Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Don’t Just Follow the Needle; Use Your Brain

May 31, 2011


Saturday, Wendy and I drove along the mountain ridge that separates the Pacific coast from the inland valleys. We were geocaching and looking for a specific cache. [Click here for the full story.]  It isn’t an easy drive.  We quickly climbed almost 4000 feet along a road that was seldom wider than one lane and was rarely paved.  The road along the ridge was worse–lots of loose rocks, with steep drop-offs on one, or both, sides of the road.  This isn’t the place for a leisurely, weekend drive.

As we were returning from the cache site, I stopped for a photo or two.   A woman drove up and stopped next to me.

“I think I’m lost.”

“Where do you want to be?”


“Yes, you are lost.  Solvang is way over there.”  Solvang was about 9 miles and 4000 feet below us.  “How did you get here?”

“I don’t know.  I just followed my car’s GPS.”

I deduced that she had driven from the coast up a country road that turns into a very narrow mountain road, then turned east along the mountain ridge instead of driving down into the valley.  I doubt she saw another car until she met me.

I love having a GPS.  I use it for my geocaching hobby and for getting to places I’ve never been to.  But I also have a brain.

How often do we just put our brains into neutral and end up lost on a narrow mountain road?

We need to be constantly aware of what is going on around us.  We need to question and to evaluate our situations.  If this woman had asked just a couple of questions–“Why is this road so narrow? and “Solvang is a popular place.  Why aren’t there any other cars going to or coming from Solvang along this road?—she would have realized that, in spite of her GPS’s directions, she was going the wrong way.

We need to do more than just follow the needle.  We need to be aware and to think.

If we don’t, we may just find of lives on a narrow mountain road, miles from where we need to be.



May 30, 2011



In Sync

May 16, 2011


May 11, 2011

Saturday afternoon was was walking just fine.  Saturday evening, I couldn’t take a step or even put weight on my right foot without sharp pain.  A great case of Achilles tendonitis–that’s what the doctor said as he pushed his thumb into my heel and almost sent me bouncing into the ceiling.

I didn’t think too much about just simple walking.  Now I do.  It’s a good lesson in appreciation.  Often, we don’t appreciate what we have while we have it.

Recognize blessings–even the mundane ones–and give thanks for them.  Simply appreciate.


April 24, 2011

John Muir

April 21, 2011

Today is John Muir’s birthday.  John Muir was born in Scotland in 1838 and emigrated to the United States with his family in 1849.  In 1867, he waled from Indiana to Florida–over 1000 miles–and then had plans to take a ship to South America.  However, when he contracted malaria, he changed plans, took a ship to New York, then sailed to California.  Upon his arrival in California, he spent a week in Yosemite.  That visit created life-long ties between Yosemite and Muir.

Muir surmised that Yosemite Valley was created by glaciers.  This idea was dismissed as amateurish by many of the noted geologists of the day, but was eventually accepted.  Because of Muir’s efforts, Yosemite was protected as a national park.  He and President Teddy Roosevelt once ditched the president’s staff and an official dinner in his honor and spent the night camped among the redwoods of Yosemite.  The next night they camped again and awoke covered with snow.  Roosevelt claimed it was the “grandest day of my life.”

John Muir was honored on the 2005 California State Series quarter.

Some John Muir quotes:

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.

The mountains are calling and I must go.

Happy Birthday, Steve

April 20, 2011

The Beginning of the Nation

April 19, 2011

North Bridge

The North Bridge

Minute Man Statue

The Minuteman

On April 19, 1775, the Battles of Lexington and Concord opened the American Revolutionary War.  The first shots were fired at sunrise in Lexington.  The militia fell back and gathered at Concord.  At the North Bridge, 500 militiamen fought and defeated 3 companies of the King’s troops.  This was “the shot heard round the world.”   As the British regulars were returning to Boston along the Bay Road–now know as Battle Road–the Americans engaged the Regulars in the best way they knew how–setting up ambushes along the way.  This was a very unconventional form of warfare and many regulars were killed and wounded.

These battles marked the beginning of the Revolutionary War.   The War lasted until 1783 when the treaties of Paris and Versailles were signed.

Being Your Own Enemy

April 18, 2011

It’s been a while since my last post.  I guess I haven’t had too many thoughts, random or otherwise, that I thought were worth sharing.  I guess it’s time to have a random thought or two.

A couple Fridays ago, I was setting up an activity for our annual scout camporee.  I was driving wooden stakes into the ground when one swing of the hammer glanced off of the stake and hit my hand right above my left index finger.  I had a small cut but a very large and sore bruise under it.   If the initial injury wasn’t bad enough, I would bump it occasionally and get that painful reminder that it was still sore.

Thursday morning, I was on a short hike above Toganga Canyon. (Check it out here.)  I stopped for a rest and a quick snack about half way through the hike.  I was sitting on the ground, “enjoying” my chocolate Power Bar when I felt something crawling on my hand.  I looked down and saw the “bug” and gave it a quick whack.  Unfortunately, the bug was actually the scab from the hammer strike.  And, of course, whacking my hand was really whacking the underlying bruise which was still quite sore and immediately became a lot sorer.

Some days, it might be better to just stay in bed.

George Washington’s Day

February 22, 2011

Yesterday was Presidents Day, a non-holiday in my mind.  The best thing about yesterday’s holiday was a chance to spend a weekday with my wife, Wendy.

Today is George Washington’s Birthday.  Washington is often called the “father of our nation.”  He was the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.  After winning the war for independence, Washington returned to his Virginia plantation.  He presided over the Constitutional Convention that drafted the Constitution.  In 1789, he become the first president of the United States, serving 2 terms.

In honor of his birthday, here are some quotes from George Washington:

“A slender acquaintance with the world must convince every man that actions, not words, are the true criterion of the attachment of friends.”

“Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.”

“It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.”

“The foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing is a vice so mean and low that every person of sense and character detests and despises it.”

“Worry is the interest paid by those who borrow trouble.”