Friday, February 27, 2009

What kind of Poet Shall Be?

A Neal Cassady, who prefers to throw his energies at life and only writes during the small pauses between experience. A poet whose main job is to experience life and further its vision. His material shall only come from real life. He would not develop worlds of fantasy, as this would take away from his living. He would speak like Whitman and Buddhists. No rules but sharp everyday language. Even business language, yea even the tactical warrior's language. It shall not be stories, mere moments. A collection of shards of glass, that together amount to a broken kind of beauty. Sometimes there will be seasons where he is unproductive, where the clouds interfere with his divine reception, and all that echoes through his empty mind and soul is the wind. He would be at times a mischief maker, not of any substance that could stand up firm against judgement. Like Russell Edson, he'd get kicks from throwing bricks into people's window of reality. Sometimes he'd be more subtle and place something onerous at the door and giggle in the bushes. A mystic child becomes a holy goof, a holy goof becomes an eccentric saint. But he can be deathly serious too. So enthralled by zeal for that unreachable, that heaven, that place that lies beyond the veil and casts its shadow and escapes its laughters into our prison world. He'd nurse a habit: a yearning to keep apace with life and youth and the vigor of mind's vision, constantly on his knees pleading for dreams and signs, he cannot focus for the length of a whole life's story, a novel is always out of reach, and undesirable. Though he occasionally reads novels so powerful they amount to a beating, he is also familiar with haikus that are as efficient as a fatal stab. Though he is sympathetic to a mother's lullabye, he is in awe of Jesus' three charged words "Lazarus come forth" and if the poet can only three words speak, that are half as charged with the Eternal charge as these, his mission would be complete. The real fruit of his art is his life. The writing is only refuse. Eiffer und abfall nur eiffer und abfall.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

the pump

For the past 3 days and for the first time in a long time I have run similar to the running I did in cross country practice in high school. And if you have any doubts of a runner's high, I definitely felt it. Not quite the same as a body building rush but watch Arnold talk about the pump: lol :)
Anyway when I got back into what felt like a steaming living room from the cold air outside and my lungs still heaving, I felt somehow connected to every living being and every living being that ever walked the surface of the earth. I felt the opposition in all things, I felt fragile and sturdy at the same time, eternal and mortal, capable of anything and vulnerable, I felt young and old, I felt alive in my children. Eva was sprinting back and forth on the couch, and she was so rosy cheeked I felt content to die and live vicariously in her inherited spirit. Then I layed on my back and watched my household, the earth, and everything in it go on, and all so beautiful.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Why is the richest man in favor of the "Death tax?

It is always thought-provoking to listen to Buffett. Here he is giving recommendations on the Estate tax or "death" tax. You will see his views on this tax, they do fit in with his overall views on the tax structure which do lean in favor of low earners. It is refreshing to hear developed ideas, based on reality, practical observation, and interaction in the business world, that scratch below the initial contact level of persuasion we were used to hearing during the campaign. No wonder he does not want to be a politician, he has way too much common sense.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Update from the busy week

We had a snow storm last monday so we took the kids out for some fun. We were watching our friends kids for five days, so we all bundled up and enjoyed the great outdoors. Gabe was having a great time in the snow.

I had already finished bathing Gabe. I stuck a diaper on him and let him run around for a while. I kept Eva in the tub longer because she loves playing in it. I went to find Gabe about five minutes after I let him loose and found him back in the bathroom with Eva. She was putting bubbles all over his face and body. They both thought it was the funniest thing in the world.

These two pictures were of Friday night. We had the huge 1st Armored Division military ball. It was in the Kurhaus in downtown Wiesbaden (a gorgeous building). It was fun to get all dressed up and feel like a woman, not a mommy for once. I was looking foward to going thru the whole night without being barfed on, spilled on, peed on, etc. but it was unsuccessful. Some idiot was dancing with a glass of wine and spilled it all down my dress. I was pretty upset. I went thru the rest of the night smelling like alcohol. Besides that, it was a pretty good night.

Last night, some of my girlfriends and I got together and went out to dinner. We had a great time. I'm sure going to miss this bunch of ladies. I love the women in my ward! It will be a very sad day when I leave. I am trying to get as many girl's night outs as possible before I leave. I don't think Hans appriciates it too much, but he's been such a great sport and watches the kids for me. He knows how much these ladies have meant to me. I have had such a wonderful time getting to know my cousin Renee (the woman next to me in the picture) as adults. We have had so much fun. She is one of my dearest friends. I love you Renee!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

thoughts on The Christmas Sweater

Lindsey and I both finished the Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck this week. We both found similarities other than that we both grew up relatively poor. For me, the biggest similarity was the idea of multi-generational sacrifice by divine influence: in the book, the death of certain characters (I dont want to give too much away for those who will read it, so I wont name names) was seemingly a part of the trials given to this young man in order for him to recognize God's love for him and his huge role in changing his perspective to one that is accepting of God's love. For me, my grandparents and great grandmother came to the US at old age, forsaking the option of going to Germany. Although their basic physical needs were provided for in the US after my grandfather could not work anymore, they were deprived of a very real need: friendship and community. They were very much psychologically isolated in the US because of their inability to master English and integrate into the culture/community. It is safe to say their lives were a sacrifice for their daughter and mostly for me. I also had/have a guilt because of this, for not making their lives better, both because I couldn't do much, and because I wouldn't. Like Eddie, I spent a long time in the cornfield - the first 20 years of my life actually. I see the meeting of my wife as a defining moment or culmination in a multi-generational series of inspired events. This was my first taste of why and where the long time in the "cornfield" was leading me to. In order to recognize and appreciate the sunshine, I had to endure a long time in the storm. I have run the "what if" scenarios, what if we had the restored gospel earlier in my life, what a different life it would have been... but it could not have been any other way, and the way it was was the absolute best way (yes I am an LDS version of Candide) because as Eddie discovered in the book, although he didn't cause the trials, he was responsible for getting through them. in other words, what happened was cruel, but God cannot be blamed just because we describe him as all-powerful. In the reality of our existence here, he does not act all-powerfuly all the time. In this mortal stage, he purposefully gave us agency, and if he were to swoop in and make everything better, the agency and plan of salvation would be destroyed. So as Candide would say, it is indeed all for the best, as long as I claim the divine potential in the opportunity God set up for me. If I had rejected my wife and/or the restored gospel, the suffering of my grandparents and great grandmother would have been in vain. And surely I would have been held accountable for this eternal blunder. By making the right choice I have also been able to "fix" things in a way, or at least lessen my guilt by offering my great grandmother and grandparents the blessings of eternal families by doing their temple ordinances. Although I have not clearly received a yes or no answer of acceptance from all parties beyond the vail, I did receive some warm feelings of inspiration from beyond the vail, both in dreams and daytime reflections.

Another obvious sacrifice was that of my own mother, who like Eddie's mom was a single parent. The 18 years of sacrifice for me also would have been in vain had I not made the right choice. She obviously made the right choice by longsuffering for 18 years (that is enduring to the end by any measure) and is only now later in life receiving the blessings she deserves by finally having a happy marriage.

I will let Lindsey post her insights of the book when she gets the time.


Friday, February 13, 2009

An update of our week

I have been laughing all day over this one. We are watching our friends kids for the weekend. Their oldest girl, Camorah, came into my room and said "Miss Lindsey, Gabriel is in the toilet." I told her to just close the lid and he'll get out. Gabe has a bad habit of putting his hands in the toilet. Well, she said "no, he's in the toilet." I didn't quite understand her so I went and took a look myself. This is how we found him. He was perfectly content just sittin' in the toilet. The picture below is hilarious to me. It looks like he's a grown man doing some serious thinking while using the pot. Apparently, before Camorah came to me, she went to Hans and told him and he said the same thing to her..."just close the lid and he'll get out". Neither of us expected this. I have no idea on earth how he got himself in there. Notice how far the stool is from the actual toilet. He climbs on everything. The horrible part of all this is that there was urine in the toilet. Eva apparently forgot to flush. I had just gotten Gabe dressed for the day and everything. So, he got another bath and another clean outfit put on after this experience.

Hans and I just got back from Garmisch, Germany. It's in southern Germany very close to the Austria boarder. In fact, we go thru Austria to get there. It was a marriage retreat put on by the army. It was completely free for us. We left the kids with a friend of ours and took off on Monday morning. We got back yesterday evening. We decided to go skiing in the Alps while we were there. I have only been skiing one other day in my entire life and that was in the poconos, so I don't know if you can count that. Anyway, the day we went, it was snowing like crazy. The snow was very powdery. Hans gave me a few lessons on the beginner slope. They didn't have bunny hills. So, after a few very very hard falls, I got the hang of it. I even went on an intermediate slope quite a few times and didn't fall at all. I have potential! These two pictures were of the beginner slopes. What was frustrating to me was that when I got brave enough to go on the intermediate slope, some little three year old boy was passing me up like it was no big deal. These german kids are crazy. Hans went on the black diamond and he said there were a group of little kids about five or six doing jumps. Isn't that crazy? Hans is a great skier. We had a blast but I am now having a hard time moving any of my muscles. It's a great work-out.

This is of the Neuswanstein castle. We hicked up there one day. I have been there many times, but I'm still in awe everytime I see the place.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Operation: Ear tubes in, adnoids out

Our day began early, we checked in at the hospital at 0730. Before the sedative, Eva was very anxious and grumpy, not wanting to wear her gown and eager to throw fits. The following pictures show what transpired after she was given a sedative.

It's starting to kick in: mommy I feel funny.

Maybe I'll try on that headgear and moonboots.

After the operation, which was fairly quick, she cried and her nasal passages were very congested. The nurse said all the children cry after surgery. But on the way home Gabe decided to lighten the mood with a little trick called: watch me try and shove my foot in my mouth. (no edits, Gabe performs all his own stunts)

Later that afternoon the doctor called to see how she was doing. This was a rare and very nice gesture which Lindsey especially appreciated after receiving less than hospitable service during previous hospital visits. Eva has to go back in tomorrow morning as a final check up.

Monday, February 02, 2009

wrestling and fine art

This is a fun activity, all I have to do is lay down on the rug and they attack.
We left Gabe unnoticed for a little and were surprised when he got into the kitchen cabinet and decided to arrange the dishes into what looks like the beginning of a polynomial graph.