Embracing Uncertainty | Plugs, Coffee and Sextants

“The quadrant quickly evolved into an even more accurate device, called a sextant, which incorporated a telescope and a wider measuring arc. These additions permitted the precise determination of the ever-changing, telltale distances between the moon and the sun during daylight hours, or between the moon and stars after dark.” Dava Sobel – Longitude I only wanted two things in San Francisco a few weeks ago. Coffee. And a plug. I had flown out to the city by the bay to host a dinner. It was a grand evening, but after a long day of travel, I wanted nothing more than to go to my hotel and sleep. I didn’t plug in my computer or my iPhone, so when I settled in for an espresso at Sightglass Coffee the next morning, I started to do “the walk.” You know the one. The one where you wander around, looking at walls, under tables, usually about a foot up, and look for outlets, plugs. Not. A. One. So, I asked the staff. “Nope. We don’t have plugs. Or wifi.” At this point, I thought, well, that might just be a Sightglass thing, so being a coffee lover, I packed up my things to find a new space. And plug. From one coffee shop to the next. No luck. No plugs. I was getting frustrated. Granted I was lucky to be in San Francisco on a blue sky day, in between storms and rain, but geez. What was the deal? As I poked my head into Vega Coffee on 12th and Folsom, my frustration was peaking. As the coffee shop owners informed...

Embracing Uncertainty | Transitions – 2016 & The Trail Ahead

I am on a trail without a map. On August 17, 2014, I reached the trailhead of my writing about the Love of My Life, Maureen. On that day, I wrote the first post of this journey, “Our Story | Not Cancer’s.” For the next 2 months, before I posted each of these reflections and stories, I always sent them to my sweetie. To my Maureen. Only after she was able to feel the warmth of my love and my words did I share them publicly. As we drove between chemo treatments and oncology appointments, I couldn’t say everything I needed to say to the love of my life. The keyboard became the conduit for my heart. The last of the posts I wrote while Maureen was alive was the week before her passing. It was “Marriage and the Greatest of All Positives.” Little did I know at the time that these would be the last words she would read from my keyboard. This amazing and beautiful woman was a quiet and private person but all that met her were changed by her. She had that calm sort of peace about her. That peace still surrounds me and the kids. It is why all of the posts that I have written since her passing on October 21, 2014 have been written in the present tense. She is with us. As you might imagine, it is both easy and hard for me to write these posts. It is easy because I love Maureen. It is hard because I love Maureen. The emotions that erupt as I write are never the...

Embracing Uncertainty | Cheryl Strayed, Thanksgiving & India

I love Thanksgiving. Unlike Christmas, it is a quiet and reflective week and an awesome holiday. It is a day that we get to stop and just be. A day to reflect and a day to be thankful. The fact that tomorrow is the first #powdereddonutday of “Year 2” makes this an even more reflective time. The thing about “Year 2” is that I can no longer say, one year ago, and remember a moment that I was with Maureen. As a dear friend who also lost a loved one noted, “you don’t create any new memories.” That is the crazy part about this journey, and I think Cheryl Strayed captured it well in this quote from PopSugar. “It is impossible for you to go on as you were before, so you must go on as you never have.” Those are incredibly powerful and true words, and as I continue to write, I think you will see that theme evolve in my writing. What does it mean to go on as you never have? What does it mean to Embrace Uncertainty? One week after watching Wild with my daughter, Kyla, we met Cheryl Strayed at a book signing here in Austin. The day after making my post “Embracing Uncertainty | What is Our Wild?” I had wandered into BookPeople and was blown away. I have fully embraced serendipity and synchronicity, but even this one shook me a bit. Her story moved me and Kyla deeply, and there, as I looked up on Tuesday was the list of upcoming events. In just a few days, Cheryl was going to be here in...

Embracing Uncertainty | What is Our Wild?

You know that feeling. The feeling you get when you turn the page, and there is nothing on the next one. Or perhaps, that moment when you reach a fold in a map where the trail ends (of course, the paper ones before smart phones made them electronic). Or perhaps that moment, like the one Cheryl Strayed faced in the movie Wild. My daughter, Kyla, and I watched this yesterday afternoon as the rains cleared in Austin. Kyla’s history teacher had suggested Wild as a possible backdrop for her trimester project in his class, rich in natural beauty, rooted in history with John Muir and the Pacific Crest Trail, as well as a personal story that is incredibly powerful. There were some intense moments in the movie, moments that can make a dad uncomfortable, moments that you would prefer a daughter could watch with her mom to explain. However, just like buying bras, these are our moments now. These are the moments that a daughter and her dad handle together now, because like Cheryl, Kyla lost her mom. There is a great quote about dads from Cheryl’s book, “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail,“ from which the movie was adapted. “The father’s job is to teach his children how to be warriors, to give them the confidence to get on the horse to ride into battle when it’s necessary to do so. If you don’t get that from your father, you have to teach yourself.” As the kids and I move forward into year two of our grief journey, some things are becoming clearer, others less certain. One thing that is certain...