Blogging is a habit – one I am going to try and re-acquire

I realized this morning it has been more than a year since my last post. I am going to try and be and do more writing here.

So – this morning it is crystal blue sky and the first day where we have had two hard frosts in a row. There is actually ice (not a ton – but maybe 15%) coverage on the pond this morning at sunrise. No clouds at night = radiant cooling.

The year has slipped past a bit – a lot of the same old, same old. A work, we keep doing the same system conversion over and over again, grinding our way through the subsidiaries needing to flip over to our new securities trading platform (BlackRock’s Aladdin system). Its challenging and interesting work but when you get to your 5th and 6th conversion, it all sort of turns into a bit of a blur.

This summer was a very wet one here in Massachusetts – as of August 2023, it was the 2nd wettest summer on record and it rained more since then. We actually just broke out of a 6-8 day storm cycle that lasted 9 weeks — which if you are counting along meant we had significant rain every week for a bit more than 2 months. Timing was perfect too – on the weekends 🙁 hahaha

meant a lot of mowing of grass – looking out the window as I type, I might have to mow one more time – shmaybe?

Eric Moeller came out this summer to visit his son Lars and girlfriend (Vic) – we visited together Minuteman National Park and poked around Concord. We ended up in a great conversation at Old North Bridge visitors center. Someone commented on the British Redcoat uniform and part of it – the leather collar insert – that apparently was not popular with the troops (it was designed to help against a calvary sabre slash). This led to a 45 minute freewheeling conversation with a retired US Army Amor officer who was there as a visitor and how troops were trained then and now and how forcing people to wear their uniforms properly is an age old problem. One thing I learned there, that I had never known, was that the British troops were from all different commands and units and had been thrown together hastily as they came to Boston. So while relatively well trained individually, they had not trained together or under their current officers. When formed up into formation at the Old North Bridge, apparently the officer in command ordered a two-by-two formation. Two solders stand near each other and then there is a gap on either side to the next two. Behind them is another two in column etc… The goal of this is that column of two acts like a conveyor belt – as the two in front volley their guns, one peels of to the right and one peels off to the left and then go to back of the column. Well apparently most of the men did not know what this formation was, and when the front soldiers peeled off, the others thought this was a retreat and they followed. This confusion was explained in a journal of one of the sergeants if I recall the conversation properly. Anyway – it was an absolutely fascinating conversation with the Park Ranger, and people in the room at that moment. A treasury of a memory!

Other stuff – I did manage to get a good vacation in this September. I went to San Francisco, Mendocino County and Scotts Valley. San Francisco was to finally get around to closing my Wells Fargo bank account eight years after I left California (there are no WFB branches in Mass.) I also got to have a nice dinner with Marty and Allison, visit some friends from work (Howard and Welton) and then the best of all – got to have dinner with my niece Margaret and her fiancé Matt. You go Matt – you got yourself a good one with Margaret (me, not biased at all – bhahahaha).

Then off to Mendocino and met up with the UCSD crew – our second annual get together and hopefully it will continue to be a thing. Dave Brown is retired now along with Darren and it sounds like Eric Moeller is going to retire next year along with Claire Brown. Us private sector types are in full save as much money as possible mode so we shall see.

Scott’s Valley was VERY fun and relaxing. I got to watch a bit of Fortnite gameplay with my youngest nephew (Owen) – who is very good. Mason was doing well, as usual and just had a relaxing time with family. Grin.

In other news, I have been thinking about 4 wheeling/offroading after discovering a lot of good video on YouTube and I finally pulled the trigger on doing something that I dreamed up while offroading with Eric in the 1980’s – getting a Suburban. I found a company in Idaho that buys old Suburbans, refreshes then and outfits them for offroad camping. Suboverland is their name and they got me a 1999 Suburban and are working on it right now – should be ready next month or so? When it is done, I will fly out to Twin Falls ID, pick it up and drive it back. The general thing that pushed me over the edge is that me and my Dad keep coming up with projects where our Subarus are just a bit too small – something bigger is needed. The Suburban can easily fit an 8′ by 4′ sheet of plywood (or a blacksmith’s anvil) inside. Buying something used is WAY cheaper than new (by about 60-70K dollars !) – so I think it is the way to go for something that is essentially an extra vehicle. Suboverland is outfitting it with all the things I wanted but didn’t do anything about back in the 80’s with my F-150 pickup. A 12,000 lbs winch, a 1.5kw aux battery system, a Dometic fridge and because it is now a thing, a retrofit nav screen/backup camera (since it is a big truck after all and I will be doing a lot of things alone in it).

Anway – how about some photos?

Meghan and Jeff Fohl – Panther Beach, Santa Cruz
Jeff Fohl, Panther Beach Santa Cruz
Panther Beach showing absolutely amazing cliffs – sort of sand, sort of rock – definitely interesting!
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