Steve

 

When did you last sing to yourself or to someone else and what song?

“Alice’s Restaurant.” Oh no. Well the last one I sang. We were singing Woodie Guthrie. We sang together, “This land is your land, this land is my land, from California…” Then I started singing “Alice’s Restaurant.” Arlo Guthrie wrote that one. That’s his son. Pretty funny, huh? We were just doing that the other day.

 

What is your favorite journey?

I would say a favorite journey is going to Aspen, Colorado. Very pretty going across the continental divide and going into the valley. We’ve driven that a couple times. 

 

What characteristics do you value most in your friends?

Oh boy. I’d say honesty and trust. You know what you’re getting. You can trust them for who they are. If they’re not honest with you, it’s all a lie. It’s false. 

 

What’s the biggest problem in your life?

Working too many hours and not having enough time for other activities. I work six days a week. Not a whole lot of free time. Work-life balance. You gotta have a happy medium. You either have time on your hands and no money, or money and no time. Gotta find that happy balance.

 

What is the secret to lasting relationships?

I’d say back to the honesty and trust thing. If people aren’t honest with you, they’re not real, they’re not authentic. 

 

When and where are / were you happiest?

Wow. That’s a good one. I guess being home in Austin and doing things around there. There’s a lot of activities around there — music, outdoors stuff. That’s where home is.

 

What do you fear most?

Snakes. [laughs] I don’t like snakes. I don’t have too many fears. Snakes is one of them.

 

Would your childhood self be proud of you now?

My childhood self? Ehh. Sure. Yeah, I’ve lived a good life. Done a lot of things. Educated. Job. Get out and do this kind of stuff, outdoor stuff. Sure. 

 

What’s the key to life?

You know, having good friends, good relationships. And again, back to the balancing. You wanna be able to do things, but you’ve gotta have money to do things, but you’ve also gotta have the time to do it. So this is the big thing in life. The key to life is time and money. And friendships. You gotta have friendships. You can’t be a loner. You gotta be able to interact with people. If not, you start getting weird. 

 

What will be your greatest accomplishment in the next five years?

Hopefully I can retire. I don’t know if that’s gonna happen. Probably not gonna happen. That would be a good shot, but I doubt that’s gonna happen. Number two would still be hanging around with Kate. That’s probably about as good as it’s gonna get there. 

 

How can we end world hunger?

You feed everybody, but you’ve gotta be able to distribute food to these poor nations. The problem is these poor nations, the leaders keep their people suppressed and down, and it’s all power. You might donate — say from the UN or the U.S. — but they’re gonna keep and take what they want from the top and give to their friends. It doesn’t trickle down to the people. That’s probably the biggest thing, corruption. Try to end the corruption.

 

What should I ask the next person?

Why are we here? That’s pretty deep, isn’t it? You’ll get some good answers from that one. 


Tim

 

When did you last sing to yourself or to someone else and what song?

Never. No. I don’t sing. [laughs]

 

What is your favorite journey?

Catching a greyhound to the mountains. Grand Junction — the mountains, the scenery, family. 

 

What characteristics do you value most in your friends?

Their attitudes. Fair. Fair. Like outgoing, people-person, respectful. 

 

What’s the biggest problem in your life?

The biggest problem right now in my life is the cost of living is too high. Housing really. Everything really is high. Ridiculously high. 

 

What is the secret to lasting relationships?

Communication. Communication goes a long ways. If there’s no communication, nothing’s going to survive. Honesty. Yeah, communication and honesty. There you go.

 

When and where are / were you happiest?

I was in Golden, Colorado, and I was happy — 2006, working with my friend doing landscaping. That was fun. We had a lot of jobs out there. It was great. It was a nice summer too. That was my favorite moment.

 

What do you fear most?

Fear most? Let’s see. Not being able to take care of certain things all at once and having to wait. Errands. Errands, really. Wanting to take care of a lot of it, but with only so little time that I have. That’s what I fear. Like getting my car fixed. I want to get my car fixed in one day, and I fear that it’s gonna take the mechanic a couple of days to get it fixed. I rely on that vehicle all the time to take me everywhere. And fearing to catch the bus. I don’t like it. 

 

Would your childhood self be proud of you right now?

No. I’m not in college. I haven’t finished college. Or started. I attended, but I’m 35 years old trying to get into school after 15 years. It’s going to be tough, but I want to do it. Any college that I can find that will be best in whatever I want to take up. Business management.

 

What’s the key to life?

The key to life? Fulfilling it to the fullest. Enjoying every moment. There you go. 

 

What’s going to be your greatest accomplishment in the next five years?

Being able to go to college. Take up something. Business. Be halfway there. Or graduating. That would be my accomplishment.

 

Why are we here?

It’s the natural cause of evolution, I’m guessing. That’s just like asking: why do we breathe? To stay alive. I don’t know. I don’t know how to answer that. Why are we here? To better ourselves. Contribute to some, you know, higher form of life elsewhere. Or improve this planet to make it better. 

 

What should I ask the next person?

If the government was to crash, if there was no order whatsoever. Anarchy. What are the 10 most important things you would need to get to survive? That question is universal.


Nancy

 

When did you last sing to yourself or to someone else and what song?

Probably 7:30 this morning, and it was a praise song, a Christian praise song. I don’t remember the name of it offhand.

 

What is your favorite journey?

I had the opportunity to take my grandsons to Alaska. I have two grandsons, when they were 16 and 17, and we stayed for a month. It was marvelous. It was just marvelous. It was in 2012. We camped part of the time. We were up there for a month, and so we stayed in hotels part of the time, and then we rented a camper and camped, and then we were on a cruise. It was marvelous. As a result, my grandson’s up there fishing this summer, working for a fishing company.

 

What characteristics do you value most in your friends?

Honesty. Faith. Friendliness. 

 

What’s the biggest problem in your life?

Money.

 

What is the secret to lasting relationships?

I don’t know. I’m not good at them. I’ve been married 4 times. [laughs] I haven’t had a relationship since 2000. Not getting involved in one I think is my best answer.

 

When and where are / were you happiest?

Right now. I am happiest right now in my life. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I just turned 75. I have my health. I don’t have a lot of money, but I have enough where I’m not destitute. And I can pretty much do whatever I want to do, and so I do. I have a great time. I have a terrific time.

 

What do you fear most?

Mice. [laughs] mice. I don’t know why. I don’t like mice. I don’t like cats because they bring you dead mice. I don’t like rodents of any kind.

 

Would your childhood self be proud of you right now?

I believe so. I was raised in a very strict family. I don’t recall being able to have goals and ideas as a child. I was told what I was going to do. I was told what I was going to be and all that kind of thing. I had a great deal of difficulty breaking away from that. I did, but I did it in a strange way. I’m a recovering alcoholic. I became alcoholic as an adult. I drank alcohol for about 10 years probably. I’ve been sober now for 37 years, and I’m active in AA.

 

What’s the key to life?

To me, faith. I have faith in a power greater than myself that I believe controls everything. And acceptance, you know, that things are the way they’re supposed to be and that they’re going to get better no matter what.

 

What’s going to be your greatest accomplishment in the next five years?

Continuing to learn as much as I can about the Bible and about my religion.

 

If the government ceased to exist tomorrow, what would be the most important 10 things you would want to survive? 

A gun. And I do have concealed carry. Food. Roof over my head. A way to contact my family and loved ones. I have two grandsons that are 20 and 21 now, and that’s a real scary prospect for me. That means they would be involved in the military, which one of them already is, but… I’m also very political. Very conservative, obviously. But that’s all I can think of that I would want.

 

What should I ask the next person?

Who are you planning on supporting for president in 2016?


Rob

 

When did you last sing to yourself or to someone else and what song?

I sang to myself five minutes ago riding up the trail, and it was “Hey Jude,” by The Beatles.

 

What is your favorite journey?

I think my favorite journey is looking back in my life and learning, it truly is learning, from the hard things that have happened in my life. And seeing how I’ve grown and how much more I’ve got to grow. Definitely that.

 

What characteristics do you value most in your friends?

Let’s see. I think I value tolerance and kindness. Being gentle and kind to people and understanding of people.

 

What’s the biggest problem in your life?

Uh, yeah. The biggest problem in my life is my job and trying to feel like I’m adequate enough and doing a good enough job at my current place of employment. I don’t think I want to get out — I think I want to get cause of anxiety more than it being a bad job. It’s just fear.

 

What is the secret to lasting relationships?

I think the secret is commitment to stick with it when you don’t always feel it. I don’t think it’s like it is in the movies, where it’s always joy, and love, and you’re always happy to see that person. I think sometimes it’s just sticking with it and trusting the relationship.

 

When and where are / were you happiest?

I was probably happiest in college in the ‘90s. I had a bunch of friends who were all nerds, and we just had a lot of fun. Actually studying, and having fun and partying. But we studied a lot too. So we had a bunch of electrical engineering nerds. We had a good time. Mechanical engineers and electrical engineers always picked on each other, but it was all in good fun. [laughs]

 

What do you fear most?

I guess… I think I… There’s a few things. I guess failure. Failing and not being good enough. I think that’s probably the theme throughout my life. I know that’s kind of abstract. A general sense of not being good enough, not doing a good enough job for people I’m with. 

 

Would your childhood self be proud of you right now?

Yeah, I think so. I think he probably wouldn’t recognize me. I’m totally different than when I was a kid.

 

What’s the key to life?

The key to life is try to live in the moment and try to enjoy it and not think about other things. It’s really hard. It’s balance. To me, everything is about balance. And I’m always out of balance. Trying to, when you go too far one way, you try to pull back and enjoy the moment, and not go too far in the past or the future.

 

What’s going to be your greatest accomplishment in the next five years?

I hope it’s being able to make enough money in my current job to retire for a year and do what you’re doing. [laughs]

 

Who do you plan to support for president in 2016? 

I like Bernie Sanders. I like Hillary Clinton too. I kind of lean liberal. Those are the two folks I kind of like right now. I’m going to keep paying attention and see what happens. It’s too early overall, but that’s who’s on my radar right now.

 

What should I ask the next person?

What do you think the most interesting thing in the universe is?


Alberto

 

When did you last sing to yourself or to someone else and what song?

Last time I sang to someone, I believe I sang to my wife. It wasn’t a public performance. It was a song, oh gosh, what did I sing to her? I sang a song called "Sin Ti" to her, which means, “Without You.”

 

What is your favorite journey?

I like to travel, but I also don’t think I have gone on as many journeys as I could to say I have a favorite so far. If we’re going literal, then I have to say I’ve loved traveling to Italy, specifically up to northern Italy near Lake Como area. It’s absolutely gorgeous, one of those places where you can kind of just reset your mind and body. If we’re talking a little bit more metaphorical, I’m an educator. I’m an assistant principle at one of our local high schools. And this journey through education which I never thought I’d be taking in the first place has been enlightening and rather rewarding as well. I never considered myself a teacher or anything like that. It wasn’t a career I had considered, or even just a profession. I was a music major in college. A science major first, then switched to music, and wanted to be a performing musician and realized that after I got my bachelor’s, really it qualified me to stand in line for auditions. I taught on the side, private lessons and such. I figured I’d give it a shot, but the more I did it, the more I realized I actually liked it an awful lot. I liked it to the point where I even sought the higher degrees for education leadership so I got my master’s and started getting some experiences. Here I am this year, my first year as an official assistant principle on the actual administrative side of it. I’ve really grown fond of that as well. 

 

What characteristics do you value most in your friends?

Honesty. Loyalty. But just a sense of comfortability. Yeah, it’s great to share likes and dislikes, but sometimes the dislikes are what make the conversations more interesting. Likes and good company, good food, good drink. Honesty, you don’t have to share every single little tidbit. There can be such things as overshares, but when it comes to being true to people, people who you can trust — dare I even say with your life — would be great to have. My poppa always told me you can count your true friends on one hand, and you probably won’t use all your fingers. To this day, he is absolutely correct.

 

What’s the biggest problem in your life?

Let’s call it a first-world problem. Even though I’m in this new position that has garnered a little more financial stability, I’m still trying to get myself out of that college-debt mode. So my biggest problem truly is money, and that’ll probably balance itself out. My wife’s in school right now, so it’s going to be a case of us both being able to make a dent in that. But, uh, really, that I can say is probably the biggest problem, and if that is my biggest problem, it’s really not that big a problem because there are more important things to worry about.

 

What is the secret to lasting relationships?

Communication. Open lines of communication. No hesitation, no doubt about being able to share what’s on your mind, whether positive or negative. From the little things of, I’m going to be doing this at this time, so they know where you’re at, but also to be able to say, I have a concern about this, or I love you because this, or I really don’t like when this happens. Absolutely, 100 percent communication, being able to talk to your significant other.

 

When and where are / were you happiest?

Before I was married, I was happiest when I was performing as a musician without the need for money to come into play. Not necessarily because of any fame or any notoriety, but more just because the sheer joy of playing and being able to play with other musicians who actually know what they’re doing. I take what I do very seriously. I studied it. I tried to gain some kind of expertise, dare I say. I appreciate being able to perform with other musicians who have that same level of expertise. Since being married, I think being able to share some of that passion for my music with my wife, and having her travel with me, and being able to do some things with her in that regard, but also just being on stage. I had a moment a few years back where I got to be on stage with some of the greatest musicians I know. Being able to share that stage with them was an absolute privilege and one of those things you think about when you’re little. That was at a mariachi conference in Las Cruces, N.M. The group was Mariachi Cobre. They play at Epcot Center in Disney World. They’re from Tucson originally, the founders are. They auditioned for and got accepted to play at Epcot when it opened in 1982 and have been there since. My brother and I have grown up listening to them and learning from them and getting to teach alongside them. I got to perform with them. My brother is now a member of that group. He auditioned for and got a slot in that group. He’s been there since this spring. So he’s living the dream, getting to be with them on a daily basis. It’s pretty awesome.

 

What do you fear most?

[sighs] Losing control. Not to say that I’m in any way a control freak. If you’ve ever done the True Colors exercise, I’m a green, which is that logical, intellectual side. I’m not at all a gold, that “Type A” personality. I’m not that, by any stretch of the imagination. But I don’t like to lose control of my mental facilities, my physical abilities. I’m like that song, "Invictus." I’m the master of my fate, the captain of my soul kind of thing. I like that mentality. I’m an independent person. Yes, there’s people who I love, and yes, people who I depend on for x, y, and z things. But I like to think I’m a self-made man. To lose control of that ability to be able to continue to develop on my own is a frightful thing I think.

 

Would your childhood self be proud of you now?

For most of the things I’ve done, sure, I think so. [laughs] I mean, it would be lovely to say that one would not want any regrets, but I think realistically everybody’s done a thing or two they wish they hadn’t. I think childhood me would be proud that I got past some things that I didn’t think I’d be able to get past when I was younger. Little disappointed that I made some choices, but the fact that I’m not still wallowing in those choices is probably a good thing.

 

What’s the key to life?

Hm. [laughs] In my opinion, the key to life is eating the food that you want to eat, loving who you want to love without shame or fear, and pursuing any avenue that you so choose to pursue, no matter how good or bad you may think you may be at it. If it makes you happy doing it, do it. That’s why I switched to music from science. I was looking at the lucrative path versus the path that was going to satisfy me the most. I made that dreaded phone call to my parents in the middle of the night as I’m on track to medical school. I was like, I’m not going to medical school. I’m going to be an artist! The beautiful thing was they weren’t surprised in the slightest, but also that they supported me 100 percent. They didn’t say, are you sure. Or you can’t do that because you’re not going to be financially stable. They said, ok, how can we help? That kind of solidified it for me. The fact of the matter is if you love something enough to do it as a profession or to do it all the time, you find a way to make it work with your life. You find a way to make it financially lucrative. You find a way to make it livable. You find a way to make it so it satisfies both your soul and your pocketbook and your livelihood. You make it work. And you never settle. Don’t ever settle. If you settle for something then you build up those regrets that your childhood self might be disappointed to even consider looking you in the eye.

 

What’s going to be your greatest accomplishment in the next five years?

In whose eyes? My own eyes? Following my own advice. We’ll see where it goes. Education has been a heck of an awesome journey, and if it continues, I’ll do the best I can. I’d like to be able to see myself move a little upwards in the ranks. I’m an assistant principal now. I’d like to see myself as a principal someday, run my own school. That’d be kind of nice. But I’d also like to see myself capitalize on a few more goals that I’ve had on the musical side too. Maybe I’ll join my brother some day over in Florida. It’s been one of my dreams. I’d like to keep chasing it. I’d hate to see myself plateau. 

 

What do you think the most interesting thing in the universe is?

The fact that we cannot truly define what the universe is. I perform here at church, but I’m not what you would call a religious person. I’m faithful. But I don’t necessarily believe religion is the way to go about faith. I’m fascinated with physics and astronomy and the big, big picture. The fact that we are infinitesimally small on the grand scheme of things, but we’re also exponentially large if you zoom in on the microscopic world and below on that end. We’re somewhere in this weird middle ground. I’m fascinated that we exist. The fact that I can have this conversation with you and contemplate the fact that billions upon billions of atoms and molecules have conglomerated to create this organism that is self-aware to a certain degree. I’m fascinated with the fact that this organism not only contemplates the fact that theres oxygen and hydrogen and lead but that has an artistic side that learned how to play a violin and actually can appreciate an aesthetic value to that. I’m just fascinated with being alive and what the heck that means. 

 

What should I ask the next person?

Let’s see. Wow. How do you see yourself fitting in this world? What’s your place?