Sunday, July 27, 2008


After months of waiting, Dian and I are finally approved! Step one is finally complete. Now, on to phase two. We have some more waiting to do, but it should only be two more weeks before our case is forwarded to the U.S. embassy in Jakarta. Until then, Dian is starting her new job, which should keep her busy and distracted from this waiting, while I shift my concentration to planning our Vegas trip and marriage details.

Everything is going according to plan so far; ahead of the expected schedule even. Dian is my life, and I can't wait to finally have her here with me.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Kicking Ass, Taking Names

I've never been unhappy with my name. It seems simple to me; straightforward. It may only be four short letters long, but there's two syllables crammed in there. Plus, I got that really cool 'Y' in there too. Is it a vowel? I don't know! Sometimes I suppose... Very mysterious.

But the primary reason I've never disliked my name is the fact that there are really no longer versions of it. Ryan. That's it. Done. That's me.

Let's say, for example, I was born a 'Jim'. As a young boy, I would no doubt be known to everyone as Jimmy. "Hey Jimmy!" they'd say, "Let's go ride our bikes until dark, you doodiehead." I would remain as Jimmy until my mid-to-late teens, when I would begin taking on more adult-oriented responsibilities. "Dad, it's Jim now. Call me Jim. I'm not a little kid anymore." Jim it is. "Hey Jim!" they'd say, "Let's go drive around and get fucked up, you shithead!"

One day, perhaps in my late twenties or early thirties I will marry. My wife and beautiful but unplanned daughter would expect me to be the dependable one. Fully responsible and defined. Intellectual, mature and elegant. Times have changed. Please, call me James. I am not that crazy little bike-riding troublemaker anymore. Nor, am I the carefree naive young man I once was. I am a grown-up man with a grown-up life in a grown-up world. And my name is James. "James!" they'd say, "Come on over for some tea and cookies! And bring the family, you old dog."

Not me.

I was born a Ryan. I grew up as Ryan. I suffered through my teens as Ryan. I am still Ryan. I will always be Ryan. There will be no longer versions of my name in order to make myself sound more important and mature. There will be no having to correct people at every family reunion of name changes. My name will always be the same, and I find a sense of comfort in that.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Power Failure

I recently heard the following sentence on CNN: "Because of high winds, about 250,000 people in New England are without power." I thought, "Gee, when you think about it, about 275 million people in the United States are without power. They just aren't aware of it."

--- George Carlin
(taken from his third book, When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops?)

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Today I saw something really sad.

I saw a young boy, maybe ten or twelve years old, riding his bicycle while trying to steer with one hand. His other hand was holding a cell phone to his ear. As I passed him on the highway, watching him swerving and paying no attention to anything around him, I could only shake my head in disgust.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Thoughts To Think About # 11

Each one of us has the potential to do something extraordinary for this world. What is it that you can do?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Silent Screams

One of my favorite questions to ponder:

If trees could scream, would we still cut them down?

...It's a very interesting question, and I'll even take it a step further. How exactly do we know they can't scream? We don't know that. Perhaps they scream on a frequency we humans do not have the capacity to hear. Perhaps they have alternate ways of expressing their pain. Are we that arrogant to assume if the human ear cannot hear something, the sound must not exist?


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Macadamia Nuts

In under ten minutes, I just created the following as a joke for a friend. I'm sorta proud of myself:

(Click on the image to view it full-size.)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Dear Papa Joe,

Yes, the picture above is of Mt. Rainier. I took it, and I feel that now is the perfect time and place to post it, for a couple of reasons. Some might say this is now your view of the very mountain that watched over you during your entire life. Perhaps it is some kind of poetic justice. But aside from that thought, as I took this picture, you happened to be sitting right next to me. It was taken early in the morning on our way to Reno; the very trip I mentioned in the note I wrote for your funeral service.

Just for the record, here is that note:

I will never forget my most recent trip to Reno four years ago. Not just because it was a fun weekend. And not because it was when I first learned to play roulette. I'll never forget it because I got to go with my grandpa. I'm not sure I ever told you, but I had a really great time on that trip. Aunt Nean and Mark were there, they remember. It always amused me to see your eyes light up whenever we stepped foot into a casino together. That look, it turns out, must be hereditary.

When I was little, I thought my life would abruptly end the day you were watching the Seahawks on tv under your new headphones. Apparently, I had decided it was a really good idea to max out the volume because I couldn't hear the game. Unfortunately, I didn't realize at the time I was only turning up the volume of your headphones. I can still remember hearing the distorted sound of football commentators blasting out of them from across the room. You yelled something incoherent and quickly threw them off your ears. I ran upstairs faster than I had ever run before, and hid under a bed for about an hour.

When I finally got up the courage to come back downstairs and face you again, I was surprised to find that you weren't mad at me at all. (I would have been.) I think it was then I realized that no matter how tough and reserved you seemed to be, you always kept a soft spot for us kids. You loved each of us in our own way, and we all came to know that.

At the risk of sounding cliched, you were our family anchor; our rock. You kept us all on a straight path and told us exactly what you thought. Honest to a fault. Even to the very end, you kept your quirky sense of humor and unfaltering strength. I will always admire you for that. And I believe I speak for all of us grandkids when I say, we love you and we'll miss you Papa Joe. Rest well.


I feel like I was able to sum up most of what I wanted to say in that note, however, there is another thing that has been bothering me recently. I often observed just about everyone in the family (with very few exceptions) making fun of you behind your back before your health faded. They would make comments about you, assuming you couldn't hear them. They would roll their eyes and sigh. In my eyes, they seemed to treat you less like the man they cried for at the funeral... more like an annoyance; a burden; an unworthy test of patience. Perhaps I don't know the full story, but I always felt like this was a classic case of people not appreciating what they have until it's gone. They should have understood how lucky they were to even have a father, a husband, a grandfather... at all. Many people out there in the world never even had that privilege.

I know they all loved you, as you loved them. And perhaps that was rarely, if at all, communicated from either side while you were still here. But it still bothers me. I just hope everyone in the family has finally learned to appreciate those around them while they can.

But enough about all that. We all miss you, and it will never be the same without you. I hope wherever you are now, you're at peace.

Goodbye Papa Joe.