Monday, September 13, 2021

Let the Games Begin!

First meeting of the Fall Pinball League!

Games in tonight's round were:

The Creature from the Black Lagoon
300 (a bowling game, not the movie), which had an issue and was replaced with Target Alpha
Snow Derby
Bonzai Run
Eight Ball

Stay tuned for rankings. 

Nic had to go and get a Hall of Fame level score in Creature, of course.

Friday, September 3, 2021


Alright, here goes. I'm old. What that means is that I've survived (so far) and a lot of people I've known and loved did not. I've lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, co-workers, grandparents, mom, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors, and a host of other folks. I have no children, and I can't imagine the pain it must be to lose a child. But here's my two cents.

I wish I could say you get used to people dying. I never did. I don't want to. It tears a hole through me whenever somebody I love dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don't want it to "not matter". I don't want it to be something that just passes. My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if the scar is deep, so was the love. So be it. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love. And the scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to people who can't see.

As for grief, you'll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you're drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it's some physical thing. Maybe it's a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it's a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. Stay alive.

In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don't even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you'll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what's going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything...and the wave comes crashing. But in between waves, there is life.

Somewhere down the line, and it's different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or landing at O'Hare. You can see it coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you'll come out.

Take it from an old guy. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don't really want them to. But you learn that you'll survive them. And other waves will come. And you'll survive them too. If you're lucky, you'll have lots of scars from lots of loves. And lots of shipwrecks." -- GSnow, reddit


Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Hello, Ida

The air has a gathered poise, like a stiff-backed great aunt sitting in a chair watching you approach with what she's sure is to be disappointing news.

The rain is coming.
The storm might be one that settles in like a houseguest, because I was suddenly craving macaroni and cheese.

I put a half pound or so ditalini on to boil and fetched the white American cheese from the fridge, slicing about a quarter pound off thinly. When the pasta was done and draining, I rinsed the pan and put it back on the stove with a half cup ish of butter over medium low heat. I tore the slices of cheese slowly into the butter and added some minced garlic and a splash of milk. I whisked it all slowly, adding another splash of milk to help it all come together, then folded the pasta in by small portions until everything was mixed through. In another life I would have put the whole mix into a baking dish and covered it with seasoned breadcrumbs (from the croutons that are always about from the leftover bread making), dotted it with more butter and baked it gently for a bit. But today is not that day. I scooped a little less than half the mix into a bowl and enjoyed it just as it is. It's a delicious, creamy foil to the damp grey day, not that I'm cold exactly, but there's a nagging chill that seems to clutch at my ankles, calling to mind old herb-collecting women who wear thick socks and rain boots with skirts.

Friday, August 27, 2021


I've seen small sailboats with more counter space, but I love lunchtime in the Loft.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Noodle Day

Using new software makes me anxious. You would think after two decades in Information Technology that I would face new software with nonchalance, but no. Quite the opposite is true.

Today I'm installing a new-to-me statistics software for one of my classes.

Noodles are the best answer to nerves, so I whipped up a batch of rice noodles in chicken broth, with strips of chicken, an egg, and some garlic chives.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Sunday on the rooftop

Sunday on the roof, listening to the churches' bells toll across the city as the sun comes up and the mist lifts off the mountains.

Thursday, August 19, 2021