Friday, March 27, 2009

Once upon a time

Life for me happens in events, moments...chapters. At least that's how I categorize it. As my children grow we tell stories. Stories of growing up, stories of dreams...stories we make up. Life is a story. Life is so many stories that blend together, ever changing, always becoming new. And stories change with our memory, or new information - or simply convenience. The government changes it's story all the time so it must be OK!
A friend gave me sound advice. He said, "stick to the high ground." No, wait - that was Sun Tzu. My friend said, "Stick to what you do best Button - A photo and some words. You're writing your life for your kids to read someday." He's right. I find it interesting, I look at the statistics of the hits to my blog. It's interesting to me, but not necessarily important. I like to see a new state or a new country represented. I like to see the same city frequently. But in truth I know that I really write for me...and for them. With this blog I no longer have to wonder where I left my notebook, or that scrap of paper. It's here. And it's here wherever I am if I can find an access point. How cool is that.
Though I like the convenience of this keyboard, I still love the feel of real ink or lead on real paper. I like stories that start with, "Once upon a time..." I guess I really should think of how to create a backup though. Shane?

Geocaching in a nutshell

Though I'd like to, I can't imagine what I could say that would improve this...
Spyfox5 out!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Geocaching...It's what I do

Geocaching is a new thing for us. You take a handheld GPS device, look at a website for clues and coordinates, and then trek into the woods looking for a hidden treasure. I love the tagline on the page, "The sport where YOU are the search engine." We're doing it as a family and we call ourselves the Spyfox5. This day, Sunday March 8th we went out in the afternoon caching. The coordinates led us deep into a cemetary the snow had recently melted out this. It left me speechless, and the geo-treasure dimmed in comparison.

The flags were all tipped, we straightened as many as we had time for and then moved on...moved by beauty and reverence and patriotism. Tonight we met Captain Jon and First Mate - but that's a story for tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

5 girls and a grandfather, or Charlies Frogpond

I've wrestled with the title to this one for a while. Today I just decided to write it. Maybe I'll write another based on the same day, but a different theme. So many things can happen in such a short amount of time...memorable things.

I have three girls. My friend has two. Close in age...all five adorable. The get along - five girls who all get along; how amazing is that?! Breakfast is our thing, and we invite guests anytime we can recruit them. I managed to twist my friends arm to bring his Dad, the girls were a bonus! I wrestled with the place for a long time - it had to be right. Charlies Frog Pond in Rochester was perfect. We met on the street and headed in, my friend immediately took control of the place. Getting and arranging the table like a military operation. With all my good Army training, I'd never seen anything like least not at breakfast. We all sat, the men on the outside, the five girls like sardines by the window. The sang and talked and acted silly. We were much more refined, doing "Top Gun" stories and carrying on. We looked at the girls suspiciously - they looked as us and whispered. It's good to have a healthy distrust of the opposite sex...especially when they're under 12 (or over 40)!

The grandfather was strategically place between us, and the girls. That way he could divide his attention as grandparents seem so able to do. And then it happened. The old stories. The old memories. A story my friend heard for the first time. One of those moments you put in the memory jar to keep forever. I learned about hope and perseverance and forgiveness. About prejudice and overcoming. I learned about love, and a little about magic. The girls are special...really special. But sometimes, just sometimes, it's the grandfather.
(Photo withheld to protect the innocent)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Buildings speak to us - A comment on Louis I. Kahn

I just watched My Architect. Dull, but interesting movie (is that an oxymoron?). I'm fascinated by the notion that buildings speak to us. I find myself so often intrigued by the architcture of a city. The details, the shapes, the way the structure meets the skyline. Buildings do speak, and it's up to us to listen. They speak with their words - sometimes we need to understand the language...massing, form, use of light. But what is most moving is what buildings say with their soul. I realize this is a bit reaching, but buildings (in a non-spiritual sense) do have souls, don't they? Can't we feel them, or at least their presence? Or maybe it's more. Can't we feel the soul of the man or woman who created the building, the icon, the statement?

Louis I. Kahn was charismatic. Talented. Passionate. I should like one day to experience one of his buildings. I find them brutal and ugly and bulky. Not attractive. Dated. But I suspect that like the man himself, they have a nuance and a depth and intricacy that must be felt, not just seen. To experience a building you have to come with your heart - not just your eyes. But is L. I. Kahn and Icon? (Can't resist the play on words). I deeply suspect not. Kahn was a liar. An unfaithful man. A man who placed no value on family or committment. And a man of deep desire, but no committment. He had three families. Three women who idolized him - but none of whom he was committed to. He didn't comprehend night and day. Family. The stuff that matters. But he was provocative. He illicits deep emotion. I think I would have liked him, but I also believe I wouldn't have respected him. From a distance he would have bothered me - Close up I would be intrigued...even fascinated. But I also believe that the upon leaving his company - like I immagine leaving his building will be - I would find myself disturbed by his lack of fullness and committment.

Tomorrow I'm going to take my family to an intriguing building. I'm going to teach them to listen, and then I'm going to listen to what they hear. I'm going to chose the place carefully. Buildings do speak to us - but maybe not all of them are worth listening to?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Is this sacreligeous...or...the Church Brew Works

It's a simple question, that's gotten such wide answers...often either passionate or passive. The place is called the Church Brew Works in Pittsburgh, PA. So, whadda ya think?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A friend of a Rock Star's dad

I'm laboring over a title for this one. It has to do with growing up. With getting older, but not getting old. And it poses the question, what was it like to be a friend of Mr. Morrison, Mr. Hendrix or even Mr. Jager (that is, Jim's dad, Jimmy's dad or Mick's dad). At work during lunch, we often all sit at a table reserved for the "other group." For years I've eyed suspiciously the group of old guys who sit near us. Today I relized that we're those guys. We've been doing this lunch thing for a long time now. But let me skip to Rock Stars. The topic lately has been Milo. Milo's the cool guy in the red and white stripes. Though Milo is one of the original members of RaRaRiot, I usually just think of him as "Tom's son." It's cool to have a friend who's the father of a Rock Star. It's great to watch Tom's excitement as he talks about the next city, the travel van, the free sneakers and the latest copy of Rolling Stone, or when he shares the next video or song before it's released...shhhhhh.... As I write these words I can't help think that Mick's dad had friends just like us. Friends who sat at lunch or coffee and talked politics and current events and listened to him brag on his son. I love it! But even if RaRaRiot becomes the next Rolling Stones, I suspect I'll always think of Milo as "Tom's son."

Bloom County AKA Guy Humor

Bloom County, at least in my opinion, is one of the greatest comix in the world. I miss Opus. I miss Bill the Cat...Ack!

I don't have any idea why this is funny - but it is. It's really funny. Not roll on the floor laughing funny, but better. It's a deep slow whole face smile that comes from somewhere inside. The fact that women don't get it just makes it that much better!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

God's economy

A friend had this posted on her site and I thought it was very worthwhile to post on mine:We are living, as everyone knows, in an extraordinary time of economic fear. Warren Buffet says our economy is in shambles, and is not expected to recover for at least another year, if then. His Berkshire Hathaway stock has declined 44% since 12/07. Millions have lost jobs, homes, value in homes, investments of all kinds, and retirement funds, not to mention losses due to disasters, family crises, and personal health.History records a rich man who suddenly lost everything: his son's house, all his children, all his transportation, his entire business, employees, and investments, and then he painfully lost his personal health. At that point, his wife was so discouraged and bitter, she suggested he curse God and die.Thankfully, the man had not also lost his mind. If he took her advice, then what? To whom else could he possibly go for help, if not to God? He wisely replied, "Though He kill me, I will hope in Him."Only God knows the future, and what we will have to go through. Only He can rescue us from this worldwide financial catastrophe. It is prudent for us to not curse His Name and die, because He is certainly the only One who can save us."If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."