Playing Footsie?

So there I was, dozing on a late flight from Chicago to Vermont, my arm dangling down next to my seat. Next thing you know, I’ve sleepily grabbed the shoe of the guy behind me and am trying (in my not-quite-half-awake stupor) to figure out what it is. Thank God he pulled it back abruptly and said nothing.

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Go Dawgs, Buddhist Style

Strangest thing I’ve seen all week: a few dozen Buddhist monks doing the University of Georgia “Calling the Dawgs” cheer. Given that previously undefeated Georgia promptly got curb-stomped by Auburn today, I think it’s safe to say Buddha was not amused.

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Lots and lots and lots of stuff has happened to the Furr family in 2017 — and by Furr family, I guess I should say “Jay and Carole Furr” since the larger Furr family kind of blew up last year when my father died in March (Mom had already died, back in 2011). And we haven’t really posted about much of any of it, not in any organized fashion.

I doubt that anyone really cares, since unused, cobweb-covered personal blogs are a dime a dozen, but once in a while I feel kind of guilty and think “I should post something“. So here goes: 2017 as it’s happened to us.

  • We went to Hawaii for two weeks in February — one week on board a cruise ship out of Oahu, stopping off at the Big Island, Maui, Kauai, and ending back up in Oahu, and three days before and after just bumming around Oahu. We had a fantastic time, more or less.
  • Carole’s mom Anne Stoops passed away in June after a long illness. That leaves only one of our four parents alive: Carole’s dad Glenn. May he live for many, many more years.
  • Carole started a new job in August at the Burlington Housing Authority as a staff accountant. Carole has had a lot of jobs over the years, but this seems like the best fit for her in quite some time.
  • Carole has long wanted to learn to cook, but has always been terrified of hot ovens and complicated recipes and so forth. So, she signed up for the Blue Apron program, where they send you all the ingredients and detailed instructions for two or three meals a week and there are all sorts of tips and tricks and technique videos on their website to refer to if you need them. I’ve helped on some recipes, but she’s been making fantastic progress, mostly on her own, just by dutifully following the recipes. It’s turned out to be a lot more cost effective than eating in restaurants, too, and we can’t really recall any of the meals we’ve been sent turning out less than “pretty good”. Most have been “great”.
  • In August, we went to Kentucky for the 2017 solar eclipse. Saw it from the Jefferson Davis State Historic Site near Hopkinsville. The eclipse was stunning. The 12 hours of traffic getting from Hopkinsville back to Carole’s dad’s house in Dayton, Ohio was less so.
  • I turned 50 in September. Carole bought me a cake and that was pretty much it as far as observances went. I guess not having any friends who live in the area would have made having any kind of party in honor of the big 5-0 difficult.
  • We lost our beloved tortoiseshell cat, Starlight (aka “Torbie”) to complications from bladder cancer and Carole was absolutely devastated. I wasn’t exactly turning cartwheels either, but Torbie had basically been Carole’s personal cat for 15 years, sleeping on her chest most nights and so on.
  • We adopted a new cat, Maggie, a couple of weeks after we lost Starlight. Carole just felt that the niche in her life earmarked for “tortoiseshell cat” should not be left empty for any sizeable length of time, and instead of doggedly watching the local Humane Society’s web page for new kittens, we wound up driving all the way down to the New Paltz/Poughkeepsie, NY vicinity to adopt a cat from a local adoption nonprofit down there. Maggie is a sweet little kitten and Carole has taken to her like a duck to water.
  • We’ve both been dealing with estate stuff. Even though my dad passed away a year and a half ago, stuff relating to the sale of the house in Florida is still ongoing, and one of these days it’ll be done, but don’t ask me when. Carole’s mom left some money directly to her and so she’s got all sorts of tax implications and 401(k) rollovers and so forth to process. I knew losing one’s parent(s) is stressful, but I guess I was naive about exactly why.
  • This past weekend I walked in the 2017 Atlanta Susan G Komen 3-Day. I raised, thanks to generous friends and co-workers, $2,600. This was my 17th walk as a walker and 27th walk overall. I had a bad time the first day because I’d reflexively taken my metoprolol blood pressure medication in the morning and forgotten how it really impacts any kind of physical activity. Big-time fatigue. That night I found out that a close co-worker had passed away from a massive heart attack, and on Day 2 I was a complete wreck. I managed Day 3 just fine, but I’ve got some blisters from heck as a result of all those Atlanta hills.
  • On kind of a less date-specific basis, I’ve been dealing with some pretty bad clinical depression. I’m seemingly out of the worst of it at this point, but earlier in the year I felt so bad that I shut down my Facebook and Twitter accounts and started apologizing to people for existing. Fortunately, it didn’t negatively affect my work; I’m too pre-programmed for that. But in many other respects, I just turned into a zombie. I’m sorry for being a drag to those of you who got to witness the whole mess.

I’m sure there’s other things that might have been considered “newsworthy” — Carole going to a cousin’s wedding in Quebec City, for example — but frankly, given that just about no one noticed I was taking a months-long sabbatical from social media, I doubt anyone’s going to be going through the list, above, and ticking off things we forgot to include. That said, if you read this far, thank you! It’s nice to know that a few people still read personal blogs.

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Hi, all.

I wanted to drop you a note to thank you for all the support you’ve given me — and the Susan G Komen Foundation — over the last 10 years. When I started taking part in the Breast Cancer 3-Day back in 2008, I had no idea whether this would be a one-year thing for me or whether I’d still be walking many years later. Obviously, I would have been delighted had some scientist looked up from a Petri dish at some point and gone “EUREKA!” … but unfortunately, movies and television aside, science doesn’t really work like that!

In ten years I’ve walked in sixteen Susan G. Komen 3-Day walks and crewed in ten others. This coming weekend, in Atlanta, I’ll walk in my seventeenth. You can follow me at, if you wish.

In these ten years, thanks to you, I’ve raised somewhere on the order of $47,740. In other words, I’m coming up on $50,000 in ten years, which is a pretty amazing number and which I owe entirely to the generosity of friends and family and co-workers like yourselves. I know that everyone has priorities of their own and I’m so grateful that you’ve taken the time to support mine. We have made progress in the fight against breast cancer over the last ten years… but at the same time, we continue to lose those close to us. I’ve lost friends. I know some of you have also — friends, family members, loved ones. We all know the toll cancer can take.

I can never thank you enough for all your support and caring.



P.S. If you know of anyone who might also want to sponsor me, my donation link is

P.P.S. Seriously. Thank you!

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Support Your Local Sea Otter

Friends of the Sea Otter, a California non-profit that works to protect endangered sea otter populations, is selling “Sea Otter Awareness Week 2017” t-shirts to raise funds.

Get yours here:

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RIP, Starlight “Torbie” Furr — 2002-2017

Rest in peace, Starlight “Torbie” Furr, 2002-2017.

Starlight was a wonderful kitty, from the very first day she hopped into my lap in the visitation room at the Chittenden County Humane Society in October of 2002, right up until the end. She was suffering from bladder cancer, in pain, obviously suffering, and nothing we did (even two sessions of chemotherapy) helped. We realized that there was nothing else we could do other than say our final goodbyes. Our veterinarian was good enough to make a house call so that our baby passed on in the house she’d lived in for 15 years, with me by her side telling her that I loved her.

I will never forget her. No other cat I’ve ever had has been as sweet and affectionate. I called her my “teddy cat” because I could grab her and cuddle her in bed, and she loved it and purred like crazy. I’d hold her on my chest and she’d purr even harder. On cold nights, she’d come to my bed, where I was sleeping on my back, and curl up on my “lap” to keep warm. She loved all kinds of touch, and she somehow knew how important eye contact was to us primates. She also loved all kinds of people, and she’d colonize the laps of our visitors, even (maybe especially) those who didn’t know what to do with a cat on their lap.

Goodbye, sweetie. We will always love you.

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2017 Atlanta Susan G. Komen 3-Day

Hi, all.

In October I’ll be taking part in the Komen 3-Day again (this time in Atlanta); this will be my 17th walk and my 25th event overall in the ten years I’ve been taking part. I’ve got the usual $2,300 to raise in order to take part. I’d be grateful to anyone who would be willing to sponsor me and help in the fight against breast cancer.

My donation URL is Thanks so much for any support you can lend.

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*What* societal gun violence problem?

Seen at Burlington International Airport today:

I don’t know if it adds anything to the story to mention that I was wearing a Virginia Tech t-shirt at the time.

But other than my snarky title for this post, words more or less fail me.


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Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.

I apologize to everyone for being a tiresomely annoying, self-centered, whiny, attention-whoring, angry, malicious jerk.

I wish I could make amends to everyone I’ve harmed.

Since I can’t, I am planning on more-or-less permanently deactivating all my social media accounts.

If, in the short term, you would like a personal apology, let me know. It’s always hard to know if a personal attempt at amends will actually make things worse, and that’s the last thing I want to do.

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Clinical Depression

cauldrons of lightly chilled mayonnaise

I don’t think I’ve ever come right out and thanked my friends and co-workers and family members for being understanding and tolerant where my clinical depression is concerned. I’ve been mostly focused on saying “Look, I know what a huge drag I am, I’m sorry.” But I do appreciate people who tolerate my periodic descents into maudlin woolgathering and breast-beating, and who attempt to understand how frustrating clinical depression can be.

Thank you all.

For what it’s worth, I am on medication (citalopram and buproprion) and I think it helps; on occasion when I forget to refill my daily pill minder and start procrastinating and saying “I’ll fill it tomorrow” I start feeling really down. But the medicine doesn’t make me feel normal; I still have days I feel so bad that I could just cry.

I am not currently seeing a psychotherapist or counselor. I have seen several in the past, and got some benefit, especially in terms of coaching me how to avoid fighting with my wife and how to avoid conflict. None of the talk therapy I’ve ever gone through has helped with the clinical depression. There are people that talk therapy helps, and people it doesn’t help. Obviously, failure to benefit from a particular therapist may mean that the therapist/patient relationship isn’t optimal, and one shouldn’t just give up entirely based on that. But I’ve seen quite a few therapists over the years, and I can’t really say that any therapist helped me deal with the maddening attacks of the blues that I get.

Reputable sources agree: talk therapy doesn’t always work, and it’s not for everyone.

It would help tremendously if I worked harder at getting a lot of regular exercise. I’ve gotten almost none for a few years now. Obviously, there’s a vicious circle there; because of the depression, I don’t exercise, but because I don’t exercise, I’m probably more depressed.

Maybe I can do something about that as warm weather comes to Vermont. Ideally, I’d go out and get some exercise this week after work since I’m in Lubbock, Texas and there’s definitely no snow on the ground here. Unfortunately, I’ve got too much work on my plate right now; I need to get out of here at the end of the day and go back to my room and just keep on working, and even if I didn’t, I’d probably just curl up in a dark room.

I feel like a failure and a loser for my inability to make inroads on my depression, but at least most/all of you seem to understand what I’m experiencing, so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.


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