Thursday, November 16, 2017

Evanston: old revisited; TREKKA; the decisive moment

        Mats in Sweden recently mentioned in an email ‘On  Becoming an Old Sailor’, an article I wrote a little  more than ten years ago.  Out of curiosity I reread  it myself.   One of the benefits of making a  career of narcissistically writing about yourself  is that you can follow the evolution of your thoughts, such as they are.
        I was sixty-five when  I  wrote the article.  I still owned THE HAWKE OF TUONELA  and her mooring in  New Zealand.   
        I  have now been seventy-six for  a few days.  HAWKE and her mooring are long gone.  I’ve almost completed two more circumnavigations since then.  And for the record, I can still do my  age  in push-ups.   In fact  this week  I have  done 80 in the first set instead of the  requisite 76.  That was  still followed by 40 each in the second and third sets.  
        I  have gone blind in my right eye, almost completely severed the supraspinatus  in my left  shoulder, wear hearing aids, and have had several skin cancers whittled away.  
        The fact is that none of this matters very much.  They are mere  nuisances.  I  may  be deluding myself,  but I think I am still good.
        As I noted in an addendum to the original piece, I  did  buy Facnor gennaker furling gear, which revolutionized  how I  sail.   On GANNET I replaced it with a ProFurl Spinex top down furler, which is even better.   I set asymmetricals  much more often than I used to rather than less.  GANNET is very much  a three sail boat.
        I never did  buy a power windlass for THE HAWKE OF TUONELA  and certainly don’t need  one on GANNET.
        My  back seldom bothers me  and my memory is still reasonably good, though I am aware that if I don’t  use  new information I tend to lose it.
        The  last  sentence  of  the  article is:  So far turning a middle-aged fool into an old one hasn’t made much difference.
        Turning  an old fool into a much older one hasn’t either.


        Chris in South Africa and Graham in Australia independently wrote to  me about John Guzzwell’s TREKKA ROUND THE WORLD.  I very seldom read sailing books any more.  I read this one decades ago.  After their  emails, I  found  and downloaded a Kindle edition and just  finished and  enjoyed  it, in part because I have since sailed  many  times to the  places and along the  routes he followed and was interested to learn how  they were when he was sailing TREKKA in the  late 1950s, and  in part because John Guzzwell’s thoughts and  opinions about boats and seamanship are much the same as mine.  
        We do vary in significant ways.  He is a trained  carpenter and built his own boats which  I cannot do.   On the other hand, I don’t get seasick or sail in  company with others.  Some single-handers are more solitary than others.
        If  you  do not know of TREKKA, she was 20’ long,  built of wood, and at the  time the smallest  boat to circumnavigate.  Guzzwell built her in nine months near  Victoria, British Columbia and then made a four year circumnavigation when he was in his mid-twenties.
        TREKKA was a fine boat and ahead of her time.  Guzzwell went with light displacement when most sailors wanted heavy boats.  Oddly, some still do.  TREKKA, a few feet smaller than GANNET, displaced only six hundred pounds more.  As a percentage that is  almost 30%, but remarkably light for TREKKA’s time.
        The sailing world was very different in the 1950s.   Few boats.  Few facilities.   And far fewer regulations.
        I second Chris’s and Graham’s recommendation of TREKKA ROUND THE WORLD.


        The famous French photographer,  Henri Cartier-Bresson was  known for trying to capture the decisive moment.  My friend Steve Earley just took a photograph worthy of Cartier-Bresson when he heard a bicycle rider approaching as he was preparing to shoot a docked hundred year old sailing ship.  That perfect image appears on his site separately under the heading ‘On the waterfront’ and in ‘A walk in the park', a collection of excellent images taken at various times near the same location.   

Friday, November 10, 2017

Evanston: estimated; a change

        Fat snowflakes are drifting lazily past our windows.  The first snowfall of the season is an novelty.  In a few weeks it won’t be.  We tied the record low this morning—18°F/-7.7°C—that isn’t really cold, but Chicago has a serious climate and when a record low or high is broken or tied here it is noteworthy.  


        Yesterday morning I reluctantly telephoned the boat yard.  A week ago yesterday I was told I would have the estimate for GANNET’s keel repair in a few days.  Last Monday marked five weeks since I first requested the estimate.  I try to be patient.  I don’t like to repeatedly call people, but, while I was courteous, my frustration was obvious on the telephone yesterday and I did not care.  A few hours later the estimate was emailed to me.   It is higher than I hoped, but about what I expected, amounting to half of what I paid for GANNET when I bought her six years ago.  
        I pause because it does not seem that long ago.
        The estimate includes antifouling, something for which I have never before paid.  I’ve always done my own, but the yard does not permit owners to work on their boats in the yard.
        I have told them the work must be completed by December 31.


        I told Carol this morning that I am ready for a change.  I don’t know what.  I don’t have anything in mind.  But I am.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Evanston: Russell and Whangamumu

        Grant, GANNET’s former landlord—he owns the mooring on which she swung while in Opua—wrote after reading my last entry about his first visit to Whangamumu in 1975 and included a photo of Russell.  Here is what it looked like then.

        And here now.

        I first sailed past the Bay of Islands the following year in a sinking EGREGIOUS.  Not planning to go to New Zealand, I had no detailed chart, only one showing a third of the South Pacific Ocean.  Had I entered the bay instead of continuing to Auckland, my life, and several others, would have been very different.  Among other things I would never have met Suzanne.
        The Bay of Islands still does not seem to me overdeveloped or overcrowded, except perhaps at the long Christmas and Easter holidays, and some of the development, particularly that in Opua is a decided improvement; but certainly it has changed. 
        Grant keeps his boat, KALAI,  in a marina slip and will be back on board in the next few weeks, when he expects weather permitting to sail to Whangamumu, which he says “is a special place just to be.”  Obviously I agree.
        Here are some photos I took from THE HAWKE OF TUONELA and GANNET anchored there.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Evanston: the first Alma; obvious solution; JEREMIAH JOHNSON; paradise lost; testing

        Last evening a segment of 60 Minutes was devoted to a twelve year old musical prodigy, Alma Deutscher, who plays piano and violin and composes music.  Some of her music was performed and it is enjoyable and impressive, but what impressed me most was when the interviewer compared her to Mozart and she replied—I don’t claim to have her words exactly— “That is flattering, but instead of being the next Mozart, I would rather be the first Alma.”


        The world often takes a while to catch up with me.  Sometimes it never does.
        The current issue of one of Carol’s professional architecture magazines is also about global warming and has maps of which areas of the U.S. east coast will be flooded twice each month at king tides by 2100 in worst case scenarios.  It also includes an article headed, ‘Some people don’t believe the climate is changing, but the insurance industry sure does.’
        The solution is obvious and I lived it fifty years ago.  Water rising:  live on a boat.

        Something James wrote in an email reminded me of the 1972 Robert Redford film, JEREMIAH JOHNSON.  I’ve not seen it for many years.  Yesterday Carol and I rented it from iTunes.  It is as good as I remembered.


        I woke for a while around 1 a.m. last night and half imaged, half dreamed I was sailing across the Bay of Islands toward Cape Brett and Piercy Island.  I could hear the water rushing past the hull.  I could feel the wind on my face.  I went outside Piercy  Island and gybed south beyond waves breaking on ledges.
        As we neared the narrow entrance to Whangamumu Harbor, I lifted the anchor through the forward hatch and carried it to the bow.  Tied down the end of the rode to the port bow cleat, pulled twenty feet of chain and fifty feet of line from the rode bag, tied the line off on the starboard bow cleat, and secured the anchor to the pulpit so it couldn’t fall over board prematurely.
        A couple of hundred yards out, I furled the jib, lifted the tiller pilot off the tiller and steered with my left hand and hand held the mainsheet with my right.
        Inside, pleased to find I had the place to myself, I sailed to my usual spot in the middle of the harbor, turned into the wind when the depthsounder read 20’, released the mainsheet and dropped the tiller pilot onto the tiller pin to keep it amidship.  I went forward and released the anchor, looping the rode around the cleat briefly at 50’ to set the anchor, then letting it catch again where it was tied off at 75’, before uncleating it, letting out another 50’ of rode and tying it off a last time.
        I returned to the cockpit and sat in a Sportaseat, gazing around at pristine wooded hills, fading light on rocks and water, savoring the scent of the sea and silence.
        For me, paradise lost.
        I happen to be re-reading Milton’s PARADISE LOST just now, along with Ron Chernow’s biography of Grant.
        Visiting the poetry page of the main site frequently, as I know you do, you will be familiar with the following, which perhaps because I just saw JEREMIAH JOHNSON reminds me of an Indian chant.

            I know these trees.
            I know these hills.
            I know this water.
            I know this sky.
            I know this light.

            I will carry them with me.

        And I do.


        This week I will be dining  mostly on the above Good To-Go freeze dry meals.  I probably won’t finish them all until next week.  
        I’ll report the subjective results.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Evanston; the advantages of having bad parents; the cause of collision; promise of repair; part three?

        Carol and I just finished watching the final episode of the Ken Burns ten part documentary on Vietnam.  It is a profoundly moving experience about serious matters.  I highly recommend that you view it.  On a personal level the series adds validation to a conclusion I reached decades ago from reading history that warriors often die not for their cause, but because of the stupidity and egotism of generals and politicians.  At one time for kings.
        The advantage of having bad parents is that one does not trust authority figures.  Another lesson of history is that one shouldn’t.


        I have questioned here how US Navy destroyers could be involved in collisions with merchant ships.  In one instance as reported by Ars Technica men died because of a failure of interface between man and computer.  This is totally beyond my experience or imagination.  The computer age giveth; the computer age taketh away.  Sheet to tiller steering has its advantages.


        I am not sure it is an advantage, but another consequence of having bad parents, which I did—and I am stating a fact here, not looking for sympathy—is that you truly hate—not too strong a word—to be dependent on others.
        Before I go on I want to say that another consequence is that you realize how important it is to be a good parent.  You know by absence how much a parent owes his or her child.  I once wrote that being a great parent is as rare as being a great artist and probably more important.  I would not now use the word ‘great’, which is too much a subjective value judgement, about either, but still I consider being a parent a responsibility so serious that I did not think I could fulfill it and live the life I wanted to and so never had children. 
        Well, I am dependent on others.  GANNET has damage I cannot repair.  
        Yesterday I received a phone call from the boat yard.  I still do not have the estimate, but I was assured that the repair will be done before the end of the year.

        It is 10:30 pm.  I am sitting in our living room.  Buffalo Trace in a tumbler to my left.  Carol has gone to bed.  I sailed 8,000 miles this year in three months.  But I have only sailed a few hours on two days since then.  I have an enviably comfortable life here, if comfort is your standard, and I am well aware that for most of the billions on this planet my life is an unreachable vision of paradise; but I miss being on the water.  I miss the open ocean.  I did not seek comfort.  I sought the epic.  Maybe, almost impossibly, I have known both.
        In a few days I will become 76 years old.  An age I never expected to reach.  
       Next year will be a watershed—an appropriate word.  Time and chance permitting, I will complete this circumnavigation.  I cannot see clearly beyond that.
        My life thus far has two parts, longing and being, divided by November 2, 1974, when I stopped working for others and made my first attempt at Cape Horn.
        I find myself wondering if after I reach San Diego next year can there be a third part of life after ‘being’.  I do not know.  I invented myself.  I am still making myself up as I go along.  As are we all.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Evanston: proven despicable

        I had determined not to give these intrepid voyagers another thought, but this morning I chanced upon the following in the GUARDIAN.

        If the facts in the article are true—and one can never be certain these days—the women are proven despicable.
        They are not the only ones.
        I became so irritated at the coverage of this on the NBC evening news last Friday that I vowed, not for the first time, never to watch network news again.  
        If you measure success by appealing to the greatest possible number, you will lose your soul.  Network news, an unholy amalgam of the National Enquirer and Entertainment Tonight designed to increase hysteria whenever possible, has long lost its soul, if it ever had one.
        I probably will watch again on the occasion of natural and unnatural disasters, such as hurricanes and the next mass shooting, but I will not watch regularly or often.  One of the pleasures of life on GANNET is that when on board I never do.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Evanston: progression; Sign of the Apocalypse; the plan

        After a warm early fall with temperatures here averaging 8°F above normal, the past week has seen a steady progression toward winter.  Shorts to Levis.  Wearing socks.  A long-sleeved shirt over t-shirt.  Change Nest thermostat from ‘cool’ to ‘heat’.  And for the past three mornings, lite the fireplace.


        Borrowing from Sports Illustrated’s weekly Sign of the Apocalypse, today’s Sign of the Apocalypse is a news item that the Google cheeseburger emoji has the cheese on the bottom while the Apple cheeseburger emoji has the cheese correctly on top.   Google announces that they will rectify the error.  The sign:  that this was a news item.


        I have been asked several times, most recently by Paul in Alaska where he built this elegantly simple structure, which he refers to as a barn, to store WINSWEPT for their serious winter, about my plans for the completion of GANNET’s circumnavigation.
        While the overall strategy is clear, tactical details are uncertain, partially for reasons that I cannot presently disclose but that will be explained in time.
        The overall plan:  sail from the US to Panama; get GANNET across the isthmus; sail from Panama to San Diego.  Unless compelled by circumstances, we would sail direct to Panama from the US and direct from Panama to San Diego.  The first is 1500 to 2000 miles, depending on starting point.  The second about 3,000 rhumb line miles, but because the last thousand or so miles will be to windward, the distance over the bottom will be significantly greater.
        First GANNET’s keel must be repaired.  
        Actually first I must get the elusive estimate for the repair.
        Assuming Marathon Boat Yard can and will do the repair within the next two months at an acceptable cost, I will have them do it.  If not, I will have to fly  down soon and sail GANNET to another yard either in the Keys or Miami/Ft. Lauderdale.
        Originally I had planned to return to GANNET in early January, provision and sail for Panama before the end of the month, completing the voyage in time to celebrate Carol’s birthday with her in April.  However, I have recently agreed to be in New York City on March 2, which complicates matters.
        I could leave GANNET in Panama and fly back for a few days from there, and I may.  However, I am tending toward remaining in the US until after my appointment in NY and sailing for Panama then, missing Carol’s birthday, to which she has already given her approval, and being in San Diego before the start of the hurricane season in June.
        If I do remain in the US until March, I will still return to GANNET in January and possibly sail up to Hilton Head, South Carolina for a few weeks.
        Details will be provided as they emerge.


        The lead photo was taken by Steve Earley just as spray came on board during a blustery day on his recent fall cruise.  Steve is a GoPro master and often sets his to take photos at two second intervals for two minutes.  This one caught the moment.
        It also shows by implication the virtue of a yawl rig on a small open boat.  I assume Steve had his camera mounted on the mizzen.  You can see that the main is furled.  When the wind came up CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE sailed beautifully balanced under her equal sized, 30 sq ft jib and mizzen, or, if the wind was strong enough, under jib alone.  I’m sure Steve’s Welsford Pathfinder, SPARTINA, does as well.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Evanston: pitiable or despicable; taste test; Delancyplace; waiting

        This does not compute.
        Did they leave Honolulu intending to power all the way to Tahiti?  Did they not know how to sail?  Did they not know how to navigate?  Did they not have any backup navigation system?  Why would anyone provision for a year for a passage of less than 2,500 nautical miles?
        In the video of the 'rescue' the mast is upright.  The  uncovered mainsail is tied to the boom.  The headstay and backstay are in place.  So seem to be the shrouds.  The furling jib is furled on the headstay.  There is a wind generator and what seem to be solar panels at the stern.  The hull is intact.  I cannot see the rudder, but there has been no report that it was broken.  If it was, there is this thing called 'jury-rigging.' 
        The mother of one of the women describes her daughter as ‘resourceful’.  Right.
        I can conceive of only two possibilities.
        Either these women are so stupid they are pitiable and need a court appointed guardian, or they did it to attract attention, in which case they are a great success, and despicable.
        At the very least they should be charged with cruelty to animals.

        Carol returned from Boston last night and I completed my Good To-Go taste test.  The conclusion:  Good To-Go is good.
        Of the three meals, I will buy more of the Herbed Mushroom Risotto and the Thai Curry.  I rate both 4 to 4.5 on a 5 point scale.  I was concerned that the curry might be too spicy and thirst inducing for an ocean passage where fresh water is limited.  It is not.  I consider it mild to moderate.  The Bibimbap, described on the packet as a Korean dish, is too spicy for me on passages and I won’t be buying it again.  
        Good To-Go makes eight entrees and two breakfasts, oatmeal and granola.  I already have breakfast covered and their versions would not be cost effect.  However, I like the risotto and curry enough so that I have ordered one each of the other five entrees.  I don’t know when I’ll eat them, but when I do, I’ll let you know my opinion.


        I am simply sharing a link to Delanceyplace that Larry gave to me, believing that some of you may also find it interesting.  I thank him.
        Delanceyplace:  “(short) eclectic (book) excerpts delivered to your email every day”. 
        It’s free and usually interesting.  
        Today’s excerpt happens to be from a biography of Ulysses S. Grant that I had already bought, but have not read.  I did read Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton, which is said to have inspired the Broadway musical, and I have long admired Ulysses Grant.  I have read his memoirs twice and agree entirely with the praise offered them and him. 


        I despise pushing and shoving, though as the Great Pusher and Shover-in-Chief in Washington has shown, they are clearly ways to get ahead; but there is a downside to good manners.
        Believing that the boatyard had enough to do in the aftermath of Irma, I did not call them for three weeks.  Two weeks ago last Monday, I did call and ask for an estimate for the repair to GANNET’s keel.  I was told I would be put in the queue and hear back “in a week or two.”  Not having heard back, last Monday I called and was told that the person I needed to talk to would not be in the office until Wednesday.  On Wednesday I called and another person told me he was handling my estimate and would get back to me yesterday or today.   The boat yard is closed for the day.  He hasn’t.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Evanston: two faces of Tim; slaughter of the innocents; taste test

        Last Saturday my friend, Tim, repeated his unique world class double by running a full marathon in the morning and playing the violin in a symphony orchestra that evening.  To prove he is human, he did take a nap in the afternoon.  
        He also finished the night with a glass of Laphroaig, proving that I am a good or bad influence.  I like to believe good.
        This was Tim’s 60th marathon.  Multiply 26.2 miles by 60 and you get 1572 miles, almost the distance from his home near Kansas City to Los Angeles.
       Many of you have abilities and do things I cannot do.  Let Tim stand for all of you in my admiration.

        I thank Sam, I think, for a link to a BBC piece about hunting and eating young gannets in the Faroe Islands.  This is news I would rather not have, but rather feel I should.
        As you would expect my sympathy is entirely with the gannets.  Perhaps there was a time hundreds or thousands of years ago when such food was necessary for the islanders to survive.  Even then I might have sided with the gannets who have just as much a  right to survive as we do and are generally better looking.  Considering their fish diet I can’t imagine that gannets taste good.  In any event I will gladly contribute to any organization that trains gannets to cut ropes and supplies them with beak attached knives.  
        Of the Faroe Islanders, let them eat Spam.


        Carol is in Boston on business this week, so I am testing some freeze dry meals from Good To-Go.  You may recall my mentioning that Wirecutter choose their Thai Curry as the best freeze dry meal in a test that did not include New Zealand’s Back Country Cuisine.
        Last night I ate the Herbed Mushroom Risotto.  It was good, even very good.  I would rate it 4 or 4.5 on a 5 point scale and gladly eat it again.
        I had not known that all three meals are vegetarian.  Neither a plus or minus for me, so long as they don’t contain dried gannet.  
        The instructions on all three call for them to be steeped for twenty minutes, about twice as long as other brands.  I routinely steep freeze meals longer than specified, but decided that twenty minutes is enough and ate the risotto then.
        I’ll report on the other two after consumption.


        A quote from a recent biography of Mohammed Ali by Jonathon Eig:  Destiny is a function of chance and choice.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Evanston: an accurate barometer; a month at sea; dream or nightmare

        To the dozens of things the iPhone has replaced, we may have to add barometers.
        Ashore I use a number of weather apps, but as most of you know when I go to sea I look at the sky, I look at the sea, and I look at the barometer.
        There are two barometers on GANNET, both digital, both generally inaccurate no matter how often in port I adjust them to known values.  This actually doesn’t matter, but is the reason I do not give barometric pressure in the passage log.  What is important is direction and rate of change.
        However, I recently downloaded the Barometer and Altimeter Pro app for iPhone which I have found thus far never to vary by more than .5 millibar from the current pressure shown online.   It does not work with all iPhones and iPads.  Only the recent models that have a barometric sensor in them.
         If it continues to be this accurate, I will record barometric pressure in future logs.


        A few days ago Sailing Anarchy ran a link to a ten minute time lapse video of a month at sea on a container ship that you might enjoy as much as I did.


        I subscribe, if that is the right word, to Texture, an app that for $15 a month gives access to the digital versions of over two hundred magazines, several of which, such as NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, CRUISING WORLD, SAILING WORLD, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, I read anyway, and enough others of sufficient interests to make Texture a bargain.
        I have learned the YACHTING, where I sold one of my first two articles decades ago, is now a power boat magazine, and I have been struck by how much of the advertising in many magazines is for by my standards extremely expensive luxury items.  I am not poor, but obviously a lot of people are really rich.   
        I skim backpacking magazines, whose photographs are often spectacular and which discuss gear that may be useful on a boat.  And surfing and travel magazines as well.  I have THE ATLANTIC, NEW YORKER, SMITHSONIAN and a dozen others set to download each new issue automatically.   It may just be me, but the NEW YORKER cartoons are no longer funny.
        Of the magazines I did not know, I find NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC HISTORY the most interesting.
        One paragraph in a recent article in SAILING WORLD about a J-class regatta in Newport, RI, where six of the huge boats raced one another, caught my attention: 

Masts reaching for the sky.  The grace of a bygone era expressed in bold overhangs, a delicate sheer.  A teak deck as a work of art.  Dozens of people busy on deck, where a battery of high-tech machinery hints that inner dragons wait to fly.  For the three owner-drivers—the pros too, for that manner—we hold these thrills to be self-evident.   If this isn’t living the dream, what is?
        I have seen two J-Boats under sail—and to be clear we are not talking about the current plastic boats, but the 120’+ ships that raced for the America’s Cup early last century.  They are beautiful and impressive.  
        But all those people—professional crews of 24 to 30; all those other boats around you; all that noise; all the stresses on rig and rudder; all that money; all those egos. “If this isn’t living the dream, what is?”
        You know my answer:  standing in the companionway of a small boat as you sail her alone across an ocean, hundreds of miles from any other human, moving fast toward the setting sun, a crystal glass of Laphroaig at hand, Bach or perhaps Mark Knopfler of Gurrumul playing on the Megabooms.
        One man’s dream:  another man’s nightmare.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Evanston: gold rush in the sky; Ophelia; making Buffalo Trace; voiceless

        The NY TIMES has a remarkable article about the collision between two neutron stars 130 million light years away.  Such collisions are thought to be the manner in which heavy metals are formed.  This one may have dispersed gold equal to 40 to 100 times the mass of the Earth.  Were such gold collected, it would no longer be a precious metal.  The cosmic chirp the collision caused had never before been observed.
        The article is amazing in that some of us are so clever as to be able to imagine, invent, build and assemble the equipment necessary and to be able to interpret such a brief and obscure event.   The article is also amazingly well written, clearly explaining some difficult science.
        There is a video with the article, which is worth viewing, too.


        SPORTS ILLUSTRATED has a weekly Sign of the Apocalypse.   There have been a good many recently outside the world of sport as well.  Presumably most of you have heard of Hurricane Ophelia and those of you in Ireland and the U.K. have felt it first hand.  A chart at Ars Technica shows how aberrational Ophelia was.  

        I drove Carol’s car today.  Hardly earth shattering—at least I hope not—but the first time in a long time, perhaps this year.   I wanted some things from Home Depot.  Carol took the train to work.  The car was in the garage, so I drove it.  For those of you who are new here, this is a big deal because I am blind in my right eye.  I drove like a half-blind old man, keeping to the speed limit and pivoting my head at stop signs and traffic lights like a demented turtle.
        After Home Depot I continued on to Binny’s, a liquor store, where I found Laphroaig 10 year on sale for $40 and also bought a bottle of Buffalo Trace bourbon, which has become my favorite whiskey after Laphroaig and at $25 a bottle a bargain.
        Attached to the bottle was a scan code to a YouTube video about the making of Buffalo Trace.  I scanned, watched, and enjoyed, as I will the finished product this evening.


        Carol and I have been sharing a virus.  We are both better now.  One of her symptoms was laryngitis which for two days rendered her unable to make a sound.  So, in a sign of the times, if not the Apocalypse, we sat side by side on the sofa, within arms reach, and texted one another.