Rick and Monique

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Own Story--Thankful

I think I spent too much life ignoring myself. Truthfully, for much of my life I lacked an element of sincerity because I always wanted my story to be bigger than it was. In kindergarten, for instance, I lied about sliding down the fireman pole during a field trip to the fire station. There are many other instances proving my need to be bigger than I was. I relate much of my need to a pretty knocked out confidence issue in light of my handicap Spina Bifida. It's sad to reveal these things because as I do, one must also realize how many ways I've been blessed in the family I grew up with, the amazing wife I've privileged to be with, and the friends I enjoy and love. But most of all Spina Bifida has blessed me and others! What about my blessings did I need to be bigger than they were--a question for the ages I suppose? Before you get all boo-hoo and break out the mini-violin, let me assure you that I'm not writing anything to get it off my chest. Sometimes I fail, sometimes I don't...that sort of describes human kind. All I wanted you to know is that I had so often wanted a story that was bigger than myself that I wasn't aware of who I had become and how great of a life that meant for me. I became a gullible pushover...loveable but gullible...wicked effin gullible. But in the mean time I played ball, sang in choirs, traveled the country...good good stuff.

It's taken awhile, but these days I wake up in the morning and I want to be Rick, that's it. It's not like that happened just yesterday. My eyes have been more open for years now. As Rick I can sit down and write some poetry, lick up some Whiskey, sip some Wine, I can mentor people, build a deck, I can enjoy great things with my friends, I can try to start a business, ride a bicycle or scooter or motorcycle, I can play guitar, I can study Scripture, tell a few jokes and I can roll a little cookie dough. Some days, I wake up and I'm lazy, I can't think straight, I'm sore and a little pissed off. I'm not necessarily good with that, but I wake up me.

Today I used up a little gas and took a cool motorcycle ride. Not everything works right for me. Sometimes I feel like a curse and sometimes a blessing. But a little motorcycle ride opens my world right up.

Last September Monique and I vacationed in Yellowstone. We woke up each morning and discovered the true meaning of honesty. All we had to do was spread our arms and be thankful.

I'm a lot more like that these days than I used to be. Thankful I mean. And I'm good with my own story. It's not big. But it is great.

Oh yes...This post needs one more thing. I am intensely thankful for Monique. She is a bright star. A separation from her would be like ripping skin from my body.

I am profoundly thankful for her and I am profoundly thankful that I get to keep my skin.

Happy Thanksgiving

Friday, November 14, 2008


I, Monique and Anne-Michelle saw the music group Barrage last night. Correction...the talent chosen to open for Barrage was the hosting High School Orchestra, so we saw them too. They played a weird mish-mash of notes that mostly resembled a song. Maybe it was intended that they create a surreal and craggy environment, transferring us from a high-school auditorium into LSD land! They played the song standing up, so I'll give them an "A" for effort but they were mostly mishmashy. The parents were proud. The orchestra played a number with Barrage later in the show and played reasonably well that time. 

But, Barrage blew my mind. The 8 person band--an eclectic recipe created by adding one part German, 4 parts Canada, one part Arizona, one part Nashville and one part Hanover Pennsylvania, rose like yeast in a seriously heated school auditorium (like someone turn down the heat!) and cooked a musical meal containing all the musical food groups. The guitarist, drummer, base guitarist and 5 violinists swirled around the floor playing classical to jazz to modern, to bluegrass to rock-n-roll. Fingers pressed strings, rocked bows, strummed frets and rocked beats at tempos that sometimes defied time and space. Can one really fly through strings at the exact moment the bow passes while swaying back and forth and up and down and all around? I'd say it's like the game where you have to draw a house with an "x" in the middle without your pen/pencil ever leaving the paper. One solves the puzzle when one crosses the border of the house itself...when one "colors" outside the lines...when one draws slightly outside the house can one solve the puzzle--a life metaphor I would suppose. I believe last night the concert took me on an inter-dimensional journey. I felt a little dizzy at the end. Try crossing several dimensions in one night and see how you feel.

My dizzieness might've been attributed to the wicked hot auditorium and the lack of water available...naw...that's not right...the inter-dimensional party is a better story.

That's how it happened from my point of view. Check Barrage out if you get the chance.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Blog's Purpose--Think Think Think

Y'know, I've struggled. Most bloggers write purposefully. Some write about their families, others write about deals they've found, others write about technology and others write to make people laugh. I've struggled to know my purpose. Sometimes I write stories about my day, sometimes about politics, religion. Sometimes I write comically and sometimes I write seriously. Readers are important to me. Everyone wants people to enjoy what they've produced in whatever manner they've produced it. I'm no different.

Some people get 16 responses and some get none. It's easier to respond to a simple story and I think that's great. Maybe ya'll want to know more about my day to day!? You're lives are profoundly interesting to me, maybe I should give you more of mine? Maybe my blog will evolve that way.

Writing's important to me. I try to give words as much meaning and respect as they're due. I've got an eclectic blog of every kind of subject and sometimes they'll bog you down and sometimes they won't. But I think I intend to make you think about stuff. I could do that more light heartedly and fluidly. I could do that using stories that might be more fun to read. Sometimes I do that. Sometimes I write poems that I struggle to understand when I reread them later. What I do know is that I felt something passionately and sometimes indescribably when I wrote it.

My friend Steph writes about motorcycles and she writes passionately. My blog isn't as focused, but I hope you know my passion. I believe that none of us lives indifferently. We all feel something. I believe we don't live as individuals, but as a community. Your passion does something to my life. Some people are wary of fanatics. I'm more wary of non-fanatics.

SO I don't really have a focused purpose, but I hope you know my passion and I hope I can inspire you to think, even when it's difficult.

Therefore my purpose right now...get people to ask and answer good questions...too few of us brave questions. So I'll ask a few questions about things that I don't even really know the answer to. Crimeny, sometimes I don't even know where the questions come from! But I'll questions that interest me in one form or another. I'm sure sometimes you'll be profoundly bored by my thoughts. None-the-less I'm interested in how you think and what you want me to know about your thoughts.

Do you think that a physical death was always God's intent or not? We're mandated to be fruitful and multiply...what does this mean? IF we were intended to "live" forever before the fall, how would we be dealing with the many millions or billions of people that would not be dead right now? Our cities would be greater by millions, we'd populate every inch of this world, and our resources would be prolificly used don't you think? Is it possible to "tap out" our resources? If Adam and Eve had not sinned, do you think that God might've put an end to the "be fruitful and multiply" eventually?

Hmmm. Think.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Today it Rains, Tomorrow it doesn't, Lord willing

In all things be thankful. I'm good with that.

It was a most interesting election season and I paid attention. I don't think I'm fully excited by the result but I can't be solemnly disappointed either. The process worked as it was supposed to and I played my part, as I'll continue doing. My voice works as long as it's allowed.

I guess I just wasn't one of those who waited with bated breath and those whose eyes dried out in front of my television. I voted and was pleased by the opportunity.

I have a few thoughts concerning the election season and concerning Barak Obama.

Voters pay less attention than I want to give them credit for. So easy it was for the American people to potentially move this country into a system much different than I believe was originally intended. Added to that, news professionals today report about Barak's tax plan... that my taxes will actually increase by quite a jump, not decrease, as he claims. Time will tell.

Another comment. Just as I wouldn't hire a college professor right out of grade school, I could not hire someone with as little executive experience as Obama. You wouldn't hire an 9 year old to teach your adult children would you? You might say you would simply for the argument, but you wouldn't. In relation to this, I learned a few days ago that, although he talks about crossing the political lines, he's never actually headed up a bi-partisan effort and votes along party lines 100% of the time...the "great unifier" actually hasn't done much of the sort politically--when he's there that is. He's missed a ton of votes in his short political career. Maybe all stats are skewed, I'm not sure.

And his social plans, though they resonate with my social responsibilities in some ways, I believe that Government actually waters down social efforts at the grass roots level. Over-arching social plans cost way more than their effectiveness justifies. Even such ideas as minimum wage only provides a token... mere tokens to a public deceived by a propagandized perception of generosity. I'm okay with some controls and I'm alright with regulation. But, the government threatens to be "fair" by taking my money and moving it around. Since the government has ideas about spreading the wealth, the policy actually removes some of my ability to be generous. Government's added attempt toward generosity actually causes American apathy and doesn't improve empathy. These are thoughts only of course. I'm not the economist in the family. Besides I have the freedom to engage in effective social efforts right now, using methods in the free non-profit market in a country filled with people whom are already the most generous people in the world...and all that without the President's decree.

Lastly, I've heard a thousand times today..."He's the first black man to become President"... this is true, a hard fact. In its own right, America entered an exciting new historical chapter/dispensation. But is race really our first consideration? Really?

African American Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas speaks against affirmative action, calling it "positive discrimination", and that AA succeeds more readily at dividing races one above another (read "My Grandfather's Son" by Clarence Thomas). Most believe Thomas actually benefitted professionally from Affirmative Action. But what can be said is that he knows its negative side from the inside. For similar reasons, it's possible that voting from a purely racial decision is a mistake. Now before ya'll freak out, I'm sure voters didn't base their decisions solely on the racial divide. I'd be naive to suggest the possibility. I didn't vote on race at all. But polls today suggest race was a major factor.

I'm personally going to watch and see. I can assume and presuppose, but he might do very well. I don't panic. But, while I'll respect him as my President, I'll have to learn to trust him. I can tell you that I won't regard Mr. Obama with the reckless hate and careless vitriol that has been shown President Bush. I hope to be better. Congratulations to our new President Elect. Obama may be a positive force in some ways and on some topics. I'll be thankful for them. It was a day. Today it rains, tomorrow it doesn't, Lord willing (James 4:13-15).

Monday, November 3, 2008


"Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months." Oscar Wilde wrote that, said that, thought that...I'm not sure in which order. He's funny. But because stuff changes all the time, I relish sameness these days.

We do that...change on purpose, why? I'm wearing an old shirt that I've had for 9 years or so. The temperature set at about 57 degrees this lovely morning, but this old long sleeve flannel comforts me. So does my coffee. I'm not sad or depressed this morning. I was outside for a few minutes and my day started with a satisfying flourished breaths of fresh air. No, I'm not in a bad mood, I simply love the comfort I get from something that's lasted more than a few months.

I changed the way I get around these days, at least for three seasons. We ride bikes, a scooter or a motorcycle. The bikes set in the garage but live on the road. They're all relatively new, but not like fashion. In this case, I pursued change in order to find the constant...and to save money on gas of course. One's always a slave to fashion or looking good. There's freedom on the bike...any one of them. We pursue fashion like a finish line, except we realize we haven't won anything but the yearly rite to the color of the year. On bikes you pursue glory...rivers and roads, wildlife, wind, hills, prairie, grass, sloughs, lakes, people, exercise, breath...

Oscar Wilde isn't entirely correct. I think it's ok to renew your senses by changing things up a little bit. I'm certainly happy that I don't have my black moon pants anymore. Y'know, the ones with the tapered leg and pockets everywhere. Refreshment does a man good. I refresh coffee, my clothes, my body in the shower, and even my computer from time to time. I've even refreshed my personality...a feat made of years, and yet there's parts of my personality, the id of Rick, that I can't seem to shake. I've owned some clothes for 9 years and bought new ones last week. Constancy and change have merit and walk hand in hand. God even refreshes nature through a cataclysmic killer called Winter! I'm just kidding, winter actually refreshes a land that wouldn't do well if it had to bloom all year round. Nature needs a rest so it can come back strong again in Spring.

I think Oscar Wilde meant that desperate pursuits make you even more desperate, not that life and passions don't change.

So today I'm thankful for refreshment and Oscar. Tomorrow change comes once again in the form of a new President. I get the feeling from watching "elect me" speeches and peering into the mind of the people who watch them, that rhetoric and desire for power, are a lot like fashion...ugly. But Wednesday, if it's not too cold, I'll get on a bike and find what hasn't changed, and revel in it. Constancy and change. Winter's coming. I'm still not in panic mode.