Sunday, February 28, 2010

Morning In America

Good Morning Readers,

Back to the challenges of Life In America. Andrew Carnegie (left) was an enormously successful businessman who used the format of compartmentalizing his life to great personal advantage. The practice of slicing the timeline of one's life into manageable sections, sort of like scenes in a play. Was he a happy man? I do not know. The experiences of my upbringing and early adult life did not introduce me to such a regime. Had such a thing occurred then I no doubt would have been someone far different and my life would be nothing like it is now. For better or worse. It is an easy thing to examine the news of the day to realize that wealth of pocket has little to do with one's happiness, or lack thereof.

So, Carnegie failing me, who can hold the high standard of success before my eyes? I can think of no better example than that of Sam Clemens. It has been far too long since I have read his works as Mark Twain.

What brings such thoughts? Because I feel as though there is a balance between cash flow and the experience of the moment now necessary for one to maintain happiness. I am dreadfully out of balance it would seem. Were I only to sustain my life and my life alone I should be as happy as a clam in white sauce, a Bill Gates in satin sheets, a hobo eating from a can in the luxury of ir-responsibility. But this is not the case. The decision one makes to father a family brings both the joy of parenthood and the chains of the daily wage. Again, I ask myself, what brings such thoughts? Can I blame my dismal economic condition solely on the dismal economic state of national/regional affairs that years of ir-responsible financial regulation under the Bush Regime has produced? I wish that were so. Surely Bush and his cronies drove the final nail in the coffin of everyman prosperity that was so effectively crafted by the dominate forces of the Reagan era. I wish that the future opportunities of my children squashed by the complacency and unconscious greed of the many was the reason for my current economic woes. I find that I must share blame for my lack of gold. By virtue (or lack thereof) of poor health, cloudy judgement, personal deception and desire for 'better days', I permitted inaction to shape the moment I now find myself in.

A day of decision. The shifting complexities of this world now require the current of more cash than I ever dreamed of when I first fostered the notion of Family under the dreamy years of Bill Clinton. If only my life had a 'reset' button! I would not change much, but I would freeze today for the next year just so that I could 'catch up' with the 'in your face' demands that now stand before me like massive and intangible Grand Canyons. Only the comfort of passing time give me the strength to consider my options. The trap of 'what ifs' and 'if only I....' provide a convenient excuse most of the time. But not now. Yesterday, by virtue of digital blunder, I was rocketed back in time some 35 years or so to an event that had little impact on my life. An automobile accident and a young friend's blood on my helping hands. Did such a thing change the course of her life?. The photo of her in today's world does not show the demands of raising a brood of needy humans, in fact she looks young, vital and at ease. Of course I could be way off base as I know nothing of her life but it makes me wonder what my photo would look like had I chosen a different course.

One of my readers posed a question via my blog the other day that I am compelled to answer. The topic was roughly relating to my quandary of parenting - where can I give my children the best life? And more importantly, once such a decision is made - when? So much to consider and no easy way out. In a mad fever I wandered out into the compressed life of my neighborhood, seeking an answer by praying to the gods of the PowerBall Lotto. I reasoned, in such a state, that by driving to 9 or 10 different locations and dropping a dollar in each machine I could conquer the odds and find economic salvation. I was not successful though and I eased my torment by checking out the fine cinematic rendition of David McCullough's 'John Adams'. Outstanding film and I would recommend it to anyone who gave a hoot as to the true nature of the founding of our United States. Film is the great equalizer among us all - the experience is common and as rewarding to the rich of pocket as it is to the Trailer dwellers.

And therein lies the answer to my question and my condition. The army of un and underemployed contractors and construction workers now occupying the workplace force my hand as well. I am better self served by entering the Lotto of Screen writing. While the odds of random success are no better than those of 'hoping and playing', I do feel as though I can throw a more tempting worm to the fish of random fates in this way. To this end I am phasing out my dependence on electric saws, drills, mortar and broken fingers for the far less certain but much more rewarding returns of creative written word. If my work stands on its own no doubt I will need the patient understanding of my family, my friends and the financial understanding of my patrons from time to time. I enjoy spending time on my blog. I hope to use it as a format for my story, leaving less to my casual day to day observations (please check out Weng's blog for those matters) and more to the entertainment of you, my readers.


Friday, February 26, 2010

"Well, How Did I Get Here?"

Hello Again Readers!

Seems like a lot has changed in my life, my little family's life, in the USA and in the world since last I posted. A typhoon of large and small events in fact - edging the 'day to day' from a clear, simple course to one of reacting to endless stormy seas amid a leaking boat for most of us. This narrative may take some time, not neat, not orderly. Unlike Weng, my wife's blog, my pages are sometime political, not well thought out, emotionally raw, brutal, profane, overly opinionated, and occasionally offensive to readers for any number of reasons. Despite my best efforts I take offense to what I consider the inequities of the world. But it is real, and painfully honest. After my last posting I went 'underground' in my mind while traveling overland from the reality of 3rd world living in the 3rd world to the (charitably) strange reality of living again in the land of my fore bearers.

So, where to start?

Insects and Water. Water has been the Element Of The Season. At our Bird House in Aticama we have a number of Cubana Palms. Lovely, tall, graceful feminine palm trees that are ancient Greek columns holding the clouds above us with majestic heads of palm green hair. The sunrise light searing from Mount Gloria shows the true color of these tree trunks - shimmering, moving brilliant reds over slate grey horizontal bands. Ant red. Millions of ants moving morning dew from the heavens of tree top to roots below. Highways of workers carrying a single drop of precious water under their bodies like children moving crystal clear beach balls with their bellies. You can see right through these red ants, a ruby in motion with a diamond in tow. Tireless, they live in harmony, nourishing their treehomes. Mark Twain was enchanted with ants and I can see why. One can almost hear them talking to each other. "Watch out man, that stick is in the way!". "I got it covered..." or "Look what I can do mom!"
So what does it all mean? Just this - take away Love and Art and we are all just creatures carrying water from here to there. Willing slaves to H2O. How water moves stamped us hard personally over the last several months. No one in Aticama can remember a time when it rained there in January or February yet this year storms of fury unknown woke us in a heartbeat - blowing through our cliffside home laying waste to our delicate digital belongings. Frail before the wind and rain, even our cobblestone street moved from its earthen bed in torrents of muddy water devils. My laptop has amazing photos of red ants moving water buried deep in its rusting body. My ears burn at the word 'Backup'.

Time is short here in America and the luxury of digression is forbidden fruit so let me take a moment and thank all of my readers who have dropped a daily click in my direction. A 20 pound thank to those who offered kind remarks following my posting of February 3 in which I laid out my feelings on my children's education. You rock.

So, before I close for now, perhaps it would be best to check out today's offering in my 'ThinkMusic' section below - 'Once In A Lifetime' - a biting, prophetic piece of from the 1980's that rings so true today. For those of you who can stand the ironic twist of it all a 2 minute musically edited, animated version of it can be found here.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Live From The Hotel Marlin In Puerto Vallarta

Hello Again Readers!

It has been a long time since I have had the oppertunity to write! I miss that. However, Tioga and George have been doing a fine job of jonny on the spot reporting about us and the kids and our pals. A big thanks to him for that! Weng and I are currently in Puerto Vallarta giving Herman and Ruth a lift to the airport. They are headed to Oaxaca for some time with the locals there.

Now, I want to make a comment. A tempest in a teapot has erupted recently on Georges shout box that I was not aware of until a few minutes ago. (this is the first time I have had to check the blogasphere in a couple of weeks). Apparently there are a lot of opinions regarding our childrens home schooling and how life in Aticama affects their education. I would like to thank all that commented and throw in my two cents as their father.

Lets start with Francis. He has attended schools in Oregon and Aticama his entire school life. He is very bright and has always excelled in his classes. This year (7th grade) his first Oregon report card was straight 4 points in all classes. 100% aced it all. For his entire Mexican educational history he has graduated at the top of his class. In fact the last two years he was number one in the entire state of Nayarit. This year he is a member of the year book staff and his Oregon teachers are very, very supportive of his time in Mexico.

Hard to understand how anyone anywhere could argue that he is not getting a decent education.

Now Thomas John. Tommy is dislexic. Like me reading, grammer and math do not come easy. He does not do well in school in those fields. However he is very bright and intelligent and his strengths lie in other areas. Socially he is a giant and is loved by all. In school in Oregon he is near the bottom of the class academically and feels the pressure of his classmates to do better. My heart cries out for him. I know what he is feeling. When in school in Aticama however he is average in class
as well as being loved by his classmates. I was not that lucky to feel that way when I was a child. Weng, with Ruth and Hermans help, has done a great job of home schooling and his reading has advanced significantly. Hard to beat the assistance of two friends with a lifetime of experience in education and child care, dont you think?

And Kawena May. She is 6 years old and has a life time of interesting experiences. She is bright, happy, clear eyed and loves school, both in Aticama and in Oregon. What more can I say about that?

Now, consider. In Oregon the children lead a rapid life filled with excessive competition and expecation in school. Their schools and teachers are excellent. All designed to make them productive members of a homoginized society that stresses a false sence of individuality but sucks the joy of childhood from their day to day life. In Aticama they walk from our hillside along the ocean to a small school on the beach where they learn to co-operate with the other children. Zero Stress. Childhood is a one time experience. Education is a life long experience.

We make mistakes like all parents. We get angry and short tempered and do often let the stress of everyday life affect our relationship with our children. However we always do the best we can for our children in a loving manner. It is clear that many disagree with our lifestyle. Fine. However it is wrong to judge us with others values, espically when ignorant of the facts and details. I think it would be best to ask our children if they are happy, to ask their teachers if our children are being prepared for a life in a changing and strange world with an uncertain future.

So, here is my opinion of others who are ignorant and self serving when it comes to their comments (and my opinion alone, so dont be offended) - you dont know shit for beans.

More soon.