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Random anecdote:

I recently walked the 2015 Seattle Susan G. Komen 3-Day​, a 60-mile walk to raise funds for the fight against breast cancer. While en route walking the streets of Seattle and Redmond and Bellevue and so on, I happened upon the usual numbers of dogs one is likely to encounter while in an urban and suburban setting, including a decent variety of corgis.

I adore corgis.

I’d see a corgi and exclaim “CORGI CORGI CORGI”, which I admit is kind of strange for an adult male to do, but I guess you’ll just have to write it off to my general eccentricity.

Toward the end of the walk, I happened upon a corgi cheering walkers on along with its humans, but other walkers were already petting said corgi. I waited my turn, got impatient, and said “Hey, man, don’t bogart that corgi.”

The corgi’s owner looked at me and said “You are way too white to say that.” And laughed.

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Fun with radioactivity

So, I’ve had a box of uranium glass marbles sitting around the house for a decade or so, but it wasn’t until recently that we got a black light and could see them glow. Uranium glass is glass with uranium mixed in, duh, which gives it a pretty green color. Under ultraviolet light, it fluoresces.

I was sitting at the dinner table and glanced at the shelf where the box of marbles sat. A thought popped into my head: “You still have that black light for spotting urine where Starlight peed inappropriately, right?”

Carole affirmed that we did, and the rest is history.

Here’s what that box of marbles looks like in regular light:


Here’s what it looks like in ultraviolet light.


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Painting the Shed

The shed, almost finishedI’d like to be able to say that I spent today on my sofa watching college football, but no.

I drove to Killington and back this morning so Carole and I could have breakfast with one of Carole’s out of town friends who was visiting, and then this afternoon it was back to working on the shed.

Our weathered, unpainted shed has been worse and worse each year. It was probably stained when the previous owners had it built circa 2000, but over the 13 years we’ve owned the house it’s been getting more and more weatherbeaten and faded. It’s still structurally strong, but it had that “derelict barn” look to it.

The shed, circa December 2014Each winter I look out at it sitting there in the snow looking forlorn and I think “when the warm weather comes this year, I’m going to re-stain or maybe even paint that thing.” And then each year flies by and boom, it’s November and too late to be doing outside painting.

This year, I finally decided to stop saying “I should paint that some year” and went ahead and did it. In stages. A bit at a time when I was in town. What with frequent out of town work trips, a Susan G Komen 3-Day, and a sick headache or two, I just couldn’t seem to get much done on it at any one time.

It soaked up three two-gallon buckets of primer — that was some thirsty wood. Then I began putting the paint on — I got the front partly done two weekends ago, did the sides up to where I couldn’t reach last weekend — then ran out of paint. This weekend I got out the stepladder and got the rest of it done. Er, except for the back, which I only got 1/3 done before running out of paint again. I’m getting to be an old hand at rattling off the specifications and color code for the Behr “Mermaid Sea” greenish blue paint I for some reason decided to use.

Tomorrow it’s back to the store for one more gallon of paint, then I’m going to try to finish the back and prime the unpainted trim, and then maybe I’ll be lucky and next weekend will be warm and sunny and I can get the trim painted as well. For some reason known only to my subconscious, I picked Behr “Bronze-Green” for the trim. I have no idea if the two colors will actually look good together, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Why write about painting a shed? Well, because I’m so glad I finally got off my can and did it, mostly, and also because this is actually the first real painting project I’ve ever done. I’ve helped out here and there, but never had to plan and execute the whole thing from start to finish. Perversely, even though I know it’s not really a big deal, I have a sense of vague accomplishment.


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Walking in Seattle


My birthday is Sunday, September 20, 2015. In theory, I could spend my special day doing pretty much anything: relaxing in front of the television, climbing a mountain, or doing whatever my 48-year-old heart desired.

I will spend it walking the final twenty miles of the 2015 Seattle Susan G. Komen 3-Day, a sixty-mile walk to raise funds for the fight against breast cancer.

I’m fortunate to have reached the age of 48 with no serious health issues. But dozens of my acquaintances — members of my church, fellow employees, relatives, friends, and relative strangers — have suffered from breast cancer. I wouldn’t wish the radiation and chemotherapy and surgery and the years of watching scans praying “please, please, no recurrence” on my worst enemy. And yet, like my friends and acquaintances, that’s exactly what millions of women have to go through each year. I walk and raise money in hopes that some day cancer will become at worst an annoying but fully treatable health condition, not the potential death sentence that we all fear.

I also walk for those who lost their battle. Each year I lose more and more 3-Day friends to cancer. Some days it seems like every visit to Facebook brings another round of bad news of death, new diagnoses, or recurrence of cancer thought to be in remission.

I vowed to never give up as long as that’s the case. And I haven’t. 2015 is my eighth year taking part in 3-Day walks. I’ve walked or crewed in 24 walks so far — 14 as a walker, 10 as a volunteer crewmember. This year I’m not crewing at all — just walking. But I’ll continue to walk every year, as many walks as I can, until a brighter day dawns.

In the end, though, when you get right down to it, I’m walking because of one special lady. Bridget Spence (see photo), a 22-year-old college senior, was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer around the time she graduated from college. She fought her especially virulent cancer with everything she had, undergoing clinical trial after clinical trial, watching her cancer come back each time, for seven long years. Each year her physicians would essentially tell her “Don’t start any long books”. Each year she proved them wrong, surviving and working as a Susan G Komen spokesperson and walking in the Komen 3-Day several times herself. We all felt certain that she’d survive to her 30th birthday, a goal that had been flatly declared impossible on several occasions. We knew she was going to make it.

Until she didn’t. Her cancer spread to her heart and she knew the end was near. Having decided to go out with dignity instead of spending all day every day in an infusion chair, she passed in the arms of her loving husband at the age of 29 and a half.

Bridget’s last public request was that we remember her. And I do. As long as there’s strength in my legs to walk, I will keep on raising funds for the fight against breast cancer… or until the day that it’s no longer necessary. May that day come soon.

You can still donate toward my fundraising goal here: — and thanks!

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Treetop Obstacle Tour

My wife and I spent Labor Day afternoon on the Treetop Obstacle Course at Arbortrek Canopy Adventures in Jeffersonville, Vermont. It was arduous, difficult, and enormously fun… right up until my upper body strength gave completely out on the last, extreme-difficult obstacle and I had to be rescued by the staff. (Rescued = rappelled to the ground) We’ll be back. Highly recommended. The staff were ultra-professional and very attentive to participant questions and needs.


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Hi, all.

I’m in New York City this week doing training. Carole is back home starting her third week of unemployment.

I didn’t post at the time, because it was a hard and troubling time, but yeah, Carole lost the job she’d had since June of last year because of one too many times getting caught using computers for non-work purposes. She’s been really depressed because of that. The job in question was the best opportunity she’s had in years; the company has a strong pro-recovery culture, but I guess there are limits to their understanding. Carole’s had major depression her entire adult life and she’s used silly little games like Freecell and Spider Solitaire and Sudoku as a way to forget, even for a little while, how rotten she feels. I guess that’s much of the same reason why some people drink to excess.

She’s been doing 12-step meetings every day via phone and text — meetings with groups of people who, like her, have an addiction to online gaming. Some of the people she interacts with are the sort who lost their jobs and apartments and stuff because they couldn’t stop playing World of Warcraft, and others are more like Carole, playing mindless games like Freecell for hours out of sheer depression and compulsiveness. Much like alcohol, compulsive gaming seems to have at its source a desire to make the real world go away. Severe depression sucks.

I wish her the utmost luck. If she can really arrest this habit of hers, she can make a go of a real career. For the last 19 years, almost all of the jobs she lost were lost due either directly or indirectly because of compulsive computer gaming. :(

But on a more cheerful note, we still have excellent cats. We have four: our tortoiseshell Starlight, who is 13 years old or so, our gray tabby Huck, who’s around 9, and the two blackies, Marie and Jacquie, both around 3. Marie is shorthaired but very plush, and Jacquie is long-haired and very skittish. Starlight doesn’t get along with anyone but Huck. Mainly it seems to be a battle of wills between her and Jacquie. I don’t know if it’ll ever get better; I think Jacquie was abused before she wound up at the animal shelter and she has PTSD or something. Starlight can get along with Marie if Jacquie isn’t around, but together, they seem to gang up on her.

It must have been somewhat sunny today in Vermont because mid-afternoon, Carole found Huck and Marie and Jacquie doing this:

Cats onna bed

Cats onna bed

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