Monday, September 22, 2014


When you have your offspring flung all over the globe, you really appreciate how technology like Skype and Google Meet-up have enhanced your life.  Now for virtually no money you can have face-to-face conversations almost anywhere. 

Sunday has become our day to connect.  We work our way through the time zones picking up #3 in Europe first, then heading to the East Coast to talk with our granddaughter 2.1 who is a boarding school in Pennsylvania, then on to the West Coast where we connect with the #1 clan, and finally back to the East Coast for the #2's who we talk with after they're done with watching football.  This will change once the #2's head out to Hong Kong in January. 

2.1 is a new addition to our routine.  Her going to boarding school was rough on her folks but it seems to really be benefiting her.  And we haven't had this kind of communication with her for years so we think it is pretty cool

All this Skyping can take up half our day on Sunday but it is wonderful half day each weekend.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Into the Clouds

On Friday, we got a small touch of the cold front that swept through the Midwest even brings snow to Boulder Colorado.  I was hiking on my own up one of the trails that I stay away from in the summer heat.  I thought that the front was going to come through later in the afternoon but when I arrived it was there.  You can tell these fronts here because the weather pours over the mountain.

I decided to keep going because this particular hike is very challenging and I needed the work out.  Fortunately there was very little moisture in those clouds and neither the wind nor the temperature were too bad.  I did get some neat videos though.



Friday, September 12, 2014

Smoking For Yuppies

No I don't mean I'm going for weekly trips to Colorado to relive my misspent young adult years.

I'm talking about the fine art of BBQ.  Of smoking food low and slow until it gets tender and wonderful.

I'm talking about how the aging yuppie does this without actually having to learn how to make a fire or tend the smoker or figure out how keep the temperature just right for the hours and hours it takes to make BBQ.

I'm talking about THE YODER

This my friends is the Yoder, wood pellet fired, electronically controlled, smoker/griller!

It BBQs.  It roasts.  It grills.  It can go from holding a 200-220 degree temperature for hours and hours to a raging 600 degrees for searing meat (or I hope) for making pizza!

This is so yuppified it almost boggles the imagination.  You buy it direct from the manufacturer.  They ship it.  It arrives fully assembled.  Literally all that is necessary is to put hook on the metal racks.  Then when it comes to operate it, you fill the hopper on the left with wood pellets, you plug it in, you put a few pellets in the fire pan prior to starting.  You flip the power switch on.  You set the temperature.  You hit the START button.  You wait until it reaches temperature and you put on your meat.   That's it.

For my first forays I made whole chicken that I split in two and roasted at 350 degrees and then some spare ribs with a Memphis style dry rub that I BBQed for 6 hours at 220 degrees.  They both turned out great.  There was a real good wood fired smell to the chicken and a real smoke ring on the ribs.

Biggest problem now is getting mouths to feed as it is not very practical for small batches.

Handy display showing that the temperature is going up

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Return Of The Dragon

I alluded a couple of posts back about a business blow up that was taking a lot of time.


Without going into a lot of detail, it involved a partnership I put together initially to promote business networking for professionals.  We thought it would make our own networking much more productive.  However it grew far more than we ever thought it would have but it was far from making any money.   But one of our partners had some kind of delusions of grandeur and moved us to attempt to grow the business.  This cost me a lot of time and money.

As I went through my personal transition, I decided I wanted out of managing and investing into this.  This provoked a response that was far beyond anything I would have thought.  The partner secretly working with our major sponsor, an accounting firm, tried to do a hostile takeover.  It was actually much messier than even that sounds.  In the end the remaining partner and I, with a helluva a lot of work and stress, have maintained the original business and though their are still skirmishes being fought, I think we are stabilized and ready to continue on.


On the spiritual path, things are not always what they seem.  The Ego, which I had thought I'd dealt with and was ready to put behind me, is a wily foe and not willing to give up easy.  In Greek mythology, heroes constantly fought dragons and after defeating them would plant the teeth of the dead dragon.  These teeth would sprout warriors that the hero then had to fight and defeat as well.  (Note: If you know the teeth are going to sprout warriors, why do you plant them?  Wouldn't the first hero in his sagas or ballads say something like "don't you go planting those dragon teeth fool!").

Well I view this whole event as being like the dragon teeth.  I may have thought I'd overcome the dragon, Ego, but I had not accounted for just how much it wants to keep me attached to this illusion.  This whole thing really involves so little in the way of money (in fact it's almost laughable the amount effort and risk to reputation the other side has put into trying to wipe us out considering how little money is involved) and regardless of what way it went would have virtually no effect on my personal future.  So clearly it is more about the lessons to be learned.  In my case it is not letting myself be dragged into attachment again and understanding that there is a duty (dharma) role to be played.


One of the things that came to the fore early on in the crisis was my being told that if I retired and just let the thing go, the organization would not be able to continue because I was the source of much of its special training and mentoring.  My third partner had been left holding the bag, in part because of my action but also because of the attacks by the other side.  I knew I needed to help him but I did not want to 'go back into business' again.  My long-term path is in another role. 

I remembered the story of Cincinnatus, a person who became a civic legend in the old Roman Republic, for having lost power, being brought back with absolute dictatorial authority to save the Republic from a foe, and his giving that power up the minute the foe had been defeated.  That's who I will need to be. I will do what I need to to get the organization so it is going forward.  Then I will go back to MY real path.


Wife's active support has been a wonderful thing.  For most of my time in New Mexico with the business, she has pretty much not involved herself emotionally.  She might think I was doing something stupid or giving trust where it would not be returned but felt the business was my affair and not hers. 

This has been something entirely different.  From the first she felt that something very wrong had been done and that it was totally my duty to address it.  She understood that this was going to take away from our planned retirement readjusting of schedule and gave me positive support for it.  She has been actively involved with thinking things through.  She's been a tigress, a side I've not seen before.  I'm very grateful


There are still some acts to be played out but for the most part the worse seems to be behind us and the organization is stabilized.  In fact it is more than stabilized.  The crisis has brought out a whole group of leaders who are willing to put effort into the organization to make sure it goes on.  In a crazy way, the whole crisis has made the job of my stepping away, that much more likely and easier.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

It's Been A Good Monsoon

The monsoon season seems to be winding down.  But it has been really good.  This is the first year since around 1998 I think that we are on track to get our average annual rainfall.

One result is a big time flowering in the desert
I took these pictures a couple of weeks ago during one of my morning walks

And more sunsets

Catching Up - Finishing Pulantic Visit

Things have been crazy this week.  There has been a very unfortunate business blow-up that has sucked me out of my lovely mostly retired state back into a quagmire of nasty stuff and taken valuable time that I could have used blogging.  I will write more on this later perhaps.  Hope to use the three day weekend to catch up on my posts.  So let's start by finishing up last weekend's trip to the #2's.

After the Holocaust Museum, we went back to Pu Central.  2B and #2 had made a reservation at nice Jose Andreas restaurant, Zatinya, a Turkish/Eastern Mediterranean small plates restaurant.  It was a great experience on a number of levels.  First the food was very good.  Second I got to do gourmandizing with #2 and we really go to town when we are together.  Three, 2B's wine palate has grown and he brought two great bottles to the restaurant increasing the pleasure and decreasing the price.  Four, we had a fabulous waiter.  Five, my new hearing aids (more on that in a later post) worked like a charm and I had no problems hearing people even though it was very noisy.  And six, the price for four of us was only $220 before tip!  Even accounting for bringing our own wine that seemed really good for a as much as we purchased (15 small plates, three cocktails, two desserts and two coffees).

On Sunday we spent a lot of time hanging out with the kids.  I in particular was spending a lot of time with 2.3.  We played with Star War figures (I was always the bad guy and always lost), all kinds of hide and go seek games outside with 2.2 joining us.  Checkers - he's really good at 7 years old.  He even started to show me some of his games on the iPad which requires his being very patient as Grandpa is pretty a pretty freaking slow learner.

We went out for a true Chesapeake Bay treat, steamed crabs for a late afternoon lunch/dinner.  They were as expensive as the meal we had the night before!  We played card games in the evening.  It was very good.

On Monday, we got up to check out of our hotel.  Our room was on the first floor right next to the lobby so all we had to do was turn left out of door into the lobby area.  Except that when we did we were greeted by yellow police tape and an officer telling us we couldn't go into the lobby as it was a crime scene!  Seems someone had tried to rob the front desk clerk in the pre-dawn hours.  We didn't hear a thing.  Might want to think about staying here again.

Proof positive of Wife, #2 and 2.1 being in Washington D.C.

Droolasaurus Rex
aka 2.4 (he's teething)

Pile O Crabs

Devastation wrought by clan on Pile O Crabs

Our hotel lobby shut down by the Falls Church police

Saturday, August 23, 2014

PuLandic Visit

There are only around 5 more months left before Daughter #2, Venerable Pu and family head back to Asia for there next two and half year tour (Hong Kong) so we want to see them as much as we can before they take off. 

This is a very quick trip with us arriving on Friday and going back on Monday.  Even with a flight delay out of Houston we arrived early enough to run over to their house and have dinner.  2B had gone out and gotten Peruvian chicken, a favorite...and opened up a couple of bottles of really nice wine.

Today, we went with 2.1 and #2 to the Holocaust Museum. I had never been to before.  #2 wanted 2.1 to have the experience plus with 2.1 going to boarding school for the period #2 and the rest of the family are in Hong Kong and Wife and I being the closest family members, we wanted to have some personal time with her (2.1).  The Holocaust Museum is certainly a very powerful experience.

We're going out tonight with the two adults.