Just Me, Just Running

I love to run. 9 miles this morning on one of my favorite routes down Chapine Road.

I’m training for a marathon this fall. I don’t know that I’ll get there, that these old feet, knees, and hips will stand up to the pounding.

But I just love to run. To go out this morning and spend an hour and 45 minutes running was pure pleasure. Not that it didn’t hurt. My feet and back were aching during the run, and my quads are going to tell me about it tomorrow.

While running I lose myself in my thoughts, just drift along ruminating on old memories, or thinking about what might happen next, or just enjoying the moment, feeling my breath cycling oxygen in and co2 out, my heart beating strong, all fueling my legs to keep moving on.

Running a marathon will be nice, but just running makes me happy.

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Artificial (non) Intelligence

I was at Wal*Mart in Columbia City today with my mom, and we picked up a box of Zeiss Wipes, looked at them, realized that wasn’t what we were looking for, and put them back. And when I got home and opened up Facebook this ad was in my feed.

I don’t know what bothers me more, the creepy stalking by Wal*Mart or sheep-like belief by advertisers that this sort of “big data – A.I. – targeted marketing” works.

Let me spell it out for you Wal*Mart, you’re wasting your money, I’ve never bought any brand of lens wipes and I’m unlikely to ever buy lens wipes. Get the message?

I’ve never clicked on an online ad and so obviously I’ve never purchased anything from doing so. Maybe you targeted marketing chimps[1] could factor that into your algorithms. Oh wait, that would cut into your revenue. Don’t do that, it’s all about how much money you can generate, that’s the only measure that matters[2].

And if that isn’t clear enough for you, I never, ever, willingly shop at Wal*Mart[3]. You are a disgusting blight on our community. Go away, shoo, shoo!

1. These chimps are software developers. I’ve written software, boy and man, since 1982. These chimps are my professional brothers and sisters. My siblings? I’m ashamed of you.

And for what? For a little bit of money. There’s more to life than a little money, you know. Don’t you know that? And here ya are, and it’s a beautiful day. Well, I just don’t understand it.
— Marge Gunderson’s soliloquy in the movie Fargo.

2. “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil.” – 1 Timothy 6:10. Or as a latter day prophet, Sir Albert Howard, put it “the cursed thirst for profit is at the root of the mischief.”

3. I did buy groceries at Meijer for a while, but I couldn’t shake the unclean feeling. It’s a horrible soulless place, sucking the life out of the community. I don’t care if they do stock Edwin Coe products.

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Ain’t Gonna Study War No More

This ad has been running on TV this fall. The Army as a POV video game. Those aren’t human beings on the other side of your point of view, they’re “challenges.”

We’re not “fighting for honor”, we’re not “fighting for country”. We are fighting to win battles as pointless as a video game and the dead, crippled, and maimed suffered and suffer for no reason.

I reject this glorification of the military.

And He will judge between the nations,
And will render decisions for many peoples;
And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
And never again will they learn war.

Isaiah 2:4

Any question on how He will judge us?

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Just Another Day

I was commuting into work today, 33 to 30 to I-69 to 14. About 6am as usual on I-69 between 30 and 14. I’m cruising along in the right lane, driving the speed limit, listening to them play the Star Spangled Banner on 101.7 FM.

There was a semi in the center lane beside me, pulling away [1], but crowding the lane marker between us. And just like that it started coming over hard towards me, no turn signal or anything.

I was close to the westbound 14 exit so I yanked my Ranger to the right. The Ranger swerved sickeningly but held on and I shot down the exit at 65 mph.

Whoa! I went west on 14, u-turned, and went back to my happy little office like nothing at all had happened.

And nothing had, it was just another day.

And it was just another reminder that it can all be gone, just like that, on just another day.

Love the ones you’re with, today.

1. Of course it was pulling away from me. I was driving the speed limit.

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A Year

I was telling [1] Debbie that I just didn’t feel like I was making any progress running, I just couldn’t add miles and was stuck. She said, “But think about where you started.”

I always do what Debbie tells me, so I went back pulled up my workouts from a year ago and from today.


I’ve gone from being able to do 3 miles a year ago to doing 8 miles today[2].

It’s hard to see progress day-to-day, but I keep putting one foot in front of the other and I’m getting where I want to go.

1. Well, whining if I want to be truthful.

2. The last 2 miles really hurt, whine, whine.

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Feeling Proud

I use a service provided by Atlassian to manage the source code for my company. The details don’t matter, it’s a dry as dirt, impossible to comprehend [1] Linux interface.

Today when I uploaded some code into the system, I got this response [2].


It blasted past on my screen and I thought, “what was that?” I scrolled it back down and realized it was an LGBT pride graphic rendered for a plain text terminal.

Well played, Atlassian, well played.


2. If you zoomed in on this graphic you got to share in the system nagging me about transposing characters in “push.”

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Garlic Many Ways

Last year my brother’s friend, Brian Bianski [1], gave me some garlic shoots. I didn’t have the first idea what to do with them, so I brought them home and stuck them in the ground.

Nothing happened, and the grass and weeds took over and then Debbie burned it all down with Roundup thinking it was just a weed patch. “Well,” I thought, “that was a failed experiment.”

Then this spring the garlic burst forth.

Garlic Patch

In June the garlic sends out flower buds. You’re supposed to cut those off so the plant will put its energy into the cloves underground. These flower buds are called garlic scapes and they have garlic flavor just like the cloves.

Garlic Scapes

So I had a big bowl full of garlic scapes and wondered what to do with them. I looked up recipes and found a recipe for a double garlic soup that used garlic scapes and green garlic. Scapes, I have plenty of, but what’s green garlic? A little more searching and I found out that green garlic is immature garlic cloves. I’ve got plenty of those too!

Green Garlic

These are a couple I dug from my garlic patch. They’re a little past the ‘green’ stage, but they’re still soft and mild, so close enough!

The scapes and green garlic all went into the pot.

Cooking Scapes

Then I added stock and so on as the recipe below calls for. I made a few croutons with lots of salt and garlic and parmesan cheese to sprinkle over the soup to add a bit of crunch to the bowl.

It was just splendid. A delicious meal from the scraps of pruning the garlic patch and the thoughts of good friends.

Double Garlic Soup
– serves 2 as a main course, 4 as a side

3 fat bulbs green garlic
3 Tbsp butter
3 c chopped garlic scapes
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
3/4 tsp kosher salt (more to taste, depending on how salty your butter and stock is)
ground black pepper
1 large potato, peeled and diced
1 quart chicken stock
1 c half-and-half (or whole milk or cream or skim milk or yogurt, whatever you like)
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
freshly grated nutmeg

Trim the root and green part of the green garlic, and remove the outermost layers, then chop it finely. In a soup pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add green garlic and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic scapes, thyme, salt and pepper, and sauté for 5 minutes.

Stir in diced potato and broth, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until scapes and potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Add half-and-half, and purée soup with a blender. Stir in the lemon juice and season with more salt and pepper. Garnish with nutmeg and thyme leaves, and serve hot.

Add garlic parmesan croutons to make it a triple garlic soup!

1. I hadn’t seen Brian since high school. A few years after Dave died I was standing in Ranney’s Welding Shop in Churubusco talking with Ranney about welding a part for me and I felt someone staring at me from the side. I turned and he (Brian) said, “Chuck? You freaked me out, you sounded just like Dave.” I think we all still expect to turn and find Dave there.

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I want to ride it where I like

I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride my bike
I want to ride my bicycle
I want to ride it where I like

– Freddie Mercury

Went for a bike ride today.

Where I Like

I went past Goose Lake and Old Lake, skirted Etna [1] wandered north until I hit Merry Lea and realized where I was. Turned south, avoided Ormas [2], crossed along the south edge of Merry Lea, then around Bender’s Orchard [4]. I stayed straight south until I hit Crane Lake then turned for home. Went past Dulcuis Vineyards [5] and then turned down old 102 towards Tri-Lakes.

That took me past the farm my great-great-great grandfather [6] lived on back in the 1850’s. I went around Shriner Lake, where my brother and I bought a cottage in the late 1970’s and where my great good friend Deb Imbody has a cottage now.

Almost home, I churned down Burd Road past where my grandparents lived when I was growing up, and where nephew Tom has some nice looking beans on the farm we still call “Grandma’s.”

And then the final slog down the gravel road I live on.

I was just out riding. Not pushing it, no goals, just enjoying a summer morning before it got too hot, reconnecting with my world. I don’t want to ride in a group, or in organized events. I just want to ride my bicycle where I like.

1. Wanting to avoid as they say on 91.5 FM, The Eagle, “The busy streets of Etna.”

2. There’s a Baptist [3] church there.

3. I misspelled “Baptist” and my spellchecker offered the choices of “Baptist, Rapist, and Papist.”

4. Bender’s was looking good, but my apple trees are too. Don’t know that I’ll need to buy apples this fall.

5. Dulcius Vineyards is about the coolest thing ever. Someone with a lot of money and skill plopped a vineyard right here in my neck of the woods. It’s a beautiful thing. So much of the ground around here should not be used to grow corn and soybeans. It makes me so happy to see people trying other things.

6. Henry Sylvester Zumbrun.

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Turtle Days 2018

Turtle Days 2017 was a milestone for me. I was 7 months into working on losing weight and getting healthy and the 2017 Turtle Days 5K was a goal I had set for myself.

Fast forward to 2018 and I’m toeing the line again at the Turtle Days 5K. The weight and health work has continued and I’m down 50 pounds from my peak and doing triathlon training. On a miserably hot and muggy June Saturday I clocked a 27:01 for a 5K. 3 minutes (or 10%) improvement over last year, but I’d hoped for more.

The race course this year, as it did in 2017, finished on the high school track. And as in 2017 today I thought about my glory days as an 880 runner in high school, 40 years and more gone by now.

Back then, as now, I was a mediocre runner. I could win a race in a dual meet against a weak opponent, finish in the middle of the pack in a race with good opponents, and when our coach for some reason entered me in an AAU meet with kids headed for Division I track programs, the last I saw were my competitors disappearing into the distance.

I read an advice column early this week where the columnist said, “Think about the letter you’d write to 20 years ago you. And now think about the letter 20 years from now you might write to you today.”

Thinking about a letter to 40 years ago me, I’d say, “Revel in your strength and speed. A 2:08 880, how incredible is that? Yeah, you’re not and aren’t going to be a D-I athlete, but you’re strong and fast and your life is going to be amazing [1].”

Which got me thinking about the letter 100 years old me might send to 60 years old me. “A 27 minute 5K, how incredible is that? Swimming 1,000 yards in 20 minutes? Biking for 60 miles? Revel in your strength and speed!”

I’m feeling slow after a 27 minute 5K? 100 year old me says I’m a speed demon.

I think I’ll listen to 100 year old me.

1. But not at all what you’re planning, 17 year old me.

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Pinned Under Heavy Things. Version 1.

In the spring of 1968 I was 10 years old, and I broke my leg. My brother Dave and I were driving an Allis Chalmers C and fighting over who should control the throttle. We were so busy fighting over it that we didn’t notice the garden wall until we were going over it. I was sitting on the right, Dave on the left, and Anne was riding on the back. When the tractor went over the wall and started to roll, I jumped right and Dave jumped left and Anne stepped off the back. The tractor rolled to the right and pinned me underneath it, snapping both my fibula and tibia just above the ankle.


Anne went running into the house to get Dad. Mom was at IPFW, working on her bachelor’s degree. Dad came out and heaved the tractor off of me. I don’t remember this, but Dad told me later he’d just spread manure on the garden. So in addition to being pinned under a tractor with a broken leg, I was face down in fresh manure. “I’m ok, I’m ok. Put me down. [1]” I remember saying to Dad as he carried me into the house. Meanwhile my right foot was waving back and forth, unconnected by bone to the rest of my leg.

These were the good old days, before 911, before there were more cars than people in a household. Mom had taken the car to school that evening. Before cell phones so Dad could call Mom and tell her what happened. Dad called my Grandma who lived 3 miles away and she came up to take us to the hospital in the 1966 Rambler. Years later it occurred to me to ask who stayed with Dave and Anne when I went to the hospital. Grandma did while Dad took me in. [2]

Dr Minnick, the same Dr. Minnick who would look at me 13 years later when I pinned my stupid self under a combine (pinned again), set my leg in the emergency room at the Whitley County Hospital. When I swam up from the anesthesia my Mom was there and everything was ok. [3]


My right foot points about 15 degrees to the right, and my right leg’s somewhat shorter than my left, but other than that, it’s just an amusing anecdote; of being young and dumb, of loving parents and grandparents, of good country doctors, and of life – tragic and comic.

1. I knew I was in trouble (and didn’t realize I had a “get out of trouble free card” since my leg was broken)

2. It has somehow never occurred to me before now that my Dad drove me to the hospital again when I got pinned under a piece of farm machinery in 1968, and again in 1981. Farming is a rough gig.

I would much rather get pinned under a few tons of iron than to ever have to pry my son out from under them. It’s a horror as old as time, “The king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you–O Absalom, my son, my son!” – 2 Samuel 18:33. Did my father weep for me? I wish I could ask him.

3. Mom told me later she felt so horribly guilty for not being there when in it happened. All I remember is her being there when I woke up and feeling so safe because she was [4].

4. 50 years gone by now, I was sitting with Mom again in the Whitley County Hospital this weekend. I wish I could’ve been the comfort to her that she was to me.

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