Friday, June 30, 2017

Work When I Work, and Not when I am Not

I have to constantly remind myself to work when I am working, and not when I am not.  I get busy from time to time, and work spills over into personal time.  I remind myself that I don't sleep in my office and I don't work in my bedroom.  When I start doing one, I need to start doing the other.  

Hence, Saturday and Sunday afternoon's, when I am home and the sun is out, you will find my floating in the pool for a few minutes each afternoon.   

One of this year's impulse Amazon buys, was an underwater camera.  I have always wanted one, now I need to find places to use it.  

Do you work at home, or sleep in your office? 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Robot Adventures

I remember the robot from Lost in Space and Rosie the maid on the Jetsons.  Over the decades there have been promises of robot helpers and companions being just around the corner.  The few that were introduced were clunky and expensive.  Industrial robots have flourished.  I recall that field in it's infancy in the early 1980's with the development of industrial machines that can be programmed to do multiple jobs. Robots differ from automation, in that robots are not built to perform only one task in only one way.  Industrial robots can multitask.  

Finally we are seeing home automation and home robots start to emerge.  There are programmable floor sweepers, that can be perform multiple cleaning tasks and learn their way around the space (I should buy one of these, I am not a good housekeeper.)  Voice activated technology is available to do a variety of functions. Self driving cars are getting closer daily use every day. 

I think we got it wrong on the early robots.  Vainly we tried to make robots look and function like humans, or dogs.  The floor sweepers look nothing like Rosie, but they certainly do the job.  Alexa looks nothing like me, but she can find and play music faster than I can, or reorder yeast from Amazon faster than I can - heaven only knows what I am going to do with four pounds of yeast.  Bake a lot of bread I guess. Maybe there is a little work to be done on that one.  

Personally I look forward to house cleaning robots, and self driving cars.  

What do you wish a robot could do for you?    

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Painted Rocks?

An old high school friend of mine, who does not blog, but should, has gotten into painting rocks.  It is just what it sound, she paints designs or decorations onto small stones and then leaves them in public places or gives them away.  She lives in Florida, I asked where she finds rocks to paint, and her answer was aisle 3 at Lowes. The goal is to leave a little art, in a public place, to add a little charm and adventure to the day of the person who finds it.  
I was thinking this is a local thing in Florida, well apparently it isn't, I ran across this one on the gate to the lower garden at Mt Vernon.  

Have you ever left something in a public place - hoping someone would find it and be pleased by it? 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Random Pictures

Mt Vernon Bumblebee  

Summer Lamb 

Great Advertising 

Fisherman's Wharf  - San Francisco 

San Francisco, Enter at Rear hmm?  

French Bird. 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Mt Vernon Active Displays

I enjoy active historical displays, in other words people demonstrating work in history displays.  In the past Mt Vernon has done little of this, the Blacksmith shop has been open for a just a few years, and there is usually a cooking demonstration at the lower farm.  

This year the spinning and weaving shop has been brought to life.  Up until now it was an entirely static display, I think it really comes to life when work is being done.  

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Food - Sunday Five

I love to cook, and it shows.  I am an adventurous eater, there are few things I won't try.  There are things I just don't understand why people eat.  Some that are more trouble than they are worth. 

1: Artichokes -  Have you ever cleaned them and cooked them? 
2: Artichokes - Wonderful - or why bother? 
3: Oysters - Have you ever opened them? 
4: Oysters - Love them, or hate them? 
5: Rutabagas - have you ever cooked one of those monsters? 

My answers: 
1: Artichokes -  Have you ever cleaned them and cooked them?  - Yes, a lot of work for what you end up with. 
2: Artichokes - Wonderful - or why bother? - Why bother? Not much flavor - 
3: Oysters - Have you ever opened them?  A long time ago, yes 
4: Oysters - Love them, or hate them? LOVE then, raw or fried 
5: Rutabagas - have you ever cooked one of those monsters? - Yes, I usually leave them for J to cook.  

Your answers? 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Julia Child

The Unabomer's cabin is in the Newseum, Thomas Edison's workshop is at Greenfield Village, Julia Child's Kitchen is in the Smithsonian.  I have seen two of these three.  Moment's in history, picked up and moved, preserved for people to see.  

Julia was innovative in testing recipes, and describing technique.  She was one of the first to emphasize the method as being just as important as the ingredients. Once I master technique, I can make anything, and change any list of ingredients to make almost anything I want.  I would have loved to have spent afternoon cooking with her.  She invited us into her kitchen on television, and you can still visit her kitchen today.  

Edison's workshop was home to great moments in technology.  His friend Henry Ford had it moved to preserve it.  

Someday I will go to the Newseaum to see the home of madman. 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Drinking with Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart has a new television show, a cooking show, with Snoop Dog.  Apparently they are friends.  They certainly seem to be having fun.  

I was channel surfing, you know, 249 channels of cable TV, and nothing really great to watch, and I stumbled across Martha and Snoop, engaged in a friendly competition to see who could make the best fried chicken, the person whose best subject in high school was calculus, or the person who has been struck by lightening three times - and has lived to tell about it.  

Martha remarked that the chicken she was cooking came from a farm just down the road. Someone asked if she still kept chickens at her home, and she said yes.  The next question was "well don't you just kill your own chickens."  She said she has.  The next question was do you shoot them.  Her answer was no, she gives them vodka to drink and then cuts their heads off.  A quick tip, if you are hanging out with Martha and she starts pouring vodka for you, WATCH OUT!  Not surprising for a woman who has been struck by lightening three times.  Yep, Snoop's best subject in High School was calculus - you never know.  

Would you hang out and cook with Martha? 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

One of the Last Rides

One morning recently I boarded car 1019, of the Metro rail system.  1019 was the 19th car, in the original series of Metro cars put into service over 40 years ago.  The interiors were done to be a modern family room (minus the shag carpet) on the rails.  The seats are soft, the lighting warm and soft.  This is one of the few of the original cars still in service, and this will be one of the last rides on one.  The cars are being taken out of service and scrapped.  The cars are at the point of needing a major rebuild, and the design is inherently unsafe in a collision. Replacement is less expensive than the fix - so they are going away.  Hauled off the Baltimore one at a time and cut up for scrap.  If Metro meets the schedule - fat chance of that Metro seldom does anything on schedule - all of the 1000 series cars will be out of service by the first of July.  I will miss them.  They were always very comfortable.  

What is going away near you, that you will miss?  

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Pigs and Chickens and Ducks!

I grew up in the country, on a funny farm,  in the midst of real farms.  It is a part of who I am.  For years I said that someday I was going to buy a few acres in the country and raise a huge garden, and raise pigs and chickens and ducks.  Then I realized how much physical labor that would be, and I kind of changed my tune.  I  now know that I am not physically able to do what needs to be done to make a garden look like the one above.  I still love the look, but I need someone else to do the work.  

Would you move to 10 acres and raise pigs and chickens and ducks? 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


We didn't have a phone in the house until I was 8.  My grandparents had a phone around the corner, my parents didn't see the need for a phone, until a blizzard one winter - while my father was off on an adventure and mom was home alone with four kids.  Then the phone was rotary dial, and on a party line.  My family was never big on talking on the phone.  

In a major way, I am glad I grew up before cell phones.  We were out at the Udvar-Hazy on fathers day.  We stopped for lunch and I was struck by the young fathers, out for the day with their child, glued to their phones.  I grew up before that distraction.  My parents were not helicopter parents, but when they spent time with me, they spent time with me, not dividing time between me and their phone.  I wanted to say something like, "pay attention to your kid, they will only be young once, someday you will not be there for them, wouldn't it be wonderful for them to remember you being attentive, when you spent time together."  

I came home and called my father.  I listened to what is happening in his life and I told him about what is happening in my life.  Some day too soon, I won't be able to do that.  Quality time, one on one attention while we can.  

When do you turn your phone off? 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Mt Vernon

The first outing with the new camera, was to Mt Vernon. My condo sits on a hill surveyed by George Washington. The Mt Vernon Estate is about a 8 miles away.  It is always fun, we went early on a Sunday morning.  

This year's lambs are growing up fast. 

The hot house and upper garden are looking the best ever. 

I am not sure what this is, but I like the way the sunlight makes it come alive. 

The verdict on the new camera?  I am in love.  I still have some learning, it is the most elaborate camera I have ever used.  I like the very rapid shutter response. Cameras and lenses are lighter in weight and easier to carry than back in the good old days. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Have a Seat - Sunday Five

  1. Leather of fabric upholstery? 
  2. Recliner or wing-back chair? 
  3. Bar Stool or Bench? 
  4. Back to the wall or back to the room?
  5. How old are your dinning room chairs? 
My answers: 

  1. Leather of fabric upholstery? - I have grown to like leather seating surfaces.  
  2. Recliner or wing-back chair? - I like the comfort of my recliner
  3. Bar Stool or Bench? - Bar Stool 
  4. Back to the wall or back to the room? - either, I have a friend who always has to have his back to the wall - so he can't be attacked from behind. 
  5. How old are your dinning room chairs? 90 years old, the chairs are from the first real furniture my paternal grandparents owned when they were married in August of 1927. 
Your answers? 

Saturday, June 17, 2017


Toys, we all have them, we all want them.  They say the difference between the men and the boys is the price of the toys - I always did have expensive taste.  

I started taking pictures with a Kodak Instmatic 104, when I was about 10.  By the time I finished high school I had a couple of bags full of professional (top of the line) cameras and lenses.  At one time I had two Cannon bodies, an F-1, and an AE1 program, and six FD series lenses from 24 mm to 200 mm.  I traded all of that on a Nikon 35mm about 15 years ago, carried that for a couple of years, then bought my first real digital.  I thought the digital would be just a toy, I was so impressed with the image quality and ease of use, that I stopped using film. 

I have owned several good point-and-shoot digitals, and a couple of fixed lens digitals that viewed through the lens.   For the last couple of years I have been using a Samsung point and shoot with a 21x optical zoom.  It is a good camera, easy to use.  It does have it's limitations.  The shutter lag is annoying, I have missed a lot of shots waiting for the camera to respond.  The screen instead of a viewfinder makes for tricky composition.  I can recall back when I was studying the art of the image, being told that mastering photography with basic equipment would make me better with good equipment. Maybe that is true, but still I missed seeing what I was shooting, being able to push the button and get an instant response, and being able to change lenses.  I decided around the first of the year, that if I could exercise some fiscal responsibility, I would reward myself with a digital SLR. 

After just a few shots I am rediscovering what I was missing.  The control, the tools, the lenses (I already have my eyes on a third lens.)  

Have you treated yourself to a new toy? 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Bloggers- Current and Past - In The Flesh

I started blogging - as a guest blogger for Stephen, AkA Uncle Bert, while he went on holiday one summer.  We had known Stephen for years, and he asked for fill in bloggers one summer and I volunteered. Bert is in London.  Bert somehow knew Kel who was blogging at the time as was her husband of Bob AkA Woodchuck.  Kel and Bob lived in the Pacific Northwest.  He traveled a lot on business.  When we learned that he was going to be in Louisville on work, we decided to take to plunge and meet a blogger in person that we had only ever known over the internet.  (Following that?) We met for dinner at the Marker's Mark restaurant - talked for 2 or 3 hours and had a great time.  We joked that it was nice to meet a blogger in person, and discover that they are not an ax murderer.  

When we were in Seattle for the Cruise to Alaska in 2008, Bob and Kel drove in for a visit.  After I moved to DC, Kel and Bob moved to northern Indiana.  We have visited them in Chicago, they came for our wedding.  Here they are in Chicago late last month.  

There are others, I went to last Blogger Palozza, and met several bloggers.  I visited with Michael AkA Spo when I was in Phoenix for a conference and met his someone. I am planning to stop in Phoenix on a trip in November.  I owe Anne Marie a visit in Philly - someday soon - I promise.  

We make virtual friends on our blogs.  Nearly every blogger I have met in the flesh has been just what you would expect.  I hope to meet a few more of them. 

What blogger would you like to meet in person? 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Farmers Market Wheels

So what do you drive to the farmer's market on the weekend?  Nearly every weekend in the summer, we head out to one or another of the local markets, usually we take my modest little Mazda hatchback.  We parked one recent Sunday on the way to the vendors in the parking lot, passed this stunner.  A BMW I-8, oh-my.  I had not seen one in the flesh.  It is quite stylish.  A mixed hybrid electric and gas drive, rechargeable batteries.  It is fast, fast, and fast.  I looked the base price in the US is about $145,000.  Your could buy six of my cars for that, you could buy four of J's Mercedes for that.  If I had a $145,000 car, I don't think it would be my weekend market wagon.  Kind of like finding a Rolls Royce in the drive through at McDonalds. 

Would you drive this to the market? 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sharp Dresser

I had a phone message on my office phone one evening recently, of course it came in after I left the office.  Why do people wait to make calls late in the day, after I have headed for home?  The message was from a woman, I didn't recognize the name or number.  The next morning I braced myself for the crazies, and called her back.  I got her voice mail and left a message saying I was returning her call. 

Later that afternoon, shortly before I left to go home, she called me back.  She said she was referred to me by a lawyer, she dropped a name I didn't recognize, it sounded like a television character.  I asked what it was about, and she explained that she was a "fashion and style consultant" and Bob or whatever his name was told her I was a sharp dresser, and I might find her help useful.  

At that point, I started laughing.  I know it is rude to laugh at a caller, but I explained that obviously the person who suggested she call me, didn't know me, because to say it as shortly as possible, I dress like a slob.  I suggested that she was wasting her time - I know she was wasting mine.  

So the women above, was she a bit overdressed for Wednesday morning rush hour? 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


There are times when I really have to be careful what I say, and times I need to be bold and speak up.  

In a recent staff meeting, a co-worker was rude and dismissive, in an usually bold move, I simply said, "if my input is not welcome here, I will go back to my office" and told her she was being disrespectful.  It felt good.  I was still angry, but I felt better for having stood up to a bully. 

An old friend posted something on Facebook, complaining that funding for PBS is under fire in the proposed federal budget.  I wanted to comment, YOU VOTED FOR THESE FOOLS, WHAT DID YOU THINK THEY WERE GOING TO DO, CLOSE TAX LOOPHOLES FOR BILLIONAIRES? But doing that wouldn't do any good.  It would only hurt her feelings by pointing out the folly of her political choices. 

Then another old friend posted something on Facebook saying that Comey's testimony PROVED that tRump did nothing wrong, and I took the bait.  And posted a comment - and landed in a shit storm of comments from people with their heads so far up their behinds they have to unbutton their shirts to sneeze.  Opps!   

Discretion, knowing when to speak up, and when to let it pass.  I have gotten better at this over the years.  Maybe that is the wisdom of old age. 

Have you spoken up for yourself recently? 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Squeezing it In

The building site was a real challenge, it was long and narrow, with immovable railroad tracks on both side, and very expensive because of the location.  The solution was a building with a very narrow base, that expands out in a V-shape over the first 10 floors or so.  The foundation piers are 16 feet across, poured solid concrete to bedrock. Even with that the engineers were concerned about swaying in the wind, so the building has a 250,000 gallon hydraulic damper at the top, a giant water tank filled with water to add weight and inertia to the building.  Amazing engineering. 

Would you feel comfortable working in this building? 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

One Small Step - The Sunday Five

It is very simple, you pay your $23, take an elevator to the 103rd floor, and step out through the side of the Willis Tower, into a glass box sticking out on the side of the building.  It was interesting watching people's reactions.  

So this weeks Sunday Five Questions? 

1: Would you step out into the glass box on the 103rd floor? 
2: Would you bungee jump? 
3: Would you ride in an open cockpit aircraft? 
4: Would you step on stage and speak to an audience of 1,500?
5: Have you ever parachute jumped?  

My Answers!
1: Would you step out into the glass box on the 103rd floor? 
      Evidence above, it was very easy for me to do. 
2: Would you bungee jump? 
      No, never have, never would. 
3: Would you ride in an open cockpit aircraft? 
      If you count the time the door fell open when taking off in a J-3       Cub, I already have.  And yes I would.   
4: Would you step on stage and speak to an audience of 1,500?
       Been there done that, piece of cake. 
5: Have you ever parachute jumped?  
       No, and never will.  

Your answers? 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Are We Having Fun Yet?

I am the person who is always asking, are we having fun yet.  Yes, I am that annoying person, who always looks for the sunny side of life.  It is fun listening to people's reactions to the simple question, "are we having fun yet?"  I figure life is short, we are only here once, we might as well have a little fun along the way.  

It took me a few decades to figure out that happiness or misery, is something that comes from inside me.  Others can only make my day fun, or awful, if I let them inside of my being.  I work hard to throw out of my being, those that make me miserable.  When the universe craps on my day, I shrug it off, take a shower, and go in search of the fun or absurd.  It is a long way to go, when you have just passed the tonsils.  

Are we having fun yet? 

Friday, June 09, 2017

Sweet Shops

I am noticing a trend in American Cities, candy stores - temples to sweet.  I saw the first one four or five years ago, more last summer in New York, even more this spring in Boston, and last month this monster in the Tribune Tower in Chicago.  

The offerings include classics, and an amazing selection of gummy bears, in all kinds of shapes, colors and flavors.  When you walk in the door they offer you a sample of a gummy something or other, and the flavor is so clean and intense, you are hooked.  I don't think you can leave without buying something.  

On the upper level this store has an area set aside for classics, anything you might have enjoyed as a kid, is there, even candy cigarettes - I was so shocked by seeing them, that I didn't take a picture.  I should have bought a pack just to be politically incorrect.  
I don't villainize sugar.  Sugar in and of it itself is not inherently bad.  Basic sugars fuel your body, much of what we eat is broken down into sugars to be used by our muscles.  An excess of sugar is not good for you, just like an excess of water, or sausage is not good for you.  All things in moderation.  

Have you been in a new mega candy store? 

Thursday, June 08, 2017

A Walk on the Wild Side

J recently attended a conference nicknamed NAPS, a gathering of religion scholars in Chicago. NAPS is always in Chicago, it is always Thursday - Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. The first time we went, on the way back to the airport on the subway, I noticed lots of guys in leather and Levis. Then I noticed the T-shirts for the International Mr Leather weekend (IML.) It didn't take me long to put two and two together, and through the magic of google, discover that there are two conferences in Chicago at the same time, NAPS and IML.  NAPS lives up to it's nickname, and has a modest trade show of academic and religious book dealers.  IML has a trade show known as the leather market.  One year the top seller at IML was a T-shirt saying, "It is a sick world, and I am a happy guy!"  

The next time we were in Chicago I decided to take a talk on the wild side and see what the IML trade show was all about.  Now I am strictly look and don't touch, I have to admit the show is worth the cost of admission (up to $15 for a day pass, $25 for the weekend for the leather market alone.)  

A few I have learned from watching: 

  • Someone finds everyone attractive 
  • If you are comfortable in your own skin, why not let it show 
  • Some people look good in rubber, and some don't
  • Leather, is just playing dress up in a different fabric 
  • Some of the nicest people, have the most weirdest hobbies. 
I do enjoy the show.  This year it was in an older hotel, with the market space split up in a dozen rooms over three floors.  It was cramped and hard to find your way around.  I do hope IML moves to a nicer venue. 

Have you taken a walk on the wild side? 

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Glass Houses and Apple Stores

This amazing glass staircase is in the Apple store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago.  All I could say was wow!  I am not a Mac baby, but I have to admire Apple's sense of style and design.  The first time someone handed me an I-phone I was impressed with the feel of the thing, I don't understand why people lock them away in plastic cases - the are a thing of joy to hold in your hand. All Apple stores have style, the flagship stores in major cities are major works of architecture. 

Apple is building a new store in Chicago, it will overlook the Chicago River, at Michigan Avenue next to the Tribune Tower.  The building will stand a story or so above the plaza level, and a story or two below the sidewalk level, going down the bank to about river level.  It will tie the river walk to the surface streets, with a wall of glass overlooking the river.  It has promise as a striking work of modern architecture - I think it will be well worth going back to Chicago to see - even if you look up and see Trump Tower. 

That is you favorite new building?

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Who Has Passed This Way Before?

Sometimes when I look at old buildings, very old buildings, I think about the people who have passed this way before. Were they happy, were they sad, were they afraid or confident, did they pause to take in the wonder of the place, would they recognize it today?  

Monday, June 05, 2017

Is it too big?

They say it was designed to fit in, the various set backs, and sub towers were planned to not over power the surrounding buildings.  I have to admit it is a striking building, but there is something that is really too big about it.  That sign, that stupid ugly sign is what is too big.  Maybe after the impeachment the building will be sold to pay his legal bills, and a new owner can trash the sign.  

Am I being too harsh? 

Traveling in Sensible Shoes

Living in a world capital and traveling as much as I do, I see a lot of tourists.  Increasingly travelers wear sensible shoes, but I still see some wearing stylish but uncomfortable shoes.  I have seen tourists barely able to walk late in the day from walking too many miles in the the wrong shoes.  I have seen blister, and sunburned feet, limping tourists suffering senselessly in the name of fashion. 

I like shoes.  I own a lot of shoes.  Over the past few years, I have settled into wearing shoes that are comfortable. I still enjoy shopping for styles and colors, but the bottom line is comfort trumps looks, I have settled into the point in my adventure of only wearing sensible shoes - unless it is only for a short time with not a lot of walking or standing - then I have these wonderful shoes that are just so right.  

Shoes, do you buy for style or comfort? 

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Sunday Five - Bizarre Times

No two ways about it, this is a bizarre time to be in Washington DC.  It is very easy to get swept up into the weirdness.  The scandal of the day, is some days replaced by the scandal of the hour.  There is a political feeding frenzy going on.  It is easy to start to think we are all going to hell in a hand-basket.   

And yet I know there are a lot of things that still work.  Things that work really well. It is time to focus on what works. Let me focus on five questions about things that the Government does well.

1: What was the last National Park that you visited? 
2: What is your favorite expressway segment? 
3: What is your favorite bridge? 
4: What is your favorite public University? 
5: What government program made the biggest difference in your life? 

My Answers: 
1: What was the last National Park that you visited? 
      Being that the George Washington Parkway is less than a mile from my home, that would have to be it.  I cross over it on my weekday commute to the office.  

2: What is your favorite expressway segment? 
     An odd question, some expressways are simply wonderfully efficient - I-95 runs efficiently through the eastern states.  Some segments run through spectacular mountains - there is a section of I-75 in Tennessee that runs along the top of a ridge in the Appalachian mountains that is simply spectacular to drive.    

3: What is your favorite bridge? 
      This has to be the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.  I have driven across and ridden bikes across it.  I hope to make it back there next spring.  

4: What is your favorite public University? 
     I spent three wonderful years at the University of Louisville, a great state funded school.  My favorite, probably the University of Florida - I was never a student there.  

5: What government program made the biggest difference in your life? 
    Federally insured and guaranteed student loans made it possible for me to go to Law School.  Without those loans, the cost of law school would have been beyond my grasp, beyond what my family could afford.  The education made a huge difference in my life. going to a state school, my costs were lower, but I still ended with a student loan balance that was larger than what I paid for my first home. It was money well spent, I repaid the loans with interest in a little over 7 years.  

Saturday, June 03, 2017

North Branch High School Class of 1977 40-Years later

I graduated from North Branch High School 40-years ago this month. At first thought it is hard to believe it has been 40 years, but when I stop and think about everything I have done, every place I have been, every adventure I have experienced, I don't know how I have fit it all into just 40 years.  Time truly flies when you are having (at least a little) fun along the way.  

On the oft chance that my old classmates might read this, I will offer a little biography of what has happened in the past 40 years. 

Family and personal life: 
My answer, as I suspect it will be for many of my high school classmates is complicated.  In 1982 I married a woman who I had met at the swimming pool at my brother's apartment in Orlando. We tried to make it work for a couple of years, and then just sort of lived parallel lives. In 1991, I finally got up the nerve to say, "you're not happy, and I am not happy, and we both deserve happiness in our lives."  

Shortly after that, I poked my head out of the comfort of the closet and started dating men. I should have done that a decade before. After a short period of playing the field, I met J, then a professor at Rollins College. In late 1992 we started a life together.  In the fall of 2015, on the 23rd anniversary of moving in together, we were married here in Alexandria, Virginia.  In the spring of 1995 J was offered a tenure track teaching position at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. I readily agreed to sell my house and move, we bought a home together in Lexington and I made plans to go to law school.  J still teaches at UK, we are making plans for his retirement. Nether of us have children.  My mother died in February 2017, my father is in bad health and lives in Titusville, Florida.  My oldest brother, Dale, is living in central Florida and is selling health insurance.  My middle brother Gary lives in Orlando and has worked for Disney since the late 1970s. Neither of my brothers has ever married or had a family. My sister Karen, ended up with the house I grew up in just outside of North Branch.  She has two grown sons living in or near Indianapolis.  She is married to Peter Potter (son of Mr. Potter who taught at NBHS.)  She and Pete have been amazing live in caregivers for my parents in Florida for the past four years.  

Education after High School: 
After high school I took the classes and passed the exams for a real estate salesmen and then real estate brokers licenses in Florida.  
I earned a BA with honors at Rollins College in Winter Park Florida in 1993. I earned a law degree (JD) with honors at the University of Louisville in 1999.  I had dreamed of going to law school for a decade, and when the opportunity to do so came up, I leap at it. I passed the Kentucky bar exam that summer, I am still licensed to practice law in Kentucky. I still maintain a real estate brokers license in Florida.  

Work life: 
I worked on the family honey farm in Michigan through the fall of 1977.  When the farm closed up for the winter, I went to Titusville, Florida with my parents, to a home my father still lives in. As everyone expected, I tried making a living as a photographer.  For a couple of years I scraped by doing commercial and advertising work.  The thing no one knew, including me, was I hated taking pictures of people - and that was where the money was at.  I still take a lot of photographs, for pleasure, and seldom of people. 

I sold real estate in Titusville for a couple of years.  In the summer of 1980, a friend introduced me to a builder in Orlando, who referred me to a friend who hired me  to do doing sales and marketing for a land developer and home builder in Orlando. I worked for a handful of small and huge builders over a period of 15 years. It was interesting work.  I was good at looking at a set of plans and a building site and envisioning what the finished home would be like.  I developed attention to detail that made me popular with home buyers and dreaded by construction managers.  I found the work rewarding and at the same time very stressful.  There are huge amounts of money involved, narrow margins and huge pressures to produce a profit.   

When we moved Kentucky I had a year to fill before I would start law school.  I sold shoes in a department store for a few months, and worked as a commercial credit analyst for the rest of the time until I started graduate school. I didn't work during law school.  I was hired to start up and run a legal aid program for seniors directly out of law school.  I closed over 12,000 cases in 9.5 years, and along the way built a consulting practice providing continuing legal education on issues in law and aging.  In late 2008 I was hired by a national non-profit in Washington DC to work on issues in aging. I work on health care decision making, advance planning, supported decision making, legal service delivery, some income security issues and legal ethics. My goal is to do this work until I am 70. 

Personal life:
I love to cook - and it shows. I write daily travel blog. I am active, I ride bikes, I do 30 minutes on an elliptical machine or treadmill six-times a week.  I swim in the summer.  In my 30's I ran a lot, rode bikes a lot, I finished 2-half marathons and 8 sprint-series triathlons. I love to travel, I have been to 48 states (missing Idaho and Wyoming) and 15 countries.  I have been to Europe 10 times - and will go back again and again. I love to fly and have flown on just about anything that will get off the ground (I still want to ride in a hot-air balloon.) 

I live in a high-rise condo in Alexandria, Virginia about 8 miles south of the Washington Monument.  With J still teaching at UK, we still own the house there.  J is here about 5 months out of the year, I go to Lexington a couple of time a year. When he retires from teaching we will sell the house and merge everything into the condo. Neither of us ever wanted to live in Kentucky, we went there because his job was there, and that job (along with student loans totaling more than the cost of my first house) made it possible for me to go to law school.  

In 2014 I started having difficulty walking.  In May of 2015 I was diagnosed with a schwannoma at my T-9 vertebra. The tumor was compressing my spinal cord, I had lost a lot of sensation and muscle control in my feet and legs.  I had surgery to remove most of the tumor and to fuse the middle part of my spine (I am held upright by titanium.) To the relief and surprise of many, nearly all of the feeling and muscle control in my feet and legs returned. 90 days later I was in Germany riding in a Zeppelin. It has taken a long time to rebuilt my strength and stamina - I will never be 100% - but I am doing very-very well.   

So, what have you done since finishing high school? 

Friday, June 02, 2017

High Tide

This is one of the parking lots at Mt St Michel at high tide. The sign warns motorists to check the tide schedule before parking, and to avoid the lot when the tide is rising - it rises very fast.  And yet, from time to time, people ignore the warning sides, linger longer than expected and well the rising tide catches up with them, adding an unexpected adventure to their travels.  

There are a lot of warning signs in life.  How many of them do we ignore, or linger longer than we should?  Hmm, I need to think about this one. 

Have you ignored a warning sign and entered into an unplanned adventure? 

Thursday, June 01, 2017


I recently bought a new cell phone, my four year old Galaxy had gotten to the point that it didn't like to leave home.  The minute I got to the airport it started to get hot and the battery would promptly start to drain.  By 2 in the afternoon, it was dead.  When I returned home, it would be just fine.  Well a traveling penguin needs a phone that likes to travel.  (A technical explanation, when traveling the phone is constantly searching for a network, this places an additional strain on the battery, I had already replaced the battery once, and decided not to do it again.) 

I don't know why I bother with a personal phone.  I spend very little time talking on it, except for phoning home when I am traveling. If you call, and your name does not pop up on caller ID, I will not answer - and I am likely to block the number.  For a few years I had an office issued blackberry, at my request it had data service only, no phone service (it was paid for out of my project budget, doing data service only saved my budget almost $500 a year, enough for another airline ticket.)  

I still have a house phone, it comes in handy once in a while, but most of the calls that come in are junk, and we keeping adding numbers to the blocked caller service. On the house phone we have caller ID that displays on the televisions. Most calls go unanswered.  

So what does this have to do with the picture above?  This is the church in the village of St Mere Eglise in Normandy. During the D-Day invasion a parachutist snagged on the bell tower of the church.  For hours the bells rang, when he was rescued from the tower, it took days for the ringing in his ears to go away.  

Do you answer your phone?