3.18.2019

95% + 5 THINGS.

Said by a proud twelve-year old in a school hallway:

"My mom says that ninety-five percent of the time I'm really good at not complaining about stuff."

Not bad. I'm going to make a list of things I'm ninety-five percent good at. Stay tuned.

___

OTHER THINGS I DID THAT WERE IMPRESSIVE.

1. Changed an anonymous toddler's diaper in a public restroom in under 25 minutes; a task that would have taken a mere mortal at least 26 minutes to do. Seem like a lengthy amount of time? Read below please.

2. Exited the premises of this restroom inside a coffee shop having left the bathroom with the overloaded contents of an uncontained diaper in their garbage can (sorry!) and a bathroom roughly the aromatic equivalent of Chernobyl. Should management have chosen to call law enforcement on us to ensure we never again defiled their business bathroom, I would have completely understood. I used half a container of wipes to clean this anonymous toddler from the digestive contents of his rice-and-curry lunch that somehow made their way to every part of his body from neck down while he slept.

3. Went on not one, but two mini-field trips to monitor water quality at local streams.

4. Cleaned not one, but two absolutely filthy and wretched-smelling goat pens (see: #1, #2).

5. Beat not one, not two, not three, but all four members of my family in Sesame Street Memory Game.

THAT is impressive. And unlikely to be repeated for a while.


2.09.2019

WHEN I WALK IN THE NIGHT OR DRIVE IN THE DAY.

What do we all gotta give?
What do we all have to give?
What do we have to share?




My brother Jeremy - junior to me in age only, and that by 16 years - gives the world his music and me his time.

Not just me. But he has given me plenty of it.

When you think about the small amount of time you actually have to be alive, and think past that realization to the reality that whatever amount of time you think you have is almost one hundred percent certain to be less than what you think it is...then it starts to put the idea of time into a whole different context.

A hundred thousand essays and memorial sermons have been written about the precious nature of time and to use every second and minute and all that. And they're all great. But they all start to run together, like a thousand meals you've eaten and you know a lot of them were special and delicious, but you can't necessarily differentiate many of them from one another.

They're all true. Time is like energy: it can be transferred and shared, but it can't be destroyed or created. At least not until time travel is a reality.

Jeremy spent a day of his Saturday with me. He could have made music, or watched television, or played with his adorable dog, or any number of things, but he hopped in my motorcar in the snow and ice and drove down with me to McMinnville, Oregon, where he sat through a couple hours of short films in a dark theater.

We were there for the screening of a film I did with one of our other brothers, Jonny, who was unable to be there, having chosen to be Canadian for a couple years and thus out of country, although still in North America, so therefore incontinent.

The destination is less important for this post. This is the drive. Coffee, meandering conversation, Kings of Leon...

That's one of things I love about him: the ability to share vibrant conversation...and then to shift to listening to music and just being. Simply absorbing the music and letting that be the experience.

And back to dialogue.

That's the day, that's the way that time went. And I would not trade it.

Also, we stopped beside the road and filmed him performing one of his songs. Jamey. The cold was biting, he nearly lost three fingers. Perhaps you will someday see it, should he choose.



12.16.2018

NOTHING SAYS CHRISTMAS LIKE...HARMONICAS.



There is nothing that symbolizes the holiday season like playing harmonica in the rain with siblings and cousins.

Unless you have a kazoo or tuba. Those are the only two things that could possibly be better.

12.10.2018

NOTHING SAYS CHRISTMAS LIKE...A BURRITO.



Maybe all along we should have been leaving Santa a couple enchiladas instead of another stupid plate of sugar cookies with no nutritional value.

12.08.2018

IT'S THE _____ TIME OF THE YEAR.

I've been thinking a lot about the experience of Christmas.

I've always loved it. December, the holiday season, lights, swirling people, the feeling of joy and humanity mingling amidst once-a-year melodies and buttered-up treats everywhere.


I still love it. Or I will again. But this has been a tough year. A very challenging one in multiple ways. 

I have not had the same experience this season. I've tried. And had many good moments and made some good memories. 

I've loved the people I've been with. Drank some good coffee. A lot. Eaten some sugar. Listened to Pentatonix. Tchaikovsky, and Sufjan Stevens incessantly. Every time I try to play something else - say, Cat Power, then I hear "...but Daddy, it's Christmas season, can we PLEASE just listen to Christmas music!" I acquiesce the majority of the time on that one. It's a battle where I'm the perpetual villain.

It's also been a tough season. This post isn't about the reasons that it's been tough. It's about the feeling I've had this season that's different. Right now, it's the present. But someday it will be a memory. 

Someday it will be a memory. 



I love the fragility of memory and how it lets us move on with life and leave things behind; often times things that should be left behind out of survival or necessity or in order to prioritize new focuses and opportunities. 

But some things need to be remembered, and remembered not just as concrete experiences (what, when, who, where, etc.), but as emotional passages. My heart has gone through some deep tunnels and twisty turns this year and I'm having a difficult time finding the familiar joy I've always felt this time of year. 

I don't think it's a bad thing to try and hang on to the feeling. Not to drag it out or make it more acute, but to make sure I remember. Because some things don't make sense until you experience them. And I feel like I'm having an experience; a passage of something that will pass, but that I should remember. 

I'm sad. At the happiest time of the year. 

The logical part of my brain - and I am very logical in certain ways when it comes to finding clarity - knows that there are many joyful experiences and wonderful times ahead and some of the feelings I have now will dissipate; compost away into the heap of forgotten months that shape you without consciously realizing. I have so many people I care about, so many good things going on, so much to practice gratitude for. I am grateful for these things. Most of all the people; the many people I am surrounded with who bring support and joy in so many ways. 


This is a hard month this time around. Maybe there will be other Decembers like this in my future; I'm guessing the classic ones I'm used to will likely outweigh these. 

But I don't want to forget how tough this has been. I think I need to remember. 

Because I want to understand better, going forward, the people who experience this every year. Every December, every holiday season. The sadness.


The sadness and even loneliness amidst being surrounded by joy and love. Even when you're in the middle of that and it's directed at you. You can still have those feelings; if I deal with some of these things with the support system I have, then I don't know how so many people deal when they're truly alone and have everything crumbling around.

I don't know, and I want to keep a little piece of that feeling with me; a slice of this month's experience to keep handy and accessible for the coming years when I'm feeling jollygood and it's almost impossible to understand how anyone could not be feeling the holiday spirit. 

So yeah, I wanna remember. Ideally the right amount. It's hard hanging on to hope sometimes, or trying to find it or resurrect it, but it's still important to keep alive, and maybe, maybe 

I will be there in a future December to be there for someone who understands. Even if it's just a little bit. Who understands how hard joy and jolly can be sometimes. 

In a left turn here, I subscribe to the dual and perhaps dueling ideas that 1) you can and should own up to your feelings and emotions honestly and 2) you can also push yourself to own up to them, and then to continue moving on and sometimes, sometimes, sometimes, even (platitude coming up)...

...fake it til you make it. There is something to that. 

The idea of trying to bring your best, of trying to model for others, especially children, of how you can respond in the face of adversity or things not going your way, and creating joy and joyful experiences, EVEN WHEN YOU DON'T FEEL LIKE IT, and realizing at some point, sometimes, you get sucked into it and it turns real. 

Lot of good moments this season. Lot to remember.

Joyeux Noel, all. Love you. Especially my wife, the delectable and patient Countess Becca who brings joy to so many surrounding her. 

Including me.