Monday, August 31, 2009

Making me smile

There is a blog I used to read where once a week she would recap the things that brought a smile to her face. I would like to start something similar. In the past 5 days, these are four written things that have caught my eye and made me smile.

"The Vest inflates around me and vibrates at varying frequencies, which helps stimulate the cilia in my lungs to release the mucus and "shake" it out. Then I get to cough it up and spit it into tissues. It's awesome." - a friend describing life with cystic fibrosis.

"Day 1 with the kids and we've already got an ER visit under our belts."- a friend who is taking over the custody of her sister's kids.

"I am getting ready to help my wife get ready to help our daughter get ready for her first day of kindergarten." - my brother.

"I just finished getting ready for school dry run. Not going to cry, okay maybe a little, by myself, locked in the bathroom." My sister in law regarding the same situation.

DVC art

Pleasant Hill, CA

I went to campus today to buy my books and find my classroom. I'm taking a class in the art department (intro to black & white photography - required for OT grad school). I stumbled upon this in my wondering around.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A dog's healer

Once there was this dog. He was a beautiful golden lab that glistened in the sun as it ran and played. He was discovered at the pound by this beautiful woman who thought he was perfect for her and so she took him home. This woman loved this dog. She took him to the park, and on walks and fed him all of the right treats. He loved this woman and did as much as he could to make her happy. He thought he was being the best dog for her. One day this woman decided she wanted a different dog. She took a knife and cut the dog's stomach open and put it outside.

Surprisingly, the dog didn't die. It limped away wounded. Over time, this dog started to heal. He was able to walk normally, bark normally and give kisses only a dog could give. And even though the dog had a wound on its belly, it resembled a dog you would want to take home - and various owners did just that.

However, it never worked out.

Some of the dog owners want the dog to bark more. Some wanted him to bark less. Some wanted less slobbery kisses. Some wanted slobbery kisses all the time. One owner already had a dog, and so a that owner had a hard time balancing her feelings between the two dogs. (She was a one dog owner at heart.) And even if all of the playtime, cuddling, and dog kisses were worked out, eventually the dog would cuddle enough up with his new owner for the new owner to see that jagged scar. Some found it disgusting and too difficult to deal with. Some saw that it was healing, but not the way they thought it should heal - so some owners would cut open his belly again.

As other owners were cutting up, shunning and discarding this dog, one beautiful black haired woman watched from a distance. She had never owned a dog before and wasn't quite sure how to handle him. Not only that, but she wasn't looking for that type of dog. She had always wanted a Jack Russel Terrier. However, that aside, she watched this dog from a distance.

One day, after his last owner had thrown him out and moved far away from him, this beautiful black haired woman came to the dog and sat near him. Eventually the golden yellow lab came and sat next to her. Feeling courageous, the dog gave the woman a soft puppy kiss. She didn't reject him or tell him he was a bad dog, nor did she demand more from him. She merely looked and him and smiled. She patted his head and stroked his side.

The lab scampered off, but came back later. Each time the lab came, the woman welcomed him with open arms. Each time he scampered off she would not worry. He wasn't really the dog she was looking for. Then one weekend the dog came and stayed by her side all weekend long. She petted his head and sides and stroked her his belly. When she got to the scar she wasn't put off. She didn't try to recut it so it would heal differently. She didn't try to ignore it and pretend it wasn't there. She merely just worked around it. And the dog loved her for it.

As the weekend drew to the close, she took the lab in her lap. She scratched it a little more. She turned down to it and said, "You're not the dog I'm looking for and I know I'm not the owner you are looking for, but you are welcome to stay as long as you need. I will tend to you just as you are tending to me." At that point she pulled up her shirt a bit and revealed a scar across her belly that was jagged and healing. And then the dog realized how lucky he was. This new owner won't cut him for she knew the pain that came from the cut. And so the dog remained, for as long as he needed, with this new woman. He wasn't the dog she was searching for and she wasn't the owner he wanted to be leashed to for eternity. But for now they were perfect for each other as they healed one another.


Antioch, CA

This is Mimi. She is my other new dog roommate. Today at 6:30 as I was leaving, I found her in the front yard. I brought her in. When I got back at 7 she was sitting out side my bedroom door. She came and laid with me on my bed as I watched T.V. I think she was just lonely.

(BTC - For Nina)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

California State Fair

Sacramento, CA

I went with some friends to the California State Fair today.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Reflective sunset

Vallejo, CA

I went to a bar B Q for the Cal Maritime Bookstore employees tonight. It is a pretty good place to get sunset and water shots.

(BTC One and Two)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My magic trunk

Oakley, CA

At work today we had a box someone had dropped off full of free stuff. There was a selection of snout costumes. I took the two types of costumes and disguised my snout. This was my friends' favorite.

(BTC - Other Snout costumes)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cinnamon Apple

Antioch, CA

For the last few days I've been craving a cinnamon strussel. This is not it. But in trying to find a pastry store the last few days I did stumble across this today. I'll have one today and one for breakfast on Thursday.

The Kingdom process

My mind, for the last several weeks, has been wrapping around the idea of Building the Kingdom. There are several blogs that I read that ask the question: What am I doing today to build the Kingdom of God? For several weeks, I've been asking the simpler question - how are kingdoms built?

It may surprise you to know that there aren't a whole lot of websites dedicated to building a kingdom. There isn't a "Building Kingdoms for Dummies" book I could borrow from the library. There is much in the history books that talk of kingdoms of past and present, but each article or book refers to kingdoms as they are and not as they became.

For example, the Kingdom of Scotland was united by King Cinead I in 843 (according to wiki). Who made him king is a little fuzzy and how he came to create the Kingdom of Scotland, which in turn became the United Kingdom, also is very hard to understand. However, for the purposes of this discussion, King Cinead I did not leave behind any details of his kingdom. He merely created the dynasty that ruled that island.

This trip into history lead me very uninformed. I still don't understand how kingdoms are created. However, in the course of this research I discovered what some of the parts of the kingdom are and how some people went about expanding their kingdoms.

One of the first mentioned components of a kingdom was a king. There is a man leading the way. Occasionally there were queens leading the way where I think it was then called a Queendom (but I couldn't confirm that. I did however read reports that if a King fell by way of violent defeat, the queen was either killed as well or forced into a new marriage with the person that just stained his sword with her deceased husband's blood). Once the king was in place he made assignments to those in his kingdom. (Interesting to me, there was no one that placed themselves in an honorable position. Those positions were appointed by the king. It reminded me of Hebrews 5:4.) Rules were established and ways to enforce them were created. Al of this was done as the king oversaw.
The next component was minions or peons. What good is being king if there is no one is below you. So the next component of being king was to have people to rule over. Kingdoms I assume started with a base group of people. For the purposes of this post - let's say it was 12 families. These 12 families listened intently to what the king proclaimed and went about trying to do it. Some did this out of fear but others did this out of love for the king. The king was someone most believed was leading them with their best intentions at heart (if he wasn't he might have to deal with a revolution and those were never fun). We'll talk about expansion in a second, but it is safe to say that as those in the kingdom grew, the role of the king grew and the duties and responsibilities grew for those who were on the counsel of the king.
The last component I found that commonly ran through the Kingdoms I read about was having buildings. The King had his place - often a castle with a throne. The people immediately below the king had their places - the west wing of the kingdom occasionally. Then those below had shacks, small homes, tents and caves. The Kingdom encompassed these smaller establishments. Unless you include the farm land, most of these encampments were included within a castle wall or at least somewhere that was protected from an enemy. At the center of these castle enclosures was a place for the king to meet with the people. It was a place for entertainment, instruction, and enlightenment. It was a place to come and be instructed by the king and to laugh with him as well (usually at the expense of a prisoner and some wild underfed animal). There could be one or several castles within a kingdom.

There seemed to be a lot of reasons for expansion. Some times there would be a group of smaller Kingdoms that would group up to fight off a larger kingdom. There was some kings that measured their success by the size of their kingdoms (which I'm sure is where the comment "It's not the size but what you do with it" comes from - as some kings had huge kingdoms that turned into empires that are now just a footnote in a history book), and so those kings would invade other places, slaughter those that resisted and expand the borders. (according to Malcomb Reynolds it isn't always a good idea to fight against those trying to form an alliance or those expanding their borders)
Another reason for expansion was immigration. And this really has been where my mind has been at for the last few weeks. People came to a kingdom because they liked what it had to offer. the kings rules were fair, just, and merciful. The people liked each other and cared for their neighbors. They were people you wanted to live near. Throngs of people would leave an oppressed place, land or kingdom and give everything they had to be somewhere where they felt they belonged - somewhere inviting. Somewhere that brought peace to their souls and hearts.

As congregations in the US shrink, I wonder about the building up of Christ's Kingdom. There is a King. There are places to go for safety. There are chapels and temples that are available to sit at our one Instructor's Feet and be taught. There are wholesome recreational activities within the kingdom walls (roadshows, choirs, pageants, and even beaches and mountains near by). We have the components for the building of His Kingdom. So my thought are with the reasons why people are immigrating away from this Kingdom and to another or others.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Name that spider

Oakley, CA

Does anyone know what type of spider this is? It was at least an inch and a half big. I had never seen this type of spider before.

Personal Ministry

I was looking for something else on Cindy's blog today when I came upon this post. In it she references a talk by Bonnie D. Parkin. Bonnie D. Parkin discusses the role of Personal Ministry in our lives. (well technically she was discussing the idea in the lives of women...but I'm going to include myself for now.)

Parkin's definition is important, so I'll start there:

“The work of the ministry is to do the work of the Lord on the earth—to represent the Lord among the people . . . The chosen servants and appointed officers in the Church of Jesus Christ are put on earth by him to conduct the work necessary for the salvation of mankind.”Clearly, ministering is a holy, even sacred word. When priesthood leaders speak of personal ministry, they often refer to the ministry of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and the miraculous things He did in our behalf."

Furthermore she states:

"Now, let’s think for a minute about why we minister to one another. One of the reasons is because we have made covenants to do so. Alma taught us that we entered into a covenant with the Lord at the time of our baptism. We specifically committed 'to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light . . . and . . . mourn with those that mourn . . . and comfort those that stand in need of comfort.'”

I am especially drawn to that last part as it pertains to my personal ministry. I'm a regular Jekyll and Hyde when it comes to this. An example - There is a dear friend I have that lives near me. Often when we are out driving I will ask her what she is thinking or how she feels. Some days I really do mean it and look for ways to lighten her load or comfort her if she stands in need of comfort. However, some days I'm just asking because there is nothing on the radio and I'm trying to break up the silence.

During this past week, Melinda's sister posted a blog about how their other sister is having family problems and is in need of someone to carry the burden of the children. In the past, I have been totally supportive of this sister and Melinda and I even discussed her delaying her mission to help this sister with her kids. This week, however, I was combative - suggesting the sister stop burdening her family with her kids. It wasn't my place - but I did it anyway. And I felt sorry later.

In case you haven't noticed - I haven't written for about 6 weeks. I haven't felt like writing but more appropriately, I haven't felt like much of anything. Several of my friends say I'm depressed. Maybe. But I think I'm more off my path. Prior to Idaho, I was in tune to either the spirit or to Karma. I knew when to ask if others needed help and I knew to act. Except for about a year of Idaho, I resembled that say pre-Idaho person. (I went on a date with a girl in 2005. She couldn't get away fast enough. In 2006, when I broke my wrist, she was one of the first in to offer help. She explained to a roommate the change "He's not the same angry Sean in 2005. This year he cares.")
Since being back from Idaho, though, I have increasingly been not caring about others. In moments of quiet reflection it saddens me. It saddens me that I'm not in a place to feel those promptings and it saddens me that I'm not willing to act even if I do feel those promptings. I'm afraid I may have put my personal ministry on vacation.

Cindy's blog comments on

"And suddenly, I knew exactly what it is that I need to be doing right now, at this singular time in my life - while I do not yet have the commitment of husband, family, or even boyfriend or fiancé, and therefore have more time to work on myself. The ark that I need to build is this: Discovering, and fulfilling, my personal ministry."

I too am not committed to a wife, girlfriend, fiance or family. I have some time to rediscover my personal ministry and fulfill it. I hope I can become better at comforting those that stand in need of comfort and mourning with those that mourn. I hope I can do better at not burdening those who are not in need of burdens.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Back to the playground

Brentwood, CA

I finished a project at work (1 week ahead of schedule) and just needed to go for a drive at lunch. I ended up at the playground from April. I took about 15 more shots. I don't think I will ever tire of this spot.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

New phone

Antioch, CA

I got a new phone this week. It is really great. I can now have conversations that last longer than 4 minutes. Nina called earlier this week and we talked for 30 minutes with no problems. It was great.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Poker winner

San Leandro, CA

I haven't played in like 8 months. I returned to the same table I used to play with. Usually I'm 5th one out. But not tonight. Tonight I went all the way. I beat Finn and Jonathan. It was awesome.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A burning in Pittsburg

Pittsburg, CA
I was all set to give you an update on the etch-a-sketch progress I've been making. But then tonight at 11:00 PM Wall's Rentals and the old Piedmont Lumber went up in smoke. They had fire trucks from every city near by and two ladder trucks.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

chicken sandwich

Oakley, CA

For the last two trips to Lumpy's my waitress has convinced me to "think outside the box" and "get away from only having a hamburger." Today she talked me into this chicken sandwich. She has yet to talk me out of my Coke, though.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Antioch, CA

There was a time in my life when I used to play games weekly. I haven't touched these since at least Christmas.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Oakley, CA

I had a customer blow a solenoid last month and I just got around to fixing it tonight. Wiring is one aspect I don't enjoy dealing with in this job. There are so many variables. First I checked the connections to make sure it wasn't a loose wire. Then you check to see if it is one of the channels on the timer that's out. Then you check to make sure it's not the wire. Then you check to make sure it's not the valve. Then, then you replace the solenoid and you hope that solves it. Which it did. All in all it took an hour.

Monday, August 17, 2009

been busy all day

Oakley, CA

With half of Contra Costa County's fire department off fighting the Corral Fire and the Lockheed Fire, these guys have been pretty busy covering for other units.

Post 800, 799 pictures since day 1.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday Evening at the ball park

San Jose, CA

(BTC one, two, three)

Hurt - my Other great Quality

It never ceases to impress me. I write a frank and honest report on my life, I disable the comments, and I get 4 e-mails. I write a funny post about me combining the technology of a writing instrument and the technology of a walking instrument and not a soul comments. Oh well.

Two of the four e-mails contained the phrase “I knew you were in pain, I just didn’t realize it was this much pain.” And I looked at what I wrote and I’m just shocked that people consider that pain. I wake up in pain almost every day that doesn’t even touch the need to have a friend at church or the chance to have someone get close to me and not have God take her away.

I still remember a lot of the trips to the psych wards to visit my mother. I remember the blood from her wrists that stained the vomit from her stomach (her stomach rejected the bottle of Tylenol she took which probably saved her life yet destroyed her liver) during that first attempt. I remember the other attempts as if they were yesterday. I remember the yelling and screaming that comes from a depressed parent raging out of control at a 15 year old boy who just wants his mom to feel better, followed by days of a mom locked in her room and my father and I tip toeing through the house not to upset her more. I remember feeling guilty each time because I wasn’t able to stop her pain. I wasn’t able to see the signs of a coming attempt and stop it. I wasn’t able to do anything to make life easier.

Occasionally people would come by the house and inquire about my mom. My job was to run interference. Find out what they wanted, give them the answer they wanted to hear, and send them on their way. I don’t actually know how many people I’ve lied to. I don’t know who even knows a portion of what those years were like.

I remember in college I had a girlfriend named Sara who thought she could help. She begged me to open up to her. I refused. I refused. And I refused. Right before Winter Break, I relented and told her. She broke up with me over the phone during the break.

Somewhere along the line I developed an anger management problem and when I couldn’t fix stuff or I couldn’t stop bad from happening to my mother or others, I would punch walls, ceilings and my truck. KNJ-P suggested I seek help. I did through LDS 12 step. Step 4 is to make a written inventory of your life. I did. Step 5 is to share this with one other person. I chose KNJ-P. I made it a fourth of the way into the report before she stopped me. She couldn’t handle any more. She asked me to never share again – and I never did.

I all at once hate God and yet feel blessed by Him. I am allergic to alcohol. I will go into anaphylactic shock if I drink it down. I have really bad asthma where I started coughing just around the second hand smoke of certain cigarettes. Because of these ailments, I was never able to turn to drugs to forget my world. Some days though – it would be really nice to just forget. Instead, each day I wake up with these and a host of other memories that are too horrible for me to write. Beyond a God who always takes, I also hurt for a God that gave me a childhood full of parental suicide attempts, heartbreak, openly lying and sorrow. When does the plan of happiness kick in? Or the plan of Mercy? Or maybe even just a loving Heavenly Father hearing the tearful pleadings of a young boy asking for hell to be over? According to the bible dictionary – prayer is the act of getting our will to be in line with the will of God. When I prayed I prayed for my personal hell to end. It never came about. Was His will (the one I never lined up with) to show me only a life of Hell?

bitter - my greatest attribute

Overall, I had a very pleasant experience in Seaside. I loved how the beach was like a mile from the roads and so you could stand on the beach and feel...alone. Away from those that judge you or hold you to a higher standard. I loved being near Nina and meeting her friends and being in my hotel room and having new places to explore. However, there came a moment that I didn't enjoy.

On the last day, Nina said that I was more bitter at the world than I was when we were dating nearly 2 years ago. She said that I was always bitter, but before I was able to point out the good and the bad and now, I see more bad than any light of good. I wanted to point out that bitter was my most attractive quality, but I doubt she would have believed me.

When I was hiking with Katie several months ago, she mentioned on the hike that I seem to know a lot of people that have had a hard life. She is right. I have several friends that have been raped, abused, had to deal with chronic disease, lost a parent/spouse prematurely, and various other tragedies. She, on the other hand, didn't seem to know a lot of people going through hell. I wonder if that is because for the most part she is a very happy person and so she attracts happy people. Am I attracting the bitter?

I haven't written Melinda for 3 months. She still writes me every week, despite my lack of detail to my side of the correspondence. (Today she actually sent me a self addressed stamped envelope to reply with.)

I'm not sure what to say to her. I'm not sure anything I say isn't going to hurt.
On, one of the characteristics they use to describe yourself has to do with religion. One option is spiritual but not religious. I've come to think I'm the opposite. I'm religious but not spiritual any more.

As we sat in the hot tub Saturday night, I was rubbing Nina's shoulders when in walked 3 couples, in from Seattle for a weekend of wind surfing. In the course of discussion - it was brought up that Nina and I attended BYUI in Idaho. This resulted in a slew of questions about Mormons. Nina let me answer all of them. And I could. In a perfect understanding of basic beliefs and temple marriage and even that mysterious Mormon underwear - I was able to answer every question. I've studied my scriptures. I know the answers. I know how to explain it. However, some days I don't believe a word of it. We call it the plan of happiness, but at times I see nothing happy about it. I understand the doctrine but I don't see a lot of it in my life.

There is a blog I read where in the girl often comments on finding the man of her dreams - the man she thought she would never find. She got married less than a week after turning 20! In a few short months I will turn 31. On Friday a dear friend got married. She and I had known each other in good and in bad since Elementary School. On several occassions, she said I was so fun to be with, but we couldn't date because I couldn't take her to the temple.

What is it about that one quality that defines a person? You can be funny, chaming, caring and sweet. You can visit people in the hospital, donate to charity, volunteer your time in the service of God. You can even drive other people to the temple and wait patiently outside while they do the work they choose to do inside - yet because you cannot go in you are as bad as Satan himself.

I realize there are starving children in China, and there are people so sick they can't get out of bed, and there are people who have to suffer the indignity of not being able to wipe their own ass. However, this is my blog so this next part is going to be about me and my struggles.

I was happy with Lanae. We were in love. We had fun. The sex was great. Then my bishop told me that with God I would find greater happiness. I ditched the lutheran girl that was "slowly taking me to hell" and tried to serve my God. I was granted a 4 month mission before that was taken away. Then my mother died when I was still in my early 20s. Then the Lord told KNJ-P that her time would be better served on a mission instead of marrying me. Melinda and I started to get close, Mission. Since being on her mission, a temple marriage has started to matter more and my inabilities matter more.

Why does the Lord constantly take away? Don't tell me it is in response to my worthiness for blessings. My father has left the church, gets giddy everytime the church gets sued and secretly hopes for the Mormon church to lose their none profit status. He just went from one successful relationship to another where is is constantly happy. Brother left the church, married and happy most of the time. They are unworthy of their blessings according to the doctrine yet they have been blessed. But me, He keeps on taking. Where is the happiness in this plan?

Until KNJ-P I didn't really want a temple marriage. Not because I can't get there but because I want my dad and my brother at my wedding. We have been through so much and have had to rebuild our relationships several times. I don't want to have to balance the new world of being married with the world of rebuilding in the same year. This is logical in my mind. But others say "Why aren't you putting God first over family?" My question to that is - why does God wish to break up my family with my wedding? It should be a joyous occasion - not one where we exclude those who aren't of our faith. If we are going to do that - we might as well be like the polygamous cult in Texas that we try so hard to seperate our selves from.

At church on Sunday, I showed up on time and sat in the back, like I always do. I have long legs and a big belly and I like to stretch out. No one comes to sit next to me. No one passes me notes or whispers in my ear something funny or entertaining. Instead, like almost every week of church since leaving Idaho, I sit being lectured from the pulpit about how I don't measure up. I get lectured about how, even though I wasn't the one who ate the fruit in the garden, I am paying for that fall every day of my life. The effects of the fall and my inability to over come that is all I hear about. Where is the plan of happiness when all I get at church is the lecture and not even a friend to sit near me and pass notes?

When I was 23 my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Within 8 months I watched her lose 150 pounds and become a shell. And then she was in miserable pain for the last several months. Then she died. She raised me to not only believe in God and Jesus Christ, but she also taught me to believe in the Mormon church. And then He took her from me. I wasn't looking for borrowed testimony. I'm looking for someone to go to when the rain clouds aren't just gathering but when the rain doesn't seem to be stopping any time soon; when treading water is just too much and I need a place to stand for just a moment. Just one damn moment.

But He just keeps taking those people away. Mom, Lanae, KNJ-P, Melinda, Nina and whomever is next. And all I can do is watch. When is the plan of Happiness kicking in?

While walked the streets of Cannon Beach, Nina held my hand. When requested, she would kiss my cheeck. It was fleeting. I knew by Tuesday she'd be gone, yet it was so nice to have someone want to hold my hand and and choose to kiss me. In church on Sunday we sat together and she whispered in my ear doctrine and the funny. We passed notes and for the first time in a very long time - I had a friend at church and a place to be that was not bitter.

And then the next day, she told me I was bitter. And like that, life was back to where the Lord wants me.

I so badly want to write to Melinda, but how do I tell her, a girl on a mission for the Mormon church who is telling people the joy that comes from the plan of happiness, that I don't believe any more that it is such a plan of happiness? At least for me.

And because of that - I'm a little bitter. And I'm not sure there is any thing left I can do to fix it. And I know He won't. He only takes.

I'm Moving

This is the last one of these I will do for a while. I promise. From here on out I will go back to happy Sean, or at least happier Sean.


I’m moving. This will be the third move in a little less than a year. The third time boxes will be loaded, labeled and stored. This is the third time I will look at the stuff in my life and wonder – why do I own so much and what of it do I treasure? The reasons for this move are not nearly as practical as my last two.

A year ago, John got evicted from his place, and because I was renting a room from John – I left too. In December I was asked to leave Karma and Phil’s place because they felt I was disrespectful. I didn’t mow the lawn the direction they wanted. I didn’t clean the bathroom every day. I didn’t eat her food even though she was the, self proclaimed, best chef in the world. (I feel it is important to mention here that at Thanksgiving, three of her children approached me and were surprised I had lasted as long as I had.)

This move is different. The people I live with are happy to have me. They don’t care if I opted out of food and go to Carl’s Juniors. I have no responsibilities when it comes to gardening or mowing. I’ve been asked to clean the bathroom often with “often” being a relative term.

So why am I moving?


I was the youngest of two growing up. From age 14 on, I don’t remember my brother being around much, so for the last few years, I was an only child. I was at home to watch the depression cycles take their toll on my mom, and then on my dad and I. One aspect of the cycles were deep seated fights and arguments. Even when I had done nothing wrong, I had felt I had. The several day long screaming matches were followed by trips to the psych wards and to ICUs where restraints were used to prevent further damage. For better or worse, I was often at my mother’s bedside in these scary and terrifying places. From the various wards, I still have very distinct memories of some of my mother’s roommates – people who were there to stop the voices, the attempts, or the internal pain. As my comfort level around them grew – I began to imagine the day I would some day be in there with them.


It’s no secret that I’m a candleholder. For KNJ-P of old. For Melinda of old. For Nina of anytime.

Nina and I discuss. We don’t really yell at each other. KNJ-P hated confrontation and used to write me letters when she felt a conflict in our two year relationship. Melinda is on the quiet side any way, so arguing wasn’t really her thing at all.


The children I live with are constantly yelling and screaming at each other. The ten year-old on more than one occasion came in and asked for a different little brother because he is annoyed with the one he’s got. Little brother (7) will come into defend himself only to have a screaming match ensue. Or at 7 AM, the 13 year-old and the 10 year-old will go at it over who gets the milk first.

I know not if this is typical. I just know what it brings to mind. I doubt any of those three children will go and kill themselves over the statements of others, but I remember those times when they did lead to slit wrists. I remember this almost every time.


My landlady came in to day and asked why I was leaving. I told her it was because the kids were loud and that I couldn’t handle it any more. She tried to tell me that kids are loud and it is part of being in a family. She’s right. I know she is. But loud fights and loud screaming – it brings up a memory of a different family: One that keeps me up at nights.

She then asked me when I had decided it was time to go. Seaside, I responded. While that answer was adequate for her, I think it needs more. As I sat in my room or as Nina and I laid on the bed watching TV, there was one common thread. There was no yelling, no screaming, no lowering someone else below themselves in loud tones. And for a brief few days – I thought of being happy again. There were no thoughts of suicide only thoughts of breathing – now and for a really long time.


In about 5 months, Melinda comes home. She recently commented on how it is only 5 more months till we can be together.

More than not being temple worthy, or having doubts about my religion, I fear her arrival because I know her desires. She wants to start a family; Our family. She wants four children. And I just don’t think I can. Because what happens when they won’t stop yelling at each other?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Empty house

Pittsburg, CA

The move is finally over. Now I can go back to sleep; Eating real meals; not sneezing every 5 seconds; not killing black widows; dealing with my own move.

Friday, August 14, 2009

moving someone else

Pittsburg, CA

I helped move my friends Bill and Marsha tonight. In fact, I helped them move Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and will be back here Saturday. Then - at some future date - I will drive my own truck to Utah with their stuff. Good times.

Now if I may rant for a few minutes...I believe that service is a good thing and that you should give service as your time allows, but not as your heart dictates. If you have 4 hours to work, come give 4 hours and work as those that are in charge direct. No matter if you do nothing but move dirt from one place to another, I feel that as long as you are serving as those in charge direct, you will receive a reward. (My dad believes in Carma and believes that good Carma will be brought back onto you. I believe that when you are in the service of your fellow being you are in the service of your God. I believe that as I serve my God he will bless me.)
On Thursday night there was a man who came to work. In the Mormon church he would be called the High Priest group leader. As the night progressed I had some other names for him, which I won't share. This man was constantly telling Bill that it wasn't worth packing certain items and that they should get thrown away. Sometimes when Bill wasn't looking he would throw stuff in the truck. (I would dig out some of it). This HPGL is in Finance. He is not a radio engineer and he sure as heck is not one of the top radio engineers for one of the UC schools in the area. And so while it may look like junk to him, these items are stuff Bill needs. Your job, when you come to do service, is to provide the assistance that is asked of you, not to sort the pile for what you think is valuable. This guy and I exchanged comments on a few other points and it won't be long enough before I see him again. And if I ever move again, I'm sure as hell not inviting him. I do however, would like to go over to his house when he moves, and throw away his crap.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Kentucky Bound

Antioch, CA

For 18 months now all I have heard about was Melinda's desire to go to Kentucky. When she opened her mission call he was so excited that her mission including Kentucky. When she first got out in the field - there was only one area in Kentucky for Sisters and she was anxous to go. Then they closed that area and I got a letter saying how sad she was. Then they opened 2 sister areas in Kentucky but president told her she didn't talk enough to go to either one of them. Well guess what. I got a letter today telling me that for what she thinks is her last area - she's going to Kentucky. I hope it is everything she thinks it will be because I think it's going to look a lot like Tennessee.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Quarters for cholesterol

Oakley, CA
After the ride on Monday, I kept waiting for the hurt to kick in. It never did. It turns out 6 miles - on a bike with low tires, squeeky breaks, and a need-to-be-lubed chain - isn't too much for me and thus I don't really need to train for the 10 miler in September. So today I went to back Lumpy's for lunch.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

sunset from a hill

Antioch, CA

I now live on a hill where there are all these great places to take sunset and elevated pictures. Unfortunately, those spots are all owned, so I stood on the sidewalk tonight and tried to get shots between the houses and without trespassing.

Monday, August 10, 2009

birds be drinking

Bencia, CA

Tonight I started training for the charity bike ride. I went to Benicia state park and rode for 6 miles. I saw a 3 foot snake and these guys.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sorting out

Antioch, CA

Yesterday I sorted through my books and my clothes and am getting rid of three boxes of each. However - some books I'm not ready to part with yet.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

just a tip of sun

Vallejo, CA

Tonight I went and saw Tom Rigney and the Flambeau at the Cal Martitime Summer Concert. With cajun and zydeco music in the back ground I watched this beautiful sunset.

**edit** For those that are curious (cough dad cough) - the sun is setting behind Mare Island.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Amy in a pinch

Vallejo, CA

The definition on a good friend: Someone who is willing to be your Photo of the day when you suddenly realize at 10:45 that oh crap you forgot to take a picture and only have 75 minutes left.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

New 4 legged roommate

Antioch, CA

This has got to be the friendliest pit I've ever met.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The cheeseburger I'm going to miss

Brentwood, CA

On Monday my help was requested. In late September I will ride my bike for team BORP not Bombs. The fundraiser is an effort by BORP to raise money. BORP provides competitive and recreational sports for people with disabilities. (I used to be an assistant coach for their Power Soccer program).
Next week I'll start training for the bike ride which means days where beauties like this are enjoyed are going to be less often. I'm glad to help BORP, but I'll miss burgers from Lumpy's.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

coming along

Antioch, CA

Now I just need to sort stuff and throw stuff away.

Monday, August 3, 2009

left over tomatoes

Antioch, CA

I love french fries and ketchup.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Vallejo, CA

While technically I'm moved out of my storage units and moved into my house, I can't find my floor or bed, so I'm staying in Vallejo for a few more days. Each Saturday night a semi tractor parks in the drive way. Today I went out to photograph it.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

returning to nature

Near Vallejo, CA

This is my mother & father's former couch. My parents were always really good about taking in strays - children whose parents' didn't know how to relate to them My parents worked hard to create a safe environment where my friends and my brother's friends could go if they needed some where safe.
Today, helping me move, were two young men that have a place that they go when life at home gets too intense. After Goodwill turned down my parents' old couch one of these two young men asked if they could have it for their hang out. I said sure. So we moved the couch into this wooded area and now (and until the first rain) they have a place to sit in comfort and wait for the world calm down.