Me and my nieceI was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1972, I lived there until I was thirteen with my mom, stepfather & younger sister. My mom was diagnosed with cancer when I was nine and she was pregnant with my sister, Laurie. My mom choose to delay cancer treatment and have my sister despite the risk to her and my sister. Over the next several years, her chemotherapy treatments and surgeries left her helplessly bedridden and I took over many aspects of the household, including the care for my mother and infant sister. The ever mounting medical bills mandated hard work and long hours for everyone in the family, myself included. Many of my core values were formed during this time in my life, most importantly the value of hard work and family.

I moved out to live with my dad and stepmother in Seattle, WA when I was fourteen and fell in love immediately with the Emerald City.  My horizons were broadened immediately by the spectrum of people and influences permeating this port city.  A couple things that I have from my time there is an enduring love of ferries, drizzling rain, the sky over big water and a taste for good coffee.   I developed my music tastes right at ground zero of the grunge movement and am constantly surprised at the ongoing influence it has on today's music.

I left Seattle with a girlfriend when I was seventeen and traveled south, lived in Albuquerque, NM for awhile before heading back north to Missoula, Montana.  My ex had family there, but when we broke up I ended up staying and attending the University of Montana.  It was a great decision on my part, I met so many down to earth people in Missoula who are still my life long friends.  Not to mention that I received a top notch education in a great setting at U of M.  I am thankful to my dad and grandparents for helping with the financial costs of books and tuition, but still had to tutor and work part-time jobs/internships to make ends meet.  That work really helped me appreciate what I was doing and stay motivated to graduate.


Cheryl & II met my future wife Cheryl in Missoula in late August of 1995.  She was doing welding at a local metal shop and had moved to town with a friend of a friend at the begining of summer.  Missoula was and probably still is a small town, and what bar you went to and who you knew were interdependent things.  I was moving back to Montana from Oregon that year to take a last pesky statistics course and a couple of elective credits that were still unfulfilled on my transcript. 

Cheryl and I hit it off right from the start and were living together a few months later.  In the spring (96) after my degree was awarded we moved to Bellingham, Washington in my pursuit of being a biology field tech.  That autumn we did some work on my grandparents property in Shelton, Washington.  We then struck out for the Rogue Valley with the promise of a job in the spring.  Cheryl found employment right away while I learned how to program in the C++ language that winter (96/97). 

I did another summer of survey work for the Bureau of Land Management and started programming professionally that autumn (97).  The regular income allowed us to afford a little house in Ashland, Oregon during autumn the next year (98).

On September 23rd, 1999 Cheryl and I were married in Lithia Park, Ashland, Oregon at the Root Memorial Area. It was a simple, civil ceremony administrated over by Judge Pamela Burkholder-Turner.  We wrote the vows ourselves and had the following piece by Khalil Gibran recited:

Love one another, but make not a bond of love;

Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.

Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.

Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone.

Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.

For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

And stand together yet not too near together:

For the pillars of the temple stand apart,

And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.


Cheryl keeps my eyes open for the wistful and beautiful in the world. I share her interest in birds by photographing the wildlife she so keenly spots everywhere.

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