Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I dare you...

Pin It I have a friend. No really, I do. She is doing this amazing thing…for the next while, she is going to leave a comment on every blog that she reads.


Not meaning that she necessarily agrees with what the blogger has said, but she is planning on making her presence known. I won’t parrot everything she said because that would be redundantly redundant, and let’s be honest, you could just go here and read all about it.

So, here’s what I plan to do.

If I come to your blog for the next two weeks or so, every time I read a post of yours, I will make a comment.


I promise.

Would you do the same? For each post that you read? Wherever it is? No matter whose blog?

Why would I ask this? Well, let’s be honest, there are moments and times when we do really wonder whether or not somebody is really out there and really reading what it is that we are writing. Like Gerb said, everybody loves a comment, and nobody has ever gotten upset that somebody left a comment on their blog (unless of course the comment was rude, upsetting, or one which insults all we hold near and dear).

So, just to let you know…if I visit you, you’ll know it.

I hope that you’ll do the same.

I triple dog dare you...

I awoke to an orchestra

Pin It The flash of light ignited against the other side of my closed eyelids; that’s probably what awoke me from a restful slumber. The low, guttural tones of thunder followed only moments behind it, chased by the rain. The glorious downpour smattered down upon rooftop in cascades of monsoon. It layered the sidewalks in shimmery wet, inviting worms to surface for schoolchildren to step on as they make their way to my classroom later this morning in this watery-shimmered world.

I moved through the house with lights off, attentive to the wondrous orchestra playing all around me—reverberating through the four walls and ceiling—and even permeating through the very earth below me.

Light flashed, bringing to life the images hanging on the walls of my home for a brief moment of time.


Windows were thrust open, and the sounds were fully welcomed into my world—or I into theirs. Above, the lights of the city reflected off of the dark, twisting clouds as a train whistle pierced the darkness from someplace off in the distance; a melancholy souvenir of places far away, and stages of summer I loathed, yet hunger to live again.

But for now, the rain continues to fall in its eternal drizzle from the skies above me, and the August rushing of wind hits the trees in my Olympic-sized backyard, adding to the ensemble which continues to acquire its musicians.

Like before, I am prepared to meet with a smile whatever challenge is here to greet me today,

Welcome, rain.

Monday, September 28, 2009

It's all about altitude

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“A positive attitude may not solve all of your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.”
- Herm Albright

What's up at 4P today? Check it out here.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Pin It Strains of Billy Joel accompanied me as I drove along Alpine Loop’s twisting and tendrilish roadway—switchbacks hugging the mountains to the east of Timpanogos; traveling amongst the brightly-lit fireworks display of autumn which once-again graced the threshold of that place where summer departs and fall begins.

The waning day’s light was subdued as it reached over the distant hills, finally winking out of view to whisper back the night.

The world is content, and so am I.

…and life is good.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Pin It What is that all about?

Better head over to Four Perspectives to find out for yourself...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

New York - The Museums

Pin It While I was in New York I had the opportunity to visit three different museums.

I had planned on writing a blog full of the words I’ve come to love to use, but it’s already much too late this evening; therefore, I’ll instead let the images speak for themselves.


Friday, September 18, 2009

I went to New York

Pin It I know that I’ve painted the picture of this before—including photographs of my trip—I told you all about the things I did, the places I went, and the things that I saw.

But I did not share them all; after all, there was simply far too much to tell.

I recently took part in a photoshoot, and was uploading these images from my camera; it was at this point that I found a slew of photographs from my New York trip that I still hadn’t even gone through yet…I know, I know…it’s been a month, what am I doing now even posting these?

Well, it’s better late than never, right?

Of course, that’s exactly what I thought, too.

I could tell you about the Shake Shack; about a single burger which cost more than an entire meal back home and a line that stretched from here to Christmas...

I could tell you about sitting at the chess tables in Washington Square Park...

I could tell you about how I saw filming locations for I am Legend, Searching For Bobby Fischer and August Rush...among a trove of others as well.

I could tell you about riding the subway systems and somehow ending up in Brooklyn;

I could tell you just how much fun it was seeing my brother again.

And so I just did.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Christmas in September?

Pin It It was a year ago that I did this...

I asked the question, and got the right answer...

Now, I'm going to do it again.

Would you like to come? I'd love it if you would.

So, just how do you get invited? Oh…it’s easier than you think. If you're reading this blog, you already are; if you live nearby, I’d love for you to come celebrate it with me.

When would it be? September 19th from 7:00 p.m. until around late-thirty; come and leave when you want.

Here’s how it works...

Send me an email and let me know if you need directions OR would like to RSVP by means otherwise than commenting ( Be sure to put “Christmas in September” in the subject line. Bring a present you wouldn’t mind getting for your birthday, and then come to the party with your favorite Christmas desert.

We will be having a “gift exchange” where, if you bring a gift, you pick one from under the Christmas tree when it’s time for you to go. Take it home, and enjoy the present…after all, everyone should get presents on my birthday, shouldn’t they?

We’ll be having hot chocolate, Christmas tunes, and projected holiday films in the ‘underground cinema.’

I do ask one thing though…if you have kids in my class (or who will be in the near future) I humbly ask that they do not attend with you…they’ll think they’re getting special treatment and we just can’t have that now, can we?

See this weekend...

I was too lazy to change the date on the GIF, it really IS on the 19th...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Guest Star Day

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And so it is...check it out today at Four Perspectives.

So what's the story with bookshelves, novels, and mysteries anyhow? Sounds like a mystery to me, that's for sure. Swing on by let me know you've been there.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Repost: Lessons from an empty room

Pin It Originally posted on July 10, 2009

I promised to only repost 15 of my favorite blogs of the first 500; this is the last of these. Strange, in looking over these first posts I found myself faced with the dilemma of choosing only a few.

I narrowed it down to 87.

From then came the arduous task of taking it down even farther to only fifteen of those 87. It was difficult…I found myself vacillating back and forth between posts, wanting to reshare some, and then others.

This is the last of the reposts.

I won’t say that these of the 500 are the only posts which mean something to me, because that simply wouldn’t be true—there are far too many experiences recorded on these pages to narrow it down and call it good.

So my reposting now comes to a grinding halt and the posting of new life will recommence. Ah, the pressures of finding new materials to write about…but perhaps not, “Joey” has been up to his usual antics, and he’ll soon be delighting readers with his usual—and not so usual—exploits. Also, there is much to write about New York as of yet, and a trove of photographs I still have to share.

It’s amazing that I’d all but forgotten about my trip over the past few weeks as school has taken nearly every breathing minute I’ve had; of course, that’s part of why I love teaching…when a job requires so much, there are big payoffs, too…

To explain this final repost though: this posting was one of the most difficult for me because it came at a time right after the passing of Mom. No, not the mother who gave me life, but still one of the women in my life I bestow the name of mother to. I cannot thank her enough for all she’s done for me over the years; for items far too personal to mention on a blog.

Here’s to you, Mom.

An artist paints with colors. A photographer captures images with light. A writer portrays thoughts to form with words which he feels and sees.

I sit.

I sit alone in Mom’s room.

I keep waiting for the feeling; waiting to feel her ghost—her spirit.

As I look into the vacant space where her bed used to lay, I feel the emptiness which has taken its place. It is this same void which fills me, this type of nullity which has been left behind that nobody else can understand—at least so it would strike as being.

My dad and I canvassed the room earlier today for mom’s framed pieces, tucked away in shadowed corners, several of which she created—cross-stitchings which she fashioned long ago during cozy nights with the aroma of scented candles burning in mixtures of amber and vanilla. As I gazed at these works wrought at her hands I felt that a piece of her yet remained, though her essence had gone; fled away to some far-away and distant place where the rest of us could not follow.

The sunlight dances on the other side of the window as my eyes fall on one of the stitcheries Mom made years before; its words burn themselves into my retina like an after-image of staring at the sun:

As I read over this quote I think of Mom’s crimson nails, filed and painted to perfection—a simple yet sublime act of love.

I remember sitting at the table.

It was a difficult time yet again; Mom’s breathing came in belabored gasps and haphazard moments of coherentness. My two younger sisters and brother-in-law had come to help; we were all taking shifts with sitting with Mom. This was good as it was keeping anyone from getting completely burned out.

I remember being slumped at the dining room table, resting my head on one arm when my dad made the pronouncement; he was going to have Mom’s manicurist come out to the house.

He fumbled with his phone and dialed the number. He spoke with the woman on the other end and set up the paltry details. He wanted the works—and price was no option.

Only the best.

I remember at first wondering what he was doing. Just why was he going to do this? Mom was in such a sick and weakened condition, what difference would this really make?

I had no idea.

The manicurist arrived. When Mom was told she was to have her nails done, her frail fingers outstretched—it was a sight to bring tears to one’s eyes. The job—no small one to be sure—took in the zone of 4 ½ hours to complete.

My dad had arranged this out of pure, simple love.

Mom knew. It completely exhausted her. She couldn’t speak, but she knew.

For the next several days, every time I saw Mom’s fingers or her carefully-painted toes, I found myself smiling. This was not merely a manicure and pedicure; this was an act of adoration of a man for the woman he treasured—the woman he knew delighted in this—the woman who was slowly ebbing away. He was giving her something which she couldn’t do for herself, something she loved; something which made her feel beautiful and appreciated.


The sunlight shifts and I find myself back in my Mom’s empty room. Though I find tears aplenty as I sit here alone, I discover that the room is no longer empty; it is filled with lessons, lessons of the heart and memories of love.

It is true…time truly cannot erase the memories which are created by love.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Repost - The Long Fall

Pin It Originally posted on July 12, 2009

Some people might wonder why I would select this as a favorite repost of my first 500; the reason for this I believe is that I wrote it at a time this summer when things were looking their bleakest; I was literally at a place where life had taken a turn for the worst. Things had not turned out the way I’d planned.

I had no idea where I was going this particular evening, or what it was that I was going to do; I just needed to be alone for a little while. I had to be somewhere that wasn’t around the incessant droning of that oxygen machine.

I wrote this post and shortly after publishing it, removed it from my blog. I had a few friends who’d read it in the short life it had online asked why I’d deleted it; the best I could come up with was that it was such a personal experience I didn’t feel like relating it just then. As I was rereading over my posts tonight I realized that this was a pivotal moment just as much as was this one was in my life. I’m not saying it was easy, but it was a moment.

Tonight I put it back online where it originally was; along with a repost here.

I have nothing more to say.

July 6, 10:47 P.M.

It was a heinous night, one more so than usual; I just had to be not here.

I slipped from the house and soon I found myself walking along the railroad tracks down at Lake Pend Oreille.

The rails stretched across the shadowy waters, glinting in the moonlight and vanishing into the pine trees nearly a mile off on the distant shoreline.

I began to walk the ties of the bridge, the smell of creosote filling my nostrils along with the thick sultriness of humidity in the air.

The angry lake crashed and splayed below me, as the choppy wind buffeted me from time to time.

My head was a flurry of thought, much like that wind as it carried me along with it.


There were so many questions.

Overhead the orange harvest moon moved slowly from behind the clouds; we gazed at each other across that vast space which separated us.

The distance seemed like a million miles; maybe more.

To be honest, I’d been feeling that same distance with God, too. He and I seemed to be worlds apart, neither one of us seeming to understand the other.

As I walked, I thought longingly of my headphones back at my car, I wished that I had them; had them to drown out the turbulent sounds which continued to moil through me like that tempestuous blast.

I wanted to play what had unofficially become the soundtrack of my life as of late, their lyrics tumbling about my head even as I traversed footfall after footfall.

“…the long fall back to earth is the hardest part...”

At the quarter mark of the bridge I stopped. Here was a spot to stand and look over the lake. I found myself sitting against the handrail as the waves lapped hungrily at the trestle supports some thirty feet below. Out across the water I watched the distant headlights of cars on the long bridge as they came and went in a flurry of tail lights—each headed to destinations unknown.

In the moment I petitioned the heavens, like I had so many times before.


There were so many questions.

The trestle started to vibrate slightly; in looking back at the direction of the city, I saw one bright light hastening toward me.

It was a train.

There was nowhere to go. There was nowhere to run.

Was I afraid?

I was terrified.

I sat at my perch above the water, four feet from the tracks as the thundering locomotive drew nearer. Moments later it was upon me, screaming as it passed in a flurry of whatever heavy cargo it carried. The sound was deafening. The wind buffeted me. I stood, letting the fear consume—let it fill me to overflowing—terror bristling through every tendon and nerve.

Let it be gone.

As suddenly as the fear had overtaken me, it ebbed away.

For several minutes the boxcars kept coming, sparking and groaning on their silver wheels until there was nothing.

The train had passed, the shaking of the long bridge ceased, and the night took on its usual stillness...the last sounds of the locomotive vanishing into distant obscurity.

The wind blew, the waves lapped, I stood.

The moon was swallowed behind a cloud.

I walked back the way I had come, my head still a storm of questions.

I had no answers.

But I wasn’t afraid.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Repost - As You Sleep

Pin It Originally posted on November 9, 2008

While on this trip to Washington State for my brother's wedding Mom was becoming fairly weak; at this point I did an awful lot of thinking about life...and about my parents. I think this post speaks entirely for itself.

It was quiet in the house this morning.

I wanted to be sure you were okay.

I walked in and watched you sleeping.

I thought of how you used to watch me when I was little.

Time has changed, hasn’t it?

Life is steadily moving onward and the roles will one day reverse.

I will take care of you, as you once took care of me.

Some days it will be hard, others will be easy.

We’ll both be learning to adjust…

Until you’re ready to go to leave my home for your new life.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Moments with Joey - Superheroes

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SCENE 1, INTERIOR. MIDMORNING, SCHOOL BUS. The entire fifth grade is traveling toward Provo Canyon for the Mt. Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. Three boys sit on the seat across from the teacher about halfway from the front of the bus. One of the boys clears his throat.

JOEY: Mr. Z?

TEACHER: What’s up, Joey?

JOEY: Who’s your favorite superhero?

[The teacher thinks for a second].

TEACHER: Superman.

JOEY: Superman? Why?

TEACHER: What do you mean, ‘why?’ [Pause]. Superman is the ultimate superhero.

JOEY: He’s not as tough as Wolverine from X-Men; compared to Wolverine, Superman’s nothing.

[The teacher starts to laugh and reaches over to pat Joey on the shoulder].

TEACHER: Hate to break it to you, Joey, but Superman would totally destroy Wolverine in a fight.

[The boy shakes his head adamantly as his two friends listen on intently].

JOEY: Wolverine can heal himself instantly, even if Superman ripped him into separate pieces and flew those pieces to different places in the world; those pieces would eventually crawl back together and put themselves back again. You know, Cyclops could beat him too—he has lasers which shoot from his eyes.

TEACHER: Cyclops? Please…Superman can shoot heat from his eyes, too. Besides, the yellow sun heals Superman even faster than Wolverine can heal. Superman is better than the two of them put together.

JOEY: Well, there’s the Hulk, too…he has really cool powers.

TEACHER: The Hulk’s only power is strength, and he only has that power when he gets mad. What happens when he calms down? Would you want to walk around being ticked off all the time? Superman is strong all the time.

[The boy tries to think of what else it is The Hulk can do which is amazing, but he draws up a blank].

TEACHER: Face it, Joey, Superman is the ultimate superhero; nobody can hold a candle to him.

JOEY: What about Batman? He has cool Batstuff…

TEACHER: Sorry again, Joey. If you took away all of his ‘Batgets’ he’d have nothing…he’s just an ordinary guy.

[There is a mildly-long pause].

JOEY: But he has a really cool car, and a Batcave, too.

TEACHER: Batgets, Joey…

JOEY: Well, Superman is just a wuss; if all the X-Men teamed up, they could take him out.

[The teacher again shakes his head].

TEACHER: Joey, the X-Men couldn’t possibly take on Superman in a battle and win…with the exception of The Phoenix and she wasn’t really an X-Man at all. She was locked in Jean Grey’s mind by Professor Xavier and was mentally unstable. As for The Hulk? No challenge whatsoever. Batman? Please, Batman has nothing on Superman; like I said before…Superman is the ultimate superhero.

JOEY: Oh yeah…well…Superman is just…well…

[The boy looks at both of his friends, searching for something to say, but is drawing a blank. The teacher in turn starts to hum the theme from Superman].

TEACHER: [Turning to one of his students, Joey’s friend] Cody, what song was I just humming?

CODY: It was the theme from Superman.

[The teacher nods appreciatively who then turns to Joey].

TEACHER: Joey, how does the theme song to X-Men go?

[The boy shrugs].

TEACHER: How about the theme song for The Hulk?


TEACHER: How about the theme song for Batman?

JOEY: [Exasperated] Okay, I don’t know how any of them go.

TEACHER: Hmmmm…that’s odd, I’d have thought that if they were so powerful and great, at least you’d know how their theme songs went; a powerful superhero would have a powerful song, too; a song that people would remember.

[The teacher pauses for a moment in deep thought, and then turns to Joey’s two friends].

TEACHER: Cody, Eric? Do you guys know the Spongebob Squarepants Theme?

BOYS: [The boys’ faces brighten as they both belt out in unison:] Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? SPONGE-BOB SQUARE PANTS!

TEACHER: Hmmm, it would seem that Spongebob Squarepants is much more powerful than ALL of your superheroes combined, Joey.

[The bus pulls into the park at Provo Canyon, and the teacher begins to orchestrate the process of moving the students off the bus].

SCENE 2, EXTERIOR. MORNING, CANYON GLEN PARK. The fifth graders are finding shaded places on the grass so as eat their lunch before the festival. As Joey passes by his teacher, his face brightens.

JOEY: Mr. Z, Superman’s weakness is Kryptonite.

[There is a brief moment of silence].

TEACHER: That’s true, Kryptonite is his weakness.

JOEY: So, what’s your weakness, Mr. Z?


TEACHER: Fifth graders.

[Joey takes a step closer to the teacher].

JOEY: I thought so.

[The teacher feigns being weakened as the boy moves a bit nearer still].

TEACHER: I’m feeling exhausted already.

JOEY: And that’s why Wolverine is a more powerful superhero, Mr. Z! He doesn’t have a weakness!

[The boy stands for a second longer before flashing a grin and then heads off to join his friends for lunch. As he walks away he glances back and smiles. he turns and walks faster, beginning to hum the Superman theme song as he goes].

TEACHER: [Spoken quietly] I guess you’re right, Joey…I guess you’re right.

Fade to black.

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