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The Number 10

There is a lot to be found in the number 10.


In the number 10, there are 3 continents, 14 countries , 6 international trips

In the number 10, you can find the Eiffel tower, a giant rock named Uluru, a flat tire paid for in pounds, two pear-apples in a paper bag–ready to go, little bits of icebergs, a lunch on the side of a mountain, and a stack of bones.

In the number 10 is the beach, as well as long drives, and little notes.

In the number 10 hides people in closets, around corners, especially when you’re not looking.

In the number 10 are shells for your dashboard.

In the number 10, the knuckle on  the index finger of your right hand always pops just right

In the number 10, there are tag-teamed pies, handmade pastas, and banana pancakes.

In the number 10 is 203.

In the number 10, there is a duck, named Puddles.

In the number 10, we like to chase cows.

In the number 10, “Bonjour!” means, “I’m sorry, I don’t speak French.”

In the number 10, everything begins at 11:42 pm.

In the number 10, everyone likes the color green.

In the number 10, Papa John’s pizza is delivered, Top Ramen is made for you, and the bread here, is really good.

In the number 10, there is grading to be done.

In the number 10, Mexico makes for a long 6 weeks.

In the number 10, when the power shuts off, the weather lightning lights your way home and is your entertainment.

In the number 10, the hills are covered in snow and begged to be walked on.

In the number 10, Friday nights after work are the best for painting.

In the number 10, tickling feet is allowable for only a limited duration.

In the number 10, long car rides are always made short by the conversation.

In the number 10, you don’t play checkers fair.

In the number 10, you should always be prepared to be asked what you’re thinking.

In the number 10, there are crab traps to be pulled and clams to be found with your toes.

In the number 10, a cup of coffee (or 2) are waiting for you.

In the number 10, football is the main event.

In the number 10, it is pretty rare that any gift is opened on the day that it should be.

In the number 10, there are now 3 families.

In the number 10, you never love the most, but there is a good chance, you’ll do so the mostest.

In the number 10, even numbers are preferred.

In the number 10, you’ll find your way to July 23rd.

In the number 10, lives the little town of Cottage Grove.

In the number 10, if you look hard enough, are diced red peppers.

In the number 10, some of us are good guessers, even with 9 months to go.

In the number 10, the best place to rest your hand is on a tummy, there’s a good chance it will get kicked.

In the number 10, 1 + 1 will always equals 4.

In the number 10, our favorite letters are O and P.

In the number 10  is you and me.

In the number 10 are all the years that have cradle my whole life.

 Jess & Chris

Jessica, thank you for starting my life for me, 10 years ago today.




Do you remember when we first met? I sure do

Sitting on the uncomfortable little split couch in Parsons Hall watching a movie on this day, eight years ago at 11:42 at night–Jess and I officially became a couple.  If you had asked me in that moment what I thought my life would be like eight years down the road, I’m sure you would have received a bumbling answer that would have have no clue to the many joys we’ve had together, the hard times we’ve been there for each other, and the compounding memories that are always perched on the very tips of our noses.

As well, I know that I wouldn’t have been able to say that this shy, intelligent, and stunningly beautiful woman would literally expand the horizons of my world to new things beyond, force me to try new things and to trust myself.

In my best and worst moments, she is a constant–be it a laugh, a surprisingly strong hug, a correction, a sounding board, a travel buddy and so much more.  No longer do I question if I am good enough for her–I know I am–but the real question is, what good have I done for her today or right now in this moment?

As we have gone through these eight years together, we’ve noticed plenty of 28’s, like my first apartment with which the wood grain made a heart on the back of the door.  Jess, I look forward to finding many more twenty-eights and having your hand in mine for many more multiples of eights.  It’s all for you, babe.

Love ya and thank you.

Birthday Girl

Happy Birthday!

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Happy birthday to the best travel companion I’ve ever had.

Happy birthday to the person who reminds me of what’s important.

Happy birthday to the one who help me find what I should do with my life.

Happy birthday to my better half, alright, my better 98%.

Happy birthday to my inspiration.

Happy birthday to the beginning and ending of every day.

Happy birthday to my conscience, my confidant, my cheerleader.

Happy birthday to the reason I feel handsome, I feel loved, I feel confident

Happy birthday to the reason I can’t wait to come home every night.

Happy birthday to the one who makes me laugh the most.

Happy birthday to the world’s best conversationalist.

Happy birthday to September 4th, September 28th, and July 23rd.

Jess, happy birthday.  I love you.

Summer Summary

Well, yes, it has been a dreadfully long time since I last posted… but, like many of my students, I have a good excuse.  I was too busy. No, seriously, I mean it.  Things shifted into full gear during spring term.  Not only did football morning weights start back up but I also agreed to teach PRIDE after school.  PRIDE is a credit recovery option for students who are credit defeciant.  I taught two sessions, from 3:30 until 5:00.  So most days, I was at the school by 6:45 in the morning for weights, taught from 8:10 until 3:00, and then taught Pride until 5:00.  Needless to say, by the time I did find my way home, I had just enough energy to make dinner, have minimal interaction with Jess and in bed, all of the bonds between the atoms of my body evaporated for at least eight hours.

As tiring as it was to have such an extended schedule, there were definitely some rewards (not just the pay, but hopefully the extra cash will put a deck onto the back of our house).  The aim of my PRIDE class was that each student created a story for an elementary school reader… namely, Jess’s students.  I have to admit, some of the stories were surprisingly good.  My two favorites were Giftless and Underella.  The first was a story about one kid realizing how lucky they are to be as well off, for example, being given an amazing bike for Christmas.  By realizing that his life was so rife with privileged, he discovered that his best friends was not well off.  Eventually, the main character appreciates how happy his friend is without a mass amount of ‘stuff’ that he gives up this amazing bike.  Eventually, the kindness is returned to him in another way.  I know this sounds a little pedantic, but the way it was written really made it a good read.

The second book, Underella, was a reverse Cinderella story where a princess who has everything she wants, immaculate beauty, and much more ends up losing all of it because of her conceit and dispise of those who aren’t like her.  Once again, it seems a little too focused on an obvious moral but it was realy inspired.  As this was their only assignment over a six week period, I was asking for at least eight pages, double spaced (I know, I’m harsh).  Surprisingly, most student got this done and done well.  I believe I only had one or two students not turn in a story but considering that these are traditionally students that fail language art classes, having twenty kids turn in eight or more pages of their own writing was impressive.

But all the glory shouldn’t reside with the student.  I was informed by those same students that it was unfair of me to expect them to write that much if I wasn’t writing anything at all.  So I took their challenge and I started writing.  My first day I wrote eleven pages, plus another four after I got home.  It is still a work in progress but I up to thirty-five pages… about 20,000 words so far.  I really don’t feel like delving into the premise, but I thought that I would put some up for a quick read from the beginning.  So, if you don’t feel like reading the extra stuff, stop reading right here:

On the ledge of a New York City’s Empire State building, The Crumpler squatted peering down on to the busy city.  The Crumpler was wearing his famous muscle-showing black disguise, with the dark green stripes running down his sides.  A massive, yellow letter “C” adorned his chest and a utility belt across his waist.  His real trademarks were his massive hands, they weren’t any regular hands but they were metallic gloves that were at least three times the size of a normal person’s hands.  Made from titanium, they made steel turn into putty in his hands, easily twisted.  They glistened in the moonlight, waiting for a reason to be used.

He watches the city for evil doers, those criminals and thieves that prey on the ordinary, hard-working citizens of New York City.  The Crumpler enjoys the nighttime the most, when he blends into his surroundings, he feels the most alive and awake when most people are sleeping.  But he knows that that most of the people that are awake at this time are usually up to no good.   Scanning down the long avenue he spots a black sedan racing down the street, with two people hanging out the windows.

“This will be fun,” The Crumpler whispers to himself.

Within a second, he has leaps from the ledge of the Empire State Building.  Diving straight down, splitting the air at terminal velocity, he grabbed a hold of the side of the building, digging into the stone as smoke and sparks jumped from his hands.  He crashed to the ground with a booming crunch, the sidewalk split beneath him.

He was perfectly placed to intercept the black car.  The dark hero walks to the crosswalk, the sign flips to “Do not cross,” but he steps into the street anyways.  The roaring of the sedan’s engine is getting louder and louder.  The Crumpler takes his place at the middle of the street so the dotted line passes right between his legs; he lowers his dark goggles over his eyes and smiles.  He’s been looking forward to this all day.  The headlights of the speeding car fall on to his face, shinning off of his bright white teeth.  The driver of the car sees the masked man and guns the engine and starts to laugh as the gas pedal smacks the floor of the car.

As the car nears The Crumpler, kicking light off of his crest, he cracks his knucks as he thinks, “let’s do this.”  Sticking his right hand out, just as the car gets within two feet of him, he puts his hand out, fingers perfectly straight.  As the sedan crashes into his hand, the metal tears apart, splitting perfectly down the middle.  Like tinfoil, the car is split into two equal halves, each half rolling on its two tires for two hundred feet until they fall onto their sides.  The masked hero wipes the engine grease and antifreeze from his goggles, turns and heads to the two parts of the sedan.  He struts slowly to the two hulking pieces of split car, now smoking from its long slide down the avenue.

“Evening, Gentlemen,” The Crumpler said as he lifts his goggles off his eyes.

“Whaa, whaa, what did you do?” asked the driver from his half of the car, still buckled into his sideways seat.

“License and registration?” the masked hero calmly asks.

“Hey man, get me out of this thing!” a voice screamed from what used to be the back of the car, “My leg is caught, please get me out.”

“Uno momento, por favor,” The Crumpler said in his poor Spanish accent as he turns back to the driver, “License and registration, please,” he requested a little less calm this time.  The stunned driver pulls out his wallet and hands it to the masked man.  With style, he flips open the wallet and shakes it out onto the ground, money and cards rustle against the scratched pavement.  He picks up the man’s license and looks it over.

“Mr. Smith,” he says with a cough, “it seems you’re driving on an expired license and at such a high rate of speed.  This isn’t good, my friend.”

“Yeah, I… I… I know, I was just going to go get a new one,” the driver stammered.  The screeching of multiple sets of tires squeal behind the scene in the middle of the street, blue and red lights dance off of the two parts of the car and the masked man.

“You sure did a number on this one, Crumpler,” a voice yelled as doors slammed.  It was the chief of police, Chief Taylor, “We’ve been chasing these guys for the last hour, they just robbed three banks in two hours.”  As all of the policemen surround the two parts of the vehicle surrounded, The Crumpler holds one finger up as to ask the chief to wait one second, he lends down and clears his voice.

“Well fellas, it seems like you’re in a bit of a pickle… and I believe this pickle comes with a big helping of jail time,” the masked man chuckles.  The same voice as before yelled from the backset of the driver’s half of the car, “Help!  Please, help me!”

The Crumpler put his thumb and forefinger on his chin and said, “I think I’m forgetting something.  Oh yeah, I remember now.”

As quick as the blink of an eye, he grabbed both ends of the car and bent them both toward him, splitting the roof in half and spilling both men from the car.

“Chief, I believe you were looking for these,” the crime fighter says and points across the other side of the street, “and you’ll find the other half over there.  Look for the car missing it’s left half.”

The Crumpler laughed to himself.

“Jeffery!” a voice yelled.

The Crumpler stopped laughing.

“Jeffery, what are you doing?” the voice questioned.

The Crumpler blinked a couple of times and realized who the voice was.

“Uh, nothing,” The Crumpler responded.

“Jeffery Crumplebeck, I have to say you daydream more than any other third grader,” his teacher, Ms. Turnt scolded.

The Crumpler was no longer there, it was just Jeffery standing atop his seat with two broken ends of a ruler in each hand.  Each kid in the classroom had their eyes on him, they were each holding their giggles in their mouths with two hands but Jeffery could see that they were about to explode.

As he sat back down in his chair, the class erupted.  Fingers were pointed at him, kids roared over his robust laughter and even tried to guess why he had just snapped a ruler in half right in the middle of Ms. Turnt’s lesson about fractions.   Slowly, Jeffery slid his two halves of ruler into his desk drawer and looked down at his paper, he had one question done.  He glanced over at his neighbor’s paper and dropped his head when he saw that everyone else was on question number sixteen.  This was not going to be a good day for Jeffery, and it was only ten-thirty in the morning.

He picked up his pencil and started on question number two.  As soon as he finished writing the number two, his pencil broke.  Jeffery sighed and thought to himself, “I bet The Crumpler never had to do stupid fractions.”

…start reading now.  Eventually, Jeffery will realize to be a superhero it goes beyond just doing what you’re told to do or what is expected of you.  I guess it would be a story about character and pushing one’s self to be better than just average.  Just bear in mind it is written for third graders.  I have actually had a lot of fun writing this and I look forward to writing more.  I am aiming for near 40,000 words, which is about the average elementary-age kid’s book.  A couple of people have expressed interest in illustrating the book which would be really interesting. I’d like to see where this goes, but I will not be holding my breath with any expectations.

On other fronts, Jess and I had an interesting experience last night.  On our way home from Eugene, we came upon an accident that looked like it had happened only minutes before we got there. There weren’t any emergency vehicles on scene yet.  What I learned from the Register Guard today is that an RV going northbound on I-5 crossed the median and hit a southbound car, killing a a passenger in both the RV and the car, with another person flown to a nearby hospital.  You could see the carved out tracks of the RV as it had crossed the median, the reminents all of the vehicles were on the right hand side of the freeway with many people stopped to help.  The RV was so obliterated that I didn’t know what kind of vehicle it was as it burned on the side of the road.

As sad as the accident is, it got me thinking.  Jess and I had been in Eugene to have an early celebration of her birthday with dinner.  After dinner, we hit up one store and did a little bit of shopping.  I had mentioned earlier in the evening that I was kind of worried about spending a whole lot of money.  Later on, I brought up the idea of stopping to get some icecream to drag out the celebration.  Jess said that she wanted to help us not spend money but I convienced her that it was her ‘birthday’ and she should get dessert on her birthday.  So we got our icecream which was tasty.  After that we headed home and came upon the crash.

Two things came to mind.  The first was that the things that happen in life, especially of the most life changing, exist in between seconds.  What would happen if we hadn’t stopped for ice cream or I drove a little faster?  I shudder to think that we could have been in the same situation as that car.  But that’s not the thing I have chosen to fixate on.  The second thing was that it is important to take time and enjoy ourselves.  Maybe I should eat ice cream more.  This isn’t to say that I should be concerned or worried about the things that didn’t happen or things that could of happened; that would cause me to miss out on the good moments.  Just something to think about.

As you may or may not have noticed, the school year stealthily left the room while no one was watching.   Of course, as with every year, the graduating seniors feel it is the duty to pull a prank.  A traditional prank is filling the principal’s office with balloons or something of that manner.  This year, it was a twofold prank.  When I got to school around 6:45 in the morning on June third, the day in question, I got a call from my buddy Ricky who said that I should get to my room as soon as I could because there was a lot of work that was going to be needed for my classroom.  And here’s why:

classroomprankFor as bad as it looks, it only took about twenty minutes to get everything back.  There were about fifty chairs in the back of my room from the neighboring classrooms.  Throughout the hallways of the school, desks were piled and stacked in the hallways.  I guess I got off lucky, seeing as all of my desks were still in my room.

The second prank was ingenious and funny in my opinion.  Throughout Cottage Grove and around the school were giant signs saying, “HUGE USED CAR SALE AT CGHS!!!” and upon all of the teacher’s cars, the seniors had tied balloons and put prices on all of the car windshields.  An Audi was going for $300 but a late 90’s civic was topping out their inventory at $3000.  My car just said for sale, I guess it was a o.b.o. type of sale.  I thought that it was a well thought out prank, no destruction of property, not much as for clean up and it was original.  I like that.

Other than that, the next time I write, we’ll probably be on a different continent.  I’m desperately waiting for the vacation.  It will be nice to just get to a different place for a while.  Pictures and retelling of all of our great adventures in Europeland.


Speed Sledding

Like every year, Jess and I make the CG-Bend-Woodburn Triangle roadtrip spectacular.  On our last day there, it was suggested that with all of the ample snow, we should go sledding… but not your regular down-the-hill, walk back up, dependence on gravity sledding.  We used the four wheeler to sled.  Behold:

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Yes, I am wearing a cowboy hat, but not, I don’t honestly believe I belong in one.

And a happy Snow day to you…

This week, Jess and I were happily snowed in.  Two extra days off of school meant that we had a lot of time to hang out together, something we didn’t get to do as often as we would like.  We had nice breakfasts, worked on the house, watched movies… what else could you ask for?

Then my boredom set it.  This is not insult to Jess, but rather, I’m not a person who is very good at hanging around inside a house for more than just a day.   One our second snow day, I decided to break out my camera to entertain myself.  In particular, we found the smile sensor on my camera to be quite interesting.  Apparently, when it is turned to this setting, when a smile is detected, the camera takes a picture.  Most of the time it was accurate, other times it caught pseudo smiles or smiles that weren’t there.

After that novelty wore off, I coaxed Jess into helping me with a project.  I took four pictures and with some editing on photoshop I came up with this:


Boredom at it’s semi-productive best.

When taking pictures inside the house and then working on the computer got old, we braved into the snowy cold of Cottage Grove.  As we usually do on snow days, we went for a walk just beyond where our house is, up into the hills:

Flickr Meme

Saw this on CatharticInk, thought I could do it too. Rules as follows: Go to the sixth page of your Flickr photostream and post the sixth picture on that page.

Here’s mine:

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I took this picture in Switzerland, on our way down Mt. Pilatus. We had just enjoyed a great lunch of bread, dried fruits, cheese, and various meats… not to mention a nice bottle of Bordeaux, all of which were picked up from the street vendors along the river in Luzern. Europe 2008 767

Before lunch, each of us took a ride down the summer toboggan run. On the path down Mt. Pilatus, there were many different herds of cows, sheep and goats. These were two of the most friendly of the herds. We had been able to hear the baritone clanking of their bells from the highest point of the mountain. Even though the fog allowed for only twenty feet of visibility, their sound could be heard for miles around.

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As noisy as they were, they were also unafraid of us, obviously these cows were handled a lot because as we approached, they barely lifted their heads to acknowledge our presence. When we would pet them and scratch their necks, only then did they take notice. This was especially true for the cow in the foreground, she stuck out her head and pushed out her tongue out as far she could because Jess had found the spot on the bottom side of her neck, right near her bell which needed the most scratching.

Eventually, the cows did get tired of us hanging about and decided to slowly saunter off to somewhere that had less us, which was perfectly timed for us to move on our own way down the mountain. Through the steep grade down the mountain, into the individual little hillside farms and hay fields, underneath the orchards and past the very friendly farmers up in their trees waving and saying something that was beyond my German. Hopefully it was welcoming because he didn’t seem to mind us there. Down we went, into the gentler hills, onto the cobbled lanes outside of town, across the little bridge that crossed the stream, behind the brown and grey stone houses and into the middle of the village to catch our train home.

Hello from Salzburg

Through the 20+ hour of flying and airport time Jess and I made it into Vienna the other day and now we are in Salzburg. In a couple of days we head for Zurich and Luzern. Everything is great (but expensive)… take a gander!


Palace in Vienna


The fortress high about Salzburg

next update: Luzern, maybe?

You’re the birthday boy or girl…

Moose and Jess

To the most remarkable woman who helped me find what I could be and do everything I should be doing.  Each day I’m happier than the last and with each day I’m a better person than I was, all because of you.  Thank you for making me push myself, better myself, and hold myself to a higher standard.  I’m not sure anyone could ever comprehend the impact you have had upon my life; I know, without a doubt, my life would not be as successful or as fulfilling, nor do I think I would be as happy, as confident, or as truly content.  You’ve helped me become who I am, and for that I’m forever in your debt.

I wish you a sincere and truly happy birthday and beyond.

Happy birthday, Jess!

Red all over…

This weekend Jess and I went to her parents’ ranch.  And, as it annual happens, I’ve come back sun-burned.  Even with the rain and clouds, I get burned.  Damn my poreclain-like complexion. 

We had a good weekend, we got to help out a lot around the Ranch.  On Saturday, we cleaned up a lot of the trees.  And by “cleaned” I mean pulled some down, cut some up and burned a lot of them.  There’s nothing like chainsawing in the bucket of a tractor… kind of a new expereince.  Although my favorite was helping to chainup and pull entire trees across a field with the tractor.  Kind of makes you feel more like a man… well, at least it would of if Jess had let me drive the tractor (with my trackrecord with cluthes and transmissions, it is no wonder she didn’t). 

On Sunday, we sorted their two herds of cattle, treated a couple cows, and tagged two brand new calfs, once of which was nice enough to stamp down on my foot.  But honestly, I can’t blame him… If I was a day old and someone was trying to manhandle (cowhandle?) me I think I’d do a lot of stamping.  Beside the hoof to foot contact, I really enjoy working with the cattle.  There’s something almost peaceful about them, plus they are far more predictable than the horses.  Horses are just too flighty for me, plus in the past, they’ve bucked me off and kicked me… I’m not one to hand around an abusive relationship. 

Not counting today, there are exactly 8 days left of school.  It is remarkable how quick this year has move through.  Many people have said, “Well, it’s because you’re getting older.”  Personally, I hope that’s not the case, because I’m only 26 now, if this aging thing continues, I’ll be at light-speed in no time. 

Unfortunately (more for the students than me), being sunburned and somewhat tired has given me a sour disposition today, although it doesn’t help that after a two-day weekend, it seems that the students forget everything we’ve been doing for the past three weeks.  Schedules, out the window.  Routines, what routines?  Just kind of frustrating… not to mention that everyone has to mentioned that I am a little pink as though I didn’t notice.   Stupid UV rays.