they was the lucky ones what died matey

Shit’s very real at work all of a sudden. Software is decided and the baton has been passed to my team. So we are moving. Lots going on. Long days this week. Suddenly feels like a project. But, the piper must be paid as we know.

Yesterday I managed to slip out at lunch for a 14-mile ride along Lakeshore to the football stadium and back. One of those rides that just felt amazing at first. Weather was great and I was unleashed from the laptop and the desktop, even if only for a few minutes. But on the turnaround, I realized that much of that goodness, that presumptive fitness, was actually a tailwind. Which meant a brutal headwind on the return trip. Nothing to do but tuck the head down and grind it out. And so I did. Got back just in time for my next con call.

Lovely night. Just very very nice. I am daily reminded of what a blessed life I have. I am sitting outside on the patio. It is warm and beautiful. I just finished an amazing meal, because my momma made sure all of us not only know how to cook, but truly enjoy it. I had dinner with a lovely Bordeaux. I’m having a great scotch now with a robust Nicaraguan Oliva cigar and getting ready to settle in to read more of Rick Bass.

I guess, in an awkward way, what I am saying is, I feel fortunate to understand that these simple pleasures, which are so common to me, are actually blessings. First, around 1/2 the people in the world do not enjoy true food security and have access to all the things we take for granted. That is one view. The other view, is that many people who live in circumstances roughly equivalent to my own, are also dissatisfied, because they believe they would enjoy more happiness if their wine was a better vintage, or their meal prepared by a personal chef, or if they had the 7’s series BMW, or if their home was in a slightly better neighborhood, like maybe next to the local news anchor’s home for example….. always something will make us more happy. This is a lesson best learned young, although many never learn it at all.

I’ve had virtually no physical maladies (knock on wood)– in spite of 20 years of rugby and mountain biking and scuba diving and rock climbing and traveling the world and generally living a hedonistic lifestyle.

So I feel truly blessed for what I have, and to understand that it is more than enough. Any shortcomings in my contentment level is on me–not on my circumstances. Anyway, at 57 years, my circumstances are 100% brought about by decisions I have made. So even if I were unhappy, I could only reflect inwards to understand how I arrived here.

I’ve been catching up with my peeps in South Africa and Namibia. Beverly is doing well in Cape Town. She had a baby and has been running her business in Windhoek from Cape Town for 3 months. She’s a real badass. Some of our MYO alumni are really feeling the COVID impact now. Jobs are already scarce there, and many have lost what income they did have.

I did the final sanding of the epoxy on the outer hull of the canoe last weekend. Yesterday and today I put the first and second coats of varnish on. Varnish is critical for UV protection because epoxy essentially has no UV resistance. I realized, finally on the weekend, that I’d been deliberately delaying these last steps on the outside a bit. The reason is that there isn’t to a clear consensus on several elements. The guy at West Marine says I must scrub the hull very thoroughly with a good detergent, like Tide. The book I am using as a guide makes no mention of this. The instructions on the varnish say, when applying over epoxy, wash with an ammonia mix. How much ammonia? What’s the ratio? Lots of internet information says to be sure to wipe with acetone before each coat. Some resources say the first coat must be thinned with paint thinner, but the instructions on the can do not mention it except in cases of bare wood.

So, Sunday I washed the hull thoroughly with detergent and got the sanded epoxy dust off. Then I will wiped it down several times with hot water and finally again with mineral spirits. I also vacuumed the garage really well to remove as much dust as possible. Only then did I start with the first of 4 coats of varnish on the outer hull. When that is done, I will be around 50% complete and can take the canoe off the strongback and flip it over to start working the inside.

After the canoe work was done on Sunday I headed east to M Cellars vineyard and Red Eagle Distillery in Geneva. It was the perfect day for a motorcycle ride, so I rode the big two-wheeler and took the back roads. Sat outside and had a couple of glasses of wine with hummus and pita for a snack and then walked across the street to the distillery to taste some OH whiskeys. Then the easy ride home through the country side.

I’ve managed a few good bike rides and hikes in between con-calls. Lots going on between trying to start a new business,  plug in a new ERP system for a large real-estate organization, build a canoe and manage a little physical and mental fitness. But all is good.

I had wanted to make this Italian tricolor dish on Italian Liberation Day. But I got too busy and missed it by a few days. Shells, stuffed with ricotta and Boursin and covered with pesto, mozzarella and marina. Also made a killer quiche on Sunday.

No other news of note.

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