Thank you, Ms.

I'm no expert on marriage, or love. But, it seems to me that our American divorce rate might be lower if we spent more time finding new things to love about our spouses, and less time wishing they'd be "the person I fell in love with." I'm amazed by the moments when I learn something new about Sarah that I never knew in spite of my best efforts to have an open and honest relationship. What's better is when this "something new" comes by surprise and is mildly humorous.

Sarah and I went out on a date last weekend — sweeper and a movie. We dropped our Little Man off at my parents, who were happy to receive him; then went to Best Buy to get a new vacuum; then to see Slumdog Millionaire at the near-by Castleton Mall. Our vacuum purchase took less time than expected, so if we went straight to the theater we would have been forced to read the same Coca-Cola sponsored trivia slides 3 or 4 times over. We had too little time to go into Borders and have Sarah risk losing me in the media and literature labyrinth; I tend to wander when I'm not wearing my leash. So, we jointly agreed that going straight to the theater would be best.

As we approached the cinema Sarah said to me, "Does this theater have an arcade?" That's strange, I thought. Does she want me to try and grab a stuffed Spongebob from the claw game as a surprise for Simeon?

"I assume so," I replied. "Most theaters do these days. Why?"

"Well, do you think they have Pac-Man?," she said.

Pac-Man?, I thought, still confused by her line of questioning. "Why do you want to know if there is Pac-Man?"

"Sometimes I just like to play Pac-Man."

Who is this woman? I think I love her.

I cupped my hands, put them to my brow and pressed my face to the window to see if there were any joysticks present. If I were to be her hero, I would find Pac-Man and deliver him to her.

But no, there was no Pac-Man, "but there is Ms. Pac-Man!" Would she receive this as good news? Is Ms. Pac-Man an acceptable substitute for the original? Turns out, it is.

"Oh good, I want to play." She didn't use a deep breathy voice and bat her eyelashes at me, but I sure imagined she did. This was a lot to wrap my mind around, because the last time I played Pac-Man, I thought girls had cooties.

We bought our movie tickets and headed straight to the arcade. Tokens. We had to have tokens. Sarah rifled through her purse and pulled out a dollar bill, "oh, that won't work." She knew you had to have a crisp dollar bill to get game tokens.  "Here. Try this one." It wasn't perfectly crisp, but it worked; four game tokens clinked into the tray! Sarah popped in two tokens (can you believe Ms. Pac-Man costs 50 cents?) and hit the "start" button.

She used her whole body to navigate the maze and gobble up Power Pellets while the ghosts gave chase. When her three lives were up, she scrambled for two more tokens to continue her conquest. After each passed stage, she said with bright eyes, "I've never made it this far before." And with each passed level, I fell more in love. 

I can't quite explain why I got so excited about this revelation, other than to say that learning something new about Sarah, even a seemingly insignificant "something", is something I hope I'm always excited about.



Writing dreams down is a fascinating practice, and one that I've done for a few years now. I receive a dream remembered as a gift, especially one that you remember in some detail. It's also somewhat liberating that dreams are unfiltered by a social setting. They can be frightening, enraging, and many times just plain funny, and always unfiltered, which is what I love so much about the exchange in this dream:

I was sitting outside and Simeon was standing on my knee as he often does. I said to him, "can you say Ma-ma?"


My head snapped back, creating the inevitable double-chin. "Can you say Da-Da-Da-Da-Da?"


I looked up to Sarah, who was standing near-by and said, "Did you hear that?" She laughed and put her head over my shoulder to see if Simeon's Talk Show would continue.

I felt so proud of him, and pulled him to me and he wrapped his arms around my neck. "I love you, Son."

"I love you too, Daddy."

"What the..." I thought. Then I said, "when did you learn all these words — and sentences?!"

"I've been storing them up."

"Well, mister, what other words have you learned?"

"Dickpenis." Yes. All one word.

Just before the dream ended I said to Simeon, "I remember the day in Maui when you first found your dickpenis."


A little Thursday inspiration

Vik Muniz, whose presentation I've posted is a favorite artist of mine. I first became familiar with him when he had an exhibit at the IMA (Indianapolis Museum of Art) several years ago. Since then, when teaching, I've used his work several times as examples of using alternative media for communication, and how the media itself can become a communicative. I especially like the distinction he makes between creation and creativity.

This video is about 15 minutes long, but worth checking out.


Thanks MLK

More than likely, this video will be the most posted, most linked, video by web loggers today, second only to the Japanese man who plays Mary Had A Little Lamb with broccoli.

Anyway, it does me some good to watch this, and I suspect it'd do you some as well.


Worsts Nightmares

"That's my worst nightmare," Sarah blurted, as she looked at a cluster of college-aged kids outside their tents as a spattering of rain came down.


"Camping in the rain — that's my worst nightmare."


"I have a lot of worst nightmares, actually."

When my cheeks ceased being sore from laughter, I tried to explain that the word worst implies that there is only one worst nightmare allowed per person. 

"Nope. I can have lots of them," she said flatly. 

She does this all the time... she forces me out of my reality and enter in to hers against my will — sorta like The World's Biggest Loser (which is exactly what I feel like when I get sucked into just about any "reality" TV show) or, um, Wife Swap. This time, it wasn't really against my will because I thought there could be some comedy in it, or perhaps a blog entry.

"What are some of your other worst nightmares?," I wondered aloud. This is when she started reciting her list; since then, the list has been expanded, mostly unintentionally. So here, I give you the first (hopefully of many) Sarah's Worst Nightmares List:
  1. Camping in the rain
  2. Seeing a shark while snorkeling
  3. A week without Chapstick* (This one KILLS me)
  4. Waking up with a Gecko** on her face
  5. Sleeping with sand on the sheets
  6. Riding to Hana, Maui on a tour bus
  7. Being lactose intolerant (This one too)
  8. Sleeping in a wet sleeping bag.
I'm getting such a kick out of our little project now, that I think I have decided on mine. My worst nightmare: If Sarah stops having worst nightmares.

*Check out the coolest lip balm-related illustration of all time.

Not much to say

I just wanted to share one of the best moments of my life ...



We went to my favorite beach, Big Beach in Makena. I admit, the name of the beach is a little low hanging, but appropriate. And, who am I to criticize the name of this beach, when I am admittedly “not good at naming things.” If it were left to me, I’d name it Huge Beach, or maybe Noel Beach. But, it wasn’t up to me, so it’s Big Beach.

There are many contributors to my love for this beach. First, it is the best place to whale watch. I saw two mama and calf Humpback whales breach today. When the mamas came back to the surface, it looked like grenades going off in the water, and when the babies landed they looked like baby grenades going off in the water.

Big beach also has some of the biggest waves on the Island. These waves are good for getting pummeled and watching others get pummeled. I’ve been dumped more than my fair share, so I took it easy today and watched other people shake the sand out of their bathing attire.

Mostly, I love this beach because it’s where I spent the day of my wedding with two of my best friends, Jim and Darren. That day started splendidly. We picked up a hitchhiker named, Bliss. Bliss was an interesting fellow, one who probably warrants his own blog entry, actually. We dropped Bliss off at the beach, but not until he told us about how he wanted to be a "shaman on the mountain" and learn how to teleport. When asked how he planned to teleport, he told us, “I just need to get as comfortable as possible,” and that’s why he ended up in Maui. If being comfortable is what it takes to teleport — I'm with Bliss — Maui's the place to do it. We hated to see Bliss go, but he had some teleportin’ to do - and probably some LSD droppin’.

Jim, Darren and I spent the morning and afternoon letting the waves tenderize us, until about an hour before marryin’ time. We showered hurriedly and got dressed in our "Aloha" shirts and linen pants, then walked down to the beach where I waited for Sarah’s Dad to deliver her hand to mine.

I saw the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. Sarah, she saw the sand from Big Beach stuck to my face.

Vacation within a vacation

A few days ago, Sarah and I were headed for a bed and breakfast for a vacation within our vacation. It turned out to be exactly that. We set out for the Road to Hana just after we finished our coffee with our hiking shoes and beach apparel, and without the flash card for my camera.


The Road to Hana is approximately 35 miles long — and if you’re minding the speed limit and see some of the sights along the way — might take you 3 to 4 hours. It’s an arduous trek, but I was feeling good about the drive this time, due mostly to the nice man in the black T-shirt blowing kisses to people as they drove by. That’s how it suits him to show the Aloha spirit, and we were happy to be the recipients of his generosity.

The drive is always more beautiful than you remember it — and longer too. We made it to Wainapanapa State Park (pronounced, WY-UH-NAH-PUH-NAH-PUH STATE PARK) within a couple of hours of leaving the Condo. It’s guys like me that lend creedance to the bumper sticker, “SLOW DOWN — This Ain’t The Mainland.” Wainapanapa is amazing. 

Sarah and I went for a hike along the rugged coastline and watched in awe as the the turquoise waves slammed the black lava formations. It’s the closest either of us has been to witnessing an unstoppable force meet and immovable object. 

My favorite part of the hike are the blow holes. Lava tubes were created in the rock by the hot flow of lava that once poured into the sea. But, now waves flow back up the tube forcing water and air straight up like a geyser or , uh, blowhole. I love climbing up the nearest rock to the blowhole and looking down into it and let the salt water wash over me. It makes my sunglasses unusable for the moment, but it’s worth it. Sarah has always pleaded with me when I choose to step near the edge of any potential peril, but she has new material to coax me back from the edge. This time she called, “Ryan, you’re a father now. I don’t want to be a single parent.” It worked. I stepped down from my perch and we continued our hike.

Next, we went to a red sand beach in Maui (this is it ^^^. Sorry I had to use someone else's photo). You have to hike a little way to get there, but it’s worth it once you do. The beach appears to have been scooped out of the side of a mountain with the world's largest ice cream scoop. Very few people make it to this beach in Hana, and we like it that way. There was never more than 6 people on the beach while we were there. It’s also a nude beach, and just before we left, it finally lived up to it’s designation.

Then, we headed to Hamoa Beach (also someone else's photo), which has my favorite sand. It’s considered a black sand beach; but it’s brown/black mix, if you ask me. Whatever the color, it’s the softest sand I’ve ever set feet to.

Finally, we headed to our Bed and Breakfast. The directions told us to turn right at the cluster of 3 or 4 mailboxes (it’s 5, actually) and make another right at the fence posts, so we did. Sam (short for something I can’t remember) Butterfly (who could forget this name?) was there to meet us by the clotheslines. Sam had long red curly hair, a big gap-toothed smile, welcoming eyes and no brassiere to speak of. Sam’s daughter, Mercury, went running across the lawn toward the house. She wasn't wearing a bra either — or a shirt for that matter. Sam and Mercury were a delight, and so was their place*, which they allowed to be our place for the night.

The guest house where we stayed had everything you could possibly need in the middle of paradise:
  • A view of the ocean right from the bed
  • An outdoor bathtub in the manicured gardens near the koi pond
  • An indoor shower with a high-efficiency shower head
  • An outdoor kitchenette with fridge, stove top, sink, tea pot and coffee percolator
  • A Weber Grill(!) - if you know me, you know how big of a deal this was
  • A banana orchard, which supplied the bounty left in our fruit basket
  • A bookshelf with 246 VHS tapes (I counted) — Everything from A Fish Called Wanda to Xanadu, and a book collection complete with copies of Dating for Dummies and Breaking the Surface, by Greg Louganis.
It rained most of the night, and the ocean breeze blew threw our room all night; it was perfect sleeping conditions by nearly any measure. Apparently, having a such a good day requires some recovery; we slept for 12 hours.

*Their place was completely solar-powered. Very cool.


Walking on water

Oh man, was this fun! Simeon's first step into the ocean. This was the kind of image/experience that finds permanent residence in the "Happiest Memories" section of one's mind. These are the moments that make the memory loss Sarah's grandparents are suffering so painful for everyone. Now that's sad...time for a subject change.


We're having a wonderful time. Simeon's having some difficulty adjusting to the time change, which means we're having difficulty adjusting as well. But, he's enjoying his first vacation, mostly because it has been a vacation from his clothes—thanks to the warm temperatures. 


Sarah and I are leaving little-s behind for the night and heading to Hana to stay here. A vacation within our vacation. 



Maui perspective

Well, we made it. The flight certainly wasn't easy, but Sarah demonstrated that she's every bit the superstar mama I knew she was. After a long flight where we packed three bodies into two coach seats—which I'm pretty sure are designed to seat one and a half people semi-comfortably—we needed to stretch our legs a bit. So, Sarah and I went for a run this morning. We didn't say much to each other. We didn't have to. We just let the Island do the talking and it had plenty to say. 

We started under an indigo sky with stars overhead, lightning striking in the distance over the pacific to our left, and a rising sun beginning to vignette Haleakala* to our right. The Island said "good morning."

We ran by the site where we pledged to spend our lives together. Neither one of us mentioned it. Like I said, we were letting the Island talk, and it's rude to interrupt. 

The sky began to brighten, which the Myna bird takes as its cue to wake the rest of the sleeping Island. 

Hibiscus flowers open and their scent coats the inside of my nostrils, making every deep breath a pleasure; this is the Island's reminder that every breath is a gift.

We jogged past a fleet of canoes which reminded me of how the first Polynesians came to Maui, and how long, difficult, and treacherous their journey must have been. This was the Island offering me perspective on how "difficult" flying coach with a 5 month old really is.

*the volcano responsible for creating this insanely beautiful place.