Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Happy Birthday Mr.Cash

"You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.

 ~Johnny Cash (Taken from Rogue American Apparel)



Saturday, February 23, 2013


I'm nearing the end of a book called "To the Last Breathe" where the Author, Francis Slakey who is a physics professor at Georgetown University chronicles his adventures around the globe of climbing and surfing the world's oceans. The book is as much about self discovery as it is about going to physical extremes and I identify with Slakey's observations about odds and  improbability, and the realization of how so many things are entwined.

A few months ago I had made a decision to "get back" to the place I was maybe 3 years ago, where I was riding more, running more, and generally doing more. That's not to say that I had become stagnant, in fact I was probably healthier & stronger than I had been in recent memory due to a home work out routine that was all about "functional fitness" and I was committed (and still am) to the core, working out as many as 6 days a week.
This next part might be a bit confusing, but a while back I seized an opportunity that would allow me to increase my riding potential 10 fold with most if not all of my riding occurring at night in an "urban setting".
This opened up an entirely new chapter for me, and fanned the flames of adventure that had subsided over time.
Such is life that no sooner did I decide to document these rides, we went out on maternity leave, so the night dweller that I had become was instantly replaced with the adventure of being a  new dad.
Fast forward to this week and seizing upon my decision to "get back".  Sensing an impending head cold I loaded up the truck (in broad daylight) and headed to James River Park. I hadn't ridden there in quite a while and the combination of me being "out of the saddle" and having recently changed the gearing on the single speed made for quite a bit of "hike a bike" sections during the ride.
I rode the park north to south ending up at the "skills park" on Belle Island, which I have as of yet not ridden. There was a family checking it out as well, and it was cool to see kids swirling around the course.
The strangeness of Belle Island never gets old, as there was a production company filming some type of Jeep commercial on the rocks, an assortment of derelicts, and fitness minded folks all taking advantage of the fair weather.
After cruising around the top of the island I headed back to 2nd Street and as I pedaled up to my truck I noticed another vehicle with a bike rack parallel parked in front of me.
"A kindred person" I thought to myself as I got closer.
Then the familiarization hit me, inside the other vehicle was my wife and new son.
She had left much earlier in the day, and we had no intention of crossing one another's paths, yet there she was smiling at me.
"I figured you would be done around now" she said, "want to go to Hardywood and grab a beer"?
I was floored by this.
Even on a small scale Improbability, opportunity, and kinship are amazing things to stumble upon.             

Friday, February 22, 2013


"FMLA", those 4 federal letters that have given me the last 20 or so days off for the birth of my son.  Federally mandated time, mine for the taking...It has also been one of the more frequent topics of discussion between friends, family, and co-workers. The conversations almost always play out like this;

Questioner:  "How much time are you taking"?
Me: "All of it"

Questioner: "Really"?  That's ALOT of time off".
Me:  " I have 100's maybe even thousands of hours I can burn, and my wife and I wanted to do it together".
Questioner: "What will you do? You will be at each other's throats in no time".
Me: "I suppose we will spend time with the new baby, and my wife and I actually enjoy each other's company".
I understand the typical argument, I sincerely do. It's not like my wife and I are impervious to getting on one another's nerves, and I will admit that the last few weeks were similar to "Groundhog Day" where they somehow managed to pull of making a movie about Bill Murray reliving the same day over & over.
But there has been a by-product of FMLA that I wasn't prepared for, and to be quite honest I am still having trouble wrapping my mind around.
The "insinuation" that a man who takes the full ride off to be with his newly formed family, is somehow "less manly".
I can assure you that it is not my overactive imagination either, as demonstrated by the fact that a co-worker surmised that I was a "derogatory slang word for a feline" when he found out that I was taking 3 months off.    
To say that my job doesn't harbor folks that are a bit "rough around the edges" would be putting it  mildly, and our humor typically starts at crude then devolves to downright inappropriate.  
But it's 2013, and to even suggest a man is anything otherwise for wanting to be with his newborn son is simply ridiculous.
I'm pretty sure if I handed my resume to a total stranger they would read it and have thoughts of Chuck Norris & Surviorman, with a dash of Wyatt Earp.
Read that again if you know me, as I said given to a "total stranger".
My friends would say that I am more suited to one of the "Village People".
But I digress. 
After 25 years on the job the trick is to get out with your family in tack, and I cherish this time with my boy & wife.
I would shout this from the highest peak,and I don't believe I have anything to prove.  
Less of a man?
Look in a mirror...   
FMLA...It's fun to sing about it