a tag on his head. Maybe. Except that we just don’t have that many suicide incidents, and there is little if anything more stressful than knowing there is a government supported effort to eradicate people with a specific genetic order for skin color. 

I can only afford so much time to vent my grief, but I need my readers to understand that they are not alone in this fear mongering country. I need to mourn with my city for the innocent people being targeted and to send the message that no matter how bad it gets, we (the not sadistic and bloodthirsty) will always stand for each other. I’m thankful my city’s officials take that stand, and I’m thankful for my military brethren standing with us. 

More Blooms

It’s been a busy week. I’m bushed. I just woke up and I’m ready for bed. So, just some photos of stopping to smell the roses, so to say.

My citronella outside is loving the sun! 

I guess I haven’t kept up on my Count Dracula. I picked all the peppers so she could focus on flowering. The troubles of keeping an annual perennially. 

 

You know, I have to say that in an urban setting, onions have to be the easiest and most practical thing to grow. So many dishes include them. We got a walking onion a few years ago, and we’ve kept it going. It’s also flowering, but guess what?

The flowers are edible before they seed! Well, except for walking onions, which grow new onion bulbs instead!

They are so delicious, and all you have to do is grab a chunk and rip it off. No peeling or chopping. The taste complements breakfast perfectly. If you care about what you eat but aren’t a green thumb, I highly recommend growing onions! You literally cannot kill them by over watering, and they are perfectly happy in a 1L pot their whole life cycle. They over winter very well, and that’s when the bulb onions do most of their layering.

I’ve been talking about aquaponics for so long now, I decided to tip toe into that realm now. Luke the fish now has some flora to enjoy too.

Mount Neahkanie

Higher than the clouds

It’s the first fully dry week that we’ve had all year, and the highways were loaded up with beach goers Thursday at 4:10 pm on the dot. I was watching every minute and every road like a hawk for my cue to gtfo and be home in time to pick up my kiddo. 

We decided to skip the camping rush and crowded beaches in favor of a nice little hike in the woods. I have this issue with perception, and if you look up this particular trail, you might get it. I thought about tracking it with my running app, but worried the battery would die before I got the good photo ops. Anyway, I guess the disclaimer to this one is, “Your level of enjoyment may differ.”

I did not envy any campers as we hit the 101 and were socked in with thick fog. I realized I had the whole family layer up in anticipation of cool weather then rocked out with nothing but shorts and tee. My legs paid the price in blood, but the temp was perfect. 

So, it’s been a while and I forgot how the trail was on the north side. We started up through berry brambles and loose flagstone before the path improved slightly and we were flanked by the following. I’ll have to figure out all the names later!

It’s hard to see, but this shot is looking about 50 degrees uphill. 

We bushwhacked for maybe half mile uphill until the slope started to ease up and old growth dominated the scene. So, the thing about the north part of this trail is that the way is easily lost. Coming downhill, there is a clear end of the trail and a suggestive curve downhill. You look downhill and just over a mass of old tree roots, you see the trail switching back just as you’d expect. Approaching from the north, however, you don’t think to look for a switchback because the trail appears to keep going. You follow it innocently until it ends in the middle of thick fern and fallen timber. Now, an intelligent person would backtrack until they found another hiker for direction. This family gets worked up, starts in one direction, changes direction a few times, fights through as much as possible, then finds a hidden meadow well of the trail. 

Ah well, we did find our way back onto the trail and before long we could feel the sea breeze as we approached the summit. 

The Camas lily in the early day fog. 

Ooh, yes! Who isn’t excited for wild berries! 😄  oh? Nobody in Oregon? k

Now, I grew up in the mountains, so inversions aren’t the most remarkable thing to see anymore. However, as we rounded the face of the peak and the trees thinned out, we realized that we had walked above the fog. 

Minds blown! Then, just after that, we hit the wildflower jackpot. 

Well, that just about made the day for us. We hung out on the peak, snacking and taking it all in. On our way back down, the fog lifted and offered us a glimpse of the coast and birds diving in the water. 

Just a couple more native flora to wrap it up. 

It was an exhausting day for everyone, but well worth it. It was certainly the solace we needed and salt air we were craving.