Snoo

Carole and I live in northern Vermont, in a little town called Richmond. Every year we wonder if any given snowfall will be “the” snowfall, the one that covers our grass until spring. Some years it’s clear from the first eight-inch dumping. Other years we don’t really ever get “that” snow, as we have freezes and thaws off and on the entire season.

The summer of 2018 was abnormally dry and warm here in Vermont. I for one was worried that it would carry over to the winter, but it looks (so far) like things are back to normal, precipitation-wise. Will this be “the” snow — November 27, 2018? Hard to say at this time, but it’s looking good so far.

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Happy Thanksgiving from Carole


Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

As usual, we spent a quiet Thanksgiving. No family visits. Just us and kitties. But I’m thankful that Jay was home. He’s been traveling an awful lot. Last weekend, he walked yet another 3-Day (Susan G. Komen event) in San Diego. Came home with horribly blistered feet and he’s been experiencing some strain in one of his legs, from favoring the blistered foot over the last twenty miles. But the blisters have healed miraculously well.

I’m thankful I got to start the day with a yoga class. That was a nice way to spend some time before the traditional Thanksgiving gorge-fest.

And I’m thankful we were blessed enough to head to a fancy Stowe resort restaurant and enjoy a lovely buffet.

I’m not thankful for the 7-degree weather today. But I do know the hidden blessing of the weather: homeless people get to sleep in beds. (The state has a priority allotment system for giving out emergency motel room vouchers, but when it’s cold enough, the priority list goes out the window and everyone gets a room.)

So, God bless us every one, and to all a good night. To mix a few quoteaphors and all that.

Happy Thanksgiving from Jay

At times, when I stop and attempt to be “thankful”, I realize that I have life so absurdly good that it’s almost embarrassing. And I don’t mean in terms of the amount of money I bring home on my paycheck or the amount of luxury stuff I have sitting around the house (we have one (1) luxury item, a hot tub). I mean in terms of intangibles, tangibles, opportunities, everything.

I’m employed and have been so since May of 1998. Same job, even, although I’m on my third employer. I’ve got a great work situation where I am respected and valued and am not over-managed. I’ve got a nice house to live in. I live in a nice part of the country that rarely if ever has disaster-level weather. I’ve been married 21 years and counting to someone I’m still in love with. I’ve gotten to go to Europe this year and in a few weeks am going to Curaçao. I’m fortunate to have a few friends who are willing to put up with my neuroses. (Thanks again, folks!) I have four excellent kitties (up from three as of a month or so ago). I’ve got skills and knowledge that serve me well in life. I’m white, male, and just ooze with privilege. But at least I know that I was basically born on second base. I’m under no illusions of having hit a double.

Did I get everything I wanted in life? No. I didn’t get to have kids. I still have a lot of headaches. I’ve been diagnosed with major depression. My blood pressure and cholesterol are both higher than I’d like them to be. I never did write the great American novel.

¡Ay de mí! I’ve got it so bad, don’t I?

I’ve been absurdly fortunate in life and feel kind of guilty about it. But I am aware of, and thankful for, my many, many blessings. And I hope all of y’all, out there in the world, are happy and healthy and full of joy this holiday season.

I Would Walk 500 Miles and I Would Walk 500 More

I’m about to head to the airport (it’s 4:51 am EST as I write this) to fly from chilly Vermont (15 degrees fondly Fahrenheit right this second) to sunny San Diego (today’s high, 77 degrees).

It’s time for the 2018 San Diego Susan G Komen 3-Day!

This will be my 18th 3-Day as a walker (dating back to 2008) and my 29th event overall. (I’ve also served as support crew 11 times). If you total up the miles I’ve walked on event as a walker so far (one event was cut short due to weather, and twice, due to injury/health concerns, I wound up sweeping part of the way) I’m probably at something like 960 miles total. Which means that, barring unexpected circumstances this weekend, I’ll have walked my 1000th 3-Day mile sometime late on Saturday! (This doesn’t count, obviously, all the miles on training walks and such leading up to 3-Day walks.)

With all that walking, cancer must be pretty much cured by now, right?

Okay, well, no. But progress has been made in many areas over the last ten years, and the $50,000+ that I’ve raised through my walking has probably made some slight difference. Total up the millions on millions that all of us walkers have raised and the 3-Day overall has made a big impact. We walkers owe it all to you, our supporters and donors.

Veterans Day 2018

My thanks to my sister Julie Furr Youngman and my brother in law Paul A. Youngman for their US Army service, and to all my friends and acquaintances who served and to strangers everywhere as well, for the work they did, the risks they faced, and the sacrifices they made.

On this, the 100th anniversary of the day the guns finally fell silent in France, there is nothing profound that I can say that has not already been said elsewhere, and better. I will simply say “Thank you”. Thank you to all of you who faced hardship and danger in the service of your country.

Posted in Jay

Woo-Hoo!

I finally got to see the vote totals for the Justice of the Peace race here in Richmond, VT (population, a bit over 4,000).

Long story short: I won.

Slightly longer version of the story: so did 11 out of the 12 other candidates on the ballot.

“Woo-hoo!”, anyway.

I was one of seven Democrats on the ballot and (if I recall correctly) the only first-timer among them. There were four Republicans and two independents on the ballot as well. A town our size is permitted to elect 12 JotPs, so with 13 candidates on the ballot, only one person would lose out.

I was interested to see that I came in last out of the seven Democrats but ahead of all the Republicans and independents. I honestly don’t know most of the people on the ballot even though I’ve lived in town sixteen years. I travel so much for work that I can never show up at selectboard meetings and so on, and what’s more, I’m not a native of the town.

I assume that the other Democrats are all prominent enough that they had greater name recognition and consequently got more votes than I did… and that my total wasn’t based on my being my being more popular than the six who finished below me but rather was due more or less entirely to running as a Democrat. The woman who got the most votes, incidentally, is our former state representative and owns the hair salon on Main Street. Everyone knows her.

(I was personally sort of pleased in a petty way to see who came in 13th and as a result didn’t get elected. Said individual is sort of our town gadfly and bête noire and used to be on the selectboard until she annoyed so many people that she stopped getting re-elected. She’s been losing election after election for various offices ever since. I hadn’t looked forward to attending meetings with her if she had been elected. Glad to see I won’t have to.)

I mentioned a while back that the job of Justice of the Peace in Vermont is nothing like it is in Texas, where it really is a judicial job. A Vermont Justice of the Peace:

  • is a member of the “Board of Civil Authority”, serving as an official at elections
  • serves on the tax abatement/appeals board in case anyone wants to contest their property tax assessment
  • conducts marriage ceremonies (if asked)
  • serves as a notary and can administer oaths
  • serves as a magistrate (if needed and so commissioned by the state Supreme Court)

So basically, I’ll be on the town election board when my position officially starts on February 1. I hope I get to conduct a marriage ceremony at some point.

Don’t think I’m impressed by my accomplishment — running in a race where 12 out of 13 candidates got elected, and where the powers and responsibilities are so slight, is not going to go to my head. But I am looking forward to doing my part. I’ll have to plan my 2019 travel schedule around Town Meeting Day and elections since I’ll need to be present.