It's been an unpleasantly dull summer so far. No work, which is not too surprising given that the economy continues to be shitty and that I cratered the CPA exam in spectacular fashion, so instead of continuing to sit around the burrow and be depressed about it, I am going to see if I can bootstrap myself into a small accounting practice. After my experiences in the tax business, I think there are a lot of small businessmen who have no clue whatsoever about bookkeeping and the paperwork involved in doing simple things like figuring out if they're actually making money at what they're doing. Which is where I come in. This isn't the sort of work that requires a CPA, but it's more advanced than data entry, and after a couple years of bashing through various accounting courses at the local community college, I think I can manage it. We'll see if I can actually do well enough at this to make a living at it so I can stop living off the generosity of my friends.

Also, the major storm that killed a few people and left a few hundred thousand without power went through here Friday night and knocked out the electricity, which has made life unexpectedly unpleasant. Wound up spending a lot of time at the local McDonald's taking advantage of their free wifi, relatively comfortable seats, cheap food, air conditioning, and wall sockets. Here's to the Golden Arches; there were a lot of my fellow Virginians who found them oases in the stifling heat just as I did.

The more people connect with technology the more people disconnect from each other. All animals strive and desire interactions with others, and we all communicate with more than just our words. When we communicate with only text, it is like we are trapped in a box being feed one line at a time and we are nothing more than highly sophisticated cyborgs processing data, but when we can see and react to facial expressions and hear tone that express emotion than we are truly living creatures. This is something in life that is more than a gift; it is our way of life, it is the reason for our being.

Hello to all of you out there.

I haven't posted here in about ten years and used to go by the name of Phyllis Stein back when I was very active. Like many of those from that time period, I have visited the site off and on during the years, but have remained silent. In the interim period, I have been lucky to enough to get married and have two wonderful kids. None of these things would have occurred in the way they did had it not been for e2 and the various gatherings I went to and people I met during my time here.

Two years ago, my wife and I started a company called perl Catering. Yes, the name perl was meant to have the insinuations that it will have for the internet crowd, but more importantly serves as an acronym for the members of our family. We are a full service catering company dedicated to using local & organic products for events of all sizes and formalities. Right now, we are finishing a drive on kickstarter.comthat will allow us to fund a breakfast/lunch cafe, retail marketplace and event space. The main building will house a café, catering kitchen & retail marketplace. The café will serve breakfast & lunch items and can be used for private parties, dinners & other events. Our marketplace will showcase local artisanal products including our own line of jams, mustard & preserves, house cured meats along with breads, pastries, cheeses & other locally sourced products from area producers. We will also have a deli selection of seasonally prepared salads, soups, entrees & other items. The marketplace area will contain an espresso bar featuring locally roasted, fair trade coffees.

The site has an extensive backyard area, which will be renovated to house a patio, event space for outdoor parties & receptions and an onsite organic garden which will provide the restaurant with fresh produce and herbs. The money that we raise will go toward refurbishing the kitchen & purchasing furnishings necessary for opening the doors.

Please consider visiting the site and making a donation of any size. Every little bit helps and would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your assistance!

Over the past two years, I developed an affinity for distance running. I went from non-runner to twice-over half-marathoner during that period. For the better part of those two years, I ran three or four times a week every week. I was never going to win a race, or place in my gender or age categories, but I steadily got better. Over 18 months, I cut seven minutes off my 5K time.

More than that, running cleared my head and it made me feel good. When I really hit my stride, I felt like I was flying.

Two months ago, while preparing for my second half-marathon, I started experiencing some discomfort in my knees. It subsided a bit and the race went fine, but it came back while I was recovering. When I tried to run again about a week later, it got worse. I went to a sports clinic. An ultrasound and x-ray yielded no evidence of damage to bone or tissue. The diagnosis was therefore chondritis*, and I was advised not to run anymore lest I abuse my knees and possibly end up with arthritis.

I could do without that, so I'm dutifully heeding the advice.

I realize that I'm quite lucky and that there are a whole lot of worse things that could have happened to me. Having said that, suddenly finding out that you can no longer do a thing to which you devoted a lot of time, and that you enjoyed immensely, is a bit of a bummer.

The thing about running is that once you get the bug, there is always a next thing: a new distance to conquer, a new time to beat, a new event to try. After cutting my half-marathon time by six minutes, I was ready to try to come in under two hours. I was thinking about pushing up to 30K next year. I thought that someday, maybe, the big one might be in the cards. None of those things will happen now.

None of this is particularly devastating — one half-marathon seemed crazy two years ago, let alone two — but I've just gained a whole lot of free time back. What am I going to do with it? Restart my stamp collection? Take up piano lessons again? Develop an affinity for speed walking (the doctor said that was OK!)? All of these things? None of them? Something else entirely?

If I've learned anything from this, it's that you cannot plan things out in too much detail because things can change and plans can evaporate. And that life is short and things go wrong.

I've decided to spend this summer doing things I've been talking about doing for years but always assumed there was time for. I now realize it's possible that there isn't time. You would think this would have occurred to me years ago, when I wrestled with the fact that I'd consciously put off reconnecting with a former classmate on Facebook because "I can do that later." He was killed in a car accident shortly thereafter. I never forgave myself for putting it off. He never knew that I was thinking of him.

So this is it. I've committed to not putting things off any longer. I ran two half-marathons while I still could. That was a good start, but there's more to do. Best do it now.

* There is still quite a bit of discomfort even after a month of completely avoiding high-impact activity, and it worsens when the air pressure shifts. So the diagnosis would appear to be correct. (Or at least it did.)

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