Sunday, November 21, 2010

tucked home

History, even that of personal experience, can be lost. This trip home has already reminded me of missing what I did not know that I miss. I miss my mother's home all the way from the tree filled backyard to the stuffed animals that accent the mommy decorum. Quite frankly, I miss my mother. She drove through the night to love me with hospitality that only a momma can give. I am staying in a home who knows nothing of me, yet I feel like my entire childhood lives in the walls. I feel at home; what a strange thing to forget. Home: what a wonderful thing to find again. I am thankful for my momma.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Translating antiwar heros

Who wants war? I find myself undereducated on the necessity of war; however, even in my bliss of ignorance, I know that I would prefer to vote a president into power that would go to great lengths to avoid war.

Without an expert to aid me, I'm going to conclude that the cause of all wars is perspective. The lack of at least one party's effort to understand why the other party thinks or acts a certain way, this my friend is the beginning of war.

If you don't want war, how do you live? All of my friends seem to accept as truth the statement that war is not a good option. If you're like me and think that war generally sucks, consider your options the next time that you face conflict. It's one thing to be opinionated and another to avoid understanding (not just knowing) the perspective that others take. Take perspective!

To sit down with a foe and look them in the eyes while listening to their take on life is to see them as they are: lovable, like me, like you.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

daily do

"And so the mature man would take the world as it comes, and within himself remain quite unperturbed. When he acted, he would know that he was only testing an hypothesis, and if he failed he would know that he made a mistake. He would be quite prepared for the discovery that he might make mistakes, for his intelligence would be disentangled from his hopes. The failure of his experiment could not, therefore, involve the failure of his life, and, to the understanding, defeat is no less interesting than victory...

Since nothing gnawed at his vitals, neither doubt nor ambition, nor frustration, nor fear, he would move easily through life. And so, whether he saw the thing as comedy, or high tragedy, or plain farce, he would affirm that it is what it is, and that the wise man can enjoy it."

-Walter Lippmann

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

When nothings are plucked

Good day to you.

-It welcomes me like a familiar smell whose origin can't be placed.

How have you been?

-The emotions that surround this tone burst into flames.

I'll be going then.

-Action boils, but options put a lid on the steaming pot that screams "I'm ready."


-When you want to know someone, how do you wait? I have been branded by an affection that grew too large for its home. Like a tree whose roots naturally search the earth for nourishment, my curiosity has found a direction.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Doc, the best and the worst of times are here.

I am going to go to the doctor.

After I race, my breathing produces a cough that produces phlegm. My other symptom is a lack of sleep, which is why I'm awake right now. I am tired and I want to sleep. I want to feel good again.

I guess that a blog can be a memory to capture myself at a certain time. I'm writing this one so I can look back on it and be thankful that I'm no longer here, awake, writing memories that need to pass.

Grandpa Lehman was sick for a while and yet without a complaint he died. My grandma and I often recall with amazement his spectacular feat. I have to wonder how he pulled it off. I'm drawn to the idea that he loved my grandma so much that he gave her his very best even until his dying day.

If this sickness that is keeping me awake, stealing my energy and my breath, turns out to be the beginning of the end (yes, this is getting a bit dramatic), then I could only hope to meet my end with as much honor as my grandfather.

Maybe the doctor will know what to do.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Single Man. Conjectures on the Unknown.

This post is necessary. It should make me look like more of a fool though, which is rather typical. I'm going to talk about romantic love as an outsider, as a failure. As always, I want to start a dialogue about these thoughts. Feel free to join in with me at any time. If necessity is born from desire then here I am starting with a universal desire to love. All of the current models from which I draw wisdom are those relational stories that capture what not to do. From those negative examples, I am trying to construct the positive.

How do we love? When I consider what a book might contain with this title, TIME and FAILURE seem like topics to include.

On Time.

She wants this, I want that.

To give her what she wants, go beyond communication:
1.) Think about her. What do you believe she needs?
2.) Ask her close friends, what does she need?
3.) Ask her father, what does she need?
4.) Ask her mother, what does she need?
5.) Pray and be your prayer that you will become what she needs.

To receive what I need, go beyond my own thoughts and communicated information:
1.) What do I need from the perspective of others?
2.) Ask.
3.) Pray and be your prayer of understanding.

Once needs are known, how should they be communicated?
- verbal requests?
- written requests?
- through analogy?
- within romance?
- temper tantrum?
Some effort should be spent applying thought to the options available for the unique opportunity to fit the situation.

What will make a relationship succeed?
Living examples --> Who? --> Dave and Renee
Dating, always dating --> How? --> Be creative with words 1 hour a week. Write about her and the ideas will follow.
Talking --> When? --> While we dance, while we are silent, while we eat, while we sleep.

On Failure.

In regards to love, I see failure everywhere. What is the common thread when relationships fall apart?
"I do not love you anymore."

How Lord can I become love's action and as such so much more than a mere desire to do so? ...

My thoughts: To the extent that love is seen as a desire, to that extent it will be less lovely. No one loves. No one.

We crave what love speaks or rather whispers in our thoughts, that is, being known. Despite our fragile appearance of goodness that veils our now unmasked ugliness, we receive our favor within love. Favor in the form of time. Favor in the form of communication. Favor in the form of presence. We receive what we know we want yet do not deserve. How do we secure an undeserved gift? We make promises with rings. We attempt to find the security. There must be something missing. If God is missing, let us find God.

Again, the common thread is: "I do not love you anymore."

The models in my life are filled with men who have had a wife that has added to this thread. I can learn from the two stories that I know the most.
1.) My father
- He left adventure out of his relationship.
- He did not make my mother his best friend.
- My mother's history communicated needs that were never explored.
2.) Paul
- He gained a lot of weight and left adventure out.
- He did not read books (even at the request of his wife).
- Him and his wife did not direct their thoughts at engendering the best version of themselves through the relationship.

My commitments must reflect active learning:
Starting today...
On reading:
1.) I will read the news for 10 minutes everyday.
2.) I will read a book for 20 minutes everyday.
On fitness:
3.) Every morning: push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups.
4.) I will have an active passion.
On adventure:
5.) I will author an adventure that creates a story to tell every month that I am alive.
To my love:
1.) I will search your needs with this shared philosophy:
"We are comfortable discussing the needs we possess. Our words are essential to create the environment that will change us into individuals that will ultimately serve one another in a dynamic way. By dynamic, we understand that we will both change, our needs will change, and as a result we will need to continually change one another. Finally, we stand strong on these foundations: 1.) You can be what I need. 2.) I can be what you need. 3.) Together we will form each other into the best version of ourselves."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Be known, float.

Naked in an infinitely dark tank filled with 10 inches of supersaturated salt water, I am floating. No I'm serious, I really am. The rare joy of knowing quiet enters my life as I become unable to distinguish the difference between having my eyes open or closed. Entirely engulfed in blackness, my mind sort of freaks out and suddenly leaps from one thing to the next, which is comical to watch. I am actually working to turn my mind away from considering that the tank might run out of oxygen. This fear prompts a hilarious self dialogue for sure. It is reminiscent of being afraid to climb above a clip except that this fear is much less rational. Eventually though, things really slow down. They slow way down. My thoughts focus on one act: my breath. Hitting this point, my body temperature tangles with the matching water temperature and brings my motionless body towards a comfortable numbness. I am not sure if I am moving through the water or at rest. I am entirely still. Then, I breath. As I inhale, my body moves further above the surface and upon exhale I come back. When my eyes are open, I see the exact same images as when they are closed. It's sort of like when you press your thumb against your closed eye, expect that this time those yellow sense images are painting my thoughts on a black canvas. Yet since I am having thoughts about these thoughts, they seem more like objects to reflect upon than visual explosions emanating from my mind. So I dive into the experience. As clouds can become anything with enough imagination, I begin to experiment with these images by seeing them as parts of my body, ideas for prayer, and reminders of those individuals in my life that directly influence my thankfulness.

This was the first waking hour of life that I've spent being motionless. I am still experiencing this unique gift, so I'm not sure how long this affect will last, but at the risk of sounding like a new age crystal wearing hippie, I must admit that I have a lifted spirit and blissful calm. Thank you Adam for this amazing gift. Necessity has a strange way of working itself into my life.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Buddy got the munchies

Staggering sideways, drooling uncontrollably and pissing like a leaky faucet that keeps you up at night by constantly dripping, Buddy is so sick that I have to take him to the emergency vet. Walking in to the emergency vet clinic, I am an emotional wreck, but I pull it together long enough to follow the clinician to a room where we are alone to wait for the veterinarian. As you might expect, I am quite anxious to get a diagnosis for my sick little puppy. As I start to tell Buddy "It's ok Bud man, the doctor will...." I absolutely burst into tears without finishing my sentence. Just as I started to cry with the sort of cry that turns the pronunciation of words to into short gasps of incomprehensible syllables, the vet walked in to examine Buddy. She greets me with a question.

Vet: "Hi. How are you?"
Me: "" (tears)
Buddy: laying sideways on the floor
Vet: hands me a Kleenex, which I soil immediately.

Vet: "So has Buddy gotten into any substances that you know of."
Me: "River water and dog food." (The tears are slowing)
Vet: "He is exhibiting classic symptoms of pot ingestion."

Ok, so when she said this to me, I immediately felt her eyes burn into mine. Take note: I am wearing a shirt with a hole in it, shoes with holes in them, jeans that have food stains on the right leg and my hair is, well, you know, the usual jumble of unorganized curls. I could almost see myself in her eyes. Hence, I realized very quickly that no matter what I said, she was going to conclude that I was the one who accidently dosed my dog with mary jane.

Me: "Um...I don't smoke pot."
Vet: (with a big grin) "Well, your dog found some and didn't share it then."

She went on to tell me that Buddy will be ok by morning. I was still skeptical that my dog, my athletic frisbee catching cuddle machine, would have ingested pot. I mean, we're together almost 100% of the day. How the hell did he eat this stuff without me knowing? My skepticism brought on a urine test administered by the vet.

Buddy tested positive for the presence of marijuana. I guess he's officially entered his experimental teenager years.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Days 39-42: Baby, I'm coming home...but not yet!

I can't add a whole lot to these photos of various places in northern Italy. All I can say is that my last three days were not the sort of experiences that made me long to come home. Italy has been a blessing beyond compare.

This ballet dancer, Francesca, took me all over the place near her mountain home on the boarder of Italy and Switzerland.

We rode mountain bikes straight into the snow.

I heart Switzerland! We took a quick tour of Switzerland on my way back to Milan.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Days 35-39: Flying kites in the rain

Apparently, this place sells nice bikes.

I did a 7 mile mountain bike ride on my road bike to grab these photos.

=] Everyone had been telling me that I'd been so lucky to have missed the rain for the majority of my trip. A group that I met from England actually told me that for almost a full month of their trip they had just been sitting in their van waiting for the rain to stop. And now, well, I'm in Arco and it's raining hard. So common were the storms on this beautiful lake.

I have had some very good fortune here though. I met Inez from who has let me stay with her for three nights. She is from Argentina. It's hilarious how we communicate. She speaks to me in broken English and I speak to her in broken Spanish. We've had fun with one of her friends trying to make the best of the rainy days.

It's been hard to stay here and not climb though. Arco is surrounded by huge walls of climbable rock. This is the only city that I've ever been in to celebrate with such vigor a climbing championship that's not until 2011!

Arco is at the northern tip of the beautiful lake Garda. The regularity of the wind makes wind surfing and kite boarding quite popular. I've signed up for some kite boarding lessons and I'm now waiting for them to call Inez to tell us that there is good wind! I can't wait!! Rain or not, I'm going to give this all I have. I've wanted to learn how to kite board ever since Danielle Boromisa got me hooked on the sport by taking me kite skiing back home in Colorado. The guys who took my money for this kite boarding lesson also snapped this photo. Then, they dropped me off in the water only to leave me without instructions. They drove the boat away while I sat in ice cold water pondering what to do. I'd seen those crazy video's of kite boarders flying through parking lots and decided to become a statistic. I moved the kite into the power of the wind and let it rip me through the water. Although I couldn't get up on the board, I had a blast.

After two full days of rain, I couldn't take the temptation to climb on my finger that is not ready to climb. I went to some overhanging cliffs to look for partners. I met some really cool folks and got to climb in Arco on a beautiful day.

Mike and Kathy have an adorable child named Maya. This was their first day climbing as a threesome. So when Maya started crying, they were happy to have me around. It's funny how meeting a family like this can make me long to have children one day. They were so cool!

Days 33-35: Finale Ligure and the immense gut bug

France tried to keep me. The trains were all jacked with delays. Luckily, I ran into Maria and Liddo (sorry if I misspelled your names). Maria spoke Spanish and Liddo spoke Italian (which meant that he actually knew where we needed to go). With Liddo as our guide, we coordinated our efforts through a language jungle of broken Spanish and bandaged English. It was so much fun to have them share in the craziness.

If you're living in Milan, the news of some celebrity shopping at Prada might peak your interest as much as good weather in Finale Ligure, but it's unlikely. Finale Ligure receives a lot of athletic traffic from Milan as it's only 3 hours away. There's a good bit of climbing as well as mountain biking in this seaside town. Finale Ligure is a darn cool place.

Unfortunately, I was incredibly sick for the 2 night, 3 days that I stayed in Finale Ligure with the following symptoms: cold chills, intense night sweats, really fun flu symptoms that included not being able to eat anything that would stay eaten for a few days. While experiencing cold chills in the warm sunshine, I forced myself to go climb this tuffa latent beauty (6C+) just so I could claim that I'd climbed in this athletic oasis. Gosh darn it though, after the send I was so freaking exhausted that I almost couldn't hike out. I'm glad that my friend Francesca met me there because she certainly helped bring me back to health. It especially sucks being sick alone, you know? (So thanks Francesca!!)

Francesca did so many nice things worth mentioning. The highlight was when she actually went down from the hotel to holler at these drunk and unbelievably untalented singers who were blasting karaoke in the street until 3am. The result was that she actually got them to shut things down after she reminded them that they were legally only allowed to broadcast such noise until 2am. Laying immobile and shivering in my bed, I couldn't think of a kinder person than Francesca.

Our second night we found an agritourismo that was perfectly peacful

With Francesca's kindness, I was on the mend as we left, but still sick with the flu. I hadn't biked or climbed anything worth mentioning for what feels like way to long. I wanted some adventure badly I started to make plans for Arco.

Days 30-33: Bus smoke, Calanques Junks, and Ceuse Peeuse

The bus ride from Barcelona to Marseille involved several exciting events. First, this gal carrying a toddler decided to smoke a cigarette in the bathroom, which made the bus driver furious. So he pulled over the bus and for about 10 minutes scolded her with many instructions as to how to avoid such stupidity in the future. I felt like giving him a high five as he walked back to the driver's seat, but I restrained myself because several angry French people thought that his tirade (entirely held in Spanish even though the French folks were requesting that he speak French) lasted too long. Verbal fights about the bus being cold and then fierce verbal battles about the bus being too warm brought me flashbacks from scenes out of Gladiator. The driver endured the brunt of all these complaints and frustrations. When I arrived in Marseille, I felt like crap from all the stress.

I hiked for a mile to meet a familiar face. Clothilde was once a visiting professor at Mines with an office next to mine. She allowed me to stay in her place as a refuge.

Clothilde set me up to climb with some of her friends at the Calanques, but we ended up climbing some slab in a light rain. =] I put the draws on the scariest 11d of my life at this place. I have no plans to return to do the harder routes.

[Mental photo activity: imagine a flat piece of granite like rock that sucks and insert it here.]

I sort of gathered that the climbing in Marseille was not my style, so the next day I rented a car and drove 2.5 hours to Ceuse. Now this was nice: during the drive through the beautiful countryside of southern France, I was continually accompanied by large fields of colorful flowers who were receiving a tango lesson from the light wind. I watched the flowers being wildly dipped into the green grass, but I'll ask Shelton to confirm that these were tango moves.

After the slab, I could hardly contain myself as I was approaching Ceuse. Towering high above the valley, the cliffs of Ceuse just beg you to hike to them as they are unmistakably visible from almost any point from the flowering fields below. So as soon as I arrived at the campsite, I parked the car and bursted up the trail. The burst lasted for the entire long, long hike. And when I say long hike, I'm not joking. This bad boy cliff is straight up hill for 45 minutes or more.

As soon as I arrived at the cliff, I people started offering me belays even before I would ask! [For me, this experience was much better than showing up to Rifle without a partner - anyone feel me there? I love Rifle but I think we need a cultural revolution out there]. Anyway, I got to climb almost immediately. Three climbs deep, I sent my first Ceuse 12a, not without complications though.

Ceuse sort of seems like a mushroom to me. Similar to a mushroom cap, the cliff band is almost perfectly round and much of the climbing starts vertical only to tapper off as you get closer to the top. Now I have not tested this theory, but apparently most mushrooms are poisonous and will make you sick. Ceuse was a cap that I should not have tasted. The climbing generally has crimps and slopping pockets (except for one good wall), which stole my health. On that 12a, I was pulling on a mono crimp with my left middle finger when I heard it pop. It was so loud that my belayer heard it! It seriously sounded like a nerf gun shooting a ball by the force of compressed air. Ceuse is a poisonous mushroom and my ruptured pulley can prove it, but the view from the cliff is worth the hike.

I had planned to stay in Ceuse for two days, but the finger injury made that pointless. So I did the long hike back down to camp and drove during the night to reach Marseille. When I arrived at Clothilde house, I realized that I had reached my France synopsis: I saw a small part of this country and it didn't really make me want more. I thought that I might go to Fontainebleau, but I couldn't bring myself to stay. Hence, I was on my way to Finale Ligure, Italy in the morning.

Days 28-29: Barcelona HOSPITALITY shoots Gaudi

Cristina and Ferron took hospitality to an entirely new level! I met them through my friend Francesca (from Milan). They turned out to be two of the nicest people on the planet! They had a hip flat in downtown Barcelona with a chill patio scene. Our midnight meals were something that we enjoyed together.

Cristina and Ferron were aslo incredibly helpful in pointing me towards Gudi's wild architectural achievements that fill this town with some curiously curvy creations.

[video to come]

Before my trip even started, people were warning me about pick pockets on this street filled with crazy performers:

[video to come]

The colorful eye candy in Barcelona's fresh market's was no match for the flavors that this food catered to my pallet. Yum!

I left Barcelona wondering if I might one day study Spanish near this town. I think that it would be quite possible to study here for three months (and of course, climb in Rodellar as much as humanly possible).

Monday, June 7, 2010

Days 22-27: World's best climbing

If monkey's had wings, they'd certainly use them here. The mighty forearm pump that these tufa latent walls manifest is just ridiculous! To date, I will go on record to make the following claim: Rodellar is hands down the best place to climb in the world. This route, El Delfin, proves it:

Despite the fact that we climbed for 5 days straight (no rest days, just lots of love for this place!), Di found a way to get her crush on:

The mid day siesta was luxurious at the many oasis spots along the shore line of the river that flows through the canyon of Rodellar.

The great thing about traveling with Diana was that she made sure we did Spain with style.

Our style didn't go to far though. Here was our daily lunch routine:

The dogs in Spain were as strange as our chorizo.

When leaving Rodellar, we made the most room we could with our new friends Stephan and Makenzie. Holy cow! Four people, four climbing packs, a carry on bag and a bike were all crammed into the Mini Cooper for 3 hours. We felt like clowns.

On the way to Barcelona, we took a huge detour. We stopped to visit a museum of one of my favorite artists, Salvador Dali.

After seeing my friend off to the airport, I think that I already miss Di!

Just to warn you folks back in Denver, she's traveling for about 28 hours straight due to some flight issues...please give her a foot massage or something upon her return. She also likes chorizo...a lot!