Waterdrops

The other night I was on a plane flying from Newark, New Jersey to Houston, Texas. The flight had actually been delayed several hours due to thunderstorms over the East coast. Once we were finally airborne, I glanced outside the passenger window and became fixated on the red navigation lights flashing from the wing. I peered closer, seeing as how the light illuminated, just for a brief second, the thousands of descending raindrops falling towards the earth. “What a journey they must have, from 25,000 feet” I thought to myself. “A 10 minute free-fall.”

…eventually they must land.

Perhaps atop a small Redbud tree in someone’s backyard. That’s where I noticed these particular drops anyway.

Days after my trip home, I had wandered outside and into the backyard to play fetch with Bonnie when the bright little water beads caught my eye. “Fascinating” I thought. With their odd elasticity, the droplets clung to tiny buds, leaves, and pine needles for dear life, refusing an inevitable fate of being absorbed by the soggy ground below.

From 25,000 feet they had recently fallen, and it was here they had landed; suspended freely above the earth in a perfect balance between gravity and the upward force of a delicate leaf. It was in this brief moment of time I started taking pictures- before the wind or more rain could disturb their fragile resting place. Before the tug of the Earth, with it’s grip on heavy water molecule that began a plight high up in the clouds, could force the droplet to finally fall.

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Signs of Spring

 

Last Summer was miserably hot. I remember the weather guy saying Kansas City had 20 or more days with 100+ degree heat. It was also bone dry. No rain to give the parched earth any relief of the blazing sun.

 

Then, this past winter, three massive snow storms (in March) pounded the midwest, shutting the city down for days on end. Winter was bitter cold and simply refused to leave. Only until this past week did we see and feel the first signs of Spring. And oh how sweet it is!

Redbud and Bradford Pear trees, which I thought might have actually died from the harsh Summer have begun to bud leaves, unfurling from their tiny housing to soak in the Spring sun.

Even Melissa’s small herb garden, planted in a large pot on the deck, showed signs of life. We peeled off a top layer of dead leaves and sticks to reveal green sprouts of lemon thyme, rosemary, mint, basil, and oregano. Even in their infancy, the little shoots and tiny leaves smelled wonderfully of their distinct scents.

 

 

Colorado Road Trip (Part 2)

A weekend trip, at most, consists of a few hours in the car to find a new adventure. Melissa and I took the “weekend get-away” to another level when we drove through Kansas flat-lands for 9 hours until we hit the Rocky Mountains. Specifically, Chautauqua Park as you see below.

Here are a few more pictures from the (now old-school) iPhone 4.

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The weekend we were there was the last weekend before heavy snow-fall in Aspen and surrounding high-elevation ski-towns.

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A view of the “Flatirons” from below.

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Over-looking Boulder, CO from atop a roadside bluff.

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A winding road off of I-70 led us to a trail around 10-11,000 feet.

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Glacier lake in the summer. Off in the distance, not pictured, a naked man with his 4 large dogs jumped from a cliff into the ice-cold waters below. Just sayin’…

My Babies!!!

The last week of my life I have patiently awaited the arrival of my new-born babies to appear. Finally they have!

Meet my new grass.

It’s hard to describe my life before these little ones became a part of it. When I first met them, on a cool morning late this week, I immediately fell in love

There is some truth to how proud I am of the hard-earned money and time spent to have some additional blades of grass break through a dusty clump of ground where the Summer drought sucked the life out of the earth. Here are some pictures.

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Some little frog hair.

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You can make it little guys, push through!

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My yard becoming alive once again. Fescue and Kentucky Blue grass.

A Buzzard’s Life and Mine

 

Earlier today I drove down the highway on my way to see a client for work. I passed through the city until the buildings turned into fields. This particular client was located in a town called Grain Valley, Missouri. An RV dealership no-less; About 40 minutes away.

With this much “windshield time” as we call it in sales, I get ample opportunity to listen to the radio and collect my thoughts.

Today my thoughts wandered.

I looked up from behind the wheel to see a buzzard high up in the sky circling. Probably searching for some carcass to eat…

“How nice,” I thought, “would it feel to be that bird from time to time- completely unaware and unaffected from real world problems. From the daily grind, work, paying bills, grocery shopping, managing a crammed calendar of events, stress. From the constant curveballs of life in general! He just floats way up there, feeling the wind through his feathers- never to deal with the complexities and pressures of our fast-paced and judgmental society. Simplicity and peace. To him, he merely exists. To him, that is enough.

I smiled to myself, thinking of the buzzard; Suddenly a bit envious of him.

“What problems does he have?” I thought next.

I came to realize he has a lot. Then my feelings started to change…

I really started thinking about it- Every day this bird wakes up just to try to stay alive. To battle heat or bone-chilling cold weather, to find something to eat or drink (if it’s lucky). To defend himself against predators that want to kill it. This bird lives a life of constant struggle and fear, a life of physical pain- knowing no real emotions and not even aware of his own purpose. Not understanding what could be beyond his own life. Just fight or flight.

A life that goes un-noticed. He feels no love.

If he only knew how easy I really do have it. Wouldn’t this bird laugh? Wouldn’t he mock the life I live?

I go to work and deal with some stress, yes, but I get to wake up knowing I have abundant food, clean water, a beautiful house and am safe from harm. I have healthcare, medicine, education, and opportunity. At every single turn in my existence, there is something or someone to assist me. I am surrounded by love. I have my wife.

It’s not even fair.

Then I smiled to myself once again, but this time thinking of my life. I bet that buzzard would be rather envious of me.

I did think of one exception to the rule though- and that would be the family dog.

Early Mornin’ Fishin’

We put the boats in around 5:45 am on Clinton Lake right outside of Lawrence, KS. The morning was a warm 76 degrees as the sun began to rise through some clouds.

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The water that early was like glass. Getting the boats ready.

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Trolling through some dead timber for bass. Not much luck on this day.

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Barks and Blues

When the city of Prairie Village, KS throws a party called ‘Barks and Blues’, it’s a big deal.

This annual shin-dig features a local blues band and of course, dogs. Hundreds of them. And even more thrilling to experience? Their owners.

If you go thinking people will swoon over your foo-foo dog Checkers, you’re dead wrong. Because no matter how hard you try you will be out-done by these dog lovers. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, either. Let me share a few examples with you…

20120602-093342.jpgAnd this is why your dog Checkers is getting ignored. Meet Miss Sassy, she loves America. She is proudly owned by a man named Santa. Unfortunately you can’t see him in this picture. I’m talking Santa Clause…
20120602-093420.jpgWait, there are two?! Yep. And after making Santa stop to let me take pictures, we noticed Miss Sassy on the left never moved. Or opened her eyes. Or was really even breathing… There’s a good chance she has been dead for a few years actually. The sun glasses make you think she’s ready to party, but she’s not at all.

20120602-093528.jpgI thought this was a clever way to prove you can actually train ANY dog. I give two thumbs up for creativity.

20120602-093619.jpgNow we’re getting to some of the extreme. I’m glad I had a roll of quarters in my pocket for this one, although we saved quite a bit of money because ladies get free admission to the mouth of this sexy DOG.

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We finally found some normal people. Oh wait that’s us. From left to right are our good friends from Colorado Stefanie and Kyle (with their dog Mason), and Melissa and myself with Bonnie.

The Miracle Strawberry

During a rousing game of catch in the backyard, my cousin Michael over-threw me. As the ball rolled to a stop in the grass, I bent down to pick it up when suddenly a little tiny… strawberry? caught my eye.

“Dude Mike, look at this.” I said. He ran over to check it out. My next door neighbor was putting chicken on the grill and shouted “What is it?!” We all peered down at the tiny rogue plant. Then my neighbor enlightened me of the epic journey of the berry. And so it began…

Apparently 3 years ago, a garden of strawberries were planted several houses down. The plants grew and eventually bore fruit. For one reason or another, the berries were replaced with something else and life moved on.

During the time the berries were harvested many summers ago, a bird or other small woodland creature, a fat squirrel perhaps, took pleasure in eating some for himself. Sneaky bastard. Hours later, he would need to poop. The pile (so to speak) landed in our yard. As did the seed.

Through harsh seasons, the seed would survive. It outlasted gruesome lawn mower blades, foot traffic, and curious dogs. It outlasted frost, blazing sun, and fertilizer. Against all odds it sprouted and rose from the ground to seek the light of day. It would be a shining example of survival and the relentless pursuit to grow into a big-boy plant. Let life lesson be applied little berry. Hats off to you.

I say seasons, plural, because it takes 2 years for a strawberry plant to produce fruit. First time growers learn this the hard way. Indeed, this plant has endured a lot to have delivered to us what has been coined for 24 hours now in human history as “The Strawberry Miracle”.

Now, here’s where you have the great opportunity to apply this story metaphorically to your own life. Please choose from one or more of the following:

1. Carpe Diem
2. Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go
3. No pain no gain
4. Difficulties mastered are opportunities won
5. Believe in yourself
6. He who conquers himself is mighty
7. Don’t sweat the small stuff
8. A great man is always willing to be little
9. A person starts to live when he can live outside himself
10. Do your best

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PS- an alternative post title that Cousin Michael suggested: “From Feces to Food, The Story of a #2 becoming #1”

Puppy Problems at the Park

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The weather has been so nice that I decided to meet Melissa and Bonnie at a park for lunch. I took this picture while I was leaving the parking lot. Happy little pup.

Now here comes the rant…

We get there and sit down at a picnic table and peacefully begin to eat lunch. Besides the old dude slouched on a park bench near the children’s jungle gym shirtless, obese, and drenched with sweat, all was well.

Fast forward 3 minutes: a woman with a few kids shows up. By a few I mean 10. I think an entire 2nd grade class left school to come to this park. They sit right behind us and start screaming because Bonnie is licking their legs. More ladies and kids show up. They begin surrounding us completely. They are all afraid of Bonnie.

I should point out there are probably 6 other areas they could have chosen to sit. Another couple near us whose cute pup was playing with Bonnie was told by the moms they needed to tie up their dog. It was scaring the kids.

THEN GO TO ANOTHER TABLE! I was so annoyed by the ridiculousness that we got up and left. You’re a parent and your precious baby is scares of a 10 pound dog, then don’t run up to a table with a) people already there and, b) with dogs. I just don’t understand the thought process here. I guess that’s what happens when you have kids, right parents?