It’s been a while…

It hasn’t felt appropriate to blog for much of this year, but I’ll be starting up again as we hopefully begin to turn a collective corner. I won’t dwell, but I will just say I am beyond thankful for health, family, friendship, the little things, and the strength you all have shown yourselves and each other throughout this unimaginable year.

Perhaps fittingly, I’m starting my return by sharing a short graduation speech I gave for my grandson Geoffrey (my oldest grandchild), who just graduated from high school this past Saturday. These milestones, whatever form they take, are things we can no longer take for granted. Here’s to the bright days ahead.


Well, our grandson Geoffrey is graduating from high school and going to college. Bittersweet, yes, but picture me shouting out loud and jumping up and down every step of the way ahead. Congratulations; bravo; kick some a**; you rock; you are the MAN; the list goes on.

Even though countless people all over the world have done it and moved on, make no mistake: graduating from high school is a big deal. Enjoy it. You are the center of attraction, the man of the hour. You are why we are all here. Your courage, determination and insight have made this possible; you are resilient, smart and opinionated, but also tender-hearted and always kind. You’ve taught us so much about the “new world” we live in, and how to navigate it about how to strike the ever-tricky balance between conviction and open-mindedness. It feels like we are changing positions; now, instead of me being your leading hand as we cross the (figurative) street, you’re holding mine.

As a child, you were determined to do it your way, and that’s what you’ve always done; you’ve always been a leader with your family, and nothing will change, even though you will be leading us from afar. You have always made a statement with your life, and this is just the beginning.You are filled with dreams and aspirations, some old and fading, others new, and many more that you don’t know about yet. They are locked somewhere in your psyche and soul, and they’ll be ready to spring forth when you decide to unlock them. We all can’t wait.

There are countless ways to describe you, but I’ll end with one: you are one cool dude, one who can glide through all conditions like water flowing down a mountain. Rejoice in the glory of your day.

Comments: Comments Off on It’s been a while… Posted by: Categories: life

Bearded irises & bears

When winter is over, warmer days come, and they bring with them a chance to grow. There is some underlying force that comes in the air and drives me to garden shops to buy annuals, perennials and vegetable starters. It’s in the scent of freshly cut grass, the magic carpet of color that takes over my lawn, and the birds that loudly visit my feeder. I am a sucker for the gardening magazine, and I order plants based on the colors presented in the periodicals – not very scientific, but I am a truly visual person. I love reds, purples, fuchsia with black and white thrown in. I’m not vying for the local garden tour; I’m not sure what I am vying for, except the beautiful sense of peace my garden gives me.

My backyard is a visiting area for wild animals, especially deer, woodchucks and even a bear. I have somehow come to terms with what I plant being vulnerable to local wildlife. I’ll still try to fool them as much as possible, but I no longer get anxious about “plant loss,” although I still always feel a tinge of disappointment watching my garden get eaten by someone besides me.

This may seem like an exhibit more appropriate for spring time than a fall warmup. But there is hope in the inevitable change of the season, as one couldn’t exist without the other. As I tramp around outside, there are endless reminders of what grew and what to look forward to. And now I’ll have more time for my Peloton.  If you have a second, enjoy some highlights from this year.

Comments: Comments Off on Bearded irises & bears Posted by: Categories: life

Field Report: Kelly’s Snack Shack

You can’t judge a building by its prominent vent, especially in Vermont. Formerly called “Doreen’s,” Kelly’s Snack Shack is a very small seasonal drive-in in Wallingford, VT that could pass as a gas station from another life, serving a mishmash of unpretentious local fare. You might be inclined to skip it, especially when you see the line; Kelly’s takes social distancing very seriously, as you can tell by the construction pile-ons every six feet. But if you use the wait to relax and reflect, you’ll be completely surprised at the end result. It’s hard to go wrong with anything from the sandwiches and hot dogs to chili fries and onion rings, but one personal highlight is the small chocolate cremee, which for the uninitiated is chocolate and vanilla combined in a cone.


It’s so big that you end up with the Cremee Tower of Pisa, and the laws of physics make it generally impossible to finish before some damage is done. But even the light brown mix at the bottom of the cone is truly sublime. If Congress was as blended as a cremee, could bipartisanship taste as good? Okay, enough politics. But whether you’re into sweet or savory, head to Kelly’s before the snow comes and break some blended bread.

Comments: Comments Off on Field Report: Kelly’s Snack Shack Posted by: Categories: life

The Art of Distraction

by Tucker Angier 

For me, the key to balance in life has always been a healthy separation between work and play. It can be a physical separation like creating a “work nook” in my apartment, or a mental one like delegating time for a hobby, or doing truly nothing; as long as I rigorously stick to these distinct borders, I find I create a positive feedback loop that benefits me and everyone in my life (just ask Hannah, my girlfriend). So as you might imagine, things got a bit tricky in March. Navigating a seven-hundred square foot apartment in downtown Chicago was not beneficial to any of the parties involved, and Hannah’s forty-pound piglet, Bernie, took up far more space than one would think. Read more…

Comments: Comments Off on The Art of Distraction Posted by: Categories: life


I was jarred awake by loud claps of thunder, bolts of lightning and torrential rain pelting our metal roof. I stumbled through the house and did what you do in a rainstorm: closed the windows, checked the doors. I crawled back into bed now fully awake, listening to the storm, my mind blank. I tried an old trick which is sort of like counting sheep, but my version is counting to 20 in French, backwards and forwards, backwards and forwards… I love French, but usually it’s so boring and sleep-provoking. But not this time. Read more…

Comments: Comments Off on thunderstorms Posted by: Categories: words

Ride On


Team Perini

It was 3:20 AM. Ahhhh… I had an hour left, but I couldn’t risk oversleeping. After some futile mental tug of war, I got up at 4:15 and jumped in the shower, fidgeted with the hotel coffee maker, and went through all the other prerequisite motions before we hopped in the car at 4:45. Linda “Need for Speed” Angier was at the wheel, so thank God all the cops were still in bed. And yet somehow, we still almost missed the start of the race. This all was no different from how PMC race day usually starts for me, but this year was different: I had just recovered from a brutal 7-week bout with pneumonia, and I wouldn’t be riding.  Read more…

Comments: Comments Off on Ride On Posted by: Categories: words

First turn

It was a crisp, clear Saturday morning in January when my roommate dragged me to the Middlebury Snow Bowl, determined to force me into a hot new trend called “skiing.” He told me that a ski run was good for the soul, and I needed as much soul-saving as I could get. But my new Fisher Pioneers were taller than me with fully extended arms, which couldn’t bode well, and the line was painfully slow. As my crew explained how to “ride” the rope, I watched said rope go from the edge of the parking lot to the top of a hill that was… Read more…

Comments: Comments Off on First turn Posted by: Categories: words


Justin Mortimer, Family Dollar (2009)
Courtesy of the Artist and Master Piper, London. Photograph by Anna Arca. 
Comments: Comments Off on Posted by: Categories: art

Love … or Purchase & Sale

a70c5f7074a9044215a3800fac4444e9--white-doors-heart-wreath (1)
Like many of us, I spent a good deal of my young life pursuing dates, and once upon a time I was even able to get them (references upon request). Today networking “services” like Tinder attempt to expedite the dating process, but since I’m over 30 I did it all the old-fashioned way: white-knuckle cold calls, making sure my fly was zipped before nervously ringing the doorbell, the follow-up, and the several phases of awkwardness, delight and/or grief that came next.
Read more…

Comments: Comments Off on Love … or Purchase & Sale Posted by: Categories: words

Pan-Mass Challenge

The Pan-Mass Challenge announces an unprecedented $56 million gift to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Photo Credit: 13 Photography


I pulled into a water stop, wolfed down a few bites of peanut butter and fluff, topped off my water bottle, and turned to jump back on my bike when Linda – my wife of 28 years and my “domestique” for 13 –  pulled me back for some advice… Read more…

A tale of two funerals

My ex-wife’s brother in law, Jack, recently passed away. His memorial service, which he of course planned in advance, was in a very small white church in Tuftonboro, NH. After a stroke and many wheelchair bound years, he died peacefully in his sleep after bidding his caregivers good night and announcing he loved his family (and especially his wife). I was surprised to learn that in the days leading up, he also asked his staff and wife multiple times about me. Read more…

Comments: Comments Off on A tale of two funerals Posted by: Categories: words

I’ve been obsessed with bike riding since I was 6 years old. Even then, nothing compared to the sense of freedom I discovered when I rode. One year in, my first crash left a chain guard gash in my arm that required stitches and a trip to the ER; I remember crystal clearly how I stood still l as the bike fell over, taking me with it. Yet it was blood and tears but no sweat, and I kept at it – there were other fall-over moments, lots of road rash, two broken helmets, and a separated shoulder, but nothing so serious as to stop me chasing how magical it felt.

And nothing’s changed – my bike is my #1 endurance, exercise and mental health tool. Spring, summer and fall, it comes everywhere with me (forget winter – I’m not that tough).  It’s more than a hobby, it feels like a fulfillment, and it has since I was a kid. That’s half of the reason I train every year for the PMC, 190 miles in 2 days to raise money for Dana Farber’s cancer initiatives. As a survivor,  I also ride to help those who have been stricken and are too weak to pedal, as I once was.

Last fall, a check was given to the Farber for $51 million, raised by 5,000 riders – the lofty goal had been 48. In the past 38 years, the PMC has raised a grand total of $598 million. The ride is one of the best things I do with my energy, spirit, time, and life because it makes me, as well as others, healthy. PMC’s mantra is “closer by the mile” and every year, it manages to feel more meaningful; as we wheel into the finish line people are applauding and cheering, and for a moment, I’m a rock star. In that instant, it all feels like a collective miracle… one big, living proof that we can beat the odds.


Ceremonies & epiphanies

This past Mother’s day weekend, my sons were both home in Cambridge (a rare event). On one beautiful, sun-filled morning, we all decided that it was a great day for a burial. We chose an Evergreen spruce as our stately monument, and everyone did their part to help: the mulch bed was laid, the hole was dug, and the deceased was wrapped in a lovely white pillowcase shroud. My wife got out her prayer book and read the Kaddish, or the Jewish prayer for the dead; it was a perfect ceremony, and I know he was looking down and smiling, despite the fact that I was there.  I am of course talking about… Read more…

Comments: Comments Off on Ceremonies & epiphanies Posted by: Categories: words

War 2.0

Spring is finally in the air and I’m back in my garden, reviewing my defenses. As discussed last year, woodchucks are the “Taliban” of my garden’s existence (and mine), ruthlessly pillaging whatever I grow. My backyard could be an exercise yard at a high security prison, save the lack of Concertina wire. And as I unraveled last summer, I decided to try a substitute. The short version of that story is my loose vegetable wire “cages” have surprisingly been 95% successful.

Yet I stumbled on the attached AP clipping, where one man’s attempt to do in his own whistlepig got out of hand. This story hit too close to home, and shows the desperate lengths us “gardeners” go to defend our territory. Mr. Monmouth let them get to him and it seems he finally reached the edge. I’m not quite there yet, but let’s see how this summer goes…

Comments: Comments Off on War 2.0 Posted by: Categories: words

Memorial Day

At this time of year, I always think of the visit I made to the American Military Cemetery at Thiaucourt, France, Southeast of Paris. The cemetery is in the center of where the Saint-Mihiel salient battle occurred in World War I.

Read more…

Comments: Comments Off on Memorial Day Posted by: Categories: words

Rain On Your Old Tin Hat

The mist hangs low and quiet on a ragged line of hills
There’s a whispering of wind across the flat;
You’d be feeling kind of lonesome if it wasn’t for one thing–
The patter of the raindrops on your old tin hat.

An’ you just can’t help a-figuring–sitting here alone–
About this war and hero stuff and that,
And you wonder if they haven’t sort of got things twisted up,
While the rain keeps up its patter on your old tin hat.

When you step off with the outfit to do your little bit,
You’re simply doing what you’re s’posed to do–
And you don’t take time to figure what you gain or what you lose,
It’s the spirit of the game that brings you through.
But back at home she’s waiting, writing cheerful little notes,
And every night she offers up a prayer
And just keeps on a-hoping that her soldier boy is safe–
The mother of the boy who’s over there.
And, fellows, she’s the hero of this great big ugly war,
And her prayer is on that wind across the flat.
And don’t you reckon maybe it’s her tears, and not the rain,
That’s keeping up the patter on your old tin hat?

American 89th Division

Written at the battle front in France and sent to his mother the night before he was KIA September 12, 1918


Les Gouttes de Pluie sur ton Vieux Casque

La brume suspendue en silence sur les collines échancrées
Passe le souffle du vent a travers le plat
On pourrait se sentir seul, si ce n’était pour une chose,
Le crépitement des gouttes de pluie sur ton vieux casque
Tu ne peux pas t’empêcher d’être là assis seul,
Pensant à cette guerre et à ces trucs de hero et puis,
Tu t’interroges, s’ils avaient emmêlés ces choses,
Pendant que la pluie continue à crépiter sur ton vieux casque.

Quand tu sors avec ton uniforme pour faire ta part des choses,
Tu fais simplement ce que tu es suppose faire,
Et tu ne prends pas le temps de chiffrer ce que tu as perdu ou gagné
C’est l’espirit du jeu qui t’aide à t’en sortir.

Mais là-bas à la maison, elle attend, écrivant des petits mots pour t’encourager
Et chaque nuit elle offer une prière,
Et elle espère juste que son soldat de fils reste en vie,
La mère du soldat qui est là-bas.

Et les gars, c’est elle le hero de cette grande et affreuse guerre,
Et le vent transporte sa prière sur le plat,
Et, ne reconnais-tu pas ses larmes, et non pas la pluie,
Qui continue à crépiter sur ton vieux casque ?

2Lt. J Hunter WICKERSHAM, né le 3 Février, 1890
Médaillé d’Honneur
89ème Division

écrit la nuit avant qu’il ne trouve la mort sur le champ d’honneur
le 12 septembre, 1918
Il repose dans ce cimetière Plot B – Rangée 19 – Tombe 12

Comments: Comments Off on Rain On Your Old Tin Hat Posted by: Categories: art

RIP Diego


After 16 years of “Odd Fellow” companionship and sharing live crickets, Diego, my sidekick, stretched out and took his hibernation into a deep and final siesta to the Bearded Dragon Lizard Elysian Fields. He was a silent companion, an excellent listener, and quite frankly, an extremely handsome dude. Read more…

Comments: Comments Off on RIP Diego Posted by: Categories: words

The burning question to round out 2016: what will be the outcome under president-elect Mr. Trump? More specifically, what will the net effect of his election be on the real estate market?  Read more…

Thank you to my Spirit Riders who raised $12,400 towards this mind-boggling amount.

Another year, another victory!!!