Tag Archives: Oregon

Happy Birthday to you two!

ORAZFlagsTwo of my favorite states celebrate birthdays today.  Arizona became a state in 1912 and Oregon became a state in 1859.  Both on Valentine’s day.  Both states that I love!

If you read my bio you know I grew up in Oregon.  All of the fun and the pain growing up entails happened in the Willamette Valley south of Portland.  Climbing trees, fishing and camping trips, jumping off bridges into the Mollala River, high school success, angst, failure.  All of it!  I still have family and friends there and I visit when I can, which is not enough.

I have lived in Arizona more than 10 years now and I have fallen in love.  The desert beauty is just as beautiful as the forests of Oregon but in an almost opposite way.  The Sun shines here like the rain falls there.

Both have amazing wildlife!  Here we have King Snakes, Rattlesnakes, Gila Monsters, Bobcats, Mountain Lions, Big Horn Sheep, Lizards, and so many birds, including Quail everywhere!

In Oregon it’s possums (OK, not so amazing), Raccoon’s, Beavers, Garden Snakes, Mountain Lions (Cougars), and so many fish.

Both have a wide variety of plant life.  Oregon with the Douglas Fir, Cherry Trees, Boston Fern, Strawberries, Raspberries, Moss, Grass grows wild! and the rich top soil is feet deep.  How does your Oregon garden grow?  Amazingly with just a little care.

Arizona is home to the Sonoran Desert and the State Flower the Saguaro!  Also we have all kinds of plants that want to kill you;  Cholla, Ocotillo, Prickly Pear and Barrel Cactus.

Oregon’s Summer light last until nearly 10:00 pm!  Arizona has the world’s best Sunrises and Sunsets.  Oregon is home to Mt. Hood, Crater Lake, and the The Three Sisters.  Arizona has the Grand Canyon and the country’s only known Jaguar living just a few miles south of Tucson in the Santa Rita Mountains.  Both states have so much beauty to brag about.

Turns out this year is the perfect year for me to reflect and expound on the two states that I love the most. (don’t worry New Mexico and Texas, I still love you two too) Turns out that Oregon is 53 years older than Arizona and I am 53 years old!  Coincidence?  Probably.

The Most Beautiful Places

I grew up in Oregon, so I was blessed to live in a beautiful place. The Pacific Northwest has so many amazing places to go and see. I can’t believe I left out Crater Lake, The Inn of the Seventh Mountain in Bend, The Columbia River Gorge, and Mt. St, Helen’s. I didn’t forget to mention the drive from Spokane, Washington to Kalispell, Montana. Also British Columbia, Canada, and the North Coast of San Diego. I’d love to visit France, England, New Zealand, Australia, and the Himalayas. Lots of adventures yet to come!

The West is the Best!

I wish I had taken some pictures of Kalispell, but we were only there less than 24 hours.  I’ve been to many beautiful places and I’d have to say that NW Montana is tops.  British Columbia is amazing too!  Western Oregon where I grew up is beautiful and right there in your backyard when that is where you live.  Arizona has the desert beauty and the best sunrise and sunsets on the planet.  I am Blessed to be west!

Your Complete Annular Eclipse Viewing Guide

Happy Annular Eclipse viewing for my son in Albuquerque celebrating his birthday today!  Also for my Mom in Lubbock, Texas if they can keep the skies clear enough just before sunset.  Here are viewing times and tips from NASA and your friendly announcer dude:

Thirteen Below

Anchorage this Morning
Anchorage this Morning at -13

I opened my browser minutes ago and my home page opened up.  It’s the Borealis Webcam Multiview of their web cams scattered about Anchorage, Alaska.  The current temperature at 3:53 a.m. local time just happened to be -13 F, which is also the coldest temperature I have had the pleasure to enjoy.

Enjoy?  Well sure.  I was a teenager and it was a great adventure.  You may disagree if you have lived where it’s regularly colder.  Especially if you’ve had to endure plugging in your car to keep the oil a semi liquid, or shoveling snow for an hour just so you can get out of the driveway only to have the snowplow come by and block your drive again.  That does sound frustrating.

But my story is different.  I was 16 years old and we took a Winter road trip to Grandpa Jones’ ranch in John Day, Oregon.  Shoveling snow was not part of my life.  We were visiting from the Willamette Valley were the rare snow doesn’t stick around long and temperatures rarely fall below the teens above zero.

It was already cold when we left Canby.  In the 20s maybe and so my brothers and sisters and I were dressed warmly as we piled into the van.  It was an evening/night drive to eastern Oregon.  My first clue that this trip was going to be different was when we got into the mountains and ice started forming on the inside of the van windows!  Yes, Dad had the heat on, but it was near zero outside.  We stopped to go to the bathroom in the woods (you can do that in Oregon.  Lots of trees :-) and the wind blew through my jeans like I wasn’t wearing any!  First lesson.  Wear thermals when it’s nothing degrees outside.

We arrived in John Day and went to bed.  The next morning it was get out of bed and feed the cows.  No shower or breakfast first.  The cows get fed at daybreak, which also happens to be the coldest time of the day, even in John Day.  It was perfectly calm and clear and thermometer read -13 F.  A personal best for me that stands to this day.

I bundled up the best I could and I was made to wear a handkerchief over my mouth and nose so I wouldn’t “frost my lungs.”  I doubted then (and now) that that was a real danger at that temperature, but I don’t remember arguing.  Maybe I rolled my eyes.  You know how teenagers are.

I stepped outside into the squeaky snow and man it was cold!  I just gotten up, so there was not much blood circulating in my body yet.  Thankfully it was perfectly still so the wind chill was also -13 (unless you started walking fast).

We got to work.  We loaded the trailer with hay and Grandpa drove the tractor while we peeled flakes off for the cows to enjoy.  The cold was making my nose run and as I inhaled my snot (sorry about the visual) froze in my nose!  It’s like someone crammed cardboard up there!  The condensation from my breath turned the handkerchief into ice.  It was also forcing moisture to exit near my eyes and one of my eyes actually froze shut!  I had to take off a glove and melt the ice off of my eyelashes so I could open my eye again.  (I knew that handkerchief was a silly idea)  Crazy.

We were done before I knew it.  The cows were fed and we went inside to warm up and have a hearty breakfast our own selves.  That afternoon it got up to a toasty 10 degrees.  With sunshine icicles were growing and we went sledding and sliding into, and through, one of the frozen ditches.  FUN!  The whole visit was fun.  Later that Winter I got to return and my Uncle and I hiked up into the John Day Mountains and surprised a bunch of deer.  We also almost got lost in a snow squall, but that’s another story.

I love cold and snow.  Always have.  It’s beautiful and fun.  Of course, I’ve never had to plug in my car or shovel my way to work either…

Passionately Christian

Yesterday I wrote a little bit of why I am a “Passionate Conservative.”  I could have gone on, but I don’t have hours to write and you don’t have hours to read.  Bottom line is I believe that Conservative Principles when applied in a Representative Republic give individuals the best chance to be the best they can be.  As individuals prosper, the entire society is lifted up.  Indeed the results have been dramatic for the entire planet!

This morning I want to talk a little bit about why I am passionately Christian.  Bottom line is Jesus gave up Heaven so God could have a friendship with me and you!  In other words, God died so that when you die you don’t have to really die!  You can live with Him forever!

The only requirement to qualify for Heaven?  Believe in your heart that Christ died in your place and paid for your sins and on the third day rose from the dead.  Believe that in your heart and confess it with your mouth.  That’s it!  Romans 10:9 & 10.  You then exchange your earthly sin for His absolute righteousness.

Now as simple as that sounds, we all resist.  Well, most of us.  I do know a couple of wonderful people who have been Christians as long as they remember, but for most of us we decided that “having fun” in our youth was more important then being called “Jesus Freaks.”  Of course the fun lead to heartache and sometimes disease.  While we might be “good people” we are all pretty selfish by nature.  Of course God was still drawing us to Him and eventually we responded and accepted His wonderful gift of salvation.  If you haven’t and are alive enough to read this then there is still time.

For me it started in Sunday School at the First Conservative Baptist Church of Canby.  I was maybe 8 or 9 and our Sunday School Teacher was showing me in the Bible that God talked about springs in the bottom of the ocean.  Springs that scientists were just barely discovering thousands of years later.  That was enough for me to accept Jesus into my heart.  I still remember the joy I felt as I prayed and in my minds eye I saw light bursting from my heart!  It was pretty cool.

But.  I eventually stopped going to church and eventually started living more and more for my own desires.  That included increasing drug and alcohol use as a teenager and young adult.  I even shared a drug needle to inject some cocaine into my arm.  I only tried it 2 or 3 times in a one week period when I was about 20 years old, but I ended up paying a high price for the temporary rush the cocaine gave me.

I found out much later that I had Hepatitis C.  The worse kind too.  It was also about that time that God drew me back to him.  I started going to church, got baptized and started reading my Bible.  During worship at church I would cry out to God and also actually cry as He was healing my heart.  The folks around me at church probably thought I was a troubled man, but I didn’t care.  God was working while I was in His presence.

It was during one of those times that I heard God say in my heart about my Hepatitis C, “I’m going to take this from you.”  It was a word I clung to during the difficult one year of combination drug therapy.  I lost a lot of weight and some hair.  Food lost it’s flavor and I had suicidal thoughts.  All side effects of the drugs, but I hung on because I had God’s promise!

Sure enough, after a year of treatments I was Hepatitis C free!  And still am today.  That was 10 years ago.  Since then I have left my TV career and have served in a few ministries.  Mission Odessa, Family Life Radio and Teen Challenge of Arizona along with some churches along the way.  I don’t know if I will stay working in ministries as a job the rest of my life, but I do plan on ministering the rest of my life!  God has shown me a lot in His Word and through experiences with Him that I have to share.  It’s too important.  I don’t always live as I should and God doesn’t just give me what I want, but I know that He is always with me and He always gets me through.

If you want more evidence that God is who He says He is, check out this blog entry from a couple of years ago.  Stars really do sing, just like God said they do thousands of years ago!

If you don’t know Jesus and you are still alive, it’s not too late.  To say that it is awesome to know the God who created the Universe as a personal friend and Father is an understatement!

Weather, Man!

Mt. Hood, December 1998ish?
Mt. Hood, December 1998ish?

Man do I love weather.  It has been a passion and an obsession since I can remember.  It truly is how God made me.  Of course I have a very strong political and “religious” bent too.  I joke that my favorite subjects to discuss are politics and religion and that’s why God gave me such a passion for weather.  So I can relate to people with without offending them.  :-)

My weather fascination started very early.  My folks tell me that I was always talking about it even as a very young child.  I have early memories of unusual weather events when I was a wee lad in Los Angeles.  Severe Thunderstorms one afternoon and ice in the puddles at school one morning.  I was born in L.A. but we moved to Oregon when I was 8.

Growing up in Oregon was great for a weather freak like me.  Numerous storms coming off the ocean and in the 70s that meant lots of surprises in the actual weather compared to the forecast.  Fluctuating snow levels in the Cascades, east winds into Portland combining with overrunning warm air bringing epic ice storms, but not to our house :-( and I could go on about the different weather phenomenon I got to witness first hand.

I had the TV weather down.  KOIN would have the weather on first so I would watch that.  Then I’d switch over to KGW and catch most of their forecast.  Then it was over to KATU to watch the tail end of their weather.  This was especially important on the rare nights when the snow level had a chance to come down to the Willamette Valley Floor.  I remember many a frustrating evening watching it rain while I would stare at the thermometer stuck at 36 degrees trying to will it to come down.

So obviously I was going to go to school to study Meteorology.  I had it all planned out.  Go to the University of Alaska at Fairbanks and get a BS in Meteorology and minor in Communications.  They had a TV station on campus.  I had a great score on my ACT and was even accepted into their advanced math program.  I was set.  One big problem.  My drug problem.  I still had some growing up to do and I blew my chance to go to school.

KCBQ 1997ish
KCBQ 1997ish

The story doesn’t end there however!  I ended up moving to Roswell, NM a few years later.  At 21 years old I took what I could carry and bought a bus ticket and started re-pursuing my dream to be on Radio and TV.  Math and Science were always my favorite subjects in school so naturally I went into broadcasting.

I got a part time radio gig in the early Summer of 1984.  That turned into a full time radio gig.  First overnights and then evenings and then Music Director.  After two years I jumped over to TV as a Master Control Operator, directing news cut-ins and also voicing, shooting and editing commercials.  From there it was into the News Department at another station as a news photog, then a reporter who shot his own stuff and also backing up the weatherman and then finally the weatherman!

Adrienne & Mike in the Morning
Adrienne & Mike in the Morning

Lots of detail left out in the above story, but God helped make a way for me when I had messed up and didn’t choose the easier way.  After another 8 or 9 years on the morning show in Lubbock, Texas as a weatherman, news anchor and feature reporter my life took another turn.  Through it all I have never ever never stopped loving and studying the weather.

Now here I am in Tucson, Arizona.  I have a web site and morning weather web show dedicated to my weather passion.  I just can’t help but share whether the audience is big or small.  When you have a chance, check out the site.  TucsonWeather.us and tune in to “Coffee and a Forecast” every morning (yes, weekends too) at 5:50 Tucson time for the live recording.  Or you can just catch up with it later when I post it on the site and in the Facebook group Tucson Weather.

Whether it is mud in the Pacific Northwest, Baseball sized hail in Lubbock, or Monsoon storms with amazing lightning in Tucson, I love weather.  I especially love snow and cold!  But that is another blog entry (or two).

Of course I have other passions and other web sites that support those.  There is also a lot of detail left out of the above story.  All fodder for future blog entries.  I better post this and get to work.  “Coffee and a Forecast” airs in less then an hour. :-)

Make it Real

I had this idea when I was posting YouTube videos on Facebook.  Every song brought me back somewhere.   Different stages, times, events, people in my life.

Songs have that power.  To transport you back to whatever or whomever.  Probably only the sense of smell is a more powerful memory prompter.

So, here is my first entry.  Scorpions, “Make it Real”


I was traveling across the Arizona desert, almost to my destination of Roswell, NM when someone on the bus asked me if I wanted to trade.  My Queen, “News of the World” cassette for his Scorpions, “Animal Magnetism” cassette.  I am still fully convinced I got the better end of that deal!

I started listening and I heard “Make it Real” and it really spoke to my heart.  See, I had left Oregon with only the possessions I could carry to pursue a dream of broadcasting.  I was gonna make it real for reals!  I had taken my last check, sold a typewriter my Mom had given me and bought a one way ticket to Roswell, NM.

Just a week before my friend and I were fishing.  He was gonna go to Roswell and wanted to know if I wanted to go.  I had never heard of it.  No one had as far as I knew!  It was before the alien stuff was widely known.  I asked him how big it was and if they had any radio and TV stations.  50,000 people and yes, both radio and TV.  I was in!

At the time I was a part time dishwasher barely making my rent.  A promising student in school, I smoked too much pot to realize that I could actually go to college.  I did know, however, that I could start a radio and TV career with a little talent in a small market.  And that is what I aimed to do.

Off on an adventure, as 21 year olds are prone to do.  It worked out just as planned.  However, with all plans, it didn’t look or unfold the way I pictured it.  So many life lessons along the way.  The subject of so many other songs.

I did get a job a few months later as a part time DJ.  That led to a full time gig and eventually, Music Director.  Then into TV and finally a weatherman.

Now I am faced again with a dream, or a hint of one.  Will I sell out and chase it like I did way back in 1984?  It feels different.  I have a car payment and debt and I’m old.  Then there is the dream part.   What is it I want to do when I grow up since I have already reached those goals of DJ and Weatherman?

I’m gonna play the song again and see if the song helps me to find the courage to really be what I think God wants me to be. I made it real once, maybe God wants to make it real in my life again!