Martha’s driveway

I got to Alexandria yesterday afternoon and the homesickness hit me almost at once.  It was one of those “what were you thinking?” moments when the full weight of my decision came home to roost in my heart.  I’m well acquainted with that feeling of loneliness because this isn’t the first time I’ve had to make this kind of decision.  There was a time when I was a homebody slash factory worker who went to work and came home on a daily basis, and had a lot of weekend time.  But I haven’t experienced that sense of normality since 2007.  The new normal has some perks.  Being offered the chance to pursue my dream job affords me a heady feeling of euphoria.  But the crash is that I”m away from my wife and kids for extended periods of time, and that just sucks.  Big time.

I staved of that feeling this morning after I awoke to find that the DC government is shut down today because of the snow storm that sneaked up behind me on my drive east.  So, I didn’t have an orientation to go to this morning.  Still, I was up and refreshed and lonely at 5:30.  I put on some snivel gear (cold weather clothing) and headed outside with shovel in hand and cleared off Martha’s driveway and un-buried my car.  The residential street was already plowed, as is Fort Hunt Road, so even though the gummint is shut down, the streets are open.  I will venture out later to pick up a few things I forgot at the store yesterday, find a gym with a free treadmill so I can get a good workout, and go to Costco with Martha to help her pick out a wireless printer.

I hope y’alls day is spectacular, and that you cherish all the little things in your life like the hugs from your loved ones.  I can’t right now, and that separation only intensifies how truly important they are.  Because you don’t miss things like that until you don’t have them.

2015-01-01 14.21.08First day of 2015, ten point six miles on the commute bike.  What can I say, I’m renewing a continuing resolution instead of enacting a new year’s resolution.  Since I’ll be heading to D.C. shortly to start with my new employer, I can use phrases like “continuing resolution” and get away with it.

What was special about today’s ride?  As usual, it didn’t use any gasoline, although that commodity is currently less than two dollars per gallon again.  It was moderately windy.  In the vicinity of 20 miles per hour windy, and since the wind was southwesterly, and I did a down-and-back north to south/south to north ride, the first half of it was in-my-face windy.  I loved it.  I love windy rides, because it adds to the challenge, like if you were at the gym on a treadmill, and the guy next to you was thumbing the incline button.  Or a drill sergeant sitting on your back while you’re knocking out push-ups.  That kind of love.  Love like the wording on the workout t-shirt I just bought.

Sweat dries; blood clots; bones heal; suck it up buttercup.

The weather during my ride was a bit chilly, if you consider thirty degrees Fahrenheit to be chilly.  I’m with Columbia sportswear company on that one though.

There is no such thing as bad weather, just improper clothing.

I told that one to my oldest son, who was stationed at Fort Wainwright and was deployed for a year to Afghanistan when he was in the Army, and he said, “no Dad, you’re wrong.  There is such a thing as bad weather.” I understand where he is coming from, but I think he is mistaken.

It was sunny during my whole ride, too.  I appreciated that, and for the fact that it wasn’t directly in my eyes.

90 or so more days until spring.  I’m going to ride on each one of them if I can.


20141226_074109I’ve been telling my family and close friends that it is going to be weird not driving to Camp Atterbury for work now that I’m no longer employed there.  For the past fifty months or so, I have driven there, or ridden my bike, fifty miles round trip, five days per week.  No more.

I will miss taking the occasional “good morning” sunrise pictures on lonely winding country roads.  I’ll be trading that scene for sunrise-over-the-Potomac shots from the side of the Mount Vernon Trail, which isn’t a bad trade off at all.

Different can be good.

But now on to the next segment of my life, where work is just outside of D.C., and I’ll be using planes a lot more.

Another upside is the amount of bike trails at my disposal, and the amount of days off that I’ll have to be able to dedicate to riding and recording bike trails.

I’m stoked.


Flagrantly lifted from yankeecandle.com in return for a link-back.

Whenever we go to the mall, or even just to some of them, you can find me in one of two places.  The bookstore or at Yankee Candle.  We love the Housewarmer candles at my place.  Even when Madame Wife and I were just starting our life together and working at fast food joints, we’d wait until there was a sale on votives, and then leave with a tray of them.  I bring this up because I’m starting a thoughtful reading of Dietrich von Hildebrand’s “Transformation in Christ” and his first chapter titled Readiness to Change is deftly illustrated by an image common in my home.

Here’s Dietrich: “Readiness to change, taken in this sense, is the first prerequisite for the transformation in Christ.  But, in addition thereto, more is needed:  a glowing desire to become a new man in Christ; a passionate will to give oneself over to Christ.  And this, again, presupposes a state of fluidity, as it were: that we should be like soft wax, ready to receive the imprint of the features of Christ.”

Wonderful thought.  If you have ever held wax in your hand until it was warm enough to become pliable, then you know what he is saying.  Solid, yet yielding, in that state you can leave the mold of your fingerprint on its surface.

But speaking further, von Hildebrand says, “the more one is transformed in Christ, the deeper and more unlimited his readiness to change beyond the point reached, the more he understands the dimension of depth in which that transformation must extend…”

What will the Beloved require of me?

When the wax is warm and able to hold a fingerprint, it isn’t far from cooling off and becoming hard again, or from being wiped smooth so to receive another imprint.  But what about the candle that has long been at the task of being burned?  When the flame is first set, the wick climbs high until its base comes in contact with the wax, and a small pool forms beneath.  As the flame mixes oxygen with wax, the pool spreads out in width and depth.  Leave it long enough, and you’ll find that all the wax has liquefied and the whole house is filled with the scent with which the wax has been infused.

If you would be a candle, that flame is the Holy Spirit and the wick is your willingness to change; your passion to completely surrender.  It should run straight through the center of you, down to the very depth of who you are.  That tiny tongue of hot light affixed to your constant will, shall dance until you consciously choose to blow it out.

I want to keep the flame burning until the whole jar is nothing but fragrant liquid.

Many times when you hear someone speaking of a person in glowing terms, they call them edgy and irreverent and offbeat.   Like that is a good thing.  What does that even mean, to say that a person is edgy?  When I look at synonyms for edgy it returns words like anxious, high strung, and impatient.  I don’t willfully choose to be around people like that.  And I guess irreverence is now a virtue.  Not.  Profane, insolent, and cocky, is more like it.  Again, not the type of person I seek out.  I can stand a person who is offbeat, unless he or she is a drummer, but I’m listening to less and less popular music these days, so my daily intake of drumming and offbeatness is waning.

I want to be around normal people.  Good people.  People who live their lives with the realization that there is an After, and that After is something for which we must prepare.

So if you’re being introduced, and the emcee says you’re edgy, and irreverent, don’t expect a round of applause from me.  And if you’re offbeat, please for the love of all things reverent, don’t pick up a pair of drumsticks.

Ever since getting back from the Catholic men’s conference in Indy last Saturday, I’ve found myself praying contextually, mostly for people but also for other things, and that isn’t something I’ve ever done before.  Give it a try:

* pray for the people who prepare your lunch when you say Grace.

* if someone comes up to you and asks you a question, say a quick mental prayer for them

* thank God for the sunrise or something beautiful or good you see

You get the idea.  Give it a try.

imageOne is sometimes tempted to rely on Sandburg’s poem “Fog” when posting about…well, fog.

I fought the temptation, instead giving him a hat tip in the headline, which shall suffice.

You see, I swam to work on a sea of fog this morning.  Strange business, this being the beginning of August, when it is supposed to be hot and humid and unbearable.  To air-conditioned wusses, at least.

The simple beauty, however, gave me pause.  Pause enough to stop my car.  On the road.  In the fog.  With the blinkers on, nevertheless, but still…

And I snapped a photo of a cell tower floating in the mist, while the sun to its right peaks over the top of the earthbound cloud, threatening it’s impending obliteration.

I love mornings like this.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 372 other followers