Friday, November 27, 2020

Merry BlackRifleDay!

Warning: This post derives from a deep well of batshit crazy.

I keep working on this thing, adding pictures and video and words, and not getting it published. What's the problem?

It really comes down to not pushing the publish button. Clicking on it. Whatever. Just finish adding, copy edit, and publish. How hard can it be?

In my defence these things can be hard to write and construct. It takes time. I have to get my head approximately right, and then write, and then clean up the writing. I also have to plug in videos and images, and blooooooooger makes that challenging, difficult, and time consuming.

Plus too also as well, I've got manifold irons in the fire, and they suck up a lot of time. Some of them are "drop everything and attend now" tasks because they are executed in support of the most important people in the world. Others must be done because that's the way the world works. These things take priority over the blog. You kind readers know all this, so I'm not sure why I'm expanding on the topic, other than it popped into my brain and like a squirrel sighting captured every bit of my consciousness, such as it is.


Oh, it's also been remarkably fine and pleasant November weather. Being old, it takes me a lot of time to properly appreciate the fine and pleasant. Also, I have to go there to capture images and ideas to share here. 

I wanted to get this thing published yesterday, on Thanksgiving Day. My thought was that I could publish both my 2020 Thanksgiving Day Gratitude/Thankfulness list and images/observations about the feast and festivities.

Well, that didn't work. I spent several precious hours as the prisoner of little ones. When the stars line up like that there's nothing more important in the universe than livin' the moment in that bubble of love. I am so blessed.

An amusing consequence. The little ones watched videos on my phone with me, the two year old more than the four year old. The littlest is cracking smart and when she has the opportunity she works very hard at figuring out how to run my phone. This morning I find that I am subscribed to several u2b kids channels. I did not notice her subscribing, but she has very fast phone fingers. I wonder how many toys she bought while I was looking but not seeing. Here's one of the videos the kids (including me) found fascinating.

I intended to blog after bedtime, but when that arrived I was plumb wore out and needed my sleepies as much as the little ones needed theirs.

And now it's the morning of November 27, 2020, the dreaded black death shopping day, and here I am keybabbling once again. I still haven't downloaded pictures and video from yesterday!

Well. Let's get to it. While the phone downloads I have to decide whether to rewrite the stuff before or leave it as is. And if I leave it, should I annotatively 'splain why the past is reading like the present? Hmmmmm. 


I started this a couple of days ago and have been hitting it sporadically. It's tough times but also good times.

It got cold and snowy on Monday night. Which is, hey, November!

Today is Thanksgiving. What am I thankful for?

I'm thankful I'm alive and stupidly healthy. That I'm stupidly fit and getting more stupidly fit. That I have a job at the widget factory. That I don't have a need to sit in the electric chair with my feet up, and perhaps more importantly that I keep busy enough to avoid the opportunity to spend too much time in the death chair. At the same time I'm thankful, oh so thankful, that I have that purple leather monstrosity of a recliner, for my sweet, beautiful, Alexzandra gave it to me and I had a couple of epic phonecons with her while sitting in it. Therefore I'm thankful that I can sit there when it's appropriate and wrap myself in a physical expression of her love and remember the sound of her voice and the reality of our love for one another. I'm thankful for her kids and the unconditional love we share, for the oh-so-precious time the little ones spend sitting in my lap and telling me about their stuff. I'm so incredibly blessed and thankful for Allie's sister and her husband and the wonderful things they do for me and the kids; for how brave they are and how hard working and dedicated and loving and caring.

I'm thankful for the sunshine of today and the mostly still air which will make running in the November chill a delight. As for running, I'm thankful for the secret knowledge passed on to me long ago by grand shipmates -- the certain knowledge that I can always do more, I can always do much more than I think I can, that so long as I draw breath there's always more in the tank, and that it's soul-killing death to chain myself to imagined limitations.

I am incredibly thankful for my friends, those I know in the flesh and those of you I know only virtually. You all lift me up and your kindness and loving friendship mean more than I can ever say in this limited language we use.

I'm grateful and thankful for my pain and for my troubles. I am grateful for my grief and for the hard challenges it brings. I am thankful for the attacks from people who choose to behave as feral ape-lizards, for they illustrate in stark and fearsome ways that I too can behave as a feral ape-lizard, and that such a living death would truly be a life of hell on earth. Navigating these hard things is a vital part of livin', and I choose to live rather than exist. I'm thankful that I choose to face pain and trouble with eyes wide open, to embrace the bad and the good with the courage given me by God and by my wife.

More than anything else in the mortal world, I am so very thankful that Alexzandra allowed me to love her without condition, to give all of me to all of her. She woke me from a limited life of virtual blindness and led me by the hand and heart into a world of true living color. This is no small thing. This is everything. I am infinitely blessed and infinitely thankful for the everything that beautiful woman gave to me. These tiny and limited words cannot adequately describe my thankfulness for and to Alexzandra.

At the top of the list I am thankful for the blessing of my relationship with God; for each and every blessing He bestows upon me, for each and every living breath He gives to me.


Since there's no widget production today I got to turn off the alarm when it rang and sleep in until 0530. Yeah, 90 minutes of bliss! I also got to run sprints and steps. I can work harder and longer on days off as I'm not limited to a pair of 15 minute breaks.

This morning I did my usual sit ups, pushups, squats, curls, and presses. Nothing major, just muscle warmup and toning. Well, I guess I'm trying to make the arms look good since I insist on wearing sleeveless tee shirts. Chicks dig that kind of thing.

Once I was warm and loose I took the dogs, Nona and Tommy, and ran two miles. Dogs are sprinters and don't have the juice for distance, so they were both completely smoked by the time we got back.

Then it was time for "thirty minutes of hell," which turned out to be almost 36 minutes of step running. I had the rubber legs at the end...

It was a remarkably beautiful Thanksgiving morning.

After I finished 30 minutes of hell, I did six more minutes, which was more of a cool down really, and provided me with the opportunity to babble endlessly (while still moving!) and present a common sense approach to surviving the wuhandromeda strain. For certain values of common sense. Fair warning, the video exceeds seven minutes. Gag.

Did I mention how remarkably beautiful Thanksgiving Day 2020 was? Pardon the fuzzy bits, there's two year old finger glop on the lens.

And more finger glop.

Ditto. The kids all enjoyed their feast.

And it was a feast! Glop and all.


Are we shadows cast by a reality we cannot see, or are we real people navigating a real landscape in the reality of a real universe?

It's a question which cannot be answered. It can be known though. I cast a shadow because I am real.

Regardless of the unanswerables, we seem to exist in space and in time. We each get to choose how to proceed. We can be NPC's existing in someone else's game, or we can live in reality. November's reality in this place and at this time is not a pretty picture in the tee-vee, it is what it is, where it is, and it is spectacularly beautiful.

November is a juxtaposition of warm and cold, ease and unease, comfort and discomfort. November is an opportunity to choose existence or livin'.

Three frogs sitting on a log. One decides to jump into the pond. How many frogs are left on the log?



Yes, three. A decision is not action.

Action requires work and effort and risk.

Acting to live is fraught with danger. It brings pain, and the pain of livin' is unavoidable. But it also brings unspeakably beautiful reward. The two are as one, the yinyang of livin'. Chaos and order meet in that place, and that place is where I must properly be to act on my decision to live.


Monday was one of those days when the grief was close and heavy, wrapped around my heart like mud encrusted anchor chain.

At the same time it was a glorious day. Cold and overcast and Novembry. Damp with overnight snow on the ground, slowly and painfully melting because the ground is still above freezing for the most part. Kissed with pesky and chill breezes, but also kissed with warmth in sheltered southern exposures where the sun's infrared radiation continued to deliver magic through the clouds. Widget work was good and working around widget people was better. I had occasion to take a two hour break, and much of that time was spent with little ones in my lap, alternately wriggling and snuggling, delighting in living precious minutes of close contentment.

The way deep hurt can coexist simultaneously with profound joy is a very odd and puzzling thing to me. In my orderly (?!?) mind these things cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Yet they do. In so many ways this is a terribly hard landscape to navigate, but it is what I have. More and more I realize that I am doing what I should, and doing it the way I should. Hard as it is, it is also deeply satisfying and deeply rewarding. Alexzandra is the most important thing in my corporeal existence. Her kids and her family are part of her, so they are part of most important. My priority is to love them, and everything else follows naturally, falling into place properly.

I am in exactly the right place and in exactly the right state. It is a place and state I could never have imagined, could never have known.


On Saturday I plan to get tattoos. How's that for batshit crazy? Silly sailor, you get tattoos in your youth while sailing the Seven Seas! I'll show you the work when it's done.


Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.

Finally! Press the damme button!


  1. Kudos, You are looking ship shape!
    The little is going to keep you on your toes.
    Blessed we are even in the tough times.
    Enjoyed the windmill and fence line photos, thank you!

    1. Thanks Brig, it's been a fun process.
      Yep, she's a force of nature without a doubt.
      It's the blessing of livin'.
      Windmills, fencelines, sun and shadow. Lots of beauty in nature's world.

  2. The blog, it's not as important as we'd like to believe.
    I sometimes have to remind myself.

    1. Mine is mostly vanity and hubris and not important at all. From time to time it might cast a smile or prompt reflection, but the world can survive just fine without it. Of course I can and do get caught up in the importance of the thing. Which is a useful state of affairs after a fashion.

      Thanks Skip.

  3. Nice to see you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, Shaun.

    Sometimes our burdens are oppressively heavy, and then days like Thanksgiving come along and they seem as light as a feather.

    In the end they all "average out". I think it's our own individual attitudes that help it average out.

    1. It was an awesome Thanksgiving and turned into a day of continuous thankfulness. It's a boon to be aware of being thankful, appreciative, and filled with gratitude. I'm getting better (slowly) at doing that on the other 364 and a quarter.

      When I team up with God and family the burden is almost comfortably bearable.

      Thanks drjim.

  4. In the end it's all about love, innit?

    1. Yeah, it is. It's been an interesting path. Alexandra having the courage to beat me into a state of teachableness; what a wonder.

      Thanks Chris.

  5. Hello again,
    I keep meaning to check in and say "Hi" and get distracted or simply don't do it. We had a great Thanksgiving with our two youngest grandchildren and their parents. Going home soon for "after Christmas" with the older two and whoever else shows up. We are looking forward to that. Good to see that you are keepin' on keepin' on and have great help doing it. Stay safe and well and let us hear from you when it suits you. Love to see the puppy dogs.

    1. Thanks Mark. Glad you had a great Thanksgiving and more Holiday Season joy to look forward to. I am enormously blessed and am excitedly looking forward to Christmas more than I ever did before, even when I was a kid. How's that for a surprise I never saw coming?

      I'll try to feature more of the puppy dogs.

  6. Thank you for this and all your writings, they do make life a fair bit better.


    1. Thanks very much RAS, that's very kind and means a great deal. Best wishes.

  7. Fueled at the Kwik Stop today. Happy to see they still have Almond Amaretto cappuccino but they were sold out of gizzards, drat. Beautiful day. Started in North Bend then to Alliance, down to Bridgeport then 88 to 71. Leaving North Bend at 0630 put us in the sand hills at dawn which was an enjoyable drive. Best part? Didn't dodge any Bambis. Your part of the world has it's charms for those who are willing to look.

    1. Sounds like a great drive. I love motoring along 88 and that 325 stretch between Bridgeport and the SoDak border, and Highway 2 of course.

      As for the charm, being willing to look seems to be the key. In your face nature like mountains and giant trees and paintshop explosion fall leaves is spectacular and fun, but it's also a bit too easy. Looking is working and work earns reward in this universe.

      Thanks Frank.