Sunday, September 9, 2007

A Good Life and a Great Life

As much as I love and enjoy the house to myself, I love and enjoy my family returning to color it in. Mrs. Ditchman went straight to the couch, exhausted, she was, from the weekend with the extended familia (see?) and so I ordered her to bed in the afternoon, where she would nap excessively (or, as best she could) so she would have at least a semblance of the restful weekend I did. And without any of the rolling around in the dusty attic.

That left me to spend the afternoon with the kid. Same old sweet fatherly stuff, you know, blowing bubbles and chasing each other around. Awesome. We barbecued a nice pork roast tonight, and opened a bottle of Monticelli Brothers, a treat around here and which really is a good wine. My wife just can't bring herself to drink the lesser stuff anymore (not like me) so it's a tremendous complement. The kid finally fell off, and we had a nice candle-lit meal where it was commented upon: "Just like it used to be."

A little Norah Jones in the background and we swooned at our own good life. How happy we are in this home, which was such a regretful wreck when we bought it a couple years ago -and to some degree, still is. But a little bit more work on it every day, and we love it all the more. I spent most of the day cleaning out the garage and patching the holes in the walls from The Great Re-Wiring. At one point, blowing bubbles in the backyard, I stood upright to hear the music out on the grass and thought, "Hey. That sounds pretty good!" Wonderful. Top off the day sitting on the couch marveling over the AppleTV screensaver. Fantastico. I swear, it has a way of making a coherent narrative out of your life story. And that, one worth watching! (Are you sold on it yet?)

And I sit down tonight to find myself linked from another site. Click on it and you will find yourself in an infinite internet loop. To quote Keanu: "Whoa." And click here and you will find that there is a new freedom for me as a contractor. Sounds like a nice respite from the heat.

I still haven't decided if I want to take weekends off from blogging. It actually feels like I have more energy to get to it on the weekend. So for now, I persist. I think I have found that the toughest time for me to write on it is Thursday night, but that just may reflect my recent workload. I don't know. For now I'm just going to continue to try and do it every night, though some nights I am clearly more into it than others (tonight's not really one of those nights). Just please keep in mind that when you see the date mark in the entry, it really means that night. Though I have found myself posting in the morning if I missed a night. And, to be honest, I'm more thoughtful in the morning than at night, so I may change out my method entirely one of these days. Anyway, it's kind of an experiment for me. We'll see how it looks a year from now. (Wow, what a commitment!)

Hmm, what else? Yesterday I mentioned how I am a conservationist in the vein of Teddy Roosevelt. I thought, hey, am I really sure about that? So I did a little research. I'm sure. I feel the same way he did, so it's all cool. He started the U.S. Forest Service with the belief in a more efficient use of the natural resources, less waste, and a long-term perspective, as opposed to John Muir's philosophy of nature being more privileged than man. They came to their disagreements on this while Muir was showing Roosevelt around Yosemite. Boy, would I love to have been sitting around that campfire!

Roosevelt (pronounced "Rosavelt" -ha!) was an amazing man. Considered in the top 3-7 presidents evar behind Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, and whatever liberal the historian wanted to enter into the next couple, Roosevelt was the only president to win the Noble Peace Prize and the Medal of Honor. His son won the Medal of Honor, too, at the Battle of Normandy, and there are only two father-son pairs in history who have won this honor. He was the governor of New York and then vice president. He was the youngest person to assume the presidency at 42 (Kennedy was the youngest elected) He and Jefferson are considered the most well-read presidents. And he skinny-dipped in the Potomac every winter. Sweet. He had a tough time raising his outspoken daughter in the White House and when asked to reign her in he said, "I can be president of the United States or I can control Alice. I cannot possibly do both." This, of course, resonates with me.

Most touching, Alice was named after her mother who died two days after giving birth to her. Roosevelt was 26. His wife died four years to the day after they were married, on their anniversary, which was Valentine's Day. Roosevelt's mother died the same day. This is the entry in his journal on that day:

I can't imagine. And less than 20 years later he would be President.

As a boy he was sickly and asthmatic, but his father had a tremendous influence on him. Roosevelt wrote, "My father was the best man I ever knew. He combined strength and courage with gentleness, tenderness, and great unselfishness. He would not tolerate in us children selfishness or cruelty, idleness, cowardice, or untruthfulness." Roosevelt's sister later wrote, "He told me frequently that he never took any serious step or made any vital decision for his country without thinking first what position his father would have taken."

I want to be a father like that. To be a father like that, that would be a Great Life.

Roosevelt the younger was a guy who explored the Amazon, attacked corrupt Big Business, and hunted outlaws in the final days of The Old West. When Roosevelt died, the vice president at the time said, "Death had to take Roosevelt sleeping, for if he had been awake, there would have been a fight." There is more to tell, as these stories go on of course, and it reads like a Hollywood movie. Why hasn't his life been a movie? Not sure.

Probably because he was a Republican.