Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Mall

Pearl 2, originally uploaded by boxersiciliano.

it is snowing again here! the last two days we've gotten around 5-8" of snow total...I love it...although i have had a bit of a cold as of late, the mountain has also been beautiful as the snow keeps accumulating up there and the skiing is getting better! Strangely enough, today, I met another guy with a Santa Monica name tag at the mountain! He's been here 25 years, but we both thought that was pretty cool..old school Santa Monica...This is a picture I took on Christmas day while driving around one out on the streets...and the first white Christmas I can remember ever having...really quiet and beautiful. I have begun to step up my search for a place to rent and there are some really amazing things coming out of the woodwork, but it has been a great challenge to remember that I don't have to run into the first place I find and that I can take my time and get exactly what I be cont. on that front...

I received some amazing gifts for Christmas and i am so lucky to have my family here and in California..those are my true gifts. I hope all of you have had an amazing holiday so far and that the coming new year is exciting and not daunting as it can sometimes be...

a piece of writing to ponder...

Above the mountains
the geese turn into
the light again

painting their
black silhouettes
on an open sky.

Sometimes everything
has to be
enscribed across
the heavens

so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.

Sometimes it takes
a great sky
to find that

small, bright
and indescribable
wedge of freedom
in your own heart.

Sometimes with
the bones of the black
sticks left when the fire
has gone out

someone has written
something new
in the ashes
of your life.

You are not leaving
You are arriving.
The Journey by David Whyte

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

the prime rib

the prime rib, originally uploaded by boxersiciliano.

Christmas Eve Dinner...Prime Rib, Lamb, Asparagus, Salad, Cous Cous, All you can drink of anything, sauces galore, and tons of screaming kids!

Spirits of Christmas

The Table

The Tree

Saturday, December 22, 2007


coppermountain, originally uploaded by boxersiciliano.

Winter Solstice

Mother Nature
in repose
On the mountain
of the
As he
tends to
their joys
fears of
face down
Winter’s snow


right at home

right at home, originally uploaded by boxersiciliano.

well, it is official...i am beginning to acclimate to the temperature here in boulder...ok, not totally, but I find myself coming down from the mountain and feeling like 30 degrees is know, relative to the 10 degrees up at the mountain...although, with the short hair, i do get colder faster now so i have to wear a balclava on my head under my helmet when teaching..for those of you who don't know what that is...and I may have spelled it wrong, but it is basically what terrorists wear except i use it to keep know, you can only see my eyes...

yesterday coming down the mountain i had another Shawshank moment...i got stuck in a "traffic jam"...well, here is the scenario...It is snowing heavily in the "canyon" as the locals refer to it, and I am driving slow and we come to a complete stop for about a 1/2 hour...well in my mind i began to laugh a I am in traffic on a beautiful mountain road while it is this is a two lane road so there is no one next to me like there would be on the damn a line of cars waiting patiently in the snow...well, i sat and read my book and waited until we began to move...the reason for the jam was that the RTD bus, which is the Greyhound type bus from Boulder to the mountain, had slid into a ditch and jammed the road up...first much for taking the bus. I decided right there and then that I really need a good vehicle..second, as I drove through that spot, it just put it all into perspective...this was the traffic jam that everyone would talk about it took me an hour to get home instead of 1/2 hour...big freekin deal!!! I guess it is all relative these days here in boulder and colorado...I have been consistently meeting really cool people at the mountain who I now work with on a daily basis and they are all so stoked to be here and skiing and working...i don't get phone calls all day, i get to ski and I get to be home by 4 or 4:30 at the latest...well, unless the traffic is horrible of course...I still laugh to myself a bit at times as I drive away from the mountain in the snow wearing my boots and ski gear and trying my best to act like a mountain man who is used to driving in the still seems a bit dreamy..a bit surreal..when I think of the ability to change my live and how real it actually really excites the mind and makes me feel so alive...I really miss my tribe in dad, my sis, swirly, gus, Sophia, Mike S., really too many to mention, but I also know that they are still with me and I realize that my life is so calm here...not to say that there aren't moments when i stress or worry a bit..that is normal, but overall, it just feels right.

two days ago i wandered around with a resume and went to a few restaurants to apply for bartending jobs...what a trip...the last time I worked in a bar was in 1999 it think...i swore I wouldn't do it again, but here it just feels like part of my current seems ok...maybe because i'm not a "starving actor"? which is funny cause here, the people who work in restaurants are not actors...most likely they are i guess i fit right in eh?

a quick update...the house on the lake did not work out in the last minute for very good reasons of which I will not go into right now, but let's just say it came to a point where i had to be ruthless with myself and i had to not allow it into my life of which I have tried so hard to do by moving here..which is, I will not go down any roads that don't feel good and this did not feel good financially in the end...I am sure that something better is right around the corner....

ps...if you ever wanted to shave your a man or is the best feeling in the world...

what a year...2007...

i am going to Target xmas shop...

Thursday, December 20, 2007


My mom and i went and bought a tree today!  can't believe Christmas is right around the year feels a little surreal as I have been on such a one track motion for so long in terms of the relocation that I didn't even have time to think about, first of all..Merry Christmas..I think that this year it will be important to remember that it is not all about presents and material things etc...but about family and love and sharing...ok, so maybe this year i don't have much money, but that is ok...I think there are many of us in the same boat and it is important to remember that this does not make Christmas..what makes Christmas is the life we have and the people that it much as it is fun to be able to buy a ton of presents, it can also put pressure on some to try and match the gift giving all around...i hope this doesn't sound like a cop out for gifts cause i am actually managing quite well from a creative standpoint, but the point i am trying to make is that Christmas can get so layered with giving and receiving that it is easy to forget the simplicity of acknowledging all the things that truly matter.  So to all of the ones your with and love the ones you aren't with. Merry Christmas.
and if anyone wants to read my Christmas list...let me know.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Cate Blanchett is Dylan

I just saw the new Dylan movie tonight and what a film...wouldn't it be weird to just express yourself without any expectations and have people worship you and hold you up to a place you never really wanted to be, and then those same people come along and tear you down and denounce you and call you Judas because you were simply following your path in life and changing along the way?  the struggle to go down our own path each day is momentous and huge and full of weight and for us to be free we need to not give in while we are on the path...even though we don't know we are on the path we are on and we can't see back or forward, just here and now...not realizing that our path is unfolding at each step in just the right way without planning, but when we do get a chance to look back, it all seems so perfectly accidental and wonderfully strange how and why things come together and don't come together..the times in our life when everything just falls into place and the times when it doesn't...the whys and wherefores...i realized something tonight...that too much thinking and planning can limit your can close down the opportunity for open paths without our knowing...the universe may be prepared to give you more than you planned, but your plans may have cut that may have given them a premature birth and led you short of the real path...all because the trust was lost, the wonderment, the acceptance of all we stand in each moment and breathe, it can be damn scary, but it can also be a perfect free fall into the open arms of the the moment we decide to take a leap of faith and just go for it...not really knowing what will happen, but trusting that we will not be hurt if we do....that sometimes the effort is the biggest catalyst to our moment of moving my sister's recent job with Burk Williams...she has put it all in motion and made it happen because she took the leap of my dad who is President of Wilshire...two years ago, he didn't even know if he would get a job, but he did what he does best, and took a leap of faith, like my mom, who moved away to Boulder 10 years ago and is now a huge success in the psychotherapy world here, because she took a leap of faith and did what she loves, like Gus, who goes to his studio every day and paints and leaps and paints and stands tall in his path, like Swirly, who is always jumping and landing on her feet in so many ways creatively and personally...i can't forget that...this move has been a leap of faith for me and i can't see the path in front of me..nor do I care at this moment...i only know that i can step forward with grace. 

The First Ride..

Ok..I did it..finally..i put on almost all of my warm cycling clothes that I own..You can't see my booties on the feet (had to self time this shot) but they are there...It is actually not too cold today...sunny and around 38 degrees, but in cycling talk, that is still pretty damn cold..consider the fact that i am riding around 18 mph on average and when going downhill the windchill is pretty fun.  Just like all the other things here in Colorado, nothing is quite as easy to's not just a bike ride really felt great to get out though and pedal around....notice the fender on the back
wheel?  (that one is for you Luke...i know you'll appreciate that..) what you can't see is the mud and the crap and the caked on slush from 1 1/2 hours of riding.  I am not used to riding through slush and spots of snow and ice and also having to sometimes challenge a car to get the clean road...I stayed fairly warm, but let's just say that there are certain parts of my body that are...umm, well delicate and did not stay as warm as I had liked..I think I need one more layer down there. I went into the local shop around the corner and I couldn't really tell if they were mocking my "fenders" or if they were just really surprised to see a guy in full gear that they did not recognize who was out riding because apparently there aren't many guys doing any riding right now...i think they know better.  Oh well, I rode by my new house on Wonderland Lake, which by the way, is final...i forgot to mention that one...yes!  I will post pictures in the next week or so when i start moving in.  I am hitting the hot tub now...what a life eh?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Lighten the load

That's i decided that it was too much..the itchy, dryness, the hats and helmets and constant hair products, the time spent messing with was time to lighten my load...i shaved my head today with my mom watching in amazement...she'd never seen anyone shave their head and couldn't believe that i would just do that...well...its done...and let me tell feels good...i have been toying with this for a while and in the past didn't because i was always worried that it may effect my chances of landing some acting role...well..right now that really doesn't matter, don't have to spend money on haircuts or hair products for that matter...sweet...since I am trying to save money these days...anyways, this is all a little bit beside the point...
I just finished 4 days of ski instructing at the mountain and it has been beyond tiring as I previously had described, but it has held some amazing things too....I have noticed that the feeling of actually teaching children is so much more involved than just showing them how to do something and it makes me think of how we treat our own child within us..ok..don't get spooked on me, i'm not trying to go new wave or new age or soft..hear me out...
a young kid will believe just about anything you say and looks up to us like we are superheroes...especially when we are wearing a helmet and goggles and a big red jacket...when i am teaching them to ski, i find myself doing and saying things that are not normally said in adult life, like, "Don't worry!! You can get up..come on...keep trying...Yeah!!! you stood up!!!" or "its ok buddy, you did so great for trying and now it's time for some hot chocolate" or, "you did so awesome skiing down that run today..i am really proud of you" or "do you have to pee cause you can't ski and pee" (i just threw that one in cause it's funny) or "do you think you can try this and if you fall don't worry"...point being...when was the last time we gave ourselves permission to fall down and get up over and over and over and over and over...the amount of times these kids fall down and try and get back up before they quit is un friggin real...some of them need more help than others, but they will persist and persist and keep trying and keep pushing and keep falling again and again...when, as adults, did we lose site of that...?  I think there are many who are better at this than some and I for one want to keep working on it..which brings me to my point...these days for me, I am learning how to fall down and get up and not be so afraid of the next time.  this is true for all things in life, not just skiing...We can learn alot from kids and for those of you who have them this may not be a new  realization, but for me it is for sure a crash course in what simple things we as adults can remember...As hard as it is to spend 6 hours a day with these kids, it is an amazing sense of wonderment and work and a huge gift to me as I am reminded of those times in life when people were superheroes in my eyes...I realize that these kids are looking at me and trusting me as an enormous human being with super ski powers that will keep them safe and lead them around the mountain like a mama duck...they trust me completely and implicitly, which is amazing, and they come from a real place of judgement..they know if you are full of shit or really being real with them....I have discovered that this is much harder than i remember, but back when I was young, i didn't really give a shit about kids or have any insight into what it might mean to, as tired as I am from the ins and outs, i am more rewarded personally from the teachings of these kids...and to think that I am their "instructor/teacher"...i should be paying them to teach me the meaning of life..the meaning of falling down and getting up and the truth in having fun...

that is not why i shaved my head...i did that because i have a dry scalp and I wanted to try something different...

Friday, December 14, 2007

van gogh

van gogh, originally uploaded by boxersiciliano.

In light of Justin moving so recently to Boulder, I wanted to share a piece of prose that I wrote for him on July 9,2006


You were once
the child
steering your own
river boat

Peter and the Wolf
chased you
along the rivers
deep imagination

The oars
of adolescence
fraught with
your being
handed a
family’s sadly
leaky boat

The college years
when you
were not
the necessary weight
of a
deeply broken heart
Julia and Marco
the river’s surface
One taken
by life
by death

Your present
Van Gogh
of the thrill
and passion
of floating
artistically and
the river’s edge
no guarantees

Row, row
row your boat
gently down the
your heart’s buoyancy
will sail you
into all
the days of your life.


the drive

the drive, originally uploaded by boxersiciliano. was my first day working at Eldora mountain as a ski instructor...the drive up is around 21 miles and most of it is on this type of is a bit sketchy for a city boy, but not takes around 1/2 hour which used to be the time it took for me to drive from Santa Monica to Beverly Hills in the morning...about 7 miles if that....crazy to think about, for all of you who dream of the glamour of ski instructing let me run down the day for you...just in case you need to think twice...
wake up at 6:30, coffee, get dressed, go start the car, scrape the snow off the car, drink coffee, get in car, spin out, drive car for 1/2 hour with a tight sphincter up a mountain road that is potentially icy with big tailgating truck locals behind you, get to the mountain, park in the "employee lot", walk from the employee lot to the lodge, check in, put your boots on and make sure you are on time with the 30 other instructors for "line up" at 8:45..hope it is busy enough to get a lesson, if it is, go inside and help the kids suit up, put on their boots, talk about random things that kids talk about, really funny actually, make your way back outside..oh, did I mention it was 17 degrees with a windchill today that made it close to 0?, now teach 4-12 kids to ski for the next 5.5 hours..take them to lunch, pick them off the ground, hold conversations about dogs that bite and the reason they don't like apples, you can't feel the toes cause it's cold, your face is burning and your hungry...end of the day, take all the kids in to the lodge, get them all hot chocolate and grade them for their parents who are eagerly awaiting them, sometimes if you are lucky with a tip for you, but usually not, go back to the employee locker room, pull your boots off and walk to the car, scrape the snow off, spin out, drive down the same mountain road only this time you are going down hill and it is even scarier, get to Boulder, back home by 5, clean up and relax....

Now, I happen to actually love this, but it can be alot of work for...10$ an hour...yes..10 an hour...there is room for upward mobility and pay, but heck...i am there to ski..did I mention that I have a all season pass and i can ski whenever I want?

oh yeah...and I will be doing this 4 days a week!!! eat your hearts out...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

snowed in

snowed in, originally uploaded by boxersiciliano.

I bought new boots feet kept getting cold and wet in my Addidas and I need them for work i took a walk around Boulder and breathed in the fresh is perfectly sunny today and warm enough that i don't have a hat on or a jacket...just my warm flannel....yesterday i saw the place i'd like to is beautiful, but we are having to go around on how much he wants for rent...i will not let this deter me from my goal and a way will present itself...

I struggled a bit yesterday for the first time in my mind..wondering how i will make ends meet, but it was brief..i let it pass through and continue on down the road, as I know that my first week here has been so perfectly abundant and magic that it will only get better...i find myself waking early in the morning feeling like a kid and looking out the window at the new snow and in amazement and wonder, i the cold and the snow and the the is so rejuvenating and i feel like an seems very simple here for me...the people are real and interested and therefore interesting...not to say i didn't have my own tribe in LA who had those qualities, but here it seems to be quite overflowing and is a place where everyone seems to be happy about their existence and the world around may be naive of me to believe it, but I can't help it...

I am truly beginning to grasp the idea of a good life...having that which you have chosen to have and making it what you have wanted it to i begin to put all the pieces together in this puzzle, there are moments of sheer wonderment, mystery and love..some fear and some sadness, but all of it is breathing a new life into me.

Monday, December 10, 2007

After the snow

After the snow, originally uploaded by boxersiciliano.

yeah..that's the truck...a good 5-6" overnight! i got to shovel snow...

The new view

the vista, originally uploaded by boxersiciliano.

this is the view from my new place taken last fall....Wonderland Lake...amazing...tomorrow I will go there and ink the deal for the new place.
Today i drove around Boulder and got some bearings as to where i might be..i found it interesting being that i have lived in LA for so long, I never had to really concentrate when driving, I went to Lenscrafters, but in doing so i had to navigate the entire way, and frankly, it was hard! It was also fun...exploring and using all my senses to remember the way back and to try and figure out which streets came first...and then sometimes knowing where I was...the other factor is that there is still a ton of snow and slush on the ground and occasionally the truck would slip and slide, which was a bit nervewracking to say the least. I have found that the level of stress here is mostly non-existent compared to just seems like everyone here is happy with their lives and the existence...the quality of life is awesome and the nature all around is totally abundant and full of energy...when driving back from Broomfield, which is where I had to go today, i was driving into Boulder, which has an amazing backdrop of majestic mountains covered in still has not fully sunk in that i live here. I still feel like I am on a ski vacation...
I will start working this Friday at the mountain. Yesterday I was skiing again....what a great way to start!

I did have some moments today of a bit of loneliness knowing that I don't really have too many friends yet, but that was while I was eating a salad at the mall and waiting for my new glasses...if felt a little strange and big and lonely, but only for a moment, and then I felt excited and challenged and invigorated..oh, and the new glasses really help me see....nice.

There is an amazing soul on a journey right now parallel to mine and it is taking place in Fiji..i am full of excitement and love for that journey as much as mine and I am hoping that she is safe and well and living and loving.

It is snowing again.....sweet....

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Winter Wonderland


DSC_0218.JPG, originally uploaded by boxersiciliano.

Look! A Snow Angel.

There is a ton of snow on the ground of right now i'd say 5-6"...I dropped my trailer off for storage today at a friends parents house and almost got stuck about 5 seperate times in the truck is no good in this type of weather...2 wheel drive and all...I had to scrape snow off my truck and shovel the walkway and wear Sorrel boots and put on gloves!  Man, this winter stuff sure is different...but i love makes everything so quiet and peaceful and beautiful...I took some shots in black and white today with the camera and it is just an amazing sense of still beauty...I mostly stayed indoors all day and stayed busy with the things I've been putting off for months...organizing old paperwork and basically cleaning house a bit.  Tomorrow I'm going skiing!  
Gus left yesterday and that was tough, but i know we'll see each other soon.  He was my taxi driver of sorts...stay with ever notice that when you get to a foreign place, there is a taxi driver who ushers you in, usually safely and without worry and in general they have a steadfast character about them that makes you forget about the new place and helps you get right to the heart of where you are going...well, Gus was my taxi driver...i think he is for hire and cheap too...and no one can come close to his character....thanks made this trip safe and helped me forget that i didn't know anything....

Friday, December 7, 2007

Camp Justin II-Boulder

A sabbatical is an act of courage. The seed of a sabbatical has only the promise, only the signal. It is an act of faith, a leap into uncertainty. The seedling must emerge from its strong protective sheath and venture forth. It is a time of vulnerability, a time of possible danger (like tulip bulbs that risk the frost of winter) but also a time of grace and mercy where all manner of things can unfold. There is strong medicine and magic embedded in the seeds of stepping out into the great Unknown.
-Tanina Davanzo

and now I am a ski instructor is official..."Boy from Los Angeles decides to move to the mountains and become a ski at 11."
I woke up this morning...of all days, Dec 7..the day that will live in infamy..Pearl Harbor...and at 6:30 am i peered out my window and saw the following....
yes...snow on the ground in Boulder which for sure means snow in the mountains. I have had a job interview scheduled at to work as a ski instructor for today at 10 I packed up my ski gear with the intention of also skiing today after the interview...might as well right? Little did in know there would be a full foot of fresh snow on the ground! My mom dropped me off at the bus stop and I got on the tour bus...this thing was cush...and we drove the 20 miles up the canyon to Eldora Mountain which is just outside Nederland Co. Winter wonderland it is...snowing and perfect temps outside and no crowds on a friday. Now some of you may be thinking that I must have undergone some pretty rigorous interview questions to get this went a little like this..

I shaved this morning thinking that it would make a good know..job interview and all. I then thought maybe i should dress in the appropriate ski garb, boots and all to make a good impression and then I showed up early to the ski school office, thinking that would make a good impression...when I got there, John, who I had spoken too 3 weeks prior and had also made the appointment himself, looked at me with a blank stare and said, "are you sure you have an interview with us today?"
oh we go...the usual ski industry flakiness.....i said" well John, you were the one who suggested we do it on Friday at 10..are you sure it wasn't on your books?" and just as that comes out of my mouth, the young man (probably all of 23) says.."oh, here it is, i had it on the wrong page!..sorry." No problem...then there is a bit of commotion as the upper management tries to figure out who has the time to interview me...lucky me i get, Katy is about 5'10, blonde and the typical cute ski girl only she has on a very official walkie talkie radio holster like the ski patrol where, but she is maybe 24...(i feel old already)...Katy takes me upstairs and the interview goes like this....
Katy: So, how long have you been skiing?
J: Well, since i was young...umm, i'm 35 now, so that hopefully says alot. Oh and I used to teach for 3 years in Oregon as a level II PSIA instructor, oh and I speak Spanish and used to run my own company so i'd love any management opportunities you might have.
(awkward at this point, i think she is a little flustered at...well, you know, me being older and, well kinda handsome, and really overqualified for the job.)
Katy: Well, gee, i don't think i need to ask you any more questions..umm, how many days do you want to teach?
J:4-5 i'd say to start.
Katy: Can you start next week??? I think you would be really awesome as a part of our school.
J: Katy, I can start tomorrow if you want...i just love to ski...
Katy: Do you have your social security card?
Katy:Well bring it back on Sunday and we'll get the paperwork going for you and then you can just jump right in.
J: ok! sounds great! I'll see you soon then!

I remained seated and she walked off...i think i just sat there with a dumb grin on my face, knowing that I fully deserved this job because of my experience and, ahem, maturity, but it somehow felt too easy...then i remembered something, this is what life should be like...easy...for 3 weeks i have told most people that i already had the here it is...just like i thought...
so now, I am on to the next thing...getting that amazing place to live, which is a 2 bedroom house on a lake...i'll let you know when that happens...

point being here, go for it!!! no matter what, you can change your life and path and journey in a moment and the universe will simply give it all to you if you believe it....

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Arrival-Day 3

I just woke up this is 44 degrees and sunny..there are no leaves on the trees and I am in Boulder Co...1038 miles away from Santa really hasn't set in yet and it probably won't for a few days, but as I take today to unpack the truck a bit and set up camp again, only here now at my mom's house, it seems so unreal that I have made the journey...that I have put this in motion and that i have

We woke up yesterday in our little hotel room in Palisades Co...the room that cost us 54$, which as my dad knows, can vary wildly from a dump to a surprisingly swanky little place...this was not swanky..that night we walked over to Applebees that night, which for some reason, was crowded and happening as only an Applebees could be...After a tall beer and some mini burgers and french onion soup..oh and a salad that Gus and I split (yes they were wondering about us I am folk), we both realized how exhausted we were from another day of great driving and exploring...we slept well....

It was 37 degrees in the morning as we rolled out on our final 268 mile leg which would take us through and over the rockies...The day again, was beautiful and can't keep from feeling like we totally lucked out on the weather as I kept looking at the report and it seemed like everywhere else the world was ending...or maybe the angels were just out in force to keep us safe on our journey. Along the way we passed probably 10 world class ski mountains and I was salivating and realizing that I have arrived in ski heaven...Copper Mountain, Vail, Arapahoe Bain, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, and some in between that I hadn't heard of...all of them within about 2 hours striking distance! Less time it takes to drive to Santa Barbara on a awesome!! We rolled over the highest point in our trip which was 11,562 feet...I forgot to look at the name of the peak and the tunnel, but who the hell cared at that point...we'd made it over the rockies in dry weather....As we rolled ever forward to the destination i felt more and more excitement and comfort knowing that the majestic mountains around me were welcoming me...i knew at that moment, that as hard as this transition has been from a family standpoint, that I had made the right personal feels like i made it back to a world that makes sense to my being...Gus and I rolled into Boulder around 3 pm or so and spent the night eating dinner with my mom and telling her stories of our childhood and how much trouble we'd gotten into...strange that even being 35, all of this seems like yesterday and sitting in my mom's house could be 20 years ago. I am blessed to have such an amazing family spread out from LA to Boulder and not being alone in this journey physically and mentally has helped me in ways that i cannot explain. Thank you to everyone who has given me a safe journey....

Today is my first day in boulder co...tomorrow i have an interview to become a ski instructor at the local mountain..Eldora Ski Mountain...I can't wait....

Dedication-Sgt Paul D Karpowich

Dedication, originally uploaded by boxersiciliano.

I wanted to share this with you...On veterans day i decided to go down to the Arlington West Cemetary in Santa Monica..Every Sunday they put up as many crosses as there are casualties of American soldiers and it is daunting and sad and maddening and so important for us to remember that we are living in a world at war and there are people dying every day....i was struck at my place in the world and the fact that I am not over there, scared out of my mind, fighting for my life and trying to make sense of everything going on...i can't imagine. When I took these photos i had no intention of doing anything with them, but when i got home i decided that I could at least try and share this photo with the family and friends of this soldier who I did not know...I did it to recognize, that this person is important in this world and that there are those who are remembering him in many places. This is the email I recieved from his best friend Chris, who is also in the Army and who lost Paul and is now celebrating him every day:

Hi, my name is Chris. I am the President of the MSG Paul Karpowich Foundation. I really appreciate you sending this our way. I think your photo is AMAZING, along with others of yours that I checked out.

Can we work something out regarding the photo? I would love to post it on our website for people to see. It could be as simple as a link to your website if you would like. Please let me know if we can work something out. Paul was my best friend and that picture really strikes a chord with me and others.

Sorry for the delay, I was out of town with the Army for a while. Thanks again, hope to hear back from you."

I did not expect to hear anything back and when i did, I stopped and realized how important it is to give one small gift to those who have gone before us in this world. To hear from Chris that this was his best friend made me extremely sad, because my best friend and I were in the middle of a road trip and thought if I lost my best friend I would not know what to do in his absence....

I am dedicating this photo and others to Paul and Chris...two best friends who have not parted even in death and for us to all remember our best friends every day. Thank you Chris for giving me a gift in your service to our country and to me, but more importantly, thank you for reminding me to embrace my best friend.
Be safe best friend.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Day 2 on the road...

Being on the road is always a theraputic experience. No matter how many times I do it, I love it and could do it for days on end. This trip is actually turning out to be a lot like the road trips I used to take in college…Gus and all…although we used to drive for 14 hours straight at 80 miles an hour from Eugene Or. to LA…this version is much more laid back and relaxing as we cruise with the trailer at an average of around 65 or so with no feeling of having to be somewhere, but the same meditative state is there and more importantly, the feeling of adventure is bigger than ever.
We rolled out of St. George Utah around 8 am and fueled up with some Starbucks and muffins. I decided to stick to the interstates, which I usually don’t like to do, but with the trailer and the possible weather in the mountains, it seems safer..I have to say though, that this drive on the 15 and the 70 is spectacular and does not have the feel of “interstate” We are constantly surrounded by scenery that is breathtaking. Mountains lightly dusted with snow and terrain that goes from red rock, to rolling fields of sage brush and into the Canyon Lands of Utah, which if you have never seen it is a must. Wide open expanses of red rock valleys in typical western movie formations…how anyone ever came through here in a covered wagon I will never figure that out. JUMP ROPING IN THE WILD
Gus and I eventually pulled over and took some time to hang out in the middle of all of it…as Gus ran around over to the foot of different rock formations (he is like a little kid which is why it is always so fun to have him around) I got my new tri pod out and the camera and took a ton of pics…it was one of those moments when I felt small in life and was reminded that this life is short and how important it is to live completely. I don’t know why the element of grand nature always has that effect on me, but I think that is partly why I am moving to Boulder…it is a feeling of acknowledgement all around you, and that there are things more important than traffic and the latest fashion style.
We jumped rope with our shirts off and peed on the road….

The day was amazingly perfect again with sun and warm weather and we rolled through Utah quicker than I thought we would…passing Colorado state line around 3:30 mountain time. it was at that moment that I realized I had really done it..this is my state now…where I live, where I want to be….from here on out, I get to tell people I live in Boulder and it is simply another place to be in Colorado, not a far away destination.
Needless to say, with only 268 miles to go after another 370 miles of driving today, we decided to relax and stop for the night in Palisades Colorado…not a charming town, but the local Applebees was jamming! Tomorrow we will most likely make it into Boulder in mid afternoon…we will be crossing the Rockies!!!..Oh, the highlight of my day yesterday…I had to re-pack the bearings in the trailer wheels…ok, not quite as complicated as it sounds, but for me, using a grease gun and squirting it into each wheel hub in the middle of Utah felt pretty manly…You know, us City Boys…

Monday, December 3, 2007

Won't find these in Boulder

Bird of Paradise, originally uploaded by boxersiciliano.

This morning I woke up, went downstairs, had coffee and relaxed a bit with dad and swirly and my sis...we walked out to the shuttle (as I like to call it) and proceeded with a very difficult 5 minutes of goodbyes...then I got in the truck and slowly meandered away from home...from Santa Monica, from Los Angeles, from a new place. I cried a bit as I drove down wilshire blvd to pick up Gus, my co-pilot, called my mom, and just breathed.
I am thankful that Gus is with me as it has helped calm me a bit and he helped me remember that i am not going that far and that it is all part of the journey.
Today was a beautiful day and the drive was completely therapeutic...we rolled north along the sprawling freeways out into the far away track homes of Upland and the Mojave and got on the 15 towards Vegas..all the while playing songs on the ipod and talking and laughing and sometimes being silent...the truck got 283 miles to the first tank which cost 89 dollars to fill up....its gonna be slow going and gas guzzling! All told we drove 400 miles today into Utah and stopped in a small city called St. George..My dad and I have ridden through here on our motorcycles quite a few times while heading to Zion...Chili's for dinner...mmmmmm yum....a beer, a burger and back to room 237...
The great thing about today is there is no more mystery, anticipation or worry and I feel very calm..I think that finally putting this into motion has cemented the idea that the journey is real.
As I left LA, it was a huge feeling of i finally that moment in Shawshank Redemption when Andy Duphrane crawls through a tunnel of shit over 500 yards long, and swims down the river to the ocean and makes it to Mexico...all the while relishing in his journey and his patience and time that it took to get him there...that is what it feels like to escape from los angeles and go to Boulder..for me at least...everyone has that moment in life..when they leave, escape, skip is a great bittersweet moment in life and i am alive...and the journey is great.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Farewell-The Party and other ruminations

my kind of place....
Well, it finally happened last night...the dreaded and anticipated "Going Away Party"...I only say that because it was the one night I was not looking forward too..the goodbyes and the reality of the journey...As excited as I am to venture out it all seems so strange when your friends and family who you see and love so often are there to say, "we will miss you dearly, but we are excited for you!"  There are moments in life when the profound truth of the situation comes screaming to life as it did last night...the meaning of true love and friendship that has been given to me by all my friends, my dad, Swirly, my sister and my mom, Sophia...all of them are pulling for me...I was more emotional last night than i have been in a long time as one by one, they said goodbye and I watched them go...knowing that I would of course see them again, but also knowing that life would not be the same for any of us...I was struck by the love of my friends for each other during last nights was as if they all felt the same thing...a connection to the loss of another friend, but a joy to meet tribe members and find new ones at the same made me think that at all times we are responsible for our love in friends as it is the blessing we give to them as well as what we receive.  By bringing together all my friends, I was able to share them and it somehow made things feel right.  
At one point my dad called everyone into the main living room and his words of love and encouragement are words I will never forget..I was trying not to get emotional, but it was so amazing to hear him say how proud he is and how excited.  My dad's blessing is one of the most important to me and it is because of him that I am able to take such a leap of faith.  He is also my best friend and it will most likely be the toughest transition for me as our relationship is more like brothers these days.  As he said, it will simply change the dynamics and force other things to take place.  Things that I can't my sister stepping up and becoming more of a center piece in his life and Christine's, even taking this opportunity to go to Motorcycle Safety Foundation so she can learn to ride a motorcycle...i am excited for Taylor to get closer to my dad and to Christine and as my dad said, this would only come about with my absence...a sort of twist that is unexpected in all our lives.  I love my dad.
My sister was there too...celebrating her brother and giving me the usual unconditional support and love that she always does...This may all sounds sappy and ridiculous, but who is the real shit... we need to cherish and remember and embrace, because that is all we have in the end..."Happiness is best when shared with someone else"...or that is what i think the quote was at the end of Into The it if you haven't or at least see the movie..that is the truth..that was last night.  Sharing the love and joy and happiness and receiving.  I love my sister.  And anyone that has negative connotations to the words "Step Mother"...check yourself because mine is the bomb (ok..that was for you Swirly...all said in Napolean Dynamite dialect) Swirly's support and love is overflowing for my entire family and it's superhuman. Thanks Swirly. I love you too. at this point, it is more than clear that I am blessed and lucky and as this day comes to a close and my new journey begins tomorrow at 8 am with my best friend Gus as my co pilot, I will go into my wild with open heart and the love of all my friends and family and I will be proud and strong and brave and humble and worthy of it all...To those I have not mentioned personally, this would simply take too long and fill too many pages and i am exhausted, but each and everyone of you know who you are and that I will miss you greatly...this is the end of a big chapter in my in Santa Monica, where I once ran around the block in a pair of underwear and nothing else, where I fell in love, where I rode like the wind and where I became a man.  I am that man...the road is long and i am on it...See you in Colorado my friends.

For all the pics...go to the flickr link and see Going Away..
(The party...also starring: Hamilton, Gus, Lisa, Guggan, Mike B, John K, Mike and Charlotte, Alex and Laurette, Kent!, Taegen, Kathleen, Celine, Susan, Jaque, Alex and Fielden, Pabalito, Joe, David, Pauly, Susan(the english one), and of course Monkey....

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Loading Day

The pack master above here is the man behind the curtain.

I am the man who will tow this to Boulder...My dad kicked ass today loading this thing!  I think he missed his calling as a professional mover.  Yesterday was a feeble attempt made by me, in the rain to try and empty out the pod into the trailer, but today, my dad came in and totally put this show on the road.  We were able to pack the entire trailer with all my belongings and still have room left over on the inside for some of the things still in my room.  This thing is packed tight and joke.  My dad checked the tire pressures on the trailer and you'll be happy to know they are both at a perfect 48 psi and ready to roll.  The great news is that the PODS storage unit will be out of my life and I won't have to pay the 300$  per month that I thought i would have to pay as I didn't think I'd fit everything in the trailer.  Boy was I wrong.  I am  so glad I didn't buy the bigger trailer and that I waited for Mover Larry's help today...All in all, I am ready to tomorrow, I will have put in the final items, clothes, bikes and a few random things, but for now, we are going to buy beer and tacos for the going away party tonight....what a lucky man i am!