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So, after the tantalizing taste of summer over the weekend, the weather here in Pennsylvania has devolved back into the giant gray ball of suck.

Looking up at Chiques Rock

I’ve noticed recently how much my mood changes with the weather patterns. When it’s sunny and warm, especially with a nice breeze, I’m almost ebullient in my general demeanor. When it’s gray and yucky, I just want to watch the world burn. Maybe I have that seasonal affective disorder. Who knows… but I doubt one of those lights will really change my outlook that much.

There’s something about the tactile sensations… feeling that warmth of the sun on your face and feeling the breeze in your hair. This is probably why, while I love biking, I LOATHE a stationary bike. We’re talking more than I loathe the University of Michigan.

Looking down the Susquehanna from Marietta

That being said, I managed to take advantage of the nice weather at the end of the week and get out on the trail. It was a nice discovery, though… getting out earlier in the season really let me see some of the landmarks from a different point of view. One that’s typically obscured by foliage later in the year.

Old rail tunnel on the Northwest River Trail

I also find that getting back on the trail helps rid me of the inner turmoil that seems to be more of a constant every day. It’s almost as with each mile, my inner self feels less burdened. Same thing with home projects. Each cut of wood, or nail hammered is tangible proof that I’m making a difference somewhere, even if it’s just my guest room. I can look at that floor and know that I did that… with my own two hands and my own achy knees.

I think it’s important that we have something tangible to look to as the fruit of our labor. A carpenter can look at a cabinet he or she built. An author can see a book. An ironworker can look at a skyscraper and say, “I made this.” I’m not saying that you must be a tradesman to feel that sense of accomplishment, far from it. A medical professional can look at a patient and say, “I saved her life.” A prosecutor can look at a criminal they helped convict as tangible proof of accomplishment. Even a mathematician can look at an equation and say, “I did this.”

The new floor in the guest room

Honestly, everyone can find something they accomplished, whether it be doing something amazing and ground breaking, or something as simple as waking up in the morning. I’ve had days where my greatest accomplishment was not throat-punching someone who really, REALLY deserved it. But that’s life and you just keep on moving because that’s all you can do sometimes to stay sane in this messed up world. Just remember the words of that famous anti-hero Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Until the next time.

Making a choice

Posted: April 15, 2016 in Uncategorized

I had my annual performance review at work. It was a nice change of pace, primarily because it was delivered by a supervisor that I can (and do) respect, and, it wasn’t a photocopy of last year’s review.

As is the case, there are always things that can be improved upon. One key for me was to not be so prickly (my word), because I seem unapproachable. My supervisor shard something he had heard before… that we all make a choice to be happy or not. His response was similar to mine… I was saying to myself, “What a bunch of horseshit!”

Then I thought about it.

I spend a lot of time cranking myself up into a walking time bomb and it’s foolish. If I stand outside of myself, I can see that I really don’t have that much to be unhappy about.

I have a loving and beautiful wife. I have a home. I have steady employment.

In short, I’m pretty well set. There are a lot of people out there dealing with a lot more crap than I have to deal with and they are happy.


They made that choice.

So, moving forward, I’m going to not be so prickly. I don’t necessarily have a reason to be. My efforts won’t always be successful, but I’m betting I’ll succeed more than I’ll fail.

Fair warning, if my computer has just crashed and I’m in the midst of swearing at it most heartily, wait a few minutes and try again.

It’s July 8. My least favorite day on the calendar.

No, it’s not because it’s apparently “National Chocolate with Almonds Day” (I can’t make this crap up… somebody obviously does, though)

July 8, 2014 was a terrible day. The 7th wasn’t much better, but the 8th was the day that the world got a lot darker.

That’s the day we lost mom.

I’ve been through the complete gamut of emotions in the last 365 days. I’ve been very happy, I’ve been horribly sad. I’ve been morose. I’ve been giddy. I’ve been what has become my new normal… reflective and withdrawn.

As badly as it hurt last year, it’s still pretty bad, even worse in some ways. I catch myself tearing up and random moments, not exactly sure why, until I realize that something was subconsciously reminding me of mom.

I still think about calling her every day to let her know how things are going; to complain about work; ask if I can do anything for her.

It’s so easy to assume that since a year passed, well, everything should be simply hunky-dory. It ain’t. We go on.

Ten years ago, at our wedding, I had to come up with the right song for the dance with my mom. I chose Jim Brickman’s “A Mother’s Day” because it had the almost perfect lyrics. Some might deserve repeating here:

Have I ever thanked you
For everything you’ve done?
Now all that I can say is
“I love you, Mom”

Thank you for nursin’ me
Through all those colds and fevers
Thank you for believin’ in me
When they were no other believers

And it’s never too late to say
“I love you, Mom”

It might just be another day to a lot of folks, but July 8 will always have meaning as the day an extraordinary woman passed from this life to the next.

Miss you.

And so it begins again…

Posted: January 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

Today is not only Martin Luther King day here in the USA, it marks 351 days until the next Walt Disney World Marathon Week.

Hard to believe that a few days could change my life so much.

The important thing is that it did and I find myself really looking forward to next year’s event. See, if all goes well, there will be two races for me. The hard part is that the races fill up so fast and the registration opens so early, you could wind up registering for an event you have no chance to actually complete.

You play the game, you take your chances is the best way to put it.

1524956_10203050292000863_1435197705_nI’m supposed to see the foot doctor tomorrow morning. I’m hoping the weather hold out for me… I just want to get back to exercise. Yes… I said that. Somehow, I’ve found that I feel better after exercise (as long as my feet behave)

In the meantime, I’m going to be looking at 5K races in the immediate area and maybe a nice, flat 10K, just so I can get the feel of the distance.

But first I need new shoes!

Stay safe in the snow, folks!

2013 in review

Posted: December 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,800 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Bucket List

Posted: November 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

Been thinking a lot lately about what I’d lie to accomplish in my life.

See, I’m kind of what you’d call an underachiever.

I always thought I’d accomplish great things, then I just kind of realized that’s kind of out of the question. I’m too ADD to focus long enough on one thing to make a difference. I guess I could point to my 1,327-201-66 Sporcle record as an achievement, but I think that just means I have way too much brain sludge.

I was recently reading a friends blog and she posted her life list. She’s going through a tough time, medically speaking, and just reading it inspired me to create my own. Just know that these are not in any order… they are numbered to make counting easier.

So, without further ado, I present my bucket list:

  1. Visit Antarctica to see penguins in the wild
  2. Get to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
  3. Drive cross country, stopping in every little dinky tourist joint to see that giant ball of twine or whatever else said town is noted for
  4. See the aurora borealis
  5. See a baseball game at every major league ballpark
  6. Travel across the US by train
  7. Go to culinary school
  8. Transit the Panama Canal
  9. See the Holy Land
  10. Go dogsledding
  11. Tour the Lego factory in Denmark
  12. Be a better friend/spouse
  13. Go to an Olympic games (preferably winter… I like hockey)
  14. Go to a Formula One race
  15. Return to the Hotel del Coronado for longer than one night
  16. Visit Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disney
  17. Visit Disneyland
  18. Run a half-marathon
  19. Attend San Diego ComicCon
  20. Rebuild an engine
  21. Tour the Boeing plant
  22. Learn to fly
  23. Go deep sea fishing

I know, it’s nothing earth-shattering and it is subject to change. If it didn’t change, well, it wouldn’t be me.


I'm sure this is what it's like when they aren't trying to sell you something else you don't want or need.

I’m sure this is what it’s like when they aren’t trying to sell you something else you don’t want or need.

Ahh, yes. It’s now time for the yearly Xfinity rant.

Today’s cause was when I called to drop our voice service. Basically put, we don’t use the home phone. At all. I figured, “Why pay for it?” So I called to drop the service.

The “helpful” person on the end informed us that the price would increase if we dropped the service.

Let’s see… drop service, price goes up. Must be that new math, because that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Apparently it does in Xfinity world. Not sure I’d want to live there. I figure down is up, left is right, etc. In Xfinity World, Richard Nixon was probably a Democrat.

“So, Brian,” you’re probably saying, “Why on earth do you stick with them? Why don’t you get a dish?”

The answer there is Wanda, evil queen bitch of our HOA. Erecting a dish would require Wanda approval and I never wanted to deal with the hassle. Now, I’d take some hassle if it meant I could tell Xfinity to get bent. See, that’s how they get you. They have a monopoly. Granted, that’s the only way they get any business. It sure as hell isn’t their stellar customer experience. The other reason I stay with them is that when everything works, the Interwebz is blazing fast and the reliability is above average. I have a lot of devices connected to the Web at home (three computers, two tablets, two smartphones, three other digital streaming units and an Xbox. Oh, and a printer. It handles the traffic admirably.

But is that enough?

See, I’m OK with paying for a lot of the stuff I don’t use. Basically, I watch Formula One racing and Doctor Who. One is in the “sports tier” and the other is in an extended digital tier. I don’t watch BET, Univision, CNN, Fox, MSNBC, QVC, HSN, and Root Sports. I don’t watch much network TV. I don’t use the music channels much, nor MTV, VH1, or CSPAN. I seriously don’t watch CSPAN II. And I don’t need three (???) CBS feeds. I can only watch CSI on one channel at a time. I don’t even use ESPN or Comcast Sports Net anymore. It would be easier to list the channels I do watch than those I don’t.

And apparently, if you’re a long-term customer, they won’t give you one of those $79 Double Play options. They will give you a whopping $20 off your bill. Thanks, guys. And if you just want the Interwebz, be prepared to cough up $75 a month. To look at pictures of cats.

Where does it end?

When will they have enough money?

Monday morning

Posted: June 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

Hope everyone had  a decent Father’s Day yesterday… I spent some time with my father-in-law and did home repairs for my mom.

I also did some swimming.

And no one said anything about pushing me back in the water.

So, to summarize, I swam 400 yards and walked just under two miles yesterday. I followed that up with 3.19 miles this morning. The pace isn’t there yet, but I made the distance for the 5K. I think I need to vary my terrain, though. I should probably look for a walking trail near my house… something where I can be outside and feel something underfoot other than a rubber belt. That should be my next goal.

I also decided on what my next construction project will be. Supportive Partner Woman (Lego fan in her own right) and I have amassed a considerable quantity of collectable minifigures. That has proven to be a display nightmare. I was looking at repurposing a golf ball display rack, but that’s not going to cut the mustard… too much cash for too little space. So, I’m going to build my own. This will be interesting, as I’ve never done anything with dado cuts, but I think this can work and provide a nice display area for the varied figures.

I managed to take care of my mom’s downspout issues. The water was just landing right in her flowerbeds and washing away the mulch. I added some additional pieces of spouting and dragged out the pop rivet gun. I find that works much better than using the screws which corrode like crazy. The important things are 1) she seems happy, and 2) I got to use tools.

It’s funny… I’m usually at my happiest when I’m doing something that involves building or fixing. Maybe it’s just that I’m doing something tangible… that I can see results. That just tells me that I took the wrong career path and I should’ve been a mechanic or something like that. Maybe that explains my Lego fixation.

At any rate, going to call it a day.

Song of the Day: Sing Me Away – Night Ranger

Run horse, run!

Posted: May 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

It’s another Monday after the Preakness, and I can safely announce that I didn’t win. I know… big surprise there.

It was a good weekend, though… full of friends, family and food, although not as much food as usual. The weekend commenced with our usual trip to South Jersey. It’s always an adventure, what with us usually trying to avoid traffic by taking the Burlington-Bristol Bridge over the Delaware River. I hate this bridge. It’s a lift bridge that is simply too damned narrow. It’s a lot better crossing it with the Honda rather than the big 15-passenger van I used to have to drive to Pimlico, but I still don’t like it.

We arrived at my sister-in-law’s place and the party commenced. Their house is the primary gathering point and there is much pre-race drinking and dinner, not to mention, prep of the Giant Preakness Mobile Buffet. I managed to even have my first piece of red meat since my operation and it stayed down. This makes me happy… I’m not a huge red meat eater, but I do enjoy a burger or steak from time to time. I’ll probably switch more to turkey burgers, but it would be nice to enjoy a treat from time to time.

Saturday saw us arrive at Pimlico before the first race, which is something of a rarity. I lost a couple of bets, then won one which brought me back to even keel. I lost on the Preakness, thanks to Orb doing an epic choke job. So, all in all, I ended the day down around $18. Not too bad for a day’s worth of gambling.

Most of the story is usually about the camaraderie that goes along with the day… there’s plenty of laughs and good times. I even managed to avoid the barfs for most of the day. Until the end, when I had some turkey and ate it a little too fast. I get what they were saying in support group and in class regarding how easy it is to lose track of your pace when you’re eating in social situations. I have to keep better track of how quickly I’m eating to avoid messiness in the future.

Yesterday was a fun day. Supportive Partner Woman and I left Jersey and headed back around 1:30. After the obligatory traffic snarls on the Schuylkill, we swung by the Lego Store at King of Prussia Mall to pick up some of the new minifigure series, then went to Wegman’s, because, well, we were driving by and had to stop… it’s the law. We actually didn’t do too much damage at Wegman’s, for a change. Headed home, put the cold stuff in the fridge, then went to the movies to (finally) see Iron Man 3. It was pretty enjoyable and we both had fun.

In the other good news, it seems that the Toe. That/ Will. Not. Heal. is in fact healing. It has a nice scab on it, and with any luck, I’ll be out of the Boot of Shame by this time tomorrow. If that’s the case, look out gym. Brian’s going to be back.

Going to wrap this up… paying a visit to the Friends of the Library book sale.

I’ll leave you with a photo from Saturday. As you can see, we have some pretty good seats.



Third shift made me do it

Posted: April 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

Not write, that is.

I know… poor excuse, but it’s fact. There have been days this week when I parked the car and had to take a nap before I could find the energy to walk to the door.

I’m either old, or the shift is totally kicking my ass.

I’m voting the latter.

It’s not so much the shift as it is the shift combined with my lack of desire to eat anything. I got the riot act read to me by the dietitian today because I’ve not been getting enough protein. I don’t know what to say other than the thought of a protein shake nauseates me. She did give me some tips on how to make them more palatable, so I’m hoping things will improve on that front. I also found out that in two more weeks I can start to have more solid fruits and raw vegetables. I’m looking forward to those days. I miss crunching on celery and other raw veg. There’s something about the crunch factor, ya know?

So, the toe isn’t really healing as fast as I would like. This is very frustrating to me, mainly because I’m ready to start swimming laps again. I even found that my swimsuit fits, which is a huge deal. And no, it’s not a thong or Speedo. Nor a mankini (think Borat). I just promised myself I would not buy a larger one, no matter how much I wanted to swim. I made it, which is a good thing.

So, once again, I head to the office for a Friday night. I’m hoping that I’m starting to get used to the hours… I slept for six straight today, which is pretty good. Had a bizarre dream that involved a prepaid cellphone vending machine at Sheetz. Is there such a thing? I have no idea… I think I need to lay off the sauce.

I have one more week of third, then back to second, which is a lot easier for me to write. I find I have better stuff in the morning.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Today’s weight: 317.0

Song of the Day: Dreams – The Cranberries