Blog: Here's what Tom says about that!

The Dodgers: A Metaphor for Life

Posted September 11th, 2017 by Tom

The Los Angeles Dodgers are having an epic season. They won games at such a torrid pace it was possible they would amass the all-time record for most wins in a season. Sports Illustrated put them on the cover on August 22 asking whether this year’s team might be the greatest of all time.

Then the wheels came off the bus. As of the moment I’m writing these words, the Dodgers have lost 10 games in a row; swept in 3 straight series. They’ve lost 15 of their last 16 games. Interesting fact…. they became the first team in the history of Major League Baseball to win 15 of 16, and lose 15 of 16, in the same season. Yet they still have the best win-loss record in all of baseball.

The Dodgers may win the World Series this year. They may hobble into the playoffs and go home after the first round. One of the aspects of baseball I love is just that… you never know what’s going to happen.

Baseball is a lot like life that way… in many ways.

  1. What we do individually matters – both for good and for the not-so-good.
  2. What we do collectively matters
  3. Sometimes life throws us a curveball and we strike out.
  4. Sometimes life throws a heater right in our sweet spot and we knock it out of the park.
  5. Life, like baseball, requires patience. Sometimes, a LOT of patience. Just ask Chicago Cubs fans.

I could go on. But I’ll let you come up with other metaphors. Here’s the main thing I’m thinking about this morning, Monday, September 11, the morning of the day the Dodgers begin a 3-game series in San Francisco with our arch-rivals, the Giants. Will the Dodgers bats come alive again? Will our pitchers regain their confidence? Will we sweep the Giants? Will we lose 2 out of 3? There’s no telling. We can’t predict what’s going to happen, any more than we can predict what’s going to happen to us each day when we wake up in the morning.

The only thing we have complete control over is our reaction to what happens. That control over our reaction is a tremendous amount of power for doing good in the world. I hope the Dodgers win it all this year. But I have no control over that. I do have control over me. You have control over you. Let’s hit one out of the park today, shall we?

Go Dodgers. Go YOU!

A Choice Between Yoga and the Presidential Debate

Posted October 10th, 2016 by Tom

I awoke leisurely this morning; thankful for another day, for my fortunate life and my healthy body, for my family and friends. When I checked Facebook one of the first items that came up was a video of musicians playing Summer from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. I closed my eyes and listened… a lovely way to begin my day.

I checked a news site. My high spirits began slipping downward. Presidential and Senate candidates dominated the top of the page… he said… she said… I say… he’s this or that… he needs to withdraw from the campaign… she’s lying… what a debate this is going to be tonight

Like many people, I’m drawn in by the spectacle of the 2016 election; by the potential for dramatic, explosive events. Like an accident on the highway, we slow down to look. Is there blood? Is someone hurt real bad, or dead? I shake my head at others slowing down for such spectacle… and I turn my head to look just like the people ahead of me did. Read the rest of this entry »

Be Kind to Strangers

Posted August 21st, 2016 by Tom

“That’s Tom,” said my daughter from the kitchen, pointing toward me as I walked in.

A tall, thin, balding and bearded young man reached out his hand to mine. “Nice to meet you, Sir. I’m Parker.”

“He’s hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. I invited him over.”

“Great!” I said. “Welcome.”

“Thank you for having me.”

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(pics from the pct)

There’s a biblical verse from Hebrews I’ve always deeply appreciated. It goes something like, “Be kind to strangers; you may be entertaining angels unawares.”

IMG_8492Our daughter Jolie has always been exceedingly kind to strangers. She met Parker while volunteering for the Bend Brewfest. Parker told us how he began hiking the PCT in early June; starting near Lake Tahoe with a goal of arriving at Cascade Locks on the border between Oregon and Washington by the end of August. He shared lots of pictures on his phone. This past week he developed shin splints and needed to take a break to recover before hiking any further. He was camped at Odell Lake, about 65 miles southwest of Bend. On Friday he hitched a ride into Bend to check out our little slice of heaven and learned he could volunteer for the Brewfest on Saturday, which he did, where he met our daughter, which in turn led to her inviting into our home for the night. Read the rest of this entry »

Edgar Mitchell returns to the stars

Posted February 6th, 2016 by Tom

“Houston, we have a problem.”

Edgar MitchellFamous words from the Apollo 13 capsule.

Imagine being launched into space aboard Apollo 14. Seriously, can you imagine that level of bravery? That’s Edgar Mitchell, who passed away Thursday, February 4, 2016 at age 85, the day before the 45th anniversary of his walk on Earth’s moon; one of 12 men to have done so. Having Belviepresented at a few Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) conferences with my friend and mentor Belvie Rooks, I was blessed to meet and speak with Edgar Mitchell. He founded IONS in 1973 after returning to earth.

I’ve heard that traveling in space changes you… astronauts may become self-abusive alcoholics… or deeply spiritual… or lord know what else… but seeing our tiny planet from outer space has an impact few of us edgar_mitchell_portraitearthbound humans will ever know. Edgar Mitchell recognized the deep and obvious connection between spirituality and science and founded IONS. He’s definitely onto something true and deep…

I’m grateful for having crossed paths with this deeply spiritual and thoughtful man, as well as with so many people who are part of IONS, and to Belvie, my friend who always reaches for the stars. We’re onto something, my sister.

Patricia Iron died at an age too young for all and too old for most

Posted January 21st, 2016 by Tom

IMG_2390I just found out today that Patricia Iron passed away in November. Patricia was the first Director of the Tower Theatre in Bend, Oregon when it re-opened in 2004. A group of us die-hard believers¬† took about 10 years to build support, raise $4.2 million, and completely refurbish an old, well-used 1940’s movie theater into a state-of-the-art community performing arts and gathering center for movies, concerts, plays, you name it. We hired Patricia to launch the place, and launch it she did!

IMG_2644The Grand Re-Opening featured something like 30 events over the course of a week; morning, noon and night. Patricia was relentless. There is no one I have known I would rather have had at the helm through the final stages of renovation, and then planning and executing the initial events and our first year. 12 years later almost to the week since those events, the Tower is still running strong. I’m as proud of my participation with this effort as most anything I’ve done in my life.

As a friend of hers wrote on her Facebook page, Patricia “was a hellavu woman, and the warmest cranky person I’ve ever known.” So true! And just what we needed at the Tower in 2004. Many a night she and I would conclude our long days at the Tower by walking to a nearby watering hole for a martini or two, maybe a little bitching about some challenging thing or person, and lots of laughs. She had a great laugh.

Also on her Facebook page, someone posted an obituary that she apparently wrote for herself some 4 months before she “passed away quietly in the early hours of Nov. 2, 2015, in her Lake Oswego home” according to the Oregonian.

My Obit

Patricia Lianne Iron died at an age too young for all and too old for most, depending on where you are on the age scale. If she isn’t already missed, she will be eventually as she always believed that if you lived long enough, you will achieve your goals.

Patricia IronShe loved, hated, cheered, jeered, laughed, cried, lived, observed (pick one) life as she moved throughout the decades.

Born in Oregon, she considered herself a native until political correctness crept into the collective consciousness and determined that she was just another visitor as the Indian nation, oops, the Native Americans, lived here first. Still, she enjoyed the State she called home.

Among her greatest achievements was her ability to play cards, pet dogs, and drive her car. Many people envied her strategic talents.

Traveling the world was a special treat for her and contributed to her ability to hone her ABC’s, ABC’s; another bloody church, another bloody cathedral.

Predeceased by her parents, she is survived by all the people in the world who are still living.

Congratulations to you all.

Sounds like Patricia. Though there is a more “official” obit, including details about the celebration of her life on January 23, I’ll stick with the above… and I think I’ll mosey downtown for a martini this weekend around the corner from the Tower Theatre and toast Patricia.

Here’s to you, my friend. Well done!

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The Bench: a short story

Posted October 16th, 2015 by Tom

My intention was to write a brief post about a bench, the picture of which I had posted on Facebook. But I didn’t get any other writing done on the day I composed this. My intention is to work on writing projects first thing each day. But I let the world intrude that day. I’m disappointed in my occasional lack of commitment to writing. So I dove in deep and decided to let this serve as my writing project for the day. I hope my readers will indulge me in a bit longer-than-normal post and enjoy this short story instead.

IMG_5838Brad Sargeant and I have been friends since we met in college four decades ago. Our birthdays are one day apart and we celebrate them together each year on the Oregon Coast (it was a bit windy and cold this year, as you can see). Brad and I have particularly enjoyed music together over the years, buying turntables and reel-to-reel tape players at the same time, attending lots of concerts together, including DylanBob Dylan, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Paul McCartney, The Eagles, Ringo Starr, Carlos Santana and Rod Stewart. Neil Young was scheduled to perform at the Matthew Knight Arena at the University of Oregon on October 8. Brad and I made plans to go.

Lisa Schuller and I have been friends not quite as long; about three decades. Visiting the Schuller family farm in Corvallis has been a special treat for Lindi and me, our children, and now our grandchildren for many years. We’ve benefited from the bountiful harvest of their fruit trees, our grandchildren have swung high on the IMG_0895rope swing tied to a giant tree, rode horses, and gathered fresh eggs from the chickens. Several friends I hold dear today I met or partied with at the farm decades ago. Some of the parties there were, ahem, shall we say… memorable. Read the rest of this entry »

Satisfaction from Physical Things

Posted October 17th, 2014 by Tom

Much of my life is occupied with words. I write; always working on my next book. I also read books; lots of them. I am always reading at least one book, sometimes two (only when one is a novel and the other is a book about the craft of writing). My work as a public speaker revolves around words, as does my work with Coming to the Table. I try to find the right words to convey my exact meaning in emails, Facebook and blog posts, on Twitter, and in front of a convention audience or a classroom. I’m a writer and I love my writing life.

LatchI didn’t get any writing done yesterday. There were two tasks around the house that required my attention.

First, as I do each year in October, I borrowed a compressor from a friend of mine to blow the water out of our sprinkler system so the pipes won’t freeze and burst over the winter. The hardest part of the whole operation is lifting the heavy compressor into and out of our Jeep to transport it. The actual job takes about half an hour and we’re now set for winter.

Second, the latch in our front door finally bought the farm. Read the rest of this entry »

Remembering Wiletta Woodson with a big smile on my face

Posted September 26th, 2014 by Tom

IMG_4284My friend Wiletta Woodson died this morning. I’m sad that I won’t have the joy of talking with her anymore in this lifetime; though I’m certain we’ll have plenty to discuss in the next go-round. But I’m not weeping at her passing. Wiletta lived well into her 90’s and I have a smile on my face as I type these words. She lived a helluva life. Some of the stuff we talked about would curl the hair on the heads of some of the church ladies I have known…

I last spent time with her a few years ago when Lindi and I joined our friends Brad and PJ to visit Wiletta and her husband Steve; to share a meal and another amazing conversation among the many we’ve had with her over our 40+ year friendship. I am glad to know that Brad & PJ visited Wiletta this past Sunday. I just know how much that meant to her. Read the rest of this entry »

Hangin’ out with Robin Williams at the Springsteen gig

Posted August 13th, 2014 by Tom

I’ve been thinking a lot about Robin Williams this week. Reading stories and blog posts and opinion pieces as people who were impacted by his art, his humor, and his life come to grips with his death. And an image keeps popping up in my head; a very pleasant image. That time Robin Williams and my wife Lindi and I attended a Bruce Springsteen concert together.

RobinWilliamsIt was late November 1995 when Bruce was on his solo acoustic Ghost of Tom Joad tour. The concert was at The Berkeley Community Theater in San Francisco, one of those opulent Art Deco theaters, the only theaters that ever really feel grand and alive enough to properly host a great show. Okay, so Lindi and I went to the Bruce show with Robin Williams in the same way we went with the other 3,500 people who were there. We were in the same building together. No big deal, right? Well, to you, maybe. But to me?

I was standing in line to buy a couple glasses of wine for my baby and me before the show began. I glanced to my left. Double-take. “That’s Robin Williams,” I say to myself. Anyone who knows me knows how much I enjoy meeting the people who have impacted my life with their art. I was in the front row at a Dylan concert when I saw Ken Kesey across the aisle in the second row. Read the rest of this entry »

Civil War – Ducks vs. Beavers – this one’s personal

Posted November 26th, 2013 by Tom

DucksVsBeavers

This Friday’s game isn’t just about winning a football game. Oh, no… I can’t recall a desire to beat Oregon State more intensely than I feel this season.

A little background:

This is the 119th anniversary of the “Civil War,” the somewhat unfortunate name bestowed upon the 7th most played college football rivalry in the United States (don’t ask me what the other 6 are – you can Google it yourself): The Oregon Ducks versus the Oregon State Beavers.

We take this rivalry pretty seriously here in Oregon; though for the most part it is a friendly rivalry. As a graduate of the University of Oregon, I wear a lot of green and yellow and write “Go Ducks” and “Win the Day” on my Facebook page regularly. I can’t tell you the name of a single player for the Beavs. Read the rest of this entry »

Copyright 2012 by Thomas Norman DeWolf | Website: James DeW. Perry