Showing posts from May, 2018

Family Camping Trip

It had been a while since we camped. I suppose the reason is that California weather is a bit more inclined towards sleeping outdoors than the East Coast, and so we did it more often. Also with two kids now, that adds another layer of difficulty. We took Ellie for her first camping trip at eight months, and did two more before she was two. But last weekend, with Ellie at four years old and Waverly at two, we finally got our act together and got out into the woods for the first time as a family of four. Here are a few things I learned during this trip, and the ones before, that will hopefully help you create your own family camping excursion: Being in nature occupies kids: As we drove to the state park, I wondered what we would do for fun and how we would keep the kids entertained. Much of my job is consumed in this endeavor on a daily basis, and trust me, it is no small task. However, I was delighted to find out that just being around some trees, sand and dirt provided most of the en

Poison Ivy

I wrote last week about the magic of climbing trees . Well, there is a dark side to every forest, a shadow to the sunshine, and in that tree I found it: poison ivy . Just like climbing trees, how long has it been since you got poison ivy? As a kid, this is a usual danger amidst playing in the yard, like warts or ringworm; but as we grow up, unless heavy yard work or camping are frequent events in our lives, it is kind of rare that we get something like poison ivy. Typically when I get it, it's just an isolated rash, a few bumps and then it's gone. So when I saw it the other day, I didn't regard it very seriously. But this particular vine was something different, a mutation of green annoyance the likes of which I had never seen. I haphazardly finished the yard work and went inside, only to slowly realize the horrors of this wicked weed... The rash showed up a couple days later, but a surf swell hit and so I went to the beach, hoping a dip in the ocean might bring some sa

Go Climb a Tree!

When was the last time you climbed a good tree? If you're like me, it's probably been awhile. But remember how fun it was? How many memories do you have trying to get to the top, swinging on branches or maybe falling and breaking an arm? It's all part of childhood and trees must be one of the greatest gifts from God, for much more than just practical reasons like fruit and air filtration. There is an awesome climbing tree in front of the house we rent, which was my grandfather's while I was growing up. Over the years, it has become quite overgrown with vines and bushes, so naturally I haven't climbed it in a while. Well, a few weeks ago my family came over to overhaul the yard, and before I knew it I was pulling down vines (many of which were grape vines...there goes my vineyard plans) and cutting bushes like an outback tour guide. But the tree is tall and the vines have been growing thick for years, so to get them all I had to climb up with an axe and clear away


A friend at work a few years ago, in a moment of vulnerability, told me he didn't have much confidence in life, which consequently did not help with the difficult women in and around Los Angeles. Feeling that I myself have spent most of my life without much confidence, I felt a bit at a loss as to what I should say. I vowed to him that I would research the topic and get back to him -- this is what I found. There are two things I feel pretty confident in: writing and music . I asked myself why and there are two reasons I've come up with: I have done them a lot, and people have told me I am good at them. I think experience most definitely plays a big part in confidence, but I think it's pertinent to focus on the latter reason -- affirmation. Confidence is a social concept. Sure, you can be confident at woodworking or making Excel spreadsheets or other potentially solitary endeavors; but I think confidence in the most widely used sense has a connotation of performance. An