EIAE Update: One-Year Surgery Anniversary

Okay, actually my surgery was on November 22, 2019. Needless to say, I am so, so glad I got the surgery done long enough before the pandemic started that I even had the two-month follow-up appointment before everything went sideways. Actually, my follow-up was on January 18, 2020 — the same day COVID-19 Patient Zero came into the US, passing through the same airport I did.

Before we jump into how it’s gone, I want to call out once again that without my family, this wouldn’t have happened. Thank you again to my family for making it possible for me to have this done. Continue Reading >>

Autumn in the Northwest

A few pictures from the rare times we get out of the house in these predominantly dark, gloomy, wet months. Unfortunately the only camera I carry these days is the little one on my phone; fortunately, it’s higher-resolution and smarter at things like HDR than the DSLR gathering dust in my closet. (In fairness, the DSLR is much better at real camera tasks like manual focus, shutter speed, ISO settings, etc; I just don’t take pictures like that so much these days, alas.)

Seward Park
Don’t get the impression that we enjoy mostly sunshine between October and December; instead, get the impression that we take pictures of that rare event when it happens.
Seward Park Cedar
A lovely old cedar tree at Seward Park gave me tree envy.
High Bridge Road Just After Sunrise
Rode down High Bridge Road not long after the sun came up and enjoyed the quiet pastoral scene.
Snow Geese Snoqualmie Valley 2
Snow geese visit for just a few weeks a year on their annual southward migration. I felt lucky to see them close enough that I also heard the wind in their feathers as they landed.

Layoffs Get Me Thinking

Throughout the entire pandemic, executives from the CEO on down to my boss have assured us that they planned no layoffs for our company. Our clients are advisory firms that mostly charge based on assets under management (AUM). Although millions of people are experiencing desperate financial straits, the fortunate tiny percentage of people who have investment accounts have (after a not-unexpected plummet early in the pandemic) enjoyed shockingly good market returns, which means their assets have grown — and, accordingly, so have their AUM-based advisory fees. When financial advisors make money, they can pay the annual subscription cost for my company’s software. Which all means that I get to keep exchanging my writing ability for a steady paycheck. Continue Reading >>

Halloween 2020

I’m a little late posting it — we’ve had a few distractions! — but last Saturday Benji dressed up as an orange crayon for Halloween. As usual, Deborah made the finishing touches, in this case the Crayola label and “totally not a safety cone” crayon-tip hat.

Halloween 2020

Although we knew a number of people who went socially-distanced trick-or-treating or did a socially-distanced church “Harvest Festival” scavenger hunt, we opted to stay away from other people. Instead, my parents decorated their house as a haunted house strewn with little trails of candies for Benji to follow from room to room. They really did a great job, with spooky music, things that dropped down on you, spider webs, fog, and dim lights. Needless to say, Benji loved it and can hardly wait for next Halloween to do it again. Continue Reading >>

Waiting for Election Results

I haven’t mentioned the 2020 presidential election on my blog yet. That’s because, while I of course have political opinions, I prefer to keep them off the internet. True to that philosophy, this post isn’t about who I think should win or speculating about paths to victory, but what to do while waiting.

One NPR commentator said that yesterday was “the longest day of the year.” It certainly felt that way, and there’s reason to expect that sense of being suspended in time to continue for quite a while, given how many voters used mail-in ballots. This has given me time to think about how to wait. Continue Reading >>

Pandemic in Pictures: Bike Selfies 3

The pandemic rages on unabated here in the US, with no prospect of improvement — and that means I continue riding mostly alone or with Dad. And that means I continue taking bike selfies to prove to myself I’ve gone places.

In this edition, Dad and I took one excursion to Whidbey Island. You’ll see several pictures from there. Also in this edition, you’ll see more sunsets and evening shots as days get shorter and my after-work “commute equivalent” rides stay at the same time but change from late afternoon to evening rides. Continue Reading >>

Fort Worden Adventures

Last Saturday, Dad and I took Benji on an all-day adventure to Fort Worden, a ferry ride and a couple hours’ drive away. Fort Worden is one of three forts that were built around the turn of the 20th Century to protect Puget Sound. This included excavating extensive underground or partially buried batteries for gun emplacements, as well as barracks and other supporting buildings. Today, all three forts are state parks, with parts of the buildings open to explore.

When I say “open to explore,” imagine hiking through the woods to suddenly find a cement wall, pocked with stairways, doors, and balconies. Inside, you find mostly empty cement and cinderblock rooms and passages, some extremely narrow, all pitch dark. Graffiti covers most walls, but no animals nest here and mercifully people don’t use the corners as urinals, so overall it’s pretty clean. Hallways connect in strange ways; echoes bounce back. You carefully avoid trenches or raised platforms in the floor and holes in walls that clearly played some part in the military activity at the fort, but now just add the frisson of excitement that only comes from the possibility of breaking an ankle on something in the dark. You wander the passageways and pop out in unexpected places. You climb hair-raising stairways, narrow, steep, and utterly without soft, modern safety features such as railings. You approach the edge of multi-story drops onto cement pads where enormous guns used to hide, again with nothing between you and a fall besides your own acute terror. You peek from spotting towers that once commanded a sweeping view, now obscured by a full-grown forest. Continue Reading >>