Pedaling for Peace

On April 15, 2012 I started riding my bicycle cross-country from Jacksonville, Florida in voluntary support of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF) and the work of author and Peace Leadership Director for the NAPF, Paul K. Chappell. By July 4th, I had covered over 1300 miles to just west of Luling, Texas where a major mechanical failure brought this first stage of my cross-country journey to an end. After storing my bicycle and trailer with my aunt and uncle in Weatherford, Texas, I flew from Dallas to Santa Barbara, California to attend the NAPF First Annual Peace Leadership Summer Workshop. I then lived and worked in Santa Barbara for several more months before I returned to Jacksonville and sold off the rest of my possessions that I could to help fund a continuation of my journey. Starting June 8, 2013 and ending August 9, 2013, I rode from Weatherford, through 400 miles of the central Texas hill country, including Austin, Texas, back to Luling. It was at this point that a friend of mine invited me to work for a brief period in Pennsylvania before flying me back to Santa Barbara where I continued volunteering for the NAPF as well as for the Santa Barbara Bike Coalition. As of August 9th, 2014 I began"Stage III" of my cross-country adventure, this time heading south from Santa Barbara to San Diego and then east to El Paso, TX. It was there that illness, winter weather, and diminishing resources brought that leg of my journey to an end. After staying with another friend in Columbus, GA for several months, I moved "back home" to Kentucky to stay with my dad for a while and build a better "resource base" for future endeavors including review and further tracking and primitive survival skills training at Tom Brown, Jr's Tracker School , and a possible longer tour of the east coast, northern tier, and north west coast back down to Santa Barbara, CA.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Long Overdue Update from Campbellsville, KY

In late November 2015, I relocated from my friend's house in Columbus, GA to live with my dad for a while at The Lake House on Green River Lake in Campbellsville, KY. My father and step-mother built the house there about 16 years ago. I'd visited a few times, but only for the occasional holiday. Truth is, I haven't actually lived with my dad much since my mother divorced him when I was seven. He's been on his own at the house since my step-mother passed away in October 2014, so living there with him is a mutually helpful arrangement for now. Besides, after I got clearer a while back on "Demands and Expectations" vs. "Means and Resources", I realized it would probably be a good idea to go back to "square one", building a better "resource base" for my life including family and finances.

I've had access to a vehicle here so I've been able to drive the 10 miles into town to work. I started as a part-time seasonal employee at Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts through Christmas and then was asked to stay as a permanent part-time employee after that. However, it's a pretty low paying job with only 15 or so hours/week so I decided to look into a job at the nearby Lowe's as well especially since they were hiring seasonal employees at the time. I was actually able to get a part-time permanent position as a member of the "Weekend Team", which made splitting hours with Jo-Ann's more manageable. Lowe's also provides a decent health-care package to their permanent employees. Working for both of these retail stores has given me enough variety to be interesting - it's kind of a cross between Easter egg hunting (finding the merchandise people ask for) and creative problem solving. Finding a place for everything and putting everything in its place also appeals to my attention to detail and organizational skills. Furthermore, my life experience thus far has made it possible for me to connect with all types of people very easily, which makes it pretty satisfying work overall.

So now I'm on a pretty consistent schedule working Friday through Sunday at Lowe's and Monday through Wednesday at Jo-Ann's. Thursdays are for grocery shopping with Dad (since it's Senior Discount Day at Kroger's), and catching up on any other domestic responsibilities at the house. Today, I'm also taking time at the Public Library to use the computer, to write this post, because we don't have internet at the house and on top of that, my iPad crashed again during the last update. (That happened when I was in Stafford, Arizona as well, but I had access to my host's computer to fix the problem then. I can't register/use iTunes on the Library computers. :( ) So, the iPad is pretty much down for the foreseeable future. In addition, as I have been planning to save-up for a new laptop, I'm probably going to have to attend to some pressing dental issues first. Nevertheless, I felt it was time I got something posted here for anyone who might be dropping by to see what I've been up to in the last several months!

 Besides work, I've been really enjoying watching the seasons change here in Kentucky. It's probably one of the most distinctive experiences I remember from growing up in this region of the country.

One of the features of our house is that it actually has a view all the way down to the lake. It sits next to the gas line which has to remain clear of trees so aerial surveys can be conducted to check for leaks. It makes for a nice view which I have tried to capture as Winter has turned into Spring.

Of course, having the lake so near means fishing is an option. I bought my fishing license as a birthday present since the season started March 1st.

I realized I could actually walk down the hillside in back of the house if I took a long, zig-zag path to accommodate the steepness (and avoid a path that could possibly lead to erosion).

The grass has grown higher since early spring, and I've been working more, so not quite as much time to fish, or beat a trail down to the lake.

Instead, I've spent a few mornings fishing with one of our neighbors who's been teaching me more about the sport. Just this morning I caught a small walleye, sauger (?), and blue gill, while he caught a sucker and a catfish, all at the settling pool area below the dam, and all with the same live night crawler rig. I've also caught large mouth bass and white bass so far, as well as a "mess" of blue gill at this point behind the visitors center. Those I actually cleaned and fried for one meal I shared with Dad. Probably one of the more exciting experiences so far was when I had some fish come up and actually swallow my bobber! Of course, it spit it back out before I could figure out what it was, but, to swallow a 1.5" bobber, it had to be pretty big!

In addition to working, cooking for dad and myself, keeping the house clean, etc., I've also kept up with my regular reading. I've mentioned Introvert Power... by Laurie Helgoe in a previous post, but I feel it's worth mentioning here again. I've also read The Female Brain... and The Male Brain... by Louann Brizendine. I appreciated the explanations she provides of how hormonal changes throughout the life span influence male and female brains, especially with regards to "focused" and "diffuse" awareness. Having tried to share these explanations with others, I realized (not surprisingly) why she was so thorough in her research. (About a third of the pages of each book are just for the hundreds of references in her bibliographies.) It still seems a bit "taboo" in our "everybody is equal" society to talk about any differences between men and women. Nevertheless, I wish more people would take her books into consideration and accept the research for what it is, as it would probably help us understand one another better, appreciate our strengths and weaknesses, and move forward towards Equal Value instead! (Will probably save more on that for another post on "The Blue Moon Turtle Blog"!)

In addition to Louann Brizendine's books, I have read Sam Harris's End of Faith, Free Will, and Letter to a Christian Nation, as well as listening to several of his "Waking Up" podcasts. It was one of his podcasts on "The Logic of Violence" that led to my reading Extreme Ownership... by retired Navy SEAL Officers, Jocko Willink and Lief Babin. It was, shall I say, a tour de force drawing leadership principles from their operations in Ramadi during the height of the Iraq war. They followed their own leadership principle of "Keeping it Simple", by writing a very well organized, and straightforward book applying these leadership principles to business.

Nevertheless, as I read through it, I started having flashes of how the book could, and maybe should be written for parents as well. That's the project I've started working on, and I've been able to be in contact with both Leif and Jocko via Twitter to "discuss" the idea (as much as one can do so in 140 character increments(!)). For now, it is up to me to put together "The Plan" (as any good leader would!) and follow-up with them once I have a first draft. So far, we've considered "Life as a Battlefield" (not just a "university"), and from there, I want to consider how families might orient themselves as "Teams" in the world, with parents as Leaders, and Family "Mission Statements" to help better orient their decision-making. Of course, the notes are already going up on the wall. With a little more stability in my life right now, we'll see if I can complete this larger writing project...this time around!

Finally, I'm involved with two groups on a regular basis. The first is a chapter of the American Sewing Guild that meets in Larue County (about 30 miles away) once a month. With the help of the leader, Rosa Smith, and other members, I'm finally making progress on my own, properly fitted pants pattern (a guide, technically called a "slopper"). My mission over the next month is to complete my first wearable pair of tailored pants. It's still a little daunting, but I'm more encouraged and motivated because of the group support. (And besides, there's really no way to properly measure or fit yourself, by yourself. Trust me, I've tried!)

The other local group is the Friends of Green River Lake (FGRL). In fact, I'm on my way to a meeting tonight as we are preparing for an event we're hosting next weekend, the "I'm a Dam Runner 5K Run/Walk". (And, yes, the course runs across the Green River Dam!) I feel I'm carrying on something of a tradition, in that my late step-mother participated in the run/walk herself. Of course, not unlike my days as a judge at the bicycle races, I'm helping out in the background rather than running the race myself. Maybe next year I'll manage to do both?

So that's about it for me, for now. Besides, my time on this computer is about to run out and I've got grocery shopping to do before the FGRL meeting tonight.

As for getting back on the's all about working hard over the next two or three years and continuing to build that "resource base", leading to a final tour of the east coast, north, and northwest part of the country before settling permanently in Santa Barbara, CA! Who knows, maybe I'll be promoting my Own Book this next time around?! We'll see... :)

Yours In Peace...