Richness that comes with time

We just got back from visiting some old friends in a very remote part of Colorado. Our friends are not “older adults,” as we say in the senior living business, but old friends in the sense of our having known each other for many many years.

I first met them right after I graduated from college. And we have kept in touch since then.

Depth comes with time. We last met up four years ago, but we got right into discussions about heavy stuff that we can’t talk about with most people. We knew that the other person wouldn’t think less of the one sharing, even if we disagreed. (And we agreed on most stuff.)

I’m very thankful for friendships that last.


Photo: Ben scans the horizon from their rooftop. There were no cars and only about three houses visible, even though we could see more than 60 miles.

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We love our pets

The human-animal connection is unlike any other. We understand and interact with our pets at varied levels. On my little chart, dogs are the highest-interacting animals. Dogs also seem to have the ability to experience greater depths and heights of emotion than any other animal.

No one would argue with the idea that goldfish are the least interactive of any pets. (I have yet to hear of anyone making a pet out of a snail.)

I’m a cat lover. Generally, cats can be as smart as dogs. But cats certainly care less about humans than most dogs do. Or at least cats love to give the impression of not caring that a human is around. “What? Oh, sorry, I didn’t see you were there.”

And that’s part of the reason I like cats more than dogs. Our cat can survive without my attention.

As soon as you enter its field of perception, a dog will run over to interact with you — run to you and not walk.

But what if I want to be ignored? That’s not part of a dog’s universe.


Our cat, Floof loves us, even when he’s asleep.

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Just because

crazy mountain bike with car wheels

The human spirit knows no bounds. Or so they say.

Instead, I’d rephrase that idea by saying that human creativity is unlimited. There are infinite combinations of what we crazy humans will put together. Think of snowflakes. They say that every one is different. Likewise, the variety of what humans can create is incredible.

Sometimes that creativity can go the exact opposite of what seems to make sense — and yet turn out to be a wonderful, weird thing.

However, we do love imitation. When Swell water bottles became the thing, huge varieties of imitations quickly hit the market.

I daresay there won’t be hordes of imitators of the idea of mountain bikes with car wheels.

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You are making a bigger difference than you think

I often feel powerless. Life throws situations at me that are bigger than I can handle.

I believe in the power of God to answer prayer. I also understand that he answers not always in the ways that I like nor within my timetable.

But that’s not the point of this post.

I want to encourage you to keep doing good things and to not give up.


During my bike ride to work, I cycle on this sidewalk. The sprinkler system puts a fine mist on the sidewalk (as well as on its intended target — the nearby grass). Notice that a very thin stripe of spray paint stopped the flow of water. Somehow, the sun warmed up the painted stripe and prevented water from crossing over.

We’re like that stripe on the sidewalk. We often feel that we have very little impact on everyday situations and the people who are part of our lives.

But you never know. You may be affecting the flow of water in their lives — not preventing it — but rather making it flow to better places.

So keep on doing good things.

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Going to extremes

mount cameron in colorado

We all need to push ourselves to extremes. It’s healthy and necessary to survive.

  • Moderation is key, of course. If you look at any professional sports player, you will see the results of pushing bodies to extremes: boxing can result in severe brain damage; ballet can result in crippled feet; football can produce the early onset of arthritis. But if artists and athletes didn’t go to extremes, it would be a seriously boring world.
  • Pushing our boundaries increases our capacity.
  • The intensity of life on the edge is usually more exciting than living in the center.
  • Extremes can help us appreciate a normal peaceful life. When I camped among the Maasai for six weeks in a remote part of Kenya, visiting the closest town to have a cold Coke made it the most delicious sugary beverage I’ve ever enjoyed. (We were camping without electricity and no stores of any kind within an hour’s journey.)
  • We need rest and contrast. If we live on the edge at all times, the extreme becomes the norm and it’s hard to do the life that most of us need to live… not everyone can be a Ferrari factory test driver.

 


I took the photo near the top of Mount Democrat, in Colorado. It was actually a very warm day — towards the end of the summit hike, we were in shorts and t-shirts. Everywhere the trail crossed over the snow, it was beaten down enough that crampons were not needed.

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My water, not our water

Sign describing well water is used for irrigation

During my bicycle ride to work, I pass by a large cemetery with vast green expanses of lawn spread out among scattered memorial benches. (They have a rule against vertical tombstones.)

And they use their own well water to keep the grass a healthy and tranquil green.

But isn’t that water drawn from the same aquifer that surrounding neighborhoods use?

Apparently, when you use your own well water, you can water at the peak of sunshine exposure, when evaporation is at its highest. And you can water however many days a week you like.

Even worse, one neighborhood I ride through irrigates grass along the edges of their roads seven days a week.

The rest of us in suburbia are limited by Denver water authorities to three days a week and no watering between 10 am and 6 pm.

I’m not jealous of this extravagant use of water. But I find it interesting that these rules apply to only one set of users.

Life is always like that — one set of rules for one group and another set for another group — unlimited access to resources for one group and very limited access for another group.

You and I need to just accept this and ride on.

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The best dishwashing gloves

Mamison Korean kitchen gloves

I never knew that the best dishwashing gloves are made in South Korea.

Somehow, I discovered that fact and bought a pair through Amazon Prime.

And they are amazing.

My skin is naturally dry, so if I wash dishes by hand, my hands quickly dry out. So I enjoy protecting them with a second skin of latex.

These gloves fit well and are not impossible to get off when finished using. The outer rubber-ish material is grippy enough that dishes won’t slip out of my hands very easily. (And I have broken a dish or two over the years!) They are much longer than typical gloves, so you can wash pots and pans in a deep sink.

I can’t give an endurance report yet, but they definitely seem to be stronger than the U.S. supermarket varieties that I’ve used in the past.

Shortly after I bought them, some friends visited whose grandparents are from South Korea. They confirmed the superior quality of Korean dishwashing gloves and mentioned that the extra protection provided by these amazing gloves is valuable when preparing spicy kimchi. (The powerful spices in some varieties of kimchi can eat away at skin but are relatively harmless to the stomach.)

A win for South Korea!

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Dead Toshiba

speaker inside a Toshiba laptop computer

We bought our first Toshiba laptop in 1995. It was a good one. It lasted about 5 years.

This latest Toshiba lasted only about 9 months. Sadly, the warranty lasted 6 months.

In between that first Toshiba and our final Toshiba, we have bought several other brands of Windows laptops. I can’t even remember those brands — Acer or Asus was one.

But in the interim, we have bought a few Apple laptops too. And they have been much more reliable. The laptop I am typing this on was bought in early 2011. It’s still running very strong. (I have replaced the battery and hard drive and added memory.)

We bought Heather a MacBook Pro in 2009, and it’s acting like it never wants to die. Its first battery is even performing well.

No more Windows laptops. I finally learned my lesson.


The photo is a speaker inside that ill-fated Toshiba. My index finger is there to show its size. (I removed the hard drive for security purposes before giving it to Best Buy for recycling and thus saw its innards for the first time. It had stereo speakers.) It is sad to send them off to China’s Great Recycling Machine in the Sky.

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Better in my imagination

So I was in the mountains for a few days. I took a few photos.

One evening, there was a fabulous sunset, visible from my hotel window. Being Mr. Smartypants, I took two photos of the scene — one dark photo showing the sunset and one light photo showing the foreground. I thought I’d quickly combine them later using Photoshop.

I did, but the result was far less satisfying than the real scene.

Alas.

The eyes are always the best camera.

(And how many photos of the sunset have I taken over the years? Lots.)

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