Friday, January 22, 2010


Columbia Center Building
Seattle's Tallest Skyscraper
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

Today, I wanted to treat myself to a Caramel Frappucino, venti size, and I wanted to engage in my blog activities while reveling in the magnificent view from the 40th floor of the Columbia Center, smack dab in the heart of downtown Seattle.

From this vantage point, I can see the details of the underbellies of incoming planes as they maneuver through their approach flight patterns, eager to touch down at either Boeing or Sea-Tac Airports. For a moment--and a fleeting moment, if you will--I reluctantly flash to the newsreels that played over and over and over again on our television screens on that fated September day a little over 8 years ago. At the speed of light, I thank God that the giant silver birds that pass over me this idyllic Seattle afternoon are manned by friendly pilots.

Somehow, the magical perspective from this lofty site makes me forget about the dismal sports seasons the Emerald City has suffered through the past couple of years.

So what if the occasional (um, okay, chronic) drizzle cloaks this city in eerie black and white film noir apparel?

It's just me, my laptop, this delicious frapuccino, and the musings of a vagabond lifestyle that color this Pacific Northwest metropolis as night covers it with an ethereal blanket.

An hour from closing time, I am waiting for my four auctions on eBay to end so I can record the necessary information and prepare the packages for mailing.

Meanwhile, I want to share with you that my son and I had a gmail chat this afternoon (his midnight). He's been very busy taking beaucoup photographs in gorgeous Florence, Italy. He added that he'd get back to his blog sometime in the next few days. Speaking of which, I really like how he's added the amazing European landscapes, architectural and sculptured classics, and lively portraits to his blog. He certainly has a photographer's vision.

Back to the eBay theme...

What am I selling? Some of the best fly tying/fishing hooks out of Korea and Japan--respectively, the Dai-Riki and Tiemco brands! Ten years ago, when the general populace was uncertain as to whether or not Y2K was going to be the most awesome and ominous computer plague to hit the planet, Rita and I opened up a Mom and Pop business on the burgeoning internet auction giant. At first, I was selling fishing flies that I had begun crafting in the early 90's. But it got to be such a pain in the neck (really, the long hours spent with one's neck at an unnatural angle is certainly an invitation for early arthritic onset), that I decided to go to a least labor-intensive practice--that of selling fly tying materials and supplies to other fly tyers. The fly tying hooks just happened to be our highest volume commodity.

It's a humble venture, but it's helped pay for some of the smaller family expenses as well as contributed to the fine Christian education of both of our children. In addition, it's been an adventuresome and educational foray into online entrepreneurship. How wonderful to have customers from every state of the Union as well as from every continent of the globe. Most importantly, it has set an example for my children about the good things that can happen when diligence, sacrifice, and perseverance fire up our dreams.

Just this morning, I was musing about our 100% positive feedback rating from almost 5000 unique customers. We serve a wonderful God who blesses in such sweet and mysterious ways.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tropical Rainbow

Tropical Rainbow
bending across the sky--
a bridge that God and angels walk on by;
Tropical Rainbow
weaving a lei of dew--
a symbol of the love I give to you.

When a passing island shower
throws kisses to the sun,
their love affair will blossom
with colors on the run.

Tropical Rainbow,
miracle that you are,
you'll linger on to greet the evening star.

When a passing island shower
throws kisses to the sun,
their love affair will blossom
with colors on the run.                                                                                             

Tropical Rainbow                                                                                  
weaving a lei of dew--
a symbol of the love I give to you,
a symbol of the love I give to you.

Words and music by Hawaiian Odysseus
Copyright @ 1973

Saturday, January 9, 2010


Seems like it wasn't very long ago when I was so elated that I could drive a car down the road all by myself while my mom was doing such a lousy job of hiding the anxiety in her large dark brown Okinawan eyes. Seventeen, and I ruled the world in our family's blue station wagon.

Forty years later, I've exchanged places with my mother--figuratively speaking, of course--as I wake up anxiously each day way before dawn, frantically searching my gmail inbox to see if my 23-year-old son, Ryan, has emailed me. Italy is, for better or worse, nine hours ahead of the Pacific Northwest time zone, and so--with 7 parts fatherly concern and 3 parts meddling buffoon, I fling the bedcovers off and, fumbling idiot in the dark that I am, scramble for my laptop, carefully raise the top, and find and press the circular device on the upper right. I close my eyes and desperately try to convince myself that doing so gives me a few more seconds of alpha sleep (I lie!). I groan as I see the LED display on my clock radio read: 4:15 AM. Sleepily--no, make that lazily--I do the math and determine that it is a little after 1 PM in spaghetti world.

Meanwhile, the irritating musical notes Microsoft implanted in this high tech machine I have only just recently become acquainted with--okay, so I'm a baby boomer caveman (if it fits, I'll wear it)--signals that it, too, is struggling to wake up. Just as I hit the g button that cues the words in my browser's drop down menu, the screen goes black on me. Cursing the idiocy of it all (with me at the top of the list), I realize that my battery has died. What this means, of course, is that I have to get up from my half sitting/half reclining state, step onto the cold thinly-carpeted floor (my landlord is a slum lord, I swear!), freeze my buns off, and blindly grope for the light.

It pierces my eyes, and it's a few seconds before I can adjust to the hurtful brilliance of it all. I rush to find the cord for the laptop, attach it to the machine, and plug the other end in. I plop down on my bed, my brain now losing battery power rapidly, and wait for the laptop to come to life.

Ryan, my handsome, bright, and talented 6'2" son (who hasn't a clue that I still view him with a split/frame perspective: the tall young adult on one side, and the cute little toddler on the other side) is thousands of miles away on the European continent, and I am dying to hear from him. Where did the yearsgo? Two decades ago, some kind soul told me, "Cherish this time. They grow up so fast!" No kidding! (No adulting?) Seemed like only yesterday when I was pushing his stroller up and down the sleepy sidewalks of the southeast Washington bedroom community of College Place.

Now here he is, four times graduated--first, from kindergarten; second, from 8th grade; third, from Walla Walla Valley Academy; and fourth, from Walla Walla University. He now attends graduate school at Cal Polytech University in San Luis Obispo, CA, studying for a dual major in Mechanical Engineering and Business Management. For his second quarter of grad school, he was blessed with the opportunity to study abroad at the University of Milan.

My wife, Rita, and I saw Ryan off at Sea-Tac Airport on Wednesday, December 30, 2009. He had a long but safe flight to London and enjoyed a great evening delighting in the splendor of the Queen's Empire. After that first delightful and relatively stress-free night, however, Ryan began encountering challenge after challenge. What I am greatly inspired and encouraged by is how he evolved from ranter and complainer to wise old soul--he turned the emotional corner when he was in the deepest of valleys, confronting himself to stop whining about his situation and making a decisive choice to start having fun. It was like the proverbial lightbulb turning on.

Which brings me full circle back to the light being on and things coming to life.

This baby boomer dinosaur has learned to SKYPE! Ryan turned me on to this wonderful and innovative high tech tool a week or so ago. I was at the Ballard Library when I decided to click on the lime green icon at the bottom right of my laptop screen. I'm glad I did because I came across my wife and Ryan having a great conversation. Quickly, I typed an instant message to Ryan, asking him to invite me to a conference call. He immediately responded.

Wow! It was great to hear both Rita's and Ryan's voices! And the wonder of it all was that Ryan sounded like he was right in front of me. Thank God for Bill Gates and Paul Allen and all the subsequent high tech geek clones whose brilliance resulted in figuratively shrinking this globe to the size of a grapefruit.

I am very thankful to be living in this amazing era. Yes, we see growing evidence each day that the angels are straining and steadily losing ground in their efforts to hold back the winds of misfortune and suffering. Even so, it only means that we who believe and trust and live our lives accordingly will soon be in a better place.

Until then, let us endure the gentle tugs at our hearts when we come to that juncture where we let our children go, thanking Him for the short yet glorious season He allowed us to have them.

I only ask one thing of Him as I meditate on how I will cope with this time in my life. Lord, whatever You do, let me have my split screen image of Ryan.

ps Thanks for the Skype!