Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Return of the Spork

After a long absence, I have been reunited with an old friend. To eat lunch with my spork is to recall my ascent of Mt. Whitney, that trip with Andy to the Channel Islands, camping with my daughter, adventures too numerous to count...all bound up in that featherweight utensil. Lately, I had been using this indispensable piece of backpacking gear to eat my lunch at work. Instead of wasting a disposable plastic spoon, I began relying on my spork. Then it was lost. Our crack cleaning crew had cleaned off my desk and, along with the moldy coffee cup, my spork entered the mysterious system that somehow results in restocked cupboards filled with personal mugs. It is always a scramble to find out where my favorite mug ends up. But my spork! I couldn't find it anywhere...for months. Until today, when my dear friend told me where it would be. Saving my life again. Over a simple mouth tool. Another tale for my spork to bind to its titanium tines.

Monday, August 10, 2009

To and Fro

for Sara turning twenty

Like most things regarding fatherhood,
It came to me accidentally
at the school playground.
Toddler you, on the swing,
born knowing what to do and
me, wordless, trying to find a way to make you laugh.
I forget now,
where you were in the arc:
to or fro?
Were you flying backwards while I said “stay back there!”
Or were you at my fingertips when I said “stay here!”
…knowing that neither was possible.

Now, still hoping the words come,
not sure to beckon you to leave or beseech you to stay.
Still concerned with happiness.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My Longest Run

I am halfway through my marathon training program. Each week I look at what my schedule demands and each week I feel more and more confident that I can obey its commands. "14 mile easy run" was on the docket for this weekend. My longest run yet. The toughest three miles for me: the first one (always), the middle one, and the penultimate one. This was certainly true today, but still I finished strong, feeling I could have gone another two miles easily. But another twelve? Again I look to my schedule. I believe in my plan.
Chicago here I come.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Diseases of the Heart

Every day
thousands of us succumb.
Statistically, thirty-five percent of all deaths,
though it seems like so many more.
Self-diagnosed since high school,
since Donna really.
My diet doesn’t matter…
doesn’t alter the odds.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Unearthed sheaf of paper
from between books bound
for storage somewhere unseen.
Divorce is displacing them,
delivered behind rolling metal doors
and bulletproof locks.

A poem, then
discovered today
in a hand I recognize and
a voice that seemed resigned
to realize
that once in a lifetime trips
came far too often for my wife
even then
what continent was she on without me?

A poem about a load of dirt left at the side of the house.
Placed there by the shovel load
with no other place to go.
We moved it from one side to the other
farthest from the gate,
years before.


Now it is not much of anything really.
A dirt path alongside the house.
I planted some things there once,
roots I thought might know the soil
Spread some pebbles too
from an unknown river.
Watered occasionally.

Amazing things really:
dirt, water, sun.

That sideyard could deal with neglect.
I spent more time there than most anywhere else
in that house.

I had cleared it
over the course of two nights
Scoop by scoop
Into the pickup truck
and to the town dump

Monday, June 22, 2009

Red Oil Can

The owner's manual for my 1997 Corolla is long gone.

But I don't need it to know what that flashing oil can in the dashboard means.

It would probably tell me something like "check the level of oil by using the dipstick" or "change the oil" or "take car in for service immediately."

I know what it really means.

"Take control of your life."

"Get your priorities straight."


"You should have saved more money in your thirties."


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Pomona Valley Sunday

By the time it was all over, it was Sunday morning.
Father's Day.
My nineteen year old daughter and I had just seen a remarkable show from a vantage point made possible by general admission and our arriving at the renovated Fox Theatre over 4 hours before Wilco took the stage.

We were in the second row, behind a family of some preteens who were up way past bedtime. How did that nine year old know the words to "Passenger Side" or "California Stars" let alone "Hate it Here?" She came early to the show as well, clutching her vinyl copy of "Sky Blue Sky" which I am sure left the theater with Jeff Tweedy's signature. When Tweedy yelled out "you guys are awesome!" some folks in the beautiful old Fox may have thought he was talking to the crowd in general. We knew better. Even though earlier in the evening Tweedy had warned that we might be watching the end of an era (turned out one of the band members was turning 40) and his guitar gave out during "Impossible Germany," he couldn't help but be joyous watching these young kids enjoy Wilco's music so much. Brought out the father in him.

Wilco has never sounded so tight, so on, so right.

When Tweedy came off the stage and handed this group of kids some picks and told them to strum his guitar during "Spiders" it was truly a magical moment. One that those youngsters will never forget. One that my daughter and I won't forget either. Happy Father's Day, Jeff.

Wilco at the Fox Theater, Pomona, June 20, 2009
Main set
Wilco (the song)
I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
Blue Black Nova
You Are My Face
One Wing
A Shot in the Arm
Radio Cure
Impossible Germany
(with super-long Nels Cline guitar solo as Jeff Tweedy’s guitar gives out and has to be swapped)
Deeper Down (its live debut)
Pick Up the Change
Can’t Stand It
Jesus, Etc.
Hate It Here
You Never Know
I’m the Man Who Loves You

First encore
Passenger Side
California Stars
Misunderstood (41 NOTHINGs at the end, plus Tweedy singing Happy Birthday to You to Pat Sansone, who turned 40 Saturday)
Spiders (Kidsmoke)

Second encore
Crowd sings Happy Birthday to You to Pat
Hoodoo Voodoo

Monday, June 15, 2009


Why blog?

This is not my diary. If it were, people inclined to read my words here would have suffered through my sorrow, perhaps been elevated by my joy, too. But I blog for me.

Selfish jerk.

Can't put everything here. But for now, I would like to mark in cyberspace this date, the day I began officially training for the 2009 Chicago Marathon. A 26.2 mile run through the neighborhoods of my beautiful birthplace city. Looking at the course, I am relieved to find that I will pass by Wrigley Field early, while I still have the energy to sneer at its quaintness. On the other hand, US Cellular comes deep into the course, about mile 23 when the lights above 35th and Shields will power me to finish. My beloved White Sox. I hope games are still being played there on October 11.

So how does one begin to prepare for a marathon yet 16 weeks away? An easy run. 4 miles. If I can keep to the plan, which may actually be more difficult than executing on race day, I will log over 400 miles in the months ahead.

I am committed.

Between this post and my last I ran my first half marathon (in my current fair city). Ran it in 1:47. Also, ran my favorite 5Ks in April, May, and June including running "the world's fastest 5K" in Carlsbad in 22:19, my personal best for 5Ks. Attempted a triathlon (albeit a mini one) and found out that I can't swim. On my Father's Day card this year (from my parents to me!): P.S. Stay out of the ocean.

I will begin posting again for anyone inclined to read this.

Be well.

A message to myself.