Tag Archives: Adventure

My Lowas

26 Aug

My Lowas

“The most alive is the wildest.” – HDT

After eight years, six continents, and hundreds and hundreds of miles, my hiking boots finally gave up the ghost.

The death of my Lowas was a little like losing a close friend. We’ve had so many memorable adventures. We hiked the Inca Trail, stalked lions in Botswana, tiptoed knife-edge ridge lines in Hawaii, walked on the Zuidersee Works, traipsed through Australia, climbed mountains in Korea, dangled off the south rim of Big Bend at sunset, almost died in a freak summer storm in the Alps, and tread dozens of wild places across the United States.

Thinking back fondly on these expeditions and the people I shared them with allows me to relive those experiences in my mind: the secret bottle of cabernet stashed in the bottom of my pack, picking fruit off the tree for a meal, catching salmon by the boatload, the lone little goat with a bell around its neck encountered high up on a ridgeline, finally making it to the summit, and too many amazing sunsets to count. There were laughs and tears as well: trying to start a fire with no matches, running out of water, a curious skunk, a cocktail party in the African bush, a collapsed tent or two, being charged by a Kodiak bear, rain, wind, snow, more than a few bumps, bruises and blisters, and one severely broken ankle.

My old Lowas took me to the wild places. They were my passport to nature and took me away from the over-civilized people that populate my day-to-day life. My boots took me to the mountains where I drew my strength and satisfied myself that there was meaning to be found in the woods. Who can look at wonderful nature and not be prompted to wonder more? There are answers on the mountaintop.

My grief will abate. I’ve already begun to get to know a new pair of Lowa hikers. The relationship is still stiff and uncomfortable, but I am committed to making it work. Over time, I expect the bond to grow and for our relationship to become easy and supple. There is no telling what adventures await us just over that yonder hill. There are many, many more miles to go.

 

A timely quote for you to consider. It’s as if he were right here with us today.

“Short-sighted men, who in their greed and selfishness will, if permitted, rob our country of half its charm by their reckless extermination of all useful and beautiful wild things.” – Teddy Roosevelt

The Poston Family 2014 “You Gotta Belize Me”

31 Dec

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Once upon a time a long time ago there was a young man that escaped his boyhood home and made a place for himself in the idyllic islands of Hawaii. He fell in love with the green mountains, white sands, blue waters, and one particular local gal. The two of them got married, had a houseful of kids, and made a rich life in a colder environment. But the tropics remained in their hearts and occupied a good portion of their minds. As they began the transition from parenthood to grandparenthood, they knew it was time to reclaim their place in the sun. And so it came to pass that they bought a tropical island where they lived happily ever after.

This fairy tale is the overarching theme of this year’s update. As official “resident retirees,” Billy & Richele spent a good portion of each month at Royal Belize entertaining friends and family, overseeing renovations, catching rays (both kinds), and getting to know our wonderful new family members that live on island. It is a special place that we want to share with all of you. Come for a visit.

Real life happens back home where the world turns faster than ever. “Bully” gained another grandson and lost his Suburban in the transaction. Marshall Jack Kory was born in July and he and big brother Walker like riding in style. Both babies came for a five-day visit right before Christmas that required both their aunties and their uncle to pitch in. “Gigi” fell right back into parent mode, throwing a party for 60+ people with a twenty-one month old on her hip after four sleepless nights. Gigi’s got it going on. That doesn’t mean that everyone wasn’t ecstatic when Jensen and Sarah showed up late in the day on Christmas Eve to reclaim their little angels.

Charisse had a bucket list year at Tulane and is one semester away from graduation. As the short one with blue-green-purple hair, she was the ~*hot popular n cool*~ one on the Homecoming Court. (Her hair is now its natural color but, of course, her head is shaved.) She was named Senator of the Year in student government where she considers “agitator” to be an honorific. After teaching middle school in NOLA last summer she has decided that is her future. If her Fulbright Fellowship comes through she will spend a year in Turkey teaching English. If not, we’ll resume the conversation on the differences between a “job” and a “real job”.

Cheyenne was the surprise salutatorian of her high school class. The subtle message of her graduation speech was “I Am Never Coming Back.” After a celebratory trip to London and a brief flirtation with the idea of becoming a full-time SCUBA guide in Belize, she began her freshman year at Stanford. The Big Bang Theory is a lot more fun now that she explains the formulas on the whiteboard in Sheldon’s apartment. A committed Cardinal football fan, she has taken to assigning statistical probabilities of success to each play. She is thankful for the concept of the Gaussian distribution, her bicycle, and the phở in the Stanford dining halls.

Little brother Jacob is in his junior year and no longer requires much parenting. As long as there is food in the pantry and gas in the tank, he can handle the rest. He splits his time between school, swimming, League of Legends, and his friend-who-is-a-girl. He made it to the state swim meet as a sophomore, spent some time this summer training with Olympians at USC, and is on track to dominate this year. As the only remaining object of his mother’s parental attention, he is beginning to dream of college and may someday soon be able to articulate which one may be of interest to him. Good Wi-Fi seems to be his number one selection criteria.

Richele added “island hostess” to her job description this year. This role involves a lounge chair, a book, and a beverage. She still serves on the board of the local education foundation where she played a role in something called “Purse Mania.” As far as we can tell this involves drinking wine and buying purses all in the name of philanthropy. Billy thinks there is a profitable business model in there somewhere. The family’s slobbering lab experiment came to a sad end this summer as Tyson left us after a quick downhill slide. Richele is now the devoted caregiver to Cheyenne’s left-behind beta fish, Minerva, but it is really not the same.

Billy continues to plot and scheme. His consulting firm Kalypso is going strong and growing fast. He is developing the ability to be in more than one place at a time. He taught five courses of Housley at three universities this year while starting two new businesses, expanding Stelos, speaking, and writing daily. After spending 55+ days in Belize this year, he has the island bug and talks non-stop about building an empire in the Caribbean. After a failed attempt at delivering his new boat from Florida to Belize, he went to Cuba (before it was cool) to scout resort locations – and to drink lots of mojitos and daiquiris. He got a real good tan for Christmas.

In addition to Belize, Cuba and London, we got in family ski trips to Telluride and Snowmass, enjoyed a couple of weeks on Anguilla, and spent Thanksgiving in New York. Billy and Richele got away for a birthday week in Las Vegas and hosted the annual “Aloha Summer” luau for the tenth year in a row. Belize, however, was the destination of the year. We took a total of ten groups of family and friends down to enjoy the island on different trips. Diving, snorkeling, fishing and laying around are the favorite activities.

Home base continues to be the Texas Hill Country where we go to check the mail and pretend to be normal. Paradise is wherever we happen to be at the moment. The year ahead will bring new adventures and milestones. The calendar is already filling up with exploration and excitement. Stay tuned for news ahead and come join us for some craziness. It will be fun. You better belize it.

My Log Book

8 Aug

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I have been SCUBA diving for over 25 years. Destinations have included The Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Greek Isles, Hawaii, California, Florida, a mine in Missouri, and every divable spot in Mexico and the Caribbean. There were times over that period when I was very active and times when life got in the way and I was only able to get in one trip a year. Regardless, I have been religious about keeping a log of every one of my several hundred dives. It is my personal SCUBA history book.

In the early years I wrote about the things I saw. The book is littered with the words ray, shark, turtle, eel, and every manner of reef fish large and small. The sharks were identified by species; nurse, bull, lemon, whitetip, blacktip, hammerhead, and tiger (no great whites yet). I once saw a turtle as big as a VW bug.

When my son and daughter took up the sport about eight years ago, I continued to log our dives together and the frequency of them increased dramatically. Diving became a family affair. I loved getting them alone on a surface interval to chat about the things we saw on our first dive and talk excitedly about what we might encounter next.

Soon after we began diving together the entries in my log book began to change. I still noted the special things we had seen, but there was much more written about the people we were with. The entries were now about new friends made on trips; kind souls that emailed photos from their fancy underwater cameras; interesting folks with good stories; and friends that I have introduced to life under the sea. The memories made on these trips are less about morays and mantas, and more about friends and family.

As I peruse the log book entries from our new second home at Royal Belize I find precious reminders of the people I love the most.

Fiscal Cliff Family Update

1 Jan

2012 Family Photo

We pride ourselves in burning the candles at both ends and in cramming a lot of living into every year. Sometimes it feels a little out of control, but there are occasional moments of quiet contemplation squeezed in there somewhere. So while Congress postures, procrastinates and prevaricates, we are going to get this job done and tell you the whole truth about our year (some facts might be embellished in the name of telling a good story.) For those that have been following for a while, we are still working to create our own Utopia here in the hills of Texas. Are we getting closer? Come join the craziness and judge for yourself. We can all put our hands in the air and jump off a cliff together. Here we go!

Sixteen-year-old Cheyenne decided not to follow her sister to the Amanda Bynes School of Driving and passed her first year behind the wheel almost incident-free. Swimming, sleeping, school, scuba, skiing, and eating comprise her life. Her legendary, swim-fueled appetite is the subject of an upcoming short film. A Flynn effect proof point, she is on pace to break Charisse’s high school records in Academic Decathlon. Ask her anything. Cheyenne’s low single-digit class rank – she will not allow us to reveal the number – is a source of both pride and angst. She spent enough time at Georgia Tech over the summer to conclude that Sherman had the right idea about Atlanta. Her eyes are now on the western horizon as she contemplates college choices. She is excited about her upcoming class trip to St. Petersburg – the one in Russia.

Charisse continues to ride the Green Wave where she switched from studying third wave feminism to the equally employable fields of English and economics. Her fall back career plan is to be a zip-line guide in some tropical paradise. You can hear Charisse as “DJ Peach Passion” on WTUL New Orleans at 91.5 on your FM dial where she spins the “hits” of bands you have never heard of. Her summer in Boerne reinforced her love of NOLA and we do not expect to see her back home much more. That gives us the excuse we need to go to Jazz Fest, Mardi Gras, our favorite restaurants, and Tulane football games. In November, we paid real money to watch Rice beat them in the Smart Kid’s Super Bowl. Like the rest of Charisse’s exuberant fans, we keep up with her through her constant updates on Twitter and Facebook. She is super fabulous.

Big little brother Jacob is a competitive swimmer, casual tennis player, X-Box enthusiast, and our resident Coke addict. In the real world he does not have to deal with attacks from monsters, falls, drowning, falling into lava, suffocation, starvation, or other Minecraft risks. He is a survivor. His occasional “Asian F” (otherwise known as an A-) requires constant vigilance to ensure the family’s reputation remains intact. There are at least three women in their twenties that use 15-year-old Jacob as the benchmark standard for dates while they wait for him to turn eighteen. He got his fill of adventure this summer on a fishing trip to Kodiak Island with his father and grandfather. His summary of the trip, “Paw-Paw can’t hang.” Jacob continues to protest his required attendance at musicals. He is waiting for “Call of Duty” to come to Broadway.

Jensen graduated with his master’s degree from the University of Houston and has promised us a “grand” surprise in the spring. Big changes are coming for him on all fronts as he looks to put his degree to work in a new career. We are hoping he can put his advanced psychology education to good use analyzing our “lab” experiment, Tyson. The old dog is clearly insane. He combines chronic depression with cyclothymia, short-term memory loss, agoraphobia, & other social disorders. Caring for him is good training for ultimately dealing with aging parents. Mom?

Retired taxi driver, Richele, has no trouble filling her days with one exercise class or another. The fitness queen of Cordillera Ranch is now threatening to remove even more good stuff from our daily diets in the year ahead. We are afraid that we will soon be eating nothing but cabbage soup and celery on the “free” diet; fat-free, sugar-free, sodium-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, calorie-free, and taste-free. I am pretty sure that the kids drive through McDonalds on their way home from swim practice every night. Fortunately, our September trip to Napa Valley turned her on to good red wine, so there is a bit of a Cougar Town feel to the kitchen these days. We are not les misérables after all.

Billy’s schemes and dreams continue to amaze and amuse. After multiple trips to Belize in a failed attempt to buy a resort, he invested in the G2G Collection and is helping launch that business through the Stelos Alliance. His Housley Principled Leadership class at Texas State was oversubscribed both semesters. Kalypso keeps him busy, while his raging midlife crisis drives him to seek adventure. Whether it is heli-skiing in Canada, fighting bears for salmon in Alaska, hiking the Inca Trail, four-wheeling on Lanai, breathing the air at Jazz Fest, or navigating a romance novelist convention in Chicago, he is always on the go. His debate with Richele over the proper placement of Marlin Brando – his mounted marlin – ended in a compromise. He was allowed to put it over the coat racks by the back door. If only the Congress could do as well.

While Billy’s “work” travel takes him all over the place, the whole family got into the fun this year with trips to Telluride, Costa Rica, Punta Cana, New York twice, New Orleans twice, and a wonderful weekend in Cuero, Texas (home of the Turkey Trot and the Fighting Gobblers.) In addition, Billy and Richele snuck away to Belize, Cabo, Napa Valley, Watersound, and Charlotte. Add it all up and you can break into our house just about any time. No wonder the dog has separation anxiety disorder and that this letter is always a couple of weeks late.

So we send another amazing year off with a bang and eagerly await the adventures ahead in our perpetual pursuit of happiness. We are so blessed to have each of you in our lives and sincerely hope that we can spend some quality time together in our evolving utopian experiment. You can find us here on the sunny side of street. As Tramp once said to Lady, “It’s a big world out there. Let’s start building some memories.”

Roots

22 Sep

“The roots of my raising run deep.” – Merle Haggard

I confess that I am a middle-class white kid from a small town with two parents that are still married and love me very much. This isn’t a great start for an “up by your own bootstraps” kind of life story. I am not my own sculptor. There were – and are – many people heavily invested in shaping the person that I am.

All of this was brought into focus yesterday as we kicked off the fall edition of the Housley Principled Leadership Program. I learn so much from teaching. The first class attempts to increase self-awareness by exploring the familial sources of the most marked characteristics of our personalities. Here are mine.

Extreme Work Ethic – My paternal grandfather was a welder that built many of the buildings that make up the Houston skyline and later in life ran his own shop until he was physically unable. My other grandfather ran the dairy farm where I grew up. Up at 4:00am seven days a week, he set a very visible example of what it means to truly toil. From drilling rigs in high school and full-time graveyard work in college to managing hotels and management consulting, 70 to 80 hour, six-day work weeks have been normal for me for thirty years. A 60-hour week feels like a vacation. If you are not comfortable with that pace, you can thank my grandfathers.

Academic Excellence – At report card time, a “B” has always been completely unacceptable. I received the gift of high academic expectations from my grandmothers. In a highly unusual coincidence for young women in the 1920s and 1930s, both of them went to college and one of them went on to teach alongside my mother for close to thirty years. I know that the fact that I did not follow her to the Rice Institute broke her heart. This probably compels me to study even more. So when my kids accuse me of going all “crazy Asian mom” on them about their grades, they can blame my grandmothers.

Responsibility & Reliability – My father has three boys. As the oldest, I watched him work to provide for us kids very early in his career. He taught me that any job worth doing is worth doing well. He is a stickler and a perfectionist when it comes to follow through. He used the word “half-assed” to describe the results of most of my chores and then invited me to do them over and over until his standards were met. I soon learned to do it right the first time. Accepting responsibility and then reliably delivering on commitments with excellence is a lesson I learned from my dad.

Fun & Adventurous Spirit – With fifteen or so siblings in my grandparent’s generation all centered in the same small town, the family tree had exploded by the time my many cousins and I were coming of age. Family get-togethers often had over 100 people. My mother was a force of love and fun in these events. As a teacher she also had the habit of throwing us all in the station wagon and traveling across the country every summer. The explorer and adventurer in me comes from my mother. The desire to have fun and create meaningful relationships while working hard is the result of the “work hard, play hard” ethos that permeated my early life. Thanks Mom!

We are all products of our raising. Mine included tremendous advantages. There is no such thing as a “self-made man.” The roots of my raising run deep. These examples give me the strength that I need.

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