Monday, March 14, 2011

Thank You!

Ok, so in looking at my last post I realized that I left out one very important person in my life, and she really had a lot to do with how I turned out. That's her in the picture holding me at 3 weeks old on my first trip to Austin, Texas, we would latter live in El Paso, move back to Wisconsin, as an adult I would then move to Minneapolis, then to Houston, and finally back to Austin but that's another story. My mom has been one of the biggest influences in my life. She has taught me not give up when things get tough. She didn't have an easy time flunked out of college, abusive marriage, military wife with kid, divorce, raising a kid as a single parent, going back to college getting advanced degrees, and finally finding my step-dad. She has done a lot with very little, she has shown me great strength and grace in how she has handled life's hurdles. I was not always the best kid, but I never got into real trouble, because she taught me right from wrong. We didn't have a lot, but she gave me what she could, she got me into what sports and activities that she was able to. She taught me to ride a bike, even though she can't ride herself. She went back to school when I was in 3rd or 4th grade and not only got her undergraduate degree but also advanced degrees. She did that while I was in middle school and high school and still pushed me and supported all my efforts to grow and gain new experiences. She has always been there for me and I am very grateful for that. I will never be able to say I love you mom enough or thank her enough for everything. I encourage everyone to take the time and tell those important people in your life thank you and that you love them. So mom, this is for you: THANK YOU for all that you have done, and I LOVE YOU.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Who Am I?

I have been remiss in posting here, I could run the usual excuses and say that I was busy etc., but that wouldn't be true. What I have been doing is thinking about a lot of things and often this kind of thinking interferes with me trying to sit down and do this. I haven't held a "REAL" job in over 2 years and that has been causing me to think about who I am and what I want to be. It's also caused a lyric from the musical "A Chorus Line" to be running through my head. In some ways it's a very profound lyric, and in other ways it shows exactly what I hate about the "corporate" world. The song goes like this: "Who am I anyway? Am I my resume? That is a picture of a person I don't know. What does he want from me? Who should I try to be?...". Now to put this in context, for those who don't know the show, the singer is trying to get a job in a Broadway show in the chorus. The director of the "show" has asked all the dancers about themselves, something that usually doesn't happen. And the singer is trying to get the job he needs and he's trying to figure out how much he should tell and how much he should hold back. I hate questions like that and in job interviews you get a lot of them. So, I have been asking myself who am I, where do I see myself going, and what do I want to do when I grow up or perhaps with my life. There is no easy answer to any of those questions and yet there is a very simple one we should all remember. I want to be happy. I want to love what I do and do what I love. That is the answer in the simplest terms. Now if I could only get paid for coming up with these profoundly unoriginal ideas I'd be set. But, lets look closer at these questions and try to come up with something better. Who am I? I am the sum total of all the events in my life. I am also the sum total of all my ancestors. The pictures you see in this post are some of my best memories and they are some of my ancestors. My wedding day to the most wonderful person I have ever known, a great day with my dad (who could be an S.O.B. most of the time), my grandmother's parents (he was a WW I vet who was wounded in France) who kept a family together during the Depression and supported my grandma's decision to join the WACS during WW II, my great grandfather who was one of the most honorable men I have ever known (once refused to leave a restaurant during a bomb scare because he hadn't paid for his meal, the family almost dragged him out and they came back later to pay and there was no bomb), and Dan Gasswint and Elizabeth Doll my 3X great grandparents, pioneers who left a very good life in Pennsylvania to go West to Kansas (still working out that one, but we do know she was Native American and Pennsylvania was getting a little anti-Indian at that time). These are the things that have made me and I do try to keep these memories alive in my daily life. And I try to live up to my ancestors examples, it's not easy but I enjoy the challenge. I also know that I fail sometimes, but I'm sure they did as well, the key is to get back up and try again. Where am I going? I don't know, but right now I'm enjoying the journey. I would like to be able to hold my head high and say that I'm my own boss and be able to take care of my family. That hasn't happened yet and is one of the reasons that I'm still looking for a "real" job. I have been making some progress toward my goal, but the steady paycheck of a "real" job would help a lot. I'm just not sure that I can be the "person" some of these places want me to be. I don't want to hide myself behind their "corporate image", I truly like who I'm becoming and don't want to hide this "new me". So unlike the song I'm not trying to be someone I'm not, yes I need a job to help out, but I won't be a corporate yes man. What do I want to do with my life? Now that is a very interesting question and I wish I had a more interesting answer, but I really want to be my own boss. I love doing several things that seem to be able to make a bit of money for me. I sharpen knives and tools, do some blacksmithing, woodworking, and I do odd jobs from time to time. The sharpening does bring in some money but I need to focus a bit more on getting my name out there. Blacksmithing is something that may just start paying off, I volunteer at a forge in a park and the gift shop is going to start carrying my work. My woodworking is in demand for knitting needles, crochet hooks, and shawl pins. Now I need time to turn them and money to buy the stock for them. That wonderful catch 22 situation which will work out in time. Odd jobs are my most consistent source of income, but they are few and far between right now but I know they will pick up again. So as I said before, right now I love what I do and I do what I love. I know that the money portion will come in time I just wish it was sooner. Because I really want to help my wife out more than I've been able to recently.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Loss of a Legend

Today the knife making world, lost a master, RW (Bob) Loveless passed away from lung cancer. This man was one of the most prolific makers around and he loved what he did. He was a major influence on my early days in the knife world. Through several books, borrowed from the library far more times than I can count and some were later bought, he introduced me to his passion and love for what he did. I never met the man, but he's taught me much. So tonight I say Thank You, Mr. Loveless for all that you have given me and others. Your absence will be felt for a long while. R.I.P.