"It gives me great pleasure indeed to see the stubborness of the inorrigible nonconformist warmly acclaimed." - Albert Einstein

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I aspire to a stubbornly incorrigible nonconformity. The degree to which I have achieved my aspiration I leave in the capable hands of those whose wisdom and humilty exceed my own.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hope Feels Good

Seven years ago I was diagnosed with throat cancer and I have and am still dealing with the effects. Most on my mind these days is that I have lost the ability to swallow so I can no longer eat meals. All of my nutrition comes through a tube in my belly.

The worst part is not the not eating. It is the impact on my socializing. I don't go to dinner with friends and don't participate in many social activities because I can't eat and I don't want to be watching everyone else eat and/or making other people uncomfortable because they are eating in front of me.

I've been doing swallowing therapy locally with poor results. But recently I was referred to the University of Washington Medical Center with the idea that possibly they could do something for me.

After an esophagram the swallowing therapist told me something that no one else has said to me. She told me that she expects that with therapy and a esophagus dilation that I will be able to eat again.

Now I don't know if that will ever really happen. But what I am sure did happen is that hope was awakened in me and hope feels good. It feels good to hope.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

What a privilege and honor it is to be a father. And more importantly,way an awesome responsibility. It is unlikely that anything else I may do or accomplish in life will have anything approaching the impact and potential to benefit the world that being a father has. When you pause to reflect on fatherhood in this way it is almost enough to frighten anyone. And yet true fathers (as opposed to absentee sperm donors) wouldn't give up fatherhood for anything. Because in addition to having an incredible potential to change the world; fatherhood also has an incredible potential to change the father.

Fatherhood is full time and live. No dress rehearsals or retakes. There is a generous forgiveness for almost any mistake except for the mistake, or choice of not being there. If it is true that 80% of life is showing up it is even more true of fatherhood. And in this instance showing up and being there means more than mere physical prescence. Fathers, in our best moments, show up and are present physically, mentally, and spiritually. Fatherhood is a full time gig that is too important to trust to amateurs.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Father's Day

It is another beautiful day in paradise and tomorrow is Father's Day. My wife and daughter are taking me to the new microbrewery in Wenatchee to celebrate.

Father's Day got me thinking about my relationship with my own father ... and I use the term relationship rather broadly. I cannot think of very many things my father and I ever did together. My father was not very involved, or even interested in me. I felt it then and despite my maturity, I feel it still.

But I have a relationship with my father-in-law, my "Pop," that is wonderful. Mom and Pop stay with us during the summers and head South for the winter (which for them begins mid-August or early September - they take no risks that they will see snow other than on the television, postcards, or in movies). I find that I start eagerly anticipating their getting up here in March and April. And when they get here I just love having them around.

My relationship as a father with my own daughter, who is now 21 has been complicated. At times difficult, but I love seeing how she has matured into a woman who I love and respect. The hardest part for me is that I am not sure she respects me, but that may be a function of her age. I am reminded of Mark Twain's quote about his own father, “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished by how much he'd learned in seven years.”

I am really looking forward to tomorrow. I have high expectations, but fortunately, I have a lot for which to be thankful.