Sunday, September 18, 2011

First Flight

Just this week I got to experience my first non-airplane free flight in a paraglider.

What amazes me about this paraglider contraption is that it utilizes the same technology (fabric and ropes) that was around 400 years ago. Technically, Leonardo da Vinci, one of the early champions of the thought of human flight, had everything he needed to fly. He was never able to. But the flight issue just needed some time and some other thinkers to give their input to solving the problem.

With an inflated wing overhead, a daring jump off a cliff or a 3 minute tow behind a slow moving truck lofts you high enough to fly for 10 minutes, or for the really good guys, up to hours.

I hear people talk about the world's problems and how things are going to crash and burn. Maybe. But take our energy crisis. For some of the smartest da Vincis of our day, it looks impossible. But I think with time and other inputs, we will some day be pouring water in our gas tanks.

Don't worry mom, it's statistically safer than a morning commute to work.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Defeat of Jesse James

About this time every year, there is this big celebration in a little town not too far from us and the kids get all dressed up to fit in with the festivities. (Crock shoes are optional)

Most small towns have things to celebrate and call it something like "Apple Festival" or "Swiss Heritage Days".

What does Northfield, Minnesota celebrate? They are still high five-ing each other 134 years after they killed two members of the Jesse James gang while they tried robbing the bank and what would be the demise of the Jesse James gang.

Each year they have a re-enactment where these bad looking dudes (who are just unshaven college students) ride into town on horses and rob the bank with six-shooters. Then the townspeople come out and shoot back and kill a couple of them and the bad guys ride off.

Makes a nice story and, more importantly, gives the town a reason to have three days of parties, bike marathons and parades. I confess, who really wants to attend Hog Days or The Great Potato Festival when you can go see two gang members get shot while eating a funnel cake?

The only downside is you have to feel a tad guilty for celebrating the death of two fellas who not only had to die on that fateful day in 1876, but who have their deaths celebrated each year over and over by throngs of people who won't let it go and are still giddy they are molding in some grave.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sexy Trail Riding

Is feeling sexy when seeing your your wife wipe out on a motocross trail wrong? This one especially got me distracted. She buried the back tire in sand going up a steep hill. Hubba, hubba.

Thanks John and Traci for the amazing day out!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Maximus Von, the Cancer Fighting Gladiator

This is what a tenacious, cancer-fighting 5-year old looks like as he's in the process of kicking cancer's butt. Don't let the stocking cap fool you. It's a trick to lure all the cancer cells out of hiding.

One more year and five spinal taps to go and we're celebrating big in Africa with Von and the whole family.

A big thumbs down to Leukemia tonight!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Getting the Stink Eye from the Mail Lady

I have often wondered why the mail lady treats me so strange and will never warm up to me. I've tried so hard to win her over, get a smile back from her, or keep her from speeding off as I exit the house to meet her at the mailbox.

Today as I was cleaning my desk, I realized why.

I make books for a living. Good, clean books sharing great truth through powerful storytelling. I subscribe to a trade magazine that arrives each month and helps me stay current on fiction.

While processing my unread mail, I picked up this trade magazine and started making observations. I noted that it comes wrapped in a dark blue plastic wrapper and because of that, you can't tell exactly what type of magazine is inside.

Upon closer examination of said wrapper, the only writing on it is my address and a small little label that tells the curious observer something about the hidden contents of the package. The label says it comes from New Jersey from an outfit that calls themselves Romantic Times.

I never thought much of it, but I suppose the mail lady could have the wrong idea about me, the type of magazines I get, and why I try so hard to get her to smile back at me. Seems I have some explaining to do.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Can affirmation help you pass a test?

There are to very different philosophies in raising children when it comes to affirmation. One says to affirm the intrinsic value of a child's worth. The other says to affirm the effort a child puts into things and affirming the outcome.

So if you're in the first camp you say things like, "Johnny, you're so smart." The second camp would say, "Johnny, you're such a hard worker at school."

A recent study showed that a generation of parents in the first camp raised insecure kids who feared to attempt great things as adults because society did not look on them with the same fondness their parents did, nor lavish them with praise.

The same study indicated that parents in the second camp raised kids who were more secure, attempted more things and did better because of their belief that effort was a factor for success over being just plain special.

I'm indifferent and admit to practicing both methods of affirmation often. But when Ellie, my middle daughter, demonstrated early on in the school year that math didn't come easy for her (like dance, music, and social skills did for her), I decided to experiment.

Any time she complained, struggled, cried, or worked on math homework, I affirmed her effort and work and marveled at her tenacity and sticking with it.

This week, after a long year of struggling with it, Ellie aced her times table and did it with seconds to spare. We celebrated with a Hot Lava cake and ice cream. I know it has her name at the top, but secretly, I think I can just make out my name slightly there too.

Grab a spoon, let's celebrate!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Do bunnies go to heaven?

There is this scripture in the bible that says you are supposed to weep with those who are weeping.

I got some good practice at that yesterday when Daisy, our fluffy mommy bunny, died while trying to give birth to her litter.

So we laid her to rest way out back behind the shed.

I've never been to a bunny burial before so I was at a loss for words. But lucky for me, I've seen a few old westerns and just repeated what I remembered. I think I did a good job. I even got a Nacho Libre quote in without anyone knowing it.

All in all, apart from the tears and the Mardi Gras beads draped over the headstone, I think it was pretty normal.