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,


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!”


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,


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,

a new year.

So I’ve been saying (too often) lately that 2014 was a bust. The year was awful and we should just forget about it altogether.

If you are up to speed with my life this past year, hopefully you understand my sentiment.

Or at least my former sentiment.

I really don’t like thinking about 2014 that way. Some of the worst things I’ve experienced occurred in 2014, but those should not eclipse the beautiful things that occurred. The beautiful things are what make it possible to overcome the sad things.

I have a smart friend who shared this ‘Goodbye 2014′ list with me:

  • most beautiful moment
  • biggest surprise
  • most influential people
  • a way in which you’ve grown
  • favorite treat
  • worst habit
  • significant colors
  • significant places
  • most walked in shoes
  • anthems and mantras
  • unofficial uniform
  • sexiest moment
  • disappointments
  • regrets
  • relics and important objects
  • neuroses
  • confidantes
  • destinations
  • firsts
  • funniest moment
  • something you’re most proud of

I thought this was a very healthy exercise and I invite you to think about those things too. Especially if you feel like 2014 was a throwaway year.

Thanks be to emus,


snapping to the max.

I’ve had a few friends tell me lately, “Wow you sure like the Snapchat.”

That’s an example of a positive-sounding sentence, with negative undertones.

But yes! I do sure like the Snapchat! Thank you for noticing.

My latest favorite thing to do is to take a picture and then use the paint feature to change the scene and wardrobe of the central characters. Here are a few from recent days:


So if you decide you want to be my Snapchat buddy, just know this is what I expect from you.



bucket filling.

There is a book and general ‘be a good person’ philosophy out there called, How Full is Your Bucket?

9781595620033_p0_v4_s260x420Read it if you find what follows interesting. Also check out StrengthsFinder 2.0 if you are looking to get to know yourself a little better.

Anyway, I’ve always associated this book with FFA programs because it has been part of some of their curriculum. I was really surprised, and pleasantly so, when Morgan, my five-year-old niece, competently explained ‘bucket fillers’ and ‘bucket dippers’ to me.

The general idea is that we are all vessels that need filling. There are people walking around filling others up, and there are people walking around taking away. Avoid the dippers, attract the fillers.

I believe there is a kids version of this book they must be using in the Kindergarten classroom, but I’m both surprised and pleased to see such young kids learning this lesson. Imagine in grade school, when someone was a shithead, being able to say, “Hey man, you’re really being a bucket dipper. Shape up or ship out.”

I’m thinking about pulling a Billy Madison and running back through the school system. I have a feeling I’ll be a better person on the other side. Plus, I’d probably kick so much ass at Junior Jeopardy.

Fill ‘em up!