How Your Life Can Change in an Instant

31 07 2009

I really struggled if I should write this very personal post, but I came to the realization that if I could connect in any way with at least one person, it would all be worth it.

I just became a parent of a 17 year old – overnight.  My youngest brother was in an alcohol related accident that left his passenger with major head trauma.  We don’t know if this young man is going to make it.  My brother is not physically injured, but his life is forever changed.  I won’t go into all the details, but parents are not mentally nor financially able to take care of my brother, so custody has been granted to myself.  I may only have him for a short time since he has been charged with a felony.  We don’t know what the future holds, so we are taking things one day at a time.

I usually have a very zen outlook on life – everything happens for a reason – there are no mistakes in life, just lessons to be learned – certain people are just meant to come into your life…..I’ve studied psychology and human behavior for many years and I’ve always been the person who has all the answers, I’m the one who provides guidance to others……now it’s me searching for answers.

How am I going to help my brother stay strong?

How am I going to pay all these legal and medical bills?

How is this going to affect my family?

What can I do to make things better?

I guess I’ve concluded that there are just some things in life that you have absolutely no control over – that’s just the way it is.  Instead of looking back on events and asking ourselves – why did that happen to me?  How about we focus on the things that we can change in our lives….

Are we treating everyone in a fair and respectable manner?

Are we doing something every day that makes us happy?

Are we accomplishing the goals we have set for ourselves?

How does all this relate to the future of Naturally Bamboo?  Believe me, I have a tremendous amount of responsibility resting on my shoulders and thoughts of running away from it all have crossed my mind.  But for some reason, this path was chosen for me and I cannot veer from the trail.  I truly believe that wonderful days lie ahead.  Many people are counting on me to appear in their lives – from my future employees, to local bamboo farmers, and the communities and organizations I hope to give back to someday.

Do not feel sorry for what has happened…be inspired to go out and do good things, follow your passions, and be happy for cripes sake!!  Because you never know when your life could change in an instant.

ADDENDUM (8/31/09)

The passenger from the accident was released from the hospital with broken jaw, ribs, foot and fractured skull.  He’s got some healing to do, but he’s going to be just fine – whew!

We admitted my brother to an adolescent inpatient treatment facility for 30 days and are crossing fingers that he makes steps in the right direction.  A pre-trial court date still lingers ahead, but we hope with a successful completion of the treatment program, that some of the charges will be dropped.   I am working with a school here near my home to make sure he can complete his senior year and graduate on time.  He wishes to enroll in the military next summer, which I think is very admirable goal…..Thank you for all your support – he really is a good kid, just kinda lost his way for a while.

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Vasque Gear Review

19 07 2009

I’m not a professional gear tester but thought I’d try to do few gear reviews every now and then of stuff I really like.  First up is the Vasque Aether Tech SS trail running shoe.  Jason has been wearing Vasque shoes for years, but I just got my first pair about 6 months ago.  The main feature of the shoe is the Boa Lacing System which is kinda like a tension dial system to make your shoes fit just right.  Instead of tie laces, the dial is a plastic knob that you pull up and twist until you get your desired tightness and then you snap the knob down to lock in place.  I think this system is ingenious because you will never have to stop and re-tie your shoes ever again.  Once the boa system is locked into place, these shoes absolutely fit like a glove.

We both felt that these shoes were very comfortable although they could use a tad more padding on the ball of your feet.  Jason likes the same amount of cushion like his Vasque Velocity’s have.  I just think I’m way too used to wearing my Keens all the time and I get used to extreme cushy-ness.  Jason mostly wears his for trail running, but I wear mine for a little of everything – trail running, tennis, aerobics, and indoor volleyball.  I’m not the type of person who buys a pair of shoes for every different sport – I like stuff that’s versatile and these shoes fit the bill.  I wear 4 kinds of shoes – the Vasque Aether Tech SS, Keen Voyageur hiking shoes, Keen Newport H2 sandals, and Reef flip flops.

The Aether Tech SS tolerates dewy grass and puddles pretty well so feet don’t get wet.  They also keep out debris – no wood chips, pebbles, etc. have ever gotten into my shoes.  Jason sometimes uses his Vasque’s for hiking and he told me he carried a 40 pound pack for several hours and his feet never hurt in these shoes.  These shoes are very lightweight and are made for trail running and hiking on fairly even surfaces.  The only drawback we notice is that the Boa Lacing System can sometimes dig into your foot when you are running down a steep hill.

Overall we give these shoes 4.5 out of 5 stars.  So go out and get yourself a pair and support another Minnesota based company!

My women's Vasque Aether Tech

My women's Vasque Aether Tech

Men's Vasque Aether Tech

Men's Vasque Aether Tech

I took this pic at the Acampa Outfitters in San Juan, Puerto Rico when we were there last March.  I don’t know how hold these things are or what kind of boot/shoe they are – so maybe someone from Vasque can give me the history behind them.

Vasque shoes on display at Acampa Outfitters, PR

Vasque shoes on display at Acampa Outfitters, PR





4th of July at Leech Lake

16 07 2009

For the last several years we have spent our fourth of July with family up at Grandpa Lyle’s cabin on Leech Lake – near Walker, Minnesota.  We had the most awesome weather-  mid 70’s, no rain and no humidity.  My sister Jenny, her boyfriend Dustin, and my nieces Alexandra (6) and Jocelyn (2) came up with us this time as well and tented in the backyard.  It was a vacation of kayaking, boating, eating, drinking, swimming and ending with about 8 of us getting LAKE ITCH.  Thank goodness it happened on the last day we were there otherwise we would have looked like creatures with measles and doing the “squirrel’s in my pants” dance.

Cruisin in grandpa's vintage Penn Yan

Cruisin in grandpa's vintage Penn Yan

Jason letting Kallen shoot off roman candles - don't try this at home.  NOT good parenting!

Jason letting Kallen shoot off roman candles - don't try this at home. NOT good parenting!

We brought our kayaks and got in 2 good day trips.  Leech lake is the third biggest lake in Minnesota and get’s pretty wavy, so we usually don’t take the kayaks out too far.  The lake is so big, I ‘ve been going there for about 10 years and have only seen about 1/3 of it.  Jason wanted to try fishing out of the Native Ultimate, so went went across the road from Leech to Horseshoe Lake.  Northern Minnesota lakes are just breathtaking – the water is so clear you can almost always see to the bottom.  I would paddle around and see schools of fish swimming and then tell Jason to come over and fish those spots.  He caught some bass and sunnies:

Noah watching dad catch a lil' sunnie.

Noah watching dad catch a lil' sunnie.

Kallen enjoying kayaking in the sun

Kallen enjoying kayaking in the sun

Me and Noah searching for fish, turtles and frogs

Me and Noah searching for fish, turtles and frogs

Wow daddy you caught a bass!

Wow daddy you caught a bass!

Jason really enjoys the Native Ultimate – he’s got a rod holder set up on it and says it’s super comfortable for fishing.  Plus he can fit a boy in front and back, fishing gear and a cooler.  I like the Sundance kayak better because it’s lighter and I can paddle more quickly in it.  I’m going to use it for racing at the Two Harbors Kayak festival on my birthday (August 8).  My only goal is to not come in last….

Our next kayak trip was on the Boy River which flows into Boy Lake.  To save time on vehicle transfers we decided to put in at a bridge – paddle the river to Boy Lake – then paddle back upstream to the bridge.  I’ve never tried paddling upstream before, but because the wind was going with us on the way back, it was actually easier.  Jason and Dustin caught some rock bass along the way and we saw a variety of ducks, cranes, snakes, and fish.

The Kayak Crew!

The Kayak Crew!

My niece Alexandra (almost 7) trying out her first solo kayak

My niece Alexandra (almost 7) trying out her first solo kayak

I'm hardly in any pics because I'm the one usually taking them, so me and my Keens will have to do!

I'm hardly in any pics because I'm the one usually taking them, so me and my Keens will have to do!

Our our last evening on Leech, me and Jason went fishing.  I don’t fish very often because I swear I have the worst luck, but this night was different.  We fished for about an hour and a half in the bay/point in front of the cabin and caught about dozen nice walleyes.  This is the first time I’ve ever caught a walleye and I must say it was quite fun!  I think I got about 3 “keepers” and Jason had about 4 or 5.

Awwhh...aren't we cute with our matching walleye's?  They were darn tasty!

Awwhh...aren't we cute with our matching walleye's? They were darn tasty!