Our garage is a temple to things. The bikes and boxes of memories. Spiders and cobwebs, it’s all in there. Within a month it will be cleared of clutter and ready for some new projects. I’m on a mission. Today my wife and I cleared out all sorts of junk. Some items will head to the thrift store and some will be recycled. The rest is going away.
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I made Mapo Tofu in my large donabe this evening. It came out well. Definitely adding this to the rotation.
A friend of mine from the past lost her life yesterday. Pneumonia took her away. It’s been an odd day thinking about the good times we had together. Late night missions in Ed’s Cadillac to skate spots or other shenanigans. The 80’s were our time and Carolyn lived it to the max. So long friend. I’ll never forget her.
Walking into the office today without my coffee cup, which I forgot on the roof of my car while grabbing my work bag from the backseat, I realized that happiness or the sense of happiness from that cup of hot black bean water didn’t make me remember I left it on the roof. I mean I put it on the roof and told myself that I better not forget that I left it there then walked away 3 seconds later without it. My new cup was there, without me to protect it, patiently waiting for nothing since coffee cups don’t think. I’ve driven off down the road too many times and listened with great horror as the wayward cup rolls around on the roof and then crashes to the pavement. Once I made it about a 1/4 mile from home until the slamming grand finale of the stainless steel vessel flight alerted me to the anguish of my coffee failure. Glancing in the mirror I saw it pour out swiftly as the cup tumbled end over end. Quickly pulling over I retrieved my trusted and abused friend and carried on. I’m not sure what it is about coffee cups that causes me to instantly forget that I left them on the roof of my car. I don’t leave my lunch or wallet up there. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t consume enough coffee on the drive or maybe I just don’t care. I sure hope it’s the former because I really like this new cup that was a gift from my mother. Enjoy your coffee tomorrow and don’t put it on the roof of anything that moves. Believe me.
What stops people from achieving goals they set for themselves? I have learned that this is the very person that stares back at you when you’re looking in a mirror. Yes, it’s you. I write this knowing now that successes and failures in my life have been ultimately caused by my actions but I didn’t realize for many years that the failures and missed opportunities are my doing. It took me decades to figure out this bit of knowledge thanks to listening to the Rich Roll podcast when he interviewed David Goggins. I’ll make it easy for you. Click here to get the episode. If it doesn’t open your mind and get you fired up something is wrong. Ultimately we’re responsible for our own life. It’s very simple. As of today I am determined that nothing will stop me from my goals. I’m getting out of the way of myself so I can get things done that matter to me.
In all my years of dealing with people in my personal life and in business I’ve come across genuinely good people and some real tools. One glaring difference is the tools don’t seem to know that they’re over the top jerkoffs with nothing to say except words that demean and dehumanize. Good people take the time to listen, take a moment to think before responding, and generally have an outlook on life that resonates with values that align with not being a dick. It’s really pretty simple to treat people with respect, but when that respect isn’t paid back things quickly turn sour. So, don’t be a dick.
As another year ticks over and the calendar is flipped to a new year many people are hopeful and fired up to get resolutions going. I’ve always been a naysayer to the idea of resolutions since the calendar shouldn’t dictate how we live our lives, rather we should live according to the seasons. That’s just my $0.02. So for 2018 I’m going to go ahead and set a resolution and make it real. The resolution to update my blog with a new post at least once a day. That’s it. Seem’s easy enough. We’ll see how this goes!
Last night we enjoyed good food and hilarious conversations with friends. Waking up without a hangover was a pleasure but getting to bed at 1:30am pushed us to lounge in bed way to long. I don’t think I need to recap NY Eve shenanigans of years past that caused all-time spin inducing hangovers to any of you since you’ve probably only tallied up a few legendary year ending self-imposed illnesses.
A nice leisurely hike with my wife at lunch time today was very nice. Clear skies and 64F weather made it pleasurable and relaxing. I felt a little verklempt thinking of my friends and colleagues freezing in the snow so I took off my shirt for the warm hike back to the car. Here’s to 2018, resolutions and all.
I was driving home from work today minding my own business when I was rear-ended by an inattentive driver while exiting the 118 eastbound at Laurel Canyon. Now, before you get your concern switch flipped to the rage setting, it wasn’t like the airbags popped out or I got whiplash from the impact. It was a little bump, but it still needed to be reviewed on the side of the road. I immediately pulled over and watched as the driver of the pickup truck slowed down as he drove by me, then sped off!!! Say what? Yep, he was a runner! I hopped back into traffic and followed him through two intersections. When it was clear I pulled up next to him and motioned to pull over. He quickly pulled onto a side street and got out of his truck. He walked back to me while I was looking at the rear bumper of my car. There was no visible damage. Not even a scratch. I started asking him why he took off and you can’t just hit people and leave the scene and so on. After a few seconds he looks at me and says hablas espanol? I said sorry buddy, not good enough to get through this. So I just kept on talking about hit and run and leaving the scene of an accident. Finally he says he’s been awake since 3:00 in the morning in sketchy english. Ok, I understand now. He was wearing a work uniform, probably from a gardening company since it was all green with the little oval name tag patch. I stared at his wrinkled mug thinking to myself this guy is probably as old as me and just got done busting his ass all day, I can claim this with my insurance and go through the whole process of getting my car checked out for the lightest bumper tap I’ve ever had, or just let it go. I chose the latter and we shook hands and went out separate ways.
The moral of the story is not every little inconvenience to you needs to result in a lawsuit, someone getting a fat lip, or pulling out a gun and having a duel. Just let that shit go!
The impermanence of life has been thrust into my household with the recent passing of my dearly loved mother in law. She always had a smile on her face and a great story to tell. We drank coffee together in the mornings when she was visiting or when we went to visit at her house. My wife and I have talked about what this all means and how people’s reactions to the news differs. Some people offer condolences and some remain quiet. I know this quietness and it’s difficult to assess why some people remain quiet but I suspect it’s they simply do not want to bring up a subject that is painful and still very raw for the family members. I understand completely, however, it’s always best to mention the recently deceased when you first greet someone. The tension eases and the emotional contraction reverses into a expansion of relief for both parties.
We’ll miss hanging out with Grandma Joanne and hearing about her life and growing up in the northwest. The recent moments we had with her were very special and will stick with me forever. Her health had been steadily declining in the last month and she was physically losing her battle with cancer but her mind was still sharp and she knew exactly what was happening to her. There was no denial or misconstruing the fact that she didn’t have long to live. She was in a tremendous amount of pain and the morphine wasn’t working as well as she liked and this led me to personally know in my mind that she didn’t have many days left. During our last visit on June 24, 2017 at the hospital where she had been admitted a few days prior we all gave her big hugs and said goodbye. The intense pain of seeing a loved one for the last time never changes. It’s sharp and ruthless, grabbing you by the throat and taking your breath away. This person is still very much alive but it’s all going to end sooner than anyone imagined and there is nothing that can be done to stop the inevitable conclusion.
She loved her family most of all and was always there for us. Her generosity and never ending smile brought a sense of ease to me. A few days ago I commented that she was a true matriarch and that still stands. The unique situation of her household put her in charge and she ran the house according to her rules. One thing that stands out as I write this is her ability to accommodate everyone. Last summer she bought all of the dry ingredients I needed to make seitan. That was so thoughtful and really made my day.
Below is a photo from June 15, 2015 taken by my father in law Bill. This is how I’ll remember her in my heart, forever.
Living in the high desert of Southern California has pluses and minuses. If you like warm weather, often roasting into the high 90F’s for days on end, you’ll love it here. Another positive are the warm days that turn into mild evenings. The high elevation keeps these nights refreshingly pleasant unlike places like Las Vegas or Phoenix that burn like Hades 24 hours in a row. This spring has been nice, not too hot, and not too cold. However, my nemesis, the wind, has picked up steam and blown hard for too long. It’s really wearing me out. I like riding my bike(s) but there are some days when the wind is blowing 15 to 17 mph steady with gusts to 25 mph. You’re constantly fighting the wind instead of enjoying the ride. Once the sun goes down the wind usually subsides and you can get in a few miles in the dark with a good headlight system. If there is a full moon you can actually get in good miles with no worries. Right now it’s blowing 23 mph from the southwest. I’m not riding this afternoon!