12 Feb 05

We baby-sat a real live bear this weekend (see pictures below). She guarded our dog’s food bowls and growled at us when we approached. Strange beast.

We have a busy few weeks ahead. Next week Wednesday we close on our new property and Mary flies out the next day to see a friend of hers in St. Louis. I think I’m flying out to Vegas the first week in March, but I haven’t nailed anything down officially yet. My flight voucher expires March 9, so I need to jump on that as soon as possible. Really I should be doing that right now even as I type this, but I’m trying to find someone to go with me first. Initially my thought was a return trip to Joshua Tree (I can’t believe it’s been two years already!), but now I’m definitely leaning toward one of those caynon/desert environments in southern Utah. Zion or Bryce, maybe Grand Canyon. Maybe I’ll just pick one when I get there based on the weather report.

I’ve been meaning to start working on some of the static pages (about, contact, etc) on this site, so I’m writing this now to make myself do it. Maybe that’s something I can do to kill a few hours when I’m working third shift one of these days.

8 Feb 05

Song five on Zwan’s Mary Star of the Sea album. This is one of my top five happy songs. The lyrics are depressing I suppose as any good Billy Corgan song is, but it still never fails to put me in that mellow-life-is-good mood. Like riding in the car on the way to the beach on an eighty-degree sunny July day. Windows down, elbow out the window. Light and easy conversation, nothing forced, nothing unnecessary. Laughter. Head poked out of the window every few minutes to catch wind and sun. I have to remind myself how good this album is every six months or so.

5 Feb 05

I am now putting the finishing touches on my conversion to an all-digital audio lifestyle. A couple months ago I sold half of my cd collection, leaving behind just what I thought were the essentials of my collection. The stuff I really enjoyed or that had some sentimental value. This morning I snuffed out the sentimentality and sold everything else. I am now down to The Photo Album (Trammell mangled the case when he was a puppy) and Achtung Baby (this was rejected by Second Spin due to a scuff mark). It feels good. I like seeing the empty cd tower to my left. Entropy is being reduced. If my house burned down tomorrow, I would have a couple hundred fewer things to report to the insurance investigator. The DVDs will be next, although that will certainly involve some Mary persuasion. In the mean time, one of these days I’m going to have to get around to actually learning how to use my ipod.

What does this fire sale really have to do with anything? Well, probably nothing, but I’m going to play philosophical and make the leap anyway. I’ll start by saying that I rarely watch movies. Rarely meaning that, outside of work, the last movie I saw in a theatre was Elf over a year ago. Lately though, thanks to the marvels of bittorrent, I’ve been perusing a few more. As I think back to the movies I’ve watched over the past weeks, from great (Million Dollar Baby) to ridiculous (Without a Paddle), it strikes me that for the most part they’ve all had the same message.

You’re life will be defined by how you spend your time. If you’ve lived with heart/love/dreams, no matter what happens, your life was well-lived.

Mary teased me on the day we were due to sign for our new property when, after watching Without a Paddle, I nearly had a breakdown. What if instead of spending that money on dirt and trees we used it to travel the world? Why buy an acre when you can see continents? I got over that dilemma and have no regrets about our purchase, but I think the question was appropriate despite the absurd link to Dax, Seth Green, and that guy who played Shaggy in Scooby Doo. Why should I have $600 worth of cds sitting on my shelf when I could use that money to finally buy that kayak I want or to zip out Joshua Tree again? Or to do anything. When I’m eighty I’m sure I won’t remember what GameCube games I played this year, but without a doubt I’ll remember the week spent backpacking in Arizona.

If I were paralyzed from the neck down today would I look back and know that I did what I was supposed to with my life? Have I lived passionately for my dreams? To use a football cliche, did I leave everything on the field? Maybe. Definitely not all the time. But there have been significant periods where I felt at peace with how things were going. I don’t think I’ve found the X on the treasure map yet, but at least I’m getting closer to locating the map.

1 Feb 05

I have been binging on smoothies and Mario Kart the past couple of days. I may finally be reaching my breaking point with both. I am officially Kart obsessive. I think about it constantly. I can feel the turns in my thumbs. And when I go to sleep at night I see shells and banana peels flashing across my closed eyelids. Right now Baby Bowser’s victory cry keeps ringing through my head. Maybe a week in Atlanta next week away from the temptation will do me some good.

Our poor little Taylor went under the knife this morning. No babies for her. I already miss her energy around the house after only one day away. I think Trammell does too. He slept until noon today and has been pretty subdued all evening. It should be fun to see them reunited tomorrow morning. I really have no idea how we’re going to keep her calm the next few days while her stitches heal.

Yesterday after my morning team meeting I drove out to our new property and wandered around for probably about forty-five minutes. Just trying to kind of get a better feel for the land. I checked out all the deer tracks and poked around the neighboring properties a little. I discovered St. Andrews Catholic Church behind the woods to the south and also got a better look at Lamberton Creek running to the east of us. The creek seems to be surrounded by a decent-sized marsh between our property and Fuller Ave. When I strayed from the berms in this area I crunched through the ice a of couple times, soaking my boots in dark muddy water. I’m curious to see what everything looks like after the snow thaws. I imagine the area will be fairly teeming with wildlife. Our yard already seems to be a significant deer corridor as the back half is criss-crossed with deer paths and the crushed snow today showed a half-dozen deer beds. Mary came out later with the dogs and they went crazy sniffing around everything. The neighbor’s dogs howled up a storm while we were there until the neighbor lady came out and introduced herself. She seemed decent enough, certainly more pleasant than her husband was a week ago. She was kind of edgy though and I’m sure she’s annoyed to be losing her view, but I would be too in her shoes. All in all the outing just nudged up the home-building-desire level and if we can somehow build this summer I think we’ll give it a shot. I’m sure it’s not the smartest financial choice to rush into something like this, but I think it will be worth it in the long run.

Sat 29 Jan 05

One of those rare sunny winter days around here. I took the dogs over to Indian Trails Golf Course this afternoon and just kind of ambled around, basking in the snow reflections. Taylor’s been a little hobbled the past couple of days, so I think the pace suited her just fine. Trammell seemed annoyed when no one would chase him, but handled this well by destroying every twig or piece of trash he could find. In the course of my wandering (as my stomach digested the half-pound of fries from lunch) I came to the conclusion that I need a diet. Not the lose-weight kind, because that’s not at all an issue, the healthy kind. The kind where you eat more than one fruit/vegetable per week and don’t consume entire bags of chips at a time. I’ve stated this before with conviction, (such as thirty days ago) but have yet to really do something. I just don’t feel the pep that I had just a few years ago in college and I am hereby blaming that at least partially on my poor food discipline. Then again, in college I was also consistently running, lifting weights, and playing a variety of recreational sports. Sigh.

The dog just threw up on the bed and is licking the mess.

Anyway, after mulling this problem over I’ve come to one clear conclusion. Smoothies. Somehow, some way, I’m going to incorporate smoothies into my daily routine. They will be the cornerstone upon which healthy Josh is built. Everything else will fall into place once the smoothie production line is up and running. I’ll start running again. Cross train with basketball and maybe soccer. Lift three times per week. Do my daily pushups and pullups. Hit the rock climbing gym at least once a week. Meet my daily requirements of vitamins and minerals. Sleep normal human hours. It will be grand. Smoothies I salute you! So this evening I stopped by Meijer and bought bananas, kiwis, apples, and strawberries to go with the yogurt and orange juice we already have. It was delicious and all on sale. Yup, things are coming together now.