Space: The Final Frontier

Day t+8 of the COVID19 quarantine.

Real estate in Monterey, CA, is at a premium; ergo most houses are small in square footage. Normally, this isn’t a problem for me because I don’t spend a lot of time in my house.

These aren’t normal times, just in case anybody reading this is coming out of a cryonic stasis aka cryosleep.

It’s also been cold and rainy the past week, which makes getting outside and enjoying nature more difficult. Apparently, Lyle brought the rain with him when he left Arkansas.

Rain means blooming plants, none of which grow in Louisiana. So, of course, I’m allergic. I wake up every morning with a head full of snot, a tickle in the back of my throat, and wonder if I’ve got it.


This is the BIG ONE, Elizabeth! credit: Sanford & Son

This hyper-awareness is the worst part. Analyzing every minute twitch and twinge and thinking that I’m just a week away from dying of suffocation.

Productivity is down and pounds are up. Lose/lose/lose.

I’ve read some POW stories, and apparently the space inside my head is more important than the space around me. If I can figure out the best way for ME to keep it clear, then I’ll win this war.


Here’s to having the strength to make good choices.

Posted in California, End of the World, Home Improvement, Louisiana, Monterey, parks & recreation, Sports, weather, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Shelter at Home

Day t-1. I broke my wine opener. The corkscrew got stuck and snapped off. Not an auspicious beginning to my quarantine party.

Bonebreaker – Old Vine Zine. Really good red wine, but suggest rebranding as “CorkBreaker.”

Monterey County has issued a “shelter in place” order. I’m fortunate to be able to work from home, but am concerned about my lack of work pajamas.

work pjs

I saw The Dude in concert at the Golden State Theater in Monterey. Beat Root Revival opened and they were both awesome!

Amazon has ceased delivery of anything that isn’t a medical supply or a “high demand” product, i.e., toilet tissue. Wonder if that means they’ll deliver Cadbury mini-eggs?

My life, and everyone else’s, is in turmoil. Upheaval on a national scale makes it hard to breathe. Hard to reason.

For some reason, I am reminded of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy that I used to listen to every day when driving the kids home from school.

For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us, and on the whole world.

I’m out here on the edge of the continent, away from my family, but surrounded by friends, and am so grateful for the technology that keeps us all connected.

Even though all the parties are cancelled, we have so much to celebrate.

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Big, Little World

I’m not sure what to think about the novel corona virus going around the globe like a case of HSV2 at Coachella.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of people who will be glad to tell me what to think, but I’m stubborn and choose to evaluate the facts on my own.

Except in this case, the facts are coming from China, not a place known for free expression or communication.

What I do know, from years of watching hurricane forecasts and evacuation orders is that:

  1. disasters are really hard to predict. Even common ones like tornadoes, floods, and ice storms. It’s been a long time since the world has seen a global pandemic.
  2. it’s hard to gauge the strength of a storm at landfall– will it weaken, get stronger, fall apart? We are dealing with a virus of unknown strength. There’s uncertainty about the death rate because we aren’t able to detect how many people have it.
  3. We have an equation with multiple unknowns and a terrifying vision of the post-apocalyptic future brought to us by Stephen King’s The Stand. 

Given all this, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Probably. Maybe.

Here’s the thing– we don’t have any way to gauge the effectiveness of preventive measures. If there’s no outbreak in the US, then were the precautions  necessary in the first place or were they a success? Guess it depends on WHO spins it (pun intended).




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Hadrian’s Wall

Hadrian’s wall was on Jeopardy and I didn’t remember anything about it, history minor notwithstanding.

So, I looked it up.

A.D. 122. The Romans are in Britannia and want to keep the Barbarians out. So they built a wall.

Hadrian’s Wall a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Great Wall of China is one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World.

The Great Wall of China is visble from space.

Neither of these historic walls serve their original purpose— to keep outsiders out.

Nearly a million people a year visit the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. It’s part of the Jewish Temple destroyed by the Romans and also protects the Muslim holy site: The Dome of the Rock.

The Western Wall in Jerusalem.

The Vietnam Memorial is a 2 acre wall of names— names of those who lost their lives in service to this country. It’s a monument to their sacrifice. And a reminder of the currency politicians ante with their posturing.

The Vietnam Memorial Wall

The Republican Party has come a long way from the days when President Ronald Reagan’s admonished Mr. Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall.

The Berlin Wall

Walls remind me of the folly of man— they are like levees, destined to break against the inevitable shifting of the river.

And yet, we crave them. We rely on their structure to keep us safe from the elements and to avoid discomfort.

Even when camping, we set up a tent.

Rock climbing tent.
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Mercredi des Cendres

When I was a kid growing up in the mostly Protestant, rural edge of northwest Louisiana, we didn’t get out of school for Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday for the non-Francophiles).

mardi gras

I’m not sure when colleges and universities began making it an official holiday, but I can’t recall it’s presence on the academic calendars before the advent of I-49.

The north-south interstate highway and the widening of Hwys 165 and 171 have increased the amount of cultural exchange in my home state, notably bringing crawfish to north Louisiana.

crawfish boil

Patisseries in Monterey had French Galette de Rois around the Epiphany, but they are very different from the Louisiana King Cake, even though they have the same name.

galette de rois

Traditional French Galette de Rois

Well, they’re both round…..

king cake

Traditional Louisiana King Cake, complete with the plastic baby.

The whole reason for the big party on Fat Tuesday is that it’s the precursor to the Lenten season, which kicks off with Ash Wednesday.

People from Louisiana have a reputation around the world as being fun-loving, friendly, and ready to party at the drop of a hat. I think we should be proud of this, because finally Louisiana is 1st in something good– being present, being mindful, being in the moment.

Tomorrow, it may come a flood or a hurricane, crops may fail, and politicians will surely disappoint, but we will deal with those problems when they arise.

make hay

Make hay while the sun shines is my big lesson of the Lenten season. There is always more to do, improvements to make, mountains to climb. But let’s not forget to celebrate, and celebrate daily, for tomorrow is not promised.

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Swimming Lessons

#1 – A second is a long damn time. 2 seconds might as well be forever.

Words of wisdom. Circa 2014 (Pre-PhD)

#2 – The 400 IM is marginally worse than the 200 Fly in short course and exponentially worse in long course.

Here’s the exponent rules to help with thr math.

#3 – It’s a team sport. These are the people who kick you in the face during practice, but will lift you up when you’re having a bad meet.

From L to R: Jordan Carl, Lyle Alford, Sam Melhorn, Bree Lyerly. Hendrix Seniors, 2020

4 – Parents will be asked to time at meets. Wear appropriate footwear. Get a pedicure.

Not my toes.

5 – You can never have enough food in your house. Ever.

6 – Strike a fine balance on senior night. Mascara will run, but you might want to fix your hair.

Don’t blink. You’ll miss the whole thing.

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DelRey Chronicles

It’s a Long, Hard Journey Home perfectly expresses the sentiment of the series which follows ex-priest Jeremiah DelRey as he travels across the country thwarting demons and delaying the Apocalypse.

These stories have rattled around in my head since 2011. In my head all the scenes are illustrated, but in my budget….

I’d like to thank Chris Greybe for the illustrations (, Chris Cox for the editorial help, and Jeremy Grassman ( for putting this into an ebook format for me.

Here’s a link to the ePub, which will open in the BOOKS APP on your iPhone: Gone to the Dogs ePub

This is a .pdf of the individual pages that I did in Canva (reminder, I am an accountant, not a visual artist) DelRey 1.1 GTD

Tiger by the Tail is next in this series.



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