1. The Greatest / Cat Power
2. Jeanne, If You're Ever in Portland / Casiotone for the Painfully Alone
3. Another One Goes By / the Walkmen

Saturday night 1.15
Billion raindrops race down windshield. Johannes grunt-slumbers in carseat behind, cheerful smileyhead and indispensable fourth leg in our funny family table.

We spend a lot of time driving, riding, getting from place to place. Also spend a lot of time at traffic lights, in grocery checkout lines, and waiting for a million miscellaneous things or people or events to materialise.

Johannes and I are waiting for Becca and Mags. They are in a Missoula Children's Theater interpretation of "Arthur's Quest." We were all going to go, but upon arriving decided that Big Johanni's muscly almost-seven months old wasn't quite big enough for an hour-long performance with a full audience. So Magdelana and Becca bought a twenty-five cent cookie and grabbed seats.

4. Color of the Love You Have / the Sound Team
JXIL and I walked around Washougal High, then stomped back to our automobile, stuck in a 2006 mix of Yo La Tengo, Cat Power & friends, and took a Saturday evening drive through the hills and faux-fjords of Mt. Norway. Rain thundered, we hummed and slobbered, and conversed a bit about Neil Young. Then JX nodded off.

5. Families / Neil Young
Told my lovely sister-in-law Mary recently, "don't write Neil off...just take a listen to 2006's Living With War...he still writes and rocks as hard as ever." Neil has spent a career singing about two things: love and war. Take a guess what this one's about. Seesaw guitars and his straining vocals make my arms explode with chills, particularly on Families and Lookin' for a Leader.

6. When Doves Cry / the Be Good Tanyas
7. Pink Glove / Pulp
Lights up, body goes spastic, arms and legs marionetting, eyes basketball, at sight of me, or Becca, or Magdelana.

Especially Becca.

8. How to Nurse a Bruised Ego / Vive Voce


One of the best things Becca and I ever did for our relationship early on was nothing intentional or deliberate: we just spent a lot of time traveling together. Mostly via automobile, but there was also a memorable 35-hour Greyhound adventure.

Our early motor car travel was spent listening to billions of hours of music. She introduced me to Ben Harper, Nick Cave, and the Monkees; I showed her Joseph Arthur, Lucinda Williams, and the Kinks. We invented mobile Twister variations and made fun of fast drivers and ate Taco Time veggie burritos and made excuses to make extra coffee stops and laughed a lot, and wondered what kind of parents we might be someday. We talked a lot. Little, stupid, ridiculous, and unimportant stuff.

9. Helicopters / the Crayon Fields.

It is millions of conversations about little, stupid, ridiculous stuff that helps pave the way for the occasional deep, meaning-of-life talks. But you can't just go straight to them. You gotta build a foundation of countless little ones.


We filled the in-betweens with fun. We packed those travel hours with joy.

I like all the little things in life, the mundane waystops between destinations. The waiting. The in-between. The wasted space. The chance to hang out with my son for an hour in a drenched parking lot, even if he slumbers while Jarvis Cocker discos through Pink Glove for the third time.

10. Black Flowers / Yo La Tengo
11. Tribute to Linn / Anna Ternheim

I want our children to grow up learning how to discover the joy in waiting; in filling those cracks with excitement.

Johannes is up. Time to dance.

2002 Becca, on our honeymoon

Magdelana returned from the performance regaling me with tales of dragons, damsels, and giants. She wants to be in a play. So we are going to write one together.


  1. Amazing! This touches my soul. I smile and thank God for your love for family--and theirs for you. I love you! (Hey, just noticed Jeremy was logged in to my google account! Not that he wouldn't share the sentiments, but I am, after all, your Mom!)

  2. Wow. You never cease to amaze and teach me. I hope that I learn to appreciate the little things, the mundane, the unimportant, the waiting and the in-between the way you do. Life would be so much. . . better! I was just thinking about posting about school and its horrid effect on my sleep and life in general, but your post reminded me that focusing on the good is always more interesting and soothing. Power of positive thinking!


Love to hear from you. Thanks for your comments!