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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Marriage and a brief encounter with a friends ignorant sister

I have been in some kind of D vs. R, G vs. S, L vs. R with a friend and now his family is getting involved. His baby sister wrote a response directed at me and of course, I got fired up. Turns out me and my friend can look past these things in fact we can even see the other's point of view at times. But I don't want to drag the rest of his family into it. So, I am responding to her here in the name of decency and maturity. Although these issues do resonate within me deeply, I have always desired to be decent in conversations with adversaries and mature in times of great agony and anger.

Dear Liz,
The definition of Marriage is the unity of a man and a woman. Period. You cannot change definitions. Just because you want to completely switch a definition's meaning (eg. Amylase is the enzyme that breaks down starch. To: Catalase and amylase are the enzymes that break down starch.) will NOT make your new definition right. There is nobody stopping gay people from loving their partners. It is obvious and great that a woman can truly love another woman (and man a man), HOWEVER, they cannot share in the SACRAMENT (ever heard of that word?) of marriage. It is utilized and only celebrated by a man and woman and shall not be diluted by those of the same sex. Furthermore, marriage is solely based on religion, which is separate from government. Hereby you have no case.
Clint, Nice post. Love you much. Miss you tons! Still working on coming to visit - I got a job (bartending and catering at a high-end tavern on the river, it's a beautiful place) and am starting to save up! It might just be me now that the democrats are going to tax dad up the ass and he wont be able to send the whole fam. Hope you figure that heating system out!!
November 22, 2008 8:20 PM

First, Clint has told me awesome things about you. I (still)look forward to meeting you.
You say: "Furthermore, marriage is solely based on religion, which is separate from government. Hereby you have no case."
I ask: Read below, what do any of these benefits have to do with religion? These are all benefits bestowed upon a married couple by their government.

I cut and paste: The following material was provided by the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund. It is used by permission. The list below was compiled for a couple living in the United States. However, similar provisions exist in many other countries.
On the order of 1,400 legal rights are conferred upon married couples in the U.S. Typically these are composed of about 400 state benefits and over 1,000 federal benefits. Among them are the rights to:
  • joint parenting;
  • joint adoption;
  • joint foster care, custody, and visitation (including non-biological parents);
  • status as next-of-kin for hospital visits and medical decisions where one partner is too ill to be competent;
  • joint insurance policies for home, auto and health;
  • dissolution and divorce protections such as community property and child support;
  • immigration and residency for partners from other countries;
  • inheritance automatically in the absence of a will;
  • joint leases with automatic renewal rights in the event one partner dies or leaves the house or apartment;
  • inheritance of jointly-owned real and personal property through the right of survivorship (which avoids the time and expense and taxes in probate);
  • benefits such as annuities, pension plans, Social Security, and Medicare;
  • spousal exemptions to property tax increases upon the death of one partner who is a co-owner of the home;
  • veterans' discounts on medical care, education, and home loans;
  • joint filing of tax returns;
  • joint filing of customs claims when traveling;
  • wrongful death benefits for a surviving partner and children;
  • bereavement or sick leave to care for a partner or child;
  • decision-making power with respect to whether a deceased partner will be cremated or not and where to bury him or her;
  • crime victims' recovery benefits;
  • loss of consortium tort benefits;
  • domestic violence protection orders;
  • judicial protections and evidentiary immunity;
  • and more....

Most of these legal and economic benefits cannot be privately arranged or contracted for. For example, absent a legal (or civil) marriage, there is no guaranteed joint responsibility to the partner and to third parties (including children) in such areas as child support, debts to creditors, taxes, etc. In addition, private employers and institutions often give other economic privileges and other benefits (special rates or memberships) only to married couples. And, of course, when people cannot marry, they are denied all the emotional and social benefits and responsibilities of marriage as well.

Me again: Also, why is this issue continually brought to the polls through ballot initiatives and legislative rulings? The issue is being decided through only governmental-avenues. This issue has everything to do with our legislative government. If the issue is "solely based on religion" I would think it be bothersome that Jews, Muslims, atheists, Buddhists, etc. were allowed to vote on the topic.

And yes, I've heard of Sacrament. If that were the only benefit/celebration of marriage, I wouldn't even want it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

conservatism vs. liberalism and prop-8

I can admit, as the ripe age of 26, that finally I am feeling something. I am feeling something political. Something that has yet only grazed me, nicked me, or missed me entirely. Why have I waited so long? Well, I'm privledged. I have secluded myself to the wilderness for the last 4 years and have not been surrounded by people with serious opinions on the subject, until now.
Now, I'm stationed in Italy. Surrounded by a very interesting population of people. People that are studying this topic, following the economy, politics, etc. A good friend of mine (as close as you can get when your pool of friends is severely limited) is a staunch conservative. I like talking to him because I get fired up. So here we go.

He is a firm believer in old conservative values. He doesn't beleive that gays should be allowed to marry, or really even exist. This dumbfounds me most days, especially today. He wrote a blog about his opinions on the Obama election victory and the prop-8 victory. Most of the blog was about the "horrible loss" his "team" had suffered. He tried to explain that was because it was full of old white men. He liked Sarah Palin and all her new-ness, she was the new face of the republican party. It seems that he is not the only person who beleives this. Palin has been gracing the cover of magazines, talk shows, and news programs since November 5th. I agree the republican party could use a face-lift. However, I don't think the only thing the Democratic canidate had going for himself was a fresh-face. It had a ton of money. The same thing the supporters of prop-8 had. Both movements also had a very well designed dialogue and serious powers of persuasion. It's all psycology.

Enough about the young flamboyant republican. What about the fact that prop-8 did actually pass? Has human decency come to an all time-low? How is this any different than african-american marriages being unlawful, inter-racial couples? I am certain that this will not be the final attempt to allow homosexuals the same rights as heterosexuals. In fact, I feel hopeful that I will see such rights granted in my life-time. But, right now we have an underground current of hatred (in both directions) that is shameful. I firmly believe that there will be no ill-effects on the heterosexual marriage if opportunity is granted for gays. What possibly could change? What is at the heart of marriage anyway? All this time I thought it was love. Now I realize it must not be. It must be something elite, something that is bought and contrived. If heterosexuals keep it for themselves, if its only for a certain few, than marraige is not what it purports to be. This is the way that many african americans felt when only whites could marry. This is the way inter-racial couples felt when they could not marry. I am not sure what they are afraid of. More people bonded by love? Or, are heterosexuals afraid of what happens when less people feel marginalized. It's always better for you if you know you are at the top and people can't have what you have. It ensures your power. That is psycology.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

What's New

I'm in Italy. Bologna, Italy. Here they call bologna Mortadella. It is more delicious here than the oscar meyer brand. I hope to keep you more updated here are some photos for now. Ciao!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Red Hatters

So, early retirement (from Outward Bound) hasn't slowed me down or made me a homebody. No, I got out today. In fact, I spent my day with some maturing, somewhat sassy, ole' ladies. These weren't just any ole' ladies and I wasn't meerly hanging out. They had a strict fashion doctrine that only allowed them to wear any RED HAT they could find and their clothes had to be some shade (preferably 'royal') of purple. Yes, that's right I spent my day with the Southern Tier of NY chapter of the Red Hat Society. They were having a luncheon at The LOOM, my father's "space for any occasion" and odly, his retirement project. What was I doing there? Well, I was any of the following roles at any given time: greeter, muscles, waitress, sous-chef, daughter, entertainment manager, janitor and dishwasher. Here's a run-down of the day's events.

The spokeswoman for the red-hatter's, as they are casually refered to, shows up at 9:15 with a mini-van full of fake flowers, the kind one aquires at desperate moments in Michael's sale bins, assorted gift baskets all put together by herself likely and include years of undesirable and otherwise dusty accoutrements and redhat recipe cards. I think I caught a glimps of a crocheted trivet in the shape and style of an elephant. She also toted along with her a few, 20 or so, old lace curtains in lavender, coral blue, mint, and hotpink. She used these, with my help and some scissors, to make the every table spread incredibly tacky and super-busy. But hey, these ladies don't get out much, fun is fun. The ladies showed up 4, or so, at a time, bought their raffle tickets, and took to their assigned seats. I noticed many styles of red hat, none two the same. My favorite was the red poker visor and I wondered what the hatters do on the weekends or this woman was an adjunct memeber of the Las Vegas chapter. Also some Southwestern inspired Scala cowgirl redhats were dawned. None were finer and more ornate than Sheryls, she was the hostess, but also the most spirited member of the group which was exhibited not only in her hat but in her willingness to take the stage and sing out the red hatter's official song, sung to the tune of "when the saints go marching in"

They dinned exquisetly on a tomatoe basil bisque followed by finger sandwiches an quiche. The desserts seemed to never end and spanned an entire 8 ft. table buttoned down the center with a punch that was (shhhhh!) spiked by the host red-hatter, Sheryl. They ladies also got shnockered off the two bottles of "Foxy Lady" wine placed at every table. Foxy Lady advertises their wine with, whoda guesed it, a woman in a red hat and a purple shirt. I think there is coporate sponsorship here.

I was serving the ladies their meals and bussing their dishes when they began the raffle portion of the day. Their were roughly 15 gift bags and boxes, all donated by Sheryl, to give away. The tickets cost around 5 dollars and most women bought 10 or so of them. I take this opportunity to pause my hurried busing and watch. Sheryl begins pulling numbers from her ornate basket. "first numbers are 765, everyone has those, and the last numbers are 4...2...2." silence. "4...2...2, anyone have 4...2...2?" Only the sound of rummaging was in the air as the women sifted through their enormous bags to find their magnafying glasses. "O.K. Ladies someone has to have this number, 4...2...2, anyone?" Finally a giggle escapes a woman who seems to have lost some of her powers of deduction, "Oh, yes. Thats me, I have it!" Wonderful, I thought. Now that their warmed up for this raffle ticket the rest should go off with out a hitch. Well, was I wrong. Gradually the ladies would lift their creeking bodies into a posture fit for walking and shuffle their way over to the table to pick out the gift that suited them best. There seemed to be no shame is rearranging the contents of each package in accordance with their liking. The would also see no harm in taking out things they didn't want and leave the discarded gifts on the table. Strange, I thought. One woman who was obviously savvy enough to take advantage of the hearing/reading/listening/raffle ticket impaired would claim the number so frequently that by the end of the raffle I had seen her go to the table at least 4 times. Lucky, I guess.

All in all what a fine day I had working with the Red Hat organization. I thought, I should get my mother involved in this, and hell, maybe someday I could be a member. I've always been fond of red and my zodiac sign claims the color purple. Has something to do with royalty. There is nothing more regal than taking the opportunity for self-enhancement by reorganizing your gift bag to give you the best outcome, who cares what the other lady gets.

We cleaned up and ushered the ladies out. I went down to the bar and tested out all my dad's new bartending equipment, just to make sure that a quality drink came with the L.O.O.M. name. I took a delightful sip of my G & T and congratualted myself on a job well done. Maybe, Red Hatting is in my future, I thought.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

So here it is August in Northern Minnesota. If you, for some strange reason, lived without any calendar or contact with the world of dates and times of year, you would know very well that it was August. A few very particular things happen here namely, the biting bugs (mosquitoes and black flies) die out. Read here: what a relief! Also, the light becomes quite a bit more golden, the rain clouds don't build up so much, and the nights are quite crisp with endless star filled skies. You may even catch a glimpse of the aurora borealis, a phenomenon that captures the imagination and leaves everyone asking, "how and why does that happen?" Personally, I can't answer that question. Sometimes I just answer the atmosphere is farting. I figure since it has a lot to do with gas I am almost right.

Also at the end of summer comes the end of the long work and the beginning of short (one-week) contract course with groups of people who already know each other and have a connection prior to their OB course. The one I'm working is for a program called Upward Bound, catchy eh? Wonder where they came up with their name? The students are all high school sophomores who, if they complete the program, they will receive partial or full scholarships to the University of Minnesota. Pretty cool deal. My understanding is they have to do summer school and accelerated classes. Also these kids are first generation college attendees, meaning their parents have not attended college. They are a very diverse group of kids, we have a Hmong girl, Muslim, Latino, Ethiopian, Asian, and American. One thing is true on an OB course; you can take people from all over the world but they will all love the mac and cheese. No problem.

Personally, I'm pooped. I have to pack to move out of the cabin I lived in here with Jayne. Her stuff, besides some random clothes, is already gone, she drove it to Houston about 4 weeks ago now. I have to fly home to NY and have two large bags that have to fit all my stuff. I am pretty sure I am going to be blindsided by the rule of thumb that packing always takes extraordinarily long and one should begin as soon as they can, not wait until the last minute. Trying to fit time to rest, pack, swim, watch the Olympics, and connect with folks is very challenging. Next time I talk to you it will be from NY. Enjoy your last days of summer! Fall is such a cool transition but for many it means back to the grind. take time to enjoy it.

Monday, July 14, 2008

All girls course

Here's to being an adolescent female. What a strange and difficult time. I can only remember a few snippits of pain and embarrassment from my own. Now I know why its not all so crystal clear, because it was the worst time of my life, and in order to move and deal I had to do some healthy blocking out. I think they all do, the people that make it that is. The permanent scars though, do travel with us. I think some injuries incurred on this four week adventure with six girls and two female instructors that may last a life time. The time people have on their Outward Bound course is so vivid it can stay present for a while, at least that has been my experience. A few photos here display their good times. Every time the camera came out, it was a good time. For me, every time I had a few sips of coffee it was a good time.

Each day it was a different play with different characters. We had many different characters, from the bully to the nurturer and from mom to sister. It was a roller coaster of emotion and drama. Luckily, I can say at the end, the very end, it all turned around. Many girls "got it", it being what we had been trying to teach them since day one. Many girls had "Ah-ha" moments. The kind when it all clicks and you finally understand why it is you are where you are, when you are there. These Ah-Ha's kind of explain your destiny in a way that you can understand and have ownership in. It's a whimsical idea to think that we have no say in our destiny, that is the idea isn't it? I would say that we have a ton of say in where we end up, and how we are when we are there. Hopefully these girls understood that a bit more after their course than before.
But, back to the bully character. If you work with teens in any capacity or expecting to have one at some point, I recommend a book by Barbara Colorosi, "The Bully, Bullied, and the Bystander." Another insightful read is about solely raising girls is "Reviving Ophelia, saving the selves of adolescent girls". These books have really helped me do my job, which is not motherhood, but has some close relation for a month at a time. Here's what Reviving Opehia Author encourages girls to do:
- Develop a 'hate it but do it' center in their brain that will help them meet long-term goals.
- Imagine themselves on good dates with respectful guys who are interested in where they wanted to go and what they wanted to do. The date should last all evening and include compliments, talk and fun.
- Learn positive ways to be independent.
- Keep diaries.
- Write poetry.
- Observe the culture with the eyes of an anthropologist in a strange society. What kinds of women and men are respected in this culture? What body shapes are considered ideal?
- Learn how to manage pain. Mixed up behavior often comes from unprocessed pain. She teaches girls to sit with their pain, listen to it rather than run from it.
- Learn the joy of altruism. Do good deeds for neighbors.
- Learn how to be independent from parents and stay emotionally connected to them.
- Develop passions and stress-relieving habits, like reading, playing piano, sports.
Maybe these tips can help even us grown up girls.

Friday, June 6, 2008

It will be awhile

I'm off to the Boundary Waters for 21 days. I will be joined by seven youth. There is a potential these youth will all be young women. There is potential I will have a female co-instructor. There is potential for high winds, long rains, and clouds of blood-sucking bugs. There is potential for breath-taking sunsets, best cups of coffee, and tear-filled belly laughter. There is potential for strong emotion and discontent. There is potential for hurt feelings and sorrow. There is also potential for rebirth, enlightning discussion, and moments of inspiration. This is my job. This is my passion. This is how I say, better, not more. Closer not more distant. Love and forgiveness not distrust and dispair.

Could the entire world be watching me I would not falter. It is my mission to make this world better.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Black Sturgeon River Senior Staff Travel

What it means to be senior staff. This question crept into my brain once or twice on this trip and I realized that it means a lot. It seemed that a lot of us senior staff at one time of another had a gut-check. A gut-check that concluded with either leaving, making a career change, or having a crappy course or OB phase. Some had just rolled with it. I imagine these folks have stayed pretty detached. Its hard to say. Anyhow, I joined a few fan clubs on this trip. Here's who and why:
Ryan Larson- This fella is always honest and sincere, up for a good hard challenge and incredibly capable with hard tasks. I got to see his very deep laughter on this trip. The kind where his eyes were watering and he put his hand over his mouth and just shook with the thought of hilariousness. It was a gift to see him enjoy himself that much. I spent some time prior with Larson on a northern river. The weather was much worse then, and we were all in a bit over our heads. I certainly wasn't ready for the kind of despair I was encountering on a daily basis. Ryan kept his head, and while I didn't see him laugh like i described above, I did see him doing everything he could for the group. We had dry fire wood, hot fires, warm water, and excellent gear. For all his contribution to my world of whitewater experience, I have a ton of gratitude. I love whitewater, and hope to love it as much as him someday very soon.

Sarah Milne- My amazing PCE partner and trip mate. So much needs to be said for the effort she put in to the PCE. I could tell that my goal of coming in early was not necessarily hers. She reacted to my desires like a leaf in the wind. What did I want? Once she knew she did it. I think in the end she was pretty pleased to have pushed it together. And with out her my dream might not have ever came true. On the sturgeon Sarah was a wise ole sage. She was sassy when we were, she was not punitive or condescending, and she dedicated her talents to us all and consistently helped out. Her ability to be a strong unwavering rock star is a talent I would like to practice.

Katie Liermann a.k.a "Lier-cat"- A barrel of laughs. The type of humor she has is so good. Her facial expressions, dry-wit, and dedication to the pun is unmatched. She kept me in high spirits and my abs in prime physical condition due to the quality and quantity of belly laughter. We laughed so hard we cried. Not only full of jokes, Lier-cat has a genuine interest in people and is easy to talk to. If we could have stopped laughing I'm positive we could have had profound conversations.

Robin Zinthefer- What an undercover dynamic person. She is on top of her game here at OB and has a ton of worldly insight to boot. She is amazingly compassionate and helpful. I had not talked much with Robin prior to this trip and I realized all that I had missed out on in that time. We started at the very same time in OB and have had some similar experiences and the differences we have have a lot to learn from. I really need to engage Robin a lot more and gather all I can from her experience.

Anita Gebauer- What can i say. Anita is entrenched in the world of enlightenment and spiritual emotion right now. She has brought a huge amount of that very same thing to my life through working, traveling, and living with her. I feel very close to Anita and at times that means I can get as frustrated with her as I can with myself or my family. This trip really showed that I take Anita's positive contribution to my life for granted and that I should cut her and myself more slack sometimes. Anita is so good at helping people. She walked an extra half mile to give Dulce some water yesterday. The type of friendship I have with Anita could last a lifetime if it is payed proper attention.

Jayne N- Well, I'm a bit biased here. Jayne and I have been together now for a year and some four months. Really not a long time in the scheme of things. The ability we have to collaborate is phenomenal, I think we also know when to stay out of each others' way, also a very good skill. We are both very headstrong and put a huge emphasis on communication and understanding. While we may over analyse what each other say, we can still manage to paddle a boat through whitewater and make it look good. Every day that I get to watch Jayne interact with her world I appreciate her choice to keep me very close in it. I was pretty sure when I met her that I loved her mind and I noticed her beauty too. We met on a river. If at times it seems like nothing else is making sense, we'll both always have a love for rivers.

Matt Pearson- I was picked on quite a bit for my apparent worship of Matty. Let me share where this has come from. Go ahead and think back to our fireside chats. Did anyone else feel the emphatic belief of OB that would radiate from his words? How about that uncertain but bold step into the challenge and unknown of instructing and life with OB that would swirl in the ideas that Matt would share? And the furrow of the eyebrows which I interpreted as wholehearted desire to be good at this work and be the person he wants to be, even though its hard. That is what I saw in Matty P out on the black sturgeon. I also saw a funny, sincere, and quiet fella that wanted to have a good time. His energy lit a fire in me and that's something I'm always on the lookout for. Thanks Matty.

So not much more needs to be said about how wonderful the trip was. A Cecere-ism sums it up perfectly, "Living the dream."

Monday, May 12, 2008

11 states in one month, a drivers diary

It began when my last course of the Texas season ended. As we know, most ends result in some type of beginning. Near April 7th. This was Zach Burn's birthday. We celebrated at a small bar outside of the metropolis of Presidio, la escondita (the hidden). We were celebrating many things; Zach's birth, the NCAA championship basketball game, and the finale of a 28-day OB course that Zach, me, and this wonderful woman Kat Ketter had worked. It was all going quite nicely. We must have had a tailwind as we traveled the 5-hour drive from El Paso to Presidio in our 15 passenger Ford Econoline Van.

The three of us and our course director, Chris Brown, arrive at la escondita to the joy of my girlfriend, who I hadn't seen for more than 12 hours in the last 28 days. Also there were some really great friends and the promises of more to show. The table had been decorated as well as the walls and the dog. We were going to party!

Our friends trickle in and sure enough the management at la escondita can't keep up with our burgeoning requests for beer and food. There was only two of them and they are on desert antiquity time, i don't blame them. So our good friend Clancy gets behind the bar and starts un-capping dos equis after dos equis much to our merriment. The night is just warming up when the game starts. Blue vs. White. Who really cares, I can't remember who won even all I know is there was a sick three-point shot at the buzzer sending the game into overtime, in which the team who made the buzzer beater of course came out victorious. You can ride a energizing wave like that for quite some time. there was no stopping them.

Then the phone rings, Dallas area code. It was a parent who had read her child's course journal. That was her first mistake. Apparently her child had been fornicating with another student for the duration of the course. Oh my god. At this point all the beer drained from my body and sunk into my feet which were abnormally heavy and groggy. I had to sit down and think. Could this have really happened? Did I have any feeling that this was true what-so-ever? The answer kept coming back no. no. no. I put myself into up most humility zone and said, well, this happened, now what?

What happened next is no less shocking and unsettling than the original news. Turned out that the student had lied about having sex with the student in her journal to sound "bad-ass". The student said that she commonly lies to seem tough and cool. Essentially a fantasy world of lies and negative behaviors. Sadly, this is what life is like for so many of the world teenage women. I feel for them.

With a calmed heart about the whole scenario I began the daunting task of ending the Texas season. This was the point in my life that I realized how deeply the desert had reached in me. To the core. Living in SW Texas on the border of MX has had such a profound impact on my life. I would say that I know what true beauty is now.

Packing up and leaving was a huge challenge. Jayne left earlier than me and did a large part of the packing up. I intended on packing up both of our cars and towing one with the other. A Jeep liberty towing a Deawoo nubira, both stuffed to the gills with Jayne and my life. Don't forget the little Dulce. She was of course, in tow.

We started in Texas and then it went like this:





Minnesota ( great hotel in Albert Lea is none other than the Albert Lea INN, stop by tell them I said Hi)

I embarked upon this trip with what is commonly referred to as the "Long Haul." A few staff members sign up to drive three fully loaded and trailered 15 passenger vans from Texas to Minnesota. They are carrying all the gear that makes Texas an Outward Bound base. This would include but not be limited to: tarps, stoves, kayaks, canoes, backpacks and paperwork. The four of us would get a hotel room each night and chill out with some fast food and TV. Dulce would freak out and commandeer the comfy spot at the foot of my bed.

As soon as the Alumni service trip was done, Jayne and I left for Elmira NY, my home town. On our route we traveled through:








New York

What the worse thing that could happen when driving? An accident. sure. So we hit a deer about and hour outside my town. Luckily the deer died on impact and Jayne had some great AAA coverage. We rode in the tow truck with Dulce on my lap and arrived in typical Liz fashion; at two o'clock in the morning in a tow truck with a broken car. Long story short, the insurance company called my car a total loss and are settling with me for 2, 000 dollars. That's 2x as much as I paid for the car about 5 years ago and four trips across the US. I got some well needed couch time at moms and rented a car to get back to Ely.

Now I'm here. The sun is shining and the bugs aren't out yet. I am filling out my paper-work to go to Italy and Dulce is covered in mud every chance she gets.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

el primero

So, this time around I want to have something to say. Its hard for me to concentrate and spell. Not sure how this will go. I've always wanted to learn Spanish, or any other language for that matter. A romance language would be preferred. Italian would also be nice.

I've been working for an experiential outdoor education organization known to many as Outward Bound (OB). OB provides an experience for all people to find out what they are truly made of. To test their limits and to find the outer edges of their growth potential. That roughly translates to a lot of sweat, tears and hope. Late nights, long days, swatting mosquitos and dodging flesh-eating cactus. I work mostly with adolescents and college age folks. It is an emotionally heart-warming job.

The only other jobs I've kept have had something to do with the following three fields; retail, the outdoors and education. I have worked at the old Plantscapes greenhouse/landscaping business, Klein's All Sports, Eastern Mountain Sports and as an instructor for Cornell Outdoor Education. My bosses at these jobs were also amazing role-models and friends. That has really helped me over time develop my own leadership style. As it stands right now I am a lead instructor for OB in Minnesota and Texas. Life is good.

I have pivotable points. So does my friend Anita Gebauer. In fact she invented the word pivotable. The spell check will not let that word pass, but Anita will. So will I. I believe I have a few but I can highlight three for you here. I'll try chronological as well.

1. The amount of care and attention I received from my fifth-grade teacher Mrs. Tanner. I was really off in the wrong direction and Mrs. Tanner gave me positive attention when I earned it instead of consistently giving me negative attention which I was surely deserving of. She also got me into the T.A.G. (Talented and gifted) program. Where I remember I made a chicken wire paper mache dolphin. A budding young environmentalist.

2. When I was 14 I met a girl from Ohio on-line and proceeded to "date" her. So essentially I ran up a 700$ phone bill. The day Mom got the phone bill she was crying and carrying-on rightfully so. I was quite upset myself. So in between screams and yells having to do with my stupidity and lack of giving a shit she asks, "what are you gay!?!" In between my sobs of sorry I answered "i think so," and that took care of the intimidating job of telling my mom I was gay. easy as that.

3. Last but certainly not least, I would say that Sept. 11 2001 had a very large affect in my life. I feel that on that day I was hurled outside of my tiny bubble and into the big bad scary world. To keep it simple I felt more responsible for the pain in the world. It was motivated to do whatever I could to alleviate that pain.