Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It's Not New York, But...

So it's official--I'm off to Portland, OR for 6 months. I took a short-term contract job leading a small team of software developers for a company called Shiftwise. Against my better judgement, I'll once again be working alongside Darrel Carver who, against his better judgement gave me a recommendation. I start on April 2, and will head to Portland a few days before that to get settled in. Fear not (or, quite possibly DO fear), I'll be back in the Treasure Valley quite often over the next 6 months, and after that I'll be back in Kuna permanently. If any of you make it to Portland, let me know and we'll get together for coffee, beer, lunch, dinner, tea, milk, martinis, Klondike Bars or parcheesi. My email address and phone number will remain the same, and as always I'll be on the ever-omnipresent Facebook.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Paying the Piper

It's a cash and carry world. Sometimes you pay a little. Mostly it's a lot. Sometimes, it's everything you have.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Family Affair

Never thought I would see this happen. My dad got his first tattoo at age 67. He, my brother and I all got the Summers family crest. Awesomeness. Isaac and Ben want to get it when they turn 18. Perfect :)

Friday, February 24, 2012


Life is fluid. Things and people come, things and people go. New things and new people come and you never know where you'll find yourself. Roll with it or get rolled over by it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Few Things Make Me Laugh Hysterically. This Did.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Finding Meaning In That Which Was Lost

Whenever people read the tattoo on my arm, I can see in their faces what they're thinking..."Um, whatever, why the fuck would you get that stamped on your skin?" And I understand. Sometimes even I find myself staring at it and thinking the same exact thing, especially given the twists and turns my life has taken over the last couple of months. I've had times when I want to get it lasered off, because no matter how hard I try, I can find no meaning in the words. They seem hollow and pointless. Yeah, six months after getting it. But then I remember that tattoos are signposts along the journey of our lives. They should always remain, because they tell a story of who and where we were at a specific point in time.

But I've finally found lasting meaning in the words. It's a reminder that what most people are told (and accept as truth) is a lie. A lie that's said so often, and taken for granted to such a degree that people never question the truth of it: "If you don't love yourself, nobody will." That saying, or some flavor of it, is repeated in self-help books, therapy sessions, Facebook posts, and innumerable other venues. It's usually said by or to people who are having a hard time loving themselves. It follows the "pick yourself up by the bootstraps" logic. Which is another lie--it's always used as an analogy for overcoming and conquering. But it's a feat that is physically impossible, and likewise it's almost always an emotional and mental impossibility for people. Those who are able to do it have no need to do it. The correct analog for "picking yourself up by your bootstraps" is something that's an exercise in futility, not of success, overcoming and rugged individualism.

The plain and simple fact is that many times we do need people to show us the way. No matter how hard we try, we can't convince ourselves of the things we want to believe about ourselves. More often than not, it remains impossible to overwrite the tape that's looping in our heads, the tape that tells us who we are, what we're capable of, and more insidously, who we aren't and what we're not capable of. We try to love ourselves so that others can love us. But it's kind of like telling a person with a broken leg that in order to get it fixed, he must first walk to the hospital. Yet people refuse to understand the dichotomy, they keep repeating the lie because it sounds good. More to the point, I think they keep repeating it because that's the only option they have. They don't have someone in their life whom they can watch love them in a way that shows them the way. That isn't to say they don't love the people in their life or that the people in their life don't love them. But if someone is constantly having to remind themselves of their value, having to continually assert positive thoughts about themselves, there is one inescapable truth--they have no one in their life who is able to love them in a way that shows them their true value. They don't have someone who is capable of overwriting the tape in their head with the good, real truths about themselves. The truths they so desperately need to believe. When we lack someone we can watch love us in this way, the only thing we're left with is trying to love ourselves, to pull ourselves up by our own emotional bootstraps, oblivious to the fact that as we pull up, we exert equal force in the opposite direction which ultimately leaves us exactly where we started.

And that's why the words up my sleeve have meaning and lasting value. They speak truth. They tell something of the world, not as it should be, not as it's said to be, but as it really is. Many times we do need someone to show us that we're worthy of being loved, that we have value, and that we are enough. We need that in order to believe it, before we believe it ourselves. This is evidenced by the fact that we keep having to affirm the things we want to believe about ourselves; we affirm them ourselves because the people we've chosen to have in our life--even though they may be wonderful people, even though they may care about us deeply--aren't equipped to speak the language that affirms it for us. It is then that we fall back on the only thing left at our disposal, even though it is utterly ineffectual. And that is a tragedy of the highest order.

Monday, February 13, 2012

sometimes it's better to Lose Yourself

If you had one shot, or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it? Or just let it slip?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Farewell To A True Hero

My Uncle Ron died today. He was 58. He was lucky enough to find a soul mate in Aunt Janet who didn't see him and his free spirit as something to put up with, but as someone with whom she could live a crazy adventure called life. He lived a very simple life (but was far from a simpleton), and he had no use for convention. Sell everything and move to Alaska just because? Sure. Four or five times. Build a house from scratch? Sure. And I mean from scratch. As in, go cut down trees, mill the wood and start building. Twice. And he's the only guy I know who could figure out a way to get the government to pay him money to fly around in his ultralight and shoot coyotes.

There's a quote going around that people like to cite (the exact verbiage varies, but the theme is always the same). It really does describe the life Ron lived:

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Damn! What a Ride!"

His life was quite a ride indeed. He lived with passion, did the things he wanted to do, chased the dreams that were in his heart, and had no fear of making the wrong choice. If something didn't work out, he moved on and found something else. But honestly, I don't think anything ever DIDN'T work out for him. It may not have been the result he had envisioned when he started, but his life was always enriched for having done it, and he took the experience as just lived...a thing done...a dream chased...a passion embraced. He lived with no regrets, because the only regrets in his mind were the things not tried. He truly did prefer a life of oh well's over a life of what if's. And he lived more life, and enjoyed more days of his life, than probably anyone I know. I've always lived vicariously through him and his complete and utter lack of fear to just do what the heart calls to do. He's the only person I think I've ever referred to as a hero. He really was. He was an example of how a human being should live their life. To the fullest. On one's own terms. Without fear. Without regret. You will be greatly missed Uncle Ron, and you will leave a legacy in my heart, one that makes me strive to embrace life as though it is to be lived, experienced and conquered. Thank you for being a living example that casting off fear, following your heart and diving in head first pays off.


Those who restrain desire, do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained.
-- William Blake

It is impossible to love and to be wise.
-- Francis Bacon

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Life Truth 310.4

The times when we feel we're thinking too much are the times when we refuse to think about a certain aspect of the situation, or we refuse to embrace the possibility of an unwanted truth. In these cases, thinking will always make us weary, and we will never find peace in the matter.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

But It Doesn't FEEL Wrong

ob·ses·sion [uh'b-sesh-uh'n]
1. The domination of one's thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image or desire.

com·pul·sion [kuh'm-puhl-shuh'n]
1. The state or condition of being driven, especially to a course of action.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Know Thyself

It is one thing to know who we are. It is quite another to truly understand what informs who we are.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Perseverance or Futility?

Sometimes the true test of character isn't whether you have the will to keep holding on, but whether you have the strength to let go.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

The Grand Flop

Dan Savage:      1
Jeff Summers: 0