January 2023

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People travel to wonder
at the height of the mountains,
at the huge waves of the seas,
at the long course of the rivers,
at the vast compass of the ocean,
at the circular motion of the stars,
and yet they pass by themselves
without wondering.

Saint Augustine


No Excuses

I am exhausted by the ill behavior of others. And to cut anyone off at the Greg Cooper pass, definitely not his. I promise! We are better than a-okay.

Truly good, lasting relationships result from doing the work to make them so. Everyone must take full responsibility for their actions, so if someone hurts you, tell them. Set boundaries if you need to. Do not assume they know you are upset or give them the silent treatment until they guess. This is passive-aggressive immaturity in action.

If you are the one who has done the hurting, make it right. Saying someone you love died or you were young or having a bad day or under the influence of drugs or alcohol does not count. Saying you have social anxiety does not count. Saying you have children does not count. These are no excuse for bad behavior and precisely how not taking responsibility looks.

Additionally, no one should automatically know you are sorry for your actions. People are not mind readers. You need to actually apologize, genuinely, whatever the circumstance. Express exactly what you did wrong and how you intend to do better in the future. This is required even if you didn’t mean to hurt someone and maybe the most difficult to recognize. The pathway to hell is, as they say, paved with good intentions!

Finally, sometimes the hurt person may decide the relationship is no longer worth it, too much water under the bridge. This is entirely their right. No one else gets to decide, and anything along these lines is an attempt at control. The same applies if years have gone by and the hurt person still does not wish to reconcile. Don’t try to shame someone because you want your family or friend group back. Succumbing to your desires does not make them a “better” person. It makes them abandon their security and principles for your comfort. As challenging as this is, give your heartbreak over to grief and make every attempt at healing the loss.

Saying all of this in such a matter of fact fashion does not belie the fact that this shit is hard. How lousy is it to be the one left behind (personal experience!), to wish we behaved better. By that same token, it is far easier to wallow in our sorrows, failings, and anxieties than address them directly, maturely. Admitting fault is scary! The beauty is, with every breath, we have another opportunity. The choice is ours.


Nothing, in truth, can ever replace a lost companion. Old comrades cannot be manufactured. There is nothing that can equal the treasure of so many shared memories, so many bad times endured together, so many quarrels, reconciliations, heartfelt impulses. Friendships like that cannot be reconstructed. If you plant an oak, you will hope in vain to sit soon under its shade.
For such is life. We grow rich as we plant through the early years, but then come the years when time undoes our work and cuts down our trees. One by one our comrades deprive us of their shade, and within our mourning we always feel now the secret grief of growing old.
If I search among my memories for those whose taste is lasting, if I write the balance sheet of the moments that truly counted, I surely find those that no fortune could have bought me. You cannot buy the friendship of a companion bound to you forever by ordeals endured together.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


That’s what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you to another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book. It’s geometrically progressive – all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment.

Mary Ann Shaffer

Happy Wednesday dear reader! How are you? Are you feeling refreshed this new year? Greg and I are knee-deep in our diet reset and feeling quite good.

The first three photos are evidence of our year-end dietary wonders. First is a seafood lasagna, recipe from Inspired by Charm (Hello Pittsburgh!), which served as our fabulous Christmas dinner. We swapped the noodles with thin sliced butternut squash, and it still felt quite indulgent. It also made for spectacular leftovers! I hadn’t made pumpkin bread for ages and did a fine job of it. Pizza on a very cold day when the indoor oven would not stifle the house was the tops. Absolutely!

The weather is winter-still, icy cold. Dog walks are bundled in the thin warmth of afternoon or not at all, poor Juniper. Though she minds less when we are prompt with morning and afternoon snacks. Our girl remains food motivated.

The dazzle of moonlight was New Year’s Eve. 100 years of AdAmAn meant our sleepy souls didn’t have to wait until midnight for Pike’s Peak fireworks, but got a little preview at nine p.m. Yay! It was a bit too cloudy for much of a show, but we enjoyed a neighborly chat with a woman and her grandchildren in the church lot while we watched and waited. Hooray for childhood and human connection.

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