When i see failure, in my own life or other believers, I can stop and just see failure, or I can have a heavenly perspective. Looking down means seeing that the failure is in light of growth and grace. Looking down means loving the person in the failure, and knowing I’m loved in my failure.
I’m going to start a new series of posts called “Things You See Looking Down.” This is based on Colossians 3:1-3 which tells us that we’re seated in the heavenlies with Christ. This calls us to have a heavenly viewpoint on earthly scenarios. Thus, we’re looking down from a heavenly viewpoint on life. This will be a series of short posts and I don’t know how long they’ll last, but as I see things from a heavenly perspective, I’ll try to post them here.
This blog post is the first in four parts. The first part covers the preparation for the trip and the drive to Carson City, NV as well as the short stay in NV. The second part will include the drive from Carson City to Berkeley, CA, San Fransisco, Santa Rosa, Philo, and Ukiah, CA for the weekend of my cousin’s wedding and the several days after that. The third post will contain the trip from Philo, CA to Newport, OR, Seaside, OR and then to Kalama, WA. The fourth post will contain information about the stay in Kalama with my in-laws and the drive home to Aurora, CO.
It is important that you get a general sense for the magnitude of this drive. This road trip was over 3000 miles in length and included about 5 full days of driving. In short it was long [you have no idea how thrilled I am to write things like that].
Two days before we headed out Jessica and the family (to a lesser degree) worked hard on cleaning the house. This way we could find all the things we needed to find for packing and come home to a clean house. After you’ve been traveling a clean house is a blessing to come home to. The Wednesday before we headed out she packed (again with minor help from the family). But that night my body decided to revolt and I found myself throwing up until about 1:00AM in the morning. We had planned to leave at 3:00AM, so this was put off and we decided to let me sleep and see how I felt in the morning. At 6:00AM we got up, packed the car up with all of the luggage, toys, food, and family cramming into our trusty Honda CRV and headed out. Our plan, as the map shows, was to traverse the Rocky mountains, the state of Utah and almost all of Northern Nevada. In one day. Myself and the girls had never done this and Jessica hadn’t done it since she was much younger.
Day One: The Drive Across the Western US
The morning we took off was getting to be around rush hour traffic time so we took a slightly windy route out of the Denver metro area and began the ascent into the Rockies. In the Rockies there is a section where there are often buffalo which we got to see in the daylight since we hadn’t left at 3:00AM. About 30 minutes later we saw Big Horn Sheep. Which was quite exciting as we’d never seen them in the wild despite having seen them at the Denver zoo many times.
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We followed US Highway 70 all the way across the Rockies and on the downward descent into the high plains of Colorado and Utah we found ourselves in gorgeous surroundings that I’m sure blew travelers away when they were traversing them in covered wagons and on foot. We were glad to be in our car moving about 60MPH or so. We want to go back to Hanging Lake and check it out more closely. The gorges in that part of the Rockies are a must see. Once we came out into the alluvial fans of the Western slopes of the Rockies we were definitely in the desert. There was green next to the river where things could grow, but shortly out of the river’s reach the ground was bare and easy to see. The reds of iron in the dirt made for pretty stripes on various geological features and we were able to admire the western side of Colorado.
Utah, on the other hand, was barren, and though it had the reds of the iron in the dirt and rocks, it felt unkept. The Mormons must have really questions Brigham Young’s leadership when he brought them into the state because I don’t think they’ve updated any of the roadway signs since then: nobody’s wanted to go back to those parts of Utah by foot, horse or car We stopped before Salina and ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and then kept our move west. There were some beautiful red canyons, that I’m sure had we stopped would have looked like the Grand Canyon, but we only saw them in the distance. The clock was ticking and we were behind due to my sickness the previous day. Once we passed the midway mark of Salina the road got rather long and the towns were fewer and fewer. There was a 104 mile stretch between the last town and the border of Nevada where Baker, NV breaks the monotony and offers gas, a hotel, restrooms, and of course slot machines and a bar. All in one building.
We headed to Ely for dinner where we ate at the Golden Arches because we were nervous about the other choices we could find. Scary people live or travel through Ely. By scary I mean men who have their fashion choices firmly planted in the 80′s. Not because Paris Hilton is bringing the 80′s back, but because they never left. We used our cell phones a bit as reception throughout the Rockies and all of Utah had been very, very sparse. Then we headed further west on the last stretch of this long journey. 6 hours (or less if you drive faster) of almost nothing but hills in northern Nevada. We reached our host and hostess’ house in Carson City around 11:15PM. Hyped on caffeine and the girls awake from having gotten a rest in before our arrival we stayed up past midnight catching up on about a decade of not having seen one another.
Day Two: Brennan’s Birthday
My nephew Brennan turned 9 that Friday so we went over to his other grandparents’ house and spent the day with my brother’s family and his in-laws. The kids swam in their pool most of the day and I did my best to get sun burned. Great fellowship was had as we’ve known that family since I was in Jr. High and I can honestly say my brother married his 6th grade sweetheart. He will probably kill me for being so honest. Carson City has changed a lot since I grew up there and moved away in the latter part of last decade, but its still the same: I know because the next morning on the way out of town the woman working the register at the AM/PM gas station was the same gal who worked there when I was a teen.
More to come…
I am going to write a blog post about the trip and insert pictures here and there. I just have to get settled back in at home. I’ve got some responsibilities this weekend that are also calling me away from my normal schedule. Here’s this one to keep you waiting with a smile.
I wanted to post here something that I never, ever would want to post. Last Tuesday (when internet connectivity was only on my iPhone and my emotions were too intense) Jessica and I drove to the hospital in Ukiah, California and after the morning and part of the afternoon in the ER learned that Jessica had had a miscarriage. This is not the sort of thing you expect. This is nearly the worst case scenario. We cried a lot there in the hospital. I wrote notes on my iPhone about how I was feeling, but I won’t post them as they’re far too intense for me to publish without feeling like its too much. They’re also feelings that I don’t have any more because we’re OK. We’re trusting the Lord that He’s used this to get our attention. Prior to the unexpected fourth pregnancy (our first pregnancy was also a miscarriage), we we had planned on no more pregnancies. Except that now our hearts are set on having a third child that we can hold, love and prepare for a life of intensity.
My brother, sister, and I were all born in Ukiah, CA. It was strange and backwards to go to the same small town and discover that this expected Peterman life would not be seeing Ukiah. After the doctor’s gentle disclosure of the diagnosis, “Fetal Demise”, we went to eat (having missed breakfast and our normal lunch) at a place where I recall eating with glee as a boy, the Mutt Hut. Something about the place, and the honestly tasty hot dogs, brought a sense of comfort that sounds stupid as I write this. I was with my wife, who I loved, looking forward to my two healthy girls, whom we both love dearly, and eating food (which we really needed). Ukiah has a movie theater there that I remember as a child. I went there once as a teenager, too. Ukiah now has another memory in my heart and mind now: the place where Jessica and I decided we will try for a third child – a place that has some endings, but also an important beginning. The beginning for the plan for three Peterman kids for Randy and Jessica.
We’re doing OK. We’re doing well. We’re doing this on purpose. And we’re looking forward to seeing this little child we didn’t get to meet on this earth in heaven.
I’m a huge fan of learning new things (and I like to think that you are, too):
It wasn’t until the recent flurry of the guardfather of web standards, Jeffrey Zeldman, and his posts about HTML 5 (see: In Defense of Web Developers, HTML 5 Nav Ambiguity, HTML 5 Is A Mess, and so forth) that I began looking into HTML 5. I’m busy being pragmatic with my code today and making tough choices about browser support and figuring out how I can make HTML 4.01 work consistently in those browsers that I do support. But with the promise of change coming I need to be on the hunt for details rather than waiting for the browsers to fully implement the spec. If we wait for browsers to fully implement specs it could very well be after I’m out of the web development industry before they’re implemented. I wish that last line were a funny joke, but sadly 100% implementation is not likely in the next few years because the spec isn’t complete. The reason that the spec isn’t complete is because people on both sides of a bunch of arguments have been making assumptions. Lets take a look at those assumptions, shall we?
Assumption 1: The Needs of the Web Are or Are Not Going To Be The Same in ‘N’ Years
Assumption 2: We Need More or Less Markup Elements
There are great arguments for newer or different markup elements. There are great arguments for using the old ones and just styling them with CSS. There are great arguments but many of them have, on some core level, more assumptions. Arguments for newer elements are valid for present web contents if you are looking for semantic markup. If you take the negative view (and assumption) that there will be no really powerful algorithm in your lifetime that can really, truly process semantic markup then this is a voided argument and you move on. The assumption and expectation trumps the ideal nature of semantic markup. You will make no headway here. If you assume that semantic markup will lead to better programs to parse the data then what you’re really looking for is XML + some sort of namespace and doctype information that will help computers parse the data beyond what the browser is doing. Microformats help in this area, but are not complete enough to make all documents data fully parsable. Also, if you’re talking about web standards I should not that data synchronization standards are diverse and incomplete in most implementations as well.
We may need less markup if we can style the div and span elements however we want. Or so you may think. That sort of thinking is based on the assumption that all markup is basically the same with different styling. An oversimplification for sure, but I’ve found that oversimplification makes life easier, and so myself and others are often caught doing it here, there, or in other places we don’t talk about in polite company. Its the Internet, so we do it publicly, but on sites that anonymize our usage, of course. Hacks make Internet Explorer bugs more bearable, Firefox bugs less annoying, Opera work like every other browser, and Safari and Chrome like Internet Explorer (or not).
The Rise of the Pragmatist
But you wouldn’t be a pragmatist if you didn’t also believe that you could practically bring about resolution and change for HTML 5, HTML 6 or HTML 7. Practical change. Good change. The things you discover you needed from HTML 5 that its purveyors could not foresee. Keep pushing for better web standards, but don’t keep fighting for better web standards. The fighting causes delay, the fighting isn’t pragmatic, and the fighting doesn’t clean up the web, it worsens it. Data wants to be free, do your part to continue to free it. I’m going to start by reading through the proposed HTML 5 specs to see what I’ll be up against in Internet Explorer 9.5 – whenever that comes out.
We’re leaving on what can only be described as a crazy road trip. We’ll be hitting 8 states: Colorado (we live on the eastern side of the state and have to drive through it going west, over the Rockies), Utah (all the way across), Nevada (all the way across), California (all the way across), Oregan (all the way up), Washington (the southern half), Idaho (All the way across the lower half), back through Utah and into Wyoming on 80 and then south into Denver. In two and a half weeks.
I’m anxious, but mostly because I hate getting up at 2:00 AM – and then driving for 20 hours. But we’re glad to see everyone we’ll see. Maybe we’ll see you.