My, um… not-very-subtle invitation

I’d like to preface this post by reminding you I was the guy who, a few posts back, was talking about how he’d realized the merits of not filling every moment of his day with projects and tasks — and the value in giving yourself permission to just “be” in the moment from time to time. So, naturally, it was during one of those reflective moments of just “being” that I calmly (and even a bit serenely) concluded: I need to finish my book.

And because I am still a recovering task-oriented work-a-holic, I decided to motivate myself by establishing self-imposed deadlines, played out publicly week after week, until it’s finished. So, starting March 4, I’ll be posting a new chapter in the final draft of my new book, No Safe Harbor, every Saturday at 9 a.m.

This is a passion project I’ve been working on since 1997. So, when you look at it that way, I HAVE been living “in the moment” and just “being” with this project for *gulp* 26 years! Now it’s time I roll up my sleeves, get back to the keyboard, turn off my Google alerts, delete Candy Crush Saga from my phone, stop being distracted by that weird discoloration on the ceiling, refrain from ordering DoorDash four times a day just because I can, not be compelled to spray Windex on any potential fungus after watching The Last of Us, and get this book done!

(Can I get an Amen?)

Continue reading My, um… not-very-subtle invitation

Into every life a little… snow? … must fall

Intrepid reporting from my front yard

We don’t get much snow here on the Oregon coast. For example, the closest thing we have to a snowplow is our neighbor’s Ford Fiesta, which has a plastic sand disc tied to the front bumper, and can be used for pushing snow or a directionally-challenged elk out of the way.

We tend to push more elk than snow.

Regardless, this past Thursday our small coastal community experienced a massive winter storm that dumped — and I’m not exaggerating — a good 2 inches of snow. In some cases, people actually had to use plastic spatulas to clear their windshields before backing their vehicles out of the driveway and into their neighbor’s mailbox. Though it’s been nearly two years since I left the newsroom, my journalistic instincts took over and, with adrenaline coursing through me (thanks to my blood pressure medicine) I immediately put together a weather update to let the world know our dire situation…

Well, on TikTok anyway.

And yeah, “dire” is probably a bit strong.

Continue reading Into every life a little… snow? … must fall

Because Lynn asked me to…

After seeing my latest post offering survival tips for parents attending high school bowling tournaments, Lynn at “Life After 50” asked to see photos of how one of my tips — bringing a lifeguard chair instead of a foldable chair — can improve your viewing experience.

Here are just a few examples of how the experienced parent can avoid the rush for a good seat by showing up anytime they want… as long as they have their own lifeguard chair…

Why rush to stand in line at 6 a.m. when you can bring your own “Best Seat In the House?!?”

Continue reading Because Lynn asked me to…

Survival tips for parents of teen bowlers

Today, in anticipation of the upcoming junior bowling leagues next month, I’m passing along a few tips to parents who may attempt to suffocate themselves with an empty bowling bag after listening to 24 lanes of crashing pins for five hours. Especially if, for personal reasons, you aren’t comfortable spending those hours drinking in front of teen bowlers.

My first suggestion is to invest in a tall folding chair. The taller the better. In fact, consider purchasing a portable lifeguard stand if possible. That’s because getting a prime seat to watch your son or daughter bowl depends on how willing you are to take the life of a complete stranger. Getting a good spot at the bowling alley during a tournament is like the Oklahoma Land Rush; once the doors open, parents stampede (some on actual horseback) to the most valuable territory, i.e., the mid-point between 1) the center of the bowling lanes, 2) the bar and 3) the restrooms.

Parents then frantically stakes their claim by jamming giant folding chairs together until the result is something similar to how homes are wedged together in poor sections of Hong Kong. Should something unexpected cause a panic — such as an earthquake or 300-game — it’s doubtful anyone will survive the inevitable catastrophic folding-chair collapse.

Continue reading Survival tips for parents of teen bowlers

Empty nest syndrome? Fill it with a baby kangaroo.

I generally only watch nature shows on television when I want to appear as though I’m educating myself about something important, like the plight of the prematurely balding Rogainian monkey, when in fact I’m actually planning to do an independent study of the REM sleeping pattern on our couch.

However, while watching a documentary about the Kangaroo Sanctuary in Alice Springs, Australia, I discovered something I never knew:

I want…

We NEED our own kangaroo.

As I watched three babies snuggle together in a blanket and play with each other’s big floppy ears, I inadvertently let out a sound that my wife mistakenly thought was a joyful whimper.

“Was that you?” she asked from the dining room.

“What? No WAY! Ha Ha! It was the kangaroo babies on TV.”

“It sounded like it came from the couch.”

“Nope! Must be the Surround Sound,” I said.


Continue reading Empty nest syndrome? Fill it with a baby kangaroo.

Life lesson learned from a train car

First, let me put your fears to rest; I’m not living in an abandoned train car. I’ve been passing this graffitied relic for quite some time on my travels between our home in Florence (Oregon) and Cottage Grove (still in Oregon), shuffling between newspapers for which I was once editor. As I mentioned a few posts — and yikes, months — ago, I left journalism after 23 years back in 2021. For the next year-and-a-half, I worked as a mail carrier with the U.S. Postal Service (Motto: Bringing your Amazon packages… Oh, and the mail!). But this past October, I left the USPS after a year of 6-day, 70-hour-plus workweeks with no end in sight. Time with my family had been nearly non-existent and, after coming home one day and finding our dog had been given my spot on the couch, I knew it was time to make a change.

The dog had to go.

Just kidding.

We got a cat and now no one can sit on the couch.

Ok, not really. My end game had always been a simple one: Eventually retire and spend my days helping other writers with their manuscripts, short stories, memoirs, etc., IN BETWEEN time spent smooching my wife, making key lime pies, traveling in a fifth-wheel together and making sure the dog doesn’t get my spot on the couch again.

Continue reading Life lesson learned from a train car