The Random Post – 3.13.21

An idea. Create a new variant of blog post. Call it The Random Post. Happening now…

Writing helps me get clear.  It helps my brain organize around a topic. 12 months now, less time to make strategic blog posts. The available instances (or chunks, rather) carved out for longer form writing are moments I’ve had to fight for; good posts and the research they require take time. Opportunities to write often feel like they come at the detriment to spending time with my family.

In a perfect world the day begins in silence with a cup of coffee, in pajamas, various colored pens and a Leuchtturm1917 (B5,dotted). Ahh, yes. A perfect world. Yah, right. I recall reviewing a new device that’s like a digital pad, feels like paper, you can write on it and it turns handwriting into digital text. Where is that thing? It was expensive and reviewers said it was buggy. Not ready for the big show yet.

There has been so little “free” time. Parenting, COVID, wildfire, parenting, sleep, repeat. Conversely, work alcoholism. I suppose there is a side of me that gets off on working harder, longer and kicking out more than the other guy. I derive a little joy from surprising a citizen with the evening and weekend call. As if, government never works late.  If it must be done, then it must be done. It’s a volume game sometimes.

I enjoy completing an idea in writing accompanied by snazzy graphics.  Creating a narrative with beginning, middle and end – on my terms – brings me joy. Attempts at little blog essays often result in novel discoveries:  new ways of thinking I did not anticipate. New thought patterns emerge that were previously hidden or unknown.

Journaling satisfies, as well. It’s where I capture ideas worth pursuing and push gratitude recognition. Full tilt immersion incorporates bullet style, legend and indexing. It makes it easier to reference and find stuff later. However, it does take up time and I am lazy at formatting entries, currently.  Paper journaling has a big handicap. No hyperlinks. One of the supreme advantages of digital writing is real time access to the modern footnote.

I would add, there’s Facebook and Instagram. where I feel somewhat inundated by my serial poster friends. Like, they are good people, right? Is it a FOMOish, loneliness, sort of narcissism, or what?  Innocent grabs at dopamine hits?  So much posting. I don’t want to do that to people. Yet, I do that to people. Just the indented effect the corporate giants planned for. 

So… why not loosen my creative boundaries. Let’s see what happens.

Just In – Hot off the Digital Press – My Kick Ass Wife Appears in Underscore!

She recently emailed me the link. “Moccasin Telegraph’ Finds New Life as Source of Vaccine Information

Yes, I love her so. My wife the nurse. Clinical Services Director of Siletz Community Health Clinic – Confederated Tribe of Siletz Indians. So much pressure and stress over the last year at the front lines of COVID response. She is an amazing Mom and shines at all the household/life warrior responsibilities. Last April, when the COVID shit was hitting the fan she was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was scary stuff. Thankfully, after two surgeries and radiation – cancer free.  Amazingly, she took very little downtime because of her serious commitment to the health care of others. Maybe work’s calling was a timely distraction. Not sure. I should ask.

I asked her, yesterday. Did the COVID urgency and volume of activity distract you from your cancer diagnosis? She said it did. I pulled this photo from the Underscore story. On this day she and her team were vaccinating in Salem.

The Underscore article states “While the U.S. as a whole is just finding its stride administering the COVID-19 vaccine to its citizens, many Native American tribes – including the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians – are on a mean streak.”

Man, I believe that! Because I’ve watched her day after day grind away. They have made amazing progress and are now assisting the greater community with vaccinations. Confederated Tribe of Siletz Indians contributes a lot to the regional community. Considering everything First Nations have endured… it just disgusts me sometimes thinking about the nastiness of colonialism, the atrocities. 

Sometimes I think she is right where the universe wants her. She is the lioness. Cherity genuinely cares about her work, the tribe and standing up for their spiritual, cultural, and physical health.  Way to go babe! And, way to go CTSI. Read the article – here.

Recovery is a LONG Road – Echo Mountain Fire Survivors

Thursday, during a bi-weekly meeting with FEMA Stan proposed this concept: “Have I done anything today to help a survivor move forward on their path to recovery? He said he was asking his staff this question too.

It’s a raw, stoic question and I love it. I wrote it down. Determined to meditate on its simplicity. So, here I am. Overthinking can be a real problem. Planners can plan, plan, plan. But we must execute. Let us deliver something real that changes a life for the better.

I was already busy – our organization was already busy – before the wildfire hit North County. Emergency “response” has its own unique trajectory. Eventually, as it does for survivors, the fight or flight wears off as the journey into recovery unfolds. I am a newbie to an actual larger disaster. Veterans warned us of the “end of the honeymoon” and how this impacts the mental health of survivors.  Be aware of the toll this will take on these individuals and families.

FEMA Logan Road – Direct Temporary Housing. Made possible from the significant contribution of the property by Confederated Tribe of Siletz Indians. (Lisa Norton, CTSI, Assistant General Manager/Dan McCue, CTSI, Chief Financial Officer, Lance “Duke” Davis, Federal Coordinating Officer, FEMA Region X)

Simultaneously, I’ve seen how the same principle overlays the responders and the organizations they work for. Recovery feels painfully slow… Living this is the only way I would ever understand it. All the FEMA courses in the world will never compare to the real deal. I spoke with a FEMA staffer whose career trajectory resulted in deployment first.  It was later that he took his required “book training”.  He noted, “No, that’s not how its works in a real disaster!” Perhaps, there is no glass slipper. Only endless variation.

I continue to have revelations, continue to stay open and at the ready for the unknown. Sometimes I feel like a communications and project management MacGyver. So many variables and bumps in the road. I have worked with FEMA, EPA, OHA, ODOT, Army Corps, COUNTY, CITY, TRIBE, etc. Our journey is far from over. Despite the frustrations of SLOOOOOW. I have frequent recognitions that we create systems for a purpose and ultimately, they do materialize in direct benefit. FEMAs direct temporary housing was a joy to behold.

People help people. The volunteer efforts and self-organization that continues in Echo Mountain is remarkable. Why wait around for government when you can get this done? Really. Why?  Would I have waited. Probably not. Nevertheless, ODOT’s Debris Management Task Force is finally at work now. Yes, contractors are cleaning properties as I write.  When “Debris Removal” began with EPA there were some estimates of up to two years for the work to be done. At the time I thought, how could it possibly take that long?

There have been moments when I’ve thought… If these conference calls were broadcast live. If the public at large could hear these conversations, they might benefit from knowing and hearing what I am hearing. Good people, well intended, trying their best to solve this problem and manage this project.

“Have I done anything today to help a survivor move forward on their path to recovery?”

Crossfit OPEN 20.1 Begins

Today, when I breath in, a faint pulse of pain that radiates from my middle back and chest. Why is that?


I don’t suppose that’s the best promo for the discipline I love. Sometimes, I do wonder if I’m living in my own twisted narrative of exercise endorphin induced cognitive bias.

Yesterday, I completed a fifteen-minute couplet comprised of jump roping and wall walks. That’s it, two different movements. I felt energized throughout the day – kind of surprised at my resilience. I was also pumped that I was joined by my son, who is 10; my joy was further stoked because he was pumped! We shared our trials and tribulations about the workout, and both found it remarkable that this exercise stuff gives us energy. Interesting.

Son and Father after our 20.1 OPEN workout. Reed “scaled” his workout jump rope>jumping jacks – wall walks>bear crawls. You know, I was worried he is doing this just for me. But, I think he kind of gets it. He will be even more prepared for soccer season by exercising now.

The idea of the OPEN is as follows. Each Thursday a unique workout is announced. Participants have until the end of Monday to complete the workout and submit their scores. After five weeks (and five different workouts) the submissions are totaled, and the best scores qualify athletes for further advancement to regional and semifinal competitions – ultimately resulting in the CrossFit Games.

It’s the largest coordinated exercise event in the world. This year, as Crossfit HQ is under new ownership, there is targeted emphasis to bring the event to the broadest demographic possible. The workouts are designed with numerous variations of inclusivity. Reed for example, did jumping jacks and bear crawls and did so for 15 minutes.

It’s a SUPER dad moment. That certainly added to my buzz. Today, I do hurt a little. Typically, our workouts have a little more variation.  The OPEN adds that extra layer of competition that makes you push a harder. I love it and Reed is so stoked! Awesome. Sauce.

Rocket Stove is Back – Learning to Cook

We moved the grill to our back yard. It is now underneath a roof. This was a total win for grill access in our household meat eater model.  Simple things bring great joy. Until, one is reminded of the animal agriculture problem. Where do myth and truth intersect? I have done little homework on the subject. It’s in the queue. I promise vegan friends. I promise.  

Reed is a picky eater. A flat iron steak has been one of the few sources of animal protein that he’s found palatable.  Just this year he finally discovered the profundity of the bacon cheeseburger.  When lighting struck several weeks ago. I thought, why not get this boy grilling.  

I am so proud of this kid! Lately, we’ve been tasking him with grilling and he’s really making progress. I had forgot about our rocket stove and for some reason it popped into my head today. Pulled it out of the shed and put it to use for a quick day camping session. Local company – Eugene, OR – Silver Fire

Many years ago. Long before fatherhood. I listened to the various teachings of Wayne Dyer. Not too far into parenting I recalled a line from him in which he said to his children “I did your laundry for the first eight years of your life – you can do mine for the next eight.”

Strange that this stuck with me as it did. I have been waiting many years for this moment to present itself. Parenting is an ongoing lesson plan. The parent brain projects onto the child brain. The self-narrative may be risk heavy in its expectation of the other.  Find balance in my outlook for his emergence I must. The person he is. The person he is becoming.

My hope is the grilling continues to be a skill he can own. He told me last week that “If a person cooks their own food they are more likely to like it.”  I asked why he enjoys grilling and he said “I just enjoy the satisfaction of the meat’s tenderness and the steam…” I lost the exact words he used.  It was an epic response. This kid.

Public Officials Fly Planes Too

Thankfully, planes do not crash land around here often. Thankfully, I have never discovered snakes on plane either.

I digress. “We all got to witness the freak occurrence of an actual snake on an actual freakin’ plane this week. And while news of the scrub python quickly spread from the side of a Qantas flight to YouTube, actual scientists are pretty used to this sort of thing. Seriously. We asked a real-life snake detective” – The Atlantic

When Dean crash landed his plan after running out of fuel, we were relieved that everybody lived.

We are thankful he navigated his pane to an empty section of beach.  I am ignorant of the skills required to be a pilot and furthermore the skills required to land a plane without fuel. If it is anything like driving my truck without power steering then I might assume it was an act of heroism to make the landing. 

I dig the retro movie posters. I do not mean to demean the seriousness of the accident with this image. At the same time I can not but help recognize the symbolism. News Times noted that flight reviews required “every two years under observation of an experienced operator.” Sawyer says, “its too hard to get one done.. There is one guy here, but I wouldn’t get in an airplane with him because he’s not good.” Mmm…

One of the questions raised in my mind is whether the accident should reflect (or not) on his role as mayor. While the work we do – when we go to work – is often site and subject specific the person we bring to the work is inseparable from the whole.  With the release of new information from the National Transportation Safety Board, I assume Lipp was compelled to ask the fellow councilmembers for their opinion.  I am not entirely sure how he framed the questions.  CM’s quote feels like it hangs somewhat in air as placed in the story. Did he ask other Councilors for their feedback?

I know Dean from conversations related to shared governmental activity.  We are friends on Facebook so I am aware of his FB persona. Do I really know the man? Maybe a tad more than the average citizen. I do however have a perspective that is somewhat unique. Considering that I am a communicator for the County (by profession) I take note of how other public officials share information that may have been discussed collaboratively.

I’ve noticed that Dean uses his “personal” Facebook page as a way to share City “civic” business. Much of this is a natural occurrence considering that he is the Mayor. My recommendation to other public officials is that they create a sperate FB page to compartmentalize their communications. It’s kind of a pain in the ass but it allows for the community to understand which hat the public official is wearing and in the case of litigation an easier separation of identities for technical discovery.

It might be helpful for Sawyer to make a public statement to help us understand our concerns. How does he view the accident? Are there any correlations between the cognitive capacity required to operate a plane that are also shared by his cognitive capacity to make sound judgments as the Mayor of Newport? 

There is a quote not featured in News Times article that appears in the “Federal Aviation Administration – Record of Conversation”.  The FAA document says, “He stated he pulled back as hard as he could on the yoke to make sure he didn’t nose into the ground. He said that within minutes there were “a bunch of stupid Samaritans at the aircraft.”

I question why on earth the Mayor would refer to his constituents as “stupid Samaritans”. The interview conducted by the aviation safety inspector occurred the day after the incident. Seems like this gap would give him time to cool down and think a little more clearly about the events. I can understand that the whole situation is somewhat embarrassing, and he may want to move on from it all. At the same time, the FAA documents demonstrate a certain laziness and disregard of attention to detail that is critical to safety.

Do I think we need to ask for the keys to the City back? I do not. It does make me ponder the breadth and depth of leadership required and how important it is for public officials to demonstrate that leadership across the board.