Parks & Camping

Kathy and I occasionally throw the dogs into the car, hook up the trailer and head out to one of Washington State Parks’ campgrounds.

Since the day we started doing that some years ago I’ve been impressed by just how well they’re kept.

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A Community Of Information

It’s no secret that I believe quite strongly that the internet has created more community and opportunity than it’s destroyed, and connected more people in more ways than we could possibly have imagined. Yes, there are issues, but they are far outweighed by the positives.

A simple example: I’m currently in my travel trailer, parked outside my sister-in-laws house, near a workshop that has a 220 volt electrical outlet for a welder.

Can I plug in my trailer? I plug into a different type of 220 outlet at home, why not this one?

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As part of my daily research to produce Not All News Is Bad (NANIB) I run across a lot of positive news stories. (That daily research is the intended goal of NANIB — that I publish it is just a side effect.)

When my wife stumbled into a story about a new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease that is showing promise my first thought was that I’ve been seeing a lot of stories about progress on the medical front.

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The Weather

Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it. -Charles Dudley Warner

As I write this large portions of Texas are experiencing and recovering from hurricane Harvey. Even just skimming headlines is enouh to make me very, very grateful for the mostly mild & moderate weather we experience here in the Pacific Northwest.

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It’s not fashionable to speak positively about the government, particularly in the United States, and particularly during the current administration.

And to be crystal clear, I believe our current president has no business being in the White House, and is a colossal embarrassment to this country.

What I’m grateful for, however, is that I can say that.

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I love all our dogs, it should go without saying (I hope). Each is unique, with their own personality, characteristics, and quirks.

Some are just quirkier than others.

And some … well, some just come with a story.

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Early Retirement

I don’t really believe in traditional “retirement”. The concept being that you work for some number of years, stop, and go on to a life of leisure at best, or boredom at worst.

I never planned to stop working, and I still don’t. To me my work is my “life of leisure”, so to speak. It’s what I expect to be doing my entire life.

But technically I am retired.

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There’s no place like home.

There really isn’t. It doesn’t matter what it looks like, or what’s inside or outside, how big it is or how messy it is, there’s just something about … home.

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Not Being Needed

I volunteer for a local animal rescue organization — not the “adopt a puppy” kind, but the “my dog’s stuck in a ravine” kind. When called out we mobilize with a collection of people, skills and equipment that allow us to help get animals — often large animals — out of a variety of sticky situations.

Earlier today I got the call.

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Childhood Memories

When I was young we would typically get a Christmas Package from my grandmother. It would usually arrive in early December, to coincide with St. Nicholas Day — Sinterklaas — (December 6th), when the Dutch traditionally did their gift exchanges.

In the package would be a variety of things, much of which didn’t really interest me.

But a few things most definitely did.

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Supply Chain

This will be difficult to articulate, because it’s another of those things that folks tend to take completely for granted.

It’s also difficult to put the appreciation into words without coming across as arrogant or condescending. My intent, of course, is neither.

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A Blender?

You might notice along my little path of gratitude that I’ve not mentioned many things, focusing as much as possible on people, opportunities, and situations.

This one’s different. It’s a thing.

Specifically, it’s a blender. But it’s not just any blender…

It’s a Vitamix.

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This may sound a little odd to some, but I’m grateful to be an only child.

I’m sure that if I’d had siblings today’s stop on my sixty days of gratitude trip would be about them instead, but — honestly — being “an only” has worked out well for me, and I’m thankful for that.

Particularly when I compare my situation to some others with siblings.

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Good Customer Service

I’ve been fortunate when it comes to most of my customer service experiences, and I was fortunate again today.

I had a question about my mobile data plan — the type of question that’s really best dealt with in person. Essentially I was looking for connectivity options for my cousin’s upcoming trip from Europe. She’ll be here for five weeks, but plans to travel in Canada as well as the US. Connectivity — while not essential — is definitely an exceptional convenience when available.

So I went to the Verizon Wireless store.

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Connectivity and the Technology to Use It

My site was down.

Worse, Ask Leo! ( was, instead of displaying its content, displaying sensitive configuration information including the username and password to the master database.

And even worse … I was out of the office, running errands.

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Yes, I’m grateful for World of Warcraft.

Actually I’m grateful not just for the class of entertainment and diversion it provides, but also for reasons which will become very clear.

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Keeping the Wheels On

Everytime I get sick, or hurt myself — which fortunately isn’t that often for either — I end up reminding myself to be grateful for my generally good health when I’m feeling better.

Then, of course, I completely forget as the fog or pain or whatever lifts and I go on living my life.

I’m not sick. I haven’t hurt myself. It’s time.

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The Warmth of Friends

… we thank
thee most of
all for warmth of
friends who come to call…

That’s a portion of a prayer that I memorized as a child. Not because I had to, but because it was printed on a decorative cutting board that was always in our kitchen or dining room. I was always looking at it, and it stuck.

Now, these many years later, the verse on friends rings truer than ever.

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Working For Yourself

When you’re a “solopreneur”, as it’s now refered to — an individual working for yourself, especially online – you can look at each week either of two ways:

  • Every day is a potential day of work. Weekends are nothing special; they’re just another couple of days.
  • Every day is a potential day off. Weekdays are nothing special either.

It requires some self-discipline, but I’m exceptionally grateful for both ways of looking at things.

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What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

In 1983 I was working for a small company making microprocessor-based data entry terminals. I’ve often referred to it as being on a “reverse growth” trajectory.

When I started they were 25 employees strong. When I left there were 5. When I started I was the latest addition to the three person software department. When I left, I was the software department. (And, no, it wasn’t me, I swear!)

You get the idea. The writing was on the wall well before I left, so I’d started keeping my eyes peeled. And I encountered an advertisement in the local paper.

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