Nonsense

As I sit down to write this, I can only think of a line that my father used to say:

“Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do before you do what you wanna do. ”

I believe that my father used to say this…either him or someone else in my family.  And the saying was something similar to that. My memory is often mediocre, at best, but for the sake of telling a good story or writing a trashy blog post, I suppose I often just “wing it” when it comes to pulling somewhat irrelevant facts such as this out of the storage of the gray matter.  Over time, these half-truths become my own reality.  This is something that we all do, I believe – it’s just that I’m bold (read: stupid) enough to waste my time writing about it.

Tonight, I really lacked motivation when it came to writing.  I’m tired.  However, this blog is something that I’m trying “do” and in order to “do” certain things and achieve certain goals, sometimes “you gotta do what you gotta do before you do what you wanna do.”  What I wanna do is lose myself in one of the books that I am reading before drifting off to sleep.  In addition to running about 4 miles tonight in my Bedrock Sandals, I just got back from a 4 day/3 night backpacking trip throughout Redwood National and State Parks

Do you hear that?

That is the worlds smallest violin playing a sad tune for me as I whine about being tired.  The reality is that I just spent a long Memorial Day weekend backpacking in one of the most beautiful places in the entire world.   I traveled there with a good friend and spent the final day of the trip hiking with a nice guy that we met the night before and then gave a ride to.  It was wonderful.  Finally, upon returning home at ~8am, after a 14 hour road trip, I spent the day with a girl I’m falling in love with.

It’s as simple as that.  Life is really good right now, but I’m tired and don’t want to write.

So, I’m tired.  After unexpectedly being offered a project coordinator position in Texas while dropping by the office, I talked to Mandi again today.  It’s crazy, we’ve been talking for a couple months now and have spent time together on “dates” on several occasions.  I believe I’m falling in love with her.  This is worth pointing out because it’s occupying a large part of my mind and thought processes over the past month or so and may provide some insight into my scattered thoughts here within my words.  However, this doesn’t change the fact that I’m tired.

While out running tonight, I was all stoked to write and had prepared to sit down and craft some mind-blowing piece about how barefoot running was symbolic to my approach to life…but now that I’m front of the keyboard I’m lacking the motivation that I thought I had.  It’s been over a week since I last wrote and believe that if I want this blog/website idea to be successful, I’m going to have to put in the work in order to make that happen.

At any rate, my pomodoro timer just went off and I’m actually a little grateful…more to come later when I’m less tired and more motivated.  Perhaps I’ll expand upon where I’m at in each of my “life projects” next time I sit down to spew this trash.

Stay tuned.

In response to words written…

“Be still my beating heart!” 

Those words immediately come to mind as I write a “response” to some writing that I just read.

“Be still my beating heart” is a phrase that my mother used to use growing up to express her surprise (usually to us kids doing something unexpected, like cleaning up without being pestered to).  “Be still my beating heart” has a warm and loving connotation to it for me.  My mother always used that figure of speech when she was pleasantly surprised.

As I spent a few hours this evening preparing for a backpacking trip coming up later this week in Redwood National Forest, I found myself entranced in the moment in a world of webbing and broken sternum straps.  This was quite the change from the bulk of my day today, which was spent reflecting on time spent with a woman I recently met.  This is the first I have written about this woman.

Until tonight, my time spent in reflection about her has been simply “processing” in my head.  Lately, for the past year or so …my “usual” reflecting has taken place in the form of writing.  For the past 9 months or so, much of the content being posted in this blog.  I firmly believe that everything I write is trash.  Most of it is publicized for the world at large to read and much of it is written in vague ambiguity to “protect the innocent” (a quote stolen from the woman inspiring these very words).

While most of my reflection over the past year or so has taken place in the form of writing / journaling / blogging.  I have deliberately not  written about the experience I am writing about right now.  Why the drastic change, you ask?  Strap in and venture down the rabbit hole with me.  Let’s explore how far down it goes.  I have deliberately not written about Mandi because she is special.  She is different.  Mandi is not someone I was just going to write about.  From the very first conversation on the phone with her, I sensed an immediate connection.  It was unlike anything I had ever experienced.

This phone call was approximately sometime back in March, I believe.  My dates are going to be like the memories of most events in my life, slightly hazy with a chance of forgetfulness.  I don’t think my memory is bad, because there are specific memories that have become crystallized in my mind for life.  Other information just seems to pass through.  More than likely, it is just whatever “filtering” mechanism in my brain that makes me operate the way that I do.  Many would attribute my memory to various lifestyle habits, but I digress.

After rambling about the uncertainty of the date, I decided to cross-reference myself.  I remember our first date significantly. I was nervous as hell because the messages we exchanged were unlike any other.  She was different and I had to talk to her.  She was traveling on a Friday night and I asked her out on a “phone date.”  This night, I made sure to pick up a fresh growler from Stumblefoot.  If I couldn’t stumble through a nervous date at a bar, I decided I should socially lubricate myself with some fresh beer from the local brewery.  I hadn’t been there in months and I recall they were preparing for their one year anniversary party the following day and doing some quick homework, I realized that our first “date” was on March 29.

We initially met through an online dating site (one of many topics that is on my list of topics “to-write” about).  After a few exhilarating messages, I asked her out on a phone date.  At that point, I had been on several unfulfilling dates and I decided to write a brutally honest profile to see what would happen.   I had written this crazy profile, exposing my true, inner-self and figured “what the hell” – what have I got to lose?  After months of having this kook profile written my a lunatic, libertarian, self-reliant, sustainable, survivalist wannabe – I had zero substantial correspondence with anyone remotely interesting.

Previously, the few dates I had been on were strange and awkward.  It was nice to get out and see a new place that I wouldn’t typically go, but these dates were weird and slightly awkward.    Since the ending of a serious relationship and some other pretty significant life transitions over the past few years, I felt the urge to take part in the seemingly ritualistic process of online dating.  This was interesting, to say the least.

Pretty much each date ended up with the same bullshit conversation about the same bullshit topics about how we ended up where we are in life in an almost rehearsed elevator-speech type of event.  This all seemed plastic, fake and worthless.  The dates were mediocre, at best.  I met a few girls and actually had some good times meeting new people and feeling somewhat human as I socialized like a good human interacting with society.

At any rate, just when I was ready to throw in the towel, I received a message from Mandi.  That’s when it all began.

Pomodoro up.

Stay tuned.

Life Project List Re-visited

10/22/12 -> 12/02/12 -> 12/15/12 -> 12/30/12 -> 05/15/13

Where does the time go?

It’s almost been 6 months since I reviewed my equivalent of a New Year’s Resolution List.

December 30, 2012 was the last time I last spent time on my “Life Project List” (seen below)

Capture

So…after 137 days (or 37% of the year) I am finally making time to revisit my list.

  1. York Meadow Farm – (12 -> 1)
    • York Meadow Farm had just been introduced to my “Life Project List” on 12/15/12.  Over the holidays spent with family and my closest friends, York Meadow Farm quickly became number one on my priority list – all the way from last place!
    • Previously, I had written, “Lots of discussion with Mom & Dad about working & growing YMF upon return to Ohio.”  Since then, the discussion has evolved and I made the decision to move and announced this to the account manager during my first “official” evaluation at work.  (More on this below)
    • Besides making the announcement regarding my desire to move back to Ohio, I have not taken any action steps towards making this this happen.  My primary goal at that point had been “Fitness” and my training for the marathon last April.
    • Since the successful completion of the marathon, I took advantage of the time I had and played “catch up” in many other areas of my life that had felt “neglected.”  This “catch up” has taken place over the past five and a half weeks, which included a week-long vacation.
    • Perhaps this lengthy blog post is the culmination of five and a half weeks of reflection and playing catch-up.  While this may be true…it is also true that this blog post is also very similar to all the others that I write.  It is all trash.
    • Bottom line, time spent in Ohio around family reaffirmed the ideas that had been floating around in my head.  Some of these ideas have been communicated here within the contents of my blog, others have not (thank goodness).  These ideas about the direction of my life involve York Meadow Farm and accordingly, I am making plans to move back there (hopefully debt free).
  1. Work / Career  (9 -> 2)
    • 6 months ago, all I could write about “Work / Career” was that “nothing eventful occuring here”
    • While this was very accurate at the time I wrote it and remains accurate to this day, there is much to write about with regard to the various reasons why it made the shift from #9 -> #2.

 

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

  1. (12 -> 1) York Meadow Farm – Lots of discussion with Mom & Dad about working & growing YMF upon return to Ohio.
  2. (9 -> 2) Work / Career – nothing eventful occuring here
  3. (5 -> 2) Financial – lots of reading Dave Ramsey’s book, The Total Money Makeover and implementation of plan
  4. (1 -> 3) Fitness – continued successful training for marathon
  5. (6 -> 4) GTD – continued work with efficient utilization of The Secret Weapon method of GTD implementation via Evernote
  6. (4 -> 6) Preparation – The Journey from Grasshopper to Ant
  7. (11 -> 7) Reading – Just completed 299 Days: The Preparation, by Glen Tate.  Now I am reading The Founding Fathers Guide to the Constitution, by Brion McClanahan.  These were the first two books purchased on the Kindle, given to me by my Mother this past Christmas.  A great tool, the Kindle.
  8. (6 -> 8) Community / Socializing – been attending church, increased desire to socialize with other humans
  9.  (10 -> 9) Vacation – previously a “life project” due to planning of Caveman 2012.  Perhaps time to discuss/plan monthly backpacking trip?
  10. (7 -> 10) Wellness – infrequent daily stretching routines in AM/PM – need to get back into routine
  11. (5 -> 11) 13 Skills Project – New addition to “life project list”
  12. (8 -> 12) Volunteer Work – declining desire to maintain involvement with Big Brother Big Sister program

 

The Joshua Tree Full Moon Experience (Part 3)

After reverting to my primal nature the night before, I slept very well.  As the sun rose, the birds chirped and I laid in my sleeping bag, feeling rested as I breathed in the cool air.  Sleeping in the outdoors, I couldn’t be more comfortable.  The air mattress that I slept on actually provides more support than the inexpensive “intro” japanese sleeping mat that I purchased when I moved here 9 months ago.  Unsure if I would be interested in sleeping on a mat, I purchased a less expensive style of sleeping mat.  I have enjoyed it and probably should upgrade due to its less than desirable quality, but I am resisting for now and putting much thought into it.

Be that as it may, my strange sleeping habits contribute to incredible comfort while camping.  I have taken to trying to live a more simple and deliberate lifestyle in a minimalist fashion as well.  This camping trip was a way for me to get out and enjoy life without making any drastic adjustments to the manner in which I live my life.  With yet ANOTHER move in the works for me from Southern California BACK to Ohio, I find myself again attempting to streamline the gypsy and nomadic lifestyle that I lead.  More on this later…

After a nice breakfast, I spent several hours at camp relaxing with coffee and several books, it was wonderful.  Just simply relaxing for several hours and immersing myself in several different books over coffee in Joshua Tree National Park filled me with gratitude.  Many times throughout this trip, I reflected on how blessed I am to be able to have these experiences and then share them with others.

I brought all of my outdoor and running gear with me, so when it got a little warmer, I went out for a nice and relaxed 4-5 mile run.  Some of the run was on the road, but I took to the trails for a few miles as well. I was prepared to go on a longer run, but I headed back to camp to refuel and go skating.  The main road in Joshua Tree is nice and windy with mellow hills and I thought it would be super amazing to skog throughout the hills.  If you’re not familiar with skogging, check out what it is here.

I cruised on the same setup as pictured above, but I was too lame to take any pictures of my deck in the park.  While my plan seemed awesome, the asphalt in the park is kind of gnarly, but skogging throughout the park was still fun.    Most of my skating was done throughout the park.  While skating around, I passed the campsite of a guy I had ran into the night before.  He had just arrived and was wondering where the registration box was.  I gave him the lay of the land and went on my way.  The following day, he was packing up camp – it appeared he was already on his way.  I stopped my cruising and began talking with him.  His name was Ryan.  He invited me to join him at the table in his campsite.  We had an instant connection.

Like me, was also a fellow gypsy wanderer nomad.  He had just spent 9 days solo in the Grand Canyon and was passing through Joshua Tree on his way to LA for “a gig.”  He apparently lives in New York and works “projects” such as television show production and other kinds of “hollywood work.”  The bottom line is that I could relate to the short-term project nature of his work and the nomadic lifestyle that he lived.  We appeared to be a similar age and we hit it off and spoke for over an hour.  A great guy and a great conversation.  As a matter of fact, the conversation struck me in a way that made me head back to camp immediately in order to “capture the moment.”

After arriving back at camp, I spent almost a half an hour with my iPhone capturing audio notes and text.  My mind was racing after talking with him.  Hours of solitude in the high desert combined with great literature and incredible conversation had my mind reeling.  After spending time trying to “capture the moment” I decided that enough was enough.  I was certain that I had captured enough material to “bring me back” to the moment and expand upon it again in the future.  What will follow in the subsequent blog posts is my interpretation of what was going through my mind on the day after the full moon after conversation with my new friend, Ryan…

Stay tuned.

The Joshua Tree Full Moon Experience (Part 2)

I arrived Wednesday to the Jumbo Rocks Campground around 3:30pm.  Even then, the campground appeared to be half full.  After half a dozen trips to Joshua Tree, I have decided that I enjoy camping at Jumbo Rocks.  All the camp sites are awesome in their own individual way.  Even the sites that wouldn’t be your “first choice” are still quite amazing because of the location within Jumbo Rocks.  After driving throughout the park for about 30 minutes, I located a GREAT campsite (and failed to take pictures of it).  It was seculded, yet open, the only downfall of it was its’ proximity to the pit toilets and the fact that it was very exposed during the heat of the day.  Most days were spent exploring, so this really wasn’t an issue.  

After settling in to camp around 4:00 I took a good couple of hours to set up camp.  I brought TONS of unnecessary shit, because when you’re camping at Jumbo Rocks, you set up camp literally 20 feet from your car.  It’s epic car camping in one of the craziest and most amazing places I have been to in my entire life.  

After setting up for a few hours, I threw together a quick meal of rice and beans and some fruit.  After a quick and satisfying meal, I chugged some water and headed out into the desert to chase the sunset.  After several hours of exploring, I found myself chasing the moon rising as I ran into and out of boulders wedged together and small natural caves.  There wasn’t a cloud in the sky.  The moon was huge and amazing.  I continued exploring and taking it in.  I even managed to sneak in a few photos before heading back to camp…here’s one of them.Image

After arriving back at camp, I warmed up some leftovers, fueled up on a Raw Meal shake and drank some more water.  I wanted to prepare myself for a few more hours of exploring under the full moon.  While the actual full moon was on Thursday, I couldn’t resist.  The temptation to explore was too great.  I decided to grab my supplies for a several hour moonlight excursion.  The journey of the physical, mental and spiritual realm would be tonight.  I reached this decision as I returned back to camp from my initial sunset / moonrise adventure.  I wanted more.

Dinner ended with a little dessert, so-to-speak and I dressed warmly.  It was going to be a chilly evening with temps in the 40s.  I layered up and put on my flannel lined Carhartt pants.  After donning my down jacket and hat. I strapped on my camelbak with a few supplies for my own little “safety meetings” and a couple snacks if I needed them.  After a few hours of deep explorations of Skull Rock Trail under the warm glow of an almost full moon, I returned back to camp completely exhausted, yet completely satisfied.  I had reconnected with my primal self and allowed my inner caveman to roam free.  

It is quite possible my spine curved more forward than indicated above.  I truly reverted.  

I’ll spare the details and leave my journeys to your imagination.  Let your inner caveman roam free.  Everything that you’ll likely imagine took place that Wednesday evening.  Things that you will never fathom took place that Wednesday evening.  In many ways, it was a life-changing experience.  Those four or five hours (who’s counting) were epic to the incredible transition that is coming to define my very existence.  

I began this writing session and accidentally forgot to set the timer.  When I checked to see how much time was left, I saw it sitting at 25 minutes.  I began the timer again and then figured I’d take a few moments to conclude these thoughts and take a quick break.  I’m going to go grab another PBR, stretch out a little bit grab a snack and then come back here for Part 3!  

Stay tuned.  

 

The Joshua Tree Full Moon Experience (Part 1)

During my vacation in Joshua Tree, I deliberately decided *not* to write.

However, after one particular experience, I decided that I needed to “capture the moment” and my ideas at the time.  This way, I could reflect upon them later in my normal manner.  I arrived back at my campsite, pulled out my handy-dandy iPhone and “captured the moment” for about 10 minutes or so with some text and audio entries within Evernote.  11 days after my return, here I am…taking time to write and chronicle my Joshua Tree Experience, likely to be written in 4 parts (pomodoros) this evening.

Before I begin expanding about the sheer aweseomeness that this Joshua Tree trip was, it is important for me to provide a little bit of back story…

While living in California, I decided that a weekend spent camping in Joshua Tree National Park under a full moon was something not to be missed.  April seemed like a good time to go, as the weather was a bit more moderate.  Nights were cool and the days were hot, but not unbearable.  I hoped that the skies stayed clear for full moon viewing and exploring the high desert.

Originally, I had scheduled this April Full Moon Camping Trip several months ago.  The full moon was Thursday, 04/25/13 and my original plan was to leave work Wednesday night and arrive around 7pm to secure my campsite for the weekend.  Thursday night was the full moon.

A few weeks before my scheduled trip, I re-joined facebook (still to be written about) and was subsequently contacted by an old friend who I hadn’t spoken with in months.  Without going into great detail, we exchanged a few messages, had a few phone calls and before I knew it, my friend was coming to visit the weekend before my Joshua Tree camping trip, arriving Friday and departing Wednesday.  I decided to take the entire week of of work and for the first time in my life, utilize my vacation time during the year – rather than stockpiling it for the holidays.  My goal is to be able to walk away from a few things at the end of the year…one of which is my job as I return to Ohio.  More on that later.

The bottom line is that the visit from my friend fell through, so I took advantage of the time off and had a mini stay-cation at the house and left a day early for Joshua Tree.  I left on Wednesday and would stay there until Saturday.  I wanted to be back by Saturday night because REI in San Diego was having one of their quarterly “garage sales” with lots of great deals on discount gear.  I needed a roof rack for my car and wanted a few other things.

Here we are, one pomodoro in on the writing, and I didn’t even get into processing my note from the weekend.  Oh well, pomodoro up.

Stay tuned.

14 days and counting…

…since I have last written.  I have a laundry list of “items to cover” and “things to do.”

Like many people, I often find myself thinking:

  • If only I had the time to do that…
  • If only I had the money to buy that…
  • If only I had the motivation to achieve that…
  • If only ad nauseum…

If only we all took time to reflect on the abundance that we have.  If  only we viewed the world through the lens of gratitude.  If only we allowed ourselves to embrace the fear that is the primary driver of the decisions that we make and the actions that we take.  If only…

This morning, I find myself in front of the computer, drinking coffee and preparing to process my “notes” in Evernote.   Evernote has become my tool of choice (in addition to Moleskine notebooks) for the capture of information and data.  It is great and I have covered this in previous blog posts so I will refrain from doing so at great lengths here.  If you’re interested in time/task management and overall efficiency of operations and nerdy stuff like this, I’d encourage you to check out The Secret Weapon.

Before diving into this, I found myself relaxing and exchanging messages with a friend of mine via facebook.  As anti-facebook as I have been and will likely remain – I am grateful for the technology.  It allows me to connect with people in ways I would not normally be able to.  For example, this message exchange with my friend took place while he was on a business trip in India.  The best part about technology is that he was able to utilize Skype to call me and talk as if we were having coffee together.

We are likely some 8,000 miles apart from one another, yet remain connected.  Even if we were not blessed with the technology that allowed us to share the experience this morning, we would still share the connection.  This is why we have remained friends over the past seven or eight years.  This “connection” is why I have retained the friendships that I have…the lack of “connection” is the reason why I have not maintained other relationships.  It is important to recognize this.  This process of editing relationships is explained much better by Jon Acuff in the little movie trailer from his new book, “Start.”  Check it out here.

This “connection” is key.

This “connection” is unique.

How do YOU define the connection?

Does this even matter to you?

We go thorough life seeking “connections” in our lives.  We want to find the “connection” in our relationships.  We seek to find the “connection” in our careers.  All too frequently, we fail to realize that we make no “connection” unless we build the bridge and form the “connection” with ourselves first.  Before this turns into another philosophical existential rant, I will conclude my writings and save you the mental energy from trying to digest the trash that I churn out from behind the keyboard.

My pomodoro timer has just buzzed.  I hope that another 14 days will not pass before I sit to write again.  I have a laundry list of things I want to cover ranging from my return to facebook, the marathon I just ran, recent camping trip to Joshua Tree, preparations for adventures in subsequent months – all this in addition to the normal musings and reflections on the life that I lead and attempt to share  with those that wish to be a part of it.  For now, I’ll simply conclude with one final quote…

What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to what lives within us.
– Henry David Thoreau

What lies within you?

Stay tuned.