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Some thoughts on the road's end

I didn't get many Christmas cards out this year. Didn't do a letter either. I'm sorry about that. Here's what happened.

Less than a week before Christmas, my in-laws reached a crisis point that signaled the end of their independent lives and the beginning of ongoing nursing care. I want to recount the journey to that crisis point. I apologize for the length of this. I need to get it out of my head. I need to document this because my in-laws are wonderful people who have reached the end of their independent lives and I want you to know what it was like.

The crisis had been building for some time. We knew something was going to happen to push this forward. Indeed, Merle and Catherine are where we wanted them to be but their journey there was so abrupt and terrible sounding, it actually made people laugh when I recounted it. We tried to get ahead of what was coming but the desire to let Merle and Catherine continue to live at home combined with their determination to stay…

Oregon 24 Pt II - Dashing Through the Snow

Before you start feeling sorry for me for huddling in a tent in the snow, I should point out that Carolyn and I have spent quite a few years camping and decided that we will never again go down on our knees to get in a tent. So when I say I was in a tent, it was a 6 person Big Agnes with a wool kilim on the floor, two cots, a camp chair, mood lighting, and expedition grade sleeping bags. It was tall enough to do jumping jacks in. So "huddling" meant I was sitting in a chair reading and I had to turn the heat down at one point.

Still, at 3am I turned the heat back up and there was ice on the tent walls. It was cold out there! I got up at daylight, suited up and went outside. I turned over the car and it told me it was 15 degrees out. Nice.

Despite the amenities, doing anything in that cold takes more time. I made coffee, ate breakfast, got my kit on, scrapped the rime ice off my bike and barely made it to the 9:15 race meeting. The sun was out and any pretense t…

The Oregon 24 - Pt I

It’s been a while since I’ve done a race report. It’s been a while since I’ve done a race. Carolyn and I were in Hawaii during the busiest part of the racing season. I can't say I felt bad about that. Last weekend was the Oregon 24 and I did line up for it and I did get some laps in but I’m not sure this will qualify as a race report because I’m not sure the Oregon 24 qualified as a race this year; at least not for me. It was certainly something. It may be the most memorable “race-like thing” I’ll ever do. Simply showing up for the race was more memorable than quite a few races I've finished.
The whole thing started evolving to what I showed up for a few months earlier when so much of the state caught on fire that they had to move the race up another month to let the smoke clear. I wasn’t wild about the change. Mike used to do the race in July. Saying July is my month of “peak fitness” might be a bit of an exaggeration, it is at least the month of my peak “least out of shape”…

A Strange Sort of Good Day

Let me tell you about Monday.

It started with that total solar eclipse. You saw it or you know someone who saw it. We filled the house with a remarkable collection of friends and family who came from all over to see it. My mother flew in from NY, My sister-in-law Janet flew in from NY. Liz came out from Portland. My old assistant Nancy from my theatre days took the train up from LA. We haven't gotten together in over 10 years. She brought two friends Christa and John who we've never met but they settled right in to the goat rodeo of food wine and conversation that is our home even when it's just Carolyn and me.

Oregon outdid itself. The clouds went away, the traffic jams (mostly) didn't materialize. We parked on the steps of the front porch and watched it grow dark.

And the eclipse? It was more amazing than every art rock album cover from the 1970's. It was the sun. It did that. Right there in the sky it went dark and the corona was shining and we stood in our fiel…

Hawaii Part III - Being There

Before I flog that metaphor to death, I should say that Hawaii wasn't paradise. It's a conflicted place filled with a wide array of people who have some ownership of the place but can't entirely agree on what it should become. But it wrapped us in its arms and welcomed us and there was something.

What was that magic?

Was it any different than what others feel when they come here? Maybe it was as simple as experiencing something new in a place we've never been. We've never thought of ourselves as typical tourists, I suppose nobody does. People come here with nothing but a plane ticket or reservations to to the finest resort the world has seen. Does that change anything? Just because you arrive on a cruise ship or spend your evenings at a five star resort doesn't mean your experience of a place is any better or any worse than ours. When Carolyn and I traveled together in the past, we tried to avoid the "tourist experience" unless that was the onl…

Hawaii Part II - Getting There

As we waited to board our flight at PDX I took stock of our fellow passengers, most of whom were in search of something similar to Carolyn and me. The couple that stood out the most had matching t-shirts. One said "Beauty" on the front and "20" on the back. the other said "Beast" on the front and "12" on the back. It must have been their 5th anniversary and they were wearing the shirts to celebrate which was sweet. The problem was they kept standing wrong so the backs said "1220" and the fronts said "Beast/Beauty". I wanted to get them to switch positions but Carolyn kept stopping me. I'm just glad they didn't sit in front of us because you just know they were going to sit wrong too and my vacation would have been ruined.

If you've never been to Hawaii before, the differences from traveling to any other state will be apparent even before you land. The first thing you'll notice is you're on a plane for 6 ho…

Hawaii Part I

This is a year of great portent for Carolyn and me. All kinds of things lined up. It's our 30th anniversary! Actually, it's the 30th anniversary of our first date which turned into a sleepover which turned into nightly sleepovers which turned into moving in together which turned into buying a house together which turned into buying another house together and breaking out in cats, which is pretty much where we are now. Exactly in the middle of those 30 years we got married. It was sometime in July, we have it written down somewhere. That's not to say we take the marriage lightly. It means a great deal to us, though for some reason, we aren't getting the spouse's discount on rental cars that I thought came with the package. Anyway, 15 years of being bound in matrimony this year too. It's also Carolyn's 65th birthday, which is maybe the biggest deal. Oh, and there's a solar eclipse in August. If you're big on numerology and signs from the Heavens, this…