On Vacation!

I’ve written a post every day for over two years now and have decided to take a break for a week or so. Yes, I realize posting every day is a bit obsessive, but it’s been a good challenge. Do you ever have challenges that only you care about but that feed your soul?

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Sunday’s Walk

Andy got up at 6 Sunday so he could be up there at 8 to start hiking with Beate and Tim. When I woke up there was a message from Tim — this picture of Andy at the highest point in the walk:


Notice the two white dots to the right of Andy. The top one is on our land, the bottom one Beate and Tim’s place.

Here are a few more pictures. They aren’t high-quality, but our compact point-and-shoot is light enough to carry — the most important attribute on hikes like this.









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We actually went up to the land again last night — this time after dinner, to see the supermoon-lunar eclipse. Beate and Tim had suggested we meet on our front porch up there because the view was so great. Here’s what it looked like with our point-and-shoot camera:


It was another clear evening, and we watched the moon disappear as we drove up, and we could see it gradually come back as we drove back down. But the best part, of course, is when it was in the total eclipse and had the reddish-orange glow.

How cool was that?


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Yet Another Picnic

We had our first fall picnic up on the land last night. The pine cone has finished opening:


And we still have a lot of wildflowers, albeit a bit bedraggled:



But the weather was beautiful and we had a great time.


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More Homework

I did a lot of research about cataract surgery this past week, and I had decided to wait for a while because of the previous retinal problems I had. The left eye is a bit of a nuisance, but manageable. The doctor thought that a retinal detachment wasn’t that likely so I shouldn’t worry about it.

Unfortunately there was a surprise. it turns out the cataract in my left eye is no worse than the one in my right eye, which I scarcely notice. The problem is with the retina, and the solution would be a virectomy, which sounds like a big deal, especially the recovery.

The doctor today showed me a picture of the problem — from an optical coherence tomography (OCT) scan — and referred me to their retina specialist. I have an appointment with him on October 19 at 8:10 a.m. — a nuisance since it takes almost an hour to get there. I asked if they had anything later in the day, but the fellow said it wouldn’t be until November. I said 8:10 on the 19th sounded just fine.

The cataract doctor said we have four options: (1) do nothing now, just observe, (2) do just the virectomy, (3) do just the cataract, or (4) do them both at the same time. In the meantime I’m back to doing a lot of homework. As usual, bless the internet.

I hope your day wasn’t as eventful!


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Not Quite So Nice

Before the fire and flash floods, the area around our house had trails and old roads that were great for walking. Now the walking is a lot more adventuresome.









Andy, Beate, and Tim have gone on a number of walks/hikes this summer, but I’m afraid most of my adventures have been down here on the internet. As usual,

Doing the best we can with what we have left.


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Feeding the Inner Life

Jane Kenyon’s advice to writers:

Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be by yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off the hook. Work regular hours.

I was intrigued by the emphasis on solitude — it appeals to me, but it certainly goes against the extroverted American culture, which considers “loners” to be pathological.

What do you think of solitude, cultivating an inner life?


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File 13


Click on picture for higher resolution.

This Pickles cartoon reminds me of a letter Andy received a few months ago. It was from a fellow in China saying he was taking care of the financial affairs of someone with Andy’s last name. He couldn’t locate any relatives of the deceased, but he could legally transfer the substantial inheritance to Andy. We didn’t bother to read the details but dropped the letter in File 13.

“File 13” is a euphemism for the trash can. The phrase is especially used in the U.S. military, and is less common outside of the United States. In the United Kingdom, for instance, the expression “round file” or “circular file” is more common (in reference to trash cans typically being round).

Interestingly enough, Ursula’s father uses the term — in German, of course. Ablage 13.

Have you ever received any interesting scams?


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Syrian Refugees

If anyone is interested in why there has been such a surge of Syrian refugees lately, The Washington Post‘s article 8 reasons Europe’s refugee crisis is happening now gives a good explanation. Basically the Syrians are giving up hope that they will ever have a decent life, including education for their children, if they stay in the Middle East. The interesting thing is Assad is making it easy for them to get passports, even if they are currently living in other countries. He is also conscripting men under 30, but allowing them to defer their enlistment if they pay $300.

This has confirmed the suspicions of many Syria watchers that Assad has deliberately encouraged the refugee flow, both to neighboring countries and to Europe, as part of a strategy to empty the country of potential opponents. “The humanitarian catastrophe we are witnessing is an outcome of Assad’s survival strategy,” said Emile Hokayem of the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies. “Assad has sought to shift the burden of dealing with those in Syria who are opposed to him onto other actors.”

Assad disagrees, of course.

Another relevant article by the Post is For many Syrians in Lebanon and Jordan, now is the time to go. The migrant/refugee problem is going to get a lot worse.


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Why people procrastinate (click on picture for higher resolution):

The trick is to simplify our lives (click on picture for higher resolution):

Never put off until tomorrow what you don’t have to do at all.


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