Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Thoughts of a Hospice Volunteer

Thoughts of a Hospice Volunteer

I come along beside him when his futures lookin' grim,
The doctors and the medics have done all they can for him.
He's feelin' lost and empty, as his time is runnin' short,
There seems to be no good news, he's issues yet to sort.

And so into this circumstance, I come to share his cares,
To listen to his hopes and dreams, his burdens and his prayers.
He tells me of his life and times, the days of sweet success,
The painful days of failure, from his heart he will express.

And as he grows to trust me, with his secrets and his fears,
The time will slow, he'll look at life and peal away veneers.
And once again he'll share, the tender times of vanished youth,
Bringing into focus, what life's lessons taught of truth.

There isn't any subject, that a feller won't explore,
To come to terms with finite time, before the exit door.
And so our friendship blossoms, as we share the stuff of life,
His soul begins to mellow, he's lettin' go of strife.

There comes an authenticity, as sham is striped away,
Now a feller's truly livin', lookin' forward to each day.
Every moments precious, when your sun is in the west,
There's the mighty metamorphous, to the life that's comin' next.

There's work to do, to come to terms, with lessons learned in life,
To pack your chute and be prepared, with pathos he is rife.
As time unfolds, the day will come, his sail will be unfurled,
He'll toss the lines, catch the winds, unto an other world.

For those who shared his journey, as he sorted out his times,
As he dealt with issues thorny, where he couldn't find the rhyme.
And finally found his center, the peace he long had sought,
To those who helped him on his way, it hasn't been for naught.

In time, my turn, to toss the line, to hoist the sail of hope,
To tread the quay of temporal shores and with my fears to cope.
And as the tide is rising and my ship is set to sail,
Thoughts of friends, from times long past, will quiet down the gale.

And when upon the promised shore my anchors holdin' fast,
I meet my savior face to face, my peace, I find at last.
And standing with my Jesus are the friends with whom I shared,
The tender final times of life and for their soul took care.

David Brunk, 3/27/13

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:N Biltmore Dr,Oro Valley,United States

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Everything Old is New Again

It's a sunny Saturday morning and a friend sends me a link on a "less is more" piece in the "New York Times"...
Thoughtful questions worthy of consideration, In a week where the DJIA hit an all time high. He and I both have a good many gadgets and toys so personalizing the admonition in the article is the next step....I respond to my friend with the following.

Does this mean the RV is on the market along, with both new bikes and all the techno gadgets. That you will, from now on, sit on the floor in the lotus position, palms upturned, writing poetry centered on the "glut and suck" of life? You will, of course, wrench many "prompts" from this miserable, existential existence,..... won't be appreciated until long after your death.....BUT, in ages to come, some wag from the NYT may well quote your "life and times", in a Saturday piece, designed to fill column inches between book reviewers on the current wave of techno gadgets and the travel page, describing where a man of means can take his RV and mountain bike, to escape the harried pace of life, and,....gain an existential understanding of the true meaning of life????

Just askin' db

I LIVE in a 420-square-foot studio. I sleep in a bed that folds down from the wall. I have six dress shirts. I have 10 shallow bowls that I use for salads and main dishes. When people come over for dinner, I pull out my extendable dining room table. I don’t have a single CD or DVD and I have 10 percent of the books I once did.

I have come a long way from the life I had in the late ’90s, when, flush with cash from an Internet start-up sale, I had a giant house crammed with stuff — electronics and cars and appliances and gadgets.

Somehow this stuff ended up running my life, or a lot of it; the things I consumed ended up consuming me. My circumstances are unusual (not everyone gets an Internet windfall before turning 30), but my relationship with material things isn’t.

We live in a world of surfeit stuff, of big-box stores and 24-hour online shopping opportunities. Members of every socioeconomic bracket can and do deluge themselves with products.

There isn’t any indication that any of these things makes anyone any happier; in fact it seems the reverse may be true.

For me, it took 15 years, a great love and a lot of travel to get rid of all the inessential things I had collected and live a bigger, better, richer life with less.

It started in 1998 in Seattle, when my partner and I sold our Internet consultancy company, Sitewerks, for more money than I thought I’d earn in a lifetime.

To celebrate, I bought a four-story, 3,600-square-foot, turn-of-the-century house in Seattle’s happening Capitol Hill neighborhood and, in a frenzy of consumption, bought a brand-new sectional couch (my first ever), a pair of $300 sunglasses, a ton of gadgets, like an MobilePlayer (one of the first portable digital music players) and an audiophile-worthy five-disc CD player. And, of course, a black turbocharged Volvo. With a remote starter!

I was working hard for Sitewerks’ new parent company, Bowne, and didn’t have the time to finish getting everything I needed for my house. So I hired a guy named Seven, who said he had been Courtney Love’s assistant, to be my personal shopper. He went to furniture, appliance and electronics stores and took Polaroids of things he thought I might like to fill the house; I’d shuffle through the pictures and proceed on a virtual shopping spree.

My success and the things it bought quickly changed from novel to normal. Soon I was numb to it all. The new Nokia phone didn’t excite me or satisfy me. It didn’t take long before I started to wonder why my theoretically upgraded life didn’t feel any better and why I felt more anxious than before.

My life was unnecessarily complicated. There were lawns to mow, gutters to clear, floors to vacuum, roommates to manage (it seemed nuts to have such a big, empty house), a car to insure, wash, refuel, repair and register and tech to set up and keep working. To top it all off, I had to keep Seven busy. And really, a personal shopper? Who had I become? My house and my things were my new employers for a job I had never applied for.

It got worse. Soon after we sold our company, I moved east to work in Bowne’s office in New York, where I rented a 1,900-square-foot SoHo loft that befit my station as a tech entrepreneur. The new pad needed furniture, housewares, electronics, etc. — which took more time and energy to manage.

AND because the place was so big, I felt obliged to get roommates — who required more time, more energy, to manage. I still had the Seattle house, so I found myself worrying about two homes. When I decided to stay in New York, it cost a fortune and took months of cross-country trips — and big headaches — to close on the Seattle house and get rid of the all of the things inside.

I’m lucky, obviously; not everyone gets a windfall from a tech start-up sale. But I’m not the only one whose life is cluttered with excess belongings.

Graham Hill is the founder of and
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Home in Tucson AZ

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Wheat, wheat, more wheat, Cows, cows, more cows.

Yesterdays opening city, Tribune is the hub of wheat production in Western KS. The county's 1256, sturdy, friendly and dry

souls, live sixty miles from the nearest Walmart. The mayor announced "Greeley County had jobs ready and waiting for those who favor a high quality life style in Western Kansas."

His Honor didn't define "high quality" but when he quoted the Walmart statistic a cheer arose from a good many of the 800 riders gathered in the Greeley HS gym. Reports of homes going on the market in Kansas City, as cyclists rush to relocate, are as yet unconfirmed. Those anti Walmart elite would have a hell-of-a-time trying to find a latte in Western Kansas.
Riding out to the Colorado state line I passed by the Chatterbox Cafe

I stopped in to see if Garrison Keillor was holding court, nope, I was told, he up in Minnesota fussing about the Republicans and sipping on a latte, Oh well?
The 4-H club provided dinner, along with home made desserts, as well as breakfast this AM, all good.
Today's ride carried us 48 miles East to Scott City, through Cattle feed lot after feed lot.

We,re told 400,0000 head of cattle are fed and finished yearly in Scott County. This would be no place for a vegetarian.

Ag is BIG biz in KA, USA. Bring them in, feed them out to market weight, then off to the "packing house" and on to tables everywear.

We,re camped tonight on the HS football field, food is being offered by some of the local churches and well as the school, no sign of Starbucks here, but.......... the woman ARE strong, the men good looking and the children are all above average. From Scott City, Kansas, so it goes.

Location:Scott City, Kansas.

BAK, Bicycle Across Kansas>>>>>>>

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away folks from all corners of the map came to a place called Kansas to ride their bikes and eat pie. Well now Toto, that sounds like my kinda place. Pam and I have now beamed up to that fair, far away land beginning today for BAK, Bike Across Kansas. www.

BAK is not a luxury cruise with catered gourmet meals, fluffy mattresses, and gentle wake up calls. It can be tough and unforgiving. It can be some guy sleeping in the next tent who snores so loudly he shakes the corn from the stalks. (read bring ear plugs.)

It can be (and often is) an icy cold shower. It can be three days in a row of breakfast burritos and fruit cups. Read be flexible!
BAK is also sweeping vistas and wheat fields from horizon to horizon. Read amber waves of grain.

It is a sky so brilliant blue it will hurt your eyes. Bright white grain elevators will announce each new town.

Green rolling hills will defy the phrase “Kansas is just plain flat.” BAK can be an uphill grind that will test the limits of your endurance and downhill runs that pin your ears back. Biking Across Kansas is about seeing old bicycling friends and making new ones.

It is eating two pieces of pie after dinner and then riding down to the Dairy Queen for a late night treat. BAK, like most of its state ride cousins, is a chance to see your country, up close and personal, from the seat of your bicycle enjoying the views with like minded people.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Tribune Kansas

Friday, April 8, 2011

Funny thing nostalgia.

"The term nostalgia describes a yearning for the past, often in idealized form.[1] The word is a learned formation of a Greekcompound, consisting of νόστος (nóstos), meaning "returning home", a Homeric word, and ἄλγος (álgos), meaning "pain, ache". It was described as a medical condition, a form of melancholy, in the Early Modern period, and came to be an important topic in Romanticism.[1]"........Wikipedia

Funny thing nostalgia, why is it we, at least some of us, experience a wistful sentimental yearning when we think of or visit some place from our past? Pam, Brdger and I did the Route 66 "thing", the last couple of days, as we drove across much of New Mexico, the panhandle of Texas and Oklahoma. Would I feel any different about the places along that storied road were it

not for the three trips my family made along much of it's length during my formative years? Do you get chocked up when the band plays the alma-mater or some OTHER school? Of course not. It is, I suggest, the longing for something lost which can never come again that bubbles up the sentimentality in some of us. I don't think there's a cure and if there was I wouldn't want to take it. I enjoy ruminating on and visiting many of the places from my past, it helps me appreciate the here and now, being grateful for the people, places and things, that have collectively made me who I am today. So with that I share some photos of Route 66, the mother road of US legend and lore.

Location:US Route 66

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Water Bags and Life Insurance

I was one of the lucky ones? Perhaps you've heard tales of tying that canvas water bag to the front of the car, loading the luggage and and traveling Route 66 on the vacation trip of a lifetime? For the Brunk's of Lakewood Ohio in the summer of 1961 "the trip west" couldn't be postponed any longer. Dad, eager to visit his folks who had moved to California, and Mom, always itching for a trip, decided this was the summer to make "that California trip." And so it was, the 58 Ford was loaded, the family pet, Bambi, a black cocker spaniel, taken to the boarding kennel and the kids, that would be, sister Carol and I, installed in the back seat. As Dad use to say, "let's cock her back and let her fly", it was, in short, an exciting time!
But wait......I digress.....there is the afore mentioned WATER BAG!

As a 12 year old I had already heard several adults tell stories of family adventure, traveling across the desert of the American Southwest in an automobile. Nearly all the tales contained the admonition to not go forth without a WATER BAG, a canvas bag about 12"x12", with a rope over the top to allow it to be hung from the car, filled with life sustaining water; just in case!........ Just in case?
That just in case statement had all the elements of western adventure. I could hardly wait until we made it to Oklahoma where these treasured symbols of adventure travel were sold, at the filling stations of that time, for about 25 cents. As we traveled on we saw many a car with this iconic symbol affixed over the radiator. While the uniformed attendant pumped 25 cents a gallon gas into Fairlane 500, and the four of us were being refreshed with 12 once Pepsi's (twice a much, for a nickel too) I was suggesting to Father it was, doubtless, time for us to acquire OUR life sustaining water bag........somehow,?.......somehow, I still don't understand why, Dad didn't share my enthusiasm. My carrier in sales had just begun! "Dad, you know EVERYBODY has one,...... it's simply not safe for us to go on without one,......what, dear father,....just WHAT would people think,...... pleeeeese??..... Finally, and I've always loved her for this, Mom intervened,?...... "Ralph, what possible harm could come from us having a water bag?".........Dad had no answer,......YES, the sale was made;..... well OK,....he wasn't SOLD, sold,......but we did, by crackie, have a water bag, proudly hanging from the front fender of the Ford, and the twelve year old boy, that still lives within this sixty two year old man, was ready to face the adventure of his young life. A cowboy hat, gun, holster and horse couldn't have thrilled me more, and,......and, what I didn't realize at the time, I'd sold my first life insurance policy; a water bag to my Dad! A future life of adventure awaited!......So it goes.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Shamrock Texas

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Bend in the road........

Following my decision not to continue with Bubba's Coast 2 Coast bicycle tour on March 21, I was a bit bummed for a couple of days. I so enjoy bicycle touring, mostly self contained, and the group of riders were a joy, but I couldn't see myself being content with some of the circumstances which troubled me and over which I had no control. Any way later that week Pam mentioned it was soon time for her semiannual trip to WV for a visit with her Mom, not only that but a certain little lady named Lillian, whom recently entered the world in Arlington Va, was tuggin' at her heart.

It seemed apparent to me, sharp as a whip am I, that a one week trip was turning into two. Those who know me well will tell ya that I don't get on very well when Pam's away, spoiling me as she does. (I once tried to boil a pot of water, scorched it, gave up.) Altogether now.......sigh. LOL.......In any event, I was kind of jazzed for a trip, so I suggested we do a road trip east and visit the whole fam damley. Pam likes car trips and quickly agreed, so this afternoon about three, we, Pam, Bridger & I, pulled out of Sun City crusin' east, with visits planed in TN, WV, VA, NC, before turning for home. In route we are going to try to rediscover old US highway 66, just for kicks, (sorry, I couldn't resist) the storied "Mother Road" of legend and lore, a highway I travelled as a boy with my Mom, Dad & sister Carol, in 61, 63 & 65. It should be fun remembering those childhood memories, and the boy I use to be, as we see what's become of that historic highway. So it goes.

Location:Las Cruces NM