Wednesday, August 31, 2005
You see, I'm a smart guy that comes from a really fantastic gene pool of other smart folks. I have smart parents, smart brothers and sisters, smart uncles and aunts - and I have smart kids. On the subject of nature vs. nurture in the area of intelligence I can speak from experience there is an undeniable genetic component that in turn forms and affects the amazing environment I grew up in.
I always had access to great books on a wide variety of topics. My mom and dad are both voracious readers (yes Mom, I know you're still reading up there when you're not busy being the family guardian angel). My Dad's recliner was and I imagine still is surrounded by a mound of magazines, books and newspapers in various stages of being read. My parents would always sacrifice their time and resources to allow their children to try and experience new things - when I sleepily stumble to the car to bring my daughter to an early morning swim practice or pick up a son from football practice I am humbled when I remember my Dad driving me to Skowhegan for drum lessons - 45 minutes driving, and who knows what the poor guy did while I took my lesson, egocentric teenagers rarely ponder those questions and it takes time and distance to fully appreciate the sacrifice.
So, I'm a smart guy, through a combination of good genetics and good upbringing. How smart? Well, when I was a younger man and that sort of thing mattered to me, I was tested and re-tested at different times and within a point or two I would score between a 146 and 148 on IQ tests, comfortably in the top 1% for folks that follow that kind of thing. See, there's the potential braggart factor. On my next post, I'll discuss what intelligence means to me (that will be the whinny part). As I said, intelligence is over-rated.
Saturday, August 27, 2005
Life Is Good
I am chronically sleep-deprived, especially in the summer when the girls are up late and work beacons early, so beginning this Saturday by sleeping in for a total of almost 8 hours was a great start. I managed to coax the perfect cup of coffee out of my little 4 cup Everyday Living coffee maker, the neighborhood is quiet so Kerri can sleep after her night shift at the hospital, and the sun is beating down on my back deck like summer will never end. I brought the girls to the local waterpark for the afternoon and I have been alternating between reading Midwives by Chris Bohjalian and staring at the cloudless sky with a silly grin on my face. A very slight breeze whispers through the yard just enough to stir the windchimes hanging in the eaves, a long-ago, several-houses-back house-warming gift from my baby sister Boo. What's not to love?
Thursday, August 25, 2005
You Gotta Love Anchorage
While eschoned in our metallic cocoons making the commute to and from work it is easy to forget that nature is lurking so very near in Anchorage - yet there are 52 species of mammals and 230 species of birds found right in the Anchorage Bowl and among these mammals are an estimated 250 black bears, 60 brown bears and 1000 moose. Ironically, one of the most magnificent bull moose I have ever seen was eating willow browse in my parking lot at work last winter, content and protected from hunting in the city limits and sporting an enormous set of antlers.
Along my journey to the apex I need to always take time to notice the wonderful sights and experiences that are right at my front door and never forget that a journey to Alaska is something that many people only dream of and never achieve.
You'll be happy to know that Mr. Paterna, a 60 year old grandfather of five, plans on continuing his daily walks with his faithful dog Tok, albeit with a larger can of pepper spray (he never got a chance to use the small can he had with him). You can read the full story here.
You can read more about Anchorage wildlife issues.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Smarter Than What?
All joking aside, this topic will take a couple posts to cover. I have very mixed feelings about intelligence that I will cover in more depth tommorow night when I have some time to reflect while Kerri is at work.
Monday, August 22, 2005
Can't Summit Alone
There is lots of room for improvement in my spiritual life as I have not found the "perfect" church to attend in Anchorage and I need to be a better example for my daughters, sons and wife. I guess what I'm looking for is that spiritual hunger I had as a teenager, when I was old enough to get myself up and walk to church because I wanted to be there. I certainly had the very best of examples in my parents who always placed church and family first - I have some great memories of my Dad and I both singing tenor in the church choir for awhile.
There certainly can be no apex without upping my game in the spiritual realm, and that is going to require a lot of soul-searching on my part.
Friday, August 12, 2005
Milestones to the Apex
The picture above is of Pioneer Peak in Palmer, about 30 miles from where I'm typing. When I first drove to Alaska from Kentucky by way of Maine, the first time I saw Pioneer Peak I pulled my Subaru over to the side of the road, got out, and just gaped at what I thought was the most awe-inspiring sight I had seen in the long drive across North America. There is something about this mountain - it's symmetry, it's perfect "mountain shape" as it rises 6400 + feet above the ocean across the highway - that has captured my imagination ever since that day 17 years ago. To give you an idea of how special Pioneer Peak is, the man who spent two years of his life planning and executing a hiking trail up the backside of this mountain was awarded one of only twenty-seven National Trail Awards in 2004:(http://www.americantrails.org/awards/NTS04awards/NTS04awardwork.html)
Now it is possible to make the 18 mile round-trip hike to the summit: (http://www.akhs.atfreeweb.com/Hikes/Pioneer.htm)
I consider this hike one of many essential sign posts along the way to the apex, and the hike simply cannot be accomplished unless I am fit and strong. To become more fit and strong, I am going to have to sometimes acknowlege where I am starting and how things are going - I have done well and lost some good weight and have a physical job but in round numbers I still need to lose 100 pounds. This is not beating myself up Bro - it is facing the issue head-on and doing something about it.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Heading Back To College Tonight
It is fascinating for me to observe my adult sons and recognize the two halves of me expressed as separate human beings. Trevor is the playful half who thought he wanted to be a dentist and finally realized he loved biology too much to be happy any where else. He is an extraordinarily high performing, high achieving young man whose goals, vision of the world and love for life take my breath away on a daily basis.
Trevor and I sat at the kitchen table last night and gave life to each other's dreams. I shared some of mine and he acknowledged and supported me without mocking; he told me some of his in return. There will be more time and space devoted to my sons and daughters as I journey forward and skyward . . . . for now, I needed to publicly acknowledge the part of my happiness that is Trevor-shaped for when he is home, without effort or pretension, he drops into place like a puzzle piece and my life is richer. Trevor has that effect on people and I am very proud of all that he has become and strives to achieve and I know his apex will blaze brightly for others to follow.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
I'm Going To Maine!
Thursday, August 04, 2005
What's With The Apex Thing?
The highest point; the vertex: the apex of a triangle; the apex of a hill.
The point of culmination. See Synonyms at summit.
The usually pointed end of an object; the tip: the apex of a leaf.
The apex of a human life is where an individual achieves their maximum mean combined levels in the areas of physical performance, mental acuity and spirituality. For purposes of discussion, let's assume that at 41 years old I have passed my physical apex (various motorcycle crashes, snow machine wrecks and a life of adventure have given me the ability to tell the weather with a number of body parts, and I am quite fat at the moment), and let's also assume my spiritual apex will probably be quite sometime down the road. My intellectual apex may also have passed - it depends on who you talk to - but I think I can still make progress in that area. It follows that at some point in time, probably in the next ten to 20 years, I will enjoy that culmination, that apex, where I am balanced on the verge of a slow descent into what I hope to be a long and healthy run as a wise and aging man, gaining in wisdom and spirituality but not at the top of my game any more.
There are many hurdles in my way and many bridges to cross, and that is what I am here to discuss and explore in the context of my life, my goals and world events.