Friday, November 30, 2018

Is It Art?

Is it art or vandalism?  Can it be both? Should it be illegal? 

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Way We Were Wednesday 1988

In 1988 I competed in the National Championship Sprint Triathlon.  I was fit and healthy, I was making really good money at a job that I didn't hate -yet.  The water was cold, resulting in one of my fastest swim times ever.  I passed one of the super elite runners on the bike leg.  The run was flat and fast.  I finished in the top half of the field.  Not bad for a 30 year old who had been 75 pounds over weight two years before.  

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

If I am on Schedule

If I am on schedule, I am just outside of Boston, in Worcester Massachusetts speaking at a conference at the College of Holy Cross and I will be home later today.  

It has been an intense month of travel, four trips, in three weeks.  Three trips back-to-back, with barely time to repack in between. Two of the trips have been work, Chicago and Boston, in between I was at the other house for Thanksgiving.  I don't blog about being out of town, saving it for when I get back.  When I am going to be gone like this I write and schedule ahead of time.  

The Chicago project was part of an ongoing effort to train lawyers to be better presenters.  We are making progress, we are seeing improvement.  The Boston project is a cutting edge ethics project that has allowed me to examine issues from an entirely new perspective.  Preparing it forced me to think in new ways, I can only hope that the audience sees old challenges in new ways when I am done.   

One more trip before the end of the year.  

Monday, November 26, 2018

Favorite Places

I could spend the afternoon at Eaterly in Chicago. I enjoy cheese, I love the incredible selection and staff that know the product and are enthusiastic about it. The cured meat selection is simply amazing.  Again people know their stuff and are eager to share.  

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Sunday Five - a little about you?

  1. Number of siblings?
  2. How many years of education?
  3. How many places you have lived?
  4. Longest you have held a job?
  5. Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall, what is your season? 
My answers?

  1. Number of siblings? Three, all older 
  2. How many years of education? 20 
  3. How many places you have lived?  14
  4. Longest you have held a job? Coming up on 10 years 
  5. Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall, what is your season?  Spring.  
Your answers in the Comments, 

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Bargin Hunter?

John over at Going Gently did a posting a couple of weeks ago about the scramble for discounts in the grocery store. The posting got me to thinking if I was a bargain hunter or not, or someplace in between.  I have to say someplace in between.  I don't live and die based on the price I pay for things.  I would never fight someone for a bargain.   

I really don't pay a lot of attention to food prices, I buy what I want, I buy the best quality I can.  That being said, I don't buy steak at Balduchi's and generally wait for it to be on sale.  When I buy steak, I buy the best, I'd sooner pay $20 a pound for a nice tender filet, than $10 a pound for a tough strip steak.  If I find something I like, marked down, I am likely to stock up, or even splurge.  I found ducks on sale after Christmas, marked down from $5 a pound to 49-cents a pound.  I had never cooked a duck before, it was fun and tasty (I think I still have duck fat in the freezer!) 

The year before I started law school, I needed a job.  Any job, I needed an income money and health insurance.  I filled in a few applications and the first offer was from a department store.  I spent 9 months selling ladies shoes for about $9 an hour.  An experience that will forever shape how I buy clothing.  I almost never pay retail for clothes, everything goes on sale sooner or later.  Even better is clearance on sale. As I have gotten harder to fit, I buy more and more online, on sale at a deep discount.  When I see it, if it is a good value, I buy it.  

For many money is a scorecard of success.  For me it is security.  I am always reminded that I can't take it with me, even if dad did place an order on Amazon a week after he died.  I watched the accounts, he only did that once.   

Friday, November 23, 2018

Christmas Shopping Season

Today marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, 5 weeks when US retailers make as much as half of their profit for the year.  I will be driving today, not shopping.  My shopping is nearly done, I have an Amazon order to place - they can ship to my siblings.  I will get that done in the next week.  I tend to gather gifts through the course of the year.  

Are you shopping today? 

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving From a Cockeyed Optimist

Most of the time, I have a weirdly optimistic view of the world, I have my father to thank for that.  When I was a kid and I would complain about what I had, or wanted, or my lot in life, he would remind me, often in a colorful way that others would be grateful to have what I had, to have the place in life that I had. And he was right, I have so much to be thankful for.  

  • I have love in my life, my sweet bear. 
  • I have a home, that while modest in size, is comfortable, and I feel safe in. 
  • I have a job, that I find rewarding, that allows my strange mind to do things that I find fulfilling and to make a difference in the lives of others. 
  • I have an education that leverages my abilities and helps me understand the weird world out there.  
  • I have a good work life balance. 
  • I have decent health, able to move about on my own, not contemplating imminent death. 
  • I am able to travel, not everyplace I ever wanted to go, but a lot more than most. 
  • I have friends, and few enemies. 
  • I have a forum for sharing my photos and thoughts. 
  • I have a good life, and I know it. 
Be thankful for what you have, be kind, be generous with your love and time.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The Way We Were Wednesday

This was taken in 1992 or 93. When I was at my most anorexic.  I was running 30 miles a week, swimming three mornings a week, and riding a very fast bike 50 miles a week - and not eating.  I have a complicated relationship with food, this was the extreme in one direction.  

Over the years I have mellowed, I am much happier with who I am and much easier to be around.     

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Screen Saver

Last winter I bought a new desktop computer for home, I know a desktop is kind of old-fashioned, but I LOVE the 27 inch display, the robust capacity and speed.  I switched from being a longterm Windows user to being a Mac baby.  I do like it, but converting is a bit like learning a new religion, it takes a while to figure out how things are done.  

I recently discovered how to change the desktop image and the screen saver image.  I set the desktop to the photo above, taken on a Sunday morning in March in San Francisco, and the screen saver to rotate through my photos from 2018.  My I have been busy, and I have been some pretty places.  I need to be reminded from time to time, that it has not all been a grind.  

It has been a very good year! 

Monday, November 19, 2018

Stuck in the 1960's.

My families first visits to Arizona were in the mid 1960's the first winter for just a couple of weeks, the second winter I went to the first grade in Phoenix.  

When I was in Phoenix last month, I took a drive out to South Mountain.  It was one of the drives I remember from my childhood.  When I arrived at the parking area of the lookout, the lot was filled with mid 1960's Ford Falcons.  I wondered if I had passed through a wrinkle in time and landed back in 1965.  It was a car club, out for their Sunday drive.  A wonderful flashback.  

Sunday, November 18, 2018

The Sunday Five - Foods of Thanksgiving

For my readers outside of the United States, this coming Thursday is the American holiday of Thanksgiving.  Modeled on a harvest feast held in the Plymouth Colony after the first successful harvest - I had ancestors at that first one.  Hence today's Sunday five.

1: Is it a feast of Thanksgiving or a festival of gluttony? 
2: Turkey, Ham, or something else? 
3: Do you watch the Macy's Parade? 
4: What time is dinner served? 
5: Football or naps after the feast? 

My Answers:
1: Is it a feast of Thanksgiving or a festival of gluttony?  As time has gone by I cook and serve less, trying to avoid gluttony. 
2: Turkey, Ham, or something else? Turkey. 
3: Do you watch the Macy's Parade? Sometimes. 
4: What time is dinner served? After noon, when it is done.  My mother was obsessive about the appointed hour.  The big bird is done, when it is done.  
5: Football or naps after the feast? Naps.

Your answers in the comments. 

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Stormy Weather

Someone was lamenting stormy weather recently, pissing down  cold rain, makes it hard to get out and go.  Makes for a good day to snuggle up and read.  As this was happening, wildfires are raging in California.  A rainy day would be very welcome for a person in the midst of a drought and active fire season.  

When I flew into Sacramento last month I was watching the ground. The lake is easy to pick out, but what is the black area, then it hit me, those are areas, hundreds of acres, burned off in wildfires.  

Wishing stormy weather on California, they need it. 

Friday, November 16, 2018


We went to the Wensleydale Creamery in Yorkshire.  I had mentioned maybe going to a cheese factory, our hosts thought I would get the Wallace and Gromit jokes (I didn't, I hadn't seen the show.) Between the parking lot and the creamery was a meadow with sheep in it.  Friendly sheep, there was a path through the meadow and the sheep spent a lot of time with people.  

That was the start of my liking sheep.  You have to be careful if you say loving sheep, people get the wrong idea, this is the not land where men are men and sheep are nervous.  I like the look, the basic shape, the fluffy fleece.  Sheep and penguins are recurring themes in my life.  

What animal keeps popping up in your life?  

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Glacier Bay

The cruise up the inside passage to Alaska remains of the neatest adventures we have done.  I loved the pace that the ship moved at, the great food, wonderful people.  For Alaska I booked an inside cabin, it was quiet and very dark.  I slept so wonderfully well.  And just a few steps away there was scenery 24 hours a day. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Way We Were Wednesday

Ah High School.  Jack McCoy the journalism and year book teacher at Titusville High School in Florida bought a "button maker."  He had us take pictures and he snapped out the buttons.  They have held up well - this was 41-42 years ago.  

Sadly Jack died suddenly last winter, from the flu.  

Have you had your flu shot? 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Salt Water- Salt Air

Just looking at the picture, I can taste the salt water.  My earliest memories of the ocean are as a teenager.  I remember being surprised by the sharp-salty water, the minor burning as it made contact with my pasty skin.  The tight feel on my skin as it dried.  Much different than freshwater, much warmer than the great lakes.  I like it.  I miss it.  

Minimizing the woulda, coulda, shouldas in the my life, I should have learned to surf.  

Salt or freshwater for you? 

Monday, November 12, 2018

New Adventures in Travel in My Front Yard

When I bought the condo near Washington DC, one of the requirements was that it had to be near a subway station.  And it is, about a 10 minute walk. And the association runs a rush hour shuttle bus that picks me up and drops me off at the front door of the building.  I ride the subway to and from work.  The last time I drove to the office was May 4, 2015.  

Last Friday the subway lines from this end of town were closed for four days for major repairs.  I knew it was coming.  Ideally I would have worked from home, but there were meetings I needed to be at.  I thought for a moment and decided to try the VRE, Virginia Railway Express.  These are commuter trains that run to and from the far distant burbs into the city.  There is a stop at King Street in Alexandria.  A little over a mile from home, and metro was running one station beyond that on this end of the system.  

I downloaded the VRE app, bought a one day pass on my phone.  The trains were ontime, comfortable, very smooth, quiet and really a very easy way to travel.  The subway is easier for me, but I have a bypass option.  

Have you ridden commuter rail? 

Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Sunday Five: Well Worn

I have nearly worn the A off of my very dirty office keyboard.  Inspiration enough for the Sunday five this week.

1: How many miles or kilometers per year do you drive?
2: How many pairs of shoes do you wear out each year?
3: What is the oldest item of clothing that you continue to wear from time to time?
4: What item of technology have you been surprised by how long it lasted?
5: Dishes, have you worn out the good stuff?

My answers:
1: I drive my car less than 2,000 miles per year, at this rate I may already own my last car.
2: Two or three, I need a lot of comfort in shoes, when that fades - they need to go.
3: I have a navy blue Irish will sweater that I bought in London in 1990, that I still wear. Love it.
4: My current Kindle is a survivor - 5 plus years. This was a surprise the first 4 Kindles didn’t last long, a couple of broken screens, a battery failure, and software failure.
5: Yes, I have used a set of good stuff daily for a decade, washing it in the dishwasher, and washing the pattern off of it.

Your answers in the comments.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Two Truths and a Lie

Okay, someone started this, and I am never very good at remembering names.  I have used this one in the past as an ice breaker.  Think for a moment and come up with three facts about yourself, two are true and one is not.  Have others guess what is not true. Here are my three.

1:  I have flown on a Zeppelin.
2:  I have two sisters and one brother.
3:  I attended a tea party hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Your guess on what it not true and why in the comments, and try this on your blog.

Friday, November 09, 2018

Richard Branson - the Importance of Kindness

I follow Richard Branson on Facebook, I have read a couple of his books, he has some amazing things to say.  

These suggestions are his: 

1. Tell a joke
2. Call a friend or a relative
3. Give a compliment to a stranger
4. Make up with anyone you’ve fallen out with (even if you feel it’s their fault)
5. Give someone a hug

6. Leave a happy note for someone to find
7. Email an old teacher who has made a difference in your life
8. Hand-write someone a letter, and mail it
9. Smile at someone on the street, just because
10. Talk to the shy person who’s sitting by themselves at a party

11. Help a parent with their baby stroller
12. Help someone struggling with heavy bags
13. Stop to talk to a homeless person
14. Give up your seat to someone on the bus or train
15. Give someone a book you think they’d like 

Thursday, November 08, 2018


If I came with a warning sign, what would it say?

Caution: If you get him started talking, you may not be able to get him to shut up.  Makes his point by telling stories.  Yes, he knows he is chubby. He forgets names, don't take it personally, he always has, always will. 

What should your warning sign say?

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

The Way We Were Wednesdays - BFFs

This picture is Mary-Jane one of my sister's best friends forever (BFFs) from high school. My sister had several strong personal friendships from high school. I think this picture was taken in 1975, around the time they finished high school.  It is not her baby, her baby is now in her 30's married and living in Albania, with babies of her own.  Mary-Jane went to work for GM shortly after high school and has been semi-retired for a couple of years now.  She and my sister still see one another from time to time.  

My BFFs from high school? There were few, I was the loaner, who never fit in well, and I either didn't know why, or didn't want to deal with it.  There is one special BFF left in Florida, she is married - with an amazing daughter - she is in poor health - I worry about her.  One other BFF I have given up on, I don't need abuse and intolerance in my life.  Facebook has put me back in contact with a bunch of past classmates.  It is nice to see and hear what they have done, but we have gone so far in 41 years. 

Tuesday, November 06, 2018


Vote, in every election, every time. Vote like your life depended on it.  
Vote for kindness, honesty, tolerance, compassion, peace 

Monday, November 05, 2018

The Changing Landscape of American Retail

When I was in Phoenix last month, I met a distant cousin for lunch at a restaurant next to a shopping mall.  I was early, so I decided to take a walk around the mall - it was easy to walk, the place was nearly deserted.  From what had originally been a two story mall with three anchor stores, there was one department store and a handful, maybe a dozen small stores left, and the department store was having a closing sale.  In my lifetime I have seen enclosed shopping malls largely replace downtown department stores (the exception being densely populated urban centers in cities like New York, and Chicago where downtown stores survived.) And now the malls are closing.  There are millions of square feet of empty shopping malls.  

When my family started spending winters in Titusville, Florida - across the river from the Kennedy Space Center, I was thrilled, there were two shopping malls, one with Sears, and the other with JC Penny on one end, and Belk (a southern chain) on the other.  All of those are now closed, one of the malls has been torn down and replaced with a handful of big-box stores.  

What will retail look like in 10 years?
What will we do with the vacant shopping malls?

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Sunday Five - Would you?

Given the opportunity to strut your stuff, would you?

1: Sing in public?
2: Talk to a live audience of 1,000+ about an issue you are passionate about?
3: Have lunch with the President with an invitation to say anything you wanted?
4: Be a model in a fashion show, for real people?
5: Make a cameo appearance on live television? 

My answers? 
1: Sing in public? No, probably my greatest fear.
2: Talk to a live audience of 1,000+ about an issue you are passionate about? Been there, done that, would do it again. 
3: Have lunch with the President with an invitation to say anything you wanted? Yes, I have some advice for him, but he wouldn't listen. 
4: Be a model in a fashion show, for real people? Yes, never done that.
5: Make a cameo appearance on live television? Yes, but can I act?

Your answers in the comments, 

Saturday, November 03, 2018

I am late

Earlier this week I had two postings on one day, and today I didn’t have one scheduled.  Oh my, there is a lot going on in my life and I am late, I am late.  I certainly hope I am not crazy as the hare. 
I am at the other house, my version of the western White House.  Tonight is Jay’s retirement party, I  am referring to it as his graduation party, he started school when he was 5, and 59 years later he will finally be leaving the classroom in about a month.  The house is sold, we met with movers and estate liquiadators yesterday.  I will be back here a couple more times, I am coming in for thanksgiving, aka, the last supper in the other house, and coming back next month for the move out and closing, I am looking forward to handing over the keys and getting a rather large check.  

Have a great weekend, 

Friday, November 02, 2018

Airports Tips Again

I kind of enjoy airports, good thing I spend a lot of time in them.  45 flights this year by the time this posts.  Airports can be unpleasant places.  Airports can be crowded, busy, you are not in control. A few tips.

Sign up for Pre-Check, in fact if you ever travel internationally sign up for Global Entry. This not a guarantee that you will never have your hands swabbed, or be delayed by someone who does not know how to go through security without stopping the process, but it does reduce the risk. 

Arrive at the airport two hours before flight time, three hours before an international flight.  It sounds like a long time, but it gives you a buffer for things going wrong and they will go wrong.  This year I have been saved by being early twice.  At National Airport there are 4 concourses, each with its own security check.  I assumed one morning that gate 34 would be across from gate 35, I know where gate 35 is, cleared security and then realized I was on the wrong concourse.  Being early I was able to move to the right concourse with time to spare.  Coming back from south Florida, I messed up my departure time, by an hour.  Being what I thought was two hours early, I was still an hour before flight time and all was well.  If I had planned to be there one hour before flight time, I would have missed the flight. 

Things go wrong at airports, a few years ago in Paris, the shuttle from the hotel to the terminal was slow, then delayed in traffic, then check in stopped when a baggage machine jammed. The plane was boarding by the time I made it to the gate, three and a half hours after leaving the onsite hotel. Being early will save you. 

If all goes well, and you have plenty of time, stop and have a nice meal in the airport.  There is little food on planes these days, and you don't want to get hangry when you are traveling.  

Check your bag.  Carry on bags create a hasle for everyone. If the airline is gate checking carry on bags for free, take advantage of it.  They are doing that because the bags will not all fit in the overhead bins.  

If you are delayed or have a long wait, splurge - spend the $50 and check into the airline private club or lounge. The seating is more comfortable, the space is more private, the WiFi is better, there are snacks and drinks.  I do this 2-3 times a year, not enough to spend the $500 a year the airlines want for unlimited access, but well worth it when I have 3 or 4 hours between flights.  

What is your airport tip? 


Thursday, November 01, 2018

Checking In

Richard Branson reminded his readers to check on progress on goals for the year.

Here is what I set last December 31st for 2018

  • Continue my gym time
  • Add a couple of personal days, to at least one of my work trips
  • Continue to explore what I want to do when I grow up
  • Read 25 books
  • Create a top 10 list for post retirement 
  • Get the house in Lexington ready to sell and start consolidating the house into the Condo
  • Plan a real vacation 
  • Reach out to reconnect with family   
How am I doing?
  • When I am home, I doing my daily treadmill time 6 days a week. 
  • I have added personal days to three work trips this year - bliss!
  • I have decided I am as grown up as I am going to be
  • I am working on book 62 for the year, I may make it to 75. 
  • I need to work on the ten list for post earning a living - I have three solid ideas.  
  • We started renovations on the condo and the house in Lexington is under contract
  • My attempts at planning a vacation have been derailed by work travel,
  • I reconnected with cousins and met new family this year. 
How is your year going.