Leaving the Conservation Lands Foundation

Yesterday was my last day at the Conservation Lands Foundation.

Our board and staff on my second day on the job.

In my nearly six years on staff, we quickly built an effective national organization, developed and supported a vibrant network of grassroots advocates across the West, helped set a strong policy vision for system, and elevated the profile of the National Conservation Lands, among many other hard-fought achievements. And while it required a lot of hard work, it’s impossible not to smile deeply when I think back over how far we’ve come; it’s truly been a remarkable ride. I’ve had the privilege of working with some amazing colleagues and partners—most all of whom I now consider friends—on this century’s greatest public lands conservation opportunity…all while having some good fun along the way, too.

Moving on is always bittersweet, but an exciting opportunity also lies ahead that will let me harness and better focus my passion for the Conservation Lands here in Arizona. I’ll have more to announce in the near future.

In the meanwhile, I’m on sabbatical through mid-April, so if you have some free time and want to get together, go for a hike, or take a daytrip, send me a note and get on my calendar.

Goodbye Lovebug and Shadow

Lovebug & Shadow in moving boxLast month, my two cats, Lovebug and Shadow, were unexpectedly pulled out of my life. I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye. The circumstances surrounding it made it hurt even worse. While I haven’t been able to live with them for awhile now, they were still very important to me and important parts of the only family I’ve had a hand in choosing.

Today is Lovebug’s birthday, and so I am remembering him and Shadow with this post. Continue reading Goodbye Lovebug and Shadow

My Aunt Lucy turns 102 this week

1909 photo of my family, including a young Lucy

My Aunt Lucy is turning 102 next week. Ok, so she’s technically my great-aunt or cousin twice removed or something, but we all just call her Aunt Lucy.

She’s one of the sweetest and most energetic people you could meet, and I really wish I could be there to celebrate the occasion with her. She lives in Kesh, Northern Ireland, close to both the border and extended family. They check on her frequently, though she still lives alone. I haven’t seen her in nearly a decade, but my dad calls her twice a month and I’ve sometimes been around to jump on the phone too. She has trouble hearing me, but it’s always great to hear her voice.

When I think of Ireland, the image I see is her serving tea and pastries to everyone that stops by; entertaining seems to be her favorite activity. It’s hard not to recognize hers as an idyllic life. In short, I <3 Aunt Lucy. It's interesting to consider how much life has changed for her over the last hundred years or so. I sometimes wonder how people process those changes—how does your frame of reference evolve over time to move from a rural, farming lifestyle to one punctuated by iPhones and Twitter? Sure, Aunt Lucy isn't sporting the latest technology, but that doesn't mean it doesn't affect her life. My relatives drop off emails and I'm sure she picks up a few commercials on the tele. I wonder how I'll feel about massive changes like that when I'm that age, provided I last that long. Every generation, it seems, looks back at the previous one with a bit of technological contempt for its ignorance and simplicity. I suspect that spending a century embroiled in technological revolution probably isn't so easy.

A proud new uncle – welcome LiliAnn

Yesterday, I became an uncle for the first time in my life. Kim’s sister Jessica gave birth to her first daughter, LiliAnn Faye Scherer. She’s beautiful.

The funny thing is that I hadn’t ever planned on being an uncle. In fact, the concept of actually being one was still quite foreign. As an only child, there weren’t going to be many opportunities. Even so, I’ve grown pretty excited about it and am really looking forward to participating in the growth and life of my niece. It’s just a shame that we live so far away, but maybe that will change. Oh, and of course, congrats Jessica and Michael!

Welcome LiliAnn, Im’m looking forward to meeting you soon!

Shaving Sipapu

Our dog Sipapu needs to be shaved regularly, or else we end up with a house of hair. We’ve tried doing it ourselves with the $30 dollar clippers from Target without even a hint of success. So, we’ve been bringing ‘Papu down, much to his dismay, to PetsMart to get groomed. For $60 a pop.

Well, we finally decided that we should invest in an expense trimmer and give it another shot. I was thinking that we’d buy the $180 one and give it a shot. If it didn’t work, we’d just return it; if it did work, then we will have saved quite a bit of cash over the course of just 8-12 month.

Mostly because I was tired of waiting for a store employee to arrive to open the locked case and give us one of the good clipper sets, we grabbed the most expensive unlocked one, which cost about $85, and brought it home. And who knew, it worked fine! Sipapu was actually a little excited to get trimmed, though his patience wears thin relatively quickly. So, we ended up doing it over the course of several phases over two days while we crafted our technique.

This is the result of the first attempt, which probably comprised about 1/4 of the hair removed.

A response to Kim’s 226

With Kim suffering from a third day of being sick, I decided to take a couple hours and hit the lanes with an old bowling pal.  I had a pretty decent afternoon, scoring a 217, 216, and 212, for a quite respectable 215 average.  It’s one of the highest 600 series I’ve ever had.  I wonder if it was having two days off this weekend off (a rarity in the last year or so), or if it might have been my own rebuttal to Kim’s record-breaking last week.  I’m not sure, but it certainly made for an enjoyable afternoon.  Too bad Kim was stuck at home.