neighbors.

I’ve forgotten what it is to be neighborly.

When I lived in Chicago, I remember one day my door buzzer went off and it was my buddy Colin. He was just in the neighborhood and wanted to drop in because no one just ‘drops in’ anymore. I remember really loving that.

Last night I got a knock on the door around 7pm. I was cooking a little dinner, sipping some wine and watching last week’s Last Week Tonight.

It was my neighbor Ken with a bag o’ cocktail fixins. He just wanted to hang out, have a drink or two and chat. I proceeded to have several cocktails while we listened through a few Dylan records, and even through my hangover this morning I’m thankful for having such great neighbors and friends.

I’ve become someone who plans and schedules and puts things on calendars, and I need to remember to be a little more spontaneous and neighborly sometimes.

Thanks for dropping by,
Tyler

left-handedness.

This morning I watched a short TED video about left-handedness. It introduced a couple concepts I hadn’t heard before, but that definitely made sense for me as a lefty.

One topic is the ‘Fighting Hypothesis’. This basically explains how lefties are at an advantage in competitive sports, simply statistically. Lefties go up against righties all the time, but righties don’t face lefties as often, thus giving lefties the advantage. This is why my little league coach wanted me to be a pitcher. Unfortunately my aim failed me.

It also mentions ‘Tool Sharing’ – a theory that because tools are mostly made for right-handed people, lefties have to adapt and are consequently less graceful using tools.

That’s why my dad called me handicapped.

He meant it as a term of endearment. I’m not confessing to psychological abuse here.

It was always funny doing woodworking projects with Dad. He was a great builder, so when I botched driving a nail, he never failed to have a laugh at my expense. It’s comforting knowing that there is a theory that exists to justify my lameness with a hammer though.

The video also talks about the hereditary connection to left-handedness. Mine comes from my mom’s side. She was one of those kids they refer to in the video – who started out left-handed but was ‘corrected’ in school. I always thought that made Mom kind of a secret badass.

Anyway, the video was cool. It got me thinking early on a Saturday, so that can’t be a bad thing. If you want to check it out, here is a LINK.

And now you are the one who is left.

Tyler

thirty years.

So I’m less than the shortest month away from being 30.

I don’t really get why anyone would feel anything other than excitement for that benchmark. My 20s were great; my 30s will be too. Plus the way I see it, the day a person turns 26 is the day that person begins turning 30.

My Dad turned 30 in 1978, 2 years before he planted the vineyard. I like to think of him as a youthful man, working his ass off and having a blast with his friends. I like to think of him as a guy who knew a lot – not everything, was incredibly skillful and eager to learn. I like to think of him building relationships with locals and establishing a reputation for himself as that really nice guy who is happy to chat with or help out anyone.

I like to think of him this way, because that’s the kind of person I’m hoping to be. I’ve had some people tell me recently how much I remind them of John, or, “Wow you really sounded like John just then.” It’s these moments I’m comforted that I am on the right track toward becoming the kind of man he was.

So I’m not going to fret turning 30. The way I see it, I have six more years before I start to turn 40, so I’m going to just focus on enjoying those.

I wonder how I’d feel had I been born on a leap year.

Tyler

one year ago.

Last night I watched the movie The Judge with Roberts Duval and Downy Jr. The synopsis said it was about an attorney who has returned home for his mother’s funeral and ends up having to defend his father (The Judge) in a murder trial.

I sidled up to what I thought would be a great court room movie. I wasn’t wrong, but there was much more I loved about it than that.

There is obvious tension between Downy Jr.’s and Duval’s characters. The small town judge and big city attorney seem to have some differing opinions on how to approach the law, first of all. Further into the movie, you discover that there was some delinquency in Downy’s past which Duval has never really forgiven or forgotten.

There is one scene in particular where Duval says some hurtful things that results in Downy Jr. speeding away in his car after claiming ‘I won’t be back.’

Scenes like this are in a lot of movies. The tortured father/son relationship is unfortunately common, and probably not just in Hollywood.

______

One year ago today, I flew into Eugene from Indianapolis because my dad had been rushed to the hospital and things weren’t looking good. By the time I had landed, the battle was essentially lost. He was still with us, but there was no saving him.

I’ve thought about my last moments with my father a lot this year, and especially this month. After seeing that film, and in particular that scene, I have some thoughts that are giving me some peace.

First of all, had I come back to Elkton and worked on the vineyard with Dad, while the fantasy seems ideal, I’m sure it would have had it’s challenges. Working with Dad could be tough, especially as I grew up. My stubbornness might have even surpassed his own, so the two of us could have spent a lot of time butting heads. I highly doubt it would have ever really harmed the relationship, or ended in a scene like that with the Roberts (above), but the opportunity to say regrettable things would have been much more of a possibility.

I think this is mainly justification for the loss. Of course I would much prefer learning directly from him and having him around for many more years. Unfortunately, he had to get going. It’s still hard a year later, but I’m trying to find some peace in his passing.

Missing you,

Tyler

oregon ducks.

I went to school at Oregon State University, home of the Beavers.

I grew up rooting for the Ducks though. The likes of Kenny Wheaton, Joey Harrington, the Lukes and Freddy Jones (basketball) – those were some teams and players I was into.

Then, thanks to scholarships, I chose Oregon State and became a Beaver fan.

Now most Oregon State fans are pretty anti-Duck. Don’t get me wrong I am too, but today is a special day. First, let me tell you why I am no longer a Duck fan.

First, it’s frustrating to see their program receive SO MUCH FUNDING from Papa Phil. It’s not fair, it’s flashy and it feels pretty corrupt. Then you throw into the mix, their actual legal issues, the bandwagoners, the fact that the entire world knows them and has never heard of the Beavers, etc – it makes it pretty easy to call them the bad guys. Plus, Duck fans can be real jerks – not all of them, but my biased view says there are more jerks per capita than Beaver fans.

Unlike some Beaver fans I know, I generally root for the Ducks when not facing my Beavs. Today, I invite all Beaver fans to join me as this is a momentous day. The Pac-12 needs to be recognized as a football conference, and unfortunately, the Ducks are the only team with a chance to do so in the recent past and future. It’s the first year of a playoff and therefore really valuable to have an Oregon team win the banner. And for these reasons, today I enthusiastically bellow,

“Goooooo Ducks!”

Tyler

a resolution.

Okay I caved.

In 2015 and every year after, I resolve to live as my most authentic self.

I feel like a lot of my life I have lived trying to appear perfect when I am in fact far from it. I accept that, but didn’t want the world to have to. The consequence of that behavior is when imperfections surface, they are harder to deal with – more for me than for anyone else, I imagine.

Here are a few facts about me I’ve tried to keep under wraps:

  1. I’m really stubborn and incredibly impatient sometimes. (That one I don’t hide as well.)
  2. I’m agnostic. (That will only shock a select few.)
  3. I have vices. I smoke cigarettes on occasion, for example. (I’m really not proud of that one.)

That felt good. Hopefully that gets the ball rolling on me being more honest with myself.

Thanks for reading,

Tyler

sunday at the movies.

Today I watched This is Where I Leave You. It’s a movie about a family that at the request of their deceased father, spend Shiva together to work out their dysfunctions.

For some obvious reasons, I found the movie relatable. Beyond that sentiment, it is full of some great actors, is set in a small town and promotes a message of openness, closeness and honesty for a healthy family unit.

It’s so hard to lose someone important to you, but it teaches you so much about what is important. If you can relate to that statement, I recommend watching this film.

Five stars,
Tyler