Monday, October 27, 2008


  • I have lately been considering my life and my goals.

    I am not a formal school teacher at the core of my being. I am a daddy, a loving husband, a teacher, a student, a wandering spirit.

    I absolutely must get back into the forest, onto the plains, out on the water, up in the sky again before I go out of my rabbit-assed mind.

    Some of the goals I have written down - and lost track of with the press of events - include
    1. Own and pilot a DC-3. Fly the airplane to Europe and back.
    2. See Macchu Picchu.
    3. Own and wear a hair-out leather coat made from the hide of a cow from my own ranch/farm.
    4. Learn to play the cello.
    5. Play in a recorder consort again.
    6. Get back into the sky - in a square parachute now. Those look like easier landings than the ones I made in my round rigs.
    7. Buy and drive another TR-3, a sweel little small-mouth -3. They only come convertible-topped.
    8. Write and publish a book on the educational values of camp and travel the world promoting the book - and the camp.
    9. Get a blue frapped rope with a square knot tied in it tattooed around my left ankle.

    Come play with me in my camp in the Ozark foothills.
    We'll have archery, riflery, raku pottery, rockets, model airplanes, quilts, haka, ukuleles, lumberjacking, butterfly collecting, mountainbiking, canoeing, arrowsmithing, flint knapping, homemade ice cream, homemade root beer, tree houses, trebuchet contests, stargazing, sundialling, birdhousing gardening. Just kind of fun stuff.

    I'll stop with those right now; my wings are pushing too tightly against my shirt to let me type . . . I'm going to go fly.

    Pax, y'all. And love.

The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields

Driving the truck to work Thursday morning last week (I'm hauling a lot of projects back and forth to my woodshop up there - I have access to bigger tools there), Christoper Hackett, the d.j. on the NPR station announced free tickets for caller number two.

When he mentioned "free tickets," I was already digging, deep, friend. The light had just turned red; I had the number preprogrammed; I punched the button; the light turned green; I missed it; the guy behind me swerved around my parked behind and turned to the right in front of me . . . and I was caller number two.

Kathryn and I have a date tonight to hear some wonderful stuff at Caruth Auditorium on the SMU campus . . . I love their music.

We're debating whether to wear starched western shirts and blue jeans or Sunday-go-to-meetin' clothes. This is the day after spending two nights on an air mattress in a tent at Ladybird State Park in Fredricksburg - that's where we slept during the permaculture workshop. That weekend's sleeping arrangements were a blast from the past. Mariachi music from the north, giggles from the south, and capture the flag from the west across the creek. At different, unholy hours during the night aircraft landed and took off. With the dawn came the heady (so to speak) aroma, not of woodsmoke, but, shall we say, of someone burning rope. Return with us, now, to the '60s.

I'll let you know how the evening went, but I absolutely love live music, and St. Martin's is chamber-orchestra. Bliss!

Pax, y'all.

Permaculture Workshop

Kathryn and I went to a Permaculture workshop in Kerrville this past weekend. That was a mind-blowing experience.

I was surrounded by barefoot Ph.D. hippies who knew more about the way the biome works than anybody in business casual ever taught me. I loved getting knee-deep into discussions about rainwater catchment and storage systems. Seriously into specifics. Gawd! It was great!

We also checked out sumac berry tea, raw food lunch, alternative-building systems, natural-building systems (not the same thing), earth plasters, worm farms, alternate cattle breeds/heritage breeds. Lots of stuff.

Google "permaculture." There are options in the world.

Pax, y'all.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Just thinking

I have been teaching school for fifteen years now.

That's longer than I have done anything except be married to Kathryn.

Before that I spent eight years in the Navy.

The entire time I have done those things, I have been thinking about how to set up the best summer camp in the world. Not exclusively, just parallel processing.

Today I was standing at the front of my classroom -- and these are good, sweet kids who enjoy the work I assign them to master a valuable skill -- and, looking out the windows on the back wall (west wall) I could see the raggedy-assed gray clouds scudding above the trees. The greens of the trees included that bilious tint from light that had filtered through cloud. I could hear the creak of the windows as the wind tried to push them through the brick wall.

I wanted to breathe deeply, but all I could get was the recycled, processed exhalations of 2200 kids and adults. I wanted to feel the wind tugging at my shirt and pinching my cheeks, but 72 degrees of mechanically-handled air circulated through my small, enclosed world, ignoring the fluctions of sun and shadow. I wanted to celebrate the faint warmth of weakened sun in the blustery wind chill . . . and there I stood in unchanging 72 degrees, short-sleeved in October's sixty-two degrees.

I have to get outside!

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I broke a hundred cumulative miles today. Every twelve days now, at 8.4 miles/day, I'll clock another hundred.

It was Japanese Flying Weather this morning -- 49 degrees F. I donned the camouflage-gray sweatshirt for protection from the elements and "high visibility."

My route is nice. Civil automobilistas - lots of room on the road. Lots of patience at the lights. The road parallels the greenbelt for a mile or so; I'm going to check out the walking paths for that section of the ride tomorrow.

Pax, y'all.

The Lord giveth, and . . . uh . . . well, you see . . .

I live in a generous Universe which provides all I want and need if I know to ask the right questions and where to look.

I recently moved PinewoodDerbyWorkshop back into the garage, and I've built a couple of new workbenches for tools against the wall. I need a workbench in the middle of the space now for assembly.

Biking home I found a slightly used heavy-duty sturdy oak dining table someone had set on the curb. I asked, and she said, "Take anything you want." It's so big I'm planning to take it on up to Missouri over Thanksgiving Break. Now I'm looking for chairs . . .

Another three families had portable basketball backboards on the curb. Aha! The next day I went back, and the City had collected two of them. So I moved on to the third. The clunky, cumbersome beast didn't really fit in the bed of the truck, and I had only brought one wrench. So I set it back on the curb, and the owner of the house drove up.

I walked over to his side of the driveway and said, with my best grin and bonhomie, "I sure hope you're throwing this out!"

"Well, actually, I'm not . . ." he replied, also with a grin.

I explained that it was on the sidewalk, and I made the assumption. He noted that someone must have moved it from up against the house . . .

The Lord takes care of fools and the Hardage.

Pax, y'all.

Tom Swifties . . .

If you have to ask . . . well, google the term.

Last night I assaulted Morgan with . . . "Where's my file?" Tom rasped.

She counterbatteried with . . . "You son of a bitch!" Tom barked.

I supposed Tom could have growled as well.